Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pugs of the Sea

As we departed that wretched land known as The First Trimester, our thoughts turned to the gender of the baby. Vince was unable to attend my ultrasound this week, so we agreed to have the OB write the baby's sex on a card if it was discernable, seal the card in an envelope, and wait until the evening to open the card together. As it turned out, my OB saw the sex clear as day, and I left the office with a sealed envelope burning a hole in my handbag. After spending the next six hours, 42 minutes, and 22 seconds in sheer agony, Vince and I eagerly ripped open the envelope. The verdict? A boy! Boy, oh, boy! I confessed that I thought I had seen a penis on the ultrasound at the OB's office, but I didn't give it much credence, because at one point I mistook a lung for an arm. Though we would have been jubiliant with a son or a daughter, Vince was relieved to have escaped life with two Lilys, and I was looking forward to having two Vinces to boss around. Everyone wins! Actually, not everyone won. Oliver seemed less than enthused at the prospect of sharing his kingdom with a potential male usurper. I'm confident that once he realizes the new addition will be a messy creature who throws table scraps on the ground, he'll get over it.

L to R: Ed, Hana, and Grace Chan in Modesto; Wes Sen, Tracy Lam-Sen, Katelyn Sen, me, and Vince in Sacramento; Vince, me, and Joyce and Mark Yim in Berkeley. Unfortunately, we didn't get to snap a pic of Uncle Henry and Aunt Susie Chan in Oakland.
In other news, Vince and I just returned from a mini-vacation to the Bay Area. The main purpose of the trip was to see friends and family, but we also saw the long weekend as a little "babymoon." Perhaps it's a contrivance of our spoiled generation, but a babymoon is a vacation a couple takes after they find out they're pregnant, but before the baby comes. It's sort of a last hurrah before you become mired in the inescapable black hole of parenthood. Just kidding.

I admit that I missed the Pug quite a bit. Perhaps that why I found myself strangely drawn to these sea lions we spotted lazing about at Pier 39. I swear they looked uncannily pug-like to me, and I kept referring to them as "pugs of the sea." Vince thought I was nuts, but take a look at the picture, and YOU decide. The resemblance is undeniable! Who's nuts now?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Emperor's New Bed(s)

This past weekend, our new digs were transformed by a special delivery from two friends, Crate and Barrel. At last, the place would stop looking like it was inhabited by furniture-less squatters and start looking like a real home. Even Oliver got new furniture - a luxe bed resembling a big, fat pug throne. Of course, that didn't stop him from laying claim to the new daybed as well, which had originally been purchased for the human inhabitants of his kingdom. Ordinarily, we would have booted his puggy butt from the pristine furniture, but, guilt-ridden by his recent surgery, we turned a blind eye.

While Oliver and I were lounging on the daybed, [Pseudonym] was going mad trying to assemble the rest of the furniture. His name has been omitted from this post, because as my camera came out to capture his sheer frustration, he yelled, "This'd better not be in your blog!!" To protect his wishes, I have taken careful measures to hide his identity. I have pictured [Pseudonym], below, with his nemesis, the allen wrench. I have to admit that those things are no fun to use, especially when faced with the prospect of putting in 48 screws. [Pseudonym] eventually stomped off to Home Depot to purchase a better tool. He also somehow duped our buddy George into using the discarded allen wrench to help him finish his task. [Pseudonym] had originally tried to pass this odious task on to me, using guilt to sway me. His argument was that I had no idea what he was going through or how hard it was for him to assemble all that furniture by himself. I flatly asked him if he'd like to swallow a bowling ball, carry it around until March, spend that time cranky, crampy, and constipated, and then squeeze it out of his- I'll stop there. You get the picture. And that was the last I heard of that.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


On Friday, Annie broke the news to us that she would be - SOB! - leaving us for greener pastures, AKA San Diego. Oh, cruel world! We beseeched her to stay, plying her with promises of exciting knitting projects to come, but no matter. Her mind was made up. I'm not sure how Friday Knitting Group will be once Annie is gone. She's leaving some very stylish and funny shoes to fill. We'll miss you, Annie!

In other cruel news, I have, as predicted, left Lady E for a younger, thinner project. I'm sure that I'll be back with her once the new fling bores me with her lack of witty repartee on current events.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Over the weekend, I took Oliver to the vet for a re-check on a few cysts I had been monitoring for the past few months - a red bump on his belly that had grown noticeably bigger and two smaller lumps on his head. We shared the waiting room with a miniature dachsund and a presa canario mix, neither of whom wanted to be there.

The dachsund was a shaky mess who tried to hide inside his owner's shorts, and the presa canario mix couldn't stop whimpering. I was very proud of the Pug, who sat silent and brave, but once on the vet's examination table, it was a different story. He snarled and clawed and reared his stubby little head as the nurse tried to weigh him, look at his teeth, and exam his lumps. The only time he didn't fight was when his temperature was taken. Rectally. Hmmm. Anyway, the vet recommended surgical removal and biopsy of the cysts. She also suggested having a full blood panel done because "he's approaching middle age." Finally, to add insult to injury, she said his teeth were "pretty bad," so he'd need a dental workup done, cautioning that extractions might be necessary. I was already getting teary hearing that my beloved was a middle-aged pug who needed surgery, but man, the teeth thing made me feel just AWFUL. It was like being the parent of the kid who gets sent home from school for having head lice. I hung my head in shame as I left the office.

After dropping Oliver off for surgery the next morning, I spent the workday wringing my hands and torturing myself with images of a small and defenseless pug on the operating table. At 5 o'clock sharp, I raced back to the vet's office. As I waited for the nurse to bring him out, I had to choke back tears, but the second I saw him, I found myself having to choke back a laugh instead: He looked like Frankenstein. His head had been shaved, and across his bald puggy pate was a line of stark black sutures. There was a similar line of sutures on one of his pug udders, too. In my own defense, I will say that if he had seemed more upset or tore up, I would not have been so amused. But he was the same wriggly, wiggly Oliver, only more Frankensteinian. And no extractions were needed, which meant I wasn't quite as horrible of a mother as I had thought. We left with strict instructions to give him his meds and carry him up and down the stairs.
That night, he woke us up about every other hour with hacking and coughing, a side effect of having been intubated. Vince and I took turns getting out of bed to comfort him. I was a little grumpy over losing the sleep, but I suppose we could consider this practice for when our human baby arrives. In the meantime, we'll just enjoy taking care of the baby we have now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

And Then There Were Four (Well... Sort Of)

Vince's eyebrows shoot up in alarm as he educates himself on the finer points of childbirth and labor.
Back in May when we were preparing to move into our new home, Vince and I realized Oliver might get lonely spending each day by himself in such a big place. To combat potential pug depression, we came up with the perfect solution - we decided to have a baby! When we excitedly told Oliver that he could expect his new playmate to arrive next February or March, his reaction was lukewarm to say the least. For one thing, he tried to chew up the positive pregnancy test we showed him. We assured him that no matter how adorable the new baby might be, he would still be Numero Uno in our hearts, but to no avail. The pug was inconsolable. Below, you can see him sulking in every corner of the house.

Just as I was beginning to worry that Oliver might one day eat his adversary in a jealousy-induced fit of rage, something funny happened. Implausible as it seemed, he began exhibiting signs of Couvade Syndrome, AKA Sympathetic Pregnancy. This phenomenon - by which expectant fathers experience pregnancy symptoms such as nausea or weight gain - can be brought on by anxiety, guilt, identification with the fetus (huh?), or jealousy. Vince had a little tummyache and some blemishes, but that was it. To be honest, I was rather miffed he wasn't sympathizing more. If I was miserable, my hormone-addled mind reasoned that he should be just as miserable for putting me in this state. The pug, on the other hand, seemed to be over-sympathizing. One morning when I was on the brink of throwing up, I found that Oliver had beaten me to the punch and already puked on the floor. In the evenings, I would struggle to stay awake long enough to drive home, only to find that Oliver was already passed out cold in his bed. But the strangest thing was that when I started breaking out in pregnancy pimples, a big, shiny zit showed up on Oliver's face, too (see Fig. A, below). At that point, I stopped worrying about his jealousy and started worrying about him. He'd been matching me symptom for symptom so far, and I feared what might happen once I began ballooning. Do pugs even retain water? Or maybe I was missing the big picture - why is my pug's Couvade surpassing my husband's? Isn't that a bad sign? Well, I suppose that as long as the hubby exhibits some sympathy pregnancy symptoms, I shouldn't worry. Even though I'd be secretly delighted to witness sympathy bloating, I'd take a sympathy footrub. Or later, some sympathy diaper-changing.

Fig. A: Oliver's Couvade zit.