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Archive for the ‘Fun Fact’ Category

I decided upon my return to St. Louis that I would like to do my part in avoiding hemorrhoids during this pregnancy.

First thing that came to mind as far as prevention was that toilet paper is entirely too abrasive a surface for such a delicate region. 

I purchased my first pack (obviously, I am out of the loop on ass-care products) of the adult version of baby wipes.  The most common brands I found were Cottonelle and Charmin, so being as particular as I am about regular toilet paper I chose to try both products to see which was a better fit for my ass.

This is what my findings are:

I used the Cottonelle brand first and it is okay.  I don’t mind the texture, there is no added fragrance or dyes…my only slight concern was that they sometimes rip when you pull one from the container and if it is that weak, then I may very well have cause for concern in the sanitation department.  But if I use a couple, then that remedies my concern.  Overall, it is a good product.

Then I moved on to the Charmin brand.  I opened the new container and -OMG!!!- I was hit with the overwhelming scent of bubble gum.  I don’t want to wipe bubble gum or bubble gum scent on my bunghole.  Eww!  It gives me the creeps.  There are some odors that just don’t mesh with ass.  Bubble gum is one of those fragrances, in my opinion. 

So, the Charmin wipes may very well be as good or better quality than the Cottonelle wipes…but my ass will never know.

Contrary to what you may think, this was NOT a paid advertisement but rather a ridiculously long post about my ass.

I haven’t posted much lately since we have moved half-way around the world, house-hunted for weeks on end and had pregnancy complications in between.

I have recently entered the state of pregnancy that is extremely uncomfortable and exhausting as all hell.

I have been trying to manage gestational diabetes for close to a month and my fingers are tired of being stuck.

I have to pee pretty much as soon as I get done peeing…sooner if the baby is applying pressure.  I should just hang out in the bathroom.

I am seeing my doctor twice every week to monitor both myself and the baby.  Mostly the baby, as gestational diabetes involves a higher risk of still birth.

Currently the baby is 3.5 lbs. and wiggling all the time.  I think she was on a spin cycle all day Monday and oddly enough it was clockwise the entire day.

We FINALLY found a house we like and put a contract on it.  We have looked at nearly 70 homes in our price range and only liked this one house enough to put a contract on it.  I would venture a guess that our real-estate agent is annoyed with us and likely relieved that we are nearly out of his life.

I recently discovered that I will be REQUIRING nursing and sleeping bras…holy crap, I didn’t even know what a sleeping bra was for!

I also recently discovered that it gets really difficult to reach your “area” to wipe after peeing.  Nobody tells you these things about pregnancy…

I haven’t seen my fuzzy boys (Francis and Burrito) in 8 weeks.  I miss them so much I can’t stand it.  I dream of them nearly every night.  I am having withdrawal symptoms and I am so worried they won’t remember me, well at least that Burrito won’t remember…I am pretty sure Francis will remember, he will just be mad.

I have severe leg/back pain every day and night.

I have two baby showers coming up and I can’t wait!  It will be great to see everyone AND I get to have cake since I have been on this no sugar/low carb/restricted calorie diet for almost a month.  Yay!  Cake! 

If I had to choose between cake or death, I would definitely choose CAKE!

We did it again.

We took another road trip with our friends this past Sunday.

It didn’t quite turn out the same as the previous road trip.

Our Sunday began with Cybr and I checking out the unexpected flea market at the plaza in Discovery Bay.  It was painfully hot on Sunday, so when our friends called and said, “hey, do you want to take a road trip?” we said, “sure”.

We headed into the Gold Coast area hoping to find something cool to do or see, but to no avail.  While we were there, I had to pee and ended up using my first (and hopefully last!) eastern-style port-a-potty.  You literally squat over a hole filled with the shit of the thousands that came before you.  Yuck.

From there, we headed east to Sai Kung/Clearwater Bay at which point this occurred:

hk-road-trip.jpg

A blowout.  We hit a curb.  Tire=trash.

The guys were EXTREMELY quick with the tire change and the bonus was that the spare was full-sized.

From there we just went to TST and then went our separate ways.  Our friends had a work-related dinner to attend and while they invited us to join them, we opted for Hard Rock Hong Kong for dinner.

I enjoyed the beef brisket sandwich and Cybr had a bbq burger.  It was great food.  It was a $302.50 meal, so it better have been good!  Of course, that is in HKD so it’s only about $39 US.  Still expensive for a burger and sandwich (in my opinion), but it is the price you pay to eat at Hard Rock.

We followed that up with a trip on the Star Ferry, which takes us to Central to catch yet another ferry to Discovery Bay where we catch the bus to get home.  Sounds complicated?  Not really, but it takes forever.  It would have been faster than the train, but the ferry was delayed docking  which made us miss our other ferry.

The Star Ferry has some REAL HISTORY in Hong Kong.  Check out the link if you are interested.

It hasn’t let up all week long.

We are actually getting thunderstorms, which is not all that common here.  Rain is, of course, very common in the monsoon season; however, thunder and lightning are not very common here for some reason.

Well, I don’t mind the rain so much but I could do without the thunder and lightning that last for hours on end.  My dog has a very serious fear of thunder and lightning which makes for very little sleep when it storms.

She has always had this and even though thunderstorms are a fairly regular occurence in the Midwestern U.S. where we are from, the worst part of a storm there never lasts much longer than 20 minutes or so.

Nearly everyone here has a domestic helper that lives with them. And I really do mean nearly everyone. Many more people than not.

This is an unnatural phenomenon to middle-class Americans like us. We don’t have one. We are not accustom to that kind of lifestyle. I can, however, totally understand why everyone seems to have one.

It costs $3700 HK dollars per month to have a domestic helper, roughly $474 US dollars.

The domestic helper lives in a tiny closet-sized room with a toilet and sink and no air conditioning. They wake at the butt-crack of dawn, get cleaned up and dressed then start the day super-early to cook for everyone, clean everything, do laundry, do shopping, walk dogs, care for children, etc… This work is an ALL day thing, as many full-time helpers work from between 5-7 am until at least 8-8:30 at night and some until much later, 6 days per week. Sundays and public holidays are the universal day off for all helpers (but I understand there are some employers that require their domestic helper work on Sundays and Public holidays, much to the helper’s dismay I would assume).

I have a friend that is a domestic helper. She is from Sri Lanka, although the vast majority of domestic helpers seem to be from the Philippines. She is the nicest lady. I really enjoy her company. She told me that there are some helpers from India that are brought here by their employers and paid only $1500 HKD per month and have to work 7 days a week and are treated poorly. The employers do this for the same reason bears will shit in the woods…because they can. Apparently, wages and economy are so bad in parts of India that even a nurse will only be earning the equivalent of $1500 HKD per month. That is so sad, no one can do anything but barely survive on that.

I see some people here speak to their domestic helpers like they are nothing more than a pile of dog crap. I see some people here carry only their designer handbag, while they have their domestic helper carrying more than one human being can carry without potentially hurting themselves. And even then, they don’t hold the door.

This is not to say that every person is cruel. Some of them are, which is true anywhere in the world. Not to mention, I have heard some stories about some relatively vicious helpers being cruel to family pets, stealing and being home-wreckers.  In contrast, there are employers who treat their helpers like they are part of the family, who appreciate all they do for the kids/home/dogs/family, who pay for trips home so their helpers can see their family they have left behind, and who regularly increase their helpers salary.

All I know for certain is that my friends’ daughter came here to work as a domestic helper so she can make good money compared to what she makes in Sri Lanka, and she was a Pediatric Nurse in Sri Lanka.  My friend is very concerned about this, as she doesn’t want to see her daughter get into a contract (generally a two year contract) with someone that treats her like shit. She is a good mom, this is what I think about as she reminds me to drink my juice and eat some fruit. She is such a mom, it makes me chuckle.

I wish her and her daughter well.

By the way, it is TOTALLY taboo for me to be friends with a domestic helper…and vice versa. I just don’t care what anyone thinks.

I think I will share with all of you who extend the courtesy of reading my blog the story of how we came to be expecting the bean. Let me begin by saying that this isn’t likely to become a “Mommy Blog” (at least not anytime real soon), although I may decide to start one of those in due time.

Not that there is anything wrong with mommy blogging…it just isn’t all that Cat and Muse is about. I started this site to chronicle my journey to live halfway around the world from where my 30+ years of existence have been spent and getting knocked up in Hong Kong is part of this journey, so you will have to expect to hear about it to some degree.

Now that I have unnecessarily explained myself, I will begin…

I lived with endometriosis and the pain associated with it for 17 years (damn, that makes me sound old! I was really young when it first began, seriously). I agreed to have my doctor explore my abdomen in hopes of him fixing whatever he found to be broken inside me and he found that I was riddled with endometriosis to the point that (without surgery) I would have never conceived. The surgery resulted in both good and bad news: I have a severe case of endo (bad), the endo had trapped my appendix and twisted it requiring that I have it removed (also bad) and that despite the severity of the endo my ovaries were, in fact, viable (very good news).

Let’s fast forward to Cybr and I deciding to give conception a try…we were trying for5-6 months when my body decided to stop menstruating for no apparent reason. After three missed cycles and numerous tests, we were left with two out of three doctors agreeing that I was likely to be in early ovarian failure. That is bad. I refused to accept it, I am not that old and two years ago my ovaries were viable. All along, all doctors were in agreement that whatever the problem, there was no way I would conceive do to lack of ovulation brought on by amenorrhea.

We were advised to take a pill called Provera to force menstruation so that we could move forward with more extensive testing to find out why my body was not working properly. An ultrasound was preformed prior to taking the Provera, as well as a pregnancy blood test because it is not recommended that a pregnant woman take this drug. At this time, the u/s showed nothing and the blood test showed a negative result.  I reluctantly took the medicine only to have absolutely nothing happen. Nothing.

After waiting beyond the time required for the Provera to work, I sought answers from my doctor again. She agreed that we should move forward more aggressively and just do the tests even without having a period first (not preferred), but was required to perform both the pregnancy blood test and an ultrasound again to be certain as a pregnancy would not survive the additional testing I was preparing to have done.

Upon beginning the ultrasound, my doctor gasped and clutched her mouth with her cupped hand. I asked, “Uh, does that reaction mean I am pregnant or there is a tumor and I am dying?!?”. She was thrilled to tell me that I was pregnant. I came home happy but in shock and told Cybr what had happened, including the surprise ending where he is going to be a daddy.

Even my doctors are surprised, they were certain based on my blood tests and hormone levels that at the very least I was not currently ovulating…but apparently I was.

So, here we are, 13 weeks into our pregnancy. The bean is growing into a tiny shrunken baby. We are both thrilled and scared and ready and apprehensive…all the normal emotions of learning we are going to be parents.

I feel good. (thanks for asking Nominimom) I have had morning sickness that lasted 24/7, but luckily that has passed. I have been utterly exhausted (thus the lack of posts), but that seems a bit better as more time passes. My one big gripe is the heartburn. DAMN THE HEARTBURN! I hate it. I have never actually had it, you see I have an iron stomach and not even eating half a jar of jalapeños can upset my stomach…until now. Now the most benign foods give me unbearable heartburn and it sucks. Ginger tea seems to help the most and it tastes good, too. Currently, all is well except for a spike in my blood pressure…my doctor(s) seem to think it will pass since it is very early on in the pregnancy and I was not hypertensive prior to pregnancy. Let’s hope that is the case.

Thanks to everyone for all the congrats and well wishes!

We had an eventful weekend, relatively speaking.

On Friday, we watched Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer and ate dinner at home.

On Saturday, we went to Wan Chai to look for some XBOX360 games and a PSP for Cybr. Oh, and the Scene It for XBOX (which I love!!!) that we found for about the equivalent of $34 USD. Yay!

Cybr found a few games he wanted, we got the Scene It game, no luck on the PSP, we ate dinner at Outback (which is the first time since we were in Seoul, Korea…doesn’t that sound funny!?) and then we headed home.

Then Sunday we went on the Hong Kong Dolphin Watch Tour which includes up to 4 hours on a nice boat with refreshments and seeing pink dolphins in their natural habitat. It was awesome! The boat was really nice, I enjoyed the upper deck a lot. We totally need one of those so Cybr can cruise us around while I take in the sights and the sun from my lounging position on the upper deck. That would rock.

We saw a few (possibly as many as 6, but they were spread out feasting on the fish cast off through the net of a fishing boat) pink dolphins while we were out in the open water. They are so cute, they really are pink!!

I feel I have to mention that the dolphin watch website states that there is a refrigerator on board the vessel; however, it states that it is “available for cake and cheese storage only”. This struck me as particularly amusing. Cake and cheese, but not cheesecake. Milk is a definite violation of refrigerator usage. Hehe.

Also, there are signs posted clearly throughout the vessel that diving into the waters from the vessel is strictly prohibited. It clearly states that the reason for this is for liability sake but I think we can all agree that it is really because of the sea snakes.

Here is a picture of an adolescent pink dolphin:

pink-dolphin1.jpg

I do realize that it doesn’t appear to be pink in my photo, but that is because it is an adolescent. Babies are born dark gray, they fade to light gray within a short time after birth, as they reach adolescence they become a mottled gray/pink and then in adulthood they gray fades completely leaving them a bubblegum pink color. They are beautiful. I love seeing them in their natural habitat, but it saddens me greatly to see how polluted their habitat is. They are truly in great danger for extinction. They are pink for physiological reasons, by the way, and not the pollution which is likely to be suspect in their odd coloring.

Mar
10
Papsmears…

Now that is a catchy title.

I was just going to share my experience in a relatively non-clinical fashion.

I had my first gynecological exam here in Hong Kong. Knowing that medical practices are a bit different here (yes, even Western medicine practices are different), I have to say I was a bit nervous. Not about the outcome, nor the procedure itself…no, I was nervous about making a total ass out of myself. You know, like getting stark naked when the nurse says to get undressed and what she meant was to just take off my shoes…or something along those lines.

So, this is how it works and for all you Americans out there reading this (since I cannot relate this to any other medical practices anywhere else in the world) will surely get how “new” this situation was for me.

  • The doctor sees me in her office first and we discuss what is happening with my body, which some docs in the U.S. do as well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a difficult time articulating questions/concerns regarding my health when I am naked from the waist down, spread eagle with a spotlight on my va-jay-jay and the doctors head two inches away while he/she is telling me to hang my ass over the edge of the table and relax…then, “Oh, by the way, do you have any questions or concerns you would like to discuss?”. Are you kidding me?? I couldn’t even tell you my name right now, all I can think about is my bare ass and the extenuating circumstance it is in!
  • Then the nurse takes me to the exam room and shows me a curtain that encloses a 2′ x 2′ space to undress.
  • She says to undress.
  • I say, “Tell me specifically what I am to take off/leave on, please, I don’t want to look too stupid today”.
  • She smiles and says just my pants, panties and shoes. I can leave my socks on if I want.
  • I close the curtain and disrobe. Wait. There isn’t a tiny paper napkin to cover myself with or a butt-exposing gown to put on. Nothing.
  • I stick my head (only) out of the curtain, knowing she is still in the room and has no intentions of leaving…weird, huh?
  • I ask her what I am supposed to do now.
  • She motions for me to getup onto the exam table.
  • I pause, thinking she may give me something to cover up with.
  • She gestures again to the table, less patiently this time.
  • I set all modesty aside and draw open the curtain and walk my half-naked self over to the table and hop up there.
  • The doctor comes into the tiny room, the door is adjacent to my va-jay-jay exposing me for any one that may be lingering in the hallway.
  • She does the exam quickly, painlessly and then does the dildo-cam ultrasound.
  • The insides of my pelvis are being shown on a 27″ wall-mounted screen right over the doctors head so that I can see everything that she sees. My insides are quite lovely, thank you.
  • Doc says she is finished, then promptly leaves the room.
  • The nurse gestures for me to go to get dressed, so I hop off the table and walk my naked ass back behind the curtain.
  • Once dressed, I am taken back to the doctors office to finish up.

And that is my story of immodesty and dildo-cams.

I think is quite ironic that the Asian culture is outwardly much more modest than Western cultures, yet when it comes to going for a gynecological/medical exam all modesty is set aside; whereas, Americans are extremely private and modest regarding gyno exams and pretty much all medical exams.

Interesting…

I have either acclimated or assimilated to a lot of things in Hong Kong.

To list a few: weather, metric system, public transportation, humidity, mosquitoes, ferrying, NOT driving, being unemployed, not living near family/friends, 13-14 hour time difference, money exchange, being a minority (sad, but true), language barriers, walking a LOT, umbrella abuse, cultural differences, no dishwashers, teeny little ovens/stovetop, and much more…

Okay, you get the picture, right?

There is one thing I will never be able to acclimate to. Seriously, I think there is a law about this one that states that if you were not born and raised in Hong Kong, then you are thoroughly screwed on this particular point…

The smells.

Hong Kong is an odoriferous place. I mean hit you in the face and beat the living hell out of you kind of smells. The kind of odors that make you want to cry, seek therapy or at the very least vomit.

This is not everywhere nor all the time but the odors hit you when you least expect them and it can happen anywhere.

There is no hiding your inability to tolerate these kinds of smells, they are not the least bit friendly. Even the iron-clad stomach types (that would be me) can’t tolerate them. Cybr and I (who rightfully earned the self-proclaimed title of Mr. and Mrs. Grosser-than-gross) had to stop eating an ice cream cone and walk back the way we came to escape a stench before we could continue to eat or I guarantee that one of us was going to spew. All the while, local HK people are eating in open-air restaurants or walking with their ice cream cones chowing down completely unaffected by the stench.

I swear that the only way you can be immune to the variety of pungent odors in Hong Kong is to have lived with them your entire life.

On second thought, let’s not.

I have been sick for a week. Really sick. I felt fatigued for about 3 days, then last weekend I ached severely all over and developed a fever in the evening. It has only gotten worse from there. Top that with some girly-issues, unexplained disappointment, vomiting, and a cough that could peel paint off the walls…well, let’s just say I’ve had better weeks.

I thought that I would try to make up for the lack of attention to my site by offering you a bit of Hong Kong Fact.

I don’t know how many of you ladies out there feel about giving up your surname when you get married, which is tradition in the U.S. as well as many other countries, but I have to say that I struggled with it.

I guess I am proud of my own surname. It is who I am, from whence I came, and the name I have carried throughout my life so far. I know most guys when asked if they would forfeit their name for the sake of marriage would respond with an emphatic “Hell, no”.

I feel the same way, which is why I did not give up my name when I got married. I did compromise with Cybr by taking his name, but I was not willing to part with my own name. This process involved a lot of paperwork and a day in court to get it done the way I wanted it (I didn’t want to be hyphenated, I am personally not a big fan of the hyphen. Parenthesis I could have accepted, maybe even a semi-colon, but no hyphen).

Anyway, I am not sure that Cybr understood my decision but he certainly backed me up. I asked a female friend who is actually from Hong Kong (not just passing through) how names and marriage worked here and this is what she said:

Specifically, I asked her if women are expected to give up their surname and take their husbands’ name and she responded with a face distorted with shock and appall, “No WAY! No Hong Kong woman would give up her name, that is crazy”.

This is how it works here. Surname comes first, then given name (example: Cheung Lai-ming) and it is not appropriate to address someone by their given name unless you have been asked to do so or you are very close to that person, therefore making it assumed to be okay. It would be appropriate to address a woman as Miss Cheung. When a woman marries she takes her husbands’ name, keeps her own as well and is not to be addressed by her married name, it would be considered rude to do so. She would still be addressed as her maiden name, Miss Cheung (yes, Miss or Ms.), in day-to-day business, although her full name would now read Wong Cheung Lai-ming. It would also be considered rude to mention or dwell on her marital status.

Then the Western names come into play in Hong Kong, since English is the second language here. Then my make-believe persons name would read Lisa Wong Cheung Lai-ming and it would be okay to address this person by her Western name. It would also be more likely for a Hong Kong person, most especially the younger generations, to have a more outrageous Western name such as: Gforce, Milk, Polaris, Napoleon, White, Open, Cream, Jackal, or even Hitler.

I am totally serious about the outrageous Western names. Milk is actually on the name-tag of the young lady at the local FotoMax that prints a lot of my photos for me. See? Not making this up.

It is also perfectly acceptable and very common for a Hong Kong person to change their Western name periodically, as they have the free will to do so as often as they please as long as it isn’t registered with the HK government. If I were from here and could change my name at will, I would totally be sporting the name Kitty…yes, then everyone would see me and say, “Hello, Kitty!” and this would make me smile every single time it was said.

I just thought it was interesting how different something as simple and common as a name can be depending on region and culture.