Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I don't know why everyone insists on reflecting on their life at New Year's. It seems to me that there is no worse time to decide what needs improvement in your life. You've just finished the most stressful month of the year. It's cold, the days are short. Why not sit down and figure out what's wrong with you? Won't that make you feel better?

I vote for May. Weather gets nicer, spring really gets going. Now that's a better time to sit down and reflect on life. May is a time of renewal. Why not decide to become a new you when everything else is new too?

So, if you make your New Year's resolutions and they don't quite work out, try again in May. You may feel more like becoming a new person then.

*Note: I'm not that in to introspection anyway. I try to leave the past in the past (except when arguing with my husband, of course).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Meme of the day...Thanks, Lindsay!

1. Link to the person who tagged you. Thanks you Lindsay. :)
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blogs.

Okay, here we go...

1. I helped build my house. My favorite job was burning scrap wood, since I was warm and it didn't require a lot of effort, But, I also helped create a tray ceiling, I insulated, I've helped with drywall and drywall finishing, I've painted (walls, trim,etc.), I grouted a crapload of tile, and I HATED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

2. I read a lot...and I gather a lot of useless information from my fiction reading (I can recognize the fact buried in fiction). I usually read 2-3 books a week.

3. I am Irish and Polish and I look like I'm completely Irish. Growing up in Chicago means that if you look Irish, and had my maiden name, anyone you meet will start racking their memory to figure out if they knew my father through the police or fire department (he was an office manager for a trucking company - what a rebel!).

4. I love to watch Judge Judy and Cops and Intervention. This is not because I want to feel better about myself (as my husband surmises). I think it's to keep an eye on my behavior to make sure I'm not inadvertently being an asshole. I also watch Snapped on Oxygen, because I'm looking for pointers (kidding, DH, kidding).

5. I love Mountain Dew. I really don't understand how people who can drink Dr. Pepper can tell me that Mountain Dew is too sweet.

6. I like to cook, but I don't do much of it any more. My husband has no taste buds (slight exaggeration, he notices the taste of some food), and so food is pretty much just fuel for him. So, we might as well eat tacos most nights. I still bake in winter, though, and that is appreciated.

7. I almost let my husband get away with not buying me an engagement ring. I have a lovely diamond ring that I inherited from my aunt, and we were going to use that. Until I decided that I needed something that he picked out for me. He did a fine job. Plus, I like white gold better than yellow gold.

So, since I think I've seen just about everyone tagged with this, I will again say

If you haven't done this yet, consider yourself tagged!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas lessons learned

Parenting tips for Christmas with a toddler:

1. Don't Waste Your Money. So as not to overwhelm the 2 year old with gifts (from Santa, mom & dad, grannie, aunts, great aunts), opening presents was spread over 3 days. What were the big winners? Crayons from Santa and a package of 14 plastic flower shaped bracelets that I got for $1.

2. Keeping up with the Joneses is a little necessary My husband is so glad I spent all that other money on toys. I say, no one ever buys my daughter toys. Everyone gives her clothes, books, or money. So, she didn't have any Legos (still doesn't, but now she has some sort of stick together blocks), she didn't have a train set or any cars (she had one but I can't find it anywhere). She didn't have any silly noise making toys (they annoy her father). Basically, she didn't have any of the toys I've seen at the houses of other 2 year olds. Now she does. She also has a pair of roller skates, so the noise making toy (a Wubbzy) is going back and she's getting a helmet.

3. Lessons that you don't realize you're teaching. We also got her her own little laptop...which she immediately told me not to touch (I wonder where she learned that from). She's very excited to have her own laptop - and it comes with its very own mouse. Which I also should not touch.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I tried to get my daughter interested in Santa, but she isn't familiar with the idea yet. I'm looking forward to seeing her face tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, my husband drove through 600 miles of rain, freezing rain, sleet, accidents and crazy drivers. There were no problems for him, although I did have to call some state police to find out if the stopped traffic was due to weather, accidents, or road closure. He made it home safely, and I'm thankful for that.

Now we are watching A Christmas Story. Just got to the tongue on the flagpole part. Hilarious. Can't help but love this movie.

I still don't know if we'll be going to see my husband's family tomorrow. He said "it's up to you," which is passive aggressive speak for I don't really want to go. I don't care either way for myself, but I like for my daughter to spend time with her cousins. So, we'll see what happens. I braved the grocery store today, in case I need to make some dinner tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Of course!

So, after talking to my husband, it turns out I was right. He did know what was going on, but neglected to discuss it with me. Everyone is going to his sister's house. But, since his sister lives 45 minutes away, he doesn't know if he's interested in going, after driving 600 miles home.

I don't fault his reasoning, and it would certainly be fine to spend the day at home just with my little family (most people's dream holiday, from what I can determine), but it would be nice to know about it! But, now I do.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I had the most unusual conversation with my mother-in-law today. I think we got some wires crossed somewhere. Or maybe she just thinks she talks to me as frequently as she talks to her daughters. More likely, however, she delivered the information I was trying to get to my husband, who will later assure me that he told me.

I like my mother-in-law. She's very sweet and thoughtful and funny. She doesn't interfere, gives advice when you specifically request it, and is more irritated when her son is being a jerk than I am. But, she's kind of flighty and absentminded. Her signature trick is to put a cup of water (for tea) or coffee in the microwave, reheat it, and forget about it. And everyone has the microwave that beeps at you until you go and take the stuff out. That beep is like a dog whistle to her - she doesn't hear it at all.

Since my husband will be driving 600 miles on Christmas Eve, I'm pretty sure he will be against the idea of driving another 300 miles to spend Christmas with my family. Which means we'll be going to wherever his family will be (his mom's or one of his sisters' houses). Since it is now the 21st of December, I thought maybe I should get an idea of what the plans were. So I called my mother-in-law.

I talked to her for about half an hour (with a brief phone pass-off to one of my sisters-in-law) and I really have no idea what the plans are for Christmas. I think she said to come over on Christmas Day around 12:30 or whenever. If we want to come at 6:30, that's fine too. And I can bring some of the cookies I've baked. Or an appetizer, because we're having soup and chicken salad, and appetizers. Or, if I'm too busy don't worry about it. But someone is bringing shrimp, because they went to a Christmas party and there was a shrimp plate there and they really enjoyed it. And my sister-in-law's husband had tickets to a hockey game today, but they couldn't go because pipes were bursting all over and he got called in to work for that. And she wishes she had more toys to send over for my daughter to play with for a little while, so she can get some variety. Huh?

I"m really not sure what the plan is. I guess I'm used to a more formal dinner arrangement. I prefer that, but I guess that means I can wear jeans. Or sweatpants for that matter. This is not what I am used to! Anyway, I'm sure she just thinks that she already told me everything - she has 4 daughters and talks to each of them probably 6 or more times a week, so I'm sure she imagines I made it in the mix somewhere. (In contrast, I make a weekly duty call to my mother, because I just don't have that much to talk about.) Or maybe my husband knows...

In other news, I am having paranoid episodes today. Normally, I revel in having the house (mostly) to myself. But today, I keep hearing weird noises. When I was trying to take a nap this afternoon, the heat was going on and the rattling of the air ducts made it sound like someone was walking through the house. It is also really cold and really windy, which increases the creaks and cracks that normally happen. Plus, my little darling is in a violent sleeping pattern today - she keeps whacking her head on the sides of her crib. Lots of thumping and creaking - it's freaking me out today for some reason.

I have all my cookies baked, now I must devise a delivery system for the neighbors (I am not good at presentation, but my stuff tastes pretty good). I'm sure my neighbor's dog will enjoy the doggie stocking full of toys that S. has been dragging around and trying to break into ever since we got it last week. Now I just have to wrap presents. And clean the house. And put away the laundry. And figure out what the hell is going on for Christmas. Ugh. I should probably just go to bed and not think about it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Good Samaritan ruling

Now you can sue someone for helping you? Really? I am amazed by this ruling from California. The story is that coworkers on their way home from a party were in a car accident. One person (from another car) dragged a woman from the car, thinking the car would catch on fire. The person who was dragged from the car is now a paraplegic. The paraplegic now wants to sue the person who dragged her from the car, and says she should have waited for emergency personnel.

I'm not sure who I should be most disgusted with in this case. I understand that being paralyzed is unimaginable and horrible. But, while I might not prefer that to being dead, I certainly would prefer it to being burned - a little, a lot, or to death. So, I can see how one might be bitter about being paralyzed, but why sue someone who was trying to help you?

And the courts - don't they have a duty to protect the Good Samaritan? Aren't there places where it is a crime to stand by without helping (or was that just a Seinfeld episode?). Why would anyone help anyone else, if the possibility of being sued is now real and present?

I'm not really the type to stop and help - because I never feel like I have anything to offer. I'm short, not very strong, and I don't usually react quickly (i.e. pulling over if I see an accident). Also, I am fortunate enough to not see many accidents. But the ones I have seen and could do nothing about stay with me. I want to be ready the next time.

I guess the Good Samaritans must hope for a true jury of their peers if they do get sued. It's unlikely (never say never) that I would vote in favor of punishing someone for trying to help, and I believe most people are like me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I was going to bake cookies

Today, I was awakened at 4:30 am by the sounds of crying and the plaintive call of "Mommy." Sometimes, this just passes, but today I got up to check on my daughter. I guess my nose doesn't work too well when I first wake up, because I patted her back, told her she was OK, and was ready to go back to bed. And then I smelled something. So, I turned on the light, and was greeted with a lovely sight. Vomit. Lots of it.

Fortunately, most of it was on the bedding and carpet (YAY!) instead of on S. I took her to sit in the bathroom, in case there was more. Then I cleaned the carpet and stripped her bed. Then I took her to get some crackers and water. Then I got her dressed - her Christmas party at daycare is today. Then we watched the Wiggles. I was just about to conclude that it was just a one-time deal and get her ready to go to school, when I saw her little face change. Then she started throwing up all over the couch. Which was (fortunately) covered with a towel, her afghan, and my afghan.

Now, she's napping, the second load of laundry is running, and I'm not feeling too well myself. I really do not like to vomit, so for the most part, I don't. Up until this past summer, I had a 15 year no-vomiting streak going.

Any way you look at it, though, it's not a good day to bake cookies for my neighbors for Christmas. I don't think they would enjoy that little bonus feature that would probably come with anything I touch today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A little mythology...Updated! With commentary!

A friend sent this to me and I got a good laugh out of it...

This is absolutely amazing - and makes perfect sense!! (Amazing, yes. Makes perfect sense? The jury is out.)

It's been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish... all before making a human. He made and provided what we'd need before we were born. These are best & more powerful when eaten raw. We're such slow learners....
(and that's why life expectancy keeps growing. We've finally learned to eat the foods that have been there all along!)

God left us a great clue as to what foods help what part of our body!
God's Pharmacy! Amazing!

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye... and YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

Yep, my dad fed me this line for my whole life...I guess that's why I'm nearsighted with astigmatism! And my husband, who actually eats carrots voluntarily? Worse vision than me

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

I love tomatoes. I eat them frequently. But my family history says I'm still getting heart disease. Unless, of course, I give up the butter, and that's just not happening.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood-vitalizing food.

They're even better when you let them turn into wine!

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

I have more than one cerebellum? Sweet!

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Well, when googling this phenomenon, I didn't learn anything about the kidney beans + kidney health, but I did learn that when I inhaled all the chemicals at work this week, some of it was good for me! Too bad it was counteracted by the stuff that's not good for me...

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Yep, eat the celery. Don't worry about calcium or Vitamin D. Just consume foods that are 23% sodium. How many Cheetos is that again? They look JUST LIKE finger bones!

Avocados, Eggplants and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Well, crap. If all we need is an avocado a week, why are we wasting research dollars on Gardasil? Did you know you were throwing away your money on infertility treatments, when all you need to do is eat an avocado every week? How much guacamole does that come out to?

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

So, does that mean if you eat dates (they are dried figs, aren't they?), your testicles will shrivel up?

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

White sweet potatoes from Japan contain a compound that lowers blood sugar. But why don't you load up on that Sweet Potato Casserole? Those marshmallows and the brown sugar will do wonders for your glycemic index.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.

This is clearly a plant by the classic martini industry. NO MORE APPLE-TINIS!!!

Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

All the guys I've ever talked to refer to them as melons. Oranges and grapefruits just don't get big enough, apparently.

Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

Because everyone needs a onion to cry and wash those epithelial cells. Nope, nothing else going on that would cause crying...

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's up DOC?

When I shared pictures from my trip to Italy, Cara commented "Good thing we aren't on the witness stand." So, since it's related to both parts of the above sentence, I thougth I would share the story of the time that I was almost held in contempt of court.

It was a regular day - a Tuesday, I think. I had gone out to lunch with some of my coworkers, and I had been out for quite a while (an hour and a half, I think). When I came back, someone told me that I had been paged and that there was someone waiting in the lobby for me. My first thought was, "Uh-oh, I took a really long lunch today." My second thought was, "Who would be waiting for me?" So, I went downstairs to find out.

I get to the lobby, and there is a cheesy looking guy sitting on the bench. I asked the receptionist who was waiting for me, and she points him out. I walk over, and he asks my name. I tell him, and he whips out some papers and says, "You will need to appear on December 22 to show cause as to why you should not be held in contempt of court." WTF?!? I said, "Wait, what are you talking about?" He said, "You were supposed to analyze some evidence and you didn't do it, and I filed for contempt of court against you." Then he turned and walked out before I could ask him any more questions.

Of course, at this point, I start freaking out, because I can't be in court on December 22. I will be in Italy on December 22. I took my subpoena upstairs to my supervisor and the other senior examiner in our group. They, with all due concern for my worried self, started rolling on the floor laughing. Ah-ha-ha-ha, the U.S. Marshalls will be meeting your plane - when are you coming back again? Hope you look good in orange (prison jumpsuit color)! What's up DOC (that is, Department of Corrections)? Yes, I provided entertainment for an entire afternoon.

When they finally stopped laughing (I was still freaking out), they told me not to worry about it, they would find out the story. I was actually leaving the next day, so I didn't have time to track down the information. As it turns out, this was a defense attorney. He had requested an essentially useless analysis (it was requested out of order, so any evidence had likely been destroyed by other testing), which I had performed. Our rules say that the results in such cases be delivered to the investigating agency and to the judge handling the case. I had sent my report to both, but the judge had never informed the defense attorney.

I live in hope that the judge would hold himself in contempt, since he was the one who signed the order for me to appear, with the reasoning for it. But, I know that no one ever reads my reports anyway, so I can't completely blame him. The defense attorney could have simply called me, but many of them think that we work exclusively for the prosecution (not true, we will work any evidence in a criminal case, regardless of who requests it). Either way, I still have a record of being charged with contempt of court.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My sister sent this to me and the beginning sounded familiar. I hope the end will too someday!

Invisible Mother......

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously, not.No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this?Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a hum an being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ... Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Show and Tell

10 years ago this week, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Italy to spend Christmas with my sister, who was stationed there. It was quite a memorable trip, from events occurring before the trip, to my flight being cancelled, to some interesting characters that we encountered, but the best part was midnight mass at the Vatican, when we were mere feet away from Pope John Paul II. OK, actually, I missed the best part. We were walking down the street, looking for a quiet public phone. My sister said, "That was digusting! Did you see that?" I, Captain Oblivious, said, "No, what?" She said, "That guy." I said, "what was he doing?" She said, "He was was waving at us---with other than his hand!" I started laughing, and I don't think I stopped for the rest of the evening. Only I would miss seeing the flasher in Rome.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the top of St. Peter's and from midnight mass, 1998 (which was a 7 hour extravaganza!).

Don't forget to check out the rest of Show and Tell!

I think I need a glass of Christmas cheer

Normally, I have all my holiday stuff organized by Thanksgiving. I hate crowds. I am offended when the stores are not empty on Mondays, when I usually do any shopping. I really hate crowded parking lots - I usually try to park away from everyone else, and at Christmastime, that is virtually impossible (not that it matters. I can park at the farthest end of the lot, on a non-busy day, and someone always has to come and park next to me. Look! I'm a trend setter! In a sad and demented way!)

For some reason, though, I am totally off my game. Last year, by this time, I had provided all my neighbors with Christmas cookies, had my cards sent off, and was wrapping presents at night when the baby was asleep.

This year, I did all of my Christmas shopping yesterday. I just ordered our Christmas cards online today (and had to pay $5 extra to get them here in a reasonable amount of time). The Christmas tree has been up all week, and we finally got around to hanging some ornaments on it today. That's not a huge deal - the little one really just likes the lights anyway. I will probably bake all the Christmas cookies next week. I will probably also be lacking in that whole "goodwill toward man" feeling that you're supposed to have this season. Because I feel rushed and that makes me tense.

Don't get me wrong - I am totally not a type A personality. I don't mind letting things slip by. Christmas, however, is not something I can let slip by. That's probably why I don't enjoy it much. That, and differing expectations from every single person in my life - it's just too hard to make everyone happy. I know (academically) that it's not my job to make everyone happy. But it certainly is hard to decide who I'm supposed to please, and of course, who I'm going to make angry.

At any rate, things are getting to the point where I don't feel like there's something hanging over my head all the time. Hurray. Now, where's that drink I was looking for?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am always uninteresting

So most people get visitors googling things like "small octopus inside vagina" (No Matter How Small) and "Pregnant supermodel" (Mission:Impossible), but not me. No, I get

"things to do to sleeping people"

Well, I knew I was boring, but I don't like to have it confirmed!

Things I should be doing

It's Wednesday night and there are many things I should be doing, including:

Emptying dryer and putting away laundry
Emptying dishwasher
Cleaning bathroom
Hanging ornaments on Christmas tree

So here I am doing the following:

Sitting on the couch
Watching Life on NBC (love that show!)
Blogging (obviously)
Requesting books from the library
Reading other library books

I think I will tackle most of the first list this weekend - that's what weekends are for. But, if anyone would like to come by and tackle these items for me...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Martha, at A Sense of Humor is Essential tagged me for a Meme listing either weird or random facts about myself. Okay, I'm game, so here goes.

The attendent Rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Random/Weird Facts:

1. I am a forensic scientist, which means I work in a crime lab. (like CSI, but without the opulent surroundings, spike heels, or having to deal with criminals)

2. When I tell people that, they say "That must be really interesting." My response is "you'd think so, wouldn't you?" There is much disappointment with that response.

3. I hate mowing the lawn. But it is the only household chore, that, when I finish it, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

4. All of the cars I've purchased before my current one have had manual transmissions.

5. My aunt wanted me to join the foreign service and be a diplomat. It took her 10 years to figure out that I have absolutely no tact and would be horrifying in the foreign service.

6. I have my mother's sturdy Polish legs. I knew I had my mother's legs, but I realized that they were sturdy Polish legs when I noticed that a (male) friend of mine who had emigrated from Poland has the same legs as I do. They are nice, shapely legs, but still sturdy and Polish.

7. My husband and I spent 6 years living together and working together - not just in the same building but in the same office, >10 feet away from each other, all day long.

I don't think I know 7 other people to tag for this meme. So, if you're reading this, and haven't already done it, consider yourself tagged!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Show and Tell

Show and Tell

Inspired by Geohde, today I am sharing a snow anecdote.

Last January, we had a series of snowstorms, which is somewhat unusual in this area. Mostly, we get ice storms, or snow storms of an inch or so. This does not inspire me to shovel our very long driveway. We live in a lovely little town where they plow our subdivision almost immediately. So one Friday, I picked up the little menace (uh, I mean, my daughter) after work (probably early, because it was snowing hard) and drove home. We were happily tucked in to the nice warm house, so I peeked out the window to check the state of the weather. There was about 5 inches of snow on the ground. Then I looked a little farther. I live at the end of a cul-de-sac, and it seems that the snow plow had come through. Normally, I see the pile of snow that ends up at the end of my driveway as just what happens when the snow plow goes by. But this time, there was a 6 foot snow mountain directly in front of my driveway. As you can see from the picture, it's not like they can't tell there's driveway there - they made a point of not covering up my mailbox. Also, across from me there is not a house, but rather a large stretch of my neighbor's front lawn (i.e. a perfect place to deposit excess snow).

It was at this time that I realized that I am completely crazy. I saw the snow mountain and I lost it. I got on the phone and called the public works director for my town. Now, he wasn't in, but I left him a lovely message. It was something on the order of this.

"I appreciate the speed with which you plow the streets in my subdivision. But, is there some reason that your drivers feel the need to deposit all the snow from the entire street in MY DRIVEWAY?!? Now I'm going to have to go out and clear a six foot snow mountain from the front of my driveway. By myself. With a shovel. In the future, I hope you will recognize that there is a large stretch of street with no driveways directly across from my driveway, and put your snow there."

By the time I finished, I was pretty much yelling into the phone. So, I took all of that energy (anger) and dug myself a path down the driveway. As I got about 1/10 of the snow mountain moved onto that pile around the mailbox, the snow plow pulled up. The guy sat there in his truck for a couple minutes - and at this time, I was practically crying with rage - then he got out and said, "Uh, we can move that snow for you." I said, "that's nice of you to offer, but I've already called your boss to complain about you leaving snow in my driveway. But if you'd like to move it, that would be great." So, while they moved the giant snow pile from the front of my driveway to the front of my house*, I continued to shovel the driveway. I hope, now that it's snowed 3 times already (just enough to make the grass a little white, nothing much), that they will remember not to plow the snow into my driveway this year.

Also, I did call back the public works director and apologize for screaming into the phone, and tell him that his guys had come to clear out my driveway. So, even though I'm crazy, I hope I remain polite. But, I'm pretty sure they just think I'm crazy, because when I called this summer to inquire about random drops in my water pressure, I never got a call back.

*The picture shows my 30" tall daughter standing amidst the snow mountains, which upon redistribution, were reduced to a mere 4 feet tall.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Doubts and fears

It occurs to me that I haven't really covered the reasons why I fear secondary infertility. First, obviously, the primary infertility experience was such fun that I'm in a hurry to take my chances again. Even though the eventual end result is wonderful, the path to get there was fraught with disappointment, grief, and fear.

My second issue is that I was on a protocol of heparin and aspirin. So, after 9 weeks of injecting heparin twice a day, I developed a rash at my injection sites. I was still with Dr. Bad Karma at the time, and since she had sneered at the protocol, I did not even bother consulting with her about the rash. Dr. A. switched me to Lovenox, which also gave me a rash. So, Dr. A. said that I could just stop the injections - I had come far enough. On the plus side, I had a whole bunch of unused medicine to donate back to my clinic for someone who was not getting their meds covered by insurance. On the minus side, I don't know if this is a long-term allergy, or just an annoying side effect. I don't have any allergies to pork or anything like that, which is what Dr. A. and Dr. B. said would develop if I had a true allergy. But, I could not tolerate 10 weeks of constant itching from the hives if they developed again.

My third issue is my age. I am 39. I am now at the point where I will be considered over 40 as far as child-bearing goes (in case you didn't know, they count the age when you deliver - as if you didn't get it from all the Advanced Maternal Age crap they write all over your chart, they must add insult to injury). I'm not sure why they do this, since my eggs are only 39 and they won't be getting any older if they actually turn into a fetus. But, I didn't go to medical school so what do I know? I have certainly learned in life that applying logic to most situations is downright useless. Anyway, due to my advance age, I don't know if I would get pregnant as easily as we did in the past. My husband certainly takes that for granted, but he hasn't been reading infertility blogs...

I know that all my testing gave every indication that I have the reproductive system of a 30 year old, but who knows what has happened in the past 3 years. I know that I haven't developed an allergy to pork (where they develop heparin), but who knows if that's what triggered my hives. I know that even if I don't have a reaction to the heparin, there is no guarantee that it would work the same way again. All in all, too many unknowns exist for my comfort.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Too long...

I was tagged by Martha for this meme:

* Grab the book closest to you. Now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write that sentence as your title.
* Copy these instructions.
* Don't go looking for your favorite book, or the coolest one you have - just grab the closest one

Well, all the books that are closest to me are much shorter than 56 pages (We're all lucky that The Complete Madeline collection was moved back in the bedroom), so I altered it to the closest adult book, which is When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris.

The sentence is "The woman stayed with us for a week, and while I hated for her to leave, I sort of loved watching her go."

Life lessons

Did you ever meet someone whose life was literally an ongoing soap opera? Well, I work with a woman like that. Marriages, divorces, bankruptcies, drug addictions, weight loss - you name it, she's covered it somewhere in her family. Today's saga was a classic, and so I must share.

D (the coworker) lives in a small house with her son, her older sister, and her nephew. The nephew is 18, in community college, works at a local big box retailer, and has a crazy mother (D's younger sister). The nephew believes (most likely due to his mother's way of life) that someone should provide the means for him to live like a bum and not do anything. He thinks his aunt should buy him a car, and that he should live in her house for free, coming and going as he pleases, and doing whatever he wants. Oh, and he's only going to school because that's what his aunt and grandparents expect him to do.

Last weekend, he was out with his friends and some new girl. D was very concerned because he hadn't come home on time (midnight). When he finally rolled in at 4 am, he was escorted home by the police. They also dropped off a girl (J) with him. It turns out that they all got arrested for having alcohol, and J's car got towed because the cops also found marijuana in the car. J lives in a town about 25 miles away, and it was her car that got towed. She told the cops that she could stay at D's house. Of course, D was waiting when the two of them came in. The nephew thought that it would be fine if J slept in his room with him. D informed him that it would be totally inappropriate and that J would be sleeping on the couch.

So, last night, J apparently came home with the nephew again. D woke up for work this morning and had to go through the nephew's room to let the dog out. She found J and the nephew in the nephew's bed. She then woke them both up and dragged them upstairs for an hour long lecture. Now, most people would probably lecture about house rules and respect for other occupants. But not D.

She proceeded to tell J that this was only her second date with the nephew and there was no reason to be giving it up this soon. Did she think she was in a real relationship already? The nephew was just looking to get laid - he wouldn't have any interest in her for anything else if she didn't make him wait. And by the way, what kind of dates had she had with the nephew anyway? On the first date, they got arrested and her car was impounded. On the second date, they met up after work and came back to the nephew's to sleep together. A date involves dinner and a movie. Was she on birth control? Did she have any indication that the nephew would be responsible enough to use protection? He's not responsible about anything else. He's certainly not prepared to raise a child. He can't even maintain a relationship with his family. She should not be doing ANYTHING with the nephew until he had shown her that he was somewhat responsible. He can't even pay for a date, what would he do with a baby?

I'm not sure how this all ended up, but I can just imagine the nephew's reaction. "Fuck - I'm just trying to get a little lovin' here. Why is she doing this to me?" I do know J ended up crying, and I'm sure she won't be overnighting at D's any time soon. She went for a "date" and got herself a long woman-to-woman lecture.

D usually annoys me because she refuses to take the actions that she knows will fix her problems (because she doesn't want people to dislike her). But, I have to cheer her on this time. If you can't do anything with your nephew, at least warn the people he may be screwing over!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday on Tuesday

Since I have the good fortune to have a job that allows me to work 4 days a week, I was just treated to a 5 day weekend. That was nice. (It doesn't compare to the 12 day weekends that I was taking while I was on maternity leave, but all good things had to come to an end, and I dragged it out as long as I could.) Anyway, my regular extra day off is Monday. That makes Tuesday my Monday.

As first days of the week go, this one wasn't bad. My husband tempted me with the option of taking the day off, and still sending the little menace to daycare. But, I was strong and went to work anyway. While I was there, DH put the Christmas lights on the columns on our front porch. We were treated to a lovely sight when we got home.

So, even though it was a typical Monday at work (many things not going well), all in all, it was an easy start after a nice 5 day weekend. Let's hope the week and the month continues this way. It's so hard to accomplish anything in December anyway.

Happy anniversary to my two oldest sisters, who got married within 5 days of each other - just 10 years apart!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I hate my hot water heater

I live in the midwest, and it decided to be winter here this weekend. So, in winter, when I'm really cold (because we're too cheap to turn the heat above 67 degrees), there's nothing better than a hot shower. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned cheapness, I have the world's worst hot water heater, and only get a hot shower about once a week.

When we were building our house, I had to go and open an account with the electric company. While I was there, I found out that they offered an electric hot water heater for the bargain price of $1. That's an 80 gallon hot water heater. I made the mistake of mentioning this to my husband. We then decided, foolishly, that an 80 gallon hot water heater for $1 was exactly what we needed to fill our jetted tub and take a shower after lounging in the bath.

The hot water heater has the anti-scald setting of 120 degrees. Unfortunately, it also seems to be missing a temperature sensor. Once you put water in and it heats up to 120 degrees, it's done. The heater does not turn on again until you have run a large volume of water back out. This volume seems to be in excess of 1 shower. That is, if I take a shower in the morning, and no one else uses a large amount of hot water, then my shower the next morning is, at best, warm.

On Friday, my husband took a shower, ran a load of laundry on warm, bathed our daughter. An hour after that, I thought I'd have a good chance of getting a nice hot shower. Boy was I mistaken. I got the coldest shower I've had in years!

I guess I could increase the temperature of the heater. But, have I mentioned that I'm cheap? I can't even imagine how much electricity it would take to heat the water to a constantly hot temperature that I would like. I guess I'll just have to keep trying to run out enough water during the evening to get myself enough hot water for the morning.