Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Visiting the past

I went home for a Christmas celebration last weekend. It was very rushed, but a good time, nonetheless. It was nice to see my sisters, my mom, and my nieces and nephews. It was also mass chaos, with 11 people sleeping* in the house.

While I was home, I also decided to meet up with some people that I last saw at our 8th grade graduation ceremony. One girl sent me a friend request on Facebook, and before you knew it, there were 5 or 6 of us trying to arrange a mini reunion. Reconnecting with your childhood is a very strange and wonderful thing. Because it was a small group and because it's been 27 years, there were no lingering tensions. Everyone was simply pleased to see everyone else, meet spouses, hear about lives and children, and gossip about those who were not there.

At some point during the night, I went outside to talk to my husband on my cell phone. It was a cold night (22 degrees with a brutal wind chill), and I was huddled against the wind. Three young men (maybe legal, but certainly not of drinking age) walked by and one of them suggested that maybe I would like him to help me warm up. He even opened his coat to invite me over. It made me laugh, but also made me feel young again.

While giving a brief overview of my life, I came to a realization. At least for me, all of the things that I've experienced have been necessary to get me to life as I know it. If I had married earlier and tried to start a family, I would have gone through a great many more miscarriages before I would have been able to seek additional help. If I had not wasted my 20s on a loser, I would not have been available when I met my husband.

That experiences prepare you for life is not exactly a stunning realization. But these things weren't exactly experiences that shaped who I am - they were more like placeholders to get me to the points where I needed to be in order to get the life I have. I think this is a little more palatable to me - I don't care to think of myself as being the sum of my experiences. I'd prefer that my experiences are just the scenery along the path of my life. I remain essentially unchanged. I am still the slightly obnoxious, socially inept but somewhat likeable, smart girl that I was when I was 13.

I guess I now know why I don't feel like I'm 40. At heart, I am still that 13 year old girl, with a lot less fear, a little more knowledge and understanding, and the same amount of patience (none). It's a good feeling to know that you're still the same, no matter how much you've changed.

*Well, some people were sleeping. I was not one of them. The first night, I awoke after 2 hours of sleep to find that my air bed had deflated and my nose was cold (my sister is the energy miser - she turns the heat down to 60 at night). I proceeded to spend the rest of that night and the next night sharing a twin bed with a 3 year old bed hog who really likes to sleep with her arm pressed tightly around your neck. Makes breathing difficult and sleep about impossible.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turns out, I'm not as good at complaining as I thought I was

December has not been a great month...for those around me. I want to whine about it, but while I'm feeling the stress of all the misfortunes of those around me, I am not actually experiencing them. Therefore, I cannot complain.

I can complain about my family though. My mom is putting the holiday pressure on. My sister is putting the holiday pressure on. My other sister is making rude remarks to me on Facebook. Eh, it's all par for the course in my family.

So, I'm trying to readjust my attitude. I'm almost done Christmas shopping - just have the daycare teachers left. My girl will be getting some fun stuff for Christmas. I will spend the weekend baking cookies for the neighbors (and myself!). I will meet a friend for lunch on Monday. I will appreciate that I am in my lovely home (and not in an inhospitable place, like my husband). I will appreciate that I am basically healthy, except for the cough (unlike my FIL, whose cancer has returned). I will appreciate that I have plenty of choices on where to go for the holidays, because that means my daughter has many people who love her. I will try to appreciate that I have a job (even though I can't seem to get much done lately) because so many people do not.

There will be no complaining here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I can't figure out how to schedule this post to show up on the 9th, but it's less than 2 hours away, and the Grandmaster has already started the ball rolling down under...


The “assignment” for cross-pollination day is to introduce oneself to the readers of someone else’s blog. I can usually follow the heck out of some rules, but this one is a little tricky. This assignment requires me to know who I am and what my blog is about, and this has all become a little murky for me lately.

I fall into the same uncertain blog territory as many mommy bloggers who have roots in infertility. I don’t know what to blog about now that I’m not waiting to test, mourning a BFN, or rallying my hopes for another go ‘round. I’m hesitant to share too much about life with my son for fear I will alienate, or worse, injure my friends who are still in the ttc trenches. I spent enough time there myself to know how painful it can be to watch others get their ticket out, then send postcards about how it is so much better than they ever imagined.

In addition to that, I feel as if I’m redefining myself a bit as well, or at least figuring out how to move through the new world I find myself in. For the first time in my adult life, I don’t feel like I’m reaching for something. My life has been mission-driven for nearly a decade: First there was undergrad, then grad school, then planning our wedding, then trying to get pregnant. Each phase emerged seamlessly from the one that preceded it, and each included a massive, all-consuming project that absorbed my every free minute, thought, and action. These projects have defined me.

And now, I’m just… here. I’m exactly where I’ve always wanted to be. My career is established and I am well-respected within my field. I have a stable, fulfilling relationship with my partner who just happens to be the most amazing person I know. We own a comfortable home in a great neighborhood, and we have a happy, healthy little boy. I guess you could say I’ve arrived. This is very unfamiliar territory for me. Of course I’d love to move more money into savings, have a cleaner house, eat healthier and work out more. Oh, and while I’m at it, I’d like to win the lottery too, please. Okay? Okay.

But seriously, there are actual, less cliche goals on my horizon. I want Elliot to have a sibling and we’re hoping to relocate to be closer to family, but we have some time before we have to start thinking seriously about either of those things. I’d like to run (er… jog? power walk?) a 5k, become a CASA volunteer, and visit Prague. All of these things are on my agenda, but they’re not hanging over me every single day as ttc and pregnancy were.

I feel a need to embrace my current status out of respect for my fellow bloggers who are still ttc and so desperately long for what I have, as well as for the younger me who spent years toiling and sacrificing to get here. I owe it to all of these people to revel in this a bit. This feels really foreign, but if that’s the biggest challenge I’m facing – learning to just be present and appreciate the wonderful moment I’m in – I have no business complaining about a thing.

Well? Have you figured out who wrote this excellent guest post? Go and visit here and find out. While you're there read some hilarious, touching, and otherwise wonderful stuff!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Aunt Becky is giving stuff away and I had to work for it

Aunt Becky is giving away a book. But she's mean and makes people work for it. Or maybe she just wants to know stuff about me. She also wanted me to post a button on my blog, but I can't due to question # 2...

So, here are her interview questions and my answers:

1) Do you like sprinkles on your ice cream?

No - they irritate my teeth like tinfoil on a filling.

2) If you had to choose one word to banish from the English language, what would it be and why?

whore. Hate that word. I don't even know why. Second is panties.

3) If you were a flavor, what would it be?

Cranky. It is too a flavor.

4) What’s the most pointless annoying chore you can think of that you do on a daily/weekly basis?

Dude, my husband would be so happy if I did any chore on a daily/weekly basis. So, in order to meet that criteria, I'm going to have to go up. That I do religiously every day, and most of the time, it's annoying and pointless because I do it far earlier than I would like. (If you would like to change daily/weekly to occasionally, then it's totally dusting. Especially on a sunny day, because I can see those f'ing dust motes floating in the air, waiting for me to leave, so they can settle right back to the place from which I just removed them. Fuckers.)

5) Of all the nicknames I’ve ever had in my life, Aunt Becky is the most widely known and probably my favorite. What’s your favorite nickname? (for yourself)


6) Your stuck on a desert island with the collective works of 5 (and only five) musical artists for the rest of your life. Who are they?

REM, U2, The Cure, Beethoven, and all the Now That's What I Call Music CD's for some variety (I hope they made a disco version, because everyone needs a little disco every now and then).

7) Everything is better with bacon. True or false?

False. I know, blasphemy. But, much bacon has liquid smoke, and I think I'm allergic to that. Smoked stuff gives me gas. Aren't you glad you asked?

8 ) If I could go back in time and tell Young Aunt Becky one thing, it would be that out of chaos, order will emerge. Also: tutus go with everything. What would you tell young self?

You can get anything you want, you have all the tools to do it. Recognize those tools and use them, and maybe you'll have some more adventures. Spend some time studying in college, because playing Hearts and Spades well is not a marketable skill. Also, do not waste your 20s on someone who you don't care that much about. But, waiting for the man you really love will ultimately be worth it. Even if you do bicker constantly.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Random Thoughts from my crazy brain

Did you know that, to men, there is such a thing as a boob hug? Apparently that happens when a girl hugs you tightly enough to press her boobs against you. This information makes me very happy that I'm not a touchy-feelie type of person.

Have you ever perused the sample sale sites? Like Ruelala, or Hautelook, or Ideeli? (If you want an invite, email me - I get bonuses for herding new people into the nets! For full disclosure, I have never earned a bonus, because I don't bother people with crap like that. Anyway...) Sometimes, the clothes that the models are wearing are completely unflattering. I'm not sure who does the photo selections for these sites, but if the model looks fat or uncomfortable or just kinda silly, go back and take another photo. I'm certainly not going to buy anything that makes a human clothes hanger look fat. I can't even imagine what that would do to my petite yet slightly sturdy shape. ETA: Look at the following outfit...where exactly do you wear this? In my view, if it's cold enough to wear tights and boots, it's too cold for short shorts!

Compare these two pictures:

In the first one, the model looks like she's wearing a stylish swing cape. It's fun and frivolous (although I couldn't pull off a cape to save my life). In the second one, the model seems embarassed to be wearing an ugly rug. If not for the black shirt, I'd think she was naked and her ass was hanging out the back.

I think I'm going to take up saying "anyhoodle." I often wander off topic, so I will get plenty of opportunities to use it.

I'm pretty sure that when you're actually middle aged, you don't have any concept that you've hit middle age. Based on the average life expectancy, middle age hits around age 36. When I was 36, I was still a newlywed. I was considering starting a family. I was young! Don't turn 40, or it's possible that you will start pondering stuff like this.

Did you ever work with someone who is desperate to be your friend so he/she can control you? I work with a woman like that. I know she doesn't like me, but she can't stand for me to not be her buddy. So she tries to do stuff for me. It makes me very uncomfortable.

Why doesn't the Discovery Channel (or TLC or NatGeo or History) limit their programming productions to 30 minutes? If they did that, I wouldn't have to listen to endless recaps of the previously presented information after every commercial break.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Show and Tell

Today I am in the mood for a little Fawlty favorite sitcom of all time.

Please enjoy a little politically incorrect humor:

And then go and see what everyone else has for Show and Tell

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Show and Tell

My favorite neighbors moved away last Friday. They retired to Florida. I will miss having someone who is kind and generous and connected to everyone in the community right next door. My daughter will miss her friends next door (who she wanted to visit EVERY DAY) and their dog. My husband will miss having someone who comes out to mow the lawn every time he does because there might be a quarter inch difference in the grass heights (they both appreciate a well tended lawn). All in all, our former neighbors are excellent people, and whoever lives near them will be the better for it.

On Halloween, our new neighbors started moving in. My husband is out of town, so I sent him some video of our daughter before we went trick or treating. She was walking down the driveway, dancing and singing. Then she ran to the back yard. Then she ran to the front porch to hide. It was a little more than a minute of low resolution video (suitable for email). After asking what our girl was singing, the second thing my husband noticed was this (which is approximately 2 frames of the 1 minute video - i.e. less than 2 seconds):

Are you wondering what is exceptional about this particular frame? Check the upper right corner for the jacked up (lifted) Tahoe. That's not exactly what we're used to seeing in our subdivision. We're thinking that our new neighbors will be MUCH different than our old neighbors. I hope we'll be just as happy with them living next door as we were with our old neighbors. We expect them to be a good addition to our block - they have a 3 year old daughter too!

Join everyone else at Mel's Show and Tell

Monday, November 2, 2009

All We Need Is A Little Love!

All we need is a little LOVE! This award is about sisters uniting together and giving others some love because life is hard and who couldn't use a little love? The rules for this award is simple. 
I LOVE YOU = 8 letters which gives you 8 rules :)

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award and write a little bit about why you love them.

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

4. Nominate no more than 17 people (why 17, not sure?) who you love or you think could use some love.

5. Write one word (you can only use a word once) about what you love about their blog.

6. You cannot nominate someone who has already been nominated-the love has to spread to all.

7. Post links to the blogs you nominate.

8. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

I'm thanking Wishing 4 One, who nominated me. I love her blog because she's living an adventure in an exotic place. As a home-loving Midwestern girl, I can't imagine the courage it takes to do that kind of thing.

I nominate the following people:

1. Mama Said Knock You Out Honest
2. Mountain Momma Chronicles Similar
3. Subfertile Myrtle Hilarious
4. Bottoms Off and On The Table (Can't choose one word...Videos? Cartoons? Puppy? Sharing ability?)
5. Edenland Highchair
6. A Sense Of Humor is Essential Giving

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Working out

I try to work out in the mornings before work. Clearly I am crazy to do so, because that means I must drag myself out of bed at 4:45 am, in order to get everything in before I have to leave for work. When my husband is home and the weather is nice, I walk/run around our neighborhood. Otherwise, I have a variety of workout videos to use.

This morning, I broke out a new video, which my sister gave me for my birthday. Given that it came from my sister, it cost a maximum of $1*. Therefore, you know it's high quality! Apparently, it's British in origin. I could tell by the accent and because the pasty white woman performing the exercises was dressed in a black sports bra, black shorts, black ankle socks, and black shoes. (Aside: Now I know why my husband makes fun of me when I wear shorts in summer. I still don't care.) American exercise videos rarely include people who aren't tan. That particular shade of ghostly is generally reserved for those of us with ancestors from the UK or Ireland.

The second difference in this video from all of the American videos I own is that it is narrated by someone who is not performing the exercise. The monologue is not exactly concurrent with the action on the screen. That makes things a little difficult to follow. As an added bonus, the camera is frequently focused on anything other than the footwork, especially during a change in exercises. Makes things more challenging, I guess.

The third difference is the set appears to be the gym from my elementary school, with screens disguising the less attractive portions. They have the same chin-up ladders attached to the wall, the same hardwood floors...I didn't see a basketball hoop, but I assume it is behind the screen. The only difference? Their mats are more colorful than the ones stocked by the Chicago Public Schools/Park District.

However, the most striking difference is the description of the muscles that should be used during the exercise. I only did the ab portion this morning. Not once did anyone mention upper abs, lower abs, or obliques. Nope, it was "Tighten your stomach," or "stretch your side." During the pelvic tilt portion, I thought I was hearing things when the narrator told me to tighten my vaginal muscles and then my stomach. And that's vag-eye-nal, not vag-(short i)-nal. I'm sure I will be equally entertained tomorrow morning, when I discover how they describe the gluteal muscles.

While this is extremely entertaining and a refreshing change (and I get an extra ab workout from the chuckling), I think I will have to break down and buy that Shred video, so I can be like Aunt Becky.

*Lest you think my sister is cheap...well, she is, but not about gifts. She gave me a bag of 40 items for my 40th birthday, and this was one of the items. I also got a can of Mountain Dew, and some giant novelty sunglasses.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Show and Tell

I had a great topic for a post this morning on my way to work. However, by the time I actually got to a place where I could write down my idea, I had completely forgotten about it. So instead, I give you

BABY ELEPHANTS! (click to enlarge)

The zookeeper was offering bananas for performance (second picture), but the darker gray elephant was uncooperative. She must be a teenager.

On our first trip to the zoo, one of the elephants had a 5 or so month old baby. It was very distressing because the mother and baby elephant were separated from the father elephant by an electric fence. The mother and father were clearly trying to get back to each other, and spent all their time pacing in front of the electric fence. On this visit, mom and dad were reunited, and the young'uns were on the other side of the fence, happily looking around for food. On the visit just previous to this one, we got there right in time to watch the male elephant poop. My little one talked about that for weeks. There's always something good to see at the zoo!

Check out what everyone else is Showing and Telling!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I recently went on vacation. I travelled with my husband - he was working. I was taking advantage of a paid hotel room and a visit to places where I've never been. I made my first trip to Washington DC - I spent 5 hours and all my energy seeing everything I could pack in. I love free museums! And hot dog carts...with Vienna Beef hot dogs! I do not love birds with entitlement issues who think that they deserve some of my hot dog. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the birds. I had to protect my hot dog.

I toured Civil War battlefields.

I visited Stonewall Jackson's arm.

I dragged my husband to George Washington's birthplace. He was coveting that piece of land, and I thought I might even be willing to live there.

Our daughter stayed with Grandma for the 6 days I was gone. That's 3 days longer than she's ever stayed at Grandma's before. After day 3, she told her father "I'm having fun. Come get me." It was good to get away, but it's nice to come home and know that someone needs you!

Updated: Why is every picture leaning to the right? I'm really not conservative.

See what everyone else is Showing and Telling!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What's wrong with people?

Or, I'm pretty sure God will punish you for using Christianity like a club...

The following is an email exchange between my husband and a local business owner. My husband likes to sell things on craigslist, and we frequently get to meet interesting characters. This time, the guy let his crazy out in only a few emails.

--- On Thu, 9/3/09, phil wrote:

From: phil
Subject: --->1980s and 1990s Never Opened Baseball Cards - $125 (Our Town, Our State)
To: sale-nzyma-13********
Date: Thursday, September 3, 2009, 12:31 PM

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info:


$44 EACH


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wrote:
I appreciate the offer, but cash only at ths time...



Subject: Re: --->1980s and 1990s Never Opened Baseball Cards - $125 (Our Town, Our State)
Date: Thursday, September 3, 2009, 12:39 PM

---i will buy them but i know the prices

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wrote:
Low ball price? My price is firm...

Good luck


> --- On Thu, 9/3/09, wrote:

---with all respect sir you might THINK YOU KNOW THE MARKET, but i DO THIS EVERY DAY AND DO KNOW THE MARKET



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wrote:
I don't care if you own a shop. It means zero to me - buddy. Your writing in all cap letters is a sign of ignorance - which you seem to have an abundance of...

Good day to you...


--ha ha
i love u like a brudder from anothe mudder
peace friend

gosh i try to be nice but u know little about cards

just because you paid too much for them does not mean that i will.
i am being polite
christian here
god bless


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wrote:

You wouldn't know the 1st thing about being cordial. You probably lack many more social skills.

I am sorry if your business has been in the dumps. I feel for you. Not really, but I thought I would play the Christian card like you. (((Smile)))

PEACE OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


--- On Thu, 9/3/09, wrote:


-look buddy i know u r in a bind and i feel sorry for u.
money is the last problem i have z-4 BMW SPORTS roadster with every factory option
paid for

i travel every other month
retired teacher , 3 college degrees.. AND YOUR EDUCATIONAL LEVEL?
financial situation?
hurting , RIGHT?
get a life buddy


Subject: Re: --->1980s and 1990s Never Opened Baseball Cards - $125 (Our Town, Our State)
Date: Thursday, September 3, 2009, 1:50 PM

Where is that Christian smile now?

You are nothing more than a used car salesmen...

The cards are for sale for a whopping $125 bucks. Not 100K. If that leads you to believe I am in some type of financial dire straits, as a "Christian" you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to take the food from my children's mouths.

Please do email me again...


There are no better negotiating tactics than calling someone desperate, uneducated, and pathetic. I think phil should teach a class.

Oh, and it was a pre-season football game - no one wants to go to those!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Show and Tell

For Show & Tell...the scariest (and funniest) thing I've seen this week

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Don't forget to think of Melissa and her family tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Show and Tell

I don't get much chance to watch sunsets lately...they tend to happen during a busy part of my day. However, the other week I was able to capture this one.

Click to enlarge - as an added bonus, you can see our sage which is attempting to take over the earth in the lower left hand corner...

Now that the sun has set, head on over to Mel's to see what everyone else is showing

Monday, August 3, 2009

Au Naturelle Part III

My final thoughts on the natural vs the artificial are in relation to childbirth. Obviously, if you’ve read Part II, you know that I was unable to maintain a pregnancy naturally. I also had a c-section to deliver my daughter. To rehash my birth experience, my water started breaking on Monday morning. I’m fairly certain it had been leaking a little all weekend, but on Monday, there was a definite amount of fluid. I called the doctor around 10 am. I wandered in to labor and delivery at 1 pm – at which point the rest of my amniotic fluid decided to make an exit. I had no contractions. Little feet were still lodged firmly in my ribcage (I would go so far as to say little toes were wrapped around my ribs). I was at exactly 40 weeks. They gave me pitocin. Every hour they would come and adjust it because I didn’t have any consistent contractions. My husband was kind enough to read off the monitors that I was all over the place. After 8 hours of pitocin, I got my epidural, and I was a very happy girl. After 16 hours of pitocin, I had dilated to 7 cm. Actually, after about 11 hours, I dilated to 7 and never moved from there. At 7 am, my doctor called to suggest that maybe we should start thinking about c-section, due to the risk of infection. At 9 am, when nothing had changed, he said I could wait more, if I chose, but given that I wasn’t making any progress, I would probably end up with a c-section anyway. I told him that I was not opposed to the idea. At 11:45 am, my daughter was finally pulled out. I’m on the petite side, and I had an almost 8 lb baby. The doctor who did the surgery said that there was no way she would have made it through my pelvis regardless.

I’ve seen a number of posts in relation to the natural childbirth vs unnatural childbirth (so to speak). Frequently, the posts are in response to articles or comment trolls. I don’t really understand why any woman would condemn another woman’s birth experience. I can only conclude that it’s due to either ignorance or an attitude problem.

I admire women who can consider all of the risks of childbirth and decide that the best decision for them is to make it through without help. I also think they’re a little on the foolish side. While women have been having babies without medical intervention for centuries, women were also dying in childbirth and having their children die too. So, my view is always better safe than sorry. And, better less pain than more pain. But in the interests of fairness, I will try to consider all sides of the issue.

Natural Childbirth (i.e. unmedicated and possibly unassisted):

The woman has the control as opposed to the doctor. She decides all the
factors – how to position herself, when to move, when to push, when to hold

The woman has the power. She can have assistance or not. She can have a
doctor, a midwife, a doula, family, friends, neighbors, innocent bystanders…
or not.

The woman (supposedly – I have no experience here) gets an endorphin rush.

The woman is in better shape to care for her newborn immediately after birth.

Minor emergencies can become critical issues very quickly, and, depending on
the locale of choice (home birth, birthing center), response may be delayed.

Medicated Vaginal Delivery

The medical staff has more control. This can be a downside, depending on
how much you trust your doctor and nurse(s).

Movement is limited once you’re connected to IV’s

Sensation is reduced. Pain reduction allows for greater endurance, which
may be beneficial for long labors.

Recovery is still relatively quick.

In the event of an emergency, I believe that having an epidural already in
place means that general anesthesia is not necessary. General anesthesia is
something definitely to be avoided if possible, as it can effect the baby’s


The mother has ceded complete control to anyone and everyone.

Movement? Who needs to move?

In the case of a scheduled c-section, it’s a very short process. Check in,
wait, get prepped, wait, 15 minute surgery, Baby!

Pain is minimal during, but serious after. However, you do get the good
drugs. Recovery is much longer.

Emergency? That’s generally why you’re having your first c-section anyway!

I know enough women with children that I am pretty sure they’ve covered the entire spectrum of how to have a baby. The point is that there is no right way to do it. There is only what’s right for you at that particular time. I know in the ALI community, there are probably two main camps – the My Body Has Failed Me Before, But It Better Work This Time camp who chooses natural childbirth, and the I Don’t Trust My Body To Do Anything Right camp who just follows the doctor’s recommendations. I think everyone should belong to the I Would Prefer To Do It This Way But If It Doesn’t Work Out, So Be It camp. Be flexible, adjust as needed, and don’t be disappointed if your plan doesn’t work. Because really, the women who have vaginal deliveries, whether medicated or unmedicated, have less control than they think.

Here are some factors that can’t be controlled and are not usually considered:

Anatomy – do you know how wide the opening in your pelvis is? External
shape is no indication – therefore, your childbearing hips do not indicate a
wide pelvic opening, and your narrow hips do not mean you need a c-section.
Do you know how big your baby’s head is? Do you know how much the skull can
compress? How about the shoulders?

Biology – is your body producing the right hormones to make birth possible?
Will your uterus and cervix respond to hormonal cues? (I think, for me the
answers to these two questions were no and no)

Chance – where is that pesky umbilical cord, anyway? (free floating, around
the neck, over the head, wound round the toes, who knows?) How about that
placenta, where did it get to? Was anyone doing somersaults in the last few

Sure, every woman should be able to have an unassisted, unmedicated “natural” delivery. Of course, every woman should also be able to get pregnant easily enough and carry a baby to term. And, every woman with the right skills, knowledge and experience should make the same amount of money as a man in a similar position. But we know that life doesn’t quite work out that way.

Personally, I think the “natural” way is overrated. I like my modern conveniences. I’m not fond of my c-section scar, but I like it better than having a whole new anatomical landscape in the nether regions, if you know what I mean. I like having bladder control. I don’t like pain – I can live through it, but if someone offers me relief from it, I will definitely take it. What I will not do is judge someone for choosing differently than me (OK, unless I already don’t like them – then all bets are off).

My final thoughts: If you’re going to vilify someone for choosing a birth option other than unmedicated vaginal delivery, then I don’t expect to see you in the emergency room if you break your leg. Just get a couple of tree limbs and some rope. I don’t want to see you getting cancer treatments or bypass surgery – that sort of thing is definitely not natural.

Any way that a new baby comes into this world is a miracle, and no one should try to diminish that.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Au Naturelle Part II

I used to be a member of the American Chemical Society. Sometime in the mid-90s, it became apparent that "chemicals" had become a dirty word. This may be attributed to major awards from lawsuits, the advent of environmentalism, or even pop culture (movies such as Erin Brokovich or A Civil Action). The American Chemical Society helped devise ad campaigns to try to address the fact that chemicals are necessary to modern life. You've probably seen the Essential To... ads or the ads where all the plastics that are used in modern life melt away.

I realize that "chemicals" is just an easy way to refer to substances which may be harmful. I know it's just semantics, but I really object to this overgeneralization. Merriam Webster defines a chemical as "a substance obtained by a chemical process or producing a chemical effect." By that definition, almost anything you use is a chemical - from your food (chemical reactions produced by heat when you cook change the flavor) to your clothing to your carpet to your car. With chemicals so prevalent in everything that we do, connotatively equating "chemical" with "toxic" is quite a dramatic overstatement.

Much of the negative focus on chemicals relates to contaminants and pollutants from industry. Some of that negativity is even justified. The thing to remember about chemicals is that they have provided many improvements to life. From vaccines to make-up, where would we be without them? Without chemicals, I wouldn't have my daughter - drugs to suppress my immune response to pregnancy were the only thing that allowed her to survive the toxic environment that is my body.

The pharmaceutical industry is definitely chemically driven. While there are natural remedies to ailments, the refinements that science has given those remedies have enhanced the benefits. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry is also profit driven, meaning that the more people there are who will benefit from a treatment the more likely research in that area will be pursued. The fact that drugs are subjected to major regulation here in the US and must undergo clinical trials is a benefit to consumers. However, covering all the possibilities in terms of side effects and negative interactions with people's systems is virtually impossible.

I've read blogs of many people who have mental health disorders who must undergo years of experimentation in order to find the proper combination of medications in order to make their lives more peaceful. I'm not sure what the solution to this is, since brain chemistry is so personal. I guess all that can be asked is for doctors to work as hard as they can to help their patients, and that pharmaceutical companies continue to conduct research in this area.

I also recently read a post about someone's bad experiences with birth control pills. Apparently, one of the side effects for this person was depression. She was suggesting, based on that experience, that no one should use birth control pills. I think it's a mistake to extrapolate personal experiences to the general public. Let me give an example. Splenda is a "natural" sugar substitute - calorie free, similar in sweetness to regular sugar. It is the ultimate replacement for aspartame or saccharine, because it is an actual sugar, rather than an artificial sweetener. However, for me, Splenda gives me headaches. Whatever particular combination of methyl groups and the hydroxyl group that makes up the sugar that is sucralose does not mesh well with my system. However, I do not go around telling people that it is poisonous because it gives me headaches. It is not a poison - it just disagrees with my system. Word of mouth is important to relay information about dangerous side effects, but it can easily slide into fear-mongering if you don't carefully consider your words.

As with everything, be your own advocate when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Read the package inserts, or ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects. Pay attention to your system when you take a new drug. As another example, I once took a common antibiotic to treat a potential eye infection. Within a few days, I had developed a small, bumpy rash on my wrist. I showed it to my doctor, who told me it looked like poison ivy. I told him it wasn't poison ivy. He assured me that I must have come into contact with it, but didn't realize. I assured him that it wasn't poison ivy because I DIDN'T GO OUTSIDE (due to whatever eye problem I had, I could barely open my eyes in any kind of light, and sunlight was extremely painful). He finally just told me to see a dermatologist. By this time, it had been determined that the eye problem was actually an allergy, so the doctor prescribed steroid eye drops. When I went to see the dermatologist, he also prescribed steroids, even though I noted that I was already taking some. (I opted not to add an additional steroid to my system.)

I also find it amusing that after 9-11, biological agents became the newest form of attack, however, biological did not assume the same negative connotation that chemical has. Anthrax, sarin - both are derived from natural sources, with little processing. Other plant materials, such as tobacco or marijuana, are not exactly healthy. (Aside: Are any of the people who vilify tobacco smoking the same ones campaigning for legalized marijuana? Because, somehow, I doubt marijuana makes you immune to lung cancer.) Psilocybin and mescaline are both naturally occuring hallucinogens - are they really any better for you than PCP or LSD? I don't know much about Eastern medicine. Much of the philosophy behind it seems simplistic to me, and I hesitate to ingest anything when I don't know what's in it. Since I haven't tried it, I won't knock it; but, I'll probably take ibuprofen over herbal supplements any day.

I would like to see chemical become connotatively neutral, instead of negative. There are dangerous chemicals, to be sure, but even those sometimes play a part in forming compounds that are ultimately beneficial.

Part III: The controversial world of child bearing

Friday, July 31, 2009

Au Naturelle Part I

There is a trend in today's society to venerate things that are "natural." Hand in hand with this trend is a tendency to vilify chemicals. There is some inherent hypocrisy in this attitude that both amuses and frustrates me.

I am a modern girl. My husband is an extremely capable guy, who can adapt to any situation from big city to small town to third world country desert. He likes to tell me that I wouldn't have survived if I had been born a hundred years ago. I freely admit it. I think that my main requirement for the location in which we live says it all - I need city water and city sewers. I want all my water treated and stored elsewhere - no wells or septic systems for me! Also, I have a degree in biochemistry. If you put all that information together, you would probably surmise that I am not a big fan of all things "natural."

Recently, there was a story regarding a literature review of the nutrition value of organic food. The study concluded that organic food has no more nutritional content than non-organically grown food. This is something that I could have concluded without a grant or fellowship - the difference is not in what's missing from non-organic food; it's in what extra might be there. Pesticides and antibiotics and hormones...all the "chemicals" that might be present on your fruits and vegetables, in your meat, in your milk, because it's not organic. Unfortunately, if you really listen to all of the information, the pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones have the potential to be on your organic food too. Why? Because they're in the wind and water supply and on the birds and insects and animals that wander through your vegetable patch.

When I graduated from college, I worked for a pharmaceutical company. Because there were constant chemical reactions going on throughout the plant, the potential for accidents was always present. On one occasion, during production of an antibiotic, pressure build up in the system allowed the antibiotic to accidentally blow out of the roof vents and into the storm drains. Oops - antibiotics in the water supply. Wind carries pesticides and manufactured fertilizers on to properties where those compounds are not used. Rain does not selectively fall cleanly in one area, and save the contaminants for industrial areas. Derailed trains leaking toxic chemicals happen too frequently for my comfort.

My point is that all of these contaminants are already in the atmosphere. Sure, you're getting less of the contaminants on your organic produce, and maybe your organic meat is free of hormones and antibiotics (maybe). More likely, it's still there, but in lesser amounts. You'll probably ingest or inhale it anyway. Maybe it would be a better use of your money to buy into a local coop, shop at a farmers' market, or start your own garden. It's unlikely that organic growers will push the massive corporate farms out of existence. Maybe you'd be better off supporting research for safer pesticides or more earth friendly fertilizers. Whatever you do, stop spraying your lawn with weed killer!

Part II: The evils of chemicals or better living through chemistry?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Show and Tell

Show and Tell

I was going to write about how much more I appreciate my husband today. Because when he drives down the street and sees some scantily dressed jailbait sauntering along, he might look, but he doesn't suddenly cut his speed in half like the idiot driving the Infiniti compensating-for-something-mobile that I was following today.

And then, I was going to write about the cool cloud I saw before the storm the other day. But there wasn't much to tell, so I'll just post the picture.

Instead, I'll tell you about our twins...

No, you won't be seeing an ultrasound picture...

We have a set of coyote babies living in the stand of trees in our back yard. I find this very unusual, because I think of this as a suburban area. There are plenty of farms around us still, but the area is mostly subdivisions. I also think of coyotes as being more of a mountain or desert dwelling animal. I've recently seen the adult coyote roaming about the neighborhood when I'm walking in the mornings, and the other day, these two guys showed up to hang out under our tree. My husband wants to tame one and make it a pet.

Aren't they cute? I just hope they don't leave rabbit carcasses laying around. Or poop on the deck again.

Check out what everyone else is showing today. Go visit Mel!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I'm not fond of my teeth. I have large teeth and a small jaw. My teeth don't look bad, but after having four teeth removed to make room and years of braces, you'd think they'd at least be straight. When I had braces, I wore them for 2 years, and then wore retainers for 2 more years. When my orthodontist was satisfied that my teeth were settled in their final resting place, he removed my bottom retainer and told me that I could drive over my top retainer with the car.

Within a few months, my bottom teeth started to move. The front four teeth settled into a line in front of my other teeth, meaning that there is overlap. I still have a bit of an overbite, but it's not horrible. (My favorite overbite description came from Cousin Bob at my grandfather's funeral when I was 13 {and in the midst of enjoying my braces}. He told me that my overbite wasn't too bad - in comparison to his daughters who could bite walls). My top teeth stayed pretty straight, until I was about 24.

I'm naturally clumsy, and one day, while opening the car door, I misjudged the distance, and with the help of gravity, whacked myself right in my front tooth. That pushed my tooth slightly backwards. I've since managed to repeat the door incident, and then not long ago, walked directly into the corner of a wall. Given that this particular tooth is slightly recessed, I can't quite figure out why that's the one I keep hitting.

Today, I finally took action. My dentist made me a new retainer. Over the next few weeks, I will be moving my teeth around a little, so I can relocate the other front tooth to be more in line with the recessed tooth. The unfortunate part of this is that having a big chunk of plastic on your hard palate makes it difficult to talk properly. I now have a lovely lisp. I'm hoping that I'll be able to talk normally again soon.

I'm excited to be able to like my smile again. I'm not sure how long it will take. After that, maybe I'll upgrade something else. My husband is looking into LASIK, so maybe I'll go there next. I recently noticed that I have cleavage wrinkles. Given that I can barely muster up some cleavage without a serious push-up bra, I'm not sure how that came about. My hair is graying. Maybe all the running/walking I've been doing will help reshape my flabby portions. This could be a long term project - upgrading my appearance. It's good to have a hobby.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Update...

...just for Nancy, who reminded me that I've had nothing to say lately.

I'd just like to say that Andrew Zimmer is crazy and I don't understand why people eat pork rinds. Normally, I wouldn't be watching stuff like the food channels, but circumstances in my house have taken a turn for the better today:


He has finally had enough of working 3 states away. Our girl will be done with daycare (at least for now; somehow I think DH will find it necessary to start another career sooner or later). I will have my partner, my love, my lover, and my lawn guy back full time!

So here's a whole lot of sunshine in my life today...How's your week going?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Show and Tell - Spring

The other week, we had some torrential downpours, thanks to an extremely early tropical system that made its way from the Gulf of Mexico up into the Midwest. There were some reports of 8-10" of rain in an hour. Flash flooding was prevalent, and two towns north had serious storm damage - basements were washing away. Fortunately, we live on top of a hill, so all the water runs away. While checking to see if it was still raining, I discovered where some of the rain was going. (Click on picture to enlarge)

This is the cemetary behind our house - normally, there is not a river running through it. Fortunately there is a village pumping station at the end of the cemetary, so the temporary river had somewhere to go.

You can also see my husband's latest landscaping marvel - a new berm with lots of ornamental grasses. By the end of summer the grasses will be 5-10' tall, with beautiful showy plumes. He does wonderful work!

For more Show & Tell, go visit Mel.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I had an interesting encounter today. A complete stranger shared a very personal part of her life with my sisters and me. It was kind of like the movie Rashomon...I had 4 different views of the same topic. I don't think anyone didn't say something that wasn't mildly offensive to someone else, and yet there was no real distress because the atmosphere was one of sharing and learning.

The topic? Adoption.

The participants? My oldest sister(OS) - the fertile one, my second sister(2S) - adopted two girls from China, me - not quite infertile/not quite fertile, let's go with ART survivor, new person(NP) - birth mother.

NP was discussing the topic of education and preparation of kids for real life. I guess she felt pretty comfortable in our family circle (although she seemed like the type of girl who doesn't feel uncomfortable anywhere), because she detailed the story of how she was pregnant at 20 and was pressured into giving her child up for adoption. The story was both sad and hopeful at the same time - because from a certain perspective you could see the hand of God or fate or what have you in all of her descriptions. However, even though she wanted an open adoption (or maybe a semi-open adoption - I'm not sure about the particulars), she hasn't been able to have one. Because the adoptive parents were Evangelical Christians, details of her lifestyle became unpalatable to them, and they have obstructed contact between NP and her daughter. She may have downplayed her lifestyle, but it sounds fairly typical of a 21 year old living in a new (and big) city. It sounds like she wants a bit more involvement with her child (and the birth parents), but it didn't sound like a huge imposition - perhaps an email account where she could receive updates and pictures. It was clear that she understands that not being able to have your own children is painful, but this pain is ephemeral to her. It's not real, and she can't process the depths of despair that infertility can bring. I think the most interesting point she made was when she was discussing the selection process, and how all the prospective parent could do was describe what things they could give the potential child. I can understand how difficult it must be to try and translate how much you will love a child into a sales pitch for a birth mom.

OS made a couple of the kinds of comments that infertiles hear all the time, that are really annoying, but understandable from someone whose procreation was relatively easy. It was pretty easy to tell that this was of interest to her, but she has not experienced anything that would make this comprehensible to her.

2S had mentioned reasons for adopting from China in the past, such as low disease rates. However, today, she said the main reason they chose China over domestic adoption was because they didn't feel they would be able to cope with the option for birth mothers to change their minds about the adoption. They were not capable of giving back a child that they had opened their hearts to love. Then 2S told a story of one of her patients, who was accompanied by both birth mom and adoptive mom on an office visit. She said that birth mom and adoptive mom were actually arguing over the plan of treatment.

I jumped in there with my insensitive comment about how birth mothers really have to know themselves very well before deciding on open adoption. They really shouldn't have the right to interfere in medical treatment, in my opinion. If you can't give up that kind of control, then you either need to parent your child, or step away completely. Otherwise, it makes it seem like you're treating the adoptive mother like a nanny who is taking care of your child while you're busy with your life.

My mom was also there, and while she is normally very judgmental, her only comment was to wonder why NP had opened up so completely with us. I think I may have taken the wind out of her sails, because I told her that while I was surprised by the openness, I thought it was great. NP's situation was not ideal, but it was nothing to be ashamed of, and maybe if more people were open about adoption the way she is, it would be a much smoother road for both birth parents and adoptive parents.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Know what's a bigger pregnant woman magnet than Target?

The zoo. What are they all doing there? Are they trying to walk themselves into labor? Because it's not a bunch of subtle baby bumps - it's the 9+ month ladies out there. About half of them were without kids too. I guess I'm feeling better, because I found it more entertaining than painful that the universe is messing with me. Because the last 5 times I've been to the zoo? Not a pregnant woman to be found. No, then it was the ultra fit moms of toddlers, with whom I also compare unfavorably. When you can't win, you just have to laugh.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Getting over it...

I'm not getting much time to grieve this almost pregnancy. My husband returned to work today, so it's just me and my girl for a month. I feel mentally exhausted, but I can't sleep very well. I'm sad, but I don't know what the root cause is today. I'm sad because I miss my husband when he's not here. I'm sad because my daughter is sad because she misses her dad. I'm sad because I really want another baby, and this last chance didn't work. I'm sad because I have cramps. I'm sad because the idiot at the lab couldn't get a vein on my last blood draw and was wiggling the needle around in my arm and the bruise hurts. I'm sad because I have to have another blood draw to make sure that beta goes to zero.

I went to Tar.get today. I don't understand why it is that that particular store is a giant pregnant woman magnet. I saw no less than than 4 pregnant women today. One of them was smoking in the parking lot. I hate to judge people, but, seriously, she couldn't quit for a few months? I guess probably not, or she would have. I must be feeling a little better, since the sight of legions of pregnant women is not one of the things making me sad. I also don't understand why the pregnant women only appear to those who are trying so hard to have a baby. I never registered a pregnant woman when I was in my twenties, unless I knew her.

I have some things to look forward to. I will lose the bloating and the pregnancy brain (how did I get that in a chemical pregnancy???). I can have a glass (or a bottle!) of wine. My family and I will be getting together at the end of the month. We only get to do that about once a year. I will get to see friends (and, of course, their new babies). I will take 3 days off work. My husband will be home in a month. And every day, I get some kind of new entertainment from a certain 2 year old little girl.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Beta #2: 26

I guess that means I don't have to worry about medications...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Where the fear kicks in...

I thought I would write this yesterday. I got a positive hpt yesterday morning. I tested on Monday, but that was too early. I wasn't going to do it again, but I had some symptoms (horrible [and for me, unusual] breakouts on my face and back, the hungries (every 3-4 hours), and the husband upset me and I didn't start a screaming argument with him like I normally would if I had PMS) that I couldn't ignore. So I took the test.

For most people, that positive test would be the start of the wonderful journey. For me, it's just a signal to call the doctor to get my medication started and my worrying ramped up. I called the doctor and they sent me for a beta. The nurse said she would call back today to get my prescriptions going.

The problem is, they did not have my file available until yesterday afternoon. When I spoke with them today, I got some good news and some bad news.

First the good news: Beta at 12 dpo was 41. Repeat beta on Monday.

Now the bad news: My protocol for prevention of miscarriage is hepa.rin and baby aspirin. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I injected myself with hep.arin twice a day for about 7 weeks. During the 7th week, I developed a rash at the injection site. The doctor switched me to Love.nox. I developed a rash at that injection site. I was far enough along for the doctor to be comfortable telling me to stop the injections, and I have a beautiful (if extremely talkative) little girl to show for it. Now, however, the nurses cannot prescribe because I may be allergic to it. When I asked this doctor and my regular OB, neither seemed concerned about future usage of hep.arin. I'm in a waiting game, though, to see if they will prescribe he.parin, or lov.enox or if I will be on my own with baby aspirin and prenatal vitamins.

So, happiness and fear. I thought the fear of miscarriage in spite of drugs was what I was going to write about yesterday. Now I fear that there's nothing that can be done for me. I suppose it's some consolation that most literature thinks the hep.arin is too aggressive for my mild diagnosis of ANA's and baby aspirin is the solution. It is also amazing how the body can think of new and different ways to mess with you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

National Infertility Awareness Week

It occurs to me that I know only a few people who have had no trouble conceiving and carrying babies. So, in honor of those of us for whom conception and live babies don't come naturally, I would like to salute the following people:

My sister, who married late, and decided after a year of unsuccessful trying, that intervention was not for her. Thank you for bringing two of the smartest, most adorable, most hilarious little girls from China to be a part of our family.

My friends J and S. The first people I knew who had to terminate a pregnancy due to a severe defect. They were totally undeserving of such sadness. Now, they have 2 beautiful children.

My friends M and D. Their first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. Their second pregnancy occurred at the same time I was having my miscarriages, so it was bittersweet for me. Their son was born 3 weeks early. Their daughter was born 2 weeks early. They both had breathing issues at birth. Their second son was born this month, and had some sort of infection. I hope they're done having children, as I can no longer take the stress.

My friends M and G. M tried so hard for so long to have children. She finally went for treatments, and happily gave birth to twin girls. I saw her heart breaking every time she saw a baby and I am so happy she got her dream.

My aunt M. For probably 7 years, she tried to have a baby. She and my uncle eventually adopted. But they never gave up, and 8 years later, after at least one D&C (that I know of, but I was only 10 at the time), succeeded in having a successful pregnancy.

To all of us who have suffered a loss, be it a miscarriage, a chemical pregnancy, a still birth, or the death of a child. While we have gotten to experience the joy of a pregnancy for at least some duration, we understand the difficulties involved in creating the family of which we dream.

Finally, to all of those who have not yet realized their dream. My hope for you is that it will not take you much longer.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I love the news!

I was watching the news the other day. They were running a story about a rash of car burglaries in a nearby town. It was somewhat distressing that the thieves were stealing from cars in driveways, right next to garages. It's generally a pretty safe town, and so the residents were concerned. They had interviews with 2 teenage girls. One had her purse stolen from her car. They took the cash and then threw her purse and contents out along the side of the road. The other girl was upset that someone had stolen her new digital camera. The news report wound up by asking for any tips and by reminding people to lock their cars.

You're wondering what it was I found about this news story that's worth commenting on, aren't you?

At no time during this 2 minute segment did anyone, including the police chief who was also interviewed, suggest that maybe it would be a good idea to remove their valuables from the car before leaving it.

I was also recently discussing with another woman how surprised people are when they leave their purse in a shopping cart and someone steals it. For God's sake - it wasn't that long ago that someone stole a BABY from a shopping cart (if I remember correctly, the guy didn't make it out of the store, but still)! Purses are generally easier for the thief to dispose of - why wouldn't they take what you're essentially offering?

Moral of the story: If you don't want people to take your stuff, don't leave it out where they can see it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thanks to Martha for the Friendship Award!

The only rule is to pay it forward to 8 other bloggers.

Bottoms off and On the Table
Fat Chick
and finally, anyone else who might be reading...because we're all friends here!

Friday, April 10, 2009

What to complain about today?

Well, let's start with the easy stuff...for the second time in a year, I threw up. Not that significant an event, generally, but prior to the previous occurrence, I had not vomited in 15 years. I really hate vomiting. Of course, I have become a little more immune to it, since I spent all of Wednesday night cleaning up after my little germ factory, who started the whole game. 5 bed changes, 2 loads of laundry, 7 costume changes, and I finally got to bed 7 minutes before my alarm would normally have rung. Bright side: Extra day off of work.

Second, got my property tax assessment today. Apparently, the county where I live is unaware that there is a fucking recession going on. And that the recession is directly due to the fallout of the subprime mortgage issue. And the subprime mortgage issue has directly led to a reduction in property value in most areas of the country. Nope, my county is completely clueless, because not only did they reassess our home's value for the fourth year in a row, they increased the market value of our house for the fourth year in a row. Guess who's moving? My husband states unequivocally that he will not pay more in taxes than he would pay in rent for a decent apartment. Last year, we were pretty close to his breaking point. This year, we've reached it. Bright side: Um...I like to look inside other people's houses? New furniture arrangement? Maybe we'll move closer to work?

Finally, I have nothing to do for Easter. Usually we go to my in-laws, but they went out of town to visit my husband's grandmother. Although, even if they were here, I'd be at home anyway, due to this plague inflicted on me by my charming daughter. We'll still be coloring eggs and the Easter bunny will visit. Bright side: If I'm sick, I don't have to feel guilty about not going to church.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I was watching a special on health care coverage and how those without employer coverage are absolutely screwed. Even states with mandated coverage price out the self-employed. I have been very fortunate in my health care coverage with my employer, and I hope that it never changes. There have been few things that have not been covered - and even those might have had partial coverage.

The insurance industry and people I know have been intersecting lately. My mom has heart disease and type II diabetes, so her health care coverage is extremely costly. Fortunately, she can afford it with her health care coverage.

My best friend gave birth to her third child today. A wonderful event that was supposed to take place at home was suddenly moved to a hospital due to maternal and fetal distress. Now, her baby will be needing extensive care (hopefully for only a few days - I'm praying for no long term issues) due to some nerve damage and listeriosis. She was tested for listeriosis, and the test came back negative. Now, her son is in the NICU, getting antibiotics, and physical therapy. I shudder to think what that would cost without insurance. My friend is a SAHM and her husband is self-employed. It's a good thing he's very successful.

In other sad news, a high school classmate passed away suddenly over the weekend. Apparently, she had some sort of cardiac event, depriving her of oxygen for 30-45 minutes. She was on life support for some period of time, and then lived for some time after support was removed. She was quite a character in high school - a person who was not afraid to be herself, whoever that might be. The world will be a little lacking without her. But, consider, what is the cost of keeping someone alive and what is the cost of hospice while you wait for someone to die? Without insurance, would her family be bankrupted for the cost of the process of dying? That's not exactly something that can ethically be hurried along.

I don't know what the insurance solution is. I have worked for a pharmaceutical company, and I know how much it costs to develop drugs. I do not find that the cost of many drugs is unreasonable. I know that doctors are trained and skilled, and while I frequently doubt their words, I think that they often earn their salaries. I don't think socialized medicine would work for me - there are too many people in my family with unusual complications to their illnesses, and I would not want to be limited in my doctor selection. After watching the Frontline program (available at, I'm pretty sure I don't want to leave my employer. I had mention of a possible diagnosis of lupus, and while I don't have any symptoms, and therefore do not have lupus, I think that would be a giant red flag for any future insurers.

I guess it's time to throw all of our research money at the geneticists - let them figure out how to fix our genes to fix our health issues. Then all you'd need is a few doctors to set bones, put in stitches, and perform appendectomies, and insurance would become obsolete.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

There's something wrong with ad agencies lately...

I know everyone hates the insurance commercial with the new dad. I'm not fond of that myself. If nothing else, I find it vaguely offensive that he can't be bothered to think of the future BEFORE the baby actually arrived. However, there have been several commercials lately that I have found to be...well...disturbing.

Tonight, I saw a Boost mobile commercial

Huh? I realize that Boost is usually out there on their ads, but this? It just makes me say Ick.

And then there's the Old Navy ad with gratuitous mannequin nudity.

I get the point that the dresses are sooo popular that they must be pulled off the mannequin. If the commercial ended there, I think it would be a clever concept. But, the subsequent ogling and conversation take it to the point where the dresses are a secondary point to the commercial and the implied nudity becomes the focus. Maybe I'm just getting old and prudish.

Finally, the one that disturbs me the most is a new Hamburger Helper commercial, which is not on YouTube. A bunch of people are on an elevator and I don't know what else happens, because the Helping Hand pops out and IT'S ATTACHED TO AN ARM!!! Up past the elbow! The Helping Hand had never before been attached to an arm! What is this heresy? Granted, I have issues with hands attached to arms with no bodies - it has to do with my job (I work in a crime lab). But seriously, where is the animation magic or green screen that would obscure the arm? Disembodied arms...I don't think that's the image that Hamburger Helper is trying to project.

Perhaps it's time to step away from the TV. But then I would miss the fake-pregnant-man-in-drag Taco Bell Nachos commercial, which is a little funny.

Go see what the normal people are showing this week for Show & Tell!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I have two aunts that have greatly influenced my life. Without them, I would not have had the education I have, the knowledge that an independent and unattached woman can have a very full life, or walls filled with oil paintings and a china cabinet full of ceramics. My Aunt R was quite the stereotypical oldest child. She liked to tell everyone how they should be living their lives (from me to the pastor at her church), but she did it in the nicest way possible. She always made you believe that you could be something extraordinary (but there was nothing wrong with being ordinary). She would frequently try to enrich our lives in whatever way she could think of - from penny blackjack at Christmas parties to a set of oil paints (which I'm sure my mother loved). When I was 12 or 13, she tried to interest my sister and me in poetry...through bribery. She offered to pay us to learn poems - the amount was based on the length and difficulty of the poem. My sister wasn't interested at all, and I only learned one poem...but it was a good one. Resume, by Dorothy Parker...just the thing an already cynical teenager needs to know. And, I earned a whole 60 cents!

Today, while giving my daughter a bath, I was reminded of Aunt R, and I thought of how proud she would already be of my daughter...

When I got tired of reading Curious George goes to the Zoo for the millionth time, I started reading poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Silverstein instead of bedtime stories. I just pick a few different ones to read each night, and my daughter will stop me if a page catches her attention. Since I don't want her to tear up the book, I keep it on a shelf in her room. So, she will now ask for 'ponies from the shelf' because poems has been too difficult to pronounce. Every day, I have to read some poems, and while it entertains me, I didn't know if she was getting anything out of it. However, during bath time tonight, my daughter said "upstairs, upstairs, upstairs," which is part of the poem Upstairs - about a family of wrens who live in a guy's hat/hair. I think she's on her way to appreciating poetry - for which I can thank Aunt R.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thanks to Martha for my first award!

The attendent rules:
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Show the 7 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with "Honest Scrap." Well, there's no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. Then, list at least 10 honest things about yourself.

1. I tend to speak without thinking
2. That's why I tend to find writing easier
3. I am unwilling to dye my gray hair because I'm too cheap to get it dyed every few weeks.
4. I watch too much TV
5. I don't really watch TV, since I'm usually reading a book or on the computer at the same time
6. I read a lot of books, but I only really absorb the plot lines of the one I find meaningful or really enthralling.
7. I frequently get books from the library that I've read before and don't realize - until I get a few pages in.
8. I wish I could travel more
9. I never used to get angry, but now I have a much hotter temper.
10. I am a dog person, but allergies prevent me from having pets. Maybe someday.

Thanks also to Martha for The Lemonade Stand Award

And the final tag from Martha:

Instead of saying where you live, what state your hair is in, etc. you will share bizarre little things about yourself. Maybe you have some guilty pleasures, maybe you have some OCD that you desperately try to hide, whatever the case may be this is your chance to spill it. Let's all remember to be honest, not to judge, and to have some fun being able to embrace our oddities and laugh at ourselves. Thought this might be a nice mid-week tension reliever.

1. I don't like for my food to touch, unless it's supposed to touch (like a casserole, or pasta and sauce)
2. I occasionally alphabetize my CD collection.
3. At work, my desk top is a mess, but my drawers are neat and organized
4. This is a carryover from my childhood. When I was told to clean my room, I would shove everything in the drawers to get it off the floor.
5. I have a semi-irrational fear of touching wild birds, as my mom once told me that they carry disease.
6. I like to sleep late, but am incapable of doing so.
7. It makes me crazy to watch forensic stuff on TV.
8. I am somewhat prudish around most people, but around certain people I can be quite raunchy. I find this to be odd.
9. I think I'm losing my hearing, little by little.
10. I do not like sand - because you just can't get it off.

As usual, I'm tagging and awarding anyone who reads this!

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's all relative

My sisters-in-law have sent me most unusual emails this week. First, the one that just had a baby sent me a note to tell me about the baby. I sent her one back, congratulating her, telling her that we'd like to stop by sometime, and asking if there was anything she needed. She responded by saying "Thank you for offering to get us something. i could really use a hamper (i like the wicker ones either white or honey color). Her room is eventually going to be bright colors like pink & green." Now, on the one hand, it's nice to be able to get something that someone actually wants. But, on the other hand, that wasn't exactly what I was asking. I was thinking more in terms of, you know, bread and milk, or a package of diapers. But, I had intended to get a gift for the baby, so why not a hamper? At least I can be fairly sure it will get used.

My other sister-in-law is doing some sort of fund raising effort for the Amer. Cancer Society. My husband's dad had esophageal cancer this year, and seems to have beaten it. My sister-in-law, K, is a passionate girl, and always has a cause that she's working on. So, she was soliciting donations for her effort last month. This month, she was pissed that no one had donated and so she sent out a chastising email, telling us all how we should be supporting her. I am of two minds about ACS. My dad had Rheumatoid Arthritis, and when my mother contacted the Arthritis foundation for help, they told her there was nothing they could do for her. This was way before the internet, so this was supposed to be how you found support and information before blogging and Dr. Google. So, I have a rather cynical view of these societies and foundations. I'm sure they do some good, but I'd rather support charities that I know are actually serving people directly, like the Red Cross. In addition, I do not like the Amer. Cancer Society, because I'm pretty sure they were the source of my favorite telephone solicitation call:

I was living at home after my dad had passed away, and I worked evenings. One day, the phone rang and I answered it.

Me: Hello?
Telemarketer: Can I speak with Mr. or Mrs. Smith?
Me: (Clearly they don't know us, or they would know that Mr. Smith has been dead for over a year) They're not home right now.
TM: I'm from the Amer. Cancer Society, and I'd like to send some information to the Smiths.
Me: Well, I don't think they'll be interested, but feel free to send whatever you like.
TM: OK, I'll just need to verify the address.
Me: Like I said, I doubt they'll be interested, but go ahead and verify the address.
TM: What is the address there?
Me: If you're verifying the address, shouldn't you already have it?
TM: Well, we just have a list with names and phone numbers. We don't have access to the list with the addresses. That's kept separately.
Me: Well I'm not giving you the address. You can call back when you have it, and I'll be happy to verify it then.
TM: This is very important information, and I know the Smiths will really want to have it. So I will need to verify the address.
Me: Look, lady, if you're verifying the address, then you have to already have the address. I am NOT giving you the address. You tell me what you have and I'll tell you if it's correct. That's what verifying is.
TM: I told you, I don't have access to the address list.
Me: Well, I'm not giving you the address. You can call back when you have it.
TM: Fine. I WILL call back and I will tell Mr. and Mrs. Smith how rude their babysitter was and you WILL be fired. *Click*
Me: ...

Me: Hello Mom?
Mom: Yes?
Me: Did you know I'm going to be fired?
Mom: WHAT?!?!? (For God's sake you just got that job, what are you talking about)
Me: Yeah, the dog's going to be very disappointed that I won't be able to babysit him anymore.

Mom did not fire me from babysitting the dog, in case you were wondering.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Multiple personalities

I've been reading a lot about the inherent conflicts of motherhood. I've read the posts from those who do not yet have children, and how they resent being told how free they are (or appreciate that freedom but are willing to give it up at any time). I've been reading about people who have concluded their fight against infertility and wonder whether this will redefine who they are. This has made me reflect on my quest for children and how much of myself I've sacrificed.

I'm not a terribly ambitious person. I have a relatively great pays well, it's very secure, the work can sometimes be interesting and exciting, and mostly I am in charge of what I do every day. I also have evil coworkers and managers who try to manufacture evidence to progressively discipline people in order to either make them completely submissive or make them quit. I take that back. For one manager, even being submissive is not enough. You must actively recognize his greatness on a daily basis, or you make yourself a target.

When I was 34, I decided to take the LSAT and apply to law school. I got in, and it would have cost about $20K/year for tuition. Since it was night school, I could have kept my job, and we could have afforded the tuition, but my husband was opposed to the expense. As I said, I'm not terribly amibitious, but my main motivating factor for not pushing to go to law school was that I knew I wanted to have children. It would have been a waste of resources to start law school, because I would probably be having a baby before I graduated.

Once I finally did get to the point where there was a pretty good chance that I could have a take-home baby, I was pretty happy to have my job. I had lots of sick time and vacation time stockpiled. I could work part time for a year. They were required to provide me with a place to pump breastmilk. At the time, my husband worked with me. He had gotten so fed up with the evil people that, when the baby was about 5 months old, he started looking for new jobs. We both applied for the position that he has now. When I went for the interview, I saw that it would be a great job...if I didn't have a child. Everyone there was ambitious and dedicated. Everyone spent a LOT of time at work. But it is a contract position with the US Government, and some other company could win the bid for the work at any time. It did not provide the security I felt we needed for our daughter.

I would have loved the job. It involves cutting edge technology. It involves national and worldwide security issues. It is high-impact but low profile. But I could not fully devote myself to it, because I was 100% devoted to something else...mommyhood. Plus, the attraction of a 6 figure salary was outweighed by the need to keep a stable home and be near family. Putting the needs of your children first is a no-brainer, but it is extremely challenging to put aside your career options to do it, especially when you are going to continue working.

I didn't really take in that I might be losing my identity until our daughter was 15 months old and I took her to daycare. Overnight, I became S.'s mom. I was not Mrs. Whatever, I was not A, I was S.'s mom. I was simulatneously freaked out and offended by this. My first thought was "I am not just S.'s mom. That's a great thing to be, but it is not my whole being." Then I wondered (because my husband was saying something similar) if it was becoming my whole being. But it's not. I still have interests. I still have the same hobbies that I've always had.

Yes, I have made some sacrifices that I would not have made if I did not have S. But operating in her best interests does not change me. I might swear a little less, but that's only when she's around. I might go out less than I used to, but I'm basically a homebody anyway. When she's an adult and moves out on her own, I will not find myself lacking in things to do. Yes, I'm a mom, but I'm not only a mom. Although I am pretty focused on becoming a mom to another baby...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Names, names, names

In keeping with what is now apparently a family tradition for this generation, my SIL named her new daughter something that ends in -a (or -ah). There are 4 girls now, and they all have names like Diana or Viola (but not those, of course). It's kind of odd, and if I remember correctly, yet another SIL intends to name her daughter (if she has one) Mya.

I have issues with names. I'm also a bit of a hypocrite, since my daughter has an unusual name, but the blame rests entirely with my husband. But it does make me cringe a little when people alliterate their children's names. Like my grandmother...who had 3 daughters. All their names start with Mar... Like my oldest sister...who has 3 children whose names all start with M. For that matter, my oldest sister also chose my name. Her name starts with A, and my next oldest sister's name starts with J. Then the next sister is also a J. When I was born, my sisters were sent to stay with my aunt for a few weeks, and there was a letter from my oldest sister urging my parents to pick another A name (with a list of suggestions) so she wouldn't be outnumbered. Maybe that's why I have issues with names.

In the course of my work, I look at a lot of names. At one point, I found the worst name ever, but it was so horrible that I've completely blocked it from memory. One of the names that tickled me the most was Ruby Mae Cabbagestalk. I don't know why I think that's so funny, but there it is. I recently saw on The Smoking Gun the guy named Dalcapone Alpaccino Morris (they refer to it as the best Scarface tribute). One of the guys in our office compiled a list of the most unusual names he'd encountered. While some are not that unusual to me, there are a couple of standouts, such as Vassey Vernon Von Hoosier III (because once is just not enough to saddle someone with that name) and someone I've seen a time or two, Quliac Halfacre.

My question is this: What's wrong with traditional first names, with traditional spellings? Don't you waste enough time in life without having to spend half an hour spelling your name over the phone for every customer service call? There are at least 2 more common names by which my daughter will likely be called, because her father fell in love with a word and decided to make it a name. (In my defense, I had only agreed to it as a middle name, but then when we decided on a first name the flow of the names was better when they were reversed. Also, there is an actress who has a variation of her name, so it's not completely unheard of.) Personally, I don't want my child to stand out for anything other than her own accomplishments. If you get a chance to read Freakonomics (by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner), it has an interesting section on names.