May 29, 2009
"proud non-reader of
books. I like to get infor-
mation from doing...
stuff like actually
talking to people and liv-
ing real life." Brilliant.
"I am not a fan
of books. I would never want
a book's autograph"
Then this gem: "Mom said
believe in my flyness and
conquer my shyness."
The "best" thing I read this week was definitely this article from Reuters: "Proud Non-reader Kanye West Turns Author". The article starts with the brilliantly written opening sentence: "Rapper Kanye West does not read books or respect them but nevertheless he has written one that he would like you to buy and read." Apparently the brilliant mind of our time, Kanye West, has managed to write a 52 page book. In which appear gems like "I hate the word hate!" spread amongst sparse text and blank pages. West refers to his wisdom as "Kanye-isms".
Apparently, this college dropout son of a university English professor things that books are kinda stupid. Of his mother, West said "She raised me to be the voice to allow people to think for themselves, to find their own way." What a tribute this book is to his mother, to whom it is dedicated. "Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed," West said. Well, Kanye, thank goodness your book is not WORDY. As for the self-absorbed part...
Here is what I learned:
1. Kanye West is awesome (in his own head)
2. I'm really, really glad that kids have this awesome role model to encourage them to read and learn.
3. Celebrities are brilliant.
"Shush girl, shut your lips,
do the Helen Keller and
talk with your hips" - WHAT?
Dude, what? These are some lyrics to the song "Don't Trust Me" by 3OH!3. In case you're perplexed by that name (as I was), it's Three Oh Three, which is the area code for Denver, which is where the recording studio is who put out the album containing this song (which I'm sure is just brilliant).
Why is this okay? I don't get it. Why is this in any way acceptable? Especially after how pissed people got about that Black Eyed Peas song. You know, the one where the original version is "Let's Get Retarded", but most people don't know that because they had to change it to "Let's Get it Started" to get it played on the radio.
Am I the only one who finds this a little bit appalling?
For more Friday Haiku's, click here.
May 28, 2009
- Give good waiters REALLY big tips.
- Buy restaurant and store gift cards and carry them around so I could give them out to homeless/street people.
- Send lots of flowers to my friends and family.
- Have dinners delivered to my friends/family from their favorite restaurants once in a while.
- Pay for random people's gas fill-ups at the gas station.
- Randomly pay for strangers meals at restaurants or for the groceries/items of the person behind me in stores.
- Pay for my friends and family to have check-ups and go to the dentist.
- Pay for several people who can't afford to go to BlogHer to make that trip.
- Go to the movie theater and hand out movie gift cards to people who happen to be around.
- Buy hot/cold drinks (season applicable) to people who are at booths/tables outside (ie Salvation Army collectors, people selling Girl Scout Cookies, vendors at the farmers market, police/construction workers).
- Go to Target and hand out $20 gift cards to kids and teens and tell them to get a toy/dvd/cd for themselves.
- Pay for friends to have their oil changed, brakes checked etc. so they can be safe.
- Go downtown and fill people's parking meters.
What would you do?
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May 27, 2009
Seriously? How adorable is he!?
Ezra is in the hospital because two days before his 2nd birthday on May 21, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Ezra is facing 3 years of chemotherapy.
I don't have much to offer Ezra's family besides my prayers. I'm sharing his story in the hopes that maybe someone who reads this will have more to offer. Ezra's family is facing a very, very hard time including facing some very big financial obligations, including finding the money to deep clean their house so Ezra can stay healthy. If you don't have money to offer, positive thoughts and prayers can work wonders.
Please click here to read Ezra's story at Manic Mother.
For more Wordless Wednesday posts, click here.
May 26, 2009
+/- this week: -2.0
+/- total: -19
Short Term Goal: 250 (5/26/09)
Short Term Goal 2: 225
Long Term Goal: 150
What a meeting today! It was the best meeting I've been to since I started attending Weight Watchers. It was also the most emotional.
This week's topic was Motivating Strategies. As part of that, some people shared what their motivation was for coming to Weight Watchers - or what Paula called "The Last Straw". She has been a lifetime member since 1984 and is a wonderful leader. Hearing her talk about going to K-Mart to buy a pair of larger pants just to "last until she lost weight and the old pants fit"... it was something that I'm sure every single person in that room could relate to.
We talked about what we were doing (the thing we wanted to move away from) and what we are doing (the thing we are heading towards). People shared old habits and new lifestyle choices. Mine was this: the thing I am moving away from is having other people (and myself) being worried about my health and well being. I'm moving towards people being proud of me and not having a second thought about my health.
One person shared that they were moving towards being happier and several people chimed in about how they didn't realize how unhappy they were at their heaviest until they started trying to lose weight. Paula said that when she lost her weight, she felt like she'd gotten her personality back.
I can't even describe the awesomeness and support of being in a room full of people, being close to tears with the weight of it (literally and figuratively!) and knowing that every single person there shares feelings with me. That everyone there knows what this feels like, knows how hard it is, how much work it is, and that we are all there so support each other. I don't think I would be able to do all of this without going to the meetings and without blogging here. The support I feel from your comments, and from the acknowledgment in the meetings when we do awards means so much to me that I can't even describe it.
Today I reached my first goal! This is a huge milestone. I weighed in today at 248.2 pounds! It's the first time in over a year that I've been under 250 pounds. It also puts me at 19 pounds of weight lost, which is only one pound away from 20, which seems huge. And sort of awesome. I only have 7 more pounds to go until I reach my 10 percent, and I actually feel like I can do it! I am also sitting at less than 100 pounds to lose right now. I feel like my thyroid medication is really working now, I've been seeing more consistent weight loss and it is amazing to feel this kind of motivation.
I'm down to 30 points a day now, I started the program with 32 points a day. How many points you get per day is based on a lot of things including your weight, level of activity etc. If I reach my long term goal weight of 150 lbs, I think I'll sit at 22 points a day or somewhere near there. I also have changed my Body Mass Index from 41.8 to 38.9!
I didn't eat perfectly last week, but also earned TONS of activity points from walking. The weather has been beautiful and I got outside every single day last week with Sam, which meant pushing him in the stroller and running around with him playing at parks. I am really looking forward to spending tons of time outside this summer, and it is awesome to be able to get some exercise just over the course of the day.
It all started with a text message on a Friday night. 'Can you call me?' from my Stepmom. At first I thought maybe it was news about the impending divorce between her father and I. I called, and she explained she'd gotten a call from St. Louis. At that point, all I knew was that my father had been hit by a car and that he was injured.
Calling the hospital was like a game of hide and seek. I was transferred, put on hold, and called back as I desperately sought any information about the state of my father. I didn't get upset, not yet. The night went on, full of text messages, e-mails, phone calls. I felt so removed, so far away from the situation and wished I was there. At the movies, I switched my phone to vibrate then held it in my hand throughout the entire movie. And I waited.
I finally got the call at about 2:30 AM, which is 5:30 AM in St. Louis. After hours and hours of little to no information, the floodgates opened. Dad had been hit by a car as he crossed the street on his way to a concert that evening. He had two broken wrists, one badly, a possible concussion, and road rash. I heard words like shattered. Badly bruised nerve. Compound fracture (that means his bone was sticking out through his skin). Road rash. Cast. Physical therapy. Best case scenario. I finally fell asleep after that conversation, but I was a mess the next day.
Anxiety came and went. I didn't know what to do. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be there with Dad, but wasn't sure how it would even be possible. If you've been around here for any length of time, you know that I have zero monies. I went to see my sister, we talked. I probably talked on the phone with her more times that day than ever! Around 1 AM that night we finally had plane tickets to go to St. Louis the next day. I can't thank our friend enough for paying for the tickets, we'll pay her back, but without her help I don't think we would have been able to go.
We arrived in St. Louis on Sunday evening and rented a car overnight. We drove to the hospital to get Dad's house keys. At that point, he was still in bad shape. He had quite back road rash on his nose and upper lip and on one leg. His right arm was in a cast from just below the elbow up over his hand, limiting his use of fingers. His left hand was in a splint, plaster under elastic. His fingers were swollen to twice their normal size, and were purple. There were iodine stains on a few of his nails and his skin from the surgery.
Despite his appearance, it was a relief to see him. To talk to him. To know we were there. The next day, we headed back to the hospital. Dad was still in pain, but being managed by oral pain meds instead of the morphine drip. He was eager to get out of the hospital room, and to get a new pair of glasses. Since he'd been at the hospital (2.5 days) he hadn't been able to even watch TV because his glasses were lost somewhere between the accident and the ER.
That day we went to get him new glasses. When we got back to the hospital we spoke to the doctor and we found out that we needn't have worried about one of the decisions we thought we'd have to make. The doctor told us that Dad would not be discharged from the hospital unless he had 24 hour care. That meant a live-in nurse at home (expensive and most likely not covered by insurance) or moving to an extended care facility. There was a facility connected with the hospital. It was basically a nursing home with a separate floor for people who are recovering from injuries, surgeries etc. I could tell that Dad was a little disappointed, but it made sense.
Dad's mood improved immediately once he had his glasses and could see again! We stopped at his apartment on the way home so he could get more clothes and some things. We arrived at the extended care facility and Dad got his own room. We unpacked his things and hung out there. The next several days were a mix of spending a lot of time just hanging out with Dad, watching him learn how to do more and more with only one hand and watching his physical therapy. He called himself 'half-handed' instead of one handed since the positioning of the cast limited the movement of his fingers on the right hand.
I'll just lump everything else together instead of day by day. The physical therapy went extremely well. He got more and more motion and the swelling went down every day. His fingers went from swollen to knuckles swollen. My sister and I flew home early Thursday morning. On Monday, the physical therapists decided that Dad had recovered enough to go home, only a week and a couple days after the accident! He had a doctor appointment on Wednesday, 1.5 weeks after, and they took off his cast and sling and gave him light thermoplastic casts on both arms which he can remove for bathing if needed.
I can't stress enough how much I want to THANK everyone out there who sent positive thoughts and prayers our way. The situation has turned out really well compared to how it could have been. I am not glad that Dad got hurt, but in a way I'm thankful for that trip. You can read more about that in parts 2 & 3, coming soon!
To read more Heads or Tails Tuesday posts, click here.
May 25, 2009
I don't agree with the war we're currently fighting. I don't think that it was ever the solution to the problem we were trying to solve. But I have a profound respect and gratitude for the men and women who serve in our military. I know that they do it for me, for my family, for my child.
They are the reason that my son will grow up in a place where he can walk outside whenever he wants to. Where he will get an education, he will be free to speak his mind, he will have food and clean water. They give their time, they give their strength, their bravery, and sometimes their lives. I am lucky that today I am not remembering people who have died in combat, because I have been lucky enough that the people I've known who have served have returned. My grandfathers, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, one of my best friend's husbands (in the 2 pictures above).
Today we remember. Today I will pray for the families who have lost a loved one who fought for them, for me. Today I will pray that I will not have to say those kinds of prayers for the people who are still in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world. Peace on Earth is a lot to ask for. And until we can achieve it, I will be indescribably thankful for those people who make peace at home possible for me.
Please leave comments about the people you know who are serving, who have served, or whose families need prayers today, and every day.
May 22, 2009
It was a gorgeous day. I watched Sam run around outside, remembering last spring and how much he's changed since then. Amazed by his smile and his words. Last year at this time, Sam wasn't talking at all. Now he tells me he wants to 'play on the grass'. We sat down on it's vibrant green softness and I looked down. One by one, they appeared to me. Ladybugs, crawling up and down the blades, probably feasting on something too small for me to see. I pointed, 'Look Sam!'. I caught one and he stared, tried to touch it. He tried to pick it up with pincher fingers and it fell. I showed him how to hold his finger close to the grass and just wait for the little red bugs to crawl aboard.
I'm not sure how long we sat there, coaxing ladybugs onto our fingers and watching them crawl up our arms. I only know it was the best first day of spring ever.
He likes riding in the stroller now. He loves to run around, but there must be something he likes about just being able to sit and take the whole world in. He holds his hand out over the side now, reaching for sings, plants, anything he can run his fingers over. Sometimes, he names the things he sees, and I hear his voice say Mama. Other times, he rides in silence, but I know that his brain is working and I wonder how the world looks through curious little boy eyes.
It's been sunny nearly every day this week and we've been walking to playgrounds and downtown. I get my exercise and Sam gets out of the house. It's wonderful. The days go by faster and with less whining, less TV and more smiles. I love our walks.
I shuffle into the bedroom to wake Justin up, and climb up onto our bed. I lie down and we chat, then Sam comes into the room. He has two dolls with him and is walking them down his Daddy's leg. Suddenly, we hear him utter "What the heck?" in his high, 3 year old little voice. We can't stop laughing.
Sometimes I tell him things over and over. "Milk" "Milk, please." I say. We go back and forth. I finally give up, and I don't know if he's listening. Then one day, all on his own, he shows me that he is listening and is ready. It starts with the bath, one of his favorite pastimes. He asks and Daddy says no. He asks again, then suddenly, "Dada, bath, pease!". The next day? "Milk, pease.". And from then on, it's the the way things are.
When I first started thinking this post up, and after I talked to my Mom about how far behind Sam was I did something dangerous. That's right, I started looking stuff up on the internet. About 3 year olds, and what they should be able to do. What's "normal". I copied and pasted a bunch of information here, but I just deleted all of it. I know that Sam is behind, and we're already doing things about it, so why read all that stuff?
Sam had his 3 year check-up on Monday, and did absolutely amazing. I couldn't tell if he remembered the doctors office or not. They have a fish tank in their waiting room, and he loves to look at the fish. We went back to the exam room, and he did well. He wouldn't stand on the scale, but he got into the baby scale and weighed in at a whopping 30 lbs 11 oz. He's in the 60th percentile for weight, which is great, and in the 25th percentile for height. He's just so skinny, his pants still fall off him, but I guess that's just normal for a three year old! He let the doctor look in his nose and ears, and didn't even whine about the blood pressure taking! The best part though? At the end of the appointment he had to get his 2nd Hep A vaccination and he didn't cry. He whined a little, but not about the shot. Because he was annoyed we'd pulled his pants down. Two seconds later he was happily running towards the waiting room to look at the fishes again. I'd say that it was successful.
The part of the appointment that was hard for me was filling out the ages and stages questionnaire for 36 months. He didn't score so well. He did great on gross motor, but speech, fine motor... not as much. He's definitely behind, and I think he's more behind than I thought. But some of the things on there? He just doesn't do them because we haven't taught him. Things like lining up a certain number of blocks in a row and asking him to do it. Or drawing a straight line and asking him to draw a line in the same direction. I didn't realize I was supposed to be doing these things and took him to the playground instead. Oops. Ha.
In any case, the doctor wants him re-evaluated at the same place we took him last year, so I need to set that up. Then we'll know exactly how far behind he is and what kind of stuff we can be doing to help him catch up. I'm not SUPER concerned about it because he's growing a lot, and he is developing and learning. I just want to make sure he gets caught up by the time he gets to kindergarten. I called the school district about getting him evaluated and they said it's too late and that we have to wait until fall, so we're on a list for them to call in August. I want to get him in to their 3-5 program not only because he'll get speech therapy, but also because it's a free program where he can get some preschool, which would be great since we can't afford regular preschool, and I think he'd really like being around some other kids.
We don't have any plan for summer yet, we'll just have to wait and see. I am not hugely concerned about all this stuff because I know that he's a SMART kid. What he may not have in these areas he makes up in others as far as I'm concerned. He is a very quick learner, and is amazingly happy and full of affection. He's my little boy, and he's truly amazing.
May 21, 2009
+/- this week: -3.0
+/- total: -17
Short Term Goal: 250
Long Term Goal: 150
Lookie! I am down 3 lbs again this week! Boy is that ever encouraging, I can't even tell you. Also, I am only .2 lbs away from meeting my first goal! Once I get under 250 I will have less than 100 pounds to lose to my long term goal. I know 100 pounds is still a huge number. But I have never been able to lose weight before, and I only have 3 more to go until I can say I've lost 20 pounds. Which somehow seems so much huger than losing 15. I'm really starting to believe deep down inside that this is happening. It seems slow some weeks, but I'm still averaging a pound a week of weight loss - this was week 16. So that is actually good. Even if it takes me 2 years to lose the weight, I'll make the progress. I'll do it. By the time Sam starts Kindergarten I'll be able to chase after him with the best of them. Woot!
May 20, 2009
- Better Off Ted
- Brothers & Sisters
- Desperate Housewives
- Grey's Anatomy
- Private Practice
- Ugly Betty
- Dirty Sexy Money
- Eli Stone
- In the Motherhood
- Pushing Daisies
- Samantha Who?
- The Unusuals
- The Big Bang Theory
- Cold Case
- Criminal Minds
- CSI: Miami
- CSI: NY
- Gary Unmarried
- Ghost Whisperer
- How I Met Your Mother
- The Mentalist
- New Adventures of Old Christine
- Rules of Engagement
- Two and a Half Men
- Eleventh Hour
- Harper's Island
- The Unit
- Without a Trace
- Worst Week
- American Dad
- American Idol
- Bones (renewed for 2 seasons)
- Dollhouse (13 episode order)
- Family Guy
- Kitchen Nightmares
- Lie to Me (13 episode order)
- The Simpsons
- King of the Hill
- Prison Break
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
- 30 Rock
- Friday Night Lights
- Law & Order
- Law & Order
- The Office
- Parks and Recreation
- Southland (13 episode order)
- Kath & Kim
- Knight Rider
- Lipstick Jungle
- Medium (canceled by NBC; expected to move to CBS)
- My Name is Earl (canceled by NBC; being shopped to Fox and ABC)
- Law & Order: CI
- America's Next Top Model
- Gossip Girl
- One Tree Hill
- Everybody Hates Chris
- The Game
What are your thoughts? Shows you'll miss?
May 19, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, before my impromptu trip, I was thinking a lot about how what I would really like to do is write. I see other bloggers I know writing for various websites and getting paid, and I have always wanted to be a writer. I considered journalism, but it didn't fit with what I wanted. I used to write poetry, but haven't been as much lately. I write some fiction, but where my passion seems to be now is here on this blog.
I sent a message out on Twitter asking for leads or advice. I briefly looked at some freelancing sites online, but they all want writing samples. Then last week, an online friend passed my e-mail and blog address along to a friend of hers who runs a small site to provide ghost written articles to various websites. I felt honored that she suggested me, and very excited.
I spent my time last night writing two articles, then sending them off. I hope that they're okay, I am a little nervous, but also really confident that I can do this. I can build my skills, and I know that writing these articles will help me improve my writing all around. I'm so excited, and I can't wait to see where this is going to lead me.
In the meantime, I didn't write anything for you all, and I'm sorry! If I don't get to it before then, Sam will be at the babysitter Thursday and it's possible I'll just spend all day writing, which sounds absolutely amazing to me right now.
May 18, 2009
The tears were precipitated by a nice bonk to the head courtesy of Sam and a big toy truck. I was frustrated at having been in the house all day, and I wanted to get out. Justin was not feeling well, and Sam was not cooperating in getting dressed so we could get out of the house. The truck hit hard, and once the tears were brought to my eyes and the dam was broken, I couldn't stop the flood.
I ended up on the back porch, sobbing into my hands as I felt the stresses of the past week leave my body, the sun washing over me and the wind blowing as my shoulders shook and my nose ran. I'm sure I looked beautiful.
The funny thing is that once I got it all out, the rest of the weekend was almost perfect. Once I got it together and sat with Justin on the couch for a couple of minutes we got Sam dressed and I took him downtown. We walked around (well, he rode in the stroller at first) and went and got an ice cream cone. Sam loved it, and ended up with ice cream all over his shirt, but I just thought it was cute. Then he walked.
I pushed the stroller along, staying close to him, watching him be a 3 year old. I let his curiosity guide him as he peeked down alleys, walked up and down stairs and peered at himself in reflective windows. He explored newspaper vending machines and held my hand to cross the streets. We stopped in a courtyard at one of the street-corner art installations downtown and he discovered the joy of walking on top of short walls, I held his hands as he laughed and walked back and forth. We stopped near the courthouse and sat on the sidewalk picking fuzzy dandelions and blowing the seeds to the wind.
We let Sam stay up later than normal, and bedtime was easy. Sunday morning we played, watched Word World and had milk and goldfish crackers, played trains in his bedroom, and played with Dora and Yo Gabba Gabba action figures. When Justin was up, Sam had a bath and he and Justin washed my hair for me as I leaned over the tub and giggled while Sam poured water over my head. In the afternoon, I drove to Seattle for book club - the perfect day for a drive, I cruised along with the windows down and the music playing.
The evening consisted of enjoying the sunshine, sitting in the warm breeze and snacking, relaxing, talking and smores. What's not to love? When I got home at 10, we had visitors - friends we hadn't seen in a while, and sam was still up, but it was okay. As soon as they left a little after 11, he fell asleep in my arms on the couch.
On Saturday afternoon, I felt like I was falling apart. When the tears came I felt unsure and wondered how I'd be able to pull it together. But by Sunday evening, I'd had a nearly perfect weekend. Isn't it funny how things can change?
I felt like I haven't blogged in weeks - so much has happened and gathered in my head in the last week. I have so much to write about, so much to share, but I haven't had time to sit down and get it all out yet. I haven't caught up on e-mails or comment replies yet, but I'll get there. Thanks to everyone who has been sticking around this week even though I haven't been here. I can't wait to share everything I've been experiencing and thinking!
May 17, 2009
I haven't been doing great with eating, but not terrible. I went over my points last week by 9, but I also had activity points to cover it. This week, I don't think I'll go over and have actually had at least 3 days of being under points due to various circumstances. It was a relief to be home and to go for a walk yesterday and today with Sam in his stroller. It's been so wonderful getting outside in the warm weather, and since Sam has been into riding in the stroller lately it means I can push him at a good pace and actually get some exercise!
I'll be happy to weigh in next Tuesday and get back on track next week with being home and eating more veggies again! I'll post again soon.
May 12, 2009
May 10, 2009
Just a quick update before I pack. That's right, pack. My sister and I are heading to St. Louis today to be with Dad, we'll be flying home on Thursday morning so we'll only really be there for 3 full days. We went back and forth and finally were able to make arrangements. We haven't told him we're coming yet, so I need to make that call. It was hard to figure out, with the money (which we don't have) and trying to decide how important it was. In the end, our hearts pulled us to go - we both just WANT so badly to be there with Dad. So, we're going. Thanks to the generosity of a very good friend (more on that later).
And update on Dad, he shattered his left wrist and it was a compound fracture, so he's been on IV antibiotics in the hospital because they worry about infection. His ligaments were torn so his radius and ulna dislocated. He currently has a metal plate and some pins in his wrist. He also had a badly bruised nerve. It didn't get crushed/broken, but only time will tell if it will fully recover. Dad's right wrist is also broken, but it's a much "better" break, it fractured in the right spot and the surgeon said that it will most likely heal completely, but he'll have to wear a cast for at least 4 weeks.
I'm last minute packing and leaving soon, thank you for your prayers, I'll post again tomorrow.
May 8, 2009
It's frustrating because the nurses couldn't tell me much over the phone. The nurse who called my stepmom went and got my Dad on the phone. It was awful to talk to him. He's probably on pain medication, he is obviously freaked out and on top of all of it, he seems to feel like it was sort of his fault. I think he's probably in shock. He couldn't tell me much, but one of his arms is badly broken and he said something about the doctor said something about putting casts on both arms. So maybe they are both broken. That's all he could tell me. It's all I know, and I want so badly to know more. The nurse said he was stable but they will probably admit him. I asked him to get someone to call/send a text message to me if he's admitted so we know what room he's in.
He thanked me for calling and I didn't have much to say other than that I hoped he was okay. When I said I loved him, he said it back and I could hear tears in his voice. I'm trying not to cry and to stay calm. It's probably going to be fine. But I need prayers now, so does my sister, and my Dad. Beyond just the shock of it, there are thoughts of the future. With two casts, will he be able to work? Who will help take care of him - he has some friends, but no family there. It is breaking my heart not to be with him right now. Will he still be able to kayak? Will he heal completely? Is he okay? The not knowing is the hardest part.
Lord, please bring me peace.
It's my first time farting. Okay, okay, well, it's my first time doing Blog Fart Friday at least! This is how we get it out - those little things that can in no way make a whole post, but they're floating around and NEED to get out. It's never too late to join us - just click the button & head over to Jaci's place!
1. I'm listening to an audiobook called Panic in Level 4 by Richard Preston. The voice reading it sounds SO familiar, and I finally realized the guy sounds just like the dude who played Donnie Pfaster on The X-Files. It's really kind of creeping me out.
4. I have been totally obsessed with fresh pineapple lately. SO. GOOD.
5. Guess what? I totally forgot to post anything for my blogoversary. It was March 13. Yeah, almost 2 months ago. Woot. There are posts from before that, but that's when I started blogging 'for real'. I am up to almost 600 posts since I combined this blog, my family blog, and my TV/Movie/Book review blog. I have to figure out something cool for my 600th post. I think I smell a giveaway.
6. I just ate cold Pizza Hut cheese bread. For breakfast. Ugh.
7. Yesterday at the babysitter, my son and his friend got into a container of Tums and ate some. Ew. I guess they thought it was candy. She e-mailed me to tell me about it because she didn't have a phone, but all I could do was laugh at the picture in my head of these two 3 year old boys hoarding Tums. I guess the only side effect is constipation. And also, really rank smelling pee. Sam's diaper was so stinky last night I couldn't even deal.
8. Speaking of last night, Sam was up from 3:30 to 6:30. He wanted to watch Wall-E. But he doesn't let you sleep, oh no, you have to stay up and watch it with him. He will make sure to wake you if you doze off.
9. So yeah, this whole Jon & Kate Plus 8 cheating scandal? Sucks for them. She says that he is having a hard time dealing with celebrity and they "didn't set out" to be celebrities. Hm. I wonder what their goal was when they signed up for a reality show. And had books. And magazine articles etc. In any case, she says they are dealing with it privately and I hope they actually are dealing with it.
10. Grey's Anatomy last night? Really good. I totally cried a lot. This week's House? AWESOME. So good I almost couldn't deal. Season finale of Chuck? All I know is it BETTER be renewed. Speaking of which, Ausiello has a running list here of shows and their cancelled/renewed/still waiting statuses. Also, if you love TV as much as I do and you're NOT reading The Ausiello Files? Repent immediately and go read. You will LOVE it.
11. I got a new blog design this week. What do you think?
All right... I think I'm out of gas for today. So go and read some more Blog Farts at Ravings of a Mad Housewife.
May 7, 2009
Yesterday didn't start out good - Justin was getting ready for work and stressing about the bill payments getting in the mail TODAY, and about my bombed interview, and stuff in general. We were at each other before he'd even been up 20 minutes, and had a really crappy start to the day.
But, Justin showed up at home halfway through the day. Now, in normal cases, I would say a phone call would be just as well, but since he works 2 minutes from our house, he is able to pop by when he wants to. He came home, and he said he was sorry he'd been short. We both apologized and acknowledged how we're just stressed and need to try harder not to be in bad moods.
And then we hugged. You know, that familiar hug of the person you've been with for so long. The warmth, the smell of it. The all over comfort that comes when you realize that you're together, you have each other, and that's enough.
I know people whose marriages have been ruined by money. I know people whose relationships have fallen apart because they focused on other things and didn't work at their marriage. I know that after the way things have been for the last years, a lot of couples would have grown apart where we've grown closer. I know that sometimes it would be easy to stay angry, or to hold on to the things we can't change. I know that letting go is even better. What do I know after the last year and a half?
That we can do ANYTHING. Together. I can't wait for another year until we are (hopefully) back on our feet. I can't wait to start going to Sam's parent-teacher conferences together. I can't wait until we take him to music or ball practice then sit and talk while he plays or hits. I can't wait to sit arm in arm at his college graduation (I'll be crying). I can't wait until we dance at his wedding. I can't wait until we are retired and we travel the roads in a camper, together. I can't wait for forever to come.
And that makes today, and every day, worth it.
May 6, 2009
In a relationship where arguments are not the norm, we have started two days in a row at odds.
Questions that used to be simple now require mulling and pauses spur fear and insecurity.
Patience and money are running pretty low these days.
We push back and forth. We both want something but I know I am paralyzed by numbers. I want to figure out a way for us to be secure but ALSO to do the best thing for our son. But when I look at the figures I am paralyzed by the idiocy of it all.
Bankrupt and we are still spending beyond our means, chipping away at any savings we have managed until we have none. Is it really possible we could still be so ridiculous?
Now I look. I try to figure out how short we really are, how much we NEED every month and I see that it is... MORE. We have enough for the regular bills and for groceries. But that leaves gas, cat litter, diapers, prescriptions, and anything else that happens to come up.
I just want things to be easy again. I want 'if only'.
He doesn't understand why it is such a big deal for me to go back to work full time. I don't understand why he can't look for another job that pays more. He doesn't understand why the idea of going to the place I screwed up my interview and basically begging for another chance is humiliating for me to even think about. I don't understand why we can't just work out a way to move into his father's big empty house.
We can get through this, I know. We just need to figure it out. But right now I feel like a child who just wants someone else to take charge and whisk her away.
I just don't have the answers right now, and we are running out of time.
May 5, 2009
-Full of Grace by Sarah McLachlan
Today is just one of those days. I don't have them often, but a series of events have come together and I feel like I am drowning.
The house is cold so I turn on the heat to at least get is back up to room temperature. As I watch Sam in the bath I think of the rest of the day and tears pool in my eyes. I don't give them free reign, this is not the time or the place and I don't want him to see me cry.
I screwed something up that should have been a sure thing. I had a simple phone interview scheduled yesterday morning for a customer service job. The kind of job I could do with my eyes closed and do exceedingly well. The kind of job I have done before and considered my fallback. And I Fucked it up. I scheduled the interview for a time I thought we would be up and about with family. Instead I ended up being awakened by the call and stumbling my way through a 10 minute long phone interview that I should have absolutely aced. I got a rejection email this morning. I feel like such an asshole. To make it that much worse I really didn't want it. I am struggling hard with the idea of abandoning Sam to full time daycare so I can work 40 hours a week at some shit job. So in failing I feel that much more guilt, even though I absolutely did not do it on purpose.
I was already on the edge today. T stepmom and little sister left this morning to fly home. 4 days every 4 months is just not enough. As we drove home from Seattle last night I could feel the pressure in my chest, the pain and longing of leaving them behind. I don't know when I will see them again. If I manage to find a job, it will limit my ability to fly cross country to see them. I miss them with all my heart. If only I could gather all my closest friends and family into one amazing neighborhood. I love the freedom I enjoy in our culture but I could do without the spread-apartness of our families.
Pile on top the exhausted letdown of the end of a whirlwind weekend, spending every minute with family, watching my baby become a 3 year old and a nasty case of PMS and you have ME today! Woot! It's also grey and rainy outside after days of sun. I guess mother nature knew I didn't need to feel even more guilt for not being outside today.
It will pass. We go on and we remember how lucky we are. After Sam's bath I sit on the couch with him in my lap wrapped in a towel. His skin is warm and he snuggles in to watch some Spongebob as he dries off. I stare at his face and today am captured by his eyelashes. Long and soft, curled and the color of the crust on a perfect baguette, they are beautiful. Tiny and feathery thick, they pull me out.
I am tired. I am sad for now, but that's okay. Tomorrow is another day and there are hugs and sunshine to look forward to.
The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, non-profit agency that provides free summer experiences to more than 1.7 million low-income children from New York City. They were founded in 1877, and serve almost 10,000 children per year through their various programs. Last year, they sent almost 5,000 children to live with host families in suburbs and small towns across the East Coast and in Canada, as well as having 3,000 children attend their five camps in New York State. During the rest of the year, they serve an additional 2,000 children with their year-round camping programs.
My son is lucky. He lives in a smaller town. We don't have much money, but we get by and we're lucky enough that he gets to spend a lot of time outside. Last Sunday, we went on a hike only 15 minutes from home, no signs of anything but trails, trees, and sky. My father-in-law owns a 10 acre property with woods, fields, a swimming hole, and lots of room to run around out in the county. Sam will grow up knowing nature. He'll go to good schools, he'll spend time at all the parks we have around, and he won't have to deal with smog and subways.
A lot of kids, they don't get that chance. A lot of kids are left wondering where their next meal will come from, or attending schools where there are no playgrounds and not enough school books. Their parents have to work long hours to support them, and they don't have the chance to play out in the country, pick flowers, learn how to fish or mount a horse.
Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 12 years old, who reside in low-income communities in New York City and are eager to experience the simple pleasures of life outside the city. The Fresh Air Fund is looking for families on the East Coast to host kids this summer. It's not just an opportunity to show a child a wonderful time, and to let them experience things they might not otherwise. It's also an opportunity to give them hope, and create on ongoing relationship with a wonderful child.
I think that this is a wonderful cause. If you're interested in finding out more about being a host family, you can visit The Fresh Air Fund website. There's information about hosting here, and information about donating here.
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May 4, 2009
This was a very informative movie. Yes, it is one sided. But I think that a lot of valuable information is included about how we see birth in the United States.
I thought about having a midwife for my son, but never did anything about it. I liked my OB, in hindsight he wasn't the best before conception and should have referred us to a fertility specialist sooner, but as far as the pregnancy and birth went, he was great. Midwives attend over 70% of births in Europe & Japan. In the United States, it's less than 8%. In the movie, they point out that very few doctors have ever observed a normal, natural birth in med school or at the hospital. Obstetricians are trained surgeons. That's what they are trained to do. Midwives are trained to help women give birth, and to help their bodies do what they are supposed to do. Dr. Jacques Moritz, one of the doctors featured in the film, goes as far as to say "For a normal, low risk woman, it's overkill going to a doctor. It's just too much, the doctor's not really excited about things when they're normal." Dr. Jacques Moritz St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital
The bottom line is that the average labor is 12 hours, a c-section takes 20 minutes. Peak times for c-sections taking place are 4 pm and 10 pm. Once you're in a hospital setting, it's almost certain that you will be in one of two situations. Either your labor will progress so fast that drugs are not an option, or you'll be given pitocin to augment and speed along your labor. Once that pitocin drip starts, you're on a slippery slope into a situation that starts to snowball. I experienced it during my labor - I new when they gave me pitocin that I wanted the epidural first. Pitocin pushes you into hard labor fast. Without drugs, it can get really painful really fast without working up to it. 90% of patients at some hospitals are put on pitocin. The pitocin leads to an epidural, which can lead to slowed labor, more pitocin and contractions that are so long and hard they send the baby into distress, leading to a c-section. If pitocin hadn't been given in the first place, a lot of mothers might be experiencing a more normal and natural labor instead of major surgery. Speaking of which, it seems like people forget that a c-section is a major surgery. The more you have, the higher the risk, and sometimes it can lead to antibiotic resistant infections. Yet, in subsequent pregnancies, many doctors will not recommend a vbac (vaginal birth after cesearian). Maybe they're afraid of getting sued, maybe they want to take the route that's easier on the schedule and just get that c-section fit in to a day at work. Whatever the reason, many women who could easily and safely experience natural childbirth after a c-section are not really given the opportunity. I think that a lot of women don't know, or it doesn't occur to them, that they can choose to switch doctors or fight harder if it's something they really want. We tend to blindly trust in medical professionals even when we might have a few doubts.
I knew before I went into labor that I wanted to try something different. I knew that birthing laying down on your back is not ideal, and I wanted to try squatting with a birthing bar, but the epidural made that impossible. One of the doctors in the film pointed out that the vertical birth (squatting or sitting up) is on the mother's time and will happen more smoothly on it's own.
There was one video of a woman giving birth at a birthing center. She was in the position that felt comfortable for her, leaning against a bed with her knees slightly bent. The midwives/support people were all squatting around her, on the floor, accomodating HER. It immediately came to my mind that this is the way birth SHOULD be.
I totally agree with the point they make in the movie that women in America don't have a normal picture of birth - TV shows screaming women and chaos, and women become afraid of the experience of giving birth. now, I think a certain amount of fear or reverence is healthy, but I definitely think I was more afraid than I needed to be about giving birth and the labor process. I was provided with plenty of images of hard births, of sweating and screaming. I was not provided with any images like some of the ones in the video, women birthing quietly, peacefully, on their own terms. There were a couple of videos of home births with midwives in the movie. One in particular was amazing, an African-American woman giving birth in a birthing pool. She moans during labor, but the delivery is serene and peaceful and almost spiritual. Ricki Lake had her 2nd birth at home and had her baby in the bathtub. Not as quiet, but also obviously a transcendant moment.
I think we should be asking ourselves why the US has the second worst newborn death rate in the developed world. We also have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in all industrialized countries. Dr. Michael Odent, one of the doctors featured in the film says "The fact that midwives have disappeared is a symptom of the fact taht we no longer remember what women in labor NEED [basic needs]. Today what we need to discover is how easy birth can be."
Why is home birth 'abnormal'? In 1900, 95% of births took place at home. In 1938 it was down to half, and today less than 1% of births take place at home. It's really interesting to me, because just like the doctor who said that a doctor may be overkill for a regular birth, perhaps it's true that a hospital may be overkill for a normal, uncomplicated birth. Women had their babies at home for hundreds and hundreds of years, and in many parts of the world, that's still the norm. But because of the way that birthing is portrayed in our society, I don't think that most women even consider home birth an option. Going to the hopsital is just what we do. But, guess what? Midwife/home birth can run $4000 while a normal hospital birth can run $13,000. We spend twice as much in the US per birth than any other country in the world. Why?
In the 1970s, fetal monitoring started to become the norm during labor. The c-section rate went from 5% to 25%. By 2005, it was up to 33%. Sometimes, having too much information might not be a good thing. Fetal monitoring allows the doctors to see every tiny thing. In some cases, it probably does save mothers lives and babies lives. But it's also worth thinking about what is being 'too careful' and leading to unnecessary interventions for mothers and their babies.
At some point during the movie, someone wonders if there could be a link between ADD, Austism etc. and birth interventions. Now, I freely admit that I don't know any facts about this, but it's an interesting idea. We could discover later that certain things being done now are having effects we don't know about (like thalidimyde). It's always a possibility.
Oxytocin, the natural chemical released during labor, birth and breastfeeding, promotes maternal agression. They are a love hormone, create a state of dependancy, addiction, attachment and maternal protection of the baby. Pitocin doesn't affect the brain the same way. could this be having an effect on the way we bond with our babies? In my mind, undoubtedly it causes changes. I'm not saying that it's the same for all women, but I wonder how many of the women who are not able to bond with their child right away might have been able to if they'd had a more natural labor? It's incredibly sad to me. It makes me wonder what I would have felt during birth if I'd held out and not augmented so soon, how much different would my experience have been? What would I have felt?
The filmmakers still believe that there are many options for every woman. Abby Epstein, the director, is pregnant and before the movie is over she goes into labor early and ends up having a c-section because her baby is breech and can't be turned. And it's okay, because that's what is best for that baby and that mother in that particular situation. Despite the fact that the film is providing information that is obviously skewed in one direction, I didn't feel like it was condemning any women for their choices. It's facts, it's information, it's another side to the story.
I don't know if I'll ever have another baby. Right now we're on the fence, and we're just not sure if another child is in the cards for us. If I have another one, I'll do things differently. I will check out the birth center here in Bellingham, and I will probably try hypnobirthing, and maybe water birth. I will try going much further into labor before asking for drugs. I wasn't at my breaking point last time, I only got the epidural at that point because I knew the pitocin would throw me into hard labor. If I knew then what I know now, I would have waited longer before getting the pitocin, if I got it at all. I'm sharing this stuff because I think it's important, I think that women need both sides of the story before they make their decisions, and a lot of the time they're not getting that.
How was your birth experience? Would you have done anything different? Did you do things differently with your first, second, third?
May 1, 2009
In the before time,
you were longed for. For two long
years, we waited, hoped.
Then you swam inside,
I loved you from the moment
I knew you were there.
Your birthday came, and
I held you to me for the
first time, miracle.
Suddenly you were
ONE, where did the time go? I
saw you crawl, walk.
A blink and you were
TWO, you began to know just
what you wanted... now!
Tomorrow, you'll be
THREE. You are tall and blonde, love
of our lives, always.
Tomorrow, you're going to be three years old. It's hard to believe that you've been with us so long. Sometimes I feel like time is escaping me, and I'm not sure where it's running off to. I can remember so vividly the first days with you. I would lie there and just stare at you as you slept, amazed by you.
I am still amazed by you. You're tall now, and when I carry you, I have to make sure you bend your legs to help balance your weight. Not that I can carry you for long, like I used to. Sometimes you ride on my shoulders, but these days you prefer to ride in a stroller or walk hand in hand. Your hair is still blonde, but it's not as platinum as when you were born. I hoped it would stay that way, and I can't wait for it to get lighter over the summer as you get some sun.
I still stare at your face, when I get the chance. You're constantly in motion, and when you aren't, you're often sitting on my lap. You still have the most amazing blue eyes and soft skin, and the other day I noticed your nose is starting to change a little bit - you're starting to gain your true appearance. Once that happens, you will have grown out of your babyhood completely. I can't wait for it, and at the same time, I will miss the soft round wideness of your baby nose.
Last year we were worried on your birthday because you weren't talking. This year, we know you have a lot to learn, but you are talking more and more every day. Today I asked if you wanted to touch a tree and you said "Don't want to touch tree, mama". You love Spongebob Squarepants, and we're hard pressed to get you to give anything else a chance on TV right now. You like a book I got before you were born called "Tickets to Ride". You still love cars and trains, and you're interested in boats too.
You love to eat hummus straight from the container, and you have been enjoying macaroni & cheese lately. You haven't been eating french fries, but last weekend we went to Wendy's and you polished off 10 chicken nuggets! You take after me in one area - you love chocolate and sweets. Sometimes we have to rid the house of them to get you off a kick of asking for it first thing in the morning.
It's a bittersweet time for me right now. You see, in a month or two I'm going to have to go to work. Unfortunately, we just can't afford for me NOT to work right now. I wish it could be different. I know that you will be okay. I know that I got to be with you during your first years, for three whole years, which I think is the most important time to be at home. I know that you will enjoy day care, playing with other kids, and that it will help your speech develop. But I know all of those things in my head. In my heart, I ache. I just want to be with you. You will probably not remember this time when you get older. Your dad, me, your whole family - we are so committed to you and your well being that I know you'll be fine. Better than fine, you will always be loved, cherished, and taught the right way to live. For now, you'll just have to understand when I hug you that much tighter, and kiss your face that much more when I see you after a long day.
I wish that there were words to share with you the way I feel about you, how proud I am of you, how amazed I am every day, but there just aren't. We're having a birthday party on Saturday, and you're going to be surrounded by people who love you. It's the first year that you understand what a birthday party is, that presents are for opening, and that birthday parties inevitably lead to birthday cake. I can't wait to watch you experience all of it.
Happy Birthday, bubba. You take my breath away.
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