Tuesday, December 27, 2005

It's Official

She's finally gotten into the garbage.  And I couldn't be more pleased.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Monday, December 26, 2005

Perspective

As you might have guessed from my last post, I am feeling a bit of the midwinter blues, and it's not really even midwinter yet. This has left me in a general state of dissatisfaction, but with little energy to do anything to change anything.

It was in this state that something I read reminded me of an old friend of mine from college, so I Googled her. I found that she is currently the CEO of a financial management firm that she founded several years ago (at age 27), that caters to "professional athletes, entertainers, and other high-wealth individuals". She still looks as good, if not better, than she did in college, which is saying something.

I know enough about her life (at least until age 25 or so) that I don't truly envy her, although the last I had heard about her she had been able to overcome some pretty bad parts of her life to find some personal happiness. But I have to admit that I envy her career, her intelligence (she earned a law degree and M.B.A. simultaneously, while going out nearly as much as I did -- and I didn't graduate), and frankly, I envy that she is 5'10" tall and weighs as much as my right thigh.

I went downstairs to get ready for bed, and check on Peanut (you can see where this is going, can't you?). She was awake, which I was kind of hoping for (when I stayed at home with her, I prayed and prayed that she would go to bed early and stay asleep late, but now I can't stand putting her to bed--one more reason working is probably the best choice for our me). She said "Mama!" and proceeded to chatter away, telling me about Pooh and Lumpy and Baby (her little Panda). She talked about Sophie and barked and panted to show me what Sophie says. She took my face in her hands and named all the parts she knew, and then started pointing to parts she doesn't know, for me to name them (apparently we hadn't gone over "neck" and "upper lip" before). She started playing with the straps of my tank top while telling me about Boppa and Dada and Kee and every other possible thing she could think of to keep me from leaving the room. Then she started saying, "Hoppy, hoppy", which I think is Hop, because she's started say "Uppy" for up, and we were talking about Rabbit and Piglet and Tee-er. So I say, Yes, Rabbit hops, but she repeats it. And then she started making the sign. "Are you saying you're happy, Peanut?" She smiled hugely and nods, Yes.

Yes, Peanut, Happy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I Hate Jingle Bells

I am telling you, I do not play piano well but I will be more than happy to travel to Sesame Street and teach Elmo how to play a different goddamn song on the piano RIGHT NOW.

Work has been kicking my ass, along with assorted chores that being a responsible parent, homeowner, friend, and petowner/foster parent require. I haven't been able to do anything but collapse into bed each evening pretty much for the last few weeks. So I am behind on emails, blogreading, forum reading, you name it. The good news is that I have some cute pics of Peanut (since that's all anyone comes here for, after all), the bad news is that I have to scan them and that would necessitate staying coherent past seven pm. I have had a lot of lovely people comment on my blog lately, and I would like to respond to you, so please be patient if I haven't, or if you've emailed me and I haven't responded. I suck, I know.

Nikki, if you see this, your present is going to be late because it has to be delivered to my house instead of yours, for some damn reason.

I'm PMS'ing, with my period due on Christmas Eve, so yes, I'm a bit cranky.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Randomness

  • How come on Little Bear, the toad can't talk but the frog sounds like a professor of diction?
  • Does anyone else hate Baby Bear on Sesame Street as much as I do? I would rather listen to Barney all day than ten minutes of that creature.
  • So a few weeks ago, I ran into the woman who first suggested that I was "lucky" that Peanut wasn't walking yet. We chatted, asking about each other's kids. I told her that no, she isn't walking, but her speech is coming along, and she can even count now, and recognize her numbers. "Oh really? Wow. B-- can't count yet..." (B is 3 months older than Peanut). The feelings I had were wrong, just wrong, I know.
  • Did I mention that Peanut not only can count ("On, Ooo, Tee), but she can point to the number and say it? She confuses 7 for 2 and 9 for 6 sometimes, but still. And you should see her try and figure out how to hold up three fingers when she counts to three.
  • Don't worry, I haven't gotten a Harvard application yet. She still doesn't realize that she can control where she goes on her scooter, so when she wants to get something across the room (and she can't get there by going backwards--she's big on going backwards) she asks to go "up!" instead or wants me to get it for her.
  • I can't find my digital camera, so that's why there are no pictures of her on the scooter posted. The question you should be asking isn't, "How can she misplace an expensive piece of electronics like that?", it is "How did she manage to keep track of something smaller than her head for more than an hour in her house, considering the condition it is in?"
  • So we went to Houston last weekend for Big Daddy's big birthday (he's just old, we don't need to use actual numbers anymore). We saw Jennifer and family (Big Daddy was best man in their wedding), which was wonderful. Man, those kids are cute, aren't they?
  • On the way home from Houston, we flew from Minneapolis to Madison with Al Franken. He flew coach, carried his own luggage, was gracious signing autographs, and was sweet to Peanut. I was a fan before, but even more so now.
  • It's really freaking cold here. Well, really cold, anyway. But Big Daddy finally cleaned out the garage, so I can park my car in it. Woohoo!
  • Did you realize that my post on the bad sci-fi book got more comments than anything else I've ever posted?
  • The state's sex offender website now has addresses (it used to be just a listing by zip code). I knew that across the street and down the block there was some kind of halfway-house/transitional housing, but that didn't really bother me, as they are all over Madison, helping substance abusers, the disabled, etc. Of course, now I see that they are housing a man convicted of first-degree sexual assault of a child. One that the state tried to obtain a sex-offender commitment on after his sentence was complete, as a "sexually violent person", which isn't all that common to do (the petition was denied). We won't be walking over there anymore.
  • I now have three kittens and a possibly pregnant mama cat in my spare room right now. This is in addition to the three cats and dog already roaming the house. I don't think this officially makes me a crazy cat lady, but it certainly makes me eligible. Anyone looking for a kitten?
  • Why is it that I can write wonderful posts (trust me) in my head all day long, but as soon as I sit in front of the computer, they fly right out of my head?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Finally

It's time to do some babyproofing.

Peanut's Grandmomma came to visit for Thanksgiving, and brought a new toy. It is a wooden ride-on toy somewhat like a motorcycle. Now, she has one already, a plastic one which was great for her first one because the seat is wide and she could sit on it without tipping. She didn't really know what to do with it, though. Mostly she sat and held her feet up while we pushed her around the house. She likes to sit on it next to other toys or furniture so she can reach them from a different angle. She'll push herself back and forth using the chair.

But, she's been in her stander, and is much stronger now. Strength, of course, is not the only issue. She needs to learn what other babies pick up naturally: how to coordinate all the muscles in your legs to kick from the knee, or take a step.

She's learning.

Yesterday, it all came together and she got on the new scooter with its narrower seat that made it easier for her to push, first with one leg and then with the next, and in the end with both together (this is why her physical therapist ultimately doesn't like these toys). She moved aross the rug. And kept moving. By the end of the day she was moving all the way through the living room, through the dining room and into the kitchen. We'd get her turned around, and she went all the way back. Again and again.

I don't know if you can understand that she really hasn't been able to move at all, no more than rolling over once in each direction (before her last two surgeries, she could roll a few more times, but she was littler and it really didn't do much for her). She can't sit up on her own from a lying-down position. She has been completely dependent on us to get her whatever she wants, to choose a toy or book that would suit her, to figure out whether she wants to sit or lie down. Think about the toddlers you know, and imagine them having to sit in a chair for even an hour while someone tried to figure out what would keep them entertained and stimulated. It's like living permanently with a toddler in an airplane seat. So when Big Daddy and I saw her intently pushing this scooter across the room to get at some blocks she wanted to play with, well, it still brings tears to my eyes.

We had a happy Thanksgiving. How about you?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Problem

...with reading some old science fiction books is that you feel the need periodically to shout, "They have time travel in 2054 but no cell phones?" and throw the book across the room.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

They Just Use Your Mind, And They Never Give You Credit

This job thing? Not going as well as I'd hoped.

But it doesn't matter anymore, because I will no longer have it at the end of next month. Yep, that's right. As I so cleverly wrote in the cover letter I sent with my resume yesterday, my position has been eliminated. This is the nice way of saying that I've been screwed. This isn't because of anything I did or didn't do, it's just a cost-saving measure on the part of the person who hired my company to provide services (and they hired me to provide them). Gosh, that sounds slightly, I don't know, dirty? It's not actually, though I certainly feel like Julia Roberts when Richard Gere threw that money down on the table in Pretty Woman after he reminded her that she was a really just a hooker. Except I'd be happy to take the money.

From day one I felt as if no one wanted me to succeed. Not counting my direct supervisor, of course, and I'm not saying that just because she reads my blog. She hired me because she thought it would be a nice, easy job, a reward for all the crap positions I have taken in the past. It reached the point last week that an employee of the man who hired my company, someone I have to work with every day and who is supposed to take orders from me, threatened to sabatoge the place if I called his boss because he couldn't get the work done. His boss's initial response was, "Well, I wasn't there, I didn't hear him say that".

So while I'm not really thrilled to be starting over, I can't say that I'm particularly heartbroken to leave this particular place. Never in all my life have I worked with so much hostility around me, and that includes the place where I got sexually harrassed on a regular basis (I was 18, and it never occurred to me that it was wrong, as it was the way men treated me normally), and the place where I got physically threatened by people involved in an attempted murder (this was not my fault, I just happened to be the authority figure). Of course, that makes it sound like perhaps I an deluding myself regarding my ability to get along with others, but I swear I'm not. My father was a divorce lawyer, and as a child I had to learn polite ways of dealing with some of the very angry people who would call him up at home demanding he solve a child-custody dispute right then and there. "Um, I'm only eight" didn't tend to dissuade them very often. My first job was in a collection agency, and all subsequent jobs have involved customer service in one form or another. I generally get along with people that I work with. Do your job, and I don't really care what else you do, unless it's gross or something. So these last few months have been a bit of a trial.

Anyway, I sent out a resume, I will send out a few more, and I have an offer to stay with my company that I am considering. I have tried to figure out any possible way I could just stay home again, but it's too late in the season to grow all our produce in the backyard and start raising chickens, so I guess I'll keep working. Unless somebody wants to pay me to write this blog daily... trust me, you can't pay me much less than I make now.

I won't even get in to the family stuff. I am related to some complete loons, mean ones, and that's all that can really be said.

The good news is that Peanut is doing very well. Her follow-up visit to the orthopedic surgeon was positive, and he continues to be pleased with the results of her surgeries. Her speech therapist thinks she is right on track, with as many words as you would expect her to have between her signs and her vocalizations. Just when I thought I was going to have to buckle down and start teaching her to count (several of the kids in her playgroup can, and one kid could sing the alphabet song at 20 months), she started counting the blocks in the stack she made (7--that's as high as she can reach). She has a stander* that she is in each day for 20 minutes or so, and she's getting stronger each time. I started taking her to swim lessons, and while she's terrified of the instructor, a very nice man from San Antonio with a long black ponytail, she is loving the water. I wish we could get out and see her friends more, but we'll work that out soon, I hope.

So how are you all doing?

* Not quite like hers, but it will give you the idea

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Just The Most Dramatic Part


When the worst part of your day is not the time you spend burying the carcass of the cute bunny your dog caught, killed, and started to eat in your backyard, you know it is time to drink heavily.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Little Bit Of ...

So lately Peanut has been waking up screaming in the middle of the night for no discernible reason. She will not be consoled with milk, rocking, lullabies, books, snacks, even cuddling in our bed. No, there is one thing, and one thing only, that she wants in order to end the tears:

Mambo.

Yes, that's right. Grandma has been playing Latin music for her during the day, taught her to say, "mambo", and now until we turn on the Salsa y Merengue music channel on our cable TV when she wakes up, she will cry and wail and thrash and scream. This has meant listening to an inordinate amount of Marc Anthony at two in the morning.

And people wonder why I'm grumpy. I'll be ordering some Tito Puente presently.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fuzzy

We have two stray kittens in our spare room. I hope to soon have their mother and other sibling join them. The room is a bit cluttered, and I have no idea where they are hiding. I looked under the chair, and thought I had found one, but instead it was a dustbunny made of cat hair the same size. I guess I need to get up here and clean more often.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

See, I Can Be Perfectly Polite--To A Point

"What's wrong with my daughter? Well, she has a congenital condition that means that she can't move all her joints and her muscles are fairly weak. That's why she can't walk."

"Yes, we hope she'll be able to walk sometime soon."

"Yes, her mind is okay."

"No, as far as I know, I didn't do anything to cause it. No one really knows the cause."

"Yes, we are very grateful that she's alive."

"Yes, she is probably frustrated at not being able to get up and play with her friends."

"I am sure she will get teased at some time in her life, but really, doesn't everyone get teased about something in school?"

"I know it's nice to not have to chase her out of the garbage cans, but I really wouldn't call that 'lucky' in this case."

Friday, September 30, 2005

"When the floods came, we knew we could help wipe out their tears"

There are still good people in this world.


If you aren't familar with the history of the Hmong refugees, read this and this. The Hmong are a group of people from Laos who lived in a primarly agrarian, non-literate society. They practice an animist relgion. They fought on the American side against the communists in Laos during the Vietnam war, and when we pulled out, they were left by the wayside. The lucky ones escaped through the mountains and jungles, crossing the Mekong River into Thailand, and were gathered into refugee camps. The last of these camps/settlements were recently closed, forcing the residents to leave, though they were still not allowed to return to Laos. Starting in 1975, the US started to do the right thing and brought over thousands of Hmong that had assisted us, but many were still left behind. When the last camps were closed last year, the US again opened spots up for their resettlement here, mostly in California and Minnesota.

The Kajsiab House is an unique institution that provides desperately needed services to these people, and is (of course) constantly in danger of losing all funding. Most of the people that use its services are as poor as anybody in this country is, with even fewer options than most because of language and cultural issues, as well as mental health effects from the trauma they've lived through. I don't know how I can make clear to people who aren't familiar with this understand what it meant for these folks to come up with over $500, but trust me, it brought tears to my eyes.

(I have new pictures to post, but I can't get to it until later this weeekend at the earliest)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why I've Been Gone

Work (what is this bullshit about only two-day weekends?).

Weird, crazy, mean extended family members. You wouldn't believe me if I told you.

Peanut sick (she's ok now).

Out-of-state wedding.

Bad Mama sick (not ok yet).

Thanks for hanging in there, if you still are. I'll be back.

Monday, September 05, 2005

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them"


Seventy-eight year old Elizabeth Joseph lies on
a cot in the Reliant Astrodome on Sunday.
--Photo by Steve Campbell, Houston Chronicle



With apologies to Bitch Ph.D.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Small Fantasy

So at the National Review Online, they are suggesting that the next Republican Convention be held in New Orleans in 2008, as a symbol of their "commitment to rebuilding New Orleans" (apparently they're breaking with Hastert on this).

I think that's a fine idea.

I think the convention should be held in the Superdome. Tours could be given.

"This is one of many places in the dome where a woman was raped. Over there, you can see where one of the babies that died spent his first and last week of life. And if you'll just look across the way, there, the railing above the the pressbox? That's where a man jumped to his death, after telling people he had nothing left. And now is time for the exciting part of our tour. We're ready!

[The tour guide shouts, and the lights go out] Power went out during the early stages of the hurricane, so we wanted to give you a taste. And while we can't take the roof off to let the rain pour in, hah hah, I'll use this hose to hose you all down, and we'll just let it run for a while around your feet. Here's a bucket of human waste to pass around. Now you have some idea of the smell. But wait, better hang onto that bucket! Because the best part of the tour is about to begin!

Yes, the doors are locking as we speak, and with the power shut off, the air-conditioning will stop working, and the power-assisted toilets will stop flushing. And I hope you thought to bring a case of bottled water, because there isn't going to be any for you for a while. Sorry, no food either, because we wouldn't want you getting too comfortable for this next week! You might not want to leave! Oh, don't let me forget to mention, if you didn't think to grab your medication on your way here, I'm afraid you won't be able to replace it. I'm sure your doctor prescribed that heart medication for you just for the kickbacks from the drug companies, and you'll be just fine.

I hear some grumbling in the back, something about this isn't what you signed up for. Well, no, I don't imagine so, but you know that at any time, your party leadership can come and get you. They aren't actually here now, you know. Condi Rice is on vacation, shopping for shoes right now. Nobody knows where Dick Cheney is. And your president? He's on a helicopter right now, taking an aerial tour. I know he understands how frustrated you are right now. But Trent Lott's house is bigger and better than before, so I'm sure that will bring you some comfort! If it doesn't, please note that rifles will be available on your way out, in about seven days".

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Fact Of Life

I have to turn on the word verification feature for comments because I am starting to get hit with comment spam. If you have any problems with it, please email me.


Stupid, icky people out there. Sorry.

An Aside

Can I just say that I have some really evil fucking relatives? Because with everything else going on, I really need to deal with them too.

No Funny Title

I can't link to this AP story because it is on AOL and I can't find it anywhere else yet, but:

In a stunning example of how desperate the situation has become, 25 babies who had been in a makeshift neonatal intensive care unit at New Orleans' Ochsner Clinic were airlifted Wednesday to hospitals in Houston, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Birmingham, Alabama. Many were hooked up to battery-operated breathing machines keeping them alive.

Their parents had been forced to evacuate and leave the infants behind; by late in the day, most if not all had been contacted and told where their babies were being taken, said hospital spokeswoman Katherine Voss.

"We actually encouraged them to leave. It would just be more people to evacuate if there was a problem," said Dr. Vince Adolph, a pediatric surgeon.

When Peanut was taken to the NICU after she was born, I was willing to risk my life to get up and get to her. I can't even fathom what these parents were feeling.

My good friend and boss, Dana, has all of her extended family in New Orleans. Well, had, as most of them evacuated. One family member that stayed behind to help those he knew were going to need help has been rescued (after helping others that couldn't leave be rescued), but the fate of her grandfather, seriously ill in a nursing home that did not evacuate, is still not known. All of these people have lost their homes, their jobs and businesses, everything.

Please send a donation to your local Red Cross. All the local branches donate to the effort, and these people are going to need the help. There is no insurance that covers the rebuilding of an entire major city.

I can't even start about the tragedy in Iraq--it's just too much to comprehend.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Here

... but really fucking tired. And since my boss reads this blog (hi Dana), I won't be able to post from work, even when finally get a computer in the office. Because of course I will always be working.

I miss Peanut so much when I'm there that it hurts.

She has chosen the last week as the appropriate time to

1) Start talking.

2) Stop sleeping.

She ask for Mama now, and she says quack and knock-knock and Ow for meow. She pants when you ask her what a dog says, and she sticks out her tongue and hums when you ask her what a cow says. This makes sense once you realize that her major exposure to cows has been from this book, which my mother makes lick her. She uses sign language for cracker and cheese and milk and all-done and want and eat and sometimes please and more and banana and applesauce, as well as for some other things I can't figure out yet. She can make the signs for a lot more stuff, but hasn't felt the need to do so after the one day she showed me she could. I guess that makes sense. While this is nowhere near what most kids her age can do, when you consider she said nothing but an occasional mamama and had only three signs in mid-June, I'm feeling pretty pleased.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tomatoes, Tomahtoes

Who Would Jesus Kill?

Salt Mines

I am back to work. The fact that Peanut seems to be adjusting well is because she is so securely attached to me that she isn't concerned that I'm not coming back, especially when Grandma is so much fun in the meantime, right?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Uh, What's The Book Award Called?

This is why I have no college degree.

I'd have won a Pulitzer by now, if it weren't for Mug Night at the KK every Monday, I swear. Oh, and 6 for $6 Molsons on Wednesdays at Brats, and the Long Island Iced Teas at the Red Shed, and knowing the (male) bartenders at various establishments throughout the campus area. Or a Nobel. I would have a Nobel, really, I would.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Everybody Here Is All Right

I'll update, as now the news is getting out about how much damage was done by these tornados, and people are emailing me.

The worst of the storms went just north and just south of Madison. I hardly had any wind, just heavy rain. The tornado sirens went off four times in an hour. I used to be an EMT so I listened to the emergency radio traffic to hear about the damage, and in southern Dane county it was a swath at least 11 miles long. Houses have been flattened, crops destroyed, power lines down everywehere. People were describing a wedge-shaped tornado that threw debris for miles, and people were reporting finding paper and building debris sixty miles to the east (including TJ, who commented on my last post). A retired meteorologist who had worked in Oklahoma called into the news station I was watching and said that he saw the tornado, and it resembled the ones that hit Oklahoma City several years ago, and he guessed it was at least an F3.

The television meteorologists have a neat new technology that allows them to see the direction of the wind on the radar screen. It shows up as red pixels in a sea of green pixels when the wind is rotating, the red being the wind moving one direction and the green another. This is what the National Weather Service means when they say "radar indicates a possible tornado". The meteorologist I was watching would highlight an area where he said there was possible rotation, and within minutes the siren would sound and there would be a report of a tornado. It was amazing, and I believe that it probably saved lives, because up until that point all the attention was focused on the storms to the north, as they had a history of serious damage (the wind took out nearly every tree in one small town). Stoughton is to the south, and an hour previous looked like it was barely going to get rained on.

Anybody looking to donate, the Badger chapter of the Red Cross is helping the victims.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

This Is Why I Live Here

Tornados hit around my city this afternoon. The destruction was pretty bad--whole subdivisions lost, a swath of damage miles long, one man killed in his basement by his falling chimney. But it could have been worse:

The roof was torn off the Stoughton Country Club, said the club's executive chef, Lenny Peaslee. As the storm approached, golfers started coming off the course, and about 40 people huddled in the club's basement and waited, he said.

"We were ... hiding behind the bar," Peaslee said. "We had beer, anyway."

It's Just The Way It Is

Peanut, when you are told that the object you are holding does not go into your mouth, rest assured that it probably doesn't go into your nose, either. Nor is it likely lickable instead. This goes double for expensive electronics.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

I'll Turn It Off Now (And One More!)

Questions I have been pondering:

  • What kind of animal is Uniqua in The Backyardigans? There is a moose, a penguin, a hippo, and a kangaroo (I think), but I don't know what she is supposed to be. A lizard? And how do I get this song out of my head?
  • Why is Piggley's mother anatomically correct for an adult woman when she's a pig? Dannan doesn't have fingers, after all; she has feathers instead. Will she grow breasts too as she gets older?
  • I don't know about yours, but my cats would have eaten George Shrinks rather than made friends with him. And what is up with his parents, anyway? He's about three inches tall, but they don't seem to know where the hell he is most of the time.
  • Why do Little Bear's parents wear clothes, but Little Bear doesn't?

At Least I'm Not Snape

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Oh Yeah I'm Pissed

I find this* so incredibly disgusting I have no words. This is what is being done in your name, people. This is what being American means now:

Foreign citizens who change planes at airports in the United States can legally be seized, detained without charges, deprived of access to a lawyer or the courts, and even denied basic necessities like food, lawyers for the government said in Brooklyn federal court yesterday.

The men in my family that were eligible have all served in the military, and despite my liberal political bent I seriously considered serving too, but was denied because of health problems. Instead, I have served my country by serving people in need, volunteering and working with poor families and for a local Emergency Medical Service. We always put up the flag on Memorial Day and other holidays, my grandfather teaching me how to treat it respectfully. My grandmother insisted that voting was one of the greatest privileges and responsiblities I would ever have, and reminded me to vote in every election, no matter how small, and I have only missed two elections since I turned 18. I take my role as a citizen of this country very seriously, not least because I know how many people sacrificed themselves so that I can have the life that I have now. So when I read about what this government is trying to do, for the sake of the American people, it makes me more than a little angry.

It is no longer good enough to say, "Well, I didn't vote for him". It is no longer good enough to write in a blog about how badly these people are screwing up, to watch The Daily Show and laugh at how dumb the president is. It is time to DO something about it. It's time to get active, to give money if you have it, time if you don't. I'm just as guilty as anyone, and I will attempt to change that in the next few days. Wouldn't you want other people doing this for you?

You know that old chant they use against people like me--If you don't like America, then why don't you just leave? I am not leaving because this is MY country, and I have every right to be pissed off. I don't want to live in a country that thinks that it is okay to treat people in this way, and if you don't like it, then maybe you should leave. Plenty of dictatorships around that should suit you. Please. Get the hell out.

And if you think it couldn't happen to you, because you are an American citizen, you're wrong. Is this what you stand for? Is this what you're proud of? Because I am not, and I'll be damned if I let anyone make me ashamed to be an American.

*via Making Light

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Memo To Peanut

We play Honk the Nose in this house, not Honk the Nipple. At least when your daddy isn't home.

She slept through the night last night! Yay!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sooo Tired

I have wanted to write about how great things have been with Peanut since her cast came off, but things have not been great. I am here now because I am escaping her crying, which has continued on-and-off (though mostly on) for the last two hours because I won't pick her up and carry her around all night long. This has been an issue, both day and night, for the last week. First, we thought it was pain in her leg, because as soon as you brushed her foot she would cry inconsolably for a good half an hour. Yet just before that happened, we could be touching and playing with and moving that foot, so while it could be some nerve pain, I don't believe it is cry-for-30-minutes nerve pain. Then, we realized that she had a little fever, and a molar coming in, and also seemed to cry when she wet her diaper. So we took her to the pediatrician, who said she maybe had a UTI but couldn't tell without more invasive testing, and maybe it was teething pain, so just keep giving her pain meds and watch to see if she cried when she wet. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't. Most often, she cries when she wants something she can't have, but then she cries and cries and cries, as much or more as when she was a newborn. So stress, teething, some leg pain, all of these are probably contributing. None of this helps when my muscles are seizing up from holding her and she is refusing to go to sleep.

Oh, and it looks like I'm going back to work full-time in a couple of weeks. Perfect timing.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

To Peanut, At 18 Months

Peanut, I want to thank you for a gift that you have given me. Because of you, I have truly been able to let go of past regrets over choices I have made in my life. All the wrong turns I made were in reality the right ones, because without them, I might never have had you in my life. I too now understand why some parents are always pushing to be made grandparents. One of my greatest wishes for you is that you are able to have a daughter or son someday and feel the tremendous love for them that I feel for you, because it is the greatest gift I have ever been given. You rock, little girl.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Better Late Than Never

I bought Peanut some pajamas with little ballerinas all over them, with a shirt that says "Future Prima Ballerina".

There is no way I could have done this even a few months ago. But looking at those adorable pjs, I came to a realization that perhaps I should have come to a long time ago:

It isn't that I want her to be a ballerina, it's that I want her to feel graceful and beautiful when she moves.

It isn't that I want her to be a fighter pilot, it's that I want her to feel powerful and competent and able to do things that some men think she can't.

It isn't that I want her to be a soccer star, it's that I want her to feel strong and energetic and comfortable with her body.

It isn't that I want her to climb Mt. Everest, it's that I want her to be able to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate nature.

It isn't that I want her to be a beauty queen, it's that I want everyone else to recognize how gorgeous and talented she is.

I can help her with most of those things. I can help her to feel good about herself, I can feed her healthy foods and get her outside and active, I can encourage her to develop into the kind of person she wants to be. I can't fix her legs, but I can tell her how proud I am of her, and how confident I am in her strength, and how much I love her.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Loose Ends

She's fine. In some pain now that the hip is moving, but that will ease over the next couple of days. She no longer smells like a zoo or appears to be shedding her shell now that she's had a bath. She isn't moving the right leg yet, but I am hopeful that as the pain lessens that will change. No more surgeries are scheduled for now, and she doesn't have to see that doctor until November, when he will make sure her hip is still in place and take a baseline x-ray of her spine (AMC patients often develop scoliosis, although we don't think that will be an issue with her).

After she stops hurting, the swimming pool awaits!

We are going to stay with Carlos. I put the quotation marks around his name after realizing people didn't realize he wasn't actually Catie's uncle--more like unofficial godfather. He's one of my oldest friends, and I have stayed with him plenty of times, including the time that led to me meeting Big Daddy. And considering the old apartment, I was not sure his new one would be big enough or appropriate for keeping Peanut there. He has assured me that it is, and I believe him. I wasn't implying he isn't nice to stay with--he is, and I had planned to come back and visit him another time if we didn't stay with him this time--just that I might have more time to relax and be pampered if we were in a hotel. Despite--or perhaps because of--having lived in New York City, I still have this fantasy of being there with some actual money and enjoying all the fancy stuff money can get you in that city (not that I currently have much actual money, but I have enough to eat which is more than I can say for when I lived there). But, as Carlos is planning on babysitting Peanut while we attend the wedding (it is smack dab in the middle of her nap, which is why she won't be coming as it wouldn't be fun for anyone), it will certainly be easier for all of us not to be shuttling back and forth between a hotel and his apartment.

That's it.

After


All done!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Parenting Tip #432

You know that washcloth you just used to wash your child's butt? Don't absentmindedly hang it back up on the towel rack. This may lead to disaster, and you will have no one to blame but yourself.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I Still Can't Sleep

Ok, I have this question. The family and I have to travel to New York City in September for a wedding. This will be the first family vacation we have taken that didn't mean staying at a relative's house nor involve Big Daddy working in years. He and I had one night at a B&B for Mother's Day, but other than that, nada, because he used up all his vacation time on the birth and Peanut's surgeries. So, with that in mind, we have a choice to make:

*We can stay with "Uncle" Carlos, who has graciously offered us his little extra room in his new apartment in Park Slope. This would leave us with money to spare, as well as good company. It would not, however, lead to a whole lot of comfortable sleep and amenities, lovely as the new place is (although it is steps away from Prospect Park, which might be nice for walking with Peanut).

*We can blow the budget and stay in a swanky hotel, complete with 300 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, soundproof windows, and Molton Brown bath products. While it would not be quite as expensive as it sounds, it would likely not leave me any extra money for fabulous new shoes. It would be convenient for other sight-seeing/reminiscing, and be, well, more like a vacation, even with the crib in the room (we are talking suite here, so we won't necessarily have to go to bed when Peanut does)

I am leaning towards the Uncle Carlos option, not the least of which is because of the company, but mostly because what good is it for me to stay at some fancy hotel in Manhattan near Saks when I can't buy anything there? On the other hand, we are talking about a queen-sized bed with soft sheets and room service and possibly celebrities throwing cell phones in the lobby. And if I shop very, very carefully I am sure I can find something good to wear. It doesn't actually have to be currently in fashion because after all, I am from the Midwest and no one will expect me to look chic so anything even moderately cool will work. No, I am not asking Big Daddy's opinion, because he will end up going with whatever I want because I will wear him down if he disagrees and he knows it.

Did I mention the bride used to be a fitness model, and now has a doctorate in neuropsychology? You'd better believe I am dieting so hard that afterwards my metabolism will grind to a screeching halt to keep me alive, but I don't care as long as I don't look so very well-fed on that weekend.

I Wish I Could Sleep

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

See? I Told You I Was A Bad Mama

Are You A Bad Parent?

At first, I thought this was a satire of militant attachment-parenting people.

It isn't.


Edited to add: I forgot to say I got the link via the comments at Chez Miscarriage. They'll be gone soon, but I want to give fair attribution.

Ode to Bob, Larry, and Jim


The weather has gotten completely unreasonable again, and so we are stuck inside, and it is too hot to be on the computer much. I had to brave the oven-like heat for this, however. This is what is getting us through these weeks where I can't set foot outside with Peanut lest she melt inside the body cast. This is the handiwork of my stepfather, Bob, his buddy Larry, and their friend Jim's very expensive saw. They made Peanut a chair that can hold her sitting upright and a table that curves around her so that she can reach everything, even though she can't bend at the waist. Previously, the only way to have her sitting upright was to have her straddling my leg. That's right, I had to hold her ALL DAY LONG, and attempt to figure out what on earth it was that she was pointing and grunting for me to pick up and give her. As you can imagine, she is much, much happier like this. Thanks, guys. You have no idea how much you have improved the lives of both of us.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Just Sayin'

I live in a city where not only is it possible to see a white man with dreadlocks every single time I go out of the house, but more likely than not he wearing a tie-dyed shirt and is carrying bongo drums. In fact, I think I would find it surprising to see one without the drums.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Don't Go Changin'

Just experimenting with HTML and color. Not asking for opinions yet, as I am not done, but if you particularly like something, feel free to say so. I know that the countdown ticker at the bottom is cheesy, but I don't know how to make my own quite yet so there you go.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Boring Day

Exciting times around Bad Mama's house.  At least the bowl is a clean one.
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Friday, July 08, 2005

Duty

So, if I can figure out where to send the money, anyone want to chip in some donations for baby Manuel in Peru? I doubt he has access to all the outside therapy and help that Peanut does, and as a parent that would drive me crazy. It's hard enough to have a child with moderate AMC with access to the best medical care, doctors, therapy, and equipment money can buy. Though it appears he does have good medical care at the moment, in a country where over forty percent of the population earns less than two dollars a day, the continuing care he will need is probably not available to him. Anyway, it's an idea. Anyone want to join in?

And from John Kovalic's site, via Making Light:

To quote an old Londoner who lived through the blitz and got caught up in the Canary Wharf explosion: "I've been blown up by a better class of bastard than this!"

We're with you in spirit.

So There

Here's a copy of the letter I sent to the March of Dimes, so you can see there is more to me than just Fuck You.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am the mother of a child with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. I
recently came across an news article written by a Reuters reporter that quoted Richard Leavitt, your director of science information, regarding a
boy born in Peru with arthrogryposis. "It's very rare that all four limbs
should be affected,", is the quote in the article, which appears to be the
basis for the idea that this is a newsworthy story. Furthermore, the
reporter, Robin Emmott, goes on to say the child has been "dubbed the
lobster baby" because of his congenital condition, though there was no
indication of exactly who came up with that name.

I believe that what Mr. Leavitt was referring to was the fact that amniotic
banding rarely involves all four limbs, which is what appears to have
happened in this case, while as I am sure that he is aware, arthrogryposis
is most commonly found in all four limbs. I furthermore believe that he
would not support his statements being the basis of a news story using such
a derogatory nickname. Nowhere in any research that I have done have I come
across an reference to this nickname, and it appears to be either an
invention of the reporter or a local nickname for the child. This child's
father is already refusing to acknowledge him, according to the story, and
the headline and story as written only help reinforce his decision, as it
presents the child as if he were a sideshow exhibit.

I respectfully request that Mr. Leavitt or someone from your organization
contact Reuters and this reporter and protest the inaccuracies and
sensationalist tone of the article. It has been disseminated to several
other major news organizations. I can't imagine what some child or parent
searching for information about this condition will feel when they run
across this story. I have had seventeen months to get used to the idea that
my child has a rare disabling condition, and this was a shocking and
humiliating surprise. I have already written Reuters, and have received no
response. I will be writing them again, asking for either an amendment or a
retraction, as well as an apology. The article in question can be found at
www.reuters.com, in their science section for July 1, 2005. I am not
including the direct URL because it is very long, but would be happy to if
necessary. I thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Oh Yeah, Something Else Happened Today, A Few Years Back

So with all the stupid people I almost forgot to mention that today I have been married to Big Daddy for eight years. EIGHT YEARS, PEOPLE. That's more time than he spent getting his bachelor's degree. He is spending this day in Boston fixing some doctor's expensive piece of medical equipment. He said he finally told one tech that today was his anniversary, and she felt sorry for him, but not sorry enough to say, "Go home to your wife! This silly hunk of silicon doesn't matter when it's your anniversary!" Considering he was once fired from a job on our anniversary, I suppose I shouldn't be too upset.

I was feeling all warm and fuzzy about the day until I discovered that today is also Dubya's birthday, meaning now I will always think of The Evil on my anniversary. Big Daddy then pointed out that our glorious marriage has redeemed an otherwise dark day in history, so I felt better, and now you know why I married him.

I Win (Sort Of)

I have yet to receive any sort of response from Reuters, much less an apology, but I did receive this, after writing to the March of Dimes because their expert was quoted in the story:


... Terms that liken human
malformations and other anatomical abnormalities to features of nonhuman
animals are less commonly used now than in the past, but still not everyone
realizes how offensive most of them are. I will make this point to Reuters
shortly, as I'm not happy having the March of Dimes or myself associated
with such tabloid treatment of the family's misfortune.

Sincerely,
Dick Leavitt
Director of Science Information
Office of the Medical Director
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation


They're getting another donation from me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lock Me In A Small, Windowless Room With That Writer

It's been linked to all over. "Weird news" sites too. How do you teach your child she's not a freak when respected news organizations the world over seem to disagree?

I don't have the energy anymore to write to every place that picked it up, but I will try again tonight.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

That Sound You Hear Is Me Screaming

Rare 'Lobster' Baby Born in Peru
By Robin Emmott, Reuters

LIMA, Peru (July 1) - A Peruvian woman has given birth to a boy dubbed the "lobster baby" because of a rare condition in which his arms and legs are deformed and wrapped like claws around his body, doctors said on Friday.

One-month-old Moises Chavez, who was brought to Lima this week after he was born in Peru's central Andes, is one of only a few babies worldwide born with the defect in all four limbs, said Dr. Luis Rubio, who will lead the baby's long treatment.

The condition, known as arthrogryposis, or curvature of the joints, is found in one limb in about 1 in every 3,000 births in the United States. But experts in birth defects said Moises' situation was much less common.

"It's very rare that all four limbs should be affected," said Richard Leavitt, Director of Science Information at the U.S.-based National March of Dimes Foundation.

Rubio told Reuters that the amniotic bands within the mother's amniotic sack got tangled up around the fifth month of pregnancy, wrapping the baby in a mummy-like position and preventing his arms and legs from growing.

"His brain seems to be fine and his life's not in danger, so our goal is to give him the use of his hands and arms," Rubio said. "I'd love him to walk, but I just don't know," he told Reuters at the hospital run by Lima town hall where Moises will be treated.

Dark-haired Moises, who weighs 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) and is 13 inches (33 cm) long, cries and reacts to sound but his leg bones are bent at a 90-degree angle from his body, while his hands are distorted outward as his tiny elbows hug his chest.

Moises' mother, Marisol Chavez, 21, appealed for aid when he was born in the Andean village of San Jeronimo, 250 miles east of Lima.

"I hope he gets better. My wish is he can play and run with the other children in the street," said Chavez.

Moises' grandfather, Rodolfo Trinidad, 65, said the father has refused to recognize the baby. "He says it's not his, he's horrified," Trinidad said.

Rubio said funding for the treatment, which could last years, would initially come from the Lima town hall, although he may have to look for aid from abroad at a later stage.

"We need to do tests first. I've only had the baby in my care for the past 24 hours," Rubio said.

Rubio is also treating Milagros Cerron, dubbed the "Little Mermaid" because she was born with her legs fused and is one of only a handful of babies born sirenomelia, or mermaid syndrome who has lived more than a few hours.


Lobster baby? Fuck you, Reuters. My child is not a freak show, and neither is this poor kid. His version of AMC is more severe than most, but that doesn't make him a fucking lobster baby. And your information about AMC is wrong anyway.

If you want to let them know what you think of this habit of "dubbing" children with "cute" names, you can go to their Contact Us page and tell the editors what you think.

If this post is showing up twice, I apologize, as the first one was up and then disappeared.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

And Mr. Risky Business Can Join Him

Among the comments Ecclestone made in the interview and to Patrick was that "women should be all dressed in white like all other domestic appliances."

So I assume that means he wears nothing but brown.

My computer is located in our partially finished attic, and the air-conditioning doesn't reach up here. So until the weather decides to calm down and be reasonable, I won't be here too much. Peanut is doing fine as long as she receives a steady stream of entertaining objects.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Yes, I Called Him Mr. Jackass Prosecutor

Ok, it isn't that I think that what this woman did was all right, but damn, people! Have a little compassion! She's got six kids under the age of four! Several with health problems! And a husband who is a long-haul truck driver! If I lived in that town, I'd be over there right now offering do to her laundry, or cook, or whatever, and I'm really freaking tired at the moment. Think about what led her to this point, for heaven's sake. She needs help, not felony charges. And Mr. Jackass Prosecutor, you know perfectly well you didn't have to file charges. Parenting plan, my ass. I'd like to see you take her place for 24 hours, except it wouldn't be fair to the kids.

This is how I talk, in case you are wondering. In exclamatory sentences. And the accent is closer to Da Superfans than Fargo.

And Anna's here! Yay! I'm going to the farmer's market in the morning with Anna (if I can get my ass out of bed)! I don't know when she'll have computer access (she can borrow mine if she wants to), so those of you who come here after you read her blog because I am a poor, poor substitute know why she isn't posting.

Elsewhere, the book meme is for *all* of us, not just me :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sorry, Elsewhere

Anna's moving here tomorrow! Anna's moving here tomorrow!

So me, Anna, and BabySlave will now make up a Madison MommyBlog Posse. Attempt a parenting drive-by at your own risk.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Not My Internet Service!

We've been offline due to problems with our internet service. We're ok here. I have some housecleaning to do, and then maybe I'll get back on and post a picture or two.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Before Surgery

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She's Home

She's drinking a moderate amount, eating a little bit, and mostly sleeping. We've got the special car seat, but we have managed to get her comfortably in our regular stroller, and will get a wagon she can be propped up in. I will just have a hard time going to the grocery store with her, as there is no way I can put her in the cart. There is a reason you don't often see kids in hip-spica casts out and about town.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Poor Kid

Peanut is one miserable child. I don't think she's in much actual pain, but is she ever unhappy. She will not eat or drink, and hasn't given me a smile since we walked into the hospital. She's pretty zonked on her pain meds, but also very homesick, I think. The problem is that she can't get her IV out and go home until she starts to eat and drink on her own, and I don't think she'll start doing that until she gets her IV out and comes home. Hopefully she'll perk up a bit tomorrow, though I doubt it. Tomorrow is when she gets her cast all trimmed down nicely and covered in pink fiberglass wrap, as well as getting her new carseat and other adapted stuff. As she cries as soon as anyone other than family pokes his or her head in the door, I am not thinking that any of this will make her any happier. You know when your parents told you they would do anything to take the pain away when you got stitches or a cavity filled? It's true. I'd give my right arm for her never to have to go through anything like this again.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Done

She's done and in her room. She was in surgery for about four hours, but her doctor is very pleased with the result. He said it was a very difficult surgery. Because of the AMC, the joint was filled with fibrous tissue and the anatomy is different, so it was slow going to make sure they had everything where it needed to be. But he said they got it cleaned out and everything looked secure. We got up to the recovery room about 1:00, and she was just really waking, and immediately cried a hoarse little cry, which continued until we'd gotten into her room. She wanted to be picked up, but when she was moved it hurt, so I bent over the crib and cradled her against my body and that soothed for for a bit. However, some of the pain medicine started to wear off and she got this frantic, screaming cry which cut me like a dull blade in the gut. But because we warned them about her last surgery and the difficulty controlling her pain, they were ready this time with more pain medication and it took effect very quickly. She also did not have the problems breathing that she had last time, thank God.

Right after we got settled, of course, she had to get moved again for her CT scan. The doctor ordered one to make absolutely sure that the femoral head was where it should be, and it was. She fell asleep during the scan when the meds fully kicked in, and slept for the next hour or so, even when they moved her back from the CT machine to her crib. She woke when they were taking her temperature (I don't know if this means anything, but she HATES having her temp taken under the arm. She does not mind one bit having it taken rectally. My child is strange). She had worked herself up into a bit of a fever, so they gave her some antibiotics. She is back down to normal now, and according to Big Daddy she is resting comfortably if no one pesters her. He is with her now while I got to come home for a bit and rest, as I will be spending the night there. I ache all over, after having been tense for so long.

Her cast goes down to her toes on the right side, but only down to her knee on the left. She'll be in it for six weeks. She has a plate and four screws in her hip, and the doctor isn't venturing a guess as to when they'll come out yet. It will be fun to explain the hardware to the security guards at the airport in NYC when we go for a wedding this fall...

I just realized I left out a bunch of stuff the last time she had surgery. In a nutshell: Someone poked themselves with a used needle during her surgery, and didn't report it until after she was in recovery, meaning that in order to get the blood needed to test for HIV, Hepatitis, etc., they had to stick her while she was awake instead of doing it while she was still in the OR, as is usual. I gladly gave permission to do this, because having worked with needles myself I know how agonizing it would be to not know if you got something, even though you've been reassured by the parent that the kid is healthy. However, it took several attempts by three different phlebotomists to get the sample, and if the last one hadn't worked I was pulling the plug. The poor kid didn't deserve to go through that just because someone couldn't make up their mind whether or not to report a finger-stick. Then Peanut had trouble breathing, they thought due to the morphine. Morphine, and other narcotics, depress the respiratory drive, and she was not taking full, normal breaths, plus she had a lot of junk in her lungs. She managed to keep her oxygen saturation up so they didn't need to intubate her again, but it was a roller-coaster of good numbers and bad for several hours. Finally, they decided to stop the morphine and give her some codeine to see if that would help. It did, but the codeine didn't stop the pain. However, they apparently could not give her more morphine because of the codeine dose, so I sat and listened to her whimper for four hours until they could give her the morphine again. At that point, her lungs were clear and she was breathing normally. I wanted to tear someone's head off, but I was too exhausted. The moniters in the room can't be heard from the nurse's station (this is one reason they are building a new children's hospital), so I had to listen to the alarm go off every five minutes until things settled down. Anyway, this time was much better. None of the breathing problems, very little of the pain problem. Whew.

We're On-Updated 11:45 am

She's in surgery. Expected to last until 11:00 Central. I believe I am supposed to be comforted by the fact that no fewer than four people asked us when the last time she ate was, did she have any allergies, etc. The weird thing is, they all seemed to write it down in her chart...

Yesterday we took her to the beach. Well, the beach as in the large pile of sand on the lakeshore. The thing about living in Wisconsin is that I am rarely the heaviest person around. In fact, at this beach, I wasn't even close. I could have shown up in a bikini and looked like Paris *Motel 6* in comparison. The funny part was, Big Daddy was the one feeling insecure. Every single man on that beach was in great shape, even the middle-aged guy with the big compensating boat. They all, to a one, had tattoos as well. We ended up sitting next to a couple with a young daughter nicknamed (I hope) "Booger" and a dog they had tied to the bench with an extension cord. Big Daddy walked into the water with Peanut, who was not really a fan. I think it had more to do with all the people and noise and the unfamiliar environment, but she ended up happy enough to play with our sunglasses without complaint. She wilts in the heat just like I do, so I feel no responsibility to take her out there again for quite some time.

Ok, these computers have a suggested time limit, and I've reached it. I'll be on to update again later when I can. I can't call everyone, so please check back here.

9:30 am UPDATE:
The surgeon just called us in the waiting room. While everything is going well, it seems that her hip socket is too shallow to perform the operation as planned. So in addition to the femorol osteotomy, he will be performing a pelvic osteotomy as well. He said this wasn't an uncommon finding, or completely unexpected in her case. I think he went in hoping it wouldn't be necessary. If it isn't done, he's afraid that the bone will just pop out and we'd be back in here again. Nothing to be worried about, just (just! like I'm the one it's happening to or something) more broken bone and a bit longer in the OR.

UPDATE 11:45 am
She's done, the surgeon is coming down to see us, I guess everything is now ok. I won't be back for a while because I'll be with her until tomorrow morning in her room, and I don't know when I"ll get a break.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Obviously

I went to get some things checked out at the doctor yesterday. I see a nurse-practitioner. I spoke to her about how I'm still very tired compared to most people I know, including other mothers. She asked if I was depressed, and I said I didn't think so, that I didn't feel sad most of the time. She asked me if I felt angry, angry about Peanut's health issues. Of course, I said, I wish this wasn't happening to my child, any child. She said, "that's what depression is, repressed anger".

Repressed anger? Moi? That one made Big Daddy laugh and laugh and laugh. When in God's name have I ever repressed my anger about this? I may or may not be truly depressed, but it ain't because I hold anything back.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Odds And Ends, Though Really Mostly Odds

Quickly, because I really need to go to bed:

My Brother -- He's doing well and has a better handle on things. I can't go into much detail because it's really rather personal, but he wasn't pulling an Audrey Seiler/Jennifer Wilbanks thing. He sincerely hadn't realized how we'd all be worried about him - he just wasn't thinking about it at all. I have a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher, and he told me that you'd be amazed at how many people have car breakdowns or minor accidents, or take spontaneous vacations, etc. without informing their loved ones about what is going on. That is why the police don't jump to conclusions about people who've gone missing. Almost all the time it is for some benign reason. Though it doesn't really help to know this at the time. I knew a girl who disappeared off the face of the earth when we were teenagers. No trace of her has been found, and while her friends and family have suspicions, there really is no proof of what happened to her. So I tend to get a little freaky about this sort of thing.

Camping -- It wasn't really that bad. I ended up not leaving until Saturday morning when Big Daddy came with us, and it was not because I chickened out. Peanut woke up screaming bloody murder each night and was nearly inconsolable for about an hour each time, in the nice quiet campground. While I am well aware that having a toddler that could walk and need to be constantly pulled away from the poison ivy would be challenging too, it was not as easy to entertain her as I had hoped. When she was a newborn, the one thing that worked nearly all of the time to quiet her down was to take her outside. She was perfectly content to watch the leaves on the trees blow in the wind. Of course, I didn't expect her to be that easily entertained this time, but I thought she'd be more distracted by the raccoon that visited camp than she was.

Big Daddy -- I told you I'm not saying.

Pictures -- You haven't been seeing many pictures here because I have been getting some really freaky Google Image Search hits, like multiple hits on one photo in particular (not of Peanut) from all over the world, literally. And way too many fetish hits for my comfort. I am all for whatever turns your crank if it involves consenting adults, but even I get the jibblies when I see people getting turned on by and wanting to wear medical equipment my daughter will need to use to be able to walk. Taking the photos down hasn't done a thing to stop the parade, and I haven't been able to get it removed from Google. So I am thinking about changing to a different blog platform, one which I can lock certain posts so you have to receive permission to look at the photos. I would pretty much let anyone who asked look, unless you had something like *medicalfetishist* as part of your email address. I don't want to remove my whole blog from searches because I want people looking for AMC information to find me. Anyone have any suggestions?

The next few weeks might be slow around here, because a week from today is Peanut's hip surgery. This week we will be involved in having some last-minute fun with her and her non-casted legs, and afterwards we will be living in hell for several weeks. Who knows, I may need to blog as a respite, but I can't promise anything. I haven't responded to individual comment posts and most emails regarding this blog lately, and it isn't becaue I don't appreciate them. It is because I am too damn lazy, honestly. I mean to, but damn, I'm tired all the time. I just want to say that it means a lot to me that not only do people who love (or at least like) me in real life read this regularly, but that there are people who are total strangers to me following my life on a regular basis. If you've left a message and have a blog, please know I check it out and probably have it on my blogfeeds. Thanks for everyone's support.

Oh, and Peanut got her new splints. She can stand. She needs some help to balance and a little spotting under her butt, but she can stand.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Book Tag

It's not fair getting book tagged by Carlos, because I feel inherently inferior. I drive my husband nuts--he is reading Joyce's Ulysses right now for fun, but he is a slow reader and it will take him weeks, months. I am a ridiculously fast reader (though I've slowed down a bit because of my minute attention span), but I prefer to kick back with the newest John Grisham novel. So while I'd like to feel cool about reading the entire Encylopedia Britannica as a kid, Carlos goes and decides to make organizational trees for everything in it. And remembers which edition, and even knows that there was a difference between the editions other than updated facts. I'm not even getting into his other choices--you should read them yourself. I have learned not to compare myself to him most of the time, but sometimes it is a little hard.

Total Number of Books I Own
Huh. I have no idea. So many of them are in boxes right now, and do you really count old textbooks? I can tell you that we have about 36 shelves full throughout the house, plus stacks and boxes in the attic. So a lot, though that's all relative. When I was in college, I lived in a small studio apartment with one bookcase. I was dating a football player, who I thought of as reasonably intelligent, and he came over. "Wow, you have a lot of books. Have you really read all those?" I had four shelves, two of which were full of textbooks. Hey, he was really hot.

The Last Book I Bought

Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Company, by Maria Amparo Escandon. A young woman in a Mexican prison tells the story of how she got there. I thought the ending was a little too good to be true, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

The Last Book I Read

Poison, by Kathryn Harrison. The story of a doomed Spanish Queen and a poor silk-grower's daughter in the latter part of the 17th century Spain. Incredibly detailed and fascinating information about the Spanish silk industry, and life in general at that time and place. I wish she'd spent as much time on the story itself. If you already know all you wish to know about what happened in the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition, this is not the book for you.

Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me

In no particular order:

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I had never read anything like it, and I just devoured it. Opened up a whole world of Latin American literature to me. I think I want to read it again, now that I'm thinking of it.

Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
A wonderful book about the bases of mothering behavior. Why some women kill their children, what sort of trade-offs mothers make to raise their children, all based on evolutionary and primate research. Look at the professional reviews of it--they are more helpful than what I am saying.

Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder
I was one of those little girls who wanted to be a pioneer after reading the Little House books. They've stayed with me even as an adult. I know a little more about her life now, so reading between the lines of the books can be heartbreaking, especially The First Four Years, about the first years of her married life. They lose the crops, go deeply into debt, lose a newborn son, the house burns down, her husband suffers a stroke. This manuscript was found after her death, and I can imagine her sitting at her desk writing it, remembering these things, and not being able to bring herself to finish, even knowing they had a long and happy life together later on. If you haven't read them since you were a child, you should try again, if only for the line spoken to nine year-old Almanzo by his mother in Farmer Boy: "You are still abed, Almanzo, it's five o'clock. Be you ill?" As hard as your life is, it isn't that hard.

The Paladin, Brian Garfield
Subtitled A Novel Based on Fact, it is about a young Englishman that ends up working as a special agent for Winston Churchill in WWII. It's pretty much been discredited as far as I can tell, but I didn't know it at the time. My family was on vacation in Galena, IL, at a condo my parents rented for what I recall as our first really nice family vacation that didn't involve relatives. This book was there, and I took it home with me. I think at the time I justified this by leaving another one there, or it was an accident, or something, because I was not in the habit of stealing things. Anyway, the kid in the story was about fourteen, and I had never read a book about war before, so it really stuck with me.

Bloom County Babylon : Five Years of Basic Naughtiness
, Berkeley Breathed/ The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, Bill Watterson
These titles are just for example. I know they aren't really books like I'm supposed to put here, but they move me all the same. Bloom County got me started thinking about the conservative politics I was being taught at home (did you know I was a Young Republican once?), leading me to question and eventually reject the teachings. All the stuff I was taught about being a good person, telling the truth, do unto others, etc., seemed so contradicted in the political writings I was encouraged to read. We got three mainstream/conservative newspapers at home, as well as the National Review, and I read them all. Bloom County made me realize that I was not alone in questioning this stuff. And Calvin and Hobbes, well, if you don't like Calvin and Hobbes I'm not sure I want to know you. The collections are what I read after September 11, and during that week that I thought Peanut was going to die. The hopefulness in the books, as well as the sheer silliness, was exactly what I needed.

So now I get to tag some people. Hm. Ok, Anna, you're it. Elsewhere, I think you did one of these a while back but I would still love to see your answers, if you've forgiven me for stealing Anna away. Dana, we haven't talked about books for a while so I'd like to see yours too. Jen, I don't even know what books you read, and I am your child's godmother. Pronoia, if you are out there and have a little time, I would be interested in yours too. I'd just as soon see the answers from everyone on my blogroll, personally, but I'll start with y'all, if you don't mind. But if you want to do it, consider yourself tagged.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Re: Camping Trip

Some things are not as much fun with children.

More later...

Friday, May 27, 2005

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Today, if I can get my shit together, Peanut, the dog, and I will be driving four hours north to go camping in a national forest campground that doesn't have showers for the holiday weekend. Big Daddy doesn't get home until very late tonight from the Great White North (that would be Winnipeg--he gets all the glamour assignments), so he will be driving up tomorrow. Oh, and the weather report is for highs around 60 degrees with intermittent rain.

In theory, this will be relaxing.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I'm Not Saying Anything

Ok, you know all those people in the suburban part of town that voted against a new elementary school on land the district already owns so that the current area school wouldn't be incredibly overcrowded?

They are the ones that will be redistricted to ease overcrowding because the referendum didn't pass. Meaning their kids may have to leave their neighborhood school and be bussed all over creation.

I'd laugh except I'm sorry for the kids.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More Fun With Stats

Of all the searches that have found my site, I'm most confused about how "drunk mamas gone bad" got here. Between pregnancy and nursing, I haven't been well and truly drunk in years. Sounds like another t-shirt logo, though.

O Fair City

I'm not loving my city right now.

First of all, the school board lost two of three requests in a referendum for more money today. I know this is not unusual in most places, but here there is a history of people approving this sort of thing. My tax bill would have gone up over a hundred dollars if they were all approved, and I still voted yes. I actually heard one opponent on television complain that Madison was one of the highest spenders per student in the state (not THE highest, but up there), and he said, "isn't that enough?". Do you not understand that we have excellent schools because we spend money on them? Class sizes are about to go up, fewer staff members will be in each school valuable and popular music and enrichment classes are going to be cut. What the hell is the point of approving the maintenance budget request if you don't seem to care what happens inside those buildings? (Don't worry, Anna, the schools are still going to be way better than where you are).

The other thing that annoyed the hell out of me is the city waste management enforcement. When we moved into our house, there were suspended acoustical tile ceilings throughout the entire first floor, and large fluorescent light fixtures in the living room. I felt like I was waiting in the doctor's office when I sat on my couch. It seriously looked like this (Why did the sellers do this to a perfectly nice plaster ceiling? The husband used to work for a company that installed suspended ceilings. I have no explanation for the lighting). We finally got around to pulling it all down and painting several months ago, but hadn't gotten around to disposing of the construction detritus. Our fine city will pick up, for free, waste from "minor home improvement projects", according to its website, and even recycle the metal. So we put out the metal framework and the two light fixtures (minus the bulbs-I am aware we have to pay to recycle those) for pickup Friday after I went over the website to make sure they would take the stuff. Apparently I missed something. The light fixtures were listed under "appliances" along with refrigerators and air conditioners (why ever did I not think to look for them there?), as items that we needed to pay to have removed. I found this out first because the trash collectors left a copy of the regulations, with the specific area highlighted in blue marker, and the business card of the code enforcement officer, in my door. Then, they came back that afternoon and labeled the fixtures with big black marker with our address, just to make sure we didn't try and pull a fast one. Finally, today I got a letter in the mail from the city, informing me in no uncertain terms that they most certainly will NOT pick up these fixtures unless we pay the fee and get the sticker to put on them, and if they are still out there next week we'll be facing a whole world of hurt (we picked them back up Friday night). You'd think we had a yard full of smoldering old tires and junk cars by reading this letter. I feel like I should be wearing a scarlet letter V for Violator of Ordinance.

Have you ever seen hippie fascists? Welcome to Madison.


And believe me, I am perfectly aware of what time it is and would LOVE to be asleep. Perhaps someone could explain to Peanut why this is so important, as she isn't listening to me. At this rate, she won't have her allowance until she's 42.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Obvious

This blog came up on a search of "illustrations of bad thinking".

That's what we're all about here, after all.

Friday, May 20, 2005

It Doesn't Matter Why

As of today, my husband T. will be known in this blog as Big Daddy. Maybe in real life too.

We will now return to our temporary posting hiatus. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I Can't Believe I Am Writing This-Updated

UPDATE: We found him. Physically he's okay. Mentally/emotionally, not so much. He's getting help, though, and he'll be ok in time. Thanks for everyone's concern, I appreciate your emails.

My little brother is missing. No one has heard from him since nine a.m. Sunday morning, when he called my grandfather to tell him he was leaving to go back to his home and job in Northern Wisconsin, about three hours away. He's a radio DJ and the news director for his station, and he had an interview to do at Noon that day. He didn't show up for it, and didn't show up for work yesterday or this morning. His cell phone is off, and there have been no messages, no clues. He met a woman last weekend at a wedding that he really liked and was really exited about, but she hasn't heard from him either. He doesn't have a lot of financial resources - he shares a credit card with my mother, and it hasn't been used.

I can't believe this is happening. It happens to other people, other families. There is no good excuse for this that anyone can make anymore. Car trouble? He would have reached someone by now, even if he was out of minutes on his phone. The best case scenario we have now is that he somehow flaked out and decided to take a break from everything, but if that's true he was showing no signs of it before he left. If that is what happened, he obviously needs help too.

His name is Andy. He's a good man. Please keep him in your prayers.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I Know Some People Will Not Be Surprised

Thanks, Betsy!

Sociopath
You are 71% Rational, 14% Extroverted, 57% Brutal, and 57% Arrogant.

You are the Sociopath! As a result of your cold, calculating
rationality, your introversion (and ability to keep quiet), your
brutality, and your arrogance, you would make a very cunning serial
killer. You care very little for the feelings of others, possibly
because you are not a very emotional person. You are also very
calculating and intelligent, making you a perfect criminal mastermind.
Also, you are a very arrogant person, tending to see yourself as better
than others, providing you a strong ability to perceive others as weak
little animals, thus making it easier to kill them. In short, your
personality defect is the fact that you could easily be a sociopath,
because you are calculating, unemotional, brutal, and arrogant. Please
don't kill me for writing mean things about you!



To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3. You are more BRUTAL than gentle.

4. You are more ARROGANT than humble.


Compatibility:


Your exact opposite is the Hippie.


Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Spiteful Loner, the Smartass, and the Capitalist Pig.


*


*


If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you
could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42%
Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is
close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well.
Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can
determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored
near fifty percent for certain traits.


The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 53% on Rationality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 17% on Extroversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 61% on Brutality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 64% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on Ok Cupid

More Fun With Stats

And to the person who repeatedly has been searching for "okay to jog with implants" on Google and getting my blog: Yes, it is ok to jog with implants. Supermodels and famous actresses do it all the time. Invest in a quality sports bra, and you'll be all right.

Jeez.