Sunday, December 31, 2006


How come none of you told me about how cool iPods are?

How would I have ever known that Justin Timberlake actually has a cool song or two?

Or that I could get a dance remix of Whitney singing The Greatest Love of All?

Or realized that with it, I can listen to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go as often and as loud as I want without anyone having anything smart to say about it?

If you have known me for a long time, you will not be surprised to know that the very first song I listened to was Guns 'n' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle". And then the Pixies, Fergie, Ok-Go, and ...

If I don't come back soon, look for me with little white wires coming out of my ears, hunched in front of the computer, listening to Elvis dance remixes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Last week, I went to the DMV and picked up our Permanent Disabled Parking ID tags.

It was not really a happy day.

We were given reason to believe, when Peanut was a newborn, that we wouldn't need them. We've known for a while it would be necessary after all, but it was something else to actually hand the forms over and say, "It's for my daughter" when asked who it was for.

I know, I know, I should be used to it by now. But I still find that I have to steel myself and take a deep breath before I say "My daughter is disabled". I guess it's because most of the time, it's not something I think about. Dealing with and adapting to her limitations has become so much a part of our lives that it always comes as a shock to actually use that word.

We actually used the card at one of the malls this weekend, when we went to get family portraits done. Of course, we did it so late because we've all been sick and now it's too late to get the photos before Christmas, but whatever. Anyway, it was very useful because Peanut now wants to walk from the car into the store and back. She hasn't gotten the idea that she can't just stop in the middle of the traffic lane and look around, though, so we're working on that.

From this trip, I got to make my first complaint regarding accessibility. You see, the disabled spots where we parked were not accompanied by a curb-cut to the sidewalk. This meant that Peanut either had to get picked up to get over the curb, or she needed to walk into the parking lot from between two cars in order to get to the crosswalk over to the mall. This is a remarkably stupid bit of planning. The mall is currently under construction, so I took a few minutes today and called the general manager. She was very pleasant, and said she'd noticed the same thing and would definitely pass along this request to the people in charge of such things.

I'm still new at this, so I have some actual hope that it will work.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Two Sunday Conversations

Bad Mama: Stop licking your snot, Peanut.

Peanut: But it's so tasty!


Peanut: Mama, I'm eating the water!

Bad Mama: Don't eat your bathwater, Peanut.

Peanut: But it tastes so sweet!

I'd write more, but the painkillers are kicking in a little more effectively than normal and I don't think I'll be coherent for very long.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Last Day, Blah Blah

I have a few blog posts percolating that I want to write but I haven't had the time. These include posts on how I felt the first time I used a disabled parking spot because I had Peanut and her walker, how it went at her first dentist appointment, and all of the weird things wrong with my house. I know everyone's writing about the end of NaBloPoMo, but really, I started this blog by posting every day so I'm not sure that I learned much from it, except that perhaps that Peanut is by far the most interesting thing about me to most people. Ok, that sounded more pitiful than I meant it to sound. It's just that I have to work harder to find non-Peanut things to write about that people still find worth reading and commenting on. Thanks for sticking around--I actually have a couple more Bloglines subscribers than when I started, so either a few people decided to subscribe instead of clicking, or a few more people actually have too much time on their hands than is good for them.

There is no cute Peanut story today. She accidentally poked my mother hard in the eye today, leaving my mother only able to keep one eye open and Peanut a basket case for the rest of the evening. It was not a fun bedtime. I'm going to have to find her re-set button, because this can't go on again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Feels Like Rain

When the weather map looks like this, it means my head hurts.

Extreme barometric pressure changes give me migraines. Kind of like a trick knee, but suckier.

Sorry for the lame post.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

She Isn't Deaf

I actually have things to post about, but am way too freaking tired.

Tonight at the store she stared down a couple of other people who stared at her in the walker. Then, after the third person was explaining it to their child, she announced, "Mama! Another person was asking about my walker!"

She doesn't seem angry, just somewhat confused as to what all the fuss is about, and not especially appreciative of the attention, whether positive or negative.

So if you see a cute little girl in a pink sweater walking in the smallest walker you've ever seen, please avert your eyes. I tell her they look because she's so cute, but I think she's on to me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oh Yes, She Goes There

I don't know what you hear amongst the wails of the tantrum that occurs before bedtime, but what I get to hear now is "But I want to walk!"

She's going to have to either write for soap operas or run for office with those skills.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We Can All Stop Worrying Now

We're leaving the store after dark, and Peanut is looking sadly up at the sky.

Bad Mama: Are you looking for the stars, Peanut? I think they're all behind the clouds.

Peanut: And the moon?

Bad Mama: I think the moon is to, Honey. It's cloudy out.

Peanut: I don't want it to be cloudy out! I want it to be starry and moony out!


So, yeah, that whole walking thing? She's totally into it. Walked all over the grocery store this morning, and we spent more time in T*arget this afternoon than I want to admit to you. She Has. To. Touch. Everything. It probably took me 10 minutes just to get her to walk away from the animal crackers.

And you know how one of the things they talk about in interracial adoption, about being a "conspicuous family"? I think I have an inkling of what it must be like. She couldn't have gotten more attention if she was running naked painted lime green through the aisles. The hippie food store was pleasant that way, with everyone simply smiling and saying how cute she was. The other place, not quite so much. There were plenty of people smiling, but there was a lot more outright staring. And so very many children pointing and asking loudly, "What's that she has?" Obviously, I can't get upset about that, but it did get a little old. I think it was particularly bad just because most people talk to their children about wheelchairs, but not about other kinds of assistance devices. The worst was actually something that was meant to be benign, I think, and that was when a child asked and the parent said, in front of Peanut, "Oh, it's a walker to help the baby walk". I don't know about your kids, but boy, mine is not happy to be called a baby for any reason right now, much less when it comes to walking.

But before anyone feels too bad for her, let me tell you how she handled it. When she heard what the woman said, she stopped dead in the middle of the aisle, blocking the way for everyone, and fixed a stare on that woman that I thought would burn a hole through her head. She said nothing, didn't smile, just stared. The woman was smiling at her, but kind of lost her smile as she edged by the freaky little girl in her pink sweater and walker. Peanut turned her head to watch with an expression that made you think it was about to start spinning on her neck, and then, when the woman was past, she looked up at me, smiled and soldiered on down the lane.

She did it again to a very rude little girl who was too old to be pointing and asking so loudly, and it clearly freaked the kid out. I wish I could explain properly how proud I am. There is no better retort that I could have made, no better response to the staring than this dead-eyed stare back.

I wasn't kidding when I said she was scary.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

She Likes To Play Tag, Very Slowly

Now that Peanut has figured out that it's more fun to walk than be carried, she wants to do EVERYTHING she hasn't been able to do before. Pushing her toy baby stroller, or walking around carrying her dolls in her arms. I've had to help her name her emotions a little more often than usual--"You are feeling frustrated right now because you can't push the stroller with both hands". How can I tell her she has to be patient? No almost-three-year-old is really known for patience anyway, much less one that has been watching everyone else have fun she couldn't have for her whole life.

I also have to adjust to the fact that everything will take at least 30 minutes longer now than before, not just because she walks slowly* but because she has to learn to choose to listen to me, rather than just getting picked up and taken to her bubble bath or to the dinner table. It's a process that most children go through gradually, but hers is sudden and rather dramatic. For both of us, really. I've never had to teach her about things like electric outlets before. My house isn't really baby-proofed. She was limited by the poor maneuvering of her scooter before, so she really couldn't get into much, and she'd really stopped using it much because she just couldn't do what she wanted with it.

Of course, I should have been more careful what I wished for, right?

*She thinks it is hysterically fun to chase us or have us chase her. Even at 0.25 mph.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sweet Pea

Tonight, Peanut ate a whole bunch of peas. This may not seem like a big deal, I know. However, I will now list all the foods she currently will eat, and you might then understand why I felt this was important enough to post about:

(*Foods she is not usually offered, unless we are eating them in front of her or she is getting a treat for some reason)

Toast, with peanut butter or jam
PB&J sanwiches
Pancakes/waffles/french toast with syrup or sometimes jam
Various breads and rolls
*Ice cream
Soy milk smoothies
*Chocolate pudding
*Goldfish/Teddy Graham crackers
*Chai Tea with lots of milk
*Potato chips
*French fries, but only once in a while
*Chocolate candy
Cheese pizza
Scrambled eggs (but only at Grandma's house, for some reason)

and now, cold peas

No, there is no meat. No pasta. No vegetables of any kind until the peas. The only cheese or tomato is on pizza. We have to be very careful about not feeding her the same thing a couple of times a day, because the healthy options are so limited.

We aren't terribly worried about this. Her doctor isn't either. We give her a multivitamin (mostly) daily, and she's growing and appears healthy and active, so we don't feel it is necessary to push her. We talk about how yummy our food is in front of her and always offer her bites, but she says, "No, thank you" and that's it. She tried a few bites of ravioli when she had a bad cold, but wouldn't again once she got her sense of smell back. I sometimes ask her to try a bite and sometimes she obliges, take one bite tonight of baked potato with a bit of sour cream, swallowing it, and saying no to any more. Really, what else can I ask for?

So every new food is an occasion. And now it's all down for posterity, so when she grows up to be a food critic I can show her this and laugh.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Today, I'm Thankful

And this is why.
(Sorry, there's no sound)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thankful For Restrictive Handgun Laws

**To those coming from Outdoor "Logic" and Gun Blogs:
If you think that all liberals want to take your guns away, perhaps you should take a look at Howard Dean's stance on the subject. Or John Tester's. Or my drunken former neighbor who decided against "surprising" me in my old apartment when faced with the business end of the deer rifle I was holding. Or maybe ask the pile of fresh venison in my freezer. Yeah, that's right. I'm not a vegetarian either. Then, just for funsies, you might check out what gun laws Rudy Giuliani passed while mayor of NYC, or what George Pataki passed as governor. You can google it, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.**

I am in the foulest of foul moods. Everyone else is posting about all they are thankful for, but all I am thankful for right now is that I don't own a gun. I'm not mad at anyone in particular, it's just that nothing seems to be going the way I want it to go and I have PMS and have to clean the house before noon tomorrow when 14 people will be here to eat turkey.

I will be better tomorrow--I know this is hormones and stress.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving, or a pleasant Thursday workday to you Canadians.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


It was this or the story of what my dog did to a rabbit in the backyard the other day, and subsequently what she did on the living room floor last night. This is better.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Really, You Can Skip This If You Want

The only interesting thing that happened to me today (and I mean "interesting" as in "somewhat different than the same mind-numbing shit that happens every single day of my life), is that I took down the curtains in the dining room that came with the house to wash them. For the first time. Shut up, there have been more pressing things to wash-- I have a bazillion cats, after all. Anyway, Big Daddy and I took them down and then realized that, damn, we actually have pretty windows under there, perhaps we should not put them back up. So we won't. However, that means we still need to buy some new blinds, as the ones we have are all water stained from when the house was being re-roofed (it was 84 years old and still had the original roof under a couple of layers). We had a series of storms that began the day after they ripped everything off, storms that were record-breaking, and the tarp on the roof came up and the interior of the house got drenched. If you don't already own a home, seriously, don't buy one. If you think I'm joking, one of my next posts will include the list of things wrong with this house, including the fact that one of the walls of my bathroom doesn't go all the way to the ceiling.

I also got some of this china. I put it on the credit card, because it was waaaay cheaper than that website would lead you to believe, and we are having 14 people over for Thanksgiving and I don't own that many plates. It's very pretty and it made me very happy.

I don't know why I am subjecting you to this post, as I already washed out of NaBloPoMo over a week ago. I think it is the perverse idea that somehow it will still count if I do the thirty posts even if they aren't every day. But I still have to do it every day. I think this is supposed to be helping me discipline myself as a writer or something. Perhaps that isn't necessarily good for the world.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Next We'll Try Pandas, Gorillas, or Sea Turtles

Tonight, Peanut and I were playing our usual game of "Let's put off bedtime" by looking up animal pictures on Google Image Search. Her first choice was "an orca whale, Mama!" (Daddy just spent a week working in Seattle, so he brought her home her own stuffed killer whale), so I did the search, and she pointed at the pictures she wanted to see more closely. The first one was this. The next was this. And finally, this.

Anyone sense a theme?*

I made her pick something else after that. First she chose lions, and then, for reasons I don't think I can explain, Lamb cakes.

*For those of you not clicking the links, the theme is that we're fucking killing the planet and everything on it

Friday, November 17, 2006

Yes, I'm Doing A Meme

Came From Cluttergirl, and others

[A is for age:] 33

[B is for beer of choice:] New Glarus Spotted Cow, but it really depends

[C is for career:] Um, you can say Real Estate

[D is for favorite Drink] Kir Royale

[E is for essential item you use everyday:] Antiperspirant. I take it backpacking.

[F is for favorite song at the moment:] Rehab, by Amy Winehouse. I don't know why.

[G is for favorite game:] Football

[H is for hometown:] In Northeastern Wisconsin, at one time pop. 6210

[I is for instruments you play:] Well? None. I took a lot of piano, and could play simple tunes on most of the instruments in the band. I lack discipline in this area.

[J is for favorite juice:] Orange

[K is for kids?:] One, my Peanut

[L is for last kiss?:] This morning, from Peanut

[M is for marriage:] I'm on my first (yes, it's a bad joke)

[N is for full name:] Bad Mama Carrie

[O is for overnight hospital stays:] During Peanut's birth, a couple of other times for observation because I have a tendency to present like I have appendicitis when I get an ovarian cyst

[P is for phobias:] Heights, and I have developed stage fright

[Q is for quote:] You should be the change that you want to see in the world. -- Mohandas Ghandi

[R is for biggest regret:] Not finishing school

[S is for sports:] Heh. In theory, hiking. I loved playing baseball as a kid. I lift weights now regularly.

[T is for time you wake up:] The alarm is set for 7 am. On a good day, I sleep that late.

[U is for color underwear:] Ivory VS bikini

[V is for vegetable you love:] Sweet potatoes.

[W is for worst habit:] Interrupting. Reading email and not responding to it right away so then I forget it. Paying bills late.

[X is for x-rays you've had:] My entire body has been x-rayed at one time or another.

[Y is for yummy food you make:] From-scratch chocolate pudding. Chocolate chip cookies.

[Z is for zodiac sign:] Capricorn

What about you? What are your ABCs? Link to yours here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I don't have much to say. I got home tonight at 7:30 after leaving at 8:15 am, and this was the shortest day of the week for me. I'm really freaking tired, and found out that my husband's company has decided some of their employees, i.e. those in my husband's position, don't deserve to participate in the Christmas party this year. These employees are scattered all around the country (there aren't really that many of them), and in past years they flew the employees and spouses into the home city for two days and had a nice big party for them one of those nights. These guys are away from their families for usually 5 days out of every week, and work their asses off while they are gone, but they aren't worth spending the money on now. I was looking forward to this trip, which I only got to do once before, so now I'm really pissed. So I will not get to see Jen (whose husband works for them too and as a couple are some of our best friends), and I will not get to see Andrea, who lives in the company's city, and whose kid I had a present picked out for. Boo.

Okay, I know you really came for the cute Peanut quotes:
She opened the linen closet at my mom's today, looked at all the nicely folded towels and sheets, and said, "We live in a very nice house". This is funny to me because a) she doesn't live there but apparently wishes she did, and b) she would NEVER be able to say it while looking at our linen...pile.

She was able to open this closet, of course, because she could walk up to it in her walker. She mostly walks for candy rewards, but apparently getting into closets and drawers is a mighty powerful motivator too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Peanut: blah blah Diego! blah blah blah Diego!

Bad Mama: Why do you like Diego so much?

Peanut: 'Cause he's a boy! And he gots hair on his head, like I have hair on my head!

We're going to have to have a discussion about standards, I see.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Today Peanut got a walker. Emphasis on "walk".

It was a hit.

Pictures/video are forthcoming, once I catch up with her.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Really, She Won't Even Touch Chicken

Seriously, someone needs to tell me that just because my kid tells me one minute that she looooves her new stuffed hippopotamus and it's her favorite toy ever, and then the next minute she tells me that she's going to "put Gia in the oven and cook her and eat her", doesn't mean she's going to grow up to become a sociopath. Somebody else's kids did weird things like this and grew up to be pediatricians or kindergarten teachers, right? Right?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

But She Doesn't Even Eat Meat!

Peanut: Daddy, would you like some soup?

Big Daddy: Sure, I'd like some. What kind of soup is it?

Peanut: It's Diego soup!

Big Daddy: Diego soup? You're serving me Diego soup?

Peanut: Yes, it's delicious!

I wouldn't end up alone with her in a dark alley if I were you.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

That's My Girl


Peanut, on the potty: Daddy, what was that?

Big Daddy: You farted, Honey.

Peanut: No, Daddy, I passed gas. I was passing gas.

Yes, I grew up in that kind of household, and I don't see any reason my daughter shouldn't too.


On Wednesday I read a quote in the paper from some guy up near Green Bay who said he voted for the gay marriage amendment, because he believed marriage should only be allowed between a man and a woman. He said he didn't have a problem with allowing civil unions, just not actual "marriage". I can't find the article online anymore, but what he said is burned into my brain, because it shows me what the problem really is with the people in this state. It isn't that they're homophobic, it's that they are illiterate:

"Marriage. Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?"

Not content to just mess with the families of people whose sexual practices she doesn't approve of (has anyone ever asked her if she's into fisting? Because I don't approve of that), the director of the main group supporting the ban has decided to move on to messing with straight people :

"What was highlighted in this campaign is that marriage is indeed under attack and no-fault divorce is one of those attacks," Julaine Appling, CEO of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin and president of the "Vote Yes for Marriage" campaign, said Tuesday night.

Appling said the Family Research Institute, which led the fight for the same-sex marriage ban, would "judiciously" examine Wisconsin's no-fault divorce law and eventually approach legislators about introducing changes. Under the law, spouses can request termination of the marriage without having to prove marital misconduct. Appling said she could foresee proposing a longer waiting period for divorces and implementing required premarital counseling.

There is good news. With the state Senate now controlled by Democrats, one of them is introducing an amendment to the amendment.

Erpenbach said Friday his proposal would honor the ban on gay marriages, but rectify potential problems in the second sentence of the referendum, which he said stripped legal rights from straight and same-sex unmarried couples. Those protections include the right to receive domestic partner benefits and have legally binding contracts, including wills.

...Erpenbach said he does not understand how the state can expect same-sex couples to continue paying taxes and being lawful citizens when they are denied protections and benefits afforded to married couples.

He said supporters of the gay marriage amendment always claimed that they did not intend to discriminate against gay couples, just protect the institution of marriage.

"If that's not their intention to discriminate, let's make sure it's in the constitution," Erpenbach said.

He also said civil unions are separate from marriage, which he described as more of a religious institution.

"The state is supposed to be separate from the eyes of any God," he said. If supporters of the amendment were "going after civil unions, they should have said so."

So now Ed from Green Bay can get beind this, right?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nice Try

With me, my mother and Peanut having colds and Big Daddy being out of town, posting has been and will be light for a bit. I've already failed at the whole NaBloPoMo thing, through a combination of blogger issues and plain lack of time, and I don't think it counts if I manage 30 posts if it isn't one a day. Oh well. Sorry.

The good news is, I got the doctor to prescribe me the good drug for my headaches and neck pain. The only one that ever used to help me back when I had the chronic headaches. It isn't used much anymore, because it has an abuse potential much higher than others that are similar, but the others didn't work for me so I get it again. Yum. Yay. I can only take it at night because it makes me loopy, but it's a really awesome loopy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote Today

And leave some time. In my voting station, I was #102 at 7:30 am. In off-year elections, I usually end up going late, and am somewhere around #350. The line this morning was out the door and around the corner.

In WI, you are allowed to register to vote at the polls. New this year, in addition to your proof of address, you need to bring your driver's license or state ID if you have them, and be prepared to offer up the last four digits of your social security number if you don't have either. If you have them but not with you, you can vote provisionally and it will count as long as you call the clerk by four tomorrow to give them your number. You do NOT need your ID if you are already registered at your current address, but I would bring it anyway in case there are problems. There seem to be plenty all over the country. I'd link to a website with the listings of reported broken machines, etc., but it has crashed from the traffic.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Vote Tomorrow

I am so tired that even the fact that I have been called by Russ Feingold, Bill Clinton AND Bradley Whitford in the past 24 hours is not enough to keep me awake and blogging. Sorry. Besides, those guys only want one thing from me, and it isn't good conversation.

And Another Thing

We are going to the polls on Tuesday in this state and being asked whether we should constitutionally ban gay marriage, and whether we should reinstate the death penalty for the first time in 150 years. We are not voting on school funding reform. We are not voting on which plan we prefer to make sure all our children have medical coverage. No, apparently the most pressing issues for our state are the "gay marriage threat" and how to kill our prisoners. So now you all want to move here, right? Because everything else is going so well?

I really need to get to sleep.

Ok, I'll Make An Argument (Second, Briefer Version)

Ok, first of all, a definition. On my blog, a troll is not defined as someone who posts politely and respectfully a comment that I disagree with wholly and in full. A troll would have replied, "u fag, i hope u die of aids suxxor!" or "repent because you are going to hell for thinking gays are ok, what about the children!" or suchlike. Carlos has a different definition, which he has expressed to me on numerous occasions. Regardless, name-calling is not allowed unless it is done by me, in which case it is always appropriate.

With that out of the way, Anonymous, you lost me pretty quickly. As Carlos pointed out, 1.5 percent of the population is still a hell of a lot of people. 4.5 million, actually, or the number of Native Americans and Alaskans that identified themselves as such on the 2000 census. It is 800,000 fewer than live in the state of Wisconsin. By contrast, only about 1.6 million Americans regularly rely on wheelchairs to get around in public. Yet we feel that's a good enough reason to require curb cuts and accessible rest rooms at great expense to business, as well as providing tax-cuts for the installation of powered doors and other accessibility items to business. Would you have me tell Peanut that because there are so few people like her, we shouldn't bother providing these things for her? These are not nameless, faceless people. One of the people who commented before you married her wife in Canada and they have a young daughter. I have at least one other periodic commenter who is also in a committed relationship, trying to have a baby. This isn't some abstract, philosophical argument for them. These kinds of laws affect them and their families, and I can't imagine how you could look someone like Elsewhere in the eye and tell her that her life is sinful and doesn't deserve the protections my family has.

Next comes the religious argument. I am a Christian, but admittedly no scholar of the bible. Carlos made some points there, and I have a devout friend or two who do know their scripture, disagree with the ban, and might be tempted to add their two cents in soon. I do know that there are plenty of items in Leviticus that I violate regularly. I am not adverse to wearing a cotton-blend from time to time, for instance. Nor do I make any animal sacrifices at the end of my menstrual period. However, that is all beside the point. I do not think that homosexuality is sinful nor immoral. You do not have the right to impose your religious interpretation of the bible on me or anyone else. You don't. My church is a mainstream church, and my minister, who has a doctorate in theology, signed a statement against the ban. Go ahead and see how many others, including the US Episcopal Church, have publicly renounced the ban. Obviously, many learned people of faith have reason to believe that either homosexuality is not as sinful as you think, or that the government has no business regulating this behavior.

The bible was used at one time to justify slavery. The Word of God is now being used to justify torture (for a breath of fresh air after that link, see the other side), as well as the oppression of gays and lesbians. I don't believe Jesus's teachings could allow any of these actions to be considered Christian behavior, and I find it ironic that I would be accused of not being open-minded by someone who would vote to ban a basic right to people whose "lifestyle" is not one they agree with. All I said was that I question the character of someone who thinks that's ok. I didn't say you shouldn't be allowed to vote or anything. But if you don't like this, feel free to go find another country that doesn't separate the church from the state. Saudi Arabia comes to mind. Or Haiti. Though Finland and Denmark might not be so bad. Of course, they allow civil unions.

But say you are steadfast in the idea that gay marriage is wrong, no matter what. Leaving aside the fact that it is already illegal in Wisconsin, please understand what the ban says. They want to have written into the constitution not only a ban on gay marriage, but on anything that even looks like it supports any kind of official relationship outside of marriage for anyone. This is where business gets involved. Labor unions, chambers of commerce, and various other business leaders and groups, like that bastion of the left, the UW-system Board of Regents, are against the ban. Similar bans have cost other states and cities millions of dollars in tourism and convention money. The way the ban here is written, it will likely mean that domestic-partner benefits will be illegal, and will certainly no longer be offered at the state level. That means a lot of people who might want to do research for the UW, or take a position at Oscar Mayer, will choose to go elsewhere. It's been happening at the university for quite some time, actually, as we're the only one in the Big Ten that doesn't offer benefits, and never would with the ban in place.

Or you could vote against it for the children. Both the WI chapter of the American Association of Pediatricians and the WI Medical Society are against the ban. From the AAP site:

WHEREAS, strong and credible medical evidence demonstrates that legislation which outlaws or invalidates civil unions and domestic partnerships other than those between a man and a woman is potentially harmful to the children and
WHEREAS, despite this evidence, the Wisconsin legislature is currently contemplating such legislation, and a change in the State of Wisconsin constitution regarding the definition of marriage and
WHEREAS, Wisconsin children would suffer the same deleterious effects, if such legislation is passed, that has been documented in other states
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Wisconsin chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the referendum to amend the State of Wisconsin Constitution regarding the definition of marriage because the proposed amendment is not in the best interest of children.

Of course, they are against spanking too, so you know what crazy thinking they are capable of.

You will have to trust me when I tell you I have heard the arguments against. Boy howdy, have I ever. So do me this favor: please browse the FAIR Wisconsin site, and read the list of editorials against the ban (click to read them too. Tomah's is pretty good, actually). They have info regarding the religious arguments against homosexuality, and why they are perhaps spurious. They talk about the legal and economic ramifications.

Wisconsin was one of the first states, if the the first, to ban discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Now we are considering writing that discrimination into the constitution. If we are to amend the constitution, it should be to give people more rights instead of taking them away. If you don't like gay marriage, then don't marry someone who is gay. Just don't force someone else to live your idea of Jesus's teachings. On that note, I leave you with the Slacktivist:

In every religion, it seems, you'll find a group loudly proclaiming its allegiance and submission to the dictates of scripture -- the Bible, the Koran, the Pentateuch, Dianetics, it doesn't matter which. Their every action, every aspect of their lives, they say, is shaped and determined by the commands of their holy book.

Such sternly obedient believers face an epistemological dilemma. How can they know, with certainty, precisely what it is that their scripture demands? Most of us believer types, in every religion, tend to interpret our holy books through the lenses of reason, tradition and experience. But for these biblicists, reason, tradition and experience must all also "submit" to the dictates of the scripture. The meaning of scripture, therefore, has to be treated as self-evident and unambiguous -- two things which scripture tends self-evidently and unambiguously not to be.

Suggest any form of scholarship, textual, literary or linguistic criticism and the biblicists tend to get angrily defensive. These are all useful and important tools for determining what it is that scripture says and means and requires of its adherents. But the biblicists aren't interested in refining or clarifying their supposedly self-evident interpretations. They reject all such study as a potential threat to their own preferred interpretation.

And that, right there, tells you all you need to know about their supposed allegiance and obedience to their scripture. The scripture is not their true starting point after all. Their starting point is their own preferred interpretation, their own preference. They, and not their supposed Word of God, are the ultimate arbiters of truth, reality and meaning.

That's why whenever you hear someone say that the Bible is "inerrant" and "infallible," what they're really saying is that "My reading of the Bible is inerrant and infallible." What they're really claiming is, "I am inerrant and infallible."

What they're really claiming is, "I am God."

Now I can go back to bed.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not Happy.

Oh my God I just spent two fucking hours writing a post in response to my Anonymous commenter (and to Carlos's use of the troll word, which I disagree with strongly in this case, Carlos, I love you but you know my feelings about that), that was beautifully reasearched and linked and argued and I clicked one one window to close it and suddenly the computer closed four windows including the create post window and somehow Blogger didn't save the changes and oh man am I fucking pissed.

I'll try again in a few minutes, as well as adding the post I was supposed to post yesterday but I ran out of time before going out dancing so I blew my NaPoBloMo promise out the window in less than a week. Sometimes I suck. But not about FAIR Wisconsin. I'm right there.

Friday, November 03, 2006

FAIR Wisconsin

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a political button to wear on my coat. I've done this sort of thing several times in the past, either buttons or stickers or yard signs.

It reads, A FAIR Wisconsin votes NO. That's it. But never before have I gotten a reaction to a political statement I made like I have with this one.

One man saw me and smiled, sticking out his arm so I could see he was wearing the same button. His friend then pulled out his rainbow pendant, and said, "thank you". Over the weekend, I was in the store buying Peanut's costume when two young boys were horsing around, and one called the other a faggot. As I turned the corner to the aisle they were leaving, there were two women there, wearing rainbow pins, and looking tense. They saw my pin, and visibly relaxed, and we all shook our heads over the future felons. Today, while eating lunch at the bagel shop, one of the counter clerks walked over to my table and quietly said, I see you are wearing a FAIR Wisconsin button, are you planning to volunteer? Because we need you.

I had been thinking about volunteering, and had donated some money, but it was this last encounter that made me answer yes. It's not just about wearing the buttons or saying all the right things while having drinks with your friends. It is time to do something. The only shift I could fit in was one on election night, a get-out-the-vote drive for people who might have forgotten to stop in at the polls. I wish now that I had done more.

The constitutional ban on gay marriage in Wisconsin would not only ban gay marriage, which is currently illegal in our state as it is, but disallow civil unions and most domestic partner benefits. It is without a doubt one of the ugliest pieces of legislation I have seen come through our state. It is so very wrong on so many levels that I truly find it hard to believe that it ever got this far. Wisconsin has always had a proud tradition of progressive politics, and a decent history of protecting the civil rights of its citizens*. Anyone who knows me very well will know how proud I am to be from here, to have roots that go back 175 years in this state. It shames me that there is even a chance that this amendment might pass here.

There is no justification that can be made that makes this right. None. Don't tell me you think it is immoral, or bad for families, or whatever it is you think is wrong with extending civil rights to adult American citizens. You're wrong. You're as wrong as if you said blacks and whites shouldn't marry, that women shouldn't be able to own property, that people with brown skin should be owned by those with light skin. If you allow a athiest, heterosexual couple to get married by a judge with no mention of God, you cannot tell me that there is any good reason why two adults of the same sex cannot be married if they find someone to marry them.

Having been raised in a conservative, Republican household, I can usually see the points being made by the other side of an issue, to see the shades of gray. I know that people who disagree with me about going to war in Iraq or how the government should handle entitlement programs are not necessarily bad people, that two people can look at the same set of facts and come to different conclusions. But not in this case. And I will not apologize for judging your character on the way you see this issue.

Those of us on the left are often considered "soft" because we are known giving people the benefit of the doubt, for trying to see all sides of a complicated issue. I don't personally believe that those tendencies are character flaws. However, in this case I believe that those of us who know what is right need to take a stronger stand. This was acceptable at one time. We told people all over this country that it doesn't matter if you think blacks shouldn't be allowed to live in your town or eat at your restaurant, that it wasn't okay to hound people from their jobs for their political affiliations. It isn't ok to take rights away from a significant population of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. I didn't write a reasoned, nuanced argument here because I don't believe there is a valid argument to be made for this ban.

We vote on November 7, this Tuesday. Several other states have similar referenda on their ballots, and while they are not all as encompassing as Wisconsin's, they are all ugly in their own way. Please go. In Wisconsin, you can register at the polls-just bring your driver's license and proof of address. In Madison, you can go to the city website, punch in your address, and it will tell you where your voting station is. You can vote absentee at the city clerk's office on Saturday, Nov. 4, and from 8-5 on Monday, Nov. 6. The polls are open from 7 am until 8 pm on Tuesday. Unless you are in the hospital, there is no excuse.

Buy a button from FAIR Wisconsin, wear it proudly, and go and vote. If for no other reason, because I said so, and Big Daddy says I'm always right.

Now you're sorry about this whole posting-every-day thing, aren't you?

*Read about Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., and his wife Belle Case LaFollette to see what I'm talking about--we aren't all backwards hicks out here in the Midwest.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


"Flaghead" has become (naked) "Mrs. Broom".

This involves a sticker of a broom stuck down the neck hole of the stripped doll body.

You all wish you had my kid, just admit it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bonus Scary Post

So I went in to say good-night to Peanut (Big Daddy is putting her to bed), where I found her with her doll, Emily. Only she'd pulled Emily's head off, stuck the plastic flag from her pirate ship in the hole, and dubbed her "Flag Head". "Flag Head" then had a conversation with Emily's head (how are you, I'm fine, would you like something to eat?) She protested mightily when I offered to put Emily's head back on her body.

Next year I won't bother dressing her up for Halloween, because she's freaky enough on her own.


I forgot to get the digital camera back from the person who borrowed it, so I had to buy a cheap camera at the drugstore to take pictures of the cutest kitty ever! last night. So right about the time everyone is sick of looking at toddlers in costumes, you'll get one more!

We took Peanut to the assisted-living place where my grandfather lives. They were having trick-or-treat there, and can you really think of a scarier place? She stopped talking as soon as we walked in the door, and wouldn't as much as hold out her bucket to get candy. I don't blame her, what with the cheek-pinching by over-rouged women in bad wigs. Grandpa had forgotten completely that we were coming, so he greeted us in his underwear, and interrogated me about when he would see my father because he hadn't seen him in a really long time (two weeks, actually, but it might as well have been two years). Peanut started talking again non-stop literally as soon as we walked out the door of the place, and asked for candy.

The worst part for me is that I can no longer use the excuse of "Peanut can't chew well" in order to take her Tootsie Rolls for myself. I suppose it's worth her being able (if not willing) to eat normal food.

Monday, October 30, 2006


See this post for an explanation, if you don't read Beanie Baby already.

If I could, I'd invent an affordable robot chef, and damn it, the world needs
one because we'd eat better if we had tasty salads waiting for us each day.

I sometimes buy decorative candles and other tchotkes, because it they are more like the me I want to be than the me that I am.

If you came over to my house to play and touched my husband I'd be
a little bit mad at you forever.

The colour lime green makes me want to shave my eyeballs with a
cheese grater.

The colour lilac is so beautiful that when I see them, a
beam of light comes down and I hear a choir sing.

Mayonnaise makes me gag, feel it in my mouth for a minute, and
then swallow it back down rather than spit it out (or else I just don't like
it, but I'm too nice to say it.)

I might get sick or die if I touch or ingest spicy or peppery foods, or look at
mushrooms on a sandwich.

Ann Coulter gives me the willies and I might need to consider a
frontal lobotomy if I even think about it further.

I love the feel of freshly washed old sheets so much I want to hump it like a puppy on
a sofa pillow.

No one should have to watch me eat flan or creme brulee, because then I might
consider being polite enough to share, and I don't want to share it.

I'm a grown-up now, so I don't have to eat cauliflower any
more, and you can't make me.

If I could invent a way to permanently coat my nostril hairs with this
scent, I'd be my own biggest customer: Ginger Milk Bath by the Thymes, Ltd.

Three things I like that anyone might like: chocolate,
lilacs, kittens

Three things I like that almost nobody else in the world likes:
books on medical oddities, the smell of bleach

I have TOO MANY hand towels, and not enough
nice bath towels.

Okay, we know the best things in life aren't things, but these are the best
things in life if there are going to be best things: Fresh lilacs, peonies, and the smell of damp grass with my daughter playing in the yard.

When people have kind, sweet and nice things about me, they're usually
talking about my mothering. When they say I'm
bossy, they're usually right too.

It's true, I'm a lazy-ass. I'm learning to be
proud of it.

If I could have any talent in the world, I'd choose flying and use
it to save people from burning buildings.

You are given a day and a no-limit credit card to spend in one of these
places, childfree. Choose one, or write your own:

An auction, where you never know what you want until you see it, and then
you want it more than anyone. It's all about the adventure and the

A picturesque neon-lit bar, where a couple of swank cocktails and a friendly
bartender might lead to a Chandler-esque story. It's all about becoming a
character yourself.

A craft show, because you really need to find something attractive to cover
your spare rolls of toilet paper with, and then, you want to maybe glue some
paper to some more paper. It's all about making and doing.

A gourmet food store, because you are what you eat. It's all about feeding
yourself and your soul.

A hoity toity boutique, because you'd rather have the experience of shopping
gracefully than anything. It's all about quality time.

Are you kidding me? You didn't give spending the day in a huge bookstore with a cafe and comfy chairs as a choice?

And here's the last chance to make sure that you're not going to get a
"Jelly of the Month" club membership when you're expecting your bonus for a
swimming pool:

It is important to me that the items chosen for me
make you happy to give, though I wouldn't object to them being ethically made and sold.


If I could suggest that you read only one post from my archives, this would
be it:


If I were to name the Holiday of my choice for this exchange, it would be:
Celebrate Winter in a secular fashion!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Interesting Facts

In the last few days, Peanut has informed me that:

A. Cinderella went to the ball in a submarine, not a coach, and

B. Little Miss Muffet must have been a little baby, because only little babies are scared of spiders.

This makes up for her decision to go as a kitty for Halloween, instead of the triceratops she'd been contemplating.

Also, it turns out that while petroleum jelly is water-soluble, this means little when half of a large jar of it is in one's hair, ears, nose, and all over one's face and hands*. It will in fact require more than one shampoo to get it out, and the tub will require extra cleaning to remove the residue from that bath.

But her skin is just fabulously soft right now.

*I was able to get her to stop crying and start laughing simply by putting a mirror in front of her face. Even she had to admit it was pretty funny.

To Sleep, Perchance To Have a Free Hand Or Two

My friend Nikki, who gave birth to the current cutest-baby-in-the-world titleholder (after the world's easiest labor, you don't even want to know), Madeline, needs some advice. The little darling refuses to sleep unless she is on top of someone. Not next to, on top of. Unfortunately, I didn't solve this problem for months with Peanut, even with the assistance of prescribed narcotics. Anybody have any advice for her? No, Anna and Dana may not answer this question, because you'll just scare her with your stories of children not sleeping. I need happy stories, people. Please?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Something You Didn't Know, Part II

Okay, so it wasn't really a miracle. It just felt like it at the time.

When I first got my braces on, the orthodontist promised me we'd be all done by the time I went to college. Yet even though I had delayed college a year, I still had a retaining wire bonded to my teeth (I had to have it bonded because I took the removable one out every night in my sleep. I woke up with weird marks on my back a lot). So I went back to the orthodontist and told him to remove the wire, I was going to New York City and I was not going to have braces on my teeth at NYU. He wasn't happy about it, but he did it. I was soon not happy about it either, as my front teeth soon developed a gap you could drive a truck through. But more importantly, something else happened. My headaches started getting better.

At first, I attributed it to the medication I was on, whatever it was at the time. That, and perhaps the effects of some illicit substances I occasionally dabbled in (yes, Mom, just dabbled, all right?) Then I went to the NYU dentistry school to get my teeth cleaned at the student, cut-rate prices. Within five minutes of opening my mouth, I had five dentists standing around the chair, asking me "Do you seem to get a lot of headaches?" and "Have you ever had braces?" Yes, my friends, I had a classic case of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. Subsequent visits to the doctor helped determine that the TMJ trouble caused enough irritation to trigger migraines. This is why massage and muscle relaxants often worked and ergotomaine/caffeine medications and beta-blockers (the standard treatment at the time and what my treatments focused on) did not. Was I angry at the orthodontist who screwed up my bite and at all the headache specialists who didn't listen to me, causing me to lose years and years of my life and everything I'd worked for? Oh, just a bit.

My next challenge was finding a doctor that didn't think I was a drug addict when I went in and asked for some Soma. Eventually I did (I think it was my fourth try), and it was around that time that triptans were introduced. My headaches didn't go away, but they became manageable with medication. Well, sort of. These pills took away most of the pain, but still knocked me out cold when I took them, so I wasn't able to just take a couple at lunchtime and go back to work. Plus, the doses I take are huge compared to most people, and I am very susceptible to rebound headaches. Still, I was functional, which hadn't been the case in the previous eight years. It felt like I'd been let out of jail, and as I got older, the headaches got progressively better, and they went away almost entirely during my pregnancy with Peanut.

So why am I telling you this? Well, to explain why I stopped posting and commenting much. The headaches came back. They started creeping back last spring, and by the middle of the summer I was back to having one every day. Not a migraine every day, but a severe, intractable tension headache that hurt just as much. I was waking up with one every morning. It would get better after my morning shower, but come back with a vengeance by the end of my workday every day. They woke me up at night, but when I would try to catch up on my sleep on the weekends, they would get worse, and about once a week they would turn into a full-blown migraine. The cause this time is more complicated than just TMJ. Stress, musculoskeletal problems, autoimmune system problems all have been conspiring against me.

The difference now is that I am older and have more resources and support. After having Peanut, I have become far more proactive in my own health-care, and more disciplined in my approach towards healing myself. I have been taking it one step at a time, and making it clear to the health-care workers who are treating me that this is not a matter of finding one right fix that will solve my problems. It is going to take a long time to tease out the various triggers that have kept me in pain for so long, but I have faith that I will be able to do it. I'm pretty sure that's not just the Lexapro talking, either. Maybe I am being naive, and have convinced myself of this to make up for my lack of control over Peanut's health, but things feel different now. There was a time this summer when I was as depressed as I have ever been, but I'm working on that too. Chronic pain changes your brain, and it has certainly changed mine. I am not the person I would have been without it, for better or for worse.

So that's what's been going on. I'm not dying, it just feels like it some days. Things seems to be working, little by little, so hopefully I'll be able to get on here more and more. I'm thinking about the NaBloPoMo challenge, which I think I might just take up. So pretty soon you'll be sick of me. Be careful what you wish for!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Know, It's Coming

I'll finish my story soon, when I have more energy, I promise. You'll probably be disappointed anyway.

I just HAD to post this, though: For whoever found me through searching for "easy mama", Big Daddy is laughing and laughing and laughing.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Something You Probably Don't Know About Me

When I was fourteen, I got braces. I also got my first boyfriend, and saw my first horror movie.

I also started getting headaches.

They began as tension headaches, but no doses of ibuprofen or hot showers seemed to relieve them. All I could do was sleep them off. First once a week, then twice, then more. My doctor gave me some heavy painkillers, and said I needed to see a specialist, because Demoral wouldn't cure them, just help until I could be seen. I had a CAT scan and discovered that I was allergic to the dye they put in my veins to illuminate my blood vessels. My boyfriend made "it is not a tumor" jokes in an Ah-nold voice, but I didn't find them funny. I was missing a lot of school. I had always been a good student, so it wasn't too big a deal, but I felt like people thought I was faking it to get out of class. You could take someone's temperature to see if they had a fever, but all I could do was say I was in pain, and if it so happened it was right before algebra class, well, who really knew?

I was diagnosed with migraines after my mother called the neurologist's office for weeks to get the results back (why are all neurologists jackasses?). I was given a prescription for Midrin. I asked if I could take it with the Demoral, and he said yes. Unfortunately, that's not really true. I survived but the Midrin never really helped much. This was the beginning of a long series of drugs that either didn't work on the pain at all or worked only by putting me to sleep until the headache went away.

By the time I was a junior, the headache never went away. For a year and a half, my head hurt all the time. The pain level varied from almost-able-to-forget-it to someone-has-my-head-in-a-vice. I was seeing doctors at a special headache clinic in Chicago. I would tell them that my headaches started off with my neck feeling stiff, and sometimes if my mother massaged my shoulders right when the pain started, I was able to forestall the really bad pain. Unfortunately, all they heard was the part that came next, with the vomiting and the throbbing pain, and kept giving me new drugs. The only one that ever worked was a highly-addictive muscle relaxant, but that didn't seem to trigger anyone's radar.

I always had a list in my wallet of the drugs I was taking, in case I was in a car accident or something (no one who knows me now is at all suprised that this was entirely my idea). Inderal. Cafregot. Norgesic-Forte. Soma. Wellbutrin. Vivactil. This last I give credit to for getting me into college, becuase while I was on it I had really spectacular nightmares that I ended up turning into creepy short stories that I sent as my portfolio to NYU, which accepted me into its Dramatic Writing Program. I was on a restricted diet. No chocolate, no peanut-butter. No orange juice, pizza, sausage, onions or spicy food, no legumes or papayas. No caffeine. As they ticked down the list of forbidden items, they were essentially listing everything I actually ate. For two years of my teenage-hood, I didn't eat pizza or chocolate or have a peanut-butter sandwich, which I had eaten pretty much every day of my life since I had teeth.

At the beginning of senior year, I spent eight days in the hospital in Chicago, over Homecoming week, where they attempted to "break the headache cycle", and get me properly medicated. It was there that I met people like the soft-spoken pastor who, in the throes of a cluster headache, ripped a door off its hinges in front of his wife and children. Or the man who underwent an experimental surgery that cut nerves in his face, leaving one half paralyzed, in order to make his migraines go away. It didn't, but he said it would have been worth it if it had. Or the girl my age, who lived in a darkened room. Her headache was vice-like all the time, and nothing touched it. They sent me in to talk to her, thinking it would cheer us both up, but it really hurt her too much to talk, so I spent my less-pain time listening in on seminars given to patients taking MAO-Inhibitors, which cause strokes if you are taking them and eat aged cheese or MSG.

Nothing worked. By the end of senior year, I had attended school for a total of thirty days. I was a National Merit Scholar, but I was not going graduate. The district attempted to educate me at home, but every time I looked at my pile of homework my headache worsened. I did my best, but one teacher decided to make things difficult for me and when she said that I wouldn't pass her class (creative writing!--remember where I got accepted to college?), I gave up on all the rest of the classes, and watched my classmates walk across the stage for their diplomas from the bleachers on the side of the gym. Just as well, I suppose, because it was hot in there even without the stupid gowns.

But then, a miracle.

To be continued...

Friday, October 13, 2006

I Guess I Hide Things Well

Tonight, after a time-out for hitting Mama in frustration:

"Mama, you made me cry! Mama, you are naughty! No, I will NOT say I'm sorry!"


Peanut: I'm a little girl. Little girls cry.

Mama: Yes, they do, and so do little boys.

Peanut: Little girls cry and little boys cry and daddies cry.

Mama: That's right, and sometimes mamas cry too.

Peanut: NO! No they don't cry! Mamas DON'T cry!


The results of the CAT scan were as we expected, and her hip is not in position. The anterior portion of her pelvis did not grow properly around the ball of the femur, so it comes out of place. After we get the second opinion, we will decide on surgery, which will likely be just after her third birthday in February if we do it.

For those of you that offered up your homes, etc. if we come to your town, I am blown away by your kindness. If I didn't email you back, please forgive me. The reasons for my lack of updates and follow-up emails will appear in an upcoming post, but please know how much Big Daddy, Peanut, and I appreciate your kindness. Consider the offer returned in kind if you decide Madison might be a fun place to visit.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Baby Soon

My oldest friend (as in known the longest), Nikki, is in the hospital tonight to have labor induced for her first baby. I don't think I've been this jumpy about a birth since Peanut was born. She's so far away, and it's driving me nuts that I can't be there. Not in the delivery room, of course, just reading a book in the waiting room. We've known each other for almost twenty years, and I couldn't be more excited. Here's wishing you easy labor vibes, Sweetie. I can't wait to meet her.

Friday, September 29, 2006

To The American Taxpayers

We recently had an insurance change and Peanut's last surgery was not in-network*, so the plan did not cover $2100 of her care (so far--I believe there are more charges coming). But because she is covered by Medical Assistance, through the Katie Beckett waiver**, the state will pick up that difference and anything else insurance refuses to pay. Which is good, because we don't have $2100 now, and will not have it anytime soon.

So thanks for paying your taxes. We really appreciate the help.

*It should have been, because they had no doctor who could have performed the surgery in-network. I'll be looking into this.

*The program is federally funded, and all states are eligible to participate (Ohio is the only one that refused, I believe), though they can set their own inclusion requirements. I don't know why Ohio turned down cash to help disabled children, though I have some theories.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I thought I should explain a bit about the clinics I mentioned taking her to. First of all, I am not unhappy with her surgeon. We have been thinking of taking her to a clinic anyway, because we are not happy with her leg braces, which we believe are not helping her as much as they should be. This opinion was seconded by her physical therapist recently as well. While her surgeon is responsible for ordering her braces, the details are up to the people who make and fit them, who have had a hard time fitting them properly. I am not sure who should have informed us earlier that we had other options for bracing that might work better or might have been used in tandem with what she has, but now we know. Her surgeon was very receptive to the idea that we see someone else for an opinion about her hip, because he is very perplexed as to why this happened and he is quite a perfectionist. The problem may be not with him, but with her anatomy. She may just have a hip that won't stay in. We are hoping not.

An arthrogryposis clinic brings all the specialists together in one room--a surgeon, physical therapist, occupational therapist, orthotics maker, and sometimes other specialists. Because treatment is so interdependent, a short time together is very important. Here, her PT, OT, and speech therapists meet regularly to discuss her case, but the surgeon and orthotics people do not get involved. I have always felt this is a problem, because her therapists are so dependent on what the other two do in order to make progress, that it is just really difficult to communicate.

The other benefit of a clinic is that they see so many kids with AMC. Peanut's PT has been working with kids over 30 years, and has had only about 5 patients with it. While AMC has aspects that are similar to other conditions like cerebral palsy, they are in fact rather unique. For example, her clubfoot treatment followed the standard protocols in most areas, except that instead of changing casts every 5 days, we did it every 10 days, because the tissue of her foot is much stiffer than the average patient. Her foot will revert back in a different pattern than in a child with CP, so the splints she wears has to be different. But orthotics makers see many more children with CP than AMC, so they are not always aware of the slight adjustment that needs to be made to the splint to make it work for a kid with AMC--Peanut's wasn't.

The premier facility is considered to be the University of Washington Children's Hospital clinic in Seattle. The woman who literally wrote the book on arthrogryposis, Dr. Judith Hall, worked out of that hospital. The other very highly recommended clinic is at the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. I 've yet to hear anything bad about that place. We have secured an appointment with them (Seattle never called back-must not need the money), but it isn't until January. There are other clinics, in New York City, Houston, and Ann Arbor, MI, that are also well-thought of (and have the benefit of having people we know and love living in the cities). Most Shriner's Hospitals have a multidisciplinary approach as well from what I understand (and there's one in Chicago, which would certainly be convenient), but these are our first two choices. Because we couldn't make things easy or anything. I will be seeing if we can get in somewhere else sooner, though, so all bets may be off. I'm impatient that way.

Okay, now that I've done that, maybe my thoughts can stop swimming through my head in a whirlpool and I can go to sleep.

***The painting is The Club Foot, by Jose de Ribera (1642). While he has clubfeet, he also appears to have the hand positioning of someone with AMC.

Bates Motel

We got to come home last night. She fell asleep on the ride home at 6:30 and stayed asleep until this morning, when she awoke screaming. A dose of Tylenol 3 and some Little Bear, and she was happy. At least until she realized she couldn't play at her toy kitchen because it hurt to bear weight on that leg (she sits on a stool in front of it, and stands up to the counter from the stool). Even then, as long as she could play with her toy vegetables in the chair and watch Wonderpets*, she dealt well.

Then, tonight, it was time for a shower and dressing change. "No, I don't need a shower!" was the refrain of the evening. She can't have a bath until the wound is scabbed over, which is interesting because it means that I have to hold her in one arm while she clings to me and screams and I use my one free hand to soap her head up. Big Daddy was able to help, but it was still very stressful on us all. He said, "Um, there's blood", and I looked down to see Psycho being recreated in my tub. The gauze under the rubbery tape covering everything had gotten wet, and so the blood it had soaked up was now rewetted and turning the water bright red.

Then, "No, I don't want my band-aid off!" during the dressing change. Her wound is closed with tape, then covered in gauze and the rubbery stuff that seemed to meld with her skin. Even working the edges up with oil made her cry piteously. She was pacified somewhat by the promise of wearing her "Princess Dress**" afterward, but it took a good while before she could calm down and believe me when I told her we were done.

We'll stop the prescription drugs during the day tomorrow and see how it goes, and hopefully she won't need them at night either. I know there are a lot of parents who deal with this and much more on a regular basis, but I don't know how they do it. It has been easier for me when I could tell myself this was going to help her walk, but I'm feeling a bit less hopeful now and I think it makes it harder to suck it up when she's miserable and do what needs to be done.

*My God, when will they merchandize that show already? I am going to have to buy TiVo just because they aren't making DVDs of it.
**The Princess Dress is the least offensive frilly pink nightgown I could find at the Disney store. I make no apologies for getting it; I think it is natural and healthy for her to explore the hyperfeminity it represents, particularly since no one she is around will reward her for it anymore than they will her wearing her black t-shirts and Chuck Taylors. After she got home with it, she put a doll dress on her Mickey Mouse and dubbed him "Princess Mickey Mouse" and "Cinderella Mickey Mouse". In her world, everybody gets to be a princess. Besides, not a one of you could have looked at her sweet little face and not gotten it for her when she asked so nicely.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Not So Great

Well, her femur isn't in her hip the way it is supposed to be. The doctor couldn't get a really clear look at it, but he's 95% sure it's out of place. He very nearly decided to go ahead and fix it right there, to save having to go back, but that would have necessitated putting her in a spica cast without us having a chance to prepare for it. Plus, since this is apparently the first time he has had one of these procedures fail, he wanted to take some time to review what might have gone wrong, lest the next time we go in it fails again. So they took out the metal and sewed her up, and we'll get a CAT scan within the week to confirm it is out. We are then going to attempt to take her to an arthrogryposis clinic, either in Delaware or in Seattle, where she can be evaluated by people who do little but see kids like her all day. Her surgeon will discuss their opinions with them then, because he is hesitant to even redo the work if he can't be sure it won't come out again. Which would mean a permanently dislocated hip, which would mean an even-more-screwed up gait and possibly other complications as she grew. On the other hand, there isn't any point in going through such major surgery if it isn't going to actually fix anything.

Not what we hoped for, but she's doing all right and looks like she can come home today. Without a body cast. Whew.

For Real

Yes, I'm still alive. Technically, anyway. But that's not the important thing.

The important thing is that Peanut is currently in the OR having her surgery. Yes, really.

It seemed kind of weird for it to be happening on this day of all days, but Karen is getting baby Maya today (actually has her by now), so I decided that since she is retaking the day for joy that the least we could do is get over the freaky feeling and get on with our lives. I just wish I could have gotten some of the really good drugs they gave Peanut to calm her down beforehand.

God is getting a whole lot of extra prayers today, but I am hoping He still hears my little one about having her hip where it is supposed to be. It is a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but anything helps.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Why I Truly Got No Sleep This Week

Monday night: Headache + fight with Big Daddy.
Tuesday night: Full-on migraine + Big Daddy leaving until Friday.
Wednesday night: Storms + lightening-hit tornado siren 1/2 block away + Peanut bad dreams.
Thursday night: Blueberry vomit between 11pm and 3am in Peanut's bed, Mama's bed, bathroom, and all but two towels in the house.
Friday night: Muscle spasms in neck and shoulder from, and I'm guessing here, stress + more Peanut bad dreams
Saturday night: 12:45 am call that 92 year-old grandfather has vomiting and diarrhea at his assisted-living home. Would I like to come and get him or meet the transfer ambulance at the hospital? Easy answer to that one. No clear diagnosis when I give up at 5am and leave phone number with nurse, as grandfather is sleeping and I am not. They do not, of course, call to let me know he is admitted for what is apparently stomach virus with dehydration, so I end up waking up with a start and having to chase down someone to tell me what is going on (he's ok, it's just hard to get a virus when you are a frail nonagenarian).

Plus, the internet connection went screwy again as soon as Big Daddy went out of town.

I need a week at a spa. No, seriously, I really do.

Friday, August 18, 2006

No, I'm Not Kidding

Due to an emergency surgery and another surgery that took longer than expected, Peanut's procedure has been cancelled as of 3:45 pm. They'll call us back to reschedule. Everyone is very sorry, and we got a $10 gas card for our troubles.

Not that I am terribly disappointed that she is not the last surgery of the day on a Friday, but really, enough's enough. It's more frustrating, I think, because none of these cancellations are really anybody's fault. The doctor was in an accident, she got sick, someone else had some unfortunate calamity necessitating immediate surgery. I feel like I want to be pissed off at someone, but there isn't anyone it would be appropriate for. Which means, of course, it will end up being Big Daddy.

Peanut survived not eating just fine. We kept her up very late, going to Ella's Deli for chocolate ice cream and carousel rides around 10pm. She slept in, ate Jello for breakfast, and was an angel in the little room where we waited, dressing her stuffed llama up as the doctor and examining Mickey Mouse's leg. Less whiny that usual, actually. As soon as we were cancelled, she got chocolate, so at least for her, it wasn't a total waste of time.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I'm Not Normally One For Cussing, But...

They called with the surgery time. It's 3-fucking-10 pm, and she can't eat after midnight. She can have clear fluids and popsicles until 11 am. Fucking great.

So we're keeping her up as late as we can and feeding her pancakes until she explodes.


We don't want to jinx anything. She could wake up today with a giant boil or something. But the surgery is rescheduled for tomorrow.

[walks away, humming because I can't whistle]

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Geek Girl

Last night when we were driving home, we drove by a practice field where the Santa Clara Vanguards were practicing for the Drum Corps International World Championship, held here in Madison. Being a former band geek, if only briefly, (damn braces), I pulled over to let Peanut listen a little bit.

She was enraptured, saying "Music! They're playing music!" After a minute or two listing to the tubas, I hear from the backseat, very quietly, "Play Twinkle Little Star? Please play Twinkle Little Star?"

After sadly informing her that I didn't think they took requests, I told her that back in the day, Mama played trumpet in a band too. She turned and looked at me with a face similar to what I would imagine seeing if I had just informed her that she was getting a new baby brother, and his name was Elmo. Her jaw literally dropped open. Before I could bask too long in the admiration, the music started again, and she sat in her seat, pretending to toss the flags in the air like the girls on the field, until they took a break and we drove home.

Imagine how excited she'll be when I tell her that Mama also used to spend Saturday nights playing role-playing games.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

She's 2.5 Years Old On Friday

She sang Old McDonald to me all the way home yesterday (Did you know he keeps unicorns? They neigh).
She used a banana peel to make "hair" for her stuffed cat.
She is obsessed with playacting, and will use whatever is handy to create characters, which have included Mama Hand and Daddy Toe. Or she'll make the stuffed cat moo if a cow is necessary to the story but not available.
She loves all the Beatrix Potter stories.
She can identify clown fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, tang fish, eels, crabs, shrimp, seahorses, jellyfish, octopi, swordfish, three kinds of whales, three kinds of sharks, and groupers. We have to do Google Image Searches for grouper every time she sees a computer.
She has memorized her going-to-the-potty book (among others) but has no interest in actually using the potty herself.
She makes up her own versions of the Wonderpets theme song, with WonderPeanut as the star of the show.
She will only use her new walker if we bribe her with M&Ms.
All her stuffed animals can fly, and they are happy to teach each other this skill.
When I said to her, "I said NO!" the other day, she defiantly replied, "I said YES!"

It's going to be a long 15.5 years. Thank God. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 23, 2006

This Is Getting Ridiculous

10:30 pm + waking from sound sleep + high fever + vomiting = better than 50% chance of cancellation of surgery in the morning.

We're supposed to take her in anyway if she seems at all improved, though the peds anesthesiologist on call said they would still probably cancel. Yay.

8:00 am

We've cancelled. She had to go in and be assessed, but since her fever spiked again when she got up and she vomited in the car on the way in (and of course, we walked out of the house without the bag with her change-of-clothes), the anesthesiologist said there's no reason to make her more miserable and risk a longer hospital stay. This isn't a pressing issue, so we'll reschedule.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

So, barring any more bicycle accidents, Peanut is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning. We have to be at the hospital at the ungodly hour of 6:15 am, which is acceptable only because at least this way she won't be begging for breakfast for very long.

This will be the first time she'll go into surgery as a person who actually understands a little of what is going on. She was so young with the rest of them that there was no point in preparing her more than a few minutes ahead of time, and she tended to ignore us even then. Now she can talk and understand and anticipate, so we actually have to think of something to tell her. Plus, we have the nifty package from the children's hospital, containing a surgical hair covering and mask for Big Daddy to put on, and the oxygen mask for Peanut to play with, so she doesn't freak out at Daddy's face with the mask in the OR, or get scared when they put the mask on her. I'm not looking forward to it. Sometimes, parenting really sucks.


Last week I didn't have much internet access because of work and because our home service was down for a few days, so I didn't get to share our big news. Our little Peanut has gained so much in the last year from Speech Therapy that she officially has been discharged from her therapist! I can't say I'm surprised, as I can't imagine that any two-year old that uses full sentences and can pronounce "rhinoceros" correctly as well as use it in a sentence qualifies for services anymore. She is testing at normal levels for pronunciation and waaay above normal for vocabulary and use. It really just blows my mind, as just a year ago she was so behind. She couldn't chew her food and she said just three words (no, up, and mo' for more- she sounded like she was Cajun). I'm so proud of her.
I have a couple of half-finished posts sitting around that I haven't had time to get up here. Plus, I am thinking of lifting my self-imposed moratorium on pictures (I was getting some really freaky searches on here--I'm not one to judge what someone gets off on but I'm not knowingly going to let my kid be a part of it). So we'll see what kind of time I have in the next couple of days. You know work has gotten bad when you look at your kid's surgery as a good thing because it means you don't have to go in to the office. But I might have some extra free time, which is good because there have been some rocking good posts by other people I want to respond to.
Excuse me, I am being requested to play the part of Baby Lady Puppy in the one-act, Hi, I'm Baby Rhinoceros, Would You Like Some Cookies?

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Last night she was asleep by 9:30, and today she napped,so I thought we were in the homestretch. But tonight, 10:30 again.

The last few nights she has been insisting that I tell her a story. When I asked her what she wanted it to be about, she said, "Dinosawr!" One named "Crunch", specifically. Crunch has been lost in the woods and escaped a T-Rex (or Dinosawr Rex, as she calls them), lived with a little girl and her parents, and gone sailing on a boat in the ocean so far.

Have I mentioned that I don't really have a creative bone in my body? Maybe one of the small, inner ear bones is creative, but it doesn't get much say. I am of German ancestry, and it seems to be overwhelming the Irish part when it comes to telling tales. I actually sat down and googled "Dinosaur Story" yesterday, in hopes that it would help. Apparently there are a lot of other people who don't have my problem. Or maybe they did, and just honed their skills by telling stories late at night to overtired toddlers.

On the bright side, this is what she decided she wanted to wear for Halloween. I wish you could hear her try to say "triceratops".

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Night Owl

You think I was kidding about the no sleep thing? Last night it was 11:15. Tonight it is 10:25, and she's still awake, telling me she is afraid because she saw an alligator in her room. And no nap today either.

If Toddlers Ran The U.N.

Overheard in the car:

"Oh, I wuv you, dinosawr!"

"Oh, I wuv you too, Daffy Duck!"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Where I've Been (Again)

In case any of the 2 people who still read this blog (hell, my mother doesn't anymore) and don't know me in real life are interested, I am not blogging because Peanut has decided that sleep? SLEEP IS FOR LOSERS. Especially naps.

The nap thing wouldn't affect me too much (hey, my mom watches her during the day--it really sucks for her), except that on the car ride home she inevitably falls asleep despite frequent toe-ticklings. She will sleep coming out of the car seat, walking up to the house on the insanely busy street (including through ambulance sirens), walking through the house with the dog barking and jumping on me, but literally, as soon as she touches the bed the SCREAMING starts. And then she's refreshed, and ready to go another eight hours or so.

So the bedtime struggle has begun in earnest. She has recently finally gotten to the point where, assisted by a pillow, she can sit herself up from lying down on her own. This is good because it she is obviously more independent, and isn't crying "sit up bed! sit up bed!" to me at night anymore, which broke my heart. Other little kids can sit themselves back up in bed to play as soon as Mama leaves, after all. So now she can, but this is so new that a couple of weeks ago I went in after hearing her crying on the moniter two hours after putting her down to find her sitting up, in tears from exhaustion because she REFUSED to lie down if I wasn't making her. Since then, she has gotten better about laying herself down, but at least half the time that isn't before Letterman and who can stay up that late anymore? Besides Peanut? I can hear her on the moniter, even if (when) I give up and go to bed early, and it keeps me up. She's singing to her animals, they are inviting each other to parties, and periodically they fall down and get boo-boos and cry and call for their mamas in such a lifelike way I have to get up and check to see if it is Peanut or Blue Cow that needs me (I've discovered a key hint that helps me--if it is fake boo-boo she says, "Ow!Ow!Ow!", exactly like that, three times, but if it is real it's only once or twice before the crying starts).

(An aside: Peanut got a Paddington Bear as a gift recently and promptly took his clothes off to share with her other stuffed animal friends. Somehow, Blue Cow ended up wearing the pants. The other night, we were sitting and playing the game with the animals where they all say Hello and introduce themselves to each other. So I have Blue Cow and she has Bear and they politely introduce each other and then Bear says, rather indignantly, "Hey, you're wearing my pants!")

Most nights she finally goes to bed so late that all I can do is feed the pets before I am falling in to bed myself. I'm not exaggerating here, you can ask Big Daddy who has to do all the chores. I am working on various things to help change this, but because I am not cured of Chronic Fatigue Syndrom, just improved, it doesn't take very much to send me over the edge into all-out exhaustion. In fact, I'm so close now that I completely lost my train of thought as to where I was going with this post. I just discovered a sentence I started but didn't finish in the last paragraph, and I have no idea why. Our solution to this is going to be getting her a real bed. She's certainly old enough, and I think she'll feel less like she's going to prison in one. I will be able to lie down with her there instead of in my own bed, so perhaps I will get some sleep there.

Tonight, Big Daddy is sleeping in the guest room, the cats are shut out of the bedroom, and I will be putting in earplugs. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Seriously, Don't Do It

I thank Steve for this game.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Abort! Abort!

Apparently Peanut's surgeon is a bit of a daredevil on a bicycle. Cracked ribs and a broken collarbone make it difficult to perform surgery, to say the least, so her surgery is cancelled, re-schedulement pending.

Yes, yes, it's annoying.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Peanut's surgery is 9:40 Monday morning. Supposed to take an hour, and she'll mostly likely come home the same day. Pretty minor in comparison to the last two, but general anesthesia and the phrase "pain management" never make me happy.

Let's keep our fingers crossed the the bad x-ray was as wrong as our bad ultrasound was, and her hip is just fine. Because there is just no way she's going back in that damn body cast. No way.

Monday, June 19, 2006

My Kid Is So Cool

She really loves Beatrix Potter books, and gasps each and every time Mr. Jeremy Fisher gets swallowed up by the trout.

She puts a diaper on her head, and instead of it being a hat, she becomes a house, with the diaper as the roof, her nose as the door, and her eyes as windows. Who lives in the house? Why, boogula whales, of course.

Speaking of those, tonight she pulled open my shirt, looked down at my cleavage, and announced, "There's boogula whales!". Indeed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Big Daddy

I never wanted kids until I met Big Daddy.

He's an even better father than I imagined he would be. My friends are all jealous.

Happy Father's Day to truly the best dad Peanut could ever have. We love you.

Monday, June 12, 2006

To Hell With Holland

Sometimes, when I am watching her, I get a vision, unbidden, of her with normal legs. I see her running through the grass after the dog, pigtails bouncing. And I wonder for a moment, when I see her face fall when the dog walks away from the chair she is sitting in when she's trying to pet it, what she would have been like with legs that worked.

I really, really, hate those times.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

An Offer You Probably Should Refuse

Want to lose 8 pounds in four days (not including water weight)?

Want diet motivation you can't ignore?

Do I have the answer for YOU!

This amazing new diet system is called GALLBLADDER DISEASE!*

It's so simple, even a glutton like me can understand it!

Eating food = Moderate nausea, mild to moderate abdominal pain

Eating fatty food = Moderate to severe nausea, vomiting AND severe, unrelenting upper gastric pain

No food other than toast + severe nausea and vomiting = 8 pounds + 4 pounds water weight lost in ONLY FOUR DAYS!

Plus, it comes with an optional, most-expenses-paid** trip to a very clean room with expert caregivers ready to check on your well-being every four hours, and to take care of your every need with a simple push of a button!***

*Not recommended for anyone I actually like

**By insurance, if you have it

*** Bring your own pillow with a colored pillowcase, as theirs are always kind of flat and hard

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mom Told Me To Write This Down So I Won't Forget It

You know how little kids all have at least one word they mispronounce really cutely? Peanut can say "rhinocerous" perfectly clearly, but every night that Big Daddy is home with his laptop, we have to spend a few minutes looking at "Boogula" whales via Google Image Search.

Where I Write A Lot About Other People Who Write More

I have been doing some reading lately. Mostly about disability. I have a long blog post I have been writing in my head, but until I can articulate what I am thinking (if I ever can), it might be helpful to point you to a couple of places with stuff I found interesting, so maybe you'll be able to understand where I am coming from when I write.

First, the blog A Letter to My Children. I found this blog a while ago, read the archives for hours, and then somehow lost the page when Big Daddy took his computer back and I couldn't remember the exact title. I've finally found it again, and I was going to link to a couple of posts in particular, except that they are all so good I couldn't decide. I can't explain how invaluable it is for me to read something from the point of view of someone with a disability, particularly someone that doesn't spend a lot of time on "this is just how God made me and He must have some purpose for me, because He does everything for a reason". I am not saying that to denigrate anyone who feels like that, not at all. It just doesn't calm me to believe that about my daughter, and I find that often the conversation stops there when I really need it to continue. It is also terrible and scary for me to read, because it is particularly hard for me to believe that the problems with people's attitudes and the health-care system that she writes about will be improved by the time Peanut is an adult.

Then, this piece (and the one it links to at the bottom), which I emailed a bunch of people who know Peanut IRL, because it made a lot of sense to me and is how I am trying to think about parenting her. It goes against a lot of people's first instincts, I think, to not talk so much about her being "just like all the other kids" (it was certainly my first instinct), but the older she gets, the less that really works for me, and, I think, for her.

There are others too, but these are a start. Feel free to tell me what you think.

Monday, May 29, 2006

In Memory

of those who have fallen.

Including my great-uncle, Major Harlan E. Stewart, 15 Jan 1915 - 25 Feb 1944, who died after being shot down in the Bougainville area of the South Pacific. He was a Marine fighter pilot, a month away from getting married.

From the hometown newspaper:
"Enemy landing craft was sighted the day of February 25. The flight officer asked Major Stewart to send two pilots up to strafe these enemy craft. Instead of sending two, he sent only one--he, himself, chose to be the other. His plane was struck by anti-aircraft fire. Sparks were seen in his plane. He continued to send information by radio, but was unable to receive. He radioed first that he would have to make a forced landing on land--then, later, on sea. The plane was recovered and Harlan's body lies on Bougainville island. It is said that the place where he lies is like a national cemetery."

He was posthumously awarded the Air Medal a year later, as well as a Purple Heart and American Defense Medal. His body was brought back to Wisconsin five years later, and is buried with the rest of the family in the local cemetery. He was my grandma's big brother and she was very close to him, from all accounts a handsome, easy-going, decent man. I have a scrapbook she kept with all of his letters, his photos (he really was quite good-looking), his awards, medals, and all the condolence letters sent to the family. Some things you never do get over. I also have his ceremonial sword stashed away, until my brother, a Navy veteran, has a more permanent place to live and keep it.

Here's to all the men and women who did their duty and died for it.