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.

Friday, May 26, 2006

We're Blessed, Dammit

So I have decided that I will be grateful Big Daddy had to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, because that's how we found the hose to the ice-maker spraying water all over the kitchen and the puddle that was turning into a pond across the tile and hardwood floors, and thankful that I remembered where the turn-off valve for it was (downstairs, through the rain of water that was coming through the floor). I will consider us lucky, even, as I have today off and dammit I really need to relax and I don't want to think about having to spend more money to fix things in this cash-sucking hole of a house.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Book Blog


My computer at home is dead.

Well, maybe only mostly dead. It might be able to be revived. But not this weekend! Because we will be at a waterpark hotel in Wisconsin Dells for free! About damn time I got some perks for working for the company I work for. So that is why posting has been light, and why my blog still looks ugly.

However, this computer thing is a problem becaue I had promised to participate in a Blog Book Tour for the author Jennifer Margulis and her newest book, Why Babies Do That: Baffling Baby Behavior Explained.
I am here at the end of the tour, so you may have already seen the book mentioned in other blogs (click on the link for her page, listing a whole bunch of other cool Mama blogs under the Blog Book Tour link). I wanted to do an interview with her, but life kind of got in the way. So I will tell you instead about the book.

I was very flattered when Jennifer emailed me and offered me this chance, putting me in with the big girls of blogging like she did. But then I realized, it's a gift book. I hate gift books. I have a bizarre heirarchy of books that I find worthy of reading/owning, and gift books are way down there. BUT! (don't get discouraged, Jennifer!) I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I expected pretty pictures with very little content, but this contains real information. Weird stuff about baby reflexes and drool and poop. Interesting stuff about growth and brain development. If you are like me and read the parenting/medical books cover-to-cover, there probably isn't much in there you don't already know. But if you are like Big Daddy, and simply don't have the patience to wade through all those books, this one would be great. I read somewhere that she chose this format because it was something easy for a sleep-deprived new parent to digest. I don't know about that, because I think I still couldn't comprehend more than two sentences together after her birth. It's still a nice shower gift, or Cliff Notes for someone who runs screaming from What To Expect The First Year.

I also want to mention her other book, Toddler: Real-life Stories of Those Fickle, Irrational, Urgent, Tiny People We Love. This is a collection of essays (she's the editor) about toddlers, and seriously, it is Hi-larious. I got an extra copy to give as a gift. Plus, it was banned from a book sale at her kid's elementary school because one of the essays had naughty words! Mind, this wasn't a sale of children's books, it was a sale of books to benefit the school. My general rule is to immediately buy any book that gets banned for stupid reasons like that, and this was definitely worth it.

So now that you have your next baby shower gift and light summer reading picks, I am off to the wonderful world of water slides, wading pools, and being in my swimsuit in front of all my coworkers.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Scene: On Bad Mama's bed, Peanut has insisted on putting on Bad Mama's pajama shirt and pants.

Peanut: Now I'm da mama.

Bad Mama: Ok, Mama, what is Mama going to do?

Peanut: [flops down onto a pillow] I'm tired! [Yawns exaggeratedly, and then giggles]

What can I say, the kid pays attention.


Please send your prayers to Cancer, Baby's family.

She was the same age as me. Things like this are not supposed to happen to thirty-three year- olds.

The National Ovarian Cancer Resource Center has more information on the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It's All Relative

Peanut is really into "big" and "little" right now. She also enjoys naming body parts. And she is the only person in the world who can get away with telling me, "You have a BIG vulva" without something ugly happening.

According To Peanut

... the moon was asleep, but then it woke up and needed some milk, so she would fly like a bird up to the moon and give it some.

She is so cool.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Statistics are people with their tears wiped dry

Yesterday was Blog Against Disablism Day, and I missed it, because I waited like a good girl to blog at home after work and then found out my computer is still not working right. Ahem.

So I just have a few minutes here to mention a few things. I've had a long post in draft form I've been playing around with about parenting a child with a physical disability, but I haven't been able to quite get it to say what I want to say yet. This is perhaps because I don't quite have a handle on the whole thing either.

The saying is that the disabled are the only minority group that anyone can become of member of any time. It's a thought most of us choose not to consider, unless it is forced on us. When I was in college, the younger brother of a guy I knew, a kid who was regularly at our parties, was in a motorcycle accident that paralyzed him from the chest down. His brother took time off to be with the family, but came back telling us the kid (he was 17) was suicidal, and that he didn't blame him. None of us did. We couldn't imagine it. Within six months, however, he was living with his nurse--as in boyfriend/girlfriend, and the stories I heard about his life rival ones I've heard about Hugh Hefner.

What concerns me about Peanut's future isn't that she doesn't have the spirit to handle whatever comes her way--she's already demonstrated that beyond my wildest dreams. My worries have more to do with other people: with our medical system, our social support network, our society at-large. For instance: In order to get the government assistance we need to keep us from going bankrupt paying for her medical care (yes, we have insurance, but not 100% coverage), we cannot save any money in her name. This includes college funds. In order for her to qualify for medical assistance as an adult in the event she cannot hold a job (a possibility, depending on how her bones and joints grow and how severe the arthritis she will have gets), we will not be able to give her money, or do a lot to assist her in any way financially. This is terrifying to me, much more so than worrying about her possible wish to be a prima ballerina at the ABT. We can play at being middle-class, but we can't do for our child what others can, or what we will be able to do for our next child.

I know she has it better than orphans in the Ukraine with AMC or other congenital conditions. But shouldn't that be a given? Shouldn't adults who want to live on their own be able to do so, and not be forced to live in a nursing home? Really, how is that much different than what happens to those children? In a country that proclaims to value life so highly, why don't we think it is important to pay for feeding tubes for people who need them (insert cutting Terry Schiavo comment here). Is it too much to ask that they just be able to get in the door of a bookstore?

We need to wake up and acknowledge the shameful way we treat sick people in this country. My daughter isn't disabled because of anything she did wrong, but even if she was, is the additional punishment of not being able to receive appropriate medical care a fair trade-off? My child has as much value as any other child, and I refuse to see her marginalized. She is a wonderful and amazing child, and I hope I live to see the day where she and all the people like her are seen by the rest of us as wonderful and amazing first, and only later on does anyone say, "Her knees didn't bend? Wow, I didn't really notice".

Diary of a Goldfish has other, better posts. I heard about this from Special and Needy and Bitch, PhD.