Sunday, August 16, 2009
It's about a public health care OPTION, folks. If you don't have health insurance, you will have the OPTION to select the public plan. If you have insurance, you will be able to keep it. There will NOT be anything like a "death panel." Anyone telling you that this will happen is lying to you. As for concerns of how to pay for it, you're already paying (in many ways) for everyone who doesn't have health insurance, and it's only going to get worse. We taxpayers will be paying either way. I would rather pay for every citizen to have health insurance coverage and be proud of my country's public option than pay for the consequences of failing to provide our citizens with this basic right and continue to feel ashamed of our lack of such an option. And by the way, a public option is NOT socialism. As much as we would benefit from a more socialist approach to many social problems, we will be no closer to socialism with a public health care option than we are now with the Medicare option for senior citizens. So let's stop the nonsense and get down to the business of figuring out HOW, not if, we should do this.
If you haven't seen this yet, check out Jon Stewart Vs. Town Hall Crazies on The Huffington Post. Awesome.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Shhh... I have discovered the secret to productivity. And because I am your bloggy friend, I am going to share it with you. (Warning: you're not going to like it!)
Step 1: Drink coffee. (However much you need.)
Step 2: Plant your butt in your seat (desk, reading chair, whichever seat the task calls for).
Step 3: Start working. DO NOT check email accounts, Twitter, your blog, or any other site on the internet that is not directly related to the work at hand!
Step 4: Keep working.
Step 5: Break for lunch.
Step 6: Return to your work. Again, DO NOT do any of the forbidden activities listed in Step 3!
Step 7: In the late afternoon (around 4:00 or 5:00), you then may check your email, blog, etc.
See? I told you that you weren't going to like it. But, dude? It totally WORKS! I have been more productive in the last week of practicing this discipline than I've been in months.
Now, this of course won't work for you quite as well if your work requires that you check email or other websites regularly. But if you limit yourself to only the absolutely necessary internet activity, and develop some rules for when/how long you will deal with email at a time, it still might work for you.
It isn't nearly as much fun as twittering the day away, but it's much better for actually getting something accomplished.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
* I have a cold.
* It’s not that bad, but I still whine a lot about it.
* Only on my blog and Twitter though. I don’t whine much at home.
* The Little One is interrupting me about every 20 minutes this afternoon.
* It’s making me crazy. I’m not a jack-in-the-box. I’m a mommy.
* It’s 3:00 again. How did this happen? Another day ran away from me.
* Bullet lists are easier than writing a real post.
* Maybe bullet lists are responsible for Twitter?
* It makes sense. Short bursts of thoughts and all.
* Little One is playing “computer” w/ an old keyboard and a Build-A-Bear box.
* She’s acting like me, getting impatient with her stuffed animal “child.”
* I'm so busted.
* Nothing like your kid imitating you to make you feel like a crap mom.
* But seriously, no one can do anything if interrupted every 20 minutes.
* Except maybe a bullet post.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I'm having a bit of a "blogdentity crisis," or at least that's the (non-)word that comes to mind. My life has changed in some simple yet profound ways in the last year, and I am uncertain as to the purpose of this blog (or even if I want to write in this way just now). When I started I thought of myself as a "mommyblogger," though my (mis)adventures as a mama of a small child were certainly the focus of many posts. I needed a virtual space that was all mine, where I could vent and rant and let it all hang out. I had a few things to say and a place in which to say them.
But now? I don't seem to have much to say here these days. Part of it is the easygoing nature of our days this summer: we do our writing in the mornings in our offices, leave by noon to pick up the Little One from her summer preschool program, come home to eat lunch together, and then we each spend the afternoon enjoying the pursuit of our own choice. Obviously this leaves a lot of room for blogging. And yet I can't seem to blog. What on earth would I write about? What we ate for lunch? Which book I might read that afternoon? What we might eat & drink for dinner? There are many of you out there who can make such small details come alive on the page, but I am not like you. When I try to write about something like that? Zzzzzzz...
So. I don't know if I will write that much this summer after all. And I'm going to release myself from the obligation. I'm going to read all of your blogs for awhile. Maybe I'll find inspiration. Or maybe I'll just enjoy the reading but still have nothing I want to write here. Maybe I'll just link you all to the good stuff I find. Maybe I'll actually try writing the mundane details of our summer. Maybe I'll just write about the food and wine we're enjoying. The possibilities are like these summer days, so many still stretched out before me, making me smile with the luxury of doing just as I please for much of every day. I haven't been this relaxed for years.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
About a year after the Little One was born, I very suddenly and desperately wanted another one. This is apparently very common. Something about surviving that first year with your firstborn and becoming incredibly nostalgic and wanting to do it all over again. And I thought it would be good if my kids were close in age. Good for us, to get through the tough stages faster, and good for them, to improve the chances that they could be friends as well as siblings.
When she was about 20 months old, we had an "oops" moment and conceived. It was a welcome "oops" pregnancy, as we were planning to try for another child soon thereafter. We were excited, and I was determined not to be as anxious this time around. Our first pregnancy had ended quickly in an early miscarriage, and though this is very common (not to mention something we might not have even known about in the days before the early home pregnancy tests), it was devastating for us. From the moment we knew we had conceived the Little One we became exceedingly anxious. And though I enjoyed the pregnancy overall, the anxiety definitely put a damper on the whole experience. So this time, I wasn't going to give in.
As the first weeks went on, the Hubster was doing pretty well in keeping the anxiety at bay as well. He was calm and supportive and reassuring that all would be well. As for me, my only concession to worry was to occasionally say "I only want to see that little heartbeat and then I'll be fine." We were out of town around week 8, so our second appointment was pushed ahead to somewhere between weeks 9 and 10. My wonderfully understanding OB had promised an ultrasound at this appointment, to help reassure us, so we knew we would be able to see our little peanut. I was excited about the appointment, eager to receive that reassurance.
In a way, though intellectually I knew it didn't work like this, I felt that if I didn't worry, everything would be fine. Magical thinking, I guess. So I worked hard at keeping the anxiety at bay, and I was certain that everything would be fine. When the OB couldn't find the heartbeat with the Doppler, something he said he could usually do with someone as slender as I was at the time, I didn't feel any panic or dread. I completely believed him when he said everything was probably just fine. And he had promised an ultrasound to check things out anyway, and I didn't want to miss out on that. So in a way I was absurdly relieved that he couldn't find it, because I was afraid that if he did, he wouldn't order the ultrasound. Can you believe that? I was RELIEVED. I didn't WANT him to find it. I wanted to see the peanut. It didn't even occur to me to begin to get nervous.
We went down the hall to the room where they do the ultrasounds, and the tech soon had me ready to go. She soon found the peanut, and began pointing out the features of the "sac" and "fetal pole," all familiar to us as second-time expectant parents. I still didn't see anything wrong. I was just waiting for her to find the little pulsing light that would signify the peanut's heartbeat. I knew it would be there somewhere. It had to be. But then she suddenly said, "I'm sorry, I don't see a heartbeat," and began to shut off the equipment. Just. like. that.
I stared at her, stunned, as the Hubster squeezed my hand. My eyes sprouted tears before I even knew I would cry. I wanted to yell at her, to shout, "KEEP LOOKING! It has to be there! Keep looking, please!!!" She had to be wrong. The moment had become surreal.
(Ultrasound techs out there? Do us a favor. Take the moments to KEEP LOOKING. You know it's over, you know you're not going to find it. But the patient is not the image, the patient is a woman on the table, with her partner or other loved one by her side, and she needs you to at least pretend to keep looking. Let her see that it isn't there. Don't stop so abruptly. Because it will take us a few moments to catch up with you, and we need to see it for ourselves.)
We went back to the exam room, where the OB expressed condolences for the loss and talked to us about how to proceed. The evidence showed that the peanut had probably died around seven and a half to eight weeks, which meant that my body wasn't miscarrying as it should have. I didn't even know how to process that information. I was sort of relieved that I hadn't begun to bleed at home, for I knew how awful that was, but I felt sick to think that I had been walking around for possibly as long as two weeks without knowing what had happened inside of me. How did I not know? The OB offered two options: wait a bit to see if my the miscarriage would happen naturally, or have a D&C. I chose the latter.
Before they wheeled me in for the procedure I asked my OB one more time if he was sure it was over. We wanted to believe that they had been wrong. He took a moment to sit and explain everything, detailing the evidence from the ultrasound. He also told me that he was a man of faith and that there was no way he would be doing this if he had any doubt. I'm not a religious person, so my physician's faith had never been of concern to me in my medical care (and to tell you the truth, I don't really want my physician relying too much on God's will, just in case it makes him/her not fight as fiercely for my life in a critical moment!), but I did find this reassuring in this moment.
Physically, I recovered quickly (the whole D&C was a breeze actually), but emotionally it took me some time to feel better, as it does for everyone. Some days were tougher than expected. My birthday was bad (the baby's due date), Christmas was slightly melancholy (we "should" have had two kids), and when my birthday came around again I felt a little blue realizing that the baby would have been a year old already.
We had put pregnancy plans on hold for awhile after the D&C, but tried again last summer, trying to time it for early this summer. We're now debating whether to try this summer. The Hubster wants another child, the Little One keeps talking about a baby sister, but I'm feeling more ambivalent than ever. Things are finally falling into place. My career is about to be properly launched. The Little One is entering her final year of preschool. We're out of diapers, pull-ups, and even those nighttime underpants. The sippy cups are gone. We sold the stroller, high chair, and pack-n-play months ago. I'm turning 42. I'm feeling beyond this stage of having babies and taking care of an infant, a toddler, a three-year-old. I had a ROUGH postpartum period, for months, and really don't want to experience that kind of thing ever again. It took two years to really feel like myself again, and three years to completely recover my mental sharpness. And above all, we are a happy little family. Why mess with perfection?
And yet... I'm feeling a little bit of melancholy to realize that this will be the last year of preschool, that a year from now I won't be the mommy of a very small child anymore. I can't yet part with the baby and toddler clothes stored in my garage. I'm old enough that I can't really change my mind in a few years. (Yes, I know that maybe I physically COULD, but I have no interest in pregnancy after a certain point. I barely have interest in it now.)
I didn't really intend to tell this whole story today. I was sitting here trying to think of something to write, staring at an episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 on the t.v. (big marathon this weekend in preparation for the juicy season premiere tomorrow night ... stop judging me, you KNOW you're gonna watch it), taking in yet another scene of a roomful of screaming children and feeling intensely grateful that my house is never filled with such a cacophony, so I started to write about that. Posts sometimes have a mind of their own.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Somewhere around 4:00 I finally settled into my favorite chair and opened a book (Appetite for Life, a fantastic biography of Julia Child, which is a dense but delicious book that I started reading about three summers ago and am finally about to finish). And I realized that this was precisely what I should have done hours before, when I first felt the utter torpidity take over my being.
We (and when I say "we," I mean my husband) finished the day by grilling thick salmon fillets. (FYI for spelling freaks like me: In the previous sentence I first typed filet, but it looked wrong, and so I googled both words and discovered that filet and fillet are actually interchangeable.) We devoured them with copious amounts of risotto and a bit of salad and bread, and collapsed onto the couch to watch the latest episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey (yo!).
So what will today bring? Will I have the energy to tackle a closet or clean the clutter on my dining room table? Or will I give up and sit my butt down in my reading chair and finish that book? Stay tuned for the exciting developments...
Monday, May 18, 2009
I have needed to get things in serious order in this house for ages, and I promised myself to do just that first thing this summer. We’ve begun with a redesign of our home office space, which doubles as a guest room. It’s never looked quite right, and neither of us liked to spend much time in there, so now that the rest of the house is pretty much finished it’s time to tackle it. We put in two bookcases, bought a new bedset for the guest bed, and cleared all of the junk out. Now I’m populating the bookcases, freeing our books from the closet shelf exile they’ve endured since we moved here (in 2006!). Then I’ll have to tackle the dreaded office closet, into which every miscellaneous item has been shoved for those same three years. Gulp. This is going to take courage. And endurance. Wish me luck.
UPDATE: It took me ALL DAY just to organize the books and get them in the shelves. I would never have believed it would take that long. Of course it could have been the completely obsessive way I organized them by type, size, and color before putting them in. And then the fact that the kidlet insisted on placing each and every one (at least she followed my instructions, so I didn't have to re-do). But we had fun with it, and I put on some old tunes (cassette tapes I found in the closet) and we danced and sang like lunatics. (I haven't done that in ages, and discovered that a 4-year-old is your best companion for such antics.)
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Around lunchtime today I found myself feeling a bit anxious, as Saturday was slipping away too quickly already. But then I remembered... I am in the time of the endless weekend, the perk that makes being generally underpaid (relative to the investment of time and money getting the Ph.D.) well worth it. This, my friends, is a big part of why we get into academia. It isn't the only reason, of course. I truly adore the teaching and research and writing and can't imagine doing anything else. And I'll be enjoying it even more now that I have the security of entering the tenure-track (and at a university that seems likely to weather the tough economy).
But I digress. The point is that my summer has begun, and that makes Kaza want to SQUEEE!!! That does mean that I'll have to come up with things to blog about. I gave the dusty old blog a bit of a cleaning and a new look. It's not exactly a makeover, but it was time for a change and I've wanted to go 3-column for ages. Let me know what you think.
As for me, I spent the last two hours playing with the kidlet: Barbies, Dora dolls, beauty parlor, and "big sister/little sister" (that's a new one she came up with today). She had a blast and was delighted that mommy was finished with her work and could play with her for so long. I'm completely exhausted and I have a headache from that high-pitched voice she uses for every doll (what is up with that?). I have earned my martini, my friends, and I'm going to go shake one up rightthisminute.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
This age is so great. At 4, she's so amazing, so capable, so helpful, so much fun, and my only complaint is that she sometimes gets too chatty. But she's such a good girl that if we tell her we need her to stoptalkingconstantlyforawhile, she gamely occupies herself with a quieter task or goes into her room to continue the chatter to her dolls and stuffed animals. She was really into making this a great Mother's Day for me, and I have loved every moment. I'm soaking it up, because I know it won't always be this way.
I must say though that my heart is with those in our mommyblogger family who have experienced devastating losses lately. I only just found out about two such events, and my heart is a bit heavy for them today. It must be really difficult. As it must be for those of you who have lost your own mothers. Or for those who long to be mothers but aren't yet, or wanted to but never could. I know it isn't a happy day for everyone.
To all of my fellow mommybloggers... Happy Mother's Day to each of you!
Friday, May 8, 2009
This means that I am just days away from freedom. Oh sure, I need to keep working on my own writing and research, but that's NOTHING compared to the pressures of the academic year. It is, in fact, what we eggheads live for. The time to pursue our intellectual interests with no other distractions.
This also gives us time to enjoy our families. And the ability to truly do so. When I awoke the morning after giving my last in-class final, I felt the pressure lift from me. I actually felt lighter. And I was able to be patient with my daughter all day long. Even while I was grading exams. It was then that I realized that there is a stress that I feel in the teaching year, a constant push at my back. What is it about teaching? I suppose it is the performativity of it, and the fact that you alone are in charge of your courses, so the pressure is entirely upon you to keep it going and sustain that energy for 15 long weeks.
So I am ready to bask in the freedom of summer. And this summer is going to be sweeter than any other, knowing that in the fall I will begin my first tenure-track position. It's been a long journey to get to this point. I plan to enjoy every moment. (And you know this also means that soon I'll have the time to get back into blog posting/commenting/reading... squee!!!)
Friday, April 24, 2009
At the moment, she is 4 going on 13. Moody much? Check. Large and in charge? Check. Laughing hysterically one minute and sobbing uncontrollably the next? Double check. Maybe some people are good at this stage. Hell, she has a school full of teachers who do this for a living. They spend entire days with 2, 3, and 4-year-olds. ON PURPOSE. Sure, they're being paid. But you could not pay me enough to do that job all day long. No way. I can barely handle one 4-year-old for the five hours between after-school pickup and bedtime.
Which means that weekends should be much worse, but somehow they're not. She seems to need the mellower days as much as we do, and then there's the GLORIOUS fact that she won't nap at home, so bedtime is TWO HOURS EARLIER!!! It's Friday night, so we're all very happy. And we're taking her on two special outings this weekend, so she's working hard to maintain halfway decent behavior.
Yet four is also so much better than three in so many ways. She is learning at lightning speed, and we can have long conversations (of a sort), and she can "read" me her storybooks because she remembers every detail remarkably well. She's as smart as a whip, and her imagination is a wonder to behold. I miss some things, like the way she used to make elaborate patterns on the floor with various items, and her cherubic baby face that is now changing and becoming a big girl face (more beautiful, and amazing to behold, so I wouldn't go back to three even if I could). Our little human becomings. They're like the bubbles we blow together in the backyard... so beautiful, yet impossible to catch for more than a moment.
Okay, I'm getting sappy now. Back to the business at hand. Which is this: each stage is more wonderful than the last, but also harder. Is it always going to be this way? I know the teenage years are going to be far, far worse. But I have this idea in my head that there is a set of years that is the "easiest" for parenting. And I figure it starts around five or six and goes until about eight or nine. Maybe even ten. Am I deluding myself completely? And yet when I imagine her in that age range, I have this double reaction: I can't wait, but I also dread it, because I am going to miss her little kidlet self SO MUCH. In spite of how hard it can be, I feel it flying away, and she's getting bigger every day, and before I know it I will hardly be able to lift her, and I'll be proud and sad. I guess that's just the bittersweet chocolate that is being a mama.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
With the addition of all of her new things from last Christmas, her recent birthday, and Easter, there is a TON of new sh*t in that room. I've culled as much as I can, but this practice has become dangerous now that she's old enough to have a very accurate mental inventory of each and every item. I'm constantly surprised by her ability to suddenly remember (and want to find) the most insignificant (to me anyway) piece of plastic crap that was a kid's meal toy like, oh, two years ago!
We try not to spoil her, and to talk about being grateful for what we have rather than focusing on what we want, but the grandparents really go to town for each and every holiday and we certainly do our share of buying. We love to delight her. But the stuff, it's beginning to take over our house.
As for our own grownup collections of stuff, I've been working steadily over the past two years to identify items we don't really use, need, or love, and have given away many boxes and bags full of things. And if we don't end up having another baby I'll have much more to donate (and we'll have a lot more space in our garage). This summer I'll finally tackle the closet in our home office/guest room when I get to move all of my books and papers into my "real" office at work (squee!!!). I've been waiting for this opportunity for years now, so I'm incredibly excited. When you take a faculty position at a university the idea is that you'll be there for your entire career (as long as you make tenure at the end of the 6th year), so you get to settle in more than anyone would in an office in a corporation these days. I'm ridiculously excited about it.
So we'll finally get things as settled as possible here (though we hope to move into a different neighborhood closer to the university in the next year or two, so we're not in our permanent home just yet). It feels really good. And I'm amazed by how much space I have within my mind now, with all of that uncertainly finally gone. We wondered and worried for three years, and at last we can just live our lives without all of that anxiety. Which of course makes me worry! I'm so used to the anxiety that it's hard to just relax into the security. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to happen to mess it all up again and throw us back into the constant stress. But really, truly, it's all good, and we're so grateful.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I'm longing to catch up with blog reading, but it will take me awhile to make the rounds. I promise to visit each of you soon though and get back to commenting and such. I've missed the blogosphere and Twitterverse so much, but I have to say it was also kind of nice to simplify my life and focus solely on immediate demands for awhile. Not that I had much choice. There simply wasn't time in my days for the last several weeks. I haven't even had the chance to read anything for fun in months, and there was barely enough time in our days for cocktail hour in the past two months, so that tells you just how dire our situation had become!
Speaking of which, is it martini time yet? I bought some ass-kicking olives today at the market and I'm eager to send them swimming in a big pool of icy vodka. Mmmmm.
So, what have you all been up to?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I miss my bloggy friends.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
What I miss most is reading all of YOUR blogs, and that too is something I have less and less time for lately. I was hoping to do some of that today actually, but as luck would have it, I've spent my day off with a sick Little One on my lap. I always know when her fever goes over 101, because that's when she stops her usual constant activity and plops down on my lap for the duration.
She woke up with a cough and low grade fever yesterday. We had an afternoon appointment to see the doctor for a flu shot (yes, very late, but still worth doing, or so we were told), and he said her symptoms were purely viral and the fever was low enough to proceed with the shot. I got mine first (it was only fair), and she bravely took hers. All seemed well, but then her fever spiked in the middle of the night, and hasn't come down since. It's been as low as 100 and as high as 103.5, but the hospital's health nurse said it's within the normal range of a reaction to the flu shot.
That's when I recalled that this is her normal pattern. She hasn't had any sort of vaccination for awhile, as she's in those in-between years and we skipped the flu shot the last two years. So I had forgotten that she normally reacts with a fever to any sort of vaccine. If I had remembered, I probably would have put it off until next week to let the virus clear out first.
As for me, my arm hurts like hell and I can't move it normally, and I have a headache, but otherwise I've escaped much of a reaction to my shot. The kidlet has coughed or sneezed in my face a dozen times today though, so I'm sure I'll get the virus within a few days. Lovely.
I hate it when she feels so sick. I wish I could pull the fever out of her and into me. She did finally perk up a couple of hours ago, and the fever is just below 101 now. She's watching a taped episode of Sesame Street and eating graham crackers. I'm waiting for the fever to spike again. She's on the whole alternating doses of Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen every 3 hours routine, and as usual the Ibuprofen works great but the other does next to nothing, so the second three hours are the suckiest. We're about to hit that point, so I'll soon know if we're on the downhill side of this thing or if the fever will keep spiking.
This too shall pass. Soon we'll be back to the normal routine. Busy, but healthy, and happy. And thank the heavens for that.
UPDATE: Her temp just now was normal!!! (On Tylenol, but still...) I think the worm has turned! Woo-hoo!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
So how have I been? Busy, busy, blah, blah, blah. I know it's annoying to read anyone writing about how BUSY they are, how they just don't have TIME to blog or read blogs or comment on blogs. So I won't go on about that. Let's just catch up.
How about that Inauguration? It was beyond thrilling. Not only is it a new year, it's a whole new world now. I feel completely inspired, in so many ways. Not only to do my part in this country, but also to make my own way in this horrific job market. The academic market has been rough for a few years now, so those of you in the other sectors are feeling the kind of crunch we've felt for awhile. And ours is only getting worse. I've had some luck this year, some interest in my applications, and am still in the running for a small handful of jobs. The odds are still overwhelmingly against me, so I have to have a backup plan.
Until the economy tanked I was feeling a bit bitter about the situation. It felt like everyone else was enjoying great careers while I was working so hard to apply for existing opportunities and create potential opportunities where I am now. But after watching this election, and witnessing our new President take office, I feel reinvigorated and committed to do whatever it takes to make my own way. One of these jobs might hit, but if not, I will dig in and work ever harder to realize my vision for my career. I have a lot to give, and I won't settle for pouting in the corner and whining about the lack of tenure-track jobs. I'm tired of being that person, the one who has only negative things to say when people ask me how the job search is going. I have a lot of support from wonderful friends and colleagues in my current (temporary) teaching position, and these people will listen tirelessly (or seemingly so) to my venting. But I'm done with that. In the end, it doesn't do anything for me, and I know it's giving nothing to them.
I've worked very hard to have the job for this year, and I have made many connections in the right places. I'm grateful to have a job right now, even if next year is completely uncertain. And even if nothing comes up for next year, I will not despair. I will work harder. I will not give in to self-pity. I will stop whining! I have a no-whining policy for my child, why not for myself?
(But every now and then I might need to do a venting post, so I hope you all will bear with me when I do so. It'll be our little secret, k?)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
It's a philosophy that is also in line with the upcoming regime change in this country. I am feeling such anticipation about Tuesday. I cannot believe that the day of renewal and rebirth for our country is just days away. I wish our family could be in DC to see it all firsthand, but duty calls on the work front, so we'll be here doing the usual thing. It seems like we should have a national holiday for the occasion though, doesn't it?
This weekend I'm finishing all the big cleanout, so by Tuesday every object and each piece of paperwork should be in its place. After two years in this house, we'll finally be fully organized. And THEN what will I do with my weekends? ;)
Happy New Year everyone. I have a really good feeling about 2009.