Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This is not what I mean by new reproductive technologies

I'm not quite ready to talk politics yet, so I'll give you this - from the New York Times - instead:
Fertility help has gone mobile. BabyCenter, a parenting Web site, said it would introduce on Thursday the Booty Caller, a series of 18 ovulation alerts sent via text message. Sample message: “Your fertile window opens today and lasts 5 more days. Heat kills sperm so keep your mate away from the hot tub.” The service is free at

Monday, November 03, 2008

Be warned, students!

I just came across this on a syllabus for an undergraduate class. Freaking awesome.

I will prepare a challenging pop quiz for every single lecture of the fall quarter. Incorrect responses to these quizzes will deduct points from your overall course grade. I will only administer the quiz, however, if a cell phone, Blackberry, laptop, or any other electronic device rings, vibrates, or otherwise disturbs the class during lecture. This caveat also holds true for those of you with uncontrollable email, text messaging, and FaceBook addictions. If you and your classmates cannot discipline your use of electronic peripherals for less than three hours a week, then you should be prepared to take pop quizzes on a regular basis.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day in the Life

I thought things were going so well when the kiddos slept until after 7:00 - new time - and then had a good morning before heading out for bagels and errands. Things went downhill from there:

1. The people at the next table at the bagel place were, apparently, evangelical anti-choicers. And vocal. And then they paused to pray for a while. Out loud. There's more, but I'll spare you all.

2. We tried to go do early voting because we like to vote together and bring the kids, but the line was about 4 hours long. Seriously. So we'll squeeze it in on Tuesday, separately and without the kids. I was both excited to think about all of those people who wanted to vote so much that they'd stand there for 4 hours and afraid for the people who found that overwhelming. I'm actually really terrified about this election. It's not so much the national stuff, but there are a couple of statewide initiatives that are really close.

3. I don't know if it's the time change or what, but the kiddos did not nap. At all.

4. J is swamped with school and some community projects, and it's like he's trying to do two full time jobs at once.

It's not all bad, of course. It's just easier to vent than to rave.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Magic and Memory

The year after I graduated from college, J and I lived in a big house* with several of our friends. In some ways, that was the best place I've ever lived. There was always something going on, or someone to talk to, or something to do, or something to eat** but we had enough space that we could always get away, too. It was a great, grand old house with tons of character, on a street adjacent to an urban center that is still in the process of gentrification.

For Halloween, we cut paper to make the upper windows glow like eyes, and I spent hours carving pumpkins and foam gravestones and arranging lights and cobwebs on the grand front porch. And then some stupid teenagers came by the house in broad daylight, days before Halloween, and smashed all of our decorations. I was home, and I came down and shouted at them, and filed a police report, and lurked near the windows for days after, scanning the neighborhood for them. They lived just around the corner someplace, I think.

But still, that Halloween was magical. It was a great house for a party, and our many overlapping groups of friends came in costume and we decorated inside and greeted the kids that came trick-or-treating. Harry Potter costumes were big that year, I remember.

I love Halloween - magic and mystery and fall all rolled into one. But since I don't like to carve my pumpkins too early anymore, I rushed to finish the pumpkin I'd planned for weeks during dinner, before we took our little Ladybug and Pumpkin trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. (Pumpkin picture to come, just as soon as J gets the pictures off the camera.)

* That house is currently on the market, and even though we now live about 3000 miles away and those kids probably still live there, I want it I want it I want it. Plus they still have the curtains I picked for the living room.

** One roommate worked at Whole Foods, and regularly brought home bread and sushi at the end of the day. Mmmm, free sushi.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


If while conducting a search for a summer nanny for your toddler twins, you discover (through the first link on a simple Google search that even your grandmother could have done) that one prospective candidate has been featured on a website featuring shots of sorority girls on display for frat boys to oogle, but said candidate would otherwise be a potential match, do you:

a) ignore the soft-porn, and interview anyway
b) politely inform the student that she might want to rethink such ventures in the future
c) eat a pint of ice cream and bemoan your post-twin flab (and really, your pre-twin flab, too)
d) browse the past archives of the site to see if she's featured in her undies, in a faux-lesbian encounter, or just in a bikini on the beach (all of which seem to be frequent settings).

While I was never the sorority type (I went to a school that didn't officially have any, though really we did), lots of woman are in sororities, and apparently some of them submit pictures of themselves in various stages of undress (apparently, pictures of sorority girls peeing are a hot thing - who knew?). So am I just insecure because she's a college student with a hot body and I'm, well, not? (For comparison, our last fabulous sitter was a college student with a nice very-round body. Which is, of course, not why we hired her.) Why is this bugging me?

And what is this post going to do to my google search results?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The gods must be crazy

It's not often that comment spam makes me laugh out loud (nor do I usually read it) but in skimming my most recent (now deleted) spam, I uncovered the following gems:

Your infertility was favor, for the gods were granting you more time in hope you could get out "before" this obligation forced you to stay. The Italians bred like rabbits:::That they got "pregnant immediately" illustrated their undesirability.

And this:

If you lived in a communisitic state your 10 year old son wouldn't be able to see pornographic images on the internet. The government would have filters in place to protect the people from this damaging behavior.

And of course, this:

The gods are asexual. They have no sex organs nor rectums.

There was also a whole section about how McCain would have had an easier time winning against Hillary than "Osama" (yes, Osama).

Usually, my comment spam tries to function as advertising or linkbacks of some kind, but this? This seems like the stream of consciousness ravings of someone in an altered mental state. And what I really want to know is, how did they end up on my blog? Was it my fervently stated belief that I want my 10 year old son to be able to see pornography? It is a free country, after all.

Comments and community

Thalia's recent post about keeping up with blogs has me thinking, so rather than hijack her comments, I thought I'd move this here.

I've been reading without commenting for months now, because it's all I can do to keep up through Bloglines (and even then, I have over 500 unread posts in my queue right now - though some are from review sites and the like), but it takes more time and energy and focus than I usually feel I can muster to actually click through and come up with something useful to say in response. And then I think how that makes blogs one directional, and how one of the things I value about the blogworld is the conversation and support and communication... which is to say I think I need to break out of my bubble and get back to commenting rather than lurking. By the same token, I've slowly been unsubbing from some of the (bigger) blogs where I never really felt like part of a community so much as a flock - where I never really commented much anyway. (And by *some* blogs I mean one or two so far - it's hard to stop following someone's story.)

I haven't been posting either, obviously. We've had a whole confluence of circumstances combined with what is probably a bit of low-level depression and a ton of projects and huge life changes and I've barely managed to keep my head above water. But I'm hoping the tide is changing, and one of the things I really WANT to do is get back to blogging and participating in a bit of a blogging community - for fun and for sanity. I make no sweeping claims, since I hate setting myself up like that (see how well I did with the Moxie challenge?) but for myself, I think I'm going to try. It might mean reinventing my blog identity, or changing how I think about blogging, or commenting, or something. It's a process, and I'm only beginning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Take yourself seriously

Moxie is running a 60-day Take Yourself Seriously Challenge, and I'm trying my best to join. The premise is to choose three things you want to work on and commit to them for 60 days. I didn't read all of the comments, but it looked like a lot of people were (1) reducing their intake of high fructose corn syrup, (2) drinking more water, and (3) trying to have more sex. Yes, really. I'm sure J would like it if I added that last one to the list, but for now it's a much lower priority. Although, what does that say about the state of our marriage? I'll have to think about that. Anyway...

There are so many things I think I want to tackle, and then I get overwhelmed at the enormity of it all and accomplish nothing. So I'm trying to make these goals do-able to have a taste of success (I hope) and then add in additional goals in the NEXT 60 days (or whenever).

1. Start T-Tapp and do it regularly. I think that means a 4 day bootcamp and then every other day, but since I haven't started yet I'm not sure what schedule will end up working. But STARTING is the big thing.

2. Be more present with my kids more often. It's so easy for me to get caught up on the computer and just watch over them, rather than sitting down and being fully present. They're at a fabulous age and I don't want to miss it.

3. Get to bed earlier. Work on this bit by bit - I don't think we'll be able to change the habits we've slipped into overnight (ha ha), but bit by bit, work back to getting to bed by 10:30.

For future (so I don't forget):
- more veggies. Husband and kids are not so keen on them, so it's easy to let it slip by.
- focus on dissertation writing. Advisor is somewhat too relaxed, so motivation must all come from self. Motivation seems to have disappeared with arrival (19 months ago) of babies.
- reclaim my office. Which might help with the dissertation writing.
- get off the computer. Hey, wait, I think I'll try that now.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I feel kinda dumb now

I can't believe I'm admitting this so publicly, but here it is.

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

In my defense, I did pass the AP Biology exam in high school. And Calculus. Which might be the last time I studied math or science, since having passed the exams exempted me from any such classes in college.

But what am I going to do when my kids start taking science classes? Sure, J is probably better at these subjects than I am, but still. I really don't want to be the dumb parent.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hip(py) enough?

I tried to join the local Natural Families yahoo group/email list (membership is pending “approval”) and all I could think about was Stacie’s post about proving your credentials. I had to submit an introduction to the moderator, and I couldn’t tell for sure but felt like what I needed to do was prove that I was AP/granola/crunchy/alterna enough to join the group. I mentioned our cloth diapering, cosleeping, and breastfeeding, because I felt like I should, but really, those things have very little to do with our parenting philosophy. The CDing is a cost and environment thing, mostly. We’re currently cosleeping out of convenience (we started on a trip - the kids didn’t much like the hotel cribs so both eventually ended up in bed with us and it was pretty cozy - and they’ve been sick so we’ve just found it easier) and while I haven’t tried to stop BFing, neither have I tried to continue. Mostly it’s just laziness - the kids like it so much that I can’t see what it would take to stop right now. Point being, it all feels pretty circumstantial. And yet, I felt like I had to trot out my AP credentials to get in the door. What I’m hoping to get out of the group, besides the possibility of meeting other families, are things like recommendations for local services (a homeopath, maybe?) -- which seems more intentional than the others, but wasn’t what I felt I was supposed to say.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Whose children are these?

On the one hand, I'm not sure they're mine.

Point 1: Based on their 18 month measurements and this height predictor (via Stacie), B-Boy is going to be 6'2" tall, and Miss M will be 5'6". I am 5'1" (on a good day). J is 5'9ish. J said, I am trying to picture him standing eye to eye with me and all I could do was crane my neck (and cry a little at even the thought of my baby boy being a grown man someday).

Point 2: Miss M learned a new word today. Broom she said, after I swept up a bit of a mess in the backyard. And then made me sweep some more. Yes, it appears that my kids are into cleaning. MissM also likes to wipe and sponge. And yes, I know that's developmentally good, and all that, but it's not like I generally model cleaning for them. Ha. As if.

On the other hand, well, of course they're mine. And how.

Point 3: Miss M seemed fascinated as she watched me flip my head over to put mousse in my (curly) hair this morning. So I put a dab in her hair, too, and her curls lasted longer than usual. I'm sure there's some reason I shouldn't put product in her hair though, right?

Point 4: B-Boy is now the less-than-thrilled owner of his very own nebulizer. Poor boy seems to have inherited my lungs. Both kids have had a cold, and when we were in for their 18 month "well child" visit yesterday our pediatrician confirmed that he's wheezing and put him on meds. Which would help more if I could get them into him. How do you get an 18 month old to sit relatively still through a nebulizer treatment? It's not like it's fast. The pediatrician suggested that we do the treatments in front of the TV (yes, we have doctor's orders to put our under-2-year-old in front of the TV!) but it's not really helping. The machine is LOUD, and TV is only a minor distraction. So, any ideas? We'll probably only have a couple more treatments for now, but I expect we'll need them almost every time he gets a cold - that's generally my pattern, too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Progress on the self-front (pathetic navel-gazing below)

I got my hair cut and colored. Make it funky, I told the stylist. I feel frumpy. So far so good, though I have yet to really test the wash and wear-ability, and since that’s what I have time for most days, that’s the ultimate test. But the color is purrrty. And the time spent reading People magazine at the salon was decadent, too.

Not so sure about clothing or body changes, yet. I have the T-Tapp book, but am waiting on the video because the descriptions are so complex I can’t get through the workout. I’m trying not to be daunted by this. Clothing-wise, I went and bought a new pair of jeans, since my one remaining pair that fits now sports a very trashy rip in the crotch. So sexy. So put together. So not. The new jeans were not the size I’d hoped, but it seemed worth the temporary investment in clothing that fit. Except that the first time I wore them they stretched out so far that they were falling down. Which should have made me feel thinner, but mostly just made me feel like buying cheap jeans was a big waste of time. So I’m back to having no jeans that fit. Speaking of which, in response to the comments on the last such navel-gazing post, I’d love to wear some of my formerly cute clothes except that (a) I wasn’t all that cute or trendy before, either, and (b) they don’t really fit. The “THIS is what a feminist looks like” shirt, for example, was skin tight 4 years ago, and if I knew where it was I still couldn’t wear it. Sad, no?

The kids are sick again. So am I. Just what we needed on a rainy week. My MIL seems to think that if we were sleeping better we wouldn’t be getting sick. I had to bite my tongue a little bit to keep from snapping at her. She means well, but really her commentary on our sleeping situation is not remotely needed. And actually, in the brief lull between the last cold and this one, I thought our sleep was working pretty well. M made it all night, or almost all night, in her crib - coming to bed with us at 5 or 6 am to nurse. B was waking between 11 and 2, coming to bed, nursing, and then sleeping peacefully. It was only a struggle when they were both in bed, struggling for the apparently prime real estate near my right armpit. Or, in M’s case some of the time, staying latched for hours. Ow. But otherwise, our sleep was fine. Really. Bizarrely, even in the midst of this nasty bug, we’re sleeping relatively okay. Bringing them to bed means I get more rest than I would if I was trying to get them settled in their cribs a million times. Not right for everyone, but for now it’s working.

I have no idea where they got this latest cold. I would have blamed the very cute but totally germ-ridden kids play area at the local coffee/play place (a very cool thing, germs notwithstanding) but the timing doesn’t seem right. They might have picked it up at the preschool we took them to visit last week (they played on the playground with the grandparents while we toured classrooms). Everyone knows preschools are hotbeds of infection. Right? So why am I thinking about putting them in school next year? More on that soon.

It’s taken me a week to write this, so clearly I need to devote a little bit more time to me, and to the cheap therapy of blogging. And I should just hit publish - editing be damned.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Things that make me go "awwwww"

M woke up from her nap today in a good mood. Sometimes she wakes up crying. Today she started talking: "Ma Ma Ma Ma" and when I went to get her, she said "Hi!"


We have regular nursing spots - in the nursery and in the living room. Today, when B wanted to nurse (less than an hour after the last time, and right as we were trying to get dinner on the table...) he pulled me over to the couch and pulled down the pillows I use to get comfy - one to sit on and one for my back. And then he patted the pillow, as if to say "sit here!"

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Identity Crisis

Once upon a time, I had an identity other than mother. And it showed. Once upon a time, you could tell by looking at me, that I had opinions, that I was not “mainstream.” Once upon a time, I was funky, cool, interesting. And it showed.*

And now? I have a politically liberal bumpersticker on my suburban-mom-mobile. But otherwise? I look like a mom. Which is not to say that I’m not hugely tremendously earth shatteringly thrilled to be a mom. But. I am more than a mom.

I am working in a new neighborhood bakery/cafe. I am sitting near a guy wearing a political shirt, with a folder covered in stickers, and more on his computer. And I show no outward signs that I agree, that my politics align, that I am more like him than he probably suspects.

When I used to mentor the undergraduate feminist group at the university, they made T-shirts that said “THIS is what a feminist looks like” - and some of them wore them skin tight, cropped, over snug fitting low rise jeans. Broadcasting. Challenging.

I don’t know if what I’m wishing is to change how I look - I feel dowdy, and old, and while I love being a mom, I think maybe I wish I didn’t look like one all the time, even when I’m sitting in a coffeeshop working. I suppose I should instead think about how to challenge the notion that how people look has any bearing on who they are or how they think. That would be the noble thing, right?

But still. I think I need a funky makeover. I want to broadcast that I am a mom, and I am a feminist, and I am still funky inside.

How about you? Do you think your outisde reflects your inside? Am I being totally trivial? Is it lame that I’m asking questions here? Fess up.

* Okay, no, having red or purple hair or an eyebrow piercing does not inherently mean anything about one’s personality or politics. But still.

Friday, January 04, 2008

This thing we do, here

Mommyblogging, or whatever it is I do now, is hard. When I was writing about infertility, it seemed more like a story, with at least some semblance of a beginning, a middle, and an end. I didn't start writing until the middle, but I backed up to tell the beginning, and clearly I ended up with a happy ending. But writing about mothering, or within mothering, somehow seems harder. Maybe in the beginning of a story you don't yet recognize it as a story and so you can't really think about it as such until at least the middle, if not the end? Or maybe day to day life is a series of small stories, not a big one. Or maybe I'm so caught up in the tremendous importance of the story, and in feeling like I have the power to control it (as delusional as that may be) that I can't even start. Whatever it is, I've been blogging a lot less than I'd like. I feel like either I need to give it up or I need to give it more. So I'm going to try more.

I've also been teetering on the edge of a rather unpleasant fog of depression, which probably has something to do with my inability to focus, or to put words to paper (er, fingers to keyboard?). And at the moment, we're all sick, which doesn't help matters. But there's more to it than just that, I think. I'm just not sure what.


Sweet moments of baby sickness:

Sadly, neither kid really knows how to blow their noses. (When do they learn that, anyway? It's tremendously useful.) But, after watching me snuffle and snort into tissues, B can now pretend to blow his nose - he'll hold the tissue to his nose, then make a snuffly nose-blowing sound with his mouth. Weird, but bizarrely cute.