Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Necklace

My sister sent me a very nice antique (brass?) St. Joan of Arc rosary centerpiece for Christmas.  It really is amazing what one can find on Ebay.  As it happens, our local craft store carries some very nice brass jewelry elements by "Vintaj Natural Brass Co.", so this is the final product.


I may add some beads to the pendant and earrings later.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Santa Claus Problem and Theoretical Children



While it's taking longer than expected for us to successfully produce/acquire children, we've at least had a chance to come to some kind of agreement on some of those pesky differences of opinion which usually present themselves while attempting to combine two different parenting styles.  One of those is the Santa Claus Problem.
When I was growing up, we were thoroughly convinced Santa was real.  And for those of little faith, there were always the vanishing cookies and the sooty boot prints for proof.  The new trend I'm noticing, especially among the more committed Catholic circles, is the attempt to downplay, replace, or simply do away with Santa.
Admittedly, today's Santa bears little resemblance to a fourth century bishop.  But there was a kind of comfortable universality in the general acceptance of his existence by all our childhood friends.  When we were older and observed all the backward bending that young Catholic parents were doing to avoid Santa, we began to wonder what would happen when the children began comparing notes and wondering why one got presents from the Magi while another house was visited by the Infant Jesus.  A simple division of labor would probably be the easiest explanation, but it still seemed very confusing. 
Some people we know are determined to ignore Santa altogether, which seems like an excessively rational and party-pooperish thing to do to your kids.  They won't question it until they see all the neat stuff their friends acquired over the holidays, and unless you're successfully raising young saints, the only conclusion they'll reach is that mom and dad are no fun.  It also won't make you terribly popular in the neighborhood when your child goes about disabusing all the other children of their faith in Santa.  
Recognizing the excessive commerciality of Santa Claus, and yet not wanting to do away with him entirely, we reached the St. Nicholas Compromise.  The longer we talked about it, the more elaborate it became.  The series of holidays associated with the Christmas season seem taylor made for it.
1.  December 6, St. Nicholas' Day.  We like to think of it as a kind of progress report day.  If the children have been good, they receive the semi-traditional assortment of edibles in their stockings.  Problem children will receive a stick, or something similarly barren and uninteresting, as a warning to shape up before Christmas.
2.  December 7-24.  Just to establish the fact that St. Nicholas (or his agents) is watching, the children will receive occasional notes in their stockings, either to praise exemplary behavior or to address continuing problems.  I can let my artistic side run a little wild with this.  Misbehave in church, and St. Nicholas WILL be sending you a nastygram.
3.  December 25, Christmas.  Good children will receive their gifts as scheduled (perhaps sent by St. Nicholas, rather than brought in person).  Naughty children, who persist in calling our bluff, will receive nothing, but will be offered a chance to redeem themselves by Epiphany.  
4.  January 6, Epiphany.  Reformed children will be given their belated Christmas presents, and those who have been good all along will probably receive something tasty and sugary. 
This seems to save all the good stuff while doing away with all the nonsense about reindeer and the north pole.  Maybe I'll draw up a fancy certificate naming us, the parents, St. Nicholas' specially assigned agents for this family, just in case the kids demand to see our credentials.  I'll have to work on my St. Nicholas signature.

Priorities

I made the observation yesterday (I forget in response to what) that a simple litmus test for engaged couples would be one question.

"Would you still marry this person if you had to have a simple ceremony in plain clothes, and your honeymoon was cancelled?"

If her "Big Day" is more important than preparing for their subsequent marriage, that should raise the red flags.  It would at least be food for thought.  My husband liked it so much that he threatened to become a priest if I died young just to use that in his marriage prep classes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Booyah!

With not a day to spare, I've finished all this year's stocking commissions before Christmas!  It probably wouldn't have been such a close run thing if I hadn't spent all of November playing World of Warcraft.  Now I can relax for a week before starting next year's list.  I have fourteen commissioned so far, but if I average two a month, I can fit in a few more.

Asking for Seconds

This is the view from my desk.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stalker

He knows where I live.

Leaving peanuts on the porch for squirrels has become a fun family tradition, kind of like having proxy pets.  Eventually they come running at the sound of the sliding door and maybe even take peanuts from your hand.  The initial offerings earned mixed reviews, but then apparently the word got out.

I usually leave a handful of peanuts outside first thing in the morning and then go about my business.  Liking the idea of a free lunch in addition to breakfast, the squirrels would tap the glass when the supply ran out, jump on the screen door and rattle the handle.  We could usually just ignore them, and they would go back to their regularly scheduled foraging routine.

But lately I've been frequently interrupted from my work in the back bedroom by a crashing thump on the window.  Now the Beady-Eye Brigade knows where to find me when the service isn't up to par.   They cleaned out the peanut stockpile yesterday and I had to dip into some old (and mostly decorative) mixed nuts in the shell from last Christmas.  I hope they don't expect almonds and walnuts next time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Draconian Doggie Rescue


This is Charlie, an adorable Dachshund/Chihuahua mix available for adoption.  He probably would have had his "forever home" by now if the All American Dachshund Rescue had actually been willing to give him up.

I remember adopting a dog when I was a kid.  We drove to the SPCA, found a puppy we liked, signed some adoption papers, and drove home with a new family pet.  There were no home visits, no pet-matching counseling, no contracts demanding that we surrender the sovereignty of our own home.  

I read the contract during a moment of temporary recklessness when we were determined to adopt Charlie, or even Sable.  But it didn't seem like AADR had any intention to entirely trust ANYone with their precious pups.

Not only will they insist on a home visit before the adoption is approved, but AADR demands the right to visit our home at random intervals throughout the life of the dog.  If AADR isn't convinced we're pampering the little darling according to their specifications, they reserve the right to permanently confiscate the dog at any time.  All serious illnesses or accidents must be reported to AADR.  We will not be permitted to part with the dog to anyone but AADR.  In the case of terminal illness or catastrophic injury, we would need written permission from AADR to euthanize the dog.  

It sounds like it would be more like an extended lease than an adoption.  Honestly, when I adopt a dog, I would like to think I could own it free and clear and have a final say about its welfare.  I certainly don't want AADR breathing down my neck for the next decade.  It's just a dog, for heaven's sake.  

We gave up on Charlie and Sable and started looking for local rescues from other agencies, hoping they would be less draconian.  Unfortunately it seemed like a trend.

We found Sneakers, a perky little Dachshund/Spaniel mix.  But Tara's House Animal Rescue Inc. seemed to have the same hang-ups.   They also require proof of enrollment in an obedience class and an immediate vet's appointment.  

The last serious candidate was Andy, A Dachshund/Pug mix, from Mutts Need Love Too Dog Rescue.  Actually, they were pretty reasonable about the adoption process.  They do the initial home visits, but then don't seem inclined to make trouble.  What volunteer agency really has the time and manpower to do all that follow-up, anyway?  They do require a lengthy and detailed application analyzing all the details of our prospective lives as dog owners, and three unrelated references, complete with phone numbers and home addresses.  

Unfortunately for Andy, by the time we found him the impulse had worn off and the nagging voice of better judgment prevailed over making the financial commitment to a four-legged friend at this particular time, regardless of how much we would like to have him around.  The pet-rent alone would be $1000/year.  Still, that's probably cheaper than a therapist . . .


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Busy

Despite the silence, we are indeed alive and well, just staying busy.  I'm working on seven different stockings at the moment, which I've discovered is pretty much as many as I can handle at any one time.  The current masterpiece has finally made its appearance on the website, so go have a look.  I'm also trying to compile a report of my intriguing findings about my father's family on ancestry.com in time for my brother's wedding in November.  More insightful posts will follow at some later date.

On another topic, I can't seem to settle on a permanent name for this blog.  Someday a really pithy one will present itself to me.  One of the latest ideas was "The Little People in the Big Picture," but that didn't really have any ring to it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blind Spot

Somehow or another, we usually seem to live in a blind spot for cell reception.  This time we seemed to be in a blind spot for Irene.  Maybe the circular arrangement of the apartment buildings created a wind shelter. Whatever happened, we didn't see the destructive winds or even the heavy rain.  It rained constantly, but it was hardly ever the driving rain we expected.  We never even lost power.  We shared a can of mystery meat just for kicks.

Some of the neighborhood lost large trees, and there were spotty power outages all around.  Apparently the church only regained power five minutes before mass.

The upstairs neighbors were the only unbearable part of the whole thing.  They were yelling and screaming and carrying on with loud music.  They sounded completely drunk, shouting obscenities off the balcony, or playing what could have only been full contact football on the floor (our ceiling).  It felt like the earthquake all over again.  It's been an escalating problem, but they always seem to act up on nights when the police have a thousand better things to do than answer a noise complaint.  Eventually I'll probably take passive aggressive action, like recording their drunken rampages from below and posting it on YouTube.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mother Nature on a Rampage

We were fortunate enough to have sustained no damage during the earthquake, and we're hoping to make it through the hurricane, too.  I remember Hurricane Isabel, the falling trees and the week without power.  I think we're about as prepared as we can be.  The refrigerator is almost bare of perishable food.  We've squirreled away a generous supply of water bottles, wet wipes, crackers, fruit cups, canned fish and mystery meat.  The cell phones are charged up.  I did some eyeball calculations in the parking lot, measuring the potential fall radius of all the nearby trees in all directions, and I think I've put the car in a spot least likely to be crushed.  (I seem to be the only one concerned about that part.  There are some nice cars out there that I don't expect to be so nice next week.)  If worst comes to worst and the roads are impassible on Sunday morning, we could walk to mass at the strange interfaith center across the street, that is if a priest can make it in.  The issue I'm most concerned about is the fact that we're on the ground floor and the gutters from the roof empty on either side of our rather low patio.  It starts to flood during normal rainfall.  We'll probably move the couch further inland and roll up the rug.  Fortunately our renters insurance is up to date.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"The Cartel"

I certainly didn't need any extra convincing, but this documentary would have been enough by itself to make me an advocate for homeschooling.  If we are ever fortunate enough to have children, they will absolutely never be subjected to public schools.

In all fairness, I went to public school for 6th and 7th grades, and my teachers were actually effective.  But unless substantial changes are made soon, I won't take that chance again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Therapeutic Hobbies

Apparently the best cure for depression is a productive distraction.  I've always enjoyed creative projects, and I also suffer from a debilitating lifelong fascination with beads and buttons.  Therefore, I've attempted to combine these skills and circumstances into a series of projects that may actually be of interest to other people.

It's never too early to start preparing for Christmas, so go have a look at Stocking Design.  New additions are usually made weekly.  The possibilities are essentially endless, so by no means feel limited to what's available.  Personal commissions are encouraged, and can be tailored to meet any target price.

Why settle for boring, soulless store-bought stockings?  Express yourself.  Get some for the kids this year.  Tell your friends. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Double Standard

I know this is a little dated, but I had to throw it in briefly.  The man makes a point.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thought For the Day

Most of our interfamilial debates seem to be coming to the came conclusion lately.  The more I see of the world, the more I am disgusted by the amoral, areligious, unprincipled and irresponsible culture of the day.  It's probably a good thing I haven't been personally involved in any debates with one of these overgrown adolescents; I haven't been in the most charitable of moods, and I probably would have dismissed their denial of objective right and wrong as asinine and infantile.  It's time to grow up, take some responsibility for your impulsive lifestyle, and perhaps consider the possibility that the universe might have been founded on something greater than the pursuit of your own gratification.

Monday, June 20, 2011

MVA Madness: Take Eight

We have finally acquired new tags and a proper registration!  Apparently there's still an emission test in our future, but we'll cross that bridge when they bother to mail us the information.  It's like an ongoing ransom negotiation for the right to drive, but we've made a major step forward.

And the best news is that we can make our drive to Virginia this weekend in the younger, fitter car without hiding from the state troopers. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

MVA Madness: Take Seven

We have successfully acquired a driver's license for David.  Finally.   Now we have to fill out the rest of the appropriate paperwork for the car registration so I can bring it back Monday and try my luck once again.  Hopefully we can lay this whole issue to rest, and my car will no longer be a fugitive from Virginia.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Nightmare

I went and talked to the nice lady at the bank today.  She says our terrible credit score is very wrong for our situation, and suspects our identities might have been stolen recently.  All I really want is a moment's peace, but all this crap keeps happening.  More on that as the investigation progresses.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MVA Madness: Take Six

My latest trip to Annapolis once again ends in abject failure.  Seriously, the only people benefiting from all this driving around is the oil company.  I had our bill of sale covered with more stamps and signatures than a Nazi passport, but they barely looked at it because they were busily inventing other reasons to turn me away.  We'll have to wait yet another week before we can make our next attempt.

Now we suddenly find our our credit score is abysmal, apparently for no other reason than we're young, don't have enough debt, and have been financially responsible enough to live without a credit card.  Now our number is so low we can't even get cell phones.  We pay all our f*&@#ing bills every month, on time or earlier.   I am sick and tired of being penalized for attempting to be a respectable citizen.  The message I seem to be getting from all these obstacles is that the ideal American will not move from state to state, will have at least five credit cards, run up enough debt to leave his grandchildren destitute, not integrate any of his affairs with those of his spouse, and not leave his parents until the age of thirty-five.  While perhaps typical, I didn't suppose it was desirable.

Our entire family has been diagnosed with acute cases of compliance fatigue in the past.  I think I'm having a flare up.

Monday, June 6, 2011

MVA Madness: Take Five

This was my bureaucratic failure du jour.  Drove back down to Annapolis today during rush hour to get to the DMV once again, hoping to finally register the car in our names.  Apparently that was too much to hope for, because we did not possess a doubly notarized bill of sale.  I swear, I wasn't in that building sixty seconds before I was tossed out again.

I feel like I'm trying to sneak into some exclusive club with enormous bouncers.  It may not technically be the city's fault, but the name is becoming synonymous with helplessness and frustration.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hanging in There

I finally got a doctor's appointment to check my blood pressure after more than a month of trying.  I was late despite my best efforts because the gate I needed was very closed when I got there.  The verdict is that they want to do more blood work, keep me on the medication for another three months, and would very much like me to check my blood pressure daily and keep a log.  I refuse to shell out $$$ for my own personal machine, so they'll just have to be happy with a weekly check, if I can find some pharmacy somewhere.  It's like a self-perpetuating nightmare.

I also had to explain the sordid details of my recent medical history to two separate individuals, and give brutally honest answers to questions like, "How old is your baby now?", and "Is it a boy or a girl?"

Nothing else I did today seemed to go exactly according to plan, either.  All of a sudden, despite being unemployed and having no children, I have a thousand places to be.  But while I was sitting in traffic, watching my eggs and yogurt spoil, I heard this song on the radio.  It didn't actually help much, but it did put things in some perspective.



And I am very thankful at least that we haven't been blown away by tornados or flooded out of the neighborhood.  I'm starting to develop a phobia of natural disasters.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oh, the Rejection

We've been trying to become bona fide citizens of this state for some time now.  Technically David doesn't have to, being active duty, but apparently I have to, and we decided to both go for it just to simplify matters.  Just imagine being able to actually have the same legal address, vote where you live, and not have so much explaining to do when tax season comes around.  We felt like we should regularize the situation in a timely manner.  We have also recently been gifted with the ownership of our primary vehicle, so we had a title to file and new registration to acquire.

As soon as we had our signed lease for our apartment, we went in search of the local DMV.  With the sketchy internet service we had at the time, we were able to generate one address on the Google page, and thankfully it wasn't far away.  We headed down there with our folder of official paperwork, only to discover that it is an "express" location which doesn't offer any of the many services we require.  There was no indication of an alternative location to which to take ourselves.  We decided to go ahead inside and ask someone where we were actually supposed to go, but apparently we would be expected to take a number from the kiosk and wait an hour to be seen.  We weren't about to wait an hour just to ask for directions, so we stomped out and called my parents, asking them to conduct an internet search on our behalf.

The location of a full service DMV was discovered, but it was in the next county, a good half hour drive from home.  We drove away in the hope of having better luck there.

Long story short, when we finally reached the front desk, the lady explained to us that we needed TWO proofs of legal residence, not just the lease.  We didn't have any gas or electric bill yet, and we hadn't changed our address with the bank.  Apparently a vehicle registration would work, and since we were there to do that anyway, we asked if we could possibly register the car first and use the registration to acquire driver's licenses.  Apparently we could.  We stood in line at the other desk and attempted to fill out the forms.  Every question was ambiguous, and we stood in line a few more times just to clarify some things.  For instance, there was a blank for a "Maryland driver's license #."  We didn't have Maryland licenses and anything we put down would be misleading because they would be Georgia and Virginia numbers.  And did they want the address we currently called home, or one of the two legal addresses that appeared on the licenses we did have?  It was such a mess, we walked out and decided to go back when we had a bank statement for our second proof of residence.

We went by the bank on our way home and changed our billing address.

Apparently since I am only the co-owner of our bank account, I cannot access the statements when I log into the website.  We went paperless a while ago, mostly because we didn't want bank statements bouncing between addresses while the move was going on.  So, a week after we had changed our billing address, I simply walked into the bank and asked for a statement.

They looked at me like I was crazy.  Apparently nobody asks for a statement anymore.  I explained that it was for the DMV, and then it seemed to make sense to them.  They printed a summary of our account with the new address, and had a few bank representatives sign and date it.

That Friday (a week after the first endeavor) we make the drive back to the DMV, feeling very prepared.  Who gets anything done on their first trip to the DMV, anyway?  We spread everything out for the lady at the front desk, and she promptly dismissed my paper from the bank, saying it needed to be an actual statement, not just a summary.  I explained that it was the only thing they would give me.  "Oh, well have you been a resident for at least 30 days?  Well, that's why they can't print you a statement yet."

Everywhere we seem to be meeting a new glorification of procrastination.  We went home once again, having accomplished nothing.  When we did get home, we found our first gas/electric bill in the mailbox, but we were too tired to go back.

We planned to go back the following Friday with this gas bill, but I noticed that my name did not appear on it, and apparently being married to the party named on the gas bill is not legal proof that I live with him.  Strike out once again.  We didn't even both driving down there.

At long last, thirty days passed in our new home, and I logged into the bank website as David and printed our %@#$ bank statement.  We had one Friday left before he would no longer be able to leave work early enough to make the trip, the Friday before Memorial Day.  We planned our day around it, and got there early enough to have several hours to navigate the bureaucracy.

But, unbeknownst to us, everybody at the DMV decided they wanted a long weekend, and the place was locked up and deserted when we got there.  Our bank statement wasn't going to do us any good that day.

I can't help but get the feeling that Maryland doesn't really want us.  They sure aren't in a hurry to help us get this worked out.  We don't take our social security cards for joyrides every weekend just for the fun of it.

I'm going down there again today, alone, just to see if I can accomplish anything.  The worst they can say is that our bank statement is no good because a mailman didn't deliver it by hand to our address, and that I can't register the car by myself because I'm just the co-owner.  In that case, David will have to take time off work just to visit the DMV, and I may be arrested for throttling someone.


(Several hours later . . . .)

Thank God, they accepted the bank statement.  It took all morning, but I now have a garish new Maryland driver's license.  I stood in the vehicle registration line for two minutes before I decided I would have better luck first thing in the morning on some other day.  The last time I saw a line like that was at Six Flags.  My afternoon would be better spent at the gym, which is where I'm off to now.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Surviving the Rat Races

Our apartment is lovely, and it is very nice to be back within driving distance of a bunch of family and friends, but with that blessing comes other challenges.  It's a little known fact that the postal code "MD" actually stands for "Maniac Drivers."

I'm not a slowpoke by nature; I usually cruise along the highways at least five miles over the legal limit.  But when everyone around me comes whizzing by at ten, twenty, and thirty miles over, I begin to wonder if I missed some statewide memo about disregarding the signs.  The highway to and from Ft. Meade is a posted 55 mph zone, and at times I fear for my life attempting to maintain 60.  I sped up next to one of my fellow drivers once just to see what the typical cruising speed was, and we maxed out at 85.  Seriously?

I am well aware that every state has a percentage of supremely rude drivers, but getting behind the wheel in Maryland seems to bring out the worst in people.  Every drive is a race; every two minutes there's another tailgater trying to drive into your trunk before he peels away in a cloud of burning rubber and baleful glares.  California drivers were downright mellow by comparison.

Merging is a problem, quite a larger problem than it might otherwise be because every intersection has yield lanes, and this state likes to combine on and off ramps.  Apparently merging in front of someone else is considered insulting, so everyone speeds up and closes ranks to prevent the merge from happening.  Is there some prize money riding on the most efficient commute?

What makes the situation more inexplicable is that there are swarms of police in the area.  They do pull people over, although apparently not as often as they could.  It doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent.  Maybe people budget 10% of their weekly income for speeding tickets, failure to signal, failure to yield, or failure to even slow down at a stop sign.  

For heaven's sake, it's just a highway, not NASCAR. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lamentations 3:17-26


I have forgotten what happiness is;

I tell myself my future is lost,
all that I hoped for from the Lord.

The thought of my homeless poverty 
is wormwood and gall;

Remembering it over and over
leaves my soul downcast within me.

But I will call this to mind,
as my reason to have hope:

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted,
his mercies are not spent;

They are renewed each morning,
so great is his faithfulness.

My portion is the Lord says my soul;
therefore I will hope in Him.

Good is the Lord to one who waits for Him,
to the soul that seeks Him;

It is good to hope in silence
for the saving help of the Lord."


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Arrangements

The viewing at the hospital went as well as could be expected, which is to say it was an extremely bittersweet experience.  All the staff were very busy at the time, so we were shuffled around quite a lot before we ever made any headway, which ordinarily wouldn't have been such a strain, but my incision was still rather fresh and walking was a chore.  Also, I think Dave and I are well equipped enough to handle our own grief without every counselor and social worker in the world trying to tell us at length how to get in touch with our feelings.  It was hard enough to maintain our composure without having to talk to strangers about the gritty details.

The actual viewing, when we got to it, was hard.  I knew it would be, but I wasn't prepared for just how small and perfect he was.  I cried for the whole half hour, though Dave took it somewhat better.  It's not that I can't accept that things happened the way they did, but there's something terribly sad about holding it in your hands and looking it in the face.  Just thinking about it still makes me cry.  I'm going to do my best not to lose it in front of the family at the funeral next week, but that's probably a lost cause already.

The funeral directors are asking us to provide clothes within the next few days.  We bought the smallest onesie we could find, but it's still too big.  My mom is croqueting a little blanket for him, and Dave's mom is bringing a tiny rosary.  The funeral should be on Saturday, March 19, after which he'll be sent to Macon to be buried.  We're in the process of trying to get our move arranged for the second time, so whenever it is that we finally hit the road and pass through that town again, there will apparently be a full Latin requiem Mass for him in the church where we were married.  I know little David doesn't need it, but we probably do.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Lifetime in Two Days

Little David Edward was born just before 10 PM on March 6, and passed away two days later on the evening of March 8 due to complications from pulmonary hemorrhage.  The doctors at UCSF called me during his last minutes and assured me than he was receiving the best attention possible.  It was hard being bedridden and several cities away while it was happening, but at least I knew someone was holding him.

The silver lining in all this is that we were able to have him baptized during his brief life in the big world.  It may not sound like much, but at this point it really makes all the difference to us.

David and I are making the trip up to San Francisco tomorrow to see and sign for his body.  I expect that to be the hardest part of this whole ordeal.  I barely knew what to expect even under the best circumstances.  I was never able to hold him or even have a good look at him.  I heard him try to cry once in the operating room as they took him to the nursery while I was being stapled back together.  All I saw of him while he was alive was a picture on a nurse's iPhone, and his little nose poking out of the blankets of a portable incubator as they were rushing him away to an ambulance.  The poor little guy was better than three months premature and weighed barely more than a pound.  I don't expect to get a lot of closure out of getting to hold him now that he's dead, and it will probably break my heart all over again to see just how frail he was, but there really is no avoiding it.

I was released from my own hospital room today once my staples were removed.  I'm still not very mobile, and at the moment not very coherent thanks to all the oxycodone in my system.  Mentally, intellectually and spiritually, we've already accepted what has happened and found our peace with it.  Emotionally, it will probably be a very long road.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Verdict

Doctor says it's a boy.  Mom is going to take the doctor's word for it, because what mom saw looked more like Gollum.  Fortunately, we suspect his looks will improve in the next four months.

The good news is that everything seems to be surprisingly normal.  He isn't in breech position, as we suspected he would be, although it's too early to tell which way he'll end up.  All in all, we're hopeful.

In the meantime, I'm still on anti-nausea meds and enjoying the full onset of unmedicated hayfever.  I look miserable with my raw nose and puffy eyes, but secretly life is pretty good.  The clock is ticking down toward moving day, and our list of chores doesn't seem to be shrinking fast enough, but somehow I think we'll make it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Not to Say

Sheila put me onto this website called "My OB said WHAT?!?", a showcase of incredibly insensitive and otherwise outrageous things women have heard from their ob-gyns, nurses, hospital staff, and many more.  Personally I've been blessed with a wonderful obstetrician so far, and I'm quite sorry to have to be leaving him next month after reading about some of these characters.

I've collected these little gems based on what would have been pertinent to my experiences so far, particularly with hyperemesis (nothing will stay down, even sipping water makes you vomit), multiple ER visits for emergency ultrasounds, and the miscarriage.  I know pregnant mothers can be overly sensitive and emotional, but seriously . . .

Go check it out, if you have healthy blood pressure.


"So, when are we going to diagnose this eating disorder?" -- OB to a mother who reported occasional vomiting during her third pregnancy, and had suffered with hyperemesis in a prior pregnancy.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with you.  I think it's all in your head, or that you're just doing it to yourself." -- OB to a mother who had been hospitalized twice before 26 weeks for hyperemesis and severe dehydration.

"This is for termination purposes, yes?" -- Ultrasound Tech to mother in for an early ultrasound for dating of her pregnancy.

"Oh, you've obviously never had a miscarriage." -- OB to mother who became upset after seeing her not living baby on the ultrasound.

"What do you mean you're not on any birth control?  Why not?" -- OB to mother who just suffered a miscarriage.

"The baby was absolutely perfect; you just must have clotted off the placenta and killed her." -- OB at a follow-up appointment with a mother who miscarried at 16 weeks.

"I know she's your daughter, but she's a miscarriage to us." -- OB to mother.

"Why are you crying?  That's just selfish.  There was probably something wrong with the babe anyways.  You would be wishing them a less than perfect life and that is pretty selfish of you." -- Family Practice doctor of mother who miscarried at 8 weeks.

"Oh, you must be so relieved!  I cried when I found out I was having twins!" -- L&D Nurse to mother during an early ultrasound.  The ultrasound indicated the loss of a twin.

"Oh, good!  A nice, clean uterus! . . . Now we can talk birth control so you don't end up here next year!" -- OB to mother during an ultrasound after a miscarriage.

"What's going on with you?" -- OB tersely speaking to mother who came for an office visit for D&C follow-up and medications for depression after a miscarriage.


And the winner . . .

"Do you have any STDs besides your kids?" -- OB to mother.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thought for the Day

The current thought for the day refuses to play properly, so here's an older one.  The other will apparently appear on YouTube a month from now.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Not-So-Happy Pills

My anti-nausea meds are turning on me.  Right on the label it says, "May cause headache," and yesterday they started doing just that.  I'll try getting off them after we get through the weekend.  Hopefully I don't need them anymore, but we'll see.  In the meantime, I've traded one inconvenient malady for another.  At least I'm not starving.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Car Wars

Everybody wants his car to look sharp, right?  I know I do, particularly since it's not technically my car yet.  So long as it has Daddy's name on it, I want to take particularly good care of it.  I try to claim the driver's seat as often as possible, but I knew the time would come when necessity would have to pry my overprotective hands off the steering wheel and lend it to the husband.  I also knew, long before entering into this marriage, that we would be attempting to combine two very different philosophies of car care.

This is not my car, but it looks just like it.  Isn't it cute?  I thought it quite spiffy and stylish for a sedan, and it was brand spanking new when it appeared in the driveway in 2009.  My first thought was to keep it in it's original pristine condition as long as humanly possible.

I like my car to be clean, uncluttered, with perfect paint.  No dings, scuffs, scratches, dents, and as little bird excrement and other natural debris as possible.  I know my in-laws must have thought me rather obsessive, picking the wet leaves off the roof and hood and the pine needles out from under the wiper blades every morning.  It ruined my french manicure right before the wedding, but preventing those horrible brown leaf stains was a bigger priority.  After all, it was still a baby with hardly 9000 miles on it, and I was not about to let a tree ruin its shiny good looks.  I have to say, my favorite part of this little house we've been living in is the covered carport.

Growing up, we were never conscious of a "family car cleanliness policy," but it was understood that everyone took out of the car when he brought into the car, and all trash was properly disposed of immediately.  I always remember the car being uncluttered and generally clean, except for the usual crumbs that could be expected from a backseat full of kids.  It wasn't oppressive, just second nature.

Enter the husband.  Although he's perfect in most every other way, I knew Dave wasn't coming from a position that valued the cosmetic care of a vehicle as highly as I did, or that he at least hadn't developed any habits in that regard.  For me, empty space is an insurance policy against surprise guests or unexpected luggage.  For him, empty space is available for his use until somebody else needs it.  Without any real discussion on the subject, the trunk and backseat became portable closet space, cup holders and door pockets became trash receptacles.  Textbooks, coats, bags, paperbacks, old mail, receipts, wrappers, plastic bottles, uniform items, shoes.  I'll admit that I was not entirely blameless during the collective five months that morning sickness had me out of commission, when despair and an all around lack of energy prevented me from cleaning it up.  We are currently attempting to reconcile our views on the subject, particularly since we're driving up to visit a friend this weekend and I don't want plastic bottles rolling about underfoot.

Dave is not a bad driver.  He likes to point out that he's been driving six years longer than I have.  We just have different styles.  I am at all times neurotically conscious of the car as an investment, and my precautions reflect it.  Dave sees the car as a machine that he expects to perform for him as needed.  Technically there's nothing wrong with that view, but he's not as careful as I am.  In fact, I doubt most normal people are.

I brake lightly and sparingly (but safely) because I want the brake pads to last forever.  I let the engine warm up in the morning before accelerating too much to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.  I constantly adjust the wipers to the most efficient speed for the conditions and don't let them beat more than strictly necessary.  When possible I opt out of using the AC to further put off the day when it will finally need to be serviced.  I don't drive myself to distraction worrying about it, but it's always in the back of my mind. God forbid the CD player break down on me, because that's one thing I use mercilessly.

The little car did sustain two rather severe dings in the last year, one front and one rear, and it wasn't me who was driving.  I always give him the keys back, because ultimately our marriage is too perfect to sacrifice to car maintenance.  Still, I'll be glad when he finally has his own car back.  He can do whatever he likes with that one, just so long as I don't have to drive it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thank God for Zofran

I'm sure cancer patients around the world will join me in the sentiment.  The doctor very kindly wrote me a prescription for these little magical pills of happiness on Thursday after my latest appointment.  At 17 full weeks the nausea not only remained, but seemed to be getting worse.  The daily schedule was generally predictable.  Miserable all morning, puke in shower, puke again brushing teeth, have breakfast, puke before or after lunch, have early dinner, puke before bed.  It seemed like most of the rest of my time in between sick calls was spent drooling into a mixing bowl waiting to be sick.

Now that we're entering the fifth month, I've officially lost six pounds, and am having no fun whatsoever.  "Sticking it out" no longer seems like a viable alternative, so we opted for some antiemetics.

Hooray!  Now I can have salad again without wondering how the little bits of soggy lettuce will look floating in the toilet.  My human dignity has been restored.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baby Alexis

Yesterday was Baby Alexis' official due date, although he/she would probably have been earlier, more of a Christmas baby.  Left this world on June 25, 2010, at 12 weeks and 3 days.

Baby #2 hit 12 weeks and 3 days on Gaudete Sunday, otherwise known as the pink Sunday of Advent.  It seemed like more than a coincidence.  Still hoping and praying.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, Resolutions and Such

Actually, I never thought about resolutions for 2011.  I probably should have, but I was too busy praying for relief from this two-month stomach bug they call morning (and midday, and evening) sickness.  Besides being useless when it comes to household chores like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping, I can only hold down crap food, which isn't helping Dave live up to his new healthful resolutions at all.  I tried to have a banana and water for breakfast and threw up three minutes later.  Sugary juice and a horrible frozen "french toast" waffle actually make me stable for an hour.

At this point I don't really care what I'm eating so long as it doesn't meet the toilet before its time.  I have a steady record of losing weight during the first trimesters, so in my book any calorie is a good calorie.  In the meantime, I have my vitamin supplements to pick up the nutritional slack.  My fingers are shrinking rather than swelling; I lost my wedding ring for the first time on our first anniversary because it just fell off in the laundry basket.  Dave the hero found it after a frantic search of the house.

This is actually Dave's first day back in class after Christmas break.  It's high time I got my act together, or else we're both going to be fighting over the puke bowl in the car in the mornings.  After sleeping in for two weeks, apparently early breakfasts don't agree with him.  We certainly filled our vomit quota for 2010; here's hoping for a mostly vomit-free 2011.

In better news, we've officially passed 16 weeks and 3 days, three weeks longer than last time.  We're daring to hope for the best, although the second trimester offers a new variety of risks for us.  Apparently, statistics give us a possible 37-45% chance of miscarriage.  Not terribly encouraging, but it is what it is.

What I really want right now is a cold deli sandwich, but apparently all cold sandwiches are simply crawling with lysteria and are thereby verboten.  Getting tired of hot steamy food.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Year Ago


The First Year: very eventful, not always in the best way.  But it really is amazing how the right person can make you happy even when you're both miserable. :)  Life is definitely looking up.