Thursday, December 30, 2010

I am a mother

Why do we not say, simply, I am a mother? Why do we not say: I am a feminist mother whose greatest contribution to making the world a better place is raising children with open searching loving hearts, children who might be world leaders or who might not be world leaders but who will, I hope, be caring human beings who will demand that the world be a better place? Why do we not say, I am a mother, and the work that I do as a mother – the care I give, the love that I offer – extends far beyond hearth and home, far beyond my own children, and causes ripples and waves that will shift sand on shores that I cannot see ... Why do we not say, I am a mother, full stop? Why do I not say that? ~ Catherine, of Her Bad Mother


Catherine at Her Bad Mother wrote this fantastically inspiring essay on motherhood, parenthood, womanliness, manliness, feminism, and changing the world. It is a long essay, but thoroughly worth reading in its entirety. So obvious, and yet so radical an idea - Changing the world begins in the home, by raising our sons and daughters to have empathy and be good people. This is work that is done in the private sphere, within the home. This has traditionally been the work of mothers, although it has taken increasing priority with fathers (such as in our household, where my husband is the primary stay-at-home parent). Catherine's point is that we should celebrate the work of raising children itself, and that work's place in women's history. We celebrate fatherhood, particularly when men embrace fatherhood the way my husband has and embraces the work that has traditionally been done by women. We do not so much celebrate motherhood - "just" motherhood for its importance and value and potential for contribution to the world. Motherhood and the work of women in general tends to be devalued, and she proposes we mothers initiate a change in that thinking by making a simple, yet radical statement. I am a mother, full stop.

Catherine asserts:
Not all mothers are heroines, not all mothers are feminists, not all mothers raise good citizens, not all mothers have the best intentions, even mothers with the best intentions do not always see those intentions fulfilled in the ways that they expect, or at all. None of that matters. What matters is this: ordinary motherhood, undertaken in ordinary ways, can be as extraordinary, can have as extraordinary an impact, as any work undertaken in the public sphere.


Along with Catherine, and for myself, for my child, for the world in which I would like to envision my child living, for women and mothers everywhere, I declare: I am a mother, and my motherhood is important, my motherhood can be radical, my motherhood is a feminist act.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shirt pockets are so handy...

...for storing discarded pea pods after the peas are removed and eaten.

Photos brought to you by my awful phone camera and poor lighting.



Caught in the act


He is unimpressed by my mad photo-taking skills.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I am that old lady

During the afternoon on Christmas eve I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things. As I was in the check out, getting my items scanned and bagged, I couldn’t help overhear the young people bagging the groceries chatting amicably. They were talking about music. The guy said something about loving “that Taylor Swift song” and then started singing “Last Christmas”.

You know, the song “Last Christmas” by Wham! that was uber-popular back in the early-mid 1980s?

Now, no one can accuse me of ever having been a Wham! fan in my youth, and no one can accuse me of ever having actually liked the song "Last Christmas". Nonetheless, I was so beside myself I could hardly control my mouth when I started exclaiming “OMG! That is NOT a new song by Taylor Swift!”

The kid sheepishly admitted that he knew it wasn’t a NEW song by Taylor Swift - that he had heard that guy’s version before, he just likes Taylor Swift’s version.

Umm, yeah, George Michaels is now officially that guy. Wow. Multiple number one singles, tens of millions of albums sold and he is now that guy.

Then the kids started babbling about something else.

I planted my forehead into my palms and shook my head. I didn’t try to follow their conversation after that. I do believe this officially makes me “that old lady who remembers when that song was popular back before you kids or Taylor Swift were even born!” So I just shut my mouth to fester old lady-style in 1980s music nostalgia.

Friday, December 24, 2010

House GOP Supports Child Abuse World-wide

I think I tasted vomit in the back of my throat when I read this story earlier this week. Which, combined with my lingering sore throat and cough from two weeks of flu, made me a little bit grumpy.

Here’s the story in a nutshell. On December 1, a bill passed the Senate with zero objections. Bipartisan support for a no-brainer bill that “directs the president to make preventing child marriage a priority, especially in countries where more than 40 percent of girls under the age of 18 are married. The ways to do that, according to the bill: support educating communities on the dangers and health effects of child marriage, keep young girls in school, support female mentoring programs and make sure girls have access to health care services.” Just before the vote in the House, Republican leadership sent out a “whip alert” telling House Republicans to vote no because the health care services provision might lead to funding NGOs that provide abortion services. So, the bill was killed. Even some congressmen who sponsored the bill voted no.

It truly makes my head want to explode. Are GOP lawmakers in a contest to see which house of Congress has the biggest douchebags? Hmm, last week Republican Senators filibustered a bill that would provide compensation for first responders to 9/11. Wow, that’s amazingly douchebaggy, how can we beat that? I know! Let’s kill a bill that promotes basic human rights and opposes legalized child rape! You just can’t beat that level of douchbaggery!

How is it that every Senate Republican supported the bill? Have pro-life Republican lawmakers abandoned their base constituency? NO! Want to know the reason why? This bill has absolutely nothing to do with abortion and does not even mention abortion, contraception, or family planning in any way whatsoever.

Consider the following. A commenter said it so succinctly, I cannot improve upon it, so I’ll just quote here:

The part that gets me is this: "Even some congressmen who sponsored the bill voted no." They voted no. Which means that legislation they found worthy enough to put their name on didn't get their vote because a party member with higher rank told them to vote no. If this isn't partisan politics at its worst, then what is? Forget the horrendous subject matter of the bill (tough to do, I know, when they basically voted to keep little girls up front in the meat market), consider this: if we are electing individuals whose votes are determined not by our wishes but by the direction of their party leaders, then whose side are our representatives on?

Also consider this, the United States is a member of the United Nations, which has taken the position that child marriage is a violation of human rights. As a member nation of the United Nations, we are obligated to support human rights.

Yes, even human rights of children.

Yes, even human rights of girl children.

Yes, even human rights of girl children in developing countries.

The United Nations Report on Child Marriage states that child marriage:
represents perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls. The harmful consequences include separation from family and friends, lack of freedom to interact with peers and participate in community activities, and decreased opportunities for education. Child marriage can also result in bonded labor or enslavement, commercial sexual exploitation and violence against the victims. Because they cannot abstain from sex or insist on condom use, child brides are often exposed to such serious health risks as premature pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and, increasingly, HIV/AIDS.

And just in case you are wondering what’s the harm in adolescent pregnancy, adolescent girls (defined as ages 10-19) are two to five times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth as women in their twenties (source). In other words, it’s a major health risk that perhaps might be mitigated somewhat by proper prenatal healthcare that could have been funded by the bill House Republicans killed for no valid reason.

You can see the list of Representatives that voted against the bill at this link. If your Representative voted No, I encourage you to write a letter or email, or make a phone call to let him/her know how disgusted you are.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two Year Olds Are Perfect

Perfectly small and kissable. Perfectly adorable and affectionate.

And perfectly maddening, perfectly capable of driving you from perfectly content to perfectly furious in less than 10 seconds.

Don't let the angel eyes fool you. This spunky little character has mischief in mind.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh, the irony

How is it that the one person in my office that has had 2 miscarriages this year ended up being the person to plan a baby shower for another woman in the office?

You see, it goes like this. The department Chief is sitting next to me at a meeting. The meeting is pretty much over but people are lingering and chit chatting. He turns directly to me and says "So is anything being planned for A? When is the baby shower going to be?" or something very similar to the effect, when in fact he actually means "I think you should organize a baby shower for A."

Before anyone goes off on "the audacity!" of the division chief, let me just say up front that this was not a completely unreasonable request.

First, and probably most relevantly, I am the last person in the office that birthed a baby and received an office baby shower. It seems appropriate that the last person to receive a shower should be the one organizing the next one. Based on a comment from another co-worker in the office, this may be a tradition in the office that I had not been aware of due to my relatively short tenure here, and the low number of baby-producing people in the office (most people in the office either have older children, or are single and not presently looking to have children).

Secondly, it's not like I advertise the fact that I'm experiencing struggles with fertility. Until very recently, there were only two people that even knew about my miscarriages. One of them was my boss, who I needed to tell because of the time I needed to take off from work to get all those darn blood tests. The other was a woman in another group with whom I had bonded over our mutually crunchy birthing and parenting styles. So, my division chief was not intentionally trying to be insensitive.

Still...Ouch. Yes, of course I'm happy to help... but Ouch.

I have to confess, I very well may have volunteered to help out with the planning even if I hadn't been asked. Because, you see, this woman and I have something shared - the common thread of infertility has touched us both. When I announced my pregnancy with SchmoopyBoy, she had been trying to conceive for 6 months. Now, three years later, after a costly failed IVF attempt and an attempt to adopt through the local foster-to-adopt program (the child she housed and fell in love with was ultimately placed with his biological father), now she is birthing a child of her own. I am truly so happy for her.

Throughout her pregnancy she has been positively beaming with happiness. I will admit it was hard to be around during the worst of my most recent loss. Trigger after trigger would leave me staring blankly behind my desk, struggling to function. But then I think to myself, how many times must I have unwittingly triggered her? When I was waddling around the office as big as a house, was I merely a reminder to her of what seemed out of reach? I wonder now how many times I carelessly and insensitively talked about my young child in her presence, perhaps complaining about lack of sleep, all without a second thought as to how she might have been triggered into sadness or envy or hopelessness or frustration.

Oh, the irony now that the tables are turned.

She never expressed a single negative thought towards me. She attended my office baby shower. She smiled at my stories. She absolutely deserves no less from me. This office baby shower is not about me or my struggles. It is about her achieving parenthood after a long and challenging journey. It is about celebrating her new daughter and her role as birthing mother.

I am not being facetious when I say that I am truly happy for her, and that I was glad to help with her shower. All I'm saying is...

Oh, the irony.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Buying Barbie for an Unknown Girl

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I signed up to fulfill the Christmas wish lists of two children through Aid for AIDS of Nevada. One of the children is an 18 month old. Pretty easy to shop for - clothes, socks, potty - those were the items on her list. Well, the other child is an 8-year old girl. I am happy to say I was able to get everything on her list except two - shoes and skates. I would have been happy to buy this girl both, but I really needed to know something about her foot size. The contact at AFAN wasn't able to tell me anything about size so I decided to go with the other items on her list - including Barbie.

Perhaps you are thinking - "What the heck is a slightly crunchy feminist doing even considering buying a Barbie for anyone?! What kind of message does Barbie send to girls other than they should try to live up to some impossible standard of feminine beauty? It's just a form of societal indoctrination that contributes to young women hating themselves for not living up to some standard perception of feminine beauty." - Yeah, I kind of thought that too for about 10 seconds.

Here's the thing though. This girl specifically put Barbie on her wish list. This is what she wants. This is what would make her happy.

Who the heck am I - some white, comfortably middle class, able-bodied, thin, stranger up to her eyeballs in privilege - to tell her what she should and shouldn't want to play with?

I don't know anything about this girl. I don't know if she is white or black, thin or heavy. All I know is that HIV/AIDS has impacted her life, and that her family is in economic hardship so that they have sought help with providing Christmas gifts. And I know she wants a Barbie for Christmas this year.

So I walked down the Barbie isle.

One I decided I was indeed going to buy this girl a Barbie I had a whole new bag of worms to deal with - choosing a Barbie for a girl I had never seen. Is this girl white? Black? Hispanic? Shouldn't I choose a culturally appropriate doll for her? Being a clueless privileged white woman, I can't help but think that giving a white, blond doll to a black girl is in poor taste at best, and insulting and demeaning at worst. I have no desire to send any messages to a little girl that she is somehow other, or not the default, or otherwise different from what our society deems beautiful by giving her a blond Barbie. There are enough other forces in the world that I'm quite sure are bringing that message home and I certainly don't want to be a part of that if I can help it. On the other hand, if she is white and blond herself, she might very well specifically want a blond Barbie who looks like her.

So, not knowing this girl's heritage, do I get a Barbie with white skin or black skin? Blond hair or black hair?

Wanting to do the right thing for this girl, and struggling with the privileged white woman's dilemma of having no idea what the right thing is, I saw something that struck my eye that I thought might suit the need at hand - a fairy Barbie. Fairies can be anything! They can look however you imagine them to look! I wish I could say this fairy had pale blue or green skin. She in fact does have white skin. She also has purple hair and purple wings. Perhaps this is as balanced as I could find? I did see one white-skinned brown-haired Barbie - almost naked in a bikini swimsuit - PASS!

I think this Barbie looks pretty cool with her matching hair and wings. I hope I made the right choice. I hope my girl will unwrap this gift, along with the other items I got for her, and have a happy, merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Got flu?

I do.

And let me say, it is just as awesome as it sounds.

Which is actually a play on words, because as of yesterday my voice went kaput and I cannot talk more than to squeak out couple syllables if I'm lucky. So I sound...

sick...

because I am.

Enough ramblings. I'm going back to bed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Alphabet Vegetable Soup



Now that winter is here I've been all about hot soup. This one turned out pretty good and I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I thought I'd share. This recipe is so versatile, you could use any vegetables you happen to have on hand. You can also use a different type of pasta, or substitute the lentils for garbanzo beans. The possibilities are endless! Here is the version pictured.

Alphabet Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
32 ounces broth (I used a box of Imagine brand low sodium vegetable broth)
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1/4-1/2 red onion
1 cup cauliflower
1/2 large zucchini
1 can lentils
about 1/3 cup uncooked alphabet pasta
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 bay leaf
juice from 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop all the vegetables into bite sized pieces. In a large pot, saute the onion, celery, and carrots in a little oil or broth. I added the cauliflower after a couple of minutes so it would cook faster. When the onions are translucent and the celery and carrot slightly softened, add the remaining vegetables and the broth. Add the thyme, basil, bay leaf and lime juice.

In order to save time, I put a separate pot of water to boil and cooked my pasta according to the directions. If you have more time, you can just add the pasta to your soup pot after the vegetables are cooked.

Let the soup pot simmer until the vegetables are cooked - about 15-20 minutes. If you are cooking the noodles in the soup pot, add them now and let them cook.

Drain and rinse the lentils. Add the lentils to the soup. If you cooked the noodles separately, add the cooked noodles now too. Add pepper and salt to taste. Simmer for a couple of minutes to heat the lentils through and allow all the flavors to mix.

Pour in bowls and serve with some yummy hearty bread!


Bonus dinnertime activity - SchmoopyBoy had a great time picking out the letters and we figured out words that started with each letter.

This post is linked up with Vegetarian Foodie Fridays!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Beauty of Different

Today I want to share a blog I’ve recently fallen in love with. Karen Wolrond, writer and photographer, blogs at Chookooloonks and The Beauty of Different (which is also the title of her recently published book). The photographs she takes and the messages in her writings are nothing short of inspiring. To give you a taste, so as to whet your appetite so you’ll click the links, I’ve copied a few of my favorite passages.

On beauty:
While something or someone who has been declared commercially, aesthetically desirable might have the power to incite lust or longing, only true beauty has the power to stir someone's soul.

Given this fact -- given the fact that at some point we will all experience love (romantic or otherwise) and that we have experienced our own souls being moved by the mere presence of another person (a romantic interest or otherwise), it therefore cannot be too big a leap of logic to realize that, regardless of some arbitrary societal standard of whether we possess a commercial-aesthetic-capable-of-marketing-or-selling-a-product, we all, every single one of us, without exception, have the capacity for incredible, indescribable beauty. And this beauty, this ability to truly stir someone's soul, is communicated in a combination of a myriad of different, uniquely-you ways:

- the way your eyes flash when you talk about something that you're passionate about;
- the quickness and suddenness of your smile;
- the intense expression on your face when you listen to a particularly lovely piece of music;
- your wit, your intelligence, your unique view of the world;
- the extraordinary way you laugh.

All of these things -- your "youness" -- are what make you stunningly beautiful. And furthermore, since you are so stunningly beautiful, all those flaws that you think you have? They're a myth. There are no flaws. They are simply characteristics that make up parts of your beautiful whole.


On creativity:
I've come to believe that in fact, we're all creative beings, and we all have the power within us to create art. The trick, it turns out, is to avoid falling into the trap of believing that art or creativity is limited to the ability to take a pencil and a piece of paper and draw a realistic likeness of something that exists in real life. Art and creativity can, and should, mean so much more than this. Art should mean photography. Writing. Music. Cooking. Building. Needlework. Mechanics.

Creativity and art should be defined as the manner in which we are called to express ourselves, in ways that fill us with joy and grace.

Practicing our own ways of self-expression and creativity is how we become confident and secure in our Different. It is one path to owning our beauty.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today is World AIDS Day


Over the last 15 years I have lost 3 friends and colleagues to AIDS. Today’s post in observance of World AIDS Day is dedicated to these talented and funny men who touched my life and the lives of so many others around them.

The purpose of World AIDS Day is to help increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education to strengthen the struggle against HIV/AIDS. Progress has been made towards providing access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care in this country, but greater commitment is needed around the world if the goal of universal access is to be achieved around the world.

Here are a few U.S. resources I found.

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Service Provider Locator: This is a widget provided by AIDS.gov that allows people to search for testing services, housing providers, health centers and other service providers near your current location. To get this widget and put it on your site, click here.

While you are at the AIDS.gov site, check out their HIV/AIDS 101 site to learn the basics and then link to the CDC to view their facts sheets.

For all you local folks in southern Nevada, Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) has a variety of opportunities for involvement. Check out their list of community partners who will be donating 10% of their sales to AFAN today during the times listed. You can also download their Holiday Toy Drive form and donate new unwrapped toys for children affected by HIV/AIDS. I signed up this morning to sponsor two children and am awaiting their “wish lists”.

What will you do?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1 more thing to be thankful for

Cakewrecks

Click the links and just try not to laugh so hard your spiced apple cider shoots out your nose.

Horns of plenty.... of tears of laughter.

These fowl are foul enough to make a vegetarian gag, but I don't know that I'd want any of these even if I did eat meat!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

3 Things I am Thankful For

1. SchmoopyBoy singing. A couple of his favorites are Happy Birthday to You and the Preschool Musical Song from Sesame Street. He doesn't have all the lyrics down flawlessly and his pitch indicates he has similar singing talent as his parents (poor kid), but truly a joy to behold and puts a smile on my face.

2. Random acts of niceness from my husband. I came downstairs last night after putting SchmoopyBoy to bed and discovered a gift bag sitting on the stove. In it was a cookbook I’ve been oogling for almost a year. Early holiday gift.

3. Healing through writing. It’s been a rough year. Writing on this blog and spilling my guts from time to time has been my therapy. I am privileged to have this outlet. I am privileged to have the opportunity to share my stories and find community through it.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bento Lunches for a Picky Vegetarian Toddler

SchmoopyBoy's playschool recently transitioned from a peanut-free facility to a nut-free facility. I initially went into a semi-panic. Almond butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cashew-cheese were some of the few lunch entrees he would actually eat on a regular basis. Oh no! What on earth would I replace them with?! What could I put in my picky little guy's lunches that he would actually eat?

We have tried sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches. He is highly unimpressed with sunflower butter. Quite frankly, so am I. It is very bitter. Plain sunflower seeds, on the other hand, are a success. Go figure. So sunflower seeds it is.



Noodles are always a hit, so he gets pasta probably close to twice a week. Bonus, the year long dairy-strike that SchmoopyBoy was on appears to have come to an end. So I've been able to add cheese to his lunches for about a month now. A small bowl of shredded cheese added to the pasta lunches below is almost always a successful addition (it must be a separate bowl because goodness knows the cheese must not touch the noodles).

Here are a couple pasta lunches that came home almost completely empty (cheese bowl not photographed). Plain noodles (they must be plain, SchmoopyBoy does not do "goopies") with seasonal fruit - pomagranate seeds and pears in the top picture, apple in the bottom picture, and some combination of the only vegetables he will eat on a semi-regular basis - carrots, peas, and cucumber.




My bento lunches for SchmoopyBoy are hardly the creative and cute creations you can find on more advanced bento sites. I had lofty intentions of putting together beautiful and creative lunches that would awe and impress, but given the amount of time I have to throw something together each day, I'm pretty proud that I manage to throw together something other than lunchables!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What's been going on this past week?

For starters, I've been sick. Laid up on my back for a couple of days. It was amazingly awesome to take 4-hour naps two days in a row late last week. No worries about getting “too much sleep” here - now that I am better my usual insomnia over the past 2 nights has rendered me as sleep deprived and semi-functional as ever. Oh, the joy of insomnia.

What else is going on? Let’s see. About a month ago I had enough blood drawn to feed a small family of vampires to see if any reason could be determined for the miscarriages I’ve experienced this year. As my doctor suspected, everything came back normal. Which leaves modern western medicine to say, “There doesn’t appear to be anything we can do to help you. Better luck next time.”

Which leaves me to say, “To heck with modern western medicine, what else can I investigate?”

So now I am currently undergoing a series of rolfing sessions on my internal organs to make sure that everything is structurally aligned properly. Apparently, structural tilts and improper alignments of the uterus and nearby organs can impact whether or not a uterus can carry a baby to term, or so it is hypothesized in rolfing circles. During the past two sessions, I discovered:

1) I have a large liver. It was stuck to my large intestine, but is now free and “happy” to move around at will.
2) My entire reproductive system was pulling towards the left hand side of my body, but is now straightened out.

Do I sound like some kind of hippy, alternative medicine nut? I ask because I kind of feel like one while writing this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When I grow up I want to be Nora Ephron’s mother

Heard today on NPR’s Morning Edition, an interview with Nora Ephron:
“…my mother sa[id], 'Everything is copy; everything is material; someday you will think this is funny.' My parents never said, 'Oh you poor thing.' It was work through it, get to the other side, turn it into something.”

Furthermore,
"My mother [taught] me a very fundamental lesson of humor, which is that if you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you, but if you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it's your joke. And you're the hero of the joke because you're telling the story."


This is advice I am going to keep in my hip pocket. I have the feeling I might need it with SchmoopyBoy one day.

You can read or listen to entire interview from this link.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Last Weekend at the Pumpkin Patch

Last week I took SchmoopyBoy to the "Farm House!" to see the pumpkin patch and the animals. He had a blast. Loved Loved Loved the animals.

How old does this kid look? Two and a half? I think not.

He got to feed a pig a carrot.

OMG a horsie!!

The horsie ride was the highlight of the morning.


Although, riding the mechanical cow was pretty fun too. He got to see a couple of real cows as well as a llama on the hay ride. No pictures of the hay ride unfortunately.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Link

I don't have time to write anything coherent for election day today, so go over to Mom-101 and read her election day post.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Recipe Review - Yummy stuff other people created

I haven't been experimenting much with new recipes of my own design lately, but I have been trying out a number of recipes I found online. Here are a few that I particularly enjoyed over the last couple of weeks.

First off we have Pesto Hummus from Debbi Does Dinner... Healthy and Low Calorie

I know what you're probably thinking. Pesto AND Hummus?! If it sounds like a winning formula for

Yum + Yum = Super Yum

you are absolutely right. I left the consistency kind of thick, more like a sandwich spread than a creamy dip. I never made it to the sandwich though. Once I tried it with a couple of crackers I couldn't stop eating it long enough to bother with the rest of the sandwich fixings.

Next, there was Golden Gazpacho by Real Simple Recipes.

I know it's not really the season for cold soups any more, but there have still been lots of heirloom tomatoes in my local store begging to be used up so I couldn't resist. This was one simple, quick and easy recipe. SchmoopyBoy was happy to help out with this recipe. (Well, he enjoys helping with any recipe that involves the blender, but I digress.) My only modifications were leaving out the feta and prosciutto or salami to make it vegan-friendly for the hubs. I actually would have been happy to add feta to my bowl, but I didn't have any, and I honestly thought it was good enough without it. Look how beautiful it turned out.


Last but not least, dessert! Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by Happy Herbivore.

You wouldn't think that chocolate ad zucchini would go so well together, but they totally do! I've been itching to try my hand at some chocolate zucchini muffins since a friend of mine in California sent some to me after my dad died. I don't think this is the recipe she used, but this recipe sounded so good I had to try it. It did not disappoint. It was also a fun (albeit messy) project to do with SchmoopyBoy. I was very glad I remembered to put newspaper on the floor before starting. Made clean-up fast and easy. For modifications, I used 3/4 cups sugar instead of the whole cup. In the chef's notes, it says you can reduce it even more to just 1/2 cup. Here's a shot of the muffins cooling, just out of the oven. You can see a certain someone's aim was not always quite on target when spooning the batter into the tins.
These muffins were very moist. I had to bake them for the full 25 minutes and probably could have baked them a couple minutes longer without causing any damage. This was likely due to having a huge banana and a little extra zucchini that I added. I will admit that I hand-shredded the zucchini with a peeler out of laziness and not wanting to bother with washing my food processor, but I think it would have been better to go ahead and get the zucchini more finely shredded. Next time I will break out the food processor for that part of the preparation.

Good eats.

This post is linked up with Vegetarian Foodie Fridays!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mini-Man

As much as I dislike gender stereotypes and try to resist them to extent possible, I had to laugh and grab my phone to take pictures when I walked in on this scene.

My son, sans pants, leaves his toys all over the floor and decides its time to recline in his favorite chair with a book.


Whoops! He leaned too far back and fell over. That was fun, he spent the next 10 minutes repeating that performance.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes my job is too cool

Most of the time I sit in front of a computer. Occasionally I sit in meetings with various stakeholders and other big wigs. And on a very rare occurrence, I get to see stuff like this.



This is Parker Dam, which creates Lake Havasu, the last major storage reservoir on the Colorado River. Here is the view looking downstream of the dam.


It was a gorgeous day - a perfect day for being on the river. However, the coolest thing was not even being at the river by the dam. It was this:


This is me, in full nerd regalia, inside one the four penstocks. Allow me to repeat myself. I am INSIDE A PENSTOCK! The place where I am standing is about 20 feet in diameter and is usually filled with water moving at about 5 feet per second. When the water moves through the penstock, it spins this turbine:



I may be a serious nerd, but seriously, how many times in my career am I going to get the opportunity to stand inside a penstock and look at a turbine that up close and personal? Pretty darn cool if you ask me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Picture Thursday

This post is long overdue. I meant to post these pictures as a sort of weekend wrap up on Sunday or Monday, and here it is Thursday, almost to the next weekend! Anyway, I'm calling the theme of this weekend Circle of Life - Remembrance and Renewal.

First, Remembrance- My balloon from the Walk to Remember, with the dates I said good-bye to my babies:


And now, Renewal - The first limes from the lime tree in my back yard:


*******************************
This post is part of a series I am writing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month that I am calling PILAM 2010. I will be writing about pregnancy loss periodically throughout the month of October. As posts are added to the series I will add the links on all applicable posts.


My intro to PILAM 2010 is October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and includes resources in the Las Vegas area.

For reasons on why I am writing about pregnancy loss, see Why I write about miscarriage.

For ideas on ways to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day, see What Can You Do.

A poem commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is posted for October 15, 2010

My post-October 15th weekend wrap-up is at Picture Thursday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Today marks one year since I started blogging!

Wow, how this blog has changed over the year, and will likely continue to evolve. It's been a fun learning experience. Sharing my life with you has been at times fun, at times healing, at times rewarding. Here's to another year of improving my writing skills (no small feat for a math/science nerd), enjoying SchmoopyBoy as he grows and develops, and tracking the activity (or lack thereof) of my reproductive system. ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

PILAM 2010: A poem for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

This poem came in the packet given to me at the Resolve Through Sharing group. I thought this day would be appropriate to post it.

To The Child In My Heart
Author-unknown

Precious, tiny sweet little one
You will always be to me
So perfect, pure and innocent
Just as you were meant to be

We dreamed of you and your life
And all that it would be
We waited and longed for you to come
And join our family.

We never had a chance to play,
To laugh, to rock, to wiggle.
We long to hold you, touch you now
And listen to you giggle.

I'll always be your mother.
He'll always be your dad.
You will always be our child,
the child we wish we had.

But now you are gone... but yet you're here
We will sense you everywhere.
You are our sorrow and our joy,
There's love in every tear.

Just know our love goes deep and strong
We'll forget you never
The child we had, but never had,
And yet will have forever.


*******************************
This post is part of a series I am writing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month that I am calling PILAM 2010. I will be writing about pregnancy loss periodically throughout the month of October. As posts are added to the series I will add the links on all applicable posts.


My intro to PILAM 2010 is October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and includes resources in the Las Vegas area.

For reasons on why I am writing about pregnancy loss, see Why I write about miscarriage.

For ideas on ways to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day, see What Can You Do.

A poem commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is posted for October 15, 2010

My post October 15th weekend wrap-up is at Picture Thursday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to keep a toddler in one place long enough for a breathing treatment

Alternate between short stroller rides around the couch as far as the tube will allow, and take goofy portraits with your bad quality phone camera, showing said toddler each picture you take.



Seeing him with a nebulizer is actually really disturbing for me. It reminds me entirely too much of my father's last few months.

These pictures were taken late last week. He is doing much better now. Nasty cough is almost completely gone. Plus he got a cute haircut on Monday - bonus.

Edit 10/14 - I originally loaded a what I thought was a silly self portrait, but my husband told me it looked more creepy than funny, so I deleted it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

PILAM 2010: What can you do?

I recently discovered the I Am The Face campaign, which is doing something pretty cool for National Pregnancy/Infant Loss Awareness Day this year. Their stated goal is "to raise $2000 for the 2000 women who lose a baby each day, and to 'put a face' pm the taboo issue of pregnancy and infant loss." They are trying to get 2000 women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss to post pictures of their faces by October 15th. Donations will fo to Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, which is "a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing support and resources for parents who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss and to spread awareness of pregnancy and infant loss throughout the greater community." To post a picture of yourself, click this link here.

Some other things you can do to mark October 15th are:
1. Light a candle for your child(ren)
2. Do a balloon release with your family and/or friends - you can attach a note to the balloon or write the child's name on it before releasing
3. Plant a tree in honor of your child(ren)
4. Attend a local event in your area
5. Write a poem or note and post it on your own blog, or ask to guest post on someone else's blog if you don't have one.

May you all find healing and warmth on October 15th.

*******************************
This post is part of a series I am writing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month that I am calling PILAM 2010. I will be writing about pregnancy loss periodically throughout the month of October. As posts are added to the series I will add the links on all applicable posts.


My intro to PILAM 2010 is October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and includes resources in the Las Vegas area.

For reasons on why I am writing about pregnancy loss, see Why I write about miscarriage.

For ideas on ways to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day, see What Can You Do.

A poem commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is posted for October 15, 2010

My post October 15th weekend wrap-up is at Picture Thursday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PILAM 2010: Why I write about miscarriage

Why the heck do I write so much about pregnancy loss? I mean, gosh, I have a gorgeous child already, why don’t I quit being such a downer and stick to poo-poo jokes and cute pictures?

Well, for starters and the most obvious reason – writing is therapeutic. My own losses are still fresh enough (can you believe my hCG levels are STILL not back to normal yet?!) that I do get relief from spilling my guts from time to time.

But it isn’t just about me and my own healing. I am very fortunate (or unfortunate as the case may be) to have the support of family and friends who have also experienced miscarriage and can relate to my experience. I am additionally fortunate to have a loving and supportive partner who listens to me when I have a particularly bad day. But not all of us are so privileged.

There are a lot of us. I have found statistics that put the rate of miscarriage in the U.S. at anywhere from 25% to 33%. That’s a lot of women losing babies. And pregnancy loss does not discriminate. It affects women who are white and black, rich and poor, highly educated and illiterate. It can affect a childless woman during her first pregnancy and a woman with four children during her fifth pregnancy. (I do not dispute any evidence that pregnancy outcomes are worse for disadvantaged women, my point is that any woman of any race from any walk of life can lose a pregnancy without notice or obvious reason.)

It happens so very frequently and yet is something that, generally speaking, is not openly talked about much. We are not supposed to talk about it. As soon as the bleeding stops or the D&C is done we are expected to forget it ever happened and move on with our lives as though it were just another period or a procedure not much unlike the removal of a wart on the hand.

This is particularly true for women who have living children. Our grief is invalidated. Our cries silenced because “What are you complaining about? You have children. Why don’t you just get over it and focus on that?”

The loss is real. The grief is real. It is lasting. And I will not be silent.

I write to give voice to those who cannot speak without their feelings being invalidated. I write for those who cannot or will not, for whatever reason, write for themselves. I am not so pretentious as to claim to know what all women feel, for we all experience loss differently and process it uniquely in our own due time, but I write to pay homage to all my sisters in pregnancy loss and to honor and validate their experiences.

For if I speak, if I am heard, if I create awareness that this is indeed real, then perhaps any woman who suffers silent grief, whether as a fresh all-consuming wound or as an ever-present ghost in the furthermost crevice of her mind, might raise her voice and say out loud:

I feel sad. I feel lost. I feel hopeless. I feel scared.

My baby would have born this month. My baby would have turned four this month. My baby would have turned 40 this month... And I grieve anew every year at this time.

I mourn the baby I never had the chance to hold and hug, laugh with and delight in. Yes I love the children I have… But I also love the children I didn’t have.


And the people she from whom she most needs support, rather than saying “Get over it” will respond with empathy and love and warmth.

Be aware. Starting this year, this October, this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, try to be sensitive, and just be aware.

*******************************
This post is part of a series I am writing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month that I am calling PILAM 2010. I will be writing about pregnancy loss periodically throughout the month of October. As posts are added to the series I will add the links on all applicable posts.


My intro to PILAM 2010 is October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and includes resources in the Las Vegas area.

For reasons on why I am writing about pregnancy loss, see Why I write about miscarriage.

For ideas on ways to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day, see What Can You Do.

A poem commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is posted for October 15, 2010

My post October 15th weekend wrap-up is at Picture Thursday.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Did you know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? Did you know that October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?

On September 28, 2006, House Resolution # 222 was passed in the House of Representatives supporting the goals and ideals of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The entire transcription from the US House of Representatives can be found on the official web site of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, http://october15th.com.

This is the time of year when local miscarriage support groups hold their annual Walks to Remember or other awareness activities. The link above contains information for many events around the country, but I noticed the local Walk is missing. So here's the information that I have:

Saturday, October 16
Children's Memorial Park
corner of Gowan and N. Rainbow
12:00 noon to 2:00pm
sponsored by Resolve Through Sharing (RTS)

This is a family event, any living children are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

SchmoopyBoy typically goes down for his nap during the time of the walk (figures) so I'll probably just go the first hour, depending on how he appears to be feeling.

For anyone in the area that is interested, RTS also holds a monthly support group meeting at Sunrise Hospital on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. You can get more information here. I went to the September meeting. I will confess I was unimpressed with the facilitator. I'll probably go one more time to give her another chance, but if I see the same things I saw last time I'm quite sure I will not be returning again. We'll see.

*******************************
This post is part of a series I am writing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month that I am calling PILAM 2010. I will be writing about pregnancy loss periodically throughout the month of October. As posts are added to the series I will add the links on all applicable posts.


My intro to PILAM 2010 is October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and includes resources in the Las Vegas area.

For reasons on why I am writing about pregnancy loss, see Why I write about miscarriage.

For ideas on ways to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day, see What Can You Do.

A poem commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is posted for October 15, 2010

My post October 15th weekend wrap-up is at Picture Thursday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Empathy is the Invisible Hand

Class, your homework for today:

Rethink the human narrative.

Prepare the groundwork for an empathic civilization.




The video is Jeremy Rifkin: The Empathic Civilization. I saw it here originally.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Band-Aids are Toddler Crack

So about a week and a half ago SchmoopyBoy gave himself a paper cut while flipping through the pages of what is currently his favorite book. A big boy book with real paper pages - one of his first. It was a doozy of a cut. A flap of skin, blood - not pretty. So of course I washed it with soap and water and put a band-aid on it.

Thus was his initiation into the world of band-aid addiction.

Every bump, scratch, owie, or boo-boo must have a band-aid. Must. Have. A. Band-Aid.

And god-forbid you should present him with the wrong band-aid. I mean, really, the addiction is so bad that any plain boring brown band-aid will do. Most of the time. But, boy I tell ya, if he requests Woody and gets Buzz instead... Oh, the calamity.

Every night at bath time, as soon as it gets wet, at least one band-aid loses its stickiness and falls off. The level of catastrophe rivals the end of the world. The End Of The World I Tell You!!!

The child is inconsolable. The crying and carrying on does not even stop once he is out of the tub, dry, with fresh band-aids on every finger. Such is the hell he has just been forced to undergo, losing a precioussss. It takes time to recover from that sort of trauma. A bottle of milk. Lots of cuddles. A couple rounds of Night-Night, Little Pookie.

We are working on overcoming the addiction. On Sunday evening I got him down to two band-aids. Yesterday when I came home from work I saw there was only one. Very impressed I was, that Daddy was able to pull that one off (no pun intended).

What is the power of band-aids? What is their mystical, magical allure? Is there a small amount of addictive chemical embedded in the sticky tape? Should we storm all the drug stores and march on D.C. demanding answers to our probing questions - Why has my toddler morphed into a crazed addict starving for another fix? What is the government hiding about what's in those band-aids, really? Is the band-aid lobby so great that we are powerless to protect our children? Think about the children, for crying out loud, won't somebody think about the children?!!?!?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daily Inspiration

Here is another gem I found in my Inbox this morning, courtesy of the Kabbalah Center. I haven't been there for years, but they are kind enough to not remove me from their "Daily Tune-Up" mailing list. Every so often one of their little blips makes me nod my head and say

Yeah.

This one did, so I thought I would share.

The biggest mistake you can make is to do nothing because you can only do a little.

Today, act on your impulses. Don’t second-guess yourself.


Yeah.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New Year

A late happy Rosh Hashanah to all my Jewish readers out there!

hmm, why do I hear crickets in the background....

Every year since I moved to this town I have gone somewhere different for High Holiday Services. This is a notoriously bad time of year to go shul-shopping, and yet it seems to be my pattern. On one hand, you have all the people like me who only go to services once a year because it would just feel too weird to not go. So the dynamic in the congregation can be not quite as representative as the dynamic the rest of the year. On the other hand, at the most holy time of year, I would expect (hope?) the Rabbi to be at the Top of his or her Game, so to speak. The most Inspiring, the most Passionate, the most Unifying,the most Uplifting.

For the past 6 years I have been disappointed. Which is probably not all that surprising considering my non-traditional experience of spirituality, my overall mistrust of organized religion, heck my "issues" with the very word "God".

Nonetheless each year at this time I find myself driven to continue my quest for The Perfect Spiritual Community, which I have to confess I don't really believe exists in this town. Well, let me rephrase myself. I believe there have got to be other like-minded people with whom I could share community, but I don't know where or how to find them.

This year, I have to say, I think I found something close. It's not a traditional congregation, per se - but a Fellowship - they don't have their own facility, it is run entirely by volunteers, and the Rabbi, from what little experience I have had with him to date, is GREAT! He's funny. He's a goofball. He is a passionate speaker, whose words pull and tug at the heartstrings. No papers to be read from, no standing on the pulpit. Just walking among the front of the room, pouring out bowls of passion to nourish a room full of hungry souls. And we devoured it hungrily and thankfully, with nodding heads and tear-filled eyes.

The prayer book was the traditional Reformed Jewish High Holiday prayerbook, which, eh, doesn't impress me so much. I got the impression from a few passing comments that the Rabbi is also not wholly impressed with it, but he did explain why he follows the tradition from those who have come before him, which I suppose I can appreciate.

There are a couple of Rosh Hashanah traditions that I never knew about growing up, which surprises me considering I grew up attending a Conservative Jewish Synagogue regularly and attended 5 years of Hebrew School 3 days a week. One of these traditions is Tashlich - the symbolic casting off of all the 'crap' accumulated over the past year into a body of water. I like the way Mel from Stirrup Queens described it this year.
And then we all sat down and thought about our year and what we didn’t want to bring with us into this next year. We squeezed those thoughts into rocks and threw the rocks towards the middle of the river.

I've got a lot that I don't want to bring with me into this new year. Wires and beeping machines in a hospital room, and a not-unconscious hand that didn't want to let go. An ultrasound probe in my vagina and a silent, unmoving blob. Loss. Death. Grief. Although Rosh Hashanah has passed, I am tempted to drag the J-Man and SchmoopyBaby out this coming Sunday to Lake Mead, or maybe to Red Rock if all the water isn't dry after a dismal monsoon season. Better late than never, right?

The other tradition that I can't believe I never heard of until I read about it on Stirrup Queens is eating a pomegranate. In all my 37 years, I had never heard of the concept of first fruits and eating a pomegranate at the end of the first day of Rosh Hashanah! What's up with that?! Hey Mom - why you holding out on me?! Mel described it like this back in 2007:
Tomorrow night, technically the second night of the holiday since it starts at sundown tonight, a pomegranate is served as the traditional first fruit. Some Jews believe that the pomegranate contains 613 seeds, the same number as commandments (or mitzvot) in the Torah. As much as we groove on those mitzvot as much as the next Jew, we eat pomegranates for a different reason. We’re trying to get pregnant.

You see, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility, and eating pomegranates has been adopted by infertile women as a way to ensure good fertility in the coming year. Gee, this little tidbit of trivia couldn't have come at a better time!

Will eating a piece of fruit and throwing a rock into a river ensure that I achieve a healthy, successful pregnancy? My mathematician's brain tells me "No, don't be ridiculous". But will it give me hope? Will it give me healing? Will it give me comfort just knowing that I am doing something to pass the down the heritage of my now-dead father to my son?

Maybe.

And wouldn't it be worth it for that alone?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Picture Thursday

OK, not quite wordless wednesday, but its close cousin. ;)

Here are some pictures from our Labor Day weekend California getaway. Of course, it included a trip to beach. Unfortunately it also included SchmoopyBoy coming down with a cold.

Cousins - Hey SchmoopyBoy, what's with the face?!


With Mommy - what the heck am I doing exposing my pasty skin to the beach world?


While Auntie Shu-Shie is trying to take a picture


Busy with sand


Our last day, a sick SchmoopyBoy with Grandma, Mom, and Auntie LaLa

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Update

Well, I’m feeling better this week. My oldest and dearest friend came out to visit for my birthday last weekend. It was great to see her and get some girl time. Plus no one has said anything to my face to trigger my fury this week so far, so I haven’t felt the need to go off on any foul-mouthed rages in real life or online :)

We’re taking a road trip to California this weekend for the holiday. Ever since I told SchmoopyBoy about our upcoming trip, he’s been requesting to go to the beach. Fortunately, a beach day has been in the plan all along. The last several trips we’ve made out there the weather has been horrible, so hopefully we’ll finally get lucky with some mild weather so we can go to the beach and have some fun. My sister-in-law is taking her kids Laguna Beach this weekend too, so we’ll meet up with them while we’re there.

I was hoping to post another recipe this week, but the one I thought would be good ended up not turning out quite as interesting as I had hoped. So you’ll have to wait until I tweak the flavoring and get it right for that one. In the meantime eat well, sleep well, and have a great Labor Day weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Here’s a clue…

because I am amazed at just how many people need to catch one.

It is not necessary to remind a woman how old she is the week after she birthed a dead baby embryo into a toilet. It is also not necessary to tell her that her eggs are probably no good because of her age.

First, the vast majority of women know how old they are.

Second, if the woman is over the age of 35, I can assure you the thought has already crossed her mind that her age might be related to the pregnancy loss. She doesn’t need you to remind her. Seriously. Most women over the age of 35 have been hearing the news for quite some time that age matters when it comes to fertility. We know this. You aren’t adding any new additional helpful information, and quite frankly, shoving it into a woman’s face when she’s obviously grieving is FUCKING INSENSITIVE.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You know what I need?

I need a way to cope that doesn’t involve poisoning my body with junk food (seriously not productive – this is the only body I’ve got, and I need it to be in good condition if I want it to be a place where a developing baby can thrive)

or lying in bed when I should be sleeping, imagining myself screaming angry obscenities at insensitive jackasses.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cookbook Giveaway!

Alisa at One Frugal Foodie is holding a very cool giveaway of 4 vegan cookbooks! Go check it out here.

What? You aren't vegan and have no idea what you would do with 4 vegan cookbooks? Well, I suppose I could take them off your hands. Especially considering my birthday is approaching soon.... ehem. ;-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

who doesn't care about this exciting development?!

Guess who just did his first poo-poo on the potty?

I'm so excited!

Yes, I realize post this makes me the biggest dork on the internet. I don't care.

:-P

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Let's take a step back, shall we?

It has come to my attention through a bit of feedback that my last post was a bit... ehem... Out there. Abrupt. Perhaps a bit harsh.

Perhaps that gives you a clue to my current state of mind, at least.

Anyway, by means of explanation, in case my last post wasn't altogetherly clear, I had another miscarriage. My second in a row. I'm reeling quite a bit because I really wasn't expecting it this time around.

Everything seemed to going well. I went in for two blood tests. HCg levels high and rising. Good. Progesterone levels high. Good. Ultrasound showing heartbeat. Good. Blip on the ultrasound screen measuring at 0.5 cm, timing it at 6 weeks 1 day. A little younger than I was expecting but my cycles are long and slightly irregular (31-35 days typically) so OK. The doctor says "See you in 4 weeks." OK, good.

I've been tired. I've been moody. I've been hungry. Yes, I know that sounds just like my normal everyday self, but I was even more tired and moody and hungry than my usual self. And I got nauseous. If I went for too long without eating a little bit, or if I ate too much at one time, I would get nauseous. And so I thought everything was progressing as it should be. I bought some new super cute newborn size cloth diapers that I found on sale. I got a stylish new nursing cover.

Then I go to the doctor. I should be at about 10 1/2 weeks by now. Ultrasound on my belly isn't showing anything. Hmm. Doctor wants to go transvaginal. Delightful. I get an ultrasound probe. There's a large-ish blob. Everything is still. No heartbeat. The blob looks empty, but no, there's something tiny in there. A tiny blip that is measuring at 6 weeks 5 days.

My body has been lying to me for almost 4 weeks. The deception! And you see, this is what makes me so mad. The deception, the betrayal of my body. Leading me on, leading me to think that I had a viable developing baby growing inside me. The nausea! What about the nausea! Do you know, even the day after I found out it was dead, my body had the audacity to make me nauseous again!

This is what is killing me. The fact that now I don't think I can trust my body again. If I get pregnant again, it doesn't matter what symptoms I have or how long I have them. I just won't know. I won't have any idea if everything is ok or if I'm carrying another dead baby for a month.

My doctor was leaving town the next day for a week long vacation. So, we decided to give it one more week to see if my body would get the memo and start taking care of things on its own. We tentatively scheduled a d&c for the week he returns. Well, apparently I have either obsessed over it enough or people have been sending enough kind and healing thoughts, because on Tuesday night things started happening. I do not believe a d&c will be necessary at this point. I'm a little relieved because I wasn't exactly looking forward to carrying around a dead baby for another week and undergoing a surgical procedure. On the other hand I kind of wish I could have gotten the d&c because then they could have sent the tissue to a lab for some analysis to see if they could find a cause.

Thank you to my friends and family that have sent kind thoughts and support. This is a bit of a difficult time. I know I will get through it just fine, and I still haven't given up hope of having another child. Once my body finishes doing its thing and I've healed physically, I will focus on healing emotionally and figure out what my next steps are going to be.

Much love to everyone, and sticky baby dust to everyone who needs it!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I haven't been writing about

but haven't been able to stop thinking about (except during the move this weekend - moving is a great distraction)...

The dead baby inside my uterus that won't leave.

Strike 2.

Monday, August 9, 2010

We're Home!

That is to say, we are officially moved in to our new home! The place still looks like chaos and I am exhausted after a busy weekend, but it's going to be nice. Still adjusting to living in a 2-story home. Boy, am I out of shape! Boy am I getting my stairmaster workout!

Pictures will be forthcoming when you can see something other than boxes and clutter in every room.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Quick and Easy Beans and Greens

I accidentally bought mustard greens instead of kale when I went shopping earlier this week. Um, yeah, I was in a hurry and had SchmoopyBoy with me and um, yeah. whoops. So I cooked mustard greens for the first time, having no idea how they would turn out. I also used coconut oil for the first time, so this entire recipe was somewhat of an experiment. I thought it turned out quite nice, so I thought I would share. I've been hearing so many great things about coconut oil, so I finally took the plunge and bought a jar. The coconut oil really added a nice aroma to this dish, and I liked the subtle flavor it added. I think for this recipe I would still prefer kale, but the mustard greens were just fine.

Quick and Easy Beans and Greens

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
1/3 cup red onion
1/2 red bell pepper (about 1/3 cup chopped)
1/2 bunch mustard greens
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
black pepper
sea salt
chili powder
garlic powder

Chop the onion, red pepper, and greens. Drain and rinse the beans. Heat a pan and add the coconut oil. Add the onions and saute a couple of minutes. Add the peppers and saute until the onions are translucent and the pepper is softened. Add the black beans and greens and stir to combine. Add spices to taste. (Sorry for the imprecise measurements on the spices, I never measure - just sprinkle and taste. I know, so old fashioned grandma-ish of me ;) Cook until the greens are cooked to your liking. I like them slightly wilted but not too shriveled.

I served this over brown rice for dinner. Both J-man and I ate two servings each. It was that good. And seriously, cooking the rice was the longest part of this meal. If you have some leftover rice in the fridge, or choose a grain with a shorter cook time, like couscous for instance, you'll have dinner for 2 adults and 1 toddler in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

Here is the awful picture taken with my phone camera. Please forgive the blurriness, and don't even ask me why the rice looks like it glows in the dark.



There wasn't much left over, but I used what was left to combine with some eggs the next morning for a breakfast burrito with tomato and avocado. Yum!

This post is linked to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

For my formula feeding friends and family

I don't make it much of a secret that I have had a long, successful, satisfying breastfeeding relationship with SchmoopyBoy. (In fact, much longer than I had ever planned or expected). Nonetheless, although I think breastfeeding is great and I support the right of every woman to breastfeed in public and so on and so forth, it has never really occurred to me to consider myself a lactivist and I don't blog about breastfeeding much.

One of the reasons for this is that I personally know a number of women who, despite their best intentions to breastfeed their babies, had serious problems with breastfeeding and ended up turning to formula. I know some people would say, oh they just didn't have the right support, they gave up too soon, etc, etc. But I personally just don't see where it's my place to judge what is trying hard enough. Is torn and bleeding nipples, while simultaneously suffering from thrush (which I've heard basically feels like glass shards being pushed through your breasts every time they express milk), with a baby who was born tongue tied AND has a recessed jaw that would require extensive physical therapy in order to ever be able to develop a proper latch enough for one mother to bear before it is "ok" for her to stop trying to breastfeed? (True story, I'm not exaggerating this one woman's situation) There are so many reasons women stop trying to breastfeed an infant, and most of the women I know who stopped did so with regret and sadness and disappointment.

I have respect and sympathy for these women, not to mention they are family and friends for whom I care deeply. I'm not particularly interested in making anyone feel excluded who visits this site, so I don't post more about breastfeeding. I really liked Hobo Mama's post, formula feeders and bottle users welcome, which is my link for today. I tend to think a lot of 'natural parenting' sites can be a little exclusive to formula feeding mothers. This post is very inviting and welcoming and compassionate and lovely. OK, I'll stop gushing about it. Just go and read.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Pa-Pa

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you and miss you. SchmoopyBoy misses you too. He is always pointing to pictures of you and exclaiming "Pa-Pa!". He asks me to draw pictures of you with his crayons. I don't do you justice, so I'll include this picture.



Ti-Ti (Auntie, my sister) made Schmoopyboy this shirt with the picture from his last visit with Pa-Pa. I love the way his facial expression is all like "What do you mean I'm not going to see Pa-Pa again? He's right here on my shirt. Duh."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday whine fest

Whine, Moan, Groan, Complain

Been fighting a migraine since yesterday afternoon. Dang, this sucker is stubborn.

Went to bed too late last night and had insomnia (see above for a reason) so I’m tired.

Stomach feels like a pit of glop for the above 2 reasons. It doesn’t help that I’ve eaten crap this morning. I meant to pick up a couple of bagels on my way to work, but I got out the door late so I settled for a donut and o.j. from 7-11 because it was quick and on the way. ugh. blech.

So why was I late getting out to work this morning? Without getting too graphic, I’ll just say we had an incident involving poop, carpet, and a little person who is interested in potty training but doesn’t quite get it yet.

sigh. It’s a bit after 9am. Can I go home and curl up in a little ball and go to bed now, please?

And yes, as a matter of fact, I would like some cheese with my whine. It might make my stomach feel better.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Daily Dose o'Cute - Babywearing Men

I am sad to say that I don't have any pictures of J-man wearing SchmoopyBoy in a carrier and surprisingly few even of me with SchmoopyBoy in a carrier. I think there's a whole whopping two pics of me with him in the ring sling. I hope to correct this with baby #2. In the meantime, enjoy this post from peaceful parenting, with oodles of sweet pictures of men wearing babies.

This random was brought to you today by...

dog vomit.

It's hard to get it out of carpet.

Good heavens dog, couldn't you have at least aimed partially for the floor?! It was only 3 feet away!

sigh. That's what I get for ignoring his scratches at the door. What? I had just taken him out to do his potty business an hour ago? How was I to know he had yuck-tummy?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sarah Palin's "Feminism"

There's been a lot of hullaballoo all over the blogosphere about Sarah Palin calling herself a feminist, and whether she should or should not be considered one.

I'm going to be honest here. I don't like Sarah Palin. I don't like what she stands for. I don't like what she has to say about pretty much anything. And she is not a woman I admire in any way or consider to be any kind of feminist role model.

Why?

For similar reasons that the gay and lesbian community told Mary Cheney to f*** herself when she had her first child instead of rallying behind her.

Because privileged hypocrisy doesn't fly. Because a person with privilege who takes advantage of the hard work of other activists to benefit herself while simultaneously working to take away those benefits from others sucks.

Some of the most insightful analysis I have read comes from Nancy Vedder-Shults, who pointed out striking similarities between Palin's "feminism" and the feminism of Nazi Militants in World War II era Germany in her Tikkun Daily Blog article, Right Wing "Feminism" Nothing New. She went into more analytic detail in her follow up article, Right Wing "Feminism" Nothing New - More Thoughts.

In More Thoughts, Vedder-Shults quotes Abby Scher, editor of The Public Eye - a quarterly publication of a small progressive think tank which tracks right wing movements, who believes that Palin and other right-wing "feminists" want
equal “rules of the game,” not actual equality for women. Palin would like opportunity for women like herself — educated, middle to upper-middle class women — to succeed in a patriarchal society. Clearly such women are the only ones who might “elevate themselves above the masses,” since the rest of us need affirmative action, family leave laws, and other government programs to make sure we have equal opportunity. But these are exactly the types of “big government” initiatives that Palin and these other “feminists” oppose. They believe that it’s up to the individual woman to compete in the market, no matter what her background or resources.


Like the right wing Nazi militant "feminists" wanted a piece of the Aryan pie, Palin and right wing American "feminists" want to advance the status of rich, white, Christian women while taking away opportunities and rights from women who do not share their privilege.

In general, I have to agree with Vedder-Shults' final comment in her original post:
What seems clear to me is that conservative “feminism” may improve the lot of a few, elite women — and even more so the situation of the GOP, if they can entice women to vote for them — but it won’t actually help women as a group. And in order to qualify as a feminist in my book, you need to work for the advancement of all women, no matter their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or age.


Thank you, Nancy, for articulating so clearly and precisely what I think and feel about Sarah Palin.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Raw Corn Chowder

My dinner cooking style is based on a few premises. First, it helps to know that I am cooking for one adult vegan (the husband), one adult vegetarian (myself), and one vegetarian toddler who tries to go vegan most of the time and has the eating habits of, well, a stereotypical 2 year old. It also helps to know that I work full time traditional business hours, and that when I am off work, my toddler wants my undivided attention until he gets hungry and then he wants to eat NOW!

So, I have a few basic requirements when it comes to cooking dinner. First, if it takes longer than 30 minutes to fully prepare and cook, it’s out of the question. Period. Second, I have time to make one meal and one meal only, which means everything needs to be either vegan or easily veganizable.

As I write this, in the midst of the desert summer, it is about 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius) outside. This makes turning on a stove, or particularly an oven, particularly unattractive at this time of year.

For all the reasons listed above, I am all about raw soups as the main portion of dinner these days. Here is a recipe that has gotten approval from at least two of the three occupants in my home every time I have made it. In the spirit of full disclosure, the third occupant wouldn’t taste it, so it’s unknown if he would have liked it or not. We’re working on that, but to be fair, I suppose all he sees is green-tinted goop. I might experiment with adding other vegetables or fruits to take away the green tint, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Raw Corn Chowder (from Wild Oats Marketplace magazine May/June 2007)

2 cups corn cut off the cob (plus ½ cup for garnish) – I typically use 2 ears total
1 avocado chopped (reserve 1 tsp for garnish)
2 cups almond milk
½ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in blender. Poor into bowls. Garnish with additional chopped avocado and corn.

Wow, how easy and quick is that?! Cool and refreshing on a hot day, ahhhh.


Check out this article for a tip on easily getting corn off the cob!

This post is linked to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays.