Friday, February 29, 2008

Your birth story in abbreviated form

Another piece from The New Yorker got me thinking. The new book "Not Quite What I Was Planning" is a compilation of six-word autobiographies from famous and run-of-the-mill people. Its inspiration was the ominous Hemingway sentence, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Both the title of the book and the Hemingway sentence made me think of birth stories.

So I'm curious to know what you readers can do. Tell me your birth story (stories?) in six words. One tip from the book's compiler: use specifics.

Here's a (neither funny nor clever) try:

Told the midwife to "DO SOMETHING!"


Doctor and nurse watched from the corner.

I hope some of you are more inspired!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Kind of People

I know I have an odd sense of humor, but it's reassuring to know there are others in the world who share it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reading and bidding

Thanks for the support from folks who understand or at least empathize with the winter blahs and other stresses.

In my reading travels I saw this article about a documentary entitled, "“Fifty Nude Women: A Musical Montage.” Margot Roth, the film's creator, made it in response to a male friend's confessed shock at seeing a date's breasts hang down once released from their push-up bra. Roth says she responded, “You just need to be barraged with, like, real boobs.”

She went on to recruit "real" women -- of all shapes, sizes and ages -- to appear nude on film.

My initial thought was positive. We all need to hold in our minds realistic images of unaltered (or naturally altered!) women's bodies. Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty attempts to combat the uniform thinness and bustiness of media models.

But then I got irritated. Get over it! I wanted to say to the guy. Are you really dating for a pair of good boobs? How refreshing to hear him say, "She seemed interesting, but then we got back to my place and some serious talking -- I mean, we were getting deep -- and then she shed her date persona and I was horrified to see how shallow she was. I mean, she had nothing to support her positions."

Should we really go out of our way to "educate" men about real women, when they really only want realLY HOT women'S BODIES? Bang, bang, bang goes my head against the desk.

In more positive news, I have been picking up some exciting knitting patterns. A clear downside (or upside, depending how much cash flow bothers you) of Ravelry is the way its "queue" feature facilitates stockpiling. I thought it would be enough to see a pattern I liked, pop it in my queue and hold it there until I felt like knitting it.

Nope! Instead I want to have the pattern in-hand NOW. Heaven forbid I decide I want to knit it and have to wait a week or two while I track it down. This means for some of the high-ranking queue patterns, I've been aquiring their sources. For knitty or IK patterns, I'm set. They're free or I get the magazine. But what about Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting? Out of print. Or Adrienne Vittadini's Fall 2003 pattern book. Good luck.

So I've turned to ebay for the first time. So far, the results are mixed. I got a Dale of Norway pattern book (#132) that has some patterns I really like. And I paid less for it than if I'd ordered it new. Likewise for Elsebeth Lavold's Book One (Viking Knits).

I also got a Noro Knits pattern book for less than retail. But it was the wrong book. I miswrote which one I wanted and now have a pattern book I'll never use. Looks like I'll be SELLING on ebay next!

I also used a gift certificate to pick up Jackets for Work and Play, a collection of patterns from Knitters.

So. Lots of new patterns, lots of startitis, lots of knitting commitments to wrap up before I start something new. I can't be the first knitter to put the cart before the horse.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Warm it up Kris. I'm about to.*

I have wanted to be more regular with blogging. I was in a good run for a while. I have fizzled. Call it the winter blahs, SAD, perhaps just good-old-fasioned depression. Doulicia ain't got so much to say.

We are hoping to put our house on the market in a few months. That calls for a flurry of work around the house that I feel utterly unable to do. This is deep psychological territory for me: the maintenance and appearance of one's living quarters. I come from a family of cleaners, fussers, skilled fixers, doers. Also critics. Which is why the voices in my head have risen to deafening levels: "You think anyone is going to buy this heap?" "You can just paint over that, you have to scrape and sand it first."

And the real subtext: "Your house sucks as do you."

So my efforts the past week -- and for several more to come -- will be to rail against that self-talk. Against the antagonism of bitter cold and ceaseless snow. Against a work situation where I feel undervalued and about which I am, of late, uninspired. Against anxiety about an upcoming trip south with my parents that is primed to rival if not surpass the one of two years ago.

On the bright side, my wrist is feeling better so knitting is back to regular levels. And I just read a fun book. "Focus on the little joys." That's as good place as any to start with the affirmations.

*courtesy of Kris Kross, "Warm It Up."

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Resentment is a two-way street

What I said to my [single, childless, mid-30s] sister was, "What childless people don't seem to realize is that when we parents leave work, we are not done working."

What she said to me was, "Yes, but it gets a little old having the parents leave 15 minutes early because the day care is closing or not be able to stay a minute past 7 because of Pookie's recital. Just because I don't have the excuse of children, I am always the one to close up the office and wrap up the event."

I said, "But when you wrap up the event, you can go home, drink a glass of wine and read for two hours if you want to. Sleep in the next day if it's a Saturday. I am cooking for and feeding the masses, listening to their arguements, overseeing the cleanup of 417 Legos and aiding with baths, then getting up at 7 a.m. the next day -- no matter what day it is -- to do it all over again."

She said, "You chose to have children. Should your personal choices matter to me at work? What about the THREE MONTHS you were at home after J was born. If I'm your employer I have to watch that work go undone or hire a replacement while you're having a three-month pajama party."

Me: [silence. She knows it was no pajama party, though not nearly the degree to which it was not a pajama party.]

O.K. She didn't actually say "pajama party" at all. But she did say childless people have a legitimate beef with us breeders in the workplace. And "my sister" is actually a composite of childless relatives and former bosses.

How, oh how to diffuse the tension and create mutual understanding?


Saturday, February 02, 2008

More Stem Cell Fear-Based Profiteering

So now women are given two opportunities to buy cellular insurance. The first is with their babies' cord blood. The second is with their own menstrual blood.

I have the same problems with the latter as with the former. Companies are charging a steep fee for a service one hopes never to need. And should one need it, there is no guarantee the product will help.

In fairness, there are some diseases that cord blood can help with. Especially blood diseases like leukemia or aplastic anemia. However, the times when families have had to retrieve cord blood are few and the number of times where that was the only route to treatment are even fewer. I hashed through a lot of this a couple of years ago.

Everything I said then I would apply to the menstrual blood storage idea. It is expensive, highly unlikely to ever be needed, and rarely the only successful treatment option. Add to that the uncertainty around the vitality of menstrual blood's stem cells ("The healthiest stem cells would come from the part of the menstrual cycle when the uterine lining regenerates," the article notes, not when the endometrium is shedding and dying) and the fact that any woman with a uterus can have stem cells harvested from her endometrium via biopsy, and the whole thing starts to look like a scam.