November 28, 2011

my first cell phone...a love story

(2 years ago today)

I have a new cell phone. I didn't invest much in it, and basically it's just a functional phone I settled for because it seemed on the surface very much like my first one.

Problem is, I don't love it. Not that there's anything wrong with it, in all fairness. It's just that I didn't want a new phone. I truly LOVED my first phone. We had the perfect relationship, this little Nokia and I. But it broke. It's my fault, really. I scratched up the screen, I wore out the battery, and there was a red half-heart-shaped piece broken off the body leaving exposed wires and I'm still not sure how that happened. Apparently living with me on a day to day basis proved to be too much.

And though we were only together for a couple of years, the first phone holds so many memories that I found I couldn't transfer to the second one. And trust me, I tried. I exchanged the card, I even read the manual, but I ended up losing everything. Text messages encouraging me to "breathe in and breathe out" on days when it just seemed too hard to do it on my own, photos of special memories, voice mails and video clips and audio files, and hundreds of other pieces of my life that are irreplacable and very special to me.

So though I committed to a long-term contract with this second phone, I'm still carrying the broken one around in my purse. What can I say? My heart will always belong to the first one.

November 23, 2011

that which we call a rose ...

We've had a cat named "Puppy".

A cow called (Hamburger) "Patty" and her offspring, "Slider". And two calves christened "Norman" and "Mailer".

I have a pair of stuffed animal raccoons from high school dubbed "Smokey" and "Bandit".

My iPod is named "Soma" after the addictive drug in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Kevin has named his "Life Support".

My daughter received her first Barbie (against my wishes) for her 4th birthday. She could have named her Buffy or Ariel or Jessica, but instead, she chose the prettiest name she knew: "Leonard".

We have had the following vehicles:
"Stella!!!" (Kacey's 'regal' Buick)
"Tank the Sable Tooth" (my old 1992 white Mercury)
"Fiona" (the green monster Taurus)
"Armadillo", Kevin's little gray Dodge roadkill
And, of course, "Eddie van Honda"

My lovely children answer to the nicknames "Daughter-Face" and "Kevie-Poo".

But of all the weirdly-named things in our little world, my favorite of all was Kevin's first Beanie Baby. It was a lobster, which, at the age of 5 he pronounced "lomster" and branded it with this biggest word in his little vocabulary: APPARENTLY.
Apparently the Lomster.

Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit. ~Norman Mailer

November 15, 2011

you bet your aspergillus or... it's not that easy bein' green

Today is "National Clean Out Your Refrigerator" day. Seriously. I don't make this stuff up.  And I fully intended to celebrate the holiday in style with red glitter and a Jell-0 salad, and possibly wear an old t-shirt from my breastfeeding days that reads, "Got Milk? I do!". But I got distracted by a Jim Gaffigan special on Netflix, getting my tush kicked by Bernie in a Scrabble game, and Monsanto's new propaganda-laden coloring book for kids, and I forgot.

Better late than never, right? After all, if I wasn't a procrastinator, my fridge would be all Fly Lady sparkly and organized and I wouldn't have found myself donning the yellow rubber gloves to tackle this job, would I?

I began with the top shelf, a shelf useful only for items under five inches tall. Spicy 3-pepper hummus, Manuka honey, cottage cheese, jams, jellies, and yogurt, because as much as I hate yogurt, I seem to be unable to stop buying it. So, I checked the printed expiration date on the sides of each one, because yogurt tastes exactly the same before, after, and even WAY after it has "gone bad".

The top shelf also contained seven - SEVEN jars of jalapenos. Why? Apparently to keep the 8 jars of salsa from getting lonely. I must have been planning a Cinco de Mayo party back in June when I discovered that Cinco de Mayo didn't have anything to do with mayonnaise.  Anyway . . . I combined the half-empty jars, the mostly empty jars, and the one that seemed to have been saved for the juice alone, reducing the jalapeno count to three, but all of the salsas had crusty residue under the lids, so they had to go.

I discovered something on the middle shelf that required a Haz-Mat Team.
I'm pretty certain, at one time, that toxic Tupperware actually contained a half-eaten block of sweetened Philadelphia Cream Cheese surrounded by blackberries. Today, all covered in enough fuzz to be this year's Chia Pet, it looked more like Dead Possum a la Mode in a Snap-n-Seal.

At some point, an Olive Garden take-home box dripping with butter had been shoved onto the bottom shelf, and had collided with an 18-count carton of brown eggs, cracking one of the eggs, and overturning some heavy cream and a not-quite-closed container of grated parmesan. The result was a petrified Alfredo Sauce strong enough to cement styrofoam containers to plexiglass.

Finally, in the crisper drawers, I saw my first UFO (Unidentified Fermenting Object), which appeared to be both a solid and a liquid in one gelatinous blob, and something that could, quite possibly, be a shrunken head from the Huambisa tribe in the Amazon Basin. Or an old plum. Hard to tell.

After utilizing an entire bottle of vinegar (because I'm trying to be "green"), an entire roll of Brawny (because I'm not THAT "green"), the shop-vac and the air compressor, the job was complete.

I'm so relieved "National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day" only comes around once a year. I'd hate to have to do this every week.

(reposted from 2010)

November 14, 2011

natural childbirth is not possible

I rarely rant. I almost never rave. If I seem taller than usual, it's more likely from my new winter boots than from standing on a soapbox. But...well...I want to say something that's going to make some of you furious and others of you feel justified:

Natural childbirth is not possible in an unnatural world.

Okay, maybe it's POSSIBLE, but it ain't likely.

We live in a culture that fosters negative perceptions regarding childbirth. We watch movies and tv shows that tell us labor will begin with intense pain and agony. We see images of women screaming and begging to be medicated. We freak out when water breaks and rush to the hospital. We listen to the horror stories of our "friends". We ignorantly put ourselves in the hands of people who are trained to handle abnormalities and emergencies, hence all our births have become such.

What we are NOT doing is educating ourselves. We have lost our communal knowledge of the art of birthing and have chosen instead to simply trust the medical profession to decide what is best for us.

You can SAY all day long, "I want a natural birth," but if you aren't educating yourself, your chances of actually HAVING one are practically nonexistent. I mean, if you want to be a safe driver, but you don't read the Driver's Manual, or learn to operate a vehicle from someone who knows how, or even take a driver's ed class, you MIGHT get in the car and know WHERE you want to go, but what are the chances of actually making it there safely? Probably about the same as having an uneducated natural birth.

Now, by "educating yourself" I do NOT mean taking the little hospital class that tours you through Labor & Delivery, makes you watch the epidural video and discusses all the things that "could go wrong" and how the hospital will deal with them. NO. NO. An emphatic "NO".

Read for yourself - literature from both ends of the spectrum, from "Twinkle Ding-Dong Yoga Birthing" to "Shut Up and Put Your Feet in the Stirrups". Go ahead and take the Labor & Delivery tour at the hospital, then go to an independent childbirth class. Drink in "A Baby Story" on TLC, then chase it with "The Business of Being Born" on Netflix. Read up on epidurals and episiotomies; C-sections and vitamin K shots; vaccinations and circumcisions; fetal monitoring and forceps; meconium and mucous plugs; contractions and colostrum; dilation and doulas; VBAC and PRoM; breech babies and birth positions; posterior presentation, placentas, pitocin & postpartum depression, and for heaven's sake, PARENTING.

While I heavily favor drug-free birthing, as a doula it is my job to help you have the experience you want. Have a C-section, squat in a cornfield, whatever. It is, after all, YOUR decision. Just please, please, please make it an INFORMED one.

November 08, 2011


She would have been 45 today. Hard to imagine, since she is frozen in time at 28 in my memory. She was wearing a white blouse, jeans and ankle boots and that is often how I think of her.

Her baby girl, who was only 4 at the time, is getting married this weekend. Her baby boy, who was only 2 at the time, is getting married next month.

Life is quick. Quicker for some. Oh, for a time machine and the knowledge that I have now.

Happy Birthday, Stacey.

November 05, 2011

no-sugar november

A few years ago there was a comedian who did a bit about work-out programs that urged you to "Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine." She quipped, "Does ANYbody DO that? I kind of think my doctor is busy dealing with people who have serious problems. I just don't think I should be calling him saying, "Hiiiii ... this is Ritaaaaa ... I'm thinking of bending at the waist."

This phrase "stuck" at our house. "You want me to get UP and change the channel? But I'll have to bend at the waist!" "Can't I sleep in? I don't feel like bending at the waist."
That sort of thing.

So anyway, October's challenge to exercise every day kinda fell flat. It was more like exercise-every-third-day. And really, I could explain it away, but you don't want to hear my excuses. Lucky for you, this is a blog, so you don't have to hear them, you just have to read them. See, in the last month I have:
  • Spent 3 days at the "Saddle Boy" competition
  • Spent 4 days visiting Mayah and her parents in Indianapolis
  • Spent 3 days at a youth conference with a group of teens
  • Spent nearly 8 hours sitting in traffic
  • Had 2 doula meetings and 2 overnight births
  • Tutored my little Reading Buddy on Wednesdays
  • Made several hospital visits, including a couple to my grandmother
  • Celebrated my 24th birthday for the 24th time
  • Attempted to work my "real job" as many hours as possible
  • Boxed up and hauled a vanload to Goodwill
  • Played numerous games of Words with Friends with Bernie and the rest of you
  • AND spent 70 whole minutes on the phone with my Kevie-poo
There's more, but you get the point. Finding time to walk or otherwise workout was difficult. Although during one of the births, we walked for 17 of the first 21 hours and climbed a double staircase about 15 times, so maybe that can count for half my month's walking. Or maybe not.
Anyway, I trudge on. Literally. But Walktober/Octoberquest is officially over and No-Sugar November has begun.