A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
"Cuddly"

That's me:

(I'm not sure this will display properly.  Hmm.)

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posted by Kate @ 11/30/2006 08:35:00 PM   2 comments

Cold as ice

When the first snow of the year hits, common sense flies out the window, it seems.

There are three types of drivers when an inch of snow over ice hits the roads: the creepers, who go 15 MPH even when the road in front of them is clear; the macho 4WD-ers who think that 4WD means not having to worry about ice at all; and folks like me.

I slow down, I take it easy, I try not to get too uptight when I get stuck behind a creeper or have a 4WD-er fishtailing ahead of me.  It takes a while to regain one's snow-driving nonchalance, but it's there.  Like riding a bicycle, the ability to drive in snow is always tucked away in the folds of the cerebellum, ready to be dragged out into service once again.  Having learned to drive in the winter in Chicago, and had lots of practice in northern New Mexico and in our years here, snow driving is ingrained in me.  Even with anti-lock brakes, the tap-tap-tap braking and the "turn into the skid" instincts take over.

Our real snow was stolen from us; rumor has it that the folks in the mountains to the southeast got hammered today, the lucky bastards.  Mr. OmegaMom, off to the Big City to the East, strove mightily to return home today, only to get stuck in the small town of Gifts, worn to the bone from driving in bands of stormy weather.  Two jack-knifed semis had blocked the interstate just west of that town, so he gave up and got a hotel room.

Behind the (measly) snow was the Arctic Express.  It was warmer in the ice skating rink this evening than it was outside.  It's currently 5F on our front porch, and we have winds; the weather service is predicting windchills of -15F or lower.  On nights like this, you feel the cold air radiating inward every time you pass one of the windows (yes, yes, I know--in reality, it's the other way around, but dayum, it doesn't feel like the heat is seeping outward, it feels like chill fingers poking at your toes and stealing the warmth from your arms).  Nights like this also make one very aware of the areas where the lousy heating system doesn't work well...one of those areas being our bedroom.  It would be romantic to think there was some mysterious ghost that causes it to be cold, but, alas, it's poorly designed ductwork and poorly insulated windows with leaky caulking that is to blame.

So winter has arrived.  Time for the Omegas to haul some wood in for the wood stove, clear the Dotter's "house" away from in front of the stove, get the metal pail ready for ashes.

Baby, it's coooold outside!

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posted by Kate @ 11/29/2006 10:44:00 PM   2 comments

Just call me the "anti-Fashionista"

Mrs. Figby recently posted her Top 10 Fashion Tips for Women 30+.

I read the list and winced.

I, it seems, am a walking fashion disaster.

10.  I wear yoga pants, knit pants, and sweats on a regular basis.  I am neither 10 pounds underweight (sigh), nor do I have "taut, round buttocks" (Shrek 2), alas.  But comfort reigns supreme in the Omega Household!

9.  I was going to say "I'm good here", but then I realized...while I don't wear Uggs, I wear cheap imitation Uggs purchased from Costco.  While I don't wear Crocs, I wear cheap imitation Crocs from Target to work in the garden sometimes, but they make my feet sweat.  (Do real Crocs make your feet sweat?  If so, I will never wear them.)

8.  My socks rarely match my pants.  They always match my top.  I think it's fun and funky, and I make a point of it.

7.  Whew.  I get off on this one--I haven't worn a miniskirt in more years than I am willing to mention.  Anyone who went through the angst-ridden adolescent years during the period in which there were no other types of skirts to be purchased knows exactly what I mean.  Walking up stairs in high school in a miniskirt with obnoxious loud-mouthed hormonal teen boys following behind you is one reason why.  Filing papers in the bottom drawer of a four-drawer file cabinet in an office full of mid-40's salesmen is reason #2.

6.  I wear leggings sometimes.  Comfort, again.

5.  All the wrap dresses I have seen in stores are ugly and I have sworn I will never own one.  Ah, well, at least they are better than the Marcia Brady styles that were so popular two years ago!  My favorite style of dress is a princess-seam.  (Yes, it's a Laura Ashley.  So sue me.)  If you've got a waist, fer cryin' out loud, show it off.

4.  I don't have big boobs, but they do, on occasion, come across billowy and pillowy.  Nonetheless, I wear turtlenecks a lot.  Like almost every day.

3.  Ah!  Another one I am home-free on!  I can't wear capris.  They make my bulgy calves look extra bulgy.

2.  Now this one I am in complete agreement with:

Only wear clothes you feel great in. Likewise, when shopping, only buy clothes that make you feel great. If you feel great, chances are you look great.

In fact, if I were giving out fashion advice, this would be the one and only piece of advice needed.  I'd make it number one, but Mrs. Figby has an agenda, revealed by her number one piece of fashion advice...

1.  Gasp.  Shudder.  Horror of horrors--I wear "mom jeans".  All.  The.  Time.  Because they feel comfy.  Admittedly, no acid-wash stuff passes the portals of the Omega Household.  What's worse is that a big butt and hefty thighs coupled with a small waist mean that the solution is (1) buy elastic waist jeans; (2) buy jeans that fit the butt and thighs, but not the waist; or (3) buy custom-made jeans.  Because no manufacturer in the world (that I know of) makes off-the-shelf jeans that fit the Victorian model of female physique comfortably.

And comfort is what makes OmegaMom a happy camper.

(Now, Mrs. Figby, this is not to be taken as a flame--just a rueful admission that OmegaMom is far from fashionable!  Read it all with a wink!)

OmegaMom (lookin' good!) and Dotter (grimacing) at the recent Christmas Craft Fair, showing off the lack of fashion:

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posted by Kate @ 11/28/2006 11:13:00 PM   7 comments

Quickpost grab-bag

OmegaGranny spent the weekend with us.  She and I curled up with books and lazed about, and it was wonderful & cozy & comfy.

I ignored the blog.  Bad, bad OmegaMom!

We're supposed to have some snow in the next few days.  Har.  We had a flurry this afternoon, and I wisted after it.  Folks in Seattle are getting big snow; we haven't had any.  In an "average" year, we'd have had up to 15 inches of snow by now.  Bah.

I have a new 'puter at work, woohoo!  I have two monitors, driving Mr. OmegaDad insane with envy.  The big new screen requires a very high resolution.  This has led to me leaning forward in my office chair and squinting at the screen.  Hmmm.  Aside from that, the new 'puter is a screamer.  Verra nice.

I went on an eBay binge this past few weeks; aside from the enamelware saute set that is (sob!) no longer a surprise for OmegaDad, I have been buying fluffy ballet things to put into a dress-up chest for OmegaDotter.  They are not all pink and purple.  Hah.  (OmegaDotter has been assimilated--she looks at colors and tells me, "That's a boy color" or "He can't wear pink, that's a girl color!".  Ugh.)

At the end of this eBay binge, for some reason I was searching on Chinese woman paintings, and found this:

Well, actually, this:

And...um...bought it.  It was part of an art collector's estate, and some unnamed, non-famous European artist, so I got it for $25.  Um.  I just really liked it.  It made me think of the cover art to Joan Vinge's "Snow Queen".  Kind of.

So my question is:  Since I really like the cropped version, would it be just too horrible of me to (shhhhh!) have it cut so that a little matting would make it look like that cropped version?  Or is there a way to...um...roll the excess canvas and do the same?  Because if I had it cut, the artist's signature would go poof.  And some far-future descendant might actually like the whole pic, rather than the artsy cropping.  Hmmm.  Any artist types out there who could give me advice?

The same auction had an imitation John Nieto for $15; if it had been a better imitation, I would have sprung for that, too.

eBay is an evil, evil place.

In the meantime, I'm chewing on the questions/advice vis-a-vis another adoption, and will post more about the whole shebang later.

Now, I go respond to some comments.

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posted by Kate @ 11/27/2006 08:51:00 PM   4 comments

Just ducky

 

One of my first entries on this blog was my darling husband's obsession with rubber duckies.

This morning, the Omega Family ventured off to a local nursery that has a fine display of Christmas trees with themed ornaments.  There was the snowman tree, the sports tree, the fairies-and-flying-things tree, the (oh, yes, there was one) horsie tree, and the kids' toys tree.

While OmegaDad was luring the child off to the horsie tree to select one special horsie ornament, I walked past the kids' toy tree, and this little lovely caught my eye.  Ohmigawd--perfect for a stocking stuffer for the hubby!

Glancing quickly around, I saw that the spouse and daughter were distracted, and snagged the blown glass rubber duckie from the tree.  I dashed off to the cashier, and hissed at him, "Oh, please, can you ring this up quick before my husband sees it?!"

The nice young cashier swiftly began ringing the duckie up.

And then...

Then...

My frick-frackin' husband came across the store floor towards me, dotter in tow, caroling, "OH MY GOD!  We've got to have this!"

What was he carrying in his hand?

What do you think?

ARRGGGHHHH!

This man has been my bane this year vis-a-vis Christmas gifts.  He mentions something he's interested in, I carefully file it away in my "possible gifts" list, and then he goes and buys the damned thing.

Now, if my mind had been working like a well-oiled machine, I would have immediately snapped out something waspish, like, "For goodness' sake, OmegaDad, we can't afford to buy more of these silly things!", told him to put it back, and surreptitiously purchased the duckie as a surprise gift.

Did I?

Sigh.  No, I did not.  I gasped.  I stomped my feet.  I wailed, "OmegaDAAAAD!!  How could you?!"  And then I displayed my find...

Three weeks ago, he eBayed some pretty nifty brightly colored enamal saute pans.  He mentioned in passing that he wouldn't mind having some more.  I immediately went onto eBay, searched the damned things out, and purchased a set, including a size and color he didn't have yet.

This evening, when we arrived home, there was a U.S. Postal Service box on the kitchen counter.  While I was unloading OmegaDotter, luggage, and getting OmegaGranny settled in, I asked what was in the box.  He crowed as he pulled out...

A red enameled saute pan.  The color I had located.  The size I had located.  From the set I had already purchased and carefully secreted in my office at work.

Grrrr.

(Please forgive the partial post previously--in MS Live Writer, a ctl-P will automatically publish your post; I was aiming for ctl-I to turn off an italic.  Sigh.)

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posted by Kate @ 11/24/2006 10:30:00 PM   7 comments

A Thanksgiving dance
We motored on down the hill to see OmegaGranny and Great Grandma for Thanksgiving. Herewith, some evidence. Me and OmegaGranny. No, I'm not drunk, it just looks like it.
The whole family.
While chatting with some board friends about digicams, someone mentioned that the Canon had a "sports" mode, where the camera clicked merrily away, rather than the photographer (that would be me) hitting the "take" button and then waiting...waiting...waiting until the damned shutter clicks. Inevitably, with the latter, you hit the button while someone is looking great--smiling or doing some original grimace--only to discover, after the camera does its thang, that you've captured the solemn look after the grin, or the goofy look after the original grimace. Anyway, sports mode. Hmmm. I thought I'd investigate. Lo and behold, it works!! Herewith, a dance:
Happy Thanksgiving to one & all!
posted by Kate @ 11/23/2006 11:02:00 PM   9 comments

The green-eyed envy monster

I really haven't talked about this for a while.

Some China adoption bloggers who I have been following have been traveling to China to adopt their children.  They post their tales of their travels.  They post pictures of their new children.  They talk about all the excitement of watching their children blossom and thrive.

And I seethe with envy.

OmegaDad and I had a conversation recently.  It frustrates us so much that if we had worked on an adoption prior to the sturm und drang of two years ago, we probably would have been approved without any trouble.

The irony is that a child would have been entering a very unhealthy household as a result.  We weren't aware of how unhealthy until things came to a head; it seems that it's mighty darned easy to ignore things, to say to yourself, "It's not so bad..." until suddenly it does turn "so bad", so obviously, that only the most purblind would ignore it.  So we would have told a social worker that everything was peachy keen, and believed it.

In matter of fact, I think we were moving towards being an unhealthy household even before we met OmegaDotter.

But, things having come to a head, we passed through it and--really!--we have a healthy household again.  And as a result, now we can either lie and be accepted or not lie and be denied.

I read about adoption disruptions...I read some stories (second and third-hand) of how some new adoptive parents behave with their children...and it makes me angry.  Jealous.  Frustrated.  They got through.  They got approved.  We won't.

We feel like our family isn't complete.  We feel a need to have a sibling of a similar ethnicity to OmegaDotter, both for us and for her.  We feel stymied.  There are other Asian countries...but I find myself making excuses against each and every one of those programs.  My heart wants China.

I look at our beloved dotter and sometimes it hurts how much I love her.  Every time I turn around, it seems that some new facet of her personality is unfolding, that she is revealing some new knowledge or ability or interest.  But, oh, she is growing, and she's not my little baby any more.  When she gets into my lap there are arms and legs sticking out all over; it's been ages since she was little enough to fit there easily, in that special way very little ones do.  I feel like we're doing a good job being parents to her, and I feel that we would do a good job with another daughter.  (I admit my prejudice here:  I want another girl.)

So I read the stories and look at the pictures, and my heart just aches.

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posted by Kate @ 11/21/2006 08:03:00 PM   8 comments

Frick-frackin' Blogger Beta switch

I have been trying and trying and TRYING to switch to Blogger Beta.

I decided, since NaBloPoMo is no longer an issue with the ol' bloggeroo, to try switching yet again.

This was hours ago.

I log into Blogger Beta, and get this message:

Well, whoop-de-doo.

How long is this "move" going to take?!?!

In the meantime, I'm dealing with a child who has strep throat.  This morning the doc also took a look at her tonsils, proceeded to ask me if she snores (yes), a few other questions, and finally recommended we go see an ENT, and that the Dotter's tonsils and adenoids probably should come out.

So the Dotter is ensconsed on the futon, watching a video, and alternately asking me to stay and watch the movie with her, then saying, "I want to watch the movie alone..."

The pharmacist, when asked to mix orange flavor into her antibiotic, mixed the wrong type in (orange oil instead of "orange dreamsicle"), and did a lot of fiddling to fix it.  I should have just told him to dump the lot and make a new one.  The Dotter despises it.

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posted by Kate @ 11/20/2006 04:37:00 PM   6 comments

Cat-itude

I went shopping for cat quotes via Google.  Alas, all the quotes seem to be mostly holding cats in awe...sleek cats, silent cats, wise cats, poetic cats, elegant cats, snooty cats, cats that are never slaves, cats that sit on people's laps not because they like them, but because the laps are warm.  Always aloof, always mysterious.

Where are the neurotic cats?  The goofy cats?  The lovey cats?

When I was about eight or nine, I started pestering my parents for a cat.  I just wanted a cat--any cat would do.  Puh-leeze, moooooooom!  I'll take care of it!

So after months of this, my parents finally broke down.  My dad had a coworker who had a Siamese who had just had kittens.  We got a three or four month old chocolate point with vivid blue eyes, a stocky frame, and a wide face, who went by the oh-so-elegant name of Tuffy.  Or Toughie.  Not sure which.  And I'm not sure who named him.

At the very same time--like that same weekend!--my oldest brother, knowing I reeelly wanted a cat, took me for a drive to pick up a tiny, petite lilac point kitten, dainty, delicate, pointy-faced.  My mother named her Blossom.  (I wanted to name her something like Arabella, if I remember correctly.)

Toughie marched in like he owned the place, swaggering, and clicking his toenails on the linoleum.

Blossom leaped from my coat, digging her claws into my shoulder, scuttled through the house, and settled into the deepest, darkest corner of one of the kitchen cubbies, and spent a few days peering out and hissing.

Blossom was neurotic.  Toughie was the "Polish prince".  Blossom slinked.  Toughie swaggered.  Blossom was snarky and not really cuddly (to me).  Toughie loved me, and put up with stuff from me that would drive any sane cat crazy--being stuffed into drawers, being stroked with a wool sweater in the dead of a winter night so we could watch the sparks, being rolled and pushed and shoved and treated, generally, like a stuffed animal that just happened to purr.

Poor Blossom!  When she first went into heat, Toughie proved that he was not a lover, but a fighter--he did her wham-bam-thankyew-ma'am, and two months later we had two kittens, one of which (a female) we kept.  Blossom stayed scrawny and bony; she always reminded me of a Siamese version of those raw-boned women in pictures from the Dust Bowl.

Many years later, shortly after we moved to another house, Toughie vanished one night and never returned.  But one night, while I was asleep, he came and visited me, nose-diving and purring.  Oh, it was probably a dream, but it felt so real to me.  It was as if he had come back one last time to say goodbye, and to let me know everything would be all right.

Blossom lived a long time, getting scrawnier and bonier.  She was always skittish, but seemed to become accustomed to me once I left my childish ways behind, and would sit on my lap and cover me with pale grey-white fur.

I moved out, on my own, but always--always--had a cat.  Our current Piggy cat reminds me very much of Blossom--neurotic, skittish, not very sociable.  And Wooly is proving to be the dotter's Toughie.

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posted by Kate @ 11/20/2006 02:44:00 PM   4 comments

Beauty school dropout

In which the word "I" is preponderant, and some musings about discipline etc.

After the first few hours, when I was moping and sulking and MAD! AT! MYSELF! for blowing NaBloPoMo, I was gifted with an amazing feeling of freedom and relief.

No more looming deadlines!  No more watching the clock!  No more muttering to myself as I trekked through my daily routine, "Hmmm...is that a good subject?" or "Omigod, I don't have a post today!  What am I going to do?!"

At first, I was starting the posts the day before, tweaking and adding things the next morning and then *BLAM* posting them.

Then I went down the hill to visit OmegaGranny for the evening, and that pleasant, relaxing, well-ahead-of-the-curve style of posting went out the window (but it was worth it!).  Suddenly, it was much more pressure than before.

I've always wisted a bit after having a daily column in a newspaper somewhere.  As a result of this exercise, I think all NaBloPoMo-ers have a better understanding of just how difficult it can be to keep at it, every day.  Now I just want a column every three days.  That's doable!

I had resolved not to do fluff posts.  No lists for me!  No memes!  No post-a-pics!  Not one word about the project itself!  No "here's my obligatory NaBloPoMo post for the day" hit-and-runs.  Which I did manage to do.  But it's damned hard to have that deadline and that pressure--blogging has been mostly a work of love (and self-indulgence) for me.

All that said, here's to all the NaBloPoMo-ers!  Keep on keeping on, guys & gals, and may you enjoy yourselves and learn something from the exercise.

In the end, the question of how to pronounce NaBloPoMo.  At first, I was reading it as "Nah-blow-poe-moe", which is intensely awkward.  But suddenly, one day, I looked at it as a word, and realized how it's really pronounced:  "Nah-BLOP-ah-moe".  I leave my fellow NaBloPoMo-ers with that gift.

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posted by Kate @ 11/19/2006 08:54:00 AM   3 comments

ACK!

OH NO!

I am out of the running for NaBloPoMo!

Ack, ack, ack!

I was doing so well!

But I thought I had done one on Friday...and it turned out I hadn't.

ACK!

::OmegaMom whimpers, bangs her head against her laptop, then collapses into a blithering heap, whining about not being eligible for any of the neato-keeno prizes for participating any more...::

Damn, damn, DAMN!

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posted by Kate @ 11/18/2006 01:27:00 AM   7 comments

Science Saturday
It's been a while since I've done some science stuff on the ol' bloggeroo, but I've run across some neat/interesting/scary stuff recently that I just have to pass on.

Geology:

First up on the agenda is this photoblog, passed on to me by OmegaGranny.  It's some folks on a yacht, cruising around the south Pacific.  In mid-August, while they were sailing along, they encountered a sea covered with floating pumice stones.  They sailed a little further along, and found a new volcano rising from the sea before them.  Way cool!

Then there's the story of the sedimentary chevron deposits on Madagascar (and elsewhere) which stand more than a thousand feet high.  What's special about these chevrons of deposited sediments is that (a) they came from the bottom of the ocean; (b) they contain tektites--an indicator that they were deposited as the result of an asteroid impact; (c) they point in one direction.

What's interesting about it is that a group of scientists theorize that the chevrons were deposited by a tsunami 600 feet high (!!), the result of an asteroid impact.  They used the aspects and slopes of the chevrons, coupled with their heights, to determine where the asteroid crater should be; another set of scientists, using that data, did some sonography and undersea mapping and found--lo and behold--a crater.

What's intensely interesting is that this happened only 4,800 years ago.

What's even more interesting is that these scientists speculate that the Flood Myths from around the world may be related to this impact.  Oh, yeah, and the slightly disturbing realization that disastrous asteroid/meteor impacts happen more often than previously thought.

Physics:

Wireless recharging of computer devices.  No more need to have cables attached to power devices to recharge your iPod or your cell phone.  It's still just a theoretical process, modeled in computer simulations.  But just think of being able to get rid of some of those damned cords! 

Steorn, the company that is purporting to have developed a technology that provides free, limitless power, has announced the selection of their "jury of scientists" to test their system and determine whether it's real or a fake.  The testing is supposed to begin after the New Year.

Technology/Security:

The UK's new high-tech passports, with an RFID chip embedded in them, are easily hacked.  The story focuses on stealing someone else's identity--my question is, given the way the high-tech passport verification process works, and the fact that they're so easily hacked, why on earth would someone want to steal someone else's identity for a passport?  Why not just create a new identity, with a faux passport number (which is part of the key to encrypting the data on the chip), and store the false data nicely on a shiny new RFID chip on a fake passport?  There doesn't seem to be any call to a centralized database, to see if it's a real passport--just a check on a laptop to be sure the visible data on the passport matches the data on the chip.

Astronomy:

The Leonids meteor shower is this weekend.  It's not going to be as showy as it was four years ago--that one was astounding.  But still, it's usually a darned good meteor shower; it often has atmosphere grazers that leave long, bright streaks in the sky.

Biology:

If you believe this one, I have a large bridge to sell you in Manhattan.

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posted by Kate @ 11/18/2006 01:19:00 AM   0 comments

You better, you better, you bet

Over the past few years, the OmegaFamily has watched, jaw agape, as the housing prices in Hippy Dippy Enclave in the Woods have risen, and risen, and risen yet again.

Our house cost us the grand sum of $125,000 in 1998--an amount that made OmegaDad's family in Oklahoma gasp and exclaim that it had better be a bloody mansion!  For that price, we got 1275 square feet (or is it 1242?) and a neighborhood with...um...character, like the mobile-in-a-blanket a street over that is painted vivid purple.  Or the house down the street from that, another aging mobile home, which is festooned with various pieces of welding art.  Or the (formerly) haunted house across the street which is now occupied by The Shouters, who have innumerable dogs crammed into a 600-sq.-ft. house, along with the 10-year-old daughter, the late-teens daughter who is always dating someone with a macho car, and the early-20s son who is a Marine.

No homeowners association here, thank heavens.  And if there was one, as we have joked, the requirements would be owning at least one Large Dawg (check), a canoe on the porch (check--well, it's in the garage, so it doesn't quite count), and an aging VW bus on concrete blocks in the driveway (no check).  (There is a rumor that one of the houses in HDEW has a septic tank which is, in reality, merely an old VW bus that was sunk into the ground, pipes piped in, and dirt piled on top.  The septic pumping system dude who pumped our tank this summer assured me that this was true, and he had actually pumped out the bus once.)

At the time, the price we paid was about $20,000 below the median.  Our lenders claimed we could afford much more, but to our sensibilities, this was the max we could afford.  We looked for three months, traveling up the hill to Small Mountain University Town on the weekends, scouring the ads, checking Realtor.com.

Nowadays, if one were to go by the asking prices that I have been tracking in a spreadsheet since May, we would be able to sell the house at $300,000.

Yeah, right.

Anyone with an iota of sense would look at these skyrocketing values--150% appreciation in eight years?!--and say the dread words, "housing bubble".

My latest blog reading delight has been housing bubble blogs.  As is my wont, I jumped onto the bandwagon late in the game, discovering them in June or July.  I read them and started garnering facts and figures galore.  Housing sales have currently stalled.  It looks like the peak was about a year ago.  Nationwide median housing sales prices dropped by 9% year-over-year this fall, for the first time in 35 years that the National Realtors Association has been tracking them.

The amount of insane loans that have been being taken out recently is appalling.  125% mortgages...option ARMs with interest-only payments...toxic home equity loans.  I've seen some charts'n'graphs displaying the skyrocketing house prices, displaying the skyrocketing amount of debt the average American has taken out in the past few years, displaying some interesting synchronicities between median housing price changes and (shifted forward 12 months) the Dow Jones...

Since the Dems swept the recent elections, a bunch of bloggers have started wondering when the Republicans would blame the Dems for the bursting of the bubble blog.

Fear not:  We already have someone doing it

Anyway, the bottom line:  don't expect your house to be worth what you currently think it's worth if you try to sell it.

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posted by Kate @ 11/16/2006 09:27:00 PM   7 comments

Today's post is brought to you by the letter...

OmegaDotter is learning to sound out letters in preschool. This is very cool, and she is going around quietly testing out different beginning word sounds, checking to see if they're right.

"Puh...Puh...Puh..."

Push? Pull? Put? Pear? Porch?

"Puh...Puh...Puh..."

Protruding? Penitentiary? Pluripotent? Peptide? Polyvinylchloride?

"Puh...Puh...Ptooey!"

Ah. There's my girl.

Many years ago when OmegaDad and I moved into this area, we used to go on exploratory daytrips with the OmegaParents. One route led us through a spot on the road called Pulliam. In Pulliam, there was a convenience store-cum-restaurant owned by a Polish family; they served very good Polish food in the little resstaurant area of the store (I think the brother-in-law had been a chef in Poland).

They had painted this little building bright Pepto-Bismol pink.

You'd be driving along through the high chapparal, everything browns and muted greens and dirt and scrub and rock and sky as far as the eye could see...

And you'd drive around a curve and there would be this excruciatingly PINK building. The family nicknamed it the "Pink Polish Palace in Pulliam"

OmegaDad and I soon developed a road travel game. You had to come up with a sentence full of "p"-words, ending in "the Pink Polish Palace in Pulliam".

Like: "Protestant Pastor Patrick preached poetically about Purgatory at the Pink Polish Palace in Pulliam."

Or: "Princess Pollyanna picked perfect pink peonies, poppies and purple petunias at the Pink Polish Palace in Pulliam."

Or: "Porcupines promenade on the porch of the Pink Polish Palace in Pulliam."

OmegaDad usually can get on a roll, spitting out one riff after another on the theme. I, however, usually get stuck, searching for the perfect Pink Polish Palace pronouncement...

No doubt this all sounds very nerdy, but we are the type of people who just love playing with words and sounds. We can while away large chunks of travel time playing this game and the license plate game ("205 ABT" becomes "two hundred and five archeopteryxes beating triceratops", then "two hundred and five attractively built teenagers", then...). OmegaDotter is still a little bit young for the profuse pleasures of the Pink Polish Palace game, but she sounds like she's coming along very nicely.

In the meantime, I hope I haven't perpetrated a peculiar plague of "p" pollysyllablism upon people who peruse this piece.

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posted by Kate @ 11/15/2006 07:34:00 PM   5 comments

Adoption and attachment

The Rumor Queen has a fantastic post up about how people who are adopting need to be realistic about the effects of institutionalization on their new baby.

As I've said before, if you're waiting to adopt, you have had time to hope and dream and fixate on the new baby.  The new baby, however, doesn't know you from Adam.  RQ's post gives some good advice/suggestions/etc.

I highly recommend that anyone who is thinking of adopting from an orphanage read her post, read the comments from people who have BTDT, and take it all to heart.

That said, I have to grump.  There were a few comments about being "disappointed" by bloggers and new parents on lists who are posting that they "wish life would get back to normal", or that they didn't realize how much work it was.

Well, even those of us who research the hell out of stuff, who "know", in an intellectual way, that our lives are going to change, just aren't prepared for the reality.  It's easy to imagine being sleep deprived.  It's easy to imagine being tired and frustrated and feeling helpless because the baby/toddler is crying and you can't do anything to stop it.  It's easy to imagine being bored out of your gourd by staying at home with a child.

It's another thing to hit the reality.  I know that people who are trying to become parents, or who are in the midst of a family pregnancy, or who are waiting for an adoption referral just hate to hear this, but...there's just no way to be prepared for how much your life changes.  Just no way.  (Okay, there's one way to almost be prepared:  being roommates with new parents.  But even then, you can escape--it's not your responsibility.)

I've written about this before.  Read RQ's post, read mine, read some more.  Be aware that no matter how much you prepare beforehand, bringing a child into your lives is one of the most stressful things you will ever do in your life.

It does get better!  Honest!  But until you find your family equilibrium, it's a big shock to the system.

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A fickle and changeful thing is a woman

OmegaDotter's One and Only True Love has been suddenly pushed into the background by the new teacher at her preschool, Mr. Tad.

To me, Mr. Tad looks like a boy, as if he's just barely begun shaving.  He's in college, of course, so I suppose to an almost-five-year-old, he looks like quite the grown-up.

She spent the weekend telling me, off and on, about how Mr. Tad will hold her hands and swing her around in the air...how he chases after her making monster noises, and then she chases him, doing the same.  She counted down the days until Monday, saying to me, multiple times, "Mr. Tad is going to be at school on Monday!"

She filled my ears with Mr. Tad on the drive in to school this morning.

And this evening, when I picked her up from school and we were about to leave the 4's room into the hallway--she stopped me, and said, "Oh!  Let's go through Miss Betty's room, instead!", as if it were a sudden thought.  (There's a doorway into that room, too.)  It just happens that Mr. Tad was sweeping Miss Betty's room.

OmegaDotter carefully placed her cool pink sunglasses on, tugged at the bottom of her sweater, and very casually walked through Miss Betty's room, very carefully not looking at Mr. Tad until he said, "Goodnight, Dotter!" and then added, "Cool shades!"

She dimpled a smile at him, said, "Thank you!", and sort of tossed her hair.

Then she walked sloooowly out of Miss Betty's room, into the hall, and didn't stop walking slooowly (with a glance over her shoulder) until she knew he could no longer see her.

Oh.  My.  God.  How on earth am I going to handle her when she's a teenager?!

And how on earth am I going to be able to hide my amusement at her current crush?!

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Highways and byways

Dear fellow highway-traveller:

When there are two lanes going in one direction, the idea is that people should mostly travel in the right-hand lane, leaving the left-hand lane open for this strange process called "passing".  In some lands, they even have highway signs stating as much--"Use left lane for passing".  I'm sure you're a fine, civic-minded person; it shows when you carefully drive the speed limit in the left-hand lane, right next to the other civic-minded person who is carefully driving the speed limit in the right-hand lane.

I seem to recall reading about this in "Rules of the Road", many many years ago.

When a police car comes careening down the highway with its lights and sirens going, and you are in a klatch of cars in the left lane just itching to pass the Large Semi in the right-hand lane, I can give you a word of advice:  those lights and sirens?  They're not for show.  And if you have room to dart behind the semi (which I know you really want to pass), and the police car (lights and sirens going) has to slam on its brakes...well, the concept is "move out of the police car's path".  Do not make the policeman driving the police car angry enough to do a "Get out of the damned way, you potato-headed idiot!" maneuver behind you.

Furthermore, if you're at the head of that line of cars sloooowly trying to pass the semi-truck, maybe it would behoove you to...um...speed up enough to get ahead of the truck and...um...get out of the police car's way?

I've heard it's the law, y'know.

When you're traveling on a highway with just one lane going in each direction, 15 miles below the speed limit, and 10 cars line up behind you...maybe you could pull over to the side to let the 10 cars pass you?

I've heard that's the law, too.

Stunt-driving to move from the lane next to the median to the exit you just suddenly decided was The exit, cutting off the people in the lanes next to you?  Just.  Don't.  Do.  It.

These rants and raves are prompted by a drive down to OmegaGranny's house and back.  All by myself!  No husband!  No dotter!  Sheer, unadulterated "me time".  Ahhhh!  OmegaGranny was left holding two tickets to a benefit function, due to her neighbors having the crud, so she called me yesterday morning to ask if I would like to go.  What fun!  Good food, silly radio theater comedy, good companionship, and a night in bed without having a child try to climb in.

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posted by Kate @ 11/12/2006 12:05:00 PM   1 comments

She's goin' in!

Taking a deep breath...breathe out...OmegaMom is switching to Blogger Beta.  They claim that it will move everything over--content, layout, css and all.

Not being a trusting soul, especially when it relates to computer projects labeled "Beta", OmegaMom first googled "Blogger backup complete".  The third hit was this, titled "The Real Blogger Status:  Backup Your Blog".  If you have a blog (not just a Blogger blog), and you want a backup, you WILL click that link, and you WILL thank me.  It gives detailed directions on using a program called HTTrack.  It talks about using the grandfather-father-son backup rotation schedule.  And you WILL have a complete copy of your entire blog, safe and sound, on your home computer, including--get this!--comments.

Ahhhh.  I've been looking for something like this, and the Blogger Beta move was just the thing to kick me into doing it.

An additional note:  If you use LiveWriter, and you switch your blog from Blogger to Blogger Beta, you will need to download an update to LW so it works with BB.

UPDATE: Well, fooey. For some reason, the switch didn't work. All I have to show for this blog angst is an email in my inbox, saying "An error has occurred that has prevented us from switching your account at this time. Our engineers have been notified of the issue, and your blogs and Blogger account should not be affected." Pooh.

The good side is that I now have a shiny new backup of my blog, sitting on my computer. Yay!

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posted by Kate @ 11/11/2006 12:17:00 PM   3 comments

Yoga toes

This week at work has been...interesting. There's an old curse that says, "May you live in interesting times." Work has been like that.

Thursday morning, I realized that I had knots the size of baseballs on my shoulders. Big, honking vortices of twisted muscle. They hurt. I felt like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

So I dialed up our handy-dandy local massage college. This place is a Great Deal. You can get an hour-long massage for $30 (it used to be $25; they wised up, I guess). If you are an employee of Small Mountain University, you get five dollars off, an even better deal.

They actually teach these students well; I have never had a massage there that wasn't great. I don't know how they do it; perhaps they have lifelike mannikins to practice on? Or perhaps the instructors fall on their swords, as it were, offering their poor tortured bodies up For The Good of Mankind? However it works, towards the end of their program the students have to do practicums (practica?), and we, the residents of Small Mountain University Town, benefit.

Robby, almost done with his practicum and about to spread his wings as a fledgling massage therapist, did the deed for me yesterday. He spent half the time working on my left shoulder/back. My baseball-sized knots are now the size of ping-pong balls instead--they were very recalcitrant.

Then, he moved on to legs, arms, and neck. And I zoned out in a haze of bliss.

When he was done, and we were talking, I mentioned that I had to get back into yoga, because I could feel that the vertebrae he was pressing on just weren't moving at all--frozen up like rusty hinges. He allowed as to how he was sure I did yoga, because I had "yoga toes". He was enthused. He likes "yoga toes" because they're beautiful and interesting. (Goodness. I've never thought of my toes as "beautiful" or "interesting". My toe descriptor of choice is "gross".)

Well! This was the first I had heard of the phenomenon, so I had to come home and google it.

Apparently, the barefoot practice of yoga, and the focus on balance, grounding, stance, etc., produces broad feet and toes that spread apart with space between them, and this is well known amongst yoga practitioners.

The benefits are so great and sublime that there is now a toe stretching device called--wait for it--Yoga Toes. Though they look like incredibly silly things, sold only to incredibly silly people, apparently they are very helpful for people with bunions and people who do bad things to their feet, such as ballerinas, long-distance runners, and pointy-toed shoe wearers.

And, since there's such an emphasis on toes and suchlike in the yoga world, another attempt to capitalize on toe-ness is a product that I thought had died the death back in the late '70s: toe socks. Setting aside the fact that these are forever ingrained in my brain as a horrible fashion faux pas, I can't imagine wearing any sort of socks while doing yoga (except during savasana). It seems like an invitation to the Kozmik All to slip while doing a balance pose, and break your back--the antithesis of what yoga is supposed to be all about!

Unfortunately, I must 'fess up: my toes have always been "yoga toes". I have always had space between my toes, and always been able to spread them apart easily. Genetics get the credit (or blame).

But my rusty-hinge vertebrae and Robby's enthusiasm about my yoga toes has inspired me. Time to find out when my wonderful yoga instructor is having evening lessons again, and sign up. I may end up with feet like a Hobbit, but my body will thank me.

(My apologies to those who saw my unfinished post last night; MS LiveWriter has the icon for "publish post" sitting right on top of the icon for making a link, and my incomplete post made it into Blogger much before it was ready!)

(And here are some yoga pics, including "yoga toes".)

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posted by Kate @ 11/11/2006 09:05:00 AM   4 comments

A difficult conversation

We are in the car shortly after leaving preschool.

I am making a turn.

OmegaDotter asks me, in a slow, considering tone:

"Mommy?"

"Hmmm?"

"Sometimes two men can...or two women can..."

I brace myself.  I've heard from friends that kiddos can ask the most difficult things while you're driving the car.  I start the mental litany, "Why, yes, did you know that so-and-so has two moms...?"  And "Some men fall in love with men, some women fall in love with women..."  There's a long pause as the dotter collects her thoughts.

"...sometimes two men or two women can ride on a motorcycle together."

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posted by Kate @ 11/10/2006 07:30:00 AM   5 comments

Foot in mouth disease

Every once in a while, OmegaMom, normally an oh-so soo-ahv and SO-phisticated woman, at ease in all social circumstances (bwahaha!), really does a doozy.

Yesterday's doozy was on a par with asking a woman, "Oh!  How lovely!  You're expecting!  When is it due?", only to have her reply with a stony face, "I'm not pregnant."  (As Dave Barry says, you should only ask a woman if she is pregnant when she's standing in front of you giving birth.)

I had taken OmegaDotter to the skating rink.  While she was slowly making her way across the rink to her skating teacher, I snuck out to the registration desk to ask about...

...ahem...

...renting a room for a birthday party.  (No comments from the peanut gallery, please.)  Could I see those rooms, I asked.

The nice young man (young is the operative word.  He looked to be 18.  Or 16.  Very young.  They make them younger every year, y'know?) led me around the ice rink, and I spied, seated in a small section of bleachers cleverly stashed away in a corner, K.'s mom with a young lady.

So, after I eyeballed--and smelled--the rental rooms, all of which are used as locker rooms for various sweaty and hormonal teenage hockey players, I went and sat down with K.'s mom to chat.

In the midst of the chat, I asked her, "Is this your daughter?", gesturing at her companion.

"Noooo...that's my coworker, Charlotte."

Watch OmegaMom sink into the floor with embarassment.

In my defense, Charlotte was a very young looking woman.  I had thought she was about 17.  And K.'s mom looks to be only a few years younger than me.  I am more than old enough to have a 17-year-old daughter.  Much more.  In fact, I could have a 17-year-old granddaughter.  And Charlotte had facial features that were very reminiscent of K.'s mom.

Oh, who am I trying to kid?  It was a social fox paws of the worst sort.  Not as bad as asking her if she were pregnant.  Not quite.  I only implied that K.'s mom was...um...oldish, and that Charlotte was...um...youngish.

Oy.

Aside from that, having OmegaDotter take lessons is a splendid idea.  Forgetting to bring my own skates is a splendid idea.  See, if I'm in the skating rink, the dotter wants to come over and ask me questions.  Every three minutes.  And then she wants me to hold her hand, while she hangs on me and never finds her center of balance.  So lessons are grand--she's doing quite well now.

Peer-pressure is a Good Thing in this instance, as well.  It won't be when she's 16, say, but right now, having K. do something means that she needs to do the same thing.  K. and the dotter chased each other--gingerly--here and there on one side of the rink, went around the orange construction cones, and then ventured all the way around the rink by themselves.  Woohoo!

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posted by Kate @ 11/09/2006 07:07:00 AM   2 comments

Will wonders never cease

Arizona is the first state to vote "no" to an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage.

The only thing I can think of is that "expediency worked".  OmegaDad told me he thought the sponsors of the bill were idiots for having two clauses--the first defining marriage as between one man and one woman, the second banning any legal union purporting to give the same legal benefits.  He thinks they would have won if they had been separate measures.

Part of me would like to think it's the wild & wooly anti-government individualism--akin to Libertarianism--that lurks in the backwaters of the state.

The other part of me is just pouting that their lousy motto--"Takes away healthcare"--won the day.

It's definitely going to be contested; the result is close--51% to 49%.  But still...

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posted by Kate @ 11/08/2006 07:52:00 AM   4 comments

Take reponsibility

Just vote.  Go and do it already.  Don't waffle.  It's your bloody duty as a U.S. citizen.

I don't care if you vote Republican or Democratic or Green Party or None of the Above.  If you're a U.S. citizen, you have a ton of rights, and one major responsibility (well, plus jury duty, but that's a rant for a different day). 

Also, don't whinge about the results if you don't vote.  If you do vote, you get a "OmegaMom says I can complain" bumper sticker.

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posted by Kate @ 11/07/2006 07:01:00 AM   4 comments

"Procreation vacations"

Oh, lordy.  It's a variant on the "just relax" advice.  Resorts and spas are promoting "Procreation vacations".

May I just make the delicate observation that someone who has tried for two whole months is not exactly a person in "need" of such services?

My infertile readers have my deepest sympathy.  You'll be hearing this one for quite a while, I'm sure.  "Just go drink some of those mystery Caribbean fertility remedies!"

A little piece of advice for folks who hand out the time-worn "just relax" advice:  most couples go into the baby-making biz quite relaxed.  After all, it's just a case of Tab A in Slot B, squirm around a little, have fun, have an orgasm (hopefully!), and whammo-blammo, baby!

Right?

I mean, I've heard that's the way it works.

Most people just expect it to work that way.  No stress, no fuss, no muss, no bother--just decide it's time to make a baby, and *boom*, there it is.

People who are stressed about baby-making from the beginning (lacking any prior knowledge of fertility problems) are likely to be stressed about a lot of stuff.  Type A types.  Maybe they need such a vacation.

But the problem is that people who really are having difficulties in the baby-making area of life are the ones who will hear this advice.  Over and over and over again.

This whole aspect of life is long gone for OmegaDad and me, and I rarely think of it at all these days.  (A blessed relief.)  But every once in a while, something like this just slaps me upside the haid, and it makes me want to stomp my feet and shriek in frustration. 

Do me a favor.  If you're not struggling to get pregnant, or never had any difficulties, and you have friends who are, don't refer them to this article.  Because if they've gotten to the point of telling you they're having problems, it's a foregone conclusion that they're either some of those previously mentioned Type A types, or else they're well on the way to medical intervention of some sort (or adoption).  And if they're that far on the IF road, any well-meant "just relax"--however disguised--will only infuriate them.

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posted by Kate @ 11/06/2006 09:17:00 PM   3 comments

The pain of a Peter Piper Pizza party

OmegaDotter, now almost five, has reached the age of birthday parties.  We have been to three now.  The first two were relaxed, laid-back affairs at people's houses.  Hot dogs and burgers, cake and ice cream, a few games, present opening, voila, easy-peasy and relaxing.

Yesterday''s was at the poor man's Chuck E. Cheeze, Peter Piper Pizza.  We're too small to have a CEC here, so PPP has to do.  Having heard mutterings of CEC parties, I knew kind of what to expect when I walked in the door.

Ack!

Noise!  Kids running everywhere!  Greasy pizza!  Noise!  Kids!  Cake!

Did I mention "noise"?

And pink!  Very, very pink!  The first two parties were boys' parties.  Little boys get to have primary colors at their birthday parties.  Little girls get to have pink!

Little girls' presents are also pink!

OmegaDotter and I had trudged off to Target to get a present.  Presents for the boys were easy.  Presents for a girl?  Um.

First off, the dotter kept pointing to things that I knew she wanted.  Horses:  horsie-looking horses.  Pink horses.  Horses with wings and long flowing hair.  Barbies and Disney princesses with horses.  Horses and carriages.  Setting aside the fact that I knew she was pointing them out because that's what she wanted, she also tended to pick the most expensive things.

And Bratz.

And Polly Pocketses.

Bratz--well, some moms don't want their girls to have Bratz.  (I'm not going to go into the deep moral, social, and literacy implications of Bratz.  Suffice it to say, they are the Epitome Of What Is Wrong With Our Society for some.)  So, nix on the Bratz.

Polly Pocketses--OMG.  Polly Pocketses are the work of Satan.  They have so many itty bitty accessories.  Each and every Polly Pocket comes with fifty kazillion small plastic items:  combs, brushes, hair dryers that are half-an-inch long, shoes, bracelets, notebooks, dogs, cats, dog dishes, leashes, you name it, Polly Pockets comes with it.  I eyeballed them, thought of household pets scarfing down small plastic objects and requiring emergency trips to the vet, or, at the very least, an unending search for The One accessory that is missing and causing great wailing and gnashing of teeth, but sure to turn up in the vacuum cleaner bag, and nixed Polly Pockets, as well.

We ended up getting some sort of (pink!) faux hairstyling set.  (I wanted to get the Barbie tea set.)  At least there were no small unnecessary plastic objects to get lost, eaten by small siblings, or stepped upon in the middle of the night.  Plenty of big unnecessary plastic objects, but they'd be the kind that would be easy to spot in the middle of the living room carpet.

Then we ventured off to the pizza place.  OmegaDotter's One and Only True Love, C., was there.  His mom was there, too, and we huddled with one other mom we know in a protective knot at the end of one of the tables, cringed at the noise, and guided one another through the intricate maze of tokens for games, redeeming winning tickets for toys, and shepherding children to and fro.

The headache and jangling nerves that resulted took hours to wear off.

OmegaDotter's birthday party will not be at Peter Piper Pizza.

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posted by Kate @ 11/06/2006 06:57:00 AM   6 comments

Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!

As you get older, things change.  Your skin gets less smooth.  You develop (o horror of horrors!) little brown spots on your skin, all over, lovingly called "liver spots" in common parlance.

You get hot flashes.  You have to start having your cholesterol level checked at yearly intervals.  You have to have the boobs squished in the Boob-Squish-O-Matic.

The hair in your armpits, which flourished wildly from puberty onwards, suddenly stalls in its growth.  This is nice, but changes your routine--no longer do you do a once-a-day, or even once-a-week whisk with the disposa-razor while in the shower.  Now you check on Saturdays, shrug, and wait until next Saturday, because there's nothing there to worry about.

On the other hand...

You start discovering hair in the wrong places.

I've had one hair on my left arm that grows to about 2-3 inches, then falls (or gets yanked) out.  This has been a long-time companion, no biggie; it is located right smack in the middle of a knot in my arm that comes from my childhood adventures. (Oh, was that me in the girls' locker room with the other girls, pushing over banks of lockers?  And then getting caught between the falling locker and the wall?  And being discovered by purple haired Mrs. Levinson, the elderly French teacher we were driving insane, who scolded me mightily all the way down the stairs to the principal's office?  And then sat in the ER for many hours with my dad, waiting to be seen for a possibly broken arm?  No.  Not me...That was someone else.)

That hair never bothered me.

The one that is smack dab in the middle of my right cheek, that started growing about four years ago--that one bothers me.

The one on the right-hand side of my chin, that started growing about four years ago--that one bothers me.

They don't get yankable until they're at least an inch long.

So while I'm waiting for them to do their thang, so I can do my thang, I feel like there's a great big flashing neon sign hovering around my head, pointing at them.

"Hee!  Hee!  Lookit here!  Lookit these hairs!  She's got hairs growing on her face--just like an old lady!  Har!"

It's the perimenopausal equivalent of the big fat zit on the end of your nose.

In reality, they don't show.  Honest!  It's a lot better than those big ol' oozing zits!  But, oh, man...they loom large on the interior mental landscape.  It's a lot worse than the grey streak in my hair.  After all, there are plenty of women with sleek, elegant, beautiful grey hair.  Besides, grey hair stays in its proper place--on the head. 

There's never a cartoon pic of a woman with sleek, elegant, beautiful hair sort of sporadically erupting at random spots around her cheeks and chin.  No...it's always a witch type caricature.

Sigh.

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posted by Kate @ 11/05/2006 06:56:00 AM   2 comments

"Blessed to be depressed"?

The preschool Dotter goes to is part of a Baptist church.  She gets a dose of religion daily--they read Bible stories, color Bible pictures, sing little kids' religious songs, say "Hi!" to Pastor Steve, and every summer we get Vacation Bible School.  While it's not my cup of tea, I have to say that it seems that they're getting a good little dose of edukashun, and a lot of contact with loving people.

As a child, I attended high church Episcopalian services with the paternal grandparents on an irregular basis, went to a religious preschool, and attended "Monday Sunday School" for about a year with my best (Jewish) friend, Reggie.  In the end, though, I seem to have turned out fairly okay, so the Baptist preschool is probably not going to chain my child to religion for life.

They have a sign out in the front of the parking lot that changes religious exhortations on a weekly basis.  Sometimes it's cute and funny, sometimes it makes me stop and think, sometimes it's a mysterious John 3:22 which makes me pull out the Good Book to see what the heck they're trying to say (sometimes). 

This week's mini-homily is "We are blessed to be depressed."

Okay, we know where they're going with this one.  Just think, you could be dead, instead!  Which is, when you come down to it, true.

But to those who suffer from depression, it's not exactly a feel-good sentiment.  "Oh, hey, I know you feel like you've got a black hole in the pit of your stomach, and you feel like it's not worth the effort to get out of bed--but, hey, buck up!  You're alive!"

Woohoo!  Yes'm, yessir, that'll just kick that ol' depression silliness in the ass!  I'll just hop out of bed, dash into the shower, and sing a happy tune!

The subtext, surely, is that if you tuuuuuurrrrrn to JESUS!, your life will be filled with JOY!!!!, the clouds will part, the storms will disappear, the sun will shine, the birds will sing, and you'll find unicorns in the woods.  (Okay, maybe not that last one...)

I can't deny that some people do, indeed, find religion and find that it helps them find the strength to claw their way out of depression, misery, loneliness.  But there are also people who have had religion in their lives only to find themselves floundering, helpless, when they encounter some life stressor that sends them into a tailspin, and then they have the added stressor of questioning one of their foundational beliefs.

There's a certain subset of folks who when they encounter other people in the midst of a depressing life situation try to cheer them up with platitudes.  Lost a leg in a car accident?  "Dear, just think--it could have been much worse!"  Had a miscarriage?  "Oh, it was all for the best, I'm sure!"  Waiting for an adoption referral?  "The child who was meant for you just isn't ready yet!"

Yes, it's a good idea to look for the good in these situations, otherwise you'll be mired in the muck for a long, long time.  But telling someone these things just doesn't help.  It's like telling a longtime smoker, "You should quit!  Do you know what that's doing to your lungs?!"  Well, yes.  But until the person dealing with smoking, the lost leg, the miscarriage, waiting for the referral finds within him or herself the ability to hang onto whatever good there is in life (however miniscule it seems at the time), telling that person, in essence, "Buck up!" is kind of poking them in the wound.

"Blessed to be depressed" just doesn't hack it as a psychiatric prescription.

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posted by Kate @ 11/04/2006 08:41:00 AM   6 comments

Spam poetry

Very important note. You have to read:

Feel healthy.

Medicaid onion
Angling cuteness:
Feel strong!
Feel young!

Wield pleasantry.

Oh, you are not able to control your feelings!

Asterisk Rubberband,
Mount your dragon!

 

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posted by Kate @ 11/03/2006 08:53:00 PM   4 comments

To sleep, perchance to dream

In September, I posted about the Dotter's raving tantrums and bad sleeping.  And how our sleep was suffering immensely as a result.

After talking with the pediatrician, we got a referral for occupational therapy.  (Tangent:  why on earth is it called "occupational" therapy?  It makes it sound like something that people who are having trouble at work need..."Danby.  You're having problems getting your job done.  We've written you up two times--you know that the third time means we do Something Official.  The human resources person has suggested that you do some occupational therapy, see if it helps you get your head into your job better, y'know?")

The Dotter has been doing OT now for about four weeks.

Contrary to some people's reports--it seems that some kiddos hate, hate, HATE OT--the Dotter loves it.  She adores Miss Louise.  She was devastated the other day, when we showed up for her appointment and Miss Louise didn't (Miss Louise was thinking the day was Tuesday, and that our appointment was the next day).

Miss Louise has given me some ideas on things to do, which I have incorporated into our daily routine.  Rather than the brushing, I have taken to lotioning up the dotter every night before bed--this kills two birds with one stone.  The dotter's skin is dreadfully dry during the autumn/winter/early spring months here, so lotion is a must.  And doing the lotion in a manner similar to the brushing--long, firm strokes in one direction, from shoulder to fingertips or thighs to toes, with the "mushies" afterward--is "perfect", according to Miss Louise.

(What the heck are "mushies"?  Um.  Kinda hard to describe.  "Joint compression" is the proper name.  It's a firm pressure applied to the joints--elbows, wrists, ankles, knees--by scrunching the bones together.  So, to do a "mushie" to the elbow, you grasp the upper arm and the lower arm, hold the arm straight, and press them both inwards towards the joint and hold the pressure for a few seconds.)

And--whether it is coincidence, placebo effect, the effect of mom just paying more attention to her, the result of the OT, or what--we have had endless nights of blissful, uninterrupted sleep.

No meltdown tantrums.

Very, very few nights of OmegaMom and OmegaDad suffering through the Foot Thing.

Oh, it's not perfection, trust me.  She's not sleeping in her bedroom, but in her "nest" next to our bed.  And every five or so nights, she relapses, and we have the kiddo in bed with us from midnight or one or two o'clock on.  But those in-between nights--heaven. 

We are talking years of interrupted sleep for all of us.  The reality of having the dotter be able to sleep through the night is...amazing.  In the least selfish viewpoint, it's wonderful for her to be able to sleep soundly and heavily, without waking up crying two or three hours after falling asleep.  At the selfish end--

Did I say "blissful"?

Oh, sleep.  Oh, joy! 

(Of course, given that I have written about it, the Kozmik All, in its infinite ability to generate amusement, will decree that she stops this sleeping.  Immediately.)

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posted by Kate @ 11/03/2006 06:55:00 AM   2 comments

A plug

Over there?  To the right?  Under my profile?  There's a widget that displays recent post titles from blogs registered with "The Good Blogs".  Right now, mine lists "Mom blogs" and "Blog Sisters".  (I had "Technology Blogs" also, but there are so damned many of them signed up with TGB that they overwhelmed the other categories.)

Anyway, I am finding it interesting to click through on those post titles, to see what's going through other bloggers' minds...I'm enjoying it.  I like the concept.  I like the execution.

G'wan!  Click!  You know you wanna!

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posted by Kate @ 11/02/2006 07:37:00 PM   0 comments

On the other end of the spectrum

Yesterday's post dealt with negative campaign ads.

Today, let's look at a totally different style:  Wussy campaign catchphrases.

I've been seeing these yard signs that urge voters to vote "NO!" on Proposition 107.  Hear, hear!  say I.  Prop 107 is an amendment to the state constitution, to wit:

ARTICLE XXX. MARRIAGE
TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT MARRIAGE IN THIS STATE, ONLY A UNION BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN SHALL BE VALID OR RECOGNIZED AS A MARRIAGE BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND NO LEGAL STATUS FOR UNMARRIED PERSONS SHALL BE CREATED OR RECOGNIZED BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS THAT IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF MARRIAGE.

We've already got a law on the books that covers this.  The proponents of this amendment want to avoid any court challenges to the current law by putting it into the state constitution.

Cool.  They've got the right to propose the amendment; I've got the right to vote no on the proposition.  I've also got the right to hope it doesn't pass, and to tell all and sundry so on my blog (vote "No"!).

So what is the catchphrase on the "pro" side?  "Protect marriage!"  A rallying cry to the traditionalists out there.  Bold, strong, straightforward.  I think it's a bunch of hogwash (my marriage doesn't need any protection, thankyewverramuch), but, there it is--the motto is pretty strong.  It's a clarion call, code words that automatically get the blood stirring on a particular side on a particular issue.

On the other side?  What are the opponents of Prop 107 using as their motto on yard signs?

"Takes away healthcare".

Oh, wow.

Y'know, yeah, healthcare is a vital issue to many voters.  It's high on all those "what concerns you the most" survey lists.

But, sheeit.  Folks, can't you come up with something stronger?  Something that actually takes a stand?  How about "Denies civil rights!"  Or "Marriage doesn't need protection!"  Or "Ditch homophobia!"

"Takes away healthcare"--oh, yeah, that makes me want to run right out and stand on the street with a sandwich board proclaiming my support!  I can just imagine the marching songs with "takes away healthcare" as the stirring refrain.  Let's all go to the "takes away healthcare" rally at the square this Saturday!

Hunh.  Just doesn't do it for me.

The No on Prop 107 folks are concentrating on the effects to non-gay, non-married couples.  Politically expedient, oh yes.  Courageous?  Oh, no.

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posted by Kate @ 11/02/2006 07:07:00 AM   3 comments

Political slime mongering

November 7 is election day here in the good ol' U.S. and A.  Since there's only a week left, that means that the campaigns are going into overdrive.

My least favorite local politico, Rick Renzi, backed by Big Bucks, always comes out with a boatload of slick, four-color, nasty, slime-slinging, insinuating flyers stuffed into the mailbox in the last week of campaigning, and it's oh-so-nice to see he's at it again, and in fine form.

The flyer takes the fact that his opponent was a higher-up in the ACLU, then conflates it with the fact that the ACLU has fought for NAMBLA (unpleasantly so, but it's their shtick to protect everyone's right to free speech, no matter how vile and noxious) to imply she is specifically being for NAMBLA.  The flyer talks about "her group", the ACLU, making it sound as if she, and she alone, is the person responsible for any and all unpleasant actions taken by the ACLU.

I just love guilt by association. 

But, since we're doing that, let's look at some other folks the ACLU has defended or filed amicus curiae briefs in support of:  Rush Limbaugh (privacy of medical records), The National Rifle Association (opposition of expanding governmental wiretapping authority), Oliver North (right not to incriminate yourself), Phyllis Schlafly (opposition of national "smart card" identity card), Fred Phelps (religious freedom of expression), The Church of the Good News (religious freedom of expression).

A quote widely attributed to Voltaire (but not ever found in his writings) is, "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."  The ACLU sticks to its principles:  they believe the Bill of Rights applies to everyone, whether we like those people or not.

If ever there was a politician whose campaigns--from the very start--epitomize "negative campaigning", Renzi is it.

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posted by Kate @ 11/01/2006 07:43:00 PM   2 comments

About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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