Friday, June 30, 2006

Yes, that's me in the corner...

... crying over spilt breastmilk. Argh. Liquid gold, spattered across my kitchen floor.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dear Moms Against Mercury,

After driving past your rally this morning, I started composing a snarky blog post in my head. One about how not to agitate for causes in which you believe. One in which I revealed the best-kept secret in the universe to you, which is this:

A protest incorporating homemade signs, screaming moms, children by a busy street, closed traffic lanes during rush hour, a man in an old-timey prison suit (think O Brother, Where Art Thou), pictures of children who once were not diagnosed with autism, then were diagnosed, references to that bastion of even-handed scientific debate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and balloons (can't forget the balloons!) is still probably not going to convince the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that you are a serious group who is interested in getting to the truth about mercury and autism.

Okay, maybe I still needed to get a little snark out. I just looked at the MAM website, though, and the thing is, there are some heartbroken moms out there. It is impossible not to feel deeply for parents who have watched their children develop autism.

The part I don't understand, though, is why these parents cling so fervently to vaccines as the cause. There is good research out there that gives a fairly clear message: there isn't a demonstrable relationship between mercury in vaccines and autism. If I was a parent with an autistic child, I'd be working like hell to find out what factors truly could be associated with autism, and I'm pretty sure I'd be equally irritated with parents who were wasting time and resources chasing down a hypothesis that has been pretty thoroughly debunked.

So, Moms Against Mercury, I guess my advice to you is this. Take that fervor and put it towards something that might be useful. Forty protesters outside the CDC, clinging to shady research by Mark and David Geier, are simply not going to change immunization recommendations, nor should they. Agitate for good science, science which explores possible factors in autism in a controlled, objective way. Then, recognize that science when it knocks you upside the head. You'll be doing your kids a much bigger favor that way.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Knock softly and carry a quiet clipboard

I read dooce's post yesterday about people who knock on your door enthusiastically, thereby waking up a sleeping baby, and related. Our house is Realm of the Picky Sleeping Children, Especially Those Named Rocco, and once he goes to sleep, we will go to some lengths to keep him there. WonderGirl is now very conscientious about tip-toeing past his room when he's napping, after several early episodes during which she awakened the sleeping beast and saw Mommy and/or Daddy cry with frustration and then threaten to bring Rocco into her room to be entertained the next time he woke up, too early, crying. (To be fair, I should say that her two walking options are tip-toeing and elephant-footing. There is no in-between. It's not like we keep her on a leash. Often.)

Anyway, it happened to us last night. After the kids were in bed, I saw the dreaded red t-shirt approaching our door (it's local primary season here) and the enthusiastic campaign worker rang the bell and immediately knocked, with the power and force of the Hand of God. It was loud, it rang through the neighborhood, and it immediately woke Rocco. DT and I had both flown to the door, trying to keep her from knocking, so when we opened it with horrified faces and teacherly "SSHHHH!"s, she could already hear Rocco starting to scream.

To her credit, the campaign worker looked horrified as well, burst out with a huge apology and literally ran across the street, hopefully with a new determination to let the doorbell do its job.

Incidentally, she was promoting a candidate for whom I already planned to vote. It was a similar feeling to when I see a poorly-driven car adorned with bumper stickers which merit the QoD seal of approval. I want to think that everyone who agrees with me politically also knows how to be considerate and safe.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I don't have it. I don't know why.

The last month or so has been a low period for me at school, and there's no reason it should be so. The paper we sent in (remember Einstein shilling for it?) got good reviews, without major revisions needed. In a normal world, I would have jumped right on the fairly small amount of work needed to revise and resubmit it, and my first publication in this field would be on its way. Instead, the work I've done on the paper has been somewhat haphazard and disorganized, and now, a month after the reviews, I still have quite a bit to finish. I met with Dr. Nice and Dr. Brilliant this morning, and apparently my mad rush over the last day to get organized was successful, because they didn't scold me for not having enough done. I'm not even sure what to make of that, honestly. Did I actually (and accidentally) do a reasonable amount of work? Do they just not expect more from me? Have they been so distracted that they don't realize how much time has passed? Am I that good at faking it?

I seem to get through each small milestone all right (for the most part), but graduation seems impossibly far away. It's Sisyphean for me - I have accumulated an impressive series of passed milestones in my research, but I'm still not in a place to write my damn proposal, even. It seems like I'll be sitting in this cube forever, ferrying the kids back and forth from day care to camp at the Y to home, pumping breastmilk every three hours, watching other students finish coursework and defend their dissertations.

It's habit, now, to maintain the status quo, instead of pushing hard to propose and then finish my dissertation. At one point, I took on this attitude purposefully. I didn't want to rush through; I was busy being a mom and a person outside of school. DT has a fulfilling job, and we're not dying to move soon. I thought I was doing myself a favor to allow myself to enjoy the process and not try to rush through school for false reasons. Unfortunately, now, I'd like to change my attitude and it's simply not happening. On some level, I've lost the certainty that I even will finish. That's not good, folks. I'm just not sure how to turn it around.

Even worse, I just spent a good five minutes trying to write a limerick about my own procrastination. I kept coming back to rhyming "Ruth" with "long in the tooth," though, so I'm just going to leave that project for another day.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I don't care what you're late for, SLOW THE EFF DOWN!

I often feel old driving. At some point (let's just say for the sake of argument that it was the first time WonderGirl rode in the car as a baby) I came to an understanding that it is just not worth it to take risks in a car. There is nothing that important, and enough people around you are taking stupid risks at all times, that you really don't need to add to the problem. I'm a happier driver now, I don't worry about getting in the fastest lane, I just chill out and try to enjoy whatever's going on as best I can. (Not that I enjoy traffic, but what are you going to do?)

It's not uncommon for me to feel validated by seeing some dumbass do something stupid because s/he is in a hurry. This morning I was part of a particularly scary example.

To walk from my parking deck at school into any of the buildings, people have to cross a small street. It only connects parking decks and parking lots. The cross walk actually comes out of a bus stop where campus shuttles idle, so it's pretty dangerous - you have to peer out from in front of parked shuttles in order to see if anyone is coming. There's a sign standing up in the middle of the crosswalk which boldly proclaims "State law STOP for pedestrians in crosswalk." It's knocked down at least once a week when a driver hits it.

This morning, I'd just crossed the street and knew someone was coming behind me from the garage. An SUV was flying down the little street, past the parked shuttles, not slowing down to see if pedestrians were coming. I turned around to see what was happening, just as the woman behind me started to come out from in front of the shuttle. I screamed, the SUV's driver slammed on his brakes and the woman who was crossing the street just barely avoided being hit.

The driver was clearly shaken and tried to apologize. I'm sure he was late or impatient or whatever. I went back and walked with the woman who almost got hit, who was a lot more shaken than the driver was.

My family often makes fun of me because I have an involuntary screech reflex when I see something potentially dangerous about to happen, but that reflex is useful just often enough that I seem to keep doing it. This morning, my screeching got the driver's attention, who, thankfully, had his window down. I guess I'll keep screeching and hoping that one more person just got converted to the relax-while-you-drive camp.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A little of this, a little of that

It's Friday, so don't expect complete sentences.

  • If you ever had a thing for the Replacements (yes, I'll admit to it) check out Dean Dad's essay on the occasion of the new CD release.
  • It is pitiful that I am 34 years old, I still don't know how to spell "occasion" and now, instead of using a dictionary, I Google both "occasion" and "ocassion" and pick the one with the greatest number of hits. (275 million vs. 525 thousand, incidentally. Which is sad. Thank goodness for that gentle "Did you mean occasion?" blurb on the page.)
  • More news on the often unhappy interface between children and the color red: Even if you know that your infant ate a large serving of beets the previous night, and you think you are emotionally prepared for the color of the next morning's poop, you will not be. It isn't possible.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Two pieces of evidence which highlight my slipping standards:

  1. I have gotten into the habit of watching ripped DVDs on my lovely video iPod while I pump breastmilk at school. It certainly makes the sessions go faster than doing sudokus did. To date, I have watched:
    1. 50 First Dates
    2. Meet the Fockers
    3. a few episodes of Six Feet Under (this one doesn't embarrass me)
    4. Crash (nor does this one)
    5. Dodgeball. This one embarrasses me mightily, as I started it, then decided that even I had standards and moved on to something else, then got curious about where the plot went and returned to finish it. I even laughed out loud at those silly dodgeball hijinks. Not much more I can say.

  2. Our department has a breakroom where people leave the stuff they're afraid they'll eat all by themselves. It is flush with junk after Halloween, usually has some treats after faculty return from exotic trips, and it is where the leftover birthday cake goes to die after faculty meetings. Two weeks ago, someone left a box of Oreo cereal there. I couldn't help myself and tried a bit, but truly, the chocolate pellets were disgusting. Yesterday someone left another box (actually kind of strange behavior, considering that Amazon apparently sells the stuff for $5 a box) and I had three handfuls. Including marshmallows.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The breastfeeding middle ground

I've been reading posts from various blogs, across the political and lifestyle spectrum, reacting to the recently-ended breastfeeding PR campaign. These are posts from thoughtful people, making good points. I've read the posts and tried to move on, but inside my head, there is this voice that just won't shut the hell up. There are some points, in my opinion, to be made.

[First, I feel strongly that the commercials, as described, are pretty ridiculous. As a caveat, I haven't actually seen the commercials because I have Tivo and never watch commercials, and even if I did, I don't think they were broadcast during NCAA basketball games. Which are, of course, the only thing I watch on TV. Clearly, drawing an analogy between mechanical-bull-riding and formula-feeding is extreme. Whoever approved those ads conceptually just wasted a ton of money producing them - women who already want to breastfeed will still want to, and women who were on the fence or were planning to formula feed will feel more justified in not breastfeeding. So, let me go on record as thinking that the ads are both dumb and counterproductive.

However, some of the reactions are just as off-base, in my opinion. I hear the terms "breastfeeding mafia" and "breastfeeding nazis" far too often for my taste. Because you know, really, women who choose to breastfeed their children and who think that others should also be supported if they try to breastfeed should absolutely be compared to monsters who kill at will and attempt to undermine a law-based society. Completely logical comparison, and definitely promotes reasoned debate. So let's put that extreme aside for now, also.]

I think there are two main points that often get obscured for the people in the middle, who are genuinely trying to figure out what to do for their children and what will work best for their family:
  1. Breastmilk is, in fact, better for babies than formula. This is not actually in dispute, although if you get your information from reading pregnancy message boards, you might be confused. Yes, I know that you formula-fed your child and s/he never had an ear infection, while your next-door-neighbor breastfed and her child had to have tubes. This does not, in fact, change the truth that breastmilk is better. There are clear health benefits and if you're trying to mitigate risk, it's something to consider, but not a guarantee of perfect health.
  2. This is the main one for me: as parents, we do not make choices for our children in isolation. We will all make choices that are not "best" in some way, but that do make sense in the larger scheme. Two days this week, I've come home with the kids and turned on Blue's Clues so that they would be distracted and I could cook dinner. Am I proud that my 10-month-old was mesmerized by the TV? No, of course not. For me, it was balanced out by the fact that I could then cook a healthier and cheaper meal for my family than we would have if we went out. I made that choice, and as a big girl, I'm prepared to live with the negative consequences as well as the positive ones. The AAP wouldn't approve of what I did, either. To me, the feeding debate boils down to the same thing. There are many reasons why breastfeeding might not work for a family: mom is unable to breastfeed, she has no support for pumping when she goes back to work, she has PPD that is exacerbated by being tied to feeding the baby, she's on medication that are contraindicated while nursing, the list is probably endless. The point is, as a parent, you have to be able to look at the whole picture, make the decision that is right for your family, take responsibility for the fact that there might be downsides, and move on. Controversies like this won't end once your kid starts table food. This is a good time to practice and get used to the fact that not everyone is going to approve of everything you do. Make your decision in good conscience, using good information, then let yourself be.

As someone who works in public health, I do get immensely frustrated with our lack of cultural support for breastfeeding. It is completely acceptable, culturally, for women not even to try to breastfeed. It is completely acceptable, culturally, to give a nursing mom dirty looks on an airplane when she's trying to discreetly feed her child. It is completely acceptable to look amazed that a 12-month-old is still nursing. It is acceptable to use the lactation rooms in a building for naps, acceptable to suggest that a mom feed her child while sitting in a bathroom stall, acceptable to resent the time a mom needs to pump while back at work, acceptable to expect a mom to pump in her car in a parking lot in 90-degree heat. The real problem with the ads is that they don't change any of those perceptions. Instead of promoting breastfeeding, they tear down formula feeding and make everyone more polarized.

Net result: all moms feel unsuported in their choices. Fabulous. Because that, truly, makes for healthy and happy families.

Monday, June 19, 2006

What she said

I have found myself unable to write about the Mommy Wars so far on this blog. The whole SAHM/WOHM thing makes me tense, defensive, aggressive and depressed all at once.

It's just as well, because Karen at Chookooloonks described how I feel better than I could have.

Happy Father's Day, indeed

On Father's Day, the following happened:

  1. I made DT my unique, usually delicious, you-have-to-have-a-special-pan breakfast, and it sucked. Something was wrong, who knows what, and he ate it all anyway.
  2. We went for a bike ride with the kids, and he got stuck going up a brutal hill with WonderGirl on his bike and though she is slender, she is not as light as, say, Rocco, who was on my bike. He was in first gear (out of 21) and I still smoked him.
  3. After the bike ride, with two hot and hungry kids, we ended up in a knock-down-drag-out (emotional, of course, not physical) fight.
  4. Once home, we were knocked out, but the kids weren't tired (lazy jerks, just sitting in bike seats all morning), so we went to the market instead of having naptime. Along with everyone else.
  5. DT decided to grill for dinner, which he usually enjoys quite a bit. This time, it wasn't so fun for him because he stepped on a piece of charcoal at the outset and (after doing a pretty agile little dance through the grass) spent the remainder of the grilling time standing in a large Tupperware container of ice water.
Not the best day ever. (DT actually termed it "lousy" on the phone with his sister, and I think that's generous.) I'm hoping that a few other things balanced out the ugliness:
  1. I didn't take a picture of DT grilling in Tupperware, although I really wanted to.
  2. We got to make up after the fight and we both feel hopeful that we might have turned a corner with some of our long-held less-pretty patterns.
  3. WonderGirl made him a card which said, among other brilliant insights, "You are the best Dad." She meant it, and she knows what she's talking about.
Obviously, I have enough perspective to know that in the grand scheme of things, having a family with healthy children is enough to make it a wonderful Father's Day. (Granted, Rocco did require about 25 tissues over the course of the day to stem the snot tide, but that doesn't count.) Next time, though, I hope DT has a Neosporin-less day. He deserves at least that.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Life lesson

Automatic red-eye reduction doesn't work well if the relevant person in a photograph is wearing a Spiderman costume, including face paint.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Do I look like an uptight control freak?

On second thought, don't answer that.

I have been beset lately by people who assume I will agree with their opinions on certain less-than-life-threatening issues. If I actually did agree with them, I wouldn't be writing this post, of course.

This morning, another student (let's call her Overwrought, or "O" for short) came by my desk to chat a little. Her 9-year-old daughter is away at camp for two weeks. The camp posts pictures of all of the kids on a website every day so the parents can check in and, presumably, spend their time doing something other than calling the camp office constantly to make sure their kid is okay. Every day last week, O's daughter was wearing the same shirt in the pictures. O finally emailed her daughter (another interesting camp development since I was a kid) to ask her to please change her shirt. Yesterday, the picture was of O and a few friends on a hike with a counselor. Good news: the shirt was not present. Apparently bad news: O's daughter was wearing a bathing suit while the other girls were wearing shorts or capris. O delivered this information* with such gusto and a look of satisfied what-was-my-daughter-thinking-ness that she clearly expected me to recoil and offer large vats of commiseration.

Instead, I asked her why it was so terrible. Her reply? "She was wearing a BATHING SUIT. On A Hike!" She spoke slowly and loudly, as if I was deaf, new to English or stupid.

It's fine if O wants to make her daughter's fashion choices a mainstay of her own worrying. I don't see, however, why I'm supposed to automatically also feel the same. (If you could see WonderGirl most days, you would understand that I'm a big fan of letting kids wear whatever is comfortable, safe and makes them happy.) Lately, our discussions frequently follow an arc of O revealing something equally shocking about a friend or family member, with a pregnant pause during which I'm supposed to validate her feelings.

I noticed a similar trend with a very good friend who visited recently - she would express an opinion that seemed remarkably rigid to me, or be shocked at someone else's supposed laxity in a minor area. Whenever I expressed a different point of view, she seemed genuinely suprised.

My question, then, is this: How on earth did I get a reputation for being the person you should go to if you need to feel validated about your own neuroses? One possibility is that I am usually overly agreeable, and in the past, perhaps I've listened to these stories without responding negatively, so my friends assume that my feelings match theirs. Another possibility is that I truly was as tightly-wound as O and my friend in the past, but after almost 15 years together, DT's laid-back nature has finally infected my soul and turned me into a shadow of my former neurotic self.

As I write this, I'm starting to think that instead, perhaps my kids have taught me to pick battles in ways that I hadn't realized. I would never be accused of being a permissive parent, but maybe I've learned to let more things go unless they're truly important. Maybe I've learned to define "important" a bit more narrowly than I did in the past. Maybe I'm jealous of O's daughter's freedom, and think that I might have fun hiking in a bathing suit as well.

* I was going to call this the "denouement" of the story, but had to look the word up because really, so many vowels in a row are almost impossible to get correct. It turns out the denouement is the tidying-up of loose ends in a story after the climax, so it was the wrong word and I've been using it somewhat incorrectly for years. Also, informed me (graciously, of course) that denouement only occurs in stories with happy endings. The proper term for a similar part of a tragic story is "catastrophe." I knew none of this.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Not that I know everthing about parenting, but...

I'm pretty sure the best way to tell your children that it is time to leave the playground is not to say, "Do you think we can go in a minute?"

I'm just sayin'.

On an only vaguely-related note, WonderGirl started a week of swim camp at the local Y today. When I went to pick her up at noon, I took a picnic lunch and we ate on the playground. It was unbelievable - we sat on her towel, opened up our sandwiches, I asked her about her morning, and... she answered my questions. There was no, "I'll tell you in a minute," or "I'm too tired right now," or "We did fun stuff. I don't remember what." We sat and ate together and talked.

I don't know what other 4-year-olds are like, but this is not her usual style. She's into telling stories together (if she can't talk me into telling one by myself) or pointing out interesting animals or people that we see (although I could have skipped the rat (rat!) we saw at the playground this weekend) or talking about food. She doesn't easily reveal that it took her a while to feel brave after I dropped her off, or that she liked the other kids but doesn't consider them friends yet, or that she jumped into the water but still wanted to make sure she was touching her swim teacher. As she was talking to me, I almost felt like I was cheating, that her guard was down somehow and she was going to regret giving me all this info so readily. I hope she doesn't, and that it happens again tomorrow. In any case, it was a wonderful way to start the week.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Humor, catgorized according to WonderGirl

In the "funny" category:

WG: Knock, knock.
R: Who's there?
WG: Puppies
R: Puppies who?
WG: Would you like to buy a puppy?

WG: Knock, knock.
R: Who's there?
WG: Who
R: Who who?
WG: Did someone hear an owl? ... Hey, Mommy, let's be owls. We'll only fly at night. Do owls talk like pirates?

WG: Knock, knock.
R: Who's there?
WG: The interrupting cow (cat, Rocco, etc.).
R (slowly): The interrupting-
WG: MOO! (Meow! WAHHH! etc.)

Why do chicken coops have two doors?
Because if they had four doors, they'd be chicken sedans.

What did the zero say to the eight?
Nice belt! (R: Do you get it, WonderGirl? WG: No. But it's funny.)

In the "unfunny" category:

Why is 6 afraid of 7?
Because 7 8 9.

What is brown and sticky?
A stick.

I have to admit to being completely intrigued by the development (or lack thereof) of WonderGirl's sense of humor. She loves to tell jokes but almost never really gets them. By the same token, though, she "gets" funny situations most of the time. I remember reading that having a sense of humor is a developmental milestone, but only lately have I realized how complicated that is. Who really gets to decide what's funny? Of all the "jokes" above, the puppies one is probably her favorite and makes her laugh hysterically. I have no idea why, but I'm not sure I'm willing to decree that it truly isn't humorous.

Perhaps I'm being pre-emptively defensive of her taste in jokes, though. With DT and me for parents, the chance of WonderGirl developing a conventional sense of humor is pretty darn low. If either nature or nurture comes into play, she has a lifetime ahead of her in which she laughs by herself or at the wrong times. Probably a good idea for her to get used to it now.

Friday, June 09, 2006

True story

I went to the library at my university yesterday. I walked in the door and looked for articles written on paper. I read them and took notes, also on paper. I left hefty volumes in the "Return journals here" section of the stacks.

If you've been out of school for a while (or if you're much younger than me, in which case, pffft!) you may not immediately understand the significance of that action. When I was in grad school previously (over ten years ago), I spent hours each semester retrieving bound journals, photocopying articles and looking for spare change to add to my copy card. The bound journals were often in such demand that I had to scour the return shelves to get the issues I needed. I had stacks of articles on the shelves in my lab with notes in the margins and staples on the verge of falling out from excessive page-flipping.

When I returned to school a few years ago, the thing that surprised and delighted me most about doing literature searches was the ubiquity of online journals. Now, I enter my university's electronic journal webpage and have access to almost every journal imaginable. I do my searches electronically, then download pdfs of the relevant articles and print them on the department printer. I don't even know if copy cards still exist.

This week, though, I needed to find some articles that were published way back in... wait for it... the 80's. It's not worth the time and effort for journals to scan in old issues, so they weren't available electronically. I put off the library trip for a few days because I was in denial about its necessity, but yesterday I finally gave in. Truth be told, it was enjoyable to be back in the stacks, and I even browsed a bit instead of doing a commando-style library raid. It was nice to turn pages instead of scrolling. I did have a librarian ask me if I was looking for the books at one point (and I had to admit that I was) when I was apparently wandering in the nursing history section of the building.

When I finished and returned my journals to the reshelve stacks, they were all alone. I don't think I'll be back to visit them soon.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Haiku to commemorate a momentous occasion

The monitor sleeps
for eleven and a half
hours. Thanks, Rocco.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All hail the Chicks

Yesterday I caught a snippet of Fresh Air on NPR while going to pick up the kids. Terry Gross was interviewing the Dixie Chicks, and apparently I have been living under a rock, because they were discussing (in public! on the radio! without euphemisms!) the fact that two of the members have battled infertility and suffered miscarriages. They even included a song about the experience on their new album. A quick Googling reveals that they're making a point of discussing infertility and their eventual success using IVF.

You go, Chicks.

I've alluded to this before, but one of the hardest things for me about dealing with miscarriages and subfertility was just the huge cultural blanket of silence we put over those issues. Not only is the whole thing profoundly difficult to deal with, on many levels, but at the same time you're not supposed to talk about it. I strongly believe that this will only begin to change when individual women speak out and talk about fertility in the same way they would discuss any other important aspect of their life. Sign me up as appreciating the fact that the Dixie Chicks were open about their struggles and the fact that they used IVF. If more celebrities would admit that they take advantage of modern medicine to aid conception and pregnancy, maybe some of the stigma would be removed for the rest of us. (I know it's not their responsibility to be poster people for personal issues, but given that they take our entertainment dollars willingly, I wouldn't mind if they made the world a better place in return...)

Now, of course, I have two things about which to complain:

  1. I am a huge Terry Gross fan normally. She does her research, knows when to shut up in an interview and is respectful without crossing the line into sycophant-dom. However, she whiffed the infertility question with the Chicks. I don't remember the exact quote, but she noted that both of the sisters who'd dealt with infertility now had twins and seemed to think that was some kind of grand coincidence. "How funny! Do you think that your infertility was somehow related to the fact that you ended up with twins?" Uh, yeah, Terry, it's related.
  2. Upon the earlier-reference Googling, I ended up on a couple of message boards for twin parents. Since around 50% of twin births are due to ART, it's not surprising that a lot of the women on the boards had also gone through IVF. What was surprising to me was that some of them seemed to begrudge the Chicks their reproductive success. Yes, I'm sure they didn't have to worry about how many cycles it would take, didn't have to worry about the cost or whether their insurance would cover anything (because pregnancy is a "lifestyle choice" after all), didn't have to worry about lots of things that "normal" people do. However, they still had to deal with the emotional and physical cost, and they have come out publicly to talk about their experience. What more, exactly, would you want from them? I attribute the snarkiness to two things: the war comment controversy and our desire to take down celebrity moms.
Bottom line, the three members of the Dixie Chicks have seven children under six years old. That's going to be one crazy tour bus.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I've had a post about innumeracy floating in my head for a while, and I would have written it today (and it would have been brilliant) but Blogger has not seen fit to let me log in until just now, when I have about five minutes left before I leave to pick up WonderGirl and Rocco.

So, until I have a chance to write it, I leave you with a motivating example from this morning:

I go to a local store to exchange a piece of clothing. (DT bought me a very cool sweater thing for Mother's Day - it was crocheted/see-through and sparkly and hip. Unfortunately, it fit WonderGirl better than me.) As we are in no-returns-land, I look around for something similarly styled (but that will fit both arms at the same time). Eventually, I find another sweater that is (of course) more expensive.

For the sake of the example, let's say that sweater 1 was $20 and sweater 2 was $30. The store clearly doesn't have an automated inventory system through the register - it's the kind of place where prices are hand-written on little stickers. The saleslady is (also clearly) panicking about how to deal with the price difference. I offer that she could just charge me $10. She insists that this will not work because of tax. Yes, I say, but add tax to $10 and it will be right. This is, apparently, unacceptable.

After an inordinate amount of scribbling on an old receipt and several aborted attempts to use the register as an adding machine, she finally comes up with this: I will be given credit for $20 plus tax (say $21). The difference between this and the price of sweater 2 is $9, so she will charge me $9 plus tax.

Although I tried again to persuade her that she was undercharging me, she was so relieved to have come up with an answer that she remained resolute. Her store lost a dollar and I had to listen to her laugh about math being confusing.

Why is this so common and why doesn't it bother us?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Really? Emma? But Gwyneth and I have nothing in common except for kids named Apple...

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?

You're Emma Woodhouse of Emma by Jane Austen!
Take this quiz!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Big Bird did what?

I was just browsing the iTunes music store, on a quest to replace our broken tape of Sesame Street Platinum. In case you're wondering, searching for "sesame street" there does not prouduce the desired results.

Apparently, there is a group called "Sesame Street Gangsters" (am I showing that I'm woefully unhip here? are they popular?) and their song titles are quite different from "Put Down the Duckie." I don't think Bert and Ernie, for all the rumors, sang about gay leprechauns or Ron Jeremy.

Slowly putting my eyes back into my head now...