Monday, October 31, 2005

Shit shit shit shit shit

Well, Owen, baby and I had our 16 week appointment today (The baby and I are fine, the doctor isn't so sure about Owen) and, despite my best efforts (which Owen strenuously suggested were underwhelming at best), I was unable to convince my doctor of the medical necessity of doing an ultra-sound. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that no amount of reported cramping, spasming, discharge or discomfort was enough to convince her to take a peek and let us know whether to call the baby “him” or “her.”

In fact, I think she may have caught on to my ploys. When we went to check out, we were informed that our 18 week appointment had been POSTPONED from Nov. 14th to the 22nd. WHAT?!?!? The good news: we made sure to get all the way out of the office and into the parking lot before we let the expletives fly. Other good news: the baby’s ears aren’t well developed enough to have heard any of the swearing.

I should note that we did, by the way, get to hear his/her heartbeat lout loud for the first time today. It was incredible and I think I maybe could have laid there and listened to it all day. Also, I have gained a smidge of weight but am now right on track as far as that goes and my blood pressure is 100% fantastic. I have to go in for some blood work tomorrow – a glucose tolerance test and some routine screenings.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Check out the latest...

As of Sunday, I was 15 weeks pregnant. Check out what's up with me and the peanut. We're finally starting to outgrow my clothes. I have a feeling that within the next few weeks, it'll be maternity-wear, party of two. I'm already needing my jeans...badly. I must now unbutton them when I need to sit for any length of time. But, alas, my maternity jeans have been sent out to be hemmed up and so I wait. We're cutting almost 6 inches off...this would be because no stores have crop pants out anymore since summer is over. Often, I can get away with buying crop pants and wearing them as regular pants. Like today, for example...

Oh...and it's 3 weeks and counting until we know weather to call the peanut "he" or "she!"

You have GOT to be kidding me...

Sometimes, when I’m slightly bored and don’t have much to do, I like to peruse – one of my favorite blogs. You too may peruse it on occasion since it is listed among my favorites to the right, and I know you’re all dying for all things Sarah. Anyway, this could really almost be considered working for me, since I regularly put information I have attained from that site into our newsletters.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that I also often pass along relevant information to people within the agency when it concerns their area of work. One of the most frequent places I send info is to our community sexual assault prevention instructor. Basically, she talks to kids about healthy relationships, communication skills and things like that. In some schools, they also talk about sex and STDs.

When I came across a USA Today article about “Technical Virginity” and how kids are redefining sex, I thought maybe she’d like to read it. Just to make sure it was relevant, I skimmed through the article before sending it over to her. The article talks about how more and more kids don’t consider oral sex to be sex at all…and that, for many of them, it’s as socially acceptable to…um…experience it…as it is to kiss somebody. The article says the same logic follows that if you would make out with a bunch of people at a party, guess what? It’s now becoming okay for you to….um…experience oral sex with them.

Now, all this is very interesting and whatnot…but in explaining the background I have gotten off track from telling you what I really came on to blog about….which is that some people have very unfortunate last names. Case in point: read the following quote from the article:

“‘The implications are that teens who define themselves as abstinent may be engaging in oral sex,’ says Jennifer Manlove, a senior research associate with” blah blah blah.

Jennifer Manlove? Man love? Are you kidding me? It honestly makes me wonder if the reporter asked her name and she replied “man love” with sarcasm. I mean, seriously…it’s like interviewing a hot dog vendor who says is name is Chester wiener-biter.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm too old School for new age...

I’m sure many you have been dying to know what happened at my visit with the chiropractor last week. It was, without a doubt, a strange experience.

For one, she nearly broke my neck. It now occurs to me that, perhaps Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal, in their amazing ability to break one’s neck simply by jerking one’s head abruptly to one side, may have actually been trained as chiropractors along with the other various martial arts training…chiropractors gone awry.

Strangely, the appointment after that consisted mostly of two distinctly unusual (at least outside the world of chiropractic medicine) activities. One involved her gently hammering my back with what looked like a miniature pogo stick and sounded like a toy gun when the trigger is pulled. The other part involved her massaging my lower back (the area of my most acute pain) rather roughly and painfully while, at the same time, just about putting her thumb in my rear end. She assured me that this was a normal “tension point” or something like that where she could tell if the massage was working. Considering that the “massage” was so painful that it made my rear end clench, I think she may have been right.

In any case, when I asked her what sorts of thing I could do at home to help keep things in line, she suggested that I pick up a pregnancy yoga video and do my best to try and do it several days a week. This is already a stretch for me…first a chiropractor (who I’d always been told were quacks, by and large) and now yoga. Breathing and finding my center and whatnot. But whatever…I’m up to try anything. I’m trying to do a good job and be healthy for this baby, so I decide to try it.

We bought the video last Saturday at Target and it sat on my desk until last night, when Owen suggested we give it a try. That’s right…you read correctly…he said “we.” Owen has been extremely supportive with all the pregnancy-related stuff. Truly, he’s been fantastic. He’s read all the books and been to all the appointments with me. So when he said “we” I knew he meant it.

We both put on our PJ pants (not being in possession of “real” yoga clothes) and popped in the DVD after work last night. Actually, I should tell you that we had a snack first. In retrospect, I’m going to go out on a limb and give everybody a little piece of advice. Chocolate chip cookie dough and skim milk is not the best snack to kick off a yoga session. Believe it or not, the skim milk is not healthy enough to counteract the effects of the cookie dough.

In any case, we began the video and did what we could to follow along with the women modeling for us. You start out sitting cross legged on the floor and practice breathing. No biggie. Then you start to stretch. Stretching, it turns out, isn’t much fun. Turns out it hurts too. I did okay with it, though not even approaching what one would call “good.” But Owen had some challenges. We did this twisty thing that’s supposed to stretch your upper body and he began to whine…and moan. We did more stretches…something called Cat-Cow….to more moaning. I thought it felt kind of good at that point. Then we did this butterfly thing, which is a lot like the butterfly thing we used to do in gym class as a kid. Owen did fine with that…and I was the one whining.

I could see him out of the corner of my eye, tongue sticking out in concentration and folded up legs fluttering away like mad, and I began to giggle. I tried to keep it silent because he told me that if I laughed he’d quit…but I couldn’t help it. Something about his long, lanky body, all folded up and trying to be graceful…it just was too much and I erupted with laughter. He gave me a shove and I fell over (I’m not a weeble…I wobble AND fall down) just as the tears began to run down my face.

We’ve decided to keep trying the yoga, even though my back was pretty much screaming by the end and my knee is swollen from it today. I’m sure, once we’re used to it, it will be good for both of us. We need to get our bodies all stretched out and strong for a successful childbirth…both of us, apparently. I’m aware of why mine needs to be that way…Owen I’m not sure. But I figure it can’t be bad for him, even though he doesn’t have a belly to feel during the exercises.

We’ve also decided to make a few key changes. First, no cookie dough right before it. We both felt a little queasy from it. Second, we have to mute the sound and put one some other music. That lady talking all about breathing all the time and opening your heart and massaging your pituitary gland from the inside (I’m NOT kidding…) was just too much. It’s too bad, though, because one of my favorite parts was hearing her name the poses in Sanskrit. But I’m willing to give it up in order not to have to listen to her telling me to massage my liver. I suppose I’m too much of a skeptic. And I don’t want my liver to get spoiled and demand massages all the time like some out of control diva. We’ve decided to do the yoga at night right before bed since were both were completely wiped out by the end of it.

It reminded me of Rachel, who took yoga in college but had to drop it because she kept falling asleep. Personally, I think she should have gotten extra credit for being so utterly relaxed. I mean, that’s the point, right?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

That's our Velm...

Velma (the cat) is a special, special kitty. Owen likes to think of her as the feline equivalent of Odie, Garfield the cat’s witless sidekick. She’s happy (and dumb) as they come and she loves everybody. She’d have curled up on Mussolini’s lap if given half a chance and a modicum of encouragement. She is the friendliest cat I’ve ever known. Toddlers in the golf shop routinely pick her up by either her head or her tail or some combination thereof and she never responds with anything more than gleeful purring.

Yesterday, as I was sitting on the couch, I saw one of Owen’s customers for the golf shop drive in. Not 5 seconds later, like a shot fired from the pine trees in the front yard, Velma was sprinting across the grass, our furry little welcome wagon. This is what she does the minute she sees ANYBODY drive in. It could be animal control and she wouldn’t care. She has been hard wired in her furry little brain to present herself immediately to anybody in the yard and make sure they know that a.) she loves them very, very much (whoever they may be…and they don’t even have to give her food) and b.) she would love it if they would reciprocate her sentiments by petting her.

It is because of this that we have nearly lost her on several occasions. I don’t mean lost her as in “Velma the flat cat,” although that happens too…mostly in our own driveway. She has determined that the best way to force us out of the car to pet her is to lie down in front if it while it’s moving. What happens next happens almost every single time. We honk. She pops up and trots about 6 feet and lays down again. We pull forward and honk. She pops up and trots about 6 feet and lays down again. This cycle repeats itself all the way down the driveway.

No, when I say lost, I mean lost as in “where the hell is Velma? Have you seen her?” What follows is a true story. Owen has a good friend and customer who is also the managing something-or-other of a golf course about 30 minutes away. He came over one day to pick something up and brought his golf bag into the shop with him. Velma proceeded to go through her elaborate welcoming ritual of rubbing and purring and, unable to resist the temptation, he picked her up and pet her for a minute. When it came time to conduct business, he set her down and went about his task. Velma continued to rub on his golf bag in his absence (are you beginning to get a feel for the kinds of bodily assault the poor gargoyle on the deck must suffer?).

When it came time for him to leave, he zipped up the bag’s various compartments, tossed the bag (literally) in the trunk, and hit the road. About half an hour later we got a call from him, back at the course. Apparently, Velma had climbed into the ball compartment of his bag and he hadn’t seen her when zipping it closed (she was much smaller then). He’d closed her in the bag, thrown it (and her) in the trunk, and driven her all the way to the golf course only to discover her in the bag when he went to tee off. He unzipped the compartment and out she popped, happy as a clam.

He asked us if we minded if he finished his round first, to which we replied “of course not.” And so Velma goes on record as being the first cat ever involved in a Golf Shop Study Abroad Program, however brief her trip. She hung out for the evening and he brought her back later that night when he was finished.

So you see? She is, without a doubt, a special, special girl.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sometimes "feminists" piss me off...

The other day, I sent an email to two of my coworkers suggesting some pictures for the agency’s archive. I’d begun the email by writing “Hey ladies J.” No big deal, eight?

Today I received a response answering my questions, with a final line that read: “Hey by the way I would consider limiting the use of the word ladies.” (BTW – that’s her punctuation mistake, not mine. I can make my own, thank you.)

Call me anti-feminist if you will (but everybody else will call you a liar), but I see nothing whatsoever offensive about the word “ladies.” Especially when used in such a jovial, friendly tone. I was incensed. Here is what I sent her by way of a response:

“Actually, I don’t have a problem with the word “ladies.” Both my grandmother and my mother were sticklers about the use of that word and drilled it in to my mind to use it as a sign of courtesy and respect. Since the Webster’s Dictionary agrees, I don’t take issue with it. Besides, I figure there are a lot more words out there in the American lexicon to get bent out of shape about. “Ladies” seems relatively harmless compared with these.”

For once, I actually sent back the response that I so often write in my blog but never say out loud. I’m blaming the hormones. In any case, I was quite pleased with myself.

Two completely unrelated stories...

Last night my education class had our first “field trip.” We went to a local science center to learn about the benefit of hands-on education. For part of the evening, we were enclosed in a room full of animals. Now, those of you who have read my Blogger’s 101 may remember that animals make me nervous. I like my cats but the rest I’d prefer not to deal with. In fact, I regularly tell my fish (by which I mean Owen’s fish) that I wish they would die. Only once has one of them actually listened to me and jumped out of the tank to commit suicide (I found it all dried up the next morning…and I made Owen clean it up).

So you can imagine the degree of my discomfort last night when I was ushered into a room full of animals in boxes. There were tarantulas, lizards and, God-awful worst of all, snakes…a python, which the guide got out to let us hold and which, I swear, kept giving me the evil eye.

The only critter I didn’t mind at all was Sheldon, a gigantic tortoise. I can’t remember his particular breed (do just dogs have breeds or can tortoises too?), but Sheldon is not full grown. He’s still well in his youth, measuring about 1 ½ to 2 feet across (I know that’s vague…I’m shit at estimating…English degree). Sheldon loves to come out and play. He does laps around the benches and loves to explore. As tortoises are herbivores, Sheldon likes the veggies. It’s safe to say that he loves them. They didn’t have anything to give him last night but squash. Ick. Sheldon didn’t mind, though. He dug into the slice they gave him with a degree of vigor and gusto rarely displayed by tortoises. In fact, he fed his little tortoise face so fast that, as the guide was showing us the tarantula, he let out a massive burp. You may have heard it…it was around 6:30 EST last night. I didn’t know tortoises could burp…had never heard of such a thing….but with Sheldon’s talents I’m sure he’d have a welcome place in any frat house.

Then I woke up in the middle of the night last night and remembered…I HAD heard of a belching tortoise before. Yurtle the Turtle, a gem of a tale by Dr. Seuss….is the story of a vain turtle king who builds his throne to the sky literally atop the backs of his fellow turtles until, one day, Yurtle, near the bottom of the stack, belches…and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Who knew Seuss had a scientific basis?

On a completely unrelated note…I think I might be watching too much crime TV. Lately I have this fascination with shows like Law and Order, SVU, CSI and anything similar. I have been fascinated by documentaries on coroners’ offices and medical examiners. I have the TiVo set to keep 5 episodes of CSI on tape at all times. I might be a little obsessed.

The other night, as I happened to be watching CSI and doing the laundry, there was a knock at the door. Owen, and most of his friends, were at bowling, so I knew it wouldn’t be anybody I knew. Besides…it was at the FRONT door….most unusual. Who knocks? And, moreover, who comes to the front door? It was a sales-dude (too young to be a salesman), something we almost never get at our house. Later that evening, as I was still watching CSI and still folding laundry (a different load by now) my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but I answered it anyway. I figure, you never know when it might be the Publisher’s Clearinghouse letting you know that you’re the next million-dollar winner. The fact that it might be a serial killer like in Scream never entered my mind. “Hello?”

Him: “Hello, is Josh there?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.” (Damn, there goes my million)

Him: “No I don’t…your number is on my caller I.D.”

Me: “I’m sorry…but that can’t be. I don’t know you.”

Him: “But it is…it’s been there for months.”

Me: “Well…I’m sorry, but it’s wrong” (Click…I hang up.)

So now I’m freaked. I can just imagine him out there in the dark, watching me through the lit windows of the house…waiting to pounce. I shut off the light (why? So he can’t see me….never mind that it means I won’t see him either) and walk briskly (because to run would indicate panic on my part…logically completely unwarranted) to each door and ensure that it is locked. I consider calling Owen…not to ask him to come home (again…coward!) but just to ask when he might be home…so I could know.

I decide against calling him, chastising myself for being so silly, and after finishing the last episode of CSI, go to bed to read a little while. But I hear noises. Was that the door? How could I be? I locked it. Was that a thud? What makes a thud? Oh God…

I decide it’s best to get up and leave the bedroom door open so that I could better hear any suspicious noises out in the other room. It also occurs to me that, since we never lock our doors, Owen doesn’t have a key. This means I will have to either wait up for him (until who knows when) or leave the door unlocked. I decide to wait up.

About half an hour later, I hear a pounding on the door. (The battery in the doorbell has been dead for over year. It’s purely ornamental now.) I practically jump out of my skin and then realize it’s just Owen, coming home. But what if it isn’t? The door is glass, the serial killer will see me and then he HAS to kill me. Unless I can kill him or knock him out first. I look around me for a weapon…I find pillows (and smothering takes WAY too long), books (kids books, not big enough)….nothing….except…my hairbrush! I’ll whack him with it bristle side out and that will hurt! Then I can turn the hard side on him and knock him out with it (it seemed logical at the time) if I hit him right in the temple or something.

Weapon in hand, I step from the bedroom and around the corner to see, in the light of the driveway I’d left on, Owen, standing there with his bowling shoes in hands, wondering why in God’s name I’ve locked the door. So…I let him in and apologized. He asked why I’d locked the door and I told him….most of the story. I didn’t mention the hairbrush.

We’ve both agreed that I’m watching too much crime television.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It is just me?

Have you ever noticed how when you wear drawstring pants (which I do more and more now) and have to go to the bathroom REALLY BADLY (which I also do more and more now) you somehow always manage to tie them in a knot?

Yesterday I somehow managed to pull a single string and tie myself into my pants with a triple knot...and I had to GO. The hard part is that, because of certan other changes that have been occuring over the past 4 months or so, I can't really even see the knot to untie them. It bites...

It might be hormones...

Okay…so yesterday morning there was a little bitty server meltdown at work. Not even a meltdown, really, just a bit of a glitch, and not even that unusual a glitch. Still, it needed to be dealt with and in a timely manner, meaning that I had to go over to the shelter and deal with it.

In the past, I have been “spoken to” about wasting mileage (at a whopping .33/mile) by making unnecessary duplicate trips (or, come to think of it, making ANY trip when somebody else is already going somwhere). I therefore offered to the secretaries that, as long as I was already going there, I would drop off and pick up the mail. The shelter does not receive mail; everything comes and goes through the main office. They have a basket into which all outgoing items are thrown in the course of the day. Once each day, in the morning, the outgoing mail is picked up and the mail from the previous day is dropped off.

So, I packed up all the crap they had to take over there (donations, old cell phones, etc.) and headed over. I got everything straightened out and wrapped up in just a few minutes and then headed out to make a few other stops before returning to the office.

When I got back, there was a voicemail message from the shelter’s director:

“Hey, Sarah, it’s so and so. Um, Sarah, in the future, we really are going to need some advance notice before you come out to the shelter so early in the morning. The mail wasn’t ready and somebody is going to have to come back out and get it. Also, I need you to look at my computer because I don’t like how it looks and I want it changed but I can’t figure out how. So next time, could you please let us know ahead of time when you’ll be here? Thanks.”

My imaginary response:

“Sure. I can always give you advance notice as long as your server gives me advance notice that it’s going to misbehave and need to be dealt with. Please inform the server that from now on I am going to need at least 24 hours notice before coming out to put it back on track. I would also like to apologize for not knowing there was an official time when the mail is ready, nor that there was an official state of readiness for the bin. In addition, I would be happy to reorganize my entire schedule so that you don’t ever have to look at a desktop picture that in any way displeases you. I don’t do anything all day but wait for people to call me and ask me to come fix things for them anyway. I have no work responsibilities of my own whatsoever. (Insert grossly inappropriate expletive here).”

Author’s note: I think I may be entering a particularly hormonal phase of the whole pregnancy thing. I’m now at 14 weeks and almost perpetually grumpy. Also, Owen says that I am more sensitive and more easily offended. And I cry all the freaking time. Saturday I cried at the mall. Yeesh...

Friday, October 14, 2005

I work in the cuckoo's nest...

In case you needed further proof that I work in one of the craziest places around, I now give you some of the more noteworthy events of the last 48 hours...

I was yelled at (by a therapist, of all people) for the existence of boxes in the conference room that neither belonged to me nor were my responsibility. Theoretically, they were taking up room needed by the evening class. They were stacked under to coat rack. Apparently the seating arrangement in there is…um…different. She kept asking me questions about them in the hopes of wearing me down into saying "okay, I'll just take care of it." I kept answering them and doing what I was doing in the hopes that she would wear down and just deal with it. I won.

A man came in to pay his step-child’s daycare bill (overdue since July). We have it on good authority that he is…well…not a nice man. He became so angry at learning that the finance director was out for the rest of the week that he actually began to twitch. We have since decided only to speak with his wife.

My boss yelled at me that something I wrote in the newsletter didn’t make sense. I told her that I had copied and pasted it from something she had written. She continued to yell, saying that I must have changed it. I walked away as she was in mid-yelling-sentence….stupefying her into shutting up. It felt fantastic.

My boss yelled at me for not turning a bill into her earlier. I had just gotten it the day before. She told me I was supposed to actually turn it in before I got it… Huh? (Are you confused? I was…)

We had a suicidal walk-in (the first in my tenure at the agency). She had pills in her pocket and was extremely intoxicated. She told us that if we did not help her, she would go across the street to the park (I’m not sure where there is a park across the street, but that’s irrelevant) and OD. We sent her in to see a counselor immediately.

I returned from lunch to find a roundish bag sitting in the flower bed by the front door and tied shut. It is my job to clean such waste up. I was gripped with the fear that it might be a big bag of poop. This is a rational line of thought in my line of work. I understand from some of my fellow human-services workers at the Health Department that there is somebody in this community who regularly comes in the middle of the night and poops on the ground in front of their front door. No kidding. The police are involved. She said it was definitely “human feces.” I didn’t ask how she knew. P.S. I don’t think it was poop…but I didn’t exactly check. I did wash my hands after.

A woman who had called me crying two months ago saying that somebody had stolen her armoire and said they donated it to us called back again today. Previously when she called, she had said that the armoire had belonged to her dead husband and now that her children were dead too, it was “the only thing (she) has in this world.” Apparently, the designer she had hired to remodel the house had told her that she donated it to us by mistake and the owner wanted it back. Now. Right now. And she was prepared to call the police to get it. We had no such item (and have not received one in the last year). She then decided the designer had stolen it. Today when she called she said that she had prosecuted the designer who stole it, gotten it back, and now wants to donate it to us to sell at the resale shop. What the hell?!?!?

And, lastly, we had an elderly client leave our office today and decide to go out and sleep in her car in the parking lot. Unfortunately, she was looking quite unwell. And she fell asleep sitting up. Her skin was waxy-pale and her mouth had fallen open. One of the secretaries noticed her when she went out to get the mail. The secretary came inside and there was much discussion about who had to go outside and see if she was dead. In the end it was decided that our boss should have to do the pulse-checking because she made the big bucks. Turns out she wasn’t dead, just sleeping like the dead. She said it was a nice day and she had decided to sit and enjoy it. In her car. In our parking lot. Asleep. Whatever…

Some days it’s obvious to me why I take anti-depressants. What continues to confound me is why more people don't.

And now, I am off to my first-ever chiropractor appointment. I’m nervous that she will break my neck by mistake. I’ll let you know how it goes. I bet things are never as crazy there as they are here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

She got game...

So…last night I got to experience my first NBA game. And even though it’s pre-season and, technically, doesn’t “count,” it was very cool and we had a great time.

Thanks to Rachel and Jeff, we had fantastic seats (they got us upgrades for my birthday – yay!). Truly, I think we had some of the best seats in the house (if your pocket book isn’t thick enough to afford courtside). We were on the “upper deck” (can you call it that in basketball? I know that’s a baseball term…) near the front. We could see everything and were close enough that my sister and I, who…let’s say…don’t come from a very “sporty” background, could still identify a great many of the players without seeing their jersey numbers. We could see all our favorite players and Rachel took some very cool pictures.

We also got sweet-ass pink Pistons hats (the profits from which, by the way, go to support Breast Cancer research). Unfortunately, they did not have any licensed apparel for sale at the event that was small enough to fit the baby any time before s/he’s ready for school so we had to pass on that. I was bummed. W were planning on buying the baby something at each “event” we attend from now on (except when we go to the Nutcracker this Christmas because…well…they don’t tend to have souvenir booths at the ballet) so maybe I will see if there is anything we can order from the website.

We also had the ubiquitous stadium/arena experience of sitting near somebody who was a.) very drunk and b.) very loud. Sometimes you can do something about that. For example, one man and his wife came and sat in front of us after half time (I’m guessing they were too trashed to find their way back to their own seats). The guy was way loud and way obnoxious and seemed to have some sort of aversion (or perhaps, as I recently learned in my Teaching Science, etc. class, an opposite magnetic charge – I didn’t actually LEARN it, but I had to pretend to) to his seat. I could only take it through the 3rd quarter and then I went and tattled (nah nah na boo boo) to one of the ushers who made them leave. He was almost too drunk to walk. Everybody cheered for me when I returned to my seat.

Of course, you can’t have them all removed. The one who was sitting behind us was also very drunk and very loud…and, unfortunately….spent the entire game proverbially talking out his ass. I liked to call him The Mouth. He kept yelling things that, to the outside person who knows nothing, might sound sensible but, as Owen informed me, were actually quite daft. For a while, he kept yelling “Come on! Push it!” But he stopped after a while; perhaps he may have herd me suggest to Owen that we invite him to the delivery room where his “Push it” yelling would actually make some sense.

Nonetheless, we had a fantastic time and are exhausted today, even though we stayed the night and didn’t come in to work until noon today. Thanks again to Rachel and Jeff for suggesting we go, going with us, getting us bad-ass tickets, and then letting us crash at their house.

Oh yeah…one more thing:

DEEEE-troit BASKET-baaaaaaaal!!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Are you one? Are you two...

Well, well, well…today is my birthday. I am officially 27 years old. (I am also officially 13 weeks pregnant.) In case you were wondering, today is also Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday. Something I did not know: FDR was her COUSIN!!! According to the Writer’s Almanac for today:

“It's the birthday of Eleanor Roosevelt, born in New York City (1884). Her father was an alcoholic and her glamorous mother made fun of Eleanor for her plain looks. She was in Italy visiting her grandmother when she bumped into her cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the two began a secret courtship that wound up in their marriage in 1905.”

It is also Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Wedding Anniversary. You may or may not wish to send them a card. Similarly, today is also the day that Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other interesting notes? Today in 1868 Thomas Edison patented his first invention (the electronic voice machine), the great Chicago fire of 1871 was finally extinguished after three days, Alaska Davidson was appointed as the FBI’s first female special investigator in 1922, Saturday Night Live premiered with George Carlin as its fist host in 1975 and Jimmy Swaggart got caught soliciting a prostitute in 1991.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Beer for show and tell? Why not?

Tuesday marked the beginning of a new unit in my “Teaching Math, Science and Social Studies” class. We have moved on from science and will be doing Social Studies for the next month. This is good because I am sick and tired of lugging around my special little “science book bag kit” that I got to buy for $100 (lucky me). The good news is that there is no social studies kit – just a book.

The other good news is that I essentially have a degree in sociology. Most of my Women’s Studies classes were sociology classes. This is kind of a mixed blessing as I have now been put in a group with other students interested in doing a sociology lesson. The catch? They’re all elementary people (whereas I am a middle school person) and want to write a lesson plan for 2nd or 3rd grade. The problem? Sociology is a rather abstract concept, not often taught in k-12 at all. On rare occasion, it pops up in high school. There are no standards or benchmarks in the MI Dept. Of Ed. Manual at all for sociology and, actually, no Social Studies benchmarks for grades under 3rd. My job for this evening? Making my group members (who have no sociology background) understand why we cannot write a lesson for 3rd graders. This may involve teaching a brief SOC 101 class.

I have a strategy, though. My teacher instructed us to bring “something cultural” to tonight’s class. It could be a food dish or some kind of cultural artifact, “such as a sombrero.” I can honestly say that I looked high and low for a Czech recipe on the net that didn’t include any of the following: lard, yeast, liver or tongue. I can also honestly say that I came up empty-handed. I asked Owen what I should do. “What was your favorite thing to eat there?” he asked me. My answer: “Um….potato skins and TGI Friday?” Yeah…I didn’t love the Czech food. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the scariest dessert ever (and a Czech favorite) called “dumpling.’ Dumpling – singular - as in “just on”e…because it was FREAKING HUGE (like as big as my head).

Then I had a brilliant idea. The Czech national drink is beer. They invented pilsner. And Glen’s sells Pilsner Urquel – the most common Czech beer. It’s like Bud Light over there. Thus, I bought a six-pack of Pilsner Urquel to take and share with my classmates. I am hoping if I can get them to imbibe a little, they’ll loosen up enough to just shut up and listen to me. Oh…did I mention? The school I’m going to is a Methodist university. We’re supposed to pray at the beginning of every class and stuff…think about Jesus when we teach. Do you think the Methodists like beer as much as us Catholics?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

News on the homefront...

Here are a few snapshots from life at the loony bin:

I am now 12 weeks pregnant. Though my understanding is that I do not technically enter the 2nd trimester until 14 weeks, it’s kind of nice to have 3 months down. Then again, the idea of 28 more weeks is daunting. I now buy extra-strength ibuprofen by the barrel and celebrate when my bodily functions work correctly and on a reasonable schedule.

Roxie is 75% as good as new. She’d be 100% if she wasn’t a tripod. Her incision has completely closed and her fur is growing back quickly. She is mobile and all over the place and back to her bitchy old “never gonna let you pet me” self.

We have a new baby – Elfie. She’s our calico kitten, born way back on July 21st to one of Tom’s cats, Punkie. I had some reservations about continuing the plan to take a 3rd cat because my self-esteem as a kitty-mama took a big hit when Rox lost her leg. Elfie is somewhat disconcerting – she does not have a motor. She never ever, ever purrs. Ever. But Owen swears she’s as happy-go-lucky as Velma.

I’m now 1/3 finished with my last teaching class. This makes me very happy because I am hating it immensely. It is called “Teaching Math, Science and Social Studies in Elementary School.” It’s no wonder our schools are falling behind in the global race – they cram the teaching of 3 core subjects into a single 1-semester class. I’m supposed to be doing observation hours for this class. I’m supposed to be keeping a log of my experiences during those hours. I’m supposed to turn that in for a spot-check tonight. I got nothin’. I haven’t started yet. Why, you ask? Because I work for a living and have been waiting for the fiscal year rollover so that I have enough vacation time and personal time to cover the hours. I just found out yesterday. NOW I can start. Yay.

I got my raise on October 1st. I got a 3% raise. I have no idea how much that is. Not a lot. Not enough. But it’s something, anyway.

I made Owen ask his boss about his raise that he was supposed to get a week or two ago. They told him he’d get a raise at 90 days. 90 days have cone and gone and what? No raise? Scoot on in there and ask them…and tell them they need to make it retroactive to your 90-day anniversary.

Mandy, my cousin, is gonna pop any day now. Her baby was due on Saturday and we’re all dying to see the new little muffin. Word on the street is that they might induce her tomorrow or Thursday. I’m so excited for her…and so jealous that she gets to be all done with the pregnancy part.

My birthday is a week from today and Owen and Rachel and Jeff and I are going to see the Pistons Play the Bulls at Van Andel in Grand Rapids that night. Should be a blast – my first pro basketball game. Owen thinks it doesn’t count because it’s preseason. Blah blah blah. Rachel and Jeff got us ticket upgrades for my birthday. Yay! (and thanks, Rachel and Jeff!)

I've got a bad case of the rants...

So. October is a pretty big month if you’re into the whole women’s issues awareness scene. For one, it’s breast cancer awareness month. As if you couldn’t tell from the fact that everything under the sun is available in pale pink this month. Breast cancer awareness receives a considerable amount of public attention though out the year and especially in October. Incidentally, memories of getting into a colossal argument with my Psych of Women Prof. over the validity of the public attention still piss me off.

Her stance: breast cancer is no big deal. It has a good prognosis and does not affect many women. It is no where near the killer of women people would think it was from all the media/marketing attention. It reflects (and I am not joking here) the nation’s obsession with the female body, most notably breasts.

My stance: Pardon my French, but who the f*ck cares? Are we really going to switch from complaining that women’s issues receive no attention and no funding on any comparable level to bitching about that fact that all they care about are our breasts? And, excuse me, but I have NEVER seen a man wearing a pink ribbon on ANYTHING. It appears me that the B.C. movement is an example of women supporting women. And, by the way, the KEY to attaining a good prognosis is early detection. Now, because women are 40% more likely than men to be poor, and because the poorer you are the less likely you are to have health insurance, and because according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, uninsured women are significantly less likely to have seen a doctor in the past year and are even less likely to have all the necessary health screenings done, LET’S NOT KEEP THEM FORM GETTING THE NECESSARY FUNDING TO PAY FOR EARLY DETECTION! After all, what would that to do the survival rate?

But actually, it was never my intention to write about breast cancer awareness month his morning. In my line of work, October means one thing: Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We spend months (and by “we” I mean people other than myself who work for this agency) preparing packets to mail out all over our service area and preparing for media interviews and speaking engagements. It’s a big deal…and it’s safe to say that, beyond the normal daily focus of doing what we do, it’s the center of our world during October.

I get that. I write our newsletter and normally devote two of the 3 ½ page spread to DV. In fact, last year it was my idea to have the newsletter printed on purple paper, rather than the usual gray fleck in order to garner more attention. It looked fab. It also saved us on postage: an added benefit.

This year, because of scheduling problems (which I won’t even get into!) I was not able to put out a newsletter in September. As I look back at last year’s files, the same was true last year. September is a very busy month for us. It’s the end of our fiscal year and so everything must wrapped up, reports generated, and closed out. It is also the month of our biggest fund raiser of the year and (for some stupid-ass reason), “staff appreciation day.” This is they day wherein we remind our staff how much we like them by forcing them to make small talk with their co-workers at lunch and then making them listen to a coma-inducing speaker who talks about stress management. The whole thing stressed me way out.

So October is now here, and now I am playing catch-up. There are things from October that must go into the newsletter along with the DV stuff, same as last year. So I work and I scrunch and I reshape and I manage to fit everything in PLUS all the important DV info. I finished it this morning, and this puppy is packed. There is only one picture and one little graphic in this month (which I know will gain me criticism. I was one told, “Sarah, please don’t put so much information in the newsletters. You should put more pictures.” Pictures of what? Anonymous battered women? Come on…) but I figure this is a month for special allowances – there’s a ton to fit in.

I haven’t had the thing done for more than, say, 10 minutes, when I get a voicemail. Every time I get a message and I pick it up and the display reads “my boss” I can feel the bile rising up in my throat. This is not going to be good. It seldom is.

“Sarah, I was thinking (here’s the part where I slap my forehead in a combination of dread and resignation – “What? What were you thinking, God help us all…”). I’d like you to get a copy of the presentation from the luncheon and put it into the newsletter this month. I know it’s not exclusively about DV but there’s a lot of good information in it and it kind of ties in because it has statistics too.” This I cannot believe. It ties in because it has statistics??? Um…the Lions have statistics too…should I put a picture of Sunday’s last-minute failed touchdown attempt in as well??? I mean…COME ON…It’s already full of USEFUL DV information….now I should put in statistics about global poverty? Not to mention that the thing is six pages long and the newsletter only has 3 ½ useable pages for text.

So I decide that we must have a meeting about this. I must gently break the news to her that her stupid-ass idea won’t work. But before I can go into my meeting, I get a phone call. It’s the DV Program Director telling me that she has her staff writing the DV stuff for this month’s newsletter and has given them a deadline of Thursday and oh, by the way, is that okay with me? Well no, actually, it’s not. It’s DONE. And I used their packet info to write it, so they basically wrote it anyway. Can it just be done? No…it will now be rewritten by people who don’t get the fact that you can’t pluralize with an apostrophe and who write almost exclusively in passive voice.

Now…I can admit that when it comes to writing, I’m a little bit of a grammar and style Nazi. I like it to be correct. Especially if people are going to think I wrote it. Notice I did not say spelling Nazi. That is because I know my limitations and I figure that anybody who needs a “Weather/whether, witch/which” cheat sheet on her bulletin board really ought not to get on her high horse about spelling. Besides, that’s why God invented spell check – so people could forget to use it, or mistype and then actually type real words by mistake, and look like fools. (This is me on a regular basis.)

So that is the end of my diatribe today. Because it is so…well….um….verbose, let me sum it up by highlighting these key points:
1. Breast cancer is a legitimate cause to support.
2. If you don’t think so you’re kind of an ass.
3. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
4. Stupid people are attempting to take over my newsletter.
5. Statistics are, apparently, a common bond that can unite any two subjects ever considered.
6. I cannot spell.

Thank you for reading today’s diatribe. Please come back and see us again.