Thursday, October 30, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

JD Tractor

JD 754

"Why do some of them feel like they can wear black spandex pants and a puffy shirt and be allowed to call themselves pirates?" said John Macek, a member of the Pirate Brethren.

Michael Brick
Can I get an Arrgh?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Once a Month Is Not Too Much To Ask

Last year I wrote about my friend Stephanie's battle with breast cancer. I hoped that more than a wagging finger demanding people conduct self-exams, Stephanie's story might get a few more women to take  action on a monthly basis. It has helped me remember, and I tend to be terrible about that kind of thing.

This year I want to encourage you to conduct self-exams by telling you something happier. At last summer's Blogher, I met two fantastic women who have become daily reads: Laurie and Susan. These women are articulate, funny and kind. And they have both battled cancer. Both have had good news on that front in recent weeks and months. I so much enjoy reading their blogs and am thrilled by their good health.

I hope my female readers will start or continue to do monthly self-exams. Those of you with blogs bring me a lot of joy, and my readers without also add to my life through your comments and good wishes. (Also, as a health policy wonk, I have a professional as well as personal interest in good health.) Take this small step. Hopefully you'll never find anything, but if you do I hope it is caught early and is but a small bump in your road.

Good health and good wishes to us all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From Indonesia, With Obama Rap

A local friend of mine works on some environmental projects in Indonesia. He forwarded me this video made by some friends of his in Bogor. It made me smile, and I thought that at the very least Gwen would be interested in this.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cue the Paul Simon

How fun is this?  (Very.)


Oh I love Poladroid. It almost makes up for the loss of Polaroid film production.


(via HappyMundane)


How to be Helpful

While chatting with an old friend last week, we talked about the ways in which people say inadvertently rude things. We were specifically talking about fertility and pregnancy, and discussed the ways people can be well meaning but still say the wrong thing.  (Last time I was pregnant, several times I had one person tell me how big I looked, just to have another say I looked small.  On the same day.)

When I was pregnant with Ada, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Now that I am telling people I am carrying twins, I have heard more versions of "boy is your life over" comments.  I'd like to state for the record that this is NOT HELPFUL. I know that the next few years are going to be challenging in ways I can and can not imagine. I am still reeling a bit from the news that I will be a mother of three. Hearing that my life is going to change for the worse is just not useful.

Almost every parent will acknowledge that having an infant is a life-changing event, and that those changes are not uniformly positive. However, something about the rarity of twins or the fear it causes in other people is enough to cause otherwise polite people to try to scare the crap out of me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Smelled the Pinon Wood and Lost My Mind

I spent the first part of the week in Santa Fe (one of my favorite places).  I wish I could bottle the smell: part pinon wood, part . . . oh, who cares what else, have you smelled pinon wood?

I was in New Mexico for work, and it was a pretty productive, interesting meeting. The meeting did not start until 1pm on Monday, but in order to get there in time I flew out on Sunday. This meant that I had some free time in NM.  My colleague and I decided to check out Tent Rocks. It was beautiful and totally worth visiting, even though it made us a bit late for the start of the meeting.


I foolishly took only my old camera (the one that freezes up when I try to zoom in).  I was not sure I would get to go for a hike, and I was not sure it would be worthwhile to lug my SLR all over.  That was a mistake. (Which Chris helpfully pointed out to me just now.) Had I taken the good camera, the above picture would not have those weird smudgy marks on it, but I will just let that go now.

slot canyon

As happens almost every time I travel, I felt an initial surge of love for my destination. Looking at (other people's) pictures of Tent Rocks, this is probably easy to understand. But I am not talking about my experience in the great outdoors. I am talking about the first 20 minutes of my drive to Santa Fe. While I was on I-25, not yet outside of Albuquerque.

Driving north out of town, I recalled the first time I visited New Mexico ten years ago. I remembered bringing Chris there for the first time, and a more recent visit during which we accidentally conquered the highest peak in the state. My heart swelled and I felt simultaneous wistful nostalgia and joy.  A little crazy, I know, especially because I still had 40+ minutes of driving on an increasingly dark highway where the minimum speed is higher than Oregon's top allowed.

By the time I got to my hotel my head had cleared some (thanks in no small part to the radio selections, which included a Spanish language version of Singing in the Rain and a few minutes of Christian broadcasters talking about why people should get involved in electoral politics).  I had a fantastic dinner and worked hard for most of the next two days. But I still have a schoolgirl-crush on New Mexico, and went so far as to inadvertently suggest to the state's Human Services Secretary that she should hire me. Really, it came out wrong, I was just trying to explain the warmth of my feelings toward New Mexico. In any case, her state government is under a hiring freeze, so I got back on the plane this afternoon without having to figure out how to tell Chris that we need to move. His skin gets so dry, after all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

7 Thoughts Since Wednesday at 10:30 AM

Laurie tagged me for a meme, and since I was in the middle of making a list of the stuff that is filling my head in the wake of the twin news, it was easy to play along.  The rules are:
  1. Post the rules on your blog.
  2. Write 7 random things about yourself.
  3. Tag 7 people the one person you think might not be annoyed about it.
  4. Pass on the tag. 
1) I guess we won't be moving Ada into the big bedroom after all.

2) I hope my close pal's future daughter doesn't mind having two best friends.

3) Now that gas prices are going back down will all the good deals on mini-vans be disappearing?

4) I am really not going to fit into any clothes in a few months.

5) Maybe leashes for children aren't so horrible after all.

6) How funny it is that once I come to terms with not having a second baby, I find out that I will have a third too. Not funny ha ha, but funny, am I going to be tired.

7) I'd better start paying attention to those twin blogs. I think Sarah drinks more than I do. That could be important.

I tag Rebecca, who is a few weeks ahead of me in her twin pregnancy.  And anyone, pregnant or not, who wants to do this (email me or comment and I will link to you).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making a List

I know I have a while yet to worry about this, but I am not crazy about any of these names.*

*yes, that is a sneaky way of saying the OB scan showed two little fetuses with two strong heartbeats. Oh my.

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week (Non-Kosher Edition)

Red Meat

Milk has few enemies.

Rob Walker
Consumed: Milk Carton

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Don't Notice It

Ada took a big spill the other day, scraping up her knees and chin. The moment itself freaked her out, sending her into a mood tailspin that lasted most of our breakfast with our pals.  The pancake helped cheer her up, thankfully.

Ada was upset enough in the moment that I did not try to wash off the scrapes.  I figured I would be able to clean the wounds later, when she was less worked up. I was wrong. Not only does Ada resist anyone touching her sore knees, she does not want us to LOOK at them. If I mention the existence of her scab, she tells me: "don't notice it."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

wells hood river

At Brown . . . Mr. Levine majored in English and art semiotics ("That's sort of half reading Foucault and Bauldrillard and half making stuff." he explained)

Charles McGrath
Hazy Halcyon Days of Pot and Puberty

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Muddiest Corner of the World

After a quick descent into rain, Portland has been basking in the joy of autumn sun for the past few days. We enjoyed some time outside with our pals.

pumpkin signs
They did warn us.

Pumpkins and mud = child paradise

In the fields
Ada, contemplating which was the exact best pumpkin

This one didn't have to get down in the mud, but still looked concerned about it

King of the Hill
Post-pumpkin purchase (king of the hay-bale hill)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not As Painful As You Would Think

For the past month or so I have been thinking that I should do something to support one of the candidates for whom I will be voting.  I finally took the plunge Monday night, and I am here to say that it was a lot easier that I thought it would be.

I called people on a "friendly" list, which means they have either said they supported Obama or previously volunteered for the campaign.  Once I realized that I did not have to ask people for money, the whole thing got a lot easier. I was asking people to volunteer: to register voters, to make get-out-the-vote calls or to canvas their neighborhoods. I told people it was even kind of fun, which it was. I met some nice people and drilled through a list quickly thanks to the large number of people who are not home at 5pm. Or who are using caller ID.  In any case, the people I talked to were nice, and several even agreed to volunteer. I felt great, and it took very little time.  You should try it.

If you live in Oregon, you can volunteer for the Obama campaign (even for just an hour at a time, if that is what you have) by calling (503) 236-2008. Or by stopping by a campaign office.

By the way, Tuesday (Today!) is the last day to register to vote in Oregon. If you are an Oregonian and not registered, DO IT TODAY. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mysteries revealed

Ada and I enjoyed dinner with friends at the kid-friendly patio of a favorite local restaurant.  The patio is covered with small rocks, which are super fun for toddlers to arrange and re-arrange while their parents eat and try to ignore the funny looks of childless diners.

On the way home, Ada declared: I'm mysterious. Do you know what mysterious means?

Me: Yes.  Do you know what mysterious means?

Ada: It means that when you put rocks in your pants, you have to take them out.

When we got home and she took off her clothes before the bath, two small rocks fell out of her diaper. So much for mysterious.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Considering maybe being a little excited, maybe

People keep asking if I am excited.  Thrilled. Very very happy.

I feel a little weird saying, "um, not yet."

I do expect to get excited, but I remember this caution from four years ago. Sure, I got a positive pregnancy test, but what about the follow up? Ok, today I got a good follow up test, but what will I see at the ultrasound in a couple of weeks? What will the tests say about genetic mutations or other deformities?  I didn't really feel comfortable with the idea that the pregnancy was for real until about 14 weeks. This time I hope it will be a little easier to relax, but I am still a litle stunned.

After a year of failed attempts, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around success. I am able to wrap my head around the need to hurry, however. Knowing that in a few weeks I will be exhausted, I have a mental list of all the things I need to get accomplished before then. I planted bulbs and transplanted some of the plants that were unhappy this year. I still have a bunch of fall gardening to do, including getting in a cover crop in the veggie beds. I need to give the guest room a good scrub down and reorganization. I need to tackle the headboard I have been thinking about making. There is so much to do, but all I want to do is sit on the couch and think about how this could possibly be true.

Yes, I think I will be excited, once I get over the shock. For now I am relying on how excited my friends and family are; their responses are lifting me out of stillness. I am working on it, but for now forgive me if I look a bit dazed when you ask if I am excited. I have gotten what I wanted, I just can't believe it is true.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

Save the vegetation

We basked in complacency.

Teresa DiFalco
Modern Love

Monday, October 06, 2008

I Had All These Plans

In the past two weeks, I considered and re-considered what I would write about today.  I have a print out of the three embryos, seconds after they were returned to me.  (My doctor was so proud of how well they showed up that he gave us a copy to keep.  Commemorative, if there ended up being something to commemorate. I thought I might scan the image and post it here, with the circles and arrow and exclamation points.

I thought about the metaphors I could use, the words I could write.  Two Thursdays ago I started to be convinced I was pregnant. Thursday evening I had an intense and prolonged hot flash.  Foolishly, I googled "implantation hot flash" and found hundreds of women who described having experienced such an event.  But really, google any combination of words and you'll get something you want or fear to see.

A few days later, rational thought returned and I was not sure whether I would be pregnant or not. By the weekend I was positive I wasn't pregnant. Two days of spotting and I was sure how this would end. I knew my body was primed for a menstrual cycle, but I would have to wait until Monday to be told to stop the projesterone, so that my body could resume its regular workings.

All this is to say that I am not psychic. As much as I would have liked to, I had no real information about my status.  Until 12:30, when I called my voicemail to get a message from Jill. "I've got good news" she said.

I had all these plans about how I would write about this, and how would deal with another failed cycle. But plans change, and I am happy to report that instead of dealing with loss, I am dazedly counting forward to another summer birth. 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I am the medium one

Ada and I were drawing lions. Reaching over to my paper, Ada adds some circles to my lion's face.  "I made cheeks for your lion," she says.

"Nice cheeks," I reply.

Drawing more, she adds, "and eyebrows."

"Oh, those are big eyebrows. Those are Bert eyebrows"


"Well, they are like Bert's. Bert has big eyebrows."

"Do you have big eyebrows?"

"Well, not that big. Papa has bigger eyebrows. But his face is bigger too."

"You have medium eyebrows. And a medium bottom."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Random Quote and Unrelated Photo of the Week

Ott's Friction Supply

Would I mind walking down the street looking as if I were talking into a miniature toilet?

Alex Kuczynski
Obsessions - Only Connect: Sometimes a Phone is Just a Phone