Wednesday, 7 November 2012

No, formula-feeding is not going to turn your child into a criminal (and stuff)

The other morning, I was skimming Facebook while sipping my morning coffee and stumbled across this little piece while wading through numerous election day posts. The author, who styles herself as The Alpha Parent, churned out an Ann Coulter-esque rabid lactard post rife with judgment on formula-feeding mothers - and while this certainly isn't anything new from that camp, she had a few interesting points that were so blatantly false I felt they needed addressing (even a year later).

First, let's discuss some of the glaring problems that breastfeeding research faces. Current pro-breast research is rife with issues including selection bias, inconsistent outcomes, and confounding variables that cannot be controlled for when doing mere observational studies and relying on self-report. What this means, for example,is that for every pro-breast study that claims breastmilk raises IQ, another study points out that the mother's IQ, and not her breast milk, is the significant factor in a child's intelligence.  This holds true for virtually all (excepting one, preventing necrotizing enterocolitis, which I'll get to in a bit) pro-breast feeding claims - in fact, a meta-analysis of breastfeeding research on the prevention of leukemia found that "There are few high-quality studies that examine the potential for a protective effect of breastfeeding for childhood leukemia. Furthermore, the few studies that exist disagree regarding the association." (citation in previous link). Pick the claim - obesity, allergiesautism (this study suggests that breastmilk is a causative factor, and not the other way around); the list goes on and on - and aside from lowering the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in low-birth-weight infants, there is not a single study touted by lactivist extremists that cannot be definitively refuted by other studies. Don't take my word on it - Momma DataThe Fearless Formula Feeder, and Science-Based Medicine all offer balanced, well-researched articles on the myths and facts surrounding breastfeeding research (and parenting and health issues in general).

But back to The Alpha Parent - aside from her laundry list of conditions she claims are caused by formula feeding and offset by breastfeeding (all refuted in other studies, by other researchers), she makes a few other highly inflammatory claims that are not merely baseless, but are designed to shame formula-feeding mothers, and feeds into the smug, self-righteous rhetoric echoed by many other breastfeeding extremists. While this may be popular with her base, it alienates far more mothers from her cause; much like hellfire-and-brimstone preaching tends to repel an unbeliever, rather than causing them to "repent."

One particularly incitive claim she makes is that formula feeding leads to child abuse, citing this study (although she cleverly links several other publications that mention the study, effectively making it look like she has "numerous studies" to back this claim, though they're all actually the same study). However, there is one glaring problem with the study: the confounders. Among others, the researchers noted that issues such as economic status, substance abuse, whether or not the pregnancy was wanted or expected, and symptoms of depression or anxiety were all possible co-contributors, and with the reliance on self-reporting of the study subjects, the correlation between formula feeding and child abuse is no more significant than that between eating ice cream and drowning. Furthermore, she states that "an alternative, and in my opinion more compelling hypothesis, is that breastfed babies are less likely to be abused because they cry roughly half as much as formula-fed babies." - except this study found that exclusively breast-fed and mixed-fed  (combination of breast and bottle feeding) infants exhibited lower positive responses to stimulation, a reduced ability to regulate their own emotions (self-soothe), and higher emotional instability - in effect, per The Guardian, "breastfed babies cry more, laugh less, and generally have more challenging temperaments than formula-fed infants" (citation in link). Huh.

The blogger makes similarly inflammatory claims correlating formula feeding with higher crime rates (again not taking into account factors such as those listed above as contributing to abuse, and with much stronger associations), rising healthcare costs, taxes, and anti-feminism; really the only thing she doesn't blame on formula-feeding is climate change and homosexuality. And to what end? Do posts like this really influence a new mother's decision on how to feed her child? They don't - and that's probably not the point. These posts serve one purpose, which is to elevate breastfeeding to mythical proportions while simultaneously ridiculing and shaming mothers who choose not to breastfeed. That's not progress, people.

In the end, what matters in parenting is not how your children emerge from your body, or what and how you choose to feed them that first year (breast or bottle). What matters is how your son treats the women in his life, and how well your daughter accepts her looks and her body. What matters is that your children grow to be confident in their abilities, to be tolerant of others, and to be kind to people who can do nothing for them. I'm pretty sure you can instill those values in your children whether they were breast or bottle fed.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

How I Bought Lobster on Welfare

Basically, I never did. Interestingly, there is a persistent rumor among the Outraged Lower Middle TeaParty Class that single moms, AKA "Welfare Queens" (THANK YOU Ronald fucking Reagan) are living it up on the shitty side of town, driving tricked -out Cadillacs, wearing excessive gold chains, going to the hair salon every week, and buying lobster to eat in front of their flat-screens while wearing expensive new clothes. While this will certainly fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes, as it were) for the loudest of the Outraged Lower Middle TeaParty Class, I am still compelled, once again, to attempt to inform the Outraged what it was, exactly, that I was doing with "their" money: yes, it is always "their" money - which, for the leech, I mean, welfare recipient, comes out to approximately $0.09 out of each federally taxed dollar. For some perspective: if you get $1500 gross per paycheck, are married, and claim, say, three allowances on your W4, then $68.70 is the federal withholding, which means six dollars and eighteen cents goes to these programs. Additionally, the Outraged also demand to know how on earth we, the leeches, managed to live so fly - in fact, the little remark I woke up to on facebook today, which prompted this post, went as follows (I'm leaving her name out; our mutual friend may share, or disregard, as she sees fit): "I'm ganna [sic] start asking people on welfare  foodstamps single mothers and the unemployed how they always have money for new clothes phones shoes concerts vacations and bars all the time. If you have any idea how to accomplish paying the bills taking cares of all the kids needs buying all the groceries paying for gas in the cars and still having money for luxury items every week let me know cuz we need on that wagon. Just sayin." (yes. typed just as it was this morning; I'm far more fond of commas and sentence structure, I assure you).

First, a bit of background. I was a single mom from 2006-2009. While I was only unemployed for about four months after my son was born, I was more "under" employed for much of that time - because instead of "pulling myself up by the bootstraps" a'la the Libertarian battle cry, and landing a sweet full time factory job for fifteen bucks an hour, I chose to (gasp!) work part-time as a bartender and attend nursing school full time. I know, I know. How fucking dare I eschew honest, full-time employment in order to take more of YOUR hard-earned $0.09-of-every-federally-taxed dollar and flash my shit all over the local Walmart while attempting to better myself in school? I apologize. I had a fucking dream, yo. At any rate, I also was not receiving child support, as I'd seen far too many women trying to chase down asshole men for child support, while some of these dudes parachuted in and out of their child's life when they felt like playing daddy, and then whining to their friends out at bars that "that bitch" who was taking care of their kid never "let" him see the kid (conveniently leaving out that WOW! sometimes these moms have their own fucking schedules and obligations, and HOLY SHIT! sometimes pandering to the needs of a piece of shit who was little more than a child himself came a lot farther down the priority list than taking care of the needs of the child in question).

At any rate, I managed school, work, and home myself. My grocery budget was about $300 per month, and while it was certainly tempting to stock up on cheaper foods in order to stretch that further, I, having never cooked before in my life prior to having a child, made a concentrated effort to make "good" food choices. What does that mean? Well, while I did purchase beef, I can assure you it wasn't steak. I chose mid grade beef that wouldn't cook down into a puddle of fat and leave me with roughly half the amount of meat I started with. I chose mid-priced whole wheat bread, because even though yes, the white bread was less than a dollar, nutritionally I was getting more out of the fortified wheat. I bought quite a bit of chicken and learned about a thousand different ways to prepare it. I bought rice, fresh vegetables, decent cheese, fruits, lots of fresh milk, and yes, for myself, I bought some fucking coffee and soda - why? because I went to school all goddamn day, and if I wasn't working until midnight on one of my shifts I was sure as shit studying until midnight, because contrary to some opinions, nursing school is actually kind of fucking hard and I had to keep my grades up in order to remain in the program (and side-note, I graduated with a 3.84 at the top of my class; and that was parenting by myself, working 3-4 nights a week tending bar, then getting married and having a baby in the middle of my last semester and having my new husband back in Korea; fuck you very much). At any rate, I usually tried to do my grocery shopping very late at night, because I have to tell you, few things suck as much as the cashier silently eyeballing my purchases and then giving that little sneer when they see you pull out that blue Link card. And what's more awesome? Those cards never fucking work on the regular swipe machine, so then the cashier gets to say "IS THAT LINK? I'M GOING TO HAVE TO ENTER IT IN MYSELF" and then everyone in line behind you gets to start shifting around, muttering to themselves, and eyeballing what's in your bags. Although I do have to say, the whole three years I was living off "your" money, never once did I buy lobster. Tilapia? Yes. Lobster? No.

But let's move on to those luxury items! I know the anonymous young lady above was quite curious as to how us single mamas managed to party it up all the time, so here's a quick look at how I managed to look like a million bucks: first, the hair. I had pretty highlights in my hair, and as everyone knows, good hair care ain't cheap. However, what most people didn't bother to consider, is that there actually are decent people who will do your hair for trade. My aunt's mother is a stylist, and while she would have done my hair for free, continuing to refuse to take even a few dollars (because I tried, and she wouldn't accept it), she did let me clean up her shop for her every once in a while. So there's that.

There's also the small matter of a cell phone. I know, I know; poor folk shouldn't have phones at all. However, Virgin Mobile and Cricket (and later Alltel) actually have some decent phones with pay-as-you-go plans, and while the phones are fairly cheap knock-offs, some of them look a little too much like iPhones and Blackberrys for the Outraged Lower Middle Class. So the next time you see one of the leeches/Welfare Queens/undeserving poor tapping away on what looks like an iPhone, DEMAND to look at it and ask who their plan is through. Those are your tax dollars after all! My Blackberry lookalike came from Alltel, and about $35 a month would get me minimal text and talk credits, which were mostly used to communicate with my parents and childcare. I know. I had a lot of nerve.

Oh, let's talk about that childcare! Yep, my kid went to daycare. I utilized a program called Project Child, that offset the majority of childcare expenses while I was in school, and left a small copay for me. The other option was for me to not go to school, and either stay at home on my ass watching soap operas and eating expensive seafood, or start that full-time factory job, making me completely ineligible for Project Child, and having a third of my take-home go to childcare every month. Again, Outraged Lower Middle Class, I am sorry.

What else... oh, the clothes! Looking back at photos from those years, you'll notice that both my son and I dressed very nicely. I had jeans from Abercrombie and Gap, and my son was dressed in Gymboree, Old Navy, Polo, and Gap Kids. *cue the outrage*  Well, first of all, I actually didn't have to buy a single article of clothing for Vlad for nearly a year. A lady who was friends with my aunt stopped by my house one morning (while I was still pregnant) and gave me every single bit of clothing her son had grown out of. These were very well-kept, name brand outfits. To say I was stunned and grateful would be an understatement. As for me, a couple times a month would find me digging through the bins and racks at the local consignment shops, and let me tell you, my perseverance paid off, because I could usually find nice name-brand khakis, jeans, and sweaters for less than five bucks each. Once Vlad grew out of the clothes he was given, I did the same for him, and as the shop ladies got to know me, they'd often put aside a few things for me, knowing I'd be in soon.

Now, I do have to say, I never did manage to go on vacation while I was living so "high on the hog". I suspect this is another "lobster" myth perpetuated by the Outraged Lower Middle Class, because I have known quite a few people on welfare, and never did see any of them take vacations either. *shrug*.  I also didn't go out very often, but when I did, it was usually at the invitation of a girlfriend or one of my sisters, who knew I was on a budget. In a small town, a wine cooler will only cost about $1.25, and someone my size can get by on about three before calling it a night. Again, I do apologize for that $6 (yes, I tipped) out of "your" hard-earned $0.09-of-every-federally-taxed-dollar. Welfare Queens, unlike the Deserving Poor, should not be hanging out with their friends, outside their home, ever.

The concerts kinda stumped me. I did go to one concert. A girlfriend scored some cheap tickets, invited me to go, and allowed me to pay her over a period of weeks. Again, I didn't see any of my fellow Welfare Queens out at concerts every weekend, but maybe we just preferred different types of music? At any rate, I shouldn't have gone, I know. I had a lot of nerve.

Well I believe those are the salient points; however if any of the Outraged Lower Middle Class have additional inquiries about "their" money (because I know, you know HUNDREDS of leeches living like kings on that money!), please, email me (contact info tab) or message me on facebook. I'd love to discuss my personal finances, again, with you, ad nauseum, because it absolutely is your fucking business.

(and for those interested; as I mentioned, I graduated school, am now a registered nurse, and have started a pre-med track. I pay plenty in taxes, and I do so gratefully).

Friday, 5 October 2012

and this is why you always have extra clothes in your car.

So I wore THE WRONG Tool shirt to pick my kid up from daycare in today.

As we're walking into daycare, Vlad behind me, he goes "Hey. Why is there a GIANT PENIS on the back of your shirt?" I look down at my shirt and my heart sinks. I have two Tool shirts. One says "Schism" on the back. The other has this on the back:
Not really toddler friendly, but I was doing homework, at home, alone. Anway.

"Let's go back to the car," I say. "And it's not a penis. It's a tool. A wrench, actually." Vlad: "Well it looks like a penis. A lot, actually." I grit my teeth.

Looking through the car, there is not a single other item of clothing to be found. No jacket, no scrubs, not even a slutty tank top, because anything right now would be better than walking into the Ft. Lewis toddler daycare center with a giant tool that looks like a penis on my back. Shit.

Me: "Vlad, do you think you could switch me shirts?" Vlad (looking down at his Ninjago tee): "Um no. I am not letting you wear my Ninjago shirt. And I am not wearing a shirt with a giant penis on it." Me: "IT IS NOT A PENIS, VLADIMIR." I try turning my shirt inside out. The outline is still clearly visible. Shit shit shit.

Me: "Do you have a jacket? Let me try your jacket." Vlad (handing me his jacket): "That is not going to work." Me: "Shut up and think positive." Vladimir waits patiently while I try fruitlessly to wrestle myself into his jacket. It does not work. Vlad: "I told you -" Me: "OKAY, Vlad. Shit." Vlad again waits patiently while I toss the car again, to no avail.

Me: "Okay, we just have to go inside. We'll just go like it's no big deal. Walk behind me. Maybe my hair will cover it up?" Vlad peers at my back. "No. It definitely does not cover up the whole penis part." Me: "FOR GODDSAKE IT IS NOT A PENIS." Vlad shrugs.

We walk into the daycare. The director, a couple teachers, and some parents apparently taking a tour turn beaming smiles at us. "Mrs. Steiner! Hello! Do you have a few minutes to talk to some new prospective clients? Their son is going to be in Vincent's room!" Me (smiling big, trying to keep my back to the wall): "Hi yes we love it here Vincent loves new friends great place enjoy your day!" I speed walk backwards down the hall. Vlad: "She does NOT have a giant penis on her back." For the love of god.

(Entering Vincent's classroom, it is a chaotic din of parents, toddlers, teachers, and aides. FML) Me: "Vincent! Get your jacket; time to go!" Teacher: "Oh, he has some things he wants to show you today, Mama!" Me: "Not the best day for this, really." Teacher: "It'll just take a second!" Vlad: "She can't really walk anywhere. Look at her back." Me: "VLADIMIR." Teacher (peering around me): "Oh, dear." Me (closing my eyes): "I am so sorry... we just need to go." I collect my children and head for the exit. We pass a soldier on the way out and he gives me the thumbs up on my shirt. "Sweet band." Me: "Oh, SHUT IT."
Vlad: "Right?!?"

The moral: I have no idea. It's wine-thirty.

Monday, 10 September 2012

So how are we doing? Since you asked...

Well, Vincent had a neuro exam this morning. Why? OH, because I decided TO BE HONEST on his physical for daycare and on the line where it says "has your child ever in his entire life, even once, possibly, maybe, EVER had a seizure?" I checked "Yes" BUT added a note stating that it was a febrile seizure that only occurred because we were 25,000 motherfucking feet in the air and HAD NO TYLENOL. And the genius at the paperwork factory that fuels the entire goddamn military decided they had to have a neurological evaluation. For fuck's sake. Anyway he's fine; in fact so fine that he stuffed both pockets with bright red packages of condoms, unbeknownst to me, and after I'd dropped him at daycare decided to share them with his friends. Good times.

Vlad is awesome; loves first grade, and accidentally (yes, a total accident) scored a goal in his first soccer game. So now he's all "I AM THE BEST EVER IN THE WORLD AT SOCCER." He gets his modesty from me.

Vincent starts gymnastics next month, which should consist of running around sock-footed and screaming, and bouncing off walls, trampoline, and fellow gymnasts. We're excited.

And me, started my pre-med courses, which consist of math and SCIENCE, so no easy A's there fo sho. Work is awesome, occasionally sticky, but awesome.

And there's Bart. My 75 pound chihuahua, AKA lab mix. Thus far he is afraid of loud noises, quiet noises, the tv, the dishwasher, the front door, back door, and garage door, the Vs, my hair, the microwave beep, and ohmyfuckinggod the smoke alarm. I have to carry him outside, and then back inside, because the world is just too much for him and if he had thumbs to suck, he would probably just sit in a corner all the time and do that. Maybe he needs a blankie. I don't know.

Anyway it's pretty much all good in the hood. And by hood I mean my primarily caucasian suburb.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


By the way...

You may have noticed...

I'm not posting much lately :)

It's 'cause I'm in Florida.

Visiting family (and um, the beach).

We'll get back to regularly scheduled programming in a few more weeks.

Peace and sand, yo.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Keeping Busy

Well Husband is finally in-theater. We were able to talk for a few minutes on the phone last night, and even though there was a terrible echo and a delay, it was still pretty great to hear his voice. I imagine anyone listening to our conversation (on either side) probably thought we sounded like a hearing-impaired married-for-sixty-years couple (a lot of "WHAT'D YOU SAY? THERE'S A LOTTA GRASS?!?!?" "NO I SAID I MISSED THAT ASS!!!!") Oh.

Vincent has been "expressing" himself a bit more lately; if you know me from facebook you've probably seen the video, or as I like to call it, The Evidence. The child has an unbelievable set of lungs on him. It's both impressive and discouraging.

Vladimir has been having some trouble at school; basically he went from kindergarten for 2 1/2 hours a day to seven hours a day, and you can imagine the difference in curriculum. In Washington they were still working on letters, sounds, rhyming, and not dumping your milk on your friend's head and not wiping boogers on the walls. In Illinois, they've learned 80 (!!!!) sight words and are starting to do addition. In kindergarten. It's discouraging to see how far behind he is, and I'm kicking myself for not researching this before we decided to come to Illinois - but what's done is done. I may hold him back for another year, because the last thing I want to do is throw him into first grade while he's still sounding out words, and the rest of the class is already reading. Unfortunately, he's already taller than most first graders and a few of the second graders (to be honest in a few more years he'll be taller than me, and probably shaving in third grade). At any rate, this may be the best thing for him right now, so he'll just have to start med school (or pool boy school, if he gets his way) a little later.

And me. I've interviewed for a couple positions at different hospitals, and hopefully will hear something back sometime next week. I have classes starting up again in May/June, so that with a full time job and the Vs will hopefully have me so mind-numbingly busy that the months will fly by. Hopefully.

I'm also trying my best to not obsessively read the breaking news from the Army Times, Lewis/McChord's website, msn/cnn/abc/etc etc, or associated press. But it's hard.

So - no best/worst for today; it's still early in the day to call it. But some Avenged Sevenfold for you, because AV is awesome.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Rabbit Chronicles, Part Deux

So, finally, a year later, I'm getting around to the second part of Why Aleah is Terrified of Rabbits. Part One dealt with a rather horrific experience at the circus with an ax-murderer-who-eats-children-dressed-as-a-bunny, which is bad enough, because as this website (thanks Ashlee) will show, you have to be in a pretty special mental place to want to put on a freaky rabbit costume and scare the shit out of little kids. However, terrifying as that experience was, it wasn't until a few years later that my loathing of rabbits expanded from furries to the actual disease-carrying, chicken nugget-eating, lethal creatures that are lurking in your back yard, twitching all innocent and shit.

So one day when I was about eleven, I took my step-dad's shotgun and two of my dogs, Spook and Sue (coon dogs I'd helped train myself; YES I admit it) out to the field behind our house to scare up quail. I wasn't a particularly great shot, but it was summer, I was bored, and there was an enormous field with woods behind it for me to get lost in. The three of us, girl and dogs, clambered down the huge ditch behind the house and up the other side and set off across the field.

For a little while I had fun shooting at random squirrels the dogs flushed out. I was still hoping to get a bird on my own, imagining that I'd return home in a couple hours, sweaty and triumphant, with our evening meal effectively shot, cleaned, and strapped onto my back sort of like Annie Oakley, although I had no evidence that Annie Oakley had ever gone hunting quail, let alone cleaned it and wore it home. After a bit longer, I came to realize that I was unlikely to shoot much of anything, so I called the dogs back so we could head home. Sue came quickly enough, but Spook decided to put his nose to the ground one last time, and apparently a few moments later came nose to nose with the most gigantic rabbit in the history of the world; AKA a goddamn were-rabbit:

Spook immediately started baying, Sue dashed back to help Spook, and suddenly I found myself dead center in the path of a gigantic frothing (and possibly rabid?) monster rabbit with two hound dogs at its heels and nothing in its way except a rather short for her age girl with a gun nearly half as big as she. As I realized the rabbit wasn't going to do the typical zig-zag rabbit run and instead was going to mow me down, I stumbled backward, accidentally discharging my gun (poster child for gun safety, I KNOW) and clipping the demon in the neck.

Now, on an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, county-fair type of rabbit, this might have been enough to put the animal down. But not this thing. No, instead of quietly lying down and bleeding to death in the field, the injury instead seemed to energize the rodent, and it sprang at me, blood spurting from its neck, teeth bared, and I swear to god that thing was growling at me.

So yeah, I ran.

I threw the shotgun at it and took off across the field as fast as I'd ever run and have ever since, head down, arms pistoning, my breath coming in panicky little gasps as I actually ran out of my shoes. All I could hear was the blood pounding in my ears and both dogs baying in full hunting mode, close on the heels of the were rabbit and probably having the time of their lives. Fearing that the rabbit's teeth were inches from the back of my neck, I threw a terrified glance over my shoulder to see how close to death I was.

Unfortunately this was also the same moment that the ditch suddenly reappeared, opening up under my feet like a yawning chasm. My momentum carried me past the lip of the ditch and catapulted me into the ai,r until gravity reasserted itself and I went ass over teakettle into the ditch.

Good times.

A half second after that approximately forty pounds of bloody, frothing rabbit hit me, immediately followed by another ninety pounds of joyfully howling hound dogs.

So yeah, I peed myself.

At this point, Were Rabbit was on his last legs. He gnashed his teeth a few more times, kicking spasmodically,  before finally expelling his last bubbling breath.

The dogs had a feast.

And I trudged home, covered in blood, fur, and pee.

So there you have it; two events that culminated into a nasty case of leporiphobia that really only comes to head during Easter and Wabbit Season.


Friday, 30 March 2012

So the first week...'s been dragging. Big V started his new school and I've been making daily trips into town for random things at Walmart (sorry Husband) in order to fill time a little better. Once I start working and classes, and summer kicks in, hopefully it'll go a little faster - but in the meantime going to the store for toothpaste and pasta one day and Sprite and baby wipes the next will have to do.

Meanwhile Husband is still in the states, finishing up the usual tasks and paperwork before he has to leave. It's a little harder right now knowing he's a quick plane ride away, and thinking that maybe we should have left a little later so we'd have had this time together - but goodbye has to happen at some point.

Best part of today (so far): Vlad coming home from school with a note from his teacher saying "Great behavior today; he worked really hard!" (school is an ongoing battle lately)
Worst part of today: running into my old creepy Walmart stalker (white hair in nose and ears, buck teeth, stands waaaaaay too close when he talks and wants to photograph me. Yerk.)
Song of the day:

Sunday, 25 March 2012

So, meh. And stuff.

Oh, today was fun - Not. At. All. Yep, took my other/taller/balder/lover half to the airport. It sucks.

Yes, "we signed up for it." Yes, "we knew what we were getting into." Yes, "we should be used to this by now" (actually, no; if we ever "got used" to splitting up our family I think we'd have worse problems). Does any of that make it easier? It does not.

But, the Vs and I are closer to family, which helps. I'm so thankful I have a shit ton to keep me busy during the next couple weeks; with renewing my RN license to deal with (Illinois is sooooo slow), CEUs to complete, jobs to search, and Vlad to start at a new kindergarten, I think I'll have enough mind-numbing chores to get through to keep my hands and (hopefully!) my mind occupied, because as any military-affiliated family will tell you, it's the mind that'll get you into trouble.

Oh, the places my mind can go. As I've mentioned before, I can go a little nuts with the over-thinking.  At best (so goes in my head); he's a little culture-shocked after being away for so long; middle of that he comes back and decides he needs a fast car and a twenty-year old girlfriend. Worst... no, I haven't been able to go down those roads just yet.  I just can't.

So for now I'll leave you with these -
Best part of today: watching him watch the boys all morning, memorizing their smiles, their smells.
Worst part of today: feeling my chest seize a little as the family sitting next to us at the security checkpoint was reunited, and knowing we have so far to go.

Song of the day:
And now, chocolate. Peace, ya'll.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

So, I've been busy...

But I'd like to leave you with a blog post I read a little while back that touches on the current climate for women in the U.S. This blogger has been a favorite of mine for over a year now; she's ballsy, she's honest, she's funny - and she pulls no punches on the subjects she feels passionately about. So go visit Kimberly Wright Knowles at It's A Beautiful Wreck; I guarantee after you read it, you'll be using "DICKtator" at the earliest opportunity ;). Cheers, Kim!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Day 8: The Bad Girl Friends Part 3

My other two A's. We've been to a nudist resort together, been trapped on the "before" side of a roadblock while desperately trying to find a sober ride, and one A helped me piece an apartment back together that had been destroyed by a psychotic ex. We've numerous inside jokes and crazy encounters; some that make me laugh, some that make me cringe, and some that have me convinced that even though I don't believe in heaven or hell, I do believe we each had a Guardian at certain points in our lives ;).

Day 8: The Bad Girl Friends Part 2

These are my friends Jood and Nikki, with me at Hyde Park Cafe in '08. I've had long, philosophical conversations with each of them while recovering on the beach from the previous night's festivities. Each of us are at opposite ends of the country right now, but I imagine when the wind is right we'll blow into one another again soon.

Day 8: a picture of someone you do the craziest things with


Okay. This one will be separated into a few parts, because I've gotten up to absolutely no good with several people during my misbegotten youth, and while the details don't need to be aired (statutes of limitations, etc) they all deserve a mention.

This is a friend of 17 years; one I no longer communicate with. Although we were best friends for nearly 17 years, profound differences in politics and parenting philosophies became to drastic to ignore. However, prior to that I believe there wasn't a single person I got up to no good with more often than she...and there were times we were convinced we'd still be rehashing those times in our shared room at the nursing home.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ambien Walrus

I was planning on posting tonight; thought I'd get it done before Ambien Walrus got here. Unfortuanately I have already lost my sense of time, and judging by the number of red lines under my words I have some serious editing to do. So I will just leave you with a Toothpaste for Dinner photo. These are my nights now. Sleep well.

I'll follow up with some C&Ps of my attempts at facebook tomorrow night.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Day 7: A picture that makes you laugh

This is Husband (who was just Boyfriend then). Husband had been out with the boys, imbibing a few (read: he got trashed). We were on our way to Indiana to pick up a dog for me, and the roads were a bit twisty. This was right before he vomited up some jalapeƱo potato chips and about four hours' worth of bad decisions. It makes me giggle.

Day 6: A picture of someone you would like to trade places with for a day

1. I would like to know what it's like to be tall
2. I would like to know what it's like to have a penis
3. I would like to know what it's like to have a Scottish accent
4. I would like to know what it's like to yell "This is SPARTA!!!" while superkicking a dude in the chest.

Day 5: A picture of your favorite memory

I don't have a favorite. There are way too many; setting foot in Tampa for the first time (and realizing "I'm going to live here!"), the first time Vlad was laid in my arms, my wedding day (funniest wedding EVER!), talking to my husband right after Vincent was born (and hearing him say he had to sit down for a second when he saw the video my sister had sent)... far too many. Which is a good thing.

However this photo (taken by my friend Lacey at Sugar Bear Photography) cemented what I'd always heard, but never realized until I had two Vs of my own: once you have a child you cannot imagine ever possibly loving someone else as much as you do that child...until you have your next.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Day 4: A picture of yourself and a family member

I'll give you two :) These are my two younger sisters, Kayla and Jymelee, on Kayla's 21st birthday. I've no idea what round of shots we were on; I do remember Kayla saying "Are the glasses moving toward me?"

Friday, 13 January 2012

A picture of the cast from your favorite show

or more specifically:
That is all.

Day 2:

A picture of yourself with the person you've been closest with the longest.

This one was a bit more difficult than I'd first expected. Aside from family, I have quite a few friends who ebb and flow through my life. I've moved around a lot, and I become closer with some friends at different times due to logistical issues such as proximity. Although Facebook and Skype have certainly affected the ease with which I'm able to keep in touch, I still notice that at times I'll be more involved with some friends and less with others.

That said, there is one person I've known for (*cough*) over 30 years now; she and I haven't always gotten along (pretty much a prerequisite for family), but as I have gotten older the rough edges of our relationship have smoothed away, and she's usually the first person I call with good news or bad.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

100 Days of Photos (hopefully)

Okay. I've seen this on several friend's blogs; most recently my friend Mandy and my friend Ashlee. So now, I blog. For 100 straight days. Hopefully.

So, Day 1: A picture of yourself with 15 facts -

1. The photo above is photoshopped. I love; I truly do. It makes me pretty, even when I'm not :).
2. I am an RN, and I love it. Even when it's crappy, even when I'm tired, I love my profession, and I love encouraging my friends who are thinking of going to nursing school to do so. It's difficult, it's tiring, and it takes a big commitment, but it is absolutely worth it.
3. I was a vocal music major, before I switched to art (AKA my "professional bartending" degree). I had plans to be the next Broadway star and play Christine in Phantom of the Opera...however my Christine wouldn't have wimped out and run off with Raoul; she would have stayed in the depths of the Paris Opera House with Erik and had little musical prodigy Phantom babies.
4. I love the world of microbes. One day I want my own electron microscope, with a lab deep underground and a strange-looking lab assistant.
5. I have Marilyn Manson's "Antichrist Superstar" and Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli's "The Prayer" in the same playlist on my iPod.
6. I do not like strangers knocking at my door. Ever.
7. I will give my younger son a cookie just to see the excited jig he does once it's in his hand.
8. I am consistently startled, shocked, flattered, and outrageously amused at some of the stuff that comes out of my older son's mouth - which is why he now has his own facebook page, Sh*t My Vlad Says.
9. I knew I could possibly marry my husband when I found out he loved reading as much as I do.
10. I'm not done with school. Sometimes I feel like I'll never be done with school. It's a good thing I like school.
11. I have taken first place in every talent show I've ever entered except for one; in that one I placed second, to a pianist. I've entered 17.
12. I plan to go on a trip with an amazing group, Project Helping Hands; probably sometime after both boys are in school. They provide non-religious  medical care and health education for people in developing nations. I heard Jeff Solheim speak during my first year of nursing school, and ever since I've made a commitment to myself to go on one of these trips.
13. I love sneaking into my boys' rooms and watching them sleep for a little bit. I don't think I'll ever get tired of that.
14. However, I also look forward to the day I can go on a month-long vacation with my husband, child-free. We're thinking cruise. Hopefully while we're both still young enough to drink into the night.
15. I hardly ever fold laundry. It's washed, it's separated into baskets for me, each V, and Husband... and we usually dress out of the baskets.