Friday, October 31, 2008

before you vote for obama...

read this and tell me what you think. thanks for the link, anna.

Dream Job

This morning Ryan reported to me that while asleep he had been hired to be a cartoonist investor and promptly began despairing that such a job does not actually exist. I thought my dream job was to be a stay-at-home-mom with no kids, but when I actually had that job I discovered it would only be fun if I were also a billionaire.

Do you have a dream job?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Something beautiful

Betsey posted a beautiful song on her blog and it was such a gift that I thought I would post a little something beautiful today as well. My friend Colby recently made many of his songs available for purchase (or listen...) on his website which delighted me to no end. I own all of his albums and have attended every concert I was able, so needless to say I think he has something beautiful to offer. Go here to have a listen and, if you'd like a recommendation, my favorite is All or Nothing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Would you like a meltdown with that?

My stats teacher thinks the best idea is to give tests every two weeks. While I acknowledge this makes each test a more manageable feat, while also decreasing the value of each individual test, it does leave me in a constant state of panic because I always have a stats test on the horizon. I had one, today in fact, unpleasant little beastie, but I did some good studying, made a cheat sheet fully demonstrative of my anal neurosis, and went in a little before class to go over the notes once more and see if any of my classmates wanted to review. Naturally, before long, the conversation had turned to women's health issues (why does this always happen to me? I swear I didn't bring it up!). One classmate, bless her heart, said that she wanted to breastfeed but the minute the kid had teeth she was done. Given her background and education on the matter, I don't blame her for a second. It seems reasonable enough. But the first deciduous incisors generally begin to erupt between 6 and 12 months of age, a little early, according to several different reputable sources, to wean (in case you didn't read the articles, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years and the American Association of Pediatrics for a minimum of one year).

The conversation progressed, as I feared, to the even more ubiquitous reason cited as an appropriate indicator for weaning: verbal skills. "As soon as the kid can ask to breastfeed, you know things have gone too far!" comes the clarion call. It is a commonly held belief that verbal skills should stand between a baby and the breast but, I think, a nonsensical one. Lots of kids have verbal skills before they reach their first birthday, and most are communicating well before their second. Some communicate much earlier than others; are they just outta luck?

I couldn't help jumping into the conversation (you know me!) and I said that while I understood the reasonable fear of breastfeeding a teething baby, I knew many women who had done it successfully (two of my best friends are currently breastfeeding toddlers with mouthfulls of pearly whites). I suggested that perhaps there was an evolutionary/design advantage to young babies developing teeth; perhaps it aids in the process of individuation when they bite the mother and (unfortunately for her!) she exhibits a pain response. Who knows (I don't), but what I do know is that weaning very young comes at a pretty high cost to mothers and babies, and the decision warrants greater consideration than only that of the mother's usually momentary discomfort or, I'll admit it, pain. Just my two cents.

Then a man entered the conversation and began to ardently concur that kids with teeth have no place breastfeeding. The conversation became a little bit heated and he turned at me, made that nice aggressive eye contact we all know and love, and said (really, sneered) to me "Do you even have any kids?" I said that while I did not, I had done hundreds of hours of research on the subject and personally witnessed many happily breastfed toothy toddlers. He didn't break the gaze, so I responded "Have you ever breastfed a baby?"

I should have deescalated. It would have made for a more pleasant pre-test atmosphere, but dude pushed my buttons. Them was fightin' words.


"Well, then, it sounds like we have both based our opinions on our secondary experiences."

If left me feeling sick and jittery, as a body flooded with adrenaline is wont to feel. I really don't like aggression, but issues pertaining to women's and children's health are deeply important to me; important to the point that I actually identify myself personally with their defense. I will admit I was strident. I was ineffective. I was pissed as hell. It is so painful to me to be dismissed when I feel like I have worked so hard for the information I possess and it is devalued or, worse, mocked, and I let my emotions, not my more-compelling reason, get the best of me.

In a recent post I spoke about breastfeeding and was accused of being strident and unapproachable--by another woman. Of course, this is not my intent. But at times I come to grips with the complex reality that at times I value my identity as a self-proclaimed women's health aficionado over my relationships with people. My values are important to me, as is the information I have sought and believe is true. But so are people. How do we have successful conversations with people who deride the information we hold so close that it has become part of us?

Clearly I don't know.

I was distracted through my entire test. My mind kept careening back and forth between wanting to apologize to the nitwit misogynist (JUST KIDDING!!! LIGHTEN UP!!!) and recognizing that just because a few people, myself included, were uncomfortable, I don't need to apologize for being knowledgable or honest. It's tricky. Perhaps one day my opinions won't feel so vulnerable that I have to protect them with my rage, but, then again, perhaps a little rage for a capable woman can do some good; heaven knows it wouldn't be the first time.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Here is a good new blog to read.

One of the writers is the darling of many a BYU alumna, Dr. Valerie Hudson. Should be a good source of information.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm even starting to bug myself

I have to hand it to myself, I am not afraid to lose friends and alienate people. I got home from school today and realized, MAN, while I have not posted one good-natured independent thought on my own blog in quite some time, I sure have managed to find time to spout my opinions all over everyone else's. I don't know when I will grow up and shut up and stop being so damn opinionated all the damn time, but meanwhile, if I have offended you, sorry 'bout it.

Hope this picture makes you remember why you liked me in the first place:

Now you remember, don't you? You like me because I am so pretty.

p.s. I normally don't feel so self-deprecating but I think I have gone over my verbalized opinions limit for this month and it seems to have made me cranky.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crush on Radio

Listen here. He's dreamy, isn't he?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Thought you might like to read an article by one of my celebrity death crushes. Thanks for the link, Bri.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

terrible horrible no good very bad

Today was the final sprint in what a fellow in my cohort described as our triathlon: three massive tests in a gory row this week. It has been truly miserable. Monday was a final exam worth half my grade in a block class, Tuesday was a statistics midterm (I have contemplated at length any remote possibility of having the requirement waived for religious reasons, as I think I could say truthfully that it's principles violate my morals) and today's midterm in a theories class, also worth half of the grade in the class.

By this morning I was demonstrating symptomatology of studying. I had the shakes. My brain failed to retain or retrieve information. And I wanted to eat a pan of brownies. As an appetizer for a three-pie lunch. Despite these most heinous symptoms, I had to go teach at the high school. I like the kids, but the curriculum is wretched. The information is just plain bad so I can never quite figure out how to teach it. So I do what my colleagues do (not the real teachers, the other grad school lackies they hired to teach the bogus program)-- I teach whatever the H suits my fancy.

Today's lesson on nutrition was supposed to inform kids that it isn't the carbs (poor misunderstood sugar!) that make sweets deleterious, it is only the fat. It also included a section on choosing affordable sources of protein, the nutrient du jour, that suggested kids pack down cans of tuna fish until their eyes pool with mercury and they keel over dead. As an alternative, I taught a lesson about nutrients and how to get them poison-free and packed with health. We all had a very cozy talk about micronutrients and it was quite lovely.

After work, I went to school to meet with a study group and, while walking to the union building, had to step directly over the carcasses of first a bird and then a Very Large grasshopper (large enough that I noticed its dead body, which is atypical for me and dead bug bodies). I know a harbinger when I see one (or two).

I tried to make my gluey brain take the test, but it refused, due to the dead bird or the unreasonable difficulty of the exam I will never know. Then I came home to find that my supervisor (who, I neglected to mention, came to witness the nutrient parade today) had emailed me (and several other people, none of whom I knew) to let me know that SEVERAL parents had called the principal about the content of my lessons and that I would need to "stick to the curriculum". What can I teach them now? Pretty soon they will tell me I have to sing laud and honor to Similac and episiotomies. And then I will die like a mercury-filled bird-hopper.

Yeah, you heard me.

I hate today the most.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Moral imperative

So today I got a text from my brother that went like this:

"So that you know, I WAS interested in a girl. Then she said that breastfeeding was gross. Thanks for turning that into a deal-breaker."

My buttons nearly burst.

I have long been a (very, very) vocal proponent of the only normal infant feeding. I sometimes resent the Breast is Best campaign, whether or not it is well-intentioned, because the subtext actually undermines breastfeeding; nobody will be (or hopefully expects to be) the "best" parent. Folks, especially folks grappling with a newborn, are probably more in survival mode than perfection-mode. If breastfeeding is "best", that must make formula-feeding normal. And, as we all know, that is plain nonsense.

The hospital environments in which many women give birth vary in their hospitality and facilitation of basic human needs: to give birth in a supportive, empowering environment, and to feed their newly emerged offspring. It's a damn shame. Lots of moms who think they "can't" breastfeed are simply ignorant victims of a very subtle system that, albeit unwittingly, jeopardizes the health and safety of moms and babies. Consider homebirth, is all I'm sayin'. I don't even know who I am preaching to. But if my twenty-three year old brother considers a non-lactivist ineligible for his affections, I can rest assured my preaching has not gone unheard so far. I guess I better keep it up, maybe for someone else's little brother's sake.


For anyone thinking of redoing their kitchen, I wanted to make sure you knew about this handy refrigerator/television super-appliance. This way, all the obese children won't even have to walk into the other room to get their Hot Pockets. They can just park in front of the fridge and feed all day.

I hate America. There. I said it.

*In case anybody comes back to read this post for any reason, I have to say I disagree with my last statement. I feel pretty neutral about America, but at times I resent the culture and values it represents. It's kind of gross to say I hate America, though, so I'm sorry.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grad School is E-Z

On Friday evening Ryan and I went to celebrate his younger brother's birthday and while I was there his college-aged sister asked me if grad school was as easy as everyone says it is. She then reminded me to be honest; nobody likes the guy who claims he got a 700 on the LSAT without taking a prep course.

Naturally, I still felt the need to proclaim (loudly and emphatically, as is my wont) that grad school is, in fact, a piece of cake. Fully twice easier than college, and possibly three times easier than high school. It just hasn't been much of a burden (at least not yet) and for that, friends, I am grateful.

Next week I have midterms three days in a row, and a project, worth half the grade in my skills class, due on the fourth day. I have spent the last three days attending study groups, making flash cards and outlines, and laboriously creating the most anal-fixation-affirming cheat sheet any Intro To Stats class has ever seen (the thing is color-coded, folks, and I was contemplating laminating it only moments ago, if that gives you some idea). And then it dawned on me.

Grad school is easier than college because my crush lives with me (and will to his dying day, if he is a man of his word) and, frankly, that fact is the best thing that has ever happened to my study habits. Gone are the days of wondering if some fellow that caught my eye might like to spend the next few weeks hanging out with me (during which few weeks, might I add, any hope of studying would become instantly unfathomable). No sir, now the object of my affections makes a pot of soup while I am at the library and helps me straighten up the house before we go to bed, knowing that the next morning will greet me with a pile of books and a stopwatch. While I still consider myself a social sort, these days socializing is more optional. It has done unprecedented things for my GPA.

So, Rachel, may I add a caveat. I don't know if grad school is easier than college, but I know being a married student is easier than being a single student.

Maybe I'll have a kid. I hear they make getting a PhD a walk in the park!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I just sat in our truck for a good hour and a half listening to the vice presidential debate. This is more than I can say for my attentiveness during the presidential debate which I found painful to listen to. Tonight's debate was downright refreshing. The candidates didn't stumble and stab at one another, issues were discussed, it was really quite civilized (comma splices are allowed on personal blogs; you know who you are). I still think Nader should be allowed in the debates but, as two-party debates go, this one wasn't half bad.

I'll even give it up for Sarah Palin. I expected less, to be honest. If it hadn't been for her mispronunciation of nuclear (say it just like you spell it, ready? NU-CLEAR! there ya go!), the multiple references to Reagan, and, of course, that monstrous chant she is promoting (I almost can't type Drill, baby, drill! without throwing up on my computer), I would say she was reasonably pleasant to listen to. Mainly because of her cute lil' accent. Kinda Utahey (talking about eye-dill societies etc) but with a twist of South Dak-OH-tah. Charming, really.

I'm still voting for Nader and you should too. Go on, it's fun! Try it!