Monday, April 30, 2007

Google Me

I've been keeping an eye on the site stats for this blog, and the part that I always find most interesting is the "referrers" - or the sites that are linking to me.

Most of my visitors are getting here from blog rolls on other sites that participate in the same weekly memes, plus a handful of blogs that actually link specifically to me.

And then, there are the folks who stumble in while searching for something else.

Here are some of the best search strings that found me recently (linked to the pages to which they lead, via Google):

And the number one search string for which my blog is a result . . . .

Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Job Situation - A Reflection

I'll be starting my second week at the new job tomorrow and, I must admit, I'm feel much better about the whole thing that I was a week ago.

While I'm still not 100% thrilled with the idea of getting up every morning, going somewhere for the whole day and doing what other people tell me to do, well, that's why they call it work and why they have to pay you to do it, right?

It's certainly not what I had in mind when I made the decision, last summer, to leave OldJob and go to work for Bluestate Dems, but my priorities have changed since then.

It's a bit frustrating at times, that there are a few people who I know through my political work who want to be indignant on my behalf that I've not landed a political job. As many times as I tell them that that's just not what I want to do right now, I don't think they believe me.

There were actually several campaign jobs - and one job with the state party - that I probably could've had if I'd wanted them, but I didn't apply because I'd realized by then that I don't want the kind of travel and hours involved, and I can't commit to having that kind of involvement in '08, since I'm hoping to be otherwise occupied.

It's kind of hard to explain that to people with whom I don't want to share the baby plan just yet. However, I've found that if I say that "I don't want to commit yet to what I'll be doing for the '08 cycle," they assume that I'm holding out for a presidential campaign, and accept that.

Some folks also want to be indignant on my behalf that I didn't get (or haven't yet been offered) StateJob, but the idea of working for the state was never a long-term plan. It was originally just a stop-gap until I figured out what I wanted to do for '08, anyway.

I was actually quite relieved that it didn't work out, because I think TutoringCenter is a better fit for me, and I was worried that if I turned down StateJob, it would piss off the people who were worked so hard to get it for me.

TutoringCenter is probably not the be-all, end-all job, where I want to stay til I retire but, so far, it's shaping up to be a situation that I can live with.

It's still an hour commute, but at least there's a possibility of moving closer, which I wouldn't have in the politcal arena (nothing closer than CapitalCity - also an hour away) and the schedule is so much better.

I can to wait up for Shrike most evenings, and on days that I work "regular-ass" hours, I can stop and have dinner with her on my way home. We did that Monday, and it was great. We plan to make a habit of it, at least once a week.

Also, I can pretty much pick and choose which evenings I work, and they seem to be very understanding about my other commitments that I have to schedule around.

After a week, I'm feeling much more secure about it than I was the first couple of days. I'm starting to catch on to things, I like the people I'm working with, and - dare I say it - I'm actually enjoying myself.

I do love the political stuff, but I'm still very much doing that, on a volunteer level, so it's not like that need is going unfulfilled.

And, as much as I love that, I've been reminded this week that I also love teaching - not so much being a public school teacher (which I did for 9 years) but the actual part about teaching people things. I've had an opportunity to teach 3 evenings this week, and it's been hard work, but very rewarding.

On Friday, ED2 was saying "I've been watching you with the kids and I can tell you really enjoy it."

I said "I do. And I also love bossing people around, so this is perfect for me!"

So, after lots of ups and downs and changes of mind over the last six months or so, for the moment, at least, I'm pretty happy with where I've ended up.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday Special #6: Time Tells All

Hmm, this fill-in-the-blank Saturday Special is a bit tricky for me, because given that I've just started the new job, the things that I've "usually" been doing at these times for the past several months are way different from what I've done thisweek, and what I'll be doing for the foreseeable future.

So, I'll do two sets of answers: before starting the job and since starting the job.

Before I Started My New Job . . .
  1. It's 9:00 AM Sunday & I'm usually sleeping at this time.
  2. It's Noon on Monday & I'm usually walking the dogs with Shrike at this time.
  3. It's 8:00 PM Wednesday & I'm usually blogging at this time.
  4. It's 5:30 PM Friday & I'm usually blogging at this time.
Since I've Started My New Job . . .
  1. It's 9:00 AM Sunday & I'm usually sleeping at this time.
  2. It's Noon on Monday & I'm usually at work, about to have lunch at this time.
  3. It's 8:00 PM Wednesday & I'm usually about to leave work at this time.
  4. It's 5:30 PM Friday & I'm usually driving home at this time.
Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Weekend Dog Blog #7: This is Getting Old

There's a new rule at our house:
BigGaloot is only allowed to have "hard" toys.

Or, perhaps we'll just start handing him dollar bills to chew up.

You know, cutting out the middle man and all.

The photos below were all taken within twenty-four hours of the purchase of the toy shown.

Going . . . .


Going . . . .


Gone . . . .


More Weekend Dog Blogs here.

Photo Hunter #5: Rare


While the new washer was being installed, Shrike felt like she should be nearby and available, yet out of the guy's way. So, she busied herself in the kitchen, cleaning the refrigerator. This is very rare at our house!



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Friday, April 27, 2007

Insurance!

I got the word today that my health insurance will be effective May 1!!!

Now, we're off to dinner to celebrate that, Shrike's birthday, and my surviving the first week on my new job!

Happy Birthday, Shrike!!!

An open letter to my wife:

Shrike,
I hope this doesn't embarrass you, but I wanted to say it publicly, because I haven't had time to buy a card I want the whole world to know how I feel.

You are the best part of my life, and bring out the best parts of me. (Sorry hon, what you see is as good as it gets.)

You know me better than anyone and yet, you still seem to want to be with me. That amazes me daily.

You are my lover and my best friend, and I could not imagine life any other way.

Thanks for being you and thanks for being with me.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday, a wonderful year and a wonderful forever.

I love you,
Whozat

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Crazy Insurance Rules

Tell me how this makes sense:

My OB/Gyn is "in network" for my insurance, but the only hospital at which she practices is not.

What the hell?

Thursday Thirteen #8

Since most of the 100 Things that I've already told you about myself are pretty wierd, I will skip the "13 Wierd Things About Me" from my list and instead, do some reminiscing about my school days.

13 School Memories
  1. Kindergarten - I was always getting in trouble for talking in class, and having to sit "under the clock" at the back of the room, for time out (back before it was called time out).


  2. First Grade - Every year, the first grade classes put on a "circus" for the whole school. We had these great costumes that were used year after year - elephants, tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, clowns, strongman, bareback riders, lion tamer - you name, it we had it. I think I was a trapeze artist. It was also the same script every year. By the time you were in sixth grade, you could practically recite it along with the Ring Master.


  3. Second Grade - Our teacher would tell us stories about her pet monkey. Or, perhaps, our teacher made up a story about having a pet monkey.


  4. Third Grade - I remember several of the books that the teacher read to us - Charlotte's Web, Old Yeller, The Incredible Egg, Johnny Texas, and more.


  5. Fourth Grade - I remember the class being divided into groups to do research projects on different places for Social Studies. My group was studying Hawaii, and our presentation included some kind of (supposedly) Hawaiian food. Something with pineapple.


  6. Fifth Grade - I remember stories circulating about the dramatic way in which one poor girl got her period for the first time. (It involved a classroom chair full of bloooood.) I kind of suspect there was some exaggeration involved, but true or not, I still feel bad for her.


  7. Sixth Grade - I was captain of our school's team for Brain Battle, a local TV quiz show for sixth graders. It was a single-elimination tournament and we won four matches, but lost in the finals. My brother captained his team the next year, and they matched our performance, also losing in the finals. It was heartbreaking both years.

  8. Seventh Grade - This is the year that I got my first boyfriend, and my first ex-boyfriend. The moment that we broke up he dumped me, I realized that all those traits I'd found so charming before were actually just annoying and assholic. We never did get along again, mostly because we were academic rivals.

  9. Eighth Grade - Chanting, with my Algebra class: "In a right triangle / The square of the hypotenuse / Is equal to / The sumofthesquares / Oftheothertwosides.


  10. Freshman Year - Another boyfriend, this one was a junior. With a car. I guess that's not really a school memory, but we hung out alot at school, too, of course, so it kind of is.


  11. Sophomore Year - This memory is actually from the summer before my sophomore year, but close enough. My brother and I, along with a few other people we knew, took Health in summer school. Half the class was folks like us, getting the one-semester course out of the way, to make room in our schedules for "real classes," and the other half was kids who had failed Health during the school year. The teacher was a coach. You can imagine the dynamic.

    We had to do research papers on "any topic in the textbook." The teacher also approved topics that were tangential to any topic in the book. So, for example, if the book talked about "mental health," we could write on any mental health issue.

    One day, on the way home from school, my brother announced to my mom that, "I'm doing my research paper of the Oedipus Complex."

    Mom's reply: "Well, just leave me out of it!"

  12. Junior Year - There were three high schools in our district. Each year, band students from all three schools tried out for the All City Band, which would rehearse together for a couple of days with some college band director from out of town, and then put on a concert. This was the only year that I made All City Band, but during the rehearsal, I got sick. And I mean sick.

    While we were playing, I came down with what I now know is a migraine and was very nauseated. I finally worked up the nerve to excuse myself and, let's just say that I should have done so about thirty seconds sooner. I made it into the bathroom, but not as far in as would would have hoped.

    After all that, I waited around another thirty minutes or an hour for the bus to take me back to my school, so I could drive myself home. To this day, I have no idea why I didn't just call my mom to come pick me up.

    I missed the concert the next night, but my boyfriend brought me a copy of the program (which was pretty sweet, for him) and, although you were technically required to actual perform in order to receive the All City Band patch for your letter jacket, the director was understanding enough to let me have one anyway.

  13. Senior Year - Our AP Biology teacher was diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year (she died a few years later) and her substitute, for most of the spring semester, was a girl I'd gone to camp with, who was right out of college and only about four years older than us. We didn't learn as much as we should have, but we had a lot of fun.


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Big Excitement of the Day

Our new washer has arrived. It's all hooked up, has run at least one load, and the delivery guy didn't ax murder Shrike.

(I made her call me at work after he left, just to confirm that.)

It's really kind of sad when you're excited about a new washer.

We are old.

Not too much to report on from the new job. I'm starting to feel marginally more useful and the fog is beginning to lift a bit, about procedures and such, but I'm still very much in "training" mode.

I did close up the place this evening, thought. Well except for the cleaning guy who'd already arrived (I'd been told to expect him, so it didn't freak me out when he let himself in!) so I guess they trust me enough to give me a key (well, for Director to loan me his) and leave me there all by myself for a while.

I suppose that's a good sign.

Wordless Wednesday #6: Daffodils

In Our Backyard


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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Work is Exhausting!

I am absolutely worn out.

I didn't have to be in to work until 10:30 this morning, which was really nice (thanks again for getting up with me this morning, Honey!) but I was there til seven.

I also taught for the last three hours this evening - 2, 3, then 2 kids.

Holy crow, I'd forgotten how draining that is.

I didn't even think about it, but other than these couple of sessions with TrigGuy (and those don't count, because he's a grownup) I've not done any teaching in more than seven years.

I'm a little out of shape, in terms of my endurance, and was scrambling to follow exactly what I was supposed to be doing with each kid and really struggling to juggle two - or worse - three of them at a time but, as far as the actually teaching them stuff goes, I think I've still got it.

I spent a lot of time earlier today learning how to update the students' lesson plans - looking at what they just covered and how they did on it and figuring out what's next. Tomorrow, I'll have to do that for the kids I had tonight.

The teachers are supposed to do that before they leave for the evening, but

  1. I will be there in the daytime tomorrow so I can do it then
  2. I'd prefer that ED2 watch over my shoulder, because I'm still very unsure about it, and
  3. I was just fried by 7 pm, there's no way I could've done it tonight!
Oh - But I did get more insurance information, and a confirmation that I'll find out for sure on Friday whether they will make May 1 my effective date.

(It turns out they are changing policies, and that's the start date for everyone with the new company, so that would make sense to me!)

The plan isn't exactly the one I was checking last night, but I'll look again for my doctors.

Important points:
  • No deductible
  • $20 copay PCP/gyn ($30 for specialist, Out of network is 20%)
  • $1000 yearly out of pocket max (not counting copays
  • Infertility - 50% coinsurance, with diagnosis of infertility
I guess we'll have to find out exactly what that means, but I sure hope that our situation qualifies for coverage!

I also think I've confirmed that my PCP and my OB/Gyn are in network. Yay!

In the meantime, I'm plenty glad that I don't have to go in til 11:30 tomorrow morning, because (did I mention?) I'm ex-fucking-hausted.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Work Is Haaaard!

Well, I've survived my first day on the new job, and on three hours of sleep, at that!

I guess it wasn't as awful as I was dreading, but it was a very long day, filled mostly with feelings of uncertainty and uselessness. Big fun!

I did manage to stay awake, but it was kind of rough during the 3 o'clock hour, when I was in a darkened room alone with a video about math manipulatives. Whoa.

The last hour when I was "observing" instruction woke me up before my drive home, though.

I put "observing" in quotes, because I couldn't stop myself from jumping in to help out. I was a bit worried about stepping on the teachers' toes, but when I said something about that to ED2, she told me that, "I was very happy to see that. I would have been worried if you'd just sat there."

So that's good. As I told Shrike, I guess it kind of reinforces that, whatever I might be doing for my job, personality-wise, I am a teacher.

They are rather structured in their training for management-types (which I am! how wierd is that?) and I think that's probably a good thing.

On the one hand, just diving into it can be good, but I also like that I'm getting the overview of the big picture, first, in addition to some hands-on.

Even if the picture is being presenting, in part, via boring videos.

At least ED2, who is primarily training me, acknowledges that the videos are "pretty dry" and apologizes for them.

On the other hand, it was a reminder that, while the five area centers are family owned and operated, on the whole it is a big corporate behemoth.

Btw, more on the "family owned and operated" thing: BigBoss is the owner / president / CEO. His wife is the secretary or office manager or something like that. I know she handles payroll and such. ED1 and ED2 are their daughters.

As Shrike said, "So, unless this guy adopts you, there's no chance of a promotion to ED, huh?"

Yeah, I guess not.

ED2 seems very nice, as do the other folks that I met today. So, that's a plus.

(Hmm, I need better blogonyms for ED1 and ED2 (numbered in the order that I met them). I'll have to think on that a bit.)

One other (possible, maybe, I hope) plus is the insurance.

Did I explain about that?

The deal is, because their insurance policy, which is approved by the state insurance board, says that employees will be there for 90 days before being covered, they have to apply for an exception to cover me sooner.

I referred to it the other day as, "Asking the Governor's permission. . ." but, darn it, I don't know this governor!"

(Did I mention that the job is in NeighboringState?)

Anywho - My understanding, from today's conversation, is that this exception thing is a formality and not a matter of "Oo, I wonder if they'll approve it?" but "How long will it take."

But, once it's approved (most likely some time in mid to late May), they can probably pay the premium for the entire month and make the effective date of coverage May 1.

(I offered to pay the May premium myself, if necessary.)

She's got to do a bit more checking and BigBoss wants to wait until next week to apply for the exception (to be sure they like me enough to have me back for a second week, I suppose) but we will revisit the subject on Friday and at that point I should find out whether I'll be covered effective May 1, or not until later.

I told her that I have appointments scheduled for May 7 and 21 and that, if I do have coverage, I'd like to take off those two days (without pay - no paid vacation for six freakin' months).

She seemed to be ok with all that.

I did not mention any baby plans, but explained about needing to follow up on my surgery stuff, do labwork, etc (they've seen my driver's licence photo, taken about four years ago, so that brought up the surgery topic) and that I was overdue for an annual exam.

Tomorrow, I should be able to get my hands on the insurance book, to find out which plan it is, check on whether my doctors are in the network and, hopefully, get some clue as to how much of our baby-making might be covered.

From what I could find online (not knowing exactly which plan I will have) it looks like at least my PCP and OB/Gyn are in network (yay!).

My nephrologist and the gastric bypass folks might be out of network, but those are just annual checks, so I can live with paying more once a year.

Much different than, say, the OB/Gyn.

I'm also interested to see if Dr. T. is in network and, if so, if my copay is any less than Shrike's.

She's worth (we're worth) every penny of the $25 per week we're paying now but, still, cheaper would be better.

So, we're keeping our fingers crossed that there's still a chance of getting in to some doctors in the next month, and maybe maybe maybe even making a first attempt in June.

Oh, one more thing from today. I stopped off at Shrike's work on my way home, and had dinner with her. That was really nice, and I think I'll try to do that as much as possible, on days that I get off at five and don't have other commitments in the evening.

(Hee hee, it occurs to me that, given our schedules, if we were making this baby the "old fashioned way," we might have to meet up for more than dinner!)

Ugh.

New job.
First day.
Up til 3:30 am.
Up at 6:30 am.
Not cool.

One would think that, on the first day of one's new job, one could just go on pure adrenaline, if one did not get one's requesite eight hours of beauty sleep.

Alas, that would require that one actually be excited about said new job.

Ugh.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It's Grillin' Time, Sprout!

The weather has (finally) been absolutely beautiful the past few days, and things are blooming all over the place. We did our best to enjoy it today, when we weren't shopping. Or napping.

We drove to Lowe's with the sunroof open (Yes, Shrike's car has a sunroof. She is very cool!), looked at plants a bit while we were there (us and everyone else in town), wore shorts (!) to walk the dogs and grilled for dinner.

The past couple of summers, we've gotten into a routine of grilling just about every Sunday evening, and we really enjoy it. It's so nice to be outside in the backyard, cook with real fire, and just enjoy the loveliness of a spring or summer evening.

Our standard meal has generally been steak, baked potato and veggie kabobs.

The last couple of summers, I've grown onions, bell peppers and tomatoes in containers on the patio, and I just love picking an onion and a pepper, washing them off with the hose, kabobing them right there at the patio table, sticking them on the grill, and tossing the remnants right into the compost bin.

I feel so primative!

Today, however, we didn't have any steaks in the freezer and definitely no veggies growing, so we had to get creative.

We did have several chicken breasts on hand, a bit of onion and lots of potatoes that need to be eaten soon.

So, what we ended up with was Cajun chicken and potatoes. I marinated the chicken in a bottled Cajun marinade, and sprinkled the potatoes with Tony Cachere's Cajun Seasoning (for those of you not from Cajun Country, that's pronounced "sash-uh-ray's").

I over did it with the Tony's and not only were the taters a bit too spicy, but also way too salty, so we had a lot of that left over.

I did manage to salvage them, though. For starters, I rinsed off as much of the seasoning as possible.

(For some reason Shrike had a problem with that. She said it was gross, washing them in the sink. At first, I thought she was kidding, but she sounded pretty serious, so I'm not sure. I don't get it. I pointed out that she drinks Kool-Aid made with water from that same sink. It's not like I soaked them, I just ran some water over them.)

Then, I diced them up, and mixed them with cream o'mushroom soup (1 can), Velveeta (about 2 oz) and some shredded cheese (about 1/2 oz). I heated that all up in the microwave, stirring occassionally, until the cheese was melted, then sprinkled more cheese on top and baked it for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, I cut up the leftover chicken (it was quite yummy, I glad we cooked extra) and mixed it with some rice.

Here's what you don't want to do . . . .

When your rice is done cooking, and you move the pot to a different burner to cool off, you don't want to leave the first burner turned on.

Then, when you pull the Cajun potatoes au gratin out of the oven, you don't want to set them on the burner that the rice just came from. That's still turned on.

I was mixing rice and chicken and packaging it up in serving sizes, when I looked over to see the potatoes just a-bubblin' away over there!

I did notice in time though, and there was no harm done!

Appliance Update

Well, we picked out the washer and it will be delivered Wednesday morning.

It's not the one that Shrike "fell in love with" (yes, she used those words) during her Internet research, but she can live with it.

And no, it is not the washer pictured here. Thats the one that I fell in love with in Lowe's. I will buy just about anything if it's cobalt blue.

(You can't tell in the photo, but the grill shown in the next post is cobalt, as well.)

I mooned over this little beauty and its companion dryer for few moments, realized that the set, plus the little drawer thingies that you put under them, so you don't kill your back with all the bending to get clothes in and out through the door would be damn near $3000, and moved on.

Maybe after we win the lottery.

The one that we did get was only a bit over $350, including delivery (and taking the old one) and tax, so that's really not bad. Much better than I'd feared.

I'm not thrilled to spend $350 on a washer, but it's new and should last a long time, so it's an investment.

It's better that it happened now, while we've got the money available, than later, after we deplete our savings buying, um, Gentleman Callers.

Also, if we have to have a laundry crisis and be unable to wash for a few days, that's better to happen now, too, rather than later, when we've got the poopie diapers piling up!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday Special #5: The End

I almost forgot about this! Here's today's Saturday Special, just under the wire!

  1. What's your favorite type of ending to a movie/play?
    I love happy endings, where everybody gets what they want.
  2. What's your favorite type of ending to a book/novel?
    Again, I'm all about the happy endings. Preferably, a happy ending that also makes me cry. (Happy tears.)
  3. What would be your favorite ending to your life story?
    Oo, that's tough. I'd like to go peacefully in my sleep at the age of 100+ and have it come as a shock to everyone, because, "She was so healthy!"
  4. What would be your favorite sentence ending to these ridiculous questions?
    That - a - that - a - that's all folks!
Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Appliance Woes

You know, I wasn't too happy when the coffee maker suddenly stopped working a couple of weeks ago.

And I was quite annoyed that I had to make a special trip to the Dollar General and shell out ten whole dollars for a shiny new one.

Um, yeah. That was nothing.

I'm thinking we'll be spending about forty fucking times that tomorrow, when we go to pick out our new washing machine.

Yup, the washer, she is dead. It was so sudden, we're still in shock. One load everything was just fine, and the next, well, I walked in to find Shrike bailing water out into the sink.

The wash cycle still seems to work and, evidently the rinse, but that's as far as it gets. It won't drain or spin.

And those are kind of necessary components to the whole washing process.

Shrike consulted with a guy at work who knows how to fix things and he said that it could either be the belt, in which case, she should be able to fix it herself, or some other thing, in which case we're fucked.

"I think he said it might be the compressor, maybe?" she told me. "Something like that - I wanted to say 'transmission' but I knew that was wrong!"

We had a good laugh over that, "Ha ha, transmission, washing machine, we're silly girls!"

So, she got some tools or something and opened up a bunch of panels and exposed some parts that didn't look like they were supposed to see the light of day.

I offered to help, but realized it might be best if I just kept my distance. I did check in a couple of times when I heard a lot of banging - or spraying water.

She never found any belts that looked problematic, so it's evidently that other, "fucked" thing.

She did, however, find the owners manual. As she was looking over it, she said, "Hey, it does have a transmission! Son of a bitch, how 'bout that!"

But, wishy-washy-transmisson or no, we're getting a new machine tomorrow.

I've listed a request on Freecycle, but we don't have a lot of hopes there.

There are several used ones listed in the CountyShopper for $100, but Shrike's been doing some research and says we can get a new one for around $400, so I think we'll probably go that route.

It will be warranteed, and won't be so old that someone else is getting rid of it, and burly men will deliver it, hook it up and take the old one away.

So, that will be the big plan for tomorrow: decide between Lowe's and Sears and order us up a new washing machine. Yippee.

The whole washer thing has also reminded us that we need to figure out how to get hot water to the damn thing some time in the next year or so.

If I'm remembering correctly, nothing comes out of the hot faucet that it's hooked up to. Or maybe cold water comes out of both. Or something like that.

We gave up and have just been washing everything in cold water. I think there might have been some hose-swapping that was required to make that work?

But, if we're going to be washing poopy cloth diapers (which we're considering, but not yet committed to) or even poopy everything else, regardless of which variety of diaper is insufficient for the job at hand, I'm thinking we're going to need some hot water.

When we're done buying the new washer, we'll reward ourselves with a trip to Red Robin, where we'll use Shrike's birthday coupon to get a free burger and sundae!

Photo Hunter #4: Steps


This paperwork represents just the first few of many, many steps we'll go through before we can even start trying to get pregnant.

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Spicy Beef Cornbread Cobbler

I did some more Google cooking the other day, after searching for "Beef, Cornbread." Epicurious.com describes the recipe thusly:

Think of this dish as a sloppy joe with a corn bread and Cheddar crust — a welcome twist to an American classic.
Indeed.
Spicy Beef Cornbread Cobbler

Filling Ingredients
Medium onion, chopped

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
(I used a splash of olive oil)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
(I used 1 - 2 tsp garlic powder)

1 lb ground beef chuck

1 teaspoon sugar
(About 1/2 packet artificial sweetener)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne
(Didn't have any. Gave it a good shake of chili powder. What? It's hot. Same diff.)

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
(Didn't have any, just left it out.)

1 1/4 teaspoons salt
(That cannot possibly be right. I just shook some in there, then a bit more, to taste.)

1 (14- to 15-oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
(Used a 15-oz can tomato sauce.)

Topping Ingredients
(Or, 1 box cornbread muffin mix, prepared according to directions.)

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup whole milk

1 large egg

2 oz coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
(Or, a big ol' handful or two.)
  1. Saute onions, then add garlic and beef. Cook until done.
  2. Add sugar, spiced and 1 tsp some salt and stir it all up.
  3. Add tomatoes (or sauce) and simmer about 10 minutes, reducing liquid.
  4. While the beef is simmering, mix cornbread ingredients, including 1/2 cup cheese.
  5. Spoon beef mixture into a pie plate (or casserole dish) and top with cornbread, then more cheese.
  6. Bake at 400 F for 15 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cornbread comes out clean.
  7. Serve warm.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Week in Review

Hmm, it looks like I've been memeing all week, but there's not been a lot of talk about my actual life. I should probably do something about that.

Wednesday was a busy day for me. I, along with a handful of the other muckity-mucks in my local Democratic Party had a breakfast meeting with a statewide elected official (not the Governor; don't be too impressed), who was in town to talk to the local newspaper. We had a nice schmooze, and afterward, a couple of us stuck around to discuss some upcoming local events.

At the end, it just was myself and another woman, whom I've told about our baby plans. I was filling her in on the whole job / insurance / baby situation, and she told me that, when the time comes, she wants to throw us a shower!

I don't think that I sufficiently expressed my appreciation at the time, because I was kind of caught off-guard, not that she'd be interested in hosting one, but that anyone would offer before we even start trying! I emailed her today, to thank her again and tell her how much that means to us.

Then, after a quick trip home, Shrike and I met a new friend and her daughter for lunch. That was very nice, despite the bitch at the next table who seemed to have a problem with the fact that when not-yet-three year olds hurt themselves, sometimes they cry. Even if other people are trying to eat lunch.

She actually stopped by our table on her way out and said something along the lines of, "Next time I go out to lunch, I'll wear my earplugs."

What the fuck?

I think she noticed me looking at her, incredulously, and tried to turn it around into a joke, teasing the little girl about her "sad face" and "Don't you let me see that pretty smile . . ." but it sure didn't sound like she was kidding at first.

Shrike noticed that she was wearing rather pointy shoes, so we've decided that she must be a witch. She certainly acted like one.

Unbelievable.

After that, I drove down to TutoringCenter to meet my immediate supervisor (Director) and the owner (BigBoss), and to sort out my schedule for the next couple of weeks.

It looks like that's going to work out pretty well, in that the one day Director definitely likes to work the late shift is Monday, when Shrike is off, so I'd rather work early that day, anyway.

I've offered to work late Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, but we'll have to see if that's ok with the bigger bosses (BigBoss, but mostly the executive directors, ED1 and ED2), because they may prefer that we do two late nights each.

So, for now it will be Tuesday/Wednesday, but if it's only two, I may try to switch to Wednesday/Thursday. Next week there's a staff meeting on Thursday evening, though, so I will be working last all three of those nights.

As luck would have it, that week, Shrike is working Monday and off Thursday and Friday (for her birthday). Oh well.

I also learned a couple of things that are good to know, if I'm still working there after we have a baby:

  1. They offer partial reimbursement (50% up to $95/week) for childcare expenses.
  2. I shouldn't get any hassles about making time for breast pumping at work - Director's wife is a lactation consultant!
The word on the insurance isn't as encouraging. I guess it's still possible that it could be effective immediately, but it's most likely going to be a sixty day wait. Ugh.

Last night, I ended up visiting with the same new friend, when we were two of a whole three people who showed up for Drinking Liberally, which is just getting off the ground here, in our not-so-liberal little town. Again, lots of fun.

Not too much excitement today, but I had my second tutoring session with a guy who's taking Trigonometry, via a distance learning class. I don't think I've mentioned that before, have I?

A few weeks ago, around the same time that I sent my resume to TutoringCenter, I also sent it to the department that does such things at the local college, which is not too far from our house.

It turns out that they only hire students to tutor, but the woman I spoke with was very nice and offered to give my name to anyone from the community who contacted them looking for help.

I heard from this guy a couple of weeks ago, and we've had two sessions so far. He lives about five minutes from me, and is paying quite well, so it's definitely worth wracking my brain and trying to shake the rusty remnants of Trig loose from the back corners.

(Good thing he's got a book for me to look things up in!)

Last weekend, he came over to our house and today I went to his. I'm pretty comfortable with that, but we've gone out of our way to make sure that I was safe - what with him being a strange man and all.

(I mean, a man who is a stranger. He seems pretty normal.)

When he came over here, I made sure that the dogs were in the house when he arrived so they could intimidate him at the door. Then, I had Galoot stay in the room with us. He settled down pretty quickly, curled up at the guy's feet and went to sleep. But he was there, if he'd made any false moves.

Then I said something like "Oh, I wasn't sure if that was you at the door or a friend of mine. He's supposed to be dropping something by this afternoon, but I don't know when. So, he might interupt us, but it will only take a second. . . ."

(Not completely untrue; I was expecting a male friend to drop something off, sometime that weekend.)

Shrike also called and checked in a couple of times while he was here.

Shrike also called to check on me while I was there this evening, and I pretended to be annoyed at the interuption, "Well, I'm kind of busy. . . ."

Later, she told me that she'd realized after the call that she didn't know where the guy lived, so if she had interupted an ax murder, she would have had no idea where to send the cops to save me!

I suppose we should've thought out that plan a little more fully.

He's a very nice guy, actually, and I'm really not worried about my safety, but I think she'll probably continue to check in and will definitely expect me to call her when we're done.

And that's fine with me.

Weekend Dog Blog #6: Shredder Pup

How, exactly, does something like this happen?


Ok, I figured that much, but where did he get . . .


Oh.


More Weekend Dog Blogs here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #7


I'm plugging away through my original list of lists, and the timing of this week's topic is perfect!

For those not familiar with AudioToGo, is it essentially NetFlix with audiobooks. You make a wishlist, they send you a book on CD or cassette, you listen, mail it back, get another.

I only listen to books in the car, so I think I've only gotten through, maybe, two or three during my five months of unemployment, but the hour-long commute to my new job (starting Monday!) should give me a chance to blow through them pretty quickly.

Shrike and I have both put books on the list, and I considered having another little guessing game, like I did with the dead-tree editions last week, but since I only had one real player for that, I'll just go ahead and tell you which of us is planning to listen to which. Because you are just dying to know that.

My one gripe about AudioToGo is that their website provides no descriptions of the books, so I usually browse with AudioToGo in one window and Amazon in another. I'm linking to Amazon below, so you can actually learn something about the books.


13 Books on my AudioToGo Wishlist

  1. Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life - Steven Johnson (Shrike)

  2. Hawkes Harbor - S. E. Hinton (Shrike)

  3. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals - Michael Pollan (Whozat)

  4. Possible Side Effects - Augusten Burroughs (Both)

  5. Wigfield - Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinell, Stephen Colbert (Both)

  6. Letter to a Christian Nation - Sam Harris (Whozat)

  7. Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel (Whozat - Shrike has already read it)

  8. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream - Barack Obama (Whozat)

  9. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman - Nora Ephron (Both)

  10. Rise and Shine - Anna Quindlen (Shrike)

  11. DNA: The Secret of Life - James D. Watson and Andrew Berry (Whozat)

  12. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach (Whozat)

  13. The Story of My Life - Helen Keller (Whozat)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Thursday Thirteen Blog Roll

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

Toni, my number one only blog fan, has honored me with a Thinking Blogger Award!

Here's what she had to say:

Whozat - You are such a perky wonderful gal! I am so glad I found your blog! I pride myself on being non-judgmental- you and Shrike re-enforce that for me! Plus- I just find you F**KING HILARIOUS!!
Aw shucks!

On the other hand, to paraphrase my mom, Toni doesn't get out much.

But, seriously, thank you. It's really nice to know that there's someone out there reading this - and enjoying it!

And here are the folks I'm tagging for the next five Thinking Blogger Awards:
  1. Willa - Yumminess Ensues
  2. Willa - Plants and Animals: All Sorts of Yumminess
    I know Willa in the real world, but I feel like I've gotten to know her a lot better since I've been reading her blogs. Yumminess Ensues features recipes and more, while Plants and Animals... is mostly the "more" but both blogs have some really interesting insights into her strong convictions about eating primarily locally produced foods. This is something that I admit I've not thought much about before. I also admit I'm not ready to actually undertake it at this point, but I'm learning alot and have been thinking more about these issues lately, thanks to her.
  3. Roro - Creampuff Revolution
    The thoughts this blog inspires are generally along the lines of "Good-God-Almighty Roro is one funny woman!" Shrike and I spent Pride Weekend 2005 with Roro and Katr and I can vouch for the fact that she really is just like this. (Although, she did wear pants for most of our visit. Most of it.)
  4. Katr - The Dramaturge at Home
    Roro's beaverancée and a long-time friend of mine, Katr blogs about everything from their Big Gay Wedding plans to the nature of online communities to . . . um . . . well . . . I don't really know what else, because sometimes I'm just not smart enough to keep up.
  5. L and J - Desitin's Child
    This is the only blog I'm tagging that's not written by a personal friend of mine. I've never even left a comment for them, so they will probably be a bit creeped out surprised by it. However, I love the way they chronicle their daily conversations with their 2.5 (?) year old daughter, Emmie. Complete with phonetic spellings that totally capture the speech patterns of a child that age, little Emmie's words and her mom (L) and dad (J)'s commentary can be hilarious, touching and downright poetic. Often at the same time. Extra credit for the great title!
And here are the rules for the Thinking Blogger Award:
  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
  2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
  3. Optional: Proudly display the “Thinking Blogger Award” with a link to the post that you wrote. (Silver / Gold)

Wordless Wednesday #5: Butt-Butt

Two of my favorites.

Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baby Talk

I'm still waiting to find out whether I'll be able to get insurance from my new job immediately, or if I'll have to wait 60 days. I've made a bunch of doctors' appointments for May (see the sidebar) but they might have to be changed again if there's no insurance yet. I hope to know by the end of the week.

In the meantime, Shrike's got pretty good coverage from her job. She can't put me on her policy, so it doesn't help with the baby-making but, for the past few months, we've been using the hell out of her mental health benefits, seeing a couples counselor.

It's been very good for us, and we really like our therapist, Dr. T. She definitely seems to "get" us and how we interact, not just with each other but with other people, seems to share a lot of our values, and is just an all-around good "fit" for us.

She's helped us to hash out a lot of recurring issues that we've been dealing with (or not) for years, and to show us where we can make our relationship stronger, especially in terms of better understanding each other's needs, and better communicating our own.

An Actual Exchange from a Therapy Session:
Whozat: "So, I guess I need to get better about figuring out if it's a good time to talk to you."

Shrike: "Yeah, that would be good."

Dr. T: "Ooorrr, you could ask and you could tell her.

Shrike & Whozat: "Doh!"
As you can imagine, we've also been talking aLOT about my job search, and the baby plans, and all of the various issues surrounding both of those things.

We had an appointment today, at which we talked about my upcoming new job, of course, and then other, mostly baby-related, subjects.

As our hour was winding down, we discussed when to schedule appointments now that I'll be working, and logistical things like that.

As we got up to leave, Dr. T. said, "I just have to tell you . . ."

(here we expected some sort of semi-wrap-up kind of comment, since we'll be seeing her less frequently now)

". . . there's just been too much baby-talk . . ."

(then we expected to be scolded for obsessing and told to think about something else for a while)

". . . to not say something, so I just have to tell you . . ."

(here, we both clued in)

". . . that I'm going to be having another baby!"

Needless to say, we turned the tables pretty quickly and put her on the hot-seat for a while!

She's about 16 weeks pregnant, and has known since about 3 or 4 weeks, which means that for THREE MONTHS she's been sitting there listening to us talk about making a baby, and not saying anything.

Today she decided that she "just couldn't contain myself any longer."

I can imagine!

She also said that she'd not told any other clients yet, so we're feeling like we're pretty special.

She might as well start telling soon, though. I don't know if it was the outfit she was wearing, or if she's just "popped" in the last week, but we had both noticed that she had a bit of a tummy going on that didn't seem to have been there before, and we were both actually a bit suspicious before her announcement.

(I figured I was just projecting!)

Of course, we're thrilled for her, and it's really exciting for us to know someone else who's pregnant right now, as we're making our final preparations to start trying.

(We're already waiting on babies due in July and August - and now October.)

I'm just a little concerned that we only have a little over five months in which to finish getting our shit together before she deserts us!

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Blue Rose By Any Other Name . . .

I've mentioned before that Shrike was getting squicked out by my constant references to sperm, so we decided that we should find a euphemism for it / them.

For a while there, we were talking about "baby juice," but she's decided that's even worse, because it sounds like someone has done something truly awful to a baby. (She makes a valid point.)

So, her most recent suggestion is that we refer to them as "gentleman callers."

It does have a certain Victorian charm to it.

You got a better suggestion?

For Extra Credit: Identify the literary allusion.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Grocery, Again

I'm sure the reviewers will have a field day with posts like this when they stop by, but for the benefit of all both of you who are waiting with bated breath to hear about my latest shopping - and saving - adventure, here it is!

Shrike came along for the ride today, so I got to introduce her to the wonder that is Aldi.

She said afterward that, given that she's eating food purchased there, she kind of wished that she'd not seen it, but she'll try to forget it before the next meal.

(Funny, the cheesy-chicken-mac featuring both macaroni and cream o'chicken soup from Aldi didn't seem to bother her a bit, just a couple of hours later.)

Anyway, on to the savings . . . .

No super-duper double-whammies today, but we're restocked for under $125.

Aldi
Price to compare: $30.00 (based on prices at other stores for several items)
Paid: $21.74

Weis
Original Price: $105.00
Weis Club Savings: $4.87
Coupon Savings: $9.40
Paid: $90.73

Food Lion
Original Price: $11.01
Coupon Savings: $0.55
Paid: $10.46

Total for the Day: $122.93
Total Savings: $23.08 = 19.8%


Not as great as previous weeks, but we were pretty well-stocked on most things, so I didn't do a lot of buying because things were on sale. I mostly just got things that we need now - most of which was on sale, but not all.

The good news, though, is that I looked at a Quicken report, showing our grocery spending year-to-date, broken down in half-months, and April 1 - 15 is the lowest yet!

Thursday Thirteen Follow-Up: Book Quiz

Toni was the only one who ventured a guess, but here are the answers to my little quiz about which books on my most recent Thursday Thirteen list belong to which of us:

Which Books Are Whose?
  1. Love, Janis: Whozat
    I grew up in the same town as Janis Joplin. The guests at our committment ceremony included not one, but two people who graduated from high school with her.
  2. Dog Tricks for Dummies: Shrike
    Not that our dogs have actually learned any of these tricks . . . .
  3. 101 Nights of Grrreat Romance: Both
    I think we've used maybe four of their ideas.
  4. The Holy Bible: Whozat
    The one I had as a kid. Technically, it was a gift, in that it was presented to me upon "graduation" from the third grade Sunday School class at the Baptist Church that I grew up going to. (I got over it.)
  5. Loose Lips: Both
    Shrike brought some Rita Mae Brown books into the relationship and turned me on to her. This one, we bought together at a book signing.
  6. Jumble Crosswords Jamboree: Shrike
    She likes this kind of stuff. I can never figure them out!
  7. I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence: Both
    The Sedaris family is hilarious.
  8. HBJ Algebra 2 with Trigonometry: Whozat
    A few years ago, I had this idea that I wanted to go back and remember this stuff.
  9. America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction: Whozat
    Love, love, love Jon Stewart and the Daily Show!
  10. Gone To Soldiers: Shrike
    I've been meaning to read this, but haven't yet.
  11. Daughters of Darkness: Lesbian Vampire Stories : Shrike
    Shrike loves her some lesbian vampires.
  12. Take the Cannoli: Both
    Sarah Vowell is great, in a nerdy kind of way.
  13. The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: Whozat
    See our previous discussion of these books.
Thanks for playing!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Photo Hunter #3: Hobby


Me. Blogging. Wearing the hoody described in this post.



Learn More About Photo Hunters
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Saturday Special #4: Statistically Speaking

  1. Does solitude help or hinder your creative pursuits?
    I don't know that I'd say that solitude hinders my creativity, but I think I am most creative when I'm bouncing ideas off other people.
  2. What relative do you most resemble in personality?
    I think that I'm like both my mother and my sister, in different ways. I can be very scientific and analytical, like my mom, but my outgoingness and talkativeness is more like my sister. I think that I'm like all the women in my family, in my tendency to want what I want when I want it - and to expect to get it.
  3. List one good thing about being you:
    I get to be with Shrike.
  4. What's the first thing you think about in the morning to get you going?
    While I'm in the shower (pretty much the first thing I do, on days that I have to be somewhere) I usually think about whatever exciting, upcoming thing is going on at the time. Right now, it's usually either job stuff or baby stuff.
Learn more about the Saturday Special.

Weekend Dog Blog #5: Blooood!

Thursday evening, I was busily typing my post about the lesbian pregancy books when Shrike got home from work. I shouted from the office that "I'll be there in a minute," as she went to greet the dogs, who were outside.

A moment later, she came into the office and asked, "Did he bite you!?"

"No, why?"

"There's blood in the floor."

"What?!?"

Sure, enough, there were a few drops of fresh blood in the floor, near the door between the kitchen and the dogs' room sunroom.

BigGaloot was, of course, bouncing off the walls, greeting Shrike, and PerfectPup was still outside.

(She used to come running if I even whispered the words "Mom's home," but since BigGaloot came along, she waits for him to settle down a bit before she bothers coming in to see her.)

We started inspecting Galoot to find the source of blood. At first we thought it was a foot, then I heard Shrike say, "Oh my God!"

I was standing on the other side of him and couldn't see it very well, but from the amount of blood covering the side of his neck, I was expecting to see his ear hanging by a thread.


Looking closer, the ear was where it belonged, but we still couldn't find the source of the blood.

We started to wonder if it was even his - we called PerfectPup in and confirmed that she was okay, I checked all the cats (although the dogs had been outside most of the evening) and Shrike had to stop me from going out in the wet and cold to search the yard for a dead bunny.

Then we noticed that blood was dripping onto the floor, so we figured there must be a wound in there somewhere and it must still be bleeding.

We took him into the bathroom to get a better look and finally were able to see the gash nick, right at the tip of his ear.

Have you ever tried to apply direct pressure to a dog's ear? Yeah, that doesn't work so well.

We tried a wet washcloth. We tried a second wet washcloth, so we could put it on the ear, while he licked the blood off the first one. (Yeah, I know. Ew. But he was insistant.) We tried a dry towel.

No luck, he was still dripping blood and, even better, was shaking his head periodically and slinging little teeny droplets of it everywhere.

I joked that "maybe we should put flour on it?" because that's what the vet had recommended when we snipped one of PerfectPups toenails into the quick and couldn't get it to stop bleeding.

Eventually, we decided that it couldn't hurt, and gave it a try. It took a couple of dips, but it worked pretty quickly.

By that time, we'd realized that he was going to be fine, so we were able to get quite a bit of entertainment from his little white ear, and the "dog blood gravy" that we were making by mixing it with flour.

Looking at his ear today, it's kind of hard to tell, because the fur is still a bit matted in that spot (with blood and flour) but we still can't see an actual injury, so we suspect that it's probably not really even a nick (we really expected he'd be left with a little notch cut out!) but more of a scratch.

We still don't know how it happened - maybe PerfectPup got a bit rough when they were playing - or maybe she got really fed up with him and wasn't playing, maybe he caught it on any number of things in the yard - something on the fence, a tree, who knows, or maybe he scratched himself somehow.

I guess we'll never know what it was, we're just glad it turned out to be mostly a big nevermind. He sure had us worried for a while there.

More Weekend Dog Blogs here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I HAVE A JOB!!!

No time to chat, because I need to hop in the shower and get ready to go out for a celebratory dinner, but I got an offer from TutoringCenter today, I've accepted it and I start on Monday April 23.

I talked to the guy with the state about StateJob and he said that it might not happen, and it will certainly take a while longer, and he recommended that I take this one.

I'm trying to negotiate with them to get health insurance coverage immediately, rather than waiting 90 days. They offered to shorten the wait to 60 days, and I countered with an offer to pay 75% (instead of the standard 50%) for 120 days.

If that doesn't fly, I'll offer to pay 100% for 60 days, but that would be pretty tight.

Neither option will get me coverage by next week, when I have appointments scheduled, but I can push those back til May and should be ok. Better than July!

More details when I have them, but I have to go now!

Making Babies Without Boys

Toni asked a very good question, in a comment about my recent Thursday Thirteen post:

Just out of curiosity- what's the difference between you being preggos vs me? We both tote a uterus around. Why do lesbians need a book of their own?
I think to a very large extent that you're right. I think that, in a way, any two pregnant women in the whole world probably have more in common with each other - regardless of sexual orientation, age, race, religion, geography, or any other variable - than either of them has in common with any non-pregnant person in the whole world!

On the other hand, there are a lot of issues that are unique to lesbians and other women who are choosing to make and raise children without a male partner, that they do merit a book or ten that specifically address them.

(Shrike: And we own every one of them!)
First, the decision to have a child is a much bigger one, given how complicated it will be to make it happen, and given the wide range of possible reactions that a lesbian couple has to be prepared to get from their friends, families, jobs, etc.

Then, there's the whole matter of how to get pregnant in the first place - after all, we've got uteri a-plenty here at the Shrike-Whozat house, but nary a sperm in sight!

Another book that we own is called The Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy and Birth, and I'd say that all the books (including the one on my Thursday Thirteen list) really cover all those topics, not just pregnancy.

They generally come from the assumption that "So, you want to make a baby . . . " rather than "So, you're pregnant . . . ."

Most of the ones that I've read start with a chapter or two about the various options available for how to conceive the baby - known vs. anonymous donor, fresh vs. frozen sperm, intracervical vs. intrauterine insemination, at-home vs. doctor's office insemination, in vitro, sex with a man (yep, a few lesbians do it that way!), tracking fertility and timing inseminations (much trickier when you only get one "shot" at it each month), etc.

There's usually also a chapter about various possible parenting relationships - single parent, coparenting with a partner, coparenting with a donor, coparenting with a friend, and an infinite number of other arrangements that people work out - as well as the legal issues involved in making sure that everyone's parental rights are protected and respected by the law - especially those of the non-biological parent(s).

These legal protections can range from being essentially the default situation for a married or civily-united couple in places where that's possible, to complicated but doable for a couple in a state that allows second-parent adoption (as does Blue State) to almost impossible in a state that might not only ban second-parent adoption but any adoption by lesbians or gay men.

The books usually also offer advice on navigating the medical world as a lesbian couple, and making sure that your caregivers and hospital respect your relationship, and respect the non-biological mom's rights as a parent.

They also usually talk about dealing with parenting issues that are unique to same-sex couples - the constant questions about "who's the 'real' mom" or "who's the father," for example.

Also, the discussions of the effects of pregnancy and parenting on a couple's relationship are different from what I've read in mainstream books, which tend to assume that the pregnant woman is married to a man.

After all, if Shrike won't go buy me ice cream at 3 am (although I think she will) I can't blame it on her being an insensitive man!

(Likewise, I won't be able to blame her during the delivery for "doing this to me!" I have joked about saying that to the doctor, though, as she'll be the one inseminating me!)

So, I guess my answer is that the vast majority of the actual pregnancy information - what's happening to your body, how the baby is developing, what to expect during delivery - is pretty universal but there are other issues, unique to lesbians (or single women making babies without a man in the picture) that these books address, in addition to all of that.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6


Next on the list: a sneak peek at our bookshelf.

How well do you think you know us?

Leave a comment identifying (by number) which books you think belong to me, which to Shrike, and which to both of us equally.

You have until Sunday to guess, and then I'll post the answers, and the names of the winners.

I don't have any fabulous prizes to offer, so I'm afraid you're just playing for glory but, really, isn't that enough?

Good luck!

13 Books On Our Bookshelves
  1. Love, Janis - Laura Joplin
  2. Dog Tricks for Dummies - Hodgson
  3. 101 Nights of Grrreat Romance - Laura Corn
  4. The Holy Bible - God Man
  5. Loose Lips - Rita Mae Brown
  6. Jumble Crosswords Jamboree
  7. I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence - Amy Sedaris
  8. HBJ Algebra 2 with Trigonometry (Second Edition)
  9. America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction - Jon Stewart, et al
  10. Gone To Soldiers - Marge Piercy
  11. Daughters of Darkness: Lesbian Vampire Stories - Ed. Pam Keesey
  12. Take the Cannoli - Sarah Vowell
  13. The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians - Rachel Pepper
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More About the Tulips

Wow, the Wordless Wednesday photos of my Rembrandt Tulips were a huge hit!


You can learn more about them here, or order your own bulbs here.

Glad you like them!

Wordless Wednesday #4: Tip-Toe Through The Tulips

These photos were taken Easter 2006. They should be blooming again soon.






Learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

About the Photos

I can't believe I've neglected to post anything about our photo shoot a couple of weeks ago.

Actually, I do know why I didn't mention it. I'll get to that in a minute.

First, the photos.

A while back, I was poking around CraigsList and saw an ad looking for gay and lesbian couples to pose for black and white photographs, in exchange for free prints of the photos.

Ever since I started my journey to gastric bypass surgery, I've been talking about getting some "real" photos taken of us when I reached my goal weight, but we'd not done it yet.

Of course, we could go to Sears or something, but I'd really rather have them taken by someone who's not going to try to pose us like we're sisters. We were considering a lesbian photographer that we know of in CapitalCity, but were waiting til we felt like we could afford that kind of an extravagance.

When I saw this ad, I figured it was a perfect opportunity for us, so I contacted the photographer and set it all up.

It turns out that she's planning to study photography in college and is applying for a scholarship for gay and lesbian themed art.

Her entries included photos of us, photos of a gay male couple and a collage including some of each.

(Good luck!!!)

We met her at a park in CaptialCity, since she lives about an hour from there, in a different direction. It was a beautiful day (back when it was Spring - before it became Winter again) and we spent about an hour walking around the park and posing in a variety of locations, then treated her to lunch.

Shrike says it was a little wierd, but I thought it was fun - kind of like being movie stars!

She sent us proofs a few days later and we're trying to decide which ones we'd like prints of. There are a lot of really good ones.

Now, the reason I didn't mention it before . . . .

I knew that if I talked about the photo shoot, I'd feel obligated to talk about the other thing that happened that day, and I was too upset about it.

Don't worry, it wasn't anything truly awful, but still quite upsetting.

On the way there, we stopped at a gas station to use the restroom, and I took off my rings to wash my hands, putting them in my pocket.

When we got to the park, I put my hands in my pockets, felt my college ring in there and said, "Wow! I'm glad I put them in my pocket, and not on the sink!"

I reached back into my pocket to get my wedding and engagement rings (taped together because they've not been resized since my weightloss) - and the pocket was empty.

I assume that when I pulled my keys out of the pocket at some point, the rings went flying. We were hoping it had happened there at the park (I'd put the keys in, taken them back out, put them back in) but we looked all around the car and didn't find them.

When we finished with the photos, we went back to the gas station, but they weren't there either. I left my phone number and a description with the clerk and placed a "lost and found" ad on the CapitalCity CraigsList, but it's been more than two weeks and I've heard nothing.

The only bright side of the whole thing is that Shrike took it really well and was more worried about comforting me than being mad at me.

I guess that we'll replace them someday, but it just won't be the same.

What the Hell Am I Thinking?

A couple of weeks ago, Toni wrote a post the general gist of which was "why the hell would someone ask total strangers to critique their blog?!"

Of course, I had to follow the links and read the critiques over at So Many Blogs, So Little Time.

And then I tweaked some things around here, for oh, no particular reason.

And then what the hell am I thinking? I submitted my blog to be reviewed.

Those girls are pretty busy, and I'm at the bottom of quite a "to do" list, so I supect it could be a month or more before they get around to me, but I'm on pins and needles already.

Again, I say: What the hell am I thinking?

So, go ahead, tell me how nuts I am.

And then, when they pan me, you can be the first to say "I told you so!"

Monday, April 9, 2007

Post #100: 100 Things About Me

In honor of my 100th post (not counting those that I imported from my old website), I've decided to finally do the "100 Things About Me" meme that I've been seeing all over the Internets. Here goes:

100 Things About Me
  1. I was born and raised in Texas.
  2. I have one sister, 8 years older than me.
  3. I have one brother, 13 months younger than me.
  4. The first pet I remember was a cat named "Meathead."
  5. I enjoyed sports as a kid, but sucked at them.
  6. In softball, I always played rightfield.
  7. My oldest friend is someone I've known since kindergarten.
  8. She and her partner are expecting a baby boy on July 4.
  9. In 6th grade, the principal threatened to make us both wear dresses to school for a month if we got sent to the office for fighting any more.
  10. It worked.
  11. The principal was a lesbian. We are sure she was onto us.
  12. I was in the band from 4th grade on.
  13. I was Drum Major my senior year.
  14. I had no idea that band kids weren't cool.
  15. Ok, maybe not the coolest, but I'd never heard the term "band-nerd."
  16. I wonder if we weren't as uncool at our school than at others.
  17. Or maybe they only said it behind our backs.
  18. I was a National Merit Scholar
  19. I graduated from college with a 2.67 GPA.
  20. I partied a lot in college.
  21. I did not study a lot.
  22. I taught middle school science for nine years.
  23. I love teaching people things.
  24. I hated being a teacher.
  25. I stayed in it for the summers off.
  26. I spent most of my summers, from age 7 - 30 at the same summer camp.
  27. It is one of my favorite places on Earth.
  28. If I could get past being freaked out by the idea of cremation, I would want my ashes scattered there.
  29. Most of my best friends, and some of the most amazing women I know, are people I met at camp.
  30. I could probably come up with a camp song about damn near any topic you can name.
  31. I realized that I am gay at the age of 29.
  32. I should have known at the age of 6.
  33. Everybody else knew.
  34. I knew.
  35. Meeting Shrike is what finally made it worth admitting.
  36. That was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
  37. I can not imagine going back into the closet in any way, shape or form.
  38. I will come to out anyone and everyone.
  39. I talk about Shrike the same way anybody else would talk about their spouse.
  40. Fuck you, if you don't like it.
  41. I am very active in my local and state Democratic Parties.
  42. I was not politically involved until 2003.
  43. I am a "Deaniac."
  44. I'm not so much about policy, though.
  45. I'm about the grassroots and the organizing and the event planning.
  46. I love to throw a party.
  47. I've discovered that I enjoy raising money, too.
  48. I don't take "no" for an answer.
  49. About anything.
  50. I've been called a controlling bitch.
  51. That's a pretty accurate assessment.
  52. I worked for my state Democratic Party in the 06 election.
  53. I've been unemployed since then.
  54. The first couple of months were a nice vacation. Now I need fucking job.
  55. I need a job and health insurance so we can start trying to have a baby.
  56. I will turn 39 in about a month.
  57. I don't foresee having a baby before I'm 40.
  58. I can't fathom that I will be 40 in just over a year. It's just surreal.
  59. Shrike moved in with me the day before my 30th birthday. That was surreal, too.
  60. I thought "Oh my God. I'm a 30 year old lesbian. When the fuck did that happen?"
  61. Then, we bought our house right after my 35th birthday. Suddenly, I was a 35 year old homeowner.
  62. Again: "When the fuck did that happen?"
  63. I guess it would fit right into that pattern to become a parent at 40.
  64. I'm worried that I'll have trouble getting (or, God-forbid, trouble staying) pregnant because of my age.
  65. I thought my parents were incredibly uncool because they were so old.
  66. They were 34 (mom) and 32 (dad) when I was born.
  67. But I'm still cooler. A little bit.
  68. I can't possibly be almost 40, because 40-year-olds are grown-ups and I don't feel grown up at all.
  69. Sometimes I feel old, though.
  70. Not nearly as often as I used to. I'm much healthier than I used to be.
  71. I had gastric bypass surgery in December 2004.
  72. I lost about 200 lbs, and have maintained my weight (+/- 5 lbs of goal) since last June.
  73. The surgery is one of the best decisions I've ever made.
  74. I'm terrified of gaining back the weight.
  75. I worry a lot about our child having a weight problem.
  76. We're going to get "skinny sperm" to try to avoid that.
  77. Skinny, and smart and cute sperm.
  78. It kind of creeps me out a bit that most of the donors are so young.
  79. I feel like Mrs. Robinson. Or Mrs. Letourneau. Ew, ew and ew.
  80. I find it very hard to think of 100 things about myself that are even marginally interesting.
  81. Without being too freaky.
  82. Wouldn't you like to know.
  83. When no one is around, I talk to myself. (Everybody does that, right?)
  84. Sometimes I get caught. I hate when that happens.
  85. If I'm in the car, I pretend I was singing. Lean over and act like I'm adjusting the radio, etc.
  86. I don't think they're buying it.
  87. I really do sing along if there's music playing.
  88. There's usually not music playing.
  89. I like to listen to audiobooks in the car.
  90. Or NPR.
  91. I'm a nerd.
  92. I like nerdy, nonfiction books.
  93. Right now, I'm listening to Pilgrims. Wow, those guys were kind of assholes.
  94. I think alot of our "Founding Fathers" were kind of assholes.
  95. It's mostly that whole slavery and genocide thing that bothers me.
  96. Then it freaks me out that if they'd not done all that shit, I wouldn't exist, because my various ancestors wouldn't have all gotten together and made babies with each other and such.
  97. It freaks me out to think of the randomness of life. What if my parents hadn't met? What if they'd not been "in the mood" the night that I was concieved? What if my mom had rolled over on her other side and a different sperm had fertilized that egg and they'd had some other kid who wasn't me.
  98. The above is way more than I'm comfortable thinking about my parents' sex life. Ew.
  99. I'm kind of glad that our kid's existence won't be proof to him/her that his/her parents "did it."
  100. And, on that note, I'm thrilled to see that I've managed to come up with 100 things. Whew!