Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back and Looking Forward

2011 has been a long strange year, with lots of good times, and some really hard times here at the end.

I haven't blogged as much as I'd planned to, because I've been busy at home with the baby, freelance work, and house projects, but I do plan to post more regularly next year. Bloggy Moms is doing a "Blog Dare" with a prompt each day of the year, so that should help on those days I don't know what to write about.

The best part of 2011 was getting to stay home with Robbie and watching him grow from a baby into a very active toddler. His personality has really come out, and he's an adorable little handful. He's learning new words every week, climbing, and copying so much of what he sees us do. He's very sweet and so helpful - he puts dishes in the sink, helps with laundry, wipes up spills, lets the dogs out, and lets us know when the dogs and cat need food. In short, he's more responsible at 20 months than a lot of people I know are at 20 years. ;)

The worst part of 2011 has been financial. I finally have some fairly steady freelance work, but not a lot of it, so I'm still only making a few hundred dollars a month right now. The hubby was doing pretty well at work, but they cut all overtime and then have been doing temporary layoffs over the last month, so things are much tighter. It's pretty scary, but I'm trying to really budget and save money where I can to make things a little easier. One advantage is that I am meal planning and we are eating at home much more often, and I've rediscovered how mice it can be to spend a couple hours playing around in the kitchen - at least until it's time to wash the dishes.

For the coming year, I'm going to try to do more freelance work and work on expanding my web design skills as well as writing. I've also been asked to help a friend with some organizing and decluttering for a family member of hers, but I feel sort of hypocritical doing that when I still have a way to go. We have got a lot done in the house this year though, and I want to finish all the decluttering and get the whole inside painted in the coming year. If money allows, we're going to re-do the floors as well; if not, I'll just be shampooing the carpets and trying to keep them in as good of shape as possible.

I'm also trying to get back into an exercise routine. I couldn't afford to keep the gym membership for this year, but I still have a treadmill, several exercise DVDs, and my bike and rollerskates. I can push Robbie in his stroller and walk or run on days that are nice, walk on the treadmill or exercise at home if I can get him to take a nap, and ride my bike or skate when Billy's home to watch him. I don't know if I'll be able to do roller derby or triathlon this year, but I can at least get back into shape so I feel better and have a good base to build on when I am able to get back into sports.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Freelance Doesn't Mean Unemployed! ...Except When It Does

Photo courtesy of Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
The past two years, I've mostly been describing myself as a stay-at-home mom, which is halfway true because I do see that as my most important job right now.

I've also been reassuring some family and friends by telling them I was doing some "freelance" work on the side. That's also partially true, but I was still drawing unemployment which forced me to limit my income pretty drastically, and cut down on my client list (according to the person I talked to at the employment office, I could work through a website that filed a 1099, but could not work with clients directly, because that would be considered self-employment and would make me ineligible for unemployment benefits).

This is where a certain group of people will tell me I should have said screw the benefits, jumped into freelancing full-time, and went all sink-or-swim.  Great plan there, except I left a job with an above-average salary for this area, so my weekly unemployment checks were higher than my husband's take home pay, and over $100 a week higher than any of the jobs I was offered while looking. I don't know what my freelance income would have been if I'd really pushed it, worked 16+ hour days, and all of those other things, but I do know it would have been somewhat limited by total lack of support from my husband and a toddler in my care 24/7.

Either way, I received my last unemployment check yesterday, so now I find myself in the freelance world for real. It scares the crap out of me. I'm excited to be able to work on my own terms, but I really, really, really want the safety net of a paycheck there to catch me if I screw up. With that gone, I am jumping into writing and trying to work from a set schedule, and am also branching out into some graphic work and webpage design. Right now, I'm doing some free work in those areas for a church some friends are starting (logo, facebook welcome screen for the fan page, & a website), and have a couple logos and fan pages in the works. I've gotten a lot of compliments, but it is sort of crazy now building a portfolio and trying to launch a new business all at once. I'm still doing the writing as well, and have kicked it up to where I am making more than I was, but it's hard to adjust from the income level I had to cap it off at before to what I need to be making now to pay the bills.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Awesome Brownies, By Mistake

Lately, the rugrat's had this thing about opening boxes of food and either scattering pasta all over the kitchen or bringing me random packages without the box they came in. (Yeah, they make child-proof cabinet latches - it took him about 2 days to figure those out).

Usually, I can find the accompanying box before the dogs eat it and get everything put back together and taped shut. This time, it didn't work that way.

I ended up with one big clear cellophane bag or brown, chocolatey looking baking mix and bits of a red cardboard box scattered all over my living room. I could tell from the size and shape (and cause I bake a lot of cakes and brownies) that it was a Betty Crocker mix, so I assumed it was for fudge brownies, my husband's favorite.

I busted out a pan, greased it up, and followed the direction on another package of brownies to make them, adding a thin layer of Nutella in the middle because I love that stuff and because I can never just follow a recipe without messing around.

When they were done, they smelled and looked good, but it was clear they were not the brownies I thought they were. Instead, it had been a box of German chocolate cake mix. I tried one, thought it was pretty good, and gave the hubby one to sample. He declared they were freakin' awesome, ate 4, then told me from now on I should forget the brownie mix and make those instead.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween! ...Why Don't You Take A Seat Over There

Kids clothes in general make me glad I have a son rather than a daughter right now, but some of the Halloween costumes really are maddening. There are still lots of  "cute" choices for very young kids, but it seems like the "sexy" costumes keep coming in younger sizes every year.

I could go on a whole rant about that in general, but I'm not really bothered as much if an adult wants to dress up as a sexy/slutty whatever. What does skeeve me out is when I see the same costumes, complete with fake garterbelt stockings, miniskirts, and optional high heels, in sizes aimed at pre-teens and even sized to fit the average 10-12 year old.

Did I miss something, or is it now appropriate to dress a child up in something at 12 that you'd ground them for leaving the house in at 16? In a world where everyone is aware of the dangers of sexual predators, to the point of TV shows focusing on the problem, and where many cities have started taking extra precautions on Halloween because it brings children into contact with so many strangers, why would we think sending young girls out to walk around in skimpy clothing could possibly be a good idea.

Several other people have addressed this, but costume makers most not be getting the idea, so maybe we could try reaching the parents who buy these costumes directly. While a Pedo Bear costume would probably be in bad taste, how about a couple guys dressed as Chris Hansen? - "Hello, I'm Chris Hansen - WTF were you thinking with that outfit?"

*OK, that last part was tongue-in-cheek    ... mostly*

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Little PIG Bull

The picture on the left is our newest addition, Rebel. He's a pit bull & Cane Corso mix, and the picture is from last month, when he was about 8 weeks old. He's now 12 weeks and already 34 pounds.

He is the sweetest little dog, but I think there was a mix up and I got a "pig" bull instead of a pitbull.This little pup already eats more than my full-grown (90+ pound) German Shepard/Rottweiler mix. He eats about his own weight in dog food each day - more today because I fed them a bunch of chicken that had been left out overnight by mistake, along with some boiled rice.

In addition to eating like a pig, he sounds like one. When he is happy, excited, or finds food, he grunts, snuffles, snorts, and roots around making sounds just like a pig.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crying Over Broken Lipstick

I've recently started putting more care into how I look. I figured with all of this going to the gym and trying not to look like the stereotypical frazzled housewife, I should start dressing a little better, doing my hair, and putting on makeup.

Since I didn't wear it often, I had a lot of cheap makeup, but very little "good" makeup. One of the things I have and love though is what has become on of my two signature lipsticks - a tube of Estee Lauder Autumn that my mom gave me. She didn't like the color on her, but it looks awesome on me. It's become my everyday color for when I don't want to go all-out with the cherry red lips and vintage/rockabilly look.

I wore it to a family reunion this weekend, reveled in a few compliments about how good I looked (most of these people were used to seeing me with no makeup, horrible hair, and in faded out jeans and t-shirts), and of course had my favorite lipstick in my handbag. That was all good. I even put it up out of reach when we got home.

Well, I thought it was out of reach, but I forgot I am mother to an aspiring mountain climber. Later that evening, my husband was supposed to be watching our son so I could catch up on some freelance writing assignments. Unbeknownst to me, hubby had decided to kick the toddler out of the bedroom and shut the door, so he was in the front living room unsupervised. I walked past on my way to the kitchen and noticed he had climbed up on top of a table and had my purse. He'd gotten my lipstick out, eaten about 2/3 of it, and had some of it smeared all over himself, my white couch, and my purse.

I tried to clean up what I could, but the stains aren't coming out of anything. I was so upset, especially when I found out that the lipstick costs $24 to replace. I did manage to salvage the bit that was left by melting it back down in the tube with a hair dryer and sticking it in the freezer for a few hours to "set", but the whole thing just makes me mad because it could have been avoided if my husband would have kept his word and watched our son for an hour or two, or at least let me know he had shut him out there.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Still Alive

I know it's been a while since I posted, but I hadn't realized it was 2 whole months!

Anyway, I'm going well. I've just been  really busy but not getting much done. One again, this whole motherhood-marriage-life thing is getting kind of overwhelming again.

I still haven't found a "real" job and am getting ready to run out of unemployment, so that sort of scares the crap out of me. With our local job market, most of the options are part-time and minimum wage, and daycare is expensive even if I thought I could leave Rugrat in one without totally freaking out. The one and only job offer I've had would have left me with $28 a week (gross pay, before taxes) after paying for childcare, so we didn't go that route.

I am doing some writing online, mostly through Textbroker. I'm actually making OK money at that, but only have a couple hours per day to write. The hubby doesn't understand that I can't write very well with the TV blaring, dogs running around, and toddler in my lap. I ask him to watch Rugrat so I can write and he lets him climb up on my or comes to me every 15 minutes asking where something is. I feel like I could make enough to pay some bills doing this if I could have some quiet and concentration, but right now my choices are either to stay up late and write or wake up very early. This means 5 or less hours of sleep, and I can only function like that for a few days before I start getting sick and then start having bad depression and anxiety issues again. Still, it seems like my only real shot at work at the moment.

I'm still going to the gym some but have had to back way off due to calf strain and then fibro flares that have left me with pain and joint soreness. I seem to do OK cycling still, as long as it's on a recumbent, but am having trouble walking up inclines, running, or even walking fast for long. I'm doing water aerobics to try to stretch and do low-impact cardio, but the whole thing is really frustrating because I am so far behind the goals I had set for myself. If I push it, then I am sore all over the next day and I had one day where I hadn't even exercised but spent several hours unable to put any weight on my right leg and hip. I am signed up for a 5k on the 15, but am not sure if I'll be able to do it or not. If I can walk 2.5 miles or so on Tuesday or Wednesday, then I figure I can do 3.2 on Saturday, but I'll most likely walk it all instead of running most of it like I had originally planned.

Rugrat is going great. He's talking some, mostly really random words like ball, bird, banner, dog, no, and his favorite word "shit". He's also waving, high 5-ing, and running up to people going "boo" and laughing. He is climbing, running, and into everything, and laughs a lot. He also gives hugs and kisses, which is so sweet, but really annoys the dogs.

Speaking of dogs, we got a new puppy. He's a pit bull / Cane Corso mix, so he'll probably be big, but he is really sweet. He's actually a lot calmer and better behaved than Thor was at that age, but I'm still working on housebreaking and teaching him not to chew on toys and other random things. Having 2 dogs bouncing around, along with a toddler, makes for some interesting days. I am also really thankful for my carpet cleaner right now.

I've still got a ton of stuff to de-clutter, but I'm cleaning around what I can. The house is pretty decent right now, other than all the bedroom stuff being in my front living room because we still haven't gotten the flooring down in the bedrooms. Once that's done, and I can move things, I'm going to do another big purge of things. I've got a bunch of nicer clothes to sell on eBay, but want to be able to organize them and keep them clean, so I need the space. Hopefully, Billy will also let go of some of the random extra furniture we have, which will free up a lot of room. Either way, I'm moving a big wide desk into the spare bedroom to use as a sewing table, so I'll finally have a place for sewing and crafty stuff. I've got a few vintage patterns I want to try for a dress and a couple of skirts, then I'll probably work on some curtains and pillows, and maybe a slipcover for the couch if I get really ambitious.

That's pretty much life as it stands now, and I'll try to update this poor little neglected blog more in the future.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Plauge of Frogs - In the Bathroom?

This morning started out pretty normal. Got up, took a shower, went to go pee, etc. Then I made the mistake of looking down at the toilet.

I saw a big brown thing, and thought someone had missed the bowl, so I reached for the toilet brush. Then the lump moved. It was a big frog!

Because I have my priorities straight, I screamed like a little girl, then went to the living room to get my camera, so I could take a pic for the blog. When I got back, it was gone, so I had to snag a pic of someone else's toilet frog off the internet (see, you can find anything on Google).

My husband went and looked and he was telling me I must be imagining it. I would have thought so myself, if I had thought it was a frog when I first saw it.

The disturbing thing is this is the second frog I've found in the bathroom this summer. The first one "disappeared" too, and I looked up and found it sitting in the miniblinds over the tub about a week later. Hubby tried to tell me I imagined that one, too, until it showed up and I made him go snatch it out of the blinds. I pointed that out to him when he started telling me there was no frog this time, but then he accused me of catching a frog and "planting" it in the bathroom, just to prove I was right. Not that I don't like being right, but I wouldn't stoop to touching icky, squishy, jumping things just to prove it.

So now I'm wondering what is going on. I blamed the first one on the dog, because he loves to catch frogs and has the thing of bringing nasty crap into the house after he's let out. Now I'm not so sure. In the process of googling "toilet frogs", I found out this is apparently a common thing in some area and can be caused by an "open" line that allows frogs (and snakes) to climb up the water line into your house. Being that our house was formerly owned by a guy with all sort of "creative" ideas about home repairs, plumbing, and wiring, it wouldn't surprise me one bit.

So now, in addition to a possible coming plague of frogs in my toilet, I'm also gonna have to start peeking in the bowl and making sure there are no snakes lurking there waiting to bite me in the ass for peeing on their heads. I thought people gave all that crap up when we finally got indoor plumbing instead of outhouses.

Here are a few more pics to prove that toilet frogs are a real problem:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trail of Destruction

Yesterday was one of those days - the ones every warned me were coming as rugrat got more mobile.

I had got about 2 hours of sleep the night before, had a headache most of the day, and was sick to my stomach off and on all morning. Since moms don't get sick days, I still had an over-active toddler to keep an eye on.

It was like he knew I was dragging and took advantage of the situation to get into something every time I turned my back or went to the bathroom.

The morning started with me leaving him in the living room, eating a waffle, while I went to go throw up. A few minute later, he brought me half of one of those decorative plates. He had gotten into my husband's "curio cabinet" (meant to house stereos, but filled with random figures and plates of wolves, confederate flags, model cars and other things that should be relegated to the mid-90s rural south) and somehow broke it clean in two.

A little later, we were settled down in the floor playing with his toy trucks and I thought was pretty engrossed in it when I had to step out again. I should have known something was up, because he was really quiet. I got back to the living room, and he'd taken a bag of flour from the kitchen cabinet and dumped about half of it on the living room carpet, with a trail of flour leading back to the kitchen. (Yes, we have child latches on the cabinets - he gets them open faster than I do, so maybe they should be called mommy latches.

I pop him in the playpen while I vacuum and wonder why on earth I don't drink anymore, and he falls asleep. Since I'm still tired from lack of sleep, and still generally feeling like crud, I decide I'll take a nap too. I settle down for about 2 hours of rest finally, and am feeling better when I wake up, until I see the dog. Evidently, the toddler has woken up before I did and actually stayed quiet enough to let me sleep. Also the hubby has left the peanut butter within reach once again. You guessed it - the dog, floor, couch, toddler, and kitchen are all covered with sticky peanut butter.

I get it cleaned up, wash the dog, give the baby another bath, take a second shower myself because I have peanut butter all over my arms and clothes, and wonder again if I should take up drinking. Then I realize I couldn't afford it anyway, because I have to keep buying things like baby clothes and toys and more peanut butter, Which is why I opt for internet time and green tea instead. I get dressed, go into the living room, and start winding back the toilet paper he has unrolled and picking up pieces of the back pages of an old book he has torn up while I was in the shower.

About this time, the hubby gets home from work. He looks at me, the baby in the floor playing, and the path of toys and destruction that I haven't gotten around to picking up yet and asks what happened to the house. I told him our little hellion happened and I was too busy being sick and cleaning up larger messes to deal with the clutter today.

Since I felt almost human by that point, and really needed to get out of the house, I asked him to watch the rugrat so I could go to the gym (they have childcare, but the carseat was still in hubby's Ramcharger, and I just did not feel like dealing with it). I went, hit the exercise bike for 30 minutes, walked 2 miles, skipped swimming because I had errands to run and the pool was sort of crowded, and felt pretty damn good. I went ahead and ran some errands since I was easier to do on one of my rare solo trips to the store, and came home.

Rugrat and the hubby were both snuggled up asleep on the couch. Once he woke up, hubby was like "yeah, he fell asleep about 5 minutes after you left, I guess he was tired out".

Rugrat is being great today - he's been playing in the living room mostly within my site, cuddled up in my nap for a story, and is just being sweet and non-messy for the most part.
I don't know what yesterday was all about.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

He Gets Into Everything AND The Kitchen Sink

Nope, I didn't put him there. He got in there himself.

I made the mistake of letting him stand in a chair by the sink and "help" my wash dishes.
That taught him 2 very bad things:
  1. Chairs are great for reaching and climbing.
  2. The sink sprayer is great fun to play with.
In the course of a few minutes, he got the chair out from under the sink, pushed it up to the counter, and climbed up into the sink. He didn't have the water on, but had the sprayer and was trying to use it.

(Yes, I have wallpaper and chickens on my curtains. We're redneck like that 'round here.)
(No, Bloggess fans, the chickens are not named Beyonce)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seriously, IRS?

OK, I am seriously sick of taxes right now. I'm also wondering how many people got audited for their 2009 taxes, just in time to help the government offest some of this crazy-ass debt they're racking up.

(Yeah, I'm one of those paranoid conspiracy theorists, but I find it odd that I know 3 other people who got past due tax bills. One's already been proven to be a mistake.)

We got a bill for very close to $3,000 from the IRS a few months ago, where supposedly something had been entered on the wrong line of a form. (My husband's IRA withdrawal wasn't taxed like it should have been),. The taxes were done using TurboTax, so I thought that was odd, but we couldn't find the original return, so we had to take the IRS' word for it. Stuff is already really tight on us, but they agreed to take payments of $50 a month and then take the rest out of any refund that we might get at the end of the year.

That really sucked, but I thought it was settled. Then yesterday we get a bill for $750 from the state. Turns out the feds had notified them, and their "correction" of the return jacked up our taxable income, leaving us owing the state a buttload of money, too. Of course, the state of North Carolina is run by a bunch of arseholes, so they won't do the same type of payments as the feds. They're asking for it all at once or in payments of $85 a month, and I have no clue how that's gonna work out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm Not Anti-Social, I Just Have A Toddler

I love my rugrat, but I have to admit that sometimes I miss being able to just go out and do some of the things I used to be able to before having a child. It was so much easier to just pick up and take off or make a spur-of-the-moment change in plans. for that matter, it was nice not having to carry around a diaper bag or plan out for food, drinks, and extra clothes each time I leave the house. I know I sort of signed up for this when I had a baby, but some people haven't quite caught on to that.
If you remember the old cartoon "Buttons & Mindy", my son is quickly becoming a Mindy. He is very adventurous and liked to climb, explore, and do things that are really fun for him and scare the crap out of me and most other adults around. He is not one of those children you can just stick in front of a television set and expect to be entranced. Maybe that's where I messed up by not having the TV on much at home, but he would much rather be trying to climb the bookcases, taking all my silverware out of the drawer, emptying the fax machine of paper, putting the dog's food in his water dish, or throwing flour all over the kitchen than watching cartoons.

This makes me more than a little nervous when visiting other people's houses. Some of my friends with children tell me that he'll be fine and that their 6 or 7 year old will keep an eye on him while they play in the kid's room, but I've seen him get into all sorts of stuff in a room full of adults, so I'm not going to count on it. My childless friends also don't get it. He's a social little fellow and will force himself to stay awake just to be around people, so there's no guarantee he'll settle down for a nap at 9 or 10 or 2am so we can have quiet time to talk or watch a movie. It also limits the places I can go. We don't have a sitter, and I'm nervous about leaving him with just anyone. Being that most of my social life before centered around live music, mosh pits, and beer, that cuts out all of that.

It feels so lame being all "sorry, I have a kid now" when an out of town friend calls to tell me his band is playing in the next town over, but the little dude is pretty much with me wherever I go now for the next few years. Until some really cool person decided to open a bar/club with an on-site daycare and book some good bands, it looks like I'll have to decline a lot of invitations. I'm working on meeting other moms around here that "get" this and don't mind hanging out out home where it's not a huge issue if one of the kiddos wants to run around naked or has a meltdown because they are tired or unhappy, but I'm also trying to figure out a way to let my old friend know I'm really not avoiding them, I just have a toddler.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Because You Can't Strap a Carseat on a Harley

Yep, that's a real bike. More specifically, my 2004 Sportster. I totally fell in love with that bike in the show room, then found out it was on hold for someone else. When that fell through, and the dealer called to tell me it was still available, I jumped on it like a monkey on a banana.

Because of my work schedule and other craziness, I didn't really get to ride as much as I wanted, and I haven't ridden at all in the past 2 years due to the combo of a car wreck and broken arm, being pregnant, and then having a toddler and nobody willing to babysit while I ride. Still, I love that freakin' bike.

However, I've also realized I can't ride around with the baby and the hubby is not going to watch out son so I can go out and ride. Rather than let it sit there and rust, and because we are broke and getting broker, I'm gonna have to sell it. One of the husband's co-workers was interested and had a check that would have bought it, but he ended up blowing the money partying, so that fell through. Right now, I'm waiting on one other person that may be interested and I'll probably put it on ebay or craigslist if that doesn't work out.

Part of me really, really wants to keep it, but I realize there's no point if I won't be able to ride it in the foreseeable future, and we really could use the money from the sale.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ground Control to Major Mom

OK, excuse the David Bowie reference. I grew up in the 80s and I couldn't get it out of my head after seeing the photo. It does kind of look like one of the old school space capsules, doesn't it?

Yep, that's the inside of my washing machine. Robbie has not only figured out how to turn it on when he wants to (use a kitchen chair to reach the knobs), but he's now figured out how to get in it. The hubby was watching him while I was out weeding the garden and caught him because he got stuck. He said he was trying to get out and couldn't because it would spin when he moved, so he started fussing. Of course, he had to get a picture first to show me.

This is really not cool, but at least he can't turn it on while he's inside it, and know I know to add the washing and dryer to the every-growing list of stuff to keep an eye on because he's going to try to climb on or in it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Joined a Gym I Can Shower In Peace

So I did it. After putting it off for years (well, I did have a major car accident, surgery, and a baby in that time, so I had some excuses), I actually joined the local gym.

Yeah, I weigh over 300 lbs, and here lately my endurance totally sucks. And it would be nice to be able to start running again and finally do that damn triathlon.

But that's not my main motivation. Nope, not at all.

See, the reason I picked this particular gym is that it has childcare. That means I can go during the daytime, drop the rugrat off for up to 2 hours, and not have to deal with poop or a small person climbing up my leg every 15 minutes. I'm also close enough by that I don't have to freak out that something may be wrong - it's a small gym, so I could be there in less than a minute from almost anywhere if needed.

The most awesome thing, as I suspected in my last post, is that I can shower in peace. That is awesome. Even though the showers kinda remind me of high school gym class, and I have to wear shoes in them, I'm not really caring. It's quiet and I can take as long as I want to without having to worry about anybody waking up or trashing my house in the meantime.

While I'm hoping all this means I'll tone up some and get in better shape, I still think the membership fee would still be worth it just for the chance to get a break every now and then and to be able to shower in peace.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's a Mom Gotta Do To Get A Shower Around Here?

When I first got pregnant, I heard all the warnings and read a couple blogs telling me that I'd never get to shower or go to the bathroom in peace again.

I thought they were kidding or over-exaggerating, until my little man cut himself down to one nap a day, if I'm lucky, and became very mobile.

Now, I'm home all day with a toddler who is half monkey, half acrobat, and cannot be contained. Seriously, he can climb out of his playpen in about 10 seconds.

If I could wake up naturally before 6am, I probably could get a shower before he woke up, but mommy doesn't work that way. That tends to be closer to my pre-baby bedtime than to any sort of a natural wake-up time for me.

I have spent way too many days vegging around in a nightgown or shorts and a tank top, being all skanky and unwashed until the little man crashed out for his afternoon nap, or sometimes until my husband gets home for work and I tell him he's got to watch the rugrat so I can get un-gross before fixing dinner. That's really not my idea of a good plan though (and it keeps scaring the UPS guys.

Today, I decided I really needed a shower and just let the little dude run amok while I showered. He did run in there every few minutes to look at my through the glass, so I knew he was ok, but he pretty much had run of the bedroom and bathroom. My husband's alarm/cell phone got re-programmed, half the sock drawer was emptied out, all my hair ties were scattered around the bathroom, and he got an ink pen out and drew on the bathroom floor. I don't care though, it was so worth it to be showered and dressed and feeling like a human before noon.

I think tomorrow I may just plop him down in the (empty) garden tub with some non-toxic fingerpaints and a few toys and try it again. Failing that, I am planning to join a local gym, so I guess I could bring all my good hair and makeup stuff with me and get prettied up in the shower there before I pick him up from their child care area.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

KIA... Because Sick Fantasies Win Awards

This message was just posted on the Kia Motors Facebook page:
Thank you for your comments. The advertisement in question was not produced by Kia Motors Corporation (KMC) nor Kia Motors America (KMA), but rather by a local creative agency in another region. Neither KMC nor KMA were previously aware of the existence of this ad and it does not reflect the values of the Kia brand in any way. We at Kia Motors corporate headquarters in South Korea are investigating the matter and will address with the related parties.
Apparently, the ad was not commissioned or approved by Kia, but was created and submitted to the contest by the ad agency with the company only becoming aware of it once it hit the media and internet.


Sorry, my planned "Cute Kid Story™" has been postponed, due to this crap:

An ad for car manufacturer Kia has won an Press Silver Lion award at the Cannes Lion Awards.
The ad is supposed to feature the Kia Sportage's dual climate control system, but instead seems to feature a teacher having s____l fantasies about one of his young students.

Doesn't this just make you want to go out and support these creeps by buying their vehicles?Not suprisingly, the advertising team that came up with this - Moma, from São Paulo, Brazil - was all male. I'm just really hoping none of the designers, Mr. Rodolfo Sampaio, Mr. Marco Martins, or Mr. Adriano Matos have daughters or access to children or teenagers if this is what they consider acceptable (and, yes, I know that plenty of consenting adults fetishize schoolgirl uniforms, nut not typically while talking to much younger schoolgirls, or at least I hope not).

I will be contacting Kia's US Public Relations contact in the morning to get his take on it and to voice my opinion, assuming this is an actual approved ad.

I doubt I'll get an answer, as a question about it and link to the ad on their Facebook page was deleted in less than 3 minutes. All it would have taken was a "we did not approve this ad".

Feel free to do the same:

Scott McKee, Director of KIA-USA Public Relations
111 Peters Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92606

phone: 949-468-4813

eta: They also have this lovely take on "Sleeping Beauty", with the kids on the left:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'm really starting to notice a pattern here. Every time I start an exercise plan, something happens to really throw me off track. A couple years ago, when I was finally getting into a good groove with running, I was in a car accident and broke my arm, plus had some nerve damage in my leg that made it painful to even walk for a while. That healed, then I got pregnant, and had some weird complications where I was passing out, then more craziness postpartum (fatigue and joint pain that was diagnosed as fibromyalgia, but I think may be more related to thyroid & vitamin D deficiency since it has improved greatly since I started taking medications for those).

So, lately, I've started walking again in an effort to build back up to running and then triathlon. I had even called a local gym and made an appointment for a tour so I could sign up under a special deal they are running for summer. Then, this happened:The toddler was going after something, I forget what, and I jumped up to get him. Somehow, I caught my end toes on the brown footstool there in the picture and I guess all of my weight went into them. Either way, I hurt a pop and it hurt like crazy. It looked fine until the next morning, then I woke up to see bruising all down the left side of my foot and a swelled up pinky toe. I had it x-rayed and they confirmed it was broken, and they told me to ice it and try to stay off it, which is pretty hard to do with a little one.

Right now, I'm supposed to take it easy and try to stay off it until at least the end of next month. The doctor said not to run or skate on it for at least 3 months, to give it time to heal completely, so that cuts out a lot of what I was planning to do. I'll have to check back and ask about cycling, but I would think that should be OK since it doesn't put pressure right on my toes, and I might try to do pilates and things like that. I've lost 4 pounds this week just by cooking more at home and eating out less, so I want to do what I can to get in shape and build up some endurance while the toe is healing so I can jump right into things once it's better.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

And I Wonder Why the UPS Guy Runs Off

I ordered a bunch of books off Amazon for my rugrat, so we've had packages dropped off for the past two days. This coincided with me realizing my roots were showing and it was time to fix my hair.

The two don't have much to do with eachother, except I use henna rather than chemical dye. If you're not familiar with it, it's a plant that coats your hair, making it strong and soft, and dying it a reddish or burgundy (or sometimes orange) color. To get mine more of a burgundy color, I usually leave it in my hair for several hours.

I prepared my henna (it sits overnight, mixed with lemon juice, to help release the dye) Thursday night, because my husband usually gets off work around noon on Friday. Friday morning, I woke up, took a shower to wet my hair, and coated my scalp and roots in henna. To keep from dying my skin or clothes, and to hold in the heat to help the color take better, I wrapped my hair and head in saran wrap, covered it with a shower cap, and then wrapped and pinned a bath towel over the whole thing. Yeah, I do this about every 6 weeks. I also kept on my nightgown instead of getting dressed, so I didn't stain my real clothes and had no tight neckline to pull over everything. It ended up looking like this:No problem there. I'm just chilling at home, waiting for the husband because it take for ever to rinse out, and I can't spend that long in the shower with the rugrat running lose. I keep waiting, and waiting, and then I hear the door, so I open it to help my husband.

Only, it's not him. It's the UPS guy. He hands me a box and hauls ass back to the truck. Hubby gets home about an hour later, because he had to work over, and I finally get to wash my hair and come out all bright and shiny and looking like Rhianna on the cover of Vogue. Well, what Rhianna might look like if she was a fat, white, housewife but still had the rockin' hair. Of course, I guess she wouldn't be in Vogue then - well, whatever.

Anyhow, all's good until this afternoon, not long after the ball incident. I see the Brown Truck of Happiness UPS truck pull up again, and figure they're here with more books. I notice the guy get out, run down my driveway, and then I see him running back up it to the truck before my psycho dog even has a chance to bark at the doorbell. I look at my husband and remark on how fast the delivery man is, and he's like, "Yeah, he wants to get out of here. He thinks you're nuts". I start to say something, then I think about yesterday, and I'm just like "Oh, OK, I can see that".

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mommy Will Get Your Ball, After She Finds Her Machete

Today started out early, because my son peed on the bedsheets. We're working on potty training because he has decided he hates a wet diaper, but that means he will sometimes just pull it down and pee or poop wherever instead of waiting for the potty (yeah, it's gross and frustrating to me, too).

Since we were both wide awake after a shower/bath and a change of clothes, I fixed us breakfast and looked for something fun to do. It was nice outside, because it hadn't gotten hot and humid yet, so I decided it'd be awesome to go outside and play ball. Now, we play ball inside all the time, but usually reserve outside ball playing for the park. This is because our entire yard is a hillside, with a flat spot graded out and the house perched on it.

I thought I could get away with going down to the very back of the yard, where it was a little flatter, but no dice. We played for a while, and it was cool, until the ball rolled down the hill, and off into the woods. This would be no big deal, except we decided it would be cool to leave about an acre of woods natural. It's pretty cool in autumn and winter, but in summer there is a ton of undergrowth, ticks, and snakes. I found out real early that the "natural" habitat the big old downed trees and the creek in the back create is like a paradise for copperheads. So yeah, my son's wanting his ball back, and it's down here (the beginning of the "path" is where the yellow arrow is):
Keep in mind I had a toddler with me, and was wearing shorts and a tank top at the time. There was no way I was going in there without some pants, some boots, and preferably a machete or flamethrower. I was not going to take the rugrat in their either, and also wasn't going to leave him way up at the house alone (the yard is close to 3 acres, and being that he doesn't stay in the playpen and we don't have baby gates, he would have had the whole run of the house alone). So, I did what most people would do -I decided to forget about it and shove it off on someone else.

I must have momentarily forgotten who I was married to because, when I told my husband Robbie's ball was in the woods, he was like, "So, go get it". Hinting and nagging didn't work either, so I had him watch Robbie while I changed clothes and went after it. He laughed at me, because I came out of the bedroom dressed in combat boots, with a set of coveralls tucked into them and a bandana around my hair. I did look more like I was going bee-keeping than anything else, but I did not want any critters on me. This was all justified when I finally got back out of the woods, and found 2 ticks on the pants.

I found the ball though, and that's what matters. I just think we're going to keep it limited to inside and/or to the several nice, flat, fenced-in parks within driving distance from now on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Go the F__k to Sleep - now with Samuel L. Jackson

No, the title of this post isn't directed at my son (although I've thought it a time or two).

Rather, it's the title of a new “children’s book for adults” by Adam Mansbach that is showing up all over the internet and, due to a leaked PDF file, has managed to top both the and New York Times bestseller lists before ever being released.

The official release date for the book is today, June 14, and you can order a copy from the book's website,

No, this isn't something I'd actually read to my child as a bedtime story (probably, although I might consider it those nights he's up past 2pm), but it is funny to read because I think most parents have been there and thought the same things.

Thanks to Cecily at Motherhood Uncensored, here is an even better audio version, as read by Samuel L. Jackson:

You can also download this for free as an audio book from

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Moms Against Cooties" - PR Fail

I noticed that one of the searches someone had used to find my blog was "Moms Against Cooties", so I thought I'd post a quick run-down.

The "Moms Against Cooties" site/campaign is a group that is run by a marketing firm hired by one of the Chlorine Industry's trade groups, hiding behind the name "Water Quality and Health Council".

They are soliciting posts from mom bloggers and other parenting blogs and sites to promote their campaign, which centers around posters that parents are advised to hand out to "daycare" centers advising them to sanitize with bleach (see the chlorine connection now?). The campaign also links to a similar group of sites advising parents to disinfect with chlorine bleach at home.

The problem is that all child care centers in the U.S already disinfect with bleach, because it is part of their health and safety standards, so there is no actual point to the posters. One blogger with a degree in Early Childhood education sent them an email pointing this out, and also mentioning that the posters therefore served no purpose, other than to make mothers feel more worried or guilty about having to use outside child care, and possibly harming the relationship between mother and caregiver by making the mom look uninformed and seeming to insinuate that the care worker may be ignorant or needs to be told how to do their job properly.

On top of those concerns, I also have major issues with these "moms groups" and campaigns that almost always turn out to be be the product of some corporate interest and/or marketing company. It's so obvious that they just see us as some target group to direct and influence so they can sell us more of whatever the product du jour is. This particular campaign gets extra points by referencing "cooties" instead of germs, like our brains reverted to playground-speak when we had children.

For parents more interested in cutting down on germs and keeping their children healthy than in just selling more bleach, has a great post listing Alternatives to Antibacterials and Disinfectants. Of course, the very best thing to prevent to spread of germs in child care programs, at home, and at school, is to teach and remind our children to wash their hands frequently using soap and warm water, and to try not to touch their faces.

"Moms Against Cooties" aka the Chlorine Industry - PhD in Parenting
Marketing Fail - Baleful Regards

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Fresh Start

It seems like I have just let everything slide in the past year or two. Between the whole PPD thing, and just being busy and getting used to having a baby/toddler in the house all days, I've sort of been coasting.

This means that most of the routines I had going on and most of the progress I'd made have gone away.

I've decided it's time to get back in control of things, and to just start over.

My goals right now are to get my house de-cluttered and organized, to get back to a regular fitness routine, to write daily, and to get my finances in order and find ways to save money.

Around the house, I need to keep up with my FlyLady routines and to do at least 15 minutes of decluttering a day. I've been able to maintain things with the routines but, without the decluttering, the house is still messy and it looks even worse with a toddler running around and strewing things all over.

For fitness, I am starting back on a walking/running plan I had good results with before I got pregnant. It is a "conservative", or very slowed-down, version of the well-known "Couch to 5k" program. I am going to do workout tapes or roller skate on the "off" days, because I'm also trying to get into shape to try out for our local Roller Derby team. Once I can run the full 5k, or 3.1 miles, then I want to add in more cycling and start swimming, so I can compete in triathlons.

For writing, my goal is to start blogging again regularly and to work on some personal projects. I'd also like to get hired for some of the paid writing websites, and I need to work on some "clips" to send in and apply for those.

The finances part is self-explanatory. Without a job for over a year, money is tight for me. I have been trying to find a job I can do in the afternoons and/or weekends, so I don't have to put my son in daycare, but I haven't had any luck. Right now, my focus is on tracking my bills and sticking to a budget, and on seeing if I can make a decent income from writing. Chances are, I will go back to work as a real estate agent towards the end of this year, because I will be able to have my son with me and can work around his schedule for many things. It's not my really ideal set-up, but I still prefer that to leaving him in daycare or with a sitter, then spending half my paycheck to cover the costs of that.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Guess I'm Offically a RECOVERING Hoarder

Last week, I got a call from a woman who was one of the producers on the "I'm Pregnant And..." show I did for Discovery Health.

She was asking how I was doing and how the baby was, and also how the house was coming along. I told her it was better than it had been, but still way too cluttered and I felt like I was at sort of a dead end. I can keep up with the maintenance stuff now, like dishes, vacuuming, laundry, dusting, and all that, but still have a long way to go on the de-cluttering part.

With my stuff out of the way, I'm also realizing that part of the problem is that my husband has also hoarder a lot of things, and he will not even admit that it is a problem, much less dispose of any of it (I hoard clothes and papers/books mostly, he hoards extra furniture, knick-knacks, cars, and anything given to him by a friend or family member).

She told me that she is now a producer for the A&E show orders, and wanted to see if I'd be interested in filming a show with them. Being that money is very tight and they pay pretty well, plus they actually send a crew to help with a lot of the de-cluttering and a therapist and organizer to help you find ways to deal with problems, I thought it sounded great. I also hoped it would help because there would be a third party there who could point of some of my husband's clutter issues to him and maybe help me get rid of some of his stuff that is unused and taking up tons of space. I took pictures and sent in video of our home, and waited to hear back. I was a little hesitant, and figured the hubby would be, but he was excited at the prospect of getting the rest of the clutter sorted out and agreed that we need the money really bad.

After a few days, I got a call saying that our home wasn't really what they were looking for. We have some rooms de-cluttered and the rest is not dangerously bad or totally packed to the ceiling, so basically it wasn't cluttered enough. I also keep my bathrooms and kitchen clean and vacuum/dust what I can, so there's no real "ick" factor or trash, spoiled food, poop, or dead animals to be found hidden in my home (which seems to be a common find on some of the episodes). She was thinking they may still be interested because of our back-story, but the other people involved with the show didn't think the "before" shots would be shocking enough to fit in with their other episodes. She wished me luck and told me to let her know if things ever got really bad and out of control again and she'd see if they could help.

I know I should be glad about this, and happy at the progress I made, but I'm actually disappointed. For one, we could have seriously used both the money they pay for being on the show and the help with getting the rest of our stuff de-cluttered. I just feel stuck now - it's still overwhelming to tackle it all on my own, especially the clothes (I have to use our bed as a sorting area, so I spend twice as much time moving things from closet or tote to bed and back so we have a place to sleep as I do actually sorting things). I also don't see how I can get my husband to deal with any of his stuff, because he ignores me and gets mad if I bring it up. I've looked into hiring a de-cluttering crew or organizer in the past, and it's just not something we can afford, especially right now.

I guess I am going to have to deal with this on my own, as much as I can, so it's time to get back to it. I am doing to flylady routines somewhat although, you guessed it, I still have a mental block with the whole de-cluttering part. I'm trying to get back to that and kick things up some, so I will have the house in better shape before I go back to work. I'm letting myself get way too stressed out over so many things and at least having a little more order at home should help me relax and deal with everything else better.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thoughts on Going Back to Work

I had a mandatory update class for my real estate license yesterday.

Being in a room full of people who had worked in real estate (most of the class was no longer actively working) made me realize how much I miss it.

I'm going to go back to work with it, but am still really hesitant because it costs so much money to be an agent and takes at least 3-4 months usually to get paid for the first transaction or two. I also do not want to put Robbie in daycare, so I need to find a brokerage that will let me either work from home primarily or have Robbie in the office with me. My previous broker was fine with that, but I would really rather work in an office closer to home and concentrate on just the two towns I live between and have the most experience selling in.

It's strange how nervous I am over interviews, because I know I can go back to my last office, no questions asked, and they have better "perks" than some of the other places. The thing is, there are only a couple offices in the area that cover both of the cities I want to work in, and I am not sure I could get on there under the conditions I want. I'm sure I could at one if I didn't have a child to care for, but I don't want to put him in daycare while I work because I know I'll be working long hours and weekends, and he's used to being with me 24/7. The other, I don't know about. I've referred a few clients to one of their brokers, which should help, but all of their agents are men and I'm not sure if that's intentional or not.

I am right on the edge of having enough experience to declare myself broker-in-charge and run my own office, but I don't have quite enough because I was working part-time my first 2 years in the business (they require 2 years full-time or 4+ years part time within the past 5 years). I also don't feel like I have the experience I really need yet, since they totally re-did our contracts and made some major changes to the mortgage rules and paperwork in the last year or two, so I need to work for a broker for at least a couple years before going out on my own. It also helps because I'll have somebody there to ask for help or advice if I need it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fat Tax - Health Insurance

My husband's company is looking for a new insurance company, trying to save money. This could be a good thing, except part of the determination involves getting the weight and height of everyone and their spouses (presumably for BMI).

So, I get a call from the HR lady, because my husband doesn't know my height and weight. I tell her, and it sucks, because I feel like I'm going to be the reason this gets rejected or gets everyone higher rates or something.

I am cool with the size I am and how I look, but I hate that companies are allowed to discriminate based on size, even for a person who does not suffer from any of the supposedly weight-related health conditions, and that this crap just adds more ammo to the fat-hate camp.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Roller Derby

I have thought roller derby was awesome every since watching the old retro kind on tv, complete with staged fights and really bad costumes.

I seriously looked into joining or starting a team several years ago, but the closest one was over and hour away and I had no clue about how to actually form one, few friends who would be interesting, and no idea where we would practice or play, so that didn't pan out.

I had given up on the idea over the past few years, between the car wreck, being pregnant, having the baby, and trying to keep the crazy in check.

This weekend, I found out there is a local team and they meet and practice just a few miles from my home. I emailed and found out they are still looking for players and other people to be involved, so now I just have to save up some cash and get my skates and protective gear to play.

At around 300 pounds now, I'm more than a little nervous, but I've seen several other big women online that play for various leagues, so that's helping me feel better about it. If nothing else, this should also help kickstart my butt back into a decent fitness routine elsewhere just to help get and stay in shape for the sport.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fat Liberation Manifesto

This was originally written in 1973, but it's something a lot of women still need to read.

Sizism and hatred of "fat" people are wrong and discrimination based on weight and appearance is just as harmful as any other type, especially since these are still legal and victims don't have as many resources or ways to fight back.

This was written with fat in mind, because fat does seem to be the focus of much discrimination and body policing, but the statements can also apply to those who are naturally skinny and criticized for it or assumed to have an eating disorder when they do not.


1. WE believe that fat people are fully entitled to human respect and recognition.

2. WE are angry at mistreatment by commercial and sexist interests. These have exploited our bodies as objects of ridicule, thereby creating an immensely profitable market selling the false promise of avoidance of, or relief from, that ridicule.

3. WE see our struggle as allied with the struggles of other oppressed groups against classism, racism, sexism, ageism, financial exploitation, imperialism and the like.

4. WE demand equal rights for fat people in all aspects of life, as promised in the Constitution of the United States. We demand equal access to goods and services in the public domain, and an end to discrimination against us in the areas of employment, education, public facilities and health services.

5. WE single out as our special enemies the so-called "reducing" industries. These include diet clubs, reducing salons, fat farms, diet doctors, diet books, diet foods and food supplements, surgical procedures, appetite suppressants, drugs and gadgetry such as wraps and "reducing machines".

WE demand that they take responsibility for their false claims, acknowledge that their products are harmful to the public health, and publish long-term studies proving any statistical efficacy of their products. We make this demand knowing that over 99% of all weight loss programs, when evaluated over a five-year period, fail utterly, and also knowing the extreme proven harmfulness of frequent large changes in weight.

6. WE repudiate the mystified "science" which falsely claims that we are unfit. It has both caused and upheld discrimination against us, in collusion with the financial interests of insurance companies, the fashion and garment industries, reducing industries, the food and drug industries, and the medical and psychiatric establishment.

7. WE refuse to be subjugated to the interests of our enemies. We fully intend to reclaim power over our bodies and our lives. We commit ourselves to pursue these goals together.


By Judy Freespirit and Aldebaran
November, 1973

Originally Published by the Fat Underground,
Los Angeles, California USA
copied from Largesse Archives

Presented as a public service by Largesse, the Network for Size Esteem
This document may be freely copied and distributed in its entirety for non-commercial use
in promoting size diversity empowerment, provided this statement is included.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Toddler (Unhappy Carpet), Just Add Peanut Butter

In case you're wondering, I didn't even think to take a picture until after 5 or 10 minute's worth of scrubbing. The icky dark bath water is all because of washed-off peanut butter. He originally had it all the way up to both shoulders. Also, somebody definitely takes after daddy, whose favorite food is peanut butter. At least we know he's not allergic.

The crazy thing is this only took a few minutes. I went to the bathroom and left Robbie playing with his toys in the living room right outside. He pushed the playpen (my improvised baby gate because we have a really wide opening from the living room to the rest of the house) out of the way, went into the kitchen, and pulled down a 1-lb can of peanut butter my husband had left on the table. That kind has a snap-off lid instead of a screw-on, and he's already figured out how to open those lids with his teeth, to get into Gerber snacks.

Anyway, by the time I get out of the bathroom, I walk from the living room to the kitchen to find him happily sitting on the carpet with the now half-full jar of peanut butter. It's all over him, and he is smiling at me and eating with one hand while the other arm is halfway in the jar. My dog (a big German Shepard mix) is also half-covered in peanut butter, going crazy trying to lick it off and rolling on the carpet to get off what he cant reach.

I put the dog in the kennel, scooped up the baby and put him in the tub, then realized it would make a really great pic to send to my family (and post here and on FB). It took about 20+ minutes to get the baby clean, then I put him in the playpen for a bit while I took the dog outside to wash him. This meant I had to chain him to the carport with his leash while I scrubbed him (at least he enjoys the rubber scrub brush). Of course, I forgot about the broken outside light pole, and he ended up wrapping the leash around it and pulling it down on me as we went back inside. Hubby got home a few minutes later, and asked why the light was in 2 pieces laying in the driveway and the pole was knocked down.

This was followed with "and what happened here?" as he glanced around the house. I was in the process of wiping peanut butter off the cabinet doors and still hadn't gotten around to the mess on the floor yet, or to washing off the peanut butter that my son and the dog had managed to wipe all over my clothes and hair. I explained it to him and he laughed and asked how much peanut butter I'd managed to save (the man has priorities). I got the cabinets wiped down and mopped up the mess in the floor, realizing how slippery and oily peanut butter really was as I slid about 3 feet on a spot that was only partly clean.

That done, I scooped up the worst of the mess from the carpet and asked my facebook friends for advice. I scrubbed what I could up with hot water and dish detergent, then vacuumed to suck up some of the water (we have a wet dry vac) and clean a little bit. There was still a mess, so I took another friend's advice to use cornstarch to soak up the grease. It worked some, but then I had to vacuum again and still have cornstarch stuck in the carpet, making lighter spots. I finally took a shower and put my clothes in the wash, and sprayed the whole mess with carpet cleaner. I'm going to try more scrubbing and vacuuming in the morning, then hit it all with our carpet shampooer and hope for the best.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Catching Up

I thought I'd check in and post an update since I've been gone so long and intend to start blogging again on this site.

Things have been pretty normal, I've just had a lot on my plate and not much time to write for pleasure.

Robbie's a year old now and doing great. He's walking, climbing, and getting into everything and is beginning to say a few words (mama, daddy, dog, up, et(eat), no, uh-oh). He's almost 3 feet tall around and was around 25 pounds at his last checkup.

I'm still toughing it out. The depression has lifted a lot, but I have been having really bad anxiety and starting to get panic attacks again. I haven't been to see my doctor in a while because money is too tight, so I'm just dealing as best I can. Physically, I'm on thyroid and vitamin D pills, and have tried both Lyrica and Celexa without really great results. It's hard to tell how much of the soreness and energy drain is due to depression, how much is due to thyroid and/or vitamin deficiency, and how much may be do to fibro. Personally, I'm a little skeptical of the fibromyalgia diagnosis, because it seems to be a catch-all around here when doctors can't figure out what is wrong.

I'm trying to do some freelance writing from home, but it is hard to do while the baby is awake, so I keep staying up late at night to work on projects and then feeling like crap the next day. I'm writing for literally pennies per word, so it's a lot of work for very little pay, but at least it's something. I haven't had luck finding a job otherwise, between not having childcare or being able to afford it, and having some of the health programs I'm still dealing with now. I've really bombed a couple of the interviews I got, because I'm getting extremely anxious and having trouble concentrating and focusing on things. Of course, I'm sure having to bring the baby with me to most interviews isn't doing much to help, either.

I'm hoping the real estate market picks up and trying to save up a little money to get back into that once my health straightens out some. I really loved working as a real estate agent, and it's flexible enough to allow me to spend a lot more time with the baby than most other jobs would. I'm still pretty adamant against putting him in daycare, even if I could afford it, and there isn't anyone around here I'd trust to watch him. I put in an application in customer retention with a family friendly film company, but am waiting to see if they are family friendly enough to let me have my child at work with me. I also consider pizza delivery, but several people have told me it's dangerous, and I don't want to risk that.

I'm getting over the flu right now, so I'm not up to a whole lot, but I think I'm going to start walking again next week, sore or not, and try to build back up to running again. I just feel so "blah" all the time, and I'm hoping it will help me get my energy back. It should also help get my vitamin D up, because I'll be out in the sunshine.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Why I Support Planned Parenthood

If you haven't already heard about it, the House of Representatives has voted to take away all funding for Planned Parenthood. While many are already cheering this and applauding it as some kind of victory, it is not a move a can find myself supporting. Defunding Planned Parenthood will have no effect on abortion rates, other possibly causing more abortions because many women's access to affordable birth control and prenatal care may disappear. It is purely a public relations move, played for political gain, at the expense of poor and lower working class women.

Before you make any assumptions, I have never had an abortion, and cannot forsee any circumstance that would cause me to choose an abortion. For a long time, I described myself as pro-life, because I fell for the lie that to mean pro choice must = being pro-abortion, but more about that in another post.

For now, lets get back to the facts about Planned Parenthood. For starters, they are not allowed to use any federal funds for abortions or abortion advocacy. That has been the law since the Bush administration. But, you say, Planned Parenthood is a pro-abortion group, so any support for them means supporting abortion. In reality, only about 3% of Planned Parenthood's activities involve abortion, and they have already been barred from using tax money for abortion-related activities.

So what does Planned Parenthood do with all that federal funding? They provide health care for people who cannot afford it otherwise - that growing segment of the population who work and cannot qualify or choose not to accept for government assistance, but also cannot afford private insurance. They provide reproductive and sexual health care for about 5 million men, women, and children each year, including prenatal care for pregnant women. They provide health exams for about 3 million people each year. They screen for cancer, doing over a million pap smears and 830,000 mammograms yearly. They test for and treat STDs, including HIV and AIDS, to help prevent their spread.

All sorts of people benefit from Planned Parenthood. It's not only the single, the promiscuous, the "others"', but it could be you or a woman in your own family. One woman I know of who uses Planned Parenthood is the daughter of a Conservative, Christian, Quiverfull mother of 6 - the family cannot afford private insurance, so Planned Parenthood provides the medication that makes life during her period bearable - before, she was having such excruciating pain she'd spend hours each month curled up and sobbing on the floor. I know of another woman who used Planned Parenthood for prenatal care, prior to the birth of a healthy baby girl. A woman I know from an online message board literally owes them her life - when her Christian health care sharing fund refused to pay for diagnostic testing, she went to Planned Parenthood for a mammogram, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in time to go through treatment and survive.

I have heard people say that they basically don't care about these women, because their needs do not fit the current Conservative/pro-life agenda, and I wonder why they are so unconcerned and callous toward those who have already been born. Until some of these groups opposing Planned Parenthood actually step up to the plate and help fill the gap, they have no right trying to defund or shut them down. I guess it's preferable to have more "welfare babies", more STDS being spread, and more babies born with health problems or miscarried because the mom couldn't afford prenatal care than to have such things funded by a group one disagrees with, but then again a rise in all of the above will give the supporters of this bill something to base their campaign ads on in the future.

I wouldn't have as much of a problem with this if some of the pro-life backed "crisis pregnancy centers' would step up to the gap here and help provide health services, or at least real prenatal care, but that's not going to happen. This is the kind of stuff that gives people ammo against the pro-life movement - it comes across as willing to throw the woman under the bus to supposedly protect the unborn, yet fails again to actually help pregnant women or to cut down on factors contributing to abortions before it gets to that point.

For now, I will be signing the petition to Stand With Planned Parenthood
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