Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Little Things

I'm going to get my hair cut this January. The first day of the new year, to be exact. I've put a lot of time and effort into researching which haircut I want, who will do the cutting, what day it'll happen on. I've even arranged for a photographer to be there for the hair cut. I'll ask her to take some before, during and after shots. I'll do my best not to cry when I see the hair come off.

It may seem odd that I've put so much into a single hair cut, but the thing is I've decided to go Bald for Bucks. I see a lot of patients with cancer in my line of work. I spend a lot of time on the phone with Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I got to thinking, what can I do to help?

I'll be donating the bulk of my hair to Locks of Love. There's so much of it, I can't bear the thought of just chopping it off and throwing it away. In terms of giving to those in need, I'm not really doing all that much. My hair will grow back, so it's no huge sacrifice. I'm asking friends and family to give what they can, both in terms of financial contributions (pledges), fun hair accessories (because how fun would it be for a little girl with cancer to get hair AND something to put in it???) and moral support.

You can check out my Bald for Bucks page here, and please oh please let me know that I probably don't have a lumpy head.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sometimes Just Don't

Yesterday we had an office lunch. It was ordered by a drug rep, quite tasty and there was way too much for us to finish. As an added bonus, 95% of what was being served was ok for me to eat with my fun little dairy allergy.

With just  a little time left in the break, 2 of my colleagues put the remains of their desserts on a plate, and the 3 of us ran out to do a few errands before getting back to work. The day went on. At 5:00 we all went to gather our things from the break room and one of the people who had saved dessert noticed that it was no longer on the plate. She was understandably sad. I mumbled something along the lines of sympathy for the situation and rushed out to my car so that I could make it to Zumba class with enough time to change out of my work clothes. I thought that was the end of things.

Today was rough. I was again assisting the doctor in the exam room with patients, which meant that I had a bunch of running around. For absolutely no reason whatsoever I was up at 5 this morning, so I was tired and not really in the mood for running around. Add to that mix the stress of a busy day in general and a long list of errands that I needed to get done during my lunch break so that I could rush home to make an oil change appointment and make dinner for my family, I was in a pretty blah mood. I decided to cheer myself up by doing something nice for my colleagues, so I bought a whole bunch of the candies that I know they like and brought them back to fill our candy jars around the office. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about yesterday's cookie at this point.

When the last patient of the day had been seen, the exam rooms tidied, and we were all congregated around the reception desk to take stock of any remaining chores to complete before leaving for the day, the colleague who's cookie was taken announced that, in the spirit of full disclosure and being honest both with herself and us, she wanted to let me know that from the time we left yesterday through most of today she had been certain that I had taken the cookie. Apparently something had convinced her, rightly, that this was not so.

I was stunned. I had no idea what to say, and actually found myself apologizing to her. This person came out and told me that she thought I had A) Taken something of hers and B) If not exactly lied about doing so, at least neglected to confess. And I apologized. I gave her a hug and told her I was sorry she would think I would do something like that. I wanted to make her feel better for thinking something so bad about me. OK, in the grand scheme of things, it was just a cookie. Not even a whole one. It's not like she was accusing me of stealing her wallet or her phone or something. Still, I felt the need to make her feel better about making me feel like a horrible person.

The thought struck me as I was leaving, that she probably thought I was the culprit because I'm the fat one. Whenever food goes missing, you always look to the fat one, right? It doesn't matter that I routinely stay away from the sweets, with the exception of mints after lunch and hard candy or cough drops when my throat is sore or my voice hoarse. Forget about the fact that I'm actually in pretty good shape (albeit pretty round) and working my ass off to work my ass off. Who cares about any of that? When food goes missing, blame the fat one.

I cried all the way to my oil change.

It's all made me think. Was she right to let me know she no longer suspected me of taking her cookie when I was blissfully unaware that she had done so? Is it better to be completely honest  like that in order to make yourself feel better when the end result only hurts the person (in this case in a couple of different ways)?

I didn't ask why she no longer suspected me, but I'm inclined to think that someone else confessed. I'm sure no one took the cookie maliciously. There was a lot going on during the lunch and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the other people in the office had seen the 2 cookie halves and thought they were simply leftovers and up for grabs. I'll probably never ask her about it. I will, however, continue to see myself as the fat one who people don't seem to trust around food.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Happened in Texas...

Abortion is one of those tricky issues. Personally I'm not sure I'd ever be able to have one. I'm never going to force one on another woman. All the same, I'd like every woman in this country to have the right to choose whether or not abortion is the right option for her. Yes, I believe that the father deserves to have some say over what happens to his child during pregnancy. I won't disagree with the fact that women who choose abortion as a means of birth control are abusing the service. I'll even tentatively agree that refusing abortions after a certain gestational week is ok (there are always exceptions and extreme circumstances, but that should be ruled on a case by case basis.) The Senators from Texas brought abortion back into the spotlight last night during a special session. I'm still not really sure what the results of last night's vote were. The evening ended in chaos, and I've read so many conflicting reports that my head is spinning. The fact that I stayed up until 2am trying to figure out what was happening is probably not helping all that much.

Here's the basic background to what went down in Texas yesterday:

Senate Bill 5 is an omnibus measure that includes many abortion restrictions that were voted down in Texas' regular session. Governor Rick Perry (R) allowed a special session that forced a last-minute vote on this and well as several other pieces of anti-abortion legislation. SB 5 aimed to ban abortions after 20 weeks and would require facilities offering abortions to upgrade to be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. If passed, SB 5 would force all but a handful of abortion clinics to close their doors.

Senator Wendy Davis (D) took a stand, literally. The 50 year old Senator from Fort Worth took the floor in an attempt to complete a 13 hour filibuster. In a country that doesn't allow cruel and unusual punishment, the rules for those who wish to filibuster are pretty harsh.

Sen. Davis was required to stand the entire duration of her filibuster. No chairs, no leaning on anything, no breaks to rest her legs, feet or back.

She was not allowed to break for food, drink, or to use the restroom.

Her colleagues were not allowed to assist her in any way, with one very important exception: They could interrupt periodically with questions, giving Sen. Davis a chance to rest her voice and gather her thoughts.

Lastly, and most importantly, Sen. Davis had to remain on topic. No random tangents, no reading The Riverside Shakespeare. Everything she spoke about had to be relevant to SB 5.

A filibuster works on a 3 strikes you're out principal. The speaker is given 2 warnings on violations and allowed to continue. On the 3rd violation, the other members of the Senate are allowed to take the floor and move to vote.

Sen. Davis' violations were 
1- Sen. Davis' speech went off topic. 
2- Assistance. Sen. Rodney Ellis (D) helped Sen. Davis adjust her back brace. I don't like this one, but I still agree that Sens. Davis and Ellis were in clear violation of the rules. (See, I can be reasonable even if I'm a woman!)
3- Sen. Davis once again went off topic. This time I'm going to protest until I'm blue in the face. 

The 3rd violation, the one that effectively ended Sen. Davis' filibuster, was because she began discussing laws regarding sonograms. Here's my problem: SB 5 will make abortions illegal once the mother has passed the 20th week of gestation. Not many people know the exact date of conception, although I'll grant you that there are exceptions. Doctors use sonogram results to help estimate date of conception and due date. Current rules and regulations regarding sonograms are therefor, at least in my understanding, extremely relevant to the proposed abortion regulations set forth in SB 5. I might be wrong, though.

After the 3rd violation, the night could have ended. The Senators supporting SB 5 kept trying to move to vote, but Sen. Davis' colleagues stalled like pros. They brought up parliamentary inquiry after inquiry. For once that quirk that politicians have, the one that lets them talk about anything forever, seemed to be a good thing. Arguments about procedural regulations, parliamentary inquiries and general discussion brought the session to within 10 minutes or so of midnight. If the vote did not occur before midnight, SB 5 could not be passed. Sen. Leticia Van de Putte's final question was simple, honest, and brought on what is being referred to as "the people's filibuster." "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?" she asked.

The hall erupted in cheers, chants and song. The people refused to be silenced, although Lt. Gov. Dewhurst only seemed to be making the minimal effort to call order. I wasn't there, and the sound kept cutting out on the news feed that I was watching, so maybe he really did try. Walking away from the microphone was highly ineffective, though. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Road

I no longer live in Vermont.

This past Friday I had my last day as a nanny, and the next day I packed my life into boxes and bins and shoved it all into my car. I split the trip into two parts, and only drove as far as Albany, NY where I spent the night with 2 very good friends and their children. It was a smart thing to do- I was exhausted after being awake most of the previous night. I spent too much time in the sun playing with the twins on Friday, and paid the price all night and well into the next day.

On Sunday, after spending a relaxing day with my friends, I climbed back into my car and drove 6 hours along Route 86. Most people think I'm crazy for taking this route instead of the interstate, but avoiding Route 90 has its definite advantages. The speed limit is still 65 for most of the trip, and there's less traffic. While there aren't the convenient rest areas that the 90 boasts, I like the option of choosing a town with a neat name and taking a little walk after filling the car with gas. The state troopers were really nice, too, and didn't pull me over at all. I may or may not have been going slightly a lot over the speed limit, and there's a possibility that my visibility was hampered by, well, by my hamper (and about 50 other little things. Maybe.)

The thing I like most about taking the road less traveled, though, is the view. In this case, Prospect Mountain was covered with a plush blanket of grass and the tree buds were well on their way to becoming full blown leaves. The sky was blue and the few clouds that I could see were like wisps of cotton. The beautiful scenery was enough to make me forget about how sad I was to leave the girls. I was so caught up in watching it that I wasn't bored with the drive.

Now I'm back in my hometown, I'm getting settled in and slowly unpacking. My car is empty except for my down blankets, winter jacket, and way too many shoes. As I sit writing this, I'm looking at photos of the girls and missing them. The sorrow that I avoided on the drive is catching up to me, but I'm also excited to begin the next stage of my life.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Few of my Favorite Things

I've been organizing my life into boxes, bins and categories lately. I've got a big move coming up and I'm trying to get prepared so that it goes as smoothly as possible.

In the process of all of this, I've found there are some things that I just can't pack. I want them on hand for every day use. They might not be things that I wear, use or even look at everyday, but they are my absolute favorites and I can't imagine sticking them in a box for even a few days until they can be unpacked.

- Everything I own by Lisa Lehmann. My collection is growing slowly, but surely. I have copper swirl earrings, silver circle earrings with green stones, a set of 4 stacking rings (3 silver, 1 gold), an adorable green stone bracelet, and a necklace that matches my rings.

-My Ikea duvet covers. I used to live a short train ride from the Ikea just outside of Copenhagen. I spent way too much time in that store and managed to buy a duvet cover pretty much every time I was there. I love being able to change the whole feel of my bedroom simply by switching them out. From bold geometric patterns to soft florals, I have something for every mood.

These socks. I usually avoid wearing socks. They tend to make my feet sad. No one wants sad feet. I do, however, love my Darn Toughs. They're lightweight but warm. Even the cushioned hiking sock doesn't feel bulky or constricting. I like the fun patterns, too.

- My Copco travel mug. It's white with a purple silicone sleeve. It's simple. It holds enough coffee to keep me happy. It fits in my car cup holder. A lot of places will let me fill it up so I don't have to deal with paper to-go clean up.

Orange cinnamon soap. This is quite possible shameless self-promotion, but I love this soap. I opened my Etsy shop because that way I could have an excuse for making so much of it. The spicy cinnamon makes this a little less girly, while still feminine. It's not the only scent I have, but it's definitely my favorite. Want to try some? Order anything from my shop and use the code Rambling10 for a 10% discount!

Friday, March 1, 2013

On a More Serious Note...

I heard something a couple of weeks ago that made me very angry. It's something that I hear often, and every time I see red. A woman said that she didn't want to take her 3 year old daughter out to lunch because she believes the girl is getting fat. I hear parents lamenting the fact that their precious darlings are growing up too fast. I agree, childhood is all too brief a period of one's lifetime. The fact that these same parents can turn around and call their children fat- or lazy, stupid, even ugly!- baffles me. It's statements like this, while often not directed at the child him or herself, that let kids know they're not good enough.

Kids, especially girls, have a lot of images thrown at them from an early age. Barbies and Bratz, songs like Call Me Maybe and Give Your Heart a Break, and clothing that makes a little girl look like a grown woman. They don't need adults adding to confusion that they might have surrounding their body image. Babies shouldn't look good in skinny jeans. Even if you can make the legs lie flat on those adorable, pudgy little legs, the diaper bulge is inevitable. Toddlers are going to have a layer of baby fat on their bodies, too. It's a sign of a healthy child, for crying out loud! While I'm just not cool enough to understand animal prints, faux fur and pleather on infants, I am very comfortable saying the word Sexy has no place on a toddlers butt.

 When the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally find them lacking, how are children supposed to develop a healthy self esteem? At best one can hope for a withdrawn, insecure child. At worst? I hate to even imagine what a parent is capable of doing to a child with some regrettably timed phrases. I do know that most children will do anything they can to gain the approval of the adults in their lives and emulate them. That is a perfect recipe for creating bullies. Jennifer Livingston is a million times more eloquent than I could ever be.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another Year Older

My birthday is coming up. I'm not fishing for well wishes or anything, in fact I've never really liked my birthday. I don't care so much about getting older, although the gray hair is really starting to get on my nerves. I had a sister who was 2 years and 2 days older. As kids we celebrated our birthday together, and as the older sister she got to pick cake flavor, theme and entertainment. As we grew older, we had a few good years where we met up and celebrated just the two of us. Six years ago she passed away very suddenly. I was living abroad at the time and wasn't able to make it back for her funeral. Since then, my birthday has always been a glaring reminder that she's gone and I miss her.

My sister and I had a little birthday tradition when it came to gifts. We would set a price limit and buy something for ourselves "from the other." When we met to celebrate, we would show each other what we had found. It was fun, we got exactly what we wanted, and even though I bought my gifts myself, I still think of them as gifts from her.

Last year I decided to try out reviving the tradition, but with a twist. I asked designer Lisa Lehmann if she would help. I sent her some money and gave her a general idea of my jewelry style. She sent me these copper spiral earrings and a pair with silver, hammered circles and green stones. I'm so happy that Lisa has agreed to play along again this year. Her designs are something I'm comfortable wearing everyday, and are still fancy enough to wear on the rare occasion that I dress up like a big girl.

I'll never get my sister back, and I'm sure I'll never enjoy my birthday. Now, thanks to Lisa, I have something to look forward to. After reading an email from Lisa today, I found myself thinking of my sister and laughing. I thought of how pleased she'd be that I'd finally picked something girly, something that I enjoy on a regular basis, something that lets me think of her and be happy. Also, she'd probably play the big sister card and "borrow" the earrings indefinitely. That's just how sisters roll.