Thursday, June 28, 2012


Yesterday, in a rare event, I had a full day of work and had to get ready at the same time as my husband. As I was putting on a bit of eyeliner, he asked "Why do you think that makes you more beautiful?" I told him it wasn't about thinking I looked beautiful (I was getting ready for a day of caring for babies and toddlers), but rather looking a bit more put together, an extension of not going to work in sweats and bedroom slippers.
I'm not saying that all women should wear makeup to work, or that it looks bad if she doesn't. And I AM grateful that I'm married to a man who doesn't care if I wear make up or touch up the grey in my hair (in fact, if I never did either again he'd be happy) Part of being a feminist woman is that I can feel free to wear or not wear make up, to touch up or not touch up my roots, to wear jewelry or not. And being at home as much as I am, I LIKE feeling like less of a drudge sometimes, and I truly enjoy the times I get to put on a pretty dress and nice shoes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Make a joyful noise

For all of her faults, my mother tended to think I was a pretty awesome person and supported me. There is one striking exception I remember.
I was a little kid, about elementary school age. We were at church and singing the hymn- it must have been one of the less boring ones, as I was actually bothering to sing. My mother leaned over after the song and whispered, " Do like I do, and mouth the words. That way you can keep up appearances without subjecting people to your voice".
It was years until I sang at church again; not until I was an older teen attending an AME church. It took until then for me to realise that God had given me the voice I had, and wanted to hear it.
When I moved here to the Pacific Northwest, I began attending the church I have been at for 19 years. WE have a contemporary service with a gospel band, and this is the service that speaks to me. I enjoy the praise music. I REALLY enjoy it. I sway long and sing loudly in my terrible voice. A few friends tease me gently for the way I "get my groove on", but that doesn't bother me.  My dancy boy has danced to the praise songs since he could walk. I remember dearly a lady coming up to me after a service and telling me how much Turbo reminds her of David, dancing and singing praises to God.
There is a mother who brings her daughter to adult child with severe delays, and no speech that I can tell. In many services she has vocalised at odd times. Last Sunday, Turbo and I sat behind them and the mother and daughter were getting into the music, with great joy. The young woman was swaying, laughing, clapping with her mom, and making a joyful noise. I believe her sing was the most beautiful thing to God's ears from our church that morning.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A quick scarf for Gay Pride

Pride month is almost over, so chances are if you were going to a parade, you already have. That doesn't mean you can't prepare for NEXT year, or whip up a fast present for someone you want to support.

You'll need: An S hook, and about 15 feet each of yarn in the colours of the rainbow. Starting with red (because you WILL do this in spectral order!)  work a loose foundation chain anywhere from 4-6 feet long. Work one row red in half double crochet, then each of the colours in turn. No need to even weave in ends; you get ready made fringe. If you use bulky, single strand. If worsted, double strand. Wear with Pride!

Friday, June 22, 2012

His Brother's Keeper by Johnathon Weiner

His Brother's Keeper , by Johnathon Weiner, tells the story of brothers Stephen and Jamie Heywood. When Stephen is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) Jamie leaves his job and home in California and dedicates his life to finding a cure for his brother. The story is much more than that, however. At the time Weiner was researching and writing his story on the Heywoods for The New Yorker, his mother was slowly deteriorating from a degenerative neurological disorder.The story becomes deeply personal and leads the reader to think of issues of medical research, cutting edge experiments, and patient consent. One topic I had not thought of much before was that of terminally ill patients and consent to experimental medicine. The question was raised as to whether the very desperately ill are in a state of mind to consent to untried therapies that may do more harm than good. I emphatically say that they are, and should be allowed to do so on compassionate grounds. The book ends while Stephen Heywood is still alive, so I went on Google and found his obituary here. A great read.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sinner by Lino Rulli

I recently picked up Sinner by Lino Rulli from the paperback picks shelf at the library. I have never read Catholic humour before, and I found it quite different from Lutheran humour. More guilt, self deprecation, drinking and smoking and a lot less hotdish. I guess not every religious person can be extraordinarily strong, beautiful and intelligent.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Why some people don't trust doctors; or, why medicine as business leads to woo-woo

As a somewhat natural crunchy person, I know plenty of people who don't trust medicine. I can say myself that in some ways, I don't trust the medical community myself.
But hear what I'm saying.
Do I believe that many of our first world health issues are diseases of lifestyle, of affluence, and should be treated first by lifestyle factors such as eating right, exercising, and not smoking or excessively drinking? Yes.
Are you ever likely to see me going to a chiropractor or acupuncurist? Not in the least.
Do I believe that if that doesn't work, we should be thankful we live in a time of medical advancement and see a doctor and take advantage of scientific advancement to help us with our ills? Most emphatically yes.
But here's where it can fall apart, and send some folks  off to alternative medicine, who might not have otherwise.
Our medical delivery system is not run by doctors or scientists. It's run by BUSINESS people, who care more about their bottom line than  your health. This is bad science. This leads people to take their health care needs out of the medical sphere...which can be the best thing in the world for someone who dealing with lifestyle diseases, but can cause injury or death in other cases. These last 6 months have pointed this up for me so eloquently. I first saw my doctor at the end of December for my issues, and it was not until 6 months later, and over a $1000 out of pocket for visits and tests, that she even got around to "Let's prescribe the pill because it sounds like it may be endometriosis ". 5 days on the pill, my symptoms continue to get worse, I'm still in pain and not pooping, and I'm queasy and headachy, feels like my head will pop off my neck and fly away on top of the rest. Along the way, when prunes have not worked, I have taken the medical advice to take an over the counter laxative. Like almost ALL medication, they make me queasy. (See a trend? Thank God anti-histamines don't make me ill). So, at the DM's suggestion, I started drinking senna tea. It helps more than prunes (though at this point little seems to help in the same manner it did even a month ago) . Pretty minor as far as natural remedies go. I don't consider it a cure, just a way to survive until the next step.
My follow up is at the end of August. Then, if I have not improved and my doctor thinks it's indicated and my insurance, in it's infinite wisdom, approves it, I MAY consider surgery. I say MAY because "Can we afford it?" is a more overriding question than "Can we not afford it?" at this point. The irony is my pain is so VERY specific, I have no doubt at all that if a surgeon could could open me up where I pointed the problem would be found and I'd be healed.
This is not good science.
This is not good medicine.
Do I trust the advancement of medical science? Do I trust that, indeed, medicine could have healed me already? I do, 100%.
Do I trust our profit run medical delivery system to provide that to me? At this point, not so much. Is it any wonder some people give up on doctors?

Science reading; Lacks, and the Darwins

I've read two great popular science books lately. The first, like much of the popular science I read, I first heard about on NPR. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot chronicles the life, death, and family aftermath of the woman whose cells contributed more to medical research since the 1950's than  anyone else. Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman who died from cervical cancer in 1951. Her unusually persistent cancer cells were cultured after her death- without her family's permission- and became not only the most prolific cell line ever, but a multi-million dollar business. If you benefit from modern medicine, you probably have Henrietta Lacks to thank. The irony? Most of her descendants cannot afford the medication her cells helped to create.

The most recent book I have read,  Charles and Emma; The Darwins Leap of Faith is a young adult book detailing the courtship and marriage of Charles and Emma Darwin, and how their differing views on faith intersected. While much is made of the effect developing his theory of natural selection had on Charles Darwin's belief system, a few things are rarely touched on; how the loss of his beloved daughter Annie and of two of his infants contributed to Charles leaving faith behind, and how he remained true to himself while respecting his religious wife, Emma. The fact that the Darwins were able to navigate this potential minefield while remaining deeply in love says to me that there is no reason we as a society should not be able to do so. This is a wonderful book for anyone who, like me, is fascinated by the intersection of science and faith.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Quite a few changes

As the year draws to the close, I am seeing so many changes in our lives. This always happens at the end of a school year, but more so this year. As I'm both OCD and Lutheran , you can imagine how this sits with me. Here's the run down of how my life is changing.

-My health. As you know, it has been a struggle since at least October, maybe longer. At this point it stands at "probably endometriosis" and I will start on the low dose pill this Sunday, for four months, with a follow up in late August.
-Changes in virtual school. Because the virtual school we have been with 5 years, Columbia Virtual Academy, will no longer be playing for outside classes in 2012-2013, I am moving Turbo to Meridian Parent Partnership, so that we can continue to get dance paid for. We will also have new teacher (s?) as neither the teacher we have had four years nor the high school advisory teacher The Boy had this year will be returning. I will miss the former but the latter was not as useful as we'd hoped.
-My oldest child has completed confirmation. In October he will be confirmed as an adult member of our church. Yikes!
-The death of my father in law. Mercifully, he had only two weeks of being incapacitated. 89 years is a god run.
-The Mothers of Preschoolers group that I have been involved with in one form or another for a dozen years will be ending next week. It's time has simply come, and we don't have the people to make it work. I will miss it in so many ways, not just the extra money ;) (A good deal of which gets spent on gas to get there and on Starbucks). It's been a huge part of my life and I love working with the kids. This past year I also ran the programme for the kids and while I was quite fearful at first, I did not do too badly.
Is that all? probably not. But it's enough change to think about for now.