Racing Against the Genetic Clock

November 5, 2012

Racing Against the Genetic Clock

I logged onto the Chronicle of Higher Education today to discover an article about HD on the front page.

The author’s child must be about 7 years older than Zebediah, but that seems to have been enough that PGD wasn’t an option.


She doesn’t update her blog much, but she writes good columns (not me, Katha Pollitt)

March 17, 2011

Katha Pollitt so often gets it just right.  See her column on the how parenting wars distract from the significance of child poverty.

The parenting wars look like they are about children, but really they are only about each parent’s own child.




Graphics Fail

August 16, 2010

Once I got close, I could sort of see that the bumper sticker said “No hope in socialism” but thanks to the use of colors and fonts, what I saw from farther away was xxxHOPExxxSOCIALISM.

So many bumper stickers can only be read if you are walking past the car when it is parked.

TFD: No Longer Pseudonymous

July 26, 2010

Seven years post-diagnosis, my husband is willing to be a little more open about the disease, so from now on I will refer to HD (Huntington’s Disease) rather than TFD.

So, Thalia, did you have it figured out way back when?

Clothing Diet versus Weight Gain

July 23, 2010

I read the NY Times article about non-clothes buying and limited-items of clothes wearing shortly after a spending spree. You know it’s bad when they block your credit card. It wasn’t actually that much-maybe it was the combination of home improvement shopping and clothes that did it.

I used to cry when I spent much money on clothes. My husband would encourage me to get them. Now he is wondering if he created a monster. Of course, his shopping method is to notice that he is running out of wearable jeans and having to do laundry too often (more than once a month), then to order ten pairs online.

The problem is that I have gained back a lot of weight. I am not back to my highest, but weigh more than when I started ivf #3.  As I feared, having lost weight during ivf and pregnancy, I’ve gained  while nursing.  The clothes I’ve bought since Zeb was born don’t fit. That is a disadvantage of eschewing my former tent-like clothing aesthetic. Those skirts, and even some of the pants, worked for a wide range of weights. The weight gain is testing my new anti-tent preferences, but I do not really want to wear the couple of tent-like outfits from back then. One reason the clothing bill was high was that I paid to have the pants and shorts altered to deal with the gap in the back. After trying on pants at a few places that claim to have new styles that fit every body, I gave up on finding ones that fit my body the way I want them to.

I’m glad the NY Times article started with a woman who has kids and pets. They can do a lot of damage: chocolatey hugs from the kid, a fluffy white cat who loves my lap, and a black cat who likes to climb the clothes in my closet.

When I looked at the website for Six Items or Less, I saw that their rules included an allowance for multiple same-color similar items for laundry purposes (as in all my black t-shirts), or simply to “tell us to stuff it and make your own rules”.

One of the people featured lives where I do. I just have to say that even though I spend most of my time indoors, when it gets really hot here, my t-shirts get too stinky to re-wear.

Maybe I will practice on my upcoming vacation: pack light, and do a lot of washing. Which is always my plan anyway.

For me, the best thing about the article was hearing that other people did not notice the limited wardrobes. I worry overmuch about wearing the same clothes to teach in too often (“did I wear this to my once-a-week class last week?”). And I worry about wearing the same clothes more than once at conferences. Well, especially now that I have to worry that they’ll be covered with chocolate or worse by the end of the day (I don’t travel with the cats, but Zeb has accompanied to all the conferences I’ve attended since he was born).

Not Since July?

March 15, 2010

I’m still here. The kittens are huge and almost a year old.  Zeb is almost three and out of diapers. My work life is overwhelming enough that I have been procrastinating by reading blogs all night, just like old times, but much less overwhelming than last semester when the deadlines were so imminent that I had to stop reading blogs at all.


July 23, 2009

I’ve always read that if you put a shirt with a stain in the dryer, the heat will set the stain. If I hang the shirt on the line to dry when it is 105 degrees (F), is that any better?


July 21, 2009

My husband wanted to get another cat soon after the Goddess died, but I didn’t. I love cats, but it’s a lot of work (and now that I am no longer pregnant, I do 90% of the kitty litter duty). I thought we might as well wait till Zebediah was old enough to ask/plead for a kitten.

This year, though, we started thinking about it more seriously. We went to a local Humane Society shelter, which of course made me want to take them all home. Also, it made me feel guilty about wanting to get a kitten rather than an older cat. Also, it made me think we should look at the city shelter, because the Humane Society has a no-kill shelter, but the city does not. Also, to donate money to all the local animal welfare groups.

When I found out that it is harder to find homes for black kittens and cats, I felt better about having said “if we’re getting a kitten, I want a black kitten”.

We decided to wait till later in the spring when there would be more kittens needing homes. Then we were too busy even to look until the semester was over.

I remembered that in the past, our vet had had kittens in need of homes in the office, and mentioned it to my husband. Then, when I was taking the Princess to the vet to board for the weekend (the last time, I hope, since we’ve found a cat sitter to replace our no-longer-next door no-longer-landlady) they had a little sign up: we have kittens! ask to see them! So I did. And brought my husband in the next day.

And somehow, when we went outside to discuss which of the four kittens to adopt, I was the one who suggested taking too of them. You know, so they could play with each other and bother the Princess less.

So now we have one sleek black kitty and one fluffy white/seal point kitty. They are about three months old.

I was trying to think of blog names for them that would reflect our geeky choice of real names. In honor of the new Harry Potter movie, I may just call them Fred and George on the blog, even though they are not identical nor red-haired. It fits the geeky-yet-popular source of the names and the personality types we were thinking of.

Writer’s Block

July 20, 2009

This is the problem:

My father is an author. Much of his writing is autobiographical fiction and poetry. In fact, if you Google my real name, my father’s poems come up on the first page of search results, mainly because we share a last name and one of his poems has my first name in the title.

In the past, it bothered me that I was fodder for his writing, and I objected strongly to one piece in particular.

This was a traumatic period in our relationship, for both of us. He was hurt by my anger and rejection. I was hurt by his inability to understand how I was feeling. I come from a family in which people have been know not to speak to each other for decades (exhibit one: my father and his mother), and at one point I thought we might end up like that.

On the other hand, I am not in favor of censorship. In the abstract. In this specific case, I would have preferred a little self-censorship, though.

I know that nobody who knows a writer is safe from having parts of her history or quirks grafted onto a character. I know that it is common for people to see themselves in a character that is completely fictional. However, making arguments based on close textual analysis is what I do for a living, and I thought I made a strong case for identifying a certain character with myself. (Admittedly, focusing on the biography of the author in order to interpret the text is not how I normally analyze literature.)

“It’s not about you, it’s about me” was not convincing to me when I argued with my father about this.

I love reading mommy blogs. I love reading about people’s kids. Not just about parenthood, but the kids as well.

And my favorite bloggers who are mothers may very likely have more readers than my father does, or at least more than he did when his stuff was all in small mags or published by small presses.

So that is one reason that it is hard for me to blog about Zebediah.

P.S. I should note that:

My father has seven children, and I don’t think the others have had such a negative reaction as I have to his stuff.

Also: I think I worry as much about being called (if only by myself) a hypocrite for writing about my kid after complaining when my father wrote about me as I do about the actual act of writing.

Weather Forecasts

July 17, 2009

Least favorite weather forecast last summer: “No more cold fronts until September” Last summer tied for the hottest on record in Capitol city.
Least favorite weather forecast this summer: “No end in sight”. This summer is, so far, hotter on average than last year, and we haven’t even gotten to the hot months. Maybe August and September will be unusually cool.

It is too hot to operate an iphone outside most of the time.

But not too hot for the kids to have outside time at daycare, as required by the day care’s license. They drink a lot of water, and do a lot in the shade, and don’t always go out for the normal two playtimes, but still-you know how kids and parents get cabin fever in the winter because they can’t go outside. Here that happens in the summer. Last weekend, Zebediah and I went to a playdate at a nicely shaded playground in the morning–everyone was commenting on how surprising not-hot it seemed–and ended up so exhausted from the heat for the rest of the day that we couldn’t even go out to the local pool.

I need to call my brother so he can tell me how our record temperatures here are nothing compared to where he lives.  NPR even had a piece about the danger of heat stroke for homeless people there.

My problem is that I lived by the beach in California for 18 years, including one city whose motto was “the world’s best climate” and anything less temperate than that just seems wrong.  I used to think it was torture when my brother and I spent a week or so at a relative’s house “inland”–you know, like Los Angeles.


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