Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Since I don't neglect this blog enough, I've decided to start a second one! I've been doing a lot of projects around the house lately, and the reaction I've gotten from a lot of people when I tell them I replaced cabinets in my kitchen, the tile around my fireplace, the vanity top in my bathroom has often been amazement. Happy as I am with the improvements to my house and the development of my skills, I don't really believe I'm doing anything other people -- other women -- couldn't also do. So I'm wondering why, in 2006, when most women do paid work, there's a Home Depot or Lowes on every other street corner, and the internet is rich with detailed instructions on how to do almost any home project out there -- why is it still so unusual for someone like me to pick up a drill or a crow bar and make things happen? I have a theory that a lack of confidence is what stops a lot of us, and I'll be writing about it at It's Not Scary, and sharing some of the projects I've done as well. Please check it out and tell me what you think.

Because I'm all about the innovation, the new blog is on a brand new, invitation-only blog service called Vox. Let me know what you think of that too :-)

Edit: I'm already over the other blog service and am moving It's Not Scary back over her to Blogger -- the correct address is

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Recently I saw a story on the news about a new vaccine for the human papillomavirus virus (HPV), which is transmitted sexually and can lead to cervical cancer. This virus is extremely prevalent among sexually active adults, so the fact that a vaccine has been developed is great news. There are undoubtedly conservative types out there who are against it (since apparently any kind of medical breakthrough related to female reproductive health must be some kind of threat to home, family, and the sanctity of human life), but somehow the FDA managed to fight off the forces of the neocons long enough to approve it, so that's good, right?

Only the news story I saw was all about how a lot of parents are resisting the recommendation that girls should receive the vaccine sometime between the ages of 9 and 12. Because, you know, that's too young. And there was the obligatory shot of a pre-pubescent girl running around a soccer field and looking cherubic while her mom talked about how she wasn't going to follow the guidelines, basically because the whole idea made her feel kind of icky.

I have a few thoughts on this:

1) Why should my daughter be vaccinated now, when she's so young and isn't having sex yet? Duh. The vaccine can't protect her from potential infection unless she gets it before she has sex. And yeah, I know no one likes to look at their pre-teenaged daughter and imagine that her becoming sexually active is anything but a distant possibility in the far, far future. I've got an 11-year-old daughter myself, and I shudder at the thought. Still, let's be realistic here: even the most organized parent in the world doesn't have the date their child is going lose his or her virginity marked on the calendar. If you want your child to wait, talk to them about the reasons they should do so, but for God's sake, don't deprive them of something that could keep them safer and healthier if they don't follow your advice.

2) I can't get my daughter vaccinated against HPV because, at 9/10/11/12, I feel she's still too young for me to talk to her about HPV. This one really bugs me. I suppose you're going to have a long, in-depth discussion about lockjaw with her before you take her in for her tetanus booster? Now, I'm not saying there aren't maybe a few girls out there who'll have lots of questions about why they have to get this shot, but I feel fairly confident that most of them won't question things any farther than this:

Parent: You're going to have to get a shot at the doctor's.

Daughter: A shot? Oh, man. (whining) Why?

Parent: To protect you from getting cancer.

Daughter: Oh.

Some of them might be savvy enough to ask what kind of cancer, but I'm guessing a vague "You know -- down there" will be enough of an answer to satisfy all but the very most scientifically-minded girls. Most pre-adolescent girls do not want to engage in discussions about "down there" anymore than their parents do.

I'm not saying that parents shouldn't discuss the reason for the shot with their daughters -- I'm just going with the idea that you give kids as much information as they can handle and that they ask for, and therefore, the argument that girls whose parents feel they are too young to learn about sexually transmitted diseases shouldn't still be protected against them just isn't a good one.

3) My daughter is a good girl and won't be having sex till she's married, so she doesn't need to get this shot. To me this ranks right up there with the logic that kids don't need sex education because it will just give them ideas, and if you just don't tell them anything, they won't have sex. I realize withholding information and not having your kid vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease are not the same thing, but I can't help thinking that the parent who doesn't want their daughter to get this vaccination at 10 is the same parent who doesn't want her to learn about condoms and STDs later on in junior high and high school. And last I heard, the whole "preaching abstinance as sex education" wasn't keeping lots and lots of kids out there from becoming sexually active, only keeping information from them that could keep them safer and healthier when they do.

Getting shots is an unpleasant fact of childhood -- no question about that. But the fact that the reason for this particular immunization just happens to make some parents look ahead to the future and feel a little queasy doesn't excuse those parents from fulfilling their responsibility to make sure their child is protected. No one ever said this parenting thing was easy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Please Help a Good Cause

Remember my sister-in-law The Bride? Well she and Big Little Brother celebrated their first wedding anniversary on August 20 -- time flies! Anyway, she's got a new project -- training for a half marathon with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program. I've known a number of people, including my other sister-in-law Dana and my good friend Sue, who have participated in TinT in the last several years, and it seems like a terrific program for a great cause. The Bride, who will heretofore be known by her real name, Angela, simply because I haven't thought of a good pseudonym for her, has a fundraising goal of $2700, and here is a link to her fundraising page

Please check it out and consider making a small donation. Every little little bit helps!

Monday, September 11, 2006

This morning I woke up at my friend's house in Livermore at 4:55 a.m., got in the car by 5:20, dropped my other friend off at the Oakland Airport by 6:20, and was home in Davis by 7:45. Reasonable Man was getting the kids off to school and I chatted with them and helped get their stuff into their backpacks so they could leave and I wished them all a good day and fell soundly asleep on the couch with the dog probably before they were even out of the driveway. My plan was to sleep for 30 minutes and then go to the gym, but I guess I didn't set the alarm on my cell phone right so I ended up not waking up till 90 minutes later -- at which point I did get up and go to the gym. I worked out for an hour, chatting with the mom of one of Mermaid's friends who joined recently, and then took off for Sacramento where I bought a buttload of groceries at Trader Joe's and then came home, unpacked them, ate some lunch and showered.

So really, on the whole, a pretty productive day, no? Still, the early rising and lengthy nap left me feeling off, and I have basically felt like I'm swimming through a fog since I woke up the second time. I really hope Mermaid doesn't have much homework when she gets home this afternoon because I really am pretty much feeling like like that commercial for cold medicine from a few years ago, where the little cartoon guy's head floats up above him like a balloon, only I haven't taken any cold medicine. I wish they still showed that commercial because it was such a good metaphor for the discombobulation I feel every time my sleep schedule gets disrupted in a major way.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I've been a bad blogger lately. I've actually begun about 6 different posts in the last few weeks, but the usual thing always happens: I get too ambitious, it starts to seem too hard, I have other things to do, and I abandon it halfway through. So today I'm going to write about a number of random things, just to clear the board, and maybe I can start fresh this coming week with the current minutiae of the my life instead of continuing to try to catch up on the old stuff.

Babies Babies Babies!

There was a baby boom in my life this summer. Welcome to the following little ones, and congratulations to their parents:

John Ronald Barnes, born July 10 to Josh and Emilie Barnes. Emilie is one of my best friends from junior high and high school.

Colin Martin Lee, born July 12 to Chris and Ninette Lee. Chris is a high school classmate of mine that I've become friends with over the last couple of years here in Davis.

Miranda Josephine Mains, born August 4 to Chris and Janine Mains. Janine is a close friend of mine from the November98 due date list I joined when I was pregnant with Enthusio.

Ethan Pierre Lund, born to Toneka Webb and Matt Lund. Toneka and Matt are longtime friends of my Big Little Brother-- he introduced the two of them, and Toneka introduced BLB to his wife.

Zanfirico Clark Izarn Kluver -- my nephew!!! -- born August 29 to Carisa and Marc Izarn Kluver. Carisa is my cousin, but we are close so I am claiming Zan as my nephew, and I could not be more excited :-)

I got to meet Colin a few weeks ago when we went to the Lee's for dinner; today I'm going to Livermore to meet Miranda, and next weekend I fly to Seattle to meet Zan. How fun!

Celebrity Stuff

I loved the alleged incident reported a few weeks ago wherein Jessica Simpson allegedly asked if she could kiss Britney Spears' pregnant belly and Britney allegedly replied "Hell, no!" This is, in my opinion, the only reasonable reply to such a stupid question. It almost gave me new respect for Britney.

I also loved the item where Mr. Britney, K-Fed, defended his own intelligence by claiming to have gotten "amazing-ass" scores on his GED. I'm not even going to touch that one.

I have a theory about Suri Cruise. Although her appearance on in Vanity Fair this week doesn't necessarily prove that Katie and Tom are her parents, I never really bought the idea that the whole pregnancy was made up and they don't have a baby. I do, however, believe that she was actually born 2 or 3 months earlier than was reported. Come on -- wasn't that "born down the hall from Brooke Shields' baby on the same day" thing just a little too convenient? Look at the evidence:

1) When Tom and Katie announced her pregnancy in October, not only was she already showing but she looked about 6 months along. I remember reading that she was due sometime in the spring and thinking "spring, my ass -- she'll never make it past the end of January." She continued to look way pregnant for the next 6 months -- except toward the end, when she sometimes looked like she was suddenly a lot smaller, and sometimes she literally looked like she had a basketball under her top. I think it's because at this point she'd actually already had the baby.

2) When people were asking if she was really pregnant, I always immediately thought, "yeah, of course" because in those last few months, there were lots of pictures of her looking, well, terrible. If they were faking the whole thing, wouldn't they have her continue looking fabulous? What I think is that when she was looking exhausted, sometimes enormous, bedraggled, and sporting cold sores at various times, she was actually post-partum and not in the later stages of pregnancy.

3) No pictures of the baby for several months. Duh -- they had to wait till enough time had passed that they could pass off a baby born in January or February as a baby born in April. The baby in the Vanity Fair pictures could be 4 months, 6 months, 8 months old -- that's how babies are during that first year of life.

Now, why would they do this? Well, do the math -- if Suri was born in January or February, Katie would have had to become pregnant almost immediately after she and Tom met. Planned or not, yuck -- one more log on the fire of "is this just a big stunt to prove he's not gay?" So they retreat for the rest of the summer and early fall and put off announcing the pregnancy until she's showing in October and just pretend the baby doesn't arrive till a couple of months after she's born.

Think about it. It makes sense.


It's going well. I've talked to Enthusio's teacher a couple of times since they started, and she's really put me at ease -- she says he's fitting in, being accepted by his classmates, and seems happy and comfortable in the classroom. He did ask her if he had to do the math book, since he already did it last year :-) But they do have this computer program the kids can use where they work on things like math at their own speed, so I know he can move ahead if he gets bored with the 2nd grade curriculum.

I had a conversation with him that disturbed me a little bit, where he told me that he is playing by himself at recess and eating by himself at lunch. He said that's what he prefers to do for right now, and that he wants to get to know his classmates before he becomes friends with any of them. If that continues, then I will definitely want to talk to his teacher and such to try to facilitate his forming some friendships, but for now he is comfortable and that is the most important thing. I am feeling very confident that he is in the right classroom this year :-)

Both Mermaid's teacher and her new aide say she is doing beautifully and she seems very happy in her new class. I know this is kind of a honeymoon period for her with the new aide and issues will arise once the novelty of the school year wears off and she is confronted with work she doesn't want to do, but that sort of things has become less frequent over the last couple of years and I think she's going to have another good year.

The House

Since we decided not to move for the the time-being, I've been a busy bee making improvements to our current house. In the last several weeks, I had put tile around the fireplace, sanded and refinished the bannister (no more teeth marks!), and torn the tile countertops out in the downstairs half-bath and the kitchen. In the bathroom I installed a new all-in-one vanity top, and in the kitchen, we are having a new laminate countertop installed this coming week (I can't wait!). In addition to the projects that have allowed me to hone my own home improvement skills, we also have a new fence and gate between the house and the garage that we hired a fence guy to install, and we have beautiful new cornice boxes over the windows in the living room and dining room, courtesy of my father-in-law (thanks, Joe!). Upcoming projects include redecorating Enthusio's room, mounting the flat-screen TV on the wall, and refinishing the dining room table. I would also like to do lots of planting in both yards this fall.


I am excited about National Novel-Writing Month this year -- I've thought of a basic storyline for my novel, I have names for the main characters, and I think it's going to be good! One thing that especially pleases me is that I will get to write part of it about a gushy teenage romance in the main character's past, but most of it takes place when she's about 30. So I'm getting to do the silly stuff I love, but also branching out into something new, writing about a character much closer to my own age! We'll see how it goes...


Probably in large part due to the reading bender on which I embarked during our vacation, I find myself ironically poised to pass the 50-books-read mark this year. Ironic because last year I actually tried to do that and fell just short, while this year I haven't even been trying.

Important Note: Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper is really 99% a very good book, but if you decide to read it, I highly recommend you close the book at the end of page 412, after the resolution of the lawsuit, because in the last ten pages, the story rides completely infuriatingly off the rails. I don't know what the author was thinking.

Okay, that's it -- that's all the junk that's been floating around in my brain the last few weeks. It feels good to get it all out there :-)