Sunday, October 29, 2006

My First Time

[X-posted here]

Despite the fact that I did alot of careful research ahead of time, I nearly had an anxiety attack. And while it felt good to do, I burst into tears when I was finished.

My First Time

[X-posted here]

Despite the fact that I did alot of careful research ahead of time, I nearly had an anxiety attack. And while it felt good to do, I burst into tears when I was finished.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


It's fall, colleges are back in session, and RAD classes are starting up all over. RAD (Rape Assault Defense) is a comprehensive self-defense course for women. The course teaches awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance of dangerous situations, usually with hands-on training. A typical class lasts for five sessions and costs about $5 per session.

RAD is designed for women of all ages and levels of physical conditioning. Mothers frequently attend with their daughters; elderly women living alone attend. High-school and college women concerned about date rape attend. Women learn to recognize dangerous situations, and learn how to handle them. They engage in realistic scenarios with the instructors, practicing defense techniques. The education and experience give them power and confidence.

Classes are held in community centers, YMCAs, on college campuses, and so on. My state alone has dozens of locations. Classes are also offered for children and for men. To learn more about the program, or to locate a nearby center, visit

Friday, October 20, 2006


I've been a member of Blog Sisters for quite some time and have enjoyed reading all of you but this is my first post. It's a double post from my blog today and I apologize in advance for that - I just felt like I wanted to vent to other women - to other mamas - in hopes of finding some good ol' female empowerment and support.

What better place than here?

Over the last few weeks, I've been asked for updates on my "baby making" status. I anticipated this but have been surprised by how quickly I've grown tired of responding. I am now kicking myself for ever publicizing (in blog or casual conversation) that my husband and I are actively trying.

Update - I am not pregnant.

However, if mine and my husband's schedules ever synchronize and I become less stressed, I have confidence that it will happen for us.

The second irritating factor to this whole topic are the comments I have received from several people along the lines of:

Well, you're not 16 anymore....your body isn't going to just snap back the way it did!

[Really? I'm impressed that you think it "snapped back" at all.]

At your age, I bet you'll find that you have to really work to get the weight off this time.

[Well, then my four years as a certified personal trainer and nutritionist will come in handy.]

The sad fact is that my first response is to defend such statements with, "Actually, women on both my mom and my dad's side of the family have had children in their mid to late 30's and managed to recover their figure with little effort; genetically, most of us have nice shapes."

What I really want to respond with is, "Why is this even a discussion that you find important and appropriate to broach?"

I will openly admit to a level of vanity - one that I now consider to be fairly healthy. As a little girl, the way I looked drew a lot more attention than the grades I made or the way I behaved. Consequently, I learned to value this aspect of myself over others for a long time. Fortunately for me, however, I have since had numerous humbling experiences - to include childbirth - which have put things in a more balanced perspective.

In fact, when I posted a few months ago about my anxiety over trying to conceive, my body image was not among my concerns. I have no idea why others deem it as noteworthy.

Update - Should I get pregnant, I may gain a few pounds that, this time, don't come right off.

So fucking what.

If you REALLY want to send me into panic mode, remind me about how kids can wreck a home faster than a tornado.....

I'm far more obsessed with how my house looks than I am my ass.

strep n fetch it.

One of the things Jenna brought back on the plane was strep. soooo that's what I've been up to the last couple of days. Fetching tissues for her to spit in and tissues for noses and wet washcloths for skin that she says feels soooo hot mommy. And soup too. Don't forget the vegetable beef soup.

Amazing Omnicef. She's bopping around today, getting back to herself quickly, though nebby treatments have begun. Looks like ENT-ville again and the tonsil discussion. I hear it's outpatient these days, which is awesome. I remember going in the night before, then being wheeled into the OR and telling the surgeon I was going to throw up as soon as I smelled that ether. They said no you aren't; it just smells. I said yes I am, and I puked all over the operating table. They freaked out and sent me home. I had to go back to kindergarten WITH my tonsils and fess up to throwing up. A few weeks later we tried again. This time, no puking and byebye tonsils.

I'm hoping better things for jenna, like no problems if it has to be, and lots of ice cream. Please don't tell her that you really don't care about ice cream when they finally get around to giving it to you.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

how did we miss this??

Frank Paynter posted about it, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't pick up on the implications until I read what he wrote. He begins his post with this:

This post is not about the grim and twisted irony of the violence of a school shooting in Amish country. Rather, I want to draw attention to the unspoken horror of the misogyny, the hate crime against the female gender that it represents.

Frank links to several female bloggers who posted vehemently and accurately about what seems to be an increasing number of hate crimes against females. He ends his post with this:

Misogyny is everywhere. It’s in the burka. It’s in the genital mutilation of so-called “female circumcision.” It’s in the Chinese infanticide of baby girls. It’s practically a human condition. Yet once slavery was a human condition too, and now, except for a few corporate monsters, some backwards nations, and the perversion of sexual slavery it has largely been wiped out. Can we make progress against misogyny too?

I wonder why we aren't all posting about how the status and safety of all of us females is consistently being eroded. Why aren't we mad as hell.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tapping into the Ex-Employee Network

(first posted on

Betsy The Devine's post on the "Puff Club" Reunion flickr photos got me thinking about business. Yes, believe it or not, a baby reunion summoned thoughts of jobs past. Specifically about the companies I have left, or who have left me, over the years, and all of the reunions I've attended (and run like hell from, depending) in the ensuing decades. These are the events during which old employees -- and sometimes current employees -- get together to drink alcoholically and laugh hysterically until the wee hours. They remind you 1) why you are glad you don't work there anymore 2) how much you miss your old workmates, and 3) why you took smoke breaks every 20 minutes.

There is something to be said for reunions.

When I was relieved of employment (along with the engineering group and a couple other mid-level management stragglers) post-childbirth by one dysfunctionally enmeshed technology company in the 90s, we ex- and current employees were so inextricably linked that reunions happened weekly. As the ex-company grew at a faster rate than the current comapny, and our ex-work-force established a more effective communication network than the internal version, company news was transmitted faster and more efficiently to non-employees than it was to employees. This generally frustrates businesses, some of which put in place policies that discourage fraternization with ex-employees.

Here's a call for companies to do just the opposite. Rather than carving the line between your ex-employees and current employees in concrete, why not encourage -- heck, even sponsor -- regular reunions where past and present employees can get together for conversation, laughing, complaining, mocking, and the like. Instead of pretending that these get togethers -- and these conversations -- aren't taking place (because they are), embrace them. Stand unafraid in the crosshairs of where past and present employees cross paths. What do you have to gain?

1) You will create emissaries of good will, fueled by the ability to be honest.
2) You will show that you are defined by every human being who has entered your doors at one time or another.
3) Often the best talent is the talent that RETURNS to the organization after going elsewhere--you will keep in touch with them.
4) You will tap into the most effective local/regional grapevine available--your ex-employee network. It's already operational. Why not add your voice?
5) You will demystify the "outside" which generally seems pretty damn alluring from the inside.

It's like the cheese bra lady. Her best ideas--and creativity--will now be used outside of her former company. There is no going back for her former employer and its clueless decision to axe her because of her cheese-like non-dairy bra. However, inviting her to the next company reunion -- even honoring her, admitting the company's shortsightedness in a funny way -- might bring that business one step closer to getting a clue.

Or at least getting some laughs and head nods.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Teaching ethics by being unethical?

Journalists need to learn the ethics of reporting, we can all agree on that. But in attempting to teach an object lesson on victim privacy, professor Al Salvato crossed the line into what I believe is unethical territory himself. In his role as an instructor at the University of Cincinnati, he handed out a police report listing the name, address, phone number, height, weight, and eye color, as well as all the details of the assault, of a 17-year-old rape survivor.

Then one of the students called her.

The student appears to have been a friend, not a predator or a "true crime" freak getting off on someone's victimization. But that's strictly luck.

No one seems to know whether the report was actually a public record, nor how Salvato obtained a copy of it. The professor died and the university quickly settled an invasion of privacy lawsuit out of court.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Jon Hughes, director of journalism at UC, said Salvato told him he'd handed out the report to illustrate how real reporters deal with such sensitive issues. As a rule, the media tends not to report names of sexual victims.

"It was his impression, at least initially, of what students should not report - it was used in that vein," said Hughes, who's not aware of any other instructors using real police reports at UC. "It's a very curious situation."

Hand said the legal issue doesn't really matter. He said UC settled because it didn't want to extend (name removed by Terry)'s grief.

"It might have been, it might not have been" a public record, Hand said. "But it was not used in an appropriate manner."

They "hope something like this will never happen again."

They "hope." I hardly know what to say to that. This young woman was made a victim a second time by a man who apparently never stopped to think that he was dealing with the life of a real person. A person who'd already had all control stripped from her once. In an effort to make a point, he exposed her pain to a group of strangers, giving them intimate details they had no business knowing. In attempting to teach sensitivity, he did the most insensitive thing I can imagine. There's no excuse for that.

She may have gotten a monetary settlement, but was denied the things she really wanted. An apology and control of her life back.

Now that's a crime.

(cross-posted at I See Invisible People)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

the hug thing

hadn't seen it. simple. significant. strong.

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half way to 18.

My baby turned 9 yesterday--that's where I've been.

Not every kid shares Buddy Rich's birthday.

Or his mood swings. Or his uncanny time.

You know me. An emotional amusement park sometimes. My kid. 9. So that's where I've been.

Between having a half-grown child and rescuing a stray puppy from the highway (and then having to give it back to the less than scrupulous owners), then re-inheriting two cats from our newly married neighbor who is moving back in with his ex-now-current wife--and did I mention I have re-decorated the hamster cages in pink and blue bedding, pink for mom and blue for the boys?)--life has been a river, not of news, but of heartbeats.

New life, old life, life moving.
At the speed of me.

At the YMCA a few days ago a woman had her newborn baby with her--precious tiny baby girl in pink. I said to her, "She is so beautiful," and then ducked behind the drape of the changing room to cry quietly.

Every now and then I remember that the ablation I had means I can't carry anymore babies. In my mind fact that we weren't going to have any more babies is completely unrelated to the fact that I can't.Part 1 does not lessen the grieving for Part 2. That's how estrogen works.

Driving past Jenna's school the other day I realized that her turning 9 means she is now halfway to 18, noticing how fast the first 9 years went, realizing that the next 9 will go at least that fast.

Will I make it? Will we? And then what? Where does my heartbeat go? Do I keep it? Or send it out from me?

Of all the layers to my identity, being my daughter's mom is the one I think about the most, where doing it right means every day is one day closer to being left. That little fact is not lost on me.

In my family, we have a hard time raising children to send them out into the world. We don't like letting go. We are smotherers, keepers, hoarders. It takes conscious reminding every day for me to keep from doing what I know.

Ah fuggit. I'm not sure this is making sense. I hear her downstairs now, laughing with her dad. They are watching a show. Her voice rises and falls--fits and jags--loud guffaws, she is nothing if not intense. I am re-amazed so often. heartbeats.

I had coffee with my mother today. Something I haven't done in 4 years.

Nothing is for sure.

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What to do with teenagers when roller skating gets old? SkyZone!

As the mother of a teenage daughter, figuring out activities that give ME a break, are nearby, don't involve computers and cell phones...