Monday, August 25, 2008


We are home. I was reunited with B and K on Friday. I missed them both, although K has been such a gigantic, stick in your throat PILL ever since that I'm not entirely sure why I missed her any more.

We had a good time at the wedding Saturday, then hit the road and spent the night in Ohio. We got up this morning, heroically refrained from strapping K to the roof of the car (oh trust me, after the night we had it was a serious consideration) and made it back to Philadelphia by the grace of God and generous lashings of Blues Clues to keep The Beast in check.

Am very tired. And I have to work all week without any daycare. *sob* Am going to go collapse.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On the road again

So apparently I'm gunning for Most Sucktastic Blogger of the Year award. In my defense, I was really busy trying to work extra hours last week, so my computer time has all been work time. And then we drove to Michigan.

I'm not sure I even talked much about this trip, but it was a combination of wanting to celebrate my mother's 70th birthday, wanting to get up to B's parents' place to get our wilderness fix and being able to attend a college friend's wedding. This was all planned before I got a second job, however. So I decided that rather than take time off after only a month on the job, I would just continue to work this week. What's the good of telecommuting if you can't commute yourself around? Unfortunately, B's parents only have dialup, and since one thing I'm evaluated on is speed, I shudder to think of what my statistics would look like if I tried to work up there, at the "click on a link, get up to make a cup of tea, go get a book to read" speed of download. But my mother has broadband, so I sent B and K up north for three days while I'm staying with my mother and working.

Oh goodness, even working, it's been glorious. No bedtime wrestling matches, no planning my day around nap time and bedtime. Going to bed knowing that I get to sleep through the night. I've taken two solo vacations with K now, so I've been due for some child-free time. I'm sorry not to have the opportunity to go north, but it's worth it to have the time off.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


One of the best purchases I made before we went to Colorado was this toy: the Princess Elise Magnetic Dress-Up Set

It's basically like a dress-up paper doll, only made out of wood with pieces that stay on with magnets. It's been a huge hit, with the added bonus that it's tough enough to stand up a three-year-old's love, which paper wouldn't. It kept K occupied for hours of car and plane time, and it's still a favorite now that we're at home. The only thing I can say against it is that toys with lots of small parts aren't great to bring on airplanes, where you have to contort yourself like a yogi master on acid to pick things up from under the seats (dear airlines, have you ever considered putting a lip on your trays, or even just a tacky surface, unlike the current coating that you seem to have right now, which causes any placed on it to instantly slip like a dog on roller skates on an ice rink?). I think it helped kick-start K's priness phase, but princesses aren't a big deal to me. We just read books like The Paperbag Princess and The Princess Knight and got her a little princess figure that has a horse she can ride around just as well as a knight. Princesses don't have to be all pink ballgowns and helplessness. And since we have a toy castle waiting in the garage for Christmas, I'm just as happy that she's developed an interest in that sort of thing (I have to admit, while I was pretty sure she would like a castle, it was one of those purchases that was as much for my inner ten-year-old as it was for her).

So the princess thing isn't what has my feminist ire up. What got it up was when I decided to see what other magnetic dress-up dolls Melissa and Doug had to offer. And they are:

* a ballerina with various ballet outfits
* a girl with various girly outfits
* two girls with, you guessed it, various girly outfits
* a boy, who can dress up as a police officer, a super hero, a knight, fireman, a construction worker or a pirate


Surely I don't need to point out the problem here. Apparently girls just dress up in pretty clothes while boys do active things and work in important professions. Really? In this day and age toy companies still send these messages?

Well, okay, I've seen plenty of examples of toy companies sending those messages. But I expect better from Melissa and Doug. I really like their toys; they're creative and well-made, non-plastic and yet affordable. And I guess that although making creative wooden toys gives the impression that the makers are progressive, apparently they aren't. Poking around their store, it's not hard to notice other things, like the fact that all of the pictures of children with products are gender-coded, with boys playing with trains and girls with dollhouses, or that of their puppets, the only one that breaks gender barriers is a female surgeon. The other female puppets are a ballerina, princess, cheerleader and cowgirl, while the male puppets are things like policemen and pirates. Gag.

This is really annoying, because I'd like to get K another magnetic doll, but all of the choices suck. I suppose I could get the boy doll and just give K the outfits to put on her princess, but I'm not sure I want to support this with my money. I'll probably still buy other Melissa and Doug products because they're so good, but I'm damned if I'm going to buy any products so nakedly sexist.

And speaking of sexist, I have a secondary rant for Target. Alert readers may remember that we had been contemplating building K a play kitchen. But I added up what it would cost, and then discovered that it wouldn't be any cheaper or a better quality than the wooden play kitchen Target sells. And now I'm glad we got it when we did, because I went into Target last week and discovered it had been redesigned. It wasn't significantly different in shape - they had replaced the mini-refrigerator with open shelves and changed the fixtures a bit - but they had changed the color from light blue to pink and white. Great! Way to take a toy that appeals to all children and send the message that only girls cook. Oh! And better yet, the box our kitchen in had a boy and girl on it, and now the box has two girls on it. Feh.

(As an aside to Target, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that you're trying to muscle in on the Melissa and Doug/Plan Toys-type market. I base this partially on the fact that I walked down an aisle today that I thought had M and D toys until I looked closer and realized they were Circo brand. I'm all for you making cheap wooden play food available - the magnetic peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a lunchbox we got has been a big hit; ditto the wooden sandwich. But I bought them because they were 1) a reasonable quality and 2) around five bucks (the pb and j was on clearance; I probably would have paid up to $10 for it). The stuff I saw today was crappy and $15. I'm not going to pay $15 for three lousy pieces of cutting fruit with a banana that's almost square when I can get a cutting food box from Melissa and Doug with eight pieces of food for $20. Or four entire crates of food from M and D for the same price. People will buy crappy stuff if it's cheap, or pay more money for better stuff. But they won't pay more money for crap. Last time I checked, the way big box stores got into a new market was by undercutting the competition, not by producing crappier products for the same price)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

This has got to be some sort of record

In a couple of weeks, we are about to be without daycare again.

This time, the provider got offered a job she couldn't refuse with her old employer, and she wasn't making enough money with child care, so it wasn't much of a choice. I will give her credit for at least giving us some lead time on this - we have until the end of the month - unlike the others who more or less shoved us onto the curb without warning.

I'm choosing to see this as a blessing in disguise. For one thing, I think I will just tell her that next week will be our last week and then we won't have to pay for the week we're gone on vacation. But I had also been having some buyer's remorse, thinking that maybe we should have tried to get K in a more preschool-like environment. At the time, I just wanted someplace, but I think it would have paid to look around a little at some centers instead of home-based daycares. So this is a chance to find a preschool of some sort.

But still, this is the THIRD daycare in a YEAR. All I want to do is pay people money to watch my child. Is that really so unreasonable?

Sigh. At least K wasn't there long enough to get attached.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The next step

I called to renew some prescriptions the other day and discovered something interesting: my primary care physician is no longer with that practice. It would have been awfully nice to be told that the gatekeeper of our health care was no longer available, but on the whole, this is good news. Remember how I was uncertain about her competence? I've been feeling like I need to go back to the doctor again to talk about my PCOS meds, and I was avoiding it because I didn't want to deal with her, even long enough to say "I want to be referred to an endocrinologist."

So we need to call up our insurance and figure out who our doctor is, but once that happens, hopefully it will be someone with half a clue. Ever since switching to the extended release version of metformin last year, my weight has been slowly creeping up and now I'm starting to get some more PCOS symptoms back, even after upping my meds. Aargh. I'm hoping just switching back to regular metformin will fix this.

One particularly unwelcome symptom is increasingly funky cycles. I've had two relatively normal (probably) ovulatory cycles and one weird-ass (probably) ovulatory cycle. But now I'm on what is shaping up to be a weird-ass non-ovulatory cycle, dammit.

So I'm hoping that the new doctor will have half a clue. But if they don't, I'm going to demand a referral to an endocrinologist. As I was thinking this, it occurred to me that the most efficient thing to do is go to a reproductive endocrinologist. After all, they would probably be the best at treating syndromes that cause infertility like PCOS, and if these funky cycles continue for a few more months, I'm going to end up at one anyway. It just seems like a monumental step. We haven't been making a huge effort towards conception yet - we've been waiting for B's union to agree on a new contract with the city so we don't wind up pregnant and on strike, as well as taking a couple months to see what my cycles do. And my ob prescribed the clomid that got me pregnant last time, so I've never been to an RE. For some reason, the idea makes me nervous.

I suppose a lot of the problem is that I would just like the problem to be that I need to change my meds, and that will fix everything and let me accomplish pregnancy on my own for once. Because regardless of whether or not I get pregnant, I've had over five years largely symptom-free and I'd like to go back to that. Controlling PCOS isn't just an infertility issue, it's a whole-body health issue.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy anniversary to us!

It is our 8th wedding anniversary today. Eight years, which seems like no time at all and forever at the same time. Some of the years absolutely sucked, but it was never because of us.

B took the day off today and I'm still involuntarily on vacation (this server outage at work has moved from "pleasant unexpected mini-vacation" to "my paycheck is going to take a big hit, dagnabbit"), so we shipped the kid to daycare and hit the movies.

We saw Mamma Mia, a choice originally made because I was afraid that Dark Knight would give me nightmares if I saw it on the big screen and I wasn't sure Mummy 3 was worth the money to see in the theatre. But it turned out to be absolutely the right choice: lots and lots of fun and an enjoyable romantic flick perfect for an anniversary. If you like musicals and ABBA, it's worth seeing.

The thing that struck me about it while I was watching was how remarkably body positive it was. While there were certainly a decent share of nubile young things and hardbodies dancing around the screen, the real stars of the show were three women in their mid-50s, dancing and celebrating their sexuality without a single hint from the movie that this might somehow be ridiculous. Meryl Streep is always magnificent, but it has to be admitted that she's not Hollywood's female ideal anymore. Middle-age spread has set in and there are definitely plenty of wrinkles there. But watching her dance around like she's 20, it's easy to see why she could still have three men chasing her. Of her friends, one has had work done, but she isn't either lauded or condemned for it - she has an entire beach of young men pursuing for her, but again, the idea of that is considered entirely natural. Even the shortest and frumpiest of the trio who is normally relegated to comic-relief sidekick status, is allowed to be sexy and desirable.

In an industry where the normal procedure is to hire actresses in their mid-30s to play mothers to a 20-year-old and 45 is considered the most ancient of old age, it's just so refreshing to see a movie cast women who are frankly a little old for the characters, since my impression from the movie is that the main character was quite young (early 20s?) when she got pregnant with her daughter, now 20.

The movie itself? The frothiest bit of fluff that ever flirted with a wisp of plot. No substance there at all. But it's a musical based on ABBA music, after all. Any sort of plot would just sink like a lead weight among the clouds of bubbles that are the music. But the casting spoke volumes.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


It's been a long week. If I had been smart, I would have taken the Monday after getting home to my vacation time, so I wouldn't have to jump right into taking care of K all day _and_ having to get four hours of work in immediately after getting back from vacation. But apparently I'm not that smart.

As a result, I've been working for the past twelve days straight and I was getting pretty strung out. But luck struck Thursday night when the website I use to do all of my work turned up its toes and died. So instead of working at the museum all day on Friday and then going home to work another four hours, I got to go home and do nothing at all, with the blessing of my bosses. Oh what bliss. And we had a nice lazy day today with a forecast for another lazy day tomorrow. I plan to become one with the couch and perhaps melt a bit.


Three is definitely a trying age. But it's also excessively cute, as K's verbal skills are finally to the point that she can really let us in on the things she's thinking. Tonight at dinner, for example, I was informed that there was a cat living in her apple. Apparently the inside of her mind is a deeply weird place.

And oh, the cute phrases, which slay me on a regular basis. There's bunnyhop for rabbits and dino-roars for dinosaurs (accompanied by a roar, of course). Recently pigtails were christened pony ears. In case the etymology is a bit murky, I had asked her if she wanted a pony tail, and she said no, she wanted pony ears. If you think about it, it's actually a much better name than pigtails, given that pigs don't generally have more than one tail unless they live next to Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.


Wednesday was the Anniversary, one year since my father died. I suppose it was good that it was a busy day, which meant I didn't even remember what day it was until noon. I felt out of sorts and frazzled, but I didn't have time to let myself wallow. I called my mother that evening and she had had a busy day as well. We had a good talk about our theologies of misfortune (short version: neither of us is fond of the "it's all God's plan" approach).

He is missed, and he will always be missed. But we're slowly rebuilding our family life around the hole. We laid him to rest in a place that he loved, and if he can't be with us, I'm glad his new home is as beautiful and peaceful as this.