Friday, June 30, 2006

VAX: DTaP

Maybe the best way to tackle this is to take one type of vaccination per post. This one ended up being pretty long. Yesterday, Heb B, today, DTaP.

What: DTaP: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (whooping cough)
When: 2 mos, 4 mos, 6-18 mos, 15-18 mos, 4-6 years

DIPHTHERIA:

I gathered from the information I read that diphtheria is very rare in developed countries like the U.S.

Babycenter/Center for Disease Control:

“Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that causes a thick gray coating at the back of the throat…that makes it hard to breathe and swallow, and can result in suffocation. Toxins produced by the bacteria may affect tissues and organs throughout the body, causing problems such as inflammation of the heart, which can lead to heart failure and paralysis. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 5 to 10 percent of those who contract diphtheria die from it, with death rates reaching as high as 20 percent among the elderly and very young children.”

“While the risk of getting diphtheria in the United States is low, the disease is only a plane ride away.”

Here’s something from this website:

“In its early stages, diphtheria can be mistaken for a bad sore throat. A low-grade fever and swollen neck glands are the other early symptoms.”
“The formation of [the thick gray or black] coating (or membrane) in the nose, throat, or airway makes a diphtheria infection different from other more common infections (such as strep throat) that cause sore throat.”

Someone infected with diphtheria may:
have difficulty breathing or swallowing
complain of double vision
have slurred speech
even show signs of going into shock (skin that's pale and cold, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and an anxious appearance)

“Up to 40% to 50% of those who don't get treated can die”

CDC says 5%-10% who get it die, and Kids Health says half of the people who get it and don’t get treated die. So let’s say CDC is talking about people who get treated. Considering contracting the disease is rare for people living in the U.S. who don’t travel to underdeveloped countries, and it has a high success of treatment rate, it doesn’t seem to me, that for my child, this would be an “extremely necessary” vaccination, if I’m looking at it from the point of view that vaccines in and of themselves are potentially dangerous. Even this article about a batch of DTaP being recalled because it was too weak to protect against diphtheria, states, “But because diphtheria is very rare in the United States and other developed countries, the risk to children who were given the vaccine is very low, FDA officials said.” Ok, so if you shouldn’t worry about a weak vaccine that won’t protect you from diphtheria because your risk is so low for getting diphtheria in the first place…then why get the vaccine at all?

TETANUS

Babycenter/CDC:

“Tetanus is a bacterial infection that causes severe and painful muscle spasms, seizures, and paralysis. About 20 percent of reported cases end in death.”

“Before World War II, when the vaccine came into widespread use, about 600 cases of tetanus and 180 deaths were reported annually in the United States. Now there are about 70 cases per year and 15 deaths, most of them in elderly adults.”

NVIC:

“The first symptoms are likely to be headache, irritability, fever, chills, and muscular stiffness of the jaw and neck. As the poison increases and spreads, the body becomes rigid and locked in spasm with head drawn back, legs and feet extended, arms stiff, hands clenched and the jaw unable to open with difficulty in swallowing. The stomach muscles also become rigid and convulsions may occur.”

“Immediate hospitalization and the use of tetanus antitoxin and powerful tranquilizers and anti-spasmodic drugs are used to treat the disease. The symptoms last for several weeks. Complications of tetanus include pneumonia, bone fractures from violent muscle spasms and death.”

“Because either no studies or too few scientific studies had ever been conducted to investigate tetanus, DT or Td reactions, a determination could not be made as to whether DT, Td or tetanus vaccine can cause other serious health problems which are reported following tetanus, DT and Td vaccination including residual seizure disorders, demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system (transverse myelitis, optic neuritis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis), peripheral mononeuropathy, arthritis, and erythema multiforme (lesions of the skin or mucous membranes).”

It looks like NVIC doesn’t have any proof from studies of negative DTaP affects, but they have reports of the negative affects from parents. That’s pretty much what I came across when I was looking at diphtheria. They didn’t even have a diphtheria link at NVIC, so I was kind of surprised to find a tetanus one.

If I decided refrain from getting any more DTaP vaccines for the baby, of which he’s due to get three more, another at 6-18months, 15-18 months, and 4 to 6 years, I probably wouldn’t worry about tetanus much while he’s still a baby. Tetanus infections can occur from getting cut with an infected instrument, and even cleaning the wound properly may not prevent it. There’s no way to tell if what you’ve been cut with is carrying tetanus, although rusty old metal is probably the most likely culprit. I think it’s good to get kids tetanus shots, but I know they come in other ways than the DTaP. Plus, when the baby is just a baby, it’s unlikely he’s going to get wounded and infected. If I skipped the rest of the DTaPs, I would definitely get a tetanus shot for him once he’s older and more active.

PERTUSSIS (whooping cough)

NVIC has a whole lot of information about this. I’m going to link the page here, because there’s more than I can really sum up, like specifically which children would be more at risk to the detriments of this vaccine, links from the pertussis part of DTaP to SIDS, etc. It goes into detail about what has happened to some babies after getting this vaccine-seizures, high pitched screaming, etc., basically, things to look out for if your child gets this vaccine. None of these things happened to my son. What I gather from this information, is that the pertussis part of the shot may be the most dangerous, and you can get the diphtheria tetanus part without the pertussis part, and for certain children, this is recommended.

Also, there is a difference between DTP and DTaP vaccines. It’s not clear to me from what I’ve read which one doctors routinely give. I want to say we go the DTaP, but I don’t know for sure. I’m going to call the doctor and find out. The difference between the two is that little ‘a.’ It stands for “acellular petussis,” which is only part of the petussis bacteria. In the DTP shot, you get the whole pertussis bacteria. The DTaP is supposed to be safer, as in, fewer adverse reactions like the seizures and high pitched screaming mentioned above.

It’s kind of scary that the government recognized that the whole pertussis bacteria was dangerous so they made a new vaccine using only part of it, but they haven’t recalled the DTP shot in favor of the DTaP. Babycenter acknowledges about the DTP/DTaP, “It's always a good idea to tell your child's doctor if your child has ever had a moderate or serious reaction to any vaccine, or if she or anyone else in the immediate family has ever had a seizure (although having a family history of seizures doesn't mean your child shouldn't receive the vaccine). Your doctor can decide whether this information is relevant. If your child is moderately to severely ill at the time the vaccine is scheduled she should probably wait until she recovers before getting the shot. That way, if she does have any side effects, she'll be better able to tolerate them.” So side effects are commonly acknowledged with respect to this vaccination. If I had known there was a possibility this vaccine would give my baby a seizure, I’m not sure I would have done it. I’m not sure if I want to get the rest of these shots for him or not. Since he hasn’t had any reactions yet, are his chances of having reactions with the remaining shots low? Sometimes I’m getting more questions than answers here, people. But about the disease itself:

Babycenter/CDC:

“Pertussis, better known as whooping cough, is one of the most contagious diseases known to humans. It's a bacterial infection that causes persistent coughing spells so severe that it's hard for children to eat, drink, or breathe. It can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.”

”Before the vaccine was introduced in the 1940s, about 200,000 children came down with the disease every year and about 9,000 died. About 5,000 to 7,000 cases of pertussis. are still reported in the United States annually, and the disease remains a serious health problem among children in other parts of the world.”

NVIC:

“Thick mucous builds up in the lungs and clogs air passages, triggering violent coughing spells. It can be quite serious, especially for young infants with tiny air passages. The fatality rate is highest in infants under six months of age. The effects of toxins in the B. pertussis bacteria can produce high fever, convulsions, brain damage and death. Permanent damage can include continuing seizure conditions, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and chronic illness.”

“In its early stages, pertussis is indistinguishable from the many colds common in children. However, after one or two weeks, the illness gets progressively worse. Thick mucous builds up in the lungs, triggering severe coughing spells as children try to clear their clogged up airways. Children can cough so long and hard that they literally cannot ‘catch their breath;’. Their faces turn blue when they are unable to get fresh oxygen into their system. As the coughing spell ends, children gasp for their next breath with a characteristic crowing sound, or whoop. These coughing spells can occur up to 40 times a day and can last two to three months.”

“There is no medicine to cure whooping cough but antibiotics are often used to reduce the spread of the disease to others as well as treat secondary infections.”

“Today between 2,000 and 10,000 cases of whooping cough are reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) annually. However, there actually may be 40,000 to 100,000 cases each year because the CDC estimates that the disease is underreported in America by as much as 20 times.”

“In 1934, more than 265,000 cases of pertussis were reported in the U.S. with nearly 8,000 deaths. Whooping cough in the underdeveloped Third World countries is still the killer it once was throughout the world in the early part of this century. However, in modern countries, such as Europe and the U.S., today whooping cough is a much more manageable disease that causes death or injury less frequently. This is due to improved sanitation, nutrition, and medical care; the use of antibiotics to control secondary infections[may of the deaths from pertussis are from the secondary infections the disease causes, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, the article mentioned earlier]; the employment of modern resuscitation methods to start a baby breathing again after choking; and rehydration techniques to counter the loss of body fluids from high fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.”

So far, I can't conclude that this was an unnecessary vaccination. It sounds like pertussis is a pretty bad disease, but it also sounds like the pertussis vaccine can be pretty bad. However, my baby never had any negative reactions to any vaccines. I'm going to look into this some more, and if I find anything that makes a big difference either way, I'll post it. For now, I'm going to conclude that it was a necessary vaccine, mostly because I have asthma and I would hate to see my baby in respiratory distress.

Unnecessary vaccines my baby has received: 1
Necessary vaccines my baby has received: 1

Thursday, June 29, 2006

VAX: Hep B

The post has been updated at the end on 6/30/06

*This post is mainly about the hepatitis B vaccine. I wanted to post about all the vaccines and diseases your kid gets immunized for, then I ran out of time, so I was going to post about the ones my kid's already gotten, then I ran out of time, so here's ONE he's gotten. I'll do the rest eventually, but not until next week (because I don't blog on the weekends-that's baby time!) I think I should just make this blog about vaccines, because this whole thing is going to take forever!*

When I was pregnant, Babycenter.com became a staple of my daily internet browsing. As a first time mother, I had no experience with babies at all, and I like to highly research things before I get into them. So I fell IN LOVE with Babycenter.com. They sent me weekly updates of what my fetus looked like! And he was always cute! In my quest for vaccine knowledge, I of course turned to Babycenter. And found out they completely tow the party line (a.k.a. says what the government says) about vaccines, complete with little to know cited sources. A lot of what Babycenter reports is verbatim from literature from the Center for Disease Control (of course I looked at CDC stuff, I’m thorough!) And we all know, you can’t always trust the government, and I was sad to realize, you can’t always trust Babycenter.

HEPATITIS B VACCINE
Children receive this at birth, and another shot at 1-4 months.
I was initially wary of this one, because I knew hepatitis B was common only among intravenous drug users and the extremely sexually promiscuous. However, before I knew it, they were saying, "here's your baby back ma'am, he's just had his hepatitis B shot." (At the hospital. When he was one day old and so small I was afraid I'd break him)

What Babycenter says:

“Before the vaccine was introduced in the United States in 1982, about 33,000 children under 10 whose mothers did not carry the virus were diagnosed each year with hepatitis B.”
“There is no cure.”

What NVIC says:

According to Harrison's,[Harrison’s Principals of Internal Medicine, referenced earlier in the article] in cases of acute hepatitis B ‘most patients do not require hospital care’ and ‘95 percent of patients have a favorable course and recover completely’ with the case-fatality ratio being ‘very low (approximately 0.1 percent).’

I was really shocked at the scaremongering Babycenter drummed up about this one. If you go to the NVIC site, their section on the Hep B vax is chock full of references and citings. Babycenter's is not.

Useless Vaccines My Child Has Received: 1

update: I just looked at my immunization schedule further, and noticed kids get another Hep B vaccine at 6-18 months. We will NOT be getting that vaccine.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

VAX: Part I

Wow guys. Trying to find clear cut, black and white answers to these questions is probably going to be impossible. There is so much information out there, but much is opinion, inference, and guess. I'm still in the process of going through it all, and this is definitely going to be a multi-part posting.

I waded through a little bit of information from both camps, the yes-vax and the no-vax camps to be exact, and then decided I'd take one side at a time and investigate it. So here's the no-vax camp information, culled and paraphrased by yours truly. Of course, there is so very much more information out there than this, but this is the stuff that struck me, the stuff that worries me about vaccinating my 5 month old boy.

The no-vax camps can be very convincing. The National Vaccine Information Center, which is a non-profit organization started by a mother whose child had an adverse vaccine reaction and not an official government agency as the name might suggest, will suck you in after about 5 minutes of browsing. The website, www.909shot.com, is chock full of stories about bright beautiful babies who, after receiving vaccinations, became stunted emotionally, intelligently, and physically, and many who died. It’s horrible. It’s absolutely horrible. This was the first site I came across in my investigation. I practically knocked my computer over in rage, and ran home from work to sweep my beautiful baby off someplace he couldn’t be harmed by evil immunizations. When you’re reading the stories, you can’t help but feel sorrow and rage. Imagine, your sweet little angel baby, who laughs at his grandma and squeals when the puppies lick his face, who grabs eagerly at toys and bottles, who looks at you and the world with the kind of wide eyed love and wonderment only a pure soul can muster. Then. Imagine all of that deteriorating, and a sickly, developmentally stunted child appearing in his place. Fucking heartbreaking. I can’t imagine going through something so horrible. BUT. As horrible as this would be, it could be caused by something other than vaccines. Right?


THE EVIL PRESERVATIVE THIMEROSAL

The amount of mercury that was in vaccines at one time (I believe until 1999) was hundreds of times the amount of mercury deemed safe for a child to be exposed to. I avoided fish during my pregnancy and eat it sparingly now during breastfeeding because of the risk of too much mercury. If it’s so dangerous that we need to limit our fish intake, injecting it into newborns is probably a fucking horrible idea. But they still used it in vaccines until staggering evidence that the mercury was causing horrible problems such as autism was finally brought to light.

Why mercury? One word: thimerosal. Thimserosal was a preservative used in all vaccines since the ‘30s. Vaccines needed preservatives because often a vaccine wasn’t produced in individual doses, but in a big jar that was used many times to treat many people, therefore needles were put into it over and over, and some were live viruses, not dead ones, and…at this point I stop understanding the science and just nod my head. But they needed preservatives, and thimerosal it was, until people realized they were giving children deadly amounts of mercury.

So they stopped using thimerosal, and made individual doses instead of one big jar, and the live viruses got preservatives made with things other than mercury. Problem solved…right?

Maybe not…

VACCINES THEMSELVES ARE THE DANGER NOT FOR WHAT THEY CONTAIN BUT FOR WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW THEY WORK

This article on the NVIC website is very interesting. The gist of it is, vaccines are dangerous to those genetically predisposed to diseases like autism and autoimmune disorders. The vaccine, combined with the genetic predisposition, combined with the fact that the kid was on antibiotics when he got his shot, could bring those diseases into being.
So…how do I know if my kid is genetically predisposed? My husband has fibromyalgia and I have asthma. Does that do it? Even if I don’t get the baby any vaccines while he’s sick or on antibiotics, will the vaccines still trigger it? And a lot of the stories I read weren’t just, bam, one day my kid has autism, they were, bam, one day my normal kid who didn’t get sick a lot is suddenly getting ear infections and diarrhea out the wazoo, and after this went on for awhile, the autism showed up.

The article offers some explanation for why vaccinations could cause a myriad of problems, from diarrhea to autism. It says that the entire concept of vaccines is harmful, in the way they affect the immune system and developing child brain. The article explains in some complex terms how our immune system works naturally, and how it’s different when we get vaccines instead of getting sick the normal way. It says that the fundamental way vaccines work could be causing the chronic illnesses so many people face today that seem to come from nothing. So maybe it’s the vaccine itself that causes autism/other developmental disorders/autoimmune disorders.

Now this argument is harder to prove. Go ahead and read the article to get a better idea, but it's not something that's black and white. If you believe this, then taking the thimerosal out is still ignoring part of the problem, that the fundamental vaccine-ness of vacciness is the bad thing. It's easy to blame things that have no apparant cause on vaccines (all the autoimmunes, m.s., fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.), but what if it IS vaccines' fault? WHAT IF?

Next time: I try to debunk the above argument by visiting the yes-vax camp.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vax

I'm not going to post over the next few days, probably until the middle of next week, because I'm working on a big post about vaccinations.

The question of to vaccinate or not to vaccinate has been one of heated debate in the Hippie Mama household, and one that it seems everyone has a different opinion on. I've taken my quest for information to the pages of the internet, and there is a LOT of crap out there to slog through. There is biased information on both sides of the argument. There are things I want specific answers to, but can't seem to find.

1) Studies show that vaccines can cause autism, but it might just be coincidence. Where are the studies that show how many autistic kids haven't been vaccinated? Maybe every kid that has autism has been vaccinated?

2) An exact list of what vaccinations my child will get and when, how many of each, etc., and which of these may not be necessary. This information is sort of easier to find, but hard to organize, so I hope to do that.

If anyone knows of any good websites to help me, or other bloggers who have done this, let me know!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Warning: This post is about boobies and the milk they make, among other things (other things in general, not other things boobies make)

I'm in that just pumped lull. As is breast pumped. As in, had to pull my boobies out in my office and pump the milk from them so I can feed the wee one when I'm not around. As in, I was on a roll, getting work done right and left, and then I had to do the boobie thing, and now I'm in that lull where I can't even remember what I'm supposed to be doing.

Dontcha just hate that?

I do. It seems like every time I get interrupted at work, it takes me fifteen minutes just to get back to where I was when I left off. ANYTHING can interrupt me, too. My husband calls. Someone needs to talk to me. The phone rings. I have a new email. Whatever. The pumping is, though, by far the worst distraction. Because there's not much I can do when I'm pumping, I go read blogs until I'm done. I can read all the blogs I'm interested in, more or less, every day over the course of the three times at work I pump. *Note-I just got interrupted right now. Even my interruption lulls get interrupted!* So for one thing, what's going to happen after I stop breastfeeding? Do I have to stop reading all those blogs? Or do I just have to unnecessarily waste work time? Hmm..moral dilemma.

Anyway, after I'm done pumping and reading, and I'm like, what was I doing again? I feel like just surfing the internet for the rest of the day. What's that? I have three more hours left? Well, I'd better get to work reading Pink is the New Blog then, shouldn't I?

Ok. It's time to end the lull. Maybe I'll post again in the next one.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back to School

I went on a work errand today to Staples and bought a 2006-2007 school year planner. I need to go back to school this fall, and I figured that if I actually spent $10.00 on a planner, $10.00 which could pay for a couple nights dinner, $10.00 which could buy a package of diapers, $10.00 which could pay for two days of gas, it would make me actually GO to school. See, this is how I work, I'm frugal, remember? If I bought an academic planner, by God, it will NOT go to waste.

I went in the fall of '05. I had the baby at the end of January '06, so I obviously took that semester off. As it is, I need one more class to become a junior. It would seem like a huge waste to quit now, but honestly, it's hard to go back. To keep going back. I'm 22, it's not like I dropped out and "went back" twenty years later or something. I've just taken off so many semesters, to work, to drink, to spill human life from my loins, it seems like every semester is "going back" all over again. And honestly, if I never graduated, although it would be a personal failure, I'm not sure it would be so horrible. I like my job. When I graduate, am I going to have a find a new one? HASSLE! I mean, if I can make more money with a degree, then it would be stupid not to. But I've been working here for...five, six years? A damn long time. I know the ins and outs of this job better than anything. As a creature of habit, I look with dread toward the prospect of trying something new. Also, the laziness. How, how lazy I am, truly. Also, it would be a HUGE disappointment to my family if I never graduated. I think that's everyone's secret fear anyway-"she got married and had a baby, what if she never *GASPS* graduates?"

Oh, the horror, the horror of not graduating. I don't believe that you can't be successful in life without a diploma. Sure you can. And school isn't for everyone. But, see, I'm not one of those people school isn't for. I LOVE school. I love writing papers, reading assignments, and getting good grades. Maybe this is tied in somehow with my need to people-please. But nevertheless. I love school. I need to finish. My cousin just graduated from high school, and if I'm not careful, she'll finish college before me! But seriously, I want to get back to school. It's just hard to pick up and do it. Breastfeeding schedules, overtime pay I'll be missing, going to see a counselor, driving 20 miles to school and back a couple times a week...really, now that I'm writing it all down, it doesn't sound like that much...so what's my excuse?

Shooooot, I even have an 06-07 academic planner!

Father's Day

Just like it was cool to celebrate Mother's Day for the first time a few weeks ago, it was cool to help my husband celebrate Father's Day this weekend. Just when you're starting to get old, and you think maybe all those fun holidays are behind you, like Christmas, with the joy of presents, and your birthday, with the joy of barhopping and getting drunk that you're really too responsible for nowadays, you get those parent holidays. I never thought my parents cared too much about them, because they always said, "oh, I don't need a gift." But now that I get to experience them from the parents point of view, I realize they didn't want a gift because it's not that kind of holiday(Yet. For me. My baby is five months old. After he gets older and becomes a disrespectful handful, I might want those gifts that I "deserve" for putting up with his crap). It's a day to appreciate the thing that makes you a parent-your baby. Your wee little darling, without whom you'd never get to experience the joy of sleep deprevation, poopie diapers, little arms holding onto you tight when you pick them up after being at work all day, and the most amazing love a human being can experience-the selfless kind.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

If it's free, then give it to me

I am frugal. I like a bargain. Spending large amounts of money on anything other than necessary bills makes my pulse race with anxiety (don't get me wrong, I hate paying bills, but I also hate taking cold showers in the dark worse). I would say about 90% of the furniture in our house was free. Isn't that amazing? No, that's not quite right. I believe that number should be more like 100%. Our whole living room was given to us. Couches. Entertainment center. TV. Rugs. Lamps. Tables. Good God, truly everything. Kitchen table. Our bed. Baby's bed. Some things were given to us as gifts bought new by our family, but a lot of stuff his hand-me-downs given to us by people who didn't want the stuff anymore. And those things? Oh, how I love those things.

There is no better feeling for me than taking something I could use off the hands of someone who doesn't want it anymore. An old friend I used to work with has given us a couch, loveseat, chair and ottoman, a little couch I call a "fainting couch," an old sewing machine table, two lamps, two large chairs, a wingback chair, and numerous smaller things. She wanted to clean out a storage unit and just GAVE it to us. If we didn't have her things, we'd be using empty boxes as tables.

Is this a character flaw? Am I frugal to a fault? Would it be better if our things were picked out and purchased by us? Sometimes I take just about anything for free because, hey, it's free! Our neighbors asked if I wanted their old exercise machine thingy because they got theChuck Norris Total Gym. Of course I said yes. Even though I have a contract with Bally's where I pay $50.00 a month and never go. I'm not linking to those bastards because I got sucked into a 36 month contract and you shouldn't go to those sheisters! So the exercise machine thingy is just sitting in our garage collecting dust, unused.

I hate going to garage sales, because I'm always like, I need that tiny little stuffed robin that costs $.10! IT ONLY COSTS $.10!!!!! IT'S A STEAL!!!! My husband made me go with him to this garage sale across the street this morning, and we got a twin bed frame for when the baby gets older and a bunch of chairs to go at the kitchen table that need MAJOR refinishing work. I'm such a sucker for anything cheap that we might someday need. We almost bought one of those Sparklette's cooler things and a new front door. That's right, a new front door. Even though it was half an inch too tall and too wide. Because it cost $10.00. IT ONLY COSTS $10.00!!! THAT'S A STEAL EVEN IF ITS THE WRONG SIZE!!!!

I don't think I'm like those HGTV people who save money by redecorating their kid's room at a flea market. I'm the kind of person who walks away from the flea market with a bunch of crap I may or may not need, but chances are it'll end up gathering dust in the garage either way.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Books and Boring

I'm reading The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler. It is wonderful. When I started reading it, my husband asked, "do you think we have an amateur marriage?" My reply was, I don't know, ask me again when I finish the book (we don't). The story follows a couple from the moment they became enthralled with one another until...well, I'm almost done, and they're in their 60s now. Their whole marriage is fights and arguments because, when it comes down to it, they're just two entirely different people. They split up after their 30 year anniversary. Who knows where they'll be in the end (not together, I'm sure, this isn't that kind of book). As it is now, he's already remarried (to a woman very dull compared to his vivacious ex-wife). But it's just a delightful story, and even though parts are heart wrenching, overall I'd say its an uplifting book. I love stories about relationships-real relationships, not paperback romances. I like books where nobody's right or wrong, they're just people, with hopes and doubts, and this is one of those books. I first heard about in on NPR, and was happy to find it at the book store a few weeks back. NPR always has the most interesting authors and books featured.

God this post is booooring. What I really want to do is get back to my book, but I'm almost finished, and I'm tearing through the last remaining pages at a fast pace, and you know how sad finishing books makes me.

Who knew I was boring enough to have a blog about the books I read? Bleh.

Friday, June 09, 2006

That Writin' Feeling

I think I'm starting to get back that writin' feeling...cause it was gone, gone gone...whoooaaaa...sorry. But it was gone, and I couldn't put my finger on what exactly had gone, what had happened to it, or how to get it back. But now that it is coming back, I realize exactly what it is that was missing.

It was that feeling of going through your day while your mind is writing about going through your day. She paced quickly back and forth across the wooden floor, distracted, I think as I walk through my kitchen. I step on a piece of tape that I step on every day and haven't picked up yet. She steps over the same piece of tape that's been there for weeks, but she still hasn't picked it up yet. Why? What purpose is it serving? She hates stepping on it. It's still a little sticky, and every time she tramples it, she has an instant of panic where she imagines she's just squished a roach. And she HATES roaches. I don't know if this is normal or not. I'm going to guess "not." But it's how my mind works when I write. Everything can be told, every little thought or action.

Another thing that's come back is my ability to see something interesting, imagine something about it, and immediately put that situation/thing/person into a story I'm writing, or imagine a new story just for that one thing. This hasn't come back with the force that it used to exist when I was a lot younger. When I was about jr. high age, I did this with EVERYTHING. In a way, it's like I wasn't really experiencing life, I was experiencing what I imagined everything could be. This is the singular feeling that convinced me I was crazy during my teen years. I was SURE I was. I knew I'd end up living somewhere remote, creating masterpieces (at least one) until the day my madness forced me over the edge of a cliff or something. I think I've mentioned this before. After all, all the greats were driven to suicide by their madness. Sylvia Plath. Virginia Woolf. More that just aren't on the top of my head right now. So for awhile, I was happy about this craziness, and I accepted my fate. Then I got a little older, and I didn't want to be crazy, and I wanted to drink and have boyfriends and hang out with my friends and go shopping. So I put my reality changing imaginings on hold and pursued a "normal" life. What I'm finally realizing now, is that this isn't madness. It's what makes me able to write. I go mad when I turn it off and can't write.

Or I really am crazy. That's a possibilty too. Stay tuned and see if she loses it!

The point is, it feels like something's coming back that's just been gone for awhile. I'm starting to feel more like myself. If I experience a painful situation, I can write about it. Not here, of course. This is the internet, people. When I write, I keep that shit under lock and key. Diary, fiction, poetry, whatever. Maybe when I die my great grandchildren will find all my stuff and cull one or two interesting things out of there and I'll be published posthumously. But I digress. I've been hesitant to write about my writing coming back, because other than it sounding ridiculous, I was afraid to jinx it. But I think writing in this blog helps me sort stuff out and see where I'm going, what I'm doing.

I also just started reading my third book. I'll tell you about that next time, because I don't have it with me and I can't remember the author's name. But it totally kicks ass.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Hours

Oh God, the end was horrible. It left one of the three story lines COMPLETELY unfinished, in my opinion. I know it won the Pulitzer, but damn.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Two Piece or Not Two Piece?

(Spoiler alert: the answer is "two piece")

This weekend we're going to my family reunion. It's about as interesting as those things usually are, but should be fun. No one past the immediate family and grandparents and cousins have met my husband or baby yet. So that'll be fun. But it's at the lake, and the hotel has a pool, which means...it's swimsuit season baby!

This year, swimsuit season has crept up on me. In years past, probably since I was about ten or twelve, I have watched swimsuit season approach with dread and anticipation. This is the year I'll do it! I think to myself. I'll lose that weight and wear a bikini! Yes, I've been thinking these things since I was ten. You can judge me, or just agree that the society we live in is obsessed with an unnatural concept of physical beauty, which permeates all mediums of media and gives ten year old girls unhealthy body images. But I digress. I would always PLAN to lose "those extra pounds" (which, admittedly, were never much) and look like a swimsuit model.

I never really lost those "extra pounds," I just realized that I didn't look much different in a bikini than most real people, so I went with it. I've lost most of my baby weight now and gotten to a point where I look normal, pretty much like I looked before the baby, even though I'm not back to my pre-pregnancy weight yet. But when I found out I was pregnant, I had been on a really unhealthy "diet" of hardly eating and exercising a lot, so I'm not uncomfortable with how I look now.

Except for those stretch marks.

They're really not THAT bad, either. They've faded quite a bit, and I only have a few on each hip and a smattering of small ones across my belly. But. They're noticeable. At age ten or twelve or sixteen, I wouldn't dare strut my stuff in a bikini with stretch marks showing. But now, I don't really care that much. I COULD buy a one piece, but those just make you look fatter, I have a long body meaning one pieces=constant wedgie action (attractive visual, no?), and also, I'm not just going to go drop a lot of money on a new suit when I have three perfectly good ones at home. There are those tankini monstrosities, but they cover the parts that I don't really have a problem with, and the part that's exposed is what? The tummy blob and stretch mark area. So that would be stupid.

So, I'm going to do it. I'm going to two piece. I'm going to bikini, actually. I haven't worn one in about a year, since I was three or so months pregnant (the last time I wore one, I realized with horror it's not just your belly that gets bigger during pregnancy, and I spent the whole day digging pink bikini bottom out of my crack. Again, attractive visual, no?) I kind of wish my swimwear was a bit more matronly and a little less college spring break, but at the same time, who cares? They'll all be looking at my cute baby or my heavily tattooed husband anyway.

This is just one of those weird things that happened when I became a mother. I'm no longer super self conscious about every little flaw I have. I have more now, and I care less. What a gift. There's nothing like creating a human life inside your body then feeding it with your body to give you new perspective on what's physically important.