Friday, July 31, 2009

Free your goat Friday: wet and tired

The goats of today, they are connected. I got soaking wet because it was pouring when I needed to move the car. I needed to move the car because coming into work this morning I was cutting it too close for an important meeting, and had to grab the first parking spot I could see-- a 2hr meter. I was cutting it close because I just couldn't get up this morning, which, in turn, is due to one very lovely baby boy whose nighttime antics have lately been less than lovely. Oh, and for the second day in a row weather predictions have been wrong wrong wrong, with rain arriving much earlier in the day and coming down much harder than predicted. Hence, me not grabbing the umbrella from the car when I got to work. Hence, me getting wet on the way to the car, but not on the way back. Though I must've cut a puzzling picture on the way back from moving the car-- a clearly completely soaked person under an umbrella.

Ok, so now that my poor goats are off to dry themselves and get some rest in the pastures, won't you let yours go and join them?

Bling borrows the image from this story.

Monday, July 27, 2009


It's been an interesting, in the sense of that famous, but apparently fake Chinese curse, couple of weeks inside my head.

It seems strange, incongruous, that the baby I feed sweet potato to, the boy who flings himself at me, laughing and squealing, off the side of the pool, and who doesn't mind getting a face full of water from the shower head or from a wave in the ocean, the baby who really likes his boob juice, the boy who is, I swear, at once the sneakiest and the sweetest thing there is, that he is the same baby whose health, quality of life, and, possibly, the very life, hung in the balance* a year ago. A whole year ago. Just a year ago. Exactly a year ago. I am having trouble processing this.

Last year I ended up in the hospital at the tail end of the first of two weeks we were supposed to have been at the shore. It's a tradition now-- our large and noisy group of friends rent a bunch of condos in a development by the shore, some for a week, some for two. It functions a bit like a commune-- we cook and eat in subgroups or all together, we keep track of each other's kids, feed them, run sleepovers.

It is a great place. And I have a complicated relationship with it, revolving around my reproductive status. The first year we rented there, I was just pregnant with A, first trimester and shoving progesterone up my hoo-ha. The next year I wished I was pregnant, and the year after that was last year. With contractions and the hospital.

This year's week at the shore worked out to be the same week on the calendar as last year. I realized that well ahead of time, and I knew it would make things tough for me. I was right. Packing for the shore was anxiety-inducing. Actually being there was uneven-- at times relaxing and nourishing, hanging with the usual suspects or with friends who flew in from out of town just for the weekend, and at times difficult, inherently, or because of a friend's careless remark.

Last year we were sharing a condo with the family whose youngest son, M, was supposed to be A's best friend, due as he was mere four weeks after A. This year they have the whole place to themselves-- they had an extra person stay with them most of the week, and needed the bedroom. But that person left Saturday, and they offered us her bedroom so we could stay through the weekend (unlike these friends, we were only staying one week this year, and were supposed to have left Saturday too). That is how come we ended up staying an extra night in the very same unit where we spent the week last year, from where I drove to my appointment the morning of the day that ended with me hooked up to the magnesium pump.

That morning I was up early thanks to some painful contractions. I didn't know if I would get to come back after the appointment. I thought there was a nontrivial probability that I wouldn't. Because of that, I wanted to get a few things done, to make things easier for JD and Monkey in case I end up in the hospital for monitoring. Coming up the stairs from the basement after throwing in a load of laundry, I saw JD in the big chair reading to Monkey and M, the two of them nestled on either side of him. I stood there for a while, taking that picture in, the would've been picture of my family. Yesterday coming up the same stairs after throwing in another load of laundry, I happened onto Monkey playing on the carpet with the Cub and M. She was very good at corralling the over two and the not yet one, and oh, but the scene echoed.

A year ago now things were already looking up-- I had made it through the 48 hours needed for steroids to do their thang, and my contractions were behaving. Earlier that day Monkey came for a visit. She'd had nightmares after JD left the shore to join me at the hospital. Not really surprising-- nearly eighteen months before that week her mom left for a check with the doctors, then her dad left to be with mom, and when they came back, they told her her baby brother had died. When her small face appeared in the doorway, her eyes were wide with fear and desperate need to have that fear be unsubstantiated. She was so tentative walking into the room. Suddenly I could see just how small six years old really is. JD had told her about the machines in the room, and the IV bags, and that I would be in bed, and she eyed all that. But it was the belly that held her hope, and, unlike that last time, it was still big and round. And there was a sound in the room-- baby's heart rate monitor, which I had asked the nurse to leave on pretty loud. A bit later, when she got comfortable with her surroundings, and JD went to the bathroom, she danced to that sound. That was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen.

*Then I didn't think his actual life was in any real danger due to the onset of labor any more (as opposed to the possibility of him dying inside of me, of which I was scared up until he was actually born), since he was past 33 weeks at that point. Now I think it was. I mean to write about that sometime soon.

P.S. Free your goat Friday was on vacation this past week, along with us. It will return in only a few short days. Get your goats ready, people!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free your goat Friday: 4-letter word

I've got a whole herd of tiny little goats running around. They may yet grow up to be featured on this very blog one of these Fridays. But not today. Today I've got precisely one goat that has been got. One big fat, practically obese, goat. Hey, look at that-- goat is a four letter word. So is work. Which is what got my goat this week. What a coincidence.

This week work's been like gas-- expanding to take over all available volume... err, time. Boo hoo. Things it ate? Two big blog posts. Important ones, at least to me. A ton of little things too. Like family time. Who the hell needs family time? Grrrrrrr...

Oh, well. Meeting with boss in the am. Hopefully, the crazy ends then, at least for a bit.

And how are your goats this fine day?

P.S. Oh, I seem to have lied. Oooops. Another goat. Well, a fly. An annoying one, that doesn't take a hint. It's been buzzing around my kitchen (where I sit at the table working on my laptop) for well beyond what could possibly be considered not worth a mention. Where's POTUS when you need him?

Bling borrows the image from this story.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Free your goat Friday: Bright and early

I am going on fumes and four hours of sleep. Oh, and coffee. Of course. Been up since 5am, working on the bloody stupid important report for work I've been trying to finish for too depressingly long to think about. And I went to sleep around 1. Fun times. So this is to be short and sour. I'll tell you my goats, you tell me yours, and they walk off into the sunset together. Or, to pasture. You know, whatever metaphor works for you.

Goat-getter the First, or Not cool, public policy people, not cool

The Cub had H1N1 this week. Well, he got it Sunday afternoon, as we were packing up to leave the lovely and wonderful place where we spent the most relaxing weekend I've had in a long, long while. And we didn't know that's what it was until our pediatrician came to see him (that's right, our pedi does house calls, jealous?) Monday, although I began to worry about it fleetingly on the drive home and then for real when I realized just how hot the kid was early Monday morning. The high fever was not fun, and the coincidental pink eye added a layer of wonderful. (The Cub, he doesn't appreciate anyone putting drops into his eyes. And four times a day? Oh, the betrayal!) But, he broke the fever in a day and a half, instead of the worst case three to four, and none of the rest of us got sick. So good deal.

Where this becomes a goat-getter, though, is that according to our pediatrician, about 90% of what they are seeing now is it. 90 bloody percent. And do we hear about that on the radio? Do we read about that in newspapers? Of course not. Because ooooooh, big, bad, scary virus, with big bad scary farm animal name. The reasons I worried about whether the Cub had it were that (1)I knew it can carry very high fevers for a number of days and I didn't want him to be so miserable for long and (2) because I thought we'd have to quarantine, causing Monkey to miss her beloved gymnastics practices (three mornings a week at 4 hours a pop, and she'd love to do more, if she was allowed; I know-- insane). But I didn't for a second worry that the diagnosis might mean a particularly dangerous illness or a bad prognosis. This is because of my education and what I do for work-- I am used to analyzing scientific information. JD on the other hand? Flipped out. Until, that is, he spoke to the doctor and learned both how common it is these days and what the typical prognosis, oh, and that the Cub looked like not a bad case at all. And my mom didn't get much sleep Monday night, staying up thinking bad thoughts about her youngest grandson.

So this is what gets my goat-- that we are not being talked to like adults about this by our government OR our scientists. We hear on the radio that WHO has called the thing a pandemic, but that the course is mild. If we perk our ears up a whole lot, we can hear stories here and there about how official figures are such and such, but unofficially they are probably a lot higher. And yet, no story that comes straight out and lays the facts out. For our own protection, I am sure. Harrumph. I do enjoy being treated like I am three years old. Don't you?

Goat-getter the Second, or Oh, Academia, the bastion of civility

I applied for one job this fall. I received an email saying that if they needed any other materials, they would contact me. The closing date for the search was end of last month. I finally called this week to see where things stood, so I could plan my fall. Oh, the search has been completed. I can deal with the place two miles from my house not wanting me, even for an interview, I really can. But seriously, people, how hard would it have been to send out rejection letters, even by email? Let me break it down for you-- you are looking for a person to be a colleague of yours, your equal. The person you pick comes from a pool of applicants. You don't think people in that pool deserve the respect of being told they didn't make it? And don't you remember when you yourselves were swimming in the pool? C'mon! It's a form letter, how hard could it be?

Ok, my goats are free. Where are yours?

P.S. I am also at Glow this week, talking about telling people about one's dead baby. And screwing up.

Bling borrows the image from this story.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Free your goat Friday: Lazy

If you are looking for me, I am in a hammock on the porch. Mind you, not my porch or my hammock-- my BIL's parents were nice enough to invite the whole clan over for the long weekend (featuring my sister's birthday today-- Happy Birthday, sister! :)), and we are all having a ball. There's a lake on the other side of the house, and the sunny weather was only interrupted by one short thunderstorm today. And did I mention that it's been years since I've been in a hammock?

And yet, I have goats.

Goat-getter the First, or Now I know what the f in aperture designation stands for

My precious, my birthday present, my macro lens! Sigh, but it seems to be too much woman complicated for my camera's tiny little brein processor. It's not happy with me changing aperture, insisting, by way of locking out my ability to take pictures any other way, that I set it to the maximal setting of 32. Not to mention that the camera can't bring itself to operate the lens in automatic mode-- something about lack of motor power directed to the right spot. But I can live without the autofocus-- this thing is a sports car, and those are way more fun with stick shift. But aperture? This is like making me drive said sports car with half the air let out of the tires. Sniffle...

Goat-getter the Second, or Careful with the mirror-- your (reflected) brilliance might blind you.

Some days I can't help myself, and I get into internet discussions with people who are not listening. (Important: this is NOT about here or anyone reading here-- this is about an Old Country language corner of the internets.) Worse, some of these people seem to be writing for the purposes of showing off how brilliant they are. They wave hands, using words such as clearly, obviously, for the most part, and in general. When you try to challenge their assumptions, or correct facts they simply have wrong, they respond with more hand waiving and side-stepping, failing to acknowledge your points. Worse, their pseudo intellectual drivel is supposedly about the plight of this group or that, which does not stop them from dehumanizing either the group they purport to defend, or some other societal group interacting with the group being defended by ascribing some rather unattractive qualities to all members of a group. If you are asking why I engage with this crap, you are not alone-- I am wondering that myself. Oh, right, I remember-- because people about whom they are talking smack are my friends. And I seem constitutionally unable to walk away and let the maligning of my friends (even if as members of a groups) go unchallenged. I need a drink.

And what has been getting your goats lately? Tell us and set them free. Let them celebrate their own Independence Day. I know-- corny. Very. Sorry. Anyway, share your goats. And if you are looking for me, try the hammock.

Bling borrows the image from this story.