Friday, December 19, 2008

Really, really fucking cool.




I've always wanted to cross stitch a brain, but could never figure out how to make it really detailed. I guess I should have tried knitting. (First I would have to learn how to knit.)


Kudos! I love to see people bringing the geek to crafts!

(Image from www.iheartguts.com where I will surely be spending some of my Christmas money.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A whole other reason to call it the Dethcruiser.


Josh and I are fans of the show Metalocalypse. If you aren't familiar with this offering from Adult Swim it's about the wacky, and often deadly, adventures of the most popular heavy metal band on Earth, Dethklok.


Of course things that surround Dethklok are as Metal as possible. For instance their motorcycle with four side cars (so the whole band can ride along) is called the Murdercycle. You get the idea.


So Josh and I started calling our car, a PT Cruiser, the Dethcruiser. We had even thought about getting some kick ass graphics on the back window that said Dethcruiser. (Only with the little dots over the e like all good metal bands have since they can't use an a.)




Not that I was planning on putting a bun in the oven any time soon, but this was supposed to be our family car. The one to stick the little n00bs in to go see Grandma, to go to the beach, to drive to the Asheboro Zoo. So when I do decide to get good and knocked up not only will we need a bigger house, but we'll also need a different car.


In the meantime this is one more thing to give me panic attacks as we drive all over 2/3s of North Carolina like, next week.


Now to await the reports that American Girl Dolls are made of cyanide and that cross stitching gives you cancer.

Friday, December 12, 2008

MY EYES! OH GOD MY EYES!

So I was watching the new episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County (Shut up! I know, ok. I know.) last night and I have to ask:

Was it really necessary to show the pasty white flabby ass of George as he got a massage? I mean really people. I nearly lost my dinner. Ugh.

And as Lauri lay face down stretched out getting her massage with her leg hanging out of the sheet, all I could think of was that it looked like she had been murdered. All she needed was some stab wounds.

Is that bad?

It is? Oh well. Don't care. Lauri, we all hate you. We all know you're a gold digger who threw your drug addicted kid under the bus for the latest fat wallet that would agree to marry you. And all that plastic surgery has made you look like a horse after Chernobyl. I'm happy to see you go. Please don't return. You are fucking up my guilty pleasure and giving me nightmares.

Yes that's right. Of all the shows I watch on a regular basis, Most Evil, Deranged, Crime Stories, it's you and your freaky face that haunts my subconscious. Not Richard Ramirez. Not The Vampire of Sacramento. Not Charles Manson. You.

Maybe next week i'll be able to enjoy my brain candy. With you on the show i'm forced to think of your son in jail and how he may not have ended up there if you weren't such a self-centered parent. And your daughter Ashley who can't get a single word of praise or encouragement to pass your deformed silly putty lips. Or you youngest who you say hasn't disapointed you. Yet.

Yes Lauri. Your presence on The Real Housewives of Orange County makes me think too much. And that isn't what this show is about.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

TV Breakup: PBS

Oh PBS. You've burned me too many times.

I've tuned in so many times to watch Nova or Frontline only to be disapointed. I blamed it on the election. PBS has to cover the NC Governor debates, right? Of course they do. I forgave you PBS. Many times.

But last night was the last straw. I was excited! Point of View: Inheritance. The daughter of a Nazi officer at Plaszow meets a woman who lived through the hell of the concentration camp and finds out how evil her dad was. This is like porn to me. First person, living witness, history geek porn. I tuned in at 9:00 ready to get my history on.

Winterfest. You were begging for money PBS. And you know, I've thought about donating to you before. But why donate when I don't even watch? Well heck, i'll start watching PBS. And then heartbreak.

So up yours PBS. I'm going out with your hotter, more reliable brother PBS.org. At least he has a lot of shows I want to see online. He won't let me down like you have.

It's beginning to look a lot like...a bomb hit.

So let's say that you were to walk into my house right now. The front door and small foyer lead into the living room. Let's go around the living room counter-clockwise. You will see:

Empty curio cabinet in the middle of a reorganization that is on hold surrounded by various cardboard boxes that contain presents that need to be wrapped or very fragile frogs from the curio cabinet that are nestled in packing peanuts. Also three rolls of wrapping paper, some adhesive gift labels and a pop up tape dispenser.

TV and TV stand surrounded by not so fragile frogs from the curio cabinet in addition to all the ususal crap that finds it's way there for some reason.

In the corner, a naked North Carolina Frasier Fir in the stand with the prettier side facing the corner. Yes, we got a tree. No, it has not been decorated.

Fireplace that we don't use because we don't know how to use the gas logs. My silk topiaries look pretty because I put the bows on them last night. Above them is the mantle with the ususal assortment of wedding pictures surrounded by, you guessed it. More frog refugees from the curio cabinet who were originally on the sewing machine that was in the corner until we had to move it to make room for the tree.

Corner. This is where the magic happens. Yes this corner is my lair, nest, foxhole, flying coccoon. It contains my recliner from Goodwill, all the various projects i'm working on, and everything else important. Mail for me, my medicine, my DS, my Wii controller, various catalogs, my Animal Crossing strategy guide, usually some snacks. Everything. It will never be neat and clean. So! Moving on!

The couch. The couch is actually in good shape. There is no crap on it. There is plenty of crap around and in front of it on the coffee table. I don't know what this crap is. I only know that to keep the coffee table clean I would have to move it from the living room to the attic where it will never be used again. And then we would just start putting crap on the floor in front of the couch.

Desk. On the desk is a colony called New Froginton. Living here are the frogs who left the curio cabinet to start a new society of pious frogs who live simply and seek only to glorifiy their amphibious creator and escape the corrupt and sinful reign of King Ribbit. And the laptop. And in the chair is the stack of DVDs that was on the sewing machine before it was moved to make room for the tree. And there's a hole in the bottom of the sea.

Finally we come to the hope chest. This currently houses the two foot tall tree I decorated for my dolls, the presents I've wrapped so far and the various other things that reside there the rest of the year. I don't think a fly could find room to land on it in it's current state.

Oh, and the floor needs to be vacuumed. And in the kitchen we still have the box that the big TV came in. I've been throwing other boxes in it. And the sewing machine and it's chair are in the kitchen along with the ususal mess that's in the kitchen.

So my house is a wreck. More so than ususal. And getting things to where they need to be hinges on several things that don't seem like they're going to happen anytime soon. But that's ok. Because this is why hot chocolate tastes great with some Bailey's in it. To keep people from going mental during the holiday upheaval. Right? Right?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...every other day the rest of the year.


So...this weekend.



Friday I mildly buzzed and watched The Nutcracker. I planned on a productive weekend of Christmas decorating. I was sooooo wrong about that.




Now this is the thing about my sleep disorder. I'm currently on Provigil. It helps a bit. I can get through my day at work without feeling like I need to nap under my desk George Costanza style. I don't feel great. I don't feel like my brain can tell the difference between night and day. But I do feel ok.




EXCEPT if I miss a dose. I have been instructed to not take the Provigil on the weekend. Well it took about three weekends for me to figure out that this isn't going to work. The first day I skip the meds I feel alright. I can tell I didn't take it, but otherwise I feel ok. But the second day without the meds...fuuuuuuuuuck. I feel like aaaaaaaass. Like I have some awful flu combined with a hangover. I want to sleep all day and when i'm awake I don't really want to move.




So why is this important? I forgot to take my meds Friday morning. So Saturday I felt like ass. In addition to this Josh was at the bar with his freinds watching the game all afternoon (Conference USA Champs bitches!) so he wasn't home to help me with the little I felt like doing and I really need him to help getting things out of the attic. When he got home from the bar at five he laid down and slept until about eight. So Saturday was shot.




Sunday I got up and went to Wal-mart, Target, Michaels, The Dollar Store and Walgreens in my usual morning grocery shopping/errand running. When I got home at eleven I needed to rest. (I still have to rest even with the Provigil. I don't sleep, but it helps me recharge.) I got up at 1:30 and ate lunch. We then went to K-mart since they were the only place I hadn't looked for a new wreath yet and I had heard that trees were being sold in the parking lot.




Now K-mart was crazy. The didn't have a wreath I liked. They didn't have the new pillows Josh needed. They did have a blood pressure machine.




At his last doctor's appointment Josh's blood pressure was a little high so they told him to keep a watch on it. So he decided this was the time. And his blood pressure was WAY high. Like both numbers in the three digit range. So I spent the rest of the time trying to convince him that he wasn't going to die RIGHT NOW. There were no trees in the parking lot and Josh was hungry because he didn't eat before we left the house like I suggested. So we called all this off and went home where Josh moped about his blood pressure and then fell asleep until about eight again. So Sunday was a bust.




Now it's Tuesday and the only sign of Christmas at our house is the stack of wrapped gifts on the hope chest because we don't have a tree to put them under.




So i'm not sure what to do. Josh is occupied the rest of this week with exams here at the university and still teaching at the community college since they have classes two weeks longer than the univeristy does.




I think my dolls will be dressed up and put out for Christmas tonight since Abigail's dress is coming in today. (I bought her Addy's Christmas dress. So pretty! It's a Civil War era style, but that's ok. Abigail likes to kick it old school.) But what about the tree? That's what really makes it feel like Christmas. I have three options.




Option 1: Wait until Josh has time to help me get things out of the attic and for us to go buy a tree. Pros: I don't have to do anything on my own that I can't handle and may lead to failure or disaster. We get to do this stuff together which is always fun. The overall awesomeness of a real North Carolina Frasier Fir. The one and only Chirstmas tree in my book. Cons: Time is slipping away and I don't want to put stuff up only to have to take it all down in a really short period of time. The wrestling with a live tree and getting it in a stand. Leaving it while we're gone and hoping it doesn't dry out too bad. Finding a place to buy a tree since the Lions Club isn't out at Wal-mart this year.




Option 2: Buy an artificial tree. Pros: I can put it up myself. It can be prelit so no fussing with lights. Prelit trees are getting more affordable. We'd have a tree ready to go if we're too broke to buy a real tree next year. All the branches are of equal strength so no fussing with heavy ornaments trying to get them on the right branch. No watering the thing. No cleaning up needles. Cons: Just not as pretty as a North Carolina Frasier Fir. Bigger out of pocket cost than a real tree. Josh still has to be there to help me get things out of the attic. We have to store the thing and the attic is getting crowded.




Option 3: Use my three foot high artificial tree. Pros: No watering or cleaning needles. We already have the thing. I can put it up. Cons: Josh will still need to help me get the ornaments from the attic. It's not prelit so i'll have to mess with lights. It will need to sit on a peice of furniture, most likely the sewing machine so the cats will have something to try and jump on the examine the thing. Since it's on the sewing machine there won't be room for many presents adn they'll have to sit on the floor. I'll feel like a cop-out for putting up a lame tree.




Josh is no help in this. He tells me it's all my decision. He does that a lot. It annoys the hell out of me. If he wants a big tree I wish he would just tell me and i'll strike Option 3 off the list and focus on 1 and 2. If he wants a real tree then i'll say ok and prepare to rally for that little outing. I need guidance dammit! It's his Christmas too! Of course him being so passive has it's positive side sometimes. This just isn't one of those times.




Of course this isn't just about the tree and the decorating. It's facing the fact that I have a chronic health problem that is going to make various parts of my life a real pain in the ass and I don't have much recourse. It's trying to be ok with my sleep disorder and meds fucking up my weekend plans and getting in the way of making the most of the time that I do have to do things.




I guess Charlie Brown isn't the only one who can take a wonderful thing like Christmas and turn it into a problem.




I really should relax and not worry about all this, but we'll be out of town of Saturday and for a few days surrounding the actual holiday so I feel like we need to get things done so we can enjoy them for as long as we can while we're here.




So I still don't know what we're going to do. We'll do something. But i'm not sure what. And that is driving me crazy!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Feeling festive? No akshually. But maybe we can fix that.

So this weekend I declared that we would put up the Christmas tree. Because if not now, when? If we wait until i'm feeling festive enough to initiate it (and I always have to initiate it) then it'll be January before the thing goes up.

I'm not sure why i'm not feeling it right now. I think part of it comes from living in NC where it doesn't get cold until November and rarely if ever snows. Snow would help with my mood. Or maybe not having to worry about all the effort that goes into Christmas. The tree, the moving things, the dragging crap out of the attic. I don't mind the shopping, but I just don't feel well enough to do everything else normally done at Chirstmas. Like baking. I love baking. But the prospect of getting my kitchen dirty and having to clean it makes me want to take a nap.

But I have resolved to try and get in the mood. Things are coming out of the attice tomorrow, i've ordered a Christmas dress for Abigail and i'm looking forward to dressing her and the other girls up. And tonight I decided to open the spumante I bought for Thanksgiving and get loaded and watch The Nutcracker.

Of course on second thought maybe that was a bad idea. When I was watching this the other night it just made me depressed that I never became a ballerina. (For realz. I seriously wanted to be a ballet dancer when I grew up. I didn't grow out of it when I hit puberty.) Oh well, what's more normal at Chirstmas than depression?

I guess the answer to that is dragging a live tree into your house to sit in water, cover with electric lights and surround with flamable things. And fattening food. And watching Russian people skip around in tights. Is that the magic of Christmas i'm starting to feel? Or is the alcohol starting to kick in? Meh. What difference does it make?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

This is what happens...

When I go off on a tangent.

Here is a link to the offending article.

And her name is ALEX KUCZYNSKI. I meant to check over my spelling of her name but I got all posty and forgot.

What did I just say about stepping the fuck off!


Sigh. Here we muthafucking go again.
Let me bring you up to speed if you don't run in the same online circles as I do.
Alex Kuczynski, a writer and somewhat popular target for online snark, wrote an article about her experience with infertility and her eventual use of a gestational surrogate in last week's New York Times Magazine. And then the shit hit the fan.
Kuczynski has since been criticized by everyone for everything. No, really. She's been taken to task for (of course) being vain enough not to adopt, not accepting her "fate" as a woman who can't have children, being rich, writing a past book on plastic sugery, and allegedly being rude to the woman carrying her child. Of course the thornier issues that surround surrogacy have been brought up, and while these issues are valid and make for interesting discussion, Kuczinsky has been crucified as if she's the only woman ever to take part in such a strange arrangement.
Now i'm not really familiar with Kuczynski and her body of work and the various things she's done to incite this type of ire. I've read about her in passing on Gawker, but that's about it. So I admit that I came to read her article with an open mind about her as a person. I also came to it as someone who has been following a few infertility blogs for the past few years and has nothing but sympathy for the people who deal with this problem and acceptance of however they want to deal with it. So i'm not the best person to read this thing and look for things to criticize.
But should we be looking for things to criticize at all? I don't think so.
Let's start with the most obvious and frequently thrown egg. She should have adopted. There are lots of kids who need homes. How selfish and vain for her to go to such lengths to have a biological child when there are kids out there who need her.
Ok, now I'm all for adoption. If you want to adopt knock yourself out. But there are a lot of complications and moral gray areas that people who push adoption ignore. First of all, adoption is expensive. Granted Kucsinski could afford to adopt the same way she could afford to undergo several IVF cyles and then to compensate a surrogate, however, a lot of people out there find that they have a hard time concieving and once they look into adoption realize that they are financially better off to start on Clomid and see where it takes them.
There is also the matter of being allowed to adopt. Home studies prior to adoption are brutal. They can be just as, if not more, emotionally draining as enduring ART. At least if you're cycling with ART you can keep it to yourself or only share with trusted freinds and family. With a home study you have a stranger going through your life with a fine tooth comb looking for cracks all while you hold your breath and hope they judge you worthy of a child. We've also heard more stories recently about people being denied the chance to adopt for reasons that are out of this world. Things like obesity or past health problems have kept people who really want to give a child a home from doing that. I don't think I could stand it and I don't blame people for feeling the same way and choosing another option.
Another problem with adoption is that so many of the children needing homes are older children or children of a different race or ethnic background of those who are looking to adopt. People who wait years to adopt infants and very young children are often criticized for not adopting an older child. Yes, even when you adopt, you can do it wrong. I understand the concern for the older children who are waiting for homes. It is truley heartbreaking. However an older child presents obstacles that not everyone is ready to deal with. They may have health problems or behavioral issues that need extensive therapy or may never get better. The race and ethnicity issue is puzzling as well. How do you raise a child to know their heritage if you have never experienced it? Do they even need to be raised to know their heritage? That's a loaded question right there. People who pass on the opportunity to adopt an older child are often said to be too self-centered or wanting a perfect baby too much to take on the challenge. Well that's crap. I think it's vital that people know their limits, especially when considering something as monumental as raising a child. I think most people's reluctance to adopt an older child comes from a fear not of failing as parents, but of failing the child who needed them most.
Another question I always ask myself when reading these things is "Why is it up to them to adopt? How many kids have you adopted? Oh, none. Because you could have your own kids. I see. " There is so very much wrong with people telling others what their lot in life is but so often we can't keep ourselves from doing just that. A large part of what bothers me about the hoopla surrounding Kucynski's article is the amount of criticism that is coming from the feminist community when so many of their comments smack of the paternalism they claim to despise and that we all are working hard to overcome.
I also think that it's fucked up to criticize and discount the desire to have a biological child. The urge to spread our genes around has been ingrained in us through millions of years of evolution. We like to think that we've overcome these base desires but really we haven't. It's why the family of an addict enables, why we eat more when more is given to us, why our blood boils when someone threatens our home and why people spend years and thousands of dollars trying to concieve with ART. We are to spread our genes and then protect them to the bitter end.
On a slightly higher mental level I also understand the desire to make a baby with your spouse. Kucynski brings this up in her article. She wants the love between her and her husband to be embodied in a child. I can't blame her for that. I've thought many times about the translucent baby Josh and I will have, maybe with my blue eyes and his naturally curly hair. Or maybe little Evelyn will have my will not hold a curl hair and her dad's brown eyes and big head. I'm still amazed at how much my father in law looks like his mom, and how I sound like my mom on the phone. These are the things baby dreams are made of and I don't think it's fair to rip someone to shreds for holding on to these dreams month after month of negative pregnancy tests, disapointment, sadness, feeling like you're broken, and then through the injections, doctor visits, and failed cycles that come with ART. When the hope of having a baby with mom's nose and his dad's eyes is the only thing that gets someone up in the morning I think the selfish people are the ones who stomp on that dream because they feel uncomfortable with all the medical intervention, the money being spent, the kids in foster care, or the conviction that this person just wasn't meant to have kids.
So adoption isn't the panacea that it's often made out to be. It's not like in old cartoons and movies where you drive to the orphanage one Saturday and come home with a kid. If it were that easy i'm sure more people would adopt, but it's not and I can't sit in judgement of someone for taking a different route that felt right to them.
So now that i've dealt with all THAT...
Another complaint about Kucynski's arrangement and surrogacy in general is the fianacial incentives involved and that women who are surrogates are often in lower income brackets than the people who hire her. (Because there's nothing at all like this going on in adoption. All those kids came from upper middle class people and no one needed to consider their financial situation before making the heart rending choice to give up their child. Nope. Nothing like that going on at all.)
I actually call bullshit on the hang-wringing over the financial situation of Kucynski's surrogate and all the other surrogates out there. The concern is that these women aren't really making an informed and clear headed choice about being a surrogate because the money offered to them is too much to pass up. I'm not so sure about that.
In the case of Kucynski's surrogate she was very open and upfront about how the money from her surrogate pregnancy would help her and her family. As in, she was putting it towards her kid's college funds. So what's the problem? This woman has a home, a stable life, happy kids. I'm not getting that the money offered to her was coercive.
In fact Kucynski states in her article that surrogate agencies make a point of not accepting poor women as surrogates for many reasons, mainly that the money would be coercive to someone in dire straights. (Other reasons were a lack of health insurance and general poor health, and less life stability i.e. job, home, stable relationship.)
Mostly I think that what it comes down to is that surrogates choose to be surrogates. They are compensated for the amazing feat they are doing as they should be, but I don't think that there are many surrogates out there who are carrying another person's child just for the money. In the same way I could never be a stripper because it is just too much outside of my personality and I couldn't handle it no matter how good the money is, I don't think that we have to worry about women being surrogates for the money because if they don't want to do it everything involved will keep them from signing up. Pregnancy is 24/7 for nine whole months. It carries some pretty big health risks and giving birth is a huge ordeal. This isn't like a job where you're exploited for eight hours and then you go home. I have a very hard time believing that someone would sign up for all that pregnancy and birth entail with out being ok with all that and desiring an experience that goes beyond the money they are paid. (Keep in mind i'm only talking about America here. The booming rates of surrogacy in India are a different matter.) Again i'm puzzled by the vitrol spouted by feminist writers on this subject that assume that surrogates are being taken advantage of, a position that ignores the choice they had in the matter.
As for her being rude to the woman who was doing her an enormous service, I didn't see it. Sure some of the things she said in the article come off bad, but after 11 IVF cycles, four miscarriages and now one former stranger carrying a baby made of your egg and your husband's sperm things get complicated. Feelings get complicated. It's not always sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes it's envy, jelousy, anger, failure and loss. I admire Kucynski for writing openly about all those feelings knowing that they wouldn't be looked on kindly.
Finally the photos. Kucynski is pictured on her manicured lawn holding the product of this adventure, her son, with her baby nurse in the back ground. Her surrogate Cathy is pictured very pregnant and barefoot (yes, barefoot) sitting on her porch which needs to be repainted. These photos are anything but subtle. However the ire they stir up should be directed at the photo editior and the photographer who took these pictures and decided that it was a good idea to publish them with the story, not Kucynski who I am certain did not have any say in which photos were used with the story.
In a nutshell I don't hate Alex Kucynski. I don't judge her. I don't think anyone should. It's easy to live in our heads and wonder about the larger implications of ART and surrogates. It's easy to sit at your computer and type mean comments about all the kids in foster care. It's easy to go for the low blow and call someone a rich bitch who wanted the latest accessory, a baby.
What isn't easy is looking into someone's life and trying to understand their pain. It's hard to put yourself in the postion of spending five years trying to get pregnant. It's hard to fathom enduring four miscarriages. It's hard to think about how you would feel seeing another person carrying your baby. But what really seems to be hard, nearly impossible, for us as a society is too look at other people's choices and realize that they don't reflect on us. That how one person finds their way to parenthood is just that. One person and their journey. One family doing what is right for them.
We all need to stop fretting over what choices others make and get on with our own lives.
Julie beat me to posting but her perspective is worth a read as always. She's said what i'm thinking much more succinctly. But I think this post from Slate's XX Factor sums it up nicely: So what?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Have I mentioned we're consumer whores lately?

I guess in this case Josh is the consumer whore since it's technically his TV, but I went along with it and also saw like five things I wanted at Sears while we were browsing, so yeah, we're consumer whores.

The decision to buy a big ass TV came about because Josh's old TV in his den was losing color constantly and had to be whacked with a broom handle to get the color to come back. That has actually been going on for a while now. But then last week his Dish Network DVR died. This complicated things because:

-We technically own that reciever

-So rather than calling up Dish Network and having them send out a new one, we would have to pay for a new one which is at least a couple hundred dollars

-Which would be silly because we would need a new HD reciever anyway once we got the big TV

-And that would surely happen before the new reciever died

-So we may as well go ahead and get the big TV and go to Dish HD now that the TV and the reciever have croaked at the same time and the reciever is free with the sign up for the HD programming upgrade.


Make sense? Basically Josh got a new TV because his reciever/DVR died, his TV was on life support, I really didn't want to be his Tivo monkey for the forseeable future, and Circuit City gave him 36 months no interest. But he's happy and i'm happy he's happy eventhough I don't get the big TV thing.

I do however get the super cool refrigerator, dishwasher, diamond earring thing...

I told you I was a consumer whore.