Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parenting taboos

Do you watch TED talks? I love them, and I love how easily accessible they are now. This is another talk that I've watched a couple of times now as I think more and more seriously about when B and I will add to our family.




Total tangent - does anyone else get annoyed when people ask you when you're going to start a family? I mean, B and I are a family! If we choose not to have kids or couldn't have kids, that wouldn't make us any less than a family. Anyway, I realize it might be semantics to some people, but that phrase has always bothered me.


But back to what I was saying. This was a talk by the founders of Babble, and while I might have some issues with that website and some of their editorial guidelines, I really enjoy this talk and what they have to say about parenting taboos. I wonder if some of the taboos haven't gone away a bit since this talk (particularly given a lot of the articles on their website), but I still think what they have to say rings true with a lot of parents. Particularly the part about marital happiness and how after having kids it declines, and doesn't fully recover to the "before kids" level until the kids are out of the house. 


When put in stark terms like that, it kind of makes me wonder why on earth anyone still has kids (you know, beyond that whole instinctive preservation of the species bit). But, then they looked more deeply at that marital happiness chart - specifically pointing out how the average decline doesn't tell the whole story, but that with kids come much higher highs and much lower lows. My mom has often said that that was true for her, and I very much expect that to be the case for B and myself.


Clearly we won't know how it all goes until we're in the position of being parents ourselves, but I'd love to hear what you guys think about marital happiness and kids. Has this been true for you (if you're a parent)? Or do you think it will be once you have kids?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall

I can't believe it's nearly November. B and I celebrated eight months of marriage last week (a day late since I was with my mom and my aunt on the 19th). Christmas is only two months away.


Seriously, where has the time gone? 


Does anyone else feel like time speeds up the older you get? I remember as a kid, summer days seemed to stretch forever, and when school finally started it took what felt like years to get to Christmas vacation. And the ten days in between my sister's birthday and my birthday? Longest ten days of my life! When did time speed up and go crazy, with the months flying by, leaving you reeling in their wake, wondering what happened to another year? 


I always think of one of Gretchen Rubin's (author of the Happiness Project) four splendid truths when I think about how fast the year has gone - "The days are long, but the years are short."


Lately that has felt so true, especially as work has been stressful and the hours seem to drag on before I can get home to spend time with B. But then I look up to find that the leaves have changed, it's nearly Halloween, Thanksgiving will be here before I know it and half the stores already have Christmas decorations lining the aisles.


This doesn't change does it? 


In fact, my mom assures me that once kids are in the picture, this dichotomy of the days being long but the years being short will become even more stark. 


Though, as my great-grandmother used to tell us, it wasn't until the decades started flying by that she really wondered what was happening with time!


Anyone else wondering how to slow down the months? Doing my best to live in the moment is what I try, but I'd love other suggestions!

Friday, October 21, 2011

And the pain continues

Do you ever think you've got something figured out, and in so doing, forget about all of the warning signs you should really be paying attention to?


Yeah. About that. I'm currently awake having one of the worst attacks I've had in awhile. 


Because I thought I had my body figured out and I was in control.


Apparently not. Definitely not. I'd been starting to think that maybe there was another way to fix this, and that surgery wasn't really necessary. I don't know how I thought I could manage this pain any other way when nothing has worked for the past 8 months, but I did. 


This is not something that I want to have to live with any longer than I have to.


If nothing else, it's become a painful reminder to me that I'm never really in control, am I?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On staying healthy

One of the other things that I always think about when I let my mind wander to the future and having kids and what that looks like is my health (and my husband's, but this is my blog, so I'm talking about me today).


Overall, I've been a fairly healthy person. Now, that doesn't mean that I've never seen the inside of a hospital, since even though I might be generally healthy I am most definitely a klutz. And that combined with the poor judgment often shown by myself as a child landed me in the doctor's office more than once with various broken bones, bruises and all manner of injuries that always led to the inevitable question, "What on earth were you thinking?" (um, that spinning around and around in the living room with the sharp brick hearth would be a really good idea? 10 stitches later it was proven to me that in fact, it was not.)


As I get older I've been thinking more and more about my health, and more specifically, staying healthy. I am incredibly paranoid and so have always made sure that I've had some sort of health insurance, even when it's been the crappiest individual policy ever because that was all I could afford when I was unemployed. At least it was something. But I've never really had to use it before, except for those annual exams that we all know and love.


Until I started having unexplained pain. Pain that no one could really figure it out. Pain that kept me up for hours at a time at night (causing sleep deprivation, but also time to catch up on tv shows! See, there's always a silver lining somewhere). Finally I was able to figure out the correlation between certain foods and the pain that I had, and match the symptoms to the likely cause. Sure enough, turns out I have gallstones and the primary way to treat that is to remove the gallbladder.


On the one hand, I'm grateful that they've found something that the pain can be attributed to, and there's a way to fix it so I won't hurt anymore.


On the other hand, they're going to be removing an organ. I find that incredibly weird.


In any event, it looks like surgery will be sometime next month as I'm not in massive amounts of pain all the time requiring it to come out immediately. Which is definitely a plus. On the downside, when I do have pain it's the kind where I'm up for several hours during the night just waiting for it to subside. And then I feel like a zombie in the morning from lack of sleep (hey, maybe this is my body's way of preparing me to deal with having a baby? No? Well in that case, quit it!).


I am grateful that this is considered a routine surgery, and that after it's over I should feel much better (heck, my grandfather was performing this surgery when he was a surgeon! Though not laparoscopically as mine will be. "How can you do it right with just a few teeny incisions? You've got to have room to look around!"). Of course, I do wonder about potential complications (because that's how I roll), but I've learned that I need to be more optimistic and not always look for the worse case scenario (I have always argued that if I worry about everything, I can be prepared for it. This isn't true. So I'm attempting to try something new).


I'm also grateful that I have (slightly) better insurance that will help to pay for the surgery. 


And mostly, I'm grateful that even though this part of my body has decided to stop working, I'm still in pretty good health. I need to remember that, and work harder to keep myself healthy. 


On a random note, do they record surgeries for people anymore? I wonder what it would look like. (No, I don't actually want to google videos of surgery. This was more of a rhetorical question. Or something.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Having it all?

I've been thinking more and more about careers lately - both mine and those of my friends. Mainly, I'm trying to figure out how to keep mine going on a forward trajectory, to learn more, become more experienced, have more of a say in the direction of my career (instead of only reacting to outside forces), while still maintaining my family life. And I'm not even to the point of having kids yet. But I figure thinking about this now and attempting to understand how others do it can only be beneficial for later, when there's less time and energy to devote to it.


But in thinking about it more, it truly does make me wonder how on earth women* manage to do it.


I mean, truly - I often feel like I don't have time to get to the things I want to do now, so how do you do it when you have a baby? Or once you have the second or third child? And how do you end up affording it all? (Clearly, it seems the first answer is that there is no "all." You do what you can with what you have. But I'm still trying to learn that.)


I'm certainly not the only one thinking about this. Just today, Amanda was talking about maternity leave and the impact that can have on your career. But you just had a baby! How on earth do you NOT take maternity leave of some sort? Forget about the fact that you just had a baby and need to physically heal, but what about the bonding time with your newborn? For a country that proclaims family to be first and professes its devotion to family values, I don't see a whole lot of those values helping out women who want to remain relevant and in control of their careers as well as be a parent.


I don't have any answers to this, but I do feel incredibly blessed to be a part of a community of women and mothers who speak out every day about what their lives are like and how they make it work. I know that I won't be able to have it all (or at least not all at the same time), but I do know I want to be fulfilled and feel like I've made a difference, both in my family life and my career. There has to be a way, right? Beyond just opting out and leaving the work force for years (or for good?). Especially because as the economy has sputtered and faltered over the last few years, it's painfully clear that whatever assumptions you make when you leave a career won't always be true.


If you haven't already seen this talk by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, please watch it because it's a good one and makes some excellent points about staying in the workforce and keeping control over your career. I especially like her point about not leaving before you leave. I don't know yet how I'll be able to manage everything in the future, but I do know I want to try. And I hope that I have choices about how I'll make it work.






So how do you make it work? And this is a question for parents and non-parents alike, as I'm genuinely curious how other people organize their lives.


*Yes, I'm speaking to women because I am one, and I'm trying to figure out how to balance career and family now, and adding kids to the equation in the next few years.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Food I miss

Hey all - I'm guest posting over at Nodakademic today while she churns out more pages of her dissertation! 


I had the hard task of remembering some of my favorite restaurants that I wish were still within driving distance... only hard because it made me incredibly hungry while I was writing the post! I hope you go check out my post to find out what they are!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pinterest Recipes

I've been on Pinterest for a little while now, and one of my favorite things about it has been the ability to both find new recipes as well as keep track of ones that I've been wanting to try. Now granted, as I've mentioned many times, I am not the cook in our house. My husband is most definitely the cook and a damned good one. However, he always appreciates when I make dinner, plus I love to bake, so I find myself in the kitchen every so often. Some of the things that I've made recently that I found on Pinterest are:


French Onion Soup




This was absolutely amazing. I think it was even better because I was able to throw it together in the morning and then we got to smell it all afternoon while we were watching football and doing things around the house. I then had enough left over so that B and I had it for lunch the next couple of days. I love French Onion Soup, and I'm so happy that I have a great go-to recipe for it now! And bonus? I finally used the crockpot we got for our wedding!


Pumpkin Muffins (with cream cheese frosting)




These were super tasty. The first time I made them I used a spice cake box mix and while they were tasty, I was pretty sure I could make them better. I had a ton of cream cheese frosting left over so I made another batch today, and since I didn't have a boxed cake mix I used this recipe for the dry ingredients. I also added some cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg to add a bit of spice to the mix. I really like the taste and texture of my second batch, but I need to adjust the leavening agent as they didn't rise very much. But they're still just as tasty with copious amounts of cream cheese frosting!


Cheesy bread (great pizza crust!)




I made this the last time that B went out of town - it ended up being an excellent dinner and then multiple snacks the next day. I really liked the crust on this, but I don't think I'll use the parchment paper the next time. I'm not sure if it just got a little bit wet on my counter or what, but it stuck pretty badly to the bottom of the crust. Fine for me to tear off, but certainly not something I'd want to serve to anyone else! Pretty sure that one was user error though...


So what are your favorite recipes you've found on Pinterest? I'm always looking for new things to try!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One Less Voice in the World Tonight





The first computer that I remember using was an old Macintosh Plus when I was around five. I'm pretty sure that my dad still has it, although I think the mouse or keyboard has gotten lost in one of the many moves since I last used it. I remember making cards for my grandparents on that computer (long before I could actually read any of the menus on the screen) and later playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.


While I've mainly been a PC girl since buying my own computers, I have been a dedicated iPod fan since my first one, and I'm currently the owner of 3 different models. I now work for a company that has recently launched a new line of products for the iPad and I use my MacBook Pro for everything these days.


Steve Jobs did an amazing amount to change the way products are designed, built, marketed and sold. 


Many of us found out about his passing on a product that his vision created and shaped.


Rest in peace Mr. Jobs.
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