Sunday, December 27, 2009


I hope everyone had a great weekend celebrating whatever and however you like, because we sure did. Weekend with the mother-in-law and sister-in-law went well, and even was able to tolerate the father-in-law reasonably enough. We left Kent after Dwight worked on the 24th and hit Cincinnati around 6 PM. Had a spectacular dinner at May's of China. Fabulous food, great atmosphere, local and a decent portion of organic to boot, with the bonus of perfect service and good prices. Denny gave Ken the gifts we bought, we gave Denny his gift and a certificate for when he goes out with Dwight's sister Monday.

Ken's birthday was spent at Newport Aquarium, alongside the other heathens that don't have much to do on Christmas. I really got some good pictures, thankfully. It was so cute- there were about three turtles and a crocodile all piled together in one display. True peace on Earth, right? Ken's cake was about as nerdly as you can get. He wanted Star Trek, he got Star Trek. I burned through my digital camera batteries, so you'll have to wait for those pictures, but I promise to show off exactly what a bunch of geeks our family is.

Saturday we discovered another new to us- Relish Modern Tapas in Mason. Again, I can't rave enough. Awesome food, fantastic experience. Can you tell I like food- pretty much our entire visit revolved around it. Oh, well, have to stay fed somehow, right? Enough gushing from me. Hope you enjoyed the weekend, and are getting as much done this week as I am.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

That Time of Year Again

Yep, birthday time for Ken. And that means it's time for the annual problem of how to handle the December 25th birth date of a child to two non-Christians, one of whom is a preacher's kid- times two. Oh what fun it is to fight the religious holidays, hey! I'd love to hear comments or ideas from the peanut gallery, because I'm all out of mine own and four years in, have yet to have the birthday for our son that Dwight and I had planned.

Admittedly, thanks to an amazing midwife, his birth went the way we planned, but that was it. First year doing birthdays, we had Christmas on his birthday the twenty-fifth, and then a few days later his big first birthday party. To which no one came. Second year we did Christmas in the morning and planned birthday in the evening, all on the same day. So everyone got here three hours late, and his birthday party got cut to, well, after he fell asleep. Third year we gave up and said have Christmas on the twenty-fifth, we'll do a half birthday party for him in the summer, and the family thought that was a great idea. Much easier to skip a half birthday party, apparently, because again- no one showed.

In 48 hours and 50 minutes, Ken will have his fourth birthday. We'll be visiting his paternal grandmother and aunt, and fitting in a dinner with Dwight's dad at some point as well. The whole trip across state will be about three days. Maybe we can make one of those days just for him? I don't know. I'll be writing and working, in between making an Enterprise V meets the Tardis cake, and imbibing my fair share of wine.

Any suggestions how to pull off his birthday and actually have a Happy Ken Day? Is that too much for a mama to want for her kiddo? I guess the take home lesson is if you're not Christian and don't care about Christmas and your in-laws are extremely religious, do everything shy of self immolation to avoid delivering on December twenty fifth. Oh, and please no comments about someone trying to tell me something. It was stupidly lifting a giant subwoofer that put me in labor when I did, not divine intervention, but thanks for thinking of me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bugs and Germs

Germs really bug me. I have to say it. Not themselves, mind you, but more people's reactions to germs. Like this year, with the H1N1 scare on top of the usual seasonal bug issues. Germophobia is running rampant, and it's getting out of control.

According to the CDC, as of November 14th 2009 there were between 7,070 and 13,930 deaths from H1N1 in the 7 months since it started showing up. Nothing to sneeze at, granted, but in a similar time frame over 70,000 deaths due to a stroke occur (from the CDC also). My point is, there are bigger issues to be worried about than novel H1N1.

And yet, it's become a perfectly good reason to act rude and treat humans as walking germs. This week especially, I've had the wonderful experience of having some customer service person see me waiting, look me in the eye, stop, incessantly slather their hands in Purell, and then finally address me. Because, yes, I am obviously a walking, talking, culture of H1N1 or some other bug du jour. Thanks. There's cleanliness and hygiene, but for freaking sake there's also courtesy. I am not sneezing. I am not coughing. I do not have oozing pustules. My eyes are not watering, red, puffy, blood-shot or anything out of the ordinary. I even bathed today. So can everyone please stop acting like they're going to die if they touch anything I've had in contact with me.

I think we have to fear this current fanaticism of physical seclusion far more than any influenza.

Oh, and a belated blessed Solstice! May the new solar year bring many great things!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Past Few Weeks' Absence

The last few weeks have kept me busy and away from blogs, both as a writer and a reader. I've said my apologies for that. Now I owe you an explanation, and I owe myself a moment to reflect.

Professionally, I've been busy with school- grading papers, readying for exams, counseling students and helping them study, not to mention trying to ready my own research for the winter. That means animal care and use proposals, grant proposals, collecting the last of the samples for the year, setting up a behavior room, ordering supplies and finishing my prospectus. I had thought I was done with my prospectus. PROSPECTUS! not dissertation. Just saying what I want to do. Don't get excited, I've still got a year or two before I graduate. Then my advisor decided that I need to rearrange the whole thing. Fun.

In my outreach, I've been busy with some new endeavors, and truly those are what have kept me going, although they have been a source of stress as well. I birthed my first creative publications in a long time- Ken's school newsletter and my departmental calendar. They turned out OK, but not great. I also began serving on the Portage County Solid Waste District Advisory Board. That was a large source of stress. We're looking at possibilities for the future of the SWD, and no one's happy about it. The public meeting was essentially a lynching by the neighbors, with their questions for which we have no answers. It's too early in the process to have the answers they want, and they don't get it. I understand people are afraid of change, but wait until we have some clue of what the possible change is before damning those involved, will you? Yeesh.

Personally, it's been a trying time as well. A friend lost her young child, another became a very young grandmother, another lost her husband, my aunt lost her partner of many years, another friend's grandparents suffered a horrible tragedy, and a one-time lover long-time friend lost his life. Much sorrow is in the air, yet I'm not sure if I'm in the eye of the storm or watching from afar. And Dan, our room mate, adds his share of stress as well. I know I can't solve everything. I know I can't save the world. But I want to try, daggummit. I'm scared by all the death in part because it causes pain to those I love, but in part because it scares me. I'm scared because my father in law will eventually put me in a similar situation. He won't take care of himself, despite multiple chronic health conditions ranging from obesity to diabetes to long term depression. He won't live within his means, so that he frequently goes on and off medication because he's out of money for a month. He won't admit he needs help, and he's technically mentally competent- just makes terrible decisions. His house keeping is atrocious, his apartment manager had to put a Febreeze-sprayer-thingy right beside his door because of the smell. I might need one of those heading upstairs, if I weren't sensitive to perfumes. I love my father in law, really I do, but I'm not looking forward to the time when I have to deal with his death and funeral arrangements, or his long term care situation. But I know that day is coming, sooner or later, and I know it'll be Dwight and I to sort that mess out when it comes.

So how have you been?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yes, I still exist

I know, I've been AWOL. I'm sorry. I'm going to try and be back now. I hope you'll forgive me, it's been a few weeks of utter insanity, and a really bad funk. I've missed you terribly, but life was getting in the way of me communicating. There have been deaths, births, diseases, crises, creativity, progress, frustration, hope, and growth. I gave final exams today, so I should be looking at a little more free time shortly. Should. Ken's pre-school is on the same schedule as me, so once I'm officially "on break" he will be too. Enforced slow-down ensues then, although I will be trying to get as much done as possible over break with him "helping". I have to.

The biggest news is that we've expanded our family. Yes it's human, no it's not ours. Dan is a friend of Dwight's going through a rough patch right now, and will be staying with us until he can get his feet back on solid ground and headed in the right direction.

For the moment, that's all I'll get into, but know that I will be back shortly to my more frequent posting, and trying to catch up with everything I missed. Love you all, and I'll talk to you again soon, I promise.