Monthly Archives: June 2007

Cheap Shot

This may keep me laughing all day. Words of wisdom from George W. Bush, courtesy of a 2004 campaign speech and Michael Moore:
“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”

When I first heard it, I thought he said “good dogs.”

Alright, we all know the US president has some problems with coherent speech so maybe it’s unkind to make fun of him. And really, just too easy.

The health care problems in this country aren’t funny. I’ll confess for the sake of honesty that I’m far far far from being the president’s biggest fan, so maybe the fact that I’m politically left is another reason I can (or should not?) mock him happily. As a good will gesture, however, I want to thank him for giving me the chance for some self-righteous laughter this morning. That’s always inspiring. So thanks, Mr. President.


Catherine has asked for a warning: Let it be known this post ends with the eating of an unorthodox, but vegetarian, sandwich.

My good friend Beecher and I share something in common – we don’t like chocolate. That makes us very strange I suppose. We each have our strange exceptions to the rule however – I can handle the chocolate covering on Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, I don’t mind chocolate chip cookies so long as there are few chips in them, and I like cheap packaged hot chocolate (without marshmallows, please.) He, on the other hand, likes grocery-store bakery brownies – an idea that absolutely disgusts me.

Today Niobe reminded me of that dislike when she posted about a disgusting Swedish candy bar, the Pigall. After I finished gagging (literally), I thought about all the bloggers who would consider such a nasty thing an ecstasy. I remembered something she once mentioned she found disgusting as a child – mixing foods. In fact, peanut butter and jelly made her “skin crawl.”

That day, back in May, I read her post and thought, “mmm, peanut butter and jelly. That sounds good.” We only had almond butter, though, so it was going to have to be an almond butter and jelly sandwich (strawberry jelly, to be exact). And when I opened the fridge and saw the pickles, I thought, ooh, even better, and made myself an almond butter, jelly, and kosher dill pickle sandwich. Yummy.

My ideal room

We watched the documentary Derrida, about the French philosopher and founder of deconstructionism, last night. I don’t recommend it. It was dull. It reminded me, however, that I used to be smart. I remember getting very excited discussing “différence” in a lit crit theory class, even though in the end I did agree with our professor that Derrida was something of a sophist. I felt like I could be incredibly happy just always doing that kind of thing – discussing abstractions, losing an hour or two or three over a work of theory or historiography.

Last night I had an inkling of that feeling, but only really had the energy to declare certain statements made by Derrida “bullshit.” Very astute of me. My mind, though, right now feels too tired to do much more than simply formulate impressions, which I could possibly take further but can’t seem to summon the energy to do.

The filmmaker included in the film a man saying something along the lines of, “Americans always act as if they’re on camera” as the entourage and Derrida crossed a busy Paris street. Honestly I cannot stand a statement that begins, “Americans always” and I’m not sure there could be any situation more annoying than an American saying it in Paris. Not that it was Derrida’s fault that someone said that to him or that the filmmaker included it. Nor am I a great patriot. I should have a lot more to say about that, though, about sweeping generalisms that people say because they think it sounds insightful and smart, especially in the context of insulting others or Americans (read: Starbuck’s cups), but right now I can only express it as, “Oh gad, say something new or shut up already!” Right now I feel intensely annoyed and pissed off at any statement that assumes the speaker/writer has any sort of grasp on wisdom about the world, or especially, other people’s behavior. Even as I’m doing it myself right now.

I feel like everything is cluttered. I just want to sweep it all away. And banal, empty statements and judgments are the worst of it.

Derrida had the most beautiful office, in a sun room. But it was cluttered, full of papers and books. Some years ago I would have thought that romantic, and fantasized about the day I could have a giant desk in my own office full of stuff.

But now, when I think about my ideal office, and I do that often for some reason, I have an entirely different view. I will take the sun room idea, and especially love it on stormy days. I would furnish it with only a big white table, two or three monitors, keyboard, and a computer. Two shelves, one with Natan’s box, a picture of my nieces and nephew, and the poster of my childhood dogs, Sam and Petunia. On the other shelf I’d put my globes, and make room for just a couple of books – only those that were relevant to what I was doing right at the moment. I’ve ceased to feel like I need to own a lot of books, because I’m sick of moving them around, and I will always have access to most of what I could possibly need or want through a library, and more of them, as well as journals, are online anyway. Add two comfortable chairs, one for me at the computer and the other for cats or visitors, and that’s it. If I can have a sun room, I can probably also have a basement and there’d be filing cabinets in it, for all the papers which would otherwise be on the floor.

This time/last time

Another doctor’s appointment today and all is well. My cervix is still well over 4cm long, which makes me feel great because last time my cervix was 3.5 cm at 15 weeks. That of course means nothing scientifically, but the more that’s different and better with this pregnancy than my pregnancy with Natan, the better I feel. At the very least – since I’ve read that with an incompetent cervix things begin to go poorly earlier and earlier with each subsequent pregnancy – I’m still on the good side of statistical data. That of course assumes that doctor hypothesis #1 is correct. If my cervix effaced because I went into preterm labor, and not vice versa, it still makes me happy that I have more cervix to start with, and also that we begin progesterone shots next week. And also that I remember I was already at this point complaining to Dr. M about a heavy discharge and lots of tightening across the uterus if I so much as walked up my apartment stairs.

Some people have asked me why I didn’t do progesterone supplements during the first trimester, and the answer is that for women who are at risk for preterm labor late in the second or early in the third trimesters, research has shown it to be effective starting between weeks 16-20. Since I’ve had such an easy time getting pregnant and only had one miscarriage, none of the doctors thought it necessary in the first trimester. I am pleased though, that we’re starting it at the earliest week known to be helpful.

And another one

Julia tagged me for the “10 Things You Don’t Know about Me” meme the other day, and although I did such a thing yesterday, I decided not to push this one off for weeks like tend to do. So here goes.

1. Josh and I have been having a personal Soviet fairytale movie marathon in our living room. I recommend A Tale of Time Lost and Sadko, but not Ilya Muromets. The first is about elderly evil sorcerers who steal children’s wasted time to make themselves young again. The second is about a man’s quest to bring happiness to the people of Novgorod (a city in Russia situated between Moscow and St. Petersburg). All three are available via Netflix. I heartily recommend them.

The three films are directed by Aleksandr Ptushko, whose grave you should see to the right. It’s in Moscow at the Novodevichi cemetery among those of Raisa Gorbachev, Kruschev, the filmmaker Eisenstein, and Gogol.

Continuing the Soviet film theme, my favorite movie is Tarkovsky’s Solyaris, something you should definitely see if you liked the George Clooney remake (another film I like).

2. I live with the world’s best jumping cat. We’ve never actually entered him in a contest but I believe it’s true.

3. I ate at a vegetarian buffet, during my honeymoon in Stockholm, called Örtagården and known for having once hosted the world’s longest buffet. It was so good, and actually not that expensive, unlike the rest of Sweden.

4. I built and programmed a robotic Trojan horse out of Legos for a contest in college and got second place. I don’t remember the prize.

5. I used to think I liked to cook but then I married somebody much better at it than me, so now I don’t care for it anymore. I also never have to take out the garbage. Nor do I do the laundry. I fold and put away but I don’t have to carry it up and down two flights of stairs. I’ll probably have to start after the baby’s born, when I’ll finally be less fragile.

6. I don’t like cars. I barely ever speed, use my turn signal and always signal well enough in advance, and I also never fail to make a full and complete stop at a stop sign.

7. When I first met Josh, I immediately thought, “huh, this guy’s going to be very important to me,” which I guess could be the cautious woman’s approach to love at first sight.

8. The afternoon I arrived in Israel and called my parents, my dad asked me what it looked like where I was (a kibbutz near the Kinneret) and I told him, “uh, Iowa, kind of.” Which was true, actually. Just a couple of months later, during the rainiest weeks, my roommate got stuck in the mud, and when I went over to help her, I got stuck too. Good land, up there.

9. My first job in high school was in a cookie store at a mall. The boss would smoke in the back while making the cookies, dropping ashes all over and just genuinely disgusting the other employees. I ate very few cookies and only worked there for a couple of months before leaving to work at the local newspaper, where I typed in ad text for a month or so. Then I was promoted and became responsible for physically locating and making sure all the ads were in place before we went to print at 11pm. It being the mid-nineties, the paper was not formatted using software, but instead was all hand laid-out and photographed. So if an ad was missing, it meant I would have to search for it. I’d find them at the salesperson’s desk, under the desk, in the wrong place in the paper, in the garbage can, and once I even found it stuck to the formatter’s pants. Fun times. It was a great job for a 16-17-18 year old, paid more than twice minimum wage, and I even got vacation time.

10. Oiy, I’m running out of things to tell you. How about that I will gladly admit when I’m wrong? For example, I was mortified to learn a few years ago that my undergraduate college planned to build a parking garage on the campus — over an already existing parking lot and right next to the main entrance of the school. More familiar with the ugliness in design displayed by parking garages at the university I attend now, I thought for sure it would be an ugly disaster. I was wrong. It is what it is, and not bad, considering. In any case, it looks better than the parking lot that preceded it. I’ve put two photos of it below.

Sara needs….

I got this game from Niobe, who got it from Caro at Third Time Lucky. Basically, you type, “[first name] needs” into Google and search away. I thought my name might be too common to be interesting but some good stuff came up:

Sara needs a loving, playful home.
Sara needs to discover the experts in the area.
Sara needs you. (blech, that one is too sentimental.)
Sara needs something more than the well-established love of her companion. (I’m actually quite happy with that, thank you.)
Sara needs Sara time.
Sara: Needs common to all humanity.
Sara needs support in learning to make safe choices that more effectively reflect her goals and desired outcomes….
Sara needs a lawyer?
Sara needs a kind soul to sponsor her.
Treat Sara’s needs as a priority. (okay, that’s not according to the formula, but it came up!)

Memories and Anniversaries

I woke up feeling horrible yesterday, as I always do if I cry right before going to sleep. But as the day went on, I began to feel better and better, as if weights were slowly lifting off me. I always thought I was so grateful to have the friend I’ve been discussing in my life. How many other people can say they’ve had a friend since they were 2 years old? Not many, I think, in this very mobile world. I have a great many friends, really, because I’ve lived in so many places and always chosen to have new experiences. I had S., the friend from when I was 2. I still have 2 high school friends with whom I’m in frequent contact, plus 4 others that I either see when I’m “at home” or correspond with every few months over email. My college friends and I are still a fairly close-knit group, even as we’re scattered all over the country and sometimes the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to make very close friends in graduate school, too.

Sunday afternoon I either spoke to or emailed with at least one representative of each of these stages of my life, as well as five members of my family. I am not alone. Any maybe that’s partly why, as I think about moving on now without her, I feel like I’ve just broken up with a bad boyfriend – I feel free and happy and relieved and grateful that I can dedicate more time to people who care about me. I’m finished with feeling guilty over I’m never sure what, or walking on egg shells, and sighing with relief if we have a conversation where she doesn’t lose her temper with me. I don’t have to worry about feeling obligated to drive the extra fifty miles to her house when I visit my family, only to come home in tears because her husband literally said not a word to me while I was there and S didn’t make any effort to include me in the conversation. Nor do I, the Jewish vegetarian, have to be the only one “on the bride’s side” to enthusiastically support their choice to have a pig roast for a rehearsal dinner (okay clearly that wouldn’t happen again anyway but I still think I deserve credit for telling her brother and her aunt that it wasn’t a joke and that I thought it sounded like fun!) Or any of the many other times I’ve held my tongue or been berated if I voice an opinion.

Another friend and I talked yesterday. I hadn’t yet told her I’m pregnant again because it took a while for me to be able to say the words in real life and now we’d been playing phone tag for two weeks (she works too many hours!!). She immediately told me that she’s pregnant too. She’s still very early, so I can’t tell anyone else, but she said she wanted to be sure I knew first, and also that since we’d just had a long conversation about my pregnancy, she’d feel weird about holding back the news only to call me back with it a week later after her first doctor’s appointment. And you know, I felt complete and unadulterated joy over her news. Yes she’s still in the risky period and I will feel that I am at risk until this baby is born. I can only pray that our happiness and giggles over potentially having babies just 6 weeks or so apart wasn’t for naught, but I AM EXCITED and it feels great to feel that way.

But with that, I turn to a sad sort of story. Niobe posted today about the limit’s of memory and Lori commented about how her body sometimes remembers things, even if she consciously does not. I think I experienced that last week. A week after the cerclage and when I really had no reason to be worried, I woke up in a foul mood feeling just doomed to misery. It was one of those days where I wondered if I’d ever be truly happy again. We had a doctor’s appointment, with of course yet another transvaginal ultrasound.

Would someone please promise me that if this baby comes into the world healthy and alive that I will be able to start going at least three months without a speculum or transvaginal exam?

Anyway, as we sat in the examining room waiting for Dr. K, I began to feel anxious and weepy. I felt a sense of doom, like we weren’t going to see a heartbeat, or that my cervix would be wide open and short. When the nurse brought in the machine, I started to cry. I felt like I absolutely could not handle this. Of course it was all fine, and Dr. K did a great job reassuring me. But then, afterwards, on the way home, I remembered the date. And I remembered, suddenly, that it was that day a year ago that I had actually begun to bleed and passed the miscarried fetus. I had learned of the miscarriage June 2nd, had rejected a D&C in favor of “expectant management” and passed the baby over a week later. Alone in the bathroom, because Josh was still abroad.

[warning: this paragraph is graphic] I can hardly even remember the event, I know the pain was horrible, that at certain moments I wasn’t sure whether I needed to go to the ER, but I couldn’t drag myself down the stairs to tell my mother-in-law, whose house I was at awaiting the event, what was happening. And I know that for a full day, just when I thought the pain had stopped, it would come back, until finally, at the end of the day, I passed it. Physically, I felt so much better, but emotionally, I felt so conflicted about just flushing the toilet and being done with it. But that’s what I did. I had some lingering pain for a few days, but nothing like that day.

But I almost never think about that now. The pain, which was horrible, has faded into distant memory, overwhelmed by my experience of delivering Natan. And the tears and worries of those weeks seem so distant, even insignificant. But I know that’s not true. I cried for weeks and weeks, and was paralyzed by fear during my first trimester with Natan. Far more so than this time, because at least now I can carry a baby beyond those early weeks. But back then nothing scared me more than the idea that I would struggle through miscarriage after miscarriage, having to wait through it two more times at least before I’d get the attention of specialists.

Now, as I mourn a son who I felt kick, and who had developed an individual presence – like an absolute aversion to the dopplers and fetal monitors he would kick and punch away – I know that others mourn with me. And that doctors will pay attention to me. I had enough time with Natan to wonder why I had very few cravings and wanted only healthy foods with him, while this baby, despite my dislike for chocolate, wants fudgesickles. And the other day I thought my stomach might collapse in on itself if I didn’t have a snow cone soon.

Now I know that very few people are wondering when I’ll just be over it, even though such trolls apparently exist. But back then I thought that nobody cared, and that Josh and I would really suffer alone. I remember thinking that miscarriage might very well be the loneliest pain in the world, and I might have been right. So lonely that even I thought my grief over it had run out.