Monday, November 30, 2009

news and junk

i haven't posted in a while. and, the way things are looking, prolly won't post again after this for a longer while.

*my skinny jeans no longer fit in the tummy :) i don't really 'show' yet, but i can feel the difference in all my waistbands. hooray!

*tony and i got a house on base, which is a huge relief. it's a two story townhouse style, with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a ginormous kitchen. i can't wait to move everything in in january and start really making it a home.

*i visited tony for thanksgiving, and we had dinner at my favorite aunt's house. i'm really looking forward to living near her. also, i made a fantastically yummy chocolate raspberry french desert tart with a name that i can't remember. it actually turned out, which is a first for me. i was quite proud of myself.

*i went shopping on black friday for the first time ever. it was crazy, but we got some sweet sweet deals like a mondo flatscreen tv for the new place.

*i am withdrawing from school this week. i feel a little silly for withdrawing 3 weeks from the end, but it's just too much. if it wasn't the hollidays, and if i wasn't moving, and if i wasn't pregnant, it would be fine. but the way life is, school is just too much. and i didn't have great grades this semester anyways. something had to give, and school is about the only thing that can. this way i don't stress myself to death, and my crappy grades don't get recorded, and i might actually have time to clean the apartment and buy and make some christmas presents.

*when i withdraw, i will be offline for a while. i have to give my school computer back, and my old computer is on the fritz. so i prolly won't be online between the end of this week and the 19th when tony gets here. sad day.

*my baby is now the size of a large olive, and has all it's organs and muscles (at least in their begining stages), and fingers and toes and eyelids and the start of a nose! the baby is growing a millimeter every day, which prolly explains why i'm so stinking tired and hungry all the time.

*i am so excited about christmas. it will be the first time in 9 years that all of my siblings will be together for christmas. i seriously cannot wait.

*tony gets leave from the 19th to the 3rd of january. that's two whole weeks together. it's pretty sad, but that will be the longest we've had together in a year. but, soon we will finally be able to live together.

that's all the news that's fit to print, i guess.

Friday, November 13, 2009


today i am 6 weeks pregnant (the one plus side to only seeing hubby for a few days every few months is that i know exactly when i got pregnant). that means little dude in my belly is almost 1/4 inch long...about the size of a raisin or a pinky fingernail. i can't believe how fast the baby grows! it basically is doubling in size every week. crazy. i can't wait till i start to show, although i've got another two months probably before that happens. i think pregnant bellies are so cute.

i'm not really feeling/seeing physical changes from pregnancy so far. my only real symptom is being extra tired and having to pee more often. i'm not getting nauseous, i'm not showing, i'm not craving weird foods. but there is so much non-physical change going on in my life.
i have never been so aware of the effects of my actions as i am now. i'm constantly thinking about how what i do affects my baby. i look much more thoroughly before i cross the street; i go to bed as soon as i feel sleepy rather than staying up to catch a movie or do some extra reading; i approach food and eating with great intention and a new outlook because i suddenly have this new tiny person to nourish; i quit smoking cold turkey when i found out i was pregnant and haven't once been tempted because no craving could be more important than my baby.
i have never prayed so much in my life. my spirituality is suddenly coming back into focus as i'm thinking about a new life being created. there is so much beyond my control in this process, and it really pushes me to trust that god knows what's up even if i don't. god has made babies before even though this is my first time at it.

but probably the biggest change is that i'm learning to slow down and not freak out and obsess about things that don't really matter. it's pretty much a necessity. if i freaked out over everything new and scary and uncertain in life right now, or everything i'm too tired to get done, i would go insane. slowing down is a must, because it's a choice between functioning slower or not functioning at all. things that i used to think were so important and would worry about and run myself ragged over suddenly seem really silly and a waste of energy.
i am getting a 'D' in a class this semester, and i'm not upset about it. i'm not getting it because of bad work, per se. i'm getting it because i had the choice between getting enough sleep or doing enough research. this is the first time in my life i'm choosing sleep over research, and i have zero regret. i am simply not doing a research project that counts for 30% of my class grade, because it is more important that i be healthy and rested. i love doing research, and i love the topic i had picked for the project. but i love my baby more.
my well being has never come before my GPA until now. in the past i have had panic attacks over grades, and literally studied myself sick. when i was 18 i tried to kill myself because i was going to fail a class. yes, really. looking back now it all seems so twisted, and rightly so. my GPA is dropping from a 3.7 last semester to a 2.2 this semester, and i have never felt better. i'm seeing that what really matters in life is not numbers on a transcript but the fact that i'm sane and healthy and have time to devote to myself and my husband and my friends. having a safe and healthy and happy pregnancy will not earn me a letter grade, but it is the most important thing i can do in the next 8 months.

old me would have felt really guilty about not being able to do everything at once, and gotten sick trying. new me is learning what the truly important things are, and learning to be ok with letting everything else go if necessary. it's really freeing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

thoughts on ft. hood

i am really saddened by the Fort Hood shooting. it is tragic enough that 13 people died, but the tragedy is compounded by the way that some people are responding. i am sickened by those who suggest that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in the military, or should be singled out and investigated simply because of their religion.

our nations only justification for the "war on terror" is in upholding the difference between a war on terror and a war on the religion of Islam. we must firmly hold onto the distinction between the majority of Muslims of true faith, who follow the teachings of Allah of justice and mercy and respect for others, and the tiny group of extremists who use Islam as a guise for hatred and evil. they are no more representative of Islam as a whole as the members of the Lords Army in Uganda are representative of Christianity as a whole (google this if you don't know...they force children to be soldiers and if they don't fight they get their arms cut off in the name of Jesus). in any religion there are crazy fringe elements who do awful things. but if we begin to harass and vilify Muslims and make this a war on Islam, we justify extremism.
extremist imams use the idea that America is fighting the religion of Islam as a way to justify terror attacks. and, if it were true that we were fighting Muslims based on their religion, then all Muslims would have every right to fight back. the fact that we are fighting terrorist actions and not Muslim beliefs is what keeps terrorists from being justified.

the Fort Hood shooting was horrifying and tragic, as is all loss of life. it remains to be seen whether or not it was motivated by extremism, or simply by mental instability. either way it is awful. either way those lost remain lost. but if America lashes out at Muslims because of this, we become the terrorists. we should not dishonour the soldiers who have lost their lives to the war on terror by becoming the very thing they died to protect us from.

there is a verse to a U2 song that i love called "peace on earth" that goes:

"where i grew up there weren't many trees
where there were we'd tear them down and use them on our enemies
they say that what you mock will surely overtake you
and you become a monster so the monsters will not break you"

we must not become monsters.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

i've got you under my skin

i am 5.5 weeks pregnant, which means that my baby is almost the size of a small grain of rice, and busy developing a spinal cord and heart. by the end of this week his/her heart will start beating. that's pretty incredible. it's a little strange knowing that there is a life growing inside of me. i don't look pregnant and i don't particularly feel pregnant yet, but i'm not alone.....i feel a little schitzophrenic talking to my tummy at this point, but i want to get used to it. the baby won't have ears for weeks yet, but the second they develop i want my baby to hear how much it is loved.

i spent the weekend with my husband's family. they are amazing, and i'm really blessed to have great in-laws. my mother-in-law helped me catch up my laundry (i'm just too tired all the time to lug it to the laundromat), and pick out a good pre-natal vitamin. i wish i was closer to my own mom.

i'm really torn on the issue of the h1n1 vaccine. i know i'm really supposed to get it because being pregant puts me in the high risk category. but i'm worried because i have always had really bad reactions to vaccines. i'm extremely sensitive to mercury and actually had mercury poisoning a few years ago, and most vaccines contain mercury in one of the preservative ingredients (thimeresol). the CDC website said a version of the vaccine is available without thimeresol, but i don't know if it's available here in the middle of nowhere. and, even without the mercury issue, i still tend to get very sick from vaccines. i got full blown, contagious measles from the measles vaccine. i got yellow fever from the yellow fever vaccine. i could easilly get swine flu from the swine flu vaccine. i know that it's healthy for most people, but so are those other vaccines. i just don't know which is more dangerous: to not get vaccinated and risk the flu, or to get vaccinated and risk mercury poisoning or still getting the flu. i'm going to call the health department tomorrow and see if i can talk to someone about it, and at least see if they have the thimeresol-free vaccine available.

i get to see my husband again in two weeks, for thanksgiving. i'm flying up to DC for the holliday. i can't wait till i can move up there. january can't come soon enough. it's been a long year of being apart. in the 4.5 months that we've been married, we've only had 12 days together....though we've put them to good use (as evidenced by me being pregnant!). i'm really ready to live in the same place and really begin a life together.

it's strange to think how quickly and beautifully my life has fallen into place over the past year and a half. i met, fell in love with, and married the man of my dreams, and now we are starting a family. i never expected life to work out this way. i'm a lucky girl.


i'm making lotions and lip glosses as christmas presents this year. i love making gifts rather than buying them (it's so fun to do, and way more personal, and usually much cheaper). i will probably post a lotion recipe later. here is a lipgloss recipe:

3Tbsp. grated pure beeswax (i get mine here)
2Tbsp. grape seed oil
1Tbsp. castor oil
6 vitamin e capsules burst
1tsp. pure unrefined shea butter
1/2tsp. colored mica powder
5 drops essential oil (i like peppermint or vanilla)
tiny tupperware containers or special lip gloss containers

put beeswax, oils, vitamin e, and shea butter into a large ziplock bag.
squeeze the air out and seal it.
fill a large sauce pan with water and set it to boil.
hold the sealed ziplock in the water, so that it is submerged but doesn't touch the bottom or sides of the pan. move the bag around gently as the water heats.
about the time the water reaches boiling, the wax and oils should be melted together. remove the bag and contiue to gently slosh the mixture inside.
in about a minute it will start to cool (you can tell because the edges of the mixture will start turning opaque). add the colored mica powder and re-seal the bag. smoosh the powder into the mixture untill it's well mixed.
add the essential oil and smoosh/mix again.
snip a tiny hole in one bottom corner of the ziplock. squeeze the mixture from the hole into your containers.
place containers in the fridge for 5 minutes or until gloss has set.

be careful which essential oils you add. any citrus oil increases sensitivity to sun and can cause sun spots, so it's best to stick to non-citrus oils. also, if you're making gifts, make sure you use ingredients that the person who will recieve the gift is not allergic to. you can substitute olive oil for grape seed oil, and you can leave out the castor oil for a more matte look.

i get all of my ingredients from coastal scents, except for the beeswax which i get from an apiary. i like the quality of their products, and the fact that their products are ethically produced and not animal tested. they have great containers for lipgloss as well.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

a begining

it's strange how unexpectedy life can change. i found out tuesday that i'm pregnant. whoa. what a bundle of emotions. i'm excited and nervous and worried and happy and scared and shocked. i look down at my belly and can't believe that there is a 1.5milimeter long life growing inside of it. my husband is really excited. we both want kids, and although ideally we would have waited another year or so, we are still really happy. i don't think there is ever a perfect time for a baby. there will always be stresses and worries involved. now was not the planned time, but we can make it a great time.
the whole thing still feels very surreal. i keep thinking that i'll wake up tomorrow and it will have been a dream. i've taken a test every morning for three days now, just to be sure. my first dr.'s appointment is tomorrow morning, where she'll confirm the pregnancy and tell my due date and all of that fun stuff. i can't wait. i think once she tells me i'm pregnant it will feel all the way real. so far i don't have any horrible morning sickness or anything like that. i'm having a hard time sleeping, and i've got massive heartburn and a craving for banana chips, but that's about it.
do i have to think of myself as a 'woman' now, instead of a 'girl'?
how will i protect this baby from all of the horribleness in the world?
so much is new.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

on the subject of ramen, here is my favorite ramen recipe. i may be a poor college student, but that doesn't mean my cheap food has to taste cheap:

pesto ramen:

2 packages chicken ramen (only one packet of seasoning used)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large slices of tomato, diced
1 small handfull (about 1/4 cup) of pine nuts
1 Tsp. minced garlic
basil, parsley, rosemary to taste (twice as much basil as other herbs)
parmesan cheese

cook the ramen in a pan without seasoning. drain most of the water leaving only enough to keep the noodles wet. add olive oil and one packet of seasoning mix. add tomato, pine nuts, garlic and herbs. stir well. top with parmesan cheese. serves 3.

3am ramen noodles and stay-at-home feminism

last night was halloween and i took my husband's 17 year old sister to see "the rocky horror show". we'd both seen the movie and the shadow play before, but not the stage play. it is fantastic. it felt so much more alive than the film....not just because it was live (which isn't so different from the shadow play), but because the actors had their own interpretations of the characters. they did something new, rather than just copying how the actors in the film played the parts. it was great to see such a familiar story in a new way. and it was good to spend some time with my sister in law. i know she really misses my husband, and i miss my own little sister, so we are surrogate siblings for each other.

after the show some folks came over to my apartment for cards and drinks. it was really chilled out and nice. i only had two drinks, and mostly just made sure things were going smoothly. i made ramen noodles for people who needed to put some starch on their stomachs. it was a good night. i really enjoy being that person at a party who looks out for things and takes care of people. we're all in college and mostly all far away from family and home. i'm older, being a non-traditional student and married, and have my own home, and i like to be able to create some sense of hospitality and belonging for folks stuck in dorms. sure, ramen noodles is no gourmet meal, but i like being able to do things for people that otherwise won't be done. it's such a small thing, but in a college community the small things are important. we're all figuring out who we are apart from our families, and making new families and lives, and i think a lot can get lost along the way if the little things are forgotten. i'm trying to do more of the small things, and realizing that they may be the most important things in life. i feel most at home and at peace myself when i'm making other people feel at home. in fact, my home doesn't feel like home unless i invite people into it. otherwise it's just an apartment. 3am ramen noodles are the most fulfilling thing i've done all week.

i think this is really the heart of my growing dissatisfaction with school. no degree will ever make me feel whole the way that making a meal to share does. any system that values the degree over the shared meal is tragically broken. degrees are useful for finding a job, but any system that values finding a "good" job over sharing a meal is tragically broken. i'm happy with low-wage jobs. i loved nannying. i loved line cooking. i loved being a barista. those all let me connect with people in individual and meaningful ways, and none of them required even a high school diploma, let alone a degree. i'm realizing that i can stay in school and get a degree and then never use it, or i can not get a degree and then never use it. the second option would save me about $20K.

it's strange how much resistance i meet with when i articulate this. people are horrified that i am seriously thinking about "throwing away" my education, skills, etc. they cannot comprehend that i have no desire to make lots of money....every objection raised revolves around missing out on some dream job and never being able to make money or afford x,y, or z. but, i have never wanted the dream jobs. ever. my dreams are all about painting in the afternoon, and making enough spaghetti that i'm able to invite people to dinner who would otherwise eat alone, and having children and teaching them well. my dream job is to be a homemaker. that would be the job that would most fulfill me and make me happy.

now, i know that realistically i'll most likely have to have jobs other than that to pay the bills. but i never want a "career". i never want to have to split myself like that. i am absolutely a feminist, and i think giving women a choice whether to work inside the home or outside the home, and whether or not to raise a family, was so important. but limiting the choice to being a working mother is just as wrong as limiting the choice to being a stay-at-home mother. thanks to feminism i have a choice of what to do with my life. what i choose is the stay at home. it's not because i think the home is a woman's place. i think it's my place, where i am happiest. it's not because i'm trapped by patriarchy or unaware of my options. i know my options and i've chosen the one that i think is best for me. i've chosen that my creativity and effort and time will always belong first and foremost to my family, not because of obligation, but because that is where using them matters most to me. but when i say anything along these lines, most people act like being a homemaker is equivalent to being dead. they say "but you could do anything!", meaning "you could do anything we approve of and think you ought to do". what i want to do is use my talents to make people feel at home and at peace.

my amazing mom stayed at home. while not having a career she home schooled my siblings and i, went rock climbing, was endlessly creative and worked at fostering creativity in others, made meals for people who were sick, took in people without homes, taught her children how to cook and write poetry and quilt and think critically about the world, read more books than should be humanly possible, grew vegetables and flowers, and was active in the community. she lives the fullest life i have ever seen and has not one regret about not having a career. she's the strongest and most loving woman i know, and has always been who i look up to.

if i enter a career and work in all the usual ways at being "successful", i will end up wishing i had more time for the people and things i love. if i devote my life to the people and things i love, i will never regret not having that 9-5. i don't call doing what i love and living without regret "throwing my life away"., this was only supposed to be a paragraph or two about fun times last night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

all right we are two nations

usually my history class is pretty worthless, but this morning was interesting. it made me even more angry with the sphincter-headed way that history is generally understood and taught, but it was interesting. we were discussing the sacco and vanzetti case. it was eery how similar the case is to the recent troy davis case, and infuriating how the professor kept claiming that nothing like what happened to sacco and vanzetti could happen now in the ever-so-enlightened present. her basic take on all historical issues is that we in the present are wise and advanced and can look back on mistakes of the past with certainty and bemused superiority. i'd like to say that she's just one professor, and that she doesn't represent most historians. but that would be a lie. she epitomizes modern (by which i mean 'of the modern era/mindset' rather than contemporary) historical thought. but i think the hideous smugness is the inescapable result of viewing history as a science rather than an art. historians confuse knowing facts about the past with knowing the truth.

i resolutely hold that history a)is subjective b)is subjunctive and c)is only important (although critically so) in as much as it tells us about the present and ourselves....or, in as much as it provides a vocabulary for us to tell ourselves about ourselves. history is the great myth (i don't use 'myth' to mean imaginary or primitive, but that it functions as an overarching source of meaning) of western civilization.
history is a collective memory and, as such, is absolutely subjective. memories are never what happened, but rather what we think happened based on our viewpoint, past experience, and present needs.
history is subjunctive in that there are no real historical facts, only historical possibilities. we can never, ever, know with certainty what happened 60 years ago, let alone 600 or 6,000. we can hazard guesses and string together theories, but that is all. anyone who claims to present 'historical fact' is an idiot or a liar.
history is never really about the past. every reason for studying the past has to do with a need of the present. humans want to know who we are now, and we look to the past for clues. the idea is that if we understand who humans were in the past, we can extrapolate that knowledge to ourselves. the more unsure of its identity that a society becomes, the more formally and broadly history is studied. societies in which people are sure of themselves have no use for history. such societies may create oral traditions, but these traditions put history in its proper place as myth. it is only those of us who descartes burdened with thinking ourselves into being who search for 'facts' about human history. but even if it were possible to determine historical facts, they would never become human truth. one can know all the facts of every battle of every war since the dawn of civilization, and not know the truth about war. it is like trying to understand what love feels like by reading psychological papers on attraction and affection and relational dynamics.
now, none of the above is meant to say that history is not an important study. that would be a little strange for me, as a history major, to say. rather, i mean that the way that history is commonly taught and studied is silly and counter productive. history, when recognized as myth, is an excellent way of shaping one's identity. i create a place for myself in the world through thinking about those who have come before me and influenced me. but pretending that it is a factual discipline only clutters things up and gets in the way. it leads to people thinking that humans now are somehow more enlightened and better than humans then, or that what look like glaring injustices in the past would never be allowed in our time.
the truth about the sacco and vanzetti trial and the troy davis trial is the same. the facts may differ slightly, but the truth about power, discrimination, fear, violence, and injustice is the same now as it was in the 20's. knowing the facts of sacco and vanzetti will never stop future troy davis's from being executed, but setting aside the terrible smugness and desperate academic jargon and getting to the truth of both situations might.

there was a poem written about sacco and vanzetti by john dos passos (he doesn't capitalize either) that i love. it is the truest thing i know about the historical event. here is part of it:

they have clubbed us off the streets they are stronger they are rich they hire and fire the politicians the newspapereditors the old judges the small men with reputations the collegepresidents the ward heelers (listen college presidents
judges America will not forget her betrayers)....
all right you have won you will kill the brave men our friends tonight
there is nothing left to do we are beaten....
America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have turned our language inside out who have taken the clean words our Fathers spoke and made
them slimy and foul....
they have built the electric chair and hired the executioner to throw the switch
all right we are two nations

read that poem and tell me it will never happen again because in the present we are wise and just. read it and tell me that because you know the facts of the trial you know what happened. read it and tell me that history is an objective discipline and there is no place in it for emotions and opinions (what about yours?). i dare you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The first post is always strange. Part of me feels like it ought to be an introduction, but part of me thinks it's really silly and self-absorbed to assume readers to whom I should introduce myself. Perhaps I'll strike a compromise and introduce this blog but leave myself alone.

in all likelihood i won't be using capital letters. it's not from lack of concern for the rules of grammar. i simply think capital letters are aesthetically displeasing and elitist. i'm not a grammar nazi...i'm a grammar marxist.

sometimes i may post recipes for either food or cosmetic products, or garment patterns. these are my sole property and i reserve all rights to them. feel free to copy for personal use, but if you post them elsewhere please let me know.
the same goes if i post images of my artwork. please be respectful of the time and effort that i have put into my creative endeavors, and don't reproduce without my consent.
bottom line: i'm more than happy to share, but won't be stolen from. cool?

i really enjoy differing opinions, so long as they are respectful. if you comment, i welcome your disagreement with my views but will not tollerate personal attacks. for that matter, if you can't rationally back up what you say, whether to agree or disagree with me, i'll probably delete it. i'm a big fan of logic, and thinking before one speaks/posts. if you feel that i am being personally offensive, please respectfully let me know and i will fix my offense.

i write for myself, first and foremost. i write because it is how i process my thoughts. this blog has no goal or intended audience. there are simply more thoughts than will comfortably fit inside my head, and i need a place to put them. you're free to read my thoughts, but they will always be mine and meant mostly for me. i hope that i think things which are interesting or provocative, but interesting or provoking a reader is not my goal.

my blog is named after a book by ernest hemingway. i highly recomend it. it is his memoirs of his life in paris with the great expatriate minds of the 20's.