Friday, October 28, 2011

For Your Amusement

As I promised here, a picture of my newly blue hair. For the record, I was attempting not to squint, not trying out my new Clint Eastwood look. Now giggle quietly to yourself.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mission Accomplished!!

You may recall my previous post where I discussed my detailed plan to dye my hair blue. Well, I did it. Hair = blue.

I am smug in my badassery. Behold! My head, it is a primary color! (insert swelling, theatrical music here)

Actually, you can't behold, because I need to charge my camera in order to take a picture. know...I got stuff to do. But, in order to accomplished my previously detailed plan, which included sending pictures of my blue hair to my parents (see Step 5), I will have to get on that. So, I promise to post a picture of my ridiculous self and my awesome blue hair soon. Maybe even today. Maybe.

Along a similar thread, I have not yet left the house with my blue hair. I'm going to have to do that. 'Tis scary.

Finally, I did follow through with all steps of previously detailed and aforementioned plan, including my appointment with my new OB. Yes, I have decided to keep him. (What can I say? He followed me home.*) He gave me the all clear; R and I are free to conceive our first child...when we get around to it, in a couple months...after I have gotten to go snowboarding. **

*I joke. He was great and answered lots of questions, but did not have the time available to follow me home.

**I've been living in Ohio for years and years (where there are NO mountains and very little snow) and I want to go snowboarding before I get all bloated and pukey. Also, I want to end my third trimester in cooler weather if at all possible. Is my freakish level of planning and need for control showing?

So, wait breathlessly until I return with pictures. Or leave me virtual tisk tisk's for dyeing my hair. Or post pictures of YOUR outrageous hair. Or check back later to what other silly things I've been up to. Or don't. Them be your options.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Not Getting Stuff Helped Me Have More

I see a lot of children today with what, in my humble opinion, is a lot of stuff. Expensive stuff like game systems, designer clothes, phones, and computers. Now, I don't have kids, and so I probably don't know what is normal these days. I understand that peer pressure - what other parents are getting their kids - carries a lot of weight. BUT, I frequently find myself shocked and appalled by what I see in the hands of children these days. Why does a first grader need a phone?? Not only does that strike me as ridiculously lavish but also dangerous (how closely can you monitor who your young child is talking to if they have a phone of their own?).

Let me share my father's strategy toward material possessions, as I believe it has had one of the most positive impacts on my life. First of all, growing up, I rarely asked for things. I learned early on that toys, games, candy, etc. were special and rare treats that would be given to me when an adult wanted to be extra nice. Asking could actually decrease the chances of getting something. Good behavior, such as going to a store and being quiet, patient, and keeping my hands off of stuff, was more likely to lead to a happy surprise.

Second, and this is the primary parental strategy that I'd like to share, after 13 years of age, I had to buy what I wanted with my own money. That I earned. From working.

Basically, the rules were outlined like this: if you want something special, get it for yourself. The family shampoo is Brand X. You want special shampoo? Buy it then. We'll pay X amount for pants. You want more expensive pants? You pay the difference.

Of course, at the time I thought this was grossly unfair and bordering on neglect (I was 13 after all). I wasn't even old enough to get a real job. Also, I lived in a teeny tiny town where work options were limited. But, my dad held firm, and I wanted better stuff, so I soon found a number of babysitting jobs to earn extra money. (Interesting side note: my little brother started earning money at the same age by picking up golf balls at the golf course and painting lockers in the summer at his high school.)

Importantly, I was in a lot of extra curriculars as a teen. That restricted the hours I had available to work, which ultimately forced me to prioritize my time. Also, it meant I really had to save up. I earned most of my money in the summer (babysitting gave way to nannying as I got older) and I learned to hoard my money. I also learned, at an early age, to weigh the pros and cons of a purchase against depleting my meager savings or giving up one of my preciously few open weekend nights to babysit.

The older I got, the larger my contributions were expected to be. For instance, I could have driven the family vehicle* but I would have had to pay for my part of the insurance. I was never given a car of my own. At age 18, my parents co-signed a loan for me. I even paid for my own college, and that was a big motivator to get scholarships! No freebees.

*It was a minivan. There was little desire and even less motivation to work for the privilege of puttering around town in that beast.

Sometimes I think my parents were a bit too tough. an adult, I have impeccable credit. I was 22 when I bought my first house. R and I own our vehicles outright; we have a 2000 Subaru, which we paid off before we bought aforementioned house, and have decided it's not worth another car payment just to get a newer vehicle.

Let me share a much-abbreviated comparison: a good friend of mine got whatever she wanted as a child. As an adult, she has an advanced degree. She owes over $100,000 in student loans. She has a nice car and a huge payment she can barely make. She has great clothes and tons of credit card debt. I doubt she will ever own a home, her credit it awful. I realize that this is a sampling of one person's experiences, but I maintain that you can find many other examples.

Though I think that we will probably give our future children more than my parents gave me, I will definitely insist that we employ a similar strategy. I strongly feel like it helped mold me into a better prepared adult.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Feeling Blue

Okay, bear with me on this one. I am planning on dyeing my hair. Blue.

What the what?! Did you just roll your eyes?! I'm pretty sure you did.

I totally get it. Why would an adult dye their hair blue? In fact, you could very well stretch that line of reasoning out to why would anyone dye their hair blue?

Well, because. Because I work at home and no one from my work will ever see me and thus, my professionalism will remain intact. (Unless the blue dye does something to my brain and my ability to type emails. I guess that could happen. But I'll risk it.) Because I don't really know anyone in this new town yet and I'm mostly okay being judged by people I don't know. Because my hair is super short and will grow out in a few months. And the real reason: because I have never done anything outrageous like this before, I can now (see aforementioned becauses), and I want to do this before I have kids and am all grown up and stuff.

Also, I sprayed my hair blue once for Halloween, and wore a blue wig on another Halloween, and I actually looked really good with blue hair. And, my husband is salivating over this idea. Seriously, he won't stop mentioning it. I'm pretending not to notice.

Here's the plan:
1) BEFORE dying my hair, meet my future OB for an interview and pre-conception check up. I have already scheduled the appointment!  Squee!!
After spending a lot of time looking up the facts/bios/on-line ratings of the OBs my insurance will accept, and then talking to a couple girlfriends who reminded me that I'm not locked in for life if I don't like a particular doctor, I have (probably) chosen my OB. Of course, he will have to pass The Test. As in, "reassure me your not one of those knife wielding weirdos who wants to push the c-section/episiotomy envelope," and you know, that he listens and shit. I've researched his educational and work background but Idaho doesn't seem to track or make public surgical procedure rates by doctor. So I have to ask. Because I will be so seriously pissed off if I have to suffer through major surgery without a damn good reason!
Anywho, I don't want the OB's initial impression of me to be tainted by blue hair.
2) Order dye. Haha. I has tricked you, because I has already done this! (Yes, I researched this too and have found the exactly right dye...I hope.) It will actually be arriving next week. Too bad I couldn't get an earlier OB appointment, because I will now have to resist the dye for approximately 1 week. And my husband, who, I'm guessing, will have a harder time with this delay.
3) Drum roll please...dye hair. Holy shit. This is going to be scary!!
4) Stare into mirror obsessively.
5) Take a gazillion pictures and email them to my parents. I have already told them (Jokingly) that I might just do something crazy like dye my hair blue if I didn't have to worry about finding a job when we moved here. And, since I got to keep my job...well, 'nough said. I'm sure they are going to be so proud.

Here are the anticipated consequences: everyone is going to think I am a teenager, everyone already thinks I'm way younger than I am and this won't help get me served alcohol I am sure; deal with the 1,000 nasty things my mother will have to say about this; awkward encounters with the few people I do know here; SUPER awkward encounters with my conservative in-laws at Christmas. I think I can live with that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I like (and maybe don't like) my work

In case you do not obsessively read all my bloggy posts (and if you do, my condolences, and also Go Get Yourself A Hobby, sheesh!), I am a social psychologist and research associate. I'll now hold my breath in anticipation of blank stares. It's okay. No one knows what I do. Sometimes my boss does not know what I do. Just that it's all researchy and stuff.

So, briefly (I swear), here's a synopsis of what I do to earn my $: I research, write about, and analyze topics (mostly) related to public health. Also, I write grants.

**What I really do, in geek-eeze: I use qualitative and quantitative techniques to determine meaningful data trends and identify reasonable organizational changes based on these findings and the relevant literature. Also, I write grants.**

Now that absolutely no one is paying attention anymore, let me get to my point. One of the projects I am currently working on is to determine ways to increase breastfeeding in rural Appalachia. Part of this project requires me to do an extensive literature review on breastfeeding. Now, this is pretty cool (the favorite part of my job is learning about different topics, because I <3 nerdy things) and very timely, as I plan on breastfeeding the future offspring I hope to soon conceive. However, it is also very not cool. Not cool because I keep having to read about damaged nipples!
Nipple trauma, nipple lacerations, and nipple damage, OH MY! Also, other words that keep popping up: engorgement, infection, swelling, biting, and pain.

For some reason, this is throwing a shadow over my rosy future-mommy glow. For the life of me, I can't think why. 

The bright side is that I have learned a lot about how to increase the likelihood of successful breastfeeding. And I got paid to learn about it! (insert happy dance here). This is really great and helps fill in my knowledge gaps. Though I have seen both relatives and friends breastfeed, I never really thought to ask them procedural details. Now I know AND avoided lots of awkward conversations. Huzzah.

Also, this is infinitely better than learning about the early warning signs of diabetes (my bladder is the size of a doll's tea cup and every time I read "frequent urination" I hyperventilated a tiny bit), or the likelihood of developing some sort of cancer. So, yay for personally-relevant, non-life threatening topics!

That said, I am now going back to data coding...which is definitely a part of my job that I could do without. Seriously, it is just as exciting as it sounds. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Community Garden

R and I volunteered at the Community Garden this past weekend. We helped clean up and started "putting the garden to bed for winter." This largely involved ripping everything out of the raised beds and a lot of raking.

It was enjoyable. Working with your hands on a beautiful autumn morning is amazingly refreshing. But it was also hard, not the manual labor but because we had to rip up plants that were still alive. Mainly sunflowers. I LOVE me some sunflower, and I was all Oh NO! But it had to be done. Soon the frost will come and the plants will die anyway.

So, under the judgmental stares of many little birds, we tore up all the sunflowers and nasturtiums. We raked up the remaining vines, now mostly withered, and piled up the remaining carrots.

Oh, and I smuggled a lot of sunflower blossoms home with me. They are sitting in a ceramic cup on the rattan truck to my right at this very moment.  I also gave one to a four year old girl next door. She smiled and thanked me, and then proceeded to rip off all the petals. Oh well. I guess we each appreciate beauty in our own way.

Anyway, it was really nice to connect with some people from the community. I'm thrilled that we are finally in a place we plan on staying long term. Volunteer efforts at our previous location were sparse. Partly because we were leaving and I didn't want people to come to rely on me (cause I'm obviously irreplaceable and they would weep at my departure) and partly because ehh. It just didn't seem as meaningful when all my hopes and dreams revolved around leaving said community.

We may or may not be volunteering this weekend. Either way, I have plans to do so next spring. These people don't know it yet, but they will be teaching me how to keep plants alive. Poor people.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In which I go a' ramblin'

A blog in which I don't know what to talk about. Which is part of the reason that I haven't posted anything in so long. And I was really busy with work. And also, the family of which I dare not speak. That makes it sound more ominous and, honestly, more interesting than it actually is. So, a brief synopsis (cause I know y'all are just dying to know*): my parents split up and divorced this past year(ish). Which is sad, and weird (you know because I'm 30, and I was one of the few people my age whose parents were still together), and frustrating, etc. etc.

*That was sarcasm. And P.S., this is the first, and hopefully only, time I use y'all. Not being southern, I feel like a fraud using it, but the northwest simply doesn't have any homey idioms that I can toss out.

So, anyway, stuff and things not related to divorce. Hmmmm. Well, gmail keeps asking for my phone number. I am greatly annoyed by this, since I use their service for free and then they want something from me to supposedly increase the usefulness of their free product. The nerve. I hope they are ashamed of themselves.

In other news, I have been reading about pregnancy and things related to pregnancy, since the calendar is creeping closer and closer to The Baby Making time. Which is also weird (the baby making thing, not time creeping forward; I've gotten used to that one). I have spent so much time trying NOT to get pregnant, that the idea of doing it intentionally still rocks my little world.

Tangentially related to that, I have finally gotten off my lazy rump and started really exercising again. I am pretty active in the summer - hiking, swimming, and so on - but that activity is usually paired with regular exercise at home. Not so much this year. I think that part of it concerns our impending attempts at The Baby Making. Because, who cares if my thighs are a little more plump than usual? I'm planning on throwing in the towel on looking hot, cause I'm going to be the size and shape of a big ol' pumpkin. However, I have firmly removed my head from between my plumping butt cheeks and started getting back on the elliptical, if only so I can be in really good shape before being pregnant. This is, of course, so the baby will be healthy, I won't be on bed rest**, and the real reason: maybe it will then be easier for me to loose the bloated pumpkin after the arrival of aforementioned baby.

**Bed rest!! AHHHH! I would lose my mind and I swear, I will take as many people with me as possible.

Okay, well, rambling accomplished. I feel like I have successfully blogged about nothing, which should not surprise you in anyway. I mean, c'mon, I did warn you right up front. That's right, go back and read the beginning. You were warned.