Wednesday, May 30, 2007

a new niece

We have a new niece - Hannah. I haven't seen pictures yet, but I already feel connected. Hannah is the brand new baby girl of my much beloved sis-in-law, Sue (my husband's sister). Sue is one of my favorite people on the planet, so in a real sense, what makes her happy makes me happy.

She is also one brave, brave woman. Sue is my age (we are actually 20 days apart in age). She has a husband, a five year old son, a dog, and now, a newborn baby. I cannot even contemplate being a new mom at 44. And being a working mom (a professor and researcher, no less!) on top of it, it takes a level of commitment I guess I just don't have. But I intend to admire it from a distance, and be incredibly proud of Sue and her family as they start their newest adventure.

I can't wait to meet the new addition. Welcome to the family, Hannah!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

the dark ages

Today is my day to attend to women's health care, specifically my own. I swear we are still living in the dark ages when it comes to testing and women. I had a mammogram today, my first in 3 years. Yes, I know I am supposed to have one a year now. Yes, I know the best defense is a good offense. But damn, it hurts! No woman invented this, I swear. To have my boobs pressed between two metal plates and then SQUISHED, just plain hurts. And I know there are plenty of other ways to get the same results or better. CT Scanning, even MRI can be done, but the cost is too high for these to be recommended procedures. So, millions of women go through a brief, but rather brutal process once a year.

In an hour, I am back to the doctor. This time for a pelvic exam and pap smear. There has to be a better way... I wouldn't go at all, but my health insurance refuses to refill my birth control pills unless I go have this done. Something about it being a few years since my last appointment. Time flies, you know. I mean to go in regularly I really do. Somehow I just convince myself it hasn't really been that long since it was done. Maybe we should collectively contribute to a medical scholarship for someone to come up with better, more humane testing for women. I shouldn't have to feel battered and bruised by my preventive healthcare, and neither should you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

odd experience

Yesterday I went to the grocery store after work. Normally I go on the weekends, very early in the morning. By normally, I mean each and every single week. I am a creature of habit, and breaks in my routine really mess me up.

So I went to the market on the way home from work. And we (my son and I) shopped in a very crowded store. And we stood in line. And we got 2/3rds of the way through checkout when I reached into my wallet for my store card and debit card.

And FOUND NOTHING!!! no debit card, no credit card, no store card. Nada. I ran out to the car and searched my back-pack. Nothing. My heart started racing. I was really really freaked out. I went back in and asked if they would take a check. Yes - I was saved the mortal embarassment of having to leave a very full cart of groceries at the register.

I wrote my check. The nice man checked my drivers license and ran my check. Then said it was rejected. So the customer service manager had to come over. The line behind me was really long, and really disgruntled. I was totally embarassed. The man said he would go ahead and take my check. It turned out, that because I had never written a check at that store before, I had a $100 limit, which I exceeded.

Everything turned out okay. We got our groceries, we were only slightly humiliated. But the odd, panicked, dislocated feeling was so intense. Had I become that reliant on electronic payment? What would I do without a bank card? I am so used to not even thinking about cash. I have a bank card. I have credit. So I am good in all situations. Except this one.

I found all my cards when I got home. They had fallen out of my wallet during a purse switch. So I can go back to my all-electronic ways...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

thank god I don't write for a living

Thank god I don't write for a living -- I'd STARVE. My blogging has become a truly sporadic thing, as real life intervenes.

To catch up:

I finished my Ethics class, with an A. I learned a lot, worked fairly hard, and am generally pleased with the whole experience.

My parents are still going through the initial stages of a divorce. My 68 year old father has moved in with his 46 year old girlfriend. Oddly, she is the well-off successful one, in a flip of the usual scenario. Go figure.

Mom is struggling with the prospect of suddenly becoming an adult, at age 75. I opened her her very first bank account this week. She will have to pay bills, submit her taxes, handle maintenance on the car and house. She will have to decide what to eat and when, who to see or not see. She has NEVER done any of these things, so she has a tough road ahead.

I got a 4% raise, very large by Hopkins standards. However, our son's tuition went up by 6.5%, healthcare went up by 2%, and I now have to pay the full ride for parking at work ($110 a month to park in a HOPKINS garage). So it's a pyrrhic raise --flattering, but useless in the large scheme of things. Still, I am happy to get it.

The husband is doing well, as is the son. I love both of them very much, and I APPRECIATE them even more, as I navigate the mess in my "birth family". More and more I think you get two families, your birth family, and the family you create as you grow, made up of the people you choose to love. I am truly rich in the second category -- my choice family is wonderful.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

thanks, gang!

I am really touched by the number of good wishes, e-hugs, and just plain caring in response to my last post. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have such wonderful people as you in my life.

Thanks for everything!!!