Monthly Archives: December 2014

Last Trip to Lansing

September 30, 2014

If only…  But it is the last trip for a good long while.  (Or at least it should be.)  Courtney is far enough along in her pregnancy, that we won’t be having DD planning meetings in East Lansing.  And by the time she goes on leave, I’ll be far enough along that I won’t be traveling to East Lansing for the meetings either (again, requiring them to be held here in Kalamazoo).

And today?  Today I had to go to East Lansing to sit the CCMEP exam.  That’s Certified CME Professional for those of you not in the know.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know that’s most of you.

I have been studying for this exam for months.  And stressing about it for weeks.  And I am so relieved to finally have it over and done with.  For good.

Yes, I passed.

No, I can’t tell you my score.  It’s pass/fail.  All I know is that I passed.  And since they have a maintenance of certification process, I should never have to sit for this exam again.

Like I said.  I’m relieved.  I’m relieved that I don’t have to keep studying.  I’m relieved that I must have studied the right things.  (This certification organization offers very little guidance on what to study, and the guidance they do offer is 6 years out of date.  And, honestly, I think the exam was even more out of date.  But it doesn’t matter now because I passed.)  I’m relieved that I don’t have to drive across state for a few hours again.

And I really want to thank my mommy for driving today.  It worked out quite nicely.  She dropped me off, went to see one of her former students, and then headed back my way, stopping at someplace with free parking until I texted that I was done with the exam.  So I didn’t have to drive nor did we have to worry about finding a place to park on or near campus.

And now I’m home.  And I’m hoping my brain will be able to settle better at night.  I could use more than one good night’s sleep in a row.

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Made it to Friday!

September 26, 2014

I don’t know what it is about this September.  The weeks have seemed interminable, and yet I’m still trying to figure out where the month has gone.  How is it almost October?

I am definitely glad that it’s Friday.

  1. I’ve cast on a pair of fingerless mitts for Sheri, and I’m having great fun working on them.  The pair she needs to replace are striped in random colors, so I’m using leftover sock yarn and a random number generator to tell me how many rounds of each ball I should knit.  (At which point, said ball is passed along to my mom to be knit into baby socks for military baby showers.  I have short feet; I usually have a lot of yarn left when I finish a pair of socks.)
  2. I can count the number of days until my CCMEP exam on one hand.  And while, yes, this is stressful because it’s bloody expensive so I really have to pass on the first try, I’m really looking forward to getting it over and done with.
  3. I finally found what a passing score is for the CCMEP exam.  I need to get at least a 600.  Possible scores range from 200 to 1000.  I think I’m going to be okay.
  4. Today was the last time I need to drive to East Lansing for a DD Conference planning meeting.  I really will miss the people, but I won’t miss the travel.
  5. Linda Holmes has done it again, this time with a study of the YA fiction that is the music of the Shangri-las.
  6. I love it when Kathy Gunst is on Here & Now.  I was especially geeked when she came on this week to talk about winter squash.  I love winter squash.  And she had some lovely sounding recipes to share.  It did, however, take a bit of a turn when she started describing butternut squash.  Sure, you could just read the page I’ve linked to, but you’ll enjoy it much more if you listen to the interview.
  7. And finally, saw this on Facebook, and the ballet dancer in me loved it.  Not only are they good dancers with good technique, but they have an excellent sense of humor.  Enjoy!

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Monday Randomness

September 22, 2014

In Tech News:  I upgraded both my phone and my iPad to iOS8 today.  It seems to have gone fairly smoothly.  Now to grow accustomed to the quirks of a new operating system…

In Personal Finance News:  You may recall that I paid off my car loan.  Over a year ago.  And since this is the first time I’ve ever actually owned my car, I’d emailed the credit union to find out what happens next.  I was supposed to get something in the mail within 30 days.  You know.  A year ago.  But you also know what else happened a year ago, so the fact that I never received anything from the credit union kind of fell from my mind.  Anyway, I had an FSA check to deposit, so I’d stopped by to take care of that on my way home today.  And as I was walking out, I suddenly thought, “Wait!  You’re in the place where they handle loans!  You should ask about your car!”  I did, and I now officially have a loan termination letter to attach to the title to show that my car is, indeed, mine.  Woohoo!

In Work (ish) News:  The med school has finally had all of its official grand openings.  (Yes, this past week.  Yes, students started a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, the ribbon cutting was back in July.  Don’t ask me.  I just work there.)  There was a public open house on Saturday so that the community could see the inside of this new med school building.  Since we have no clue if there will ever be another one (if I were in charge, this would be an annual thing, but I’m not, so who knows?), my parents definitely wanted to go.  All of the people with big titles were greeting visitors near the entrance.  And, well, we’ll just say they definitely know I’m pregnant now.  And no, I didn’t say anything.  But I’m 17 weeks and look it.  You know the stereotype of “hey, my eyes are up here”?  Well, one of the associate deans (who used to work on my floor before his office was moved to the new building) was reaching out to shake my hand, looked down at the bump, and immediately looked up at my face and just smiled and said something about how long it’s been since he’s seen me.  But there was that brief hesitation that made me, my parents, and my aunt laugh when we talked about it later.

In TV News:  I binge-watched the last 8 hours of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History yesterday.  Unfortunately, it won’t be available online by the time this post goes live, so you’ll have to find it on some paid streaming service or (hopefully) at your local library.  It is probably one of Ken Burns’s best documentaries.  I really enjoyed it.  I’m not positive I managed to stay awake for all of it.  It seems to me that the March of Dimes should have been mentioned, and I don’t remember the phrase even coming up.  But maybe it wasn’t.  (I also don’t remember falling asleep…)  I have to say that I’d admired Eleanor Roosevelt before watching this.  Now I can identify with her.  I remember watching Burns’s Civil War in 7th grade history.  I hope teachers are able to incorporate at least parts of this series into their classes, too.  It truly is an excellent triple biography.

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A Pretty Good Week

September 19, 2014

It’s not surprising, but I’ll say it anyway.  This week was definitely better than last week.  Sure, last week had a midwife appointment, but it also was the anniversary of Sofia’s birth and death, so all-in-all, it was pretty rough.  This week, though, has been pretty good.

  1. The post about me actually being pregnant has gone up.  So I’m now Facebook public.  (Before it was no longer a secret, but I also wasn’t really saying anything about it.)
  2. We had Family Dinner last night.  It was great fun, and we were in fine form.  Geoff and Bethany and their two girls were up from Texas, and we’ll use any excuse to get together.
  3. This is a pretty interesting discussion of why we see stars in the shape that we do, when we really know that they’re spheres.  You know, “a mass of incandescent gas”.  Or a “miasma of incandescent plasma”.  (Thanks, They Might Be Giants!)  Sure, you could just read Krulwich’s post, but I highly recommend watching the video he includes.  Yay, science!
  4. And speaking of Robert Krulwich’s “Krulwich Wonders” blog…  Do yourself a favor and watch the video included in this post.  Especially if you have a colicky infant.  But maybe not with them anywhere nearby…
  5. Oh, yeah, and then there was this…
Bethany, Me, & Laura sporting our bumps

Bethany, Me, & Laura sporting our bumps

Yep, three of the cousins are pregnant.  Laura and I are due the same week.  Bethany’s due a month later.  (The note on Laura’s belly says “Announcement”.)

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They’re Ba-ack

September 17, 2014

I had to get my Mastec bras out yesterday. Okay, so Madge and Dorcas hadn’t really gone anywhere. They were just relatively smaller. Not anymore. They are quite happy to hang out in an H cup again.

Fingers crossed that they stay happy in these bras! I’m not sure Mastec still sells them. When I bought these, the woman who assisted me said there was discussion of reducing their stock just to mastectomy-related products. That means the only local source of large cup sizes is gone. I told her that I was sorry to hear that, and she planned to make sure her boss knew. But I’m not sure there were enough of us who knew about their existence to make it worth their while.

And there we are. Looking pregnant both in belly and in boob. With a wardrobe that finally fits.

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The Year in Review

September 14, 2014

Yesterday wasn’t so bad.  I had a much harder time on Friday.  Which, if you think about it, makes sense.  Friday was the anniversary of the last day of hope, a day I couldn’t help but feel the loss more keenly.  Yesterday was just the day that would have been my daughter’s birthday.

My mom told me that she and my dad were happy to do whatever I thought seemed right.  I said that nothing really did.  And she said that then we would do nothing.  We just had a fairly normal day.  We went to the market.  (And bought beautiful local apples.  Tried two new-to-us varieties: Buckeye Galas and Royal Galas.  Both very good.)  I did my laundry.  And my mom and I made a very necessary clothes-shopping trip.  The weather has turned.  And while I have plenty of summer clothes, my winter wardrobe was lacking.  I had nothing to wear on the weekends, not enough long-sleeve shirts for work, and had been squeezing my belly into that staple of my wardrobe, my hoodies.  I now have two three-piece lounge/pajama sets, enough long-sleeve shirts that wearing one on the weekend won’t mean I’ll run out of clothes to wear to work during the week, and three new hoodies.  One is lightweight, one is velour, and the third is a super warm fleece that I’m hoping will last until the next polar vortex hits.  (I plan to layer it with a large thick shawl I knit to keep me warm at home in the winter.)

And after lunch back at my parents’ house, I came home.  And since I really didn’t sleep the night before, I crashed.  At around 6:30, I realized that I was no longer watching an episode of Suits.  I was, in fact, merely listening to it.  And I also realized that I would fail a listening comprehension quiz about that episode.  (Watched the next episode this morning.  Sure enough, there were some things that happened in the episode I was listening to last night that I didn’t remember.)  So I went to bed.  And I slept incredibly well for about four hours.  I haven’t slept four solid hours in well over a week.  I didn’t sleep as well the rest of the night, but I’m sure I wound up with at least 6 hours total, probably closer to 8.  Needless to say, I feel much more awake today.

So, yes, it’s been a year now.  And the scabs are mostly healed.  The scars will never go away, but I do feel like I’ve reached the stage that the wounds aren’t so raw, so easily torn back open.  In the past year I lost my daughter and broke up with my best friend.  (Of course, in hindsight, I was always a better friend to her than she ever was to me, so she probably never deserved that status; otherwise, we would still be friends.)

And I’ve been thinking a lot about what I was going to write once I reached this point.  Seriously.  I’ve been mentally composing this post for months now.  I’d like to leave you with some tidbits I’ve learned over the past year.  Let’s call it “Say This, Not That”.

Don’t Say:  There will always be other children.

Seriously, someone said that to me.  Someone who worked at the funeral home (although not the funeral director I worked with).  I don’t have a replacement for that.  Just don’t say it.  Because, of course, you never know what struggles may have gone into having a child.

Don’t Say:  You know… followed by your religious beliefs about heaven or angels or reincarnation.

Instead Say:  I believe… followed by your religious beliefs about heaven or angels or reincarnation.

Just because you have a particular faith doesn’t mean the grieving party shares your beliefs.  You may know something, but don’t project that as a universal truth.  For me, I don’t mind if you say you’re praying for me.  I may not share your beliefs, but positive thoughts are positive thoughts.  I do know that some people are more touchy on that statement than I am, so use at your own discretion.

Don’t Say:  You must be so sad because today is X.

Instead Say:  I’m thinking of you today.

Period.  You don’t have to explain why.  You may think that if it were you, Day X or Day Y would be particularly rough days.  And maybe, for you, they would be.  Just don’t project.  (I’m particularly proud of how my friends respected this yesterday.  Lots of love and thoughts but no projecting how they thought  I was feeling.  And I love all of you for it!)  Alternative statements would be “light and love”, “*hugs*”, and the ever simple “<3”.

Whatever you may do, DO check that you’re spelling my daughter’s name correctly.  There’s nothing quite so grating as a friend sending their best wishes and then seeing that Sofia has been spelled with a PH.  I appreciate the sentiment, but it’s not her name.  And I try to blame autocorrect.  So double-check before you hit “send” or “post”.

Don’t Say:  ….

Instead Say:  I don’t know what to say.

You can never go wrong with that.  It’s a statement that says “I’m here, I’m thinking of you, and I can’t express it.”  The one thing that will never be wrong is to simply state that you’re at a loss for words.  And, trust me, it’s better than saying nothing.

Here’s hoping the next twelve months are met with happiness and the healthy birth of Sofia’s little sister or brother.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Not So Happy

September 12, 2014

Today has been, quite frankly, rough.  I expected as much.  A year ago today, my daughter was still alive.  A year ago today, I went into labor.  A year ago today was filled with joyous anticipation that would all too soon be dashed.  I spent most of the morning crying.  Not sobbing.  Just crying.  No wailing.  Just tears.  Maybe this will make it so that I sleep better tonight.  I’m not counting on it, but it would be nice.  The past few nights I’ve spent mostly awake but too tired to open my eyes.  Hopefully tonight won’t be another like that.  We’ll see how it goes.

There are a few things, though, that have made me smile.

  1. Courtney brought me chocolate cake this morning.  And then she went back to whoever had brought it in and brought me more chocolate cake this afternoon.  Chocolate is the cure for dementors, after all.
  2. I looked up self-care for pubic symphysis diastasis.  It’s been particularly sore this pregnancy.  One of the recommendations was a “rice sock”.  Now, why would I make a rice sock when I have perfectly good rice bags already made?  I’m currently sitting with on of them between my legs, and the heat most definitely seems to be helping.  Thanks, Internets!
  3. Someone remade the DuckTales theme song using real ducks.  Because they could.
  4. I follow multiple NPR journalists on Facebook.  Not one, but two of their foreign correspondents shared the link to this story about a Dutch student who faked a trip to Asia.  Deborah Amos commented that NPR could save so much money if they followed suit.  Frank Langfitt insisted that he’s been faking his foreign travels for years.
  5. Oh, and when I start crying uncontrollably, there’s that little part of my brain (you know the part that narrates your life?) that can’t help but think “The tears are running down her ears.”  Thanks, Spike Jones.  If you don’t get the reference, do yourself a favor and follow the link.  Yes, it’s almost 13 minutes long, but trust me, it’s worth it.  (Yes, in looking up a link for it, I’ve left it playing so that I can enjoy the entire piece.)

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