Friday, December 28, 2007

Teh Cranky

Dang, it's been a while. I have much to say, but still need time to percolate. Henceforth I share much crankiness. I am at work today, and many of these are work related.

  • can we make it a rule that if you spell the name of the product incorrectly in your Paypal order that we don't have to ship it to you?
  • is it really necessary to call back after you've placed the order with me to confirm the price, which you've just admitted you confirmed on our website? I mean, really?
  • is there a reason why SUV and pickup drivers slow to near tortoise-ean speeds when approaching a speed bump or railroad crossing?
  • will my father one day learn that it is important to share details with his employees so that they don't sound like bumbling idiots on the phone when people have questions?
  • will I stop being a procrastinator and become a do-er?

Sigh, quittin' time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Now I Know I can do anything

For the first time ever, I successfully made a batch of my grandmother's English Toffee recipe.

I'll be back later with a post which will include the word lice and fun in the same sentence! Doesn't that pique your interest?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Seeing the Details and the Big Picture

Melba posted about creative dreams and realizing that she is a big picture person a little while back. I chuckled when I read this because I'd just recently been noticing that I love details.

When I collect shells, I go for the teeny tiny ones. I love taking pictures of lichen and fungus. I've always loved the parts of Harriet the Spy where Harriet and Sport played town amongst the roots of the big tree outside of her house. I do a great job thinking of themes for my kids' birthday parties- food, games, treat bags. I'm not so great at actually carrying out the party; luckily Erik is good at that part.

It strikes me that being a detail person is what gets me so hung up sometimes. I forget to pull back and look at the whole picture.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lost in the Mazes of my Mind

There have been lots of words flying around inside my head this past week; I thought of starting a post often. But the thoughts and feelings felt too ugly, confusing, overwhelming. Why the ups and downs? Can't I have a happy period that lasts more than a month? Why do bad days stick to me-why can't I toss them off and move on? Why am I so stupid, lame, lazy, a bad mother, bad wife, bad housekeeper? And on, and on.

BipolarLawyerCook's post on Real Mental this morning really rings a bell for me. She wonders why she waits until she's running on empty before taking time for the things that she knows help bring emotional well-being and mental balance. Just yesterday I realized that I am sort of like an addict, who thinks she can have one drink, one hit- I think I can stay up late just one night. Then it is a whole week of late nights. Then no exercise, no calm mornings, no weight watchers and by the end of the week, you have one girl in a serious mess which takes all weekend to recover from.

It didn't help that this weekend was super busy. Chanukah service on Friday night in which the kids were singing, lighting candles, etc. Home at 10:30 pm. At school on Saturday am at 7:45 for Kindergarten holiday concert. Breakfast with Santa right after. Third grade concert at 9:30 (all of this was at school). Come home, collapse, don't sleep or accomplish a thing. Maya to birthday party. Sam and friend at house playing legos. Chanukah party at temple at 5 pm. I was beside myself in the car, and knew enough to take a xanax on the way there. I forgot everything: menorah for group lighting, side dish, canned goods and toy for donation. I did bring gifts for the religious school teachers, but had to stop at CVS on the way for tape; I did bring the scissors and wrapping paper. When we got there I felt utterly anti-social. Erik was upset about the things I didn't take care of all afternoon (he was at the party with Maya). Eventually I started feeling better and had a nice time with my friends and my family. Sunday morning we were out of the house again for religious school. In the afternoon I started the gobs and gobs of laundry piled everywhere.

So today I decided to stay home, and not judge myself for needing a day to right myself. I exercised, I'm doing more laundry. I'm sort of stalled now, I've been writing this post for a few hours. In my vision of today I'm flitting about the house, cleaning, decluttering, and making our house into the home I yearn for. I don't think I've gone into loads of details here about this, but a tremendous trigger for me is the clutter in my home. My husband is a pack-rat. Sometimes I truly feel on the edge looking around at all of the piles. It is like a tidal wave, knocking me over, too big to fight against. We've recently had some really good conversations about this (does me crying hysterically and him listening count as a conversation?)--he apologized for the last ten years (I've been asking him to declutter for that long) and for not truly understanding how his reluctance to throw stuff away affects my mental health.

The going is slow, of course. And nothing much can get done when you're scheduled to the hilt. Even with available time, it is hard to make a big difference. I feel like I don't have the perseverance and discipline needed for this. I get down about it so easily- I mean, we've been 'trying' the same thing for years and years. Duh. Of course it isn't going to get better.

Sigh. I have no idea where I'm going with this. Like I said, the thoughts are all jumbled up in here. Bless you if you've read this far.

In an hour I'm due at Sam's classroom to read a story and teach them about Chanukah. I'm still wearing my exercise clothing. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes. The laundry baskets are full of clean, unfolded clothing. And I'm still wandering the mazes in my mind, and wishing I had Ariadne to toss me a ball of string.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Best Gift I purchased for Myself this Chanukah

The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snickett

It's just perfect. I can't explain it without reading it to you, and that's kind of impossible. If you see it in a bookstore, stop and read. It's only about 35 pages. It is just brilliant.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Breaking the news to Grandma and Grandpa

Conversation between Maya and my in-laws (who are not Jewish) at Busch Gardens this weekend:

Maya: Grandpa, do you believe in Santa?

Grandpa: Oh yes!

Maya: Well, I don't. I mean, how could he be real, of course he's pretend.

Grandpa: silence

Repeat with Grandma inserted for Grandpa, and you have that convo as well.

I didn't catch their faces after this discussion, but I do wonder what they thought of it. They have three children, each with children of their own. My kids are the only ones being raised with a faith tradition. As church goers themselves, I think they are happy that my children have a religion and that which religion they have is not an issue. It was just hilarious that they answered Yes! so heartily when she asked them as they surely assumed she also believed in Santa.

I did tell my son that Santa was pretend around the same age, but hadn't gotten around to telling Maya yet. She came to this conclusion on her own. I do propagate the idea of the Tooth Fairy, I'm not opposed to imaginary folks at all. I just know how much SANTA is out there, including in books read daily at Kindergarten, that I just wanted them to know that Santa is a part of someone else's tradition.

For the curious, we take part in Christmas stuff at my in-law's home, and do hang a few ornaments around our own house. When Erik and I were first living together/married we did have a little tree. I love to bake, and there have been many years that I've made a buche de noel for dessert at my il's home. I love all of the craftinesss and foods of Christmas, and I (we) enjoy taking part with Erik's family.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


WABA World AIDS Day Statement
Press Release
1 December 2007
A decade of uncertainty has fuelled an agonizing dilemma about the least risky way to feed HIV-exposed babies. Research presented in 2007 finally points conclusively to the need for renewed protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

The Final Report of the 2006 World Health Organization HIV and Infant Feeding Technical Consultation1 provides welcome revised recommendations. New evidence clarifies that the most appropriate infant feeding option should continue to depend on a mother’s individual circumstances, her health status and the local situation, but should take greater consideration of available health services. HIV-positive mothers should breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first 6 months of life, and continue partially breastfeeding after 6 months unless conditions are already in place to show that replacement feeding is safe.

Commenting on the dilemma of competing risks between HIV transmission through any breastfeeding vs no breastfeeding, Dr Hoosen Coovadia was quoted this year as saying, “If you choose breastfeeding, you would of course have HIV infection. You would have about 300,000 per year in the world. But if you avoided breastfeeding, the mortality would be about 1.5 million per year. So on the balance of probabilities for poor women in the developing world, there is no other choice than to breastfeed their infants. You shouldn’t devise policies for the rich few. There are some, but the majority of HIV infected women are poor.” 2 His subsequent paper showed that HIV transmission through 6 months’ exclusive breastfeeding by South African mothers was 4%.3 Cumulative 3-month mortality due to replacement feeding was 15.1% vs 6.1% for breastfeeding.

Early weaning vs continued breastfeeding substantially increased morbidity and mortality of infected and uninfected babies in Uganda 4, Malawi,5 Kenya,6 and Zambia7. Researchers concluded that the risks should be anticipated and PMTCT programmes should strongly encourage breastfeeding into the 2nd year of life.

Specific HIV and infant feeding counselling was less effective than group information, videos and pamphlets in achieving exclusive and extended breastfeeding in Zimbabwe.8 Intriguingly, 84.5% of mothers recruited into the ZVITAMBO study did not wish to learn their HIV-status,9 thus avoiding a recommendation for early weaning for HIV-exposed babies, leading instead to an extremely high rate of HIV-free survival.10

Finally, providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) to mothers only during pregnancy and birth begs further scrutiny. While only ~1% of HIV-infected mothers currently receive it, ART for eligible mothers could reduce MTCT in resource-poor settings by over 75%.11 In Rwanda12 and Tanzania13 triple-therapy dramatically reduced transmission of HIV during 6 months exclusive breastfeeding to 0% and <1% respectively. These strategies benefit mothers and babies while avoiding the stigmatisation and risks of artificial feeding. The cost of formula was the same as the cost of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for mothers recruited into the DREAM study in Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi.14 Acknowledging the difficulty in telling a woman that she can avoid transmitting the infection to her child, but that little can be done for her own health, researchers provided HAART to mothers from the 25th week of pregnancy through 6 months exclusive breastfeeding. Cumulative HIV transmission to infants was similar to rates reported in high-income countries and lower than those of formula-fed babies, being 2.2% and 2.7% respectively, with postnatal rates of 0.8% and 1.8%. Political will and strong leadership are needed to reverse the decade-long erosion of breastfeeding accompanying the global PMTCT effort. Characterization of formula-feeding as a safe infant feeding option can no longer be justified; contamination of powdered infant formula can occur intrinsically from raw materials, during manufacture or from extrinsic sources.15 16 Its cost has been very high in terms of infant malnutrition and mortality, and in displacement of funding away from treatment for HIV-positive mothers. Rational and humane strategies are needed to simultaneously: o improve the health and survival of HIV-infected women, o lift the burden of an impossible choice from mothers as they contemplate how best to feed their babies, o prevent transmission of HIV to exposed infants, and o protect food security for young children. WABA calls on national and international leaders to close the gap between rich and poor countries regarding access to treatment, and to use current evidence to enact universal public health measures fostering overall child survival, both within and outside the context of HIV.

For more information, kindly contact:
Pamela Morrison IBCLC
Co-coordinator WABA Breastfeeding and HIV Task Force
Rustington, England

For the references supporting this press release, please see