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Sep. 21st, 2011



Last week, I had a tonsil infection and was sick most of the week with a sore throat.

This week, I have a cold and am so very, very stuffy.

I want to feel well for, like, two days in a row. Come on, body! You can do it!

May. 7th, 2011


So, I had a baby yesterday!

I am too exhausted and overwhelmed to go into details. (I will later because I need to process my birth experience a little). But! Keith and I now have a beautiful, tiny daughter named Hannah. She is doing well despite being early (I would be 34 weeks today and 37-40 is full-term) and I'm recovering from my emergency c-section. Keith has been amazing. More details later!

Mar. 3rd, 2011



Guess which is more expensive: one year of daycare or one year of graduate school tuition at a top-20 university?

The answer might surprise you, however, it is mostly depressing me.

Feb. 19th, 2011


My neighbor to the north

I was raised mostly in Wisconsin (ages 4-18) and went to college in Madison (18-23). I am sure that I'll move back there someday. My grandmother, one of my aunts, and one of my cousins are all members of the teachers' union there. They are all dedicated, hardworking women who have a passion for what they do. All of them are solidly middle class by what I consider a traditional definition ($30-$40K a year), not the Sarah Palin one, where middle class means that you have $2 million in liquid assets.

My grandmother spends half her year in Florida and half her year in Wisconsin (she has to live in the latter at least six months a year to keep her health insurance from the teacher's union). She lives off a fixed income, mostly the pension that she and my grandfather earned as members of one of Wisconsin's teacher's unions. In 2007, the year she turned 80, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and then, a few months later, breast cancer. She had fully paid treatment in an outstanding cancer hospital near her home in Florida (and not far from my parents) and then, when her breast cancer was discovered, entered radiation in Wisconsin. She lives in a cottage on a lake in a rural part of northern Wisconsin where the nearest hospital is a solid 30 minutes away, and so she was able to have her chemo and radiation completed at one of the better hospitals in the state, located near my uncle, so she could have someone take care of her between sessions. She's going to be 84 in September.

She would not be as healthy as she is today if it were not for Wisconsin Education Association Council. Hell, not to engage in hyperbole, but she may not even be alive if it weren't for WEAC.

This bill isn't about asking public and state workers to pay their fair share; if it were, the Republicans in the state senate would have accepted the contract that 16 of the 19 public unions ratified back in December 2010, which included $107 million in concessions on pension and health benefits. It's about destroying WEAC and its brethren, piece by piece. This bill makes it impossible for them to bargain for anything but a limited amount of wages (under this proposal, 1.4 percent for the next biennium) and makes it difficult for a union to stay a union -- yearly votes to stay in existence, the inability to collect dues via payroll, and much more. Those proposals do nothing for taxpayers and save the state nothing. And yeah, sometimes unions act in bad faith or protect employees they shouldn't. But you know what? That doesn't mean you take away their rights to negotiate and represent their members.

When Scott Walker and Ron Johnson got elected, I started thinking about how the Dixie Chicks felt when W. became president. But this week, I am really, really proud to be a Badger. I wish I could be there, but I can't. And I am so grateful to the tens of thousands of peaceful protesters who have filled the Capitol and the Square every day this week to stand up for these rights.

Feb. 6th, 2011


Super Bowl Sunday

I have been watching football since before I can remember. My grandfather is in the Wisconsin High School Coaches Hall of Fame, for both football and basketball, and I am sure that I was attending his football games before I could walk. My father's family have been Packers fans for generations, like any other typical Wisconsin family, and I'm really sad I can't be in Florida with all of them today to watch the game. Every Sunday, after church, my parents have a "Packer party," where they lay out cheese cubes and summer sausage, and we all watch the game. When I was in college and even beyond, I'd call at halftime so we could compare notes (and if I called a moment before or after, they wouldn't answer the phone).

Most of my friends, being intellectuals, don't care about sports and find the NFL distasteful, a manifestation of machismo and rape culture, and I can't always blame them for that idea (as a football fan, I am horrified that Roethlisberger is even allowed to put on a uniform, much less be at a game, but I digress).

Being raised in Wisconsin, being a Packers fan is different that just rooting for a team. It's as much a part of our culture as knowing that cheese curds are fresh because they squeak or that vacations are spent in the North Woods or Door County. Being a Packers fan is weaved into our state identity, and I'm proud of the team's setup. There's no owner; technically there are 125,000 of them, all of whom bought stock (which is sold in limited shares) in the late '90s. The Packers are a publicly owned, nonprofit organization, the only sports team in the U.S. owned under such terms, and 60 percent of each game's concessions goes directly to local charities (there's a great New Yorker article about the setup). If the team ever goes under, whatever profits are left go the Green Bay VFW.

When I was in fourth grade, the Packers played the Bears in November and had a touchdown call given in their favor, owing to instant replay. That week, in art class, we had open drawing. I was not a very good artist, but I remember my art teacher began illustrating that scene, of the quarterback, Don "Magic" Majikowski (he was not) and some unremembered Bears player, two refs in the background with their arms raised for a touchdown. At the end of class, Mr. Austin gave it to me, for reasons I still don't understand, probably because I just sat there and watched him draw it, rapt the whole time. It was titled, "The Bears Still Suck." I was 10 years old. If my parents hadn't lost their house in a fire in 1999, I have zero doubts that the drawing would still be in my possession, somewhere.

When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 1997, I was a freshman in college. I watched the second half of the game with my friends at the dorm and we went out to State Street to celebrate with the rest of Madison afteward. At some point, near the bookstore, I got picked up and my feet didn't hit the ground for a few blocks. I'm sure there was drunken bullshit going on somewhere, but it was one of the most joyous things I've participated in (until I joined a second line in New Orleans last year, after they took the Lombardi Trophy home).

I always figured if the Packers got into the Super Bowl now, I'd throw a big party (because Packer fandom is about sharing with others) but most of my Packer-fan brethren live in other states and our schedule has been such that we opted against it. We've been spending the weekend moving books and bookshelves around, getting our office cleared out to be a guest room so we can turn our guest room into a nursery. It's just going to be me and Keith watching the game. We're having guacamole and buffalo wings. In a way, it's perfect. There's some famous quote from Lombardi about how his priorities were God, family, and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers were always about spending time with family, united, and it feels right that it's just our family, as it is now, for this game.

And next year, if they make it, we'll be having a huge party. For sure.

Feb. 2nd, 2011



I really should be catching up on reading for school, but I'm just not feeling it. As you've probably heard from everywhere, Chicago got hit by its third-worst blizzard in modern history (although my grandmother tells me this is worse than '67 because of the wind) so we were sent home from work at 2 p.m. yesterday and told not to come in today. And UW-Madison cancelled classes, which means nothing for distance students, but it's the principle of the thing. I ordered books I need in the next few weeks and will probably just buckle down and try to get through some of it in a little bit.

I am guessing I'll be back at work tomorrow, as it finally quit snowing around noon, but the city is kind of a mess -- mind you, I think they're doing as good of a job as they can, but given that Lake Shore Drive was shut down (and understandably so) and it took hours to rescue everyone from it, I think it's probably going to be a little while before we're all dug out. One of our neighbors just kindly shoveled all of our walks (even though we have a service, I suspect they are running behind so I appreciate his efforts!) so at least we can get out to catch the train in the morning.

At any rate, the storm was a doozy. I took some photos from inside the house last night and this morning. There was thunder and lightning, and our lights flickered a little, but we were inside and for the most part, it was pleasant enough to watch nature rage around us. The city does look very pretty, and it was a good reminder that sometimes the world is a greater force than we are.

Jan. 27th, 2011



You know what doesn't fuck around? N'oreasters. We got into New York late afternoon yesterday and met our friend Rob for a yummy Indian dinner then went to his place in Flatiron. It was slushy and not fun, but not, like, snowpocalypse now. When we left Rob's at 11, it was the absolute most horrible snowstorm I've ever witnessed. I live in Chicago and I grew up in northern Wisconsin, near Minnesota, so I know my snowstorms. This was an entirely different category. I've never seen so few people outside in Manhattan in all the times I've visited.

The city is fairly closed today, but we are venturing out anyway. We've gotta find some breakfast and if all else fails, we're not that far from the Angelika. I might also buy some snow-appropriate boots.

It is weird to be on vacation amongst 19 inches of snow!

Jan. 25th, 2011


(no subject)

So my flight tomorrow, accidentally scheduled for 6:30 p.m., was rescheduled for the 11:10 a.m. I wanted to be on. Apparently there's weather coming to NYC but I am hoping that it waits until late afternoon like it's promising to do. I packed, mostly, but there are a few things I can't throw in until tomorrow morning. I hope everything goes smoothly; wish me luck!

I'm looking forward to our trip -- it's probably our last vacation pre-baby, and I'm excited to see our NYC friends. One of our best friends is in the middle of chemo for a chest tumor (all signs positive, but fuck cancer nonetheless) and we're looking forward to seeing her. And we are eating at Colicchio & Sons, which I am also pretty excited to do.

I need to pack my homework next and find my camera charger. Traveling certainly makes you realize how high maintenance you can be.

Jan. 24th, 2011


(no subject)

I've been back in school for one week, and I've already earned a "++" on one of my assignments. Keith joked to one of our friends that I've been too busy overachieving to see any movies, and I'm starting to think he wasn't joking. (Side note: holy crap I have a lot of reading to do this semester. I'm taking Introduction to Organization, which is stealth cataloging, and Young Adult Literature, which is awesome but I have to read at least two books a week plus textbooks & articles. Good thing I like to read/have a decent-sized commute.)

Things here are pretty good. The Packers are in the Super Bowl, which thrills me to no end (esp. because we had to beat the Bears to get there!).

pregnancy talkCollapse )

We're working on de-cluttering our house and doing all the things we've meant to do in the eight years we've owned this place. It's been nice getting rid of stuff and shipping some things off to storage. We're clearing out our largely unused office and turning it into a sitting room/guest room (loathe as I am to bring futons back into my life, I think it'll be okay) and slowly getting our kitchen in order. I keep thinking of more things we can do, but our budget can only go so far. Nonetheless, it's been nice to really focus on our home and getting it into nice shape. We're going to be spending a lot more time there, so it's worth investing in. And, before too long, we're going to figure out how to decorate the nursery and start buying furniture for it. And that's just going to make it so much more real.

Jan. 18th, 2011


(no subject)

I keep writing posts in my head about being pregnant and all the attendant anxieties/joys that this development has caused me, but then I get sidetracked by real life. It'll happen someday. In the meantime, here's a list of things that I want pretty much 100% of my waking hours these days: 

*a national program for at least a year of paid maternity leave
*to go back to bed
*steak, rare, preferably New York strip, but I'll condescend to a ribeye if I must
*sharp cheese
*less crappy kitchen cabinets
*maternity tights in brown, gray, and navy with a belly panel that aren't expensive
*more time to do anything creative
*to never, ever do anything that lands me on STFU Parents

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