Thursday, October 26, 2006

Putting It to the Blog World

So, it's more than half way through the semester, right? And everything is getting established. By this time next week I'll have more than half of the chemistry and microbiology tests over and done with.

Earlier this week, Partner and I ran into a girl from our Chemistry class. She hadn't been there in a few weeks, and she proceeded to recount her sob story to us: car accident, she was sick, she lost her job. Suddenly I felt like I was teaching again hearing excuses galore. Oh well, we said, do you want to copy our notes? Oh yes, she gushed. I do. We can stay after class and I'll copy them then. This was Monday, and the last thing I wanted to do was sit at school for an hour after class was over while this girl copied my notes. Monday is a long day. So we copied my notes for her at the library before class. I went through them all and made sure they were legible where the copier couldn't pick up pencil marks. I stapled them quite nicely and waited for her to come to class. She came, but was late. Late late. That's pretty usual for her.

Wednesday we came into class, and she was there. On time. Sitting right where Partner sits. Displacing us from our front and center seats. I was pretty pissed off. Are we not in the seats that are ours now? Haven't we been in class for nigh near nine weeks and have we not established that is where we sit?

Let me explain: On our first day of lab, Partner and I were running late. Thus, the lab bench we ended up sitting at is in the back of the room, under a fan that runs continuously, making it very hard to hear. I hate where we sit in lab. When we came the next week, we were good and early and could have moved to a new lab bench quite easily, yet I didn't think this was right. We got where we got, and we'd have to deal with it. Now, it was still early enough in the semester, I don't think displacing someone at that point would have been too rude, but still, I feel bound by a certain seating ethics.

Thus, if I wouldn't do it to someone else, it really peeves me that someone would do it to me. I guess this is the whole part and parcel of manners really-- Or it's my true Libra nature coming out and rearing the ugly side of its head. I know this is childish and peevish of me, but still...
When I was teaching, I'd watch my students jockey for seats during the first week of class. After that, everyone pretty much seemed established and there hardly ever anyone who would rock the boat by moving.

I have my seat I like to sit in lecture. It is in the front row. In the center. I can see everything going on. The front of this class is pretty established. We're all geeks that are there for every class. We all ask frequent questions. And we're all probably pretty freaked out by Chemistry too. Having some stability, even if it's the same seat every Monday and Wednesday night helps keep my Chemistry fears to a minimum.

So when we were talking about it, Partner and I both decided we should put the question to the blog world: Was stealing Partner's seat half way through the term and displacing us rude or no? Or am I really a total type A for Anal person and need to loosen the hell up?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Because Partner Said I Should Really Blog about This

A couple of weekends past, Partner and I went to register. We have an upcoming shower, and the invitations were already out indicating where we were registered, but the thing is, we weren't. Registered. At any of those places, so on a sunny Sunday afternoon we set off to the big baby store. As we pulled into the lot, we looked at each other with wide eyes. "Are we really going in there to shop for us?" Partner asked me. "We're not buying for someone else?" I smiled. This was going to be fun!

And then we pulled into the "stork" parking. Previously I had parked there and defied anyone to challenge me, but this time we just grinned at each other as we pulled in. Yes, certainly, we were in for a fun afternoon. I was armed with the Baby Bargain book, requisite highlights and all.

We sat down in plush chairs and listened to the very pregnant women guide us through the registration process. She handed over the scanner. We beamed. Here we go, I thought.

We started at the breast pumps, which everyone has assured us no one will actually buy for us. No matter-- we'd put it on the list anyway. We scanned the top (dollar) choice. And then we wondered what else we needed. Breast pads? Soothing pads? Shields? More bottles? Warmers? Coolers? Shit. This wasn't so easy. Moving on. Bottles and nipples. How many were enough? What was the correct size? Did we really need that many since I'm planning on keeping the kid at the boob for as long as possible? But we were going to want to go out sometimes...Okay. Next aisle. Baby monitors. Easy enough. Or not. That one has only one monitor. Did we want multiple monitors? For both of us? How far was the kitchen from the bedroom? (Nevermind that because our house is a very open plan, we can talk to each other from pretty much anywhere in the house and hear each other with no problems, whatsoever, we were still very concerned about the multiple monitor issue.) Was the monitor going to interfere with the cordless phones? Could we make it to the mailbox and have the monitor still work? Why were we even asking that question? As if we'd walk to the mailbox and leave the Cricket in the house alone?

Let's just say, we didn't move very fast. We had to get every baby tub out and simulate washing a babe in it. We had to wax about whether it would be comfortable for the kid or us or both. We had to press our hands into the spongey backs and make verdicts about how irritating they might feel. We had to smell baby products. I was tired and we weren't even through one eighth of the store yet.

Then we got to car seats. And shit. We'd skip those for now. We just hadn't done enough research. And we couldn't figure out how to get them out of their bases. Or adjust any of the damn straps. We were now not just tired, we were frustrated too. Which is not a good place to go as you venture further into baby-store-hell.

Strollers: I made the mistake (or inspired action) of telling Partner which of the strollers were hot European models. And thinking that perhaps I was only one who might fall prey to trendy baby gear, I thought she'd steer us opposite of the high priced models. Not a chance. Immediately she had the Peg Perego down and was wheeling it through the store. I noted that I hadn't read the stroller section of the Baby Bargains book yet either, so maybe we should wait. "Okay," she conceded, "But I think I'll just push it around a little more." I observed that perhaps other people at the store wanted to see that stroller and she shouldn't hog it. This didn't phase my usually altruistic partner a bit. It came with us to the pack-and-play aisle. It stayed with us while we tried on Bjorns. It tripped me up as she wheeled past me. It annoyed the living shit out of me. It dawned on me she didn't want other couples to see the stroller so they wouldn't register for it.

We tried on the Bjorns. Is it possible to be too fat to wear a Bjorn? I was uncomfortable. It felt like there was no room to put a baby in the baby part of the Bjorn. All my images of carrying that kid around in the Bjorn were evaporating in a fat-panic attack. And why were there so many choices of Bjorns? Okay. We wouldn't register for that either. I was not having fun. No siree, Bob. This was not fun.

Soon after this, I knocked a baby bouncy seat and it started playing music I couldn't turn off. I pushed every button I could find. Nothing. If anything it was getting louder. Partner wheeled up to me with the stroller. "Is that the one you like?" she asked.

"No. I hate this fucking thing. I can't fucking turn it off." This elucidated a few stares from other browsers.

"Here, hold this," she said as she pushed the stroller toward me. She proceeded with no avail. Somehow the two of us poking at it made it stop. And then I told her to put back the damn stroller.

"How do I know if I like it if you won't let me push it around?" (She'd been pushing it around for a good fifteen or twenty minutes at this point.)

"Just. Put. It. Back," I said through clenched teeth. And just as the Bjorns put me over the edge, this must have been what did it for her. When she came back, and we were inspecting swings, she nearly broke one taking off the shelf and when she couldn't get it to swing the way it said it did, I felt we were on the edge of a very very bad moment. It was possible that soon we were going to be barred from the baby store.

We wheeled past diaper bags, and Partner wanted to know why we couldn't just use a backpack. I snarled at her. We dismissed every crib in the store. We questioned, when faced with baby bedding, our decision not to find out the baby's sex because everything was so damn gendered. Finally, we collapsed into the rockers for parents, each of us declaring our respective chair was the most comfortable chair ever made. We could have been on a bed of nails and it would have been a relief. Clearly we were on overload and after emptying our bladders, we came back together as a couple.

"We need to get out of here," I said to her. "We need to get out of here fast," she agreed. Finally we were back on couple wavelength, agreeing about something rather than arguing the merits of a separate bag made just to carry diapering materials.

We ended up at Target, which felt a little better than the Baby Store Hell, and then came home to do some online crap too. I have never been so tired. Registering for our commitment ceremony was fun. We spent hours with the scanner at our respective stores. We went out for drinks afterwards. We agreed about everything. But this baby stuff felt more high stakes. I could never set foot in a baby store again and be happy.

We still haven't decided on a stroller. We don't have a co-sleeper on our list. There's no crib out there I like. (Why is every cute crib a convertible? I don't want a convertible.) I'm debating the merits of buying a stroller online I haven't (or more to the point, Partner hasn't) even pushed around. Is this a really stupid idea? How much is too much to pay for a stroller? What if we get it and hate it? I need some serious help with the stroller. (I think I like the Peg Perego A3, but is this ridiculous amounts of money for a stroller? Shit. Maybe don't tell me if you think it is, because I think this is the one, but I haven't seen it in person even, only the Pilko, which seemed nice enough too. At this rate, we'll be lucky to have a stroller by the time the kid is five.)

I am six months pregnant and feel no more ready for this than I did when we got the first positive beta test. I'm self soothe telling myself all we really need is a car seat to get the kid home in, and other than that, it's all about the breast and diapers.

And love. Of course, love, the only thing I don't worry about providing and the only thing we don't have to register for.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Sometime this past summer while at my parents house, I made a remark about itchy armpits. Partner and I both seemed plagued by them. I don't know how this topic got brought up, but hey, with family you can talk about anything, right? So my father chimed in on the topic. His hypothesis? The antiperspirants we were using.

"I haven't used an antiperspirant in probably over 30 years," he said proudly.

Really? 30 or more years? It didn't seem quite right. My dad is not particularly sweaty-- And he smells just fine. Good, in fact. And he's not a sedentary kind of guy. He's usually out of the house before seven in the morning to work, and his job? Not such a desk kind of job. In fact, one might even say it's a stressful kind of job being a surgeon. And for a certain part of my life, he used to run about eight miles or so a day. A day, people. A day. I couldn't run eight miles to save my own damn life right now. And thinking back about my life with Dad, I don't remember him ever causing a turn-up of the nose. Not one day of stinky dad.

So Partner and I decided maybe we were poisoning ourselves with Secret and we gave it up. We made the trek to Whole(ly overpriced) Foods and got us some natural deodorants. Partner choose one brand, and I picked another. The first morning I used it, I felt smug and self-righteous. Look at me and my natural deodorant. Yes, it was a little more slimy feeling than I was used to. But, it was natural. And wholesome.

Wholesome indeed. That may be one way to describe how I smelled at the end of the day. Whew. I didn't give up though. I consulted the old pater, and he noted that probably my body needed to get rid of a lot of toxins after putting on the AP for years. Okay, I thought, I can run with that theory. And to tell you the truth, Partner didn't smell quite as bad as I did, so perhaps he was right. Partner, you see, hadn't been wearing the AP forever and ever, amen. When I met her, she used the crystal.

We still laugh about this. And while it may work for some of you, it did not work for my girl. One my dearest friends, Irish, uses the crystal, and she doesn't smell at all. In fact, usually when people meet her, they remark about how good she smells. And she does smell very good. Yet for my beautiful partner, well-- At the end of the day, she stunk. Phew. Sometimes it may have even been off-putting for me. So she stopped and I gave her my Secret. So maybe the natural stuff worked better for her because she hadn't been plugging up her sweat glands for as long as I had.

But yet maybe that wasn't it. Maybe it was because she choose a different brand, so I tried hers. Maybe the stink the was a little better? I decided to try it. And yes, I loved the way I smelled in the morning, like a Provencal lavander field. I bought my own. I couldn't decided if it was really working. In chemistry, when I usually break out into a cold sweat, I'd wonder if I could smell myself. I didn't like to raise my hand to ask a question, because you know, you only raise your hand if you're Sure. But maybe I was hypersenstive? Maybe it wasn't the deodorant, maybe it was pregnancy. Perhaps one my pregnancy symptons was smelling like a barnyard and whatever I smeared under my arms would yeild similar (un)results. So I kept trying. And I used it right up until last week.

Last week, when it was still fallish and warmish and not snowing (damnit), we had the windows above our bed open at night. It may have been a little crisp, but when you can snuggle, why not let the room get a little chilly? We had our bedside lights on, a little calming music, and we were reading our respective books. And then I thought to myself, is that a skunk? Because that happens sometimes-- a skunk wanders very near our house and lets off a bomb. The skunk has sprayed Partner's truck for no apparent reason. So maybe the skunk was skulking nearby? Because-- damn! There was a rank smell! And then for some reason I thought, "Is that a skunk, or is it me?" I couldn't answer the question. Skunk? Or me? Over and over again until I fell asleep. Like some sick form of counting sheep. And when you ask yourself a question like that, my friends, it's time to do something about it. I was sick of smelling like a goat. I have never been a stinky person. I'm obsessed with smell. Smell is probably my strongest sense.

I'm back to Secret. Plugging up my pores and loving it. I smell good now, all day long. Goatish smelling natural Katie-- good riddance! I'm synthetic under my arms all the way now, baby. So, if you've been avoiding me because I stink, it's all okay now. You can come back.

(The entire time I was writing this post I had "Secret" by OMD running through my head. Now I fear it will be with me all day, but hey, at least I don't smell!)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Small Legal Words

On the morning of my brother's wedding, he knocked on the door of my childhood bedroom at my parents house. I hadn't slept well the night before and was trying to have a little rest before heading off to the hotel where my future sister-in-law would be getting ready for the wedding. He wanted to ask me to be in charge of something rather important and I was ready for the task. Whatever he needed me to do, right? My brother's wedding day-- I was ready for anything.

He asked me to be in charge of the marriage license, and I do have to say, I was flattered to be in charge of this task. It seemed pretty heady, so I asked to see the papers to make sure I could direct everyone correctly. There were three copies that needed to be filled out-- the most impressive was the first one with the gold seal of the county my brother lives in. When he left, I looked at the pages further. A marriage license. I'd never inspected one in such detail, and even though to most people, it might be just more mundane paperwork, to me it was an artifact of interest.

My partner joined me on the bed to look at the papers. I know we were both thinking the same thing. She said to me, "Maybe one day we'll get one." I sighed. She put her head on my shoulder and continued, "And then we'll have a big party."

Sometimes I dismiss all this malarky about gay marriage and I think, I don't need a license or state recognition to love Partner. I just do. I know that we're terribly in love with each other-- I know that we're lucky with the love we have each other. And does it matter that the State won't recognize it? It wouldn't make me any more or less in love or committed.

But when I think about Cricket, or any other "real life" situation, I know it matters horribly. We just closed on the new loan for the new house this past Friday. Luckily the title agent we work with was on top of things and realized that some of the wording was incorrect on our title work. We were listed as tenants in common, and she correctly identified that wasn't right and changed it for us: joint tenants in common with rights of survivorship. Hm. Small thing one might think, but for us, small legal words matter. She made sure the wording was changed-- but still, even the modified documents are comfortless. Everywhere on the paperwork it referred to us individually as separate and as "a single woman." And every time I saw it, it smacked untrue and insanely cheerless to me, not because being single is such, but because I am definitively not single.

Yesterday, as you might know, an appeals court in California overturned a lower court's opinion that the ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. Alas. The arguments used by the group that brought the case are pretty disingenuous to me. Matthew Staver, who argued the case, said, “The marital union of a man and a woman uniquely fosters responsible procreation, contributes to the continuing well-being of men and women, to society, to children and to the state. Same-sex relationships by definition and nature cannot constitute marriage.”

Unpacking now: I wonder what responsible procreation is here? Is it procreation only when a couple are married? So if a couple has a child out of wedlock, and then proposes to get married, perhaps they should be denied as well, as the initial baby making was pretty damn irresponsible, eh? (Please, please, please read the irony in my tone there. I don't really believe that.) One might wonder what else constitutes responsible procreation: sex only in missionary style? Sex only to procreate and for that purpose only? Don't enjoy yourselves too much, folks, at times when you aren't at your peak of fertility because that's just damn irresponsible. Oh. And wait. There's that little word, "fertility"-- should we only be letting the fertile men marry fertile women? I'm skipping down a road now that Margaret Atwood may have already traversed in The Handmaid's Tale.

And just what about exclusively heterosexual marriage endemically creates continued well being for women, men, and children? In the words of a greater woman that I can dream of becoming, "Ain't I a woman?" I'm not sure that limiting marriage is contributing at all to my general well being. Certainly when I wake up at 2:00 am, wondering where we'll get the money to go see a lawyer about parental rights and guardianship and what a quagmire we're entering merely because we're two women who love each other and want to have a family is not contributing to my well being. The stomach acid I feel when I think of how some people want to deny my growing family basic rights is not good either.

Staver might feel that our relationship by definition can't be marriage, but I think our relationship by definition can't be anything but. "Any close or intimate association or union" "A blending or matching of different elements or components" Like two pieces of wood in a sturdy piece of furniture are married together, I know that's what we are. I know that a piece of paper won't make it more real for me, but the small legal words would mean something to many other people, including our Cricket.

Last Saturday, I stood at beautiful old table with the priest and my other Brother, N, and I felt the enormity of signing as a witness for my brother and new sister-in-law's marriage. I only hope that some day soon we'll get to have that party Partner said we'd have and they can return the favor and sign for us.

They can all sign for us.

Rambling Road

I have only a few minutes. I'm leaving to go take the first pharmacology test. To say I'm nervous is an understatement. And then tomorrow it's Chemistry test two. To say I pretty much hate Avogadro is an understatement. I also hate that I struggle so much with basic stuff like balancing equations. I feel like I'm in remedial math all over again. (That's another story, for another day.)

I miss blogging a lot and now that the big wedding is over, I'm going to try and be here more. This is something I really like to do, and when I don't get here to write and see how everyone is doing, I miss it.

Does anyone else click on blogs still where the author said he/she was done to see if it's come back up? I do. All the time. I wish you'd come back. (Beaver Girl? Career Guy? *Sigh*)

The wedding was great-- My brother and sister-in-law (!!) did a great job. It was amazingly beautiful and classy-- And it was fun to meet sister-in-law's family from the South. I really enjoyed the whole thing. I think perhaps my feet are still swollen and I'm still tired from everything, but it was a great wedding!! I told myself I could have a glass of champagne, but only made it one quarter of the way through before I felt like shit. Who would have guessed that booze would effect me so? Certainly not me. I don't want to say I was a booze hound pre-pregnancy, but we could just say I liked my cocktails and now the very thought of a manhattan is enough to make me gag. Oh well-- This was about the wedding really, and it was a lovely day. I have to tell you, both kids looked beautiful and handsome accordingly. Cricket let me dance all night before landing me in a chair with some little cramps, which scared the shit out of me, but I think it was just time to sit down.

Okay, I have to go and take the test, but I'm brewing up some posts. I swear it. Just a rambly check in for a moment.

Go out tonight and enjoy the moon. I think we're making a fire in the firepit and bundling up to sit outside for awhile. It's too lovely not to do that.