Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fertility: Public Service Announcement

When I was 5-years-old, my mom taught Lamaze (birthing) classes. Sometimes the expectant couples would all come over to our house. I loved being with them as mom taught about labor & delivery and the best part were the birthing films. I loved watching the babies being born. I knew the significance of having a baby was enormous.

However, I didn't fully understand how fertility, conception and pregnancy work--until now. Surprising isn't it? Just because I have "the machinery,"sat though high school Health class, my mom is a nurse & former Lamaze teacher and I dig birthing shows, doesn't mean I know how it all works. The fertility basics in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility are eye-opening.

Things like:
  • A "cycle" starts on the first day of your period and ends the day before your next one starts.
  • "Cycles" normally range anywhere from 28-34 days. Ovulation typically occurs sometime during Day 13-22.
  • The body can delay and even prevent ovulation if a woman is stressed or sick.
  • Women are only fertile for a 24-hour period a cycle. Then the egg starts to disintegrate.
  • There are physical signs of impending ovulation to watch for (noted in the book).
  • KY Jelly and saliva can slow down or kill sperm (!!!)
I waited for several months to read this it because I didn't want to get all bookish about this natural process but I spent several early months worrying about stuff that was answered within its pages. Something to think about if you are thinking about getting pregnant or trying to currently.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Side-stepping the Crosshairs

Dear Grey's Anatomy Writers:
I'm pleased to see you restrained yourself from further trivializing this amazing show. I was VERY worried after last week's episode. Personally, I'm now more ok with the George/Izzie situation but I'm glad the Attendings didn't have the occasion to yell at each other again--that's just embarrassing. Derek unraveling and looking very unrested breaks my heart but it'll be interesting to see what happens. Another viewer commented, this episode felt like "home." I couldn't agree more. Just remember: you don't have to exploit every possible sexual liaison among the characters to get our attention. This episode got back to basics and it's a warm, comforting feeling. Thank-you.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Open letter to the Grey's Anatomy Writers

Dear Grey's Anatomy Writers:

Upon reading some of the comments on the Grey's Anatomy Writers Blog, you are starting to hear some overdue criticism from us loyal viewers. This formerly smart and interesting show has run amok due to sensationalism.

It *feels* like (creator) Shonda Rhimes is less involved now and the characters are gravitating away from 3D to 2D. Get back to the subtleties you were known for in Season 1 & 2--the touching stories, the medical/philosophical learnings--make us care about the characters again.
And by the way, you don't need a "Super Bowl episode" every week to sustain viewers. You just don't. The 3 episode "Ferry Crisis" could have been handled in 2 well-cut episodes. (Three eps was bloated and self-indulgent.)

Now, I know without the Meredith/Derek tension of Season 2, there's not that overriding anguish that makes drama so delicious but you don't have a comparable situation with the Izzie/Callie/George triangle. I think you need an intervention--get back to basics. Solicit ideas via a contest from the fans even, you might get some gems and give yourselves some perspective before you ruin my most favorite show on TV.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just Fix It....


Hey Cougs,

Take a look at this t-shirt on the CBS Sport Store. Can you find the Cougar Logo?


But can you spot the UW "W" in the lower left quadrant?

That's funny because the Huskies aren't even "on the road to the Final Four." They're not in the NIT either.

Would you like to express your outrage to CBS Sports?
Make your feelings known via Email or Call: 1-866-690-2381.

Much love,

P.S. Congratulations to the Cougs who won today against Oral Roberts University--consider it a spiritual win also.

Good luck on Saturday against Vanderbuilt!

Cougar Pride, go vote!

UPDATE: Wouldn't you know it, but they closed voting today.
The Columns March Vote was completed at noon on March 15th. At that time, the
vote was a tie, with 50 percent voting for the Huskies and 50 percent voting for
the Cougars. With more than one million votes, we have found that there have
been multiple votes cast from several unique computer addresses. Both Huskies
and Cougars have taken advantage of loopholes to cast multiple ballots.

How convenient of them to stop the poll when there was a 50/50 tie.


To my fellow WSU (Cougar) alumni, students, friends and blog readers....

It's fun to embarrass the Huskies. Go vote for the Cougs!!!!

Please go vote on the Coug vs. Husky Pride Survey that the UW (Husky) Alumni have going on on their site:

When it first came out, the Cougs were winning by 70% vs. 30%. This survey was featured in the Seattle Times a few days back.

Monday, March 12, 2007

3 / 11 = 33 years

I celebrated my birthday yesterday, very low-key like. Ken gave me a Wii system and already it's racked up many hours of usage. I do love how the input devices are so intuitive and it's not such a "guy's console." I'm already addicted to the Tennis game & Warioware.

Some Girls Would Kill For It...Hampel & friends are at it again with the new Internet Drama series: Prom Queen. That's a great tag line. Certainly, I hope this one lives up to expectations. During Sam Has 7 Friends, I couldn't help but feel the 4 directors didn't exactly know who their audience was: women or fans of Quentin Tarantino. But I know the guys learned a lot and are busting their butts on this one. Best of luck on this production. The first show is available April 2nd. Check it out.
A USA Today article notes that project-sponsor Michael Eisner (former Disney CEO) "also expects the series to open a lot of people's eyes to the business potential of professional Internet entertainment." Amen, brother.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ira and the Magical Mystery Tour

One of the greatest programs on the airwaves today is the NPR jewel This American Life. I love TAL because it's respectful, unlike reality shows, insightful, unlike the news, and connective, unlike anything else. It's also touching, bold and smart. If you've never heard of this show, I encourage you to find it on your local NPR station and take a listen. In fact, listen to the March 17th show and you may hear Sean, Shannon, Ken and me laughing or clapping in the audience. That's right, Ira Glass and friends came through Seattle on Wednesday night during a six city tour--not only to dazzle us TAL junkies but to promote their new TV series on Showtime. This 12-year-old radio show gingerly makes its steps into the visual world on March 22nd. While a daunting and even sacrilegious thought to many of the hard-core listeners, the video previews indicate use of all the elements from the radio template: good story-telling, space for reflection, epiphanies and Ira.

Here is a preview of the new series.

Best of luck to Ira & the This American Life staff on the new series!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Top 5 Details of our trip to Palm Springs

1. The Clown Car This is Le Clown Car that carried Ken, Dad and me all over the Palm Springs area. Notice it's attention-grabbing color and PT cruiser-like styling. But Le Clown Car is really the Chevrolet HHR. I have always felt American cars lack subtlety and here is a shiny example.

2. Exercise

Averaging 14,000 steps per day, we hiked, played ping-pong and tennis as well as worked out in the gym. Our first hike in the mountains around Palm Springs resulted in us having to come down into a private fenced yard which inspired Ken and me to jump the fence. We later found out that the gate wasn't finished so we could have walked around.

3. The Weather

Yes it was sunny and in the 70's. We heard Seattle had snow. That's too bad... The first day there it was extremely windy (landing was scary) but this wind farm indicated that they get enough to power the grid for the ever expanding population there. Hooray for renewable resources! But the dusty and dry conditions, reeked havoc on Eczema sufferers like Dad and myself, who had to keep applying tons of lotion to our flaky skin. For an organism composed of 60% water, the desert does not seem like a good place to live.

4. Joshua Tree Madness

During a quick stop, Ken enlightened us with an interpretive dance of the Joshua Tree. Did you know that while it was 74 degrees in Palm Springs, it was only 52 degrees up in Joshua Tree National Park? Guess who forgot long pants and coats? All of us. We toured this jewel of the National Park System with our seatbelts on.

5. Family time

Most importantly, I spent some quality time hanging out with these cool dudes--and no golfing involved either. I'm not saying it's completely pointless, but it kinda is. We also visited with Bev's aunt and uncle one evening. They told us about the "sex life of a date" (the kind you eat), but we didn't actually get to eat any so we'll order some.

All in all a good time, and now back to the real world.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Scene at the Airport

As most vacations do, our trip to Palm Springs started at the airport and the craziest sh-- happens to us there.

On the way to our departing gate Wednesday morning, Ken and I made a pit stop at the restrooms. Within 100 feet, we could see and hear a wailing child being disciplined by his mother outside the women's restroom.
She said, "If you don't get in there, you will not get any DVD's on the plane. I'm going to count to five. 5-4-3-2-1...Okay no movies on the plane." At this, the child, who I judged to be about 3-years-old, cried even louder. Then she threatened to take away his books and he approached hyper-ventilation.

But something was odd about this public disciplining: It seemed like the mother wasn't trying to find out why he was so freaked out and the worst thing was the way she interacted with him. She gestured and projected her voice like she was performing on stage. Every woman coming or going in the restroom gave the "this-woman-is-crazy" look to one other. But no one said anything.

Ken, who was waiting for me, saw all of it. As we walked away, Ken grew more agitated by the scene. He wanted to say something to her. But I told him that interfering with parent-child situations is muy complicado.

"We are only seeing a snapshot of this situation," I said scurrying toward our gate. "We have no idea what else is going on."

But he made some good points: the way she was dealing with the child could be construed as a form of psychological abuse. She seemed to revel in his frustration and didn't do anything to defuse his anxiety about being in or going to the restroom. The disruptive way she "performed" for the crowd indicated a lack of judgement and the tone of the child's crying hinted at actual terror.

"Are we to mind our business so much that a child can get psychologically abused?" Ken asked. "When do we have the right to step in and say something?"

Now, I truly admire and love Ken's sensitivity to people. It is a trait I don't have enough of, but it's a slippery slope getting involved with strangers. We arrived at our gate and while I mulled over the safety of my isolationist policy, I couldn't help but feel less human and cowardly. Ken meanwhile decided that he wanted to go back and "see" what was going on and say something if warranted. So with reservations, I accompanied him.

A full 15-minutes had passed since we'd last been down the corridor and there was no sign of them. But soon we could hear the familiar howling from within the women's restroom. I walked in and exchanged "the look" with all the ladies. This time the mother was in a closed stall and I could see her kneeling down with the child facing her. She said in a volume that the entire ladies room could hear, "There are no bathrooms on the plane. You have to go now!"

Unbeknownst to me, Ken had alerted a TSA official. The official came into the bathroom and paused outside the closed stall and just as she was about to knock, the mother rushed out with the boy tucked under her arm like a Sunday paper. He was still crying, red-faced.

The TSA gal chased after them, "Is everything alright here?" she asked.
"Fine!" the mother replied.

By then the mother strode toward the exit with the TSA lady following. Ken stood outside and when the mother passed him, he shouted at her "You need help! You need help!"
I froze.

Another bystander inadvertently blocked me from getting to Ken's side but secretly I was glad. The confrontation, the child's crying and Ken's outburst brought tears to my eyes. Suddenly I felt sorry for that mom. Because no one wants to be "the bad mom" who loses it in public with a screaming kid. And certainly no mom wants to be called out by a stranger. Then my husband came face-to-face with the child's father and I feared the worst.

"Do you have children?" the father demanded, holding his squirming, crying son.

Ken had to answer 'no' and that effectively eliminated all his credibility.
The man said, "You should talk to some parents or become one before you make any judgements. Do you want to take care of this?" and held out his crying, squirming son to Ken.

Ken stepped back but later regretted that he hadn't tried. The mother sarcastically thanked Ken for his "helpful" advice and the family stormed off down the corridor. And these were older, (seemingly) educated parents in their late 30's.

The TSA gal said she'd have an officer check on them at the gate.


Needless to say, the incident left us both a bit rattled.
Can a person without a child judge mistreatment? When is it acceptable to get involved?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

70 degrees and no clouds

Dad, Ken & I are in Palm Springs for the next few days on vacation.
The internet access at the resort is spotty and the competition for the computers in the business center is fierce. So I may not get around to a full entry until Saturday.

But I'll make it worth your while because as always, something weird and traumatic happened at the airport yesterday. Something that made me question my morality.

And on a lighter note, Dad rented a clown car for us to drive around in Palm Springs.

You'll see...