Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eight had better be enough

What on earth would prompt a 33-year-old woman who has six children under the age of eight to undergo fertility treatments?

See this article in the LA Times. She just gave birth to octuplets.

Wait - first let's clear something up. Do I sound judgemental? Well I am. I am judging her. I am judging her based on very little information, absolutely no knowledge of her as a person and no experience with having children myself. I am doing what we all do - forming an opinion based on my own experiences, my personal values and my own world view. So here I go.

I believe whole-heartedly that she absolutely has the right to make her own decisions about such things in her life. But FOR GOODNESS' SAKE, WHY?!?!? Was six really not enough? Was adoption or foster parenting ever a consideration?

I am certain that religion plays a part in this. Some religions promote the idea of big families as not just a blessing, but as some sort of obligation, and in a few cases as a prerequisite for salvation. Hey, I am one of five children and my Mom is one of fourteen. I am sure the Catholic Church's stance on birth control had a hand in that.

I just hope it wasn't a case of her feeling like she wasn't performing her duty as a woman when she couldn't naturally have a seventh child. Or that she wasn't meeting the expectations of her God, her church or her family. It would be a shame for her to think of her life as lacking, when really it was already so full.

Even though I firmly believe that we all get to make our own decisions in life, a part of me is angry at this mother of now fourteen kids. There are so many children in this country who need to be adopted. A large, loving family would be the perfect place for one of these children to be nurtured and raised. The alternative is a life of multiple foster homes, group homes and growing up with the feeling of never really having a home.

Can you imagine that in your own life? Picture yourself at age 2 or 3 or 4. Now wipe out your entire family. They don't exist. You are alone in this world. There are 130,000 children in the United States experiencing that right now. They are waiting to be adopted and many never are. (

I am also angry at the pervasive idea that if you can't have children of your own, that you are somehow broken or deficient and your life will have less meaning. I write this as a woman who has just turned forty and has no kids. I don't know if I will ever have children. And even I wonder if it means that there will be an emptiness in my life - an unfulfilled longing or and aching void at the center of my soul that will make me feel that my journey on this earth was ultimately without purpose.

A part of me does buy into the notion that I will be less than...lacking...inadequate. I don't want to feel this way. I want to believe that I can be fulfilled and find true peace and satisfaction without ever giving birth. That everything else I offer in this life - my love, compassion, friendship and even my struggles and pain - will add up to something truly meaningful. That it will all somehow be enough.

I don't have the answer right now. But soon enough, one way or another, I will find out.

As for this new mother of octuplets, while I don't understand her decisions, I do wish her and her family nothing but joy in their days ahead. There are eight new souls in this world and now they all have the chance to find meaning and happiness in their own lives. I wish them luck.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Here is the outcome of the jury trial that I was almost picked for:

Gunman Sent to Prison for Normal Heights Gas Station Shooting

I'm glad I was not picked for this jury. Even if he is guilty, I would feel bad to send such a young person to prison for so long. You just know he's not going to come out any better.

Yes, yes...go ahead and say it - Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. I know. I still would feel bad.

Quakers believe that there is "an inward light, a spark of the Divine, that of God in every person." If that is true then this young man, in spite of what he has done, deserves compassion.

I'm with the Quakers on this one.

(Quote from American Friends Service Committee)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yesterday's raindrops

Click on pictures for larger view.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Favorite Interventionist

I watch Intervention on A&E. Obsessively. But it's not like I'm addicted or anything. I can stop any time I want. But I won't. (And you can't make me.)

My favorite interventionist (and the one you should call if I ever start to hit the crack pipe) is Mr. Ken Seeley. Oh, there are other interventionists on the show, but Ken's the one for me. And not just because of that raspy voice or his neatly trimmed sideburns.

Candy Finnigan has that no-nonsense attitude mixed with healthy dose of maternal concern. She won't take any crap from you, but she manages to make you feel like she genuinely cares the whole time.

Jeff VanV has the ultra-laid back attitude. He seems to be thinking, "Hey, I can get you into a treatment center that will rescue you from the hell that you have been living and save your life. Or I can just go get a sandwich. Either way. Doesn't matter to me." Jeff does care about the addicts and their families. He's just got that mellow, low-pressure approach.

But Ken Seeley is not fooling around, man. He has an unceasing intensity about him every moment of the intervention. He's staring down the addicts with a somber intensity and every molecule of his being is pulsing with a ferocious concern for their lives. There is a tension in his body. Like he knows that he has to sit back and let the addict make his own choice, but he really wants to jump over the cheap, hotel coffee table, grab the addict by the shoulders and scream, "Don't you see what you are doing to yourself?!?! Look at what you are doing to your FAMILY! WAKE UP, MAN!"

But he doesn't. Like the other interventionists, he relies on the family and friends to speak to the addict and hopes that the power of their love can reach the person behind the addiction. It is a very intense and emotional show. Isn't it a shame that it takes such a crisis in their lives for people to be able to share their deepest emotions with the people they love?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weather, Walk, Work and Tempeh

It was 80 degrees here today. Went for a walk in the park this morning and saw some deer.

Sorry, I haven't been blogging lately. I worked 40-45 hours this past week. Tough life I have, huh? I had been working about 28 hours because the economy is kicking our ass a
nd we had to cut everyone's time. If our sales don't increase soon, we'll have to lay off a couple more people. But I'm an optimist. I think we'll make it.

This week I worked extra hours because someone was out with a back injury all week and I had to fill in for her. But also because I got absorbed in some of my projects and just kept going. I do that sometimes. I'm such a good worker bee. It's a little bit obsessive.

I realize that when I work a full 8-hour day, I just don't have the creative energy it takes to blog. Yes, I know. You people with multiple children at home must really be feeling sorry for me right now.

Today I am going to try to make
Herbed Bulgur-Lentil Pilaf and cook up some Tempeh to go with it. No meat gloves needed today.

According to
Tempeh Info Website, tempeh is "a fermented food made by the controlled fermentation of cooked soybeans with a Rhizopus mold (tempeh starter)." YUM!

I've had it before. It is good. I swear, one of these days I'll become a vegetarian.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


WWYD = What would YOU do?

Ethical dilemma #1

I buy my shampoo and conditioner from this online store - Hashem, the guy who cuts my hair (my stylist?) got me hooked on this Italian brand of hair care products - Davines. I know, I know.... you wouldn't look at me and think that I buy fancy-shmancy European shampoo, but I do. Just one of the many contradictions that makes me who I am.

They were having a big sale so I bought a bunch of shampoo and conditioner at once. One of the plastic conditioner bottles cracked and leaked all over the box when they shipped it. I called them and they told me to return the broken bottle. I returned it with the packing list and filled out the information on the back to let them know that it was damaged during shipping. I checked the box on the form that said I wanted a refund instead of an exchange, because I didn't need them to ship me another bottle.

The packing list that I sent back showed a quantity of four, which is the original quantity that I ordered. But I only returned one broken bottle. They have credited my credit card for all four bottles, instead of giving me a credit for just the one that I returned.

Should I call them to let them know that they made a mistake?

I could rationalize that it was the company's error and therefore not my problem. If their employee made a mistake and entered my return incorrectly, that is their issue. Why should I have to expend any energy to correct it? I didn't do anything to actively try to deceive the company, so it isn't stealing, right?

Or I could say that it just isn't right that I got something that I didn't pay for. I have the three other bottles of conditioner and I should pay for them. It won't take that much for me to just call them up and let them know their mistake.

Ethical dilemma #2

I went to Target to try to find something to better organize the top of our desk. I found a wire organizer that I thought would work well. Then I noticed that it was damaged - one of the corners was bent out of shape. It couldn't be fixed, but it was still perfectly usable. I asked an employee if there was a discount on it because it was damaged. He said that you usually get 10% off and they would ring it up at the register.

I brought the organizer to the check-out lane, showed the man at the register the damage and told him that I was told there would be a discount. I deliberately did NOT say that the other employee told me it was a 10% discount. He looked up the price and saw that it normally sells for $19.99. He said he could offer it to me for $9.00. I said sure!

Was it wrong of me not to tell the guy at the register that the other employee had told me 10% off?

The Target employee in the aisle told me that the discount for damage was usually 10%. He did not say that it was always 10%. Obviously the employee at the register is allowed to exercise some discretion about how much he could charge me for the damaged item. Either one of those employees could have been wrong. It was not up to me to speak up so that I get the smallest discount if Target's policies are not clearly defined, even to its own employees.

But should I have said to the employee at the register that the other employee had told me 10%, because that it was I believed to be true when I decided to purchase the item?

Shades of gray

I consider myself an honest and ethical person and I would imagine that most of us feel that way about ourselves. There are certain things that are easy to define as right and wrong.

My pocketbook was once stolen out of our booth at a trade show, while we were all right there in the booth. It made me so angry. How could a person do that and live with himself? The sympathetic, liberal in me was squashed by my inner, right-wing nut job who wanted to exact revenge on this person. I imagined all sorts of horrible outcomes for this loser who had stolen from me. Maybe he'll use my money to get a taxi that will CRASH AND BURN! Maybe he'll buy some gum and CHOKE ON IT!

I once dropped my wallet out of my car as I parked in front of my apartment in San Francisco. Later, it was returned to me by a prostitute. One of the "ladies" who frequented a nearby corner at night actually took the time to ring the buzzer to my apartment to try to find me and return my wallet. ( I miss Lower Nob Hill.)

In these two examples there is clearly someone doing the right thing and someone doing the wrong thing. It is easy to distinguish between right and wrong when confronted with big issues. Don't kill. Don't steal. Don't hurt others. Simple, right? But what about the little things that arise in our daily lives? That is where we get into shades of gray. We all draw the lines in slightly different ways to suit our own ideas about what is honest or what is fair.

I would never steal money from a person, even if they were dropping hundred dollar bills as they walked in front of me. I would also never walk out of a store with something that I hadn't paid for. But in my two dilemmas, will I let myself get away with things, just because I can? Will I let myself off on a technicality?

Discuss amongst yourselves. I'll let you know my decisions on another day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bug of the Week!

(Okay, so it's more like Bug of the Month, but it took me a long time to do this picture with the words and the weird font with the different colors and I'm not changing it!)

tiny, out-of-focus spider
suspended above the leaves
motionless and quiet
I am tall and shaky
How can I capture your stillness?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Classy Broad

My boss gave me a bottle of champagne for New Years. I wouldn't know a good bottle of wine if you clunked me over the head with it. He collects wine, so I assumed that it was a high quality bottle of champagne.
It was Marie Stuart Champagne. My many years of French classes have finally paid off because I could translate these words on the label - "Produit de France." It means Product of France. Monsieur Lawrence would be so proud.

I wasn't planning to stay up until midnight and drinking makes me sleepy, so I
decided to open it early just to have a taste. The whole cork in a cage thing was a little scary and I thought about requiring protective eye-wear for all members of the household, but I didn't think I would be able to strap a pair of goggles on the cat, so I just went forward and managed to open the bottle without maiming anyone.

Josh said, "Aren't you supposed to chill it?" It had been sitting on the counter all afternoon. He was right.

But I was too impatient. I only wanted a taste and I wasn't about to wait around for it to get cold. So I grabbed a chilled beer mug out of our freezer.

This is how we drink fine champagne in our house:

Happy New Year!