Saturday, February 28, 2015

Posi Project! Ingredients: Otters otters otters

I've had quite a few snow days lately.  I've also been in a writing funk lately.  So, in an effort to tug myself out of said funk, and think about something other than miserable terrible winter, I put together a tiny posi-project, and the end result was You Otter Know: A Book of Otterly Positive Affirmations.

So that was my latest snow day.  Yep.  Definitely not experiencing the descent into cold winter madness and delirium here!  We're all fine here now!  How are you?

*Yay Creative Commons + royalty free/commercial-use resources.  Stuff that needed credit is credited in the published work where appropriate.  :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A year of questions

I keep starting and stopping blog posts.  Like, hey, I had something to say...and then I trail off.  Truth be told, this post itself will probably only see the light of day after languishing in the draft column forever.

I feel this blanket of indecision these days, largely brought on by questions I don't have answers to -- it's hard to make decisions when decisions aren't yet formed to be made.  All my life I've made pretty solid decisions.  Things haven't always turned out as planned, but what ever does?  The poor decisions we did make, we were able to turn into good things in the end.  A bad-decision house turned into the funds for IVF, etc.  But it's harder to dwell on hypotheticals.  I can make a million decisions in a day, then erase them all.  It gets a little tiring.

Sometimes, I sit with my daughter in my lap and think, this is it -- this is the one baby I will have.  This is it, this is it, this is it.  Not that I want only one -- I want more, for certain.  But there's that question of if.  It's a drumbeat heartbeat beat of wings, the back and forth of this is it and maybe there's more.  Maybe we aren't all here yet.  Maybe there's another daughter or son waiting in the wings.  It's not a question of acting right now.  Just a question of waiting, wondering.

Are we all we will be?

Some days I think we should get a mini-farm, get a horse, let Freddie ride her heart out across fields and in forests, and have the freedom she'll never enjoy in the city because she'll be lucky to walk the dog around the neighborhood alone when she's in high school.  Other days I remember I really like being able to pop out and go to a downtown bakery or pub in a few minutes and god, what a bummer rural living is with its lack of immediately available fig-and-cheese croissants and cocktails made by people who aren't me.  I remember such suffering!  I SOBBED BECAUSE BRUNCH WASN'T EASILY ATTAINABLE for god-sakes.  I would do well to acknowledge my known vices and accept that I need to dwell within a certain proximity of them.

Where will we settle?  Where will we land?  Where will we dig in our heels, dig deep, bury bulbs?  

Professionally, I want to learn to do more -- learn to code, or something.  But I'm 28 and I feel like my coding time has passed.  Like learning Spanish or ASL well, it would have been better if I'd started early, preferably before I could read.  Do they make Muzzy for Ruby?

Gotta do more, gotta be more.

Am I all I can be?

*ZNH quote via thevanillabeanblog

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A breather

I've been struggling for some time with the age-old problem of wanting to do so much, and not ever having the time to do it -- having it all, or something.  I have to face the fact that if I want to write -- seriously write -- then I have to set aside more time for that.  I have the most time to cut from my blog/noodle around the Internet while I procrastinate writing budget.  I keep starting novels and short stories and I get 500 words in, and then falter.  My Google Drive is where ideas go to die.  It's a novella cemetery in there.  Or would that make it a novella hospice?  Anyway...I'd like to change that.  

So, you know, see you next week when I admit defeat and come stumbling back for the immediate gratification of Internet commentz.

Monday, January 26, 2015

My blog will not be sponsored

Note: I've been thinking this over for a while now, and wanted to note ahead of time that this is not a critique of the thoughtful blogs I follow that occasionally feature sponsored content.  This is a critique on the ridiculousness of some businesses and their blind-throw-stuff-at-the-wall marketing approaches, and blogs that seem to take any sponsorship offer no matter how off-topic for the swagswagswag.  I've seen blogs turn into the equivalent of the dollar bin at Target -- some good stuff here and there, but largely full of crap I could find anywhere, and not worth my time, but dressed up nice to make me think it's worth my time.

So, onward to the main point: in the past few months I must have bumped up in enough reader feeders to suddenly warrant ridiculous sponsor pitch emails -- I guess I hit that magic number of, like, 35 readers or something!  Let me highlight some examples of the things that have landed in my inbox:
  • A service that will supposedly save me $100/month on shaving supplies! Or it would, if I spent $100+ on shaving supplies every month, which I most definitely do not.  I think the last time I bought a set of razors was three months ago.  For like $10.  And it's winter, which means the last time I even shaved my legs at all was like a month ago because I need all the leg fur I can muster to stay warm.  So yeah, no -- not going to have a sponsored post about that!  How could I possibly tell the truth?

Moving on, I also have:
  • A service that sends my husband a box of guy stuff because apparently I don't know what my husband likes.  Look, Box, unless it's going to be a box full of heirloom vegetable seeds and obscure metal albums, I don't think this service is going to impress.  So, nope, not going to feature them as a "sponsor" either.
  • A glass Christmas ornament company whose taste seemed more in line with the Red Hat Society than a 20-something techie.  ...No.
  • I love my glasses, and got a pitch from the company to post about their new frames.  I caved and I replied to that pitch asking for more details.  I needed a new Rx postpartum and said as much, but it turned out they just wanted the ad-space without having any carrot to offer me in exchange.  
I still need a new eyeglass Rx.  If the offer were to contain glasses now though, upon further reflection, I'd still say no.  My blog is not a way for me to rake in a few rando items here and there.  I don't need that swag.  I'm not posting pictures of my daughter alongside shills for stuff just because a company wants me to and offers me stuff in return.  She's not a working model, she's just a kid, and my life is not cheap ad-space.  I don't like the idea of posting stuff for someone else because they're giving me something to do it.

As long as my life is the main point of this blog, people can keep throwing stuff at my inbox wall, and I'm not going to let it stick.  Now, something I would (or already do) actually use, or is relevant, that would be another matter, and I'd STILL be picky about it.  The glasses pitch sounded good for a minute (hey, I wear them and like them) when it landed in my inbox, but then I dug deeper and was like, wait a minute, so you want me to just post about your stuff just...out of the goodness of my heart?  For free?  While you profit?  No, I don't think that's going to be a good fit for me, because my life is not for sale that easily.  I'm not a free billboard.  Thank you!

For a friend?  Sure, of COURSE I'd post their stuff with no thought to my personal stakes.  That's different from large businesses looking for some cheap ad space at my expense.

My blog isn't my main source of income, so I don't feel like I have to do whatever it takes to make sure it pays the bills.  I make $0 off of this blog, and I'm okay with that.  This is not a "well, FINE, I didn't want fame and blog glory and big sponsors anyway, stomp stomp!" post.  I like my career, and the longevity of blog-as-career seems questionable unless you're The Bloggess, bless her.  This blog is just my journal.  If LiveJournal hadn't gone so downhill (damn you Brad, damn you SixApart), I'd go back to literal LJ happily.

I'm not saying I'll never ever have a sponsored post, but by Grabthar's hammer, it would have to be really, really good for me to sway my position.  For example, funds to send me to the Cycling for Libraries Nordic 2015 tour-good (be still my heart, how I wish I could go, ahem ahem...yeah I don't think those sponsors are reading here).  Or a sponsorship to go to infertility advocacy events in DC, which would actually be on topic here.  I like sharing stuff I like and that might be relevant, don't get me wrong -- but sharing stuff I like just cuz is not as quid-pro-quo as some sponsor pitches (and posts I read sometimes) feel.  I've just seen a lot of blogs go downhill once they start accepting whatever, so I'm making a conscious effort to say no to whatevers now, as the stream of whatever keeps trickling into my inbox.  It seems like (dare I say the cliche) a slippery slope.

So keep on trucking, random businesses pitching the same thing to every blogger out there with 35 readers.  You keep sending those pitches, I'll keep chuckling and deleting them.  (Unless they're a cyc4lib sponsorship in which case HELLO NEW FRIEND I AM OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  wink wink.)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Things that are awesome at 6 months (I overuse the word "great"?)

(It takes a lot of attempts to do monthly pictures these days -- I've got quite the cute wiggle worm!)

  • The Happy Sleeper method (you know it's good and hip because they use the narrow YWFT Hannah font on their website) is working really great, and all of a sudden we are all sleeping for longer stretches of time.  I think my body is a little confused at the moment with the sudden uptick in sleep, because I've had insomnia a few times.  Come on self, it really is okay, you can sleep now, shhhhh.  But it's great.  Maybe I need to start using the Sleep Wave method on myself: "It's time to sleep now, self.  I'm right here.  I love you."  Hah.

  • Now that she goes down reliably between 7-7:30PM there's this whole new world of nighttime time.  The other night I plopped down on the couch with some wine, my Secret Garden coloring book (more on that another time but it is marvelous), new colored pencils, and A Bit of Fry and Laurie and chilled out with zero pacifiers to pop back in (because we took them all away like meanies).

  • My baby smiles at everyone.  It's great.

  • She's starting to show, like, preferences for things.  Like a real little human person!  Avocados are apparently no bueno, but sweet potatoes are a tentative go.  More avocado for me!  Everyone is happy with that arrangement.  (We'll try the avocado again soon.  You gotta like guac, kiddo, it's the top food in our house.)

  • Did I mention we're all getting more sleep?  I'm going to mention that again, because it is that great.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sybils, Marigolds, Somedays and Maybes

I need this hat

Well, nuts.

I liked the name Sybil and then it was a hit on Downton Abbey and I'm sure daycares are overrun with Sybils by now so when I was pregnant I was like, WELP, moving on!  So I hounded Patrick for months over the name Marigold.  I fought my Marigold corner hard.  I made pitches like, "We can even use the name Ermengarde which you love so much for some reason as a middle name if you only agree to Marigold!" and "What about Marigold Archimedes?" -- insanity, in the name of winning the Marigold Battle.  Alas, I lost.  I got my botanical in somehow in the form of a middle name (but not Marigold) but I could not sway the guy on Marigold.

And now Downton Abbey has a little one named Marigold, so now I'll never ever win that war AND daycares will be full of little Marigolds reminding me of that fact.

I say this of course like we're going to have gobs of little girls to name and this is some sort of ongoing war.  Far from it!  I'm not expecting or anything!  I go back and forth sometimes, thinking that I don't ever want to go through fertility doctor visits and IVF ever, ever again.  One and done, as they say.  But then I think about the embryo we've got on ice back in Brno, a trillion jillion miles away, and wonder what the ever living fuck we were thinking doing IVF abroad, because now it's always going to be there, waiting, waiting, waiting, very far away.  And it's not even a very good embryo!

It's odd.  Having one, you'd think I'd want to wash my hands of the whole ugly ordeals it takes for us (apparently) to have one, and I'd just be content.  But life and thoughts are messier than that.  Emotions aren't entirely logical, even for someone as cold-hearted and logic-fueled as INTP-me.  Don't get me started on how sometimes I wonder if maybe having one could have jump-started something into working properly -- like, I've had enough random bad luck that maybe I'd have some random good luck and things will just...magically work the way they should now, without a whole heaping pile of help and dollars!  Ah denial, hello.

Maybe someday I'll win that Marigold War.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Luckily for me, we can just keep paying rent on that embryo for now, and put the idea off a while longer.  But that IVF clock ticks faster than regular clocks, it seems.  Success rates and maternal age -- I'm thinking about maternal age and I'm not even 29 yet -- loom large in my thoughts.  What a bunch of hooey.

Anyway.  I'm putting a flag in Marigold, Downton Abbey daycare fuel or no.  I'm not quite ready to wave my white flag yet.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weaning weepies (also, damn you Matt Groening)

I knew this day was hurtling towards me fast, but I didn't think it would actually arrive.  I think I'm done nursing my baby.  It was so hard, and she's been on mostly formula for something like two months now as it is, so you'd think the easing off of it entirely would be okay, but weaning is hard for ME.  I pumped once today and got 1/4 of an ounce.  When I tried to feed her, she would suck, but then after a second or two turn away, fussing (probably because hello, not much going on).

It's okay.  I made it past the 6 month mark.  Limping.  Crawling, really.  But I made it.  More on a technicality than anything, but I made it.  I'm just a little sad, at the end of the day.  I wanted so badly to make it to a year.  I'm sad to lose that snuggling capacity at night.  I know she will still cuddle with me, that I can still comfort her and that we have so much more to add to our mother/daughter relationship, and the loss os this one thing is just that: this one thing.  But I'm still sad to lose this one thing.

I just feel a little wobbly and weepy.  I came across the song that's played in the Futurama episode where Leela finds out her parents loved her all along, and I just quietly let the tears roll.  Sitting there in the rocking chair, big sad tears were streaming down my face because HAVE YOU SEEN THAT EPISODE?!  And also weaning.  Damn you weaning.  And damn you Matt Groening.