Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Hi, I'm Star. And since June, I have been battling depression and anxiety.

This is kind of a big deal for me to write. I don't like admitting negatives about myself. I don't like seeking help. I am independent to a fault. And I certainly don't like admitting that something was wrong with me. I hold my own shit down. I'm tough like that.

Except when I'm not.

Depression and anxiety are dark and dismal things that I have fought before. For a very, very long time I was victorious in removing them from my life. And then I no longer was.

This is the first instance of this variety where I thought I would truly need medication to fix myself. I didn't wind up getting on anything, but I quite frankly should have. I was in a very dangerous place for way too long. Pride didn't prevent me from seeking qualified help, but lack of money did. Instead of medication I drank too much and ate too much crap and behaved stupidly and loathed myself. I wouldn't advise it - I imagine Prozac is much nicer.

There were days where everything was all wrong and I was unable to find joy in a single thing that I saw. These were the worst. Not even my children could make me happy. Getting out of bed was a struggle. Existence seemed so wearying. There were days where I could function for normally for hours and then be brought to my figurative knees with crushing waves of sadness for everything and everyone on Earth. I spent two hours one night crying over global warming, and while I do love the Earth, that was completely and totally abnormal. For a month straight I cried myself to sleep nightly. Please understand that there was nothing that occurred in my life that was so incredibly, incurably traumatic that any of this was necessary. Although I went through some rough patches this year, these are not normally things that would have done this to me. Other episodes of depression happened at much more logical times, so it all still confuses me. I want to find logical reasons for feeling this way, and yet there really weren't any.

I believe that I am through the worst now. I am not saying I never get moments of anxiousness or unexpected sadness, but I can feel normal things now too. I find beauty in life again, and I can face problems without feeling like they're all insurmountable and wretched. I am no longer faking it when I act like I am tough and confident - I actually feel tough and confident again. I had a few friends who went above and beyond to throw life rafts to my sinking ship, and I thank them more than they can imagine. Although I did not contemplate suicide during this, I still feel as though you saved my life by reminding me that I am important and valuable even when I am a wreck. Thanks for listening through the incoherent crying and trying to discern what the fuck was wrong with me. Thanks for reminding me that it all gets better.

If you are suffering with depression, temporary, long term, whatever, please know that it does get better. And the world is a more wonderful place with you in it, even if you don't realize it right now. And if you have the chance, take the damn drugs. You're not a hero for getting through it without them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I punched the fridge. it's ok - it's not a rental, but our fridge in the rental. So I didn't destroy anything that could cost me money. So that's good. On the negative side, I definitely have no insurance and a swollen, numb hand. That part is less awesome.

I show my appliances tough love.

What does loyalty mean to you, my reader? What about love? How's that one go? 'Cuz, let me tell you, neither of those two things is going too swell for me right now.

I don't want to sound emo, or like I'm complaining. I mean, I kind of am both, but, quite honestly, I'm just done with it right now. I'm too jaded to spend too long caring right now. I'm too broken to believe and hope today.

I'm pretty pragmatic about love. I don't expect a fairy tale. I don't expect a dozen roses and a white knight and a rescue. I can rescue myself. I expect companionship and shared interests and the ability to grow with someone. I don't expect that we will always grow in the same patterns or ways, just that we will encourage and support the growth of each other. I expect someone that I can laugh with, and be stupid around. I expect someone who has my back. I expect someone to be secure enough about themselves and in themselves to let me be me and I'll return the favor. I expect a partner.

Maybe I am asking too much.

I feel like I am the flaw somehow here. Like there is something missing in me that doesn't inspire these things. I don't know.

Tonight I'll do schoolwork and tuck my baby in bed and cry and consider drinking and then think better of it. I'll shower off the makeup and grime of the day, and I'll go to bed, and I'll try to silence the rhetoric in my head. And maybe tomorrow this will all make sense and I won't feel so incredibly alone and beaten down.

I'll get through another day. And eventually I'll make sense.

Monday, September 26, 2011


So those of you who have read my blogs for awhile know that I used to be over 300 pounds. I was also pretty vastly unattractive for 90% of my pubescent years. I was the chubby girl with terrible hair (thanks, many poodle-y perms!) from, oh, fifth grade to probably freshman year in high school. And I was still chunky then, I just happened to make a friend who convinced me to ditch the perms and wear semi-cute clothes. High school mostly remained a sea of feeling shitty about myself, though. I'm not complaining about this, readers. I don't think anyone has a fantastic high school experience. Hell, one of the people I thought had the time of her life in high school has since mentioned that she hated herself then and felt pretty uncomfortable.

Anyways, I gained a lot of weight in high school, and then even more after that. Part of it was legitimate medical reasons - I was on a lot of steroids for asthma for a long time and I pretty much ate everything in sight - but the majority of it was eating a bunch of awful food - made easier by the fact that I pretty much always ate fast food, since I was broke and that's where I worked.

I made noises for years about wanting to lose weight and such, but I never really did anything about it. I'd eat healthy for four seconds or work out sporadically and then be annoyed when, magically, weight didn't roll right off of me. Because that's totally reasonable to think, yeah?

I'd pretty much resigned myself to being the fat girl forever. It's very strange to not be any more.

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't go back to 300+ pounds for anything, and I enjoy being a healthy size. But it's still really surreal. When I look at pictures of myself, I get confused sometimes because I appear thinner in them than I see myself as. If I gain back anything over 5 pounds, I freak out a little bit. When I go clothes shopping, I have a hard time shopping the right size. Sometimes, I feel like an imposter in those sections. Like the other people looking there are wondering why I'm in that section, as I am clearly too large for it.

It's kind of a mind fuck.

People calling me hot is strange, too. I mean, quite frankly, I decided forever ago that I was attractive and then just acted the part. If other people didn't think so, well, fuck them. I was sexy as hell and they could get over it. My self esteem is not an issue. I'm just not used to so many people agreeing with it. Sometimes I find myself slightly irked by it, like, "Hey, I'm pretty sure you knew me before, and I was JUST AS COOL THEN. Really, the excess poundage made that impossible for you to see? What the hell?"

When I'm more practical, I realize that people can't really help what they are or are not attracted to, and I should really stop seeing that as a personal offense, since it's obviously not.

I don't really know how to end this blog. It's really just kind of a stream of consciousness at this point. STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESSES DON'T HAVE PAT ENDINGS, Y'ALL.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Hear you me my friends"

This morning, I had never heard of Troy Davis.

My first indication that he existed was a Tweet about him. I only went on Twitter, mind you, to escape the annoyingness of Facebook's changes.

Please note: I have been a feverent believer in the death penalty for a long time. You do something awful, there's no shadow of a doubt, you should die.

So I started looking up the facts of Troy Davis's case skeptically. I read, all day, various different sources and accounts and such about him and his case. And what I read disturbed me.

Davis was convicted of killing an off duty cop in 1991. There was eyewitness testimony. This was the basis of his conviction.

Except that many witnesses signed affidavits stating that they were coerced into police into providing the testimonies. Seven recanted - many were illiterate, in prison, or teenagers when their testimony sent Davis to Death Row. Nine people stated that it was the other suspect who had actually killed the police officer. There was no physical evidence.

You see, justice isn't supposed to fail. We're not supposed to kill people when things like this happen. The justice system is supposed to correct these kinds of errors in appeals. Or they aren't supposed to happen at all.

And yet at 11:08pm EST, after being denied a stay, Troy Davis was executed. His death is a tragedy and a travesty. There was too much doubt to make his execution right, just or good. I don't know what kind of a man he was at his core. I will not call him a hero or perfect or beyond reproach. But I do not believe we had enough evidence to brand him a murderer, or to take his own life.

And so tonight I sit, weeping for someone I have never met, someone who may have died at the hands of the people as a total innocent. And I find myself reevaluating my stance on the death penalty. Because how many other Troy Davises are out there? How many other people are poor or minorities and can't get a fair shake at things?

Even one innocent life lost at the hands of the system is too cruel of a price.

Tonight, I am asking all of my friends to look at The Innocence Project. It's getting some heavy traffic tonight and may be slow to load. But they help wrongly convicted people be exonerated. It's a worthy and good cause.

RIP Troy Davis. "The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have a gun. I did not personally kill your son, father or brother. I am innocent. Look deeper into this case, so you can really find the truth. For those who are about to take my life, may god have mercy upon your souls and may god bless your souls."

May angels lead you in.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Hi, I'm Star, and I have not slept more than 4 uninterrupted hours in about two years now.

My kid, you see, thwarted that at the end of my pregnancy, and continues to thwart it by night nursing like constantly.

Sleep and I are also at an odds. I mean, I've read all the studies. I know I'm, like, prematurely aging myself and probably inviting coronary disease and all sorts of nonsense by not sleeping enough (I average like six hours a night.) And my body wants sleep. Desperately.

But sleeping feels like something that's a luxury. Once I wake up, I can't nap or anything. Feels irresponsible. I've got shit to do, y'all. Also, I like doing things. I want to get my tasks for the day completed and then I want to have some time FOR ME. Frivolous time, where I do what I want. And that doesn't include sleeping. Especially not with a baby starfish who manages to take up 90% of my bed WHEN SHE'S NOT EVEN TWO.

Why is she still in my bed, you ask? Please refer back to waking up half the night to nurse. I could night wean her, but from my limited attempts, I can already tell that this is going to be a particularly awful brand of utter and complete hell. If I can roll over and nurse her and dose off, SO much better than getting out of bed to actually nurse her and put her somewhere else. I'm lazy!
But my freaking god, I would cut someone for 8 uninterrupted, non-bed-hogged hours.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm better than Hallmark at greeting cards. Sort of.

When I moved to Missouri, one of the things I loved were the old plantation house looking places. You see, I'm this huge nerd for Gone With the Wind (the book - I've never seen the whole movie because my devotion to the book is that slavish) and they made me think of how I pictured her plantation and those around it.

There's one architectural feature that I especially love about those homes, and it is the columns on the porches. I love those. I know not a damn thing about architecture, but those columns always seemed full of such beauty and strength and grace. It felt like, they, singlehandedly, held up that entire damn house. The elements don't bother those columns at all. They thumb their nose at the wind and rain and baking down sun. "I got this," they say. "You can't make me fall. I'm holding up a motherfucking house here." And they continue on in their quiet strength, making the world a more structurally sound place.

A few years ago, I worked for a publishing company. There I met this chick. And I was, in typical fashion, a smart ass. She tossed back an equally sarcastic remark to me like it was nothing. And I've adored her ever since.

You, my dear friend, are a column on a plantation house. You are gorgeous and amazing and you bear burdens that would cripple most people and you do it like it's nothing. You are brilliant and hilarious and you are always putting other people first. You humble everyone around you with your awesomeness. Never underestimate your impact on the world. You make it a better place for everyone who knows you.

And on this day, your birthday, you deserve hearts and flowers and sunshine and roses. Or maybe horses and motorcycles. Whatever is your fancy.

I hope it is grand. Happy birthday, Atina.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I am not a person who does things by halves, generally. If I get in a mood to, say, extensively clean my house, I will be on my hands and knees scrubbing tiles with a toothbrush. If I love you, I would pretty much do anything short of homicide for you. And if I genuinely hate you (not an emotion I truly feel often,) you should probably pray we never meet in a dark alley.

Running is hard for me. My normal, me-like inclination is to go balls out on it. Run like demons are chasing me. Run hard enough that I can't think of anything but my feet on the pavement. Fast and hard.

Running is not a balls out exercise. It's something where you have to know when to push yourself and when to throttle back. I am amazing at pushing myself; I am awful at throttling back. Especially since part of why I like running is the fact that it does push the thoughts out of my head. The faster I run, the more that happens.

But I am just starting, really, and I have to learn to be patient, too. Another virtue I lack.

I really look forward to the day that I can maintain the pace that I want. Until then, I work on knowing my limits.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nonsense, mostly

Blogger just told me this blog has 100 posts. So that's fun. Some of you (ok, probably none of you) have read my nonsense 100 times. Go me. Or you. Something.

But the problem that I run into here, kind of, is that you all know me. So I can't ever talk about the shit I want to talk about. So I keep being tempted to create a huge fake persona, and write a fake blog that's actually all of the real, honest shit about my life. But I'm an actual real person, and only like 5 people give a shit what I write on here. My fake person would just be one of a sea of billions of stupid blogs and no one would care. And it's not simply the catharsis of writing that appeals to me, but the connection. I like blogs that I read because I get it, because there's this thing, the "I can relate to that!" feeling. It's the thing that would be missing if I was fake. Because what would I do to cultivate a readership if I made a fake account? Make a fake Facebook? Fake meet fake people and then urge them to read my shit? Post my own shit on my real Facebook and just disavow writing it?

You see why this is problematic?

This is the place, on the interwebs, where I'm probably the most honest, and I'm not even that honest here anymore. Because honesty can be used against you. Honesty leads to vulnerability which leads to other people fucking with you. And I have seriously no time for that shit. I get myself into enough shit on a daily basis, I don't need you to throw me into any, too.

Not you like you guys. Just in general.

This is another pretty nonsensical blog, I'm sure. Lately, that's the only time I'm compelled to write. Because by typing things out, clean black words on a blank white screen, everything is supposed to make sense again. Or at least feel less. "Less what, Star. You left out a word." No, I didn't. Just less.

I had this conversation today with someone about various things. A lot of it was random bullshit. And some of it was really incredibly nice stuff about me, which I utterly and honestly deserve none of. Truth. But this person is a goddamn champion, and subsequently, I want to direct said person to this blog. Because that is how people see you. I know it seems all romantic and you might extract the romantic connotations, but other than that, yeah. You wake up rooms. You have absolutely no idea you do it, either, and it cracks me up. Anyways, this is my momentary shout out to you, my friend. *raises wine glass*

Monday, September 5, 2011


Loss is a strange motherfucker.

We talk about losing things a lot. Sometimes they're tangible; money, a pen, a pet, a person. Sometimes they're intangible; faith, hope, love, dignity. Which is worse? Hell, I don't know. I don't even know if "intangible" is a real word or if I just made that shit completely up. It's something I would do.

I feel a lot of loss lately, and the weird part is that I'm not even certain what I'm actually mourning here. Or if I'm even mourning it at all. Is there sadness in that bitterness and regret, or is it something else? Is this exhaustion of the soul simply proceeding my rise from the ashes, a phoenix in stilettos?

Fuck if I know.

I know, this blog is rambling and strange and emo and possibly a little off-putting. If I have no earthly idea what I'm trying to say, however will the seventeen of you that actually read this drivel?

And don't worry. This is random and strange, but not some odd internet manifesto before I off myself or something like that. That will never happen. I'm not broken. I still have worth. This I know.

But I miss things, both tangible and intangible, right now. So much so that sometimes the loss overwhelms me and I just want to cry. Fun fact: it's difficult for me to cry more than one or two tears in general lately. At least for things concerning me. For things like kidnapped or abused kids states away, or other people's losses, I can produce floods of them. For myself, they refuse to come. I find it hard to be vulnerable. This blog is probably as close as it gets, and I don't even know if I'll hit publish. I have about 7 other posts that I've started that remain in my edits because I just can't share whatever they are about. Too personal, too much, too painful.

So now I'll finish this, as confused as I started it. "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bodies and Sex and Boobs Oh My

I got into a Facebook discussion today about breastfeeding, and one of my friends said that she was grossed out by breastfeeding, because she always saw her breasts as sexual and she couldn't get past that. (I want to segue for a second here to say that this friend is very pro other people breastfeeding, this was just something she couldn't do.)

I actually hear this a lot. I would say that two to five times a week, I have people expressing concerns about feeding a baby with a part of their body that has, until now, been totally sexual for them.

I could go into a discussion about how sexualized the breast is in the Western world and how sad it is that women can only see them in a sexual manner - but that's not where I want to go with this.

Instead, I want to talk about the fun contradiction of being a girl.

Please understand - I LOVE being a chick. Love it. I love long hair and nails and makeup. I adore glitter and the color pink and clothes and heels. Big sunglasses? Jewelry? Skinny jeans? Sign me up for all of it. And being/looking sexy? I love it. I consider myself super hot, thankyouverymuch, and I have confidence in spades in most situations.

And this is often a problem for some people. Although we sexualize everything in our culture, heaven forbid you fall outside of the realm of acceptable sexy to anyone. Then you're a whore. A slut. A skank. A number of other words that have been thrown at me, and probably most of the rest of the people with vaginas who are reading this blog. We want a gorgeous half naked girl draped artistically in our perfume ad, but put a real girl in a low cut shirt and, damn - can we even handle that? She's a whore, or she's just tempting men into illicitness and we should probably, like, burn her at the stake.

I own my sexuality and I am unashamed. I also have more male than female friends in real life, and they have never once been unable to handle being around me without molesting me. It's sheer insanity. I can hang out with them in short skirts or cleavage baring stuff and be ok. Could it be that men are actually not animals and are able to function around sexiness - just like women can function around hot men without literally ripping their clothes off? Gasp. In fact, the very few times someone has crossed the line with me, it's my guy friends who have been like, "Um, no. Not ok. You need to respect our friend."

And could it maybe be that our own issues of inadequacy - spawned from the societal contradictions out there - that those are the reasons that we brand other women whores and sluts? Because it's us doing it, girls. I can count on one hand the number of times a guy has called me a whore or slut. In thirty years, less than five is not actually a massive number. I could not, however, even begin to put a number on the amount of times that a girl has labeled me that. I can say that it would require me to be an utter freak of nature to even begin, because it's for sure more than twenty. And for what? What benefit does all the slut-shaming and whore calling do to us? It doesn't make us more attractive, or nicer, or smarter. It doesn't solve the very real feminist issues out there. It doesn't keep little girls from learning that their bodies aren't good enough in any form ever and that they should both fear and loathe them. It does give a really nice out to the douchebags out there who use it when they hurt or rape girls, though. I mean, if she's a whore, she was asking for it, right? For those of you who think only miscreants use that defense and everyone sees through it, you're wrong.

Then you have the other side of the coin. The breastfeeding side. The side where OMFG vaginas and boobs have non-sexual purposes. We're pretty uncomfortable with our biological functions, too. A breastfeeding woman is too indecent to have around boys, and she should be covering that shit up to not corrupt youth and also, again, entice men to stray. Jesus, men, I'm so sorry for you. We really seem to buy that you just cannot keep that shit in your pants ever. While I'm sure that this gives a great out to some douches out there, I imagine that most of you kind of hate it all. Anyways. Breastfeeding moms, they're gonna glamourize pregnancy and make men go into fits of sexual insanity, and break up families and corrupt the youth of the nation. FOR REALS YOU ALL. It's just bad. I mean, you're a mom now. You can't have boobs! Not even functional ones! Go put on your mom jeans and stop making people uncomfortable.

So there you have it. If you're too sexy, you're screwed. Showing the biological side of a sexual part? Screwed. And if you, like me, do both - dear god, I'm not even sure what to call us. Super mega extra ninja sluts. Destroying the fabric of America. WORSE THAN THE GAYS.

Ladies, it is time to take our sexuality and our biology back. It is time that we relearn confidence in ourselves and our bodies. It's time that we realize that NO ONE is the Madonna OR The Whore, and that we are all delightful combinations of various different things. It is time that we stop pigeonholing ourselves and each other and truly loving our bodies and ourselves for what we are and what we do. And it is way beyond time that we shut up with the slut/whore nonsense.

I am whatever you say I am.

I really, really didn't want to write this blog post.

I agonized over whether or not to bother. I went back and forth. And if I did write it, how should I write it? Sometimes I envisioned it as being just full of vicious rhetoric and avengeyness (it's a word, I just typed it.) Sometimes I envisioned just clearing my name.

It will be neither of those.

Here's all I want to say on this: There's a LOT of shit being talked about me right now. It's not the first time, and it very likely won't be the last. However, there are several sides to this story, and most haven't heard mine. I'm not going to tell it here. This isn't an expose and I am weary of the entire goddamned topic by now. If you want to believe what's being said, that's your choice. You can go on, you can hate me, you can also talk shit. That's all you. Delete me on Facebook, stop talking to me. Will it hurt my feelings? Perhaps marginally. But I'm gonna choose to focus on the other people, the ones who've said, "Yeah, I heard this, but I know that can't be the whole story because it makes no sense," or those who have said, "You know what? I'm not going to get involved; I'm just going to be Switzerland* here and let everyone else figure out their shit." Those people are awesome.

Besides, I discovered long ago one thing - when you sling mud, you get fucking covered in the shit. Doesn't take too long until people are turning it back on you, wondering how, if you're so squeaky clean, you got all that mess on your shoes. I've been burned in that respect more than once. I'm almost thirty now and I'm getting to the point where I feel like a pathetic loser when I court drama.

And before anyone freaks the fuck out thinking that this blog or any part of it is some kind of dig against anyone, it's not. When I'm a bitch, I am far less subtle about it.

Comments are closed on this, because the entire subject is closed as far as I'm concerned.

(*Thanks to the lovely Karina for pointing out that I used the wrong country here. Because I am a nerd lol.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We are all Habiba

Imagine that you are the mother of a 15 month old.

Not a stretch for many of the people I know.

Now imagine that you have fallen on awfully hard times.

Again, not a stretch for some of you.

Imagine that you have lost your home. You and your child are without shelter, without work, scared, alone. You have left an abusive partner.

So you suck up your pride. After all, you have a child to think of. A child that you love, a child that deserves the best. And even though things are pretty grim, you have to take care of your baby. That's the important thing. It would be for me, at least, and I imagine for every parent out there. Your kid comes first. So you go to a shelter. You go there because it is your last hope. Because you dream of a better life, but you seriously need help now.

And so you go there. And you try to comply with what they say to do. But they tell you you have to wean your baby. And your baby is probably a little freaked out by the change - toddlers don't handle them well, after all - and weaning is stressful. Stressful to the baby. Stressful to you. So you refuse. Because, really, it's BREASTMILK. Nursing is recommended by the World Health Organization until at least age two - the average world weaning age is three to four. Even your country's top physicians recommend it. And, being in a group home situation, what is better for your baby than immune protection tailored to her environment? After all, it's not like you have tons of money to go ahead and get medical care.

It is with this reasoning that you politely refuse to wean.

And with that, you are plunged into a nightmare.

Your daughter, your sweet, 15 month old child who knows no other care provider and has not been separated from you, is ripped away. You are kicked out of the home while your child is kept from you. Your breasts swell, used to being relieved by nursing. Your child is presumably a wreck - kiddos don't do well removed from a loving caregiver. You are a wreck. SOMEONE HAS TAKEN YOUR CHILD. You were not given the chance to say goodbye or to plead your case.

Now imagine that in the past 14 days, you have seen your precious child for 2 hours total. Imagine how you explain to your baby why she is with someone else. Imagine how you feel when she is taken away again after a short visit. Imagine being a fit parent, whose only crime was being poor. Now tell me how you feel. Tell me if this is ok.

Yet this is the exact scenario faced by a young mother in Spain. I am ashamed, today, to admit my Spanish decent. I am ashamed that the country of my ancestors is allowing something so cruel and tragic and anti-family. Anti-child. Anti-mother.

If you are human, you cannot help but think that this is horrible. If you are a parent, you cannot help but feel for this mother. If you have ever been economically disadvantaged, you know how powerless you already feel and how terrible this is.

If you have a heart, it is breaking for Habiba.

Please, please, please my friends. Please sign this petition to help this mom get her child back. Please help reunite this family. Please take a stand for basic human rights.

(If you are having a hard time on the site, since the actual signing part is in Spanish: nombre=first name. Apellido = last name. Tu correo-e = e-mail address. Cód. Postal = zip code. Click the little box to accept the terms and then click Firma la peticion.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Another Childbirth Blog

I hopped on the treadmill yesterday at work. Typically, if I have 15 minutes to do this, I catch up on breastfeeding stuff or listen to a breastfeeding podcast so that I don't feel like a giant slacker, but yesterday my podcast wouldn't work. So I grabbed an old issue of Self magazine. And I found this article. For those of you who don't want to read it (but you should, it's good), it examines childbirth, mostly from the perspective of the author, who had a very traumatic birth experience. As I was reading it, I came across this quote:

"By now, one movie, two books, four doulas and approximately 15 mothers had told me that my traumatic birth was my fault, the problems all stemming from my not believing in my body...Would we ever tell someone whose liver has failed that it was because she didn't believe in it?"

THAT. That is the problem with labor and delivery and birth and judgment. Right there.

I mean, just take a look at some of the comments with this online version:

"I'm so disappointed in this article. The author is ignorant and ill-prepared to write on such an issue."

"she is not to blame for her traumatic birth (which to me sounds like every recount of any hospital birth I have ever heard) because she didn't trust her body but because she was VERY uneducated about the whole process. You researched this article more than you researched your birth (and that's not saying much) and you were unprepared and surprised throughout the whole process."

"Women just need to be more assertive with doctors and not let them scare you into the worst possible scenario. Just tell yourself, whose gonna deliver your baby after the apocalypse, its gonna be you and your mate. Be strong ladies and take back your bodies from doctors and the government."

If you don't get the birth you wanted or planned, it shouldn't be your fault. No one else should get to cast judgment on you for it not working out. That's bullshit, right there. I am SO INCREDIBLY SICK of the judgment that comes along with birthing a baby. My friend Summer has told me, several times, that she didn't feel badly about having a c-section at all - until the natural birth advocates made her feel like shit over it by telling her how it was all her fault. If you're reading this and you're one of those people, please note: you are not helping "the cause." You are, in fact, sounding like a huge tool and everyone but your equally judgy peers secretly dreams of punching you out. Fact. (This isn't the people who gently try to inform people that they should educate themselves, btw - it's the community that goes, "Well, if you hadn't done a,b,c, it would have worked out." YOU HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING THAT SO SHUT UP.)

Should women be empowered and strong and educated? Oh, absolutely. But when you're having waves of contractions and in pain, it's NOT always easy to stand up for yourself, and all the damn research and reading and interviewing and doulas in the world may not help that. Instead of taking about how terrible women are, and how uneducated and untrusting of our bodies we are, why don't we point that finger right back at the practitioners who are taking advantage of this to push women into things they don't want? Why aren't birth advocates asking to speak at med schools, or talking to obs? In rape, if we blame the victim, it's terrible and shameful. In birth, if we do, it's normal. That has GOT to change. Birth is in a terrible state in the US, but we can't fix it by telling every woman how dumb she is.

Sometimes, I hear people advocate this whole idea of how every woman should labor at home with a midwife and everything would be amazing. Utopian but not at all feasible. Not everyone can do that, and, more, not everyone wants that. When I attended doula training, I remember the instructor talking about how, at her first meeting with patients, she had them sketch an ideal birth. Like, if money, and location and even reality weren't barriers, where would they feel most comfortable birthing? She had people draw clouds, and fields, and big giant tubs and plush beds. One woman drew a hospital. She told her that the idea of birthing anywhere else quite frankly terrified her. She had known her doctor all her life; family and friends staffed the hospital; she was confident and happy there. That was her happy place. She went in dilated to a 1 and did, in fact, have a drug free all natural vaginal delivery within 24 hours.

I'm gonna end this blog here, but I do want to leave it with one more quote from the article, from the author of my very favorite pregnancy/birth book:

"I don't understand this phrase 'take back your birth,'" nurse-midwife Pam England, creator of Birthing From Within, a popular book and series of childbirth preparation classes, tells me. "Who took it? What would a woman tell herself it meant about her if she failed to meet the criteria she made up for 'taking back' her birth? I am concerned that this phrase, meant to generate action and a feeling of empowerment, may actually be generated by or feeding the victim part of her."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"It's just easy for you"

So, after 12 1/2 months, I am back down to my pre-pregnancy size.

As many of you know, I struggled with my weight my entire life. I was, after I had Rhiannon, 310 pounds. I lost 170ish pounds, then got knocked up again and gained 70ish back.

Let's do a brief, picture laden recap of Star throughout her weight loss journey here:

Me, not too long before I got preggo with Rhi. About 280 lbs:

Me, pregnant with Rhi. 300+ lbs:

Me, 2 years after having Rhi. 135 lbs (my lowest weight ever - it fluctuated a lot from 135 - 140):

Me, pregnant with Keira. 200 lbs:

Me, probably 1 1/2 months post Keira. I'd say 175/180 lbs:

Me, this weekend. 140 lbs. I consider this pre-pregnancy because this was my typical weight. 135 was the low end of normal for me. I was generally 138-140 lbs:

My boobs are bigger now, but I can totally rock out those jeans in the blonde, skinny Star picture.

Anyways, I was talking to a friend the other day, who REALLY wants to lose weight, and I was explaining how I did it, and encouraging her (more on how I did it in a minute) and she said, "But I'm not like you. It's just easy for you."

Let me break this down for you really quick.

I am the girl with the biggest sweet tooth on the planet. I have two friends on Facebook who regularly talk about food they are making, and I regularly implore them to bring me some. I also LOVE bread. And pasta. And fries. So much. On 25 out of 30 days of every month, I would cut someone for a Cold Stone Birthday Cake Remix. I can sit down with one of those loaves of specialty bread and eat at least three quarters of it in a sitting. And I have asthma, which flares with cardio exercise (which I don't particularly love anyways.)

Yet I lost 170 pounds the first time and 70 this time.

It. Was. NOT. Easy.

The first time around, I did Weight Watchers, which helped me learn better eating habits (which fell to the wayside when I was pregnant.) The second time, I briefly flirted with Weight Watchers again before just charting on My Fitness Pal. Both times, I forced myself to find the time and the energy to work out. For me, this has to be in a gym. I am incapable of staying on track at home - I get easily distracted, I pause things, I walk off, I come back, I check Facebook, I talk to Shane, I stop to watch Modern Family, the kids distract me... I do 20-30 minutes of cardio (usually treadmill and stairmaster, this go around, but treadmill and elliptical before) and then I do strength training. This is important, because if you don't tone after losing a lot of weight, you get flabby. I like strength training more than cardio, for sure. I spend 30-40 minutes here. I do this 4x a week.

As far as eating, I eat around 1300 calories a day. I am still nursing and I am not having any issues producing milk here; however, I would caution nursing moms to cut calories a little at a time. It probably isn't an issue to lose weight while nursing, but most sources will say that especially in the first year you should be no lower than 1500. And if you're eating 2600 a day now, you need to taper that down gradually so you don't kill someone. I eat a lot of greek yogurt, fruits, veggies, and poultry. Turkey and chicken primarily. I have discovered a love of salads (as long as they have plenty of tasty stuff in them.) Our house gets everything whole - whole wheat and whole grains.

I also splurge and eat crap sometimes. I had a shake and brats on Memorial Day. Because that's what I wanted, damn it. You can't cut out what you love. You just have to eat it less.

And there are a lot of healthier variations on the things you love too. The whole wheat pasta is a good example. I've also made tortilla and english muffin pizzas. I've substituted Red Mango for ice cream and yogurt for sour cream. I cut out soda almost completely and now I don't find I want it very much. It's amazing how your tastes actually change to embrace the healthiness if you stick with it.

If you are trying or wanting to try to lose weight, I urge you to go for it. Don't say you can't, don't make excuses, and don't expect it all to fall off instantly. It takes time. But it's so worth it. And if you have any questions, I will happily answer them. And if you do My Fitness Pal, add me - I'm starrod - so I can cheer you on.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Conversations with a Formula Company

So today I was at a conference. Our booth was to promote breastfeeding, of course. We were right next to someone representing Abbott Labs. Abbott, as you may know, makes Similac.

At first, I was actually very impressed. The newest "breastfeeding bag" was displayed. For those of you who don't know, when you have a baby, and you are discharged from the hospital, you get a lovely bag from a formula company. If you are formula feeding, you get one bag; if you're breastfeeding, you get another.

The breastfeeding bag promotes breastfeeding and is full of helpful, beneficial breastfeeding stuff, right? Um, no. Traditionally, they have a supply of formula, coupons for formula, a breastfeeding guide and some breastmilk storage bags that you can use for formula when the formula you're given totally sabotages your supply.

So I was THRILLED to see that the new bag on display had NO FORMULA in it.

"Is that what you guys are giving out?" I asked the guy behind the table.

"Um, yeah. I think. I don't really handle the hospital part."

"But...it doesn't have formula! That's like ethical."

He looked at me in utter confusion at that. Poor man. Anyways, he said, "Well, I think we're moving away from promoting in the hospitals so much." (italics mine. He didn't say that all weirdly.)

I. Was. So. Excited. As some of you know, "breastmilk bags" are the bane of the lactation consultant's existence. They contain just enough formula, as I said, to sabotage a new mom's supply. And they sit there in your cupboards, seductively calling you in the early days when you're tired and confused and unsure of yourself. And maybe it's overnight and you're scared, and not sure who to call of even if you can call anyone. So you use it. And since formula is a heavier meal (like Thanksgiving vs. a normal meal) it sits on your baby's tummy longer. So you go longer between feedings. That must mean that you didn't have enough milk, right? So you replace a couple more feedings. Before you know it, KABLAM! You have a crappy supply and you totally doubt your body. Then you're a Similac Strong Mom and they can get literally hundreds to thousands of dollars from you.


So the guy tells me, "Hey, hang on - I'll get the guy who handles the hospital stuff to answer your question."

He walks away, and I look at the bag. It has Kleenex, wipes, 10 newborn diapers, and a toy. Awesome!

The Similac rep comes up, introduces himself, and asks me what questions I have. I say, "These are your new bags?" I gesture to it.

"Oh yeah," says he.

"There's not formula in them?!?"

He here looks sheepish. "Well...they do. But there's only a two day supply, and we're really promoting breastfeeding. And I know that they say that the sample might mess up breastfeeding, but we're really not trying to do that here." He pulls out the actual bag from under the table and invites me to take a look.

It was labeled "breastfeeding" and contained: formula, the bag, coupons for diapers, a cooler bag, "breastmilk" storage bags, a sample of wipes, and information on breastfeeding.

I looked at the breastfeeding information, because I honestly wanted to see what it was like.

There were 2 pamphlets on infant feeding.
The good:
There was legitimately good information on bottlefeeding a baby. Since most people, even breastfeeding moms, eventually use a bottle, I find it HIGHLY important to know how to bottlefeed. We all have this idea about holding the baby prone and holding a bottle upside down in their mouth, but that's a terrible way to feed. You should hold your baby semi-upright and not just pour the milk down the baby's throat. And that was essentially what the pamphlet said.

There was some decent breastfeeding information. It correctly said that your baby should be pooping 3x a day by 3 days and had a decent diaper diary in there that accurately showed breastmilk poops. There was also a graphic showing that a newborn's tummy is the size of a marble and a ping pong ball on day 3. This is true, and important to know.

The bad:
Um, everything else? Lol.

First was the chart of how often to breastfeed. Here it is:

I tell people that they will be feeding their babies 8-12 times a day in the beginning. That is what you do. Babies have tiny tummies and breastmilk is the perfect food, so it is digested quickly. New babies nurse every 60-90 minutes on average. But make a mom think she's nursing more than the average, and, whoa. Well, you have a starving baby! You're not doing it right! Just c'mon and use formula. Clearly your anatomy can't make superior product properly.

Also, remember the tummy sizes we talked about? The marble and ping pong ball? The ones Similac even mentions?

You try to pour 2-3 ounces of liquid in a marble or ping pong ball and tell me how that works for you. Hint: not well. Yet, we're so shocked that kids overeat and are fat. Not at all something we're forcing on them or anything. Even if you are formula feeding, you should NOT be giving your new baby 2 ounces at a time.

Another fun gem was the "how to tell that your baby is getting enough" section. Did you know that your baby should sleep for 2 hours straight after every feeding? Let's not at all take into account the very high percentage of babies who sometimes like to nurse one side, take a fifteen or twenty minute nap, and nurse the next. Nope, they shouldn't be doing this common newborn behavior. There must be something wrong!

And then I came to the hotline. Similac's "feeding experts," billed as lactation consultants.

"Are these lactation consultants IBCLC?" I asked. Full disclosure: I knew they couldn't be. The Code of Ethics for IBCLCs says they cannot work for formula companies.

"Oh yeah."

I kept looking at the pamphlet, but I must have tipped him off in some way that I thought that that was utter bs, because he then said, "Well, Similac contracts with LifeCare and they provide certified lactation consultants that receive similar training to IBCLCs."

(The full story is that the IBCLCs that worked for LifeCare, who *does* provide legitimate breastfeeding support, said that they would absolutely NOT be working for Similac's line, so other people were given an 80 hour training course and set loose "helping" moms. IBCLCs, to even be allowed to test this year, must have 45 hours of lactation specific education and 1000 hours of breastfeeding contact hours. That doesn't even count the numerous hours of studying someone has to do to pass the IBLCE exam. So, yeah - not even close to comparable to 80 hour online courses. Also, lactation professionals have called that line and reported that the advice in incomplete or downright wrong.)


To wrap this up, I want to say that I am not anti-formula. When I needed it, I was thrilled it existed, and I've even used Similac in the past. I don't think Similac is the most unethical formula company (Nestle takes the cake there.) But I am very disappointed at the bait and switch on their table. While I don't love formula companies giving out bags, if they didn't have samples in them, I would see that as a step in the right direction. And, let's face it, Similac - you've had some godawful press recently (bug recall, the aforementioned hotline issues and the disastrous phone app.) Might be nice to do something that didn't suck, huh?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Monogamy is hard.

I regularly kid around that I couldn't be a polygamist because I couldn't handle more than one relationship at a time, and that's not totally fictitious. Relationships are difficult. It's much easier, in some ways, to do whatever you want to do and not have to run that by anyone else ever. And I say this from within a relationship where my significant other truly doesn't care if I want to go out with my friends or randomly go shopping and doesn't fine tooth comb what I spend or where I spend it or whatever. But there are still things I have to clear with him, because he's the other half of the family decision making unit. I can't, say, decide I want to move tomorrow and just go do it.

And attraction. Listen, if you tell me you've never been attracted to anyone else ever while in a relationship, I will call you a liar to your face. Because you have been. It happens. There's a lot of good looking people out there, and certainly some of them do it for you. It's fine. It's not criminal or wrong, it's human nature.

Since my early twenties, my view on cheating has changed significantly. While I absolutely think that if you are in a serious monogamous relationship you should keep it in your pants or get out of the relationship (if it's that big of a deal to you,) I'm not all that concerned about cheating, at least physically. Do I want it to happen in my relationship? God no. Would I be super upset if Shane cheated on me? Of course. Would I forgive him? Quite possibly. If he was, like, conducting a huge love affair with another woman and wanting to actively leave me to be with her, that would be harder and I truly don't know that I could get past that. However, if he just allowed attraction to happen and it was a mistake, well, that's a little more understandable. We could, with time and effort, work through that, probably. I wouldn't necessarily see that as being worth destroying our entire life. Unless I was already unhappy in the relationship, because then I would see it as time to move on.

Honestly, if he ever had a one night thing with someone, and it involved protection and wasn't going to happen ever again, I wouldn't want to know. I think a lot of people tell their significant others about events like that out of their OWN guilt, not out of any interest in full disclosure. And what does it do? Just causes hurt and pain. If it's done and there's no pregnancy risk or risk of disease, just shut up about it!

But you know what you don't do?

You don't knock somebody up and then lie about it for ten years like Arnold Schwarzenegger. You don't wait until you fulfill your selfish ambitions to blow two families apart. Two families, because the person he had a kid with was married too and just pretended that that kid was her husband's. That's just fucked up. That's the situation where you come clean, and you apologize your ass off and you deal with the fucking fall out, whatever it may be. Because you've just put a new person on Earth, and they haven't done anything wrong. They deserve honesty THEN, not ten years later. They deserve to not have their preteen life become a media circus. Ten is awful anyways, because it starts the liking of the opposite sex and the ugly phase of puberty and all that. Doing it while Perez Hilton blogs about you is probably a fucking nightmare.

Fail, Arnold. Just fail.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The No-Poo Report: Being Crunchy for Beauty

We live in an area that appears to have the hardest water known to mankind. And this has become a problem. Clothes wear out faster. Soap doesn't come off as well. And my hair has been TERRIBLE.

Originally, we planned to get a water softener and fix the whole mess. But we're contemplating a lot of different things as far as where we will live next year, and so I'm holding off.

But my hair could not wait anymore.

Yup, that's right. I'm vain enough that I just prioritized the way my hair looks over like everything else. But, for real, guys, it's bad. It's crunchy on the ends and greasy at the top and I never feel like it's totally clean. And I hate it. I have used pretty much every shampoo/conditioner possible in an effort to make it better, and it hasn't worked worth a damn.

I have some friends who are way more into natural stuff, and for a few months, several have told me that I should "no-poo" my hair. No-poo is a very unfortunate moniker simply meaning "cut out the damn shampoo and conditioner and put baking soda and vinegar in your hair."

This, in no way, sounded like a good plan. So I blew it off. Sorry guys. Also, no-poo people tell me that it takes awhile for your hair to not disgusting upon starting no-poo. One friend helpfully told me that her hair looked like shit for a month, "but then was awesome!"

Well, I didn't want disgusting hair for a month. And, yes, I had heard "cheaper" "less toxic" and "environmentally friendly" also get mentioned as pros, but somehow they didn't overpower having terrible hair for at least a month. Which, I guess, shows you that I suck at being crunchy, lol.

But last night, my hair felt awful, and I was irked, and so I, without really thinking about it, leapt into no-poo full force, mixing up baking soda and water and working it through my hair without even saying anything to anyone.

Which led to this conversation:
Shane: "Um, what's on your hair? What are you DOING?"
Me: "It's called no-poo. You use natural stuff and it's supposed to make your hair suck less and stuff."
Shane: "No-poo?"
Me: "Yeah, dumb name, huh?"
Shane: "Does that mean your hair is constipated?"

I love that man.

Anyways, so I baking sodaed, and then I got in the shower and rinsed, then I ran apple cider vinegar and water through my hair.

First no-poo issue - OMFG, apple cider vinegar STINKS. I had to rinse my hair like 24 billion times to feel like it was cleanish and nonstinky. This can apparently be resolved by using white vinegar and mixing essential oils in it. A blog I read suggested vanilla and a stick of cinnamon to make your hair smell yummy. This I will try.

Ok, so out of the shower, de-vinegarfied, and I ran my hand through my hair, which, for once, had like minimal tangles. And felt softer than normal. My scalp felt better, too.

This morning, my hair was still surprisingly manageable and tangle free, my natural wave is more noticeable, and my color is brighter. The only downfall is that my hair is a little static-y. Soft, but static-y. Is that normal? Should I be doing something differently? I have no idea.

So I'll give no-poo (I still hate the name) awhile to work its supposed magic. We'll see. But if my hair gets all gross, I am going straight back to shampoos, no matter how toxic they are.

Monday, May 2, 2011


In case you haven't heard, spoiler alert! Osama Bin Laden is dead. And I'm pleased as punch about this.

There are people who think that I shouldn't be, though.

As soon as the death of Osama was announced, my Twitter and Facebook blew the fuck up. Most people were happy. Some were skeptical. Some were bitterly talking about Obama. And some were talking about how terrible we all were.

"How can you people rejoice," one post said, "in the death of a human being?"

Let me break this down for anyone who feels that way.

Osama Bin Laden wasn't your average Joe walking down the street. He wasn't even your average murderer. He was the founder of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda, as you may or may not remember, has claimed responsibility for the deaths of thousands. It wasn't like they just existed with 9/11. They've done much, much more.

It's not like Osama was a poor, sad, downtrodden man, either. He was a wealthy, college educated man. He didn't have a terrible life that somehow could excuse his vileness and hatred (although, really, it couldn't. Sorry.)

He had advantages and prosperity, and he allowed hatred to twist him into an evil person who longed for the death of others. I may use the word hate sometimes or say things like, "OMG, traffic should DIE IN A FIRE" but I've never actually, really hoped for the death or anyone. And I doubt you have either. Osama did though. He hated you. Yup, you. He wanted you dead. Along with anyone else reading this blog who isn't a total extremist. You have kids? He thought they were a blight on the Earth and wanted them dead too. Picture your child as a brand new baby; sweet, innocent, perfect. Osama would have happily murdered your child at that point. Why? Because your child was born in a society that he didn't approve of.

As far as "he's just a figurehead" this is kind of true. He was a figurehead and most of the stuff carried out in his name was not committed by him. But people who blow off his death as unimportant miss something important. PEOPLE FOLLOW FIGUREHEADS. Hitler didn't kill everyone who died under his hand, but he was a figurehead who used his power to inspire people to cause the death of others. And it wasn't soldiers or people in the line of fire, so to speak. He inspired people to cold bloodedly murder innocent people by preying on their despair and religion and hopelessness and promising them better. He was a charismatic man who used other to fulfill his twisted, dark, evil desires.

And those who are sad because he was a human being and could have been rehabilitated or treated better - he was shot in the head. We didn't burn him alive, or bury him, or, you know, give him the choice between jumping from a building or waiting to be crushed. We also didn't hijack a plane he was on and terrorize him for awhile before using him to kill others. Nope, that's what his followers did to our innocent citizens. We had a trained marksman shoot him in the head, upon which he died. Some people who think about these things far more than I do say that that is one of the least painful deaths. God, how horrible are we, right?

I'll address rehabilitation just because people have said it, but it's laughable. Sorry, you can't rehabilitate someone who is that twisted. You can take them out so that the people they effect with their hate, the people tat they spread their twisted disease to is lessened. That's best case scenario, and that is what we did.

So, no, I don't feel bad that the man is dead. I'm glad. If that makes me a bloodthirsy savage or someone who isn't intelligent enough to understand the sophistication of how terrorism works, so fucking be it. But I will end on a quote from our President, who I believe summed it up perfectly:

"His demise should be welcomed by all
who believe in peace and human dignity."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Natural Birth Advocates

I hate you.

Ok, yeah, I'm one of you. But in a weird bit of psychosis, I can't stand you. I know, I'm insane. But hear me out.

I am SO DAMN TIRED of seeing the 2000000000000 things in my feed every day about why natural birth is so amazing, but, more than that, I'm tired of the inherent condescension in many of them over "moms who take drugs" or - god forbid! - c-section moms. After all, your cousin's father's sister's daughter-in-law had a homebirth with a breech baby after 10 c-sections and it was all because SHE EMPOWERED HERSELF. SHE TRUSTED HER BODY. If YOU trust your body, YOU can do it too!

Yeah, well, sometimes you fucking can't. I'm proof positive of that.

I don't mean to sound jaded or pissy, but I've had two births that have been such crappy experiences for me that I feel like a have a very mild form of PTSD over them. Seriously. Yet if you listen to the advocates, sunshine and rainbows should have magically propelled my kids from my uterus as long as I just wrapped myself in mother Earth and let it happen.

Let's remember something here, everyone. C-sections came into being for a reason. Sometimes nature fucks up. You can't always help that. Should our country's rate be what it is? Hell no. But should we instantly assume that every mom who has a c-section or an epidural or pitocin is an uneducated hack? Again, hell no.

You know, one of the real issues with activism in general is the condescension that some people pick up with it. The thought that if YOU did it, anyone could, is a)not always right and b)makes anyone that things don't work for feel like less of a person. Not how you sway people to your point of view, guys. Not at all. You gotta have compassion with your activism.

One of the things I've learned in working with breastfeeding moms is that not everyone can do it. Sad, but true. Some of my moms go back to work nearly instantly and can't build up a decent supply. Some have hypoplastic breasts. Some are victims of sexual assault. They aren't lesser because they "failed." In truth, they've done something more difficult that me, the girl who breastfed two kids (even though my experience with Rhiannon was a struggle the whole time.) They've gone, "Ok. This is what I wanted, but it's not working, and I'm not sacrificing my baby on the altar of breastfeeding." That takes an incredible amount of bravery and grace. Giving up a dream that you had and badly wanted is sometimes an act of strength, not weakness.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

30 Things - One Year To Go

Let's talk about how this is progressing, shall we?

1)Find some ways to cook vegetables that we can all agree on
-And by we, I mean Shane. Rhi will eat just about any veggie you put in front of her. Ditto for me. Shane, however, loathes everything but green beans, potatoes, raw carrots, and corn. Do you know how tedious that gets? Very, is the answer. I'm determined to find some way to prepare more things so he will actually eat them. Yeah, not so much yet.

2)Volunteer somewhere
-I want to find some kind of good, local organization to do volunteer work for. I'm not sure what I want to do, or where I want to work...I just want to be sure that they reflect the same ideals that I have. Yay! I do!

3)Have a home that uses more sustainable energy sources
-I want a cob house. I don't think that's in the cards for the next twoish years, because I think we want to wait to build until I get out of college and we live somewhere that we want to stay for a long time (hint:not this state.) But once we move, we won't be using gas at all. Shane's all about switching to solar, and I'd be great with that. ...We have energy efficient bulbs...

4)Go to one of the following places: Spain, Italy, Bali, the Caymans
-Because I want to. It's not gonna happen before 30. Pretty sure.

5)Get a tummy tuck
-This is my last kid, and I lost a crapload of weight. I think after I'm back to the weight I want to be, I deserve to have a cosmetic procedure to give me a flat stomach. It's pretty vain and everything, but I feel like it would be a great reward for my hard work. I'm postponing this, because I want another kid now, maybe.

6)Have a weekly family night where we do something fun
-I really hate how disconnected a lot of people are from their children and partners. I don't want to be that family. I want to be the happy, involved family. So whether we're playing board games or going to Chuck E. Cheese, or baking cookies, I want a night of togetherness. This is easier said than done. But we do have quality time, just not SPECIFIC quality time. :/

7)Eat better foods
-We mostly eat pretty healthy, at least compared to the normal American diet of processed crap. But I'd really like to eat even less processed foods, more organics...have a garden, where we grow our own vegetables and herbs...maybe, since we'll be living in the middle of farms, get more local meat from neighbors. Since I've been working and doing school, it's worse than ever. This ends now.

8)Completely stop shopping at places like WalMart
-It's a necessary evil sometimes here. I really want to shop at less chain stores and more locally owned small businesses, though. I really need to work on this

9)Go back to school
-This one should happen by next fall at the latest. Done and done. I'm there.

10)Have a date night at least bi-weekly
-Remember what I said about families? Well, sometimes, even in families that do all that, the parents totally lose the spark to their relationship and just become friends and partners. If I just wanted a friend and partner, I'd raise my kids with another chick and be celibate, lol. We REALLY need to work on this. Like, a lot.

11)Be a better housekeeper
-While my house is never, like, going to evoke feelings of disgust in anyone, the perils of having a small child mean that it's almost always in a state of disarray to some extent. I really want to improve that. Ha! I've been doing this too! I am awesome!

12)Have a better wardrobe
-I buy tons of adorable things that I love, usually at places like Goodwill. But then somehow they get lost, or the kid or I spill on them, or they don't quite go with anything else, or they aren't quite appropriate for every day. I want to invest in a wardrobe that has nice, well-tailored every day pieces, stuff for going out, et cetera, that's very washable and wearable. And kid friendly, lol. Sort of happening.

13)Learn a foreign language
-I'm not even sure which one. But a foreign language. Uh...not even started

14)Learn to actually swim
-I had lessons, I can do a decent approximation, but I'd like to be able to have the right form. Not yet

15)Learn to do some form of yoga that I actually like
-Man, I have a hard time with yoga. Maybe I've just watched the wrong dvds or something, because I can't really get down with it. I'd like to take a class or something with a really good teacher to see if maybe I can learn to not just think it's horribly boring most of the time. Yes! This has happened! Yay Sienna!

16)Have a well-decorated home
-You know how you go into some houses and you just marvel at how beautifully put together they are? Like, maybe not Martha Stuart living, a little more touchable than that, but a place that's just so warm and inviting? And you go back to your house and are let down at how not like that your home is? I want to have that house. I can't *here*, because it's a rental, but when we move...Pfft. My house is decorated in "early baby." Characterized by toys everywhere.

17)Have a dishwasher
-The worst chore on Earth is handwashing dishes. I'll go extra green on everything else, but, man, I have to have a dishwasher. One kid and two adults produce so damn many dishes I can't keep up. Imagine two kids, two adults. Ugh. I wish.

18)Start composting
-We've started recycling a lot more lately, and I'm already amazed at the reduction in normal household trash. I think composting would really add to that, too. Not yet

19)Get back to bellydance classes
-I love them, and I haven't been for a long time, because of general brokeness and just not having the time. But I'm going to make the damn time for it. In a twenty four hour day, I can surely take one of those hours once a week for myself. Working on it.

20)Keep in better touch with my friends, nearby and far away
-I'm bad at keeping in touch with people, but then I get really sad that I lose touch with friends. So I'm going to try to do better. This is hard for me. But Skype has been helping, family wise.

21)Get more involved with issues I care about
-I do more than most people as far as this is concerned, I think, but I'd like to do even more. On some things, yes. On others no.

22)Find a job where I'm happy at least 85% of the time
-I know no job will ever be something that I love 100% of the time. But lately my job's been pretty monotonous and I feel way less inspired than I did before. I love teaching the kids, I love feeling like I make a difference in that way, but I feel, lately, like nothing we do is good enough for the parents. And it sucks, because I genuinely care about those children, their care, and what they're learning. But it's hard to not just want to say screw it when you have people who are always dissatisfied with what you do. I could take it every once in awhile, but constantly...yeah. Worst is the fact that usually the parents who are complaining are the ones who we seriously need cooperation from, because their kids need extra help or attention. But we can't get it because we're too busy hearing how everything is our fault. So by the time I'm thirty, even though I won't be out of school yet or subsequently have my career going, I want a job that's better than this. I LOVE MY JOB! Win.

23) Be a better cook
-I get bored, I stop paying attention, I burn things. Or over-cook them, or whatever. It's less than awesome. I think I can say this is a work in progress.

24) Spend a little extra money to buy products I really like.
-I wind up fretting over the extra cost, but, man, on some things, the expense is worth it. While I don't always agree that you get what you pay for, it's true in a few cases, and worth the extra. Kind of

25) Spend less on stupid things to make up for #24
-I really do buy stuff I don't need way too often. That needs to change. Eh. Need to work on this more

26) Go the the chiropractor more
-It was worth the money the last time I went, for reals. I need to actually keep up on it. Nope. :/

27) Drink more water
-I really just don't like the taste. But it's the best thing to drink, really...good for you, not full of empty calories. I can tolerate it with lemon. So I need to make it a habit. I actually LIKE water now.

28) Grow my damn hair out
-It goes a little something like this. I start to grow my hair. I get bored. I experiment with colors. I experiment with styles. Eventually, I hack it off out of total boredom, and then I whine because I don't have the face for short hair, and I want it long again. This, I know, is going to be especially prone to happening after I have this baby when my hair is falling out and stuff. So, future Star, DON'T CUT YOUR HAIR!!! DON'T!!! AFTER THE BABY, JUST PUT IT UP UNTIL IT STOPS FALLING OUT!!!!! I listened to you, past Star.

29) Spend more time being actively spiritual
-I used to do this all the time. And while I still take my spirituality very, very seriously, I haven't been able to do the things I normally would have. And I need to, without being more spiritual, I feel very much like I'm not quite myself, like I'm detached from God, so to speak. And that sucks. Need to work on this. A lot.

30) Work on controlling my temper
-I can be a little (overly) emotional sometimes. And I can be a bitch on wheels when I'm angry. I've made huge, huge improvements there, but sometimes I still fly off the handle. So I'm going to try to communicate better and yell less, I guess. lol. I think I'm getting better. Yay!

Monday, February 28, 2011

I am a better songwriter than Bruno Mars

Grenade by Bruno Mars is the dumbest song ever.

Seriously. Why is this one of the top songs right now? WHY?!? It's cheesy crap, y'all, AND IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A GOOD BEAT.

And the lyrics...oh, the lyrics.

Here's the chorus:

I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Throw my hand on a blade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’d jump in front of a train for ya (yeah, yeah , yeah)
You know I'd do anything for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Oh, oh
I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for ya baby;
But you won't do the same

Ok, first of all, thanks for catching that grenade for me and all, Bruno, but if you just stand there holding the presumably live grenade you just caught for me, don't we both just blow up? So now we're both dead. Awesome. Next time, knock the grenade away, or throw it back, or something. But you can't. Because you're dead. And where does Bruno Mars live, exactly, that live grenades are being tossed around?

Secondly, throwing your hand on a blade isn't that impressive. I've cut my hand before and lots of things suck worse than a clean cut to the hand. Like paper cuts. Bunches of them. And then swimming in the ocean. That would be torture. Also, I had a paper cut on my tongue the other day, and that sucked.

Now jumping in front of a train...what situation would this possibly be necessary in? Is some guy with a handlebar mustache tying me to the tracks? Is that what's going down here? Or am I just randomly standing in the path of a train? In either of those cases, removing me from the tracks would make more sense than jumping in front of it, Bruno. FFS, do you have a death wish?

Blah, blah, blah...more nonsense...and then we end with "but you won't do the same!" No, Bruno, I won't commit pointless suicide or cut my hand for you. Sorry. Go watch Twilight and root for Jacob or something, emo kid.

I would also like to point out that this is on an album called Doo-Wops and Hooligans. I can't even make that shit up. Just...no.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention

I know a lot of Republicans. Several of them are friends and family that I dearly love. I disagree with most of them quite often.

But we shouldn't disagree about the horrible effects that this new budget the House has proposed will have on America.

Much has been published about a few things that the House has cut in their "60 billion dollar cuts!!!!" But most people are just talking about one or two things. Here's a list of some of the worst parts of the House budget:

*Dismantles the ability to roll out health care reform
I know, I know, many of you have issues with HCR. But hear me out on this. Insurance companies and employers have already begun to amend some things for the roll out of HCR (which the nonpartisan CBO said in an updated assessment that repealing the healthcare law would actually drive up federal deficits by $210 billion by 2021 and leave 22 million more Americans without health insurance.) So, basically, you have a program that has begun suddenly stopping. What yu will see is rising costs and lower coverage, folks. That will occur. And there will be nothing to check it. Good times.

*No funding for Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood is NOT an abortion services provider. PP's services only entail about 3% of their business. Honestly, I heard more discussion of abortions at my ob/gyn while pregnant than I ever did at PP. What they do provide, however, are birth control, STD testing/treatments, pap smears, resources for raped women, infertility testing...the list actually goes on and on. Especially to the millions of uninsured Americans, Planned Parenthood is incredibly important.

*A 10% cut in WIC
WIC is a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant women, infants and children. Unlike food stamps, which cover any cold food item you wish, WIC seeks to help people make healthy choices. Nutrition counselling is provided. Food items given through checks are healthy ones like whole grain breads, cheese, milk, beans, fruits and vegetables. WICs also provide breastfeeding support to nursing, low income mothers. This is HUGE - lactation consultants are very pricey, generally women see one once in the hospital and then can't any more because most insurance programs don't cover them. WIC encourages local offices to have an IBCLC on staff and, pretty soon, will be REQUIRING offices to have at least a peer counselor available to talk to prenatal women about the importance of breastfeeding and help them with issues or refer them to others who can that they can afford. WIC also gives and rents breastpumps to working moms who wouldn't be able to afford them otherwise. I can't even begin to tell you how many women tell me that WIC saved their breastfeeding relationship. And, yes, WIC provides formula too. As a mom who had to supplement with her first for a variety of reasons, and had absolutely not budgeted in formula because she only planned to breastfeed, that was a lifesaver.

*Head Start/Early Head Start cuts by 15% PLUS expiration of ARRA funds
Head Start is something that I truly cannot speak highly enough about. It's literally the only early childhood education program for lower income families that has the quality of a private preschool. Head Start is mandated to have a certain amount of staff slots held by degreed teachers; they provide balanced meals to the children; the kids watch no TV, they are actively engaged in learning...the list goes on and on. My daughter goes to Head Start and she has blossomed in so many ways; socially, developmentally, etc. Head Start also reserves slots for children with disabilities and children who are homeless. Early Head Start covers birth to age 3, and, let me tell you - if I had to work and couldn't take Keira, that is the ONLY non-family environment that I would feel comfortable leaving her in. These cuts will mean that ove 200,000 children nationwide will lose their seats. Families will lose their daycare; teachers will lose their jobs.

*K-12 Education - cuts of about 2.1 billion dollars
This is explained really well in this article. Basically, I hope you had no lofty aspirations of your kids having decent schooling under the GOP, because it ain't happening.

*Pell Grants - 24% cuts
Hey! I have a great idea! Let's go ahead and cut funding for higher education in a shit economy when non degreed jobs are closing down in droves or going overseas! Yay! Great plan! Oh! And let's continue cutting it from 2014 on, because no one really need education except rich people. And it's totes not our fault if you're poor, Americans. Yeah, even you, 18 year old. You SHOULD HAVE BEEN BORN IN A WEALTHIER FAMILY.

Other things on the chopping block include weatherization programs, energy assistance programs, the FDA, the EPA, vo-tech and adult education and many, many, many more.

And let's talk about the job impacts of all of this one more time. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE THINGS BEING CUT WILL MEAN JOB CUTS. Job cuts in a crappy economy where unemployment is sky-high and places close down daily. The weatherization program, for instance, keeps contactors working in winter months. The Republicans were supposed to help fix this - yet Boehner said that if jobs were lost "so be it."

So be it?!?!? SERIOUSLY??!?!?!?!?!? Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

This is not acceptable. At all.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bieber and Palin and Bachmann oh my.

Ahhhh Justin Bieber.

First of all, I want to preface this blog by saying that I'm totally neutral on the Biebs. I don't have the fever, but I don't hate him. He seems like a pretty normal 16 year old kid, which in itself is saying something, since half the world wants to fall at his feet and weep. So whatever. The only time I really ever remember he exists is when something reminds me. A song on the radio, a commercial...a scandal...

This week, Rolling Stone (desperately trying to stay edgy and relevant) published an interview with the Biebs, in which they asked him all about his opinions on health care, abortion and gays. Because, you know, every 16 year old has great, informed opinions on those things. And then all hell broke loose.

Nonsense I've read about Justin Bieber's opinion on abortion this week includes:
"I'm boycotting Justin now. I just can't like someone who is so anti-choice."
"Justin Bieber has set back reproductive rights."
"Justin Bieber shouldn't even get an opinion on abortion!"
"Justin Bieber is oppressing women!'

Ok, first of all, let's talk about what Justin actually said. I have the magazine right here in my hot little hands (I got a free subscription, don't hate) and he says, "I really don't believe in abortion. I think [an embryo] is a human. It's like killing a baby." When asked about rape, he says, "Um. Well, I think that's just really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don't know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that."

Alright, hysterical folks. Let's talk about this for a second. Justin Bieber is allowed to have an opinion, even on abortion, even though he's young and probably quasi dumb as all 16 year olds are. And this isn't a horrifyingly anti-choice opinion. Yes, he doesn't like it, but who cares? He also seems to sort of see some grey area, which is a lot more than most adults I know. And he's very Christian, which doesn't always go hand in hand with pro-choiceness. For a Christian kid, his ideas are actually fairly liberal.

Why does it even matter, anyways? He's not a politician. He's a fucking pop star. When the Biebs gets on the Supreme Court, I'll worry that he's a little more conservative in his views than me. Until then, whatev. I'm actually more horrified that he thinks the moon landing might be a hoax than that he's not all for abortion.

And on to more quasi celebrity news.

Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are pissing me clean the fuck off. I don't give a shit how much they hate Obama. But let's stop acting like incredibly huge, overly privileged asshats. Women shouldn't be able to claim tax exemptions on pumps because it'll turn us into a nanny state? What. The. Fuck. And Palin, who has been all about how she nursed in the past is suddenly like a breastfeeding opponent because Obama is for it. FFS, are we 10, ladies? The Obamas don' t have cooties, and I didn't see anyone bitching about Laura Bush campaigning for literacy. Let's just stop acting like insane douchebags and focus on real issues instead of quibbling over breastfeeding. And, Republicans - please stop giving these hysterical bitches the right to make all of you look like morons. Find some intelligent women to represent you and distance yourself from these fools.

In totally unrelated news, I am a busy mofo. Work, full time school, a sick kid and a breastfeeding campaign launch...I've got a LOT going on. Thank god, Shane is being a champion and helping SO much this week. I couldn't do it without him. I am very lucky to have him and I can't wait to marry him.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Call for Sanity In Activism

As many of you know, yesterday came with an epic win - the return of The Leaky B@@b's Facebook page - and then an epic loss mere hours later. Not only was The Leaky B@@b page removed again, but so was the Bring Back the Leaky B@@b page. (Please note: if you are new to this story, go here for some background.)

Immediately, there was the normal backlash against Facebook. And that was normal, and expected. We should keep in mind, though, that most likely, it was not a human being at Facebook who took the page down at 10pm. More likely, it was the automated system, tripped because of other people, for whatever reason, reporting The Leaky B@@b as offensive. Mark Zuckerberg is not sitting in an office cackling and deleting breastfeeding pages because he has nothing better to do with his time.

Does that make things right? Absolutely not. And, as Jessica Martin-Weber, creator of The Leaky B@@b, has pointed out, it is indicative of a larger problem - Facebook's "delete until proven innocent" stance and the inability to be exempted if you are operating a page that has certain terminology but nothing of a sexual nature on it. (For more, please read Jessica's press statement.)

Since this is what's going on, clearly we should be doing things to ensure that Facebook changes that, right? ...Right????

Except that's not what's happening.

Overnight, angry lactivists have started seeking out and reporting other groups "because they're more offensive than breastfeeding!!!" (I want to make it VERY CLEAR HERE that Jessica Martin-Weber has NOT called for this to occur. This action is not sanctioned by anyone involved with creating or maintaining the Leaky B@@b or its online community. They should not be held responsible for these actions.) I won't list the fanpages that were reported here, but I will say that while they were raunchy in some cases, they were generally not containing nudity and were usually just silly, immature things that people had "liked." Many of them contained women in bras or bikinis. There was even a call - again, NOT from Jessica - for everyone to report Playboy at the same time so THAT page would be crashed.

This is bullshit, guys, and it's got to stop.

First of all, we all find different things to be offensive. I'm offended by Pajama Jeans and Cami Secrets, but you have the right to wear them. No two people reading this blog can probably agree on what is and is not offensive right now. And, guess what? It doesn't matter what I find offensive. I am a grown woman, and I can choose to not look at things that offend me. As long as something doesn't involve the abuse of someone else and it is involving people who are over 18, I don't really get to sit on my high horse and cast judgment on the masses. Sorry, but it's true.

Secondly, breasts have a dual function. I talked about this in my last blog post, but I'm gonna talk about it again. I have pictures on my profile at Facebook of me nursing my kid - and I have pictures of me with epic cleavage in the Victoria's Secret Miraculous bra. Neither one, to me, is offensive. I'm an adult, I posted those pictures, they convey different messages, yet they are both acceptable. A friend of mine has a burlesque company and posts pictures of her ladies and herself clad in their awesomely hot costumes. Another friend is a photographer and sometimes takes risque pictures. And yet another photographer friend has wrapped maternity pictures. I see nothing wrong with any of those things, but some of you may find them offensive. And that's whatever. Again, your right to have those opinions, and your right to not look.

The Facebook policy of deleting until proven innocent started as a way for people to get pages investigated that seriously did have adult content. Or abusive things. Or child porn. It has, because people are douchebags, morphed into "If I find it offensive, NO ONE ELSE HAS THE RIGHT TO SEE IT!" And that sucks. You don't actually get to sanitize the world around you to your specifications, folks.

And, finally, allow me to point out that if you're reporting pages and encouraging others to, and they aren't actually against Facebook's standards, you are just as much of an asshole as the people reporting The Leaky B@@b. Yup, pot, you're black. Just because breastfeeding is morally loftier to you than ogling boobs doesn't make you right. You're still a douche. The end.

Now, after that bit of tough love, here's how you can actually help the Leaky B@@b - no reporting involved!

Send an e-mail or call a local TV station or newspaper. Tell them about what's going on. Ask them to pick up the story. Provide links to The Leaky B@@b and the press release.

Join Jessica's new page, Join TLB in support of Women's Health and the new Bring Back the Leaky Boob...again page (run by my friend Atina, who is a rockstar.)

Tweet, share, blog about them, about the situation.

Contact Mark Zuckerberg on his page.

Write to internet media sources and encourage them to run with the story.

Petition pro-bfing celebrities like Jenna Elfman, Kourtney Kardashian, Helena Bonham Carter, and Christina Aguleria to make a statement.

Call Facebook and urge them to reinstate the page and also to rethink their policy of instantly removing reported pages. 650-543-4800

I also asked Jessica to send me any ideas she has, so if and when she does, I shall post them here.