Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"It Sucks to be Me"

I was first introduced to Avenue Q though a You-Tube video posted on a board I frequent. This video, set to the song "The Internet is for Porn" piqued my interest, but I didn't give it any more thought for a couple of months. Then, I got an invitiation to participate on a Snapple message board and give Snapple ideas, and in return, get amazon.com gift certificates. Well, hell. I'm opinionated, I like free books and CD's. The fact that I haven't had a Snapple in about ten years didn't seem to matter to them. Not complaining, though.

So the video got mentioned to me again by a completely different source. I was looking for something to spend my amazon money on, so I went looking for the Original Cast Recording and was delighted to find it was only $9.99 (well, plus shipping, because I didn't want to order anything else that day).

I've been listening to it pretty non-stop on the iPod - well, in-between playing Circle Round and Raffi, on the big stereo at home which are Freyja's current favorites. I don't know about anybody else, but listening to songs like "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist", "If You Were Gay", and "You Can be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)" while toiling away at my service site sure gives me a giggle. I just have to remember to not sing out loud...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Amazing Weekend

I think the title says it all. This was a great, if busy, weekend. I worked an outreach event on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon, we took Freyja to Trick or Treat at my Grandma's nursing home. She was a cute little witch! On Saturday evening, Kerwin helped our friends Ron and Lori fix their brakes. Well, he helped Ron. Lori and I stayed inside, ate Red Lentil Soup, and wrangled our respective spawn. We played a few hands of cutthroat cribbage spiked with tequila after the kids went to bed and that was a lot of fun. I'd been thinking for a long time that DH and I needed couple friends.

Sunday, Freyja and I just lolled around the house during the day, and in the evening we had our Samhain ritual with Pagan Familes and Friends of West Michigan (and saw Ron, Lori, and the kids again).

Life is okay, considering it's getting to be winter. I'm still struggling with SAD and wishing I knew how to better cope with it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Potty Progressing

I have to brag, even though I know that I really have nothing to do with it.

Last week's post about pottying ( http://amerimama.blogspot.com/2006/10/potty-training-woes.html ) came a moment too soon, it would seem.

We're on day 9 of 1 accident per day or less. There's poop, there's pee, there's waking up from naps dry, there's waking up in the middle of the night to have Daddy turn on the light in the bathroom so she can pee.

Even better? Everything ELSE she's learned over the past 6 weeks has finally integrated into her brain. Where last week we had "A, B, C, E, you, E" we now have the full alphabet song, in tune. She now identifies colors correctly and counts to seven with no mistakes. She started using her words again and stopped pushing, hitting, and biting her little friends at daycare.

The clincher came last night. "Scuse you, Mumma. I want-a get my pa-no (piano - little toy keyboard) out from unna da coush." She doesn't get that she needs to say "scuse ME" instead, but shoot - how grown up was that?

Clouds (looked at them from both sides, now)

Fall is here. The trees are pretty, the air is nippy, and it rains. Constantly.

I've been putting off making a doctor's appointment to restart my anti-depressants for the winter. I have SAD, and it gets pretty bad. I can't afford the good drugs, and generic Prozac doesn't really help me. It's harder and harder to get up out of bed, do my work, do anything. My temper is shorter and shorter.

I have insurance, but it's reimbursement-only. I can't be out the $96.34 for Zoloft, every month, for the 4-6 weeks it takes for reimbursement to come. I may be happy, but I'll be in the dark and freezing, because the other bills won't get paid.

Yet, I want to feel like getting out of bed and going to work.

This sucks.

Friday, October 20, 2006

My Messy Desk

I wish I had my digicam.

My desk here at work is hideous. There's a little clear space in the middle for the laptop, and stacks and stacks of crap on the other sides. I have, at current count, seven projects on the go right now - and I'm one of those "out of sight, out of mind" people - if it goes into the drawer, I forget about it.

To the left, I have the current Provider Incentive Program lists for the biggest of the insurance companies I work with. On top of those, there's a stack of No-Call, No-Shows that I need to go through and pull out all missed prenatals and well child checks under 1 year, check and see if any of those patients are Maternal and Infant Support Services clients and email resulting names/pt numbers over to MSS/ISS. On top of that is an interoffice mailer with brochures for an upcoming health fair that I need to distrubute.

On the other side is a stack of flyers that need to be put in staff mailboxes, two interoffice mailers that have supplies for the other clinic in them, several notebooks, doula project phamplets and posters, Reach out and Read materials, and Provider Incentive Program postcards.

On the shelf I have more postcards, more health observance foo, and a stack of bookmarks. Add all that to the fact that I also have a basket which holds my tape dispenser, stapler, paper clips, and other supply stuff plus a box of kleenex and a phone.

I guess I should quit procrastinating and tackle some of this mess.

I know, that's crazy talk.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Wonderful World of WIC

I had to take Freyja yesterday for her WIC recertification appointment.

Did you know that child size servings aren't the same as adult size servings? I think I did, but I forgot while filling out the paperwork for how much she eats in one day. I used adult servings. So first, I was told that she doesn't eat nearly enough. Was I withholding food from her as punishment? Did I feed her when she was hungry, or force her to wait until mealtimes? She's so small - was I underfeeding her?

My eyes must have bugged out of my head, because the girl eats constantly. The ever-so-saccharine-sweet nutritionist pulled out a chart for child serving sizes and I laughed. "Oh, you mean servings like those. She gets those and more. I rarely restrict her intake of healthy foods, especially at mealtimes."

Then I was told that I was lucky that she was so well proportioned for her size, since I don't show any restraint in the foods she eats. What?! Make up your damn mind! You'd think I was shoving cookies and ice cream down her gullet - this is the child who opens up my fridge and sneaks GRAPES from the crisper.

I grabbed the paperwork and pointed out that we don't feed her chips, cookies, soda, fruity flavored corn syrup drinks, donuts or whatever on a regular basis. That I am VERY careful that the vast majority of her diet is whole, fresh food.

I don't think she believed me. I'm really doubtful that that underhanded blow to my confidence was worth 4 gallons of milk, a couple boxes of cereal, a bag of navy beans, a little juice, a couple cartons of eggs, and a little cheese a month. I'm sad, because I've never had a bad experience at WIC before. I usually extol the virtues of our local program. Guess I won't do that anymore.

Nerves of Jello

Never would have guessed it, huh? I know Genie wouldn't - apparently I scare the hell out of her. I have nerves of jello. Nerves of steel is something reserved for people braver than me. In about ten minutes, I have to go into a room full of doctors and I have to stand there and talk for five minutes about the Doula program and another project (the aforementioned satisfaction surveys) I'm spearheading.

I'm shaking in my shoes. It's not that these people have about 150 years of tertiary and quaternary (is that even a word?) education combined, it's not that they have better grammar, speaking skills, are nicer, or are better composed than me (I have better grammar than at least half of them). It's that I'm basically a bug on the windshield and if they don't like the idea of the doula program, it doesn't go anywhere. Five minutes to sell myself, and I've never been good at sales.

I hope I can keep myself under control and not speak too fast.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Girls Are Back!

Isn't it nice to get new bras that fit properly and are supportive?

My Name Is, My Name Is, My Name Is....

Shamlessly stolen from Eden, who in turn got it from WriterGirl

1. SPY NAME: (middle name + current street):Lynn Blue Oak (lame)
2. MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/mother + your favorite candy):Betty Brickle
3. GAMER TAG: (favorite color + favorite animal):Blue Giraffe
4. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name + birthplace):Lynn Muskegon (again, lame)
5. PORN STAR NAME: (first pet + street you grew up on):Speck Covey
6. SUPERHERO NAME: (THE, favorite color, car your dad drives):The Blue Caravan
7. ACTION HERO NAME: (name of character in last film you watched, last food you ate):(Captain) Jack Sparrow Croissanwich

Potty Training Woes

me: "Okay, potty time!"


me: *sigh* "SorryyoufeelthatwaygetyourbehindinthereandgopottyNOW"

spawn: "I CAN'T I TOO TIRED!"

me: *snort* "Then you can take a nap after you go."

spawn: "Noooooooo. *whine* I caaaaaaaaaaan't"

me: *picks spawn up and carts her to the bathroom. helps her undress*

spawn "Nooo!" *scream* *pees* "Yay Freyja! I go potty!" *claps for herself*

me: "Don't you dare clap for yourself, demon child, after I had to cart you in here."

Ver-ba-tim. All weekend. She was doing so well, and now THIS. She was taking HERSELF to the potty, and now this. She's had no trauma, no new things happen, none of those things that The Experts claim can set back potty training.

I think she's lazy. Like her mother. Super lazy. Too busy playing to pee (I don't have that problem, I'm just saying that's how her laziness manifests at her age) or to be bothered to pee.

She's still younger than The Experts reccomend to begin potty training, but we started six weeks ago. I was expecting to see SOME progress by now.

Did Somebody Call For a Doula?

Well, I got my first client through my service site! She's not due until January, but she's all alone, so I'll be meeting with her a little longer than I would for a typical client.

Hopefully I'll get a couple more clients before her, too. That's all I have left to do, my "practice" births, and then I can send in my certification packet and I'll be a certified doula!

At final count, it will have taken me 8 years to obtain my associate's degree (with time off, sporadic attendance, no clue what to do with my life) but less than 8 months to become certified as a doula. Goes to show that when you know what you want, you work harder at it. I'd still like to get a college degree, but who knows what in. Maybe geography.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Would You Like to Take a Survey?

My "big project" right now is patient satisfaction surveys. We get the surveys here at the health center from the Midwest Clinicians Network. They're little scantron sheets with bubbles to fill in. Pretty straightforward, right? Not exactly.

Not only do I have to come up with a protocol for admininstering the damn things, I also have to feild questions from providers and office staff who don't get it.

Oh yeah, I'm also supposed to get volunteers from the community to do the tedious busy-work of filling in the site location and provider numbers on 900 scantron sheets. That's right, 900. 20 surveys per provider and I have 45 providers across four sites. There's eight numbers and eight bubbles on each sheet. That's 7200 bubbles to be filled in completely. Anyone who has taken a scantron test now feels my pain. I know my time is more valuable, blahblahblah and I'm not "supposed" to do clerical work if I can avoid it, but it's way more hassle to find volunteers, schedule them, find them somewhere to work and supervise them while they fill in bubbles than it is to just do it myself, which would only take a couple of hours. The volunteer rigamarole, well, let's say I'm looking at an entire wasted afternoon, and that doesn't even include the billion phone calls to get the damn volunteers in the first place.

I will have one volunteer. Kerwin will be helping me! He just doesn't know it yet - but he signed the volunteer application and said he was available for clerical work, which means he's my slave if I need him to be. Looks like we'll spend some gauranteed time together this weekend!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Colder than a Witch's Heart

"It's Colder than a Witch's Heart Out There!"

True. I'm a (kitchen) witch, and my heart is very warm. But also false - this colloquialism is used to mean it's bitterly cold - and heart is usually teat/tit. My fellow AmeriCorps member here at our service site just uttered this phrase, and for some reason, I'm offended. It's the implication that witches are evil, heartless beings - the green halloween hag, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Evil Stepmother. The implication that witches harbor no warm feelings, do nothing good, and are the bane of good, God-Fearing(tm) folk everywhere, that's what hurts.

Witches, after all, dance with the Devil in the moonlight.

They eat babies.

Kick puppies.

Scare little children. (*GASP*)

Didn't you know? Weren't you aware?

Oh, you missed the memo?

Huh, so did I, apparently. Now, it's likely my fellow member didn't mean to utter a slur against witches of the Pagan and Wiccan variety - lovely people (in general, there are a few crackpots like with any group) who'd much rather blow raspberries on your baby's belly and pretend to nibble at his ears than actually EAT him. A good lot of them are vegetarians - they don't even eat cows, much less babies. I can tell you I'd much rather eat the cow and cuddle the baby.

She doesn't know any better, after all. Society presents green evil witches, and most people just don't know, or have been told by their pastor, or read something in a book somewhere - and they just beleive it. Sadly, it's not worth it for me to correct her, or mention that the phrase is offensive.

Here's the kicker, though. The original "Colder than a witch's tit" doesn't bother me one whit. Not at all. It makes me giggle, and think of other things, like "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey".

It's the "heart" part that's offensive.

The Unbearable Cuteness of Freyja

I love this photo. Freyja is so infrequently quiet and pensive that a photo like this becomes all the more precious and charming. She was cold from swimming in the big lake, and wrapped up in her ducky towel, she just didn't have much to say. I look at photos like this and think "Wow, I grew that. I created that little person."

Herstory, and a Calling Card.

Welcome to 'blog number four for me. That's right, four. I've been blogging since December of 2000, which makes me a damn pioneer. I spent five years on Xanga, which slowly became the wasteland of the emo kids and little American girls pretending to be Japanese. Then, due to a mishap with a picture (some *ahem* said I wasn't doing a very good job of making my kid into a lesbian), I moved to MySpace. Well, you all know MySpace. It annoyed the everloving hell out of me. Then, my buddy Mikey offered me blogspace on his site. The only problem with that blogspace is that I can't customize it because he screwed up the code - leaving me with default settings that I don't like - and he's busy, he'll never fix it.

I keep wondering why I bother blogging, though - I never remember to hop on and publish. I have great thoughts for great posts when I'm nowhere near the computer. I don't know if it's the popularity disease stopping me, or that I feel like a pretentious twit, or if it's the fact that witter mamas are out there writing wittier blogs. Witty isn't something I accomplish very often - wry I can do. Sarcastic, sure. Outrage, even better at that. What the hell, though. I love writing, and according to a workshop I went to last year it's my "calling card".

So, if you haven't been with me long, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Heather. I'm an AmeriCorps member (just signed on for my second term) - meaning I'm serving my country and community here where I live, instead of in Africa giving polio immunizations (PeaceCorps) or in Iraq getting my ass shot off (Military. Obviously). As for service specifics, I serve low-income moms to be as a doula. I also get people to come in for managed care. I'm married to Kerwin. He apparently blogs too, some political ranting or another. If he ever shares his link with me, I'll add it. We have a marvelously naughty and delightfully precocious two year old daughter, Freyja. Hence the blog title - AmeriMama - being the two things that take up the most time in my life, my AmeriCorps service, and parenting my child.

Settle in. I can't promise I'll post a lot.

Oh, and if you read my archives at Xanga (I don't advise it) do keep in mind that I was "growing up" while I posted there - and utter drivel is to be expected.