Friday, October 01, 2010

It Gets Better

I meant to write about Dan Savage's It Gets Better project earlier this week. I had watched some of the videos, sniffling my way through them. But after this week, and the tragedies at Rutgers and the other schools, I want to give this guy the Nobel Prize. From his column:

"Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.

"My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas," a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. "I wish I could have told you that things get better."

I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models."

I love that there are already so many videos up on this site. I love that Ellen and Neil Patrick Harris are speaking out.

I really hate that they have to.

Does Privacy Even Exist Anymore?

I would say that's a big fat No. Examples:

1. The Duke graduate who decided to publish a "fuck list" with photos and lurid details of guys she slept with. In Powerpoint.

2. The two classless and homophobic students that webcasted a roommate having sex. In case you live under a rock, that kid, Tyler Clementi, later threw himself off the George Washington Bridge.

More on this later.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Do You HATE AMERICA, Anderson Cooper?

I have loved my silver fox, Anderson Cooper, ever since he was on Channel One. I love him even more when he calls people on their bullshit.

My friend, Kacey, shared this first one, where he interviews Renee Ellmers, a Republican House candidate from North Carolina, who uses terrorist interchangeably with Muslim. The milisecond that Cooper catches her off guard, she immediately says,
"Are you anti-religion? Are you anti-Christian in your thinking?" No debate -- just you hate Jesus.

Then last night, he interviewed Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general in Michigan, about Shirvell's campaign against University of Michigan student assembly president Chris Armstrong, who is openly gay. This fucker actually has stalked this guy, blogs about him, and posts pictures of him with Nazi symbols embedded in the rainbow flag. This is a scary, scary PUBLIC OFFICIAL. Cooper takes him down.

He is awesome, and I'm sure that all the ridiculous people that support Ellmers and Shirvell will immediately say that he hates America.

Monday, September 27, 2010

When You Get a Call From Costco About Beetle Crap In Your Kid’s Formula

Last Friday night, I ignored a phone call from an 800 number. I hate talking on the phone. I hate telemarketers even more. If you call me and I don’t recognize your number, it’s most likely you’re going straight to voice mail. This time, the 800 caller left a message, though, so I was intrigued. The retrieved message was from Costco notifying me that Similac formula I had bought months ago was part of the recent recall and that I should throw it out to be safe. I shrugged and hung up. I stopped feeding Zygote formula months ago, and the formula she did drink was very minimal compared to her breastmilk intake – nothing to worry about here.

I didn’t think about the recall again until I was consulting Dr. Google about why my normally voracious eater had pretty much stopped eating anything except oatmeal and mashed fruit. This led me to the recall site where I read, “Abbott…detected the remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product produced in one production area in a single manufacturing facility. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that while the formula containing these beetles poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae, could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract. If these symptoms persist for more than a few days, a physician should be consulted.” Hmmm…interesting. While I was pondering the possibility of a small insect colony setting up shop in Zygote’s lower intestine, I looked over and noticed her devouring a cheese stick, followed by an inhalation of edamame. Then a lot of pointing and whining in the general direction of a box of Cheerios. She had not been invaded by beetles, just “exerting her toddler independence at mealtime” which seems to be the polite way of saying “acting like a possessed demon.”

I don’t know what I would have done if she actually was infested with beetles. Took her to the doctor? Got her some medicine to make her feel better? Sat her on my lap and read her favorite books and played with her hair to comfort her? Probably. You know what I would not have done? I would not have felt guilty about giving her formula, because my guilt won’t really do jack for her.

Apparently, this would not have been the right approach. I should definitely feel very, very, very guilty. If you read the mommy boards (which I do because I like to know that there is always someone out there more batshit crazy than me), you have probably seen all the “tsk, tsk” and “well, if you didn’t feed your baby POISON, you wouldn’t have to worry about beetles” or “This is what happens with formula. DID YOU KNOW..that breast is best?” Did I know? Seriously? Yes, I did know. I live in Cambridge, one of the most liberal cities in the country, home to ‘the Kremlin on the Charles,’ home to gazillions of doulas, lactation consultants, nursing mothers groups, babywearers associations, cloth diaper services, how to make your own organic baby food classes, and so on. You really think I NEVER HEARD that breastfeeding is best for my kid? That I have been sitting here, ignorant and uneducated, waiting for you to help me see the light about breastfeeding? Really?

I read this wonderful post, The Similac Formula Recall Is Not a Punchline and loved this:

“Life happens. Formula happens. You know who formula happens to, in particular? Women who can’t breastfeed. Fathers caring for babies on their own. Adoptive parents caring for babies. You know what those parents don’t want to read? Shitty, spiteful comments about how “well if you were breastfeeding, you wouldn’t have to worry about feeding your kid beetle parts.”

I hate that I even have to defend why I ever used formula, but I realize that if I’m frothing at the mouth about something, people probably would like some kind of back story. Here you go. It was always my intention to breastfeed Zygote, and I would say that I am firmly in the pro-breastfeeding camp. I don’t like the big business of formula, and I think that the marketing of formula in areas where people have no access to money and/or clean water is pretty gross. You know the benefits of breastfeeding, so I won’t repeat them here.

And then I got postpartum depression. FUN! The sheer neverendingness of breastfeeding was just one more thing that was making me feel INSANE. I felt like all I did was move from chair to chair, feeding and feeding and feeding, with nothing but time to think some really, really dark stuff about how, if I just got slightly injured (nothing fatal), someone else would have to take care of the baby and what a relief that would be. That thought was enough to scare the shit out of me, and I got on some meds pronto and made the decision to supplement with one bottle a day to give myself some breathing room and just the feeling that I could separate from Z if I needed to. It made the transition make to work much easier, helped with pumping, and made me a much calmer and happier mother. I started that at six weeks and continued the one bottle until Z abruptly decided to stop nursing at 11months, moving on to bigger and better things, like steak. I never felt guilty about it and I don’t now. The only guilt I felt was about not being emotionally present for my kid those first few weeks, but I realize I need to cut myself a break on that one.

I expect that much of parenting is going to be like this – having lots of intentions and dreams and goals, but needing to modify to make things work best for my kid, my family and me. I don’t really see the point in ‘shoulding’ all over people or making them feel guilty if what’s right for me doesn’t work for them.

Erin Shea (one of my favorite bloggers and someone I’ve been following since I first discovered blogs all those eons ago) posted on this same topic, and I especially loved this:

“Even more baffling to me is why, to my friend Jackie’s point, people feel “duty-bound” to “educate” others to the point where it’s intrusive and rude.

Or, you know, they’re advocating by being an asshole.

Here’s the thing about advocating by asshole: the people who you have no hope of converting think you’re an asshole. And the people who you do have a chance of converting think you’re an asshole, too. And everyone who agrees with your position wishes you’d just shut up or at least learn a modicum of manners.”

Amen. I just don’t see the point in being a dick in situations where being a dick is not called for. And if I’m going to be a dick to you, I will at least be a polite dick, and hope we can have a reasonable conversation.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bonk! (But Still 10:33)

Yesterday, I raced my fastest 5K yet, finishing in 32:49, or a 10:33 pace. This is fairly amazing considering that I totally bonked. My goal was to finish in less than 33:30, and I thought that was fairly aggressive, considering I usually run about a 11:19 mile, and anything less than 11 minutes has been indoors on the treadmill, with the benefit of some shitty tv like Keeping Up With The Kardashians to watch.

I have run this race, the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure, three times before, though, so I figured it was good to aim high. Also, I'm never quite sure if I'm pushing myself hard enough. When I worked out with a trainer before, I would sometimes get so exhausted that I would actually throw up. I'm not a hardcore athlete and I certainly am not one of these 'go big or go home' freaks who think you need to puke to work out, but still, how do you know if you're pushing far enough?

Even though it's late September and supposedly to brisk, beautiful boot and corderoy weather, yesterday was hot as balls and muggy. I rode the T to the race site, grabbed some free vendor schwag and stretched. I've been battling a head cold, so I took an extra Claritin and drank some water. The place was an absolute mob scene, but I tried to make my way as close as I could to the starting line. [Insert standard runner rant here about walkers who line up in front of all the runners even though it is SUPER CLEAR that that's dangerous and you should line up in the back.] Lots of bad dance music, "inspirational" speeches, and then Mumbles Menino sounding the horn.

I took off like a bat out of hell. I could feel that I was running faster than I normally run, but I wanted to break free of the crowds and the walkers and the strollers. I usually have a hard time with the first mile, but I figured if I could make it through that, I'd be fine. The crowd was so thick that I ended up missing the first water station, but I still felt okay. My arm and shoulders were a little crampy and it was HOT, but powered by 'Paradise City,' I soldiered on.

I passed the Mile 2 marker and managed to get some water, but it was only halfway filled and the crowd was too thick to make my way back. I kept going, but I knew that my breathing was labored. I focused on some breathing exercises, figuring that the combo of the heat and the head cold was not helping. I felt very, very, very hot. As I passed the 2.5 mile mark, I began to feel more and more lightheaded and a girl pulled up beside me and asked if I was okay and if I could breathe. I waved her on, and just stopped.

I hate walking in races. Hate it. Even in the half marathon, I never stopped to walk. I know that I'm a super slow runner, but I've always taken pride in the fact that I never walk. I knew the answer to that question I posed above, though -- I knew I pushed it far enough on Saturday, and I imagined how mortified I would be if I fainted. So I stopped. Got my shit together. Took some deep breaths. Walked a bit. And then jogged for that last half mile.

When I neared the finish line, I saw that the clock was at 33 so I pushed myself to run as fast as I could. I crossed at 33:28, so factoring in gun and net time, I knew I beat my goal. I was happy for that, but also happy that I knew when to stop.

And here ends my inspirational sports entry. And on to another 5K next weekend.

Historical Factoids That May Be Of No Interest To Anyone But Me
I just spent a ridiculous amount of time on Cool Running looking up my old race times. The 2007 Komen Race was the first 5K I ever ran, and my pace was 12:31, a full two minutes higher than now. I ran the 2008 Komen at a 10:35 pace. This was the summer I was training a LOT, and I had also dropped a lot of weight. My pace for the 2009 race was 11:26 -- awesome considering I had just had a C-section a few months earlier. My worst 5K pace in recent years was 13:18 in 2008, but I was pregnant, so I will give myself a break on that one.