New Jen's Horde

Friday, June 30, 2006

No Blogging this weekend

As we will be camping with our Girl Scout Troop.

It should be pretty interesting, because we're sharing the campground with a bunch of latter day hippies who are camped out waiting to see Bob Weir and Ratdog, and The String Cheese Incident at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. So, when Tiernan decides to shake off his cumbersome clothing and dance naked as he is wont to do, he'll fit right in.

As always, if you want to break in while we're away, be sure to clean a little before you leave...


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday Thirteen


Thirteen Things about JEN

1. Do you ever feel like you're running as hard as you can, just to keep still?

2. But, the whole time you're doing that, your house is just getting messier and messier?

3. If not, I want your job.

4. There's nothing bad going on, just a lot of little stuff. If I listed it all, it would be so boring to anyone not actually involved that my #13 would have to be "Wake up blog readers and send them on their way."

5. I don't want to do that to you, so I'll just have faith you know the sorts of never ending stuff we all deal with.

6. Speaking of messier and messier, I'm so excited now that we get the DIY Channel and I can watch "The Queen of Clean."

7. Also, Knitty Gritty, which is even cooler than it sounds.

8. Well, I think so, at least. The kids are getting a little sick of it. Seems only fair after 10 years+ of PBS Kids...

9. Oh, and in knitting news, Davin's socks are complete!

10. They were actually done last week, but then he took the camera, and his feet, camping. So, I had no models for the socks, and no way to take a picture even if I did!

11. I guess I could have laid the socks out carefully and painted a portrait of them, but if taking a photo is a challenge for me time-wise, that's even less likely. Plus, I don't know how that Bob Ross guy does it, nothing I paint comes out right. I certainly wouldn't have produced a still life filled with happy little socks...

12. Now behold the majestic not-quite-matching socks in all of their blazing glory!
Davin's Socks

13. The Yarn Harlot says that when this happens, it's not a mistake. It's merely that the socks are "fraternal twins," which is good enough for me! Davin is very pleased with them, and isn't worried about their "quirkiness" either.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On that note, I'm headed back to bed!

I got an early morning phone call to alert me that a friend here in town is in labor and to start calling her prayer chain. I can't think of any better reason to get up at 5:45am!

While logging on to post the news for her at the online homeschool support group we both frequent, I saw this headline:

Sleep loss, air conditioning may be making us fat

Well, I'm keeping the A/C, but I'm going to take their advice and go get some more sleep.... ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz

Editing to Add: I never did get myself back to bed, no wonder I'm rotund. My friend had her baby before 9:30 (even my one-and-a-half-pound preemie didn't come that fast!) and she and her new son are doing well!


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Make the Connection

Merck Pharmaceuticals is giving one dollar for cervical cancer research for every free bracelet kit people order here. I found this at Snopes, which has also listed a lot of important information about HPV and cervical cancer, so go check that out, too.

HPV is so common, and it seems like the word isn't getting out how many women are at risk because of this virus.

So, don't forget to get your superhappyfun yearly exams (I've written about one of my more memorable ones here) and go order a bracelet kit today!


Monday, June 26, 2006

If I turn up with TB, I guess I'll know where I got it.

I went out yesterday to see the new Omen movie with a couple of friends. Even though the theater was nearly empty, an older woman came and sat right behind me. Why do people do that? Not only did she kick the back of my chair the whole time, but at one point she expelled a HUGE HACKING COUGH and I felt droplets hit the top of my head and arms.

I'll just pause there for effect. You can shudder with me if you like.

I was packing my trusty hand sanitizer, so I whipped it out, and slathered myself up with it, for the lack of any better idea of what to do in this circumstance. I'm sure she probably didn't have any nasty diseases, but still...

Nothing eventful happened for the rest of the film, other than the constant kicking.

I figured the worst had passed, then I went to use the restroom. As I was washing my hands, I saw a big blob of half-chewed popcorn on my shoulder.

I was not eating popcorn during the movie.

Oh, heave...

You know, I can handle a lot of nasty things. Mothers are routinely covered in bodily fluids. I can cheerfully go about my business with vomit in my hair IF IT CAME FROM MY CHILDREN. But, standing there realizing I was covered in some stranger's movie snack expectorate nearly did me in.

And, even though the movie was actually pretty OK, I found the spewed popcorn to be the scariest part of the experience.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I'm a yarn-o-holic.

You think I'm kidding, don't you?

Do you know that right now, I have in my possession a huge bottle of vicodin pills that I can take for my fibromyalgia, and I have NO problem NOT taking them unless I'm in terrible pain. But, I can't believe what I actually purchased today when I thought I was of perfectly sound mind and body.

I actually bought one (1) skein of yarn, that will knit up into two (2) socks, and that skein of yarn cost me $22.00.

The hell? If I saw a pair of socks in a store for $22, I would NEVER consider purchasing them. Because that would be stupid. But apparently when it's merely yarn with potential sock energy, that makes it OK.

In my defense, I've never made socks for my own feet and I wanted to treat myself. And this is "100% luxury merino fingering weight" machine washable yarn in a luscious colorway.

That makes a little sense, at least, doesn't it? Go ahead, enable me.

Here's a photo of the skein on the back of the chair that I sit in to knit. Just so you know how I usually shop, I should tell you that the chair cost me $10.


Admit it, it's awfully beautiful, isn't it?

Anyway, I'm allmmmmooooooossssstttttttt finished with Davin's truly enormous socks. Still plugging away, and will take a picture as soon as I finish!



Thursday, June 22, 2006

Socks-ual Intercourse

No 13 today, I'm trying to finish Davin's socks! One is completely finished, and I've completed the gusset decreases and I'm into the instep on the second. The NEVERENDING instep. (On this site they refer to it as the body of the sock, just in case you were wondering where I am.) This is positively the last time I marry someone with freakishly long feet!

I'm hoping to post a picture later today!



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh, uh uh, you did NOT just say that!

Psychotherapy helps infertile 'superwomen'

Berga's team looked at 16 women who were of normal weight who had not menstruated for more than six months.

Some were perfectionist types whose lifestyle, either at home or at work, placed them under a lot of stress, while others felt overwhelmed by the demands their lives made on them.

The 16 had functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA), a type of infertility caused by a prolonged reduction in a hormone that initiates a molecular cascade that leads to ovulation.

The telltale, though, was analysis of the women's spinal fluid, which showed high levels of cortisol, a hormone that is a marker of stress and is often linked to depression, osteoporosis and other health problems.

The women were randomly divided into two groups. Half received cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for 20 weeks -- psychological counselling designed to help them put their problems in perspective. The other half were simply observed.

"A staggering 80 percent of the women who received CBT started to ovulate again, as opposed to only 25 percent of those randomized to observation," Berga told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Prague.

In the CBT group, six regained full fertility and one showed some signs of restored ovarian function. Two of the six became pregnant within two months.

In the non-CBT group, only one recovered her fertility, and one showed some signs of ovarian function.
OK, I'm all for new treatments, and it's FABULOUS that these women were able to restore their ovulation so quickly and easily.

But, at the same time, this study involved 16 women. SIXTEEN! That's merely a blip as far as hard statistical analysis is concerned. And, now there are headlines everywhere proclaiming that infertile women just need to un-uptight themselves and they'll be fine.

It smacks of "blaming the victim." Infertile? You must be messed up in the head.

I think this hits so close to home because I have PCOS and required months and months of expensive, invasive procedures to get pregnant with my first three (Tiernan was a bonus, but that's another post.) I was hopped up on hormones, shot with more hormones, and had catheters inserted here there and everywhere to get the job done. Most infertility patients are like me, there's a medical issue causing difficulty in conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy.

This article also bothered me in the use of the term "Superwomen." For forty years now, American women have been told that they can have it all, that they should have it all, and that settling for anything less is not only failing themselves, but failing the Sisterhood by holding us all back. Or something like that. I stopped listening a long time ago. Anyway, now that they're talking about women who are busy, they're referring to them as "Superwomen." They have jobs, for goodness' sake, that's not unusual. Women pretty much always work, in the home, outside the home, or both, and it's been that way since there've been women. By putting a label on these women, it's just pushing them into a box. "Oh, they're crazy, uppity Superwomen, you know how they are!" Working women (ie every woman who isn't a woman of leisure, do you know any of those? I don't.) everywhere should get their back up a little when they start using the term Superwomen to describe why you're crazy, sick or deficient in some way. It's not that far removed from calling us all "the weaker sex" and not letting us wear shoes, in that I mean it's still a double standard applied because of our gender.

My concern is that "studies" like this allow everyone to play pop psychologist, and while 6, count 'em 6, women have responded so far to this treatment, this will feed the community delusion that somehow infertile women all have it coming to them. They're too busy, which makes them too crazy to get pregnant.

I don't doubt that this really is the situation with some of the infertile women out there. There are many different kinds of infertility, and I believe in using whatever works to get your body working the way it should. I've done traditional medicine, alternative medicine, therapy, and extensive prayer to deal with my medical issues, and I don't begrudge anyone else any methods they find that work for them. Just please don't group all infertile women, or all women in general, under one umbrella.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Calamari Knitting

I made this rug from an idea I found in the book Mason Dixon Knitting, a FABULOUS book that I suggest you run out and buy right now if you have any interest at all in knitting outside the box. The "pattern" is called Calamari Knitting because you cut up old T-shirts into rings, loop them together and use that as yarn. (Anne H., it's a lot like the grocery bag stuff we've made!)

T-Shirt Rug

I used T-shirts that had holes in them, were stained, or were failed tie dye experiments, so no useful T-shirts were harmed in the making of this rug. I cut the loops between 3/4" and 1" wide, and used US size 35 needles. There are probably 20-25 T-shirts in there, but many of them were children's sizes so I think you could get by with less if you were using adult Ts.

Oh, and the new washing machine is in, and it's SO QUIET! That's another thing that was awful about the old machine. The first time we ran a load, we thought there was a helicopter landing on the roof! I'm sure that most front loaders aren't as loud as ours was. But, on the minus side, the clothes aren't nearly as dry when they come out of the top loader as they were coming out of the front loader, that thing spun its heart out every time. I guess it wasn't all bad.


Monday, June 19, 2006

We're in deep fondue-doo

You may all remember that last year to celebrate Davin's birthday and Father's Day, we served fondue. Right before the guests arrived there was a mighty deluge in the upstairs bathroom, which fostered a big moldy mess which required a complete overhaul. But, I did post an attractive photo of myself, a perk for my loyal blog readers.

So, I should have been on my guard this year, when Davin asked me to make fondue for the family for his Father's Day dinner. I should have known better than to allow the cursed intersection of melted cheese and chocolate and Davin's two biggest days of the year. Alas, I'm a fool.

No, the bathroom didn't flood this year, the laundry room did. Even after having every single thing fixed on our front loading washer (including another leak at one point) it just up and fell apart, unleashing its soapy devastation on our upstairs landing.

I take back every nice thing I ever said about our front loading washer. It was expensive, it sucked up even more money in repairs, and to top it all off, it STANK like mildew no matter what I did. We're getting a cheap top loader delivered Tuesday, and I'm not looking back!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Get Your Forensics On!

Check out Visible Proofs: Forensic Views of the Body, an online exhibit from the National Library of Medicine.

They have historical information, case histories, photos, and video including a real autopsy. It's done tastefully (nothing designed to scare or be gory) and is definitely worth some time surfing around.

There are even lesson plans, can't beat that with a stick!


*~*Sticky*~* 2996, A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11

As I mentioned here before, D. Challener Roe is putting together a tribute to the victims of 9/11, and making great progress. Now he's got a new page up to describe what he's doing, as well as graphics, etc, and he's starting to assign folks.

As he says:
2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.
Click here to see how you can help! Right now he has 111 of the 2996 people he needs, so spread the word as far and wide as you can!

I have been assigned Anna Williams Allison, from Flight 11.

This note is a sticky, and will stay at the top for the next few days. Please scroll down to read newer posts.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Thirteen


Thirteen Ruminations onJEN'S Sanity

1. Do you ever wonder if you're going crazy?

2. Or maybe if you're already crazy?

3. Like you start overthinking everything, and then you end up with really weird conclusions.

4. For instance, am I the only real person around, and everything and everybody else is just my imagination?

5. Or, am I in a straightjacket in a padded room somewhere, some room painted a soothing shade of pink, thinking I'm talking on the phone and typing up my 13?

6. But, then, if I were imagining my reality, wouldn't I have made up a better one for myself?

7. I'd be skinny, and maybe I could fly.

8. And my kids wouldn't fight so much.

9. And I'd have money, too, don't forget that part.

10. And my favorite songs would always play on the radio, none of this ZZ Top crap.

11. No offense if you like ZZ Top, there's more of them for you this way. When you go crazy, they can play all day long in your imagination.

12. So, I guess I'm probably relatively sane.

13. Pity.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Don't forget to leave me a comment if you're linking yourself up!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Go, go, Godzilla!

As you know from reading our post Elvis School, we are pretty relaxed with our homeschooling, preferring to follow the kids' interests down the rabbit hole rather than utilize much in the way of prepared curriculum.

I am always surprised by where these "distractions" lead, so I thought I'd show how we have found ourselves launched smack into the middle of World War II, by Godzilla of all things!


Most people think of Godzilla as a cheesy Japanese monster film, and some of the later movies in the series really were. But, the original, Gojira (1954), was a serious film made in response to the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in August of 1945. At that time, less than 10 years later, the Japanese people were still reeling from the devastation of the attacks, and the radiation poisoning and cancer deaths that followed. As we dug deeper into this iconic monster movie, we found that Godzilla was an allegorical tale of man's inhumanity to man, and when the scientist sacrifices himself at the end of the film to keep his creation (an oxygen destroyer that can kill Godzilla but will eventually be used as a superweapon against humans) the movie makes its point with startling clarity.

So, we popped Gojira and the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagazaki on our timeline, and discussed what happens during and after a nuclear attack. We went from there to discuss how the U.S. came to be involved in the war in the first place (Pearl Harbor), and what was going on in the rest of the war.

We talked about the Nazi Party in Germany, and their aggression into neighboring countries. And we talked about the concentration camps, and tried to get our heads around what 12 million dead could mean. (This illustration of 10 million pennies helped a little, but ultimately there's no way to understand this kind of ruin.)

Our discussion of the atomic bomb led to Albert Einstein's part in its inception, and to his feelings that it should never be used. The kids have been interested in Einstein for quite a while now, so it's nice when he fits into something new they're digging into.

Also, we studied geography, learning where all of these countries are in relation to the U.S.

I have to add that I didn't sit down and write all of this out and cover it with the kids, we asked each other questions and since the information was relevant to them they soaked it up. This discussion has been going on little by little over time, earlier the focus has been on Japan and its physical characteristics, with the march into WWII happening today.

They're still interested, so I think we'll be doing this for a while. There are so many fascinating things about WWII, that we could be led all over the place!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


All I can think of when I watch this video is that the actors must be tired!

And they get extra points for using Misirlou, which is probably the coolest surf song ever. I didn't realize until just now when I was checking the spelling, etc, that it was originally Klezmer, and has traveled a twisting path into American pop culture. If my stupid real player worked, I could listen to all of the cool versions of it in this NPR article.

Anyway, enjoy the video!


Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Davin!

Today is Davin's birthday, he's a prime number! He hasn't been a prime number for six years.

Happy 37th Birthday, Davin! I love you!


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Some math for you

Crocs Shoes
A Whole Day at the Colorado Renaissance Festival=

Renaissance Feet

We had a FABULOUS day, it's so much fun now that the kids are old enough to appreciate all of the costumes and decorations, and get a lot of the jokes at the shows.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Apparently we're not only bad parents, we're turning our kids into nerds, too.

After mocking Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl here in my blog, I decided to download it so that I could hear the unedited version. The kids loved how catchy it was and it became a favorite (I won't play it when your kids are in the car, I promise.)

Anyway, they started calling it "The Shit Song" because they didn't know the title, and if you've heard the lyrics you can see how this would seem reasonable. I let them know that that wasn't the title, asked them to stop saying that, and I told them the song is actually called Hollaback Girl and please use that title from now on.

So, thinking I had it all under control, I was again confronted with our family's deeply entrenched geekhood when Anya said, "Can we listen to that song, you know, Holodeck Girl?"

Oh heaven help them, there was no hope for them, was there?


Friday, June 09, 2006

Modest Swimsuit

I'm thinking of buying a suit from here. Partially because I like being more covered up in general for modesty reasons, and partially because I'm a big girl and this looks like it would help with the "rubbing" issues (you big girls know what I'm talking about...)

I know these look different, but they don't look bad, and certainly no worse putting my pasty avoirdupois on display.

I love the internet!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yes, we are juvenile people.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

If you are like us, you will find this hilarious!

If not, do be patient, we will grow up eventually...


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

News from Rowan!

Kajsa's rocking a new kidney!

In honor of this fabulous event, I'm posting a link to a great list Rowan wrote a while back: Thirteen Myths and Facts about Organ Donation.

Yay, Kajsa!


Yet Another Reason I Don't Hike

Not only is it all hot, sweaty and physically demanding, it's also very difficult to knit while you're hiking, so it's already off my A list. And here I see another reason not to go out in the backcountry.

Hikers find decomposing body

Yeah, no thanks.

When Davin and I watch C S I, we play a game. During the first few minutes of the show, we watch the action and try to determine if the person they're focusing on is going to SEE the dead guy or BE the dead guy. They always have about three minutes to set up some scene where a person is either inadvertently crossing the path of a serial killer (ie BEing the dead guy), or they follow their barking dog off the jogging trail to find a body (ie SEEing the dead guy). It never varies.

It's gotten to the point where if we're playing at the park and the kids' frisbee goes into the bushes, I seriously consider just letting it go 'cause you KNOW there's a body in there. Ditto when I toss something in a dumpster, I'm so not looking first.

Maybe I should knock off the TV a little?


9/11 Tribute

D Challener Roe is putting together a truly amazing tribute to the victims of 9/11. If you have a blog, and are interested in helping out, check here for details. He's looking for 2,995 volunteers to help by each putting an individual tribute on their blogs that day.


Monday, June 05, 2006

22nd Carnival of Homeschooling

I'm kind of new at this, so I didn't realize this was up on the 30th. But, here it is, the 22nd Carnival of Homeschooling!!! There are a ton of cool homeschool posts there, including the one I wrote about timelines. (Ooh, I feel famous!)

If you'd like to participate in a future Carnival of Homeschooling, check here for details!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Snap, Crackle, Pop

More like thunk, sizzle, SSSSSSSSSS, kerchink!

I never got to the garage sales yesterday, I never even got out of my neighborhood!

I stopped to buy gas and wash the car, and before any water even hit the glass (note there was NO cleaning done) the back window of my minivan SHATTERED!!! It's hard to see here, but it's cracked into tiny pieces throughout the entire frame. I just went straight through the car wash without stopping, figuring that wasn't where I wanted to be when the water actually started.

Davin and I looked all around the car wash to see if something could have hit the window, and it appears that it may have just been failure due to the heat of the window glass and just enough water dripping from inside the car wash?

Isn't it pretty?
Back Window, no plate


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sale-ing off into the sunset

Can't blog this morning, going to garage sales! If I get anything good I'll come back and tell you what it was.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Joy and Sadness

Have you all seen this? It's the blog of a family detailing their daughter's recovery from a horrible car accident, where she and her co-workers were riding in a large van. They were all either injured badly or killed.

But, what they didn't realize until a month after the accident, was that the girl they were watching over and praying for wasn't their daughter at all. There'd been a mix-up at the scene, and their daughter was dead. This girl was a co-worker that looked enough like her that neither family realized the mistake until now.

So, the second family is now carrying on the girl's care, having thought their daughter was dead this whole time. And the other family is going home without their girl. I imagine both families are in shock.

They are asking for prayer, both for the daughter's healing, and for the first family who are dealing with their loss.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen


Thirteen Thoughts about THE PASSAGE OF TIME

1. We all went to the Zoo last night. They were holding an after-hours picnic for members. The topic was "bugs" and they had the Butterfly Pavilion folks come and set up booths.

2. They also released 140,000 ladybugs into the zoo's foliage, as natural protection against aphids. They gave the kids handfuls of ladybugs and allowed them to carry them over the to the trees and let them go. Everyone was covered with ladybugs, they were in our hair and on our clothes, and one even made its way up Anya's sleeve.

3. At one point, the gum I was chewing suddenly crunched. I just threw it away without looking at it, I have a feeling I know what happened.

4. Ugh.

5. There was also a wild gang of roaming teens there. They were dressed like a cross between the mods from Quadrophenia, and garden variety goths.

6. They were doing the usual goofy things that my friends and I did as teenagers. They all climbed on the hippo statue to get a photo taken, one girl pretended to have a British accent.

7. They even carried on loud and outrageous conversations, "Have you ever eaten anyone? Were they tasty?" etc.

8. It was sort of painful to watch. Had it been so obvious to everyone that WE were trying to be loud and outrageous? They truly seemed harmless, they didn't cause me any alarm. Just that recollection of being nearly the same way, and thinking at the time it was coming across as way cooler than I now see that it was.

9. I considered saying something, to possibly clue them in. Like, we all know she's not from England, and that you never ate anybody. You look interesting, I like the style, but you're trying way too hard.

10. Then, digging way down in the memory banks, it occurred to me that even though they were doing all of this for the benefit of the people around them, ie the families at the zoo, they really didn't care what we all thought of it. Because, of course, we are hopelessly obtuse and couldn't possibly understand their delicate nature anyway.

11. Realizing this, I came up with the ultimate zinger. It was something I know to be true from the experiences of my wild friends and I. I immediately decided not to use it, because it was a scary and mindblowing concept to consider at that age, and they probably wouldn't believe me anyway. And, if they did get it, they would lose their sense of "specialness" that allowed them to run around the zoo acting like lunatics just for the sheer joy of it.

12. What was the comment, you ask? I could march over to them, with my four kids, my stroller, my stupid "mom" purse and my comfortable shoes and say, "Someday, you will be just like me."

13. Don't get me wrong, I still think I'm cool. I still think my friends are cool. But, somewhere along the line, we realized that we don't have to be so painfully, tragically cool that we have to work on it all the time. Life doesn't have to be a stage where the world can evaluate us, to see if we're wild enough, artistic enough, different enough, just plain ENOUGH. We can just be who we are, which is the ultimate in nonconformist expression. But, it sure doesn't look like it from the outside anymore, does it?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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