high five quilt

Since I’ve been feeling like crap, I haven’t been doing much crafting.  I was determined to finish my cross stitch, but at I’m at probably 95% complete excluding edge stitching, and I need a break.  I’ve managed to muster up enough energy the last few days to spend about 10 minutes making a few really easy quilt blocks.  The intended recipient, obviously, is the new arrival.  I had been thinking of doing a Friedlander pattern next, but i’m basically just not up for it right now.  I need to do something easy.  This pattern is technically out of Sunday Morning Quilts, and i bought the book, but I haven’t really looked at the formal pattern yet.  My inspiration was Blue Elephant Stitches.

Anyway.  Blocks so far.  At this rate, it’ll take me a couple months to assemble enough for a baby quilt.

13 weeks 1 day today and still feeling lousy.  Every day I hope to wake up feeling better, but it hasn’t happened yet.

swim swim swim

B: I don’t like it when you leave me home alone.

Me / H: When did we ever leave you alone?

B: When Daddy is working and Mommy is resting and L is having privacy.

Me / H: (laughing at the cuteness of her turn of phrase) You don’t like it L is having privacy?

B: It’s not fair when some people are having privacy and other people are bored.

Me / H: Don’t worry, when the new baby is here, you’ll always have some to play with.


L had her first swim team practice yesterday.  Pro tip: In Washington, swimming pools, even outdoor ones, are always heated!  The pool is actually quite balmy, even though it’s still in the 40s at night.  I was quite pleased with the revelation.  Anyway, I’m quite proud of L.  She did great.

H attended the swim team parents’ meeting tonight  (I’m still only marginally functional due to morning sickness, so he’s been basically single parenting the last seven weeks.)  He was intimidated by how serious it was.  “Everyone was like – swim, swim swim, my kid has been swimming for years, swim, swim, swim, everyone so obsessed with swimming.”  What else would you expect at a swim team meeting?  But I’m amused.

I think swimming is a great life skill, and I think after a couple summers of swim team, you’re a swimmer for life.  You’ll always be confident in the water, even if you never swim competitively again.

a new addition

I’m 12 weeks, 5 days pregnant.  Due date, 11/26.  H and I decided to get on the merry-go-round one more time, and so we’ll be a family of five, with a third little girl joining us.

The first trimester has been its usual misery.  Perhaps it’s easier when you know what you’re in for, but mainly it hasn’t been as severe this time as in past.  Constant nausea, but no vomiting.  I often feel OK for an hour or two in the morning, which gives me much needed mental relief.  My last pregnancy, the vomiting was sufficiently severe that I took meds like Phenargen and Bonjesta during the day, both of which have fatigue as a side effect, which left me feeling like a miserable zombie.  This time, the evenings have been brutal, the days hard, but the mornings are better.  I’ve even been able to run in the mornings, albeit slowly for short distances, which has helped my mental state enormously.

It’s obviously been hard having this line up with taking a new job.  I could have delayed switching jobs, or I could have delayed trying to get pregnant.  But really, there’s never a good time.  I’ve been working 30 to 35 hours a week, and hopefully I’ll feel better soon and be able to get up to 40 hours.


I just accidentally heard a message from the insurance company informing me I was at fault in the car accident that totaled my car last year.  I’d never heard it, or I would have called them back and am currently annoyed at my husband for not telling me about it.

But mostly just so annoyed.  I could have plowed into car #3 when it spun in front of me.  I honestly think that would have resulted in at least injury, possibly death, for the driver of that vehicle, and possibly injury or death for me, too.  Had I done so, yes, it’s true car #5 wouldn’t have collided with me.  (I pulled in front of car #5 to avoid car #3.)  It just seems so unfair to have done what I think was right and to be penalized for it.

I feel like I went through the process in good faith and got screwed over.  I wasn’t looking out for myself, just trying to honestly and transparently answer whatever I was asked by whomever.  I did an interview with Car #5’s insurance company, which I shouldn’t have done, in hindsight.  They lied to me during that conversation and said they wouldn’t go after me.  Fuck them.  I’m glad that I don’t tell lies for a living, whatever else my failings may be.

I keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter.  We have plenty of money to pay the increased insurance, and what’s important is that no one was hurt.  By paying attention and being a good driver, maybe I saved someone’s life or health.  Or maybe I didn’t – we’ll never know.

But I’m still pissed.  It’s the principle of the thing.  If we hadn’t had that wedding in the Bahamas immediately afterwards and I hadn’t been dealing with the process of leaving my job and everything else, if maybe I had known about the message, maybe I could have contested it.  Just grumpy about the whole thing.  H pays our insurance, and I’m afraid to even ask about the cost.

Caster Semenya

I find the popular media Caster Semenya coverage horrifying.   I wonder if most of the columnists are just firing off snap reactions without really understanding the situation or what.  Reading the NYT, as an example, you’d think Semenya was just a woman who was being discriminated against because she happens to have higher than normal T and happens to look a bit butch.

Back to Semenya.  She has XY chromosomes.  This was acknowledged in the CAS report, and this is why they made the decision they did.  IN FACT, the new rules apply ONLY to athletes with XY chromosomes.  So if Caster was XX, it wouldn’t matter if she had elevated T.

It’s typical for female athletes to have elevated T, but there’s a range women fall in, and a range men fall in, and the two don’t overlap.  It’s one of the fundamental differences between the sexes, which is why Semenya, with XY chromosomes, no ovaries, and testicles, has such high T.  I actually think it’s generous and unfair to XX women that she be allowed to compete at all.

In the last Olympics, XX women were shut out of the medals in the 800 m.  I think feminists sometimes get carried away in the “men and women are equal” mantra.  Sadly, men and women are NOT equal.  Women have the privilege and burden of being designed to carry children.  This makes us vastly inferior athletically, especially in certain arenas.  The 800 m happens to be one of these.  An above average high school boys’ runner could win a gold medal in the Olympics.  A high school runner!  (High school girls do not compete in the Olympics in T&F, to be clear.  This is not gymnastics.  It does not reward child-like body shapes.)  My brother was a fairly average runner at a small school.  He never won anything of note, but he would have been national class had he elected to compete as a girl.  In fact, he could have been national class at a number of events – the mile, the 800 m, the 5K, and so on.

Anyway.  The incomplete coverage is making me crazy.  But I am thankful that the playing field has been leveled again, and the XX women who have been shut out for the last decade will once again have a chance to compete.

decorating ii

I’m not feeling well, so why not do a little digital home decorating, eh?  This is our living room as it currently stands:

(I find it kind of amusing and kind of not that I captured both kids absorbed by their digital devices – cameras in this case.)  Anyway, the living room has actually come a long way from a few years ago when we had a too-small couch, no ottoman, no chair, etc.

Still on the list:

  • Get rid of some of the clutter (note the folding table, stuff piled on top of the bookcase, etc.)
  • Replace bookcase with a white one.  The current one will go into the girls’ room to replace their extremely dilapidated Ikea bookcase.
  • Replace end table.  I got that one in Target 15 years ago and am well sick of it.
  • Cushion / throw update for the couch?
  • Pictures or other wall decoration above the couch

I like our ottoman, but it’s rather vulnerable to staining, so I keep the quilt on it to protect it except when we have guests.

Room #2 is the guest bedroom.  This, too, has seen some improvement:

I detest the pink sparkly wall paper, so priority number one is to get rid of that.  Then, new side tables (current side table is about thirty years old from my childhood, and I’m over it) and new bedspread, a couple wall hangings, and we’re done, I think.  There is a lamp on the floor next to the bed just waiting for a table to sit on.

healthcare thoughts

It’s interesting to me how supporting government-run healthcare has become more or less standard for Democratic candidates.  I can’t argue that people – all people – should have access to healthcare, but I feel a lot of people don’t understand that what people get with government-run healthcare is not the same as what we get here.  I can mainly speak to Ireland and the UK, so that’s what I’ll talk to.

  • If you are in the hospital in Ireland, you’ll likely find yourself on a ward.  If not, you’ll be sharing a room.  As far as I can tell, wards don’t even exist on US hospitals anymore, except maybe in the ICU or whatever.  Private rooms are not a standard thing like they are here.
  • If you need some kind of treatment for something that’s not life-threatening, you’ll likely have to wait.  A long time.  Here’s a random example of an article on patients waiting 9 months or more to get shots for macular degeneration.  I didn’t KNOW that people had to wait a long time for that treatment, but I guessed they did.  My dad has macular degeneration, and it’s terribly time-critical to get treated.
  • When my American grandma got cataracts, she made an appointment and got them removed.  When my Irish great-aunt got cataracts, she got put on a waiting list, and a year later, she got them removed.
  • In Ireland, people unsatisfied with public health care pay for private health insurance.  15% of health care expenditures came from private insurance, and 40% of Irish people have some type of private insurance.  My aunt found a lump in her breast.  She was unsatisfied with the care she was getting from the public healthcare system, so she sought private treatment and surgery to have it removed.
  • Healthcare is like an HMO.  I’ve enjoyed being on a PPO for over a decade.  As a kid, my parents had an HMO which was super annoying because you couldn’t just go see a doctor if you had a problem.  You needed a referral.  Not a huge deal, but public healthcare tends to follow the HMO model – your GP is a gatekeeper.
  • Education requirements are WAY less to qualify as a doctor in other countries outside the US.  It takes five years to qualify as a doctor in Ireland.  In five to six years, you can qualify as a surgeon or specialist.  That’s out of high school, folks.  I actually think this is a good thing, but unless the model is changed, doctors here are going to expect to be paid more.
  • GPs in Ireland make $77,000 a year.  GPs in the US average between $140,000 and $190,000 a year, depending on the source.  And we have trouble finding enough GPs even at that salary level.
  • As far as I can tell, Medicare is great in the US.  But the rest of us are subsidizing it heavily.  Not only that, I’d assert that the US subsidizes healthcare around the world through paying through the nose for pharmaceuticals and advanced operations and equipment not available elsewhere.  New treatments are debuted in the US, and after they’ve been shown to work well, they move to the rest of the world.  A random example of British kids trying to get to the US for cutting edge cancer treatment.  Cancer treatment is very effective in Europe, but many of those effective treatments were developed and paid for here.
  • Despite the fact that a full 12% of Americans are uninsured, cancer survival rates are comparable between the US and Europe.  12% of Americans don’t even have healthcare, but survival rates are the same.  Why?  Shouldn’t they be much higher in Europe?  (It varies with type of cancer; for some types, survival rates are higher in the US, others higher in Europe, but comes out roughly even overall.)

I honestly believe healthcare will not be any cheaper whatsoever if we go to governement-run healthcare in the US.  I suspect that globally, the rate of advancements in healthcare will declines.  I would LOVE to see the US stop subsidizing drugs for the rest of the world, and perhaps government run healthcare would enable that.  I do believe it’s a moral obligation of this country to provide healthcare to all its citizens.  I’m not sure Medicare for all is the way to do that.  Maybe it is.  If Medicare for all IS the right answer, I definitely would be in favor of a gradual expansion – gradually reduce the eligibility age and add in children at the same time.  So, year one, move eligibility to age 55 and also make all children under 1 eligible.  People could still retain private insurance if they wished, but I imagine many or most wouldn’t.  Private insurance would experience a slow decline over the next 30 years while it adapted to a role more similar to that which it plays in Europe.