Monday, June 25, 2007


Zaeden's got two and Ivy's got a loose one. Z is quite cranky about it, but Ivy is excited. She even wanted to spend time wiggling her tooth before saying good morning to her brother today. She has been carrying a mirror around with her to check on it every so often. I wonder how much the tooth fairy brings these days.

Not Again

Since I had more time on my hands, I thought I would go back to my old discussion board haunts and start posting again. I should have stayed away! Now I'm back to checking for messages every few minutes and posting responses to everything I read. I hate the way it makes me feel, but once I post, I have to go back and read the responses. Cold turkey is the only way to quit!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I finished my big work project and it is finally off to the proofreaders. I have had my head stuck in virtual world research so long that it is difficult transitioning and winding down. I don't have any new major work on my plate yet, so I have been taking it easy. I didn't even check my work email this last weekend.
I have been rearranging the house. I finally gave up my office. Since I got the laptop last August, I rarely work in the office. For some reason, I was brought up to believe televisions should go in family rooms and computers belong in the office. I have come to the realization that the computer is part of our life and it is okay to have one in the family room. So my desk and PC have moved to the family room and will be integrated with the HD/TV/DVR system. I have enjoyed working on two computers at once while the kids play in the family room. It will probably take a while before I feel like it's not tacky!
My office is now a guest bedroom. My parents are coming in a few weeks and it will be nice for them to have some privacy. Since Zaeden arrived, the play room has been the home of the guest bed. Our guests have had to sleep in a room full of toys, a TV and 2 computers. Now that room is more suited to just hanging out and playing.
The biggest transition is passing by with very little recognition. Today was Ivy's last day of kindergarten. When I picked her up, all the moms and the teacher were crying. I tried to feel some of that emotion, but I think I have been disconnected from her classroom this year. I know the other moms volunteered more. I don't think Ivy realized the magnitude of what is happening. It's not just that she is moving up to first grade. This is her first summer out of school. She's going to be stuck with her mom and baby brother every day instead of her friends. There are about 10 other girls in the neighborhood for her to play with, but she won't be with her friends from school. We are trying to work on a schedule, but I don't know how well it will mesh with my computer addiction!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I was driving back from dropping my daughter off at her dad's yesterday and trying to think of a good blog post. I thought about how I spent the first 35 years of my life perfecting the art of saying ,"No!" Although it was my first word, I think it took me 35 years to get really good at it. Lately, I've become aware of all the doors I have been closing by saying No all the time. While it has gotten me out of some sticky situation and unrewarding work, I think it has kept me from enjoying myself a bit.
Lately, I have been saying, "Yes!" It has been quite liberating. I said yes several times to my daughter's requests to ride her bike outside last week. I said yes when she wanted to invite her friends to dinner, as I was setting it on the table. I said yes to rearranging the family room furniture, and I love it! I said yes to going out a few times and was glad to get out of the house.
As I drove home, yesterday, I thought about all the times I had said yes lately and had a positive outcome. Maybe it isn't so bad after all. Maybe I don't have to be in control all the time. When I walked in the door, my husband told me he was probably going to a friend's to play cards (World of Warcraft) that night. He told me I should come along and hang out with his friend's wife and baby. I immediately said, "No!"


I have a vision of how I would like to set up, but I lack the expertise to do it. I have been checking out a lot of free programs, such as Simple Machines, Drupal, Word Press, Moodle and others and I just don't have the technical skill to get things going. I would like to have a simple portal page that links to forums, and some type of social networking as well as personal blogs. I would like each user to be able to create a profile that includes their shared images, network of friends, etc.
I don't know if I should just take some classes, read books or find someone who would partner with me to get it set up. I have a stack of PHP My/SQL books and just haven't had time to crack them open. I think if I did take the time to learn some coding, I would do okay at it. I am usually able to find what I need in HTML, PHP, CSS, JAVA if I don't like what I see or need to make a fix. I just need more serious skills.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fertile Communities of Practice

No, I'm not writing about educational technology, I'm writing about online communities focused around fertility. I have been participating in these communities for seven years, since I became pregnant with my first child. If you are a man, you may not know they exist, or you may wonder why your wife or girlfriend is hopelessly attached to the computer. Your partner may be one of many who have made tens of thousands of posts in just a few years.

In the early days, these started as groups of women supporting each other through pregnancy and parenthood. Signing up with a "due date" club provided a group of ladies to compare symptoms, complain about dear husbands (DH's) and discuss all the things your mother never told you. I believe these groups were healthy and fun and beneficial. Any unusual symptom was greeted with a "go call your doctor!"

Now, the Web is populated with an unlimited supply of medical advice, both real and suspect. There are massive (membership in the thousands) communities surrounding conception or trying to conceive (TTC). Ladies post messages several times a day describing every potential pregnancy symptom in hopes of confirmation from other TTC'ers. Everyone shares their similar symptoms until there is almost mass hysteria pushing each other to "TEST!TEST!TEST!" Community members frequently post that they "know" the other member is pregnant and that this is "their time."

Women waste hundreds of dollars taking early pregnancy tests. When their monthly cycle (AF) arrives, they are extremely discouraged, often "taking a break" to get away from the boards they once found so supportive. Then they begin the same cycle the next month. Some of these women have medical conditions that prevent them from becoming pregnant, yet they still fall into the trap of checking for symptoms and testing early.

If they do become pregnant, they move on to their due date groups and compare symptoms along the way. Rather than contacting a doctor, they will first post unusual symptoms to their boards and wait for responses from others to tell them everything is okay. Other members will search the Web and post quotes from "medical" sites with what the symptoms may mean. Sometimes this prevents the group member from seeking medical attention.

Once the baby arrives, they move to baby clubs where they compare every baby milestone. Again, unusual baby symptoms are posted in hopes of getting a response confirming the baby is developing normally. Advice from other mothers is taken before the advice of medical professionals. Some mothers begin to feel their babies are not progressing normally, even though there is nothing wrong.

If you've read this far, you probably wonder why I care. I'm not trying to condemn these communities, I am expressing valid concern for a culture that has gotten out of control. Here are the reasons why I care.

  1. Seeking medical advice online from people unqualified to give advice and unfamiliar with your unique medical history is dangerous and irresponsible.
  2. Conception is a very personal process usually between two people who love each other and want to start a family. It is more healthful to your relationship to discuss challenges with your partner before placing your trust in a group of strangers. (I have nothing against those who choose to single parent.)
  3. There are very few reasons to take an early pregnancy test, let alone 10 of them. The mob mentality of those encouraging early testing is out of control. The test makers are making a killing off products that are poorly made and frequently inaccurate. Wait until your cycle is late and buy a single test or go to a clinic! (I acknowledge in some cases it is medically necessary to learn this information as early as possible.)
  4. There is a shady commercial industry blossoming around these groups taking advantage of the competitive nature of the members. It is a race to ovulate, conceive, have a first ultrasound, find out the sex of the baby and bring the baby home. Women spend thousands of dollars on ovulation prediction kits, pregnancy tests, books, software, even psychic advisers. There are companies ( and who claim to be able to tell the gender of your baby as early as five weeks after conception. These are not real! They are taking advantage of the fact that they have a 50/50 (or better if they use sophisticated software and demographic data) chance to make a guess at the sex of the baby. There are also commercial ultrasound facilities offering a "first look" at baby. Women rush to these early ultrasounds so they can post photos and compare. I personally do not believe these are always safe. Ultrasound in the hands of an untrained technician is very dangerous. I believe ultrasound will eventually be linked to autism or other neurological problems. It just can't be good to bounce sound waves off a developing brain.
  5. These communities inspire a competitive desire for more "stuff." They encourage materialistic ideals. Women are pushed to create baby registries. They post about multiple baby showers. They have to have every new baby product. Babies don't need all this stuff. Your friends and family don't need to buy you all this stuff.

I am not suggesting these communities be disbanded. I acknowledge they spawn genuine friendships and provide support to people in times of need. I recognize the potential power of these groups to influence buying decisions. I have been an active participant in these communities and have only come to realize the negative side of things by taking a few months off. If you are also a member, I encourage you to take a step back and think before your next post. Think about whether you are pressuring someone to make a personal decision. Think about whether you are bowing to peer pressure.

If you aren't familiar with these communities and would like to do some research, here are some links.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


My husband sent me to Fred Meyer to check out a desk he wanted to get along with a CD/DVD cabinet. I, of course, had to go next door to Staples first to see if there was something better. I also needed a new shredder (my third), possibly a wireless keyboard and new mouse. I started looking at the furniture, but the sales girl was so annoying, I wandered off to try to escape the store.
On my way out, I saw a shredder that looked perfect, so I picked it up. I purchased the extra protection plan, since I seem to shred shredders. There was a pile of receipts, including a rebate and the protection plan. The check out girl couldn't find a stapler. (Staples?) She went to another desk to get one, and after pounding on it several times, gave up. I told her I didn't need my receipts stapled, but found it odd that the store was called Staples and they didn't have a working stapler. She said none of the staplers there ever worked.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Is My Vacuum Too Incredible?

I bought this amazing vacuum. It sucks like you wouldn't believe! The problem is, I have to keep dumping the canister. It fills up 3 times just doing the family room. I have to dump it twice on the steps. I know this is because I have a dirty dog, but that's a lot of extra work. However, how can I complain? What's the alternative, a vacuum that doesn't pick it all up?

Nestle Makes me Feel like a Real Mom

I loooooooove Nestle Ultimates refrigerated cookie dough. It takes me less than a minute to put the cookies on the sheet and then take them out of the oven 19 minutes later. The house smells like I've been baking all day. My family thinks it's a special treat. I don't have to trash the kitchen and the cookies are wonderful!
Note: Don't sneeze with a mouthful of the triple chocolate and your arms full of clean laundry!

Seven Months

My little dude is 7 months old today! He's such a big guy and I'm so proud of him. He started clapping last week right before we left for his sister's spring concert. The next day he used a similar hand motion for "more" when I was feeding him in the high chair. He is happy most of the time, but I wouldn't call him easy! He wants to be the center of attention all the time and can't sleep at night unless he is touching me. I still don't have the heart to let him cry it out. It just kills me to see his face when he knows I am leaving him. I am so lucky I don't have to deal with day care.