In Which I Find Everything Unnecessarily Difficult And Fight Hormonal Reactions To It


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My friend Hannah from Hodgepodge and Strawberries recently said to me that ‘pregnancy is like 9 months of non-stop PMS’ and I thoroughly agree. Life is hard enough on general principle, but when you’re trying to do it while surfing on a wave of irritation and overreaction it becomes just that much more difficult to navigate.

Picture trying to hold sixteen different items in your arms at once, while sobbing.

I have become a ball of horrible crippling anxiety and tears.

On top of the two jobs not to mention the “gee I haven’t bought any presents and now there’s no time to mail them back to Nova Scotia in time for Christmas” stress, I’ve been trying to deal with my medical situation.

So, you won’t have forgotten the mysterious disease of May/June. Well, a month or more ago I went back to the specialist because the itchy rash kept coming back. It usually starts on my chest and neck, burning and red, and then fades away while the itchiness spreads over my whole body and causes me to scratch my skin off for days. Antihistamines don’t help. Cortisone cream doesn’t help. So I went back to the internist. I was thinking that maybe this thing was autoimmune after all.

The internist listened carefully, and narrowed her eyes. “I think you should go back to the opthamologist and see if your optic nerve swelling is back,” she said. “If it is, we should probably do a lumber puncture, and you might need to talk to a neurosurgeon.”

I’m sorry, what now?

Yeah, it turns out that itching which isn’t soothed by cortisone or antihistamines can sometimes be NEUROLOGICAL.

I hadn’t mentioned it to her, but the wooshing noise in my left ear had returned a few times, too.

So I went back to the opthamologist, having spent the last three days at work saying “I MIGHT NEED A BRAIN SURGEON” whenever someone asked me a question I couldn’t answer.

The opthamologist looked in my eyes and said, “Yeah, the swelling is back again. Not nearly as bad as the first time I saw you, but definitely worse than the last time I saw you.”

Then, when I went in to my family doctor, she said that the bloodwork that the internist had done showed that my CRP (inflammation) values were up again, too.

So… what does this mean? Lumbar puncture? BRAIN SURGEON (FUCKING  BRAIN SURGEON OH MY GOD)?

Well, I don’t know! Because NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW.

I called the internist’s office on Monday and was like “Uh, what do I do now?”

And they said “We don’t know… doesn’t say in your file… we’ll ask the doctor tomorrow.”

Today is Wednesday. I still haven’t heard back. So I called and left ANOTHER message asking what the hell I do now.

And that ain’t all.

The internist also apologetically told me that I should be considered a high risk pregnancy because they have no idea what’s wrong with me. Better safe than sorry.

That means that I need an OB, not a midwife.

I decided the last time I was pregnant that I wanted a midwife this time around. Midwives are covered in British Columbia, and you can still have a hospital birth and epidural and all that wonderful stuff. The big benefit to a midwife, as I saw it, was that she will come to your house and check your dilation so you don’t need to go back and forth to the hospital UMPTEEN TIMES and wait for two hours just to be told that you haven’t dilated in the slightest EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE BEEN HAVING CONTRACTIONS EVERY 3 MINUTES FOR THE LAST 18 HOURS.

Not that that wasn’t wonderful and all.

Besides, it sucked that I saw one or two doctors throughout my prenatal care and then my baby ended up being delivered by a stranger who didn’t even remember me when I went in for my 6 week post delivery checkup.

So I got a midwife for my last pregnancy and had all of one appointment with her before the baby died in the womb and all that stuff happened. 

This time I held off for a while – partly because I was half-convinced that the baby would die again so I didn’t want to jump the gun and partly because my doctor was like “let’s make sure your weird disease doesn’t cause any problems.”

So I’ve been seeing my family doctor for prenatals which she said she could do through 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Then the rashes and the head wooshing started and now the internist has officially said that I should be considered high risk.

Which means that I need to have an OB.

Which sucks.

So I asked my family doctor to refer me to my previous OB clinic. After all, if I have to have an OB again, it might as well be the place that gave me a healthy baby last time, somewhere I am familiar with and with some faces that I’ll recognize.

Does that seem too much to ask? DOES IT?


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Oh Sears, You Bastion of Traditional Sexism, You.


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Catalogues have been known for over a century as a great way to entertain children. Owl will sit quietly for long stretches as he flips through Sears’ Toy Shop Christmas Catalogue.

He may love it, but Perfect Husband looked over Owl’s shoulder one day and was horrified.


The Sears Christmas Catalogue is supposed to catalogue toys, but it also catalogues gender stereotypes, to the point where you wonder whether this is supposed to be tongue in cheek.

Surely nothing in this day and age could be un-ironically THIS sexist?

A quick flip through the catalogue shows boys playing with cars and dinosaurs and boxing bags and discovering amazing science, while girls wearing pink hold dolls and use knitting machines and quietly paint, while totally ignoring entire shelves full of awesome cars and tools they could be playing with.


When they do touch something that could potentially be interpreted as masculine, such as a bow and arrow or a car, they are interacting with a pink version of it, because obviously things need to be pink for girls to play with them.


But it goes deeper than that.

Even the way that they are STAGED with the toys reeks of 1950’s style sexism. Like, to the point where you have to wonder if they’re being serious.

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It’s Alive! And Female.



And thanks to confirmation bias, I feel like my worrying paid off!

I think that was the most harrowing half hour I have experienced in a very long time. My ultrasound technician was a serious Eastern European man who had a tendency to lean back in his chair while moving the wand back and forth over my belly, and then suddenly sit up and lean in, starting at the screen intently as if the baby had suddenly started using sign language at him or something.

Every time that happened I imagined he was discovering that my baby was an octopus or cerberus or experiencing some kind of death spasm.

And he asked questions like “was your last baby a big one?” and “you say your last pregnancy was a miscarriage?” which thoroughly unnerved me.

Finally, (FINALLY) he called in PH and Owl (who remained uncharacteristically silent) and showed us the baby, including the part between the legs which didn’t seem to have a penis and so he felt it was “pretty definitive” that it is a girl.

She seems to have a beating heart, a head, two arms, two legs, and a vulva. He didn’t mention any cysts or defects or soft markers, although then when he went out to “speak briefly to the doctor on staff and print the pictures” he took a disturbingly long time.

But when he came back it was without any doctor and holding some print outs for us.

We went for panacakes.


Also, a girl! That’s a nice bonus. I would have been fine either way, but I’ve HAD a boy so the girl thing adds some novelty to the pregnancy.


In Which I Try To Use Worry As A Weapon To Fight Off A Bad Ultrasound Outcome…


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My 20 week ultrasound is tomorrow, and I’m doing my Anxiety Girl thing.

Back when I was in my Generalized Anxiety CBT group, they talked about how pathological worriers will often suffer from the superstitious belief that  their worrying is actually productive.

Then I raised my hand and told them my own personal theory of worrying, which stunned them for a moment, and then the leader said,

“That is the most COMPLEX rationalization of anxiety I have EVER heard.”

Wanna hear it?

Of course you do.

Okay, as you may know, one of the many bizarre and perplexing things suggested by Quantum Mechanics is that we could very well exist as one universe in a vast multiverse – that there are alternate universes created on a quantum level for every possible outcome. There could be thousands of YOUs out there, all living similar but slightly different realities.

And yet we only experience it as one lifetime, right? My particular consciousness is separate from the consciousnesses of all the other Carols out there – thousands of things could happen to various Carols throughout the multiverse but I will only experience one of those.

Maybe in another universe, my last pregnancy didn’t end in a miscarriage.

Maybe in another universe, I stayed with my first boyfriend and never married PH.

Maybe in another universe, I didn’t contract that weird disease (I went back to the internist the other day, by the way. The rash keeps coming back, so I spend half my time scratching off my own skin, and lately I’ve been hearing wooshes in my ears…).

Anyway, here is my theory: if I concentrated hard enough, maybe I can CHOOSE which reality my consciousness stays in. Maybe by WORRYING that a certain bad thing will happen, I can consciously AVOID it happening to THIS PARTICULAR iteration of my consciousness. Of course bad things still happen, but aren’t they always different bad things from what we expect? Aren’t we always blindsided by the one thing that DIDN’T worry us?

My GAD group used that as proof that worrying doesn’t help. I suggested that maybe it means that our worrying needs a broader spectrum.

Of course, it’s crazy, and the CBT stuff helped me drop a LOT of that. I don’t worry nearly as much as I used to and look what happened! I had a silent miscarriage and walked around with a dead baby inside me for weeks.

So, this time of course I was terrified of a bad outcome and my 8 week ultrasound was clear. The baby is still alive – I can feel little kicks and twitches at night and sometimes around noon. But all kinds of bad things could happen at tomorrow’s ultrasound. The baby could be hideously malformed. It could have soft markers indicating Down’s Syndrome, or worse, another Trisomy that is seriously deadly. Heart defects, spinal defects…

So far I have googled Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, Anencephaly, and have read over 20 personal stories from people who had horrible news from their 20 week ultrasound and either ended up deciding to terminate or carrying to term and then taking photographs of their dead/deformed and dying baby. For some reason, ALL OF THESE people are deeply religious and use the word “sweet” and “angel” multiple times.

Not sure if seriously defective babies are some kind of Trojan that Jesus uses to infect people or if only religious people have the strength to document their experiences. Could be both.

I’m also wondering what we’re going to do with Owl if the news is bad. We haven’t out-and-out told him that I’m pregnant. He has noticed that my stomach is getting bigger and has asked several times if I have a baby in there. PH finally  told him that my body is TRYING to grow a baby but we don’t know if it has been successful yet. This prompted him to say loudly “You can’t be making a baby, Mommy! Daddy’s PENIS isn’t in you VAGINA!”

We were in Cost Co at the time. Several people looked around. Kids are great.

Anyway. We told him that tomorrow we will go see a special doctor who can look in my belly and tell us if there is a baby in there. In an ideal world we will be able to bring him in, tell him he is going to have a little brother/sister, and show him the baby on the screen.

But if it’s terrible news, how do we keep his infernal curiosity silent long enough to receive the bad news, discuss the options and digest it all? How do we explain to him that yes, there is a baby in there, but it may not be okay? What do we say to him when we’re told that it’s a boy/girl but it has a hole in the heart/no brain/appears to be an octopus?


I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

Now if you excuse me, I need to google more weird things that can be found on a 20 week ultrasound so I can ensure that our baby doesn’t have them.

Mockingjay, Part 1: Philip Seymour Hoffman Does It Again, But For The Last Time…


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Well, PH and I got to Mockingjay last night. As you may remember, we LOVED Catching Fire, which you folks are simply not used to hearing after I’ve gone to see a book-to-movie film. Mockingjay shoot

We went in extremely hopeful. We were disappointed with the original Hunger Games movie, although it was acceptable, but then Catching Fire actually had us slow-clapping when the credits rolled.

Our hope was that the presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman would keep the good ball rolling (we’re convinced that he somehow infused his essence into Catching Fire, thus perfecting it).

Overall, I’m happy to report that it did.

Critics have complained that there is too much exposition in this movie. I personally disagree. I LIKE exposition.

One of the things that frustrates me is when movies skip over extremely important plot points because they assume their audience will be too stupid to sit through two more minutes of dialogue.

Besides, it actually has a lot LESS exposition than the book. One of the best things about translating a first-person narrative into a movie is that they can show you things that you don’t get to see in the story because the main character didn’t see those things.

Mockingjay Part 1 actually SHOWS the effect of Katniss’s “propos” in the districts. There are multiple very-cool, very-exciting rebellion shots which you totally don’t get to see in the book, because Katniss is too busy moping in an underground bunker.


Critics have also complained that the movie just builds towards Part II, but I disagree there, as well.

The focus of the first movie is on Katniss’s concern for Peeta, and to me, getting Peeta back seems like the obvious goal and building-point.

Those of you who have read the book know how well THAT goes, and I think the movie ends on a great “what next?” note.


Overall, much of the dialogue is word-for-word, which I value. The sentiments of the movie are very well expressed. The desolation of District 12 is not understated.

They leave in stuff I thought they’d cut, like the Hanging Tree song (VERY NICE), and the white rose in Katniss’s house. They even left in Buttercup chasing the light in the bunker.

Other than removing some of the best Boggs lines, the only things that got cut were very specific – they cut everything that shows District 13 and/or President Coin in a negative light.

Which I thought was a little odd.

The prep team? Gone. Instead Effie Trinket is there, which I accept because the first movie basically eradicated the Prep Team when they should have left them in. So Effie is there instead as damage control. But she is treated very well – no complaints there.

The restrictive lifestyle, Coin’s coldness… all of that is cut.

It struck me as an interesting choice. Are they trying to build up our trust in 13 and Coin, only to tear it down? Or have they decided to wipe out that whole aspect of the storyline (surely they can’t??).

If the first option is correct, then they had better do it fast and well in Part II, that’s all I can say.

And with Philip Seymour Hoffman lost to us, I don’t know how much faith I have in their ability to do so…


Lord, Give Me The Patience To Answer Questions My Child Can’t Possibly Understand The Answers To…


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Like many small children, I think, Owl is a little scientist, and I’m not handling it very well.

I’ve always looked forward to explaining things to my children. When I was just a teenager I made sure to know why the sky was blue and why water boiled, so that some day I could explain it to my kids.

But I always imagined my kids understanding the answer.

For years, Owl and I have experienced mutual frustration with my inability to deliver answers that he can understand. On the bright side, his questions these days are actually coherent most of the time. He no longer asks me what a tree is doing or why I am driving him to school.

Now his questions are actually VALID, but he still can’t understand THE GOD DAMN ANSWER.

That’s not his fault. He’s FOUR. He’s a bright kid. Some day he’ll probably be winning science awards. I’m sure that no one finds it more frustrating than he does. But it still doesn’t make it easy when I’m constantly being badgered for questions that I can’t answer.

He doesn’t just want to know IF he can have a sandwich. He wants to know WHY he can have a sandwich. He wants to understand the PSYCHOLOGY behind my willingness to acquiesce to his request. He doesn’t think that “because you said you were hungry and you asked for a sandwich and it’s lunch time and we have the ingredients to make sandwiches so I considered your request and decided it was reasonable” is sufficient FOR SOME REASON.

He doesn’t just want to know how to make his little McDonald’s toy car go. He wants to know WHY pressing the lever makes it go, and any attempt at explaining physics to him will simply result in a more pressing “WHY?”IMG_1086

Even if he could understand Newtonian physics, asking WHY physics works that way enters a realm of science that Nobel Prize winners have not been able to answer.

This morning, he asked a series of increasingly in-depth questions which basically led to him questioning the entire fabric existence of the world as we know it, and there was no answer I could give him that didn’t involve trying to explain quantum mechanics. A lot of the time I have to settle for “because that’s how things are.”

I’m beginning to wonder if things like religion and superstition weren’t invented by harried moms just trying to shut their kids up. It’s EXHAUSTING, especially when you get to the end of a very long discussion only to feel like it was entirely useless.

Here is a sample transcript from our drive home from daycare this evening:

Owl: Mom… why do my boots fall off when I put my feet down?

Me: Because they’re loose.

Owl: But why do they fall?

Me: Why do things fall, Owl?

Owl: Because of gravity?

Me: Right.

Owl: Why does gravity pull things down?

Me: Because that’s how gravity works.

Owl: But how does it work?

Me: I… you’ll understand more when you’re older. Very big things have gravity and pull things towards them.

Owl: Yeah. And the Earth is big so it has gravity!

Me: Right.

Owl: Why doesn’t SPACE have gravity? It’s big.

Me: I… because space isn’t a THING, honey, it’s empty, it’s the place that holds everything else. Things that are IN space have gravity, like planets and the moon.

Owl: And us.

Me: We’re too small to have gravity. Only very big things like planets have gravity.

Owl: Or like those streetlights.

Me: … No… the streetlights don’t have gravity. They’re small.

Owl: They’re bigger than US.

Me: Not big like the EARTH, Owl. Only VERY BIG THINGS have gravity.

Owl: And everything on the Earth is small?

Me: Right.

Owl: Why everything on the Earth is small?

Me: Everything on the Earth is SMALLER THAN THE EARTH, because otherwise it wouldn’t fit on the Earth. Size is relative, right? An elephant is big compared to us, but small compared to the Earth. We are big compared to an ant, but small compared to an elephant. That TREE is big compared to us but small compared to a skyscraper. Right?

Owl: Right. And the Earth is big compared to everything.

Me: No… The sun is bigger than the Earth, right?

Owl: Yeah.

Me: So the Earth is big compared to you and me, but small compared to the sun. The sun is small compared to a bigger star. Stars are small compared to a galaxy. Galaxies are small compared to the whole universe. RIGHT?

Owl: Right. Because space is big.

Me: Yes.

Owl: Even a whole CAR could fit in space.

Me: …Pardon?

Owl: A car. I said A CAR. A CAR could even fit in SPACE!

Me: A car?? Of COURSE a car could fit in space, EVERYTHING is… OH LOOK WE’RE HOME NOW.

And so I am exhausted and frustrated after a mere 5 minutes with my child. And the worst part is knowing that these are the conversations I always thought I would enjoy. I worry a lot, too, that my frequent simmering impatience is going to have a negative effect on his curiosity and self esteem.

I’m hoping that I will enjoy this more, when he actually understands that street lights and cars are smaller than the entire universe. I’m sure he will.

In the mean time, at least PH doesn’t mind this sort of thing. If he were well I think I would hand all child care responsibility to him until Owl developed the ability to understand basic science. As it is, I’m just going to have to find some way to fight my constant frustration.

Any tips?

Maybe I should just introduce him to God.

But then he’d probably want to know why God exists and how God was made and why God happened to make green that particular wavelength and…

How I Managed To Avoid Being A Victim of Sexual Assault


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I have never been raped.

In a world where victims of sexual assault are blamed, disbelieved, and shamed, I am fortunate to be free of that.


Canada is currently going through Ghomeshi-gate, in which an always-creepy Canadian celebrity has actually lost his job amid a wave of accusations from multiple women who all say that he has beaten them and sexual assaulted them.

Canada seems firmly divided on who to believe – the powerful celebrity who hired a PR firm to help craft his “poor me” facebook post defending himself, or the multiple unconnected women who have only their reputations to lose by coming forward.

One man on Perfect Husband’s facebook feed actually had the gall to say that since some of these women went on one or two subsequent dates with him after the initial violent incident, and since none of these women went to the police about it, they were therefore “consenting and complicit” to the abuse which followed.

*cue steam coming out of Perfect Husband’s ears*

Furthermore, while some people ripped this guy a new one, others, including women, agreed with him.

And I can’t understand it. Because even if you’ve never been assaulted, does that really imagine that you can’t imagine what it would be like? Why do people need to believe that assault victims are lying, or to blame?

I know people who were molested as children. By a family member, by a babysitter, by a parent’s boyfriend.

I have friends who were raped. No, they didn’t call the police. They somehow allowed the rapist to convince them that it was their own fault. They didn’t think they would be believed. They didn’t want to be called a “slut” by some victim blamer on Facebook.

I can’t blame them. Not for the rape, not for keeping silent.

I firmly believe that sexual assault victims did not bring their assault on themselves. I firmly believe that rape can happen to any woman. When people blame a victim of sexual assault, or refuse to believe her because she didn’t tell anyone for years, I am filled with fury on their behalf.

Because there but for the grace of… what? God? Who is he to pick who is and is not raped? No. There but for the grace of good fortune go I.

Do certain situations increase the likelihood of rape (such as, for instance, drinking at a big frat party)? Sure. But getting into my car increases my likelihood of being in a car accident. If someone ELSE runs a red light and hits me, THEY are the ones who broke the law, and they are the ones the insurance company would find to be at fault. The insurance company wouldn’t say, “Well, you chose to take that particular route, even though there is a high crash frequency at that intersection, so what did you expect?”

I have been through a few high-risk intersections, when it comes to sexual violence.

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Why I Loathe Vani Hari, Or, There Are No Pancakes In My Chicken Fried Rice


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I need to talk for a moment about how much I despise The Food Babe.

At first I was barely aware of her. I heard people making a stink about the “yoga mat chemical” in Subway and largely ignored it because what do you expect in fast food?

Then the Pumpkin Spice Latte thing happened.

Suddenly, my Facebook was alternately full of people going “OMG PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE SEASON” and this:

food babe pumpkin spice latte


Several things struck me as weird about this.

Let’s go through them.

1. Caramel Colour Level IV. I googled it. The first three hits are a variety of studies on its safety in which IT IS FOUND TO BE TOTALLY HARMLESS.

2. Did anyone actually think there is really bits of pureed squash in their latte? Wouldn’t that taste weird?

3. So… the cows ate feed which contains GMOs… so… I should avoid Starbuck’s milk? Is… that different from all the milk sold in all the stores? Because I don’t think so.

4. I’m sorry, 50 g of sugar is TOXIC? I mean, sure, no one’s saying that 50g of sugar is healthy, but isn’t there more sugar in a candy bar? (why yes, there is). In fact, a Banana Berry Smoothie at Jamba Juice contains more sugar. Besides, to me, “toxic” defines as reaching the LD50, or dose that is lethal enough to kill half the people who eat it. The LD50, or “toxic” level for sugar is 300 g/kg. Based on my body weight, that means that I would have to drink 504.5 Pumpkin Spice Lattes for even a 50% chance of getting killed by it (I hope no one does the math and figures out how much I weigh…).

And finally, I went on the Starbucks website and actually it’s only 50g if you get a GIANT one with 2% milk AND whipped cream. An actual normal sized drink without a bunch of EXTRA DAIRY is really more like 34g, which matches up with a veggie puree at Jamba Juice.

5. I’m not even sure why this is supposed to be scary. These natural flavours could be from ANYWHERE! Oh noes. What if it’s MEXICAN natural flavours? I don’t want my xenophobia tainting my drink, even if it IS natural.

6. If you haven’t had an allergic reaction when drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte, you’re probably okay. If you have, you probably don’t need The Food Babe to tell you to steer clear.

7. POSSIBLE pesticide residue? Like, she’s just throwing in “maybes” now. MAYBE, okay, not positive, but WHAT IF the coffee beans were picked by someone WHO HAD EBOLA. ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DRINK THAT.

8.  Okay, this is the only valid complaint. Secret dairy. I accept that as a concern.

Anyway, so I went on a bit of a rampage posting snopes articles at this thing left right and centre until it stopped showing up on my news feed.

But the Food Babe didn’t.

The next time I saw her it was a complaint about MacDonald’s fries.


The claim was that America and Canada have silly putty in their french fries, while those lucky brits do not.

So of course I googled it. And I learned that this supposedly scary chemical is NOT silly putty but an ingredient thereof. Furthermore, it is used to help prevent workers from being burned, because it reduces spitting and such from the fry oil. The chemical is largely harmless and present in fairly small quantities.

Also, wait. Why is Silly Putty scary? It’s non toxic and we hand it to small children for them to mess around with.

So, basically, the logic goes as follow:

1. Something we eat shares an ingredient with something else.

2. Therefore, that something else is IN the thing we eat. (I love this logic. Eggs are used to make pancakes AND to make chicken fried rice. Therefore there are pancakes in my chicken fried rice.)

3. The something else which shares this ingredient is a harmless substance that is considered safe for small children to play with and probably eat.

4. ?


Amusing as the bizarre logic is, here’s what gets me riled:

It’s not that I am a big defender of MacDonald’s. Clearly, being a rational human being, I don’t think their food is good for me.

But that’s actually my point.


You ate at a fast food restaurant knowing that the food would be bad for you. Then you find out one of the ingredients is something which has been cleared by the FDA and is added to keep workers safe. Cue OUTRAGE.


I mean, are we supposed to be upset that the British are getting much healthier, safer fries? Because they aren’t. THEY’RE STILL SALTY, FATTY, CARCINOGENIC FRENCH FRIES.

And they’re delicious.

So either eat them and accept it or avoid them and suck it up. But ONE TINY INGREDIENT ALSO FOUND IN A HARMLESS CHILD’S PLAYTHING should not be the deciding factor here.

So after this, I started looking up this Vani Hari woman.

I discovered that she launched giant campaigns against places like Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle because their food contains GMOs. Even though pretty much all the food at your local grocery store and in every chain restaurant everywhere are ALSO GMO and even though there is no scientific reason to be scared of eating GMOs.

I learned that she has caused numerous false food-scares by mixing up chemicals, such as pointing to the ingredient propylene glycol and calling it “antifreeze”, when actually it is used as a non-toxic antifreeze ALTERNATIVE.

And I have watched her style of fear mongering spread all over my facebook feed.

Now, I see other pages who have copied her scare tactics.

Here’s how it works:

1. All-Natural Generic Facebook Page/Blogger picks a multisyllabic ingredient from some already-recognized-as-unhealthy food.

2. All-Natural Generic Facebook Page/Blogger finds some non-food product with that same ingredient.

3. All-Natural Generic Facebook Page/Blogger shares a photo of the two products together with a question like “what is paint thinner doing in Lucky Charms?”

No, that wasn’t a random example. For serious:

lucky charms paint thinner

Never mind that the product on the left is NOT PAINT THINNER, but something we use to clean our walls before we apply the paint.

If the All-Natural Generic Facebook Page/Blogger was ACTUALLY interested in educating the public, they would answer their own question. But they aren’t, because the actual answer (I learned with about 30 seconds spent on Google), is boring:

Trisodium Phosphate is a non-toxic food additive which is sold in some health food stores as a nutrition supplement because it has been linked to improved performance in cyclists. It is also very good at cleaning things.


But instead of actually learning something, people go up in arms about it and freak out, when the REAL question is,”DID YOU REALLY FEEL GOOD ABOUT FEEDING YOUR KIDS LUCKY CHARMS TO BEGIN WITH? HAS THIS REALLY SHATTERED YOUR FAITH IN ALL THAT YOU THOUGHT WAS SAFE AND HEALTHY?”

If I see one more version of “this ingredient has more than two syllables so let’s be scared!” I’m going to start making my own:

I’ll point out that Gripe Water, promoted for helpless colicky infants, contains baking soda – sorry, SODIUM BICARBONATE – which is ALSO FOUND IN INDUSTRIAL GRADE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. WHY ARE WE FEEDING FLAME RETARDANTS TO BABIES.

I’ll make sure everyone knows that their favourite brand of pickles contains vinegar – sorry, ACETIC ACID – which has been proven to be effective against 99.9% of bacteria. WHAT IS DISINFECTANT DOING IN YOUR GERKINS?

I’ll advertise the fact that X Brand of Jam contains PECTINS, which are used to GLUE CIGARS. WHAT IS CIGAR GLUE DOING ON OUR TOAST???

It may not stop people from panicking over nothing, and it may not teach people to use Google before they get frightened by big words, but dangit, it’ll be amusing.

Maybe THAT’S why she does it.

How Do You Grown Up


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Sometimes I wonder how people manage being grown ups.

Like, when I go to train dogs in people’s houses and the houses are spotless show homes despite two smiling, well behaved children in the house and I wonder how they manage to work well paying jobs and raise two kids and still don’t have soap rings in their bathroom sink.

PH and I both heavily value a clean home. We both grew up in clean homes.

We do not live in a clean home.

At the best of times, we manage a cluttered and messy home.

When we’re doing well, the only dishes in the sink are from the past 24 hours. The toilet has been cleaned within the last two weeks and the fur has been swept off of the floor when guests come over.

Then there are times like now.

The first trimester exhaustion kicked in for me around the 7 week mark. Until that day, PH and I had fallen into a rhythm for managing our family dishes. I washed them at night before bed, and he took them out of the dry rack and put them away the next morning. Each of us kept up our end of the deal because the other person kept up theirs.

Suddenly, I didn’t have it in me to wash those dishes. I looked at them, and I walked away.

And now our kitchen looks like this:

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Not Dead Yet


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We haven’t really been taking my pregnancy seriously yet. After last time, we are a bit more guarded in our hopes and expectations. By which I mean that we make constant dead baby jokes and PH’s repeated imitation of our embryo is basicly an elaborate death pose.

But, that being said, we went in for an eight week ultrasound and the ultrasound technician told me right away that he had found a heart beat.

At eight weeks, there’s not really much else to say about a little gray jelly bean on the screen. It measured eight weeks two days, which means that my estimated due date is spot on, which is pretty unusual, and its tiny heart is beating.


Or it was, as of that particular day.

In our minds, it could have stopped the next day, or the day after that. So we weren’t super excited, and we still haven’t talked much about our plans for April, when our still-considered-hypothetical baby should be born.

I have lost all trust in my body. When I was pregnant with Owl, and again in my second pregnancy, I assumed that if I was experiencing pregnancy symptoms and not having cramping or bleeding, that the baby was probably okay. When we had that brief no-heartbeat-on-doppler scare we acknowledged the possibility that the baby might NOT be okay, but a reassuring ultrasound was all we needed to get us expecting a baby again.

This ultrasound was reassuring, sure. We were definitely relieved to hear that our baby wasn’t dead…. yet. But we can’t get that “yet” our of our psyches.

Sure, my abdomen is already starting to expand, even though the scale reads the same as it did a month ago, so clearly my uterus is growing.

Sure, I am experiencing that terrible first trimester exhaustion that is not really describable to people who haven’t experienced it. My doctor even said to me, “you know, my patients always talked about that first trimester fatigue, but I didn’t really understand how deep it goes until I experienced it for myself.”

And while I’m not having much morning sickness, I do experience low grade nausea at several points in the day.

But you know what? My pants got tight last time, too. I had morning sickness last time. I went through all of the sucky aspects of the first trimester, and experienced them for weeks AFTER my baby had already died.

I don’t think I’ll really believe it until I can feel the baby move and KNOW it’s alive.



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