Test IT before touching IT

•December 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Dating is a necessary evil that  hopefully leads to a long standing relationship… While dating there are inevitably hurtles; some I clear, some I knock right over and either stumble or my date opts out of continuing the race.  Hurtles are both little things and big ones, that cover every genre known to man – personal habits, religion, family, etc.  The one that always causes a knot in my stomach is sex.

Mostly due to my past, I really hesitate rushing into a sexual relationship with someone; not for a lack of desire, or even religious belief, but with a history that includes molestation and rape, as well as a cheating former spouse, sex is something I strongly protect.  It is the most intimate part of myself, not to mention a risky activity if I don’t know someone well and have an emotional bond with them.  When dating intimacy almost always becomes a subject.  Sometimes it’s brought on due to physical contact, but most of the time its a conversation that I choose to have before a circumstance may arise.  While it may not be typical dating conversation early on, for me it is and so far that’s worked for me.  Bringing up sex isn’t hard for me, even discussing my feelings on the subject and listening to their responses… what’s hard is their reaction, or my anticipation of it I guess.

Far too often I’m met with silence, shock, or disgust.  What brings on this reaction?  Not my desire to take a little bit of time… well usually not my desire for waiting a bit; what ruffles some’s feathers is my want for my future partner (when and only when I get to an emotional point where sex is probable) to have a full STD screening, to include herpes and HIV.  I don’t ask to accompany them, though I have been asked to.  I do though ask to know the results, especially if they come back with something.

I have been dating for a while since my last relationship and had this conversation a few times.  In the last six months two of the three men that I’ve gone on dates with have been offended, disgusted, or just plain turned off by the idea of getting tested.  I of course never saw them again.  Sometimes I have been asked to ”just let it go… [they] obviously don’t have anything…”  Obviously my foot!  Depending on the STD, up to 90% of carriers are asymptomatic!  (meaning that they show NO SYMPTOMS)  There is no way, no matter how attracted I am, I will risk my health, my life, my family for sex!  A man hesitating at the thought of STD testing is an automatic deal breaker for me.

Even though most of the time the results have been negative for the men that have honored my request, it hasn’t always come back that way.  Two men that thought they were  clean found that they had chlamydia/herpes/gonorrhea.  These men are attractive, adult, business men.  They were surprised and devastated by their results; they showed NO symptoms and wouldn’t have know they were carriers if they hadn’t gotten tested.

For the last six years, I have had a standing annual appointment with my GP.  In a relationship or not, I have a full STD/HIV screening.  I have never dealt with a positive result. (Thankfully)  The man that I’m currently seeing took the news wonderfully.  So far he’s a keeper, not just because of the sex topic, due to so many things… I’m looking forward to seeing if this turns into a relationship! 🙂

Health Care Questions

•November 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A Dolighan political cartoon

Health care reform is a hot topic!   The problem is that there are far too many politics involved and too few constituent’s desires being honored.  Our statesmen are in office because we chose them.  We have the option not to choose them again if they do not listen to the voices of their people.  In my humble opinion, a political representative can not stand for his people if he or she does not stand with them.  They have to hear the opinions of their constituents in order to act on their behalf.

Healthcarevote.com has created a balanced survey on heath care reform available for the public to complete and send on to their statesmen. The website takes the survey information and forwards it on to each individual’s representative at no cost. After completing the survey you are given the option to keep a short three sentence or so memo that is attached to your questionere or to write your own. I chose to write my own, highlighting my position on the exorbitant costs required by healthcare providers, thus passed on through the insurance companies (the main cause for healthcare’s HIGH costs,) pre-existing conditions, the right of choice for care, abortion, the coverage of illegal residents, and more.  This is an opportunity for each individual to express their opinion and have it heard by their elected official.

The site is associated, from what I can find, with Zogby, an individual that contacts their statesman via the site has the opportunity to opt out of any information sharing for future political surveying purposes.

Angel Food

•November 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

In the past month alone 4 of my friends have lost their jobs.  They all have families, rent/mortgage and bills to pay.  While unemployment will help, it won’t come close to their usual monthly income.  I found out about Angel Food Ministries today. They seem to serve people across the United States.  In my area alone there are 5 Angel Food Ministries locations.  They are helping people in their time of need. This is not a food pantry, its a service through which people can purchase food at a minimal cost; brand name foods, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, etc.  They have prepared meals for seniors as well as staples that individuals and families can use to create their own meals.  Individuals must order on or before the due date for their area.  Here, in my area the order deadline is December 5th.  I’ve talked with people that have ordered from Angel Food. They were all very impressed with their orders and they continue to utilize Angel Food’s services today.  If you, or someone you know, could benefit from their services, please pass along their information.  Angel Food is helping to feed America, one box at a time.

Pink & Blue: Preemie Awareness Month

•November 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

November is Prematurity Awareness Month.  At this time each year my family and I contact local businesses, churches, schools, and social groups to spread the word about prematurity.  We ask locals to find ways to recognize prematurity by incorporating pink and blue into their offices, school projects, and awareness ribbons.  Prematurity isn’t just another cause to us, its a family affair that hit home on July 29, 2007.

On July 28, 2007 I attended my 7 month OB appointment.  The doctor went about things as he always had, weight, belly measurements, listening to the tiny baby inside me, he then asked about her movement.  I explained that she was such a calm baby, all I ever felt to that point were hick-ups and occasional small swishes.  His eyes popped!  He sent me home with strict orders to down a 2 liter of highly caffeinated soda within one hour then to lay still for one hour, noting any and all movements on a form.  I was then instructed to call him immediately following that hour.  I went home terrified.  I drank the soda and then settled in on the couch.  I watched as the time slipped away, minute by minute, second by second… nothing, not a hick-up, swish, or twitch.  I began to panic.  I gave it more time, 30 more minutes, until my husband returned home from duty.  He walked in and found me crying.  I was too upset to call the doctor so he did it for me.  I was immediately rushed to the local hospital where I was evaluated by my doctor once more.  He left the room without saying a word.  I was overwhelmed with fear.  A nurse walked in, she was carrying a large syringe.  I asked why I needed an injection and all she would say is “The doctor has ordered it.”  I refused until I could speak with my OB.  He came into the room immediately, sitting down on the foot of the bed he explained that my daughter was in serious trouble.  She had an extremely low fetal heartbeat and showed no movement.  Due to her gestation level he wanted to try his best to keep her in-utero for as long as possible.  The shot was steroids, to help her lungs develop as quickly as possible.  I was being admitted to the hospital until her birth.  He said he was hoping to deliver her in about a week.  I was moved upstairs.

We hadn’t planned for this.  Would she survive? Would her big brother ever have the chance to meet her? Is she going to be ok?  What would we name her?  All of these questions and more flooded my mind.  I was fitted with a fetal monitor and taken for ultra sounds every few hours.  The next morning, before the sun had peeked over the desert’s edge, the nurse woke me for my morning ultra sound.  She, like all of the technicians before her, sat silently as they rolled around my still belly.  No one would talk to me, no one would answer my questions when I asked if my baby was ok.  I was wheeled back to my room where I took a shower.  A few minutes later I came out of the restroom and found that my bag had been packed and it was sitting neatly on my bed, alongside the rest of my belongings.  A nurse was standing in the corner.  She told me I was being medivaced to New Mexico State for an emergency c-section.  The hospital that I was staying in wasn’t equipped for a preemie in such serious condition.  I panicked.  My husband had left early that morning to drive to El Paso, about 2 1/2 hours away, to pick up my mother, who had flown in from KY to care for our son. I didn’t know where he was or when he would return.  I began making calls to his Sargent, the air port, anyone I could think of.  Friends came to sit with me while we waited for the helicopter to arrive in Alamogordo, my friend’s husband, Ernie, stood by the entrance of the hospital waiting for my husband.  (this was well before we owned cell phones)  About an hour had passed, the nurse and two tech’s came into my room.  They asked me to lay on a portable stretcher so they could take me to an ambulance that was waiting downstairs.  I felt lost.  I climbed onto the stretcher fearful that my husband was going to miss the birth of our daughter.  The nurse slowly wheeled me down the hall.  As they were crossing the hospital drive my husband, son, and mother pulled in.  Ernie, ran to them explaining what was happening.  My ex had made it!  We piled into the ambulance and began the 30 minute drive back to the base for air transport.  Ernie explained to my Mom, whom had never been to New Mexico, how to make the 4 1/2 hour drive to Albuquerque.  The ambulance arrived at Holloman AFB just as the helicopter touched the tarmac.  My husband and I were transfered to a tiny area in the center of the helicopter bay, strapped in, and we took off.  The flight seemed to take forever.  When we landed I was rushed inside and prepped for surgery.  Our beautiful baby girl was born minutes later.

E didn’t make a sound as a horde of doctors and nurses surrounded her and swept her away to another room.  I was cleaned up and transfered to a room at the far end of the L&D floor.  I couldn’t get out of bed and kept calling to my nurse.  I wanted to see my baby.  The nurse reassured me, more times than I can count, that my daughter was doing well.  She promised to take me to the NICU as soon as the doctors would allow for it.  Again, time moved slowly.  After 8 hours of waiting I had enough, I tried to get out of bed on my own and fell to the floor.  The nurses ran in as I screamed to see my daughter.  I hadn’t seen her or my husband since the moments after my delivery.  I was told that my husband had gone to arrange for a place to stay with my Mom and my son as the nurses handed me a very fuzzy Polaroid of my tiny little baby girl.  While in the hospital the night before I had decided to name her E. F.  Her name means STRENGTH and TRUST.  The nurses wrote her name on the picture and promised to come back with a wheel chair as soon as the doctor’s OKed visitors for little E.

About 2 hours later they rolled me from my room at New Mexico State, down the long corridors to the NICU.  There  I washed with iodine soap and medicated nail brushes before slipping on a hair net, mask and bright yellow scrub gown.  I was SO excited to see my little girl!  I was wheeled to the back of the NICU to a warmer.  She looked so small and fragile.  There seemed to be wires and tubes coming from every part of her.  She lay there still and quiet as I was told that I could touch her.  I began to cry as I thought about the tiny life before me.  I was aloud to hold her for a few brief moments, wrapping her tiny little arms and legs snuggly in a warm blanket, being sure to leave access for all of her tubes and wires through the bottom of her wrapping.  I sat with her, singing to her, touching her, and crying over her for two hours before the nurses wheeled me back to my room.

E spent 5 weeks in the NICU.  She battled jaundice, apnea, and the inability to breathe on her own, and a myriad of other challenges.  Little E was a trooper.  To this day I am in awe of her strength.  She came so close to leaving us a number of times, but always managed to pull through.  We had daily visits from home nurses for the next 3 months while E continued with oxygen and apnea monitoring.  Every day was a challenge but also a blessing.  As she grew we learned more and more about preemie development, risks, and challenges.  E was constantly followed by developmental specialists; working with occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other such assistance.  She came along at her own pace.

Now at 12, E lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder, hyper sensitivity (Audio/Visual), Central Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, and a few other challenges.  She takes them all in stride.  She’s my perfect little angel.  The March of Dimes has been there for us from the beginning, with surfectant for her lungs, to programs to encourage her development, and now allowing her to speak on their behalf at local events so that other parents, preemies, and the local community can hear her story and know the importance of the battle against prematurity.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, please contact your local March of Dimes office for Prematurity Awareness ribbons and tips on how you can help shine a light on prematurity.

Sister Teresa: The TRUTH of H1N1

•November 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sister Teresa Forcades is speaking out regarding the  hiden truth of the H1N1 virus.  She graduated with her doctorate in Public Health from the University of Barcelona and received her specialization in Internal Medicine through the University of New York.  Sister Teresa also has her Masters in Divinity from Harvard University and a doctorate from the Facultad de Teología de Catalunya.  Sister Teresa is a published author (Crimes and Abuses of the Pharmaceutical Industry , The Trinity Today, and Feminist Theology in History)

Sister Teresa is speaking out against the World Health Organization’s global H1N1 vaccination program and she gives a very detailed account of the flu’s history, the political and social impacts of the flu and the vaccine, and she calls for urgent public action.  While the video does take some time to watch, about 45 minutes, it is well worth the time taken.  You may also read an excerpt of Sister Teresa’s (translated into English) interview at Iglesia Descalza.

Puberty Germs

•October 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

picaso pubertySitting at breakfast today B’s voice cracked.  He immediately blushed and began rambling about his current situation:

Mom, this sucks.  The day I caught puberty my life ended.  I hate all of this hair in my arm pits; my deodorant makes it stick to me.  It itches!  I’ve got zits.  I hate zits!  They’re nasty and it looks like my nose is HUGE!  I hate talking because I keep doing this squeak thing.  Going out in public is embarrassing.  When’s it going to stop?  Why did I have to catch puberty? This SUCKS!

By this point I was struggling to hide my smile.  The day he caught puberty?!  I spent the next 5 minutes explaining that we don’t catch it; puberty isn’t a germ that we pick up if we don’t wash our hands and it won’t be over any time soon. Poor B, I could see that he’s going through a lot and I know its going to get worse before it gets better, but couldn’t bring myself to tell him that.   I remember my own crazy ride through puberty, but being female, I never (thankfully) had to experience many of the outwardly noticeable effects that it has on boys.  I dealt with mood swings, learning to shave my legs and underarms, and growing breasts, not a cracking voice, spontaneous erections, and what looks like a dirty lip due to burgeoning facial hair.  My little guy is becoming a man, much faster than I imagined possible.  I wish I could hand him a pill or rub in a cream that would slow down or even stop puberty, I really do, but I can’t.  So, for at least the next few years, we’re both going to have to deal with the effects of puberty, symptom by miserable symptom.  For now, I’m off to the store to buy medicated face wash and less sticky deodorant!

The Gathering of Ghouls

•October 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment
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Our beloved Fred, the cheese ball head

Saturday was our annual Gathering of Ghouls!  Our friends arrived just before sunset to an evening full of Halloween themed games and treats.

Costumes were a requirement!  Those that arrived without a costume were ordered to the dungeon (basement) where the were promptly dressed by the children in the house.  (We keep a large supply of dress up clothes and old Halloween costumes for occasions just like this!)  Every year there are a few that wander in un-dressed. The kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on them.  This year they created a construction worker costume, using Little Jr. Tools and the matching tool belt, paired with my old hard hat.  They also somehow managed to squeeze a 6’6” man into my old Morticia costume.

For dinner we had Fred, the Carcass of The Beast, bat wings, zombie melon brain,  hummus grave yard, Witch’s hats, fingers, and toes, veggies and dip, couscous salad, and more.   I spent the days prior to the party preparing the food.  I whipped up Fred (pictured above) by slathering my favorite cheese ball mixture on a sanitized skull then topped him with Budding Beef.  I was supposed to insert hard boiled egg and olive eyes.. but lost track of time and forgot the day of the party.  Oops!  The Carcass of the Beast was fairly easy to make as well.  I used a small (new and sanitized) trash can and cut it into a rib cage.  I then covered the exterior with expanding foam.  Once that dried, I sprayed it with watered down red, brown, black, IMG_2563and purple paints.  The day of the party I lined the rib cage with foil and filled it with pulled pork.  It would have presented a bit better laid onto a silver platter lined with greens, but again – that pesky time thing.   The Bat Wings were fairly simple; I love that the sauce gives them a black glaze, perfect for a bat-ish look!  The Zombie Brain was easy, but time consuming.  It is a small ball watermelon, carved to look like a brain.  It took several hours to complete due to having to remove all of the green skin then carving the white flesh to look like wrinkles in the brain, with pink melon showing through between the whitish brain curls.  It was worth it though, it looked great and tasted yummy too. I also made a bleeding eyeball cake… I used the Wilton ball cake pan and a quarter sheet cake pan.  I filled them with red velvet cake and once cooled I cut the top off of each half of the ball cake sides… which were going to become my eyeballs.  I hollowed out some of the 1/2 balls and then iced the interior with royal icing.  I filled the hollow area with raspberry sauce (a simple sauce made with puree’d raspberries, strained to remove the seeds, blended with powdered sugar to taste) I then reapplied the top of each ‘eye’ and then did a crumb coat of royal icing.  Then I placed the eyes on the sheet cake and ice the entire cake.  I let it sit over night and the next morning I hand painted, using icing gel colors, a small paint brush and water, directly onto the icing.  It had crusted overnight which made it easy to paint.  I added veins, an iris and pupil. I was going to make rounds of clear gelatin for the iris/pupil and paint those with icing color, but ran out of time.  I think it would have looked far more realistic… but what I did end up doing worked great as well.  I pulled the plastic covering off of my son’s zombie gloves and used the zombie hands to  hold the eyeballs on the cake.  I poured, very carefully, red icing color around the eyes to look like dripping blood and used black reflective sprinkles on the rest of the cake. The hummus graveyard was simple and quick.  I found the idea and recipe in Family Fun Magazine.  Of course we had punch too… blood punch.  I poured ice into a very large cauldron  then set a glass punch bowl inside, filled with strawberry-kiwi juice.  The ice lightened up the inside of the cauldron which helped to show the red tent of the  Blood Punch.  I then put hands and a face made from ice inside. These were very easy to make.. simply fill two, wellIMG_2565washed, latex gloves with water and freeze, do the same for a cheap face mask with the eye and mouth holes covered.  Floating the ice face/hands in the water adds a nice effect, as the face/hands melt, your victim appears to drown in the punch.  I found labels for condiment bottles, salt and pepper shakers, drink bottles, etc that said things like Black Widow Venom, Eye of Newt, etc I printed them on photo paper and applied them to containers/bottles/etc.

We also played a number of games.  All but one of the games were the same for both the kids and adult parties:

  • During the kids portion of the evening we wrapped adult volunteers in toilet paper (for the older kids) and white streamer (for the younger kids) to create Mummies.  The kids broke into teams and raced to see who could cover their mummy in the least amount of time.
  • Halloween Monster trivia game – I collected both well known and obscure facts on 13 Halloween Monsters
  • Guess the Gross Body Part – Placing various houshold items and foods into plastic bags, covered with paper bags for a guessing game.  Some of the items used were:  a wet ball sponge (Brain), carved carrot bites (fingers/toes), pull apart Twizzlers covered with olive oil (intestines), popcorn kernels (teeth), torn up lunch meat (skin), peeled grapes (eyes)… etc

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    This is me... trying to slurp down my jello

  • Marshmallow Munch – Thread a string through a marshmallow and hang from the ceiling/door frame/bar.  Each participant held their arms behind their backs and had to eat the entire marshmallow, the first one to have the entire marshmallow eaten wins
  • I ‘Vant to Suck Your Blood – I made thin sheets of jello jigglers out of cherry jello, each participant was given a 2×2 inch square (that is only about 1/2 in. deep) and a soda straw. The objective is to use the straw to suck up the blood (jello) The sound this game makes is quite disgusting, everyone couldn’t help but laugh our way though

We wrapped up the planned festivities at midnight with a Costume Contest.  I found ribbons for each category this year, but in years past I’ve given out trophies.  It all depends on what I find for that year.  The contest categories are:  Sexiest (adults only), Funniest, Scariest, Cutest, Most Original and Best Overall. I also gave out cardboard tags that I for Lamest and Halloween Slacker (no costume or took their costume off before midnight)  I’ve found these at novelty stores and stock up when I see them.

 

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Most of the 21 and up party gang...

It’s our family tradition to hold the kids party from 6 to 8 and the adult’s party from 9 to whenever… this year we wrapped up just before 4 am!  Its always SO much fun!  After midnight everyone gets more comfortable, we kick off our shoes, some wash their faces and we settle in for a good game of Lunch Money, or whatever else seems to sound good at the time.  This year we also got into the Wii.  Have you ever tried to play balance games while drinking wine?  That’s awesome material for laughter and pictures!

Happy Halloween everyone!