Category Archives: rant

Plastic white stars and shiny crescent moons

As I make the rounds of my favorite blogs, I see mention of different herbs, essential oils, magic green smoothies and other witches’ brews that can help with infertility problems. I’ve asked before, how does this or that interact with these medications I’m taking? Does it enhance or negate the effects of Metformin or d-Chiro Inositol? Does it enhance or negate the effects of Femara/Progesterone/HCG at strategic points of my cycle? Does it help or hurt PCOS? Do you take them all month? The 2 to 2.5 to 3 weeks (depends on the month) before ovulation? Only after ovulation? What exactly should be done here?

Inevitably, the answer is “ask your doctor.” Like a doctor will prescribe you essential oils or herbs, or even know what the interaction will be. I’ve been told to find a Naturopath. Looked for one, and found one 5 hours away. Not practical.

While browsing around amazon the other day to buy some Pre-Seed (yet another tool in the toolkit that isn’t sold anywhere within an hour of me), the “also bought” section showed some pre-conception tea. It is a mix of herbs, red rasberry leaf, red clover, nettle, alfalfa, chamomile, oatstraw, peppermint and dandelion leaf, and I thought I would try it. Since starting yet another Whole 40 (you know, for Lent), I can’t really drink anything other than water. Caffeine is a no-no, juice is a no-no, awesome, dark, full-bodied beer is a no-no, pretty much herbal teas and water are it.

It shipped out, and the same questions came over me. What if this month we actually succeeded? Should I start drinking it yet, or wait until the 2ww is over? Will it mess up my blood results? Is it going to taste awful?

I don’t know yet. I decided to wait.

But I did get the package, and in it, along with the loose leaf tea, came this:
“This baby dust is Special and is being sent to you hoping it will help your fondest dreams come true.”

Dafuq is that? I know, it is something cute little 20 somethings who decide they want a baby, come off the pill, wait 3 months, try some hippy yuppy crap, and conceive in the next cycle find totes adorbs.

If only I’d known. If only I had realized the power of plastic white stars. Of silver and blue shiny crescents. Of glitter. BABY stamped out of blue and pink. Why, these past 7 years would have been totally different! We would have had to move into bigger accommodations twice over to handle all the babies spewing out of my vagina. 8 shots a month, half of them in oil which leave giant welts on your ass…and that’s just in the trying stage? Why no! The glitter is specially formulated to provide all you need in the hormonal department! A vaginal ultrasound every month to make sure that your ovaries aren’t being overstimulated by the high doses of Femara? Nope again. The twinkle off the stars will peer deep into your abdominal cavity and make sure only one egg is released at a time.

Ugh. I know it was intended as a nice gesture. It just utterly failed in this house.

No, you can’t get GMO seeds for your garden

Spring is getting closer, so of course bloggers the country over are planning their gardens. People on this diet or that debate relative safety/goodness of different foods, and if it will help you lose weight or strip your innards of good bacteria, poison you, or kill you. Tin foil hat people think it is a conspiracy between giant corporations and the government to control you. What is it? Anything you want to rail against.

Those things have a common overlap: anti-GMOness in all forms, explicitly and completely. Never mind that most people writing about GMOs don’t know what it is, what it does, and how it has an effect on your body. (And they can’t know what the effect will be…there are many different kinds of GMOs and they all do different things to the plants, and if they do in fact have an effect on your body, the effect of each will be different.)

I have read quite a few blogs that say to make sure you buy your seeds for your garden from specific seed houses so that you won’t inadvertently get GMO seed from “any other (bad) seed house!!!” that the blogger isn’t affiliated with. That is complete and utter bunk. Bullshit, if I can be brutally honest.

Let me tell you, Monsanto is very proud of their GMO technology. Very proud. They are so in control of their patents and seeds that when you buy field crop seeds that are Roundup Ready, you have to sign an agreement that you won’t keep the resultant crop, and you won’t sell it yourself for someone else to plant. The dealer you bought it from has to report to Monsanto your name, address, Monsanto ID (which you had to apply for before buying), quantity, date, invoice number, salesman name, and if you return it, they have to account for that too. For some products, you even have to give them the GPS coordinates of the field you are planting (!) Monsanto isn’t interested in giving their technology away. They are interested in making money off of their innovations, and sneaking it in somewhere to a gardener’s broccoli seeds doesn’t bring the dollars in.

Speaking of GMO broccoli…um, there isn’t any. Here is the complete list of GMO plants:
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Argentine Canola (Brassica napus)
Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)
Creeping Bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera)
Eggplant (Solanum melongena)
Flax (Linum usitatissumum L.)
Maize (Zea mays L.)
Melon (Cucumis melo)
Papaya (Carica papaya)
Petunia (Petunia hybrida)
Plum (Prunus domestica)
Polish canola (Brassica rapa)
Poplar (Populus sp.)
Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.)
Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Rose (Rosa hybrida)
Soybean (Glycine max L.)
Squash (Cucurbita pepo)
Sugar Beet (Beta vulgaris)
Sugarcane (Saccharum sp)
Sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum)
Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.)
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)
Wheat (Triticum aestivum)

“Ah ha!” you triumphantly say. Beans, Eggplant, Melon, Plum, Potato, Squash, Beets, Sweet Peppers, Corn and Tomatoes grow in my garden! Yes, grasshopper, but look at the links. Beans = only available in Brazil. Eggplant = Bangladesh. Sweet Peppers = China.

These have authorization to be grown in the U.S.: Melon, Plum, Squash, Tomato, Potato. So, I challenge you: Find me some of those to plant. Find some so I can put them in my garden – especially a squash plant that repels squash bugs. You won’t be able to, because none of them are commercially available. There is literally no GMO seed available to plant for those 5 types for the home gardener.

Corn is another matter. BT corn and Roundup Ready corn is available, mostly field corn, but some sweet corn is now commercially available. I’ve been looking just to see if I could even buy some for my home garden, and came across this:

Stewardship Requirements
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that Seminis® Performance Series™ sweet corn only be purchased by growers signing a grower license that contractually obligates compliance with the Insect Resistance Management (IRM) program and does not allow the sale of seed to small roadside or home growers.

Just as I thought…you have to sign an agreement with Monsanto. And it isn’t available to home growers.

Another side rant. There is no GMO wheat available to plant in the U.S. either. There just isn’t. It was approved for the U.S., but Monsanto stopped development on it. So if someone says they are avoiding wheat because of the chance of GMO contamination, well, they are idiots.

So why? Why is this such a common theme on garden blogs? Seed sellers? Health nuts? Because it is good marketing for the seed sellers. Like labeling bottled water “gluten free”. I think that most people don’t know what GMO means, how it is tested, and what is actually available as seed to put in the ground, and they are scared. So they buy the hype and look down their noses at rubes who don’t worry about it.

I have some good news

No, I’m not pregnant.

But, that is what you immediately thought isn’t it? And now that I had to go and burst your bubble, you are a bit disappointed, aren’t you? And no matter what news I tell you now, it won’t hold up to that bit of excitement you had when you thought I was pregnant.

Never mind. I’m not telling you what the good news is. It will be anti-climactic and disappointing for you.

But just think what that little exchange did for me. You got to bring me down and remind me of my failures. Of the children I have lost. Of the months and months and months of charting and trying and dieting and crying. So, even if I was going to tell you “Good news! I just got a raise!” (I didn’t) or “Good news! I finally figured out how to get my chickens to stop eating their eggs!” (I haven’t) or “Good news! Boobock is finally sleeping through the night in his bed!” (he isn’t) I now get to think of my dead babies. And feel like I need to apologize to you for bringing the mood down.

Bravo. Bra-fucking-o.

I’ll try not to be so selfish next time.

Sickness and mourning and Ebola

What with the news of higher and higher numbers of Ebola suffers in Africa this year, and the high death count (I’ve seen as high as 71% of the people who contract Ebola in this current outbreak have died), naturally the question of “how far will this disease spread” is a common one. Usually, in the news I read, this also is accompanied by “will it spread to the United States?” and “will it become an epidemic in the United States?”

We are assured that it won’t come here, and we are further assured that our hygiene and medical system/burial practices can handle it even if it does come here, so we shouldn’t be worried.

Am I worried? No. There are many other things I need to worry about before I worry if anyone I know contracts Ebola. But it isn’t logical to take these assuaging statements as facts.

First, will it come here? Well, it already is here. 4 people have been flown into the country already with the disease. The first 3 were flown in with much fanfare in specialized airplanes, the first 2 to Emory University in Georgia, the third to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha Nebraska, (which by the way, he was released today: US Ebola Patient Released; Says He Feels Great

We haven’t heard much about the 4th patient, though. He walked into the hospital after getting a flight to a local Air Force base in Georgia, and is also being treated at Emory. New Ebola Patient Arrives in U.S. for Treatment They haven’t released his name, nor how bad the illness is for him.

Also, there is the fact that tens of thousands of “unaccompanied minors” – or you know, 35 year olds claiming they are minors, or anyone else who wants to, can cross our borders. What do they have? Scabies, tuberculosis, measles, Enterovirus 68? I know the first two are true. The fourth had a sharp uptick in America this year, where it hasn’t been common, though it is common in other parts of the world…a tidbit that was in the first article I saw about this virus, but not in any subsequent articles I saw. The fact that we don’t know who is coming across is a major health threat. What would stop someone with Ebola from driving down from Canada or walking up from Mexico? Or flying right in to the country? We don’t quarantine anyone anymore, and the virus has a 3 week incubation period.

Second, yes, I know there is a difference between 3rd world Africa and 1st world America when it comes to hygiene. We tend to shower and wash our hands much more frequently than those in Africa, and we do have flush toilets and not latrines. And as shown by the 4 that have been treated, we are reasonably sure that the virus hasn’t spread beyond them. But at Emory, they have had trouble dealing with the waste associated with treating this disease…gloves, hazmat suits, diarrhea and vomit and blood, etc. “CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the agency isn’t aware of any packaging that is approved for handling Ebola waste.” And this at the premier hospital for treating Ebola victims! What happens at the podunk hospitals I am surrounded by?

And before the person is sick enough to be taken to the hospital, how are they treated at home? Boobock had a fever a few weeks ago. I just held him all weekend. Held him, and when we wanted to see if he had a fever, I kissed his forehead before getting the thermometer out. When he needed medicine to break the fever and kept refusing – I could get the small portion of they syringe in, but he clamped his lips up so the entire thing wouldn’t go in – DH put the syringe of medicine in his mouth and said “yummy!” and then tried to get Boobock to take it, which he finally did. And when he puked the one time, I wasn’t prepared. I caught it in my hands, yelling for DH to get a bowl, and then he took Boobock and I went to the bathroom to clean my hands in the sink. I washed it off, but it went down the drain. He was better by Sunday, and DH and I never got sick. So, what if he had had Ebola? All three of us would probably have contracted it. Because we haven’t seen this disease in this country before, many people won’t take it seriously enough at the beginning (like we didn’t treat his fever very seriously), and then panic will take us too far in the other direction, swamping ERs and doctor’s offices.

Thinking about this, someone would have to physically tear me away from Boobock if he got Ebola. Someone would have to physically block me from holding him and comforting him. I do not know how I could handle seeing my 3 year old behind plastic, feverish, vomiting, crying, with diarrhea, scared to death, and not hold him and try to calm him. And that is with me knowing about germs/hygiene, and how deadly this virus is! How can we expect people who most likely don’t know what is causing this disease, nor how it is spread, to hygienically care for their loved ones?

And let’s look at “cold and flu season”. How many of you go to work when you are sick? How many of you proudly exclaim how your fever was awful yesterday, and even though you sound like your lung is about to be hacked up your throat and stuffing tampons in your nostril to stop the flow of snot is looking pretty good right about now, you made it in today! “Give me a medal for spreading this to everyone in the office!” you gleefully exude.

Anti-bacterial soap and hand cleaners don’t work on viruses, yo.

Do we know how to clean up after someone who is sick? Does Clorox kill Ebola? If you wash it off down the drain, is that a health hazard? CAN you wash it off down the drain with soap? How hot do things have to be to sterilize them? Hot water in the washing machine? Boiling gets up to 212*. Pressure canners get up to 245* or 255*. Is that hot enough? For how long does it require?

Finally, I hear many media reports on the virus talking about the “burial custom of touching the body” in Africa. Well, let me tell you, that ain’t just in Africa. The last two funerals I went to, I saw people touch the deceased’s hands in a farewell gesture. I saw people give a kiss on the forehead and hug the deceased. And then wipe their eyes or blow their nose, with nary a thought. We know that these two funerals were not for Ebola victims, though. That should make a difference, if the person is diagnosed. What if they aren’t?

And what if they are? What happens when someone dies of Ebola in this country? Are they cremated? Are all crematoriums able to handle something like this? If not, where do we ship the bodies? Across the interstate? Fly them? I don’t know, and I haven’t heard much discussion about it.

But I’m not *worried*. This isn’t keeping me up at night. I just don’t believe we are permanently in the clear like we have been told we are.

Have you had your morning coffee yet?

“Sorry, I haven’t had my coffee yet.”

“Don’t talk to me yet. I haven’t had coffee.”

“More…coffee…(stumble stumble).”

“Oh jeeze. That was a dumb mistake. Sorry. Must need more coffee.”

Do people hear themselves admitting an addiction every morning and lusting after dark, roasted acidic beans, usually with enough sugar and cream to actually be making a shake? Is that ok with everyone? It bothers me. I mean, what would really happen if there was a Columbia embargo and there was no coffee to be had. Would the entire country stop producing anything of value and go on a week long tantrum ending with the Great Coffee Raid, involving Navy Seals, an aircraft carrier and drone strikes? Maybe. But then we would be in such coffee withdrawal people would be hiding in their beds with raging headaches and depression, so the embargo would probably continue to be successful.

Not having your morning coffee is not an excuse to be careless, though some seem to think it is. It isn’t an excuse to be rude or snippy either. This is especially true if you wait to get to work before getting your fix. You drove to work, presumably. That whole time in your car in traffic, was one eye barely open, the other clenched tightly against the bright morning sun, playing the freeze out game to keep yourself awake? That sounds like a very unsafe way to be driving.

I once worked with a man who drank straight black coffee all day every day from the same small, white plastic cup with a small handle, too small really for his large hands. He never washed that cup, and it was stained beyond any salvaging. 10-12-14 cups a day of just coffee, no water, no breakfast, I don’t think he went to lunch either. That cannot be healthy. Was he self medicating in some way? Addicted so badly he couldn’t function otherwise? In this particular case, probably self medicating, as he had other serious health and mental problems, enough to make him quit a job he really enjoyed.

If you can’t wake up in the morning, why is that? Are you getting enough sleep? I admit, I am the worst at going to bed at a decent hour. I have trouble falling asleep, always have, and I have gotten it in my head that if I am going to stare at the ceiling all night, might as well do something else. I also have trouble waking up. The hormone cortisol is responsible for our sleep/wake cycle, and since I have whack hormones, of course my sleep/wake cycle is also messed up. Strange side note: 3, 5, 7 and 9 days after I show signs of ovulation, I take a subcutaneous HCG injection on my leg, as HCG is yet another hormone that I don’t produce in enough quantity. Those nights, I always have to get up in the middle of the night to urinate, and no other time in the month do I have to do that. Are hormones responsible for slowing kidney function not working as well these nights due to the injections, and allow the kidney to keep pumping out waste throughout the night? I don’t know. I’ve never heard of that side effect before, but it is consistent monthly with me. Cortisol levels should drop before bed, but if they don’t, it is tough to go to sleep. Adrenal problems could exacerbate the problem, or may be caused by it – hormonal problems are never a one way street, but instead a feedback loop of doom. If falling asleep is a hormonal problem, relaxation and calming routines or actions before bed time helps. So does sex, in my experience. If it isn’t a hormonal problem, maybe just, um, go to bed earlier.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against you drinking coffee. Your life, your choice. (Though it does impact insulin, so those with diabetes/insulin resistance/PCOS should probably stay away.) I enjoy a cup myself, every once in a while when my guard is down and I am in the midst of sabotaging myself, with a packet of Splenda and one of those little cups of French Vanilla creamer. Is it really a choice, though, if you can’t function without it? Is it really a choice if when you don’t have it your body goes through physical withdrawal for days at a time? That doesn’t sound like a choice. That sounds like an addiction you should get help with, not proudly proclaim and use as an excuse to be foggy headed and rude.