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January 1st, 2018


01:34 pm - The nature of the Soul

While I was driving, I got to pondering, again, what I would have said to Tom Riddle, if he had approached me as he approached Horace Slughorn.  Previously I've focused on the how to answer the Horcrux question, but I got to pondering the "What about seven?  Isn't seven the most powerfully magical number."

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01:10 pm - On Snape, the Potions Master

(copied from my Facebook)
[I have been] thinking about how fortunate Hogwarts was to have Snape as potions master. I remember thinking when I was reading it that he was being a jerk for having then copy out potion directions all the time  or making them work from the board in a dark room often filled with  smoke and vapor; when, in actuality, it was because the book was  stupidly just a little off. I imagine Snape writing letters after each year with corrections and suggestions for the book and each year the publishers  ignoring his owls and saying to themselves, "not him again! Generations  of Hogwarts students have used our books with perfectly good results.  We're not changing anything because of that ex-Death Eater, even if Dumbledore thinks he's changed."
Still on the outside, no matter what he does.
And even though it's not fair to expect Hermione to recognize young Snape's  handwriting; because I know there's a big difference between writing for a class and writing a note for yourself; she should have recognized  his style and noticed that for 5 years he was giving them slightly  different potions directions from the book. I know that's a big leap from "Snape also used different directions" to "Snape wrote these directions;" but it's odd to think the thought never crossed her mind. Although the year of the book; and that he wasn't the first owner, was a distraction from that theory so maybe it's unfair to  blame her.


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March 8th, 2017


01:47 pm - Chassidic Masters: Shneur Zalman of Liadi (The Alte Rebbe)
Chassidic Masters - March 7, 2017

Shneur Zalman of Liadi

Introduction:
Kabbalah and mysticism was based on the personalities that expressed it. Many of the saying in the Talmud are also based on the personality and characteristic of that person, but in Kabbalah and Chassidus especially, it's the personality that really informs the teachings. The people who not only taught, but lived and expressed those ideas, and the way it came out in everything from their relationships, to their world view, and even to their songs; melodious and soulful tunes.

Their world view was very much shared by their personality and the way they constructed mysticism.

The Alte Rebbe
Since I was a child, I grew up learning about his life reading about his stories about his parents and grandparents. Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (the Frierdiker Rebbe) wrote down most of the tales we know of the Alte Rebbe from the stories he was told. What shaped the Alte Rebbe into this personality who went against the grain within his society and his own group of mystics? He was a minority, one against many. What happened? Where was he coming from?

In his lifetime, he composed 10 niggunim for which he is known. Each of his 10 songs was a direct expression, a direct result, of his entire perspective of the world and his relationship with G-d.

He was born in Liozna in Belarus in 1745 to Baruch and Rivka. They each had their own histories. Baruch came from a family of well-to-do Jewish merchants and hard workers, in coal and blacksmiths as well as scholars - which was unusual, usually the scholars choose not to get their hands dirty. Jewish population was largely illiterate because they had no one to guide them.

His mother came from a Rabbinical background. He was named after his mother's grandfather, Sheur Zalman and he traveled throughout Europe as a social justice warrior, debating priests and bishops in local towns when there were stolen children or threats of expulsions. He was one of the Rabbis who went to the Vatican and debated, and they still have the historical records that include his debates. He was descended from the Maharal of Prague. And the Maharal himself traced back to King David. So the Schneerson family could trace themselves back to David.

So his father and mother decided to go to the Baal Shem Tov for his upsherin. In Międzybóż, the Baal Shem Tov cut his hair. He blessed him with "a warm heart" The BST then asked that they not bring the child back to him.

At the age of 15 he studied in Minsk, one of the largest towns in the area. HE was already called the Eloi (genius) He had Talmud both memorized and knew RAMBAM cold. They said he could swim in the sea of Talmud.

When the Alte Rebbe was 15, the Baal Shem Tov died. At 18, he had outgrown all his teachers and had to decide where to go. In the Talmudic world, the Vilma Gaon was the leading luminary, and the Alte Rebbe was invited to go there. Or he could go to Mezritsh, and study with the Rev Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritsh.

About his decision, he said, "In Vilma they teach you how to learn. Learning I know a little. In Mezrich, they teach you how to pray, and that I don't know how to do." And at the age of 18, he was the youngest student to be accepted in the court of the Maggid of Mezritsh.

In a quick time, he was tested, hazed, and the students tested his knowledge and his humility and his patience.

And they realized he was for real, he became over time, a top student and a lecturer.

60 of the Maggid's students became Chassidic masters in their own rights. But in the Alte Rebbe he saw something. He paired him as a Chervuta with his son, Avram the Malach. He was a tremendous mystic and he wanted his son to teach the Rebbe Kabbalah and the Rebbe taught the Malach Talmud.

Their partnership lasted for 10 years.

AT the end of 10 years, when the Alte Rebbe was 27, he was the head of the"Chevraya Kaddisha" ("Holy Society"), the Maggid's elite group of disciples. The Maggie passed away. And on his death bed, he tells his students, some go to Israel and some should stay in Poland. He gave them provinces to spread out and provide inspiration, guidance and leadership for the Jewish communities throughout Poland and to Israel. This was a period of conflict between mysticism and the Yeshivish community. So Lithuania and Vilma, fell to the Alte Rebbe, which was a major Yeshiva center where he would meet great opposition.

Menachem Mendel of Horodok (aka Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk) became his teacher for his year. And then MMH moved to Israel (first in Sfat, then after being expelled, settling) in Tiberius. At the Deniper river, the Mencham Mendel turned him back and said you need to stay here. "If you want to be with me, send tzeddaka to support thecommunities in Israel."

He moved to Liozna and set up a following. He was invited to Minsk to debate and educate scholars. And he gained hundreds and hundreds of students. His greatest opposers became him greatest advocates. He tried to make peace with the Yeshivish community, he tried to visit the Vilna Gaon, and his audience was refused. (1772 with Reb MMH) His students probably blocked his access, probably the Gaon never knew. So the Alte Rebbe never met the Vilma Gaon. As long as the Vilna Gaon lived, things worked and were peaceful, but after he passed away; things went a little wrong.

The Baal Shem Tov brought the spiritual elements and said that all people are equal in the eyes of Hashem, even if the ignorant farmer says the Psalms and screws them all up, it's still a devotion equal to or perhaps even greater than a scholar studying Talmud. Very different from the Yeshiva hierarchy of scholarship.

1770s Alte Rebbe in his younger 30s, started a Cheder (Chardarim) with different levels and classes and students and he his two brothers taught with him. He taught the most advanced students and his brothers taught the the other classes.

He was giving a lot of attention to his students, directly, but he had a hard time giving attention to the petitioners who came with questions and sent letters. So he realized he needed he needed to write a comprehensive book explaining spiritual ethics, how a human being should understand himself, and how his soul works, and how to become a better human being and serve Hashem the right way. He worked on his book for 20 years. He said once that he spent six months on one Vav (and) trying to figure out whether it was the right choice to use there. The Tanya was that meticulous in its construction.

In the introduction to Tanya, he explains, there is no need to come to me with your challenges in Avodat Hashem, this is a comprehensive compilation of how to understand your spiritual identify. It was published in 1797 the year after the Vilna Gaon passed away, and then everything went squiffy. The Litvish community, the first thing they did was they reported him to the Czar and took the Tanya, explaining it out of context, and showing that it said that non-Jews have no soul, and he's an enemy of the state, just look at the money he is sending to the Ottoman Empire (Israel). In 1799 he was arrested and he was sent to an island off St. Petersburg, [in the Petropavlovski fortress] and he pleaded his case. Russia has recently published his written response to the 19 accusations against them. He answered 18 of them, and the 19th, the question of whether Russians have a soul, he didn't answer, saying if you can't figure out how I feel about this, I'll answer it. He was released on the 19th of Kislev.

So he was being released, and he went to the apartment of his student and the student went to the prison. There was a mixup. The guards returning him didn't know what to do.

So they went upstairs and saw a mezuzah and the knocked on the door, and a man answered. They explained who they were and what they were doing, and the man agreed to take custody of the Alte Rebbe. The man offered him some tea, and then revealed himself to be a Misnagid, a strong opposer to Chassidus, and spent 3 hours grilling him with questions until his disciple, realizing there had been a mistake, returned to the apartment. The Rebbe said "those three hours were worse than the 53 days in prison."

The Alte Rebbe was one of the few Jewish leaders who opposed Napoleon. He felt the Jewish people's identity would be stronger in Russia, against the Czar than than the freedom offered by Napoleon. He sent his students to support the Czar in the battle. Moshe Valenker went to Napoleon and became a spy on the French front. As Napoleon moved through white Russia, in 1812, the Alte Rebbe had to flee to avoid Napoleon. He left most of his library behind and it was during the dead of winter and he passed away on the run. His sons Dov Ber and Aaron settled in Lubavitch until the fall of the Czar.

What set him apart from his colleagues who disagreed him?

Before we even start with Tanya, on the Sharblot (the first page, the graphic) on the bottom of the page it reads, "This book is based on the verse, "for this is something that is very close to you, in your mouth , in your heart, that you may do it." It is all relevant and personal to you.

"To explain how it is exceedingly close in a long and short way."

In a long and short way - he's quoting the Talmud. (http://www.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/1117/jewish/The-Longer-Shorter-Way.htm)

He said he was leaving the teaching he grew up in, the way it has previously been taught, the way they connected with their students, was that the students would become spiritual in a short way, but in the long term, they couldn't get in. Their spiritual kesser was connected to the Rabbi who taught them, and when they left his presence, it was hard to recapture that same spiritual essence.

There are no short cuts, it's going to be long, and there will be long ways and sometimes you won't feel that you get there, but ultimately it's the short way. If you're expecting a quick experience of spirituality, that you won't find here. In his introduction he tells the students, don't come to me, everything is in the book. His other colleagues believed they should come to the master to gain to spiritual status, to be enveloped in the aura of the master. That's how you attain spiritual elevation. Came the Alte Rebbe and said No. Stay where you are, what I have to offer you can be obtained by study.

And that's why they are Chabad (Chachma, Binah, and Da'at) the key to a spiritual connection to Hashem is to learn how to make it your own.

This was in opposition to the other Chassidic movements who took an approach of Chagat; Chessed, Geurah, and Tiveret, through love, prayer, and fear. Through understanding the world in beauty, and loving and fearing and opening up on the emotional level.

Chabad allows you to approach Hashem in an objective manner. If you have a connection to someone else, it falls away when you leave; you lose the high. Through Chabad, through making it your own, understanding how your Neshama works, how your soul works, ultimately you'll be able to connect to Hashem on your own in a permanent way; in an emotional way, as well as a logical way.

One Yom Kippur the the entire shul was packed and the Alte Rebbe had a Talit over his head, and he was praying and then within a second, the Alte Rebbe throws off his Talit and walked out the door. Everyone was curious, what's going on? So they all followed him, the whole entourage. He goes to the edge of town and comes to the cottage and they hear a child crying and he goes in, and he builds up the fire to make and serve soup to the mother and then returns to the Shul.

At that moment, nothing was more important than helping the Jewish woman. One moment his priority was an emotional connection to Hashem and the next, his priority was a connection to another human being. By throwing off the Talit, he said "this means nothing", if you get lost in your emotional attachment to Hashem, you lose priority. None of your studying is compared to a child crying.

One of his disciples had three daughters and he married off his children and promised the boys a living and then 3 months later he lost everything. And he came to the Rebbe crying. The Rebbe said, "instead of asking what can Hashem do for you, what are you doing for HKBU" don't allow Judaism to become a selfish emotional thing where you ignore your own child, ignore the things you need to do. Keep a way of thinking that understands what your mission on this world is and don't lose focus. Be attached on an intellectual level, which will allow it to trickle down on an emotional level.

A person has to make Hashem a personal G-d, "you are mine." If you look at the 1st Niggun of the Alte Rebbe, it's based on a Psalm that appears in Hallel. "You are my G-d and I will give thanks to you. You are my G-d and I will extol you"

A person must have an attachment which goes through all his or her faculties. You are my G-d, not something above or only accessible through emunah (faith) or bitachon (faith-based trust), but something you can bring into your life. Only when we can say, "You are mine" then that brings true thanks, true gratitude and then G-d can be exalted.

Next week, Reb Nahum of Bresslev

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January 10th, 2017


06:41 am - In which my dreams get insanely political
Trump speech dreamCollapse )

Enclave dreamCollapse )

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July 29th, 2016


08:56 am - Books
Not in that order
Book 2Collapse )

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April 26th, 2016


02:42 pm - Matza Bagels
So I have this matza bagel recipe that's my Mom's and it's the best of a few that she has. But I didn't feel like looking for measuring for measuring cups, so I made them like this:
I took a 16 oz glass and filled it most of the way through with water
I filled it roughly 2/3rd less with oil
Then I matched the water with an equal amount of matza meal
Then I added three sprinkles of salt and a small chunk of sugar, which I broke up with my hand.
Then I decided there wasn't enough matza meal, so I dumped in enough until it looked right.
Then I added 2 eggs
Combined and dropped into bagel shapes on ungreased foil
I cooked it at 350 for 25 minutes and then added another 15 minutes after I checked it.
then it was done.

The recipe looks like this:
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cups shortening
1 1/2 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Instructions:
Boil water and shortening. Combine other ingredients in mixing bowl. Add water mixture and stir to combine. Pour out mixture into bagle shapes on cookie sheets. Bake on 375 for 25-30 minutes.
---
My original intention was to keep the proportions the same, but I didn't think I needed to boil it given that I was using liquid oil instead of solid shortening. But then it was obviously not enough matza meal. I meant to cook it at the correct temperature, but I misremembered it and then, figured what different does it make?

They came out very well. I had a small one.
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February 9th, 2015


08:45 am - Loving my Introvert (at age 4)
Little Miss was awesome at her party yesterday. It was a marked difference from last year when she had a very hard time getting into it; although she had fun. She sparkled as she interacted with everyone at her party, talking to them all, as if she was an experience hostess, and playing with different people, switched between activities with ease and grace.
Then we went to the bathroom.
And 5 minutes later, she said she had to go the bathroom again. So we went back. I asked her if she needed to use the potty, and she said, "I need to twirl first."
And she did. And I let her twirl for 5 minutes. Because I know that feeling. That, "I'm having a great time, but I'm a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people and sensory input, and I need to just take a step back and have a moment of quiet alone time."
Do you know how long it took me to realize I needed that oasis, even (especially) at parties, just for a minute to calm my mind. And how many years after that, even, the guilt, "Why can't I just enjoy myself!?" at a party. I was well into my 30s when I realized it was part of who I was. That I could be having fun and still be overwhelmed and need to regroup, with no insult to the party or the company, or myself. I'm from a family of basically extroverts and of all of us, I'm the least socially energized, so I never recognized or learned that there were different ways to be present.
And that it was okay to take a minute to twirl quietly in the bathroom for a few minutes to get my mind clear and re-center myself so I could go back out the party and be awesome.
I'm so proud of her for being so clear about who she is that she knows when to take a time out. At the moment, I have an introvert for a daughter*, and she's awesome, and I can totally work with that.
*I know that could change. Introverts can become more extroverted and it's a continuum, not a binary setting. But for the moments, its enough that I recognize the signs and accommodate the person she is.

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January 26th, 2014


02:22 pm - Passover Class - 1/26/2014
If you do not make mention of three things at the seder, you have not fulfilled the mitzvah; Matza - why do we eat it?Collapse )

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January 4th, 2012


10:57 am
Annual Year in Review Post
What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Had a baby. Had major surgery. Arranged child care.

Did you keep your new years' resolutions?
Usual boilerplate text about how I don't really make resolutions because each day is a new beginning and a chance to be better today than yesterday. Yadda Yadda.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me! The angel of death had a sister. Six had a baby girl. Another couple of gfs had a boy.

Did anyone close to you die?
Hoppie's cousin Billy. My great-aunt Estelle.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Janet.

What was your biggest failure?
This hasn't been a year where failure has played a big part, but I still haven't finished thank you notes.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Working through an upper respiratory infection right now.

What was the best thing you bought?
Favorite things I bought include Hoppie's Shoe Shine kit. Air hockey and Foosball tables for Channukah presents, and Janet's kitchen set. Also Soft Kitty.

What countries did you visit?
No ferign countries this year. Or maybe for awhile yet.

What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Am I a jackass if I say I would like to give birth to a baby boy?

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I've been amazed and undeserving of the love and outpouring of support I've received. Seriously. I am humbled.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I'm working off some residual hate for a couple of hoppie's younger cousins w/r/t the fertility thing.

Where did most of your money go?
I don't know, but it definitely went.

What song will always remind you of 2010?
"Faith of the Heart," "Knew You Were Waiting for Me

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Grocery shopping. It's like pulling teeth to get me to the shopping these days.

What do you wish you'd done less of?
I'm actually really comfortable with my time.

How will you be spending Christmas?
Janet's first holiday season! The week before Channukah we spent at Safta and PopPop's house and Asher and NoNo joined us. Fun times! The holiday party was great! On the drive back, we stopped in Baltimore and did candlelighting with our friends there. More fun and child amusements. Then we had the rest of Channukah and Christmas here with Hoppie's family. Janet was the youngest for the 2nd event! (she won't be the youngest at the summer picnic, though). Janet was sick on Christmas, but it was wonderful being with her. I'm not totally sure she understood what was going on, but she seemed pretty happy (other than the sickness).

Did you fall in love in 2011?
OMG, have you met my daughter!!. You'd fall in love too!

How many one-night stands?
None!

What was your favourite TV program?
Big Bang Theory, Leverage

What was the best book you read?
I just read Side Jobs and I liked it, but I think my favorite is the Enchanting series. I keep going back to it.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Rediscovering gospel. Janet is a fan.

What was your favourite film of this year?
In theatre, I only saw Harry Potter.

What did you do on your birthday?
I took the day off from work, figuring I'd want that time to prepare for Christmas and decompress from the trip, but I was sick. So I spent the whole day curled up on the couch with Janet, who was sniffly and tired. It was lovely. Hoppie brought me flowers; pink and yellow roses.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting pregnant again, I was hoping the carry-over hormones would...but alas.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Mo visible stains, easy off for nursing, good to go!

What kept you sane?
A little girl is the best antidepressant!

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nathan Fillion. A traditional choice.

What political issue stirred you the most?
Heath care reform.

Who did you miss?
My great aunt Estelle. We haven't seen her since I was pregnant with Janet, and now she'll never know my little girl.

Who was the best new person you met?
Seth or maybe Yehuda Leib Shmuel, or I'm hoping Janet's new best friend, Georgie

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010?
Dreams can come true and not every love story ends in tears (at least not immediately)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
"I've known a wind so cold, and seen the darkest days,
But now the winds I feel, they're only winds of change."

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January 7th, 2011


11:46 am - Annual Year in Review Post
What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Managed to stay pregnant. Went to the Big E (Eastern States Expo). I've been begging Tom to take me for years. Bought a video camera. and a netbook.

Did you keep your new years' resolutions?
Usual boilerplate text about how I don't really make resolutions because each day is a new beginning and a chance to be better today than yesterday. Yadda Yadda.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin Monica, I guess, if you can call her close. There were some pregnant announcements and some of my fellow infertiles had babies, but really, there were no hold and cuddle moments to contend with in 2010.

Did anyone close to you die?
No one who really rocked my world with news of their death. Or I'm just having a hard time remembering. This was a pretty quiet year.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Successful IUI!

What was your biggest failure?
Again, inability to focus and organize. This is something that I really need to work on and *ahem* focus on.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing substantive. Boring year. Migraines still under control, and the worst pain I had was the round ligament pain around week 20.

What was the best thing you bought?
I bought lots of cool things this year. I bought a pack'n'play, car seat, video camera, netbook, some fun games for my Nintendo DS including Intellivision Lives.

What countries did you visit?
No ferign countries this year. Or maybe for awhile yet.

What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
I would like to have a better relationship with some people. And I would like be able to parent my child.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Brooke for kicking ass and taking names with weight loss and fitness. All the people who have been supporting me emotionally and materially with this baby thang. Like Elaine and Joan with the crib. Robin with the breast pump and the books (signed no less, not the breast pump, that would be creepy.). Donna. Julie with the receiving blankets. Liz who doesn't even like kids and yet listens to me whine all the time about my stupid pregnancy symptoms. Hoppie, who wouldn't go out and get me pickles, but has gone out to get me pizza and SUBway (not at the same time). Rocker who bought us, and I'm not making this up, a vampire toothed pacifier and a bib that says, "Nom. Nom. Nom." I'm just so delighted with everyone.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I'm really not the hating type.

Where did most of your money go?
Medical expenses related to the IF drugs claimed a large chunk of change. Gifts and baby things took up some more. And even with the incredible black Friday sales, I spent a lot on entertainment and (lack of) productivity hardware.

What song will always remind you of 2010?
Whiskey River by Christian Kane. Man, I miss the hard kick of old Kentucky Bourbon.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
No one ever says this, but I will, work.


What do you wish you'd done less of?
Nothing. I had a week off work and I spent it doing nothing but being sick. Very bad.

How will you be spending Christmas?
We spent Christmas with Hoppie's family. Hoppie got to use the video camera for the first time. I wore a shirt that said, "Pregnant at Christmas. All day at the in-laws with NO alcohol. Ho, ho, fricking, ho." VERY cute, if a little annoying. My FIL referred to me as his "disrespectful daughter-in-law." This still cracks me up. My MIL took one look and immediately burst into laughter. Appreciative family is good.

Did you fall in love in 2010?
I fell in love a little bit with myself, something that has been sorely lacking. If I had to spend the rest of my life with me, it wouldn't be so bad, you know?

How many one-night stands?
None!

What was your favourite TV program?
Big Bang Theory

What was the best book you read?
Tough one. Trying to think of what really stands out for me this year. Probably The Paladin of Souls. I reread it a bunch this year because the philosophy is so appealing. I don't think I first read it this year, but this is year I really started to understand it.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I rediscovered rockabilly

What was your favourite film of this year?
In theatre, I only saw Avatar and Harry Potter and I preferred Harry Potter.

What did you do on your birthday?
I had the day off work and I spent some time shopping and some time gift wrapping for charity. I went with hoppie to buy his new car and got to be the tough guy, which he loves watching. Afterwards we met Rocker and had a fondue. It was a lovely day.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm not going to dwell on that.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Traversing back through the same clothing I wore in 2009 before I lost 50 pounds.

What kept you sane?
Everyone and everything around me.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Well, despite being told that Natalie Portman is a lovely person and very sweet, I loathe her for getting pregnant so easily. Particularly given the unhealthy, unnatural lifestyle (nutritionally) she was leading when she got pregnant.

No special fancies this year, though.

What political issue stirred you the most?
Heath care reform.

Who did you miss?
I spent a lot of time missing Gene and Greg. There was so much that's happened this year that I wanted to share with them.

Who was the best new person you met?
Did I meet any new people this year? Let's pick, The Amazing Johnathan. I met him. I liked him. It works.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010?
Attitude means nothing. You can have the greatest attitude in the world and it does not predict or guarantee success. The important thing is, regardless of what your attitude is, keep trying. Even if you're trying, convinced in your heart it won't work, the fact that you're still trying, still giving it everything you have, still putting yourself out there, it means something. It might be harder to give it your best effort when you don't fully believe, but sometimes the act of doing, even without feeling, even without hope, is enough to obtain success. Just don't stop trying.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
It's been a long road, getting from there to here.
It's been a long time, but my time is finally near.
I can feel a change in the wind right now,
Nothing's in my way.
And they're not gonna hold me down, no more,
No they're not gonna hold me down.
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January 6th, 2011


09:06 am - Another date with the rudest woman in the world
So at Mahj Jongg last night, I had another tiff with the rudest woman in the world. She thinks I should listen with blind unquestioning faith to my doctor and do whatever she tells me, including submitting to foetal monitoring twice a week and appointments once a week. She, of course, has no idea of the procedure or the time involved or the impact on my life or the benefits.

It's hard to explain that foetal monitoring, while it was touted as the cure-all for baby monitoring and its ability to reduce interventions by showing when they aren't needed, has led to increased interventions, because the baby does different things. Doctors want to see feotal movements etc, and if the baby is asleep, or in a hard to monitor position, they aren't going to see what they want anyway. I'm trying so hard to be compassionate to my doctors who I know ultimately want the same goal as me, a healthy, live baby, but they have no faith in *me*. They only trust their medical science. I trust both myself and the science. I can do this. They look at me and see OaF and never look any further. They expect the "typical" OaF problems; high pressure (don't have it), gestational diabetes (don't have it), small baby (baby is tracking perfectly for age)...etc. I look at me and see a strong, determined, capable woman who is fully capable of giving birth to a child. While my intention is to give birth in a hospital, surrounded by medical professionals, I believe that if I went into labour on a bus, I'd be able to deliver a healthy, if uncomfortable baby. Not that I'd be on a bus, but the point remains. I feel confident in my ability to give birth. Am I going to deliberately go out into the cane fields and give birth there and continue with my threshing, probably not, but I know that I could, if I needed to. Infertility does not automatically equal childbirth failure. OaF does not automatically mean that my baby is at risk every second I carry him or her.

So to be lectured by this sanctimonious bitch who thinks she has the one true and perfect method of childbirth, which is "listen to your doctor," is laughable. It's not my doctor's baby. It's mine. I'm not trying to be controlling or anti-authoritarian. I just want things to make sense, to be logical and appropriate. The level of intervention I'm getting is already excessive. I have NO DESIRE to increase it. And she doesn't get that. To her, because I'm OaF, she sides with the doctor, who understands these things. I've seen doctors confused before. I had a GP for 12 years who was constantly frustrated by my excellent blood work, because he expected me to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He was angry because the only argument he could offer for me losing weight was for its own sake, not because I had other metrics that needed controlling through weight loss and proper nutrition. I had an eye doctor who gave me vision test and couldn't understand how my eyes work and finally screamed me in his frustration.
("Are you seeing this double?"
"No."
"Are you seeing this double?"
"Why not!!!???")*
I described these incidents to Hoppie who, whenever he would accompany me to doctor's appointments started looking for incidents like this, where the doctor would disregard the evidence of his tests in favor of the evidence of his eyes and assume there had to be something wrong me, and later point out all the times in which the doctor assumed there was some problem with me that wasn't born out by any evidence.

And then, to top it off, when I said that Hoppie was going to my appointments with me, she tore into me for that. "Why can't you go by yourself. You're a big girl." Wait a second. Why should I have to go alone? I like having a second set of ears to verify what I heard and to bring another perspective to the table. It's like having a sanity check. While I don't think he needs to to the foetal monitoring, that doesn't mean I want to spend hours at a hospital strapped up to monitoring equipment by myself. And I couldn't believe Ellen sided with her on that. That was disappointing. I thought she'd understand. She goes with Lester to his appointments (and I assume vice/versa). And, in fairness, I go with Hoppie to most of his appointments. He prefers not to go alone so it's possible to make the time, I go with him. I don't take him to most of my appointments. I didn't make him do the shots, but I've been so happy to have him along with me at my ob appointments and at the RE consults. And why wouldn't he be there. With a checkup at the GPs, okay, maybe there's no reason to have him there, it is, after all, my body, but at the OBs, we're looking at his baby too, not just mine. I did give him the option of not going with me to the anesthesiologist appointment I have today, but he said he wanted to come. He has questions about the process and wants to clarify his position in case he needs to either solicit their help, or defend me against it, as the situation warrants.

And furthermore, what the hell business is it of hers how many times I go to the doctor or whether Hoppie comes with me? She had her kids and made her choices. This is my kid and my choice is what matters. I will NOT do any to wantonly endanger my baby. And how come when Robin the Midwife (who btw, is a Certified CBE, doula, midwife, has written more than 10 books on childbirth and childbirth education, and has advanced degrees in the subject) provides information, she has, "one opinion" on the matter, but my doctor is magically perfect? Why don't they each have one opinion that I could choose from.

Even the midwife at the doctor's office thinks the high level of monitoring I'm experiencing is excessive given the way the baby is performing.

I was going to include my nightmare, but this went long.

*When I told this to my current optometrist (and there's a reason he's my current), he explained that because of the fact that my eyes are so different, I don't usually binocular focus, and therefore, wouldn't see anything double because only one eye is ever really seeing something. Furthermore, my brain is accustomed to this and automatically compensates to create depth perceptions, usually the responsibility of binocular focus. My depth perception, judging by my ability at spacial relations, is actually quite good.

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December 8th, 2010


12:57 pm - Rereading Harry Potter
I have some questions with no answers.

Sirius found out after his brother Regulus died that he was killed by Voldemort or Death Eaters because he's had a change of heart and tried to stop being a Death Eater or refused to carry out Voldemort's orders. When we find out what actually happened to Regulus, it seems like Voldemort would never have known about his change of heart. Unless he was trying to do damage control by putting out that he'd had Regulus killed because he vanished without a trace and no one wants to think a powerful wizard could mislay a supporter. We know that Voldemort never knew Regulus had stolen the locket. The only thing he knew for sure was that after Kreature had helped him, Regulus disappeared. I can believe that because of the Death Eater tattoo, Voldemort would have known he was dead, there being no one on the other end of the Regulus communicator, as it were. But as to the why and where, clearly that was unknown or Voldemort would have shifted himself to find the locket soonest.

Booklists for year 7. Did Harry, Ron, and Hermione get their booklists? Normally, owls can find their owners to deliver letters, but presumably they didn't arrive until after the wedding. For Ron, they probably would have delivered to the Burrow, but they had no problem finding Harry in the Cottage on the Sea (although it arrived with Hagrid) so why would they not be able to deliver to Harry wherever he was? Or Hermione wherever she was. Come to that, why can't they detect that Ron isn't at home? Owls find Sirius (eventually) who is on the run, so wouldn't they be able to test whether Ron is home by sending him an owl, and seeing where it goes?

Edited to add:

Hermione says when they're in the tea shop having just defeated the two Death Eaters after escaping the wedding that she's never done memory charms, but understands the theory. How did she modify her parents memories if she's never done memory charms? What did she do instead? I think that's an editing/continuity error, personally. Bad editor! Bad!

Is SPT's prophesy in Prisoner of Azkaban to HJP in the Hall of Prophecy (I mean, before the kids smashed up the room) and how it is marked? I got the impression that things got in the hall of prophesy by being sort of Pensively extracted and captured in a crystal ball and collected, but what if it was a more automated process? Magic is detectable, and therefore so could prophecy. But clearly it doesn't solve its own riddles as evidenced by the label on the STP/APWBD prophecy in which Harry's name was written in later, after being attacked by Voldemort. So if it was an automated process where the prophecy just appears when uttered, it should appear like this, "SPT to HJP. Dark Lord and Sirius Black. If it survived the night at ministry, it should have been relabeled, "SPT to HJP. Dark Lord and Peter Pettigrew." It doesn't make sense, in my opinion, that Dumbledore would be able to report on the prophecy since he didn't directly hear it. So if a prophecy happens and no one knows to report it to the ministry, did it happen?

Edited to add:

Peter Pettigrew/Sirius Black/Death Eaters. I can understand why the DE have no particular interest in clearing the air on the Sirius Black vs Peter Pettigrew, "who is the traitor," issue. It's surprising to me that Karkaoff doesn't try to throw the blame to Peter Pettigrew during his trial, but on the other hand, why would the ministry pay off for dead Death Eater and it seemed like everyone, including Black, believed Black killed Pettigrew. Karkaoff says that V tried to keep his Death Eaters away from each other, but yet Black says earlier that the imprisoned Death Eaters in Azakaban blame Pettigrew for Voldemort's downfall. How did they know who to blame? I guess I understand that Bellatrix would know Sirius was more likely to be Order of the Phoenix than Voldemort, and possibly even who the traitor was, but it seems like if it's common knowledge within Azkaban, how did the Ministry of Magic and Dumbledore NEVER hear about it? I can understand the Dementors not caring, but it seems like some of the prisoners might have mentioned at some point.

My other question is the DE tattoo. It seems like the Ministry would find a way to make the tattoo show itself so they could confirm who is DE and who isn't. Also, it seems like, from Draco's experience in Madam Malkin's, that the tattoo is visible all the time. Otherwise, why would he feel the need to conceal his arm? Possibly it's a new tattoo so it takes time to fade into the skin? Maybe? But it seems like as long as V is strong, it displays.

I think that might be all for now.
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July 30th, 2010


11:11 am - Twilight Time
Yesterday I was picking up my copy of Face Off by Mark del Franco and The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance and I saw a Twilight: New Moon Tshirt in a nice box package in Hoppie's size.

So despite my solemn vow not to buy Hoppie additional Tshirts, I purchased it. I bought it home and he looked at it. And looked at the back and said, "Please tell me you didn't pay $19.95 for this."
"I did not. It was on 75% clearance. And knowing how much you love trendy Tshirts like this, I had to get it. It was less than 5$."
"Oh good."
"I would not have paid $20 for that."
"I wouldn't think so, but..."
Current Mood: gigglygiggly
Current Music: Sports Matters: July 29, 2010

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July 15th, 2010


03:43 pm - Grr
My ring snapped. It's got a ring guard on it, so I don't need to worry about it yet, but this is the second time! Good heavens. Last time I had to have entirely resized. I suppose I could do that, but it's not really the best time. I'll see where I am next year.
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July 14th, 2010


10:12 am - Moderator's message (now with self test!)
Time again friends for me to remind people of how my livejournal is organized.

Infertility stuff is friends-locked, but not in a custom group (although I suppose by rights it should be. Oh well. Too late now.)

Pregnancy stuff (when appropriate) is in a custom group. If you want to be added, feel free to comment to this post saying that you want to be added to the Pregnancy group.

Truly depressing, rambly rants are in a custom group. If you want to be added, feel free to comment to this post saying you want to be added to the Futility group.

All women are automatically added to the Girls custom group, but I don't think I use it anymore, and I'm not quite sure why I created it, so forget I mentioned it.

Edited to add: It's funny because when I was journalling with someone who was doing a friendlist cull, I mentioned he should follow it up with a friends-locked post so people would know if they were culled or not and then 2 days later, I post this without custom groups right behind it to verify. I've now added a post to each custom group. You should see it. It should, I hope, be obvious.
Current Mood: amusedamused

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July 9th, 2010


12:46 pm - What an unpleasant character
Madam, your Lady Godiva act does not impress me in the slightest.Collapse )
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
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May 4th, 2010


10:13 pm - Opting out
Rather than rewrite this post, I'm just going to link it.
LJ opting out of link modification

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April 20th, 2010


09:46 pm - Carz
So when I took the car in last Tuesday to get the airco fixed, I asked them to take a look at the windows too. I thought it was probably a loose fuse, but apparently the window motor units had died (not surprising. They always seem to be very cheaply made for rear windows.) So they fixed the airco while I was there and then ordered the part for the next day. When I brought the car in the next day, they told (after quite some time) that they'd only received part of the part, not the motor assembly. So they insisted I take a rental and get out of their hair. So I did. I picked up the car all right and tight Thursday.
Hoppie is thinking that rather than repair his airconditioning, he might well buy a new car. The problem is that they don't make his car anymore. So he's not sure what wants if he can't have a new Saturn. We looked at this old dealership to see what they have and there's a Saturn Ion that he didn't totally hate, so we might go back and take a look at that.

We looked at the website and the nearest approximate car recommended was dreadful.
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April 2nd, 2010


05:20 pm - Vacationing
Jim BeamCollapse )
BardstownCollapse )

International Stave Co.: Kentucky CooperageCollapse )
Current Mood: tiredtired

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March 19th, 2010


04:06 pm - Women don't blog
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/why-are-bloggers-male/article1503780/

and the follow-up:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/female-bloggers-take-on-margaret-wente/article1504975/

This article references MAS (Male Answer Syndrome) as the reason women don't blog. Funny story about that. One of Hoppie's coworkers once had up one of those MAS spam things about how men will make up answers rather than admit they don't know. One day Hoppie took it down and replaced it with an identically worded spoof about how MAS, explaining how men have this genetic predisposition to know the answer. You ask a man a random question, such as, "How many carbohydrates in a Big Mac?" and without having previously known or thought about the answer, it just magically appears in their heads. The mere ask of asking the question produces the answer. It was brilliantly funny in that acerbic way Hoppie has. I wonder if I still have a copy of it.

Anyway, I don't believe in MAS, or if I do, I believe it afflicts more than just the male population. I know as many women who are as likely to give an incorrect answer, knowing they don't know the answer for sure, as I do men.

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