Intern Retreat (with toddler)

This past weekend was Jason's intern retreat, which basically means that a bunch of newly minted doctors get together in a cabin in the woods and drink a lot. The 16 of us (including some spouses) adults and 1 toddler answering to the name of Connor went to a resort in Berkley Springs West Virginia. We rented 2 houses, 1 with 5 bedrooms, 1 with 3 bedrooms. They were situated in the mountains and were very picturesque. Other than trying to keep Connor from getting near the wood-burning stove "No Pookie...HOT HOT, ouchie ouchie!" and bemoaning the fact that we forgot his portable high chair seat, we had a good time.

Connor got a TON of attention from all of the other interns and even got to take a swim in the somewhat heated indoor pool at the resort. He was laughing and screaming, having a great time even though his lips were turning blue. He enjoyed the hot shower with Daddy in the men's locker room too. I enjoyed the 60 minute facial. I really enjoyed the 60 minute facial. Did I tell you that I enjoyed the 60 minute facial? Mmmm. My pores are tiny and squeaky clean.

I repeat that I enjoyed the facial only because I cannot report on enjoying the mass quantities of alcohol, nor the excellent skiing. Ah pregnancy, so fun.

We were reposnible for breakfast Saturday morning, which meant that everyone got to eat veggie sausage with thier eggs. Yay! We had yummy veggie lasagna that night and watched Anchorman, which if you have not seen, I am told is much better after many beers. While it had some really funny scenes, overall it was an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back.

Jason and I are supposed to "TACKLE" the finances tonight after a pep-talk from our financial advisor. Grrr. Does this mean no more facials? A girl has to live ya know. If I have to cut out facials, he should have to cut out beer (at least till I am done breastfeeding). Only fair. Wish us luck.
The Spirit is Still Alive

I got a call from Spam, a radio DJ from WHFS. He is trying to put together a tribute to WHFS and wanted to use the frantic voice mail messages I left for the programming directors in this audio tribute thingy. I called all three of them and frantically asked them to call me back saying this "El Zol" thing was a joke.

Apparently they are trying to get the station back! He said they were taken off the air in the 80's too and bounced back. He said that Infinity has never had a response like this and that they are befuddled. Cool. I sent him the e-mail I sent to Infinity too.

Fight the power! Down with da man! Corporate rock still sucks.
Peeeeeeeeeeeeeee Paaaaaaaaaawwwwww

My son just makes me laugh, a lot. He played with a Darth Vader talking ornament this Christmas and then remembered it when he tried on this helmet/toy at TJ's house. We put it on him and he imitated Darth Vader's breathing by saying "Peeeee Paaaaaww". Out of nowhere this afternoon, he was eating lunch and looked at me. What do you think he said? "Peeeeee Paaaawwww." So what could any good parent do? Jason grabbed Empire Strikes Back and initiated him into Star Wars. He was enthralled, you'd think he was living the movie as it happened. He loved the "Peeeee Paaaaww" parts. Yes folks, Darth Vader is now Peeee Paaaww in my house, like the nickname of some kindly old grandpa.

Peeeeeeeeee Paaaawwwwww

He even put a tupperware container on his head like it was the helmet and acted like Peee Paaaww. Daddy was so proud!

Infinity Killed The Radio Sir

The radio station I grew up with, WHFS 99.1 in Maryland was suddenly switched to a Spanish language pop station "El Zol" this week. It came without warning, even to the staff of the station. Thanks Infinity. Corporate rock sucks. Here is an e-mail I sent to them:

Infinity killed the radio Sir.

It must be apparent to you by now that there are many people in Maryland that are upset about the change from 99.1 as an alternative rock station, to "el Zol" the Spanish language pop station, but do you understand why? Does anyone at Infinity understand why people get attached to radio stations in the first place? No I don't think that corporate radio gets it at all. Radio is not just a cash cow to be milked dry, it is a way to reach into the hearts and minds of people all over the world. You took over WHFS, killed what made it good, rammed Limp Bizkit down our throats and wiped out Tori Amos, then wondered why the ratings fell. You just don't get it. Constant airplay of crappy bands never made any station better. Freeform play with new and original programming is what made WHFS great.

Broadcasting music spreads ideas, words, feelings. A good radio station can uplift, inform, inspire. That was how I found WHFS 99.1 in 1989. It was such a wonderful station, it just blew me away. The music WHFS played was not the "cool" stuff all of the jocks listened to, it played my music! Listening to WHFS while I was growing up helped me for my identity and to know that obviously there were others like me. Do you get that? No, you want everybody to fall into your brainwashed factory-pressed categories, telling the masses what they will listen to and ramming it down their throats. We are not cows being hurled down the ramp for slaughter, we are free Americans with our own ideas and values. You may think that you have the FM market covered, that you control the airwaves, but you are wrong. You can kill WHFS, but not what it started. Underground stations that are still free-form, satellite stations and internet music lives on.

Taking away WHFS because it would not conform you your brand of mindless crap music was wrong. Taking away an institution that so many people loved was wrong. The way Infinity does business is wrong. Watch me be proven right in the end.


I signed the petition, I saw that a protest is planned. I am afriad that the coffin is nailed shut though. Thank God that I have satellite radio. Sirius rocks.

Spring In My Step!

I was actually reading my timeshare magazine this morning, bummed that we had no trips planned, then BAM! One hit us!

Nicole called us to hock Girl Scout cookies, and mentioned that they were planning a Disney World trip for May. May? That is when Jason can take a week off, I mentioned that we might be able to get rooms for us and for them through our timeshare exchange and she sounded excited. I called RCI and the man on the phone was skeptical that he could find two rooms at a resort near Disney this close to the date of departure...I told him we have had good luck in the past...BAM...he finds two studio apartment type rooms with a full kitchen in a gold crown resort (highest) that is one of the top two RCI resorts in all of Florida! How's that for luck? Then TJ (Nicole's hubby) found flights for $49 each way. BAM! We have our flights.

Not bad for a day's work huh? We also scheduled a pizza/itinerary night next weekend to work out our plan of attack.

Here's the question for the day: should Connor wear a princess dress to the character breakfast when he meets the princesses? Should his prom date see the pictures?
Blogging For Dogs

This story needs to get out there, please pass it on story

Soldier Begging For Dog Food For Deployed Dogs
Commander Says Dogs Live Off Scraps And Garbage

POSTED: 2:58 pm EST January 5, 2005

LAS VEGAS -- The commander of an Army Reserve detachment is begging friends back home to send food for Iraqi police dogs.

"The dogs are starving and urgently need dry dog food," Capt. Gabriella Cook, commander of the Las Vegas-based 313th Military Police Detachment, said in a Dec. 28 e-mail reported Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Some of them have already died," Cook wrote. "Half of them are sick. We have no way of buying actual dog food here."

Cook's unit arrived last month in the Iraq capital. She said 12 German shepherds and one black Labrador retriever trained for bomb-detection and attack at the Iraqi Police Academy in Baghdad have been eating table scraps and garbage.

"It seems like an emergency situation," Diana Paivanas, a Henderson pet-care provider and Cook's friend, told the Review-Journal. "Something needs to be done now to save these dogs."

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., a veterinarian, directed a legislative aide to contact an Army liaison to investigate, a spokesman for the senator said. But when contacted Wednesday, his office said they were unsure where to send donations and that they are looking into it.

Military officials at the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad did not immediately respond to the newspaper's request for information about the food supply for U.S. canines in Iraq.

Paivanas said she found it costs about $50 to mail a 30-pound bag of dog food to Cook.

Henderson Veterinarian Terry Muratore estimated that each of the 13 working dogs would consume a 40 pounds or more of dry food per month.

"If securing the country entails having security dogs that are healthy, then we should do that," Muratore said. "Surely there's space on a C-130 to get a pallet of dog food over there."

If you would like to help feed the dogs, you may send checks to the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society. They are working with several companies to ship food to the animals as soon as possible.

"PetSmart has donated a pallet of food, and we hope PetCo will do the same," Judith Ruiz, president of the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society said.

Ruiz said several companies have donated food and that with the money, the Humane Society will be able to buy more dog food at a discounted rate and will also pay for shipping to Iraq.

"All funds will go directly for the animals," Ruiz said.

The Humane Society is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization. So your donation will be tax deductible.

Send donations to:

Las Vegas Valley Humane Society
Funds For Dogs In Iraq
2250 E. Tropicana
Suite 19
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Make checks payable to the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society. The group asks that you indicate in a letter or on the check that you want your donation to go to the dogs in Iraq
Conversation On Turning 30

It was the night before I turned 30, I remembered putting myself to bed. I took a hot bath and shaved my legs, put on my new Blueberry Body Butter from The Body Shop, donned my comfy robe and read until I fell asleep. How I ended up before the panel I'll never know.

The next thing I know I'm walking down a long hallway. At the end I find a door marked "Acceptance & Regret", I turn the handle and walked in. Before me was a long table with several people I knew, they all looked at me with a stare that seemed to bore a hole right through me. I walked closer and realized how I knew each of them, they were own image from age ten through age 29. A comfy chair awaited me in front of the table, and I had no choice but to accept.

29 starting the proceedings.

29: We have come together to examine the first thirty years of our life, each of you is encouraged to offer questions and comments as we begin this discussion. Be it painful or pleasurable, let us decide tonight whether this change-of-life will be accepted, or viewed with regret. Ten, we shall start with you.

Ten: The main thing that I want to know is how things turned out with my boyfriend, Steve. I know I am just in 5th grade, but I really love him. How do things turn out?

Me: Steve and I broke up after eight months, because I wouldn't french kiss him. I was devastated for many months afterward. But in ninth grade I became friends with him again and dated a one of his buddies. I even named my dog after his favorite singer...Marley. I always had feelings for him, but we never dated again. I hear he is a pilot now and is very successful, flying celebrities around in private airplanes.

Ten: He really was our first love wasn't he?

Me: Yes. Even though it was a 5th grade romance I can honestly day that he was.

Ten: We get a dog?

Me: She was amazing. Marley was part Husky part Shepherd and all attitude. I promised her I would take care of her till the day she died, and I did...12 years later.

14: She's dead? How did it happen? She is still a puppy to me.

Me: She died of old age really. I was there with her as she was put to sleep and it was very peaceful, very beautiful. I still have dreams about her, and she always looks young and happy, like she was just on a trip and came back to see me again. I made a lot of mistakes in raising her, but she was my best friend through tough teenage years, and through all of the boyfriends. I am a better person because of her. I wouldn't be a good animal owner or parent if not for the lessons she taught me.

14: What about Robby? The breakup with him was nearly tragic. How will we ever get over it?

Me: For a long time Robby was like a black stain on my shirt that I could never get out. We has a hate/hate relationship where he tormented me in every class we had together. He was a complete bastard. I hated even visiting the Eastern Shore for fear of running into him. I am proud to say that we made up just this year. Apparently he never even realized how mean he was. He actually said he was sorry. It is a story that took a long time, but it had a happy ending.

16: Is my boyfriend Bill among your list of "greatest loves"?

Me: Yes and no. He was amazing and romantic while we were together, but the more I reflect on it, the more I think of him as a schmuck. When you start out a relationship with him cheating on someone to be with have to expect it to end that way too. But the grand romance of it all warms my heart on a cold day. The week we got together at a Christian teen retreat in Montana will live in my heart as one of the best weeks in my life. Spiritually it was an amazing time too. If all Christian experiences were like that week, life on Earth would be Heaven on Earth. That week reminds me of the good that Christianity can accomplish when the bad examples rear their ugly heads.

16: Are you involved with the church now?

Me: Sadly no. If I could find a church that was always like a teenage retreat; open and accepting of everyone and everything no matter what (minus the kissing games) then yes, I'd be there in a heart beat. But I now have a wider view of religion that keeps me at peace. I don't need someone telling me how to live my life each Sunday to achieve it either.

17: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Me: The first thing that pops to mind is graduating from my beloved college with honors. My grades were always up and down, but I was happy at Goucher and graduating from there with honors - selected by my professors to receive that no less - is an accomplishment that no one can take away from me. Keeping my promise to Marley is one of the things I am happy about too. When you are 14, making a promise like that is like shouting in the wind. Mom and Dad were just amazed that I took her while still in college, they thought they would be stuck with her. She was my dog, my responsibility. Right or wrong, I stuck by my promise. Here are some you'll love: I have met three of The Monkees, and Peter Tork several times; I have swam with wild manatees several times (so wonderful); I snorkeled with a wild black-tipped reef shark for several minutes, following it's every move and was never once afraid; I met and spoke with Tamora Pierce several times during a conference; I did visit a foreign country, though it was only Canada, the cool thing is I got engaged there; I have been to Hawaii and to Disney World six times; I lived in South Florida for four years.

The things I am most proud of are my husband and my son. Yes I convinced someone to marry me! My husband is the love of my life, my prince charming, my Weird Al. I have been with him for 10 years now, married for seven and we still love each other so much. The fact that he loves me, though I don't deserve him is enough for me to know for certain that there is a God. I pray at night to let him always know how much I appreciate him, even when I don't say it. He is amazing. He puts up with me. He is amazing.

I gave birth, a huge accomplishment! Something I was always afraid of, I did. Another thing I was always afraid of...having a child with a deformity, I have survived as well. Connor was born with a severe bi-lateral cleft lip and palate, as well as some issues with his hands and feet. Getting over the shock of his birth, not knowing about any of it ahead of time, and the months that followed were pure Hell. It was like being trapped in a nightmare that you can't wake-up from. Getting through that, triumphing over that to have a very normal looking, health, happy child is one Hell of an accomplishment. Emotional bootcamp. He is a little miracle, people see his crazy personality long before they realize anything is different about him. He makes me laugh everyday.

20: What are the things you wish you could have changed?

Me: The smart answer would be nothing, because the chain of events I lived through have made me what I am today. But that answer is way too Oprah. If I had a chance to go back and see what would have happened had I made different choices, but nothing would really change in the real world, I would like to see what would have happened if I had given Steve a real kiss. Would we be together today with three children living in a van down by the river? I wish I had never applied for a credit card. I wish I could go back and tell my 14 year-old self that esteem and confidence do not come from the boy you date, and that no one can take away your self-confidence unless you decide to let them. I wish that I had incorporated exercise into my life at an early age. I have to start now. Blah. I guess the fact that I have no glaring regrets is a good thing huh?

The one main thing I would like to change in my life is my weight, and according to every diet guru on TV I have the power to change that. It is the one part of my life that I just feel I have no control over. It will be one of the things I focus on after I have the baby in July. I may even join a diet center or three. It really hangs over me like a lead balloon and makes me sad.

25: Are you afraid of turning 30? Do you feel like it's too soon?

Me: I have the perfect husband and am right on track with growing our family. How many 30 year-olds can say that? I am finally a stay-at-home-mom, which I have always wanted, so career-wise I am right where I want to be. I have all of the material possessions I could want, and live in a great neighborhood. The 20's were good, but I have done what I needed to do in them. They were about sacrificing to get where I wanted to be. The 30's are about living the goals now that they are met. I have great plans for my 30's.

25: Like what?

Me: Well for starters I want my body back. I want to be a size 10 and exercise regularly. I want to travel with my family to Europe, heck even live there if we can get stationed there. I want to go to Ireland, England, Scotland, and scuba-dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I want to go back to school and possibly get my Masters in Graphic Design. The best is yet to come.

29: Do these answers fulfill the curiosity of the panel?

Murmurs of ascent and nods make their way up and down the table.

29: It is the finding of this panel that the first 30 years will be looked upon with acceptance. Only minor regrets will be tolerated. Therefore, you may turn 30 tomorrow. The panel is adjourned.

The group gets up and leaves through a curtain in the back. My chair reclines and gradually turns into my comfy bed. I snuggle up with my stuffed bunny and close my eyes. When I wake I think it is all a dream, until I see the calendar. It really is January 2nd...I am 30!