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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Bring up the subject of vaccines and you have undoubtedly touched a nerve with many mothers. At first I did not see what the issue was. We had all these terrible diseases and through the hard work of medical professionals, our children will not suffer from debilitating and/or deadly illnesses.

But has our society taken vaccines too far? Do we really need to inject chemicals into our children to protect them? Smallpox, sure but chickenpox?!

How safe are these injections anyway? I remember mercury levels was a hot subject not too long ago but I have been assured by our doctor that that issue has been addressed.
As a well-educated parent, my instinct is to research an unknown into the ground until I have a thorough understanding of the risks and benefits. I have found that this approach is exhausting when it comes to raising a child in our modern Western society. The plethora of information and misinformation is overwhelming with the "right" answer frequently left to the parent to decipher.

Other matters are dictated by laws and standards, however. I recently learned that the chickenpox vaccine is mandatory for children entering school. Good luck successfully objecting to that on whatever basis. One mother I know was told she had to keep her unvaccinated child home.

How thorough have these vaccines been tested? How dangerous is the disease itself? An article defending the necessity of CP vaccines asserted that children were developing secondary infections from scratching the pox-spots and being hospitalized.

How effective are these vaccines, anyway? My son's daycare just experienced an outbreak involving a vaccinated child. Not exactly reassuring, medical people. Apparently they either wear off or carry the risk of incomplete protection. I also read that children under 1 year old will not carry the immunity which terrifies me on several levels.

Not to undermine serious health threats, but I went through my itchy rites of initiation when I was 8. I remember lots of chicken soup, pink calomine swirls on my skin and slippery-wet baking soda baths. And a lot of daytime soap operas since we spent the majority of our convalescence on our grandmother's couches.
So to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. That is the question.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bella's Engagement Ring

Because I have nothing better to do at 11pm than write about Bella Swan's disappointing engagement ring. Seriously, it's obviously an impractical choice.

Being untrained in jewelry design and its historical accuracy, I nevertheless found the ring shown in Eclipse to be a let-down. People waited with anticipation akin to that of the later royal wedding for the first look at her ring. It was a big, gaudy oval disc, overshadowing her hand and most likely her upcoming wedding band as well.

So I've included some rings that I feel would have been the better choice. As for the historical accuracy, I have no idea if they're from the Edwardian period or not, but they sure look like antiques.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flowers and Fall

Breathtakingly beautiful harvest moon recently and I've been thinking about the impending arrival of my favorite time of year- Autumn. Such a powerful time of year for me, when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, most transparent.
I love when the weather gets chilly and I can unpack my heaps of sweaters, snuggle down with a good book and a hot cup of tea, heavy on the milk and honey. Hay rides, apple cider, donuts, crisp fresh air and crunching brittle leaves underfoot. Love the primitive power of the violent thunderstorms, all wind and rain.

It brings me back to my childhood on my family's farm and harvesting the corn crop. The tractor slowly meandering through the fields pulling a trailer stacked with corn stalks thrown off the side for the cattle to eat. The air was cool and dusky after suppertime. My brothers and I would make a little cave for ourselves by piling the stalks across the wooden boxes covering the flatbed trailer's wheels and just lie there under the wet, earthy smell of the corn, listening to the cow's impatient moos as they walked beside their "meals on wheels." Our enclave would slowly come apart as more and more stalks were thrown over the side until the starlit sky was laid bare overhead.

My favorite childhood movie, "Robin Hood" played incessantly on our old VCR. The best scene was when Robin Hood gave Maid Marian her water lily ring lit with a firefly at its center. Ever since then, I've always wanted to find a flower ring like hers. My own version of princess-fixation, I suppose.  Chanel made this rose which immediately caught my eye. Diamond Harmony also has a version of a rose ring which I love. Just a girlhood connection with meaningful jewelry.

I know I'll most likely never buy one of these, but just looking at them brings to mind the nostalgia and comforting moments from my childhood that I will never experience again. I may ride through the bumpy fields feeding the cattle now in the dim twilight, but my son Henry's grandfather, not mine, will be driving the tractor.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who am I: Pick a Persona

I literally just dragged myself out of bed to write this. I had just collapsed into my pillows after slogging through 100 pages of grad school reading (and I'm not done yet) when my mind decided to compose a posting. Seriously? So in hopes of getting this out of my system and returning to a blissful and all-too-brief period of rest, here it goes...
When I was an undergrad, academia was my life, my passion. I went to my first OAH history conference in Memphis and ended up buying so many books, I had to pay the airline extra to get my luggage home. I attended lectures, took copious, detailed notes, went to my professors' office hours, did the majority of my readings, rarely skipped class. I loved being a student.
I proudly graduated suma cum laude in 2007, took some time off to work, had a baby in 2008 and finally landed a full-time job as a library clerk in an elementary school in 2009. I decided to resume my academic regime so I would not make $10/hr for the rest of my life and applied and was accepted to the Master's program in History at my alma mater in the fall of 2010. Shortly after grad school acceptance, I learned that we were expecting a second child in June. Academia immediately lost its premiere standing in my life, as well it should.
But I miss it. The focus, the dedication, the hours of uninterrupted reading in the library, endless cups of coffee and all-night paper-writing. Instead of being the sharp academic instrument it once was, my mind is more akin to a blunt, plastic baby-food spoon now.
I envy the grad students I interact with briefly on campus who go to those lectures, attend those meetings to discuss career options, who have the time and the means for doing internships and conference travel. They must have jobs and families too. How do they do it without sacrificing one for the other?
My young family is my priority right now. If it means I didn't thoroughly read a 200 page book and take detailed notes on every issue I would like to discuss because I was reading "Charlie the Ranch Dog" for the four-hundredth time with my son, I suppose I should get used to it. It still goes against the grain not to invest myself fully in my education, like I'm holding something back. However, with 2 kids under 3 years old and an extremely busy husband, I realize that things are not the same as they were in 2007. I'm still getting used to being "grad-school Mama."
I thought about putting grad school off until the kids were in school but I'm already 30. How much longer am I willing to wait? Besides, no one knows how long we have anyway, so I'm going for it!
Maybe by the time I'm ready to write my thesis, I'll be comfortable in that role and by then it will be time to try on another hat.