Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Crazy hair day:

At school on Friday:

I really like this picture; I love dropping off the kids on Halloween.

Our own 'ballerina dancing fairy':

Then back to the other school, for the parade:

Carved pumpkins:


And Angela's:

The Mad-Eye version:

And mine!

I may or may not be posting more pictures after today. The stroke of midnight kicks off NaNoWriMo, and while I will be here, right here in this chair, for most of November, I will probably not be blogging a great amount. Well, we shall see -- I am a first-year WriMo, and I don't know how much I'm in for!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Every interaction should make society better

Rob and I have had several conversations about economics. One principle that has stood out to me is the idea that all transactions are good if they benefit both parties, because they are making the entire society richer.

I think the same about interpersonal relations. If people come away from the interaction feeling good, it is a benefit to the society at large.

A couple of years ago I became involved in a scorching online blog debate. The other party was an accomplished but stubborn person who had a habit of dismissing those who didn't agree with her and not backing up her arguments. She got to be quite mean. The debate drew a crowd, but it seemed to feed her unpleasantness, and she never apologized nor made any concessions whatsoever. I withdrew rather than engage in what I finally realized was a pointless and one-sided debate.

I recently found this among her writings:
Conflict drives the comments section and makes the post “sticky.” People come back to see what nasty accusations others have flung at me this time and to see whether I tolerate the accusations or make the accuser look foolish. I give as good as I get, and people find that entertaining.
Am I alienating my audience? Certainly I am alienating some people, but, frankly, I’m amazed that people think I am being mean when I respond to ridiculous assertions and vile comments with demands to supply proof. One thing I know for sure, though, is that my audience increases.

And those nasty posts written about me? They are free advertising. I’m surprised that people don’t understand that. Every post written about me is not an insult, but is a small victory. It shows that what I write has hit the mark, has elicited strong feelings, has made people think. And of course every post written about me increases my readership.
Valid points, to be sure. I think that if your goal is to be read by lots of people, and you don't care about how you accomplish it, this is definitely one way to approach it.

But, thinking about how a good transaction benefits all involved, and realizing that the world is indeed short of kindness and warmth by a considerable amount, I have to object.

When coming up against this person, both parties are not edified. There's a good chance that one will leave the interaction angry, frustrated, and feeling unheard. Being provocative is not a status achieved without consequences. Making people feel is not the same as making them think.

It reminds me of this:
The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined.
~Margaret D. Nadauld
We need to set about making the world better by making our interactions with others positive. If both people come away from a discussion feeling good, they will likely spread that goodness through their interactions with others. The entire society benefits.

What happens when beneficial interactions don't occur? Positive feelings are drained from the world. Perhaps that's a little dramatic, but you see my point.

My unexpected ER visit

Early on Thursday morning, I was talking to Rob, who was on a business trip in Chicago. My parents and sister were staying with me, for which I was profoundly grateful. I felt a sudden, sharp, jabbing pain in my stomach and told him I had to get off the phone. I couldn't focus on anything else. My first thought was that it was a really bad bladder infection, or maybe just really awful gas. But nothing I did affected it. The longer I stayed with the pain, the more it felt like my stomach was being eaten from the inside. Was it cancer? Ectopic pregnancy? I didn't know, but I couldn't move, it was just before 7 am, and I was the only one awake and downstairs.

My cell phone was close by. I called Rob back and told him that something was really wrong. He said, "Wake up your mom!"

I followed orders. I crawled to the foot of the stairs, looked up, and knew there was no way I was going to make it up to the second floor. I could hardly speak, but I gathered a few breaths and yelled. Josie came out first and asked, "What's wrong?" I was still obeying orders and said "Wake Mom up!" My parents came out, saw me, and started to get ready to take me to the hospital. Josie stayed at home to take care of the girls and get Elizabeth off to school.

I got dressed with help and got into the backseat so I could lie down. It hurt to sit. It was unbearable to move.

By the time we got to the hospital, the pain had subsided a bit, and that worried me. What if it really WAS gas?? ER copays are not cheap. And I would have felt tremendously guilty for causing everyone around me such worry and inconvenience.

Over a period of a couple of hours, they ruled out bladder infections, gallstones, and appendicitis. They put in an IV and gave me Fentanyl. Oh, Fentanyl -- it went straight to my brain. My thoughts were perfectly clear, but my head was spinning and I couldn't speak or open my eyes. Thoroughly unpleasant. It did nothing for the pain for about 20 minutes. Then, when the dizziness leveled off a bit, the pain was substantially lessened.

I was able to move enough to clamber into a wheelchair and go get an ultrasound. I couldn't see the actual ultrasound, and the tech must have been legally unable to tell us what she saw. She wanted me to lay on my side for a few scans, and that hurt quite a bit. Then back in the room to wait.

The doctor came in and told me that I had an ovarian cyst that had burst. It was 3 centimeters in diameter. He prescribed painkillers for the next few days and said, "We'll give you one more dose of pain meds and then send you home." Before I could say, "No, I don't need more Fent--" they had already put it in my IV. I felt the dizziness blossom in my brain, tempered a bit by the anger I felt at getting more of that awful medication.

I felt fine for the rest of the day -- just sluggish. A little pain, but nothing compared to what it had been. And every time I sat down I would fall asleep. But I got little sleep at night. The next day was the same, though I nearly fell asleep during Where The Wild Things Are. Saturday I felt a lot more tenderness, and I wondered if the Fentanyl had been in my system for that long. I tried not to take too many of my prescription painkillers; I would have, if I'd felt the need. But I was more interested in where I actually stood and how my body was doing.

I slept for 10 hours straight on Saturday night. By Monday I was just fine.

The doctor said that it was unusual for a woman who has never had cysts to suddenly get one and have it rupture -- strange, but not unheard of. I wonder, will this happen again? If it does, do I go to the ER? I'm not quite sure how to handle it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Elizabeth's beauty...

...can't be obscured by apples:

Yes, she's posing. This is what happens when we break out the camera.

Angela dancing

Who needs classes?

Angela's party

Pictures from Angela's birthday party!

The decorations:

The cake:

The older sister:


Elizabeth waiting for her turn to hold Holland:

Holland, with a monkey hanging...upside down?...over her:

Chief members of the Holland Fan Club:

What's THIS??

Oh, it's my neglected blog!

Where is the top of that ball again?...