Circa 1771

the viability watermark

We've hit that point in the pregnancy where "viability" starts getting thrown around.  This is the "micropreemie" stage, a stage that 10 years ago babies almost certainly never survived at.  Chances are much better now.  It's also the stage where a pregnancy loss is no longer a miscarriage -- it's a stillbirth.

Jargon.  Vernacular.  You learn a lot of new words when you're pregnant, assuming you're paying attention.  The medical industry is simultaneously enthralled and bored by you.  At least one doctor's visit a month, plus labs, plus your dentist really wants you to come in during 2nd trimester "just to make sure", plus birthing classes, plus plus plus.

Meanwhile, the child inside you grows, kicks, turns, and occasionally stomps on something vital.  Usually your bladder.  Usually at the tail end of an hour and a half-long meeting.  Though sometimes it's your cervix, and then it's like someone's knocking on your pelvic floor.  Someone who you know damn well isn't ready to come out just yet.

So far, things are things and things are good.  I am not so much attached to this one as I was the first, probably because of all the lead-up of heartbreak, and the Elder One who is becoming increasingly ambulatory and expressive.  She demands my attention a lot.  And I know that this distance is a temporary state.  Every now and then I think about labor, birth, and holding him, and I get a fluttering premonition of that sense of falling I felt the first time I held Zo.  That breaking of the dam, and the tidal wave of love that nearly stopped my heart.

We still have 100+ days to go, which means we're nearly 2/3rds of the way to meeting him.  2/3rds of the way to first breaths, first poops, so many first firsts in the world that he'll occupy for hopefully a long time.  It's all plus plus plus from there.

Congratulations, kid.  You made it where three others did not.  You are the winner, you and your sister, the ones who fought, the ones who lived.  I will love you both forever, no matter what happens to me after my last breath and my last everything else.  But forgive me if I am not able to be a swooning mother-to-be while you're still felt but not seen.  There's a part of me that's a little broken.  It won't believe it's real until it's real.
Circa 1771


We talk about "sustain" a lot when we play MOBAs.  My brain wants to map that term also to things like diet.

Here's what I know -- I had a miscarriage in December of 2014.  Around April/May of 2015 I made a conscious decision to stop with the dieting.  I got pregnant again, I miscarried again, and I gained weight because hormones are a hell of a drug.

And ultimately, I forgave myself.  I gave myself "permission" to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to.  I did not lose weight.  I decided I was okay with that.

I have been on restrictive diets for nearly twenty years.  I have worked out intermittently for the same amount of time.  I have punished myself for not looking like my sisters, or my cute younger self, or Angelina Jolie.  I have tried the path of cruelty and comparison, of denying myself tasty things and working out until I'm ready to drop from exhaustion.  After two decades, I think it's time to admit that it isn't working.

In December 2015 my husband griped about his weight, and I said, "Well, let's do something about it."  And it wasn't coming from a place of "I'm fat and ugly and I need to lose weight" but "I really don't want to buy new clothes, and I'd like to drop some pounds, so let's work on that".

A diet that leans toward meats, fats, vegetables, and fruits seems to be the one where I lose comfortably.  Carbs are great, but they process fast, I get hungry, and then I'm blowing my calorie budget.  So I'm looking at "sustain", and in this case that means a relatively higher-fat diet with good protein levels, and some avoidance of carbohydrates (beans and fruit are still on the menu; white bread, rice, corn are not).  We give ourselves a day off once a week because pizza and pancakes.

But this week was the first major trial, and I ate corn chips and tortillas, and I didn't freak out.  In one case, I'd come home exhausted and just needed a break from dinner shenanigans.  In the other, we went to a super awesome restaurant with amazing handmade tortillas; I wasn't going to deny myself that.  These choices I can live with.

And I am working out, but not to an excrutiating level.  Three times a week I jog a mile and lift weights.

This is, I think, sustainable.  I'll let you know in a few months if I'm still at it, or if it's effective at weight loss, which is the goal, after all.  I feel pretty good, though.  So there's that.
Circa 1771


Originally posted by e_moon60 at Torture
Torture is wrong.  Period, end of sentence.  That's what I believed since I first knew what it was.  That's what I've believed in every subsequent situation that someone else has suggested might justify torture, including 9/11.  (Alan Dershowitz is a damn liar when he claims that "everybody" approved torture then.  No, they didn't.  He and his vicious friends did.  Not me.  Not my friends.  Not veterans I knew at the time.   Never.)

Nothing justifies torture.   Torture is wrong.   The torture apologists are the Big Brother of 1984...trying to rename it to make it prettier, less offensive.   It's not the name--it's the reality.   Waterboarding is torture.   Deafening noise is torture.  Forced sleeplessness is torture.   And everybody, including the torture apologists, knows that at root--because these are the kinds of things that even they call torture when it's done by someone else, especially by an enemy.   It's not "enhanced interrogation techniques"--it's torture.   Torturers themselves should not be tortured--because torture is wrong.  Serial killers should not be tortured--because torture is wrong.  The evil men who allow, encourage, support torture should not be tortured--because torture is wrong.   There are people in this world I would happily send to execution, if it were my choice, but I would not see anyone, anywhere, for any reason, tortured....because it is wrong.  It is a wrong so wrong that it contaminates those who do it, turning them as inhuman as they believe their victims are.  It is a wrong so wrong that it contaminates the entire chain of command that allows it.
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Addendum, an hour or so later.  Thanks to a friend on another venue who gave me this link:

Maj. Gen. Taguba (ret) is one of my heroes for the way he handled the investigation of Abu Ghraib, knowing this would deep-six his career.   In a just country, he would have been promoted for his character and be on JCS.

on the industry, harassment, and how things will get better

I had a rather vivid dream of being sexually harassed at work, calling out the abuse loudly, and no one believing me. Even as my harasser sat five feet away from me, grabbing his crotch and making sexually explicit comments.

Of course, this has never happened at Blizzard, and the source of the dream is not my current employer, it's the SFWA Kerfuffle of the Month. SFWA! It sounds like a venereal disease when you say it out loud!

When I told my husband about my dream, he snorted and said, "Of course they didn't believe you. If someone ever did that to you, you'd kick their ass." And while I greatly appreciate my husband's admiration for my ass-kicking qualities, the fact is that I'm not sure I would. Like MRK notes, I have been trained toward a "ha ha" and "shrug it off" reaction to anything denigrating of my gender in my various industries. I've embraced the Liz Lemon/Tina Fey attitude of "Over! Under! Through!", and I don't know if it's right, but it's worked for me. It's the way my generation operates.

I want to emphasize again that nothing this horribly overt happens where I work now, but it did at a prior workplace, and I wish now that I'd been less of a wuss about it.

(But really, what can you do when your boss is negging on you because he thinks it's funny? He also liked to remind me that I should be grateful to have a job under his employ. There's a reason I don't work there anymore.)

Anyway: things are getting better, I believe that, and one of the way things do get better is that the assholes blithe enough to make this sort of galactically stupid observation stop getting work. When they have problems -- their game needs funding, they get laid off, they need someone to stop them from posting inane comments on popular SF/F BBSes -- no one is there to help them, and they dwindle and fade away. Alternately, they stop getting put in positions of authority where their backasswards opinions matter. Because women like me and men like Scalzi get promoted or voted in and we say hey guess what, that shit doesn't fly here. We raise our daughters to not put up with this line of happy bullshit, and our sons to not accept that they need to be unmitigated jerkwads to be "a man".

It's a slow process. But it works. And in the meantime, I'll keep pondering the over/under/through paradigm and whether it's worth keeping.
Circa 1771

7 down, 20 to go

I'm not setting my usual goal of 130 lbs.  In 20 years, I've never hit it.  The more reasonable goal of 150 is my new watermark, and if I get lower than that, I'll be happy, but not surprised if it doesn't happen.

The jogs continue.  The food restrictions slide about one meal a week, and it's usually sugar I give in to.  Sunday night it was pizza because I was tired and stressed and trashy pizza sounded sooo good.  But most of the time I'm good.

Today I'm down 7 pounds, and jogging about 10-15 minutes (not consecutive) out of 30.  Monday tried to sabotage me when my phone died (bad battery after 3 months; Apple replaced it, no questions asked) AND I got overbooked on meetings.  I made the effort, though, and got in 20 minutes on the treadmill.  Not ideal -- I really like getting outside and getting some fresh air -- but also better than nothing.

Next week I start taking the train again, and that's when commitment runs the risk of hitting the fan, I fear.  In order to make it to work early enough to get a jog in on my lunch hour, I'll probably need to get up at 5 AM or so.  Ugh.  I may need to consider doing weights + jog in a 30-40 minute window instead.  Dunno.  Would like to complete the 5k training before I go there.

And it'll probably be yet another brick in the wall that is weaning Zoe. We still have our evening nursings, but if I go into work at 6 AM she's still asleep.  She'll be 10 months in a week, and I know this would come someday anyway, but who knew I'd miss it so much?  I honestly didn't understand moms who mourned the passing of nursing time.  I get it now, though.  (And have said so multiple times elsewhere, so I'll stop saying so here.)

This morning I picked her up and blew a raspberry, and she blew one back.  Though she's been mirroring, this is the first time I've consistently had her do it back at me.  She also laughed every time Mike blew on her food this morning.  Cute, cute, cute. ♥
Circa 1771

Migraines and End of Week One

Week one down.  Things I want: pasta, wine, sugar in general.

Two migraines in 7 days.  I don't think it's the diet, or the jogging, but one never knows.  For all I know the diet is mitigating some of the effects; I had a hell of a migraine back in October/November, and I was eating whatever I wanted then.  More likely it's the sleep (or lack thereof) and stress.

Oh, and just as a TMI FYI: I haven't had a period since March of 2012.  Behold the magic of pregnancy-miscarriage-pregnancy-delivery-nursing.  (And if there was ever an argument in favor of extended breastfeeding, a period-free month is certainly it.)

Either way, doctor's visit scheduled. I need a GP anyway because of my thyroid, and the family in general needs someone to go to, I go.

And on that note, there's a steak in the sous vide waiting for me to go rescue it.  When you're on a no sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, or crappy industrial ingredients diet, eating out becomes immensely tedious because of the tendency for restaurants to rely on butter, weird additives, and sugar to make things taste good. Literally the only place I could go last time was the seafood restaurant (which had an amazing steamed seafood salad with an olive oil and vinegar dressing) and a little French bistro that gamely cooked all my food in olive oil.  Or at least they told me they did.  I DON'T WANT THE TRUTH IF THEY DIDN'T.

Off I go.
Circa 1771

Eating and Chewing the Fat

Day two into Chris Kresser's version of a Paleo reset (think Whole 30), and figured out my breakfast smoothie is hovering around 600 calories.  Right on.

Threw together a tom ka gai-style soup for lunch (coconut milk, bone broth, chopped cooked chicken, fresh ginger and coriander, fish sauce, lime juice, keffir leaf, and a dab of green curry paste) and will have the cafe fry me up a burger (sans bun) for dinner.

I'm eating fairly high fat right now, with protein and carbs hovering in the low-to-medium range.  Not consciously trying to do this; just following the suggested meals and going with that.  Feeling calm and well fed.  In fact, my tears taste like bacon!

Walked three miles yesterday.  My ankles are reminding me that I haven't done that in a while, you bitch.

Weighed in for the first time. I'm at 172 lb, which is about how much I weighed when I moved to California. The goal is to get me back to 150 so I can, y'know, get pregnant again and gain it all back.  :P  But seriously, I want to at least subtract the baby weight before I go and make another human being.  I have the motivation (the healthier I am, the easier the pregnancy will be, plus the healthier I am, the easier it is to get through life in general) and I just need to stick to it. I've cautioned my family that I'm not to be dissuaded by pizza parties or "just a taste" pleas, and we've all gone through this often enough that hopefully they will heed my dire warnings.

So yeah. I love the first few days of a new routine.  Everything feels like it's firing on all cylinders.  I wish I could figure out how to maintain that momentum. Or maybe I should just observe what disrupts it.

I have a story due in June, but meanwhile I'm kicking around cans in my head for a longer form something.  Talking about an idea is death to me, so I'll leave it at that. Daughterbot is acquiring more and more autonomy, which makes the prospect of writing something more and more likely. Now that the move is over and I feel like I'm getting the hang of the rhythm of home-work-home, the writing is returning. Who knows how having a second child will disrupt this, but I don't have to worry about that until 2015/2016. (No, I'm not pregnant.)

My sister in law passed away last week.  She'd been diagnosed with ALS shortly before/after the birth of my niece, and to say this story is one big heartbreak is putting it lightly.  There are some unintentional parallels to her and my brother's story in my Lelia/Wil stuff, and it was unnerving and weird to notice on a re-read.  The stories in this case were written before the reality unfolded.  I think sometimes my brain must pick up on a whole lot I don't notice, and regurgitate it into fiction.  The other option is that I'm the worst psychic ever, but that's clearly bullshit...OR IS IT?

No, it totally is.

Anyway, going to write on lunch since this is a downtime day. And probably post my braindumps here more often. Ta.  
Circa 1771

Done: NaNoWriMo 2012

And by "done" I mean I hit 50k words, but I have another 25k to go before I know where the story is ending up.

  • Not having an outline definitely slowed me down.  With an outline, I can write about 3000 words on a work night.  WIthout an outline, I am constantly making decisions and feeling out the character, which led to about 1600 words and then I felt like being done.  Weekends I would catch up -- I could easily write about 3000 on an uninterrupted non-work day.  But I could write 5000 when I had an outline.  
  • Catch-up days had to be broken into two: a morning session and an evening session.  Usually I'd stop when I hit a major decision point, but the break didn't really help me figure out where to go next.  I'd almost always come back wondering where this was going.
  • When in doubt, throw weasels down the character's pants. And by weasels, I mean zombies.
  • No, really.
  • Lots of people asked, so here're my thoughts on Scrivener after an extended 30-day relationship with it: I still love it.  It's barebones, it's kind on the eyes, and it keeps things organized.  I don't know that I'd recommend it to anyone who is used to Word's bells and whistles.  I grew up on very old, very non-fussy word processors though, and Scrivener is like that, but with a few extra tweaks that make it worth it to me.
  • In point of fact, you CAN write a novel when 5 months pregnant, though it might change your main character's relationship to her mother.  Could I have done this with a child outside Chez Uterus?  Well, I guess I'm going to find that out someday, aren't I?

Good exercise, am going to finish the novel in December, will post when that happens.  Ta.

bond and writing

A bit conflicted on the new Bond movie. Undeniably, on many technical levels, a good movie. But was it a good Bond movie? I don't know. Also, some weird sexism running through the storyline that was I know, I know, IT'S A BOND MOVIE, DUH, and I get that Bond is supposed to be charming and manly and rarrr (men want to be him! women want to do him!), but I feel like this was a step back somehow.

I shan't say more, lest I spoil it, but if you do see it compare the shower scene in this movie to the one in Casino Royale and tell me there isn't something just inherently wrong and creepy about the whole thing.  Or maybe my sensitive side is showing.

And on that note, I failed to catch up on my word count, but hope to restore it over the week. The other half is off in another part of the state for two days mid-week, so I'm looking to spend that time without him writing.  What else am I going to do?