Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Deer in the Headlights

Generally speaking, I don't swear except maybe when I stub my toe really hard or in certain painful or stressful situations. I've always thought that chronic swearers are only exhibiting their lack of creativity and small vocabulary.

That being said, a couple of months ago the whole family was in the car at night (I was driving) and we were on a 20 mile drive home on a country highway. My headlights were on low beam and I was driving along chatting with my husband in the passenger's seat when all of a sudden there were 3 deer in the middle of the road. As you know, by the time you realize deer are in your low beams, they're pretty close to the car. I swerved to miss them and said "oh shit" because they startled me and I envisioned slamming into a herd of deer, blood and guts flying everywhere, expensive car damage, and possibly expensive family damage. I thought the sentiment was appropriate.

We didn't hit the deer because I swerved quickly enough (thank goodness), so after everyone calmed down the kids started teasing me about swearing. Ever since then they've been teasing me relentlessly, making snide remarks about it and, whenever we see deer in a field or on TV or anywhere else the kids always ask me, "mom, what are you supposed to say when you see a deer?!"

So yesterday I drove the kids to school because the temp was below zero and I didn't want them walking in the cold. There's still tons of snow here and the roads are really slippery from the compacted snow. We got to the stop sign right at the school and when I stepped on the brake to stop, the car started sliding. I did the requisite turn-into-the-direction-you're-sliding, but we just kept sliding and ended up doing a 180. Of course "oh shit" slipped out of my mouth as we're careening around in a circle with other cars behind me.

So what does my youngest (and most sarcastic) child say as we're spinning on the ice?

"Hey mom, where's the deer?"

What a smart aleck.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bed Sharing

I read an interesting article here about a study that says that sudden infant deaths from suffocation or strangulation have quadrupled in the United States in the past 20 years from parents sharing their beds with their infants.

I found this most interesting because my husband and I shared our bed with each of our 3 kids for a period of time. The article did not define the ages of the infants in the study, though most discussions of SIDS are generally restricted to infants age birth to 1 year.

I don't remember how old our oldest son was when we started allowing him to sleep with us, but I don't think he was very old. He was the absolute worst sleeper, so it was just easier for us to let him stay with us rather than for one of us to rock him or walk the house with him or any other desperate ritual to try to get him to sleep. He just seemed to sleep better with the warmth and comfort of both of us.

Our middle child was an awesome sleeper, so until she was out of a crib it wasn't really an issue, but once she was able to get out of bed on her own, she wanted to come sleep with us. And our youngest was not a great sleeper, but he was better than his brother and as I recall he slept fine in his crib as an infant, but once he was in a bed he would also come sleep with us.

When our oldest was a baby sleeping with us, we both seemed to sleep a little lighter because we were subconsciously mindful of his presence in the bed. We never had any problems with him being there and he always slept better.

We never really minded having any of the kids in bed with us. We always encouraged them to go to bed initially in their own beds, and we also had our own private time alone without kids, but they all took their subsequent turns when they were little, every night coming in to sleep in our bed.

We took a lot of flak from family and friends for letting our kids sleep with us for a lot of different reasons. Some people thought it was dangerous, some thought it was creepy, some thought it would make the kids weak and dependent. But we always defended ourselves saying that we took care to be cautious with them, there was definitely nothing creepy about it (we never let them in the bed or the room when we were having "married people time"), and it definitely did not make them weak or dependent. When they reached several years old we began to gently insist that they sleep in their own beds through the night, and they all transitioned without any problems.

Sharing our bed with our kids helped to develop a closer bond with them as children and provided them comfort when they needed it. What parent doesn't want that? It's scary sometimes for little kids to be left alone all night in a dark room. They think "why do mom and dad get to be together and they make me be all alone?"

But like any other parenting issue (i.e., breast feeding, toilet training, etc), there are going to be proponents and opponents. But we never doubted ourselves when it came to bed sharing. It was just the most normal thing for our family, and our kids have certainly turned out pretty darn good!

So what do you think? Did you share your bed with your kids? What was your experience like?

Friday, January 23, 2009


Well, I finally broke down and read Twilight. I had never planned to read it, but my 11-year-old daughter checked it out at the library and since it has the reputation of being a romance novel for teens, I thought I'd better read it before she does, just to be sure it's appropriate for her.

Except for Harry Potter, I generally don't jump on the bestseller bandwagon, worshipping the latest popular fiction like a fanatic. And Twilight seems to have developed a following of Star-Trek-convention-like proportion.

So, I had scoffed at the Twilight series as plebeian fluff. I don't read romance novels in general, so the thought of a teenage romance seemed pretty vapid to me.

But, since my daughter wanted to read it, I dove in.

Now, for those of you who haven't read the book yet and plan on reading it, I'm going to be discussing some general content and plot points so if you don't want me to ruin the story for you, stop reading here!

I have to admit that overall, I actually enjoyed the book.

Of course the first half was kind of tedious. Nothing really happened to further the plot and, in fact, I was beginning to wonder if there was ever going to be a plot at all. It was full of adolescent angst and way too much of Bella's "I love him soooooo much, and I want him to love me sooooo much." Okay, I get it already. She's in love. And I swear, if I had to read another description of how perfectly gorgeous Edward was I was going to puke. Yes, he's cold as stone, he's chiseled like marble, and he's got Adonis-like beauty. He's got smoldering eyes and he's ultra-sexy. He's good at everything he does. Got it. Moving on, please.

But, once Bella figured out Edward's a vampire, and we finally got past all the mooning and swooning, there was actually some plot that was moderately amusing and entertaining! Nobody was more surprised than I was because I was prepared not to like the book.

In fact, it was good enough that I'm ready to read the next book in the series and hope we can get to the plot a lot more quickly.

Even though it turns out that I enjoyed the book, I was a little skeptical about letting my daughter read it. Even though Bella and Edward really only kiss a few times in the book, the story is full of desire and sexual tension, and I thought it was even slightly erotic in places, at least for an 11-year-old. I don't know, maybe I'm just overprotective. She knows about the mechanics of sex, but as we all know it's a lot more complicated than just the mechanics. She isn't interested in boys or dating or anything like that yet and I'm not sure how much of that sexual tension stuff she'll even understand. Her girlfriends have all turned into a giggling boy-crazy hoard, but she hasn't really hit that stage yet (thank goodness).

So.....bottom line is I'm going to let her read it and I told her if she has any questions or if there are parts of the story she doesn't understand she should let me know and we can talk about it. Her older brother reads like he breathes, and I often read the same books he does just because I like them, and we like to talk about books together, so my daughter is familiar with this book discussion ritual.

Anyway, I read it and I liked it. I hope I like the other books in the series. And I'm just not ready for my little girl to grow up. *sigh*

If you've read Twilight, what did you think of it?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another Roadblock on the Employment Journey

I've written several times about the changes going on in my employment life. The company I work for was recently acquired by another company and they're in the process of evaluating all the positions and "assimilating" us. And believe me, I feel like I've been assimilated by the Borg (for those of you who are Star Trek fans).

Anyway, my job has no real equivalent with the new company. Whereas I'm currently paid a salary, they wanted me to pay me a production wage...paid per typed line. I can't make the same amount I make now being paid by the transcribed line unless I work 24/7. So I told them I didn't want to work production. What they then offered me was a quality assurance position with the equivalent of a $5 per hour pay cut. Ouch.

Unfortunately I'm pretty much backed into a corner. The job market is tight and I can't find anything else quickly, so I have no choice but to take the quality assurance job. We'll just have to tighten our belts, I guess. I'm still pretty angry, and I feel trampled and ignored, but I am at least grateful to have a job.

However, Hubby and I are still working on rebuilding my medical transcription business, so at least we have that to look forward to. Hopefully we can find some more transcription contracts, and then maybe some day soon I can say good riddance!

Anyway, that's the latest step on this nasty and disheartening journey. I'm hoping it starts getting better soon!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thanks for the Award

I recently received the Triple Award: Sisterhood, Lemonade, Best Friend award from MRST at Creativity in Writing.

One of the stipulations of receiving the award was to nominate 10 other blogs for the reward that show "great attitude/gratitude." However, as with past awards, I can never bring myself to choose some blogs for awards while excluding others....I love them all too much! So consider yourselves all nominated and feel free to copy the award for your own blog.

Thank you again to MRST...I appreciate the recognition!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Re-Opened for Business

So here's the thing: my job is in jeopardy. The old company was acquired by a new company and they're shredding my job and paycheck to the point where I don't even recognize them anymore. I'm just sick about it and have been searching desperately for a new job, but those are not so easy to come by.

But....I own a very small medical transcription service which has been toddling along unassumingly for a couple of years now (I've been in business overall since 1997). It used to be bigger, but when I lost a large client to electronic medical records, I didn't work to replace them but instead took a job as a supervisor at a large national service.

Now that my job is about to be gone, I suppose the reasonable thing is to try to ramp up my service again and start searching for new clients. I run the business from my home, all audio and documents are digital and run through a secure site. Clients can either call in their dictation or use a digital handheld and upload. It's a really sweet setup and works like a charm.

But the problem is that I'm not a salesperson. I'm a great transcriptionist and supervisor, but I suck at marketing and sales.

So how do I go about selling my business and finding new clients? What's the best way to market online and target the audiences that would be looking for a medical transcription service?

I'm hoping someone out there is a sales/marketing genius and is willing to share the I mean advice.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trip Update

Well, we made it through the flying just fine. The kids were a lot less freaked out than I expected, thank goodness!

Unfortunately, the flight left the airport at 4:40 in the morning, and although I set the alarm for 2:00 a.m., it didn't go off. We woke up at 3:00 and despite that we managed to shower, pack the car, and drive 20 miles and still get at the airport a half hour early. I don't know how we did it...must have been some kind of magic.

We're in Oregon where it has been pouring rain, windy, gray, and dismal. I miss the snow and sunshine in North Dakota!

Anyway, that's the latest. Several more days, then back on a plane and back home.

Talk to y'all later!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Tomorrow morning at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. we are flying out to Oregon to visit family. I was unable to get vacation time off at Christmas, which is when we usually go back home to visit, so we had to settle for January.

The kids have never flown and my husband has only flown once (we usually travel by train). We will have two layovers; one in Minneapolis and one in Boise. I hope the weather holds so we don't get diverted or cancelled - I so don't want to vacation in an airport.

I'm thinking this whole trip is going to be more of an exercise in frustration control than anything else. I'd really rather stay home, but who among us can say "family obligation?" Yeah, well, that's what this trip amounts to.

Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see our families. I just don't want to have to fly half way across the country in questionable weather conditions with people who have never flown before and may freak out on a plane, just to visit for a week people I can usually only tolerate for a few hours at a time.


Wish us luck.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Introducing: Conversations

I'm starting another blog called Conversations. I wanted a place where I could write about more controversial issues without offending anyone. I'd like to keep this blog more amiable.

If you're interested in lively discussion and debate, or just want to know what other people are thinking about the issues of the day, come on over and check out Conversations.

See you there!