Archive for June, 2010

Rats, we’re doin’ it all wrong…

June 29, 2010

This month in the June issue of Pediatrics – the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics – there was a study published by Drs. Gartrell and  Bos of the NFLLS.  That’s the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study.  To quote the article:

The objective of this study is to document the psychological adjustment of adolescents who were conceived through donor insemination by lesbian mothers who enrolled before these offspring were born in the largest, longest running, prospective, longitudinal study of same-sex–parented families.

The children were evaluated and rated at the ages of 10 and 17.  The study is ongoing, with a 93% retention rate to date.

Current results and conclusions:

RESULTS: According to their mothers’ reports, the 17-year-old daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were rated significantly higher in social, school/academic, and total competence and significantly lower in social problems, rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than their age-matched counterparts in Achenbach’s normative sample of American youth. Within the lesbian family sample, no Child Behavior Checklist differences were found among adolescent offspring who were conceived by known, as-yet-unknown, and permanently unknown donors or between offspring whose mothers were still together and offspring whose mothers had separated.
CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents who have been reared in lesbian-mother families since birth demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment. These findings have implications for the clinical care of adolescents and for pediatricians who are consulted on matters that pertain to same-sex parenting.                                                           Pediatrics 2010;126:000

Reaction has been widespread and mixed.  While the implications are fantastic for issues like, for example, court custody cases, not everyone thinks it’s such a great thing.

From the Website “Surviving the World”  (which is a fun site, by the way, worth checking out:

Colbert Nation took it a little further … as you can see here.

Well, to use my teenage daughter’s verbal style,  I guess all I can say is….oops.  We got it wrong.


A mother’s fears…

June 28, 2010

We’ve had a bit of a hellish time lately.  And my blog has suffered.

The background:  Kidlet has a wonky immune system, at times it tends to attack not infection but her body systems from within.  Her thyroid is affected, as is the pigment in her skin.  The fact that it all hit just at puberty did not help.  It’s a lot to deal with sometimes, especially combined with ADHD and learning disabilities, and can cause emotional meltdown occasionally (above and beyond that of adolescence – fun, huh?).  She’s on meds to try and keep things balanced.   She has gone through various and sundry treatments,  some of which require that she show up at the clinic 3 days a week, that she stay out of the sun, or avoid certain activities.   She has not reacted in a good way to all the meds tried, and her health is monitored.    We juggle visits to the pediatrician, the endocrinologist, the dermatologist, the psychologist, and a few other “-ist”s as well.   She has missed a lot of school, and now struggles to try and catch up.

Well, this month, after she complained that the current meds didn’t seem to be helping, her doc decided to up the dosage of one of the pills she takes.  And within a week her body reacted with a violent side effect.  She lost control of the muscles in her body, and at the same time many muscles began cramping severely, causing her immense pain.

We didn’t know at first what was happening.  One minute she was fine.  The next minute she wasn’t.  She was in the shower when her neck and shoulders cramped suddenly, her head snapped back, and she fell, hitting her head.  She called to us, we managed to get her out of the shower, dried and dressed, all the while she couldn’t control her eyes, mouth, head, neck, arms, hands, fingers, all were contorted, her legs were shaking.  When I held her and told her to look at me, at times she could move her eyes to mine, at times she couldn’t, it seemed to come in waves.   We got her to the ER, where they took one look and ran for a gurney.    Then began the waiting for a doctor, then tests, then waiting for the test results, then another doctor, then more tests.  They put an IV in.  They did a CAT scan (she couldn’t hold her head still for it, I had to hold her).  At times she seemed out of it, then would  come to and ask where she was and why was she there.   But most of the time she was very aware.  At one point she said “My brain is working, my body isn’t.”   They moved her to another ward.

Long hours.  Long hours for her, long hours when I worried and tried to bury my fears to soothe her.  But the thoughts raced through my head.  Was this a new reality for us, or something that would pass?  Was there, G-d forbid, brain damage?  Or something irreversible?   I stayed by her side, while partner fussed over both of us,  running for drinks, or food for me.

When they asked her to rank the pain from 1 to 10 and she immediately and firmly said “10”,  they finally gave her something for the pain, and to relax the muscles which were still cramping violently.  They set up a bed for her in the ward, and luckily in this hospital they provide parent beds beside the kids – a kind of armchair that opens out – so I could stay with her.

I can’t say I slept much.  I did some knitting, which kept me calmer.  But mostly I worried.  Frankly, it pretty much terrified all of us.

During the day I went to the hospital shops, bought books for the kidlet, something for me.  The reaction passed.  Her control returned.  We did her hair together, she wanted her makeup, she was back.  So you can imagine how stunned we were when they insisted on giving her the same meds!  They told us that the hospital staff couldn’t change an ongoing treatment, that was up to her regular doctor.  As soon as she was released, we raced to her doc (even before we went home), who decided that she still needed these meds, so we would add another daily pill that would prevent the same side effect from occurring.  The marvels of modern medicine!

We’re not happy about it.  Since she’s been taking the new pill, she has been sleeping for stretches of 20 hours and more.  And then she can’t get to sleep.  It’s crazy.   Relatively normal days are scattered among the days when she’s exhausted. The unbelievable occurred – she was too tired to go clothes  shopping.  Her doc has decided to reduce the dosage that was increased, but to keep the additional med.    Yesterday she got home from school and was in bed by 4pm.  And slept through until 6 this morning.    Time for more consultations.   Doc says we have to allow time for her system to adjust.

OK, I’m not a physician.  I have to believe that these people do know what they’re doing.  When I questioned treatments in the past, her main doctor got miffed and wanted to stop treating kidlet, claiming I “wasn’t cooperating”.

The dilemma for mothers has always been when to stop protecting so much, and give kids their independence, let them take the bumps and bruises that help them grow and mature.   I don’t want to hover.  But I don’t want kidlet to hurt.  And then that all goes out the window when our kids are sick.  I want to stay the magical Mommy who makes everything alright.  But I can’t.  I don’t have the specific expertise of the doctors who are trying to help her.

I don’t want to start a fuss now, because in a couple of months kidlet is moving to a new system, and will have a new doctor anyway.  So I guess we’ll hang tight.

And hope we don’t have any more scares.

Still swapping…and stash-building

June 9, 2010

As I was heading out to the post office with the parcel notice from yesterday,  I found another notice in the mailbox!  What fun, two packages today…I could get used to this.

And indeed, I received my tea swap package from Nora:

First, the fiber goodness: naturally caron SPA bamboo blend in the lovely berry frappe shade, and elsebeth lavold bambool (bamboo/wool) in a deeper shade of purple. Bliss! A lovely purple button. And a wonderful Swedish-flag-coloured tea cosy – with curls – that will definitely be put to use!!

The tea and edible goodness:  Davidson’s Vanilla Cream Spice that I couldn’t wait to try and was immediately steaming away in my Baa mug, Twinings Pomegranate Delight, two leaves and a bud tea traveler with african sunset – organic rooibos and lemongrass, Paris blend from Passiflora tea, some strawberry drops, and a jug of Connecticut maple syrup!!

In short, a truly wonderful package.

And the second parcel?   My yarn from Tasha for her Knitty Knitty Bang Bang contest!

a skein of A Verb for Keeping Warm organic merino worsted in jade –

and a skein of Lorna’s Laces’ Helen’s Lace in Sand Ridge – gorgeous lace weight!

My stashes – both yarn and tea – grew today with my new treasures, and both will be enjoyed!

Oh, and since the weather has unequivocably decided that it’s summer, our Stitch-n-Bitch group will become the Stitch-n-Beach group for the season. Although I’m sure we’ll miss our café, we’ll have fun trying all the places along the boardwalk once again.

Are you making any seasonal changes?

Swapping, Oregon style

June 8, 2010

Last month’s $10 swap was all about our hometowns.  I sent lots of goodies from Haifa and all of Israel, and yesterday I received my package from Jess in Portland, Oregon!  Thanks, Jess!!

First, there was reclaimed yarn from her etsy shop, 1000 yards of lace weight 100% wool, in the Columbine colourway – purples!!

There was lots of info about Portland and Oregon in general – places like the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and a bunch more brochures and maps – a Portland bookmark, postcards and flyers about places and events.  I was very curious about a “Kick-ass Crafters Battle” – a Rebel Craft Rumble by Scrap.  Jess says it’s a kind of an Iron Chef event with crafters, I love it.   She sent me a coaster with a sheep on it, and shells from the Willamette River.    I love this little rainbow Oregon umbrella pin.

There was also a box of Tazo tea – Green Ginger (with pear).  Now I like a hint of ginger, but I’m not a great fan of lots of ginger…like I love a snowflake floating by the window but I don’t like getting smacked in the face with a snowball. When I opened the tea, the ginger smell hit me like a snowball. It continued while steeping, so I cut the steeping time a little short in fear that it would just be too overwhelming. Luckily I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it. I taste the lemongrass and the ginger, kind of a peppery taste, but not the green tea so much. And the pear seems to be afraid of the ginger, it’s hiding pretty well. Maybe a little pear in the aftertaste, a faint finish.  The tea actually tasted better as it cooled, so I am definitely going to try this iced!!!   The box itself is very interesting reading.  (Of course I read the boxes, don’t you?)   There’s a lot about good karma – in how they harvest the tea, and in recycling the packaging. And how the Romans brought ginger from India to Europe.  They claim this tea is yin, yang and yow – the yin being the green tea, the yang the ginger, and the yow the pear. I would call this a basically yang tea.  But the one sentence on the box that captivated me was this one:

Tazo is an enticing source of wonder, inspiration, and antioxidants.

Now there is something to aspire to.

At the other end of the US, Nora in Connecticut has received her tea-and-yarn swap package from me.  She wanted to keep it unopened until I received mine from her, but I told her to go ahead and tear into it, I couldn’t stand the suspense waiting to see if she liked it!  She did like it, and I can finally reveal a couple of projects that were under wraps until now.  First, I made her a teacup cloth, in organic cotton.

I knitted my first bobble stitches for this, and I’m quite proud of them.

Nora also has cats, so I knitted up a little bumblebee toy for them, which was lots of fun.

Today I received a notice from the post office that there’s a package waiting for me, so I hope it’s my surprise from Nora.  When she thanked me for her package, she mentioned that I will see in mine that “great minds think alike”,  so now I’m very very curious!!

I do love swaps.

Fictional characters speak! (Well, write…)

June 7, 2010

There’s a terrific new blog around!

Did you ever love a character in a book and wish you could read a blog by him or her or wonder about their take on everyday things?   Well, as of June first you can.   The new blog is called Killer Characters, and it’s a blog by the characters of many of the best cozy mysteries.   A whole group of cozy authors got together and decided to give their characters a blog voice, and Killer Characters was born.  Each author took one day of the month for their fictional personalities to blog.  And what’s even more fun, you can comment and ask the characters questions, start a dialogue, and maybe find out some of their secrets!

If you know me, or read my blog for any length of time, you know I am a cozy mystery freak.  So this new blog is something just perfect for me!

Who are the authors participating?   If you know cozies, you’ll know them, or at least many of them.  If not, let me introduce you!!  A few are authors just starting out, others are established with a slew of followers.

  • Ellery Adams
    • She writes the new Books by the Bay mystery series, with her author character Olivia Limoges, set in Oyster Bay, North Carolina.  (She also writes two series as J.B.Stanley – the Supper Club Mysteries, and the Collectible Mysteries – and one series as Jennifer Stanley – the Hope Street Church Mysteries)
  • E.J. Copperman
    • He writes the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series, starring Alison Kerby, divorced single mom, as guesthouse owner, AND ghosts Paul & Maxie,  on the Jersey Shore.  (He also writes two others series as Jeffrey Cohen – the Aaron Tucker mysteries and the Double Feature Mysteries)
  • Wendy Lyn Watson
    • She writes the Mystery a la Mode series, with Tallulah Jones, proprietor of Dalliance, Texas’s old-fashioned ice-cream parlor.
  • Hannah Reed
    • She writes the Queen Bee mysteries, starring shop owner and beekeeper Story Fischer in Moraine, Wisconsin.   (She also writes two other mystery series as Deb Baker – the Gertie Johnson Backwoods Adventures and The Dolls to Die For series.)
  • Krista Davis
    • She writes the Domestic Diva mysteries, with Sophie Winston, an event planner in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Christy Evans
    • She writes the Georgiana Neverall Mystery Series. Georgiana is an ex-executive who moves back home to Oregon and becomes an apprentice plumber.
  • Mary Kennedy
    • She writes the Talk Radio Mysteries, about Maggie Walsh, a psychologist who hosts a daily radio talk show in Cypress Grove, Florida.  (Described as Frasier meets Murder She Wrote…)
  • Maggie Sefton
    • She writes the Knitting Mystery Series (yay!), starring Kelly Flynn, set at the ‘House of Lambspun’ yarn shop in the Colorado Rockies.
  • Denise Swanson
    • Her character, Skye Denison, is a school psychologist in Scumble River, Illinois, in the Scumble River Mysteries.
  • Elizabeth Spann Craig / Riley Adams
    • As Craig she writes the Myrtle Clover Mystery Series which features a retired octogenarian teacher in North Carolina. As Adams she writes the Memphis Barbeque Mystery Series which features Lulu Taylor, the owner of a barbeque restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Kate Collins
    • In her Flower Shop Mysteries, she writes about Abby Knight, a law school drop-out and the owner of Bloomers Florists in New Chapel, Indiana.
  • Hannah Dennison
    • She writes the Vicky Hill Mysteries, starring a journalist in a small town in England.  (Each book features an unusual British pastime or profession….snail racing, anyone?)
  • Avery Aames
    • She writes the Cheese Shop Mystery Series which features Charlotte Bessette,  the co-owner of the “Fromagerie Bessette” or, as the people living in her small Ohio town call it, the Cheese Shop.
  • Mary Jane Maffini
    • She writes three mystery series:  one with Camilla MacPhee, who runs an advocacy agency for victims of violent crime, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; one with Charlotte Adams, a professional organizer (with lots of tips!), in upstate Woodbridge, New York; and one with Fiona Silk, a talent-challenged romance writer, in the bilingual tourist town St. Aubaine, Quebec, Canada.
  • Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett
    • She writes three series, and under three different names!  (Is it any wonder that her blog is called Dazed and Confused?)  In the Booktown Mysteries, Tricia Miles stars as a mystery bookshop owner in fictional small-town Stoneham, New Hampshire, and the Jeff Resnick series is about a mugging victim who now has a “sixth sense” gift in Buffalo, NY.  And a brand new series is coming up, the Victoria Square mysteries, starring Katie Bonner as the manager of Artisan’s Alley, a craft booth fair.
  • Julie Hyzy
    • She writes the White House Chef mysteries starring Olivia (Ollie) Paras, and a new Manor of Murder series starring Grace Wheaton of Marshfield Manor
  • Laura Alden
    • Not yet published, her first book  – Murder at the PTA – will be released in October.
  • Paige Shelton
    • The Farmer’s Market Mysteries feature Becca Robins, Farm Owner, Jam & Preserves Maker.
  • Leann Sweeney
    • She writes two cozy series, The Yellow Rose Mysteries with Abby Rose, a private investigator in Houston, Texas,  and the Cats in Trouble series.
  • Betty Hechtman
    • Her Crochet Mysteries star Molly Pink, a 40-something widow coordinating events in a bookstore, including the Tarzana Hookers, a crochet group in California.
  • Sheila Connolly
    • She writes the Orchard Mysteries, featuring Meg Corey, who takes over her mother’s colonial home and apple orchard, in fictional Granford, Massachusetts.   (She also writes a Glassblowing Mystery series as Sarah Atwell.)
  • Jenn McKinlay
    • She writes the Cupcake Bakery mysteries starring Melanie Cooper, Fairy Tale Cupcakes Bakery Owner.  (As Lucy Lawrence she also writes the Decoupage Mysteries starring Brenna Miller, Paper Shop Employee in New England.)
  • Janet Bolin
    • She writes the Threadville Mysteries, featuring Willow Vanderling, embroidery store owner.
  • Heather Webber
    • She writes two series:  With Nina Quinn, the owner of a landscaping firm specializing in surprise garden makeovers in Ohio, and with Lucy Valentine, the black sheep of a psychic matchmaking family, now running the family business, Valentine, Inc., in Boston, Massachusetts.


See you at

Saturday stupor

June 5, 2010

Haven’t done much of anything today.  I actually managed to sleep in a little, but since I went to bed so late it didn’t really count.

Why so late?  Kidlet was out with her friends – she has a weekend curfew of 2 am.  So I’m up.  I gave her money, they were all planning on eating out, and a little extra.  She said some of the kids would walk her home.  Shortly before 2, I  called her and reminded her that she should be on her way.  She said that her friends wanted to stay out later, so she would walk the 3 kilometers home alone.  I told her no way, to grab a cab.  She didn’t want to spend her money for a cab.  I told her I’d pay her back, just get a cab.  She argued, but finally agreed.  On the way (it was already 2:30 by now) she called to tell me her money had fallen out of her wallet into her bag, and she couldn’t find it.  So guess who had to get up, get dressed, and go outside to pay the driver?

So today, I’ve done a little bit around the house, knitted a bit, blocked a bit, but mostly vegged out in front of the computer.  Wanted to blog about several subjects, but I’m not being terribly focused or coherent.

So I’ll just rely on some interesting things I’ve seen while browsing  YouTube recently – totally unconnected, random clips.

This one, it should be noted, is not animal abuse for the sake of entertainment, and it’s explained that the mother cat chose to have her litter there, the owner kept trying to block off the slide, but in this case just filmed what was happening.

Whether or not this is the future of shopping, I have no idea.  I kind of like it, especially not having to go through the bother of undressing/dressing/repeat.  But I have lots of questions here about how it works….

And finally, something that just tickles the heck out of me (with sweet memories of Lynyrd Skynyrd):

Have an excellent week!

My family just grew

June 4, 2010

by quite a lot!  I’m still investigating by how much…

A few years ago, quite a few in fact, I started researching my family history, figuring out how to do genealogy research online, finding the resources and joining the forums.  On my mother’s side, I had a wealth of anecdotes, stories, memories my mother told me of her childhood.  I began to start writing it all down.  My father had never told much about his family, what I knew was the little my mom told me.  But as she got older, her memories weren’t always that reliable – especially about people she hadn’t seen since childhood, and since there were few to ask – all of my grandparents died before I was born – I tried to unearth facts here and there.

Then, on one of the forums researching the same names, I hooked up with a woman from Canada and we managed to figure out that my great grandfather was the older brother of her great grandfather.  We shared information, she filled in a lot of gaps from the research she had already done, but we still had many questions.  Then my computer crashed, and my contact list was gone, and I didn’t hear from her for a long time.

Three days ago, she found me on facebook!  Turns out she also lost her contact list at some point, and had no idea how to reach me again.  So she – in an inspired mood – looked on facebook.  And she had found a relative of my great grandmother, who had a wealth of information about the rest of her family and didn’t know what had happened to her.  I of course asked her to connect me up with this fellow…..

My great grandparents moved from Europe to the United States at the end of the 19th century, with one son.  (I had evidence of another son, but he had disappeared by the time they went to the US.)  My mother remembered her grandmother (who lived with them) being in touch with her relatives in Europe, but as a child she never paid much attention to stories and names of people who lived far away and “talked funny”.  When WWII broke out, Rosa – my great grandmother – tried desperately to get permission to bring her family to the US, but by the time she finally managed to procure papers, her family had disappeared.  Letters came back undelivered.  They made some efforts to try and find them, but feared that they had perished in the holocaust.  Much later, my mom and I tried to find anyone with Rosa’s family name in the holocaust records here in Israel, with no success.

Well, three days ago I found the European branch of the family!  Or they found me.  Or we found each other.  The fellow I made contact with is my third cousin once removed – his great grandfather was the brother of my great great grandfather (Rosa’s father).  Not only that, he has done extensive research into the family, and what he was missing was any information about what had happened to Rosa / the American branch.  He has it all online, has added me to the mix and allowed me access to all the info, and in one fell swoop I’ve gained over 200 family members!

Some of the family is in the US now, some in England, some in Romania, some in Italy, some in Spain….and – to my delight – it turns out that a whole bunch of ’em are in Israel!  I haven’t had enough time to really check this out yet, but I plan to soon, and I find it very, very exciting.

Meanwhile I’m rooting around trying to unearth some of my old records, so I  can share them.

On the fiber front, I’ve cast on for the Dancing Crane stole KAL, and I love working with the mohair/silk.  Soft and fine and slippery, knitting with it is fun! (Although the all-time most awesome yarn I’ve knit with has to be the Manos lace…)

The stole is knitted lengthwise.  Casting on 300 stitches in laceweight mohair (held double, at least) was not as bad as I feared – and I used the cable cast-on for the first time and found it very easy, I don’t know why I’ve never used it before!  Much easier than the knit on cast-on, although similar.  But the rows are veeeeery long….

KAL deadline is mid-July, which is lucky since I’m juggling this with my seascape JAL and the aran vest.

So – going back to families – does your extended family interest you?  How far back in your family do you know about?  Do you have a genealogy nut in your clan who is recording it all?