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624th Friday Blog Roundup

I cut Truman’s nails for the first time this week.  Prior to this point, I brought him back to the place where we got him, and the woman there cut his nails for $10.  But she retired at the end of the summer, and while our vet is happy to trim his nails if he happens to already be there for an appointment, it feels a little weird to drive out there strictly for a mani-pedi.

It was time to put on my big girl panties and take care of my pig’s nails.

I was given the advice to trim just a little off the tip, spreading out the task over several days.  This is great advice in theory, though I’m not sure Truman’s heart (or mine) could take several sessions of clipping in a single week.  The poor boy immediately panicked when I held his paw, and he let out the saddest, most terrified shrieks as I cut.  It took a good half hour of stroking his back interspersed with picking up his paw and attempting to cut again to finish his hands.

I nicked him on the last nail.  I knew it had happened because he immediately started thrashing and squeaking.  When I pulled his hand away, his blood was smeared against my skin.  I felt awful.  He felt awful.  He still is looking at me strangely, as if to say, “I thought we were friends.”  I am so sorry, Truman.

Especially because I’m going to have to that again soon.

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The twins’ book, Hello Scratch! is on sale (1/2 off!) until December 15th from the Manning website.  They write: “Just enter mlbelllt in the Promotional Code box when you check out. Expires Thursday, December 15. Only at manning.com.”  You know, if you were looking for a totally awesome Christmas gift for an elementary or middle school aged kid…  Just sayin’…

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

I also picked a Different Shores post, though a different one.  I loved her post about Jennifer Aniston.  Admittedly, I never paid much attention to her while she was on Friends.  I liked her on the show, but… you know… I’m too busy mooning over Doctor Who.  But in recent years, especially since she always sticks to the same message, driving it home every chance she gets — women are more than their uteruses — I have been impressed by her efforts and cheering her on.  Thank you, Jennifer Aniston, for using your platform to spread such an important message, and thank you, Different Shores, for highlighting it.

Ms. Infertile has a post about questions at dinner parties.  I love the power in this ending: “I speak about many ways this path is resolved and how the childless resolution is one that sadly gets too little focus: infertility might have tried to make me childless, but it didn’t made me childfree, I chose that. There is power in that choice.”  It’s a gorgeous piece that will make you think twice before asking questions at the next dinner party.  For us, it’s infertility.  For someone else, who knows what they dread as they go into social situations.

Lastly, Who Shot Down My Stork? has a post that made me laugh so hard that I cried.  It’s about her child, who is currently going through the stage where she places everything in her mouth (and makes sure you’re watching before she does it so you know).  I tried to read this to Josh but gave up at this: “She learned to push them back, exposing the tasty underbelly of the crib, and proceeded to gnaw her way into blissful oblivion.”  I was still laughing hours later.

The roundup to the Roundup: Poor Truman gets his nails clipped… by me.  The twins’ book is on sale.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between December 2nd and 9th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

December 9, 2016   4 Comments

Slipping

I’m back hanging out with My Fitness Frenemy.  It sucks to be logging my food once again, but I need something to keep me honest.  I have been slipping.

I start out with good intentions with all the healthier living stuff.  For instance, I wanted to get more sleep, so we instated the “devices off by 10:45 pm” rule.  In addition, we would read from 10:45 to 11:15 pm, then get ready for bed and have the lights off by 11:30 pm.  The first few nights, everything went according to plan.  Devices and screens were off by 10:45 pm.  We read books.  The lights went off.  I fell asleep easier.  All was well.

And then the creep started.  First it was devices that were still on at 10:50 pm.  Then it was checking email one last time before I went to bed after reading for a half hour.  Then it was opting for the television episode instead of the book because it was Daredevil Monday.  (I’m assuming everyone celebrates Daredevil Monday, which is the most sacred day of the week, dedicated to all things Daredevil from the comic books to the television series.)

And now our evenings are a mish-mash where sometimes we’re fantastic about getting to bed on time, and sometimes we suck, and our nights look very much as they did before we instated the rule.  That’s what I mean by slipping.

The same thing happened with SuperBetter.  I went from doing all the exercises everyday, to doing the exercises sometimes, to doing the exercises every once in a while, to having three good days in a row and then a week of nothing.

Or wishing happiness to others.  The alarm still goes off every hour on the hour, and most of the time I send out my happiness wish, though I’ve had a few moments where I have snarled into the silence of the house, “I don’t wish anyone else happiness at this moment, universe, YOU JUST INTERRUPTED MY CHAIN OF THOUGHT.”

It’s not that hard to enter my food and exercise in My Fitness Pal.  It’s a few clicks several times a day.  I know seeing it in black and white helps me to make good decisions, and at this point, I’m over the hump; that difficult period where you’re hungry all the time because your stomach needs to get accustomed to the smaller amount of food.  So I’m not sure why I allow things to slip over and over again, especially knowing that I am generally happier when I follow the plan.

So this is it: Anchoring myself here in healthy living land.  I think.

December 7, 2016   10 Comments

Mind Blown

The best kind of book is when you not only forget that you’re reading fiction but you’re so lost in the story that you keep forgetting that the events aren’t really happening in the world around you.  The last time that happened I was reading The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.  I had to keep reminding myself that our days weren’t growing longer and birds weren’t dropping out of the sky.  And even so, I kept saying things like, “We can’t do that because the sun will burn us through our clothes!  Wait, no, it won’t.”

It happened again this week reading Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter.  It’s a science fiction thriller about a man who crosses dimensions and encounters other versions of his own life.  That’s pretty much all I can say about it without ruining anything, but I spent the week forgetting that it wasn’t real and that we couldn’t twist the laws of physics.

I kept expecting to see myself every time I turned a corner.

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Then The Atlantic continued to blow my mind by telling me that “the world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality.”

Boom.

[That was my mind exploding.]

This is the article in a nutshell:

Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all that time figuring it out, the tiger would eat you.

All we see are symbols or surface information, and we use that information to guide our decisions, but we never pause to really consider that all we know is this surface information.  Or, to put it more succinctly: “My snakes and trains are my mental representations; your snakes and trains are your mental representations.”

We are all just points-of-view walking amongst other points-of-view.

So how does this apply to infertility?

I can talk to you about my headache and believe that I am communicating effectively with you, because you’ve had your own headaches. The same thing is true as apples and the moon and the sun and the universe. Just like you have your own headache, you have your own moon. But I assume it’s relevantly similar to mine. That’s an assumption that could be false, but that’s the source of my communication, and that’s the best we can do in terms of public physical objects and objective science.

We think we’re effectively communicating with each other because we’ve both experienced infertility (or we’re both women or we’re both Jewish or we’re both American, etc), but I have no clue if you really understand anything I’m saying because all I have is this first-person experience.  And I read you, thinking I understand you, but maybe I don’t understand you at all because how I am understanding your words is only through my own point-of-view because there is no single reality.

As you can see, I’m having a trippy sort of week.

December 6, 2016   9 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 119: Punishments and Rewards

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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Spend any time on Donald Trump’s Twitterfeed and you’ll see him listing out various people and actions that deserve punishment.  Companies that move jobs out of the US will be punished.  People who burn the flag will be punished.  Reporters who criticize him will be punished, countries that won’t make trade deals he likes will be punished, and politicians who work against him will be punished.  He is really big on talking about punishments.

It’s easy to see the possible outcome of those punishments.  Tax companies that move jobs out of the US?  They can pass along the higher cost to the consumer.  Or they can have massive layoffs in the US in order to keep the remaining jobs on US soil.  Also, if you look at each punishment he lists, it’s rarely the individual or company that bears the brunt of the punishment.  It’s you and you and you (and me) as the side effects of those punishments trickle down to the rest of society.

We parent without punishment.  Josh and I are clearly on the anti-punishment side of the behavioural psychology punishment/rewards argument.  It’s a decision that stems from how I ran my classroom as a teacher: I educated without punishment, too.  To be completely honest, we also parent without rewards, unless you see the natural consequence of being a trustworthy, kind individual resulting in beneficial situations as an incentive.  But if I could only get rid of one option, I’d go with getting rid of punishments.

Based on your life experience, which do you believe works better: Rewards or punishments?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.

1. Random Thoughts Naba | Parenting Vulnerability 13. Parul Thakur | Happiness & Food 25. Virgí nia
2. Food For Thought | Nom Nom 14. knottedfingers 26. Jess
3. Different Shores 15. Shail 27. Cyn K
4. Middle Girl 16. Cristy 28. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)
5. That’s Ms. Infertile to you 17. Traci York, Writer 29. Jenn P
6. Lori Lavender Luz 18. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 30. Mali (No Kidding)
7. Unpregnant Chicken 19. Just Heather 31. Mali (A Separate Life)
8. 35jupe 20. Failing at Haiku 32. Mary Francis
9. Isabelle 21. Amber 33. Empty Arms, Broken Heart
10. Who Shot Down My Stork? 22. Nonsequiturchica
11. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 23. deathstar
12. Jennifer 24. Tas IVFer

December 5, 2016   28 Comments

Full Circle

The twins recently went on outdoor ed.  The sixth grade goes away for three days to a campsite where they do nature-based assignments and team work activities.  They had campfires and night hikes and slept in cabins.  They came home caked with mud, tracking in bits of dried leaves when they pulled off their boots.

Josh and I volunteered both evenings.  It was partly for the twins but it was partly for me.  Thirty years ago, I went to outdoor ed in the exact same place.

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It smelled the same.  If you had asked me prior to walking into the main building what the campsite smelled like, I would have shrugged.  But then I got there and breathed in and was instantly transported back 30 years.  It looked the same, minus the graffiti in our cabin and a missing tetherball set.  Even the fence where I released my pet potato bug* was still there in all of its splinter-giving glory.

I liked outdoor ed — I have fond memories of my week at the campsite. (We got a full week, kids.  Welcome to budget cuts.)  But I didn’t give the experience that much thought until I was sitting near the fireplace, watching the kids enjoying the evening activity, and felt my chest get tight as I realized that I would probably never be back in the space again.  We only get to go full circle once.

One spin through elementary school.  One return to outdoor ed.  One B’nai Mitzvah, one trip to get driver’s licenses, one graduation.

One is definitely more than none, but I am surrounded by people who get to do everything two or three times so it is constantly on my mind.  It’s a testament to no matter how much you promise to be satisfied with what you get, the heart still wants more when the actuality of your family doesn’t match the dream family that popped into your brain when you giddily started down this road.

I am grateful that I get the once.  My heart still longs to do everything two or three times.

* I didn’t have a lot of female friends when I was in sixth grade, and I wasn’t allowed to sleep in the boys’ cabin, but I did find a potato bug on the first day at camp, and I placed him in my empty film container from my camera.  He kept me company for the week, but I sadly let him go on the last day.

December 4, 2016   4 Comments

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