Can someone explain this WordPress thing to me

I am sitting here trying to kill some time while I wait for my dinner to cook. Tonight it’s a lentil, sweet potato, tomato casserole. This is one of my favorites but I haven’t made it in quite a while. In fact, I haven’t really cooked in what seems like ages as a few other things have been occupying my time. Hint: one of those other things is named Gisella.

I love to look at the Freshly Pressed section just to see the diverse blogs that are chosen to be “pressed” as it were. I have found some there that I follow, some with interesting content and others that just don’t hold any interest for me.

I wandered into my stats page and found pleasantly that even during the time I was away from this blog, again preoccupied by the little waiting game of pre-delivery of the aforementioned Gisella, that people were still visiting here. Actually the visits were pretty consistent and I am surprised as I was ignoring this blog entirely.  Thus the title of this post.

Just what is it that draws someone into reading a blog post?

Personally, catchy titles draw me in as exemplified by my scanning of Freshly Pressed blogs that have proved either really interesting or not at all capable of living up to the flashy post titles that hook me in the first place.

Is it just the luck of catchy, crafty tags?

Do regular bloggers troll the site, looking for specific tags of interest?

Does anyone actually pay attention to the categories? I suspect so because when I post photos, or music related items in those specific categories I get hits from other bloggers who definitely partake in the same interests.

Why is one of my most regularly read posts the one I wrote about Dana Carvey and his spoof of The Church Lady on old version Saturday Night Live? Why of all posts does this one stand out?

I think I have asked this question before and obviously it still puzzles the heck out of me. I have to say thank you though, to all of you, whoever you are out there that continue to stop by this blog, even when I don’t write anything horribly profound, entertaining, important or correct. Even if you aren’t actively reading the blog, you are stopping by and I appreciate that.

I just wonder though, what is drawing you here in the first place? Where do you find me as you meander through the world of WordPress? What is it that catches your eye, that makes you specifically say to yourself “I think I will see what all this is about” when you scan results in a search engine and one of my tags pops up? Do you return and simply choose to remain anonymous?

My curiosity is piqued and I would love to encourage anyone who actually is drawn here to leave a short note telling me why. Just who am I reaching with this whole WordPress thing…



We watch them come and we watch them go

Barely home a few weeks and the wandering archaeologist has moved on again.

I can say one thing for this youngest child; she is determined to make her way on her own.

Discussions just after the end of high school regarding college living arrangements brought her to the final option of living with her sister and brother-in-law 5 minutes from her college campus. She passed those 2 semesters living reasonably comfortable and happy in their extra bedroom. For many reasons, both financial and personal, she was adamantly opposed to living on campus. It of course was highly encouraged by the college. One for reasons of much more money entering the coffers of the college bank account and two, because of that socialization process higher ed deems necessary for the well-rounded, successful adult they bring into the world.

Her rather non-traditional status of entering as a Junior rather than a Freshman pulled a little weight and her simple refusal to live the dorm life cemented her final place off campus.

Fast forward to a summer spent among new friends and colleagues in the desert lands of Oregon and suddenly isolation needs have tempered a bit. Finding herself living closely among males and females alike with only thin tent walls separating individual environments and taking communal showers behind a homemade walled structure that probably had little resemblance to any sort of modern bathroom facility has opened this students eyes to the joys of living among one’s peers or as I like to call it: The quintessential college living experience.

This particular child of mine has a unique habit of researching, planning and then simply announcing out of the clear blue that she has accomplished a life changing activity all perfectly well and good on her own and will not be letting the door smack her on the rear end as she exits her childhood home with little to no fanfare.

In other words from the moment she checked back into her upstairs bedroom after returning from Oregon her secret mission was to find a place, other than home, to live during this her final year of college. The reality is that this really isn’t surprising as it was clear she truly enjoyed the freedom of living on her own and did a pretty darn good job of it. What was different the first time around was that she wasn’t paying rent, wasn’t faced with doing all her own food shopping and cooking (sister and hubby shared food and meals often) and she wasn’t working at three jobs just to have the privilege of living independently.

Of course, this life changing event was taking place right around the time this new grandma was preoccupied with the birth of her new granddaughter so with a few ground rules laid down, the biggest being that her grades cannot drop and her studies take precedence over everything else, plus she has to make it on her own with only a small stipend from mom and dad for groceries each month, our youngest has moved into her dream college student home away from home.

The husband, who is the only one of the two of us who has actually dared to step foot into this new living space per my strong need to make sure she really wasn’t secretly planning to pitch her Oregon tent in some random open field, described the abode as “looking like a haunted house.”

Okay, I can live with that. At least he didn’t come home and say it looked like a crack house or a brothel. Or note a strong chemical smell emanating from the property as he arrived while roommates were cooking in hidden corners of the structure.

This child is really pretty level-headed, but also still relatively naive in many ways. I think it’s possible to be both isn’t it? She is smart, as in intelligent, but still not world wise, still not completely mature. She also possesses the personality to live on a whim. To literally throw a tent in her car, stop on the road somewhere and be completely happy. She can live without, reveling in the fact that she simply exists. Those are traits I envy but at the same time our world isn’t all goodness and light and honesty and truth. Some aspect of sanity has to reign supreme and because she is still under my proverbial thumb as it were being just 19 years old I have some say in what she does especially since her education is being funded in part by my paycheck.

When all was said and done she rounded up a few friends and packed up her Jeep with the basics meaning her mattress, linens, clothing, desk, stereo, incense and every single vinyl album she owns and moved out into the world on Wednesday. She will now be sharing a home with a number of fellow college students in an area that she loves, commuting to classes and work, paying rent, paying lots for gas to fill her guzzler of a Jeep and I am sure just generally feeling ecstatic beyond belief that she is on her own.

She knows the door is always open, her room hasn’t and won’t be turned into something resembling a craft room or grandchild’s playroom in the near future and if things go awry, she isn’t locked into a long-term lease.

And, like every other one of my children I know she will more than likely return come the end of May 2013 when college graduation has come and gone, a good portion of her income has ended and the reality of an adult job search is looming over her head. Until then I can’t think of anything more exciting and of greater educational benefit than having a glimpse into the real world of life as an independent adult.



Baby Gisella enters the world

What a whirlwind the last few days have been.

Life seemed to be in a complete standstill as we waited anxiously for our precious granddaughter to arrive. We all began to seriously believe that she had just decided to stay inside her mother forever but finally at just one week overdue labor began and we had high hopes for all the planning to proceed without a hitch.

Reality reared its head though when hour after hour passed and we seemed to be sitting in standby mode impatiently waiting.

My daughter had desired a medication free, birth center birth where she could labor and deliver per her choice with her midwife, husband and myself in attendance. Reality was far from that experience and we had no idea until Gisella actually entered the world why these plans had to go so far from the desired course.

After hour upon hour of intense back labor, repeated checks of progress with little physical change, and utter exhaustion as hours turned into days of painful stabbing back pain, my daughter opted to toss the plan out the window, head to the hospital and attempt some relief with an epidural. Replaying this labor now seems unnecessary as in the end, baby was born happy and healthy. Baby was also born with one hand/arm tucked right up by her chin and the other arm/elbow jutting out so as to hinder the entire process needed for an effective labor.

We all came to the realization upon seeing just how determined Miss Gisella was to be born with her hands/arms exactly where she wanted them to be that without the alteration in plans, we would have faced the biggest medical intervention of all, a cesarean birth.

I know just how much my daughter wanted to follow her idea of an “ideal birth plan”, one by the way I backed 100% because of the strong, powerful woman she is, but I am also so incredibly proud of her and her ability to realize that sometimes changes have to occur that in the end will still provide the outcome of a healthy baby and a mom who can fully participate in that birth and not face surgical intervention. Her body tried so hard to do exactly what it was meant to do but our stubborn baby had other ideas. She was amazing, even in the face of severe back pain, and held on as long as she could with days of zero sleep.

In the end, in this birth situation, she made the right decision. She is the most amazing woman and new mom and she has given me a granddaughter who is truly a precious gift.

More pictures will follow. The new mom and dad have been and continue to work on breastfeeding, adjusting to continued lack of sleep and learning how to be a new family. I cannot stop looking into this precious face and feeling a sense of awe, much like I felt when her own mother was born. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.


Finally I can reveal the reason I have been rather pre-occupied lately and not posting a great deal here.

After passing her due date by 11 days, meandering into the world after 48 + hours of labor on August 26th 2012, my new granddaughter finally arrived

More to follow on the entire process this little sweetheart put her parents and grandma through over the last few days but for now, some pictures.

Staying away, staying calm, staying positive

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, taking a break, being busy with other things, being hot and just being.

We still await the arrival of our granddaughter who keeps giving mom and dad wonderful little signs that she is gearing up for the big day. She is happy where she is but the changes in mom’s body signal that her world is getting ready to change.

I have talked about my dual role as mom to the expecting daughter and also doula to the expecting couple and it is at times such as this couple has encountered in the last few weeks that both frustrate and anger me in both of those roles.

The mom wants only the best for her daughter, wants this experience to be memorable in a good and positive way. The doula wants exactly the same and both of those roles are extremely cognizant that compromising either mom or baby is out of the question. This mom is incredibly healthy, as is this baby. They are both the epitome of good prenatal care.

My couple chose a birth place and experience that they believe will allow them freedom from medical intervention. Freedom to labor and birth as nature intended. They chose this because it is what they believe. They chose caregivers who should also believe this philosophy. Caregivers who of course must be mindful of the health and well-being of their clients but who encourage a strong and positive belief in the fact that pregnancy and birth are a natural experience to be trusted.

At 40 weeks gestation, full term and showing signs of pregnancy changes and that inevitable ramping up toward labor my couple; my daughter has encountered some undeniably negative attitudes and comments in her last two prenatal visits. Empathy is lacking for the first time mom who is tired, aching, and just done with being pregnant. Obtuse comments do nothing to help when mom wants to hear how great she is doing, how great her baby is doing and who should be made to believe that this is all normal.

Of course these caregivers must do their job, and part of that job is the discussion of outcomes, options and the like in the event that this little girl is just too comfortable where she is and decides to hold her position a lot longer. This birthing place has rules, restrictions and guidelines and my couple understands that. The difficult and frustrating aspect for me as a doula comes in hearing that while not only reviewing these guidelines, a little seed was planted inside mom’s head that will nag and poke and cause self-doubt about her ability, her body’s ability to do what it is meant to do. Words like induction came up, and apparently quickly following that word was the idea that mom’s immediate response would be to jump on the epidural bandwagon and plan for the “fun stuff” of a natural labor and water birth the next time around.

Hearing this from my daughter last night made me livid. It also reminded me very quickly why I chose to stop teaching childbirth education classes and advocating patient options and non-medicalized birth procedures. The wall I faced 15 years ago is still there, still just as strong and still apparently being pushed even by those who are in the business of birthing from a more holistic viewpoint. These are the very women who should be doing everything they can to encourage, enlighten and keep their couples believing that this process is natural and normal yet in the face of something as relatively common as post-dates pregnancy, they cave to the standard medical positions while almost automatically causing defeat and the beginning of a negative spiral in their clients.

Where were the suggestions for natural labor induction? Where was the teaching on acupressure and nipple stimulation and other means to encourage labor? Most importantly, where was the attitude that this is normal, that this baby will come when she is ready and the belief that mom’s body is in full control and knows what to do.

I know this. I believe this and I want my couple, my daughter to know and believe this. I can so understand how hard it is to wait. She was early in her appearance, but both of her siblings decided to hang out in my uterus well past their due dates. Mommy wants to make it better, wants to protect her child, wants to scream at the midwife who is clearly not understanding regarding the emotional aspects of pregnancy. The doula wants to ask the midwife why? Why would you ignore a teaching moment, a chance to bring a positive aspect to this young first time pregnant couple? Why you would be so crass as to completely overlook the doubt and negativity you create with just a few words? You, the midwife, who is supposed to know better, to be a patient advocate at the most precious time in a women’s life.

C-I had to write this today. I had to express some of the frustration I feel for you and for myself as a person who has seen this so many times before and so wanted you not to have to encounter these attitudes. Believe in yourself. Believe in your baby and your body. The time will come and it will be right. Hold onto that above all else.

Tuesday Writing Prompt: Impatience

I give myself credit for mellowing somewhat as I have gotten older. I try to understand that many others don’t see eye to eye with my often freakish need for doing things within a time frame that seems logical, and I admit that often the logic only is apparent to myself and no one else.

There is no way to temper that aged mellowness when it comes to waiting for your first grandchild to make her appearance. I know that my pregnant daughter will read this and I also know that while my impatience is great, hers far surpasses anything I am feeling or wanting at this point. Hang in there sweetie-we must face facts-WE HAVE NO CONTROL.

Thus, the writing prompt for today is this:

Just how do you handle moments, or great spans of time,when that virtue of patience has abandoned you?

I honestly do think the concept of patience is born out of a need for control. Patience truly teaches one that while we may like to believe we have control over aspects of our daily lives, that entire concept might be a joke. All the sociological theorems tell me that we are the product of our society and our society is made up of individuals who interact and influence everyone else who claims membership in human society. The sociological concept of “the self” and how that self functions is based upon every single thing that happens around an individual every day.

This concept then should indicate that when I feel impatience because others are not functioning in a timely manner, at least in my opinion of a timely manner, the feelings of frustration or desire to bring about change should be wiped from my emotional register because I am simply one player in the game of interactive society. Even if I could bend the social interactions of the majority, the fact is that there will always be someone, somewhere who through their actions, rather intentional or not, who will cause a glitch in my ideal.

Right now, that someone is my precious, yet to be born granddaughter. In the minute, micro social world that is our immediate family unit, this one little person, along with some pretty important maternal hormones, are exerting their own form of control over the logical process that screams out “It’s time to be born!”

In this moment, my choice to handle this growing impatience is to send this little letter to sweet baby girl Randazzo.

Dearest Granddaughter,

Your mommy and daddy have so carefully grown you and nurtured you for 39 weeks. We know how safe and warm and secure you feel inside your mommy’s belly, but the world is waiting to meet you. Your mommy and daddy are tired, mommy most of all. We long to hold you and cherish you and see just who you are and start on the journey with you to see what you will become. We are impatient and we admit to that. It is so hard for us to wait, even one more day. Mommy feels your tiny hands and feet, stretching and pushing and seeking space. We are all here, waiting to love you even more than we can possibly imagine, even more than we already do.

It’s important that you always listen to both your Grandma’s, and this one is saying, “It’s time to come out baby! We’re all waiting anxiously to meet you. Hurry, we are so impatient. Come out baby…”