Life, Love, Long Hair, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, and other mysteries

All this and more, from a semi-Serbian, slightly sane, former editor for physicians and surgeons, who is the mother of seven kids.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Nekkid Pictures Of Me

What time is it?

Time to think about nekkid pictures?

Time to think about what day it is?

Time to realize it is no longer March?

Time to realize it is the first day of April ?

As in April 1, 2012 - you know, April Foooooooools Day?

Time to realize you've been fooled?

APRIL FOOLS, preeeeevert!!!

Seriously, though, I do want to say one thing about nekkid (I love that spelling!) pictures of me, which I find disturbing:  back in August of 2004, a few days before my fifth baby was born, Sweet Man took some pictures of my pregnant belly, along with the rest of me, tastefully unclothed.

That's not the disturbing part.  He was enamored by my pregnant body, silly man!  Imagine!  My own husband loving the way I look!  Sinful?  I think not!

No, the disturbing part is that when we moved out of that house and into our new one in the summer of 2006, we couldn't find the pictures, and to this day we still haven't located them.

I've looked everywhere I could think to look, but still can't find them.

I hope they didn't fall into the wrong hands!

Maybe they accidentally got put into a bag or box of garbage and got thrown out.

It's bad enough to lose a batch of photos, but nekkid ones make it all the more disturbing.

So, yeah, that's all I want to say about that for now.

Can you relate?  Have you ever lost photos?  Nekkid ones?  Don't try to fool me, I bet you've got nekkid pictures kickin' around somewhere.

Have you ever found those lost photos?

Go ahead, laugh.  But if you ever have nekkid photos, remember my blog entry and hide them under lock and key lest they get lost.

(Oh, boy, I bet I'm gonna get some private messages on this one - "Steeny, what were you THINKING?  How can you write such things?" LOL!  Well, you read this far, so hey...)

(Joe Cocker's famous "Leave Your Hat On" video here).

Related and semi-related blog entries:

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Risk Of Friendship

It's a risk.

A gamble.

Putting yourself out there and not knowing if you're going to get anything in return.

I hate gambling, and I never do it with money, so why do I do it with the thing that is worth infinitely more than anything temporal - my spirit?


Is it worth the risk?

Friendship is worth more than any amount of monetary gain I could ever imagine.

Investing a little piece of my heart in something that may fail also has the flip-side of possibly succeeding.

But, oh how the failure hurts!

I'm one of those people who has a "friend list" on Facebook numbering in the hundreds, but if someone were to ask me how I know so many people, I'd have to say, "I don't."

Real friends in my life I can count on my fingers.

And with me, counting on my fingers is a serious thing.

I do medical transcription from home.  If my fingers get damaged, my income suffers, and that's huge.

When I lose a friend, my heart suffers, and that's huge.

("Knee Deep In A River", by Kathy Mattea)

Dang, the above video is a little off in the audio sync, but anyway, it fits here.  I wonder if Kathy Mattea knows about Facebook - she might find some long lost treasures there.

Don't get me wrong - those I count as real friends are more than the ten fingers I've got, but I mean a lot of the people on my Facebook friend list are acquaintances with whom I rarely or never communicate.

Is anyone truly close with a ton of people?

I wonder about that.

I've always been a semi-loner, being close with only a few people, yet adoring, admiring, and appreciating many.

One of my dearest buddies has nearly 3000 people on his friend list, but I know that he is the same as me in the whole "very few people are my real friends" thing.

I was about to publish this, but then I decided to add one more song, which I saw on the Facebook wall of a beloved friend, which speaks to me of brotherly/friendship love, something that is lacking in this world.

("Love The One You're With" by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young)

As I commented to that friend on her wall, when I first heard this song in my early teens, the guy who was my boyfriend at the time got mad at me for saying that I thought loving the one you're with is a wonderful thing.  In his twisted way, he accused me of meaning "have sex with the one you're with".

Maybe that was his interpretation but it's never been mine.

I don't know what the song writers had in mind when they wrote it, but my take on it is that we should treat our friends with love - as in the Greek word "phileo", brotherly/friendship kind of love - for the one with whom we are communicating, the one who is giving us a piece of their life.


Give of yourself as they are giving of themselves, and enjoy it.

If you're my friend, thank you for handling my heart with care.

If you're just getting to know me, keep up the good work.  I'll try not to let you down, too.

My heart is an investment and an asset to you, as you and your heart are to me.

With phileo,

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."

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Related and semi-related posts:

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Wearing Masks in Wal-Mart

Do you have certain friends or family members with whom, whenever you get together, you go from an average, reasonably sane person, to, well, a weirdo?

(Video above - "Creep" by Radiohead)

I know some people like that.

Or maybe it's my fault.

I don't know - they ARE related to me.

Particularly when I'm out with any combination of my kids, especially my oldest three (daughters aged 19, 18, and 15 at this point in time), we feed off of each other's silliness and reactivity.

That was an honest typo!  I meant "creativity", but reactivity works, too.  

Freudian slip or what. 

Anyway, about the masks.

Last October (2011), a couple of my daughters and I were in Save On Foods in Williams Lake, BC, and we were eyeballing some eye masks.  They were presumably for Halloween, but because I don't celebrate that (I'm bad enough in my own way and have no interest in celebrating something with blatant darkness behind it, but that's fodder for another blog entry), I decided not to buy them.

I regretted it later.

Then in February, we were in that store again, and I asked the lady at the cosmetic counter if by any chance they might possibly have any of those eye masks still kicking around since October.

I expected raised eyebrows and a comment to the effect of, "Um, it's long past October..."

But no! There were some left! We tried on several until we found just the right ones.

After we bought them, we went to the water place, where we go to fill up our 5-gallon jugs with purified H2O to take home to our dispenser for our drinking pleasure.

We walked into the water place wearing our masks, and the lady who owns the business laughed and laughed and laughed.  She told us to go into the back room and say hi to the lady working there, telling us to address her by name, with which she furnished us - I'll call her Sally. We greeted Sally and got a strange look in return as she apparently wondered if she knew us. The shop owner then joined us, with peals of laughter. We explained to Sally that we really weren't people she knew, so not to worry. I think she was relieved.

Off we drove to get gas for the vehicle.  I got a few strange looks from passersby as I pumped gas. Then in the grocery store, we got questioning looks. A security guy lifted his walkie-talkie to his mouth and looked right at us from several yards away. When we were at the check-stand paying for our items, the cashier had such a questioning look, I volunteered the story without her asking.

Finally, we headed to our ultimate destination - Walmart! - and someday, maybe we will achieve the appropriate level of weirdness to wind up in a "People Of Walmart" video.

As we walked through the door wearing our masks, the Walmart greeter lady greeted us with a huge grin and a hearty, "WELL!  WELCOME to WALMART!" (translation - "Yo, look at these chicks!  We get ALL KINDS in here!")

We headed to the stationery section, where we knew they sold wooden letters, and set up for our mini photo shoot, the product of which you can see below:

Several people in the store asked us variants of "what's up with the masks?"

I retold basically what you've already read in this blog entry, and by the fourth telling of it, I said aloud, "We should print out leaflets to explain what we're doing, to rest the mind of curious onlookers."

We thought we were being so incognito. Imagine my surprise as I heard someone call my name while we walked through the parking lot.

I turned to see several members of a family we know, and I again retold the story.

And now you know... (said in a Paul Harvey voice) ... the REST of the story. 

I'll end with a quote from one of my favorite movies, "The Mask", starring Jim Carrey:

"We all wear masks - metaphorically speaking."

Think about THAT!

Have you ever done anything "weird" in public, just for laughs?  
Or are you hiding behind a mask and aren't going to talk about it?
Leave me a comment in the box below!

Speaking of weird, here are some other blog entries in that vein:

Friday, 23 March 2012

Upcoming Blog Posts

I've got over 60 blog entries in draft mode.

Some of them are just a title with a note or two, some of them are almost done, and some are finished but are sitting in limbo waiting to find out if this author will post or ditch them.

Here is a partial list of what I've got in the works:

  1. Hewlett-Packard Stole My Hard Drive
  2. Unschooling
  3. Cloth Menstural Pads – Yeah, You Read That Right!
  4. How I Lowered My Cholesterol – Green Tea et al
  5. The Joy Of Coconut Oil
  6. Living By The Skin Of My Teeth
  7. How Shakira O’Neil Came To Be
  8. Short Video On The Power Of Words
  9. This Thing About Men’s Fingers
  10.  The Only Time I Had An Energy Drink
  11. My Dad Smashed My Tape Deck & My Guitar
  12. Rebuilding Credit
  13. Free Food For Homeless In Kamloops, BC
  14. Ridiculously Romantic Heart
  15. So Much Love Yet Feeling Alone
  16. Medical Transcription From Home?
  17. A Mini Journal of a Sh***y Few Days
  18. Hiding Behind Internet Masks
  19. How I Deal With Telemarketers
  20.  Misunderstanding Love
  21. Wearing Eye Masks In Public
  22. Foiling A Shoplifter
  23. Livening Up Long Hair
  24. Love – Everybody Wants It
  25. Cussing
  26. Home Churching In The Alaskan Wilderness
  27. What’s Up With Me and “Religion”?
  28. I Hate HATE HAAATE!!! TV
  29. Big Soft Round Cookie With “Peaunt”?
  30. When People Say “Nevermind”
  31. Why Bus Rear Windows Don’t Open
  32. Anonymously Ordering Pizza For Neighbours
  33. Saving For Retirement – Not Too Early or Too Late
  34. By Blog Has No Niche
  35. What Is Love? (Don’t Hurt Me)
  36. Nekkid Pictures Of Me
  37. Sadness and Heartbreak
  38. The Led Zeppelin Post (1 of possibly many)
  39. Horse Logging in BC
  40. Lost Love
  41. My Stormy Seas Jacket
  42. Alaskan Wilderness and Snail Mail
  43. Beauty Secrets Of An Average Jane
  44. Stevia – No Mo’ Shugga Tonight!
  45. Ghosts Of April Fools Past
  46. Pointless Stories I Tell My Kids
  47. Rocketman (Harland Williams) – Movie Review
  48. Being A Mom of 7 Is Serious Bidness
  49. Respectful Communication
  50. Courthouses and Me
  51. Hugs!
  52. Oatmeal – Da Plain! Da Plain!
  53. Lesser Of Two Evils Re: Love
  54. My Teen Years 3 - Gorbachev
If any in particular grab your eye, let me know in a comment so I will be motivated to hurry up and get those ones churned out.

I type over 100 words per minute so it's no big deal to rack up this many posts in a short period of time, squeezing a few sentences in betwixt working or waiting for something to cook, or when needing another break in my endlessly busy days.

I'll leave you with a song, just because I like it:

Bron-Y-Aur Stomp - Led Zeppelin

Avec amour,

Past posts you may enjoy:

Thursday, 22 March 2012

My Teen Years 2 - About A Boy

I sat in the hallway of my old high school on a bench beside a window, reading a huge book of poems by Bob Dylan I'd borrowed from the library.

Although I was enjoying the book, the real reason I was on that bench was in hopes of catching a glimpse of this guy I liked.

I was in love with a boy who didn't love me.

(There's a song here by Cheap Trick)

Oh, we were friends - partners in crime even.  We hung out together sometimes, but other times he avoided me and I knew it.

I had boyfriends, some good, some bad, but none of them stuck.  All through high school, since I met him in grade 9, he was the one I really wanted.

He was cute, and cool, and he played guitar. 
He had a job and he had a car.
He was smart, creative, and witty, and he made me smile.

He came from the same kind of background as me
A rebel, a dysfunctional family
A mystery, a sinner, a friend, a heart-breaker with style.

I'm not feeling creative enough to rhyme the time he stole a pair of my jeans, nor about when he showed up blithering drunk at my parents' house late one night and I somehow swiped his black leather jacket.

Age 17, playing his guitar, at his house, picture taken by him.

We've kept in touch sporadically, running into each other here and there, and over the past few years even chatting the odd time on Facebook.  I still consider him a friend.  I've long ago gotten over the insane infatuation, of course, realizing that any guy who's going to ignore me isn't worth chasing, but at the time, in my wild and untrained youth, he was the only reason I stayed in school.

Foolishness of the past?  Or lesson learned?  I'm leaning towards lesson.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Can you relate?  Did you ever love someone who didn't love you?  Tell me about it - leave a comment!

From the heart,

If you like my writing, check out my other entries in the right hand column near the top of this page, and click "follow" on the top left of this page.

Related and semi-related posts:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Posting Pictures Can Be Perilous

Have you ever hesitated to post a picture of yourself on Facebook because you're not sure how it will be received by the audience?

Well, I never used to, but now I might.

I recently posted a picture on Facebook that turned into a bit of a controversy in my world.

It was this one:

I don't expect everyone to like my pictures, but it does seem sensible that mature adult friends would keep contumely comments to themselves, or if they really feel strongly about the offensive nature of my picture, address me privately about it in a respectful manner.

When all three comments I received on the photo were ones that led me to feel that the picture must have looked pretty bad, I felt hurt.

One comment was, "Woah, it ain't Halloween yet."

Another was, "Should we ask what happened?"

And the other was, "You look like you just drove down our road, lol." (From a friend who lives an hour from me where this time of year I assume has muddy/slushy roads).

I emailed my 18-year-old daughter and asked her to have a look and give me her opinion on whether or not the pictures were bad and should be removed.  She posted her comment on another picture, this one here:

Her words were:  "Mom you're hot. And I'm really your only facebook friend who matters so disregard the rest. :)"

My reply concerning that was, "Well, thank you. Coming from one as beautiful as you, I am highly complimented."

After a few days and still feeling troubled by the comments, I talked to my buddy, Shakira* (*names always changed in my blogging) about it.  She read them and also thought they were unnecessarily rude.

I tried to ignore the whole situation, but I felt what I felt, and whether or not the writers of the words intended to hurt me, I did feel violated.

So, I brought the picture to the top of my Facebook wall, stating that it had become controversial and I wondered if anyone else deemed it bad enough that I should delete it.

There were a lot of comments, none of them in the direction of suggesting I remove it, and most to the contrary, stating that the picture was good, even (gasp!) sexy.

Still, I was wallowing in freshly re-wounded emotions, and I couldn't help but hear a little of the "yeah, y'all are just saying that coz you're nice" tune playing in my head.

I've come a long way from the down-on-myself person I was before leaving the abusive ex, but having been triggered by a few less than positive comments, I realize I still have a way to go in my healing.

Even before my 18 year prison sentence with the ex, I dealt with negativity about the way I look.  In my first few years of elementary school it wasn't so bad, being a young child living in East Vancouver where everyone was accepted in their uniqueness of various cultural backgrounds, but when I moved to a ritzy-rich suburb at the age of nine, where my carpenter father built us a house we couldn't possibly otherwise afford had it not been for his Serbian frugality and his construction skills, I was the target of bad attitudes from boys and girls alike.

Me and my sis, age 8 and 6, by my dad's old car.  (I covered her face as she gets mad when I post pictures of her.)

I was tall, skinny, unfashionably dressed, the class "spock" (what they negatively called academically smart kids back then), a girly-girl who hated sports, and my hair was a mess.

I was an extremely shy kid, to boot, so I didn't do anything to stop the onslaught of taunts.

And I believed them, too.   

Age 10, by my old pool

Age 11 with some of my bunnies.

Age 12 (my dad sometimes gave us kids a beer to share).

I really thought I was the worst sight to have insulted the face of the planet.

Looking at the above photos, I see I was actually a cute kid.

But in those years, I was persuaded by the perception of fellow immature brats to believe otherwise.

So, with that mind twisting as a basis, hearing words to the effect of "you're ugly" and a near complete absence of anything resembling "you're beautiful", for 18 years from the man who was supposedly my partner, my bad attitude about my appearance was reinforced.

Then the comments on Facebook showed up, and the ghosts of insecurity and self deprecation were evoked, and I was once again the shy child, afraid to show her face, needing to hide behind something.

Behind what?

Behind whom?

The spiritual side of me wants to say, "I hid behind God," but in my state of emotional time travel to when I was "the ugly girl", I didn't even think of that.

The truth is, though, I'm already hidden in Him -- buried in His love so deep, the darts of human words cannot change who I am eternally - His child - but there remains the fact that I am on this temporal and fallen planet and thus am still prone to pain.

Some positives about which I remind myself:

-I've finally got my hair grown to a length I've always wanted.

-I've taken care to keep my weight at a healthy level and get back in shape through working out after all seven pregnancies.  It was a lot of hard work and I think I've done an acceptable job of it.

-I've got seven beautiful children and if they look anything like me - which they do - I MUST look good. 

Me and my three oldest daughters in various states of weirdness, January 2012, Vancouver Planetarium, waiting to get into Pink Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon" for one of the final showings of Skylights.

-For the most part, I'm confident to be photographed and to publish many of my pictures.

-I have a man who thinks I'm the most lovely thing that has graced the face of this planet, who almost daily calls me "Beautiful", "Gorgeous", and other sweet names, and that sure helps.

-I can put on makeup to cover up and/or enhance - like this:

Left:  Before, without makeup.     Right:  After, with makeup done on Taaz makeover site.

I need to focus on the positives and let my confidence grow back to where it should be.

Still, it only takes a little arsenic in a heap of otherwise healthy food in order to kill a rat, and it's hard to keep up the positivity when triggers happen.

I wonder if anyone is even going to read this.

I wonder if anyone can relate in the least.

Were you ever put down and picked on in your childhood?  Does it still linger in the shadows of your mind and resurface when unsuspecting people inadvertently say something that triggers you?  I'd like to hear about it.  That's what the comment box is for.

(The writer in me is now cringing that I ended a sentence with a preposition, but sometimes I just have to let it slide and say, "Shaddap, little voice in my head!"  And while I'm yelling at voices in my head, I'm also gonna tell that other one that's saying "you're so ugly" to shaddap.  OK?  SHADDAP!)

I feel a little better now.

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

(Sammy Kershaw song here)

With love,

Related blog entries: 

Monday, 19 March 2012

My Attempted Weekend Getaway

I'd been threatening/scheming to do this for months, and it finally came to pass.


As a mom of seven, working from home doing medical transcription, home schooling my seven-year-old son, and trying to write a book, you might imagine I'm a tad overwhelmed at times.

For my 45th birthday a couple months ago, Sweet Man wanted to send me away to a resort.

No, not to get rid of me!  He just knows how badly I need a break.

But he couldn't figure out how to arrange it.

No problem - I arranged it myself.

I live in a beautiful part of British Columbia (what part of BC isn't beautiful?  Okay, maybe Surrey... and Port Coquitlam... and I hear Prince George is kinda "meh"... but other than that?*) where there are lots of hunting and fishing lodges, motels, bed & breakfasts, and resorts from which to choose.

I ended up settling on one that's a five minute drive from home, with reservations for two nights and plans to work on my book.

On Friday afternoon, I headed out at 3:15 p.m. to my destination.

By 4:00, I had everything set up in my room.

Half of my resort hotel room.

By 5:00, I admitted to myself how lonely I felt.

By 8:00, I decided there was no way I was staying past checkout the next morning.

I had called home to say goodnight to my kids.  The youngest, my little three-year-old princess, was sobbing her heart out, "Mama!  I want you!  I want you!"

I tried to console her, saying, "Daddy's there.  He can hug you."

"No, I want YOU, Mama! (Sob, sob, sob, sniff, sniff...)  I want you home right nowwwww....  Mamaaaaaaaaaa..."

My four-year-old son admonished me, trying to sound so grown up, "Mommy, you shouldn't be there alone.  You should have a friend with you."

My seven-year-old son said, "I miss you so, so, so, so much, Mom."

I guess I'm too young to be going anywhere alone overnight yet.

But I tried.  I really did.  When I first got there, after hauling in my stuff, I set up my computer and logged on to Skype in hopes of catching one of my daughters online.  Immediately my buddy Shakira* (as always in my blogging, I use altered names) saw me and we had a chat.  I rarely get to chat with anyone anymore, so that was nice.

I'd failed to pack my ergonomic keyboard, thinking I'd just "rough it" with my notebook, but found it too frustrating to type much that way, and I didn't feel at all motivated to work on my book.

I fell asleep on one of the beds while the sun was getting low in the sky and woke up to the dim light of dusk.

I brought my computer into the bathroom, set up a few Led Zeppelin songs on a YouTube playlist, and proceeded to fill the tub with water.

Dang it, I'd forgotten to pack candles.  I turned out the bathroom light, leaving the door open and allowing the hall light to gently illuminate the room.  Not quite the same as my usual candle-lit baths, but it sufficed.

In the cozy white robe provided by the resort, I lounged on the bed, reading Facebook updates, listening to music, and phoning home.

Why, yes, that IS a Coleman cooler on the bed behind me.

Should've brought my ergonomic keyboard.  I was tempted to drive home and get it so I could properly work on my book, but I figured why bother - I really didn't want to be there anymore anyway.

I took a few pictures, sent some to Sweet Man via computer, called home and talked to Sweet Man some more, ate some rice, ate some date rolls, ate some rice crackers, drank some decaf, bla bla bla'd on Facebook, then got silly:  time to make music videos.

Here's one I made:

Here's a link for the blog entry containing the other one I made.

Enough of that.

Prior to having left home, I'd told my almost-15-year-old daughter about the fact that I couldn't get a view room, so she offered to draw me some pictures to help liven up what I'd see.

And she did just that, with crayons from her little siblings, while I spent the next 20 minutes loading a program onto my 18-year-old daughter's computer.

Here they are:

Person at a beach, wearing bikini.  That thing in the water is someone wind surfing.

Farm scene.  Those yellow things are corn growing - without husks. (She has a crazy sense of humor!)

A city night scene.

Skiers skiing and some riding the chair lift.

I forgot to bring tape, so wasn't able to stick them to my window as I'd intended.  I did, however, place them in a prominent spot on the spare bed, and smiled whenever I saw them.

In the morning, after waking a few times from weird dreams (really weird, even scary, dreams - for example, in one, I dreamed that I was in the hotel bed and opened my eyes just enough to see what I presumed to be a homeless man with long, unkempt hair, crawl out from a hole in the back of the closet.  He was naked, but thankfully I didn't see anything meant to remain private.  I lay as still as possible, hoping he'd not see me.  He sneaked to the bathroom, then crawled back into the hole.), I got up, made the caffeinated coffee that was provided by the resort, had a cup of it with the stevia and soy milk I'd brought, and poked around on Facebook and in my blog.

A bit of packing, a bit of hauling stuff to my truck, and then, the best part:  I left!

Although it wasn't the weekend of relaxation and writing I envisioned it would be, I don't regret having gone, because it did give me the perspective I needed in order to better appreciate what I have.

Here is what I jotted down in a notebook before driving away:

After checking out at the main lodge, I became aware I was walking too fast.

I usually do walk fast - always in a hurry in my high-speed life.

I said to myself, "Slow down".

I forced my muscles to back off, and I took slow, sauntering steps, enjoying the sound of my Baffin boots hitting the wooden walkway, a bird singing "hee-hoo" every few beats, and I smiled inwardly over the metaphor I was experiencing.

Walking slowly.

Taking the time to notice and appreciate the little things I might miss when moving in fast forward.

Missing my kids.

They're little, but they're huge, and I can't afford to let life go by so quickly that I miss out on one precious note of their sweet song.

With love,

If you like my writing, please comment, 
and please subscribe by clicking "follow" on the top left of this page.

*No offense meant to those who dwell in Surrey, Port Coquitlam, or Prince George!  :) 

The original hair silliness video:  Long Hair Going Crazy Video - Blondie
Another random post:  Why Does Sheep Happen To Me?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Long Hair Video #2 - Gonna Getcha

Well, here I've gone again and made another silly hair video.

I love it when fellow members of the long hair message boards post photos and videos showing off their hair.  Finally, I can do it, too.

For years, my hair wouldn't grow.  Now it grows like weed, and I'm not even a smoker.

So... here you go,  a little silliness to make you laugh and/or realize, "Hey, I'm not so weird - look at HER."

(I chose another Blondie song coz it was after midnight, I was tired, and wanted one to which I knew all the words.  I've loved the music of Blondie since I was about 12, so this one's a no-brainer for me.)

Leave me a comment to let me know you were here, even if it's to say, "Yeah, you're a strange one."  :)

PS:  This was intentionally crappy quality on a crappy built-in webcam.  I have a real digital video camera I could use if I were to make a more "serious" copy of this, and also there is a video feature I've not yet tried on my Canon T3i.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Are You Highly Sensitive?

  • Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
  • Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
  • Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
  • Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
  • Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
  • Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
  • Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
  • When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?

(The above list copied from this web page.)

The author, Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D, says the above are some characteristic behaviors of a Highly Sensitive Person.  I've read similar stuff over the years and it always resonates with me.

Sometimes I wonder, though, how common is it?

Are you like that to any degree?  Comment and let me know yay or nay.

Here's a song by Jewel, on sensitivity...

    Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

    Added March 23, 2012:  Here is a link for a Psychology Today article by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D, entitled Time Magazine:  "The Power of (Shyness)" and High Sensitivity, from Time Magazine


    Dig my writing?  There's lots more listed chronologically in the right hand column on this page.  And you can subscribe by clicking on the "follow" button at the top of the page.

    Here are a few quick picks:

    Thursday, 15 March 2012

    How Bloggers Make Money

    I used to ignore internet ads.

    Now when I see them on the blogs of others, IF they interest me, I will click on them, because I know the blogger will get a bit of money as a result.

    I had no idea about that until I monetized my own blog ("monetizing" is what they call it when you take on advertisements in your blog).

    There are rules against clicking on the ads on one's own blog, however.  The advertising companies can trace who is clicking, and if it is found out that the blog owner is clicking their own ads, that blogger will be banned from having ads on their site.

    Likewise, if unusual activity is traced back to certain people immediately clicking without spending any amount of time on the blog presumably reading, the blogger is flagged and will be watched, upon very real threat of losing their advertisers.

    Advertisers count on us to learn about their product or service by clicking on their ads in hopes that we will help their sales increase.

    So, if an ad interests you, click on it.  Read what you see.  Buy if it is what you need.  You'll be supporting the advertiser as well as the blogger.

    You might even be quizzed on the content if someday you're on Jeopardy, and thereby make some money for yourself, too.

    Here's 34 seconds worth of Jeopardy "think music" for you.  Enjoy!

    Got a blog yourself that you want to monetize?  Got questions?  Please comment!

    Monday, 12 March 2012

    Alone In This World

    Alone In This World - © Steeny Lou 2012

    When my so carefully wrapped and tied-up life
    Becomes unfurled
    There is no one I can tell
    Coz I'm alone in this world

    You might think I have someone who cares,
    Who'll listen to all my pain
    But no one can do anything to make me whole again
    Coz I'm alone in this world

    I'm still here to hear your woes
    And help you bear your weight
    But when trouble comes to me, I'm left alone - Who can relate?
    I'm so alone in this world

    How nice it is for you to have me
    To listen to your stress
    But I'm the only one I've got to care about my mess
    Coz I'm alone in this world

    I wish I had a friend
    Who'd listen to my anguished cry
    But all I have is me until the empty day I die
    Coz I'm alone in this world

    I try to reach for help
    But all my strength gets me nowhere
    I'm strong, they say, I'll make it through, but I still feel despair
    Coz I'm alone in this world

    I do believe that God is there,
    Where I would rather be
    But here on earth alone I walk with nobody but me
    Coz I'm alone in this world

    I wish all of us lonely souls
    Could all join hands and pray
    And talk about the things that make our days seem dead and grey
    While we're alone in this world

    But we're so wrapped up in our pain
    And blocked from caring eyes
    We cannot find each other til alone one of us dies
    No more alone in this world

    I anticipate a day when life
    Will truly be alive
    When death is dead and time is gone, and love and peace will thrive
    No more alone in this world

    Until that day I pray and pine
    And wait and sleep and die
    And hope someone on earth will say, "Your heart is in my eye,
    You're not alone in this world.

    "I care what happens to you,
    And I want to hear it all
    I'm listening like you do, I am breaking down your wall
    Don't be alone in this world."

    If I can be like that, then surely someone else can too
    Perhaps I've not yet met them
    Or perhaps they're really you
    Are you alone in this world?

    Are you trapped within yourself
    You feel nobody cares?
    Are you waiting for a friend who has the tools for heart repairs
    While you're alone in this world?

    I say again...

    If I can be like that, then surely someone else can too
    Perhaps I've not yet met them
    Or perhaps they're really you
    Are you alone in this world?

    (I have some ideas as to how I want the music to sound.  I'm thinking two voices - male and female - harmony.  Now I just need a musician or two.  My guitar is broken and no money to fix it/buy another one anytime soon.  Contact me by leaving a comment if interested.  If you prefer your comment to not be public, if it includes contact info, let me know.)

    (Music video here, of the musical instrument style I have in mind-ish.  If receiving by email, click title line above to get to the blog.)

    Anyone who's ever had a heart...

     And I am not 100% happy about my first verse... it doesn't flow properly meter-wise, so I might change it eventually.

    If you like my writing, check out my other entries, and click "follow" on the top left of this page.

    Wednesday, 7 March 2012

    According To Him I'm Beautiful

    When I first heard this song, I was sitting in the mall in Williams Lake, BC, hearing it over the speakers of the jeans store in front of me.

    I jotted down the gist of the lyrics so I could look it up at home.

    The way it speaks of my past and my present is tres applicable.

    Are you with someone who hates you like that?  If so, I hope you leave their sorry butt sooner than later!

    I used to be, according to him who loses out in the song, stupid, useless, couldn't do anything right.

    Now, according to him who has won my heart, I'm funny, irresistible, everything he ever wanted.

    But I'm still the same ol' me.

    Even if I didn't have anyone who thinks good or ill of me, I'm okay with me.

    Do you have someone here on earth who adores you like that?  It's nice to have, but if you don't, be sure YOU love you, okay?

    And I'm gonna whisper something else here, in case you don't already know - GOD loves you.  According to Him, you're everything He ever wanted.

    You ARE.

    He DIED for you.

    That's love.

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
    John 3:16

    Agree?  Disagree?  Got questions?  Got milk?  Got something on your mind that has nothing to do with this blog entry?  Fill in that comment box below and say away!  We bloggers love to get comments, even from anonymice (plural of anonymous).

    If you like my writing, check out my other entries, and click "follow" on the top left of this page.

    Tuesday, 6 March 2012

    Giving Birth ALONE By Choice

    Chapter 1 - The Beginning

    I had my seventh baby by myself.

    "By yourself?" you might ask.

    "You mean as opposed to without a doctor, like with a midwife?"

    No, by myself.

    "Oh, so you were in the hospital and the doctor didn't get to you before you pushed the baby out."

    No, I mean I did it BY MYSELF, right here at home.

    "Come on.  You're crazy!"

    Unassisted childbirth - not crazy, not brave, just educated.

    Why would I entertain such a thought as to plan an unassisted home birth?

    Typical highway scene around here in winter

    Well, winter in the Cariboo region of British Columbia was my original motivator, our highways looking something like this in February:

    Also, our local hospital, which has two maternity beds, was sending all but emergency births to the town an hour away.

    I did not want to be on a snowy highway for an hour in labour!

    Chapter 2 - Discovery

    Childbirth did not become a hospitalized event until only the past few generations. Prior to that, all throughout history, home birth was the norm.

    In late December, 2008, when I was seven months pregnant with my seventh baby, still in the mindset that childbirth was not something a woman could do on her own, I posted the following on a message board for moms:

    My last baby (sixth) was born after a total of two hours and fifty minutes of labor.  My next baby is due in less than two months (late Feb or early March 2009).

    I'm concerned I might not make it to the hospital.  Last time, my water broke, within five minutes I could barely walk, and I was about 6 cm dilated by the time I got to the hospital less than half an hour later.

    I live in a small community.  The nearest midwife is a 2-1/2 hour drive away in good weather, but at that time of year it means snow-covered mountain highways.

    We do have 911 service.  I wonder if I were to call them, if someone would come out and help me with the birth.  I don't know if it's okay to call them in advance here and ask if they would do that, as I think that service is only supposed to be dialed during an actual emergency, so I'm not sure how to find out.  Anyone know?

    Who else might I call if it comes down to it that it feels like this baby is going to be born really fast?

    What kinds of things should I have prepared in case it happens?  I mean, I don't want to destroy our bed's down comforter and the few sheets we own.  What can I have ready for protecting the bedding, carpeting, etc, from all the blood and gore that always comes out while I'm in the birth process?

    I've always dearly wished to have a home birth anyway, but never had a midwife close by so it's always been in hospitals.

    The following reply set me off on a journey of learning that changed the way I think about childbirth:

    Perhaps you should prepare yourself and your husband so you feel confident enough to not have to ‘call someone’.”

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    * 

    Chapter 3 - Learning

    I started to look into the possibility of having this baby at home.
    I became increasingly fascinated and excited by the idea of a planned, unassisted, home birth.

    When I asked Sweet Man what he thought of doing a home birth, his enthusiasm surpassed my own.

    Like he said after the last two hospital births, "We could have done that ourselves at home."

    Over the next two months I read everything I could find on the subject - books and websites about childbirth, birth stories of those who have had unassisted home births, asking questions on message boards of those who have experienced it – until I was saturated with confidence that I, too, could do what millions of women throughout history have already done - have a baby at home without medical intervention, or as I would soon consider it, medical interruption.

    The biggest teachers for me were, in no particular order:

    1. The Kamloops, BC midwife with whom I had talked on the phone and via email a few times.  She had sent me some helpful documents on preparation for a home birth.
    2.  The book "Ina May's Guide To Childbirth", by Ina May Gaskin.
    3.  The book "Hypnobirthing" by Marie Mongan.
    4.  Laura Shanley's website "Bornfree!" and her discussion forums.
    5.  The message boards at Gentle Christian Mothers.
    6. The book "Wise Woman Herbal For The Childbearing Year" by Susun S. Weed (a book I'd read and loved with every one of my pregnancies).
    7. Various library books on natural childbirth.

    Although some women choose to avoid all medical involvement, even foregoing prenatal visits, I continued to go for those, but didn't tell my doctor I was planning to have a home birth.

    I didn't want any discouragement, as I had read about many doctors frowning on home birth, especially unassisted ones.

    I also went for ultrasounds to make sure the baby was in no obvious distress.
    I had a doula on standby a few blocks away if I needed her, and a friend who was a doula with whom I had talked a lot about my plans for a home birth.

    My due date (aka “guess date”) for my seventh baby was February 26, 2009.

    First thing in the morning after being gone for a weekend, messy kitchen and all, 8 months pregnant with Baby Girl (don't laugh!  those are my Hanna Andersson long-johns, super comfy for pregnancy, and my Ben & Jerry's tie-dye)

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    * 

    Chapter 4  - Beginning Of The End

    Day 1 – evening of Wed February 25, 2009

    On the evening of February 25, my 15-year-old daughter, CJ, headed downstairs and said, “I’m going to bed, Mom. G’night.”

    I had just typed my last medical report for the night, shutting down a bit early as I'd been so sore for the previous few weeks.

    Sitting and typing was incredibly hard on my lower back, shoulders, neck, and arms.

    Plus I had symphysis pubis dysfunction, resulting in me getting a temporary parking permit for disabled people.

    I could barely walk, and the doctor said I could even get a wheelchair if I wanted. Too many stairs in my house to bother with it, though, so I just took it slow.

    One thing on the plus side was that I'd been going to the chiropractor once a week. The adjustments did relieve the pain a little, and I was told it would also be good for making the birth process easier.

    So on that evening of February 25, just after I finished typing my last doctor’s report for the evening, I thought I felt a trickle of water leak out of me.

    I got up and went to the bathroom and a lot of water gushed out.

    I went back to our home office where Sweet Man was at his computer and told him, “My water just broke!”

    As usual when I say such things, I kept my voice and facial expression calm so as not to worry Sweet Man, but inside I was hyper with anticipation.

    I said, "Maybe we should get the birth pool up here."

    So Sweet Man went to the basement and brought it up.   We’d already inflated it for a "dry run" a few nights earlier, using the vacuum cleaner in reverse and a little plastic cone-shaped attachment that fits in the air hole of the pool. I was surprised at how quickly it filled with air, taking only five minutes.

    Sweet Man hooked up the hose to the kitchen tap (I'd learned that regular garden hoses can allow lead and other contaminants into the water, so I'd previously purchased a drinking-water-safe hose for $20).

    The tub was ready for me to get in.

    But I wasn’t ready.

    I was assuming this labour would be as quick, if not quicker, than my last one.

    How wrong that assumption was!

    However, it worked out perfectly for what needed to happen.  I am amazed at the story and love telling it.

    Contractions were coming every eight to ten minutes, sometimes sooner, sometimes later.  I didn’t have a digital watch to time them as accurately as I had in the past, but this time it didn’t matter to me as I wasn’t planning on going to the hospital.

    I brought out the blue and white waterproof pads I'd bought at the local drug store for the birth, and placed one on a reclining seat in our L-shaped couch before sitting down to relax through my contractions.

    Sweet Man brought a strawberry-scented candle in from the kitchen and placed it on the coffee table in front of me.

    I had my camcorder in hand and was filming a bit, giving some commentary on how things were going, but not much was showing up visually in the candle-lit room.

    A few times I got up to use the bathroom, and to go read more about unassisted childbirth on my computer, down the two steps in the sunken part of our living room which is our office.

    I posted updates on a few childbirth-related message boards about the fact that my water had broken, and did some re-reading on meconium staining, as I'd noticed the amniotic fluid was yellowish and had a smell that was slightly “off”, kind of like shrimp chips.

    I'd previously read some stories where there was serious meconium in the amniotic fluid and yet the mothers delivered babies without problems, so I wasn’t alarmed by what I was experiencing:  I remember my third baby, born in a hospital, was born after meconium staining, and she was fine, although the medical staff made it seem like a scary situation. I found in my online research that light meconium staining is not a big deal.

    By around 2:30 a.m., my contractions were slowing down and I was very tired, so I fell asleep on the couch's recliner while Sweet Man already snored on the other side of the L, next to me.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

    Chapter 5 -  Still Waiting

    Day 2 – Thursday February 26, 2009

    Around 7:00 a.m. I was awakened by my sister calling me on the phone, returning the call I'd given her the night before, where I left her a message about my water having broken.

    While I talked on the phone, CJ came up from her room.  She stood there looking from me to the pool, pointing wordlessly at it with a bewildered look on her face.

    She had not seen the pool prior to that point so it came as a confusing surprise to her.

    Oh, yeah, I hadn’t yet mentioned to her that I was planning an unassisted home water birth.

    I had been so hush-hush about who I told, not wanting to have negative feedback to discourage me, I just never got around to telling her.

    After hanging up the phone with my sister, I explained to CJ that my water broke the night before, and the pool was for me to use while in labour, to have a water birth here at home. She nodded in understanding and all was cool.

    I asked her, “Would you mind staying home from school today?  Your baby sister might be born in the next few hours.”

    We’d already discussed it days before, that she’d be here to watch my two littlest ones, who were then aged 18 months (J-Bird) and 4 years (C-Fish), in case I needed Sweet Man's assistance during the birth process.

    She was fine with that and stayed home for me.

    I ended up resting in bed for most of the day, with maybe one or two contractions per hour.

    Sweet Man was home, having been laid off work at the sawmill for a few months but still on call during that time period.  Between him and CJ, the little guys were kept occupied while I rested.

    Life went on as usual, albeit with much anticipation at the pending birth.

    Later that day, with five of my six kids (my oldest, who was 16 at the time, was living with one of my friends in another town for her schooling), we had CJ’s birthday cake while my labour was “in remission”. (Her birthday was February 23).

    I'd made the cake a couple days earlier – a chocolate swirl cheesecake topped generously with sliced fresh strawberries in strawberry glaze.

    My seven-year-old son, PJ, along with my then-11-year-old daughter, S-Girl, and I decided we would sing a different song to CJ, having sung “Happy Birthday To You” too many times to count over the years with all my kids.

    CJ gave us a weird look as we sang, “We wish you a merry Christmas… and a happy birthday!”

    (We’re a rather unconventional family).

    S-Girl’s school band concert was that evening, and she was so disappointed that I wasn’t able to go. With amniotic fluid leaking out of me onto a folded waterproof pad beneath my dark-green-and-floral hippy-skirt, contractions starting and stopping at random, I wasn’t very mobile nor up for public events.

    I loaned CJ my camcorder and she filmed the whole thing, which made both S and me feel better about my inability to attend.

    We noticed the air had been leaking from the La Bassine* birthing pool.   (*Available here).

    The La Bassine birthing pool in my kitchen that night.
    Upon questioning our then 4-year-old son, we learned that he had poked holes in the inner walls with thumb tacks.

    Sweet Man and I were mortified.

    I had been looking so forward to having a water birth.

    We had spent so much money getting that birthing pool, having to cut corners to afford it, and now it seemed it would be all for naught.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

    Chapter 6 - Frustration
    Later that night, after CJ went to bed, my contractions started up again around 9:30.  The amniotic fluid that was leaking out of me was now clear with no odour.

    Sweet Man and I were so tired, and so stressed out, with the last straw being the holes in the pool, we ended up having our first and only real "fight" in all the years we've been together.

    As I'm writing this from my draft notes, in 2012, I cannot even remember the subject matter of the fight, other than that we were both using angry voices and neither of us were listening to the other's words.

    My contractions became less intense as the night wore on, but I was hoping they’d start up again if I relaxed in a bath.

    Still angry at each other, but calming down a little, around 3:30 in the morning, Sweet Man filled our Jacuzzi tub.

    I thought I might even have the baby in there.

    We both lounged sleepily in the water for at least half an hour.

    I brought a plastic bowl with me as I expected to be throwing up from the pain, as I had in the hospital births of the past.

    I had thrown up with all but one of my other kids (CJ).

    This one, however - thankfully! - would also be with no throwing up.
    I finally eased my entire body into the water, but found it to be way too hot for my comfort.

    I filled the plastic bowl with cold water and poured it into the water beside me.

    It felt so soothing to have the cold water slither down beneath me.

    The whole bath experience helped relieve some of the tension we had been feeling, and, as usual, I felt a little bit better physically when water was buoying my pregnant body.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

    Chapter 7 - It's About Time!

    Day three – Friday February 27

    CJ didn’t want to miss another day of school, so S-Girl stayed home to be of help for the little guys in case Sweet Man and I were wrapped up in birthing.
    By around noon, I decided I wanted to try castor oil.  Sweet Man and S-Girl went to town and bought me some.

    They also stopped at a pool store to pick up a patch kit.

    Sweet Man patched up the pin holes. Within a few hours, the pool was re-inflated and holding air nicely. It still leaked a little but it was a slow enough leak that Sweet man was able to keep it inflated with vacuum cleaner air.

    I only took a tiny bit of castor oil, never having been totally comfortable with the idea, even though it seemed to have worked with my last baby.  I'm not sure, though, if maybe J-Bird had just been ready to be born at that time, regardless of whether I'd ingested castor oil or not, and I'm also not sure if his relatively speedy birth was also to do with the castor oil or not.

    Later that evening, I was lying in bed, doing what I'd done many times over the prior weeks - reading Ina May's book, among other books on natural childbirth I'd borrowed from the library.

    My youngest kids had gone to bed, but CJ, S-Girl, and PJ were in the room below me, watching the movie Rocket Man.

    Contractions were starting to get serious.

    I sat up, holding onto the rails of the crib that was set up next to my bed, and breathed through my contractions.

    At 8:00 p.m., I called my homeopath and asked if she had anything on hand that would help ease the pain.

    Sweet Man drove to her house (she lives five minutes from us) and picked up some Arnica.

    At 8:30, I took some Arnica.

    Sweet Man had set up a crib mattress on the bedroom floor, with a red sheet on it, in case I was unable to make it down the stairs to the birthing pool in the kitchen.

    Alone in my room, I breathed through contractions, and then resumed reading my books.

    Occasionally the laughter of my kids could be heard through the floor below me, and I called them on the phone intercom, gently asking, "Can you guys please, please, please laugh quietly?  I'm in a lot of pain up here and trying to get through it."

    I love that movie and know how funny we all find it around here, so I hated to ask them to hush, but I had to.

    I was excited about the contractions increasing in intensity, and so very happy to be at home where I was most comfortable.

    I prayed and thanked God for the soon coming birth, asking Him for all the strength I would need, trusting Him that He would get me through it all, even thanking Him after contractions.

    I know some refer to them as "rushes" or "surges", or other more gentle and/or empowering words, but for simplicity (and because three years have passed since the birth and I cannot remember what I was calling them at the time) I am referring to them here as contractions.

    By 10:30 pm, I decided to go down the stairs to the birthing pool.

    First I put on the clothes I had chosen for the birth, as I did not want to be naked in front of my children.

    I wore a pretty little cotton T-shirt with fluttery short sleeves, and a loose pareo tied around my belly.

    PJ had gone to bed.  CJ had fallen asleep on the couch.  S-Girl was too excited to go to sleep and stayed up to help, being the cheerful little butterfly she's so good at being, lighting scented candles in the kitchen and keeping the mood relaxed.

    S-Girl was my 11-year-old surrogate doula. 

    Sweet Man and S-Girl helped me into the pool.

    That soft-walled pool and the warm water were heavenly on my aching, pregnant body.

    Apparently Sweet Man didn't catch every pin hole and we had a slow leak in the pool walls.  He topped it up with vacuum cleaner air and it was as cozy as could be.

    The pool water was going a little cold.  We'd used up the contents of our hot water tank to fill the pool, so Sweet Man and S-Girl filled stock pots with water and put them on the stove to heat up.

    Sweet Man and S-Girl sat on the floor near me, eating chocolate macaroons, waiting.

    S-Girl did a little bit of video recording of me in the pool.  Here's a clip:

    In this video clip, you can hear chipper little S-Girl talking about her step-dad hogging all the "markoons" (what she calls macaroons), and at the end you can hear me saying, "I think I feel one starting, " followed by my request for no more video recording as I said,  "Oooooh, turn it off."

    S-Girl and I noticed the clock turning to 11:11, and, as is customary for us, we said, "TIME!"

    At that point, I told S-Girl that she needed to get to bed, as I really needed to be alone.

    I knew things were getting serious, but tried to show only calm on the outside for my family's sake.

    S-Girl gave me a hug and went up to her room, which is right above the kitchen.

    Then I said to Sweet Man, "Is there anything else you might want to do?  There's nothing exciting happening here, and I really need to be alone.  I'll call you if anything happens."

    He went to watch some videos on his computer in the next room, leaving me alone.

    That was all it took.

    A few more contractions every few minutes and I knew my body was opening right up to let that baby out.

    No medical staff poking their fingers in me to measure me.  I could, and did, do that myself, and what I felt was the head of my little girl coming down the birth canal.

    Oh, yes, it hurt like mad, but it was exciting because I knew it was almost over.

    I let my body do what it had to do, welcoming the contraction and pushing down gently along with it.

    I called out to Sweet Man, "Crowning!"

    Later, S-Girl told me she heard me say that from upstairs.

    He ran to the kitchen.

    Another contraction or two, seeing in my mind's eye what was going on inside my birth canal, knowing my body was working the way it was meant to work, pushing along with what happened naturally, albeit agonizingly, one more push.... and she was out into the water!



    It was over.

    There she was, floating peacefully, not yet needing to breathe air.

    There in the candlelight, Sweet Man placed his hands gently around our little girl, carefully unwinding the cord, which was wrapped around her chest and her neck a few times, and then bringing her up to my waiting arms.

    Sweet Man ran up the stairs to tell S-Girl her little sister was born.

    S-Girl was already on her way out of the room to come down and see.

    I kissed Baby Girl's sweet little head over and over, whispering my thanks to God through waves of joy and relief, telling my baby, "I love you... oh, my sweet child, I love you.  I thank God for you."

    By the time I looked at the clock, it was a few minutes past midnight, so I figured Baby Girl was born at about 11:50 p.m. on Friday, February 27, 2009.

    Sweet Man handed me a red and white checkered tea-towel, which I dipped into the warm water and placed over her back, while her front was snuggled up against my chest and chin.  I kept swooping water over her back to keep her warm.

    We left the cord untouched until it stopped pulsing, and then some.  There was no hurry.

    There was a pair of brand new heavy-duty scissors sitting in a pot of boiling water, which Sweet Man removed and used for cutting the cord.

    CJ woke up shortly after Baby Girl was born, and with bleary eyes peered into the kitchen.

    "Your little sister's been born!" I said.

    "Oh, cool," she said, and stumbled off to bed.

    I don't know how long we sat in the pool.  When the water started cooling down, I took that as a hint to get out.

    Sweet Man helped me and Baby Girl out of the pool, wrapped Baby Girl in a clean towel, and helped me into my soft pink bath robe.  Then he helped me up the stairs to bed, where I lay down beside Baby Girl, trying to breast feed her.

    She took a little bit, but wasn't too interested.  She was content to lie beside me on the bed.

    I phoned my sister around 2:00 a.m. to let her know her new niece was born.

    After I got off the phone, I was getting a little concerned that the placenta still hadn't come out of me.

    Sweet Man was down in the kitchen, draining and cleaning the pool, and tidying up.

    When he came upstairs, it was perfect timing, as I had just sat up and was pushing the placenta out onto one of the blue absorbent pads on which I'd been lying.

    Sweet Man ran to get a garbage bag, into which he placed the placenta and absorbent pads, and took it to the garbage can outside.  Hey, it was well below freezing, so no worries about animals getting at the garbage that time of year.

    It was so sweet going to sleep that night, with Baby Girl between Mama and Daddy, right there at home.

    After sunrise in the morning, the rest of the kids started piling onto the bed to meet their brand new baby sister.  I was loving it, having six of my seven kids there with me while I lay back and relaxed.

    I called my oldest child, then 16, down at my friend's place, on the phone to announce the birth to her, and called a few other friends as well.

    The rest of the day I lay in bed with Baby Girl, getting up only to use the bathroom.

    Sweet Man brought me taquitos in bed, as well as water, tea, and juice.

    The day after that, Sunday, I came downstairs with Baby Girl, and by Monday I started work again.

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

    Chapter 8 - Done

    Also on Monday, we went to the doctor to have Baby Girl weighed and measured, which was right in the average range for all my babies around 7-1/2 lbs and 20 inches long.

    When I told the doctor we had her at home, unassisted, by choice, I expected chiding, but instead was surprised at his happiness and support.

    Baby Girl, in my bed, 2 hours old

    (Sorry I don't have more - or better (LOL, mo' good'r) - baby pictures.
    The camera I was using at the time was a video cam with
    the still-shot feature, and this one was taken with night-vision 
    as it was dark in the room.)

    Among other encouraging words, he said, "And you've saved the medical system thousands of dollars by doing this yourself!"

    I wish I would have had all seven of my children at home, had I known what a blessedly wonderful experience it was going to be!

    Baby Girl, 14 months old, in April 2010, with me (age 43 here)

    September 2011 (age 2-1/2), taken with my new Canon T3i camera
    She's a natural born model, always saying, "Take picture of me?"  :)


    January 2012, almost 3 years old

    In a future blog, I will share my journey on how I got back into shape after this birth.

    UPDATE (March 28, 2012).  
    Here is one part of that journey -  30 Days On The Shred

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