Thursday, October 13, 2011

Career Motherhood

Today dawned with yet another rejection of my writing, this time by British publishing house Mills & Boon.  I entered their "New Voices" writing contest last month.  They chose 21 pieces out of 1090 entries and I'm not one of them.

I probably should have known I wasn't going to make entry only had 21 comments on it and a reader rating of 56%.  Still, I worked really hard and was hoping my writing would turn some heads.  Of course it didn't.  Why did I let myself think that it could?

You know why?  Because 16 years of school told me I was talented.  Award-winning, speech-making, newspaper-article talented.  But the second I graduated from college I started to fail. 

Sixty job rejections my first year in the "real world."  All sorts of writing...magazine pieces, children's books, news stories and romance novels...rejected.  Marketing proposals, advertising pitches, radio spots...rejected, rejected, rejected.  And I haven't even started to count the number of times my broadcast news resume (my tape) went unnoticed.

So here I am: pregnant, unemployed and continually shunned from working society.  And all I can think about is spending the rest of my life raising kids, making dinner and doing laundry.  I hate myself for being depressed at that idea, as keeping a home is something to be proud of, but I always imagined something more for myself.  Is that because of some societal brainwashing?  If this was 1949 would I revel in housework and caring for my husband and children?  And since it's 2011, I've been raised to think myself a failure if I can't have a career and a family at the same time.

I came across an article today about a "mommy's salary" proposal in South Africa.  Basically a successful female businesswoman wants stay-at-home moms to get 10% of their husband's salary in order to translate how important raising kids is (because the only way human beings appreciate anything is if it makes money). 

So I guess I'm not totally crazy at imagining 18 years of thankless sacrifice as a mother minus a career.  But it's not like I can share that with anyone but the four people who read this blog.  Because you know what happens when you say that to stay-at-home moms?  They rip your head off.  Do you know what happens when you say that to career women?  They pat you on the head and look at you with insufferable pity.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Twilight Saga

So I have now officially read all of the books in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.  You know, the ones Hollywood made the movies out of starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (who I kind of have a crush on, poor boy).

I did not read the books right when they came out...I skipped right over teen stuff and into the realm of adult novels around the age of 12.  And when it came to vampire books, I was always more canon-oriented...Anne Rice, that sort of thing.  And of course, Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who never strayed very far from pre-conceived vampire myths. 

But My Husband was gone one of these past weeks and I was feeling lonely and romantic, so I Netflixed Twilight.  I did not like it very much...Kristen Stewart's Bella stumbled through the movie bewildered and Robert Pattinson's Edward attempt at struggling with his conscience came across as constipated.  So I told my little sister, Sarah, a HUGE Twilight fan, about my reaction and she suggested the books were much better.  Considering Sarah has probably read ten books cover to cover in her entire 24 years, I gave it a shot.

I started with #3, Eclipse and immediately proceeded to #4, Breaking Dawn.  Then I read the 12 online chapters of Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edward's perspective), then Twilight and finally #2 New Moon.  In case you were wondering, each novel took me less than 24 hours.  Reading comprehension has always been one of my strengths.

My opinion is, of course, tempered by all my previous experiences with vampire literature.  I felt Stephenie Meyer strayed a bit too far from canon...mostly concerning how we are all pretty much alive at a vampire's discretion and there is absolutely nothing one can do to defend oneself if under attack.  Obviously I agree vampires are stronger, swifter and more silent than human beings but the complete lack of weaknesses (no stakes?  no sun?) makes them more godlike than I am used to.  I hate the idea of there being no hope unless some other magical creature comes to my rescue or the vampires have decided to abstain from human blood.

I appreciated the utter romance of Bella and Edward's relationship but could never get over her seemingly callous treatment of Jacob.  Considering My Husband's looks, temperament and build, I'd assume I'm more of a werewolf girl at heart anyway.  Sarah thought I'd be 100% behind Edward and Bella no matter what (I have a reputation as a romantic), but there were a number of points I wished she'd just shut up about it and go with Jacob.  Especially after Edward abandoned her (New Moon) and didn't pay nearly enough to get Bella to take him back.

Don't misunderstand me.  My love for My Husband is epic.  But if he left me for 8 months, telling me he didn't love me anymore and then came back after I prevented him from committing don't even KNOW how I would make him pay.  I love him with my whole heart, and if he broke it I may require the breaking of his bones to cover the debt.  Then I'd forgive him.  Pain for pain.

Still, no one writes more romantic men than women.  I wonder if it's because we know exactly what we want to hear?  I mean, some of the words to come out of Edward's mouth were enough to melt all my insides.  Maybe that's what Meyer's plan was...Edward, with his cold skin and gentlemanly, from-another-era manners, represents the platonic, old school aspect of love.  And Jacob's husky voice, high temperature and warm body equates the lust Bella can't have with Edward until she's his equal.  Still, Jacob's devotion to her was painful.

I don't understand why she didn't just say, "I've imprinted on Edward, and we are soul mates.  I love you as a friend and as a brother but I will never, EVER feel the way about you that you feel for me."  You know?  It was so Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot I could have puked.

Of course, I was lucky enough to convince one man to fall in love with me, so I've never had the patience for girls who inspire that kind of genuine commitment from multiple suitors. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No Questions Asked

This Saturday is the annual fall festival here on post, so our Squadron is taking the opportunity to do a little fundraising.  Occasionally Squadron does...euphemism alert!...ask for FRG volunteers to help out.  And since no one likes to give up a Saturday playing bitch to Squadron except Squadron people, said volunteering is generally done by the FRG leader (  And because we're selling food, I had to take a food handler's course and quiz and get a card signed by someone at the Public Health Building (which is not a real building, but a trailer) on post.

My experience at the Public Health Building was very odd.  I walked in and there were three men sitting at a table watching the they were the American Idol judges or something.  I said, "I'm here to get my food service card," and one got up and asked for my quiz results.  He then told me to hold out my hands (which I did) poured a white powder from a can onto them and told my to rub it into my skin (which I also did).

Then he told me to go to the bathroom and wash my hands.  When I returned he had me hold them under some kind of violently purple machine (it looked like those fancy hand dryers that whip all the water off your hands in a curtain of air).  The machine connected to a camera, showing my hands to the other two men.  He asked me to flip them over.  Then he said, "Very good," and gave me my card.

I must have had a look on my face because another man hurriedly got up to explain the process...the powder is called "Glitterbug" and glows under the purple machine if you don't wash your hands properly.  I said, "Wow, how CSI of you guys," and left.

As soon as I got back in the car, I thought about how stupid it was to let three men I'd never seen before put powder all over my hands without asking what it was.  I get it was, like, a little test but I should have tried to ask what was going on. 

Are all human beings this conditioned to take orders from people who simply appear like they know what they're doing?

There have been an number of experiments to explore this...most notably the Milgram Experiment at Yale in the early 1960s.  Stanley Milgram, a sociologist, wanted to see how far people would take orders from a man acting as a scientist...his goal was to see if the Holocaust was more of a mob mentality than anything else. 

One person would be "strapped" to an electroshock machine in a separate room (after telling everyone he had a heart condition) and one person (the REAL guinea pig) would "control" the shocks.  The guinea pig asked the guy strapped to the machine questions and if he got them wrong would "shock" him, the voltage rising each time.  No actual shocks were ever administered, except one small one to the guinea pig to show what the shocks felt like.

There were recorded sounds of someone shouting, then screaming if the "shocks" persisted.  The person strapped to the machine would bang on the wall and yell about his heart condition; all the while the "scientist" was encouraging and then ordering the guinea pig to continue administering the shocks.  Finally, there were no sounds coming from the other room.

Before the experiment, Milgram polled psychology students about how many people he'd study would administer the highest 450 volt shock (that's 30 incorrect questions and can be a lethal dose of electricity), and they estimated less than 2%.  After the experiment finished, a total of 65% of participants rendered the 450 volt shock, even if they said they were uncomfortable doing so.

No one, not even the people who refused to administer the high-voltage shocks, demanded the experiment be terminated or insisted on checking on the health of the other "participant."

Of course, this experiment raised a lot of questions as to ethics in human experimentation and the what information is mandatory when participating.  Many people experienced PTSD, knowing they were willing to shock someone "to death" because they were told to do so.

When we discussed this experiment in my Psychology 101 seminar in college, I knew I'd be the one to refuse shocking the other person, to question the experiment and to demand to check on the health of the one I was shocking. 

But there I was today, letting some guy in ACUs pour white powder all over my hands and not even considering what it could do to my unborn baby.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Travel

Seriously, I may cry.

I'm attempting to book flights for My Husband and I to visit my family this Thanksgiving (his family gets Christmas this year).  Of course he doesn't get the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off, so I'm trying to book after 5pm since the closest airport is 2 hours away and return at some point on Sunday the 27th.  Can I do this for under $1000?  I think not.  I may not be able to do this at all.

It's just so unfair.  What gives the airlines the right to jack up their prices not only on holidays, but on the 10 days surrounding those holidays?!  It's bad enough I'm 1500 miles from my family, most of whom I haven't seen since Christmas, but in order to visit them for a measly 4 days I have to take out a freaking bank loan to pay for it.

If I drive, I have to do it on my own since My Husband doesn't have enough time off to make the two-day trek.  And of course every girl wants to be alone on a dark road in the middle of nowhere 5 months pregnant with her first child.

Sidenote: it's military policy that one cannot use one's vacation time in addition to authorized block leave.  So if My Husband were to request Wednesday off as one of his built up vacation days, he'd be required to take the rest of the holiday weekend from his time as well.  So we have the "choice" of using 0 vacation days or 5.

And even my "in" with Southwest is getting me free flight, courtesy of the amount of money I spend on my Southwest Visa Rewards Card, isn't valid for travel during the week of Thanksgiving.  I had to use it on our Christmas flights (which I booked and still cost us $600 with my airtime being free).


I hate this.  I hate it.  Why does air travel have to cost me a month and a half's rent?  Because the airlines made some shitty deal with the oil companies when oil was $200 a barrel and now that it's way down they're still paying?  Don't even get me started on the oil companies. 

Of course I could forgo Southwest and pay the $100 round-trip bag fee on any other airline.  I could ship our luggage to my parent's house, but the Postal Service may fold before it got there.

So here's my $1500...for a flight with at least one stop in the middle, getting felt up by security, a plane that won't leave or arrive on time and is more than likely overbooked, with a pilot who's on Facebook while flying, no food or drinks for free and a two-hour trek home after we land. Sign me the fuck up.

I'm so very unhappy with this situation.  If I wasn't so stuck on spending THE ENTIRE CHRISTMAS holiday with my family next year instead of splitting it in half like last year and freaking having second Christmas at my mother-in-law's I'd call the whole thing off and just have Thanksgiving here.

But I haven't seen my family since I found out I was pregnant and I miss them something awful.

Love costs.  Frankly, with the amount love has cost me in the past and undoubtedly will cost me in the future, I can't believe I have anything more to give.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Random Rumor: Used Condoms Recycled in China

Disgusting but true: some China-made headbands are nothing more than used condoms swathed in brightly-colored thread.

A sharp-eyed Chinese consumer made this startling discovery when one of her hairbands began to unravel.  Noticing an odd flesh color in the rubber underneath the threading, she unravelled the piece and found the base material looked remarkably like a condom.  Unfortunately for her, it was.

According to the manufacturing company, the condoms were unused and failed to meet government standards and so were resold to the hairband maker.  One wonders, however, if the tests performed on the condoms to discover their less-than-stellar properties resulted in used condoms being thrown into these batches as well.

What another wonderful reason to buy American!

*This story and its included photos courtesy of

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Due Date

Today is September 15; that means my baby is due in exactly 7 months.  Granted, I'm not looking at April 15 as my "have baby or bust" date...due dates are merely a doctor/parent attempt to gain some control over a pretty uncontrollable situation.  Still, it's a good ballpark to have.

I think April is a nice time to have a baby.  It feels mammalian...having my baby in the spring so it has the whole summer and fall to grow and survive it's first winter.  Like a squirrel.

Plus an April baby means a first Halloween at 6 months (think of the adorable costumes!) and a first Christmas at 9 months (Christmas outfits and all sorts of crawling around under the tree!).

It's probably very un-parentlike of me, but I'm really looking forward to when my baby does more than sleep, eat, cry and poop.  You know, around the 3 month mark when he can smile and bounce around a little and not look like a wrinkly potato you scrubbed too hard in hot water.

I like babies as a rule.  But everything I've seen of newborns, they appear pretty nonreactive.  And teeny.  I'm looking forward to a baby with a little more oomph to him.

I can't tell if I'm showing or if I'm just fat.  Or bloated or some other symptom of pregnancy women don't mention as they float, Virgin Mary-like, through their term.  I have a belly and my pants don't fit.  But with a baby only an inch long, how much of that is him?  Not much.  I guess I'm just fat.

Someday the first trimester will be over and I will be able to eat the food I want without throwing it up and spend half an hour listening to my music on a treadmill without fainting dead away.  Maybe then I'll feel less beefy and more babyish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Something

Oh, America.  Have you missed me?

The past month has been one of the most eventful of my life.  I'm pregnant with my first child.

According to my math (we haven't had an ultrasound to confirm yet) I'm 9 weeks along and due on or around April 15, 2012.  My nausea has been terrible, my fatigue a real chore.  And I'm fat.

I know it's a miracle...hell, I've spent dozens of posts chronicling our attempts to conceive.  Still, the physical symptoms are intense and it's hard to be super-excited.

My Husband IS super-excited, as is his family.  His sister India is also pregnant (she's due March 30) and took our news much better than I expected.  I was worried she'd feel like we're "stealing her thunder" or something, especially if we have a boy and she has another girl.  They're desperate for a boy since they're convinced no girl could be any better than their first daughter, now about two years old.

If we have a boy and they have a girl, I think there will be some drama.  If they have a boy and we have a boy, I think there will be some lesser drama since our boy will be the first one to carry the Delaney surname.  Basically when it comes to My Husband's family I anticipate drama in some shape or form.

My family is excited, though a bit more dignified about it.  My sisters are both very happy for me, and my parents are too...although they're less interested in the day-to-day business than my in-laws are.

So I'm reading my books and doing my research.  I have a belly and no one can tell me I don't.  My pants don't button.  And my belly is one ever mentioned that to me.  It's like I have a piece of concrete under my belly button.

In other news, I have tentatively entered into the world of writing once again.  I'm entering a story in a Mills & Boon "New Voices" contest.  Mills & Boon is a British publishing company with ties to Harlequin in the United States; yes, my piece is a romance novel.  Please read it, comment on it and vote for it at:

And to the half a dozen or so readers who continued to check back here all last month to see if I'd posted anything new...I thank you.