We like to go on and on about various things. Here's the stuff that wouldn't fit anywhere else.
Happy Tuesday, everyone! I'm guest blogging today over at Rockin' Green Soap's blog (our diaper laundry detergent!). It's my first time guest blogging, so won't you go over and join the conversation? Here's a little teaser:
August 5, 2010 in Miscellaneous Ramblings
A few months ago, I joined the masses and set up a Formspring account. Assuming anyone would want to ask me a question, anonymous or not, seemed kind of self-absorbed, but I thought it might be fun. To my surprise, a lot of my friends started asking me fun questions! I’ve decided to take my favorites and answer them here from time to time. So if you have a question you’ve always wanted an answer to (personal, Stinkerpants-related, or running-a-business-wise), don’t hesitate to ask me on Formspring, or use the handy-dandy little form to the right (if you're not reading this in a reader) that flies out when you click “Ask Sara.”
Q: Have you ever donated your hair to Locks of Love? - Anonymous
A: haha, this question must have been asked by someone who knew me in middle school! Most people don’t know that I used to have extremely long hair - like, past my butt - when I was young. In seventh grade, I decided to chop it all off to my shoulders. Unfortunately, back then Locks of Love wasn’t around, so I wasn’t able to donate it. My mother, however, decided to (this might be considered weird, I’m warning you) keep my hair. A few months ago, we were going through some old boxes to find my baby clothes for Charlie when I pulled my ponytail (in a plastic bag) out of a box. I sent it in to Locks of Love a couple of weeks later. So the answer to your question is YES, I HAVE donated my hair to Locks of Love, but only after it sat in a box in the attic for about fifteen years. Isn’t that weird/crazy/gross?!
Q: You've said before that you don't really eat meat. Have you had a hard time sticking to your mainly meatless diet now that you're pregnant? Have you been craving anything in particular? -Anonymous
A: At first, the answer to this question was a resounding NO. I eat dairy (organic) and eggs (from the backyard chickens), but otherwise I actually really dislike meat. Aside from being super sad about the pain and suffering of the poor widdle animals, I'm generally just skeeved out by meat (ask Y--I used to "pick apart" my meat because the off-colored bits grossed me out).
However, at about 7 months pregnant I had a blood test done and was told that I am severely anemic. My doctor told me to start taking iron supplements and start eating iron-rich foods. Since the beginning of my pregnancy, I have had a really hard time cooking anything (the smell of food cooking turns me off and makes me nauseous), and I am still grossed out by pretty much anything and everything I eat. The idea of adding meat to my diet was NOT an idea I wanted to entertain. I have, however, been periodically eating small amounts of meat (from places like Whole Foods) as a supplement to what I’m already eating because I can't handle trying to add a bunch of other stuff to my diet when I already can't stand simple things like broccoli. I cannot wait until I can go back to being a vegetarian. It is really hard to stomach!
Q: Do you ever regret leaving Weddingbee? - Anonymous
A: The short answer is, "no." However, I think this question really needs a long answer. And because I have a tendency to be so wordy, this will likely be a LONG answer. ;)
As a bit of a background for people who have no idea that I ever blogged for Weddingbee, or that I stopped: In 2008 I started blogging under the name "Ms. Cream Puff," and I very happily blogged away about my wedding plans, right up until the website was bought by eHarmony.
Now, anyone who knows me knows how much I care about gay rights, and how passionate I am about equal marriage rights specifically. eHarmony doesn't exactly have a spotless record for being accepting of same-sex couples (that is, perhaps, the understatement of the year), and because Weddingbee makes its money from it's volunteer bloggers, I knew that by continuing to blog for them, I'd be making eHarmony money. Furthermore, I'd be VOLUNTEERING to make them money. Somehow, that just didn't make me feel as warm and fuzzy inside as making Bee and Mr. Bee money. As much as I loved blogging for Weddingbee, I really felt that staying would be the wrong decision for me, given how much I care about this issue. I don't think I would have been able to sleep at night.
Okay, now to answer your question: Weddingbee was a really great opportunity for me, and I loved almost every minute of blogging there. More than anything, I really loved the community, of both the bees and the readers.
Things have changed a bit since I left. For example, eHarmony is making a better effort to make their site available to same-sex couples (albeit only as a result of several lawsuits, but still). I appreciate that. At the time of the sale, I thought I might return to the hive if eHarmony changed their stance, but I haven't for two reasons (I'm going to be totally honest here): first, I'm no longer wedding planning, and I don't really have anything useful to add. Secondly, I don't really feel all that welcome over there anymore. Unfortunately, as much support as I received for my stance, there was also some amount of hostility. I think some people took my decision to leave personally, which was never my intention. Right now I have nice e-friendships with the Bees that understood where I was coming from, and I'm cool with that.
Leaving Weddingbee was definitely the right thing for me to do at the time. To be honest, I might have felt differently about it if I were gay myself. Maybe I would have felt like I'd be able to use the Weddingbee platform as a way to show the world that same-sex marriages are beautiful and just as "right" as opposite-sex marriages. But I'm NOT gay. So I don't think my staying would have made any sort of statement at all. I think I was able to stand up for what I believed was right by leaving, and I don't think I could have done that in any other way. So no, I really don't regret leaving. I regret that people's feelings were hurt, but I also don't think there was anything I could have done differently, as I tried repeatedly to make sure that my reasons for leaving were clearly about eHarmony and eHarmony alone.
Just to clarify a few points, since we're talking about Weddingbee:
- I was/am genuinely happy for both Bee and Mr. Bee about the sale of Weddingbee, whether it was to eHarmony or not. I wish it had been another company, but at the end of the day, they'd been working their pants off for years and deserve a freakin' break. ;)
- I'm not opposed to visiting Weddingbee and making eHarmony money by loading their pages, just as I'm not opposed to leaving my wedding vendors reviews on Project Wedding. I think Weddingbee (and Project Wedding, too!) is a great resource for brides-to-be. I just didn't want to spend hours and hours writing blog posts for them. But no, I don't think clicking on a link to Weddingbee is going to cause the entire gay rights movement to explode, nor does it make a statement about how much you as a reader care about gay rights.
Wow, as expected, that was a really long answer (hahaha). It was kind of a fun question to answer, though!
Q: Do you ever get lonely working from home ? - Anonymous
A: I used to get a lot more lonely than I do now. Somehow after working from home for 2.5 years, I've gotten used to it. I'm a really social person, though, so it's definitely not natural for me to spend most of my time alone, with no one but my dog and cats to talk to.
The one good thing about my schedule is that it's flexible, so I try to make time at least once a week to get out and see other human beings. Lunches with my friends don't always happen, but I do always manage to go out to get my mail, and sometimes go to the grocery store in the middle of the day. So yeah...it's not ideal, but I'm making it work. :)
Q: if you didn't run stinkerpants, what job do you think you would have? - Anonymous
A: I'm not sure! I feel really lucky to be able to run Stinkerpants.
Before I started this business I was in graduate school, getting a doctorate in Psychology to become a clinical psychologist. I had to take a year off from school because the stress (I'm a total Type A if I let myself) and the building where my classes were located were giving me daily migraine headaches. Once my year off was up, I realized I *really* didn't want to go back to school, and being a psychologist wasn't really my calling. I may have figured it out a year late, but I'm just glad I figured it out before I had $300k in student loans!
At this point, I can't really imagine myself doing something that isn't creative, and I love being my own boss. So I don't know!
Q: Will Stinkerpants Jr. be a vegetarian? - twochicksnest
A: No, probably not. Cuisine is a huge part of Y's culture (and mine too, let's be honest!) and I wouldn't want the poor kid to miss out on Chinese food or brisket. But at home, we'll probably eat mostly vegetarian meals (since I'll be the one cooking). Any meat we buy will be from a sustainable place, Y will cook it, and I probably still won't eat it. ;)
Q: How do your neighbors feel about your chickens? Do you think you'll add any more animals to your family? - Anonymous
A: This is actually a very timely question.
For the most part, our chickens are very quiet, and the neighbors haven't said anything negative about them. We’ve given eggs to both of our next-door neighbors, and when we first started, our very cool next-door neighbor saw Y building the coop in the backyard and was super curious to know what it was!
However. As some of my twitter friends may recall, a few months ago we had a bout with Rosarita where she WOULD NOT SHUT UP. Specifically, she would get up at 7:45 every morning and start making a bawk-bawk-be-GOCK! noise at the top of her little chicken lungs. And then, as soon as she started, she stopped.
As it turns out, Rosarita was molting along with 3 other chickens, and during that time she stopped laying eggs. About two months ago, she started laying again...and she started making NOISE again.
We didn't really know what to do about it. I felt horribly guilty and didn't want to make our neighbors insane. We ended up giving both Rosarita and her best friend Violet to a friend with a bunch of chickens in Berkeley (which made us both feel super guilty) and she seems to be happy.
To answer the second part of your question, not any time soon. We fostered a few puppies about six months ago, but that's as close to commitment as we're going to get, especially with the baby on the way. Eventually I might be interested in getting another dog to keep Lulu company, but it would have to be the *perfect* dog, and we'd have to own a house instead of a condo first. :)
Thanks so much for all the wonderful feedback yesterday via Facebook, Twitter and the blog! There are still some kinks being worked out (specifically with Feedburner, which magically went from saying I had hundreds of subscribers to 36 in a matter of minutes. This is very scary & hopefully not true), so if you see anything amiss please let me know!
Business stuff aside, how about a little personal update? A LOT of stuff has being going on the past few months. I have been getting bigger and bigger. We found out we’re having a little girl, and we’re going to name her Charlie. We’re super, super excited. I had completely convinced myself that she was going to be a boy, and I was really shocked and thrilled to find out that I get to buy clothes for a girl. The only person who is possibly more excited about this prospect than I am is my mom, who has gone absolutely insane making stuff for this kid (I am so lucky!). I can’t wait to show you guys.
My mom, constructing the bumper for Charlie's crib. Her room is SO. CUTE.
Another thing I can’t wait to show you guys? Our. new. house. Well, technically it’s a condo. We have been wanting to move out of the ‘burbs and into a more urban area for a VERY long time, but we didn’t think it was financially feasible, given that we live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The median home price here is something like $400k. That’s the median home price, which also factors in the cost of tiny homes in really bad areas. And we saw some of those really bad areas, oh yes we did. $300k for a house with a bullet hole in the bedroom window, right next to the freeway? In an ugly suburb we didn’t want to live in anyway? Yep, we saw it. Although I think that one was a little overpriced. ;)
We decided to start our search after we realized that a) we might actually be able to afford something because of all the foreclosures right now; b) trying to split our bedroom into a bedroom/nursery when our living room was already a living room/office kind of made me want to die. We talked to an amazing mortgage broker who explained that we could, indeed, make it work, and I immediately started pulling up MLS listings.
We had a lot of trials and tribulations along the way (and I’m more than happy to answer any questions anybody has about this process, just ask!), but our awesome real estate agent helped us to find a foreclosed condo in our ideal area. We thought we didn’t have a chance in hell at it, but our realtor said, “it’s worth a shot!” So we bid on it. We were one of at least six offers, and after three weeks of waiting, we figured we’d lost out. Then, out of the middle of nowhere, we found out WE GOT IT! We were SO excited.
But seriously, getting an approved offer in this market is only the first step of a very long journey. The buying-a-foreclosure process is a major pain in the ass. We had to extend our loan contingency twice because the bank that owned the place was taking so long. A couple of times, we thought we might lose the place, and I became one of the most superstitious people on the planet (as if my Clarisonic losing a charge has any bearing on anything!). It was about three months straight of non-stop stress, but in the end...we got it. And we’ve been living here for about two weeks and love it.
The night we got the keys, we sat on the living room floor & ate take-out from our favorite Italian place, now just five minutes away.
A lot of work needed to be done before we could move in (the people who lived here before were DISGUSTING - no joke), so I can show you a lot of fun before and after photos once we’re all set up. I’m really thrilled to be in a neighborhood with a walk score of 89 (seriously a dream come true for me) in a three bedroom, two bathroom place. We can’t believe our luck. We must have done something really great in a past life.
The night we moved in, I very nearly went into labor. Well, I guess I kind of did go into labor? I don’t know, haha. We ended up in Labor & Delivery in the middle of the night, where I was having some pretty serious contractions. Those things HURT, you guys. But after getting IV fluids, I was sent home and they eventually subsided. I was told to "take it easy," which is an awful thing to say to a Type A personality who loves to decorate and is surrounded by boxes (and also happens to also be nesting). It has been an exercise in asking for help, which I've never been very good at. I usually move kitchen tables by myself. I’ve been getting Braxton-Hicks contractions pretty much ever since, but I’m getting used to them now, and because I'm now considered "full term" I don't have to sit on my butt as much anymore, which is great. We’re thinking she’s coming early, but who knows? She’ll probably be late, like most first babies. ;)
Anyway, that’s a bit of a summary of the past few months for you guys. I hope you’re all doing well, and I can’t wait to catch up!
Coming to terms with Christmas has been one of the hardest issues I’ve had to face in my marriage. I’m not even remotely kidding.
I am Jewish, and I guess I figured I would marry someone Jewish; Christmas isn’t part of my past, and I never thought it would be part of my future. Growing up, I always felt left out during the holiday season; one of the great tragedies of my childhood was being forced to go Christmas caroling with my girl scout troop. What the heck is wrong with “I Have a Little Dreidel,” I ask you?! Don’t tell me that song sucks compared to Jingle Bells. Everyone wants a dreidel made out of clay, dammit.
As I got older, my feelings of sadness turned into resentment; I still don’t understand why Christmas music starts in November and Target starts decorating in green and red starting in September. And after working at Paper Source and being forced to listen to Christmas music 10 hours a day for an entire month, my resentment turned into full-blown hostility.
Y, on the other hand, loves Christmas. Every year, he hosts a “Cousin Christmas” (now Chrismukkah, because of me) for all of his cousins, which involves gift exchanges, a white elephant exchange, and lots of food. He loves everything about the season: everything from stocking holders to santa hats for the cats.
Our first holiday together included such hits as:
- Sara feels like a traitor as she hangs a Santa ornament on a Christmas tree
- Sara insists on getting a BLUE tree skirt for said tree
- Sara tries her hardest to “get on board” with Christmas by making stockings out of felt, then feels dejected when she looks around her own house and sees stockings, a tree, and a lot of red & green.
- Sara is secretly thrilled when her parents send a box full of gifts wrapped in Chanukkah paper, along with sugar cookies shaped like Stars of David.
But my quiet bitterness was interrupted by Y, who seemed to totally understand that celebrating Christmas (and not complaining incessantly) was really hard for me. And to this day, his gift of a gorgeous menorah is one of the most meaningful things he has ever done for me.
We’ve been together for five years, and each year I’ve tried to make a bit more effort to enjoy Christmas–both by decorating the house and trying to squelch my inner hostility. Last year, I made a “Happy Chrismukkah” sign and a giant sparkly “OY.” I gave Y a personal ornament for the tree, and tried my absolutely hardest not to get all Grinchy on him. This year, my mom and I erected the tree and set out the decorations the day after Thanksgiving. I still have mixed feelings, but I try my hardest not to show them.
Yesterday I read a post over at Not Quite Betty Crocker and started thinking about holiday traditions. Marisa talked a bit about her own Christmas traditions growing up, and her apprehension about spending the holidays with her husband’s family instead of her own.
My family doesn’t have too much in the way of holiday traditions, mostly because Chanukkah isn’t an important holiday for Jewish people. I do have some favorite memories of the holiday season though:
- For a few years, we had a nice dinner with friends on the first night of Chanukkah, complete with gelt and dreidels.
- Going to a movie on Christmas Day. When we first started doing this, the theaters were empty because everyone was opening their gifts. As I got older, though, (enter bitterness) the selfish people who had a great time opening their presents would all RUSH to the movie theater, making sure it was hard for us Jews to get a seat and enjoy the only good thing about Christmas.
- Lighting the menorah with my parents and our dogs. Allie, one of our dogs, would howl to sing along.
- My mom and I each buying a new ornament for our Chanukkah bush, then setting it up together
I am really happy that I have those memories, and really, it’s kind of sad that Chanukkah’s not a very big deal. My favorite holiday is always Passover: that is the holiday that means “family” to me.
But now I’m thinking about our future holidays. My friend Marianne absolutely adores this time of year, and I think it has a lot to do with her memories of family traditions. Last year, Jen suggested that I invent some of our own traditions–and now I’m taking her advice.
I am now making it my personal mission to make December our own month of Chrismukkah. Here is how I’m going to do it (otherwise known as The New Stinkerpants Chrismukkah Traditions):
- Invent Santaberg. He is a Jewish Santa. I don’t know what he looks like, but I think he will definitely be very fat, have a big white beard (and possibly Payote) and a yarmulke.
- Have Cousin Chrismukkah every year with Yorkey’s cousins.
- Have a Chanukkah open house on the first night of Chanukkah every year. Invite all of our friends and family over to enjoy appetizers and cookies and karaoke (Y’s parents love karaoke). Every night of Chanukkah, have something special for dinner–maybe our future kids will get to choose their favorite dishes so everyone has something to look forward to.
- For Christmas Eve, everyone gets a new pair of pajamas and a new pair of socks. If we can find some that are not super Christmassy, I will not be bitter (I swear). Watch a movie.
- For Christmas Day, open stockings and gifts, then have a big brunch. Put out a puzzle to work on and hang out. Maybe decorate a gingerbread house.
- Have the entire family come over–aunts, uncles, cousins, kids, etc–for Christmas dinner.
These are my ideas for new Chrismukkah traditions, which I think will make me excited about this season instead of inexplicably hostile.
What are your family traditions for this time of year?Comment
October 16, 2009 in Miscellaneous Ramblings
Things I have learned this week:
- My parents, who I’ve been visiting in Oregon, are awesome. I’ve been here almost two weeks and I’m not even remotely sick of them! I wish they lived next door to me!
- Good deals can be found at boutique shops–I found a pair of $225 jeans for only $50!
- I am one of the lucky few who has the side effects of “excitability” and “trouble sleeping” from Codeine.
- A shot of alcohol really works to cure a cough.
- Swine flu is extremely contagious, and pretty hideous!
- If you happen to catch h1n1 while traveling, you are not to get on a plane until your fever has been normal for 24 hours, meaning your trip to Oregon can be suddenly rescheduled to last almost a week longer than you were expecting!
Yes, that’s right folks: I came to Oregon to visit my parents nearly two weeks ago, and I am STILL HERE. Why? Because I caught swine flu. I’m not sure whether it was the airplane from San Francisco or the germ-infested clothes hangers at the Lucky Brand outlet, but those little h1n1 buggers got me.
For the past week, I’ve been feverish, stuffed up, coughing, exhausted and pretty much incapable of taking care of myself. Luckily I wasn’t in Mexico (where I joyfully caught E.Coli), but at home where my mommy could take care of me. I feel very lucky for that–a trip ruined by swine flu could easily cost you thousands of dollars in plane tickets and extra hotel nights while you try to recover (not to mention the fact that you probably couldn’t pay somebody to risk infection by bringing you sustenance). But I digress.
Now that I’ve survived it, I’m actually glad I got h1n1. After all, I no longer have to worry about getting it! Yay! How’s that for a silver lining?
I am the first person that I actually know who has had h1n1, so I thought the chances might be good that I’m the first person that a lot of you guys “know” who has had it. So here are a few facts:
- I am young, eat well and exercise pretty regularly. This thing knocked me on my ass.
- I think I had a pretty mild case. My fever never got higher than 102.5.
- It started in the mid afternoon on Sunday. I felt tired and had a tickle in my chest. By Monday morning, I had a fever, chills, a raging headache, terrible body aches and a cough.
- My fever started to go away on Wednesday night. I was proud that it was hovering around 100° for the next 24 hours, but terrified that it would “come back with a vengeance,” because apparently swine flu comes in waves.
- My cough got a lot worse (and it’s still bad) but my fever never returned. I have now had a normal temperature for 24 hours and am planning to fly home tomorrow afternoon.
- My doctor said that there have been no outbreaks of seasonal flu yet this year, so if you’ve had the flu, it was probably had swine flu.
- My parents, who are both over 60, felt a little under the weather, but never got sick. This might be because they’re over 60.
- This sucks, but it didn’t kill me.
Now that I’ve had it, I have to say:
You may think the world is overreacting to swine flu, but at the end of the day YOU DO NOT WANT H1N1, so wash your freaking hands and stay informed.
Also, if you have any risk factors, ESPECIALLY if you are pregnant, do NOT think twice about getting the vaccine. You need it.
Now, not to freak you out or anything, but a few months ago my dad (who is a retired OB/GYN) recommended that people who are planning to get pregnant wait until the flu season is over. He said that there’s no way of knowing how bad this will get (nor what the effects of the medications/treatments could be on a fetus), but there’s one thing we do know: pregnant women are at high risk. Y and I discussed it and agreed that delaying any plans for a few months is definitely worth it. After all, what’s a few months? I still stand by that decision and urge you to at least think about it. The CDC has not made this recommendation, but please keep in mind that making a decision like that would be both a public health AND a political decision, which could cause mass panic. I think it’s best to play it safe in any way that you can until it’s clear what this outbreak is going to look like.
If you’re already pregnant or have any other risk factors, take care of yourself. This article from the CDC is very helpful.
This thing is WAY more contagious than I thought it was. A few weeks ago, my wise friend Rosie said, “I think we’re all going to get it–it’s just a matter of how bad.” I now think she’s right. That being said, I hope you all stay healthy!
Wow, I can see Russia from up here on my soap box (as my friend Aimée would say)!! Climbing down now.
If anyone has any questions about what this was like, please feel free to ask me!Comment
Got a burning question? Ask it here!