Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Cup of Tea

A tea cup from My Grandmother's Wedding Shower passed on to me.
I have been what I would call a “tea granny” since my teens.  Growing up I hated the taste of coffee.  I realized later that I just hated my parent’s coffee, still do. (Seriously, I'd say it tastes like dishwater only dishwater probably tastes better.)

So tea was my other warm beverage alternative, you know when you get to that age where hot cocao just wasn’t quite so cool. 

Besides there was always something special about the ritual of tea.  After all, my mother had a dozen dainty flowered porcelain tea cups in her china cabinet and a pretty porcelain teapot to go with it.  Whenever there was a special occasion like a wedding or baby shower my mother would set out those pretty little cups and steep a pot of tea.  This despite the fact that 90% of our family drank coffee. I guess it stemmed back to her own family traditions.  I would look enviously on while she poured out tea in the precious cups for her guests.   I can remember coveting a certain purple rose cup in my mother’s china cabinet and whenever I would get an afternoon to myself with no one at home, I take it out and have my own little elegant tea party.  Looking back I realize I was darn lucky I didn’t break anything.

Tea was always our go to comfort drink.  I can remember my mother making me a cup of tea when I was in pain from those dreaded menstrual cramps or staying up late sharing confidences and feeling so grown up.  I find myself offering my own little girls a cup of sweet tea to console them over a disappointment in their day.

The language of tea is international. When I was sixteen, I spent the year in Holland and enjoyed drinking tea with my host family.  Despite the fact that they thought milk in tea was disgusting and Jannie would get annoyed because I’d always steam up her special sugar spoon so it’d clump up and our tea was always in glass mugs. We still shared many a wonderful chat in both English and Dutch while drinking hot  tea out of those glass mugs.

In later years, I like to say that my husband and I fell in love over tea.  We started out as friends and would spend countless hours just sitting in my apartment drinking tea.  In those days we never even would turn on the television.  To this day, we still end our day with a cup of tea and find that if we don’t we actually miss that little part of our routine.

These days I drink my tea out of mugs but it has to be just the right mug. It can’t be too small:  not enough tea, or too big: too much tea and the mug has to have the right feel on my bottom lip.  And while I do like herbal tea, I’d rather have a good old comforting cup of black tea (Tetley is our current favourite) with a splash of milk and two sugars any day.

My china cabinet also boasts over a dozen pretty little cups collected over the years.  The most precious being the ones from my grandmother.  Before she passed on she presented me with cups that had been used at her wedding reception over 60 years ago.  She told me that she knew that I would be the one to take proper care of them.  My grandmother was a crusty old thing but now and then she'd pop out with a little something that made you realize that underneath she really was fond of you.

So when it came to my own little girl's 6th birthday, what else could I do but throw a lovely little tea party.


Of course I didn't use the 60 year old cups but still there were enough pretty cups to go around.

Zeemaid

This week I am participating in

Mama’s Losin’ It

and chose the writing prompt "How did your love affair with Coffee begin? (Or Diet Coke or Tea or whatever your beverage of choice might be.) (inspired by Buried With Children)"

If you'd like to join in simply click on the above button to see this week's list of writing prompts and drop by Mama Kat's to link up.  Try it, it's a lot of fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don’t Have a Cow Dude!

My son is obsessed with cows.   That’s right, you heard me.  I said COWS. His current favourite knock knock joke (and oh how we love those) goes something like this:


O:   “Knock knock”
Me: “Who’s there?”
O:  “Bannahead”  (wait for it)
Me:  “Bannahead who?”
O:  “Bannahead has a cow on it” 

….and there it is once again, Cow. 

Almost every sentence he utters has to mention the word cow at least once followed by giggles. 


Do you like your supper, O?   Yeah, it has a cow in it.  (snicker snicker)


Would you like to watch a show, O?   I wanna watch mad  movers with a cow on it.  (snicker snicker)


Are you buckled?  Yeah with a cow.  (snicker snicker)


To his sisters:  You have a cow on your head.  (snicker snicker)


Why did you throw that on the floor?  I didn't, the cow did it. 


At least he cracks himself up.   It could be worse.  I asked another mother at preschool if her son was doing the cow craze.  Apparently not .  The catch phrase in their house tends to lean towards the poop word.  So like I said.. it could be worse.


And then it occurred to me… I better write this down.  Who knows how long this phase will last and after all, I am going to need good material on his wedding day.  In fact, I might be able to screen out the weak and not so worthy girlfriends by trotting out this old post and asking the prospective bride… 


“So…. how do you feel about cows.” 

My son will cry in embarrassment… “Moooomm”

and I will reply, elegantly of course,

“Don’t have a cow dude!”

Zeemaid

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Question & Answers




Mama’s Losin’ It


I’ve been meaning to take part in one of Mama Kat’s Writing Workshops and while I’ve been scouring the writing prompts weekly, have yet to dive in.  This week; however, one of her prompts was so easy that even my 8 year old could breeze through it.


The challenge, should I choose to accept, is

Ask your child where babies come from and share their answers.

Oh boy. This could be a good one.  Or so I thought.  Their answers were surprisingly boring.  I guess that’s what I get for being too practical.  Although it did spark quite a few giggles.

So here it goes... Kids, where do babies come from?

O: (age 4)  "Tummys.  People have eggs in their body and there is babies in the eggs."

J: (age 6) "Mommy’s tummy from an egg.  J+J=J"  (uh okay, short attention span?)

E (age 8) "A mother’s stomache.  God creates a little child in the mother’s tummy and it grows and grows and grows and grows until it gets big and then becomes a full grown child and then it comes out as a baby.  Is that right?"

Then I lost my interviewees because dessert ran out.  Except for my 8 year old who seemed disappointed that I only wanted to ask one question.  So in the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day coming up I figured I’d ask her a few more questions.

What are Leprechauns?


“Oh it’s related to the cat family and has spots. It’s yellow with black spots and runs real fast and catches its prey with its teeth.”

Okay then maybe I should have started with:


What is Saint Patrick’s Day?

“A day where you dress in green and you celebrate with four leaf clovers and it’s not really a holiday” Somehow I think the Irish would argue with you.

What would you do with a pot of gold?

“Really want to kn0w?  The truth?  I would save it and save it and save it and then I’d buy a cage and stuff and then a hamster.”

What do you do if you find a four leaf clover?

“I would have lots of good luck and maybe if I have enough good luck I would buy a hamster.” Gee I wonder who has hamsters on the brain.


And there you have it.  The answers to life's most pressing questions.

Zeemaid

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Storm of the Century

Okay so I exaggerate.  It wasn’t the storm of the century but it certainly was the worst storm I have ever seen on our small west coast Island.  It was the first time school has ever been cancelled due to extreme weather conditions and we’re not talking snow.  In fact the wind was blowing so hard it actually scared my six year old and so we ended up listening to the storm (cause we certainly couldn’t ignore the noise) with the blinds closed for most of the day. 

Then bizarrest of all things is that it tried to snow late last evening.  Huge enormous snowflakes came floating down from nowhere only to disappear ten minutes later.

Today the sun is shining but the aftermath of destruction is severe. Highways are closed, trees are down and power is out for thousands of people.  Luckily not us.  We not only managed to keep our power but our satellite signal.  Who says satellites are so weather finicky. We’ve never had a problem with ours ever. 

We did; however, lose two fence panels.  One of them surprisingly was a panel that had been repaired only last year and yet it was the first to go.  The good news is that the fence belongs to the neighbours and not us and being retired older people with money they can well fork out the several hundred dollars needed to fix it that we couldn’t.

 DSC03868   O inspecting the damage

Now I just have to make sure the kids stay out of the neighbour’s yard. 

Zeemaid

Monday, March 12, 2012

Infertility

infertility Take a quick tour around the blogosphere and you will come across an amazing number of women who have either struggled or are struggling with infertility.  It’s a painful topic and intensely personal which we often bear in silence.  After all, infertility isn’t exactly something our friends and family can help with and really who wants to share those sorts of intimate details with just anyone.

I know I’ve talked about my own personal struggle with infertility before but after having read a couple of more blogs I feel the need to share it again.

Why?  Because everyone seems to dismiss what I have to say as “oh that worked for you but won’t for me” or “my doctor would have told me about it”.

When it comes to a wide variety of subjects most of us seem to accept that sometimes natural medical choices are better for us than what we have been offered traditionally by the medical profession.   Why isn’t that the case with infertility?  Sure we’ll cut down our caffeine intake but try progesterone cream.. that’s just crazy.

To recap my own story, we went two years without being able to conceive.  Finally we did fertility tests.  I went through the most excruciating test of having ink shot up my tubes to see if they were scarred, I had an arthroscopy to rule out endometriosis (although I had no symptoms of it) and three months of fertility drugs. 

I did a ton of research on everything from PCOS to ovulation. I learned more about a woman’s monthly cycle than I ever wanted to.  I tracked my Basil Body Temperature religiously every morning and kept charts.  What emerged was a pattern of delayed ovulation and a slight.. very slight possibility of a luteal phase defect.

A luteal phase is the time in a woman’s cycle between ovulation and menstruation. In a pregnant woman, during the luteal phase the fertilized egg will travel from the fallopian tube and into the uterus for implantation. The luteal phase is normally 14 days long and on an average it can be anywhere from 10 to 17 days long. If your luteal phase lasts anything under 10 days it is considered a luteal phase defect. But some doctors believe that if the luteal phase falls under 12 days, then it is a problem. If you conceive and you have a luteal phase defect, you will have an early miscarriage.

A luteal phase defect cannot sustain a pregnancy because the uterine lining in these women begins to break down, bringing on the menstrual bleeding and causing an early miscarriage. There could be more than one reason for the luteal phase defect which can be found out after medical analysis. Going by statistics, the number one reason for a luteal phase defect is low progesterone levels. Your doctor can do a progesterone test on you 7 days past ovulation to determine exactly how deficient you are. Once you know that there are several ways of correcting this defect.

Causes of Luteal Phase Defect

The three main causes of luteal phase defect include poor follicle production, premature demise of the corpus luteum, and failure of the uterine lining to respond to normal levels of progesterone. These problems occur at different times during the cycle but can also be found in conjunction with each other.

Correction of Luteal Phase Defect

Fertility charting is an easy way of detecting whether you have luteal phase defect. If you do, don’t worry because luteal phase defect can be easily corrected. Immediately seek the advice of your physician first before starting any treatments to correct it. In most case, luteal phase defect can be corrected through over-the-counter remedies and/or with prescription drugs.

1. Over the counter remedies for luteal phase defect:
The two main over the counter remedies for luteal phase defect are vitamin B6 and progesterone cream. Vitamin B6 is generally regarded as safe and can be taken daily in dosages from 50 mg to 100mg. Taking vitamin B6 every day during the entire month will help to lengthen the luteal phase.   Please note that taking mega doses  of vitamin B6 can lead to serious medical issues.  Be sure to check with your doctor before using vitamin B-6 to increase the length of your luteal phase  to make sure it is the best option for you.

A progesterone cream is usually targeted for menopausal women; however this cream is also useful in lengthening the luteal phase. A cream with natural progesterone works best. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of progesterone cream spread on the inner arm, inner thigh, neck, and chest – alternating places – twice a day from ovulation to menstruation or until the 10th week of pregnancy.

article information from http://www.babyhopes.com/articles/luteal-phase-defect.html

Ten years ago this information wasn’t that easy to find even on the internet and when I brought it to my fertility doctor’s attention he said maybe there was one…. but didn’t really think so.  I started reading information from Dr. John Lee, a well known medical expert on treating menopausal women and in fact it was in one of his lectures where he relates sharing an experience he had with an infertile patient of his.

He prescribed progesterone and recommended that the patient use it for the entire month for several months to help bring up her body hormonal levels etc.  After that the recommendation was to wait until ovulation has occurred and then use progesterone cream on a daily basis until the end of the the cycle.  Once you’ve established you are not pregnant by taking a home pregnancy test then you discontinue using the progesterone cream so you will have a normal period.  

Well.. I tell you I provided this information to my family doctor and while he was skeptical he agreed to prescribe for me since it wouldn’t harm me either.

Impatient I couldn’t wait the month of and using one of those Clearplan Fertility monitors I tracked my cycle until I knew I was ovulating and started using the cream as prescribed.  Sure enough I ovulated on Day 18 not day 14 like they say and considering you need 10 + days for an egg to fertilize and implant etc. obviously I was ovulating too late in my cycle to get pregnant.  The progesterone cream helped my body produce enough progesterone in time to promote the right conditions for implantation.  After two plus years of waiting I got pregnant the very first month I was on the cream.

My mom said maybe it was a fluke.  I knew better but I wasn’t going to argue with the skeptics.  So when I was unable to get pregnant with my second child, I went off to my doctor for a prescription again.  His only comment was… “didn’t you get pregnant on this the last time”  You bet I did.  And sure enough, one month of cream and I was pregnant again.

Since then I have shared what I have learned with fellow friends who are struggling with unexplained infertility.  Not one of them will consider the progesterone cream even though it worked for me.  Why? I really don’t know. 

This isn’t some crazy off the cuff made up therapy.  Luteal Phase Defect is a real condition which is under diagnosed by the medical profession. Hormone imbalances itself are difficult to diagnose because at every stage of our cycle we need different levels of estrogen and progesterone.  If you get screened early in the month you might have the right levels and so the diagnosticians state your hormones are in line.  However, had you had it taken nearer the end of the month it’s just possible those levels might not have been in line. 

Not only that every one’s body is different.  While my levels were low they were considered to be within the range.  Obviously for my body within range wasn’t good enough.

I realize that progesterone cream may not be the answer for everyone but if you have unexplained infertility, I would seriously consider it or at least look into the possibility of a luteal phase defect.  Pop that term into google and you will be surprised by plethora of information there is out there.

That’s my story. 

Zeemaid

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Teacher Strike

StrikePhoto care of the Province In our neck of the woods the teachers are all on strike.  Well not really, apparently it’s more of a protest and they’re not teaching at the moment and they aren’t allowed to wear signs around their necks but are allowed to hold them on a stick as they lounge around outside our public schools.  They call it a protest, you might call it a strike.

It’s always a hot topic whenever you talk about someone’s wages.  It seems these days no one thinks they get paid enough and think they are worth more. Especially when the general public is being inconvenienced by disrupted service and picket lines.  We who have non union jobs think union people get paid a ton of money and are resentful because our non-union jobs only pay a fraction of the cost.  Not always entirely true but there it is none the less.

While I don’t know whether or not the teachers should get more money or not, I do know that this is an age old issue.  Government says they have no more money, teachers say they need more.  On the one hand in this economy you can’t squeeze money from a rock on the other hand, I am sure money is being wasted by the Government as we speak on useless projects. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against paying teachers more money or smaller class sizes.  What I do object to is the fact that the entire system is falling apart and no one knows how to fix it.  That this can go on and on for  five months without any resolution. Good teachers or bad teachers, there are too many kids and not enough money to go around.   When I hear reports of how the kids are suffering right now and have been since last September when this whole job action started, I can only be thankful that we put our own kids in private school.  A very hard financial sacrifice it has been but I have to say worth it.
 
Where would E have been this past year?  Not only was she significantly behind her peers, she was getting assisted learning and was on some “watch” list for the pysch assessment of which we had no knowledge.  Within two days at the private school not only did we have a meeting with the teachers, but had our eyes opened to what sorts of problems E had been having.  It’s been a rough school year but it would have been rougher had we not been pointed in direction of getting help.

It makes me angry to think that there are more kids like E out there in the public system that don’t fit into the normal curriculum and aren’t getting the time or help needed.   Where are all these kids in the last year?  Suffering and getting further and further behind because of the job action.

I don’t know how to fix the system.  It almost seems like we are always our own worst enemies because as long as someone benefits from how things currently stand, there is no motivation to make the effort of change.   After all, unions often end up protecting the lazy and incompetent even though that wasn’t why they were formed in the first place.  Flame me if you will, but both my parents have worked for unions throughout the years and I have heard more than one horror story of how difficult it can be to rid yourself of bad employee because of union protection.  
Else why is the teacher that was demeaning to my child still employed?  Not a teacher in that building can stand to work with her for very long so every year she’s being shifted about the school into different grade levels and job sharing with different teachers.   Why does she get to stay?  Because she has a contract.  Parents have no real power.  We can complain to the principal but then we’re labeled as “difficult” and ignored from then on. 

Would that happen in a private school?  Not on your life.

Perhaps the Government should be taking a look at the private schools as to why they are so successful.  Smaller class sizes might help for a start.  In both our daughter’s class there are only 15 children.  The first day of school E commented on how quiet her class was and how she could actually eat her lunch in peace.  She said it with a big sigh like it was such a relief to her.   Maybe kids wouldn’t be so hyper if there wasn’t always so much chaos going on around them. 

Apparently sensory overload is a real and valid thing that affects our children more than we realize. 

 I’d like to go on strike too but I don’t think anybody would pay any attention except maybe my family when they ran out of clean socks or got hungry.