Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Silly secretary

It was the kid's first day of school. We brought them in. Brandon's first day of middle school. I was so proud. He's getting so big. It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with him. Anyway, not the point of this posting. I'm super dehydrated and exhausted and sick. I was thinking I'd feel much better if I just had a liter of liquid in me. So I called my OB-GYN today and I was going to casually ask the secretary if they've ever given an IV in the office. But first I thought I might as well make my appointment. I told her I was ten weeks and she freaked out. "TEN WEEKS! Your first appointment has to be between 8 and 10 weeks and we're booked!" She was really panicking. So I tried to calm her. "You're more worried about this than I am" I tried to jokingly lighten up the situation. But she kept going on. So I explained "Look, this is my fourth. They're always healthy. He'll be fine." It was kind of funny. At that point I thought it was best not to worry her with my statement that I was so sick I thought I needed an IV. So I'll just go suck it up and try to drink something. Yuck.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Go Gordon College!

As a Gordon College alumna I was tickled pink to find out that Gordon College just received a $60 million dollar endowment!!! This triples their current endowment. Just imagine all the good things they can do with that money! I can't help but dream of my own little wish list (starting with a nursing program) but I'm sure there are plenty of people with ideas of how to spend the money.
I have such good memories of my year at Gordon:
  • Standing on the sidewalk at the tender age of 16 and watching my parents drive off. Feeling like I was walking on clouds as I walked back to my dorm room: finally FREEEEEEEEEE!
  • Freshman Orientation ending with the Boston cruise.
  • Hitching a ride in the back of a pickup truck to the beach with some of the boys during a hurricane warning. Nearly drowning in the violent waves. SO MUCH FUN!!!
  • Sitting in Freshman Seminar early mornings with my other classmates. We were a quiet, shy group so when our narcoleptic professor used to fall asleep in mid sentence we all would just sit there in silence until he woke back up.
  • My faith was built up by Christian students and professors, tri-weekly chapel sessions, and prayer times with God in the private chapel.
  • So many awesome, nice people there! Shout outs to my friends from that year:Kim, Sarah, Christine, Young, Matt, and Zach.
  • Awesome professors who really care about you.
  • The ROCK ministry (which enabled me to meet my husband tee hee)
  • The hip-hop dance where I busted out a back-handspring in the middle of the Mariah Carrey/ODB remix.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Pick-up Artist

VH1 has this new show called "The Pick-up Artist". I haven't seen all the episodes, but so far I love it. The pick-up artist, "Mystery" and his buddies teach these nine guys how to pick up girls. In the first episode they went into a club untrained and we watched them on hidden camera fumbling and totally embarrassing themselves. These guys were still pretty skeptical of the pick-up artists but then they sat in a back room and watched them on hidden camera. And you know what was really amazing? Even I was swooning as I watched. They were great. And I was sold (so were the awkward dudes). But then it gets better because in the continuing episodes he teaches all these techniques. Basically breaks it down how to attract a girl. And I'm really impressed because he is right on. I know because my husband was the king of pick-up artists and I won him. So it's even more fascinating to see the techniques broken down. For what it's worth my husband thinks the show is really dumb. I'm not sure why.


Sometimes I just have to keep reminding myself, over and over... "Revenge is mine", sayeth the Lord. "Revenge is mine", sayeth the Lord. "Revenge is mine", sayeth the Lord. "Revenge is mine", sayeth the Lord. "Revenge is mine", sayeth the Lord. "Revenge is mine", sayeth the Lord. "Revenge is mine", sayeth the Lord. (read in a whiny voice -->) BUT IT'S SO TEMPTING.

(Dueteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

$100,000 compliment

One of my husband's aunt and uncle have two teenage boys. They are the sweetest people. We really love them (and vice versa). They've tried unsucessfully to have more kids. And in the past they have talked about adopting one of ours. But now that I'm pregnant with number four they've made a $100,000 offer for this baby. I'm flattered. Really I am. Honored. But I know I would die a slow and painful emotional death if I ever had to give up my baby. It didn't stop us from considering it for about a minute though. "We could always make another one" my husband half jokes. But deep down we know. We can't put a price on our children. They are our everything.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jailhouse Justice

We were watching Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" last night and it reminded my husband of a story he had never told me before. Back in the day, when he was on vacation (wink) he had a friend on the ward, named Red who used to cook all the guys meals. They got along well and enjoyed his food. But then one day a new guy came in and asked "why are you friends with him? Do you know what he's in for?" And my husband was like "not really. I thought he got in a fight with his wife or something". And they new guy informed him that Red had raped his step- daughter twice and then raped his own biological daughter. So my husband sat Red down and told him that he had one hour to leave the ward and go to protective custody or there would be consequences. But Red refused. So there was a meeting of the inmates to decide what would be done. Besides the usual beatdown they decided to drug him. So while one of them distracted Red the others crushed ten sleeping pills up and put it in his coffee. My husband says it was black coffee and not very good so it masked the taste. Red and my husband sat there playing chess while he sipped his tainted coffee. He started to get drowsy and complain to my husband that he was getting so tired. But my husband urged him to stay and finish the game (and the coffee). Then the CO's (Correctional Officers) called for a lockdown and all the inmates rushed to their cells. There was dead silence as they all watched Red fall asleep at the table, face down. The CO's yelled at him to go to his cell. They shook him, to no avail. So they brought him to the medical room and eventually charged him with possession of drugs.

Later, when he was having a contact visit -which (depending on the jail) is in the same room as other inmates contact visits - a black inmate had described Red to his girl, who matched the description and at the visit jumped his wife (for the indescribable crime of allowing him to rape her daughters). The CO's, who often have their own respect for jailhouse justice, took a good five minutes to break up the beat down.

And in the end, Red went to protective custody. But the really sad part of the story is that he was only sentenced to one and a half years in prison and another year of probation. WTF.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Good grief

So I spent the entire day in bed with morning sickness; even calling in sick to work. All I could eat was a little bit of candy and a sip of water.

But that's not what I came here to vent about. After a full day in bed I pulled together enough strength to drag myself to the computer where I checked my email and my Gentle Christian Mother friends. And whaddaya know, I get myself involved in a little debate about vaccines. This thread starts out: "When people say that God gave us medicine/vaccines for us to use, how do I argue against that?" And all these anti-vaxers rally around her with their bogus stats. So I slip in and innocently add to the conversation: "But they are still scientific advancements provided by God. You've got to be kidding yourself if you think the good they've done in the past wasn't worth their invention. " And one of them comes back with an analogy to the creation of the nuclear bomb and this little jab "I would also love to discuss further sometime how many people, Christians among them, have placed doctors and pharmaceuticals as idols in their lives, little gods to whom they are slaves." Which I ignored because at that point I was more interested in debating the ladies who were denying any good that the polio vaccine has done! -complete with bogus stats and researchers and studies. And I'm starting to get really fed up and I say that their denials are equivalent to denying the Holocaust. I explain that I agree with them on certain points but it's hard to listen to them when they mix lies with the truth. So they say I'm being condescending and that I have admitted that it's only my opinion. My opinion? My opinion that vaccines have saved lives? Are they for real?! So I'm like "I never said it was my opinion. It's a fact. " And one of them asks me for some support for my fact so I'm like "you can start by looking up Polio on Wikipedia". Sheesh. This is ridiculous.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Clubbin' in China

BAR BLUE AND 3.3 in Beijing
It was our last night in Beijing but still the beginning of our trip. We were all so excited to see the city at night. Our tour guide, Jeff, brought us to the bar street. We took two taxi's which separated and nearly gave Jeff a heart attack when we couldn't find each other. But we eventually did. A white man on the street gave us a flyer for Club 3.3 and invited us to it, proclaiming the greatness of the French DJ's that would be battling. We headed down the street, on a mission to find 3.3 which we did find, not yet opened. So we went back to a bar for a beer to chill and wait. On one side of the road were rows of tents that migrant construction workers slept in. They stood outside their tents looking across the street into the bars at all the patrons having a good time, unable to afford a drink themselves. Meanwhile we kept hearing foreigners talk about "Bob-blue". "What was 'Bob-blue'?" we wondered. So we started walking around looking for a club by that name.

I saw a produce vendor and bought a cluster of big juicy lychees. I gave some to a child and before I knew it I was surrounded by children begging and grabbing at the lychees. I gladly shared them. It was night time in a dark and busy alley. It was sad that these kids were still wandering. At the end I gave my final lychees to a small four year old and his mom. I couldn't have brought them in the bar with me anyway.

One of the children overheard us talking about "Bob-blue" "Bob-blue"?! he said excitedly and then started pulling my hand in the opposite direction. We followed and sure enough we were soon standing right under it. We went in and found a neon sign lighting the stairwell, announcing "Bar Blue". OOOOH. Bar Blue! It was a small bar with sports on TV (mostly rugby). There was a strange Chinese girl who danced with herself in the mirror all night.
Some of us had a drink, others of us (mostly the girls) took to the empty dance floor where the DJ played techno music and we had a blast, banging out our craziest, stupidest dance moves like: the sprinkler, lawn mower, shopping cart, running man, the doe-c-doe, and we even got a Konga line going with some Chinese girls.

(me, dancing with random Chinese girls)

Then we went to the rooftop, where many foreigners were gathered, for some contemplation and moments of awe, staring out at the city below reminding ourselves over and over "We're in Beijing". In front of us was a taller building and on the rooftop was 3.3. Having experienced all Bar Blue had to offer we headed next door. In the dark pathway heading out of the building I took this picture of the most random mural of Jesus in the most unusual place.

3.3 was a laid back roof-top with couches forming semi-circles for different groups to sit at. It was mostly foreigners and the "amazing" DJ sucked. He refused to play/didn't know any of my requests even though we were the only people dancing. We stayed about an hour and then went back to the hotel feeling slightly cheated out of an "authentic" Chinese club experience.

Club 2 in Suzhou

Our first real club experience and it was fabulous. It was huge and jam-packed with locals and a good DJ. there was no entrance fee but a minimum drink purchase which we took care of by going in a quart of vodka and tang. The bartenders wore animal ears. Meredith got to keep a pair. We took to the dance floor and got on the little stage in front of the DJ booth and danced our butts off. After an hour or two the music stopped and next thing we knew there was a "Cats" performance on the multiple stages. It was bootleg, of course, but totally awesome nonetheless. After 1 1/2 songs one of the students wanted to go so we left, having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

CD in Shanghai (though the locals seemed to refer to it as "Johnny Walker")

It was this big, wild club with a white DJ who played techno music and a had a mind boggling light show. The men who danced on the dance floor were somewhere between dorky and perverted. But we Americans got the place hopping. The DJ played a "Jump Around" remix and we went crazy on dance floor, getting the crowd to join us and pack it out. After that, the bartender, who I had been flirting with earlier, (the only cute guy in the whole place) offered me and all my friends a free drink. He presented us with the most beautiful array of rainbow colored drinks in champagne glasses with foot long flutes and no base - all shooting out of a vase-like container and live flares for each of us. The alcohol went down like juice. I think the DJ was just happy that we got the place going. The only thing a little disturbing was the cocaine usage and the video screen with the picture of a fetus in a pill and the word "high". We left after a few hours but unwilling to call it a night we walked back to the hotel. We presented people with our hotel card along the way and got directions via gestures. The night grew somber as we came closer to the hotel and walked through some neighborhoods filled with homeless families; young and old alike sleeping on the sidewalk.

DEEP in Shanghai
Our second night in Shanghai. Niko and Meredith wanted to go to a gay club and I wanted to join them. So they googled "gay club Shanghai" but were frustrated by the lack of map quest or Google Maps for the city. So after some complicated configuring Niko decided on what he thought was the closest one: Deep. We wrote the name of the park it was in and had the hotel desk lady translate it into Chinese. Then we hopped into a cab, gave the driver the paper and hoped for the best. He laughed a deep laugh under his breath and we nudged each other and smiled - taking it as a good sign that he understood our destination correctly. It is always a little nerve wrecking to be in a taxi for a long ride and not know for sure if you'll end up in the right place. You watch the meter and hope that it doesn't go too high. But he pulled over within fifteen minutes and we see a sign for the park we were looking for and he even points to it so we know we're in the right place. We excitedly get out and walk through the park. We notice a strange wooden sign that we all comment on and continue going past the park. We find, on the other side of the street Club Windows, a hip-hop club we plan on hitting up tomorrow. Then we turn back, on a mission to find Deep. To our surprise there is a huge neon sign for it, lit up, right next to the wooden sign we had previously commented on. How could we have missed it? Surely it wasn't lit up a moment ago, we all decided. We walked down a dark path with trees lining both sides. This had to be the best three minutes of the entire China trip as we made our way down a secret path to the left to a club that no foreigner could ever stumble upon by accident. This was an authentic Chinese experience if ever we had one.

Inside we were greeted with a poster board covered in pictures of all the happy couples who had met there. There was a small bar and a few tables around. Apparently the upstairs was much bigger and we caught the bar on a quiet night. We sat at the bar and had a drink. Water for me, since I had just found out I was pregnant earlier that day. Soft jazz music played in the background and we just drank and talked. It was really peaceful. What struck me about the whole thing was that going to a gay club, for my friends, wasn't about sex or meeting someone. It was just merely about being in a place where they could be themselves for an hour. Where there was no societal games to play or assumptions made about them or explanations to give about who they are. They could just be there and, for one hour, be gay with no questions asked. When I describe this trip as "life changing" the most life changing part of all was what I learned about the gay community. As open minded as I was before (see March 15th post) my views are even more liberal now and I consider myself a huge supporter of the gay community.
wow. that was deep. ha ha. Get it? Deep?

We decided to walk home - part way anyway. It was night but there were still some vendors out, mostly selling hot food to the locals. We sat down on a stone ledge for a rest on one of the dark empty streets. All of a sudden three men came tearing up the street towards us. One disappeared and the other, on a bike, was chasing the third - yelling out about his stolen bag. They made a U-turn right in front of us. The whole thing happened so fast it was jolting but by the time they left we figured out that the two runners had worked together. Successfully, it seemed.

WINDOWS in Shanghai

Our last night in China and we were anxious to party at a real hip-hop club. We knew Windows was going to be all we were hoping for because we had seen it the day before. It took us a little while to find each other after taking separate taxis, but, as usual, we eventually did. The club was a small boxy room that opened up to an outdoor table area. The bar was on the left side immediately adjacent to the dance floor. There was a pool table on the right side of the room and several tables. The DJ was black, most likely American; and the patrons were almost all foreigners. In fact, Meredith and I described the club, in separate conversations, with the exact same description (which I think is hilarious)... We both said "Every black person in Shanghai was there! All four of them!" The music was refreshingly home-style. He played ALL the good songs. We danced and danced and danced. There was a stage area which I, for once, didn't partake in. I think I was starting to feel the affects of pregnancy. I was also really annoyed with all the whorish dancing by the females. gag me.

When we first got there not many were dancing, but this Chinese break dancing troupe got the party started. They were the first Chinese I had seen in the whole two weeks that could actually dance. I was convinced that they were American. One of them even looked Mexican. So I asked them if they were American. But they said they were Chinese. I told them they were great dancers. Their girl-friends though were annoying. All they knew how to do was shake their bodies and they thought they were all that.

There was this really drunk white kid. He was all over the dance floor with his Chinese date. Early on in the night he grabbed Ytat's hat off his head and started playing with it. Ytat calmly took it back but I was furious. I couldn't decide if I wanted Ytat to knock him out or to let it be, not start trouble on the last night in China. For the rest of the night I went out of my way to avoid this trouble maker because I was afraid I was going to have to knock him out.
At the bar I got into conversation with another white, male, college student from the Midwest. I ordered two waters and he teased me for ordering just water so I explained that I was pregnant. He was both shocked and horrified, at the same time. But I flashed the wedding ring and told him it was a good thing. Still aghast, he asked how old I was. I wisely neglected to tell him that this was my fourth since it probably would have gave him a cardiac.

Niko and I wanted to leave before the others so we started to walk home. He wanted to try to find the worry dolls that he had seen on the walk home from Deep. It was much later in the night this time though and none of the street vendors were out. It was a peaceful walk through the dark quiet streets of China and after an hour he hailed a cab by making a funny noise and this cab which was whizzing by made a U turn at this big empty intersection. It was amusing. By the time we got back to the hotel all the party goers were already back. We all hung out a little more and then turned in for our bittersweet last night in China.


Adventure in Beijing

I wanted to talk to someone at the Communist Party official news agency: Xinua, about the report they released several months ago that said that ICE (formerly INS) is planning to deport 2,000 Cambodians soon. Since I was in the very city of Xinua's headquarters I couldn't resist paying them a visit. Meredith was nice enough to accompany me since we were supposed to never go off alone. After leaving the shopping plaza from hell (sales people used physical means to pressure purchases) we hired a rickshaw driver to take us there. We knew it was in the vicinity but had no idea how far. The wise, but sneaky driver agreed to take us even though he had no idea where Xinua was. We had a magazine in which it was quoted so we used that to help us describe what we were looking for. He stopped a few times to ask his buddies for directions and we enjoyed our fun and dangerous ride through the city. The driver we turned down at the beginning because of his quoted price of 100 Yuan caught up with us. We agreed to split up and use both drivers because we felt bad for the one skinny guy pulling both of us heavy gals. Eventually, out of sheer coincidence, they pulled up to our hotel to ask for directions. After waiting a while for them, Meredith agreed to stay in the cart and I went in to clarify what we were looking for. I convinced her to keep it a secret that this was our hotel since we might use it to our advantage. I went in and showed the magazine quote. They asked if I was looking for a club but I explained that I was looking for the state news agency. I was slightly embarrassed as they passed the magazine around and multiple people read the quote I was referring to "...2-3% of the Chinese population is gay" ... according to Xinua, which of course had nothing to do with my mission, but I was having a hard enough time communicating without going into all that.

Eventually they called Xinua on the phone and I spoke with a polite woman and explained that I was trying to verify a story that was reported and asked if she could put me in contact with the reporter but she could not. We talked for several minutes and I was satisfied at having tried.

So I went outside to get Meredith and we pulled our trick card: announcing that we are staying at this hotel and thank you for the ride. As I suspected, the drivers panicked. No longer did they have helpless, lost, foreigners in the palm of their hands. We tried to pay them what we thought was a reasonable amount: 30 yuan for the first driver and $2 (about 14 yuan) for the second driver. But they threw a fit, making dirty faces and saying "no" over and over. And in the middle of this argument with them another man comes up to us with his best puppydog face and a story of how he lost his wallet and needs money for a ride home. Exasperated we told him curtly that we couldn't help him and then continued to argue with the drivers and discuss amongst ourselves:
"What is a fair payment for a 15 minute ride?"
"I don't know"
"We're paying reasonably! I would drive someone around for two bucks!"
I urged Meredith to walk away with me but she lingered behind shelling out more money.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Congratulations Barry Bonds

Congratulations Barry Bonds for setting the home run record. What an amazing accomplishment!
The public condemnation of his steroid use has been, in my opinion, completely out of proportion to his crime. The booing when he comes to bat, etc. is totally inappropriate. For three reasons: #1) everyone was doing it back in the day. You're totally kidding yourself if you think he was the only one. #2) he's not doing it now and #3) Steroid use WILL NOT MAKE YOU A GOOD BATTER!!! If it did, every body builder out there would play baseball. But strength is one small part of that perfect mix. So, controversy aside... back to the topic at hand. Barry Bond is the best (for now) and I salute him.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Letter of Resignation

I put my notice in to leave UPS. I wrote a gushing letter goodbye and thought I would share it with you:

Please accept my four week notice of my resignation from UPS. My last day will be Friday August 31, 2007. It has been such an amazing pleasure working for this company for the past two years. I will forever be loyal to it. I am sad to leave but the time has come for me to move on. I am expecting my fourth child and want to stay in nursing school for one more semester and I know that I could not balance that with my job at UPS safely. If my life ever brings me to a place where I should come back to UPS I wouldn't hesitate to do so. I'll always recommend UPS to friends and family that need a part time job. If I finish my degree and stay in the medical field for the rest of my life I will be forever grateful to UPS for putting me through school and making my dreams possible.

My coworkers and supervisors here at UPS have surely been the cream of the crop. Rick Greene, my load supervisor, was like a drill Sergeant and momma bear; keeping us in line and ready to protect us at any time. Bob Converse was like our dad and friend. He taught us everything we needed to know and was there for us, no matter the time or place. I cannot possibly describe everyone who touched my life, but every person, every Cornerstone classroom student has meant something to me.

Brown for life,

Deena Sao

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Oh Yeah, THAT'S why I lost weight...

Oh Yeah, THAT's why I lost weight in my first trimester of each pregnancy. I forgot. I don't eat when I'm nauseous all the time.
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