Recently in daily life Category

It's that time of year when we are reminded about the dangers of leaving a baby or young child in a hot car. The risk is real, and with all the news about and regulation of leaving children in cars- I wanted to look at the question "What is the actual risk of a child under 5 dying in an overheated car in the US of A?" I'm not a risk, safety or health expert- I'm just looking at numbers and doing some very simple math. I am including web addresses of the websites were got my information.

On average (since 1998) overheating in a car is the cause of death for 38 children aged 0-14 a year in the USA- with most of them happening ages 0-6 years. Last year it was 44 children. Let's keep the math simple. Knowing that we will inflate the risk, let's assume that all these deaths occur to children under the age of 5. In reality, 5% of these deaths happen to kids ages 6-14. I'm doing this with the numbers because we have data that estimates that there are 23.7 million children ages 0-5 in the USA. I don't have numbers for how many kiddos are 0-6 years old in the USA.

So that's less than 2 out of every million children die from overheating in a car- though for last year it was almost exactly 2 out of each million. That risk is very low. It is significantly less than 1% of children ages 0-5, and is really close to the number zero.
30% of these deaths are from children playing in unattended cars- and I suspect that that represents most of the deaths of the children who are 3 years & older. 27% of these deaths are children age 3-14. 73% are children 0-2 years old. 70% of children who die left in warm cars are forgotten or intentionally left in cars.

53% of the deaths are a result of children being forgotten- usually when a parent goes off routine and forgets that their child is in the car with them. 18% of these deaths occur when children are intentionally left in the car.

One smart kiddo came up with a way to remind the driver that there is an infant or toddler in the back of the car. His cheap, simple, and smart idea could save the lives of 26 - 30 children in the USA a year. This number could probably safely be doubled, since I haven't discussed deaths from hypothermia at all.

Assuming that the 18% that are intentionally left in the car are done so in order to run a quick errand rather than with the intention of killing the child- on average, 7 children in the USA die while parents leave the kids in the car to run an errand. Again, the number would presumably be larger if we include children who are left in cars and die from the cold. I have had trouble finding a good source for those numbers.

Rochester NY Anti-Racist Movement

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I moved to Rochester New York in 2011. Racial Equity is becoming a highly discussed topic again (or maybe it always has been and I'm just getting connected to the discussion here in Rochester), and it is one I've always cared deeply about. This February I attended a group discussion at the Brighton public library about Race. It was really exciting to see a diverse group of people there. It was especially significant to see people in positions of power- including our Town Supervisor (our elected Mayor-like position) Bill Moehle as well as representation from the Police Department. The conversation was powerful, and at times uncomfortable. But that might even be the point. Get uncomfortable, be vulnerable, listen, and learn from those around you. It was a nice beginning for my re-entry into the world outside my home. I've spent the last three years at home raising my lovely three year old. I intend to continue to do so. But I'm ready to get involved in the community again as well. As my father would say, I'm ready to "get my head out of the sand".
From that meeting I got connected to a lot of organizations that are working toward racial equality here in Rochester. I'm listing them below and I hope you'll take a moment to look at these organizations online and consider getting involved in one or more of them.

You can learn more about FREE at the link below:

ACT Rochester also had a hand in creating FREE and supporting this summit on Race You can read more about ACT here:

Here is a great place to read feature articles and blog posts about Issues of Race and Equity in Rochester NY

And here is yet another organization involved in equity for Rochester residents- Metro Justice

There is a local National Coalition Building Institute in Rochester- yet anotherorganization fighting racism in Rochester

The local YWCA is also active in the anti-racist movement

Dear Internet,

Last year I shrank an entire inch. How does that happen to a 33 year old you wonder? Well, I was (probably) born with a fracture in my vertebrae.
I guess the stress of pregnancy and childbirth dislodged scar tissue that was basically stabilizing my spine.

But, no longer. Hence the shrinking. And frankly, a lot of pain and nerve damage .
I am reminded of Alice in Wonderland and the bottle that says "drink me" on it. I admit that it feels like I went down the rabbit hole and found myself in an unreliable, chaotic reality, so the image is apt.

I'm having back surgery. Spinal fusion. In July. They will remove a disc, insert titanium, and encourage (make?) bone growth happen. And hopefully I'll feel better after I presumably feel a lot worse for a month or so. And then my daughter will have a new narrative. One in which she won't feel compelled to ask me "Is your back not sore?" when, on rare occasion, I carry her down the stairs. Just writing this brings tears to my eyes. I hate that this is her narrative. The idea that a woman's body image can be based on what her body can do rather than what it looks like came at exactly the wrong time for me. And I can't help but wonder what impact it has on other women who have bodies that fail them in one way or another.

I'm ready for change. Both reluctant and impatient for surgery.

And now that the internet knows I'm having surgery- it must be true.

Mama Rae

Happy 2011

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New years resolutions tend to be genuine intentions to improve oneself that don't actually see much follow through. I like to reserve those sorts of intentions for my long term work towards Self Actualization (I am being a little facetious here). When I was 13 and I vowed to stop reading Dear Abby as my New Year's Resolution. Now that's a resolution worth keeping. Happy New Year Folks!

Do I Celebrate Christmas?

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There is a part of me that relishes being different. As a child I celebrated Christmas at my Grandparents house, two presents per kid, and I participated in holiday gift exchanges in elementary school. But I always knew that this was not 'my' holiday. We didn't exchange gifts among my immediate family, or decorate at all. Christmas was 'other' people's holiday & I scorned the the stores that started playing Christmas music & selling decorations as early as November 1st.

Now- I tell my students that I don't celebrate Christmas. But I'm not sure that's true anymore. I have my grandmother's tree and decorations which I put up as early as I can get away with. I I have a number of holiday records (& the nutcracker ballet) to listen to on my record player. I exchange gifts with my husband's family and send out Holiday cards.

I guess I can't really say I don't celebrate Christmas anymore. I certainly don't on a spiritual level, but as an American consumer I definitely do. I think this holiday will always feel 'other' to me. Perhaps I should say I celebrate christmas (with a lowercase c for capitalism) rather than Christmas.

Christmas blues

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I think I might be able to imagine what it feels like for those millions of American children who open their mountain of presents and within hours feels sad because this glutton of gifts won't be seen again for an entire year. We just finished watching the last six episodes of last years season of 30 Rock. We've consumed last season's The Office as well. I feel just a little sad that I will have to wait almost an entire year to see the current season to come out on DVD.


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I pulled my laces nice and snug for stability. As I pushed my left foot into the skate I realized that my legs would be sore after skating. It has been at least a decade since the last time I ice skated. I enjoy measuring my life in decades- though this occasionally leads to a mid-life-crisis mentality on my part.

I found myself skating alone in a sea of people. It sounds lonesome, but I smiled as I watched the charming stereotypes of wobbly children and first-time-skater adults, crying toddlers, teens loitering along the fringes, and a few show offs whizzing in and out. It took a few times around the rink for my muscles to remember what to do, but I enjoyed the brief adventure of outdoor skating. Perhaps I'll go again before I see another ten years pass by.

End of the year

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My town is having an interesting year- Superbowl, the Stanley Cup and the G-20.
The school year is coming to a close and I am picking up knitting (again) - and this time I think it will stick, if I keep doing it fairly often. I've become a pro at casting on (in my eyes anyhow) and am focusing on keeping the number of rows, and the tension constant. Then I will begin making socks.

Between knitting, family events, and dreams, I've been thinking of my mother a bit more often these days.

I've got a number of biking adventures coming up, including friends and family. I've been reading like mad to keep up with my students, and there will be a grading frenzy as I prepare to grade finals and all the late work students turn in at the last minute. Work can still be a source of frustration, but is much more often a source of joy or accomplishment. My mother would have enjoyed watching my progression through this year.

Death to the Blogoshpere

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Our father is blogging more often than we children. This is new. The tide is coming in and overtaking some of us I think. Perhaps Papa has learned to surf. I'm snorkeling along the shore as the waves hit overhead, and I suppose once all the interesting shellfish have been seen and reported on, I'll come up for some sunbathing.


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I am leaving for Argentina Sunday afternoon. I will be spending a few weeks with family in Corrientes, and some time with family friends in and near Buenos Aires. I return July 29th. My ability to blog while travelling may be limited. I will report when I return. Adios amigos!

Lake Woebegone

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My mother would drive us around and we'd listen
to what ever show was on NPR. There were three
shows that most commonly came up - because of
the tendency to be travelling by car on the weekends.
We most often listened to Whaddaya Know w/ Michael
Feldman, Car Talk , and A Prairie Home Companion.

I have, as an adult, gravitated to these familiar shows.
And now, I've got tickets to go to a live performance of
A Prairie Home Companion. I'm looking forward to this
day. I'm planning to bring a picnic dinner while we sit on
the lawn and I will bask in memmories of my mother.

Little Pink Book

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I have begubn to write. I am like my mother in that I hesitate to write in a fancy journal. I worry that what I write won't be cool or interesting or important. i keep a journal in spit and furts.and it's mostly emotional crap that I tear out and burn later so no one can read it.

So now I am recording mundane facts about my daily life. How long did I sleep. what medication and food have I ingested. What have I read and what were my impressions.What work have I accomplished.

I am not writing for therapy, for memory or someone's voyuerisitc pleasure. It is a daily reflection, like meditating, that makes me slow down, breath, live. It helps my brain.
It seems like information that might someday be useful when I go to a doctor's office, or want to remember what I thought about that book - but largely it is here and now, a personal daily reckoning.


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I'm walking from the house to my car with an 11 month old in my arms and a three year old in tow. I buckle the baby into the car seat and walk around to help the three year old hop up and buckle into her safety seat.
As she clibs up into her seat she faces the rear of the car, exaines it, turns to me and says " I like your back side."

I try to explain that this is a hatchback. She looks at me quizically.
"It's a lot like a trunk" I explain.
"oh, I like your trunk"

I gave up. it's not a compliment I'm used to - but one can accept from a toddler.

I recently learned

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I may be allergic to clams

my mother's liver is failing

there was a third thing, but I can't remember and it's irrelevant

My memory and decision making skills are crap under duress.


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three hour commute to work
bad traffic day
snow starts falling

Leave work to pick up babe in toyland
three inches of snow
on the hilly road
taxi swerving in the valley
breaks don't respond
stearing downhill
swerve to avoid crash
stuck in a ditch
also sticking out on the road

people stop and offer help
insurance card is in my stolen wallet
not in my car

baby crying
other cars sliding around
shit- that truck is huge
van stops mid hill to offer help
gets stuck
hits me

no damgage
to car or people

snow plow coming down opposite hill
facing me
loses control
gets back on the road
passes me slightly
is uphill behind us
loses control
slides backwards

grab baby
run into woods

plow is huge
regains control
dumps salt
moves on

neighbor invites us in
no one is hurt
car is towed out

drive up the hill
into the drive way
get stuck
boss mom pushes my car to get up the hill


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Today we had some pretty serious winds. In fact they continue as I type. Trees are tapping ion the windows, gusts are audible indoors.

The power was out for four hours today while I was at work. Outside of TV I never realized how much electricity is used while caring for kiddos. To be fair- the water is well water, and fuel for stove is electric in the home in which I work - so we had Nothing (i.e. were saving water in case the outage extended beyond one day).

The biggest issue was water. The second biggest was not knowing what time it was. It went pretty smoothly- but I wouldn't want to travel back in time and raise kids without some of the modern items that make modern life easier.

7 things you might not have known

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Okay, so... did I mention that raising babies- even part time- is exhausting?! I haven't been blogging because I am pretty tired at the end of the day. Today we went all out and made sugar cookies. I burnt the first batch very badly as the old electric oven's thermometer is slightly unreliable and I have yet to locate a timer in the home.

My sister has 'tagged' me, which means I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself that people might not know. I so rarely shut up or keep secrets... so I'm not sure any of this will be shocking news.

1. As a child I liked the salty flavor of play dough and bugars.

2. I am growing out my hair to donate it to locks of love.

3. My hands are gigantic.

4. I LOVE repetition.

5.I like to eat uncooked bread dough. As a child I always begged my mum to slice off a bit of the dough. She often did. One time, she didn't. And she made this gorgeous braided loaf, then left and let it rise. I was awfully tempted, and awful. I took a bite right out of that beautiful braided dough.

6. I boycotted shaving for one month while attending Ursuline college. It was an all girls school and it made me sad that no one didn't shave. I wore tank tops. I like it when my pit hair is grown out.

7. My cholesterol is 247. My bad cholesterol is 147 compared to my good cholesterol which is 98.

A quick note before work

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It is physically exhausting taking care of children. I love it.


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The boys are back in town. I've started my new job and am struggling to make the afternoon manageable. Some of the kids are rather unpleassant. Others are great. The commute is a bit long, but give me time to read, which I enjoy. I'm looking at getting another job, but with the long commute it is probably better for me to get a different job, closer to home, with more hours.


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Today I've had one of those super effecient days, and it's only 9:47 am. Last night I felt compelled to stay awake to defeat the evil dragon and move forward in my quest for the crystal stars... In other words, I stayed up until 3 am playing Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door.

I magically woke up at 8:30 am in time to take out the garbage and recycling, roll up my car windows before it rained, called Dr. A to get an appointment and Dr. B to ask about test results, and call my mother. Now I'm off to search for a job, and to consider how to get that necklace back so that I can continue my endeavors to break into the Great Boggly Tree.

While He's Biking

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I am watching chic flicks and TV shows rented via Netflix and GamesNFlix. So far I've only seen two. The family stone (yuck) and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, which was a pleasant suprise. I've been enjoying reading the Sunday paper, and I'm hoping to get all my teacher stuff in order (as well as get a job:) Maybe I'll get some sewing or painting in this summer. I'm really enjoying all of the time I have to read.

I've also been spending time travelling. The travel is fantastic, but it makes the time alone at home all the harder.

Cross Country

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If you are interested in following the bike trip from Seattle to Rhode Island these are the blogs the guys will update if and when possible. There is already a bit of information there. Eric's blog has information about the route they are taking. The adventure begins Saturday, 7-7-07

Urban Snow Driving

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In stealing from a conversation I had last night- Take everythign you know about urban driving, then make it ten times more difficult and you've got urban snow driving. It's true. One of the biggest problems is that everyone parks on the street. SO- plows can't plow too much or it becomes impossible to pull in or out of a parking spot. That means that about half the road gets plowed. This is normally acceptable because snow doesn't last here for very long. The reason I've had three snow days in a row (HOLY CRAP- I don't think I ever even had that Ohio!)is because the snow wasn't really snow- it was a mix od sleet and snow. We got about 2 or 3 inches. maybe 4. My yard looks like it has been frosted. The only disturbance is where a man cut through our yard. This was before everything froze. If I jumped onto what used to be grass, I'd either fall or break the ice. It's crazy.

But tomorrow there is hope - tempatures above freezing. Unfortunately this will be followed by snow in the evening- hopefully it won't stick.

Amidst all of this ice we are moving. I am moving. I have spent the last two snow days carting stuck to and fro - it's killing my gas mileage because it's only 1 mile away. My car doesn't get time to warm up. It's also uphjll both ways (true story).

The fun of it all is that our new house is at the end of a dead end road that is narrow adn covered in ice. SO is our new driveway. Thank goodness for who ever came and shoveled or walkway. The move would otherwise be awful. I'm becoming a pro at driving on ice. I'm very thankful that my neighbors are at work - and their cars are not parked on the street.

I appreciate my car

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Anyone who knows me has heard me say how much I LOVE my car. My svelt, sexy, white Toyota Prius. But today as I rode 7.5 miles on my bicycle to get to the dentist I found how much I appreciate having a car. It made me think back to the days where horse and buggys served to transport across long distances much faster than walking could. After 15 miles round trip all I was thinking about was getting some food. I hadn't planned the trip well- I coulnd't eat or drink for 30 minutes after my cleaning! It was 12:30 and I had another appontment at 3pm. I relaxed in the shade until 1pm and hit the road. I got home, showered and left my house at 2:55 and managed to park near my second appointment at 3:01. So- I made it just in time.

Wicked Little Critter

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Okay- I admit it. I'm a DINK. Mendon said it first and I resisted. I don't want to be a Yuppy (hence the move out of the gated community) but DINK has even worse conotations for some reason. For those of you reading this saying what the hell? DINK= double income no kids.
In unrelated news we went to our 'beer store' and found gourmet tea called STASH. We first had some while visiting Ma and Pa and it was wonderful quality. I highly suggest it- especially the mint- wow!

WIth the wonderful weather we took our house guest and fiance on a lovely hike on a path near Teddy Roosevelt Island. We had a lovely time despite the inmpending clouds. I thought of my students - who are learning about deciduous forests. What would I give for a 9-5 job that encompassed something I enjoy/care about! I guess that 's why we get summer's off:)