Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Family

When people who know me meet my family they often say something like, "I totally understand you now", or "Holy crap you are like the 'sane' one?!". So I figured I would introduce you to my family, perhaps you will be able to see where I get it from when I inevitably post something that sounds nutty.

Daddy, aka Pa: Daddy is a stay at home grandpa, he retired not long after my niece was born and ended up falling into the roll of primary caregiver (yes I know, he should totally start a blog!). I am a total Daddy's little girl, probably a reason I love the daddy blogs so much. Dad worked at home much of my early childhood, while money was tight at times it was awesome having my dad around whenever I wanted or needed him and quite the adjustment when he got a job outside the home when I was a young teen.

Mom, aka Graw!: My mom is very quirky, she adores puns, I mean really adores puns, the more blatant the better! She likes massively huge coffee cups, it has always been a quest to see who could find the biggest one to give her (I kinda won that one when Hallmark made the coffee cup planter, only problem is that she can't actually use it for tea or coffee so victory is not 100% complete). She is ridiculously scared of stinging insects, to the point where when I was an infant she abandoned me in my stroller when she saw a bee, in her defense my grandparents were there. Grandpa's version is that she pushed the stroller at the bee to divert its attention so she could make her escape, he has been known to embellish his stories just a bit... If I ever get her reaction to a bee/wasp/hornet/fly that she has not yet identified on video it is something I will be unable to resist posting here even though it will be positive proof that I am an evil daughter.

Me, aka The Microblogologist, aka Karen, aka Auntie Kee: I am the oldest of three girls, Daddy was sooooooo sure I was going to be a boy that they had a boy name and boy clothes and I think even bought "It's a boy" birth announcements. Mom had a feeling I might be a girlchild but Dad was so insistent that he "knew" I was a boy she just went with the flow (which is very unusual for her, the pregnancy hormones must have temporarily addled her brain). So I didn't have a name for a day or two before they decided on Karen and wore blue a lot. I was only 18 months old when a sibling was inflicted on me, and then 13 months after that another one! They have a home video of them bringing Cheryl home and introducing her to me, it went something like this:
Mom: Look it is Cheryl, she's your sister.
2.5 year old me: That's not my sister, THAT'S my sister (pointing to Middle Sister).

They had neglected to tell me that one could have more than one I guess. After that my parents figured out where babies come from and stopped piling siblings on me.

Middle Sister: Niecey's mother, works two jobs and has some weird illness that her idiot doctor (resident) refuses to refer her to a specialist to find out what it is or order the test for what the symptoms kinda fit (MS). His ass is mine if he prevents her from getting timely treatment for a degenerative disorder and she is stuck in a messed up state. And I can definitely put myself in a position to afford to go after him, grad school has not put me in debt at all and med school is extremely expensive, add malpractice insurance (he better double his while he has the chance!) and I will likely be able to get out of debt and have the money for a kick ass lawyer before he can even make a small dent in his loans. I don't think people should sue for every stupid little thing but blatant stupidity like this man has shown is unacceptable.

Baby Sibling, aka Auntie Cheryl: Growing up we were not what you would call friends. I was horrid to her, Middle Sister often was too. Everyone that witnessed me picking on poor Baby Sibling told me that I shouldn't and that someday we were going to be the best of friends, oh how I scoffed at those ignorant adults, that was so never going to happen! Oh but happen it did, Baby Sibling is my bestest friend now. She is an artist, eventually she plans to become a jeweler. Currently she is a stay at home auntie and helps raise the niece. Her input:
"The" Cheryl says: you forgot to mention the fact that I'm the greatest thing sinse bread

Niecey, aka Niecey poo, aka Sweetie pea, aka Cutie pea....: Yeah I have a lot of nicknames for the little niecey poo and she loves it. I can call her just about anything I want and she is cool with it, as long as I don't call her by her first and middle name, oh does she ever have a fit if you include her middle name when addressing her! Sometimes I do it just to listen to the indignant speech she gives, she gets all huffy as she carries on and on, it is just too funny to resist, bonus is if you catch her about to do something she shouldn't and say it in a warning voice she will be too busy giving her speech to do whatever it was. She is a very funny kid, she tries to tell jokes but totally screws them up and then fake laughs at her own joke, it is way funnier this way than if she actually told the silly joke right. She just turned 5 and is not happy about it, least she wasn't when I called to wish her a happy birthday, she informed me she isn't 5. According to Middle Sister the niecey decided that one loses their cuteness at 5 and so she'd rather stay 4. She is so advanced for her age, though I would rather she be advanced in ways other than being concerned with aging! I can't believe my little baby niecey is going to be starting kindergarten, she will be going to the same school that the siblings and I went to. When she was first learning to talk she started calling my mom Graw because she could not pronounce Grandma, I think Mom wanted to be called "Granma", when trying to teach this to Niecey she would overemphasize the Grah part. We all thought it was hilarious and so we positively reinforced it like crazy and thus it has stuck. Mom was not too pleased with this at first but I think she has come to like her new name as it is rather unique.

Auntie D: Auntie D is a very close family friend, she lived with us a couple times when I was a kid and so is like a second mother to me. She is one of those people who is generally very good with kids and adores them. I always felt that she should have kids of her own and not just help raise other people's kids. She was married and they tried but she never got pregnant, being that she is diabetic they figured it was a complication of that and she couldn't have kids. Imagine her surprise when after she got divorced and had a ummm, adult relationship, she discovers she is totally capable of reproducing (then and not now). I was so happy when I found out she was pregnant! And I was extremely honored when she asked me to be her son's godmother.

The Godson, aka Buggy: Godson was due to be born in early September. Due to his mommy's diabetes, which was out of control for many years prior, her kidneys were just not able to handle the demands of pregnancy and he needed to be delivered early otherwise neither of them would survive, that was at the end of June. She was 28 weeks and 1 days along. I remember visiting him when he was 17 days old, he was so tiny! He was not on the ventilator long at all and other than a blood infection and a couple other minor issues he did great. I moved to start grad school that August and when I visited for Labor day weekend he was almost ready to be discharged from the NICU and was soooo "huge". He just turned 3 this year and oh my goodness has he grown! My babies aren't babies anymore!

Richard, aka Uncle Richard: Richard is someone I have known all my life, he goes to my parents' church and is a dear family friend. I declared him my uncle about 10 years ago, my family "adopts" relatives, whether they like it or not! Richard and I both enjoy country music and when I lived back home we would occasionally go to concerts, and we have been to country thunder in Twin Lakes, WI several times. One of these years we plan to go back and get VIP tickets, especially if the VIP perks are as awesome as they were in the past. Oh and he totally has my back, he let the drunk redneck hang all over him during one of the concerts while I was safely on his other side.

And there you have it, a glimpse into my family. Hope you enjoyed it, must have to have read all that =).

A Conversation with Baby Sibling

[12:57:54 AM] Karen says: Oooo I am soooooooo tech savy, I edited my post and made a linky thing
[1:00:14 AM] "The" Cheryl says: hooray for Karen
[1:00:32 AM] Karen says: I believe I shall gloat about this for awhile
[1:00:58 AM] Karen says: I made a link
I made a link
Yeah me!
I made a link
[1:05:23 AM] "The" Cheryl says: yay for Karen, yay
[1:05:56 AM] Karen says: I should totally put this conversation into a blog post
[1:06:16 AM] "The" Cheryl says: oh?
[1:06:23 AM] Karen says: lol
[1:06:27 AM] "The" Cheryl says: to show my loving enthusiasm?
[1:07:29 AM] Karen says: Sure

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And thus it begins

Once upon a time there was a bored grad student who probably should have been doing lit review* or cleaning her apartment or something, but instead was screwing around on the computer as she does most of the time she is avoiding work. If memory serves she was cruising the AOL headlines and came across the story of a little baby girl who had been thrown into a latrine in Haiti and there was an link to a YouTube video of the rescue. They labeled the infant a "miracle baby" and given that she managed to survive the whole ordeal that is a pretty good title. YouTube, as I am sure all of you know, always shows "related" videos on the side margin and scrolls through a bunch after your video is over. This is a trap, a very well designed trap, because inevitably one of these "related videos" catches the eye and is clicked, watched and then when that is over another one is spotted... This can (and often does) go on for hours as there is an essentially never ending supply of "related videos" and the label "miracle baby" only adds to it given the massive volume of "miracle baby" videos and that babies are sooooo cute.

Some time during the "miracle baby" marathon came a video showing the NICU journey of a set of twins born at 23 weeks. Having a godson who was born prematurely this sparked interest and there was a link to a blog written by their mother. She lurked on that blog until it was set to private and she felt too stalkerish to ask to be invited, this could have been the end of the story but it isn't. Before the privatization of that first blog she had discovered links to other blogs with different stories, many of them premie blogs at first, that were just as compelling, and most of them had additional links to even more interesting and compelling blogs and so on. The list of blogs grew and it is still growing.

Mostly lurking with the rare comment here and there the bored, work avoiding grad student happily kept reading the many blogs on her list. Then one day she was catching up on the blogs after returning home from visiting the family back east when she came across this post. NukeDad and the now highly amused grad student exchanged a couple e-mails and comments and the idea of her becoming a blogger herself was planted. After letting the idea percolate a bit in her head she mention the idea to Baby Sibling who brainstormed with her and came up with the insanely witty name and title and here we are dear reader, a new way for the bored microbiology grad student to avoid work and chores. This will likely not do anything to help her blog addiction either! Yeah this is likely to make it worse, won't be long before she is attending a meeting and will have to stand up and say, "Hi, my name is Karen and I am a blogoholic."

So welcome to my blog, expect randomness, lots of rambling, and likely a liberal amount of nerdiness. The frequency of my posting will likely vary a lot, it is likely to be more frequent if people pay attention to me, find me amusing, and let me know about it with comments. If Baby Sibling ends up as my only reader then I likely won't keep up with this since I can bug her directly in so many easier ways. Oh and if you are like me and go back and read through archives feel free to comment on old posts =)!

*lit review = literature review = finding and reading scientific journal articles that relate to one's research area, a boring, tedious and sometimes extremely frustrating task that is totally essential for just about every aspect of my work.