Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bread Uprising

Immersed in my latest read, a biography of e.e. cummings by Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno, I am interrupted by the gentle voice of my dear husband:

"Uh, Suze? I wanna show you something in the kitchen."

"What is it?"

"You just have to see."

Crap! Lately, every time I start a batch of bread after, say, 2p.m., I forget about it and it threatens to take over the kitchen. Every. Damn. Time.

Witness the yeasted monster attempting to take over the world one stainless steel bowl at a time:

I think it may be conspiring with the sourdough starter in the cupboard.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Don't Call Me Ms. Fix-It

I spent part of Daniel's afternoon naptime today crouched by the toilet, grunting and swearing (quietly) and wondering how it was all going to end.

Had you there for a second, didn't I? Ha!

The lid on the toilet seat snapped in half about a week and a half ago while Stuart was sitting on it during Daniel's bath. We should have replaced it right away but something - laziness? apathy? all of the above? - prevented us from doing so until today. Given Daniel's recent fascination with placing random objects in various receptacles, only good fortune (and perhaps an effective latch on the bathroom door) prevented Curious George and any number of other things our little one carries around the house from having a refreshing, toilet-y bath. This morning, Stu reminded me that it was our turn to host potluck tonight. Cripes! While we might be the kind of hosts who don't bother to sweep up all the dust bunnies or pick up all the toys before people come over, it seemed unacceptable to expect guests to do their business in a toilet lacking a proper lid.

So today I was charged with finding a replacement. The nearest Ace Hardware had literally dozens of options. Padded or firm? Plastic or wooden? Plain lid or scalloped? Did I want cute little duckies embroidered on the top? (No, I certainly did not.) Oh, the choices. As I gazed upon the wealth of toilet seats before me, wondering if ours is a "round" or "elongated" shape, a woman in the same aisle said to me in a low, conspiratorial voice, "You can get this same one with ducks on it for five dollars at Wal-Mart. Go to Wal-Mart." I had Daniel with me, so I wonder if she thought I was shopping for a cute toilet seat for him? Lady, this kid is a long way from "going" in the toilet, much less having his own private one with duckies on the lid. In the end, I opted for the only plain white one I could find under $20 that had "Easy to Install!" on the label.

Maybe that toilet seat was going to be "easy to install!" but I had to figure out how to de-install the original, broken one first. Fortunately, Daniel was ready for a nap as soon as we got home, so once he was asleep, I got right to it. At least, I tried. I spent about a minute sitting on the floor fiddling with the plastic bolt before 1) I realized it wasn't going to budge (going at it with a wrench didn't help) and 2) I was so thoroughly disgusted by the state of our bathroom when I was eye-level with the toilet that I had to clean it right then before I did anything else. In the end, I got the bathroom (somewhat) clean, but made no progress removing the toilet seat before Daniel woke up. It would have to wait for Stuart to get home from work. "Hi, hon! How was your day? You've got twenty minutes to fix the crapper!"

I explained the situation to my mom on the phone. My dad must have overheard the conversation because he called later with several suggestions on toilet seat removal, one of them involving a hacksaw and a product called "liquid wrench." I'm glad to say that Stuart figured it out fairly quickly, and that he didn't have to resort to anything extreme. Our guests were none the wiser, though the only person to actually use the bathroom was the pregnant woman anyway.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Belated eye-candy, and a bit about what I eat

It finally snowed here last Monday, the first significant snowfall this winter. Schools weren't in session because of MLK Jr. Day, so kids all over the neighborhood were out with their sleds. Maybe next year Daniel will be old enough to appreciate the snow a little more. Anyway, I've been wanting to post pictures of the snow, but I couldn't get any good ones until this morning.

We have this weekend routine that is practically sacred. Every Saturday or Sunday morning, we trek out to the East Side (all of 7 miles) for breakfast at Lazy Jane's Cafe (no website, alas), then grocery shopping at the Co-op, which is less than a block away from Lazy Jane's. We started this routine when I was pregnant with Daniel, and we've done it just about every week for a little more than a year.

Lazy Jane's is the kind of place you can't help but be loyal to. It's cozy and informal; when your food is ready the cook yells your name (STUUUUUUUU-AAAAAAAAART!!) from the kitchen so you can go down and pick it up. Their espresso's the best we've had in this town (and believe me, we've tried a lot of places), and their scones are locally famous, and rightly so. Nearly every time, we order the same breakfast: a scone, two espressos, and a place of scrambled eggs with cream cheese and scallions to share. Daniel flirts with the staff, and they flirt right back. There's art for sale on the walls, and oddments of kitch endearingly clutter the restaurant. We love it. After breakfast, we walk the block or so to the Co-op for the week's groceries.

Yesterday, however, we woke up to snow falling thick and fast. Not to be deterred by something so trivial as winter weather (this is Wisconsin, dontcha know?), we set off for our routine. As the car barely made it out of our driveway and onto the street, Stuart said "We might be getting freezing rain this morning. Maybe we should skip Lazy Jane's and just do the shopping." OK, no problem. But then we slipped and slid onto University Avenue, and decided that perhaps going all the way across town at this time was not such a good idea, especially since they don't plow the roads until it stops snowing, and that wasn't going to happen for several hours. So we just went to a supermarket only about a mile from our house; even though we didn't get the freezing rain after all, the main roads were a mess until mid-afternoon, so it turned out to be a wise decision.

I felt so strange in that supermarket, so out of place. Since I read This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow about four years ago, Stuart and I have changed the way we make decisions about what we eat. I've been meaning to write a post about what and how we eat and why, but I've been stalling because 1) I think most of what I have to say has been said before, and 2) it would probably be of epic length. For now, I'll just cut to the chase and say that we are committed to buying locally grown and produced food as much as we can. We (well, I, mostly) grow a few vegetables and herbs in the yard (there's a lot of shade, so actual growing space is limited); we buy as much stuff at the farmers' market as we can from April to November(not just produce, either, as you can get eggs, cheese and meat there); we do our best to avoiding buying out-of-season fruits and vegetables, though this is a lean time of year when we have to either break that rule or resort to eating nothing but cabbage and rutabagas...OK, you get the idea, right?

Stuart and I have also been reading (well, he finished it already) The Omnivore's Dilemma, an excellent book about food production and food economics in the U.S., and it's done nothing but reinforce our decisions about what we eat.

I'm finally coming to the point of this story. I felt so lost in that supermarket because they embodied almost none of these ideals. Sure, they had some organic produce, but none of it was local, it was exorbitantly expensive (even for organic) and had surely been trucked in from California, or farther. There were aisles of processed foods and really cheap meat (yuck) and TV dinners and snacks with all kinds of unnatural preservatives. They had fair trade coffee, though; I'll say this for Madison: you can get fair trade coffee just about anywhere. We bought just what we needed before heading home.

I can't stop thinking about American eating habits, and how messed up they are. I'm not talking about the obesity epidemic, either. I'm talking about how senseless it is that vegetables grown just down the road are twice as expensive, if they're even available to buy, as the ones grown thousands of miles away. I'm talking about how so few people consider what it means to eat seasonally that whenever I bring it up in casual conversation, most of the time people look at me like I'm from another planet. I'm talking about how sad it is that we are so far removed from the true sources of food (dirt! water! grass! worms!--you know I love my compost pile) that hardly anyone really gets the connection between the health of humans and the health of the planet.

And all this because 5" of snow stood between me and my weekly trip to the Co-op.

Friday, January 19, 2007

6 Weird Things

I wasn't tagged, but I've seen this list on other blogs, so I'm swiping it.

Six Weird Things About Me:

1. I have a pathological fear of vomiting. I just won't do it, and I have no sense of humor about it. I would rather endure all kinds of physical pain, fever, diarrhea, you-name-it rather than upchuck. When I hit hour 20 of labor, the nurse brought a little bowl to me and said to Stuart, "Just in case she vomits!" Little did she know. I didn't even come close. I also get seriously anxious when someone throws up, or tells me about throwing up, or is afraid they will throw up. That scene in Monty Python's Meaning of Life is not the least bit funny to me; watching it is akin to torture. I do not appreciate when someone tells me all about the last time he or she had the stomach flu, or the terrible morning sickness she had while pregnant, or the time his or her kid got sick on an airplane, you get the idea. Keep it to yourself, and spare me the shortness of breath and racing heartbeat. Yes, this applies to the comment roll, too.

2. I am an introverted person, and also rather shy (those two things are not necessarily interchangeable), but I have absolutely no fear of public speaking. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. Maybe it's my inner Drama Queen.

3. To everyone but my husband and closest friends, who know better, I appear to be a very calm, organized person. In fact, I am not. I hide my insecurities well, hence the faux calm. I also have a very good memory for certain details, so even though I can never keep track of a planner, I almost never miss rehearsals and appointments (notice I said almost.) I do not have a good memory for other details, which is why I am always looking for my glasses and my keys.

4. You'd think that since I'm a Musician (dare I use a capital M?), I would have a good ear. I'm actually much more of a visual learner. I have to hear a melody, even a simple one, over and over before I remember it, but if I see it written down just once, I can remember it pretty well. The same goes for language. Whenever I'm learning a foreign language, I have to see the words in print (or visualize them written down) or I can't remember them.

5. You know those numbing drops they put in your eyes before dilating your pupils at the eye doctor? Those make me pass out. The first time I was a senior in high school, and all of a sudden I just pitched forward and rolled out of the chair and ended up in the corner of the room. The second time I managed to get my head down and ask for a cold can to put on my forehead, so I didn't black out completely.

6. I could probably make a whole list of 6 weird things about me when I was pregnant, but instead I'll just choose one: the only craving I had was for ice cubes. For about a month, or maybe a little longer, I would constantly be chewing on ice. This was during December and January, by the way, but I didn't care how cold it was, I wanted ICE. I would get up in the middle of the night, open the freezer, and chow down on ice cubes. My brother-in-law (who's an M.D.) recently mentioned that cravings for ice might be a sign of iron deficiency. Who knew?

Tag time! Let's see...Joe, Pam, Steph, Ann, Jenn, Gade...you're it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where's Daniel?

Playing in the cupboard:

Adjusting the radio:

Helping Stu with a crossword puzzle:

Hiding behind the chair with Curious George:

Planning his next move:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More About Early Childhood Music...part 2

Finally following up...

I have been working on this post for a couple days now, but truthfully, I don't have much more to say about it. In a few months, when I've actually experienced several classes with Daniel, I'm sure I'll have much more to blab about. For now, I'll just say that I'm a believer in early childhood music education for all kinds of reasons. When done properly, music classes encourage language development, motor skills, and socialization. Most importantly, music exposure and participation (meaning, not just at the level of observing) at a very early age instills rhythm, pitch, the tonic-dominant-leading tone relationships (without the high-falutin' terminology, of course) and, I like to think, music appreciation, joy. The point of early childhood music ed is not to find the next Mozart, in my humble opinion, but to encourage a collective musical conscience. That's for the parents and the kids. If some of them go on to play instruments and take private lessons and become professional musicians, then great. But those that don't will still benefit and so, we hope, will society at large.

A friend of mine, Rachel, once enrolled her daughter in a class called something like "Music and Movement Together," and it sounded totally and completely lame. The teacher just played Paul Simon songs on a CD player for the kids to dance around the room. I believe this is the reason curricula like Kindermusik, Musikgarten, Music Together and others have certification programs with certain standards for teachers and materials. I know I said I was skeptical about how Musikgarten marketed their workshops to potential teachers, but the actual music and equipment were good for the pre-school-level classes. (I didn't take the workshops for the next level for group piano teaching because I had some major issues with it, both musically and philosophically, but I won't go there right now. My point here is not to slam Musikgarten.)

Anyone else who knows a heck of a lot more about this than I do (Rizz, Katie, that means you!), please please share your thoughts or tell me if I'm off-base in any way.

Now where did I actually leave off on that first post? Ah, yes. The privilege thing. The class thing. The whole thing where I supposedly get all philosophical about my mission as a music educator and rant and rave about how it's not accessible to people below a certain income, and how it should be for everybody. The thing is, I believe that. I really do. But right now I'm trying to juggle full-time care for an 11-month-old, graduate school, a handful of private piano students (just 5, but it's enough), housework (egads does the laundry pile up these days), and a whole bunch of upcoming performances, some of them out of town, that I haven't started practicing for yet. So you'll have to excuse me if I'm not out there writing grants to teach pre-school music classes in Head Start or giving free lessons to poor kids when my paltry contribution to the household income barely covers what we spend on groceries as it is. Yes, we buy organic. But still.

I'm going to stop right there on that issue, because the fact is, I only have a few students, they can all more than afford to pay what I charge, and I don't have the time, motivation, or vision to spend my whole career bringing music to the under-privileged. That sounds so harsh, but what I really love to do is perform with other people, and if I devoted my whole life to teaching, I wouldn't ever have time to practice. That's why I didn't go beyond the Masters in Piano Pedagogy, and continued in Collaborative instead. Well, that and a certain epiphany I had as an undergrad during a lesson with a particularly frustrating child, but that's another story, and it involves boogers, so I'll tell you about it some other time.

Socks That Rock

I know I don't usually say much about knitting on this blog (that's what my other blog is for, but this is really incredible. For the Muggles (you know, non-knitters) out there, you may not completely understand this, but Knitters are a powerful, powerful force in the Universe. Recently, a sock yarn company had its bank SHUT THEM DOWN because they had a Sock-of-the-Month subscription service and so many people signed up, the bank assumed it was a scam, that there was no way that many people could be interested in knitting socks, and they refused to listen to the owners and refunded all the money. I'm only an occasional sock knitter, so I don't subscribe to this, but holy crap was that a stupid move on the bank's part. They totally underestimated the power of Knitters. It's all OVER the knitblogverse now, and I figured even Muggles would find this interesting. Read all about it chez Harlot, or pretty much anywhere else in knit-blog-land.

*Edited to add: A Google search for "Socks that Rock," the official name of that sock club, yields over 67,000 results, most of which are knitbloggers writing about said product. Those chumps at the bank could have spent a whole 20 seconds doing that and realized that the Sock Club was totally legit, especially since they apparently approved of the company's regular business.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Picture break!

I promise I'll continue my thoughts on early childhood music education soon, but not tonight. Instead, here are some recent pictures of Daniel to enjoy.

Monday, January 08, 2007

More About Early Childhood Music...part I

Katie's comment in my post from this morning got me writing a comment that was turning out so long, I just decided to do a follow-up post.

My experience with early childhood music curricula is actually quite limited. In 2003, I took the workshop for Musikgarten certification, and got certified to teach the curriculum for infant-5yo. At the time, I was teaching piano at a non-profit studio in town, and the director agreed to pay half the tuition for me and another teacher, my good friend Autumn (who, incidentally, taught me how to knit socks, but that's another story). The idea was that we both could teach a pre-school music class or two for the studio. Alas, my schedule at the University was already so packed, the only time I had available for a Musikgarten class was 2p.m. on Fridays and no one signed up. That was long before I knew that all small children (except mine) are napping at that time of day. Duh. My then-employer (I quit that gig when I started my doctorate) had me observe some classes he taught (he was very good at it), and let me teach a couple of his sessions for practice, but that was it. Autumn got quite a lot of teaching experience, though, and she still teaches several classes at her place of employment in the Twin Cities.

The workshop itself lasted three or four days. We covered what were developmentally appropriate activities for different ages, went over some basic information about development (motor skills, language learning, socialization, etc.), and learned several of the songs and rhymes and other activities in the Musikgarten curriculum. We were, of course, also encouraged to buy many of their fabulous products.

One thing that bothered both me and Autumn was that about half the people enrolled in the workshop were not professional musicians, but people who specialized in early childhood education and/or childcare. There was one lady in particular who, I think, ran a daycare out of her home and was hoping to increase her income by teaching Musikgarten classes there. She couldn't read music very fluently and couldn't even match pitch very well; this is a serious problem when you are supposed to be teaching songs by rote (yes, there are CDs with the songs, but you can't use them as a crutch) and transitional singing to introduce the idea of tonic pitch. For instance, in between the song to sing hello to everyone and the rhyme game with rhythm sticks, you sing a variety of things like "do-mi-do, re-ti-do" that everyone imitates (for really little kids, you just use "ba ba ba" instead of the actual solfege.) So anyway, this poor woman probably thought pre-school music classes would be really easy to teach because who can't sing a few folk songs? when really it requires a certain amount of musical savvy.

That's not to say there weren't early childhood specialists (I refuse to just call them daycare workers) who couldn't hack it. Most of them could. But a few couldn't, and it begged the question: why the heck were they enrolled in this workshop? Other than to increase enrollment in the workshop, thus making more money for this particular organization? Ahem.

I might also add that there were plenty of trained musicians, like me, who didn't have a clue about early childhood this and that, but you hardly need to be an expert in developmental psychology to teach a 45-minute class once a week. That's what we were there to learn, after all.

Even though I have yet to teach any Musikgarten classes, I learned quite a lot about teaching music to young children. Mostly, I have incorporated non-reading activities that involve body movement and call-and-response to reinforce rhythm and pitch. This is particularly effective with younger piano students (age 5-7), but I try to adapt for older children, too. Teaching piano relies so heavily on reading music (as it well should), that ear training is all too often neglected, even though a well-developed ear can actually help with good reading. Now, if you have a beginning piano student who has taken a couple years of pre-school music classes and can sing back melodies and repeat rhythm patterns accurately? That kid is a step ahead.

Which brings me to the issue of privilege. I'll say this about my former employer: he was truly committed to teaching everyone. He wrote grants for a scholarship program for kids who couldn't afford lessons or classes, and based the scholarships on the information on school-lunch forms. I'm quite sure none of my private students were on scholarship (not the ones that were driven to their lessons in Mercedes SUVs anyway), but I witnessed some of his pre-school classes that took place in daycares for low-income families and I saw first-hand just how valuable and needed music was for those kids. But that's a rarity.

Pre-school music classes are expensive. Private music lessons are expensive. I'm conflicted about this, and anyone who knows me well has had at least one discussion with me on this point. As someone who has spent years and years learning how to be a professional musician, as someone who stands to make a living doing this someday (if I ever get out of grad school, which will never happen if I keep blogging this much...but I digress...), I grind my teeth whenever I hear someone bitch about how expensive music lessons and classes are. On the other hand, when that expense shuts out a significant chunk of the population from having the opportunity - because we all know how little support the arts get in public schools - I feel guilty for making my profession something that panders mostly to the upper-class. (That said, I grew up in a family that is quite educated but certainly not wealthy in the material sense, by American standards. Just so you don't think I'm a yuppie or something.)

Oh, damn, now you've got me going. Anyone still reading ought to get a prize or something. It's actually getting late, so maybe I'll continue these thoughts tomorrow, or some other time. Thanks for hanging in there, all.

Music Together

It's no secret that I find this full-time mom thing to be a little too solitary. When Daniel was a few weeks old, I made a couple half-hearted attempts at attending a group for pre-crawlers and their caregivers at Happy Bambino but there were too many people (sometimes 20 moms would show up) and we mostly went around the circle talking about diapers and breastfeeding. Like I care how many times some stranger's kid poops in one day. Later in the spring, I went to a mom-and-baby yoga class for about two months, and it was great, but none of us kept in touch when we disbanded for the summer.

I decided that with the new year I would find some way of socializing more with Daniel. He's 11 months old now, and he definitely notices other kids. Besides, I was cripplingly shy when I was a young child, and I want to try and prevent that in my own kid if I can. Artificially constructed playgroups hold absolutely no appeal to me. How does an introvert like me crash a room full of strangers with whom I have essentially nothing in common besides motherhood? There's a kid across the street about ten months older than Daniel, and I think his parents probably have a lot in common with us, so at some point I'll have to get over my residual shyness and just go over there and find a non-awkward way to say "Do you want to be my friend?"

Another option is finding a music class for infants and toddlers. A few years ago I took a workshop to get certified in the Musik Garden curriculum. I ended up not teaching any early childhood music classes, but I've incorporated a few aspects of the curriculum into my private teaching. If you've ever had experience with Kindermusik or the Yamaha early music classes, it's all pretty similar. There are songs, rhymes, movement exercises, and rhythm instruments, that kind of thing. I've heard people scoff at early childhood music classes for being tailored to wealthy, pushy, competitive parents who are trying to make little Einsteins out of their children, but as a musician, I can tell you that there are significant benefits to exposing very young children to music in this kind of a setting.

So this morning I took the plunge and took Daniel to a 45-minute session of a Music Together class at a nearby piano store. Music Together is yet another curriculum, but from what I could tell, it was basically the same as the rest. Daniel was the youngest child there by at least a year, and he was clearly intimidated by all the older children and the extra noise. Still, he seemed to enjoy it. I was impressed that one of the rhymes was in 7/8 time; you're never too young for additive rhythm, eh?

I wasn't sure about the overall vibe, though. For one thing, I wished there would have been at least a couple more children closer to Daniel's age. (We were sitting next to a gigantic 3-year-old who wasn't very friendly to Daniel when he crawled close to her to investigate her egg-shakers. She's going to end up beating up kids like Daniel on the playground someday, I think.) For another thing, I noticed that my little '97 Honda Civic with its carefully chosen lefty bumper stickers was dwarfed by all the shiny, new-looking mini-vans and SUVs in the parking lot. I don't want to pass judgment right off the bat, but I just have a sneaking suspicion I won't meet any kindred spirits there.

Fortunately, the teacher's policy is that first-timers can attend one class for free to try it out, so I didn't have to commit us to a ten-week session right then and there. She said I could come to Friday's class and see if that is a better fit. If not, I guess I'll just have to keep looking.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Quiet Repose

My friend Julia is a singer whose family lives in Madison, so even though she's getting her doctorate in Houston, I still see her every few months when she's home for breaks. she invited Daniel and me to her family's house for lunch yesterday, and we stayed well into the afternoon, and well past Daniel's usual (hah!) naptime. Daniel and Betsy, Julia's 8 lb. dog, played fetch with a tennis ball, and Julia and I did some sight-reading. We are planning to do a program here in April, mostly of pieces she's going to do on a DMA recital in Houston in March, but we may need to substitute a couple of things because of limited rehearsal time. We started off with John Jacob Niles, a native Kentuckian whose arrangements of folk songs are simple, elegant, and beautiful. "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" is one of my favorites and always makes me a little teary. We moved on to a few selections from Fauré's "Le Jardin Clos" and ended with "O Welt" from Mahler's Rückertlieder. It felt so good to play those pieces, even if I'm not in the best shape piano-wise right now. (Sigh. Why do my favorite singers live so far away? Pam, that also means you!)

Daniel fell asleep about thirty seconds after we got in the car to go home. He had a typically tiny nap at first, but was clearly still tired when he woke up. I nursed him back to sleep, and sat there with him in my lap. I assumed he would wake up for good if I tried to put him down, and I expected him to wake up in 20-30 minutes, so I decided to just sit there and hold him, to hell with what the books say. The books haven't done squat for me anyway. The night before had been so frustrating for everyone, I figured he and I both were owed this moment of peace. A half hour went by, then another half hour, and then another. He squirmed and shifted a little, but still slept. The sun started to set, the house got dark, and I just sat there thinking about everything and nothing and listening to him breathe.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Are you tired of kid pictures yet?

You know how hard it is to practice gratefulness at 4a.m. when you've spent a whole hour trying to get your kid back to sleep to no avail? Really damn hard. But I suppose that's exactly the kind of time when practicing gratefulness is relevant. I wrote a whiny post yesterday about our sleep troubles, but I deleted it because I figured there's only so much complaining I can do before y'all stop reading. Besides, when the sun comes up and I see this sweet little boy smiling, pointing at me and babbling "Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma bababababababa PBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBTTT!" all those feelings of helplessness and frustration, while they don't melt away, are temporarily put to rest.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Watch your cornhole there, buddy.

(Anyone get the movie reference?)

Seeing this sign as we drove into my home town...

...prompted the question: what exactly is a cornhole box? My dad, the only person in the family with enough curiosity to pursue the matter beyond crude conversation, enough patience to wait on the dial-up connection, and enough courage to do a search for "cornhole," found the answer here. There's an Association for everything, huh?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Tagged Again!

Animal tagged me for this a while ago, and now I'm finally doing it. I have to say this is the most unusual tag I've ever gotten...

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.


Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. This book is next to the computer because I plan to sell it on Amazon. I'll spare you the personal details but two pregnancies in as many years (neither one planned, one ended in a miscarriage, the other ended with Daniel!) ought to tell you why this book didn't exactly work for me.

from page 123, sentences 5, 6 and 7:

"And all contraceptives have a failure rate. Using barriers with spermicide during the fertile phase can mask cervical fluid. (This is one of several reasons why I recommend condoms if you are not going to abstain.)"

I shudder to think what google searches are going to lead to this blog entry.

Tag time! Pam, Gade, Joe? I don't care if someone tagged you already -- you're it!