Tuesday, January 29, 2008


i swear that samil kicked around in the womb well past the 42-week limit. it wasn't until i switched doctors - at the last possible minute - and agreed to a c-section that he came out. from day one... well, even before day one, i fought against the surgery. the dominican has one of the highest rates of unnecessary caesareas in the world. i think we're like third on the list. i didn't want to be cut open - partly because birth is natural. i didn't even want an epidural. partly because dominican medical care sucks. i've met nurses in the states who trump specialists here. and not nurse practitioners.

dominicans wanted to know why i was having the baby here. americans wanted to know why i was having the baby here. i really didn't know why i was having the baby here. i just knew that no matter what, he'd get his "papeles" and a nice blue passport. i wasn't worried about labor. or childbirth. until we decided on the c.

i'll spare you the details, but i was up and walking around the next day. walked up three flights of stairs after 48 hours and i have a beautifully thin little scar nicely hidden by my underwears. my anesthesiologist - a cuban named zapata - was the kind of doctor you dream about. i was sent home and 8 days later the stitches were taken out and i walked around the city. carrying the baby.

just as the c-section is old hat here in hispaniola, by-pass surgery, one would think is old-hat in florida. come on, with so many old people, doctors have got to be able to do that surgery in their sleep.


my grandpop went in for the surgery before christmas. quadruple by-pass. after 7 days he was discharged. it seems that the hospital was hell bent on discharging all heart patients. no.matter.what. he arrived at rehab only to be sent to the emergency room with an infection. back to the big city - a two hour drive - for more treatment. we all waited and waited. the infection got worse. it set in his bones. nothing.

seriously, nothing? it was christmas week. the doctor's waited until the holidays were over to open his chest and work on the infection. they "scraped" his chest out, put him on antibiotics and watched. now, instead of a simple by-pass scar he's got a titanium plate in his chest from where they cut apart his sternum.

he gets out tomorrow from rehab. health care in the states leaves a lot to be desired. sure a c-section and heart surgery are completely different. but what happened about treating patients? it seems to me that even though maybe the services here aren't as advanced, as sterile, as educated at least we're not fighting with insurance companies about how long we can stay or when we get treated.

i don't know. maybe it's time for the united states to stop worrying about everyone else and take care of themselves for awhile.

Monday, January 28, 2008


i'm rekindling my love affair with alicia keys.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

quality friday

some girls that i went to college with choose a weekly moment and write about it on their blogs. i don't know that it's something i'll stick with -- i'm bad at making new habits -- but since today really was a Quality Friday, i figured i'd borrow their idea and celebrate my day.

samil has slept through the night for the past nights - quite a feat considering he's not been feeling well and wakes himself up with an awful cough. last night i crawled into bed shortly after samil's 9 o'clock bedtime, woke up at 4 -- listening for a 'come get me' cry -- fell back asleep and woke up at 6:15 for a quick run. i don't have an ipod but i recently uploaded new music to my mp3 player -- new music along with new headphones made the time fly.

amalio took the morning off from work today to cook lunch. my bad eating habits stem from the fact that in the dominican the big meal is eaten at noon but with no one in the house to share with, i often skip lunch or eat something nutritionally unfulfilling.

samil and i took a walk with sara this afternoon and then sara and i fingerpainted while samil took his nap. at times i wish samil was already sara's age (13months) so that we could fingerpaint, but watching him now, i don't ever want him to get bigger.

samil slept extra long, so i took a nap too. it's nice to spend a day just hanging out, relaxing and not worrying about planning class or cleaning the house or paying bills. happy quality friday.

Friday, January 18, 2008

taking advantage...

sometimes i just can't help making little lists in my head. i'm not a big list-writer, i don't keep a journal and every january i buy a dayplanner with big plans for the new year. by march it's stowed away in a drawer, making only minor appearances in my numerous attempts to organize my life. this year my boss got me a planner, since apparently my mommy-mind is in fullswing and i've forgotten important things, like spitup rags and spare clothes for samil on days that i take him to school with me.

my friend bobbie, who is a peace corps volunteer in the middle east, is a list fanatic. i don't know if it's a new mania or if she's always done it, but quite frankly she's inspired me. i've been keeping a daily to-do list for about 3 weeks. and in my head i've been keeping this weird list... of things that i take advantage of living in the states. i always swear i'll write something down when i get home, but i haven't yet... so here it is:

1. KoalaBear Care stations -- you know the baby changing tables in public restrooms. can you believe that in the pediatricians office there is literally nowhere to change a diaper? to make a point, i changed samil's diaper on the secretary's desk. bitchy, i know. but seriously, a pediatrician.

2. Purse Hooks -- again a public restroom issue. i hate putting my bag on the floor. not because i'm scared it will get stolen, but because public toilets are kind of gross... and even women aim wrong most of the time. we weren't built to pee standing up. which leads to

3. Toilet Seats -- after some investigating, i've learned why most toilets don't have a seat. as it turns out, most dominicans sit right on the toiletbowl when needed and dominican men pee with the seat down. i've been told by a fair number of guys that the seat is just plain uncomfortable. go figure.

4. Cheese Cake -- on the rare occasion the fancy supermarket carries frozen cheesecake but it's expensive. way. out. of. my. budget. i'm not a foodie, but i appreciate good old new york cheese cake.

5. Freedom to have Short Hair -- women's lib happened way before i was born in the states, but it's still in process here in the third world. not so subtle things like women in the workplace and wife beating are shameful even here... but women with short hair are considered lesbians, and if not lesbians weird nonetheless. it's the little things that came with liberation that i think are most important...

6. Free Cell-to-Cell -- i pay way too much money to call anyone. it's cheaper for me to call the states than it is to call amalio at work.

7. Sweat Pants -- now i know that it is never acceptable to wear sweat pants fashionably, but it's pretty taboo for me to slip into my oversized Hanes mens sweats to even go running in the morning. i'm not trying to look sexy while i'm running, so i hate that everyone else out exercising could also walk a sportswear catwalk.

8. Kinkos. -- or really anywhere i can make my own copies. i'm not stupid and it's not rocket science working a copy machine. i don't need to pay someone to copy a page out of a coloring book.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

who chopped down the cherry tree?

a little pictorial of our excursion to valley over christmas break...

it's hard to resist babies and any face cutouts... this one of george washington was particularly funny because it was only about 3 feet tall.

jae takes a try at a revolutionary way rifle. i wouldn't wanna meet her on the battefield!

washington memorial chapel is one of the most beautiful churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania -- the garden in winter is nothing compared to fall when the leaves are changing color.

jae and sarah were excited to see the log cabins - unfortunately the only ones we found were locked off.

it was pretty cold, so we bought some shoo-fly pie and headed to steve and barry's before taking sarah to the airport.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

this is samil's newest trick. he can get the bobo in his mouth... he's just gotta work on the technique. i'd say... 90% of the time this is the result. he sucks on it this way, whatever floats the boat, eh?
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008


i'll be honest, when we were in philly, i didn't even think of sitting down to blog. seriously. but i've been back for a week and i've sat down at the computer too many times to count - all ready to write something new. right.

first the internet connection was down, then the page just plain wouldn't open and then, i just kept getting distracted. even now, as i type, i'm waiting for two students. when they get here i'll just have to save and come back to this later, i suppose.

samil and i had a fantastic time in the states - after all of the problems getting his passport, i was surprised to sail through both customs offices on both ends of the flights. he was a champeon flier - barely any crying, no explosive diapers. we spent time with family and friends - though we did miss a bunch of people, which makes me sad. but the good news is that we'll be headed back this summer for my cousin chrissy's wedding... and hopefully amalio will go with us this time!



my students have come and gone - but i'm determined to finish this blog today. i started back to work today in the house. i go back this afternoon to the language center where i'll pick up two new classes - for a total of three this semester. i want to stay at home with samil as much as possible, and being a "contract" english teacher helps that but it's still nice to leave the house and work in a center with other adults.

i really have nothing else to write about and in an attempt to avoid rambling i'll leave you now...until the next one!