Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today I'm thankful for: Morgan's taking parental leave

Today (and every day) I'm thankful for the fact that Morgan was able to take parental leave.

I remember the day I woke up and actually felt well for the first time since the babies were born.  It was week 7, day 6, which is fortunate, because my employer allowed me to use only eight weeks' sick leave for a C-section.  This was not just the first time I felt well since the babies were born; this was the first time I had felt well since February.

I can only imagine how much more exhausted I would have been, and how much longer it would have taken me to recover, if Morgan hadn't also taken leave and done the lion's share of baby care.  He didn't just take care of the babies; he took care of me, too.  Alice, Katherine, and I are lucky to have him, and I'm thankful.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Word of the day: roneo

The word of the day is roneo:

  1. :  to produce (printed copies) on a duplicating machine that is similar in principle to the mimeograph

    "They had hastily typed out and roneoed forms bearing the words 'Paternal responsibility and rights of guardianship abandoned by me' – a necessary formula under French law – and leaving room for names and signatures."
     - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets

Word of the day: soutane

The word of the day is soutane:

  1. a cassock.

"He was a shabby, dishevelled-looking man, of great charm and energy, with an old soutane and shoes with flapping soles."

 - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets

Word of the day: clinker

The word of the day is clinker:

  1. a mass of incombustible matter fused together, as in the burning of coal.
  2. a hard Dutch brick, used especially for paving.
  3. a partially vitrified mass of brick.
  4. the scale of oxide formed on iron during forging.
  5. Geology. a mass of vitrified material ejected from a volcano.
1769, from klincard (1641), a type of paving brick made in Holland, from Du. klinkaerd, from klinken "to ring" (as it does when struck), from M.Du., of imitative origin. 


"The courtyard was made of clinker, which turned into dust in the summer and mud when it rained."

 - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets

Friday, March 17, 2017

Word of the day: prevaricate

The word of the day is prevaricate:

  1. to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.

1580s, "to transgress," from L. praevaricari "to make a sham accusation, deviate," lit. "walk crookedly;" in Church L., "to transgress" (see prevarication). Meaning "to speak evasively" is from 1630s.


"At every stage, the bureaucrats prevaricated.  The prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhône did all he could to keep too many would-be emigrants out of Marseilles, while the individual camps dragged their heels about transferring people to Les Milles, the only camp in which they were permitted to complete the formalities."

 - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets

Word of the day: chilblains

The word of the day is chilblains:

  1. an inflammation of the hands and feet caused by exposure to cold and moisture.

"Unable to go outside, permanently damp, the inmates huddled close together; their faces were red and chafed, their hands and feet purple and covered in chilblains."

 - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets

Today I'm thankful for: my immigrant ancestors

Today (and every day) I'm thankful my ancestors were able to come to this country.

On St. Patrick's Day in America, we celebrate Irish heritage.  I might be Irish: I don't actually know for sure, because I have had a cushy life in this country, and my specific ethnic background hasn't really mattered.

I would be terrified to pick up and move to another country, uninvited, leaving behind friends and family, not knowing the local language, and having to start over from scratch.  But that is precisely what my ancestors did.  And because they did, I had a comfortable childhood, I have had an excellent education, I have a good job, and I am able to provide an equally cushy life for my daughters in this great country.

Today, we are all Irish, which is to say, we are all immigrants, and I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Word of the day: rota

The word of the day is rota:

  1. Chiefly British.
    1. a round or rotation of duties; a period of work or duty taken in rotation with others.
    2. an agenda or circuit of sporting events, as a round of golf tournaments, played in different localities throughout the year.
  2. a roster.
  3. Official name Sacred Roman Rota. the ecclesiastical tribunal in Rome, constituting the court of final appeal.

"A 'commission for children and old people' was set up and arranged for deliveries of fruit, olives, jam, cereals, rice, milk products and, just occasionally, chocolate.  A rota was established, providing extra meals to the most malnourished for a fixed number of weeks."

 - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

Word of the day: impetigo

The word of the day is impetigo:
  1. a contagious skin disease, especially of children, usually caused by streptococcal bacteria, marked by a superficial pustular eruption, particularly on the face.

"The internees were now losing weight steadily and beginning to show the first signs of malnutrition: loose skin, weakened muscles, trembling.  The cold brought rheumatism.  Fleas made people itch and scratch, their bodies covered with sores, eczema and impetigo."

 - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

Word of the day: gauleiter

The word of the day is gauleiter:

  1. the leader or chief official of a political district under Nazi control.

"But the camp at Gurs had room for many more when, at dawn on 22 October 1940, the gauleiters Joseph Bürkel and Robert Wanger began to round up 6,508 Jews in the newly annexed territories of Baden and the Palatinate and, without consulting the French, dispatched them in sealed trains over the border into south-western France."

 - Caroline Moorehead, Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

Today I'm thankful for: that new-baby smell

Today (and every day) I'm thankful for that new-baby smell.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Today I'm thankful for: insulin, insulin pumps, glucose monitors, smart phones

Today (and every day) I'm thankful for the modern technology that helps my sister-in-law Kara take care of her health.

I used to teach metabolism to medical students, and we taught them that no disease requires such active participation from patients in their treatment as Type I Diabetes does.  Modern technology can make this process easier, as Kara nicely demonstrates in this video (well worth the fifteen minutes):  I'm thankful to have Kara in my life, and I'm thankful that modern technology makes her life easier.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017