Thanks, all, for the kind words and warm wishes.

I tried going to work today but felt rather spacey and very exhausted, so I came home. I have an awesome boss who knows what's going on, so he encouraged me to leave. I do hope to be up and running tomorrow, although I am afraid the full emotional impact of this loss is only starting to hit me now.

Some more of my labwork came back today and it turns out I have a rather nasty e.coli infection that was apparently asymptomatic for me. The midwife said she couldn't believe I wasn't laid out flat with the "raging" infection the labwork turned up. So now I am on antibiotics. I feel like I am falling apart physically, even though I am generally a super healthy person.

This morning I woke up hoping the miscarriage had just been a bad dream. Then I realized it hadn't and it felt like a heavy weight descended on my chest for the day.

Everyone tells me - and they are right - that with the right medical follow-up, I will likely have a healthy baby by next year sometime. There are some clues as to what caused this and that means we can fix the problem. And of course, I already have three amazing children, so I am lucky and blessed, but this loss has still hit me hard. We were so excited about this baby, this time.

And I'd like to add that I have the most thoughtful and dear husband and family on the planet. I really don't deserve all the wonderful people I have in my life. I'm blessed that way, too.



I had a miscarriage.

We are very sad.



pregnancy complications = not fun & not good



i want to interview you!

I am writing some new articles for and I'm looking for interview subjects. Please be in touch if you fit one of these categories and would be willing to let me ask you some questions:

-You have reglazed/refinished bathroom fixtures rather than replacing them (whether you did it yourself or hired a professional)

-You have a "non traditional" floor in your bathroom (wood, bamboo, cork, one of the new "bathroom friendly" carpets, glass, rubber matting, cement)

E-mail me at

Feel free to pass this along to friends and family who may fit the interview bill.




preparing for halloween at our house with the cousins










first visit to midwife

Today I had my first appointmant with MY MIDWIFE and it went very well. I like her a lot.

Everything seems normal, except maybe for the fact that I still don't really feel that pregnant. I can't remember when feeling sick all the time kicked in with Elliot (my last pregnancy, in 1997), but so far I've felt quite excellent with this one, which makes it somewhat hard to believe I am actually expecting.

My sister keep warning me that she, too felt fine until late in the first trimester when she suddenly began feeling awful and stayed feeling that way for several months. I don't want that. Instead, I'm hoping for a mostly nausea-free pregnancy, like I had with Henry in 1991. When I was pregnant with Henry, I felt so good all the time that I honestly couldn't really believe I was pregnant until I started feeling him move. So far I haven't gained any weight either.

Here's hoping for an easy nine months... And I am hoping I can convince Jon to consider some of the boy names I love (William, for example) that he says he really doesn't want to put on our short list :-)


Happy Whore-O-Ween

This afternoon I took the children to pick out Halloween costumes at the dreaded Party City. I am not and never have been one of those handy mamas who can whip up a costume from scratch; one year I tried to make a skeleton costume for kindergartener Henry and he came home in tears because everyone thought he was a fairy princess. But I digress.

Anyway, as we walked up and down the aisles of costumes (Ninja! Police officer! Dracula!) I noticed a trend: ALL of the costumes for women had a twist. They weren't just Dracula costumes, they were SLUTTY Dracula costumes. It wasn't just a pirate wench, but an extremely SLUTTY pirate wench. Female skeletons had cleavage. Female monsters wore garters and stilettos.

In Party City-Land, witches wear miniskirts, thigh high boots, and carry bullwhips. Forget those naughty French Maid costumes of years past, today those with the raciest sensibilities can go straight to the Playboy (TM) costume rack.

I kid you not; Party City features a line of Playboy-designed women's costumes.

It got me to thinking how it does seem like increasingly, Halloween (my least favorite holiday. I hate dressing up or dressing other people up) has become an excuse for women to dress like tarts. see nothing wrong with this; I just think it's an interesting observation that LOTS of us must feel like the only time we can safely do this - without community disapproval, is on Halloween. It must be a secret fantasy of more than a few women who normally shop at Land's End.

looking for recipes...

..for a simple, homemade macaroni and cheese (no fancy cheeses I can't find at a regular grocery or co-op) with a really good, strong cheese flavor. I don't want it to taste bland or eggy or french.

and also for a good pumpkin spice cake to which I can add chocolate
chips :-)

Anybody got any good ones?

the worst kind of pain for parents?

This article IN THE NYT about a family dealing with their 11 year old daughter's severe mental illness literally made me weep.

I kept thinking about my own baby girl, just that age, and how incredibly lucky we are.

very interesting new review of what constitutes "normal" childbirth in the u.s.

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 24, 2006 -- Although the great majority of pregnant women in the U.S. are healthy and have good reason to anticipate uncomplicated childbirth, Childbirth Connection's new "Listening to Mothers II" survey shows that technology-intensive childbirth care is the norm. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive for Childbirth Connection, in partnership with Lamaze International. The national survey polled 1,573 women who gave birth in 2005 and found that most mothers experienced numerous labor and birth interventions with various degrees of risk that may be of benefit for mothers with specific conditions, but are inappropriate as routine measures. Overall, survey mothers experienced the following interventions: electronic fetal monitoring (94%), intravenous drip (83%), epidural or spinal analgesia (76%), one or more vaginal exams (75%), urinary catheter (56%), membranes broken after labor began (47%), and synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) to speed up labor (47%).

Additionally, more than four out of ten mothers (41%) reported that their caregiver tried to induce their labor. When asked if the induction caused labor to begin, more than four out of five of those women (84%) indicated that it did, resulting in an overall provider induction rate of 34%. Among all survey mothers whose providers tried to start their labors, 79% cited one or more medical reasons for being induced, while 35% cited one or more non-medical reasons. Overall, 11% of mothers reported experiencing pressure from a health professional to have labor induction, and those reporting pressure were more likely to have had it.

"Listening to Mothers II" was conducted in January and February 2006. It provides health professionals, payors, policymakers, hospitals and women and families with an unprecedented look at experiences of childbearing women and their infants. It also gives all of these groups a basis for improving conditions for mothers and babies by comparing their actual experiences to their preferred experiences, to care to which they are legally entitled, to care supported by best evidence, and to optimal outcomes.

"The data show many mothers and babies experienced inappropriate care that does not reflect the best evidence, as well as other undesirable circumstances and adverse outcomes. This sounds alarm bells," said Maureen Corry, executive director of Childbirth Connection. "Few healthy, low-risk mothers require technology-intensive care when given good support for physiologic labor. Yet, the survey shows that the typical childbirth experience has been transformed into a morass of wires, tubes, machines and medications that leave healthy women immobilized, vulnerable to high levels of surgery and burdened with physical and emotional health concerns while caring for their newborns."

Survey Reveals Gaps Between Actual and More Optimal Experiences and Outcomes

"Listening to Mothers II" identified many gaps between their experiences, their desires and best medical practice. For example:

-- Within this largely healthy population, four labors in ten were
started artificially and one mother in three had a cesarean.

-- A great majority (85%) felt that a woman who wants a VBAC (vaginal
birth after cesarean) should be able to make that decision, but most women
who were interested in a VBAC were denied this option by their caregiver
(45%) or hospital (23%).

-- Virtually all of the mothers asked felt that they should be informed
about all (78% and 81%) or most (19% and 17%) of the complications related
to labor induction and cesarean, respectively, before deciding to have
these interventions, yet the majority of mothers were poorly informed about
several complications of labor induction and cesarean section and most had
incorrect knowledge or were not sure.

-- Among the vaginal birth mothers who experienced episiotomies (25%),
only 18% stated that they had been given a choice about it.

Safe and Effective Care Practices Were Under Used
In addition to overuse of interventions, the survey showed a striking under use of several care practices known to be safe and effective, and especially appropriate for healthy, low-risk women. Only a small proportion of women experienced these beneficial practices, including use of highly rated drug-free methods of pain relief (e.g., immersion in a tub, shower, use of large "birth ball"), monitoring the baby with handheld devices instead of electronic fetal monitoring, drinking fluids or eating during labor, moving about during labor, giving birth in non-supine positions, and pushing guided only by their own reflexes rather than caregiver-directed pushing.

"These findings are of particular concern," notes Judith Lothian, PhD, of Lamaze International. "The care practices that promote, protect and support normal birth appear to be unavailable to the vast majority of childbearing women in the United States."

Cesarean Section: Making the Decision and the Implications

Despite considerable media attention to the concept of "maternal request cesarean," this systematic national sample of mothers found that the phenomenon barely existed in 2005. Less than one-half of 1% (1 woman out of 252) of mothers in the survey who had a first-time cesarean reported that they had requested it themselves. Another contention -- that vaginal birth is a threat to a mother's pelvic floor -- also had not been embraced by the mothers in the survey, with far less than 1% of mothers who had either a first or repeat cesarean citing this as the reason for their cesarean.

Study director Eugene Declercq, PhD, of the Boston University School of Public Health, explained, "The survey found scant evidence of maternal request cesareans. Rather, mothers indicated that the primary decision-maker concerning their cesarean was their care provider, either during or before labor. In contrast to an image of doctors pressured by mothers to perform a cesarean, one-fourth (25%) of those mothers who had a cesarean indicated that they felt pressure from a health professional to undergo their cesarean. This hardly supports the theory that the rapidly rising cesarean rate is based on maternal request. Research is needed into the complex interplay between mothers and their doctors regarding cesarean decision-making to better understand why the U.S. cesarean rate has escalated 41% in the past decade."

Pain and Its Impact on Postpartum Health

Mothers with cesareans described how abdominal surgery had a big impact on their postpartum health. More than three-quarters (79%) reported pain at the site of the incision in the two months after birth, with 33% citing it as a major problem, and18% of those with a cesarean had ongoing pain at the site of the cesarean scar at least 6 months after giving birth.

Mothers with a cesarean were also twice as likely to report that postpartum pain interfered with their daily life than did mothers with vaginal deliveries with 22% describing that pain interfered "quite a bit" or "extremely" with routine activities compared to 10% of mothers with a vaginal birth.

Missed Opportunities

Given the increased recognition of the importance of the period before and between pregnancies, and the conditions under which women enter pregnancy, the data shows that there are deficiencies in care that could potentially lead to less optimal outcomes for mothers and babies.

Alarmingly, about half of the mothers surveyed had a body mass index considered to be "overweight" (25%) or "obese" (24%) and most mothers did not visit a healthcare provider to plan for a healthy pregnancy.

Less than half (47%) of mothers reported being asked during pregnancy about feelings of depression and only one-third (35%) were asked about physical or verbal abuse. However, more than three-quarters of providers (76%) did discuss signs of premature labor with the women and mothers reported being confident in their ability to recognize them.

Despite the importance of early contact for attachment and breastfeeding, most babies were not in their mothers' arms during the first hour after birth, with a troubling proportion with staff for routine, non-urgent care (39%). Although 61% of the mothers wanted to breastfeed exclusively as they neared the end of their pregnancy, just 51% of all mothers were doing so one week after birth, a troubling missed opportunity.

On the positive side, most mothers learned of their pregnancies in the early weeks of their pregnancy, started prenatal care well within the first trimester and saw the same provider throughout the pregnancy. Nearly all mothers (96%) reported having received supportive care (comfort, emotional support, information) while in labor from at least one person, most often husbands/partners or the nursing staff.

Information Seeking

During pregnancy, mothers sought information about pregnancy and birth through a variety of sources, with first-time mothers naming books (33%) as their primary information source, followed by friends and relatives (19%), their provider (18%) and the Internet (16%), while experienced mothers named as their leading information source their own past experience (48%), followed by their doctor or midwife (18%), the Internet (13%) and books (12%). Fully two-thirds (68%) had watched one or more of eight television shows specially created to depict childbirth, with more than half of the viewers regularly watching at least one of these shows. Far more mothers were exposed to childbirth through TV shows than through childbirth education classes. Only one-fourth (25%) of women reported taking childbirth education classes during their most recent pregnancy, with a majority (56%) of new mothers taking classes, while only one in eleven (9%) experienced mothers took classes. As women neared the end of pregnancy, most felt confident, but a majority also felt fearful about their upcoming birth.

Mothers and Employment

"Listening to Mothers II" also explored mothers' experiences with paid work and childbirth and found mothers under considerable stress to balance employment and family obligations. More than half the mothers (58%) reported being employed during pregnancy, working on average until 10 days before the due date. Only half the mothers who were employed full-time received paid maternity leave. Most mothers (57%) who were employed during pregnancy returned to work by 12 weeks after the birth of their baby. Less than half the mothers (46%) indicated they were able to stay at home as long as they liked.

More than one-third (37%) of mothers reported having to pay for some of their maternity care costs out-of-pocket, with an average expenditure for this group of $1,000.

About the Survey

Harris Interactive® conducted "Listening to Mothers II: The Second National U.S. Survey of Women's Childbearing Experiences" on behalf of Childbirth Connection. The survey consisted of 1,373 online and 200 telephone interviews with women who had given birth in a hospital to a single live baby in 2005, with weighting of data to reflect the target population. The weighting included propensity scores, to adjust for the propensity to be online, a methodology developed and validated by Harris Interactive. Interviews were conducted from January 20 through February 21, 2006, and the survey took approximately 30 minutes to complete. The "Listening to Mothers II" survey will also serve as the basis for quarterly issue briefs that will explore in greater detail the key issues described in the report.

About Childbirth Connection

Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Childbirth Connection has grown from a small group of influential community leaders that was successful in reducing maternal and infant deaths in New York City, to a nationally recognized advocacy organization working to promote high-quality maternity care. Childbirth Connection is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families. Our mission is to promote safe, effective and satisfying maternity care for all women and their families through research, education and advocacy. More information about Childbirth Connection may be obtained at

About Lamaze International

Since its founding in 1960, Lamaze International has worked to promote, support and protect normal birth through education and advocacy through the dedicated efforts of professional childbirth educators, providers and parents. An international organization with regional, state and area affiliates, its members and volunteer leaders include childbirth educators, nurses, nurse midwives, physicians, students and consumers. More information about Lamaze International may be obtained at


Eileen Masciale
Email Contact

the attachment parenting murderess

I just finished reading this book. True crime is my guilty pleasure and Ann Rule is the master. This was a fascinating read about a woman with what appears to be Borderline Personality Disorder and how she manipulated people around her into believing she was being abused by her husband so she could kill him "in self defense."

Unfortunately for her, her plan didn't pan out. She's in prison.

This was also an interesting read for me because the protagonist was someone I certainly would have liked had she lived in my community. She was a La Leche League member and she breastfed her older son til he was five and her younger until she killed his father when the little boy was a toddler and thus, was separated from him by jail. She was a Waldorf homeschooling, earthy crunchy mama, a writer, and by all accounts, a charming and fun person. Unfortunately, she is also a murderer.

Anyway, this is my favorite of Ann Rule's books so far.


My children are home!

I miss them terribly when they're gone.


what about these names?










Your thoughts?

being married

I've been married about two months now. Not that long, but long enough to know that I made the best decision of my life.

I was married previously for 13 years, and despite good intentions by two VERY young people on the day we plighted our troth, it was a decade-long relationship of clashing expectations and crushing disappointments. And at every point during my adult life, I've been surrounded by many marriages in various states of distress. I've come to the conclusion that not much is more painful on a day-to-day basis than a bad marriage. I've watched people I love slowly wither away from the hurt of an unhappy or profoundly unsatisfactory marriage. Give me single-hood any day over an unhappy marriage. I've done both and being single is far better than staying married just to stay married.

I've also had the good fortune to observe a few marriages that make both parties better people, happier people, and better parents, and that's what I hoped for when I decided to marry again.

That's what I got. Jon is such a a great man, and a wonderful person in my children's lives, and a great member of our extended family. He's patient with my many flaws and notices the things I do well.

I am lucky and happy.

pat tillman's brother speaks out

When conservative, Catholic veterans who have lost family members in Iraq start speaking out THIS FORCEFULLY against the war in Iraq, I believe the WHite House will soon have to change course.


purity favors

I've written before about how disturbing I find the trend toward "FATHER DAUGHTER PURITY BALLS"

Now, via FEMINISTING, I discover that there is actually a new industry springing up to PLAN AND ORGANIZE THESE PURITY BALLS

And here's one of the "party favors" you can give out:


wilco in concert - gratis

When Wilco played The Tennessee Theatre recently, I saw the first half of the terrific show. I endedd up having to leave because Henry was having a horrible sinus attack and was in extreme pain. So the two of us left, to my great disappointment.

Sometime this weekend, however, I plan on listening to the entire Wilco show from DC last night, streamed COMPLIMENTS OF NPR.

(I used to haunt the 9:30 Club (where this was taped), back in the day)

i have a weird name
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

there is something very, very wrong here

Journalist Xan Rice digs deeper in to the story BEHIND MADONNA'S ADOPTION of baby David Banda.

If there is any question that the RIGHT thing for multi-billionare Madonna to do would have been to help this baby stay with his loving father, this article answers that question.

Maybe she could have "adopted" both father and son, and moved them both to London, to a better life.

Maybe she could have "adopted" baby David's entire village, building a water treatment plant, a clinic and a school.

But taking this baby was wrong.

And I have to say that I find it really weird that on the day her new "son" arrived in London, Madonna chose to leave him TO HIT HER PILATES CLASS AT THE GYM..

Maybe the exhausted, bewildered baby was sound asleep when she went out, but you couldn't tear most mothers away from their babies' sides on the first day they come home, even if it's just to hold and rock him while he slept or sit next to his bed.

do i owe you a book?

I am very disorganized sometimes and now I've lost track of who "won" the Organic Pregnancy books I have for blog readers.

If you were one of the folks who got one, can you please RE-send me your mailing info to: ??

Many thanks.


The Score: How Childbirth Went Industrial

Excellent and fascinating ARTICLE IN THE CURRENT NEW YORKER about how C-Sections have become so ubiquitous.

The author makes many excellent points about the potential risks and benefits of c-sections.

But he(she?) completely fails to get into all the ways OTHER than pitocin and other chemical labor stimulants that can prevent c-sections by helping a stalled labor.

No doubt, many women and babies' lives are saved today because of c-sections. But most c-sections are clearly unecessary. Very few American women - including those who end up with c-sections due to "failure to progress" -- walk during labor, use birthing balls, get into warm water or do any of the other things that work far better than lying in bed to keep labor moving along.

When a baby is truly "stuck" (as the woman profiled in the article experienced), no amount of warm water is gonna help. But for slower labors or atypical labors, these things can really help.

I hope I do not end up needing a C-section. I might. Who knows. But I feel good that I am choosing a provider with a really low c-section rate whom I can trust to give me good guidance. I want to be in a position where if my midwife and/or OB tells me "You need a c-section," I can be 100% confident that this is the truly necessary option. Sadly, I think many doctors are just too quick with the scalpel.

disco girl and disco pony

In many ways, my daughter and I are quite different. For starters, she is much prettier than I ever was and far more adept with making herself look even better than I ever was. Give Jane a pile of clothes and a hairbrush and she'll put together a fabulous ensemble and coiffure in mere moments. When I was in 6th grade, I had clunky glasses, funny clothes and a bad haircut. I am also much more of a bookworm and newsjunkie than she is; she prefers Teen Vogue to Newsweek.

But we are very close and do have one major thing in common: horses. I was obsessed with horses from the time I could talk and she is too. This year for the Halloween Horse show, she plans to dress herself and pony up as "80s Girl with 80s Pony." When I was the same age, I won the costume class at the 4-H Halloween Horse Show dressing myself and pony up as "Disco Girl and Disco Pony."

forgetting pregnancy

Every once in a while it hits me: I am going to have a baby.

But most of the time, I sort of forget about it. I feel mostly just fine. No extreme symptoms at this point. I'm happy. I'm busy with kidshusbandhouse(s)familyfriendsworkfreelancingdogsbloggingwalking, etc.

The first time I was pregnant, it was on my mind 96.4% of all waking hours because I was so excited and it was all so new. Plus, I had no other children upon which to lavish my maternal energies. Now I am busy with the children I have, so sometimes I just forget about the whole thing for long periods of the day.And then I have a moment of great excitement and that's fun.

Next week we will have our first appointment with THE MIDWIFE.


babynames redux - the boy dilemma

Yeah, clearly this topic is on my mind. And I know we have a while, but I enjoy thinking about it (just ask poor Jon, who is being harassed incessantly on the topic by me).

We have several girl names we like a lot (his favorite, Charlotte, has become one of my favorites as well. See how open minded I am?)

But boynames are gonna be an....issue.

Maybe there are some we just aren't thinking of.

So give me your ideas. Really, my only criteria is that the name has to flow nicely with those of sibs Henry, Jane and Elliot.

So comment below with babyboynames. Maybe you have ideas we would never even have considered...

one day, she'll be president

I really like these T-SHIRTS FOR LITTLE KIDS.


I, like, never have to watch TV again now that I have the snarky goodness of this new blog, CALLED to watch it for me and tell me what to think, only what they say I should think is way clever-er and funnier than anything I might actually come up with on my own.

more wedding photos

I think I finally have all the photos from my recent wedding in one place RIGHT HERE

Now that I've had time to reflect, I have to say that I wouldn't change one single thing about how the wedding weekend went. It was awesome and perfect.

purpose? monkeys!

Every month, my younger kids' school has a special day set aside when they discuss a specific character trait. Then the kids are supposed to come home and discuss the trait with their families that night.

Yesterday E. came home and announced that we all needed to sit down and discuss "purpose" together. We tried at supper but no one seemed to get into the groove. So I decided E and I could talk about it, just the two of us, after supper.

The discussion went like this:

Me: So E., I think the best way to figure out your purpose is to start out by envisioning how you would like the world to look. How would an E-designed world look?

E.: (Without skipping beat and in complete seriousness) It would be full of monkeys. Lots and lots of monkeys.

Me: Okaaaaay, but would people have enough to eat? Would there still be wars?

E.: The monkeys would all play soccer.

Me: But leaving the monkeys aside for a minute, would people be nicer to each other?

E.: The monkeys would all know how to cut up their own food with sharp knives. They wouldn't need any help from humans.

And so it went.

No meaningful discussion of "purpose" took place. & opening up about personal life on a blog

Sometimes - okay, lots of the time - people criticize me for being too open and honest about my real life on my blog. The reality is that I am more open than many/most bloggers, but I hold more back than some others.

Heather Armstrong of is a good example of an uber-honest blogger. Talk about putting it all out there; Ms. Armstrong does.

I know that legions of fans love her writing and I've tried, I really have. She's undeniably clever and a good writer, but frankly I don't get anything (and am actually rather repulsed) by reading about bodily functions, which is one of her more common topics of family life.

Anyway, here's an INTERESTING ARTICLE about her blog, which has humongous, outrageous traffic. It's now her full time job.

How many of you read Dooce regularly? Frankly, I prefer, penned by writermama Marrit Ingman.

baby's got a bad, bad name

I am a name snob. I freely admit it. I am very picky about baby names and hate a lot of the names popular these days.

And I've found my baby names soulmates online, right here at BABY'S GOT A BAD, BAD NAME, in which fellow name snobs poke merciless fun at horrible baby naming trends, whilst discussing the merits of better, less horrible baby names.


link between TV and autism?

I think too much TV (including watching movies on DVD - not just actual television) is REALLY, REALLY bad for children, especially young children. I've consistently stuck with a low/zero TV policy around our house throughout my kids' childhoods (to their great chagrin), and I am pleased with that decision.

Here's some fascinating new evidence that links TV to the STARTLING RISE IN AUTISM.

It's a complex study. Please read the whole article before commenting.

misogyny and porn culture

Via my friend Ernie, I read this op-ed (copyright NYT):

Why Aren’t We Shocked?
Published NYTimes: October 16, 2006

“Who needs a brain when you have these?”

— message on an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt for young women

In the recent shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania and a large public high school in Colorado, the killers went out of their way to separate the girls from the boys, and then deliberately attacked only the girls.

Ten girls were shot and five killed at the Amish school. One girl was killed and a number of others were molested in the Colorado attack.

In the widespread coverage that followed these crimes, very little was made of the fact that only girls were targeted. Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.

None of that occurred because these were just girls, and we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. Stories about the rape, murder and mutilation of women and girls are staples of the news, as familiar to us as weather forecasts. The startling aspect of the Pennsylvania attack was that this terrible thing happened at a school in Amish country, not that it happened to girls.

The disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous treatment of women is so pervasive and so mainstream that it has just about lost its ability to shock. Guys at sporting events and other public venues have shown no qualms about raising an insistent chant to nearby women to show their breasts. An ad for a major long-distance telephone carrier shows three apparently naked women holding a billing statement from a competitor. The text asks, “When was the last time you got screwed?”

An ad for Clinique moisturizing lotion shows a woman’s face with the lotion spattered across it to simulate the climactic shot of a porn video.

We have a problem. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed on women every day, and there is no escaping the fact that in the most sensational stories, large segments of the population are titillated by that violence. We’ve been watching the sexualized image of the murdered 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey for 10 years. JonBenet is dead. Her mother is dead. And we’re still watching the video of this poor child prancing in lipstick and high heels.

What have we learned since then? That there’s big money to be made from thongs, spandex tops and sexy makeovers for little girls. In a misogynistic culture, it’s never too early to drill into the minds of girls that what really matters is their appearance and their ability to please men sexually.

A girl or woman is sexually assaulted every couple of minutes or so in the U.S. The number of seriously battered wives and girlfriends is far beyond the ability of any agency to count. We’re all implicated in this carnage because the relentless violence against women and girls is linked at its core to the wider society’s casual willingness to dehumanize women and girls, to see them first and foremost as sexual vessels — objects — and never, ever as the equals of men.

“Once you dehumanize somebody, everything is possible,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the women’s advocacy group Equality Now.

That was never clearer than in some of the extreme forms of pornography that have spread like nuclear waste across mainstream America. Forget the embarrassed, inhibited raincoat crowd of the old days. Now Mr. Solid Citizen can come home, log on to this $7 billion mega-industry and get his kicks watching real women being beaten and sexually assaulted on Web sites with names like “Ravished Bride” and “Rough Sex — Where Whores Get Owned.”

Then, of course, there’s gangsta rap, and the video games where the players themselves get to maul and molest women, the rise of pimp culture (the Academy Award-winning song this year was “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”), and on and on.

You’re deluded if you think this is all about fun and games. It’s all part of a devastating continuum of misogyny that at its farthest extreme touches down in places like the one-room Amish schoolhouse in normally quiet Nickel Mines, Pa.


This piece really resonated with me.

I agree that if we had had two school shootings in a week that explicitly targeted blacks or jews, the American people would have a different kind of outrage. The national consciousness would be stirred in a different way and there would be a renewed call for working to end racism and religious bigotry.

But women and girls live under threat of sexual violence every single day in this country and all over the world. It's just the backdrop against which we live our lives. Feminism has accomplished a lot but we've made very little progress in ending sexual violence. I have an 11 year old daughter and I have to teach her about the world in a whole different way than how I am teaching her slightly older brother.

It doesn't help that our foreign policy pays absolutely no meaningful attention to how women/girls are treated within countries with which we have dealings. It's just barely factored into the equation. Example: our good buddies Saudi Arabia.

I am strongly in favor of a sex-positive culture for women and girls, but I do believe the rapid rise of PORN culture is damaging in the way it elevates sexuality above all other attributes and that becomes the message girls get.

I am not necessarily anti-porn/erotica. But porn as a discrete, adult activity (yes, I mean discrete, not discreet) is quite different from the way porn has bled into every aspect of our culture, especially for pre-teen and teen girls. We have a pornified culture as a whole, and this is no good. Sex rocks, but it isn't the whole human experience. Young, American girls are getting the message that their sexuality is THE primary way in which they are defined as human beings. That's unhealthy, just as it would be if they were getting the wrong-headed message that all expressions of sexuality are bad. Either extreme has a major downside.

You should SEE the photos and messages the 13-16 year old teenage girls I know via my kids post on their MySpace pages. It's as if these girls believe that if they don't make their sexuality explicit enough, they will cease to exist.

david sedaris and babysitters

Last night Jon and I went to hear DAVID SEDARIS (tix were bday gift from my sweet sis) and it was, as one would expect, incredibly hilarious.

My favorite story was the one he read about the scary, white trash baby sitter - Mrs. Peacock - whom his parents hired to watch him and his four sisters one week while they went away on a vacation. Mrs. Peacock was hugely fat and had long, wavy hair the "color of margarine." Her skin, which she required the Sedaris children to scratch incessantly with a "plastic monkeypaw on a stick" was "the color of UNcolor."

The story got me to thinking about some of the weird babysitters my parents employed during summers when we were young. My mother and father worked long hours at their jobs as reporters, located many, many miles away from the extremely remote, ramshackle farm where we lived. It wasn't so easy to FIND a babysitter to care for three children all summer miles away from the nearest real town.

One summer we were care for by the sweet but strange *Clem and Eunice Shiflett (*pseudonyms), who lived on an even more ramshackle farm just down the road from us. Each morning we would either be dropped off at their farm or Mrs. Shiflett would arrive at ours for the day. I preferred the latter because at least we had loads of books at our house to keep me entertained during the nine to twelve hours my parents were gone.

At the Shifletts' house, there were only stacks and stacks of dated Readers Digests to while away the hours. Worst of all, however, on the days we spent at the Shifletts', mid morning, Clem would catch and kill one of the many chickens running around their yard, and then Eunice would fry it up for our lunch. I always imagined I could still taste the feathers. I think I lost weight that summer, even though I was 10 or 11 years old and should have been growing.

My mother LOVED Mrs. Shiflett and as a working mother myself now, I can appreciate that it must have been very nice for her to come home to a tidier house and a crockpot full of supper that she then would not have to worry about cooking herself. And she insisted that we, too, loved Mrs. Shiflett, but in fact, I didn't. her constant praying made me wildly uncomfortable and guilty all at the same time ...and then there were the dead chickens.


let the fun begin

Ah, infant formula companies. Gotta love 'em. They are so similar to cigarette companies in how they market their product.

Somehow, Enfamil determined I am pregnant and invited me to join their special "club" to get free stuff. Because I love getting free stuff they cannot then give to anyone else, and because I am always curious to find out what their latest tactics with expectant mothers are, I signed on up (and willsign up for all the other brands' "clubs" as well)

This is the questionnaire they gave me to fill out.

Note the language about breastfeeding. It sounds pretty sacrificial, doesn't it? "Owe it" to "try" .... Sheesh.



Regardless of how you plan to feed or are currently feeding your baby, please check the box that describes how much you agree or disagree with the following statements.

6. I feel I owe it to myself and my baby to give breast feeding a try

Completely Agree
Somewhat Agree
Slightly Agree
Slightly Disagree
Somewhat Disagree
Completely Disagree

7. I always knew I was going to formula feed

Completely Agree
Somewhat Agree
Slightly Agree
Slightly Disagree
Somewhat Disagree
Completely Disagree

8. Formula feeding is the right choice for me

Completely Agree
Somewhat Agree
Slightly Agree
Slightly Disagree
Somewhat Disagree
Completely Disagree

9. Once I find a formula that works for my baby I will stick with it

Completely Agree
Somewhat Agree
Slightly Agree
Slightly Disagree
Somewhat Disagree
Completely Disagree

10. I would use any free samples of infant formula even if they are not my regular brand

Completely Agree
Somewhat Agree
Slightly Agree
Slightly Disagree
Somewhat Disagree
Completely Disagree

betsy & baby nick

My sister and my nephew, Nicholas, who was 3 months old this weekend. He is soooooo yummy.



newborns and diapers

I'm a cloth diaper-er myself. I think soft cotton diapers - preferably organic - just feel nicer on baby bottoms. Plus, I find disposables gross and don't like throwing them all in the landfill (yeah, yeah, I know some people think the environmental impact of washing cloth diapers is worse than throwing away thousands of plastic diapers over the same period, but I find that nuts). Plus, disposable diapers are unbelievably expensive. But mostly, I just know that if I were a baby, I'd prefer cotton to plastic. More comfy.

Anyway, I used cloth a lot with H, a whole lot with J, and almost exclusively with E. By the time E. came a long, I'd discovered these MOTHEREASE ALL-IN-ONE numbers, which are every bit as easy to get on and off as disposables. I still have most of them from Elliot (passed on to my sister who has now handed them back off to me).

But one thing I've never found is a cloth diaper and wrap or an all in one diaper that's truly tiny enough for a newborn. Even the newborn ones seem big until the baby hits ten pounds or so (all my babies have been pretty small). But I'm thinking that I am probably out of the loop on this and that somewhere out there nowadays - since 1998 when I last diapered a newborn - someone has managed to create a cloth diaper that is actually teensy enough for a newborn babe. So if you know of one, please comment below.

funny john mayer

Don't ask how I stumbled on this, but I do find it PRETTY DARN AMUSING.

Who knew John Mayer was funny?


large families as status symbols?

About eight years ago, a friend and I sold a book prposal about the new trend toward larger families. Some events beyond our control meant the book never got published, but the idea was apparently somewhat prescient.

Now I see MANY more families choosing to have more than the previous middle/upper middle class norm of only two kids. Anecdotally, it appears that more of the educated women I know are choosing to have three, four or even five kids (I am pregnant with #4). My little brother and his wife (both lawyers) also have four children.

Today I read this article suggesting that bigger families are "THE NEW STATUS SYMBOL". (hat tip to BLOGGINGBABY.COM").

The Boston Globe ran a similar (and much better researched) article ON THE SAME TOPIC last May.

What do you think? Is it environmentally irresponsible to have a big family? Or do big families help nurture the kind of empathetic, cooperative human beings who will better address environmental problems?

And with free access to birth control, why are more women choosing to have more kids? After all, they're really expensive, hard on the body, and on bad days, can make you feel insane.

Do any of you with lots of children wish you had fewer? And what about you mothers of only children or only two, do you wish you had more? Any regrets from moms who are done having babies about the family size you chose?

The MSNBC article links to a wonderful website run by my writermama pal, Megan Francis called LARGERFAMILIES.COM.

By the way, I always, always wanted four children. After my divorce, I wasn't sure it was meant to be for me. But now I get my bigger family. And if four goes okay, we may consider a fifth ;-)

ruminations on the beginning of pregnancy

With each of my pregnancies, the beginning has felt somewhat surreal.

During the first trimester, YOU know you are pregnant, and you may even feel a bit pregnant (which I do), but you don't look very pregnant. The idea of an actual human baby eventually appearing on the scene seems so far off and hard to imagine.

Since it's been nine years since I was last pregnant, in many ways this feels like the first time all over again, and yet I do find myself comparing how I'm feeling to how I felt carrying H, J and E.

I am really hoping this will be an easier pregnancy than my last one, nine years ago, when I started feeling nauseated early and stayed sick and exhausted 75% of my waking hours for about six months straight. Friends tried everything to help me, including fresh ginger, "sea bands" for my wrists, etc, but nothing really helped except lying on the couch, fanning myself. I was so grateful for my sister and other good friends who helped with H and J so I could rest and sleep a lot, because that's mostly what I wanted to do during that pregnancy. I think a lot of that was stress.

With my first pregnancy, 15 years ago, I felt great all the way from beginning to end. I had a few episodes of nausea, but they were short lived and other than being more tired than usual (my biggest pregnancy symptom with all 3: lethargy), I just felt terrific.

With my second pregnancy, 11 years ago, I caught a nasty virus in the first trimester (cytomegalovirus) and had to be hospitalized for a week at 10 weeks pregnant, but after I got over the illness, I felt wonderful throughtout the entire pregnancy (but for the fact that I felt rather sloth-like with regards to my energy level).

My symptoms so far are minimal: I feel a little spacy; I look like I already have a nursing baby; I want a nap a lot. And I feel the need to spend more time than usual sitting in a warm bathttub, which would be even more pleasant if I could drink a glass of red wine. Why am I craving something I absolutely cannot have? I have no idea.


a disturbing adoption story

So Madonna and her husband have indeed ADOPTED AN IMPOVERISHED BABY FROM MALAWI.

Note that I did not say that she adopted an orphan; the boy's mother died in childbirth, but his father is very much alive, and says he's glad Madonna is adopting the baby, so he can escape the grinding poverty of the African country.

This disturbs me.

Madonna could undoubtedly afford to spend the money to support this young father and his baby and allow them to remain together. She could "adopt" him by making sure he gets an education, good health care, and all he needs, all while remaining with his own birth family. But instead she's taking him away from his family, to be raised in London as her own child.

This really does bother me.

Adoption is a beautiful thing, but keeping families together when possible is also beautiful.

current listening

Best song: "Sundress"

fast work R us

Jon and I are expecting a baby in June :-)

We are very happy and excited.



the republicans are in big trouble... evidenced by THIS OP-ED by the editor of a conservative, small-town Kansas newspaper explaining why the newspaper will be mostly endorsing Democrats in the upcoming election.

current listening

family over time

Via JON, this is a very cool photo essay of a single family who has been photographed every year on June 17 for many, many years. You can watch them aging in a very dramatic way. CLICK HERE.

real men love feminists

I really WANT THIS T-SHIRT, and for my sons.


15 years

15 years ago today, at 11:03 pm, I became a mother for the first time.

It still ranks as the happiest, most exciting moment of my whole life.

And what an amazing human being came into my world that night. Today he's... gorgeous to look at, plays guitar, argues politics, has an acute sense of empathy for the oppressed and a deep sense of social justice, possesses a fabulous, dry wit and a low tolerance for hypocrisy, still makes time for his much younger sibs and cousins, has perfectly lovely manners, makes me think about things from entirely new perspectives, is learning to hackysack, weaves beautiful beaded jewelry...and I'd rather spend time with him than just about anyone else on the planet. I couldn't be prouder. Considering he was my "parenting guinea pig" (meaning I am learning this mother-thing as I go and he has been test case #1), he's turning out marvelously.

Happy b'day my lovely, big boy.




life's end

I am sitting in my grandfather's bedroom, watching him sleep fitfully. He is clutching a bar hanging above his hospital bed, even as he sleeps. He told my mother today that he fears that if he releases the bar, he'll "fall off the precipice."

I last saw him 14 days ago. He was very, very sick then. Now he looks like he already has one foot one the other side. I know he needs to go, but I also sense that he isn't completely ready. He's still fighting it.

My Uncle John and sister Betsy, with the help of the hospice people, have rearranged my grandmother's office into a bedroom for my grandfather, with a hospital bed and a beautful view out the window. There are fresh flowers from my brother's garden on the windowsill. The people my grandfather loves are in and out day and night, caring for him. My Uncle John has taken a leave of absence from his job as a school teacher to move in and be here nearly 24/7 to care for my grandfather and help my grandmother prepare for the change that is coming.

We are lucky that it was a possibility for him to remain at home, with hospice care and family help. This isn't feasible for many families. One factor that has made it more do-able for us is that there are a lot of us and although we bicker and complain, we remain almost bizarrely connected to one another.

In an age when better jobs and bigger houses conspire to lure family members apart, until clans become diluted to the point of uselessness, we have not become diluted. We are concentrated, which can be bitter sometimes, but makes us powerful when needs arise.


current listening

john mark karr

Yep, it's true. The child porn charges against the man who fantasized about killing JonBenet Ramsey HAVE BEEN DROPPED and he is now a free man. Because the charges were dropped (because evidence was mishandled), he doesn't even have to register as a sex offender.

I believe there should be some charges brought against him for knowingly, falsely claiming to have killed a child, thus disrupting an ongoing criminal investigation. But I guess that's not going to happen. And even if it did, he still wouldn't be required to register as a sex offender.

computers and kids

My kids had been spending too much time on the computer lately. I knew it and was already trying to get computer time scaled back when thigs conspired to help me out: one of the laptops we have at home died (or at least lost the ability to get online wirelessly) and one of the children lost schoolnight computer privileges until grades come up a bit.

Voila! We suddenly have far less computering going on at home than we did a few weeks ago. My middle schooler had become almost unhealthily obsessed with the whole IM/e-mail thing. It was all she was wanting to do every night.

And the impact of the lessened computer time was immediate. More reading. More talking. Unprompted cleaning of rooms. More playing with other toys. Less isolating of selves in bedrooms.

I am very sensitive to my kids having too much electronics play and always have been. We do not have cable TV. We have very few computer games (and my kids have never been hugely into them anyway). I try to mostly stay off the computer at night and on weekends when the children are around unless I have absolutely unavoidable work I have to do. We do enjoy watching rented movies, but we still just don't spend that much time hooked up to electronics while at home.

I would much rather see my kids go play in the kudzu or creek behind our house, play guitar, hacksack, throw a ball for the dogs, or read a book or talk with their siblings, cousins or parents than spend all their time glued to a screen.

And now that i am two chapters into THIS BOOK, I am even more convinced that they should be spending more time outdoors. We are lucky in that, even though we live near downtown, we live on a huge, overgrown lot that backs up to a creek and a big public park. We have turtles and herons and snakes. And because my daughter rides horses, J and E in particular spend a lot of time playing on a farm over the course of a month...

So I am really glad computer time is down around Casa Granju-Hickman and I intend to improve on this state of affairs even more.


real christian compassion

This is a beautiful story about how the Amish families whose children were murdered HAVE REACHED OUT to the widow and children of the murderer. Apparently she attended the little girls' funerals today.

swapping size 0 models for size 20 models on the runway

Jean-Paul Gaultier made some sort of statement with his runway show this week. In it, he USED PLUS-SIZE MODELS instead of regular runway models. This comes after Spain decreed that no runway shows could be held during fashion week in which the models had an unhealthily low BMI.

What do you think Gaultier is trying to say? And is he exploiting obese folks for the shock and PR value?


your favorite baby names?

So if you were having a baby now, what would you name him/her? Do you have any regrets about the names you DID give your children? Do you like your own name?

No, I am not pregnant, just thinking/talking baby names with Jon since we plan to be pregnant soon.

We both love Emma, but it's the most popular girl name on the planet these days. We both do like Anabel. He likes Charlotte, and while I like it, I really don't fancy it enough to actually bestow it on a child.

As for boys, we both like Sam. And Anderson (my mother's maiden name).

How about you? What are your faves? Major naming pet peeves?



My children's father has been on his honeymon, so I got to have the kids lots extra the past 10 days. Needless to say, I enjoyed this a lot.

But tomorrow they will go back to his house for their regular, every other week 4 nights away. I think having them home so much more is making me feel extra sad about missing them this weekend.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: while divorce is sometimes the best of bad options, it's hell. Being away from my children as much as I am is very difficult, even four years after starting (and yes, I am aware their father misses them when he's not with them, too).

And this month is a bit sad for me anyway, my grandfather is dying. He's at home, receiving hospice care and my whole, large family is pitching in to help run the household and be with my grandmother during this final period. He's 88 and dying at home, surrounded by people he's raised, who love him. It's a good way to go, but I will miss him. And it's hard to see him hurting and worry about my grandmother.

Plus, this month would have been MY COUSIN WARD'S 4th birthday. I remember HOW CUTE HE LOOKED, Halloween before last, dressed as a baby bat. I am in awe of his parents and how well they have dealt with their loss, but I hurt for them and his brothers, and for our whole family as his birthday approaches.


conversation with elliot this morning

Elliot: Mama, the reason I don't know if I believe in God is because there's no way he could have created the earth in seven days. Do I have to believe that to believe in God?

Me: No, honey. Lots of stories in the Bible and other holy books are just stories to help people try to understand things before we had a lot of scientific research to explain things. And you can still believe in God even if you don't believe those stories are literally true.

Elliot: I'm with Damien Marley; love is my religion


how the public discourse on breastfeeding in this country is absurd

This op-ed from a West Virginia doctor is probably the best ARTICULATION OF WHAT'S WRONG with the public discourse on breastfeeding that I've ever read. In his piece, he takes a recent NYT op-ed to task.

Everyone wins when breastfeeding is promoted

Today's Viewpoint: by Dr. Dan Foster

I WAS quite surprised this summer after reading a New York Times editorial of July 2, “About Breast-Feeding...”. I thought I might be in a time warp, recalling the April Fools Day prank by the Harvard Lampoon in 1968, when in isolated parts of the country the front page of the Times was replaced by an exquisite reproduction. If memory serves me, one of the most prominent articles on that page reported the finding of a talking walrus in the Central Park Zoo.

The recent editorial was written in response to a hard-hitting June article in the Times on a new government-sponsored advertising initiative advocating breastfeeding. Although the tone of the article created considerable controversy, the content was factual and attempted to articulate clearly the risks of exclusive formula feeding and the sad statistic that the United States has the lowest prevalence of breastfeeding in the industrialized world. West Virginia, not surprisingly, ranks near the bottom of all states.

The premise of the July piece was to look for middle ground amidst the increasing emotionalism and contentiousness of this debate. Now, I have always been a proponent of the “middle ground.” Unfortunately, although much of the editorial seemed reasoned and helpful in dealing with a complex issue, there were some comments and oversights that struck me as uncharacteristically out of touch for this media giant.

For instance, to imply that the American Academy of Pediatrics may be unable to determine which “studies” related to the long term benefits of breastfeeding are credible is the height of presumption. Even more surprising was the statement that “Experts on both sides agree that formulas are safe and nutritious. Millions of Americans have thrived on them and are doing quite nicely as far as we can see.” While it is undeniable that a large majority of Americans in the immediate post-World War II generation, including me, were bottle-fed (our parents didn’t know what we do now), such logic is much like saying that, despite enduring years of cigarette addictions, secondhand smoke, and seat belt nonuse, most citizens continue to have a satisfactory existence. Additionally, there was absolutely no mention of the compelling evidence showing that nursing mothers have a nearly 25 percent reduction in the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.

The official AAP policy statement on newborn nutrition unequivocally recognizes “breastfeeding as primary in achieving optimal infant and child health, growth, and development,” obviously elaborating on the significant infant mortality advantage for babies who are nursed. It goes on to state, “Human milk is the preferred feeding for all infants, including premature and sick newborns, with rare exceptions.” Yet, “the ultimate decision on feeding the infant is the mother’s.” The document further acknowledges that, although breastfeeding is the gold standard, there are specific unusual situations where it is inappropriate or impossible. There clearly is no intention to make the mother feel guilty, only to make certain that she has made an informed choice.

As a physician and a public policymaker, I am constantly challenged to find ways to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare. Unquestionably, the simple promotion of breastfeeding is one of those unique opportunities where everyone wins — mother, baby, and the rest of society (with the possible exception of the pharmaceutical companies producing the formula).

Because of the influence (manifested in many ways) of the representatives of these formula makers with hospitals, obstetricians, pediatricians and their office staffs, mothers-to-be and new mothers too frequently are not getting properly balanced information. Rather than being educated consistently and unthreateningly of the real benefits of nursing to them and their babies, they often are told nothing or, even worse, a message that subtly leads them to believe that formula is an equally acceptable alternative. Furthermore, those who do initially choose breastfeeding, all too often, are not receiving the support they should from their healthcare providers when they encounter common problems. This seeming disinterest and inattentiveness contribute significantly to some less than stellar health outcomes for our next generation.

We can and must do better. As a first step, we should encourage all hospitals offering maternity care in the state to strongly consider the institutional changes required to receive the Baby Friendly Hospital designation established by the World Health Organization. Businesses, too, can do their part by providing more assistance to the ever-increasing number of young mothers in the workforce. Perhaps, most importantly, federal and state governments should seek out and enact proven policies that will enable our society to reach an acceptable level of breastfeeding. Our children and grandchildren should expect nothing less.

As for the editorial, it’s my feeling that any attempt to create doubt and confusion when none exists is an unconscionable act, particularly for those who should know better. Perhaps the Times should stick to reporting the news and commenting eloquently on matters of fact and opinion, rather than suggesting that their editorial board can determine the statistical validity of scientific research. That should be left to the experts. If it continues to do otherwise, I don’t think I’ll be able to get the “talking walrus” story out of my mind.

Dr. Foster is a Charleston physician and state senator.


sans flavor

Tonight my very nice, new inlaws are coming over for dinner for the first time since J. and I got married and moved into our new house. The inlaws, plus my new sister and brother in law and their very adorable toddler. I am going to fix a big dinner, but there is a problem: they won't eat anything with garlic or onions. Nothing. Nada. And I can't figure out what I can feed them that won't have any onion or garlic in it whatseoever. I need something relatively easy that will feed numerous people that isn't vegetarian and doesn't involve onions or garlic. I feel not up to this task.

Yesterday Dr Neighbor surprised me by showing up in my kitchen with beer, new kitchen knives, new cutting boards and about 10 lbs of roast. All for me. Then he set about showing me how to prepare this wonderful mexican roast. Unfortunately, he was showing me how to cut with my new, very sharp kitchen knives and I accidentally sliced nearly the entire side of the end of my finger off. It bled A LOT and it hurts today. But we managed to fix the roast and get it into the fridge to marinate overnight. Then I put it in the oven this morning and it's cooking away and should be delicious, but unfortunately I cannot feed it to the guests coming tonight because it has....onions and garlic in it.