fierce attachments

a mother-daughter blog about the fierce attachments in our lives… title inspired by Vivian Gornick's wonderful memoir

Category: top ten lists

top ten ways pregnancy and childbirth will drive you crazy: #2 – your personality goes down the toilet

by caitlin meredith

pregnancy symptomsWhen she was pregnant, my friend Carolyn announced that her personality turned off at 8pm. When not pregnant, the usual shut off time trends towards 10pm so the difference is considerable for those spending an evening with her. As it happened, we were pregnant at the same time. While I was impressed with her precision, and felt similarly wilted by day’s end, I had one major question: What personality?

Carolyn is lovely – she has a sharp wit and a daunting intellect so this question was no reflection on who she was, just a mere observation from the pregnancy trenches. As much as I tried to fight it and show my non-pregnant friends just how unlike all the other pregnant women out there I was, constantly talking about weird food stuff and swollen body parts, I failed miserably. Read the rest of this entry »


top ten ways pregnancy and childbirth will drive you crazy: #1- trying to use the internet to find out if you’re pregnant or not

by caitlin meredith

woman googling2Ladies and Gentlemen, do me a favor. Do a web search for “signs of pregnancy.” Pretend your period is approaching a late arrival and you don’t happen to be able to think about anything else other than whether or not life is about to get really weird. “Concentrate on something else,” you tell yourself, so you try to get engaged with a New York Times article on the mysterious case of the disappearing bees, you try to lose yourself in the organic gardening tutorial you’ve meant to sit through for a year, you even try to organize your inbox by learning how to use the Gmail filter function. All to no avail. Finally, after the 47th trip to the bathroom to see if there are any new developments, you turn to the internet to determine your fate. Come on – do the search.

You’ll find that there are a gazillion web health “articles” on every site from WebMD to the Mayo Clinic with identical lists of early pregnancy signs and symptoms. Their purported intent is to help women figure out whether or not the most important event in their reproductive lives is in fact happening. In reality, they exist only to drive women bat shit crazy. Read the rest of this entry »

the last on my list of the most amazing and possibly even true scientific phonomena that blow my mind, continued: Lucy

by nikki meredith

beach woman holding monkeyLucy was an unabashedly uninhibited girl of the ‘60’s for whom the sexual revolution was beside the point. She was able to tap into her erotic resources with no help from Masters and Johnson and she instinctively took responsibility for her own orgasms without so much as a glance at Our Bodies, Ourselves.   Lucy’s story made an impression on me. A big impression.  After reading about her,  I never felt quite the same about a lot of things – sex, the female anatomy, couches, naked men, images of naked men, vacuum cleaners.

Lucy was a chimp who was raised from infancy by Dr. Maurice Temerlin, a University of Oklahoma psychology professor, and his wife Jane.  The couple treated Lucy as a daughter and, as such, tried to socialize her the way they would a human daughter. They arranged for her to learn rudimentary American sign language, they taught her to sit with them at the dinner table, eat with utensils, dress herself and, to some extent, maintain personal hygiene. They had some success in each area, though they made more progress with table manners than with toilet use. And I first read Temerlin’s account of life with Lucy in the late 1960’s in an article in Psychology Today. All of it was interesting but the following was, well, mind blowing. Read the rest of this entry »

my top ten list of the most amazing and possibly even true scientific phenomena that blow my mind, continued: body identity integrity disorder

by nikki meredith

amputeeIt’s spring on I-5, my favorite time to be driving to Los Angeles. Miles of apricot, peach and almond trees are in bloom. The experience is so inspiring, that I reach to turn-off NPR – I’m too happy to listen to the world’s problems. But my finger pauses half-way to the radio: a reporter from Australian Public Radio is describing a man who tried to find a surgeon to amputate his healthy left leg. When he couldn’t find a doctor to do it, he bought some dry ice and attempted to freeze off the leg.  By the time he was taken to the hospital, the leg could not be saved and a doctor had to amputate it.  What the hell?

I get off I-5 and stop my car at a truck stop so I can listen to the whole story.

From the time the man was a very little boy, he had the feeling that his left leg didn’t belong and having to live with it made him miserable. He was afflicted with a syndrome called  “body identity integrity disorder.” Read the rest of this entry »

my top ten list of the most amazing and possibly even true scientific phenomena that blow my mind, continued

by nikki meredith

woman yawning

As I wrote last week, the criteria for this top ten  “best” list is a little mysterious even to me. From the raging river of data that flows through my brain daily, some bits and pieces stick. Sometimes they hang on because they reveal something startling or offer a little piece of a larger puzzle. Some because they are bizarre or funny. A considerable  number, as in today’s offering, have to do with sex. Again, as I indicated last week, I want new material. So, dear reader, send me something “amazing and possibly even true” from your list.

Yawning Orgasms

A number of years ago I started noticing that some of my friends who were taking anti-depressants were behaving a little off. Two behaviors come to mind: blurting that was short of Tourette’s but nonetheless a tad on the inappropriate side and a tendency to encroach on other people’s personal space. One night at a party I was talking to a friend when I noticed that she kept inching closer until we were practically nose-to-nose. She was so close that my eyes got wobbly. I started backing away so that I could keep her in focus. As I retreated, she advanced until our little pas-de-duex had me up against the wall with nowhere to go. I decided to write an article. The working title was Out of Whack on Prosac. I loved that title. My editor, however, was not enamored. She rejected it. I grumbled and secretly suspected that Eli Lilly was a potential advertiser. Read the rest of this entry »

ten of the most amazing and possibly even true scientific phenomena that blow my mind

by nikki meredith

twin babies

When I was a little girl, my family camped in Yosemite Valley every summer.  My favorite memory from those trips was a night we slept outside on cots.  I assume the moon was a sliver because the sky was inky and I remember saying to my father that the stars looked like diamonds.  I must have been pretty young because when my father pointed out the Milky Way, I remember wondering it they named it after the candy bar. But the memory that stayed with me the most indelibly was when my father told me that some of the stars we were looking at had died. He explained that they were so far away that their light, or, rather, their lack of light, hadn’t yet reached us. That seemed unbelievable.   I remember trying to make out his face in the dark to see if he was kidding. When I was satisfied that he wasn’t, I looked back to the sky in awe.  I couldn’t quite grasp that I was looking at something that wasn’t there. It seemed like magic.

Last month when various news outlets were coming out with their 10 “best” lists for the year – best movies, books, t.v. shows — I thought about bests in my life and for some reason I remembered that night with my family.  Learning about unfathomable distances scored as a kind of best in my life and I wondered how of the many things I learned in 2012 stood out.  I couldn’t come up with ten for 2012.  Off the top of my head, I couldn’t even come up with one for the year. So I changed it to a lifetime and was able to list quite a few more than ten. Read the rest of this entry »

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