I doubt that there are many people who would view the Korean hostage situation in Afghanistan as anything other than appalling and disgusting.  The use of unarmed people desiring to give humanitarian aid as political blackmail is nothing short of cowardice and inhumanity.

And now we read of calls for the international community and particularly the U.S. to somehow work some magic (ie, cave into the demands of callous cretins) to save the lives of the Koreans.  Or, as Korea’s oh-so-effective President Noh/Roh said,

South Korea “is well aware of how the international community deals with these kinds of abduction cases,” said a statement from the president’s office. “But it also believes that it would be worthwhile to use flexibility in the cause of saving the precious lives of those still in captivity.”  (whole article here)

Several things come to mind.

First, South Korea needs to stop looking to the U.S.  They claim to want to cut ties and stand on their own two feet but in a crisis, the result is always the same.  Somehow it is all the U.S.’s fault and the U.S. should fix it.  To be fair, it may only be the families of the hostages and minor political organizations that are calling for U.S. intervention but, you know, still: 

“Especially, the families want the United States to disregard political interests and give more active support to save the 21 innocent lives,” said Kim Jung-ja, mother of captive Lee Sun-young.  

Some South Korean activists even lashed out at the United States for refusing to get more involved.

“As everyone knows, the Taliban’s demand is something the U.S. government can help resolve, not the Afghan or South Korean government,” the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy said in a statement.

(Disclaimer:  I realize that The Associated Press are maybe not unbiased in reporting on this…) 

Someone has to be blamed and no one would want to blame their own child or spouse or friend for making a pitifully wrong decision and the U.S. is conveniently big, pumps billions of dollars a year into South Korean defense and is generally an international bully with a cowboy for a leader, so that is a much more acceptable target than some 19 year olds who had a brainwave to go help people in a war zone (it is certainly a less vulnerable target anyway).  But the first step to standing on their own is going to be firm responses to adverse situations, something which the government has not yet evinced any capability of (ie, their neighbor to the north).

Second, there is no other ethnic group that I know of that plays the martyr as well as Koreans.  Considering their history and the either constant threat of invasion or actual invasion itself, this is understandable and without the strong and at times unfathomable and irritating sense of national unity that they have developed in response, I seriously wonder if their culture could have survived as intact as it is.  But there is no other role that they love so well as stepping into the time-honored one of martyr.  There are even card-holding “National Heroes and Martyrs” (I assume that it would be the families of the martyrs that hold these cards) who are entitled to discount and subsidies for a range of things. (I assume this is some kind equivalent of a Veterans organization but that includes non-military personnel as well).

 The South Koreans who went to Afghanistan may or may not have understood the risks involved (too many times have I seen Koreans operating on a sudden whim that was not at all thought out, sometimes with extremely negative consequences) and there is no doubt that the terror they feel is real and it breaks my heart.  Given the social conditions of Korean culture, 19 year old Koreans (which = 18 years old Western age) pretty much equate on an emotional maturity level to 15, 16 or 17 year olds in the West, depending on their upbringing.

They are, so sadly, growing up fast now.


Green lawn care and other tidbits

1. This weekend our not-so-trusty hand-me-down gas powered push mower finally gave up the ghost.  So we headed to Lowe’s to get a new mower. W intended to get an electric mower since that is more environmentally friendly but I am glad to say that we ended up with a reel push mower, which is the most environmentally-friendly mower money can buy, powered as it is by muscle and the only emission being sweat.  As Troy has declared himself in charge of the mowing duties for the summer, he gave it a test run and declared it to be a fine addition to our garden/lawn tool repretoire. While it does not, of course, cut the same as a power mower, it cuts fine for us (except for some of the weeds, which it misses on the first pass. guess we’re going to have to break down and get some organic weed killer after all). It is lighter than the gas-powered push mower and Troy said he had no problems on our little hill out front.  I’m so pleased since I have been wanting one of these since we bought the house 🙂  I’m looking forward to giving it  a test run myself soon.

2.  Troy had his Regulations section exam for the CPA on Saturday.  There are 4 sections to the CPA exam, the Regulations section has 3 ‘testlets’, which are all computer based.  Because they are computer based, the computer tracks how well you are answering the questions. Everyone starts out in the first testlet anwering questions of moderate difficulty. If you do well enough, the computer will register that and for the second section will give you questions that are more difficult. If you do well on the second part the third part will stay difficult or, if you do poorly, it will kick the third section back to moderate difficulty. Of course, Troy didn’t realize this so even though he felt like he breezed through the first part, by the second and third parts he thought he would die.  Apparently, the scoring is done in relationship to the question difficulty so people who are answering harder questions will presumably be scored differently than those who are anwering only moderately difficult questions.

He won’t find out until September though about whether he passed or not 😦  Meanwhile, instead of studying himself blind every night he will now be able to focus on more important things. Such as me.

 3.  My friend Amber, who lives in Portland OR, sent me pictures of her garden as it is now.  When we visited her 2 mos ago, she had just planted seeds. Now, the whole garden is lush and flourshing. When I compare that to the sad events of my gardening forays this year, I am sadly saddened. I have already informed Troy that we will be moving to Portland in time for the next growing season because APPARENTLY that is THE place for garden growing.  Troy did not argue with me.

Rage Against the Machine that Goes ‘Ping’

I would like to preface this rant by saying that the appointments I have had with my midwife have been awesome. I haven’t gotten to see her the last 3 times.  The last 2 times I saw the OB and today I saw a resident but I miss my midwife and have scheduled ahead so that I will get in to see her again in 3 1/2 weeks.  Apart from the fact that she is in the Air Force and is therefore tough and that we both have equally impressive scars on our ankles from spectacular breakages and is therefore cool, she is also practical, communicative, and takes the approach that a birth experience should be whatever the mother wants it to be. Also, my appointments with her have been, on average, twice as long as the appoints w/ the physicians.

So. Today.

Today I saw the resident that I was alledgedly supposed to have as a back-up for the delivery except that it turns out she will be on vacation the last part of September and so I will have to see a whole new resident in two weeks (which is a waste of appointment time since I just really want to see the midwife).  Anyway, the appt did not start off all that well since she seemed to be reminding me to watch what I eat and that I don’t want to gain too much weight. This is a sore subject for me since I already DO watch what I eat. I don’t eat any larger portions at mealtimes than I did pre-pregnancy (in fact, I eat less since I have less room for my tummy to expand now). I snack more but when I snack I eat either fruit or veggies (well, mostly fruit).  I am gaining weight at a textbook rate and it really doesn’t have much to do with how much I’m eating. I try to not overeat but I still am gaining and gaining. So anyway, that kind of irritated me even tho Troy said he didn’t get the feeling she was trying to chide me.

And then, of course, she used the monitor to check on the baby’s heartrate.  The monitor kept cutting in and out and she couldn’t get an accurate reading because it didn’t hold the tone long enough.  Just as she borrowed Troy’s watch to do a manual count, the machine gave her a reading: 172.  That seemed high to me and sure enough, after we had finished the exam, she consulted with the senior doc, popped her head back in and said that wanted to have me drink more water and monitor the baby’s heartrate for another 20 minutes to make sure it was ok.  The reasoning was that when the mother gets dehydrated, the baby’s heartrate speeds up so they wanted me to get more fluids to check it. So I drank 6 styrofoam cupfuls of water and they hooked me up to their little machine (it actually did NOT go ‘ping’, more’s the pity. what kind of joint is this?!) and had me click the little clicker everytime the baby moved while Troy sat and studied for his CPA exam.

The whole entire time, the heart rate was, on average, about 150-160, which is right on target.  There was one spike of 172 but it lasted for about 1 second before dropping back down. Troy and I both think that the original heartrate monitor was malfunctioning and this is the problem with technology.  When people get too dependent on it, they can’t see when it fails. I did not need to spend an extra 30 mins in the exam room hooked up to a monitor that doesn’t go ‘ping’ to know that my baby’s heartrate was normal.  Even as we listened to the original, malfunctioning monitor we could both tell that the heartrate was not anywhere near 172. As Troy said, he knows what 120 bpm sounds like on his metrinome.  The heartrate was faster than that but not that much faster.  If she had just taken the time to count using Troy’s watch, the machine that does not go ‘ping’ could have been avoided.

This is just one reason why it is so important to be well-read and well-educated concerning childbirth. It is too easy for technology to give inaccurate or misleading information and then you end up hooked up to a machine that may or may not go ‘ping’.

And just to refresh your memory, here is a link to the clip about The Machine that Goes ‘Ping’, complete with subtitles in Portuguese.  For some reason.

Enjoy your day and watch out for techmology.

Oh, Ohio & Pic for Nikki

So i’ve been reading this book Gentle Birth Choices and decided I would look up about birthing centers in Cincinnati. Turns out, there aren’t any. There was one but it was forced out of independent business by liability insurance riders on the stand-by physician.  Also, the use of midwives in OH is about 6% compared to the 9% nationally (which, can I just also say here that midwives are used in places like Britain for at least 90% of births?).  Not exactly a bastion of trail-blazing, is Cincinnati.  It is ridiculous and appalling to me that childbirth, a natural event that has been going on since, uh, the first hominids evolved, is treated as a medical procedure. 

 And, per Nikki’s request, here is a pic of the total finished porch project, complete with the now-coordinating door:


More dreams

of course, usually i post my dreams on my ‘dreams’ page but i haven’t really been keeping up with that lately.  i usually do remember snippets of my dreams but not always enough to make coherent sense.

last night i dreamt that one of the women from my childbirth class was staying over at my house.  she is due any day now.  for some reason, we had to sleep sitting on the chairs in the kitchen. and then i decided that she should just sleep on the couch in the living room while i slept on the sofa bed in the office. i have no idea why.

before i woke up i had a disturbing dream in which i had had the baby but couldn’t get to him. i was riding the elevator up and down and up and down all the floors at this hospital which was more like an Asian department store (you know, myriad floors and something different at each stop, complete with an amusement park) and people kept telling me the wrong floor. i was getting quite desperate and angry at the end to see the baby so i decided it was better to wake up.

feel drugged this morning…maybe to much painting? i painted the lower half of the laundry room as well as the front door yesterday. i was going to finish painting the shed today….maybe i’ll do that after a nice nap!  Oh, the perils of having a few days off…i get tired and don’t want to do the chores i set up for myself 😦

My dilemma

I have the new Harry Potter sitting on the kitchen table with Harry’s arm on the cover beckoning me to come read it.  Here’s the thing: I thought that it would be a good idea to save the book until I go into labor because that would really help the time pass.  But what if I don’t get it finished? It IS 700 pages, after all.  And then if I don’t get it finished, when will I have time to finish it after the baby is born?  What a problem!  Troy suggested reading all but the denoument but I really don’t think I would have the willpower to stop.

What to do.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, I dreamt last night that Rob and Colleen had bought matching Audi motorcycles (ok, I know Audi doesn’t have a motorcycle line but it is my dreamworld, after all). 

It’s all good.

Finished porch

Thanks to the gorgeous weather we’ve been having the past few days, I was able to finish painting the front porch. I am posting some pics of it for your edification and education.  The trim is a dark purply color with which I will be also painting the front door, which currently, alas, clashes just a bit.



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