Sunday, November 28, 2004

For Mother and Child, A Lurking Danger
NY Times, 11/23/04

Nice article. A little background info on preeclampsia.

And here is the dangerously unhelpful Parents Magazine: Emergency Guide mentioned in my last post.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Parents Magazine, November, 2004
from their "Pregnancy First Aid" guide

... If you're close to your 20th week and your face or fingers are swollen - or if you've gained excessive, unexplained weight - you might have preeclampsia (high blood pressure.) If it's not treated, the condition can cause convulsions severe headaches and vision problems.

No. Preeclampsia does not mean "high blood pressure," it means "before seizure." If it's not treated, the condition can cause the death of the child and/or the mother.

I understand the fact that there is a philosophy that giving mothers this information is counter-productive, as it is an outside risk and will only make them worry. I understand it, but I do not condone it.

It's like that chapter of "What To Expct When You're Expecting" which says, in its own way, do not read this next section, because you will no doubt find your symptoms in it, and these things can't possibly happen to you. We went back and read that section after Calvin had died, and that was where they warned of preeclampsia.

With permanent marker I retitled that chapter "Do Not Read Until Your Child Is Already Dead."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

And you can dance ... for inspiration!

Yes. I am totally gay.

But, it has been an inspiring couple of days. I have been slow off the mark in following up on the contacts I made at last week's event (though I did finally get Kelly her check in the mail) but there has not been much time since then. At least, no time I can make work for me, if that makes sense to any of the other parents of small children out there - and Brian, that's for you, because you are no doubt the only one still reading this.

But two things came my way in the past two days. First off, check out the pictures of this stud-muffin running the New York City Marathon. May I admit I am actually a blood relative of someone who looks like that. My family tends towards the chinless, pale and flabby, but check out my cousin JT!

Can't remember if I wrote about this when I was in Maine ... we had arrived too late to participate in "Friendship Days" and the morning when we did arrive was the 5 K or 5 mile run they have, and my cousins JT and Amy were on the front page of the local paper in the race. If I'd known better I would have tried to get us all there the night before or something, I was really jealous. That would have been fun.

Not that those two would not have left me in the dust - in NYC last weekend JT came in 6th in his age group. Isn't that nuts? I mean, that's it - last summer I made a pledge to run a marathon before I turned 40. I have got to keep up with this or its never gonna happen.

Meanwhile, just today, I had another little surprise. I am sitting in my little cubby at work when Daniel calls me and says come downstairs, Suzan-Lori Parks is about to give a private talk to some students from Early College.

Yes, things like this happen to me all the time.

She had just come from an interview on a local public radio affiliate, and was to give a talk for a much larger audience in the Ohio tonight. But this was for a half-dozen or so young women ... and folks like me who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

photo: Must I make that face?

It was real informal, but Ms. Parks just said some awesome stuff I really needed to hear right now. There's a new play (my third? - is that all?) I have been struggling with for ... oh, hell, nine years ... but it's just starting to come into focus as a result of the election.

She said she wasn't sure there was any such thing as talent, just love. A love of writing. And if you keep at it, maybe that's "talent." Something like that. And a lot of supportive words about keeping at it.

No, without direct quotes, it sounds like a lot of the usual advice for aspiring writers. But even writers need to tell other writers these things, or I think we'd all just stop.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I Have a Headache

The fact is, I have had a headache every day for the past several weeks. It may be the climate change - I thought it was going to pass after the election was over, but then the sun refused to come out. Maybe Zelda coughing all night had something to do with it. I was really hoping that once this performance was under my belt it would release its grip on me. That happens you know, I will begin a show with a headache, but it is gone the moment I start.

It didn't. I did a show with a headache. Having said that, it was a good show. Shame I don't get another crack at it, there were some weird spots but by and large I think we were all having a special time.

Yes, there were 150 attendees. It was a relief to look into the crowd as we were setting up and see that everyone - I mean everyone - was a woman. What can I say, it's a different vibe. You know, the weirdest thing about my first performance in New York, was I could clearly see the first row, the row full of critics - they were all guys.

Guys don't openly weep during my show. Especially guys from the NYC media establishment. They cross their arms, the way guys do, and stare at you. They laugh when I use the word "cunt."

Anyway, as I said, it was a good show. Kelly was perfect - the auto-stop on the CD player didn't work, exactly. I mean, it worked, but what that meant was when you reached the end of a track - it stopped. As in, it was like you hit the stop button, not the pause button. Koesters would have figured it out, Kelly just used the pause button and never blew a cue.

For the record, the event was the 19th annual Current Challenges in Newborn & Women's Health Nursing conference, sponsored by Mead Johnson Nutritionals. I met a number of wonderful people there, picking up a number of contacts - a lot of them asked about a recording, either audio or visual, and several gave me contacts to persue in regards to getting one financed.

That would be good ... I have been hesitant about making a professional video. I just don't know if it would beas effective as a live perf. But then, they were suggesting that a video could be sold to hospitals all over the world, something so many doctors and nurses could use as a training tool. It would be irresponsible of me not to follow up.

I will get photos from the event on the photo page soon. It was a good day. But my head still hurts. I blame Bush.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Room That Ate My Head

First off, let me apologize to the technical coordinator at LaCentre, who was very, very helpful today. This is a weird situation for everyone involed, I am sure. Now I have a much, much better idea of the kind of things I need to be specific about when this show is produced again.

Kelly and I got two hours in the room. The ROOM. A big, long banquet hall - it's actually a much larger room divided in half. The audience will sit at long tables, all facing one direction, maybe eight across, with an aisle down the middle - and strecthing back some fifteen rows. The event organizer says it will be full, 120 people - the largest audience I have ever played to.

Now, the stage - and there is a stage, a platform that gives me about as much room as I had in New York - is set to one side, directly in front of half of the audience.

The other half of the audience has in front of it THE SCREEN.

This screen is bigger than the one we used in Minnesota. It's bigger than my garage door. It's about one storey high. Crazy. They will, oh yes, be able to read the slides in the back.

And the sound distribution is wild, too - I hear the sound at the same volume as they hear it in the rear of the hall. Only I will be smaller. And to this end, I will have a wireless mic. A really good one - the stuff they have at this place is pretty good, let me tell you.

No light cues, just lights up at the beginning, lights down at the end. And Kelly and I got to run all cues.

I hope I can get some pictures. This may be the future of this show - special events catering to the medical health profession. I can live with that.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Doctor, Doctor

This Wednesday, November 10th I will have a performance at 10:45 in the morning as part of a newborn and women's health conference in Westlake. I'd have sent a press release for it, but you know, it's a private gig.

In October, 2003 I staged this show for the first time in a lecture hall setting, for a conference of Nurse-Midwives, and it turned out much better than I had hoped. Unlike a theater setting, there were no internal light cues, just sound and slides, and I could see my audience perfectly. But the response, during the show was very strong - the doctors and nurses and midwives didn't have any problem openly expressing their shame at the behavior of a small number of their bretheren.

This time I would be feeling more confident, if it weren't for the fact that my main technical contact at the facility has been ... unhelpful. Kelly is stage managing again, and we had an appointment for last Thursday morning. This guy was a half-hour late, and showed us the wrong room. On top of that, when I said our specs hadn't been met (we were promised rear projection, an accessible CD player) he started quoting prices at me for different eqipment.

The kicker was that we were shown the wrong room. The performance is in two days, and Kelly has no idea what kind of set-up she'll have - and this man is difficult to get hold of.

And you know, this may be the largest audience I have done this show for, something like 120 or more. I'd like this to go off the way it's supposed to.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmn ...

On the good news front, we are expecting again. There was a time when we thought we only wanted one child - but that child was Calvin. We don't want Zelda's only sibling to be a dead older brother.

What is awkward is when we are expcting - May. Early May, perhaps, but Calvin's was at the end of May, which puts us on a near equal pregnancy track as we had with him. This will be difficult, especially around the holidays.

We back-tracked and found that the "fish" was conceived around August 14th. IHTBlog fans will note that on the day in question I was in New York City.