04 February 2010


Hey, y'all, I just wanted you to know that I have set up a new blog on WordPress, although I don't have the privacy stuff worked out yet. Here's the URL:


It isn't locked down yet, so feel free to browse away. Getting used to the new dashboard interface will take a minute, so bear with me. I am still writing.

31 January 2010


To wordpress. Some of you who have asked to be white-listed have wordpress blogs yourselves, so that shouldn't be an issue. If you don't have a wordpress account, please know you're not going to be left behind. I just need some more time to figure it all out. I have your e-mail addresses, so please don't panic. And if you haven't sent me an e-mail, but still want to read, please do so asap.


28 January 2010

Down to the wire

And have I done the tiniest ittyiest bittiest bit of research about moving to another bloghosting site? No, I have not.

Have I attempted to play with the privacy settings here on Blogger? Yeah, a few months ago. I wasn't satisfied with the results and see no reason to ratchet up my stress level in trying to figure it out all over again.

What then, kiddies? I just don't know. What I'd like to do is have my own domain and just have some little login/password thingy to see the posts - not an individualized thing, more like everyone who's whitelisted would have the same password - but then people who use a feeder to read, that wouldn't work, would it? Nope, I don't think so. So perhaps the answer is the abbreviated feed that I see Yarn Harlot and Suburban Bliss and Smitten Kitchen are using with some kind of security-blanket (i.e. relatively un-secure-ish) passcode to see the full post. Or...something. Gah.

Too bad I have no fucking clue how to accomplish any of that.

I married a techie, a geek extraordinary, but he doesn't blog and isn't into html. Fix the computer thingamabob with the whizzy-gizzy? Yes. Design a webpage? No. So I'm on my own for that, and I can do some minor html. On the scale of a whole website? Um: no. Yes, yes, there's software, or you can hire someone, but srsly, c'mon. I'm going to pay someone for what I am sure would be sparkley pretty shiny lovely website so that I can write brain droppings? I can't see the smarts in that, especially since I think it would be expensive. All of this with no research, of course. Impressive, yes? (insert massive eye roll here)

I'd like to tell you that I'm working behind the scenes to come up with something, but not so far. I'd love to tell you about the project that has been occupying most of my waking hours and a few of my sleeping ones (dreams about being in jail, in Sweden - dream entirely in Swedish - with the same deadlines/issues hanging over my head...wtf?) for the past couple of weeks, but that's work territory. Let's just say that my OCD manifestations of hyper-organized, planned, color-coded, alphabetized within-an-inch-of-its-life have been soothed by this giant project, and that after work, short of figuring out some dinner, minor keeping the kitchen cleaned up and sleeping, I haven't been doing anything but that project for weeks now. So the blog's housekeeping issues have been back-burnered and I don't know when they won't be on the back burner, but I still plan to lock it down (somehow) by Feb 1.

DH is in Cal-ee-forn-eye-aye, and I can't say squat about that either, his reason for being there, that is. I can tell you that I am rather inordinately pleased about having the house to myself for a few days and feeling mildly/moderately guilty about being glad he's away.

Perhaps I'll have some time this weekend to get it all sorted. Don't worry, those of you who sent me an e-mail or are Google "followers" will be kept informed whatever I end up doing.

What's going on in your world?

26 January 2010


And not in a titillating sense, either.

I'm intentionally coy about where I live in Ohio because I'm a paranoid freak. So I don't write about local events without obfuscating the details, or being so general that what I'm talking about could be anywhere in America. Mostly.

Last week, an 80 year old woman was murdered here. Sadly, homicide isn't limited to the youthful people on this planet. It is something that knows no real boundaries, color, ethnicity, age, sexuality, gender. Far too many people are murdered every day in the United States. What makes this one unique? Ahh, that opens a Pandora's Box, and requires me to give enough detail for my location to be given away. But I'm feeling particularly strong about this, and hell, going private in a week, so why not.

The location of the murder is part of what makes the crime rather heinous, even for someone who possesses no spiritual beliefs. She was shot in the parking lot of her church. Why does that make it worse? As an atheist, I don't think the fact that it was at church is supposed to matter to me. But it does. That bothers me, because would it be any less terrible if she was shot in the parking lot of a grocery store, or her own driveway? No, of course not. Hell no. But it seems "worse" somehow, that it was her church's parking lot, right after mass.

I grew up in a world of devout Catholics, where lots of bubbas (the word means 'old lady' or 'granny,' and is an affectionate term rather than derogatory. Eastern European in origin, but I've only ever heard it used here) go to church every day. Devout Catholics attend Mass daily. Mostly it is the elderly or kids in Catholic school who hold fast to that, but there are wide swaths of the Catholic population who do attend mass more often than just on Sundays. It never really made a lot of sense to me, but even when I was a kid a lot of the religious instructors I had answered my "Why?" questions with "Because it is." or my favorite, "Because God is." (hulp!)

This lady was one of those bubbas, attending nearly every mass her church offered, all year long. In that congregation, a pillar. Or as much as women are allowed to be pillars in the Catholic church. (Nope, can't shake that venom over the role of women in Catholicism, even for a second. Sorry.) Most likely, before mass, she had all of $12 in her purse. After the collection plate was passed, she probably had less than 5.

You know someone like this, I promise. She's elderly, widowed, kids who are adults now moved away years ago in search of jobs. Her house is spotless, but hasn't changed in 30 years. She's involved in every society and group the church has; altar guild, bible study, and the like. The church is her entire life, all of her socializing stems from it and is related to it. She bemoans the state of "kids today" but is also the first to reach out to hold a baby.

Police suspect that robbery was the cause; she was killed for the contents of her purse.

I joke a lot about my hometown having 2 degrees of separation, rather than the urban legend of 6. And it plays out all the time. This is a small place and everyone seems to know everyone else. For all that, though, I didn't know this woman personally. One of my co-workers did, and he summed up the mood over this act particularly aptly yesterday, saying that he wasn't so sure he wanted to be part of the human race if these are the things we're collectively capable of.

Sad, wise, and true words.

24 January 2010

Wow. Who knew that writing about babies would bring so many to the conversation? Thanks for the validation, y'all. I mean, I know my path is right for me, but I get so much negative feedback in the world outside the computer about being childless that I forget sometimes that there are plenty others who feel as I do.

Last night, I went out to dinner with my in-laws to celebrate DH's birthday. I was thinking about the baby stuff again, because no sooner was our party seated than another large table right next to us was also seated with 3 kids all under the age of two. Baby-baby, a 1 year old, and the oldest wasn't, I think, older than about 18 months. DH and I commenced with the eye-rolling immediately; dinner with his family has its own set of...um.... interesting fallout, and 3 screaming kids don't add good things to that already awkward ambiance. I ordered a second drink.

But my worries were for naught, all of the parents looked after their charges and it was early enough in the evening that no one was falling asleep at the table or having a meltdown because they were hungry. Plus everyone at our table mostly behaved, so that was a good thing too.


What I set out to write about today, though, was a bitching about the weather post. It is January, it is Ohio, it is cold, grey, overcast, and raining. Not news. Also? Bo-ring. I'd rather have the snow, honestly. When it snows, the world is enveloped in white silence, a hush that quiets the traffic and blankets the world with a pretty new coat. Everything looks clean, white-washed. When the snow melts, and it is too warm to snow, we get this super-ugly dingy greyness to everything. No surprise, I don't like it much. I'm thinking of my parents in Florida with envy in my heart; "winter" there means that it might get around 4o at night. Although they did have that long cold snap this year, so perhaps there are places where it is worse to be than grey Ohio at the moment.


Like, um, Haiti?

How incredibly useless it feels to just donate some money to the cause. I've done that, given to both the Red Cross and MSF, but I'd like to do more. Sadly, I don't speak French or Creole, and would therefore be useless as a translator; I have no disaster recovery skills, no search and rescue skills, no medical training, nothing to offer to the relief effort other than money, so that's what I've done.

The Yarn Harlot has been keeping track of her readers who have donated to MSF by way of having them send her an e-mail with their donation amount, and I'm astonished to read today that the amount is over 1 million now. Right before the earthquake, it was around 500 or 600K, so that's pretty impressive in a week's time.

How sadly arrogant, then, to be whining about the weather and the cold when I have a roof over my head, enough food to eat, and your basic 1st world complaints? Clean water? Turn on the tap at any sink in the house and I've got that. Sanitation? I pay a monthly bill for that, and when the toilet flushes or the washing machine drains, I don't have to think about cleaning up waste water. Food? The mega-mart two miles from my house has more food on its shelves than many will see in their entire lives.

You hear that? It's the world's smallest violin playing "my heart cries for you, pampered princess".


Someone asked recently if I'll be talking about what I do for a living when I take Well-Behaved private next month. I don't know. I'm so afraid to do that; right now for fear that my employer wouldn't like my writings about work (see: Armstrong, Heather: dooced) when this is public. If it goes private, though, theoretically the employer would never see it. The thing is that once something is out on teh intertubes, it is no longer private at all. If you don't want the world to know, what the hell are you doing writing an online journal any way? Along the same line, will I stop writing as Lucy and use my real name? Hm. There's a lot left to decide.


Right now, though, I've been informed that BBC America is showing a Top Gear marathon this afternoon, so I'm going to drink hot cocoa, sit in front of the telly, knit, and get the laundry done. Such an exciting life.

19 January 2010

To spawn or not to spawn

Has never really been a question for me. I've never wanted children. Even as a little girl, when you might hear a child say that they want to be a mommy, I never did.

My mother remembers with outright glee a telephone call I made to her when I was about 14, whilst babysitting a colicky 18 month old; I couldn't get the kid to stop crying, and it had made me near-hysterical. "No teenage pregnancy for me, Mom," I shouted over the screeching. "I can't handle this!!"

(Nevermind that I was positively sure that sex basically equaled death, in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, or that my religion taught that sex outside of marriage equaled HELL...)

Not that I waited, but that's not the point here. I decided - definitively - sometime in my late teens that motherhood wasn't for me, and I wasn't interested. DH and I have been together for a loooong time, and there were a few family members (on the Catholic side of the fam, ffs) who pressured us to have kids even before we were married. I met him when I was 19; I could say then, with absolute certainty: "I'm too young to be a mother."

But as I've gotten older, more and more people - some outright strangers - apparently think it is OK to question my judgement and badger the living hell out of me about having a child. Let me say this:




Now before you tell me, "methinks the lady doth protest too much," please keep in mind that my frustration with this boils over and spills out once a year or once every few years, and today? Is that day.

The anger comes from one place; how the bloody living hell is it anyone else's business if I have a child or not? Simply, and truthfully, it isn't. But when you meet someone new, and they ask if you're married (DH and I do not wear wedding rings, so it isn't obvious from the get-go) the very next question is if you have children. When you answer in the negative, it isn't uncommon for the questioner to ask, "Why not?!?" as if it is positively shocking that you don't, because somehow it is your sacred duty to pop out a kid or two if you've bothered to get married.

Um: No.

Having a child is a major, life-altering decision, one that in my ever-so-humble, ought not be entered into lightly. In fact, I think people ought to think long and hard about ALL of the impacts a child will have on their lives. Financial, emotional, physical....those 3 are the merest tip of the iceberg. But getting pregnant is very easy, and I think it is rare that people think much about it; you grow up, go to school, go to college, get married, have children. Period; that's just how it is done.

I belong to a few Childfree or childless by choice groups (aka and hereafter CFBC) and something that those groups point out often is that most people don't really consider the fact that there IS a choice there; married does not need to equal with children.

BTW, this isn't about abortion or my usual reproductive rights spiel; or at least, not exactly. "Reproductive rights" to me means - in part - that a woman has the right to choose for herself if she will get pregnant or not, no matter what her religion or social norms expect.

I'm no longer a member of the Catholic Church, so what the Popes say no longer means much to me other than the fact that their writings usually piss me the hell off. But when I was Catholic, something Pope John Paul II wrote made me sad; by choosing to work outside the home and not have children, the Church thinks that I am "denying" my "essential femininity". Hogwash. To read this outrageous bullshit for yourself, click here and start reading at Chapter VI, part 17.

So society thinks I'm weird for not having kids. Christianity (and, I'm sure, all of the other major world religions also push for procreation; who will carry the Word and the Truth if there are not new Believers being created constantly?) thinks I ought to be having kids. What I think, apparently, is completely immaterial. No matter that I'd be the one going through pregnancy - which, btw, scares the living hell out of me - or that I'd be the one going through labor - also, quite terrifying, tyvm - and no matter at all that the primary caregiver of the new baby would be, again, me. Nope. What you want, little lady, is far less important than what the Church and society expect from you.

I like my independence. I like having time to myself. I like sleep. Kiss all of that good-bye the minute a baby enters the picture.

What's gotten in to me that has me so all-fired angry? A recent episode of Dr. Phil, where he questions a CFBC couple about the fact that they may come to regret not having kids, and that they ought to re-visit the issue every year to make sure that they're still "on the same page," as if the childfree don't know their own minds, and must second-guess themselves at every opportunity.

Allow me to repeat myself -

Um: no.

Isn't it a good thing that I already know - before ever being preggo for even a second - that motherhood is not the path for me? Isn't it a good thing that I'm quite cognizant of the fact that motherhood is something I'd be terrible at, and thus should not attempt? I'm OK with that fact; it doesn't pain me in the least to admit that I'm not motherhood material. In fact, I think that it is a fantastic thing that I'm cognizant of that fact before I even think of contemplating parenthood.

Once you have a child, you are then responsible for that child for the rest of your life. Let me say that again. For the rest of your life. To the end of your born days. It isn't like buying a home, or even getting married; once that child is born, there is NO going back. You can't decide to just up not be a parent one day.

Should anyone be entering into that lightly? I think not.

Oh, Lucy, you're thinking. You say nothing of the joys and the love and the wonderful things that children bring to your life. The pain of labor is fleeting; the joy lasts much longer. Perhaps. I don't deny that babies are adorable and smooshable and kissable, and that kids can be an absolute delight. On the contrary; toddlers, in particular, fascinate me. You can SEE them learning every day, watch their language development, see the little wheels turning as they pick up a new word or skill. That's great. But I can experience all of that without being a mother myself, and that's A-OK with me!

16 January 2010


To those of you that have e-mailed me to let me know you'd like to continue following my exploits. I've been really touched by the compliments too. It means quite a lot to me. I hope this isn't too weird internet-stalker-y, or just plain odd...but I'll probably keep those e-mails for days when I'm rough around the edges, because they really gave me warm fuzzies. And a few new blogs for my blogroll, too.

I've spent a lot of time contemplating exactly how I'm going to manage to do this; and until I spend a bunch of time playing around with a few other blog hosting sites I won't know for sure, but I think I might end up moving to another interface like Typepad or Wordpress or quite possibly my own domain. I dunno.

Regardless, the offer still stands. As of Feb 1, 2010, Well Behaved will be private. If you would like to continue to read it, please share your e-mail address with me by sending a message to lucyarinATgmailDOTcom so that you can be white-listed. Thanks.

14 January 2010

Pondering changes

I've never kept it a secret that I have a blog. I've never shouted it from the rooftops, either. Thus far, this has worked for me.

But things are a-changing, and unfortunately, I'm a-changing too.

If you read this blog regularly, and would like to continue to do so, please send an e-mail to lucyarinATgmailDOTcom and let me know. Why? Because as of February 1, Well Behaved will be private. I do not intend to stop writing, and I do not intend to delete the blog, but it can no longer be public. I know that there are readers out there who I know personally, and a great many more that I've never met face-to-face. Whether you know me or not is not the criteria for being given access, though. Interest in what I write about is the key. I'll be happy to grant access to just about anyone who is willing to delurk just enough to tell me that they're here.

It saddens me to take this step, because I'd like to believe that some random person out there might read or have read about my struggles with depression and sought help after recognizing themselves in one of my posts.

I'd like to believe that by being open and honest with the world about my mental illness that I've helped to destigmatize it a little.

I'd like to believe that my political rantings inspired someone to get involved with the ongoing and difficult struggle for women's reproductive rights and the right to equal pay.

I'd like to believe that someone was inspired by my writings about exercise and weight loss, inspired enough to get out there and take better care of themselves.

I'd like to believe that by writing about Sweden, I've piqued someone's interest in the world beyond their backyard.

I'd also like to believe in leprechauns, unicorns, dragons, fairies, dryads, psychic powers, happily-ever-after, and that everyone I meet is genuine and honest.

Lest you think that some personal tragedy has befallen me, or that my blog has somehow gotten me "in trouble," allow me to reassure you on that point. Not at all. There are two forces at work here, and they're both vaguely work-related, so I'm not going into extreme detail. My work forces me to be a public person, someone who is recognizable as a representative of the organization. As I meet more and more people, and the things I get involved in become ever more expansive, I'm faced with the growing realization that I don't really want everyone I meet to be able to read about some of the soul-searing stuff I've written here. The second reason is that to date, there's no "official" policy about social networking and web 2.0 applications, but that day is coming. Do I like it? Not really. But I do like being employed, and I love what I do. That makes the way forward absolutely crystal clear.

13 January 2010

Well, well, well

Color me stunned. The plea I made a few days ago to global cosmetics company Eucerin wasn't just a lament here at Well Behaved, I also sent them an e-mail through their 'contact us' button on their website. And lookee here, they wrote back to me. This popped up in my lucyarinATgmailDOTcom inbox. I've been having technical difficulties of the Blackberry variety with the lucy addy, and so have been trying to remember to log in and check it. 'Course, I don't remember to do that daily. Copied and pasted, here's their response. Please excuse the Swedish in the headers, I'll translate if it seems needed.






11 januari 2010 11.00

ämne (subject)

000643344A Eucerin product

11 jan (2 dagar sedan)

(2 days ago)

Hello Lucy,

Thank you for your E-mail regarding a Eucerin Lip product. We're sorry to disappoint you, but this product is currently not sold in the
U.S. by Beiersdorf.

While Beiersdorf markets a wide assortment of products throughout the world, the products can vary country to country based on consumer preferences and brand development within each country's market.

Our products, both in the
U.S. and other countries, are only sold through retail, wholesale and internet retail channels. We do not sell our products directly to consumers at this time.

We are aware of
U.S. internet retailers which sell some of the German Beiersdorf products: www.smallflower.com, www.eurobeautymart.com and www.germandeli.com. You may want to check these sites.

For more information about Eucerin, please visit our website

Please call us at 1-800-227-4703 if you have any other questions or comments. Our phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm EST.

We appreciate your taking the time to express your interest in this product. Your feedback helps us identify those products most desired by our consumers. Thank you again for your E-mail and your interest in Beiersdorf's products.


Consumer Relations
Beiersdorf Inc.

I am really surprised that I got a response. My plea to them wasn't particularly eloquent, just mentioned I'd purchased it in Sweden and want WANT WANT! Of course, none of their 3 suggestions actually sells the stuff, but I did find a Belgian company that sells it at the "right" price. They're even willing to ship to the US; as long as you place a minimum order of 130 . That's "only" about $200. ($188.62, to be precise.) GAH!

So you're wondering, of course, why I don't just harass the fam or good friends in Sweden to hunt me up some? Mostly due to the hassle factor involved. I know, I wouldn't hesitate to ask one of my Yankee or Canadian friends to pick something up for me; and as I pointed out the other day, Swedes have no option BUT Apoteket for prescriptions and some OTC stuff, so it isn't like asking someone to run to Apoteket is going out of their way. But then it needs to be shipped and...and...I'm running out of justifications, aren't I? Hmmm. Du, Maman...kan du gör mej en tjänst? (Oh, Swedish Mama...can you do me a favor?)

11 January 2010

THE City

To eclipse all other cities. U2 has a great song about the city on their All That You Can't Leave Behind album that I like to listen to on the train from the airport to my sister's place.

But you've got an unquenchable thirst for New York

New York, New York
New York, New York

In the stillness of the evening
When the sun has had its day
I heard your voice a-whispering
Come away now

New, New York
New York

Granted, I haven't seen all of the cities that the world has to offer, but NYC is THE city if you ask me, one of those places that I feel like I've come "home" when I get there. It is magical. Really, simply, magic.

I was in New York over the New Year holiday, with my two sisters for a few days. We had a great time. Mere words really aren't adequate for what I felt when the two of them called me and told me that they'd purchased a plane ticket for me for my birthday - stunned, and shocked, those both fit in there somewhere. Happy, excited.

The trip started out with me leaving my home at 3 AM. Yes, 3 AM. {shudder} That's an hour I don't really want to see, no matter if it is when I'm getting up or when I'm going to sleep. I didn't get more than about 5 miles from my house when my Blackberry rang with an automated call from the airline informing me that my flight had been cancelled and that they'd automatically booked me on another flight later in the day. The arrangements they made on my behalf were not satisfactory, and that's not just me being bitchy. The original plan was a direct flight from Pittsburgh, PA, to JFK airport in New York. Straight, uneventful, something I've done many times. The new arrangements had me flying from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, Ohio, and from Cincinnati to New York, landing in NYC at 4PM instead of the 8AM originally planned. A near 300 mile westward detour to go to the east coast. alksdfjl;akfhakjlhg. WHAT? Who thought that was a good idea, really?

At 3 AM, there aren't too many customer service agents available at the world's largest airline. The first one I got when I called to protest this ridiculous re-arrangement was not helpful, or nice. I ended up telling her I'd have to call back when I was less upset, because she kept telling me that there was NOTHING that could be done, my only option, the ONLY option available was to do this 300 mile, 8 hour detour. C'mon. You're the largest airline in the world. That can't be the only option. (You'll note I'm not using the name of the airline here, but I suppose you could figure it out.)

I had stopped my car to talk to them on the telephone. I decided that the smart thing to do was to go to the airport and argue my point with someone face to face rather than on a phone while I was driving. So I did. The ticket agents were far nicer than the phone people, and they solved my problem in a matter of seconds, getting me on a direct flight that arrived in the city only a few hours later than originally scheduled. Deeeeeep breath....

The funny thing about my observation that the city is magic is that the realization of that usually comes back to me when I am in a subway station. Not the most beautiful places in the world, New York subway stations. Interesting places, yes. Beautiful, no. Not usually. But many of them have been around for a long, long time. Some of them have white tiled walls. White tile; laid by hand once upon a time. The original tunnels were dug by hand. Someone, somewhere, planned the routes and conceived the idea for this system, which has grown beyond that concept's wildest dreams. Someone now, today, right this minute is managing the routes the trains take; there are many routes that use the same rails as another route, and do you hear about subway trains crashing in New York City? No, you do not. Because it doesn't happen. Someone else plans the routes the buses take, plans for re-routing the trains when there is construction or a bottleneck. Sure, all of that is math, and some big, BIG brains. But it is also magic.

I've never heard the noise that the trains make anywhere else in the world. I've been on trains; Amtrack here in the states and SJ all over Sweden, even once in France. I've been in subway systems; Washington DC, Stockholm, London, Paris, Budapest, even in Pittsburgh, PA. None of them sound like the MTA. (Metro Transit Authority, the "real" name of the system. Don't believe me? Their website is www.mta.info.) That ka-thunk, ka-thunk sound that the trains make when you're riding in one, the screeeeeeching slowdown and halt at the station or mid-line to let an express train thunder by, the muffled and mostly incomprehensible announcements at each station that end with "Stand clear of the closing doors!", the peculiar smell underground, the relief from the wind in the winter and refreshing cool in the summer when you step on to an air-conditioned train...magic.

What did we do, where did we go? I think for once I'll be circumspect and keep my private life, well, private. I treasured spending the time with my sisters. "Sad" doesn't really describe the feeling when I have to leave them behind. I'm jealous, a very ugly jealous, of the time that the two of them spend together, and again, I'm not getting into detail here, but they get to spend more time with each other than I ever get to spend with each of them, and I'm super-jealous of that. When I say goodbye to them, I don't know when I'll see either of them again. And that? Sucks. *sniff*

Pity party for one, please.

OK, since I don't like to end posts on a downward note, I will end with a yarn story. I dragged my non-knitter sisters to Purl, one of the knitting world's super-star-stores. Not for the size - I think my dining room is bigger than that store - but for the amazing things they make from the yarns they sell (the blog is The Purl Bee). I'm working on an April Showers Scarf for myself and genuinely love the pattern (although not all of the stitching...knitting 4 stitches together every 7 rows is a MASSIVE hassle) and had decided that I wanted to make the same scarf for my sisters, with their choice of yarn color. So on the coldest day of the year (to date - it was January 2) we trudged more than a mile out of our way so that my sisters could sit outside on a bench in front of the super-crowded and VERY tiny store while I hunted down the yarns for their scarves. (This one and this one in a lime green for one sister and in an electric blue for the other sister if you're curious.) Near-pneumonia was avoided, however, by immediately hieing ourselves to the closest Indian restaurant in the vicinity for emergency infusions of curry!