Friday, October 30, 2009

Paul Offit is My Hero

Well, it's been almost a month since I blogged about Fall and two things that, for me, go with it: sweaters and the flu vaccine. (Read 'Tis the Season.) Despite what I thought was a harmless virtual "wink" to all the anti-vaccination folks out there, I unwittingly opened up some uncomfortable dialogue among family, friends, and myself.

It wasn't terrible, really, but I've found myself getting increasingly irritated over recent news of the swine flu vaccine, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy's talking points on Larry King Live, and conversations with friends who disagree with my pro-vaccination beliefs. The thing that gets me the most is that a lot of people who don't want to vaccinate themselves or their children somehow think that because I would, I must not have done my research, like they have.

My roommate is an epidemiologist at the CDC, and she specializes in pandemic flu. We've had many a discussion on vaccines and the history of the anti-vaccination movement, and she's reminded me of a lot of biological facts I learned in college biology classes but somehow forgot over the years. Listening to her explain what she studies day in and day out is so fun for me -- but more than that, it makes me want to tell everyone what I know and believe about science.

So although I had initially decided against posting something about vaccines on my blog, I decided this afternoon that I would do it, anyway. It's my blog, afterall.

I won't tell you that you need to support vaccines, too. I won't tell you that I think you're an idiot if you don't support vaccines. (Because I don't think you are.) And I won't go on and on about why I think the way I do.

Instead I'll let Paul Offit do that. He's the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, and he is featured in this month's Wired magazine. I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiments on all things vaccines. Also, Amy Wallace, the author of the article, is superb. Really, I can't stress how much I enjoyed reading this article.

The article is lengthy but, for me, riveting.
Read An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All.

Thing I'm thankful for: party Fridays and Halloween Saturdays!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Happy birthday, Irish twin!*
We are not the same age anymore, but in 363 days, we will be!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

*Apparently, Irish twin is considered somewhat derogatory. I don't think it is, and I don't mind if you call me one.

Thing I'm thankful for: weather in the 50's! Yay!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Meeting Jimmy Carter Tomorrow!

Because I work with Habitat for Humanity International, I get to help out with a big-time book-signing tomorrow. David Rubel, author of the book "If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity," will be at the Carter Center tomorrow, along with former President Jimmy Carter, to sign the book.

Jimmy Carter wrote the foreword for the book, and I must say, it was touching. I only read part of it this afternoon, but as I read it, I thought, "Sara, you ungrateful citizen. You need to offer service MUCH more than you do."

And it's true. I am so selfish most of the time. But every once in a while -- and especially lately -- I feel like Heavenly Father hits me in the spiritual head, reminding me that there are so many ways to help people who are less fortunate than me. Take for instance, this article from Habitat World: 25 Things You Should Know About Poverty. (Go on, read it!) It was one of those hits.

So I'm meeting Jimmy Carter tomorrow, and that'll be neat. But mostly, I think it will be good to be in the presence of someone whose whole life is basically about service. It's a critical reminder to be better about doing my part to make this world a happy place, which is really the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, it's a reminder that people like me have the option and ability to change the world, if they only try.

So here is my public announcement that I will be better. I will serve others. And I will track my progress periodically on my blog. Hold me to it, readers, if I slip!

Thing I'm thankful for: a place to call home. Really, it's such a blessing -- one of the best.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Emotion Explosion!

It's late, and I should be in bed. But I can't sleep. I had planned on writing a fun, carefree post tonight about ice cream, actually, but instead I remembered I had to finish some things up for work. That opened the floodgates for a range of emotions. I feel frustrated, angry, and sad. And for whatever reason, all I can think about writing is my take on love and my idea of what romance should be.

Let me back up.

I'm single, and the thing I want the very most in this world is to be a wife and a mother. I want to pack lunches in the morning, bake cookies for afternoon snacks, talk to my kids like they have worthwhile things to say, and chase those same kids around the house while laughing. I want to tell my husband I love him everyday, and I want to make sure my kids know that I do. I want to keep a clean house for my husband, make him feel needed, and do odd jobs or work from home to make the additional income it takes to go on small vacations or make Christmas extra-special. I cook. I bake. I'm mostly obsessively clean. I read. I think. I take out the trash. I ask interesting questions. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. I take care of my physical appearance. I'm not flashy or trendy or extremely fashionable, but I'm not "high-maintenance," and what a man sees is what he gets. I go to church and pray and help people when I can. I try to meet new people and make them feel comfortable and welcome, if they're new. I knit. I can sew a button onto something, and I can draw. I like to walk, hike, and be outside. I like to go to live sporting events and concerts, large or small. I like to listen to people talk about themselves and play musical instruments to their heart's content.

In short, I am a veritable picture-perfect wife- and mother-to-be. Scratch that, I am a model human being. Sure, I have problems and imperfections and faults, like any other person. All in all, though, I'm pretty good.

But I'm tired of people telling me I'm great. Friends, family, and acquaintances all say the same thing after they get to know me for a short while: "You're great, Sara." Guy friends say, "You're great. I just love you."

It reminds me of a joke Jerry Seinfeld used to tell about being the best man in a wedding party. "If I'm the best man, why is she marrying him?" For me, that statement rings all too true. Now, I don't think that the natural consequence of greatness is getting married, nor do I think that a single life is meaningless. But like I said, I do want to get married and have children.

Here's the thing, though: I don't expect a one, true love. I don't want a man to say I've "bewitched [him], body and soul," as Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth Bennett in the new Pride & Prejudice. (I think that is the stupidest line in the history of movies.) All I want is for someone to get to know me enough to say, "You're great, Sara. You're great, and I love you. And I want to be around you forever. There are other great people in this world, and I could choose one of them and life would be wonderful. But I want to be around you! I never want to not know where you are and what you're doing."

That's far more romantic than, "You've bewitched me" (i.e., You've tricked me into loving you). It's saying, "Not only do I think you're great; I think you're great, and I always want you to be in my life." Love is a choice, not a compulsion, and I want someone to choose me. Is that too much to ask?

I don't want other people to tell me I'm great, either. I know I am; it doesn't help anything. Tell possible suitors you think I'm great. Tell me what I need to work on to be better . . .

Thing I'm thankful for: yeast and dough that rises.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

'Tis the Season . . .

. . . to wear sweaters!

It was chilly this morning, so I wore a sweater! My first sweater of the season! Yay! October is lookin' good. But then, when has it not? October is my favorite month and not just because it's my birthday month!

Also, I had the chance to honor the Fall season with a free flu shot at work! I love getting flu shots; it makes me feel like I'm doing something good for my body or that I'm really doing my part to stop the spread of the flu pandemic this year. Sadly, I don't think it can be stopped; there are too many people who don't believe in vaccines now -- you know who you are! :)

Thing I'm thankful for: crisp Gala apples to eat in the warm afternoon sun.