Thursday, September 29, 2022

Stranded at school

22,918 steps I finished editing and encoding my new breech maneuvers lecture! It's under inspection from some of our BWB team to check for any typos or errors before I upload it to our course platform. I estimate that for every minute of footage, I spent almost an hour in production and editing. It's close to 1 hour yeah, a lot of work!

Zari got stranded at her school after soccer practice; the girls she normally rides with had other things going on. She tried calling me using her coach's phone, but I was in the middle of a Zoom meeting and couldn't answer (plus I didn't recognize the number). She couldn't call Eric because she didn't have his phone number memorized.

Finally I got a call from another unknown number, the assistant coach as it turns out. I told him I'd be out the door ASAP...and then I discovered that Eric had the car! He was an hour away watching Inga and Dio's soccer games. She didn't know how to walk home, either. (It's not exactly easy--there's a hidden path through the woods that connects to the main roads.)

So I picked her up the old-fashioned way: I rode my bike there and we walked home. It was 2 miles away so took about an hour round-trip. We got home right on time for Ivy to arrive back from her soccer practice (getting dropped off by her coach).

Seriously, life is too crazy.

Oh, here's a sneak peek at our new book! This is our NZ printer's proof but it's basically the same thing, except for British English spellings and a slightly different page size.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

14,277 steps

Zari had a stressful sendoff this morning--she was doing math homework until the last moment and wasn't watching the clock. She had to run out the door with undone hair and chewing gum in lieu of brushing her teeth.

I had several Zoom meetings: one to talk about an article I'm co-authoring, another to consult with parents expecting twins (babies #5 & 6) who have no support for a vaginal birth in their area, despite 4 previous vaginal births. My other time was spent video editing.

I let myself take a little break after I picked Ivy up from school--well, during that break I still cooked dinner (split pea soup), but at least I took a short break from working. She was outside making Halloween decorations and playing with a neighbor's cat. I joined her on the front steps and enjoyed the fall sunshine.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

21,511 steps

I'm so exhausted that I feel nauseated. Ugh. Definitely a day of feeling overwhelmed with how much work I have to get done. And it's never "done" because there's always more to do. Today was all video editing.

Same for yesterday--I was too tired to write.

Poor Zari is still doing homework and it's after 11 pm. There ought to be a rule that high schoolers can't have more than 8-hour workdays. After all, we make that rule for adults and they actually get paid for their work. And then we turn around and punish students for not "working" unpaid overtime. Normally I can help her, but it's a certain type of math problem that I am not familiar with. I can figure it out the back way, but not the way the textbook wants.
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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Soccer & Smores Sunday

I slept in for the first time in...a long time. Just until 8 am but it felt great.

Eric was gone all afternoon at soccer games (Ivy's, and then Inga's). Once we were all back home, we had dinner together and then sent the kids off to gather firewood at the pack in our back yard. We made a big bonfire, roasted Smores, and enjoyed the cool air and warm fire.

I've been falling asleep just about every time I sit down today. This is highly unusual. Anyway I'm off to get some real sleep in a bed on purpose.
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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Chores and thrift stores

4,468 steps

In the morning, I gave the kids a list of chores (put your laundry away, vacuum your bedroom, and vacuum one other room). I told them that I would be back in an hour and expected their chores to be done when I came home. If not, I'd give them one more job to do.

Then I went off all by myself to the thrift store! I needed some winter pajamas and found those and more. The chores were all done when I got home. Well done :)

The rest of the day was relaxed. Eric took Ivy to a soccer game and I got a ride with Inga to hers. It was one of those idyllic fall days: warm in the sun, cool in the shade, crisp air, and a gentle breeze.

Dinner was steamed broccoli, pork chops with melted pepper spread (, and ice cream.

We watched a movie after dinner, but I had to leave right before the end for a breech live session. It was quite lively.
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Friday, September 23, 2022

23,699 steps

I've been exhausted in the evenings the past two days. Then I looked at my step count for today! Maybe that's why. 8,000 of those steps were "real" (mostly running) and the rest were on the treatmill while I was working.

One big advantage of my walking desk is that my core temperature stays much higher. I normally get cold very easily and can't warm up. But when I start walking, I stay warm and even shed layers despite a cooler house.

Zari's school had a lockdown due to a weapons threat. Fortunately, it turned out to be a false alarm. It's so frustrating to live here, never knowing if there will be a school shooting.

Yesterday I re-filmed one of my breech lectures--again--because the first refilming was out of focus on the whole time. Take 2 worked.

This is Inga's school team photo. She plays on two teams: her middle school team and a regional league.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Filming day

7,651 steps

I spent most of my workday re-filming lectures and simulations for our online breech training course. After over 2 years of hybrid courses and 3 years of teaching, it was time to update our materials.

The next several days will be full of video editing. Then I have to do it all over again once my MD colleague sends me his new lectures.

We're in a heat wave but it's supposed to be 30 degrees colder by tomorrow. I finally broke down yesterday and turned the AC on. It got up to 90°F (32°C) today, which is unusual for September.

We have Zari's followup visit tomorrow to see if she can go off crutches. We anticipate at least another week of rest in a boot or brace. She had a theater audition tonight--the first she's ever done. I'm hoping she gets some sort of role--big or small, it doesn't matter. It's fun to be involved in theater.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

15,235 steps

When I'm walking on my treadmill desk, my fitness tracker doesn't record the steps. But my desk itself does. Between my morning run to drop Ivy off and walking for a few hours at my desk, I'm at 15k steps for the day. Pretty typical. It would have been longer, but I decided to pick Ivy up via bike rather than on foot.

I had a webinar late in the afternoon (breech-related). I feel so lucky to have the job that I do. Yes, it's often never-ending and hard to put down, given that I don't have a clear end to my workday and there's always more to be done. But on the other hand, I get to use all sorts of creative and intellectual skills and I see the real-time results as parents and birth professionals write back to me about their breech birth experiences.

If the light cooperates tomorrow, I'm going to refilm one of my breech lectures in Breech Pro. If it's too overcast, I'll need to wait another day.

We all were home for dinner tonight, which was unusual given the kids' soccer schedules. It's such a normal thing for us in France but not a given over here.
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Monday, September 19, 2022

Post-apocalyptic thunder

We were all jolted awake at 2:30 am by one of the loudest noises I have ever heard. In the milliseconds it took me to wake up, my brain processed it as a huge bomb going off and I even started to wonder if this was the beginning of a global apocalypse. Yeah, it was that loud and that foreign.

We figured out it was thunder when we saw lightning flash in the distance, but it sure didn't sound like thunder--none of that rumbling or rolling or crackling.

Then we were hit by a huge storm that, had it not been 2:30 am, would have been fun to go out and watch.

Then I lay wide awake the rest of the night, drifting off to sleep a few minutes before my alarm went off. I read a book for a few hours because sleep was eluding me.

Anyway it was an exciting night and an exhausting day for all of us. Eric is in bed at 11 pm, which, if you know him, is NOT normal.
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Sunday, September 18, 2022

Marathon Saturday + restful Sunday

I was so tired after yesterday that I put off everything else in the evening. It was fun but busy. Eric and I both did some yard work in the morning. Then I played chauffeur for several hours, dropping Eric and Ivy off at a soccer game, picking Dio up at a county fair 15 minutes away, coming home to pick up Inga and Zari, driving 30 minutes south of town for a cider press activity, driving back home in time for Inga and me to catch a ride to her soccer tournament 45 minutes away. As soon as we got home from that, Eric dropped Zari off at a school dance and then had to come get her 2 hours later.

So much coming and going! It was my first opportunity to watch one of Inga's games this season. She went to a sleepover right after the game with two of her teammates, and I think (hope) they went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Right when she arrived at the school dance, one of Zari's crutches slipped and she feel, hurting her ankle again. So she had a frustrating time and stayed on the sidelines with a painful ankle. She had planned on going out to eat with her friends after, but her ankle hurt too much. I'm just so frustrated on her behalf!

Today was quite restful in contrast. Eric and Ivy had another soccer match in the afternoon, in which Ivy was on fire and scored 3 of the 5 goals. The rest of us stayed home, watched a movie, read books, and otherwise took it easy.

Dinner was roasted brussels sprouts, marinated chicken, basmati rice, peach cobbler (from the peaches we picked last month), and fresh apple cider.
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Friday, September 16, 2022

Several hours of walking, bike rides, and sore eyes

8,411 steps

Note to self: don't put hydrogen peroxide in my eyes. (I already knew this, but I grabbed the wrong bottle of contact solution and put it in my eyes...owwwww! First time this has ever happened since I started using H₂O₂ solution as a teenager.)

I still have very red, sore eyes and I imagine they'll take some time to heal.

Zari's arms and shoulders are sore from using crutches.

Inga had two friends over after school. They ran around and played, ate dinner with us, and made Smores around a bonfire. They're fun kids.

Ivy was at a birthday party for several hours. They had two bouncy houses so she wore herself out. (This family bought used bouncy houses a while back and they've paid themselves back and more, between all of their kids' parties and renting them out to people in town. Good idea!)

We have a busy day tomorrow filled with soccer games and youth activities all around the region.
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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Sprained ankle

6,478 steps

Yesterday I was all sorts of motivated. Today...well...I was lethargic and wanted to curl up in bed.

Bad news: Zari came home last night with a sprained ankle. During her soccer game, she stepped in a hole on the field and twisted her ankle. She was still in a lot of pain this morning and could barely hobble around. I brought her to an urgent care clinic, which turned out well because the physician had been trained as an orthopedic surgeon in India before immigrating to the US.

She has a sprained ankle with some torn ligaments, so she's on crutches for a week, a boot for a week after that, and then who knows when she can go back to playing soccer. This means she might miss the rest of the season. Poor girl--she is so disappointed.

I'll probably get to bed early again. I can feel my body shutting down.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Lots of steps, hours of walking, biking around town, and jetlag

On the clock it's close to 10 pm, but my body thinks it's 4 am. I am TIRED right now. Plus I woke up early, as is normal coming back this direction.
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Sunday, September 11, 2022

Walks in the rain and good food

11,193 steps

After an easy morning catching up on some work emails, I walked to the Old Town with one of the conference speakers. It was raining when we headed out, but we were undeterred. We had a nice chat about parenting (she has 3 boys about the same ages as my kids) and about the medical device she invented (the Hegenberger retractor).

We popped into a restaurant that looked inviting and we were not disappointed. It was in a (rebuilt) Renaissance building with vaulted ceilings and old decor. I had goose with chanterelles in cream sauce, crispy potatoes, and a salad. Delicious!

We parted ways after lunch; she had an appointment and I had some free time. I wandered around the Old Town and found some little presents for my kids and a patch to add to my Breech Without Borders apron.

Then I ducked into a large cathedral, where I got to hear an impromptu organ concert; the musician was rehearsing for a recital later on in the afternoon. There's something grand and awe-inspriring about listening to Bach on a massive organ; the sound moves through your whole body.

I was done being a tourist after that. I thought about visiting the Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski) but just wanted to go home and warm up. I took a picture of the remains of the castle after WWII--it was just rubble on the ground. All of the buildings in these pictures were completely rebuilt after the war.

Another few hours of work, a 10-minute cat nap, and then a live session in the early evening. After that I went to dinner with a German midwife.

Tomorrow I'll be teaching breech all day, then back home the next day!

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Saturday, September 10, 2022

12 hours of conferencing and 2,367 steps

I think this was the longest conference day I have ever attended. But it was great. By the end I was very tired and hungry. I had breakfast leftovers in my room (since I fast until lunchtime or mid-afternoon, I hadn't eaten anything at breakfast) so that turned into dinner. Not very filling but I was too tired to think about going out for food.

I think my presentation went very well. I talked about why vaginal breech birth is an important skill (from perspectives of safety, autonomy, law, ethics, and women's experiences) and how it works, about 15 minutes on each topic. A good overview without going into exhaustive detail.

I have met some amazing people from all around Europe. I hope this brings future collaborations of many sorts.

I managed to catch Eric and the kids at home for the first time and just got done video chatting. It's almost midnight and time for bed!
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Friday, September 09, 2022

Uprising museum & the oldest restaurant in Warsaw

11 hours of sleep and 11,234 steps

I went to bed at 8 pm last night local time, woke up briefly at midnight, and went to sleep again until 7 am! I can't remember the last time I slept so much. I lazed in bed for a while enjoying my rest.

Today I felt 100% great. I've never had such an easy jet lag transition. (Of course, who knows what will happen tonight?) But so far, it's been seamless.

I walked to the Warsaw Rising Museum about the 2-month long uprising in the summer of 1944 as citizens and insurgents tried to take Warsaw back from the occupying German army. It ended in defeat with over 200,000 dead, mostly civilians, and the complete depoulation and destruction of the city.

At the start of the war, Warsaw had 1,300,000 residents. After the uprising, citizens were forced to leave and the city was systematically destroyed, block by block, until 85 of the buildings were rubble. Only 1,000 people were left living in this city that used to have well over a million people.

I'm still stunned by the extent of the destruction. In some areas of the town, the German army systematically massacred entire neighborhoods, up to 65,000 in one day. Men, women, children, elderly, hospital patients--everyone was rounded up, shot, and burned. Those hiding in cellars were killed with grenades.

One of the museum exhibits was a 3D movie reconstructing the destruction of Warsaw based on archival photograps and movies. It was from the point of view of a small aircraft flying over the city. Think of any zombie apocalypse dystopia movie you've seen...and the level of destruction isn't anywhere near what happened to Warsaw.

So that was a sobering morning. I made a brief stop to the Jewish cemetery on my way home. Lunch was my breakfast that I had packed away for later--cold cuts, cheese, vegetables, and bread. I decided to stay in for the afternoon and do some work on my presentation and on the book manuscript that we're sending off to the translators.

Around 5:30 pm, I met up with our host/conference organizer and a group of midwives from all over Europe and the US who were presenting tomorrow. We walked around the Old Town (completely rebuilt after the war, although you'd never guess that the buildings were just 50-70 years old, rather than 300-500 years old).

We ate at U Fukiera, which claims to be Warsaw's oldest restaurant. I walked inside and said, "This is what I want my house to look like!" Old vaulted ceilings, a sort of Bohemian feels, old oak paneling and pews lining the walls that looked lifted straight from a monastery, rich carpets and tapestries, electic paintings and prints on the walls.

We shared an assortment of appetizers: pierogi (I had ones stuffed with duck and cheese), liver pate with horseradish and beet sauces, a platter of cured pork cuts, and a platter of goat cheeses. I chose Żurek, a sour rye soup for my main dish. It's made with a fermented rye starter. In the soup were a hardboiled egg, pureed potatoes topped with crumbled bacon, and homemade pork sausage. Delicious!
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Thursday, September 08, 2022

To Washington, Copenhagen, and Warsaw...all in one day

I made it to Warsaw with zero issues, despite two very tight airport connections. This might have been the smoothest international travel yet. I didn't get to sleep on the airplane, although I tried. We left early enough that it was just 1 am to my body when we landed in Copenhagen.

I'm staying on a university campus. The building is multifunctional; there's a preschool/elementary school run by the university, a private high school, auditoriums and conference rooms, and finally some hotel rooms on one of the floors.

I'm trying so hard to stay awake! I have a little down time before my hosts pick me up to see some of the historical sights and eat dinner. I let myself have a cat nap (with a timer to ensure it didn't become anything longer) and I am still nodding off if I sit still.

My hosts are very gracious and so thankful that I'm here (likewise for me--I'm honored that they would send me all the way to Poland!). The main conference on Saturday has 300 attendees. I'm speaking during one of the morning session. Then breech training on Monday.
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Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Off to Warsaw

7,125 steps plus a few hours of treadmill walking

I can't believe it's already time to pack up again...this time, I'm heading to Warsaw! I'll be speaking at the International Midwifery Conference on Holistic Childbirth and then teaching a breech workshop 2 days after the conference.

Today was dedicated to packing, catching up on CME applications, grocery shopping, and other errands. Eric was gone until late in the evening at Zari's soccer game out of town.
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Monday, September 05, 2022

Not much labor on Labor Day

5,146 steps

We had a lovely holiday. Eric had to work but the rest of us got to stay home. I had all the kids fold and put away laundry, vacuum their bedroom, and vacuum one other room. They were amazed and disgusted by how much stuff came out of the carpets.

After lunch we watched Miss Congeniality. Zari LOVED it and was laughing so hard. I'm not surprised because she identifies so strongly with the main character--disdain for anything feminine, hates high heels and makeup and girl culture.

We made a bonfire after dinner, but we didn't have enough ingredients for Smores. I got the kids to come out and do homework/reading/whittling by the fire.
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Sunday, September 04, 2022

Worn out by weeds

Yesterday wore me out. We did yard work in the morning and then took it easy the rest of the day. I was so tired, though, by mid-afternoon! Pulling weeds shouldn't wear me out that much.

We watched one of the newer Harry Potter movies yesterday--the one about Dumbledore. It was very confusing and hard to follow.

Today we all went to play Ultimate Frisbee in the afternoon. Well, I went to watch and wished I'd brought exercise clothes. I might have joined in after all. Then we watched a hilariously bad movie, Moonfall, that was fun to roll our eyes at.

Tomorrow is a holiday for the kids but not for Eric. Maybe we'll have a bonfire and Smores, if it's not too hot out in the evening.
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Friday, September 02, 2022

So many steps...

I'm getting used to the treadmill desk. I overdid it yesterday and scaled back to just a few hours of walking today. I'd hate to give myself tendonitis or plantar fasciitis by doing too much all at once.

Zari needed a ride home from school, so I brought Ivy with me and we ran errands together: Walmart (socks, underwear, & a bike innertube), Home Depot (hose, spray nozzle, spray for our driveway cracks), and Kroger (groceries). It's crazy how much more expensive food is here. I am making myself just buy the food and not fret too much about the prices. But I still do price comparison on most things because I know what I would pay back in France for almost everything.

I got our book's copyright filed with the US copyright offce and am working on a CPD application for RANZCOG (the obstetrical society of NZ & Australia). I need to finish my conference presentation for next week in Warsaw. I have two lectures to refilm, several hours of video content to edit, and so on. It never ends!

We watched the US Open final tonight with Serena Williams. Eric, Dio, and Inga left after the first round to play soccer on campus and it was still going when they came back! What a nail-biting game.

We have yard/house work planned for tomorrow. We'll probably do something fun, too, like watch a movie together or go to the swimming pool.
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Thursday, September 01, 2022

Breech For All

11,397 steps

I generally keep my breech work separate from these daily updates...but today is an exception! We are starting our newest fundraiser called Breech For All. Our goal is to raise enough money to fund every scholarship request.

We've already awarded 113 scholarships in 2022, but we have over 100 more people on a waiting list and a residency program wanting to train 48 residents and 12 faculty. If you value what we're doing at Breech Without Borders--even if you're not in the childbearing stage of life--please consider donating. You'll get a copy of our new book, A Guide to Physiological Breech Birth. (ps, if you don't need the book, send us a note and we'll gift it to one of our scholarship recipients!)

Donate here:

On to other news from today: my fancy walking treadmill arrived. It weighs 153 lbs and was a challenge to carry upstairs. I took the lighter side and Eric the heavier side.

Eric was gone from 5-9 pm at soccer practices and soccer games! I'd like to come to some of them, but that would mean no parents at home the entire evening.
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