Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A crafty little one

Tonight when we were picking little Bean up from daycare, one of her teachers was exclaiming over how quickly Bean has learned the rewards of being mobile.

Apparently Bean was laying on the floor this afternoon and spotted, through a little baby gym, one of her classmates playing with a set of plastic "beads", the gigantic ones that click together and form little chains. (These beads, by the way, are exactly the same as the ones we bought to replace Bean's former bath toys which were recently exiled under suspicion of lead paint.) Anyway, Bean army crawled her way across the floor, wriggled around the baby gym, and then climbed across her classmate to take the beads from him. She managed to pull several beads off the chain and rolled over onto her back to enjoy the spoils of victory.

Ah my little thief. I take comfort in the fact that all of her classmates seem hellbent on stealing whatever toy another baby has. So she's probably not destined to be a bully.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A growing girl

Since she was tiny, Bean has always been a pretty good sleeper at night (not a great napper, but a good nighttime sleeper). So by the time I went back to work, little Bean was down to waking up once a night to eat. Which is SO doable after months on end of 3-4 times per night.

However, in the last three weeks, Bean is on an eating rampage. She has gone from eating 12 oz of milk while she's at daycare to eating 16 or 17 oz. That's a 33% increase! And so I've been running a deficit every day with the pumping... I pump 12-14 oz a day at best. In addition, little Bean has started waking up 3 or 4 times to eat at night. So I'm exhausted and drained. I literally can't keep up with her demand.

So we thought we'd finally start introducing solids. This is a big transition. Up until now, all 14 pounds and 8 ounces of biomass that is the Bean has come directly through me. All of it (I guess with the exception of some oxygen). And frankly it's a point of pride for me. I MADE her. But she's clearly needing to increase her calories, and she needs an external source of iron now, so solid foods it is...

But she won't bite. Literally. My stubborn little Bean just clams up no matter what we try to give her, be it sweet potato, peaches, rice cereal or apple sauce. She grabs for the spoon. She uses her hands to block my shots. She's playing more D than a college basketball team. And if you keep working at it, she eventually gets mad. Game over. We've successfully gotten a few tiny tastes of applesauce into her, but she makes a face as she works it around in her mouth. I would guess we've gotten maybe a gram of applesauce into her over several feedings.

My stubborn little girl. After our huge battle to get Bean to start taking the bottle, my mother warned me that I had a fighter on my hands. But Bean is generally so good natured and easy going, I was certain it was a one time thing. But now I know that Bean is a do-it-herself-er. SHE will determine what she eats and when.

I can only hope that if we persist we can eventually convince Bean to start eating some solids. Because right now I'm fighting an uphill battle to keep up with her demand. And although I do have that lovely stockpile in my freezer, it's going to disappear pretty quick if she keeps outpacing me by 5 oz a day...

And I have GOT to get some sleep!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Night(s) out

This past weekend I had the rare opportunity to go out for the evening sans baby. Not once, but twice. It was nuts I tell ya', nuts!

On Friday a close friend from grad school, H-bomb, defended her thesis. It turned out that poor little Bean had pink eye and had to stay home from school, so Husband and I did some very elaborate Bean swapping in order to be sure that I could attend H-bomb's defense. H-bomb did an amazing job (I mean, if I can follow an immunology talk, it's a freakin' mircale considering I still have to remind myself the difference between innate and acquired immunity... so kudos to H!).

After the defense, we had hoped to bring Bean inside for the celebratory toast, but Bean got fussy at the last minute, so we took her home instead. That meant that Husband and I couldn't both attend the dinner to help H celebrate, so Husband kindly agreed to stay home with the Bean while I went out to dinner and then drinks with many of my closest friends from grad school. It's amazing every once in awhile to get out of the house sans baby and go someplace other than work. On the way I was blasting Tool on my iPod (you don't get to blast music very often once you're carting a kid around, so that in and of itself was a treat). I got to hang out with some of my favorite people on the planet, I had a pina colada (ridiculously delicious and girly), and the bar even sent over a round of shots on the house (some sort of bottle shelf vodka mixed with either grapefruit juice or battery acid, I'm not sure but it was disgusting). It was good to get out and talk about things other than baby. We talked science, we made fun of Jim Watson, we toasted H-bomb and poured one out for our missing homies (we missed you LJ!).

Saturday night was a Mom's Night Out that I had on the calendar for over a month, so Husband had to stay home with Bean again. I met up with a few mom's that I had the good fortune to meet while I was on maternity leave, and all our babies were born within weeks of each other. We met for dinner and beers at 5:30 (because when you have little ones at home you either do these things early or late so as not to mess up bedtimes). We comiserated about pumping and daycare, we dreamed of being stay at home moms, we drank our expensive beer and laughed about watching mindless TV. We compared notes on babies and husbands and how filthy our respective houses seem to get these days. It was an equally fantastic night out.

In retrospect, my two nights out seem like a funny juxtaposition. Am I getting old now? I vote no.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wanna do something good?

Wanna do something good for (virtually) no cost?

My friend Em teaches English to middle school kids at a (surprise, surprise) underfunded middle school in Oregon. Em writes

My kids need books. Our classroom library? Dismal. Our budget? Tiny. Our school's library? Shitty... If you guys have books, ANY books, not just books kids might like but ANY books, would you consider shipping them to me (at my school site)?

Em is working hard to give her students a love of reading, and to do so, she is trying to build up her classroom library with books of all kinds! But she has no money to do so because um, she gets an eensy weensy paycheck.

Like me, you probably have shelves full of books you read once and then haven't picked up since. Don't let them just sit there gathering dust. Put 'em to good use. Send 'em to Em!

Here's how you do it: Go through your bookshelves and find all the books you can possibly get rid of (believe me, this kind of purge is actually quite cathartic). Box your books up. Head down to your local Post Office and ship 'em as "Media Mail." Media Mail is a super cheap way to send books. Mail the books to:

Emily Pollard
c/o Rowe Middle School
3606 SE Lake Road
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Then just sit back and feel good about yourself for the rest of the day.

Em closes by saying

I know, I know. Beggars, all. But we're doing all we can to make it so these kids know what the forest is, what books are, and how they can make their lives better. Books save 'em. And the fact is that even buying snacks for four classes of kids comes out of my own pocket. ::shrugs:: ... these kids-- they're pretty f*!$in' awesome. And I had to ask. Thanks, guys, for reading.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Milk Supply

Yeah, it's ridiculous. But it keeps me from buying ice cream...


Cold Spring Harbor labs has finally "suspended" James Watson for another one of his horribly racist comments. In this scientist's opinion this is too little too late. Watson is known for being a blatant sexist, racist, homophobic ass, and yet for the past 40 years, CSHL has continued to let him get away with whatever he likes.

Despite a history of bad behavior, CSHL has continued to honor Watson. First as director, the president, and now chancellor of the National Lab, even going so far as to name their graduate program after him. He's a one trick pony, winner of THE most contentious nobel prize in history, and yet the lab has held him up as an icon, despite his continued downward spiral into prejudice of all kinds.

Some of the comments Watson has been credited with:

-You know there's no money in science these days because the enrollment of Jews in science graduate programs is down (during a talk given at my university this past spring)
-Blacks have an inherently higher sex drive
-Pospects for Africa are grim because blacks are less intelligent than whites
-Thin people are unhappy and work hard, fat people are lazy: "You always feel bad when you're interviewing a fat person because you know you're not going to hire them."
-In the event of a test to determine homoshttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifexuality in utero, women should have the right to abort a homosexual fetus

The thing that's really infuriating about Watson is that he has a lot of sway among non-scientists because he's the name mostly commonly associated with the discovery of the structure of DNA. Probably one of the most well-known scientists in popular culture. So when he makes outrageous statements and pretends there is scientific data to support them... it's just SO frustrating.

So I can only hope that this will mark the beginning of the end for Watson and his influence on popular culture. Maybe people will stop giving him speaking engagements. It only encourages his delusions that people actually give a s*** what he has to say...

Addendum: Zuska has an amazingly well written post on this subject.

0.5 years old

In honor of Bean's 6 month birthday, may I present our birth story...

I started having contractions at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday the 19th, one day before my due date. The contractions were strong and painful, but I didn't think they were real labor contractions because I could only feel them in the lower part of my uterus... the top of my uterus didn't feel like it was contracting at all. The contractions started about 15 minutes apart, and though they were painful, they weren’t terrible. I told husband this wasn’t the real thing, and I continued packing my lunch for work.

We had a scheduled doctors appointment at 9:40, so we got ourselves ready, and right before we walked out the door I told Husband to grab the camera “just in case”. In the car the contractions started to organize and become regular. Husband was timing them and it was amazing that they were now coming every five minutes on the dot, and I was having to use my breathing exercises to make it through. By the time we got to the hospital, I had to stop walking during the contractions. When we saw my doctor, she watched me have a contraction and then decided to check my cervix. At 9:45 a.m. I was dilated to about 1.5 centimeters, but hadn't really thinned at all. She decided to send me to the birthing center to get monitored, but warned me that they would probably monitor me for a bit and then either send me out for a walk or send me home. She offered us a wheelchair to get over to the birthing center, but I decided I wanted to walk.

On the way to the birthing center I had a contraction in an elevator, much to the chagrin of the 6 other people on board. Then walking over to the birthing center, the contractions were coming just three minutes apart, but I was in complete denial. I was talking to Husband about whether or not I should go to work after we left the birthing center. Luckily Husband humored me and said we’d see how I felt after they checked me out at the birthing center.

Once we arrived, they took me into the triage suite and hooked me up to the monitors, saw that my contractions were coming fast and hard, and decided I probably wasn't going anywhere. The on-call resident performed an ultrasound to check the baby's position, and to our horror said that the baby was butt down. I immediately started to cry. My doctor had felt Bean’s position through my stomach and had assured me that she was head down, but apparently she was wrong..

The resident told me that the on-call obstetrician might be able to perform a version to flip the baby and allow a vaginal delivery. So the OB was called in. She was dubious, but said that they could try to stop the contractions, perform the version, and hen restart the contractions and hope for a vaginal delivery. I said that I wanted her to try. So they gave me a shot which immediately stopped the contractions. She then went to check my cervix. In the 45 minutes since my doctor had checked me, I had gone from 1.5 cms and 0% effaced to 5 cms and 100% effaced! The OB said that she could no longer try to perform the version because with my cervix that far open, it was possible that the bag of waters could break and the cord could prolapse. So a C-section was now my only option. Of course, I was devastated, but with no other safe options for a vaginal delivery, I signed the consent form.

From there, everything happened pretty quickly. They immediately began prepping me for surgery, gave me the spinal (which was horrible), and as soon as they could get everyone assembled, they started the surgery. It took about 10 minutes for them to get down to the uterus, at which point they squeezed my belly like a tube of toothpaste to extract the baby. At 12:54 p.m. I heard the very first little squak from our baby girl, and it was the most amazing thing I have ever heard. When they put her down on the table to get cleaned up, I almost didn't believe she was actually mine because she was so darn beautiful! Husband got to hold her while they stitched me up, and at 1:30 I was breastfeeding her for the first time.

7 pounds, 1 oz
18.5 inches
Born April 19th at 12:54 p.m.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baby Steps

The last 5 days in a row of picking up Bean at daycare, her teachers have said that Bean had a fussy day. We've been talking about the possibility of teething, despite the fact that there aren't any hard little ridges yet. We increased her bottles (more on that later). No improvement.

Today I mentioned to her teacher that perhaps it's because Bean is getting ready to crawl. A pediatric nurse who runs a support group for new parents always says that there is chaos whenever baby is trying to acquire a new skill. Especially crawling. Her teacher thought that was possible and said that Bean's been trying to army crawl.

Well tonight we got home and after feeding Bean we put her on her tummy on her mat to play. And sure enough, Bean started tucking her knees under herself and wriggling forward! And it wasn't just belly to the ground crawling, she was getting her knees under herself pretty darn well and really getting her belly up!

I know every baby crawls, etc, but I seriously started crying. I was so happy and proud!

Well, eventually it was time for bed, but it seemed Bean didn't know how to shut it off. I'd get her pretty much to sleep, and then 10 minutes later there was a crying Bean laying on her tummy trying to crawl in her crib (having broken out of an expert swaddle). Over and over again. Finally, after extensive rocking in her Ikea Poang chair (a lifesaver! best rocking motion for soothing a baby, hands down!), Bean finally drifted off. It's been about 15 minutes and I still don't hear her wrestling her way out of her swaddle. *Knocks on wood*

Here's hoping for a good nights sleep and a better day tomorrow!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Left Brain vs. Right Brain

Check this out! I found this on the blog of a friend of a friend.

It's a test that can discriminate between left brain and right brain people. I was, unsurprisingly, a right brain person. To me, the woman was spinning in a clockwise direction, and I couldn't imagine her spinning counter-clockwise at all. In fact, I kinda thought that it was B.S. until the grad student in my lab assured me that she could see the dancer spinning counter-clockwise (and this grad student is decidedly left brained).

Hmm, I wonder how one becomes left brained or right brained. I'll do some reading and try to add a bit to this post.

In the meantime, what are you?

Here comes winter

We really did have a great weekend. After 2 weeks of rainy gray-ness, the clouds parted late Saturday morning and we had two days of great weather. Though Husband and I both had a bit of lab work to do each day, we mostly took the weekend off to enjoy the gorgeous weather before we get socked in with rain for the next 6 months.

Saturday we took Bean and Pup for a walk at our favorite park to see all the wonderful fall colors. We took our time, showing Bean all the different colors on the different trees. She sampled many leaves and found the maple leaves to be the most delicious. Then we treated ourselves to Ethiopian for lunch before hitting the backroads and heading through farm country. We found a pumpkin patch (see below) and picked an oversized but perfect pumpkin.

Sunday, after we did our lab work, we went to a friends house for a BBQ and ended up spending most of the afternoon relaxing in their backyard. Bean was moderately interested in their gigantic Bernese Mountain Dog, and found our lunch far more interesting.

By the time we got home we realized we had spent far too much of the weekend playing and so I ran off to the grocery store with Bean to do the grocery shopping for the week while Husband finished up some writing he was supposed to have done by today. But even the grocery shopping with Bean was fun because I wore her in the Bjorn and we discussed all of the produce. I don't mind looking like a crazy lady, bouncing up and down the aisles to keep Bean squealing while we shop. And in general I think people are smiling at me indulgently, not laughing at me. I think.

So we'll be paying for our lazy weekend all week. We're behind on the laundry, the bathroom's a mess, the floors are covered in pet hair. But this morning the rain kicked in full force again, and the weather forecast is calling for rain for the next 10 days. We may not see another nice weekend like this one for the rest of the year, so I'm glad we took some time to enjoy ourselves together.

I promise to clean the bathroom tonight. Or tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Taking a day off

It was a good weekend.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Working on the weekend

So this morning both Husband and I had to go to lab. He had some pretty labor intensive things to do, while I mostly had to just shuffle some stuff around, start a couple of cultures... easy stuff. So I dropped Husband off at his lab and then Bean and I drove on over to my lab.

Now, I work at a University, so of course parking on campus is ridiculously expensive and I don't have a parking permit. And since the University is obnoxious, you can't even park there on weekdays until after 9:00 p.m., and on the weekends you can't park without a permit until after noon. Well, I like to get my lab work early, so I will usually pay for street parking near lab, or if that's not available, park illegally on campus.

Well, when I show up to lab with Bean in tow, there's parking enforcement dutifully ticketing all the suckers... I mean scientists, who are there working on the weekend. I mean, it's pretty obvious that the people who are parking there are people coming to WORK FOR THE UNIVERSITY. Nonetheless, the University sends out parking enforcement to ticket its own employees for coming in to work.

Anyway, so I decide not to park illegally, and instead I find some pay parking a few blocks away from lab and since Bean is now asleep in her car seat, I have to lug 20+ pounds of car-seated baby back to lab. My lab work is non-eventful, and I lug Bean back to the car. I pass the parking guy who is still ticketing other cars.

Once I get back to my car, I put Bean's seat in the back, pull down my parking sticker, and turn on the car. Before I actually pull away from the curb, I look down at my iPod and start scrolling through to find some new music. Just as I settle on the Magnetic Fields, there's a rapping sound at my window. I look up to see the parking guy waving his ticket-writing-thing-a-ma-jig at me.

I pulled the parking sticker back out to show him that I did in fact pay for parking, but he doesn't leave until I actually re-post it in my window so that he can see that I still have 6 minutes left on the sticker. Then he moves on to the car in front of me to ticket them.

The baby is in the back seat, I'm in the front, the car is running, and I am clearly just finding something on my iPod, and yet the guy was going to issue me a ticket!

And that's our reward for working on the weekends. A parking ticket.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Asleep at the wheel

Last night I had a series of horrible nightmares. Or rather, one nightmare that continued every time I fell asleep, no matter how many times I woke up in a cold sweat. In brief, this nightmare involved watching a 9/11-type happen in my city catastrophe in my city, and then trying desperately to make it the 15 or so miles to Bean's daycare on foot through a progressively deteriorating city. Very Mad Max.

Bean, on the other hand, slept all the way through the night for the first time ever!

This morning I literally fell asleep on the couch while eating my breakfast. I closed by eyes (just for a second!) while I was chewing, and.... luckily I was awakened a few minutes later by Pup who had noticed I was asleep and got up on the couch to try to steal my cereal. Luckily for me, Pup is not very sneaky.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Things other than poop

So tonight, as part of my campaign to talk about things other than poop, I had dinner with an invited seminar speaker and a small group of other postdocs. The seminar speaker is an amazing scientist from Stanford. She had lots of great stories, including one about serving as a scientific advisor to Clinton and addressing Clinton and his cabinet about genetic engineering. She is dynamic and passionate and incredibly smart. The kind of scientist we should all strive to be like.

I, on the other hand, was the dumbest person at the table. But that's another post entirely.

When the speaker mentioned that she has 3 children, I asked her how she had balanced the demands of her family with the intense demands of getting tenure. She replied that she had succeeded by never feeling guilty: when she was in the lab, she didn't feel guilty about not being with her kids. When she was at home, she didn't feel guilty about not being in lab. And that allowed her to focus on whatever she was doing and really engage.

Good advice, I thought.

"Oh," she added, "and it helped that I had a full-time, live-in nanny for 23 years."

Friday, October 5, 2007


A few years ago I was talking to a dear friend of mine about how I didn't think I could be successful as a scientist. "I'm not smart enough," I whined. "I just fake it, and hope no one notices how stupid I am. I could never fake it well enough to be a PI."

The voices in my head tell me that I only got into grad school because I'm good at taking standardized tests. And I only got good grades as an undergraduate because my college wasn't rigorous. I only got internships because I got lucky. I only did well in my undergraduate research lab because I had good people training me. I only passed my general exam in grad school because my committee decided to go easy on me.

My friend, a fellow graduate student, shook me with the sterness of her response. "You're being ridiculous. Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome?" I had not (more evidence that I am dumb?).

Imposter syndrome, identified in 1978, is a destructive mode of thinking, afflicting primarily high-acheiving women. Women with imposter syndrome have the persistent belief that they are phonies, or fakes, despite high-level academic and professional accomplishements. These women believe that they are not bright and think that they have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. They often experience generalized anxiety and depression because they are afraid that one day they will be "found out" or that they can never live up to the expectations they have tricked others into having.

While the imposter phenomenon has not been exhaustively studied, there has been considerable work looking at the differences between men and women when it comes to the differential attribution of success between the sexes. While men tend to attribute successes to their ability, women tend to attribute successes to external or temporary factors (such as luck or extreme effort) which mitigate their inherent inability. When it comes to failures, men tend to attribute their failures to such temporary factors ("I didn't study for this exam") or task difficulty, while women tend to attribute failures to their lack of ability. This type of thinking is thought to play heavily into the imposter phenomenon.

When I first read about the imposter phenomenon, it actually made me feel a little better that I wasn't the only person who couldn't seem to feel good about any of her accomplishments. Of course, like anyone I get some temporary joy when I perform well, but mostly that feeling isn't one of pride... more a feeling of relief... I dodged another bullet, pulled off another trick.

The voice of doubt is there pretty much constantly. It's there when I'm interpreting my data... I never seem to feel like my data is trustworthy. I repeat experiments over and over again because I don't believe they will be reproducible. My grad work is published, but I don't speak about it with pride because I seem to be waiting for someone to disprove it.

When an experiment fails, I often try to avoid seeing my boss. I'm afraid that if I have to tell her something didn't work, it's because I'm a horrible scientist and I should be ashamed (because, apparently I am the ONLY scientist in the world whose experiments sometimes fail). That's the main reason I'm often unhappy working at the bench. I can not take a failed experiment or a negative result in stride... it's always further evidence of my incompetence.

When I recently got funded, I celebrated out of relief that I wouldn't have to write again, not because I felt like I had done well. And I started to tell myself that the reason I got funded was because I look good on paper, not because I am competent.

Talking to other female grad students and postdocs, I hear the same thing from women that I would give my left nut to be like. What is it about academia that women can't seem to be confident in their successes? Have we internalized the societal bias that women aren't smart enough to be academics? Are intelligent women really so rare that we can't possibly be among them?

I can believe someone if they tell me I'm a good cook. I can believe someone if they tell me I'm a good mother. I can even believe someone if they tell me I'm fun to be around. But I can't ever seem to quiet the negative backtalk when it comes to my intelligence.

Damn it.


Courtesy of http://xkcd.com...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mirror, mirror

So yesterday morning I was getting ready for work. Bean was awake and Husband was holding her up to look in the bathroom mirror while I was brushing my hair. Husband pointed to the mirror and said "There's your pretty mommy, Bean" and I replied with some snarky comment about my post-partum body that does not bear repeating.

Husband reacted quickly. He said that he didn't want me saying negative things about myself in general, but especially to Bean. Though she is too young to understand it now, it won't be long before she'll understand him when he says the words say the word "pretty" and "mama" and see my pained grimace in response.

This exchange, in which Husband is totally on the side of Good (with a capital G), renewed my fears about raising a daughter.

Let me say first that I know there are definitely strong pressures on boys to be fairly lean and to conform to an image of physical strength. Boys have body image issues too, and they are (increasingly, in my opinion) subject to pressure from visual media of all kinds to be attractive.

But for girls, the beauty ideal is so much more narrowly defined and so tied to our (apparent) value as human beings. Just watching TV for 5 minutes, or flipping briefly through a magazine (even one that's not devoted to beauty... my Cooking Light magazine is just as guilty) and the women you see are young, very slim, white, and well-off. The only time you see a woman over 50 is in an add for an anti-aging cream, and the only time you see a large woman (or even a normal sized-woman) is as a foil for the "beautiful" women. While men can fall within a relatively large window of body weights and muscle tone and be considered attractive, women are under constant pressure to be smaller, slimmer, and bonier.

I sat down last week to watch one of my favorite shows and was distressed to see that one of the actresses, who was already VERY skinny, had lost even more weight since last season, making her ribcage stick out even more, and the outifts she wore during the show were designed to show it off.

I cringe when I think of sweet little Bean who will someday be deluged with these images of beauty, no matter how hard I try to filter them out. Even if I continue to be sure that Bean is not watching TV, she will see magazine covers and billboards, and she will get it through her interactions with her friends.

She will also, most likely, be picking up negative cues from me. I've struggled with a very negative body image and very low self-esteem for a long time. I've had struggles with food issues since I was in high school. I know that my struggles with food, weight, and body image can be toxic for the people around me, my friends and loved ones. And I haven't made peace with myself or my body yet.

I need to find a way to be a positive role model for Bean when it comes to building a positive body image and good self-esteem. While I know that I can't shield Bean from facing the issues surrounding body image and beauty in our culture, I need to help her develop positive self-esteem so that when she is confronted with images of the beauty ideal, with negative comments among her peer group, she can maintain a healthy outlook and be strong in the face of negative pressure. And part of helping her develop a grounded sense of self-esteem is to take the focus off physical appearance and weight.

And I think it starts with me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Feeling mostly better

Well, we made it through the weekend. Of course Husband and I both caught Bean's cold, but we healed a lot more quickly than she did. Bean's fever finally broke on Saturday night, and though Bean is still rather snotty, she went back to school yesterday. Apparently 5 of the other infants and one of the teachers also caught this particular cold. Good times.

So last night, after 5 nights in my arms, Bean went back to sleep in her crib. It went relatively smoothly, but I think I need to WD-40 the hinges on her door so that I can check to make sure she's still breathing as often as I want to without causing her to stir...

It's extremely stormy here now. Summer is over. I made pumpkin bread last night to celebrate the arrival of fall.