Archive for March, 2009

23andYou: what do you think?

23andme-logoSo the 23andMe pregnancy community launched today on Good Morning America.

And since I’m officially a “founding member” of the community, I was wondering…what do people think of getting tested while pregnant?  Some people are saying too much information isn’t always a good thing.  I say, how can we know too much when it comes to the health of our children?  I also say, it isn’t necessarily about you.  The more women who get tested, the more data will be out there, the more possibility there is for real discovery and change.

(Full disclosure again: I’m a (nominally) paid blogger for 23andMe. But they DO NOT tell me what to say.  Except to let you know I’m a nominally paid blogger.)

I’d love it if you weighed in on this one.  Take the poll below, then feel free to elaborate in the comments section.

And one last thing: You can help out with the research even if you don’t get tested— if you are currently pregnant  or have been pregnant before please visit http://www.23andme.com/pregnancy and complete a short survey.

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March 31, 2009 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

Why I spat: My 23andMe Spitting Experience

Well, the launch is finally here, and now I can divulge my 23andMe secret:  I am a founding member of the 23andMe pregnancy blogging community.  And no, I am not making another, related to the pregnancy part of that announcement.  Those days are gone.  That ship has sailed.  This uterus is CLOSED for operation.  I have been pregnant — so I qualified for the job. (Yes, it’s a job: full disclosure, here.)

What will I be doing?  Posting at least once a week.  Getting involved in the forums.  Participating in surveys. Basically being a part of an incredibly cool, potentially medically influential company that really, truly, wants to make a difference in women’s health – and in health care in general. (No pressure, but if you’re pregnant, you can contribute to some pretty cool research related to women’s gestational health by participating too. Click here.)

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get your genome tested (and full disclosure: as an employee, I had it done for free.)  read my post, below.  And check out this video, to see what it’s like to Spit!

And now – the post:

WHY I SPAT

Genotyping. The whole thing has a kind of futuristic feeling. Like I should be wearing a silver jumpsuit and sitting in a white laminate Pod, eating simulated food, while a computer calculates the precise moment at which my offspring will appear and completely disrupt my life.

But genotyping isn’t science fiction. It’s here.

Part of me feels a little “don’t ask/don’t tell.” What if I find out something terrible? Like I have a tremendous chance of developing a particularly awful disease, or that I’m genetically related to that horrible mother at my kids’ school who’s always telling everyone what a “genius” her kid is, or that, in all likelihood, I will never, ever, be truly thin. I’m not sure I want to know.

Take, for instance, the possibility that my genes indicate that I will never be thin. Will I use it as an excuse to scarf down a pint of ice-cream with a chocolate-chip cookie chaser? Or if I am genetically related to that mother – will I feel obligated to ask her to join me for Thanksgiving dinner, thus increasing exponentially the possibility of my suffering a sever bout of indigestion? Or, in a completely unfunny scenario, what if I find out I have the breast cancer gene? Will I live in fear for the rest of my life? Will I opt to take preventative action? Who knows?

But I’ve never been one to shy away from the truth, to eschew knowledge and go through life in blissful ignorance. So I do want to know as much about myself as I can. But more than that, I want to know about how I came to be who I am.

My mother’s family consisted of her, her brother, and her parents. Every other person in her extended family was killed in World War II. My grandparents never wanted to discuss their painful past, which left me with little to no information about where that side of my family came from. Maybe genotyping could offer some sort of snap-shot of them that I don’t have, and maybe my genetic picture will help fill in the blanks in my family’s medical history.

My own family consists of me, my husband, and our two children. Like most mothers, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids. (At their request, I even put on a cat costume this Halloween. And trust me, a forty-three year old mother in a tight cat-suit with ears does not make anyone meow.) Maybe learning about my own genetic make-up will give me the information I need to keep my children healthy, help them grow.

I might find out things I don’t want to know. But the thought that I might find out something horrible is outweighed by the possibility that I might find out something useful. Or even that I may help someone else by contributing to research that could lead to breakthroughs in any number of medical fields. I could inform myself, know what I need to do to help me and my family live long productive life. Plus, I could and find out if it’s true what my Great Uncle Nat always said: I’m related to Harry Connick Jr. Cousin Harry!!! I love you!

If I find out, however, that I will never, ever, be truly thin. I may have to ask for a refund.


March 31, 2009 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Why I Love Skype!

I am LOVING Skype.  Read why, here. On my latest NYC Moms Blog post.

March 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Longboat Key: The Secret to Staying (relatively) Young

The kids love the calm water

The kids love the calm water

If you’re from the Northeast -and maybe even if you’re not – going to Florida means one of two things: going to the ultra-hip, cool, and trendy South Beach, or going to see your Grandparents.

Of course Grandparents-in-Florida means a lot of things:

  • – polyester pants –
  • canasta by the pool –
  • early bird specials –
  • really really bad driving
  • women sneaking rolls into their purses at the diner
  • constant discussions over the price of a can of Tuna Fish
  • constant monitoring of every single piece of food you put in your mouth because your grandmother is obsessed with being thin and you’re not. Thin, that is.

Oh, wait. Was that last one just me? (more…)

March 14, 2009 at 7:39 am Leave a comment

Weight Watchers Weigh In Update #2

OK, OK, so I’ve been on the diet for four weeks and this is only the second time I’ve updated.

I’ll give you the scoop:

Week One: Followed the points TO THE LETTER (number?) No cheats.  No counting the exercise points.

Down 1.4

Week Two: Same as week one.  Only used a few of my discretionary points

No loss/No gain

Week Three: Total disregard for the entire thing

Down 1

Week Four: Paid attention: sort of.   Went out to one big restaurant (read: buttery) meal. Never wrote down anything

Down 1

SO – it doesn’t seem to matter what I do.  If I follow the diet, I lose a pound.  If I don’t, I lose a pound. Maybe it’s kinda like wearing exercise clothes all day:  you might not have made it to the gym, but don’t you still get credit for looking like you did?

I don’t get it.  But I don’t care: Down 3.4 in four weeks.  Not exactly stellar, but I’ll take it.

March 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

My 8 Year Old Economist

The other night, my eight year old daughter couldn’t sleep. “I’m worried,” she said.

“What are you worried about?” I asked.

“I’m worried about the economy.”

You know things have gotten bad when your eight year old is losing sleep over the economy.

“Don’t worry, sweetie,” I said. “Daddy’s job is fine. And Mommy is working more now, and we’ll be fine.“

“You know, Mommy,” she said disdainfully “I don’t just worry about myself. I’m worried about all the people.”

Well, make me feel a little self-referential, why don’t you?

In fairness to me, it did seem logical to assume that an eight year old who is losing sleep over the economy would be worried about how it would affect her: Would her Daddy lose his job? Would she have to move? Would she have enough to eat?

But not my little girl. She’s worried about all of the people she sees on the news who are losing their jobs, her friends at school who have both parents at home all of the sudden, and since this is New York City, about all of the homeless people that seem, suddenly, to have multiplied right outside our door.

I wish I could shield her from all of this. An eight year old shouldn’t be losing sleep over an economic meltdown that hasn’t – at least not yet – markedly changed her life. An eight year old should live in a bubble of innocent bliss, not fret over the bursting of a financial bubble. She should escape into a world of her own devising – where being a princess, a movie star, and president is possible — all at the same time.  Where worry is reserved for missing the school bus, not missing a mortgage payment, and financial woes are measured by the weight of a piggy bank – not the weight of the world.

But this economic crisis is inescapable – even for an eight year old. Stores we passed every day on our way to school are closed. Friends and relatives have lost their jobs. The giant Circuit City around the corner is going out of business. In a surreal Depression flashback, men in sandwich boards are all over the neighborhood advertising the sell-off of the store’s last stock. My kids see the noticeably longer lines each day for free breakfast at Trinity Church, and can’t help but notice that the crowds at the Park Avenue Synagogue food pantry we pass on the way home from school every Friday have grown.

People disagree about how to fix this problem. Regulate more, regulate less. Bail out the banks, don’t bail out the banks. People disagree, too, about how we ended up here. Some people see the problem as a result of years of greed. For some, it’s clearly corporate America’s fault. For others, it looks like the government holds the blame.

What I see is that my daughter, in her innocent wisdom, precisely captured how we all should be looking at this problem: It isn’t about bankers, or lawyers, or lawmakers. It isn’t about your job, or your home. It isn’t about you. It’s about all of the people.

It’s what she said to me the other night, when, with worry and compassion, my little eight year old in princess pajamas looked up at me from her bed: “It’s about the economy, Mommy.”

March 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

The Bachelor: The Final Rose, I mean Straw

The Bachelor: how does it offend me? Let me count the ways. There’s the cliche of women cat-fighting over a man. The assumption that happiness can only come to the woman who “nabs” a mate. There’s the vacuity of the entire premise: that true love can be found on TV, in six weeks, in a fantasy land of spectacular vistas and exotic trips. Then there’s the soft-core porn quality of the immense amount of PDA: extreme close-ups of open mouthed kisses, bikini clad women straddling a man wearing nothing but a well placed towel. Not to mention the fact that said man has had these PDA moments with any number of the contestants. Which, according to the premise of the show, makes him loving, and not just a horn-dog with a free pass. (more…)

March 3, 2009 at 11:09 pm 3 comments


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