Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Unusual Astronomy Picture of the Day

One of my favorite astronomy sites is APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day). There you can see a new astronomy picture every day (they didn't mess around with the name), usually something which relates to ongoing missions, or recent news stories in astronomy. Yesterday's APOD was quite unusual. I'm still trying to figure out why it counted as an "astronomy picture", being neither about astronomy, or a picture, but I liked it so much that I wanted to link to it and post it here. So here's the link with the full description: APOD for July 23rd. And below is the "picture", entitled "Happy People Dancing on Planet Earth". Neat stuff.

PS. I want to figure out how to put an APOD sidebar into my blog - like there is in the AAS Public Policy Blog. Can anyone help? I thought it would be easy, but I'm stuck!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Two Guilty Secrets and their Link to Natural Parenting

I'm going to write today about two of my small guilty pleasures/secrets and a link between them related to natural parenting and a surprising advocate for it.

As many of my friends know I enjoy watching the Oscars every year. What they might not realize (or maybe they do) is that it's not so much the awards show I enjoy the most, but the fancy dresses and style on the red carpet. On of this year's oddest red carpet moments was when Ryan Seacrest asked a pregnant, glowing Jessica Alba if she planned to breast feed her baby. Not quite the usual red carpet question, but I thought Jessica Alba answered it with grace saying that she did plan to breast feed as it was good for the baby. A surprise moment in which she proved to be an advocate for breast feeding. Good on her.

Well another of my guilty secrets (not so secret anymore) is Celebrity Moms, which is a blog of pictures of celebrities and their children. The reason I'm writing about this is that in a recent post about the birth of Jessica Alba's baby she discussed her natural meditative birth. How fantastic and unusual to see a positive natural birth story from a celebrity. We seem to be inundated with messages about how painful birth is and that most women need complicated medical interventions to the point that we're all terrified of giving birth. It's just so nice to hear of a calm natural birth. I also had a great natural birth experience and it's something I will hold with me forever. I credit my prenatal yoga practice and reading "Ina May's Birth Book", by Ina May Gaskin for giving me the confidence that I could have a natural birth. Perhaps more stories like Jessica Alba's will encourage more women to become educated about their birth choices and find out about normal birth (instead of the crazy strssful ones you see on the Discovery Channel and depicted in movies and TV shows).

Anyway good luck to Jessica Alba on her new life as a Mom. I look forward to seeing if she continues to be an advocate for natural parenting.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids.

I just finished reading the book "I was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids", by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile (Amazon Link). The title just really appealed to me (as well as the pink cupcake on the cover), as I definitely had all sorts of ideas of the kind of Mom I would be before I actually had my daughter, some of which turn out to be correct, but others have turned out to be totally unrealistic! I also worry a lot about the endless struggle to be both a good mother and do well at my job. As seems to be typical I often feel like I'm doing a sub-standard job in both areas - leading to a significant amount of stress. This book discusses all of those issues and calls for an end to the "Mommy Wars" as well as suggesting that we're all being a bit too hard on ourselves. I liked those parts a lot. However what I found totally unhelpful were the lists of things they think I am worrying about but shouldn't be. I found myself worrying that I'm not worrying about the things they say I shouldn't be worrying about! How stupid is that!