I can be a bit obsessive about my birthday and I set a lot of ridiculous expectations for myself and the people I love to have the “perfect” day. It’s bogus, and I know that, but it’s almost as if I can’t help myself. My birthday last year was not “perfect” and so I tried to do everything different this year.

Step 1: Take the day off. Don’t work. Don’t pretend that you want to be at work. I preferred being alone, over going to work. I realize not everyone is like me in this, they want to have a normal day. My dad LOVES going into work on his birthday. IMG_3942Step 2: Take it easy. I slept in, woke up to natural morning light, took my sweet time getting ready and straightened my house up.IMG_3940Step 3: Only do the things you love. My happy place is bookstores, so I meandered over to my favorite one and splurged on some magazines that I love and a book. I peeked inside a couple adorable stores with no rush. IMG_3953IMG_3943Step 4: Meet people where they are. I’m at a point in my life where my friends don’t really know one another, or know much about each other. I just have friends from very different places in my life. Eventually, someday, I’d love to have a big party (preferably prom themed) where everyone I know celebrates in the same place! It was a Thursday, so I spent lunch with my mom for lunch and coffee and met John for a chocolate factory tour and dinner. IMG_3956 (I was getting really into dinosaurs in preparation for Step 7)IMG_3962IMG_3963IMG_3957No one told us that it was going to be 90 degrees in the factory. How I felt: IMG_3967IMG_3969

Step 5: Make plans. There have been times where I’ve been disappointed simply because I wanted a “surprise” and plans fell through. In order for me to guarantee that I’ll be happy (and give everyone else a break) I should just do what I love: PLAN!

IMG_3974 (He hates that I’m always taking pictures of him, so he makes this face because he really thinks I won’t share it with anyone! Bahaha!) IMG_3975IMG_3980 IMG_3977

Step 6: Eat really good food. I’ve been wanting to eat at Joule for YEARS! It’s been rated one of the best restaurants in America and I finally went!

(My very first experience eating fish roe… I was so impressed!)

IMG_3978Step 7: If you like dinosaurs, you should probably watch a movie about dinosaurs. Let me be clear: I LOVE the Jurassic Park movies. So, as soon as the Jurassic World opening credits began and the score began to play, I started crying. I don’t know if anyone loves these movies just as much as I do. I thought it was amazing. I didn’t get home until 1:30am, which is 4 hours past my bedtime, and I was still energetic and stimulated by the movie. It was SO AMAZING, GO SEE IT.

IMG_3989 Step 8: Prolong the festivities. John treated me to Jurassic World on Friday, my dad and stepmom came into town and treated us to dinner and pedicures and my mom and sister baked me a cake on Sunday and took me to the Ballard Farmers Market.  It was a perfect, relaxing weekend. And even though it wasn’t, I felt like it was all for me :)

IMG_4007IMG_4005IMG_3997Even though in some ways I controlled my celebrations more than ever before, in other ways I was more laid back then I normally ever am! This birthday did feel perfect, in a more subdued way. Maybe this is what getting older feels like!

You’re Gonna Love May

The month of May kinda knocked me out. I haven’t had such a busy time in a LONG time!

First, a couple pretty pictures:IMG_3337 Apparently I love dogwoods. This is the first year EVER that I’ve noticed them, and they are everywhere! So I’m also apparently blind.

IMG_3336 Work was pretty bonkers (in a good way). The occasional long lunch reading in a sunny park has kept me sane. No joke. IMG_3346 They were a splurge, but these shorts make me so incredibly happy! What’s the rule on wearing shorts to work? What if you’re a social media specialist? I’m dying for more excuses to wear them! IMG_3561 Peonies! Peonies! Peonies! Peonies! Peonies!

I was so lucky to have my grandparents stop in Seattle on their way to California from Maine for the last time. I tried to savor every moment, because after this summer they will be living in Maine full time and I’m going to miss them so much! They also brought some presents along the way! My dad had been given an old ships wheel a few years ago and even though I called dibs, they had given it to my grandparents. I guess they heard I was bummed, and they brought it along with them! Plus, they brought my old guitar that I’d given to my grandpa to learn. Even though he’d gotten it restrung, he thought it was better that I kept it. My nana brought a few extra special presents with her too, even a CRYSTAL decanter. She told me that she had seen my (silly glass) decanters on my blog and thought I would put it to better use than her. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was! I was able to take them out to a yummy seafood dinner, stop at the Ballard Locks to see the boats and then we went to Hotcakes for dessert (of course!). I think they had a great time and I loved being able to show them around my city. IMG_3381IMG_3383IMG_3393IMG_3394IMG_3399IMG_3405IMG_3401 It’s been a pretty rough time for my mom lately, with a not-so-fun diagnosis on her knee pain and a lot of personal and professional stress, I wanted to treat her to a nice Mother’s Day. After a spa day (remind me to never again to do a spa day), we ate ribs, walked the market and went shopping. This was also the day that I discovered Farmers Market Doughnuts and almost died of pure tastebud happiness. Oh, and I cut 6 inches off my hair. (Only two people have noticed)IMG_3433IMG_3447IMG_3435IMG_3580IMG_3440Some more cute things:

My pretty (bratty) kitty, CleoIMG_3611 Seals playing in the locksIMG_3579 Free coffee will never be turned down by me. IMG_3606 Kind of a scary/thrilling experience, standing on a little bridge above a moving trainIMG_3690 A misty (otherwise, pretty boring) hike with my friend Chris and a dinner with his sister when she came into town! IMG_3661IMG_3698

And finally, there was the night that I ate Ezell’s fried chicken (FINALLY) and saw Big Trouble Little China and a local theater. It was to celebrate someone special’s birthday… but more on that later.IMG_3621

Not Cheery, But Important

Abortion isn’t a fun topic for most people, and I’m not trying to change your mind, but I feel like it’s up to everyone to get the facts. I have not had an abortion, but I am pro-choice. I don’t believe that it’s my place to tell other women what to do with their bodies. So here are facts:

Who Gets Abortions:

-According to the Guttmacher Institute, 3 in 10 (or 35%) American women will have an abortion before age 45. Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the US.

-49% of pregnancies in the US are unintended (about 3.2M) and 43% end in abortion.

-70-80% of women seeking abortions are single. 95% of abortions made in married couple involve the husband and the husband’s decision.

-240,000 pregnant women are subject to domestic violence each year. Pregnant women are twice as likely to be battered than non-pregnant women.

-The percentage of unintended pregnancies: 67% are black, 40% are white, 53% are Hispanic.

-The percentage of abortion rates: 30% are black, 36% are white, 25% are Hispanic.

We Are Moving Backwards:

-In 1930, illegal abortions was the cause of death for 2,700 women and in 1965, 200 women died from illegal abortions.

-In 2010 in the US: 367,752 children were born to women ages 15-19. 47,751 were in Texas. 1/3 of all women living in Texas do not live in a county with an abortion provider.

-In 1985, 23% of OBGYN programs taught first-trimester procedures, 21% included second-trimester abortion provision. In 1991, these numbers declined to 7%.

-Between 1982 and 2000, the number of abortion providers dropped by 38%, from 2,900 to 1,800. In 2008, there were 1,793. 64% offered second-trimester procedures, 23 offered up to 23 weeks, 11% offered at 26 weeks.

-Nearly every OBGYN (97%) will have a patient who wants an abortion.

-64% of abortion providers are at least 50 years old. Only 22% of doctors 35 or younger offer abortions.

-In 1978, 77% of US counties lacked an abortion provider. In 2000 and 2008, the number had risen to 87%.

The Procedure: 

-It’s estimated that 10-25% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. And estimated 1-5% pregnancies are lost between 13-19 week gestation. Stillbirths occur in .3% of pregnancies between the 20-27th weeks of gestation.

-In 2005, the Journal of American Medical Association found that fetuses are unable to feel pain until the 7th month of pregnancy. The UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists found that the area of the brain that responds to pain isn’t full formed until the 24th week of gestation.

-Around the time that midwives were replaced by college educated male doctors, the anti-abortion campaigns began.

-By legally enforcing abortion counseling sessions, women are: 1. Asked to spend more time and likely another trip to the office (Which is only fine if they don’t work, have children to take care of or live down the street from the clinic) 2. Counseling must be provided (Which isn’t always unbiased) and 3. The women will likely feel insulted and degraded when she is made to feel that she hasn’t thought about the procedure. Counseling sessions are not legally required for any other surgical procedure in the US. In 2012, 35 states required abortion counseling. 11 states require that women be counseled on inaccurate abortion information.

-Even if you are not pregnant, ask your OBGYN if they perform abortions. If they don’t, ask for your charts and find a doctor that does.

This is where I got the facts: If you are interested in learning more, and I hope you are, this is a great book with lots more facts and written from a stance very similar to my own. The author hasn’t gotten an abortion, but is very pro-choice about the options for other women: Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement.

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Life Lately

The past month or so has been a bit of a crazy whirlwind.

It feels weird to have not mentioned this yet, but I have a new job! I started just before the end of March and in many ways I think I just didn’t want to jinx myself. I’m working as a social media specialist on a real marketing team at a grown up company. I’m doing what I love, and more! The largest company I’ve worked for was about 135 people, so it’s exciting to work for a company of about 400 people, but also incredibly overwhelming to start out! I’ve joined a bunch of committees, introduced myself to probably at least 100 people, presented at a conference in front of a group of 40 or so people and all at the same time, still trying to create a cohesive work plan for myself. This the the first time someone has ever had this role at the company and so there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, plus convince a lot of people that social media matters. Needless to say, my introverted side has been crying out for a lot of alone time! My body has been rebelling and I even got a stomach flu, something I can’t ever remember getting. It’s definitely been a rough month, but I think I’ve gotten through it pretty well!

IMG_3135There has been a lot of wine, a lot of lasagna and pizza, and a lot of early bed times. The plus side is that I can walk to work now… so I’ve been burning off all these calories! IMG_3142IMG_3159Brenna came to visit! It was such an awesome thing to see her and show her around the city. Plus, we ate fried chicken one night, brisket one morning, a couple mimosas/bloody mary’s and THE BEST pancakes of my life. We were both pretty exhausted, so apart from eating, we did a lot of watching Call the Midwife curled up on the couch too!

IMG_3161 It’s been so wonderful to be able to walk around downtown for lunch breaks. There’s so much more to do and explore (and eat). Everything feels much cleaner and safer than the last neighborhood I worked in!

IMG_3204IMG_3206 I’ve been pretty antisocial and wretched about getting together with friends for the past month, but I did manage to get brunch with my friend Aaron and sunbathe at Golden Gardens on one particularly beautiful weekend!

IMG_3266 My mom was scouring Craigslist and found the CUTEST bookshelf for the apartment! So much better than the wire shelving.

IMG_3225 IMG_3227 The conference I presented at was held just off the Gorge at a winery and I got to spend the night in a yurt! It was such a cool experience, even if it WAS pretty overwhelming!

Read This Book About Boobs

breasts_front_cover_web(Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams)

Have you ever heard someone call another person a “boob”? I’m guilty of it! I’ve definitely said “Don’t be such a boob” before. In that, I made “boob” synonymous with “stupid” “dweeb” “idiot”. How stupid is that? I HAVE boobs and they are fantastic. I’m also a huge fan of other women’s boobs. I love that Marilyn Monroe said, “The trouble with censors is that they worry if a girl has cleavage. They ought to worry if she hasn’t any.” So why would I insult my own anatomy, my own body?

Do you know why we are called “mammals”? Maybe you guessed where I’m going with this: mammary glands. Oh, and breast feeding drove the development of palate and tongue muscles. So basically without boobs we’d still be grunting at each other and lacking all forms of spoken communication. That’s pretty cool.

The_Female_Nude_04There are downsides to being a big breasted lady. Back problems. Never being able to wear spaghetti straps. String bikinis become a hazard. Plus, bigger bras are a lot more expensive (Wonderbra sales top $70 million annually). The big kicker? Ladies with more estrogen are more likely to cheat on our mates and are more likely to get breast cancer. (Small PSA: Marijuana inhibits testosterone, so male stoners tend to get man boobs and have an increased chance of breast cancer)

8-year-old Morgan was in a terribly awkward phase. This was the year I chose glasses “because they make me look like Harry Potter” and wore a green windbreaker every day. Adults would come up to be and ask me about my unfortunately rather large boobs, or worse, tease me about them. In efforts to try and hide them, I wore two sports bras. I repeatedly asked myself “Why on EARTH would anyone want these things?!” Well, apparently, they really, really do. In 2009, 289,000 women got boob jobs to enlarge their breasts. I know it’s cliche, but we need go back to Barbie. 1 in 100,000 women naturally have the dimensions of Barbie, while only 1 in 50 men have the dimensions of Ken. That’s f****d up!

6e9f0fed684b61629052c932de4aeb50Humans take longer to reach sexual maturity than any other primate, but the age of sexual maturity has decreased about 3 months per decade since 1850. Why is this scary? The longer we hold off puberty, the taller and stronger we will be and the more likely our offspring will be healthy. The human brain takes about two decades to fully mature and humans need this time to grow our minds. Sex hormones in puberty (estrogen for girls) seal the bones from growing more. I’m a perfect example of this. I grew like a weed and was the second tallest girl in my 6th grade class. I never grew an inch after age 12. Many studies have found a link between early puberty and breast cancer. In fact, if you get your period before age 12, you are 50% more likely to get breast cancer than if you get your period at age 16.

Breasts are the only human organ that develop long after birth. Because of this, they are more susceptible to hormonal changes, as well at changes in the environment. There’s been a lot of research that lends to the idea that breast feeding and pregnancy is actually better for preventing breast cancer, and the sooner the better too. Women who have a child before 20 are half as likely to get breast cancer than a women who waits until her 30’s to have children.  They’ve actually noticed that a lot of virgins have a higher risk of breast cancer, with a striking population of nuns.

cc993684ad88d7e20781cbe7e635bb2fThough women have it worse, men suffer too. For every 100 women to have breast cancer, one man will have breast cancer too. The incidence of breast cancer has grown 1-2% every year since 1960 for both men and women.

A few more facts:

1 in 8 (12.2%) women will have breast cancer.

Most people don’t know that only about 10% of breast cancer relates to family history, and 80% of women with the BRCA gene (brought to even more attention by Angelina Jolie) will get breast cancer. The younger the BRCA gene women are, the more likely they are to have breast cancer as well. So that means their chances are getting worse.

White women are slightly more likely to have breast cancer than African American and are much more likely than Asian or Hispanic.

Women in the United States and the Netherlands have the highest numbers of breast cancer, the lowest is in Japan. Women in China tend to get breast cancer on average 10 years earlier than in the United States.

Women with the densest breasts (ratio of fat to glandular tissue) are 4-5 times more likely to get breast cancer and 90% of women don’t know that they have dense breasts (tends to be found in women who haven’t had children, eat hight fat diets, drink lots of wine or have taken hormone therapy).

Mammograms miss 20% of tumors.

There’s only one known environmental cause: radiation.

Scared out of your mind yet? I know I am. Not only do I have big boobs, but I’m a white woman who isn’t planning on having children and went through puberty early. (I also like fatty foods and wine, thank you) If you’re reading this, chances are you are the proud owner of a pair of fine boobies, or love someone with a fine pair. I’m not saying that this book didn’t scare me, it did. It also made me paranoid about a lot of environmental factors that she mentions in the book that I didn’t mention here. BUT, I feel empowered. I know SO MUCH MORE after reading this book. Please read it. Please share it with your friends. It’s so incredibly important that you do. You can buy it HERE.