Tampons around the world

Hedge: This all gets pretty grody pretty fast. If you don’t like reading about menstrual blood and the disposal of it you’d better skip this week’s entry…

So this could maybe be classified more as a Public Service Announcement than a blog entry. Today we’ll be talking about tampons etc. and the disposal of them in the USA. You’ll see we’ve gravitated straight back to the heavy stuff here.

I only have any in-depth experience of sanitary product disposal in the two countries: America and Great Britain but I see on my little ‘interesting stats info’ page that there are people who read this blog in Canada, Colombia, Guatemala, Sweden, the Russian Federation, Australia and the Philippines so please do feel free to chime in on your own countries’ systems!

In the UK (for the most part) you flush tampons etc. down the loo/toilet. That’s the general rule. You may see those sanitary disposal things in public stalls but unless there’s a sign up explaining that the plumbing’s packed in so you can you not flush anything – they generally stay unused. (Apart from the convent school I went to where they collected up all the lady products and burned them in an incinerator once a week. The ashes floated unfettered across the playground as if to announce our womanly sins to the whole world.)

However – in contrast to the ‘flush and pray’ method in the UK – in the US you put all used sanitary products in the trash can. Yes I’m talking about your bathroom trash can/bin. You don’t flush any part of your sanitary product down the loo. It all goes in the trash.

BB refers to this as a ‘cultural difference.’

And what a difference it is. Before I lived in the states I had an American lady housesit for me once and she left my trash can brimming with used sanitary products. I could. not. believe. it. I was about ready to call the cops.

However living in another country will change you in ways you never thought possible. Last time I visited the UK I came face-to-face with a ‘bobber.’ A tampon that had presumably made its way down into the system only to resurface after an insufficiently strong flush. The bobber had blooded all the water in the bowl. There was also a leftover turd in there too and the whole offering looked a bit like a small squirrel had been attacked by a shark.

This all could have been avoided by placing the rogue tampon immediately in the trash. Though presumably the turd would have remained…

I’m not sure what the most environmentally friendly option is but I will tell you here that I have fully transitioned to the American ‘place it in the bin’ option. But only because if BB caught me flushing tampons down the toilet and risking gumming up our ancient plumbing system he would most probably finish with me on the spot.

And I ain’t going back to single parenthood again because of a soggy tampon.

When when when?

So how often am I intending on publishing this blog thing perhaps as many as four of you would be interested to know.

Well I’ll tell you! I’m aiming to send out a posting late Thursday night ready for your viewing first thing Friday morning – just in time to set the tone for the weekend. That is if the tone you like to set for your weekend is somewhat antsy and probably border-line inappropriate.

I may post the odd mini-gem/announcement mid-week, just incase we all need a pick-me-up.

And it must be said I’m not committing to never leaving you all in the big black zone of nothing published for weeks on end…but I’ll do my best to keep it going as long as I see that people are reading!

About Robin Williams

I think most people felt pretty sad this week upon hearing the news of Robin William’s death.

It’s always horrible when someone dies, no matter how they go, no matter what gifts they did or did not bring to the world.

However with Robin Williams, the circumstances and the fact that he’d consistently brought so many laughs to so many people for multiple decades, made the news of his death extra unsettling.

So most people are saddened by the news. That’s normal.
However I’m feeling extra blue about the whole thing and I’m trying to figure out why.

My confusion boils down to this: I didn’t know the guy – like have him round to dinner parties and stuff – so why am this sad?

I didn’t get extra sad about Princess Diana, Amy Winehouse, Peaches Geldof or Kurt Cobain – as tragic as those ‘before their time’ losses were. So why am I so touched by the suicide of someone who I saw acting in a few films?

The circumstances are extra morbid, which is probably the main reason I’m so rattled by the whole thing. Suicide is unthinkable to most of us. We’re all so busy doing everything we can to elongate our time on the planet we can’t fathom how someone else would want to bring it to an early close. It’s upsetting because it’s confusing. (Of course it would probably be less confusing to me if I lived with debilitating depression.)

I think the main reason I’m so spun out by the whole thing is because his suicide was so very intentional. When someone dies of an overdose, you can always kind of make believe that perhaps they didn’t really know what they were doing. Consciously know, anyway.

Unfortunately I heard a very specific news report detailing how he did it and I’m not going to go into it all here – I didn’t enjoy hearing it the first time around – but let’s just say he was very determined to finish his life. He could have changed his mind anytime along the process – but he didn’t.

I keep wondering if he lived a whole life like this, struggling and struggling with Hell inside, but just kept on pushing on.

Someone on the news called Robin Williams a coward, but I think him living with such severe depression all his life and not killing himself before the age of 63 probably makes him extremely brave indeed.

“My Ass” to Gravitas

So some dame called Sylvia Ann Hewitt has brought out a new book called: Executive Presence. No I haven’t read it – clearly – but I did read someone else’s review of it.

I believe the general grasp of the book is that in order for a woman to succeed in the world she needs to be able to pull off a few things:

- To be able to do her job (I’ve got that one down – more or less)
– Be a good communicator (I’ve had my shaky moments but I’ve mostly got this in the bag)
– Grooming (yes – when I put my mind to it)
– Be in possession of the quality known as gravitas (NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN)


According to Sylvia, gravitas has been described as a mix of “confidence, grace under fire, being decisive, showing your teeth and emotional intelligence.” To toot my own trumpet once again: I believe I have those traits yet I regrettably do not, and never will have, gravitas.

Because gravitas is something in addition to all of those things. It’s being able to take yourself seriously. It’s being formal, most of the time. Especially in the workplace.

Could I make this happen? Oh probably if I felt like living my life like that. But I’m not sure it would work out as well for me as Sylvia thinks it might. I tried it the other the day when I went to see my cancer doctor as I’ve always thought she should treat our relationship with a little more gravitas i.e. stop bitching to me about her other patients. However it did not end well for me as she asked if I was depressed. When I said: no, she said I must be feeling incredibly tired then. Perhaps the cancer had returned…and she sent me for a battery of annoying tests. : (

I can name the women at my office who have gravitas and it has indeed served them very well. But yet again I must refer you to this famed posting:


This would never happen to a woman with gravitas. In fact not having gravitas is becoming my trademark these days.

In lieu of me being able to make money as a department head owing to my lack of gravitas let’s all hope I’ll be able to make it off of just being a plain old ass instead.

A turn around on underwear

So in the three years where this blog has lain fallow, there have been a surprising amount of new visitors to the page. And according to my blog stats, most of them were here to read this posting:


As many as three or four people a day from around the world have read this unfortunate blog posting about my very skimpy underwear and the consequent loss of my improvised pantyliner. Over the course of 3 years that turns out to be quite a few people.

So I’m sure my announcement today will be a disappointment to many but I’m going ahead with it anyway:

I have had a total and complete turnaround with regard to the size of my undergarments.

They say there’s no devotee as zealous as a recent convert and I can say with regard to my new underoos that that is true. I’m so happy with my new underwear situation that I’m just not content with keeping it all to myself. I want to share the good news with – and most importantly convert – you too!

These days I wear big underwear. Very big underwear. So big as to start just below my navel and end just above my knees. Yes – that’s pretty big. Especially when up till recently I’d never worn anything bigger than a teeny tiny g-string.

My turnaround is come about because of this: Heat.

It gets highly hot during the long summers of Monrovia. When I was living on the westside I rarely had need to change out of a pair of jeans. But these days it’s all poufy sundresses. There’s no way I could wear anything else.

Small underwear, (let’s face it, even moderate-sized underwear) plus dresses, plus running after a one year old = disaster.

And by disaster I mean: My fanny hanging out. And I mean fanny in both its American and British usage. (And for the Americans reading this, in England ‘fanny’ means VAGINA. You’ll think twice about calling that bottom bag a ‘fanny pack’ now – won’t you.)

This is also a feminist issue. I want to be as able as the men to play Frisbee, swing on the monkey bars with my kid, walk up to the top of the playground equipment, shlep up ladders etc, without worrying that someone’s getting an eyeful of rogue vulva lip.

I want to be free!

I don’t know if I agree with the whole feminists burning-their-bras thing. I expect they came to regret that whole idea a couple of days later when they realized their boobs were in the way all the time and were also getting kind of achy. However, burning the G-string – I think that’s something every feminist should get completely onboard with.

The freedom to do cartwheels is mine!

How it all ends

13 weeks in, I woke up in the middle of the night. Something was wrong. I was lying in a puddle of water. I was sure I was leaking amniotic fluid.

This was the big risk with the kind of pregnancy I was having: the amniotic sack could burst at any moment because it didn’t have the protection of the cervix.

I stood up and ran for the bathroom. From what hit the bedroom carpet it was clear I wasn’t leaking amniotic fluid at all. It was blood. And plenty of it.

By the time BB had woken up and stumbled into the hallway there was blood from one end of the bathroom to the other. I was lying on the floor with a towel scrunched up around me kind of trying to stuff it all back in. I told BB to call the doctor. He did. The doctor told us to go to ER/Casualty. We did.

I didn’t shed a tear. But when we got in the car I said to BB: ‘This does not look good.’ He said: ‘I know.’

I didn’t shed a tear till about two hours later when a tech hooked me up to an ultrasound to see what was going on and we saw a little alien being in there.

The being was opening its mouth and closing it again. That’s when I shed a tear. Plenty of them. Our baby was still alive.

The doctors never did figure out what caused all that blood. Someone half mumbled something about scar tissue at some point. Either way, after that scare exactly all of the fun was sucked out of being pregnant. Every day was the day I was terrified it was going to be over. As the weeks went on the stakes kept getting raised. The risk of giving birth to a dangerously premature baby became super real. But somehow as the weeks went on, that little creature kept defying the odds and kept on being alive, kept growing.

As I crept into the third trimester I stopped leaving the house, I stopped walking. I only went outside in a wheelchair. Everything to keep that little growing chunk of baby safely wedged inside my body.

And then, after 38 weeks of non-eventful pregnancy, our little darling daughter was born. Completely perfect in every way possible. A year and a bit later she continues to delight us in every way there is to be delighted (especially if you delight in getting no sleep at all). I can’t imagine or remember what life was like without her.

It all worked out. And BB and I learned a valuable lesson along the way: Don’t worry about something till you actually have to worry about it. Because you will drive yourself nuts potentially for no reason at all.

So that’s the story – you are all caught up on the last 3 years!

Now, let’s get back to those rants and raves and foams at the mouth…

The preg train

So, getting pregnant… When BB and I first got together, we very quickly knew it was on. We just knew it. I don’t think we even had a conversation about it. We were just together. We did however have a couple of actual conversations about having a baby. Was I up for it he wanted to know? I was, I said.

I’d gone through a brief patch where I was positive I didn’t want to have any more children but after I met BB that slowly changed. I knew he’d be an amazing dad. And I also strongly suspected he wouldn’t go running off with a 24 year-old-blonde when our baby was 6 weeks old. (Mind you I really didn’t think Finn’s Dad would have done that either). I wanted another chance to do it the ‘right’ way. Or should I say I wanted a shot at doing it the traditional way. Finn’s situation was never ‘wrong’. It was just difficult/different.

(Tradition: Ha ha. Blow me lady. You turned your back on me a long time ago. This is where I get my revenge…)

So following the rules of ‘tradition’ BB and I would have got engaged and then married and then at some suitable and convenient point embarked upon an attempt to get pregnant.

After the surgery, the doc basically told us we had to get on the preg train pretty pronto because there was no knowing when it was going to be leaving town.

The train (ie my uterus) was good for now but in the months to come the whole area was likely to get furred up with scar tissue meaning BB’s sperm would need to get a pick axe to get through it all. Also the big C could return any moment meaning a hysterectomy, chemo etc. and so forth.

It was act now or possibly live to regret it.

We decided to act now. The first month I did not get pregnant. The second month I did. No one could believe it. Not my boss: How did your body let you do that after all you’d put it through? Not my doctor: Hmm. That was quick. Not BB who had next to no reaction when I showed him the two pink lines.

I didn’t tell Finn initially – just because there was such a high chance of miscarriage. But he knew. Shopping in GAP he ran over to the baby section and started picking out stuff for ‘the baby in the tummy.’

The first trimester was crazily normal. Morning sickness galore. Hungry. So hungry BB almost installed a fridge by the side of the bed. And then…we’d made it to the 12-week mark. I’d told everyone at work (my quickly-growing girth made it very hard to miss). Everything was going wonderfully well…

Until all of a sudden it wasn’t.