Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy (almost) New Year!

I'd like to thank the faithful readers who peek at my blog and are kind enough to leave comments from time to time. I'd also like to thank the "lurkers" out there, too! I know I've been sporadic the past few months with my posting. I have no good reasons...I've been tired and distracted, and honestly, going through a few things that I needed to sort out before deciding to share them here.

I read an article in the paper today, essentially about what words you would use if you had to sum up your life in only six words. If you're interested, you can take a look at it HERE. The author was apparently inspired by a book called, "Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure." If you click on the link, it'll take you to a list of quotes--some are funny, some are offensive, some are thought-provoking--and you can even get them on a t-shirt!

I got to thinking about what my words would be. I suppose there could be any variety, depending on my mood and what I think is important at the time. Here's what I've come up with so far...

Mind over matter, no matter what.

Lord, please just let me sleep.

Lord, please let tomorrow be better.

Chocolate and wine are magical cures.

Three years later and still wondering...

Life looks better after turning thirty.

And I just keep thinking that if life started looking better after turning thirty, it should be even more awesome with thirty-one sneaking up on me in a few weeks!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Wishes

Dear Santa,

Please magically fix my kitchen. Please.

Love,
Martha

************

Hello readers. Tell me, what do you get when an aerosol can of wasp killer pops in a kitchen cabinet?

I'll tell you what you get...you get a sticky, smelly mess that seeps through the wood of the cabinet, down the drywall, drips into the toaster and all over the counter. And it will buckle and bubble the kitchen counter.

It means I get a new toaster and potentially a new cabinet and kitchen counters. And one very happy insurance agent who will no doubt make a bit of money off our deductible and likely subsequent increase in homeowner's insurance premiums.

Merry Christmas (Eve), everybody!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Greetings and a Funny Story

Well, I think it's safe to say that winter definitely made a grand entrance this year. I don't know about anyone else, but here in the midwest, the temperatures have been bitterly cold with a fair amount of snow and ice accumulating on the ground.

I spent three hours yesterday chopping ice in the driveway. Three hours. And I didn't even finish! There's still about a 6'x6' section that I just didn't have the energy to finish. The ice was about two inches thick and it covered the entire length and width of the driveway. I was out there, pounding and chopping away...for three hours. Did I mention that part already? Yeah, three hours. In the cold. In the wind. With ice falling out of the sky and pelting me. Three hours. Today, it's a wonder that my arms can even move. Actually, they're not moving well at all. I think I may have pinched a nerve or something, because periodically, I get this weird zinging pain in my neck and then my right arm and hand start to shake.

Okay, I'm done being whiny about that. For now.

I'm a woman on a mission today. I'm not normally a last-minute Christmas shopper, but this year, I kept putting off finishing and today is the day to be done! The waiting was pretty lame on my part, because it was all of three gifts that I had left to buy, but the thought of traipsing out in the nasty weather, trying to find parking and then navigating through the crowded stores was too much for me to handle. Have I ever mentioned that I hate large crowds of people? I'm a pretty low-key kind of person, not really bothered by much, but I've worked in mental health long enough to know that I experience occasional panic attacks--listen to me, diagnosing myself! But really, I do! It only happens a few times a year, but when it does, believe me, I make it count.

The best example was a few weeks ago in Wal-Mart. It was a Sunday afternoon (and that was my first mistake, going into Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon) and it was terribly crowded. People were bumping into each other, there was barely room to navigate my shopping cart, it was hot in the store...a perfect set up for a bit of anxiety. It started the way it always does...I got a little sweaty, could feel my heart starting to race, followed by a feeling of dread, just knowing that I needed to get out of those cramped quarters right away. I felt like my heart was going to leap out of my chest and I started getting dizzy. The worst part was that I was getting nauseous--and it's not like Wal-Mart has easily accessible bathrooms. There's one bathroom, and of course, it was clear on the opposite side of the store from where I was at. I started heading that way, trying to move my cart around the throngs of people wedged in the aisles, but there was no way I was going to make it in time. There was a garbage can in the middle of the aisle, and I just thought, "Oh well..." as I started heaving into it.

I've never seen a horde of Wal-Mart shoppers scatter so quickly. I was trying not to laugh as I was throwing up, but I couldn't help it. People don't respond at all to a simple, "Excuse me," when you're trying to move past them, but if you hang your head in a garbage can and start retching, they all get to running. The only person who stayed behind was a kind Wal-Mart employee, who quickly donned a pair of gloves and stood right next to me while I finished. When I was done, she calmly asked me if I was okay and if I needed anything, and when I politely declined, she grabbed the garbage can and started walking away...but not before she gave me a really friendly smile and said, "You're the fourth person whose done that today. Don't worry about it."

Shopping in Wal-Mart during the holidays...brings out the anxiety in everybody! They probably shouldn't use that as a sales motto. I was totally fine after that. I don't know why, but the worst of my anxiety is always accompanied by a brief bout of barfing, and then I'm okay. Right now, I'm mentally preparing for an excursion to Toys R Us. I hardly ever shop there, but there's a particular gift I need to get and none of the other stores around here sell it, so I'll be heading there shortly. Perhaps I should bring a barf bag with me, just in case.

Ah well. C'est la vie.

FYI: I'm on vacation this week. I probably should have taken two weeks off for some mental R&R, but I'm on call the week of New Year's, and I couldn't see the point of taking vacation time if I had to respond to crisis calls, so it'll just be this week. It will be a busy week, no doubt, but there will be some fun stuff, too. Today, I have to finish sewing a quilt; Monday (tomorrow), I go to the dentist; Tuesday, I'm taking my kiddo to the museum; Wednesday is cupcake-baking day for baby Jesus; Thursday is Christmas/family party day; Friday is recovery day; Saturday is my one-month follow up from my eye surgery and probably visiting the in-laws; Sunday is visiting grandma, and then Monday is back to work. Whew!

The good thing is that since I'm only taking a few days off, I'll have some time to use in March and still be able to take time off during the summer. And speaking of summer, I went into Kohl's on Friday (after being sent home from work because of a power outage) and they had tank tops and sandals on display! I went in there to buy boots and was assaulted by displays of sandals!

Okay...it appears I'm trying to make up for the irregularity of my blogging lately and this post is getting rather lengthy. I'm going to stop for now, but I'll be posting about my week. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, no matter which holidays you choose to celebrate!

Oh yeah...my hubby just granted me a reprieve and is going to Toys R Us for me! Woo-hooo! No barf bags needed!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Apologies

I'm sorry I've been neglecting my blog. Things have been unusually hectic these past few weeks and honestly, I've been extremely tired. I'm so tired that I ordered take out for dinner tonight--and had it delivered! Me...the crazy woman who loves to cook. I didn't even have the energy to throw a frozen pizza in the oven. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but it's like my body just won't work. I'm not sick, just worn out.

Things will get better! The semester at the university is done and I only have one set of projects left to finish grading--that'll be done by Sunday night, and then I have a nice break until classes start again. Woo-Hoo!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Simple Solution

There's a small part of me that really believes all the world's problems can be solved with a little bit of chocolate. People just aren't trying hard enough. If I could, I would send my 7-layer brownies out to everyone, because right now, the leftovers are forming a slight bulge around my belly. Wouldn't the chocolate solution be perfect? A better world and a smaller waistline for me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quiet Saturday

I'm getting a little stir-crazy--I haven't been out of the house since Tuesday for anything besides medical appointments. Even so, it's been pretty quiet around here. We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, just kind of hung out on Friday and started putting up Christmas decorations today. Even though she's sick, the little one started showing some excitement after the tree was up. We ate dinner and then she dozed in my lap while we listened/watched Celtic Woman on PBS. It was a nice end to the day. Now, I'm just going have some more quiet time before I go to bed, too.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I think most people are thankful for the basics...jobs, homes, family, health, etc. That's sort of a given, right? I got to thinking about what else I'm thankful for, sort of beyond those basics.

I'm thankful (and not just at Thanksgiving!) for the 2 paramedics who saved my life three and a half years ago...thank you Dave and Scott!

I'm also thankful for the team of surgeons who collaborated on my eye case--no thanks to the little (or kinda big) problem with my corneas. I'm thankful to Dr. D, Dr. S and Dr. L who did the initial consultations. I'm thankful to Dr. P who did the actual procedures...the LASIK part was pretty cool and relatively painless, but the other cornea stuff that was taken care of--well--not not so cool and not so painless. I had some serious hurtin' going on for a few hours afterward. But the doc did a phenomenal job and at my 24-hour checkup this morning, I found out that the surgery worked so well, it looks like I WON'T be needing a cornea transplant anytime soon. Yay! (Thanks for the cheerful delivery of the good news Dr. L! That was a great way to start our Thanksgiving morning!)

I'm incredibly thankful for our wonderful pediatrician...my little girl is continuing to struggle, but Dr. J is the best! This is a man who gave me his personal cell phone number so that I could call him today (TODAY! Yes, on Thanksgiving!) and give him a status report on my daughter. He kept her out of the hospital for Thanksgiving, and even though we had to cancel our family plans, we're still celebrating in our own way at home, just us. I'm thankful that even though her airways are still badly constricted and she's running a fever, she gets to be home with mommy, instead of in a hospital surrounded by strangers.

I'm thankful for my family, who helps out with my little one...especially taking over the intense care she requires when I start to lose my patience. And I'm thankful for their help around the house. I may not always like the way or the order in which they do things, but I'm thankful they're getting done and that I don't have to do them.

I'm thankful for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

And I'm thankful for my Frigidaire, glass cooktop, electric convection oven. It was the one appliance I insisted on when we moved into our house in 2005 and I haven't been sorry yet! Today, I've turned out 16 dozen cookies--a mix of Snickerdoodle, Double Chocolate Mint, M&M, and regular chocolate chip. Yummy.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. What are you thankful for this year?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things I've Learned...

I've learned several things over the past few days...

1. There's a nifty product called Dryel that will take most of the puke stains out of a wool coat. I was very impressed. After my daughter got sick all over me on Thursday (and I'm grateful that this time it was on me right at the front door and not inside the car like last time), I thought for sure the coat was a goner, but it doesn't look too bad. It sat out on the deck overnight the first night. Then my dear hubby was kind enough to pick the frozen chunks off of it. (Thanks honey!) I bought the Dryel a while back and forgot we even had it. I followed the instructions, and other than one area right on the front (that took the brunt of the barf-o-rama), it's pretty clean! I'm going to Dryel it again and see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed for me...

2. It's a lie when the eye doctor says that after being dilated, your (MY) eyes will be back to normal after a few hours. I had my eyes dilated at 11:00 yesterday morning. They were still dilated when I went to bed last night. They were still dilated when I woke up this morning. They started going back to normal late this afternoon. Sheesh!

3. The people who are supposed to love and support you the most are sometimes the people who are the meanest and most inconsiderate.

4. Weekend television is terrible. Since I couldn't see very well (see #2) to play on the computer or read a book, I was limited to television. We don't have cable, and it stinks!

5. My arms are flabbier than I realized. Time to start doing some push ups...

6. New Kids on the Block aren't that cool anymore. They were awesome when I was 12, but I saw them on the music awards tonight and laughed the whole time.

7. Being a parent is hard work. Like I didn't know that already! This weekend just reinforced it.

8. I still enjoy a good scare. Just for kicks, I watched H20--Halloween: Twenty Years Later. I hadn't watched it since before my daughter was born. I was completely creeped out.

9. I need to smile more. That furrow between my eyebrows is getting deeper and deeper.

10. I love nachos. I haven't eaten nachos in ages, but I had some tonight and they were goooooood. Now, I have to go work out...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Baby Steps

My baby cakes is making baby steps toward recovering! No ER visit last night or this morning, thank goodness. It got a bit nutty for a while, but she's starting to pull through. We started her breathing meds late this morning once we were pretty sure she could tolerate them and as of right now, her lips, fingers and toes are no longer edged in blue, which is a fantastic sign! They're still a little purplish, and her skin is still really white, but her oxygen levels are up and it doesn't sound like she's drowning when she breathes. Whew! And even better, she's actually kept down two crackers, a few rice noodles and about 6 ounces of water since this afternoon. Yay!

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers during this latest episode...she gave us quite a scare!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Even if you don't believe in God...

...can you pray for my daughter and/or send some positive mental energy my way? My little one is quite sick again and not doing well. It started with a suspicious cough in the middle of the night last night and she just couldn't sleep. It escalated and she started sounding worse, so we got an appointment with the pediatrician. The visit went okay--he changed up a few meds and gave us some new instructions--but we're on standby right now to see if we'll be heading to the ER. Her breathing is getting more shallow and raspy, but she can't take the medicine she needs because she's vomiting so badly and so frequently. It's like her little body is just shrinking in front of me. She lost a half pound since this morning, most likely fluid loss from the vomiting and fever, but it's still scary to see.

I love her to pieces, but I can say in all honesty that raising her isn't quite what I expected it to be. That's not to say I'm unhappy as her mommy--I love her too much to ever be unhappy about that! It's just different, you know? I see my beautiful (and quite healthy) nieces and nephews; I see my friends and co-workers with their children...and they seem so, well...normal. Does that make sense? I mean, they get their fair share of cuts and scrapes, viruses and infections, and my youngest nephew (and his mommy, my poor sister!) had a terrifying MRSA ordeal when he was a baby. Kids get sick, of course, but most of the people I know just deal with the run-of-the-mill stuff. My kiddo is just a little different. If you're interested, I posted a little bit about it on the blog I have with my sisters.

Anyway, her father is holding her and rocking her right now, giving me a much needed break. I would work day and night to take care of her (and believe me when I say I have), but honestly, I was starting to feel a little emotionally un-glued after the past six hours. I'm very grateful that he's here tonight and that he's not the kind of guy who thinks he shouldn't have to take care of a sick child. While he's taking care of her, I'm going to start the next load of sodden towels. It's going to be a long night...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Beat Goes On...

I'm still here, still alive, still breathing. Heart's still ticking. Wait...yes, yes, it's still ticking. Whew!

I miss blogging. I've got lots to share, but not much time to post. It's been busy at work and busy at home and I'm dealing with some other stuff. Nothing bad. Well, not really bad. But that's another story...one I don't have time to share right now. Maybe later.

I'm going to catch up on reading blogs, then go to bed. I promise more worthwhile posting will be coming soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Long Week

I'm behind on blogging. I'm behind on reading everyone else's blogs. I'm behind on housework. I'm behind on regular work. I'm behind on...well...pretty much everything. And just for tonight, I'm going to be okay with that.

It's 8:12pm, and I think I'm going to take a shower and go to bed.

More nonsense later...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My Little Drama Queen

I took a few shots of my kiddo today, in an effort to begin the process of finding an appropriate picture to include in our holiday cards.

I don't know if it's the tilted head or the skyward eyes, but I see a future for her in theater...


Oh dear. My little one got a hold of the keyboard and changed my template without me knowing. Note to self...don't walk away with the kiddo sitting at the computer. To her credit, it's not a bad template. It's one I had before. I'm just bummed that the pictures and my link lists are gone. That'll take a little time to restore. Oh well.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

Don't mind the new template and color changes. I'm just playing around, trying to come up with something I like. I've been searching online for something other than the standard blogger templates and I haven't found anything that jumps out at me.

I'm home from work today with my little one...poor kid just can't seem to catch a break. She can catch everything else when it comes to germs and viruses, but she can't catch a break from it all. She had an appointment with the pediatrician yesterday and it turns out that she's got an infection again. Her little lungs are all clogged up and icky--we're back to breathing treatments three times a day, an inhaler 1-2 times a day, plus an antibiotic. I'm trying not to be sad about it, because we had a pretty good stretch of time where she was actually healthy, but I'm her mommy and I can't help but feel a little sad. And a lot guilty. Guilty that I can't just stay home with her and avoid the whole daycare situation. Of course, that may not mean anything--she's vulnerable to these types of infections, and the pediatrician has reassured me repeatedly that even without daycare, she'd most likely be sicker than an average kid anyway. He tells me, too, that all of this will mean she'll probably be healthier later in life, and that comforts me a little.

It does look like there'll be a change in plans this weekend because we were going to take an extended weekend and head to Wisconsin for a baby shower. My brother-in-law and his wife are expecting twins in February, which is super-exciting, but with our little one being sick, one of us has to stay home and take care of her. This is entirely for her own protection. She's not really contagious, but I don't want to put a pregnant woman at risk. Plus, all the meds weaken her immune system and leave her vulnerable to catching all kinds of stuff from other people.

Ah well. The good news is that no matter what, tomorrow is Friday! I'm looking forward to the weekend. My dining room is a disaster. It's temporarily housing all of my craft projects and I'm determined to get that all cleaned up on Saturday.

More nonsense later...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I can't come up with a title for this post. Mostly, I just want to say that I'm very sad how people absolutely lose their marbles during election time. The most level-headed, sane people I know suddenly become un-hinged, un-glued, un-something, and say such unkind things, I can't even believe it. All I know is that every vote does count and I cast mine. I'm proud of my decision, no matter what the outcome is. I hope anyone reading this feels the same. Your voice was heard, your ballot was counted and we live in a great, great country.
**Update: Right after I published this post, I got an e-mail from my friend Natalie, and after seeing years-long friendships disintegrate because of polar opinions on this Presidential race, I felt compelled to share it.
There comes a point in your life when you realize:

Who matters,

Who never did,

Who won't anymore,

...And who always will.

So, don't worry about people from your past, there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future. Give these flowers to everyone you don't want to lose in 2008, including me, if that's what is in your heart. Try to collect 12; it's not easy!

Unplanned Day Off

I spontaneously took a vacation day today! I know, it's hard to imagine me being impulsive, but I did it. I already ran out to the grocery store and voted. The lines were short at my polling place--thank goodness! On the news this morning, I saw lines wrapped around buildings. I'm definitely curious to see the outcome of this election!

I've had so much on my mind recently. I don't know if it's the pre-holiday blues, just knowing the end of the year is coming, or what. I started Christmas shopping a few weeks ago, and that was fun. It made me a little sad, though. Money is super tight this year. The gas prices over the summer really messed up the family budget, so there's just not as much to spend on gifts. And that's okay. I mean, Christmas isn't all about gifts, but I do get into the holiday spirit!

On a side note, I was kind of disappointed in myself last week. I've been doing my best to participate in Fit Friday/Hot for the Holidays plan, but I got bit carried away with the Halloween candy. The good news is that it's a new week and I gave away a lot of the candy. I haven't been able to do a full workout since last Thursday--I've had a cold, and the lingering congestion in my chest makes me wheeze, but even that's almost gone and I can get back to normal--whatever that is!

It was a beautiful morning. It's unseasonably warm, and I took a short walk just after the sun came up. It was beautiful, peaceful. There was a cool breeze on my face, the air smells like Autumn (even though it's 60 degrees!) and I just had a moment of feeling a little closer to God. And I don't have to work today, which is even better.

I'm off for now. I'm not doing any work, not doing any chores, nothing. I'm spending the day with my kiddo and right now, she's asking me to watch Scooby Doo with her, so off I go!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween and a Day

I hope everyone had a nice Halloween. I sure did! But I always feel like the day after Halloween is such a letdown. I have to wait another whole year to decorate my house with a bunch of creepy, scary things (I mean creepy, scary things other than my husband...), another whole year before I can delight in making a costume for my kiddo or indulge in a night's worth of chaotic trick-or-treating.

~sigh~

I'm kind of sad, but it's okay. Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up quick!

Anyway, I've got a few pictures of my kiddo that I'll share.
This is the first one I took after more or less finishing her costume. She was thrilled with that billowy, black dress. And yes, the sewing machine in the background is my Grandma's 40-year-old Singer. The one that I thought went to that big Sewing Machine Junkyard in the Sky earlier this year. I got it running, but not well. It was enough so that I didn't have to sew the costume by hand. And you can ignore the Pooh characters on the wall. The old nursery is now a spare room and I never took down the decorations. Ooops.


This is the kiddo letting me know that she wasn't too happy about me delaying her trick-or-treating for five minutes so that I could take pictures. The light is a little washed out--don't know why--but it gives it a dreary look, which is oh-so-appropriate for Halloween. Oh yeah, I should mention that I painted two spiders on my daughter's face, but she wanted to do the rest of her own makeup. So I let her!

This one is the kiddo hamming it up after I told her that if she would let me take just one more picture, we could go to as many houses as she wanted. Don't you love that crooked, sideways glance she's giving the camera?

All in all, it was a good day. She had a little party at her pre-school in the morning, we had a fun time trick-or-treating in the late afternoon, then had a light dinner and cuddled on the couch watching Sleeping Beauty. After that, she was ready to go to sleep. And so was I. Come to think of it, I'm still wiped out. The kiddo wasn't sick this year for Halloween--the first time since she's been born!--but I've got a nasty, painful head cold. Ick. That being said, I'm going to lay down and face the fact that the house won't get cleaned until later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Snow!

It started snowing today. There was even a teeny tiny bit of accumulation on the grass at campus tonight. And it's supposed to be in the mid-60s for Halloween. Isn't it great that one day you have to wear a wool coat and the next, you can wear sandals? Ah, only in the midwest!

It'll be slow posting this week. I just finished grading 263 pages worth of essay exams and I have a new round of papers coming in. Plus, Halloween is Friday and I have a few things to do around the house and for my daughter's school. I have to find the USB adapter for my digital camera so I can show everyone my daughter's costume. I'll add that to my list of things to do...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hot for the Holidays

I was inspired by Missy, and even though I wasn't going to participate at first, I thought, "What the heck. Let's go for it!"

I lost one pound this week. Only one, but it's a start. I am, however, quite worried I may have done some serious damage yesterday after getting into the Halloween candy. Bad PMS chocolate cravings and I totally caved in. Hopefully, the upcoming week will be better.

I'm home again today with my kiddo. She's finally starting to feel better, but the asthma medication and decongestant are wreaking havoc on her sleep--my girl is WIRED. She was literally running sprints through the house yesterday for over an hour. I've got another half-hour before she gets her meds, so I'm going to sit down and enjoy the temporary peace and quiet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Imagination of a Three-Year-Old

I was sitting in the pediatrician's office with my daughter today--she's been sick for almost a week and had a rough night with wheezing--when she started talking about toilet paper. I don't know why she started talking about toilet paper, but she did.

Anyway, she went on to say that toilet paper lives in the cabinet. And because paper towels are kind of like paper, they should also live in the cabinet. Made sense. So I asked her what else lives in the cabinet. "Tissues!" she squeals. "Tissues live in the cabinet, too!"

So she started telling me a story about toilet paper, paper towels and tissues and their little houses in the cabinet. The t.p., paper towels and tissues all live together in the cabinet, but they're sort of like next-door neighbors. The paper towel's house is made out of straw, the tissue's house is made out of sticks and the t.p.'s house is made out of bricks. (Can you see where this is coming from?) The story rest of the story went something like this and I'm NOT making this up...

One day, there was a mommy who had very dirty hands, so she washed them and used soap and sang the "Washa, Washa, Washa" song. Then she needed to dry her hands, so her hands huffed and puffed and blew down the paper towels. Her hands were dry, but the paper towels had to move into a new house in another cabinet.

Then there was a little girl who didn't feel good, and she kept huffing and puffing and saying, "AAAAHHHH-CHOOOOO!" A lot of boogies came out and knocked down the tissues. It was okay, though, the boogies could live with the tissues in their new house.

Then there was a daddy who had very loud toots. That daddy would huff and puff and toot very hard. He tried to knock down the toilet papers house but the toots weren't strong enough. Then he had a stinky toot. He knocked down the toilet paper and broke his pants. So he made new pants out of some more toilet paper.

The End.

I was laughing so hard that I had tears rolling down my face. Thank goodness I was able to pull myself together before the doctor came into the exam room. Turns out the kiddo has some bronchial nastiness going on and is a bit dehydrated. The doc also checked her hemoglobin levels, which were in the normal range, but just barely. She'll be home for the rest of the week, which she's very excited about. I promised her we would lay on the couch together after her nap and watch Hello Kitty Becomes a Princess. It should be a pretty low-key afternoon.

And I can't wait to tell my husband about our little one's story-telling skills!

Friday, October 17, 2008

When Good Mommies Go Mad

Okay, I consider myself to be a pretty mild-mannered person. I have my moments, don't get me wrong, but in my line of work, I've trained myself very well to keep my temper in check and roll with things when they happen. This carries over into my personal life, too, so I think that's a good thing. Being mild-mannered has its advantages.

However, there are times when mild-manneredness just doesn't cut it. Today was one of those days. In my own defense, I think I was at least partially justified.

I was shopping at the local Target store with my daughter. We shop at Target A LOT. We know the pharmacists on a first-name basis, see the same friendly cashiers over and over again (the store has a low turnover rate from what I can tell) and have never been disappointed with the service. Until today.

I was waiting at Guest Services to make a payment on my bill and my daughter was sitting in the cart. She and I were talking back and forth, playing a little bit, while I waited for the gentleman in front of me to finish with the young girl at the Guest Services Desk. When he finished, two young women came up and walked right in front of me, straight up to the counter. I realized they weren't customers--from what I could make out, one of them was a store employee and she was coming in to check her schedule and the other one seemed to be a friend tagging along. Okay, fine. I can deal with that.

But here's where things went seriously wrong. The girl working at the counter opened the book with the schedule and started ranting about how someone was supposed to come relieve her a half hour earlier so she could go home. I was still okay with that. I didn't want to hear it, but whatever. I was still waiting in line. She CONTINUED to rant for the next five minutes, complaining to these two young girls while I stood there waiting. Then she said, "Somebody needs to get their a** over here so I can go home."

I shot her a look. I can forgive a slip up in language, but 1.) You're working at the Guest Services desk and there's a guest (me) waiting in line. 2.) You've already kept me waiting while you ranted about your day. And 3.) I don't take too kindly to people using profanity in front of my daughter.

So, even after I shot her a look, she STILL kept complaining to these two girls, and after hearing "a**" come out of her mouth two more times, along with a few other choice words, I blurted out, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME."

I stormed over to the checkout lines and went up to the first cashier I saw. I was really upset and talking loud enough that people from two lanes over were looking at me. I told the cashier that I really just wanted to make a payment on my account and explained what happened at Guest Services. She was so sweet and explained that they can't process account payments at the registers, but lo and behold, the manager was walking by and the cashier flagged her down and explained what happened. The manager took my payment and personally processed it at Guest Services--where the Guest Services worker was STILL chatting with her friends.

I talked to the cashier for a few minutes, thanking her for her kindness and apologizing for getting loud. I told her it obviously wasn't her fault, I was just frustrated. It wasn't about waiting for my turn--I'm very good at waiting. I just did not appreciate an employee intentionally keeping me waiting and using profanity in front of my daughter. She laughed and said, "If it had been me, I probably would have started screaming at her!"

I then spoke with the manager, who was equally kind and very apologetic. I explained to her, too, that it wasn't about the waiting. I didn't appreciate the way I was treated, but I'm a big girl; what had me most upset was the profanity. She actually walked with me for a minute to see if there was anything else she could help me with, and we parted ways on very friendly terms.

As for the girl working in Guest Services? Someone finally came and relieved her so she could go home and she saw me on her way out. I actually laughed out loud when she had the nerve to shoot me a dirty look.

I don't know if it's immaturity or a lack of basic common sense, but I could not understand how in the world this girl could purposely keep me waiting, use profanity not once, but multiple times only six feet from where my daughter and I were standing, and then behave in a manner that made it seem like it was my fault.

Maybe I'm getting old, but I never acted like that when I was younger. That being said...it's official. I'm turning into my father.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More Mindless Rambling

The week got off to a crazy start.

Woke up Monday morning just nauseated and exhausted. By Monday night, after making a VERY un-wise decision to have class instead of cancelling, my back hurt so bad I wanted to scream. Spent an hour on Tuesday in the hospital lab (to see what kind of bacteria is infecting my kidney this time...). Spent Tuesday night teaching a class and had to bite my tongue and not make a scene about a student studying for another class's midterm during my lecture. Went to work today and got caught up on a boat load of paperwork and set up some appointments for next week.

Cuddled with my kiddo for a little while this afternoon. That was so nice. I'm glad she's not old enough to not want to cuddle--I'll miss that when she gets older. I'm cheating on my "Five in Five" plan, because I'm on the computer and she's not in bed yet. Bad mommy.

Ah well. I've got dinner cooking and I have to change clothes and get ready for class tonight. Hope everyone is having a nice, easy week.

More nonsense later...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Running Blind

I'm sitting at my kitchen table right now, typing with my eyes closed. It's a good thing I took that typing class back in high school! I've just managed to snag a few minutes to myself, which is pretty rare on a Saturday. Or any day, for that matter. It's been a heck of a day...busy, but pretty good overall. Got some shopping done this morning, finished cutting out and organizing the pieces of fabric for my daughter's Halloween costume and graded some papers. It was a pretty productive afternoon. I just finished eating dinner, which was pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself. I made boneless, skinless chicken thighs with marinated artichoke hearts, green beans, broccoli, brown-rice-noodles (which are just like regular noodles, but made with brown rice) and blueberry cobbler. Oh, yummy yummy.

Okay, my eyes are open now. I'm trying to figure out how over the course of a relationship, two people can grow close enough to finish each others' sentences, to feel each other's pain, to convey a feeling with nothing more than a touch...and yet, there are still some days in between, some moments where the air is heavy with silence, where you can't help but shut your eyes in what can only be thought of as a show of quiet desperation...where where the same two people can open their eyes, look at each other and think, "You don't know me at all."

Anyone ever had that experience?

I think it's one of those things that happens when you've been with someone for a while, when you feel like you really know each other, but still manage to get blindsided by something...something that deep down, you feel like you should have known, or your partner should have known, all along. Sometimes it's a breakdown in communication. Sometimes it's nothing more than a misunderstanding. And other times, it's something fundamental, something that to one half of the couple, is critical. It may not be a big deal to anyone else, but for the person who's clutching to it, it's a very, very big deal. And it's worse when it's been explained over and over, when something has been asked over and over, and it just doesn't seem to make a difference.

Do you ever just long for someone to understand you? To really get you? I want that. And most of the time, that someone is my spouse. And other times, to be perfectly honest, that someone is nobody. I've got a deep well of "stuff" inside of me, thoughts swirling in my brain, feelings all tangled up inside, emotions just beyond the surface that I want to give voice to. But I keep it all locked up out of fear that I won't be understood. Or worse, that I'll be understood, but it just won't matter.

Ah well. I'm just kind of rambling now, so I think I'll scoot. I've got dinner dishes to clean up, laundry to do, bathrooms to clean, floors to mop. More papers to grade. More of all kinds of stuff that needs to get done. And it's not getting done with me just sitting here!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Five Things" Update

So, I started my new "Five Things in Five Days" list on Monday. So far, I'm doing good! I've eaten two salads--one on Monday and one today (Wednesday) and they were actually really good. I've remembered my vitamins. I'm doing my Pilates breathing when I'm stressed out...which is about ten times a day so far.

I'm NOT doing too great with the getting to bed/getting up earlier thing. It's nice and cool outside and snuggly warm under the blankets. I'm not motivated to crawl out of bed any earlier than I absolutely have to.

Haven't talked to my hubby yet about what's bugging me, but I have until tomorrow. Or Friday, since I technically didn't start my list until Monday. So that's the scoop! Hope everyone is having a good week. The weather here is rainy today, but the temperature is wonderful. It's a perfect day for taking a walk in the rain...which I might do right now since I'm on my lunch break!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Five Things in Five Days: Health Makeover Edition

When I first hatched the idea of doing "Five Things in Five Days" to better myself, my first goal was to focus on the mommy aspect. I came up with a plan, a short list of things that I could work on in less than a week, that would hopefully add up to some big changes in the grand scheme of things. From my original list, the only thing I've struggled with a little bit is the 30 minutes of activity with my daughter each night that I'm not working at my second job. Truth be told, sometimes I am just way too tired. We do still get some physical activity--kicking around a soccer ball, playing tag, playing catch, dancing, etc.--but sometimes it's only about 15 minutes or so. By the time I get home, get dinner on the table and take care of the odds and ends that require taking care of, we get short on time. For the most part, though, we're doing pretty good.

Anyway, this week I've come up with a new list of things to work on for the benefit of my health. I don't have high blood pressure, but my last few readings have been a little higher than usual. I attribute much of this to the stress in my life, but I'm also keenly aware of the fact that I'm not caring for my health the way I should. This is problematic for the main reason that I have an on-going sinus arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat/palpitations) and not taking care of myself could lead to more serious issues down the road.

So, here's my Five-in-Five list...

1. I will make a point of eating three salads this week. I like veggies, but I usually find salad to be kind of boring. I've been poking around on the internet today looking for some ways to jazz up my salad. I think if I throw in some chicken or other protein, it could be a satisfying meal.

2. I will do my best to get to bed fifteen minutes earlier in the evening and set my alarm for fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. I need to add some simple strength training to my workout and that fifteen minutes could be valuable.

3. I will remember to take a vitamin each day.

4. When I begin to feel stress building inside of me, I will pause in whatever it is that I'm doing and do some Pilates-style breathing.

5. I will tell my husband what's been bothering me for the past few weeks. (Then I'll blog about it!)

Right now, I have a bunch of laundry to fold and papers to grade. Neither one is particularly appealing at the moment, but it all has to get done. Then I have to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. Anybody up for a salad?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Taking it Literally...

My darling daughter never ceases to amaze me. Case in point? This afternoon.

We were on our way home and she said she had to go to the bathroom. I asked her if she could hold it until we got in the house and she said yes, though she was bouncing in her seat, literally holding herself. I didn't even close the garage door and rushed her into the house. She made a beeline for the bathroom and I ran out to close the door, calling over my shoulder, "It's okay honey, just go make pee on the potty."

She sounded confused. "Make pee pee on the potty?"

"Yes!" I didn't know why she sounded confused. She's been potty trained for...well, I don't know exactly how long. Probably around a year.

Anyway, here's what I didn't even think about. Ever since we started potty training, we've always said to go IN the potty. This did not occur to me until I heard her frantically call out, "Help, it's spilling!"

Yes, she made pee pee ON the potty. She was upset. I laughed. I'm still laughing!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Unexplained Sightings in the Midwest

There are some things in life that simply defy explanation. I saw two very disturbing things today, both of which nearly caused me to rear end the driver in front of me. Now bear in mind that I am a cautious driver, not easily distracted by other things on the road.

Today was very, very different. It may as well have started out with a headline that screamed: "UFO Sightings in Chicago". Never mind the fact that I was actually in Naperville when these two incidents occurred.

Incident number one...

You know those cute little safety backpack-type items that very young children wear? They're usually in the shape of a fuzzy animal, and the long tail is actually a "leash" of sorts that the parent can hang onto, in order to keep the child from wandering away. I don't use one, but there are all kinds of variations. Here's one for example:Anyway, I'm not really an advocate of them, but some parents like them and that's fine. What's strange is that I saw several adults wearing them. Let me clarify...I saw a trail of OLDER adults wearing them. As in, white-haired adults. They were leaving a restaurant, laughing and chatting...and hanging onto the tails of each others' backpacks, marching toward their cars.

I did a double take and almost rear-ended the car in front of me. No worries, though, because the person in front of me was also doing a double take and almost rear-ended the car in front of her. Fortunately, no accidents, but a very, very strange to thing to see.

Okay, now for crazy sighting number two.

Just a few minutes after seeing the white-haired trail of leashed backpack wearers, a man zipped past me on a motorcycle. He was wearing a creepy gray and red striped sweater, a la Freddy Krueger. I didn't see his face (nor did I want to, because I was afraid it would look like a stretched out pepperoni pizza, just like Freddy's face in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies), but at the next stoplight, he straddled his bike with his feet on the ground and arched himself backward like he was stretching, and I saw something that looked like this...It's a freakin' Freddy Krueger glove belt buckle! These things are real, people! Anyway, when the light turned green, I was so freaked out that I hit the gas in an effort to get far away from the Freddy Wannabe and almost bumped the car in front of mine.

Whew! I think I'm going to stay home for the rest of today. These strange sightings have made me nervous. And now I have a strange urge to decorate for Halloween.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Heard in Our House Tonight...

As we're cleaning up the downstairs in anticipation of company tomorrow...

Him: I think I'm going to call it quits tonight.

Me: What?! There's still a ton to do!

Him: I already cleaned a lot.

Me: [feeling mean and nasty] I cleaned more than you did.

Him: Whatever. I cleaned the living room and dining room.

Me: Are you kidding me? You moved the toys and books from the couch to the floor and put some cards into the hutch in the dining room. That doesn't equal actual cleaning.

Him: I ran the garbage out.

Me: I emptied the fridge so you could

akgiorikfdjleroijrtewkl LITTLE STRUGGLE FOR THE KEYBOARD THERE. THIS IS SHAWN AND I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS MESSAGE. IGNORE MY WIFE!

Sorry for the interruption there, folks. He's in a sour mood because I pointed out to him that I scrubbed the kitchen sinks and counters, cleaned and dusted the desk, dusted all the tables and knick-knacks in the living room, scrubbed the kitchen table, went through a week's worth of junk mail, emptied the fridge (which he was supposed to do last night in anticipation of garbage day), cleaned the windows and

kfjhguioruihjfdjhduyotr LISTEN EVERYONE. THIS IS SHAWN AGAIN AND I'M GOING TO CLEAN THE BATHROOM, OKAY? I ADMIT IT, I WAS LISTENING TO THE CUBS/BREWERS GAME IN THE KITCHEN WHILE SHE WAS CLEANING. BUT ONLY FOR A LITTLE WHILE. IT'S NOT MY FAULT THAT SHE CLEANS FASTER THAN I DO. AND I KILLED THE BIG NASTY SPIDER ON THE LIVING ROOM WINDOW SO SHE COULD CLEAN IT. SO THERE!

And that, dear readers, is an average night in our house. I'm now laughing so hard that I have to stop typing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sorry for not posting recently. This whole teaching-three-classes-thing is taking a serious bite out of my blogging time.

Things here are fine. Crazy and busy, but fine.

I just got home and I missed dinner, so I'm eating leftover chicken as I type this. Not a good idea. I'm dropping food on the keyboard, so I think I'm going to prioritize and eat my dinner. More blogging later. Or tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Made the Cut!

I've been growing out my hair for the past ten months--with regular trims, of course--in an effort to make the cut for Locks of Love. Imagine my dismay when I had my ponytail all set, only to find that it was about a half-inch short of the requirement! I had two options at that point. I figured I could wait another month (which made me want to cry--I do NOT like having long hair) or, I could still get it cut and donate it through another program. It's Patene's Beautiful Lengths program.

I really liked the idea of Locks of Love, but I caved in. I couldn't stand the upkeep of my long hair for another minute, so as we speak (or more appropriate, as I write), I have a 9+ inch ponytail in a plastic bag, ready to be sent off for donation through Pantene's program.

My neck is exposed, my cheekbones are noticeable again, and lo and behold, I have ears! I've got a nice, jaw-length bob and had some red highlights thrown in, just for fun. I also got an immediate confidence-boost with this haircut. I realized I was literally hiding behind my long hair most days. Now, my face and eyes are just sort of out there for everyone to see. Do I have pictures to show? Not yet. I'll try and get some later!

Right now, I have to run to the grocery store and then I'm taking my daughter to the zoo. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday?

I went through most of my day today thinking it was Friday. Imagine my surprise around 1pm when I realized it was, in fact, only Thursday. My mind was totally playing tricks on me.

Sigh.

And on top of it, I also realized that there are some very strange things on television in the evenings...and I don't even have cable. I glanced over my should just in time to see three midgets (sorry, is "little people" the correct term? I don't want to offend anyone...) contorting themselves to try and fit through a wall--sort of like puzzle pieces. My husband just told me that the show is called "Hole in the Wall."

This is what the world is coming to? Strange.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Conversations with God and The Value of Friendship

Genuine friends must be cherished and not forsaken (Prov. 27:10).

A few nights ago, I had a dream--not a weird, wild or crazy dream that is so typical of me, but a simple dream. In my dream, I was being reunited with an old friend. He was my closest friend until my husband came along, and though I rarely admit it to myself, let alone admit it out loud, I miss him terribly. I haven't seen him in over eight years, and that by itself (I think) should mean that I shouldn't feel so sad when I think about him, but that's not quite the case. We met in college, shared some of the same friends, were involved in some of the same activities. We met completely by accident through a mutual friend...and realized that we were so different and so similar at the same time, that it was likely we'd end up buddies or end up throttling each other. We went the buddy route. It was a unique friendship, one that most people didn't understand, one I'm not always sure I understand.

In this dream, I was walking through a valley of sorts, surrounded by rolling green hills, trying to determine if the hour upon me was sunrise or sunset. The sun was bold on the horizon, fiery, streaking colors across the sky as a gentle wind lifted my hair from my neck. I didn't feel afraid or lost. I was walking with purpose, seeking something or someone, my heart fluttering with anticipation. I picked up my pace, hurrying along, when I rounded a curve...and I saw him. He was sitting on a wrought iron park bench next that was perched on the banks of a lagoon.

He didn't turn and look at me, but I know that he knew I was there. My heart was racing, blood thundering in my ears. How long had I waited for this moment? To see him face to face and reconnect? There was nothing, nothing, romantic about my feelings for him, but I couldn't deny that I wanted to throw my arms around him and hug him for all I was worth, to say all that I needed to say. To put aside my stupid pride, humble myself and ask his forgiveness.

I sat down next him, on the opposite side of the bench, not touching, not speaking at first. Neither of us knew what to say, but just like always, he was the braver one, the kinder one, the one willing to do the harder thing, and he broke the silence.

"It's been a long time. I'm glad you finally found me."

I felt my throat clog and I swallowed hard, fighting not to be overwhelmed by tears. I didn't know how to respond to him, so I just started talking, filling him in on what the last eight years were like for me...during all of this, my conscious mind knew that I was dreaming and I felt a frantic sense of urgency, like I needed to talk as fast as I could because I knew our time was limited...because I knew that even though I'd found him, it would be a very long time before I saw him face to face again.

As my body fought to wake up and start the day, my mind gently shushed it, continuing to drift in the hazy place where my dream was unfolding.

He spoke to me as we sat on that park bench, though I don't remember even a single word of what he said. His voice was neutral and low, the way it always was, the same inflection and tone that I remember so well. I leaned in closer to better hear what he was saying and inhaled the scent that was uniquely him, noticing a few strands of silver peeking through his dark hair. I looked into his eyes, as dark and mysterious as my own, and was flooded with regret for letting go of this friendship, for not honoring him the way a true friend should be honored.

He reached out and squeezed my hand and another flood of memories came back to me...like how I remember he was the first man I ever associated with who held a door open for me...who I could spend time with in silence, just working together but separately...who held his hand out for me when I was on crutches after knee surgery and struggling to manage my backpack over the icy, snowy terrain on the way to class...who laughed even when my jokes weren't funny...who picked a random cherry blossom out of my hair when we were in Washington, D.C. on a scholarly trip with a group of students and professors...who always seemed so genuinely interested in my thoughts and ideas...who engaged in spirited debates with me about religion, politics and history...who clung to my hand for support at his father's funeral...who told me that he knew I would go far in life, as long as I was true to myself and recognized that just getting by and surviving would never be enough for me.

I remember that he was nicer to me than I ever was to myself. I remember that he saw potential I didn't even know I had. I remember that he believed in me long before I ever saw myself as a person worth believing in.

I felt my body rushing toward wakefulness and I mentally struggled to cling to the moment. He got up and started walking away from me, but I called out to him, trying in those last desperate moments to explain the external forces that drove a wedge in between us...why I let that wedge come in between us. I tried to make him understand why I made the decisions I did...how once everything was set into motion, I felt helpless to stop our friendship's barreling race to the finish line, to avoid the disastrous collision course I put us on.

In my dream, he paused and looked back at me, listening intently. The sun reflected off his glasses as a small smile curved the corners of his mouth and he slowly shook his head back and forth. "It's all okay, you know. It's in the past. You've punished yourself far more than I ever could have. Just be okay and know that you'll see me again sometime."

I woke up then, shaking and sweating, my nose running and tears leaking from the corners of my closed eyes. The dream was so vivid, so real to me, and yet it was something borne of my own imagination. I couldn't help but think about it the rest of the day. It had stirred up feelings I had stuffed so deep inside of me, that I had actually fooled myself into believing they were gone.

I got through the day, though it was a struggle not think about the dream and wonder what triggered it, wonder what it meant, wonder why it was nagging at me. My first thought, of course, is that there's some unfinished business. I did a terrible thing in walking away from our friendship with no explanation...no explanation that he knew of, anyway. But as I thought about it more, I wonder if it was more symbolic. I struggle with my beliefs and my faith. I try hard to be a good Christian and a good Catholic, but of course I fail sometimes. Lately, in moments of frustration, I've been looking for God, wondering where He is...before I remind myself that if I'm looking for God, He's not the one who's lost. I think about what was said in my dream...It's been a long time. I'm glad you finally found me...It's in the past...You've punished yourself far more than I ever could have...

I think there's a deeper message, something that goes beyond the surface of simple words. And maybe, just maybe, the message came to me in this form because it would make me pay attention and make me think long and hard about it.

And believe me, I'm thinking long and hard about it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh no...

I have a terrible case of writer's block. I don't know if it was all the chaos of the past week or what, but I'm really struggling to string together words that are meaningful and that make sense. I've been working on a post all week and can't seem to finish it and even in regular conversation, I can't seem to keep my mind focused enough to come up with something even halfway intelligent. I had a few nights this week where I didn't get enough sleep, so maybe this is an after-effect. I dunno.

How's the weather for everyone? It's been raining incessantly here for the past 24 hours. Overnight was horrible--torrential rains, winds shaking the house--and we're not even in the path of Hurricane Ike! I think the remnants will be hitting us tomorrow as the storm falls apart and moves upward toward the midwest, but I don't know how much more our waterlogged land can take. Our sump pump is running about every 3-4 minutes and there's standing water in the lower-lying areas of our neighborhood. There's just nowhere for the water to go.

I went grocery shopping this morning and it took me almost an hour to get home. Sheesh. I'm still hoping to get out to the library and then the fabric store to buy some black fabric for my daughter's Halloween costume. She was a witch last year, and wants to be a witch again this year. I bought a pattern that comes with 5 designs--an angel, a princess, a gypsy, a witch and a pioneer girl/frontier girl. I was hoping the munchkin would pick the angel or gypsy, but she's hung up on being a witch, so a witch it is!

Hark! What is that I hear? Well looky there...the rain has temporarily stopped. I better make a run for the library before it starts again!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pending Post

I'm working a post right now...something a little more relevant than the past few. The weather here has been gloomy and I think the lack of sunshine and fresh air is making me a little nutty. I'm feeling sort of bummed, but completely unmotivated to do anything about it. On the up side, I have a chicken cooking in the crock pot and it smells divine...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Saying Hi!

I've been busy the past few days. It was a crazy weekend, and for the next few days, I'm enduring the trials and tribulations of a DHS survey at work. It's going okay so far, but it's incredibly hectic and stressful. Hope everyone out there is doing well!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Proof in the Pictures

Last weekend, we took a short trip (okay, it was kind of a long drive with a three year old) down to Arthur, Illinois for the Arthur Cheese Festival. I had intended to post a few pictures sooner, but the week got a little out of hand. Anyway, my husband was there for the cheese, the kiddo was there for the fun stuff (including a super cute Elmo balloon person), and I was there to take in the Amish surroundings. I had to restrain myself when it came to taking pictures, because the Amish don't believe in any graven images, which means no photos of them. It was hard, but I respected it.

I did, however, want to point out that they are just like everyone else in a lot of ways. Case in point, when things break down and they can't afford something brand new...


Now, just in case you can't clearly see the sign...here it is a bit closer.


I also posted this over at the blog I share with my sisters, too, so if you've peeked over there before today and already saw these, sorry for the repeat!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Roly Poly

I have a bunch of roly-polies in my basement! I know they're attracted to moisture, so it figures they would cluster down there. Errrrr. I vacuumed up a bunch of them and cranked the dehumidifier. I'm going to buy some Borax tomorrow and sprinkle it around the perimeter of the house, inside and out. I know roly-poly bugs are completely harmless, but (gulp) I am really scared of bugs, so this is a huge issue. I think the only major mistake I made was vacuuming up two big spiders with the roly-polies. If I had left the spiders there, maybe they would have eaten the roly-polies. Except I'm more scared of spiders than I am of roly-poly bugs.

How's that for something weird about me...I go into dangerous neighborhoods and work with (some) people who have serious criminal records. I do that without even blinking. And I'm afraid of bugs. Go figure.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Fitting Day for Rain

After today, I'll get back to posting about more lighthearted issues. But for now, there are heavier things on my mind.

When I woke up this morning, greeted by a leaden sky, clouds bloated with rain, all I thought was, "Good. It's a fitting day for rain."

My dear friend Kim and her husband Mark are burying their child today, and while I believe that in everyone's hearts, it's always raining the day you put someone you love in the ground, the weather matching today's events just seems fitting.

And then there's another part of me that wished for a beautiful, sunshiny day, for the purpose of giving hope, a reminder that over time there will start to be more good days than bad, that the memories, no matter how short they are, are still beautiful and something to hold close.

If I could march up to the gates of Heaven and bring their daughter back, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But life doesn't work like that, nor does death, and like it or not, the world keeps turning and the days continue to pass.

After leaving the funeral home last night when the wake was over (which, as odd as it may sound, was absolutely beautiful--a wonderful setting and moving tribute to a life cut tragically short), my husband and I talked about what a beautiful baby she was. Is. Is. How beautiful she is. Just beautiful--all pudgy and round and pink the way newborns are. We talked about the love that flowed between Mark and Kim; we expressed amazement at their grace and dignity in facing what is no doubt the worst thing a couple could ever have to cope with. We talked about how it just seemed wrong that cars were zipping along the street, full of people going about their daily routines. It seems like the world should stop for something like this, to give the parents the time they need to try and find some kind of meaning, some kind of peace to carry them through the next dark days they'll be facing.

I've spent a lot of time in quiet reflection these past few days, as is common in many people after a sudden, sad experience. My husband and I talked quietly on the way home last night about our beliefs and God's plan. I think I'm a pretty good Christian, at least a decent Catholic, but I don't believe that it's ever part of God's plan to break the hearts of two loving, wonderful, good people, who planned and prepared for a child that was wanted so much. I don't always buy into the fact that everything happens for a reason, that there's meaning in every tragedy. I believe that God was grieving as much as every person in that chapel last night. While I believe that He was joyous in greeting little Alyssa with outstretched arms when she passed into Heaven, I also believe that He knows the grief a parent feels at the loss of a child, and there is no joy in that for Him. I don't believe for even a second that this is some kind of test or some kind of punishment. I believe in a God that shares in our joys and sorrows--but it's up to us to let Him share in that.

There's really nothing more to say about it, nothing more to do, so I'll end here. I've been poking around on my favorite blogs, though not commenting much. I'll get back to that soon, too!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Little of This...A Little of That

Greetings. Is it the weekend yet? Oh yeah, I just came off of a long holiday weekend. It went way too fast. Way. Too. Fast.

It started out good--we went to the Arthur Cheese Festival. There was a cheese eating contest, cheese curling (goofy sport...), lots of arts and crafts (I bought a few funny signs...one says "Mom's Diner-Open 24 Hours" and another one says, "My house was clean last week. Sorry you missed it."), and perhaps the best of all was my munchkin going on her first pony ride. I'll get around to posting pictures. (It just seemed like it wasn't as big of a deal after I got the e-mail yesterday from my girlfriend about the sudden, tragic death of her daughter.) The hubby and I went to Home Depot and got some new plants for the front yard. We have a patch in front of the windows where nothing seems to grow. It's just kind of crappy dirt, I guess. In the end, we bought some boxwoods and Russian sage to fill it in. I've got my fingers crossed that they take root!

Classes are in full swing at the university this semester and I'm already tired. I do love teaching, but it is a second job, and there are some nights when all I want to do is come home, sit on the couch and eat cheesy poofs. Instead, I'm doing the crazy classroom stuff. I do plan on having a less intense work load next semester. I value time with my daughter too much to keep up with a schedule like this for very long.

Sometimes I wish I was wealthy. Not too wealthy. Just enough to...well, just enough to be enough. I'd like the bills to be paid and I'd like to stay home with my daughter. Maybe I could finally get around to starting my own business--which, ironically enough, could be the key to being a little more wealthy. But first I have to structure my time to get to that point. I'm starting to feel like a hamster on a wheel...running around and around, but not really getting anywhere.

Ugh. This post is all over the place. I'm going to blame it on my allergies. They've been absolutely terrible the past few days. It's like my sinuses have taken over my whole face and my eyes are all icky and itchy. This happens every year at this time and there isn't squat I can do about it because I can't take allergy medicine. Well, I can take Benadryl, but it doesn't do much for me. Ah well.

I'm going to lurk on my favorite blogs for a little while and then go to sleep.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Prayers for Baby Alyssa

After much humor and reminiscing earlier today about the joys and pitfalls of labor and delivery, I received a heartbreaking e-mail from one of my girlfriends, who along with her husband, was eagerly anticipating the birth of their first child.

The e-mail, in paraphrase, was this:

It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of our baby daughter. She was born on Thursday, August 28th at 7:41am. She was 5 lbs., 3 oz., and 18 inches long. After an emergency c-section and tireless efforts of the dedicated doctors and nurses, our beautiful daughter passed away. Although she was only with us this brief time, our lives have been touched in a way that we never could have imagined.

I still can't quite believe any of this. I know my friend and her husband can't believe any of this...to pray for and anticipate the joy of new life, only to have it leave so suddenly. I'm stunned into silence, humbled and heartbroken by this experience that isn't even my own. Please pray for my friend and her husband. Pray especially for her, the mommy, who has to learn now how live her life with a hole in her heart, with empty arms that will no doubt ache to hold the child that had been planned for with such love...the mommy who will have nothing but a few short, beautiful memories to sustain her until she meets her child again.

"When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother's womb, when I was growing there in secret, You knew that I was there--You saw me before I was born. My days in Your book were numbered, before any of them ever began." **Psalms

Labor Day--Reminiscing about Labor...

I saw this meme on Missy's blog and thought I'd play along! (I'll have pictures from the Cheese Festival later...) It's funny thinking about the day I had my daughter. It seems like it was so long ago, yet the memories are so vivid, it's like it just happened. I'm long-winded, especially when it comes to talking about labor and delivery. Happy reading!

How long were your labors?

Well, let's see. That's sort of a matter of opinion. I would say 13 hours, including push time, but there were a few things going on beforehand that I didn't recognize as labor symptoms.

I had an OB appointment on Wednesday, May 11th, 2005. I hadn't been feeling well, kind of nauseous and achy, and even though I wasn't due for almost three more weeks, the doctor said that if I didn't have the baby over the weekend, she wanted me to call on Monday, because she wanted to induce. I had an excessive amount of amniotic fluid and in her words, "Even though it's early, we're going to have to get your baby out in the next few days. There's just no more room for it to grow." She then told me that I was dilated to 2cm and if I did some extra walking, it might trigger labor to start. I asked her what I could do about the pain in my back and she suggested a massage from my husband. I went back to work and took a half hour walk on my lunch break. Nada.

That night, my husband and I went shopping for a few last minute baby things and went for a walk. Still nothing, though the Braxton-Hicks (or so I thought) contractions were becoming more frequent. But my back was hurting even more.

I went to work on Thursday and made it about 5-6 hours. I just didn't feel well and my back really, really, hurt. I laid around that afternoon, picked at my dinner and went for a walk with my husband. It took about 45 minutes to walk around the block, and by that time, I was crying. I just wanted to lay down, so when we finally made it home, I took a shower and slept like a stone for probably 7 hours.

I got up for work the next morning--it was Friday...

How did you know you were in labor?

I got up for work and I was making my lunch--it was just after 6am and my husband was literally walking out the door. I asked him to please wait, because I really didn't feel so well. All of a sudden, I felt like I was going to throw up and a rush of water ran down my legs. My water broke. And all I thought was, "That stupid nurse lied to me in childbirth class! She said that if my water even broke, it would just be a little trickle!" I pressed my legs together and made my way upstairs to get changed so we could leave for the hospital. My back hurt so bad, I thought I was going to faint.

Where did you deliver?

I delivered at a local hospital. A Solucient Top 100 Hospital in the Nation for the past 4 years. Best hospital experience of my life so far--it really was fantastic, though of course, that probably also has something to with the fact that I was excited to see the kid I'd been toting around in my belly.

Drugs?

I tried hard to go all natural, but early on, it was obvious my contractions weren't strong enough and they started Pitocin. That got the contractions moving, but the only problem was that it turned out all the back pain I'd been having since Wednesday was back labor, and I didn't know it. I'd technically been in labor for 48 hours. After my water broke, I went eight and a half hours with no pain meds. Then I caved in and got a shot--Stadol, I think it's called--and was able to rest for about an hour. The doctor and nurse knew I wanted to go natural, but they actually recommended an epidural because I was so exhausted from trying to manage the pain and they agreed that I needed to save my energy to push. I was only dilated to 4-5 cm at that point, so I finally agreed to it.

The anesthesiologist was hilarious. When he found out that at that point, it had been almost 10 hours, he stood there, open mouthed and asked incredulously, "Are you joking? Women still try to go all natural? Wow! Do you mind if I tell the other anesthesiologists? You've gotta be one tough chick!" We had a good laugh as he jammed the needle into my back. They kept the epidural light because my doctor knew how badly I wanted to go natural. I still felt all my contractions and knew when I needed to push and could feel everything when I pushed, but the intense pain in my back had blessedly eased to a manageable level.

C-Section?

Dangerously close. I was in the final stages and pushing when I felt something go very wrong and the doctor started screaming at me to stop. Yeah...there's something very large coming out of a very small space, but just stop. Uh-huh. But I did stop, because I could just tell something wasn't right. My daughter (though we didn't know it was a girl at the time), defiant little bugger that she is, had turned her head sideways and was stuck. She refused to move. The doctor tried to rotate her manually, but no luck. I was almost hysterical at that point, and the doctor had to use a drill sergeant tone of voice with me to keep me calm. I was in no frame of mind to make a decision--I was busy screaming, "Just get it out, get it out, GET IT OUT!!" The doc and my husband briefly discussed trying to push the baby back in and doing an emergency c-section, but the doc really wanted to avoid it because of the risk to both of us. All of a sudden, there was an entourage of people marching into the room and I was trying to close my knees. I didn't want all those people in there! It had been just me, my husband, the doctor and nurse. Now, there were two more nurses, the anesthesiologist, a neonatologist and pediatrician, and I forget who else. I'm usually very together, but I was completely unhinged at that point. I was still yelling, "GET IT OUT! I don't care what you have to do! GET IT OUT!"

In the end, we skipped the c-section (and all those strangers left my room, other than the neonatologist, who wanted to examine the baby immediately after delivery) and I had the mother of all episiotomies. Out came the scissors--and half a dozen cuts (that I think ultimately required 14 stitches)--and finally, blessedly, out came the baby.

Who delivered?

I was so lucky to have my own doctor deliver. My original OB moved to California when I was almost seven months pregnant and he referred me to a new practice with three doctors. I honestly didn't like her very much at first, but we totally bonded during the delivery. I think it had something to do with her expression of amazement while I was pushing..."Holy crap, Martha. How much amniotic fluid do you have in there?" She really made me laugh and that made the process so much easier. Afterward, she was there for me when my heart went haywire...when I had post partum depression...and when I had two cancer scares in three months. I now recommend her to everyone I know.

Ah memories. If you want to play along, head over to Rocks in My Dryer and leave a link!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Woman on a Mission

I've been at home today and it's been wonderful. After a very hectic and chaotic week, it was nice to have a little down time--even better since Labor Day is Monday, which means an extra long weekend!

I got a lot of regular work done today for my job, but I also got to the grocery store and did my shopping for the week. I've got a chicken in the crock pot right now...and I made a blueberry pie...and sugar cookies...and I'll be making cheddar-bacon mashed potatoes and another veggie when it gets closer to dinner time. I love puttering around the kitchen.


I also painted my daughter's toenails. She's been running around, showing them off to whoever will look!

Anyone have plans for the Labor Day holiday? Weather permitting, we're going to the Arthur Cheese Festival this weekend. My darling husband is going to be participating in a Cheese Eating Contest. That was his only stipulation when he agreed to my proposal for going on a mini-vacation to an Amish community. I'm charging the batteries in my camera right now, so I should have lots of power for plenty of pictures.

I have to scoot now, but hopefully, I'll have some good pictures to share later this weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thank goodness for the occasional lunch break at work...otherwise, I probably wouldn't be posting at all this week.

Things are unusually crazy, just in general, plus classes started at the university, so I'm back to having early days and late nights three days a week. The good thing? In spite of the craziness, I'm keeping up with my plans from my Five Things in Five Days list. Not always easy, but I'm still doing it. I may have to start working on a new list--try and add more important things that I've been putting off for a while now.

Anyway, just thought I'd say a quick hi to everyone. I'll be catching up on everyone else's blogs later tonight or tomorrow.

Until then...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I...

I...was inspired to do this after reading Crusty Beef's post on August 19th.

I...suffer from staurophobia. You can read one of my old posts on it here.

I...still peek under my daughter's bed and make sure her closet door is closed tight before bed, just in case there really is a boogey man. This is entirely for my benefit, not hers.

I...love music. I would gladly trade in my television for unlimited free music downloads at walmart.com.

I...am pretty sure my husband would be upset if I traded in our television.

I...have a bit of OCD and sometimes it interferes with healthy relationships. Ask my husband how long I was in the basement last night cleaning while he was upstairs waiting for me to watch a movie with him.

I...believe in ghosts and magic, and sometimes I'm a little disappointed when it turns out there's a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I...am one of the most serious people I know, but I have a fun, sneaky side, too!

I...believe in God and I believe that He answers all of my prayers. Even when they're not the answers I want.

I...have been feeling better in general since I started getting more sleep. It's been hard to let some of the household chores go, but the extra 1-2 hours of sleep each night has done wonders for me.

I...believe I'm working in the wrong field. I might be good at what I do, but there's nowhere near enough space for creativity. When I was growing up I wanted to be a dancer (mom said I was too tall and there was no money in it...ummmm, "Dancing with the Stars"...); I wanted to be a hairdresser and makeup artist (mom said there was no money in that...ummm, hello Bobbi Brown, Sonia Kashuk, and all the award winning makeup artists, not to mention the Red 7 Salon (I miss you, David!); I wanted to paint (dad said my pictures weren't that good, but some of Picasso's stuff is kinda ugly); so on and so on. I don't think my parents were trying to kill my dreams, but they were looking out for my financial future. Too bad human services doesn't pay more...

I...am not very good at telling people when and why I'm upset or angry. Half the time, I can't even explain it to myself. I can write down what's wrong, but I'm not as good at verbalizing.

I...believe people should keep all promises. One of the quickest ways to get on my bad side is to make a promise to me and not keep it. A promise is a promise, no matter how big or small it is, and short of some kind of disaster, it needs to be kept.

I...have to stop here and get to the grocery store. I have a turkey breast cooking in the crock pot and nothing much to make with it. Trader Joe's, here I come!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hero Status Confirmed?

Today, one of my co-workers stopped by office to go over a handful of work-related issues. After he finished, but before he left my office, he stopped and looked at me and said, "Martha, it just seems to me that you shouldn't even be here."

I was a bit taken aback and asked him what he meant.

"Well," he said, "it's not that you don't do a good job. You do. It's just that, well, I guess I just see you doing more. And it's not here."

I laughed. "You trying to push me out the door?"

He was serious. "No. I just don't think this is what you're meant to do. You're good at it. So good at it. Nobody else here could do your job. Nobody would want to do your job, believe me. We all think your job must suck, but it's a big help to all of us. I just think you'd be much happier if you were able to focus on being a wife and mother. When I come and talk to you about work, you're always so professional. But when someone asks you about your family, it's like your whole personality changes. You change. You. It's like you become human."

I raised my eyebrows at him. "People around here think I'm inhuman when I work? That's not cool, especially since I work in human services."

He roared. "No. You know what I mean. You're just softer when you talk about being a wife and mom. But when you're working, I don't know. It's like you're super human. Or crazy."

"I'd agree with the crazy part."

He left my office after that and I went to pick up my daughter. When I did, she barrelled into my arms, hugging and kissing me for all she was worth. Then she told me she loved me and that I'm her hero. I had to swallow over a huge lump in my throat. Super human or crazy--doesn't matter. I'm her hero.

At least until she's a teenager and I'm a big embarrassment, right?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Countdown to the End of the Day...

It's only 8:30am. I don't know how I'm going to make it through the day. It's been one of "those" days...you know, the kind where everything goes wrong and you feel like you should go back to bed and start the day over. Or sleep until tomorrow and pretend today never happened.

Ugh.

My alarm went off at 5:30am. Tired. So tired. Too tired to work out. Hit snooze. (I rarely hit snooze.) Went back to sleep. Alarm went off again at 5:40am. Turned it off. Slept until almost 6:30. Shoot. Have to get to the store before work this morning to get snacks for family support group tonight.

Shower, dress, eat breakfast. Sweating profusely. Humidity is horrible. Change clothes. Put on makeup, do hair. Sweat through second set of clothes. Change clothes again. Getting irritated because air conditioning is running and dehumidifier is on. Still sweating. Maybe all this sleep I'm getting has kicked my metabolism into high gear? Daughter crying...doesn't want mommy to go to work today. Pry child off leg and try not to feel horribly guilty. Feel guilty anyway.

Stop at Wal-Mart. Tear shirt getting out of the car. Buy snacks for group. Buy new shirt. Arrive to work late. Have allergy attack in lobby. Swollen eyes, runny nose, painful sneezing. Drop bag holding cookies for group. Broken cookies everywhere.

Get into my office. Change shirt. Dislike funky "new shirt" smell. Nothing I can do about it. Still sneezing. Drop pen on floor. Hit head on desk while reaching for pen.

Pause, breathe deep and try not to cry. Failed momentarily. Pulled it together. Decided to blog about it instead. Pray for me.

This is not the meaningful post I was planning. More later...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Zzzzz...zzzzz

So tired tonight. I've been getting to bed earlier, which is so fantastic, I can't even describe it. The only hitch is that now that I'm getting almost enough sleep, I really feel it when I don't. I woke up at 4am for no good reason and I couldn't go back to sleep. I've yawned so much today that my jaw hurts. I've got the Olympics on in the background, watching the men's springboard diving...I think that's what it's called.

Anyway, I'll try to post something a little more meaningful tomorrow. I'm just not together enough tonight. Good night, everyone.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mission Accomplished

Garage sale is done. Thank goodness! The good news is that we got rid of so much stuff, I can't quite believe it. The bad news is that there's still a ton left over. After so much time spent dragging all of it up from the basement, I don't want to put any of it back down there!

All in all, I can't complain, and honestly, a lot of the things we didn't sell can still be donated and used by people who really need it. I've got lots of baby girl clothes--four bins full--and even if we keep half of it as a "just in case we have another baby" backup, there would still be plenty (if it's a girl). Almost all of the baby toys went, along with several children's books and some bigger items (like a clunky old dresser) were snatched up early yesterday.

Lots of other people in our neighborhood had garage sales this weekend, and it was just slow all over. It's a sad day when the tight economy means people can't even afford to buy things at a garage sale. One lady down the street spent about $20 in advertising her garage sale, but it didn't do any good. Our sale was maybe half the size of hers, but we made more.

That's about it--I'm off to catch up on blogs!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Busy Weekend

We're having a garage sale today and it's absolutely crazy! There are either 18 people crammed into the garage and driveway or nobody for an hour at a time. All I know for sure is that putting this sale together was A LOT of hard work. I'll be glad when tomorrow at 2pm hits, because it'll be done. Whew!

On an unrelated subject, I've been looking over my Five Things in Five Days list. I haven't done too bad...I did start going to bed an hour earlier and it's made a huge difference. The only problem is that I was up really late last night (into the wee hours of this morning) putting price tags on items for the sale, and that really messed me up. I've been getting that extra 30 minutes of physical activity. Yesterday was actually over an hour while my daughter and I kicked around a soccer ball in the front yard. I've been doing really well with cutting back on my computer time--I think I only had one slip-up where I turned it on before my little one was in bed. As for the books, they're not all at bedtime, but that's okay. The munchkin gets a minimum of 45 minutes of reading time everyday. Some people have told me that's too much, but she really enjoys it and is gradually getting the hang of sounding out words and reaching the earliest stages of reading. That is really exciting!

I've got to run...my turn to sit in the garage for a while to give my hubby a break...