Monday, March 31, 2008

Somewhere in the Shadows...

There’s something that’s been nagging at me for a few months. Something that's just kind of hanging out in the background of my mind.

It started off as a feeling of uncertainty about the future. Back in January, I had received an electronic training calendar that covered six months of meetings, etc. at work. Being a little (or a lot) Type A, I started filling in my desk calendar and personal planner. I got through May, but when I went to flip the page to get into June, there was a very clear, very distinct voice in my head that spoke so fast, I almost didn’t hear it. It said, “Don’t go past May.”

Weird. I tried to ignore it the first time, but when I went to flip the page in the calendar, I heard it again. “Don’t go past May.” It was kind of creepy and I tried to ignore it, but each time I tried to flip the calendar, I heard it. “Don’t go past May.” I gave up on it that day, thinking it was my conscience telling me that I needed to slow down a little and enjoy each day as it comes. It was something I decided to work on at the beginning of this year—learning to live in the moment a little more.

The thing that’s really bugging me is that was back in January. There have been several times since then that I’ve gone to flip forward to jot something down for May or June—or even September when I’m planning on attending a three-day conference—but that same voice, which is growing more insistent, keeps saying, “Don’t go past May.”

I don’t know what that means. I was starting to think I was I was getting a little nutty (or nuttier, as the case may be), but it’s not something that’s scaring me. It just seems like I need to be paying attention, that’s all.

Now, the ironic part is that there have been some changes in my professional life recently—I was offered an extra class at the university in the fall, which means I’ll be up to teaching three nights per week, which I’m both excited and nervous about. But for my full-time job, there have been a few odd occurrences, too. In addition to my regular responsibilities in Behavioral Health, I run a small private practice, and two of my regular clients informed me that they’re going to be moving in June and would be transferring services to another therapist at that time. They informed me of this AFTER I heard the voice telling me “Don’t go past May.” Even more ironic is that two weeks ago, the same two clients told me on the same day that their move dates had been moved up…to May. I think it’s probably just a coincidence, but who knows?

Maybe I’m being hypersensitive or too superstitious. But even now, when it’s practically April, I still can’t flip forward to jot things down for June. Strange, huh?

On a funnier (and entirely unrelated) note, I’ve blogged about the suspected ghosts in my house, but last night was beyond amusing. My sister Catherine was visiting, and she was not amused when my daughter’s miniature potty chair started flushing and talking. She told me I need to get the house blessed in a hurry, because there’s something strange going on. I told her that I think the ghost is a child and just enjoying my daughter’s toys. I don’t want to shoo away a nice, harmless ghost. She asked me how I cope with it, because it is kind of spooky. I told her that I just say a short prayer, asking God to send His angels to take charge of our home and keep us all safe. Then I got to thinking that maybe my daughter’s Guardian Angel is a child and it’s him/her having a good old time with her toys when my daughter is safely sleeping. That makes me feel pretty good, because it means that the angels are already there! And hey, I’m all for the angels taking a break and following labor laws—as long as one is still looking after my munchkin.

And as long as there’s one helping me figure out why I shouldn’t go past May…

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Something New

I'm always amazed how I can learn something new without even trying.

Today, I learned that anaphylactic shock is not limited to the airways. I learned that there's a little thing called gastrointestinal anaphylaxis. Who knew? Well, the allergist knew!

I went to the doctor this morning for a yearly check-up. I've been seeing an allergist since 2003 after I was stung by a wasp and found out, rather unpleasantly, that I'm violently allergic to insect venom. Anyway, today's visit was just a regular check up, but I brought up a concern that's developed over the past few weeks. I can't eat cherries anymore. I love cherries, used to eat them all the time, but a few weeks back, I ate some and got so sick that I honestly thought I was going to die. I wasn't sure if it was an allergic reaction at first, though as time passed, I was more and more convinced, given the itchy tongue and swelling lips. I'll spare you the rest of the details. Trust me, you WANT me to spare you the details. Let's just say it involved me sleeping on the bathroom floor.

So, the doctor checked me out and determined that yes, I've suddenly developed an allergy to cherries. What's more important, though, is that she thinks my terribly painful irritable bowel (which I've been dealing with and taking medication for since last year) may not be an irritable bowel at all. It might be on-going inflammation from other, undiagnosed food allergies. All the symptoms, while certainly in line with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also fall into the category of Gastrointestinal Anaphylaxis. The main difference is that Gastrointestinal Anaphylaxis can lead to full Anaphylactic Shock and kill a person. That scared me a little. Or a lot.

I'm going to be keeping a food diary for a while and see if my painful belly is due to something I'm eating. The doctor seems convinced and is planning on doing some new allergy testing to get to the bottom of it. I've always known that allergies can develop suddenly--especially food allergies--but I always thought of it as something that happened to other people. I guess I might be in the category of other people now. The doctor recommended a website, which I've had a chance to check out. Apparently, it's gotten more popular because of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, but I'd never heard of it before. It's www.foodallergy.org and if you have food allergies, you should check it out. It's very helpful.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Too Mad for a Title

You know, it's bad enough that in the past three and a half days, I got my tail kicked with a head cold and sinus infection...that I dislocated a bone in my wrist...that my daughter had to go to the ER because of croup...that my husband is now sick...that the computer is misbehaving AGAIN...

But now...now, I'm ready to chew iron and spit nails. The neighbor's dog dug up my front yard in six different spots. Six spots that included my cherished Sultans of Spring tulips. And my tender little crocuses that I almost lost last year. And my giant Big Eartha pink tulips. And the Gypsy and Woodland hyacinths. I am not happy. NOT. HAPPY.

If people can't be responsible for their animals, they shouldn't have them. I love dogs, but we're not ready to take care of one yet. Soon, but not yet. Next time the neighbor's dog is in my yard, I'm going to let it in my garage and keep it there until Animal Control can pick it up. There are three neighbors (yes, we're surrounded on all sides) who let their dogs crap in our yard (and everyone else's yards, too), let them run day and night without leashes and I can't even count how many times they've almost been hit by cars.

Enough is enough. This is my garden. My garden, that I spent a lot of money on and countless hours of planning and sweating so I could proudly display the flowers that I adore so much. And now some dog tears it all up. I don't even really blame the dog. I blame the dumb owners. And now my wrist hurts from typing, so I'm going to rest.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Look What I Can Do...

...decorating left-handed!

It's an Easter Bunny cake!
I realize I'm a Martha Stewart/Rachel Ray/Any Number of Home-Gardening-Cooking TV Celebrities Wannabe, but I love puttering around the kitchen and I absoluely go nuts when it comes to baking.


Looks good enough to eat, huh?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why I Need a Housekeeper/Maid

If I had a person to do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. for me...

I would not have dislocated a bone in my wrist today while doing laundry...

When I am preparing to host an Easter gathering at my house tomorrow.

I got home from the emergency room about an hour ago. I'm tired and cranky. And I'm typing with a big, ugly green and white splint on my hand/wrist/arm. The good news is that I talked the doctor out of putting me in a cast. Whew!

In spite of it all, I'm still prepared to pull off a nice dinner tomorrow. I'm relying heavily on my crock pots. And my husband, who, bless his heart, finished the laundry for me tonight.

I'm going to sleep now. Pooh on cleaning the rest of the house.

And Den By Dose Pell Opp (And then my nose fell off)

I woke up this morning with a raging sinus infection. My teeth hurt. My face is so swollen, all I can see are two pinpoints of brown where my usually very expressive eyes are supposed to be. It's worse on the left side, so I'm lopsided to boot.

Lovely, huh?

If I wasn't so self-conscious, I'd post a picture.

My daughter tried to make me feel better. She played a game of "Got Your Nose" with me this morning when I tried to explain to her that my nose was stuffy and that's why my face looked funny and why I sound strange when I talk. Her response was to pretend-grab my nose, throw it on the floor, jump on it, then hand it back to me and say, "Your nose fell off. I empty it. You put it back on and feel better."

I don't feel better yet, but it was too cute not to share.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Singing the Blues

Don't worry--I'm not really going to sing. I'm a terrible singer.

I've been feeling cranky all day today. I couldn't sleep last night. Not sleeping is nothing new--it's been several years since I actually got a full night's sleep. Last night though, my mind was racing more than usual.

One of my friends just found out she has two brain tumors. This is a woman I've gotten to know over the past two years, who is just kind and nice...and I don't understand why such terrible things happen to such good people. I think about Jamie and Heather, whose blogs I have been reading for a while, and how they have gone through so much and how hard they fight. It's going to be hard for my friend--but she's accepting this with grace and dignity. Fear too, of course, but she's keeping a positive attitude.

Then, just this afternoon, I found out that a friend of mine from college and grad school is pregnant. I'm so excited for her and her husband. I felt a twinge of envy--a little bit (or a lot bit) of baby itch, I suppose. Hopefully, that feeling will pass. She's going to be a wonderful mother. It's funny how as my friends have babies, they look to me as some kind of authority on the subject since I was the first woman in my circle of friends to become a mom, and my husband was the first guy in his circle of friends to become a dad. They think we're experts! Truthfully, we're just muddling through. I guess people figure it out as they go along. It's the only time in my life I've really allowed myself to fly by the seat of my pants, and I'm pretty okay with that.

On top of that, the planned Easter gathering at my house Saturday is turning into a headache. It was all set, things were good, and then certain *someones* just had to go and start messing things up. *sigh* I think I'm going to take a hot shower and go to bed. I'm emotionally worn out. I have faith that tomorrow will be a good day.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Countdown...

I'm going on a mini-vacation to visit my sister in D.C. in 29 days. This little getaway is desperately needed. How do I know?

I don't usually use hairspray, but my hair was kind of unruly this morning, so I thought it might be useful. I sprayed my hair. It smelled heavenly. Yummy apples and warm vanilla. One little problem...my hairspray has a citrus scent to it. I closed my eyes for a moment, telling myself I didn't just do what I thought I did. I opened my eyes, looked down and the evidence was there.

I sprayed my hair with air freshener.

Stop laughing.

*P.S. It's 2:30pm and I just realized my trip is in 39, not 29 days. But my hair still smells lovely.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lessons Learned

I learned two things today.

First, after spending two weeks without eating any junk food at all, a candy bar doesn't taste particularly good. My husband bought me a peanut butter Twix, which my daughter opened and offered to share with me...I ate it, but it was just sort of okay. I realized a piece of cheese and some fruit would have tasted better. Strange.

Second, while grocery shopping this morning, I learned that even if I'm clear on the other side of the store, deciding which chicken to get, my nose can pick up the distinct smell of...dirt. I followed the scent all the way over to the garden center. Sure enough, big bags of dirt. Seeds. Gardening equipment. Bulbs. Patio furniture. I started twitching with sheer glee. There's a hint of warmth in the air...spring is almost here and I can finally get back to digging in my gardens!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

All in a Day's Work

Snooze alert: A Day in the Life of Martha

5:50am: Alarm goes off. I stumble bleary-eyed to the bathroom, wash my face, drink some water and change into my workout clothes.

5:52am: Drag very tired behind onto the bike for seven miles. (First half of workout)

6:23am: Feeling awake and sweaty, head to shower.

6:32am: Get out of shower and start getting ready for work.

7:04am: Head downstairs for breakfast. Fill water bottle and make lunch while eggs are cooking.

7:15am: Brush teeth, pull hair back, grab work bag and go downstairs.

7:16am: Run back upstairs to kiss the kiddo and hubby good-bye.

7:17am: Load car. Get into car. Realize car is lopsided due to nearly flat tire.

7:18am: Set up mini-air compressor to fill tire. Go into house and yell at hubby for not doing it last night like he promised.

7:20am: Go back to garage only to see air compressor has come loose and is not filling tire. Put it back on.

7:31am: Pull out of garage. Turn on radio. Favorite song is on. Yay!

7:55am: Get to work. Spill contents of lunch bag in parking lot. Pick up lunch and head into office.

7:58am: Officially punch in for the workday.

Just over nine hours, three mini-crises, misunderstood e-mails, 17 phone calls, staff freaking out and two late counseling appointments later, I get my daughter. I'm way behind schedule. I'm suffering. My daughter will not be happy with me.

5:19pm: Pick up daughter, who doesn't want to go home. I'm convinced she's punishing me for being 45 minutes late. Minor tantrum ensues. I promise she can help me cook dinner. Crying done.

5:57pm: Tomato soup, grilled cheese and veggies served to sweet little girl.

6:07pm: Start load of laundry. Head back to table to have pleasant dinner conversation with my little sweetie.

6:18pm: Clean up from dinner. Unload clean dishes, load dirty dishes.

6:33pm: Hubby gets home. Still mad at him for not filling my tire.

6:37pm: Not so mad anymore. Time to clean the kitchen floor. Where do all those crumbs come from anyway?

6:45pm: Clean bathroom. Daddy does bath duty. Clean other bathroom and powder room.

7:12pm: Comfort bathtub-contained crying child who's screaming, "I don't want daddy! I want mommy!"

7:20pm: Cuddle with calmed child, who cheerfully reads "The Wheels on the Bus" to me--twice.

7:26pm: Munchkin gets up to go the bathroom and get a drink of water.

7:29pm: Munchkin asleep

7:30pm: Switch wash loads. Check university e-mail. Make sure no students are flaking out and planning on skipping mid-term tomorrow night.

7:37pm: Print off lecture notes for next two nights. Organize everything for school.

7:56pm: Get everything ready for full-time job.

8:01pm: Sit my tired behind down to post this goofy schedule.

8:21pm: Finish post.

Now, I'm going to grade a few papers and then do the second half of my workout. I should get to bed around 10:30pm.

Whew!

Hallmarks of a Mom

There are certain things in my life that point to the fact that I'm a mom.

1. For each year that my daughter is old, my purse gets one size bigger. In two more years, I think I'll be carrying a small suitcase.

2. In said purse, it is not unusual to find a half-eaten granola bar or a tiny pair of Care Bears underpants.

3. After scraping my knuckle while putting air in my tire, I will find in the above mentioned purse the necessary first-aid items. Of course, this consists mostly of antibiotic ointment and Hello Kitty band-aids. The bright pink band-aid on my knuckle has been a good conversation starter this morning at work.

4. I unconsciously brush lint from other people's clothes.

5. I will also pull fuzz out of their hair.

6. I will use the same pleading tone of voice when I'm coaxing the office copier to work properly that I use when I'm trying to get my daughter out of the bathtub.

7. I have learned the true meaning of multi-tasking (cooking, folding laundry, soothing a crying baby and not kicking a complaining husband all at the same time).

8. My head whips around completely of its own accord whenever I hear a child crying.

9. I automatically look up/over my shoulder whenever I hear a tiny voice saying, "Mommy?"

10. I fill my arms with witches and lions and dinosaurs (that are invisible to me) that huddle under my daughter's bed every night and shoo them outside so she can feel safe when she sleeps.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Things I Carry

Before my daughter came along, I thought my life was pretty complete. Now that she's in my life, I know that everything before her was in preparation for my life in the present moment.

I believe that we all have things we carry. We carry good things, not-so-good things, hopes, dreams, wishes, plans, prayers...all the little things that make us who we are. One of the biggest things I carry these days is what I will leave behind. I want to leave a legacy for my daughter. When my time comes to go Home (which I pray is a long, long time from now), I want to be able to leave with comfort, knowing that my daughter will bid me a fond farewell and be able to think, "I want to be like my mom." With that thought in mind, I started a journal for her a few years ago.

I was thumbing through it a few nights ago, smiling at some of what I had written within the past year ("I just want to tell you that if you get married and have kids, it's okay to fantasize every now and then about being single and having fewer responsibilities and obligations. And it's also okay to fantasize about punching your husband in the nose, because he whines and complains more than the much-sicker toddler. But things will return to normal, I promise."), frowning at some of the stuff from two years ago that I worry may be too much for her to handle ("I don't know if your dad and I are going to make it."), curious about whether she'll take any of my advice ("Let your kids run around naked every now and then, because a kid's butt, especially when it's farting like crazy at 7am, even when you're running late, is pretty funny."), when I came across an entry that I don't remember writing. Of course, that's not particularly unusual. Heck, give me a pen and a tablet of paper, and the words start flowing, almost taking on a life of their own. Even though it's a journal, and kind of personal, I thought I'd share it...

June 27, 2006 Tuesday

Hi Pumpkin! I love you! Today was kind of busy--you had some tummy problems at daycare, but you seem to be feeling better and now you're peacefully asleep. I was thinking about you a lot tonight. My little girl. You do have a lot of your daddy in you. But I see me in you, too. I pray that you get good things from me. Being part of me is tough work, but I also think you get some serious toughness from me. I have to tell you what a sweet girl you are--happy, pleasant, a joy in every way. And brave. It's amazing how eager you are to explore your surroundings. I hope as you get older, you keep all those qualities, but there's something important I need to tell you. I certainly want you to be a brave person, but always remember that being brave does not mean never being scared. Fear is going to happen, and it's okay to let it get you down sometimes. Being brave means not letting fear KEEP you down. Hold onto that. Always. I love you.

Reading that entry gave me hope that I'm doing okay at this thing called Life. Fear does get me down every now and then, but it has yet to keep me down. This whole "legacy" thing just might work out after all.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pillow Talk

Conversation early this morning (BEFORE my alarm went off)...

Him (hovering over me, gently poking): Hey, are you okay?

Me (groggy and barely awake): Huh?

Him: Are you okay?

Me (struggling to focus): What? Yeah, I'm fine. What's wrong?

Him: There's a pillow on the bed.

Me: What?

Him: Yeah. Right here. There's a pillow here. Right next to your head.

Me: You mean the one I'm laying on?

Him: What are you talking about?

Me: What am I talking about? What are you talking about?

Him: Just what I said. There's a pillow on the bed next to your head. Who put it there?

Me (thinking): Beats the heck outta me, but if you keep this up, I'm gonna whap you with it.

Him: Did you put it there?

Me: What? The pillow?

Him: Yeah. Did you put it there because I was snoring?

Me (thinking): No, but that's not a bad idea. Just shove a pillow between our faces when he snores? Not a bad idea at all.

Him: Weird.

Me: You're nuts.

Him: What was I just talking about?

Me: I have no idea.

This, dear readers, is why back in the olden days, men and women slept not only in separate beds, but SEPARATE ROOMS!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Blogging Etiquette

I'm having a slight blogging problem that I'm hoping someone can help me with.

So, there's a blog that I read regularly that I've always enjoyed until recently. There were 2 posts, relatively close to each other, that I found to be troublesome and offensive. Certainly people are entitled to their thoughts and beliefs, and to blog about them as they see fit. Goodness knows I do. But what if it's something that I really disagree with? That I'm really, really opposed to? In both cases, I read the posts, then went on my way because I was pretty much stunned into silence. I try hard to subscribe to the whole, "If you don't have something nice to say, then don't say anything at all" theory. The thing is, I'm really troubled by what I read and it took a lot for me NOT to leave a comment. If I suddenly stop reading/commenting, does that breach some kind of blogging etiquette? Or should I let the person know (nicely, of course) that due to a difference of opinions and my very strong feelings on the subject matter, I won't be coming back? Or in this whole wide, blogging world, is it likely the person won't notice?

Any thoughts?

Menu Plan Monday

Now that my stomach is feeling a little better, I've started thinking about a menu for this week.

Monday (tonight): Three-cheese chicken and noodles with peas and garlic bread. For the sake of my tummy, I think I'll stick to some plain noodles and a few bites of chicken.

Tuesday: Not sure. I'm working late which means Daddy-O is cooking.

Wednesday: Spaghetti with salad

Thursday: Burritos--I'm thinking this would be good with lots of beans and shredded turkey, along with all kinds of yummy veggies.

Friday: Hmmmmm. It is Lent. And I am allergic to seafood. So, it'll be either grilled cheese with tomato soup and roasted potatoes or a cheese pizza with green beans.

Normally, I try to jazz things up a little bit when I menu plan, but I've been out of bed for a few hours, and it's taken all my energy. I haven't been sick like this in a long time, and I'm so grateful that I'm starting to feel better!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Belly Bug

In a matter of minutes earlier this afternoon, I was stricken with a violent stomach bug. I thought it was food poisoning at first, but now I'm not so sure. All do know is that I lost three pounds today. If I keep going at this rate, I'll have the exact body I want in two weeks.

Not worth it. I'm going to bed now.