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All About My Arse


You see this picture?

Well, it makes it look like the coccyx, or tailbone, should curve inward, toward the middle of the body, doesn't it? Mine doesn't do that. At least, for all appearances, it doesn't. It seems that it juts out, and it has become more and more prominently, uh, jutty, the more weight I've lost.

Now, I'm not the most active human being, at least when I'm home, and I spend a good portion of my time sitting down in my little comfort zone.  I haven't felt well this past week or two, so I've been sitting more than usual.

I guess that was enough to do it. My tailbone poked straight through and is now sticking out of my body.

Okay, okay, I made that up. But I do have a pressure sore from my jutting coccyx, and I had to go to the emergency room to have it treated today.

Here's me in the exam room:


Except, I was lying down on the bed, making sure my curtain completely covered the doorway each time. What else is there to do?! When you've got a sore in your "butt canyon," as my friend Jenny From the Block made me burst out laughing by saying today, you pretty much gotta bend over and spread 'em. Not the best hour I've ever spent in my life.

So the nurse packed my butt canyon sore full of squishy bandages, for maximum comfort, and now I have to sit on a 'roid pillow or other comfy cushion for the rest of my life, if I don't want this to worsen or recur. Awesome. I've been advised numerous times, including by the ER doc again today, against having the coccyx shaved down. I guess it's a pretty nasty surgery to have and from which to recover, and really, when you think about where they'd have to go in from and all the things they could run into while they're in there, I'm guessing they know what they're talking about.

So, fun times ahead.

Hemorrhoid cushion

Are those Eeyore hemorrhoid cushions? Hello, Christmas is coming!

And thus ends the post about my poor, sore hiney. Hope you enjoyed it.


"The Big 'C'"

That's what my dear, departed grandpa called it. Cancer. "The Big C." He couldn't even really bring himself to say it.

As young as I can remember, my grandparents were smokers. My grandpa had his extensive collection of pipes, and there was always one in his mouth, while my grandma smoked More cigarettes. You know, those long, skinny ones? Anyway, one day, as he tells it, his dentist told him he was working on "The Big C," and he quit smoking tobacco that very day. Honestly. Got rid of all his pipes and never smoked again a day in his life.

My grandmother wasn't so lucky. She was helplessly addicted, and even though she'd had breast cancer twice - in her 30s and in her 50s - and was on oxygen, and then in a wheelchair, and had horrible emphysema, she still smoked. Oh, we begged. Once, we staged an intervention. To no avail, of course, because she would pull out her oxygen tube, puff away, and then stick it back in. The Big C is what took her life, too soon for me, but I suppose it never would have been a good time, eh?

So right now, I'm dealing with The Big C myself, in three different ways, and I'm so OVER it. Because Grandma had breast cancer in her 30s, and I'm now 35, I've gotten a referral to get the breast cancer gene test done. I'm going to call tomorrow and make that appointment. (My mother died at 33, too soon to tell whether she would've gotten it so early, but both my sister and I have had scares with lumps, so I was able to talk my way into getting the referral.)

Also, I have several suspicious skin things going on. I'm very fair-skinned, and I burn like nobody's business. I've had sunburns almost every year of my life, including multiple really bad ones as a kid and one so bad, in my first year of college in Miami, that put me in the hospital. So I'm being followed by Dermatology for skin checks, as well.

And finally, a little TMI. I had a near-complete hysterectomy (I have one ovary) on April 9, 2008 (I remember the date so well because it's the anniversary of Mom's death) after multiple bouts of cervical carcinoma with repeated LEEPs, colposcopies, and the whole deal just not getting rid of the problem. So now, with no cervix or uterus or anything left but the one ovary, why am I having bleeding and spotting? I went to the doc this morning, and she performed an ouchie exam on me. She was concerned, quite. So tomorrow night, I'm having a pelvic ultrasound to check on that ovary, and I'm also being referred back to GYN/Oncology, to see the docs who did my hysto.

I'm saying all this just because I'm a little anxious, which I think is natural in this situation. I'm not a pessimist, I'm not overly worried, but I feel a little like, "The Big C" is coming, and it's just a matter of when and where. I don't want to go that way. So if I get it, I will be strong, I will do what it takes to get well, and I will FIGHT. I'm just so sick of the threat of it right now, and I needed this post to get it off my chest.

{In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, by the way, I'm donating a percentage of all my Jafra sales to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. If you order and would like to have that donation made in your name, I will be happy to do so.}

So. May you all live long, healthy lives, and a big F-U to The Big C!!


So Much For That.

I'm going to make a long story short:

The kids all went to camp this past week. Chloë was gone from Sunday thru Friday, while the Littles were gone only Wednesday to Friday night. I planned to use the time to deep-clean my disaster of a house. I was highly motivated. It needs it badly, and I intended to get down on my hands and knees and scrub every square inch.

Well, that didn't happen.

Oh, they went to camp all right. I have no pictures, because I suck, but they all seemed to have had a great experience this year. There's not much to tell: they did camp stuff, like swimming and field games, arts and crafts, and learning new songs. What you would expect to hear, that's what I'd probably tell you.

But I didn't get to clean this monstrosity. I didn't lift even the tiniest pinky.


Because I got freakin' sick instead. The kids were all sick for the prior couple of weeks, so it was inevitable, but that didn't make the timing any less sucktastic. Indeed, they're still getting over their various colds, while I am still in the no-voice, nose-running-like-a-faucet, clogged ears thick of it. I've been quite miserable, and I haven't hesitated to let anyone who wanted to listen know it.

Not many people wanted to listen, so I'm telling you.

Of course, when I'm sick, the house gets even worse than usual. So right now, it's probably the worst, most icky I've ever seen it, and I would like to torch it right down to the ground and/or run away.

Barring that, which I can't do now that I've said that, I'm going to ride out this misery and then come back fighting, to get this house ship-shape. I have to say, though, that I'm disappointed the time when all three kids were gone for two whole days was wasted by me sleeping on the couch for about 27 hours straight. I needed it, but dang.

Aside from resting and more resting (and endless nose-blowing), I've been making stuff for my Etsy shop. I have been stash-busting through my scrapbooking supplies, since I've gone digital on our family books, making cards, tags, and other what-have-yous that you can check out here. If you're interested, use the coupon code "SCRAPPY" to get free shipping on any goods from the paper section of my shop.

I've made a few cards to send out to real people I know, too, like my friend Erin who's gone and gotten engaged, to my total and complete delight. She and her afianced man-friend received this one:

... Hm. I appear not to have taken pictures of it, or if I have, they are gone? Weird. I'm sure I did. Maybe she'll send me one of it to show you later. :D

Also, tomorrow my father will turn 69, and as I feel safe in that he won't be reading this post, I'll show you his card:

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You might recognize it if you already peeked at my shop, since I listed it there as well. He's an enormous Elvis fan, so when I found this on a card website, I had to "scraplift" it, as we say in the scrapbooking world. I don't know what card makers say, since I'm a n00b, but I'm sure it's similar. Or maybe it's frowned upon and I'll get busted down a peg or two. Either way, it's already in the mail, and he will like it, so that is that.

There's another card winging its way to another person who reads this blog, maybe, so I can't show you that one just yet. I'm not claiming to be all good at this or anything - I'm just starting out in the card-making venture - but it sure is fun and addictive! I'm having a blast. And I sold a set of six cards this morning on Etsy, so I'm legit, right?

Welp, that's the gist of what's been going on this week. Camp. Sick. Cards. Oh, and endless litterbox cleaning. I've managed that, at least, because if I don't, the two kittens pee and poop wherever the hell they feel like it, and you know what? I can't have that. Groooo-ooooosssss.

So back to work for me. Check out my shop and "favorite" it if you haven't already, please. I check that stat frequently, obsessively, and the number rarely changes. You'd think I'd stop.

Have a great weekend, y'all!


P.S. I lied. I do have two pictures of freshly picked-up Sophia from camp:


"I'm hungry. I'm starving. I'm STARVING...," she whined.


Apparently not as much as she was tired, because this was her within five minutes. She slept more after the hour-long drive home, too. I should send her to camp more often! 


And here's an enormous grasshopper that I'm showing you just so I can file it away in July pictures. It jumped on my desk and gave me a start! I called Rob over to rescue me from it, or it from me, depending on your viewof things. Thing was HA-YUGE. He's going to use it as fish bait. 

I Dream In Buttercream



Lately I've had several orders come in for You Take The Cake! - which is GREAT except for one very big problem: It's like, 900º out there (and in here), and we currently don't have air conditioning. We have a fan. That's it. You know what doesn't like heat and humidity? Buttercream frosting. You know what cakes are made with, lotsa times? Buttercream frosting. I've had to turn down a few jobs, or at least not pursue them, but I did take on some orders this week that I thought I could fill.

This one, above, was for a gentleman who was helping plan the baby shower for his wife and their first child, a little girl. She had mentioned petits fours to him, so he wanted to get some for her. We settled on 80, for 30 guests. He mostly left the rest up to my discretion, but he mentioned that his wife liked pink and green. So here's the breakdown:

40 Vanilla cakes + 40 Chocolate cakes

Of those, 20 were pink fondant, 20 were white, 20 were green, and 20 were chocolate - 10 of each cake flavor.

Of the vanilla cakes, half were layered with rich buttercream, while the other half were layered with hazelnut chocolate creme.

Of the chocolate, a third was the buttercream, a third was the Nutella (duh), and a third was homemade key lime curd, which turned out to be outrageously delicious. (I have more of that on refrigeration and will be looking for a good usage of it soon!)

The petits fours were oodles and oodles of work. If I'd known how much, I might've charged double! I will remember that in the future. They turned out bigger than I wanted them to be, but I could've easily controlled that. I chose to go with it, and after staying up all night, what, Thursday night, baking the cakes and filling them, I froze them and then spent Friday alternating between making up and dipping them in their various fondant coatings, and working on the baby blocks cake the client also wanted for the main cake, spelling out the baby's name.

As far as the petits fours, I asked my husband over and over if they looked okay, and over and over he said they looked great, very professional, blah blah blah. This man also tells me I have a sexy body, which I clearly do not if you have ever seen me in the nekkitude, so I accepted his assertions only with serious dubiousness. I mean, really, do they look okay?!

Once those were finished, nestled on their foil-covered boards and boxed, I kept them in front of the fan so they wouldn't turn into so many goobly gobs of pink and green poo, and turned my attention to the block cake.

Oh, the block cake. It should have been SO easy. Really, blocks? What's the trouble, bubble?

That damn humidity did a serious number on my buttercream. It just would NOT set. And my cakes, apparently they didn't like the barometric pressure in the house or something, because they kept crumbling in my hands. Which necessitated using MORE buttercream-as-glue to put it back together, and Oh, My Gosh, I literally sat there and cried when I saw that it was not just going to come together.

Other than my Topsy Turvy Cake Wreck (did I ever blog about that? It was fugly, but a fun practice effort), this was the hardest confection I think I have ever tried to put together.

I frantically emailed the daddy and told him of my predicament. He told me, take your time, and let me know if there's anything I can do to help. I retorted something like, "Yeah, bring me a stiff drink," or some such unprofessional inappropriateness.

Long story short, Mr. Client arrived while I was still tearing what's left of my hair out over the blocks cake and weeping in my buttercream, toting a bottle of rum and a, well, a very sexy smile. Rob was asleep upstairs. Whatever. He could have come down at any time and joined us, and we certainly didn't try to be quiet.

We raided my shot glass collection (as he laughed at my Ocean Breeze one, but hey, if I've been there, I want it represented in an inch and a half of two-dollar painted glass), and he poured us each a shot. Woo. I haven't done shots since college, maybe? Or maybe I have, but nothing so burn-y and wow-ee. You know that kind. They were nothing to him, but to li'l ol' me, they were quite the thing.

Of course, being post-gastric bypass, one shot and I was done. Toast. Positively inebriated. So you can imagine how I felt after five. Yes, five. I'm not proud. But it was fun.

In the end, he decided he couldn't accept the blocks cake, because it just didn't work out. And I didn't blame him, because really, it just didn't work out! I'm embarrassed to show you, but of course I'm going to, because that's all you want from me right now:


No, the "N" didn't really lean over that far; it was the angle of the picture. And no, it's not gasp-worthy or anything like that. But it's really, really not terrific.

Honestly, though, I did the best I could under the circumstances. And like Mr. Daddy (that sounds dirty, hee) said, "It's just a cake." He was very chill about the whole thing. You know I was waiting for him to leave so I could pop eleventy-five anti-anxiety pills, which I did, because it was all very stressful.

So in the end, while we did those five shots, I mashed up the cake and made him set up little bitty boxes. I turned the blocks into little cake balls, using the leftover pink fondant from the petits fours, and decorated each with a little pink florette. I told him he could toss those out the window on his way home, use them at the shower, or whatever-the-hell, but just take them to make me feel better.

And so he did.


P.S. I'm making him cookies for his birthday in a couple of weeks, and you know I can kill some cookies. And he promised I haven't lost his business. So it wasn't a total cake-tastrophe. Oh. Did I really just go there? I think I did.

P.P.S. Totally forgot: He said the petits fours were a hit at the shower. So yay. I'm not a total screw-up!

Awful Arthur's... IS.

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So the other day, I snagged a free $25 gift certificate to Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar on General Booth Blvd, from one of those daily deals websites. Didn't cost me a thing, so knowing that Rob loves him some oysters, I nabbed that puppy. Did he want to go for Father's Day? He did. So last night, for dinner, we went there for the first time.


Things started out not terrific and got worse from there. Smokers lined the main entrance, which put me in an instant foul mood. I'm sorry, but it's gross, and I hate breathing it in and thinking of my children doing the same. Plus it gives me a horrible headache.  Then there was a live band playing mostly metal covers, which isn't my thing, but so what. They were much, much too loud, though, and the kids kept putting their fingers in their ears. I thought it was amusing, so I didn't make them stop. The band wasn't that great, either, but again, so what, we weren't paying for the show.

The five of us were seated right away at a four-top, so Chloë had to sit at the end of a table. There were six- and eight-tops available, so in my head I wondered why we weren't seated at one of those... until a poker team came in and started setting up at those two tables. Ah. Poker. I see.

We ordered shortly after we were given our menus, which wasn't at first because who knows why, and then we proceeded to wait more than 40 minutes for our food. I ordered a Diet Coke and was given a Diet Pepsi, with no warning that it wasn't what I had ordered. Hello, Diet Pepsi tastes like toothpaste. It is bad. I asked, "Is this Pepsi?"  She affirmed. "Oh, yeah, I can't do that, sorry. I'll just have some water." She smiled and brought me some water with lemon. With lots of seeds in it. Usually, I think, they take out the seeds. At least, they should. I sucked one up in my straw. And swallowed it. Maybe I'll have lemons growing in there.

Let's see, what else... while we waited, we each visited the rest rooms. Nothing sticks out in my head about those, so I guess they were fine, except we had to do the hokey-pokey around the sticking-out poker tables to get there, which wasn't awesome. The kids played with the soft-tip dart machine until Sophia started climbing the board to get the darts out, and I had to put a stop to that action. They were quickly becoming BORED and STARVING and CRANKY. Really, just what you want in three kids at a restaurant. Where was the food?!!

Meanwhile, the whole time, I'm posting on Facebook about the damn smokers going in and out of the main only entrance and parking themselves RIGHT THERE, so that we still had to breathe in their godawful odors the whole time anyway. Seriously, there has to be a law. Oh, wait, I looked it up. There is. Unless there is a separate entrance just for non-smokers, it is illegal in Virginia to smoke standing outside the entrance of a restaurant or other business. I didn't find what the distance was, but I bet I could now that I'm not on my iPhone, with a little due diligence.

Finally, the food came. Well, everyone's did except for mine. They gave Sophia Jack's burger and Jack Sophia's grilled cheese. Whining ensued. I smiled and switched the plates. (Competent servers know who gets what without auctioning off the plates or, like this, just setting them down wherever the feck they feel like it.) She asked me, "Do you need any silverware?" I smiled and said, "I... need my food." She walked off kind of huffily. But hey, it's not like anyone said to me, "Your sandwich will be right out," or any such thing. And I did smile. Nicely, I might add.

After another 7 or so minutes, my broiled crabcake sandwich was put in front of me, with all manner of produce piled on top of it. I unpiled the lettuce, and the onion, and the tomato, and found.. a very burnt crabcake. Was it fried? No, it was broiled. To oblivion. The server came back after another half-century, and I pointed out my extra-crispy crabby patty. I don't know what I said, but it was something like, "I... I'm not happy with this," in my apologetic tone. I can behave, you know. And I still was.

She agreed. I mean, how could she not? Picture a dog turd. It looked like that, only with flecks of green on top.  Very dark, kind of La Mush, and not shaped terribly well.  She asked if I wanted a fresh batch of onion rings or just the sandwich remade. I said I didn't care. I was starting to be a grump.

Meanwhile, it was 35¢ chicken wing night, like every Sunday according to the sign, so we had a half-dozen hot ones for Rob and a half-dozen salt-and-vinegar ones for me. With Ranch dressing for dipping. Now those were good. No complaints there. Actually, they were really good. So they get some things right, apparently. And Rob's oyster po'boy was just right, too. Let me point out the other good things: Yup. Nope. That's all I got. Oh, well, and the prices were great, and the kids' meals were okay. Except none of them would eat theirs. Except for the fries.

I tried the fries. They were... not good. Not one speck of salt, which, to me, is a must in a fry that's Frenchly made, and when I salted them, it wouldn't stick to them, either. WTF. I'm sorry, McDonald's is gross and all, but they make some damn good fries. Other restaurants should emulate their greasy, salty tastiness. That is a good fry. Fries that are all dark and hard and NOT salty are not good fries. And that is the whole truth and nothing but.

So I'm waiting for my crabcake sandwich to come back out, watching the poker players disappear out the front door every 30 seconds for a cig (honestly, why not just move the tables out there, since you're spending most of your time there anyway?) and finishing off the vinegar-y wings of deliciousness. The repeat dish was finally brought out, at which point I just asked for a box. Still nicely. I was just full. Of wings.

Everyone else was just about finished, since they weren't eating much anyway - except Rob, who was plum full of oyster po'boy like he likes to be. I said, "No dessert" and for once got nary a complaint. Apparently I wasn't the only one who wanted outta there.

Finally, my boxed meal and the check were brought out. I politely informed the server that they were in violation of Virginia's anti-smoking laws and that I would be following up with them to make sure they came into compliance. I made no mention of who I was or why that job was up to me, but she got all bitchtastic about it and sputtered some things sarcastically that I couldnt' hear because of the too-loud suckilicious band playing on the other side of the restaurant. I just knew, from her expression and the bit of tone I could catch, that it wasn't so nice.

We got our boxes, and my camera and purse, and I paid the tab. Which wasn't much, thanks to that certificate that had brought us there in the first place. I even left a rather respectable tip. And then we walked to our van.


When I turned around to take a picture of the entrance, the one or two smokers had turned into ten or twelve, lined up and giving me the finger with their eyeballs!

That picture is the only one that turned out clear, because as I snapped away, they all ran and hid, back in the restaurant, which made me cackle in a rather malicious way. I hate inconsiderate smokers. I really do. You rarely run into a considerate one, but I appreciate those that are.

And so we left and went home to have our Family Meeting, which went swell, thanks.

So... how was YOUR day?


P.S. For the sake of this review, as it were, I just went in and tasted a couple bites of the crab cake. It LOOKS much better, but it's so orange with Old Bay seasoning that I didn't have high expectations for taste. I was right. It's got so much seasoning and fillers that I could not even taste the slightest bit of crabbiness. Not one bit. I'll stick to Uncle Chuck, the fishmonger down at the Farmer's Market, thanks.



My Name, It Is Melanie

... But some days, it could be changed to "Melancholy." Like this weekend. Saturday, the 18th, was my gran'pappy's 85th birthday, and I was a little weepy with missing him and not being able to call and offer my well-wishes and love.

And today was Father's Day, of course, so I again wasn't able to call Grandpa and wish him a happy day. Furthermore, it would've been my own parents' 40th anniversary. I talked to my dad about it, and the two of us got weepy together. We both admitted to the other that sometimes, it's okay to think about sad things for a minute and move on, but other times, if you need to, it's okay to wallow in the sad thing and just allow yourself to feel all the feelings that it brings. Don't you think?

So while I've had a day of celebrating Father's Day with the dad of my own four children, those things have been tugging at my heartstrings and, well, making me melancholy.


...However, so far it could NOT be changed to "Melanoma," a nickname one of my high school BFFs bestowed upon me way back when. I went to the doctor last week to have a skin cancer screening, because I've had a number of spots causing me serious consternation for a little while now. But I'm in the clear! I do have a number of things on me with long names I can't remember, but nothing that gave the dermatologist (who was quite hot, thank you very much) pause.  Whew!


...Immediately after the derm., I visited the endocrinologist for a bone density screening, since I'm technically in menopause. (April 9, 2008: Hysterectomy, with total removal except for one ovary, if you're keeping track of my medical history. And I know you are.) Everything looked okay except for my hips, which are non-dense. I was prescribed to walk more often and take a 'D' supplement, which I'm supposed to do anyway.

I don't have a "Melan...density" nickname to go along with that paragraph, sorry; I just felt I should share that since, well, I know you worry about me being dense.  Am I dense? Quite, thank you.

I'll be back later. Maybe. I don't feel tired, so I think I'll bake the cake that's due Wednesday and stick it in the freezer, and then come back and write some more stuff. M'Kay? So come back and read it, if you will be so kind.


Every Once In A While...

... something happens that makes me want to shut this blog down.

In this case, a former online-only "friend" contacted me just to be nasty about the fact that I'm homeschooling, because apparently I was nasty to her when she was homeschooling her kids (which I, honestly and truthfully, don't remember but expect it was during my pre-medication days when I wasn't really great to ANYone) and I'm such a huge hypocrite. Well, be that as it may, things change, people change, situations change, and this is where we are now, and I'm embracing our new lifestyle.

I just don't get it, though. Why contact someone just to be a bitch to them, when you're leaving them and their life completely and totally alone?! I don't read HER blog, we have blocked each other off Facebook, and I avoid her at all costs. It's a complete mystery to me why some people go out of their way just to cause misery to someone else, out of the blue, unprovoked like that.

It really affects me. I don't just let shit like that roll off my back. I'm sitting here reeling.  I open my life, I tell you what I do, what I think, what I say... and I get crap for it. I'm real, I'm a real person, with real feelings, and yes, I make real mistakes. Lots of them. I own that. But when a friendship goes bad, and especially when it goes really down south, I let it go and leave it behind. Why people can't do the same is beyond me. 

I know I'm rambling. I guess I just wanted to put it out there. And as for YOU, V, LEAVE ME ALONE.


Nutella: The Opposite Of Mustard

I decided that last week. As far as appeal and desirability and the wanting to have it near me and, too, IN me, it's the truth. Don't you find?

I'm eating a salad right now. We went to Florida all last week and the traveling food put me up on the scale a few pounds, so I'm trying to knock them back off. I even dragged the family along on a walk to 7-11 for a Diet Coke run on Saturday, instead of driving. Jack complained the whole time. He doesn't like to walk. He doesn't like to run, either. He just likes to ride. Lazy, he is. He gets it from his mother.

Where was I?

Oh, right. Nowhere, really, except that I checked out my Google Reader blogs tonight for the first time in ages and noticed that I've posted almost nothing but memes lately. I know y'all hate that, so "here my am!" (A three-year-old daughter of a once-friend said that upon emerging from her house, and I found it so darling that it immediately went into the Things-I-Will-Remember-Even-If-I-Have-Alzheimer's Vault. You have one too, don'tcha?)

I have an early-morning appointment with Chloë's dentist, first of all, to fix the appliance that she broke quite by accident last night, and second, at the Naval hospital, to have a skin check for various squamous cell carcinoma-melanoma-Oklahoma type things I have going on in various places on my person. I planned on pulling an all-nighter so I don't oversleep and miss them both. It's not unusual for me to do that; I average 2-3 a week. Suddenly, though, I am yawning. I just got back from 7-11 with my Coke refill and that salad, and I dove headfirst into the salad. Since I can't drink and eat at the same time anymore, thanks to Oscar, my caffeine-loading has plummeted. As long as I keep up a certain level of caff in the system, I can go indefinitely.

I never shoulda stopped the Caffeine-Free Lifestyle of which I was once so proud. It all started last summer, when I went freebie-blog/homeschooling-prep/Girl Scout Leader-prep crazy and had no time or energy for anything. So I had a cup of coffee one night, and whammo! It woke me UP! I liked that. I made myself sick on Mountain Dew while cramming for a final exam in college one time, so it had been ages since I'd really had a decent amount of caffeine. Well, now it's all over, and I am, sadly, addicted. Gots to have it.

Speaking of which, the other day we were leaving the afore-mentioned Naval hospital after Sophia's neurology appointment (which is a whole 'nother post, by the way), and I saw a poster in the hallway about a study on caffeine-induced psychosis. "Stop, kids! Wait!" I demanded, so I could peruse the poster for a quick sec. I didn't really glean anything important from it other than, "Hm, maybe I shouldn't drink so much of this shit, but since I already knew that for other reasons, I will carry on and ignore this lovely piece of information."

And speaking of psychosis, I had a tearful breakdown to Rob the other day, in which I confessed that I think more is wrong with me, mentally, than "just" bipolar disorder. Which isn't "just" anything, and I seem to have a particularly nasty case of it myself. So I really don't need more bugs in the attic, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I got myself all convinced that I have schizophrenia or dissociative disorder or some other fun problem, and I'm going to totally break from reality, and ruin the lives of everyone who ever met me.

Hey, I wonder where Chloë gets her Drama Queen tendencies? I don't know.

Anyway, so I have this skin check tomorrow. I thought it would take at least a month to be seen, between getting an appointment just to have the referral put in, and then the specialist appointment, but it's all happening very fast. Which ought to freak me out, but it's having quite the opposite effect, actually. I was so freaked out, having talked myself into a Stage 4 case of Malignant Melanoma (which may or may not even be an actual, eh, stage of this type of cancer), and then the wheels moved very quickly, and now I'm being seen imMEjutly, and I feel like, wow, people are paying attention to this problem I'm having and it's going to be taken care of, and I'll be okay. Either way, I'll be okay. I just feel better knowing that my symptoms are being addressed expediently and with the proper level of seriousness, rather than dismissed the way I usually feel my concerns are. Know what I mean?

So let me drink some of this delicious beverage, and I'll be back with some pictures of stuff. I know ya like pictures of stuff.


P.S. Could someone put away the rest of this salad for me? My arse seems to be glued to this chair at the moment. Kthxbai.

You Might Be Bi-Polar If...

No, this isn't going to be a funny post worthy of Jeff Foxworthy, sorry. It's just to get things off my chest and, hopefully, feel better than I am right now.

If you don't want to "hear" me kvetch about BPD yet again, then just don't read this one. I'll be back again later with something a little lighter.

I was talking to a friend the other day and, because it was relevant to the conversation, said to her, "You know I'm bi-polar, right?"

Her altogether exasperating reply was, "I think all of us are that way, a little bit," or something along those lines.


Seriously, people, don't say that to someone who is suffering from a - yes - deadly disease. Unless you have actually been diagnosed with that disease or honestly, truly think you should be, in which case, get your damn self to the doctor already. You don't tell people your liver is a little bit cancerous, or you have a slight case of diabetes, or your child might not live to see their 8th birthday because of a touch of cystic fibrosis. And if you do, well, you're an asshole, and you should get off my page right now, m'kay?

Bi-polar disorder, and other mental diseases, are not jokes, and they're not universal. Everyone is NOT bipolar because sometimes they feel happy and sometimes they feel sad. Give me a fucking break.

When I say I suffer, I mean that I really, truly, honest-to-God suffer. And so does everyone in my family, and some other people who might get in my way at the wrong damn time.

I've been suffering a lot lately. What I mean by that is, in addition to the "regular" BPD stuff I deal with on a daily basis like the obvious mood swings, lack of control over my emotions, hyper-emotionality, and being dependent on drugs to make me feel and behave halfway like a human being, there have been other things going on. I'm pretty sure they are 100% related to the newest med Dr. P. put me on, so I went to see him this evening to get things switched around. Again. For the billionth time, because there is no reliable drug cocktail for everyone with BPD. You don't just get a script for anti-biotics and the crazy goes away. It's a squirmy, unwieldy, in my case giant pest, and the only way to get rid of it is to kill yourself, which really is kind of what everyone's trying to avoid by putting you on the medicines in the first place. You see the problem?

So I saw Dr. P., who asked me what was wrong, why I feel like the medicine is a problem. "Well," I started... and then I went into my litany of complaints: I feel like I'm dependent on it, because my whole body hurts when I feel like I have to take it. And I get twitches and major muscle spasms until I do take it. And I feel like that more and more often, in shorter and shorter periods of time, which I don't like one little bit.

Oh, and I'm having lots of suicidal ideation... "Plans?" he interrupted. "Just the thoughts and feelings, or do you have a plan?" They always ask that, you know. If you don't want to get locked right up, you better tell them it's just thoughts. "Just the thoughts," I said, truthfully.

Oh, and I'm having visual hallucinations in my the periphery of my right eye, a few times every day. "Take your glasses off and stand up," he sighed. He sighed because that meant actually doing something for me beside writing out a new script. Dr. P. likes to just get them in and get them out, and not actually have to deal with real problems. That's probably not really true and I'm just in a bitchy mood. Anyway, he gave me a little eye test and said, "Well, your pupils are normal, so only you can decide whether they are true hallucinations or not."

"Well, how do I do that?"

He stared at me. I blinked. He blinked. "I get them every day, about three times a day. I see something there. I swear it's there. Standing RIGHT next to me, about to touch me. But it's never there when I turn my head."

He scribbled on the pad some more.

Oh, and I'm having a major bout with paranoia. This made him huff and puff a little bit. "Now you're giving me too much information!" he huffed out, walking out of the room. He came back with a medication sample. "You keep telling me things. This changes everything. Is there anything else?"

Not that I can think of. I figured I'd think of something major and crucial on the way home, but I still haven't. So hopefully that was all.

I left with one of my three meds staying exactly the same, another one increased, and the one I hate being switched to a new guy that I've taken before and can't remember exactly why I stopped.

Honestly, I've been on so many brain-altering chemicals, I should probably be keeping a list somewhere. But like running my life, I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants a little bit. Wing it, if you will. Doctors love that. "Have you taken this before?" "Uh, I think so?" "When? How much? What for? Why did you stop?" "Uh... I forget, it either made me more suicidal or turned my shit green."

I made that last part up, but you get the idea.

So anyway, I start the new-old medicine in about ten minutes. Cross your fingers.

And yup, I feel better now.


P.S. I really didn't have a bi-polar category before? Dude. I am NOT going to go back and re-tag all those posts. Not. (Maybe I will. I have OCD, too. But just a little. Heh.)

It's Amazing No One Got Sick.

Often, one or more of the kids are enjoying something so thoroughly that they'll declare it the Best. Day. Ever. Today was one of those days. Sophia had a miserable sixth birthday yesterday, because she had to spend 3-4 hours in the ER waiting room while I was seen, and then on the way home, she got a migraine, had to puke into a full bag of Chex Mix that was the only receptacle available, and promptly took a many-hours-long nap. She woke up feeling much better, so today, we celebrated and did the fabulous, fun, free things that were meant for yesteray. To-wit:


Okay, so the bruise on poor Chloë's cheek is not part of the Best. Day. Ever. It's just part of today. It's where we started out. See, Chloë's getting the first of two rounds of braces, and they tried to put her appliance in on Tuesday. It didn't fit in her mouth, and they accidentally jabbed her cheek with it, and this bruise (and the accompanying swelling) are the ugly result. Poor kid! On the upside, Sophia did get to sit and watch a cute puppy movie in the waiting room that she'd never seen before, and she got a sticker from the dentist, so maybe we can count it as part of BDE fun.



I think she looks so beautiful in this picture... after the dentist, we headed over to the local mall to ride the carousel. Every year on Sophia's birthday - and only Sophia's, for some reason, even though they're all signed up for it - she gets a postcard inviting herself and 9 friends to go ride the carousel for free. I tried to get a group of friends to go with us yesterday, but none were available, so we just went ahead ourselves today. Since there were only three kids, I talked the attendant into letting them ride twice. They were beyond thrilled about that, like they'd won the lottery.


You gotta embiggerate this one, since it's so rare to see genuine joy on Jack's face! (He almost never rides a horse when we do a carousel ride. Doesn't like the up-and-down part of it, and he never believes me when I point out one that will be stationary.)


2011-04 (Apr)

(Click collage to enlarge)

I'll probably do a bunch of collages for this post, because there are so many pictures from this day that I like. The post would be enormous if I included them all individually. 

To my surprise and the kids' delight, the carousel attendant presented each of them with a free punching balloon after their second ride. They went punch-crazy for about five minutes. Now, because Jack decided he didn't want his and both girls' popped before we got home, we have none of them. I'm disappointed, because I get a kick out of a good punching balloon. Simple pleasures, you know.


After the rides and balloons, we headed down the mall hall to Build-A-Bear, where Sophia had a $5 gift certificate. They all get one for their birthdays, and I only ever let them pick out $5 worth of merch, never more, because the whole fun of the freebie day is seeing how much fun we can have for nothing, ya dig? Anyway, she picked out this cute little backpack for her pink poodle, which she made for her birthday two years ago. It's hard to see in this picture that I love, but you'll see it again later.

Bunny collage

An unexpected detour through the mall occurred when we ran smack-dab into the center court where Easter Bunny photos were being advertised. The sign showed real, live rabbits, so I figured, duh, there would be real, live rabbits in the pictures. No such luck. It was just a dumb bunny suit (obviously, heh). But, the girls were already excited to have their picture taken with him, so we went ahead and did it. They had no problem letting me snap a few pictures for free without buying their pricey packages, or I wouldn't have done it. Jack did NOT want to be in the pictures, as evidenced by his horrible grimaces in all three captures! Little stinker.

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The girls, on the other hand, had to be dragged away from thar! Each one was given a "crown" with bunny ears, and a chickie mask, too. Jack didn't want those, either. He was being a little punk. I think he was being a sore loser because much was being made of Sophia's birthday, and he was jealous. Not that he didn't get his share of freebies (did I post his birthday stuff yet?); he's just a whiner!


I love this photo, too... Sophia had noted the sparkly lights on the trees on her way into the mall, and she ran to examine them more closely on the way out. In the end, she insisted I take her picture with the "sparkly tree," and I love how it came out.



In the far end of the mall parking lot, there is a Toys 'R Us store. How convenient, since that was our next freebie stop! Kids signed up with Geoffrey's Birthday Club get a crown, a balloon, and their birthday announced over the loudspeaker. They also get a $3 gift card in the mail. Again, I only ever let them spend the $3, never more. It's a game. So the lady made her announcement, after confirming that it was ONLY her birthday and not, in fact, all three of my "triplets" (I get asked that a lot lately, which bothers me not at all, compared to all the "twin" questions I used to get).


Sophia may be a naughty girl, but she has a generous soul. She's always the first to share. So when she spotted all the Easter candy, and then her "favorite thing in the world," the Peeps, I pointed out that she could get three packages with her $3 card. She immediately asked Chloë and Jack which kind they wanted, because she was going to share her money with them. Isn't that sweet? Jack, who had been grumpy up 'til then, immediately brightened. See? Little sisters aren't so bad, hon.



Down the road a small piece was Chuck E. Cheese, for which Sophia had a coupon offering 20 free tokens. I warned the kids that that was ALL we were getting there, and when they were gone, they were gone. I figured it would take five minutes, but they managed to stretch their time there into about a half-hour. Not bad. And definitely worth it, for the fun-to-expense ratio was quite huge.

2011-04 (Apr)

They had a lot of fun for their free 20 coins. And that's total, not each! And yes, Sophie does always, always throw us the "I love you" sign!



They only earned 29 tickets with those tokens, but it was just enough for them each to get a roll of Smarties. They were satisfied with that, so I was, too.


Our next stop: Sonic, for Sophie's free Wacky Pack lunch. She shared all her fries with the rest of us, passed her cherry slush around to her siblings, and gave Chloë the cheeseburger her belly couldn't finish.


I'd had these three coupons for a free kid's ice cream at Chick-Fil-A in my wallet for eons, so I finally decided to go ahead and cash them in for Sophia's fun freebie day. Were they ever pleased! And of course, CFA has a play zone, so we had to go in there, too. But seriously, what's a kid's birthday without ice cream?


Ahh, there we go. No, it's not a sneeze - I caught Sophia mid-huge-yawn. Good deal, Mama was wearing her out! (And it's true; she's zonked out on the couch right now, because she was too tired to carry herself up to bed. Hee.)



Another photo to love...!


Ice cream collage 

Lick, lick, lick

2011-04 (Apr)

As I was in ever-increasing pain from an apparent UTI and possible kidney infection, I limited the kids' time in the play zone to about 20 minutes before I just couldn't sit there any longer. They were fine with that, as they were growing quite tired themselves. Plus, they all wanted to know, "What's next, Mom?" in our Best. Day. Ever.


A quick stop for Sophia to smell the flowers, before we headed on to our next stop: Home. Well, but not for long. I had free birthday meal coupons for Jack and Sophia for the Silver Diner in town, but I had left Sophie's at home. And I had to pee. And get the mail. 

And, by the way, the entire time we were driving around to all these things, the kids were watching the DVD of Tangled in the car, which we'd finally managed to snag from the Redbox after days and days of finding it checked out already. Just in time for Sophia's birthday!


2011-04 (Apr)

At the Silver Diner, they each got a shake - with a cherry on top, a must-have, natch - and an entrée. I didn't eat anything, as I was in serious agony by then. The kids ate quickly, and not much, since they'd been doing a lot of eating recently. I boxed up their leftovers, and we skedaddled on home to meet Dadddy. He'd come home from work to take me to the ER for the second day in a row. 

{And so, we went. I was nearly in tears by that point, so they took me right back for tests. Daddy and the kids left to return the DVD while I sat in the back and ached. I got my Rx for antibiotics and met them out front. To my chagrin, Rob returned to work for another few hours. I was in so much pain by that point, I wanted to die. However, my sometimes- (okay, often-) unruly children seemed to sense that Mommy wasn't up to any shenanigans tonight, and they behaved like angels for me. It was a major blessing. Meantime, I popped a pain pill and put on a ThermaCare Heat Wrap and waited for the horrendous pain to subside. Thank God, it has. It's like night and day; I feel so much better now!} 


After a nice bath and PJs, Sophia brought down her pink Build-a-Bear poodle, with her new backpack from earlier in the day. She lay down on the couch with her poodle, Toys-R-Us balloon at her side, and read a book until she drifted off, with memories of her 6th birthday fun no doubt dancing through her head...


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments 

Link up here if you're fragmenting along with Mrs.4444 today!

I can't promise my fragments today won't depress you. If you don't feel like it, shuffle on along now... ;)

So I had this friend. A really, really good, close friend, who I cared a tremendous bit about. I knew him a very short period of time, but we clicked immediately and got along like two people who get along real well.

Anyway, things got too intense, and when I posted this, he had enough. It cost me the friendship.

That was what, a week ago? My heart is still broken.

Actually, for the first time since I was a teenager, I did this:


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I never considered myself a "cutter," because I have always used my fingernails (I have attempted scissors and knives but couldn't ever manage to break the skin with them), but apparently that counts. It's worse than it looks in the picture; that was fresh. Don't ask me why I took a picture.

Right now it looks like this, though:



...because Hello Kitty was all I had in my First Aid kit. Hey, whatever works. It hurts like hell. I won't be doing it again anytime soon. That's a promise.


I did try not to cut. I even put on my sneakers - which I never, ever wear - and went out for a run to try and stop the pain I was feeling. I don't run. I just don't. But I did. And I liked it. So I've been gathering up a Playlist of run-worthy songs on my iPod, and as soon as the weather isn't crappish, I'm going to keep doing it. I WILL run that 5K this year!! Another promise.

Anyway, CM, if you're out there reading this (which I doubt, but you never know), please stop this nonsense and be my friend again. Please?

Here's another thing I posted this week, that I think you should read. I'm actually kind of proud of it. I printed it out and mailed it. Kinda hoping it makes the old man cry again. Is that wrong?

I have to admit, I feel like I've been falling down on the job when it comes to homeschooling. I think we do okay at it when we DO it, but we haven't spent enough time on it since Christmas. Granted, my 5yo went from not knowing all her letter sounds to READING, and my 7yo went from a mid-kinder reading level to a mid/late-first grade level so far this school year, and my 9yo went from being TERRIBLE at math to adding up $80 worth of groceries in her head and only being 3¢ off the actual total... and oodles of other things, but... I'm slacking. There. I said it. I'm slacking. Time to get back in the saddle and be more gung-ho again.

We've been doing lots of Valentine's arts and crafts projects this week, including all these on Tuesday and more stuff today:



our bedecked chandelier, and


our Valentine (eucalyptus) tree, and



our bannisters, and 


this little love-note to my alma mater, the U. of Miami. Fun times. I had every intention of doing more academic stuff today, but we had a rough, tough morning, so I made it up to the kids with an afternoon full of buttons, ribbons, glitter and hot glue!

Tonight, I continued the craftiness by finishing up the African Gray (amigurumi) parrot I've been making for a good friend of mine. I had no pattern or experience, really, with amigurumi other than one or two little things, so it was a real challenge for me. I can't show you the picture yet because she hasn't seen it and reads this blog, so I'll just show you my starting point a few weeks ago:


She approved of my color choices, but that's it! Everything else will be a surprise. Eek! I'm nervous!

At Bunco last night, Skinny-Minnie T totally made my night by standing next to me and joke-angrily saying that SHE was supposed to be the skinny one, here! At the time, I was wearing size SIX jeans and really needed a belt!! :D

I'll leave you now with this funny (and totally wrong!) little conversation that my husband texted to me. It happened a little while ago:

Hubs, to son Jack, 7: "I'm trying to take a dump, can you leave [the bathroom], please??"

Jack: "I'm trying to look at the damn [valentine] tree!"

I busted a gut. I probably shouldn't share that, but I think it's hee-larious. Some - maybe all - of you are shaking your heads, and I don't care. It's funny to ME!

All right, good-night and happy weekend.


Insane In The Membrane


Depression hurts. Bipolar Disorder sucks.

Some of you know, I very recently spent some time in the local psych ward. I don't really feel like saying too much about it, other than that I went in there voluntarily, I got out voluntarily after two days, and I didn't get a whole lot of out of it (who would, after two days?) except some awesome new friends. It's not a big secret that I want to keep to myself, because as I've said before, I've made it my personal ambition to help dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness, but there's just not a whole lot to say. I did not make any suicide attempts, as I have done many times in the past, nor did I cause harm to anyone else (or feel like it). So that's all I'm going to say about that.

Anyway, my point for telling you at all is, I'm struggling lately. I do not feel as if my disease is being managed well at the moment, the way it had been for a good solid few years. I credit my doctor for that. He may not be the sweetest, kindest soul in the world, but he knows his pharmaceuticals.

So we have been playing around with las drogas lately, to get me "stable" again. I put that word in quotes because with bipolar disorder, it's only a fleeting illusion. He increased my Effexor to double the maximum dose, which put the military pharmacists in a bit of a tizzy at first, but the psych ward doctor told me that it was a good dosage, one that should work well for me. I don't feel it has settled me down yet, though.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to hurt myself. After years of pain, dealing with my son's death on top of many previous hurts in my younger life, I am finally at a place in my life where I actually want to be alive. I want to grow old with my husband, I want to see my children grow up and give me grandchildren, I want ... to live. Really live.

But the disease is present within me, and as far as anyone can say, it always will be. I try not to think about the fact that I will be on brain chemistry-altering medication for the rest of my life, because, well, that's depressing in and of itself! It's self-limiting, for me. I try just to be grateful that these medications do exist for people like myself, and know that without them, I would be a person I don't want to know.

I just wish I could reach a point of contentment within my heart, when I should be able to feel what I really want to feel: happy. There are sucky things about my life, sure, but aren't there about any life? For the most part, though, I am leading an extraordinairily blissful existence, with a family I would die for, and so many more blessings. But my heart hurts. Literally. I can physically feel the deep pain in my chest, like the bottom has fallen out of me, and all that's left are the ragged edges from a wound that is trying to heal but can't. In short, it's Teh Suck.

Most of the time, the meds work like they are supposed to, and I am my normal happy-happy-joy-joy self, all smiles, dancing around, singing, loving life, having fun... but when those chemicals inside me are all used up, and it's time for more, I can feel that it's time without looking at the clock. I can feel that raggedy-edged wound once again, the one that makes me want to sob without being able. I'm not trying to wax poetic here, I'm just trying to explain to those of you who might not be unfortunate enough to know for yourselves, how it feels right now.

It feels... well, bipolar. Manic-depressive. Uppity-downity-uppity-UP-UP-down-down-down-very-down. And the downs, they hurt. Inside my chest. Ripping pain.

Thank God, I am not at the "I can't take it any more" point.

But I don't want to get there... because I want to be here.

Thanks for reading, if you did. I just really needed to get this out, lately.


A Few Things

I've got, like, 75 different things to spew out and no clue what order they'll make it here, so this might be rather like a "Tuesday Fragments."

  • I'm sick. Being sick sucks, but especially in the summer. It's totally the wrong time of year and therefore extremely unfair. Plus I don't know whom to blame this time; no one around me has been sick. I have a raging sore throat that won't ease up, my ears hurt, I have a headache that won't quit, and today, I added a stomachache. I've spent vast quantities of time "in bed," and by that I really mean "on couch," since I seem to have given up on finding comfort in the bed anymore.
  • I still haven't bought a new van. I think I'm headed for a Kia Sedona, but the Odyssey is still in the running. It pretty much depends on who will give me the best deal first. I've laid my cards on the table: this is what I want, this is how much I'll spend, I have a billion choices in minivans, so what will you do for me? We'll see who wins.
  • I think I've pinpointed whyfor I have this latest bout of depression: Rob's schedule, which keeps changing, but particularly when he works nights. I'm freaking lonely without him. I miss him. I never see him, I never have him, and when I do, he is cranky as f**k. And he comes home, eats, sleeps, eats, and goes back to work, repeat. So nothing gets done, and I'm too depressed at the moment to be helpful in picking up the slack, which makes me more depressed and anxious, and there you go. Maybe it's lame, but I think that's what's what.
  • Big news! Because of the horrible way I've been eating lately (probably thanks in part to afore-mentioned depressive state), I haven't weighed in in a month. So I wasn't too hopeful when I stepped on the scale today, but lo and behold, not only have I hit goal, but I'm PASSED it! Woohoo!! Despite all those caramel frappés and organic milk chocolate with almond bars I've been consuming lately (and pretty much nothing but, it's true, but at least it's only ONE or less a day, spread out), I have managed to fly by 150 lbs and am now at a respectable 147.8 lbs. I'm excited! It doesn't give me an excuse to keep eating this way, and I'm trying to break out of it, I really am. At least it makes me SICK as a DOG to eat that way, so the calories really don't have a chance to stick. I know you're shaking your heads at me over this, and believe me, I am, too! I know what to do, and I'm not doing it. But I will. This month, I will get back on track. I promise... myself. (Psst, my BMI went from something like 65.4 to 27.0 - yeah!)
  • Rob brought Chloë to camp on Sunday. We were all going to go, but I got sick. She was dreading it for months. Every time I brought it up, she was upset. She did NOT want to go. But he said once they got there, she seemed really excited. What a relief. I hope she has a great time. I already had him drop off letters I wrote to her, one for every day. I'm wondering if this might be the year she finally writes back? The Littles miss their sister. Both keep asking where she is. Aw.♥
  • Shoot. I still haven't taken pictures of the garden. I've commandeered poor Chloë's camera, since I broke both of mine, and I haven't even taken it out there for pictures. Argh.
  • Jack slipped and split his head open AGAIN on Monday. We thought it wasn't too bad. Rob went off to work, and I sent the kids upstairs to have a shower. When he was headed for bed, I remembered to have a look at it, and it was pretty gaping, much more so than I'd originally thought. Rob came home and took him to the ER. He got two staples! Poor kid. That's at least the third time he's needed something done to his head, if not the fourth!
  • I'm looking for an assistant for my giveaway blog, Fishing and Wishing. It's a lot of work, most of which I can handle, but I need someone to do all the link-ups each day with the current giveaways. In return, I would send some of the review items your way, as they apply to your lifestyle. Interested? Email me.

I guess that's it. I thought I had a few more, but... I can't think what else. Might try to sleep, but I don't know. I did nap an awful lot today, thanks to The Sick.

Hope y'all are having a good week.  Oh, I know - at Walgreens on Friday, they were putting up Halloween stuff!!!! UGH!


Well, That Was Fast.

I'm better.

A LOT better. I had a rough night after posting last time (so, Tuesday night), and had to go to the ER. BUT, they refused to treat me, and I just walked away.

Saw my doctor on Wednesday. He prescribed a new med, to make me emotionally "numb."

I don't know about you, but that scares the shit out of me. I don't want to be emotionally numb. I don't want to be a zombie.

Anyway, ever since walking out of the ER, I feel like that was the bottom of this manic-depressive cycle, and I'm bouncing upward again. I feel so much better.

Not great. Not like before. But I'm getting there. Going higher and higher.

See, normally, when I'm good and "stable" (I was told by a fellow bipolarator that stability is a myth with this disease. Whatever. Eff that. I WAS stable), I like to drive fast(ish) with the windows down and the tunes blasting. In the summer, when it's warm.

These last few days or however long it's been, I haven't wanted that at all. No music, no noise, just quiet. You now how it's a sign of depression when you don't enjoy the things you usually enjoy? That was a sign for me.

Today, when I went to pick up Steph, Tim and Luke from the airport, I turned the radio on. And up. Not as loud as I might, but louder.

So here's to that. Cheers


Did I mention these two sucky things that happened the other night down at the beach, when we were in the middle of bombing our house? I don't think I did:

1. I broke my new, crappy camera. The girls had to use the bathroom, and Sophia's stall was out of toilet paper. I bent over to hand her some underneath the door, and my camera fell out of my bag and smashed into the ground. It's done. Now I have no way to take pictures except the iPhone. I'm despondent.

2. My annual vehicle inspection expired at midnight that night. We got back to Vanna less than an hour later, and I already had a ticket for it. Dang! Those cops ain't no joke!

I haven't slept in two nights. I've snoozed for an hour here and... well, just the once, I think. Something's gotta give.


P.S. I enjoy color in my posts, too, but right now it feels like black is right. You'll know I'm even better when the color returns.

P.P.S. Crap. I'm out of printer ink and it's time to put together my printable coupons for the weekly drugstore deals. Anyone wanna make a Walmart run for me?!

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments 

Friday Fragments is brought to you by the wonderful Mrs. 4444 over at Half Past Kissin' Time. Link up with her here if you're fragmenting today!

Ahh, Friday again, already? It seems like you were just here.

This summer is shaping up to be a dreadful one. First, it was air conditioning season again, and we are out of freon. We're suffering without it right now, because with starting homeschooling and our garden, there is just no wiggle room in the budget for anything else.

But then?

It was over 100º today!!!!

Seriously? I am sitting here nekkid right now with the sweat dripping down me. And it's after 1 in the morning! I know you are so glad I provided such lovely imagery, too.

Oh, also? More loveliness? It would appear that at least one of our mongrels has a flea infestation, and now we are being bitten, too. Probably not the sort of thing one normally wants to share publicly, but I am nothing if not an open book about such things.

Cat #2's flea meds are due to arrive tomorrow or the next day... I wonder if we can, uh, share it with Cat #1, she of the fleas?

We have been flea-less for 7 years and now this. Suckage.

I have been working my hindquarters off on my new blog, Fishing and Wishing. It is a review and giveaway blog, and holy COW, I didn't *quite* realize how time- and labor-intensive it would be, at least at the beginning.

I'll spare you the details, but I would absolutely adore it if you'd come over and enter one or two or three or all four of the current giveaways! Check out the list on the right, and stop back again tomorrow, because I've got more in the works.


Hmmm, what else... Oh! I'm excited, because my friend Gloria from Pieces of Me may very well be coming for a visit - and she may very well be staying with us!! (Though she may reconsider, now that she realizes we have don't have AC and we do have fleas... lol) If she comes, it'll be in a week, for four days, and we'll go to the big 4th of July party at the park down the road together.


I'm excited! We've never met in person and are just friends through the blogosphere. So that's fun!

These three days - Weds thru Fri - have been utterly awesome, because unlike the past, well, ever, there has been absolutely NOTHING on the calendar. School is out, dance is over, camp hasn't started yet ('til next week), and we are FREE!

Needless to say, with these crazy temps, I'm so thankful we have a pool and the beach at our disposal!

If you could keep my IRL friend Stephanie, and her husband Tim, and especially their baby Luke, in your thoughts and/or prayers, I would appreciate it. He's had a number of seizure-like "episodes" in recent days, and had undergone all manner of neurological testing. Thankfully, it would appear that he does not, in fact, have a neurological disorder, but they still don't have a diagnosis and are understandably worried and frustrated. Thanks!

After all the frustations of posting on Blogger - I love that it's free, and that I can have and snag buttons and other gadgets, but dang, it's annoying - it's so lovely to be posting back here at my wonderful Typepad. Thank you, Typepad, for not being an intense pain in my neck.

I guess those are all the bits I can pepper you with for today. I do have some cute kid quotes to share, but they're on the iPhone, which is busy syncing right now, so it'll have to wait 'til next week!

Oh, I can think of one off the top of my head, from this morning: I was cooking bacon and eggs for the kids' breakfast, and the bacon pan started smoking. One of the kids, Jack maybe, started freaking out about it, and Sophia, 5, soothed him by saying, "Don't worry, if it catches on fire, we can just put bacon soda on it!"

Bacon soda! Hee!

(She really did say "bacon," and not "bakin'," because there was a whole follow-up conversation about which it was, but that takes away the funny, so I'll leave it at that!)

Have a lovely weekend. Don't forget to visit Fishing and Wishing for some goodies. Thanks!!


On Uselessness

Man. I thought I was worthless when I was freezing this past winter, but this current heat is no joke! Our AC needs freon, so basically we are suffering in 90+º heat in the house. It's awful. I feel like I'm melting. I know my internal thermostat is out of whack when it comes to the cold, but I didn't think the heat would affect me so profoundly as well. For a lot of this weekend, I didn't do much but lie around and sweat. That stunk, since I had a lot of fun plans for free things to do around our community, like the American Indian Festival in Chesapeake and a salsa concert in Norfolk. We didn't go anywhere, though.

Well, that's not entirely true. Our books were due, so The Littles and I tried to go to the library to return them and get new ones. We managed the first task but didn't realize that, June through August, the library is closed on Sundays! Maybe Jack and I will go tomorrow, since he's anxious to get some books.

I felt that we just HAD to get out of the boiling heat in our house - yes, my ice-cold showers have returned with a vengeance - so when we returned, I told everyone to rustle up their bathing suits and towels for a trip to the pool. Silly me, though. I'd forgotten that I had given away all of my bathing suits, since they are all too big now, and I had nothing to wear! Rob didn't want to go swimming without me, but the kids were all suited up and covered in sunscreen, so I insisted. Lucky me, I was able to get in a nice nap during their absence.

Other than that, it's been a pretty low-key weekend. I have been productive on one score, though: I started my 2010 digital scrapbook (no, I didn't finish 2009 yet) and have already completed 50 pages. That's half a book! It had been over a year since I'd done the digital scrapping, so I had to re-take the online classes in order to remember how the software worked. Once I did that, there was no stopping me. This time, I will actually finish a book. It looks great so far! I can't wait to see the finished project.

By the way, if you still want to see the pictures from our photo shoot with the Keeneys, remember that they are up until Tuesday, after which time they will be gone. The link is in my Saturday 9 post!

Have a great week, y'all.


Aloha Friday


Click here to visit Kailani if you're playing along today.

My question for you this week is:

What's your current mood?

Me, I'm feeling pensive and a little down right now. I guess I'm feeling inadequate and kind of stupid. I have these times, here and there, where I question my own intelligence and worthiness, and now is one of them, for one reason or another. It's not a great feeling. Hey, maybe I should go take my happy pills!

Hope you all have a great weekend.




We moms hate to see this sort of thing, don't we??

Rob came home from a short stint at work this morning to find that the kids had left their unfinished bowls of cereal on the table, so of course he told them to "take care of them."

Apparently, that meant dumping them - expensive organic Fruit-e-O's and all - into the soapy dish water.



It's Not Like I Didn't Know...


...but the bread, it's not my friend.

After all the homemade bread I put away this past week (and the apple-raisin cream cheese too, I'm sure), I gained FOUR POUNDS over last week! Four pounds!!! Do you know how much a person with a tiny stomach-pouch has to eat in order to gain four pounds in one week?!

SHAME. Shame on me. I hang my head.

Off to make a protein shake...


Houston, We Have A Problem


Welp, I've just finished knitting the body of "Sophia's" sweater. It's been a long but fun and interesting knit. Looks all right, right?



Major problems!! Do you see what I see?

Everything was going along swimmingly - no mistakes, no problems with the yarn or pattern - until I got to the part of the pattern where I was supposed to divide the body for the armholes, separating the front from the back like you see here. 

At that point, I completely forgot that I was making the Size 6 directions, and for some unknown reason, I started following the directions for splitting it for a size 2!! And by the time I realized this, I was waaaay too far gone to frog it back to the point of my error.

Plus, it's friggin' huge. I mean, it will fit me and possibly Jack - or even Rob - together!

And, I kind of hate the colors. That's not a mistake, per se, but just one more thing not to love about this project.

I don't want to scrap it, though. I mean, I'm five skeins of not-cheap yarn into the sweater. Soo.. I'm not sure what to do. Knit on reallllly fat button bands and make myself a cardi? A really wide cardi? 

Bah. I think I will finish it and then toss it in the "live and learn" pile.


Ready, Set, Go!


This picture is for Stephanie, who requested a Work In Progress pic of the shorties I'm making for Luke. So here ya go, Steph! They look huge to me.  Hopefully they'll fit... do you like so far? I'm planning on working on them a bunch tonight, so maybe another update pic tomorrow if I do.  

So let's see... this afternoon, I picked up all three kids from school for what was supposed to be a comprehensive ADHD evaluation of Jack and Chloë. I got Sophia too, because I didn't think Rob would wake up to get her off the bus, and I didn't think I'd be home in time, since it was supposed to last an hour and a half.



Dr. P. spent less than a half-hour with both kids, total. And when I say "with the kids," I really mean just talking to me, barely acknowledging them except to say, "Don't touch that. Don't touch that." He didn't look them over, he didn't question them, he didn't really observe them. He asked me to check off symptoms on a checklist, and he questioned me very briefly about their habits and history. Then he told me, based on pulling it out of his ass that minimal information, to increase both of their doses of Adderall!



I don't understand why. I certainly did not need his "expertise" for such aggressive medical action on a disorder I'm not even sure either of them have, especially Chloë. He tried to convince me that they have it, but I disagree. I'm annoyed. I'm irritated. I'm agitated. I'm frustrated.

No, I don't see much difference in their behavior since going on the meds a week ago, but truly, I am not entirely sure there is such a problem. Jack's kindergarten teacher never mentioned these issues that are suddenly exasperating for his first grade teacher. Like my sister pointed out, he was an early preemie, he has had his fair share of problems and delays, and maybe he just needs a little more time, a little more coaxing, because he is such a little guy. Neither of us (she or me) would have labeled them as having ADHD ourselves, based on our own observations. Rather, we would have chosen to label them as "kids."

I watch my kids closely. I would say I can be hypervigilant when it comes to their various behaviors. I observe them when they're with their peers. Do I think they're out of control? Do I think they are more active than kids their ages? Do I think they need medication? No, no, and NO.

And I certainly don't think we need to go all increasing the dose, willy-nilly, based on a few minutes of questioning the mother. I am going to go the therapy route instead. I do not want to dope up my children. If there are problems, if there are issues with their behavior, I would rather suss out exactly what they are, than just dump them in a box labeled "ADHD" because that seems to be the easiest explanation. Through therapy, we can all learn coping mechanisms and stress relief techniques.

No. No more medicine. I'm done. I'm through. It's enough.


What a relief. I'm glad that is decided. You may disagree with me, and that is fine, but know this: I am positive I am doing what is best for my children and our family.


After the girls came home from dance and I finished working on my coupons for Harris Teeter (see prior post on my awesome savings!), I worked more on the whole homeschooling thing. I've been doing research. It's not enough, but it's a start. I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy the $200 Hooked on Phonics program for Jack and Sophia, for their beginning and emerging reading skills. Also, I am certain I want to use the Math-U-See program for all of them for mathematics. A friend recommended it, and it gets lots of great reviews on all the homeschooling review sites. I don't know yet where we'll find the money for these programs, but if it comes down to buying materials for our homeschool or having my abdominoplasty, I guess I'm going to suck it up and not have the surgery. The idea saddens me, but the kids' needs definitely come first.

Boohoo for me, but yay for them!

I'm thinking about taking in a baby or two for daycare. It will bring in some much-needed extra money, I can still do that and homeschool, and ... and Rob just texted me, so now I've forgotten what I was going to say! The subbing thing just hasn't worked out as planned. I don't get called when I am available, and when they do call, I can't take the job because they want me to start at, like, 0700. I don't get the kids on the bus until 0800, so it just doesn't work, with Rob's hours. Bah. Frustrating, but whatcha gonna do??

Oh, and I've submitted my letter of intent to homeschool to the city, as well as a rudimentary curriculum based on what I blogged about earlier. It's in the mail! That's it! We're homeschoolers! Well. Almost...

So now, I'm going to do my online orientation for being a Girl Scout Leader, so I can proceed to the next training step(s). I want to get all my ducks in a row as early as I can. I've always been like that. I want to get things done ahead of time. I like to follow a plan. I can be quite spontaneous, but with a plan in place, I feel more comfortable and prepared.

'Evening, then!


P.S. Also for arts instruction, I can teach them cross-stitching/embroidery, and we can learn more together about that and sewing! That will be fun. And, I thought, maybe we can get a big world map and put pins in it every day when we see where the clothes we're wearing were made, and maybe even where our food came from (if not local). That will open a discussion about the various countries of the world, for further exploration. What do you think?

We Survived.

So I stayed up all night Tuesday-into-Wednesday, so that I would not miss my early-o'-thirty follow-up appointment at the Plastic Surgery clinic on Wednesday morning. By the time I got there, it was snowing and blowing, and I was exhausted.

I checked in, watched 20 minutes of the "Today" show in the waiting area, and then was called back up to the front desk.

"Mrs. Odette, are you a post-op patient?"


"I didn't think so. Tricare messed up, they scheduled you for a post-op appointment, and Dr. T is in surgery. He can't consult with you right now."

Awesome. I'm so glad I stayed up all night and braved the now-blizzardy conditions for nothing! My rescheduled appointment is in two weeks. Hopefully in a pre-op slot??

I went home and went to sleep until the kids came home. Then the fun began.

I hadn't showered (and I actually forgot what I was doing and went to the doc wearing nothing but my long underwear and a coat! Haha!), so as soon as the kids got off the bus, I instructed the girls to change as fast as they possibly could into their dance clothes while I took my quickest shower ever.

We left 10 minutes late, because even though I had time to shower, I really didn't factor in, uh, getting dressed and brushing my hair and teeth. Oops.

Sophia arrived, therefore, ten minutes late to her Creative Movement class. With black tights instead of pink, and no ballet shoes, because Mommy didn't have time to fix things! Oh, well.

Chloë and Jack worked on their homework, while I worked on crocheting the little sweater I'm making. It really should have been done by now, but I'll finish it later and show you tomorrow.

Jack finished his work, but Chloë was still only half done by the time the girls had to switch out. Sophie came out to play with Jack, and Chlo went in to her Jazz class. I kept crocheting and answering a hundred silly kid questions. They are so amusing!

We got home at the usual time, quarter to six. Chloë's Thinking Day event for Brownies was supposed to be from 6-8 PM. Her Troop Leader was supposed to pick her up. We had never set a pick-up time, but since the location was just down the road, I assumed it would be about ten-of or so?

Fortunately, I had baked a pizza the night before, so I only had to heat it up for a minute to get some dinner in her belly. And the other kids' tummies, too. They inhaled it.

By 6:00, the TL still hadn't showed, and I started to wonder whether she was running late (entirely possible), had already come while we were on our way home from dance, or had simply forgotten. I called her house and spoke to her son, who said that maybe she forgot. She had left 45 minutes ago!

Since I didn't have time to bring her to Thinking Day, I broke the news that she might not be going, because TL hadn't shown up. She burst into tears and was really disappointed, having worked for hours on her swaps this past Sunday. Then she hit her brother for no reason other than she was upset, so I sent her to her room to calm down.

While the Littles finished eating, I was going to bake my brownies for Bunco. Yes, it was Bunco night once again. But I looked at the box, and I wouldn't have had time to get bake them and get to Bunco on time... so I pulled out four different bags of those Pieces candies, and decided that would be my dessert for the evening! Hey, it works.

At 6:30, one of the other troop moms called me to ask where Chloë was. Um... TL never picked her up, and I couldn't bring her! She put TL on the phone, who claims she knew she was supposed to drop her off afterward, but didn't know she was picking her up, too. Yes, that had been the arrangement. Yes, I am annoyed. Yes, I do have a crying child upstairs... She was SO sorry and sent the other troop mom right out to pick up Chloë.

Then the hunt for the Brownies vest began. She swore she wore it home on Sunday, but it wasn't in the current usual place (on the back of the chair I'm sitting on, still waiting for me to sew on the patches she got in December), or in the van, or hanging up in the closet... Eureka! It was under a pile of coats by the front door. Phew. The troop mom showed up a few minutes later, and off they went. Chloë was a much happier girl by that point.

I went to get the kids' coats out of the closet, so we could go to Bunco, and the folding chairs all fell on top of me. Thank goodness they did, because I had completely forgotten I'd promised Tabitha I would bring five chairs over! So I bundled up myself and loaded the chairs into the van, and then got the kids ready to go to Bunco. I brought two sets of headphones, my iPhone (which has an iPod in it) and my iPod (which, by the way, doesn't have a touch screen and doesn't work like the iPhone, a fact which I'd forgotten after lack of use and was SO confused), to keep the kids busy during Bunco.

And the candy. Almost forgot the candy, but I done brung it! (No, I don't really talk like that.)

I'd already warned Tabitha that, since Rob is working nights and all my babysitters also go to Bunco, I'd have to bring the kids. No one else knew, though, so they all looked surprised when my little ducklings followed me into the house, helping to carry folding chairs.

Sorry, guys, no choice!  It would be an interesting evening, that's for sure. I had already told they kids the rules for behaving at Bunco, more than once, so I was hoping it would stick!


The kids were all over Tabitha's new puppy Mickey, a little chiweenie who looks like a purebred Dachschund. He's so cute!! (and hey, look, a rare picture of Sophia actually keeping hair doodles in her hair for more than five seconds. Usually she pulls them out as soon as I put them in.)


Little Mickey shivers like a Chihuahua, so that's how you know he's half one. He was such a sweet puppy, so lovey and cuddly. I wanted to take him home with me!


Tabitha's 9-month-old, Lily, is such a sweet baby. She sits and plays so well with all her little toys! I held her little chunker butt as long as I could, until my arms got tired. I just love holding a sweet baby. She held my hair whenever I carried her around, like a security blanket.


Love those chubby cheeks!

So, Bunco went well after all. The kids were... active, but not at all naughty. They didn't bother us hardly at all while we were playing the game. The iPods only kept them busy for about 10 minutes, but hey, that was ten minutes of sitting still that we enjoyed! They ate a little, drank a little, and didn't spill (whew whew whew), which I consider a huge miracle at this point in their spilly little lives!  No one complained, though that doesn't mean nobody minded they were there. I just didn't hear about it, and I've asked around. I'm crossing my fingers that Rob is back on days by the time next month's game rolls around, though!

Chloë showed up, thrilled and happy from her Thinking Day night, around 8:30. She had lots of new swaps tos hare (ooh, I should show you those, too. Tomorrow) and had tried lots of fun things, like Greek chicken and other foods, a dance from Israel (I think?), and more. I wished I could have gone, but alas.

After the game, the kids and I cleaned up the toys - they were ALL out, because thankfully Tabitha runs a daycare and has plenty of them - and then packed ourselves up and bid adieu. It was past bedtime when we arrived home, so I sent the troops up for jammies and teeth brushing. I thanked them for behaving so well, which I could see they appreciated and felt proud.

As soon as I was sure they were asleep, maybe an hour later, I took my tired and cold self right up to the bed, turned on my heating pad, and zonked out. I didn't wake up until Rob came home, around two in the morning!! Usually, he's home by midnight. Poor guy.

At 0300, it was clear I wasn't going back to sleep, even though he'd given me half a sleeping pill. Suckage! I went downstairs to work on the bills, but my head was too tired and fuzzy to think about it. Fortunately, by 0400, I was ready to lie down, and crashed on the couch. 

Really, though, I'm ready to sleep normally. I've tried sleeping pills, but I don't wake up the next day - if they work at all. I've tried all manner of tapes and programs. I've looked into hypnosis and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. We'll see. I've been like this my entire life, though, so I'm not too hopeful anything will change. It never lasts for long.

And that's that.


Where The Hell Is Summer?

I'm freaking FREEZING. It's about 28º out right now, and I can't get warm. I have no adipose fat, the brown fat that keeps us insulated against the cold. I think I've complained about this before, maybe more than once. Well, it doesn't get any easier. I haven't acclimated. I'm cold, I'm miserable, I'm cranky, and I want to cry.

I stayed up until about 0530-0600 this morning, watching the Diane Keaton-Queen Latifah-Katie Holmes vehicle Mad Money on Netflix streaming, and knitting that kimono. I finished at the same time the movie ended. Being so preoccupied with movie and yarn kept me unaware of how cold I was, but as soon as it all finished, I became acutely aware of my nonstop shivering.

(The movie, by the way, was entertaining and amusing. It wasn't a bad choice; if you've got nothing else to do, it's worth seeing.)

So I was so cold, I went straight upstairs, with a magazine tucked under my arm, to the kids' bathroom to take a bath. I rarely take baths. I hate taking baths. But sometimes, it's the only way to be warm and comfortable.

I walked right back out. Oh, my God. Let me just say that my children are disgusting, and that every visible surface of that bathroom was COVERED in toothpaste, except for the tub. I was pissed!

So, I went back to my own bathroom and took a hot shower instead. A very long, very hot shower. When I was all done washing up, I started shaving everything there was to shave - except my head, natch - just so I could stay in the water longer!

I had been wide awake up until that point. That warmth knocked me out, though, and I was yawning furiously by the time I got out. I am a creature of strict bathing routines, and I always, always, always brush my teeth as soon as I get out and towel-dry my hair, then do my various facial creams and what-not, before applying body lotion, combing out my hair, and blah blah blah. Last night - nay, this morning - I didn't do any of that. I was just so tired. I went straight from the shower to the bed, without even drying off, and fell fast asleep immediately!

Needless to say, my hair looked quite... interesting when I woke up. Rob did the ol' point-and-laugh routine at me.

Thankfully, he gets the kids off to school nowadays, so I didn't have to worry about that. I was aware at some point that he crawled under the covers and snuggled me, but I didn't really wake up until 1400. And then I freaked, because my phone was downstairs, and my alarm clock was flashing numbers much later than that. I thought I'd missed getting the kids! It turned out to be okay, and Rob was still home, and he came up to cuddle me some more before we both had to get moving. He normally leaves between 12-1300 for work, but he didn't have to be in until 1600 today because of the Super Bowl. Really? That's a reason to... oh, whatever.

We left the house at the same time, he for work and me for the bus stop. The kids were late, and I stood out there, freezing. Bah, no fun. They came home, finally, and had a snack, and then I started them right to work on their homework. Sometimes I let them chill a while first, but we had too much to do tonight for that.

Jack finished his up quickly, but Sophia was bothering Chloë too much, so it took her a long time. I had to scold the girls every couple of minutes, so she could get her work done. I got tired of nagging, so that's when I took the kimono upstairs to press it and block it out on our bed. When I came down, she was somehow miraculously finished. Maybe I should just leave the room more often!

We hopped in the van to pick up a Freecycle after that. I was supposed to get it two weeks ago, but then it snowed, then yesterday, but I forgot...  The lady was very nice and patient, though, and she had a bunch of things for CARE Package as well as the stationery I was there to pick up! Nothing photo-worthy, just some used gift bags for packaging up the layettes, but a LOT of them.

Back at home, I gave the kids their marching orders. I let into them about the toothpaste-covered bathroom upstairs, and then I handed each of them a wash cloth and sent them away to clean it up. I haven't even checked it yet, but Chloë said it was all clean except for the vanity drawer. I have a hard time believing that, but if it's true, I will be amazed and impressed!

I made dinner while they cleaned. I use that term loosely, though, because tonight's dinner was - guess? Guess? Give up? - yet another stupid DiGiorno pizza. I shouldn't say it like that; I'm grateful for many nights of free, easy dinners, but it's getting to be a little too repetitive! When I have some freezer space back - because we definitely need to make up those pizzas and free up some room in there - I'll be able to stock more foods. And really, like I've said before, with Rob working nights, it sucks to cook meals that the kids just aren't going to eat anyway. At least with the pizzas, they are eating well.

After dinner, it was time to head out to Cub Scouts. Chloë brought a pencil and some paper so she could do some writing (she ended up making lists of names, for whatever reason); Sophia brought her "Raising a Reader" bag of books from the preschool. At the beginning of the meeting, the boys colored pictures of Boy Scouts setting up camp, while they waited for all the kids to arrive. We had seven tonight.


When everyone was there, Den Leader Beth told the boys that tonight's activity would be to make balloon decorations out of their Tiger manuals, for the Blue and Gold ceremony/party commemorating today's 100th Boy Scout birthday, next Friday. They had to decorate empty soup cans with birthday wrapping paper scraps, pompoms, feathers, stickers, and whatever else Beth had brought, for the centerpieces. They tore into it and made such a mess! I was mostly busy keeping the girls, so another dad helped Jack out a great deal, and I appreciated it.


Jack mostly used pompoms and stickers. He had a blast gluing things on!

While they worked, we parents talked with Beth about all the requirements for rising to Wolves next year, as well as making sure the ones who wanted to were signed up for the Arena racing (Rob's taking Jack), the Blue and Gold (I'm taking Jack and the girls), and summer camp. We signed Jack up for the 4-night Cubs camp in July, and I talked to Beth at length about it. She's going to be there, looking over him, which relieves me greatly. I let her know that he still wets the bed sometimes (privately, of course), so we talked all about that and making sure he's fine. He may not be my youngest, but he's definitely the one I tend to worry myself about the most!  But after seeing his big sister go to sleep-away camp for the past two years, he is beyond thrilled to be going himself!  My big boy ♥

After the den meeting, we headed to the Girl Scout Cookie Chair's house, nearby, to pick up a new cookie packet for me. Rob accidentally recycled my entire cookie sales stuff last week, a fact that had me in a major panic Sunday morning! She rescued me and calmed me down, though, reassuring me that she could replace everything I needed. Whew.

After a quick stop at the bank to deposit a mystery shopping check, it was time to get home and work on the laundry. Rob's been washing up a storm, so I had about eight loads in need of folding up in my room. The kids all had more pizza first, and then we got down to business. Actually, now that I think about it, I sent the Littles into their bathroom the scrub it some more, and then they went right to bed. Chloë stayed up for more than another hour, helping me put away laundry. When she started saying, "Am I done yet, Mommy? I'm so tired," of course, she was excused! 

I only got about halfway done with it before my back was in agony from the way I was sitting on the bed, so I gave up for the night. Unfortunately, there are piles of folded clothes all over my bed now, and it's too cold to sleep downstairs on the couch! Guess I'll have to... thankfully, Rob brought me down some long underwear when he came home, because I was in tears from the chills. He's a good man, that one. I love him.

I finished up the kimono, and now I think I'll crochet a few quick dishcloths. I threw away our last sponge today, because it was gross even after washing it in the dishwasher AND zapping it in the microwave, so I need to have something to wash with before I can buy some more this weekend. Fortunately, I have the know-how and plenty of kitchen cotton yarn for it in my stash.

Welp, that be it. Hope the start to your week was just dandy.


P.S. Call me crazy, but all this scouting stuff has me in a tizzy lately, and I am seriously considering being Sophia's Daisy Troop Leader next year! Am I out of my mind?!

No Soup For You

Well, Monday wasn't the greatest day in the life of me. I had lots of plans to do lots of things around the house, and I did basically NONE of them.

First, I woke up and immediately smelled the pungent, unmistakeable smell of steaming dog shit.  I don't know what it is lately, but our dog and one of the cats have been having numerous accidents around the house. (More upsetting is the cat peeing outside of her box, because hello, have you smelled that stuff? You can not get rid of it!) So I jumped up, got the kids up for their first day back to school from Winter Break, and cleaned up multiple piles of pooch poop.

Then, it was time to head to the bus, and suddenly the kids are moving in slow-motion. We finally head to the bus stop, me practically pulling the younger girl down the street by her hand, and I look up to see the bus already at the stop with parents walking away, toward us. Aack! I did not feel like driving to school, so I started yelling and waving and running. You've read it here before, but there are only two times in my life when I run: if I'm being chased, and if I'm about to miss a bus. And so we ran. Of course, about eight cars are stopped on both sides of the bus, waiting for MY children to board, and I'm feeling quite conspicuous. And then, when my kids are seated on the bus, OTHER kids start coming out of the woodwork. Apparently, the bus driver arrived to the stop early, and NO one was there. What a relief for me not to be the only ones late. Now 16 angry drivers have someone else on whom to focus.

And on the way back home, I was thinking to myself, "Y'know, running didn't feel half bad. Maybe I'll take up running." Bahahaha. You know that ain't gonna happen.

I had planned to spend the whole day checking things off my big to-do list, but I was feeling very lazy and tired and unmotivated. So I started off on the computer instead, checking email and Facebook, harvesting crops on Farmville... you know, important stuff. And I could NOT stop yawning.

By 0900, I knew I was going to have to take a nap. And so I lay down, telling myself I would pop awake at noon - absolutely no later - and get to work.  I wanted to put dinner in the crockpot, do some power knitting, get the boxes cleaned out of the office, and so much more. Instead, it was after 1400 before I opened my eyes - and I'd slept a solid night's sleep the night before! Holy hell, I slept the entire school day. What a waste.

Instead of berating myself, however, I decided to get something to eat, check email again, and waste the rest of the time until the bus came. No point working for an hour and then having to stop, right? Yeah, it didn't sound any less lame when I told it to myself earlier, either.

I tell myself that this never-ending cold that Rob and I are having (seriously, it's been three weeks, what the heck) has me completely worn down and burnt out, and I deserve to have a day off. Maybe that's true, because I had absolutely zero energy even after that long nap.

And when the kids came home, and I gave them a snack of the lemon bars I baked last night for just this moment, all I wanted to do was lie down and go back to sleep. Chloë and Jack went upstairs to do I know not what, while Sophie sat on my lap and chatted away with me. I tried convincing her that she needed a nap, when really it was me. Another nap, after all those hours!

We lay on the couch, snuggled up close together, while she gave me her full array of complaints about having to take a nap. "I'm not tired." "I have to pee." "I'm hungry." "I'm cold." "I'm hot." "I want to play a game on your iPhone." And so on. (The kids are constantly playing with my iPhone - they love it more than I do, I swear! It has been added to the list of things they need to pay for with Dad Dollars.) No matter. I held her ever-warm, soft little body close to me, kissed her sweet cheek umpteen million times, and eeked my warm fuzzies out of her wide-awake self.

After an hour, it became extremely apparent that she was NOT going to go to sleep. Meanwhile, Jack had come back downstairs and thrown himself on the other couch for a nap. He was deep in slumber. Sophie and I went upstairs so I could finally take a shower, and there was Chloë, sound asleep on the floor of the hallway, mere feet from her bed. Weirdo. I tossed Sophia on the bed, gave her the iPhone and told her not to call China, before stepping into the hottest-hot shower. It's all hot all the time for me, now. I can never get warm anymore. We are having one big cold snap, and I hate it. I absolutely hate being cold. It makes me cranky - no, downright angry. I crave the warmth.

I had hoped that Sophie would fall asleep during my shower, under the warm covers on my bed, but no such luck. So she chattered away while I folded four loads of laundry, which took an ordinately long amount of time, since I was in such a slow-moving state. Chloë woke up and came in, cheerfully, so I set her to work carrying clothes into the kids' rooms to put in the closet. They were already on hangers; all she had to do was hang them up. So imagine my dismay when Rob came home and up the stairs to find all those clothes on the floor of the hallway, which was decidedly not clean! I was furious. Absolutely furious. We discussed. Loudly at times.

So when I gave her more clothes to hang up and then, on a hunch, went in to check that she had actually hung them up and found them on the floor of her room, well, I was beside myself.  Literally, I think there were two of me, both stomping their feet, waving arms around and shouting.  It wasn't our best Mother-Daughter moment.

Eventually, after some tears and lots more discussion about responsibility and trust, we went back into my room. I continued to fold laundry, Chloë worked on her homework, and Sophia sat with her pile of books that the preschool sent home for the week. Every so often, I would stop and read one of the books to her. Chloë, on the other side of the room, would interject with a question every now and then, when she was "supposed" to not be listening and doing her homework instead. I felt guilty for disrupting her on the one hand, but on the other, I was glad she was listening to our story time.

Rob had taken Jack to his Cub Scout meeting. In the Tiger Den tonight, the boys were given their pinewood derby cars to build. Jack wanted to go home and make his RIGHT NOW, as Rob texted me from the meeting. He's super excited about it. Rob still has his cars from his own time in the Scouts, and Jack is anxious for his father to get them out of the attic and show them off. I love that they now have this together. I didn't mind taking him to the meetings - dragging the girls along - when Rob was working nights, but I'm so glad now it's back to a Father-and-Son thing to do. Now if only I didn't have to drag the Littles along to Chloë's Brownies meetings!

When they came home, and I finished folding all the laundry that was dry, I looked up at the clock and realized it was already 2030. I hadn't made any dinner yet, and I'd told Rob the night before that if he made dinner that night, I would make it all the rest of the week. Shee-it! I was suddenly grateful for those 8 cans of Progresso chicken noodle soup that I'd gotten for super-cheap from Walgreens the day before, because that was going to be dinner! I can't eat soup anymore, since gastric bypass patients can't have liquids and solids at the same time, but I had some scallops in the fridge.

I ended up making THREE cans of soup for those four small people for dinner, which is pretty amazing for my crew. They actually loved it and kept thanking me for making it, which made me supremely happy. All four of them happily slurped their soup, and all four of them asked for seconds. Thirds, in some cases. Such a simple little meal to bring such big pleasures to all of us. And my scallops were pretty damn good, too.

They had lemon bars for dessert, and Jack fussed that he wasn't allowed to have ice cream instead. He wants ice cream every night! We have a lot in the freezer from stocking up during sales, and now I'm thinking I should have just let him have it. He needs the calories, after all. But we stood firm on the "this is what we're having tonight, take it or leave it" thing, and he left it. Ah, well.

The kids were readied for bed after that, but I still heard noises up there for quite some time afterward. Hopefully not from Sophia, who I know really did need that nap she didn't take earlier. By 2230, I was done with this dumb day. For someone who didn't accomplish much, I sure can type out a lot about it, can't I?!

I went to bed (well, couch) then and tried to sleep, but I forgot to turn off the TV, and it kept waking me up. But 0030, I was wide awake. And here I am. Trying to decide whether to take a sleeping pill to get more sleep, or watch some Martha Stewart on the DVR and do some of that afore-mentioned power knitting I never did in the daytime. Either way, tomorrow is going to suck, too. I think I better do the knitting. If I take the pill, I'll never hear my alarm for school.

So guess who will be taking a nap tomorrow?


P.S. Jack just came down, sobbing to his father that his leg hurts. Since he hasn't had his growth hormone shots in a very long time (a fact I am soon going to remedy, with an appointment on the books for him), I can't think what the cause might be. Poor kiddo.