Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saying Goodbye

D and I have decided that it is time to tell Rocket goodbye. Probably tomorrow at our vet's.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rocket's Status

The 13.5yo dog is wobbly. He has trouble keeping his balance, or his muscle strength is gone, or both. His haunches were weak before the surgery, but now his shoulders/front legs are weak too.

I took him to our vet today and she checked for vertigo and sensation in his limbs, also for obstruction in his large intestine and for glucose metabolism. All were fine, she said. We have moved off of one antibiotic onto another because one spot in his incision is weeping, but it doesn't look like an infection, she said. He's off the pain meds, and being transitioned from the low-residue food back to his old food.

We just don't know why he is unsteady. Yes, he's blind, but he would run blindly into the fence after a suspected squirrel in the past. Now he can barely take two steps without a wobble and possible fall onto his side.

She has me trying to feed him Pedialyte in case his electrolytes are out of whack. Trouble is, I can't get him to drink it (I got the plain type). We are running out of ideas for the poor guy. I take him back to have his staples removed Friday afternoon. I'll have more to report then, I guess.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Year's End

Just some tidbits to munch on as we finish out the year.

Rocket almost died. He ate an ungodly amount of inedibles a week ago, and now has a long incision down the middle of his belly, lots of staples, and is pretty unsteady. The good news is that he is eating and drinking well and will probably be okay. He is my first baby, so this was quite a scare for me.

I like this ncfoodie person's blog: inmymind-ncfoodie.blogspot.com. Check it out!

Today, I have rented Brokeback Mountain for the, oh, tenth (?) time from the library. There is a strong possibility that I will finally watch it tonight. But maybe not.

With my Border's gift card, I bought Sara Gran's Dope and an address book. Can't wait to dive into both. Luckily, one already has words in it.

I've got to stop using Facebook. My multiple personalities coexist uncomfortably on one page that friends from all my eras can access. As my worlds collide, who will prevail? The fair but tough professor? The high school cheerleader? The swinging grad student? The aspiring mystery writer? The gay divorcée? The married mom of two preschoolers? Can they really all be the same person?

A former student called me a few days ago to check in. She does this a couple times a year, and that's okay. Just between you and me, I've always known she was mentally ill. That was a dicey situation, of course, because SHE never knew. But now she knows, and even told me so during the course of our conversation. Funny thing was, she sounded the sanest I've ever heard her. She got married last year. I'm happy for her, I guess, because it was what her parents wanted, and she lives for her parents, but I honestly felt like getting her a lifetime prescription for birth control as a wedding gift, because if there's one person I didn't want to have a kid, it was her. But now, maybe with medication and therapy, she can take better care of herself. She deserves it.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Kiss Parody

This St. Sanders parody of KISS (aka PISS) is the funniest one yet. If you are a KISS fan, then you quite deserve this.


You've got to check out his other shred parodies: http://stsanders.com/.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What a difference two years makes

I advised the children that in the nature documentary we were about to watch, March of the Penguins, some of the penguins and their chicks "don't survive."

"They die?" asks my five-year-old son. "Is it fiction or non-fiction?"

"Non-fiction. It's the real world, just on camera."

My son's face goes white, his lips turn blue. "I don't want to watch it," the boy says in between sobs.

"I do," says the three-year-old girl. "I like it when people die," she says enthusiastically.

"They aren't people. They are penguins," I tell her.

"Oh. Yeah! I like to watch penguins die!" she nods with a smile.

She just wants to watch the movie and will say anything to get me to put it in the DVD player. Or else she is the next Aileen Wuornos.

What my son doesn't remember is that he saw this DVD two years ago, and didn't have a single negative reaction to the "Circle of Life," as it is referred to by a certain entertainment organization. I think mine grow into their sensitivity gradually.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Remember those sandals?

The Ferragamo sandals I coveted in an earlier blog post? Well here is an updated pic with a foot in it. Zexy.

Here's the naked shoe.

And by the way, I got the price on them. One thousand and ninety dollars. For two sandals. Naaaah.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Three Going on Thirty

You may already know that every night before my daughter drifts off, she draws me in to a surprising Q&A peppered with scraps from the recent past. Tonight she channeled her preschool teacher and made my husband's sinus problem her own.

AC: "My body seems a little stuffed up. With something. I think I need something for it."
Me: "Sleep?"
AC: "No. That's a good guess, though. Something else. What could it be?"
Me: "Let's talk about it tomorrow, okay?"
AC: "No no no. I need to take something. Hmmmm. What is it?"
Me: "Good night."
AC: ...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Wanna Perfect Body; I Wanna Perfect Soul

This takes up lots of my energy. The wanting. I used to work at it. Now I just want.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Population Control through Better Corn

I guess it's going to happen, whether we want it to or not:


I have always wanted to...

Thought I'd come over to the blog and brush away a few cobwebs. Blogwebs. Weblogs. Dust off the weblog. Yes. That's it.

Just for funz, I'll make a little list of five things I've always wanted to do. Mind you, I'm the type of girl who's gone ahead and DONE what she's "always wanted to do," even if it wasn't so wise, so it is really curious that I haven't gotten these done yet. I think the arrival of children five years ago has had something to do with the slowdown in my goal-fulfillment. So, without further ado, I have always wanted to

1. Build a cabin or garden house from scratch.
2. Grow enough backyard garden produce to be self-sufficient in the veg department.
3. Stay a few nights at the Four Seasons in NY, no holds barred.
4. Help low-income families learn how to eat healthier for less money.
5. Finish writing a mystery novel.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Going to see La Bohème tonight at Opera Delaware. Molto tragico.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mealticket may be voided

Why do I let the blog languish for so long? I was doing pretty well there for a few months, and then it kind of fell away as the economy, well, fell away.

So, grim news on Tuesday, 10/28/08, from the husband's Mothership: 10% of jobs in the community publishing division (perhaps your hometown newspaper is part of it) will be cut by the first week in December. His position survived a 3% job reduction in August. This round will be bloodier and may take his job with it. If not this time, then maybe the next round.

I have lined up two adjunct courses for the spring 2009 semester. No benefits, middling pay. I just have to show up and teach. No committees, no formal office hour requirements, no reports, assessments, blah-blah-blah. So at least I got that going for me. Gaaah. Maybe we can pay off this AC and furnace someday soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Worrying Times

*edited to add:* I recommend you read this 9/18/08 article about the rise in "tent cities" across the U.S.

*and another add from today (9/18/08):* Major disaster would overwhelm aid agencies.

I am concerned for the well-being of each American citizen.

As if they weren't rising astronomically already, prices will go up further, as manufacturers and suppliers are faced with higher interest on the loans they carry.

Layoffs and downsizing are already widespread, but this immediate financial crisis will lead to even more job cuts as businesses find they can no longer support salaries and benefits for their people.

Everyday folks who carry adjustable rate loans are soon to see their payments skyrocket. Foreclosures, already a problem, will grow exponentially.

Just getting credit approval will be almost impossible for those ready to buy a home or a car.

No job, no home, no car, no food. The Next Great Depression?

People, let's start looking out for one another now. Think of what you can do to help your family, friends, social circle, and greater community stay close and stay strong.

And if you can afford to donate to the great need in the Gulf states, then send some relief to the victims of Hurricane Ike.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Happening Again

A shoe hasn't called to me in years. The last one I remember was a Gucci bit loafer. I'm afraid the calm has ended, though. I accidentally leafed through the entire September issue of ELLE at the coffeeshop yesterday morning. (Which is all the more troubling because even though I was momentarily horrified, I was ultimately undeterred by the photograph of Jessica "lumberjack of love" Simpson on the cover.)

Yenny-hoo, within the weighty tome I saw advertised these Ferragamo platform sandals . Da-roooooool.

You just don't understand me and a certain kind of shoe. And this is that kind of a shoe. Which I guess makes me that kind of a girl. Cripes, they are FIERCE.

My husband's and my social calendar will afford me approximately, um, ONE place I could wear these in the next six months. Plus, I could go on a lovely vacation for what I imagine they cost (can someone find me a price?). But they continue to haunt me. I wonder what color toenail polish would go best?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bless His Heart

My husband just made me a Mojito. One. And I'm definitely affected. Something about having only 70% of your usual blood volume makes you more susceptible to alcohol. But IT'S SUMMER! I'm going to sit back and enjoy. Here's to you, Hemingway.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Could She, Should She, Would She?

After ten minutes of searching, I just unearthed my cv from a cobwebbed corner of Word documents labeled "Professional." Obviously, I hadn't visited there in several years. Yes, I'm dusting off the old academic resume. I swear I do not remember writing or delivering half of my publications or papers. Nonetheless, I may dip my toe back in the water by inquiring after an adjunct class or two for the spring semester.

Why the urge to make the dramatic return to academia after four years of working from home as a freelance editor? I just spent a thrilling weekend in the North Carolina mountains with three of my best girlfriends. They knew me through the bone-crushing days of English graduate school, the confidence-wrecking years of job searching and hopping, and the labor-pangs of writing and publishing. And then there were the marriages and two children each of us produced.

My three wise sisters gave me the push I needed to look at who I was, who I am now, and who I have the capacity to become. And, I cannot stress this strongly enough, THERE WERE NO CHILDREN ON THIS VACATION. Have no doubt, our weekend getaway WAS ALL ABOUT US!!! Wheeeeeee! Yes, we talked about our kids when we needed too, but we really pretty much just talked about ourselves. And--quelle surprise--everyone in the room listened! And asked questions! And posed theories and offered advice, both solicited and not. But even the unsolicited advice was valuable, for goodness sake. I for one drank up the atmosphere like wine. We drank that too, as you may have guessed.

And my conclusion (one of many, really) is that maybe I need to get back into that ivory tower and see how the view is from my window. Maybe it will suck. In which case I'll move on. But maybe I can get back into an old, often delightful groove. Honestly, I have toyed with the idea several times a year, but some recurring health problems kept getting in the way. I'm confident that later this year I will be finding some relief from the anemia and its cause, a thought that energizes me.

First, though, I've got to spiff up the resume and reconnect with some former colleagues. I wonder how much has changed in the last four years?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Snack Food Reviews

Recent quest: finding healthy and pre-made bites/dips/spreads to fill a spot in my kids' lunch bags this fall. I have plenty of ideas for fresh and home-made foods, but was interested to see what prepared food was out there that my kids might like.

For my test offerings, I checked all labels carefully and chose foods that 1) I thought the kids might like, and 2) I felt were healthy in moderation. The kids eat a low-fat, low-salt, low-additive, low-meat and low-dairy diet, so I am okay with them enjoying an occasional snack or two that may be high in fat or salt.

The three-year-old and/or the five-year-old have given their approval to the following:
Snyder's Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches
Sesmark Sesame Garlic Savory Minis (rice crackers)
Nature's Promise (Giant's "whole foods" brand) veggie sticks (these have no nutritional value to speak of, but the ingredients are fairly innocuous)
Newman's Own Organics Fig Newmans
peanut butter rice bars
Kashi cereal bars in Ripe Strawberry and Blackberry Graham
Fruitabu fruit leather
Trader Joe's original hummus
Trader Joe's Multigrain crackers
Trader Joe's Chocolate Merengue cookies
New York Style whole wheat Bagel Crisps (a little too greasy for my comfort)
Trader Joe's peanut-butter stuffed pretzels

Odwalla Bar "Berries GoMega" (bleah)
Trader Joe's plantain chips (yum for me)
Trader Joe's green bean snacks (yum for me, too)
Kashi granola bars (and again, yum for the adults)
Seneca Red Delicious dried apple chips (meh)
Trader Joe's Tzatziki dip (N loved it until he found a cucumber slice)
Stella D'oro Garlic Breadsticks (I like)

I will update with a few more picks and pans over the next couple weeks, and also add a list of home-made or whole lunch foods that are favorites with my kids.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Saddling Back Up

Oh for goodness sakes, people. You're making me look bad. I don't want to be the doofus who doesn't keep up her blog. For the past two months I've ignored it to concentrate on some other things, mostly addressing a multitude of complaints too tedious to list in their entirity. [Something about that word seems misspelled.]

A very recent occurance can probably educate you on what my life is like at this moment, and I will thus not feel the need to "catch everyone up" on what's going on with us:
Today, I caught dog W peeing on one of my favorite rugs. No, it was not lying on the floor. It was hanging dry in the backyard after I spent two hours cleaning it and another favorite rug yesterday afternoon in the kids' splash pool. A newly cleaned (and dry) rug. Now sodden and stinking.

But, yes, I was [not supposed to be] bending, crouching, swishing, leaning, and lifting wet wool. The labral tear in my right hip socket and that pesky hemoglobin count of 8 can make me unsteady, unstrong, and frequently unstrung. The chore was a labor of love and necessity. No one else was going to wash the rugs. It was time. It kind of hurt.

Don't you know the neighbors heard me yelling at the poor beast, and I SOOOO wanted to spank that little grey behind. But that little behind has seven stitches in it from last week when a cancer tumor was removed from between W's legs. And he had four teeth pulled the same day.

So, there you have it. About 50% of our current trials chez ML.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fab Father's Day Picnic at the Park

It's Father's Day, and we will celebrate the father of my two children by taking him for a picnic dinner tonight at Bellevue State Park to see Almost Fab, a Beatles "music review."

Here's the menu, and keep in mind a three- and a four-year-old will be joining us:
cinnamon raisin bagels
rye cracker bread
cream cheese
minced shallots
smoked salmon
cheese cubes
juice boxes
Gruet sparkling wine (Method Champenoise, Brut)
*oops, edited to add: sliced apples*

*(and p.s. we had a blast)*

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Is there any way to help in Myanmar?

I know I'm not the only one puzzling this out. I read today that U.S. Navy ships full of provisions are leaving the coast of Myanmar tomorrow (Thursday), after having been shut out for three weeks.

This page at USAID gives a chronological overview of relief efforts and response by the Government of Burma. Things do not look positive for further relief delivery.

We have not donated to an agency specifically for Cyclone Nargis relief because I have been waiting and watching to see which could best use our money. But now I am more discouraged than ever. I know any gift to the major relief agencies will be used to help people somewhere, but I felt I needed to give to this particular area since the devestation was so enormously felt.

Has anyone worked out a giving solution for Myanmar that they would feel comfortable sharing?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back to Usual

Well, I threw in the towel yesterday. I couldn't take the mental stresses of not eating gluten and dairy! I am keeping our diet very low in both. N's behavior was not wonderful when we started the diet, but that may be attributed to the end of preschool and beginning of a long summer. He is not very good with milestone transitions.

I learned quite a bit about the science of baking, alternate grains, health and nutrition, and psychology as we prepared for and undertook the experiment. It is not all for a loss.

On an interesting note: D did not have the crabbiness that the rest of us had. In fact, over the six days of the strict elimination diet, he said he woke up every morning feeling more rested than he had in years. That is something for us to ponder.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When the cure kills the patient

I suppose the basic issue is that we (meaning my son, daughter, and myself) have been addicted to gluten--and possibly dairy--our entire lives. So, we find ourselves acting really poorly lo these four days. My husband is doing fine, he says. (But he gets to spend ten hours a day outside of our not-so-happy house.)

Frankly, I don't know how much longer I can handle my son's non-stop movement and my daughter's whining. Myself, I am hanging on by a thread. Every single thing in my environment BUGS THE LIVING HELL OUT OF ME.

We were all such a ball of joy today, running our errands and amazing our fellow shoppers at the depths of our incivility. As we paused in a playground outside the children's hospital where my daughter had an appointment, I tearfully called my husband to ask if he thought I should cancel the diet test. He said he would support me whatever I decided, because he understood it was important that I find a cause for the kids' and my own range of maladies.

When I got home this afternoon, after I had unpacked the groceries, helped the kids unburden themselves and find something to do, returned a few phone calls, fed and took out the dogs, tended to my own needs, and drank some water (AND BELIEVE ME THIS SEEMED TO TAKE TWO YEARS OFF MY LIFE), it occurred to me that maybe I was having withdrawal from something. So I Googled "gluten withdrawal." Voila.

I've always freely admitted to using food as medication. Dunkin Donuts got me through some dark days in graduate school. Popeye's biscuits softened the blow of divorce.

Wise people say that what you crave most is likely what is doing you the least good. This time, I may have to cede to my demons. My life is far too complicated right now to be dealing with a new panel of troubles brought on by such drastic alterations.

I am going to take us one more day into the FAILSAFE, gluten-free, casein-free wonderland, taking moments throughout the day to consider what smaller steps we could take for our health and well-being. Certainly we will continue to avoid artifical food dyes, preservatives, and glutamates. I would also like to keep the shampoo, soap, and toothpaste contamination to a minimum.

Gluten and casein? I'm thinking on it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Elimination Diet, Day 3

N's scalp still red, but he seems to be itching/scratching his face and head less. Me? I'm crabbier than hell and tired to boot.

buckwheat pancakes (REALLY successful FAILSAFE, GF, CF recipe I will post tomorrow)
rice milk for kids

oatmeal and maple syrup
raw cashews

celery sticks and rice cakes with hummus dip (NO lemon juice or tahini, instead, a dash of citric acid; rice bran oil for olive)
leftover pancakes
oatmeal cookies

leftover lentils and millet from last night

scrambled eggs and kettle chips for the kids
omelette with diced sauteed potatoes and scallions for grown folk
green beans
iceberg lettuce with oil, dash of citric acid, garlic powder and salt

By the way, the kids were all over dinner, after balking all day. They had multiple helpings of everything. So we are coming back around I think. I am very lucky that my husband is supportive of all of this. He misses his Extra Sugar-Free Bubble Gum.

I am getting used to brushing my teeth with plain baking soda. It is extremely salty, but somehow I get a kick out of it. Crazy like that.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Elimination Diet, Day 2

I was tired today. It could have something to do with getting up in the middle of the night for one of the kids, or waking up early with the whywonttheyshutthehellup? birds celebrating the beautiful morning. Or the 30 minute power walk. Or the monthly loss of blood. Okay, it could be the diet. Jury's out.

teff muffin
oatmeal and maple syrup
rice milk for the kids

oatmeal cookies

stir fry of garlic, shredded chicken, and green beans over rice noodles
leftover black beans
leftover red cabbage
celery sticks

"lemony" popsicles (simple syrup w/citric acid, diluted and frozen in popsicle molds)

lentils (w/garlic and celery) over millet
brussels sprouts which we could not eat because they were covered in brown spots. bleah.

N is still batting at his itchy ears and his scalp is still red. He tells me the new diet is not working. I tell him we have two weeks to wait. AC is ornery as hell. I think she's catching a cold. This food is not foreign to her and she's usually my omnivore. But she is all of a sudden picky. Her nose is running, though. Again, jury's out.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Elimination Diet, Day 1

And it begins.

Rice waffles (also contain tapioca and arrowroot flours) and pure maple syrup
Fresh Bartlet pears, peeled
Rice milk for the kids

Celery sticks, more waffles

After a bite of a Teff Muffin, N balked. He said he liked the Maple Muffins (what I call the FAILSAFE muffins) better. I'll make those again, but first I'm going to try a Pear Muffin recipe.

Shredded roast chicken (yes, veggie friends, I roasted a free-range, hormone-free chicken last night. My first and possibly not last.) with sauteed garlic and celery in a rice wrap. Celery sticks.

Home-made soda (simple syrup with a dash of citric acid, mixed with soda water to taste--I got a high five from the husband for that one), home-made oatmeal cookies (the Quaker Oats recipe with my home-made gluten-free flour mix to replace the wheat flour and Ghee to replace the shortening; no vanilla or nuts added).

Eggs fried in rice bran oil (that and ghee are my only oils)
Red cabbage "slaw" with some oil and a dash of sugar
Black beans cooked with sauteed celery and garlic
Baked potato wedges

More oatmeal cookies

We aren't going to starve for the elimination period, but we will be low on a few nutrients. It's nothing that will hurt us, though. When we have been on the diet at least two weeks with five consecutive symptom-free days, I will start the first challenge: dairy.

New Muffin

I made a new muffin that is quite yummy. I used the recipe off the back of Bob's Red Mill Teff Flour (it's also on their web site) with the following substitutions: 100% maple syrup for the brown sugar, rice bran oil for the olive oil, and a 1:2 ratio of baking soda to cream of tartar for the baking powder. I had to leave off the cinnamon and hazelnuts. They are oh so good, FAILSAFE, and gluten- and casein-free!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Environmentally, Personally Safe Products

So, in getting ready for the elimination diet, I'm also replacing our personal care products with ones having fewer harmful ingredients. I've started using the Crystal deodorant, and the kids have already switched to California Baby Super-Sensitive Shampoo and Body Wash. (Our Target carries it for $1 less per bottle than the manufacturer's web site.) I'll switch Saturday morning. Saturday is D-Day.

I guess we'll all start using baking soda as our toothpaste. D and N already use a toothpaste that has no sodium lauryl sulfate (they are both troubled by apthous ulcers--sores in the mouth--and this ingredient may exacerbate them). Their current toothpaste, Trader Joe's brand, is very pasty and low foam, so I'm hoping a baking soda and water paste won't throw them too much. AC will hate it, I know that.

Still wondering what to use as a moisturizer and D's shaving cream. Will report back on that later.

Monday, May 12, 2008

FAILSAFE Muffins, My Way

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are going on an elimination diet (the FAILSAFE diet minus gluten and casein) in a couple of weeks, and then challenging gluten, dairy, and a couple other food components to see what might be contributing to some of our health issues.

Here is my current version of a popular muffin recipe in FAILSAFE circles. It has also been modified to be gluten- and casein-free (GF-CF). The kids like them okay, so I can see them being something to help fill our tummies as we go through what is bound to be a strange and boring few weeks of limited food choices.

makes 1 dozen regular-sized muffins

2 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum (all I had--guar gum instead would be FAILSAFE-er)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
scant 1 1/4 cup water
1 egg
3 Tbsp rice bran oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tins with a FAILSAFE oil (only rice bran oil or ghee, as far as I know) or line with paper muffin cups.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients with a whisk. In a smaller bowl, whisk together syrup, water, egg, and oil. When the oven is hot and the muffin tins are prepared, pour liquids into dry ingredients and mix batter with spoon only until moistened.

Divide batter into the 12 muffin cups. Bake immediately at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes. Use a toothpick in the center of a muffin to test for doneness.
Here are several FAILSAFE, GF-CF variations I have read about, but have not yet tried.
Savory muffins: add pressed garlic and cut the sweetener
Dessert muffins: bake as mini-muffins, serve drizzled with maple syrup or canned pears in syrup
Breakfast muffins: make a fried egg muffin "sandwich"

***edited to add nutritional data, calculated at, you guess it, www.nutritiondata.com***
Per 1 serving (1 muffin)
Calories: 166
Fat: 5g
Carbohydrates: 29g
Protein: 2g
Calcium: 1%
Iron: 4%
See the entire breakdown here: http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts-C0002CFSqqcqq0GFqqcqq0CFqq0Muffins-01c501n-00o21Kh-01c21Ki-04q3088-03E21Un-01D403U-00P41SC-00P21SM.html

I found these muffins acceptable as a breakfast or a snack. The texture does not have the crumb of a wheat-flour muffin made with milk, but rather gets a little gummy in your mouth the more you chew. Not enough to be bothersome, though.

Next, I'm going to experiment with some FAILSAFE, GF-CF waffle recipes, since that is a beloved breakfast at my house. I will miss my Bisquick, that's for sure.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Whither Spring?


I'm from the South, people. This just isn't right. I'd complain, but the natives will return with, "It's Delaware. If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."

Friday, May 09, 2008

Spring Parasites

We are just closing out the second week of family illnesses. I think all the humans are back to normal, and perhaps W too, one of our Italian Greyhounds. After dealing with both children throwing up all over their bedding multiple times for weeks now, I had the pleasure of cleaning up after a dog who had bloody diarrhea all over MY bed. Just to mix it up a bit, I guess.

Trip to the vet revealed that a roundworm infestation was upsetting his system. Roundworm. Gross me out so many different MORE ways just than finding the ruined duvet. Now he and R are on meds (since R has likely picked it up from W), have a more sanitary routine, and I still have the willies.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Spring Bug

Little AC and I have gastroenteritis. Yummy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

World Food Crisis

If you haven't read the stories under the dire headlines, you should. Here's one from Time magazine online, regarding the World Food Programme (a U.N. agency) and its recent inability to distribute enough food to the poorest populations. Astronomical oil prices and the use of grain crops for biofuels worldwide have exacerbated shortages in money and food. What can we do about it? Any ideas?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

'Cause That's Just How His Mind Works

My son (turning five this July) will rarely relinquish control of, well, anything. I find myself wresting items from his hands many times per day when requests to "put that down" fall on deaf ears. Interested in trying ANYTHING to stem the tidal wave of contrariness, we (re)instituted a token/reward system the other day to motivate two specific behaviors: exiting the car in the driveway and coming into the house in a timely fashion, and pottying when Daddy or I ask. I just used potty as a verb. To potty. The word has obviously lost all of its original--and hideous--meaning and taken on a wacked life of its own. I'm doomed.

Anyhoo. Back to the intransigent one. See? I made up for the potty thing before you could bat an eyelash. He earned two tokens right away and traded them in for a balsa glider. Today he has a grand total of four tokens. He can get a better toy/activity/experience than an old glider by trading in FIVE tokens. So this afternoon, as he danced and hopped and leaped and held in that waste, I said, "Go to the potty, boy!"

He replied, as he has for YEARS, "No. I don't need to." Leap. Leap. Hop. Hop. Clutch.

Veeeeery enticingly, I said, "You can earn one more token! That's all you need to get a BETTER toy!!!"

"No thanks." Hop. Clutch. Sprint.

Hehe. I should write a book on child rearing. Really I should. It will be called, "Everything you told me I should try and I did didn't work so please why don't you take my child for two weeks and when you yourself find that your methods are shite then I promise not to say I told you so when you return him to me." Would you buy that? Maybe Oprah could have me on. I suppose those child-rearing methods work for the kids in the middle. But my child isn't typical. Not average by any stretch.

This is a little song he wrote about a month ago.

(He's obviously into really short phrasings.) The lyrics, in case you couldn't tell from his atrocious spelling, are "Die die die die die die die." I'm sure you did divine that the title of this ditty is Poopy. Or perhaps I should let his spelling stand. More poetic. And he is definitely all that, AND a bag of chips.

edited to add: Please don't be the person who thinks I'm serious when I call his spelling atrocious.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It Isn't Supposed to Be This Way

It is difficult for me to admit, and even more difficult to reason why, that on the two days per week when both of my children attend morning preschool, I have a much more difficult time dealing with them later in the day.

No, it's not them, it's ME. You would think that a rest from both dervishes, a moment to myself to think, some quality caffeine, and maybe a pastry, would allow my brain cells time to hang out, refuel, then regroup when it's time to become Mommy again. But NO. My best guess is that my brain cells GET USED to being their own bosses for several hours, and loudly REBEL when any one shows up to prove otherwise. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are my WORST MOMMY TIMES EVER. I snap, growl, yell, and when the kids are in another room, curse like the sailor I never was. I madly telegraph an SOS to my husband at work--send pizza, send a nanny, send a man with a butterfly net. ANYTHING, but just get me away from these kids. Oh, and these dogs too.


Okay. I think I'll go figure out the spray bottle situation right now. I feel a little better having gotten that off my chest. And I'm going to put the goddamn dog in his crate. Which is IN MY STUDY. AAAAARGHH!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Let's See

We have our Radiohead tickets for August 12. Lawn/general admission, but at least we got some. The Wire Season 5 comes out on DVD the same day. What more could a girl want?

D mowed the lawn today for the first time in 2008. I raked and cleaned the back patio a couple days ago. We're almost ready for spring.

I washed and hung up/put away all the winter coats, mittens, and hats for next year. My car's trunk is full of outgrown clothing, most of which will go to Goodwill. A select few pieces for spring and summer I will try to consign tomorrow.

About two weeks from now, it will be time to clean and put up the winter clothes. Then I can get a glimpse at how measly my summer wardrobe is. It's probably good that I have no shorts, since my legs are the color of wallpaper paste.

Waiting, waiting, waiting to hear back from the school district about N's placement in a gifted class this fall. Turns out our district is facing budget cuts for the same time. So the question of N's test score may be moot if the gifted program is axed.

Still collecting ingredients and ideas for Elimination Diet '08. I lack guar gum. I know I can order it direct from Bob's Red Mill, but I'm still on the lookout for it locally, to save on shipping. Does cream of tartar go bad? I'll need that to make my own baking powder, but I'm worried that my little container container of cream of tartar must be about ten years old.

Keep on, folks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Round-up?

Spring's here in Delaware. My daffodils have yet to burst, but the neighbors' are dancing in the sun today. Our maples are full of their little red buds, and the wild rose vines are already in leaf. Vines and I have a year-round battle. My side yard is the favored home of wild blackberries, roses, grapes, plus a sensational wisteria. As much as I'd like to say "To hell with it," and let them all run wild, they are actually killing several trees I'm really rather fond of. Did I mention the English and poison ivys, the pachysandra, and the vinca that grow underneath? Oh, and then there are the ferns and thistles that mock me in May. Oh, and the Cherry Laurel that sends out new trees every year. Thrown into the mix are a bajillion Day Lilies and some daffodils, an iron tree, a weeping cherry, and a crabapple.

A landscape designer once told me to cut down everything and use a defoliant widely. And often. Then start from scratch with the side yard I think I want. She said that at this point there was no way to say goodbye to the voracious stuff and keep the tidy stuff. After six years of fighting Mother Nature, I now believe her. But I'm not going to do it. Not yet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another Day, Another Diet

So, the new thing where I live (both IRL and online) is to try to match a particular (-ly restrictive) diet to your or your kids' symptoms to see if said issues improve. A good number of mothers of my kids' preschool classmates are trying different combinations of gluten-free, casein-free diets for both themselves (allergies) and their children (aphraxia, autism).

My son's behavior and his eczema are aggravated, I've noticed, by artifical colors (red 40 and yellow 5, in particular), MSG, citrus, tomatoes, and who knows what else? Because I am all about making my life more difficult, I am going to try the FAILSAFE diet, also known as the RPAH Elimination Diet, to see if it produces an improvement in my son's defiance and impulsivity, and his eczema too. After you follow the bare-bones diet for several weeks, or until you see an absence of the symptoms you're investigating, then you challenge it by adding items high in the substances you suspect are triggers. That way, you know what you can safely build back in to your diet, and what you need to avoid in the future.

I've been researching this diet for months, and am preparing for us to spend four weeks on it, including several challenges for the forbidden substances: amines, salicilytes, glutamates, and synthetic additives. If nothing changes, and nothing shows up, I may need to see if gluten or casein may be an aggravator.

Ideally, we will start the day after preschool lets out for the summer. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh, I have a blog?

Dang. I totally forgot this thing was here.

Did you know there is a Very Large Telescope in Chile, and that it is called The Very Large Telescope? Who says astronomers don't have a sense of humor? I don't want to go all 'Fessor Frink on you, but it is actually a telescope array. Whatever the hell that means.

I am rather addicted to these things:
Herr's Whole Grain Pretzel Sticks
As snack foods go, they could be a LOT worse.

Here is a little bedtime convo my daughter and I had the other night as she was losing brain cells to the sandman:
AC: I have a boo-boo.
Me: Where?
AC: On my heart. [pulling up her pajama sleeve] Can you kiss my boo-boo?
Me: What is wrong with your heart?
AC: I think I breaked it. [exposing her elbow and pointing to it]
Me: Isn't that your elbow?
AC: I think I breaked that too.

My son is into representing the planets according to their relative sizes. He is getting better and better at it. Here's a picture from about four months ago: