Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Cards

I did it! All the cards are addressed and in envelopes. I just have to slap on return address labels and lick them closed. Oh, and put on stamps. I found out the hard way one year that the Post Office doesn't like it when you try to mail 50+ cards without postage.

I just want everyone to know that even if this is the only thing you get from us all year long, it's an envelope full of love and hugs. Anyone who knows me well knows I am TERRIBLE about social niceties like birthday cards or thank you notes. I just don't think about it, forget or remember when it's way too late. The last time I sent thank you notes was, I think, right after we got back from our honeymoon. You know, wedding gifts? I had neat little thank you cards printed up. Oh! I think I sent notes to people who sent me baby gifts too. I think. If I didn't...thank you! Aww, you guys know I appreciate you...right?

I know I've set a terrible example for my boys. My mom made me write thank you notes for every gift I ever got when I was living at home. I think that was the only time I wished fewer people loved me. *grin* Hand cramp!

But seriously, this is the one time of year I spend a couple days focused on family and friends. The process starts with me updating my address file. This year I cried as I deleted a couple more names. We lost some family and friends this year. I put extra love and hugs into the envelopes going to friends who lost parents or are going through a divorce. This time of year is going to be hard for them. We love you guys!

Then I try and catch John to see if he has any changes or updates. Like his new boss (who I still need an address for)... He's been sending cards to the same group of friends for as long as I've known him. Well...I send the cards for both of us. Which leads to another thing I think about. If something ever happened to me, would he send cards? I am thinking he would miss a couple years then start to feel guilty if any of our friends continued to send him cards anyway. ;)

Then I wonder what other people's rule of thumb is. We've only received, like, 3 cards so far this year. I didn't send any last year. If someone misses a year, do you drop them from your list for the following year? I keep sending until the post office returns a card (mail forwarding expired?) or I know something happened to the recipient or John says I don't work for/with that guy anymore. But that's just me. Once a year. We're still here. We love you. Hello? Hee hee!

Finally, it's time to take one last flip through and see if I missed anyone. If you'd like a card and I missed you this year, be sure to let me know! Seriously. I don't trust my brain. Meanwhile, I have my headphones on and am enjoying the Christmas Classics channel on Pandora Radio. Tyler yells at me when ever I forget and start singing out loud. Oops. Sorry son.

Happy Holidays Y'all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Our Elf and other Christmas Nonsense

Every year it seems like something falls through the cracks. Last year, I had to 86 the Christmas cards. I simply ran out of time and the boys would NOT cooperate and take a photo together. Not the first time. A few years ago I resorted to this:


If they won't dress up and pose, I can paper elf them! Muhahaha! But seriously... This year I have a gorgeous new family portrait to use, so I am super happy with our card and eager to send it out. Last year I got the boys Lego advent calendars when they were on sale in November. It was also our first year hosting an Elf on the Shelf. She kept me hopping! This year? The elf came out right on time, but I forgot the advent calendars. By the time I remembered, the Lego ones were over $60. No way. I crossed my fingers and hoped the boys wouldn't notice. I also forgot to get some Hanukkah gifts and chocolate coins for Max's celebration - so I dug into the stocking stuffers and we used left-over Halloween candy to play our dreidel games until my Amazon order came in. He was happy. He also noticed the absence of his annual advent calendar. Rats!

Another quick visit to Amazon and I finally settled on these cute and inexpensive advent calendars from a Vermont chocolate company. A chocolate a day? Hey, I'd be thrilled. I gave them to the boys tonight. They have 11 days worth of chocolate to eat in order to catch up. Tyler was thrilled. Max? Not so much. He really REALLY likes the Lego calendar. This is why they can charge $60 for 24 days worth of minifigs and blocks. Note to self: Next year, order the Lego calendar really early. Maybe start looking around Halloween.

Back to the elf. I've only forgotten to move her once. So far, so good! Last night she left the boys this:


It was perfect. Tonight, she plans to make one of those rainbow loom rubber band bracelets for Max on his loom and she is adding jingle bells. Too bad we don't have any more red or green bands. There is one of those pesky cracks again. I also can't find the cornstarch. Snowflake the elf wanted to make indoor snow angels tomorrow night. Hopefully I can track down the cornstarch and the cutting board by then.

Last year Snowflake got the boys a kit to make a gingerbread Christmas tree. Turns out you really need beaters or a food processor to mix the icing. It was a tasty tasty mess. But Max still had fun putting it together and decorating. This year I think Snow is going to bake a Christmas tree braided cinnamon roll and leave some colored icing to decorate it. I have a list of ingredients. Just need to get to the grocery store. I also want to make and decorate sugar cookies. Maybe cupcakes too. Too ambitious?

So...what else have I forgotten? I think my Christmas shopping is done. I think.

Uh oh. I just remembered. I never ordered new Christmas PJs for the boys. They always get new jammies for Christmas eve. *sigh* Back to Amazon...



Friday, December 06, 2013

That's one for the books...

I haven't related a tale from my misspent youth in quite some time. Basically, every time I think of something funny or interesting, I find that I already talked about it here. Did I really run out of stories? Then my friend Emily posted a funny anecdote on FaceBook about a recent visit to the doctor and his comment that he'd never seen "one so big" in his entire career. She had a cold sore. It must have been very very large. ;)  It reminded me of an amusing incident from when I was 12 or so.

As I've related a few times in the past, I was an outdoorsy child. Not by choice, mind you. My mother would chase us kids out of the house and tell us not to return until the street lights started coming on. So I spent a lot of time sunning myself while reading. I also spent many many happy days avoiding the summer heat at the pool on the local air base. Back then, most Moms didn't worry about sun exposure. If we started to get red, they'd make us sit in the shade. As a result, I'd be dark brown by the time summer vacation ended. Nicely toasted. As winter arrived, that summer tan would fade and I'd have a nice new crop of freckles on my arms, legs and back to admire.

One year, the tan had faded everywhere but my left shoulder. I still had a large patch of dark skin there covering my shoulder blade and up over the top of my shoulder. I was 11ish. The next summer, the dark patch vanished as the rest of me turned the same shade of dark brown. But once again, by winter, the tan was gone everywhere but that large patch on my shoulder. This time, the area was covered with dark hair. I was a hairy child anyway...a fine peach fuzz of light brown. But my shoulder looked like it could use a shave. For a young girl headed into puberty, this was NOT acceptable.

My mom pointed it out to our pediatrician. He poked at my skin, scratched his chin and decided to send us to a specialist - a dermatologist at Children's Hospital in Boston. This was not our first visit there. I already told the story of my spinal curvature, I think. Now my mom was nervous. I started hearing whispers of "cancer" and other horrible possibilities. My vast and active imagination went into overdrive. Could that persistent tan KILL me?!

The dermatologist was very nice. He had a big magnifying glass with lights built in. He studied my skin carefully. He took a scraping (OUCH!) for biopsy. He consulted a couple books. Then he asked if he could bring in some colleagues. I was feeling particularly vulnerable in my backless hospital gown, but sure. The more the merrier, right? First it was 2. Then it was 4. Soon it was 6 or 8 people poking, squeezing, pulling and staring at my shoulder and conferring in varied whispered tones.

The doctor finally approached me and said, "This is extraordinary. We've never seen a some scientific term I no longer remember this large before! May I take some photographs? I want to submit your case to some medical publication I no longer remember and possibly get it published in some medical text book I no longer remember too!"  He seemed very excited. I nodded numbly and he took a bunch of photos of my back from various angles. I still had no idea what was going on. Was I going to die? Hello?

Finally, the doctor explain things in simple terms. It was a giant mole. "See how the darker skin is slightly raised? That is also why the hair there is darker. Moles often have more and darker hair." Ah. Still wasn't feeling better. I already felt like a freak of nature. This was just confirming things. He went on to stress that I use sun screen and avoid too much sun exposure. There was a higher risk of melanoma. I remember THAT word. He gave us a bottle of something that might possibly fade the skin discoloration a bit and make the "mole" less noticeable.

I did use the skin bleach stuff a few times, but it was hard to apply myself and there was NO way I was asking my Mom for help. Hello awkwardness and body shyness. Puberty is so so much fun.

The next summer, I hardly ever took off my swimsuit cover-up. I wanted a suit with wide straps. I spent most of my teens hiding my shoulder. It wasn't until I was a senior  in high school that I got a strapless prom dress. Even then, I had a cardigan.

To this day, if I get too much sun, my shoulder darkens. So I wear a swim shirt now. You won't find me in tank tops either.  And I never did find out if my back was featured in any medical publications. Any dermatology students out there? You might have seen me.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Happy Hanukkah!

Max decided again this year that he wanted to celebrate Hanukkah. I've always found researching and studying other faiths extremely interesting, so I've not had a problem with that. I love that my little boy is open minded and curious. He embraces everything and everyone and you'll never find me discouraging that. I posted this photo on Facebook a few days ago on the first night:


A Jewish friend left a funny comment about being unaware that Max had converted. I jokingly reminded him that Max had "converted" last year (the first time we celebrated Hanukkah.)  We were promptly accepted and welcomed by said friend as "members of the tribe." I love my friends. *grin*

My parents aren't on Facebook, but I have other relatives who are. My aunt showed my Mom the above photo and accompanying comments with a "You never told me Max converted!" My Mom, of course, was dumbfounded. I'm willing to bet my Aunt was joking and told Mom "Your Daughter doesn't tell you anything, does she." But my mother has no sense of humor, so she took this information literally and promptly called me to remind me she was there for Max's baptism and is his god mother...yadda yadda.  Oy gavalt. (See what I did there? hee hee)

I had to reassure her that Max didn't REALLY convert. Honestly. He is seven. When he is more mature, if he really wants to convert, I won't have a problem with that either. She'd have a cow if she heard me say that. Such a yenta, my mother. Also a bit meshuggina but that's common in my mishpocha.

Being me, of course, I can't let this extremely amusing misunderstanding go. Max will be wearing his yarmulke when we go visit at the end of the month and I'll coach him to start calling his Nana "Bubbe" instead. Maybe I can talk my mensch of a husband into taking a video. It should be SUPER funny.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day of the Doctor

I found myself torn on Saturday. Do I watch the global simulcast of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special...or do I wait until Monday when I can see it in IMAX 3D at the cinema? It was a nail biter.

I decided to watch it on Saturday (twice) AND last night. I still cried four times on Saturday and twice in the theater last night. It...was...EPIC!  This is only the third or fourth 3D movie I've ever seen in my life. The first one was with those silly cardboard 3D glasses with one side red and the other side blue. The third was with my boys and it had those slick black ones that look like real sunglasses. Last night was of the slick variety (and yes, I did get a little dizzy in spots and had to close my eyes.)

The one thing I really wanted to see was a Dalek eye-stalk popping out of the screen at me. And I got it! Plus explody bits that made me duck! Some of the best parts were the special sequences made just for the movie theater audience. The Centauran lecturing us on movie theater etiquette was fantastic. I'll never look at popcorn the same way again. Then the intro by David Tennant and Matt Smith was hilarious. In 12D! What? Only 3D? Well, that's disappointing. Hee hee! Really excellent job of turning a 1 hour television special into a 2 hour movie theater experience. I hope they release the theater version on DVD with all those extras on it.

Lastly, it was just a joy to be in a theater full of people who shared my love of the Doctor. They got it. I came home on a warm and fuzzy cloud and wasn't able to sleep. At all. It was a school night and John is in the city today. He left at some ungodly hour this morning so I was in charge of getting Max to school. My alarm went off just as I was finally nodding off. No sleep for me!

I drag myself out of bed, get dressed, find clothes for the boy, contemplate lunch options and then go to get him up...and he doesn't want to get up. He has a sore throat and is sniffling. After some minor drama, I call him out sick and we both crawl back into bed. Mine. I wish I could say he fell promptly back to sleep. Nope. He tossed and wiggled, chatted a bit, coughed at me, sniffled a lot then finally said he wanted to get up.

I tried to snooze for a bit but my mind went back to the theater last night and I finally just started typing. I'll get some sleep eventually. I hope. It's going to be a very long day.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

*gasp* She's a NERD?!

OK, this probably won't come as a very big surprise to most of you, but yes. I am coming out. I am a nerd. A total geek-girl. What am I nerding out over now? The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and the fact that I have a ticket to see the premier special event in IMAX 3D! *squee*  I am going alone, incidentally. I am the only one in the house that is a fan of Doctor Who. The rest of the sanctimonious miscreants I live with just look at me with various levels of puzzlement, mocking and outright scorn. :P

They don't know what they are missing.

But on to my real problem. The last time I got to seriously nerd out was the midnight release party of the 6th Harry Potter book. Yes, I did dress up a bit. I am itching to cosplay for Doctor Who too! I want to dress up as River Song (aka Melody Pond.) I have the perfect outfit in mind. Yes, River will look like she's packed on some pounds, but I could pull it off, I think. I just need a wig.

A little crazy. Buying a wig so I can look like a curly haired strawberry blonde for a night. But if it looks good, maybe I'll just adopt River's look permanently. I could have curly hair, if I wanted to. Yet, I continue to hesitate. I've found 2 wigs that look fab...with the price tag to match. The $170 one is certainly a no. I can't spend that much. The $86 one is giving me pause too. *nibbles cuticles*

I...just...can't...commit. It's too much. Isn't it?

*sigh*

I need a source for cheap wigs!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Mommy Moment

Max and I took some extra time after school today to go play on the playground. I stood with my mom friends and chatted while our boys had a ball playing on the climbers and slides. It makes me happy to watch Max cheerfully interacting with his friends.

Then I started thinking about our recent struggles with Tyler. I found myself thinking back to when Tyler was this age. I'd bring him to the playground to spend time with kids too. But unlike Max, who can charm his way into any group, Tyler often had/has problems relating to other kids.  Instead of giggles and fun, I'd observe this:

Waiting to be noticed.

Playing on his own NEAR kids.
I found myself welling up with tears. I had sunglasses on, so I don't think my friends noticed. I wanted to tell them how much I appreciate their friendship and how great their kids are, but then I would have totally lost it. Max treasures his friends. So do I. It's a small miracle that I witness every single day that most parents probably take for granted.

Say a little prayer for us as we wrangle with ongoing issues at school. They want to take our beloved square-peg eldest boy and ram him into one of their perfectly organized round holes. We know it's not going to work but we have to show them that they can deal with all kinds of pegs, with a little effort and flexibility. It's not about shaving off his corners and making him fit! It's about tossing out the stiff old mold and replacing it with something soft and pliable (like play doh) so that pegs of all shapes will work. Flexibility, people!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Apples

I chose not to focus on all the negative things that happened yesterday (drama at school with Tyler) or the government shut-down...instead, I'll think about another bright spot.

In the supermarket with Max, we took a detour through produce to select fruit and veggie trays for his at-school birthday celebration on Thursday. Max stopped in the apple isle and had me read each sign. He wanted to know the names of all the apple varieties. So many varieties this month! He found the "pink ladies" particularly amusing. Then he pounced on a yellow packet at the end of the isle. Caramel wraps for making caramel apples. Yum! I agreed to buy them. We need something to make with all the apples I want to pick this weekend.

I am not a baker. My mother used to make decent pies and apple crisp, but I won't attempt it. Especially now. What if it turns out amazing? I can't eat pie. LOL Shortly after discovering the caramel wraps, Max discovered ready-made candied apples dipped in coconut shavings. He wanted to buy those too. They looked so pretty... No. We were making our own. Who wants store made ones? I did grab a bag of natural coconut shavings so Max can decorate his apples. I'm still surprised he wanted it. I don't think he has ever tasted anything with coconut, but it sure does look pretty.

Hopefully my next entry will have beautiful photos of our apple picking adventure. I haven't been to a farm in a few years. All the walking was too daunting a prospect. I'm nervous, but the desire to take photos of a fun family outing is trumping my doubts.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Marble

I love this time of day - waking up in a semi-daze in the late morning knowing the boys are at school and there is nothing urgent to do and nowhere to go. I lay in bed and let my mind drift. Most of the time I rehash things that are troubling me. Stress often takes over and I can't stay in a restful state for long, but every now and then my addled brain takes a detour down memory lane and I meander through well-worn territory.

Today my mind took me back to my grandmother's old Victorian in Hudson, NY. I've blogged about memories of her home before. Today I remembered a few things I don't think I've consciously thought about in decades. For one thing, her basement. I was too frightened to go into the basement, let me say first. So all my knowledge of the space is second hand. I remember my father telling me it had a very low ceiling and you had to stoop to walk around. The floor was packed earth and it always smelled like walking into an open grave. Yes. Creepy! It was very dark down there...the only light a bare bulb or two. I recall a coal chute opening outside the house and a double storm-cellar-door type opening in the rear of the house. I remember looking down the staircase that curved around a tight corner headed down into the dark from the kitchen. The unfinished walls in the stairway had open wood beams backed by raw plaster that had been converted into make-shift shelves. Jars, boxes, bulbs, tools...all sorts of odds and ends lined the staircase headed down into the gloom.

Why think about a space I was too frightened to enter? Well...I found myself thinking about the foundation of the house. Stacked stones with mortar added in decades later to try and block out wildlife and moisture. Great wood beams added to try and shore up what was slowly crumbling away. The house was leaning, you see. It was not really noticeable on the first floor, but on the second and third floors? Oh boy!

That thought about the sloping floor is what brought to mind the marble.

There was a whole bag of marbles in the beginning. They must have belonged to my Dad or his brother. Some were chipped and scratched, so they had obviously been well played with. They were beautiful! No one makes marbles like those anymore. You hear people talk about "cat's eye" marbles. There was one in the bag that was the actual semi-precious stone cat's eye. It was glossy with glowing layers of browns and golds. But that wasn't my favorite. Mine was a pale blue orb that seemed to glow with it's own light. It was completely crystal clear and fairly large.

My brother and I would have marble races in my aunt's old bedroom (the room we usually stayed in when visiting because of the two twin beds and day bed occupying the space.) We would set a couple marbles down by the door and watch them quickly roll away toward the front of the house. See? Sloped. It made us giggle! Kids making their own fun. What could be better?

I never used the pale blue marble for these races. I didn't want it to get scratched. That marble was the focus of a lot of daydreams. It became my crystal ball. I would stare into it and imagine it had magical properties. I could see the future! There were stories that ran through my mind...how did this magic crystal orb end up in a child's bag of marbles? I could sit here and write all day!

But let's skip ahead. My brother and I would often ask my grandmother if we could keep various things we'd found over the years. Sometimes she would say yes. Often she said no. I came away with a collection of old 45s that had belonged to my aunt, some books...however, she always said no when we asked if we could keep the marbles. I have no idea why.

So one visit, I pocketed the pale blue marble and took it home. I had to do it! It TOLD me to do it!

I know. It was a very naughty thing to do. I had that marble for years and years. I often kept it in my purse. Eventually it ended up in a keepsake box. I know I still have it. Somewhere.

So yes. I've been lying in bed thinking about a marble. My first crystal ball. I hope I find it one of these days.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

...when banging your head against the wall is all you can do.

There are several things I've struggled with in life that I feared would, one day, come back to bite me. One was my utter lack of organizational skills. I was a machine at work. Organized out the wazoo! I had to be, or I'd never get anything done. At home? I'm happy when I can find a top and pants that match and remember where I left my purse. Driving the boys to school? Yes, I have done it in bare feet because I couldn't locate my shoes. I'm not proud of that. Back in college, I never knew when exams were or where to go. Term paper? What paper?! And forget about note taking. I stunk.

Then there is the whole "remembering stuff" thing. Birthdays? Important dates? Appointments? Horrible. Simply horrible. If your birthday is the same as mine, or it falls on a beloved holiday (I never forget my friend Beth's birthday on Feb 14th or my Brother's on Christmas Eve) you might have a prayer of me wishing you a happy one. Thank jeebus for FaceBook. I love seeing those little "Today is Shoebeedo's Birthday!" I always pop over to wish people a happy one when I see those reminders. Y'all are the lucky ones. My mom and dad aren't on FB so I am likely to forget to send a card again this year. ;)

Making appointments? Oh no. That means I have to compose my thoughts and MAKE A PHONE CALL. [cue tense horror movie music]  Pretty much, anything involving talking on the phone is out. I just got off the phone with one of Tyler's teachers and I am pretty sure I had nothing coherent to say. Deer in the headlights moment.

Which brings me full circle. Tyler is having problems. He lacks organizational skills. He has no clue how to take notes, get his homework done in a timely fashion or tackle large projects. Notes his teachers send home get lost somewhere between their hand, his hand, his backpack and home. They vanish. Mysteriously. Homework? What homework? Yes, they try to keep him organized. We try. He has all the tools, folders, planners and notebooks any child could possibly need. He doesn't use them. They get "lost". He claims he never had them. On and on and on.

[checks ass for bite marks]

So I get phone calls from school. 2 weeks into school and Tyler is already nearly hopelessly behind. He can't find anything, he doesn't want to even try. He is done with school. It's all "stupid". Who does the school look to for help? Me. *sigh* I swear, if I were even SLIGHTLY organized, I would home-school my kids! But I am a hopeless case. I don't even know where to start with Tyler. Good study habits?! What the heck are those???

I think it's time for a family meeting. I need Tyler's buy in on some ground rules. If he doesn't agree to some changes, then I'll just be spinning my wheels and causing more fights. I don't want to fight. I hate fighting! I try to remember back to when I was his age. My mother would nag a bit for me to go get my homework done. Sure, I'd procrastinate. But eventually I'd do it. She didn't have to stand over me. They never checked what I did. None of my teachers ever called my parents. Never ever. I got through school. I'm sure there are things I could have done better. I know I could have gotten better grades if I were more organized and applied myself more. But I didn't. I did the minimum. I got by.

How do I get Tyler to at least do that?! The minimum. Just...get by! I'm not setting the bar very high here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

...to the ER! Stat!

The beginning of the week, I knew something nasty was brewing under my arm. I've had a small (lima bean sized) cyst there for years. It sometimes swells a tiny bit at "that time" of the month, but was otherwise painlessly unremarkable. I could feel it if I pushed down on my skin and had a doctor check it a few times over the years (worried about cancer and all that.) Monday? It was a golf ball. The swelling was NOT going down, even with ice packs. I called the doc. I guess I didn't communicate the urgency of the situation well enough because the friendly but ignorant fellow who schedules things didn't have anything sooner than the next Tuesday (another week and a day away.)

Could I make it a week with a painful golf ball under my arm? Hmm. Perhaps.

Perhaps not! By Thursday it was the size of an orange. I hadn't slept more than an hour at a time for days and couldn't lower my arm at all. I kept my physical therapy appointment Thursday and she very kindly checked my temp (because sepsis is bad) and didn't make me lift weights with my left arm. Thank goodness! But my heart rate was crazy high in half the time it normally takes. Not good. I'd noticed this on Wednesday at the gym too, so I slowed my walking a bit.

Yes, I get it. I'm crazy. I should have gone to the ER on Monday. I went today. They were slammed and short staffed, but did put me in a curtained stall fairly quickly after triage. I was left alone for long stretches waiting for an available doctor/nurse so I got to listen in to the goings on.

To my right was a little old Polish grandma who spoke no English. 87 years old, bless her heart. She'd fallen and hit her head. Luckily her devoted daughter found her pretty quickly and acted as an interpreter - never leaving her side. They conversed avidly in Polish each time the various hospital personnel visited. The blood guy - who couldn't find a good vein but managed to splash a fair quantity on the floor for me to stare at under the curtain. The nice sounding Italian fella who came to bring her for her x-rays (he apologized for only knowing English and Italian and not Polish.) The girl who brought her for a cat scan (and was the first to notice the blood puddle on the floor.) The second girl who came to try and draw more blood (and was successful.) Each visitor apologized for making her wait so long and acknowledged her agitation and strong desire to go home. I must have missed the agitated part. She sounded in good spirits and reasonable to me. But what do I know. I don't speak a word of Polish.

To my left was someone moaning in pain at regular intervals. Various people would come in to ask questions and each time she said something different about why she was there and where the pain was coming from. She was already wearing 2 pain patches (morphine, according to her) and was on other oral pain killers. Let's see, she mentioned an auto accident, two surgeries, a rod in her leg, being run over, a strange lump (hey! that was MY complaint), a torn rotator cuff from 2 years previously...good gracious I could go on and on. Her moans would get louder if hospital staff was within earshot. She wouldn't let them close her curtains either. Just from the tone staff took with her and the types of questions they were asking...I got the impression she was a "drug seeker". For someone in as much pain as she complained of, they sure left her in there a LONG LONG time.

Finally, a doctor and nurse came in loaded down with gear. I was told a "slight pinch" as he anesthetized the area under my arm. I was swabbed with lidocaine then he needle jabbed me 10 times or so with something else then poked at my alien growth. Hard. OUCH! Nope, I can still feel that. A lot. A whole lot! He jabbed me with more. Another cursory squeeze and poke. Oh bloody hell ouch! OUCH! Nope. More jabs. My gosh I felt close to 30 needle sticks and I guess they gave up trying to numb the area. That's when the cut and the crushing and squeezing began in earnest. I felt like I was delivering a bowling ball through a pin hole. With an extra side of pain. I was howling in pain. SCREAMING in agony. They kept apologizing but kept right on inflicting more pain. It just went on and on. At one point he asked for tongs because he could see the sac. Forceps delivery. The alien baby was born! Ugh. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, he said he was packing the wound and hoped he'd cleaned it all out.

I was sobbing and shaking. I couldn't stop. Horrible. They left me to rest and compose myself for a bit. As my breathing calmed down I started to notice how quiet it was. Polish grandma was still away having her cat scan and drug seeker? I guess real screams of agony shut HER up. But good. I didn't hear a peep out of her for at least 30 minutes. Then she started up the moaning when a nurse came to check on me. I was chuckling on the inside.

Finally a nice fella with a cup full of drugs stopped in. Horse pills! But I was never happier to see a cup of pills ever before in my life. Thank you gods of chemistry! He brought me papers to sign, 3 prescriptions, some cursory instructions and a "rest for a bit, we'll discharge you shortly." Thank you Jeebus!

I was so happy when the nurse stuck her head in and said I could get dressed. I just wanted to be home and in my own bed. I was still really shaky and a little disoriented. They don't put you in a wheelchair and bring you to the door any more. When did they stop doing that? I wish they'd done that. It was a fairly long walk from the curtain area back to the waiting room. I weaved my way back, praying I'd see the hubby and kids waiting. It had been hours. I'd sent them away earlier (to get food and spend time away from the ER.) A scan of the waiting area and a motley assortment of shady looking characters that were NOT my family told me I needed a phone. My cell battery was dead. As usual. Luckily they have a courtesy phone hanging on the wall (WAY above wheel chair accessible height, I might add) and I called home. No answer. Rats.

I hung up on the brink of full blown panic when I spotted Max skipping his way through the ER entrance. Whew! I was so happy to see John and Max I nearly keeled over and burst into tears. I was glad they didn't come into the back with me - NOT an experience for kids - but, at the same time, I wished I'd had someone with me. Drug seeker and Polish Grandma's daughter were not very chatty. Thank goodness for my Kindle and Facebook! Although after the procedure, they'd put up the rails on my bed and I couldn't get up to get it. I knew I should have kept it in bed with me. Heh.

Now for some much needed rest. I vow not to even LOOK at these bandages until tomorrow. I don't want to see the aftermath. Nope. Really really don't. But thank you ER nurse who gave me an arm-load of padding, gauze pads, and tape. Maybe John will change my dressing. Eh...maybe I don't want him to see either. Ick.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Crunch!

That is the noise my neck makes when ever I move my head from side to side (see post title above.) It is also the name of the gym I joined last week. Yup. I joined a GYM! *checks to see if pigs are flying outside my window*

I am going to assume hell is still a very toasty temp too. Heh heh. You know what? I like it! I've had two gym memberships in the past. One at Lucille Roberts - I think I went 2 or 3 times then paid the membership fees for 2 years after that. One at Curves - there I was moderately more successful. I went for about 6 months and was doing well but came down with an upper respiratory infection and was in bed for a week and recovering for nearly 2 months after. I never went back. Continued to PAY for it for years after, but just couldn't bring myself to go. Then I had a bad slip and fall accident on ice in my driveway (I'm sure I blogged about it somewhere in here) and that was all she wrote.

The thought of going to a gym was terrifying after that. I was in so much pain daily I didn't think I'd ever recover. I couldn't move, I ate away my depression and the bigger I got the less I moved until I was an invalid. I couldn't even walk from my family room to the bathroom without feeling like I was going to pass out from the pain.

Yeah. Rough shape.

So now? I am 70 lbs lighter, I swam an average of 4 days a week all summer, I saw an exercise physiologist through my weight loss clinic two weeks ago and she designed a workout plan for me. Plan in hand, I waltzed (well, limped slightly since I still walk with a cane) into my local Crunch Fitness and signed up.

Their very nice personal trainer Marie got me up to speed on one of the treadmills. Nice equipment there too! It's great joining a brand new gym (they have been open less than a year here in town.) I had my second workout today and I feel really good.  Workouts in the past always left me feeling like I was about to DIE. Suellyn told me that kind of punishing workout is not the way to go. I need to gradually increase my intensity at a pace that works for me. If it's too hard, I won't stick with it. Makes total sense, right? Shocking.

So I am walking 3/4 of a mile at 1.8 mph. I slowly get up to that speed and monitor my heart-rate with a target of 130 bpm. Then I walk steadily for 20 minutes and then gradually cool down until my hear-rate is around 100. That way I don't faint on my way out of the gym. ;) So far, so good. I'm sure I'll go faster and further as my stamina and physical fitness level improves. I'll have to work a little harder to get to my target heart-rate. I look forward to playing with all the buttons on that treadmill. Imagine, me...looking forward to "hills". Oh the mountains I will climb. I hope.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

What are you eating?!

We are coming up on the one year mark since I embarked on some major lifestyle changes. 65 pounds gone and a ways to go yet, I find myself thinking about how far I've really come. It's not about the pounds anymore. It's about how I feel. Do I have the energy to get out of bed? How are my pain levels? Does the thought of leaving the house fill me with dread or excitement? Yep. I've come a long long way this year.

How, you ask? There is no easy answer to that question. I started with small changes. I stopped drinking soda. Then I gave up candy. Then I gave up sugar, period. Then came potatoes, rice, corn, grains, excessively starchy vegetables in general, overly sugary fruits, anything containing corn syrup or other sweeteners...and that brings me to today.

I read labels now. Yep. And it has been an eye-opener! My GOD this country has gone to hell, nutritionally speaking. They put sugar and/or corn syrup in nearly EVERYTHING we eat. If it comes in a box, bottle, jar or can chances are very good they added some of that sweet crap. No wonder grains make up the base of the government approved food pyramid. Who ever is producing the lion's share of the grain, beets or cane that give us these sweeteners must be freaking RICH. We are a nation of addicts. Yes. I said it. You are all addicted to that sickly sweet CRAP that passes as food in the average American diet. I know. I was THERE this time last year. It wasn't pretty.

Don't get me started on GMOs. What is a GMO, you ask? Google it. It's not enough that we keep all our farmers employed. No. We have to tamper with the genetics of our food so it grows faster, bigger, more drought and blight resistant... What's wrong with that? Isn't that a good thing? Well, no. Not when these genetically altered food sources haven't had any long term testing done. We feed this stuff to our children. Hello? Alarming rise in autism rates? Depression? Other forms of altered brain chemistry, cancers, auto-immune disorders, on and on. We can't blame it all on pesticides, pollution and other worldly ills.

OK! So we swear off GMOs, sweet crap and unhealthy starches. Now what? A nice juicy steak, some healthy green veggies like kale, some creamy Greek yogurt with fresh juicy strawberries...wait. That cow has been injected with hormones and antibiotics to make it fatter and more disease resistant. The meat and milk are tainted with it. That kale and those strawberries were sprayed with 13 different kinds of pesticides and no amount of washing will fix it.

Now what? Organic! Grass fed! No hormones or antibiotics! Free range! Yes! Crud. My supermarket carries hardly any of these kinds of products. The few organic things I can find are nearly twice as expensive.

Sure, I've found a few places I can order in bulk, online. CRAZY expensive sources. I could start raising my own cows, pigs, chickens, veggies and fruits... hahahaha! I may have been born in farm country, but I'm no farmer.

So that's it then. I'll just stop eating. It's the only solution. :p

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nature vs. Nurture

I have a friend who is struggling right now. Like me, she is adopted and recently was contacted by a bio-relative she never knew existed. Information was exchanged and her world was rocked. We all have ideas in our heads about who we are and where we came from. For an adopted child, it can be very layered and complex. As products of a private adoption, we are on shaky ground right from the start and often have very little information with which to build a picture of who we are and where we come from.

Sure, as a Mom through the gift of adoption, I like to think my kids will base their own self-image almost solely on what I teach them and present to them as a parental role model. But as a product of a family formed through adoption, I know what I hope for doesn't always happen. Biology is always in the mix. I have no control over what my boys take away from their childhood experiences and the way their minds work. Some day they will be men with complete control over their own destiny and decisions. I pray that their lives will be good ones. It's what all mothers hope. But will they look at their first families and let those stories influence who they are? I pray their first mom's lives are also good ones because I want my boys to be proud of where they came from. Every part.

We try to be as positive as we can about who they are and where they come from. I want them to be confident and feel like they have a complete picture of themselves. Not feel...incomplete, like I always did as a child. This is one of the main reasons why I believe so strongly in open adoption.

I gave my friend some advice that I thought was worth sharing with the wider world. If you are adopted and searching for missing pieces of your life, this applies to you.

It's the age old question...nature vs. nurture. As an adoptive Mom, I like to think nurture always wins out. But really we are a blending of both. As individuals, however, we have the ultimate control. We make the choices that determine how our lives will unfold. The past may have influence, biology may have influence, but we prove, over and over, that we have the power to shape our own destiny. Shed the baggage and live your life the way YOU want to live it. The rest doesn't really matter anyway.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tropes in Advertising

I've been noticing a disturbing pattern in ads directed at "mothers" in the last couple years. Today I found myself thinking about a class I took in college that covered the modern definition of trope. A common or even cliche theme running through a story. The good girl/boy falling under a band influence, finding redemption and ending up a hero or the seeming unredeemable bad guy who finds love and overcomes his limitations to become a force for good. There are a lot of them. Threads that run through books and films and some how strike a cord in our global consciousness. We know who to root for and who to boo at.

Now back to those pesky commercials. Lately I have noticed the smug mom. She finds the bargains no one else can, buys the foods that are super healthy that no one else knows about, or keeps her house clean with ease because she knows the secret weapons of sanitary living. And the look on her face says it all. Lumped in with smug mom is hero mom - she does all of the above but is less condescending about it. Then there is the clueless mom - she is confused by everyday life. She buys the wrongs things, shops in the wrong places, messes up but oh isn't she adorable and her kids still love her. Finally, we have harried mom. She is about to snap! Her kids drive her crazy. She can't function without coffee and/or yogurt that helps her poop. She is a mess and her kids are suffering because she is stressed out ALL THE TIME. I'm sure there are more. If you have a favorite, add it to the comments.

My question to all my fellow moms is this...do you identify with any of these motherly tropes? Do they speak to you? Do you find yourself saying "Yeah! I should buy that so I can act all smug and superior with MY friends too!"

Didn't think so. I think more women who are moms need to go into advertising. Those mad men need help. ;)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Status Updates

I have something important on my Facebook status right now, so I feel like I can't make any new updates. Here are things that have crossed my mind over the last couple of hours:


  • I could have kissed my cardiologist yesterday. He hasn't seen me in 6 months and told me I look YEARS YOUNGER. *squee* Go me!
  • Max says, "Mom, remember when I told you that Peter doesn't believe in Santa? That's just really sad. Even Sean believes in Santa! I mean, who else put those Angry Birds plushies in my stocking? Seriously..." I adore my baby. He makes me grin daily.
  • I up'd my street cred with Tyler yesterday. He came to me asking if he could get a new cover piece for his iPad. The barely 1 month old plastic shock-proof cover with build-in screen shield was all dirty and scratched up. I asked if he tried cleaning it. Yup. "Plus there is all this crap trapped BETWEEN the layers! How do I get that crud out of there?!" He handed over the cover and I scrutinized it for a couple seconds then peeled off the easily removable protective film still adhered to the screen, wiped the cover down with my LCD cleaner and handed it back. Good as new. He blinked a couple times, jaw slack, and said "You can take that OFF?!" Yup. 
  • "The frosting on this donut is the best part." Better than the donut itself?? "Yes. Next time, can you just get me the frosting part?" So...you just want a tub of frosting. No donut? "Yes." OK Max.
  • I've been taking a Biotin supplement in the hopes it would help my hair and nails. After a month my hair doesn't seem much better, but my fingernails are super strong! They don't bend and split into layers anymore. The new problem? They break. *snap* Now I know how those women on TV feel when they yell "Aww! I broke a nail!" But they aren't just snapping off at the tip. No. They crack on the sides half-way down. Ouch. So I am stopping the Biotin. I'd rather my nails be weak and bendy than crack painfully in a place where I have to wait until they grow out before I can clip them. Unless someone has an idea of how to repair a cracked fingernail? 
  • Is it wrong that I told my kids that my precious low-carb ice cream bars are actually sugar free chocolate covered frozen meat on a stick? It's the only way to get them left alone. Honest.
  • I find myself wondering how I can explain to my kids how much they mean to me and how much better my life is with them in it. I don't think they comprehend the depth of my love for them.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Quiet Reflection

Oh the thoughts that enter my head when the house is finally quiet and I can actually think. What...your kids allow you to have deep reflective thoughts? Ha! Don't judge the Mommy on autopilot.

Tonight's personal moment of reflection involves my little brother. We didn't exactly have the Brady Bunch family experience growing up. Point of fact, there were moments where we actively hated each other. Passionately. But underneath all the urges to maim and/or kill were genuine moments of affection and caring. Being 5 years apart in age and of different sexes left us little in common. We had one year of shared school bus time (I moved on to Junior High and he eventually moved to a private school.) But I do remember defending him against the various and sundry "dicks on the bus" who got their kicks harassing little kids. If anyone was going to pick on my baby brother, it was gonna be ME. Heck, we didn't even attend the same high schools and I was away at college by the time he got there anyway.

So, distant. You get the picture. We'd find ourselves fighting over really stupid things, but uniting in solidarity when our parents got a little over-zealous with the discipline.

Fast forward a bit. I moved out of state, moved even further, got married, and pretty much lost immediate touch with my brother. I had no idea what was going on in his life except generalities and gossip shared by our Mother. We just didn't talk. Not close, see.

Then my brother got married. Oh the stories my mother would tell about his girlfriend/wife. Yes, I was worried in the abstract but then soon to be SIL asked me to be a bride's maid (matron?) and I thought "Sweet! I can get to know her better and maybe become friends." Wouldn't it be nice if the kids we were trying so hard to conceive had a cool uncle and aunt to visit. Yeah. That all went to hell. New sis-in-law was a little unhinged. That is being kind.

Fast forward again. I find out little bro is getting a divorce. Sweet! *ahem* I was not fond of his wife in the slightest by that point. The feeling was mutual. We barely saw them but once or twice a year at forced family dis-functions and holidays. It wasn't pretty.

So all was hunky dory in my world. M was getting rid of baggage-full-o-crazy and moving on with his life. Good for him! Moving on to the next drama in my world...

Wait.

Now we get to tonight's bit of quiet reflection. My mother mentions in passing "well, you know, the divorce hit him really hard..."  What ever she was rambling on about at the time didn't really sink into my deep recesses, but that statement has been floating in my subconscious for quite some time.  Did it?!  Here I was, dusting my hands together and thinking "goodbye to soul-sucking..." uh. You know, like you do, and being all relieved and happy for my brother. But I never really spent time thinking about how he was really feeling about his marriage ending. Remember. We don't talk much.

I'm not a great sister, I've come to realize. I do care! I really do. But I tend to get wrapped up in my little daily drama and don't spend a lot of brain processing time thinking about things that might be intuitive for others who may have a closer family relationship with their siblings. I just assume he is ok, doesn't care, or is strong enough to deal. He usually is! I think. I don't really know.

And now it bothers me. I wasn't all that supportive while he was married and I certainly haven't been there for him during his separation and divorce. (Granted he kept the separation part very quiet...but...) *sigh* So I have decided to try and be a better sister. I decided that last bit months ago during another moment of quiet reflection, but this just continues the theme. I have embraced the new girlfriend with joyful warmth and open sincerity. (Honestly, that part is easy because she is a total peach.) I have paid more attention to my mother's gossip and tried to read between the "it's all about her" lines and be thoughtful and responsive. You know, as much as I think he'd feel comfortable with.

Maybe, given a whole lot of time and effort, I can win back his confidence in me as a sister and someone he can count on. He can, you know. Count on me. I've always been here for him. He has just never (ever) reached out to me for any kind of help or advice. I can respect that. I come off as kind-of-a flake at times. I really am very thoughtful, caring and empathetic. I just don't always register those moments when I should actively SHOW those traits and DO something sisterly or be a good friend. Flake. Remember? Give me a break, I've been through a lot in my life and I'm doing my best. If I miss out on another opportunity to be a good sister or friend, someone give me a poke, ok? Thanks!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Maybe If I Flap Hard Enough, I Can Take Off...

Pretty new sleeveless maxi sun dress in a size smaller?  Yay me! Fits perfectly. Black and white stripes. Bold and fashion forward. But what's this? Oh no...

I have

floppy upper arms.

Loose and hanging skin! Gah! I knew losing this much weight would have some side effects, but dude! I have grandma arms. Eww!

Sure I could tone up with some weights and my stretchy band, but do you know how much muscle I'd need to build to get rid of the wings? I'd look like The Terminator. You know, when he still had his skin intact. "I'll be baaack!"

*sigh*

I guess loose and floppy is better than jiggly and fatty. I need some cute summer-heat friendly and fashionable way to hide my upper arms. Hmm. Maybe a short sleeve tee under my dress? Or a cute white cardigan or shrug? Maybe.

They need to make Anchor Arms for women. (Anyone get that Sponge Bob reference? lol)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Swimming

As I mentioned in my previous entry, we joined a private swim club for the summer. I'd read something about the place years ago when I was desperately trying to find someplace to get some swim therapy and the boys some lessons. Sadly, back then the "Cruiser's Club" was only open to residents of Sparta/Lake Mohawk. Apparently previous owners tried to open the place up to wider membership but the then current members voted it down. Not surprisingly, the place went under and the property was lost to the bank. It had been a private swim and tennis club since sometime in the 1920s, but the times they had a-changed and, as we all know, you gotta change with them.

Fast forward a few years and you have the current owners acquiring the property from the bank and making some much needed changes. They did away with the tennis courts (loads of other places to play tennis, after all), they modernized the parking, entrance (now handicapped accessible), locker room/restroom facilities, snack bar, and made extensive repairs to the pool itself. There are even more plans in the works for updates, but they wisely did the essentials first so the new Lake Mohawk Pool could be open for new members this summer.

I have to thank a neighbor for telling me about the new pool. She doesn't know she told me...she posted a "like" to the Lake Mohawk Pool FaceBook page and I just happened to see it on my feed. I always perk up when I see the word "pool" and was so glad I peeped the page.

Now for the real point of this post. I love to swim. I always have. I feel most at home in the water. Perhaps I was a fish in a previous life incarnation (if you believe in that sort of thing.) All I know is, once I sink into a pool of water, I feel this rush of relief coupled with a mood-elevating jolt of joy. It is one of the few times I feel pain free with a certain grace and freedom of movement. I am buoyant. Effervescent! I feel 20 years younger and 100 lbs lighter. It's a great feeling.

The boys have been enjoying the swim club too. For Tyler its all a matter of timing. We have to go when the crowds thin, the sun is low in the sky, and the noise level is manageable. It's been hit and miss, so far. If pool conditions are not to his liking, he can make our planned family fun time into a time of complete misery. Max, on the other hand, is happy to swim no matter what. He is a little fish, just like his Momma. If only he would learn to swim AND lift his head to breathe at the same time. He goes to take a breath and forgets to stay afloat/keep swimming. The kid sinks like a stone.

With one child who swims rather well now and wants to spend his time in deep water with Momma and the other who wants to spend his time where his feet can touch the ground...oh, it gets ugly. Tyler doesn't understand why I have to cater to Max. He doesn't get the whole "He is only 6, can't swim well and needs Mommy to stay with him and watch him." I wish the husband liked to swim. It's a lot easier when we can split things down the middle. John is not a fish. He doesn't like spending much time in the water. He'll hang out in the shallow end for a bit and likes it, for short periods on very hot days, but ultimately it's not his thing.

Poor Tyler was completely fed up a couple days ago. He did NOT want to hang in the shallow end and he wanted me to swim with him. No, he didn't want to go meet some new kids. No, he didn't want to dive by himself for a bit. NO he did not want to swim laps alone. NO he did NOT want to spend money in the arcade (did I mention they added a small arcade at the pool?) So he spent all his time blocking Max from practicing swimming from the wall to me, trying to push Max under the water, grabbing my arm and pulling me, and generally just being a big old horse-fly. I wanted to swat him. Add in the constant chorus of "Can we go home now?" and you get the picture.

It all culminated in Tyler putting his hand down right on top of a bee that had landed on the lane line floats. Getting his first bee sting trumped all, so we headed home for the day. Max was in tears. He just wanted to swim. So I told him Tyler would stay home with his beloved video games and WE would go swimming the next day, just the two of us. Tyler thought this was a fab idea. He was so done with the pool.

So we did it. Yesterday, it was a Max and Momma day at the pool. We practiced his swim lessons. We had contests to see who could stay underwater the longest. We tried to hold very bubbly conversations while sitting on the bottom of the pool in the shallows. I taught him how to "dive" like a dolphin. Then we played "Dolphin Delivery Service" - a game Max created. I was the dolphin and he rode on my back to various places bring packages and mail. I swam us all the way to Africa. Yes I did! I even tried to teach him how to do hand-stands in the pool. He can do it, if I hold his ankles and keep him upside down.



We had a ball! At one point, we were playing "work" and Max announced that we were both 17 and our boss was 48. His name was Maxwell and I was Rebecca and we had a lot of paperwork to do. The things he comes up with...it's hilarious. But I really felt like I was a teen again. I haven't felt that playful and energized in a long long LONG time. I was also completely waterlogged and, by the time we were kicked out of the pool at closing time, we were both exhausted.

I really want Tyler to swim. He needs the exercise and to get away from his computer for a while. But I think I may try for one more day of Max and Momma swim time. Maybe I need to alternate days. Take the boys one at a time. It's sad that we can't work out how to SHARE the Momma at the pool. But I will do what needs to be done to keep the peace.

But for now, I'm off to ask Max if he wants to go play mermaid beauty salon with Momma. That was a game I invented as a child. Or fish tea party. Time for this fishy to return to the water.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tripping Down Memory Lane

It's funny how something small can trigger a huge rush of memories. We joined a swim club for the summer and I was sharing with the boys how I used to swim almost every day when I was a kid. But that wasn't the trigger. After swimming regularly for a few weeks now, I found my hair was slowly hardening into a chlorine infused helmet. After a quick online search, I found "Ultra Swim" shampoo and conditioner. Wow! They still make that stuff! My Mom used to buy it for me when I was a kid. (The modern version smells a lot nicer than it used to.)

That got me wondering...do they still make "Sun In"? That was another staple in my summer beauty routine. Sun bleached summer hair in less than half the time. Yes! They still make it!

Then there was the big question. Do they still make "Love's Baby Soft Fresh Lemon Perfume"? I searched for it a few years ago and, while they'd brought back regular Love's Baby Soft, the lemon scent was no where to be found. Guess what! I found it tonight! I am so excited, I am giddy. I wore that stuff religiously as a pre-teen. It smelled so so good. I am going to order some. So what if I'm not 13 any more.

So now that I can smell and look like teenage me (kinda), what about my old summer hangout? The Hanscom AFB swimming pool? Does it still exist?

It does!!! Check out the pool's current incarnation. They are on FaceBook too! Lots of photos on the FaceBook page. Wow, that pool has changed. Back in the 70s it was an outdoor Olympic-size pool with a high dive, two low dive boards, and a kiddy pool. Now? They enclosed it so it is open year round. They have a water slide too! The old kiddy pool area? They covered it over, left it outside and converted it into a mini water park/splash n play area. Neat! I am really glad they kept the pool up with the times and made it even more accessible and useful. Good job, Hanscom.


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Evelyn

Growing up, I often studied our extended family in my efforts to understand just where my parents were coming from. It didn't help much. My mother's family, in particular, were an enigma to me. They were all so very different.

One summer, I spent a week living with my Grandmother and her sister (they lived together, two little old ladies keeping each other company in their twilight years.) My Great Aunt Evelyn, Aunt Evie for short, was a source of endless fascination. She wouldn't go anywhere without her cardigan - a light-weight, white affair that was hand-crocheted. It didn't matter if it was hotter than Hades outside. She would furrow her brow and say, "Well, there might be air conditioning!"

If we had to be anywhere on a schedule, we made sure to leave well in advance. Aunt Evie would need loads of extra time to scan the apartment to make sure we didn't "forget" anything. She would check the stove, pressing the off button for each burner 4 times while muttering, "Off. Off. Off. Off. OK. Off. Off. Off. Off. Good." Then she would go from room to room to be sure the lamps were all turned off. Finally, there was the locks on their front door. The deadbolt on top and the lock in the knob down below...the lower lock done first before the door was closed, again 4 times to be sure. Then the deadbolt was turned, with a key, four times to be absolutely sure it was secured. Sometimes we would all be piled on the elevator (they lived on an upper floor of their senior apartment building) and Aunt Evie would exit suddenly to try the door knob one last time.

I've always wondered if she experienced a stove fire, or some kind of electrical mishap with a lamp, or a break-in; but I never had the nerve to ask. And yes, I realized years later that she exhibited classic symptoms of OCD. She was still fascinating to me.

I guess I should give a little background about Evie. Family lore and stories I remember from over the years told me that she was very smart. Back in a time where it was unusual for women to receive advanced education, she won a full scholarship to study Math at university. She was engaged for many, many years to a very nice man but he eventually grew tired of waiting for her to set a wedding date and broke things off. Evie was very attached to her parents; especially her mother. My great-grandmother apparently did everything for her, like Evie was a helpless and hopeless child, well into Evie's adulthood.

Evie lived at home until her mother died (her father had passed some years earlier.) My grandmother took her sister in after their mother died and took on all of the responsibility for her sister's care and feeding, so to speak. Evie didn't even know how to do her own laundry. The math scholar! I got the impression that she was one of those super smart people who, at the same time, seemed to lack common sense. Book smart but not street smart.

Evie had a few different jobs, but I remember my mother saying she worked as an accountant for a department store for many years. She contributed to my mom's childhood household by helping to support and raise my mother, her sister and brother. Mom was especially close to her aunt. Aunt Evie spoiled her rotten, buying her clothes and trinkets when Evelyn's more practical sister had said no to my mother's rather expensive tastes. Mom painted a tragic portrait of a lonely spinster, spending her nights alone, chain smoking in her attic bedroom - reading or listening to the radio.

And so things remained. After the kids had grown and started families of their own, my grandfather passed away, leaving Evie and my Grandmother with only each other for company. Grandma and great aunt Evie...for my entire childhood they were a pair. I remember when they sold their duplex (my aunt and her family had lived downstairs and Grandma and Evie lived upstairs for many years.) They moved into the senior apartment complex in downtown Troy, NY.  Since neither of these sweet old ladies drove, it made things easier on them. Almost everything was within walking distance or a short cab ride.

My mother says my aunt was always very religious. She was devoted to the Virgin Mary and prayed all the time. She had many religious statues, crucifixes, rosary beads and medals. After they moved into the city, church was now within walking distance, so Evie would walk there. Often. Sometimes every day. And oh how she loved to go to confession. I remember one story my mom told me about how even the nice priest got a tad tired of hearing Evie's constant confessions and told her not to come back until she'd committed a mortal sin. That still makes me laugh. I can picture her bible on her dresser and the little blue prayer book devoted to Mary that sat on her night table. Just before Evie died, she gave that prayer book to me along with a bust of Mary that doubled as a planter (there was an opening behind Mary's head to put a plant) but I used it as a place to keep prayer cards and my rosary.

My beloved great aunt also stood up for me as my sponsor when I was confirmed (a Catholic thing.) I look back at those pictures and she had such a huge, proud smile on her face. She had a glow about her. Almost...beatific. I honestly thought she'd missed her calling. She should have been a nun! She lived like one, after all. 

Back to that week I spent with them one summer.  You might think that spending a whole week in a senior apartment complex with 2 elderly ladies was the height of boredom for a young teen. Nope!  I'd brought a good book, they had a TV, we went for a walk somewhere every day, we did chores (hanging out in the complex's laundry room was the social nerve center of the whole building and man those elders could gossip!) and we'd talk. I heard endless stories about when my mom was little and all the things they did when they were younger. There were some chairs out on their small balcony with a great view of the city. It was fun to sit out there, read and watch city life go by.  Then I finished the book I'd brought. With days still left in my visit, I needed something else to read, stat! I asked my Grandma if she had any books I could borrow. She told me her sister was the real reader. That gave me pause. I didn't want to read anything religious. Grandma laughed and said "Didn't you ever notice your great aunt always has a book in her purse? She reads allll the time. Especially in bed." Huh. Sounded just like me. Grandma pointed me in the direction of Evie's bedroom and told me to look under the bed.

Jackpot! I found a treasure trove of...romance novels!  Romance novels?! That was a surprise. I'd never noticed the kinds of books Evie was reading before. I dug through the stacks until I found a book that sounded interesting in a box tucked way under the bed. I took the book and sat out on the balcony and blasted through 10 chapters before I knew it. Woo was that book spicy. Racy, even. Steamy! Parts of it were making me blush. This was my sweet, super religious great aunt Evelyn's book? Wow!

At dinner that night I mentioned to my great aunt that I'd borrowed one of her books. Grandma had said it was ok, since I was looking for something to read. She asked "Which one?" so I showed her. She squeaked, blushed, stammered something unintelligible, paused dramatically for breath, then asked how much I'd read. I told her I was riveted and had read 10 chapters in one afternoon! She chuckled, then excused herself from the table. She came back minutes later with 3 more books. They were all by the same author and she told me to take them home with me. That was the start of my romance novel addiction. Months later I joined the Harlequin Romance book club. Ha! It probably lasted about 3 years before Steven King and other horror novels stole my interest and I cancelled the book club.

I still had the occasional Daniel Steel book or the like sneak into my stacks of to-be-read piles. Even to this day I enjoy a good romance.

I still think Great Aunt Evie should have been a nun. That is, if nuns are allowed to read steamy romance novels. Thinking about her still makes me smile. She was such a character! And a great influence in my life. I miss her.

Great Aunt Evelyn and My Grandma Madelyn (sisters)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My bad...

I woke this morning drenched in sweat and absolutely convinced that my time traveling had changed future events for the worse. It was all my fault and I was in a panic over how to fix the time line. Yeah. I need to cut back on the amount of sci-fi I ingest, I think. Or I really need to get back to some serious writing. I have an idea for a new book series that I really want to dive into. I just need to commit to it. Writing takes a lot of dedication and so far I haven't had the motivation to stay with a writing project all the way to completion. I have a whole lot of outlines, stray chapters, miscellaneous ideas and short stories. A whole book...that is a scary thought.

And then the cat jumped into my arms (which he almost never does) looking for a cuddle. See?! The universe is trying to keep me from writing. Ha ha ha!

Now where was I... There was something else I wanted to write down, but now my thought train has been derailed. It wasn't the dream from yesterday where an old friend somehow got a job as Johnny Carson's chauffeur and body guard just for a weekend for Johnny's visit to NYC. (Wow, what a crazy dream that was. I spent this dream weekend trying to keep Johnny Carson from being killed. Plus I got to visit the set of Saturday Night Live and found a whole room full of swag - gifts the cast had gotten over the years from various places and had never bothered to open. Yeah, I don't have any clue what that was all about.)

In other news, the school year officially ended today. Max will be moving on to first grade in September and Tyler into sixth. I remember sixth grade. Vividly. Those memories make me very afraid for Tyler in the coming year. Hormonal changes. Starting to notice boys (but they were mostly oblivious.) Girls who suddenly turned EVIL and made it their mission to ruin my happiness. Boys picking sides, friends, and icing out those who were "different".  Tyler is a little different.  His school year ended on a sour note when he went to the aid of a friend who was being picked on (and called a f*ing Jew) by a classmate. All the boys involved got in trouble and missed their end of year class party. Tyler says he didn't mind. The principal's office was air conditioned and his classroom was hot as hell. Plus they were eating pizza. He hates regular pizza. See? Different. The other boy was crying over missing the party. That gave me a odd bit of satisfaction, since he was the one who started the whole mess.

I find myself going over past events a lot lately. Re-remembering childhood trauma with new eyes. The eyes of a parent of a child now the same age I was back in, according to Max, Medieval Times. I know now that I was VERY difficult at 11, 12, 13 and so on. I was moody, depressed, reclusive, anti-social, angry and damaged.  And I just wanted my parents to make things better. They didn't. They didn't seem to even try.

And now here *I* am, in the same spot. We are trying! Very very hard. But I don't think Tyler sees it. School sucks for him. Kids are mean. We go to a lot of meetings, trying different things, get him therapy, therapists, medication...and he just finds it all tedious, useless, annoying and sometimes just stupid.  I watch helplessly as he sinks into that same dark place I was at his age. Parenting is hard. But I think being a middle-school aged kid is even harder. If you are a praying sort, we could use some divine intervention for the coming school year.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Anniversary

I've been married for 21 years as of today. I find myself thinking, "Wow. I've been married longer than I lived at home with my parents." Heck, I've been with my husband for nearly 30 years, if I do the math. That is a long long time, if I stop and think about it. He met me when I was a teenager. A TEEN. Me. When was that, again? I can't remember back that far.

Some people find it hard to imagine spending so many years with the same person. Me? I find it hard to imagine spending time with anyone else. I think of the guys I dated and try to imagine what life would have been like if I'd married one of them. When I stop laughing and can catch my breath...yeah. I should write a sitcom! Or a John Hughes-esque movie treatment. Yeah. I'll get Kristen Stewart to play teen me. She has my snarky, dead-eyed, deadpan delivery down already.

But back to thinking romantical thoughts about my loving husband. How did I get so lucky? If you are a believer in karma, then I hit the karmic mother-load with John. He is sweet, loving, generous, kinda patient, usually understanding, and a fantastic Dad. The total package. Yes, I am very blessed. Sorry if I am making you feel a little jealous. I know a lot of my friends didn't make out so well in the husband department. *hugs* to you guys, but you can't have mine.

I see you eyeing my man! Back off, honey. I like you, but I will cut you. ;)

Seriously. He's mine.

No.

Really.

Happy Anniversary baby. I hope you are as happy today as I am. Now if we could just convince the boys to go out to eat somewhere WE like, rather than somewhere THEY like...it will take a miracle.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cameras - the Extinction?

I read a finance article the other day - it was forecasting the next big 10 companies they expect will go under in the coming year. It also talked about the top 10 products that were no longer going to be produced. I wasn't at all surprised by the companies named. It made sense that those 10 were on the brink of going out of business; but the products?

One of them was a popular "point and shoot" camera. Apparently, a few popular camera makers are getting out of the general consumer level camera manufacturing biz. No one is buying the inexpensive pocket sized models anymore. Why? Because everyone just uses their cell phone. Why have an extra device that just takes picture when you already have a cell phone that does it...or so the thinking goes.

Really?? People think cell phones are an acceptable substitute for a real camera. Have they SEEN the photos they take with their cell? The memories you want to preserve forever of your major life events are these slightly blurry, low quality, and often dark images from your average cell phone. I could scream.

I see these images every day. Photos of kids, relatives, scenery...and yes, sometimes some of these cell shots are actually pretty good. But ONLY shots taken by my friends who are professional photographers or the shot is a total accident. Sorry, everyone else. Your cell pics are not great. I am not trying to piss you off, it's just a fact! And this is now the ONLY photo you have of this major life event. It's blurry, fuzzy, dark and the subject is too far away for me to be sure of what you are trying to capture. And the moment is gone. Forever.

I found it funny a week or so ago when my husband pointed out to me as I happily clicked away at my youngest son's school play that I was one of only 2 people in the entire auditorium with a real camera. Everyone else was watching the play with a cell phone held in front of their faces. Some were snapping still shots and some were making videos. Then again, at kindergarten graduation, I had an actual video camera and everyone else was holding up a cell phone. Even my husband. I found myself wishing I'd brought my camera. Sure, it's bulky, but the images I capture are worth the effort. That moment is gone now. I don't have any photos of my son with his teacher, but John took a pic with his cell phone. It's a little fuzzy, blurry, dark and generally cell phone-ish looking. But at least it's something. I guess.

My son probably won't mind when he sees that pic sometime in the distant future. It will be like the slightly dark, blurry, faded and almost monochromatic looking Polaroids of my past. You expect them to look that way. Everyone's pictures look that way. Except for the "professionals" who used an actual real live honest to goodness camera. Wow! Those photos look amazing! Thank goodness someone thought to bring a real camera to that major life event. Can you imagine if all I had were Polaroids? That would suck.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Super!

Max has been going through an extended "Super Hero" phase, much to my delight. (The phase was all too short with Tyler, but at least I have cute Halloween costume photos to remind me of those days.) Every day Max brings home drawings from school of various heroes. He draws Spider-man with a certain finesse and I find myself a bit jealous. I can only imagine his talent as his skills mature. He is only 6, after all.

The boys went out shoe shopping today (Max covets a certain pair of Avengers sneakers) but they struck out finding the right size. I told John if things went badly, he should take his planned trip to Barnes & Noble and Max would forget all his woes. It worked like a charm. Max came home shoe-less but with a sack full of Super Hero magic.

He found a book about the DC universe's Super Friends. It wasn't JUST a book. Oh no. It was also a play set with a huge multi-scene play mat and tiny little action figures - villains and heroes alike. He was thrilled to death! I found myself squee'ing a little too. So cool! But then Max pulled out the pièce de résistance. B&N gave him a FREE COMIC BOOK. I screamed like a pre-teen seeing Justin Beiber for the first time. Ha! I didn't know I could still get that excited. Collector's comic based on the new Superman flick...score! I haven't bought a new comic in probably 15 years or more so it was nice to know that I still get jazzed over a new book.

Check it out:

special edition comic *drools*

They are all about an inch high, but hot damn - what a collection!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Memory Lane

I spent 5 days combing through 12 years worth of digital photography. Why? I was loading up a 4 GB compact flash drive for use in a digital picture frame I bought a number of years ago. It's been sitting on the floor in my office for ages and I finally decided it was time to set it up. Even when I first bought it, I knew it was going to be a HUGE project to undertake. See, I take a LOT of pictures. In the end, I have well over 1000 of my all time favorites from my photo collection on this CF card. (I wonder if I should upload them all into an album somewhere...who would ever take the time to look at that many pictures all at once!)

The frame is on my desk, at the moment and I find myself glancing at the slide show in a kind of mesmeric haze. We really have had a lot of good times over the years. So far! I am not done yet!

One funny side-effect of looking at over a decade of photos, sorted by date...it has sure brought back a lot of memories! It even caused one nightmare. I woke in a panic thinking Tyler had escaped out the front door (I think the door slamming at just before 8 am this morning may have triggered the dream.) When he was a toddler, he was an escape artist. We had gates all over the house trying to contain him. He would often try and let himself out the front door. Luckily, we always caught him before he escaped. We can laugh about it now...but the child needed a crib tent just to keep him in his bed at night. What a little monkey!

See this setup? It was the only thing that gave me peace of mind.


We also had the door chime enabled on our security system so we'd get an alert every time a door was opened. You just never knew... I can laugh now. Tyler is 11 so I don't feel quite so nervous if he decides to walk out the front door. Heh. Ok. Maybe a little bit nervous.

*sigh* Where does the time go. I do miss this little monkey. He was so tall at 3! Wow.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Anxiety sucks...

It's been a rough week. No specific reason why...just a general sense of being overwhelmed and exhausted culminating in the arrival of Aunt Flo for the second time this month. OK! So maybe I do have some specific reasons why.

I had planned to take Max to a birthday party today. Sounds like no big deal, right? I've lost a lot of weight. I am feeling a little more confident in my ability to get from place to place. But I called this party place just to inquire if they were wheelchair accessible. Nope. The party room was on a second floor, no elevator. Just stairs. OK. I can do stairs most days.  I'm back to using my cane this week because I've been very wobbly. Is there a place for adults to sit? Sorta. They have a "side area" where they can "let you hang out."

I was already feeling sick, weak from blood loss, and generally overwhelmed. Then the panic attack hit. I haven't had one of those in AGES. My heart rate was through the roof, I couldn't breathe, I was seeing spots and I started to pant and cry. I felt very stupid for reacting that way. It's a silly kid's birthday party. If there was no where to sit (my back can't take long stretches of standing) then I'd just have to leave and come back later. But I didn't want to let Max down.

I tried to reason my way through it - telling myself all the alternatives I could do if this place wasn't going to be a comfortable one for me. It wasn't working. I didn't tell John how much I was freaking out, but I think he could tell. Even tho he'd already done baseball in the morning and taken the boys out for lunch, he said he'd do the party too. Maybe even the fair later, if he wasn't too tired.

Don't even get me started on the fair. Never been to this one or the place it's being held. NO IDEA if there are restrooms, places to sit, how crowded...there goes my brain again. I had planned to go. I really did want to! Really! I wanted to get pictures of Max on the rides. *sigh*

I'm at home. I didn't go. Too many unknowns and I was freaking out again. So I am fighting to get my physical health back. I think the mental health is going to take much much longer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Packing Lunch

One of my daily temptations involves packing school lunches. Last night Max was crouched on the floor fiddling with something.

Me: What are you doing?

Max: Collecting eggs.

Me: From where???

Max:  Easter.

Me: You still have Easter eggs?

Max: Oh yeah! I haven't eaten hardly any of mine.

Me: *mumbles* Good thing I didn't know that. What are you doing with those eggs?

Max: Well...can you do me a favor tonight? I have 20 eggs. *fiddles* Make that 30 eggs. Can you open them all and put the candy into my lunch box?

Me: 30 Easter Eggs worth of candy?! You want me to put all that junk into your lunch?!! I don't think that's a good idea. That's not very healthy.

Max: Oh come on Mom! I won't eat it all tomorrow. I just want it in my lunch box. Just in case.

Just in case of what, I wonder. Candy shortage? I opened all the eggs and only put about 5 eggs worth into his lunch. Today, after school, I asked if he enjoyed the candy.

Max: Mom! You only put in a little bit! But I found the rest in a paper bag on the table and dumped it all into my lunch box myself this morning.

Me: *facepalm* I sure hope you didn't eat all that!

Max: Of course not! I have lots left for tomorrow.

Oh boy. That boy is something else.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tales from the Front

The Battle of the Bulge continues! Each day is a fight in this war on fat...and I intend to win! That being said, if frank talk about the woes of being fat or fat people in general disgust you, click here. That's a nice fat-free website for you to enjoy (or is it.) See what I did there? Ha! Yes, I amuse myself. But seriously...

Here? I plan to address my blubber.

Since joining the war full time last September, I've learning many valuable lessons. I've also spent a great deal of time putting Google through its paces trying to find information on a variety of topics. My latest quest is the search for support.

No. Not a group of like-minded people who will help me fight the good fight. SUPPORT. As in...holding up and sucking in all the flabby bits.  I am one of those fat folks who seem to carry a great deal of my bulk out in front...low on my abdomen. I have, what Google helped me discover the current vernacular for, an "apron of fat" in front.  It's also know in medical circles as a pannus or panniculus. Google also shared disturbing images of people with "two butts". These are people with my same apron who have crammed the flab into VERY tight pants with a front seam for so long, the seam is permanent. They have created a front butt that looks exactly like their hind end.

Disturbing.

I don't want a front butt. It's not pretty. At the same time, this apron causes me a great deal of discomfort. It just...hangs here. Very heavily. It impedes my ability to walk, sit properly, stand for any length of time, and it pulls my spine all out of alignment. On the good news side, since I've lost 50+ lbs, my apron has gone down in size a tiny bit. Sadly, it's only a tiny bit. I sincerely hoped that big apron hanging down low in front would be the first thing to go as I lost weight. But no.

I need something to hold that sucker UP. I need...a belly bra. So I turned to Google again. Years ago there used to be a pregnancy aid called a Belly Bra. It was a bra that had this nice stretchy pouch of fabric that was attached to the bottom of the bra cups. It went over the pregnant belly and had a wide band of elastic that helped "hold you up". Support! It sounded like the perfect thing. But alas, they don't make it any more. And even if I managed to find a used one on Ebay...they never made it in my bra size.

I thought about other ways I could give my belly a lift. How about a nice wide ace bandage? I could bind my belly up into a higher, more comfortable position. It would be a major undertaking trying to wrap myself up each day, but if it made getting around less painful, then why not? Well... because no one carries bandage material that wide. Believe me, I looked. If you find it wide enough, it's not long enough to wrap around me.

So then I thought about standard support garments. You know...girdles and what not. And guess what. They don't make them for people my size. Why do they only make support garments for THIN (well, I think they are thin) people??? If I were a size 18 or 20, I wouldn't NEED the support. At least, not in the same way.

Then I found a few surgical supply websites that offered custom compression garments. Things designed for people who are recovering from plastic surgery. Sure, they'd make me a compression suit in my size. If I wanted to spend over $1000. Uh. No. I don't have that kind of cash to just spend on something that might not even work. Plus, at the rate I am shrinking, it probably wouldn't even fit right in just a few months time.

Next, I started looking at different kinds of fabric. Maybe I could just SEW something. I'm not a very talented seamstress, but I think I could cobble something together with a few yards of some kind of spandex blend. So so many kinds of spandex blends...it was overwhelming! I had no idea what kind of fabric would work. I wanted something...sporty. Breathable and maybe even high tech. Moisture wicking? Yeah! That would be cool. No pun intended. Still haven't found it yet. I don't sew much, so I really didn't have any clue where to look for high tech fabrics.

Then I got a handy bit of spam in my mailbox. Swimsuit sale. Ugh. But wait...swim suits can be supportive. I've been wearing a swim dress with matching swim shorts for many years now. I haven't shopped for a one piece in probably 8 years or more. So I went swimsuit shopping. The horror! My gosh, the suits in my size are just...yikes. Plus they are so bulky, I could never wear them under regular clothes.

*sigh*

Then a Facebook friend posted a photo of some dancers. They were part of an alternative dance company that included a dancer in a wheel chair and OH BOY an obese dancer. Yep. There are some heavy folks that can actually move with grace and agility. I'm not one of them...but look! A plus sized leotard! Duh. Why didn't I think of that? Maybe I did and just dismissed it immediately. I mean really. Who makes dance wear THIS big? When you think ballet, you don't think fat. Nope.

So I went to Amazon. Sure enough, they had a couple plus sized leotards. If you think XL or a size 16, 18 or 20 is "plus". I don't. I think of those sizes as "average".  I had a feeling the dance industry was going to be a tough nut to crack. They have been anti-fat probably since dance was invented. Heck, I remember a ballet teacher yelling at one of the girls in my class when I was a kid about how fat girls never became dancers. I wasn't fat back then. Heck, the girl she was yelling at wasn't that fat either. But I digress...

I wasn't ready to give up. A leotard was really the perfect solution for me. I went back to Google and was rewarded with a bunch of websites that sold plus sized dance wear. Sure, most of them were like Amazon. They had a very small selection and their "plus" was not even close to what I needed. Then I found one website that had dance wear up to 3 XL. XXXL leotards! And the size chart even had weights listed. Happy dance time!

I ordered 1 in white. It should be here by the end of the week. Crossing fingers and toes that it works for me. No front butt! Yeah, I'll suddenly have a "beer belly" but if this helps me hold up the apron and maybe even gives me some even compression as I shrink...I have high hopes. I want to support the skin and see if I can encourage it to stay in place as I get smaller. I know I'll have a lot of extra skin, but if I can keep it from hanging to my knees, that would be good.

If this works, I'll post a glowing review of this website. Maybe I can help a few fat dancers along the way. Fat girls can TOO be dancers. You go, twinkle-toes!


Monday, April 15, 2013

The Midnight Muffin Incident

I met with my nutritionist at the weight loss clinic today. (Shannon is a total peach. Like her lots!) I was relating my struggles over the last month, particularly a day or two before my period hits. OMG, the cravings and hunger just get completely out-of-control. One night, at midnight, I found myself obsessing about the dozen chocolate chip muffins Tyler picked out at the supermarket (his favorite.) I finally gave in to temptation and ate a muffin in less than 5 minutes. It was so good (and I ate it so fast) that I went for another. Less than 10 minutes later, I had inhaled 2 muffins and was still craving them. I dragged myself away and just went to bed.

Bad bad muffins. Naughty naughty Mommy.

Some hours later I woke needing to pee and found I couldn't move. Every joint in my body was screaming in pain. Agony! I nearly wet the bed struggling to get UP. I had no idea what was going on. I felt fuzzy headed and feverish. And, oh man, the pain was unreal. All over. I barely made it and crawled back to bed thinking I was coming down with something. I had also noticed that my stomach was distended and kind of red and hot to the touch. Weird.

I spent the entire next day in bed, unable to move. I ate nothing and drank only water. John asked me at one point if he should call the doctor and I was seriously thinking about it. I felt B-A-D. But after about 24 hours of rest, I was feeling loads better. Days later, I was still a tad achy, but it was manageable. I found myself wondering about it. It certainly wasn't period related. I didn't have a fever. I wasn't sick, in the normal sense.

Was it...the muffins?! That was the only thing out of the ordinary. All that flour and sugar...could it be? The more I thought about it, the more I realized...that joint ache, bloated, inflamed, blah, sickly feeling was how I used to feel EVERY DAY before I cut refined sugar and flour out of my diet. It was how I always felt, so it was my "normal". I had adapted to it, sadly. But all these months later, suddenly eating 2 chocolate chip muffins in the space of 10 minutes was like, as Shannon said, taking my glucose tolerance test all over again. And I failed. Big time.

It was a light bulb moment today at the clinic. I feel so much better without wheat and sugar in my diet. SO much better.

Bad bad bad muffins. Never again! (And I am down another 3.5 lbs. Go me!)