Monday, December 29, 2008

Music Monday

I almost didn't post today, but then K just came down and inspired me. BUMD and I were flipping through the channels and landed on a show featuring Pink Floyd. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 was playing. Her response was similar to the last time she heard it: “Is this Kids Bop or something, except without the bad singing?”

Kids these days, sheesh. Clearly, we need to further her musical education.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays to All!

I was paying for my purchases at Restoration Hardware the other day when another customer approached the register. The cashiers said "Merry Christmas" and the OC responded that she was so happy to hear that because no one says "Merry Christmas" anymore and what a shame that was, etc. The cashier said that they love Christmas and I said that I loved Christmas too, as well as Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, and all of the other holidays people are celebrating this time of year. That's why I wish people "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". I think it's respectful of the diversity, rather than ignoring one holiday, as some people seem to think is the case.

At any rate, here's our holiday letter. Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Music Monday

Among other things, 2008 will go down as the year I finally discovered Jason Mraz. Despite having his music in my iTunes for the past few years, I only started listening to his songs in Feb/March of this year. I started with "Geek in The Pink", quickly moved on to "I'm Yours", and followed that by buying almost everything else he's done. Mraz has become one of my 'Phone Book people' - those who I would listed to even if all they were doing was reciting listings from the phone book. His voice is fantastic. It's only fitting that the last Christmastime Music Monday feature his version of "Winter Wonderland". Enjoy!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Growing old gracefully

We were just discussing tonight's trip to see The Polar Express in IMAX. C, who is ever jaded, allowed that "there are a few inches of my heart left" for the movie. I love him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day of Reckoning, Month 3

Three more pounds down, for a grand total of six in three months. Not exactly stellar, but I'm ok with that. With all the holiday "cheer" that's going on this time of year, I'm surprised I'm not up three instead.

Grand total so far: 6 down, 54 to go.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Music Monday

My family spends a lot of time being flippant about most things in life - the holidays are no exception. There's nothing quite like a funny holiday song to get things going. There are plenty of them - Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song get a lot of air play. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is a standard as well, but the appeal of the updated version, I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus, is increasing (Santa and Daddy are clearly gay, therefore Santa must support gay marriage, right? Who wants to go against Santa?).

BUMD and I tend to skewer other songs as well. We love singing these lyrics, taught to us by a friend's girlfriend many years ago, to the tune of Carol of the Bells: "Just go away, leave me alone, I'm doing fine, don't bother me. Have yourself a very Merry Christmas somewhere else!" BUMD has also done his best to make me snicker every time I hear another one of my favorites, Vanessa Williams' version of Baby It's Cold Outside.

Here's one of his other favorite holiday tunes, Tom Lehrer's I'm Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Music Monday

We put up our Christmas tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving. In accordance with tradition, we couldn't actually decorate it that day. No, things around here seem to have to age for a while before they can be dealt with. Kinda like the router we got a few years ago - BUMD finally put it into action a few weeks ago. The practice of letting things age is neither intentional, practical, nor necessary, but it is certainly a household tradition.

A week later, we finally got around to decorating the tree. We put the music on and made the tree extra beautiful. I've never been a fan of colored lights or fake trees. However, that all changed a few years ago when we got our current tree. It is beautiful just standing there.

One of the first songs I put on was "I believe in Father Christmas" by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. It is beautiful and haunting. They've released a couple of versions of the song, as well as Greg Lake's solo version. This particular version is my favorite. It took a bit of searching to find it on YouTube. Fortunately, the search also turned up U2's cover of the song. It's gorgeous. Enjoy!



Monday, December 1, 2008

Music Monday

It's Christmastime!

The kids keep asking me if it's Christmas yet. While the actual event doesn't take place until December 25, Christmastime officially starts around noon on Thanksgiving day. Why noon? That's when Santa appears during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. That's how I've always timed it - your mileage may vary. Certainly retail stores' times vary. Target had its displays up before Halloween. That's just wrong.

The best part about Christmastime is that I finally get to listen to songs I only hear once a year. Maybe that's why most of them stay so popular - a month isn't nearly enough time to get sick of them, and then you have almost eleven months to forget all about them.

My all-time favorite Christmas song is "Sleigh Ride." My favorite version of this song was performed by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. It's a classic. Some inventive (and surely driven) person put together this video. Watch and enjoy (and marvel at the time it must have taken).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Music Monday

Thanksgiving is this Thursday. With it comes the predictible long drive, fun (hopefully) family gathering, and the annual playing of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant. It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.

Of course, Music Monday isn't nearly as much fun without the video but they disabled embedding. You'll have to click on the link to see that one. Party poopers - it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them either, I suppose. It's like the cranky relative who complains about the cranberry sauce. We took care of that one the other night. I love having Thanksgiving leftovers. If we're going to someone else's house, I don't get any. So, I solved this problem by making my own T-Day dinner. This year, we were lucky enough to have K's best friend and her parents join us. It's like having relatives that you choose. No one missed the cranberry sauce, either, because we cleverly substituted this:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day of Reckoning, Month 2

Move along, folks - nothing to see here.

See, this is why I generally don't tell anyone that I'm trying to lose weight. I suck at the follow through.

The only thing I manged to do was meet with one of the trainers at the rec center to set up a weight lifting program. As soon as that was accomplished, I promptly came down with a nasty cold and haven't been back since. I did manage to do a TTapp video (Hit the Floor) yesterday. I'm going to try to do it every other day to see if I can get any positive results with my pelvic floor issues. I'm due to see the urogynecologist next month to see if we can get those sorted out yet again. Fun.

The problem with exercising regularly is that I'm fantastically uncoordinated. Don Quixote tilts at windmills; I tilt on treadmills. I have a really hard time walking in a straight line and not falling off those things. The Nordic Track we have at home is even more problematic - not only do I have to move my arms and legs in different directions at the same time, but I have to do so without falling sideways. Not a pretty sight. (Bonus points are issued for not hitting the cats or kids with the skis - if you think this is easy, you clearly have neither.)

If walking is problematic, aerobics and yoga are even more so. I just can't get the hang of coordinated movement. Yoga is easier, but not problem-free. My tree pose looks like the tree is in the middle of hurricane force winds. I have, however, mastered the corpse pose.

So, the scorecard - 0 pounds down, 57 more to go.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Music Monday

Lately, we've developed a (semi-unhealthy) obsession with Pocky. If you've never heard of Pocky, just remember that it rhymes (sorta) with "yummy". That's really all you need to know. I've found Pocky at all of the local Asian groceries, Wegmans, and World Market. They are also available online. You can even buy them at Think Geek - now that's a product endorsement.

what flavor pocky are you?

[c] sugardew

We're clearly not the only ones obsessed with this Japanese snack, at least according to my Google results. There are entire blogs devoted to Pocky's goodness. It comes in enough flavors that there is at least one quiz to determine what flavor of Pocky you are. According to this quiz, I'm a chocolate pocky. In addition to loving chocolate, the description of being "More or less 'normal'" is pretty accurate too. BUMD likes the almond crunch ones, and the girls favor the pink, strawberry flavored Hello Kitty Pocky. The fact that they manage to make them pink without red dye makes me an even bigger fan.

I'm fairly certain none of Pocky's other fans walking around singing, "Pocky pocky pocky I can't let you go." BUMD and I do it often. You can too, if you make the appropriate word substitutions to the chorus of the song "Candy". It's by Iggy Pop featuring the B52's Kate Pierson. It's a cool and catchy song by itself, but far more fun the way we sing it. Listen for yourself:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Music Monday

My Schwartz obsession continues - today's Music Monday features a song from Godspell. By K's request, we watched the movie together last Friday for our movie night. This choice had some repercussions for her later that evening. It also influenced the musical choices for this weekend. It's a little odd to hear High School Musical songs mixed with Godspell, but not entirely atypical in this household. Weirder still was listening to C intersperse his Bionicle play with Godspell lyrics. This isn't the first time he's done it, but it never ceases to weird me out a bit. Certainly, the Gospel According to C isn't quite what St. Matthew had in mind.

But getting back to the main goal of this post - my selection for Music Monday is Beautiful City from Godspell. The song has an interesting history. Apparently Stephen Schwartz decided at some point that the original lyrics were too sentimental. He rewrote the song for a new production of Godspell and then added more lyrics for yet another production. While I respect his decision, my heart lies with the original song that I grew to love after seeing the movie on TV while in high school (long after its original theatrical release).

However, the updated lyrics have taken on greater meaning to me in the past week. They speak to my hopes for Barack Obama's presidency. It seems like such a positive change for not only our country but for the rest of the world. Together, we can build such a beautiful city. In the words of Obama and Schwartz - "Yes, we can."

Beautiful City:
Out of the ruins and rubble
Out of the smoke
Out of our night of struggle
Can we see a ray of hope?
One pale thin ray reaching for the day

We can build a beautiful city
Yes, we can; yes, we can
We can build a beautiful city
Not a city of angels but we can build a city of man

We may not reach the ending
But we can start
Slowly but truly mending
Brick by brick, heart by heart
Now, maybe now
We start learning how

We can build a beautiful city
Yes, we can; yes, we can
We can build a beautiful city
Not a city of angels
But we can build a city of man

When your trust is all but shattered
When your faith is all but killed
You can give up, bitter and battered
Or you can slowly start to build

A beautiful city
Yes, we can; yes, we can
We can build a beautiful city
Not a city of angels
But finally a city of man.

The original movie version:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Music Monday

Friday, we had a triple holiday - Halloween, K's 10th birthday, and my 10th anniversary of becoming a mom. It seems like only yesterday that the midwife was late and flustered because she'd been rear-ended by Snow White while on her way to the hospital.

To celebrate her entry into the double digits, K and I had a girls' weekend in NYC. The highlight of our adventures there was seeing her first Broadway show. In honor of her status as a Halloween baby, and owing to my lifelong obsession with Stephen Schwartz musicals, we saw Wicked. It was excellent.

There are so many of Schwartz's songs that have shaped my life - Day by Day from Godspell, Corner of the Sky from Pippin, and For Good from Wicked, to name a few. For Good exemplifies my relationship with my family - because I know them, I can say that I was changed for the better, and I most certainly have been changed for good. The song never fails to bring me to tears; even now, just typing the name is making me tear up.

The soundtrack version, with photos:

If you want to watch the stage production:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Snopes is my friend

"Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it's nothing. It's just bibble-babble."
--Harlan Ellison

I love Snopes and FactCheck. They do the research for me so I don't say too many stupid things. (I still say my fair share, and sometimes more.) I really, really wish others (those who shall not be named yet are still related to me) would do the same.

Making us Proud

It actually takes very little to make us proud. K, C, and A are smart, witty, beautiful kids. They're always doing something interesting in their lives. Whether that makes BUMD and I happy or bewildered is another matter entirely.

Last night, we were eating dinner downstairs and watching TV. I know, bad parents - but we're watching things together, so it's a family dinner of sorts. The first two things we watched were short pieces put out by Barack Obama's campaign - the sort of feel-good infomercials that let you know more about the candidate. One of the things featured in both was Michelle Obama saying that she initially thought "Barack Obama" was a weird name. K turned around and said to us, "What's so weird about being named Barack Obama?". This is a kid who's being raised in Northern Virginia. People who live here come from all over the world. Even amongst the US-born folk, there's a large representation of people who have lived across the globe - govvies, foreign service members, military families, to name a few. NoVa is also a metropolitan area and every group lives in a higher concentration then, say, the small town in NJ where I grew up. The kids spend time with people from different cultures daily - that is one of our reasons for raising them here, no matter how bad the traffic sucks.

I've often claimed that the thing that would weird them out the most would be stepping into a classroom filled with only US-born, Caucasian students and staff. None of our kids have ever experienced that. Instead, they've grown to expect diversity in their lives. Being named something as unfamiliar as "Barack Obama" doesn't mean the person is weird; they're simply named something you haven't heard of yet. It's just a name, it doesn't define the person. When K made that comment, we knew she got it. Or maybe she didn't get "it", simply because the question never entered her mind. Being different is normal, not something to be feared. I hope that's the case.

I have a sign on the wall above one of my desks - "Life is 10% how how make it, and 90% how you take it." That really sums up how I should be viewing things, although at times it is difficult to process. Never was that sign more appropriate than last night. I was collecting the upstairs garbage. I reached into C's garbage can and came up with...wet stuff. That smelled like pee. I promptly yelled at him and then yelled for BUMD and explained that since he was a boy and C was a boy, they should have this discussion. C ended up having to clean the trash can and getting grounded from video games and movies for two weeks. BUMD was left trying to remember where he peed at that age. Boys, ewww.

Later on, BUMD pointed out a few very important observations. First, C opened his flip-top trash can and peed in it - so, he can pee standing up. Not a huge accomplishment for most kids, but we've been working on this with him forever. Autism can be weird like that. Next, DH had noticed the day before that C's room smelled strange, but C denied any issues. So, now we know he can lie too. That skill also took forever to develop. He tends to be very blunt and truthful. Not that I want him to lie, but it's nice to know that those processes are working. So, yes, we're proud of those developments. I just wish they'd manifested themselves differently. Some days, you just take what you can get and make the best of it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


C is rapidly developing an obsession with comic books. He devours them, which makes them a good bribe for just about anything. I'm also enjoying one comic in particular - Captain Obvious. It's as snarky as I am and at the same time reminds me to reign myself in sometimes. When someone asks for an opinion, I sometimes forget:

This is important for me to remember, because my general attitude is:

But most people's comprehension level is:

In short, it would behoove me to consider the request, smile, nod, and delete. Some days, that's the best opinion I can offer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day of Reckoning, Month 1

Soo, it's the 18th. Already. So many days, so few pounds lost - three, to be exact. Not exactly a stellar showing in the weight loss category. Still, there's been some improvements. I have:
  • dramatically reduced the amount of sugar, dairy, and caffeine that I consume.

  • finally got around to getting the baseline mammogram I was supposed to schedule more than a year ago (all clear!).

  • made it to the psychiatrist, who confirmed that I have ADHD (shocking! Not.). We're working a a game plan to help me get my act together. I do so well with everyone else, so poorly with myself. Pfft.

  • finally started getting allergy shots and taking medicine that helps me breath like a regular person. I can't remember the last time I was able to breath in the fall.

  • gotten a flu shot for myself and the kids.

  • avoided completely stress eating through the whole "where's Waldo"-esque adventures with A's kidney.*

These are all fairly positive steps. I'm sure there's a few I left out, but K just came up to talk to me and I completely lost that train of thought.

I think the next step is to regularly exercise. To quote Nike's ad campaign, Just Do It. I suck at just doing it. Somehow, I need to make myself just do it. I guess that'll be the foundation for next month's post.

Score card:
3 lbs down, 57 to go.

* In my defense, I feel that downing an entire Toblerone bar is a proportional response to a doctor doing the ultrasound telling me that she cannot locate my child's left kidney, particularly given that the ultrasound tech who did my prenatal scans found both of them a month before A was born. I understand that kids tend to lose stuff, but a major organ is pushing it. Eventually, we'll either locate it, find out what happened to it, or go broke buying chocolate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dietary Diversity

There are times that I fancy myself to have a fairly diverse diet. Then I go out shopping and realize I eat a relatively limited diet. Case in point - I went to the Lotte market today to pick up some bento supplies. There are few things there I have tried and many, many I never have and possibly never will. It's more than a bit intimidating to shop there, but so much fun. Not as much fun as the Great Wall Market, though - Lotte seemed to lack the live frogs and turtles in the fresh fish section. I suppose you can't have everything. ;-)

Anyway, my shopping adventure this morning reminded of a meme that I saw on Wrekehavoc's page last month. I haven't even heard of some of the things on the list.

The rules:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borsch
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (does mango lassi count?)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (cognac yes, cigar ewwww)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (unless you count my unintentional inhalation of bugs.)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (vodka, yes)
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breath In, Breath Out

Breathing is important. It's also kind of nice, depending on how the air smells (use your imagination). We've been talking a lot about breathing lately, from telling C to take a deep breath and pleasecalmdownNOW to telling K to take a breather from her homework (so much more in fourth grade than there was in third).

BUMD has been taking a lot more breaths lately. A couple of weeks ago, he got the results of his sleep study and now he's finally hooked up to a CPAP machine. It's not nearly as bad as I had imagined. In fact, it's almost restful for me - kinda like a gray noise machine (too much noise to be white). It's apparently a lot easier to sleep through what sounds like a wind storm outside than it is the sound of your beloved spouse waking up multiple times a night. According to the sleep study results, he stopped breathing 50+ times an hour. That's right - the same hour that has 60 minutes. No wonder he always had bags under his eyes.

Of course, this is our house. Everything is fodder for a good laugh. By way of telling the kids about Daddy's new machine, he's taken to putting on the mask and stalking them while chanting "Luke, I am your father." This worked well until last night, when I had to tell him that he really resembled Snuffleupagus. How far we fall.

As a side note, I tried to embed this video, but they have embedding disabled. Bastards.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Internet Family Reunion

I am blessed to be part of an internet-based mothers group. That could probably be read two ways – we are internet-based moms (true!) and we are part of a group that meets on the internet (also true). The Internet is for many things, but one of my favorite parts is community building. I’m an XNFP and a Gemini. On any given day, I can be either an Introvert or an Extrovert – and sometimes a little in between. The Internet allows me to switch between the INFP and ENFP personalities fairly seamlessly. It’s a blessing to me because it allows me to be present without the whole social anxiety issue taking over.

It is also a blessing to get to know so many wonderful people. Many people say that the Internet is causing people to be increasingly isolated from each other. How can that be possible, when every day people gather in chat rooms and on message boards to share their lives with each other? My life has been enriched and enlarged by being a part of these groups. People I would not have otherwise met are now a part of my circle of friends. Facebook has also brought me back in touch with old friends from high school and college. Email allows me to stay in touch with friends and family. SmugMug gives me a place to share my pictures (when I remember to upload them). Blogspot and LiveJournal give me a place to post my opinions. All of these things could be accomplished without the Internet. It just makes it so much easier to do them and to share them with others.

So how can the Internet be a bad thing? Consider this: my heart is heavy today, and it is all the Internet’s fault. If the Internet didn’t exist, I would never have gotten to know Stacey McDaniel. I would never had experienced her courage, love, and strength. I never would’ve laughed at her stories or cooed over pictures of her children. I never would’ve prayed fervently for her during her long battle with brain cancer. I never would have been sitting here thinking of her children’s future without her.

Stacey is one of the gutsiest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She never let things get her down for long. Her attitude will always inspire me. She was so tough, so strong, so loving that it seemed she could conquer anything. So now, I prefer to believe that the brain tumor didn’t win – she won. How could she not? She was Superwoman to me and so many others. A community that would not have existed without the Internet is grieving. We are, in a way, a family. Some have met in person, others not. Yet the power of friendship and community holds us together. Stacey was a part of that family. She is greatly missed.

When I heard the news of Stacey’s passing, I could not help but think of another member of my Internet family. Kathy Woltman was a member of the November 98 Topaz Treasures, my very first Internet moms’ group. The group has since disbanded, but I still think of it often. It’s easy – it was such an integral part of my first years as a mom. Kathy was an inspiration and a life-saver for me. I was having my first baby; Kathy, her fourth. She had a lot of experience and was always willing to share it with the rest of us. Moms groups are a lot like any other family – we laugh, we cry, we fight, we learn, and we love. We lean on each other a lot.

After Kathy had her fourth, she experienced her first bout of post partum depression. At the same time, I was going through my first. I was in denial, Kathy tackled hers. We both made it through. More importantly, Kathy once again shared her experience. Her willingness to describe her experience in detail and to post it on the Internet helped me to recognize what was going on after I had my second child. I got help that time, and the next time. Kathy’s words inspired and comforted me. It hurts my heart and soul to know that ultimately we couldn’t do the same for her.

Not too long ago, I read one of those “Chicken Soup for the Soul” stories. In it, someone’s friends had died. The person eventually made it beyond their grief by deciding to live for her friends, because they did not have the opportunity.

“We who must remain, go on living just the same. We who must remain, go on laughing just the same.” The Eagles, “My Man”

So, no – the Internet is truly a blessing. Without it, I would never had gotten to know these two incredible women and my life would be so much smaller and darker – if it existed at all. May God bless Stacey and Kathy – you’ll be in my heart forever. Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Exercising my options

This morning, I made good on my promise to start working out this week. After 40 minutes on the treadmill, I am flush with endorphins and lofty goals. So, here it goes - between now and when school ends on June 18, I plan to lose 60 pounds. That's 40 weeks - less than 2 pounds per week. That will bring me back into a healthy weight range. I'm not going to post my starting weight now. I just can't bring myself to do it yet. Maybe later. I will try to post my progress on the 18th of each month. I have the time to exercise and make healthy meals. I also have the responsibility to myself and my family to be healthier than I am now. So, here goes nothing - or maybe quite a lot.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Music Monday

Stef asked what music is moving people today. Today, as on so many days from the past several months, it's Jason Mraz. BUMD and I were watching Mraz's performance on Bonefish Grill's Notes from the Road last night. The show mixes musings from the artist with live performances. Last week's Ben Folds performance was full of quirky genius; Mraz's show was more philospohical. He described the opening number, Make it Mine, as a montage of his life. It's very positive and uplifting, and is one of my current favorites. The lighthearted and goofy video underscores the song's message - Carpe Diem. I love, love, love this:


The kids are all at school and the house is mine. MINE. There's a word I don't hear very often anymore. They've all grown out of that lovely stage and into others. I tell myself that if they ever stop that progression, we're in trouble. There's only one thing that stops progress and I hope not to see it anytime soon.

The first week of school went well. Lots of form to be filled out. Paperwork makes the world go around. Do I really need three copies of the school handbook? What a waste of paper. To counteract that, I've spent part of this morning decreasing the number of catalogs that come in the mail. I read everything online anyway. What's the point of wrecking the mail lady's and garbage guys' backs?

Not that the house is silent for long - the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer are currently running. The kids get out of school early on Mondays to allow time for teacher planning, so they'll be home soon for a quick break before heading back out to CCD. We're actually fairly unscheduled compared to many families. I can't handle the constant travel that lots of activities involve. The kids aren't complaining either, so I'm not too worried. They may curse me later in life, but they'll have to do that in their own blog - this one's MINE. Hah!

Friday, September 5, 2008


As part of having more "me" time, I'm doing some things to take better care of myself. Next week, I'm going to try to establish a regular workout routine. I've tried and failed to do that countless times before. Actually, I have succeeded - I just don't tend to stick with it for very long. This time may not be any different than prior attempts, but at least I'm trying again.

Another thing I did was to finally get to the allergist. I live in the DC area - allergies are a given. That's what we get for living on a swamp. When I was a teenager, I used to get allergy shots. Things got better until I moved to this area. Since then, I've tried many different kinds of allergy remedies with varying results. Every spring and fall, I swore I was going to go to the allergist and get some serious help. My youngest has been going to an allergist for a few years due to her food allergies. Her allergist's nurse practitioner, after listening to me sniffle, even suggested that I schedule an appointment. Suggestions and thoughts are good, but actions are a little harder to come by. Throw in an HMO and delays are inevitable. Needless to say, the sniffling went on for quite a while. Like I said - it's not exactly an atypical condition in this area.

What was atypical, was my reaction to cinnamon just over a month ago. Did you know that most cinnamon isn't cinnamon at all? It's cassia. This is what I get from watching too much Alton Brown. If you've never tried his cinnamon bun recipe, you should. They're divine. Just don't feed them to me. I love them, but I love breathing even more. Silly, I know.

So there I was, eating a late night snack of cinnamon toast. This time, I used some of the newly purchased "Saigon Cinnamon". It's pricey, but I'm a sucker for new things. Why not taste "real" cinnamon? Evidently, my body didn't agree. First, I noticed my throat itching. I tried drinking some water. When that didn't work and my head started to feel congested, I took two Benadryl. Soon, I started having problems swallowing and started wheezing. I asked the BUMD to get me the Primatene Mist inhaler that I was sure was in the closet. Oops, threw it out while I was decluttering (Darn you, Fly Lady!). He handed me the phone and then ran out to buy another one. While he was gone, I felt pretty bad - I'll spare you the details. By the time he got back, though, the Benadryl had kicked in. It is a testament to the power of Benadryl that the Primatene Mist didn't make me the least bit hyper. I take one Benadryl to sleep. Two - zombie time.

Now, why didn't I call 911 or go to the ER? Looking back, I'd say pure stupidity. Anaphylaxis is nothing to mess with. That said, it was after 11, the kids were in bed, and I was in denial about how bad things were getting. Luckily, it all ended well.

But, really - a cinnamon allergy? I've been eating cinnamon my entire life. Why would it start now? Skeptic that I am, I decided to test it again a couple of days later. I made a paste of cinnamon and water, and rubbed it on my wrist. Within a few minutes, the area was red, raised, and itchy. No denying that (at least not for long, since I took two more Bedadryl). The next day, I had an appointment to see my primary care doctor and got an inhaler, an EpiPen, and the all-important referral to the allergist. Fast forward one month, and I now know that I'm allergic to several trees and grasses. I didn't test positive to any foods. I guess that makes sense, given that cinnamon/cassia is a (very yummy) tree bark.

For now, I'm going to start getting allergy shots again. I'll also keep trying to avoid cinnamon. Evidently, it's only very bad for me in heavy doses. I slipped up the other day and had a pie with graham cracker crust, forgetting that graham crackers usually contain cinnamon, and ended up with a nasty headache. Avoiding pies should probably be on my list anyway, if I'm going to be dieting and exercising. Speaking of dieting, I recently read an article that said cinnamon would help weight loss. I think that's more weight than I want to lose. There's always a catch. Sigh.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Karma sucks

This is hardly a revelation - my karma has always sucked. Ask, and ye shall receive - no sooner did I finish musing about what I was going to do with my "free" time than I received my marching orders: remodel the bathrooms. I already knew that the downstairs one needed help. The soap dish is loose and therefore allowing water into the wall behind it. Not a good situation. Solution - take showers upstairs. That gives me time to address the lack of funds for a real remodel.

Not so fast. Or, maybe - faster still. Getting back to my karma - I finished my postings, then went to take a shower. As I made my way back to our bedroom downstairs afterwards, I realized the hallway floor was wet - too wet to be from wet footprints. I peered into the downstairs bathroom only to find it very, very wet - from the ceiling. Something is leaking from the upstairs bathroom. It seems like my work it cut out for me after all.

I mused to BUMD that perhaps my prior post was responsible for this occurrence - if I got a paying job, we could afford to have the bathrooms fixed by someone else. He looked at me, cocked an eyebrow, and said, "Well, you're a home builder, right?"



On with the show....

The Last Weekend before The First Week

This is it - my last weekend as the mom of three kids at home. As of Tuesday, all three kids will be in school full time. K is going into fourth grade, C into second, and A is starting kindergarten. For the first time since, um, ever? - I will have uninterrupted time to myself. I have no current intention to go back to a paid job. Therefore, the time is "mine" - I get to decide what I am doing. Anyone who has ever been a "housewife" (ugh), "homemaker" (do I look like a builder?), or "unemployed" (since when was running a household not work?) knows that there will still be quite a lot to do. It's just that I now get to decide what to do and when to do it, and to spend more than an hour or so on the project.

I was a "working mom" from when K was born in 1998 until C was born in 2000, at which point I became a "stay at home mom" (SAHM) since C was born in 2000. I've done some paid consulting work since then, but most of my efforts have been geared towards the kids. From my POV, the only major difference in how this role change affected my kids was that I quit outsourcing the daytime childcare. All moms work hard, regardless of whether they have an income that the IRS recognizes. Before C was born, I was dual-income. Now I just get a single income - I am paid in hugs and kisses. Any money I get comes from the BUMD. As far as he's concerned, I am more than earning it by making sure all of our lives go smoothly. Between his often-crazy schedule, three kids with ADHD, one who also has Autism, and another who also has a rare genetic condition, and Moi, this is no mean feat. But that's my job, and I signed up for it.

Sure, there are people with more complicated lives. Bless their hearts, but I'm not writing for or about them. This blog is just about me, my family, and my next step in motherhood. I've survived Mom 101, the little kids at home years. Now, I'm on to Mom 102 - everyone's at school most of the time. Hopefully, I'll someday be writing about Mom 103 - the empty nest years. And maybe, just maybe - Mom 104, the grandparenting years. That's to be determined by the kids. No pressure to have grandkids - that's perhaps the greatest gift our parents gave us, and look what they got in return: