Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year

with the holidays, i haven't had much time to sit and make notes on things that happen. i have been busy making things happen and being involved in things that other people made happen.

there is a sort of conflict that exists between living your life and documenting your life.

there are adorable pictures and quirky anecdotes to be shared at some point, if i remember them. but for now i hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that you were (i hope you're not reading this on new year's eve!) somewhere comfortable, with familiar people, to enjoy the entry of a brand new year.

i wish you all peace, love, happiness, rich chocolate, crisp snow, smooth alcohol, no hangovers, (and a sabres victory) for 2008.

let's take it from the top and do it again, but, uh, better.

Monday, December 17, 2007

he's only human

so my dad took me to the wings game for my birthday. that's always cool, even though i have watched about 30 minutes of hockey all season so far. i can't believe it after being so engrossed last season.

going to a live game is a treat, and then i remembered that they were playing the capitals. that means seeing alex the great! live! and in person!

you know what? i wasn't blown away. he's a good player, but it's not like he skated rings around people. i saw him make several simple mistakes, including some that wasted precious power play time for his team.

sure, sure, like my illustrious career had no mistakes? what? i never played pro hockey? oh, well, i'm just saying.

and there was another special facet to the night. gordie was there, signing copies of his new book. i thought i'd mosey on down to see how long the line was and if i could buy a copy. well, the line wasn't bad, but a signed copy was a little out of my discretionary price range right now. nevertheless, i managed to get within 6 feet of him and pulled out my trusty camera phone. so i got that, at least.

but the bestest part of it all was spending time with my dad, whom i hardly see, even though he only lives 20 minutes from me. and despite the fact that we didn't talk all that much (stadia aren't known for their intimate, conversational atmospheres. besides, neither of us is what you'd call a chatterbox), i had a great time being with him.

thanks, daddy. i love you.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

i want my money back

Do-It-Yourself Home Surgery Kit

1 woman, full of machisma, too short on time off stubborn to see a licensed physician
1 cyst the size of a grapefruit ping pong ball
6 alcohol prep wipes
3 iodine prep wipe
1 can of spray lidocaine not given enough time to kick in
1 xacto knife
34 sheets of paper towel
1 toilet paper holder to crush while attempting to redirect the pain
1 poorly sound-proofed bathroom in which to scream
1 ruthlessly loving husband practicing his surgical skills

those ads on the backs of comic books are so misleading.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


today granny and i took pooka to see a high school/dance school production of the nutcracker. pooka sat on the floor right in front of the stage with other kids, while the adults sat in the way-too-small seats. it was a nice show. we got treats afterwards. that was my favorite part.

pooka said she enjoyed it very much. her favorite part was when her ballet teacher was front and center. i'm not sure she picked up on much else. she doesn't know the story, and of course there's no talking (or singing, for that matter). she said she would like to be in the production some day, after a few more ballet classes.


i consider myself a cultured person. i am aware of, and enjoy, many of the fine arts disciplines. i can't afford to go to as many events as i would like to, but i can still appreciate them.

but of all the fine arts i know, ballet is my least favorite. i would rather go to the opera anyday, and twice on sunday. even if they are singing in a language i don't understand.

perhaps i just don't have a firm enough grasp on the technical details of ballet to truly appreciate the beauty. i only took classes for about 8 months when i was 10.

whatever. i just know that from now on, i'm not going to any dance performances unless my kids' are actually in them.

Friday, December 14, 2007

no more mr. nice guy

my husband is a super nice guy. he's a very upstanding person who tries to always do what is right. he also likes to solve problems. other people's problems. he has a very strong sense of personal honor that requires him to help any way he can. even people who wouldn't help him if the roles were reversed. even people who've actually done him wrong.

sometimes this makes him a sucker.

when asked directly for help, he will oblige. if he has the means and the opportunity. occasionally, he doesn't really have the opportunity, but he will agree nonetheless. even if he doesn't want to help. even if helping will rob him of his opportunity to, i don't know, sleep.

this week, he has put in serious long hours at work. tuesday morning (middle of the night, really) the phone rang at 4:30 AM. someone called in sick and he was being summoned to replace them. he then proceeded to work his normal shift until 7PM that night. he came home, helped put the girls to bed, and then went to bed himself in preparation for going to work the next morning at 4 AM to cover that person again. the second day they did let him leave at 4 PM. let's see, that makes 25 hours of work on approximately 9 hours of sleep.

on his day off, he likes to play computer games. that means he's there, with the instant messaging window active, a sitting duck. his brain is a nice, juicy target for his coworkers. those coworkers who are less diligent, less creative, or just plain less intelligent than he is. they ask him, via messaging, to answer their questions; to fix their problems. and does he answer? of course he does. because it's the right thing to do. and because he can't stand not conquering the challenge.

the only way his conscience will allow him to not help is if he can avoid the request in the first place: not answering the phone, not logging in to messenger, not hearing me ask him to put away the laundry. when i tell him to ignore them, or better yet tell them to buzz off, he says that he doesn't want to look like an asshole. i say you don't have to be rude, just remind them that it's your day off and that they wouldn't want to be pestered if the roles were reversed. (in my mind thinking, that would never happen because my hubs is the smartest and there's nothing they know that he doesn't. besides which, he doesn't ask for help.)

sitting there answering their questions, doing their jobs for them doesn't make you not an asshole, it makes you a sucker, a pushover, a dork. and when geeks think you're a dork, you're in trouble.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

tardy, as per usual

back in october, the girls had their 'school' pictures taken. it's a convenient service, especially when i found out that not only do they shoot each kid individually, but if there are siblings, they shoot the sibs together, too.

that was a nice suprise, and a good enough picture that i bit the very expensive bullet to purchase prints. i fully expected to buy the group composite pictures, because mine were always fun to look back on years later. i didn't plan on buying individual shots because we had just had a family portrait done, plus we always get pooka's pix taken for her bday and will do the same for bug. moreover, we had bug's 6 month portrait taken not two weeks before the school photo shoot. so we were covered.

however, i am a sucker for my own photogenic kids (who can resist them?). so i shelled out the 18 bucks(!) for one measly 5x7 and 3 wallets.

again, nice pix, but a rip-off ultimately.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

you make bathtime so much fun

bug loves the bath, and she doesn't even need a rubber ducky. she has always loved the bath. before she could roll, she would lay on her back and kick and splash all over. when she started rolling, she would roll over and over back and forth in the water. when she was learning to crawl, she would practice in the tub, since it was nice and slippery and took less effort to drag her knees. now she's working on pulling herself up on things and she thinks this is the most fun ever:

she did this for about 15 minutes straight, laughing her cute little dupah off. of course, by the time i got the camera working, she stopped the laughter. didn't stop the slipping and sliding, though.

notice my awesome 1950's mint green porcelain. and yes, that is coral tile in the background. we are stylin'!

Monday, December 10, 2007

double your pageant, double your fun

pooka had two christmas pageants this weekend. the first was friday night at her school and the second was sunday in church.

we barely made it to friday's performance, since kisu and i had an argument and then had trouble finding a parking spot. we eventually parked in the neighborhood bordering the school.

pooka did a very good job singing, although she didn't bother doing the motions for the first song. she was very excited to be the leader of the shepherds and got a featured spot on the raised platform that also held mary, joseph, and the head angel.

kisu and i did not make it to sunday's performance. we missed church service completely and the pageant replaced the sermon at the end.

we were busy giving blood. the church had a blood drive sunday and since i was due last week to donate again and it was the easiest way for me to ensure that kisu actually donated, we did that. i honestly thought that we would be done in time for service, but we were running late, as per usual and i didn't count on the registration process taking so long. it's such a drag on the enthusiasm of donating.

pooka didn't seem to care that we missed her performance, though. she was all about the treats at the end of the ordeal. apparently, at our church the three wise men bring gold, frankincense, and brownies.

Friday, December 7, 2007

alliterative agitation

bug's bucket brings the baby blues.
her helmet heralds heartache and howling.

yeah, she don't like it.

kisu said she didn't have a problem with it when it was first put on, and even fell asleep in it. by the time i got home from work and woke her to go to pooka's concert (more about that tomorrow, probably), she was definitely fed up with it. or maybe just grumpy because she was starving.

i removed it for the concert. she will gradually spend more time in it. the first day is supposed to be one hour on, one off, and off for sleeping. the 'on' hours double every day until she's at 23 hours.

when we came home, i put it back on, thinking we could get one more hour in before bedtime. she cried for a minute, then i successfully distracted her for about 10 minutes, and finally she lost it. she was inconsolable. after 15 more minutes, i removed it to put her to bed. perhaps she was just too tired and hungry to tolerate it anymore.

it's pretty much as horrifying as i imagined it. a hard plastic shell that makes her sweat and cry. fabulous. i know it's not that big a deal and we've coped with worse and that we'll be fine after the first two weeks, but i still cried when i first saw her.

tomorrow promises to be entertaining.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

seek and ye shall find...maybe

so i finally have enough hits on my blog to do one of these posts wherein i list all the zany things people were searching for when they stumbled onto my little site. without further ado, the crazy list:

for success chicken
for failure beef?

ladybug legion
this is a kids' version of the guardian angels.
our house in adrian used to get absolutely infested with these things. it seemed magical the first year, until we realized that they were the japanese biting kind. microsoft
introducing new software that lets you do ultrasounds on your home computer?

SCRATCH beauty usa
i have no clue

chicken science centers
is that a field trip for your pet chickens? like taking your kids to the children's museum?

5 year old princess party
i will brashly claim to be an expert on this subject.

wet spot diaper
uh, the diapers are supposed to prevent the wet spot.

a lot of chicken scratch pattern searches
when i named this site i never knew there was a craft style with the same name. i'm sure a lot of people have been disappointed with their search results. perhaps i'll change the name, if i can come up with something else that i like.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

a gift and a responsibility

her eyes possess a sparkle
seen only in the skies
her nose a charming wrinkle
when flashing gummy smiles
her chubby thighs are begging
so fondly to be pinched
she tightly holds my heartbeat
between her fists when clenched
a perfect soul residing
within this fragile frame
entrusted to my keeping
and carrying my name

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

kid swap, again.

last week i had expected a certain event to happen to bug and it ended up happening to pooka instead. today, i expected to be late for work with a medical issue for bug, and ended up nearly missing work altogether with a medical issue for pooka. i keep getting them mixed up. (at least i'm not calling them by each other's names. much.)

pooka had a meltdown with granny last night and ended up puking (in her closet, go figure.) we thought she had just worked herself up too much, as she has been known to do. around 11 pm, she got up and puked again, and spiked a fever. because of the chemo/immune system situations, if she gets over 101, we have to take her to the hospital. we couldn't get a good reading last night, but it was between 100 and 101. i decided to wait until morning so that i could get a little sleep, figuring that she would be admitted to the hospital.

(i didn't get the sleep, by the way, since we put pooka back to bed at 12, fed bug at 2, fed bug and changed her crib sheet at 4:30, alarm at 5:45. i am TIRED.)

the planned appointment this morning was to take bug to get her helmet fitted. when pooka woke up even hotter than before, that plan was scrapped. i packed an overnight bag, dropped bug off at daycare and headed down to the clinic.

fortunately, her counts were good enough that they let us go after taking blood and urine samples for culturing. they had to pump her full of fluids before she could actually pee. a little dehydrated, i guess. normally i'm on top of that, since i have a history of e.r. visits due to dehydration.

the doc wants counts again next week, though, because her liver enzymes were significantly elevated from her regular visit 2 weeks ago.

so we salvaged the day by going to work, whereupon pooka commandeered my computer to play kiddie games online. i'm sure the i.t. monitor had fun tracking that today.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

king of beasts

majestic and amazing. that pretty much sums up the show pooka and i saw friday night.

through the incredible generosity of some friends (who were otherwise occupied on friday), we went to the detr*it *pera to see the stage adaptation of one of my favorite animated movies.

although there was a slight delay in the start of the show and a time crunch during intermission to attend to the needs of the body (first empty the bladder, and then begin to fill it back up again.) the whole evening was first-rate. i had no trouble finding the place, encountered no scary situations downtown, enjoyed the show, bought a souvenir, contributed to the theater charity (pooka's idea!), and most important: had a great night out with my pooka.

she enjoyed the show very much, but it took her awhile to process everything. she couldn't tell us what her favorite part was until the next day.

my favorite part? without a doubt, it was the opening scene where the animals all gather for the presentation ceremony. i'd heard about the amazing way they'd adapted the animal costumes for the people, but seeing it onstage is wholly different. from the elegant giraffes with their stilt-walking actors to the graceful gazelle cutouts carried by dancers to the imposing elephant animated by a total of 4 humans; it was regal, it was beautiful, it was moving. i cried, just a little.

the story followed the movie almost exactly, with a few pieces that were actually in the original storyboard for the movie, but got cut. i can't think of anything significant that was omitted.

the mechanics of the show were also amazing. the stage moved in several ways and included steam vents, trap doors, and a hidden basin of water. the stampede scene employed an ingenious rotary machine, and even scar's costume was dynamic. he had what appeared to be a spring-loaded 'spine' that enabled his mask to come down and cover the actor's face when he was being particularly menacing. it was entrancing. i wish i could have gotten a close up look at how it worked exactly, but that may have ruined the magic for me.

and magical it was. despite being able to clearly see the humans who portrayed the animals (especially in the case of zazu, who at one point even acts without his bird prop), i very willingly suspended my disbelief.

it was a bit of a surprise to me how closely the voices resembled those from the movie. of course, no one can duplicate the tone and resonance of mr. jones, but it was easy to imagine that mr. lane, mr. irons, mr. atkinson (and that guy who played pumbaa) were really there. excellent casting, or excellent acting, or both.

during curtain calls pumbaa gave a plea for donations to the br*adway cares foundation and apparently it struck a chord with pooka. she wanted to make a donation. maybe something is sinking in after all.

i wanted to get a nice dessert after the show to cap off our mommy-pooka evening of elegance, but it was after 11 when the curtain fell, so we made a quick stop at the inelegant mcd's and then headed home.

dessert or no, it was a lovely evening.

hakuna matata.

Friday, November 30, 2007

new baby

congratulations to noel and nancy, who brought their baby girl into the world this afternoon.
mary rose corazon weighing 8 lbs. 1 oz and measuring 20" in length.

way to go guys.

now you have a daughter of your own, in addition to your many God-children.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

any color but pink

ok, anyone who knows me knows that i don't care for pink, especially when it's crammed down my throat as the only appropriate color palette for those with 2 xx chromosomes.

my loathing of pink extends to my eyes; i'd prefer them to stay any other color. (even teal!)

earlier today my right eye started to bother me. a slight nuisance turned into a great aggravation when my sight was obstructed by a little scrap of cloudiness that randomly moved around my field of vision.

i messed with it for awhile, thinking it was just something i could clear by the usual method. (remember being taught to pull your upper eyelid out a little bit to generate some refreshing tears?) i removed a little bit of goop, but it didn't stop the scratchiness.

it was at this time that i needed to replace the developer waste container on the printer. while attempting to plug the hole in the full container, the cover slipped and the tip of my thumb crashed against the (very sharp plastic!) edge of the hole and opened a gash a centimeter wide. it hurt, but not enough to even elicit a real curse from me, let alone enough to cause me to cry and comfortingly wash my eye clean.

standing at the sink, rinsing the blood from my finger and trying in vain to dull the throb (damn the lack of cold water), i attempted to flush my eye. unsuccessful, i finally retreated to a mirror to see what i could see.

the funny thing about trying to diagnose eye obstructions is that you can't see anything when you stick your finger in your own eye.

a co-worker supplied me with some eyewash, but two doses were insufficient to clear the problem. after more poking and prodding, i was able to remove some more stringy goop. the prevalence of that stuff got me worrying about conjunctivitis. i have a dread fear of pink eye, having suffered through half a dozen infections in elementary school.

after some time, i felt that the irritation had subsided enough to allow me to return to my desk and continue working.

so i'm sitting here, with two bandaids on my thumb, one bloodshot eye in which i have yet to restore visual clarity, resisting with an iron will the desire to stick my pudgy fingertip in and scratch that itch.

if i infect the girls with pink eye, i will be in HELL!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

new adventures in old clothes

my sister is a thrift store junkie. she knows how to get some really great deals. i'm not so certain. i've only ever bought furniture at a thrift store before. but lately i've been thinking about diving in head first for clothing.

the problem is that pooka is hard to shop for. we try things on at the store and then after the first wash, they don't fit. it's difficult even to find things that fit at the store. she has kisu's long torso and short legs. plus, she's got my husky arms. it borders on a nightmare.

so, i figure at the thrift shop, everythings already pre-shrunk (cuz even when new stuff says pre-shrunk or 'minimal' shrinkage, it's bunk.)

tonight was our first foray. we have tickets to see a certain d*sney movie adapted for the stage on friday, and she needed theater clothes. i was very pleased with the dress we found. she loved it, it fit, and it was perfect for the theater--and Christmas! all i have to do is tack on an extra ribbon to cinch it up a little in the back and presto. all for $4.55. beauty.


fortunately, she was healthy enough to go to the store with me. she spent the day home with poppa after puking at school.

oddly enough, i had put poppa on call last night for bug. i picked her up from daycare and she had a mild fever. one dose of tylenol took care of it and she was fine today. then school called to tell me that pooka made a mess. oops.

pooka was fine for the rest of the day. might have been chemo-related or it might have been some old strawberries she had for breakfast. either way, it looks like she'll be good for the show on friday. thanks for watching her, dad.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

tiny planet

last saturday we met up with some friends from out of town. erinne and bryan, josh and jodi and their kids, and john and sally, the parents of bryan and josh, who live in town. josh and jodi have a son who is about a week younger than bug, and looks about twice her age. he is HUGE! adorable, and healthy, but ginormous. he's 24 pounds and wearing 18 month clothes.

bug is a little on the small side, so they looked hilarious next to each other, although they seemed to feel a bond. he grabbed her hand and she tried to steal his bink.

we spent a lot of our visit remarking on the boy's size and comparing him to bug.

so sunday at church, i was talking with jan who usually monitors the nursery during service. she was commenting on bug's size and comparing her to her own granddaughter, who is even smaller. then she brought up a boy she knew about the same age who weighs over 20 pounds. well, of course, that brought to my mind jodi's boy. so i started talking about him. when i mentioned jodi's name (to say that her son is already exactly half her height!--she's not too tall), jan stopped me.

"wait, who are you talking about?"

when i gave the last name, she laughed. "no way, how do you know them?"

we were talking about the same kid. (how many 24 pound 7.5 month old boys are out there?)

as we explored our various connections to them we realized that it is a very small world, indeed.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

meals on foot

the road to empty doorways is paved with good intentions.

we set out for meals on wheels thursday morning running behind, as usual. fortunately, the suggested arrival time allowed plenty of room for tardiness. there was a welcome/instructional spiel, and then we had to wait for the meals to arrive anyway.

i was a little nervous about what kind of route we would have and if pooka would be enough help to scout out house numbers for me. turns out we got one of the easiest routes. an apartment building, with all stops in one wing of the 8th floor. easy, peasy, right?

first off, i turned the wrong way out of the center (nevermind that they provided us with turn-by-turn directions. anyone who knows me knows i constantly confuse east and west.) by the time i realized my mistake and turned around, it was time for me to pump. so i pulled into a parking lot and took care of business, keeping my head on a swivel and my eyes peeled for any suspicious people approaching. (did i mention we were downtown in the current most dangerous city in the country?)

milk expressed, we continued on our way to a destination less than a mile from the center. d'oh!

i decided to carry the whole box up to the top instead of trekking back to the truck. we ended up just dragging the box along the corridor from stop to stop. on the way up, a community watch-type person in the lobby checked our list and sent us on our way.

pooka's behavior ranged between neutrally cooperative and downright crabby. i think it was partly nerves and partly steroids (i had forgotten that she would be on them this week.) i completely suprised myself with my relative confidence in tackling this mission.

our first stop: no answer. second stop: the guy cracked the door just wide enough to accept the food. he was cordial but not interested in visiting apparently. third stop: no answer. (at the center we were instructed that the food could not be returned and that if we couldn't deliver to our designated recipients we should find some needy soul to enjoy the meals. by this time, i decided to try one of the doors that were not on our list.) fourth stop: a hearty welcome and a five minute visit with someone who possibly did not 'need' the service we were providing. oh, well. fifth stop: no answer. sixth stop: no answer. seventh stop (another non-scheduled attempt): a somewhat suspicious no, thank you. (What? who turns down free food?) eighth stop: no answer. ninth stop: no answer. tenth stop: well, that door had a notice stuck in the door jamb so i assumed no one was home there, either.

5 scheduled stops. 10 doors in the corridor. 3 meals delivered total. not a raging success.

we headed back down the elevator, with me wondering if i should just randomly knock on any door in building. i decided against it, figuring that other volunteers would be delivering to this building, as well. when we got back to the lobby, i approached the watch-person and explained what had happened. she looked at the list and reeled off: probably still sleeping, sleeping, out of town, moved. oh, gee. someone should have updated the center. i told her that i could not bring the food back and she said that she would take it back up later when the recipients were more likely to be awake.

so, pooka and i headed out. it was not even 45 minutes of actual work. i was kind of bummed. pooka took it much harder. she groused, "well this is the worst day ever!"

"what makes you say that?"

"no one was home."

no matter how i tried or what metaphor i used, i was unable to convince her that the day was not a disaster. we tried, with giving hearts, to bring some joy and nutrition to people who might otherwise not have it today. we still get points for effort.

at least we got a great story to tell out of it. and i was not dissuaded from trying it again at Christmas.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

skid lid

after much frustration and many phone calls, i found an approved facility that could get the process for bug's helmet underway this week. friday morning we went, prepared to get bug's head all goopy with plaster. we were pleasantly surprised with the advances in modern medicine.

edgar thoroughly explained how we would put her down on a scanner bed and a network of 8 cameras would record the shape of her skull. a computer program would then plot pertinent points of her skull that need molding.

she squirmed a bit on the first try but the second was successful. we got printouts of 3 exemplary cross-sections of her skull. edgar showed us where she needed some work and what changes he would try to accomplish through the helmet.

we even got to pick out a pattern for it instead of going institutional white. (although we were tempted to get maize and blue, we went with butterflies--for the bug, of course.)

we pick it up in about 10 days and gradually work her up to wearing it 23 hours per day. the estimate is 4 months, but edgar stressed that this is ultimately dependent on the progress of her skull growth.

all in all, the visit was not traumatic in the least. hopefully we will all adjust to this new scenario as quickly as we have to our other unique situations.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

four-eyed family

pooka got glasses last friday. she is a little embarassed by them, but i think she secretly is also a little bit thrilled to have them. she looks freakin' adorable, naturally.

kisu did a smart thing and paid the extra $25 to get ultimate insurance on them. with a 5 year old, who knows what kind of trauma the glasses might sustain? this way we won't have to pay a penny for repairs/replacement.

now we have to go through the lectures of when to wear, how to don, where to store, who can touch, and most important: don't forget them.

she has mentioned that when she has them off, she feels like they're still on. i remember that adjustment period. sometimes i almost walk out the door without realizing i don't have my glasses on. it's a hazard with a mild prescription.

i checked with her teachers and becca said she's had no trouble with them. pooka was afraid that her friends would try to grab them and break them. i think she's got my worrywart gene.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

mobile terror unit

bug's not really a terror, but she might become so now that she's mobile.

she started crawling last weekend. she's been working on it for a while. up on her knees, rocking like a cartoon character about to zoom off. then, one knee forward, give up. finally, she moved several feet across the floor in a crawl-like manner.

actually, since she's unused to mode of locomotion, she's slower than she is when she rolls. she can roll like a lumberjack in Oregon. she pivots on her belly to target a destination and away she goes.

check this out:

oh, that's dried playdough ground into the rug courtesy of her big sis.

bitter bettys

man, football this weekend sucked.

the lions lost a winnable game. the qb was consistently throwing too high.

the bills played new england. 'nuff said.

michigan lost to osu. the senior class is winless against the buckeyes for their career. bye-bye coach carr.

to make matters worse, monday all the michigan state fans at work were cheering on osu for beating michigan. what cry-babies.

kisu and i root for michigan and michigan state, unless they're playing each other. but under only the rarest circumstances would we ever cheer for ohio state.

Monday, November 19, 2007

you are now leaving the comfort zone

this occasionally revealing (like now) blog notwithstanding, i am a shy person. i much prefer the sterility of digital disclosure to soppy, bawling face-to-face encounters. (and bawling there will be, because i am a person who cannot hold her eye water.)

i am uncomfortable meeting new people.

forced into an unavoidable situation i have two responses: hemorrhagic conviviality wherein i share waaaay too much or awkward monosyllabic withdrawal. either option leads people to conclude that i am surely a freak.

i'm used to that.

however, i plan to blatantly disregarded this empirical evidence of my social gracelessness.

spurred by a latent desire to pad my c.v. be a good Christian and galvanized by oh, the joys, i searched to see if there was an opportunity that wouldn't paralyze me and might make use of any old body my humble and limited talents.

lo and behold, i was presented with more than 300 opportunities within 20 miles of my home. it was a bit overwhelming. i paged through and found 3 opportunities i would like to try.

one is recording textbooks for the blind and dyslexic and another is a literacy program. they both deal with an issue that is very close to my heart. i firmly believe reading is the foundation for everything you want to achieve in life. (unless you want to achieve the status of, say, a strung out crack-head, or something similarly enchanting.)

the third is delivering food on Thanksgiving. this is the one that's a real stretch for me. (but i thought it would be an excellent way to spend the morning since kisu is working. double ka-ching.) first off, it's DownTown, an area i am not at all familiar with. but a bigger obstacle than that? i have to initiate. i go to the person's house. i knock on the door. i am expected to visit with them. this is a program geared to benefitting seniors and i've always related well to people older than myself, but still, i really suck at small talk. it's a good thing i'm taking pooka. she's a handy conversation piece.


stay tuned to see if i chicken out how this all works out and how pooka reacts. i feel it's time she learned a bit about charity; how she has benefitted personally and how she needs to give back.

Friday, November 16, 2007

a minor relief

well, bug finally got in to see the neurologist. the good news is she doesn't have cranial synostosis. the bad news is she's getting a helmet.

the neuro was concerned strictly for cosmetic reasons. the ct scan and an eeg show that she's otherwise developing normally.

we got an actual scrip for the helmet. i don't know how long it'll take to get one for her; how customized are they? according to kisu, the doc wants to follow up in 4 months and if all looks good at that point, we're done with the neuro.

too bad this is happening during the photo-happy season of the holidays, but at least it should keep her head warm in the winter.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

closed for the season

i tore down the garden last weekend. we want to have one again next year, but with slightly different contents. i picked every fruit or vegetable i could find so that it wouldn't seed itself over the winter, but i left all the greens laying in the garden area to mulch and fertilize. i also left all the sycamore leaves that fell into the garden. that should make a nice blanket to insulate all that nutrient-rich soil.

i was surprised at just how much i was still able to harvest. i finally pulled the beets. i thought i could do something with them even though they were pretty small, but they were also very dry and cracked (and i'm too lazy) so i didn't.

the carrots never did amount to anything. as i was clearing, i could see some nubbins that were about the size of bug's fingers. mostly the greens pulled off leaving the carrots in the dirt. we'll see what happens with that. aren't the seeds of a carrot in the greens?

i was completely blown away by the number of tomatos still clinging to life on those monstrous plants. i especially wanted to get rid of those so that the garden isn't one giant tomato patch next year. the cherry tomatos from the small planter the year before ended up all along the fence line this year, thanks to hapless seed distribution. some of them just rotted and fell, others were helped along by the local vermin.

i feel very sad about this baby eggplant that will probably never get a chance to fulfill its destiny, namely, filling my tummy. there are two of these right now, but i don't think they will survive. i had another one earlier in the season but it only got to tennis ball size before a critter took a big hunk out of it.

kisu took this wonderful bounty and made pasta sauce from scratch in the crockpot, with some spicy italian sausage. it was heavenly! it melted in our mouths. pooka even ate two pieces of sausage before she realized it was spicy.

witness the garden's last hurrahs:

oh, and what's up with these squatters? i didn't plant these. i wonder if they're edible varieties?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

damned if you do

last night when we were saying prayers, pooka changed it up.

"now i lay me down to sleep, i pray the Lord your soul to keep..." and she pointed at me when she said it.

oh, man. is my soul so badly troubled that even a 5 year old thinks i need help?

granted, i have been in turmoil lately, and i have been praying very hard for a way to get out of the morass, but i thought i was keeping it hidden from the prying eyes of the young ones.

apparently i was wrong.

her need for glasses notwithstanding, the youngest eyes have the clearest vision.

help me, Lord.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

better late than never

i was looking through my little notebook of musings and came across this. should have posted on monday, obviously, but as the title says....

when duty sounds its ardent call
it pulls the bravest souls;
all those who aren't afraid to fall
pursuing higher goals.
the duty often is disdained
and those who do it spurned,
but see how quickly we profane
the liberties they've earned.
we owe a debt of gratitude
to those who've fought to shield
our privileges and attitude
and tools of honor wield.

Monday, November 12, 2007

kitchen skillz

moosh's mom is a baker. a multiple blue-ribbon winning baker. apparently, it's a skill she acquired overnight.

i am also, if i do say so myself, a pretty good baker. i love the activity, and i love to enjoy the results. (especially grandma's rolat. mmmmmmm.) pooka loves to bake, too. i have to break her heart so often when she requests that we bake simply because we cannot consume all the multitudes of goodies she wants to create.

but now she's in school. maybe we should start sending treats to kindergarten. i checked, none of the kids have allergies. well, some, but i don't usually bake with amoxicillin, or cat hair. (cat in the house means cat. hair. everywhere.)

i happen to know that the people at work enjoy the occasional baked good, as well. (how about 2 dozen donuts in 5 hours amongst 13 people?) i should indulge them more often. it would make my daughter so happy.

now when it comes to real food, i am seriously deficient. that is why we rely on kisu for wonderful savory num-nums. (he can bake, too, but he usually leaves that to me so as not to hog all the kitchen glory.) left to my own devices i will not starve, but i probably won't enjoy the meal, and neither will anyone else. it has to do with seasonings. proper levels and combinations thereof. i'm not a spice girl idiot. pooka loves to cook with kisu, also and is hopefully retaining what she's seeing.

that is why i think i'm perfectly suited to launching my own line of baby food.

heat fruit/vegetable until soft.



Saturday, November 10, 2007

if wishes were fishes

we'd be in a desert.

still no word from rr's people. pooka hardly ever thinks about it, but i'm getting anxious. i'd like to move along. i know it can take a couple years sometimes before your wish gets fulfilled, but i'm just worried that we'll end up waiting for years only to wind up being told that she won't grant the wish anyway.

our struggle is coming up with a substitute wish. i finally came up with something i thought pooka would go far: meeting/being on set for h*nn*h montana. i brought it up to her and told her to think about it. after a week or so, she decided she wanted to switch. i hope i didn't lean on her too much. i want this to be her decision, but i wanted her to make that decision soon, so i could inform the wish manager.

i called and let them know about the change of heart, but guess what? that's about the most popular wish there is right now. another waiting list and another star who hasn't decided to actually grant wishes.

we have to come up with something that doesn't involve a celebrity. kisu and i are determined, though, that this experience should really be a once-in-a-lifetime event that she otherwise would never get the opportunity to do. a lot of kids ask for a shopping spree or a trip to uncle walt land. we have family in uncle walt land. pooka's practically guaranteed to visit at least once in her life. shopping? she's not big on that. if it were in a toy store, she would love it, but we won't allow it because we have nowhere to put all the junk she would grab. (most of it would probably be laced with lead anyway.)

reading back through my posts, i saw that pooka had suggested an alternate wish at that initial meeting: to sing with la*rie b*rkner. hmm, another celeb-centric wish, but maybe we could work with it. maybe a trip to one of those kid-a-pal**za type concerts WITH backstage passes or something. and make sure the concert is in another state. although this borders on 'might do it anyway', i think it might still be a valid wish.

help us out here. those of you who know pooka, or any exceptional 5 year old girl for that matter, what do you think she'd enjoy? anyone who suggests anything remotely barb*e will be summarily excommunicated.

Friday, November 9, 2007

on second thought

i thought pooka's revelation about santa claus would scotch the plans for this weekend's visit to the mall to stand in line with millions of other gullible families get a picture taken with him.

apparently not.

pooka confided to me last night that she was only "pulling my ankle" and that she really does believe in him. moreover, she wants to stand in line and see him.


say cheese!

one day i asked pooka if i had told her recently how much i loved her. she got all teen-y on me, and said, "only every day." i think there was an eyeroll there, too but i'm not sure.

i asked, "only once per day?"

she said, "no, about a hundred."

i said, "well, i want to make sure you don't ever forget."

haughtily, she said, "i'm five and a half years old"

here i interrupted with "five and three quarters"

she reiterated, "i'm five and half years old. i have a photographic memory."

"who told you that?"

"i did."

"do you know what that means?"

"it means you remember everything."

"ok, smarty, but a photographic memory only works for things you see, not things you hear."

so i'm going to continue to tell you that i love you ad nauseum.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the anti-humbug

last night, apropos of nothing, pooka asked me if santa claus was real.

we've had our doubts about her youthful 'illusions', but here it was staring me in the face demanding confirmation. what to do?

aside from allowing the santa claus/easter bunny myths to enter our house at all, it is my custom to never lie to my kids, except when absolutely necessary. (for example, blaming the cat when i've eaten the last goodie.) i'm just not big on deception in general, although i admit i do occasionally neglect to correct misperceptions.

the mythical figures of the two biggest holidays are very difficult to avoid. and they make up such a precious part of childhood. (don't they?) i don't want to ruin pooka's childhood more than it already has been, nor do i want her to ruin another child's in a misguided attempt to share her knowledge.

kisu and i don't really emphasize the fantasy personae of the holidays, but what do you do when all the other channels in your world are spouting about the wonderful gifts brought by big red and floppy ears? or trying to shape behavior by threatening that those two won't bring gifts?

if i come out and break the spell once and for all, she's liable to conclude that all the other adults in her world are either lying to her or delusional.

ironically, pooka's skepticism does not extend to the tooth fairy. but it might be because she loves money enough to believe in anyone or anything who might give her some.

at any rate, last night i managed to avoid rupturing any dreams. i asked her if she thought he was real and she said no. i asked her how that made her feel. she said it made her feel sad because then she wouldn't get toys.

then i got all socratic on her.

"do you think that santa used to be real, but isn't now?"


"did you used to get toys?"


"then don't you think that you'll continue to get toys for christmas?"


at this point her materialistic core was satisfied that she would continue to get loot no matter who supplied it and she went back to watching tv.

i suspect that she isn't really interested in whether santa does now or has ever existed. sometimes i think she starts conversations just because she has a certain idea or phrase she wants stated. (she gets that from me; it gets me in trouble sometimes.) she is that clever.

but i'm not satisfied with the outcome of that conversation. i want to get into what the santa figure represents and the true meaning of christmas. right now, she is ALL about the presents. i know she's young, but i would like her to know that there's more to it than that. i think that there's room, even in young brains, for both ideas.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

ring around the parking lot

is there anything more amazing than a rainbow? seeing one always refreshes my spirit. i feel it is a blessing from God.

Genesis 9:12-15 (NIV)

12 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.

yesterday at work, ritts called out, "oo, a rainbow!" you should have seen the people scuttle out of their cubes. i didn't think others were as fascinated by them as i am. but i forgot that i work with 'creatives'.

we gathered in the two offices closest to the parking lot where the bow appeared. as we all gawked at God's glory, i realized that practically the whole circle was visible. the ring went right through the company parking lot and disappeared only in the corner where the shadow of the building obscured the colors. it lasted for several minutes before some glowering clouds slowly erased it from the sky. the colors were so vibrant, it was extremely uplifting. a beautiful way to end a day that contained rain, snow, and wind.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


over the weekend bug cut another tooth. the companion to the one she already had on the bottom.

she now has more teeth than half the population of mississippi.

(pic to come when i get to a real computer instead of this mac which won't cooperate with blogger!)

Monday, November 5, 2007

make your peace

call all your loved ones, used-to-love ones, wish-you-loved ones. restate your devotion, reconcile your differences, confess your passion.

there's not a moment to lose. armageddon's on it's way.

the lions are 6-2. and got that way by absolutely slaughtering the broncos.

surely it's a harbinger of the end of days.

in other scores, michigan beat michigan state. so nothing new there.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

where has all the horror gone?

although i have been reading a lot of complaints recently about the invasion of licensed characters into the halloween gallery, i noticed a lot of homegrown costumes. not very many people bothered to scary-up their homes, though. they are pandering to the young innocents instead of the older thrillseekers. (one house had occupants handing out candy while watching a basketball game from a couch in their garage.)

pooka had a great time either way. bug not so much.

granny inadvertantly left the hat to bug's costume at school, so she substituted a reddish-orange knit hat that covered the kid's entire face and made her look like a rooster instead of a chick. oh, well, close enough.

bug did not want to go out (after school is her cranky time) but we strapped her into a stroller anyway. as long as we were moving she was tolerant. she eventually fell asleep.

pooka enjoyed herself very much, even though the costume was my least favorite licensed character. the weather was much more conducive to trick or treating this year, although it was a bit gusty.

one house in poppa's neighborhood really goes all out. they put up a ragged picket fence covered in graffiti; crypts and grave stones on the lawn; black lights and cobwebs in the garage. last year pooka refused to pass this house, insisting that we cross the street instead. this year she not only stayed on the same side of the street, she even approached the people in the garage (accompanied by me). it was all for naught, however, as they were just apologizing for being out of candy. they offered homemade cupcakes and rice krispie treats instead. i was kind of surprised that they even bothered. aren't those things all taboo in these litigious and perverse times? i was glad when pooka said she didn't want either of those, but i took a cupcake anyway. (i suffered no ill effects, so that's one less lawsuit our court system will see.)

sunday school had distributed unicef boxes for this night. pooka had no idea what that was about and wouldn't have carried it if i hadn't insisted. when i was younger, we had them every year, and people were ready with a bowlful of change next to their bowlful of cavities candy. i guess they don't do that anymore. i had given her some seed coins and encouraged her to jingle the box as she approached the houses to let people know without outright asking for money. only two other houses contributed to pooka's collection.

about halfway through our circuit, pooka started to wind down. i informed her that we had to walk all the way back anyway, so she might as well collect more candy. a few houses later, she insisted that she had to pee. i chose the closest house populated with the most kids and asked to use their facility. again, i was surprised. they asked no questions but let us in and even left us alone in their home.

after her break, pooka was prepared to t-n-t a lot longer. we finished our route and went back to poppa's to meet up with kisu, who had just arrived from work.

we handed out some more candy, and then got to the good part: sorting the stash. she got a disproportionate amount of m&m's and reese cups. she also got a lot of hard candy/lollipops but very few chocolate bars for me to steal. i thought i would be satisfied by rifling the goody bag bug received from school, but it contained (ack) baby food and biter biscuits. what the?? that's no fun!

i guess i'll have to go to the store and buy my own.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

major blow out

both of my girls had their battles with the diaper. they just had a tendency

to blow out. with pooka, the poop crawled up the front, with bug it crawled up the back. it happened so frequently, kisu and i have earned this merit badge dozens of times over, but i have to say the most inconvenient event i can remember is when we took the girls to my work to show off new baby bug during my maternity leave.

ironically, we were having a conversation with 1 mother and several childless/single women about how once you have a baby, you have to accept that you will be 'in the goo'. from spit up to poop to snot to baby food. it's just a fact of babies. you only have to be exposed for a month or so before you realize: resistance is futile; you will be goo-d.

it was about this time that i realized that part of my shirt--the part i was holding bug against--was starting to feel warm, and a little damp. i lifted her away to reveal a giant pale orange wet spot. she had exploded the diaper. poop. all over me.

of course, i hadn't planned on staying at work this long, so i had left the diaper bag in the truck. 8 floors down.

i handed bug to kisu and flew out the door, impatiently waited for the elevator, and ran out to the truck. when i came back up to our floor, i panted, "this is exactly the kind of goo you have to get used to."

being an experienced mom, i naturally had a clean change of clothes for bug.

uh, being a bit, shall we say rusty, at mothering a child who wears (and blows out) diapers, i neglected to pack a clean shirt for myself.

needless to say, that ended the visit.

in the merit badge series: birthday, medical

Monday, October 29, 2007

silent observer

today pooka and i had dentist appointments. she was very grumpy beforehand, but when it was actually her turn she cooperated just fine.

instead of dropping her at school and hurrying home to savor some me time empty the dishwasher, i hung out for a while to observe.

my friend becca, who is a mother of a kindergartner herself, was teaching today. she doesn't stand for any nonsense and boy, was that good to see. those kids are not getting coddled at school.

when we arrived they were just beginning handbell practice. they were seated on the floor in an arc in front of becca. i was pleased to see and hear the kids greet pooka warmly with their pet name and make room for her to sit. most of the kids managed to ignore my presence behind them, but one (the one pooka calls a she-devil) kept looking back at me and missing her cues.

after the handbell session, they got some free time and i managed to talk with becca a bit. she said that the kids are all doing really well and are ahead of where she usually expects a class to be at this point. having only 10 students really helps. but she said that because they mostly grew up together in this daycare/preschool facility, they bicker like siblings. she said they are all very familiar with which buttons to push on whom and when.

(but apparently, they love each other like siblings, too. when we showed up at school after clinic last week, a boy from her class saw her and said, "i missed you today."

[everybody now: aaawwwww])

the kids were so entertaining. at one point, s came out and sadly said, "i don't have anybody to dance with."

becca said, "you guys aren't supposed to be dancing in there, so if you don't have anyone to dance with, i don't think that's a problem."

she then related an anecdote that made me very proud of pooka and her skills. this morning while the kids were trying to read the 'morning message', they said, "we don't know that word and [pooka's] not here to tell us."

my kid's the smartest. and if you don't believe me, just ask her her friends.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

scrap that

i had set aside saturday to be a day of scrapping for pooka and i. there was an organized crop at church, but i didn't want to pay $40 for us to go and socialize. plus, i have a lot of tools at home that don't get used when i crop elsewhere. so i asked kisu to watch bug (except when i had to feed her) so pooka and i could focus.

i printed out pix for her to do 3 different layouts, but we only completed one. i tried to demonstrate a task and then let her go while i prepped a page for myself, but that didn't work as well as i'd hoped. i managed one single page 8.5 x 11 layout in the time it took to complete her two page 12x12 layout. and that took us about 2 hours. towards the end, she was obviously showing signs of fatigue. i guess i shouldn't have picked a weekend when she was on steroids.

after that layout, she wanted lunch, and after that she wanted nothing to do with scrapping. so she went off to become a tv zombie while i tried to get more done.

by then bug was up from her nap and wanted mommy. kisu was not as helpful as i think he could have been. there were things he wanted to do, too, though.

between napping and the jumparoo (and enduring her trying to eat my keyboard from my lap), i got bug entertained enough to gather materials for more pages (her album, actually) but i didn't really get to work on putting anything together until the girls went to bed.

so bug's first year album is officially underway. let's see how long it takes me to complete it. i was about this far behind on pooka's too, as i recall.

final result:
"scrapbooking day= 1 layout for pooka, 1.5 layouts for mommy"

not my most efficient outing.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

greatest hits on cd

bet you don't have a picture of your kid's cat scan on disk.

i do. courtesy of a visit to the er friday.

let me back up.

thursday night bug fell off the bed and whacked her head on the wall/floor. she raised a good lump that disappeared within 5 minutes and spent the rest of the evening acting normally. (i spent the rest of the evening in self-flagellation for letting my baby fall off the bed.)

friday morning she was fine, but i informed sarah at daycare what had happened and asked her to be on the lookout for odd behavior.

meanwhile, i had a conversation with kisu about trying to get bug in to the doctor to evaluate this cough she still hasn't kicked. after the fever broke, the cough got worse. it got juicy. kisu's opinion is that i habitually overreact to baby snot and it's causes. i freely admit to being a hypochondriac, but sometimes it's justified.

sarah called around noon to tell me that, in her opinion, bug was not herself. she wasn't sleeping, wasn't rolling around as usual, and was excessively irritable and clingy.

i called kisu and then the doctor's office. i explained the whole scenario to the nurse on the phone, and it was her expert opinion that bug was most likely fine, but we should take her to the er to waste a $100 co-pay make sure.

so pile on the guilt. we have better ways to spend the money, and if i had been paying attention like i should have, this situation would never have occurred, and even worrying about the money when my kid's health is at stake.

kisu and i determined that i would take bug to the er and he would stick with his plans to take pooka shopping for a halloween costume later that day.

when i retrieved bug from daycare, the shift had changed and diane's observations showed that bug was just fine. oh, well. i already blew the day, i might as well take her and get that cough checked. two medical complaints for that price seems a little more reasonable.

the er doc was certain that bug was fine and decided against a cat scan at first based on the difficulty in getting a baby to sit still in the machine. after i told her about the torticollis and the neurologist appointment next week she changed her tune. "they'll probably want a cat scan anyway, so we might as well do it as long as you're here. and a chest xray for that cough."

the cat scan machine? not bug's favorite carnival ride. well, she's never ridden any others, but i'm pretty sure she'll like those better when she does.

the xray actually wasn't that bad. i remember pooka doing much worse when she had hers done at 9 months. but they used a different restraining contraption for her.

conclusion: bug is fine. neither diagnostic showed anything to concern the doctor. and we go to the neurologist fore-armed.

p.s. why does my family make a ritual october visit to the er?? kisu has done it twice, i believe, both times when i was pregnant. pooka did it at 9 months and then of course at 3.5. now bug. what the hell??

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

you won't see me in an allstate commercial

you know that recent allstate commercial, where jonas blaine from the unit the spokesman talks about all the things people try to do while driving?

well, i don't apply makeup (ever), or shave, or change my clothes while driving, but i do pump breast milk.

that's right, i did. twice. while driving. without a fancy bra-holder contraption.

it wasn't pretty and it wasn't very effective. but it was a case of better this than nothing. both times i was in a predicament of not having a better opportunity to get it done for several more hours.

the second time i was 'detaching' in the parking lot at work when someone pulled into the spot next to me. he got an eyeful of something he was probably not expecting. or maybe he was.

i knew i should have parked in the back of the lot.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

despite the hospital

this was an awesome mommy/pooka day.

we played on the new touch screen game consoles at clinic, read a book (with lots of drum noises from mommy, despite my sore throat), drew, talked, laughed, defused potential tantrums, ate out, went to the library, used the computer catalog to find books (dewey decimal code and everything!), did a pumpkin experiment, made cookies.

phew. i'm re-exhausted just thinking back on all we did.

seriously, this was one of the best clinic visits ever in terms of attitude and behavior. those game consoles totally ROCK! i wanted to stay and play longer.

when we were at the restaurant, pooka commented on the background music:

pooka:"this is farm music."

why? p:"because farm music's played on a banjo, and that's a banjo playing, isn't it?"

mommy:"yes it is."

p:"they should play some michigan music."

m:"what kind of music is that?"

p:"pussyc*t dolls, laurie b*rkner, stuff in english."

p:"farms are in different countries and states, and they don't speak english in other countries."

sorry, rest of the usa, you don't speak our language.

Monday, October 22, 2007

formula for success

well, the day i have felt looming for the last 2 weeks has finally come. bug finally needed a bottle of formula. between traveling, being sick, not sleeping, and pump desensitization, i can't keep up with her nutritional demands.

last week i thought it was going to end up being a cold turkey switch. i had kisu pick up the formula early in the week. i felt like i had nothing. i was very emotional and frustrated about the whole situation. i debated whether to even bother taking my pump to the football game.

but behind the bitterness, there was a hint of relief. a thought that finally i can stop dragging the machine around like a ball and chain. stop taking breaks during the work day to struggle and squeeze out a few ounces. (i feel like pumping is a full-time job in itself.) start going back to the gym during lunch and get rid of this baby weight (of which i have lost NONE since coming home from the hospital).

along with the relief came just as quickly the concern about affording formula. even though kisu has a new job, we have a lot of things to catch up on. we're not exactly on easy street just yet.

and of course, the guilt. even though i dithered about how long i wanted to breastfeed early on, i never really imagined the day i would stop. i felt (and still do, to an extent) that i should give bug the same benefits as i gave pooka. pooka started formula supplementation pretty early, but continued to nurse all the way until her first birthday. i joked that if i could do exclusive with bug for 6 months, that would be equivalent to what pooka got. but faced now with the reality of weaning, i feel like it's not enough.

i used up the last of my frozen inventory during the week, and then because of the therapy visit wednesday and staying home for the fever on thursday, we didn't have to use the formula until friday. kisu tried to mix formula into a breastmilk bottle to help her transition flavor-wise, but ended up spilling the breastmilk (GASP! dagger to the heart) and she took a formla only bottle, anyway. she had no problems with it. she even had two formula bottles yesterday while i was at the game.

you know what? i'm okay with it. i am still going to try like the dickens to bottle my milk, but i won't feel like a failure.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

i'm a good luck charm

so says myself.

we went to the lions game today. with dad and tina, who were decked out in bucs gear. coincidentally, there was a pocket of bucs fans where we were seated.

upon entering, the security guys check all bags. i brought my pump with me again. last time, i got no comments. this time, the guy asked if i had a baby with me.

i said, "no, that's why i have the breastpump."

he said, "then why do you have all this baby stuff with you?"

i said, "if i had the baby, i wouldn't need the breastpump!"

"oh." he was an "older" man, and i don't think he even knows what a breastpump is.

there were a few drunk people seated around us, which made for bonus entertainment, until one in particular got stupid in addition to silly and started calling the bucs fans losers and betches, etc. (some of these opposing fans were minors.) he got hauled away sometime in the second half, but then must have convinced his babysitters that he sobered up because he returned with about 5 minutes left in the game. he wasn't sobered up. there was some kind of altercation in the section next to us. although many people in our area stood up to ogle, we never did find out what happened. i don't understand why people feel it necessary to attack fans of the opponent. cheer your team and get on with it. live and let live.

anyway, the lions won, but it wasn't very pretty. tampa made a lot of errors although they did have some steady play. they had one drive that took 16 plays. the crowd was very much into the spirit and caused several false starts and time-outs. (my throat hurts now from cheering.)

at first, dad and tina were talking a little smack, but they soon quieted down. i felt bad for them.

on the walk back to the truck we decided to stop and eat dinner. surprisingly, we were seated immediately. dinner was great, and afterwards we walked to the ice cream place, and then finally to the truck, where dad managed to find some more displaced bucs fans, from canada, no less!

and on top of that lovely afternoon, the bills won, too! kisu and i watched scores all day to keep tabs on our pool picks. he went against buffalo, the fool. i did not. never pick against your home team-unless they're playing the patriots.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

and then the fever came

it's not bad enough that bug has had coughs and stuffy nose for almost 4 weeks, on wednesday she spiked a fever.

it was nothing like pooka's fevers at this age, but still. pooka was the queen of fevers. i guess she figured if you were gonna get one, you might as well burn it up. she regularly hit 103 and 104, and even clocked in at 105.5 once.

bug stayed around 100-101 until it finally broke this afternoon. she has the same sick-time disposition as her sister, though. you could hardly tell there was anything wrong with her. she was the same laid-back, giggly bug as always. the only tell-tale differences were the decreased appetite and the extra sleepiness.

we were giving her alternating doses of tylen*l and ibupr*fen to help keep her temp down. the ty wasn't helping much until i called the doc to get an accurate dose. turns out we were giving less than half of what she could have taken. DOH!

i stayed home with her on thursday and kisu was with her on friday. killed his plans for the day, but at least neither of us missed another day of work. (i have 2 days left, but i'm taking one this week for pooka's clinic visit.)

so now the fever is gone, but the snottys are back with a vengeance. poor kid.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

to life

two years ago today we received the scare of a lifetime. our sweet, intelligent, energetic pooka, just 3.5 years old, was diagnosed with leukemia. our paradigms were permanently shifted. never again would we have that illusion of invincibility.

last year and again today, we celebrate. because on that day, before we had honestly had time to wrap our brains around reality, a dedicated team of medical professionals at the hospital took our little girl's frail body and began a ferocious battle that brought her back from the brink of oblivion.

it wasn't until much later, when we started to understand the terminology and the metrics of blood and cancer, that we saw just how close to oblivion she had come. what we had seen as her 'general malaise' had developed gradually over the 6-8 weeks prior to diagnosis. if we had waited just one week more, there would have been no recovery.

she spent two weeks in the hospital. she endured bone marrow aspirations, spinal taps, whole blood and platelet transfusions, surgical implantation of a port, and the overwhelming confusion, fear, and frustration of a toddler trapped in a strange world. they pumped her so full of fluids that we were forced to return her to diapers full-time. even then, she would overflow and we would have to change the sheets at least once in the middle of the night every night.

and then we went home. and nowhere else. her distressed immune system would not tolerate exposure to the plage central station that day care is. when she ventured out in public she wore a surgical mask. she has been hospitalized several more times, totalling approximately 2 months out of the past 2 years.

her hair fell out. adults stared rudely. children honestly asked questions.

nurses came to our house to show us how to administer injections to our patient. at one point, she was on an antibiotic schedule that required her to wear a tube accessing her port to which we attached bottles of medicine every 4 and 6 hours.

we rejected all forms of counseling. we could get through this. we would get through this.

reluctantly, we became adept at sterile manipulation and proper disposal of chemo. our kitchen was decorated with a glaring yellow sharps/biohazard disposal unit. we became versed in cancer related acronyms and other shorthand verbiage.

we endured pooka's hatred, however brief, after giving medicine. we learned how to anticipate and handle side effects, meltdowns, and intransigence. we discovered ways to cheat the doctor's admonitions in order to gain a little more cooperation without jeopardizing the overall treatment regimen. we found out which medicines she secretly liked to taste.

we became friends with other families dealing with cancer.

we absorbed everything there was to do, we set schedules, we grew accustomed. these days pooka takes her pills with no disturbance, except on very rare occasions. we know off the top of our heads how many and which pills she takes on any given day of the week. we are close enough to start counting down the months until treatment is completed.

earned our medical merit badges?
bet your ass we have.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

wedding recap

so last weekend we were in aunt ali's wedding. by we i mean me, pooka, and aunt pami.

we have yet to recover.

not that we're hung over or anything like that. we're the wrong age to be drinking like that. (actually, i never drank like that.) no, no, no. we're sick with colds.

see, all three of us had something lingering before. after spending the afternoon in strapless dresses in 50 degrees and more-than-breezy winds, the germs have stepped up their attacks. not only was the ceremony outside, but the extra photo session was in the (breathtaking) landscaped backyard of ali's friend scott. the pictures will be gorgeous, if the photog can photoshop out the goosebumps.

the wedding itself was very nice. i had steeled myself not to cry, since i didn't have anywhere to stash tissues, but i couldn't help tearing up when i saw the groom crying. sucker so sweet.

i was concerned about the logistics of being in a wedding party while still nursing a baby. i was right to be concerned. while we were getting hair, nails, and dressed, bug was too stimulated to sleep or eat properly. once we got to the reception, it was more of the same. i had kisu give her a jar of food (yes, i allowed jarred food-for convenience while traveling out in the boonies of town.)

i tried to nurse once after dinner in the nicely appointed restroom. it was quite a trick to get the dress's bodice clear of my breasts. the silicone cup-holder flopped like a live appendage in my lap. oh, boy. (my milk had let down twice during the day, so i was sure there would be a river of milk escaping when i took that thing off. turns out, it was just a small trickle.) and then the company. pooka insisted on accompanying and entertaining me while i fed bug. coupled with the steady stream of visitors to the loo, well, have i mentioned that bug is easily distracted while nursing? eventually, kisu took her out to the parking lot and let her sleep in the truck while i completed my bridesmaid duties. once the ritual dances were done, we lit out for my uncle's house where we were staying.

personally, i had a good time. i feel like i totally rocked my dress, although i ditched the shoes at my earliest chance. (why in heaven did i decide to wear 2" heels when i haven't worn heels since my wedding 8 years ago?) my only problem with the whole proceedings is the language that bombarded pooka in the limo. as the flower girl, she was entitled, nay required to ride with us. she should not have had to absorb the steady stream of profanity and snark that came from the other passengers who were supposed to be adults. yeah, it was a celebration and there was drinking, but come on. there were two kids in the limo. a little consideration for innocent ears isn't much to ask.

pooka has a spinal tap next week. while she's under anesthesia, i'm considering asking the doctor to erase last weekend from her memory.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

if doctors are so smart...

...why did she give me the phone number to a specialist's office on the east side when said specialist also has an office on the west side where i live (and where, incidentally, the primary doctor's office is)?

ok, the number was probably supplied by the nurse, but still. imagine my surprised frustration when i called the office to schedule an appointment, only to find out that the first opening is in january.


i thought this was supposed to be kind of an urgent matter?

oh, the doctor's only at that office 2 days a MONTH.

"yes, please give me the number to the west side office."

bug sees the neurologist on 11/2.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


i took a half day today to take bug to therapy and then to her 6 month checkup.

i did not foresee the checkup taking 2 hours. by the time i dropped her off at daycare, it was later than i had planned, so i called up work and asked if anything was going on. it's a looong commute, and not worth the mileage on my vehicle if i don't get at least 4 hours in.

i stayed home.

and did way more work than i would have done at work.

5 loads of laundry.
emptied/loaded the dishwasher.
made baby food.
scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees. wiped up the pureed sweet potato that i tracked across the floor with my shoes.
culled pooka's schoolwork papers. (shh, don't tell her i filed them in the recycle bin.)
pumped twice.
changed sheets on our bed and pooka's.
put mints on the pillows.
purged old magazines into the recycle bin.
cleaned litter box/random cat poop.
strangled the cat.
watched bones and house on tivo. (while i was folding- not slacking.)
emptied garbages.
cleaned up bug's room. (it was a disaster area, as we were slowly transitioning from 3 month clothes to 6 month clothes.)

the main floor of the house is in much better shape than it has been for quite awhile. our schedules don't allow for frequent cleaning. (our personalities don't allow it, either, but let's blame the 'schedules', ok?)

the basement? a project for another day.

so bug's checkup:
26" and 15.6 pounds. (i think that's right on schedule, but then why is she straining the length on her 6-9 month sleepers?)

although i have been worried about making enough milk, the doc said, "this baby is not underfed." regarding the future of my production, she said it would be ok to either add a small bottle of formula or make fewer but bigger bottles of milk and give her 2 servings of solids per day at daycare.

regarding her head, the doc is sending us to a neurologist. she's worried that there may be premature fusion of one of the cranial seams. although the therapist thinks that bug is making good progress, i guess it can't hurt to have the neurologist check. talk about anxiety. thank God for our health insurance.

bug got 4(!) shots today. the nurses teamed up on her and each jabbed twice. the theory is to get all the trauma over with as soon as possible and in her case it works. (this is why i try to clear her nose and administer medicine back to back and withhold the comforting until it's all done-as opposed to kisu's idea of trauma, comfort, and repeat.) she didn't start crying until they were removing the first set of needles and she stopped about 30 seconds after they removed the second set. 10 minutes later, she was babbling and laughing again. what an amazing kid.

Monday, October 8, 2007

locate my butt

our friend noel is very nervous about becoming a dad. he's not very comfortable around babies. he's more comfortable with teenagers, because he does theater work with a local high school.

while we were discussing funny ways to deprave your children parenting theories, he regaled me with some of the more roguish scams that teens are perpetrating these days. like conning doctors into prescribing high-dosage ritalin for them. and then selling it, because they don't really have a.d.d. apparently, you can find detailed instructions for feigning symptoms of this disorder on the internet. who knew the internet could be so subversive?

the other story he told concerned duping the tracking functionality of a cell phone. in this manner, the teen could be wherever he wanted, while still in touch with his phone, which is in a place that is acceptable to the parents.

as an aside, noel confided that he was totally getting a gps-enabled phone for his kid.

determined not to be hoodwinked, i said we were gonna skip the phone and have lojak implanted directly in pooka's ass.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

i've never heard of that breed

how nice to see my two girls sitting on the lion rug, playing together.

bug was just babbling away, she's always so happy to see her sister.

pooka asked, "what is she saying?"

i said, "she says, 'give me back my toy, you curly-headed freak, before i bite your knees!'"

if there's one drawback to having a baby in the house, it's that pooka is regressing for attention. when she stubs her toe, she immediately sticks her thumb in her mouth, something she never did when she was an infant. similarly, she wants to reclaim all the baby toys she hasn't played with in years.

the baby was chewing on an inflatable block. pooka wanted to play with it, too. she said, "look, mommy, we're both playing with the block."

when i turn around, i see they're playing tug of war with the block in the manner of two dogs: with their teeth. pooka's even growling to boot.

pooka thought i called the two of them "pig bulls".

Saturday, October 6, 2007

sing, sing a song

i have always loved to sing. i have been in school choir since first grade.

pooka's got a love of singing, too. she even goes so far as to make up her own songs. songs about bathing, doing laundry, she even sings about going potty. (in fact, if ever she manages to actually close the bathroom door, it's guaranteed she will start singing while going potty.)

my senior year in high school and in college, i was part of select singing groups. we did mostly typical songs, but we did them well. it was a world of elation for me. being with a group of people (with whom i might not otherwise socialize) weaving harmony in the air was euphoric.

being without that magic has left a sizable hole in my heart.

i'm not me without singing. (my life's not an opera soundtrack or anything, but it's important to me. )

it is only my tremendous insecurity that has kept me from attempting to joining the church choir (they take anybody, don't they?). i have made excuses about scheduling, finding childcare, etc., but they're just platitudes meant to disguise my shyness.

well, finally i have received divine direction to get off my butt and do what i love. the church bulletin has issued a call for altos. (that'd be me.)

unfortunately, i now have a bona fide reason for not doing it: it conflicts with sunday school.

we have already discussed the issues of breaking a commitment and cloning. furthermore, sunday school has the more desperate need.

i guess i'll just have to stick it out this school year and join the choir next year.

Friday, October 5, 2007


the kids at kindergarten made grasshead people. take an old stocking, put in some grass seed, some dirt, then tie it off and put it knot-side down in a plastic cup of water. glue on some eyes and wait. eventually, it sprouts hair.

pooka brought it home this week and decided to style his hair.

we now have grass clippings on the bathroom counter, in the sink, and in the top drawer. i think she used my comb, too.

great. i managed to avoid getting headlice when i was younger, now i'm gonna get head-aphids.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

2007 Bocce Charity Challenge Champions

are not us.

i am taking this very badly. i had such high hopes.

in reality, it was a huge accomplishment to make it to the finals out of 44 teams.

but i'm thinking about those shots i made that went completely off course. the shots i made that were right on target, but short on speed.

that's typical me. my own worst critic. never good enough. (i made some crucial point-winning shots, too.) props to the other team. they used the backhanded technique that can be deadly accurate.

honestly? i had a blast. how many companies would let you waste up to 10 hours, paid, to goof around on the grass? and serve beer to you and your throngs of adoring fans coworkers while you play? and give you a free t-shirt with which to boast about your truancy?

the bottom line is some deserving charities are going to be the recipients of a small pot of gold. good for them.

next season? totally doing two-a-days.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


after our last dismal outing, we were rescued by a call from HR informing us that we won a wildcard spot in the next round. (the secretary drew our name from a pool of this round's losing teams.) hallelujah! a chance for redemption.

the next match was scheduled for monday, so i called a team practice friday at noon. we scouted our designated court and practiced specific scenarios. we also had a chance to talk out some strategy and set our bowling order.

monday it rained like the dickens, so i called our opponents (the same team we had just lost to, by the way. crazy bracket.) and we rescheduled for tuesday. tuesday came around and they left a message to say they had client meetings all day. i wanted to call that a forfeit since they bailed on a mutually agreed upon time. HR said that we had until wednesday noon to play our match or one of us would have to forfeit. the finals are scheduled for thursday and there were special preparations to be made beforehand, hence the deadline. we rescheduled for today noon.

the weather held out and both teams showed. we quickly fell behind 3-0, but turned it around and never looked back. apparently, the extra practice session was beneficial, as we won handily, 21-8.

there is going to be a grand presentation and pizza luncheon for the company during tomorrow's championship matches. the winners get trophies and champagne, and of course the money for their charity. we're all very excited, but kind of nervous having a large audience. hopefully we can keep it together and bring it home for clf.