Thursday, July 31, 2008

Things as they are

I'm up in Rockford "helping" my mom after her surgery. The truth is that in the last 48 hours I've seen her for a whopping 3 hours total. My sister has had to bear the brunt of Mom watching because X-man is freaking out a bit.

We were at the hospital yesterday from 9 until 1 and then again from 3 until 6. My sister was there from 6:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. getting my mom situated. But nothing went as they said it would.

The 2-3 hour Pulmonary Vein Ablation procedure became 5 hours. Then they found out that they didn't have per properly on the table and she has burns on her back now. They never paged us (as they said they would) when she woke up. So, Melissa went and asked the volunteer. The nurse's reaction was, "Where have you been? We've been looking everywhere!" Funny since we'd all been sitting there for HOURS with a pager... the device THEY gave us to find us.

Mom was a bit out of it. I got to speak with her briefly before I had to take X-man for dinner. Then this morning when we went back, he took one look at her recovery roommate and freaked out. The elderly woman was asleep. But she looked dead.

I was at least pleased that he was able to tell me he was scared and wanted to go, rather than just standing there scared out of his wits.

We found a McDonald's and picked up some apple juice and drinks and went to the park. The park's main road was closed, so we had to go out the in... Do Not Enter my ass. Because EVERYONE was doing it.

We played until X-man pooped through his pants. It would have been fine, except he had to go down the roll-y slide and well, it acted like a rolling pin on Playdough.

So, he kept playing, in a fresh diaper but without pants. He's not napping... so we're going to go to the grocery store and pick up some sore throat stuff for my mom. She's had two tubes in her throat. So she's sore. Melissa is still at the hospital waiting for them to release my mom. But they're watching her kidneys (not enough output compared to input) and the Doctor hasn't come to speak with her yet.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Sweet Home Savoy!

X-man and MacTroll met me at the airport. X-man pointed at me and then said, "Mama downstairs!" When I got to the bottom of the escalator, X-man looked at me and then covered his eyes and started crying. He instantly ran over to me for lots of hugs and I got my whiff of my first poopy diaper in 4 days.

X-man took a bath with me tonight after consuming 1/4 of a seedless watermelon and getting uber sticky. 

We put him to bed at 9:30, but -- in MacTroll's words -- "He's too excited about seeing you. I'll lay with him."

So now I'm sitting here in my own bed while the laundry runs downstairs cleaning everything I own (and don't own -- Quigs thanks for the pants they worked great!), so I can pack up again and take X-man up to Rockford to my mom's place. We're going to try and help her out after her surgery on Wednesday. 

I know X-man isn't a baby any more. But he's still my baby. When I see him, I see this big kid using sentences and singing songs and running and jumping. But he's still my baby.

You, too, can see my boring pictures of montreal by going here.

Coming home

Okay, so I checked out promptly at noon, even though I could have hung out longer. I made it to the airport at 1 p.m. -- and it was pretty empty. So here I am at 1:30 p.m. sitting on the floor as my laptop charges on the only electrical outlet not already occupied near my gate. (Why can't airports learn they need to put at least a 4-outlet area at the end of every seating section these days? Seriously. This is an almost brand new terminal too.) 

Things I feel great about after my trip.

1.) The sleep count. I got no less than 10 hours and no more than 16 hours of sleep every day. Yeah, I was tired. No wonder I was grumpy.
2.) I had risotto with veal, portobello mushrooms and truffles last night for dinner at some ultra modern Italian fusion restaurant. It was by far the most expensive food on this trip, and well worth it. 
3.) If I lived in a city I would be much skinnier from all the walking.
4.) I would, however, be completely out hair producted by every man in the city.
5.) I miss riding a metro from time to time. It always feels good to know how to get around a city you've never lived in without looking like a moron.
6.) It is so much less of a hassle to travel by air by yourself versus with a family in tow. 
7.) Peter Gabriel, Columbo, Genesis (I'm guessing from before Peter Gabriel left) and Harry Potter were all over the radio/TV when I was here. Oh, yeah, and Hogan knows best.
8.) I found X-man a t-shirt and a mug at the Insectarium. I can't wait to hug him like crazy when I get home.
9.) I'm bringing back MacTroll memories of his youth in Geneva... like butter tarts remind me of Rondeau and my summers in Canada -- BLANK -- remind MacTroll of Europe.
10.) I have two weeks straight of crazy and then I can calm down and get back to my normal existence. So if you only catch me online -- and not in person. I'm so sorry. I promise I'm not snubbing you. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Heart Montreal

Moms don't get angry.

Today I woke up at 8:15 a.m. I said, "It's Sunday, nothing's open until noon, really." So I rolled over and shut my eyes again.

I had a dream I went home and walked into the bathroom only to find a loaf of Italian bread, a LIVING rainbow trout and some weird plant shit in the toilet of the bathroom. 

When I asked MacTroll if he had been planning on making dinner. He said, "Yup, it's in there in the bucket so it will be fresh." 

Then I asked if he'd kept a close eye on X-man all day long. He answered, "Of course!" And gave me that look that said, "I'm a great dad and stop giving me shit because you're a control freak."

Then he looked into the toilet.


"I'm not touching that fish and the bread is ruined."

I woke up thinking that maybe deep dreamless sleep is the way to go. Then I opened my computer to check the time. 12:02 p.m.

For the first time in 2 years, I slept until noon.

I grabbed a quick shower and got my stuff together. I ran down the stairs and into the tunnels toward the metro. The weather forecast says rain all afternoon. So, I got my ass up to the Botanical Gardens and the Insectarium. I'm not a garden freak. In fact, I was fully expecting the usual crowd at places like this. You know the groups of old ladies in their sixties with funny hats. Or the senior citizen couples where the husbands walk together and the wives walk together. And, of course, the city youth in their 20's that have their parents visiting and need somewhere to take them that's not their tiny cramped city apartments.

I saw all of those people, but there were a lot of young families too. Most of them at the Insect museum watching the kids get grossed out by giant scorpions, beetles and hissing cockroaches. I was rather fond of a couple of the exhibits. I'll post the photos when I get back.

The garden is right next to the 1976 Olympic Stadium. My parents went to those Olympics when I was six months old. What I like best about where the stadium is located is that it's up on a hill, so you can look out and see all the little mountains in the Eastern Townships, which are an awesome place to vacation.

I did the gardens. Took some photos. Had a moment where I felt like I was being followed by this guy in his late 20's. I had my iPod on to drown out the two old New Yorker ladies that were bitching, bitching, bitching in front of me about their daughter in laws. And I wasn't sure what the deal was. I veered off into the deciduous area from the Japanese gardens he followed.

Then I saw a couple of women looking at a rock formation/art/structure. I stopped to read a sign near them. He stopped too. I took out my earbuds and read the sign in English. The last paragraph was ridiculously long with a list of maybe 20 animals that would live in the forest and I wasn't sure what the point was of listing all of them. Anyway, the guy stood six inches to my side reading the French while I read the English translation. 

I waited for him to say something, anything. Instead, he just smiled sheepishly, and I continued on my way, alone. I have no idea what that was about. I sat down on a bench and started journaling. Something I hate to do -- funny for a girl with a blog, right? 

Anyway, the breeze was blowing this awesome cool wind across my face on a perfectly sunny and 80 degree day. All the senior citizens had taken up the benches in the shade. And walking or sitting on the grass was strictly prohibited. So, I sat in the sun smelling the wind like a moron. I could smell it because I was sitting in the middle of the rose garden. 

After a few minutes, I decided it wasn't quite the right place and I was hungry. You see, I couldn't get up enough balls to go out to dinner last night. So I cracked into the $9 Pringles (which really turned out to be $6, if that makes anyone feel better) and some old Ginger Ale I had purchased the night before. I ate that, watched Doctor Who, finished "An Arsonist's Guide to Homes in New England" and started "I Was Told There'd be Cake." Then I passed out around 10 p.m....

So, at 2 p.m., I found the garden restaurant. I successfully ordered my hamburger avec fromage and les tomates, helped myself to some pasta salad, poured my diet pepsi and grabbed a Nestle ice cream cone from the freezer. Then I settled down at a table. And I wrote and wrote and wrote... what has started as a nice intro to a brand new novel. The fact that I haven't written fiction since I was 5 months pregnant is a big thing for me. At 4:30, the breeze shifted and blew a napkin from my tray. I looked up and saw the impending dark gray sky. 

So I packed up and booked down to the metro. Now, back in my hotel room, with my freshly made bed, I'm going to sit here and keep writing. 

And the answer is -- No. I will never publish my stories. They're just for me, a solid place to put my imaginary friends, if you will.

That said, I don't think I'm afraid to eat in the restaurant tonight. Tableclothes be damned. Of course, there's a lot less people eating here on a Sunday. :-)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Here comes the rain

Yeah, so I started to nap, but then the snack dude came in to check and see if I had consumed their canister of $9 Pringles (I hadn't.). And of course, I was half asleep, completely naked when he knocked. Figuring that it was some other room and given the level of deep sleep I'm capable of, I just kept on sleeping. 

I'm not sure if he saw me or not. There's this cut out in the wall in the bathroom, so you can see the area where the closet and the door are. I just kept my eyes shut, let him do what he needed to do, and then when he was gone, I put my "not now -- much later" sign on the door, deadbolted it and did that top lock chain thing and crawled back into bed. 

It's thundering out now, which means if I can get my groove back I can go back to sleep. But first I wanted to comment on a depressing e-mail I received. I was not depressed that the sender sent it, but the content made both the sender and I sad because it sounded like something that would go from fifth grader to fifth grader. Jenny said that John told her that Abby thinks... 

So, excuse me while I get my soap box out and stand on it to deliver a life opinion.

Here's the deal. Everyone has friends and family that they talk to about varying personal things. Disclosure and trust and open communication with no judgment is amazing. You should give yourself a pat on the back if you're strong enough to do it consistently. You have a strong sense of character and I applaud you from my soapbox. 

My rule is that I don't say anything I wouldn't say to a person's face, if given the chance (i.e. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed about how I feel). 

But when you find that you have to talk AROUND a person about something (i.e. husband, friend, brother, sister, mailman, bookseller) -- that's just annoying.  Because the reason you're talking around the actual person who may or may not have a problem with you is because you think the more people that are on your "side" will make you feel better about that one person feeling a certain way. 

The truth is that a posse will not make you feel better at your core. The truth is you should just talk about it openly, and if that person subscribes to the Dana rule mentioned above, you'll get it out and over with. It's impossible to have a relationship with someone and not have times when you disagree or have issues. Every marriage, family, friend-based relationship is going to have friction. 

If you only hang with people who are just like you and agree with everything you say... how in the hell are you going to grow as a person and experience new things.

Okay, I'm off my soap box. 

"Everything will always be alright when we go shopping!"--Barenaked Ladies

So, I went out today and hit all of my stores and found nothing I liked except for two books. Both, if they go well, would be really awesome additions to the book club for CARE. But I'll read them first and see if they fit the bill. 

I'm sweaty and hot after walking for 2 and a half hours. I stopped for breakfast. At home, if you don't get to Le Peep by 9 a.m., you have to wait. Apparently, Montrealers (maybe since most of them at the restaurant were in their 20's and the one I ended up at is right next to the McGill campus) don't care as long as they're there by 11 a.m. So at 10:30 there was no line. At 11:01, there were 40 people standing outside the door and another 10 in the door. 

I noticed this about the W too. I guess since the Wunderbar (I always want to type Wunderbra) closes at 3 a.m., they figure no one in their right minds is going to check out at noon. So they offer late check outs. I have one on Monday at 4 p.m. 

So, the plan is to take a nice cool shower and put my feet up while reading, "An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England" by Brock Clarke. We're expecting rain this evening.

If it's raining heavy, I may have to eat at the hotel restaurant, which I don't want to do, because I feel funny eating at a table with a tablecloth by myself. And I can take my laptop to a café... not so much downstairs (at least without getting crazed looks).

Oh, and MacTroll, I got a photo of the Apple Store for you. I stumbled on it when I noticed FIFTEEN other people taking photos of a building. I looked up to see what the deal was and saw the logo, smiled sheepishly and took out my camera too.

It's a store people.

Mmmm, what time is it? Wait -- What do I care?

Last night I ended up falling asleep by 10:30 p.m. ET. I shut my vibrant funky blue curtains after spending some time checking out the numerous "beautiful, youthful people" making out on benches in the city park at the metro stop across the street. The Wunderbar at the W doesn't open until 10 p.m., and all the size 2 women in very short skirts and high shoes line up outside to get in with their way too pretty boyfriends. I'm guessing they're the reason that there's a key card required to get up into the hotel rooms from the lobby.

The large picture window has a bit of a ledge that I like to climb up into and watch the city. In the distance toward the St. Lawrence River the neon sign for Farine's Five Roses blinked away. It had been rumored that when the flour company was purchased a couple years ago that they'd shut down the sign. It's been on the city skyline for decades. I guess good signs die hard

I crawled into my king-sized bed with crazy expensive Egyption cotton sheets, put my head down on the pillow and got lost in 10 hours of dreamless, deep sleep. 

When I woke up this morning at 8 a.m., I couldn't decide if I was hungry or not. I think I've decided I am. In which case, I'm going to wander down to Eggspectations. I know they have them in the states, but it's close to my hotel (so I'm being lazy). 

Then I'm planning on doing some shopping at Addition Elle, Reitman's, Roots and Souris Mini. I also forgot to pack a second book, so I'll swing by Chapters (Canadian version of a Border's). MacTroll also requested a photo of the new Apple Store in Montreal that opened YESTERDAY.

I'm disappointed that I'm missing my friend André while I'm in town. Visiting Montreal is like a tortoise sundae at Jarling's (my favorite), it hits the spot and tastes all yummy. But my favorite part about the tortoise sundae is when I add whipped cream and bananas to my order. It goes from yummy to euphoric. 

Long story short -- André is definitely the whipped cream and bananas. A description, I'm pretty sure, he'd be pleased with. But alas, he's gone camping to -- wait for it -- Atlantic City.

Yeah, I said the same thing. 

That thing you're thinking. 

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bonjour, Madam!

I'm here. I'm safe. I'm hungry, tired and checking out the bathtub and I can't decide what to do first. But I think food will win. 

The cool kids bar here opens at 10 p.m. I'm guessing I'll be asleep by then. 

I forgot the camera cord, so no photo updates until I return.

The weather is beautiful. It smells great like freedom. The most awesome part was my cab driver so far. He didn't make me sit in rush hour traffic. Instead, he took the back roads through the city. I passed through every ethnic neighborhood (the smells of dinner cooking are probably what makes me want to chew on my arm). 

And I really have to find me one of these freaking chaise deux chairs. I'd live in it. 

Yeah, so hungry. 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

God, my ass feels good

So I woke up at 5:45 a.m. and said it was 57 degrees. The air got turned off. The windows were opened. It's too nice not to be outside. At 6:45 a.m. X-man came running into my room. He had gotten up during the night around 4 a.m., but we'd gone back to his room and I laid with him until he fell back to sleep in his own bed. (I really think I'm a genius when it comes to the whole full bed, big boy bed thing and his 2-year-old neediness issues. I guess it balances out how I feel about my parenting when it comes to the other B-issues.)

Anyway, he was smiley and happy. We went downstairs and he ate an entire L'Eggo cinnamon toast and 3 pieces of veggie sausage but didn't touch his grapes. Then he played Matchbox cars for a bit while I let the dog out, fed the cats, gave Mini-Me her IV fluids, fed the dog, ran the laundry and took care of the dish situation.

Curious George came on long enough to watch an episode so we could change into a fresh diaper and get dressed and then I announced we were going to the bike.

I handed X-man his snack cup of grapes that he didn't eat earlier  and a full sippy cup of watered-down AJ and out we went. (Riley is still pissed at me. My dog loves the car ride to school each day.)

So what does any of this have to do with my ass, you ask?

I just biked 5 miles. On the way there I pulled an extra 35.4 lbs (X-man wanted to use the scale this morning). On the way back I put it in high gear and peddled like a maniac. I also got passed by some serious wheelchair bikers. They were cruisin'. 

So now, as I type (before I head off to WW for my weekly weigh in with 32 oz of water in my belly) my butt is all tingly and happy. And my calves look like calves. Seriously, there's actual definition. They're not just doughy lumps. Sure, in five minutes they won't look that way to me any more, but right now, they're perfect. MacTroll would gasp that I might even look like I have ankles (instead of my dreaded cankles -- cankle body types unite!).

Mostly, I'm happy to report that X-man was happy the entire time this morning. Happy about everything. Nice to me. Sweet to me. 

Okay, now I have a whirlwind of crap to get done before i leave for Montreal tomorrow.

If you're good, I'll post something from there with photos. :-P


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Signs it's time to quit painting

1. You're done! (I wish.)
2. You've run out of paint. (1.5 gallons left before I'll need a new bucket).
3. You're dehydrated. (Despite the heat now, it was a beautiful day to paint.)
4. The coarse wood has torn apart your last cheap paintbrush. (Um, I have another one to go through.)
5. Your fingers are cramping so badly that your right hand has a tremble to it and you find it difficult to type or operate a trackball. (BINGO!)

I'm still working on the outside of the fence. But the east side is done. The west needs 1 more hour of work . The north is done on the east end of the house (good shade in the a.m. to the north), so I'll be working on the northwest side tomorrow. Then the neighborhood will see pretty. Cause we have neighbors closing on the house across the street next week!

I'm going to ask MacTroll to use his masterful trimming skills (he HATES painting) to work around the south end of the fence and then the inside of the fence, so I can be back out there after my mom's heart procedure. 

P.S. I have no flipping idea why I'm only writing in lists this week. Sorry!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Signs that MacTroll isn't home

1. All of the drink glasses are washed and in the cupboard rather than spread throughout the house. 
2. He washed just enough clothes to take on his trip, left any leftovers stuffed in the laundry hamper to go back upstairs in the laundry room. The rest of his wardrobe that didn't make the "Crap, I really need underwear," wash is piled up in his area of the bedroom I like to call, "MacTroll's laundry corner." I wonder if Superman had this much of a problem.

3. The basement is a complete and total mess from  his afternoon watching X-man while I ran errands on Sunday. Even though BOTH of the people making the mess know  how to clean up after themselves.

4. There's enough milk in a 1/2 gallon for the whole week since no one is having 1/3 of a box of cereal each morning for breakfast.

5. I'm sick. Sore throat seems to have gone away, but I've still got the low grade fever and the body aches that make sleeping difficult.

That said...

He got another $200 hotel room where water was coming through the ceiling. This is a repetitive issue with him. He thinks he's cursed. Except when they move him to another room -- he gets corner suites with two showers... so, um, why do I feel bad for him again?

Oh, and as promised... the BIG BOY BED.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things I know

1. It took until 11:00 p.m. tonight for X-man to fall asleep thanks to Mother Nature's noise and light show. So it was 2 hours and 15 minutes of me lying around kissing 2-month-old boo boos that aren't there any more and having a 2 year old roll on top of me saying, "Hug, Hug, Hug." 

2. Thanks to a certain sonic screwdriver I now know that my son only has 1/2 of his upper 2nd year molars through. It's like the sharper, deeper edge on both sides of his mouth have poked through the gums, but the "lesser" edge on both teeth haven't. 

3. I told X-man's teachers that he's been putting everything in his mouth. They watched him today and he continued the behavior there. Going so far as to put his shoe in his mouth while they were getting undressed to go swimming today. Then when Ms. Holly told him that shoes aren't for chewing and had him put them away, X-man returned to the rug and started chewing on his toes, instead.

4. I was finishing up some scrapbooking pages tonight while X-man watched Elmo's World (a recent find for me at the Champaign Public Library since we don't have TV). This particular one had an episode about teeth. X-man went into the bathroom and got his toothbrush wet, brought me the Thomas the Tank Engine tooth paste and brushed his teeth and chewed on his toothbrush for the entire segment. Then he wanted to watch it again.

5. X-man came over to look at my scrapbooking photos. He pointed out Dada and Papa and Lightning McColin and Bubba. Then he picked up my sharp scissors. I quickly said, "No." and asked for them back. His grip tightened. I asked more firmly. He said, "No. Mine." I told him they were dangerous and that I was taking them back. After I got them away from him, X-man LUNGED at my legs with his mouth open as if to bite me as I stood up to take them to my desk area to put them away. I got the scissors to a safe place, picked him up and put him in his red chair and told him the whole teeth are not for biting routine. That it was unacceptable, mean and dangerous. He avoided making eye contact. I asked him if he was angry. He stayed quiet. I asked him if he knew what angry was. And he furrowed his brow and said, "Angry!" and growled (remind me to send a thank you to Cuba Gooding Jr. for his performance on Angry on the Sesame Street Podcast). 

"X-man are you angry with Mama?"



"You took them there. Mine. You took. Mine."

We talked about using our words. We talked about danger. We talked about Mommy's stuff versus Xander's stuff. We talked about feeling safe. We hugged a lot. We kissed a lot. 

All the literature I read gives "biter" identities. The exploratory biter that's learning through his senses. The power biter that feels like he doesn't have any control to make choices. The frustrated biter that doesn't know how to deal with emotionally charged situations, etc.

What if my kid happens to have behavioral characteristics that fall into all areas of the biter identities? I hate puzzles that I can't solve. And getting into the mind and thoughts of a 2 year old isn't easy. I just keep hoping that consistent messages from me, open communication and time will win out. 

Sighs and oral fixations

Another day I had completely open to paint my fence... ruined by more rain.

I guess it's okay, cause I don't quite feel up to par again today. Xander's not even up yet, and usually I wake him if he's not up by 7:15 a.m. But this morning, I think I'll let him sleep until he wakes up on his own. He's had a long weekend. 

He ended up spending all of yesterday in some state of pajamas and diaper or just diaper. I don't think he minded. But I did notice that he was putting everything in his mouth. He has all of his teeth, so I'm not quite sure what the oral fixation is about.

But he was chewing on a pencil and on CD cases at one point. So I took them away and gave him a cold wet towel. He shoved it in his mouth. When it got luke warm he moved on to his blanket. Then the back of one of the kitchen chairs. In between he'd chomp on some grapes or bread with butter or raisins. He didn't want a full meal, but his "big meal" was at breakfast when he ate a whole 8" Belgian waffle by himself. 

I think I'll spend some time vacuuming and picking up today. It also looks like the replacement rail for X's new bed will arrive from Fed Ex today. So hopefully, I can get the bed together myself, and not have big pieces of metal wrapped in plastic and cardboard leaning against the walls in X-man's room.

Update: Feelings of exhaustion are apparently accompanied by a low grade fever and some body aches today. I think I'll be taking a nap shortly.

Update on the update: I couldn't nap. Right after I posted the Fed Ex person came. So I heaved my extra parts upstairs and put X-man's bed together. It looks very comfy (I'll post photos later). When I was done, my throat hurt. So now I'm eating watermelon (cause it's all that looks good) and then I'm going to nap and pick up the kiddo around 4:30 p.m. Cause I think I'll need the sleep.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

And a completely different blog entry...

I love Joss Whedon. I really do.

I love Buffy.

I love Angel.

I love Firefly.

And I'm more than willing to give Dollhouse a try. 

But I don't get the attraction of Dr. Horrible. Am I alone?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fear in the 21st Century

MacTroll and I lived in Northern Virginia on September 11, 2001. The plane that hit the Pentagon was less than a mile from my office. I saw the smoke from the impact when it happened. 

I drove by the hole in the building for months afterwards with large guns pointed at the commuters (like me) passing by as the military worried about terrorists driving trucks with bombs up to the Pentagon.

I watched 3,000 people burst into tears on 9/11/02, when the unexpected military flyby made everyone panic that something was happening again. 

The Washington Post is always full of stories and scary graphics of what would happen to the city if a terrorist released a dirty bomb on the city.

There were Anthrax scares, unfounded bomb threats called into office buildings and that poor farmer on his tractor in the middle of the National Mall making his protest. 

A year after 9/11, I worked with the firefighters who ran the first 10 days of the rescue and recovery efforts on the ground at the Pentagon. These are the people who had to pull out and tag the dead bodies. These are the men and women who had to evacuate the building while trying to put out the Pentagon fire -- TWICE, because folks like John Ashcroft wouldn't identify their planes and the fire fighters had way of knowing if it was a friendly plane or another one sent to crash into the building.

Huge military officers stood at the security checkpoint lines at Washington National Airport with giant guns to, I guess, instill a security "presence."

No one was allowed to stand up or go pee in the first 30 minutes of any flight from Washington National or the last 30 minutes of any flight going into Washington National.

On my first flight post 9-11, MacTroll and I went to Sanibel Island. They were still doing "random spot checks" at the gate. MacTroll and I both got pulled aside. The crack security team at the Fort Meyers, Florida, airport were made up of two senior citizens. And when I say senior I mean ages 70-plus. The gentleman who scanned MacTroll kept having his wand go off at MacTroll's hip, he had MacTroll's lift his shorts, but all that was there was skin. What a nice day to go commando, MacTroll! 

The woman who wanded me, kept having her tool beep at the center of my back. 

"What is this hard piece, dear?" 

"Um, that would be the three latches on my bra."

"Oooooh, of course!"

And every local and national news report about potential terrorist activity in D.C. had everyone living in the beltway cleaning Home Depot out of plastic wrap, duct tape and bottled water. The media also had you believe we were grabbing up gas masks for family, neighbors and pets. 

The whole place was riddled in fear... And 7 years later, I still sense that fear is spreading across the country like a wildfire consuming dry prairie. 

Do I find terrorism entertaining? Hell, no. Do I believe that we're safer now than we were 7 years ago from "imminent attacks" because we went to war, started a Homeland Security department and created a bunch of color-coated safety protocols. No. 

Do I want the world to be safe and at peace? Yes. Do I think that's possible? Not really. But I also think I'm much more likely to get robbed or shot at by "normal" people than I am to be a victim of global terrorism.

So, when I read that the Chicago Tribune released a story today that O'Hare is going to start using virtual strip search cameras as a security measure to prevent terrorism -- my blood pressure shot through the fucking roof.

The cameras can see everything, every flap of fat, breast tissue, where you've had surgeries, muscle definition... Here's the example photo they give at the Chicago Tribune. (I like that they picked someone with stomach muscle definition AND perky breasts.)

Now imagine your mother's body, your children's bodies, your body... 

Do I want the world to be a safe place to live. Yes. Do I think security measures like this are the way to go. No. 

I want to live in a free society. And part of that means, I'm willing to take some risks that there will always be cruel humans that insert pain and agony and terror into others. I think, however, that there really are more humans that are full of brilliant hope and thoughtfulness. 

But I really wonder sometimes that if we had kept living the way we were living before 9/11 without all the fear-induced reaction, if we wouldn't have ended up doing more to fight the idea of terrorism by refusing to change how we live out of fear of people who disagree with our free and democratic society. 

I guess the way I see it today is that the more we let the fear eat away at us, the more impact those that hate us will make on our country, on our way of life and on our children's lives. 

Can't there be more of a balance between learning how to be cautious and look out for one another during emergencies rather than just signing over our freedoms in fear that we'll lose our lives?

I mean, isn't that what all the military folks now and throughout history have put their lives on the line for? For us to have the freedoms guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution? And wouldn't they be horrified to know we just handed them back to our government blindly hoping that President Bush and Congress will save our skins?

I'm usually not very political on my blog. So, I apologize. And everyone with different views will have their comments, I know. But really, between this and the current state of affairs concerning air travel, why would anyone fly unless they had to?

I guess, I'm relieved that I only leave out of Willard or Bloomington these days. And it'll probably be a while before I have to go through major airport security that might have security precautions like O'hare. But we'll see... if Canadian airports start doing the same thing -- someone's gonna have to grit their teeth and get through seeing my naked body on the scanner. Cause trust me, after going through my pregnancy, my body looks and feels like it was a war zone.

Just Plain Tired

I'm not feeling well today at all. I'm supposed to go to my friend Julie's wedding in Decatur at 2 p.m., but everything aches and I can hardly keep my eyes open. 

I think I may run to the library (it's the last day of the reading program at Tolono Library), so I can turn in Xander's card and get his two free ice cream cone coupons. 

They really need to give away something more tangible to the younger kids. 2 year olds don't understand the power of a coupon. They just stand there bewildered thinking, "What's this purple piece of paper for? And why are they acting excited about it?"

He'd probably be more excited over a pencil or a sticker. 

But later on, we have a CARE meet up at the DQ in Savoy so we can use the coupons. There is a method to my madness.

Either way, it requires me to get dressed, which at this point is a huge undertaking.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Big Loser: Week 7

I just weighed in at Weight Watchers. I am at -11.4 lbs in 7 weeks. 

And I think my butt is looking nicer. So, a big hooray for Looseyfur there. I biked X-man to school for the first time this morning. We both enjoyed it. However, I'm an amateur biker and physics kicked my ass on the hill on Church Street at the tracks. Quite simply, with the trailer on the back and my sweet kid in it... I didn't have enough speed and felt like I was going to start rolling down the hill. 

Lessons learned and all that good stuff. 

Heart stoppage

Yeah so remember a few days ago when I blogged about the difficulties of going to the store with children.

It happened again today, and right now I want to shout out to the Seasoned and Should be Decorated Mom with the two boys in the luggage/backpack area of the ChampaignTarget around 10 a.m. today -- you are an awesome Mom. You are hardcore rockin' and I am going to remember you and your boys today for the next 50 years of X-man's life.

I was checking out the bikes in Target because it turns out that the difference between Quigs and me is about 3-4 inches of my long ass legs, so her free bike was a bit hard for me to pedal and I had to return it to the Quig family garage. Anyway, I was testing out the 26" hybrid frames when I looked across the store and saw a mom and her two boys picking out bags that roll either for a trip or for school.

The boys were ages 5 and 7 (roughly going into kindergarten and 2nd grade). The older boy picked out a blue wheelie one, instantly. The little brother picked out a pink one. His mother told him to put it back. He threw a fit because pink was, apparently, his favorite color.

The older brother tried to argue in favor of his brother (definite 2 kids against parent moment). Seasoned Mom calmly said, "He can't have that bag for two reasons. 1) It's too expensive, and 2) He changes his favorite color every day--and I want these bags to last-- and next year he's not going to want it. 

I read into this because she knows what I know, and I'm pretty sure we both think it sucks -- that some pissy little cretan is gonna make fun of her son for having a pink bag at school and he's going to come home in tears and want a new one, so she's heading it off at the pass. Even though, I'm pretty sure she was fine with a boy having a pink bag cause she didn't make a fuss about it NOR did she do what I've heard other parents do, "Only girls can wear pink."

The response was the younger child screaming, "I HATE YOU."

That got my full attention. And it sent a shiver down my spine. I have always known that at some point my kid is going to say that to me. This kid said it with such anger and vengeance that it made my blood run cold.

Was she gonna snap? Was she going to cry? Would she spank him? Grab the fatty part of his arm and drag him from the store? Was she going to try to "reason" with him? Me, myself and I, the inquiring junior mom from Savoy wanted to know. How does one respond to this kind of denial, betrayal and disrespect -- in public with an audience, no less.

Seasoned Mom calmly put the bag back and told him to choose another one, so they could get moving. She didn't miss a beat. It was like it hadn't happened. She didn't flip out. Her lip didn't quiver. She didn't freak out that I was staring from across the aisle like a moron. Clearly, she had gone through such an act before (probably with kid number 1). It was like the kid hadn't taken a baseball bat to her heart. 

Son number 2 stood for a while staring at the bags. Then he picked a bag like his brothers, and they carried them away.

In the parking lot, I wanted to run over and say, "Hey Seasoned Mom, You're awesome. Don't let the little ones grind you down. You taught me that I too can have patience and can mother through the worst of the words that are to come."

But instead, I just went to my car and put the seat down so I could take my new Schwinn road bike home (a couple of models are on sale).

Parenting is hard work. You have to have a schedule. You have to have no fear. And you have to be able to adapt to everything, because your kids don't give a shit about the schedule. You're the chef. The drill instructor. The savior. The teacher. The nurse. The therapist. The teacher. You're so much to your child that it's impossible to get it all right. -- Unless you don't even bother to show up (literally or figuratively) in the first place. But that's a different blog, altogether.

There are times when X-man is going to hate me. Sometimes I think he already does when he throws tantrums about going inside at night or having to wear a bike helmet or take a bath. He could so easily say those words. 

But he doesn't. It's probably because he doesn't know them yet. 

But pretty soon, I'll be that lady in Target. 

Mark my words.

I just hope I have her poise and patience then, because I definitely don't have it now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Photo Booth Addiction

What to do when you have insomnia at night... stalk people on google, read a book... or play on Photo Booth. Mmm, Photo Booth won.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The dreaded reality

I am the mother of a biter

It doesn't happen at school. It only happens when he spends time with me and his playgroup. 

I know biters aren't "bad kids." They just can't communicate their emotions well enough to negotiate on a playground, which is normal during the toddler years, blah, blah, blah.

But what I'm internalizing this as is a big part of my own personal failure as a parent. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ssssshhhh, the Baby's Sleeping

X-man helped me put together parts of his new bed tonight (remind me to budget a workshop for the kid -- maybe for Christmas). We're still waiting on a replacement railing for the bed frame, but I had three under-the-bed drawers to do, and X-man helped put together one. As soon as I unwrapped his mattress from the plastic and he saw the stars on the mattress, he got really excited. 

I announced it was time to go to bed, and he jumped on the mattress on the floor and said, "Sleep here, Mama, sleep here!" 

I ran downstairs and got his new sheets straight out of the box (I'll wash them tomorrow). As soon as he saw the blue and red trains he shouted, "Woo woo!" I put the fitted sheet on and he laid down in the middle of the full-sized bed. Then I took out the flat sheet and he looked curious. He HATED the sheet on his toddler bed and on our bed. But I guess because this one had trains, it passed muster. Then I introduced him to pillows and pillowcases.

And tonight, instead of watching Doctor Who, we read a Charlie and Lola book and a Thomas book, turned off the globe night light (too bright, apparently) and curled up in his bed. It was like old times. :-)

I tried to put him to bed like I used to by just kissing him and saying night night and leaving he room. But he's been kind of needy for the last six weeks (two steps toward big boydom, one step back), and he wanted company.

He thrashed around for a good hour, and finally at 10:30 p.m., he pulled the train sheet up to his chin and fell asleep. I gave him five minutes and slipped out of the room.

We'll see if he stays there or comes in here, if he wakes in the middle of the night. Ideally, I'll be awake enough to take him back to his bed if he does wake up. But the last few days whenever I've been sleeping it's been like pulling me out of death to get up. In fact, his mattress is pretty nice (it was above average out of all the ones Slumberland had, in my opinion), so a couple times tonight I was afraid, I'd fall asleep in his bed.

So tonight, I have a Nyssa cat and a Riley dog, and just me in my bed. 

I've missed not being rolled on while I sleep over the last six weeks. And I don't expect instant success, but right now, at this moment. It's pretty nice. 

Update: It's 7:11 a.m. and X-man is still sleeping in his own bed. 

Let the Countdown begin

Most weeks out of the year, MacTroll packs up a suitcase and tells X-man and I goodbye. He drives down to Willard, checks his bag for free, strolls through security and onto the little American jet planes. He arrives in the G gate area of O'Hare, wanders down to American Airlines' Admiral Club (sometimes when he's going on LONG trips, like to Tokyo, the airline actually sends a little golf cart to pick my non-injured, non-handicapped, non-senior citizen husband up and drive his butt to the fancy club) gets himself a cup of free snacks and a free soft drink and plays games on his iPhone or iChats with his buddies until it's time to jump on his connecting flight -- in business class, with free drinks and free movies. That's what life is like when  you have flown over a million miles with an airline since 2004.

On vacation once, our flight from O'Hare to Miami was late coming in. So we missed our plane from Miami to St. Thomas. It was the last one out for the night. Everyone ran to a customer service desk to try and scramble onto a plane the next day (as not to miss out on vacation time) and to get a room for the night. The line was long... really long. MacTroll whips out his phone and calls the "Executive Platinum Help Desk" and talks to some extremely gracious person who has us booked on a 6 a.m. flight out of Miami and hooks us up with hotel accommodations at a Holiday Inn in less than 10 minutes on the phone. 

I walk away watching the group of angry people mystified by the power of my spouse's 1-800 number.

MacTroll leaves so often, it's no longer a big deal. This morning on his way out to Boston, he didn't even come up for a hug or a kiss. He just shouted, "I'm going now." So I told him to have a good time and that I'd hug the X-man for him -- lots.

Next Friday, in 10 days, I'll be getting on a plane by myself. MacTroll will have 4 days of uninterrupted single parenthood. He'll get to push X-man in a grocery cart and sing the Bob the Builder song and give the hugs and kiss the boo boos and do all the stuff that X-man won't let MacTroll do when I'm around.

Where am I going, do you ask? I'm going where I always go. I'm going to Canada. I'm going to Montreal. I'm going to the W Hotel. I'm checking in by myself. I'm sleeping in every morning. I'm eating whatever I want. And I'm spending 4 days NOT being covered in ketchup finger prints or watermelon juice. I'm going to wear my contacts and blow dry my hair. I'm going to walk everywhere and not have any one grabbing me or touching me or pinching me. I'm not going to change a single diaper, cut anyone's food but my own or watch children's television. 

I'm going to sit in a bookstore with my iced coffee and watch the people on the street below. I'm going to visit the Insectarium and look for a cool gift for X-man. I'm going to look into buying him some back to school clothes at Souris Mini and Roots. I might even take in a movie in French with NO English subtitles. 

I'm going to read a book. I might even go to the International Fireworks Competition.

And after 48 hours, I'm going to get completely homesick. I'm going to get excited to take the cab back to the airport, get on the plane in the cattle car, not have any free drinks or watch any movies. I'm going to avoid extra checked bag fees, if possible, by taking few liquid products. I'll end up sitting on the floor waiting for my plane to Champaign in the G gates, because there are always never enough chairs and it's always running late. I won't have an iPhone for my constant enjoyment. 

When I get home, it'll be just before X-man's bedtime, that is, if the plane is on time. I'm going to hug MacTroll and cover X-man in kisses and get ready for another several months of being a marathon mom. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weeeeee on the Wii

Tonight I Wiied for the first time at Rogers' house. I haven't played video games in a long, long time. And, of course, with the live action no sitting down rules... this was a whole new ballgame. 

I beat Rogers at tennis.
She beat me at golf. 
Then she trampled me at bowling.
Then she killed me at baseball.

Then we found the Wii fit option. I managed a 39 (which is only 7 years more than my real age -- which for a first time-ever player, I'm pretty proud of). Rogers (being a highly competitive, serious player of all games and just coming off three huge wins) was dismayed by her 62. 

So I'm pretty sure if we play again in a couple of weeks, she'll be like a 20 year old and kicking my ass in every game.

On a note, if you haven't Wiied before. I recommend not doing it around the toddlers. Perfectly appropriate and correctly used four-letter words just start flying out of your mouth, as a side effect of playing. Plus, when you're punching the daylights out of someone in the middle of a boxing tournament, you're not really watching your child. 

Curious J had been in bed a while, but I realized that I completely lost my "mommy eye" in the back of my head while I was playing. 

Either way, we played for like an hour and 30 minutes. I sweated a bit and left pretty happy to to go back and give it another go.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Is there a rule that as soon as I clean a room a cat must throw up a hairball on it?

(You don't really have to answer that question. After 10 years of cat ownership, I know the answer. I just wanted to see if it was just me with this curse or if other pet owners had it, too.)

Riley is not exempt... he's a counter surfer, i.e. he gets up on his hind legs and pulls food off plates from the counter when we're not looking and eats them on the family room carpet. 

The Usual Suspects (They look like trouble, don't they?):

A Warm Breakfast

X-man loves breakfast. He has always loved pancakes and Morning Star veggie sausage. He loves yogurt with granola (or without), Cheerios with bananas or berries, fruit salad, mini omelettes, waffles, bacon and all the other good stuff.

We also used to take him to Le Peep a lot. The wait staff has watched him grow up from a tiny infant into a strapping toddler. We have a rule that on Saturdays and Sundays we have to be at Le Peep by 8:30 or there's no point in going. If you get there by 8:30 a.m., you have little to no wait time. It's before the 9 a.m. rush starts. And X-man can't and won't wait for a table for breakfast. Lunch, not a problem, he's good for 10-15 minutes. At dinner, you can even stretch it to 20-25 minutes... but at breakfast he wants his food and he wants it now. 

Since we're on our weekly budget, we have been eating out less (hooray). But last weekend I used up the last 1 person serving of whole wheat pancake mix and Belgian waffle mix (Mactroll prefers these to the pancakes). And I didn't replace them in this week's grocery trip, so I'll have to put them on the list for next week (with Newman's Light Balsamic Vinegar Dressing MacTroll reminds me). It also takes forever for X-man to eat sometimes. I once watched him take an hour to eat a grilled cheese sandwich in a restaurant. 

Back in January, X-man spent five days with his Aunt Karen and Uncle Mike and their three kids and three cats. Aunt Karen is an awesome cook and an incredible baker. She enjoys cooking and food. She is also a great mom role model. 

She started making something called "egg in a hole" for X-man. And he loves it. You butter a piece of bread, cut a hole in the middle of it with a cookie cutter and then put the bread and the leftover bread shape from the cookie cutter in a pan hot enough to fry an egg. Then you crack the egg in the hole and let it cook. Really easy. When we started making it for X-man, we gave him a hard yolk. Now he prefers over easy, so he can dip his little bread shape into it... and then dip his veggie sausage.

So, here's what I served X-man for breakfast this a.m. It made me feel a bit better about getting him excited to pick blueberries at Pontious Farm today, only to have to cancel due to the ugly weather in the forecast. Ahh, well. The library and his aunt Terry are awesome back-up plans. It also means I get $10 back into my weekly budget. Mmmm.... 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Out of reach

This afternoon MacTroll and I went to Target on a battery run. Well, that and he wanted to use part of his weekly budget money to buy me lunch. :-) It was very nice of him. We went with Mr. Rogers' approach and got me a relatively healthy sandwich followed by something with ice cream. So far it's worked. I've stopped being so snarky.

Anyway, we were shopping for the battery for business, but of course we swung into the Cars aisle just because I wanted to see what they have.

If you're looking for a Red with Stanley, a Guido/Luigi/Tractor set or the new set of Guido and Luigi dressed up in the funny italian race wigs for Doc and Lightning's showdown... you might want to get your butt up to Target. Because due to my budget for the week being planned out through Sunday with $1.75 left to spare. I did not have $9 to buy X-man one of these sets. 

But I figured other people should know (particularly since Red is sooo freaking hard to find) that they're there. There is, however, only ONE of each.

They were on the bottom righthand wrung. 

Hormonal meltdown

I am in a terrible mood. I don't want to do anything. But I have lots to do.

MacTroll waved his hands at me and ran up the stairs to escape. Rogers is bringing Curious J over so we can hang out. Apparently, she's in a mood too. So much so that Mr. Rogers had to run out and get her some ice cream last night so she'd be in a better mood. 

Maybe it's the heat? 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Summer lovin' had me a blast"

Summers are always so busy and full. The great part is that they're full of fun stuff. This week already we've played at Eisner, Victory and Prairie Fields Parks. We went to see Zydeco music. We went to a birthday party. We went for a walk in Busey Woods and played at the Nature Center. We swam in the pool in the backyard and put X-man in the hot tub for the first time (while running down the rules with him and having him repeat them back to us, which we'll be doing from now until he's 18, I'm sure.). 

Tomorrow is our first day all week we won't be meeting up with friends after pre-school. Instead, I think we're going to head down to the Tolono Library to finally turn in our summer reading card. We started on day one, but due to our busy social schedule haven't had time to run down and check out books to add to our list (the requirement for the TL is that the books he gets credit for have to be checked out from TL -- not any library -- just TL). 

X-man has also become a shrewd negotiator at bedtime. :-) The rule is that after we take a bath and brush our teeth we can watch a show in Mama and Dada's room. But the show has to be one that Mama and Dada want to watch (i.e. no Bob the Builder). 

On Tuesday, X-man pointed to my laptop and said, "Bob!" 

I said I didn't want to watch Bob. He quietly thought about his options for a few minutes and then said, "Doctor! Doctor Who!"

And, I lit up like a Christmas Tree. 

X-man, like his parents, seems to already share an interest in science fiction and fantasy. He loves Doctor Who, Harold and the Purple Crayon (the books and the TV series) and the book Mars Needs Moms. He was a fan of Wall-E instantly too. He thinks rockets are cool. I'm wondering if I started him on the early years of Star Trek: Next Generation if he'd turn instant Trekkie or hold out until the big exposure to Star Wars (or eeghads Buffy!).

Either way, that stuff will have to wait until the winter. As it is, we don't really have time for too much TV. We're too busy running around outside. 

It's supposed to be 91 degrees tomorrow. So after the couple of appointments I have, I'll be out with my paint can trying to finish the east side of the fence. Then I plan on mowing the weeds in the empty lot behind us and then trimming along the south side of the fence... just in time for scattered storms on Saturday. 

I should, however, have a killer tan (i.e. sunburn) if we reach 91 degrees and sunny tomorrow.

Tonight, I got to watch my son fall asleep in my arms. He likes to look out the window as he drifts off (another something special he shares with his Mom and with Harold). He sniffs his blanket and once or twice throws his arms out like he's doing the infant falling instinct. 

Today we visited Slumberland and purchased his mattress. We're waiting for one more piece to his full bed, and then he'll be in big boy land -- except for the potty training. That's a whole challenge for 2009. :-P 

Until then, we're going to keep having fun. 

Update: 11:15 p.m. Um, WTF, there's this HUGE wind at my house right now. Like storm wind, but there's nothing on the forecast -- but it is on the radar. But here comes the rain and what sounds like tiny pieces of hail. Maybe no painting tomorrow afterall!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shopping Shenanigans

I didn't enter this motherhood thing lightly. It took a long, long time for MacTroll and I to decide we wanted to have a baby. The 13 years prior to the X-era was spent watching people and their children.

I'd stand in line at the Target as some everyday mother tried to negotiate her way through the checkout line with a baby in the cart, a toddler running in circles, an older kid crying for a candy bar and a pre-teen pretending not to know who these people were. My heart felt bad for her. She had a tough job doing an every day thing. And when she raised her voice or grabbed ahold of her toddler's hand and kneeled down and told the kid how it was gonna be -- which lead to the time bomb going off and the kid falling apart, I looked away like I had completely invaded something intimate and personal. 

KTDID and I bit the bullet when I first moved to C-U and drove up to Schaumburg to Ikea. Before we went, we decided what we wanted. We took the box measurements from the web site and decided which car would work better. Ultimately, we decided on her Honda Civic (the choice was between the Honda or my VW Golf). We successfully navigated Ikea on a Saturday without 1) murdering each other, 2) screaming at each other or 3) watching someone's marriage fail in the checkout line. 

We successfully packed up her car with our items, but while we were doing so, we were parked next to a family driving a Suburu Outback. They had two boys around 6-8 years of age and the parents were so livid with each other they were barely talking. The car just kept filling up with bags and boxes of crap. The backseat went down and still the crap piled up against the windows. When the car was full the mother said, "You take this home and unload, the boys and I will go get lunch and wait for you to come back.

The father replied, "If I leave here, I'm NEVER coming back. Get in the car."

So the family drove away with one child sitting on the arm rest area between the two front seats and the smaller child on Mom's lap, with her seat pushed so far forward, her legs were slammed against the dashboard. 

A family member once told me a story about how if her kids threw a tantrum in a store, her husband would just walk away. He was so embarrassed by the people staring at his kid, he would just abandon his wife and leave her to take care of it. 

It feels like eavesdropping, watching these families and hearing their stories. But now that I'm a parent, I realize that when you're in the moment, you do what needs to be done -- whatever the hell that might be. And sometimes when you're pushing your shopping cart out to your car, you're smacking yourself in the forehead for not having more patience or for having manhandled your kid into the cart to get him from tearing apart a display. Most of the time, if you are the primary parent to your kids you know that 10 percent of the time your kid acts crabby, because he's a kid. He gets tired and hungry and irritable. He doesn't talk or deal with logic. He just feels and reacts. 

For example, I used to take X-man grocery shopping with me all the time. He loved it, particularly if we were at Meijer (the deli ladies there give out free cheese to the kids). Now we mostly shop at the Schnuck's because it's 6 miles closer to our house and has better produce.

But the moment we walk in, it's like running through a maze. 

Will he flip out if one of the two carts with little cars at the front aren't available for us? Will he stay in the little car, if we do get a cart? Will he be angry when we stop at the deli counter and the employees don't give out freebies? Will he toss a fit if MacTroll tries to push him in the cart (which is apparently not allowed these days)? Will he throw a fit if MacTroll wanders too far away from the cart to run to get something Looseyfur forgets? If they move the display of Cars cars near the cereal aisle and he sees them -- will he lose his mind because I won't let him look at them or buy them? 

It's so much easier to do the shopping now without him. But sometimes, I look at the cart with the kid seat filled with bread and eggs and delicate fruit instead of my sweet boy's face and I miss him. I remember when he could first sit there at 8 months, and I'd bend over the cart as I walked down the baby food and diaper aisles and kiss his head as he looked around curious about all the people and "stuff."

He'd giggle when I'd open musical cards for him (something he still enjoys now -- he thinks they're books). 

And he'd smile at all the senior citizens and babies as we cruised past.

I'm hoping one day I'll get my little errand running buddy back. After all, my eldest nephew still loves Target at nearly 13... but right now, I'm okay with going it alone to get the job done faster, so we can spend some quality time together as a family doing fun things rather than spending it miserable in a grocery store. 

Monday, July 7, 2008

MacTroll's Monday

When MacTroll is home during the week on Mondays, I try to make every excuse to be out of the house. Monday is MacTroll's conference call day. He has between 4-6 of them today. Each of them taking at least an hour. You do the math. It's a lot of time to be on the iPhone.

I was supposed to be outside all day staining my fence, but given the sheer amount of crazy ass rain we got last night in the never-ending storms, I'm stuck inside doing inside jobs. 

UPDATE: You can head over to Cruzin' and see how MacTroll and I spent our morning being Toad rescuers!

Most of these I can do in the basement or the 2nd floor. But around the first floor will be nothing but pacing and loud talking, "LDAP, LDAP, Active Directory, Kerberos, Magic Triangle, deep into the keychain code..."

Blah. Yuck. I think I'd rather be vacuuming little tumbleweeds of fur that got scattered around the house last night from their hiding places due to our no air conditioning/open window preference. 

In other news: The cookout at Rayne of Terror's went very well. I got to meet Soy is the New Black and Mrs. Chicken as well as some other great people. I loved Mrs. Chicken's pasta salad. And X-man and I were the first to jump in the pool. It was a beautiful day.

Today is also Day 1 of the weekly budget. I just spent half of mine on gas. Seriously. I'm picking up the trailer and the bike this week. Let's see if that will save me some $$$  in the weekly drive-the-kid around situation.

I am just a couple weeks away from seeing KTDID, my nieces and nephews and from vacation. This year we're driving up to Oostburg, a few miles south of Sheboygan to stay in a rental house on the beach of Lake Michigan in September. I liked that it was in a family friendly area where we could just walk out of the house and be on sand. 

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hard Knocks

"Excuse me, did you see a wagon go by here? I lost focus for one minute to look into the sweet face of temptation, fell off, ate myself into gluttony, felt shame and now am trying to figure out how to find my wagon so I can climb back on, and change my behavior."

That's right. I looked into the face of a no weight loss last week and responded by walking 4.25 moderate miles on Monday, 2 moderate miles on Tuesday, 2 brisk miles on Wednesday (with a trip to Curves) and went to Curves on Thursday only to claim Friday as my "well-deserved body rest day" and to fall hook, line and sinker into eating two desserts (yummy eclair cake and yummy frozen strawberry cake), a cheeseburger and as much cucumbers and fruit as I could swallow on July 4. 

I'm not sure what I did eat was outside of my point limit. It didn't feel like over indulging, since I know my quantities were small. BUT I stopped counting my points all day yesterday and all day today. 

I started fine at breakfast. I was going great at lunch and then in the face of a fun social atmosphere, I jumped off the truck wholeheartedly to reward myself with -- Food. And it was awesome food. I feel guilt because I'm one of those, but I also know I just have to wake up, learn from my behavior and start over a stronger woman. 

This week, I have more mental challenges ahead. Namely, in addition to my regular workout schedule, I HAVE to get back on the wagon and write down my food BEFORE I eat it. 

But mostly, I'm going to be miserable and grouchy while doing Mr. Miyagi's training regimen. I was out there for two hours today, and almost got four panels of fence done on one side in two hours.

Tomorrow, I have weekend cookout number 2. I'm imagining it's going to go better in the diet category for three reasons. 1) The hostess is also on Weight Watchers. 2) One of the other guests is vegan, I believe. 3) There is a swimming pool, that if X-man has his way, I will never get out of (and neither will he, if Ms. Thang's splasher pool was any indication on Friday.) 

Other things I have to look forward to this summer: two weddings, a family reunion of sorts and KTDID visiting. Lots of food/temptation hoops to jump through. But Misc and Quigs might be making my life easier by giving/loaning me their retired bike trailer and bike (respectively).

And is it me, or have folks around town and online been on a pretty serious anti-Shampoo-Banana trip lately? It can't be the glorious weather, can it? (Everyone pushing 30-42 weeks of pregnancy is, of course, exempt from needing to explain their moods.) But seriously, I need like a damn ray of positivity or two. Anyone out there got one to shine my way? 

I think I just need to find a yoga class that meets during the daytime (between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.). Anyone have any suggestions? I'm looking at the Modified Hatha class at the Living Yoga Center from 12:30-1:30 p.m. since that's where I took my regular Hatha (before I messed up the tendons in my feet wearing bad shoes while pregnant) and my Introduction class.

As an awesome sidenote: MacTroll and I celebrated 16 years together today by taking X-man to see Wall-E. He did GREAT and loved the movie. As he walked out of the theater holding the plastic popcorn bucket we borrowed from Rogers, he looked like such a big boy. Mostly he just wanted, "More Wall-E, Mama. More — puh-leeeease?"

Friday, July 4, 2008

Quiet Toddler

Yesterday we had a playgroup playdate at Hessel Park. We were there for almost 2.5 hours. There was lots of sandbox time, swinging, sliding and, of course, water play. 

It was only 70 degrees outside, and I'm pretty sure the water temperature topped out at 65, but once X-man saw the first big kid toss off his shirt and run through the spray and puddles, he was walking up to the kid's mom asking her to de-shirt him, too. The fact that it was the only parent he didn't know at the park was pretty humorous. But she was a very nice woman and was very chatty. 

When he was finally done with the water, he refused a towel, until I wrapped him up in it and announced we were leaving. He protested, but then saw that  Bubba and Pretty Girl had already left. The Boy and Miss Thang were on their way home, and Mealyworm and Bug were already wrapped up in their car seats. 

Then and only then, did X-man decide he was cold. In his car seat, he demanded we push Riley off of the blanket, so he could have some warmth. 

I put him in long sleeves and sweatpants for dinner. He ate warm left over french fries and chicken nuggets from Sunday while he watched Thomas (one day hanging out at Bubba's house and he decided he missed his favorite cheeky engines). 

He didn't play at all. He just stared. His eyes were droopy. He finally fell asleep at 9:30 p.m. and at 8 a.m. he looks something like this: 
I think I'll make us some whole wheat pancakes and veggie sausage this a.m. because now he's waking up. :-P 

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Remember how I invested in Quicken?

Well, I've used it to catch up with the last 60 days of spending to help show trends, so I could project an updated, realistic monthly budget taking into consideration the increasing price of the BIG 3: fuel, food and energy.

The reality of the situation did not make MacTroll happy. 

Clearly, he wasn't mad at me, but it's kind of hard to argue with the numbers. I think he was more shocked by how much fresh fruit and vegetables and shopping "green" has cost us. Today I gave us each a target number for weekly spending amounts based on his salary income, and starting Monday... they go into effect.

In addition to his twice monthly paychecks, once a month MacTroll earns commission as part of the sales team at Apple. Sometimes this check is $100, sometimes this check is $1,500. We have no control over what it will be. It all depends on who sold how much in his group. That bonus (before we built our McMansion) was our savings for emergency spending, travel, long-term investments, etc. 

It is separate from our retirement, X-man's college savings and our stock portfolio (I'm laughing when I say this, because really it's just money we put into Apple through their Employee stock plan). Since building the McMansion, we've been using the bonus money on landscaping, furniture and to cover the increasing prices of the BIG 3. 

And everyone who knows me, knows I'm not a big fan of "stuff." But MacTroll LOVES his stuff. He likes not having to think before he buys. He likes eating out when he feels hungry. 

But to me, we're done with all the big household items. In fact, I think X-man's bed represents the last of the furniture we really need in our house for a while. And, um, all my baby bushes need time and sunshine to grow into bigger ones. So... as long as I keep my ass out of Target, I should be okay.

Not only that, but if you're ever driving up and down Neil Street in the Savoy area, you'll probably see me walking. I'm the overweight woman chucking down Neil Street to get to Curves twice a week. I may even venture further and go to WW on foot. Sometimes I'm walking from my house to X-man's pre-school with my big red jogging stroller. If you see me, feel free to honk and cheer me on. I'm not giving up my Weight Watchers money or my gym  money. But I am thinking of saving up for a used bike and kids bike trailer and parking my VW for all trips that are within a 5-mile radius. 

Luckily our playgroup mostly goes to places that are free. :-P

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Things that I find cool

1. At you can search for toys made in specific countries of origin (including a "not made in China" search, if you want. 

2. That I've gotten to an age where I can identify certain positive attributes about myself and celebrate them, well still being able to identify certain negative attributes, recognizing I need to work on them, and not beating myself up over them.

3. That I managed to find a collection of friends who stick with me through thick and thin. I always considered myself lucky to find one good person. Now I have enough to start my own soccer team, and that's just crazy.

4. My friend Libbygirl is having a 2nd baby soon!

5. My friend Rachel just gave birth to baby number 2. Welcome Eli! 

6. According to Champaign Taste, a Pho venue has come to Savoy. So I'm going to have to check it out.

7. MacTroll got to spend a whole evening doing special Dad stuff with X-man, including going for frozen custard, watching Elmo's potty DVD, introducing X-man to Mr. Bean, giving X-man a bath and tucking him in.

8. KTDid adopted a dog. 

9. A lot of my friends have birthdays during the next two weeks.

10. Living in the middle of nowhere. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How you'll know that I love you

When needed, I will put on a rubber glove, cover your anus in petroleum jelly, insert a finger and gently express both of your anal glands until all this foul-smelling liquid secretion comes out into a paper towel.

And I'll do it every two weeks from the time you're 1 year old until you die to keep your glands from getting impacted and to make you more comfortable.

You don't enjoy it. I don't enjoy it. But it's gotta be done -- and we both seem to know that.

Don't we, Riley?

Here comes the revolt!

My body is finally motivated to move against my measures to weight loss. After three weeks of steady losing, last week I weighed the same as the week before, even though I increased my walking by 60 minutes and ate within my food limits on WW. 

Today I stepped on my scale to find that I weigh 3 more pounds than I did last Friday. How does this happen? It might have something to do with the fact that I was drinking 64 ounces of water and then suddenly lost my favorite water bottle. So I bought a new one, that just doesn't seem to be doing it's job (even though it fits better in the car than the old one). 

Seriously, I'm eating 1800 calories a day and doing 60-90 minutes of exercise five days out of the week... and I'm gaining weight. 

You know what this means. More exercise, more water, and down to 1500 calories we go. Although the cruel part of this is that the dietician recommends eating more calories to rev up your metabolism along with an increase of high intensity exercise. Unfortunately, with my IT bands, I can't really just start in at a step class after making a good showing getting walking and hitting the gym 2-3 times a week. Maybe in a couple of months.

The last time I lost the weight, my body did this too. There are no answers for it. It just likes to give me a hard time. It likes the way it is. It's comfortable here. But I know a secret, it's even happier once it gives up it's reluctance. 

It'll move better, sleep better, look better, wear much nicer clothing (cause why not spoil yourself when you can) and it'll be happier longer. 

Monday's food day for Loosey:

1 cup cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk. (4 points)
3 soft tacos with black beans, lettuce and tomatoes for lunch (9 points)
1 snack like a mini 100 calorie bag of popcorn. (1 point)
1 Weight Watchers recipe (last night it was beef stew) which are loaded with vegetables. (7 points)
1 small evening snack: a cup of strawberries and nectarines with 1/4 cup of fat free cool whip topping. (2 points)

23 points -- but I'm allotted 28. Plus, I didn't use the 6 activity points I earned during the day from my 90 minutes of moderate level walking.

I think this is when I'm supposed to get discouraged and give up. But I'm just gonna stop looking at the number and do what I'm supposed to do and try to have some kind of faith that my body will figure it out.

It took me 4 years to lose 48 lbs before, so I'm guessing it will take 5 or 6 years this time, since I'm older. 

But the goal is to be healthier, right. So do the right things and change the lifestyle and things should get better.