Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hot Damn!

I haven't actually gone through and done an analysis of how many positive blog entries I've written versus negative ones through the years. I'd like to pretend that they are equal, but I know they're probably not... and that's really crappy reporting on my part, because as most people know usually the good comes in equal to the bad. (Or hopefully there's actually more of it overall -- fingers crossed, right?)

I know that Quigs and Rogers will tell you I'm way too modest to brag about stuff. But here I go. I'm about to brag, or, um, try to.

After several dismal weeks of weight what-evers, family whining, injuries, canceled vacations and a pet dying of cancer, I've got something positive and happy to report on.

My dog is smart. Holy shit is she smart. The rescue thinks she is only three months old, so I didn't expect this much brains this early. Usually by six months, but man, she's ahead of the curve.

Just now, as I was typing at 5:35 a.m. madly trying to purchase a birthday gift for a niece that is -- ahem -- SEVEN WEEKS LATE (see list of dismal weeks above, good aunt I am not this year for some reason), my dog stopped playing with her rope/ball toy and RAN to the back door. She smacked her paw on the glass, so I let her out. She high tailed it to the back fence, peed, turned to her right, walked five yards and pooped.

We haven't had an in-house accident since Sunday afternoon. And that's kind of crazy. Even though I've been taking her out pretty much every hour during the day. She's also doing great being left in the crate. We're up to 2-3 hours and the little excited peeing she was doing when she got here whenever we'd come back home has stopped completely.

In addition to the successful house training, she knows her name (although she still ignores me when I call it and she's doing something more important, like sniffing a toad), plays well with other dogs, doesn't pull on the leash when we walk, accepts her toys as replacement chew items for things she's not supposed to chew on, respects the cats and loves kids. She also loves to cuddle and hang out at my feet under the desk in the kitchen (where she is right now). She's currently not afraid of the vacuum or thunderstorms, and she fetches... repeatedly. She brings the ball to you and waits for you to take it and drops it. No tugging, no keep away. Just -- please throw. But she's also not obsessed with it.

The only thing that get her a tad concerned is when cars drive by us on walks, and since she was picked up on the side of the road... I'm not surprised. She also won't willingly jump into the car by herself. She wants me to help her. And, she's not much for the sprayer during baths. But she doesn't mind the soap or the rubdown at all.

Last night, she slept from 9:45 p.m. to 4:45 a.m. without having to go out. Today, I take her to the vet to get her sutures out and to meet Dr. Mary for the first time. We'll see how she does. But yeah, so far, her little brain is just amazing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The difference between my child as an almost 3 year old and currently as a 5 year old, apparently, is only body length. There's not any actual difference in behavior or instinct. :-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Visit From Nana

My mom and her sweet dog Coconut are here this week. This is kind of fun for Nana and X-man because they don't get to see each other a lot. We usually see my mom for eight or nine days in the summer (usually two trips) and then on Christmas and X-man's birthday and maybe one or two other one-day trips to Rockford.

X-man loves to have his grandparents around to show him all the things he likes to do and the books he likes to read and the art he likes to experiment with. Today, we took Nana to lunch at Culver's. Then we went home and played with the puppies for a while and read some stories (including a picture book story about death called "What Comes after 1,000" that totally made me cry, but deals really well with the idea that one moment a loved one can be here and the next minute they're not and all the anger, grief and confusion that comes with that experience.) I made shrimp tacos with goat cheese, red peppers and green olives for dinner with a side of sugar snap peas. And then we piled in the car with Lily and went to t-ball practice from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Afterwards, I came home and ran a miserable 2.5 miles. It was humid. I think my inserts are starting to load my achilles instead of hurting my plantar fascia, which is like trading horses in a bad way, so they may be coming back out. I have a doctor's appointment to follow up with that and to go over my new iron and platelet numbers on July 15th, as well as to get a TB test for work... so we'll see what happens then.

Then we all went outside and just sat on the new back patio. Mom and I chatted while X-man rode his awesome SWAP pedal car that he got from the Freaks around the backyard. Lily and Coconut romped until she was covered in big dog slobber. And at 8:45 p.m., we took X-man inside for a "calm down" TV show (He chose Bill Nye the Science Guy.) and I read him stories and tucked him into bed.

Tomorrow, we're doing swim lessons again, followed by our weekly trip to the Tolono Library. X-man has Pirate Camp at the Little Gym from 1-4 while I go to PT. And I think Mom and I might try to make it up to Prairie Fruit Farms in the afternoon to check out their on-the-farm sale in Urbana.

I promised Special K, I'd go to the 5:30 Body Attack class. And then I'm heading to El Toro Bravo for a 6:30 p.m. work meeting -- yes, all sweaty and gross. I'll get final confirmation about the class I'll be teaching in the fall at MMO and find out if I'll be alone or with a teaching cohort. So that's uber exciting. Meanwhile, Nana and X-man will totally enjoy each other's company. I figured I'd leave out his new word game for them and some art projects they can enjoy. I like to see my Mom, but I also realize that they get to form a whole different kind of grandparent/grandchild relationship, when I am not around. :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Goals

One of X-man's goals this summer was to work on his swimming. He loves the water, but our deal regarding going down water slides is that he has to learn to swim (at least 10 yards) by himself. He had five yards down when he took lessons at Urbana in November, but it wasn't consistent. So, we signed him up for two sessions of lessons at Sholem in Champaign.

Each session is 8 mornings (Monday through Thursday). We also picked up pool passes, but apparently mother nature HATES me this season, because during our first three weeks at home we made it to the pool twice not because we're lazy, but , because the other times I put it on the schedule -- it stormed. Last week the temperatures dropped to the low sixties in the morning so we had Thursday's swim lesson canceled and then it was too cold for the make up lesson on Friday, too.

This morning, it's windy and rainy with occasional thunder and only 66 degrees... and I'm going to guess swim lessons are a no go again.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's a GIRL!

We lasted a whole 9 days without a dog in the house.

I'm not a religious person, but I do think the world works in particular ways. Life/Death, Fire/Water... things are cyclical... the four seasons, water cycle, etc.

Last Sunday, after our family discussion about getting another dog, I sat down and did some web searches. I also visited the local humane society where we adopted Maya in 2003, made a donation and contributed all of Riley's unopened food items, but I didn't find any dogs that fit our requirements: Active. Good with cats, dogs and kids. Fuzzy.

I did a search at and the only one within an hour that made me turn my head was a 3-month old retriever mix named Willow from Genesis Rescue Group, a non-profit, no-kill rescue group in Charleston. I showed her to MacTroll. He thought she was adorable. I took a deep breath and decided to take the first step.

I registered at the web site and filled out an application. The web site said since the rescue was run entirely by volunteers it might take 3-5 days for them to process it. I went to bed Sunday night and by 2 p.m. on Monday, I had a call back that we were approved for her. They had called Quigs as a pet reference and Dr. Mary at All Creatures Animal Hospital. And apparently the references were glowing, and I answered the questions okay. Then Sandy, the rescue representative, and I talked a while. I told her that we'd like to come down and meet the dog and get a sense of who she is and if she'd fit in well with us.

I sent them photos of my house to show how tall the fence was and to give them an idea of the space she'd be living in, and on Saturday afternoon, we drove down to Charleston to meet her. The dog met us at the door with the current live-in adult dog (who was awesomely calm for a dog being terrorized by a puppy in her own home). :-)

Then we talked with the rescuers for a bit and then went into the backyard with Willow. X-man had been given the low down in the car about how she was a stray that had been picked up by the Shelby County Shelter (not to be confused with the Humane Society in Shelby County). The County Shelter euthanizes a lot of animals. And Willow, even at her highly adorable, fluffy, three-month-old, totally adoptable size was scheduled to be euthanized unless one of the rescue groups picked her up.

He was awesome with her, and she was glad to have a smaller pal to run around with. When we all decided she was our dog, we filled out the paperwork, handed over a $200 adoption fee, said thank you and headed back to Savoy. We also threw out ALL of the names we'd talked about on the way down. We thought she was going to be kind of simple and kind eyed. But really, she's very plucky and lively in real life. We didn't want to keep Willow because, well... Our kid is named Xander. Our last dog was named Riley. They're fabulous names by themselves, but throw in Willow, and you've got a Buffy fandom meeting happening (Not that we don't love Buffy, because we do.) So we decided to unanimously call her Lily, and then smacked our foreheads when we got home and remembered we'd just flip flopped one of Allyson Hannigan's character's names for another... Sigh. :-)

As it turns out, the day the rescue picked her up was the exact same day Riley died (See comment about life being cyclical above). In that week, she got her shots and got spayed and chipped. On Monday, I have to call Dr. Mary to make an appointment to have her sutures removed and have her examined and hand over her medical records.

We bought her a crate at Prairieland Feeds, along with puppy food, and some toys and treats. As I type this she's got her puppy Nyla bone and puppy chew toy going at the same time on the carpet in the living room. She slept most of last night (10 p.m. to 3:15 a.m.) before having to go out, and then I couldn't sleep, but she woke up again at 4:30 a.m. and decided she was up for the night. My guess is we'll both be napping this afternoon.

Right now, she's trying to win over the cats. This is our 13 1/2 year old cat, Clawdio. He is our oldest out of our bunch. Notice he's having a bit of post traumatic stress disorder as he channels back to when Riley came home at 6 months... and Clawdio was only 3 1/2 years old then... I'm sure he's thinking, "I'm too old for this shit."

Nyssa had the same, "What the hell have you done?" look on her face. Both of them are doing their best to stay in places the puppy can't reach them like on counter tops... Luke is on the floor, but he's keeping his distance. Maya and Lily have already licked each other down and smelled butts, so they'll lie within inches on the couch and the carpet. Kind of like when X-man was born -- Maya is very patient. That's just how she rolls.

So now we're even in the house: 4 girls and 4 boys.

We're focusing on enjoying all that is Lily. Things are obviously different than when Riley was here, and we miss him terribly. It kills me to know I won't look into his brown eyes any more or hear him snore at the end of my bed. Part of me wishes he was around to meet Lily and sigh at her puppiness. Lily is not a replacement. She is her own dog, with her own crate, pink collar and leash and new toys. She's got no one's paws to fill, but her own. :-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Decisions at a Crossroads

I've armed myself with a lot of information regarding exercise and nutrition over the last two and a half years. There are several facts of science that I find fascinating regarding health. And I look at my weight loss not as a cosmetic change, but as a way to help me stop using food as a crutch as often as I did. But lately (and by lately, I mean the last several months), I've had a hard time digging myself out of this sense of moodiness. I've kind of been all over the place emotionally, so I've been all over the place with my issues with food.

I've been defiant, happy, depressed, needy, stubborn, angry and resentful. I wonder why I can't just put the brakes on the snacking. I wonder why I can't just plan a day of food and follow it. I wonder why I have to wonder at all, since I know exactly what I want to do. But instead, I'm rewarding myself with things I know aren't good for me... in the name of "fun" and "I want to."

So I wonder, as I look at my scale. Have I made peace with being 10-12 lbs higher than I want to be? Or am I beating myself up by eating my anger with myself rather than addressing the issue? Would I like to be back at my goal weight -- yes. Very much so. I like the way my body felt at 160. It seemed happy. I know that even professional athletes have "off season" where they aren't in peak physical conditions. It gives their bodies a chance to rest and recover, and then when their seasons start, they have to get back to it. But my season seems to have lapsed from winter into summer. And it's now more of a constant than an exception. Yes, I still have a Ferritin level of 37. Yes, my doctor would like it to be at least a 50. Yes, my platelets are low (121), and yes, my mean platelet average is slightly high, indicating that my body is building platelets but something in my body is destroying them. I have a doctor's appointment on July 15th, where she'll probably talk with me about the results of my bloodwork further and then send me to the hematologist.

In addition, yes, I have plantar fasciitis. It means some days are good and some days aren't. I've gotten to 3-3.5 mile runs lately, but I always have to insert walk breaks in them to be sure I don't come back to fast. Some days at body attack I rock, other days, I'm constantly in the low impact level.

Yes, there have been emotional issues. I've been alone a lot. My child is either amazing or a hell beast, but I guess I should be somewhat impressed that he's never mediocre. Yes, our dog just died. Yes, one of our cats is peeing in inappropriate places, and it's a behavior thing because after two weeks of antibiotics, he's still peeing, so I'm trying to figure that out.

Yes, I'm starting a new job and on the prowl for classroom resources and ideas.

Yes, I am constantly on the move, as are many of you.

But food on the go, food of convenience that isn't fruit or vegetables are totally my downfall. I snack because I'm stressed. I snack because I'm lonely. It's kind of insane. But at the same time, I'm rationalizing that this is how my life is right now. And I recognize that's a problem. Because it's an excuse pattern that I've used before.

Somewhere around here is that girl who knows how to get her big girl panties on and get it in gear. I just can't see to locate her anywhere. If you see her, will you tell her to put the ice cream down and get her shit together? Because I think she's needing some support and some courage to just say no to a lot of the social eating situations. And that's hard, because I really enjoy them. But I don't enjoy food more than I enjoy my other lipid panel results right now. Because they're awesome.

So, here I am admitting to all of you that I have gained some weight back. I'm at the weight where I'm supposed to put a stick in the ground and use all my knowledge to make good choices to get back where my body wants to be. My brains signals obviously have other ideas, and I need to turn them off. I'm just not quite sure how to do that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Weather is Killing Me

Okay, so here's the deal summer. You're warm. No, screw that. You're supposed to be hot. Seriously hot. Hot enough that parents permanently have towels and sunscreen packed and ready to go to the pool on a moment's notice. It's Central Illinois. Mugginess and 90 degree temps are supposed to be something you can count on. It's like death and taxes. So why are you screwing with me Mother Nature?

Every day that we've planned a pool day, you've literally rained on our parade. And then today, it's so cold they closed the pool all day. And tomorrow ain't looking much better. Unfortunately, we were scheduled to go to the Bloomington Spray park. Instead, I think we're going to end up at the Bloomington Chuck E. Cheese.

But seriously, where did summer go? It was here two weeks ago. And I don't know about the rest of you, but when I was a kid, I considered July 4th the hump of summer. Time hits the holiday as its peak and boom -- it's a fast downhill, roll to the start of school.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer of Science

When X-man and I sat down in the spring to talk about our summer plans. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to play t-ball, take swimming lessons (he can't go down the yellow slide at Sholem until he can swim the length of that part of the pool) and do science.

So each week I've been coming up with some science activities. We did the good old vinegar in a bottle, baking soda in a balloon, and then you put the balloon over the bottle and the gas inflates the balloon. We planted the garden together. We took a field trip to the Anita Purves Nature Center. We studied life cycles when Riley died.

We're also experimenting with new foods. Each week, X-man picks a new fruit or vegetable that he's never tried at the store. He's been kind of mellow about it. The first week he picked red bananas. The second week he had escarole. The third week he chose a pink lady apple. The trade off is that for trying it, he also gets to pick a snack of something we wouldn't normally buy... His favorite is to pick from the bulk bin. Week 1 was 12 gummi worms, week 2 was an ice cream treat, week 3 was yogurt covered pretzels. (I usually only buy those in airports. :-)

Today, we continued our lessons in nutrition -- and a little bit in food art. We made a watermelon cake. X-man got to practice a little fine motor skills by inserting the bamboo sticks into the watermelon like candles, and then he got to practice with a melon baller. He also used blueberries and strawberries.

Here's a sample of his effort. (Then we cut slices like a cake.)

Next time, he said he wants to make fancy pineapple shapes, even though he hates eating pineapple. :-) Maybe we can make them out of mango instead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Phone calls

Okay, the thing I've noticed about having X-man home all day, I forget to make calls.

I have to call my doctor for a follow up, now that I have my blood work back.

I have to call the trucking company that wants to deliver me my new patio table.

I need to call the vet to set up the annual exam for the black and white mafia.

I need to call Bodyworks to set up follow up appointments for my foot.

I need to call the bank, because even though I have an escrow account to pay my property taxes, I woke up 7 days ago in a sweat because I was worried that maybe they didn't pay it. And, of course, online, it shows that they take hundreds of dollars out of my payment for escrow, but don't give me an escrow balance.

Most importantly, I need to call the "leisure line" tomorrow to see if there's lessons, since the storm that blew through tonight apparently is going to drop the temps this week. I'm not sure how hardcore X-man is about swimming in the cold. I know I did it on the swim team. But then again, I'm a glutton for exercise punishment.

Hence why X-man is at swim lessons, I'll be lining up for round 2 of Body Attack at the gym.

We'll see if I can remember to do all those calls when I get home. Hell, I'd be happy with half of them. Sigh.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Old School

For those of you who don't know, my spouse works for the Fruit. This means we have lots of gizmos and handheld devices. More than we know what to do with. I have a hand-me down iPhone. He just gave me an iPad2, just because. We're teched out over here like mad.

And I've tried to be one of those people who tries to use the technology to make my life easier. I've downloaded a grocery shopping app that allows you to make your list, enter in prices and groups items into the areas where you'd find those things in the store, to make them easier to remember so you won't get to the check out line, look down at your list and curse because you forgot something. But entering everything into the phone took a long, long time. 

Similarly, I've tried two different food journaling apps that would allow me to not only track my calories but the nutrients I'm eating. It's overwhelmingly time consuming (i.e. it takes longer than 15 minutes to do the whole day) to insert that kind of information. And I know in the end, once you have your list of frequent eats down, it's supposed to make it easier... but for a woman who rarely makes the same recipe twice, it's a pain in the ass. 

What I'm saying here is that -- I love my pen and paper lists. And as much as I wish I was highbrow and sophisticated enough to commit to the software others design that's supposed to make things easier for me and save trees... I'm still using the free note pads our insurance agent gives us each year for trips to the store.

And since I've absolutely FLOPPED at food journaling the last two weeks due to my foray into iPad ownership an exploration into those apps, I'm going back to my paper notebook for that, too. I think in this case, I've got to use what actually works. But I tried, I really did. 

Do they revoke my Generation X card for this? 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pros and Cons

I'm not going to lie to you. I've been thinking about adopting a dog sometime in the fall. I've been making a list of pros and cons regarding the dog ownership situation.

I love dogs. Particularly long-haired, fluffy dogs.
Outside of the six years I was in undergraduate and graduate school, I've always had one. I'm not sure what life is without one, and I'm not sure I want to know.
There's something that touches me about an animal that literally lives and breathes to make you happy. (Something my very independent, opinionated, geriatric cats don't get.)
They are awesome companions.
You think when they do things like eat the two sticks of butter you had out warming to room temperature or "find" your box of granola bars on the counter that you can't stand them and their dogness. But then, when they're not around any more, you suddenly find the dumpster diving funny rather than annoying.
I liked being active with my dog and taking him for walks around the neighborhoods and to local parks.
I liked throwing sticks in the water and watching him swim out to fetch them and chase ducks.
I love how my dog used to sit on a dock watching fish and quickly and quietly as he could jump into the water like he was going to catch one.
Repeat that story, but eliminate the dock and the water and insert my back yard into the scene with him stalking a ground squirrel or bunnies in the backyard.
I like that my dog was fine with cats and kids and other animals.
I like that my dog liked to go in the car and travel with us.
We have the perfect set up for a dog and we have the financial and emotional resources to help a dog that doesn't have a home. I also have time for a younger dog, as he'd only be by him or herself up to 4 hours a day with my work schedule, and I'm home all summer.

There's the whole acclimating time period that always makes me worry. What if the dog we find decides he doesn't like us or our cats or our kid. Mixing different species is always interesting and stressful.
I have four geriatric cats, a small child, a large house, a new job and an absentee spouse. Don't I have enough to take care of?
In all likelihood, I'll probably pick a dog less than two years of age -- and it's been a while since we've had a puppy. It takes a lot of energy and patience.
The search for me takes a lot of time. With Riley, I went to four different shelters once a week for eight weeks before I found him.
Crate and housetraining are potential issues depending on how young the dog is.
I get to fall in love with another animal and have my heart broken when he passes away before I do.
I always said that the next animal we got would be X-man's, and that we'd talk about it when he was 7.
If we end up moving to California in 2 or 3 years, a dog adds one more consideration to the moving list. Because in our family, everyone goes or no one goes. It's a non-negotiable.
Scooping poop.
Possibly squeezing more anal glands.

So, you know, I'm thinking about it.

Good idea

Every summer, I host an event at my house for the parents I know called "The SWAP." It started out over at Libbygirl's house, but it got big and popular really quickly, so we moved it to my house, which still wasn't enough space. So it kind of takes over my house... :-)

It works like this: Parents bring over all the kid-related stuff that their munchkins have grown out of or don't play any more and I set it up like a giant garage sale in my garage. Except nothing is for sale. Everything is free. At the same time, we have a potluck. MacTroll and I buy some pizza and everyone else brings side dishes, desserts, drinks, etc., and we all hang out, eat, and fill up our cars. At the end the left over clothes are taken to Headstart in Urbana. And the left over toys are taken to Goodwill. The books are donated to the Tolono Library (or Libbygirl might take them to Prairie School in Urbana since Mr. Libby operates their book cart).

It's a lot of work to set up, but I totally love doing it. I also love having all the families at my house for a few hours. As the kids grow up, we see less and less of each other. They all go to different schools or are enrolled in different after-school activities. But they totally still remember each other and they like to get together. And the truth is, once upon a time, I used to see these parents two to three times a week. Now I'm lucky if I get to see them once a month. So it's totally nice to have them over and catch up.

And this year, we'll have our new patio, so I hope it doesn't rain!

Putting the pieces together

I've started back to running -- slowly. I made it out 3 times last week. All very low mileage runs (between 1 and 4 miles). There's a bit of walking involved. There's lots of stretching of the calves, the feet and the achilles area. I also did Body Attack twice, physical therapy and some weight training.

I've got my second half marathon to do in October, so I'm keeping an eye on the calendar. But at the same time, I'm not pushing myself to go any faster than my foot can take. Slow and steady. Slow and steady.

What I'm more concerned about right now (particularly after attending two birthday parties today) is the amount of food that has been passing my lips. It's not hunger need. It's an "I want" need.

And running is always dangerous, because when I do it my brain gets happy and I feel great about my body. But it also makes me think I can eat whatever I want "because I ran today."

But we all know that's not how it works.

So, gotta readjust that one this week.

P.S. It's weird not to have someone greet you at the door when you get home from a night out...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Full Moon Babble

I'm sitting in bed listening to Ingrid Michaelson, which if you know of her, you know it's a huge mistake. If you don't know her, think of John Cusack's quote in High Fidelity...

"Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

Anyway, what's rambling around in my head besides thoughts like, "Yesterday, my dog was sitting with me on the couch. Or today, my dog died in the south end of my dining room on the floor. I watched as his head dropped and his breathing stopped. I pushed my face into his little crimped ears and took one last whiff of that Riley puppy smell."

Are things like, "All that blogging about not connecting is bullshit. You do connect. You connect in spades. You picked up the phone and put out the word and everyone came running. They took your kid (or tried to). They sat with you while you waited for the doctor. They called, e-mailed or sent you Facebook messages. People from all different periods of your life."

After that realization came the brutal conversation with myself about what an ungrateful, overdramatic brat I can be. So I'm apologizing. I'm desperately sorry, if I've jumped off the course for a while. It's not who I want to be. I'm hoping that tomorrow, when there's new light that separates me from today's sad events, I'll feel a little more self aware and a lot more humble to have so many people who love and care about me.

If you're still up, peek out your window. It's a beautiful moon.

This is the worst

Yesterday, during our playdate with some friends, I noticed Riley starting to chew on his paws. After our friends left, I went into the kitchen and made X-man dinner. Then I fed the cats and finally I mixed up Riley's food. Since he was diagnosed with cancer almost a month ago, we found that he was particularly fond of Tur-Duk-En (no lie) from Prairieland Feeds. And well, when your dog is terminal, you let him eat anything he wants. And he turned his nose up at it. After X-man and I got back from the movie, I couldn't find him in any of his normal spots. Instead, he was curled up in a ball at the far end of the laundry room. He's never in the laundry room. He walked outside to pee at 8:30 p.m. last night in a sort of lumber. Then he laid down by the front door. At 10:30 p.m., I had to come down and search for him again, this time he was curled up with is back to the sink in the half bathroom. Again, this isn't a usual spot. I tried with the food. He refused, but he did drink some water. He couldn't get up to go to the bathroom. I gave him his pain medication, since it had been 8 hours since the lower dose was given and went to sleep.

After three really good days, Riley entered a bad period. The cycles are coming faster now, where as when we started to notice things in April they were every two or three weeks. And they're getting more painful.

At 5 a.m. this morning, I got up and tiptoed downstairs. He was under X-man's computer in MacTroll's office. His breathing was labored. He couldn't stand. I went upstairs and got a towel and wrapped it under his hips to support him. He got outside the front door and took a very long pee. I gave him his meds. He refused food and water.

So I called Dr. Mary's office. Then I messaged Quigs and SuperShanna to let them know I was going to need some help with X-man today.

When X-man got up at 8 a.m.  and the workmen showed up to work on our patio, Riley moved from the front door to the living room, and laid down so he could bark a bit at the workman noises. Then when he realized the workmen weren't going away, he managed to lumber himself back to the front hallway to lie down.

He's been there, in that corner, all day, except when I made him pee again around 11 a.m. I was impressed though, that he made it out into the yard without help.

The plan was to take X-man to the Little Gym from 1-4 p.m. and then he could go play at SuperShanna's with Quigs as a back up. I needed him out of the house because at 4 p.m., Dr. Mary is coming to euthanize Riley. I'm trying not to use the words "put him to sleep."

X-man was fine with this, until we got to the Little Gym. Then he didn't want to come inside. Once he figured out it wasn't pirate camp or sports camp -- which were the two he picked to attend. He got grumpy. Then he noticed it was all girls. And he flipped out. I told him he could go in and play with his friend SuperC (his favorite girl) or I could call Quigs and we would work something out, but he couldn't go home with me.

It was too much of a decision. He flew into a blind rage about how he couldn't be there. So I gathered his things to go to Quigs' house. Then he was screaming for Little Gym. I ended up picking up a carseat, water dish, a pair of Keen's and a 45lb struggling 5 year old and taking them out to the car. He kept unbuckling his seat, so I put the childlock on the door, so he couldn't get out and hurt himself, walked around to the other side and climbed into the backseat of the car.

I sat and looked at him and tried to explain that Riley was sick and dying and that he couldn't be there when it happened. He promised to stay up in his room. I said no. He said he needed me more than Riley did. I explained that he didn't. Not today. We got through it somehow in conversation, and he permitted me to buckle him in and take him back to our house. Where I started sobbing as we were pulling into the subdivision. I don't normally cry in front of my kid. The sobbing continued as I searched the house for a cellphone I couldn't locate. When I found it, I texted Quigs, who, being the woman she is, dropped her lunch and came running to get my child.

Then I called my husband. I told him what happened. He was silent at the other end of the phone. And he was asking, what I decided at the time were dumb questions and words that didn't comfort. Because in that situation, what can one do in Illinois from California. I wanted to say a slew of hateful things, but I didn't. He could tell I wanted to say them, because when I'm really angry, I get completely silent. He stopped talking, too. So I hung up. I didn't know what else to do.

I grabbed a box of Kleenex and came downstairs.

"Loosey?" X-man said. "Can you sit and calm down?"

So I sat and calmed down.

Quigs came and collected my child from me. He finally seemed to comprehend that a) he really isn't old enough to see his dog die and b) he really doesn't want to see his mother cry.

I walked over to spend some time with Riley on the floor in the front hallway, but it's impossible to do so without crying, which his eyes tell me isn't very comforting. So I decided to blog about it, how lame is that? I didn't know where else to put it.

Now the big question is, what to do for the next hour and 10 minutes before my beloved Riley dog is dead.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My name is Loosey -- errr -- Mom and I'll be Your Cruise Director...

Since I've been acting a bit like Julie from the Love Boat about our summer schedule, X-man has decided to treat me as such by calling me by my first name --70 percent of the time. Seriously. I'm like Homer Simpson around here.

At first, I didn't care. And then I did. It was strange enough to me when he stopped calling me Mama at the end of his toddlerdom and started calling me Mommy. Then there was another weirdness when he went from the sweet Mommy to "MOOOOOOMMMMMM!" or my least favorite, "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom..."

"Loosey, can I please have a granola bar?"

"Um, no."

"Why not?"

"Because you didn't call me Mom."


"Loosey, I mean, LLLL-MMMMommy, can I please have a granola bar?"


Why does it bother me that he calls me, Loosey? I mean, it doesn't really matter. Of course, he started to do it when we went through Customs in Toronto.

The agent asked him: "Who is this?"


"Yes, but is she your aunt, sister, grandmother...?"

X-man looked at him strangely.

"She's Loosey. She's a teacher. She likes to cook."

The guy just looked at me like I was raising a moron.

So I came up with: "X-man, what do you call me?"


But that apparently won't work next time, now...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Little More Love and a Lot More Patience

I am crazy about my kid in good ways and in bad ways. He and I spend a lot of time alone together, and I've had to make some tough calls about how to parent his forever evolving curiosities. He's into everything wanting to know how something works, why it's needed and why it happens.

We love the curiosity, but sometimes he really just can't process the idea that he has to keep his paws off of things, like, say, other people's motorcycles. He also can't just reach over and take things out of friends' hands when he wants to see how something works. But in the way of early childhood he's still very self-centered.

But we're working on it. Today at the arts and crafts table at the library he was very good about sharing stickers and glue with the other children at the table. He got moderately frustrated over cutting his crown, but he was tired from our morning activities, so I cut him a break.

We also had friends over for dinner tonight and he got along pretty well with them. He had a moment or two where he was too rough, and, of course he tried to apologize and hug, but his hug ended up being more like a half tackle of the other child's leg as he came up the stairs for a reprieve. Some things, you just have to live through to understand. And let's face it, social situations are the best way to learn. What I did like was that both boys were able to verbalize their needs to me, and I praised them both for the communication, but then had them talk to each other. Once they did that, they were fine and kept playing. And it was nice to see my son on the floor telling stories and playing. It also meant I got to put together our schedule of activities for the next couple of weeks.

Being a 24-hour SAH Mom is different than the last few years for me. Managing my doctor's and physical therapy appointments in the middle of the day is the most challenging. But I'm blessed to have very nice friends who have been helping me out. Luckily 1/2 day camps at Little Gym start soon, so I'll get 3 hours in the middle of the day to have some time to schedule appointments that are not child friendly while he's running around inside the gym. :-)

I realized pretty quickly that my child is going to tire of me very soon this summer. He's used to having the stimulation of 19 other kids in his class at school for 7 hours a day. I'm pretty slow moving in comparison. So, yeah, I'm learning to have a little more love and understanding for a child whose schedule just changed as much as mine did and we're both trying to have a lot more patience with one another.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Back and forth, back and forth

There are times when I wonder if my mind is going.
There are times when I wonder if my mind is going because I'm old.
There are times when I wonder if my mind is going because I'm too busy.
There are times when I wonder if my mind is going because I'm borderline anemic.

Any which way, it's totally going.

When we took Clawdio to the vet the other day, I forgot my wallet and got "all the way back to Savoy" when they called and I headed back up north again to retrieve it.

I stole a sweat towel from The Fitness Center on Monday and had to return it on Wednesday, but I totally forgot my water bottle. 

Today, my five year old decided he was too -- 5 years old - to put on his shoes for t-ball, so he decided he'd put them on in the car. Of course, he grabbed his glove and ran out to the car leaving me with the simple job of picking up his shoes and carrying them to the car. Yeah, I got one of his tennis shoes and one of mine. When did I notice? When we got to t-ball. So "all the way back to Savoy" we went to fetch the other shoe.

Shit like this happens to me all the freaking time. And it drives me insane.

On a good note, Concrete Evolutions started on our patio today in the backyard. They moved the hot tub, took up the old one (which was crumbling apart because MJE did a crappy job on it 4 years ago) and getting it ready to start pouring -- hopefully, tomorrow -- if it doesn't rain.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

House Ownership is Overrated

Last week MacTroll mowed the lawn. I'm not sure what happened, but apparently he got into a fight with our steel mailbox and ripped the safety cover off of the mower. Since they make those covers plastic now it couldn't be repaired and our decade old mower wasn't easy to find replacement covers for. So MacTroll "fixed" it.

Similar to the time in college when he decided he could put off spending money on a new exhaust pipe and muffler, MacTroll's "fixing" went directly to tape. In college, he used duct tape. With the mower, he decided to use packing tape. So when I went out at 10:15 a.m. to mow, I saw the fix sighed and primed the engine. I got 8 passes before -- you guessed it -- the tape fell off and exposed the blades.

At which point, I pushed the mower into the garage and sent MacTroll out to do his favorite kind of fixing -- buying something new. He asked if I had any requests, and I said that the mower could not be self-propelled. Apparently, asking for a mower that you still REALLY have to push is a bit like asking for a cellphone without a camera or a keyboard. They don't really exist.

MacTroll came back with the one mower he could find, prepared it and then set off and finished the front and back yards. I continued to weed and mulch until, around 2 p.m., I wore holes through the fingers of the garden gloves I bought in May. Then, X-man and I headed to Wally Mart to pick up some annuals to fill in where all the dead tulips we just pulled used to reside. X-man helped me dig the holes to plant the flowers and then he watered them (his favorite part).

After we were all done, we played a couple innings of baseball in the backyard. Riley managed to come out a couple of times to supervise the yard work from the shade before he went back inside to snooze. We got a couple tail wags out of him today, and he ate some treats.

Now I'm lying in bed and I can totally feel the sunburn on my shoulders (Oops, probably should have reapplied the sunblock.) I'm about to wander into the shower. Tonight after dinner (I'm making scallops with bacon and spinach) I'm going to go for a run in my new shoes and over the counter inserts to see how my foot feels.

Then I need to clean up the freaking inside of my house. How lame is that? Six hours of housework and there's still the whole inside left to go...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Waiting and Powerless

I should tell you about the eight fish my son caught with his Spiderman fishing pole this morning, but MacTroll forgot to take photos.

I should tell you about the awesome program at the Tolono Public Library to kick off the summer reading program and the fact that X-man made me read him 14 books today and made it through two Dick and Jane books by himself because he's ever so curious about what he'll be able to buy with the book bucks he accrues for every eight books we read together.

I should even probably bore you with my story of shopping for insoles with some help at Body N Sole for my new running shoes to see if they help my feet feel better on my 2-mile run tomorrow.

Or I could tell you that my husband got me an iPad 2 when he was in NYC this week. No, it's not my birthday. It was just a Friday, and he loves me and wanted to get me something fun. I think.

Instead, I'm going to tell you that right now I'm lying on my couch in my living room. On the back side of the couch near the back door my dog is currently sleeping on his elevated dog bed... I hope. He started off this morning eating his breakfast and happy as a clam, but as the day went on, he got more and more sluggish and more and more un-Riley like. The only time he really got up was when we left in the car and all came home together from the library. He got up to greet us at the garage door gave two wags, turned around and laid back down on the kitchen floor. He couldn't make it up to his chair in the living room.

A few minutes ago, I tried to get him to go outside. He walked out and laid down in the grass. He wouldn't get up, so I picked him up and carried him inside. He refused dinner. I gave him the high level of pain pills tonight, hoping that maybe they'd help him get through whatever is happening right now, so he can have a better day tomorrow. We've seen it happen twice before, right?

Inside, though, part of me hopes that he passes in his sleep tonight. Neither MacTroll or I want to make that call and haul him into the emergency vet. Then again, I don't want him to be in any pain. I also don't want to have to call Doctor Mary on Monday and have her come to our house to put him down. I don't want to be alone again when that happens. Because MacTroll flies out early.

Maybe that's really why I got an iPad? Because in all likelihood, that's how this is all going to shake down -- again.

Update: He made it through the night. He got up to go outside to pee this morning, but isn't interested in food. His gums are pretty white. I don't think it's going to be too much longer. He appears to be resting comfortably on his pain meds, and he's still drinking water.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Batter up!

This spring X-man decided that since I have a bum foot, he would rather stop doing Tae Kwon Do (i.e. he didn't want to go without me) and change to T-ball. I said okay, so we signed up for T-ball through the Urbana Park District.

His t-ball league is children ages 5-7. It's non-competitive, so there's no keeping score at games. Each player bats until he or she hits the ball into fair play and then takes one base. The last batter in the line up always gets a home run. :-)

If you show up for a game and you're short of players, the other team lends you some of theirs. The whole point is a) have fun, b) get a chance to play every position (you have to rotate positions each time you're on defense) and c) learn the basics of baseball.

The other reason I chose to sign him up in Urbana was that each team will get a chance to play one game under the lights at Canaday field. Unfortunately, this means the 5-7 year olds have to stay up to start a game at 7:45 p.m., when most of them are usually in the bath at that point.

Last night we had the added adventure of a dinner time thunderstorm which lowered the temps from 95 to 70 in less than 60 minutes. So, all of the parents were sitting in the bleachers in sweatshirts and under blankets. KTDID joined me in cheering on the red team.

I was really proud of X-man. Outside of one tantrum he had when a teammate kept trying to creep out of the outfield into the infield and take over X-man's position to get the ball, he was a great team player. He cheered on his teammates. He didn't get discouraged if he swung and missed the ball. And he followed coach's directions.

They had been working on fielding the ball and tossing it to first all week. Yeah, the catching needs some work, but I totally love that they understood the concept and were able to follow though.

Check it out:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Food Reading

I'm currently reading Marion Nestle's What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating. She's reiterating a lot of the things that I read in the other books I've been reading or movies that I've seen about where your food comes from, but rather than just hitting on the ugliness of factory farms, the chemical issues with processed foods or focusing on having a plant-based diet, she really does a multifaceted approach in a longer-than-average length book that is surprisingly highly readable.

In other words, you get more of a broader perspective of the whole food industry. My favorite part about her analysis is that she talks more about the government's relationship with the food industry through the USDA and the FDA than the other books. You stop seeing these offices as protectors or planners of the American food industry and see how it's more their job to help sell food to Americans in order to foster and support American business. She'll explain to you what is good and bad about the traditional way produce, meat and seafood are brought to the market (of which, seafood is the most scary) and also talk about what it means to be organic and why there are so few organic options these days in the meat area. (Organic deli meat choices at our Coop are minimal and expensive $7.45 per package, so we've removed deli meat from our purchases.) 

It's also a nice book for folks who have done prior research. You can kind of start skipping parts that you are already informed about. But my favorite thing about the author is that she doesn't just look at food as a scientist. She's not out to freak you out or scare you into a vegan diet. Instead, she looks at her research from her view as a shopper. She talks about going into her local stores in New York and asking people behind the counter where their food comes from. Most folks who work at stores don't know much about what comes into their counter except that it comes on the truck, particularly in large big box stores. But she also talks about how hard it is to live local and organic, no matter where in the U.S. you are. Fresh has different meanings, and the fresher you want your food, the more you'll have to pay through the nose -- and, of course, the more you'll enjoy the summer season when the most produce is available to you.

If you're looking for a text that doesn't look to make your food a moral choice for you... This is a great example. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Fake Apology

I am a pretty tolerant parent. But the one thing that really yanks my chain is when my child doesn't listen, gets issued a consequence for his poor behavior, and he still continues making bad choices. So I enforce the stated consequence and he floods me with tears and apologies. Not because he's sorry, but just because he wants the privilege back.

Seriously, dude. I don't eff around and I don't take ungrateful, whiny, spoiled child attitude, particularly since I bend over backward for you, as the love of my life under 4' tall. 

Your alligator tears don't affect me. 

He's now in his room. And I'm going back outside to mulch in 95 degree temperatures, because I much prefer it to being around him right now. I don't think anything else makes me more irate than the fake apology. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

24 hours

The last 24 hours have been hectic. I tried a new white bean and sage veggie burger recipe. It was meh tasting, but the whole thing pretty much flopped. So, I gave my son the hamburger bun to eat on his way to t-ball practice. Then after t-ball, we took him out to eat, where he almost fell asleep with his head on the table at 7 p.m. At home, we put him in the bathtub and then read stories as a family.

MacTroll went downstairs at 8:30 p.m. after we shut X-man's door (he wanted to play Legos a bit before bedtime) and found that Riley couldn't stand. MacTroll got out a can of wet food -- and the dog turned up his nose at it. MacTroll came upstairs carrying some clean laundry and crying.

X-man came out of his room and wanted to show me something he drew. He went downstairs with me to investigate. And sure enough, Riley was lying on the floor looking miserable with labored breathing. I went to pick him up and he screeched in pain. Then I called my network of backup, so that MacTroll and I could take him to the emergency vet.

With any sick or elderly pet or relative, you know you're close to saying goodbye. As I blogged earlier, I sat down with Riley and had that conversation. I know he can't answer back. But it made me feel square with him. I got out what I needed to get out emotionally. So, we got dressed, and Special K came over and got X-man back into bed.

I drove to the emergency vet. MacTroll was fighting back tears. I was pretty cool as a cucumber, until the vet tech came to the door to let us in. Then the tears started. I took a moment and got out the words to explain our situation. Then MacTroll put Riley down and he stood and actually walked into the exam room. We filled out the background info sheet. I'd been smart enough to bring all the drugs he was on. The tech went over it with us and then a very nice vet came in and sat on the floor with us. She listened very carefully to everything we said. She examined Riley and asked us what our goal was. Once she understood that his diagnosis was that he wouldn't be able to recover, but that we didn't want him to be in any pain, she wrote us a prescription for pain meds and they gave us the drugs there. Then we took him home. I gave him the full dose (it has optional dosing choices depending on if it's a good day or bad day), as suggested. The vet explained that with this kind of cancer, the pain would ebb and flow. Some days would be bad, some days would be good. I guess when the bad out number the good, MacTroll and I will have to have another conversation. And then there's always the huge possibility that his spleen could rupture -- followed quickly by death.

MacTroll spent the night on the couch last night in case Riley needed to go out. We hauled up his raised dog bed from the basement, so that he could sleep off the floor, but not high enough that he might hurt himself.

This morning, he was walking and eating really well. It was a good day. But I have to admit that when MacTroll left for his trip this a.m. there was this big part of me that was thinking, "Please don't let this turn out like Looseyfur, where the minute he left, her health disintegrated and I got left -- alone -- to euthanize her."

X-man helped me pick up the Tolono Book Drop in Savoy. In case you live in Savoy and didn't know, a new book drop is purchased and labeled and waiting to be installed near Prairie Fields Park. It should be there pretty soon. :-) We're going to be replacing the other Savoy book drop (it's kind of falling apart over there) and the one in Sadorus soon, too.

Afterwards, I got blood drawn for my follow up regarding my iron. The IUD seems to be doing the trick. Now that the spotting has gone away, I'm having a much lighter period. So, hooray. If my ferritin shows improvement that's good. If not, I get to go to a hematologist. Whoopie!

Then we went to the bank and grocery shopping and returned the book drop books down to Tolono. I tried to fix X-man lunch, but he wasn't interested. He did, however, get a 35-minute nap. My child refuses to nap. But when he gets tired, he loses all control of his body. He starts falling down and bumping into things. And by 12:30, he had fallen off his lunch chair twice, hit his head on the table and then fell up the stairs on this way to get his swim suit.

Instead of meeting our friends at the pool at 12, we didn't get there until 2 p.m. We swam until 3:30, when he finally got lunch at Panera and then did his "Final Show" at his Sports class at the Little Gym. He was wiped again when we got home, so he sat in front of the computer at while I vacuumed the living room and kitchen, did dishes, laundry, took a shower and got ready for the Tolono Public Library Board meeting. While I was rereading documents, I got an e-mail from Next Gen inviting X-man into their Primary A class in the fall. I had no trouble writing back immediately that we had decided that Carrie Busey was a much better fit for him than Next Gen for kindergarten. I didn't elaborate on some of the issues, but I did reiterate that we loved our early childhood experience with them and the teachers that X-man had. I did find out that his stellar music teacher, Ms. Mary left. She's the inspiration behind him loving the Beatles, Willy Wonka, the Jackson 5 and Nat King Cole.

It was my first board meeting as Secretary. It worked out pretty well, but I have to go back through and edit my notes and then submit the final minutes to the library director for our next board meeting.

I got home to pill the dog again. They upset his stomach some, so he didn't want a Frosty Paw tonight. But he did really enjoy the Turducken wet food that MacTroll picked up for him at Prairieland Feeds. :-) He wolfed that down in his dinner before I left for my meeting just fine. I slipped him a pain pill, and now he's downstairs snoring.

Not much thought for reflection in a day like today. Other than I really hate cancer, but I really do appreciate all of my friends who help look after my little man, so that I can have some kind of semblance of a life. I know he appreciates having people he knows I trust around.

It's been a long mental day. Tomorrow is more focused on the physicality. I figure by Friday, I'll be totally ready for MacTroll to come home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

There, right there. This moment. Now.

So, you know how I've lamented losing two fitness instructors over the last year?

Well, this spring I got a wonderful surprise. Melissa, my old Body Blast instructor from The Fitness Center, returned! So I got a summer membership. And I plan on going to her Les Mills Body Attack every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday morning that I can get there.

I forget how isolating running can be. It's not like I talk a lot in class, as Quigs will attest, because holy cow, it's hard to breathe in an interval, high intensity class. But we jumped and kicked and lunged and had a great time sweating. Seriously, when we got done and were cooling down I felt this whole, "Ohhhh, yeah!" moment when I realized how much I enjoyed something that I had to give up.

It's not like I didn't try to follow it, but the other gym that she was teaching classes at was way out of my way and the vibe just wasn't the same. But this felt perfect. I saw people I hadn't seen in 10 months. It was very pleasurable. Next time though, I'll remember to bring a water bottle. :-) No open containers in the fitness rooms on the shelves any more.

Here's to burning 700 calories an hour or so.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weeds: Televised and Reality

I love rainy mornings. On rainy mornings my child sleeps forever. This morning he slept until 9 a.m. That's insane. He usually wakes up at 7:15 a.m. He was asleep so long that I got to finish the Netflix DVD of Season 6 of Weeds that's been at my house for 10 days or so. I know others keep theirs for months, but seeing it on my nightstand every night was driving me nuts.

Then the rain went away and I went out and weeded the garden for three hours and did some mulching on the east end of the house. It was toad mania: Tiny toads, fat toads, green toads, spotted toads, brown toads.

I looked down into the window well to the basement and indeed, there were 9 toads hopping around, so MacTroll went into the grate and handed the toads up to X-man and I who put them over by the fence to jump away. Sadly, we still have a bunch of mulch to do, but it's a pretty pleasant job to do after 7 p.m. these days.

Update on the foot: I ran for 25 minutes tonight. Well, I ran and walked, per the PT's direction. It was totally do able, but I don't usually run at the end of the day, so my energy was way down. I was out of breath from not really doing non-cycling or non-walking cardio for pretty much the last month, and it was 30 degrees warmer than the last time I ran. So, you know, it sucked. :-) But at the same time, I was happy to be out there. Maybe next time I'll get to do it in the a.m.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Life and Death

Today MacTroll and I accomplished something we've been meaning to do since we moved here.

We found ceramic hose holders because those lame plastic ones are always breaking and leaking. I indulged and got a new sprayer, too. This one works like a firefighter's nozzle. X-man spent the 96 degree day in the backyard pretending to put out fires. It worked out pretty well.

As I type this, MacTroll is trying to sleep on the couch downstairs. Riley was pretty good all day after waking me up every hour on the hour to eat grass last night. Apparently, when he does this for MacTroll, he just let's him stay outside and sleeps on the couch until the dog wants to come in (which could be an hour or more).

To me, I can't not call him back in. When he's just sitting outside, I think, "Is this the part in the nature movie where the animal wanders outside to die?"

When that happens, I don't want him to be alone. I keep pilling him and feeding him and taking him for an ever so slow walk around the block once a day.

But I know with this kind of cancer, if his spleen ruptures, it'll be over quickly. It's also weird that as I prepare my son for the inevitability, I can't look at my dog and tell him that I love him and say goodbye, yet. I keep hoping he'll be like Clawdio and come up with another life somehow. Because there's no good reason that cat should still be around... but he is.

Tomorrow's the day to make sure I get a good chat in with the dog. He'll give me that look like I'm an idiot similar to when I used to hold the phone up to his ear and MacTroll was on the other side saying hello, I know. But at the same time, I don't want to miss the moment.

Does that make any sense?

Friday, June 3, 2011

How It's Gonna Be

My house is a mess. Like shit is everywhere. It was clean as a whistle on Tuesday, but that seems so far away. I used to have an hour in my day after work where I could clean things up before X-man came home from school. But now he's always here. And most of the time, he's pretty good about picking up when I'm around, but when MacTroll is around, it's like the world is ruled by a different cosmic king and -- all clean up goes to hell.

Meh. Whatever, right? It's just going to get dirty again. The reason I hate housework isn't that it's a challenge. It's the monotony. I've cleaned up everything: Blood, vomit, paint, shreds of paper, bubbles, urine, poop, toys, salsa, wine, etc. It's always something. So I lose interest. Pristine is apparently not in my abilities any more. And I'm okay with that.

I'm also realizing that I'm not a person who really lives in my house. I use it more for storage and sleeping. The rest of the time I'm just tossing stuff into the holding cell so we can run out the door somewhere else.

For example today, after MacTroll got some bloodwork done and I went to physical therapy, we ate lunch and took X-man to Decatur to go to the Children's Museum of Illinois. We have a Super Family Membership at the Orpheum that gets us into over 120 Children's museums around the country, so we decided to put it to use. We hadn't been there since X-man was 2, so he didn't really remember it, i.e. it was all new to him. But, like usual, we spent over an hour of the two and a half hours that we were there in the grocery store/bank/post office area. :-)

We even ran into the folks at CAOS (Carle Auditory Oral School) who were on a field trip. Since it was balls hot outside and the museum was nice and cool, we decided we were very smart for staying inside. Afterwards, we took X-man down to Merchant Street to Del's Popcorn and bought him his favorite white chocolate covered pretzels and a blue slushie as a snack. Then we drove around/through Millikin (my alma mater) which took -- oooooohhhh a little over two minutes. The thing he liked most though was driving by all the factories, particularly ADM, and announcing, "What is that smell? It smells like poop." MacTroll told him it was where they produced different kinds of additives for foods. And right away, X-man figured out they were the kind of additives that drive mommy nuts. (Why, for example, does something called SOY sauce have wheat in it?)

Anyway, if you know the funk of Decatur, you understand why I found this entertaining.

We were home for 45 minutes to throw dinner at him before we dropped him off at Little Gym and MacTroll and I went out for date night. The first part was very successful. We ate at Escobar's which we hadn't done in a long, long time. Unlike other more "prime people watching" locations no one was there at 6:30. So we didn't have to wait for a table, the service was spot on and my shrimp and scallops were wonderful. Afterwards, we headed over to Urbana to drop in on the Coop expansion party for owners. We checked in and then scoped out the new space, but we didn't stay long enough to deal with the crowd. We weren't hungry, so we didn't need the free food or wine. And the music was a little loud, plus  it was standing room only. So we went into the store to get jam and honey. I feel like a jerk for buying organic jam from Italy, but it's really good pomegranate raspberry. The honey, however, was local. I swear.

So we vacated the crowd to hit Espresso on Daniel St. on campus. And as you might expect, the place was EMPTY. It was awesome. We sat there for an hour sipping on our drinks and chatting about how we couldn't hear anything. Cars and bikes were infrequent and we were two of five people in the entire coffee shop. And this, is why I love to live here. I love that sometimes, I can sit on my back porch and hear NOTHING. It's not as quiet as it was when we first built our house, of course, but at the same time, in comparison to most urban areas, it's darn right peaceful.

I'm trying a slew of vegetarian recipes this week, so if you're a friend of mine on Facebook, I'll post the good ones there. :-)

Tomorrow is set aside for either garage sale time or farmer's market time with X-man and then some work for the Tolono Library District. I have my first meeting as the Secretary on Tuesday. I'm a bit nervous, but at the same time, excited about helping out. You know me... anything to get out of my cage, um, I mean house.

So the next time you drop by, please forgive the mess. It's a work in progress. And right now, I'm working outside of the home as much as I possibly can. :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pain and Pleasure

Okay, I'm going to have to admit something personal here. I don't usually find pain to give me any sense of pleasure. But today, at Bodyworks, the massage therapist totally found some crazy line between pleasure and pain, where my brain said, "Ouch" and "Ohhh" at the same time.

She worked on my right calf, achilles and my plantar fascia for 30 minutes and I have to say that it felt ferociously better at the end. The pain is mostly in the sides of my calves, rather than the center of the muscle. The pain comes together around my achilles tendon, which is super tender and then spreads into my heel.

I apparently have pretty high arches according to the therapist, and my over pronation is probably the cause of my issues. I do wear moderate level motion control shoes with extra cush. But I might need to change brands to a heavy motion control shoe. In addition, she wonders if I might have some unevenness in my legs, which might be corrected via chiropractor and help prevent its return. I've still got work to do, but it was nice to get some relief today.

Next week, I'm excited to start back at The Fitness Center for the summer to take Melissa's Body Attack class. I should be there on MW and hopefully Saturday mornings.

As for X-man, he is either a complete pain or a complete pleasure. And it changes every 3 seconds. :-) Our first "at-home" week has gone interesting. We'd been planning to be gone, so my summer schedule doesn't start for another two weeks. I may have to do some work on it so it starts on Monday. We'll see if I can get it together by then.