Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A boy and his dog

Last night X-man decided that he'd sleep with his door open for the very first time since he was out of crib. He said he likes the idea of the cats and dog coming to sleep with him.

So last night, as I tucked him in, Lily came into X-man's room, snuggled up to him on top of his feather down comforter and went to sleep with the sound of rain pelting against the windows at 8 p.m.

At 11:30 p.m., I went in to check on them. Lily was startled. She jumped up growled and barked at me defending her boy.

X-man never woke up.

I shushed her and her body became one big wiggly ball of black fluff. It read, "Oh, it's you! I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry!"

Then she came in to sleep with me.

I should have taken a photo of them snuggled together. But somehow I thought a photo wouldn't have done the moment justice.

It's taken a few months. But dog and boy finally seem to be figuring out each other.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Life After the Mouse

We landed at Orlando Airport around 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday. We decided that Thanksgiving isn't going to be about food for us, so we picked up our rental car and ran over to the Swan Hotel. The Swan backs up to The Dolphin, The Boardwalk and the Yacht Club resorts, so there were a lot of choices for meals. 

We dumped our stuff and then headed to the Magic Kingdom and let X-man lead the way. And that's pretty much how we spent the day. We walked around the park and let him point to rides, wait in line and then grab a snack here and there. X-man has never been a big Winnie the Pooh fan, but he found that all these childhood favorites in the same area more than awesome. So he decided to skip the Pooh ride and instead, visit Mr. Sanderz' house. 

After riding my favorite ride (the Teacups, where the boys found my crazy giggling quite amusing) X-man and I went on the race cars. He was too short to drive according to the measuring pole at the front of the ride, but it looked like they weren't caring too much about who was driving when they got in the car. However, X-man is a bit of a rule follower, so when I offered it to him, he refused. But we had to stop and sit in the stands afterwards so he could practice being an announcer at the races. 

It was beautiful weather in Florida. It was in the 70s the whole time, but in the evening, a breeze would kick up and it got a bit chilly. On our way to pick up a sweatshirt for X-man, we stopped by Cinderella's castle all lit up in purple. The castle had all the Christmas lights on it, too.

Now wrapped up in a new Pluto fuzzy sweatshirt, we sat down on Main Street to watch the Electrical Parade. I had to tell X-man who 70 percent of the characters were (the major floats were for Pete's Dragon -- a movie he refuses to watch because of the Gogans -- as well as Alice in Wonderland and Pinnochio.) We also got a Mickey balloon for him. He was fascinated by the fact that it was a balloon inside a balloon. There was some whining over the fact that it wasn't an LED balloon. But he got over it -- quick. 

Here's Mickey on his train float. After the Electrical Parade, we got on the bus to go home and skipped the fireworks at 10 p.m. It was X-man's bedtime when the parade started (Central time), so he was totally wasted by the time the parade was over.

I'm really glad we didn't book a character breakfast or wait in line for the buffet at our hotel that has them  first come/first serve on the weekend. Because this was X-man's reaction to getting within 3 feet of one of the many green Toy Story guys hanging out in front of the Pixar part of Hollywood Studios. He didn't mind waving at them from a distance. But he did NOT want to get close to them. On Day 2, we spent the morning at Hollywood Studios doing Star Tours (Oh, the Loosey Giggle factor came into play here every time we jumped to light speed), watching the Jedi Training Academy (X would have been too scared of Darth Maul and Darth Vader to participate) and the Toy Story Mania ride (which is a newer better version than the Buzz one in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. We also ate lunch at the Sci Fi Dine in (which was a giant movie screen playing old promos for 1950s science fiction films  and short cartoons like Tom and Jerry) in a darkened room for lunch before we headed over to the Animal Kingdom. We spent the afternoon there and then ate lunch at the Rain Forest Café. I had never been to one, and unless you need a lot of loud noises to drown out your child's crying, I'd skip it.

X-man really enjoyed the two park areas within the parks. The first is the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground (where it is impossible to keep an eye on your kids without getting on your hands and knees and going through it with them) in Hollywood Studios. It's a great way to run off any steam or whininess that has built up from waiting in line for things (which is not often a favorite past time of small children). The other free play area is a Dinosaur playground in the Animal Kingdom next to the Dinoland, USA kiddie ride section.

My favorite part of this trip was that X-man and MacTroll got some quality time, even if it was on a bus ride or at the dinner table. MacTroll's been on the road a lot, and I think having four days with no computers and TV in the middle of Disney was really very good for both of them.

X-man balked at the hour that we were going to wait for the Safari Ride in the Animal Kingdom, but they really got us through in 25 minutes! My favorite was watching this giraffe chow down on the low branches.

For breakfast on Saturday, we went to Cat Cora's restaurant on the Boardwalk. X-man got his Mickey shaped waffle. I got my fruit bowl and tea and MacTroll had an excellent breakfast skillet.

Saturday we headed over to Sea World after breakfast. X-man was very excited about getting wet at the dolphin and whale shows. It used to be... 20 years ago... that the shows were just educational bits about the animals with some background music. This dolphin show had -- um -- a plot with character development and trapeze artists. It was totally bizarre.

But X-man totally dug it. 

 Sea World doesn't have very many rides, but X-man really liked the boat ride. They got pretty wet. I took photos next to the area where other visitors could put quarters into spray guns and squirt the boat as it came by. I tried to soak them... my quarter didn't freaking work!
X-man wanted to sit as close as possible at the Killer Whale show. But as MacTroll and I sat there and read the history of whale trainer deaths at Sea World over the last 15 years, we were kind of happy to sit farther back. But we were still in the "Soak Zone." After the incident in 2010, the trainers no longer get in the water with the animals in the shows. The regular show is called "One Ocean" which MacTroll would describe as a pandering attempt at ecological education.

We could also imagine that the conversation about the decision on high to keep the trainers out of the water went something like this, "You're not allowed in the water with the animals during shows."
"What are we gonna do then?"
"You're gonna dance."

And yeah, if you're wondering, scientists doing the white man shuffle to bad music is totally the reason they invested so much in four giant moving movie screens. It draws most of the focus away from the trainers and onto the screens or to the animals.
 Yes, were this far back from the orcas, and X-man left soaked. They bring out the giant whale who flips up her tail and goes NUTS splashing people.

And since he was already wet from the Orca show, when we hit Shamu's kids area and X-man saw the water playground, we told him to go for it. I ran off for lunch and then when I returned, X-man was complaining that Sea World people told him he had to wear shoes on the other rides. Um, what? Of course you do... MacTroll just shrugged.

But then the boys went to play on the pirate ship.

This is the GIANT rope climb with all kinds of crazy tunnels and tire swings and awesomeness that X-man spent a full hour going through with and without MacTroll. Around it were a lot of kiddie rides, but X-man spent most of his time in the free play area. 

And underneath the rope climb is the seal the deal reason why Quigs will never want to go to Sea World... giant sandbox... :-)

After Sea World, we headed to Downtown Disney and ate dinner at Fresh A-Peel and visited the Babycakes Vegan bakery between the TREX café and the Lego Store. X-man got a new Lego set and built himself three mini figures before he went out to the work tables and made a car. He entered in a race and won! Then I walked him down to Once Upon a Toy and he built a Light Saber for himself.

X-man found out that MacTroll's mother is going to Disney next week with some of her other grand children. He asked if he could go back with them. We told him he had to go to school, but I told him he'd go back sometime. He asked when. I told him to talk to his Papa. :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On the Road to the Mouse

Tomorrow morning, the family and I are headed to Orlando to see Mickey Mouse. It's X-man's first trip to Disney World. When he was 3, we spent 4 hours at the California Adventure Park in California. It's a long weekend, but I have a feeling it will feel like a short vacation.

When we return there's only four more weeks before Winter break.

I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and will put some up. :-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Mind Divided

MacTroll and I got a family membership to the Carrie Busey PTA so that we'd know what was going on. He was hoping that he'd somehow be able to keep that day open in his schedule in order to attend meetings, but he's 1/3 right now. They don't have a meeting in December and January is when we're headed out to San José for the week. So, um, it's not going so good.

However, getting the minutes of the meetings and the electronic information on school happenings is priceless. 

But, MacTroll and I keep raising our eyebrows at the inconsistent messages beings sent home in regards to FOOD at X-man's school.

Carrie Busey is a CATCH school and it participates in the NFL Play to 60 program. These programs stress healthy eating and active lifestyles. The school gets money for following their guidelines. Win. Fine. Love it. There's an approved snack list for what can be brought in for the kids to eat with "go" and "slow" foods, and once a month they celebrate everyone in the room's birthday with some "whoa" foods. Cool. Fine. I can follow those rules and appreciate them.  X-man says there's something called a Lucky Tray Day where school workers look at kids lunches and identify what is healthy and what is not. He indicates that frequently he is told what to eat first, too. And he repeatedly comes home and says that water is the healthiest drink, but really doesn't want that in his lunch. But on occasion, maybe he'd like to buy milk, except that when I ask him every morning, he says, "No, the apple juice is easier." :-)

But here's the deal... on Halloween, we had a party. It coincided with the October birthday party. So there were snack bags (mostly with toys in them like spider rings and stampers) but there was also some candy. Apparently during our party, an announcement was made (that neither MacTroll or I heard) that Halloween candy was not welcome back in the building.

So, the next day, as a special treat, MacTroll put two Starbursts into X-man's lunch. That day, X-man jumped off the bus, ran inside and shook his finger at MacTroll about how the candy wasn't allowed in school for a long time, like in January it would be okay to bring it.

What? Huh? What's the difference between eating your two Starbursts in January versus November? It was a decent question.

Especially since it came home that day with X-man's perfect attendance certificate from school for the month of October -- and a certificate for a free kid's meal at Fazoli's, which is a lot more unhealthy for you than two Starbursts. Each kids meal with a breadstick is around 400 calories. It's not terrible, but it's all meat and cheese and bread. 

For this month, the newsletter said that to reward the children who have perfect attendance in November they would come home with certificates for meals to Fazoli's and Texas Roadhouse (I'm imagining every parent with a peanut allergy cringing at this). There is no nutritional information, currently, for the Texas Roadhouse. But since they're the usual fair of hot dog, mac and cheese, two mini cheeseburgers, fried chicken tenders and bits of steak... I guess at least here the kids can choose fresh vegetables an applesauce as the their sides, right? I guess, my problem is also the extension of this. Because although the kids menus are limited, the adults who eat with them are surrounded by extraordinarily large portions and a long list of unhealthy choices. For me, it's too much. 

Here's the other issue...  I was told during the kindergarten walk through that pretty much the only fundraisers the school did were around the Fall Family Fitness run and Scholastic book fairs. There was a dinner out at the Texas Roadhouse. X-man asked why we weren't going, and I had to explain it's because they didn't have anything his lame vegetarian mother could eat. And I love my kid, but I'm not going to sit there and sip on a Diet coke while the school makes 47 cents from his kids meal. I can spot them two quarters. Plus, I'm not really thrilled with what X-man would undoubtably pick (chicken tenders with fries and -- begrudgingly the applesauce). 

In the newsletter this month the Fifth Grade is trying to raise money to take a field trip to the Science and Industry Museum by selling -- COOKIE DOUGH AND BUTTER BREAD PASTRY.

But on the next page is a big article stressing what foods are allowed at school at snacks and how children cannot bring Whoa foods on the days of their birthdays, they must wait until the appropriate party day... It's all in CAPITAL LETTERS and bolded and all that for stress and emphasis.

So I guess what I'm saying is that all of this not walking the talk -- and then shouting about the rules -- makes me want to send Starbursts to school with him every day in some kind of passive aggressive revolt. 

Instead, I think I'm just going to start recycling the coupons. So, um, if you eat at Fazoli's frequently enough NOT on 99 cent kid meal night (which is Tuesday). Let me know, I will totally pass these on to you. X-man (unless he comes down with my wicked pink eye) is also likely to get a Texas Roadhouse certificate this month. I'm happy to give that away, too.

But maybe, maybe, our school should start soliciting places like Flat Top or Subway instead? How about Schnuck's or the Common Ground Coop for a free apple or something not eating out. Some place where most everyone can eat and have equal opportunity to make very specific choices about what goes into their mouths. 

I know this makes me (the person with plenty of Starbursts to hand out) the food Nazi, but I do not always make the healthiest of choices for myself or my child. But I'm also not in an authority position over other people's children. It's confusing me as an adult.

So when X-man was whining to me about not going to the restaurant fundraiser by saying, "It's okay to eat at the Roadhouse, Mommy, because school gave this to me, so it must be healthy!" I had to smack down that logic fast. 

Food is not easy. I don't care who you are. But it's frustrating to be watching what seems like an internal struggle of a tennis match being played out at the elementary school level.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


We had sand in our sand table yesterday. So I wasn't really surprised that my eyes felt a bit scratchy at the end of the day. I cleaned up my room and went down for our weekly staff meeting, a very nice potluck lunch where there were veggie trays and fruit salad for me with my HMR meal. However, had I not been on the medically supervised diet, I totally would have dug into the cheesy lasagna.

Immediately, someone asked me what was wrong with my eyes. I said -- I think it's sand.

But as we sat, I was pretty quiet, which I'm not normally. I started to feel miserable like it was the last place I wanted to be. And I love work.

So, I got up and went into the kitchen where there is a mirror over the sink. My eyes were pink and there was off white goo swimming in them.


The pink eye that had been floating around the upstairs had finally gotten to my room via me. Because I hugged and played with and changed the diapers of all of the children in that room on Wednesday.

I went upstairs and got my coat and my trash to go out. I told my supervisor I probably wouldn't be there tomorrow. I told my co-teacher what the plan was and that it was posted outside the door.

Then I picked up X-man from school and we took a trip to Convenient Care.

Definite pink eye. I have the drops. But as a woman who washed her hands 23 times in 4 hours today and washes things with bleach water all day, I have to admit I get really annoyed when people tell me I need to be sure to wash my hands.

So, it's not pretty. And there's really only tears because the light from the computer screen hurts my eyes... This is your Loosey -- on pink eye.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Volunteering at School

Who knew that volunteering at the library at my child's elementary school once a week would come with such entertainment.

It's never boring, and I love it.

Today, in the middle of the second Scaredy Squirrel book that Ms. Cahill was reading the children, Mr. Scott, the principal, got on the horn and announced that we needed to move into the hall for a tornado warning.

We hung out for around 15-20 minutes until the warning expired, went in, finished the book and then the children got to check out the books.

But here's what I learned today.
1) In the event of a tornado, the kids are sitting in the halls.
2) Scaredy squirrel is apparently a television show now. I had no idea.
3) Most of the kids got through the warning okay, but one was in tears the rest of the afternoon because she wanted her parents.
4) I totally go through the paperback easy books when I'm there and find the ones I think the kids will want to read and put them in the front of the baskets so they're easier for people to find. It never fails that 5 people in his class end up picking up those books, which is a big number because only half the class remembered to bring back their library books from last week.
5) The books are in from the online ordering done for the Scholastic Book sale and should come home with the students this week.

So, see, going to elementary school is a learning experience even when you're 35.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Teacher Fight! Teacher Fight!

Yesterday, I drove to Kankakee for an all-day early education training seminar. It was the first one I had gone to that wasn't held at my school. The first session was on Behavior Management in the classroom. There were a wealth of early educators there from a variety of programs (in-home care, which I guess is now called family care, private all day day cares, faith-based care centers and a private kindergarten). Most of them were from the Chicago suburbs and I was the only one from the central part of the state and the only one from a "community organization" pre-school.

Discipline in the classroom varied widely. All the pre-k teachers talked about the individual needs of the child and how to best encourage and support children. The K teachers in that group all talked about needing to have equal standards in the classrooms and how unfair it is to have disciplinary policy based on different standards for different kids.

They were not moved by the pre-k special education speaker's discussion about different learning abilities, the need for some kids to move or her argument that when an altercation happens, you first pay all of the attention to the victim. They also didn't appreciate that she thought their public charting system of behavior was a public form of shaming the child.

Being a pretty low-key early childhood educator who always wonders if I should be more of a hard ass in the classroom and a parent of a kindergartner who literally saw a school room transform to try to meet the individual intellectual and behavior demands of the students who weren't succeeding -- I found it very uncomfortable to sit in between the two sections. I brought up X-man's classroom as an example of a kindergarten teacher who responded to the needs and changed her standards in order to support her students more. The kindergarten teachers who were there kind of huffed at me and said that I was lucky, because that's not how it's going to be once they get in first grade.

And I wanted to say, yes it is, because we have teachers and administrators who want children to succeed and understand that sometimes my way or the high way isn't the way to go. I haven't gotten a negative note home in weeks, and my child has stopped evaluating his days by how many checks he gets (he hasn't lost recess in over a month).

At parent/teacher conferences what impressed me most was his teacher's understanding with my child's intentions. That he wants to be one of the kids who gets awarded for good behavior, he has trouble with self-control, which makes sense because his executive function isn't all the way developed yet. There's still significant pruning going on there... and there will be until he's 20.

I could see both sides of the argument (because it definitely wasn't a discussion), but at the same time, as a teacher, I tended to side with the other pre-k folks.

The afternoon's session was all about nature and education. Research has shown that kids spend less than 1/2 percent of their time having free, unstructured play in the natural outdoors (without a playground). So, the seminar talked about ways to increase interactions with nature at your center. It was a lot of fun, and I really liked the speakers.

So, that was my working Saturday. :-) When we got home we went to the neighbor's for a birthday party and then down the road to drop X-man off at the Savoy Recreation Center for date night, while MacTroll and I came home and did the annual cleaning out of toys in the basement. I tried to do this with X-man last year, but it was a long negotiation, and in the end, he would only give up one thing. Then I went through the house, filled up the back of my car and took it to Goodwill, and in a year, he's only noticed that one thing has gone missing. So, um, this year, I did the shitty parent thing and just didn't ask and started cleaning things out.

Okay, time to run in the stupid wind. At least it's warm outside!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Artistic Friday

X-man was off school yesterday. In the morning we went to FCC, so that I could finish up parent/teacher conferences. The kids all played while we met. It was great. We also ran into Lavender Lemonade's spouse and three children who were letting Mom get some sleep after her night shift. I cannot believe how much her Mealyworm looks like her mother did when she was 5. I was there, after all, I remember!

After an hour at FCC, we headed over to the playplace at McDonald's where MacTroll was supposed to meet us "a little after 11 a.m." We were there at 11:05 a.m. He showed up at 11:37 a.m. X-man was done with his lunch, so MacTroll ate his McDonald's and then we all went to the Paint Your Own Pottery Place at Round Barn. This is X-man's new favorite hobby.

We were there last weekend when it was raining and cold. I thought it was going to be like taking a bull into a china shop, but he was totally into it. They were really crowded last weekend, but on Friday it was empty, so I let X-man put his own paints in his palette. He had painted a duck bank that we picked up when it was time to go home. He calls it "Clack, Clack" the duck. And he was holding it and talking to it and petting it on the couch during quiet time as he watched Inspector Gadget. He asked if we could go back and paint a cookie jar for his teacher for a gift and fill it with cookies that we bake.

I told him I thought that was a very sweet idea that many people might like at the holidays. Then he reminded me, like he read my mind, that he needed to go shopping at the Crisis Nursery sale at Lincoln Square again. You write a check for a donation, give them a list of the gifts the child should buy for. And a volunteer helps him stick to his budget and wrap all the presents he picks out. And you get a gift from your child that only he knows about. It's very sweet and it's for a great cause.

I also know that I'm back "in the box" at Weight Management, not just because I'm eating all of their proteins and carbs and snacking on all the veggies and fruit I can muster. But, like last time, the dreams have started again. In last night's dream I consumed 3/4 of a cake I baked. It was fabulous. I ate it until I felt sick. Then remembered in my dream I was not supposed to eat it and felt guilty.

It's not unlike the dream where I slept with Brad Pitt and got pregnant and then remembered I had a boyfriend.

Cake = Brad Pitt (circa 1996)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Like Mother, Like Son

So, you look at my child and it's very clear that he looks like MacTroll's Mini-me.

But if you watch my child long enough, you'll actually see Loosey-like traits. For example, he is very clumsy. He cares very much about his people, and he likes to know who is people really are and why they're his people. He's very hot and cold. And he is melodramatic.

He also can't be still. :-)

But today, he reminded me of 5-year-old Looseyfur who would spend all of her time after school in front of one cartoon -- Tom and Jerry.

After tennis lessons today, the cat and the mouse were on the TV. X-man sat down, curled into me for a snuggle and then watched 20 minutes of Tom and Jerry -- giggling furiously.

I'm not gonna lie. It made me love him more.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Driving Craziness

I'm not sure what was going on today, but it seemed to me that there was an influx of folks on the street. X-man and I left for school at 7:31 today. That's 1 minute later than normal. And maybe there was a long train, because the traffic at Neil and Church was backed up all the way to Tickseed, so we turned right and went up to Curtis, which was backed up to the retirement home. So we ended up on Windsor, which was less crowded, but, of course, I hit every light on the way from Windsor to Mattis.

It must have happened to everyone because when I got to school at 7:50 a.m., I had to wait for a few minutes to pull around into the lot for drop off. It was fine, X-man got to school. But the 10-minute drive became 20, which is just uck on a Monday morning. Mostly because it was a long day today (work to volunteering to homework to Lego Club/Workout to running and errand) so we put Lily in Doggie Daycare for the day so she could play and not be crated forever. I usually do that on Wednesdays because that's also a long day, so she'll get to go twice.

By the time I dropped Lily off at Georgia's K-9 Comforts at Animal Outfitters, it was 8:03 a.m. And I walked into school at 8:10 a.m. 25 minutes later than normal. Luckily for me, Ms. Rachel was there early and was able to help me get the room together.

Then after X-man and I left school, we saw an accident in the rain at the corner of Prospect and Kirby. And on our way to the Rec Center at 4 p.m. we saw the Sheriff and an ambulance burn rubber on Rt 45 south to probably another accident.

On our way home during rush minute 5:20 p.m., with Lily in the car, the traffic heading south on Rt. 45 was insane. I actually had to wait for a green light to turn right because there were so many cars.

So, um, did we just import a lot of people this week, or is everyone just suddenly driving because the weather is crap?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

You Remind Me of Home

Whenever I dream at night of "home," I always dream of the house I grew up from 1979ish until my high school graduation. I have never dreamed of college or any apartment or house I've lived in past the age of 18. It's always of home or high school. How bizarre is that?

Anyway, last night I had a dream where my maternal grandmother, a very tiny woman who passed away from complications from Alzheimer's when I was a junior in college, lived next door to that childhood home. I was going over to visit her a lot in my dream because she was starting to not remember me, even though she was happy when I came over. I wanted to get to know her as an adult. I wanted to take care of her. I wanted to spend some time with her.

And then, poof, one morning I went over to her house in my dream and my mother told me she was dead. I woke up out of my deep sleep with a sense of shock and sadness. And then I soothed myself with 10 minutes of Tiny Tower and went back to sleep with my husband and our very snuggly puppy, whose tail is wagging off the roof that X-man is coming down the stairs right now making very loud mouth noises.

So I better run and get him some breakfast before I go to volunteer at a water table at the Rattlesnake Master 5k/10k with Savoy Rotary.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Skin craziness

X-man has Molluscum Contagiosum. He picked it up last November during swim lessons at the Urbana Aquatic Center. At least we're pretty sure it was there because it was the last time he was shirtless in the last 12 months. It started to spread a little by his 5 year appointment in March, so we asked our pediatrician about it. She recommended leaving it be because it should go away in 2 years or so. She also said to keep it covered when he was swimming (because it can be contagious), but other than that it was nothing to keep away from people. Medicating it would be difficult and burning the bumps off of a five year old didn't sound like fun to anyone.

But I noticed there were more and more of them this summer, so I consulted a dermatologist. It took a while to find the right solution for X-man (he has kind of sensitive skin), but now we've got something that we put on the bumps around five or six every other night. We leave it on for 60 minutes under some protective tape and then we clean it off. It doesn't look too effective after the hour, but 24 hours later, it's clear that the stuff has burned through the growth and is (hopefully) killing off whatever is below it so the virus doesn't spread. In between the applications, we apply Neosporin and let X-man pick out a band-aid if he's afraid he'll fuss with it. (My son is the boy who tears apart socks at school every day, after all).

At this point, looking at his belly, it looks like I've been throwing some kind of acid on him. He says they don't hurt, so that's good. But at the same time he's littered with little tiny welts. We're keeping an eye on them. Just because we've tried two meds that were too drying and caused some really dry, chapped skin and one that didn't seem to do anything at all. But I really like the dermatologist, and X-man enjoys seeing him (and all the pictures of animals outside his office). So that's a win/win.

Now, if only I could find someone that could solve the sock picking issue.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blissful Agony

I went out and ran my first run since, um, May. It's hard after an injury to realize exactly  how hard it is to start entirely over as a runner after being off your feet for so long. And all the cross training in the world might keep your cardiovascular system going, but it all goes to hell when your body isn't used to running carrying a weight bearing load. Particularly one that is registering at 173 rather than 160 these days. But it's not the 250 I was, so I'm totally keeping perspective.

I followed my podiatrist's directions and ran a block, walked a block. I lasted 27 minutes and went 1.92 miles. I'm trying not to think of the time when my daily routine was an easy 5-7 miles... with no walking. I'm trying to think about how thankful I am that I can run at all. In all honesty, the big accomplishment here that I am most proud of is that I was up -- and out the door by 5:15 a.m. Holy cow am I ready for that whole "fall back" thing this Saturday.

In other running news, in my running absence, my Polar ran out of batteries. I apparently didn't read the fine print when I bought it because I have to SEND it somewhere to get the battery changed out to ensure I don't mess up the "water resistant" elements of my watch. The closest approved service center is Michigan, so off it goes in the mail today. I guess while they're changing the watch battery, I'll just have them change the transmitter one too, so that in three weeks, when I'm using it again, the other half doesn't go out. :-)

My orthotics came in the mail, too. I'm going to wear them to work today and see how they go. The doctor said they might need to be "filed down" to fit better.

After Thanksgiving, I start a twice a week, three week workout routine with Kari Gardner. She works with some of my friends, and I'm really excited about it. I'm hoping to get rid of the doughy middle I've accumulated by February. I work out with her, and then she gives me a plan to follow for a while. Then I can return and update as needed. I'm also hoping to be able to join her post-holiday fitness classes on Saturday mornings this winter.

In cat news: Clawdio came home. All of his labs were normal (hooray). But his temp was low and he was dehydrated for some reason. They think he had a vagal response or a seizure, but in a cat his age, it's kind of hard to know unless it happens again and I can get him to the vet quickly or they're around during an episode.  Since the vet is a 20-minute drive, that's hard to do, when the episode only lasted 3 minutes. But he's only had one of them, soooo we'll hope it doesn't happen again. Right now he's trying to scam a second breakfast off of me. :-) He knows I'm a sucker.

Other than that, want to see something funny?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I know I only had 20 readers out there, and I'm sure that taking a 3-week break that was both sudden and unexpected seemed rude, but it couldn't really be avoided. I needed something, and in a lot of ways, I found it.

In a giant axe on social media I stopped blogging. I also fell off of the Facebook wagon. I'd been doing daily updates there, sometimes multiple updates, since 2007, when I taught at Millikin. And although I understand and totally believe that I have been able to maintain and even rekindle friendships that I haven't had in years with people that I've always felt very positive about. I also felt like I was doing most of my relating through a computer rather than in person. And it annoyed me. I also wanted to see how much time I'd free up and how much more sleeping I'd do if I wasn't just meandering around Facebook (and Foursquare) during my down time. 

The truth is, I'm probably much better off Facebook. You have no idea how many times in the last few weeks something has happened that I boiled down to a 15-word update. My life shouldn't be boiled down. In addition, it was also hard to realize that some things are better to just keep to yourself. This applied with both good and bad things. So, the decision is still out about whether I'll ever go back to Facebook or check-in again on Foursquare. Right now I've removed both from my phone and iPad. But I also realized that I kind of missed my blog. It let's me process things, and although I tried to write in a journal about them, I'm a much faster typer than I am writer any more. And I wanted to save that paper for elements that I can't put in a public forum. Stuff that I'm still cooking in my brain.

So, what's been going through my mind lately?

First and foremost, work. I've been working a lot. I'm getting ready for my first section of parent/teacher conferences and that takes a lot of prep work. We're hiring teachers at MMO, but not having much luck attracting folks. We only pay $9.65 an hour, but the work is great for a student or a working parent. You can choose 5 days, 2 or 3 days or to sub. You need to have an interest in early childhood education and development, the college credits to back that up (6 credits to sub, more to be a teacher) and you have to be reliable, punctual and patient. On the flip side, I've never ever worked with more wonderful people. They're kind, flexible and totally invested in the students and their families. It's really the best job, I've ever had, in a lot of different ways. I know it's hard to justify working somewhere that requires educational background when you can make more money working for Schnuck's, but it's a non-profit pre-school. We work with babies... and it's amazing to watch them transform. 

Second, I got my walking cast off. I've been on a few walks for exercise, but MacTroll's been gone and the two hours I have to myself have been eaten up by filling out P/T evaluations for work. So I'm not back on the fitness wagon. But I have some personal trainings sessions to use with Kari Gardiner starting after Thanksgiving. So, hopefully I'll get my body back into it before too long.

Third, I start back at Weight Management in the weight loss phase on Thursday. That means I'm in their box. I can eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables on my own but my protein and carbs are controlled, but if I turn you down to eat out or come to a party, don't think it's because of you. It's totally a thing for me. I'm doing this for the next 12 weeks. That's a lot of holiday crap to avoid. Plus, I've been a vegetarian for almost 3 weeks. It's going well. 

Fourth, I'm ready for 2011 to be over. I'd like to start over with some new positivity. I had a very good friend lose her mother and her twins (a boy and a girl) during birth this week. My heart goes out to her because as difficult as I found the pregnancy/labor/delivery part of motherhood... I still got to take my baby home. She had to say goodbye at the hospital. You're supposed to leave with a baby, something that makes all that trauma and body change worthwhile. So many people say goodbye at hospitals, that I think they firmly need to have more hellos to balance out the sadness in the rest of the building. 

Fifth, one of the realities of motherhood is that you just can't be friends with someone who appears to not like your child, but does appear to like you. On the flip side, I'm totally willing to put up with an annoying parent if my child is in love with his/her child. Oh, and if someone gives you one of those Boo things on Halloween, please put the stupid ghost on your door. Because you can be sure that the child who handpicked who he wanted to give them to will ask his mother to drive by your house every day until Halloween asking why they didn't put up the ghost to show that they got your gift -- that my five year old picked out and did his "secret" drop off in the pouring rain because he took it to heart that there was a time deadline and wanted to give your child something special. It makes him feel like you don't like him -- even though it's a secret gift and you have no idea it came from him.

Sixth, I do not believe my child is ideal. He's human. He's totally too rough and tumble. He sees things still from his own perspective. He's impatient and often annoying. But he's also kind and gentle. He's also giving and generous. He's as smart as he is not. He's as manic as he is calm. He's walking a line that's different from other children, just like other children are different from him. I'm very happy that he has a teacher and administrators at school who understand that. His 60-day observation came back that he was just like a normal kindergartener. (Hooray.) 

Seventh, I've been hearing a lot of "blame the teacher" lately around parentland.  I was raised by a teacher. I know better than that. Everyone is doing the best they can. The point is that parents and teachers are supposed to be a team -- like on the same team. You work together for the benefit of a child. You put your adult-sized panties on and stop whining and get in there and dig. And most of all you have patience and a good sense of humor mixed with some optimism. Each teacher has different strengths and weaknesses. And each year you have to get used to a new one, just as that teacher has to get used to your child. It'll be okay. Just breathe -- and for shit sake stop talking bad about people behind their backs. Particularly to other parents. If you're frustrated, talk to your teacher. Don't talk around your teacher. 

Eighth, being on the Savoy Rotary rocks. Anyone want to come and visit with me at lunch one day as a potential future member? We do service projects once a month for 2-4 hours. And we meet each Thursday at the Windsor of Savoy for lunch at noon. It's a great way to make connections inside the Savoy community if you want to connect to businesses and residents. And it's small (only 30 of us), so you will get to know everyone. 

Nineth, it pretty much looks like we'll put our house up for sale in February 2013. You got that right, in 15 months. We'll see how long it takes. I've had friends going on taking two years to sell their homes now. Hopefully, there will be a good buyer out there somewhere when we need them. 

Tenth, I'm sick today. I had a fever on/off all last night. So I thought I'd take the day off and rest. Except that my cat Clawdio  cried out this morning at 6:30 a.m. ran out from under my bed, opened his mouth and let out a bunch of saliva and had some clear fluid run out of his eyes and then he started panting like mad. I rushed him to the emergency vet. He still had labored breathing and his temperature was low. They transferred him to Dr. Mary at All Creatures at 8 a.m. I haven't heard anything yet. He's 14 years old with cardiomyopathy, pancreatitis and feline herpes. He lost his best friend, Nyssa, not long ago. And I know that's what old people do... they lose their loved ones and then end up passing a couple months later. But he's my cat. He's supposed to live to be 23 and be cranky and not like anyone else but me. 

And that's what you missed that I'm willing to write about right now.