Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry, Happy

Our three day excursion to Loves Park, Rockford and Peoria is over.

We laughed. My Mom cried. And Lily was an absolute dreamboat in the car and at her first overnights in two different houses and a stop by another one for an afternoon.

X-man opening up his gifts from Santa at Nana's house.

MacTroll checking out snow in a can.

MacTroll and Lily

Nana reacting to the fact that we gave her an iPad 2. :-) Those are tears of joy, by the way. Just in case any of you are anti-Fruit.

Looseyfur and her new oven mitt. And yes, that is the Swedish Chef in the background.

Nana, later, hanging out with Coconut on her new iPad.

My sister.

X-man at my Dad's house on my Aunt Donna's lap reading the Magic School Bus. 

X-man playing with his new Green Lantern play set from my sister.

MacTroll and X-man putting together some pirate Legos from Papa.

Some of the family took a walk after Christmas dinner in Anna Page Park. There Lily ran into her first pile of really old snow. She was perplexed.

Papa and X-man working on more pirate Legos. 

Meanwhile, my cousins, the doctor married to the doctor and the lawyer married to the lawyer were losing terribly to my husband and my other cousin at Ticket to Ride. Don't they all look very adorable when they're concentrating.

After everyone left, Papa and X-man got out the cards and played War.

This is my Dad's dog Zippy. She's being very good at staying out of the kitchen while the giant leftover ham and giant leftover turkey got put away. 

My sister and I got my dad a bottle of Champagne to celebrate his retirement. He's been an attorney in Rockford at the same firm for over 40 years. And as Dec. 31, he's officially moving on. 

It was a lovely holiday. Next year we're hosting all of MacTroll's family at our house. I'm not sure who is going to come yet besides his parents. So we'll see what happens.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Getting Back on the Horse

So, I've been easing myself back into running. I've been mixing it up with long walks (60-75 minutes) with Lily or by myself. I've got one session left with Kari before she gives me my work out plan. But I started to sign up for things.

For example, I renewed my membership to the trail running group in Danville, so I can do the Fat Ass the day before my 36th birthday. Then I registered to do the Mini-I Challenge during the Illinois Marathon. I did the half last year, but am wary of injury, so the Mini-I Challenge is running the 5k on Friday night and the 10k in the morning. I love doing 10ks. In my opinion, there aren't enough of them in Central Illinois.

I went in to pick up replacement running shoes at Body N Sole the other day, and they had their New Year's Run sign up at the front desk. Only 150 runners can run -- and they were on runner 94. I sat there staring at it wondering if I should bother (and yes, it's a little sad that they haven't updated their web site with their own run, yet.).

The run benefits the food bank, which is a good reason to participate. But the runners who are mostly signed up for it -- are running store runners. Real runners. Even though I know the penguin says that I am a real runner... I have never felt that way, and real runners treat me that way. During races, I find the line between where the runners stop and the walkers start. Some runs I run the whole thing. Some runs I have to take walk breaks. I used to chalk it up to me being a newbie. Now I know that it has more to do with my mental state of mind.  Kind of like still being 80 lbs lighter than I was. I am totally still a fat girl in my head. I've had a number of races, where I've done walk breaks and had people my pace ask me why I wasn't just running the whole thing -- or tell me they don't consider it a good race if they walk. That's totally their choice. I don't make judgements on their style, why are they so into mine? I started a walker who started to run to burn more calories in a shorter time. I didn't grow up running. I never loved it until I couldn't do because of injury. Then I missed it. Now I appreciate whatever kind of run I get, because after not doing anything for five months -- I get it.

At Weight Management tonight, there was a flyer for the Carle Resolution Run on January 14 at 9 a.m. It's totally family friendly. Pets, strollers and kids welcome, which is more my kind of thing. Kind of like the untimed Fat Ass trail run. But what this gives me is goals. Things to work toward... but I'm timid.

Which is hard for me to admit.

X-man's First Karaoke

X-man received a karaoke machine from his aunt and uncle in California. I have never seen him quite as serious as when I got out the camera and started filming. So I promised him I'd keep that footage to myself.

What he learned is that song selection is key... and that he gets a little nervous when he is watched or filmed. Not a surprise. I sung the best when I turned around and faced the bookcase Jim Morrison style -- even in our living room.

On another note, the karaoke machine is nice because it has a button you can push where it smooths out the lyrics from your iPod, so if you know the song, or you've printed out the lyrics, you're singing just to the music. But if you need a little help, you can sing along to the words just on a microphone. MacTroll is already thinking of getting a headphone splitter, so you can listen to the words in headphones, but they wouldn't play as you sang to the "crowd," for those of us who freak out and have minds that go blank even if we've sung the song a million times in the car.

Either way, we spent several hours yesterday playing American Idol. X-man has never seen American Idol, so I'm not sure how he knew to go and make up number cards to evaluate the singers as judges. But that's what we did. My first song I got a 10 from MacTroll and a 0 from X-man. Now I know which one is my Paula...

When we were done, the boys had Chinese food for dinner and then played with the castle that X-man's grandparents gave him.

Then I went off to see the Descendants by myself. Where I feel I got duped by a trailer and supposed "Oscar buzz" again. Sigh. It wasn't hilarious. It wasn't funny at all. I was anticipating quirky like Juno. The whole thing was sad, sad, sad, sad.

I much preferred seeing the Muppets.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bowler or Scientist? Mmmm....

So this morning when I dropped of X-man for Little Gym, I expected us to just chill out and play with his new castle. But we didn't. Instead, we stopped by Old Orchard and he had a pepperoni pizza and we bowled two games. The first game he scored a respectable 71 (His highest ever is 78). I bowled a turkey and a spare the first game, so he was starting to wonder when he'd ever have a "special score."

It came in the second game, where the 4 college guys next to us were trying not to concentrate on the fact that two of them had significantly lower scores in the 7th frame than my five year old. Sure he had bumpers, but they were 20. He finished with a 101. He beat his mother by 1. It was awesome... plus he had two strikes and a spare in that game. MacTroll had run in (he was supposed to meet us for lunch but caught up with his gossiping -- I swear, who needs a water cooler when you have a cellphone?) and he missed my turkey, but he got to see X-man beat me, which was awesome.

After bowling we came home and opened another present. This one came from my aunt and uncle who live in town. X-man could hardly contain himself while I got it out of the box and put batteries in it. Was it a Nintendo DS? Was it slot cars? No.

A microscope. Where he spent almost two hours making slides of stuff around the house. Specimens off of light switches, water from the cat bowl (which was made up of a LOT of hair, go figure), stuff from his shoes, the counter MacTroll made his lunch on, etc. 

As you can tell, Lily was trying to figure out what in the hell he was doing. But my kid is apparently a scientist who bowls. And he's mighty adorable, too.

Oh wait... the karaoke party at our house might just be about to begin.


There are things I forget about now that I'm a teacher -- like teacher gifts. I purchased them for X-man's teachers, but didn't think I'd be getting any for some reason.

But I did. Right now I'm sitting on a small fortune in Panera gift cards, which is awesome. X-man, MacTroll and I used some for dinner the other night. And helping me open my gifts has kind of kept X-man from jumping out of his pants about the presents that are under the tree for him.

Then in the middle of dinner, I realized that I didn't want to drive all the gifts up to Rockford and then haul them back down. So, we began opening some of the gifts that came from people in the mail. This was a good idea. We had new books to read, new games to play and a new castle toy where the English invade the French. KTDID came over and we did our exchange last night. So, there were new Superhero Squad toys to play with and Imaginext's ONLY girl character -- Catwoman was well received. (Dude, she' like in plastic leather with a whip and on a hot motorcycle... Now -- where the hell is Wonder Woman?)

X-man got to stay up late last night, but I'm nipping that in the bud tonight. He is a mess when he stays up. And I don't want him to be a total loss when we get back to school in January. This morning I dropped him off at the Little Gym at 9 a.m. and I'll pick him up at noon. I got to do a 60-minute workout, and now I'm about to go shower.

I have to admit, that I miss this about the old days, when I'd drop him off at Next Generation, and then go about my day, most days of the week. It kind of gave me time to mellow out, and I have to admit, I was a more patient mother when I wasn't tired from playing with other people's children all day. Things to think about, I know...

X-man's visit to the pediatrician regarding his anxiety went well. She agrees with the school that his symptoms aren't ADHD, but that from the information we gave her and his teacher gave her he's lacking in self-esteem and his anxiety is making it hard for him to socialize in school. Academically though, Mrs. Dramado says he's doing very well. 

We started using a fidget with him on Tuesday, as well. He came home with his socks intact for the first time since September! So, we'll keep our fingers crossed that it keeps going well. But it's nice to have some forward positive successes. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Teachers Who Get Kids

On Friday, I got a holiday gift and a note from a parent. The gift was lovely. But the note nearly put me in tears. Then today, I got another gift from a parent... with a giant hug to go along with it and a teary thank you.

I can't tell you the specifics, but what I can tell you is that those two moments gave my mood a giant boost. I have extraordinary worries about my son. Because I want him to feel safe and loved. I want him to have friends that he knows how to communicate with and I don't want his life to be spent, like mine, worried that he's never good enough. I see the traits of my entire childhood coming out in him, and I know the personal beatings that come with it. It's his issue, and it was my issue. In many ways, it still is.

So, like these mothers, I feel a giant sense of relief that he has people in his life that "get" him and support him, and don't think he's some demon spawn from hell the they wish they never had in their classes. I feel a giant sense of relief when they are clearly a partner in trying to help him help himself and are good at guiding him to be the best little person he can be. I like that they see strong traits of leadership, kindness and a want to do well and be successful. It means the world to me that they don't think I'm failing him. Because sometimes, when you have a child who has some issues, you feel like you're standing alone. Like you're a family of lepers or something...

I voiced this one day to one of the staff at X-man's school. He smiled and said he knew EXACTLY what I was talking about. He had it with his son, too.

Tonight at the Rec Center, I walked up to Ms. Sabrina, X-man's favorite staffer. He had given her a holiday gift at Lego Club. And I didn't want to say it in front of him, so I went back later, ran 4 miles and then let her know, that I was so happy he found her. Because he knows that she understands him. She's a safe person for him to go to who takes the time to figure out the bigger thoughts in his head. Teachers like that don't come by every day. And like his kindergarten teacher, they're all trying to support him and teach him to respect the boundaries.

One of the other socialization problems that I'm noticing has also been highlighted by four different parents that I've met of grown single children. "X-man doesn't have sibling to show him the social ropes regarding cruelty. (Yes, siblings can also be VERY loving and kind.) He enters situations expecting everyone to be fair and honest. And he's shocked and frustrated when those kids aren't honorable... and if they're not, why does he need to be?"

It's put a lot of perspective on some of the conversations he's having with me lately about not fitting in at school and not having friends. He's very social and outgoing. But he's also very bossy and wants everyone to live by his rules. :-)

So, you know, he's 5. :-)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Entry of Updates

1. You'll all be delighted to know that I managed to get my earphones to work with my new iPhone. I'm not sure why it works now and didn't work at the Rec Center (maybe I pushed the cord in harder with my Kari-inspired stronger biceps?), but it works. So hooray.

2. I don't want to jinx myself (which means I am) but X-man's Molluscum Contagiosum is totally currently controlled by the bug juice. No more raised bumps, but there are a few little marks left that are a bit like small scars. So hooray.

3. Who knew having a girl dog was going to be so much different than a boy dog? I took Maya on a 75-minute walk this morning. We only went 3 miles, but she got a lot of sniffs in. But the dog peed only once and there were no poops. With Riley, he used to measure his amount of satisfaction of his walk with how many times he could poop. A three poop walk meant he'd be asleep for the rest of the day. However, Riley would let me clip his toenails. He hated it, but I could do it. Lily is totally not into it, so we'll be taking a trip to Petsmart today to have them grind down her nails.

4. KTDID helped me hang pictures in my Loosey-room. I love it. I wrapped presents down there the other day. It's a very happy place.

5. My vegetarianism has made things interesting for X-man. Whenever we go out to eat, he now only picks between 301 Mongolia and Flattop because he knows I can eat there (which is  nice because I make it into soup and it's in the box).

6. I keep trying to make holiday cookies for the cookie sale at school on Monday, but nothing is turning out very good. Apparently, I suck at making jam. So I'm cheating and using some from a jar. Sue me.  I thought I'd try to make everything from BabyCakes so it would be allergy friendly. But at this point, I'm just thinking of going back to the standbys that I make that I know will be good.

7. Only two more days of school... Hooray!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Maybe = Yes

I'm going to be honest. I've only had three boyfriends in my life, and I married the third, so, um, my scope of things is limited. But do you want to know what all three men had in common that I loved so much about them.

When they said, "Maybe" they really meant, "Yes."

When 17-year-old me asked carless MacTroll if there was any way that he could visit me at the University of Iowa Yearbook camp for our one year anniversary. He said, "Maybe."

He showed up, found me at the mall, grabbed my ass -- and almost got punched for it.

When 22-year-old me got into graduate school at American, I called him up and asked if he'd like to move with me. He said, "Yes." When I asked him if he thought we'd do okay living in the same 700 square feet (let alone the same area code) after being long-distance for six years, he said, "Maybe."

When 29-year-old pregnant me asked if he could find a job within Apple where he wouldn't spend 6 months in Tokyo, he said, "Hell yes." Then he committed to scooping the cats for me for a year. Then he committed to taking the night shifts with the baby so I could get some sleep.

Now at 36, he doesn't say maybe that often. But maybe that's because he doesn't have to. Maybe it's because he automatically puts us first when he can. And maybe that's why we're looking at a move to California so hard in the next year or so. Because wouldn't it be nice to be a team more than 40 percent of the time?

--- Maybe --

But I have to tell you, I could never have been with someone where maybe meant no. I need hope and something to look forward to. I need someone else who wants to move mountains. Maybe = no is like saying I don't know. And I hate that phrase more than any other when it comes out of the mouth of men, especially about things that I think they should know -- like their children's shoe sizes or the kind of toilet paper we use. Or... how you feel about another human being.

But right now, MacTroll knows I've been feeling pretty shitty. So he and I spent some time last night making our hotel reservations for San Jose. We're going to spend two nights there in the new Hilton and then two nights in Half Moon Bay. Which reminds me, that I need to call two different school districts and ask for information on coming to tour four different elementary schools, while we drive through the neighborhoods. I'm pretty sure I know where we want to end up as a family with young children. But I just need to see the "hood" with my own eyes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Good Days, Bad Days and Ferris Bueller

Here's the part about blogging where I always find myself challenged. I share a lot on my blog, but I don't share everything, but when I get worked up over something, it might take me weeks to post something even remotely related to how I feel about an event or a comment.

This is one of those posts. X-man has had a rough couple of weeks at school. So, I've had a rough couple of weeks. It's that weird mental umbilical cord that I have never been able to emotionally separate myself. I still do think that what he does totally reflects my skills or efforts as a parent. But what happens when you're the parent staying up all night worrying and waiting and reading about what you can do -- when your child appears to have anxiety. It's no secret that I have a few social anxiety issues myself. So, it's not really a shocker that our son has them. Depression runs in both sides of his family, too. 

I made an appointment in October to get him in to see a pediatrician. My hope at the time was that even if the school's report regarding his attention issues were normal that she could refer us to someone to help with the sock pulling and fidgeting. But even though X-man's own behavior has gotten better in relation to his peers since the beginning of school -- he's crying a lot at school and is often unable to comfort himself. So he ends up in the office to calm down. 

Today, after breakfast he doubled over in pain regarding his stomach. We've had loads of folks at our school out with the stomach bug, so I had to weigh my choices because he was past the point of mentally understanding me having a conversation about the fact that he didn't have a fever and was lying. That was going to lead to a giant, head-on struggle. 

Did I really want to engage the child locks on my vehicle, tackle him to put on his socks and shoes, heave him into the car only to have him undo his belt, quickly drive him to school and shove him out the door and drive away quickly hoping he didn't chase after my vehicle (that's the mental framework he was in this morning)? No. Did I have that kind of quick witted fight in me the day after single parenting during a rather challenging child week to try to use my words to encourage him enough to get over himself to go to school? No. Have I already been emotionally eating (i.e. binging) all week because I feel like I'm just waiting, waiting, waiting for our appointment with the pediatrician on Tuesday because I feel like I've tried everything, and am coming up woefully short. Yes. 

Then X-man got up, raced to the bathroom and started dry heaving and spitting into the toilet. "Mommy, I threw up a little." Well, okay then. Why don't we give him the benefit of the doubt, and I'll call the school and into work, and to my personal trainer, and to my dietician and to the babysitter that I hired so I could go see my nutritionist about my food issues and cancel. And we'll see where this goes. 

Then I explained that when you are sick, you have to sit in your bed and not get out of it the whole day. And so he did. He had the radio on his alarm clock playing softly. He was reading books. He colored a bit. He did some homework pages in a sight reader book. He ate his morning bland snack. Then he ate his bland lunch in peace. 

At 1:15 p.m., he claimed he was feeling much better and maybe he could come down and watch Phineas and Ferb. I said no. He had to stay in his room on his bed. I'd serve him afternoon snack and dinner in there. And then at 6:15, he'd get in the bathtub and go to bed early. 

He looked not excited about it. But when he told me he was feeling better, he also pointed to the clock and told me that school was almost over, too. Strange how feeling better and school being over were put together in that sentence structure. I had to hand it to him. He almost had me. 

So, I climbed into his bed with him and we talked about school. He said his stomach hurts a lot before he goes and when he's there and things go wrong. I'm going to attribute this stomach pain to anxiety. He gets worked up and starts to cry, and then the other kids make fun of him. He also makes some bad choices, and the girls tattle on him. But he won't tell me what those bad choices are. Then he said he was sad, and he didn't want to go back to school. He wants to go to a new school.

I explained that children will act like that no matter where he goes. That it happened at Next Generation, and yes, it's frustrating. But that he has his days when he doesn't make the best choices and hurts others, so he needs to understand that no one is perfect, and that everyone is doing their best.

Then I e-mailed his father about our conversation, and cc:ed it to his teacher and principal. I also made it clear that he'd be going to school tomorrow. And still he sits upstairs, on his bed. This is the most disturbing part of it all. My child hates to sit still. HATES it. Even to wait for roller coasters and cool safari rides. So, how bad is it for him in his head that he chose to sit up there all day rather than go to six hours at school? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

Every cellphone I have ever had since 2003 has been a hand-me down from MacTroll. It wasn't until about a year ago that I got his iPhone 3GS. And I've dutifully carried it, quite happily until suddenly when we were in Florida I noticed a lot of vibrating going on when I'd put the phone on mute... except there weren't any e-mails, calls or texts coming through. The thing was just vibrating, randomly all the time, whenever the button rubbed up against something or bounced a certain way in my bag or pocket.

I never put a cover on the phone, mostly because I ran so much with it using the Nike Plus app. And it wouldn't fit in my $6 arm band case with a cover on it. I guess I always figured since MacTroll had already talked for 12 years of time on it by the time I inherit any of phones, and the battery life on them usually suck by then, that a little dent in a phone here and there wouldn't really matter. I mean, when you inherit a 2 year old phone, it's not like it's your baby.

Except now I have a new iPhone 4S, and this scares and annoys the living crap out of me. First of all, I have a habit of having too many things in my hands and putting phones, keys, etc., down in places that I forget about and have to come back to later. Secondly, it's new. No one has talked on it, which means, kind of like a new car, I'm going to be the person who puts the first dent in it. And last, in order to make the damn thing work, I've already had to do 3 hours of updating to it from my machine only to find out tonight that in order to make my e-mail work with the effing iCloud, I have to update my laptop to Lion. 

MacTroll told me to update on the kitchen machine. The problem is, I don't have any of my addresses on the machine down there. They're all on my laptop. So here I am running a Lion update from the Mac App store (why are there two stores: one on my machine and one in iTunes)? This update is telling me it will take about 3 hours to run... so that makes it a total of 6 hours to make the new phone do what the old phone did.

That's jacked up.

In addition, I learned tonight that it won't work withe volume component on my headphones from Adidas. But it will work with the remote play and pause. WTF is that? Plus, I feel like I should have some kind of protective case on it, because it's new and I'm a klutz. Except then I have to remove the damn case every time I want to go for a run and wear an arm band, which, let's face it is around 3-4 days a week. (Except don't ask me about today's run, it was terrible. I felt like I had rocks in my shoes, so I quit and ran errands instead while X-man was at Rec Zone.)

Anyway, I'm annoyed with the Fruit. And at my sense of annoyance, my spouse stopped texting me. Mostly because he doesn't have a new phone yet (they're on order for his team), so I'm pretty sure he wants me to shut up complaining about it. It already drove him nuts that the phone arrived last Tuesday, and I didn't have time to get the damn thing activated with him until Friday. My priorities apparently do not match his.

And in a final event of failure, there is a boy sleeping in the "Loosey" room in the basement tonight. KTDID came over and helped me hang some pictures and a clock down there, and X-man decided that with the new decorations, it was someplace he needed to sleep. So, he's down there with my lighted cube table on as a night light, the stair hall light on and the bathroom light on.

Sigh. So much for my girls only rule. 

In another completely different conversation, my class is talking about holidays this week. We broke them down into five areas. They were Christian Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, Commercial Christmas and Winter Solstice. We talked about how people celebrate different holidays today, and I talked about the celebration of Christmas as the birthday of Jesus. About the Angel's word that Jesus was there to help guide people. I told them about the manger and the wise men. I asked who went to Church to celebrate Christmas, as nearly everyone in the class's parents had indicated they celebrated Christian Christmas. 

And the class was silent. So, I excused them to go play. We were going to make foot and handprint angels later on, but we had to get our parent gifts finished first and that took a while, and then they were a bit stir crazy, so it was better to do movement games like Simon Says with them.

Tomorrow is Chanukkah, and I'm excited because we're going to do the dreidel game and eat challah bread and watch some Elmo's World talk about the Jews defeating the Greeks and -- um -- I'm not Jewish, but for some reason, it feels like a much more exciting lesson than today, and the Tuesday/Thursday class will get to work on their gifts for their parents.

I guess you can't be teacher of the week every day, but for some reason my heart just wasn't in today's lesson. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Little Fish

X-man played with the Wonder Twins today at the Urbana Aquatic Center. He had a really good time swimming with them, and for the first time, I didn't have to get into the water, so I got to sit on the sides with Special K and chat. It's always so nice to see her.

The last time we were at the pool last winter, we were there with the twins, and X-man went down the water slide. His swimming skills were below the other boys and he wasn't quite as tall, so the lifeguard told him that he couldn't go down the slide any more because they were afraid that he would get hurt. He cried and he cried and he cried. And he refused to even try later in the summer at Sholem because of the experience.

Today, the boys asked X-man if he'd try to go down the slide, and he said no. As soon as the other two boys took off to the slide and went down it successfully. X-man looked at them and followed them up the stairs. He sat down and went down the slide. When he landed, he doggie paddled his way over to the side and --- he got there. He looked at the life guard, but she didn't say anything. He looked at me with a giant smile on his face and I clapped. And the rest of the time was pretty much him going up and down the slide. You know, because he can. He did it so much, the other boys wanted him to stop so they could play with him a bit while they were there. :-)

I am ever so proud of him for taking a chance. And I want to thank Mr. Matt at CRCE for instilling quite a bit of confidence in X-man since he started taking lessons there in September. We're excited to have him again (fingers crossed) when CRCE starts lessons again in February.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I brought X-man home from our afternoon of painting pottery at 3:30 p.m. and I promptly crawled into bed and fell asleep. This is never a good sign. I woke up at 5 p.m. when the boys were making dinner plans. I was freezing. MacTroll put extra blankets on me wearing two shirts and two pairs of pants and double socks.

Now I'm up. I've had a warm meal and some hot chocolate, but I still feel under the weather. The weird part is the nothing hurts. No headache, no stomach ache, no muscle aches, no runny nose. I'm just cold and exhausted.

So, I'm going back to bed. One more day of work, and this week is over. X-man is at home waiting for Santa to call... and then he gets to see him tomorrow at the Tolono Library.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Goodwill in Savoy

Yes, I love my friends and neighbors in Savoy, and I am always very excited about them.

But today, I was excited to see all the signs on Rt. 45 indicating that the Goodwill drop off site is now open and accepting all the crap I've been carrying around in the back of my car that I've been meaning to leave at North Prospect, but either forget about, or run out of time to do.

So today, since my staff meeting got out early. I left some books from my class in the book drop and then swung by the new facilities. I parked at the south end of the building and a nice gentleman came out with a cart to see if he could collect my goodies. I only had a medium-sized box of unnecessary kitchen items and some trays to give him. But I already have another box started in my closet with odds and ends.

In other Savoy news, I have confirmation from Dick Helton that the McDonald's will NOT have a play place in it. But he could confirm there will be some kind of specialty grocery store there but could NOT confirm what kind it would be. I guess we'll find out when everyone has signed on the dotted line. I'm wondering if it will be an Aldi's since they're building that one by the Starbucks up north and they have one next to the Wal-mart to the east. So I guess it makes sense (in my strange and twisted mind) that they'd have one relatively near the Wal-mart to the south.

Someone once told me that Aldi's is owned by the same folks as Trader Joe's, and Wikipedia says it's true. But I also I know Trader Joe's doesn't do small towns... kind of like Southwest doesn't do small airports, which is why they're pulling AirTran out of Bloomington... but I love my Schnuck's, and I was kind of disappointed to hear there'd be another food store in Savoy. But we'll see what happens...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Because you're an idiot?"

There comes a time when you realize that you are not enough. That some people think fondly of you and some people don't, and that sometimes, you've been human and fucked up enough to change their opinion of you from one way to another. Sometimes, if you give it enough time and effort, they'll change their minds back. Sometimes they won't.

I've never been good in these situations. When you're a girl, they start about the age of 4 (which might be why I never want a 4-year-old classroom, because the mean girl syndrome would be the death of me). I was never an alpha girl. The lead "Heather" if you will. I was always more of the Veronica. The girl just outside of the alpha circle, that didn't realize she had enough power and self conviction to be better than she was.

In a lot of ways, I'm still that person. The problem is that it doesn't always occur to me that while I'm living life for me that I sometimes rub others the wrong way. Sometimes, I'm doing all I can do to hold myself together, and I can't concentrate on other people or their feelings at that exact moment. It's hard, because I'd like to think that I can be a good friend. But lately, I'm back to doubting my ability to emotionally connect with my peers. Because ultimately, I exist in some kind of shadowed periphery. I like it there. It's safe and camouflaged, and I don't get burned so often.

It's when I come out and try to enjoy the sun that I usually find myself entirely overwhelmed. I start to make mistakes. People's feelings get hurt, and I realize I never should have crawled out of my lonely hold to begin with.

On the other hand, maybe I just like to think of myself as a Veronica because she wore awesome vests and ended up as Spock's Mom. Unfortunately, there were far too many ugly situations for her along the way. But she did date some amazingly cute men...

Monday, December 5, 2011

How Do I Know It's Christmas

Not because of the pile of boxes in the dining room.
Not because we've hung our stockings by the chimney with care.
Not because the tree is up, or the sad outdoor lights.
But because when I get head butted by Maya, our large, fuzzy torti cat --

Her head sticks to me -- just for a few seconds.
She's covered in sap from drinking the water out of the tree.

X-man also hung all the bells low on the tree so she could ring them as she played.

Oh, and here's a funny. I went to Petsmart to pick up cat food. Our cats are on light food because Luke and Maya are pushing the limits. But we used to be on Science Diet "Active Longevity" (This is what they renamed senior). When I was in the store yesterday, I looked for the pink bag, and noticed they'd redesigned and now there's a new senior food called, "Age Defying" for cats ages 11+.

Seriously, Science Diet?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stupid Men and Their Damn Guns

So last week while we were in Florida, I get an e-mail from my neighbors on the East Side of Preston that hunters have been pulling up and shooting at the retention pond behind our house, and that he's been waking up to gun shots every morning.

He contacted the guy who owns Signature Homes, who admitted that he gave permission to hunters to be out there after 8 a.m., but that 5:30 a.m. is definitely abusing the privilege. My neighbor explained that his informal poll of other Prairie Meadows residents concluded that they don't want any shooting going on anywhere near their homes.

He apologized and said he'd contact the Sheriff's office, because apparently the hunters -- are sheriffs. So now we're home. The hunters are parking at the dead end of Bradford and Preston which wakes my dog up in a rage every morning at 5:30 a.m. I'm not really someone who approaches men who drive big black trucks that have four or five hunting caps in the window and are heavily armed to have conversations... so I e-mailed the builder.

He apologized and said he'd call the Sheriff's office.

I woke up to gun shots this a.m. at 6:30 a.m. again.

So I called the Sheriff's office. But since I don't own the land... I can't do shit about it. So I e-mailed the builder again. And then I went out there and on pink paper with silver lettering left notes for them to contact the owner and gave them the contact info.

For the life of me, I will never understand hunting. It's dark and cold and you go out there and sit, then you shoot something and have to get in a boat to go out and retrieve it... or send a dog. Which makes you wet and cold and in the dark... And then you have to go home and pluck it and skin it and wash your dirty dog. It all just sounds gross and messy. And I've had duck. It's not all that tasty. It's really pretty oily and there's not much to it. And as far as I know Canadian Geese (for reasons I'm sure escape everyone) are still a federally protected species. But surely, someone who is a Sheriff can understand people not wanting their peace disturbed in a residential area before 8 a.m.

And I totally get the feeling the Signature Homes guy is just going to let this ride until the end of hunting season. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Friday, December 2, 2011

X-man's Best Day Ever

Tonight we went to the Fighting Illini Hockey Game. We left at the end of the second period, as we always have to do because X-man just can't last past 9 p.m. and be human. But at the beginning of the second period, X-man was polishing off the last of his hot pretzel (which wasn't hot any more) and boom -- out came his first loose tooth.

He was so excited that he immediately had to go pee.

I held the baby tooth for him as he explored the open hole and made a lost of lispy noises like Cindy from the Brady Bunch. Then at the end of the second period, he gave one of the refs a big goofy grin and boom -- he got one of the pucks from the game.

As he cradled it to his chest, my child started crying in joy. He was excited about the tooth fairy. And now -- now the nice man gave him a puck. Plus, the Illini were ahead 6-2 at the end of the second period.

On the way down the steps, he said, "This is my best day ever."

He's anxious to get to bed now, so that the tooth fairy can get here and he can have something special from her.

Working It Out

This is the first week where I have managed to exercise every day this week since I got injured last May. It helps that Wednesday and this afternoon will be spent in the basement of Kari Gardner in session 2 of 6 of our personal training time together (and if you're reading her website, I am one of her "aging adult with a debilitating orthopedic condition" clients so don't think I'm going to have a body like an Athleta model or anything.). But the big news is that I'm back to running 3.5-4 miles on my "long" runs. It'll take another month or so, but I'm feeling like I might actually get back into having my long run be 7 miles, average run be 5 miles and my short run being 3 miles again. And it would be nice to move from 10 miles a week up to 15 miles a week, and then mellow out at running 20-25, which was my average before I started half marathon training last year.

The other nice news is that in the last four weeks, I was able to lose 7.7 lbs. I'm still "in the box" with Carle for another 8 weeks. My goal is to get back into that 160-165 lb range. So I'm 4.3 lbs away from hitting the high end of that range. I made it through Thanksgiving at Disney pretty well. I packed the meals and oatmeal (because I find it easier to travel without my Magic Bullet blender). I ended up eating out of the box (4 mini balls of falafel with a side salad) when I first got there because we were in such a rush to get to the parks that I forgot to eat some oatmeal before heading out. Then there was the issue that the hotel said they'd have a microwave available on their web site... but neglected to state it would cost me $35 a day. So, um, I just ate a lot of pasta fagoli cold. But I also went out of the box for a coconut mound from Babycakes, the Vegan bakery. It was a whole different kind of oral sex.

Other than that, the foot and back are doing well. I'm still taking 3 iron pills a day to keep my iron up, and will likely do that for life. I'm also on a B complex since I became a vegetarian. It's made me make much healthier choices eating overall, which is what I was hoping for. Now the next big challenge is that I have to bake 5 dozen cookies for a bake sale at work on Dec. 19-20. I guess I'm going to have to have X-man and MacTroll do my taste testing. And I'm quite sure they'll hate that. :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let the Lego Advent Begin

X-man opened day one of his Lego City Advent Calendar this morning at 6:30 a.m., so he'd have enough time to play with whatever thing came out of the first window before heading to school. Then when he rushed home, he picked up his mail (the Mickey Ears we had to have mailed home because they have a 48-hour wait on stitching them and we weren't there that long.)

Then he belly flopped in front of the advent calendar wondering what day 2 would be like.