Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Off We Go

Tomorrow we're on the 7 a.m. flight to DCA (Washington National to old timers, Reagan National Airport to newbies). We're staying at the Sheraton Four Points downtown. I'm excited because it means that we can walk to the National Mall from the hotel.

We'll be staying downtown for two nights and then we'll drive up to Baltimore to take X-man to the Children's Museum and then to his cousins on Friday night, where we'll stay until Monday morning.

We usually go to their house every Memorial Day, but decided that rather than rushing back so X-man could attend 75 minutes of school to get his report card... we'd just leave the day after school got out instead.

So, Lily is off at Doggies on the Farm. Fetch is caring for all four cats, and Super Shanna is in charge of the gardens if it doesn't rain on Thursday. :-)

Me? I'm hoping to take X-man to the Natural History Museum, The National Museum of American History and Arlington National Cemetery (he is the kid who likes to picnic in graveyards).

We're also taking him to his first fondue restaurant in Arlington on Thursday night.

When we get back, X-man starts his twice a week swim lessons with a new instructor at the YMCA. We've also scheduled a couple play dates with some friends from school and I have to finish calling folks to do estimates on some of the jobs I have around the house. I already have a fix it man and a plumber coming to look at my list. It would be nice if all the stuff I can't do myself was all done by July. But we'll see. I know I'll have Picasso and Sons back in January to do some touch ups in the basement and take care of some nail pops upstairs in the hallway and master bedroom.

I'll also need to call Dr. K and ask him to schedule an ultra sound on my ankle. Wearing the brace and taking a lot of anti-inflammatories isn't doing much but making my stomach upset and wanting to me to eat more to try to make it less yucky feeling. Funny how that's always been my drive. Maybe if I eat more, my stomach will feel better rather than -- don't eat anything. Oh well.

Today, X-man went with me to pick up the books from the book drops and take them to the library. They were full, so it was a big job, but as always, he helped me out. Then when we got to the library, he took his special library bag with his big boy library card looped to it on a D-Ring and went to the Easy Reader section. Some brilliant person had finally divided the easy readers up by levels. Not that the various publishers have done us the favor of making a level 1 meet the same criteria across the publishing field, but it X-man knew he fell between the K and the level 2s somewhere. He pulled out all the books he wanted to read himself (because that's required this year as a first grader in the reading program), then he pulled out picture books he wanted to read to me and then he got some graphic novels (one Spiderman and one Pokemon) that he wants me to read to him.

When it was time to check out I knew I had two books on hold for me. He said, "Mom, there are kids on this side. You go to the other side." So I did. And he waited for two bigger boys to check out and then he dutifully pulled every book out one by one and talked to the staff member about his last day of kindergarten, how he could read most of the books by himself, but that he might need Mom to help put them back in the bag. And how he was excited because he was finally big enough to take care of himself at the library.

And it was nice, to sit at the library and have nothing to do. No books to search for my class. No jealous X-man wondering why I spent so much time bringing my classroom books than him books (to be fair I checked out 70 books per unit for my 19 students... and he got 15 books a week just for one kid).

But it was nice to see that independence. Sometimes, I wonder where it went. Because when he was 3 if I even tried to do something for him, he got angry. But the last year has been a lot of whining about how he can't do things. So, today, was a nice change of pace.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's Coming Together!

MacTroll and I headed out to Country Arbours on Saturday after dropping of X-man with my dad for their canoeing weekend in Starved Rock. (Well, actually they were canoeing at Rock Cut in Rockford, but it was an in-between place to do the exchange.)

We bought a birch tree that is going to be planted in our front yard on June 6. My dreams of having blueberries in that garden died when the bunnies decided to eat them all winter for three years in a row. :-)

We also replaced the Corlus bush and the dead hydrangea bush. And all the stuff is off the deck for the guys to come smash it up and fix it while we're in D.C. this week. Super Shanna is keeping an eye on the house for us, so she can turn the air conditioning off and on while they take it off and get rid of it and then pour the new concrete.

At least that's what's supposed to happen.

If it doesn't, we'll be contacting our lawyer. And, even though I have loved a lot of people who have become lawyers in my life, I hate having to deal with them in any actual real official capacity.

We'll be leaving the door to the basement propped open so that the cats can go down there to cool down. And I think I'll move Sally Ride down to the basement bedroom, so she's chill too. She is still maintaining her private suite. And I think she likes it that way. KTDID might have a friend interested in adopting her. If not, she'll go to CATSNAP sometime next week.

I also turned the basement closet under the stairs into X-man's dress up closet. I hung some 3M hooks on the walls to hang up all of his cool dress up hats. And there's a giant Rubbermaid box down there with all of his dress up outfits.

The beds are stripped. MacTroll and I had "clean sheet night" last night (which if you have animals, you understand). And X-man's are about to go into the washer.

My goal for this summer, and I know some of you who are super readers will laugh at this, is to read a book a week that is not a book I'm reading for my child. It's also to read the books I have on my bookshelves that I have never read before so that I can decide if we'll move with them, or if I should donate them to the library for them to sell.

This morning the puppy got us up in a crazed state. She needed dog time. So, we took her over to the dog park. She's transitioned from wrestle play to wanting to fetch tennis balls the entire time we're there. This is an interesting situation because Riley NEVER liked balls. He hated all things spherical. He did love fetching sticks out of lakes though. Part of me wants to take her over to the Colbert Lake and see how she does in the water. I'll need to be armed with a bunch of treats though, so she doesn't go far. Also unlike Riley, she is entirely food motivated.

Tomorrow is X-man's last hour and 15 minutes of kindergarten. I'm meeting Quigs for breakfast at Panera after we drop him off. Then, we're taking my car in for an oil change. Exciting stuff.

My hope is to take X-man to Sholem that afternoon as a family to celebrate summer. I even stopped by Target last night to arm my whiter than white husband and child with 50+ sunblock.

Then on Wednesday, we get up early and head to our first summer vacation in D.C./Baltimore-area.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Snakes, why did it have to be snakes!

Tonight, MacTroll let Lily out in the yard. And then he said, "Holy shit! There's a snake."

I went outside to get Lily and when I saw it... it wasn't a cute garter snake.

No, it was a Prairie King Snake.

It was over three feet long with a tiny head. And I think it ate two of the three baby bunnies in the back of our yard.

MacTroll picked it up with a rake and put it on the other side of the fence... It's not like he can't get back in (I wanted him to take it somewhere a few miles away. But now every time I go in the backyard to mow or send X-man out in the sandbox or let Lily out to pee, I'm going to wonder... Is that damn snake out there?



My alarm went off at 6 a.m., and it doesn't need to do that -- for a very long time.

Of course, it woke all the four-legged creatures up. So, here I am. But they've now been all fed and watered and let out, so I'm going back to bed.

Or maybe I should go swim some laps?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hold it Together, Loosey

There are two days left to the school year at MMO. Yesterday, my first big segment of children said goodbye to me. I held it together, but I really almost cried when the Moms came up to me to say goodbye. I note my children's progress through photographs. It marks the moment they switch from an whole hand grip on paintbrushes and markers to using the three finger pencil hold. I put in their first attempts at tracing their names, when they ask to learn how to write them. I put in photos of them jumping, running, playing with their friends and other developmental milestones.

The first page of the binders is a handprint that I made last September that says, "This is the hand that you held when I was two."

And apparently, when the Moms got back to their cars and opened up the binder and saw the first page they started to cry. They're babies have most certainly become big kids over the last 9 months. It's a big deal that they trusted me to care and educate their children. It meant a lot to me. And I'll treasure them all.

But I know the worst day will be tomorrow. Out of all of the days that I teach, Friday has always been my favorite. I only have six students. They're all the "older" kids and for whatever reason their chemistry is insanely cohesive. They play as a group. They never fight. They're eager to learn. And they're all just -- very kind to each other all the time.

It'll also be the official end of the school year.

And then I go back to only being Mom. But I really loved my school year of being Ms. Loosey to my own class.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Today was a full day and very productive. The yard is mowed. I now have all the salsa garden planted. I just need to weed and plant the seeds for the melons that I'm trying and for the sweet corn.

I actually broke a metal hand-held weeding tool on something I was trying to dig up in the front yard. This weekend while X-man is with my Dad, we're going to go by Country Arbours and buy three trees. I want to replace the baby boy gingkos in the side yard that have only grown 1 foot in 5 years with taller trees. I'm also going to put a birch tree in the whale-shaped garden in front.

I also need to pick up two bushes. I was hoping for a dwarf lilac or something similar. I need to take out the Corlus bush that the Japanese Beatles killed last year and the spot I put the Hydrangea in the backyard was much too hot. So they're both up for replacing.

I also need to get some temporary fencing to go around the garden boxes to keep Lily out of them and enough to fill in the two large holes she's dug in the backyard in her youth, so I can fill them with grass seed and keep them protected from her going back to dig some more.

I also need to call Freak's friend about getting an estimate on painting my fence and front porch. And give someone a shout about power washing my house.

Even though I'm in an ankle brace for my crappy tendons, I still managed to take over 21,000 steps today and burn almost 6900 Nike Fuel.

My usual number (even with a fitness class) is around 4500 and 15,000 steps. So, I was on my feet a lot today. I can tell, because now that I'm off of my foot, it hurts. I swear I just took some Aleve an hour ago. It's not like I went to step class or anything!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Making My Job Easier -- Sort Of

We learned this week that two of our long-time friends are moving away. This is both heartbreaking and comforting to me. It's heartbreaking, because I'll miss not having them around. And comforting, because it helps X-man understand that more people move than just us... the fact that he has to say goodbye to two other families kind of reinforces the fact that it's part of life. 

And when he asks if we'll go visit them -- the answer is always -- YES!!

Aqua Running it is

The podiatrist's initial evaluation is in. I've messed up my peroneal tendons on the lateral (outside) part of my foot. So, I'm in a corset ankle brace.

If the extra support doesn't help in the next three weeks, they're going to schedule me for an MRI. Fabulous.

I'm only allowed to walk, do the bike and swim. So I signed up today for the Tuesday morning Aqua Running class with Synergistic Effects and then I plan to get in some water classes at the Y instead of my usual favorites.

Luke's blood test came back that he has pancreatitis. I'm picking up his enzymes and anti-nausea shots today. Poor dude has me messing with him all day. I've got to pill him priolosec, put enzymes in wet food,   shoot him up and clean his yeast ridden ears and put in meds twice a day.

So, you know, it's good school is ending... so I can be Dr. Quinn all summer. :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Massive Update

First, this is a cute photo. Luke, our cat who is losing weight like there is no tomorrow, is the one with the white face and white feet. He is 12 years old and blood work will come back today to give us, hopefully, some insight into his condition. In my gut, I think it's IBS or intestinal cancer. He's lost his appetite. The cat behind him is Clawdio, the cat no one ever sees. He's almost 15. He and Luke are usually at odds over the fact that Luke as a 15 lb cat is sometimes too rough with 8.5 lb Clawdio. But now that Luke's weight has come down to 12 lbs. and he's sick. Clawdio has no problems using Luke's butt as a pillow. But I'm feeling pretty helpless about Luke's condition. 

This is me with red hair. I didn't mean to get it this red, but I won a free cut and color and this is how it ended up. Thunder McGavin noticed right away at the pool on Sunday. His Mommy, Libbygirl, has the most awesome red hair. 

This is the view from the track from inside the YMCA. I got there a little early for Body Attack on Saturday morning, so I walked the track. I found the view kind of funny. In other places big windows usually show some kind of water view -- an ocean or a lake. We have a sea of dirt and baby corn. And ironically, it was nice to look off into the distance and not see -- people. It's one of the things I love about not being in a big city. I can do the same thing behind my house right now. I can just look and think -- no people. That's not going to be true by fall, I think (I've seen lots of trucks and curious cars pulling into the back 40). 

It's our last week of school around here. I got several student progress binders done this week. We save the ones for children who are returning to MMO next year so that teachers can add to them. But the ones for students who are leaving get their binders sent home.

I've got to do another 9 binders to get done before Thursday.

Other than that, today is a big day. Work, lunch, podiatry appointment, weigh in, Body Attack (if I'm not casted), T-ball, planting tomatoes, peppers and herbs and binders. I have to remember to call Mrs. Cahill and let her know I won't get to volunteer today because of my doctor's appointment.

MacTroll flew out again at 6 a.m. but we had fun going to dinner at Sun Singer and seeing the Avengers on Saturday night. We also stayed home and watched Morgan Spurlock's film on ComicCon on Friday night as a family. X-man really wants to go -- when he's old enough to wait in line. :-)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hair today, Gone Tomorrow

So here's a question... I got my hair cut and colored by Shannon at Salon A. She was very nice. I liked her. But she left Salon A for Salon B and her card to me about where she was moving didn't reach me until after the appointment I had with her. So I let Betty color my hair in March.

I made another appointment with Betty, because she did a good job, and Salon A is convenient to my house. Not that the other woman isn't too far down the road.

Except before I had that appointment, I did a benefit walk and won a free cut and color in a raffle. And that's like a free $100. BUT it was at Salon B -- with Mabel.

So, I booked the appointment and went yesterday. Mabel is young. She was very sweet, but color had to be corrected cause it went a bit wonky the first time. So I was there -- no lie for three hours.

The whole time I was next to Shannon. She said hello and then talked to me a bit while Mabel was away. Then she gave me her card and said, "No matter what you decide. Maybe we should get our kids together."

It was all very odd. And I feel like I'm cheating on people -- even though it's not like I had a committed relationship with any of them.

This is what I get for being a girl who never actually "dated."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Well, That's Something You Don't See Every Day

I walked out into my garage this a.m. to put some things for school in my car. And there banging it's head on the ceiling was a hummingbird.

A sparrow trapped in a garage -- sure. You see it all the time in the big box stores. But a hummingbird? How often does that happen?

Apparently, I'd left the garage door open all night. And I have no idea how long the little bird was out there (even though the big door was wide open). But my guess is he was out of brain power by the time I got out there, because I stood on a chair with a 5" wide fishing net and he landed on it. I got down and walked him out to the open air and he flew off.

Poor little dude. I hope he finds some food and fast!

In other news, Sally is awesome. She's 10-12 months old, spayed, front-declawed and FELV/FIV free. She also had a clean fecal exam so hooray! She goes back for a booster in two weeks and then she's off to CATSNAP.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dumping the Load

1. I joined the Y for the child care since my spouse is never around. I've been going to introductory Body Attack and Body Step classes since the middle of April. I did my first "double" of Intro to Body Attack and a full Body Pump session on Monday. I did a 45-minute walk on Tuesday night, went to Intro to Body Step on Wednesday, and then hit a full hour of Body Attack this a.m. I love it and I can't wait to exercise all summer. That said...

2. My right foot, that I broke, last fall, started hurting about three weeks ago. I went for a massage on my calves because all my work with tennis balls and icy water bottles and ibuprofen hasn't been helping and I'm pretty sure it's related to my degenerative disk disease. Because it's only on my right side. In fact, all of my pain is always on my right side. So, today, after Body Attack, I broke down and called Christie Podiatry. If my foot is broken again, I'm going to be very, very sad. But then again, I should probably haul my ass into Carle and let them test my vitamin D level again.

3. Concrete Solutions who poured my awesome back patio jacked up last summer and used shit concrete. They've been promising to make it right since pretty much a week after it was poured and haven't done so. They said they'd be here the week of April 30 to do it, but then it rained. It's now 17 days later, and I haven't heard from them, even though I contacted them. MacTroll gave an angry call to the owner, who blamed his manager for the Champaign area because he's moved on to the Indianapolis expansion. MacTroll explained that he was the owner and needed to make good on his promise to fix our patio -- and that he needed a firm date that they'd be here to start because this was unprofessional. He said it was going to cost him $6,000 to make it right. MacTroll re-emphasized that we paid $7,000 for the patio, and that we still didn't get what we paid for. I heard from the manager for Champaign that he'd be here the Tuesday after Memorial Day. If he's not... we'll be contacting a lawyer... which is going to cost them a lot more...

4. I ordered a book of photos that I take of X-man every year of his life. His 5-year book just arrived and it's got these weird white outlines around the photos like someone told the computer to "etch" around the outside. None of the photos in the book program indicated that they were low resolution and none of the pictures are pixelated. MacTroll and I think it's a printing error. I went to the help page at Apple, and under returns it says it wants to help me. But then it doesn't give me anyone to contact. So I hit the general "chat with customer service" and explain the problem. The guy takes a moment and looks it up in his little book and then tells me that he can't help with print issues and that I have to CALL a 1-800 number at Apple. Seriously? You're a high tech company and I have to call you. WTF?

5. I am in the dunk tank at the MMO carnival on Friday from 12-12:30. Adults who want to come can pay $3 for our playground fund for the chance to dunk me. And yes, I'll be in a swimsuit. :-) So I hope it's warm.

And, um, I think that's all that's making me want to smack my head against a brick wall today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On the Way to Therapy...

X-man asked me, "Mommy, why at recess do the black kids only play with the black kids and the white kids only play with the white kids?"

"Who do you play with?" I answered.

"I like to play with everyone -- but that's not true for very many other kids."

"Does it happen in your class?"

"Sometimes, but it's better because Mrs. Dramado assigns the centers."

"Out of all of your teachers, which one do you like the best?"

"Mrs. Dramado."


"She didn't give us homework today." :-)

He was very good about leaving the gym today. And he was very good at t-ball practice. Today, MacTroll came back from his meeting in Ft. Lauderdale. He's home for the rest of the weekend. This is technically his only week home in the month of may, even though he was gone for two days of it.

Tomorrow, I took the day off. I think I'm going to hit the gym, then buy soil and compost and finally put together my box gardens. X-man has his kindergarten concert (he's very excited that he has friends who are actors in it) and then at 3 p.m., I'm taking Sally to the vet. I'm getting her shots and vet work done so I can get her ready to hand over to the Catsnap people who are hoping to have a foster home for her as of June 1. I also need to make an appointment for Luke. Even though he's stopped having diarrhea and vomiting, he doesn't appear to be eating as much. He is eating though. He eats wet food and dry food. I just think he's getting to skinny and it's reminding me of Nyssa and her cancer.

So, you know... I had a pet cancer filled 2011. I really hope it's not extending to 2012.

How am I not an alcoholic?

X-man's been having moderate, sudden freak outs lately. Monday, it was over a misplaced Pokemon card that he had to have on the ride to school or the world would end.

Then at library time, his librarian showed the class Charlie and Lola. It's a video we own and that X-man has seen since he was 1. There's an episode where Lola and her friend, Lotta, agree to care for Sizzles the dog. And, of course, they break the owner's one rule about not letting the dog off the leash. As it turns out there are two dachshunds who are identical at the park, which poses a problem. When it got to the part where Lola let the dog off the leash and it got lost and then they couldn't tell it apart from one another, "X-man covered his years and started saying, 'No, No, No!" really loudly. The librarian had to come over and reassure him that it's not scary. Except that it was -- to him. Even though he'd seen it a million times. Even though we had the freaking book.

Today, it was over going to Lego Club. We specifically made a play date with a friend to come over. We pick him up after school. Then the boys have snack and do their homework. Then they play for 25 minutes and then we leave.

I give the heads up at five minutes and then at two minutes. And then I expect them to get their shoes on to go. Yeah -- no.

X-man flipped his lid. "I'm locking the door and not coming down!"

I get it. You're suddenly having a good time in your room with your friend. Fine. BUT it's the last Lego club. Your friend's parents are picking him up there. And we gotta go.

The friend comes downstairs. "X-man got wild and hit me."


I go upstairs. "I was mad at you and I wanted him to keep playing."

So tonight I reinstated the system we used when he was 4a nd an emotional mess. He gets an idea of what the range is 1-5. It's something I learned at the autism resource room when I was a student. You assign different levels to emotional responses. In our case a 5 obviously being hitting people/animals, a 4 is hitting inanimate objects, a 3 is shouting a 2 is whining or using a tone and a 1 is describing how he's feeling in big boy words. Clearly, we want a 1.

We also talked about how much he's been interrupting lately. He got out of this when I started the count to five system. I'd hold out my hand with a one and then as slowly or as quickly as I want, I'd let fingers raise to show that I know he's waiting and that he, too, will have a turn.

It worked at 4. I'm hoping it works at 6.

Then tonight, we read a book on tattling, because it's a problem in X-man's classroom. It was a book by Julia Cook who does those toddler books on "Teeth are Not for Biting," etc. X-man got four pages into it and saw that the boy's tongue turned purple and yellow and grew longer from tattling and freaked out. We had to close the book, and I had to go through a 20 minute conversation about how that doesn't really happen. It's made up. X-man got some books, read in his bed for 5 minutes and then came in my room claiming he was scared of the tattle tongue. I had taken the book out and put it in the library return bag in my car during the 5 minutes. He came in a second time, and I got down to the meat in it.

"You're not really worried about some random monster with a tattle tongue. You're worried that YOU'LL get the tattle tongue because you tattle, right?"

Tears welled up in his little yes. "Yes!"

Really? So we went over fiction and non-fiction. And he was still scared. And well, I was tired. So I took him back to his room and tucked him in. I gave him his Richard Scarry book that he likes to search for Goldbug in and told him it would comfort him. He was asleep 10 minutes later.

I'm feeling terribly incompetent right now as a parent. I'm also exhausted. Why is looking after 13 children who are three years younger than he is easier than facing the fact that I've fucked up my own? Oh wait -- there you have it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hodge Podge of Parenting Bits

Today, I started really trying to teach X-man to tie his shoes. I bought a book with two different colored laces to help with the instruction. I keyed up the Youtube video of other kids showing how to tie shoes (a suggestion that worked for one of X's friends who didn't want his Mom to help him). I then offered to show him how to do it. And he grabbed the laces from me, told me to go away, that he didn't want to look at the pages and he didn't want to watch the video because it made him feel bad. He was going to figure it out by himself.

As you can guess, that didn't workout too well.

Then came the explosive, "I can't do it!" "The hole keeps leaving!" "Get away from me!" (whenever I tried to help him.)

So I left him screaming and crying at not being able to do something fabulously the first time he tried.

He tried two more times, with no success. Sighed. Cried. Sighed again and then said. "I'll try again tomorrow."

And, of course, after talking about how he's a freak about learning to tie his shoes, I have to say that we got a letter (as I'm sure all kindergarteners in Unit 4 got) about them creating a first grade gifted class at Doc Howard. MacTroll asked if we wanted to nominate him. I wasn't really keen on the idea. I was in a self-contained gifted program 7-12th grades. And really, it just incited a lot of "us" versus "them" mentality that wasn't healthy. We were "gifted" they were "regular." Or they were "honors" regular, but certainly they weren't "gifted."

As a grown up, that whole situation totally freaks me out. MacTroll and I agreed that even if he had a spot in a gifted program, we wouldn't be changing his schools. So what would be the point?

Now I'm going outside to set up the sprinkler and play in the sandbox.

Nine more freaking days of school. Thank goodness.

Friday, May 11, 2012

We Have Babies!

The other day Lily was in the front yard with MacTroll and I and she snuck behind our Black Lace bush in the garden. A bird flew out of it in a hurry and Lily went nuts. (She hates birds, but loves to chase them.) I thought, mmm, I should see if there's a nest out there.

Tonight, I went out to walk with my neighbor, G. On the way out, the bird flew out of the bush again. So I snuck over and looked. And there with beaks wide open were two baby robins. I showed them to X-man and MacTroll. And now we know to keep Lily out of the front yard.

In other news, the feline visitor upstairs now has a name. We've been calling her Sally, as in Sally Ride. She is a Maine Coon. She is very soft. She is very gentle. She's not very playful, though. More restful. I went up and laid with her tonight with my iPad and watched last night's Grey's Anatomy. Sally curled into my arm and purred. She's declawed in the front. I have contacted both the Champaign County Humane Society and Catsnap about what to do with her after her seven day period at our house (i.e. no one has reported her lost to animal control, answered our fliers or responded to my Craigslist post).

I've volunteered to pay for her vet care. So, I'll be calling Dr. Mary tomorrow to set up a visit next week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today, Chambanamoms.com spoke at my Rotary Club. If you haven't met them, they're very lovely women. I haven't interacted with them more than a handful of times in person and I was a dedicated reader for many years to their blogs before they started the Chambanamoms web site.

It was lovely to listen to them speak about how they came about creating a media that also serves as a community organizer. It was also interesting to listen to Mrs. Chicken talk about how isolating parenthood can be. And how more and more moms are flocking to social media to find connections around the globe for what they're going through within the time constraints they have.

She's right, motherhood can be isolating. It's what I found when I started to fight my way out of postpartum depression so many years ago.

And I did find some online families that I care very much for via Meetup.com and later, when we all were able to join Facebook we tried to migrate that group over, but it just -- didn't go very well.

Then the kindergarten year started... and I felt more and more isolated. What's worse is that since the Facebook thing didn't look to be going as well, I felt frustrated. Other relationships on Facebook were also -- worrisome and upsetting, so I left.

As I'm sitting there listening to them talk about how vital the Internet was for Mrs. Chicken and Little Blog on the Prairie to find each other and for their mission as an organization, I grew a little sad. Because in the end, social media didn't really make me feel connected. It made me feel like I had fake connections. But then when I disconnected, I felt like those connections were pared down to just a couple of people.

And to me that felt like reality. In reality, that's what I really had in my corner as a mostly single Mom. At first I was frustrated. I wondered why, if people cared as much as they insisted they did on the internet, they didn't actually show up. And then I accepted the reality and got through the grief. I also stopped thinking of my life in a series of witty one- or two-line phrases.

I'm not an extrovert by nature. I am when I have to be. But I guess I crawled into my introvert cave and then felt sorry for myself about it. I don't know why it happened, and as quickly as I could I turned those feelings over, saw the gross bugs lying underneath them and turned my nose up in disgust. I'm human.

After the onslaught of panic, I was awarded with a feeling of relief. I didn't have to keep up with 400 people. The people that I called that cared still took my phone calls and made play dates with my child and me. They did what they could, but in a way, I think most of the people I used to know saw me as abandoning them. And even though that was not my intention, I'm pretty sure it left a bad taste in some people's mouths.

Life is a lot quieter now. I still don't feel like I get to invest enough into the friendships I care about, but a lot of that has to do with children's schedules. The truth is that I used to be able to get out on my own a lot more than I do now. When MacTroll traveled every other week, I had a schedule that I could follow.

Now everything is all up in the air, and I know my babysitting dollars really need to be used toward meeting with my nutritionist and going to my library board meetings and from time to time a night out with my husband.

It's the way it is right now. Who knows what will happen in a year? I guess we'll just wait and see.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Temporary Visitor

Do you know this cat?

I found her yesterday scared and hungry behind the power generator at the Savoy Recreation Center. I started posting flyers today and called both animal control and the Humane Society so in case someone was looking for her they'd have my number. Currently, she's pretty much bored out of her gourd in my guest room. I've at least given her a few toys, a bit of Frontline (she looks clean of fleas and mites, but just in case...) and she's eating and drinking fine.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Adult Friendship Dilemmas

Recently, I found myself seated with two other mothers who have boys who are friends at school with my son. I don't know the moms very well. But I do know that they have been nothing but nice every time I've seen them. They're on that, "I'd like to get to know you better if I had more than four days a month to schedule things I want to do with other adult people  -- which probably don't fit in with the four days a month you might have time to schedule non-family things" list.

And it made me sad. Mostly, because, X-man is fond of their children.

But then in the middle of the conversation, one of the moms, who I definitely adore, invites my son to her Vacation Bible School. It was very sweet and I thanked her. But not before I blurted out, "We're atheists."

I've never been real sure how to handle these situations. I know I'm being honest, but you never know if, when you tells someone something like that, they take it personally. Like do they think I don't like them now because I know they believe in god... and the vice versa.

Later that afternoon, I kind of felt okay about blurting it out because I was being honest. It's a big part of who I am. I don't hide it, but religion doesn't really play a role in my life (unless you count watching Castle as a religion). But I know it does in other people's. I'm not ashamed. It's just not how I normally lead conversations with when I interact with new people. And I hope I didn't make her uncomfortable.

The next day at school, I walked X-man in and I ran into her son. He looked at me very lovingly and asked, "Do you know Jesus?"

I figured that the mom must have had a talk about it with her son, so I answered as very nicely as possible, "I know of Jesus, but I've never physically met him."

One of the other parents found that to be kind of funny, and so did the child. So I let it go at that.

But later during the pledge of allegiance, X-man said that the child asked him why he didn't say the "under god" part during the pledge.

X-man said he didn't say anything for a while and then said, "My family isn't 'under god'."

The little boy was apparently very quiet. X-man said he looked like he was in disbelief.

I can see this going in a good way, and a bad way. And I really hope it goes the good way.

I talked to X-man about going to the Vacation Bible School. I explained that it's always good to learn about the different beliefs there are in the world, so that he can make his own informed decision. He said no thank you, but that he would very much like to play with his friend this summer.

Then he followed it up with, "It's okay that we're different, Mom. It's what makes us -- us. If we were all the same, life would be boring."

And that was one of those times when I just wanted to hug his little social anxiety ridden body to mine forever.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wolf Boy

Last weekend, we went to Chicago for my great aunt's funeral. Before the event, we stopped at Brookfield Zoo for a couple hours so that X-man could get some kid time in before going to a non-kid friendly event for several hours.

I had a memory from the first time he was at Brookfield when he was two. It was a father's day weekend, and his father wasn't there. But my dad was, and my sister, and her ex-husband. I flipped back to those photos on my computer and there it was.

The zoo had someone repaint the sign between then and now.

X-man looked at the picture from when he was two and asked who that kid was. So, no, he doesn't remember, but I do.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


It must be May, because I am suddenly a sneezing, itchy eyed mess. It started last night after mowing the front lawn (which had gone to seed in all the rain we've had).

I am allergic to seeding grass, usually only in the spring. I don't know why, but I have to get the Claritin-D in order to function without scratching out my eyes. It started when I was 16 and has continued into adulthood.

Lucky for me, I have to mow the back yard this morning.

I'm having the annual SWAP at my house this Saturday. I'm very excited. I miss seeing people. Sometimes I feel like all I do is go to work and take my child to his activities. Funny how having babies brought us all together, but then having grown up kids is separating us all apart.

I took the day off school today to catch up on stuff around the house. I also have to introduce a speaker at Rotary today at noon. Luke, our cat, looks like he's still losing weight to me. I tried to swap out the Science Diet Light we were eating that he has an allergy to (but enjoys eating). But he won't eat the new dry food -- only wet food.

So, I have to call the vet again and see what she says.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Carle Weight Management Closing

I got the news today that Carle Clinic is shutting down the Carle Weight Management program. This makes me very sad. I have been a crappy patient this year, but I've been maintaining over a 70 pound weight loss and they were key to keeping me motivated in going.

Apparently, they'll close the doors on July 26, 2012. It also means that there is no local seller for PB2. This is a bummer. I guess I'll have to purchase online.

But it also means, I might have to try flying alone for a while.

And I'm not sure that's a great idea.