Friday, June 29, 2012

Lovin' the Summer

Since I'm scheduled to be off my feet a bit this fall (and because it's been a while) I scheduled my annual trek to Montreal for August. I was wavering on going this year. I had been eyeing Jamestown, Rhode Island, but that would have required renting a car, and if I was going to do that, I could get a rental unit at one of the lakes at the Eastern Townships in Quebec. But honestly, I just want to lie down in some place familiar and read a book and hike around and people watch. So, I decided to head to Vieux Montreal a couple blocks off the St. Lawrence River. Or I can choose to take a pretty decent hike up into Mt. Royal Park to the lake.

In other good news, Sally found a forever home. Catsnap said she as adopted by an older couple who lost their cat to cancer earlier this spring and were ready to share their lives with another pet. This made me very happy. She is a wonderful cat.

Today is Friday. Hooray. It's X-man's last day at the Camp Invention: Envision run by the Orpheum over at Urbana Middle School. He's loved it. He especially likes it because his bus buddy from kindergarten and X-man+1 are there. But he also found out that bus buddy -- is moving -- at the end of July. Just like the Supers and Libbygirl's family. He's very sad and feels like he won't have any friends left. MacTroll and I will be at camp today at 2:45 to see the unveiling of their giant magnetic island.

I'm also helping with Tolono Fun Day this weekend. If you're there on Saturday morning (from 7-10:30), I'll be selling books at the library table. You get what you want for a donation (you decide how much) to the library. So be sure to bring your book bag.

Luke's health is improving. He's eating and gaining weight, but last night Maya felt bony to me. I checked her mouth and she has a sore gum line over a back tooth, which is probably why I haven't seen her eating dry food lately. So, I'm taking her to the vet with Lily (her annual visit) so she can get the pre-surgery bloodwork done before getting a dental. That tooth will probably have to come out.

Yesterday, I got a 5.5 mile walk done averaging 16:09 min miles. There were street crossings included in there, which is cool, because it means I might be getting close to my goal of a sub 16 min/mile walking pace, which is what is required for Disney half marathons. Much easier on my body...

The goal is before surgery to be in as good a shape as possible to help recovery. So I better get my butt up and get over tot he Y for the Deep Water class.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lego Creations

Every two months X-man receives a Lego Club Jr. Magazine. He loves them. He gets to preview all of the Legos coming out, do some games and he gets instructions on how to build new things.

There is usually some kind of Lego Build Off contest that he wants nothing to do with. He may make something that correlates to the theme, but he won't let me take a photo of it to send it in. (He has high anxiety about not winning.)

Anyway, in the May-June 2012 issue, in the Cool Creations Jr. area it said that if you make an awesome model of you down that  you would like to send a photo, to go ahead and do it. No competition -- just share.

X-man decided that was okay. So he made a toy factory, because when he grows up he says he wants to design toys.

There was a delivery truck and that big red boat back there with a Ninjago guy was shipping the toys overseas to China from the United States. (Yes, I know he kind of has that backwards.) But I thought it was cute that he made a conveyor belt and an office and had people working in the factory.

I totally forgot that he took the photo himself with my camera and wanted me to send it in. (That obviously won't make me Mom of the year.)

So, I just ordered a print (because they don't accept e-mail) from Walgreen's. I'll pick it up tomorrow and send it in and maybe it will make the fall issue, because I'm sure the July-August issue will arrive next week.

He's been enjoying the STEM camp at Urbana Middle School a lot. He comes home every day at 3:30 p.m. exhausted. Tonight is a big night, too. Papa is here to watch him play t-ball. And right now they're fishing at Dana Colbert Park as their "quiet time."

After t-ball we're hitting Flattop for dinner. And then I plan on getting up very early to get in a walk before it gets to be over 100!

If anyone wants to walk from 6-7:30ish a.m. with me tomorrow, you're certainly welcome to join! I leave from my house and walk down to Windsor via the Savoy bike path and then head east until Lyndhurst and then walk back home.

I do around 16:30-18 minute mile depending on my body. If you want, you can wear earphones and you don't even have to talk to me. :-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Working It!

Today was a fabulous Monday. I headed off to deep water aerobics class. It starts at 8 a.m. I jumped in the pool and had a fun hour. Then I headed up to Prairie Gardens to see if they had two pepper plants  to replace the ones the wee bunnies ate. Then I dropped off a basket at D2's house. D2's son very graciously gave X-man a lot of his old Pokemon cards when he babysat him so that MacTroll and I could go see the Brave on Saturday afternoon.

Then I went to Target. I hadn't been there in a while. And I spent a stupid amount of money. And for that reason, I won't be back to Target for at least a couple of months.

We got our house washed today by Mike Anastasia from Housewash. He was here for roughly 3 hours power spraying mildew and spiders from the house. The actual green siding looks very lovely, but I'm really impressed with how the white overhangs turned out.

The owner of the concrete company responded to the letter our lawyer sent, and he's coming to do the patio on July 9. Apparently the guy who was managing Bloomington operations dropped the ball and he's now been demoted. I'm pretty sure the owner will be here. But it sucks that it took us threatening to sue to get it fixed over a year later. So no, I won't be recommending that company to anyone.

MacTroll is ready to trim the grass around the fence when they're done with the back patio because we hired some student painters to freshen up fence and front porch after the concrete is done. Finally, I'll get the gardens weeded (annuals are in) and then order the mulch. I have a friend who has some teenagers looking for some summer work, so I was going to let them spread it in the garden. :-)

Then the outside of the house should be done for next February, and I can focus on the inside. KTDID is helping me wash walls tomorrow at 1 p.m. It'll help me decide what I really need to paint and touch up and what I don't. Bryan the handy man is coming to fix our shifty curtain rod hanging jobs and to put non-rusty hinges on the back door. MacTroll still has to call the plumber about the water heater and I still have to call a fixit guy about the fact that our stove keeps randomly locking when the temp is 425 degrees or higher.

I've been kind of proud of myself the last two weeks because I have been able to get in a lot of physical activity. No, I haven't lost any weight. In fact I seem to go up and down the same three pounds. But, I am proud of the work I'm doing, particularly given that my movement and abilities are restricted.

You can see the amount of time and calories. Now if only I could stop eating back the calories I exercise off. :-) But this is a good start, and I'm enjoying myself, which is, I think, all that matters right now.

3 Hours 40 Min
1 Hour 15 Min
Lawn Mowing
1 Hour
1 Hour
Aqua Bootcamp
1 Hour
Aqua Running
1 Hour
1 Hour 30 Min
Circuit Training
30 Min

Tomorrow, I've got my last aqua running and H20 bootcamp. My volleyball team tries to go 3-0 at Burwash Park. Our game starts at 5:30 p.m.

Even though X-man had a significant meltdown when he got dropped off at Science Camp today, he didn't want to come home today. This is a good thing. The meltdown was about the fact that there seemed to be a double X-man confusion since X-man+1 was there. The camp called our house and said that X-man was with Ms. Nina in the blue group. But when they got there (and he was dressed in his blue shirt as they asked), they said he was in the green team. MacTroll then saw X-man+1 come in, dressed in blue and figured the person who called must have made an error, but when I picked up today, X-man+1's name was printed on the green group list, and X-man was handwritten in. Either way, they put the boys together, which I think is what ultimately made X-man okay to stay. Well, that and the fact that the first part of camp was taking tape and taping each other up. :-)

And, well, playing with tape is kind of like playing with the hose for X-man. He could do it for hours.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Who needs the delusions provided by illegal drugs and copious amounts of alcohol when you can have a household mechanical device malfunction at 2 a.m. awakening you into a fit of the fifth day of sleep deprivation (i.e., before last night I couldn't fall asleep before 3 a.m. and got up every morning between 6 and 7 a.m.)?

My highly trained late night Mommy brain went something like this --"Do I smell fire or is that MacTroll's onion breathe?"

"No, that's fire."

"Wait, shouldn't there be smoke?"

"Oh, god, is it my Fuel Band?" Sniff my Fuel Band, then my iPad, then my laptop and then my phone. "No... Why does it stink so bad?"

"Is it the dog's butt? -- No. How about the cat's butt? -- No."

"What the hell?"

I walked into the hallway. It smelled less. I went into X-man's room. It smelled a bit more.

I decided I wasn't making it up and woke MacTroll. We wandered around the house and it got a lot stronger in the laundry room -- which is over the HVAC room.

So, we head down there. Oh, dear god did it smell. It was kind of a combination burning rubber and metal and dead things. It made my stomach churn. I started to dry heave, so I walked outside. Much better.

We decided it was the HVAC and turned off the air conditioning and the fan. We opened up all the windows and turned on all the fans. But it still made me feel sick.

I decided to pitch our tent.

This is a great plan. Our tent usually only takes me 5 minutes to put up. Last night I swear it took 30.
Then I got everything in it and made X-man come outside with me. I figured if it made me sick, then my child shouldn't be breathing it.

X-man was fine. Yes, he asked me five times if it was going to rain or if bugs would eat him. On top of it, Lily was coming in and out of the house confused as hell as to why were weren't all in our beds. I apologize if her barking once at 4 a.m. and once at 5 a.m. at crazy early dog walkers woke people.

The first time, I let her back in the house. MacTroll tried to make her stay with him. Then, it turned out, she let herself out the back door. Then I put her back inside (thinking it was MacTroll putting her back out because she was whining and annoying him). And she let herself back out -- I didn't wake up the second time, so she let the cats out, too.

Last night I woke up every 45 minutes. Once to a train whistle and coyotes, twice to Lily barking, once to X-man shouting out, "I didn't mean to hurt you!" and twice to let Lily in and out of the tent. At some point, she actually settled down and slept for a few hours on top of X-man's tiny air mattress.

Then the sun came up, and I just left the door unzipped so she could go in and out as she pleased.

In my dreams, I saw my grandfather coming and petting my dog and promising to fix the smell, no problem. Then I insulted a new neighbor who asked for the best place to get a breakfast like one she could get in "Chicago." When she referenced IHOP, I kind of lit into her by asking how a chain restaurant was "Chicago."

Then I had a dream that I could still smell the terrible smell.

When I woke up, I realized it wasn't MacTroll who had been letting Lily out. That she had let herself out... Because the door was cracked open. And I realized, it wasn't a dream, I could smell it. It was coming out of a pipe from the house, but how is that possible, if I turned off the HVAC. Simple, it was coming from our water heater. This is okay, because it doesn't require a Sunday service visit because we have two water heaters. MacTroll turned the second one off, and we went to breakfast. When we came back, the smell was much less on the two floors with open windows.

So he's going to call the plumber in the morning.

But yeah, it wasn't very restful.

Today from 12-3, X-man has a play date with X-man +1 year. And then we're heading over to the Taste if the weather holds out to see the Brat Pack.

Hope to see some of you out there!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where's Waldo?

X-man has been at Lego Camp at the Orpheum this week from 8:30-Noon. And every day when I pick him up he points to this sign up with Where's Waldo? on it.

The flyer refers to a Waldo scavenger hunt being sponsored by Jane Addams Bookshop. He wanted to know more about it, so we wandered down to the shop yesterday and picked up the information.

There are 20 shops to visit to find Waldo around downtown Champaign. If you find 8 and get your sheet filled out you get to enter into a contest to win a prize. If you find 16, you get to enter another contest. The scavenger hunt runs from July 1-July 31.

X-man's worry kicked in that he wouldn't be a winner. I explained that was always a possibility with contests, but the point was to have fun and visit stores owned by local people. And maybe we'd find some fun stuff along the way.

He seemed okay with that idea. So, if you see us running around downtown after Camp Explosion gets out at the Orpheum on July 2... you'll know we're seeking Waldo!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Way It Is

I first met MacTroll in 1992 at Yearbook camp. We were in Iowa City. We were from two different towns in Illinois that were (if I drove the farm roads at 100 mph) 2 hours apart. We figured we didn't stand a chance, and we weren't looking for one another. But we really fell hard. And that deep felt understanding and similar big picture ideals has gotten us through a lot. It's certainly gotten us through nearly 20 years of togetherness, even though, for all intensive purposes our relationship has been based on "separateness."

That is, my significant other and I have spent significantly more nights under separate roofs than under the same roof in our two decades.

It's the same, just different.

I know couples that can't exist day-to-day without being around each other. I know a couple who, when a wife tried to take a weekend with a friend, locked himself out of the house, lost a video on the drive to the Blockbuster, and set a kitchen fire. She said she'd never go anywhere again.

I know women who make plans with me only to change them at the drop of a hat for their boyfriends or significant others. Before X-man this made me outraged. Now, I realize he's the man I drop things for...It's the same, just different.

And maybe it would be frustrating to MacTroll to see that I drop things for our kid, but I don't drop them for him, unless he's gone for work. And then it's different. I'm not canceling engagements to snuggle with a man I see only one-third of the time. I'm dropping them to be the primary caretaker of our child.

But in the end, I have a hard time understanding adults who are unable to function apart. Or who plainly just don't want to. I have a hard time conceptualizing what the big deal is, even though I know quite well to try and respect differences among families. But something about it just cheeses me off, and I wish it didn't.

Do I wish MacTroll was around more -- yes and no.

But I'm not going to go insane thinking about what isn't. I'm going to live my life, and be happy that I have him in it -- now matter how small that amount of time may be.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Afraid of gross stuff? Don't look!

I have intermediate-level tears in both my peroneal brevis and peroneal longus tendons. The MRI shows loads of fluid and scar tissue behind my ankle bone. Scar tissue that will have to be removed.

So, in the plus column, I'm not crazy. And it might have taken four opinions to get to an accurate diagnosis, but I'm glad I advocated for myself.

Right now, it looks something like this inside my foot:

Dr. Kluesner won't know how bad it is until he gets in there and sees it. I was also apparently gifted "extra bone" with a sharp pointy bit in my foot, which could also be causing some of my issues. He'll have to go in and sew up the tendons and if they're over 50 percent damaged, he'll have to sew them together. My condition is chronic, so putting me back in a boot won't do anything for the long-term. I'd start doing normal Loosey activity and "ouch." And there is usually an 85 percent success rate. It won't ever be perfect, but feeling even 50 percent better than right now would be awesome.

I'm trying to schedule my surgery for September. But it also means that I'll have to find someone to help with X-man after school when MacTroll's not here. Some place where either there's a babysitter after he gets home from school or he goes to someone's house in the neighborhood within walking distance.

And I now have to go back to getting my house ready to sell, because apparently, if I have the surgery in September I won't be wearing a NORMAL-sized shoe until just before Christmas.

Until then, I'm to wear my ankle brace as much as possible and to stay on even surfaces doing whatever doesn't hurt.

The fear is that if I tried to do anything high intensity I could rupture both of the tendons.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Could this be it?

Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. I see Dr. K about my MRI results. I'm all a-twitter. Could this be it? Could this be the day I finally get an appropriate diagnosis? I've only been to four medical care providers since my foot started hurting in April 2011 -- back when I thought myself a runner. When I did 20-25 miles a week. When I ran to Body Attack classes and then back home? When I felt like an athletically inclined person rather than a mess?

It might not be the end of foot drama... in some real ways it may only be the beginning. But I'm kind of excited about it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I love food science

I'm halfway through the book, "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think" by Brian Wansink. He's the head of the food lab at Cornell and I'm so totally excited by the book, I think I may actually buy it to keep on my shelf. It's easy to read and hilarious and is NOT a dieting book. There's no lecturing involved.

Instead, he tells you how your brain processes the idea of food. Some of it is stuff you probably heard -- like we eat less if we eat off smaller plates. But other things are things I had no idea about... for example, your body has no idea how much it's consuming. Everything you do is basically done on visual and smell clues not your actual hunger.

So, if you see that the bowl is half empty, you'll assume you've eaten half of your soup. But what happens... if you eat from a bowl that is refilling without you knowing it and keeping it around half full? Do you feel more full? Not really. Instead you eat gobs and gobs of soup thinking that you haven't eaten much because the bowl is still half full.

He goes through studies performed by his lab and others about how important smell is for eating. The government did a "smell" test with soldiers (because they were worried their military wasn't eating enough to sustain the 3,000 to 6,000 calories a day they burn off in physical activity) where they served oatmeal in an unscented plastic bowl, then the next time they served it in a bowl that smelled like cinnamon and raisins and then the last study, they gave them oatmeal in a bowl that smelled like Macaroni and Cheese. Not surprisingly, the raisin scented bowls increased eating, the plain bowl was in the middle and the Macaroni and Cheese bowl apparently made the oatmeal very unpopular.

He even goes into studies where academics profess that intellectual people educated about the trickeries used in the food industry wouldn't fool the smart ones, so he gathered a bunch of academics, gave them a course on food portions, servings, the visual cues, etc. And then six weeks later invited them to a Super Bowl party... guess what happened?

It's really a pretty awesome book. And there are some suggestions on way you can rearrange your life in simple, simple ways. For example, variety causes overeating. Try not to have more than two or three types of food at a gathering (that is stay away from potlucks and buffets). People have been shown to eat less when there's less variety. In one experiment, some folks were given a bowl of M&Ms that were mixed colors and others were given M&Ms that were the same color. The people with the variety ate hundreds of calories more in M&Ms than the one colored.

Other humdingers that they found to be true:

You drink more fluid out of a short, fat glass than out of a tall skinny one.
The closer a food is to you the more of it you will eat. (Convenience.)
If food is out in front of you and you know it's there, you're likely to eat it... this can even apparently be true if scientists give you a bucket of 5-day old popcorn...
If food is hard to get into, people are less likely to eat it. (Offering shelled nuts versus nuts you had to crack experiment).

Anyway, it's a fun read, and the author admits straight out that he likes food. :-) But it does make you conscious that it's really NOT about willpower. It's more about biology, environment, childhood habits and marketing manipulation.

I'm giving myself kudos here because I have successfully tracked my food in Lose It! On my iPhone for a week. I also set it up to e-mail every Monday to my dietician (while I have her) at Carle. I guess I'm going to have to find a new one sooner or later. Part of me was thinking of trying Weight Watchers up north for meetings, but I'm not sure. I've got about 5 weeks left to find if I want to go -- anywhere else.

I'm also giving kudos to myself because I got on my bike for a fitness ride for the first time since last fall. I was slow, but it was windy. I rode my bike to the Y from Savoy, did my first 30-minute Crossfit Powertrain class and then biked home.

Tomorrow, I'm in for a doozy. I've got aqua running with Kari followed by her H20 Bootcamp class. We'll see if I can hold it together or not. The plus of my day tomorrow is that I have the Volleyball Rec League at Burwash Park in Savoy. If you want to get out, my team -- the Blockheads -- plays at 7:30 p.m. We'll see if we can go 2-0.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy O!

X-man didn't get out of bed today until 8:45 a.m. It was a lovely late sleep in, unless you were MacTroll who fell asleep in X-man's bed last night, woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep while it was storming like mad outside.

That said, X-man was very good about helping me bring up the laundry and putting it away while MacTroll took his time getting vertical and ready to start his Father's Day.

We began with a walk over to the dock at Colbert Park, where we fished bass for about an hour, until it started to get really hot a little after 10 a.m., so we walked home. Me with all the fishing stuff and MacTroll with a X-man on his shoulders. It was all I could do not to hum the theme from the Courtship of Eddie's father.

Afterwards, MacTroll took a long shower, and X-man and I reviewed his sight words. He's done with the first two Dolche sight word lists and we're moving on to the first grade list. We'll do the pretest on Tuesday and then start studying two or three each week.

Then he gave MacTroll his gift, a glass blowfish wine bottle topper that he picked out at Pier 1 when he went with me to get my new desk chair. He asked what I was giving Daddy for his day and I told him we'd take him somewhere to pick it out after lunch.

For lunch, MacTroll asked to go to El Toro. We hadn't been there in at least six or eight months. No one was there at 11:45 a.m. when she pulled up but the after church crowd slowly started filtering in and by the time we left at 12:30 the parking lot was full. We left and drove over to get MacTroll's gift -- a bike of his own from Champaign Cycle.

We walked in and there was a young woman waiting to help us. I said, "It's father's day, and we'd like to give our dad a new bike for his day."

And an hour later, we walked out with a Trek 2.1 Apex road bike fitted with a water bottle holder and everything. :-) MacTroll wasn't ready for the whole bike shoe clip sitcho yet, and I understand. X-man also got a new bell for his big boy bike. It has a compass on it, and since he knows which towns are north, south, east and west, he thought it was pretty cool.

When we got home, we had to try out the new bike, so we all got on our two wheelers and went around the block and then we decided in the heat of the day that we'd go to Prairie Fields Playground for a bit. I was proud of X-man. It was his first non-training wheels trip out of the neighborhood on his bike and he did great, even on the sidewalk by the park.

Then MacTroll ran to the movies with LibbyGirl's husband. And X-man and I had quiet time. He on the iPad and me with my second Carl Hiaasen book -- Scat. I fell asleep in the big chair until almost dinner, when I got up and did the hard job of boiling water for spaghetti noodles. :-)

Afterwards, X-man and MacTroll wandered downstairs to play the Original Lego Batman game that we got from the library, and I put on my walking shoes and headed out for a 4-mile walk before it got dark. It was a great quality time with Dad day.

This week X-man is off to half day Lego Camp at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum. I think we're going to try to make it to Sholem after we get lunch and he gets his haircut tomorrow afternoon. And I'm trying to arrange a play date for Thursday with a friend of his from school. We'll see how that goes. :-)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Loosey's First MRI

My 20 minutes in the MRI machine were very uneventful. The report of my images gets sent to Dr. K on Tuesday and I have an appointment on Wednesday with him after dropping X-man off at Lego Camp at the Orpheum. And then I'll know what the deal is with my foot, which DID NOT like to be straightened out and compressed in "proper form" for the MRI machine.

The Quiet Life

I've been lying in bed for an hour doing "internet things." Maya is asleep above my head on the pillow. Clawdio is stretched out along my left leg. Lily is sleeping horizontally on the bed between MacTroll and I, so we make an H, and Luke is sleeping at MacTroll's feet.

Everyone except X-man is in the bed. Periodically a bunch of purrs will break out. (Right now it's Luke.) Sometimes Lily will start dreaming. Sometimes MacTroll will snore.

X-man has found it possible in the three weeks since school got out to completely deviate from his normal schedule of going to sleep at 8:30 p.m. and waking at 6:30 a.m. He's now doing a 9:30 p.m. to 8:30 thing, but next week he'll have to adjust back to an 8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. to make it to Lego Camp at the Orpheum by 8:30 a.m.

The animals, though, usually wake us up at 6 a.m. to go out and get fed, so lying here is a nice change of pace. Even when I got up to pee, no one left the bedroom. They just scampered off when I lumbered to the bathroom, and then piled back onto the bed when I crawled under the covers again.

In the early mornings, I've been getting up and walking. My route runs me nearly 90-100 minutes. And I can cover 5-6 miles, depending on how my foot is feeling. I come back sweaty, but happy I've done it. Yesterday, I did the walk in the a.m. and then I did a follow up walk with a walking buddy I haven't seen in a few weeks due to vacation in the P.M. I was supposed to go meet up with the teacher's at Cowboy Monkey, but I totally forgot. Calorie-wise, it was probably a better choice to walk, though.

Today, I'm taking X-man to the Y. He's going to play in the playroom, while I do workout B on the plan that Kari gave me last winter and that I didn't have time to do during the school year (i.e. I didn't set aside enough time to myself). I did workout A on Wednesday, and it felt really good. My triceps, biceps and shoulders felt dutifully used the next morning. But it'll feel nice to feel strong again. I've missed that, feeling like I can take on the world.

Other than that, I've been getting estimates on fence painting and I have a handyman helping me with some projects around the house. I need to give a plumber a call and someone to come and fix the lock on my oven, which has been busted for over a year. My lawn is getting mowed every five days, which is insane, but I attribute it to actually having a lawn service this year that works. And every week, I've bend ripping off things to Goodwill, the Tolono Library and the IDEA store to get them out of my house. It's very cleansing.

Moving is going to be the ultimate cleanse. I'm kind of excited.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pain in the foot

I had my follow up with Dr. Kluesner at Christie regarding my sore foot, which has now become a sore leg, knee, IT band, SI joint/hip and lower back. Funny how that happens. Anyway, he's scheduled me for an MRI. I asked if it wouldn't be logical to shoot the whole leg from back to foot to see what's going on, but he said he wants to start with where the most amount of pain is the back and lateral side of my calf into my ankle and then down the outside of my foot. To him, it sounds like classic peroneal tendonitis, except that I spent 7 weeks in a boot last fall when I broke my foot (the symptoms were very similar, but I had lots of swelling then versus pain mostly on mobility now) and the same pain came back, so he doesn't have much hope that booting me again will help long-term. I also have poor mobility and stability in my right ankle. It is possible that I have some tears in the tendon, so that's why he's doing the MRI.

On the good side, he took x-rays and I didn't break my foot again.

I'm going in for an "injury assessment" at Accelerated Physical Therapy on Friday with my neighbor Gretchen. Hopefully she can take a gander at the soft tissue issues and help get approval from my primary doc to basically beat my gam into submission. If you see me at the pool and I'm bruised from foot to lower back -- that will be Gretchen's work.

Ironically, if I have to go see her a couple times each week, her daughter is probably going to be the one that watches X-man.

I just bought new date night shoes... I'd like the opportunity to wear them sometime this summer.

Which reminds me... I think I'll see about going for a pedicure this afternoon while X-man is at Little Gym camp. I keep meaning to go, but it's been about a year since I actually made it in.

Update: Christie just called. They had a cancelation, so I go in for my MRI tomorrow afternoon. Thus canceling my Accelerated appointment until I can figure out a day where my schedule works with one of their therapists'.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


So, it's summer, and lately it's been cooler in the afternoon. I've been getting up every morning and exercising. Sometimes it's a water-related exercise class, sometimes it's a 6-mile walk, sometimes it's weight training. Whatever it is I make sure I'm active between 60-90 minutes at least six days a week with a rest day. It makes me feel good. Today, I left aqua running at 10 a.m. exhausted. We inserted 30 second sprints and did them 15 times over the course of an hour.

But, I'm finding that after lunch, I'm ready for a siesta. I figure it's no worries because I can ice my foot and stay off of it for a bit. I have been dutifully reading books too. Unfortunately, I keep going back and forth between fiction and non-fiction.

My current non-fiction books is written by a scientist who used the test kitchen at U of I to figure out how people eat more than they think they do. It's called Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. The fiction book is one I've had on my book shelf for years and for whatever reason (probably because it's a large hardback) haven't sat down and read -- Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen. I think I'd feel more accomplished if I just stuck to one. Alas, my nature has me going back and forth and back and forth.

I played my first sand volleyball game tonight with my team the Blockheads. Out of the six teams in the league four of them are made up of law students. Our team is all made up of people over the age of 30... most of us over the age of 35. But, we did win best of three games tonight, so hooray!

The best news was that my foot didn't hurt the whole time in the sand, but I am noticing foot  mobility issues. When I point and flex my left foot it goes much further than when I do my right foot. I was useless at jumping, but diving was fine. I'm making a list of things to take into the podiatrist tomorrow, and I'm seriously thinking about drawing on my leg with marker to show him where I'm hurting.

After volleyball, MacTroll and I got to eat out together at Houlihan's. It was such a beautiful night to eat outside.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Trying New Things

Yesterday was a wonderful Sunday. Earlier in the week X-man had said he wanted to try to climb the wall at the Y. He went with us to the climbing place in Bloomington over a year ago and was totally against the idea of getting into the belt and hooked up to a rope. MacTroll and I decided not to take it personally that he didn't trust us to catch him if he fell. He did really like traversing on the wall. He'd get up to five feet off the ground and then climb near a padded mat and jump off and climb again. It worked out fine. When we joined the Y he stared at the wall and declared that it was for big kids. Except that every time we've gone he's seen five year olds up there and wondered -- could I do that?

His anxiety would get the best of him and he'd just walk away. So when he asked to give it a try.

So, when he asked to go and give it a try, I said, "Yes." I booked the time. Paid the extra money for MacTroll to come with us. And off we went. X-man climbed four times. Each time he'd get about 10 feet up in the air and get scared and ask to come down. The employee, Kate, was really very wonderful encouraging him and reassuring him.

I made it about 2/3 up the wall, but both times, I'd start to feel a little -- scared. And I'm not sure why. I did it in Maine just fine. Kate said that for some reason when people get about even with the second floor ledge is about when they seem to freak out a little. She was encouraging and I think I'll go back and try it again with MacTroll.

Then later in the afternoon, MacTroll got X-man on his bike -- and the kid (on only his third attempt at riding) mastered riding on two wheels. He needs a little help getting started, and we think because he was following directions so well regarding looking forward, that he didn't even realize that MacTroll wasn't holding on.

We ran next to him for a while, but then when he got to our end of the block, he used his brakes to slow down, gently stepped off and said, "Did I do that?"

"Yes, X-man. Yes. YOU did."

Here's a photo of him the first time he tried learning at the Rec Center bike riding clinic the first weekend in May. (Dad's not home a lot and X-man wanted Dad to teach him, hence him only getting on the bike 3 times in a month.) But now I have a hard job of -- teaching the tying of the shoes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Got any boxes you want to share?

I'm hunting for boxes to put stuff in to take to Goodwill. I know that seems strange. I used to just get them late at night at Wal-mart, but I was told I wasn't allowed to any more because I guess they're making money recycling them at the moment. And, well, I feel odd donating things like kitchenware in large plastic bags.

So if you've got some handy, I'll totally take them. I've put my family on a mission to use everything useable in our house and to try not to take anything new in unless it's to replace damaged stuff to help us sell the house or to use up things like the 14,000 tubes of travel toothpaste MacTroll has upstairs in our bathroom drawers.

I have a box of old arts and crafts stuff that I'm taking over to the IDEA store this week, and I just did a sweep through my closet to take some items over to Goodwill tomorrow.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In a Nutshell

This morning we got an e-mail from the nice lady at Catsnap who was taking Sally. At first, I thought she was going into a foster home, but since we did all of her medical work for them, she wanted her up at Petsmart for an adoption weekend. Since X-man was scheduled for a play date from 1-4 p.m., we agreed to meet up at Noon.

Then we went to the Y, where I did  a work out until my foot started to feel a bit wonky. So I went downstairs and asked about the climbing wall at the Y. On June 1st, they started asking for members to pay $3 to climb the wall. I hate this. As Libbygirl says, it feels like nickel and diming. If you pay for a membership, it should include everything in the building. What's worse, is that to take a guest is now $5 for a Y all-day pass and $6 for them to climb the wall. That's $11 for a half an hour, if you don't take them to use other parts of the gym.

But, X-man, after years of only traversing three feet off the ground, feels he's ready to go up. And I'm trying to support him trying new things, and really, I can afford the $3. So I signed him up. I tried to see if a friend my be interested in going but everyone is super summer busy, I guess. So I agreed to climb with him.

After the gym, we had to run Sally's poop up to the vet, because the dickens didn't poop before her last vet appointment on Tuesday, and I couldn't find any time within the 12-hour period allowed to take something up there on Wednesday.

This meant, my child had to whine all the way up to the vet's. Since we were doing the drop off of the cat today, I had them fax the second negative fecal results to Catsnap.

Then we ran back to Savoy from NE Urbana, so that I could shower and move the sprinkler on the lawn/new tree. Then at 11:30, we took Lily to doggie daycare for a half day because I didn't know if X-man's new friend was good with dogs or not. She's very sweet, but also very in your face. Then we went up to North Prospect to do the drop off with Sally.  X-man was nervous because the Catsnap woman was five minutes late. "I don't want to be late for my FRIEND!" Sally was, as she has been for the last month, pretty low key. Some guy came in and took a photo of her, but he didn't seem to be with the rescue. And some other folks who were in their asked me some questions about her past and if she liked kids. But it was noon at a Petsmart, which meant all of the other cats were asleep in their beds or letterboxes and Sally was the only one showing any movement.

Then, on the way home, I looked at my phone. There's an e-mail from the friend's mother that the play date is off because her child is ill with stomach problems. When I break the news to X-man, tears come streaming down his face. "But Mom -- we were going to have so much fun! What am I going to do now? My life is ruined!"

Now, his day wasn't the only day "ruined." I had planned to get shit done today. Three hours of play date meant three hours of me weeding and picking up and organizing. Three hours without a 50 lb person attached to my side.

Yes, we're both very dramatic. It's easy to see where he gets it.

I'm relieved to say that he's not the only child that seems to be acting this way this week. We've run into a good handful of 5-6 year olds lamenting that the world is ending and that they're angry and that it's because they have lousy mothers. Awesome. And I'm sure I'm not the only parent out there who thinks of three hours of their child playing with a friend and not underfoot is a pretty okay thing.

Anyway, I promised him that after he ate lunch at home, and I met with a potential petsitter that he and I could walk down to Old Orchard to go bowling (Kids Bowl Free program!). Then he changed his mind and decided he'd like to go mini putting at the Old Orchard Links (they have new putting greens on the grass be wary -- they slow down the ball a LOT in comparison to the old smashed down ones).

I told him we could do one or the other. He chose mini putt, so we put on some sunblock and walked our way up to mini put. X-man is a speed mini putter. If there is no one on the course he can -- literally -- golf 36 holes (they have two 18-hole putting greens) in almost 30 minutes. We left the house at 2:15. We got  to the mini putt at 2:45. We we started golfing after paying and what not at 2:50. We were done at 3:15. So we went inside and had a drink and a popsicle and we watched the Cubs score two runs in the 8th to lead the Brewers 3-1 on the TV in there. we left at 3:40 to walk up and get Lily at doggie day care. The walk from the bowling alley to get Lily is less than the distance from our house to the bowling alley. But it took 35 minutes to get there. We picked up Lily at 4:15. Then it took us an hour and 5 minutes to walk home.

That's a long time. And, of course, X got a blister on his toe. So he HAD to take off his shoe, and if you timed it right you could see me carrying him, walking a dog and carrying a drink all at the same time across Rt. 45. I am woman. Roar!

I made portobello mushrooms stuffed with low-fat ricotta, spinach, parmesan and herbs for dinner tonight with a side of snow peas and red peppers. X-man did his yes to try and eat it, but mostly he ate the pretzel bagel and the applesauce that I gave him for sides.

After dinner, we went outside and I stared at my new tree while he rode his red car through the sprinkler. Then KTDID came over and we spent some time with her. X-man loves when KTDID puts him to bed.

He's doing really well with reading to me for the reading program in Tolono. Since he's moved up in age, the books I read to him no longer count, so last summer, he felt like he could lean back on that to earn the "book bucks" to get prizes. But this summer -- he's got to read them on his own. It's a big kid change, but he's doing really well. Every once in a while he pulls a word out of his butt and surprises me when he knows it or sounds it out right. Tonight's surprise was Silk. He was reading me the "Sleepy Kittens" book from Despicable Me. And he just read it like he'd seen it a million times before. But I guess since he knew the world milk, it wasn't a hard word to figure out. But I was still impressed when he did it.

Tomorrow is our last day by ourselves. I'm waiting for a handyman service to come over and give me some estimates on some work around the house. But I also scheduled a play date with a different friend for Friday afternoon. We'll hope he doesn't get sick, too!

Otherwise, you'll see me in the kiddie pool full of squishy baff tomorrow.

I think we're also going to go see the Art in Motion Dance recital at Foellinger tomorrow night... just to get us out of the house! Maybe I'll have to take him for Cocomero afterwards.

Tree of Life

The birch tree that MacTroll and I picked out at Country Arbours got planted today. It's in the garden that we tried growing blueberry bushes in, but to no avail thanks to the bunnies. I think it looks very cute and happy, which is nice because the ashes of Riley and Looseyfur are there. We'd been waiting to make some improvements on the garden before spreading Nyssa's ashes there. So I think we'll get a chance this weekend. I just need to pick up one more Sedum and one more Liatris to plant on the south side around the tree and it'll look symmetrical. 

Since the Super Neighbors have put their house up for sale they've been getting a lot of viewing traffic, so their dog, Super Coop has been coming over to our house. My guess is that they will have accepted an offer by the weekend (they've had a lot of families come for more than one visit). I've noticed a lot of houses in the hood have gone quickly this summer, my guess is that it's due to being in a Proximity A school neighborhood. This gives me hope for next spring. But it was also very cute to watch my black dog (looking very chocolatey in the sun) get some tug time with a very blonde dog.

X-man has a playdate at our house today from 1-4. So I'm hoping to get in some bush trimming, weeding and grass trimming while he's entertained. So far this summer he's been unimpressed by the amount of "Mommy Work" I get done during the day. And I'm apparently ruining his life by not playing with him every moment of the 14 hours that he's awake.

Oh the drama! ;-P

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Family Ties

Every spring since moving from D.C. we try to get out to see MacTroll's oldest brother and his family. They're the people on that side of the family that we're closest to, and since my oldest nephew was the first to call me Aunt Dana, even though he was born when I was 19 years old... they've always made it very clear that I am family and I love them for it.

We moved away when my nephew was 7, my niece was 4, and the youngest wasn't even born. And we've made it back every year except for two... the year I gave birth (my SIL came and helped us out for a week) and last year when we saw them in July at the family reunion instead.

We drove up to Baltimore and let X-man run around the Children's Museum with MacTroll. I tried to go shopping on the inner harbor, but there was nothing I really wanted to buy. So I went to Barnes and Noble and looked at books. I ended up buying one for myself and one for MacTroll. Then I sat in a Starbuck's (because the one in B&N was full) and played the Sims. Seriously -- for like an hour and a half.

Afterwards, we could tell a rain was coming in, so we drove into the suburbs to the family's house. We got there 45 minutes earlier than expected, but it wasn't a problem, because the youngest two kids were home and my BIL works out of the basement a lot telecommuting. Plus, there was a tornado at the airport just a few miles away. It was lovely of them to let us in. :-)

And then X-man went crazy. He had three children to interact with. He got to share a room with the youngest. He got to play with the Nerf Gun that the oldest got at a party (which is forbidden at our house). He got to go sailing on his Uncle's boat for most of Saturday near Annapolis. (In this photo X has the GPS and niece has the radio -- that gets music channels).

BIL doesn't have a slip, so he takes the rigging down each time they sail. This takes about an hour, so I looked after the kids. In order to stay awake after a long sail in the breeze and sun, I needed some caffeine.

Then on Sunday, my SIL and niece went to the Balitmore Farmers' Market. It was quite crowded, and I know I shouldn't have been as overwhelmed as I was (I had, after all been in the Smithsonian in June just a few days prior), but it was crazy. I have a thing against waiting in line for food. I just -- don't believe in it. I'd rather eat with the blue haired people than wait in a line for food.

But after I got some breakfast in me, and we moved on to a quieter part of the market (away from the pickle guy, the pea line and the coffee line) I found Dirty Carrots a Vegan bakery and bought a wheat-free cupcake. The cake itself was pretty yummy, but the icing needed a little work. My SIL also found the West Virginia peach guy, who was cutting up samples that were amazingly sweet.

Then that afternoon, my niece wanted to go see Dark Shadows for her birthday. She has a thing for Johnny Depp, which I totally understand, because I had the same thing circa 1988. (Remember the Winona Forever tattoo? That was my era.) Anyway, we went to the movies while the boys went to Laser Tag. MacTroll won. (He was quite proud of himself.)

Me though. I was in a PG-13 movie with a newly minted 14 year old. And I had an I'm old moment when in the film (sorry if this is a spoiler), the witch takes off her red lace panties and puts them on Johnny Depp's face in his coffin (he's a vampire -- which isn't a secret). And here's my niece sitting next to me and her Mom and I'm like, "Really? Was that necessary? I have a kid here!" And then I remembered that they didn't have PG-13 when I was a kid. And that Ghostbusters had all kinds of foul language and violence and sexual what not (sleeping six feet above the covers!). And I just needed to get over it. For the most part I did, but for a lot of the sexual stuff, I was fidgety about it.

And I remember being the kid in that situation. I went to go see Pretty Woman with my dad. I have no idea why. That was a bad choice -- probably for both of us.

It was much easier to go see Lord of the Flies with him. Then the only embarrassing moment was in the first 10 seconds on the island when there's a bird call and my dad says, "That was a loon! There are no loons in the tropics!"

(If you don't know... my dad is a bird guy. He's not an ornithologist, but he was the past president of the American Birding Association. And yes, that's a real organization.)

I always told people who asked me why my dad vacationed so much in South America that he was a drug dealer. :-) But really, he was an attorney to pay for his birdwatching career. :-)

So, remind me when X is 13 and wants to go see a PG-13 movie with me -- the answer is no. We'll just stay in PG land forever -- together.

It was a great trip. And, as always, X-man has O'Hare airport down like the back of his hand. We can't wait to take him to California next month.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Vacation

We just returned from our first summer vacation. We left to go see family in Maryland the day after school got out. But first, MacTroll had some meetings he had to take care of in Virginia so we found ourselves in downtown DC for the first time in a long while.

In that time, I took X-man to the Smithsonian to Bluemont Junction Playground in Arlington and to the Melting Pot for his first fondue meal (where we met back up with Mactroll for dinner). We also tried a new-to-us place for breakfast in Foggy Bottom near my old apartment for breakfast called the Founding Farmers which was wonderful.

But mostly, it was nice to see how the old hoods have grown. Even if it meant that Generous George's pizza in Alexandria isn't there any more!

Being that it was last minute, and I had X with me, I didn't get to see any of our peeps except for Ian of the East and his lovely wife ML. One of these days, I'm going to go back with a healthy foot to run the Tidal Basin and by myself so I can see everyone.

I'll post the photos from our Maryland part of the trip tomorrow. :-)