Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"You Told Me Vader Betrayed and Murdered My Father."

Well, the big news for all the Star Wars geeks (that includes me) is that LucasFilm is being sold to Disney, and that they plan on making six more Star Wars movies (one every two to three years), at least.

And I have to say... and I know this will sound like blasphemy to some, that I'm happy about that. Mostly because the Episodes 1-3 were so abysmal to mediocre. And honestly, if we can get some Avengers like action and campiness back into the Star Wars saga, I'm all for it.

The news was very timely, as X-man is suddenly very into Star Wars. We watched Episodes I, IV, V and VI together over the last few weeks. And we watched the movie the Clone Wars (Yuck). But he was very excited to hear the news from me this morning.

Less exciting was my call to Carle to get a referral for X-man's OT evaluation. I wasn't sold that the person on the other end of the line actually understood the wealth of what OT does. It's not just fine motor skills like "Hold your pencil this way." There's sensory processing and integration going on there that can affect learning in so many ways. So, there was a lot of the person on the other end typing and a lot of me just being silent wondering what in the hell she was putting down in the note to X-man's pediatrician.

Of course, this isn't the first time (or the last) that I'll have found the medical profession confusing. For example, my surgery bill from Christie.

I got an estimate a week after my surgery that my part of the bill would likely be around $1,900. Fine. Then I got the bill and it was over $4,000. What? Then I looked at my insurance claim online where I could line up all the items. There was a $3,904 charge for fixing my ligaments that the Christie bill said the insurance company hadn't paid their part of. But there on the computer screen the insurance company had it's 70% of the bill. So, I looked at what the insurance company said they paid and sent the remainder of the "patient responsibility" to Christie. I figured maybe the check and bill overlapped in the mail. But it was still annoying.

Today is the Storybook Parade at Carrie Busey. X-man is wearing a t-shirt about the story Swimmy by Leo Lionni that I mostly made but he told me where to put everything. (He's very bossy about his design concepts.) After school he goes to see the Mathman and then he can come home and veg until he gets dressed up in his Halloween costume and heads out to trick or treat. He's an astronaut this year. :-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Things that make me smile

Somehow this is how life is supposed to go, right?

X-man snuggling with KTDID while reading her a book in a big fuzzy chair. 

Dressing up for the Pirate Party at the Orpheum. Arrrrghh!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Won't Back Down

Woot! Woot! Woot! I stood on the scale this morning and I can put over 100 lbs on my foot without any pain. This is great news! I called my doctor this morning all proud that it took me 7 days of trying to get it up to 100.

The nurse was less enthused than I was. "That's great, but it's a bit over 50 percent of your weight. You probably didn't hurt it, but we don't want you to go above 90 lbs."

Then I asked what my next step was. I was sad when she said that besides pointing and flexing my foot, this is all I'm allowed to do until my next appointment on Nov. 7. Sad panda. Damn it. I want to walk.

I did get a call the other day from a friend who is in a similar situation. We've taken to chatting with each other to keep each other from going crazy in our restricted movement.

Other than that... it's me and Anthony Bourdain today.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When you're without status...

It's been one year since I quit my Facebook habit. And if I was still on it -- this would have been my status tonight, because X-man cracked me up.

X-man: "My least favorite holiday is Chicken New Year."
Loosey: "Do you mean Thanksgiving?"

Fuzzy Photos

After I killed my iPhone a few weeks ago (by dropping it in the toilet), I inherited MacTroll's old iPhone 4. I hate getting hand-me down phones from MacTroll because he is a serious phone user. By the time he's done with a phone (each year), the battery is basically nothing (six to eight hours of conference calls 3-5 days a week will do that to a phone) and it's been beaten and scratched beyond repair. I acknowledge that I wouldn't be in this conundrum, if I wasn't the dumb ass who dropped her phone in the toilet.

You'll see that the photos are all fuzzy. That's because he didn't use a protective case and the lens of the camera got all scratched and beat up.

Now, why don't I just break down and buy myself a new one? Well, here's why -- I have been with AT&T for so long that I've been grandfathered in and have an unlimited data plan for $70 a month. I don't ever really talk on the phone when I have it (unless it's to my spouse), I mostly text and use it to answer X-man's never-ending questions. But I do admit, that I take photos with my camera enough that this fuzziness is annoying. 

That, and I think once we move to California, I'd do better on a Verizon plan (because I have a 3 call limit when MacTroll tries to call me from San José, Chicago or NYC and he keeps dropping on his AT&T phone). So I'm trying to hold out until next June... plus, it is possible that in the next three months, the Fruit will send MacTroll an iPhone 5. And then I can have his 4s, which DOES have a cover. No phones wasted... I just need patience.

Anyway, so here's what's been going on... This is X-man's creation that we made in the waiting room at his therapist's office. When he went in with April he was sad I'd have to take them apart, so I took a photo and put them in a baggie and my Mom delivered them to another kid in the other room who was waiting. 

This is an updated photo of my foot, so you can see how long the incision was. It's still swells a bit throughout the day. But foot massages are starting to feel good again rather than painful and freaky.

This is X-man dressed up for school picture day in his fedora, sports jacket and "spy shirt." Notice how he's got his excited smile on. He's totally adorable. I just have to find the right tie!

And here is a photo of the giant Tardis cake that I got for MacTroll's birthday. We'll be taking leftovers to all the neighbors... Cause holy cow that's a lot of cake.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It feels like Saturday!

X-man was off school today. We got to get up a little later than a typical school day, but we had a parent/teacher conference at 8:45 a.m. The conference went okay. Most of X-man's struggles have to do with his trouble writing, so I contacted the OT I know today and we're setting up a time for her to evaluate him. She'll also get to see him at school starting Oct. 29th. His teachers were very happy with his verbal expression, reading comprehension and how much he enjoys and excels at math and science. We saw vast overall behavioral and confidence improvement from last year, too. So, the socialization and behavioral issues are definitely improving with age and counseling. But he still has trouble operating as part of a group. He does better one-on-one with his friends. And we all know that cooperative learning and problem solving is going to continually be a part of his school life. We'll get to talk to his therapist April Keaton about that on Nov. 8th. She's moving out of Kevin Elliott Counseling and setting up her own practice at Windsor and Duncan, which means no more remembering change to pay downtown meters each week. I'll write about the OT evaluation after we have it.

Carrie Busey also had their fall book fair today. We let X-man pick out the books he wanted. In the last couple of weeks he's suddenly gone totally Star Wars crazy. He's also manual crazy. He wants to see pages and pages of characters. He wants to know the names of each of the clone troops (he's this way over Pokémon, too). I have to draw a line sometimes when reading to him or I'll go nutso. We also got a couple of chapter books.

Then we stopped in to see the school librarian, Ms. Cahill. I totally miss volunteering this semester. Stupid foot! Anyway, the school had a decorate a pumpkin like a storybook character contest. X-man and I made the fish from "Memoirs of a Goldfish." We got to vote for Best in Show, Cutest, Scariest, Most like the Book, etc. All three of us voted and I cannot wait to get back into the library. I feel totally out of sync because I don't know the "way of things" at the school. It's just odd to be there because I haven't been.

When we got home, X-man asked to watch Clone Wars and play at I set him up and then went upstairs while MacTroll got on his conference calls. I needed something therapeutic to do, so I sat down on the floor of X-man's room and sorted Legos and scrubbed down his Lego table with cleaner. Then he came up, noticed that all of his "town" pieces were on the table together and not in a mess and we started playing. Then we pulled out the Scribbles coloring and activity book my sister got him for his birthday and we did some activities. He read me the instructions and then I'd take one page and he'd take another. We fed some crocodiles with our art. We determined that the "heavier" of an object would be an elephant over a refrigerator. We drew striped and polka dotted brontosauruses. It was fun.

I made X-man lunch and then set him up with his next section of Handwriting without Tears. He finished his worksheet practice with only one correction from me. Afterwards we all had to head out to the library so that MacTroll and I participate in early voting at the Tolono Public Library. It was awesome. It was so nice because X-man could go pick out books while we voted and we didn't have to worry about standing in line. We were voter numbers 100 and 101. And there were at least a half dozen people coming in behind us.

Then we drove north and got MacTroll his birthday cake. I ordered him a specialty Doctor Who cake from the Cake Artist's Studio that looks like the Tardis for his 37th birthday tomorrow. X-man is adamant that we must celebrate birthdays. So a cake is a requirement. I still haven't found the black camera, so here's a photo of one that is similar. But I like celebrating MacTroll, too. :-)

Then we went to Meijer to do a quick pick up of food. I stayed in the car with X-man and read him some of the library books. Two of them were picture books based on uncomfortable social situations. He would panic in the middle of them, and we'd have to close them and talk about what made him upset. One was Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Monkey on his Back: A Tale about Telling the Truth and the other was I Gotta Draw about a boy who can't stop doodling (It's his fidgit) in school and he's earning terrible grades until his teacher adapts a bit and learns to accommodate his learning style. Then the whole class is integrating learning and art.

When we got home, MacTroll had a few more calls to make. So X-man and I headed up the stairs to his room to play more Legos. We also ended up reading "One Morning in Maine" by Robert McCloskey. There's a scene in the book where the older sister is helping the little sister brush her teeth. I asked X-man who the girls reminded him of. He smiled and said Super Ella and Super Chloe. Great minds think alike.

When MacTroll was done with the phone around 6 p.m., the boys sat down with the BIG purchase from the book fair today: A paper airplane book where you make the starships from Star Wars. Cutting and folding are fine motor skills, so it was nice to see them working together. Plus, there are five pages of each plane, so you can make whole squadrons. X-man makes up stories about what's happening with the planes. "A bad guy stole this Naboo plane so the X-wing has to run him down..." MacTroll is now playing planes with his Millennium Falcon while we prepare to watch Return of the Jedi as a Family Movie Night.

But I keep having to remind myself that tomorrow is Saturday! And after the giant cake is out of my fridge we'll have room to do a real grocery shopping trip. :-)

Last night I tried to watch the DVD of the first two episodes of Game of Thrones. It made me terribly uncomfortable and after violence against children in episode one and violence against dogs in episode two... I've decided I am not the Game of Thrones key audience. I had to fast forward through most of it (incest, arranged marriage and dwarves, oh my!). I think I'll go back to the Big Bang Theory. Much more my speed... I find great comfort in Leonard and Sheldon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wouldn't it be nice?

This morning as I got X-man ready for his day. He went over his mental checklist of everything that was happening today so he could be prepared.

He made sure he wore his pajamas for his pajama party/Greatness Party in his classroom. He made sure he had his "baggie books" and math homework in his homework folder to give to his teachers. He made sure I didn't pack him a lunch because it's a half day at school, so no lunch will be eaten. He double checked that he put on underwear (cause, um, he's forgotten a couple of days lately). And then he hugged his two blue blankets and his Sleepy Dog. As he did so, I handed him his long-sleeve shirt to put on. He wrapped up his stuffed animal in the blankets and left them on the soft throws on the couch to wait for him until he got home.

"Mommy, wouldn't it be nice if we had a day where everyone brought their blankies and stuffed animals to school? Everyone would feel safe and cuddly and happy all day."

That sounds great, X-man. A utopia for little kids.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I put on shorts and a tank top today to walk over and pick up the boys. I'm always the first parent at the door for the "walkers," but that's okay with me because it gives me a chance to sit and have a rest before the walk back on my Roll-A-Bout. (And can I just say that they really need to put some all-terrain wheels on those things. If you hit one tiny pebble in the street while crossing, it feels like you might fall over.)

Anyway, I got to catch up with some parents I hadn't seen in a while. They were all so busy. They were all planning book fairs and classroom parties. They were bringing in decorations or dumpster diving giant tubes (I love you, Rogers). And there I sat knowing that it was all I had in me to scoot over to school and back. Mental energy I have a lot of. Physical not so much.

It also depressed me that when I went to scrub the table for snack when we got home that most of my right bicep was flapping back and forth. That didn't used to happen. Why does fixing one part of my body mean I have to let the rest of it deteriorate?

It's depressing. But it is what it is.

I was also sweating like a pig when X-man and I got home. Sigh.

I have a breakfast date tomorrow with a co-teacher from MMO. I'm so looking forward to it! And then MacTroll should be home tomorrow night. Thank goodness.

Oh, and why didn't anyone ever tell me about Mat Kearney? I've been listening to "She Got the Honey" pretty much non-stop all day. It's a bubbly song and makes me almost as happy as "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel.

I'm going to channel my energy into waiting for the moment the doc says I can get back in the pool. I'll probably have to drag my legs for a while, but I'm going nuts here. I need something!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Never Look Up to See a Flock!

It's migration time again in the midwest. The large swarms of small blackbirds (cowbirds?) came through three weeks ago. They drove Lily crazy with their constant flitting about like a school of fish in the air.

Now we've moved on to the large groups of Canadian Geese coming to the lake at the park behind our house. Honk! Honk! Honk!

When X-man was little, he used to call them Honk Honks! It was very sweet. He'd be toddling around to his sand and water table out on the sidewalk. We were one of two houses in the neighborhood then and Bob the Builder was here every day with a new truck. So we'd go outside and play in the gusty Savoy wind and he'd call each construction truck out by name and watch them while he went about his business of kicking balls, drawing with chalk, rolling down the "hill" in the front yard, getting the mail, playing with the hose, etc. Even when it got cold, he'd be out there sniffling away and putting his own CAT trucks in the dirt of the "done" garden while I put the tomato cages away for the winter.

This morning, X-man wore his "fancy" clothes to school for his first grade photo. Ever since he was 4 and accidentally zipped his bits by accident on a pair of jeans he refuses to wear denim or pants that zip. Luckily for me, there are a few brands out there that will make pants that aren't sweat pants or track pants without any kind of button or zipper. But X-man's never been to a non-island wedding. And since he was tiny when he's gone to funerals, I never felt the need to buy him dress shoes. He doesn't have many fancy clothes. Fancy for us is a Cuban shirt over a pair of khaki shorts.

Anyway, when we were in San Jose this summer, he tried on a sports jacket, with a fedora and a pair of out of this world funky sunglasses. He looked adorable. But we were in a department store and the coat was more money than I wanted to pay for it. Fast forward to October, when suddenly the jacket is 65 percent off. So I ordered it. And then I ordered him a button down shirt. He was rather excited about the shirt this morning because when you cuffed the sleeves, it had an entirely different pattern. "I'm like a secret agent! I'm like that guy on White Collar that starts with an N."

I giggled. It was a very cute observation. So I went into the closet and got the fedora he picked out from Target not too long after our trip to California. It's the only actual clothing purchase he's really cared about. He wore it out the door when our neighbor came to pick him up to walk to school. And then when he got to school, he got worried he'd be breaking the "no hat" rule, even though I told him he could put it in his backpack like his winter hat. Instead, he gave it to the neighbor... for safe keeping.

I will admit, I bought the shirt and the jacket a bit big, so we could get more use out of them, too. But holy cow, he looked really cute. If my hand-me down phone took better photos I'd post one. But I'll have to see how it goes. (And if he lasts more than 5 seconds with the sports jacket on once he gets to school. I bet the whole class knows his "secret" before lunch.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

One Step

I stepped on my scale this morning not to weigh myself, but to weigh the pressure I put down on my leg now that I'm 5 1/2 weeks post-op on my peroneal tendon and ligament repair. The doctor told me that today I could try to stand on it and see what it could take. I was able to hold around 52 lbs of weight on it comfortably. This means I can put my foot down when I use my crutches, as long as most of my body weight is on the crutches. I'm slow, like really slow. But I can move.

However, I cannot drive, and when my foot gets used it starts to swell a bit and gets uncomfortable in the boot. So, I am taking it easy. The goal is a normal shoe on that foot by Dec. 13. Yeah, that takes a long time!

MacTroll and I did make it out to see Seven Psychopaths on Saturday. It was a decent film, and for once it was a film that didn't show all of the funny parts in the trailer.

I did have this one strange moment where we're sitting in the second row of the theater (our usual spot). I've got my foot up on my scooter, I'm thinking, "If there's some Batman psycho that comes in this movie and starts shooting at people, I'm totally a goner." And then I wondered if I should tell MacTroll to sit on the outside of me, so I could kind of body shield him and X-man would have one parent to take care of him.

Now, I'm not normally a paranoid freak. I don't believe that Savoy is a crazy dangerous environment. I know better. But when you feel -- vulnerable -- and aren't used to it, it does some weird stuff to your brain, I guess. I hadn't felt that panicked since I left X-man with a sitter when he was a baby to go see the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I had this suddenly weird feeling that the sitter was going to disappear with my baby. It made enjoying the film impossible. And I have to admit, I never saw another Pirates movie after that one.

Today is family lunch day at Carrie Busey. MacTroll and I are both going, but neither of us is eating at the school. We're also dropping off the pumpkin that X-man and I made for the library this weekend. He's feeling very fishy these days. So we made the fish from "Memoirs of a Goldfish" for the pumpkin contest. I also have to get started on his "Storybook Parade" costume.

Last year he went as the Smushy Bus. This year he wants to have a "Swimmy" by Leo Lionni costume. I bought a blue t-shirt and some puffy paints. So he'll be dressed as the "ocean" and the t-shirt will have all the red fishes in his family and Swimmy, the sole black fish. I like that X-man totally gets the spirit in which the Storybook Parade was intended.

In other news, I found another house in California that would be ideal if we lived there. I did the Google Street Map view and saw a ton of boys playing on the Cul-de-Sac. I also find it entertaining that it backs into the all-girls Catholic School, what more could a boy want over the next 12 years, right? It's also only 3 blocks from the public elementary school. Alas, we'll see what's out there in six months. I keep looking around my house noting all the work I'll have to do since I got off my feet. So many paint touch ups!

Maybe I should have a paint party. Anyone want to come help out?

Friday, October 19, 2012


X-man has difficulty with his handwriting. He does much better on lined paper, but it's still not very good. I grew concerned after I saw his first spelling test, so I e-mailed an acquaintance of mine who is an occupational therapist after I talked about his handwriting issues with his teachers.

The OT went over the "options" with me about having him evaluated (by school folks versus hospital folks versus a private OT). But then she told me to hang tight because her son goes to X-man's school and she was thinking of volunteering some of her time. I found out today, she'll be having a handwriting intervention for children in the lower grades on Monday afternoons. I e-mailed X-man's teachers about it today, and they totally support him attending. Hooray for parent/teacher communication. :-)

This is a good thing. What I'm hoping will happen is that he'll get some practice in, but also that the OT can tell me if she thinks he should have an evaluation looking into any Visual Motor Integration issues or into the Visual Auditory Integration issues depending on how things go with her. Delays or disorders in these areas would help explain why he has so much trouble with phonetics when reading as well as his difficulty with writing. He likes to memorize words, not sound them out. So we have to break them down to one letter sound at at time which helps him read a word, but then when you ask him to spell it the letter sound"bah" doesn't translate in his brain into the letter "b."

In addition, he also reverses his numbers and letters a lot. This is normal until children are around 8 years old. But I also know that MacTroll had issues with his dyslexia and when he was younger and went through speech therapy. So, it's something we look out for.

We've been working on fine motor skills at home with scissors and rock crayons and (of course) Legos, but I also have invested in some fun spelling apps where I can input his spelling list and he can spell the words in various games. He always picks the game where he has 4 different spellings (3 incorrect and one correct) of the same word and has to pick the right one. Or he'll break down and do the game that shows him the word, reads him the letters, and then asks him to spell the word using the keyboard. He can repeat the word orally, but not see it again. But it does at least give him one visual clue. He HATES when I try to get him to do the game where it only reads you the words and there's no visual cue at all.

I also downloaded Dexteria's LetterReflex Flip It, where it gives the kids letters going all different ways and they have to flip them the right way to help with letter discrimination.

I also talked to his teachers about him having trouble hearing the letter "l" in combination with other sounds (for example "Sled"). She said this is a relatively common problem. They're testing new curriculum, so they're taking notes about where these activities might work better and doing a lot of individual work with the children to get them more appropriate learning situations for their abilities and levels. It's nice having two teachers that work Reading Recovery lead a classroom. No one gets left behind, and they see and value each of the students as individuals.

Wild and Wacky Weekend

Loosey is getting out of the house twice this weekend. Woo Hoo!

Tonight, X-man is headed over to the Champaign Tennis Center north of town to a play tennis, eat pizza and watch movies with the park district. Meanwhile, MacTroll and I are going to go to dinner somewhere and then to Target. Isn't that exciting? The Night Out at the Tennis Center is only from 6-9 p.m., so it's not quite long enough to get in a movie, because most of the movies at the Beverly have a 7 p.m. start time.

Tomorrow, X-man is going to try a Y Night at the YMCA. There he's got the gym and the pool and games. He goes from 6:15-9:45 p.m. So, we're going to go see the Seven Psychopaths at the Savoy 16. MacTroll is also going to take him for a haircut because School Picture Day is on Oct. 23rd. And the boys are going to the Pirate Party at the Orpheum Saturday afternoon.

Oh, and just a hint... if you're on a Roll-a-bout scooter, you should go slow at Schnuck's. Otherwise the workers there think you're some kind of insane 36-year-old adult on an actual toy scooter. It's not until they see the big immobile boot on your leg that they take the stern "I-can't-believe-I-have-to-lecture-you" look off of their faces and turn it into a "Oooohhhh!"

To be fair, I look like an old woman trying to make it across parking lots and up onto curbs. The bumpy things for the vision impaired don't go well with the wimpy wheels on the Roll-a-bout. I swear, they need some cross country wheels for this thing for the places I take it. I can't imagine many people in the world have all hard floors in their homes. And any folks still living with shag... well, the Roll-a-bout would be difficult. But at the grocery store and a mall and an office building, it really does increase your mobility.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Election Drama

For months various representatives' computers have been calling my home to get me to vote for them. The most frequent and nastiest of the computer recorded calls have been from the Davis/Gill face off. We have a landline pretty much for my own sanity knowing that if I leave X-man with a babysitter, they have a phone that can call 9-1-1, just in case someone's cell battery is dead. We've just learned that if we don't know the phone number, we don't pick up.

I did not watch the presidential candidates debate last night. I hate debate season. It's all high drama. I don't like the tension in the room of two people who obviously would rather spit on each other and talk down to each other than talk with each other. It's ugly and uncomfortable. It's reality TV. And I've never been a fan of reality TV.

The only really good thing about this election season is that this year, I can do early voting at the Tolono Public Library instead of driving over to Brookens in Urbana next to the jail. It's kind of fun. I can vote and then I can check out some library materials. Sweet! They're the only library taking part in our area, and you have to be from specific voting districts, but I still think it's awesome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Becoming Mobile

Today was the second day I walked from my house to X-man's school. I'm using the word "walk" here loosely. I used the Roll-a-bout scooter with my knee up to get over there. It's hard work, but it tires me out. My mom also drove me around Savoy and Tolono today to run errands.

We went to the library, where I picked up the first library books for X-man since I had my surgery. He's used to getting 20-30 new books a week when I'd go and get things for my class. So, he's been living off of his personal library for a while. Afterwards, we deposited some checks at Busey bank, went and picked up some groceries at Schnuck's, dropped off some mail at the post office and bought Luke some of his grain-free wet cat food at Prairieland Feeds. When I got home, I rented the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. We ate lunch in front of the movie and then I took off to go get X-man.

At home, we worked on his math and spelling homework. Then we read nine out of the twelve books I brought back from the library. His favorite from this set was Pigs by Robert Munsch.  Then he got dressed, without any complaint, to go to soccer. He really likes his Big Feet (intro to soccer) at Soccer Planet. Mom and I sat at a picnic table and watched him. He was having a ball. Afterwards, he asked to go to Merry Ann's Diner for dinner, so we hit the one on campus in Urbana.

He showered and then came downstairs again so we could reread some library books and then I read him the details in the Lego Christmas catalog until it was time for bed. He was totally asleep by 8:40 p.m. It was a good, big day.

I'll be picking the boys up via scooter on Wednesday and Thursday again this week, in case you want to see me doing pretty much the only "workout" I can manage at this point.

Tomorrow, X-man sees The Mathman, so I think I'll have my Mom drop him off and then she and I can go to Espresso Royale on Windsor for the 40 minutes he's working the numbers. It turns out X-man's therapist is moving offices starting in November, so we'll be following her to her new place.

I'm going to going it alone next week T/W/Th, but I think I'll be fine.  I get to start standing on my foot on Monday. So I'll be able to step down with my left and then stand on my right for balance a bit. I'll also be leaving the scooter in the garage, so I can get X-man from school in the afternoons rather than carrying it up and down the two steps (which would be impossible for me on one foot).

My Dad is swinging back into town to take X-man trick or treating on Halloween, too.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Wonderful Morning with Martin Sheen

I have to admit that I've watched a lot of random stuff on Netflix over the past five weeks. None of it has made me want to run out and get a cable subscription so I can get movies or TV shows faster. In fact, often when I'm watching a movie, I have to remind myself that people view this as an art form... because what I see is so -- commercial.

But maybe that's what we've done to all fine works of art. Commercialized them. Most writers and painters that are now considered greats were relatively unknown during their lifetime. They had to die first. So we end up taking the "fineness" out of them. I guess in a way we've done that to meal time, too. For example, right now I've just enjoyed fettucini alfredo -- from a box -- that I heated up in 4 minutes in the microwave. We've taken something that should take time and effort and sped it up so that we could do other activities faster.

This morning I watched a film called "The Way." It stars a post-Jed Bartlett Martin Sheen as a father who lost his son, when he passes away while attempting to hike the El Camino de Santiago from France to Spain. When he goes to France to retrieve his son's body, he decides to take up the hike and take his son's ashes with him. I don't say this very often any more, but it was a grown-up movie. It wasn't all fake drama and special effects. There were lows and highs and a lot of beautiful scenery. There were a lot of baguettes and bottles of wine and sleeping in bunk beds.

It was a feel good movie about self-acceptance, the way life works and living a life where you get to see all of the differences in cultures in the world -- even with an American passport. :-)

I don't walk away from movies completely happy very often. Usually I'm able to guess plot lines as they develop and guess where the faux drama is going to go. I couldn't do that with this one. And it was a pleasant change of pace.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Short Cuts

I know a few days ago I blogged about X-man and his short cuts.

He had a perfect one today while reading with KTDID. He was lying on the big chair with her reading a Lego book. They were taking turns (which is our favorite way to read) where she read the page on the left and he read the page on the right.

I'm watching him absolutely NAIL words like "construction," "foundation," "truck" and "workers" and getting help on things like "smoothly" and "concrete." But then he gets to the word -- "ceiling." Instead of sounding it out. He stops, looks at it and asks, "Why couldn't they have just used the word 'roof'?"

KTDID and I both smiled. He knew what was going to happen. And he knew the word didn't begin with an "r". And he immediately wanted to substitute the word he did know for the word he didn't know. As far as reading comprehension goes, that's pretty sweet.

His teacher sent home a new spelling test sheet on Friday. I input the words into a "Build The Word" app on the iPad. He "learned" them and then did some practice. I put in some of those "advanced" bonus words that he refused to learn last week. On Saturday, he wrote five of the words. He got all the letters right but not the placement on some. He's also missing "L" sounds in words when I say them, even though I think I'm saying the word slowly and trying to enunciate each letter sound. I'm not sure between the 15 minutes we put into it on Saturday and the 20 minutes he put into it today on the app that he'll do awesome on his pre-test. But that's why it's a pre-test, right? I guess I'm still trying to figure out how he learns best, and how to incorporate lessons with fun and things he needs to improve on, so he doesn't end up spending lots of time doing things that we could "double dip" on.

Tomorrow, I'm going to use the scooter to pick the boys up from school. It'll be my first "long" scooter ride. I'm not used to just sitting around. I know I only have seven days left before I get to start standing on my foot. But it feels like a very, very long wait -- darn that light at the end of the tunnel. I can see it. I just can't get to it any faster...

X-man also started back at the Orpheum Science Museum Lego Club today. The kindergarten and first grade class meets just once a month for an hour and a half. He's loves to build cars and planes and other modes of transportation. So he took his new fighter plane to the show and tell part of the class today. He said that someone even asked him a question about his design and if he'd be upgrading it to incorporate something to shoot acid. X-man seemed pleased that he got a question and even though he thought the guns he built were enough, he would consider an acid sprayer upgrade because it sounded cool!

My mom is coming to help out this week. We're hoping it's the last week that I'm immobile. I know I won't be able to drive until at least after Nov. 7. But I might be able to walk a bit before then!

Don't Trust the X-man

Seriously, my child is TERRIBLE at keeping secrets. He doesn't do it to be mean. It's not like he's walking up to small children ruining their holiday, fairy, religious, (fill in the blank here) hopes, dreams and beliefs. He's just -- really excited about doing nice things for people.

Yesterday, we got Booed. If you don't know what this is, it's a holiday tradition in our neighborhood where someone leaves a special treat on your front porch with a poem (that is instructions) and a photo of a ghost. The recipient is supposed to post the ghost on the door and then pick two neighbors to boo and get treats for them to leave as a secret on their front porch. It's a bit like a chain letter -- with toys, crayons and candy.

After he got booed, X-man came up with the friends he wanted to boo. I told him we'd have to go around the block and see who had ghosts up on their doors so we'd know who was already chosen. But in his mind, he had two friends already picked out. When one of the friends came to the door to play this morning... he spilled the beans. :-) Then when the child called him out on sharing the secret, he backpedaled. "Maybe, maybe I'll boo you!" And then he fessed up who he wanted the second boo to go to.

It's not unlike Father's Day when we were taking MacTroll out to get his gift. It was one that Dad had to be there to pick out and get measured for... and as I'm driving away toward the store, X-man says, "We're really NOT getting you a bike, Daddy."

Great, thanks kid! No secrets for you! (On the side, his father is also pretty terrible at keeping certain secrets. Things just slide out of his mouth, and he can't take them back. They're both also not very good at lying. These, are, of course, not terrible qualities to have. :-) )

Saturday, October 13, 2012


When I'm really excited about something I feel over the moon. I can't wait for it to happen. Something like ice cream on a crap day or a vacation to somewhere fun or to see a friend I haven't seen in a while. Sometimes, I get excited about time I get to spend by myself or about a new movie being released. These are all good things to excited about.

But then there are other things that are made worse through anticipation. That logarithm test in college algebra in high school that I knew I totally bombed. I got a 25 percent. (It was only beaten by one other student's 14 percent.) Thank goodness we had a math project and wrote a paper on a mathematician at the end of the semester so I could get uber points back that semester in my math grade. Anyway, other areas where anticipation basically gives me an ulcer: when my grandmother was slipping away at the end of her life, when I fell down four steps 20 weeks pregnant with X-man and started to have spotting, sitting in the waiting room at the old cancer center in the bowels of Carle getting an ultrasound on an unidentifiable lump in my breast...

Now that I'm 40, I'm learning that anticipation is pretty much a strong indicator that I'm still living... and that I have lived. I know to anticipate how something is going to turn out. It helps me predict that which is good and bad and -- what doesn't matter at all. It also helps me temper my responses now that I'm older.

But at six years of age, X-man still has a long way to go to learn that what is in his head is often much worse (or better) than the real thing.

For example, this morning, the family went for a flu shot. X-man has had one every year. He only had one bad experience and that was with the H1N1 Nasal drip. He hates the nasal stuff. So we skipped the flu mist clinic they had at his elementary school. I told him if he didn't do it there, he'd get the injection at Carle's flu clinic near our house. He's always happily sat through the flu injection without incident knowing there was a piece of candy when he was done. And today from 7 a.m. to noon, is the last day of the flu shot clinic at the Curtis location. (They have others around town and Public Health is always available.)

MacTroll and I got ours first. We were so fast that X-man didn't even notice that I got mine done. Then when it was his turn, he flipped out. MacTroll held him on his lap, and he turned to look at me while the needle went in. He screamed out loud and cried. Now he's obsessed as to whether or not his bandaid is falling off or not. To him getting a needle poked in his arm (before it actually happened) was the worst thing in the world (even if it was followed up with MacTroll taking him to the Fire Institute Open House).

It's hard to convey the "life gets better" message when you're on the other side of the emotional upheaval.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I committed iPhoneslaughter.

It's true.

I took a chance and went out to dinner last night with some friends. A lovely woman on my street picked me up and whirled me and my crutches to Dos Reales on Prospect. It was really nice to be around a group of grown ups and be out of my house for a couple hours.

But it was longer than I had sat in a long time, so by the end of the night. I was happy, but tired and my bum foot was very, very swollen. I got home and sat on my couch for a while listening to my dad finish reading a chapter to X-man. Then he came down and we chatted a while. He called my stepmom and then I went to the stairs to hobble up them. I was really tired. I almost lost my balance three times. My good leg was wiped out.

I was thankful when I got to the top safe. And then I went to my room to put on my pajamas. I took off my boot and suddenly I had to pee.

I can't carry anything in my hands with crutches, so I used the back pocket of my stretchy workout pants. And when I was balancing on one foot and trying to lower my pants... it fell out and into the toilet water.

I snatched it out. dried it off and tried to turn it off, but the touch screen wouldn't work. Sigh. I put it on the back of the toilet, did my business. Then put it back in my pocket and crutched it into the bedroom. When my dad was off the phone, he brought me the container of rice to lay it on.

The good news is that MacTroll's old iPhone 4 downstairs that I can use. The bad news is -- I feel like an idiot.

Tired and imbalanced Looseys do not do well in the common sense department, I guess. On the plus side, I don't have to deal with Siri any more.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

House Plants Just Don't Cut It

If you've ever visited my house, you'll notice that the only thing "green" on the inside is that which I intend to cook. I have no house plants. I am a terrible inside-the-house gardener.

I forget to water. Or I just forget entirely. My cats chew on leaves, which can be hazardous to their health and to my sense of well being (and bank account).

I have four pets, a child and a spouse, they get fed and cleaned and taken care of... so what's so hard about a plant?

Mostly, everyone in my family speaks up. I need a plant to do the same. My pets meow, pace, body slam me, roll on me, knead their claws, whine, paw at me, and let me know when they need to eat, play, go to the vet or go outside (dog only here... all outside begging by the cats is ignored). House plants don't. It's hard not to notice when Clawdio pees in the shower letting us know he's either mad at you, how their litter box looks or that they need to go to the vet.

Although to be fair, once upon a time MacTroll kept a pot of mint (yes, the weed, that he said tasted good in a mojito) alive for two months. I wondered how he did it because I never saw him water it. Then one day, I bent over to smell the plant. It smelled mildly of mint. But mostly it smelled like cat pee. I'll let you decide if he washed the leaves before he put it in his drink.

Lily, our dog, is young (18 months). This makes her playful, curious and impatient. (Not unlike our son.) When she was 14 months old, she learned to open the backdoor by pushing down on the handle and pushing out. Crap.

Within a few weeks, she had learned to open the backdoor from outside by pushing down the handle and pulling the bar in. Double crap.

Being that cats are not dumb. They watched our smart dog. I shut the bedroom door for a moment to get some privacy while I dressed this morning. The door opened. I expected to see Lily. But no. It was Luke. Why should he let Lily have all the door opening fun?

It takes a lot to remember to lock the backdoor so that Lily doesn't open it herself and let herself out (or in!). She's a bit like X-man when he was five and he forgot to shut the backdoor when he went out to play all the time. If we could train her to open it and close it so that no cats get out, it might not be a bad situation.

All I know is, we obviously have an influence of independence and self-sufficiency around here that transcends from human to canine to feline.

And in our next house, I swear we're going to have doorknobs, so that only species with thumbs can open the doors.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Good Questions

X-man has a science fair coming up at school. Tonight, I sat down with him and Papa at dinner and we talked about science questions he had that he didn't know the answer to. (The idea being to learn something new and not just repeat what he already knows.)

And (drum roll) the final three project questions are:

1. How does lava get into a volcano?

2. How does a queen ant become a queen ant?

3. Which comes first the seed or the plant?

At the last one, my Dad looked at me and smirked. How profound for a first grader. My Dad's answer -- 42 (Thanks to Douglas Adams).

I called MacTroll, who plans on working on the project with X-man. He votes for Lava. :-) He's all excited about making some kind of earth diorama. He already knows how lava gets OUT of the volcano (good old baking soda and vinegar). But we'll have to see what kind of experiment they do about how lava gets into the volcano.

Meanwhile, my son came home from Mathman today all excited. Don has started to introduce him to multiplication and fractions. X-man was ever so proud of the work he did there today. And I love that he loves going and finds math so much fun.

We've been working on spelling words this week. X-man loves to read, but he's a visual kid, so even though he knows the sounds, he sometimes has to write down the letter that corresponds with them because if he says /bah/ meaning b, he doesn't say b. But he'll write it. So we've been practicing spelling words by writing them on lined paper. He is 100 percent better at writing on lined paper than paper without lines. Legibility increases by 80 percent. So, I'll have to talk about that with his teachers at parent/teacher conference, because I had a hard time making out his writing on the test on a white sheet of paper. But when he wrote the words on lined paper I could read them all for sure.

He missed two words on his pre-test on monday (littel and ceb for little and cob). I've also been having him practice his handwriting because he is still behind in his fine motor skills. I asked him if he wanted to work on the challenge words, but he said he wasn't allowed to. I told him he could learn to spell any words he wanted to, but apparently, that was too much work. :-)

It's like on the math homework today. One of the questions was to list an even number under 50 and then make tally marks next to it. X-man picked the number 2. Answers the question with the least amount of effort having to be put into it. And this, in a nutshell, is my kid. It is also, in a nutshell, my husband. Go figure.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Wheels

Today, I showered for the first time by myself in my upstairs shower. I was kind of scared about it. We have a shower that you walk into, but it has a single 4" tall step. So I had to crutch into the shower, leave the crutches outside, use the shower seat for balance and sit down and start the water. It felt nice to be back in my shower with all my stuff. It felt awesome to wash and shave my injured leg (I stayed away from the suture line).

My foot seems to be a giant ball of confused nerves (go figure). So I was afraid that the rain from the shower might be painful. It wasn't. But when I rearranged my leg and water ran down the back of it over the suture line, it felt like my whole leg and foot were asleep. It wasn't necessarily painful, but it also wasn't comfortable.

At the end of my shower, I was kind of nervous, because I had to hop, without much to hold on to, back to my crutches. I had to crutch out of the shower to the floor mat, grab my towel off of the bathtub and towel dry there. I was nervous that I would slip on the wet tile and fall, but it worked out okay. I still don't think I'll fell safe to shower at home without a "back up" person being home.

Anyway, I dried off my hair and upper body and then I crutched out of the bathroom to the bed to sit down and dry my bum leg and foot. I wanted to be sure I got all the water out between my swollen toes, so I wouldn't get gross stuff growing in there. But my main concern, and I knew from X-man's cast experience that this was going to suck, was that all of this nasty skin was peeling off of my leg and the bottom of my foot. Like 4 weeks worth of skin that normally flakes off your body without you noticing was stuck in the cast and just became layer after layer.

Putting my foot into the boot is okay, as long as I'm not trying to put my foot up. If I elevate my foot, it feels like the boot is restricting my foot. Like it's a giant squeeze machine. So, I put it on when I'm up and about (it doesn't seem to hurt then) and I do my flex/ point exercises when I'm elevating it.

For some reason, by the end of the day, it feels like my foot is going to burst out of a very tight skin.  Not cool.

However, my left foot feels much better today because we got the okay to get me a Roll-A-bout cart. MacTroll ran over to rent one from Carle Medical supply. It's a lot easier than the crutches and I don't feel like I'm going to fall over. It works now that it's okay for me to be more mobile. I still have two more weeks of non-weight bearing, but I'm starting to get more "Loosey's afternoon out" experiences and I'm okay with them (i.e. I can sit in a restaurant for up an hour without being in crazy pain, and that's a good thing!). It'll also be my only wheels for a while. I don't see the doctor again until Nov. 7. I might be driving shortly after that period.

When my left leg starts to get tired, I can only make it up a certain number of stairs hopping on one foot. I get scared (like I'm going to fall backwards) when I'm about three away from the top of the stairs. I also get pretty tired after being out of the house for more than an hour. I'm hoping that the Roll-A-bout allows me to be more mobile without me totally misaligning or breaking the rest of my body to make up for the giant cast weighing down the heavy leg that I'm not about to use.

The scooter is parked down on the first floor. I use crutches only when I'm up on the second floor. But I do have to say, if you have a busted leg, X-man is VERY nice about running ahead and getting doors for you, or pushing the handicap button so they open automatically. It's really very sweet.

This is an updated look at my foot from today. It is swollen, but I also have always had kankles... so it's really not too bad. It's a lot of Steri strips. In addition to feeling like my skin is too tight in the ball of my foot, I also think that my arch is now higher in my left than my right, and that I somehow got some kind of callous on the ball of my foot from the hard cast rubbing against it.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Well, that was a tiptoe forward. The nurse took my second cast off, took out the rest of the staples and put me in a boot. Then the doctor told me that I have two more weeks of non-weight bearing (i.e. no walking) So, I called in my Mom to help out the week of the 15th.

The only real good news was that I can shower and wash that leg, which is good because it was getting pretty gross. I also have exercises I have to do.

On the other hand, I am officially out of the basement. So, you know... I'm moving on up.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Will it or won't it come off?

Tomorrow morning, I'm calling the doc because my cast is loose -- really loose. So loose that I swear if I concentrated, I could maybe figure out a way to entirely wiggle out of it. It was kinda loose on Friday, but now, it's just ridiculous. My appointment was for Wednesday, and Tuesday's he is in Danville. So, I'm going to give them a call at 8 a.m. tomorrow and see if they have any openings. I get kind of excited thinking about it. Because what if he takes out my staples and I get a walking cast? What if I get permission to start trying to relearn to walk and to pick towels up off the floor with my foot and weird helpful stuff like that? I'd be so freaking happy to move forward and be quasi-mobile.

I'd call today and leave a message for them to get when they walk in. But, alas, any messages have to be left with an answering service, and I really don't want my doctor knowing that I called him on a Sunday. That seems kind of rude.

My Dad is coming on Tuesday to help take care of X-man. He's going to be walking the kids to school on our days and taking him to his after school activities. If I'm still laid up, I'll be moving back down to the basement for a bit of privacy. It's been a nice break up in the bedroom, but I have to admit, I'm actually less independent up here. The human car wash shower isn't really friendly to someone who has to gimp around. The temperature controls are too far away from the sprayer, and I have to take my crutches into the shower, if I use it. So, instead, MacTroll's been washing my hair using the sprayer on the bathtub and I've been giving myself baths using a washcloth.

I can see at all the skin under my cast is starting to slough off. That's pretty gross. It's like dandruff on my leg, and well, that and not moving for nearly a month makes a girl feel very unpretty.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Wiggly Teeth

The family went to Meijer today where I got the chance to drive my first Amigo cart. (The motorized carts with the basket in the front.) The good news is that I didn't run anyone over. The bad news is, by the time we got to the end of our shopping, the cart was on red and X-man had to push me back to the charger. :-) He was a very, very good helper today.

While we were at the store, we eyed some caramel apples. X-man is sporting three slightly wiggly teeth. So, we bought three apples. X-man had one for an afternoon snack. Now he has one really wiggly tooth.

His thumb has been pruning from his spit as he tries to earn himself some extra cash via the tooth fairy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Little Sad

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I got sad. I could hear MacTroll and X-man upstairs and wanted to be near my family.

I lay down with my foot up on the pillows feeling ostracized.

Then I said, "Fuck this."

I got up on the crutches and made my way upstairs. When I was three stairs from the top, MacTroll met me. "What are you doing?"

"I miss my family. I want to go upstairs."

And so I did. Since the sensitivity of the staples has been reduced. I didn't have to worry about cats walking across my leg. I slept for the first time in my own bed with MacTroll and Lily and it felt -- not lonely.

Then in the middle of the night a thunderstorm came through. The window was open a crack. It was lovely to hear and smell the rain.

Even though it's not sunny and bright today. I feel more sunny and bright. Plus, I have a very cuddly puppy. I don't think I want to go back downstairs for a while.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Drop Dead Diva

Since I've been stranded at home, I've introduced myself to some new television. One of the "suggested" items in Netflix was a show called Drop Dead Diva.

It starts with a clueless blonde, size 0 model who gets in a car accident, goes to purgatory, refuses to give up on her life and ends up pushing a button on the angel's computer and sending herself back to Earth in the body of Jane.

Jane, an obese, very smart lawyer.

This show makes me very uncomfortable. I've only watched two shows, and I don't think I could stomach any more. But my big issue is here is this ultra thin woman, who has a gorgeous, smart boyfriend and a best friend. She drives a fancy convertible. And yet, when she gets to purgatory, it's explained to her that she's done nothing bad in her life AND she hasn't done anything good. She's basically just taken up space -- yet she has all of those things.

And, yes, if I keep watching, I might find out more things about Jane. But in the first two episodes what is very clear is that Jane is smart. Very, very smart. Yet, she can't seem to keep donuts out of her mouth, dresses poorly and is entirely work obsessed. Her only friend (since no one seems to call the main character or even e-mail or text her) is her cat. Her apartment is soulless and lonely looking. And I'm thinking, what the hell?

The trick is that Jane's soul and her memories have departed and the model's soul and memories have moved in. She spends the first two episodes staring at herself with a self hatred that is entirely uncomfortable. Like all of Jane's goodness is totally null and void because of the size of her body. Yet at the same time, the angel explains that Jane's life was one of value, (She jumped in front of a bullet to save her boss, which is how she died.) but it appears as if no one else on Earth valued her at all.

And that's what made me turn it off.

According to Netflix the show had/has at least three seasons -- on Lifetime.

Oooohhhh, that explains so much. I've turned off the TV now and have picked up a book. I think I'll take a Netflix break.

*** I forgot to add. The word FAT has been everywhere this week. Including the calling out of a TV journalist in Wisconsin, Lady Gaga, and Christina Aguilera

I was happy to find this article professing the insanity of it all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Things that make me laugh

We have two neighbor children who come down and ring our doorbell and play with X-man. One is a five-year-old boy and the other is his nine-year-old sister. They are delightful kids, and I enjoy them very much.

Yesterday, the boy came down and rang the doorbell. X-man and the the boy to his room to play Legos. Moments later the doorbell rang again. His sister gave him a stern lecture about how he didn't tell their mother where he was going, and she as worried.

MacTroll supported her concern and said, "You have to tell your mother where you're going. You could be stuck in a ditch somewhere..."

Suddenly, the sister said, "That's a BAD WORD!"

"D-I-T-C-H, with a D!" MacTroll exclaimed.

Not only was it adorable that she called him out on what she thought she heard. But it was really funny to think about someone, somewhere being "stuck in a bitch."

On a side note, happy birthday to Clawdio, our cat. He's 15 today!