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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Well, Crap

Now I've gotten that out of my system (so to speak), I'm going to talk about the more medical and dietary aspects of recovering from (fairly mild) illness.

Here's the thing; I have had a sinus infection, for which I needed antibiotics starting last Wednesday (and yes, I know how they make bacteria more resistant, etc. I only get the anti-bx when it won't go away using other methods). I am an old hand at this (I'm almost fifty, after all, and I have done the upset-intestine thing before), so I've been taking my probiotics as well (yogurt, acidophilus capsules). All was well until Monday evening, when the fecal matter hit the revolving blades. So to speak.

Uh, yeah, my body is not happy.

So I went to BRAT. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. As I said, I've done this before.

But here's the other thing; my husband died of colon cancer about twenty months ago, so upset stomach and the treatment thereof makes me a little more panicky than it used to. Not panicky enough to go into the ER or anything, though, so I called the consulting nurse at the hospital.

"Do I need to take these last three pills? I know you're supposed to finish the antibiotics, but BRAT isn't good for long periods of time; it's to let your system have a rest, not as a replacement diet forever (besides, do you know how many Weight Watchers Smart Points are in rice and toast?!)."

The nurse laughed, congratulated me for calling in (most parents only call for their kids, apparently; for themselves they wait until it's bad enough to take that visit to the ER), said yes, I should finish the antibiotics as sinusitis is a stubborn beast, and explained that now I've done BRAT for a day or so, it's time to move to BRATTY Plus. More nutrients for the body.

"Terrific; what other things can I eat for the next...?"

The next oh... couple of days, Ms Kirkland; I'd stick to BRATTY Plus through Thursday, then start adding other stuff in one at a time.

Bananas plus: sweet potatoes
Rice plus: oatmeal and other cereals
Applesauce plus: apples and pears
Toast plus: saltine crackers, baked potatoes, plain pasta
Tea plus: chicken broth and gelatin
Yogurt plus: kefir and other cultured foods, small amounts of nuts, seeds, and egg.

Also, no fried foods, no gassy foods (ed: that's probably a bit of the issue for me; while sick I've been sucking down bean soup like water), and very little dairy and protein except the yogurt and kefir, chicken broth and nuts/seeds.

Well, goodness, with the exception of things like chicken and fish and produce, I hope to be able to stick to that after my gut feels better! Just adjust the ratios some. More like BrAtTY Plus Lean Meat and Produce.

As it is, I've lost weight in a NON-Weight Watchers-approved fashion over the past couple days.

And I'd rather do it the right way.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Past Times

I'm cleaning out my email and Yahoo chat logs, and I came across some things that came Out of the Mouths, things I never put here before.

Like this gem, from when Lizzy was four: "Mommy, why don't the star-belly Sneetches just get markers and draw stars upon thars?" Because honestly, little kids not only think outside the box, they don't even get that there is a box.

At approximately the same time, Abby (then not quite nine) taught Lizzy the very important fact that books are read left to right (in English, anyway). Although this has apparently not stuck in Lizzy's brain when it comes to writing; she tends (even to this day) to make cards and book covers on the wrong page, so although the book itself is left to right, the cover is what should be the back cover.


These pictures. Long, curly, nearly-dark-blonde hair on Liz (age four). Where the heck did that come from? And where did it go? Because in this year's school pic (age 10), she's a short, wavy brunette. I changed the length, but the rest... The bright blue eyes don't change much though.

Also, why did I get her two drinks (granted, one is clearly water)?

The first time Abby watched Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead, she loved it; I attributed this love to her Perky Goth-ness. She and a friend are watching it as I type, and she now has some Torchwood under her belt. She groks the Rift and how things may look supernatural but actually be alien instead. It's an interesting contrast.

And this entire scenario:
Abby just came into the apartment, flanked by neighbor kids, brothers who bracket her in age (so Ash is eight, Abby is nine, Tris is ten) whom she recruited to help her take out the garbage. I asked them to take the Netflix envelope out to the mailbox, because the next thing in our queue is Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest. Then the following conversation ensues:

Ash: You're getting something from Netflix? No fair!

Abby: Yeah, it's like a cartoon about the Doctor.

Tris: Doctor Who? (I tried really hard not to scream with laughter, and failed)

Abby: Yeah, Doctor Who. He's a Time Lord and he looks like a human, except he has two hearts and twelve lives and he travels in this blue phone box called a TARDIS that's bigger on the inside and he has friends and sees the universe and sometimes he saves it and there are lots of aliens and tonight are the aliens who use other people's bodies called the Slitheen.

Ash looks a little shell-shocked. Tris - who reads Ultimate Spider-Man - is a little more sophisticated in such things and takes it all in stride.

And they leave, taking the garbage with them (and forgetting the Netflix discs, but no worries, we're nowhere near the Infinite Quest in terms of what to watch next)

Abby is so freakin' troperrific.





Saturday, April 7, 2018

(There is no Timeline for) Grief


See, this is the thing, right here, that people don't seem to get. I only have a couple of bad days a month now (nearly 20 months after Laston's death) unless there's something special (last Saturday would have been our eleventh anniversary).

It's clear that my last employer didn't get this (or didn't care, being a multi-gazillion dollar company). Most even well-meaning people are like, "hey, it's been more than a year; you should be okay now." But (say it with me) "there is no timeline for grief."

It doesn't work that way.

Even the employer itself; I grieve the loss of that job, no matter how much I despised it at the end of my time there. No matter how much I myself screwed it up at the end. I loved it there for the first year and a half. It was really supportive for almost a year after that, after Laston was diagnosed, and the local folks took care of me, and even corporate wasn't awful. They were ridiculously bureaucratic about leave and stuff, but that's standard for any large company. And I was grateful, because I worked for a company that cared about me as a person.

Until they didn't anymore. Until the bottom line was more important than contented employees. I mean, it's always been that way to some extent, or they wouldn't have needed a union, but we managed to bump along just fine. When did this change? When they acquired DirecTV? When our country elected a me-first man who encourages screwing the little guy, and Corporate America followed suit? I don't know.

All I know is that I grieve for that lost job. Not as much, and not in the same way, that I grieve for my lost husband, the father of my younger child and the stepfather of the elder. 

But it is still grief.

You'll ask what triggered this particular grieving event, and it's that I was denied the appeal I made for unemployment insurance; the appellate judge ruled in favor of the company. Now, I screwed up big, and I own that, regardless of the mitigating circumstances. And the judge ruled correctly by the letter of the law; the spirit of it is more subjective.  I expected the appeal to be denied; I was prepared for it. I also expected Laston's death. Proper expectations don't stop the grieving, and the disappointment, and the anger. Even the feeling of betrayal; by a person or a corporation or the universe doesn't matter.

It. Is Still Grief.

And there is no timeline.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Out of the Woods

As you have seen before, my friends, Into the Woods is a favorite for me.

But Sondheim is hard; all those key changes and tempo changes and whatnot, and it's long as well. Two and a half hours (plus intermission) is a very long play.

But they aced it.

There were a few little problems here and there; these are very young performers for a play such as this, the piano was too loud during one performance, a spotlight did not work properly on the last show. Two casts, as is often the case at our favorite children's theater. But this time, instead of doubling the same play with the same director, there were two very different casts with two directors. One of them was the 15-19 year old kids, and one was the 12-16 year old kids. Abby was in the latter.

And she was playing the adult, and hamming up her role in a big way. You see, she was Jack's Mother (Jack of beanstalk fame), and he is "a foolish child," so she is constantly... oh, it is too long. Suffice it to say, for those of you unfamiliar with the story, they've taken the stories of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood, added music, and mixed well.

Abby, as Jack's mom, played the Anger Born of Worry and My Beloved Smother tropes to the hilt. He loves her to the point where he's willing to kill to avenge her death, and she loves him enough to stand up to a giant (with "forty-foot feet") to protect him. She has the hand-wringing of an exasperated parent down to an art form all its own (I wonder where she learned that one), and there are a couple of her lines that she delivers in ways that make me literally laugh out loud every single time (though I saw this production four times, and I've lost track of how many times of other productions).

In any case, they rocked it, and it was over far too soon in some ways (and not soon enough in others; I'm looking forward to a stretch of two or three months without rehearsals for the one or cookie sales for the other).

As for Lizzy, she is getting to know herself and how to self-regulate more each day. After the final performance of the play, at ten-thirty PM, she decided the lobby was too packed full of noisy people (it was a sold out show) and retreated into the theater. When asked if she was okay, she said (somewhat sarcastically), "I'm only sensory seeking until I'm overtired. Then I'm sensory avoidant."

All righty then.

Children will listen, after all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How to Deal

I'm having some trouble with it today. Simple tasks have been overthought into oblivion, to the point where even other over-thinkers in my family are laughing at me.

There is housecleaning to do, and a date with my father and younger daughter after she's out of school today; both of these seem currently insurmountable. I'm hoping that writing my feelings and my list out here will help some; it usually does. Because, well, I'm intelligent, I can adapt, and I've certainly done a lot here lately!

Finding that I'm bothered more by Stephen Hawking's death than I have been about other public figures I admire; I think that reaction probably has to do with the fact that my late husband was a huge admirer, so it makes me more sensitive. Also, the fact that some of my more religious friends are all saying things like, "Gosh, I hope Hawking is happy in heaven," in online voices that come off as smug really bothers me. The man was an atheist; don't try to slot him into your worldview now that he's dead. That's just rude and disrespectful.

And the walkout.

I have a high school child living in my home. She did not know if she would walk out today or not; I think it's important that she had the opportunity to do so without getting punished by the school. She's old enough for it to be her choice. But I've heard horror stories about other kids in our district being more or less publicly shamed if they chose not to. I don't know how prevalent it is; the horror stories I'm hearing are mostly from other concerned parents and they may be in Mama Bear or Papa Wolf mode and not unbiased.

But this is not okay. The whole concept of free speech is undermined if the folks who choose not to walk out for whatever reason - religious, academic, political, just can't be bothered - are pressured into thinking their choice is a Bad Thing. Neither of my daughters better be in the groups shaming these kids (and neither are likely to). They're both more of the make-friends-so-others-don't-feel-alone sort by nature in any case, but there's no reason they can't be both.

So yes, I do feel a bit better, having written it out. Now I can deal.

I think I'll go have some Pi(e). Spanakopita from Trader Joe's counts, yes?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March Marches On

In many ways.

March is super busy for us, although at least this time there is only one play to worry about.

You see, this is Cookie Month (that is, the store sales, with little girls in green or brown or tan or blue out there selling cookies in front of your local supermarket or hardware store or what have you; the pre-sales were mostly in February). And although our cookie site sales have been fun, it is now evident that Lizzy is pretty much done with her Customer Service Face for the rest of the weekend after one of these. She becomes, well, a bit of a jerk, even to people (like her grandmother) she loves and trusts. Some of this is Aspergers/Autism/Whatever-it's-called-this-month, some is her personality, and some of it is Just Plain Ten Years Old and Grumpy With It.

Especially as there is also Spring Ahead Jet-Lag for everyone involved.

So although we had big plans to deliver the last of our cookies (we have six boxes left of the pre-sold cookies), and to distribute flyers to all 151 houses in our neighborhood (we started a Facebook Group; more on that below), Lizzy was rude to Grandma and not-exactly-rude-but-certainly-not-her-usual-cheery-self to assorted neighbors. So we managed about a dozen households (plus the half-dozen who are already part of that Facebook Group) before not only was Lizzy being insufferable, I was getting there myself.

We'll do the rest over the course of the week; may as well take advantage of the Spring-Ahead-Light.

Oh, the Facebook Group? Yeah, I have no authority to speak for the landlord (we all rent the land and own the buildings), or to speak on behalf of the neighbors to the landlord. But there is no means of communication between neighbors (aside from shouting or a phone tree, I guess), so when there was a water outage a couple months ago, my mom and I started this group to disseminate that kind of information to the whole neighborhood.

It's the neighborly thing to do.

And last week, some of the very few of us in the group (didn't know other's email addresses/weren't Facebook friends with them) actually used it to return a lost pet to a neighbor. So we printed out flyers to share out to the neighbors, inviting them to join the group.

That, my friends, is what the Internet is for, along with reconnecting me with not one, but two people I haven't seen in person for thirty years this last week.

Then there's The Play.

We are (you may have noticed) going Into the Woods this weekend.

It's always been one of my favorites. I am so excited to see Abby in it, even though I've heard her (and the boy playing her son, and the girl in our carpool) doing practically the entire play in the car, in the hair salon, in the parking lot... you name it.

And thank goodness for that carpool; it means that I take the girls to rehearsal (or my mom does when Miz Liz and I have her piano lesson), and the carpool friend brings them back of an evening. Even today, when they're doing tech rehearsal (lighting and all that) from noon to eight.

Because you know what that means?

That means Lizzy McCranky gets to bed on time tonight.

And that will help March go out like a lamb.