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Monday, April 30, 2012

Week Nine

As occurred last quarter unit session, I'm having Finals Week at school and going on hiatus until that's over with. Catch you when I'm done!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Wednesday was our Second Annual Just Us Four night. Me, my dad, and my two siblings, at a musical play, in downtown Seattle and the Fifth Avenue Theatre, with its cool Chinese-style exit signs and the amazing decor.

Getting there was half the fun a total pain because my smartphone's GPS app kept trying to route me back to I-5, no matter that the theater was actually between me and the freeway. We went to The Rock Bottom Brewery (which is not at the bottom of anything, but which the waiter explained has the same name as the original in Chicago, which is at the bottom of... I forgot what) for dinner and I had an appetizer of hot wings - but not the usual buffalo wings; these were honey chipotle and they were fabulous. I knew I was going in for (yes, more) dental work today, so I took advantage of the opportunity to eat things that require chewing.

And then, on to the play! As you may have guessed from the title of this post - even if you didn't click the link as you should - it was Damn Yankees. And it was damn good. They had Heart (and a little brains and a little talent, although I don't know whether they put an emphasis on the latter). The actress playing Lola was clearly having a ball vamping it up (whatever she wants, she gets, you know), and whoever designed those costumes, well... both Lola and Gloria wore costumes that were miracles of engineering. Hoo boy, and was Evil ever Hammy! Both my brother and I had forgotten how this particular play - even more so than most of its type - is a series of set pieces. Lots of dancing, and the sorts of songs that we would know even if we hadn't seen these as children/teens, because they're a ubiquitous part of our culture.

So today, as I'm lying in the dentist's chair with nitrous oxide flowing fast, the songs are going through my head (I'll spare you the mental image of "miles and miles and miles of heart"), and I think, "you know? That's what I've got, in my usual silver-lining way... I've got heart."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mondays are Cool

I've mentioned many many times that I am not a fan of the stay-at-home-parent gig; I'm a decent parent but not a good stay-at-home one. Or maybe I just want a job. Probably both. But I do have my moments.

Today was an example. After last week's shenanigans - traveling all over the state, sleepover guests, etc. - Miz Liz was overtired. Overtired Miz Liz means sleepwalking and night-terror-y Miz Liz. Which she had last night.  I recognized what was going on right away and I walked her through the steps so there was minimal screaming even though she was doing the scary night-terror thing. When she got up this morning she was in fine form.

When I got up this morning I was dead. I think I had a grand total of three hours sleep and that is not enough. So I took Lizzy to school, came home, did some reading for school, and crashed for an hour before going to pick her up. And we went to one of our favorite (free-to-cheap) places to spend some time when the weather is nice (ya gotta take advantage of the nice weather in Seattleish). The original intent was to feed the ducks, but they discourage that now, because the ducks get fat and ill on bread products and also become total begging nuisances. Nice little lesson there on why the duckies get sick (bread is like junk food for them) and what they should be eating instead (bugs and seeds, mostly, around here). Lizzy impressed me with the huge variety of facts she knows about ducks, most notably that the "gween-head ones are boy ducks, gwandma says. Gwandma doesn't know evewything but she knows lots of things". Go Grandma.

And then we went to the lovely little toy store they have there in the Village -  they specialize in good toys, very little plastic junk unless it's clever (like the flattened plastic soccer ball Lizzy kicked around; it runs on standard floors and carpets as though it was an air hockey puck). What she really wanted (after trying everything in the store, practically)? A $2 tube of extra-long-lasting bubble solution. And it works; they're out there blowing bubbles that stick around for awhile.

My school now has a career-assist thingy for which I signed up today. Because this is getting really really old, ladies and gentlemen. I am so done with not having a job that pays in money rather than in hugs and kisses. So very very done.

But there are good days nonetheless.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Last Day of Spring Break

Sleepy kids in the car
Seriously tiring but fun week. In-laws are doing better than expected. I discovered I can travel and go to school and even look for a job, but blogging on top of that, well... not so much.

Abby and her overnight guest Kiki (Abby left her dad's house early because he threw his back out) are cleaning up the kids' room from their sleepover, then going out to play. Lizzy's feeding her baby doll lunch on the back porch. This after they spent the morning playing with Bendaroos. Lizzy spelled her name and then got angry when I gently told her to flip the Zs over, Abby made her usual people, and Kiki made a bracelet with an adjustable clasp. It's an impressive piece of engineering.

Laundry and the last of the homework for the week for me.

Miz Liz is definitely going to bed early tonight; an overnight guest after that week involving travel and she's a major grumpapotamus.

That's all I've got for today; I assume that once Miss Abby goes to school tomorrow I'll be less scattered from the vagueness that is spring break.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From West to East

Fun but very tiring day. We trekked form our home north of Seattle to Clarkston WA, with a vanload of kids. There was an initial misunderstanding where I thought the rent-a-car place had enough parking to leave our car there while we took the rental.

It didn't. So we trekked back home to swap everything from our car to the rental, and left our car at home. We thought we got everything out of the car. But we were wrong. This becomes important later.

The trip itself was pretty fun. We stopped Ellensburg at a Mexican restaurant and had decent food, we listened to the kids make up a song about "mean kids" (wherein they rhymed words like jerk and quirk, and made demands like "how do you spell awkward" ad nauseum for mile after mile. We smelled the mint fields and the onion fields (not in the same place, thankfully), and learned about assorted farm machinery as well as local legends. I Pictochatted with Abby in the backseat on our respective Nintendo DSs. We swapped drivers just past Vantage and again in Colfax (because I'd rather someone with experience drove us down "The Grade" going into Lewiston - any road with Runaway Truck Ramp signs is somewhere I'd rather not drive.

We got to Clarkston and checked into our hotel. Nice place. Comes with wifi and breakfast included in the price. We called the in-laws and went to dinner at an Italian place in Lewiston, then over to the in-laws.

They are doing so much better than we feared; it's really remarkable how well Grandpa Joe is getting around. It's been a week since he broke his hip and he's walking around using a walker, everything. Tomorrow the Hubs will go to the dump for them, and I'll help with the grocery shopping (and probably a trip to Costco) to stock them up.

Once I get better set up computer wise, I'll post pictures.

Oh, and the thing we forgot?

Leanna's duffel bag. In our defense, it just looked like an olive-green duffel and I hadn't seen it before and I didn't know it belonged to Leanna. So off she and I went to Wal-Mart for a couple changes of clothes and a toothbrush and all that. She can always use more clothes, so I guess it's okay. But sheesh... what an end to a basically good but exhausting day!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Trouble with Brunch

This morning it was just me and Abby and Lizzy; Laston was at work and Leanna went back to her mom's last night, as she wasn't feeling well and wanted her mommy. I know the feeling. And although Abby was disappointed that Leanna was leaving early, she was reassured when we told her that even if we don't go visit Grandpa Joe next week, we can have Leanna for a couple days during spring break.

But this morning it was just us three, and we decided to do brunch. Now this is not brunch in the enormous Mothers' Day sense; it's just breakfast with a few lunch items, served later than usual. And it's a good chance for leftover food consumption. So we had the last of the strawberries, bacon, hard-boiled eggs for me and Abby and a stick of string cheese for Lizzy, a smaller-than-usual bowl of cereal, a third of a quesadilla, and a smoothie (consisting of nonfat yogurt and banana and a dollop of sherbet).

The trouble with this is that a) it uses a lot of dishes and b) Abby's fan club the neighbor kids knock on our door at ten and when told to come back in half an hour, tend to hop from one foot to the other on my doorstep, because they're afraid that if they actually do leave and come back in half an hour, they'll miss something. This is tiny bit trying when I have had neither coffee nor a shower yet.

But it's a fairly healthy meal, and even Lizzy ate all of it (and has been snacking on cheese and raisins and fruit all day since), so it's a good thing in the main.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

And May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

The Hubs has the day off today and I'm unemployed, so we decided to use the last of the Norwescon money and go see The Hunger Games. We've both read the book (he's read the series and I'm halfway through the second book) and we're pretty sure it'd be too violent for the kids, so off we went, to see the matinee.  We joked about how when they tell you where the emergency exits are, they should really have a flight attendant up there, waving her hands to show you where  you can get off the plane out of the theater. We watched previews that made my mouth water.

Now, I'm a well-behaved movie-goer for the most part, and although I do not turn off my phone (I am a mother, after all), I do set it to vibrate only. Got a call. Didn't think much of it, but did check the message when I went for a restroom break. My father-in-law has broken his hip. I urge the Hubs to go home to his parents (they live on the other side of the state, about a seven-hour drive, and I'll hold down the home front) but there are a lot of hoops to jump through (arranging for time off work, etc) before this occurs, not the least of which is finding out how badly he's hurt.

But he'll never say; he's a tough guy, and he's too busy charming the nurses. And my spouse is worried about his mom and her ability to take care of herself and his dad, as she's not in the best of health. So the Hubs calls the nurse and says (in so many words!), "Look, I need to know more about this particular injury and the surgery for it from someone who isn't BS-ing me like my dad will." Ha! Good on ya, Hubs!

And it turns out he's okay, this is a clean break and a fairly routine surgery, and if they need the patient's kids at all, it'll be down the road during recovery rather than now. And even if the Hubs started driving right now he wouldn't get there until after the surgery this evening anyway. The train wouldn't get him there until after midnight, nor would any commuter flights. So he's not going unless the post-surgical phone call tonight indicates that they need him, and he will almost certainly make it over there sometime soon, to help everyone get situated. He told his dad to call him "if you need help, especially if Mom needs help. Hell, Dad, call me if you get bored, got it?"

And in the meantime, while we personally are not big praying types, I know that many of our online friends are, and I view prayer as a can't-hurt-might-help proposition. If you've got any to spare, please send prayers, good thoughts, healing vibes, whatever works for you. He could really use the odds being in his favor at the moment.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Strange Day

Nothing bad happened today; it's just felt off.

I think it started when I got to the dentist. I had planned for the whole shebang of building up the bone graft after last week's extraction at ten, expected to be home, sore but better around noon, then laundry, dishes, school, job hunting, the usual.

But the delivery of bone graft material was late and they don't have it yet. They'll call me when they get it and I'll go in then. And that means today's appointment was picking out stitches (didn't even hurt) and checking to make sure it was healing right (better than expected, in fact) and reassuring the patient (me) that yes, it's normal to still have fairly intense jaw pain and minor swelling a week later because they did basically sprain the darn thing (the ligament is strained and the disk is squashed) in getting that tooth out last week. All in all, the appointment today took about fifteen minutes.

So I did all the other stuff I had planned... but it threw me off for the day. I shudder to think how thrown off I'll be by them calling and saying, "we have the bone graft material, come on in!".

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Everyone Does Chimeras

Only at Norwescon could one hear that title phrase and have it make sense. But it was a panel about cloning and technically that's what a chimera is - a thing made up of two or more distinctly different other things. And that's what I did this weekend, attended and participated in panels on everything from parenting to the aforementioned cloning, from women in fandom to writing.

My beloved spouse was invited to be a panelist to discuss the book about future technologies in which his short story was published. This turned into a book signing and he and I were both thrilled! 

The parenting and women's panels were especially interesting to me, partly because of the participants. Norwescon, like may conventions of its type, is generally seen as a haven for the weird and offbeat and alternative lifestyle choices. And in many ways it is. But I have always felt safe at cons, maybe not always comfortable - I'm not the full-body-hugs-with-strangers type - but always, always safe. This is not the same experience as some of my fellow women (can one say "fellow women"?) have had. It seems that this is because the percentage of sexist jerks at cons is perhaps lower than in the general population, it still exists. They were interesting panels.

I played games. I chatted with people I haven't seen for a year. I saw fabulous costumes and witty t-shirts and a Babythulu in a steampunk carriage with working steam and gears. I played nursemaid to an adorable toddler fairy while her mama used the restroom. I went yip-yip with Sesame Street Martians. I had a short massage from the incomparable Raven (Pam) and it was heavenly. We ate at Sharps Roasthouse (as we traditionally do) and they have for the record the best pot-stickers with spicy teriyaki ever. And wonderful customer service as always. I spoke with a wide-eyed pilot who clearly sought me out because I looked relatively "normal". I asked the hotel concierge if we were behaving ourselves because I saw a couple of King County Sheriffs wandering the con, and he said something that delighted me: "Oh, those two; they come every year because they get to come to the convention in exchange for offering security services." And when I asked him whether we - as a group - were an event he enjoyed or dreaded, he smiled and said, "Not only are you people interesting to look at and to talk to, but you're generally polite and you bring your own competent tech support. That's huge."

Te-le-phone yip yip uh-huh
I had a lot of fun, met some interesting people, and especially some local women authors of whose work I want to read more. And a podcaster who does a sort of perky goth twist on her casts; Abby will want to be her when she grows up. I did some shopping for the kids of course, and we'll give them out when Leanna is here next weekend. Some pretty hair-clips from Velvet Mechanism for Leanna, some purple niobium earrings for Abby (and a Bad Wolf button; she'll be thrilled) and a pretty little wooden box each for Abby and Leanna to keep these treasures in. I got Lizzy a coloring book and two finger puppets (a dragon and a knight).

And now it's Sunday and it's time for egg hunting and chocolate eating and the normal sorts of holiday weekend things. I have a horrible "con hangover" (haven't drunk a drop; this is simply a function of being on my feet about four times as much as I'm used to, not drinking enough water, etc) and I feel wonderful.

As I type this, Lizzy (4) has accessed My Little Pony on Netflix (I saw at least one Pinkie Pie Pony at the con). She says she's been dying to see this. I told her I hoped she wasn't really dying to and she said, "Um, Mom? It's an expwession." This suggests to me that although we don't take the kids with us to these things, the geekery of our daily lives is such that the kids have Geek vocabulary and comprehension. And that's a Good Thing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Three Hours

That's how long it took to remove one tooth. Because my teeth have Long and Twisty Roots... of Doom.

No real problem, right? The last two took a total of four hours between them, in one go. I can take it.

Until they ran out of nitrous because it was taking longer than the hour and a half they had me scheduled for (they actually ran out of the oxygen used to deliver the nitrous, but I didn't know that until later). So I had two choices - wait for them to get a new bottle of oxygen, or go without (there's still the Novocaine of course). I chose Option Two. And it took an hour to get the rest of it and sew me up and all (the extra half hour, for those of you who can both tell time and add, was a break taken while they looked for more oxygen and massaged my jaws because they were cramping shut).

I swear one of those drills had a bit with blades the size of the ones in my kitchen sink's disposer.

I still love Bright Now Dental and Dr. C and everyone there, but he's damn lucky I didn't bite him this time.

And then the pharmacy was busy. But I had to go because the Vicodin they gave me last week made me itch and so they changed it to Percocet in case of a more violent reaction... and we do have major allergies in our family.

And on the way home from the pharmacy I realized that the dentist had not put an extra pack of gauze in the little bag of ice packs and such, so I turned around and went back. And by the time I got home the damn thing had stopped bleeding anyway.

So I have a packet of gauze I don't need at the moment, and six ounces of Greek yogurt and a Percocet and a penicillin capsule in my stomach and I want it to start working already.

Thank God my mom is taking the kids for dinner (ETA: and an overnight!) tonight.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry...

...for tomorrow you have a tooth removed.

Lower left molar, because it's broken too badly for a filling or even a root canal. I've experienced this before, in the tooth next to this one. And if I can manage my birthday at a casino with a mouthful of stitches (it was two teeth that time, and the roots of those went all the way through to my sinuses), I can certainly manage Norwescon come this Friday!

And if I fall asleep in a panel or two due to the good offices of dental Vicodin, well... so be it. As long as I don't fall asleep in the panel Laston is part of - the one regarding the book in which his story was published - I'll be forgiven. Con-goers are a forgiving bunch as a rule, tolerant to a fault.

I've stocked up on yogurt and bananas and applesauce and potatoes, and I made a chicken soup (which at least one of my friends will recognize, although I put more spices in mine than in his) so I'm set for the next few days. By Friday at the con I should be able to manage hard boiled eggs, easy quick snacky protein.

And in the meantime, today, I've applied for six jobs, answered my daily questions for both classes, done some laundry, and started on the papers due later this week... so I can play with a clear conscience this weekend. Even then I'll have my Windows Phone with me so I can be reached in case of job opportunity! And the Norwescon Guide I downloaded. I am *so* looking forward to this weekend!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Daddy and Daughter Write a Book

Lizzy, 4, asked her daddy today to help her "wite a book about SCIENCE, 'cause it's your favewit, Daddy." (she's right, SCIENCE (and yes, it must always be in all caps) is his favorite).

So while I catnapped on the couch, and Abby played in her room with a couple neighborhood kids, Lizzy dictated and her dad wrote down her exact words, folded the papers, and used Bendaroos to bind the book.  Then he took pictures of the pages on his iPhone and synced them to his PC. It's lovely, for all it's just printer paper and a brown marker (I'm sure Lizzy chose it because "bwown" is Daddy's favorite color). I think Step 6 is my favorite.

Please excuse formatting issues.