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Monday, February 27, 2012

Hiatus

Only for a week or so... Finals this week, so I am superdooperbusy. Catch you on the flip side!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Boys and Other Odd Things

Boys are... different. As my readers know, I have only girls, so boys for any length of time are a new experience for me. These are good boys, neighbor kids, here fairly often anyway (especially during the summer), but I usually only see them as they wander in and out with my girls, eating Otter Pops and trying to earn Treasure Box Picks by helping my girls clean up their room. Or flipping out at Halloween because the universe is conspiring against them in their endless quest for a Kit-Kat. Or at birthday parties.

The point being, I usually see them in fits and starts; they're not often here for several hours at a time. But today the kids are off school for mid-winter break, the boys' parents had an appointment to keep, and their mom asked if I could keep them rather than her trying to drag them along with her all day. Sure, why not, we're all here today, they're good boys, sure.

I'm never sure how to entertain boy-children (indoors) though, so I bought a new pack of construction paper and writing utensils (buy two get one free, yay!). Apparently this was unnecessary; I totally forgot how much all the older kids - regardless of gender - like LEGO Indiana Jones. That said, one can always use more art supplies, and they can't take turns playing Wii all day. The elder of the two (10) tends to sing along with the in-game music. The younger (8; they bracket Abby in age) is quieter, but every so often he jumps up and shrieks with excitement.

When they got here this morning, before they even took off their coats and shoes, the assured me that if they didn't behave, they'd be grounded for a month. They are charmingly thrilled at the prospect of pizza (and root beer!) for lunch.

Before they came, Abby and I moved the couch out as far as we could without actually disassembling it (it's a sectional, and quite heavy), and pulled all sorts of junk out from under it; there's enough to half-fill a laundry basket. Some of this is literal junk - scraps of paper, broken Happy Meal toys - but most of it is stray socks and hair clips and LEGO pieces and board books. Tomorrow when there are no children here, I shall actually take the couch apart and see if I can find my missing orthotic insert and the TV remote.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yep, Confirmed. Jenn is Healthy

Test results from doc appointment a week or so ago have been discussed with the doctor.

The good news: 

  • I am not diabetic - this is a concern, because I'm very high risk, mostly because of my weight, and partly because I am in remission (or whatever one calls it) from PCOS - have been since Abby was born
  • My blood pressure is under control
  • My triglycerides and my other cholesterol-ly things are better than they were this time last year (so close to "normal" range... within five points on all of them!)
  • My iron levels are - for the first time since I was about 22 - within the normal range
  • All my um... "girl" tests came back normal
The not-bad-but-not-great news:
  • My cholesterol levels are not where they should be, even though they're better than last year. This is possibly in part because... all that lovely iron? From red meat, mostly (even though I know there are plenty of other sources). Hence, slightly elevated Bad Cholesterol. Solution = less red meat, more spinach and oatmeal
  • My thyroid medication needs adjusting. Solution = new dosage, test again in six weeks
  • My Vitamin D3 levels are - just like last winter - down below "even what's normal for Seattleites". Solution = 10k IU D3 daily, test again in three months.
Since my weight is directly tied to my thyroid and my winter depression, the D3 and the thyroid adjustment will help that. A good job would help more, because I don't eat from boredom (as much, or as many bad things) when I'm working.

See? Healthy. Very healthy for a 43yo woman of my size. Go me!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Messes

Scene: A lovely bucolic Sunday afternoon. A little drizzly out, but the kids have been civilized most of the day, and the adults have had their caffeine, and altogether it's been much better than yesterday, the day of cranky-sleepy-wild children and cranky-shouty adults. We're getting ready for lunch, and as the older two are outside and it is drizzly, I'm doing the classic grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup bit. They're due in at twelve-thirty.

And then Abby (9) and Kiki (10) come bursting in the door at 12:15. Because Leanna is "stuck in the mud up to here" (indicating mid-thigh - is that mid-thigh on Leanna, who nearly a foot taller than Abby? Or mid-thigh on Abby, which is about knee-high to Leanna?) Either way, Laston goes flying to the rescue and I hold down the fort. And they come back, and yeah, her socks are a dead loss (why is it always the socks?) and her shoes will have to dry out before their fate can be determined (and they're *new* - the ones she wore to save the new ones got wet yesterday), and Laston has little cuts all over his ankles where the sticker-bushes bit him (parents have this tendency to go dashing to help their kids heedless of sticker-bushes). 

And there are muddy footprints on the carpet and muddy handprints on the walls and oh-for-crying-out-loud really, kids? What were you thinking?

The only answer of course is that they weren't thinking. Rather like yesterday's sandpaper-on-the-walls incident.

Silver linings:
Nobody is seriously hurt.
Both Abby and Leanna may think twice about playing that close to the creek again.

Arrrggghhh!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yes, I AM a Dork

So while I wait for the other things I really want to write about to come to fruition (I'm hammering out a deal where I start a Google Plus page for a local business in exchange for the right to stick it on my resume - and the occasional free coffee), I thought I'd write about, well, what a total dork I am.

I mean, it's not like anyone who reads my blog isn't aware of this. And that we at Chez Gamers' Babes view the word dork as an affectionate term rather than a derogatory one. But there were a couple things that have occurred here lately that really hammered it home.

1) I got new tires on my car last week. I climbed into the car and took off down the road and the first thing that hit my brain was a quote. From Doctor Who. And it was in a completely different context at the time (you see, the Doctor's companion - her body had been taken over by an intelligence that was no longer quite... three-dimensional, and... oh forget it). Anyway... right, time to focus, what was I saying? Oh yeah, the quote. "It's like living inside a bouncy castle". Because it was. So buoyant and, well... bouncy. And so completely out of context to the original quote. But it's what popped into my head.

2) I find it easier to write (anything) when there is nothing verbal going on around me. Instrumental music, fine, even background TV is okay as long as it's something I've seen a bazillion times so I can tune it out. But my best bet is classical (instrumental) music. So I downloaded some things onto the Windows Phone, and man is my taste edging toward the... arcane? Dorky? Just plain weird? I have the New World by Dvorak (fairly normal), the soundtrack to Series 5 of the New Doctor Who (adorkable), Night on Bald Mountain, The Firebird Suite, and Carnival of the Animals, and In the Hall of the Mountain King, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (and those last few sound like I just grabbed them all from Disney's Fantasia but I swear I didn't).

Excuse me, I'd better take off the headphones now. The Hubs is frustrated with Lizzy (who will not quit jumping around), and Abby (who sandpapered the wall), and the project the four of them are doing (which clearly involves sandpaper). So I'd better take a break from my school papers and my blog, and help him ride herd on the children.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's FINE

Okay, folks, I realize I haven't written anything here for three days. I realize this is unusual and that historically this means that All Is Not Well In Jenn Land. (Thanks, Mom!)

But all is fine; it's just week seven of nine in class, and my rough draft of my final paper was due this week along with the usual stuff like smaller papers and grammar quizzes and so forth. And of course my own personal not-shared-with-the-world writing.

Quite frankly, this week, I am SO DONE writing that I just haven't felt like writing here. We're all well but for colds (and Leanna's ear infection), just very very busy.

Forgive me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines' Day to ME!

I'm not the kind of gal to go for household machinery, and I'm not even the kind of gal who loves exercise stuff for Valentines' Day (for the record, I wouldn't be offended, just kind of perplexed).

But electronics are a different story.

And although it's not technically a Valentine present (it is instead a broken-computer-and-tax-return present), it came today, so I'm counting it.

It's beautiful. It's a Lenovo 575 with Windows 7 Home Premium and 4GB RAM and a 254GB hard drive. It has a Radeon 6320 M video card. Its USB ports don't crowd each other. It has a number keypad. It came pre-installed with Google Chrome. And then - annnnnd then, I discovered that the Google Chrome Sync I signed into last week? It means that all my bookmarks and everything are just where they should be. And I didn't have to transfer anything from my loaner  but docs and downloads. Freaking amazing.

There are a couple things that will take getting used to. The Enter key is awfully near the 4 on the keypad. And the backspace is near the NumLock. But that's a matter of practice to get those right... not a problem. And I still have to get things from the broken computer (which will become the kids' computer once we get it working again) over here. But that can wait; I've lived without that stuff for months now.

So today I'm playing with the new 'puter (and laundry and dishes and cooking and schoolwork, and thanks to my mom and my Valentine we have sweets for Valentine's dinner (dessert) because I sure didn't plan anything), and tomorrow after dropping Lizzy at school and going to my quick doctor check thingy, I have all day to install Office and Skype. And laundry and dishes and... yeah. But, well, SQUEE!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Asian Food Weekend

So Friday I tried to pick up Chinese food on the way home from taking Abby to her dad's - but that was when our credit union's credit card vendor had downed computers, so I couldn't pay for anything. Gah.

Saturday we went out, had sushi for lunch, but I still wanted my mu shu pork, so I went ahead and bought Chinese food for dinner. And both my headlights fizzled on the way home from the Chinese restaurant.Well, expletive. Thank goodness for high beams, which are using a different filament in the headlight bulb, or I would have driven home in the dark. Yay.

Two-fisted drinker
So today, Lizzy and I went to the local Firestone, it being the only car repair place open on a Sunday in my area. They said it would take thirty to forty-five minutes so we decided to go to lunch. The only place within (Lizzy's) walking distance? Thai Bistro. More Asian food, although their kids' menu did have something Lizzy would eat - chicken nuggets and steamed broccoli with sweet & sour sauce for dipping. I had Swimming Rama Steamed Veggies for teh noms. Very good food, very nice people, kind to preschoolers. Then back to Firestone, where they had already finished (a lot faster than the 30 minutes - great service), and they had bad news (all four of my tires are separating from my rims and need replacing). Gah. $300 next week, I guess.

Fancy hair!
Anyway, so we went to this place to have Lizzy's hair cut - it's been cut by a professional once before but about two and a half years ago, so it really needed a trim, just to deal with all the messed-up ends from over-enthusiastic application of hair ties. And Fun Kuts is specifically for kids, so the lack of hair-washing trauma is worth the extra four bucks to me. Also they put in a braid, a ribbon ("Gween! It's my eleventh-favewit color!") and sparkles. How can you go wrong with that?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Meatballs and Socks

Yes, yes it does sound a bit like Fish Fingers and Custard, doesn't it? But what it really is are the two items the Hubs and I always always get when we do a big shopping at Costco. Aside from my reluctance as a housewife (and therefore laundress), there's also the fact that socks at Costco are cheap, plentiful, and always match. So there are no worries about finding a pair, like there are with the girls, whose socks seem to use their status as coverings for feet as an excuse to actually walk away.

And since it's been awhile since we were last at Costco together, we also got a number of other useful items. We use a lot of mushrooms here, for instance, and why not have twelve cans of sliced mushrooms when they're a staple? Peanut butter (yes, I know... but peanuts are not tree nuts and Abby won't eat peanut butter anyway), and jam and cucumbers and plums and etc.

This was after we went to the bank - ours has been having trouble with their credit card vendor so we needed to pull cash out - and to get Lizzy's hair trimmed (but they had no space and so we made an appointment for tomorrow), and out to lunch (sushi) and to run some other errands. I'm going out by myself just for the Alone Time in a little bit, but in general it was a Good Day. It's always much simpler a day when we outnumber the kids.

Also, I slept over ten hours last night - perhaps courtesy of yesterday's flu shot - and I seem to have mostly recovered from the winter blues. I did wear both eyeliner and mascara today, after all, and it wasn't done deliberately to make myself feel better either.

Things are looking up!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Healthy Abby, Healthy Jenn

We went in for our checkups today. Abby's healthy except for the allergies, and is still at "at risk for overweight" but not actually overweight.

Her mom is a different story, of course; last month's seasonal depression has derailed the diet-and-exercise train again. Haven't gained anything, but haven't lost either. On the other hand, my blood pressure, heart rate, all that are normal - yay!

Abby lucked into the pediatric nasal spray for her flu vaccine. The last time I had the nasal spray I was the lucky winner of the Real Flu, so I opted for the shot (where the flu germs are dead, not just mostly-dead) instead.

And the blood work! There was much. "All doctors are wampires" over here. They always test for everything - thyroid, blood glucose, cholesterol, iron - and in the last couple years they've tested for Vitamin D. I'm guessing that one is super low again.

We'll know more in a couple-three business days.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Parental Shell Shock

So it's Brownie Scout Night and I was all set to tell you (again) about the wonders of Sushi Hana and the King County Public Library System and the cute little "Box of Pick" Abby made as Valentine crafts at Brownie Scouts.

And then she threw me a curve ball in the car on the way home, with, "I know what the inappropriate thing that girls and boys do when they're naked is."

<gulp>

Think fast, mama, you only get one chance at this without scaring her (or scarring her) so yeah, think fast.

"Oh, you do? What is it?"

"I can't tell you, "she says, scandalized. "It's inappropriate."

"It's okay to tell me, Abby, I'm your mom and it's important that I know you have your facts straight - that you've been told the right information."

"Oh... (long pause, voice drops to an almost-whisper)... it's when a boy and a girl get naked and the boy put his - you know - penis into the girl's - you know - private place."

"And why is that inappropriate?"

"Because I'm too young to talk about it. And way too young to do it, 'cause it would be inappropriate."

"Yes, it would. How old do you think is old enough?"

"Eighteen or so, I guess."

"That seems like a good age. Who told you about this?"

"I don't know, I just heard it, like on TV or something."

(long pause, dark car)

"Mom? Can we talk about something else now?"

"I think that's a good idea."

Now, Dear Reader, please excuse me while I worry that I've handled it wrong and scarred her for life.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm Not an Axe-Murderer

But I appreciate that others may think I am, as they only know me "on the 'Net."

Abby as a baby
I've been aware of this concern for years, because my first husband - Abby's dad - worried about me meeting ladies from Abby's birth club at www.babycenter.com. At the time I found his concern silly, because you know, bunch of pregnant women or new moms, and what could they do to me? Shake a rattle? But then Abby was actually here, and suddenly I was a lot more cautious, what with the precious bundle and all that. So I always arranged to meet them in busy public places like the mall.

Almost two years after he and I separated, I "met" a guy online - on Yahoo Personals, I believe. The caution was still there, and we met in person for the first time at a crowded McDonald's Play Place. We'll have been married for five years late next month.

So here I am, nine years later, 43 years old, and I'm meeting people online left and right, because I'm a social media kind of person. And I met a friend of a friend online, and he said he'd been sick, and he had some DVDs he could lend me (to feed my Doctor Who habit) and would I like to come over? "Sure," I replied, "I'll bring you some soup." I went, and (at my mother's request, and yes, still 43 years old) called my mom both when I got there and when I left there. For the record, I had met the guy in person years before, at a Science Fiction convention, not that that would have eased my mother's mind much. And he had been sick, so if he is an axe-murderer, he's out on sick leave; too weak to lift the axe.

And now I'm corresponding online with a number of young women (at least they tell me they're young women and I choose to believe that they are not - say - 60yo bald pedophilic axe-murderers in disguise) because we all like to write and we take turns editing each others' writings. A couple of them were concerned that I wouldn't be willing to chat with them because their parents had trained them to be Internet-cautious and they weren't giving out identifying information. I assured them that actually, I applaud their parents. And if you - yeah you, the one who claims to live near me - if you ever want to meet, I'm happy to talk to your parents and assure them that I am exactly who I claim to be... a forty-something unemployed, overweight, basically-cheerful (winter notwithstanding) mom, wife, and blogger. I'm not an axe-murderer.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

They Can Smell Fear

Zoo Girls
 And blood. Or at least that's what Leanna - in an effort to be helpful - terrorized Abby with when the latter lost a tooth into her sandwich outside the zoo today. You see, we (and about half of the rest of Seattle) took advantage of the nice weather (and in our case, an income tax refund) to visit Woodland Park Zoo. First we ran to grab the refund check from the tax preparer (and had to grab lunch to go and Leanna's new shoes while they found someone who could open the safe) and then to the bank to deposit it and then to the zoo.

Leanna Milks a Cow
As noted above, half the city was there, so we girls ate our sandwiches while the Hubs waited in line. And Abby's tooth ("It wasn't that loose, mom! I don't know what happened!") fell out and she handed it to me (ewww... the things moms do!). I tidied it up (thank goodness I still carry baby wipes!) and gave it to the Hubs (who has pockets) and Leanna explained that Abby'd better get it all cleaned up, because "wild animals can smell blood". Abby gave me one of those looks that says OhGodOhGodTellMeThat'sNotTrue and I assured her that none of the animals in the zoo are likely to have any interest in her bloody tooth. No, not her gums either, relax... anything dangerous is kept confined. Whew! Crisis averted.

Abby Milks a Cow
Now Lizzy has either never been to the zoo before, or the last time she went she was too young to know what was going on at all. She was a bit overwhelmed, and being Lizzy, spent as much time shrieking, "Oh! It's so cute!" about other patrons' babies as about animals. Leanna and the Hubs wanted to see the Bug House, although the rest of us were not so thrilled. And I of course immediately started itching as soon as we entered the place. Psychosomatic, of course. Leanna dropped several of our carrots accidentally, and other people's kids kept trying to feed them to the animals, but the animals are on restricted diets, alas. There was a friendly goat, however, who showed some interest.

"Come into my parlor..."
Mom! Is that a Tuhtle?
And afterward we drove back north and went out to dinner at a local buffet place (rules = restaurant behavior + veggies first + parents have veto rights). And between bananas in strawberry sauce and the Icee Lizzy chose for dessert... it's a good thing I had those baby wipes with me.

Several times during the day we watched our favorite video about zoos. You see, I used to work for Humongous Entertainment and, well... my Windows Phone does play Youtube videos...


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Light Dawns

I have the full-spectrum sun lamp now. A little UVA and UVB and Vitamin D indoors. And only 27 watts of power for 150 watts of light, which should please my Environmental Science instructor. It's in the blue-white range which we don't find quite as comfortable, but I need the simulated sunlight so there we go. I bought it through amazon.com but it's from a company called Lights of America. I already love it.

So, my old table lamp? It's now in the bedroom (which the Hubs should like because that's where the blue-white really bugs him most). And guess what I found while I was behind the master bedroom bed... go on, guess. Yup, the book we looked everywhere (else) for last October. Never crossed our minds to look under the adults' bed, since to the best of our knowledge, it never went into the adults' room. Thus is Life With Preschoolers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sunshine and Lollipops

As you all know, the Winter Blues have hit. But today I feel a bit better, or at least I did when I got up this morning. Maybe the titular sunshine and lollipops.

I had some of both today. I also tried to deposit our tax refund check (but the Hubs has to because it's written to him and the issuer says it must be deposited by the payee... in person with his picture I.D.), emptied the vacuum cleaner trap, ran it over the dining room (although it's not picking up well, so the Hubs will have to take a look), folded some laundry, did the dishes, finished a homework assignment that's not due until tomorrow, wrote for fun a bit, chatted with friends online, took a walk (with Miz Liz this time; she also provided the lollipops out of the last of her Halloween stash), and planned dinner (leftover chicken and salad for the Hubs, frozen pizza and salad for the females in the house.

I had enough energy to do all that, yay!

It's gone now, boo!

My full-spectrum lamp is out for delivery and should be here any time. Things are looking up.