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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why I Still Use Facebook - Though They Disappoint

I prefer Google Plus. And I've said before that I am on Facebook for the games (those G+ does not have) and those few of my relatives and friends who are not on G+.

But then today, while scrolling through my - what are they calling it this week? Oh yes, my Timeline - I came across a post from (or about) Pam.

You may know her as Raven.

Now, I've known Raven for years, but I only see her (and usually write about her) once a year. She's a massage therapist (and much more, but that's a different post) and she practices that art at +Norwescon  every year. She truly has healing hands.

And now she's in the burn unit at Harborview because of a slow-cooker with a grudge.

So, all you Con folk? Please send good thoughts, prayers, woowoo, whatever you've got to Raven. Sounds like she could use it.

The Soup of Doom happened Saturday (or late Friday night; it isn't clear). And I just now found out on Tuesday evening because of the way Facebook arranges my Timeline.

Not cool, Facebook.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Busy Summer Day

Abby and Lizzy were both pains in the neck when we set off for Abby's four days and three nights of horse camp with the Girls Scouts of Western Washington today. I can only surmise they were picking at each other  for the same reason I used to pick fights with my mom the day we'd go to my dad's house for the weekend as kids (and especially as adolescents). Apparently this is a fairly well-known psychological phenomenon; if you are angry with a person then you don't have to feel bad about leaving them.

Anyway; after I threatened them with dire consequences if they didn't shape up, we went out for our promised lunch out on the way to camp (Sushi Connection is more expensive than our usual Sushi Hana, but it sure is tasty). They were good as gold there, and then we drove the rest of the way. Everything went smoothly for once, except that I had tossed the box the fresh new epi-pens came in, and therefore lost the proof that they are Abby's prescription.


So I promised the camp nurse that I would get proof and scan it and email it to her, and she decided that was okay. I'm sure my lovely workplace will let me use their scanner; they're very nice about that sort of thing.

So we came home (with the bribe promise of a mango smoothie for Lizzy; she doesn't get mango often although she loves it, because it's on Abby's list of allergens - related to cashew - so we rarely have it). We picked up yesterday's mail and noted that Abby's report card had arrived.

Oh. My. God. This is amazing.

Our school district grades from 1-4 in elementary school; Abby is a pretty consistent 3 ('at grade level') student as a rule. She's always struggled with reading and writing though. Until this year. Until this trimester really, because her scores - while better than they had been - still barely hit 3 until Spring Trimester.

She still has 3's in many things, but only one 2 ('working toward grade level') in spelling. which surprises no-one. And a sheaf of 4's ('above grade level') in science, math, reading comprehension, and social studies (she really really liked the game they played for social studies. This is the child who came home from school shrieking, "Mom, guess what? I almost died of cholera today!")

That's my girl!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers' Day... of BOOM!

Laston signing a book at Norwescon
We're still not in the money, and I have a ton of homework, and +Laston Kirkland is feeling displaced from his native (sort of) Texas (this sentence got away from me; displaced Texan ties into the theme for tonight's dinner), and Miz Liz is still getting over the crud. So we're having a quiet Fathers' Day at home, having called or emailed or otherwise let our respective fathers know we love them. Abby did the same for her dad, and Leanna called here.

And I tried my hand at Cajun cooking, with (you can insert the word 'Cajun' in front of all these foods except the salad): Shrimp over rice, deviled eggs, meat pies, lite Caesar salad. The kids of course - not caring for spice - had the salad and the rice, and chicken nuggets instead of shrimp.

Thank goodness for pre-mixed Cajun seasoning.

It was a qualified success; the Father in question liked it all except the meat pies, about which he was meh. Needs more filling and less crust. No worries there; we've got half the filling left and a second box of pre-made pie crust. My cholesterol count for the day sucked, but I've been very good since I started SparkPeople a few days ago, so one day of six more milligrams than my upper limit won't hurt.

Because Abby is here, and Lizzy's still a bit sick, we've been hanging around the house, indulging ourselves in an Are You Afraid if the Dark? marathon. All day. So when just as we finished dinner there was a loud explosion of thunder, we can be forgiven for jumping a foot in the air. Yes, we live in Seattleish, and yes, it does rain here quite a lot (though not as much as claimed by the popular media). But thunderstorms in this half of the state are unusual, and out of a clear blue sky even more so. This one was loud, and kept going on and on; I was reminded of the Nisqually earthquake in the way I kept expecting it to be over and it wasn't. Then three or four smaller peals of thunder, and that was it.

No lightning. No rain.

Just one big explosion and a few... aftershocks.

Well, we know that dads - at least the dads I know - love to BSU. I choose to attribute the thunder as Mother Nature's way of honoring the dads.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Time (and Stress) Management

I'm actually fairly good at this, although I did take a workshop a couple years ago on the topic. But I can be overwhelmed by circumstance.

So... I'm in the last week of a five week class, as all the classes in the Bachelor's programs are. This is because the University of Phoenix manages its accelerated classes by incorporating learning teams. Many people despise these learning teams, but I appear to have been lucky in my teammates. Normally, this time of year, I could cope with everything going on - kids, spouse, work, school - without too much trouble.

But in the last five weeks we've had... a trip across the mountains for a family reunion, all sorts of end-of-school-year activities for school (pre-K graduation, concerts, programs) and Scouts, a new job for me (which I love), a tooth crown for Lizzy (and the attendant re-visits to get the darn thing fitted right), an eye infection for +Laston Kirkland, a screamingly bad ear infection for Leanna (and the attendant guilt for sending her to school thinking it was molars, and yes, I do know that it wasn't entirely my fault, doesn't matter), an injured hand for Abby (and the guilt for that as well; it hurts me to hurt her), an offer for when our lease is up in August (and trust me, $156 added to our already high rent? No.), seasonal allergies for everyone, and now Lizzy with a high fever (yes, 102F isn't all that high for a child her age, but it got to 103.5 yesterday evening at the doctor, and the usual  remedies bring it down, but not to normal).

So, priorities are thusly:
  1. Ill or injured children (and the occasional long lunch break for graduation)
  2. Work (who thankfully are very understanding about ill or injured children)
  3. Family not including the ill and injured kids issue (things like making sure lunches are packed and they're not going naked to school, basic everyday parenting tasks, getting myself back on the SparkPeople wagon, and getting the doc's phone number for the Hubs so he can go take care of his eye).
  4. School (this is broken into two bits; I take care of the team assignments before the individual ones, because if the individual ones are late or incomplete, I don't hurt anyone but myself).
  5. Sleeping, cleaning, laundry, etc. (the latter two of which the Hubs is pretty good about, especially in the last few days).
Last night those last two were broken; feverish Lizzy needs cuddling. By Mommy if available. She also requires midnight reassurance and cleanup and a fresh pair of pajamas and a new dose of Tylenol. And sleeping snuggled up with Mommy in the recliner.

So why am I posting a blog entry rather than doing my homework now? Simple. Blogging can be completed in fits and starts during breaks at work. PowerPoint Presentations for which the research is on my hard drive at home notsomuch.

Tonight I take Abby to her dad's. Then I go home for a weekend of Priorities 1, 4, and 5 (mostly. Sunday evening is reserved for Priority 3 for Fathers' Day).

<takes deep breath>


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oh, For Heaven's Sake

Now +Laston Kirkland has an eye infection, and Lizzy has a fever. Whose dolly did we bust?

It's unusual for me to be the healthiest one in the household. And it's my last week of this class, so I don't have time to sit around taking care of sick people. Of course, Laston's isn't really a sickness, and neither is Abby's, but Lizzy is clingy when she's sick.

As long as she clings while I type, I guess.

The Hubs had an appointment on Tuesday, but since he wasn't sure which day they could get him in, he requested Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

They gave him all three. And they wouldn't take the other two back when he said his appointment was on Tuesday. So he has gotten a lot done; dishes, floors, laundry room, bathrooms, the laundry itself. That last is his least favorite chore, but as long as I sort and fold he's willing; he just doesn't do well at keeping track of what belongs to whom. Especially when Abby wears a small ladies or an XL girls, and Lizzy wears a small girls and Leanna an XL women's. It makes what-belongs-to-whom difficult for him to decipher.

But he did wash it and dry it and hang certain things, and woo hoo! One less thing for me to do after work Which frees me up for things like Lizzy's Spanish class end-of-year concert, or her Pre-K graduation.

We went to that this morning, the graduation, and she was fine. A little squirrely, but for Lizzy that's a symptom of excitement, nervousness, fatigue, you name it. So we thought nothing of it.. Until this afternoon when suddenly she's in 102F territory after lunch.

This is too fast for Mommy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This is Not Our Week...

... for pain.

After sending Leanna to school yesterday with what we thought were 12yo molars but turned out to be a screaming ear infection, I felt bad enough. I mean, everyone here and at work and even the school nurse said they understood that I had thought it was something pretty minor, if painful, but still...

So Sunday Abby had hurt her hand - one of those scrapes that tears a trapdoor, a little flap in the skin, under which crud - in this case dirt - gathers. Those hurt, especially in places like the palm of the hand. And as Abby and Leanna - in spite of no genetic connection - have equally low pain thresholds, I pretty much took the whimpering as normal as I cleaned and disinfected and bandaged. Gave them both ibuprofen or acetaminophen before bed Sunday night.

We know how well that worked out for Leanna.

But it seemed to work fine for Abby; Band-aid on and she's okay. Until she trips and falls again - must be a growth spurt - and does the same exact thing in the same exact place on her hand, this time with the added bonus of splinters from beauty bark. Inside the wound.

It's interesting that - even as I'm holding her wrist hard enough to bruise in order to keep her still over the sink as I fish around with tweezers and then pour peroxide over the open wound - my language does not deteriorate. I didn't even drop an F-bomb, although Google knows I wanted to just scream all seven of the words you can't say. Because my baby was hurting, and I was helping to cause it. I'm sure my ex-husband would be proud of me for not swearing like a sailor while washing dirt and beauty bark out of an open wound (he knows I'm both foul-mouthed, and squeamish about such things).

And now it's neatly bandaged, and I feel like the Good Mom again. After writing it all out, in any case. This sort of thing - along with the pictures of veterinary surgeries I've been perusing at work - is why I am not a doctor of any kind.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Step-parental Guilt and Other Ups and Downs


  • We had a nice weekend, with +Laston Kirkland's birthday dinner and all
  • All our bills are up to date. For the moment
  • We are not in the same dire straits as my dear friend +Blacky Roach; his ISP is apparently cutting him off for "suspicion of illegal downloads" because of the IP address assigned to him at a time when there were some occurring. Blacky is disabled, and his Internet connection is about the only way he can interact with the outside world on any sort of regular basis. This is Not Cool.
  • I love my job! This one is huge.
  • I have $22 to my name. Because I paid the bills and bought some groceries with the rest. And yes, I did grab some takeout this weekend for the family.
  • Our lease is up in about two months, and the rent is being bumped up $156. Seriously? We're already paying an exorbitant amount for this cramped apartment, and they're raising the rates about twelve percent? We have some money we could use for a down payment on something small and cheap, but it's not exactly liquid, tied up as it is in retirement accounts.
  • It's always money, isn't it? My new job pays more, but I haven't worked the full pay period yet, so my first paycheck was small, as well as the last one from my previous job. And there's still camp to pay for. Dang it.

And the worst bit; Leanna is sick or injured, and I took her to school anyway. I did the best I could. She complained of jaw pain this weekend, but she is getting twelve-year-old molars (her mother told me), and the emergency clinic had a long wait, so we decided to treat the symptoms and see what happened. And then this morning they poor child looked like a chipmunk from the swelling. I took her to school, notified the nurse what was going on, and texted her mom. 

About ten minutes later I got a call; the nurse took one look at Leanna and called her mom to come get her.

Bad stepmom.

EDIT: Talked to the school nurse, who was more concerned than upset ("Yes, Mrs. Kirkland, even without a fever, if her jaw is that swollen, please don't bring her in, okay?"). Looks like a bad case of Swimmer's Ear (to which Leanna is prone, and thank goodness we never got around to going to the pool this weekend!). Bright red and infected, the nurse says. Leanna's mom will let us know if the doctor agrees.

EDIT Two: Doctor confirmed; Leanna has a bad case of the Swimmer's Ear type of infection. I never thought to look into her ears, as we were still thinking molars (especially after her mom's reassurance Sunday), and she didn't have a fever.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Like Mother, Like Daughter


Lizzy went in for a filling today, and came out with a pulpotomy and a filling, and antibiotics pumped directly into the tooth being -otomied.

She's five years old, for crying out loud; she doesn't need this.

Now, of course, this is a baby tooth, but it's too far back in her mouth for them to pull it at her age; the adult one would not grow in for something like five years.

So the hope is that with this pulpotomy/antibiotics, the infection in the nerve will not spread to other teeth.

Looks like a soft foods kind of day for Miz Liz. Mac-n-cheese and yogurt and applesauce. I'll get some on the way home from work.

Because, yeah, I'm at work. Love my new job, a little freaked that Grandma had to take Lizzy to the dentist, but I love my new job. You know why? There are lots of reasons; nice company culture, friendly people, proximity to home, ability to do my own thing (like blog posts, or school) during breaks, interesting subject matter, doing something sort of important (I'll be supporting surgical lasers once my training is complete). But most of all, here's why I love my job:

Because they have absolutely no problem allowing Lizzy to come get a post-op hug from her mommy.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Putting on my Mommy Fandom Hat


That ought to do it. Now the actual spoilers won't show in the summary of the blog post. I hope.

News today is that Matt Smith's Doctor will regenerate into the 12th Doctor at the end of this year's Christmas special.

I'll be sad to see him go.

But some of my fellow fans have gone completely around the bend, saying they'll "get" Steven Moffat, or boycott Who, or even the BBC, and seriously?

As the good Doctor himself said to Amy and River in Flesh and Stone, "Get a grip," ladies (and yes, I did say 'ladies'; the fans I see freaking out over this are female - or at least they present as female online).

Now, I'm not scolding people like my friend Amie from France, who is kind of shocked and sad. Good thing it's a weekend because it's 12:30AM for her. She's a fan, and she's sad, and she isn't ready (although, like me, she has faith in the show-runner's ability to give Eleven a great send-off, maybe even let him stay with his wife in the Data Core, and... ahem! I digress). But Amie's a reasonable human being, even if we are chatting about this in another tab well after her bedtime; she's not the one threatening people and corporations.

Me? I'll miss him (though there's always Netflix). I think he's adorkable, I think he's the most appropriately alien Doctor since Four, and I think he does ancient-sad-eyes-in-baby-face better than anyone on TV... perfect for the Doctor.

The man is thirty years old and he's been doing Who for four years. He wants to branch out, do other things (besides the other three things - two films and a short TV series - I've seen him in). He has a movie in the works. He's a good actor.

And you two, over there, on your high horses because he "lied to you?" For the love of fish custard, yes, he did lie, when asked whether he would be in the series in 2014. So what? Acting - like many other professions - has non-disclosure agreements and trade secrets. He was told to lie about it, and - since he is a good actor - you believed him. Get over it.

Besides, if you "get Steven Moffat," (or boycott the BBC) what'll happen with Sherlock? Don't do that to yourselves.

You people are what my mom was afraid of when I first started role-playing games.

Scolding Mommy Rant re: fandom over.