Safety and Security Notice:

I never include last names or specific locations here, for the safety of our children. If you or your child is a friend of me or mine, and you approve a first name and photo being posted as appropriate, please click this link to email me with written permission. Thank you

Saturday, July 27, 2013


After the tummy trouble of Wednesday night and Thursday, I was doing much better Friday morning, and so I went to work. I love my job, and the people there are so understanding of things like illness and injury, so I was only feeling a little bit 'off.' Just enough to want to grab some ibuprofen and have it with my breakfast.

The bottle of ibuprofen is too big to fit in the first aid kit - and the kit is pretty large and prominent but because of the nature of our work (designing, building, and supporting surgical lasers) it has a lot of stuff not normally in an office kit, like eyewash and burn cream. In any case, it was full of first aid goodness, and the ibuprofen was on a shelf above it, and I cracked my funny bone (not funny, humerus!) on the way down.

9AM Friday
That always hurts, a lot, and so I didn't think much of it until it was still hurting a half hour later. I put my hand down to feel it and... well... let's just say I connected with flesh a lot earlier than expected. It was that swollen; when I posted this pic, one of my online friends asked when my elbow's baby was due.

Yeah, ow.

Huh, okay, swollen funny bone. Odd. And hee hee, it looks like a funny bone hit feels. Until my lead spots it and grabs me an ice pack, and our safety officer spots it and sends me off to urgent care ("That's why we pay Labor and Industry insurance, Jenn," she says over my protests that it's just a bruise, "It's to cover all the bases when someone gets hurt, no matter how minor the injury."

Now I feel guilty; I'm still relatively new here, under three months, I stayed out with the stomach flu Thursday and here it is Friday and they're sending me off to urgent care for something minor. Arg. I'm supposed to be answering phones and taking orders and helping other people with their medical (and veterinary) surgical equipment issues, not off getting x-rays of a bruise for crying out loud.

But they are concerned because of the swelling, and when someone asks if I need to be driven to urgent care (about two miles down the street) I'm appalled and I explain hastily that my car is an automatic transmission and I can handle this.

And now it's really starting to hurt and the tips of my fingers are pin-tingly. Dang. Guess I'd better go after all.

Property of King Features
Long time in the waiting room (there are actual emergencies ahead of me) and x-rays and manipulations of the injured joint later? Yep, a bruise, a bad one, and acute bursitis. No break unless the radiologist finds something the doctor didn't see. (That this particular form of bursitis is colloquially known as "Popeye Elbow" is just a bonus.)

Anyway, back to work, where I do the job while resting a padded and Ace-bandaged elbow on an ice pack. Then home, and since the kids are at a sleepover (Lizzy's first that's not at Grandma's house!), it's pretty quiet (only one call and one text from Abby, complaining that Lizzy isn't doing what they say and their host (birthday girl M) doesn't want to tell her mom that the little kids are being mean, so Abby called me.) We get that all worked out and I'm in bed around midnight. Maybe one.

1PM Saturday
At 12:30 in the afternoon my phone (which I commonly use as an alarm clock) goes off, telling me that its battery power is low. I plug it in, take a shower (and it takes a while under hot water to unkink the joints that have been in one position for about twelve hours now), move my car (which is in the mail delivery space), make some lunches for the week, make some bacon for tonight's sandwich bar, and only then do I take a second pic of the elbow.

Eight hours of compression. Liberal application of ice. Twelve hours of sleep. Two doses of naproxen sodium. And it's down to the bruising I claimed when I first objected to going to the urgent care clinic. Still hurts to the touch, and aches slightly when I move the joint. But the swelling is almost completely gone, and so now I can get on with my weekend.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Feeling BRATty

Two posts in fifteen hours. I must be sick.

Oh, wait. I am.

So, for those of you who are not my real life family and friends, I have had one of the collections of symptoms known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) since 1992.

This illness is not that. Trust me. I know what that feels like, and this ain't it.

Most people don't know the proximate cause of their IBS; part of the reason that it is labeled a syndrome is that they don't know.

I do.

When I got married the first time, I picked up a lovely little bug on our honeymoon, a cousin to e.coli called Giardia Lamblia, and it took them weeks to diagnose and treat it, because we had not gone camping or hiking, or any of the places it most commonly infects people.

Apparently it can live in chlorinated swimming pools for up to twenty minutes.

In any case, after several years we discovered my trigger foods: primarily dairy products and cruciferous vegetables. I can generally handle dairy about once a day (on that level; I am also mildly allergic to the main protein in milk, whey) and broccoli a couple times a week without incident.

As long as I stick to this, I'm fine. And it's been years since my last full-on flare-up.

Which is another reason I know this illness is not that. No unusual foods, no more dairy or veg than usual.

Also no sleep last night, because I spent hours in the bathroom. Low-grade fever and shakes. So I would say mild food poisoning or a gastro bug of some kind.

I guess the silver lining here is that I do at least know the proper treatment for such symptoms: rest, fluids, and BRAT. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. I have a couple bananas, some rice (on the stove right now), some apples and applesauce, and some bread (and crackers and plain noodles). Tea and water and apple juice.

It's just as well that I called in sick, in spite of the guilt, because I've been to the bathroom several times while writing this. I would have been pretty useless today.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Phone is Ringing

Yes. I am 44. And I have had a cell phone with a programmable ringtone in one form or another for oh... fifteen years or so.

I still find them to be lots of fun.

And I'm getting tired of the Sarah Jane Adventures Theme I've been using as my default (all Whovians use the Who theme or the TARDIS materialising (yes, with an 'S'; it's the British spelling. Roll with me here) and I wanted to be a bit different.) I'll come up with something.

While I was looking for said something, I went through the existing ones I have to make sure they were all attached to their callers properly.

My dad's is Peter's Theme from Peter and the Wolf; it's the first music I remember him being associated with. And his name is Peter.

My mom's is one of those ones that goes, "It's your mother! Pick it u-up! You can't hide from me-ee!" and so on. It doubles as an alarm clock.

+Laston Kirkland's is this clip from the game League of Legends. Anyone who knows him will understand why.

Leanna's mom's is the theme from the old PC game Lemmings; it is an old favorite of hers.

Abby's dad's is The Girl From Ipanema; long story involving a role playing game, an elevator, and a troll with a BFG.

And now, the cadre of children who call Abby (and who usually, but not always remember the "not before five on a weekday because Abby's mom is at work" rule) have this ringtone attached to them.

Abby is trying to use this as a reason for her to get her own phone. Nope. Ten years old still. Sorry kid.

Heh - and you can tell that I am taking a week break off from school; this is my first post in two weeks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Tale of Lily the Lily

Once upon a time, there was a lily named Lily...

Lily was a gift to JennTheGamerMom, from her daughter Lizzy, for Mothers' Day 2013. She was lovely, not yet flowering, but green and frond-y and tall.

And then Jenn took Lily to work, and she did well for a few days, then began to fade. Jenn's boss knows flowers, and told Jenn that Lily needed less water, and more direct sunlight. Jenn arranged this on a fire escape at work, and for a few more days, Lily perked up.

And then faded again, drooping and sad in the summer heat, pale green fronds now yellowy-brown. Jenn's boss said that Lily needed more space to grow, and bone meal to eat, and so Jenn took Lily to Grandma's house, where Lizzy and Grandma and Abby planted Lily in a nice fresh flower bed.

Poem Poster
It is not yet known whether Lily will survive.

But now the Poem Poster that Abby had crafted and given to JennTheGamerMom on that Mothers' Day of 2013... Poem Poster was lonely at Jenn's desk. And so Lizzy made a bouquet of paper flowers to sit near Poem Poster.

Daffodil, Rose, Iris, and the Tulips
Now, these flowers were made with Lizzy's own hands and crayons, as Poem Poster was made on Abby's classroom computer. The flowers are of different types, in spite of the similarity of form. And Jenn has been forewarned by Lizzy that these flowers must not be watered, lest they melt and die.

Thus (perhaps) ends the tale of Lily the lily... until the next chapter.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


We may - we hope - be moving around November. It's been nearly four years since we moved (thank goog, and we want need more space and a yard would be great, and our rent is kind of ridiculous now and +Laston Kirkland wants to grow veggies (and since our apartment porch faces north there's not a lot of that we can do here).

Anyway, in the hopes that we can move - and my insistence on staying in our school district (part of the reason our rent is so high, but I like this district and its schools and the fact that my mother/babysitter lives nearby) - we've started doing some cleaning for it. Yes, it's early, but we have as I said been here for nearly four years, with two adults and three kids (Leanna is not here all the time but a lot of her stuff is) and a cat.

Today I cleaned out my filing cabinet, in an effort to find an old digital camera, as Abby has shown an interest in photography.

And it was a treasure trove of old games (which I loved but could not find), and things I meant to keep for the kids and they are now old enough for, like cross-stitch beginner kits and Moonbase Commander and my favorite ever Pajama Sam game. I used to work for HumonGTgramatari, so I have several of these old things kicking around.

Out of that one (admittedly legal-size) two-drawer file cabinet, I got fourteen games to keep, a like number of music CDs, my trusty copy of Microsoft Office Small Office Edition, a folder full of the kids' assorted school pics, a gazillion barrettes and hair ties, a binder/clipboard for gaming, and my computer repair kit. That's just what we're keeping. Then there's a bag of assorted computer bits and cables going to a friend of Laston's, a bag of software going to places like Half Price Books or something, and three bags of just... junk.

Oh, and the camera for Abby.

And two (mismatched) socks.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kid Vid

I don't like most of what Abby likes from the Cartoon Network, which is now available on Netflix Instant Play. Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, and Ben 10 are fine, but the adults can only stand the repetition for so long. Hole In The Wall is clever... the first time. The rest are - as Abby explained when summing up Adventure Time - "adventure, and farting.”

Then we watched the first two seasons of Total Drama (not Cartoon Network) which is an animated (pre-teen-aimed) spoof of shows like Survivor, and Netflix decided that we therefore liked reality TV. Now on our suggestion list for Netflix? Destroy Build Destroy from - you guessed it - Cartoon Network.

I love it.

It's like Junkyard Wars for pre-teen viewers (and teenage - mostly - competitors). I might just possibly even like it more than Abby does.

Also, we have fallen into the bad habit of letting Lizzy watch videos from her bed at night. This started with Fantasia and other not-a-story videos of the type (classical music plus pretty pictures), and it was in lieu of a lullaby mix. Over the past few weeks it's (d)evolved into pretty much any preschool show that we have on DVD.

This is Not Okay, especially for someone like Lizzy, who's not a terrific sleeper to begin with. But cutting her off cold turkey won't work; she will feel like she's being punished and that's not fair to her (not to mention that I would like to sleep now and then too, which I cannot do if she is awake.

Which she will be, if she has nothing to fall asleep to.

So in the interest of family harmony, Lizzy and I have made a deal: As soon as it comes in the mail (Wednesday) she will be watching only the sleepytime episodes of things at bedtime (the one in the link is NOT the one we ordered). And the hope is that we can slowly wean her off the TV-as-lullaby this way.

Right now we're watching Mulan.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ain't No Cure... Wait, Yes There Is...

We all know that I'm somewhat prone to the Winter Blues; Seattle is dreary that time of year. Apparently I'm also prone to the opposite.

We joke that we native Seattleites have webs between our toes, which dry out when the weather gets warm and dry for more than a couple days. But on some level it's true.

I woke up this morning feeling vaguely queasy, lightheaded, super tired, and kind of brain-foggy. I felt feverish (chills, muscle aches) although I do not have a fever, and I was seriously thirsty. I'm a fairly new employee, so I didn't want to just call in sick. So I did what I do for the kids when I think they might be sick, but taking them in to the doctor is impractical: I called the consulting nurse at the hospital.

She looked at my records (I had Lizzy in that hospital so they know me), asked me some questions, and said this: "You might be coming down with something, but honestly, given your one medication and your weight and the weather, I'm going with a mild form of heat exhaustion. My dear, you are dehydrated."

But but but... I drink a ton of water in any case. Every day, me and SparkPeople. "Yes, Mrs GamersBabes, but in this heat you need more." I guess when one spends the day in an air-conditioned office, one does not feel thirsty... until one gets hit in the face with that blast of heat upon exiting.

(And yes, I know I'm a wimp. I'm a Seattleite; we are not built for 85+F for more than a couple days at most.)

But I took a couple ibuprofen, ate breakfast in spite of the mild quease, and have already filled my insulated 24oz cup twice (by 9:30 AM). I still have the headache and some of the muscle aches, and I feel flippin' wiped out, but the nausea and the lightheadedness are gone.