Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday Musings

Here’s some of what flitted through my mind today – in no particular order.

Baby Names
Today a friend sent me a website of baby names – or rather it was a website making fun of some people’s choices in baby names.
And I thought to myself, I bet my blog reading public doesn’t know my obsession with baby names. I have left three very important people out in the cold about this essential facet of my character.

It’s true. I love baby names and any discussion surrounding them. I have read most baby name books on the market, and at any given time, I am reading one. As you might guess, there aren’t a bunch of these books on the market so I’ve had to read several of them multiple times.

Maybe it’s because I have such a unique name. Or maybe it’s in my blood – my father has children named Briar, Maurice, Shamiko, Steven, Shawn, Brianna, Mark (2), Michelle, Marissa, Ashley, Corey, etc.

(Another minor revelation, my father has a lot of children).

Anyhoo…I love the baby names. Except when I’m pregnant. Then, I can barely stand to discuss them. I like baby names when it’s all “what if” and “that’d be fun” not when I’m actually naming a child. Case in point, SRH named Zane. We had the field narrowed down to two options, and after 3.5 hours of pushing, I told SRH that I didn’t care what we named the baby. Good thing he made the right choice.

If you’re interested, my favorite book is this one, and I’m currently partial to Sorrel for a girl and Ezra for a boy. (But these are always – at any moment – subject to change).

Zane is at the right preschool.
I knew this, and I got confirmation last week when I spoke to a colleague who runs the childcare center at my job. (There are 300 slots for 20,000 employees, so not a lot of people get to have their kids in that particular center).

So this childcare expert encouraged me to keep Zane where he is through all this childcare madness. Whew!

But I got extra confirmation today when I took a friend’s chatty daughter to her preschool. (As an aside, the chattiness was delightful. Zane actually chatted back to her, which was a really neat thing to hear. Of course, she talked about a number of topics and Zane responded by bringing the conversation back to trains at all times, but I’m just pleased the boy is gabbing.)

So, the other preschool was a lovely place. We did consider it for Zane, actually, but had heard that their dealing with food allergies left something to be desired.

True dat. We walked in, and there was a table of kids making armpit fudge 2.0. Now, it’s actually a clever little project for the kids, and I cracked up to see the teacher mashing it around in her underarm, but alas the recipe is full of dairy. (As you may recall, Zane is allergic to dairy.) There was cream cheese and butter all over the tables and chairs, and the children were gleefully squishing them through their fingers and toes before putting into plastic bags destined for their armpits.

Such a fun scene – but I couldn’t help but think that Zane wouldn’t be able to participate in it, and no amount of keeping him from the “work” area would make it safe for him to be in that class.

So, we’re at the right place. Validation is a good thing.

New Bookstore
Zane and I discovered a new bookstore today – Cover to Cover.
(There would be a link but it doesn’t have an internet site).

Cover to Cover is a locally-owned children’s bookstore, and it’s completely delightful. Zane and I spent over an hour in there reading every train book ever published. Did you know that “K” is for kitten?

Ultra-Sonic Nebulizer
On Friday, I had to replace the nebulizer that, just last month, it took me 18 steps to procure.

The directions said that if the water in the nebulizer was above 86 degrees, the nebulizing would happen faster. After giving Zane 6-8 breathing treatments a day at 30 minutes a pop over the weekend, I decided to speed up the process today by heating the water. (I am full of brilliance).

It cut the treatment time in half, but I knew I may have been a bit overzealous when Zane’s face became bright red mid-way through the treatment.

Lesson learned there.

Friday, January 26, 2007

And the Bad News is…I’m Feeling Better

I am. Not great, but better. It’s amazing. I’m actually able to eat without a bunch of pain. Can’t eat much, but I can eat.

Which is all really fantabulous news, except that I think that means they won’t take my gallbladder out - even though I’ve had 3 flare-ups in 5 years. (Doctors are leaving Ohio in droves right now as we are a “hostile environment” for them to practice in. As a citizenry, we sue for everything – and win huge settlements). So, I’m feeling pretty pessimistic that a surgeon is going to agree to cut me open based on my desire to eat like a normal person again. We’ll see.

But I’m refusing to worry about it. I think I’m on the tail end of this one, and I’m just happy about it.

In my feeling better, I have become more…um…effusive. Much more willing to connect. Open to dialogue. Capable of creating and maintaining conversation in all situations.

I’m talking SRH’s ear off, folks.

And he’s been sick all this week - first with a migraine and now with a cold.

But I just gotta be me. The old me. The me that was before I was sick all this fall and then couldn’t eat for a month. The me who may hate everyone else in the world but can’t wait to see SRH at the end of the day so that I can tell him how much I hate everyone else.

That me.

That “me” led “us” to the following conversation earlier this week:

Me: Chitter chatter, pitty pat, talk, talk, talk.

SRH: I’m sorry, honey. I’m not really up to talking right now. My head is killing me.

(He emphasizes this by wincing as he looks up past the bill of the baseball cap he is wearing inside so that less light gets in his eyes).

Me: Oh, yeah. Sorry about that. I was just saying…blather, blather, mighty pop, jaw jaw jaw. Anyway, you don’t have to respond. I just finally feel like talking. You don’t really have to listen.

SRH: (annoyed grunt)

Me: So, anyway…boom, boom, boom, let’s go back to your room, walla walla , do wah ditty, yak yak yak.

SRH: (forlorn sigh)

Me: And what do you think about that? I mean, I’m sure that…buzz, buzz, heliotrope, icicle, rap rap rap.

SRH: You know what I think? (smiles) I think you’re too pretty to talk.

Me: (speechless)

He gets me every time. Every. Single. Time.

Well played, SRH. Well played.

Monday, January 22, 2007

One - of Many - Good Things

No matter how stressed, frustrated, grumpy, or hungry I get, there is always one thing that reminds me that life is good:

Zane – yesterday at a fantastic birthday party.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Could We Please Talk About Something Else?

So where’s the “funny” in my life right now?

Good question. I’ve been pondering this lately, and it’s why I haven’t been blogging much. Because whining doesn’t suit me (not to mention the fact that it’s off-putting), and I am not a “naked” blogger – one who shares every feeling that comes to mind, no matter how morose or self-pitying.

But I’m struggling to come up with an “angle” or interesting way to discuss a childcare crisis, gallbladder pain and impending surgery, and the fact that I left my $80 yoga mat in the rental car I used last week.

I tried the limerick route. Then it was onto the list of what crazy (and mean) things my hungry self is willing to do. Then, I dressed Zane up for a pep squad – because when feeling bad, it’s always best to torture small children. But now I’m fresh out of ideas.

So I guess I’ll just lay it out.

  1. Childcare. SRH and I have been cobbling together care for the past two weeks while Zane’s care providers have been ill. They’ll get better – but not better enough. They’re getting older, and their health is poor. It’s a really sad reality, but it’s time to move on.

Solution A: Find new childcare.

So this one seems self-explanatory – call area care providers, do interviews, and pick one. EXCEPT most childcare centers in our neighborhood don’t provide part-time care, and any in-home provider we use can’t have cats, dogs, or carpet. Either option must be comfortable caring for a child with multiple food allergies and severe asthma. Like way-severe asthma. Like massive amounts of medication asthma. And I must be comfortable that they can do it.

Surprisingly, I’m not getting very far on that front.

Solution B: Quit my job and provide my own g.d. childcare.

So, this one is looking better and better except for one fact: I’ve lived in poverty, and I don’t much care for it.

We’ll leave that one on the table for now.

Solution C: Continue to cobble together care.

This has worked for two weeks; perhaps I should carry on for a while. Of course, it’s downright ugly in our house right now – I’m flexing my work schedule, SRH is flexing his work schedule, I’m at the computer working during every spare moment, and I’m constantly feeling guilty for not doing enough at work or home. On the other hand, it keeps me from breaking Grandma D and Grandpa R’s heart by telling them that we’re moving on. There’s some benefit there. (I am such a wuss).

  1. Gallbladder. I can’t get into the surgeon until Feb. 12th. So I’m on an extremely low-fat diet until then. SRH reports that this makes me both tired and grumpy, but I’m quite sure that I’m only tired and grumpy because I’m the only one doing anything around here! (I’m also quite sure that the preceding is a completely accurate statement and is not at all influenced by a lack of fuel to the brain).

Solution A: Continue to eat a bunch of nothing for the next month. Oh sure it makes me grumpy, but I’m slowly figuring out how to walk that tightrope between eating enough to live and avoiding severe pain.

As a bonus, I see that old pencil skirt from Banana Republic rotating back into the wardrobe.

Solution B: Go balls to the wall – eat a scrumptious dinner and chase it with a trip to the ER. However the question lingers in my mind: Will they really be willing to take it out that night or will I have to be in burning agony for 2-3 days before the offensive gland is taken from me?

I’m still not sure which way to jump on this one. Right now, I’m going the safer, hungrier route.

  1. Yoga Mat. For the second time in a year, I have managed to lose my too expensive yoga mat. (For details of the first time, see here).

Solution A: Harass and harangue the folks who fixed my hail-damaged car last week (those folks who so generously loaned me a 15-year-old rental car) until they get my yoga mat back.

Or I suppose I could ask nicely, but people who are famished tend more toward making demands rather than reasonable requests in sotto voce.

Solution B: Go to the yoga studio, and take someone else’s mat. Hey, it’s not my style, but someone clearly did it with my first mat. I’m simply suggesting that I use a proven strategy for obtaining a yoga mat at low-cost.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ready? Okay!

At times, my attempts to put Zane in an “outfit” versus a shirt and pants go horribly awry.

Today was one such day.

Does it remind you of anything?

Ready? O- Kay!

My Name is Zane! (clap)

I play with Trains! (clap)

If you don’t like it – (clap)

Then you’re insane! (clap, clap)

(Zane exits stage left and mumbles something about going to get ready for the "ultimate cheer".)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I’m So Hungry - Day #11

I have heard that fasting brings spiritual insights and enlightenment. Several of my fellow yogis swear by it, Your body feels so clean, they say. Your mind experiences clarity and focus, they opine.

Well, I have never bought it. I am a woman who likes to eat. A woman who has been known to cause others to blanch and hold their children tightly against their breasts in horror as they pitifully ask, How she does she do it? Does she have a hollow leg?

Anyhow, I have recently learned several things about myself through this whole “gall bladder is killing me and I can’t eat anything” fiasco. So without further ado…

13 Things I Will Do When I am Experiencing Extreme Hunger*

1. Cry when the nurse who is scheduling my appointment tells me that it may be over a month until I get to see the surgeon. (For the record, I’m not sure my tears or my pitiful, But I can’t live like this, really moved her. We’ll see.)

2. Consider eating friend chicken, french fries, and ice cream for every meal until my gall bladder explodes. I bet the surgeon will see me then.

3. Hold a knife on my husband when he tries to “brainstorm” things I can eat.

4. Cry when my childcare falls through – yet again.

5. Say the “f” word in my mind at least 5 times an hour. For example, in my head the first paragraph above ended with stupid, f*@king yogis. That’s not nice. It isn’t. And I don’t mean it – but I did when I thought it. For a minute.

6. Believe that melba toast is an actual snack.

7. Cry when I watch the preschool video of Zane’s Christmas program. My lovely boy picked his nose the whole time.

8. Send my husband out to get me a strawberry field smoothie every single night. They’re non-fat and strawberily delicious.

(This is eerily reminiscent of being pregnant in that SRH is infinitely willing to indulge any of my non-fat cravings. Except that I’m not pregnant. I have an inflamed organ. And it’s not going to grow to be a special, loved, little baby. It’s going to erupt into a flaming miasma of bile and regret.)

9. Begin an email to a colleague with, This is SO not something I care about. I’ll see if I can get to it this week. Wisely, I reconsidered. That particular email will probably wait until hungry day #33.

10. Cry when SRH referenced my favorite meatballs, here. I miss them. I do.

11. Consider seeking therapy – I sure am crying a lot.

12. Decide to go to a yoga class instead. Then I remember that it’s hard for me to walk up the four flights to my office without a break these days. What am I thinking? There’s no way I’ll get through a yoga class.

13. Be grateful that Campbell’s has a wide variety of low fat chicken soups: chicken and noodle, chicken and double noodle, chicken and egg noodle, chicken and stars, chicken and MEGA noodle. My options are endless.

Please someone else tell me that they have done something pitiful when hungry, sick, or tired. I need some commiseration here.

*I do understand that voluntarily abstaining from most food is a luxury and a privilege. Some folks will go hungry tonight because there isn’t anything in their cupboards. That’s not where we are, and I’m grateful. Hungry and grateful.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This Gallbladder Has Got to Go…

I mean, really, how low can this low-fat thing go?

And for those of you who are worried that I’m going to start limerick-ing again, I’m not. I don’t have the energy for it. I don’t, in fact, have the energy for much these days as I am barely eating enough to sustain human life – and I have always been a particularly big eater.

Add to that the fact that I am a woman who gets cranky when she’s hungry, and you quickly realize that it’s not been a fun week.

Fortunately when I saw the doctor today, he agreed that it’s probably time to remove the offending organ.

Doctor: So…are you looking for ways to keep it [the gallbladder]?

Me: Heck no. You don’t even need a gallbladder, right? This one has acted up 3 times in the last 5 years. Let’s give it the heave-ho right now, shall we? You got a pen-knife?

And although he didn’t take me up on my offer to let him yank it right there in the office, I think he was pretty relieved that I didn’t fight him on the need for it to go.

(I go to one of those new-fangled integrative medicine practices, so he was probably concerned that I wanted to treat it with Reiki or some other decidedly non-surgical option.)

Doctor: Okay. We’ll get you set up an appointment with a surgeon. Do you need me to prescribe anything in the meantime for the pain?

Me: No, I don’t think so. The pain is pretty manageable right now as long as I don’t eat anything. That’s a good plan until surgery, right? I JUST WON’T EAT ANYTHING?!

At this point, we both agreed that I should probably calm down, and I said I would call him back if my “discomfort” escalated.

So adios, sweet gallbladder! You’ve clearly overstayed your welcome.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Limericks for the New Year

Happy First Day of the New Year! I hope everyone had a great time ringing in the new year last night – even if a “great time” means that you went didn’t drink a thing and went to bed early.

I was pondering writing a year-end type post yesterday but realized that I was actually feeling a little bummed out and overwhelmed as my gallbladder is acting wonky, and I return to work tomorrow. Since I didn’t want a post full of
“whine, whine, snark, whine, whine”, I decided to hold off posting until today.

In my best former-psychotherapist tradition, I have written a series of limericks to show how I was feeling yesterday, and how I have reframed those same events into new verses today. (Reframing is one of those old counseling “mind game” techniques that are actually quite effective).

So, again the old ditties illustrate my perspective yesterday, and the new ones reflect a heart brimming with sunshine, kittens, and flowers for the New Year.

Gallbladder - Old
My gallbladder’s gone on the fritz,
Which makes eating normally the pits.
I’ve cut out all fat.
I may chew my hat.
This menu is giving me fits.

Gallbladder – New
This is really a good opportunity.
I’ve been eating with wild, abandoned impunity.
I will surely lose weight.
Eating healthy is great.
Soon I’ll join the “hot mama” community.

Childcare – Old
I must find another child care provider.
Although the grandparents make Zane politer,
Grandma fell off her chair in a faint.
Safe for Zane any longer, it ain’t.

Feeling pressed under a load that’s no lighter.

Childcare –New
Zane is such a wonderful boy-
New childcare will find him a joy.
Big decisions to make,
For our baby boy’s sake,
Do I stay home or stay in employ?

Zane’s Asthma – Old
Midway through Zane’s asthma season
His coughing flares up for no reason.
Massive amount of meds-
A fact that fills me with dread.
A mama with a sick boy, there’s no pleasin’.

Zane’s Asthma – New
Zane’s asthma is better than last year,
When we lived in constant ER-fear,
Lots of meds, oh sure,
And we can’t hope for a cure,
But at least our course of action is clear.

Food allergies - Old
If I felt overwhelmed by dairy and soy,
Adding eggs, peanuts, tree nuts to the list was no joy,
Now we increase by two,
Oranges and bananas are through,
What, I ask, will fuel my growing boy?

Food allergies – New
Four of eight major allergens on our “don’t eat” list,
Oranges and bananas add barely a twist,
Easy to evade,
Of few foods they are made.
Those two measly fruits won’t be missed.

So, that’s it: my best Suzie Sunshine outlook for moving into the New Year. My mother would be so proud.