Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So,This is Cool

At my dinner table this evening were folks from North Carolina, Bolivia, Australia, South Africa, and Hungary.

We talked about climate change and possible transformative action around the issue.

I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Did I mention that they serve dessert every night in heaven?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hello, eh!

So, I’m out of the country right now.

(I’m in Nova Scotia, so I’m really barely out of the country, but it felt like a dramatic way to begin a post.)

Anyway, I’m trying something new – I’m going to blog about work a bit.

I usually don’t blog about work because, well, that’s not what we’re all here for. For me, blogging is actually a bit of an escape from work, but since I’m going to be gone until Saturday and I have no idea what’s happening at my house (what you don’t know, can’t burn down the house, right?), I thought I might just give a few quick updates this week.

I am here - at a conference with an incredible group of people talking about amazing topics that are really important. (ah, hyperbole!) So it was starting to feel a bit “inauthentic” not to talk about this really cool thing happening in my life. Especially since I typically bore you with health crises, rants about occupational therapy, and my love of steak.

So, I do find it difficult to articulate what occurs for me when I go to these types of gatherings – it’s lots of deep conversations and connecting to people that I wouldn’t meet in any other context. And there’s lots of me going, “OMG – I can’t believe I’m here! Okay, okay, play it cool Dr. J. You can run with the big dogs. Anyway, they like you, you like them. Just don’t tell them about your encyclopedic knowledge of all things celebrity, and it will be all good.”

In trying to figure out what to write about my experience here so far, I thought I’d just give you a couple of quotes from the conference that are sticking with me from today:

“What if we created a world that was biased toward wisdom and compassion?”

“I’ve been waiting for you.”

“Everywhere I look, there is another of my favorite people.”

Okay, the last quote was from me, but it’s true. I’m like a kid in a candy store – and I’m totally on a starburst high!

I think I’ll try to post a few times from here – we’ll see how this blogging about work goes. I’m struggling to find a witticism or self-deprecation in this whole experience, but I’m sure I’ll get there.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Conversation and a Story

Dear blog reader, we have been having an ongoing conversation today, you and I. It goes something like this:

You: Hey, Zany Mama.

Me: Hmm?

You: Why don’t you give us an update?

Me: You can call me Tuesday, you know.

You: Indeed, it is Tuesday. Anyway, why don’t you give us an update?

Me: An update on what?

You: Don’t be deliberately obtuse, lady. You haven’t mentioned Keith Richards for approximately 3.5 posts now. That’s shady. What’s up?

Me: Oh Keith Richards! (hits forehead dramatically)

You: So…

Me: Okay, I’ll tell you a story, but don’t interrupt me…

There once was a beautiful young maiden who developed a terrible pain in her belly after eating prime rib for 4 days straight. Everyone in the kingdom thought it would pass once she resumed her normal repast of steamed chicken and vegetables (ha!), but, alas, it didn’t get better.

The beautiful lady’s discomfort caused much pain and strife in her kingdom. It caused famine and widespread ill-humor. Thin broth and melba toast filled the damsel’s days, and grey clouds hovered over her castle.

With near-legendary patience, the gentlewoman went through many, many medical tests until it was discovered that in her lithe mid-section there was a heinous liver tumor. A big, fire-breathing, dragon-like liver tumor.

Upon the advice of her friends, she named the tumor Keith Richards.

Once it was determined what caused her malady, the doctors told the lady that she must co-exist with Keith Richards for several months in an effort to make him shrink.

You know those Keith Richard types, the doctors said, if you simply do not feed them drugs (or birth control pills) and you limit their adult activities (leading to pregnancy), eventually they will get bored and flee your delicate system.

Although our heroine wasn’t sure about the “wait it out and it will shrink method”, she dutifully followed her doctor’s orders for several months. And finally, this week she took her carriage to the doctor’s office to hear the results of the barbaric MRI she’d been subjected to the week before.

While there, the doctor gave her grave news indeed: the tumor was not shrinking. It was the exact same size as it had been before.

The pain was better, to be sure. But Keith Richards was still living the high life in her gut.

You: So are they gonna take it out?

Me: I believe I was clear that I am not tolerating interruptions. One more and Keith and I are leaving.

Ahem…so the lovely maiden was quite disheartened – especially when the doctor said that she could expect to have this tumor FOREVER and that there wasn’t much else to do at this point.

You: But wait. You aren’t supposed to get pregnant or be on birth control with this tumor, right? What are you supposed to do?

Me: Second warning, Chatty Cathy – that’s the last time you get to interrupt. This is painful enough without your completely relevant and reasonable questions.

You: But…

Me: Oh cripes, you’re ruining the story. Fine. We’ll skip to the ending.

So the maiden was referred to her "lady parts" doctor for further evaluation and treatment. The end.

You: But that kind of sucks doesn’t it? You just have to live with a liver tumor which may or may not flare up at any time?

Me: Yeah. But the “kind of good” news is that it appears that the tumor is not affected by hormones. So hopefully, I’ll be able to, you know, resume normal operations around here. But I’m sticking to my guns here…I said one more interruption, and I was leaving.

You: But I didn’t interrupt you. You said, The End. You were done - there was no interruption.

Me: Whatever. Good day, sir. I said, Good day!

(Harumphs out of the room with a hand on her upper right quadrant crooning softly to Keith Richards.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Toys Will Be Toys

Not surprisingly, our family has been caught up in the "Thomas Recall" madness. We always knew that The Man would try to corrupt and impede Zane from reaching his full potential. Who knew The Man would do it by covering Zane’s favorite playthings with lead paint?

Here’s a photo of the Thomas toys that have been recalled:

Oh good. There for a minute I was worried. Zane only has 5 of the 23 toys that contain lead. I’m quite sure this means that he has only a 21.7% chance of having ill effects. Conversely, though, I’m canceling his OT appointment on Monday as I’m sure that any and all of his delays are Thomas-induced.


(Actually, all offending toys have been removed from the train table, and the little spoiled guy hasn’t even noticed.)

In other toy-related matters, Zane has rediscovered a gift he received from his last birthday.

FYI, the babies’ names are “Cabbage” and “Truck”, and he put them in their “Baby Box” so that I could take a picture.

While I find this very charming (as is his insistence that we call him “Whitey the Tomcat”), I am now slightly concerned it’s the lead talking.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Poppies Are Merely For Decoration

I have recently come to believe that I have led a rather sheltered adult life. No one could argue that my childhood was rosy sweet, but something changed once I reached my twenties. SRH and I got married, found some couple friends, occasionally went to see a movie, and considered life good.

Oh sure, we have had our share of “couple friends” issues. You know the type: I really like Person A, but SRH hates Person B. Or SRH gets along well with person C, but Person D and I couldn’t have less in common. (I remember a particularly painful evening spent with a woman who had mean things to say about every other woman in the room.)

But these are minor issues. As we become increasingly parent-ified, we are more likely to have parent/couple friends, and commonalities become easier to find. We no longer seek “couple friends” in the way that we used to. Instead we are thrilled when we meet and click with new parent/couple friends – something which seems infinitely easier to do.

Me: Hey, didn’t I see you with your bossy kid at the paint store?

Generic Other Parent: Oh yeah, that’s right.

Me: Why don’t you come over for a play date?

GOP: That would be great.

(Volia! Friendship ensues.)

It’s been like this since Zane was born. Friends somehow come out of the wood work. I meet neat people at the park, at preschool, at the OT’s office (well maybe not there, but you get my drift), at the pediatrician, in the grocery store.

I am in the baffling position of actually liking more and more people. Strange, that.

But recently, one set of our most favorite parent/couple friends seems to be becoming… well…un-coupled.

And I am completely unprepared for this. SRH and I have lived in a bubble for the past 12 years where none of our married/committed friends have broken up. Truly – not one serious couple has decided to end their relationship.

Their partnerships might be train wrecks. We might think they’d be happier apart. We might even wonder how in the world they ever got together, but none of them have decided to call it quits.

And lest you forget, I worked with battered women for years. I am totally down with ending a relationship which is not good for you. I think that kids are happiest when their parents are happy – however that happens. I don’t believe that most people leave their relationships lightly, and I absolutely respect their right do so.

But this…this feels different somehow. This is a couple that we adore - both of them. They are both wonderful people who are completely devoted to their child. They are good, kind people who simply can’t figure out a way to stay together.

And that just doesn’t seem right.

It’s making me wake up from this shelter of the past decade and look at the complexity of love and relationships. It is no longer the simple: you love each other, you work hard at your relationship, you stay together. It is something more like: with love, hard work, and a fair bit of luck, you might end up together.

And truthfully, I have never been close to a break-up where one person can’t be painted as the villain (or at least more villain-like). I just don’t have a good handle on this one.

No villain. No blame. No answers. Just sadness.

And because you know that I can’t stay with sadness long, here are the three ways I have decided to deal with this – and all future - No-Fault Breakups:

  1. Arbitrarily assign fault – I’ll flip a coin, spin a bottle, paper/rock/scissors – whatever. I’m assigning blame, and it doesn’t matter where it lands.
  2. Ruthlessly mock SRH – This might seem nonsensical, but it sure makes me feel better.
  3. Quit my job – Oh wait, I did that last week. Turns out, my friends didn’t reconcile, and my boss wouldn’t accept my resignation.

Any other ideas?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


One of the more pleasant “extras” of a liver tumor is that I am not allowed to be on birth control pills. As an additional benefit, I am also not allowed to become pregnant.


There is so much abstinence/rhythm method fun at my house right now that I could just scream.

And really, it’s been quite some time since I’ve not been on birth control pills AND not been pregnant, so I had forgotten one particular side effect of this dreadful non-combination – acne.

I’m a girl who has never had clear skin. Well, I suppose I did when I was six years old, but from about age 11 on, I’ve been pimple-y.

It’s not awful. It’s not all over my face. It’s not cystic acne. There are no scars. Rather, it’s a niggling, why-does-my-face-still-look-like-I’m-a-pre-teen type of thing. Much like my “nuisance” tumor, I have a completely non-serious and yet exasperating case of acne.

And it bugs the crap out of me.

So this week, I decided to do something about it. You know, besides wash my face, use a toner, and some oil-free lotion a few times a day. I went to the store and perused the anti-acne aisle – something I’ve not done since my teenage days.

After much reviewing of product and price comparison (because while I’d like to be done with my blemishes, I don’t want to pay a lot for it), I decided on an “adult acne” regimen. My thoughts were along the lines of I have sensitive skin, so I don’t want to use the teenage-y stuff. Too harsh. Plus, I’m an adult, yo. I need some adult medicine.

I had a bit of trepidation as I used it last night. After all, I do have pretty persnickety skin. I once got a rash for 6 days after using a new soap. And my skin could actually be characterized as “combination” rather than oily, so I didn’t want to over-dry in my quest for a smoother complexion.

But I bravely applied, with high hopes for a clearer, smoother complexion in just one week.

And this morning, I woke up to a face which was, apparently, molting.

Good grief: rare sex, acne, and now skin peeling off my face. Things just get better and better around here.

This liver thing better resolve soon.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Partner Meme - Part 2

So Thea tagged me for a meme. But I couldn’t really figure it out – was I supposed to do my favorite restaurants or the reasons I blog? Both? I didn’t know. And since I’ve already done the Reasons I Blog meme, and my restaurant choices are generally uninspiring, I decided to do neither.

But what I am going to do is finish the meme the Thea tagged me for months ago. You may recall that I did the first twenty-five questions as a “partner meme”, and here are the rest. Same thing: my answers come first, and SRH’s follow in blue.

26. What is your best childhood memory?

Although I have several really craptastic childhood memories, I actually have a fair number of good ones as well. This was hard to pick. I think some of my best memories of flipping around on the gymnastic mat – just having fun. Before I entered that whole “competitive” phase of gymnastics.

I still love being upside down.

She does indeed love being upside down. Why just the other day we were in line at the grocery store, and, well, I am just happy that she wasn’t wearing a skirt.

27. Ever been to Africa?

No, and to be perfectly honest I’ve never especially wanted to go – until this year. In the past year, I’ve met two people from Zimbabwe and several people from South Africa. Now, I really feel that I must go there. I must experience it. I can’t believe I was the boob who never wanted to go.

2010 World Cup, BABY!

28. Ever been toilet papering?
Yeah, in high school.
But I don’t really remember whose house. I don’t think I was that invested.

She is quite the pro with the TP now, though. Little Man’s butt is sparkling clean when she is done wiping him.

29. Been in a car accident?

For a while there, my car had a target on it. I was rear ended on a highway and spun around into oncoming traffic, and then about 6 weeks later, I was broadsided when someone ran a red light. Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt in either accident. Unfortunately, my Saturn SL-1 survived both accidents.

When people used to ask me this, I used to say “I change cars like I change my underwear. Once a year and only after a BIG accident.”

30. Favorite day of the week?

Saturday – usually begins with yoga and ends with laziness.

Some Saturdays of hers start with laziness and end in sloth.

31. Favorite restaurant?

I don’t really have one. Our eating out has decreased significantly due to Zane’s food allergies. So I’m just happy to eat out – where doesn’t so much matter as long as it’s not seafood.

If she can find an all-you-can-eat prime rib, some restaurant is gonna lose some money.

32. Favorite flower?

I’m partial to peonies. And tulips.

Yes she does. If I get another email, text message, cell phone call asking for flowers again… Oh she’ll get some flowers. Oh, she’ll get some flowers all right…

33. Favorite ice-cream?

I’m a vanilla ice cream gal. I prefer Dairy Queen soft-serve. (How exciting I am.)

She is also partial to Edy’s Double Churned Vanilla Bean as well. If she has to have hard ice cream. Have I mentioned that she makes a mean hot fudge sauce?

34. Favorite fast food restaurant?
McDonald’s - the fries are crack.

You know what she hates? Taco Bell, that’s what.

35. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
One time. I failed the maneuverability (aka parallel parking).
Thanks for bringing it up.

For those of you not “in the know” so to speak, Ohio’s “maneuverability” is a bit more than rigorous. My wife ain’t a failure, so all of you who think she is can go… wait, is this thing still typing?

36. From whom did you get your last e-mail?
You don’t want to know. It was work-related. Bluck.

I wish that were odd for a Sunday.

37. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

This is a tough one. For clothes, I would probably pick Anthropologie. For the reality that is my life, I would probably choose Target.

Oh, she could live off of Target, but she should have chosen the “online store” Amazon.com.

38. Last person you went to dinner with?

SRH – this evening.

She had the prime rib, if it were an all-you-can-eat, we would still be there.

39. What are you listening to right now?

I’ve got the media player set to shuffle, but this second Cake’s Arco Arena is playing.

I am listening to ZM ask me why it is taking me soooo long to finish this post. Lay off, Wifey!

(But in real life, I humbly apologize and ask your forgiveness oh Wonderous Wife. I will be quick.)

40. What is your favorite color?
This changes a bit.
But I really enjoy yellow – a bright, sunny yellow.

But she shouldn’t wear it…

41. How many tattoos do you have?

Two. Of course I want more, but I want to stay employable, and I’m already on an edge there.

They are small and discrete so if she continued along that vein she could get another. My name would look nice on her butt. No really.

42. Who are you tagging for this meme?

No one, but everyone is free to partake should they like.

If you partake, try to partner up with someone you know.

43. What time did you finish this blog entry?

I’m not done yet. But I ‘spect it will be about 9pm. (wrong, it was 8:45pm)

She finished at 8:45. I will be done at 9:15

44. Favorite magazine:

Inspired House – too bad they stopped making it. I hate people.

For a long time it was US Weekly, it really is too bad her sophisticated mag was cancelled.

45. Coffee or tea?

Tea, I guess. I’m hate coffee.

She has to have un-caffeinated though. I swear one night she seemed like she was hopped up on goofballs when she merely had drank a can of Pepsi.

46. Do you tan easily or burn easily?
Uh, I’m black, yo.
I tan pretty much constantly. Only burned once in my life.

Unlike me, I am sooooo pale I am light blue.

47. Do you color your hair? If so, how often?

Nope. I am truly a low-maintenance kind of gal.

If she did, she would go with electric blue or candy apple red. No really?

48. What was the first car you ever purchased without the help of your parents?

Saturn SL-1. I had it for about 8 years. Then people started hitting it with their cars, I had a baby, and I traded it in.

The thing had a target on it for reals!

49. What is your most dreaded household chore?

I hate to do dishes. Hate it with a passion bordering on pathological. Hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. Hate it with the keenness of a…well, I just hate it, alright?

And I don’t think she ever did them since we were married.