Friday, July 31, 2009


I really, really like the people who run the daycare that we send the kids to. They're sweet people who obviously care a great deal for the children.

But sometimes, they are not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Routine, everyday stuff doesn't get to them, much, but Penny's diabetes care stumps them. And I could understand that -- it's not something that can be reduced to simple routine, and it's not simple, and it took Matt and I months of day-in, day-out observation to even begin to really grasp, and it took us more than a year to get to the point where we feel comfortable making adjustments to the "calculated" insulin doses based on dozens of tiny factors and our gut feelings. And we still sometimes guess wrong. And the daycare people obviously have more than two kids to take care of.

But they want so much for us to be able to drop her off in the morning and not have to worry about her for the rest of the day that they sometimes hesitate to call us and ask questions. They don't want to bother us -- after all, we're paying them so we don't have to be interrupted every five minutes with questions. And I appreciate the sentiment, but in this case... they need to call us.

I only figured out last week that the reason Penny's been running so low at daycare is that after they treat her for a low (by giving her some extra milk or the candy we keep in her bag for the purpose), they're adding those carbs into her meal total and giving her insulin for them. Which negates the whole purpose of giving her extra carbs to bring her sugars up in the first place. (Also, they weren't writing it down when she had lows, or what they gave her, so I wasn't able to track that information for the doctor.) I think I've finally got them sorted out on that, now.

Some of them have trouble with the "rounding to the nearest half unit" bit, even though I made a chart for them to follow.

A couple of weeks ago, Matt picked Penny up from school to discover that the kids'd had cupcakes that afternoon... except for Penny. He blew his top. We'd very specifically told them to let Penny participate in everything, that we don't want her to ever have to feel excluded because of this. That if there was food involved they could call us and we'd tell them how many carbs it was so they could figure the insulin dose. He growled at the teacher who was there, and I spoke to the other teacher the next morning, and I think we've finally got them straight on that, too.

So earlier this week, when her class went on a field trip up to another branch of the school up in Richmond for a carnival or something, they told us we didn't need to pack a lunch for her that day -- that they'd let her have the hot dogs that they were grilling. Yes, okay! I got behind that. I stressed repeatedly that they should call if they had any questions or concerns. And sure enough, they called at lunchtime, to review what she was eating and to verify that they'd figured the carbs correctly, which they had.

And then they called back half an hour later. "She wants to participate in the doughnut-eating contest."

I nearly fell out of my chair.

Okay, yes, I'd wanted her to be able to participate in stuff, but forget the diabetes: who in the hell thought it was a good idea to have a bunch of five-to-ten-year-olds have a doughnut-eating contest???

Luckily, matters became clearer. It wasn't a contest of "how many can you eat", but some no-hands variant. Each kid would only get one doughnut. Whew. I looked up the carbs (though apparently no one present knew the difference between a yeast doughnut and a cake doughnut) and gave instructions and carried on with my day.

I'm hoping that, just maybe, we're starting to get the kinks worked out. But it'll be something of a relief to get her back to school in the fall, where there's at least a real nurse handling the math.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Tuesday night, UPS called to let me know that my new camera would be arriving the next day, and that delivery required a signature, and that I couldn't change the delivery address until after they'd tried to deliver.

I grumbled at Matt, who suggested (perhaps jokingly) that I should work from home Wednesday, so I'd be there for the delivery.

And why not? My work computer is a laptop; I have a keyfob that gets me access to most of the office network from home; and I had more than enough work piled up that could easily be done at home. So yesterday morning, I dropped the kids off at school, then swung by my office long enough for a quick meeting and to pack up my laptop.

I always forget how freaking productive I can be when I'm working at home. Do I feel obligated to prove that I'm not just loafing on the couch watching TV, or is it really a helpful lack of distraction? It's hard to tell, but I got more done before noon yesterday than I usually manage in a full day of work at the office.

Which is good, because shortly after noon, my camera arrived. (Of course I didn't stop working altogether -- if nothing else, the battery took a couple of hours to charge -- but it was pretty distracting...)

I really need to remember to schedule myself some regular work-from-home days. Once a week, or every other week, or something.

But the camera is awesome. Even if I just left it on the fully-automatic setting and never played with all the power settings that are the whole reason I bought an SLR, I'd be in love with the pictures it takes.

(These were resized, of course, but not cropped, and not otherwise messed with. I didn't use a flash for either picture.)

I spent yesterday evening and some of this morning experimenting with the settings and seeing what difference they make (seriously -- I took something like twenty pictures of Alex's stuffed hippo) and then fiddling with the software and manipulating the "RAW" images to see what I could do with those.

It remains to be seen if this is an actual replacement for my everyday snapshot camera (it is bulky and heavy, and I certainly can't toss it in my purse or stuff it in a pocket and go) but for the time being, I love it. And just in time, too -- we'll be having dinner with my family on Sunday for Penny's birthday!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I went in for bloodwork a few weeks ago, because my synthyroid prescription is just about done and I can't get a new one unless I've had my thyroid levels tested in the last six months.

I got an automated message from the lab before my appointment, instructing me to not eat anything that morning. Which I found odd; they've never made me fast for my thyroid tests before. But whatever, it was a 9 AM appointment, so putting breakfast off until 9:30 wasn't that big a deal.

I went in, I suffered through the usual rigmarole that goes along with having deep, rolly veins, I pocketed the card they gave me that told me how to access my results, and promptly forgot about it.

This morning, I found the card and realized I'd never collected my results. So I dialed in, and discovered why they'd had me come in on an empty stomach: In addition to my thyroid levels, my doctor apparently attached a rider requesting cholesterol and blood sugar screenings. Both of which are more accurate if you're fasting.

I was almost annoyed (even at my fattest, I've never had significant problems with either of those) but then I was sort of curious about whether my much-improved weight and increased exercise regimen have changed things much. I know, for instance, that my blood pressure has come down -- it used to be at the high end of normal, and the last time I had it checked, it was close to the low end of normal, so much so that the doctor asked if I sometimes felt dizzy when I stood up too fast (why yes, actually) and cautioned me to take position changes easy, to be safe.

Well, the doctor didn't tell me my thyroid or blood sugar results, except to say that they were both "normal," so I don't know if they've changed at all. I can do my own blood sugar test, though, with Penny's kit, if I'm all that curious about it. And while thyroid problems can affect your weight, the reverse is not generally true, so I doubt it shifted much.

My cholesterol is gratifyingly shifted, though -- the last time I had it checked was when I was pregnant with Alex, and it was within normal bounds, but only barely -- 190-something, and my LDL (bad) level was actually a bit higher than the tolerance level of 100. Now my total is 158, with the LDL down to 77. So yay, diet and exercise and decreased risk of heart disease!

Now I just need to call my doctor's office and get them to re-up my synthyroid prescription for another six months.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Which Way Did It Go?

Did anyone catch the number of that weekend that ran over me like a speeding bus?

Not that it was a bad weekend... On the contrary, it was really fantastic.

The reunion was wonderful. Matt and I were among the first people to arrive ("The few, the proud, the punctual," he quipped) but among the other early birds were people I'd hung out with and been in classes with, so I didn't have any of that awkward, "Do I know these people?" sensation that I'd worried about. Not everyone I'd hoped to see came, but I was excited to see quite a few of those who were there.

Matt was fantastic (and patient). He followed me around and gamely made small talk and fetched food and drinks for me. He joked about the spouses needing a different color name tag, or a sticker, or something, so that no one had to pretend to know who they were. I told him I should just write "arm candy" under his name and be done with it.

Every conversation started with the same three questions, which I found amusing: Where are you living, what are you doing, and do you have kids?

It was also funny to see everyone fall into the same old groups and cliques from school -- though that kind of made sense, since those were the people you were friends with and so most eager to catch up with.

The DJ was too loud, but eventually it didn't matter, and we started dancing. That was like the old high school dances, too, and at one point, I leaned across the space to yell at Carl and Tina (the DJ really was too loud) to wonder whether they'd end the evening with "Stairway to Heaven," which is the song that always, always ended school dances. They laughed hysterically -- but sure enough, someone had made sure to tell the DJ to close with it. Even if our star athlete leaned over the mic and talked the whole time.

I exchanged email addresses with several people, and made plans to meet up with some who still live locally. (Whether those will actually happen or if they were "oh we really must..." plans remains to be seen, but I'm hopeful.)

When Matt and I got home, my parents told us that the kids had been fantastic all evening -- not that they'd admit to it if they hadn't, I'm sure, but they were convincing, at least. Penny managed to drag out her bedtime until an hour later than usual, but I'd pretty well accepted that would happen, so I was amused, not annoyed.

I'd expected Sunday to be quiet and mundane, but that didn't happen, either. Matt mentioned at lunchtime that he was still hopeful about going to see Up. I put Alex down for a nap, and then checked showtimes -- the latest we could go was a 2:30 matinee.

When a movie is scaled back to two matinee shows and none in the evening, you know it's about to get pulled entirely. And if Alex slept a full two hours for his nap, there was no way we'd get to the theater on time. I suggested that Matt take Penny to see the movie, and we'd try Alex on some other movie, eventually. He reluctantly agreed.

So, naturally, Alex woke up at 1:30. We all packed up and headed out to the theater. Alex wasn't too sure about the whole "movie" thing, but then Matt sat down with a huge tub of popcorn, and Alex sat on Matt's lap and dug both little fists into the bucket. It was hysterical, especially since the bucket was nearly as big as Alex. If the light had been better, I'd have taken a picture. I think he was more excited by the novelty than actually hungry -- he fed me as many popcorn kernels as he ate himself, I think.

He actually did pretty well, once the movie started -- he sat on Matt's lap or mine for at least an hour before deciding he was Done with this whole Staying In One Place Thing and demanding to be put down. I took him out to the lobby, where he spent half an hour running around and going back and forth through the front doors, and looking at the big water fountain out front, and climbing up on the benches, and... But he wasn't fussy, just in need of some activity.

So Alex's first movie wasn't a triumph, but it went better than we'd expected.

After all that, I was so exhausted, I planned to go to bed at 9 last night. But that didn't happen. I started reading, and got sucked in, and didn't go to sleep until Matt came to bed and mocked me at 11:30.

And then I woke up again at about 4 -- we'd had some terrific thunderstorms off and on all night, and one of them apparently blew the power. By itself, that wasn't enough to wake me, but then the smoke alarm in our room (or maybe it was the one in the upstairs hallway -- it's hard to tell) started chirping. And by the time that wore off, I'd become aware of a low beeping noise coming from downstairs that I couldn't identify. So I dragged myself out of bed and went to find it (it was the battery-powered baby monitor, complaining that it couldn't find the signal). I turned it off, then got out my phone and programmed in an alarm for the morning, and then went back to bed. But by then I'd been moving around enough to have started my brain going, and it took far too long to get back to sleep.

The power came back on about three minutes before six, just in time for Matt's alarm to go off, and then my phone's alarm... I didn't want to get out of bed. Not even a little.

It's gonna be a coffee day today, for sure. Maybe tonight I'll get to bed early.

...yeah, right.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Twenty Years

Twenty years ago, I graduated from high school.

It doesn't seem possible that it's been that long. Kids who graduated this summer weren't even born yet when I graduated.

That one girl who got pregnant in high school and was gone for a while to have the baby...? Her baby graduated a few years ago, most likely. She could be a grandmother now.

Doesn't seem possible. But it is. I'm going to my 20th high school reunion tomorrow night.

I'm trying not to have too many expectations and hopes for it. I was not part of the In Crowd, back then, though I was friends with some of them.

The thing is, I really enjoyed high school. I had my own group of friends, and we always had something happening. I have so many wonderful memories of that time: passing enough notes in various classes to fill an entire notebook (I still have that notebook, somewhere, in fact). Going to football games, and to Pizza Hut to celebrate after the game (almost always to celebrate, anyway -- we had the championship team). Going to the dances that the school held every other Saturday to hang out with friends (and make out with boyfriends). Wandering the halls during sixth period with my photography class partner and taking what I thought at the time were very artistic shots. Sneaking out of class to have balloons delivered to my boyfriend on his 18th birthday. That moment of awakening in Calculus class when Mrs. Gore led us to the notion and definition of the derivative, and the simple perfection of the math stunned me so hard that I couldn't talk for an hour afterwords, and I knew I was going to major in math in college. A similar moment in AP English, as Mr. Eaton disassembled "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" one word at a time, like pulling petals from a rose -- I had never realized that the English language could be so elegantly dense. My own first tentative steps as a writer, collaborating with friends on horrible stories that are probably better lost to the ages. Staying after school to scramble to finish the newspaper deadline. Terror and pride as I argued with the school principal -- entirely solo -- over the literary magazine's pitiful budget... and won (and subsequent hours spent slaving over the little magazine, trying to prove that it was justified). Dozens of sleepovers at my best friend's house, folded up at opposite ends of the couch with cokes and cheez doodles and books, trying to pretend I didn't have a crush on her brother. Pleading "female troubles" to get out of gym class so I could sit on the bleachers with my other best friend, passing a really horrible novel back and forth and giggling over the sex scenes (sometimes I wish I could get my hands on it again, just to see if it was really as shocking as I recall). The day school was canceled on account of a broken water main, and a bunch of us spontaneously packed up a cooler and went to the beach.

I could go on and on and on. I could fill a book with the vignettes and moments of those few years.

I don't know who's attending the reunion, or how many of them might remember me. I don't know how many of them will remember that I don't remember.

I admit to a little nervousness. It could go so well -- or so badly.

It can't change those memories, though.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


As Matt and I were putting the kids to bed last night, I felt terribly sleepy. I didn't want to do the Wii Fit workout that was on my to-do list for the evening; I just wanted to curl up on the couch and read for a bit, and then go to bed early.

But I was good. I turned on the Wii Fit and I did my 40 minutes. And you know -- by the time I was done, I felt a little better about it.

"You know what tonight is?" Matt said, as I was turning everything off and shoving the Fit board back under the couch.

"Um... Wednesday?"

"Leverage night!" He was already reaching for the TiVO remote as I headed into the kitchen for my soda and fudgie bar.

I was feeling better, but I was not in the mood for TV. Not even Leverage, which is possibly one of my favorite TV shows ever. I still just wanted to read for a bit and then go to bed early.

But there was no sense ruining Matt's enjoyment. I decided I'd watch a little while I ate my fudgie bar, and then if I wasn't hooked, I'd go to bed and watch the rest of it later. (Yay, TiVO.)

But Leverage hooked me, as it always does, and I really enjoyed the episode. (Anyone surprised if I admit that I think Chris Kane is hot? Didn't think so. Also, the chicken-fried steak thing made me squeal with laughter.)

When the show was over, I tweeted: I did not want to wiirkout, but I did, and felt better for it. I wasn't really in the mood for TV, but Leverage sucked me in. / I had wanted to go to bed early tonight, but given how my night's going, maybe I would be better off staying up until 2?

I didn't stay up quite that late, but I wasn't quite in bed yet at 11:30.

I woke up at 5 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. I gave up trying at about 5:30, and got up and did another 20 minutes on the Wii Fit. (Note to self: Seriously, I need to put my glasses on next time. Trying to focus was making me dizzy. My uncorrected vision is no longer good enough for everything but reading and driving.)

Of course, now that it's too late, I really want to just go back to bed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


So yeah, got up at 5:45 yesterday so I could take Alex over to the Surgery Center to get tubes in his ears.

He was perfectly fine (if a bit befuddled) until we actually started heading back to the prep room, and then he started looking pitiful, as if he knew what was coming. He was clingy but mostly okay in the prep room, except when the nurse had the unmitigated gall to take his temperature and blood pressure. That was just brimming over with wrongosity.

Then they gave him a dose of something in a syringe to make him sleepy, and that was hysterical. I know exactly when it hit him, because we were sitting on the bed, reading Max's Bath for the forty-seventh time, and the anesthesiologist came in to go over his part and have me sign the release forms, and he looked at Alex and said "Hey, buddy!" and Alex busted up into giggles. And then he continued to giggle randomly while I signed release forms, and giggled randomly when I went back to reading the book... When Penny had her ear surgeries, the stuff made her drowsy and dopey, but Alex, I swear, was acting high.

("Well, I can see he's already had his medicine," the anesthesiologist said, looking amused. "He's acting a little..." "Yeah," I agreed, "he's reminding me of a guy I dated in college." Which startled the anesthesiologist into a snort.)

He started crying when the nurse took him away for the surgery, and then I sat in the corner and played solitaire on my phone for twenty minutes or so until the doctor came in to tell me that it was done and they were just waiting for Alex to wake up. His middle ear had apparently been full of gunk and goo, so the doctor had suctioned it out and then washed it with an antiseptic solution to reduce the chance of infection, and he increased the number of times per day he wanted us to put the post-op antibiotic drops in Alex's ears. Apparently the poor kid has the same problem I do, where his sinuses fill up his ears before they get to the nasal cavity, and then the ears never do drain completely.

The good news is that with the tubes aiding proper drainage, Alex should see an immediate improvement in his hearing, which means over the next month or so, his speech clarity and vocabulary (understood and spoken) should improve dramatically.

A few minutes later, they brought him to me. I'd known (and been warned again) that kids usually woke up from anesthesia with some disorientation and in bad moods. Penny had cried inconsolably for an hour or more after her surgeries. Alex... was violent. He was not sad, he was angry. He twisted and flailed, threw anything he could pick up, slapped and punched and kicked. And when he was coherent, he screamed for "Mama! Mama!" even when I was holding him.

Eventually, the nurses decided that he wasn't going to calm down as long as he was in the surgery center, and they let me take him home. He switched from angry to merely sad as soon as we started moving, and even stopped crying for a few minutes in the car. When we got home, he realized he was thirsty and sucked down the apple juice he'd scorned at the hospital and another cup of milk, then consented to eat a banana and a little yogurt for breakfast.

He was still randomly bursting into sobs, though, so as soon as he was done eating, I took him up to his crib and tucked him in. This seemed to agree with him -- I heard occasional sobby breaths for half an hour or so, and then it all evened out into sleep, and he slept straight through until 11:30. Despite the maid service coming and making a bunch of noise.

When he woke up, he was cheerful and bouncy and happy. He watched Sesame Street and looked at books and went outside to "draw" on the driveway with chalk, and seemed to take great delight in talking and demanding that I tell him the names for things.

So hopefully his speech will improve, and the ear infections will go away (or at least appear on a normal, once or twice a year schedule instead of every three weeks). Yay, tubes!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back in the Saddle

How does a weekend manage to go by so freaking fast?

We'd meant to go see Up on Saturday, but Alex wound up taking a four hour nap that stretched right into the latest show time we were willing to consider. So we mostly sat around the house doing not much of anything all day Saturday, waiting for Alex to wake up.

Though since we missed the movie, we decided to go to Wasabi for dinner, and that turned out to be great. Alex was in the best of moods (after a four-hour nap, I should think so!) and got several compliments from various passers-by.

And Penny decided that the time was ripe for her to try sushi. Matt was a little dubious, so for her first foray, she had two cucumber rolls and a simple shrimp-on-rice-pillow thing. She tried to bite the first cucumber roll in half and was foiled by the seaweed, but gamely let me put some soy sauce on what was left and tried again, and that did the trick: she was in love. She scarfed down the other cucumber roll, and made many happy "Mmmm!" noises about the shrimp. When she asked for more, I got her another couple of cucumber rolls and a Philly roll, and she ate those with great enthusiasm.

So whoo for expanding culinary breadth! (Now she just needs to practice more with chopsticks.)

That evening, after the kids were in bed, I thought I'd attempt a little writing -- I've got a notion for a rewrite on Willow Bough that I want to explore, and well, with work the way it is, I'm not going to be doing any writing there any time soon. It went better than I expected. I had trouble sinking into it entirely, but I did manage to get out a couple of pages.

Sunday we went over to my parents' to celebrate Sam's birthday. Penny helped me make Sam's favorite cake (pineapple upside-down cake -- with as many maraschino cherries as Penny could squeeze in) and both Penny and Alex were really good at my folks' -- they ran around and got into things and were generally goofballs, but they were happy and more or less well-behaved (within the definition of "well-behaved for Grandma and Grandpa's house" as opposed to "well-behaved for home", at least).

And we sat down to eat, and completely to everyone's surprise, Penny elected to try a pickled okra... and loved it. She ate three more without stopping, and I had to take them away from her until she'd eaten her meat and green beans. And then I went into the kitchen and checked the nutrition facts (like pickled cucumbers, they're low in calories, low in carbs, and high in sodium) and then shrugged and let her finish them off. I guess it was just Penny's week(end) for trying new foods -- I'm proud of her!

But the whole weekend disappeared entirely too quickly. I'm sitting at my desk now, blinking sleepily and wondering what the hell happened.

Probably no entry tomorrow -- I'll be getting up early to take Alex in for his ear tube surgery, and then I'll be keeping him at home for the rest of the day, so time to blog will likely be scarce.

Friday, July 17, 2009


My to-do list is getting pretty unmanageably long.

  • Research entry-level digital SLR cameras (my under-200 diet reward to myself)

  • This year's scrapbook, which I haven't even started yet, though I have the pages and several months of prints ready to go.

  • Several solid story/novel writing ideas that need to be fleshed out, and half a dozen snippets that I'd like to capture somewhere before they fade.

  • A game plot that I need to sketch detail into, so it's ready to go when the current scum plot is done.

  • A vague notion of adding footnotes (translations, whispered comments, unexplained motives, etc.) and some side conversations to the Hall's transcripts.

  • The long-standing home decluttering project.

  • I promised Penny I'd take her to the beach one day this summer -- need to figure out when I'm doing that. (And buy a swimming suit, beforehand.)

  • Get invitations put together for Penny's birthday party.

  • Buy and install new filters in the air purifier.

  • Move the rest of my old journal posts over here.

  • Make appointments for various home improvements and repairs.

  • Go through all my clothes and pack up everything that's a 2X or bigger (I'm in a size L now, mostly, but some of the XL stuff still fits okay), and take it to the thrift store.

  • Go through the kids' things and get rid of the detritus.

And that doesn't even include my busier-than-ever work list, or the everyday stuff like housework and exercising and allergy shots and...

Am I doing any of it? No. No, I am not. I'm sitting on my ass and reading and re-reading and re-reading old Hall transcripts and other things I wrote five or six or eight years ago.

I told Karen last night that I feel like I'm looking for something, but I can't figure out what I'm trying to find. But I begin to wonder if I'm not hiding, instead. Trying to escape to a time when things were less crazy, when I had time to be me, when I didn't wonder what was slowly slipping away while I was lost in the noise.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Penny has her first crush.

If I'd thought about it, I would have realized it was probably coming -- I was five when I had my first crush, after all. (At least, that's what I'm told. I don't remember it, myself.)

I'm not counting Ray, who lives next door and is one of Penny's best friends, even though she's been saying for over a year that she plans to marry Ray when she grows up. She doesn't get fluttery about Ray. She is very definitely fluttery about Dominic.

Dominic is nine. (Ah, the appeal of the Sophisticated Older Man...) He has blonde hair and blue eyes. And he can dive off the diving board when they go to the pool on Thursdays. And do flips. Penny's very impressed by the flips.

Penny's friend Dylan also seems to have a bit of a crush on Dominic, and from what I can read between the lines, Dominic is perhaps not entirely unaware of their admiration, though at a loss as to what to do about it. ("He was like, 'Uhhhh, why do they like me?!'") I kind of feel sorry for him -- how embarrassing must it be, when you're in the fourth grade, to have a couple of first-graders tagging around after you making unsubtle (Penny is not good at subtle) cow-eyes?

We had this conversation on the way to daycare this morning:

"So why do you like Dominic, honey?"

"I don't like him, I love him!"

"Oh, sorry. Why do you love him, then?"

"Because he's soooo handsome!"

"Mm, I see. Is he nice?"

"Well, sometimes he's pretty silly."

"As long as he isn't mean."

"He's not mean. Mom! I wish, when we're at the pool and I'm drowning that Dominic would save me!"

"I wish you wouldn't drown at all."

"Mom!" (Translation: How am I supposed to enjoy a nice rescue fantasy if you're going to spoil the setup?!) "I love Dominic, but I'm not going to marry him."

"Oh, no?"

"No. Mom, don't tell Dominic that I love him!"

"I won't, I promise."

"...Why not?"

"Because you asked me not to."

"If you told him, he would be like, 'Uh...' He would think I wanted to marry him!"

"But you don't?"

"No. I'm going to marry Ray." (She is a girl of her word, I suppose.) "The other kids think love is gross."

"Sometimes kids are like that, honey."


"Probably because they're just embarrassed."

"They say kissing is gross, too."

"Kids are like that, too. Anyway, you shouldn't be kissing anyone at school, so it doesn't matter."

"Just Alex."

"Yeah, you can give Alex a kiss bye-bye in the morning."

"When you love someone, you want to marry them."

"Well, sometimes."

(pause) "Dominic can hold his breath and swim underwater!"

Ah, young romance...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Did It!

My third interim weight-loss goal has been reached, and this is the "biggie" -- for the first time in more than ten years, I weigh less than 200 pounds!

It's a hell of a mood boost, I have to say. And it doesn't hurt that I'm wearing a new shirt that clings nicely, this morning, and I've already had two people comment on my weight loss.

I still have a good ways to go before I'm into ranges that will make my doctor happy, but it's a significant milestone, anyway.

Time to start shopping seriously for my reward! And to think up a reward for the next milestone...

Yay, me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Stayed up later than I expected last night. I'd meant to try to do some writing, with Matt out of the house for Rock Band, but I got sucked into reading stuff, instead.

Didn't want to drag out of bed this morning, surprise surprise.

As we were lining up to head out the door, Alex picked up Penny's drink bottle and then promptly dropped it on his foot. That hurt, so he wailed and was pitiful, and I had to comfort him for a few minutes before I could get around to making sure he hadn't actually injured himself with it.

Then Penny pitched a fit at Matt for the terrible crime of putting her lunch bag in the front seat instead of next to her. She started crying when he got mad at her for threatening to hit him, which made Alex upset again. And then she continued to whine at me halfway to daycare about wanting to hold her lunch bag. She was such a pill, I made her do a blood sugar check, but she came back at 101, which is a good level for even a non-diabetic, so I guess it was just a Mood. I finally had to threaten her with not going on today's field trip to get her to shut up.

Got to daycare and dropped Alex off, and he wandered off in search of a toy and I thought I was going to get out without him getting upset, but the teacher prompted him to wave bye-bye to me, and he realized I was leaving and tried to follow me out the door. I realized as I was signing the kids in at the front desk that today is the toddler class's water-play day and I'd forgotten to bring his swimsuit and towel.

And then I got to work to find that neither our badge-reader nor our iris-scanner is functional, which means no one is going to be able to get in and out of the front door, which means I'm going to spend all day answering the doorbell. And our code repository, which crashed yesterday, is still not back up to speed, and I'm not sure how I'm going to put my hands on the code that I need for today's delivery. (I can't even skip the repository and get it straight off the developer's machine, because he's on travel this week and took his laptop with him.)

And just now I'm finding out that apparently something happened to the code repository's backup process, and we haven't done a full backup since early June...

So, you know. An auspicious beginning to the day.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Awesome weekend!

Saturday afternoon was the annual summer bash. We went to a park near KT and Kevin's, and it really couldn't have been much nicer. They staked out a couple of picnic benches in the shade, with a grill, a large open area on one side (for the water-gun fight) and a toddler playground on the other, and a big-kid playground just on the other side of the open area, so we could let the older kids run free and still keep an eye on them. The weather, despite reports of it getting up into the 90s, stayed in the mid-to-high 80s, exactly right to keep the water-gunners from getting chilled but not drenching the rest of us in sweat.

There were old friends from far away -- Karen, of course, and Justin had come in from San Francisco. And other old friends that I hadn't seen for years, like T and Sara. And of course friends that I see fairly frequently but am always happy to see again, like Elizabeth and Dave.

Penny and Jess had a fantastic time running all over and climbing on the playgrounds and shooting water guns and generally wearing themselves completely out. Matt and I lowballed her insulin dosages to account for the extra activity, and she stayed almost entirely within range all day -- one mini-low, which was so close to in-range that it barely counted. I felt pretty good about that.

Alex was fantastic and adorable -- he clung close to Matt and I, but he was willing to wave "hello" to people on request, and eventually relaxed enough to start jabbering. He did have a little meltdown at one point, but Matt took him for a walk down a secluded path and he calmed down pretty quickly and was great for the rest of the afternoon, so it was probably simple overstimulation more than anything else. He loved the playground, bouncing back and forth between the swings and the slide with great glee. And though Matt or I hovered protectively, he climbed the stairs for the slide, sat down and inched onto the chute, and came down entirely by himself, without so much as a steadying hand.

We had good food and great fun, and it was, all in all, a spectacularly fun afternoon. We didn't leave until 6:30, and then only because Alex was beginning to show signs of oncoming exhaustion.

Friday, July 10, 2009

One Of Those

I got the kids all the way to daycare this morning and was getting Alex unbuckled from his seat when I realized we'd left Penny's diabetes kit at home.

So I took Alex in to class and then had to drive all the way home again to get the kit, which is 40-45 minutes, round trip.

Here's hoping it gets better.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mini Holiday

My mini-vacation is upon me!

I'm at work this morning, but I'll leave at noon, and not coming back in until Friday.

My plans for today include going to the gym and then hanging out with Karen until Matt and the kids get home (whether we Do Things or just sit around and talk is left up to the winds of whim). Karen's staying for dinner -- I'm making chicken-fried steak, which she's never had before, so that should be interesting. It's a pretty quintessentially Southern dish (though this particular recipe is lightened somewhat).

Tomorrow I'll go straight to the gym after I drop the kids off at school, then I have a doctor's appointment for some bloodwork. After that, KT and Karen are coming up and we'll have a mostly girlie day. We're planning to shop for much-needed clothes. (KT's shrunk out of her summer clothes already, and I need something to wear to my high school reunion in a couple of weeks. I don't know what Karen's mission is.) We'll meet Matt -- and anyone else who wants to join us -- for lunch, and Matt and I need to run over to the bank, but after that, it's back to shopping! And since we'll be in New Town, there's plenty of options for when we're done with clothes. I'm looking forward to it absurdly -- I hate shopping for clothes, but it's a much less onerous chore with friends along.

Yay, vacation!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Read 'Em and... Sweat?

A week or so ago, I went looking through some old MeadeHall transcripts, to try to find something related to the email plot I'm currently involved with.

Naturally, I got pretty well sucked into reading them. We had some pretty amazing plots, for a couple of years running, there.

One day last week, in fact, I was so sucked into reading that I felt all whiny and grumbly about having to put them down to go to the gym. But then I thought -- well, my iPhone has a browser. And the cell signal isn't great in the workout room, but it's there. So once I was there and into the groove of things, instead of turning on a movie, I loaded up the 'Hall site.

Selecting links isn't easy on the iPhone (especially on a site like the Hall, where there are lots of links very close to each other) -- and it's even harder when you're moving. But I managed it. And I read. And I worked out. And-

Time sort of slipped away. Before I knew it, the elliptical was bleeping at me and telling me my time was up and that I'd burned slightly more than 300 calories in my 30 minutes. I was panting and sweaty. Much more so, in fact, than usual.

I tried it again the next gym session. And the next. And it kept happening. The deeper I can lose myself in whatever I'm reading, the harder my body works without my even being aware of it, apparently.

I'm glad I've discovered this now, because I was starting to run low on action/adventure movies. My next experiment is to attempt an actual book so I don't have to fidget with the iPhone's screen so much to select links and scroll down through the text. I should swing by the bookstore while I'm off this week and pick up one of those gadgets that holds books open for you.

Being able to read at the gym would be awesome. Especially since the kids make it difficult to find solid blocks of reading time at home. Forty-five minutes to lose myself in a book without having to look up every other sentence? It sounds pretty darned enticing to me, despite the exercise.

I may have finally found my hook.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Morning Report

That was a really nice long weekend.

Penny recently filled up a chore chart, so Friday morning I took her to the Yankee Candle Factory to peruse the toy store and pick out her reward. (She opted for a kitten instead of a dog, this time.)

That afternoon, Matt blew up our new kiddie pool and both kids had a blast playing in the water.

Saturday we had a bit of a hiccup -- Alex woke up with a rash on his thighs that looked like a bad mess of bug bites, but after his nap it had spread to his calves and was starting on his arms. Matt recalled signs up at the daycare saying that they'd had two confirmed cases of MRSA (a nasty staph variant), so he took Alex right over to the Urgent Care. It turned out not to the MRSA, but an allergic reaction to... something. So the good news is that he wasn't infected with a drug-resistant, flesh-eating disease, but the bad news is that we have no idea at all what he's reacting to. But at least he responded well to Benedryl -- an hour or so after dosing him, the rash was all but gone.

It keeps coming back when the Benedryl wears off, though, and I forgot to give him a dose this morning. Oops. I'd worry about it more except that he doesn't really seem bothered by it at all, and it does seem to be getting better with each round, so whatever it is obviously isn't a constant irritant, like his clothes or the cat. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if it's not a sensitivity to the preservatives on the pool -- we didn't think to rinse the plastic down before filling it with water. At this point, though, all we can do is wait and watch.

Anyhow, once that little adventure was over, we headed down to my brother's for the Fourth of July cookout. The kids were actually both quite fantastic for that, and we had a lovely time. (Even if I ate probably twice as much bacon as I'd budgeted for...) We even got to hang around for a while after dinner, which is a switch for us.

Eventually, though, we got the kids home and put Alex to bed. Penny got to stay up, though, and Matt took her off to watch fireworks. This was her first real exposure to them, and apparently she had a great time. Matt found a great spot for it, as well, so we'll keep that in mind for the future, when Alex is old enough to stay up late and we can all go as a family.

Sunday afternoon, my parents came over to watch the kids so that Matt and I could go see Much Ado About Nothing at the VA Shakespeare Festival with some friends. The show was really quite good -- very funny and with fantastic sets and props. We thought we might get to go out to dinner with the group afterward, but my parents wanted to head home by 6:30, and the dinner reservations weren't until 5:45, and there was no way that many people was going to be served that quickly.

So we took the kids out to La Tolteca instead, and then after the kids were in bed, Karen came over (yep, it's Summer Bash week!) and we sat around talking until 11:30 or so.

I'm tired this morning, but it was worth it. And the office is pretty quiet today (lots of people taking advantage of the long weekend to fit in their vacations) so that's not so bad. And I'm planning on taking Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday off to hang out with Karen (and possibly K.T. and Kevin, though actual plans have not yet been made, and I have a doctor appointment to work around). So I'm looking forward to that.

All in all, not a bad way to start a week.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Who Dat?

Penny has recently rediscovered an interest in her camera.

It's a little kid's camera -- ruggedized to protect it from being dropped and banged about, minimal features to screw around with, and low resolution. It takes, quite frankly, pretty horrible pictures. The flash doesn't really work beyond about two and a half feet, and inside of two feet, it's far too bright.

But it doesn't matter that the pictures are horrible and low resolution, because 97% of them are of her toys. And another 2% are of her feet.

Every once in a while, she deigns to take pictures of people, and sometimes, she even manages to get their faces. Or, well, parts of them, anyway.

She took this picture at today's cookout at my brother's house.

Who Dat?

It took me three long looks before I realized who it was... It's me.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Chugging along, that's what I'm doing.

Work today, but tomorrow's a holiday.

If Penny's good today, she'll finish filling out her chore chart, which means tomorrow I'll take her shopping to pick out a new toy as a reward.

Also this weekend, we're going to my brother's for a cookout and BLTs. (It was going to be just BLTs and corn -- my absolute favorite summer meal), but apparently Sam can't conceive of a Fourth of July without hamburgers and potato salad, so we're doing both.)

And Matt and I talked about one of us taking Penny out Saturday night to see fireworks. It's staying up a good hour past her usual bedtime, but she's been mostly pretty good lately, and I think she's old enough that this kind of treat won't go unappreciated. She's really excited about the idea, at least. We still need to figure out which one of us is taking her, though.

Sunday we're going to the Virginia Shakespeare Festival's production of Much Ado About Nothing with a bunch of friends, and then possibly -- if the kids are being good for my parents -- out to dinner, too. Crazy times!

Anyway, it'll be a busy weekend, but at least it'll be long and fun. I'm looking forward to it. Hope you have a good one!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Didn't post an entry yesterday, because I got about two blocks from the house and realized that I had a flat tire. So I went back home and called Triple-A and had them send someone out to fix it for me. (The guy they sent was not the brightest star in the sky, but he eventually got the job done.) Then I took it over to the dealership to be fixed, and I didn't get to work until 9:30.

And as I suspected, all four tires were starting to crack on the sidewalls and needed to be replaced. Plus an alignment -- almost $600, altogether. I swear, I love my Prius, but their tires are for shit. This is what, the third or fourth time I've had to replace my tires, now, and the car is only 6 years old. Sheesh.

Anyway, by the time I got to work, it was time to jump into the day, no time for a journal entry.

Today I have to leave at 3 so I can pick Penny up and bring her back down here for haircut appointments for both of us which hopefully will not run late and interfere with her swimming lesson. I guess if it looks like it's going to go long, I'll get her hair done and re-schedule mine. Or ask Matt to come and get her, or something. We'll figure it out.

I need to stop staying up so late, though. And possibly convince Penny to stop waking me up at 5:30. I'm so tired today that it feels like I'm moving through a fog. Maybe I'll have coffee instead of tea with my breakfast, but even that's just a stopgap.

At least Friday is a holiday, and the weekend should be lots of fun. Something to look forward to.