United States of Motherhood: September 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It Really Could Be Much Worse

I need to clean my house.

I really do.

I somehow though keep kissing my dying pup, going on walks with my husband, and spending time with my kids homework and swimming.

I feel my priorities are in order.

Then I look around and get depressed with the piles of laundry and motes of dog hair everywhere.

Sigh. It could be much, much worse. (Seriously, that link has to be the scariest thing I have ever, ever seen.)

Even so I trudge to do some laundry because dinner attire with husband's business associates might require more than yoga pants and bunny slippers. You think??

On Doors Open & Rolls Incorrect

I am sitting here, reading about this and that on my royal commode.

I sit regally.

CG stops by for a visit. Yep, we roll like that. We are so an open bathroom door marriage. Heck, we are an open bathroom door family. It started when the door couldn't be closed when they were toddlers and I guess we never reverted back. We have an amazingly absent need for privacy.

I've judicially ruled many a kids' squabble from my erm pulpit of power.

So, today, I sat with unusually few interruptions when my eyes lit on an egregious error.

Someone had put the toilet paper on the role incorrectly.

My eyes burn. Oh, maybe I shouldn't use the word burn given where I repose.

No, not burn. Perhaps my eyes made more of an eye roll signaling a most obvious harrumph.

CG strolls by and fesses up. He extols some sad sack fairytale on how some dastardly fiend used all the toilet paper so he had to insert new roll all by his wittle bitty self. As if that would resolve him of all responsibility for incorrect installation of the roll? Sigh.

I lift an eyebrow. Nothing needs to be said.

He quickly walks in and insists on messing the roll up more to mess with me. Grrrr...finally, he fixes it so the roll is oriented with paper coming from the top and hanging over.

Yes, perfect. Only a hotel pointed fold would appeal more to my anal sensibilities.

CG laughs and tells me, "Just so you know, this is a new form of weird for you."

Weird? Me? Why this should surprise him, I cannot fathom. However, weird is right hence the video:

I should think weird would be someone barging in on a woman taking care of her business and insisting on fixing the toilet paper. Now that's weird.

So, my friends, are you door open or door closed in your relationships? Just weirdly curious.


Don't forget to enter in to my Harry Potter Giveaway. Win a set of Harry Potter books just in time for Halloween. Leave a comment. Winners will be announced October 7th. Details here. The odds are very good... Just saying.

Thx for flickr pics by Scoobyfoo

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beyond Twilight In the Garden

We found her sleeping in the corner of the yard on a chilly night.

I had been ill so not tracking her movements as usual.

PB found her.

She came to tell me about something "cute" she had seen.

I almost shooed her away.

It was not until I heard her say "Grendel" that I unwrapped myself out of my selfish physical self and truly listened to her chattering.

Grendel was "sleeping" in a dark corner of the garden near the herbs.

PB had seen her limp body and perused innocently that she was taking a catnap - deep in slumber amongst the sweet scents of basil and rosemary and thyme.

I rushed outside.

I saw her still form and rushed to her side. The ground was damp and cold beneath my knees.

I was sure she was gone, but as the motion-sensored lights flickered on I saw her sad, pleading brown eyes and contorted body.

She couldn't get up.

She didn't even struggle as I picked her up whilst squeezing the multiple baseball size tumors that now pester her back and spine and the untold number in her shoulder, neck, pelvis and lungs.

She shivered violently. I lay her limp in front of the fireplace. She stayed where I put her.

We wrapped her in soft blankets. She seemed unable to lift her head.

I brought her a bowl of chicken broth that she finally listlessly drank.

Her eyes were glazed, whether from the cancer, the drugs I gave her a few hours earlier, or the from the mist of her twilight years, I am still not sure.

Who knows how long she was out there.

I was so angry. At myself for not paying attention the day before, so wrapped in my own health problems, that I failed to give her her meds and now today for letting her slip out of the house through the doggy door.

I am angry at the cancer.

I am angry that she could have died cold, alone, and in the dark.

But most of all, I am angry at myself that I almost hoped she was gone when I saw her in the garden because I am too much of a coward to let her go.

Too much of a coward to make the decision my kids and husband are in denial of it's need.

Tonight, she sleeps embraced in our arms in front of a warm glowing fire.

Tomorrow, perhaps she will find a final slumbering place.

Tomorrow, perhaps, will be better.

Tomorrow, perhaps will be the day to make a decision.

We are in the late hours of light in her life. In her darkest hour.

Beyond twilight and in very dark territory, we stumble.

Thx for the flickr pics by by Darkr, by lepiaf.geo, by lepiaf.geo again, and by gari.baldi

Support Systems in Difficult Times

This is not a post, but more of an in-writing manifestation of my love for my husband.

My gratitude for my marriage.

My happiness amidst depression and illness.

One of many lights in my life for which I am blessed.

You see, I've been sick this last week-end.

My period started again. Yes, it's only been three weeks since my last one. It's draining the anemic life out of me as always and that added to having stomach flu issues has resulted in my pretty limp and lifeless form on the couch between rushing to the commode.

Who knows how the liver disease plays into it all.

Yes, I said liver disease.

As in I have it.

The ultrasound results are back. Fatty deposits are in my liver which will, if I am not careful, will spiral into cirrhosis. Potential scarring liver disease for a mother of three who is 37, if I don't get my enzymes and weight in control, has been shocking. A silent disease except for another reason for being tired, depressed, and lifeless.

I am working on taking care of myself, but this week-end has thrown me for a loop. I feel like I am spiraling into despair and hopelessness.

In the midst of my doing nothing this week-end while my husband did all the carpooling and cooking, he wrote the sweetest of posts in my most tired, depressed, mopiest hour.

How he found something positive about me this week-end is impossible for me to imagine.

It brings home to me again, once again, that he truly did mean in sick times and in health, for better and for worse.

This is feeling the worse at this juncture in our lives, but it's nice to know my partner is here for me. I wish for all of you, my friends, to have such a support system.

I love you, Beau, my computer geek. Thank you for your love, support, and patience.

I hope you know how much it means to me, sweetheart.

Thanks for the Flickr pics by jcoterhals and by laerpel

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Lure of Low Lying Fruit: Apples & Rotator Cuff Injuries

Neighbors, guard your young'uns. There's a gang fruit robbers in town.

A gang of two to be exact:


Background? CG and I have been taking lunch time strolls all week. On one particular trail in our neighborhood, there is a stately apple tree with lusciously out of reach apples. They are small, home grown, and pretty delicious.

Tempting? Very, very tempting. They call our names.

Yesterday, CG got one for me from an overhanging, low lying branch. I figure with the rotten fruit on the ground, where the branches overhang the public trail, make any fruit in that zone free game.

Don't disillusion me. What's that about the bible? Shh! Adam and Eve? Hush now.

Today, the glistening red and green orbs were slightly more out of reach which required me showing my ineptitude with CG's iPhone to document the occasion and him injuring his shoulder by hurtling his monkey-armed, flailing body and taking a flying leap for purloined fruit.

He did say he'd seen it done in a movie once. Ah, that should have been our first indication.

Anything that starts with "Hey! Mom watch this..." or "I saw this in a movie once..." always ends badly in this family.

The things that man does for me.

Actually, at first, I honestly thought he started walking away quickly because there was someone watching us get our pilfered fruit. Heh. Guilty much?

Turns out he hurt himself. I guess I am not the only one around here getting rickety.

Next up, two blocks over is a neighbor with a luscious Asian pear tree that needs plucking.

(Eyebrow Waggle)

I think I'll bring a walking stick. CG's shoulder can't take much more of this. My next husband will be a better produce pilferer. Heh!

Ah, the lure of misbegotten fruit. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

What would the neighbors think?

Fruit thievery! We are no better than squirrels!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Anthony Bourdain in the Making

We are adventurous eaters, but some of us more than others in this family.

We went to get some Pho last night. I am sure you know, but Pho is actually pronounced Fa.

So, if you are ever in the Bellevue or Mercer Island area of Washington, I love Pho is great.

So, you know something is up when your seven year pronounces Pho correctly. However, when you get seated and he orders a very authentic speciality dish from the waiter ?

You know the one with rare beef, meatballs, tripe, and tendon?

CG raised an eyebrow.

I shrugged.

We decided to see what would happen.

We get our steaming bowls and add fresh basil leaves, squeeze limes, bean sprouts and add chiles to taste.

Yum, so fragrant with a complex beef broth and cilantro and noodles.

So we dig in. In a few minutes, Li'l Man picks up something even CG and I don't eat.

"What's this?"

CG and I exchange a glance. Honesty? Slight on the details so he actually eats some dinner?

"Um, it's tripe."


"Do you like it?"

"Umm, yes, it tastes good, but it's really chewy and hard to eat."


Then to CG, "Do you want some?"

I have never seen CG turn down a bite so fast.

So, uhhh, adventurous eater he is. Did I mention he was seven?

Reading around the blogoshpere parents have a hard time getting kids to eat anything, but mac 'n cheese and cheese pizza.

Li'l Man, as the youngest, and really like all of ours kids, was never given a choice. You eat what we eat when it's made at home when you get teeth. Really before you have teeth if it's soft. It never occurred to us that the kids wouldn't like tofu, anchovies in pasta putanesca, butternut squash risotto, whatever.

You are allowed to choose from the menu as long as it's not junk from the kids' menu, but last night? No kids menu.

Now, had we told him what exactly it was, would he have eaten it? Dunno.

Maybe. This kid's favorite food in kindergarten on his back to school night poster was Miso Salmon and broccoli with horseradish sauce.

I just love that a name to call the new food item on his plate, and after he'd tried it, sufficed. He trusted that it was edible because otherwise why would it be on the menu.

People, we have ourselves a budding Anthony Bourdain? Perhaps.

Thanks for the Flickr pics by selva and by Offbeat Photography

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Night Laugh

This made me laugh so hard I cried. Best Sunday night laugh in a long time, courtesy of Embossed on Stumbleupon. You rock, my friend.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Resurrected: Lucky Fish

He was sucha lucky fish, but then not so much.

He came from the local Petco under warranty.

Hand-picked by a little miss PB who had been begging to replace her long dead Crystal. He got an extra sploosh of slime coat in his bag because he seemed "stressed."

Chill, little fish, chill.

A few days later, hanging with his posse of Day-Glo and Neon Tetra, evading the nips of the nasty goldfish and plecostumus 25 times his size, he seemed revived. He seemed fine.


Then he disappeared. Not a peep. A phone call home. Nothing. Vanished.

We gave the evil eye to one particularly large goldfish. Yep, his gaping maw of a mouth looked big enough to gulp lucky fish.

We did a grid search of the huge tank.


We looked for signs of life as the best of search and rescue would.

Wait, Wait! PB found something.

There was a glimmer of his neon blue deep in the inky caverns of our log. Well, actually, our algae eater's log.

Oh, dear. " That black monstrosity probably sucked all your slime off," we thought. "You definitely were floating on your side. Oh, dear, sorry abut that lucky fish."

The kids wailed. I made a mental note to suck dead fish out of log.

That mental note continued a few days later. Bad fish owner. I hang my head in shame.

Then I was shaken out of my reverie by an excited PB two days ago.

"He's back! He's alive."

Yes, apparently he was leading a charmed life after all. It was apparent we had our very own, real-life frankenfish.

Faaaa-shew! (Wipe Brow)

Good thing I didn't suck him up. Someone was looking out for this lucky fish and it wasn't me.

The kids praised the fish gods. CG thought it merited a FB status update and even a twit. All were ecstatically praising how lucky was resurrected from sure death.

Then yesterday?

Sadly. We found he had been decapitated. PB found he had been decapitated. Well rather he had been bisected.

Only your bottom half, your tail end, floating in the fern fronds told the tale.

Sigh. Not so lucky. "There's no coming back from this," I thought.

Lucky, but not so lucky fish. Three time's a charm.

I made a mental note to suck Not So Lucky out again. Sigh.

Then, like that? Even his latter end vanished.

I looked skeptically at the Goldfish again. A bully. A murderer.

...And yet, keeping the the aquarium spic and span and free from rotting fish corpses.


Maybe I am the lucky one.

RIP Not so Lucky Fish.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Keep Calm: There's Always Chocolate

This one is all CG's fault?

But really, isn't it always?

I asked innocently last week if there was anything he needed as I was going to waste money on things we don't need and oh, yeah, buy some food Costco.

He asked for M&Ms to make a trail mix for our hike,

Yes, that hike.


I should have known if we were going to need a Costco quantity of M&Ms, perhaps this little hike he had planned was not so little.

So, got to Costco. It was there I realized I was a peanut M&M girl, while he was plain.

Two mega bags of M&Ms later and a mattress topper my husband hated so much that he slept on the floor for the last 3 nights and foodstuffs for my three swimmers' monstrous appetites and I was out of there.

So M&Ms? Been noshing on them all week.

Mattress topper? Getting returned tomorrow since I prefer my husband in the bed, not on the side of the bed with Seb.

So think Costco will also take back say TWO 3.5 lb bags of M&Ms that might have maybe a few missing on the grounds they are eveeeil and terribly addicting? I'm sure we have at least a pound left betweeen the two.

(Glumly) I think not, my friends.

Thx for the pic by devastar

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Woman, Put Away The Eye Poking Stick

Health issues aside, I haven't been taking care of myself. Honestly, what mother does?

The answer?

The one that want to be around for her kids and grandkids.


In opposition to my entrenched indoor girl lifestyle and non-existent exercise habits, I did let CG persuade me into agreeing to a family hike last week.

However, when he woke us up at 6 AM on Sunday, I was less than enthusiastic.

Cranky. Sleep deprived. Pissed. All would be better descriptors.

Then, imagine my joy when I discovered the hike he planned which was sent to me, mistakenly or not, as a one hour appointment on my outlook calendar, was ACTUALLY slated to include 2-3 hours drive each way and then a fridiculous six hour plus hike?!

What the ever living....

My friends...what do we call pissed with a side of rage and the eyebrow raised frigidity of a stone cold murderer?

That's be Scouty on Sunday morning. Yes, it would.

It was to be a death march! Ohhhh, it's on!

I don't begrudge a family hike, but given neither he nor I have done any real exercise or hikes in months, this was ridiculous.

Injury much? Fun? Doubtful after third hour.

I mutinied as did Eldest. The two youngest kidlets, loyal as always, agreed to go.

Eyebrow was still raised in rebellion with a curled upper lip.

Luckily, CG discovered some small bit of sanity and decided to change the plans. Instead we went on a short 30 minute drive and an hour hike to waterfalls.

Ah, compromise.

Lip uncurled and eyebrow slowly relaxed.

Now this:

Scout can endorse this. Baby steps. CG are you listening? Baby steps, my husband.

And next time you propose a death march, I am getting out my eye poking stick, m'kay?

You think I jest? See that stick in my hand in the photo... eyebrows raised.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Favorite Retweet Evah

This just made be snorfle my cookies:

Definitely my favorite re-tweet of all time.

I also lurve Twitter and Pink and Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry (Rock on Girlzz power) and, yes, Mr. West, it was well put by Katy just like this:

Grow up and pull your self-absorbed pretentious head outta yer...

As for Patrick? Sniffle. Words can't describe. Only a medley will do:

Goodbye, Mr. Swayze.

Warring: Swimming, Symptoms, and Nerves

Well helloooo there. It's been a while. Been busy with swimming drama for the kids and more importantly, health issues.

The swimming drama?

Well, it's drama and it's just a shame that the adults and so called coaching professionals that started this schism didn't think of the kids when they began this war.

That's all I will say.

It seems to be solving itself and the end result is a huge improvement in coaching and our family time commitments.

Yes, sometimes, bad things happen for a reason.

Is war ever good? Methinks yes. Spurs catharsis. I have a feeling, in the end, the warring is going to be a very good thing for our family.

Short term? We already are getting an hour and a half back each and every day because our practices now overlap. Sqweee!

My kids get to walk home rather than stressing out while they cram their bodies into swim suits at red lights. They can get their homework done at home rather than in the fumes of a poorly lit, stinky pool.

As for health problems, started my week-end having a tumor treated in my hand on Friday .

It was making everyday movements like shaking hands, using a bar of soap, and yes, surprise, typing very painful.

I will blame my absence here on it and not the usual procrastination.

What? You say I've been on twitter and FB?

Naaaah. Hush now, my children.

The tumor was nothing too serious.

A suspected Ganglion Cyst or Giant Cell Tendon Sheath Tumor with possible Trigger finger.



Trigger finger!

Maybe that's why the TMI on my blog? I hit submit before thinking it through...

Soooo, injections of steroids and pain killers deep into the tumor/joint area, hitting a few nerves on the way,was excruciating. There's a 50 percent chance it won't come back.

If it does, I have a hand surgery and biopsy in my future.

At the end of the procedure, I got a numb right handful of brochures with which to purchase and load over $700 in Costco groceries in to my car.

What? You see something interesting in my pic of the brochures? No, madam, you are mistaken. That brochure on right does not say c-word. I refuse to see it. Fingers in ears and eyes squeezed tight. Na-na-na...

Now the groceries? That was procrastination. I hadn't shopped in over three weeks. Darn swimming makes for huge appetites for kids already hitting the puberty train.

Unloading vats of spaghetti sauce and farking crates of mac 'n cheese with throbbing hand when it came time to unload car? Priceless.

Then today, I started the work week with a early morning ultrasound.

Nope, not my pelvic area. Been there, done that and still haven't found resolve and time to make something happen there whether it be hysterectomy or ablation.

Nope, this is entirely new trix my body is playing.

This is mah leeeev-aaah. Yep, going cold turkey on pain killers and alcohol still ended up with lab results indicating I'm abnormal. Inflamed. Heh. Me? Inflammatory? Nothing new there.

So today, I watched a technician take 61 images of my liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, and aortic valve. If it wasn't my organs, I would have been way more intrigued with my penchance for the medical reality shows.

Alas, at the end, I didn't like the result. I've been through many an ultrasound with pregnancies and pelvic issues. If there's nothing palpable in the results, the tech has always assured me they found nothing with the "Of course, you'll have to wait for the final findings from your doctor."

This time?

Uhhhh? No quick assurances

This time, instead, the technician asked if I had already set up an appointment with my doctor.

When I said no, she said cryptically that she was sure "My doctor would be getting in contact with me."

This was same tech that I discussed pregnancy ultrasounds, why I was there with no symptoms except lab results, and smiles at the beginning of exam.

Suddenly, there was something in her eyes that I couldn't read.

Maybe I am just paranoid, but wouldn't it be my luck that after all these years with no reasons for terrible, life affecting symptoms, I could have something serious, symptom-less, and silent that I never knew was there?

Feeling a little fragile and nervous. I've already made the appointment for next Monday.


Yep, another week of waiting needed so my doctor could conference with lab. Routine I am told. Feeling like chopped liver.

Anyone wanna buy me this t-shirt on left? Hint!

Thx for the Flickr pics by Remon Rijper and flowers & machinery


Psst: Let's end positively. Wanna free set of Harry potter books? Enter my contest here. Very good odds, my friends. I promise. Pretty please?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Common Sense: Family Members & Gnats

Saw this the other day and couldn't stop tittering

Reminds me of kids these days, dagnabbit...

... and perhaps one side of our familial line.

I won't say which side, but we can all guess which has the common sense of a gnat on more days than I want to admit, eh?


Could I sound any more like a cranky, judgmental, grudgy old lady?!

I think not.


Make that one unapologetic, cranky, judgmental old lady.

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Day of School: Be Careful What you Wish For!

Yep, first day of school came and went.

Ah, the spawn deigning to stand "touching" close to each other.

This will be his last year of middle school. At 5' 7-1/2" he already looks like he belongs in high school.

He's got the attitude and shoe size to match. Sigh.

The school yard had an eerie Twilight feel especially with the ghostly trees in the background.

Thank you Seattle. Not! Grrr...

I was quite looking forward to my quiet 10 AM patio cocktail celebrating the quiet.

I had another mug of steaming joe instead. It's no wonder the great Starbucks started here.

2nd, 5th, and 8th graders at last!

Next year, each will be in a different school: elementary, middle, and high school.


My how times flies.


I know, I know. This coming from the mommy who was anxiously counting down the days until school started since school let out in June.


Be careful what you wish for, my friends.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Been a Week: Swimming Politics, School, Parties, and Bodily Fluids

It's been a week.

My parents have been visiting from out of state and health issues occurred which involved multiple bodily fluids. My parents won't stop apologizing. I wish they would. It's not their fault.

Their health issues have been a wake up call for CG and I of what we absolutely don't want to be like in our 70's...

Grendel's cancer took another advance which involved more bodily fluids. Dignity has been compromised and yet the tail wags...

CG has had a pretty gnarly work week. Nothing to write here about that except he slept less than three hours last night and was still kind enough to clear vomit from a clogged sink even though he doesn't do vomit. Seriously.

We long ago made a pact in this marriage that he'd do poop clean up if I did vomit. So, he rocks.

We had Eldest's birthday party on the week-end. Due to it being the last week-end of the summer, we over-invited because we expected a lower turn out. Even if with rain in the morning, the skies cleared.

Turns out, people like my son.

We had 29 teens running gamut over the club and giving the life guards heart attacks. Nine large pizzas, 8 bags of chips, 2 Costco sized bags of Dum-Dums and Willy Wonka candy, 1 sheet cake, 4 1/2 gallons of ice cream,and 20 2-liters of sodas just fueled the fire. It was crazy fun and Eldest is still beaming. I still have crates of party stuff to clean...

Oh yes, on the topic of swimming, our swim team had a political schism worthy of a Star Wars episode including one coach with a purty Olympic ring firing another coach with a purty Olympic ring.

That coach took our two other coaches and our pool and started his own team. Swimmers are stuck in the middle, having to pledge loyalty to one side or the other.

One side has two coaches we admire and HER.

The other side has many coaches we admire, but unstable water, schedule, coaching, etc.

Decisions, decisions...

All I can say is ding-dong the witch is dead.

The kids started school today. We have yet to really buy school clothes. We scrounged supplies from our office supplies yesterday to complete the list. Seems I forgot more than a few items.

Question? Do kids really need a brand spanking new set of oil pastels and colored pencils that they rarely use every single stinking year?

I think not. We scavenged and ziplocked a set of each. We paired fine point markers. Sad I know. I call it recycling. I call it saving a buck. Sigh.

On me this last week? My fucking period started. I got a cold sore. Two actually that make me look like a leper.

In all this, I had a annual check up that I had been putting off for three years. Seems my liver function was questionable. Possibly inflamed. Weird high enzymes.

So? She says with hysteria? I had to forgo any wine, Tylenol, and Motrin for the past week.

Yes, this week. All week. Nothing to dull the pain. Gah!

Yes, no medicating red wine. No Motrin for cramps. And because I keep missing the time to do lab work because of school functions and taking elderly mother to urgent care and emergency rooms, no caffeine two days in a row while I fasted either.

Twitch. Twitch. Head is throbbing.

Is it indicative of a problem that every night this week at 10 PM when I have curled up on the coach after all are snug in their beds to watch tivo-ed episodes with Tim Gunn and Tom Colicchio that my mouth has literally drooled like a pavlovian experiment for that wine?

CG thinks so. :)

Stay tuned...

Thx for Flickr pics by by i.tokaris , 713 Avenue & lobstar28.

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