Friday, December 28, 2007

We love the Wii!

The Wii purchase is definitely the best gift we have bought/received in a long time. It is truly a family affair and I find myself fighting over my turn as much as the next family member, who is usually a child. I have worked up a sweat playing some of the games, I have had to rest after others, and another of the games I can only play twice in a row before my heart is beating so fast I am afraid of having a heart attack, I get short of breath and my arms will no longer move. I am afraid to try three times in a row, though it is one of my favorite games. I have had to become ambidexterous in some of the games in order to prevent my right arm from eventually looking like Popeye's and my left arm remaining the flacid, wimpy arm that it is! I woke up Wednesday morning with my right arm and shoulder hurting. So Wednesday afternoon I started playing some of the games with my left hand and I am now equally sore. Thursday, both arms hurt and my hands - I feel like I am typing with bricks on my fingers! If I keep it up, maybe I can Wii away a couple of unwanted pounds and firm up my arms, even if just a little. How long will it be before Nintendo Wii is advertised as a weight loss/cardiac workout machine? Sad that this is my major form of exercise, but, hey, it's better than nothing!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Party Time

One thing we missed while living elsewhere were parties. Our friends here in Cincy love to have parties. We have been to more parties in six months than I think we went to our entire time in KS. We did fun things in KS with friends, but they weren't the kind of people to have lots of people over for lots of food, beverages and general mayhem. Tomorrow we are going to a party, the 2nd one that this particular couple has hosted since we moved here in July. We have been to a variety of adult birthday parties and have three New Year's Eve invitations. Sometimes the kids go with us when there will be other kids for them to play with and sometimes we get a sitter and go the adults only route. We have been to a party with a band, a pool party, a Christmas party (and another tomorrow) and your general "let's get together and eat and drink, maybe play a game or two" party! We have celebrated friends turning 40 and 50. We have even hosted a party. In some ways, it's good to be back.

How did he know?

CJ: "Where are we going?"

Me: "To Mrs. Bauer's house. We're going to help her decorate for Christmas."

CJ: "Who is Mrs. Bauer?"

Me: "She's a friend from our old neighborhood."

Later we pull into Beth's driveway.

CJ: "This isn't Mrs. Bauer's house. This is Mary-Kate's house."

That last comment from CJ took my breath away. Beth is a good friend from our ex-neighborhood. Mary-Kate is her daughter who passed away from a brain tumor in June, 06 at the age of ten. As expected, the holidays are very difficult for this family and Beth was having a particularly hard time getting her house decorated, so I was going there to help her get their house ready for Christmas. When we moved from Ohio to Kansas in 2004, CJ was only eight months old and has no conscious memories of Mary-Kate. He has heard us talk about her and he participated in the the to benefit Children's Hospital on Team Mary-Kate. But how did he know Mary-Kate lived there? He has only been there once since we have been back in Ohio and I don't recall saying "this is Mary-Kate's house" when we went there.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to Sous Chef!

Dec. 19, 1999, I entered the hospital the night before a scheduled induction. I ate a huge, late dinner from Wendy's. I didn't know when I would get to eat next being that my induction was scheduled for early morning and I knew they wouldn't feed me first. Motorcycle Guy hung around for a while and they hooked me up on the monitor, which was standard procedure. They told me I was having contractions, which I couldn't feel. (Believe me when I say that changes rather unexpectedly!) Motorcycle Guy hung out for a while then went home and sent home our babysitter, my best friend, Lora. Later into the night, I started feeling like things weren't going to go "as planned". I called Motorcycle Guy to come back. He called Lora to come back to babysit Big E. He got to the hospital and I was happy and chatty, but could definitely tell things were different. We both layed down to go to sleep. He was totally asleep when I sat up and could not catch my breath. I buzzed the nurse who started giving me options, but I couldn't even talk or think. She suggested an epidural so I could get some rest "before the induction in the morning." Sounded good to me. She started the IV's, alerted the anesthesiologist and called my doctor, who thankfully only lived a couple of blocks away, to let her know what was going on. About 30 minutes later, Sous Chef was born. The epidural was just going in when I said I was going to be pushing out a baby, not quite in those words. My doctor rushed in in time to be there for the last few minutes and our videographers, Oz and Mo, did the Hertz/OJ Simpson run through the hospital and got there in time to see me hold Sous Chef for the first time. Motorcycle Man did the video. Sous Chef was born at 2:44AM on Monday, December 20. He weighed 9 lbs. 9 oz. and was my "medium" size birth weight baby.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Picture time

Last night we had our neighbor friends come over to take our Christmas card picture. I asked them to be here in about ten minutes, as I had to get the kids dressed and Motorcycle Guy and I needed to change. I got everyone ready and went to get dressed when I looked in the mirror. Holy crap - I had totally forgotten I didn't wash my hair that morning (yes, I did shower!) and I had NO makeup on. So I did a quick makeup session and a fluff of the hair. All in all, it turned out pretty good.


I bought a new coat yesterday. I don't have a true winter coat. I have some cute winter coats and one is wool which is warm, but it's kind of dressy. I didn't really have a coat that was warm and could be worn with my pajamas out at the bus stop. So I ordered a coat from Land's End that will keep me warm in -5 degrees! I think it should do the trick!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let it snow - AGAIN!

Wow! Two snowstorms in less than two weeks! I am thrilled. They say it's supposed to snow about two inches this morning and then sleet/rain/ice this afternoon and then about 2-3 inches of snow tomorrow. This picture was taken after about one hour of snowing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Train Day

I am surrounded by three boys and a man who love trains. We have three train sets - a Lionel H scale train set that was Motorcycle Guy's when he was a kid, the wooden train tracks and trains and now we have some GeoTrax train sets. We have train vidoes and we watch train videos on You Tube. A few years ago, we took a 24 hour train ride from Kansas City to Arizona/Grand Canyon on an Amtrak train in a sleeping car. It was incredible, I do have to admit, and I see some more train trips like this one in our future. I highly recommend it to anyone considering a fun and exciting vacation.

Today, I took CJ to Holiday Junction - AKA the train display at Union Terminal downtown. He LOVED it. They had many different and HUGE train displays with different scales of trains. They also had a train ride that he rode at least five or six times. He got to pick out a train ornament for his Christmas tree ornament this year. We then went to Zips for lunch. These are OLD stomping grounds for Motorcycle Guy and I and I love this place. It also has a train that runs the perimeter of the ceiling. CJ had a blast and so did I.



Going to Union Terminal is quite an ordeal for me. My hands were sweating, my breathing was labored and I was nervous. In 2001, while visiting the Children's Museum with Big E and Sous Chef, and thankfully some neighbor friends and their children, I blacked out and had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. It was a very traumatic experience for me on many levels. This was the day that led to brain surgery about four months later. I have only been there since then for a wedding that I was in. It required two visits in a row - one for the rehearsal and the next day for the wedding. Both times I practically hyperventilated before going into the building. I did much better today - no gasping for air or panic attacks, and I guess my self diagnosed PTSD has improved over the years. Once inside, I was able to relax and have a great time, knowing that I am healthy and safe.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interviews

I have not interviewed for a job since 1992! Since 1992, I have been the interviewER on literally hundreds of interviews. So I do have some interview practice, just on the other side of the desk. In the last week, I have been on two interviews. I recently responded to a notice I received in the mail regarding Licensed Massage Therapists at a new massage clinic opening about five minutes from my house. When the owner saw my Human Resources Management experience, he wanted to talk to me about management openings. So I did that last week. It was fun and I really liked the man. I was more than qualified for the job, and somewhat overqualified per our follow up discussion. However, I am not so sure I want to work full time just yet. I was honest with him about that and he hired someone else. He also let me know when we talked again yesterday that he wanted to keep my resume because when a higher level management position opened (ie: his, as he "backs" out of the management side in the future and focuses more on being "owner" of this and another location), that he wanted to talk to me again. He also told me that he really enjoyed meeting me and my leadership skills were admirable. It was nice to hear those things. It's been a long time since I've been in the working world and I often wonder if "I still got it". We then talked about me working as a massage therapist on a part time basis since that seems to be the better fit for both of us at this time. So today I "interviewed" for a massage therapist position with a manager from the Columbus location. I then had to give him a massage! Let me just say, I much prefer the talking interview. First of all, I have not given a full massage in about 3-4 years. I stopped working when we moved to Kansas in 2004 and I did very little prior to that since I had a little baby. Secondly, the conditions were less than desirable - temporary office space, no music, no dimming lights, no nothing. Just an interviewer on a table getting a massage from an out of practice LMT. One of two things happened - he either enjoyed the massage to the point of almost snoring/sleeping OR he was very content in focusing on his happy place to escape the pain and discomfort I was causing him. I don't know which. We will see what happens. They were interviewing quite a few people. The pay is not so great as this is a facility that is bringing massage to the general population and therefore has prices that are palatable to the average person. When you get paid based on a percentage of that fee, and the fee is not very high, income for the therapist goes down. However, it's more money than I am making now, considering I am doing zero massages, and they will let me work the schedule I want, which is perfect for me! I guess a potential offer depends on whether or not my "client" was relaxed and dozing, or escaping to an alternate universe until I could finish up my amateur massage.

And for anyone who is a would be or current massage client - make sure you rub the sock fuzz out from between your toes!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Wii did it!

And by Wii, I mean Mii! I managed to win a bid on E-Bay this evening to buy a Wii. It was more than the store price, but not a lot and now I can stop hounding those nice boys at Target and Wal-Mart. I am so excited!

Weekend Holiday Stuff

Breakfast with Santa and decorating the house. We are in the mood for Christmas now.

"It's night time, you know what that means?" says CJ.
"That the sun went down?"
"No."
"That it's time for bed?"
"No."
"What?"
"That when we wake up tomorrow, Santa will have come."

I keep trying to explain to him that Santa will leave presents for him after he goes to bed on DECEMBER 24, not EVERY night in DECEMBER!

Big E did a great job of playing along today with Santa. He sat for the picture and even told Santa what he wanted for Christmas, since Sous Chef and CJ were sitting right there.

I really need a new tree skirt. I say that every year and every year I forget to buy one!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Let it snow!

I live by the "winter belief" that if it's going to be cold and dreary and if the bushes and trees are going to be without leaves, then let it snow! We got about 2-3 inches on Wednesday and then on Friday about another inch with some ice first. Friday's little outburst resulted in a two hour school delay. I have decided I really prefer that school start time over having to be up and bustling kids out the door by 7:45AM. CJ and Sous Chef love playing in the snow, especially at the bus stop, while I am nestled warmly in our mini-van. Of course, I warm it up for 5-10 minutes before making that long drive to the bus stop. I am sure the neighbors think I am a total nut driving to the bus stop considering our house is across the street from it. I don't like being cold plus I don't feel like getting all bundled up over my pajamas, which my neighbors get to see on a daily basis during the warmer mornings when I do stand outside with Sous Chef. It's supposed to warm up and rain all weekend and be in the 50's early next week, so the snow will probably be gone today.

This morning we are going to have breakfast with Santa and Big E starts basketball practice. Other than that, a lazy weekend getting the rest of my Christmas decorations out and hopefully buying a Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Naked cats and the occasional naked body part

Sous Chef: "Is there anyone who is allergic to cats?"
Me: "Dad"
Sous Chef: "You said dad is allergic to FUR."
Me: "Yes, cat fur."
Sous Chef: "So he's allergic to CAT FUR. I'm talking about NAKED CATS. Is there anyone allergic to THEM?"

CJ: "Do you know where my penis is?"
Me: "Yes."
CJ: "Look, it's right here," pulling down his pants to show me.
Me: "Yes, there it is!"
CJ: "Is that where it belongs?"

I think I could probably write a blog titled "Kids Quotes" or something like that. My kids, like all kids, are constantly saying things that make me laugh, think, squirm and sigh. They also say things that make me proud, though I don't have a recent conversation like that to share.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Is Santa real?

Big E: "Mom, Sous Chef says Santa is not real."
Me: "Why do you think that, Sous Chef?"
Sous Chef: "Because he looks different every year."
Me: "Yes, Santa does have a lot of helpers so they don't all look exactly alike because there are different helpers each year."
Sous Chef exits, stage left.

Me: "What do you think about that, Big E?"
Big E: "Hhhmmmm...I know Santa is real."
Me: "What about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy?"
Big E: "They aren't real. That's you."
Me: "So you know they aren't real, but Santa is? Does that make sense?"
Big E: "Yes, because he came to see us at our house in Kansas. He woke us up."
Me: "Maybe it was someone dressed up."
Big E: "No, because you and dad and Nana and Gramps were there with Santa."
Me: "You don't think that maybe that could have been Rusty?" (Rusty was our neighbor.)
Big E: BIG GRIN with "Are you SERIOUS?"
Me: "Yes."
Big E: "So you are Santa, too?"
Me: "Yes."
Big E: BIG GRIN and laughter.
Me: "So you see, Big E, Santa IS real. He's just not who you thought he was. It's me and dad. Someday, you and your wife will get to be Santa for your kids!"
Big E: BIG grin and laughter.
Me: "Won't that be fun?"
Big E: "Yes."

Days later:
Sous Chef: "Is Santa real?"
Me: "What do you think?"
Sous Chef: "Yes."
Me: "It's fun to believe in Santa, isn't it?"
Sous Chef: "Yes."

I know many families wrestle with what to do about Santa - believe or not believe, tell or not tell - for a variety of reasons. I am thankful Motorcycle Guy and I have never waivered on this. It never even occured to us to not let our children enjoy this part of the Christmas Season. Our children are very clear that we celebrate Christmas because it is Jesus' birthday and having Santa as a part of our Christmas celebration has not taken away that focus. I have never felt like we have lied to them about Santa. Mainly, because we have not said "Yes, Santa is real" in the sense of a living big, jolly man in red. We have let them enjoy the magic of a big, jolly man in red delivering the presents of their dreams, knowing that someday we would reveal the fact that the magic of that big, jolly man is us. And knowing that the day would arrive when we would get to share with them that Santa IS real in the hearts of their parents and that we have enjoyed every moment of being "their" Santa. And we are excited for them, that in the future, they will get to do the same for their children!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

All Wii want for Christmas!

I, along with God knows how many other people, am hoping to buy a Wii for Christmas this year. I have vowed not to become "that" shopper. You know the ones I am talking about - line up outside before the sun rises and then cram through the doors of your local retailer and step on and over your fellow shoppers to get the the 50 Wiis that are available to the 150 shoppers that have been standing outside since before the sun came up. What I am doing is talking to the retailers, finding out when deliveries are made through the week, not the weekend, and am hoping to happen upon one without any big ruckus. Me and God knows how many other people. If it turns out this becomes an Easter gift, which we don't really buy gifts like this for, so be it. We will have to make it clear to our kids, if that happens, that this is a very special Easter and not expect another one like it during their childhood!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Turning 50?

Motorcycle Guy's best friend turns fifty this week. We will be going to his party today and tonight. Motorcycle Guy is there right now. It is at a lodge in a local park. They are playing frisbee golf this afternoon, then around 6:00 they are having a catered dinner and after dinner, there will be a band. Personally, I can't go this early because I would be passed out by 6:00 and I am the designated driver!!!Other than that, there isn't a whole lot going on.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes...

"Mom, can you put the sun down? It's too bright."

"Hurry. The poop is coming out!"

"Mom, Santa only brings one video game per year and I already have one on my list."

"My poop got stuck."
"You need to drink more water."
"Not in my butt. It was so big, it got stuck when I flushed the toilet."

These are the types of things I hear around my house or while out and about. The first two are from CJ. Apparently, he was having trouble eating breakfast this morning because the sun was shining too brightly into the window. I say, enjoy it while you can because we live in Ohio now, where it's gray all winter long. His second comment was said nice and loud for everyone at the local library to hear! The third quote took place during a conversation with Sous Chef who wanted to buy a Sponge Bob computer game. I am trying to encourage the kids to save their money over the next month and wait to see what they get for Christmas before buying anything. The last conversation took place between me and Big E this afternoon. I got a fifth grader's version of how big it was. what shape it was and why it was stuck. Thankfully, it did not overflow the toilet!

Motorcycle Guy and I and CJ had lunch with Big E and his teacher today. Big E was Student of the Week during a week in November, so each of the students got to invite their parents and/or a special someone to come to their room for lunch. Of course, he wanted us to bring McDonald's. His lunch period starts at 10:45 and most of the burger joints don't serve lunch until 10:30. We got to McD's at 10:27 and they made us wait three minutes before we could place our order. Funny enough, the other parents made comments about this, too.

Big E won the geography bee in his class and gets to compete in the school geography bee after the new year. We had no idea he knew as much as he did about geography and his teacher asked us today how he knew this stuff. I had to admit to her that on the way to lunch this morning, Motorcycle Guy and I were wondering the same thing! He did admit he guessed at a couple of the answers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Decorating

Yes, , I have already begun decorating for Christmas. I am excited to see how what I have fits into our new house. I originally thought our house would look bare since it's bigger than our previous house. However, as I started looking through a lot of my stuff, I realize that we have considerably less shelf space. Our previous house had built in book shelves on each side of the fireplace. This house has two large alcoves on each side of the fireplace and no bookshelves, greatly limiting my space for Christmas display items. This is not necessarily a bad thing since my tolerance for clutter continues to decrease. I think I will have to limit my Christmas decorating to just the things I really love, which is good. My favorite, so far, is the foyer. I love the lighted garland and ribbons and the poinsetta arrangement I put together. The lights are kind of hard to see in these pictures, but the general idea is there. Someday, I would like to get a tree to put in the corner where the table and poinsetta arrangement is.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

I am tired!

A full week of visitors can be exhausting! We have had out of state guests since last Saturday. It was fun to see everyone and I am glad they came to visit, but I am ready to lay down and rest. First we had my best friend and her family from Saturday night until Wednesday. They were gone a lot of the time visiting family, but we got to see them quite a bit. They left on Wednesday morning and then we had a visit from some friends from Kansas who are in the area visiting family. That was a nice surprise. I knew they were coming to town, but in the chaos of getting ready for everyone else, I totally forgot until Jan contacted me. We enjoyed spending some time with them and their kiddos. After they left, my in-laws arrived and within an hour of that, my husband's sister, her husband and two of their three children arrived. Melanie and their gang left yesterday and my in-laws left today. His other sister and her husband were unable to make it this year.


Thanksgiving dinner was a hit. I had never made an entire Thanksgiving meal before. I must say, it was delicious. I made all the usuals and I even made gravy from scratch that was very yummy. My stuffing was superb!



On Wednesday night, my dad was in a pretty bad accident and broke his nose, busted up his eye and needed 11 stitches. He does woodworking for a hobby. While using his table saw, a piece of wood "kicked back" and hit him in the face. My mom was not home but he managed to call 911, though he was having trouble seeing due to the blood and the instant swelling of his eyes. He told me it took three tries to get through to 911 because he was trying to feel for the correct numbers. I visited him today and he is able to wear his now repaired glasses and the swelling in/around his eyes has gone down enough that he can see some. He is still very black and blue. He will be seeing a surgeon next week to see if there is a need for any reconstruction or plastic surgery, but so far it looks like he won't. He is able to breath comfortably through his nose, blow it, etc. which is a good indicator that it is going to heal properly.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Arms and elbows

For lunch, CJ was eating macaroni and cheese, made with shell shaped macaroni. As I was doing some things in the kitchen, he said,"The next time you go to the store, can you buy some arms?" Since I had my back to him, I was unsure what he meant.
I turned around and said,"What do you want me to buy?"
"Arms" as he pointed to his mac and cheese shells.
"Do you mean elbow macaroni?"
"Oh, yeah, elbows."
It was too funny!

Starting tomorrow we are heading into what will be the busiest of the holiday season for me. The kids are off school and I need to start getting my house ready for visitors. My best friend, LQ, and her family are coming from Delaware on Saturday and staying until Wednesday. On Wednesday, my husband's parents are coming and so is on of his sisters with her husband and two of their three children. They will all be staying until Saturday or Sunday. We will also be celebrating Christmas. In order to pull this all off, I have cleaning to do and lots of grocery shopping in addition to buying some Christmas presents! After Thanksgiving, my holiday season should be fairly easy as long as I don't procrastinate with gifts for our kiddos and other family members.

Speaking of Christmas, I will need to decorate. Our house is bigger than any of our previous houses, so I it will be interesting to see how our decorations will fit in. I have a feeling it will be a little bare this holiday season. I know I need to buy a lot more garland and ribbon for the staircase banister, but beyond that, I will just have to see how everything looks and go from there after the holidays for the discounted decorations to buy for next year.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

November 11, Veteran's Day and also my parent's anniversary. Forty-six years of marriage!


But today I am writing about Veteran's Day, a holiday that Big E has been studying in school. For the first time, his school had a Veteran's Day Celebration, which took place today since Veteran's Day was a Sunday. The students were to pick a friend or family member who served or is currently serving in the US Military to honor/memorialize. Big E picked my dad, who was in the Army from 1960-1962. So today, I took my dad to Big E's school to look at the time line which started in the early 1900's with some history and went to the present. It was full of historical facts, pictures of loved ones with their branch of armed service listed, the years served, relationship to the student and a picture(s). It was very touching, especially those who submitted pictures of tombstones for loved ones who were killed during a time of war/conflict. We then had breakfast in Big E's classroom and each student got to introduce their veteran. The veterans then got to talk a few minutes about what they did in the military. One grandfather served in WWII and worked directly with General MacArthur. He even had a signed picture! We watched a video put together by one of the HS students for a project that included interviews with veterans from our city. One man told a story about when he was in Vietnam and was surrounded by the enemy. After a three hour battle, only four men in their troop were still alive. He tells about being shot in the arm and how a fellow soldier gave him morphine and carried him from spot to spot to save his life. The video was kind of hard to watch, though I am not sure the kids grasped the full magnitude of it. For the adults, however, there was a lot of sniffling. The video was broken down by wars/conflicts and their dates. It's hard to look at pictures of a battle and dying boys and men (and in the current times, girls and women, too!) and not think of the scene from "Saving Private Ryan" where the soldier cries out for his mom as he dies. How many times in the past and currently has that happened? It's hard to think about.


After the video, the school then had a parade. The entire student body, all 2,500+ of them plus the staff, lined the hallways and carried small flags as the veterans and their student walked the halls with their branch of service. All in all, it was a touching tribute to our veterans and I am sure they all were proud to have such a nice celebration in their honor.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Summary

The HS Mini-Reunion of 2007 was a great time! Unfortunately, two people couldn't make it due to work schedules and illness, so that left eight of us. Food was eaten, wine was consumed along wth lots of giggling, looking at funny, old pictures and yearbooks, reminiscing about those from the past and learning what everyone is up to now. Who would have guessed that in high school I was voted the most outspoken (with our friend Leslie, who was also in attendance this weekend, as the runner up!). I guess I didn't realize my outspokenness went back that far!

In addition to kids, families and boyfriends, we heard about recent and planned trips to Italy, Germany, Turkey and sailing in the Mediterranean, Africa, Egypt, Israel, New Zealand, Dominican Republic and Peru! (Unfortunately for me, I was on NONE of these trips!).

We also have a friend who has opened a business with a close family member. If you are ever in the Boulder/Denver area or Manhattan Beach, CA, stop in for some ice cream or gelatto at Glacier Homemade Ice Cream and Gelatto! http://www.glacierhomemadeicecream.com/

Friday, November 9, 2007

High school reunion

In the summer of 2006, I attended my 20 year HS reunion. The party actually started on Friday night. I over did it just a little (damn that waitress for being so on top of my Captain and coke needs!) so at the actual reunion I was a little under the weather. I still had a good time and enjoyed seeing many people I had hoped to see. Some of my friends that I am close with in relationship, but distance keeps us a part decided we should try to get together a little more often. This weekend will be our first of what I hope is many Mini Reunions. We are gathering at my house from as far as Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit and as close as about 15 minutes from my house. Hopefully on a somewhat regular basis and as finances allow, we can do this in a variety of locations over the years. I am very excited. The first guest arrives today - Leslie Ann from Chicago. Everyone else will be trickling in tomorrow. We will be having dinner, drinking and overall giggles. Some of these women I have known since before kindergarten. As my mom says, "do you ever remember a time you didn't know Angie?" The same holds true for Diane and her twin, Amy, who won't be with us this evening. The rest of us met during late elementary school or junior high except Leslie Ann, who came along our sophomore year of HS.

What fun we will have reminiscing about our childhood up through HS. And for Diane, Jeni, Leslie Ann and I, we can throw in some college memories since we all went to UC together. And Michelle, Maria and Lora can talk about their days at OSU. Angie is on her own with Miami U and Mary at Anderson College. Second thought, maybe not such a good idea, there may be some things that are better not to remember! : )

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Orthodontia

You know your kids are getting old, which also means you as the parent is getting old, when your child is slated for braces in about six-twelve months. We met with our new orthodontist here and we are just waiting for one more tooth to come out and the rest to come in, which will be in six months to a year; he thought closer to six months. We go back in May. Thankfully, Bio E's mouth structure is such that he needs no permanent teeth pulled (I had four permanent teeth pulled to make room), his occlusion/bite is just right and he does not need a pallate expander, which I did. The ortho said he would be in and out of braces in about 15 months if everything goes as planned. No phase II braces needed. I am thrilled! Motorcycle Guy was lucky and never had to experience orthodontics. I on the other hand had a lot of work prior to braces and then almost four years of braces. I am happy Big E will not have to experience all of that!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ladies' Lounge Fall Trip

As expected, this trip was a blast. My flight to KC on Thursday was smooth and I spent the evening with Brandi and her husband. Friday morning we all met up for lunch and then set out on the 2.5 hour drive into Missouri to the lake. For the first time, we hung out on Friday eating dinner at the house. We typically dine out for dinners, but thought we would give this a try. It really was great. Brandi made the soups the night before and brought them with us. We had salad and other yummy treats and it made for a more relaxing evening. I think I had my PJ's on by about 5:00 and a drink in my hand. I laughed more on Friday night and Saturday night than I have in a long time. A couple of times I actually got a cramp from laughing so hard in addition to not being able to catch my breath. The best conversation was during the Brandi and Jo Hour which went something like this:

Shannon: "...you know, those older people who got married in the '90's..." (yes, she was dead serious!)
Me (along with a few others): "SHANNON!"
Someone else: "Shannon, you better watch it. You are going to find yourself in a ditch!"
Brandi: "I can see the local headlines, 'The coroner, who was also married in the 90's, determined there was no need for further investigation.' "

I can't even type this without laughing out loud! The weekend was filled with tears and laughter; most of the time the tears were from the laughter.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The countdown is over

Ladies' Lounge, here I come! I just dropped off CJ at school, Motorcycle Man will be home in about an hour and I will be off to the airport!

Big E has a fifth grade social tomorrow night - music, games, a raffle and GIRLS! I am a little sad I won't be here, but I know I will hear all about it. When it's over, Motorcycle Guy will be taking all three boys and going to his friend's house for a poker game and they are staying all night. His long time friend, Sal, is in town from Los Angeles so the poker gang is looking forward to a fun night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Scrooge

I am a self-proclaimed Halloween Scrooge. I am underwhelmed by the big hub bub people make over decorations, costumes and parties. I am overwhelmed with trying to prepare my children for these things. I was actually at the store today buying face paint, red sweat pants and a white skull cap so Big E could be a bottle of ketchup for trick or treat. On Monday, I still did not have the shirt, ears or tail for CJ to be a bunny rabbit. I then showed him a sheep costume that we have. It is the most adorable thing you have ever seen! My mom made it when Big E was about 4 1/2 years old and played a sheep in the Nativity Story at church. After several failed attempts of trying to convince CJ to be a sheep for Halloween and realizing I was down to the wire for a costume for him, I told him the sheep cosutme was a bunny. He loved it! I made the ears stand up like a bunny instead of hanging down like the sheep the costume is. I converted the sheep tail into a perfectly round and puffy bunny tail. He did look darn cute! I told him this evening he was the cutest bunny I'd ever seen and he said, "I know." He does not lack confidence! Sous chef is a man after my own heart and he did not want to dress up but chose to stay home with me to pass out candy. I do like that part of Halloween, it's just everything leading up to that that Scrooges me out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ladies' Lounge

Two more days until the Ladies' Lounge!

In less than 48 hours I will have gotten off of a plane in Kansas City and will be at the home of a friend. The next morning, we will be en route via a caravan of cars full of crazy women to the lake house!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not overdue, just late!

Today, Motorcycle Guy left for work earlier than usual. He normally leaves about 7:00ish, which means I hear him getting ready and stir awake before he goes. Today he left at 6:30, so no stirring, that is way too early for me and clearly I blocked out any noise he was making in an effort to stay sound asleep. I slept until 8:00 as did all three kiddos. The bus for Big E comes at 7:45ish. Thankfully, I packed his lunch last night, so all he needed was breakfast, which he didn't want, and brushing teeth and hair. Off we went. By the time we got home, it was after 8:30. Sous Chef was still in his PJ's and his bus comes around 8:45ish. He had a quick breakfast, hair and teeth brushing, and off we went to his school. CJ and I then came back home, got him cleaned up and dressed for swim lessons, and off we went again. I am fairly certain I have never gone out looking as bad as I did today. I did manage to brush my teeth, but I can't remember if I combed my hair and I know for sure I didn't even wash my face. I had raccoon eyes from yesterday's mascara that I couldn't rub away with my fingers while driving!

Good news for the day, CJ graduated to the next level of swimming lessons!

Three more days until the Ladies' Lounge!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Overdue

I am pretty sure I fund the library with overdue book fees. It happens almost every time. It seems to be a recurring theme for me. It's not just the library. I was 17 days overdue with my first child, I was four days overdue with my third child. Our current overdue situation is our car. It is overdue to be replaced. We had planned to buy a new car after we moved back to Ohio. Unfortunately, that pesky driver on Interstate 75 that decided to run me down a 100 ft. hill into a ditch that was flooded and then filled my van with water up to the glove box took care of that. Since my van was totaled, we had to buy a new minivan, which we were NOT expecting to do until after our new car of the future was paid for. Now, my husband's car is on it's last leg and we do not have a second car payment in our budget without seriously effecting our social life! So, we are looking for a cheap car that we can pay cash for that will be reliable enough to get Motorcycle Guy to and from work for about three years. I am afraid of what this vehicle may look like!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dirty underwear

Some days, I just don't know what kids are thinking - or at least what my kids are thinking. This morning Sous Chef was getting dressed for school and I turned around and he had underwear on his head, saying something along the lines of "hey, mom, look at me!" This wasn't just any pair of underwear, it was the underwear he had taken off of his body. Yes that would be DIRTY underwear! Gross! I looked at him, not that he could see me with the ass of the underwear covering his face, and said, "Sous Chef, that underwear was just next to your butt and now you have it covering your face. That's pretty disgusting!" He started cracking up and took them off.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Food

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love food and love to eat out. Today I am going out to lunch - Moe's Southwest Grill! - with a friend I have not seen since before we moved to KS. We worked together and were due to have babies one day apart. Lucky for her she had hers a little bit early and well, I went way in the other direction at 17 days overdue! We both had boys and they were friends while they were small. I quit work and she went PT and then eventually quit also, so we had regular playdates together. As the boys got older, she went back to work and I kept having babies! It was hard to get together once they were in school, and we didn't get to see each other as often. I am excited today to be having an adult only lunch with Debbie.

Tonight I am supposed to go to a MNO with my moms group at the Korea House. It is DELICIOUS and I really want to go but I am having trouble finding an available babysitter. Motorcycle Guy will be on an overnight field trip at the zoo with 50 fifth graders! I have about two last minute possibilities for sitters, but I have a feeling I will be home tonight on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy. Mad Men had it's season finale last week, so I won't be watching that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's raining, it's pouring

Finally, we are getting lots of rain! Sous Chef, however, is concerned that they are not getting rain in California to put out the fires. We have spent the last day or two explaining to him the Santa Ana winds, the fires and the desert and other dry areas of our country. We've also talked about the types of plants that grow in drier climates that make it easy for the fires to burn and ravage everything in it's path. He has all kinds of solutions to this and has decided someday he will find a way to prevent these fires from happening, or at least from doing so much damage by being able to easily and quickly extinguish them. Motorcycle Guy and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he follows through on this!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Old stomping grounds

After a train ride from a small town north of here to a pumpkin patch, my parents took my children for the night. Motorcycle Guy and I headed to the area we used to live before and during the first few years of our marriage. We ate at Wild Ginger. With a 1 hour wait, we decided to walk to the square to another old favorite for a drink. We sat at the bar at Arthur's, commenting how unusual it felt to be in there and not have it dripping with smoke. (Ohio went all non-smoking prior to us moving back.) We looked around, talked about how it looked exactly the same except that there were no longer a bunch of young people hanging out, mostly people our age or older, finished our drinks and walked back to Wild Ginger for a delicious Thai dinner. We headed home for dessert.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Teeth galore

Big E lost FIVE teeth yesterday. Well, actually only one came out on it's own. We have been watching four teeth that our dentist in KS said if weren't out by the fall should probably be pulled since the adult teeth are already pushing their way in and they need the room. Yesterday was our appointment to have our dentist here look at them. After school, Big E was eating some fruit snacks and a tooth we weren't even watching got stuck in a fruit snack and out it came. On the way to the dentist, our conversation went like this, though it was one we have had on many occasions in the last week or so.

"Why are we having my loose teeth looked at?"
"Because Dr. Pottinger said the teeth should be pulled if they didn't come out by now."
"Why?"
"Because there needs to be room for the adult teeth."
"Oh."
"I had four permanent teeth pulled when I was about your age to make room for braces. Yours are still the baby teeth, so it won't hurt. They use medicine. Anyways, I don't think they'll do it today. This is just to decide and then we'll probably have to schedule another appointment."
"Oh."

So, we get there and he's in the chair. The next thing I know, the dentist is asking his assistant for numbing gel and gauze. Big E started looking a little nervous and I told him they were going to pull them right now. BIG EYES were the only response I got. The first tooth came out and he didn't even know they had done anything. The others were a little tougher and he moaned a lot and squeezed my hand. To the surprise of the dentist, I wanted to watch. That conversation went like this:
"I am going to watch."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, yeah!"
I hate pulling the kids teeth myself, but I do it. Watching is a whole other beast and I love watching "medical" stuff. Luckily, it wasn't really painful for him, otherwise I am not sure what I would have done.

Afterwards he was so proud of himself. They gave him a box for the four teeth and we added the fifth one when we got home. He knows Motorcycle Guy or I is the tooth fairy, but we play it up pretty good for Sous Chef's sake, and eventually CJ's. He got $10 ($2/tooth) and he was quite excited!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

boo'ed

Ok, my friend from LA said they call being "ghosted" as being "boo'ed." I think I do remember our old ghosts in our previous neighborhood saying "you've been boo'ed" so I will go with that. It probably explains why the bottom of the ghost I received yesterday said "Booooooooo!" I guess it's time to break down and buy some Halloween candy and get this booing show on the road. I'll be out lurking the neighborhood after dark tonight, I am sure with at least one giggling kid with me, if not all of them. Maybe I will need a getaway car...Sous Chef is home sick today, he was also home last Friday. Big E was home yesterday. I am taking Sous Chef to the doctor today to rule out strep throat and any breathing issues since he has the "asthma" cough going on and the albuterol doesn't seem to be helping it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ghosted

Tonight we were "ghosted." I don't know that is the official term, but that's what I am calling it. Is this just an Ohio thing? I don't remember it happening in Kansas, but I do remember it happening in Ohio when we lived here before. Our doorbell rang after dark and when Sous Chef answered it, there was no one there. Just a bag full of candy and a ghost with a Halloween poem and instructions to pass it forward tomorrow night. Hopefully it won't make the national news that a woman and her kid(s) were caught running through the dark after ringing the doorbells of neighbors!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh, the drama!

On Saturday, we participated in the Walk for Children's Hospital on Team MK. It was a fun event and our team earned almost $3,000. This was a little short of last year due to some timing issues and fundraising challenges. We hope to participate again next year! Thanks to you contributors.

It was a cool but sunny morning and the bees were out and about, especially since there was a lot of lemonade and sugared waters on hand. One decided to take a rest on Sous Chef's neck. When he felt it, he kind of shrugged to get it to fly away and it stung him. This was his first bee sting and I think it shocked him as much as it stung. We made an emergency stop at the rest area and had the first aid team come. They applied some ointment that had lidocaine in it to numb the area, though he preferred the coolness of cold bottle of water on his neck. Sous Chef has decided next year he is not interested in doing this walk, though the LaRosa's pizza lunch seemed to have possibly changed his mind.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kids

Having three boys, it's fun to see their differences. Big E is very athletic and enjoys running around and being outside. He loves watching sports on TV, collecting sports trading cards and knowing the statistics of the players, past and present. Sous Chef prefers to hang inside and enjoys playing sports only for the sheer fact that it involves friends and really has nothing to do with the sport itself. He told me this weekend he did not want to play any more sports. I reminded him he said he wanted to swim and his response was, "that's not a sport, that's a hobby." Either way, it's fine with me as long as he is doing something to get a little bit of exercise. CJ seems to be more along the lines of Big E and likes the physical activities. It'll be fun to see if or how these things change as they grow older.

I have discovered finding activities for a non-sports interested boy is a little more challenging than I expected, since most boy activities seem to involve sports. We enrolled him in a science class, but it did not meet the minimum number, so it was canceled. He is playing dodgeball instead, which he does really like. I am looking forward to his swimming lessons so he can learn some advanced swimming skills and determine if he is really interested in swimming on a team or not. I guess if he thinks it's just a hobby, the competitive side may not be there. We continue to look for activities that will not only interest him, but may also get his body and mind moving and challenged. Thankfully, our school district offers a lot of extras and we are learning our way through it all to find a good fit.

Big E will be starting basketball later this fall. He is pretty good at it and does enjoy it. It will be a good opportunity for him to meet some more fifth graders besides the ones in his teaching team.

Like the others, CJ will have to wait until kindergarten before he gets to play a team sport. I have a feeling he will enjoy soccer, so we will probably start with that. He also really likes passing the baseball and hitting the ball with Motorcycle Guy and Big E.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Test drive

I am not talking about cars in my title today. I am part of a very lively book club. Our meeting this month was to discuss the book, Freakonomics. It's a very interesting book that addresses some hot topic issues in unconventional ways, making some very valid points, though at times, to quote one reader in our book club, the math was a little "fuzzy." Nevertheless, it still gives the readers a lot to think about and certainly a lot to talk about. A couple of the ideas addressed in this book led to some feisty and funny conversations, albeit, getting us off the topic of the book at times. During our conversations, the topic of the Gardasil vaccine came up. One member has a daughter who is in the age range for this vaccine. My friend is a firm believer in "test drive before you buy," to quote her, and feels there will come a day for her daughter to get the vaccine, so her decision isn't "if," but "when." Later into the book discussion, another reader said something about being promiscuous and she was promptly reminded by Susanne that it's not "promiscuous" but "test driving." This cracked me up. So for all of you out there who are concerned about a promiscuous past, take it from my fellow book clubber, you were just "test driving," which all women should do!

Speaking of driving, when we lived in KS, I hardly ever had to drive on the highway. Almost everything I needed - shopping, mall, restaurants, kids stuff, friends - was all within a short suburban drive. Now that we are here, it seems like I am on the highway a few times a week. Yesterday, I went to Clifton to hang out with friends, which is about a 20 minute drive, mostly highway. I had to chuckle as I thought about a friend from my childhood (Lora M., get ready, this is a memory involving you) whose grandmother always called it the "superhighway" because there was a lot of traffic at high speeds. I could not get the image of her out of my head. At 3:30, the highway coming out of downtown was already bumper to bumper congestion. I guess the "5:00 Rush Hour" is a thing of the past and Lora's grandmother would have to rename the highway the "super, superhighway!" Imagine her visiting Lora in LA and giving those highways a drive.

Basketball cuts continued and Big E was moved to the mid-level intramural rec. team. It should be a fun basketball year as his friends were all moved to that same level. If he aspires to continue playing basketball, this will be a good learning season for him as they will work directly with the HS basketball coach and players.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spiderly & more

It's not enough that I have killed so many spiders in my house that I am keeping count (I am up to 14, which I killed in the shower), now we have a "pet" spider named Spiderly. It built a web oustide between a tree and a shepherd's hook with a plant hanging on it. It is quite a large web and a large, colorful spider. It wasn't enough to just watch and observe the spider, CJ wanted to name it. I told him to pick a name, so Spiderly it is. The spider has made his way to some seclusion, however, as yesterday, unbeknownst to me, they were throwing leaves in it's web and it retreated into the tree. I don't like this for a couple of reasons. First, I don't want them messing with the spider, he worked hard to build that web! Second, now I can't keep my eye on the spider. I don't mind them being outside and I actually enjoy watching what they do, but now I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS EXACTLY and that gives me the heebie-jeebies. Hopefully, it will stay outside, because it's fate if it comes in is in my hands, and that means the end of Spiderly.

My cooking continues. I have made black and white bean chili, lasagna, broccoli salad and a vodka tomato cream sauce to be served over pasta. Today I will be finishing up with chicken pot pie, chicken burritos and chicken stuffed with pesto butter. I hope this helps. I feel rather helpless at this time.

Big E made the cut to continue trying out for basketball to be on the 5th grade competitve traveling team. Basically "traveling" means playing other school districts in the area instead of playing on the intramural team, which are teams made up of only kids from our city and played in our own schools. Thirty kids were cut last night and will go the intramural league if they choose.

Sous Chef started speech therapy yesterday and is such a hoot to watch. I sit in an observation room at a TV monitor with headphones to watch what is taking place. He is so full of funny and intelligent comments that sometimes the therapist doesn't even know how to respond. He keeps her highly entertained. Boy, is he a fidgeter, though. I wonder if he wiggles around like that in school? He is playing dodgeball on Wednesdays after school, maybe that will get the wiggles out for at least the next day of school!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Grief

We attended the visitation yesterday of my friend's mom and her husband. The tears came on in full force and I think Motorcycle Man didn't really know what to do. I don't cry easily and I can guarantee, in all the years he has known me, he has NEVER seen me cry like that. He also was quite choked up himself. I was touched in my first moments with Sara's sister. She immediately consoled me as she said, "I am so sorry for you. You had some great quality time with my mom and I know how much you enjoyed her. This must be hard for you, too, and I know how sad you must be." It wasn't until that moment that I realized while most of my tears the last few days have been for this family, some of them were for my own personal grief. I am going to miss her. I have many, many memories of Mary-Beth and quite a few of her husband and also Sara's dad, though they aren't as extensive since they lived in a different part of the state prior to his death.

She was strong and independent, extremely gentle and loving. She would help anyone and judged no one. She was classy and smart. She was like no one I will ever meet again.I will miss her and I continue to cry for my friends and for this incredible loss of MB and Sp.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Red and swollen

I am sure anyone and everyone who has seen me over the last three days probably thinks I'm high, hungover or participating in a sleep deprivation program. I honestly cannot remember when I have cried as much as I have these last three days - mainly the last two. Wednesday I spent most of the day walking around in shock after the initial onset of tears. Thursday and Friday, though, it all started sinking in, which made me think about my friends and that it was probably all sinking in for them and that made me cry even more. I have been speaking with them on a regular basis, mainly with my friend's husband, but today I spoke directly with my friend. I use the word "spoke" very loosely as most of the conversation was us on the phone crying. It's very difficult to not be able to take away, or even alleviate, someone's pain and anguish.

Tomorrow we are attending the visitation. On Sunday, the families will be going to CT for a funeral service and burial on Monday/Tuesday as that is where they are from and where the majority of their family is now.

Besides crying, I am now starting to do what I do best in a crisis and I don't know how to help - I cook. Come Thursday, after they return from CT, they will have some good food in their freezer so at least they won't have to worry about what they are going to eat. I'm in for the long hull and as my friend's husband said, "We have a lot of help right now. We are going to need you in the coming weeks and months when the initial influx of help is gone. Things are going to be very different around here." and then he started to cry. He did not cry alone.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Shocked

These are the words I kept hearing through the phone yesterday. Very good friends of mine called, the husband to be exact, to tell me that his wife's mom and her husband died tragically that morning due to carbon monoxide poisoning. They wanted me to know and were also concerned I had already heard it on the news, which thankfully, since I don't watch it often, I hadn't seen. His wife and I were roommates in college and her husband was a neighbor of ours. We have shared many, many milestones together, good and bad. I have spent many hours over the years with her mom, dad and then her mom's new husband after her dad passed away. I know her siblings. I couldn't pull myself away from the news and the internet yesterday. It was the number one story. I am concerned for my friend and her family. Their lives are permanently altered.I am shocked and deeply saddened, as is my husband.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Happy Birthday to CJ!

On October 1, 2003, my family was out to dinner to celebrate my 36th birthday. Motorcycle Guy took Big E and Sous Chef to the bathroom and when he returned, I was laying down in the booth because of contractions. I had told him earlier that day that I did not think I would make it through the night. I was hoping not to have a baby on my birthday because I wanted him to have his own day. Anyway, when they got back to the table I went to the bathroom thinking a walk would do me good. I barely made it back to the table. I kept having to stop and bend over chairs because of the contractions. Our waitress asked me if I was okay once I was about 1/2 way to my table and I said "Yes, I'm just having a baby." We got our things, paid our bill and dropped off our children at our friends who were the designated sitters. They weren't home, so we left our kids with the oldest of their five kids and I left a message on their cell phone VM letting them know when they got home, they would have two extra kids for the night. Everything went very smooth, calm and peaceful. It was certainly the easiest of my three deliveries. CJ was born at 2:36AM on October 2, 2003. My doctor said it was one of the best deliveries she had participated in.


Happy Birthday, CJ!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

In the wee hours of this morning, I turned 40 years old! I know not everyone gets excited about this, but I am thrilled. I believe there are a variety of reasons for this and I will list them below:

  1. I am happy with where I am in life. I am certainly not doing what I thought I would be doing, considering marriage and family were not high on my priority list and I certainly never thought I would be a SAHM. However, I love it and would not want to be doing anything else.
  2. I look decent. (Yes, I admit to being vain!) There are certainly areas that need improvement, but I have accepted the fact that this is the way I am and that's just life!
  3. I FEEL GREAT. This one is the most important to me. Not to discredit my marriage and family, but with what I have been through the last ten years of my life, I was afraid at times I would not be able to accomplish #1. Honestly, I was afraid I would have no decent quality of life at all. For my 30th birthday, Motorcycle Guy, Big E and I went to Florida. When I got home, I thought I had a sinus infection, but it turned out not to be. I started having almost unbearable symptoms of a neurological birth defect that I discovered I had while I was in high school. I had had symptoms on and off for my whole life, but at the age of 30, the symptoms were so bad I wasn't sure how much I could handle. I was having excruciating and debilitating headaches, I couldn't bend over without having vision blackouts, hearing loss and crushing headaches. I am not sure anyone around me ever really knew how bad it was for me. I'm not even sure I knew how bad I felt until I started feeling better many years later. My only option, according to my neurosurgeon was to have surgery, which in his words, "may or may not fix the problem." So who really elects brain surgery, it's not exactly a tonsillectomy! I decided to choose alternative healthcare which helped me keep my symptoms less intense, though never gone. While pregnant with Sous Chef in 1999, my symptoms improved significantly. Shortly after he was born, they were back. In April of 2001, I completely blacked out while at the Children's Museum and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance, I could not remember things like my primary doctor's name, my neurosurgeon's name and I was not physically able to dial my cell phone to call Motorcycle Guy. I could see the numbers and I could move my hands, but I could not control them to do what I wanted. I had to have someone else dial the phone for me - thank God for programmed cell phones! Thankfully I was with friends who were able to drive my car and my children home. In the hospital I couldn't remember things and I kept asking Motorcycle Guy the same questions over and over again. The next day I had to reask them because I was more clear headed and knew I would remember finally. After tests and some good drugs (I think this may have been the beginning of my love affair with prescription pain killers and muscle relaxers!), I was told by the ER neurosurgeons that I would need surgery. After following up with a new neurosurgeon in the same practice as my previous surgeon, who had retired, I demanded a second opinion. As far as he was concerned, I had only had a dizzy spell and there was nothing wrong with me. It took some arguing, but I got into another surgeon in the office because I knew based on my symptoms and how I felt, it was a hell of a lot more than that. My new surgeon was wonderful and he had some very specific tests completed. I did these at our Children's Hospital because a colleague of my surgeon was the "guru" of Chiari Malformations. I actually asked if he could do the surgery, but he only took patients under the age of 18. Anyhow, five months after my incident at the Children's Museum and many tests later, I had my first brain surgery. It was not without complications, mainly meningitis four days after getting out of the hospital, so back I went. Also, my surgery was on September 10, 2001. When I woke up in ICU on September 11, 2001, I watched the terrorist attacks live on the Today Show. This was NOT a good way to begin my recovery. After eight total days in the hospital, I went home again and began my recovery, which included lots of rest, drugs and physical therapy. For about 8 weeks or so, I only saw my kids when my parents or my in-laws would bring them by to visit. They were traveling between the two. It took me over a year and lots of traditional and alternative medical care to get me feeling 100%. Fast forward to 2004, CJ has joined our family and is 11 months old and we have moved to KS. I end up in the ER and was admitted to the hospital only to be told I have to have brain surgery #2 to insert a shunt to drain the fluid build up being caused by a cyst. Yes, we knew it was there and a shunt had been talked about in the past, but it was decided at that time that my major symptoms were from the malformation. Apparently, now that that was cleared up, the cyst decided to rear it's ugly head. Though my symptoms were nothing like the ones from years before, surgery was a requirement or the fluid buildup would continue to cause more serious problems. This surgery was much easier, but the recovery was just as difficult because the doctor had a hard time getting the shunt flow set at the rate that was good for me. It was originally too fast, which drained too much fluid (opposite of what my problem was prior to surgery) and basically my brain was crashing around in my skull without any cushion. Talk about pain resulting in lots of drugs resulting in vomiting. Again, I was terrified this is what my life would be like.
  4. Fast forward to 2007, my 40th birthday. Today I celebrate not only my birthday, but the fact that I am headache free, minus the normal headaches that everyone gets. Years back, I never thought I would see the day. I survived and I am pain free! Hooray for me.
    So today, I am 40! I am eternally grateful and look forward to the next 50 (hopefully) healthy years of my life!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Check your paystubs!

Being a former Human Resources Manager, in which payroll fell under my department, I have always told people to always check your pay stub, especially if you get direct deposit and don't have to physically take a check to the bank. Why? you might ask. Because payroll departments make mistakes! I have drilled this into my husband's head and does he listen? Nnnnnnooooooo....

The deposit to our account today was off from what it should have been. Since we moved, his paycheck from month to month has been different due to a variety of reimbursements, salary increase and a bonus. However, I had a calculated amount budgeted and his paycheck was not what I had in my budget. I insisted he look at his stub, which of course is done online as they do not distribute paper, and sure enough, they have incorrectly withheld city taxes that we are not required to pay for two pay cycles. So, now he has the hassle of trying to get this corrected so we don't pay those taxes anymore AND get our money back.

Sssssoooo...check your pay stubs, and/or your spouse's, EVERY month.

Tomorrow is our "Welcome to our new home/Happy 40th" party. I am pretty excited. There are people coming that I have only seen once or twice in the last three years!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm so excited!

In 2006, I attended my 20th high school reunion. It was fun, though at the Friday night event, I drank WAY TOO MUCH and don't have a clear recollection of the entire evening. Well, this November, a group of us gals from HS are getting together at my house. We have been waiting for our friend, Lora, who lives in LA, to finalize her flights before we could move forward with the final planning. Well, it's been set for Nov. 10. Right now, it looks like there will be about ten of us, but I still have some more people to contact. LA will be the farthest distance traveled. Others are coming from Detroit, MI; Columbus, OH and some of the more locals are in Dayton and Cincinnati. I am also hoping a good friend can come from Chicago. We will be going out to dinner and then having a slumber party at my house. One friend I have known since kindergarten, or maybe even before - I don't really remember my life not knowing her. Most I have known since sometime during grade school and a few others who may be coming I have known since we started high school together. Two of the friends are twin sisters and I was roommates with them in college. We are going to have a great time. Maybe I can stay sober enough to actually remember the entire evening, though I wouldn't bet on that! Ok, I hope to remember the whole evening, but I doubt I will be 100% sober.

Another fun event I am looking forward to is my trip to the Ladies Lounge the first week in November. The Ladies Lounge is made up of about 12-15 friends from Kansas City. We make a trip three times a year to a friend's lake house in Stockton, MO - the population almost doubles when we arrive! : ) That town is never the same when we leave and we have been known to take small tokens out of yards to take home with us for upcoming parties. I can't wait to see these friends as I haven't seen them since we moved from Kansas. Posted

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I knew the day would come...

When CJ went to a KDO program last year, I was afraid he would be kicked out for being too rough and assertive. He is used to playing with his older brothers and their friends and therefore plays like a ten year old and not someone his own age. It didn't happen last year, though they did move him up to a class that was for kids a year older because he liked the organized activities better than the organized play time in the younger class. He did great there. Well, I guess my concerns last year were 12 months premature. Today the teacher pulled me aside and said "Does CJ like to squeeze people?" and I said, "Yes, he gives me hugs all the time." Unfortunately, she didn't mean squeezing as in hugs, but in squeezing people's arms and legs. She said everyone he sat with today he would grab their arm or leg and squeeze them and add in a little twist. Too bad that stinker, Emily, was not at school today so he could do it to her! Anyway, the teacher was not overly concerned, but wanted to let me know that he was doing it and they had talked to him about it. We'll see what happens on Thursday.

I got my haircut today. She did a good job, but it was not what I was expecting. My previous hairstylist was thinning my hair from underneath and not cutting it to shorten it. I met someone here who told me her hairstylist does this. So I was expecting her to do that to me, but she didn't. She shaped up the back - basically I have an inverted bob - and added a few very light, long layers along the bottom to prevent the thickness and length from weighing it all down. It's cute. I made another appointment for mid-December. I think I have only had four haircuts in the last ten months. It is getting long!

That's all I have. Motorcycle Guy will be home in the wee hours of the morning.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Energy Drains

My MIL sent me an article from Oprah magazine, which I had also read, on how to solve the emotional energy crisis. I am going to post a few of the ideas here, as I think everyone can use some tips on this, especially me! For today, I am going to list my top three of the eight that were outlined in the article and include their suggestions on how to fix it.
  1. ENERGY DRAIN Loss of Self - As kids, we had to play by the rules; our unique energy got caged.
    ENERGY FIX Personalize your life. Ask yourself, if it were up to me, what would I ... hang on my wall? Wear to work? Do for fun? Find the pockets of freedom where you can be more yourself.
  2. ENERGY DRAIN Overcommitment - You're always saying yes - to your mother, kids, friends, employer; to requests, favors, meetings.
    ENERGY FIX Tell someone else "no" every once in a while, just to feel your own power. You'll gain a whole new sense of your ability to take care of yourself.
  3. ENERGY DRAIN Other people's expectations - Are you living someone else's dream for you? You're putting out energy but starving emotionally. The other person gets all the satisfaction.
    ENERGY FIX You bought in; you can set yourself free. No confrontation needed, just "I don't have to expect that of myself." Worst-case scenario: Someone who's not you will be disappointed. You will feel wonderful. Posted by

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Growing up

As in all families, everyone here is growing up! CJ will be turning four on October 2. He started preschool this year and will graduate from his car seat to a booster seat as soon as I decide which one I want to buy. Sous Chef will be turning eight in a couple of months and Big E will be ten in the spring and is no longer of "elementary" school age. Motorcycle Guy will be 45 in January and I will be hitting the 40 year mark on October 1. I am actually looking forward to it and will be getting a head start on it this upcoming weekend with a party.

I often wish we had had four children. We would have had four, or more, children if either we had started younger or there hadn't been an interruption of "childbearing years" with my medical drama in 2001. We weren't really sure we would even have a third child after that, so I am happy and thankful it worked out for us. On the other hand, when I see my friends with little ones hanging on them or crying for them and the moms changing their diapers, hand feeding them and more, I am kind of glad to be to this stage. I can go without baby gear or diaper bag, I don't need a special bed for overnight trips, no jars of food or special bottles or cups. I was never one to rush home or stay home because of nap time or bed time, but I am doubly thankful when I see my friends leaving a party or fun event, or in some cases not even going, because they want to get their little ones home for their scheduled sleep time. I can stay and keep on having a good time. My kids did well with being flexible on the occasions their sleep schedules were shaken up, but now I don't even have to consider that! They are either home with the sitter or they just keep on going along with the rest of us. Really, who has more energy than a child?

We were out late last night. We went to my brother and SIL's house for dinner with my parents. We got home about midnight. When I pulled in the driveway, there was something very odd about my house. There was a string tied from our outdoor garbage can, to the garage door handle, around our basketball hoop and into the back yard. I kept thinking it was a booby trap of some kind and that if I pulled the string a ghost would come flying out of nowhere, Brady Bunch style, or that a popper would go off. I was afraid to go into the backyard where there were no lights on. Thankfully, I noticed my neighbor's lights on and I went over there. Duane came over and untied it all for me. Earlier that evening, the string had been tied to his teenage son's car and wrapped around some stuff and then all the way over to our deck. He undid it earlier and obviously they came back. I guess these are the "tricks" of Halloween. At least we don't have a lot of toilet paper to clean up today!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fun Times

Yesterday was a fun day. Once I got the older two off to school, CJ and I ran a couple of errands and then went to playgroup in our old neighborhood. Kara, the host, is from the "old days" of when we were there. She made a yummy lunch and was excited because I brought iced tea!

From there, we went to Big E's school for a math carnival for his team. They have been doing probability and statistics. Each small group of 2-3 children had to put together a game of some kind that involved them being able to study the probability of numbers. There were lots of dice games, spinning a spinner games, selecting hidden items games, etc. It was fun and I got to meet a new mom. The one mom from his class that I have met was there and her son rode home with us and stayed for the evening. Big E had gone to their house the day before. After Spencer left, Sous Chef had baseball practice and we squeezed in dinner before our new babysitter arrived. It sounds like they had a good time with her.

I went to game night with the local M&M chapter. It was fun and I met a couple more people. I was told I have pretty much met all of the regulars now with the variety of events I have been to. It appears there are members who only attend certain activities, and if you don't ever attend those activities, you may not get to meet them. I hope to change that as co-leader and get people a little more involved in more of the fun activities this chapter does. I am still thinking about the Area Manager job, but from what I have heard, it is actually a little easier than being an RM.

After volunteering at Sous Chef's school, being at Big E's and having to read a lot, going to Bunko and game night, I have come to realize that I REALLY need to be wearing my glasses all of the time. I am not in the habit of doing that, but instead grabbing them when I need them. However, most of the time when I need them, they are at home on my kitchen counter. I think after my eye exam this year, I will get contacts in addition to a new pair of glasses. It feels already like my eyes have changed some since my exam last December. I dont' think I mentioned in my test for my driver's license that while I was afraid of failing the written test, I could barely see to pass the vision test and I did not have my glasses with me Plus, I didn't want the glasses restriction on my license. I was afraid I was going to fail and that they would take my license and Motorcycle Man would have to come to get me! I had to guess between two numbers/letters on many occasions, but apparently my brain was able to decipher it enough to tell me what to guess.

Tonight we are heading to my brother's house for dinner. They have a new puppy that we haven't seen yet and I know my boys will love seeing it, CJ especially.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Volunteering

Today I went to Sous Chef's school to have lunch with him and to help his teacher. His school has two cafeteria's so it's fairly quiet since they are split up between 2nd graders and 3rd graders. It went very smoothly and one little girl told me all about how Jersey Mike's, which is what I brought for my lunch, was her favorite place and what her favorite sandwich and toppings are. Sous Chef told me he broke up with all three girlfriends today, for no apparent reason. He then informed me "we are still regular friends, though." After lunch, I did some cut outs for Miss Davis and then practiced sight words with five or six kids. I was also contacted today to be an Area Manager for the national mothers organization I belong to - Mothers & More. I am currently a Regional Manager and work with four chapters and am about to take over a co-leader position in my chapter. If I take the AM position, I would work directly with 4-6 Regional Managers and indirectly with co-leaders from approximately 25 chapters. I am not sure I am going to do the AM position. I have asked a lot of questions and for more information. The answers will help me to decide.

I played Bunko on Tuesday with my old neighborhood friends and tomorrow night I am going to M&M game night. Motorcycle Guy is in Canada, so I am trying out a new babysitter. Our neighbor sitter, who my kids adore, left for college last weekend, so we had to find someone new. Hopefully this girl will be a keeper! We also have some boy babysitters to test, but they were not available for tomorrow.

That's all I have for today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BOYS!

I always knew having boys would keep me busy. I also knew there would be lots of tricks and pranks. Up until now, they have been pretty minor - the usual stuff, like making farting noises with their armpits, burping as loud as they can. The usual boy stuff.

Well, yesterday evening, Big E asked me if I wanted to play "squishy." Once he told me it involved the toilet, I decided I didn't want to play. Of course, this conversation should have triggered something in my brain that would have alerted me to the impending doom. The next thing I know, he and Sous Chef come running. Both of them are laughing so hard they are crying and can hardly catch their breath. I honestly have not ever seen either of them laugh this hard. They led me to the bathroom...to a room covered in ketchup! Big E had stuck packets of ketchup in between the toilet and the toilet seat, under the foot pads of the toilet seat. Sous Chef sat on the toilet and the ketchup packets exploded. After a few seconds of standing there with my mouth hanging open taking in the splattered mess, I had to "flip out" while trying to hold back my laughter. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "How can making a mess like this be funny?"
Me: "I work hard to keep our house clean and nice and you go and do this?"
Me: "Where did you come up wtih this idea?"
Me: "Do you think it's funny to do something that creates a lot of extra work for me?"

I must have sounded fierce, because I don't ever think I have seen their eyes get that big and they both immediately said: "We'll clean it up."

Me: "You most definitely will. There better not be one speck of ketchup in here when I come back. You have both lost all video game privileges for the rest of the day."

As I walked out, I had to cover my mouth to hide my smile. The entire time they were cleaning up, I could hear them stifling their giggles to prevent any additional discipline. They did clean it up and did a good job at it. Big E told me he read about this idea from Dave Pilkey, the author of the Captain Underpants comic books. I reminded Big E anything suggested in those books was not a good idea for real life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Weekend

Boy, I am tired today. We had a very busy and fun weekend. On Thursday, we left for Pittsburgh. Breakfast with my friend, Jan, was great. Of course, she is doing all of her usual exciting things, including spending almost a month in India back in December. Here is a picture below of us.

The church in the background is St. Stanislaus, a church Motorcycle Guy attended while growing up in Pittsburgh. The church, built in 1892, is well over 100 years old!

We came back on Saturday night and then yesterday we were at Kings Island all day. We stayed until just a few minutes before closing. Motorcycle Guy's employer buys out the park for the weekend and gives tickets to the employees. We went on Sunday because it is less crowded. It was great! There were hardly any lines and towards the end of the day into the evening, the kids (Big E and Sous Chef) were riding the roller coasters repeatedly without even having to get off and get back in line. They would just stay in there seat and keep on riding. No one road the new rollercoaster which you lay down on and hang - supposedly giving you the feeling of flying. Big E doesn't like the rollercoasters that have loops in them, Sous Chef was not tall enough and Motorcycle Guy just never made it back there. If I were able, we definitely would have ridden it.
This was CJ's first time to Kings Island and he loved it. Being a Paramount Park, the kids area is Nickelodeon themed. He loved riding the Phantom Flyers, which you lay down on to ride/fly. I liked it, too. He also liked the roller coaster and of course, anything that resembled a train. Big E , CJ and I had fun riding Scooy-Doo's Haunted Castle. While riding, you have a laser gun to shoot the targets and try to get the high score.
Kings Island is bittersweet for me to go to. While I am thankful to feel great after two brain surgeries, anything high impact is out for me for the remainder of my amusement park days. I am not disappointed that I cannot train to run a marathon or do aerobics, etc. but it just kills me to go here and not be able to ride most of the rides. I remember how much fun I had as a kid riding the roller coasters with my parents, hearing my mom scream and yell and then doing it all over again. I wish I could do that with my kiddos, but it's out of the question. It's a small price to pay to feel good, but it makes me sad. I was probably the only person at Kings Island yesterday who kept getting teary eyed when my kids and husband rode off on a rollercoaster without me. Oh well. It certainly could be worse. I could feel like I did ten years ago and then I wouldn't be doing anything with them! I am happy to see how much fun they have and hear all the details every time they get off a ride.I did manage to ride one ride that I know I shouldn't have. Even though it was in the kids area, it was really fun. I was with CJ in the kids area and Motorcycle Guy was with Big E and Sous Chef when I decided I would ride it. Then I discovered CJ was not tall enough. So once I hooked back up with the gang, Sous Chef and I rode Avatar: The Last Airbender! Sounds exciting, huh? It runs on a track and goes back and forth in a swing like motion, but instead of just one swoop, it has a hill in the middle. While it's doing that, the whole car, which holds 36 people at one time, is going in a circle. The description the park gives it is: Ride along on Avatar’s lead character, Aang’s giant skateboard to soar, spin and fly on this jumbo skating adventure! It was fun, it was more than I should have done but I survived and remain feeling good today. Keep your fingers crossed. The other exciting part was that my hair is SO LONG, it actually blew all around and even got stuck in my lips and I had to keep pulling it off. I had to laugh that I noticed this, but when you have spent most of your adult life with really short hair, you notice odd things about long hair.

I am attaching a picture of CJ. We didn't get any really good ones of Sous Chef and Big E.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pittsburgh again

We arrived in Pittsburgh last night. I really hate driving to get here in the dark. The highways are so hilly that the semi-trucks barely make it up the hills and go really slow. Sometimes you come around a curve in the highway on a hill and there will be line of trucks crawling up the hill at 20 MPH when the speed limit is 70.

Today my father-in-law, sister-in-law, Motorcycle Guy and kids went to the Carnegie Museum for a behind the scenes, private tour of the Carnegie Museum. The tour was lead by the paleontologist at the museum. They even got to tour the unfinished wing of the museum that will house the permanent dinosaur exhibit, which doesn't open until November. It sounded like everyone had a great time.

Me, CJ and my mother-in-law took the T downtown. Since CJ absolutely LOVES trains, he had a blast. More than once he said, "Mom, I love trains. I definitely love trains." We went to the Heinz gift shop, which is on the 9th floor of the Heinz building, we went to the main T train station and then we took the Incline up to Mt. Washington, where my MIL, grew up. CJ really liked the "train that went up the big hill." We then took the T back to Brookline and had a rest. CJ certainly enjoyed his day of train hopping and so did I!

Tomorrow I am having breakfast with a roommate from college. Jan and I lived in a house with a total of six girls during college. It was a madhouse and party central, but Jan was studious and committed to her six year major. She has been in Pitt several years now and is attending graduate school in addition to her full time work. She is an architect. We had a lot of fun together and I love to see her. We once caught up with each other in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and it was a blast (what I remember, anyway!). I also visited her when she was living in Atlanta. The last time I saw her she had just bought a house here in Pittsburgh. I have not seen her in three years and I am really looking forward to it.

That's all I have for now. It's quiet here. Everyone is in bed. My in-laws have a three story house, so the folks sleeping on the third floor could be having a party and I probably wouldn't hear it down here on the first floor. On the other hand, I could have a party down here and the third floor folks wouldn't hear it...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mean Girls

I don't really consider myself a mean girl, but I do admit to in the past judging people immediately upon meeting them and making a decision right then and there as to whether or not I would even want to pursue a friendship. Most of the time, the answer was no, as I don't immediately like people (but when I do, I like you a lot and remain loyal under even the toughest of times!). I continue to struggle with this, but remind myself of my "old ways" every time I meet a new person, which in the last few years had been on a regular basis with our recent moves. I have made lots of friends that I would have dismissed in the past and I like my new found acceptance of others.

With all of that said, there are times, when no matter how hard I try, I just don't like someone. Sometimes I have a very good reason - I think they are morally corrupt, mistreat others, have no positive impact on society, are bigots/racist/prejudice. Other times, like today, I have no really good reason other than I think they are a pain the ass, overindulged, self-important fixture in society.You have probably read in my previous posts about Emily and her rudeness to CJ, but worse than that, her mother's tolerance of it and even excusing it with "she's such a stinker" comment. As if that makes Emily's bad behavior cute. NOT! Well, today, I noticed something that explained a lot. Emily's mom has license plates that say "Ems Mom." I had to roll my eyes and think "this woman clearly has no identity and this poor girl is put so high upon a pedestal that she can do no wrong." "Ems Mom" is clearly going to be, or already is, one of those parents whose children never do anything wrong, it'll always be someone else's fault, the teachers and administrators will hate her (the mom) because she will be the one at the school or calling every single time Emily doesn't get her way, gets disciplined for something, whether it be major or minor, or another child accuses her of something. I can already hear it, "Well, Emily would never do that," or "Someone else must have started it" or "Not my child" or "Stevie looked at Emily in a mean way" and I could go on and on. I have already met parents like this and I DON'T LIKE THEM! There is certainly nothing wrong with supporting and defending your child at the appropriate times and I would expect all parents to do that. However, sometimes that support comes in the form of recognizing that no one is perfect, not even your darling daughter, and allowing them to understand the consequences of bad behavior and even learning the difficult lesson of "life is not fair!" I am guessing that Emily and kids like her with parents like hers, will never have the opportunity to learn these important life skills.

hhhhhmmmmm....

I don't even know what to title today.

It's been a little boring around here, which is unusual for us! CJ has his second day of preschool today, Big E starts an after school extracurricular activity today, dodgeball!, and then we are all heading to Pittsburgh until Saturday. Motorcycle Guy's dad was able to schedule a private tour for Friday of the Carnegie Museum for himself, Big E and Sous Chef and their cousins, Max and Leo. I will be hanging with CJ and my MIL. I think we are taking him to the Science Center and maybe to the zoo. We are also hoping to squeeze in a ride on the city train for CJ. Motorcycle Guy's sister will also be there. I think maybe she's going on the museum tour with the little boys and the adult boys. I am also meeting up with a college roommate for breakfast. I am always happy to see Jan. She has moved all over during college for co-oping jobs and overseas studies and since graduation she has moved around quite a bit for her job as an architect. Now she is in Pittsburgh working and getting her master's degree so I get to see her on a somewhat regular occasion. I haven't seen her however, since 2003 because we moved in 2004 and we didn't get to Pittsburgh but one time for a very short trip while we were living in KS.

Yesterday, I had a speech evaluation conducted for Sous Chef. From 2 to 3 yrs. of age, he received speech therapy. He has not needed it again until now and he will start going again on a weekly basis. He tested significantly above normal on the language part of the evaluation, but he does have some issues that reflected on the speech evaluation. I am also taking him to the doctor this morning. The good 'ole local environment has kicked in for him and his allergies are flaring. I have a feeling we will be back on his allergy medicines and possibly breathing treatments again. Once there is a good freeze, he should clear up again. I guess Big E will be next. Maybe he will be lucky enough to escape it this year and I keep my fingers crossed for CJ, too!

I went to M&M book club last night. We discussed the Memory Keeper's Daughter, which I read last summer, so I couldn't remember some of the details of the book. It was a good time and I met two more people. We also had a lively discussion about the woman who left her daughter in the car. Enough said about that. I am almost finished reading "Remind Me Again Why I Need a Man" at the recommendation of a friend. It is very funny and I have enjoyed reading it. After that, I have "The Glass Castle" waiting and I have ordered "Something Blue" from the library, which is part two of "Something Borrowed" which I read last week. I didn't realize at the time that it was a two parter.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First Day of School

Today was CJ's first day. He did great. He immediately went for the trains/tracks and when I asked for a kiss and a hug he kissed my knee so as not to interrupt his plan. I did convince him to give me a proper kiss and hug before I left. On the way in, each of the kids got a stuffed animal donated by Kohls. CJ's is an orange and yellow lizard that he named Eyer because "he has eyes." Below are a couple of photos of his first day.




Emily, the bratty girl from our orientation day, was laying in the driveway of the church after preschool, refusing to budge. Lucky for her, her mom and dad were BOTH there and they had a camera and a DVD recorder to catch their precious darling being, well, "precious." She's such a "stinker" to quote her mother. Too bad I didn't have my camera so I could post her lovely photo here.

9/11

As with any tragedy, anyone reading this entry remembers exactly where they were when they heard about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. Our nation watched in shock and horror as the unthinkable unfolded right before our eyes. Here is my story and as challenging as it was, it in no way compares to what 1,000's of others experienced that day:

I had only been awake for a couple of hours after having brain surgery for a Chiari Malfomration about 20 hours prior to the attacks. I was in the ICU at Good Samaritan Hospital and watching the Today Show. I was alone. I watched what so many of you watched as the Today Show broke away to the news emergency that a plane had crashed into the first building. As they were interviewing a witness, the second plane made it's attack. Even with all of the drugs in my system, it was very clear to me that this was no accident. Being in a room with a glass wall, I could see the nurses going about their work without a clue what was going on. Shortly after the second plane hit, my OT and PT came into the room and I gave them a quick rundown of what had happened. They were shocked at the "coincidence of two planes crashing into the buildings." Through my drug induced fog, I told them there was no way it was an accident. I don't know how long we watched, but then the news was talking about the plane at the Pentagon. My husband arrived about then. The last he had heard on the radio was of the initial two planes and he was not aware of the Pentagon. Then in comes my Healing Touch nurse at which point I started puking everywhere and crying and I asked for the TV to be turned off. Once I had settled down and everyone cleared out, Motorcycle Guy and I continued to watch the news and heard about the plane in Pennsylvania By now the ICU nurses had a TV set up at their station. As the towers collapsed, all my husband said was, "I knew that would happen, I just didn't want to tell you. Airplane fuel burns at x degrees and steel melts at x degrees, there's no way those buildings could have remained standing." Leave it to my brilliant (and I mean that literally) husband to know the temperatures of these things. I still can't remember to this day what the actual numbers were! I don't know how long I was in ICU exactly and I don't really remember moving to my own room, but I seem to remember the intial shock of this event as clear as anyone else, despite my fogginess and pain.

Our area was effected by the deaths of eight victims. One woman was a resident of our new hometown and was in NYC for business. Her husband and children still live here. The other local victim was from here but was living in NYC and his parents still reside here. They were both killed while working inside the World Trade Centers. Our school district has a fundraiser this week called "Pennies for Heaven" to collect money for each of the foundations set up by these families. I will certainly be sending in my donations this week.

I hope everyone says a prayer today for peace and healing for the victims and their loved ones, for the physically, mentally and emotionally injured survivors and for our world, that we may learn to live together, to respect and learn from our differences, to realize our commonalities and to do no harm to one another.