Wednesday, April 30, 2008

sleep and eat

You're pretty much looking at my Tuesday. Except for the fact that I'd never be caught dead in that shade of blue and that anything as delicate as that pitcher would have bitten the dust eons ago in my house, this is a fair representation of my lovely day off. Every time I sat down I dozed off, and it felt pretty darn good, although I think I scared the hell out of the little old lady crossing in front of my car in the grocery parking lot. I don't think she gives her reflexes the credit she should.

For variety, once or twice I actually laid down on a real bed and looked like this.

Mercifully, the shadows cover the drool. At least I hope they do.

Today it starts again, but I've got a second wind. Part of my perkiness is that something unheard of happened in my house around dinner time. I had been doing my usual "what in the world can I make that will fit around the soccer carpool and that everyone will eat and is relatively healthy and cheap and fast" routine. When I was talking to my mom on the phone, I asked if she had any ideas and lo and behold, she did. She told me about a chicken, broccoli, mushroom soup and parmesan pasta thing she had tried recently and said she and Stu had both loved it. I made it (with soy chicken for Gumby) and everyone scarfed it down and said they loved it. And I have enough for lunches tomorrow to boot. Home run, Mom. Thank you!

Do any of you out there have fast, easy meals that you keep on standby for crazy days? Do tell. I need ideas and I need them bad. This whole thing was done in the time it took the pasta to cook, so it was perfect.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

piece of cake

Eight hours into my sixth straight day of work, I was sitting at the computer trying to figure out if the pain in my feet was traveling up into my legs or the pain in my back was coursing its way down to my feet. It had been a typical day so far - too many patients, too much status dramaticus and more than enough legitimate angst to go around. Except for the fact that I couldn't feel half of my body, it was actually alright...

Until the triage nurse came up to me and put her arm around my shoulders to tell me about my next patient. I knew the first words out of her mouth would be "I'm sorry" before she even told me what was heading my way. And I was right. And she should have been sorry. Maybe some day when I'm stronger I'll get into it. For now you just need two words - Train. Wreck.

As I stood at the med cart trying to swallow unopened bottles of ativan on the sly, one of my co-workers said to the room at large, "Has anyone else noticed that lately RC is a real shit magnet?"

And about three people said (simultaneously) "Well, we didn't really want to say anything..."

My response died on my lips as I looked up at the board and saw that my buddy from the other day had just checked back in. I laid my head on the counter and repeated my new mantra -

This too shall pass. This too shall pass. (Alternated with I will press charges next time. I will press charges next time).

When it rains, it pours.

Monday, April 28, 2008

gold medal sport

I have a new idea for an Olympic sport.

Here are the Short Program rules: You have to be able to thread an IV into a hand vein the size of a pencil tip while simultaneously dodging when the completely out of it patient in question projectile vomits directly toward your face the entire time you're doing it.

When you've mastered that, you can move onto the Long Program. This is where you place a foley catheter in the same patient, inducing him to struggle so violently that he dislodges the IV you have just painstakingly placed and you have to start all over again in the other hand. Of course he has worked himself into a state where the vomiting is even more forceful, and, out of sheer spite, his aim has considerably improved.

For bonus points you need to have the med/surg floor call for report on another patient - as the ambulance with a car accident victim arrives - at exactly the same time you're still wiping puke out of your hair.

I'd be at the top of that podium, all right.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


...I've got nothing.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

warning: rant in progress

I've had a day.

Work called this morning as soon as the kids were at school, wondering if I could come in and pick up some hours. My immediate thought was hell, no, but it didn't take me long to change my mind. The pressure on me right now to produce cold hard cash is huge, so I went in while the kids were in school. I got up off of the comfortable sofa, put down my laptop and sucked it up. I picked up shifts Wednesday and Thursday. I also picked up shifts Saturday and Monday. Add in my scheduled Sunday and I just bought myself six days in a row. I get a little drippy around the eyes every time I think of it.

I got the kids home from school and headed out to the grocery store, since one of the things on my To Do List today had been to get some food in the house. Surfer Dude went with me, and I was no sooner out of my car than I saw my patient with the relative from hell from yesterday's post. She was moving pretty well for a woman in the excruciating pain that prompted the narcotics run earlier. As I watched her in horror, she leaned into the car and I realized that The Man in question was right there. My trip took longer than necessary since I did all of my shopping looking over my shoulder for Dumb and Dumber.

Then my cell phone started ringing. It was Sasquatch with earthshattering questions about gaming systems and birthday cash he needed me to pull and three phone calls in five minutes later I told him I was no longer answering my phone and would talk to him when I got home. Then I tried to pull the birthday money he asked for, only to find out that it exceeded the cash back limit by ten dollars and I had to stand in that godforsaken end of the workday line twice.

We walked in the door to this scenario - Gumby in the bathroom calling me frantically on my cell, the floor littered with juice bottles, empty cups and the broken piece of a chair arm and the kitchen wall dripping with some unnamed fluid that no one was willing to take responsibility for. One of Sasquatch's oldest friends was over, just to spice up the mix a little and confuse the story still more. I've known this kid since he was seven, and he may stand seven inches taller than me but I can still take him out. And he knows it. At one point Gumby looked me in the eye and lied straight out. When called on it he said "I just said it because I thought that's what you wanted to hear."

And I went off. In a ballistic kind of way. Nuclear, even. Of all the phrases on my shit list right now, this one is pretty near the top. And to have those foul words come out of my sweet little baby's mouth left a really sick taste in my own mouth. I would far rather be verbally attacked by an asshole with a Vicodin agenda.

There are times when the anger I have about the way my life is changing almost overwhelms me. And it surprises me, too. The things I'm angry and upset and sometimes sad about aren't the things I thought I would be angry and upset and sometimes sad about. I'm learning so much about myself, and a lot of it is, for a lack of a better word, fascinating. Is this really the person I am? How long has this been going on? And why am I just now figuring it out?

But as I looked around my destroyed kitchen and checked out all the crappy food that I was going to be feeding my children because I don't have time to make them anything decent, as I thought about how I was going to have to depend on them to keep themselves safe when they are left to their own devices, as I thought of days and days of work ahead of me, I just felt defeated.

And that's so not a nice feeling.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I had a run in of the unpleasant kind with a patient's family member at work. Without getting into all the gory details, lets just say that a) this particular set of people is not unknown to us, and b) this guy came at me with claws out and foul mouth in overdrive the second he walked onto the unit. The very first words I exchanged with him were defensive ones on my own behalf.

A few minutes later the discussion was over. I wouldn't exactly say I won, but I sure as hell didn't lose either. It was a draw in that a) I was still standing and b) his sorry butt hadn't been hauled out of the building. I was describing the scene to the doc I was working with, and even though I was trying to make it funny, I know I still had a little tremble in my voice. I don't like conflict, especially when it's directed loudly and abusively toward me. On the other hand, if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen, and the ER can be one hot kitchen. If you want calm and peaceful, this is not the place to be and I know that. I wanted to turn it into a good story - not look like a weenie.

He listened quietly as I ran through the saga, and when I was finished he stood up slowly, a nasty purple flush creeping up his face. He had only one thing to say, and it was,

"Where the f**k is he?"

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the people I work with??

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Thursday Three

We're having a wild weather week here and I'm loving it. Of course, this is making me think of

Favorite Kinds of Weather

There's a saying in Kansas that if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change. This week has certainly been a good example of this. We haven't had snow (phew!), but we've had pretty much everything else. We've even had some humor. The operator at work came on the overhead speaker and said "Attention - the National Weather Service has just issued a tornado warning for our county" and we all yelled "What??" since we hadn't heard a word about a possible tornado. About ten seconds later she said, "Uh, sorry. I meant a thunderstorm warning." Tornadoes, thunderstorms...whatever.

#1. Thunderstorms. Might as well start here since I'm already on the subject. (And god knows I won't be listing tornadoes under any kind of favorite weather). I love thunderstorms. I love rain and I love wind and I love the drama of thunder and lightning. If it happens to roll through at night while I'm snug in my house, it's even better.

#2. Wind. Not only with rain, either. Any wind is great as far as I'm concerned. One of the major local weather components is a warm wind, very strong and usually from the south. In California we had the Santa Ana winds, which are very hot and very dry. Here the wind is more humid and kind of envelops you. And it's fabulous.

#3. Rain. (Sensing a theme yet?) Oh, I adore rain. There's almost nothing better than going to sleep at night with the sound of rain beating down on the house. And puttering around the house with the steady sound of rain in the background is just about the best thing ever. It almost makes up for all the mud the dogs are going to track into the house every time they go outside.

How about you?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I stole this from Kaytabug, and it's a good thing she had it, because my brain is in sleep mode, with no improvement in sight. Today is my first of a five out of six day work run, and even though only a couple of them are twelve hour shifts, I'm tired just thinking about it. Yikes!

Things I've done are in orange, things I haven't are in black and anything pending is in blue. Ignore any editorial comments along the way. (Here's a pre-comment to ignore- dang, I need to travel more).

And away we go...

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12.Watched a lighting storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse

29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse

34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run

36.Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states (stalled at around 40)
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country

44. Watched whales

45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving (there's not enough money in the world)
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a Cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud

64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a Martial arts class (couldn't walk for a week)

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight (never even played once)
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie (does a music video count?)
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch

78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River (Colorado yes, Snake, no)
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas

86. Recorded music
87. Eaten Shark
88. Kissed on the first date

89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone (heh)
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently (define fluently)
95. Performed in Rocky Horror (Magenta, baby)
96. Raised children

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour (does seeing Springsteen 13 times count?)
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking

103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication (hey, it didn't say "published")
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show (lost in the first round on a Helen Keller question)
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten Sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper

129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes

134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts (I'm howling here. Where's the start button?)
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident (not that I know of, anyway)
150. Saved someone’s life

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

remote control

My kids can't find their shoes, their homework, their backpacks, their shin guards, their house keys, any one of the cordless phones or my cell phone if I'm fool enough to let them use it.

But they always know where the television remote is.

They can't remember to put their dirty dishes in the sink, flush the toilet, put their laundry in the hamper, take their sack lunch to school with them or not leave their violin on the playground.

But they never forget to take the television remote with them from room to room.

From the instant Surfer Dude and Gumby hit the door, it's a battle over the remote. It makes no difference whatsoever if they won't be watching TV for hours. The point is that He Who Has The Remote Is In Control. If one of them puts it on the table while they go into the kitchen to get a snack, the other one snatches it up. Then they argue over who has control of the remote. Tonight they argued over which show they wanted to watch. (Do I even need to mention that we have more than one TV? I didn't think so. Do I even need to ask why one of them can't just go watch what they want on another TV? I didn't think so). As soon as Gumby "won", he changed stations and then turned around and talked to me for pretty much the whole episode. It wasn't about the show, you see, it was about the "control".

A couple of nights ago he fell asleep on my bed, remote in hand. I wish I had a picture of it, but I'd never be able to post it anyway, for fear of him murdering me in my sleep if he found out. In lieu of a photo, I'll try to describe it. You may not believe it, but I'll do my best.

He was flat on his back with his legs spread and his knees bent. The remote was clutched in his right hand and was perpendicular to his body. He was holding it in the immediate area of the male default brain, and the remote was sticking straight up, resting against his thighs. As I watched him in disbelief, he started to wake up a little bit, and his left hand went straight to his genitals to make sure the remote was still there. As soon as he got his sweaty little fist on it he fell right back asleep, content as can be.

If anyone knows where I can find a good estrogen room spray, please let me know. I don't care what it costs. I'll take a case.

Monday, April 21, 2008

easier than you think

When I applied for my job in the ER, I wanted it with an intensity that you can only get from fantasizing about something so hard and for so long. And as I sat for my interview, I thought it was going really well, and had (finally) started to think this could actually happen, when my future boss asked me the question I was dreading.

"So, how are your IV skills?" she asked.

Lots of things went through my head. The fact that we almost never started IVs in the ICU, since virtually everyone had a central line. The fact that this woman was a riot and I adored her instantly and wanted desperately to work for her. The fact that any IV I had ever hit in my life thus far had been a matter of sheer luck, done with shaking hands. And that there hadn't been many of those. The fact that I was petrified of IVs and that no matter how hard I chanted my little "face your fears" mantra, I still ran the other way when anyone mentioned them. The fact that I really am a pretty honest person, which led me to admit,

"Not so hot, to tell the truth."

My heart sank. I could feel my dream sliding away. We talked about other things for quite a while and when she offered me the job (on the spot), she said

"Don't worry. We'll teach you IVs. You'll get plenty of practice."

And I have. After a learning curve full of fear and frustrated anger and more than my fair share of anxiety, I've looked the beast in the mouth and realized it isn't so scary after all. Even crazier, I've started to really like doing them, to the point that I sometimes run around at work volunteering to start other people's lines for them. And when my mentor, the nurse whom I followed around like a puppy coveting her IV skills, asked me to try recently when she had missed twice on someone, and I sauntered into the room and nailed it, I had a feeling that was really hard to pin down.

It was an incredible rush. I had faced down something that terrified me and realized it wasn't so bad. I had taken something that in my opinion was one of the worst things I could have to do and seen that it wasn't such a big deal after all. And I had come out of it confident and proud and excited about what might lie ahead. The beast only looked like it roared. All it took was the right mindset to realize that if you never give up, good things will happen.

Not a bad lesson for life in general.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday Quickie

What do you think is your worst habit? And why?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I'll go first, since I kind of have to. That's one of the downsides of asking such a nosy question. My worst habit is biting my nails. I have other bad habits, I know, but I have a handle on most of them. The nails drive me nuts. I stop, I start, I stop, I start...and so on and so on. I've never been able to figure out a way to leave them at home and out of sight.

As of today, I've officially stopped again. Maybe not the best timing in the world, but it will appease my inner control freak. Not to mention the fact that there's almost nothing that makes me feel better about myself than fingernails. By June 1st I want to be have the needed nails to have the manicure I won't be able to afford.

Now it's your turn. Spill it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

ding ding ding

Round One went to Gumby. During a running through the house fight with Surfer Dude, he slammed the Dutch door between the dining room and the kitchen on SD's arm, catching it so completely that twenty four hours later SD's arm is still black and blue.

Round Two went to Surfer Dude. While outside at dusk playing a kind of makeshift baseball with a big stick and a tennis ball, he hit Gumby in the eye so hard with a line drive (forehand??) that Gumby came in the house with a swollen shut eye tearing copiously.

Round Three went to the school nurse who got to call me this morning and ask me if I'd noticed that Gumby's pupils were two completely different sizes, and if I didn't think, with all my ER experience, that a doctor's visit would be a good idea.

Round Four went to our doctor who kept us waiting an hour to see him.

Round Five went to the pharmacy, which screwed up his prescription for eye drops so badly that it took two pharmacies, six people and roughly twenty phone calls to straighten out.

The only conceivable winner in any of this was my mother, who avoided my waterworks dropping her off at the airport because I had a kid in the backseat that I had to race to a doctor's appointment. And I know she didn't win, because she had to then wait hours to find out that Gumby's problem was just a pupillary reaction to getting the hell banged out of his eye, and not a concussion or worse.

We really do keep our visitors entertained, as you can see. She had woken up that morning to the startling sound of a Surfer Dude fart so loud, so resounding, that one room over we both started laughing - from a dead sleep. When we say Technical Knock Out in my house, we aren't talking about boxing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Thursday Three

The subject today is Pie. Specifically

Favorite Pies

I’ve been wracking my brain all day for topic ideas and not having a lot of luck. I even dragged my mom into it on her last night here, bless her heart.

“What should I write about?”

“How about (this)?”

“No. Won’t work.”

“Okay. How about (this)?”

“No. That’s not good either.”

“Okay. How about you come up with your own stinkin’ idea?”

Where’s the maternal instinct when you need it?

Alright, back to pie.

As Surfer Dude loves to say (out of nowhere and with absolutely no context whatsoever), “I like pie.”


#1. Pumpkin. Hands down, no contest, my favorite pie. These don’t last long in my family, believe me. Sweet potato works, too, but pumpkin is always numero uno. I like it best at room temperature with cold whipped cream, but if no one is looking I’ll eat it right out of the pan with my hands. Can’t do that with just any old pie.

#2. Coconut Cream. Any cream pie, to be perfectly honest, but coconut is my favorite. But banana is close. Very close. Wait a minute. I may need to rethink this.

#3. Strawberry. I’m not a huge fruit pie fan, strangely enough, but I love strawberry pie with a light glaze. Especially in the summer, with perfect, juicy strawberries. Frozen doesn’t really cut it.

Your turn.

(and does my font give any indication that my wireless is being weird again? sigh)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

bowling for barack

We took the kids bowling at the lake, which is something we've promised them for quite a while, but never done. It was a small, but perfectly okay bowling alley, although it was (oddly) only open for a three hour window on a late Sunday afternoon. This area is Touristy with a capital T, and we're still a month and a half away from "the season", so I guess we should be grateful it was open at all.

There were a few other groups in there, whiling away rainy Sunday hours, but from the moment we walked in we stuck out like sore thumbs. First there's my mom, who carries her flower child aura with her to this day, accentuated by the constantly changing array of bold ethnic jewelry. Then there's Sasquatch with his halfway down his back mane of curly brown locks. My face was still in weird post-roadkill blotch, so I was drawing some attention of the unwanted sort. Surfer Dude and Gumby, being fairly typical ten and twelve year old boys (at least until they talk), were our saving grace. We all collected our shoes and our cokes and headed for our lane.

Now I feel qualified to say this next thing, based on the amount of time I spent in Alabama growing up, and I don't mean it badly. Really. But I always think of the lake, as much as I love it, as "Hold my beer and watch this" territory. The kind of place Jeff Foxworthy might go to research his new stand-up routine. A place where you still see Confederate flags hanging on porches. A place populated by locals who...were not like us. And certainly did not want to be.

We were doing fine until Sasquatch brought up the Barack Obama story from a couple of weeks ago where he went bowling on the campaign trail and bowled a 37. Thats 3-7. Not a real shining moment in the public eye. As Jimmy Kimmel says "I bowled a 37 when I was a baby. And I was drunk, by the way."

This came up because Gumby was having an off day. A really off day. By the fifth frame he was barely sitting at 30. The other three of us bowling (my mom played cheerleader) were doing much better. Sasquatch, trying in his own way to be encouraging (and deflect everyone's attention from the fact that I was kicking his butt), said "Cheer up, G. You only need 8 more points to beat Obama." Well, that was a challenge that Gumby felt he could take on, and when (in the seventh frame!) he hit 38 his brothers danced around him chanting "You beat Obama, you beat Obama..."

And as the rest of the bowlers pushed back their hats and put their beer down to take a gander in our direction, we figured it was high time to mosey on out of there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

homecoming queen

Always before, no matter how wonderful my vacation spot, there's been a part of me that couldn't wait to get home. I'm such a homebody - and a real affront to the stereotype of the "on the town Gemini" - that I've consistently had a strong pull to be back in my own space. I love traveling, and would happily go virtually anywhere, but at some point I just want to be home. The feeling of peace and comfort as soon as I walk in the door has always calmed my soul.

Not anymore.

We were scheduled to come home late Sunday so that on Monday the kids could go to school and I could go to work. But that morning, after a self-imposed moratorium on any kind of emotion whatsoever, I woke up weeping and couldn't seem to muster up the balls to stop. By the time I kind of pulled it together, I resembled something in the roadkill family and my inner control freak had gone MIA on me. For a woman who prides herself on iron fisted self control, it was a really ugly moment.

But, for the first time in a while, the mechanical gods were smiling on me. My mom's car had thrown a belt of some sort and the part the mechanics needed to fix it wouldn't arrive until sometime Monday morning. So with my family egging me on, I made another uncharacteristic move and called in for my Monday shift. There was certainly a huge element of truth in not leaving my mom in the middle of nowhere without a car, but we all knew that was only part of the equation. The thought of going home was literally making me sick. And if I could put it off for another 24 hours, so be it. (And on a preemptive note, my new therapist insists that putting on a neutral face for your kids isn't as good a solution as I want it to be. Guess we tested out that theory).

My living arrangement won't be changing until the beginning of June. We'll all be one big, happy family living under one roof until then. But a lot is going on with me personally, and even though it's all going to be good (in the end), at the moment I'm in the Mojave Desert in the Highway of Life. There are people reading this blog who shouldn't be (and who shouldn't want to either), so I'm going to leave it at that for the moment. There was a comment made on an earlier post that pretty much sums up my current position - "post what you're comfortable with and save the rest for the book."

I've never been a person who trusts easily to start with and it's terribly hard to realize that there really are people you can't trust with your emotions or feelings. And there are a lot of conflicting thoughts that come with that realization. One of them, strengthened by my refusal to drag my kids into this, is envy. I envy, almost more than I can say, people who have the freedom to say what they want to and just get it out. But I've decided that there are those who will no longer be burdened by my thought processes, and while for the most part I'm surprisingly comfortable with that, sometimes the urge to just let 'er rip is pretty tempting.

So when I got back home Monday afternoon and checked a few blogs, I was immediately struck by Irene's. She has called me her "sister in arms", and to tell the truth I've been worried about her while I was gone. I do not for a second envy a single thing she is going through and wish I could snap my fingers and wish it all away so she could be the happy woman she totally deserves to be. But as I was catching up on what is going on with her, I couldn't help feeling a little envy at the way she's working through it all. And the more I read, the more I thought

Damn. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

the concession

I think I’ve finally hit critical mess. My wireless (to continue with this sad theme) is simply not working. To make it even more fun, the computer that is hard wired is having troubles too. So…

The kids and I are leaving this morning to spend five days at the lake with my mom. For all of you who are new to RC, my mom has a house on a lake about three hours from here that is a retreat like no other. I need a retreat like no other, and I’m not too proud to admit to it. So I’ll be taking a little blogging sabbatical until next Tuesday, at which point I’ll be back full force, even if I have to do what I’m doing now, which is writing in Word and cutting and pasting into Blogger, in the three point two seconds I have before it boots my butt off. (This whole blogging thing has done wonders for my computer skills, not to mention my invective level).

Obviously, I haven’t been able to do any blog reading, and I know I’m falling hopelessly behind. This isn’t by choice, believe me. I’ll get this figured out - and soon. In the meantime, have a great week and don’t forget about me, okay?

Is my insecurity showing through? No? Good. Yes? Damn. (One more bloody hit for the cuss-o-meter).

I hate that thing

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April Madness

For all of you who don't live in the US, and who bow at the altar of different sports - please indulge me with this post. Because we are very, very happy right about now.

And words are kind of escaping me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

None Monday

For the first time ever, I'm having to bail on Fun Monday. My wireless is still doing weird things, even though I had one of Sasquatch's friends spend a fair amount of time with it on Sunday. Of course, it worked perfectly for him. I came home from work and got all teary eyed at the sight of the Mozilla Firefox start page. (Is there a more beautiful sight? Or do I need a life?) My bliss ended about sixty seconds later when it booted me off, which it has done three times since. I hate computers.

And it just kicked me off again. I give.

Where the hell is my cuss-o-meter??

Saturday, April 5, 2008

you don't see the relation?

My wireless is dead again. I came home from work yesterday and tried for hours to make it work, with no luck. So...I'm on the downstairs computer that may possibly be older than my stretch marks and that SD had to log me onto. What a perfect time for this:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

Shit. (It could be worse. If I had been able to post last night after screwing with the computer, my percentage would be much higher).

I first saw this on A Spot of T, but don't have my bookmarks to link. Sorry!!

And to prove my point about having three boys (and make myself laugh really, really hard)...

You Have Your PhD in Men

You understand men almost better than anyone.

You accept that guys are very different, and you read signals well.

Work what you know about men, and your relationships will be blissful.

Uh, oh. Do you think it's possible to know them too well? Could that be part of my problem?

Friday, April 4, 2008

baby got back

Thirty six hours.

My mom gets here in thirty six hours.

I'm a tough chick. I've been hanging strong, being mama cub to my babies and keeping heads above water as much as possible. On top of the ongoing angst, there's been more drama in our house this week. One of the pet rats (we're still not completely sure if it was Zack or Cody) died on Tuesday and set Surfer Dude off big time. He shrieked and railed and hurled chairs and crawled into the big rubbermaid dog food container, before yelling for everyone to go away and leave him alone. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that this was about far more than the rat, and it was excruciating to witness. He laid down on the living room sofa and wept. Later, much later, when he curled up next to me to sleep, I matched him tear for tear.

That mama cub instinct is a pretty darn strong one. That urge to protect and comfort and coddle your baby doesn't seem to diminish, even when they get tall and smelly, or teenaged and mouthy...or grown up and reeling.

I'm a tough chick. I know that the Steel Magnolias gene runs deep through my soul, know that my strength will only grow by the day, know that I can keep it absolutely together. I know that I can turn into a lean, mean maternal machine on a dime.

But in thirty six hours I can revert into that little cub for a while and let someone else snarl and protect the den. And I'm not too tough to admit that I can't wait.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Thursday Three

Let's go with Angela's idea and talk about

What to save if the house is on fire?

Given that all living things - two and four legged - are out safely, what would I pull out of that burning building? Alright, here's my list. I do want to say though, that I would have a really hard time narrowing this down to just three, so here are the ones that pop into my head immediately.

#1. My laptop.

#2. Three pictures. The only two pictures I have of me with both my mom and dad. One is an 8x10 color studio photograph taken when I was about five(??) and the other is a faded black and white candid polaroid of us all on a couch when I was two and a half. And the third is another black and white polaroid of my maternal grandmother and I fishing when I was about seven. I have lots of other pictures of her, but this one is my very favorite.

My grandma died in 1999 and my dad in 2002 - so I have to hold on to what I've got.

#3. A book. A cookbook to be exact. But not just any cookbook - a very, very personal one. (I don't know why I'm on a theme with my dad, but here I go again). I've briefly touched on this before, but my dad was Iraqi. Both his ethnic background and his religion (Catholicism) were in the definite minority, and a huge percentage of them left the country and came to the US, where they promptly invaded Detroit. (And I do mean invaded. You can't fling a falafel without hitting a slew of them).

I grew up on the food and cannot get enough of it. But it's impossible to get in a restaurant unless you're in Detroit (and it's not all that easy there either, since they're all eating mama's cooking at home). When I was a teenager, one of the women wrote a cookbook that I think had about a hundred copies printed and my step-mother, who was tired of cooking for me, got me one, complete with the author's signature.

It's one of my greatest treasures.

What are some of yours?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

secret ingredient

There's no such thing as a secret in my house. No fact is too small, too insignificant, too petty to blab to the entire zip code. Or worse yet, to your brothers, ensuring that the news travels to the entire tri-state area. (I don't live in the tri-state area, but I'm still reading the Stephanie Plum mystery series set in New Jersey, and it's a little hard to get my head back into Kansas at the moment. I can almost smell the cannolis).

We had chili for dinner, and as usual Surfer Dude helped me get it ready. He pulled out his personal red IKEA cutting mat and the paring knife he's dubbed Knifey, and got to work on the veggies. Meanwhile, I opened cans of beans and tomatoes and assembled all the usual chili spices. When everything was in the pot he stirred it up and asked what else he could do. I said you can choose between biscuits and garlic toast and he chose garlic toast and I said that's pretty much it for the time being then. I was trying to keep a low profile, but the truth was that I needed him out of the kitchen so I could put my secret chili ingredient into the pot ASAP and I didn't want him to see me.

Several months ago he caught me putting silken tofu into lasagna and I've never heard the end of it. All of the kids used to snarf up the lasagna before, but once he spilled the soy beans I have a UN contingent in the kitchen each time I cook it to make sure no contraband makes it into the pan. (And for the record, I put in plenty of ricotta and mozzarella and it really is good lasagna. Hey, my hot flashes need their soy, okay?)

But ever since then I've been a little more careful about what he sees in the kitchen, because I've learned a very important lesson. The kid has a big mouth. And he cannot keep a secret to save his life. Oh, he thinks he can, but he really can't. (You want scarier? He's the most secretive of the three). So I shooed him out and, looking over my shoulder the whole time, dumped my secret ingredient in the pot. Reached over for the wooden spoon to stir it and...


He wrinkled up his nose as he peered in the pot. "Do you always put that in chili?" he asked dubiously. "Seriously?"

"You know how you always say I make the best chili in the world?" I shot back. "Well, this is why. Now creep back out on those little cat feet of yours and keep your trap shut. Or I'll put tofu in your lunch box tomorrow."

He smiled sweetly and left.

At dinner he asked each of his brothers in turn if they noticed anything unusual about the chili. Since it's the same recipe they always eat, they didn't find anything different. He turned to me and gleefully said, " They didn't even notice your secret ingredient!" and, visions of bean curd dancing in their heads, I all of a sudden had their full attention. For the next ten minutes we played Name That Ingredient until Surfer Dude couldn't stand it for one more minute and shouted it to the rooftops. Four eyes slid over to me, then down to their chili bowls, their spoons hanging in mid-air. After a long pause, they kept eating. Yes, it's that good.

Way better than SD's secret keeping powers.

Anybody want to guess? It's a spicy Mexican chili, with chipotles and cocoa powder. What do you think the secret ingredient is?
And the answer is...pumpkin. Canned pumpkin to be exact. It adds a richness and sweetness that has to be tasted to be believed. (of course I have a house full of pumpkin fanatics, so that helps). It balances the chipotles beautifully and cuts the heat a bit. De-lish.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

wired and tired

Due to a combination of factors we can only use one computer at a time in our house right now. Never mind that we have two laptops and three regular computers (do I speak the tech lingo or what?), we can only fire up the internet on one at a time. Something is weird with our router, for starters, so it's letting one of the regular computers think it's alpha dog on the laptops and stealing the wireless away from them, and then the power cord on Gumby's laptop is busted so he can't use his computer unless I let him use my power cord, because neither one of our batteries works but then I don't have a power cord myself, not that it matters since I can't get on-line. (You still with me? Quiz to follow).

To add to the intrigue, the wireless hogging only happens when Sasquatch is on the regular computer - not anyone else - and his computer geek friend who was here this weekend trying to figure it out is ready to jump out of a Window because he can't figure out why. (On the plus side it is kind of nice to see a teenager baffled by something an adult is trying to explain rather than the other way around).

The bottom line for me is that Sasquatch needs the computer for homework and he needs it now. I'm trying to get this written as fast as possible, but I've made a fatal mistake. I've told Gumby and Surfer Dude that I need about five uninterrupted minutes to get something written before I get booted off of my own computer. (Well, not booted exactly, but kicked off the wireless,which for blogging purposes is pretty much the same thing).

Since I've said that I've heard a condensed oral history of each of their school years, gotten asked a boatload of questions ranging from who Ponce de Leon is to why our sofa looks so ragged, stopped two people from juggling the same pencil into the air over the dog's head seventy three times, argued with Sasquatch about the unlikelihood of his snack dishes walking downstairs into the sink by themselves, watched a light saber fly over my head and into the window blinds and broken up three verbal arguments and one kickfight.

I give up. I'm not ignoring any of you (or your blogs)...I'm just outnumbered.

P.S. And now that I've gone through all of this and posted hours early and gotten my blood pressure up in the process...everything is working exactly the way it's supposed to. Can anything go the way you expect it to??