Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Closing out the old year

This has been a really great vacation. No upheavals, no major problems/fights/illnesses with the kids, no major responsibilities... really, how much better can it get?

Still, I'm looking forward to getting back to "real life" because the kids are getting to used to staying up past 9PM, which is waaayyy too late for them. DS2 was so tired this evening he actually crawled into bed himself! Poor dear.

Tomorrow, we're going over to some friends for dinner and I still haven't made that cheesecake. I am in semi-slug mode, but eventually I'll get motivated. We're not going over till late afternoon so if worse comes to worse I can make it tomorrow!
Is that bad? I'm stalling because I haven't figured out what kind of crust I want to put on it. When I make it for us, I just skip the crust, but I don't really feel as if I can do that when it's for company, so to speak.

This was a good year, in spite of the continuing medical saga. We had our best-ever family vacation over the summer, and excellent visits from family, here.

The children are simply amazing. We got one of those "Christmas Letters" from a friend of DH's and we had to laugh over all the superlatives he used to describe his wife and kids. It was sweet, really, but at a certain point? Gimme a break! There's no need to regale the world with our DS1's impressive fire-bellied newt project, is there? We could always talk about DD's extraordinary attention to detail and focus, or DS2's truly phenomenal vocabularly and speech ("I've got a great joke for you, Mommy." -- followed by a "why did the X cross the road"-type joke... too cute, esp since he's not even 3!).

Then again, they are still really picky eaters, DD attempts temper tantrums from time to time (always met with either derision or irritation, and she never wins), and DS2 is nearly 3 and is still pretty negative about the whole potty thing. Perfect, they are not. Extraordinary, definitely, and infinitely precious, and I'm very thankful they are ALL mine even though some days I am distressed by their bad attitudes and disrespect. But those things are the exception, not the rule -- we have lots of rules, actually. Rules rule!

DH is my rock, he keeps me grounded and out of depression and focused on reality instead of the things that come climbing out of the pit of despair that occasionally opens up in my mind. Actually, that has not happened in quite a long time, which is a relief, let me tell you! He is so good about letting me know that I am important to him. Those early years of complaints about being ignored must have sunk in sometime along the way. Sometimes I feel -- not exactly guilt, but bad? sad? I don't know -- about everything he has had to endure with me, my most recent (and final, God willing) journey through the Virgin Re-certification program just being the most recent example. Still, if I ever bring it up to him, he just tells me not to be silly, that he wants me to be well and he's quite happy with me. I believe him, too!

So -- home and family are tip-top, but I'm still in a bit of personal limbo. I think the coming months will see some good resolutions or at least, acceptance, on my part. I'm looking forward to 2004!


My main resolution, starting Jan 1: I will go to bed before midnight, every day, no matter what. (I get to stay up past midnight today to see the New Year in, after that -- no more!)

I usually don't do resolutions at New Year's. It seems weird to me to wait to make a positive change in your life. If you want to do something better, why wait? Start right away!

This year for some reason it just feels right. I've resolved before to get more sleep, but haven't been able to stick to it. I have some ideas why, don't feel like going into them now... but also hope that underlying reasons for sleep-avoidance have abated.

Also, I'm going to let go of that "I should be doing more" feeling and accept that what I'm doing right now is what I'm supposed to be doing.

I think those 2 things are a good place to start.

I did about 8 minutes on the bike yesterday at 14mph (avg) and my stomach (surgery area) was killing me later in the evening. I think it was too much. I'm going to have to ease into exercise again. Before Christmas, I was up to 10, but at a much slower rate, and I didn't have these aches & pains. It will take a while to figure out what works, I guess.

We're visiting friends tomorrow and I said I'd bring an eggnog cheesecake, so I'd better get off my butt and get going with that. Also, laundry (the never-ending laundry!) awaits! More later.

I am not sick

Sometimes I look back over the past couple of years and freak out over the number of medical issues I've had to deal with. It all started with some irregular menstrual bleeding, that led to a diagnosis of hypothryoidism. Doc put my on Synthroid, which after 2 weeks totally whacked me out, making me hypERthyroid, because my adrenal glands were weak and I was anemic. It took several months to get that situation under control (oooo, migraines, sinus infections, palpitations, dizzyness, insomnia -- wow, that was fun! Not.), and finally got my thyroid meds stabilized and optimized.

At about the same time, I started having back/flank pain and joint problems... rheumatologist dx's me with both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia (eventually, that one took a long time). We've been trying different drugs. Celebrex chewed a hole in my stomach and I've got trials of Vioxx and Bextra to start, but I'm not that motivated. The pain is not too bad, and I'm usually only incompetent in the mornings, which explains why DD's ponytails are always a mess!

Anyway, after months of expensive tests, a 6-week course of physical therapy helped strengthen my back and taught me new stretches to alleviate my flank pain and ward off my killer sciatica...

Everything was going fine and then -- wham! Suspicious-looking moles. 3 biopsies and 2 further excisions later, I've got a dx of "atypical mole syndrome" or somesuch, with one of the biopsies coming back with the lovely and inconclusive, "cannot rule out evolving melanoma in situ." Well, it's good we got them all, but for a while I was walking around with the feeling that it was only a matter of time before the melanoma got me. I suppose that could still be the case, but it's not at the front of my brain like it used to be.

Then in August, I got my period and tried to use a tampon and... couldn't. There wasn't any room. Yes, indeed, my uterus/cervix were falling out (the technical term is "prolapse". So off to the GYN I went, and he says, "hysterectomy" and before I know it, I'm going under the knife on Halloween (the timing is a whole 'nother story). Now I'm wombless and OK with that, I was done with it anyway, but I do have the occasional weird twinges where things got sewn up, inside. It's still very soon after the surgery, though, so I expect things will improve even more as time goes on. And I still have my ovaries so I don't need any additional HRT.

About the same time as the falling-out thing, I started having this weird pain around my belly button, kind of like an internal pinching or pulling, on the right side. It's not a big pain or even that distracting, it's just ... there, and it hasn't gone away for must be 4 months now. Blah blah blah ultrasound shows "probably fatty liver". Doc (God bless him) orders every known test to man and everything comes back negative: no diabetes, no hemachromotosis, no elevated liver enzymes, liver and kidney functions are fine. Except I still have this stupid pain, which makes me wonder if it isn't my fibromyalgia attacking an odd muscle group (as it does in my back).

I did a boatload of research on this fatty liver thing. It can be nothing, or it can be really, really bad, like cirrhosis bad, or anything in between. I walked around depressed about having a compromised liver for at least a few weeks before I snapped out of it. I have absolutely NO symptoms of liver problems.

I am NOT sick.

Still, I wonder what the gastro-enterologist is going to say (or want to do to me) when I see him in a few weeks. That should be interesting. I just remembered when my back/flank pain was eluding diagnosis I had not one but two body scans that should've covered the liver, and neither one mentioned anything about a fatty liver, so it's something that has developed over the past 18 months or so... I'll have to make sure the new doctor gets those records, too.

So, I am NOT sick, but I have: a gp, an alternative healthcare provider (an LPN who treats my adrenals and nutritional needs), a gynecologist, an endocrinologist, a rheumatologist, a neurologist, a dermatologist, an opthamologist (need dilated eye exams every 6 months to make sure no melanomas grow in my sockets [now there's a creepy thought]), and now, a gastro-enterologists. I guess I should just be happy there is neither a cardiologist or an oncologist on that list, huh?

This has all been rather exhausting and expensive. I've thought for quite a while that, when God keeps throwing the same problems at you, He's trying to teach you a lesson. I'm not sure if that's the case here, though. I wish I could look back through my past and pinpoint one thing that started all this stuff happening... well, I can, sort of, but don't want to think of it that way: my third pregnancy --- it's not something I can undo, and there's really no lesson to be learned there, is there?

We didn't "try" especially hard for our DS2, we left it in God's hands, whether or not we would conceive (as opposed to the first two, which took a lot of planning and charting to keep track of ovulation and the possibility of conceiving). So if God sent me DS2 to devastate me physically, perhaps it was as a test of faith. So far, so good, !

This idea that there's something "wrong" that's causing all these problems for me, that could be "fixed" and then I'd be all right -- I'm pretty sure it's that idea itself that's wrong, this stuff doesn't seem to work that way. I am genetically pre-disposed to hypothyroidism (my dad's mom, and my own mom), as well as PCOS (rampant among women in my family), type 2 diabetes (so far I've avoided it through LC), and RA. On of my sisters also has fibromyalgia, the other, major back problems and sciatica...the melanoma thing is also a familial thing.

I have weak genes!

So I look at all this stuff and think, Thank God I found LC because I can imagine how much more miserable I would be if I were still eating low-fat and high-sugar. I'd be covered with melanomas by now, those buggers EAT glucose, and I'm quite content to starve them out! I'd have type 2 diabetes, and my RA would be crippling me... I'd need a much bigger dose of thyroid meds to get my sluggish metabolism moving... life would be one big unhappy pill box. Oh, I bet I'd be chronically depressed, too, since that also runs in the family.

I don't think I'll ever know the answer to the "How did I get so messed up?" question, but I don't think it matters. What matters is how I am now. Now, I'm dealing with this stuff and not obsessing over it or freaking out about it. It's just part of my life, part of who I am.

I am NOT sick.

Comment by Max on 12-31-2003 07:01 AM
Making a suggestion but not wishing this one you. Given your symptoms, one of the things I would check out is celiac disease. It produces strange symptoms because in addition to screwing up you gut, it messes with your absorption of nutients so you end up deficient in things. It can also create symptoms of pain due to general production of cytokines from the self-immune reactions. On low carb you probably don't get to much in the way of gluten unless you are using the wheat protein isolate products but even a tiny bit of gluten can keep the celiac symptoms going. Celiac is something that is a lot more common in the population than most doctors realize because they have been taught that it occurs in childhood. It turns out that for many of us it doesn't really start to act up until middle age after some sort of stressor. Ask you GI doc to test you for it. If he's doing an endoscopy anyway make sure he gets biopsy samples and he can also give you a blood test for antibodies to gluten and transglutaminase.

Comment by QuietI on 12-31-2003 12:04 PM
Thanks, Max -- this does make sense to me. I was tested for "leaky gut" and was found to be deficient in IGg and IGa and all those protective things -- then went through the triple-protocol for H. pylori, which did seem to help a lot.

I think one of the reasons I haven't been tested for food sensitivities is that I'm afraid to find out! I don't want to have to give up wheat/gluten altogether -- in truth, I eat very little, but that little, I do truly enjoy. I have always been a baker, and now I bake LC muffins or breakfast things once or twice a week... I suppose I can switch completely to nut and other flours, but I'm being a little childish here and don' wanna! I will definitely bring this up with the GI doc.

Thanks so much.

Comment by babybee on 12-31-2003 05:01 PM
HI there. Just thinking of you fondly.


Comment by Max on 12-31-2003 06:18 PM
If you are deficient in IgG and IgA then you can't take the blood test for celiac. It tests for gliaden antibodies and transglutaminase antibodies in these two groups. If you want to know for sure you would have to do the endoscopy. Or just do the no gluten for a few months and see if it helps. I can make a huge difference in quality of life if that is the problem.

Comment by QuietI on 12-31-2003 10:29 PM
Thanks for all the info, Max. I know before I did the H. pylori thing I was testing as immune compromised (if I understand it correctly), all the "secretory IGx" levels were too low to measure. Supposedly, after th H. pylori treatment, they were to improve, but I don't think I've ever had them retested. So I don't know if they bounced back or not.

It's funny, I have all these autoimmune conditions, but my antibodies never show up. My thyroid antibodies have never been detectable altho it's certain I have Hashimoto's thyroid disease, given the nodules I have. I also always test negative for rheumatoid factor, but the rheumatologist dx'd me with RA anyway based on physical exam, ultrasound, and symptoms.

You have certainly given me a lot to think about, and I will get all my questions in order for the GI doc when I see him later this month.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

a little bit here & there

DH took the in-laws to the airport early (6AM) this morning, and let me sleep in until about 9, I think -- or was it 10? I think it was 10! OMG, I am so spoiled! However, I made up for it by taking the 3 kiddos out with me on my grocery run, and we got lunch while we were out, too. When we got home he was upstairs napping and didn't come down till nearly 4, so I hope he made up for his lost sleep.

The kids were good today, not too restless, playing with new toys and new computer games (love them) and watching Nickelodean -- now that Christmas is over I don't mind them being inundated with ads so much, ! I went off by myself to Target to pick up a few things and that was nice, then came home and put together dinner from the last of our Christmas turkey leftovers. I'm truly sad they are gone, as everything was sooo good. Ah, well.

So, it was an easy day, nothing much happened, just attended to drippy noses and little appetites and whatnot -- it's nice to have a day where you really don't have to think too much about anything. Or maybe that's just me, in denial, refusing to think about things? hehehe

At my last confession I told the priest, "I really feel like I should be doing more." He asked me how old the kids were, and when I told him, he said, immediately and with no trace of doubt, "You're doing enough right now. Don't worry about it!" Certainly DH doesn't pressure me to do any more than I do (besides the rare request to make cheesecake ), so I don't know why I have this feeling that I'm not "complete", something's missing, I should be doing something!

I think it goes back 4+ years to when I was laid off, really. Some part of me still thinks I should be earning some $$$, even though we are quite comfortable on DH's income. *sigh*

Stupid brain, so difficult to reprogram! After all these years, you'd think I'd be over that. Well, no, I don't, because I still occasionally have twinges of the doubts planted by my ex-husband surfacing, from time to time, and that was over 10 years ago! Yikes. Fortunately they are very weak and wispy now and so I can easily beat them off, but for years those doubts were very debilitating.

I've noticed quite a few women here at the forum going through similar recoveries, finding "themselves" again. While I'm glad that they are on this journey, it makes me sad to think that so many of us get into these relationships where we just lose ourselves, and the sense of our own values. It's the worst thing that can happen to a person, and it happens way, way too often. You can bet that I am on guard to teach my DD to be her own person and never, ever, let anyone take that away from her!

Still, I'm sure my own DM thought she did the same for me, and look where I ended up? Well, I ended up good but for almost a decade there I was "lost" to myself and to my own family! Yikes, again. What a colossal waste. Sometimes, I mourn those years. But then I think, if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have met DH when we were both ready, and I wouldn't be here now. God works in mysterious ways, indeed.

"Be still, and know that I Am." I keep reminding myself of that, whenever I feel myself getting too wound up over something. So far, it's helping.


Monday, December 29, 2003

up way too late, again!

The in-laws are leaving very early in the morning, DH will be up at 5:30 to take them to the airport... I hope the kiddos sleep in or I will be a wreck tomorrow! Fortunately, there isn't anything that we have to do, besides buy milk.

I think DH has been home for too many consecutive days because we had 2 or 3 little bickerfests today, which is unusual for us. Sometimes I get annoyed at how oblivious he is to just about everything. The man is a wonder, truly, and I love him to pieces, but how could he not notice that the chocolate coins from the kids' Christmas stockings have been sitting on the island counter in the kitchen since Christmas morning? I mean, they've been there for 4 days. Yes, there is a lot of other stuff on the counter, but it's not like they were buried. DH accuses me of thinking he should be clairvoyent. That's not it -- it's just that sometimes, he only sees what he wants to see, and he definitely only HEARS what he wants to hear.

Second tiff was over the shirt I bought him for Christmas. It's a beautiful dark blue silk and cotton blend from Ralph Lauren. He would look spectacular in it (big blue eyes of his and all). After hemming and hawing about the "dry clean only" tag (I told him, that just means "wash in cold water and don't put it in the dryer", I've been dealing with silk blends for years), he says, "OK, I guess I'll keep it." Today, though, after his Mom jokingly suggested he get a makeover from the Queer Eye guys, he finally admitted to me that he won't ever wear it to work, which is of course why I bought it for him -- so back it goes to the dept. store. Honest to God, I knew I would have to return it, but I was hoping, just hoping, that maybe he'd give a little on this issue.

THEN we had a tiff over the fact that I literally can not buy him clothes other than socks and underwear, and I've been known to screw that up, too. When I informed him that by far the majority of wives do buy their husbands clothes, he proclaimed that "weird", even though his own Mom said she always buys his Dad's clothes... and of course my Mom bought most of my Dad's clothes (except business suits) when he was still living... every wife I know buys her husband clothes. Except me, I'm not allowed, because everything I pick out is of questionable taste (!!!) or just not exactly like what he already has, and so he won't wear it. I said, wouldn't you rather not have the hassle of having to go out and get stuff? He said it's no trouble, but of course it is, if he ever needs anything it turns into some kind of production. Bah!

If I could only get him to wear some sort of pants other than black jeans, I would be making some real progress there,

So, you see how idyllic my life is, that is the kind of stuff DH and I argue about! At least I have things in perspective, and we ended the day quite friendly watching "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", which was too long and too slowly paced but interesting, better than I expected it to be, actually.

We all 7 of us went out to lunch at Claim Jumpers where I totally splurged and got, not only a Duvel (my absolute fav Belgian ale) but also ordered fish 'n' chips. I didn't eat the breading on the fish but did eat quite a few fries... ended up on carb-overload today and paid for it with digestive woes this evening. Ick. My body always lets me know when I've eaten too much or the wrong thing -- everything just goes right through me.

I've been drinking lots of water, though, and that is definitely helping.

So, the long week of vacation stretches out before us. We'll take down the tree and put everything back to 'normal' (and maybe the cat will stop pooping on the carpet? I hope!). Then Jan 5 my mom comes in for 2 months and that will be another adjustment. I love having her here but I know she is going to nag me about doing stuff (as in, too much), because my surgery was not that long ago. Well, I'll just have to jump off that bridge when I come to it, right?

OK, enough mindless babble and off to bed! Yikes, look at the time!

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Early anniversary presents

DH brought me a dozen red roses today, before we decided whether or not we were going out tonight, and what exactly we would do. They're gorgeous.

About 4-ish he said, C'mon, lets drive over to the arena and see if we can get tickets to the game tonight. It was opening night of the Coyotes new arena in Glendale, and we had been looking online for tickets for a few weeks -- there was stuff available but for major $$$. I wasn't too hopeful about getting tickets, but as DH said, "Hey, it's nice drive out there." Since his folks are here, it was not a big deal to just take off -- they have been dying to babysit for us.

It was cooold tonight! I bundled up in about 5 layers and I have still been cold all night. I had my big scarf wrapped around me and even that didn't keep me warm as we walked around the stadium casually looking for people with tickets to sell. Finally we saw a guy who was obviously selling tickets, offered us upper level seats for 2x face value, when we said we wanted seats in the lower level, he said he could do them for face value, but he had to call someone to get them... then this nice guy comes over and says, "You want lower level, good seats? How good?" He had 2 club level seats ($100 each) that he was selling for face value... I wasn't sure DH would go for it, but he did! Good thing we stopped for cash on the way there, !

These were primo seats in the bar/restaurant end of the arena, and the tickets came with coupons for a free dinner entree at the "action station" and 1 free drink, too. We each had pan-seared sea scallops on this lovely salad. Unfortunately the pecans in the salad were glazed, and there was also roasted corn in it., too. Also, I must not forget the rosemary breadsticks which came with it that I thoroughly enjoyed because I am a complete sucker for rosemary.

So, the seats were great, the food was awesome, and the arena was spectacular... the game, however, was boring and the Yotes lost 3-1. sigh. They really have to pick it up if they expect to keep audience attention. But still, it was great being there for opening night. We've been to all the major openings since we arrived here -- the Yotes first game at AWA, and the Diamondback's first game at Bank One Ballpark... we lost both of those games, too, !

My first few dates with DH back when we first met were just "Come over to watch the Bruins" type things. The first time we met I remember the subject of hockey came up and he was so surprised: "You like hockey!?" Hehehe -- when you're growing up in a house with 1 TV and a Dad and 4 brothers who like sports, you pretty quickly learn to like sports if you want to hang out in the den with everyone else.

So, tomorrow is the actual anniversary, nine years. Wow. Definitely better than the 9 that preceded them, that's for sure! All in all, if my life continues on this trend, but the time I'm in my 70s, everything will be perfect. Then again if things just level off right here I'll be wildly happy. It's good to recognize when good things are happening. I'm grateful.

I should go climb into bed and warm up now... brrrrrr!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

a merry little Christmas

Only little because there were 7 of us, altogether, home all day -- but it was really merry and wonderful.

The kids slept in till 8:30, and that was a gift right there. We let them open their Santa stuff first, then breakfast, then a looong time opening the presents from everyone else. The kids were really happy with everything they got. DS2, who had asked Santa for a polar bear, found his nice squishy-huggable bear on the top of his Santa bag and just sat there hugging it and saying, "My polar bear!" over and over, with this look of absolute joy on his face, for at least 5 minutes... it was the cutest thing. He loved his fossils, too.

For lunch I made stuffed mushrooms -- but found we had no crab! Arg! Instead I used some salad shrimp and whizzed them in the food processor. They came out great even with the substitution. Then I made the baked brie using sf maple syrup instead of honey, and it was soooo yummy, seriously, I could've eaten the whole thing.

The turkey came out great, as did the stuffing (made way too much), and the gravy -- oh, my! I put the xanthan gum in a tea strainer and shook a tiny bit into the liquid while I whisked furiously... it came out fantastic. My inlaws were very pleased with everything, even though it was totally LC -- f-i-l complemented my "potatoes" !

Ate way too much but don't care -- it's only one day and I don't feel bad, now...

I helped DS1 put together several Bionicle guys and man, those things are cool. Also, unpacked all 5 of DD's "My Little Pony" toys. She loves them so much! She also colored 12 pages of her MLP coloring book! She did try her "Barbie Swan Lake" PC Game, but she got frustrated -- it is way more complicated than her "Barbie Rapunzel" game. I actually played the whole thing through tonight so I could help her with it. It has some quirks but it is a pretty cool game. You just have to pay more attention to details and actually do things, as opposed to just coloring things. I'm not sure if she'll like it all that much, as it challenging. There's one game where you have to catch the fireflies -- man, that was annoying!

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time playing today, too. DH got me a digital camera, it's still in the box! Hee. Also, he got me a gift certificate for a 1/2 hour "discovery flight" on a 4-seater plane. I'm not sure if I'll enjoy that or be too terrified to, !

Now... DH is watching "Sometimes They Come Back", a lame made-for-tv Stephen King movie! Perfect Christmas stuff, huh?

a busy, lovely day

It really was kind of a crazy day, but everything worked out fine.

We prepped all the veggies and everything for dinner tomorrow, so it will be a snap. The only reason I'm in here now is because I unwrapped the turkey and it was a solid block of ice inside, so now I'm running cold water in it to loosen that up -- it's not frozen all the way through, just still a bit frosty inside, and after a bit here I'll go rinse it out and it will be all ready to go for tomorrow.

My crazy sibling has found some sense and called around to everyone and said, "Hey, I'm not mad at anyone, I'm just going to stay at my own home and have a little Christmas Eve thing here, no problems, no worries." So, that's a good thing, everyone is much relieved because honestly, our family is so together, the idea of one of us turning away from the others really hurt us all, but now that is not what happened. Thank God, and I mean it, somehow He must have shown her the light, because I believe it took some honest Divine intervention to get her to change! *whew*

We had the easiest time ever setting up Santa, the only thing DH had to assemble was a mini-trampoline, which took him all of 5 minutes. You couldn't even get to the tree before we put the Santa stuff out, now it's even worse, although Santa did bring a lot of books, DVDs, and computer games this year !

All my brothers and sisters are making dibs on my fruitcakes, so I think I'm going to have to make some more! We've already demolished one, gleefully. I wish I had more blueberries dried already, then I could make some Friday, as it is, it will have to wait until Saturday the earliest as it takes forever for the berries to dry. I think I need to do some more cranberries too. Perhaps I should look into one of those dehydrater things? :hmm:

Off to clean up that turkey and go to bed. Can't wait to see the little ones' excitement in the morning.

Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

too pooped to pop

Uh, today... where did it ago? Another day of too much activity and I'm exhausted at 8PM!

OK, so today, did some grocery shopping and as far as I know right now, I will not have to shop tomorrow (a great thing), becauase I got everything we need for dinner on Thursday.

This afternoon I put 3 racks of ribs on the grill on low heat for an hour, and then wrapped them in foil to finish baking until dinner -- "the meat falls off the bone!" They were very well-received by everyone, even DS2 was eating the meat off the bone all by himself. The meal was rounded out with coleslaw and my baby corn bread, and everyone really liked everything. I'm stuffed, but with good food so that's OK.

I also got started on my fruitcake. I found the original recipe from Alton Brown and decided to add back in smaller amounts of fruits that were included there: golden raisins, currants (actually I'm using prunes), dried apricots, and ginger. I chopped the fresh ginger then cooked it for a few minutes in sf vanilla syrup to make it sweet -- I really think fruitcake needs that ginger "bite".

So now we're relaxing for a few minutes and we'll soon get the kids into bed. I need to get the fruitcakes in the oven and I also need to bake bread for the stuffing, but I think I'll just do that tomorrow, and concentrate on getting the fruitcakes done tonight.

We've rented "Pirates of the Caribbean" to watch tonight, too -- I'm psyched to finally get to see it! I can't believe I didn't get to see it in the theater . Life is too busy sometimes.

The psycho family situation continues. Various people have tried to intervene with my insane sibling, to no avail. It's sad but none of us needs this additional stress, so if this sibling decides that an Ex is more important than actual family, that's just a bad decision, and the rest of us are trying to remain calm about it.

If that were not happening, I would be perfectly content, in spite of being tired. I'm not feeling stressed right now, as the stuff to be done is quite manageable, especially with Nana and Papa here. It's wonderful how much time they spend with the kids -- it's great to get them away from the tv and computers! I do keep praying that everyone else can find some peace, too, and have a happy Christmas!

busy day

My in-laws arrived late this afternoon, that's the big news. Before that, though, I was on the go all day it seemed, running out with all 3 kids to see the rheumatologist, then stopping at the post office -- finally mailed my secret santa package, and my Christmas cards! Back home, more laundry, and feeding the kids lunch, and picking up here & there. Also wrapping the last of the gifts and getting them under the tree and out of the guest room!

Before dinner, I made a delicious chocolate peanut butter zucchini bread from Diana Lee's Baking Low Carb 2, in my new silicone bundt pan -- came out yummy. I hadn't made it in a long time, and usually I use liquid saccharine. Today I was able to use my concentrated liquid Splenda, and it really is fantastic, no saccharine after taste! Yay! .After dinner, I put together the "You won't believe it's low carb bread pudding" recipe from the forum, and it smells simply divine. Before bed, i want to mix up a batch of Chocolate Crinkle cookies and get them in the fridge for baking tomorrow. I will find the energy somewhere.

Well, the family situation has blown up as we expected it would (see recent entry). When savior sibling was informed that the Ex was not welcome at the family Christmas Eve celebration, sibling decided not to attend, either. Now this is just a bad decision. It's sad that my sib is choosing to snub all the rest of the family, in favor of an Ex who has hurt many of us, many times, in the past. My poor mom is stressing over this, I know she is, and several of my other siblings and their children are stressed over it, too.

I'm so happy my in-laws are here. The only problem, really, is that both boys have very stuffy/runny noses with coughs, and DD has chronic sniffles, too. We gave them cold medicine before bed and setup the vaporizers in their room. All we can do is wait it out,and hope it doesn't progress into anything more serious. Still, the kids were so charming with their Nana and Papa today.

It's wonderful to have more family around for Christmas. I am so very blessed.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

exhausted, again

One of DD's classmates had a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. While it was less horrid than I thought it would be -- it was actually pretty nice -- it still completely wiped me out. I'm simply not used to being up & about for 4 hours straight, which is what this turned out to be, with the driving.

Still, have to clean out the guest room tonight as my in-laws are arriving tomorrow and it won't do for them to not be able to even turn around in there! All the gifts are stashed in there, some wrapped, some not -- what a hassle! I guess we will put them under the tree, after all. I will deal with DS2's curiousity when it surfaces. It should be easier to deal with when Nana and Papa are here -- more grownups to do the policing.

DH was awesome today and mopped all the tile down here, then vaccuumed upstairs and down (something that still really kills me). He's happy because no one can beat him now in the football pool, so he has major bragging rights.

Finally did the Christmas cards yesterday, and way underestimated how many I needed, so then I had to figure out who would get the photo cards, and who would get regular cards... then sorting out all the extra photos I ordered to send to people, yikes! It was quite a task.

Then, stayed up late after falling asleep on the couch for like 2 or 3 hours, because The Two Towers was on Starz! and I wanted to see the Ents take down Isengard again.

I really need to get to bed at a decent hour tonight. I'm seeing my rheumatologist in the morning, we'll see how that goes... have to take all 3 kids with me but we will be OK. I hope! At least it gives them something to do!

My mom is coming out for Jan and Feb, we bought her ticket today online together. That's a good thing.

The other family thing that came up is just beyond the pale, to me -- one of my siblings has given refuge to the Ex of one of my other siblings, and it is causing a lot of upheaval: the Ex is NOT invited to Christmas, and the "savior" sibling doesn't get how many of us in the family have been hurt and/or betrayed by the Ex, so why shouldn't the Ex come to Christmas? My mom has put her foot down and said, No -- I hope my sib does not hassle my mom, she really doesn't need this stress. Then of course yet another one of my sibs (there are 7 of us altogether) is hosting a Christmas Eve thing, and savior sib wants to bring the Ex to that -- oh, what a mess!

I am technically out of the loop on this because I live so far away there's no question of me being there for Christmas this year, but of course I hear about it from everyone, probably because I am so far away. I'm siding with my mom and the Christmas Eve-hosting sibling on this one, btw, as one of the folks that this Ex betrayed. I don't wish anything bad on this person. I just wish this person would stay away from our family. The Ex made the decision to leave, my sib wanted the Ex to stay and work things out, but the Ex refused, walked away from all of us, years ago. Now my sibling has a whole new family! Of course, the Ex does not care about that.

Some people refuse to accept the consequences of their actions, and this Ex has been that way in the past. To me, this is just more of the same, thinking "Oh, I can do whatever I want, and it won't matter because they'll forget about it and forgive me and let me come back..." Well, forgiveness is one thing and we all realize this person had a very difficult life before marrying my sib, so I'm pretty sure the forgiveness and understanding are there. However, we're not forgetting, and we're not letting this person back into our lives -- why should we set ourselves up for abuse again? As I said, I have no wish that anything but good things should happen to this person, who has had a tough life. But at a certain point, the tough life is a result of the Ex's own decisions, and there's nothing we can do about that.

My biggest concern now regarding this is that it does not stress my mom and other brothers and sisters -- we are all stretched so thin over the holidays, anyway. ***sigh***

Saturday, December 20, 2003

lazy morning

I'm still in my robe & pjs. The kids are zoning in front of the Disney Channel, and DH is puttering around doing something to set up a tv in the guest room so his dad will be able to escape the madness that our house sometimes becomes and watch tv in peace.

I am fully supportive of this, because when you live mostly by yourself (m-i-l still works full time), you get used to having what I call "head time", time when there are no other people around you making demands, and you're mostly in your own head, doing what you want to do. It's very difficult to go and immerse yourself in another household and deal with so many extra people, all the time. So I'm glad we've got the escape route/pressure valve for Papa.

Now I'm thinking I should just bite the bullet and finish wrapping all the presents, because everything is in the guest room right now, and there won't be room for my in-laws when they arrive! But I don't feel like doing anything.

I've had a nice time this morning reading everyone's journals. I am so impressed with Doggie's store and all the hard work she is putting in. I saw in our newspaper this morning that retailers are expecting today to be the biggest retail day of the year, and I hope Doggie has a busy day! She really deserves to succeed.

I have to say, too, that she is inspiring me -- I read the little newspaper article about her and have the same feelings as she does, I want to share what I've learned with the world. I still think there is a market for my weekly newspaper column idea, I just have to work out something in my own head to give myself a schedule to actually write it! I have so many ideas but so little discipline...

Also I am thinking about writing a column for LCL, but I'm trying to decide what I'd like to write about for them. I would love to contribute more to this community.

Right now I am enjoying being "on vacation" from any kind of work besides taking care of the kids and the house, but also I get restless. Now is not the time to be making decisions about what to do and when to do it, though. I still get tired and very grumpy from the surgery, with little aches and pains that should fade with time. Nothing serious, just enough to make me not feel like doing anything. I'm just going to take it easy (as easy as possible, considering the holidays and everything) and see how it goes...

Friday, December 19, 2003

All I wanted was a cup of coffee

I don't know what is with the kids today, but I wish I could just get out of here for an hour or two and take a break from them.

Friday is our end-of-the-week Border's Cafe day. I really look forward to it, especially since they started stocking a bunch of different sf DaVinci's flavors. I can not tell you how wonderful it is to order a delicious (whole milk, decaf) mocha and know that I'm not screwing myself up by having 800 g of carbs in one 16-ounce drink.

Plus, I love books and all reading materials so much that just walking in the door lifts my spirits. The kids like it too, and sometimes we listen to music at the music stations, or look at some of the magazines, or whatnot. Point is, it's usually a really nice way to start the weekend.

Today DS1 had early release, so we picked him up and went to Sam's Club and got pizza at their cafe, then did some shopping and came home. The kids were all fine at Sam's, then when we got home DS1 went into some kind of major droop. I figured he'd be ok after an hour or two of downtime... about 3pm I asked about going to Borders and he absolutely freaked out. Crying, screaming, the whole 9 yards -- "I'm tired," "I'm cranky" (duh), "I hate Borders," (liar, liar, pants on fire) all sorts of crap. Of course the other 2 are now upset because they want to go, and he doesn't...

I asked DS1 if I could call the neighborhood girl who sometimes comes over to stay with him so the rest of us could go, and he freaked out even more over that. Then I explained to him that even though he didn't want to go, I just wanted to go and get my coffee and relax together for a while, and I didn't think it was too much to ask him. Of course he disagreed.

I even called DH for his advice, I was so irritated. He talked to DS1 for a while and he seemed to be calming down but then he went right off the deep end again.

Eventually I made him eat a snack and then he managed to get control of himself. By that time it was 4:45 and I was exhausted so I said just forget it. But I'm really annoyed, because I wanted to wish the regular staff there a Merry Christmas, and now I won't see them until next year. We go there so often that everyone knows us, and they look out for us and are always so nice. Going there is one of my little pleasures and I really appreciate it, and so now I'm really resenting that I couldn't go today.

Yes, I am spoiled, but is it really too much to ask? An hour or so spent in the car and in a bookstore/cafe? Is that so bad?

So, instead, I'm doing my NINTH load of laundry this week (sheets, sheets, and more sheets) and I have some idea of what we're having for dinner but all I really want is my mocha. grrr

Oh, and, the cat waited for us to come home from Sam's, and then she went and pooped by the Christmas tree! Oh, I could've killed her. Between the kids and the cat, I'm so wishing I was dependent-free right now!

Boy, do I need an attitude adjustment!

On the plus side of the column, there are no more classes or school or anything to drive to until after the holidays, so that's great. In-laws are coming on Monday, and I love them, it will be great to have them here. I have two pans of blueberries drying in the oven, and then I will be all set to make my LC fruitcake, since I finally remembered to buy brandy today.

DH is working till 6pm, so I have to keep it together until he gets home close to 6:30... only a half-hour to go, if I keep my nose glued to the screen here, maybe the kids will get the idea that I want them to leave me alone? Fat chance, DS2 is right here beside me, nagging me to play a game on the laptop... :rolls eyes:

Is there a prayer for patience? Other than the usual, "Lord, give me patience, NOW!" (hehehe) -- I could use one.

overwhelmed, exhausted, renewed

I've been busy working on mittens (done) and a scarf for DD, so less time for toodling around on the computer.

Yesterday was fantastic: did storytime with DS2 in the morning, then just after lunch the babysitter (a dear friend) came, and DH came and picked me up, and we went to the 2:50 show of The Return of the King, which I loved, though it was long and there was a lot of stuff that felt like "tying up loose ends" but I didn't mind. Sam just stole my heart. I hope Sean Astin gets a best actor nomination, whenever those things happen. I hope he wins.

After the movie we went to this Brazilion restaurant, Fogo e Braja, where we ate way too much. I was LC all the way until I totally splurged on dessert, but hey, you gotta live, right?
At this restaurant, they have a big salad bar, which is very nice and has fish and chicken dishes on it, too. Then they bring side dishes (carbs, carbs, and more carbs) to the table for you to eat what you want, with the meats. The meats... several guys are wandering around the dining room with cuts of meat to slice off for you. It is somewhat embarrassing to list all the things I had: top sirloin (twice), flank steak, tri tip, pork loin, sausage, chicken, and I'm pretty sure there was something else that I'm forgetting. Also, pineapple, that was luscious, just grilled plain, nothing on it. All the meats were absolutely superb, perfectly cooked.

Of course this place costs a fortune, but this is literally the first date DH and I have had in about a year, so we didn't care.

A nice thing was we got home at a very decent hour, just after 8, and so put the kids to bed ourselves, and had plenty of time to "recover" from dinner. I was so stuffed!

Today started out more somber... Rosie, our cat, was definitely missing. She's old and stupid. OK, let me give her some credit: she's an indoor cat, and if she gets out, she gets easily confused because she doesn't go out often enough to know her way around, and the houses around here are all very similar. I still had to get the kids to school, etc. Also, since today was DD's last day of school before the break, I was up early and baking mini-loaves of quick bread for her teachers. (I've low-carbed them all successfully, just don't ask for the recipes!) Cranberry-blueberry, lemon yogurt (I usually make as muffins), zucchini bread, all before 11:30... sometimes I amaze myself.

I used my mini-loaf pan from Pampered Chef which has been sitting in my closet, unused, for well over a year now, and I loved it! It was truly awesome. And so easy to clean, and I like that it makes these 4 nice little loaves. Sometimes with the bigger loaves, especially when cooking LC, the outside cooks much faster than the inside, and that shouldn't such a problem with stoneware pan.

All morning I was choking up about the cat -- I had done a little walk around our immediate area this morning but didn't see her. On previous occasions when she has escaped, she's always been waiting just outside the door, wanting to come in and eat again, I think. This morning, she was nowhere in sight and didn't come when called, so I was sure she had wandered off and been eaten by a hawk or coyote or something. (Hey, it could happen. Not usually in Chandler, but it could happen.)

After bringing DD home (and delivering the breads to her teachers), we walked down to check the storm drains to see if Rosie was hiding there. We see feral cats coming in and out of them all the time. She wasn't there. On the way back home, I'm feeling quite sad, and we're walking so sloooowly because DS2 has such little legs. I'm looking across the street when DD says, "That cat looks like Rosie," and points to a cat hunkered down by a garage door, directly across the street from our house. I looked at the cat and said, "That's because that cat is Rosie!" And I scooped her up and brought her home.

She's none the worse for the wear, although she has been eating pretty steadily. She let me brush her quite a bit this afternoon which was great. She always sheds when she's stressed, and gobs of hair were coming off of her.

That was such a relief, to find her. My heart was breaking over the thought of her in pain or peril. She's really the only pet I've ever had.

So then, we hadn't had lunch it was already 1:30 and I needed to go to Target to get a gift certificate for DS1's teacher, so we all got in the car and went to BK for lunch and then to Target and then home and then out again to pick up DS1 and drop off his teacher's gift... way too much running around today.

Kids were all picking on each this afternoon, and that just got me so frazzled that I actually passed out for about a half hour upstairs after DH got home. He actually made dinner for the kids and himself, I just had some leftover cream of aspargus soup (Trader Joe's, it's OK but I don't think I'll buy it again) and some cheese and crackers. I felt a lot better after that nap.

DD's scarf is nearly done and I think i want to polish it off tonight so I'm outta here. Tomorrow is another crazy day, lots of errands planned and DS1 has early release from school, too. Wheeee! I'm about to get on the big Christmas tilt-a-whirl. I only hope I survive. I'm getting more excited about Christmas and especially psyched to have 2 whole weeks where I don't have to drive anyone around! Yay!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Odd day

I would say I didn't do anything, but that's not true as I finished DD's mittens and have done about 8" of scarf already. She loves the mittens and wore them all around the house this afternoon. She's so cute. You have to understand, it rarely gets colder than 55 degrees here, and it's only that cold in the evenings -- although I suppose it does get colder at night and we have had the occasional frost -- whenever we are outside it's usually at least in the 60s. The idea of needing mittens is pretty ludicrous, but she wanted them, so there ya go.

I managed today, even though I was exhausted... put laundry away and cleaned up the kitchen and got the cranberries drying in the oven as we speak. I think it's going to take a week! My oven doesn't go as low as was suggested (it only goes down to 170), but it doesn't seem as if that is too hot. They are definitely drying out, not cooking. Hopefully they'll be ok. What a PITA!

Tomorrow, have to take the cat to the vet. Eh. She hasn't been feeling well and has been leaving little presents around the house lately. The first I thing I do when I come down in the morning is look around and see if she's left anything for me to clean up. The vet thinks her thyroid is going hyper, as this is a typical symptom, but I don't know. She doesn't seem all that ravenous, although she has lost weight. Who knows what is going on with her. I think she just gets annoyed with me and this is how she shows it? We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

I can't wait for this week to be over, honestly. I'm so tired of driving around everywhere with the kids. I carried DS2 around quite a bit this morning as he was grumpy and that helps him feel better, but now my abs are totally killing me (it's a post-op thing, I'm sure). Also, my stomach is funky again I'm wondering if it's because 1) I've had way too little sleep over the last 4 to 5 days and this sometimes happens when I'm exhausted 2) it's a remnant of the stomach bug I had weeks ago which is staging a comeback (doesn't feel like it) 3) a side effect of all that lifting and carrying this morning or 4) because I'm finally out of the acid blockers one of my docs put me on temporarily to try and treat something else.

For dinner I had cream of asparagus soup from TJ's made with half-and-half and about 20 Kashi TLC crackers. I love those crackers. Everyone else had leftovers from various restaurant trips recently. It wasn't the most successful dinner but at least the kids ate the waffle fries!

The kids have set up all their stuffed animals around the Christmas tree, on the couch. They (the animals) are having a "before Christmas party" at midnight, I've been told. I'm sure it's going to be a wild scene, but I'm hoping to be in bed long before then. We'll see.

Back to the knitting!

slug mode

I don't feel like doing anything today.

Stayed up until 2AM working on laundry and ... knitting. The mittens are done, I just need to sew them up and work in the ends, so they should be really finished sometime today. That is, if I ever decide to actually do anything.

Still haven't done the breakfast dishes. Need to put the laundry away... spent the last hour or so toodling away on the computer here. Still have to assemble & ship my Secret Santa package, too!

Why does my motivation always come after 11PM?!?!?

Sunday, December 14, 2003

What a great day!

The worst thing that happened today is I realized I made a mistake in DD's mittens about 3 inches ago, so I had to rip out a bunch of knitting and do it over.

Now -- if that's the worst thing that happened, wasn't today a GREAT day?

It started great with the news about Saddam, which was the first thing I heard as DH called the news up the stairs. I made a nice breakfast, then headed out for coffee with the girls. Afterwards I finished up my Secret Santa shopping .

Came home, hung out with the kids and DH and watched football, and all DH's picks won, so he's first for the year in his football pool at work. It's not very much $, it's just bragging rights, but he was very cute and happy about all his teams winning.

Later we drove up to Glendale to see the Coyote's new arena. It was only open till 4PM, and we took the loooong way there, so we got there just at 4. They weren't going to let us in but I kinda begged and pleaded and they let us go in for just a second, so at least we got to see it -- it's gorgeous, not a bad seat in the house. We're still trying to eBay tickets for opening night... we shall see.

On the way home we stopped for an early dinner at Rockfish. I got my favoritie, the grilled scallops and salad, with their fantastic remoulade dressing. And a HUGE margarita (that was my carb allowance for the day and then some, probably) Wheeee! Their margaritas are so good, not in the least bit bitter. I don't know what they use that's different from everyone else, but they're just so yummy.

Came home and watched some of the new "Dinosaur Planet" with the kids until their bedtime, started the laundry (so late! eeep!) and settled in with my knitting again.

Tomorrow the rat race starts again, but I know it's only one more week until vacation, and I swear I am more excited about it than the kids are! I just hope everyone stays healthy.

Last night I fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up until 1:15AM when I dragged my butt upstairs to bed. Technically I think I fell asleep just after midnight, which isn't all that bad. I'd like to do a lot better than that tonight, though.

I have to laugh because I stayed up late last night... knitting!

Saturday, December 13, 2003


Well, I stayed up till 3:30 this morning, but I got all my family packages wrapped and packed. Then up at 8 this morning, and out to the post office where there was, miraculously, no line, and I got them all shipped ($100! eep! I always forget how much it's going to cost to ship everything. This year was actually less than several previous years.)

Also got all the pictures ordered yesterday, so I feel incredibly light today -- I'm done! Well, not really, as I still have to wrap all the presents for our family here, and I still have to get out the Christmas cards, but they won't be ready until next Friday. But the big time-dependent agenda items have been crossed off, now I should just be able to breeze into Christmas. I hope.

I also hope to get a nap today. We'll see. That never seems to work out, somehow.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Big fat letter from the IRS!

OH NO! They're saying we owe them over $3K from tax year 2001, but I read the letter and it really doesn't make any sense. They said we took a deduction for the installation of a pay phone, which we definitely did NOT do -- hopefully it will be easy to clear up.

DH's accountant does our personal taxes, so I just faxed the letter and all the attachments off to him. His assistant called me to say she got it and that she will have him look at it and call us back next week. I am freaked out about it. DH told me not to freak out, it's only money, but seriously, $3K?!?!? that's too much to fit into the "only" category, as far as I'm concerned.

In other news, I took my BP at Sam's today and it was 88/53, my pulse was 89. This is another thing that I simply do not understand. Up until about 2 years ago, my BP was great -- 110/65, usually. For some reason, for the past 2 years, it has been averaging 20 points lower. None of my doctors seems to care about it, though, but I just want to know WHY it would be so low, and if it is a symptom of something else going on. Maybe it's related to all the other problems I've been having (thyroid, adrenals, etc). I guess generally it's better to have lower BP, anyway. It still annoys me. I like to know what's going on.

DS1 had a field trip to Stuffington Bear Factory today with his class. I gave him some extra cash so he could buy some clothes for his bear (or whatever animal he chooses). Last time they had a field trip, I didn't think to give any extra cash and he was upset when all the other kids were getting stuff and he couldn't. I hope he does OK today. He had a tendency to freak out in different-from-usual situations, but he has matured so much lately that I hardly even think of that anymore.

Started my Secret Santa shopping today, and will finish up this weekend, hope to get all my shipping out on Monday. AND I finally did all my photo orders in! Hallelujah! I did stay up till 1:30AM doing it, though. At least I wasn't just watching stupid TV. I made 6 digital orders through Ofoto (their prices have come way down, so now it actually makes sense to use them), and then I went through 6 rolls of film (going back to last May! Ack!) and ordered prints for various grandparents, godparents, and aunts and uncles. Today we went to Sam's and ordered everything... only 18cents a print, you can't beat that with a stick.

Almost time to pick up DS1 from school, then off to Border's for my "high maintenance mocha". I really *need* that coffee today!

better, now

Well, we went to Borders and had our usual fun, although the kids wanted both the chocolate baby bundt cake and the giant cinnamon roll. I caved, because I had a $5 off gift card from buying children's books, and I also had a $25 gift card from our Discover Card cashback bonus, so that's "free money". I still have $19 left on the big gift card, so it wasn't so much of a splurge, money-wise. It was way too much food but I only had a few bites of each.

DS1 read an entire book about the Hulk, I was really impressed with how his reading is coming along. He's only in 1st grade! It was a level 2 book, too.

Our Borders is doing a special reading of "Polar Express" at 7PM and the kids really wanted to go, so I called DH, and we met for dinner at Jilly's which is quite close to Border's. Jilly's has awesome LC stuff -- a "muscle platter" of meat + caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella, basil), that's it. You can choose chicken or burger, and order by the 1/2 lb, 1 lb, or 1-1/2 lbs. It was sooo delicious.

Unfortunately, DD got a stomach ache and thought she was going to hurl so I ended up finishing my dinner quickly and getting her out of the restaurant. This has happened about 4 or 5 times recently; we think it's the lemonade, as that is what she always gets to drink since she can't tolerate milk. She was so sad and upset, although she didn't get sick. So we came home, which was actually OK because they would be so overtired if we stayed out even later.

My NF order came, with a lot of extra freebies which is nice, but no honey extract, and no cranberry, either. I fired off an email to them, so hopefully I'll get some kind of response, and soon. I'm bummed because the honey is the one I wanted the most!

Good story, from today: I bought a bottle of fancy tequila for DH for Christmas. For the first time in YEARS, I got seriously carded, as in "We card everyone 30 and younger." I told the cashier, "Honey, you must be kidding, I'm 40 years old!" She said, "You don't look it, and I need to see your I.D." So I gave her my license, and she looked and said, "Yep, there it is, 1963!"

Perhaps she was just trying to make my day? I don't care, it was nice to have someone tell me I look young. I started using Olay's "Total Effects 7x" just a few days ago, maybe it really is making a difference.

I have stopped freaking about the IRS thing. The CPA's office called and said they'll get right on it, and it looks like some kind of mix-up. Hope they're right, but I'm not going to stress about it.

My final package from Amazon came today, too, so I'm planning on starting the wrapping & packing tonight. Or, at least this weekend, anyway. I hope. That's the plan. Ahem. Right. Uhhhh... yeah.

Thursday, December 11, 2003


Just read a bunch in the forums (and posted a bunch, too, I'm so chatty these days!) and one post talked about how E causes some CYP. I've been having some minor problems in that area and got to thinking, maybe it's something I'm eating?? I was blaming the new drug I'm on for acid-blocking, but I've also been having some carb breakdowns nearly everyday, so now I don't know.

I do think the drug, Protonix (I think), is messing with my tastebuds something fierce. Some things taste sour, some taste sweet, it's weird. And then I have this weird metallic taste in my mouth sometimes, which I had when I was preggers -- and I know I'm not preggers, that's a physical impossibility! It could be hormonal, but I'm still going with the drug side effects and have to call my dr.'s office and ask about it. It has helped with my indigestion problem that just hung on forever after that stomach bug last month.

Blech. I hate being ill, or even "off", and have spent the last few years lurching from one health problem/crisis/issue to another. Today it got damp and cloudy, and it's raining now, so it's like "DUH!" no wonder my RA is flaring and I feel like dreck. So I have to call my rheumatologist, too, as there is a new drug she wanted to try me on to try and modify the disease progression. Why do I keep putting these calls off? Don't feel like doin' anything, really.

Kids were really great today, after a few bickerfests. DS1 did such a great job on his homework, it really makes me smile to see his work, and DD (just turned 5) is so proud of herself because she is working hard on learning to read and is making great progress. At dinner, she spelled "frog" for us, we just helped break down the sounds for her, and she knew all the letters. I should really work more with her on that, because she sees DS1 reading on his own and sooo wants to do it herself.

My new system of either 1) ignoring or 2) snuggling DS2 when he goes into a snit about something seems to be working well, a lot better than me freaking out and arguing with him. So it was a much more peaceful day, overall.

I spent waayyyy too much time online (here), though. maybe that's why I feel pretty OK (mentally) now, because I had lots of time to stretch my brain, so to speak.

Well... off to make my evening decaf, and maybe go through all those photos...

lazy-ish day

Secret Santa ideas: anything to help me take care of my poor feet -- lotions, scrubbers, etc. I despair of ever having heels that aren't cracked. Is it tacky to be specific? I'd like a big silicone scraper/spatula (not the spoon-scraper kind, the flat kind). I'd also like one of those gadgets that cores an apple and cuts it into 8 or so wedges at the same time, it kind of looks like a wheel? That one I would use constantly! Another thing I always look at but never buy myself are pretty hairclips or barrettes. I had short hair for many years and have finally found a good stylist who is helping me grow it out, so my hair is the longest it has been in years, and it would be nice to have some pretty pins or clips to put it back with. And that's quite enough of me being greedy!

It's 2:20PM and I haven't done anything yet today. I did do breakfast/lunch/snacks for the kids, took DD to school & picked her up again, but that's it. Finally cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast after lunch!

I had wanted to go through the photos and make up an order for both Christmas cards and reprints for all the relatives, but for some reason I just am not into it. Maybe later. It will happen, eventually, I'm sure.

DS2's Christmas fish fossils arrived today (I bought them on eBay), and they are BEAUTIFUL! Also, cheap -- only $16 for a set of 5, including shipping. I hope he likes them. I have to make a nice box for him to keep them in. I have some styrofoam I will carve out, and then glue fabric over it, and fit it into an old shoebox I can cover with nice fabric. That's a project in and of itself, but a fun one, so I'm not going to stress over it.

Finally baked last night -- my older sister's birthday was Tuesday but we didn't have a chance to talk, so yesterday we had a good "visit" phone call, almost 2 hours! But while we were yapping I made a double-batch of DC's gingerbread with zuchini, and baked it in my new silicone bundt pan. It did stick a little, but I think it's because I didn't let it cool completely before trying to get it out of the pan. Next time I may spray just to be sure. The cake came out fine, though, and I made a super-quick creamcheese "glaze" that I dumped over it, which is quite yummy. It's nice to have something around when I want a snack.

I have no idea what to make for dinner tonight. Whatever it is, it will involve leftover chicken, most likely. DH wants chicken quesadillas, but I have no tortillas that everyone else will eat. We do have some La Tortilla ones for him, though, so maybe I'll make something different for me & the kids. Or I'll just make chicken cordon bleu casserole... mmmmm.

Maybe my feeling of frustration/anticipation is related to the holidays. I am definitely feeling as if I have all this stuff hanging over me, waiting to be done, but I'm just not going to do it until my head is in the right place. If I try to do it now I will just get frustrated. Or maybe that's just an excuse, I don't know. I do feel as if I'm being a little stubborn about it, but it's not like someone is standing over my shoulder getting annoyed that I'm not doing stuff I'm supposed to be doing. Except, maybe, me! Damn Super Ego, there's no escaping it.

I'm trying to convince myself that keeping up the house is quite an accomplishment, what with the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and driving around. Not to mention doing stuff with the kids like homework, reading, crafts, cooking. I still, after all these years, have a tendency to discount all that stuff and say "that doesn't matter," but it does. It certainly takes up a lot of time! This is something I have to keep working on.

Did better on getting to bed at a reasonable hour last night, even before midnight! However, the cat came under the covers and curled up in my "lap" and slept with me for about a half-hour, and she woke me up when she woke up and got out. She hasn't slept with me like that in ages. I think it must have gotten really cold last night for her to do that! Either that, or she just loves me but I don't think that's it.

So, after the cat leaves and I settle back down, DS2 comes wandering in (at about 12:30) and just wants to snuggle with me, so I picked him up and let him sleep on me like he did when he was very little baby, until about 1AM. Then I brought him back to his own bed where he snuggled right down in his covers and kept on sleeping. So even though I got to bed before midnight, I didn't actually get to sleep well until after 1! My dependents sabotage me constantly.

I have *tons* ideas for my Secret Santa person, I can't wait to shop!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

unexpected energy

DD has been begging me to make gingerbread cookies for about 3 weeks now. They had an easy recipe in the newspaper's food section today, so I mixed up the batter this afternoon, and put it in the fridge to chill -- just before supper, I rolled it out, and the 2 little ones helped with the cookie cutters.

They came out awesome. I made some super-quick cream cheese frosting (nuke cream cheese till soft, stir in sf vanilla syrup to taste), and the kids had them for dessert. I did, too. I used Splenda instead of the sugar but everything else was the typical high carb nastiness... 2 1/2 C white flour, 1/2 C molasses... I suppose it could've been worse, ! We made rather small cookies, but I ate at least 5 or 6. One of these days the scale will start to creep up on me, and then I'll have to cut this out, but for now I'm not going to worry about it.

I am, however, going to make some LC gingerbread for DH, because he looked crestfallen when I told him that the cookies weren't LC.

In between mixing the batter and actually baking the cookies, I cleaned: 3 bathrooms, dusted the living room & family room, and vaccuumed all the tile downstairs, which is a lot. And cleaned the sliding glass door which is always handprint central. I use these microfiber cloths with just water, and it's amazing -- no streaks, and no nasty spray chemicals around the kids! They really have improved my life, those cloths.

I know it sounds weird, but I appreciate little things like this. It means I can let the kids clean the door if they want to get involved, and I don't have to worry about them inhaling Windex, or squirting it in their eyes or something.

First casualty of the Christmas season: one of my new plain gold ornaments smashed to pieces on the tile, my fault -- DD had taken it off the tree and lost the hook. I was re-hooking it, holding it with the same hand that was holding the dust cloth, and it just slipped out. My RA is flaring a little these past fews days and I've had the "dropsies" a lot. I have to remember to be extra careful holding onto things. Poor DD, I'm sure I pulled her hair this morning when I was putting it up for school, but my fingers were barely working at the time. She's such a sweetie, she understands how "mommy's hands don't work too well sometimes."

I'm glad I got something done today. Maybe now I can go to bed at a decent hour and have a good morning tomorrow.

Why do I do that?

I am totally dragging my butt today. Fatigue has permeated every last molecule of my body, and it's my own stupid fault.

Last night, DH went up to bed about 11, and I should've gone too, but wanted to watch the latest "24" on the TiVO. With commercial skipping and all, I could easily have made it into bed by midnight, I thought, and that gives me a good 7 hours of sleep, usually -- sometimes a little more.

So, what do I do? I watch "24", and it was a terrific episode, probably the best of the season. So then I didn't want to go to bed and I start surfing, and "The Joy Luck Club" was on one of the Starz movie channels (which I swear are evil, as I am always doing this to myself), and I thought, "Oh, just let me see what part it's on," and I flipped over to that.

Of course I watched the whole f'in thing, which was until 2AM, and then I switched the TV back to Noggin for the kids in the morning, and "Out There" was on, and it was a really cute episode (I've seen them all -- "The N", Noggin's bigger-kid shows, are my guilty pleasure, I watch nearly all of them) -- so I stayed up until 2:30 to watch it. I like "Out There" because the main kid totally reminds me of DS1, and lets me imagine what my own son will be like when he's a teenager.

Anyway, I was all ready for bed and curled up on the couch in a blanket and was cozy and comfy watching all this TV, and I just had inertia -- it was easier to stay there than it was to get up and go to bed.

So this morning DH let me sleep until practically 8:30! This would be wonderful except I have to get DD to her preschool supposedly by 9AM, which sooo did not happen today. I got up and threw on some sweats, made breakfast, got DS2 dressed (for once he did not fuss, thank God), and made it to school by 9:25, which is some kind of record, I think. Of course I left the kitchen a mess, but hey, I didn't want to be any later than we were.

I don't know whether it's lack of sleep or pending illness, but I've just got that almost-headache, yucky-all-over feeling. Man, I don't want to be sick. I do think the surgery has whacked out my immune system, since I got that stomach bug just a week afterwards. Normally, especially since going LC, I do NOT get sick. I can't afford to get sick, I've got 3 kids to take care of and so much to do... whaaaa!

I think I'll take a nap this afternoon on the couch while the little ones watch TV and play. I can usually grab some rest that way.

The real question is, of course, WHY DON'T I GO TO BED WHEN I SHOULD? This has been going on for about 3 years now. I am beginning to think it's some kind of psychological disorder or something. It's definitely a "sleep disturbance."

Everyday I say to myself, today I will be in bed by 11, and I end up staying up till 12, 12:30, 1... usually not 2:30, though, or I'd probably be dead by now. Before my surgery I was up at 7AM everyday to get DS1 ready and off to school, but since the surgery DH has been letting me sleep in and he has been getting DS1 up and making him breakfast, and lunch, and everything. Words can not describe what a great dad he is, and what a wonderful husband. I do feel guilty that I'm not helping in the mornings as much as I could, too.

Still, fatigue, guilt, and common sense are not enough to get me into bed at a reasonable time. Perhaps it's time to seek some professional help on this issue, before it gets any worse!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I have a date!

DH called me on my cell this afternoon, just as we were getting home from Sam's Club. Normally I get annoyed when he calls my cell because 95% of the time I'm driving, but how is he supposed to know that? I thought about just letting it ring but decided to answer it anyway. We were only about 2 blocks from home.

Well, turns out that this time he was calling to ask me for a date! Yay! We haven't gone out without the kids in ages.

Let me backtrack a little and explain that I am a geek, and my husband is also a geek. I was, in my pre-kid days, a software engineer, and DH has master's degree in EE and does integration and testing on satellite communications hardware/software interface. At least, that's how I understand it... we don't talk about his work much.

So, as DH is a geek working with a bunch of other geeks, all the guys (although there may be a few women in the group, I really don't know or care), get together to go to the movies whenever something really big opens. And next week, the third and final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King, is opening. The office is closing around 2PM for an "off site" meeting to go see it, and DH asked me to get a babysitter so I could go with him, and then we could go out and have a nice dinner afterwards! *swoon*

So as soon as I got off the phone with him I called my dear friend who also babysits for us, and it turns out she is going to see it, at the very first showing in the morning, with her husband and his geek co-workers! We were laughing over that, but the timing is good because she'll be able to make it over here before I need to take off with DH.

I am so psyched. You have no idea how much I love Viggo Mortensen. I will sit through entire wretched movies ("A Walk On The Moon" just to see Viggo. mmmmmm Also, I've heard from just about everyone that this movie is unbelievable, better than the first two, and that's saying something. And to be able to see it on opening day??!?!?!? Unheard of!

We never go to the movies. "Pirates of the Caribbean" was in the theaters for like 6 months and I still never got to see it! How pathetic is that, especially when Johnny Depp is another one of my favorites. I was semi-resigning myself to not seeing RotK until much, much later, but now I don't have to. What a nice surprise.

In other news, the chicken for dinner was great and everyone ate well, for a change. After dinner I played the high points of "The Incredible Hulk" movie for the kids and made some popcorn, and ate tons (realistically, maybe 2 cups, popped) of it. Boo, hiss, me! However, it could be worse. I've been freezing all day and I think my thyroid is being more sluggish than usual, and sometimes I really do need the carbs to give it a boost. I usually target around 75 g/day but lately I haven't been paying attention, and end up getting more than that through junk, late in the day when I just need them. As I am not gaining, and not losing, either, I don't think it's too big an issue, but I don't understand how I can go all day eating properly LC with good carbs from veggies and some fruit, but then suddenly get attacked in the early evening by dire cravings. Where is that coming from?

I neither baked nor cleaned today. My little guy was needing some mommy love so we had a good long snuggle in the rocking chair this evening, and it was very nice. After dinner again he wanted some more mommy time and snuggled up in my lap. I think it's the first time he has done that since the surgery. He realizes that I'm OK now and can pick him up occasionally to give him a hug. I had no idea how much my condition was impacting the kids, because they all seem freer and happier now that I have the OK to resume normal activities. It makes me a little sad to realize that now, because I could have made more of an effort to be affectionate in other ways had I known. I have been kind of shut off from them, because I was hurting quite a bit right after the surgery, and then after the initial pain died away, my fibromyalgia stirred up and made me very sensitive, so any kind of physical contact usually resulted in an "ouch" from me. My poor babies, having a defective mom!

But, I'm better now, and they are happier now, and I'm psyched for next week and getting really psyched for Christmas. My in-laws will be here and I absolutely love them. Now, if I could just get off my butt and do the stuff I need to do!

Distraction central

I knew I would come in here and write when I should be doing other things... still, it could be worse, right?

The kids are watching Dora, and are excited because when we pick up their brother from school we are going over to Sam's Club. We stop at the Cafe and they get those huge cookies (usually 2, that the 3 of them share, and I have a few bites...). It's the high point of their day, I swear. Well, we're not just going to Sam's for the cookies, we're going to get some chicken which I will roast (with "crispy skin" for dinner, it's one of their favorites. Also a few HUGE poinsettas to set outside the front door.

Sometimes I miss the more-gourmet-like foods I used to cook in my childless days. I've been seriously craving risotto lately. Yes, it's RICE, and therefore completely deadly, but it's rice with so much flavor packed into it... what I should do is go to a restaurant and get some, because they always do portion control. If I make it myself, there's always too much around, and I will eat it all. It's funny, I can resist chocolate like it's nobody's business (tho I love it, I can easily stop after 1 or 2 small pieces), but risotto? No. Willpower. At. All.

I wonder if I could give grated cauliflower the risotto treatment? Hmmm. I may have to try that this afternoon, while the chicken is roasting. If anything, it will be quicker than regular risotto, but I'll have to figure a way to get that nice "creamy" texture. Of course, using cream is definitely an option! hehehe.

Today is housecleaning day and I haven't, and probably won't, unless I get an infusion of energy somewhere. Maybe some caffeine? Probably not a good idea, I've been decaffeinated since 1981, and for good reason. All I really need to do is dust and clean the bathrooms, I just don't feel like doing it.

Also: baking! Still have not baked, and still wishing I had something good to eat. I bought some zuchini to make DC's gingerbread (it's awesome) but am still dragging my butt about actually doing it. *sigh*

Last night, DH requested some "good LC egg nog". I looked it up over on the forums and found that DaVinci's makes and eggnog syrup. I told DH about it, and he said that would be great, it's all he needs. He has been getting the Carb Countdown milk and he thinks that some eggnog DaVinci's in that will be terrific. So I went to netrition (used a LCL link to get there, I hope the site gets a kickback), and ordered eggnog, dulce de leche, and french vanilla, which I've been having trouble finding around here. I was going to order some of the thick chocolate sauce, but then saw that it's made with maltitol and thought better of it. I just don't want to deal with SAs right now.

I also offered to make DH some real eggnog, no problem, but he said "No, thanks." If someone would just say, "hey, will you make me some of this?" That's all the motivation I need, but I'm not getting even that. My kids just won't eat this stuff -- except for cookies, which I am not in the mood to make *now* because I know I'll be doing some next week to give to teachers before Christmas break. However, I do need something to eat NOW so I just quite being a whiner and go bake.

Still haven't orderd the Christmas cards, or the photos I want to send out to everyone, still haven't sorted out stuff and started wrapping, packing, shipping... augggghhhh! Maybe tonight after the kids go to bed?

One thing at a time. I have to remember that, because otherwise I'll be so overwhelmed I won't do anything. I'm oscillating wildly between doing 6 things at once and being tremendously productive, and then doing nothing for several days while I recover. I am fatigued down to my bones lately, in spite of getting more sleep. I probably need a tiny tweak in my thyroid meds but I don't go back until February and will just have to deal... it's nothing major, I just wish I had some energy today.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Another nothing day

That's so not true -- I really did a lot today and am completely exhausted, however I am true to form and annoyed because I didn't do the one thing I really should have, which is bake! I did make 3-minute chocolate cake with quick cream cheese icing for DH & me for dessert after the kids were in bed ... they won't eat it anyway, no reason to feel guilty.

I did well with carbs today even though I had a bacon, egg, and cheese croissanwich for breakfast -- after that I was on the straight & narrow, having steak & salad for dinner, leftover bbq for lunch, and some baby bel cheese for snacks... I always feel so much better when I don't eat the junk, but I do often want something sweet. It's a psychological craving, not a physical one, and so is fairly easy to ignore, thank God!

No progress on what I'm doing with myself... mostly just getting through the day and feeling a sense of accomplishment from putting away the laundry and the fact that I actually cooked dinner and the kids absolutely loved it. Makes me feel good to see them eat good food! They are typical but sometimes the pickyness really gets on my nerves.

Tomorrow is cleaning day, and perhaps I will bake with the little ones, if I go to bed now I may even have the energy to do it. So I'm off!

The cake got to me

I ate the SECOND huge piece of lemon cake at about 10:30 last night....

I was up late doing laundry and watching the new "Hulk" movie which was waayyyy tooooo slow. It had some good parts and Eric Bana, yum, but seriously? as a super-hero, comic-book type movie? No.

Now all the eeeevil food is out of the house and I will bake something yummy this afternoon so as not to be tempted by garbage. I am really dependent on having the right stuff to eat around, or I am screwed. So often I don't have time to feed myself, I'm running here & there with the kids, I need to be able to just grab something I actually like to eat, otherwise I'll just skip which is worse.

Saw the gyn this morning and he gave the go-ahead to do whatever I want, just cautioned me to take it easy since I haven't been working out for 6 weeks now, so I have to ease back into things. YAY! I can't wait to start toning up again...I've been getting weaker and weaker, and I hate that.

There's a flood of introspection going on in the back of my head, but it just keeps going around in circles. I still have this sense of "pending", don't know what, like there is some event I'm waiting for (and it's not the holidays) that will reveal to me what I should do with my life.

Now all I really want is someone to tell me what to make for dinner! Somehow I don't think takeout for the 3rd day out of 5 will go over very well. Off to dig something out of the freezer...

Sunday, December 07, 2003

All Christmas'd up

Today is the 6th anniversary of my dad' s death. I was kind of weepy and grouchy all day, but still managed to get so much done.

I had been putting off getting the tree up and all that until I did something about the kids' toys in the family room. I finally just dumped out all the stuff from the 2 big toy boxes and sorted everything out into different size boxes. The smaller shoe boxes went into one of the cupboards; the bigger boxes and a few larger toys went into a low bookcase I brought back in from the garage, where I had exiled it from its former home in the kitchen last summer.

The family room looks great now, the kids can see all their toys and they are nicely contained. Hopefully they can keep it up -- they know that it's not my job to do it, and now they can easily see where everything is supposed to go. To anyone thinking of just getting a huge box to toss everything into: don't, because then they won't know what they've got, unless they dump everything out, and that just makes a huge mess!

Last night I was in some kind of mood because I went to 4:30 mass and as I was flying out the door I told DH that he was responsible for deciding what we were going to have for dinner... mass was nice, and I was about a block from home when my cell phone rings, and it's my DH asking me about dinner! Arg -- anyways, he decided to make the kids burgers (they had originally asked for steak, but he didn't think to take them from the freezer and get them defrosting in the microwave -- ) which was fine. I had a glass of wine and ate the kid's leavings -- Ry only ate a quarter of a burger, Dana only half her hot-dog... if I had just stopped there I would've been OK, but then I ate about 16 (bite-size) chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe's. At least they're made with whole wheat flour and no trans fats...eeep!

So, anyway, today -- slept a little late (after getting up early on Sat and making pancakes and bacon for breakfast) and then puttered around for a while. DH brought all the tree stuff in, and we tried something new and rearranged the living room furniture a little so now the tree is right in front of the picture window and we can actually use the sofa! Yay! We used to just put the tree where the coffee table usually is, but that basically blocked the couch completely. The new arrangement was a bit of a hassle but it really does work.

DH helped unfold all the branches while he watched football, and the little ones all ran back and forth between me and Daddy, carrying me the branches to put on the tree trunk. That went as quickly as it ever has, but then the lights were really a pain in the butt. I had to run out to Walgreen's to buy some new ones, but those old lights really deserved to be put out to pasture -- they were about 10 years old.

It's always cool to remember everyone in my past as I put up all the ornaments. So many people I don't see anymore for one reason or another have given me ornaments. It's one of my favorite things about Christmas, thinking about all the people I've been blessed to know.

We got takeout from Joe's Real BBQ for dinner and I took the 2 littler ones, and we listened to Christmas music in the car and looked at all the lights. Folks around generally go a bit crazy with the Christmas lights. It's easy to do, since the weather is so mild. Seriously, though, I was choking up on every song. There are a few that always get me, but "Sleigh Ride" is not usually one of them! I can only guess it's because of the day, or maybe TOM...

In a fit of insanity I got 2 slices of lemon cake with our bbq -- they make this awesome lemon cake and then they poke holes in it and pour a lemon glaze over it while it's still warm, so it's wonderfully moist and has a lemonade-y taste. It's really outstanding and I need to make a LC recipe for it. Anyway, I thought the kids, especially DD, would enjoy it, even though they don't like regular cake. This isn't a regular cake, though, and they do all like lemon flavored things.

Of course not one of them would eat it, so I ended up eating ONE entire HUGE piece myself, which I had originally cut into 4 small servings. oink oink oink

Stupid me... I have another piece sitting there calling my name. DH picks today to decide to be scrupulously low-carb again, so he's no help. I'm glad, though, it's good for him.

Now the last thing to do is wrap, pack, and ship, and God only knows when I'll get to that. Tomorrow morning is absolutely packed: 8:15 Mass, 9:30 gyn post-op appointment, 10:20 teeth cleaning... I'm going to be ready to drop by lunch! I have decided I don't care if stuff gets there by Christmas or not. It's simply not worth sweating it, IMO. I have one more package to come from Amazon, hopefully it will come this week, as there is some stuff in there for my nieces in CT, but otherwise, I'm all set. I should be able to get everything else out in the next couple of days if nothing blows up in my face!

Oops, just remembered I have to make the playdough for DD's preschool class tonight -- I'm off!

Saturday, December 06, 2003

typical day

Fridays are our fun day, after DS1's school gets out we all go to Border's for a snack in the cafe and then to the children's section where I read them books until I can't stand it anymore. Today, DS1 announced that he was really hungry when I picked him up so we stopped at Jack-in-the-Box on the way to Border's and I got them all jr. bacon cheeseburgers. Perhaps I am a bad mom, as I'm pretty sure there are hydrogenated oils in the buns, but really... it's meat and cheese, mostly, and it's better than something loaded with sugar, right? All 3 of them chowed those burgers right down, you'd think I never feed them.

At Border's they were training a new guy at the cafe. This would be OK but as I always order a "high maintenance mocha" it became pretty funny. Seriously, I get a the sf milano mocha, but decaf, with sf vanilla instead of the sf hazelnut, and with whole milk... it takes me 5 minutes just to order this one drink. The kids got one of those HUGE cinnamon rolls and I split it 3 ways, they were happy. DS1 spent the entire time there drooling over all the different action figures in a Toy Fare magazine. He is only 6, almost 7, but he knows all the characters even from movies/shows he's never seen ("Look mom, here's Freddy and Jason, and here's Predator!" Yikes. The joys of reading, right?

It was a really nice trip until the very end, when we were leaving but DS2 wandered over to a music station (only 2, but he loves listening to different music), and DD got impatient and actually left without us. I didn't think she had left the store, but DS1 went out and grabbed her, right by the curb to the parking lot -- I'm not sure where she thinks she was going, but I was completely freaked out by this. I harangued her all the way home. All I could think about was, what if someone had driven by and snatched her? It would have been so easy. I felt like Failure Mom.

I think my harsh words to her had good effect, but it's hard to know. Earlier this week she took a ride on the garage door, as it was going up -- she was supposed to be in the van already, and I hit the button to open the door and then turned to see her, holding onto the door and already a good 2 feet off the ground -- I screamed at her, she dropped, and was fine. The door was fine, the motor did not burn out on the opener or anything, but man, again, I was seriously freaked. It's all concrete under the door. She could've broken her ankle on landing or cracked her skull open if she'd falled over, or she could've broken the door or the opener... good thing she only weighs 34lbs.

I told DH that I feel like it has been a struggle just keeping her alive these 5 years, ever since she was born. When she was a newborn, she had a non-nutritive suck, as the lactation expert say -- she just wouldn't suck hard enough to get nutrients in or bring my milk down -- I went through 8 weeks of pumping while nursing, then bottle feeding, and I will never forget how it would take her like 45 minutes to drink 2 oz out of a bottle. After those first 2 months, though, she seemed to get the idea that she should eat, but it was rather touch-and-go there for a while. She's still only like 5th percentile for weight, even tho she's 75 percentil for height. You can imagine. She's my little twig.

The kids made do with leftover chicken, while DH and I had tomato-basil-mozzarella salad followed by shrimp scampi for dinner. The kids won't eat it so I don't pressure them at this point, it's more for us. I had 2 glasses of wine and that took a lot of the edge of the day, but of course then I fell alseep on the couch and now I am probably screwed for going back to sleep when I actually get to bed.

DH really loves those brownies, so much he actually took some to work with him today for an afternoon snack. I'm surprised but happy -- I don' t think he has ever done that before. He goes off plan a lot more than I do, and I know he would like to lose about 10 or 15 pounds. He has been working out more, doing Bowflex and the bike pretty regularly these days. I've learned that I have to let him do his thing, the most I can do is ask if there's anything he wants me to buy when I'm grocery shopping, or cook for him. He really likes all my LC cooking, specifically saying he likes my cauliflower puree better than mashed potatoes(!), and for Christmas he wants exactly everything that we had for Thanksgiving, which kind of cracks me up. All I want is for him to be healthy, because I would seriously fall apart if I ever lost him. When I'm counting my blessings he's always at the top of the list.

I was too busy today to think about larger life issues. I suppose that's good, but part of me thinks that's just procrastinating. I'm good at that. Seriously, though, it can wait until after the holidays. Nobody's going anywhere...

I'm so happy it's the weekend again.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Is this a good idea?

I have been spending more and more time on TLC lately. I really love it here, as the people are genuine and warm and supportive -- and funny -- and so far there is none of the nastiness that seems to infect nearly all web communities. That's why I love all the Moderators -- they make this place possible. *smooch* to all the Mods!

Anyway -- I am feeling very much at a crossroads in my life right now, and I have no idea what to do. This journal could be a great place for me to sit and hammer out thoughts, or it could become another procrastination/distraction tool that keeps me from dealing with stuff I should be dealing with, or, better yet, sleeping, which is something I seem to want to avoid.

Back when I was depressed, I actively avoided sleep because some part of my brain thought, "When you're going to be dead soon, you don't want to waste time sleeping." Now I'm definitely not depressed (as the state of my household, and indeed, the state of ME, clearly attest), but I'm definitely struggling, hence the up-way-too-late thing.

I had a vaginal hysterectomy, along with some "repair work" exactly 5 weeks ago. I had uterine prolapse, and a cystocele (bladder prolapse) as well as a rectocele (you can guess what that is). I first "discovered" the prolapse back at the end of August, when I promptly joined the Virgin Recertification Program -- it's so odd to have that part of my body be "broken". Anyway, the surgery went very well and my recovery has really been text-book and I'm looking forward to seeing my gyn on Monday when he should tell me I'm OK to resume "normal activities".

The question is, what are my "normal activities"? Oh yes, there's sex (yay! but I admit to being scared), but what about everything else? Most of my life is: cooking, cleaning up, shopping, and driving the kids around to and from school. My dream is to someday only have to feed and clothe MYSELF! I love my babies but it gets quite dreary having to fix so many meals and snacks, and I shouldn't complain because my husband usually takes over breakfasts, lunches, and snacks on the weekends. Have I mentioned that he is an angel?

So: I am restless, I need to do something else. There are two paths before me, and I am trying to figure out which one to follow NOW. Ultimately, when the kiddos are older and all in all-day school, I may be able to do both, but for now -- what can I do?

The first path is to follow the writer's dream and produce a weekly newspaper column for syndication. So help me, if anyone steals my idea and does it before me, I'll just laugh and say, "well, there's my answer..." and go down the other road, because writing a weekly column is a lot of work.

Here's the column... "Make It Low Carb", about living the low carb life, and also with advice on converting standard recipes to LC. It's as much about philosophy as it is about cooking. I need to put together a package of at least 10 columns and then shop it around, 20 would be even better. I've done extensive research and there are no LC cooking/food columns in syndication now. Given the popularity of our WOE, this could be a nice income generator, and would still give me a lot of flexibility to be available for the kids.

The downside? I'm working at home, alone, on the computer. There's very little outside contact, unless I actively make that part of the column, which makes the column that much harder to produce. And honestly, that kind of thing isn't required in a weekly of the sort I'm thinking of, so since I don't need to do it, I won't. (I know me, that's how I am -- I try not to "make work" for anyone, especially myself.)

The second road is the total opposite, and gets me out of the house and my brain engaged on an entirely different level. I've applied at Kaplan to become a test-prep instructor, but I have to take the SAT to make sure I get a high enough score. My own scores are too old to count (1980). I took it once and aced the verbal but my math needs to come up a bit, and they will let me retake it whenever I am ready. When the hysterectomy came up, I called them and said I needed surgery and could we put it off until after the first of the year, and they said yes, they always need instructors, so whenever I'm ready is good for them.

If I get this job, I'll have some training which will require arranging child care for a couple of weeks, which isn't a problem. Then I will teach 2 nights a week, plus half-days on Saturdays, for I think 2 or 3 8-week courses a year. I wouldn't need to arrange for child care then because DH could be home with the kids.

I like that it wouldn't become a grind, because the courses themselves are not that long. I also like that I will get out of the house and meet people and have a life that has nothing to do with my own children. (As much as I love them, I desperately feel the need to establish an identity that is not called "Mom".)

What I'm looking for out of this job is a reality check: I want to see if I can deal with teaching teenagers, because I ultimately want to go into teaching full-time, science, at the high school level. ASU has a great program for career-switchers, in which you get an M. Ed. over an 11-month intensive schedule. Ideally I'd start that program when my baby is in kindegarten (3 years away) -- before I start that I have to take all my "subject" classes, which means retaking biology, chemistry, and physics because I've completely forgotten everything I learned (20 years ago) back in school. But those classes I can take here or there over the next 3 years, so I'm ready... if it's what I really want to do.

Then I wonder, who do I think I'm kidding, I can't do that! Some days I barely get the kids fed and out the door, although that had a lot to do with my depression that started in the middle of my last pregnancy and persisted quite a long time. A frighteningly long time, actually. I have dealt with so many health issues aside from the depression -- hypothryoidism, adrenal fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, possible melanomas (3 biopsies, 2 further excisions), and most recently I've been dx'd with a fatty liver and I have no idea the implications of that, really, until I get into to see the specialist in JANUARY!

Not to mention, of course, the whole prolapse thing, which may inspire me enough to write a column I can sell to Salon or someone similarly racy enough to withstand the details of life in the Virgin Recertification Program(TM), as mentioned above.

Anyway (I do say that a lot), I list out all those health things and if you can't see me you're thinking, this poor woman, she's a wreck, but in point of fact, I AM NOT SICK. I am pretty damn healthy even if I am too thin at this point (125 lbs, nearly 5'8'') but that's just because right after the surgery I got an intestinal bug and I lost some weight I didn't intend to... it will come back eventually, if it's meant to. I eat very well and am not restricting calories or fat or really even carbs too much these days. Altho I have noticed I get miserable cravings if I eat too many carbs so I just naturally don't eat them much anymore (anyone for a Baby Bell cheese snack? mmmm)

I'm quite weary of having something wrong with me. I've told my docs I think I am a hypochrondriac but they all assure me I'm not, my symptoms are real, my conditions are real, even if they can't tell my why I've got all these f'in' conditions. Still, my thyroid is doing great with my current level of meds, I'm off my adrenal support meds again, post-op, and feeling fine, my RA and FMS are holding steady at the "mildly annoying" level, and I haven't noticed any new freaky-looking moles that need to be cut off of me recently.

I'm not sick, but I have a definite feeling of waiting for not the other, but the next, shoe to drop... something's gonna get me, so I can't start anything new, right? I have to wait until I'm healthy, right?

Cripes, if I do that, I won't do anything I don't absolutely have to do for the rest of my life, in which case you might as well just box me up right now and throw me in the rubber room!

I have an odd feeling that this journal is kind of like a rubber room, come to think of it. That's a good thing.

Anyway (again), I don't know what to do. I'm very strongly committed to this WOE and would love to be an LC evangelist, so to speak, through a newspaper column. But I also feel an intense need to get out of the house! I know the answer will come to me in time but patience is the virtue I am most sorely lacking in, I think.

Back to this WOE: I forgot to mention up there that I have had PCOS since puberty, and the only time in my entire life that periods were regular was after I went LC. Fortunately for me the symptoms I had were a plethora of cysts and irregular cycles, along with some "inappropriate bronzing" and acanthis negrosis -- dark spots, that fortunately were in inconspicuous places. So I never looked odd, just felt icky and never, ever knew when I was going to get my period unless I was using a basal thermometer every morning. It took us 2 years to get pregnant with our oldest, and in all that time I only ovulated 8 times! The next 2 were a lot easier because once on this WOE my cycles became regular. Of course now I won't ever get my period but I'm still cycling, as I still have my ovaries -- how weird not to actually get a visit from Aunt Flo even though it's definitely TOM!!!

Oh, and my endocrinologist, who treats my thyroid, also tested my insulin response and declared me "pre-diabetic", AKA insulin resistant. (what a surprise! NOT.) But, glory of glories, she fully, completely, totally supports LC and told me to stay on this WOE for the rest of my life: "If you relax your carb intake or gain weight, you will become diabetic," she warned. So now I can tell off all the busybodies by saying I'm just following doctor's orders.

Today, I made the "Speedy Brownies" and they came out a little spongy but definitely better than any others I've tried. I need to tweak a little more, as I don't have the bake mix and won't use soy (bad for the thyroid and all that). I used sf chocolate syrup in place of the vanilla, and used 1 C Designer Whey chocolate, 1/4C each vital wheat gluten and oat flours in place of the bake mix and soy flour. They had a great chocolate taste but I really don't care for saccharine -- can't wait for my Splenda concentrate to arrive.

Well, this is quite the novel and more than long enough for one night, but I do think I've written enough so I can go to bed and just go to sleep, instead of letting my brain churn this stuff over and over and over. This could definitely turn into a baaaaad late-night addictive activity. I could use some self-discipline along with that patience I'm lacking.