Sunday, February 29, 2004


Today was that kind of slow-paced day where nothing seems to happen at all.

Indeed, nothing did happen... slept late, skipped breakfast... on and off the computer reading & writing bits here & there... watched some TiVO... spent some time with Mom, who's heading out in the morning (sob).

Always have mixed emotions about this. It's nice to "get my house back" so to speak, because sometimes I get this feeling that Mom's watching my every move waiting for me to screw up, even though she rarely - very rarely - criticizes. But it is very good for everyone when she is here, away from the cold and snow of New England winters. She is such a great help with the kids and they love her so... we will all miss her very much.

But still, it will be nice to cook something like Green Chili Jack Chicken again, which no way on this planet would my Mom ever eat!

I fast-forwarded through the Academy Awards... couldn't be bothered with about 95% of it, but was happy that The Lord of the Rings cleaned up. That was such a monumental achievement. Yay for Peter Jackson! Now I hope they round up the applicable cast members and finish things rightly by doing The Hobbit, we really need all four films... at least I think so.

Tomorrow: busy day, lots of shopping to do, and no Mom to watch kiddos while I do it. And new projects to start, including refinishing furniture for DD's new room, which is just-about-done now. Of course I must shop for that stuff, too: Home Depot, YAY! Love that store, especially when I have a reason to go there that does not involve emergency plumbing projects.

Friday the washing machine leaked a bit on one of three loads. One of my bros says it's a message from God telling me to get the new Maytags and free myself from a lifetime of laundry drudgery. DH seemed fairly receptive to the idea, so I think maybe my next freelance paycheck will go towards new laundry equipment, depending on how much we owe in taxes. We always end up owing. I don't mind, I'd rather have our money than let the Feds play with it all year, interest-free.

The leg is better but still gooey (sorry), and the abdomen is amazingly nearly pain-free. I get a twinge every so often around my belly button, and the damn tapes are starting to itch a bit, but today I actually felt pretty damn close to normal. As in, good. I actually notice that the ache under my ribs (former home of the pesky gallbladder) is gone. How cool is that?

Maybe the fact that I slept in till 10:30 had something to do with it? Hee.

Even though Mom's going and I know we're in for a tough period of transition, I'm in a hopeful mood. We all talked at dinner about our big trip this summer, and the kids are excited about it, as am I. DH and I are starting to work out details of car rentals, etc... it's getting more real, and closer every day. I really like having something like this to look forward to -- not that I build it up into some unattainable fantasy, just a really nice break from "reality", hopefully it won't go on too long and become a drag... I don't think it will. We have enough to do and enough different people to see that it should be all right. I hope.

So much to do between now and then, so many ideas to push out into the real world. From concept to reality... the process can either be fun or a burden, and I'm hoping to keep all these ideas from becoming a drag.

Back to my own reality tomorrow: dropping off and picking up kids, shopping, housework, freelancing, the column, here -- I've had a rather idyllic week off (mentally, anyway) and only had to do what I wanted, now all that is coming to an end. **sigh** I feel like I got a lot accomplished during that week, found out some new stuff about myself, made "progress". Hee! I always think that sounds so silly, pretentious, but there it is.

Oh, this is degenerating rapidly. I have to go change my bandage and mentally prepare for this transition-week... I'm not sure how much DS2 is going to appreciate being hustled out of the house every morning. He's now thoroughly used to lollygagging around all morning in his pj's until it's time for his sister to come home from school! Battles await me, I'm sure. Maybe not. Who knows?

I'm off.

Saturday, February 28, 2004


I woke up early this morning (shortly after 7, unheard of for me) because my leg was throbbing. The infection had progressed to an abcess. So I got up and toodled around on the computer waiting for the urgent care clinic to open, and then I went and spent an hour and a half there, which altogether wasn't so bad.

The dr there is great, and he made a nearly inch-long incision and got out a lot of the goo, and I now have this huge honkin' gauze pad strapped to my inner thigh. It's still draining. I have no idea how long I'm supposed to let it go. Will it just heal up on its own? The dr extended my antibiotic rx for another 4 days, pushing me out to a full 2 weeks on it. Yay, another opportunity for my yeast and internal flora metabolisms to be shot to hell! Note: buy more yogurt!

So, when I got back from the dr I was pretty wiped out, but I had a cuppa and put my feet up until the guys got back from DS1's bball game. Then we all went out to eat at the Chinese buffet, Mom's favorite. Our snowbird is leaving us Monday, so this was really our last chance to go. It was a little tough there, because I'm not sure exactly what I could eat. I soooo wanted some fried dumplings and crab wontons, but I'm pretty sure they're made with wheat flour so I avoided them. The garlic chicken was good, though. I didn't go hungry, that's for sure. That place has really great broccoli.

After lunch: nap, church, not much of a dinner (I actually sent DH to get BK for the kids), then read a few books to the kids and helped DH get them into bed.

THEN I braved the shower. I took off the gauze pad and decided I need to get one of those special red "biohazard" disposal boxes. This thing is really gross. I put a supposedly waterproof huge bandage over it because I didn't want the shower water hitting it full on, but of course the thing detached itself on three sides while I was in the shower. I decided that was OK, because the wound got clean without being pummeled by the water.

It's nice to be clean. Once again I have the huge piece of gauze on my thigh, this time attached with pieces of that self-sticking stretchy adhesive stuff, one at the bottom edge, one at the top. It kind of looks like one of those gun leg holsters. Seriously, I'm packing heat! Well, I'm packing gauze, anyway. Excuse my lame (no pun intended) attempts at humor, at this point if I don't laugh, I'll... fall alseep.

OK, I'm going to spend some time with my Dear Husband and watch Runaway Jury. I can't remember anything about this movie although I have probably read reviews (one of my pasttimes, reading reviews of movies I will never see). However, Dylan McDermot (I think?) just got shot along with his entire office, and now John Cusack, whom I adore, just got a jury duty summons. So I gotta go. ttfn

Friday, February 27, 2004

Making success possible

possibly part of a column someday, but not today, so this is as good a place as any for it.

At a certain point in our lives, we all recognize that change is difficult. No matter how dearly we want to change some part of our lives, it seems that something always interferes, some wrench is always thrown into the works.

About twenty years ago, I was privileged to take a class at the Sloan School of Management taught by Richard Beckhard, one of the most highly respected organizational consultants in the country. The theme of the class was managing organizational change. Although the principals we discussed were geared towards implementing change in large social and business groups, they can just as easily be applied to changes we want to make in our personal lives.

The most common reason that change fails is unrealistic expectations. Beckhard laid out for us a set of rules that seems almost too simple to work, and so much like common sense that you have to wonder why everyone doesn’t just know how to do these things instinctively. But given the success of Beckhard’s practice, and the high rate of failure all around us, it’s obvious that common sense is not that common. So, here’s my distillation of Beckhard’s rules for successfully implementing change, as applied to a personal situation:

1. Imagine what your life will be like when the change has been successfully implemented. This isn’t a daydream, but a concrete goal. Be as detailed about it as you can. Will you still have the same job, home, car, wardrobe, diet, eating habits, shopping habits? What exactly are you trying to change? Nail it down as much as you can.

2. Now, examine your life now and pay special attention to the areas that you have targeted for change.

3. The hard part: map out a plan for getting from your “Before” to your “After”. This is where most people fall short, because their plans are not realistic. A good plan, one that you can actually follow, makes small changes that accumulate over time to help you reach your goal.

4. Implement the plan. The best of intentions go astray, but if your plan is doable, your chances for success are a lot higher. Once you’ve laid out an actual plan, the idea of change seems much more manageable, so go out and do it!


OK, here's my scenario: write a syndicated newspaper column
Here's my plan:
1) define the column and its goals -- done
2) publish at least 6 columns online, if possible, to establish "brand", get the name out there, and, most importantly, provide the all-important "clips" (the journalistic equivalent of "street cred".)
3) write 10 columns for marketing to newspapers (half way there)
4) put together marketing packages and send them out (lots left to do here)
5) set up a website to handle correspondence related to the column and as a marketing support tool (I've made a good start, here)

So -- I have to write 5 more columns, and put together my packets and start mailing, mailing, mailing. I'm wondering what is going on with LCL Magazine and if it will be published again, but if it's not, that's not my fault, and even though I've only had one column published so far, I did get a nice amount of feedback.

Head down, nose to grindstone, all that.
(Oh yeah, my freelance job picks up next week, too. At least I have some income to offset all the office supply and postage expenses I'm about to incur.) Hee!



My pain has many voices.

When I woke up this morning, all of my meds had, of course, worn off. I was awake but still, just... listening. My hands were well past whining and into the wailing stage, as were my feet. The skin over all my incisions felt like it was being pulled and twisted, not excruciating but enough to say, "Hey, what's going on there?",the same way you do when your 3-year-old repeats the same whiny sing-song refrain in the backseat of the car. It's nothing, really, you just notice it and it drains your energy. And it makes you grumpy.

Then the back-hips-legs join the chorus when I finally start shifting around to get up. Those are more like "yip yip yip" little coyote howls of surprise and shock and general "I don't like that!".

When I finally hauled myself out of bed, I saw that overnight, some kind of front blew in and the sky was completely overcast. There was a fine drizzle keeping everything nice and damp. There have been times in my life when I love this weather -- it's not cold enough to be really raw, and the moist air on your face feels like a million fairy kisses. But not these days. Now, wet day like this mean that everything just hurts worse than it normally does.

Yesterday at this time, I was typing and my hands weren't saying anything to me at all. They just worked. There wasn't any constant undercurrent of conversation between my hands and my brain: "Ow...ow... shut up, nothing I can do to make it better, just keep going, it will hurt even if you stop typing so why stop... ow... ow... ow... shut up shut up shut up..."

Today, with the damp, I'm competing with my body to keep a straight thought in my head and get it out onto the screen.

People who don't live with pain every day have no idea what it's like. My main thing is that it's incredibly distracting, always having random body parts, often more than one, calling attention to itself. It's also exhausting. I was going to say, "but Life is exhausting anyways" when I realized that maybe Life isn't exhausting for everyone, maybe it's actually exhiliarating and energizing for some people. I vaguely recall having some times like that in my life.

I've had pain in my life for as long as I can remember. Most of the time it's not the sort of thing that would make anyone else give a moment's thought to, but there it has always been. When I was really little, I had ingrown toenails. Now, that doesn't sound like much of anything, right? Well, when you're 4 or 5 or so, and everytime you put your foot down to take a step, your toes feel like they are being stabbed, believe me, it becomes a factor in your life.

Early on, I learned to guard myself. Guarding is the medical term used to describe behavior, sometimes unintentionally destructive, that people with pain engage in to spare themselves further pain. An example of guarding is not breathing deeply enough after surgery, because it hurts to breathe deeply. The problem with that is you can develop pneumonia (fluid in the lungs) if you don't exercise them properly. And so post-op nurses bully their patients to breathe, and to get up and walk around, to prevent guarding from causing serious complications.

In my life, the pain was never bad enough that anyone really ever noticed me guarding. I was a bookworm at a very young age because, let's face it, being stabbed in the feet is a clear loser to curling up with a good book and reading about someone else's adventures. The fact that I had no adventures of my own was immaterial to me, because it was obvious I couldn't have adventures when that meant walking around with bloody socks (I'm not kidding) and being in constant pain.

Some things changed as I got older, but some things didn't. At a certain point I decided I could handle the pain because I wanted to take ballet, and so I did. So I consciously decided to stop guarding and start living more, but the pain was always there.

When I got to college I finally fixed the toenail problem but there were other pains to deal with. It took over a year to diagnose my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) which was ridiculous... never go to an internist when a gynecologist is the one you need. But I also had irritible bowel syndrome so that did complicate the diagnosis. After college I went through a period of about 6 months where literally the only things I could eat that didn't give me stomach ache were rice and bananas. Then there was TMJ. And migraines.

And that way-too-familiar feeling, every morning, of having been hit by a truck.

A lot of these things resolved when I extricated myself from a bad relationship, but really they just went into remission for a while (except the migraines, those have never returned, thank God.) I actually had quite a few good years, until about two and a half years ago when it all started to go downhill again.

It has been only quite recently that I was able to recognize and admit that I have been in pain for a lot of my life. Thanks to Max's prodding, I've been thinking about the decisions I've made in my life, and whether or not that pain contributed to them. I believe that it did.

When I had my surgery recently, every single person that "worked on" me was a woman: the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the OR nurse, the recovery room nurses. Sure, nursing has traditionally been a woman's field, but to have both drs be women was pleasantly surprising to me. They were both a little younger than me, or right around my age, I think.

It made me think, I could be doing this -- why didn't I go into medicine? One big reason? Not one person even suggested it to me, in spite of top marks in chemistry and biology in school, and a very deep interest in how things worked, etc. It's not that they didn't think I was capable of carrying the academic load: everyone encouraged me to apply to MIT. It simply never occurred to me to go into medicine, and I really don't know why.

But I think part of the reason is that it is a lot of work, and physically demanding, and even if I never consciously thought about it, unconsciously I recognized what it would be like and just ruled it out. I was not one of those people who gave 110% to everything; I did what I needed to do to get by, and I got by very well.

What if I hadn't been in pain? Would I have been more willing to take a harder course of study, to challenge myself? To believe that I could succeed in something that wasn't the easiest way possible to finish?

Who knows? All I know now is that a good deal of my life was spent avoiding situations that put me at a disadvantage, because I was tired or in pain or just couldn't concentrate enough to do well. Now I'm raising 3 kids and pretty much on the spot all the time, and I can very clearly see what I did growing up, and I sure as hell don't want my kids doing the same things.

Of course, they're not (yet). They don't have pain. They get bumps and bruises and shake them off and go on. I love it.

As for me, I'm on the hunt, now. I want to know why everything went "Sproing!" when my youngest was about 4 months old -- how exactly did that last pregnancy de-rail my health, and what can I do to get it back? This is a long and expensive process, and no one has any answers for me so far.

I have to get over this gallbladder surgery first, before looking into anything else, but for now celiac disease is still my number one suspect. Since it will be at least a month before I can do anything about that, I'm going off gluten and seeing if it makes a difference. Everything is so screwed up post-op that it will be impossible to interpret anything for a while, but if I do have celiac, maybe it will help a little.

I'm also finally taking the pain meds that rheumatologist gave me to try, and seeing if I can get back to a pain-free life for a while, even if I need meds (and pricey meds, at that) to do it.

Reviewing personal history can be rough but illuminating. I'm sure there will be more of this, since I'm still dealing with the "what do I want to be when I grow up" question, more or less -- all those past decisions, as guarded as they were, have led me here, and now I have to decide where to go. It seems pretty obvious that -- for now -- the writing is the thing, and I'm very cool with that. But that has it's own pitfalls, too, and if I find myself in a spiral of isolation I'm going to have to do something to get out of it.

So far, so good. I think!

Thursday, February 26, 2004


Sometimes I feel like I should be overwhelmed, like there is too much going on around me, but today I'm feeling like I'm on a little isle of calm with all this stuff swirling around. Maybe it's because I actually was able to rest for a couple of hours today? Don't know...

My friend M came down for a visit today, and we sat and yapped and worked on our needlecrafts and looked at pictures and it was just really nice to have a friend visit.

The carpet guys came and there was a bit of weirdness there, because there was enough carpet but not enough pad. The main guy says, "Will you go to Home Depot and get the pad?" My reaction was less than whelmed, I'll tell you. There was no way I was driving today; technically I'm not supposed to drive until Saturday (5 days). M just gave it to him: "Why don't you go?" Then it turned out he had no $, so I gave him the money and he went and they got the work done today. He was all set to leave because they didn't have the materials, "We'll have to come back tomorrow." No, I don't think so, you need to do this now, this project was supposed to take 10 day and it has now been 6 weeks. So the work is done but they left carpet fibers and bits of pad everywhere up there, but of course I can't vaccuum. And the glue smell was horrible, I hope it has dissipated by now.

When my contractor gets here tomorrow, I'll give him the receipt for the carpet pad and have him knock it off my outstanding balance!

I did finally get in to see the PA today (5:30pm appointment, saw her at 6:45! yikes) and she looked at my leg and said yeah, it's infected, but it can't be drained, so an antibiotic is the way to go, and just keep an eye on it. Since there is a cyst there and it's in a place that's likely to get irritated, they may recommend me to a surgeon to have the thing removed... wheee! I'm just not going there. These little skin removal surgeries seem trivial but they are very annoying. I've had 5 already (3 substantial biopsies, 2 further excisions) and they just nag and nag until they are healed.

I was bad because I walked about a mile and a half towards home when my dr's appointment ended. DH had dropped me off and gone to get dinner for the kids and a prescription for me and it ended up taking him longer than I thought it would, and I didn't feel like waiting around, so I started walking home. DH wanted me to wait at Applebee's but I wasn't hungry or thirsty and just didn't feel like sitting at a smoky bar waiting for him to get me... so I just walked. Slowly. The weather was perfect, cool and with a slight breeze... every so often my belly button bruise would twinge, but other than that I was fine (although I did get tired). DH was miffed at me that I didn't wait for him -- I just shouldn't be walking like that so much so soon after the surgery -- but no harm, no foul, right? We'll see. I must be OK because Mom commented to me at least three times this evening that I don't seem as tired today. Hee!

I had a horrible time with acid stomach yesterday so today I took a Prilosec and have stayed almost completely away from wheat -- I did have some of my chocolate pb zuchini bread, but there's only 3 T of flour in the whole thing. I suppose if I really have celiac that even that much flour is too much, in which case I will make it with something else! HA! But I do feel better. I definitely have to eat light until my body gets used to not having a gallbladder anymore.

I worked on a new column today, with the theme of "making success possible". I think it's too much for one column. There's a lot of content that I don't really have room for there, so I'm probably going to have to take it out and do something else with it (meaning, it will probably end up here). But I think the column is going to be great.

I should go and work on the MILC site but I don't feel like it. I got some great suggestions for things to improve it already, that shouldn't take too long... OK, biting the bullet & going to work now...

Wednesday, February 25, 2004



I needed to get a nap today, and didn't. I'm not feeling too badly though, all things considered, I actually feel pretty good. It's nice not to have the constant pain I had from my gallbladder anymore. Of course I have other aches and wounds that need time to heal, but hopefully I'm on the upswing now.

I did a bunch of work on Make It Low Carb and have what is essentially a rough draft of the site up. The first 7 letters from my "mailbag" are posted, too. I think it's a nice support and will be good to point to when I get my marketing packages together.

One thing, though -- I don't know if LCL Magazine is going to publish any more issues. If they don't, that has both upsides and downsides for me. I'd like have more "published" columns out there, but since I'm not duplicating content between online and print, it will save me having to write that many more columns. I've written a number of emails to LCL Magazine and haven't received any response, so I have no idea what's going on. It would be nice just to know!

Almost forgot -- I've got my own name domain now, and set up a barebones links page for Me. Hee! I'm not going to do much else with it (except to occassionally add new links as they come into existence), but I think I'll scout around for some nice background wallpaper. That white is way too severe.

Well, I must get my butt off to bed or else my recovery will be derailed.

Lost day


Seriously, today went by in a fog. Considering I had major surgery yesterday, I don't think that's such a bad thing.

The good news is, I'm really not in much pain at all and I'm not taking those damn percocets at all. Those things messed me up so much after my hysterectomy. So this time I'm managing really well with Vioxx and extra strength tylenol. Yay!

The things that are bothering me the most: mouth, throat, and belly button. The other 3 incisions are practically non-existant and don't even itch (yet). The belly button one is just in a bad place and gets pulled all the time, and I had to put another bandage over it to handle the ooze. I have the feeling that it's going to take forever to heal.

My throat is sore from being intubated, that should subside soon. It is a problem because I can't talk very loud and of course have trouble on the phone and everyone is calling me to see how I am doing. It's really sweet but sometimes it's too much. I just get exhausted. I am only up now because I slept from about 7 to 11:30PM, earlier I slept from about 1:30 to 4:30, so I actually did OK with naps today. As it is, I will finish this entry and then have a snack and my last meds and go back to bed. I really am pretty useless.

My mouth is totally messed up, though. I have a problem with that surgical tape and I'm pretty sure there was tape on my lip. It's all swollen and sore now, and I've a couple of nasty bumps inside my mouth, too. Ow. I have tape marks all over me. I never really thought about whether or not I have a problem with it, but I guess I do. I know it's going to take forever for those marks to heal, so when I go to my surgeon for the followup on the 8th I'll ask her if I do have an allergy, or what, or if this is normal? I don't know, but if I ever need something like this again, I'd like to avoid this. I don't remember feeling this way when I had my hysterectomy, but I was pretty out of it for a few days back then, too. I was taking those percocets for like 5 days.

Last night I had the damnedest time not sleeping. When I went to bed at around midnight I was in a lot of pain so I caved in took 2 percocets. Then I just seemed to float all night long. I had slept so much of the day, it didn't surprise me all that much. I felt rested, but I definitely didn't sleep. My brain just kept generating all these new ideas for doing stuff in the house, my websites, essays I want to write... it was a seemingly endless stream of creativity, which was cool but I really wanted to sleep! I finally "woke up" around 7AM but then dozed off and on until around 8, when I came down -- fortunately I have been able to sleep, really sleep, today. No more percocets for me! I did make a bunch of notes this morning about all of my ideas, we'll see how many of them come to fruition. It was at least a month's worth of work!

I did start today on the Make It Low Carb website redesign. It will take a while to get everything in place but I think it will be cool. I also bought the domain last night and will set up a site for my freelancing... eventually.

I just feel blech (no suprise). I am all puffed up from being on the IV fluids. I made the mistake of stepping on the scale today and I am 8 lbs heavier than when I went into the hospital. I look like I'm about 4 or 5 months pregnant. It's uncomfortable... I still have a lot of air in there,and every so often a pocket will drift up to my shoulders or chest and it is just kills until it dissipates... that's not a pain you can medicate. I wonder how much longer that will go on? I just want to be myself again.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Home again


and not suffering too badly thanks to the wondrous combination of Percocet and Vioxx.

Surgery went well, I slept/dozed most of the day, and finally got home just after 7:30PM. So far the pain is almost exactly like the pain I had before surgery but it should drop off in the next few days. The surgeon said my post-op bruising would resemble "Wilson" from the Tom Hanks' movie Cast Away. That made me laugh, actually. I have 4 little tapes on various parts of my abdomen. The coolest thing is that I don't have any stitches that will need to be removed.

The thing that's bothering me the most right now is where the IV was, in my left hand. Since I am left-handed it's more of a bummer than it would be for most people.

Time to lie down and return to my vegetative state...



I had a to-do list for today, stuff I wanted to get done before going for the surgery tomorrow. Amazingly, I managed to do just about everything, I think:

- re-stocked both fridge and pantry as I most likely won't be able to shop this week, and I hate running out of stuff.

- cooked 3 racks of ribs (mmmm) for consumption later in the week. Most is going in the freezer, though, for after my Mom leaves when when no one will want to cook but we'll still want something decent to eat.

- finished knitting the throw. Now I just have to work in the ends. It's awesome, even if I do say so myself. It does stretch in funny angles... it's not in the least bit rectangular, even though technically it should be, as it was just a straight garter-stitch knit even on 70 (or was it 80?) st. But using 11 needles (they are huge), it has a very lacey effect, and it has a lot of give to it. It's lovely, though. I'll get off my butt and post some photos, I think... this outfit deserves to be preserved in memory, even if I never get to wear it.

- cleaned the downstairs bathroom, and dusted. The most cursory job ever, but hey, it's better than nothing, right?

- baked mmmmmmm so I will have stuff I actually want to eat, and can eat, after the surgery. I haven't had much appetite lately and it is so important to eat. I made chocolate peanut butter zucchini bread, and cranberry-orange-coconut bread (LC, of course) after dinner. It worked out well as everything was done baking and the dishes all cleaned up by 9:30 or so.

- took my shower tonight so I won't have wet hair in the morning. I got a nasty chill in October when I went for my surgery then. Tomorrow I want to be all toasty warm.

- got to watch the 2 Sex & The City "farewell" shows, and the series finale. I found it very satisfying. There were some typical S&TC idiocies, but I really liked that Carrie finally stood up for herself and took back her own life. Her final voice-over, about loving yourself, and "if you can find someone that loves that "you", it's fabulous," was a perfect ending. Also, the fact that she was in some nightmare get-up while she was saying it!

- sent off my last bit of work to my boss so he can see I wasn't a total slacker last week, even though I spent more time knitting than working. But he was on vacation, too, so I'm not worried.

This morning as I was getting dressed I gave my torso a once-over for suspicious moles (life's one big party when you been diagnosed with melanoma) and I noticed that my breasts were actually looking... firm. WTF? I passed the pencil test. Never thought I'd ever be able to say that again. I think it must be a testimony to the skin firming lotion. My weight and breast size have been stable since shortly after I weaned DS2, that's a little over 2 years ago now. I haven't been working out or doing anything different recently. I have been using that lotion regularly for quite a while now. I don't think I'll ever be "perky" again, but it is nice to not look so deflated.

Mom got me a really nice "get well soon" card. It's very hard for her, me going through all this health stuff. I know she is very happy to be here and to help, but I can sense her frustration with not being able to just make things better for me. She is very different from me, in so many ways, but I can feel how much she loves me every day. She gets a little frustrated with some of my choices (staying up late, for one), but she also lets me live my own life, which has got to be hard on her. It's such a good thing for all of us that she can winter here.

And... I will be taking all 3 kids to her place on the Cape this summer! I am escaping the AZ heat, we're leaving the end of June and won't be back for over a month. I will probably die of computer withdrawal. The first 2 and a half weeks, I'll have the kids all to myself (eek!), then DH will join us for the last 2 weeks and we'll all fly home together. This should be interesting. There are so many things I want to do, it will be nice to have the time to do them!

A friend in another forum was asking for honeymoon recommendations, and asked about Cape Cod, so I had to go and look up this amazing b&b where I once spent a weekend. It was idyllic, perfect honeymoon material. Now I'm seriously thinking about asking DH if he & I can go for a few days during our trip this year. It may have to wait until next year in honor of our 10th anniversary, but I'm definitely not forgetting about this place. It was so dreamy... I know he would love it. Especially if we could leave the kids with family and not worry about them and just relax and have fun, the 2 of us. (This is definitely a recurring theme here!)

OK, surgery is scheduled for less than 9 hours from now, so I'm going to bed. I expect I'll be sleeping most of tomorrow anyway. Did I mention I didn't get up this morning until 10:45? It's hard to go to bed when you've only been up 14 hours. My schedule is so screwed up right now, I'm actually looking forward to this surgery and enforced rest resetting my body clock.

Don't know when I'll be back again... but if I can sit up and wiggle my fingers, I'll probably be posting something!

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Flailing around

Since I closed the last entry, I have:

- read extensively in the KnowledgeBase at Blogger.Com, and visited 4 different sites looking at blog "skins" to see if/how I want to change the look of this page. I'd like to add links and stuff and that doesn't seem as if it should be too difficult. Some folks out there have some seriously nice templates available for free downloading. I need to spend some time with it, because if I can find a look I like for MILC, then I'll stick with the blog over there. I really should do something with that instead of babbling on in here incessantly, but, there ya go. Or rather, here I am.

- checked my email at twice, and re-read mail from about 4 different people

- caught up at the Sex & the City forum at TWoP; not much going on today as we are all "waiting with breath bated" for tomorrow's series finale. I'm sure I'll have to lots to say about that. Tomorrow, or later, as I'm sure tomorrow I will be wigging out even more about the impending surgery. Or maybe not. There's always the possiblity.

- caught up on the journals and new posts at LCT. It was kinda quiet over there today. No comments on my Lemon Yogurt muffins, either. I wonder if anyone else will ever make them? I wonder if other folks get as good results from my recipes? Can't remember the last time I posted one. I'm ticked that I didn't think to copy out my fruitcake recipe from TLC before it went down. But then again, I didn't know it was going to go down, and stay down. Oh, the joys of online life.

- hung out at WebMD researching gallbladder stuff, inflammatory bowel diseases, celiac disease, and two or three other topics I will leave to your imaginations. I don't have to go into every gory detail, do I? I have symptoms that I am pretty sure are not related to my gallbladder. At this point I'm kind of casting about as to who to follow up with, and how soon after surgery I can do that. According to the helpful WebMD tools, I should call my doctor about my symptoms. How very helpful, indeed.

- the second time I checked my mail, I peeked in at the newsgroup. I lurk there now. I was a regular participant for years until pretty recently when the political stuff got really ugly. A number of the locals there never recovered from 2000 presidential elections. Occasionally I do still post but mainly I keep track of a few folks I'm fond of. It doesn't help, of course, that Farscape is in limbo right now. (The series is cancelled, but a mini-series is in production; there's no announced air date or even network for the mini, yet.) I've unsubscribed from the group 2 or 3 times now, but so far have always ended up re-subscribing just because I'm bored or missing folks and wanting to see if they have been posting lately. I have a very weird social life.

- checked in at the invitation-only writer's bboard and read a great travelogue by one of the guys there. He makes California sound very appealing. The place he wrote about today I actually visited but so long ago I don't remember anything about it. We all live vicariously through each other over there. It's a great eclectic mix of folks from all walks, we just all like to write. That's our one thing in common, that and we used to (some still do) write for Epinions.

- thought about making some decaf like 20 times. I'm thirsty but too lazy to go get a drink. Thought about going to bed at least 3 times.

I recognize this feeling I'm having now. I'm tired and front-of-brain-know I should just go to bed, but the much-more-stubborn reptile brain doesn't want to go to bed. It's very similar to a feeling I had when I was depressed, which went something like this: when you think you're going to be dead soon, you don't want to waste time sleeping. [Look, I know it doesn't make much sense, but when you're depressed, you think odd things. It has been documented, I'm pretty sure. Part of my depression was thinking generally that everything would be better if I were dead. Now that I'm well, I realize that's a pretty f'ing scary thought.]

Right now I'm pretty sure I don't think I'm going to die anytime soon, even though I'm a bit skeeved by the surgery. There's a possibility: my fear of the unknown (surgery) manifests as willful insomnia. Lots of other emotional crap manifests as willful insomnia, too, but I'm going with fear as my top candidate right now -- but there's something else, too.

I'm looking for something, try to fill a void that's impossible to fill. I was whining about this earlier. I need some physical interaction (minds out of gutters, please). Face-to-face talking, or even a phone call, not just words on a screen. With the exception of my husband, all my closest friends live in other time zones. Sucks. I get this feeling from time to time, and it's particularly bad right now I think because I was really looking forward to going out, and then we didn't, and because of the surgery thing. It's stupid. I can sit here and write about it and see that it's true but I still don't go to bed.

Mick Jagger's voice is crooning in my mind's ear You can't always get what you want... Tonight, anyway, this 'puter isn't gonna give me what I need, either. Gotta give it up.

DH came home from work at 11, watched some SNL and MadTV, and then went to bed. I think we exchanged something like 10 words. I wanted to tell him that I missed him, but didn't. Stupid me. I did tell him that I'm having a lot of pain today. He is sympathetic but knows there isn't really anything he can do for me. Anyway, if I'm feeling lonely it's my own damn fault.

Maybe it isn't loneliness, though. Maybe it's just an escape attempt to get away from the physical discomfort that has dogged me all day? That's plausible, too. So many times throughout my life, pain has dictated my decisions, influenced my behavior. It definitely is, now. I'm hiding here.

Sitting at this computer is like putting up a big "do not disturb" sign...which is the exact opposite of what I was just saying I needed and wanted, right? If I really do want/need some human interaction, why didn't I actually get some? The idea of hugging someone, or someone hugging me, makes me wince right now. I carred DS2 up to bed at 8PM and about thought I was going to fall over. (insert multiple "ow"s here)

If I go to bed, will I sleep? Or will I just lie there, "listening" to all the aches and pains, competing for my attention? maybe I'm just trying to make sure I'm sooo tired that I'll fall asleep no matter how fucking miserable I am.

Enough of this Pity Party. There's no escape. Time to go to bed.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Melancholia & the Transformative Process

Today, I find myself a little down. Just worn out. I've had ab pains all day and my hands are nearly completely useless, everything hurts... I would love to take something but I can't, no pain meds, surgery Monday. Can't wait for those pain killers!

I had a 2 hour nap this afternoon, but it was one of those naps where you wake up feeling worse than when you went to sleep in the first place.

Ow ow ow ow ow

Of course I can't walk around going "ow" all day, it just isn't done. But I was still pretty useless. Didn't do a lick of housework today -- unless you count bringing the laundry basket full of clean clothes upstairs. The clothes are still in the basket. Didn't clean the bathrooms, or dust, or vaccuum. Honestly, vaccuuming is not in the cards these days, although I will probably do the others tomorrow. I did make beef burgundy in the crockpot for dinner so that was nice, didn't require too much effort this morning.

I had about half a glass of wine with dinner and had to give up on it... hurt too much. This sucks, but the timing is good, I suppose... just one more day to endure.

I've been watching TLC a lot lately. Somewhere or other I was talking about what shows I watch recently, and I realized I don't watch any network TV except for "24". My favorite shows, though, are "Clean Sweep" and "What Not To Wear". Both of these shows are similar in that they help people to strip away all the extraneous garbage they have going on in their lives that they are hiding behind.

"What Not To Wear" is tougher on the participant, I have to admit. Stacy and Clinton, the "style consultants", are really brutal about making the woman (rarely it's a guy) really look at herself and be honest about the clothes she has been wearing. They've had on 20-something-year-old school teachers that dress like grammas, and 43-year-old business owners who dress like "hoochie mamas" they call them, they can't bring themselves to say "ho", I guess.

It sounds terrible, and there are oftentimes tears, but by the end of the show the women uniformly realize that they are beautiful and there is no need for them to hide in tents or to wear wildly age-inappropriate clothing. You can just see them learning to really value themselves, and be more themselves. It's not about making them into runway models or making them follow some arbitrary fashion rules. It's about finding the clothes that are right for their body styles, and helping them find clothes that fit. Plus hair and makeup that flatters them and fits their lifestyles. They've had all ages and body types, races, moms and professionals and students, and every time they give these people what they really need to shine. It's really no surprise why I love the show, it's great to see how awesome they look in the end.

Plus, it's basically about learning to shop and which clothes look good when, and I'm all over that. I don't know which came first, me being tired of looking like I lived in a pre-school (even though I basically do, you should see my house), or starting to watch "What Not To Wear". The show may have come first and fed into the feeling. Anyway, I started buying different clothes. Not just new versions of my old clothes. Different clothes. Haven't been spending a fortune, just keeping my eye out for different things that look nice, and not just buying things because they were on sale, like I used to.

I do find I feel better in clothes that fit right and look good. Sloppy clothes feed into a messy self-image. Right about now I'm even thinking about getting new pj's because my old ones are so big they are falling off me... and DH deserves to go to bed with someone looking better than that! (hee)

"Clean Sweep" is more about life than wardrobe, but it's similar. Invariably, you've got a couple that has let their clutter over-run their lives. They have so much stuff they can't even move. There's one organizer I really like, Peter, he gets right to the point: if you're going to keep something and say it's important to you, then you should treat it with respect. Use it, display it, or put it away properly. None of this boxes of crap all over the place, people! And, people? Buy some furniture, will ya? About 50% of the time all these people really need are a few bookcases or cupboards and some organization imposed on them.

This whole fascination with "stuff" is beyond me. I got over "stuff" during the dissolution of my first marriage. My ex came from an Upper East Side Manhattan family, and they had some money. Not so much they didn't have to work (his dad was a name partner in a law firm), but enough that they owned a 3-bedroom, 3-bath coop on 79th & York and a 5,000+sq ft custom-built house in Westchester County. That house rocked, although there were some stupid things in the design. The fieldstone fireplace in the great room was outstanding, as were the grounds and the pool. But I digress.

When I realized that the marriage was dead, I knew I was going to have to leave, and leave all that stuff behind. I took a while for me to come to that decision. My ex and I had a gorgeous three-level condo in Cambridge. Lofts, spiral staircases, rooftop greenhouse room & terrace. That space rocked, truly, and we had all this kick-ass Scandinavian furniture (which I still adore). But eventually I realized that it was just stuff, it wasn't love, it certainly wasn't happiness. It wasn't the life I wanted to be living. In those days, I used to read over a 1200 pages a week, all I did was read, I had no real life.

So: bye, stuff! When I left him, I took my clothes and my books, a few things that were mine from when I was single. In the divorce agreement I asked for a few more things, but they were trivial: the glider, a vase, some artwork that had been painted by a family friend.

It was odd starting over again, to say the least. But it was liberating, too, not to have all that stuff. I did miss the really comfortable couch we had. I still don't think I've had as comfy a couch, LOL! I can't remember missing anything else, though. We had 3 posters of Tiffany stained glass windows. Those were nice and I would still enjoy them if I had them now, but there's no sadness in the fact I don't have them. I wonder if I'm just repressing the memories of the feelings? Seems to me, from this point, I just picked up and moved on. I had to furnish an apartment on a shoestring, but that was kind of fun. And I still have the leather furniture I bought all those years ago -- it has stood up pretty well to the beating the kids give it.

I was talking to a friend the other day and his kids got into a tussle while we were on the phone, and his son dislocated something on one of his daughter's dolls. She cried and cried, like her heart was breaking. She made such a fuss that we had to end the call, so he could attend to the doll. This may seem cold but I just didn't get it. This girl has like a gazillion dolls, and although the doll was messed up, it was fixable. I'm sure part of the tears were just from being angry with her brother, but that level of heartbreak should be reserved for being truly hurt or losing something really precious. This wasn't her favorite doll she took with her everywhere, far from it. She was just carrying on like it was. I hate it when my kids do that, the big over-reaction to something that should be trivial. Why is stuff so important to them?

I let my DD buy a new beanie baby the other day ("Corsage") because it is completely adorable: little white bear covered with purple flowers. Since the word "Corsage" just will not stay in DD's brain, she has nicknamed the new bear Violet, which works very well. DD has a gazillion beanie babies and beanie buddies and other stuffed animals, but she actually plays with them. She has her Teddy, always by her side, but she rotates the other ones in and out.

Still... she has a gazilion toys, so I told DD that if she wants to keep Violet, she has to go through her stuff and give me 6 things she doesn't want anymore. Surprisingly, she was able to do it. I was really proud of her. However, there are about 20 other stuffed animals she never looks twice at that she insisted on hanging on to, because they are "really cute". Those will have to wait until some other time. DD is only 5. She has time to learn about the tyranny of stuff.

That's what "Clean Sweep" is all about. The tyranny of stuff: at a certain point, you have so much stuff, you don't even know what you have. Then you waste time looking for things, and you waste money buying things that are duplicates of what you already have. I did that last year at Christmas time, I had shopped for books and things for the niblings, but then forgot about them... then I found them again, quite near Christmas, so a few kids got double presents, I didn't want them hanging around any longer so I could forget about them again. Nobody complained. (hee)

My current resolve is to keep this house closer to a Clean Sweep "after" than "before". We are OK in the common rooms but the kids' rooms need help. If the contractors ever finish I'll be able to do something about that. I hope! I'm psyched because DD's new closet has all these little shelves in the dead space, they will be so useful for out-of-season clothes and toys and stuff. I hate going into the kids' rooms now, they are barely contained chaos. They have bins and shelves and things for their stuff, they just need to be prodded to stay on top of it more often. Right now most of the shelves and drawers are empty; the stuff is all over the floor. Ick. I'm not getting into the business of cleaning their rooms for them, nope. I will, however, stand there and nag them until they clean them up themselves.

Listening to "One" in the van with the kids, one of the songs I always sing along with is "Can't Buy Me Love". Yes, I am counter-programming...

Parenting lately has been forcing me to examine my own beliefs and behaviors. I can't explain things to my kids or realistically impose rules that I don't understand myself. It's also hard, though, because I have to not impose my own personal preferences on them, I have to respect their own personalities.

The big issue lately has been helping them to understand how well-off we are. They never lack for anything, literally. I don't buy them stuff randomly, though. They get money for holidays and birthdays and I let them spend it, and once it's gone, it's gone. I do set rules on what they can buy, but they aren't unreasonable. They have to buy age-appropriate toys and nothing that is sending a bad message (Bratz dolls, anyone?). They all wanted neopets after Christmas, so I let them get some; they're small! Hee. Along the same lines of letting them make their own decisions within reason, I let DD keep her 'really cute' animals for now, because we do have the space. I don't have to be ruthless. Yet.

But I'm still struggling about teaching work ethic and the value of the money when they have so much around them, and so many people giving them really nice gifts or cash all the time. It's hard. I'm glad they're still little and I have some time to figure this out.

Man, this is all over the place. Part of me wants to go back and restructure and rewrite it, the rest of me is like, are you crazy? this is your journal, relax! I should go work if I want to do work, I haven't put in many hours this week. That's OK, though, as the boss was away all week. I hope he got my email about the surgery Monday. Hmmmm.

I've been too much in my head (and on the computer) lately, I think. DH has been working extra hours (that's where he is now) to make up for time he will miss next week when I'm out of commission, so I haven't been spending any time with him. I was all pumped out to go out last night and then that got cancelled, so now I feel completely deflated. I was looking forward to a real social evening, hours of chatting and eating good food and just having fun, out with friends... instead, zip. I didn't even get to watch the news with DH because he went to bed early. ***sigh***

I was thinking the other day I need to get one of those pain charts and fill it out every day. These charts have two outlines of a full body, one front, one back. You put the 1-10 pain scale number directly where the pain is hurting. So, if your lower back is nagging you, you'd put a "4" on the lower back. At this point I think I would just color the whole f'ing thing in and mark it "6". The pain is distracting but I can still function. Can't figure out why my left thigh muscle is seizing, though. That usually only happens when I've been doing a lot of driving. I hope I feel better by Monday, because last time I had surgery I had to fill out one of those things and then I got grilled on it, and this time it will be even worse. Sheesh. I suppose I could lie? Not a good idea, lying to your doctor. Now, that's a whole 'nother topic.

I'm off before this gets even more whiny Ow ow ow ow ow

Friday, February 20, 2004

Let down

Our dinner date tonight was cancelled on account of illness. DH is under the weather with what we hope is just a 24-hour fever-chills-aches thing, and his business partner was out today with something simliar. So, no fancy dinner after all. I'd pout if there was anyone around to see it. I went through a considerable effort to assemble a great outfit and even got my hair cut. Damn. Oh well, there will be another time.

DH went up to go to bed very early, and by some miracle I managed to get the kids into bed before 8:05, so here I am, in a completely quiet house, and it's barely ten past eight. How weird.

I was/am thoroughly exhausted today, anyway -- stayed up late again last night with the knitting. Yes, my life is so wild, I stay up late... knitting. Hee. At least I can appreciate the humor in that. If I had to, I would've finished the wrap in time to wear it to dinner, as it was, with our plans being cancelled rather early in the day, I haven't worked on it since very early this morning, when I got up to take DS1 to school, so DH could get into work early. I will pick up the knitting again when I go watch tv after finishing up here, and maybe I will even finish it tonight even though I won't need it for a few weeks.

The knitting last night was a good excuse to watch The Fabulous Baker Boys for about the millionth time. I love that movie. First, I love the music (Dave Grusin, it introduced me to him), and I love the dynamics between the characters. Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer have incredible chemistry, and I really like the way Pfeiffer sings.

Her thready singing encourages me to sing, which is a bit of a laugh... I've always been one of those off-key warblers. In an interesting twist, I've noticed that I sing better these past few years, and I wonder whether or not my thyroid nodule has anything to do with it? I definitely have a bigger range, too, and the only thing I can figure is that the lump is making things possible that previously were not, for whatever reason... I'm not complaining. I love to sing, I would love to be able to sing well enough to be in the church choir, but currently that's not feasible just on a time basis. Some day, maybe.

Anyway, the Baker Boys... it's always like a time warp, watching that movie. I first saw it when I was waking up to the reality of my first marriage. I had a business trip, the first leg of which I took alone, and my (now ex) husband joined me in the middle of it. During the first part of the trip I got to visit with an old friend from high school, and she and I went to see the Baker Boys and then went out for Vietnamese food and we just had such a great time. I remember how Jack's struggle -- doing the "right" thing, earning a decent living, vs doing what he wanted to do, playing jazz -- really resonated with me then. I knew I was doing what was right, what was expected of me, but I felt so stifled, like Jack. There was this whole other part of me that I kept on denying. Watching that movie provoked my first conscious thoughts about it, and about what I could do to try and change things, make things better for myself.

Eventually, of course, everything came up to the surface and exploded. There were many triggers along the way, but I think I will always love that movie because it told me something about myself I needed to know. Some family members and friends had tried to tell me the same thing -- that I wasn't me anymore, that I wasn't living my own life -- but I couldn't, or wouldn't, listen to them. Baker Boys wasn't a sermon so much as a demonstration, and it was just what I needed at the time.

I think the high point of the day was re-connecting with some old friends who decided to dive in here and see what was up with me. This is a very immediate forum, very intense (or very boring, when I'm whining about housework) and sometimes too much even for me to take -- too much ME! ME! ME! -- but for folks who I can't see or speak to that often, it's a great way for them to know how I really am doing. I managed to upload all the rest of my journal entries from late last year this afternoon, and even just in skimming over them as I reposted them, I could see the trends of staying up too late, fatigue, discouragement, and then relief... ve-ry-in-ter-est-ing, as they say.

For the record, it's cloudy and may rain all weekend, and my RA is kicking up fiercely. The knitting marathons probably haven't helped. The gallbladder is holding steady at about 5, spiking up to about 7 occasionally (that's "I can't stand up straight"-level pain). Sucks, I'm glad it's coming out on Monday. Whee!

No contractors yesterday, and they were supposed to come today, but didn't. At this point we will be lucky to have that room done by Easter. It's getting a little absurd, now. The worst thing is that they don't call and tell me what's up. Most day if I do get a call, it's at like 2PM and I've already figured out they're not coming. Advice:Never, under any circumstances, tell your contractor that you don't have any time pressure involved with your job. Give him a deadline he has to meet or there will be penalties. Seriously, this is bad. This is not a big job and I have no clue what else these guys are working on, and I don't begrudge them the time they spent helping out that church in Mesa. But as far as I'm concerned, the church in Gilbert can wait until my job gets done -- their project is not an emergency! But that's just me. grump grump grump

I finally had a chance to talk to a local friend yesterday, since my surgery has been scheduled I wanted to fill her in on it. We actually had a nice talk but I never know how to handle nearly-naked envy. DF (the incredibly blunt one) said something on the order of, "You didn't even have to do anything to get that job!" regarding my freelance job, the one where I'm making good money working at home when I want. The guys I'm working with are happy with me, and not only that, they paid me promptly! Yay for me! But DF's comment rankled me -- it's not "I didn't have to do anything" to get this job. I worked in the industry for 15 years, and with my friend who recommended me for 7. The past 3 years I've been writing more steadily, to the point where I had a nice collection of URLs to send off to my then-prospective employer, so he could check out my writing style and basic level of competency. I've done a lot that directly contributed to me getting this job, none of which DF recognizes, if she can even see it.

However, I learned years ago that it's pointless to try and educate her. I just have to let it go with her, and so I did, but this is the perfect place to bring it up and hash it out with myself. I almost (not quite) got a "you don't deserve that great job" vibe from her, and I could just feel my back going up. I not only deserve this job, I earned this job, and I'm good at it. (Contrast this attitude to my fears before I started! Hee! I love it when I'm in a groove.)

One line of correspondence today talked about choices we made and their repercussions now, and linked it all back into health issues... did I make decisions to save my energy, rather than going for it, because all along I've had these health problems dogging me? I've had PCOS since puberty, IBS and TMJ in college, migraines later on down the road... even when I was in my early 20s, I remember having that "hit by a truck" feeling when I woke up, which is so characteristic of fibromyalgia and RA.

Has there ever been a time in my life when I honestly felt physically great for an extended period? I've had a few such stretches, including my first 2 pregnancies. But then something would always impinge...

This is getting into the Day Tripper theme but I'm not ready to explore that in detail right now, so I'll just leave it to percolate.

I listened to "The Long and Winding Road" in the car on the way home today, and I decided I have to get "Let it Be, naked" just so I can have a recording of that song without the over-produced Phil Specter string section. The lyrics are cliche-city but I still powerful with that simple sustaining melody, and I'd really like to hear it stripped down to its core.

I'm cracking up listening to all these Beatles tunes. I especially laughed at "We can work it out," in which the singer implores his lover to "try to see it [his] way," does he have to keep on talking until he can't go on? But then he basically delivers an ultimatum: "while you see it your way, there's a chance that we might fall apart before too long." Seriously, the dude was saying, shut up and agree with me, or I'm out of here -- "Life is very short, and there's no time for fussing and fighting." And when I was a teenager, the spin I put on it was soooo different than that! Of course, that was before I'd had a failed marriage to a total control freak.

However, "Hello, Goodbye" has held up very well all these years, as has "Let it be."

Thursday, February 19, 2004

OK, so I lied

just a trigger for later... Day Tripper

signing off for today

Seriously, I have to go knit, or I'll never finish that wrap in time for dinner tomorrow night. I'm just about halfway there, and it is gorgeous. I may have to take pictures.

I sent out a bunch of emails letting folks know about the upcoming gallbladder surgery, and got a nice outpouring of well-wishes in return. I have such great friends. I pointed several of them this way, too, but now I am promptly going to have to forget that any of them may be reading this. This journal isn't targeted to any particular group and I don't want to catch myself censoring what I write about.

DD's atrium (religious pre-school) is cancelled for tomorrow, which is great because it frees us up to do stuff we want, without the ol' drop-off, pickup hassle. It's one thing when the class is 2 or 3 hours, but this is just an hour and a half, and it seems that as soon as I get home from dropping her off, I have to go back and pick her up. It's a great class, though, and I'm glad I was able to get her enrolled this year.

Speaking of enrollments, DD is now enrolled for kindergarden at DS1's school for next year, and DS2 will be going to preschool for 3-year-olds on Wed and Fri mornings next year. That means we can still do story time on Tuesdays, which will be fun. I'm trying to imagine what it will be like those 2 days, having all 3 kids in school, if only for a few hours... sounds divine!

Feeling insanely good in spite of the upcoming surgery, probably because I had 2 glasses of wine with dinner. I cooked for the first time in eons, my Shrimp Italiano, and some buffalo sirloin burgers for the kids. Also tried TJ's low carb ravioli (too chewy for me, DH seemed to like 'em). All in all, it was yummy. I haven't cooked in a while...

OK, enough procrastinating, back to the knitting!

knitting break

So I've been working like a machine on the fuzzy-furry throw to wear to Friday night's dinner, and my hands are totally killing me. How funny is it that I am taking a break and relaxing my hands by coming over to the computer to type? Seriously, it's bad. I would take something but I can't because surgery is pending on Monday, and no aspirin or NSAIDs are allowed for a week beforehand.

I'm trying to figure out how I feel about this. I don't feel agitated, but I am down, I guess is the best way to describe it. It disturbs me that yet another part of my body is broken. I'm not that sick -- my liver and kidney functions are fine, I don't have any nausea -- but I do have this constant pain that is getting worse (from 2 on the pain scale up to 5 or so, on the 1-10 scale), so it will be great to be rid of it. But I still want to know why this shit is happening to me, and what I can do to stop it! I'm still pretty hopeful about celiac being the underlying cause, but I have to get through this cholecystectomy (I think that's the right spelling) and recovery, first.

Then if I'm still having all the weird digestive symptoms (but no pain) it will be clear that there's still something f'ed up with me and we can move on to diagnose that, and I will be ALL. FIXED. UP. Right? I hope so.

So I'm the world's most neglectful mom today, DS2 is watching Harry Potter 2 on one TV, and DD is watching "Stitch - The Movie" on the laptop. I don't have the energy to do anything interactive with them. I was up until 2AM, knitting. And watching the car chase in The Bourne Identity. That movie totally rocked.

In very good news, I got my first paycheck in the mail today. Happy happy happy. I sent DH a page, "Hey, only 19 more of these and we'll have enough to put in a pool." I don't know how long this job is going to last but I plan to enjoy it as long as it does. I doubt it will extend that long, though. And I still have to talk to the CPA about filing estimated taxes, and the self-employment taxes, too (FICA, etc). Too bad I don't get to keep it all, but I don't care all that much.

Man, the clock on this computer is totally screwed up. It's 25 minutes fast, which is so annoying. I reset it periodically but then it always goes off again. I just had a moment of panic when I saw the time and thought I was late for picking up DS1 at school...

I'm still thinking about Max's comment, and whether or not I want to deal with the 'overhead' of posting my journal in two places. I did really enjoy the support I got when I journaled at TLC (now defunct). One thing I found myself doing, though, was tailoring what I was writing about to that particular audience.

Now the only one I'm writing for is me, although I am aware that others can and do read here. I do really like to get comments, but I'm not actively seeking them, I guess, the way I started to when I journaled at TLC.

Another thing I'm working on is stepping back, just a little, from some of my more intense online involvements. I don't have time to spend hours posting and reading on forums anymore... if I take that time, I end up having to stay up late to finish up work, or ignoring the kids when I shouldn't be. It's just too easy to get lost online for me. When the TLC forums came down, it was a shock to me, but a good one, how much more time I had in the day. I know there will be times when my involvement goes up and down, but for now I'm trying to disciplined and keep my freelance job moving, as well as spending time finishing uploading old entries here, and getting the website up and running, too.

I've got a blog over there but the more I think about it, the less I like that arrangement for what I want to do over there, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to kill it and start fresh. No big deal, but there's a simple design that has been percolating in the back of my head for a while now, that shouldn't be too hard to set up. I hope! It has been a while since I mucked around with HTML. We'll see, hmmm?

Time to wrap this up and go get DS2, for real, now...

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Today was one of those days where I never stopped moving.

Got up, showered, dressed, grabbed some portable breakfast. Took DD to school, then up to the mall, where I bought some pants for DH and a pair of shoes and a pair of boots for me -- both gorgeous, and very cheap. I love end-of-season clearance sales! :)

Then to the surgeon. Yeah, I need the gallbladder out. Scheduled the surgery for Monday -- yes, just 5 short days from now. It's better to get it over with, and also better to do it while Mom is still here (she's scheduled to go back home on the 1st.)

DH picked up DD because I ran late with the surgical consult, and when I called him he was actually buying some pants for himself, so I took the ones I got him back -- they were too big. :) Then home, some brief puttering around, and called my hairdresser to see when she could get me in and she had a 2:45 appointment so I dashed up there for it.

Popped into Michael's and bought some Fun Fur to make a really quick throw to wear on Friday to my fancy dinner out with DH and his business partner and his bf. Then the haircut, it looks awesome, I just love my hairdresser, then some errands at Trader Joe's ( milk, eggs, the usual)... then home, started knitting the throw and I'm loving it, realized I want to do something else so I need more yarn... Mom made dinner, yum, after dinner Mom & I went out to a different Michael's because the one by TJ's was totally out of the Fun Fur, it was on sale...

Came back home, read bedtime stories to the kids, and now I'm here. *whew*

I had fun shopping and getting my hair done today. I think it balanced the news about the surgery. It won't be so bad. I may even get to come home the same day if I don't need the injection painkillers. My only restriction after the surgery is no lifting over 20 lbs for 2 weeks, and no driving within 4 hours of taking the oral pain medications. So it sounds like it shouldn't be too bad, right? I spoke at some length about my LC diet with the surgeon and she said she didn't think it had caused the problem, and she saw no reason to change it afterwards. So that was good.

I think I probably just kept moving today because I didn't want to stop and think about all that, and I don't think that's such a bad thing. There really isn't much to think about, and I tend to obsess, so I'm just going to leave it alone and go do some knitting.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

in search of praise


DH has "Seinfeld" on, and it's very distracting. Everyone on that show was nasty and obnoxious, but it is really funny. So now I don't know what I'll be able to write...

So, today: good thing I baked last night, as I finally dragged my butt out of bed at 8:20AM this morning and got dressed, expecting to find DD up and ready to go to school (as usual), but no, she slept in and I had to get her up and cook breakfast for both her and DS2, and even so we broke a speed record getting out the door at 9:07. We got to school a little after 9:20, and I'm pretty sure I was supposed to deliver those muffins earlier, but I didn't hear anyone complaining. Hee!

Came back home and toodled around on the computer all morning, I'm not exactly sure where the time went. Between TWoP and the discussions of the penultimate "Sex&TheCity" episode, and the LCT forums and journals, there was plenty of reading material.

After I picked up DD from school, I decided I needed to focus and actually did some real work, and made some major progress with a bunch of copy. I can finish up that memo tomorrow and send it off, that will be nice. Three and half hours and it didn't seem to phase the kids one way or another. I have to break periodically to referee something or get someone a snack or something like that, but that's OK, it didn't interrupt the flow too much today. I'm hoping I can continue to work like that after my mom goes back to MA. I don't want to have to pull late nights to get my work done, and I would love to hang onto this job as long as possible. There was a mention of other projects, once this one wraps up -- hope springs eternal.

After supper and with the kids in bed, I got even more motivated (perhaps by the example of the late-baked muffins last night) and baked a coffee cake. I've been craving it lately, and I have all the ingredients, so I just did it. I still have the dishes to do, but the house smells all cinnamon-y and yummy, and I have great snacks to look forward to, for a few days at least. Of course tonight I had brownies for a snack, and not low carb brownies, either, the real deal, sugar-laden and delicious... and deadly.

So. The surgeon tomorrow at 11AM, we'll see how that goes. Harumph.

Totally out of the blue, I got e-mail from my "Big" (see "Sex and the City" references), who is in Phoenix for one more day, he tells me. Lord knows how long he has been here, and he has not had "one second" to himself since he arrived. I "harumphed" at him that he hadn't even told me he was coming, then "just kidding", and wished him a good flight home tomorrow. Still, I'm thinking, WTF was that? Part of me says, "go have a drink with him," just because I want to gloat about how fabulous my life is (OK,except for the ongoing health crap). Plus, in spite of the ongoing health crap, I look fantastic, especially if I camoflage my under-eye circles with makeup. The immature part of me wants to show off what he has been missing all these years...

The rest of me says, "Are you nuts?" It just isn't done, is it, having drinks with an ex you almost married? Or is it OK if a dozen years have gone by and you are both happily married to other people and have kids and everything? Doesn't matter, ain't gonna happen.

I admit, I love positive feedback of any kind. My writing, my recipes, my looks, my outfit, my children... I'm a praise-hound. Can't help it. I love that little warm glow I get from it. That's not to say I can't be happy within myself for my own accomplishments, because I am. I just like it when I get something external.

I don't think people realize how hard it is to transition from a regular job where you get reviews and feedback constantly, not to mention adult interaction, into what I would call a "domestic situation" LOL -- staying home with the kids. And since the beginning part of staying home with the kids is staying home with an infant with extremely limited communications capabilities, it's complete culture shock.

I went from being immersed in communication of different forms all day to being in near isolation, with a wee one dependent on me for everything. I am basically too lazy and selfish to be an uber-mom, but I do a lot for and with my kids, neglecting the house terribly while I'm at it... thinking about things, I realize how much happier I am now because all 3 of the kiddos are extremely verbal and we actually talk to each other, it's not all a one-way stream anymore. Thank God, they grow. And they are so interesting, and they ask such good questions.

But still, I don't get any reviews or feedback at all as a Mom, except the occasional compliment from a stranger about how well-behaved my kids are. Parent-teacher conferences are great, too, but they are few and far between.

How am I doing, "job"-wise -- the real job, being a Mom? I think I'm doing OK, but sure as shooting I'm not going to get a raise (not that I need one, money is not an issue) or a promotion -- hee! I recall vividly being annoyed with my pediatrician because she ragged on me for letting the kids watch 3 to 4 hours of TV a day. Look, big brother is in school and I have work to do, and they aren't watching commercials, they're either watching Noggin (no ads at all, looooove it) or PBS or DVDs. IOW, give me a break, woman, better my kids watch TV while I'm tap-tapping away at the keyboard, than they get shipped off to daycare, where who knows what would happen to them. At least, that's how I feel.

Years from now my wee ones will say something like, "I was so jealous of all the time you spent on the computer," and I'll have to fire back something like, "and I was jealous of all the time you spent with the TV." They know I'm here and more or less available. Not for aimless idle conversation, but for something real, like help with a problem, or breaking up a fight, I'm here. It's great because my desk is in the family room, so I'm in the middle of things. It's also great that I can still focus with chaos going on around me!

So, yeah, after 15 years of getting that feedback and now having been through more than four years without it, it sure is nice to be getting some again. Maybe that's why the freelance job has helped my mood so much, just working productively with a small team and getting word back on what I'm doing? Maybe I am addicted to praise? I didn't think so, but it seems that there is some evidence for it. And I remember feeling insanely good when my new dr. asked me if I had any kids, because it meant he couldn't tell just by looking at me or listening to me that I was a full-time Mom. He respected my writing credentials and dealt with me as one professional to another, which so does not happen when professionals are dealing with stay-at-home-moms very often. I was practically giddy. What does this say about me?

Seriously -- one of the main reasons I would like to get together with this ex is to get his assessment of how I'm doing. We were always brutal with each other (me more than him, honestly), judging behavior and calling each other up on the carpet if either one had behaved like an idiot. We've all had our moments, right? It's very valuable to have a friend like that, and I know, that if he told me I looked great, that I am great, that it would be an honest opinion and more importantly, one I could trust.

But why in God's name do I need anyone, much less him, to tell me that?

I don't really need it (I tell myself), I just really like it. Is that OK? Does that make it any better? This desire for "external validation" has crossed my mind before, but this is the first time I've explored it in any detail. I think I am being honest with myself when I say I don't need it, because in my heart there is no upset, only peace. The constant agitation I was battling a few months ago has dissipated, the questions have been resolved. For now, I'm calm. I like the path I'm on, and I'm glad I waited for it to be revealed to me.

I am a little peeved that my health has continued to suck in one way or another, but otherwise things are really good. Really, really good, so good it's almost scary because it makes me think something bad's going to happen to balance it all out. Then I remember, yo -- impending surgery, again? And think, oh, yeah, right. OK. I can handle that. I will handle that.

Wow. This was an illuminating process, tonight. Cool.


(that sound? My head hitting the desk as I pass out.)

So, I was all set to go to bed at a reasonable hour, when...

Yes! It's another sleep-sabotage story. I just love these, don't you?

Well, back to the story -- I'm just about to shut down the computer when the little "you've got mail" tone sounds (no, I don't have AOL, and even if I did, the very first thing I would do is turn off that "You've got mail!" announcement) -- it's just OE, and it chimes in a more or less pleasant way, so of course I bounce over to see what it is, expecting spam. I get tons and tons of spam, which I will deal with someday, but not today.

The email -- not spam, not even close. It's a reminder that I volunteered to bring breakfast to DD's preschool tomorrow, for teacher appreciation week. Lemon Yogurt muffins, to be exact. Various swear words parade through my head, none seem exactly appropriate. This was at like 11:30PM. Nothing like baking when you want to be sleeping, but I know if I leave it till the morning, I'll be totally screwed, so I don't.

Now I've got 2 dozen muffins on the counter cooling but it's practically 1AM and I'm still up, and worse, I'm writing again. Lord, help me.

First: these muffins are incredible, but I actually feel guilty because I didn't make them low carb, I didn't even tweak them the tiniest bit to try and make them less carb-o-rific, that is, horrific -- no, I did the old white flour, white sugar, honey route... guilt guilt guilt. They'll taste great, though. I debated for a minute making them LC but no one's expecting that, and I don't know how well they would be received, although every one who has ever had them, either LC or regular, has loved them. Damn, I hate this crap! I can't wait till everyone converts to our WOE... subversive thought, that, isn't it? Hee.

DH and I watched Diane Sawyer's show (Frontline? Prime Time live? something like that, I'm clueless) with Mel Gibson about his new movie, The Passion of the Christ, and it was fascinating. Being Catholic, I am continually impressed with Gibson's commitment to his faith, and his passion in making this film. It does look gory, but I'm very interested to see it. I think it will be amazing because it is going to open up a dialog about religion that has never been seen before in this country... at least I hope so. There's the potential for a lot of good to come from this.

There has been some criticism of Mel and the movie as being anti-Semitic, but there's no basis for that in anything, and I hope the interview dispells any of those lingering notions. There's always the possibility of some nut-job coming away with the idea that the Jews are evil because the Sanhedrin gave Jesus up to the Romans, but that is not the message of the film.

There was a bit in Sawyer's show with a priest who complained that the film lacked context, that it didn't go into enough detail about why Jesus was persecuted, and about how he was upsetting the status quo. Gibson concedes that the priest has a point, but he also said, "That's not the film I made." (paraphrase) He focused on the last 12 hours as the most compelling part of the story, that's the movie he wanted to make. He was great, though, saying something like, "I know the rest of the story. If other people don't, maybe they'll pick up the Book and read it." Hee. Also, Word. (As they say on TWoP).

I'm sure some of the press will go to town on Gibson's interview, picking and choosing their quotes to slant the story a particular way, but I was really pleased with how he set the record straight on some common misconceptions about Catholicism.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Paying my dues

Somewhere in the back of my head I do know that if I stay up until 4AM, there is going to be Hell to pay the next day, and today, of course, there was.

It actually wasn't that bad. The kids didn't kill each other or themselves, I just had to battle extreme (understandable) fatigue all day long. I am such an idiot.

I almost felt as if I had made it through the day without an actual crisis when DS2 swallowed one of those smooth glass pebbles that florists use in glass vases to anchor arrangements... it kind of got stuck and he gagged a few times, and then cried and cried because his throat hurt. I did talk to the triage nurse at the pediatrician's office and she said that if he was still in pain to bring him in, otherwise he should be OK -- he was obviously breathing and swallowing OK. Damn, though, it was upsetting. Poor little guy. I was about ready to send DH off to the hospital with him just to be sure, when DH reminded me that if he was actually still in pain, he would still be crying... at that age, when it hurts, they cry. He was just scared and didn't want to go to the hospital. I was so exhausted by that point that I wasn't thinking straight. Good thing DH was here and thinking more clearly, there was no reason to put the little guy through an ER trauma he didn't need.

The contractors were here all day and made major progress on the new room. We have a door! I think I am probably jinxing myself here but I believe it may get done this week, which would be great. It was only supposed to take a week, maybe 10 days, and here we are, a month later... dum-de-dum-de-dum... I'm about ready for it to be finished, like, yesterday.

I didn't do any work today, but did hear from my boss that he would try to pay my invoice before he heads off for his week vacation with his kids. That would be nice. I've decided I need a CD player in the van. The portable jobbie I have rigged up in there just skips ridiculously, no matter what disc is in there.

I subjected the kids to my new Beatles' "One" today, and I have to say -- I totally loved hearing all that music again. I know all the words to all the songs. It's like remembering the best part of being a teenager, collecting every Beatles' album on vinyl, and playing them over and over again. Technically I'm too young to be a Beatles' fan, but because I am the youngest in my family, that is the music that I grew up hearing, and I have always loved it. The kids didn't complain too much -- not at all, really, although DS1 kept insisting they sounded "like cowboys", but I believe that was because "Love Me Do" has a lot of harmonica. Oh, who knows why he would say that? It's just too weird. I told him there are no cowboys in Liverpool. ;)

Nothing deep today, I don't have the energy for it... I don't know how I managed to function today, really. I took the kids to B&N (for a change) to the cafe and to look at books and they were super, really terrific, but I was just so tired... we got there around 3:30 and by 5, I was completely dead. The kids' section at B&N is phenomenal, but the snacks are 2x as spendy as at Border's, and the parking situation at B&N is an f'ing nightmare -- I actually warned the kids, if we don't get a good parking space, we're just going to Border's. So we lucked out on the parking and they were happy, but spending $2 on a chocolate chip cookie is a little extreme, even if it is big. It's only a little bigger than the ones at Border's, and they are pricey enough at $.99. I guess even in my extravagances I have limits on what I'm willing to spend. I already feel like it's a bit ridiculous to be dropping $7 or $8 every week on a snack just because it's nice and fun, but hey, we can afford it. If we ever couldn't afford it, that snack would go so fast... we'd survive.

Meanwhile, I ordered pizza for the kids today (2 large 1 toppings from Domino's, only $17) just because it's impossible to figure out something DS1 will eat for lunch, and leftover pizza is one thing he will eat every day. So, this week, he will eat it every day, LOL. It could be worse, I suppose. I was proud of him earlier when he asked me about whether or not chocolate milk could "build strong bones". I told him I didn't think so, because the sugar makes calcium come out of your bones, so even though the milk has calcium, the sugar probably counters it, so at best, it's a wash. I love it that he really thinks about what he sees on TV and doesn't just blindly accept what the ads tell him. So far, so good. Now, if he can just hang onto that think-for-himself attitude until he graduates from high school (and college), then he'll be all right. :)

I really need a haircut, and I'm torn -- it's growing out and finally hitting my shoulders now, but it's so layered it's looking on the ridiculous side. I'm thinking I need to chop off a bunch to get it looking decent again, and continue the growing-out process. I will have to leave that decision in the competent hands of my stylist, Elizabeth. She is a godsend, really. I don't know what I'll do if she ever leaves hairstyling -- so far I've lost 3 since moving here, they either went into real estate or moved away -- so I'm cherishing this woman as long as I have her... maybe I'll get some more blonde highlights added to my own pitiful remaining natural blonde streaks... hmmm.

It's fun to think about stuff like this, much more so than stuff like, oh, having my gallbladder out! Stay tuned for that.

Morning report

So, I got to bed about 4:15 when all was said and done, and got up at about 9:15. Of course the first thing Mom says to me is, "What time did you get to bed last night?" I totally did not tell her, she'd kill me. I'm 40, if I want to stay up writing in my journal, I will. Plus, I know she's here and will give the kids breakfast and everything if I need to sleep a little later. Am I taking advantage of her? You bet. I don't feel guilty, either, because she enjoys the time with the kids and likes being useful. That is not a cop out on my part, an excuse for me to be selfish because I know someone else will take care of my kids. It's the reality of the situation and it's going to end soon, so damn straight I'm going to take advantage of it while I can.

Meanwhile, still no contractors. I wonder WTF is up with that but I'm not going to call and ask, they need to call me and tell me...

Off to get breakfast and start the day!

2AM, writing...

Yeah, starting this at 2:11AM is not the smartest thing in the world.

However, I need to workout my writing muscles and stay in shape, and there are lots of thoughts bouncing around in my head that need organizing, so here I am.

I confess I gave 2 hours over to watching "Adaptation." That was 2 hours I could've been writing, but I really wanted to watch it and tonight seemed reasonable. Seriously, the kids don't have school tomorrow, so I can afford a late night. Plus, I slept till like 10:30 this morning (so shoot me). I really enjoyed that movie. Nicholas Cage kicks all ass, and the Kaufmans totally nailed writer's anxiety. It cracked me up that they did all the stuff they said they weren't going to do... excellent job all around, though. Great movie.

Before the movie, I watched the penultimate episode of "Sex & the City." I have ranted about this at length over on the TWoP boards (that's Television Without Pity to the uninitiated... go, enjoy, you'll love it; it's snarkalicious) but I have to mention it here, too. Carrie (protaganist, idiot) moves to Paris with her Russian artist lover, doesn't speak French, is a complete ditz... oh, the rants I could compose against her. She's got the opportunity of a lifetime, here, and she's going to sit in her hotel and be miserable because she can't think her way out of a paper bag, obviously.

It pisses me off when writers dumb down their characters so much. In earlier seasons, Carrie actually had a brain in her head. Apparently this is no longer true. Maybe I'm just pissed because the only time I was ever in Paris I was with my soon-to-be-ex-husband and I was pretending to have a good time the entire time I was there, when I was really wishing that I had gone there with the guy I was about to leave my husband for. Lord, that was a horrible trip. France is beautiful, but if you're going as a couple, make sure you go with someone you actually love, and not someone you're just pretending to love so you can get a trip to France out of it, OK?

I think that was what resonated with the Carrie thing, and me: Carrie actually calls up her best friend, Miranda, and says to her, "I keep thinking about what it would be like if I were here with Big," that's her on-again, off-again, ex, who reminds me so much of that guy I left my ex-husband for. YIKES! Suddenly it's 1991 all over again and that was me, except I didn't have anyone to whom I could say that out loud. My heart went out to Carrie but I still wanted to smack her upside the head for moving to a foreign country and not having her own game plan. I mean, shopping and museums can only keep you so busy.

OK, kicker from this ep: Carrie's Big turns up at the beginning with something to say to her, but she just chews him out and walks off, without letting him say his piece. YAY! She chewed him out, he deserved it, but -- c'mon, woman, let the man speak. Later in the episode, through a series of deus ex machina there is no need to repeat, we get to hear him profess his love for Carrie (but not to her). They've been doing this thing for 6 years now, and this is the first time he has shown some emotional growth and desire to commit.

$64 question: is he for real? Can guys like Big really reform, grow, mature? Commit to one woman? I really do think so. My Big, the guy I left my ex-husband for -- we got engaged, then he dumped me when it became painfully obvious that we weren't good for each other. He was very good at doing the White Knight routine, rescuing me from the horribly oppressive marriage I was in, but once I didn't need rescuing anymore, he didn't know what to do with me. There was other stuff going on, too, like I expected him to be that rescuing-type, all the time, because that was the guy I had fallen in love with. Of course that was too much work to keep up, all the time, so eventually he just quit "walking on eggshells", as he put it... long story. Broken heart, much more broken than with my divorce, I was shattered. I mean, we had picked out names for our kids. Planned our retirement. When he broke our engagement, he stole my future.

That was a dozen years ago. I had a rough time for a while but realized he had done the right thing, when he found a woman who, he told me, "loved [him] the way [he] is." I knew what he meant. She didn't fall in love with a White Knight, she fell in love with regular-old-him. The real guy, who, by the way, is a pretty cool guy although he can be a total jerk at times... like everyone, I suppose.

We've kept in touch via email and the occasional phone call over the years. It's so strange because we know each other very well, we can still finish each other's sentences. And I love him, still, but not in that same breath-catching way. He's someone who saw me through one of the hardest times of my life, and someone who put me through the worst emotional turmoil I've ever experienced, but -- I learned so much from him, about myself, about everything. I honestly think that had I not met him, I wouldn't have escaped that first bad marriage, and never would've walked the path that led me to my current excellent marriage and 3 amazing children. That's a lot to be grateful for.

And from this distance, my Big is totally committed to his wife and family, it doesn't seem to me as if he's ever even thought of straying. So it looks like a Big can reform, in real life -- just maybe not with his Carrie? Well, not for my Big and me, anyway.

So... back in the show, Big is finally ready to tell Carrie he loves her and can't lose her again, and I wonder, if me & my Big had stayed single over 6 years, would we have eventually come together, been The One, for each other? Is there such a thing as soul mates, do you get only one in a life time? Does your soul mate have to be your spouse?

My answers: I don't really think we would ever have come together, even though there was great chemistry between us at the time. When it was over, it was over, we never did the on-again, off-again dance, although I wanted to be "on again" so many, many times in the months after our breakup. There was only one breakup, even though there was some flirtatious banter a few times, that was nothing more than a tease (the bastard). The breakup was real, and honest, and true, and eventually I realized that. Gotta respect a guy who's willing to break a girl's heart to give her back her life, and reclaim his own, in the face of two families and an entire peer group's expectations.

Now, the soul mates question, that's an easy one: I do believe there are people we just connect with on a deeper level, and those people I would call soul mates. I have two girl friend soul mates, so I don't think you have to be married to your soul mate -- this is just a person who "gets" you, that you don't have to explain yourself to. When you find these people, you hang on to them, which is exactly what my Big has done with me. I was more than willing to just let him go, because of all the pain there, but once I got over that, I could appreciate knowing him, still. It took quite a long time, though.

My husband, honestly, I don't know if he is my soul mate or not. I know he understands me a lot better than I do, sometimes, but I also know there is stuff about me that he just does not get, which my Big does. That's OK, because the list of stuff that my DH does not get about me is vanishingly small, and he may actually get it, we just haven't ever talked about it. I learned a long time ago that people can understand you but still not agree with your point of view. That was a tough lesson, lemme tell you. My husband taught me that one, where my Big had tried and failed.

My mother once told me, "you can't expect to get everything you need or want in life from one person," and she is so right about that. My husband, though, comes damn close. Lately I just want to run away with him and spend two or three days just hanging out with him, in and out of bed, not having to do anything or take care of anyone else. A beach would be nice, too (I believe I have mentioned this before).

We went to see "Miracle" on Saturday (it was fun), and then went and got coffee at Starbucks, which we sipped while strolling the aisles of Trader Joe's (grocery store). I had an absolute blast. I got totally weak knees when he leaned over in the car and kissed me out of the blue. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in being a mom and taking care of the house and everything that I forget that not only does he love me (the real me, too, the crazy one), he also thinks I'm sexy. That's still a surprise to me a lot of the time.

I've been through the Virgin Recertification Process four times now. By this, I mean that four times in our marriage have we had extended periods where we couldn't have intercourse. We just did other things, which can be fun but is Just. Not. It. The first three trips through the VRP were when I was post-partum; after having a baby pass through your birth canal, the thought of anything going in there is quite horrifying for the first 6 weeks or so, and during that time you're dealing with an infant, plus post-partum hormones, so you're exhausted and messed up and sex just doesn't seem like a great idea... eventually, all those negative thoughts fade and it just feels good again, and there ya go.

Last summer, I noticed my cervix had slid way down and found out that I had uterine prolapse, so I had a hysterctomy at the end of October. From about August through mid-December I was off sex. Until the surgery, it just felt... bad. Then after the surgery, I had to wait until everything was healed up again. Now it's not bad anymore, but I'm still afraid it's going to be. It has been, in fact, mind-blowingly good, but I'm still afraid it's going to hurt. Occasionally it just feels weird, because I have scar tissue that literally does not like being rubbed the wrong way. But it doesn't hurt. So why am I afraid it's going to hurt?

Lately, it hasn't been hurting in the post-op area but up under my ribs where I've got the apparently gallbladder pain. Now, that just sucks. Why should that hurt, there? Of course now it just hurts there all the time, so that answers that question, but a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't an all the time thing, and it just started bothering me during sex which is just so not fair. Cripes. Well, I find out Wednesday when I'm getting the damn thing out and how long I'll have to not have sex again. Maybe it won't be too long this time.

Pain sucks.

Having written all that, I realize it's stupid of me to wonder whether or not my husband is a soul mate. It was probably obvious to everyone but me until I just went back and read what I wrote. Sometimes I am an idiot.

On a more positive note, I sent my first invoice out on my freelance job today. I wonder how long until I'll get paid? I almost don't care because the change in my mental state since I started working has been astonishing, even though I am not getting enough sleep, I just feel -- fantastic. I'm sure I'll go crashing down into a depression just for admitting that in public, but I don't care. I just feel good, I really do feel happy, like, I'm me again! I know I talked about this before but it's still there, that "I'm back" feeling. Weird. Good, but weird. Whatever, I'll take it.

Last, not least... I am trying to smile when I look at DD now. So much of the time I am coming down hard on her, and I finally figured out why. I am terrified of what she may become, because this girl literally has it all, and she knows it. She is beautiful, and smart, and funny, and kind, and loving. And she has the spark, the thing everyone wants. She is so full of life and energy. At her school, everyone knows her and likes her, the teachers all give her hugs. I had her parent-teacher conference last Friday and her teacher just confirmed everything I said up there. This girl can do whatever she wants with her life, and it's my job as her mom to make sure she doesn't grow up to be a manipulative bitch who works her looks and nothing else. Already she will play up her looks and pitch little fits about not getting her way, and so many times, she gets away with it. Not at home, though -- never at home, but when we're out and about, she has no problems bursting into tears at the fact that there is no lemonade or something like that. I've seen waitresses buckle at the sight of those tears, let me tell you. It's scary. She could be such a monster, even though right now she is sweet and kind, she could easily learn that she doesn't need to be that way all the time.

So anyway, I need to stop letting my fears about what she could be get in the way of seeing her as she is now, which is my pretty little girl who is often quite kind, and full of life and love. So, smiles and hugs for her, and she does seem less agitated around me because of it. Kids can so totally get the vibe their parents throw off, even though all parents want to deny it.

DH totally bagged me the other day when he told me that he knew that my oldest is my favorite. I totally love that kid, I understand him, he is a lot, lot like me, only better (and not because he's a boy, either). DD, I admit, I don't understand the way she thinks a lot, and I'm afraid of her, what she can become if left to her own devices. So with her I'm constantly trying to reign her in, which is so not fair to her... gotta lighten up, there. And then there's my little guy, and he has been very needy and clingy and driving me crazy, but I have to get over that, too, and let him snuggle with me and soon he'll realize that the no-snuggling was just a post-op thing and I'm OK and he's OK, too.

Actually, the little guy is just the best because these last few days when I say, "Time for bed!" he says, "Time for bedtime story" and he brings over his favorite Spider-Man books and we read a little bit. This afternoon when they were all bored and fractious we read all of his pop-up books together, after we read "SUPERDOG: The Heart of a Hero" which is just the cutest thing ever, I highly recommend it to anyone with kids under the age of 8. Heck, I'm 40 and I loved it, but that's me.

So, is DS1 really my favorite? Maybe, I don't know. I love them all differently because honestly they all need me to be different things for them. I'm enjoying watching DS2 grow up from baby to toddler to little boy, his face has changed so much. He has the best sense of humor. What he needs is different from what DD needs which is yet again different from what DS1 needs. So I love them all, sometimes I can give more of myself to one more than the others, but then things switch around again. It is, as they say, a fluid situation. I hope to God they don't look back on these times and think, "Mom totally neglected us because of you," or some such nonsense -- because it would be crap! LOL Some days, they all survive in a state of benign neglect as I tap-tap-tap here on the computer.

I think it's OK, though. Better benign neglect (late lunches) than a depressed mom, right?

And that's enough for now.