Wednesday, March 31, 2004

How to Make a Teddy Bear


That's my topic for my audition/interview last night. I have spent the last 2 hours preparing for it. Actually, it started earlier than that, because I spent at least a half an hour running around looking for everything. I almost panicked because I couldn't find the pattern, but it was just buried on my dresser. *whew*

I have the pattern, and instructions, and all my materials together. I have the pinned-on pattern, and a few cut-out pieces, and one piece assembled to show a particularly tricky step. It's a lot more than 3 minutes, but I think it will be OK.

Today was so busy I keep forgetting what day it is. My day went like this:
Awake at just after 7, but it took me about 40 minutes to actually get out of bed. Mornings have been bad lately.
Got dressed, came downstairs, made breakfast for me and DS2.
Piled DS2 and DD into the car, took DD to school.
Went with DS2 to CostPlus. No sf french vanilla syrup. No other sf flavors I wanted to get, either. The bookcase I liked? Way too tall -- I could go up to 32 inches, but these were 39.
Walked over to Staples to look at their bookcases. Nothing in the finish and size I want. Bah. Although, it's just as well, because I don't need to be spending more money just now.
Went to Border's. Had a decaf while DS2 had a chocolate chip cookie. I ate probably a third of it... which is probably the equivalent of one, one-and-a-half regular sized cookies. Had DS2 use the toilet, great success: take the pants completely off, no problem. Looked at upcoming movie pictures from some magazine for a few minutes (Harry Potter, Spider-Man) with DS2, he loves that stuff.
Time to head to the rheumatologist. I get there a few minutes early and realize I have no cash, and I never carry the checkbook. This dr does not take credit cards... the reception says, go ahead and get some cash, by the time you come back she'll be ready for you. Put DS2 back in the car, drive 2 miles to BankOne, take out the $, drive back 2 miles, unload DS2, walk back to the office.
Did, indeed, get into the dr right away. I begged for drugs. She was shocked: for the past 2 years I have been trying to manage with out meds. And failing. I had my list of stuff to discuss, covered everything. She gave me scrips for Vioxx (25mg), Ambien to help me sleep, and Plaquenil to halt the progression of the RA. While the assistant was writing out the scrips, I mentioned how spendy the Vioxx is, and she gave me a 20-day supply from her sample closet, God bless her. That saved me $40.
Headed back to DD's school, DS2 got to play a while.
DH met us there and took DD and DS2 to McD's for lunch while I headed to my dermatologist appointment.
At the dermatologist, I had him check out my scar from my last excision (it's OK), and check out 3 moles and that previously infected cyst. Dr agrees it would be wise to biopsy all 3 moles but says the cyst is up to me, although if it were his, he'd have it out. I was dismayed by the news about the moles. I was really hoping he'd tell me I was being hyper-sensitive about the warning signs. I asked, "All 3? really?" He said, the two on my leg we can keep close watch on, but the one on my shoulder blade, definitely. So we decided to do that first, and then schedule the cyst out, because it is making me nuts. If I could do all 3 punch biopsies at one time, I would. The dr would do it, too, but the insurance co doesn't cover the procedures that way (so f'ing stupid). So I will be in that office every couple of weeks for the next few months, getting various pieces of my body sliced out. That prospect makes me sad, but it's better than getting melanoma and dying, so...

Left the dermatologist, drove down to McD's and got the kids. Took DS2 to use the toilet again, again great success. Got a Big&Tastyw/cheese at the drive thru, then hit the road: Trader Joe's for staples. Sam's Club to pick up my Cytomel and some other supplies. Dropped of my new scrips at Osco Drug. Got home in just enough time to put away the groceries (we now have no space in either fridge or freezer! Eek! I hate it when I buy too much...) before having to dash out and get DS1 at school.

DS2 passed out on the way home from the errands, and he slept entirely through picking up DS1, too, even being put in and out of the car. He slept like a rock for hours. I wondered whether he would pee while he was sleeping, but he didn't. DH finally woke him up just after 5; it had been at least 4 hours since he last peed and he didn't while he was sleeping! I was impressed... except later he peed on the rug! But I wasn't home to deal with it, because just after 5:30 I hustled DD out to cheerleading practice.

Got DD's uniform: too small. *sigh* PIcture form, picture date, schedule for Saturday (9AM football game). Who knows what we will actually do! It's a pretty nice group of parents, though. And it's only for 8 more weeks...

The best part of cheer practice was when I went outside and called my sister to brainstorm about what to do for my audition tomorrow. She always sparks my own creativity if she doesn't just give me an idea outright! She's my muse... I am so lucky to have her. I feel like she really saved my butt on this one!

Got home from cheer at about 7:40, reheated DD some pizza for her dinner, and started looking for all the bear stuff.

For my own dinner, I had some leftover chicken and some decaf. I think I'll have some cheesecake now...
Starting about 9:30 or so, while DH watched the news I typed up my instruction sheet/class notes and made copies. Then I demo'd my presentation to DH, who made some good suggestions. I refined my materials a bit. Then I settled in to do the pinning/cutting/trimming etc while we watched the new episode of 24, which was excellent... then the new episode of South Park which attacked Mel Gibson as a weirdo for making The Passion of the Christ. Parts were funny, but so much was not. I have to wonder how Mel Gibson takes such outrageous stuff like that.

So now I'm writing and I should've had my shower and been in bed at least an hour ago. I am so ticked I forgot to pick up my new prescriptions this evening... it will all have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Most unusual


I may get used to this eventually, but for now, this seems very weird. The kids are all upstairs in the playroom, having a great time from the sound of it. I am down here all alone at the computer, in a quiet room (except for the muffled sounds of their shouts, etc).

I'm pretty sure I'm going to come to love this. Yep.

Right now I'm so tired I could fall over. This is the result of the following combination: first, I stayed up till like 3:30 Sunday night working, after putting in a long, physical day. Second, yesterday was DH's birthday, and I was on my feet again all day, this time ferrying the kids to and from school, making his cheesecake, cleaning up, wrapping presents, making cards, going out to dinner, doing the Happy Birthday thing, cleaning up again... *whew*. Today started out just fine, with Papa staying home with DS2 when I took DD to school, which helps a lot. When it was time to pick her up, we all went, then went out to lunch at Mimi's Cafe (yum). Lunch was fine, the kids were great, no problems. Then we dropped Papa off at the airport, which also went off without a hitch. No traffic, and we even found a place to pull over right where he could check his bags in easily. Yay!

Of course you have to drive all the way around the airport to get out again (are all airports planned as giant mobius strips, or what?), but we didn't get lost or have any trouble, but I could already feel myself running out of gas. Then when we get home, DS2 is using the toilet and peed all over himself (3rd time today... it was a positioning problem). I went into the hall cupboard to get some more wipes to clean up with, and knocked over a can of soda, which landed on the floor and exploded. You can imagine the mess.

The runner was soaked, so I had to take it outside to hose it off. I mopped up the worst of the spill, then cleaned up DS2, then finished cleaning up the hallway, which was literally covered with soda spray. I'm sure I'll be finding sticky spots for weeks to come. Ew.

After all that, I got the kids settled with a DVD and I got on the puter, checking e-mail and whatnot. When it was to go pickup DS1 at school, I stood up and nearly passed out. For some reason I got this killer pain in my lower abdomen, almost like menstrual cramps but that's not possible, and my entire field of vision went dark (postural hypotension). I sat right back down, very quickly, and stayed down until my vision cleared and the pain subsided. That was the weirdest thing. I stood up slowly and was fine, although I probably should check my blood pressure... don't feel like it. I'm seeing 2 drs tomorrow, we'll see what it's like at those appointments.

News... I have an audition/interview with Princeton Review on Thursday morning at 10AM. I need to teach any subject of my choice for 5 minutes, so they can guage my style, how well I come across, etc. I think I will do an introductory chess lesson. The one I did with DS1's camp went over very well last summer. It is interesting and I can easily find 5 minutes worth of material. But I have to practice, and I have to figure out what to wear, etc etc etc! I'm kind of excited. :)

More later, maybe...

Sunday, March 28, 2004

A "lesbian day"


Sorry, that has nothing to do with sex. Someone on another forum I hang out at posted the quote from the Kids in the Hall: "I wish I were a lesbian, they get so much done in a day." I may have mangled that a bit, but you get the gist.

It cracked me up.

Anyway, today was a good & productive day after the vast nothingness of yesterday. I set up the kids' playroom with some help from the kids and DH, and that took most of the day... but I also managed to finally put away the Christmas/Winter dishes and take out the rest-of-the-year dishes (DD: "But these are the summer dishes! Why don't we have spring dishes?" Hee!). And I made a tremendous dinner of roast chicken, mashed cauli, green beans, gravy, and salad. It was awesome.

The playroom-setup was quite a project, because I didn't just toss everything in there, oh no. I went through everything, and sorted out stuff to go to charity, and stuff to toss (yes, exactly like CleanSweep). All the remaining toys got re-sorted back into their appropriate bins: cars, planes, superheroes, etc. I have a huge lawn+garden size trashbag filled with stuffed toys that I'm donating to charity. Two things are important here: 1) the kids really like the room and 2) they haven't even noticed that there are a lot fewer toys around.

They may eventually notice, or miss specific things (doubtful), but them's the breaks. They had way too much stuff. That would be OK if they kept it picked up, but they don't. I'm sick of picking up the same toys 5 or 6 times a day -- that's not an exaggeration. Now, at least, they'll be upstairs in the playroom, not in the family room for me to trip over. And yes, I have tried the "take it away if it's left on the floor" tactic, and that just means that something else gets left on the floor!

Now, I have to get to work on my closet (still a pit), and sorting through the boy clothes and setting up some kind of system for storage and retrieval, I can't just leave them all piled in the box, that won't do at all...

The family room is feeling a bit cavernous right now, as we took the climber upstairs along with nearly everything else. I didn't have the energy to bring the table down, I may get to it tomorrow, depending on how things go. It's really quite nice not having (literally) 20-odd Bionicles draped all over the piano anymore. Now I can think about putting all the family pictures back up again. Yes!

Speaking of pictures... I even took digitals of the Al Fords, but not the big one -- it's under the bed in the guest room, I'll wait until after Papa leaves on Tuesday to dig it out. In the meantime, I'll flip through my photo albums to see if I have a regular print I can scan, that would be a lot easier.

It's funny how things trigger certain trains of thought. On tonight's episode of The Sopranos, Feech told this old joke about the accountant in heaven getting a huge sumptious mansion and all sorts of luxury, whilst the Pope got a hovel and a crust of bread. God explained that it was the first time a Jewish accountant made it into heaven -- hahaha, only, not. So that really stupid joke, on top of all the purging of material goods I've been doing lately, made me think about what heaven would really be.

I don't think of heaven as having everything I ever wanted, or a continual state of bliss, or anything like that. I view it as a truly transcendent place, but it's not really a place at all -- it is a state, I guess, a different way of existing, that is so different from the way we exist now that we can't even comprehend it. And I do think it will be better than this physical life. Sometimes I just feeled so weighed down by everything, I look forward to casting it all off and being really free.

Then again, I like stuff and experiences as much as anyone, arguably more. I really adore good food and drink: reading or writing about it, preparing it, eating it. I love being with family and friends. I love to travel and see new things, I love to read books, I love to write. I love music but rarely get any these days! So when the time comes I'm sure there will be sadness about having to leave all that behind. I do hope that there is a sense of satisfaction, too. I have a really great life and I have every intention of making sure it continues in the same vein!

Now: to work, I have been procrastinating but it's time to get to it.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Rock, hard place, etc


Rock: DS1 needs to practice his basketball. The best way to improve his skills is for him to spend as much time with the ball as possible.

Hard place: dribbling around the kitchen is extremely loud so as soon as he picks up the ball I want to grab it away and hide it somewhere.

After 10-15 dribbles I feel like my head is going to explode, but I'm not about to tell him to stop because I think it's great that he wants to practice.

I'm tired today. Fell asleep on the couch last night for another hour or so, late, and then stayed up really late watching, once again, the Ents take down Isengaard (my life will be temptation-free when "The Two Towers" comes out of rotation on Starz!), and reading, reading, reading on the web.

I know it's destructive behavior. My hip was killing me even after I took the Vioxx. I don't think it was because I was afraid I wouldn't sleep; I was bone tired and could barely keep my eyes open. I just needed to calm my brain a bit, which was very tightly wound from all the "on" time with the kids. Unfortunately my brain was resisting my calming efforts.

Today was a totally down day. The only thing of any merit I did was to wash my hair and shave my legs. It was absolutely gorgeous outside but I had no desire to do anything except veg. I had no energy to do anything but veg.

The kids were OK with that, which was good because DH and his dad were off at the NCAA, watching UConn trounce Alabama. It's kind of fun that the tournament is always DH's birthday, and also that some of the games are often played in Phoenix.

So we all just lazed around the house. I did more reading, no writing, no research... I have paying work to do which I may start when the kids go to bed, or do tomorrow... maybe I'll send the guys out with the kids for an hour or so to give me some peace. When I have more pain, it is harder for me to focus when there is ruckus going on around me.

I also have to review for the SAT test for the Princeton review, take those digital pictures, put together a few more columns, set up the kids' playroom, switch back to the non-Christmas dishes (shut up), refinish DD's furniture... too bad I'm lacking the energy lately.

Finally, the piece for the crib came, so I can get rid of all that stuff this week! Hurray!

I have all this stuff to do, and just can't get started. I hate this blocked feeling. Eating badly, not getting enough sleep, being in pain all contribute to it. Have to shape up on these things or I will never get through what needs be done!

At least all the kids got fed and are content for now, even if they did watch an inordinate amount of television today. (Cartoon Network's "Star Wars: Clone Wars" totally rocks!)

Friday, March 26, 2004



We went to Rockfish for dinner and a I got a Rock-a-rita. Seriously delicious, and I am completely toasted. I should probably look up what they put in it, but I really don't care. I just know that they make a very tasty margarita there. I believe the waitress said something about orange juice in the mix? That could explain the complete lack of bitterness, and a good part of the "yum" factor, too. Plus I think they float Grand Marnier on top, too, so it's one of those extra-alcoholic drinks, which explains why I can't type to save my life right now. I'm making on average 2 corrections per word, and some of these words are only 2 or 3 letters. Hee!

Today was a very very busy day. SRP, the electric company, shut down the power at 8AM and it wasn't scheduled to come back up again till 4, so today was a day to keep busy and out of the house. I dropped DD off at Atrium this morning, then ran to Trader Joe's and Sam's (picked up DH's birthday presents, but not my prescription, grrrr), the picked up DD. Hung out for a little while, then got DS1. Then lunch, then a matinee of "Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed". It was cute. Brilliant? No, but definitely OK, and a great thing to do with the kids when there is no A/C at home, no TV, computer, or even lights, and it's hot as blazes at home!

When we got home from the movie, YAY! The electricity was back on. That was nice. So the kids got to veg for a a while in front of the tube... they were all exhausted. When I was out doing the shopping, DS2 stayed home with Papa and they went out for a walk, they were out for about an hour! That is a looong time for little legs to be walking. Still, he is the most uncomplaining little boy of I know. When he gets tired he can be cranky, but more often he just crawls into my lap, looking for snuggles.

So, then dinner at Rockfish. They have buckets of saltines on the table, and the kids eat packet after packet of them. There is no point in ordering them dinner, I swear: we should just let them eat the saltines and be done with it. No matter. They behaved very well adn we had a nice meal. They have great gumbo there, which I enjoyed even though I couldn't eat the andouille sausage (Friday, Lent, etc). I had the crabcakes, which were just amazing.

Got home, put on "Star Wars: Clone Wars" for the kids (Ch. 11 was new tonight), and promptly passed out on the couch. Although when you are as bone-tired as I was, I'm not sure it counts as passing out. I fell asleep, but for only about 10 minutes or so. It helped.

Now, DH is watching some goofy movie ("Squirm") on the Mystery! channel, and here I am. I got two work assignments today, which is good, because frankly, there is so much to do and I am getting no feedback on anything lately, that I don't know where to begin. So assignments are perfect. They give them to me, I do them toute suite.

I also called the hiring coordinator at Princeton Review today, and she encouraged me to take the practice test, regardless of my summer plans. She said if I did well at the audition, they could work around my schedule. I have to say, I liked the sound of that. I have to brush up a bit and then take the test some evening soon. It's great that I can take the test online, too, and I don't have to schedule it and arrange for a babysitter and everything.

Weather is cooling and consequently my hands are aching... or that could just be from driving around so much today, as that sometimes does it too. Otherwise, not feeling too badly, although I have eaten more carbs today than I have in ages. Lunch was a roasted portabello and red pepper sandwich on focaccia, which was awesome, but way carby. DInner was OK, but then I had an oatmeal M&M cookie when I got home. Breakfast was a slice and a half of french toast with cinnamon & Splenda. It's been one carbo-rific (horrific) meal after another, today. And no good non-carby snacks, either. Aside from the mushroom and pepper at lunch, it has been a vegetable-free day, too. LOL

So tomorrow I expect to be hungover, more from the food than the drink, which wasn't all that much, after all. I'll drink lots before I go to bed to try and compensate. And now I have plenty of food in the house and so can make literally whatever I want tomorrow -- the guys will be gone the better part of the day at the NCAA tournament, but home for supper... so, another long day with the kids. I think I will take them to Mass with me. It will be a good experience for us all.

DS2 continues to do well with the toilet training. He has moved up to the toilet, but still has a problem with the pee not going where he wants it to go. It is frustrating for him, but I keep encouraging him that it takes practice. And even though he is not yet at a stage where I trust him to take himself to the bathroom if he really needs to go, I do trust him to not go in his pants until I remind him, every 2 or 3 hours. It's a start.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

The company I keep


I just unsubscribed, for probably the fifth time, from the newsgroup. No goodbye post, "I'm outta here!" or any other such nonsense... just unsubscribed.

I don't like myself at all when I'm in there.

For me, now, my most reliable indicator of whether or not a person or place is good for me is how I feel about myself while I'm with them, or there. I find myself responding to certain people by becoming bitchy and competitive, or worse, petty and cruel. There are just a few people for whom I have lost all respect, and therefore if we get into any kind of argument, the gloves just come off.

I've just spent the last half-hour reviewing an argument I had with an atf guy a little over two years ago. Two years! WTF is wrong with me? Why am I holding onto this pettiness for so long? To be honest, it doesn't usually take up much of my consciousness -- I usually don't think of it all, actually. It's just that today the same guy made a pretty outrageous accusation that brought the whole thing flooding back to me.

Re-reading that thread, I still don't disagree with anything I said back then, but I can clearly see how frustrated I was at being taken out of context and put in the worst possible light (happens all the time in USENET... that's the way it is). What I don't understand is why I stuck it out for so long. Why not just clear out and let the nuts have their fun?

That newsgroup has consumed way too many hours of my life over the years. I was definitely an addict, because I kept going back and sinking huge blocks of time into it even though it was destructive.

I think the atf addiction was a symptom of my depression... but it also fed into it at the same time. I wish I had realized that sooner.

Doesn't matter now, of course. The places I hang out in now, online, are supportive and lively places. They have their ups and downs, but they don't turn me into a raving bitch. IRL, I have some friends that can push those same hot buttons, but IRL, I'm better at managing the conversation so we just Don't. Go. There. Hee!

Now I'm tired and grumpy (again). However, the M&M oatmeal cookies I made with the kids absolutely rock. That should help the evening go by a bit more smoothly... DH & his dad are out at the NCAA tournament, so I've got 'em for the duration.

It's dinner time and I have no idea what to feed them. There is pizza in the freezer but I really don't want that, they all had it yesterday (I refrained then, and will continue to do so).

In other news, DS1 got all A's on his report card, and an "E" (up from an "S") in conduct, with the comments, "puts forth maximum effort" and "showed marked improvement this quarter." He's doing so well, and he really likes school, which I just think is the best.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004



Potty training, accidents... hand in hand. Goes without saying. Just annoying as all get-out. Really.

Oh, and the cat is back to pooping on the carpet, too. At least that is not as nasty as it was before, because her digestion is working better now.

Between the kid and the cat, I feel like I've been dealing with shit all day.

Consequently, I have completely run out of steam. I did manage to pick up the clothes that the kids need today, and I did make some progress on mucking out our closet, and organizing all the stuff that is going OUT. It will take a while just to inventory all that crap, but that's for another time. I just want to get the upstairs in order, first, and be sure that I have everything down here, and then get rid of it all in one "swell foop."

I have no idea what to do about dinner tonight. DD has her first cheerleader practice and I am so grumpy I don't even remotely want to deal with it. DH offered to take her and I may take him up on it. It's not until 6, which totally screws up dinner and the rest of the evening. I should try and get some food into her before she goes. She only had a yogurt milkshake for lunch! Of course the only food she wanted was cookies or candy... arg.

I finally got an email back from Princeton Review today. I applied for a job with them months ago, and it seems that now they are having their auditions. I have to take a test for them, too, but I can do it online. Maybe I'll take the test and see how I do, and then go and audition? It can't hurt. I have so much on my plate right now, though... still, I think it would be fun. I have to check out the schedule though, my summer-away may throw a huge wrench into the works!

I didn't do any Al Ford photos yet, I got sucked into looking on my harddrive for the photo I knew I had taken before -- maybe it wasn't a digital, maybe I sent my cousin a hard-copy? That's always a possibility. My memory is shot.

I have to get off my butt now -- too much to do. Laundry, cleaning, making sure the guest room is decent for Papa, who arrives tomorrow. Have to get some food into DD before cheer, too!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Show Off


I can say the alphabet backwards. Really fast. I can sing the alphabet backwards, too. This actually came up today because I took DS2 to story time at Border's, and instead of the usual (which is really fun), there was a concert by Ralph Covert of Ralph's World fame. Ralph is an absolutely amazing children's singer... I am ashamed to say I had never heard of him before today. I like him even more than I like the Wiggles, and that's saying a lot, because the Wiggles are miles above Barney in the kid entertainment world.

Anyway, the concert is going along just fine when one of Ralph's guitar strings breaks. He finishes out that song (of course the kids are oblivious), then sits down to re-string. To distract the kids (I am not exaggerating, there were at least 50 kids there, all below the age of 4), he had them sing the ABCs. Then (frantically tying and tuning), he asked the grown-ups to sing the ABCs... backwards. So we all start out OK with "Z, Y, X, W..." but then I just kept going: "V U T S RQ P, O N M, L K J..." Ralph looks at me and keeps throwing out letters to try and screw me up! Perhaps this is the first time he has encountered someone who could actually say the alphabet backward.

It's a completely useless skill but fun to make a point (or win a bet, but I don't think I've ever actually done that). I learned to say the alphabet backward about 30 years ago. My cousin (I was related to her through her mom) and her cousin (my cousin was related to her through her father, so we were not cousins to each other) were all about the same age and we used to spend our summers together. One year, we were about 10, my cousin's cousin makes a big deal to us about the whole alphabet-backwards thing. She had had a teacher that challenged them to really know things that people often just learned by rote. To make his point, he would randomly call on kids and ask them to do things like... say the alphabet backwards. So, my cousin's cousin learned it just so she wouldn't be caught in the lurch -- and if she could do it, so could I.

It still freaks out my kids that I can do it, but it's nothing, really. Just takes a little practice.

One of the best things about the Ralph concert was that Ralph flirted shamelessly with all the moms there, including me. Especially me, after the ZYX's thing. It was fun to sing along to his songs and try to get DS2 to do the dances, but there were too many people there for him to do anything other than cling to me. One of the songs I got a big kick out of goes like this: "M - O - M - M - Y needs her C - O - F - F- E -E..." hehehe.
I'm not sure it was exactly flirting but there was a lot of eye contact and laughs and smiles, which constitutes flirting in my book. A big "isn't this fun?" non-verbal communication, along with "I'm glad you're here for this," too.

We didn't stick around to buy a CD or DVD and get it signed because there was too much of a mob and we had to go get DD from school, but I will definitely pick up both the DVD and CD, maybe for the Easter Bunny to put in the family basket...

After the lovely morning, I got productive this afternoon and actually put up the CD rack I bought about 2 months ago. I got out the drill and put in the mollies and made sure it was level and everything. It looks great. Then, I had to do something about the stacks of paper all over the desk, because with the CD rack holding all the computer games, I had that much more incentive to get the desk completely clean. I ended up throwing out a ton of stuff, as could be expected, and creating a few new files, and now it looks great. We'll see how long it lasts, though!

I'm definitely fighting a losing battle on the kitchen island counter everyday. It seems as if I spend the afternoon clearing it, and DH comes home and dumps his stuff all over it... which I put away, etc the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat... if I just let it sit there until he does it -- he doesn't! It just piles up. And since I'm the one who cares, I just do it. Can't stand having all that clutter around.

Speaking of clutter, I am making slow progress on getting our closet mucked out. Then I'll move onto setting up the kids' playroom. Our closet comes first because, frankly, I have to go in there everyday as all of my clothes are in there (even my dresser). DD asked me why we haven't had our party yet, since her room is finished. I asked her to look around and tell me if the house was ready for a party? Even she agreed that we're not ready, so you know how bad it must be!

OK, I'm off to work on my new project: taking digital shots of all my Al Ford artwork. I have no idea what to do with it all. I spoke to a curator at the ASU art museum and she said they do accept donations, but they are very selective about what they take. So I told her I'd send digitals of my collection (one huge oil, 4 hand-colored woodcuts) so she could see whether or not it was suitable material for a donation. I'm lucky in that I found this great Al Ford virtual show at "A Space Gallery". I actually have 2 of the pieces in this exhibit, "Venus" and "The Wise Men". So, anyway -- time to break out the camera and snap pictures of everything (I think I have one of the oil already digitized), and then compose an email to the curator and see what she thinks. I would really like these to go to a good home.

DS2 did really well on the potty thing today, only one (unfortunately very messy) accident. All in all, I'm pleased with how well he is doing -- it's only day 4, after all.

It doesn't seem possible since I was up till 2 last night working, but today was a very good day. (Yay, Vioxx!)

Monday, March 22, 2004

busy bee

Kids back in school today, and I've a work assignment pending... whee!

I managed to do stuff today. Like start sorting through the mountain of boys' clothes and deciding what stays, what goes, and sorting it out by size so it will be easily accessible as DS2 grows into it.

I finally rebelled against the restricted menu I usually cook in favor of the kids' bland palates, and made my own version of Carrabas' Polla Rosa Maria. I forgot the mushrooms, and instead of a basil lemon butter sauce, I made a sauce of garlic, rosemary, white wine and dash of cream. We had this divine concoction on a bed of spinach, and I have decided I never have to eat out at an Italian restaurant again.

The kids like the prosciutto and the cheese and the chicken, skipped the sauce entirely, and had peas instead of the spinach. No one actually complained! That in itself was a miracle.

News: DS2 has now spent 3 days in underwear. First day, one accident. Second day, 2 accidents. Today? 3. I do not like this trend, LOL! Actually, I was very impressed because when he realized he was peeing, he actually stopped, and ran to the potty and put the rest in there. He's getting it. He likes wearing underpants (they are much cooler than diapers, and it's 95 degrees out there). Most of the time, he's OK with actually going to the potty when I ask him if he needs to go -- except if he's engrossed in a television program or DVD. Then he doesn't want to go, and that's when he has his accidents.

So, tonight, laundry, LOL! It will be this way for a while until he really gets the hang of it, but I don't care -- I have seen the light at the end of the diaper tunnel, and I am psyched! It has been 7 years, 2 months, and I am just so (as I say to the kids) over this!

DH put together his new dresser over the weekend, and our bedroom looks fantastic now... of course the pile of junk in the living room is increasing day by day, but that's OK, because once it's all together and inventoried, it will be taken away, and then the house will be in great shape.

I'm feeling much better these days after eating clean and taking the Vioxx, although I'm pretty sure that the food is more important than the medication, but who knows? I sure don't. It's nice to feel better, though, and actually get things done. I hate that feeling of being stuck, not being able to get anything done -- it is a physical feeling, fatigue, I guess -- not a psychological thing like depression. Although the fatigue can definitely contribute to depression (BTDT), that's not what I'm feeling right now.

I'm loving having this energy right now... I hope it lasts!

Saturday, March 20, 2004



Yesterday one thing I did NOT do was practice bball with DS1. No dribbling, no bounce passing, nothing.

And last night, my hands were OK. Not great, but not swollen beyond recognition, either. I put my rings back on. I took my 25 mg Vioxx last night. This morning (and even now) they are still a little achey, but really manageable.

I honestly think it was the basketball practice. The ball was a little dead so required a lot of effort to dribble it. DH pumped it up today (I would've, yesterday, except the pin broke... ) and it's better, but I'm still going to hold off on major bball sessions until my hands are feeling better.

Live & Learn.

Friday, March 19, 2004



Perhaps the fact that the entire previous entry was spent bitching about everything we would have to do tomorrow caused the Karmic Wheel to turn in my favor... sort of.

DH checked out the upstairs after supper and declared it would be OK to sleep up there. Now, this was going on 8 or possibly just after 8, and we really try to get the kids in bed before 8:30. And everything was everywhere, and had to be put back.

Soooo, we decided to just do the move then. Moved the beds, figured out the best arrangements for the dressers, switched clothing around from dresser to dresser as required, and made up the beds again.

The kids, bless them, were happy to hang out downstairs watching Toon Disney (wretched, wretched channel, but OK for kids, I guess. Just stupid, not damaging.)

I had to re-hang the curtain in DD's room, reset the time on her clock, make sure she would have enough of her things around her so she could sleep. This is her first night sleeping in a room by herself since she was less than 2. We moved her in with her big brother when little brother was still pending. I remember she fell off the bed a few times... it was ok, it was just a mattress on the floor. Eventually we put the box spring under the mattress, and then the frame, when she finally quit falling out. Not that she did it so often, but it did happen more than once.

I doubt she'll fall out of bed tonight but I do wonder if she will sleep. Her big brother is her best friend no matter how much they fight, and they used to always talk to each other before sleeping, and play games with their animal friends. In a way it makes me sad to break them up, but in the long run it's better for her to have her own room.

They will all have their own room, eventually. For now, though, it's better to have the huge room be the play room. I need that! Now (or in the very near future) I will be able to say to them: go play upstairs! And they'll have a specific room to go to!

So, they're all in bed, finally at about 10, and DH turned in shortly thereafter, as he is getting up early tomorrow to put in some hours at work, to make up for the ones he will miss later in the week for the NCAA basketball tournament. I hope the kids sleep late. They could really use it.

I'm really very happy the furniture all got moved around tonight, because that will make tomorrow so much easier! The only thing I have really scheduled for tomorrow is Mass... how lovely to have an essentially open day!

Maybe I'll have the whatever-it-takes to actually start that furniture project for DD... she's still pushing for pink furniture, no matter how many times I say no!

Disaster area


We had the upstairs carpets cleaned this afternoon, in preparation for moving the kids into their new room arrangement. Consequently, there is stuff everywhere. We have been going through stuff and figuring out what to keep and what to give away. We have a ton of baby stuff -- crib, portable playpen, safety gates -- plus the usual clothes, shoes, assorted long-ignored toys, electronics, etc.

All that stuff is piled up in the living room and dining room. It's very hard to be around all that clutter. I have to inventory everything (there's still more upstairs), consolidate it all, and either get someone to come and get it or just bite the bullet and take it over to Salvation Army myself. I could easily spend all day Saturday on just that task. I know I would feel better if I did!

But, I would like to spend Saturday working on DD's furniture project, which I haven't even started yet. The difference in attitude between now and when I conceived and shopped for that project is amazing. As in, when I thought of it, it didn't seem like a big deal at all. Now, it just seems as if I'll never be able to get it done!

Upstairs, things are not in a total uproar only because all the non-bed furniture has been stacked up in the 2 bathrooms. That only works because our bathroom is the size of a small bedroom itself, not to mention our walk-in closet which is lot larger than the bedroom I had when I was a kid (to be fair, that was just a nursery, and we called it "the little room". It was a little room!).

So, the four (yes! four!) bedrooms have nothing in them now but clean carpets and beds. Tomorrow we will move the boys in together, and DD into her own room, and we will move all the toys into the big room which will now be the playroom. That will mean moving a lot of stuff out of the family room downstairs, 2 things, mainly: the Little Tykes climber (and all the toys in it, the stuffed animals live there), and the 3-shelf bookcase that houses an inordinate amount of toys.

Then we will take our old kitchen table and put it over where the climber and bookcase were, and that will give us another space for dry crafts, playing games, doing homework, or whatever.

I saw a nice bookcase in CostPlus yesterday that I'm going to pick up for the kitchen. It's not just nice, it's perfect. A place for my cookbooks! Yay. If the kids weren't so grumpy about going out again today, I'd have gone to get it already. Maybe I'll go get it this evening, without them...

They've actually been great today. I took them all out to get their haircuts. Even DD likes to go to the barbershop because 1) they give out tootsie pops and 2) they don't often use a hair dryer. She hates hair dryers, and therefore never wants to go to a salon with me. The two boys look adorable with their summer-short hair, and DD is even more sweet and beautiful looking with her new bob. I had the barber cut it to just below chin length, and it really suits her. The ends had gotten very straggly-looking and it was impossible to keep it neat. At this length, I can still pull it off her face in a pony tail if I have to, but it is adorable even whlie it's down.

I would've made an appointment for a family portrait for this weekend, except that DD was having a pillow fight with her brothers last night and got whacked too hard, and fell and banged her eye on the windowsill. She asked for ice to put on it right away, and so the swelling is minor but there is a bruise under it. She has a mark as if someone drew a line from the middle of her brow down to the corner of the eye. I doubt anyone else would ever notice it, but I would, so we're back to waiting another week or so for that to heal. It's always one thing after another with her!

I hate being in a disarranged house.

Oh -- had Vioxx last night, and put my rings on before bed as a test to see how bad the swelling was. Again, this morning, it was so bad I had to take off the rings. However, my feet and ankles and hips were a lot better. Weather-wise, it's holding fair and hot, so I don't think that's a factor. It's hard to tell.

I realized today that I was doing really well after the gallbladder surgery when I was on both the Vioxx and the Keflex anti-biotic. That always happens to me, anti-biotics really do work better than anything else. Maybe what I'm having now is a bounce-back reaction after having been on it for 14 days?

Over at the forum I've been PMing with people who encourage me to try the Atkins KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie [how kind!]) regimen, which basically says: meat and vegetables. No grains, dairy, nuts, artificial sweeteners. The lack of dairy would be very difficult for me. Grains I can live without, usually do. Nuts would be another big problem for me to give up, as I snack on pecans and cook with nut flours all the time. Fake sugars? I don't use too much anyway, just in the baking...

My main thing is, if I went on such an eating regimen, I would lose weight. I don't want to lose weight. Well, I would like to lose this approximately 5 lbs of bloat and inflammation I've been dealing with, but that's not weight. If I couldn't have dairy or nuts, how would I possibly get enough calories? And, post-gall-bladder surgery, I think a meat & vegetables only diet would be really, really hard on me (as in, I'd need to be no farther than 10 feet away from a bathroom at all times).

Or, those are just convenient excuses as to why I'm not going to do it. Heh.

I'm in the midst of 4, possibly 5 loads of laundry as I stripped all the beds, including the guest room, since we're sleeping down here tonight... I'll just have to turn around and wash them again, too, as my father-in-law is coming on Thursday and will go to the NCAA games with DH next weekend. It's going to be interesting, trying to get this place in shape before he gets here! I'm off to fold more sheets...

Thursday, March 18, 2004

You gonna eat that?

. . .

Is this the flare from hell? My hands this morning were so bad I had to take off my wedding & engagement rings. I have never, ever had to do that before... even throughout my 3 pregnancies, I was able to wear my rings, every day. I did take off my rings for both my surgeries, and I kept them off for a day or two afterwards, so maybe if I had tried to wear them on those days, I wouldn't have been able to.

But I didn't just have surgery. I haven't really been doing anything -- a bit of running around, sure. Not doing anything, really? That's gotta be a lie, because the thing I have been doing is eating badly. Like today, a sourdough bacon cheeseburger. Only ate about half the bread, but even so. Why? This morning, DS2 asked for scrambled eggs and toast and ate 2 bites of toast and none of the eggs... so I ate them. The eggs, actually, I had planned on eating (I know my son), that was fine. But the toast? WTF am I eating toast for?

Yesterday, breaded calamari and a pint o' Guinness... various chocolates here & there. Not too much, just a few bites. It's a very old habit, very dear to me, and one I will probably never give up. But I'm better off eating regular dark chocolate than I am eating chocolate-covered pretzels, which the kids so adore. Of course they do, they're amazingly good.

Then, on top of it -- soy. Bad, bad, bad. Trader Joe's soy and flaxseed tortilla chips. Those things should be banned as evil. They taste soooo good and are quite reasonable, carb-wise. I didn't even eat a whole serving. But then I made quesadillas for dinner with these new LC tortillas I found at the supermarket, and they were just awesome, even though they do have trans-fats in them (boo, hiss), and, of course, soy! For a treat, it's not going to kill us, I figured -- and these tortillas really were a treat, very soft and pliable, not LC-tasting at all. Awesome, or they would be, if they could get the trans-fats out.

So, maybe it's the soy that's making me all bloated and puffy and in pain. Or all the wheat I'm eating when I had been pretty clean for a couple of weeks. Not perfect by far, but a lot better than I have been recently.

I'm not just feeling bloated and puffy, either. My weight is up by about 5 lbs. I'm feeling very weak and flabby and horrid. Part of that could be hormonal (mood swing!), but part of it is just that this bod has lost 2 organs in the last 5 months and is completely out of shape. I hate that. But I'm feeling so crappy lately that the idea of working out is horrifying to me. What, inflict more pain on myself? Even I am not that crazy.

Strangely, though, fibromyalgia has been known to respond positively to gentle exercise. I need to sign up for a yoga class or get a tape or something...

Of course, all this pain and yuck could be the bad habit of staying up late and having to drag my butt out of bed every morning. Or maybe I'm just trying to do too much too close to my surgery, and this is my body's way of trying to get me to slow down.

I have to do better than this, I have to feel better than this... I finally picked up my Vioxx today and will take 25mg before bed and hope that I feel better tomorrow.

Tomorrow afternoon all the upstairs carpets get cleaned, and then we will do the big move to the new rooms on Saturday. DD's furniture rehab isn't even started yet, but no matter. Maybe it will get done, mostly, on Saturday? I can start it tomorrow, some things. It will happen eventually.

The living room and dining room are inundated with stuff to go to charity. I have to call for a pick-up, but I'm waiting for the part for the crib to come before I send it off. It's not a major part and I could possibly get it at Home Depot or Ace Hardware, but Ragazzi said they would drop one in the mail to me, so I'll just wait a few more days for it to come.

The kids were great today. We went to BK for lunch, Nordstrom for sandals for all 3 (they were angelic), returned some stuff at Robinsons, which required walking all the way through the mall. Then we went to Ultimate Electronics and got a new CD player for the car. I splurged and got one that can handle MP3 and WMA formats, because I will be burning my own discs, one of these days, and I want to be able to play them in the car. The install took about 45 minutes, so we browsed through the nearby furniture store looking for lamps (nothing remotely suitable), and CostPlus looking at everything, before we ended up back at UE in their DVD theater watching the end of "Toy Story". Then, we went to Border's and got a snack and read some books in the children's section...didn't get home till 5:45, having left shortly after 11.

Through all that, I had to keep them in line but only occasionally, and there were no major blow-ups or disasters, and DS2 only whined for about 30 seconds in Borders. It was amazing. The saleswoman at Nordstrom's complimented the kids and said they were a pleasure to work with. They all waited their turns and were polite and helpful.

Before I was a mom, my most fervent desire was to be one of those unflappable parents who always knew how to diffuse a difficult situation, who never lost her temper, and who had an infinite amount of patience. On a day like today, I did a pretty good approximation of that mythical creature. I have learned, though, through bitter experience, that you can't be patient and accepting all the time. Sometimes, your kids have to see that they have gone too far, that being mean will make people angry, and that actions have consequences, including provoking emotional responses in other people. And parents are people, not servants or automatons, and certainly not sponge-like beings that are supposed to just take whatever is they decide to dish out.

DD, for whatever reason, decided that she wanted to be in a snit before we left today, and announced she didn't care about me, or anything, except a boy in her class and her Teddy. How sweet -- not. I gave her the long list of things I do for her, everyday, and she didn't even have the grace to look in the least bit disturbed by it. She's only 5. I can imagine how this battle will have evolved when she's a teenager. Actually, I try not to think about that. I'm hoping we'll have had this conversation so many times I won't have to do it again, ever. For now, though, she seems to think that her not caring about me is her best weapon.

I've told her that all it is is hurtful. Eventually she gets over herself and calms down and wants to be lovey, but then I have to tell her, I don't want to snuggle with you now, you really hurt my feelings earlier and I need a little while to get over that. I don't hold any major grudge but I can't just switch on the happies, either. That's just too fake. They all need to know that words hurt grown-ups as well as children.

I did, however, have a brilliant idea today. DD has trouble putting on her socks. They are very stretchy, they have to be or they bag up on her skinny little feet. Because of the stretchiness, it's hard to get them on her feet the right way, and she's sensitive to the way the seams are lined up. I finally realized she could stretch them out a little bit by putting them on her hands (like mittens) to just loosen them up, and then they would be much easier to put on her feet. So she tried it, and had no problems. Why couldn't I have thought of this 2 years ago, when this problem started?! Probably because at that point, I didn't have DS2 running around, wearing his socks on his hands as mittens as part of some dress-up game he plays practically every day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Spring Break 2004, day 3

Yes, we are all still alive. Strangely enough, today was a very peaceful day, even though we were all literally at home until we went out to dinner.

I started out the day with 3 ibuprofen and that helped a lot. I proposed going to story time at Border's, but then DS1 popped a new, fairly wretched movie into the DVD and the kids got sucked into that, so we just stayed home. They watched that movie (I believe it was direct-to-video, "The Legend of the Rings", and it really wasn't that bad, definitely OK for kids), then the Bionicle movie which I actually kinda like, for what it is.

Then, we turned off the TV and they just played. We made the "Oh, no! Volcano" erupt with yellow "lava" (it takes a remarkable amount of vinegar to make 1 teaspoon of baking soda foam up). Then we played LOTR monopoly, with the One Ring option, which made the game blessedly short. DS2 whipped our collective butts. He got the light blue set (in LOTR version, it's Bree, Buckleberry Ferry, and Weathertop [I think]), and had enough cash to put 2 houses (excuse me, strongholds) on them. I then proceeded to land on it twice in one move (doubles, then snake eyes to land on another property in the same set). That was a quick $400 lining the little tyke's pockets.

It requires an insane amount of patience to play monopoly with a 3 year old, a 5 year old, and a 7 year old. But they were all spectacular about taking their turns and waiting while money (I always had to count it, of course) changed hands.

The One Ring option is great because every time the Eye shows up (the "one" on one of the dice is the Eye), you advance the Ring (which starts out at Bag End, right next to Go) one property. So eventually you know the Ring will hit Mount Doom (Boardwalk), and that's when the game ends. Today, we all kept rolling it and would say ominously, "The Eye moves!" and make deep scary sounds as we moved the Ring to the next property. Unfortunately, no one landed on a space with the Ring on it this time. Oh well. But it did make the game nice and zippy.

After monopoly, we got out the pop-up tents, and the kids played both upstairs and down while I answered the latest question to hit my MakeItLowCarb Mailbag: Where to shop?. I also updated the Links page, and added my second column to the site as well. So I did quite a bit of work while the kids played and only threatened bodily harm to each other a few times.

We ended up going out to dinner to Elephant Bar, and I have no idea what was up tonight but it took forever for our food to come. Plus, we were in a regular booth and not one of the huge practically-a-private-room booths we usually get, and the noise really got to DS2. At one point he just looked at me with fingers in his ears and said, "It's too noisy in here." Poor dear. He snuggled in my lap for a while but the whole scene was a bit too much for him. He did really well, though. They all did, even though the meal was very long. The meal was so long, in fact, that they ended up whacking $20 off the bill. And since we had 2 $25 gift certificates, we decided to just use one of them and pay the difference. So, a nice dinner for about $15 including the tip. Hee!

I had a Guinness to celebrate the day. Yum. I'm still not clear as to whether or not I have any Irish in me or not, although I've been told that I look Irish (!?), and my maiden name certainly is Irish (O'Connell). I think I have the stories mixed up, but... I know my dad's mother (her name was Cornell) was Scottish, and it could be that my dad's father was a Scot, too, but I think that he was Irish. His name was Daniel, like the famous parlimentarian. Doesn't really matter. St. Patrick's Day is not a big deal in Phoenix, as you might well imagine.

DH has the new episode of South Park playing on the TiVO. Man, that show is twisted, but hilarious. The boys buy real Ninja weapons with, of course, disastrous consequences. I just hope Butters makes it. I like Butters.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Placebo effect

... or the real thing?

I have no way of knowing, of course. But last night before bed I took Vioxx. Actually, I took it around 11:30 or so and stayed up working until 2AM (shhh - I was really working.)

When I got up this morning at 8:30-ish, I was in markedly less agony than I have been recently. Is the flare dying down, finally? Has the weather stabilized? Or does the Vioxx just work better? I don't know, but it was a better day.

I mean, I stll have considerable amount of pain. My feet and ankles are really annoying me, but my hands are a lot better.

It's a stupid thing, but hands were better enough today that I could actually do my eyebrows. They were getting seriously bushy (at least to my critical eye), but I couldn't get my hands to work the tweezers properly. This morning I could, and did, and it's amazing how such a little thing like that can just make you feel so much better.

So, breakfast, slapped suntan lotion on all the kids, went to Kiwanis Park for a play date. Got McD's for lunch and forgot that they routinely put onions on their cheeseburgers, and poor DS1 ended up puking his up. He vomits a lot, so he's used to it, and it doesn't upset him anymore. Poor kid. Still, after puking, he just wanted to go back to playing with the other kids. They had a good day.

We got home and I let them loll in front of the TV while I (gasp) did some more work, but then about 4:30 or so I said, OK, that's it, time to get moving again. DS1 and I had a catch: "How many catches?" he asked me. That's something that DH did -- DS1 has to actually catch the ball so many times before he can quit. So I said how many do you want, he said, ten, I said, we'll see. We ended up doing 20. By then my arm was sore from throwing, I'm completely out of shape.

After the catch I got the basketball out and we did some more ballhandling work, and he is getting better. He can actually move pretty quickly while dribbling, and he'd do really well if he just put enough energy into the ball to keep it moving. Of course all that ball-handling was murderous on my poor hands, but it was fun playing with DS1 and I know he enjoyed it a lot, too.

Little DS2 was in the house munching on Cheerios during all this, while DD was "making soup" from various plant stuff around the yard. The weather was perfect for being outside, and I'm glad I got off my butt and went out there, too.

After supper, DD had a breakthrough with her piano "practice". She's only 5. I've told her I can teach her, but if she wants to learn she has to train her fingers, and I gave her a very simple exercise to do with both hands, separately and together: start at C, one key, one finger, up 5 notes and then down 4 back to C. Right hand starts with the thumb, left hand with the pinky. It's boring as hell but very hard if you've never done it before, but moving each finger independently is a fundamental skill she needs before moving on. Tonight, for the first time, she showed me that she can really do it! She was so excited. I worked with her for about 10 minutes, too, which is the longest she has shown interest in it. You have to understand, I only work with her on this when she asks me, and I never push it. Always before she has tried for 30 seconds and gotten frustrated and stormed off. I'm glad that she was able to stick to it for a little while today.

After all that, DS2 was very cranky this evening. The only thing that cheered him up was reading all of his pop-up books and singing "The Twelve Bugs of Christmas". He can't stay grumpy through all that. Hee!

DH has moved all the stuff we're getting rid of downstairs. DS2's room looks so empty without the crib (I helped get that out & down, what a PITA.) Our room looks awesome without all the extra junk in it, too. I'm getting very excited about how nice it will look when everything is done, and how different things will be when the kids are settled in their new arrangements and the playroom is set up. Still have quite a bit of work to do, of course, but it will just be so nice... I'm going to really try and get DD's furniture done so that after the carpets are cleaned, she can go right in there... of course I need to make another trip to Home Depot (3/4 inch ply and a miter box) and Joanne's (3 inch foam) before it can really be done, done... wheee!

But, see -- today I just did so many things, whereas yesterday I was dragging around so much. Today, I feel as if I can get all these things accomplished. I like that. I hope I can hang onto this feeling.

Monday, March 15, 2004

clearing the decks

Did stuff today that needed to get done, though not all of it: shopping, cleaning, laundry. Cooked a reasonable dinner, too. Major aches all day long. Picked up some Vioxx, alas, they were low on stock so only gave me 2. They said they would have the rest tomorrow. I certainly hope so, because I am taking those 2 tonight.

Kids were sorta grumpy but mostly OK today. First day of spring break, all they want to do is watch TV. I worked with DS1 on his ball-handling skills a bit. He basically does not get that you have to push the ball down so it will bounce back up to you, but he's getting there. He is remarkable that if he tries even a little bit, he can do pretty well at these things. It's just getting him to focus and actually put the effort in that is tough. But I enjoy playing with him and improving my own skills, too. I suck at dribbling but if I keep on working with DS1 on this we will both improve. I'm grateful that DH is coaching, though, and not me. I'm completely unqualified.

Need to work tonight, that's OK. I'm going to go do a bit of cleaning so the decks are actually all clear and there won't be anything distracting me. I need to get something out because tomorrow is our play date and I don't know if I'll have anything left by the end of the day tomorrow. I'm hopeful. I don't honestly have much left now, but I can certainly make a start.

Had a nice talk with Mom today and got her all caught up on the news here, such as it is. I hadn't realized how long it had been since I talked to her. I really miss her. Life is very different without her here. We go out a lot more because she is not so interested in that, plus I have been in a lot of pain lately and don't have energy to do things that she could cover for me when she was still here... it's complicated.

I hope the Vioxx helps because otherwise tomorrow is going to be quite difficult. I re-read a lot of entries yesterday, skimming. I whine in here a lot, which is a good thing at least for keeping track of my symptoms. It will be helpful when I go to the rheumatologist at the end of the month. It is a bit boring, though.

Well, DS2 is asking me for toast because "I'm hungry!" Toast before bed, OK. I can do this, I guess... later.

One ride

I'm getting closer to understanding why I continue to do things I know I shouldn't. Like, for example, stay up late and write or just hang out on the computer until a ridiculous hour... that has to do with the pain. It's a vicious cycle though, because I'm pretty sure that not getting enough sleep contributes to the pain, which then contributes to the restless. If I went to bed at what mothers typically call "a decent hour", I wouldn't sleep, I'd just lay there, throbbing. Hands, feet, hips, ankles, back... everything competing for attention. Cacophony. So I wait until I'm literally falling asleep on my feet and then go to bed so I will go to sleep without having to listen to all that.

There's got to be a better way.

Last night, I took 2 Bextra in the hope that the morning would be better. It wasn't. And the weather was great today, too, definite high pressure system in town now. On good days, I wake up and get up. On days like today, I wake up. After about 15 minutes I can deal with sitting up, and after another 20 minutes or so I can finally haul myself out of bed.

So, duh, I realized I'm having a flare. Is this leftover flare from the surgery, that I hadn't noticed before because I was on the Vioxx? Or is it a new flare, because I've been having wine, maybe? Or because I've been eating gluten? Or maybe because of where I am in my cycle? I think if I were still capable, I'd have my period now. Maybe it's just because I've stayed up late a few nights in a row (vicious cycle thing). Sometimes it gets very frustrating, having so many variables to consider.

Today, we took the kids to the Chandler Ostrich Festival. Yet again, we did not see any ostriches, but that's OK. We wised up this year and got all day passes for everyone, and the kids had a great time. DH took DS2 around on the smaller kids' rides, and I had DD and DS1 who went on the bigger kids' rides together.

I got to go on one ride: the swings. I don't know what happened to me, but I am seriously chicken these days. Oops, I forgot, I stood on the merry-go-round with DD, and that made me queasy. LOL I always have to focus on a spot now. I never used to be that way. Anyway, the swing was lovely, it wasn't the little kid one or the adult one, but sort of in between. So it went middling-high and fast -- I closed my eyes and felt the wind and the force pushing me into my seat, and it reminded me of sailing. I liked it better with my eyes closed than open, though. Too much wind in the eyes and seeing everything go by so fast would start freaking me out so I just kept 'em closed after that. Yes, I am a wimp. Don't care.

Ate horribly today. Breakfast: baby bel cheese and snapea crisps, which isn't really too bad. Lunch: gyros on a whole wheat pita. Lots of water to drink. Snack: vanilla ice cream, not too much, just what I got off the kids' cones while keeping them from becoming big drippy messes. For dinner we went to Mimi's Cafe and I got chicken breast broiled with garlic and over stuff, it was pretty good. I only ate half of it though, way too much food. Especially after the salad and the glass of wine. Mimi's Cafe has most generous pour I have ever seen. It'd be 2 glasses anywhere else. I had a glass of white, Lindeman's Chardonnay. It was OK. Nice for a change.

Now, I'm still up but tomorrow is spring break so I don't care! I've tons of work to do but am ready to do it... the kids are psyched that we have nothing planned, too. I think that's pretty funny. If it's hot enough, I will relent and get out the paddling pool. DD has been begging me since the weather snapped hot here over a week ago. It is annoying as all get out but there's no reason to say "no" if we're not going anywhere. But it has to be hot enough or they will all freeze! Not that they care.

One thing I will do is have DH drop off my Vioxx prescription on his way to work, then I can pick it up later. Those days after my surgery when I was on Vioxx I felt better than I have in ages. I had energy & enthusiasm and mental clarity -- I was myself again. On the Bextra, not so much. OK, not at all.

So I will take the drug and reclaim my life, again. I have hope.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Spinning my wheels

Didn't do anything today, except arrange for the kids to eat and feed myself. Went to the 4:30 Mass, that was good, then to DD's cheerleading organizational meeting at 6... it was a weird day. I did nothing until the late afternoon and then found myself sort-of busy.

We had In-and-Out Burgers for supper. Mmmmm protein-style, yum. And thankfully, they have the worst fries, or possibly just the most different fries that I don't care for. At all. Can't help it, I was raised on Idahoes, and the texture of these is all wrong. Yuck. I tried one bite of one fry and that was more than enough for me. They're just wrong!

I think I am still recovering from last night. We had a great time. We ate at Kai, the new fancy restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Resort and Spa. We had the most decadent meal. I had a lobster tail appetizer and chilean sea bass, with a chocolate mousse-ish dessert, but it was more complicated than that. And we shared 2 bottles of wine plus I got a glass of this delicious (deadly) orange muscat dessert wine, Essensia. It brought back such nice memories of my old friend Lee and hanging out with her, well before we parted ways. That wine is delicious, it tastes just like oranges... yum. I may have to get a bottle. Just a tiny glass (a shot or so) is enough to just sip, it's so delicious. I'm sure it's loaded with carbs, though. C'est la vie -- it is a treat, not a staple. It's worth spending carbs on treats like that, at least for me. They don't (usually) send me tripping off into a binge.

Although I have been known to eat an entire package of Trader Joe's little Crispy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. Those cookies rock. Also, they are dangerous. Usually I can resist their charms, though.

So, we had a great dinner and didn't get into any political arguments with the guys, actually had wonderful conversation. After dinner we walked around and checked out the resort, because it is very nice and very close, and DH can get a discount rate there -- ideal to bring the kids in the summer. One of the pools has a sand beach, and they have an open water slide. So I think we may go there over Memorial Day weekend. That would be nice. The kids are very enamored of Tapatio Cliffs but that is a much longer drive. I think they would like it here, though, too -- and it's close enough to home that we can go to our favorite restaurants or even go hang out at Border's late if we wanted to, LOL!

In just a few short years they will all be old enough to leave for an hour or two at the "kid's corral", supervised children's area... that will be a nice little break for DH & me. Finally, after everything I have been through physically the last few years, I am rediscovering myself and it's surprisingly great. A lot of fun. The expectation of pain has faded almost completely, and now there are no worries about pregnancy or anything else happening so it can just be fun. So now of course I realize what DH & I have been missing all these months and that makes me a little sad but it's OK because that's over now and we're moving on...

Tomorrow, the Ostrich Festival. Should be fun. I wonder if I will have to take DD on the ferris wheel again, though. I am kinda chicken at first although once I relax I have a good time. I expect the food will be terrible, it always is... I do hope we get to see the ostrich races this year, I have heard they are really funny. We'll see how it goes. Best possible attitude.

I finally did my tax paperwork today, so now there is literally nothing getting in the way of me doing some actual paying work. Maybe I'll do some tonight, that would be good. I'm a bit stuck. Not really, just that "I haven't start yet" stuck, once I sit down to do it, it will flow... my problem is I just want to hang out and have a few drinks and snuggle with my husband and just pretend I have no responsibilities, even as they crowd in upon me!

goofing around with photos

OK. My hair is still wet in this pic so it's looking... odd. I could complain about three or four other things but there's no point. It's a pic of me so I will always have something to complain about... So, here's me all dressed up:

Here's a closeup of the shoes & the wrap:

Having worn the shoes for 2 long evenings out now, I can say that they are completely comfortable. I can even walk in them on uneven surfaces when slightly drunk. (hee) How unexpected!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Not working

I'm not working, I'm spinning my wheels endlessly in a couple of addictive forums, letting the kiddos watch Veggie Tales and just enjoying the relative (mental) peace.

Also, the Bextra is not working, as far as I can tell, at all. Today it is a beautiful day, clear blue sky, a few white puffy clouds, the temps are warm but not too hot. But my hands are positively killing me. You know, it's very frustrating when you need to pee but you can't because you have to get your fingers working well enough to undo the belt, then the button, then the zipper, on your pants. If my hands are going to be like this all the time, I'm switching to skirts...

First day off the Prevacid, too, having run out of the huge stack of them my g-e doc gave me. He didn't mention coming back or needing a prescription, it seemed like he just wanted me to take them and get things calmed down. So far, no horrible burning in the pit of my stomach but it won't surprise me if it comes back. I even had my coffee this morning, and didn't have a problem. That was good.

So, tonight, another dressed up night out. I don't really want to go out, though! Isn't that terrible? I'm just worn out, even though I went to bed at 11:15 last night (a record) and couldn't drag myself out of bed this morning until 8:15. Stupid Bextra. Maybe I could take another one? Hmmm.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

wasted day

Not entirely, I suppose, since I worked a little over 2 hours, mostly on the phone, catching up with the guys I haven't talked to for over 2 weeks. They've made tremendous progress with the software in those 2 weeks, and we're hoping to release an alpha version of the product by the end of this month. That means I need to get writing! Cool.

But most of the day, yeah, I feel it was a waste although I found some great new source material. I was engaged for a good part of the day, again, in a discussion about the whole gay marriage issue with a very liberal young woman on another forum I participate in. She had posted in her journal a very emotional response to the fact that MA legislature is considering an amendment to ban gay marriage in that state, and she was, literally, taking it personally.

My take on this issue is quite different. I'm annoyed that the gays have done an end-run around the legislative process. The comparison to the Civil Rights movement is completely bogus, because no one in the Civil Rights movement was sworn to uphold the laws of their state, the way the MA judges did, the way those handful of rebellious elected city officials have. The whole thing is just so stupid, because what they are doing is actually shutting OFF meaningful dialog, and blocking any real, reasonable solution.

A couple of articles I found very helpful: Thomas Sowell's "Gay Marriage" Confusions, and also this from the Weekly Standard, about how weakening of the social institution of marriage has changed family life in Scandinavia: The End of Marriage in Scandinavia by Stanley Kurtz, originally published 2/2/04.

I do have a major problem with people who refuse to acknowledge that it's better for children to be raised in stable, loving 2-parent homes with a mother and a father. Yes, I know that for many families, that's just not possible. I realize that many children don't live that life. However, I do believe that it is the best situation and I don't fault the government for wanting to encourage it.

Kurtz' article details how marriage has been in decline for the last 30 years or so in Scandinavia, and how it has resulted in a huge increase in single parent households. Of course Scandinavia has welfare going on at all levels, and it is pretty much racially homogenous, much more so than the US. Not to mention that those countries are really tiny, especially compared to the US. When I pointed out that changing the definition of marriage was really nothing more than social experimentation on a grand scale, I got leapt upon, of course.

I was also fascinated by the views expressed by Suzanne Fields, "Queer Eye" for straight courtship, in which she talks about the gay marriage movement is really an attempt to mainstream homosexuality, and that quite a large number of gays are not happy about that. Whatever happened to being different, and proud of it? Isn't marriage an institution of the much-sneered at bourgeoisie? Fields posits that gays with that viewpoint are intimidated into silence, and that the debate/struggle is being driven by judges and PC leaders. It's an interesting concept and not one I had read or heard about previously.

As usual, since I spent so much time on the phone and on the computer today, the kids spiralled into a meltdown this evening. DD got so annoyed with DS1 that she forcefully dis-assembled one of his Bionicle toys, and he responded by pinching her cheeks so hard you could see the fingernail marks an hour later. I had her ice her cheeks down and hopefully they won't swell up or bruise. At least that's what I hope, because if she goes out and about with a beat-up looking face, we could get into serious trouble with CPS.

It really disturbs me when DS1 loses his temper and becomes violent like that. So far he hasn't done it to DS2 but then again, DS2 is a lot smaller and doesn't goad him the way DD does. It's just distressing. We told him about what could happen to our family if anyone even thinks that our kids are being abused, and he really seemed to understand. He was very upset about being yelled at and punished, but after he calmed down he got very sad and scared and really was very sorry.

I don't want to scare him unnecessarily, but I think it's entirely appropriate to make him understand the consequences of violent action... even if it's "only" a fight with his little sister.

Lots of thinking on big ideas today. Maybe it wasn't such a waste, after all. But I certainly didn't do much in the physical world. Didn't finish folding the laundry (just a few whites -- undies and socks), didn't put the other laundry away, didn't clean up anything or even pay that much attention to the kids. Ick.

Not that I can use this as an excuse, but it was my first day on Bextra. I ran out of my trial of Vioxx and want to give the Bextra a good try of a couple of weeks at least and see how it goes. Today was weird, weather-wise, because it was cloudy but hot, and we had a big thunderstorm, but no rain, this evening. Hands and feet and hips are killing me... it's as if I hadn't taken anything. Just the weather, or does Bextra just not work? I was good and made my appointment with my rheumatologist, so I can discuss with her my pain meds and the possibility of going on that disease-modifying drug to try and stop the progression of the RA.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Lord, be with me


I am chaperoning the first-grader's field trip to the AZ Science Center tomorrow, with both DD and DS2 in tow. I volunteered myself (I can't even honestly say I got roped into it) because otherwise there wouldn't be enough chaperones and they would've had to cancel the trip, and that would just suck. Science museums rock. I hope we survive.

Both DD and DS2 were very cranky today... I hope no repeats tomorrow, that would be a disaster. However, I've noticed that they tend to be on best behavior while we're out, and save their meltdowns for when we get home. I can handle that, I just don't want them to be freaking out at the museum when we're with DS1 and his classmates. Fortunately, I get to drive myself (and them), so if things go south, I can probably extricate myself pretty quickly. Always have an escape route planned...

Finally got in and did a litte work today after spending all morning cleaning and all afternoon refereeing the kidlets. I honestly don't know where today went. Oh, the garage door opener got fixed, yay! Other than that... what happened here?

Ah, yes, went to Sam's Club with the 2 little ones, got some pizza for lunch and it took forever. DS2 still won't go in the cart (DD does, though). Little legs = slow shopping. Seriously, it must've added 20 minutes to the trip. Plus it totally wears him out and then he gets cranky (see above). So, having picked up at DD at noon, we didn't actually get home till practically 2:30 because of how slow they were at eating and then the trudge through the store for various items. Of course that store is so huge that it would be best to navigate it in rollerskates, but that's just something I have to deal with.

Saw the surgeon yesterday and she reported that the gallbladder was completely healthy which irked me, until she said this is quite common and that the tests showed there was clearly a functional deficiency. Plus, the pain is gone! Yay. She removed my tapes and sympathized over the reaction I had to the adhesives, but said basically there wasn't much to be done about it. Bummer on that one. It's nice to have the strips off my abdomen, but there are still the occasional little pulls and aches and pains. After I cleaned up this morning (the house was a complete disaster area, and some parts of it still are), the ache returned but slightly different, so I am pretty sure it was surgery-related.

However, I have noticed that my ankles are getting a little swollen every night. I'm wondering if this is from the RA or if it is something new. Usually my hands and feet only bother me in the morning, and it goes away as soon as I get moving (unless it is very damp). Lately the feet and ankles have been bad in the evenings, too. Sheesh.

Off to bed so I have some semblance of rest before tomorrow! I'm gonna need it.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

should be working

But instead, I'm here and rambling, because the guy is here fixing the garage door, and I know I'm going to be interrupted within 15 minutes or so, and then I have to go pick up DD at her school. So what's the point of getting involved in something? I can do that later.

It's a beautiful day here, although later it is going to be hot: the forecast is for 92 degrees. It's always this way. We have winter, then *bam* summer. Although since it is still technically spring, we should still have some more cool days, and at least it still cools down wonderfully over night. Still, over the weekend I was in turtlenecks and today I'm in a linen sleeveless thing. Sheesh.

I have to talk about DS1, who has just morphed into a consistently happy kid lately. Not that he was ever depressed (I think) or anything, he just used to seem troubled or just "thinking too hard" all the time. Even though he was grumpy on Saturday, there was something about that, I could clearly tell it was just a mood thing, not a temperament thing, if that makes any sense. DH and I have talked about this and one thing we think that is having a huge positive impact is that DS1 is now completely literate. He reads everything: street signs, trucks, labels and boxes, stuff on TV, and of course, books. All on his own, over this weekend he went through "his" shelf of the bookcase, and found the Bionicle chapter books that he got for Christmas. He's already up to Chapter 6, and read for well over an hour on Sunday, and for another 15 minutes yesterday, even though Monday is his busy day (after-school gymnastics and R.E.) so we usually give him a pass. He didn't want a pass, he wanted to find out what was going to happen in the story.

I just think that's so cool, and completely unsurprising. He is (obviously) not me, but so much like me in so many ways, and I have been a rabid reader since I was tiny. I hope that all of them will come to love reading as much as I do.

Well, I just got a phone call that DD might not make it into the morning K class next year. Decision time: put her in the afternoon class, or put her in all day? Yeesh. I think I'll just wait and hope she does get into the morning class! I don't really want her to go all day. DS2 will be so lonely, and I'll miss her, too.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Pivot on which all history turns

Today, I saw Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. Before today, I read many editorials and reviews, and saw several of Gibson's televised interviews about the film.

Before getting into my own thoughts, let's leave the charges of anti-Semitism aside; I believe that fears of the film inciting violence against Jews should be fading now, since it has done over $200Million at the box office, and there hasn't been a single incident that has been linked to a recent viewing of the movie, as far as I know -- and I'm very confident that had there been so much as an insult hurled across a schoolyard, we'd have heard about it, all day, all the time, with an "I told you so!" air about it.

But, no, not yet, and not ever, at least until someone who's already not right in the head takes it upon himself to do something stupid. So we can leave that issue, and move on to discuss the main criticism I've heard, which seems to be that Mel Gibson didn't make the movie that all the critics wanted him to make.

Gibson focused on the last 12 hours of Christ's life: His Passion, the suffering He endured for our salvation. None of the mainstream critics understand this. They say it's out of context, or misguided, or just plain incomprehensible, to focus the film so narrowly. Why not spend more time on Christ's ministry and teachings?

Gibson himself has answered that question on numerous occasions, saying, basically, he made the movie he wanted to make. And if that raises the question, "Why?" in people's minds, then perhaps they would be inspired to pick up The Book and find out for themselves.

I don't have any trouble at all in understanding Gibson's decision regarding the content of this film: the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in all of human history. It is the pivot on which all history turns.

Whether or not you believe in Christ, there is no denying the impact His life, death, and resurrection have had on human history. But of those three, the defining moment was surely His death.

Had Christ not been crucified, would we even now remember His name? Would His teachings, so radical then and so commonplace now, ever have endured, and spread, and taken firm hold in the world? And what of the Resurrection? Without Christ's sacrifice, there would have been no Resurrection... nothing to talk about.

Before I continue, a little about me. I am a practicing Catholic now. At one point, I was a "cradle Catholic", born into a Catholic family and raised a Catholic. When I was a teenager, I rejected the Church entirely. Later, I converted to Judaism when I was married to a Jewish man. Sometimes, I still pray the schma:

Schma, Israel, Adonai elohenu, Adonei ehud!

(excuse misspellings, my Hebrew was never that great) -- "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is One." There's more, but I can't remember it now, and besides, that one line? Says it all. That's the basis for all the beliefs of Judaism, and Christianity, too. I learned a lot during that time.

Later still, that marriage disintegrated and left me profoundly questioning everything, and that's when I went back to the Catholic Church, maybe because it was comfortable, because it felt like "home" after having been away and isolated for so long.

But I didn't just walk back in blindly. I had been through too much and went back only after a lot of thought. I weighed everything carefully through the seive of my experiences and I saw that Catholicism and its beliefs fit me very well indeed. This is not to say I agree with everything the Church says or does (now that's a scary thought) -- the Church, being staffed by humans, has screwed up royally throughout a lot of history, but I don't condemn the faith for the faults of its followers. (That would lead to a whole baby-bathwater situation, never a good thing.)

There is, of course, the whole issue of birth control, which has very interesting political history and will someday, I have faith, get straightened out. I don't want to digress too much further into this subject, but I also want to mention that everyone, including -- or especially -- Catholics, is responsible for his own formation of conscience (begin with paragraph 1783, and go from there), and our consciences of course dictate our actions. Nobody gets a free pass.

OK, now, having said all that, I went to see The Passion knowing the story very well indeed. Yet, from all the criticisms of lack of context and exclusive focus on gore and violence, I was surprised by how much Christ's teachings were actually included in the film, and by how often the director cut away from the actual violence to focus on the effects it was having on the then-present witnesses.

Here are examples of Jesus's ministry that were included in the film: the sermon in which He preached "love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you;" the incident in which He saved Mary Magdalene from death by stoning (the "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" line was not uttered, but it didn't need to be -- it was clear: He drew the line in the sand, and all the bystanders dropped their rocks and turned away, and then Mary Magdalene reached out to Him); washing the disciples' feet and several other scenes from the Last Supper, including His commandment to "Love one another as I have loved you," and His prayers over the bread and wine. Also, and most importantly, the "No greater love is there than for a man to lay down his life for his friends" speech. (bad paraphrasing, sorry)

Given this list, it seems to me as if Gibson hit the high points, as it were. What, exactly, did these critics want to see included that was left out? What was Christ's message? Love. Forgiveness. And sacrifice. Were the critics peeved that The Beautitudes were left on the cutting room floor, or that the loaves and fishes party trick didn't make it, either?

Those are nice stories with worthy morals, but in light of this film's subject matter, irrelevant. Gibson had a lot of material to work with, and I find no fault with his executive decisions on what to leave in and what to take out.

I was surprised, too, by the astonishing quality of the acting. The entire movie is in subtitles, so my brain was always a little ahead of the dialog. But now I remember Caviezel crying out on the cross "Forgive them! they know not... they know not..." My brain has substituted in the English, maintaining Caviezel's anguished tone. And so it goes.

But so much of this film is told without dialog at all. Peter's terror when Jesus is first caught and the crowd in the courtyard is roughing him up, his frantic denials, his shame; all are conveyed in just a few lines. Mona Morgenstern's Mary is brilliant in her grief, her eyes reflecting every mother's pain upon witnessing the horrors visited upon her child. John, Jesus's dear friend, was perhaps the weakest of the supporting cast, easily eclipsed by the outstanding Simon, pressed into service to carry the cross when Jesus could no longer do so.

Simon understood his fundamental task was to deliver Jesus, still alive, to Golgotha. It was obvious that, without help, Jesus would have died upon the Via Dolorosa, given the thoroughness with which the Romans had scourged him. Without Simon, there could be no crucifixion. In the space of an hour, he is transformed from an unwilling porter into an instrument of God's Will. His tiny encouragements, "Nearly there, nearly there," were heart-breaking.

The Roman guards, too, impressed me as an outstanding ensemble. At first they were mindless thugs, although they did have the decency to look troubled when they were told they were not supposed to beat Christ to death, just rough him up a bit. Then, the mockery with the crown of thorns and the purple robe; then, their relentless stupidity as they continued to beat The Man every time He fell -- as if that would somehow help Him get up. It was obvious that these guys lived very much on the surface and never let a thought sink in very far -- until the moment of Christ's death.

Even before that moment, Cassius's face was a study in conflict: fear, and hope, and awe. When Cassius speared Christ's side to insure that He was, indeed, dead, the scene played to me as Cassius's baptism. The reverence in his eyes and his entire demeanor conveyed his wordless conversion.

I could write about still more things: the portrayal of Satan, Caviezel's eyes -- those eyes! -- the soundtrack, the cinematography, but already, I've written so much. Maybe I can come away with all these powerful images and impressions of terrific performances only because I know the story so well? Or is it because I wanted to see the film in a positive light, I'm purposely missing it's faults?

That's entirely possible. I first read my good friend Walter Chaw's review at FilmFreakCentral, and my friend Curtis Edmonds' review at Texas Reviews before I had had a chance to see the film. I tried to keep their specific criticisms in mind as I watched the movie. I wondered if I would agree with them when I finally got to see it.

The sensibilities I brought to this film are very different from those of my friends, and I have come away with a very different opinion. I did not find this film strange, nor terrifying, nor revelling in violence for the sake of violence. Now, having seen it, I feel I have a better understanding of what Christ's sacrifice was really like. Certainly, elements of this film may have been exaggerated, but I'm just as certain that this version is a lot closer to historical accuracy than the spiffy-clean Jesus we always imagine, standing before Herod and Pilate, being judged and condemned.

This movie helped me understand, down in my bones, what He did for us, for me. This deeper comprehension calls to mind a similar moment of clarity for me: Christmas of 1996, I was eight months pregnant with my first child, a boy. At Mass, I was struggling to get up from kneeling during the Eucharistic prayer. I was awkward, I was uncomfortable; the baby was riding low and there wasn't really anything I could do to get comfortable, the kneeling had made my lower back ache.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself when it struck me, how would I have withstood the trip from Galilee to Bethlehem, on a donkey, so pregnant? Mary did it. When my son was born, I had no anesthesia, and a relatively easy labor with a nice quick delivery. In a hospital, with doctors and nurses and plenty of experienced people around to help me -- I had some idea what to do, since I read so much, but reading is not experience. I was fine. Would I have been fine, giving birth in a stable with only the animals there for warmth? Mary was.

As a mother, I understand Mary, and the physical sacrifices she made in bearing Jesus. I could not fathom how profound her faith was, to bear a child, knowing what His fate would be. Gibson's film reveals to us all her faith, her love, and the love Her Son had for all of us.

thoroughly wrung out

I should have said, hung over. It's a reading hangover. I stayed up stupid-late again but at least I finished the damn Pratchett (brilliant, as usual, although not as good as The Fifth Elephant) and I have resolved not to start a new book tonight, or probably this month even. I can't handle it. I'm a printed-word addict. Pathetic.

So, today: slept late (10:45), got up, toodled around on the computer for a while doing basically nothing, made lunch for the kids. DH and I tag-teamed The Passion of The Christ today, he went to the 12 show, I did the 2:45. Whoa.

Came home after the movie, popped ribs out of the freezer into the oven, and made cornbread and popped that into the oven and set the timer for DH; dashed off to the 5:30 Mass (excellent sermon by Fr. C on discretion, what it is and why you should use it), came home, made coleslaw, ate yummy dinner.

After dinner, more toodling on the computer, but productive: finished another column for LCL Mag, and emailed it off to them. Yay! Off the hook until next month for those guys, now I won't have it hanging over my head and can focus on my paying work and the newspaper columns. The LCL mag column is on stocking a low-carb kitchen, but in reality I think it could easily be expanded into the 3 columns: fridge & freezer, pantry, and baking. Then each could have a recipe, too. There was no recipe in the one I sent to LCL, it was long enough as it was. I'm liking how this is working out so far. I remembered to solicit emails this time, and also referred readers to the Mailbag.

And then, as DH (I do so love the man) was giving the kids their baths, I remembered I needed to do laundry! Yikes. Fortunately, only 2 loads so I will not be up until 1AM doing it. I hope. Anyway, got that started and now here I am. I am exhausted to the bone. This has happened before (when I read HP & The Order of the Phoenix in something like a 30-hour period, many of those hours between 9PM and 5AM one night...) and I always think, "I will never do that again," andyet, I do. I must think I'm indestructible or something. Either that, or it's an innate ability of a woman to forget about pain (else all children would be only children).

I have a column on The Passion percolating in the back of my head. When it sorts itself out I will write it up and dupe it here, wherever else I end up posting it. My first thought on leaving the theater was that I want to see it again. My eye-for-detail was in overdrive and my ears were straining for false notes, but didn't find any, although there is one thing I want to look up. Caviezel's eyes were amazing, his entire performance, stunning. The supporting cast was extraordinary, too. It seems odd to me, for me to say, "I loved this movie," but I did love it. There's so much love in it... well. I do have a piece to say and when I'm ready I'll say it, not now, not now.

Through this haze of exhaustion and pain (Vioxx isn't doing shit for me today), I'm still feeling blessed. There was a time in my life when I prayed everyday for myself, for peace, because I didn't know how to live with all the emotional pain I was in, I couldn't deal with the world and really live with all that hurt, all I wanted was peace. I found it long ago and have cherished it ever since, but today I'm reminded again of precious it really is.