Sunday, April 29, 2007


In retrospect, this weekend may not have been the best time to experiment with coming off the Aleve.


what does it say about me...

... that I don't feel violated?

Two things invariably happen whenever someone hears about the robbery:
1. They relate their similar experience(s);
2. They commiserate with how horrible I must feel, how vulnerable I must be now, because they remember that they felt violated -- every single person.

Well, I don't feel violated. My house was broken into, some stuff was stolen. I'm disgusted that I let it happen.

We lost an entire afternoon and evening to police procedures, clean up (that was quick) and insuring that our financial data was secure. We've had to spend more time re-purchasing the things we lost. DH has made a major time investment by taking this opportunity to switch the way his company does its payroll, but that's coincidental.

I am not torturing myself wondering why this happened. Someone was obviously watching the house. It could have been someone from the painter's crew, or a friend of someone on the painter's crew. It could've been someone working on the new park down the street. It could've been random thugs. I don't know, and I don't care. The reason it happened is quite simple:

We were stupid.

How stupid were we? Let me list the ways:
1. We've had an ADT security system in this house since the day we moved in. I cannot recall the last time we regularly set the alarm when we were coming or going. Did you get that? We had an alarm system, but we didn't use it. (We use it religiously now.)

2. For the longest time -- right up until we had the house painted, as a matter of fact, we had an "ADT Security" sign in our front yard. It was recently destroyed (I'm unclear how that happened), and even though we had an extra in our garage, we never put it out. So -- no sign, and an un-armed security system, a great combination!

3. We have a huge (8'x12') sliding glass door to our backyard. It had a flimsy lock on it. There was no security bar.

So you see: we were stupid, because we didn't do the things we knew we should have been doing to protect ourselves.

That explains why I'm annoyed with myself -- if you're going to be la-di-da and naive, the world will come along with a corrective eventually. As correctives go, this one was really not that bad. I'm bummed about the loss of my digital photos, but it's not the end of the world.

The reason I don't feel violated is because I know this attack was not personal. I, personally, was not attacked. My house was robbed. Sadly, I have a lot of experience with this type of thing.

When I was 9, my parents built a house on Cape Cod. We used it for weekends and vacations, and I can't tell you the number of times that house was broken into. Apparently, breaking and entering was an accepted way to pass the time in the off-season months. They would drink the liquor, scrounge for food, and take whatever cash they could find. I had my piggy bank stolen at least once. One time, my brother and his wife wanted to use the house for a week's vacation, and got there to find that every single window had been broken.

The summer I turned 13, we moved into that house year-round. One day I was coming home from school, alone -- Dad was still working up in Boston, and mom was out with my brother (I think), and I put my key in the lock and pushed it in, but before I could turn it, the door opened. I knew something was up, and walked in (stupidly, but I was clueless) saying, "Hello?" I heard footsteps downstairs and then the back door (also downstairs) slamming shut.

Mom got home shortly thereafter and figured out that I had surprised whoever it was by showing up. They must have figured the house was empty since there weren't any cars out front. I know my mom was freaked out by the "what ifs", but I don't remember being freaked out then -- I was entirely too sheltered, and had no idea what could've happened to me. Seriously, I couldn't figure out why my mother was so upset.

(My mom has an ADT system, too.)

Later I found out who broke all the windows and I was really upset -- kids I knew from school, not well, but still. This was months (if not years) after the fact, so there wasn't anything to be done about it. I still remember the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, and Lynn's voice saying, "Well, they didn't know it was your house," as if that made it OK. Idiots.

After your house has been vandalized -- repeatedly -- you realize that it's not personal. You take stock of what's missing, you clean up the mess, you move on. There are bad people in the world, or, if you prefer, people who do bad things to others. Sometimes you may be at the receiving end of such a bad thing. There are things you can do to minimize that risk, but even doing everything you can, there's no guarantee that bad things aren't going to happen to you some day.

I don't feel fearful, but I am more cautious now. I set the alarm. I look the house over as we approach. These are things I should've been doing all along, but this is a nice neighborhood, and we have a very low crime rate around here (obviously not low enough...) Both DH and I fell into a state of complacency.

You can't be complacent about who or what you love. As I said before, sooner or later, the world will come along with a corrective, and we got ours. Lesson learned, no psychological violation required.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mrs. H's class rules (life rules)

I posted these rules today for the first graders I'm substitute teaching. I'm thinking of having a poster made up and laminating it so I can use it whenever I'm subbing.

1. Be Kind
We spend all day in class together. Use good manners and be nice, so our class will be a pleasant place to be.

2. Do your own work.
Do not worry about what others are doing, or not doing. You are only responsible for YOU. If you look for trouble, it will probably find you.

3. No Freaking Out
a) Breathe
b) Stop and think.
c) Find a solution to the problem. Ask for help if you need it.
d) Move on! Get over it, get on with your day.

4. Never lie on the floor.
Someone will step on you, sooner or later.

5. Don't touch the bell.
(unless Mrs. H has given you permission.)

6. If someone is bothering you...
a) Ask them to stop. They may not realize they're annoying you.
b) If they don't stop, move away from them.
If they follow you, or you can't move away, then
c) Get help from a grown-up.

The teacher has a poster up with reporting rules that are very similar to what I taught my own kids (an inexact paraphrase, but you get the gist):

Tell someone if
1. Someone is hurt;
2. Someone is in trouble or danger;
3. Property is being damaged;
Otherwise, work it out yourself, because I don't need to hear it, and I don't want to hear it.

At the beginning of the week, many of the kids were in each others' business, and there was a lot of tattling going on. Whenever one of the kids had an issue, an audience would gather and work would grind to a halt. Now, I'm seeing kids keep on task and pay attention to their own work, and when issues flare up, most keep on with what they were doing before. In just a few days, these lessons can make a dramatic impact if they're explained and consistently enforced. It's cool.

I'm thinking about adding this one:

It's not about YOU.
No one else spends nearly as much time thinking about you as you do. Before you accuse someone of wronging you, think about that. Chances are, whatever they did had nothing to do with you, you just happened to be in the way.

Of course, they're still responsible if they hurt you, but being hurt by accident is a lot different from being hurt on purpose.

You'd be amazed how many accusations fly across a first-grade classroom over the course of the day -- but I've seen similar paranoia among (supposedly) grown men and women. Sadly, this last rule may be the most important of all.

observation: I can never be a full-time teacher

I'm subbing all week for a first-grade class that is quite small (17 kids), but has three challenging boys. Their regular teacher is super organized and left truly exquisite lesson plans for me -- she worked very hard to prepare for her absence, and I am very grateful for that.

That said, she has me working harder than I have ever had to, as a substitute teacher, before. (I've worked plenty hard in several previous work environments.) I have to keep track of homework and assignments and hand out all sorts of stuff, including behavior incentives like points and stickers. It's a tremendous amount to keep track of, especially on top of managing the kids who basically resist being managed.

Surprisingly, I'm not having too much trouble with those three boys. At heart they're all quite sweet, they just don't deal with the world the way everyone else does, and I have a lot of experience with boys like that from my own DS1. Not that he ever was troublesome in school on a regular basis (just the occasional meltdown), but still -- I cut my parenting teeth dealing with a very stubborn, very smart little boy, so these boys are honestly nothing new to me. I think if I had longer to work with them, I could help them -- their regular teacher is the super-strict, yells-alot kind (apparently, I've never witnessed her in class) and with these guys, I can tell that is totally the wrong approach -- a bad fit. But sometimes you get a bad fit between teachers and students, and you just need to tough it out.

I only have one more day with this class, and I will miss all of them, really -- except one, and this one child taught me that I should never be a full-time teacher. I can't stand this kid. There are certain personality types that set my teeth on edge, and the one that constantly demands to be the center of attention, and manipulates others to make sure that is always so, is pretty close to the top of my list. Another thing that gets me is the blank stare in lieu of an answer to a serious question -- a tactic which involves ignoring inconvenient facts and feigning either ignorance or inattention when I know neither is applicable. Aaauuugghhh!

You know it's bound to happen that you get a kid that you find insufferable in your class. And I'm sure I could learn to deal with that, with practice. But I don't want to! And since I'm just a sub, I can grit my teeth and make it through the day, or week, or however long, knowing that this detestable person is not my ultimate responsibility.

Thank God.

limping along

Actually, in Real Life, it's more like galloping from commitment to commitment, whereas in the online world, I'm making do with a laptop purchased when I was pregnant with DS2. He's six years old; I believe that this machine -- still running Windows 98 -- qualifies for antique status in some jurisdictions. It works, but the keyboard has that old-fashioned laptop weirdly compressed layout, which insures that I invariably hit the FCN key instead of the CTRL key, or the PgUp key instead of the Backspace.

Man, it's annoying.

However, a glimmer of hope on the horizon: we ordered our new computers today, and they should arrive, along with a spiffy new printer, early in the 2nd week of May. I can survive that long.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

too short

I got my hair cut today, and in fit of what? inspiration? maybe -- I said, "let's go short this time." I am so over my self-consciousness over my neck scar, and my long, long hair has been weighing me down -- so off it went.

I'd post a photo, but I don't have a camera anymore. Also, I'm not sure how I could connect a camera to this old tank of a laptop, anyway.

So, the hair is longer in front and very short in the back, many layers -- the front layers land just under my chin. My stylist spent about 20 minutes (at least) with the flat iron getting it to look this way. Everyone loved it.

The real question is, how is it going to look when I do it? I should've remembered that short hair is a lot more work than long hair...

The thing about hair: it grows back. Too-short now will be perfect in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

horror story

I spent the day with DS2’s class on a field trip to see The Wizard of Oz. It was a cute production and we had fun, and we didn’t get back to the school until after 2. I decided to hang around for the rest of the day, even though I was looking forward to just relaxing once we got home.

That was not to be. As soon as I drove up to the house, I knew something was wrong; the gate was open, and there was no reason it should be. I told the kids to wait in the car while I checked out the house. As soon as I opened the door into the house, I knew it would be bad: every light was on, every door was open. Various stuff was all over the floor, and the back door was wide open. Both cats were hanging out on the patio, Alice unperturbed, but Cooper looking spooked.

I grabbed the phone to call DH – do I call 911 or a different number? – and I tried to scoot the cats inside. Alice came willingly, but Cooper freaked out and ran around the house. I was terrified because the gate was open, and the last thing I wanted was for him to dash out into the street to get pancaked. I tore around him and closed the gate, and that was enough for him to wheel around and dash into the house.

So the cats were safe, and I got a hold of DH, and he said to call 911, so I went out to the car and told the kids what was up, and we waited for the police to come. While we waited, they got a bit scared so I took them over to our neighbors to wait it out; thank God she was home and said of course she would look after them. It was a relief not to have to worry about them while waiting for the police.

The officers came in short order, and went in to make sure the house was empty (the 911 operator made it clear to me I should get out of the house and stay out until the police had made sure that the thieves were gone.) Lots of blah-blah-blah with the officers, then waiting and waiting for the forensics unit to show up, then trying to figure out what surfaces might have good prints. The forensics officer noticed they had forced open the back door, which was something of a relief: at least we hadn’t left the house unlocked.

We had to list the things we’d noticed missing for the police, and assign approximate values. At this point, we had realized that both the ‘real’ computers were gone, as well as DS1’s PS2 – with his favorite Lego Star Wars game -- it may have been Lego Star Wars 2, actually -- and memory card with all his adventures on it – plus my digital camera, and the odd incidental: DS1’s really nice Eddie Bauer duffle bag. Bizarre.

Then started the long list of phone calls, the trip to the bank to close all our accounts and re-open new ones, the call to HP to try and reconstruct our computer configurations (and how much we paid for them), and every so often, the realization that something else was lost: the vast majority of our digital photos, my entire recipe database, and God knows how much of my website source and Farscape writing (ironically, I just assured Ross that I still had everything instantly available – man, I hope that’s still true. I know I have a backup around here somewhere, but I don’t know what format it’s in; have to find it.)

I’ve opened a claim with our insurance, and will be contacted by an adjuster in the next 2 days to figure it out.

If you’re wondering how this blog post is possible, the idiots who disrupted our lives, and took two hard-to-tote computers, completely overlooked the laptop that was sitting next to them. It’s about seven years old and running Windows 98, and it doesn’t even have an Ethernet connection – but by some weirdness, the wireless network (80211.b, yay!) still works, and so we’re not completely cut off from the ‘net. The left shift key doesn't work most of the time, and it does bizarre things from time to time that make typing up anything longer a real challenge, but at least it works.

For the record, in this situation -- coming into a home that has obviously been broken in to -- here's what you do:
1. Get out of the house, don't touch anything.

2. Call 911. The police will come and make sure there is no one left in the house and that it is safe for you to go back in. Don't touch anything unless they tell you it's OK.

3. Don't store your passwords to financial data sites or any other sensitive information in the computer without password protecting them also. We have a bunch of passwords built into our Quicken installation so it can download information from our accounts, but all of those passwords are in a "password vault" so they are shielded.

4. Treat the theft of the computer with financial information on it the same way you would treat someone stealing your briefcase full of all your account statements, credit cards, and ATM cards: in other words, you must contact each credit card company and tell them your information has been compromised. You should visit your bank so they can close your old accounts and open new ones with the transferred balances, and you can sign the signature cards right away.

5. Notify the credit agencies so that new new accounts may be made in your name without getting approval from you first. The three credit agencies are:
Equifax 800 525 6285
TransUnion 800 680 7289
Experion 888 397 3742

It takes about 2 minutes to put a watch on your social security number, and if you call one agency, they'll notify the others for you.

6. Make a list of all the companies that directly access either your bank accounts (direct deposit, auto-paid accounts) or your credit cards -- you'll have to notify all of them of the new account numbers.

7. Last but not least, make sure you have enough cash on hand to last you until your new ATM and credit cards can be used, usually 2-5 days.

Also: Save your receipts and other information (warranty cards, owners manuals) for stuff that idiots might like to steal. It will make your insurance claim easier, and having the serial numbers available slightly increases the chances of you recovering your stolen property. (I wish!)

And do I even need to say this, now? Yes, I do: Back up everything periodically, more frequently if you're accumulating a lot of data -- like digital photos. Or store everything online if you can, because then it won't matter where your hardware is (or isn't).

I know it's a pain but just do it, OK? You don't want to be left, like me, without address books and photos and nevermind my iTunes library. At least I still have my iPod!

Monday, April 16, 2007


My ENT, Dr. O, agrees with my TMD (jaw pain) doctor that what's going on with my "sinus" headaches is

1) not an infection at all and
2) possibly caused by referred pain from my screwed-up neck muscles

Of course, he also mentioned possibility 3) referred pain from the jaw joints, although his exam didn't seem to trigger anything to make that seem likely.

The question of the day was, What does Dr. C think of your occlusal plane? I had to admit we had never discussed it. I'll make a note of it for my next appointment. (This article is the kind of thing that makes you go "hmmmm" when you're having persistent headaches and some shoulder pain as well. On the other hand, there's no way I'm going for a third round of orthodontia.)

Bottom line is, I have to go for a CT scan of my sinuses.

I confessed to Dr. O my trepidations in having the scan. I know it's necessary, but I don't want to have to deal with either cancer or surgery (never mind both). He was quite sympathetic but assured me that we couldn't just leave it, as such neglect would be far from benign. Odds are this has nothing to do with cancer, although the twitch symptoms (not nearly as frequent now as they have been in the past) do seem a little freaky.

So we'll take a look and figure out what's going on -- I have to wait for the scheduler to call me to make the arrangements. It will be interesting trying to fit it in without canceling something else; my calendar is hysterically full for the rest of the month.


I reach my peak ambition routinely somewhere around 12:30AM. Everything seems easy, then, and I can see with stark clarity all the little steps I need to do to complete some larger task.

Eventually I go to bed, and then I wake up and all that ambition and clarity is... submerged. It's not gone entirely, it's just very hard to reach.

It's a rare day when the inspiration/energy combination hits me early enough so I can actually get something significant done before the kids get home from school. I get hung up on the idea that it's not worth starting because I know I will be interrupted before I can finish, but I know that's an excuse.

The question is, how do I get over that? I want to be able to work more, and more efficiently, during the day. I'm out of practice, too used to writing being night-shift work.

on Children of Men

Watched it on DVD this weekend. Miraculously, there were no scratches, dings, or crud on the disc requiring me to clean it, so we were able to watch the whole thing without interruption.

That fact was probably the highlight of the viewing experience. What a slow, sorry and depressing dirge that was! I'm mystified by the critical acclaim it received.

I enjoyed the performances of Clive Owens and Michael Caine, who did what they could with what they were given. Julianne Moore's character, obviously American, inexplicably leading a group of British terrorist activists, was impenetrable and barely present. Her role was little more than a cameo, and gave me nothing to believe in, which made Kee's faith in her -- and her subsequent faith in Owens' character -- very difficult to accept. Why would Kee believe these people? Indeed, it was demonstrated fairly early on that Kee's faith in the Fish was entirely misplaced when they murdered Moore's character and tried to steal her baby.

So. A lot of the praise I've read for Children of Men talks about the atmosphere and how richly detailed it is, and how believable. The world has gone to hell in a handbasket, daily acts of terrorism are not only expected but tolerated, and Great Britain has set up refugee cities to control its illegal immigrant populations. I suppose it could happen that way, but I'm not buying it.

Here's why: the story posits a world in which no one has been born for 18 years. No one -- not one single child. (One of the more affecting scenes takes place in a gutted school building: who needs schools when there are no children to educate?) Presumably, the birth rate had been dropping precipitously for several years before that 18 year mark, so the youngest generation -- people 18-25 years old, say, would be very small indeed. What would that mean for society?

Well, for one thing, that would mean that the labor supply would necessarily over time become scarcer and scarcer. Any country that wished to sustain its economy would actively seek out immigrants, to keep the economy going. If new people aren't being created to sustain the workforce, eventually the economy will falter (see: Europe, circa now.) But the entire plot of Children of Men hinges on this deathly distinction between natives and immigrants ("fugees").

In a country with no children to educate but millions of refugees, education resources could be retooled to accommodate the assimilation and training of all those refugees. The manpower they'd provide would be vital to sustain the economy. Someone has to do the work, after all. If there aren't any native snotty teens and twenty-somethings to work the barista jobs or any other entry-level drudgery, those jobs will go to the immigrants. Everyone's happy because you're still able to buy your coffee and the immigrants have jobs. Yay!

But there's another aspect of the Children of Men scenario which just doesn't play, either: there's way too much killing. Terrorism is a young man's (nearly exclusively) game. You don't see too many -- any, in fact -- middle-aged suicide bombers. By the time they've reached middle age, their fanaticism has been worn smooth at the edges, usually enough that while they may able to plan vicious attacks on innocent civilians, they're not as likely to carry them out themselves. So what happens when there are no young people to recruit? Over time, the members of the terrorist organizations get blown up or arrested, and attrition does them in. Eventually, they will run out of both steam and people.

It makes no sense to assume that these groups could continue to muster up enthusiasm for their cause among the aging and war-weary population. Over time, people become inured to violence, and violent acts are less and less likely to be viewed as any kind of a solution, especially if the birth rate is zero. If there are no new people, would everyone really be that cavalier about killing off the ones that we've got?

I'll grant that Cuaron is a wonderful director, and certain images will remain with me forever. But human nature, common sense, and economics all weigh against the dystopia this film presents. A few fine performances don't outweigh all the rest of the nonsense that's up on the screen, now matter how darkly, richly envisioned it is.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

MILC's in! it's new online home, CarbSmart magazine.

"MILC" is Make It Low Carb, the column I've been writing monthly (more or less) since February 2004. I've links to all my old columns on my own MILC site, which is now desperately in need of an update.

At any rate, I'll be writing twice as often at CarbSmart, which means I'll have to impose some discipline on myself to deliver. That's a good thing, especially considering there is actual income involved here.

Click on over and see my first two columns -- Southwestern Spinach Three Ways, and Chicken with Crispy Skin.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

referral madness

I had my umpteenth follow-up appointment with Dr. C, who is treating me for my TMD -- tempero-mandibular disorder, informally and commonly referred to as TMJ.

Sadly, I've backtracked considerably on the progress I was showing at the end of January, so I'll be going back in again in 3-5 weeks.

My take on my situation was: Yes, I'm having headaches, but I've had this sinus thing going on, and I haven't been too great about doing all of my physical therapy exercises. (I do some nearly every day, just not the whole suite.)

Dr. C's assertion: There's no such thing as a sinus headache, it's referral pain coming from problems with the musculature in your neck.

Me: !!!!???

There followed the back-and-forth: But I'm not having the eye-stabbing headaches that got me into treatment in the first place -- Yes, those are the most uncommon, now you're having the most common headaches -- well, what about my ears feeling blocked, too? -- Jaw muscle pain can cause ear problems... -- Why does Nasonex work, then? -- Because Nasonex (a steroid, after all) treats the jaw inflammation...

To all of this I say: Hmmmm. But also, keeping an open mind.

I told Dr. C I'm going to see my ENT on Monday, and we'll see what's what. The one symptom I forgot to mention to him that makes me think there really is something going on with my sinuses is the fact that I have never-ending post-nasal drip, and if I snort enough saline (or warm water in the shower), some pretty nasty gunk comes out of my nose. But I agree with Dr. C that we shouldn't say it's a sinus infection unless there's actual evidence -- other than the headaches -- of something going on in there, something culturable.

We'll see.

Let me just say I'm a bit freaked about getting a head CT. My eye twitching is better than it was, but hasn't gone away completely, and in the last week or so, I've developed an intermittent lip twitch as well. Just now I'm experiencing something weird with my nose -- there's pressure in my sinuses which is somehow or other making the tip of my nose feel numb, the way it did when I had the local anesthesia for my front crown work. It's odd to walk around feeling that way when you haven't been to the dentist. Obviously something is going on... I just don't want it to involve either 1) cancer or 2) surgery.

Dr. C recommends doing some tests with numbing muscles/nerves in my neck to see if it alleviates the pain before anything more invasive is done. I'm fine with that, if the tests don't definitely show something wrong with the sinuses.

For now, I'm supposed to wear the splint during the day when I don't need to talk or eat, and also note if I have jaw pain in the morning. Last, try to get back to the exercises on a more regular basis -- I know that will help. I am so not in the mood for another health issue! I'm hoping it's not too late to avoid having something major done with this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

spring training

The roses, of course.

We have seven Lady Banks rose bushes growing around the privacy walls in our backyard. Here in suburban Phoenix, where houses are large and lot sizes are small, and homes are packed like sardines into subdevelopments, privacy walls are not optional, and most are like ours: six foot cinder block monstrosities. I'd just as soon have a split-rail fence and be able to interact with my neighbors, but that's not how it's done around here.

So, trying to make the best of a less-than-optimal situation, we planted the Lady Banks' knowing they would grow up the wall. The problem is, instead of staking them out to spread and cover as much cinder block as possible, DH trellised them. It's not what I wanted but at the time I was busy having a baby (that would be DD) and since I wasn't going to do the work myself I didn't argue the point. After eight years, we had rose bushes that were growing up and out, but still each only managed to cover a relatively small amount of wall:

Let me stress that these are really lovely, hardy plants, covering themselves with lots of little white blossoms every spring. There's nothing wrong with them, they just weren't the way I wanted them to be. So when a big wind storm blew through a few weeks ago, and knocked three of the bushes off their trellises, DH decided that now would be as good a time as any to train them along the wall, instead of up a trellis. He's done four so far:

It's not a complicated process, but it does take a little time: chop off the top of the bush, then prune and separate the canes. Drill pilot holes for the lead anchors, tap them in, screw in the eye hooks, and fasten the canes to the hooks. The kind and helpful people at Whitfill Nursery assured me that 1) it was easy enough for us to do and 2) a landscape maintenance company would charge us a fortune to do it. Fortunately they were right about the first point, especially given the reassurance that it's very difficult to kill these plants. They bounce back very quickly. Here's a plant that DH trained last Saturday:

And here's one he did two weeks ago; you can see how much new growth this one is already showing:

In short order, our walls will be more green -- and evergreen, here, too, as the Lady Banks don't die off in winter -- than cinder block, and our poor lizards' will have more shade than they know what to do with. Just now they're wildly scampering for cover along the back wall, because all that lush foliage they're used to is gone.

It is deeply satisfying to see something done that has been subtly nagging at me for years now. What is even more delightful about this whole process is that DH is the one who suggested it. Whether the idea of training the roses along the walls came to him from thin air or he remembered that it was something I'd always wanted to do makes no difference to me -- it's finally happening, and when it's finished and the roses have grown back in, it will make a really lovely change in the backyard. Psyched!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

something from nothing

After all that whining earlier, today turned out to be a really fantastic, productive day.

I'm at the beginning of a new adventure, but I'm not going to say more because the details are not nailed down yet. I will say that it's nice to be able to put my various talents to good use -- to shake myself out of the ridiculous funk I sometimes find myself in, of believing that I'm good-for-nothing. How absurd!

The further my surgeries recede into the past, the more willing I am to just do it. It's horrible to quote an athletic shoe ad but there it is -- there's nothing holding me back any more. From time to time I have a moment of paralyzing negative conjecture, but I let it go. Jump off that bridge when the time comes, right?

For now, I'm just thinking: I can do this.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

losing days

I've just finished my third week on my new thyroid meds regimen (dropped my Cytomel completely, sticking with my previous level of Levoxyl.*) The entirety of this experiment, I've also had a sinus infection, and I also just started on a new med for my post-gallbladder-removal digestion problems.

Yesterday was my last day on my second round of antibiotics for the sinus junk, and much to my relief, the morning nausea I was experiencing hasn't shown up today. Evening nausea is definitely related to taking the Questran on an empty stomach, or too soon before eating: ideally, I take it right before dinner, then it works perfectly without making me feel sick. Actually, it works perfectly even when it makes me feel sick, but I can do without the feeling sick part.

The worst of what's going on relates, I have to believe, to the thyroid meds. I keep waking up not knowing what day it is. This has happened to me a few times over the years, but now it's getting to be a regular thing: I wake up in a panic, because I've overslept and the kids will be late for school and there's nothing already to go for breakfast or lunch... and then I realize it's Saturday. Or this morning, I panicked thinking it was Wednesday, which means that DS1 would be gone with DH to physical therapy, and oversleeping is a very big deal because I have to get the peewees off to school. But by the time my feet hit the floor I remember that it's Tuesday and there's no need to panic because I overslept by 15 minutes; DH has already got the kids up and they're all doing their morning stuff and everything is surprisingly calm and OK. Except inside my head, where the panic takes a while to subside.

I understand where the lost day feeling comes from, in part: yesterday I got called in to substitute at 7:35AM, needing to be there by 8AM, and needing to shower, dress, and eat as well! Remarkably, we made it, although only by breaking my previous record for fastest shower ever. The little ones made it much easier by actually being ready to go when I needed them to be, miraculously. It helped that DS1 was out at PT! There's always more friction when the three of them are around.

I'm functional for the most part, though the house is pretty much a disaster. I'm sure my meds could us an uptick, but I'm going to hold out for one more week before I go and have my blood drawn for the new labs. The sinus junk is as persistent as ever, although the Nasonex really does help. Now I must wrestle with whether or not to go to the ENT or just hope it goes away... while I chalk up my newest difficulty swallowing to the virulent post nasal-drip that just will not quit.

(*) I dropped the Cytomel because it's very expensive, and because I wanted to see if I really do need it, after all. My endo decided to keep my dosage of Levoxyl the same as what I was taking before (125mcg) because I was taking such a tiny dose of Cytomel (5mcg). I'm expecting to need an increase in the Levoxyl, but we wanted to see how much effect the Cytomel was having before adjusting the Levoxyl upwards.

I've already determined that if my endo won't increase my Levoxyl I'll just go back on the Cytomel -- I really don't like this fuzzy-headedness! Someday I'm going to forget something really important.