Dec 19, 2009

For Christmas Week...

I swiped this from the Good Reverend's FB page. It's part of a message he's preaching tomorrow at the home church.

"Jesus sits in heaven, next to His Father, the hour before He must suspend His ability to remember He is God...before He places Himself into the earthly protection of a human whose race He must ultimately rescue. The hero of the universe setting off on a journey to save a planet. Never has love been so reckless, to prove itself so intimate, so real, so tender, so beyond the power of fear, sin and death."

He's a good speaker, the Good Reverend...

Dec 17, 2009

My Response to a Friend's Status...

Somewhere between meringue and nougat is where you'll find Jesus and me hanging out. We'll sit in a shell of the stuff and just scoop moundsful from the walls, directly into our mouths. It's called divinity for good reason.

Write that down, kids...

Dec 15, 2009

Beam Me Up...

We just got back from Phoenix, so what do you think I'm going to talk about? That's right: Bluetooth.

Wyoming recently passed a law banning handheld cell phone use while driving, so I wanted to get a hands-free device. I sent out my resident expert on all things technical and gadgety (the Cat Daddy), who is always up for a trip to Best Buy. He came back with a little box the size of a pack of Post-Its and said something to the effect of "Behold, your new speakerphone." Then he hooked it up for me. This involved clipping it to the sun visor. Then he told me how to link it to my celly. So I did.

So now when I get into the car, the lady inside the speaker says, in a pleasant yet slightly robotic British accent, "Battery level is high." And it gives a little ding and she says, "Connected to Motorola phone." When I want to make a call, I hit the button on the box and speak as if I'm talking to my cell phone. I tell it to "Name Dial," and then I tell it who to call, and THEN if I have more than one number for that person, it asks me which one to call. And then it does.

Now, the only touching I do at all is hitting the big button on the box when I want to make a call, and then again when I hang up. I do not touch my cell phone in any way. My cell phone is usually folded up and put away in the diaper bag, sometimes in the way back of the car...and I can still make a call with my nifty speakerphone.

It reminds me of the com-badges on Star Trek: The Next Generation. You know, the ones they wore on their chests, and they would hit it and say "Transporter room, one to beam up," or "Get us out of here, NOW!!!" I could hang my little speaker box around my neck, and people would look at me weird (and probably think "Dang Trekkie"), but it would be essentially the same as a com-badge, minus the tracking capabilities. There's a cell phone app for those, I believe.

The more we can do with technology, the more it amazes me. Right now, at this very minute, I'm having a conversation of sorts (via Facebook) with two guys in completely different parts of Phoenix. And I'm in Cheyenne. I can listen to the same radio station anywhere in the country, thanks to satellite radio and streaming audio. My computer isn't even connected to anything except its power cord, and yet here I sit, surfing away.

Friggin' amazing...

Dec 4, 2009

I Want the Blue Crap...

The Cat Daddy likes cherry Chapstick, followed by the original. He really prefers the orange, but they don't make it anymore, so he settles for cherry. I like the dark blue one with a hint of menthol. The Cat Daddy despises that one. So I don't have to share all that often.

Today in the car the Cat Daddy asked to borrow my Chapstick. I said, "Lemme look for it. Don't you have your red stuff?"

He said, "I don't know. Awww, don't tell me yours is the blue crap."


"I don't like your blue crap."

"Too bad; that's what you're stuck with."

Then His Highness very solemnly piped up from his big-boy vantage point in the way-back: "I want the blue crap, Daddy."

It took a minute. The Cat Daddy, my mom, and I were laughing too hard to say anything...

Nov 12, 2009

Of Course It Did...

A couple weeks ago I was putting some laundry away, and came upon a couple of stray socks in the drawer. I really liked these particular socks, so I'd been holding onto them in hopes that their mates would turn up eventually. But the last time I saw them was in Massachusetts. I've moved twice since I saw these socks, and they haven't surfaced, so I decided it was time to cut the strays loose. It was just a couple of socks, but it still felt good to clear out that bit of unnecessary stuff.

Two days later, I was dressing the Littler One in a new-to-him sleeper. I had just pulled it from one of our bazillion bins of baby boy stuff. The sleeves went on just fine but I ran into a bit of trouble trying to do the footies. I couldn't get the one leg on right. Upon further examination I saw that something was stuck in there. What was it? You guessed it: the mate to one of the socks I had just thrown away...

A week or so ago I decided to reorganize the spice rack we got as a wedding gift back in '98. I emptied & washed all the containers, relabeled them, and filled with spices we actually use, as opposed to the 11-year-old, full jars of stuff like pickling spice & dill weed.

Tomorrow I have a meeting for my moms' group, and everyone's bringing food for a new member brunch-ish thing. I volunteered to do an egg dish, so I was trolling the 'net for recipes. I found one that looks pretty promising--eggs, taters, bacon, cheese, etc. I'm gonna bake it first thing in the morning, but I assembled it tonight to save time. I did have to leave one ingredient out, 'cuz we didn't have it. What was that ingredient? You guessed it: dill weed...

Nov 11, 2009

Sooner or Later... had to happen. We were in Babies/Toys R Us the other day, and His Highness and I took a restroom break. Of course, he didn't actually use the restroom. In fact, he is anti-potty these days, but that's another post.

He quite enjoys exploring all the restroom has to offer, however, and the Babies R Us one is particularly well-equipped. I can't speak for the men's room, but the ladies' restroom has fold-down chairs anchored to the walls, where moms can stash their kiddos so they can do their business without worrying about little ones crawling away on a germy floor. Plus the Koala-thingies (fold-down changing tables). I am beginning to plan where I shop and eat based on the Koala-thingies. Not that I won't go anywhere that doesn't have them, but it does affect time and scheduling. Just saying.

His Highness is too big for the wall-chairs. He likes to point them out, and then hover closer to the potty so he can point out the exact nature of what I'm doing, as well as any color and/or aroma. Probably very entertaining to those who overhear. Normally he likes to do the flush, but Babies R Us has the automatic flush so he settles for gleefully giggling at the crazy-loud schwissssshhhh as everything goes down the drain. Then we do the hand-washing, and sometimes the paper towels or air-dryers, but not at Babies R Us because while the dryers are awesomely efficent, they are also unreasonably loud. I know they're unreasonably loud because His Highness loves loud noises, and these dryers freak him out to the point that he says, "No hands dryer, Mommy."

This time, he hit pay dirt--the machine that dispenses feminine products. Now, many places charge for this convenience, but they are free at Babies R Us (smart Babies R Us). Plus the machine looked to be broken somehow--the handles were sticking out at weird angles and there were spare fems stacked on top of the machine.

On my way to the sink I said, "Leave it," but His Highness had to mess with those stick-y-out handles. Washing my hands, I was standing at the sink going "Leave the handles alone!" but of course they were too tempting. He was rewarded with a little boxed treasure, and was quite disappointed when I wouldn't let him take it.

"NO, Your Highness."

"But I want it!"

"No, it's not for you."


"It's for ladies, not for little boys."

Thankfully that was enough for him. It's only a matter of time before he will require more detail, though. Can't wait for that conversation...

Nov 9, 2009

Run the Race to Receive the Prize...

The main reason I didn't run any races for about 10 years is that I get disproportionally nervous about racing. I'd been brought up with the "do your best no matter what" ethic, which is a good thing, but for some reason my best includes getting way too nervous about screwing up. I had a hard time finding a healthy balance and calming down enough to "just go for a run," as my HS cross country coach would tell us.

Once I was out of school I thought it would be fun to do some races without any pressure, and soon found out that a whole lot of the pressure was self-imposed, because it didn't go away. After I'd run a few 10K's, it dawned on me that I didn't have to keep putting myself through the stress of racing. So I stopped. I kept running, but only for myself or with friends, but no clubs or formal anything.

When we got to California I needed something that was just for me, so I thought "Hey, I wonder if there's any running stuff in the area." Lompoc was a nice place to ease into a few races because it was small and because no one knew me. At worst, I could be a slug and everyone would think, "Oh, there's that slow chick," and I'd be gone by fall. And then, as it turned out, I had some decent times, which was a great bonus, and I thought "Hey, this is fun. I could do this more often and enjoy it."

So since I had the Littler One my goal is to be able to do the Bolder Boulder 10K next May. It so happened, though, that the opportunity arose for me to Run for the Fund while we're in Phoenix, and I thought "Hey, I can do a 5K in December." It's been good motivation to get my butt in gear, running-wise, and get my miles up. 2.5 miles per week just wasn't cutting it.

So I've been gearing up. Similar to two summers ago (I miss you, Central Coast weather. I don't miss you, Central Coast snakes), I've been running twice a week. My norm is to do 3-mile runs, which makes sense since I'm planning for a 5K. I would really like to work up to 3 times per week; I just haven't kicked myself in the butt & done it. 3 miles 3 times per week is sustainable for the long term. I can keep up with that.

So far I haven't actually been running a full 3 miles. Instead I've been sticking to the 2.5 mile loop that spits us out at the playground. It's just so dang convenient, and fun for His Highness. I'm thinking it won't be too much of an issue come race day, though. The last several jogs we've been out in 20 mph or so winds which, combined with the double jogger and rolling hill terrain, make for some nasty resistance training. We'll be in Phoenix for almost 2 weeks prior to the race, so I'll lose my high-altitude red blood cell advantage, but I'm still pretty optimistic.

This is the first time in about 10 years that I'll be racing anywhere near anyone I know, with the exception of the Cat Daddy. As much as I say I'm not in it for the competition anymore, I want to look good for my friends. I don't want to go out too fast & burn out midway through, or twist an ankle, or anything.

I have a bit of a warped fear when it comes to stuff like that. I think I've hung on too hard to the idea of God teaching us stuff through our circumstances (which he does sometimes), to where I get afraid ahead of time about what he might be planning to teach me by botching something I'm looking forward to (or allowing it to be botched, perhaps). I would never say it out loud because it sounds so crazy, but I think deep down I believe God doesn't want things to go right for me unless I act & think perfectly about it. And even then, he may just smite me for spite to remind me he's the Alpha (& Omega. Har har.).

So I'm already checking myself--trying to figure out how I'm supposed to feel about the race, and looking forward to it, but not too much (idolatry). Wanting to want to place, but afraid to admit it fully because I don't want to look dumb when I get there and there are a zillion runners and I'm nowhere near the front of the pack (pride). Looking forward to seeing so many friends, but nervous about what they'll think of my running abilities (as if they will be evaluating me, or even paying attention for that matter).

I've got issues.

I seriously need to relax. These are my friends, for heaven's sake. Their love for me is not contingent on my running abilities. In fact, probably very few of them have ever even seen me run. Not that I want to screw up, but if I did, I think they would still want to go grab some Jamba with me after (Mmmmm, Jamba).

Not to mention the part about God not being out to get me. Maybe the race will go great, or maybe it will be a disaster, but most likely God will not be using it specifically for a painful object lesson. Sometimes a race is just a race.

So my gameplan at this moment--other than maintaining my whopping 5-6 miles per week--is to try to get back to "just go for a run." And maybe talk to God about the whole thing and see what he thinks I should do, if anything. I like to think he'd sigh and smile and tell me to relax. I think that's a good plan...

Nov 3, 2009

Nice One, Lightning McQueen...

So then this morning, I'm sitting there, feeding the Littler One. His Highness skulks up, unobtrusively grabs the baby puffs (which he knows he is not supposed to take), mutters "Ka-Chow," and runs off with them.


Nov 1, 2009

On the Day After Halloween... ends up having conversations like the following:

"You ready for lunch, Your Highness?"

"I'm not hungry, Mom; I want candy."

He 'gets' Halloween this year. He really, really gets it...

Oct 24, 2009

I Do What I Want...

There's plenty I don't like about being a grown-up--insurance, anyone??--but there's a whole lot I love about it too.

For starters, I don't miss my junior high years. At all. Now that's not to say there was nothing good about them; there were plenty of good moments strewn about in there amid the angst, and awkwardness, and cringe-worthy moments. But I was relieved to leave them behind and I'd be hard pressed to go back if given the opportunity.

I love being able to drive and having a car. I love choosing whether or not I want to be in school, and what I want to learn about. I love getting to tell small children what to do--and them doing it.

I love it that I'm getting old enough that my quirks aren't seen as an artifact of my youth. There were a few years in there where drumming barefoot drew furrowed brows among certain crowds. Wearing jeans all the time--not wrong exactly, but not necessarily a favorable trait. Sarcasm and slang--definitely something to grow out of. Getting married at age 20--ah, those young whippersnappers. General nerdliness and dorkdom--crazy kids.

Let me throw in a disclaimer that my perception gets skewed at times, and I tend to think people are thinking more negatively about my quirks than they actually are. If they are even thinking about them at all. I realize that. But still, I think we've all had those ridiculous interactions where someone manages to impress upon us that we aren't good/smart/normal/whatever enough, and for some reason we just can't shake loose the effects they have.

But now I'm gaining credibility. I'm 32. I have a house. I have kids. I've grown and matured over the years, and am ready to deal with all sorts of passing remarks in a firm yet polite way, to self-advocate...but I hardly get any guff these days. The barefoot drumming--the only people that even notice are my peeps at the home church, and only then in love and good nature. The jeans--either no one cares anymore, or they figure I'm old enough that it's no longer worth trying to get me to change. Sarcasm and slang--I've learned to choose carefully when and where I use it. Most of the time, anyway. Being young and married--11 years took care of that one. And as for the nerdliness and dorkdom, obviously those are here to stay.

I really love that about being a grown-up...

Oct 20, 2009

Hardcore Doofus...

So, I like running. A lot. I'm beginning to think that I need to run, even. It balances me, keeps me in decent shape and makes me feel good. I think I feel most alive when I'm running. Interestingly enough, I also sometimes feel mostly-dead while running, but that's another post.

Yesterday when I checked, it said that it would be 47 degrees around mid-morning today, and I thought "Hey, that's decent jogging weather. Definitely doable with the kids." So this morning I threw a sweatshirt on His Highness (a light-up, blinking sweatshirt; this pleased him greatly) and a blanket over the Littler One (who was already wearing a t-shirt & thick-ish sleeper), and we fired up the double jogger for our 2.5 mile loop. His Highness usually doesn't mind the ride because we almost always end up at the playground, where we almost always stop to play before walking the last quarter-mile home. It's a win-win as far as we're concerned.

We hit the first glitch when we exited the garage and found that it was windy and chilly. I should've known. I've lived here a year, and windy and chilly are to be expected on any given day, except when one is making a hearty wintertime meal, such as stew or roast beast & taters, in which case there will be a freak warm streak. Just for spite. Anyway, I ran back in the house, pulled some pants on over my shorts, & grabbed gloves for His Highness and myself. The Littler One looked pretty toasty, tucked in beneath his blanket, so we set off into the chilly wind.

It got really interesting about a half mile in, when The Littler One abruptly decided that he was unhappy. He made this known by trying to fling himself from the stroller and onto the pavement, which he was unable to do because he was buckled in, which made him very, very unhappy indeed.

I weighed the options. Long story short, we kept going. I cursed, thinking "There's no way it's 47 degrees out here." Then we passed the temperature display at the credit union, which read 37 degrees (probably below freezing with the windchill). Then I cursed myself for not checking this morning.

In my own defense, I was running a diagnostic on my work 'puter, which seems to have a possessed touchpad at the moment. Diagnostic = no checking anything. Yes, I could've checked using one of our other computers. There are a million reasons why I didn't. Most of them involved not wanting to walk all the way downstairs and wait for a computer to boot up. Of course I also could've walked outside and determined that everyone needed another layer or two (or ten) before we even left the house, but...well, I just didn't. What was I talking about again??

Right--avoiding hypothermia. We stopped at a bench along the greenway (our really nice, city-wide system of walking/running/biking paths), where I could assess the situation more fully. No poop, thank goodness. We moved on to the feeding (it is in moments like these where I love the nursing. I had enough layers & whatnot to remain modest & warm, and the Littler One could eat right then, and then we'd be on our way). The only problem was that he really didn't want to eat. He was cold, and he was angry that he was cold, and he was angry that I wasn't getting him into a warmer situation RIGHT NOW.

Well, we were right around the halfway point, so it made just as much sense to keep going as it did to turn back. We powered on. We had a short reprieve from the wind, in that it slowed down a little and was at our sides instead of head-on, and eventually we made it to the park. The Littler One has a lot of feelings, and they're very persistent, so he was still loudly mad. His Highness was visibly shivering, but he really, really loves the playground, so he was bent on toughing it out until he got his turn on the blue swing. We had a heart-to-heart:

"Look Your Highness, it's really cold out. Do you want to skip the playground and go straight home?"

"Boo-oo fing, Momm-mmy!" (blue swing)

"Well, that's the thing. If we stop, I need to try to calm the Littler One down and I won't be able to push you on the swing. You'll have to climb or go on the slides or something. You still want to stop?"

"Y-y-ess-ss M-m0mm-y."

So we stopped for about 5 minutes. We chatted with the homeschool brothers for a bit, and I sent them all off to play while I convinced the Littler One that nursing would in fact warm him up. His Highness got his playground fix, the Littler One calmed down to a whimper, and I carried him the rest of the way home to make up for trying to freeze him solid.

Our street forms a nice wind-corridor, so the last little bit before home is the worst in the wind. But finally, we made our way into the house, safe & sound. His Highness and I made some hot chocolate stat, and then had quesadillas & tomato soup for lunch. The Littler One got carried around in the sling for pretty much the rest of the day, snuggled right up against me. And everyone's digits warmed up, and soon all was well again. So it turned out well for all of us.

In the afternoon we went to the commissary. In the car. Dressed in many layers...

Oct 13, 2009

Nerd Conspiracies...

I've been doing nerd work again. Ten hours per week doesn't seem like a lot, but somehow it adds up to near-chaos in the milieu of Skerrib. I keep thinking "OK, I'm really going to tell them no more work for a while," but then in the moment I go, "This is the best job ever," so I keep with it. I'm finishing up one mini-project this week and going straight into another one that's supposed to run through the end of the year.

It's a drawing review, which I assume means we'll be reviewing drawings. Probably technical ones (I have uncanny powers of deduction). What's involved in the reviewing? I'm hoping they'll tell me, 'cuz if not then the results will be along the lines of, "The lines in this one are nice & straight," or "This thingy looks like it'll be really cool once it's built," or "This one doesn't speak to me so much." Or maybe that's exactly what they're looking for; who knows.

I very nearly threw in the towel last week. I was having trouble keeping perspective there for a couple days, and I started wondering if the work was just one thing too many. I was also pretty sure that everything--kids included--was just one thing too many. The Cat Daddy's work schedule--and, to an extent, the Cat Daddy himself--was definitely one thing too many. And I started going all "conspiracy theory" about things like my moms' group, and our upcoming harvest party, and figured that my moms' group commitment was just one thing too many. Not to mention the physical therapy, which I'm not even doing right now, but will be starting again in a month or so--one thing too many.

It was a rough week.

In retrospect, however, I was also fighting a stomach bug--and as a result skipped an entire week of exercise, missing out on my usual endorphines--which tends to skew one's perspective. Now, a week later, I'm no longer worried that I'm going to get kicked out of my moms' group for not thinking up enough cool halloween party games. So that's good.

And in the spirit of continued recovery and good health, I've been fairly decent about getting to bed at a reasonable hour, eating more veggies, and cutting way back on the sugary treats. Even though I just now ate a brownie. I'm talking about in general, see...

The One Where I Compare Sick-Body Functions...

The Cool couple and I passed a stomach virus around last week. It was spectacular. Once we were all on the mend we compared symptoms...they had diarrhea-type delights, while my body had opted for the puking variety. Isn't that nice??

We unanimously agreed that, of the options, we would rather have the pooping than the puking. They felt bad that I got the raw end of the deal on the same virus, but my puking was over much quicker than their pooping, so I didn't feel too sorry for myself (actually I did, but for other reasons. Another post).

And I got to wondering why it seems that most everyone prefers the pooping. I mean, both are gross. Both smell distinctly disgusting. Both involve abdominal discomfort. What is it about the vomiting that incurs such dread?

I have come to a simple conclusion: we don't mind diarrhea as much because it is a variation on a normal function. We're accustomed to stuff coming out of our butts (most of us, anyway). When we get sick it's highly annoying and unpleasant, but still a form of what we'd normally be doing anyway. On the other hand, we are accustomed only to sending food down our throats. The mere fact of food coming back up immediately tells us that something is wrong. And not just a little wrong, in which case our intestines would whine at us but still let the food through. No, things are so bad that the stomach is having a melt-down. It is saying, "I can't take it anymore, just everyone leave me alone and get OUT!!!" And then it kicks everything out. Forcibly and with great gusto, back the way it came in. And if you try too soon to appease it with a grape popsicle, it will kick that out as well.

Now I'm no GI doctor, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Keep that part about the grape popsicle in mind; you never know when it might be a useful bit of info for you...

Oct 2, 2009

The Good Kind...

It's a good kind of tired tonight. Had an Italian dinner out with friends to celebrate a new baby due in less than two weeks. His Highness spent the evening with a family from church. I get the feeling their house is where friends congregate. There are 4 kids in the family, but I met no fewer than 6. Also met the pet rats, who really are quite pleasant once one gets past the reptilianesque tail.

Officially, His Highness was being watched by one of the teenage daughters, but when I arrived he was chasing the big boys around the man-cave that doubles as their basement. They were climbing all over the furniture, hanging from the spot in the ceiling where a punching bag normally goes, and watching an old Don Knotts movie. I'm pretty sure he wanted to stay and live there. Heck, I wanted to stay & live there. But I dragged him home for a quick bath, and into bed. Big day tomorrow--off to the farm to pick veggies and do other autumn-things.

When the Cat Daddy first joined the Air Force and I was yanked--kicking and screaming--to Ohio, it was the tail-end of summer. A few weeks later was the equinox, and like clockwork the weather became cloudy, crisp, and cool. There were pumpkin patches, colorful leaves, and barns full of Indian corn and other fall stuff. To visit such a place would be a wonderland, but I now lived there and I hated it. It was too different; it represented just how drastically my life was changing. Of all the seasons, I was determined to like autumn the least.

But now I love it. I love zipping up my fleece, pulling on my gloves, and being out in the crisp air. I love the pumpkins, gourds, and fall-ish decor. I make a decent apple crisp with help from my peeler/corer/slicer. I enjoy carving the jack-o-lanterns and roasting the seeds (one of these years I will perfect the sweet & spicy recipe), and giving out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Tomorrow will be the petting zoo, corn maze, and all sorts of farm festivities. Then back to the cool couple's house for a dinner of soups & breads.

I think tomorrow night will be a good kind of tired, too...

Sep 17, 2009


Sometimes I wish real life had a soundtrack playing in the background. Sometimes I forget that it doesn't. And sometimes real life does have a soundtrack playing in the background. Of my head.

The soundtrack has a unique power to influence perception. Granted, the filming, directing, etc., have a whole lot to do with it. But the soundtrack is the thing that gives that final punch, or sigh, or scream, or whatever, to create the desired effect.

Case in point: Creme the Egg (Happy)...

Wasn't that fun? All those free-wheeling, jet-setting, squealy eggs throwing caution to the wind, flinging themselves upon the mousetraps like a day at the beach. Those crazy, fun, suicidal eggs.

Contrast with the following: Creme the Egg (Sad)...

Epic, no? A moving depiction of the tragedy that is chain reaction--this is art at its most profound. I swear I saw this at Sundance and Cannes. And I needed Kleenex at the end. To see such a sweet life, lived to its gooiest, culminating in a slow-motion end. It really makes you think about the important things in life. Like candy.

A whirlwind of emotions. Different camera angles and film speeds, sure. But you know it's the music that brought a tear to your eye. I'll be just a little more contemplative this evening. Maybe even move slightly slower as the orchestra ebbs & flows to my Oriental Chicken Salad experience. Beautiful...

Sep 11, 2009


Driving on base earlier this week, where antelope roam free (and look for cars before they cross the street)...

His Highness: Look Mommy, canteloupe!!

Me: Good job! Those are antelope. Canteloupe's what you eat. Antelope are animals.

HH: Antelope?

Me: Yep. Antelope.

HH: Look Mommy, canteloupe!!

Sep 9, 2009

Big Frustrations, Little Gifts...

We were planning to visit AZ for Christmas. But then the Cat Daddy's leave was denied, as too many people requested leave during that time, and the Cat Daddy is still somewhat low on the totem pole, seniority-wise, which is a bummer, but is understandable. So he was told to choose different dates. He went with the Thanksgiving time frame. Two weeks of the Thanksgiving timeframe. It makes me tired, thinking of two weeks away from home, but we'll be busy helping the folks with various projects and, hopefully, getting to see lots of friends as well.

My wheels got to turning though, and I remembered that last year the home church did a 5k fundraiser around early December. Since I love both the home church and the running, this sort of thing is right up my alley. And guess what? They are doing the 5k again this year. And guess what? It's scheduled for when we're in town.

You might ask, "So then, Skerrib, are you running it?". And if you did, then I would say to you, "Is it sacrilege to say 'hell yeah'?"

Which is to say yes, I plan to run it...

...Butt bootcamp is in the works, but slow-going. My insurance referral ran out, and they likely wouldn't cover Sportsmetrics anyway, so the PT is working on a wellness plan (with Sportsmetrics incorporated) I can do mostly on my own to minimize out of pocket costs. My sacrum held for 2 weeks and 2 days before randomly tweaking itself. I'm tellin' ya, I followed all the rules, and it still went hinky. On one hand I hate it because chronic pain is the pits. Seriously, it affects me way more than just "Oh my back hurts," but it's not an "I'm going to the emergency room" or "I need to stop jogging" sort of pain. Kind of hard to describe, especially when trying to explain it to a new doctor every year or two, but suffice to say it's worth it to me to keep pursuing health in this area.

On the other hand, while disappointed I'm not terribly surprised, and after a couple of pretty bad days I had a decent day today. So for the time being it's that whole "good days/bad days" thing. Plus since it's already out of whack there's no sense in following my own made-up rules that didn't work anyway, so I'm getting tough about reprogramming myself to move symmetrically and practice good body mechanics. No more kneeling down when the better thing is to squat, and no more superstitious foot placement...

...Oh, and this week I'm playing drums on the worship team at church. I've played in practice before, but this will be my first time in big-church since we got here. The fishbowl is gonna take some getting used to, but I'm glad to be playing again. Jam for the Lamb...

Sep 4, 2009

Going Bananas...

The Littler One had bananas today. Dr. Sears (of whom I'm a fan) recommends waiting an average of 6 months before introducing solids to a baby, but he also recommends watching for babies' cues to see when they're ready. Well, during mealtime Mr. Grabby-Grabberson-almost-five-month-old has been going after my plate, forks, etc., for a while now, and he watches our food very carefully, so I've been contemplating the possibility that he might be ready to try some solids.

I hem & haw though. The Cat Daddy believes that I am staunchly against progress, but this is totally untrue. I'm not against solids--or progress--in any way. It's just that I'm plain lazy, and when the Littler One starts eating solids that means more work for us. Not a lot more work, but certainly more than latching him on and going about my business. Plus I need to dig out the heavy-duty bibs. Or order the ones they had when His Highness was in daycare. Oooh, those are the best bibs ever. We have a few--I was allowed to swipe some old ones--but I'm seriously considering pulling out the big guns and ordering a full dozen. And stitching some cute little yarn designs on them, like Ms. Rezina did. I know, I know. Daring is my middle name.

So anyway, I ran half a banana thru the Bullet and presto--banana soup. I suspect the Littler One's main priority was gnawing on the rubberized spoon, but regardless he sucked down several baby-spoonfuls of banana in the process. Actually, he sucked down about half of several baby-spoonfuls; the remainder ended up on his hands, my hands, his hair/face/neck/shirt, etc. None on the floor, but that's just a matter of time.

No rice cereal, you ask? Nah, I'm not much for the rice cereal. I like being a little rebellious when it comes to baby protocol (and our family food allergy history is minimal--I'm not totally flippant about it). Baby oatmeal's good. Goes great in applesauce. But not yet. For now, it's bananas.

But I seriously have to dig out some bibs...

Aug 29, 2009

Good Reason to Lay Off the Sugar a Bit...

...I was thinking that Tammy Faye got it right when she was buds with Ron Jeremy on the first season of "Surreal Life" a few years back. I mean, when the whole group was sent to the nudist resort she stayed in a different hotel on her own dime, and when Ron Jeremy had a bunch of sexy people over to the house for a romp in the pool, Tammy Faye said hello and then went up to her room for the rest of the night (and then they showed her reading her Bible which came off kind of nerdy, but who knows what they did in editing, and even so I give her kudos for standing up for her values and being kind, all at once)...but through the entire time she was always respectful and didn't get all preachy with him, or any of the other housemates for that matter.

And THEN when they put them all on TV and Sally Jesse Raphael grilled them about all having different values, and was totally trying to rile them up into a brawl, Tammy Faye said, "Look, just because Ron Jeremy and I have different values doesn't mean we can't respect each other and be friends." And Vanilla Ice & Erik Estrada & everyone else were nodding their heads in approval. And then there was the one girl housemate who called out Vanilla Ice when he was being a jerk that one day, and they were having a little drama, but then he said, "You're right," and they made up.

The Flava' Flav and Brigitte Nielson season I'm sure got better ratings because it was just so dang weird, but I really liked that first one. It was a friggin' love fest. In a good way...

How CAN It Be...

You can buy a spiffy gadget, or you can just do this:

Groovy soundtrack not included. Read the full article here.

No thanks necessary; just doing my job...

Aug 22, 2009

God and My Arse...

I had a bit of a revelation today, and true to how God seems to work with me, it involved my butt. I seem to understand things better in terms of potty humor. There's a fine line though, because in this case it's less about poop and more about my sacrum, which happens to be located in my butt-region. Anyway.

With regard to my back issues, I have a tendency to fixate on getting everything in place and keeping it in place. My left SI joint is the trigger point, and I know there are certain actions which aggravate the problem, so I get in the habit of avoiding those things. Squatting down, for example, will get my rear end stuck outta whack, where it will remain until it is corrected. So I try not to squat; I kneel on one knee instead. Getting up from a chair can be a problem, so I put all my weight on my right side. With any weight bearing exercises I never let my knees bend past 90 degrees. Etc. etc. etc.--I have lots of little, minor moves where I've just gotten in the habit of favoring my right side.

Unfortunately, my list of don't's has grown a bit in the last few years, and it's getting harder & harder to not do them all the time because some are really simple actions, and I don't always have the time to think about foot placement when I'm running after the kiddos. It only takes one time to forget to evaluate the angle of my knee-bend, and boom--I'm back where I started. So it seems, lately, that no matter how much my PT's persuade my sacrum back into place, I manage to undo it within a couple weeks--at best--even though I'm doing well with the core strengthening program. It's discouraging because certain worriers start going, "Is it getting worse? Is PT not working for you anymore?" and I sit there wondering, "It's supposed to work, why isn't it working?"

But alas, I am the cause of this perpetuation. By favoring my right side, I make my left side muscles weaker, thereby making them less able to hold everything in place where it should be. By trying to avoid the problem I'm actually making it worse because my sacrum is less resistent to going out of whack, despite all my awesome strengthening efforts. I've worked myself into a bit of a vicious cycle this way, as my left side gets weaker and I slowly add to the list of "Things that make my butt go out."

So guess what? I'm going to butt bootcamp. Jamie (one of the PTs) teaches a strengthening program called
Sportsmetrics. It's a pretty intense strengthening program...aimed at soccer players for ACL injury prevention, but pretty good for most anyone, and likely really good for my behonkus. I was talking it over with Kathy (the guru of the PTs), and we determined that, at first, the exercises will likely send my arse straight outta whack. I will ignore the out-ness, however, for the six weeks of training. The hope is that after that time I'll have gained enough strength that they can fix it and it will stay put, and I can then live my life without constantly worrying about the state of my butt. So while I've been trying really hard to be not-injured, what I need to do is focus on getting healthier & stronger overall, and then keeping my butt aligned will take care of itself. It's a shift in focus.

You know what I think it's like? I think it's like when we (Christians) get caught up in the minutiae of performance-based living. It's so easy to try to organize life into little lists of do's & don't's, and to feel like we're going to be fine as long as we stick to the lists. We limp along, analyzing every behavioral option and potential pleasure, wondering "Should I stay away from that? Is that bad?" We start worrying about how we look to others, because we want them to see the fruit of our walk with Christ. Except different groups of people have different ideas about what's OK and what isn't, so as time goes on our ever-growing list of don't's starts bogging us down and we get weaker and weaker. Before you know it we're looking around, feeling rather scum-like, and wondering if there's anything we can do without hurting ourselves or "harming our testimonies" in some way. We have the best of intentions, but it turns into a vicious cycle of neurotic self-righteousness.

While we tend to want to be good, or at the very least, not-bad, what we need to worry about is trusting in God, and let him take care of the do's & don't's. He doesn't want us for what we do or don't do. He says some pretty nice things about us and our identity in him, it turns out. When we start believing those things it changes how we live. It's a shift in focus.

Don't thank me; thank my butt...

Aug 10, 2009

No Worries, It's Not Leprosy...

..but I am allergic to Band-Aids and Neosporin.

I had a mole removed a week and a half ago. It used to be on my neck. I had had it--along with its fraternal twin, located on my belly--as long as I can remember, and neither really bothered me until they became comfort objects for His Highness. Sometime around a year old he found each of them, and with each one I explained it was Mommy's mole, and thus they were forever christened "Mommy Moh?" and finally it came to be that whenever I picked up or held His Highness his little paw would find its way to one of the Mommy-Mohs and rub it for good luck. Incessantly.

This was cute and endearing for about five minutes, after which time it became rather tiresome. And then there were the few and isolated, and yet so vivid, incidents where he laughed the sinister laugh, and tried to remove a Mommy-Moh for me.

I decided they had to go.

This decision was made in the middle of my enchantment with the Littler One, and was followed quickly by another decision to wait until after the Littler One was born. There wasn't any reason I had to wait, except that I wanted to be my sane(r) and happy(ier) self which, truth be told, is more of a reality when I'm not enchanted. Enchantments come in a variety, and some enchantments are glowier than others.

Fast forward to a month or so ago, when I visited the doc on base about it. Long story short, he gave me the option of having the moles "shaved" right there in the office. This would have been no problem for the one on the belly, but it gave me pause about the neck one. I mean, there's a lot of important stuff happening in the neck. Even with a superficial procedure, I was a little nervous about sharp things anywhere near the vicinity of my jugular vein and whatnot. Plus with the shave, they basically just clip the mole right off, so there's a chance it'll return in an equal or lesser form. The doc offered to refer me to a dermatologist, though, which I thought was very sporting of him, and I decided to do both in one fell swoop.

Referral, calling, appointments, blah blah blah, bringing us to two Thursdays ago. I went & met Dr. Seitz, and told him all of the above. Yes, all. He took a look and said the trouble was that they were both a safe and reasonable size & shape, and therefore insurance probably wouldn't cover their removal, unless of course one of them was "irritated," and then he could probably remove one with no problem. This he said with a special emphasis, and it got me to thinking about how "irritated" the neck one felt a lot of the time, and so he removed it for me.

He was very nice, "got" my humor, and ridiculed me only minimally on my needle issues. He did a very good job, too. I barely felt the needle for the numbing, and after that it only felt vaguely like he was twisting a pencil eraser against my neck. I kept a don't-ask-don't-tell policy throughout and talked about other random things instead...except when I heard the "clip-clip" and commented that that was an interesting sound, knowing what it was he was clipping. I don't know what people normally talk about when they are having little bits of themselves removed, so I don't know if his half-smile was along the lines of "That's an interesting thought," or "You're really good at distracting yourself as a way of coping with your phobias," or "Wow, you're a talky one," or "I'm smiling so you don't know that I'm completely ignoring you so I can concentrate."

For her part, the nurse, Carol, held my hand during the needle part and provided all the interested responses to my commentary. Hers was the type of personality that I love to encounter, especially when I need my hand held. Kind, but not afraid to joke with me either.

I asked what the chances were of the mole returning, and the doc said, "Well, we went pretty deep--into the subcutaneous fat--so I don't think it's possible." Cool. Then three stitches, boom, done. "Keep it covered, use this antibiotic gel every night," etc. He also said if the other mole is "irritated" in a year or so, and I want him to dig it out (instead of having it shaved by the base doc) to let him know. He gave me the beginnings of a little bit of faith in the Cheyenne medical community.

The next day we were off to Idaho for the weekend (another post). I brought along a few Band-Aids and the gel they gave me. I asked the Cat Daddy if it was normal for it to itch, and he said yes. He said a little more than "yes," but to protect the obnoxious I won't get into it. I don't often have things cut off & stitched, so cut me some slack, that's all I'm saying. It kept itching and stinging after a couple days, and the still, small voice inside me said "this can't be right," but I went with it, because the still, small voice has been wrong on occasion. Even after I tried the fabric Band-Aids it got redder and itchier. I got some Neosporin super-cream...and then some little crusty guys showed up...and then on Monday I told the Cat Daddy, "I'm calling my doc." I showed him the site, and he said, "Ewww, what happened to your neck?! You need to call your doctor about that. That's not right." At least we agreed on that. We both suspected I was having a reaction to the Band-Aids, and when I thought back to events surrounding getting my ears pierced as a kid, I wondered if I might be allergic to the Neosporin as well. Talking to my doctor's office pretty well confirmed this, so I took off the Band-Aid and stopped putting anything on it. I was a little concerned on the flight home that I might be getting a fever, and therefore maybe it was infected...but after a nap I felt better and not at all feverish. And the Cat Daddy had the good sense to ask if the area was hot, which it wasn't, so I felt more optimistic that I wasn't being taken over by hostile bacteria.

But the next day that part of my neck was approaching a desert-reptilian texture, so I called again and said, "Can I please come in? It just looks bad." I can't say for sure, but I'm almost certain they were thinking, "Ah yes, these nervous-types, they just need some reassurance." Which is true, I am a nervous-type, and I was in fact looking for some reassurance. What they didn't know, however, is how many hang-ups I have about asking to "just come in," and how stubborn I can be about sticking things out without "troubling" the docs.

So I got there, and showed them, and said "I think I'm having a reaction." And they took a look and said, "Holy smokes, you're not kidding, that looks terrible!" Which ironically enough, reassured me. At least I wasn't over-reacting. So they told me to keep it uncovered, and they gave me a sample-size bottle of some nasty stinging spray (a steroid; hydrocortizone-esque in nature, I believe) to use once a day. They even fanned my neck with "Newsweek" while I in-hissed my way through the stinging (you know--that inhale/hiss one does when something stings). I thought that was nice.

Ooh, and then Dr. Seitz told me I could test the allergy theory by putting a small amount of each offender on my crelbow (inside of the elbow, "Friends" fans) to see if it would react. Relief, reassurance, and a science project, all within one appointment. You really can't go wrong at the dermatologist's office.

So I went home and dabbed a bit of Neosporin on my crelbow, and by the end of the day...nothing happened. Ah well.

By Friday morning the time came for me to get the stitches out. The doc asked how I was doing as he took a look. I said, "It's better, I think." He replied, "What are you talking about, it looks a whole lot better!" So they removed the stitches, pronounced me awesome, and the doc defied me to find the scar by next spring. I was kind of sad to leave, as I was starting to make friends with everyone there, but such is life with the good docs I suppose. They make it so you don't have to go back.

By Friday afternoon I was amazed to discover that my crelbow itched, and there appeared tiny red dots, exactly where I'd put the Neosporin three days before. Success!! Sort of!! I spent the weekend with that little spot itching, but it was worth it. Next will be the Band-Aid test. I'd never had a reaction to a Band-Aid before, but I'd never worn them on the more sensitive areas like my face/neck before, either. It got me to wondering what else I could put on my crelbow to see if I'm allergic. Hmmmm...

So now when I absentmindedly reach up to touch my mole, I feel only the remnant of the incision...and the Band-Aid-shaped rash. And when His Highness goes for the area to rub Mommy-Moh, and finds that it is still missing, he says "Mommy-Moh all gone?" and I say, "Yep, the doctor took it off." Part of me wants to say "Bwuahahaha, no more Mommy-Moh for you!!" But that wouldn't be very nice. Besides, there's still the one on my belly, which he all-the-more-frantically locates now.

Blankie? No. Bear? Of course not. Not even a pacifier. My son has his Mommy-Moh. But only one now, which is faboo...

Jul 29, 2009

The Introvert Starts and Reaches Out...

I gave the starter a try. It was, well, started with orange juice and home ground wheat berries, which is to say my very own whole wheat flour. We went to Whole Foods, and got the berries from the organic bulk food bins, and everything. Then there was a series of mixing, and adding, and mostly leaving things out on the counter, which we would normally call letting them spoil, except in this case we call it fermenting. Or even blooming, I think.

SourdoLady does indeed seem to know what she's doing, and from the comment thread it would seem that there is a niche-passion for everyone, including sourdough lovers. It would also seem that even culinary students troll the internet, looking for ways to do as little as possible on homework assignments and projects. Which really I'm not at all against, as I prefer to do as little as possible myself; it's just that "please help me, I really need an A on this" as an entreaty strikes me as beyond lazy. Don't they teach proper sucking-up techniques anymore? Something along the lines of "I would be honored to receive any of your extensive expertise on this, as I know you are among the most notable authorities in the world on this topic." OK, maybe not that buttery, but still.

The judging of poor culinary students' motives aside, the starter started out well, and was smelling nice & sour, which is exactly what I would hope to smell in a sourdough starter, but I got lax on the daily feedings, and when I checked on it yesterday it smelled bread-ish but not sour. According to the procedure it could've just been messing with me to see if I was truly committed to this wild-yeast thing, but I don't really care for those sorts of games in my relationships, so I called it off. No, actually it was because I knew I hadn't held up my end of the deal, and I felt it unlikely that I would be able to bring this batch back. And I still have an ample supply of wheat berries and OJ, so I'm going to give it another shot next week, after we get back from celebrating my grandma's 85th b'day in Idaho. RIP, little yeasties...

...This leading the moms' group thing is having effects on me I really should have expected, but didn't think about when I was writing my little election paragraph & saying things like "I would like to serve the group in this capacity" (oh yes, I brought out some of my better big words and campaign speak--who cares that I was running unopposed). I actually have to initiate conversations & stuff. We (the Cat Daddy and myself) are having a garage sale in a couple weeks, and we (SHS) are having a bake sale right along with it. To go completely overboard and make it an extravaganza, we (the Cat Daddy & I) thought it would be a good idea to invite our neighbors to have garage sales of their own on the same day. "Multi-Family Sale"--these words make hardcore bargain hunters tremble with excitement.

So I made up flyers, and the boyz & I walked our street today, handing them out. I was all for the drop and run approach, but the Cat Daddy suggested I knock on doors & throw in that personal touch, which is among my least favorite things in life (knocking on doors, not personal touches). Admittedly however, I knew that for all the pain we would probably have more success getting people to want to sell their crap with us. I consoled myself with the thought that I wasn't selling anything so they couldn't be that mad at me. And so commenced a somewhat-but-not-completely-painful hour as I knocked on 20 doors, spoke with four neighbors, one of whom I'm almost certain I awakened, wedged flyers in doorframes, and chased His Highness out of people's yards, while the Littler One snuggled cozily in the sling. It would seem that most everyone on our block works days, although there was the one house where, as soon as I shut the flyer in the screen door and was on my way to the next house, the door cracked open and a mysterious, unattended arm reached out to take the flyer. I started to roll my eyes, but I do the same thing all the time, so really my first thought should have been, "Hey, a kindred spirit!"

So that was that. I would like to point out that the Cat Daddy (the Wow) had to work, so it was up to me (the How) to carry out his very extroverted idea. Just sayin'...

Jul 27, 2009

Minimizing the Stupid...

As of a couple weeks ago, I am officially the Managing Director of my moms' group. While I've seen several variations, I really feel the apostrophe should go at the end of "moms," indicating that the group belongs to the moms. Not one mom's group, and not merely a group of moms, but a moms' group.

The club spawned from a group of moms whose husbands went out in the field a lot, but were not technically deployed, and therefore not eligible for many of the base services offered to families of deployed military-types. These moms got together and said, "No one is looking after us properly, so we've got to look after each other." That's our entire purpose--helping each other out. We do get together and have holiday parties & stuff, but we're not a social club, per se. Even though our name is Spouses Helping Spouses, I'm careful to say we're not a spouses club, and we don't want to be a spouses club. The base already has what I'm told is a thriving and successful spouses club, and we have no intention of supplanting that.

We're sort of the slightly-off-center types. Most of us are just trying to do a good job supporting our husbands and rearing the kiddos, so we don't have time for the formalities and such one often encounters in other groups. We operate on as little written policy as possible. I could go into a lengthy description on that one, but we would all go cross-eyed, and who wants that? We operate with as little drama as possible, and we try to be for each other as much as possible. Much of this is in direct contrast to what is so common to various womens' groups these days. And so far it's worked. We've grown to somewhere around 50 members, all with kids and many with husbands who are deployed, TDY, or out in the field often. Which, as we've learned, is fancy techincal military-speak for "gone."

Dads are more than welcome to join, but so far no takers. Which bums me out, but on the one hand I can see how 50 women would be ever-so-slightly intimidating to the lone dad. I don't know what it is about women, but I'll go ahead and say that it's all too common that when you put a bunch of women together in a room, before long things get stupid. We compete, and we jab, and we hurt people's feelings without a thought.

I've been thinking about why this is, and thus far it seems to boil down to two things: fear and a lack of control. You certainly can't admit when you're afraid, so the best way to cover it up is by acting as unafraid and strong as possible. And when you feel that you have very little control over your life (such as when the military tells your husband when he can & can't breathe, spit, or come home), the quickest remedy is to find something to be in control of, so you can feel like you have control over something, regardless of its significance or impact, or even whether or not the control you think you have is real.

So, now that I'm something akin to president of this wonderful little group, I find myself thinking, How do I help preserve what those before us have worked so hard to build, and protect the safety that people feel, without going to that fear and control place myself?

The answer, thus far, is Jesus and books. Now, we are not a religious club. Although most of the members have some sort of religious affiliation, one of our big deals is that anyone of any religion is welcome, and no one is going to run around trying to get people to convert. The topic comes up, sure, but no unsolicited sales pitches. But the big epiphany that came to me is that I can see my personal position as a ministry. I don't have to try to sell God to show his love to people. God is very much about being for people and helping them out, things with which our club's purposes mesh quite nicely.

The books are just reminders. Leadership topics & stuff like that. I go to fear and control so easily; I need almost constant reminders of my personal boundaries, what I can and can't control, and what it means to be the leader of a member-run group. I've already adopted kitschy little phrases, such as "We're the steering committee, not the driving committee," and "Our job is to minimize the stupid." That last one is by far my favorite. The military (as with anything in life) is full of a lot of stupid. When we support one another, we minimize the stupid.

Write that down, kids...

Jul 24, 2009

Reasons I Love My PT's...

I'll admit I was not optimistic about finding a good physical therapist when we moved to Cheyenne. My outlook improved, however, when I first went to my current PT's and found this posted in the office:

The Ten "Nevers" of Physical Therapy

1. Never say you can't...because you will do it anyway.
2. Never say "It's easy"...because we'll make it hard.
3. Never say "I want to go home"...because you'll just stay longer.
4. Never lose count...because you will start at 1 again.
5. Never complain...because we'll never listen.
6. Never argue...because you will never win.
7. Never scream or cry...because it only encourages us.
8. Never look like you're enjoying it...because we'll put a stop to it.
9. Never hold your breath...because if you pass out and die, we'll have to do paperwork.
10. Never lie or cheat...because we know the truth and you'll live to regret it.

I know well enough not to do any of the above, but they still kick my butt. Fabulous...

Jul 17, 2009

Oh Yes I Did...

"Weigh your..."


Still gaining well--over a half ounce per day for the last month.

Because he's awesome...

Jul 16, 2009

Hokey Tucks...

His Highness: "Mommy, muffin!"

Me: "Yes, you may have a muffin. You may not steal any more cupcakes, but you may have a muffin. Do you want me to take the paper off?"

HH: "Yes!"

Me: "Geez, these didn't turn out well at all. They're all dense & tough. It's like a friggin' hockey puck."

HH: "Hokey tuck?"

Me: "Yes, hockey puck. Are you going to eat the hockey puck?"

HH: "Yes! A-hokey tuck!"

Off & running...

Jul 11, 2009

For Starters...

An update on the baking--the Cat Daddy did attempt a batch of bread, and I think for a first attempt it turned out respectably. The outside needs some work, but the inside turned out chewy and delicious. It's hard to get a really sour sourdough, but with some butter and even a little salt it's quite yummy.

Now that he's provided a baseline, however, my competitive side is emerging. I've never had that much interest in baking bread, but now I'm curious to see how I can get it to turn out.

In describing some (really good) marriage advice he got, Jon over at SCL talks about the "Wow" person and the "How" person. The "Wow" person is the ideas person, and the "How" person is the implementer. "How" people have to be careful, in getting more info and boiling ideas down to practicalities, that they don't squash the "Wow" people's dreams.

So while the Cat Daddy (the Wow) decided, at 10:45 pm to make a sourdough starter, I chose to go to bed and then do some reading about sourdough starters (the How). Now, nearly a week later, I'm ready to try my own. I found a recipe online that looks promising. It was posted by someone called "SourdoLady," so I'm thinking it's at least worth a shot. If someone's entire online identity references their bread baking specialty, that's gotta mean they're pretty good at it, right?

Wish me luck...

All Boy...

I'm not sure what the expression "all boy" implies, exactly. I mean, I know what it implies about those to whom it refers, I'm just not sure what it implies about those who aren't all boy. Are they half or part boy? Can you round up, like 86.9%, and still be considered all boy? Or are all boys considered all-boy?

Well, regardless of the finer points of such a label, I would say that all the boys in my house are all boy, including Max the Perrier (that would be a poodle-terrier). I've never owned a boy-dog before him, and I'm getting quite the education. For example, it would appear that neutering (which presumably took place for him several years ago) does not necessarily completely prevent humping, marking, and other such behaviors. Actually I think we've eradicated the marking, at least in the house anyway, by putting in the wood floors. No matter what we did to the carpet, or how many doggie-spanks we gave, we could not get him to stop completely. Wood floors = done. As far as we can tell.

Which leaves the humping. That word has bothered me ever since about second grade when I learned it in the, um, physical sense. Wednesday, "hump" day? Forget it. I can't even talk about it. Sort of like the word "fart," which makes me giggle to this day every time I say it, except with "hump" I just blush. Anyway, with the female dogs it's easy to explain away as a dominance behavior. With the males it doesn't seem so clear-cut. All I know is that we need to make sure Max has his own stuffed animal to woo, and I am exposed to doggie boy-parts way more often than I ever wanted. A little embarrassing when company is over, but I can live with it to an extent. I try not to make a big deal out of it--I don't want to give the poor dog a complex or anything. So my response is usually something like, "Wow, having a moment, there, Max?" and then I avert the gaze because he looks sheepish when he's caught in the act.

So THEN add a two-year-old learning about words, and parts, and things, and it gets interesting. Yesterday I was changing the Littler One, and His Highness came in & said, "Max, mommy, poop." Which led me to begin the questions...

"Max pooped?"

"You pooped?"

"Who pooped? When you learn to use the potty we won't have to deal with poop in your diaper, you know." No pressure, just saying.

I assumed he probably needed a diaper change and didn't think much more about it. He avoids diaper changes like the plague. And yet he doesn't want to use the potty. Confounds the mind, that kid. I finished changing the Littler One and took him out to sit in the swing. Oh, but the sight that was there to greet us. Max and all his parts.

"Ohhhhh, Your Highness, were you saying that Max pooped?"


"No he didn't poop..." and we proceeded to talk about how boy dogs have boy-parts too, but they're different from people's parts, and how Max was having a private moment, and it was perfectly normal (this I'm trying to convince myself of), blah blah blah.

So then later in the day His Highness wanted to know where Max's parts went. This is like the blind leading the blind, as I never took doggie sex-ed, so I'm not even sure how it all works, but we deduced that probably everything was back inside Max's body. Which is where it belongs, as far as I'm concerned, but I didn't get into that with His Highness. A topic for another day...

Jul 10, 2009

No, Not That Mark...

I came across Mark's blog last week. Mark and his family go to the home church in Phx. I don't know them well. For example, I did not know that Mark is an author. He's had one novel published and another one is on the way. I haven't read his fiction, so I don't know if it's any good. On his website he assures me that it is, and if you go to there he'll assure you of the same. I really like his blog though. Thus far, anyway.

I like it that Mark is an author and has that creative side to him. The more people I meet at the home church, the more artist-types I find. The church was birthed more or less from a music ministry in the 60's & 70's, so one could hardly expect otherwise. I don't know crap about most art, but I like it.

It's so easy to think of art as ancillary, and in some sense I suppose it is. If everything hits the fan and we have to go live underground and eat rat burgers, then anything not having to do with food, water, or shelter becomes ancillary. But I think art is more important than just pretty pictures or exciting stories or whatever. There's something about artistic expression that reveals God, even when the artist isn't painting, or writing, or singing specifically about him. I like it when the artist-types are given a venue for their expressions, especially within the church, because it lets me see God in ways I never thought about. And then I start wondering if maybe we all have some artist in us. Some more than others, granted, but maybe at least a little bit in everyone...

Jul 8, 2009

Cat News on the Horizon...

The Cat Daddy's been looking at kitties to adopt. Very cute tuxedo kitties. This is a very bad sign...

Jul 6, 2009

Asking the Baby...

When His Highness was born I was part of a moms' group. Its purpose was to help out new moms, and mostly to talk them down from the panic that feels continuous in those first few months. In the process, however, the moms got to talking, and some hit it off quite well, and boom--friends to continue the support long after we got kicked out of the group.

Oh, but "kicked out" is such a strong term. There was no set timeline, but it was a revolving group. Once your baby hit 12 weeks or so you were "encouraged" to move on to bigger & better things, in order to make room for the fresh batch of brand-newbies. Kind of like Menudo, when the boys would hit puberty. The voice dropped, and bam--gotta get on moving with the music, as they say.

The group (the moms, not Menudo) was led by a nurse from the hospital, and it operated much like a 12-step group, minus the 12 steps and serenity prayer. In the basement of the Methodist church, we would meet and go around the circle and share how things were going--victories, concerns, venting, etc, and sometimes we'd have a guest speaker come talk about vaccinations, or baby slings, or whatever. Lots of tears, lots of hormones, lots of diaper-changing. It could get hairy at times, since there were as many philosophies as there were moms, but that's where the nurse was really helpful. She was quite skilled at validating most everyone's viewpoints without stepping on people's toes who didn't feel the same way, and she was awesome at undoing the damage of some of the more alarmist doctors in the area. Just so we're clear, it's OK if one of your breasts gives more milk than the other, and if anyone tells you otherwise they have no idea what they're talking about.

The best advice I got--but I didn't follow it--was to not freak out about giving the baby a bottle of formula at daycare. We ended up doing it, and I ended up freaking out about it, and eventually I calmed down and was able to be OK with it.

My favorite pieces of advice that I follow to this day are that you probably won't damage your baby by trying something for a day or two, and to ask your baby to make a change. The first is awesome for obvious reasons. New moms tend to create a worst-case result for trying something new, and then mentally follow the path to the quickest and saddest catastrophe possible. Reeling it in a bit and offering perspective reminds us that, at any time, we can revert to whatever was working.

The asking is something I never thought about before. When you read the parenting books there are generally two illustrations--the parents who regulate everything, for fear that baby will take over the family, edging out Mom & Dad's identities and desires, and growing up to think (s)he's the center of the universe; and the parents who regulate nothing, for fear that baby will feel rejected and worthless, and then starve. Neither of these helps the neurotic moms who just want to sleep a little and feel less scared. One day several of us in the group were talking about how we were growing weary of the constant feeds, and we wanted to try to space them out more, but we didn't want to harm a hungry baby. Depending on who you read, the two extremes would say to either take charge and be the parent so the baby wouldn't be spoiled, or to forget about any sort of schedule so the baby wouldn't starve.

And then Jen (the nurse) said the most novel thing. She said, "Try asking your baby to wait 15 minutes. Pick the baby up, walk, occupy, distract, and see if (s)he'll hold off. If so, great, you can do this for a while and then gradually increase the space between feeds. If not, feed your baby without any guilt. You've tried, and (s)he may not be ready, and that's OK."

I like this idea a lot. It validates the baby as a real person with real needs, without INvalidating the needs of the parents and their job to take charge and provide structure. It's especially helpful this time around, because of the Littler One's personality. He nurses to sleep, period. While this feels right, and I have no problem doing it, I do have the voices in the back of my head telling me, "He'll never go to sleep any other way," and "You'd better train him now or he'll be spoiled." So over time, every so often, when I was sure he was full and dry and tired, I've asked him to go to sleep without nursing. Most of the time he would protest and I would proceed to nurse him peacefully to sleep. But once, a couple weeks ago, he protested, and I tried to nurse him, and he screamed harder, so I had to try a couple other things until he finally gave in & slept. Since then there have been a few similar times, and I'm thinking that as he's getting older, he's becoming more open to other forms of comfort. Which means I can hand him off to Daddy more. Oh yes. Yes I can.

It makes me feel good and right to meet his needs ("A need that's met is a need that goes away") and do the nurturing & stuff, and it makes me feel competent and powerful to gently encourage him to grow & develop as babies do, even when he might resist the idea. Then I get all weepy and emotional, which is neither here nor there, except to say I'm really thankful for the good advice I got way back in Massachusetts.

Jul 4, 2009

Bread That Tastes Like Where You Live...

So, the starter behaved itself. I looked at it a couple times, and it looked back like it wanted to kill me. Then I stirred it once and it seemed a little less hostile. By the time the Cat Daddy returned from alert yesterday, it was bubbly and gooey, and smelled like alcohol (the drinking kind). According to Alton Brown (who invented pretty much every recipe I make that is worth eating), this means that it was a rip-roaring success.

The next step will be actually baking a loaf of bread. I'm just learning about breadmaking and starters, but to me this is where it gets interesting. If we succeed in baking a loaf of bread, and if we decide that it's good enough that we would want to eat more just like it, we can maintain the starter indefinitely by feeding it every time we bake a loaf. People have maintained starters for generations, passing them down to family members like treasured heirlooms.

Basically the starter would take up permanent residence in the fridge. The cold makes the yeasties go dormant so it more or less hibernates until we warm it up again. I have a few semi-permanent tenants in there at any given time (baking soda, maraschino cherries), but it boggles my mind to think of maintaining a starter for the long haul.

Ooh, and if we get really brave we can do a wild culture starter. Instead of using store-bought yeast, you let it accumulate the bugs from the air (there is a certain amount of yeast in the air at any given time). It can get a bit dicey, as that means that bad & nasty bugs can also make their way in, and then you have to toss the starter & try again, but because different places have different yeast make-ups, the taste of the bread made with that starter will be unique to where you live. This is why true San Francisco sourdough can't be replicated exactly anywhere else. Weird.

So anyway, the starter now lives in the fridge, at least until we can test it out and see if we want to keep it. Now we just have to figure out a permanent container; I want my cobalt Pyrex back...

Jul 2, 2009

Burping Yeast...

Remember how I mentioned that the Cat Daddy decided to make a sourdough starter last night? At 10:45 pm?

So, this morning he left to go on alert until tomorrow afternoon (24 hours, my eye). Apparently it exploded in the night, but before he left he cleaned it up and said something. I don't remember his exact words, as I was still lying bleary-eyed in bed while one kid nursed and the other decided that 6 am is a perfectly acceptable waking-up time (which it used to be, in my previous life when I went to bed by 10pm). But it was on the order of "Hell, let's keep it going and see what happens." Awesome. 2 kids, 2 dogs, and now a colony or two of yeasties.

So I am in charge of the care & feeding of the starter while he's gone. I'm hoping that avoiding eye contact and being as amiable as possible will appease the starter to the extent that it will keep to itself. I don't care if it burps at me, I just hope it stays in the bowl...

Jul 1, 2009

How Church Turned Out...

We went with the slightly more churchy one. It's a Berean church, and is part of the Berean Fellowship, which is sort of like a denomination, but not really. Local autonomy, or something or other. I'm not sure how many people are at church on a given Sunday, but there are people of all ages. All ages. I swear some of the folks are pushing 100--it's amazing.

They roped us in with their dang kindness and understanding, and people that we started to really like. Plus the Cat Daddy's crew partner and her husband are in our small group. Current crew partner, that is; they change a lot. They then proceeded to completely spoil us when the Littler One was born, bringing us all sorts of dinners, and even the old people don't bat an eye at our jeans, shorts, and/or flip-flops.

So now we are starting the business of plugging in more. Finding our respective niches will take time, of course, but for now I'm taking proactive steps such as making eye contact and talking to people without ending the conversation at the first opportunity. This is progress.

One thing that's great about this church is the sheer amount of food they give out. It seems like there's some sort of potluck or fundraising lunch almost every week. And they have a gymnatorium. Or maybe they just call it a gym--I guess there isn't really a stage area that would merit the "-atorium." Anyway, it's big, and has industrial-strength carpet with the AWANA game markings velcro'd on. Or maybe color-duct-taped. Whatever. Brings me back to the plastic bowling pins and carrying beanbags on my head around the big circle in the AWANA Olympics at ASU. And there's a kitchen next to the gym, with a pass-thru window for the giant coffee makers & coolers of powdered lemonade. And I may or may not have seen basketball hoops. It's spectacular.

On a completely different topic , the Cat Daddy has decided, at 10:45 pm, to take up baking. He was all, "You should try baking bread sometime. You have the mixer for it now." How did I know that was coming. I knew that was coming. I replied "You should try baking bread sometime." So he decided to make a sourdough starter. He's watching the yeast belch, & there is a foil-covered nightstand lamp involved. I need to vacate the vicinity in a hurry...

Jun 28, 2009

Best Time Ever At the Drive Thru...

The original plan for this morning was to go to church, then grab lunch out and hit the commissary on the way home. Turns out the church was having a baked potato lunch fundraiser, which sounded good to me, but His Highness is not so much into the baked taters, so we were back to the lunch-&-the-commy plan, until the Littler One decided to scream incessantly, and then it became pick-up-lunch-on-the-way-home-and-where-is-that-baby's-mother-for-heaven's-sake?? plan.

So I hightailed it to Wendy's. I told His Highness where we were going, and was met with blissful cheers of "Nuggets!!!" Yes, buddy, you can have nuggets for lunch. "YAY!!!!"

The Littler One is what Dr. Sears would call a high-needs baby. Synonyms for this include, "fussy," "grumpy," and "demanding." Basically, he has a lot of feelings. Very strong feelings. Even when we're in the drive thru.

So while the Littler One continued his screams of protest over the fact that he was not nursing at that very moment, I went ahead & ordered loudly, only to be joined by a naughty little boy who unbuckled himself to come up behind my seat and yell out my window to make sure his request for "nuggets, pwease!!" was heard. And heard again. And again. And one more time before I said "They heard you, you're getting nuggets, and you asked very nicely, but I need you in your seat right now, because you're in trouble for unbuckling without asking first."

I was a little bummed to have to discipline such cuteness, but when it comes to the law and issues of safety, well, those are a big deal, so we had to have a talk. But first I had to get thru the drive thru, so I pulled forward to pay & get our food. The girl at the window gave me a somewhat sympathetic and slightly fearful look, and it dawned on me that my screaming baby was, in fact, still screaming. I felt like telling her "don't worry, you should still have kids when you're older," but screaming babies make it hard to hear anything other than "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." So I erred on the side of silently looking as cheerful as possible while driving off with my screaming kiddo...

She Wore A...

I've decided I just can't do a blog name containing "Prince." It makes me think of raspberry berets, and partying like it's 1999, and platform shoes, before it somehow morphs into visions of the late Michael Jackson moonwalking, probably 'cuz "Prince" is part of a couple of his kids' names.

All that to say I'm still working on a blog name for the Littler One. I'm this close to breaking down & using real names, but I feel like before too long I would want to start up again with the nicknames, but then there'd be no point. Whatever.

Just bear with me, OK?

Jun 16, 2009

These Days...

...are full of mom things. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks...songs & naps, time-outs, & sometimes spanks on the bottom. Gwam cwackwers, gubblegum toopase to brush-a-teese, gummy Mee-mo vine-ins (Nemo vitamins). Attempts to keep up with the clutter, with occasional momentary success. Runny noses, well-baby visits, play groups, storytime at the library. Lots of nursing. Lots and lots of nursing. Tiny baby turning into bigger baby...long & lean like his older brother at this age. Good weight gain makes me hopeful to avoid supplementing this time around. Why do I care? I don't know, but I do...

...watching TV with His Highness is slowly becoming playing & going places with His Highness--with the Prince in tow...gradually picking up with the jogging again...occasional pajama days...trying new recipes, trying to eat more veggies, baking yummy treats for the fam...finding Matchbox cars in the oven mitts, among other at home with the yeh-wee (yellow) ball & blue slide, walking to the pwaygwound...

..definitely a season of life...


I have to remember to listen. I get all amped up about what I'm feeling, and nervous that people won't "get" me. Then I jumble my words and have a hard time conveying my thoughts, thereby making it hard for people to "get" me.

When I take a deep breath and take the time to listen it always goes so much better. I find more common ground with people. I also find that most people don't, in fact, judge me, even if they think differently than I do. And they "get" me, even better than I get myself sometimes.

I have to remember to listen...

Jun 9, 2009

Kid Snippets...

--I'm still deciding on the younger one's blog name. One of my favorite nicknames is "Buster Brown," but I use it with both kids, so it's not unique to him. "Prince Charming" is another possibility. This is what the midwife's assistant called him shortly after he was born. It's easily shortened to "The Prince" if I'm so inclined, and is a nice little pick-me-up during his decidedly un-charming times...

--Today at naptime His Highness decided that, instead of Raffi, he wanted to listen to "Shut Your Eyes" by Snow Patrol. This is definitely a product of the Cat Daddy's influence, which is fine with me since I think Snow Patrol is pretty groovy. My kid is cool, which I can't take credit for, but I think it's cool that he's cool...

--The Cat Daddy is the one who keeps up with music in our house. Usually I am riding the coat tails of his musical knowledge and tastes. I really should get out on my own though, because I know there's lots of stuff that would be right up my alley, but he doesn't know about it because it's probably more folksy than he prefers...

--I've also been considering checking in with the Christian music scene, especially worship stuff. I've been on a drumming hiatus for over a year now and if I plan to get back into it, it would be nice to be somewhat familiar with what I might encounter so I'm not all, "What, no one's doing 'Lord I Lift Your Name On High' anymore??" or "Check out this nifty groove I found for 'Awesome God'" (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Plus, Christian music has made great strides in the past decade or so with the coolness factor. It used to be that "about God" and "cool" were mutually exclusive terms, but I'm told there's plenty of good God-music to choose from these days. I mean, God is cool, so why not make music that is cool, too? Playing faster for the Master, and all that...

Jun 8, 2009

Picking Up the Fleece...

It's been cold in Cheyenne lately, especially for June. Not freezing, per se, but chilly. And hail-y.

Last week, His Highness and I attended an SHS event (moms' group) and we left our fleece sweatshirts there. OK I left our fleece sweatshirts there; can't really blame the 2-year-old for that one. A friend very kindly picked them up for us and called to inform me that she was holding them for ransom, so I gave her what-for. I was all, "I have skills, man. You don't even want to know the kinds of skills I have," and she was all, "You'd better listen carefully if you ever want to see your fleeces again," and I was all, "I'll use my bowstaff on you," and she was all, "Fine, how about I bring them to the dairy farm outing in a couple weeks and you can get them then," and I was all, "Sounds good. We shouldn't need them unless we have another freak cold front before then."

Well, the dairy farm trip isn't for another 2 1/2 weeks but we're having another freak cold front. In June. So I'm going to pick them up...