Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bees Knees

Out the door for the surgery center. Here's hoping the M.D. will clean up the mess I call knees so I can get back to wearing out those walking shoes!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dry Roast

This morning saw a coffee date with a friend who packed up her family and headed to the hills to escape the suburban life only to discover God had other plans placing her temporarily back in the very same burb. It's been a pleasure to know she is transplanted here in Pleasant Suburb. (It doesn't hurt that she is usually accompanied by a cup of java and some sort of treat when we meet up.) I never know where conversations with her will go, but I'm usually willing to go along. Today we plunged into some topics not frequently found in standard conversation.
We tumbled into a verbal chasm of sin and sacrifice. That valley is one of dry bones, but I'm not too sure if I could fathom its depths. (Or if I really want to.) Christ came to love the unlovable. And the very next thought was that Christ came as a sacrifice. What an unpalatable thought that I (you? we?) might be called on to sacrifice for an undesirable someone else's benefit. And in some meaningful, personal way. Not just giving up a little cash, some possessions, or time, but something deeply rooted in the most hidden depths of the soul.
Because I claim to seek to become more Christ-like. And that means sacrifice. Am I ready to begin to apply that idea to the sorts of things I find most repulsive, or am I still holding tightly to my own belief in being somehow more upright than another because in my mind their sin or crime is somehow worse than my own?
I need another cup of coffee.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Overheard at lunch today:
(Warning: mild gross-out ahead.)

M: "Do you like to dunk your sandwich in the soup?"
E: "I don't like the soup."
M: "Do you hate it? I love it."

(Note: E is eating all the noodles, chicken, etc. from the soup. M is eating the broth and floating bits of herbs. They are a perfect soup-eating pair.)

M: "If you dunk the sandwich in your soup it tastes like licking a boo-boo."

(M is served another grilled cheese. It's too hot to eat, so she must be content with using her spoon. Thinking the adults are not watching, M attempts to breathe in the soup from off the spoon.)

Mom Intervention: If you suck that soup up your nose it will burn like crazy.
E: Once, my sister sucked her soda right up her nose through a straw.
M, whispering: She must be a bad influence.
E: No. She just misunderstood. I meant she should use her mouth. It did burn. A lot.

I wonder if they still need lunchroom monitors over at Pleasant Suburban Elementary?


It's a weekend for overnights. Katie is gone for a weekend at camp with her youth group. She'll come home tired, but with a million anecdotes and stories to relate in a pre-teen exhalation of jumbled words, giggles, sighs, and eye-rolling. Her absence means there was an empty bed in the girls' room, so Erin invited a friend to spend the night.
Erin's friend does not have a cat. Erin's friend really likes cats. Really, really likes cats. Our Bad Bella is relatively tolerant of our children. Their friends? Well, not so much. The cat's looking a little frazzled this morning. She finally made a somewhat wild-eyed escape (paws scrabbling for purchase on the smooth floors while little hands grasped the writhing furry midsection with an excess of enthusiasm) when the mister appeared with donuts to distract Bella's captors.
I think the cat will be the most thrilled to see the tail end of Erin's overnight guest and the return of Kate from overnight camp. She's definitely over the current arrangement.

Friday, October 23, 2009


On a day in the somewhat distant past, I attended a women's convention. Imagine my surprise to discover a Blogher sitting a row behind me when the programming convened. (I recognized her from her online profile. I could practically hear Middle Child's voice in my head saying, "Stalker!") Anticipating the break after the first session, I intended to introduce myself. Until I found myself missing large portions of the program because the Blogher that I happened to run across was talking and giggling in the seat behind me throughout the presentation.
Rather than an introduction at the intermission, it was time to attempt to find a new seating arrangement. I was irritated, but my companion was threatening to light up Bigmouth Blogher with a cell phone spotlight so we could see what all the noise was about in Row 8. What came across as bubbly and fun in a blog turned out to be incredibly rude in public. Without an introduction, we moved our seats, and after returning home I removed my follower status.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Despite a couple of glorious sunny days in the past week, the clouds returned with their gloomy drizzle yesterday. Erin cruised the house with a baby blue balloon. Somehow, her balloon came in contact with the wall where Mommy's Polish pottery saucers live in perfect peace 363 days a year. (The other day involved the mister's bass guitar. It was an accident.) In my Terribly Calm voice, I asked Erin why she would possibly think it was okay to play with a balloon in the house while gesturing between the pottery on the wall, the bits of pottery on the floor.
Gathering the remaining seven saucers from their hanging hooks, I carried them off never to be seen again while we have children living at home. Returning, I measured the space on the wall covered in hangers spaced precisely for nine saucers. The measurements would ensure that I was not patching holes in the wall which would likely prolong my ire at Little Bit who was, after all, just behaving like a child who has been cooped up off and on for over a month between rain and the flu. Then I took my mad self off to the bedroom to glare at the t.v. until the mister bravely entered to suggest we go out in search of something suitable to hang over the accusingly empty Wall of Shame. The man knows me well. Filling the empty wall did wonders for my disgust with childhood foolishness. Besides, now I have somewhere to hang my apron.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Middle Child's seventh grade English Language Arts Reading (ELAR) class is finishing up Riordan's The Lightning Thief. To celebrate, the classes have the option to attend school on Monday dressed as assorted members of the Greek pantheon, and they may bring cupcakes or Greek food. (Three guesses whether stuffed grape leaves, baklava, or cupcakes will be more common.) Katie is excited about participating, and her teacher this year definitely gets kudos for inciting enthusiasm in her students.
Most of the kids' teachers have developed a system of evolving instructions and warnings for their students as they gain classroom experience. Katie's ELAR teacher is no exception. She is also a veteran of the middle school classroom. One can only imagine what sort of "Oh, my...." moments caused the series of specific warnings that included the following:
  • If you come as Aphrodite, do not dress as a stripper.
  • Anyone portraying Dionysis may not come to school drunk.

Really?! And, again just for good measure, Really?! One can only wait with bated breath to hear which god or goddess Katie plans to portray, but there is every reason to expect that she will opt to take in cupcakes over any sort of remotely authentic Greek cuisine.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


After reading a blog post asking suggestions about baby-proofing for visiting relatives, a memory of my children visiting one of our relatives swam to the surface of the memory pool. The trio were old enough not to require baby-proofing measures. At least, that was true in theory. The reality was that at the ages of 10, 8 and 5, they were still entirely capable of getting into things that they ought to leave alone.
On this particular occasion the three were half-way across the state from the mister and I when they discovered their hostess's purse and keys sitting out. Rather than leave items belonging to another alone, the two eldest children sent the youngest off on some sort of errand because she might "tell". The Boy then dared Middle Child to spray the tiny bottle attached to the key ring. She tried, but it would not cooperate. He got behind the wee bottle and depressed the trigger for her. The pepper spray inside was spontaneously released into her unsuspecting eyes. Uh-oh.
The relative phoned with the child screaming bloody murder in the background. In her panic, clear thought was not happening. I instructed her to call Poison Control and to go wash out Katie's eyes before getting off the phone. Then I sat waiting for the inevitable return call. A short time later the phone rang again. Thinking that the call would be the, "All clear!", I answered. Um, no.
While the eye-washing of Middle Child went on, our youngest daughter had wandered into the kitchen and found the keys. With the pepper spray. And shot the stuff into her eyes. There was more screaming. (Have I mentioned that our youngest child has some sensory issues including water on her face? Uh-huh.) And more eye-washing. And more screaming.
We don't keep pepper spray here. It might scare off some mythical assailant, but I have more than a little trepidation about what we might do to ourselves with the stuff.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Walking the Plank

About a month ago, Walker and I had a day that saw us both complaining of knee pain while we covered our weekly walking distance. Walker emphatically proclaimed she was not going to get her knees looked at by a doctor. My immediate thought was that someone was being stubborn. Of course, the very next thought was the recognition that the pot would be calling the kettle black should I comment on her seeming stubborn stance. Perhaps I ought to go get my own painful joints examined rather than pestering my friend? The situation definitely had all the signs of someone being overly concerned about the speck in her friend's eye while ignoring the plank in her own eye.
Weeks later, Middle Child's orthopedic specialist gave a brief consult on my knees during one of Katie's ankle appointments. He suggested I book an appointment of my own very soon. The appointment arrived this week. The result? Both knees are scheduled for arthroscopes on the 29th. Hopefully, the view under the microscope will show that we can wait on replacing the joints. If a double knee replacement is not needed, the surgeon will simply clean up the places where bone is rubbing against bone (ew. ow.) and remove any debris. We would then follow up with injections to help lubricate the joint until the time ultimately arrives for replacements.
Somehow, I rather doubt that my adventures with the ortho will result in Walker making a similar appointment of her own, but I am glad to have the prospect of keeping up my activity level with less pain in the near future.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The mister is a very, very patient man. When we walk in the Fall, I do an odd sort of capering step along the sidewalk until I fall behind. He will walk for a time before slowing to an eventual stop. He will turn, and stand waiting. Waiting for what? For me to step on all the green acorns that have fallen prematurely from the trees all along the way. The man and the children all find this particular idiosyncrasy either odd or annoying, depending on their perspectives and moods on any given walk. Still, I have spent years stepping on all the green acorns, and it's a habit unlikely to die off anytime soon.
This morning Walker and I headed out on our familiar route. I was surreptitiously (or so I thought) stepping on only some of the green acorns crying out to me from the sidewalk. (Because I'm not a total weirdo.) Walker piped up about three-quarters of a mile into our 4-5 mile trek that she particularly liked to step on the green acorns. She mentioned the satisfying "pop! crrrunch" resulting from smashing the little nuggets. (Precisely! Yes! Exactly!) The final quarter mile would likely have been entertaining had any observer chanced upon us. There were very few green acorns missed in our mincing dance along the street toward home. I rather suspect the image was not dissimilar to the look of trying to run across a series of tires on an obstacle course. Except without the tires. And with a certain measure of unadulterated glee.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Head's up: H1N1 flu needs a day or so to show up on a swab. Erin's swab turned positive in nothing flat Monday morning at the pediatrician's office despite a clearly negative swab Friday evening. She has also developed a nasty secondary respiratory infection. Theoretically, the so-called swine flu should be letting up as today is Day 5 of her illness. Erin was completely confused as to why "people are freaking out about swine flu--- it's not that bad".
At least she was confused until it was pointed out that she enjoys certain advantages. She received a doctor's visit and medication to alleviate her symptoms right away. Her parents can stay home with her when she is sick without fear of job or income loss. She had every sort of food and drink that she liked, new books, a computer game, and endless Disney (because we still have no remote) to see her through the weekend. When her symptoms worsened, she had another visit to the doctor with the expectation that new orders for care, isolation, and medication will all be fulfilled.
At the end of this exchange, Erin only had one thing to say, aside from acknowledging that she is very blessed, "So that's why everyone is talking about healthcare reform!"

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Last week saw the step up from "Food Handler" certification toward "Food Manager" certification. Theoretically, the day-long training class prepares one for an increased level of responsibility in food service settings. At our church one must be a Food Handler to set foot behind the counter, but at the middle school football game one must simply be accompanied by food handlers to volunteer in the concession stand. Still, the food manager will allow some added flexibility in the tasks that can be assigned and the level of supervision that must be afforded when I serve in the kitchen.
Much of the training centered on foodborne illness, and the prevention of such yuckiness. Having completed the class last Wednesday, thoughts of every sort of germ and how to minimize them have continued to dance at the edge of thought with periodic bouts of center stage exhibitionism. One such moment occured with Little Bit's onset of a wicked cold late last week. The discovery of an impressive fever brought on a trip to the urgent care center, but both flu and Strep swabs were negative pointing to a nonspecific infection. Her mother kicked into high gear cleaning every surface including the odd ones from phones to assorted handles in hopes of stopping the illness from spreading. Thank you Food Safety Class for this heightened sense of paranoia and the expectation that perhaps it is possible to sanitize our household.