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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Biggest Loser: Speed Version

Biggest Loser logo

Tonight on the Biggest Loser:
  1. All the eliminated players returned to the ranch. Victoria (blue team, who has been sent home twice) was voted back on, barely edging out John (brown). Melissa (red) earned her way back by winning a 1,000 step challenge.
  2. I was surprised at how little the half-ton twins, John and James, have lost. Maybe they're holding out for their own primetime show?
  3. Koli stirred the pot a little (ok, a lot) by telling Ashley that he thought Stephanie threw the weigh in that sent Stephanie's mom home.
  4. Ashley confronted Stephanie who said she was hurt that Ashley would think such a thing.
  5. Bob schooled Victoria on the plusses of Ziploc freezer bags with the smart-zip seal!
  6. Jillian took pleasure in kicking Victoria's rear end in the gym and attempted to work her psychobabble on Stephanie.
  7. Bob helped O'Neal conquer the stairs, taking them one foot at a time (instead of putting both feet on the same step).
  8. Melissa was surprisingly (and refreshingly) a non-issue in this episode, though she did go on record saying that it was time for people to stop being friends and start playing the game. I'm sure we'll hear plenty more from Melissa next week.
  9. At the weigh in, Stephanie and Sam both fell below the yellow line.
  10. Citing Sam's ability to push people to work harder, most of the votes for elimination went against Stephanie.
  11. In the Biggest Loser transformation moment, Stephanie looked great. She's lost 99 pounds and revealed (no big secret if you follow new about the show) that she fell in love on the ranch. What she didn't say (but what we all know) is that she is in love with Sam, which might mean Koli's interjections will be rattling the family tree a bit.
Did I miss anything important?


Last night was a b-e-a-u-tiful night (ok, a little cooler than I would have liked, but sunny and clear) so the kids and I walked down to the neighborhood playground.

Annie wanted to swing. Robbie wanted me to chase him. He said I was the fox and he was the gingerbread baby (Jan Brett books, anyone?). So I did. We ran all over the playground and laughed. He would climb up the slide into the tunnel and I would reach in to try to pinch him.

When Charlie joined us (he'd stayed behind to finish up his homework), Charlie became the fox and I got on the swings. If there are two kid things I love, it's swinging and coloring with crayons -- but that's another blog post.

Anyway, at some point in all that running around and swinging, I started remembering days before on the playground, when it was a little Charlie who was hiding in the tunnels, waiting for me to tweak his little side. I remembered when Annie was 2-1/2 and Charlie was just days old and we were on the playground, letting her run off some of that toddler energy. When the playground equipment seemed too big for their little selves, so much so that I would talk with other parents about how I wished they could put in some toddler-sized climbers.

Then I looked around and thought, "how did these kids get so big, so fast?"

We took the long way home, enjoying the extra sun delivered by daylight savings time. About 2 blocks from home, as Charlie and I were talking, he slipped his hand in mine and we walked that way the rest of the way home. Guess he's not so big -- not too big for holding hands with his mom, anwway -- after all.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's my fault...

I should have asked more often, "Do you have homework over Spring Break?"

I should have been more persistent when the response was "No."

Because, and you know where this is going, at precisely 9:15pm, 45 minutes after he should have been in bed, Charlie comes up with "Mom, I haven't picked out a science experiment yet!"


How about if a mother's head explodes 3.5 seconds after hearing "Mom, I haven't picked out a science experiment yet," what is the trajectory of the gray matter spewing from what used to be her skull?

Or how many deep breaths does a parental unit have to take before deciding not to beat her offspring about the head and shoulders with the three pair of stinky sweatsocks she just pulled from said offspring's backpack?

Of course, all of that is hypothetical. Instead, I said, through gritted teeth and bitten tongue, "Do you have any idea of what kind of experiment you want to do? Something with food? Or plants? Or dirt? Or balls?"

"Yeah," said the offender. "I want to do something that will make me look really smart."

Hmmm...well, a good start on that would have been to do come up with an idea at the beginning of Spring Break.

Now that's class...

Ok, if you are not interested in NCAA men's basketball, sorry. I promise not to turn this into a basketball blog, but we (my family and I) are just so dang excited and proud to have our Butler Bulldogs headed to the Final Four -- in our hometown!

The Bulldogs' head coach is a guy named Brad Stevens. He's 33 years old. He was working in marketing for Eli Lilly and Company, a pharma giant and one of the biggest employers in Indiana, and left his job to become a volunteer member of the Butler men's basketball team. Think about how that conversation might have gone with his wife, though I don't know if he was married then.

"Honey, I think I'm gonna quit my (probably) $50,000/year job and volunteer for a small college basketball team."

I'm pretty sure my reaction would not have been positive. Turned out to be a great decision. (If you're interested, you can read about his rise here.) This guy has such class. Watch his post-game comments from last night's win over Kansas State (63-56) below:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bringin' it home, baby!

We are going, baby!

FF Indy logo

Makes me want to write a big, fat check to my alma mater...
too bad I don't have any money!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Frags & Leftovers: Did I really say/do/eat that?

Mommy's Idea


Ladies & gents -- It's pre-7am on a Friday morning which means it must be time for Friday Fragments and Friday Night Leftovers (which at this time of day really should be Thursday night leftovers, but I won't split hairs). Thanks once again to our gracious hosts Mrs. 4444s and Danifred.

On this very dark and too-cold-for-Spring-Break Friday morning, I'm asking myself, "Did I really say/do/eat that?!"

Say: It's a tradition at our kids' school that the 7th graders host a graduation reception for the 8th grade class. Guess who volunteered to coordinate that? Yep. Yours truly. Did I really say "yes" to that request?

Do: I finally got my butt back to the gym. With Mike being in the hospital and then unable to drive for a while, it was too easy for me to stop going. It felt good to be back, but did I really go two whole weeks without setting foot in the gym?

The last of the Girl Scout cookies are gone, finally. None in the freezer. None hidden in the pantry. But, did I really have to polish off an entire sleeve of Thin Mints just to get them out of here?

Say: Are you ever just on the edge of total frustration and you say something you ordinarily wouldn't? I told one of my kids to "shut up" this week -- twice. In the world of good mommyhood, that's practically a felony. Did I really say that to my kid? Guilty, as charged.

Do: Last night at the Mexican restaurant with my girlfriends, I carried on a "conversation" with the waiter. I had no idea what he was saying and I don't think he knew what I was talking about. But we both smiled and laughed and nodded our heads like we knew exactly what the other person meant. Did I just advance international relations in my little corner of the world?

Eat: Burrito. Chips & salsa. Queso. Guacamole. Coronas, with lime of course. ¿Yo comí realmente todo el eso?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recipe for a great night

3 girlfriends
5 Coronas
1 bowl of queso dip
1 bowl of guacamole
2 baskets of chips
36" television broadcasting a Sweet 16 game
1 dozen bar-bound basketball fans

Stir up a conversation among the girlfriends about friends, work, kids, sex and faith. Add in a few colorful expletives shouted toward the basketball game on TV (mea culpa senor to the waiter). Top with 5th-seeded Butler Bulldog team upsetting 1st seed Syracuse.

Shall we do it again on Saturday?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Biggest Loser: Going home again

Biggest Loser logo

Just as I'm getting back to the Biggest Loser, the Biggest Loser contestants were sent home for a weeklong visit.

(Anyone know what the song was during the homecoming scenes? I tried to Shazam it, but was unsuccessful.)

The same day the contestants arrived home, so did a very large wooden crate. Inside each crate was an exercise bike and a box of mini cupcakes -- the makings of a challenge and a temptation.

The challenge was a 26.2 mile bike challenge. The first to finish would win $10,000. But not so fast. Each player could eat as many 100-calorie cupcakes as they wanted to in order to add time to another player's bike time. For every cupcake they ate, they could add 5 minutes to another player's time.

Lance ate 17 cupcakes. Michael ate 6. Drea ate 9.

The product placements in this show were as obvious as always, but they were at least for new products: Tempurpedic, Biggest Loser Wii game, Biggest Loser app for Verizon Blackberry. Not one mention of Extra Sugar-Free Gum or Ziploc bags.

The contestants were all faced with making healthy choices in situations and places where they previously ate badly. Ashley was talking with her family about changing how they spend time together. Their habit was to get together to eat. She said they were going to go hiking and canoeing and do other active things:

"We're actually going to live because eating is not living," Ashley said. I love that!

Then it was time for the bike challenge. Sam at 13.1 miles looked cool and unthreatened. But I knew that all those minutes Lance, Drea and Michael ate against him were going to come to haunt him. I don't think anyone ate against Lance. Koli and Lance were neck and neck at the end. Koli took second. Lance took third. Sunshine - 4th. Daris - 5th. Drea - 6th. Stephanie - 7th. Ashley - 8th. Michael - 9th. Every single one of them finished!

After the cupcake totals, the standings were:

Steph - 9th. Sam - 8th. Drea - 7th. Sunshine - 6th. Daris - 5th. Michael - 4th. Ashley - 3rd. Lance - 2nd. Koli, with the win for $10,000, 1st!

For all the 17 cupcakes Lance ate, if he would have eaten just one against Koli, he could have won the cash.

After the bike challenge, they headed back to the ranch for the last chance workout. Poor black team. Jillian had them back on the bike! I bet their butts panicked at the sight of that tiny seat.

Lance had a hard time coming back. He described Melissa as "lost and confused." That totally doesn't jive with what we've seen of Melissa on the show. But Lance told Bob that he felt like he was letting down his family by leaving them again and coming back to the ranch. Bob told him he was at the ranch for his family. That seemed to settle him down.

Then it was time for the weigh in --

Blue Team
O'Neal: -7
"My shape is my shame," he said talking about how he hasn't been under 300 pounds in many years.
Sunshine: -8
Lance: -8
Michael: -8
Koli: -10
Daris: -4

Total: -45/2.58%

Black Team had to lose more than 26 pounds
Drea: -6
Stephanie: -9
Ashley: -10
Sam: Needed to lose 2. I was definitely nervous for him. He is really getting very trim and it was imaginable that he might have a hard time losing weight. But I shouldn't have doubted him. Sam lost 14!

Total: -39/3.86%

For the first time in three weeks, the blue team headed for the elimination room. Sunshine was safe from elimination because she had the highest percentage of weight loss.

Koli, Michael, O'Neal and Daris all voted for Lance, which sent him packing. I can't say that I'll miss him and that nasty, scruffy beard of his.

Biggest Loser transformation moment: Lance has lost 100 pounds since beginning the show. Because he and Melissa live way out in the country, he doesn't really have access to a gym so they work out with equipment at home. The transformation moment showed him walking to the top of a nearby mountain with his son. That was a great moment.

Iron-ning low

I got a call yesterday from the nurse at my doctor's office. She wanted to go over the results of my recent bloodwork.

"Your iron is still low," she said. "In fact, you're extremely anemic and Dr. Y wants you to see the hematologist upstairs."

Normally, a statement like that would send me, panicking, straight for Google to see what exotic disease I might have. However, hearing what the nurse had to say made me feel one thing: guilty.

See, I am what they would call in medical circles a non-compliant patient. Yes, Dr. Y has told me before that I need to take iron supplements to combat my low hemoglobin. But I generally nod yes, while knowing darn well that I'd rather iron my sheets than take iron supplements. I am guilty of non-compliance.

I don't really have a good reason for not taking them, well aside from the threat of wicked, er, plumbing issues. It's really a quantity issue. I hate taking so many pills every day. I guess I'm just stubborn like that.

However, the threat of the hematologist was enough to kick this mule in the hind end. All I could think of were the bills that will soon be rolling in from Mike's recent hospital stay and I wasn't about to trot off to another specialist with his (or her) special blood tests with their not-so-special price tags.

So, I 'fessed up to the nurse that I haven't actually been taking the iron supplements as Dr. Y would have me take them and could I please have another chance?

The nurse talked to the doc who agreed, but -- as punishment, I'm sure -- said I have to take the iron supplement not once but twice a day for the next two months, after which they'll check my iron again. If it's still low then, I agreed to present myself and my pin-cushion arms to the hematologist.

The thing is, I don't FEEL incredibly anemic. I'm tired, yes, but I chalk that up to my wacky sleeping habits. I don't think my skin is pasty white. I chew ice, a lot, but that's better than chewing Thin Mints or Snickers, right?

I guess now that I've got my heart on the right track, I should get my blood in the same shape. So iron supplements (and plenty of added fiber), here I come!

Monday morning kick in the a$$

A few weeks ago, someone (maybe Mike?) sent me this e-newsletter officially called "Dave Navarro's Stop Settling" newsletter. But when it arrives in my inbox, the subject line is always: "Your Monday morning kick in the ass."

Just like that, with the word ass spelled out and everything. I'm amazed that it makes it through the filters of my work e-mail. Anyway, this Dave Navarro guy is apparently a, well I don't know how to describe what he is. He's an author, having written a book called What's Holding You Back? He has a website/blog called "Rock Your Day: Stop Settling for Less, Start Changing Your Life." He says he helps entrepreneurs get "unstuck."

I haven't spent much time nosing around his blog and I haven't ordered his book (though I might). But I do faithfully read my Monday morning kick. Today's kick was one I thought worth sharing.

Lift someone up.

I won't reprint the whole thing here, but basically the gist is that everyone feels down sometimes and the best way to get out of that is to make someone else feel good. Dave goes on to hand out an assignment -

Each day this week, send someone a quick email. Quick and short. Just say “I really appreciate you because of _____; you’ve made a difference in my life. I just wanted to say thanks.”

(Sure, you can gush if you want, and ignore my ‘quick and short’ command – it’s really just there to get you off your ass so you’ll do it. Write as much as you want, but just write something.)

Each day this week, take 60 seconds to email one person. And watch what happens – you’ll feel better about yourself, in spades.

I'm going to give it a try. Will you?

Friday, March 19, 2010

God, I love this kid!

Well, really, I love all my kids. This week each one of them has left me with those warm, fuzzy "I'm so lucky" feelings.

But for this post, I'm giving the love to Charlie. I swear he's had energy bottled up all winter and now that the sun is out, it's like his cork popped and he's been uncontainable. On Tuesday night, he had 90 minutes of track practice. When he got home, he didn't even come in the house, but went straight to shooting baskets down the street.

Yesterday was the school talent show. Last year, Charlie did a dance to that "you spin my head right round..." song. I didn't even know he was going to do it and had to hear about it from several people who were there.

This year, he picked Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care about Us." I kept telling him he should practice and he kept assuring me that he would be fine. As we sat in the gym and watched all the kids in the school file in and take their places, I started to get nervous for Charlie.

I shouldn't have worried. Oh, he's not going to be recruited for "Dancing with the Stars" anytime soon, but he had some moves:

All that -- by himself -- in front of 500+ people. I love that he has enough self-confidence and enough hunger for the spotlight to put himself out there. Even if I do need to find a pediatric chiropractor or at least some break dancing lessons for him.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish wannabe

Kiss Me Im Irish Pictures, Images and Photos

It's St. Patrick's Day again and here I am, a melting pot American, longing for a fiercely loyal heritage. I've always been a bit jealous of friends who wear their lineage like a badge -- who celebrate St. Patrick's Day or Cinqo de Mayo or Oktoberfest as part of their connection to the motherland.

Of all of the ethnicities I wish I could be, Irish is the one I most pine after. Maybe it's the adorable brogue or the stiff-skirted dancers or the stew. Maybe it's just that St. Patrick's Day is such a fun celebration, made more festive, I think, by the fact that it often accompanies the coming of spring when people are looking for a reason to come out of hibernation and be social again.

I wear green on St. Patrick's Day. I try to cook something festive -- for the past several years we've had green pancakes for breakfast. When the kids were little, we always went to the St. Patrick's Day parade. And I love to listen to all the naughty tricks the leprechaun pulled at school.

But I don't pretend that I am Irish. I didn't name my kids Killian and Seamus and Colleen. I wouldn't feel right about hanging out at the Golden Ace where the real Irishmen in town go on St. Patrick's Day.

In the vernacular of Harry Potter, I suppose I would be considered a "mudblood" with a mix of Swiss and German in my heritage. At least I've got the good chocolates on my side.

I can pretend to be Irish a little by marriage. Though my father-in-law's family is from England, my mother-in-law is Irish. Her mother was a Dunnivan who married a Donovan. Mike's grandfather once enraged an army official who asked him what his wife's maiden name was.

"Dunnivan," he said, his voice thick with a Boston accent.

"No," said the official, "What was her last name before she married you?"

"Dunnivan," the young Mr. Donovan replied.

"Not her name now. Before you got married, she was Miss...what?"

The way the story goes, it was quite the Abbott and Costello moment. Dunnivan. Donovan. Potato (Irish, of course). Potahto. Whatever it is, Erin go bragh!

(The cute little clover above qualifies me for "Him, Me and Our Three's" Celebration of Green giveaway. Check it out here!)

Fit ideas for Spring Break

Hey folks, still trying to find my way back to "normal." Might be a losing battle.

But I did manage to put together a list of ideas for fit family fun over Spring Break. Check it out and comment over at the Fit City Moms Blog.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The End

In my weariness of writing about Mike's medical marvels, I guess I kind of dropped the story before telling the end. Even my own two sisters weren't clear about how things ended up.

So briefly, turns out that Mike's knee and thigh were indeed infected. The good news is that none of the three bacteria they identified are of the resistant sort. So they released him from the hospital on Friday night, but not before setting him up with IV antibiotic therapy once a day for 4-6 weeks, thereby enacting Plan B.

Mike's been down this path before, 7 years ago. It was a frightful experience, complicated by the fact that I was 7 months pregnant and not at all interested in earning my nursing degree by trial and error, which is precisely what they wanted me to do -- flushing IV lines and hanging antibiotics and making sure the bubbles were out so I didn't do something silly like accidentally kill my husband.

So when that became an option again last week, I immediately coiled into a fetal position and wailed "No, no! I can't! I won't!" And know what? I don't have to.

Turns out they have a nifty place just a few minutes from our house where Mike goes every morning to get his antibiotics from friendly and very skilled professionals who wouldn't dream of killing him with a bubble in his line.

Aside from all of that, he's doing very well. Getting around the house without the use of his walker, pretty much. Starting to wean off his pain meds. Showing the 33 staples in his leg to anyone foolish enough to look. Lucky for you, I think the toes were enough. I'll spare you the pic of the staples.

And that my friends (I hope!), is THE END.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Annie has entered the world of babysitting. Actually, she's been doing it for a while now. A year, maybe longer.

Tonight she babysat for some neighbors. They have one little girl, about 2 years old. Baby E. was already asleep when Annie got there. Mom and Dad left, each to separate occasions. Dad arrived home first, not quite 3 hours later.

He gave Annie a check for $20!

She is only 13. Babysitting for just 1 kid. One slept-the-whole-time kid. I think $20 is too much. My first reaction was to tell her she should go there tomorrow and give them $10 back.

But then I started thinking about how I want her to value the service she provides. And how she has done some free babysitting without complaint for a friend of ours who is a newly single mom.

So, do we just consider the generous pay a kind of "what goes around comes around?" Should she give 1/2 back? Should just keep it all and make a donation with some of the money? Buy babysitting supplies with some of it?

What would you have your daughter do?

Six Word Saturday

Exhausted, but glad we're all together.

To sum up your Saturday in six words, visit Show My Face.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dear #108

Dear Blog Follower #108:

What happened? I thought we had a good thing going here. Maybe it was the picture of Mike's toes that pushed you over the edge? Maybe it was too much chatter about hospitals and surgeries and infections? Trust me, I'm sick of talking about all that, too.

Maybe you were here for the Biggest Loser updates and you felt slighted that I didn't get one posted this week? Maybe you just don't like me?

Whatever it is, that's ok. I won't pull the "kick me while I'm down" guilt trip. I won't curse you and your little laptop, too.

I hope you'll stop by from time to time to see if we're a match for each other again. And if not, have a nice life.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Can we get a pedicure -- STAT!

Chunky toes

Actually, Mike needs a pedicure and a shower, STAT. (You're welcome that I didn't make this picture very big.) Today he did get to "wash" his hair. You know you've been in the hospital too long when you have this much fun with a shower cap.

In general, he is doing well and plans are for him to come home sometime tomorrow. There have been a few snags of late, but my husband has issued a gag order and I'm not allowed to share all the details. Since it's been 3 weeks since he's been able to walk without crutches or a walker and he's spent going on 5 days in the hospital, I'll comply.

Suffice it to say that Mike has the reverse Midas touch. When someone says "it probably won't" to my husband, it WILL.

So you'll understand that tonight when we asked the nurse about how they take out the surgical staples and she said "It's real easy. They just pull them out, unless your skin grows up around them," I gave her a shot of demerol and shoved her in a closet.

Wordless Wednesday: Stress Relief

Stress relief

(For the record, I walked two laps around the perimeter of the hospital grounds first and the ice cream was individual servings of the low-fat, slow churned variety.)

To blow off a little of your own steam, check out more Wordless Wednesday posts here.

A new attitude

Have you ever done something and then later been embarrassed by your behavior? That's how I'm feeling about my "2010 FAIL" post (so emarrassed that I won't link to it here).

Of course, we are wholly blessed. Have we hit some bumps in the road, lately? Yep.

But mostly, I can look at my life and see people who not only love me and my family, but who readily step up to help when we need it. I'm sitting in a house that keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer, with a fridge and pantry that (most of the times) has plenty of food to offer. I have a job that I enjoy, co-workers who are fun and a boss who understands.

Friends -- both in real life and cyber -- have offered shoulders to cry on, help with the kids, and even to take me out for a much-needed drink. I'm coming to the tail end of an amazing experience in the Better U heart healthy makeover. I have three great kids who make me laugh on a daily basis. I have a husband who loves me, even in my most unlovable moments (most of the time).

And thanks to a friend who sent me this link, I am reminded that I have a God who does not ask me to carry all the crappiness of late by myself, who is just waiting for me to open my mouth and heart and say "help."

(On a practical note: Mike's 2nd surgery should take place sometime in the early afternoon today. Please keep him in your prayers.

And if you came here looking for the Biggest Loser wrap up, sorry, in all the craziness I totally forgot the show was on. But Cheryl (mom to Daris) went home.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Plan A-1/2

Mike's in recovery now. The surgeon came out and told me they made an incision (so the doc says, I haven't seen him yet) from the bottom of the knee up to about mid-thigh. The doc said the reason he couldn't drain much is that is was really mostly grayish clots of tissue. They are sending that out to pathology. There doesn't look to be infection and his WBC is normal. That's the good news.

The bad news (here's where Plan A-1/2 comes in) is that they only temporarily closed up the leg, are going to keep him in the hospital on IV antibiotics and then on Wednesday take him back to the OR to repeat the procedure.

The surgeon said he can put weight on it as soon as he can tolerate it, but did say because of the length and depth of the incision, he's gonna be hurting for a while. No known cause and no real understanding if it will come back. But they are hoping with the double procedure and the drain he has right now, it won't.

Thanking God it's not Plan B, which involved a PICC line and SIX WEEKS of IV antibiotics at home. And very sorry to my sister Shelley for telling you that Plan B was amputation. Sick and twisted, I know, but in this situation, I'm trying find humor where I can.

2010 FAIL

I try real hard not to come to this blog and whine very often. But, folks, go get some cheese because I'm bringing the whine.

So far, 2010 has been an abysmal year. Here's what we've been greeted with:
  1. I paid $160 for vaccinations and tests for a cat that wasn't even mine.
  2. Mike was downsized from his job.
  3. The cat that is mine required a $450 do-or-die surgery.
  4. Mike had a grand mal seizure, which earned him an ambulance ride to the hospital.
  5. The garbage disposal broke and is still waiting to be replaced.
  6. The something something having to do with the brakes on my car went out (another $450).
  7. Mike's unemployment claim was denied due to a calculation error on the part of the unemployment office (still trying to straighten that out, but have been delayed by #9, 11).
  8. Annie fractured her foot and had to miss the rest of the volleyball season.
  9. Mike hurt his knee playing racquetball.
  10. Mike's injury landed us in the emergency room twice, both times to rule out a blood clot.
  11. An MRI showed a large pocket of fluid in Mike's thigh.
  12. The attempt to drain the thigh was unsuccessful and we're waiting, as I type, for them to come get Mike for surgery to slice open the leg, clean out the fluid and probable infection and flush it with antibiotics.
Plan A for the surgery is that the doc opens up Mike's leg, scoops out all the fluid, flushes the leg with antibiotics and then then keep him overnight on IV antibiotics. I'm not even going to say what Plan B is because I don't even want to entertain the possibility and if I say it (or type it) out loud, the universe might mistake that for a wish and it will come true.

I know that once I hit the "publish post" button, I'll think of all the good things that have happened this year. Maybe I'll even do a counter post later. But I can't right now because I'm in the middle of my little pity party.

Dear Tucson, Arizona

Saw this in my Feedjit journal traffic feed:

Tucson, Arizona arrived
from on "The Fourth Frog Blog: September 2008" by searching for "mistakenly put icy hot instead of desitin."
22:09:08 -- 1 hour 54 mins ago

Been there. Done that. The kid will survive, but can I suggest you start a psychotherapy fund for them right now?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

End of an era


For the past eight years, beginning in mid to late April, you could find me on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays sitting on the sidelines at a soccer game. This year, you won't and I'm a little sad about that.

I love soccer. I enjoyed playing it as a kid, even though I wasn't very good. I've loved watching my kids play, even though watching when they are little and run after a ball like bees to an open can of soda is a little painful. And I have particularly loved watching Charlie play, even when I was frustrated with the coach and the program.

Charlie's been part of a developmental travel league for three years. For the most part, it's been a great experience. The kids on his team are good kids and the parents have been fun to spend weekends with. Up to this point, the travel has been minimal with most of it being within our general metropolitan area and only a handful of games being up to an hour away.

Because he's competitive to the core, Charlie has enjoyed playing. But, unlike his Mom, he doesn't love soccer. He's all about the games, but doesn't really care for the practices, something his effort has reflected.

What Charlie does love is football. He really wants to play on the school team in the fall. In the third grade, we allowed him to sign up for football and soccer. I think God knew that was crazy talking, because the second weekend into that lunacy, Charlie broke his arm (playing soccer) and missed the rest of the football season, though he did get to play a few tournament soccer games.

So, we've decided to let him play football in the fall. Given that, it didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to spend $500 (league + tournament fees) for him to play soccer in a program that he won't be returning to in the fall, especially since we're basically living on my 3/4-time income right now. It's not like this was a completely economical decision, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a big factor in our thought process.

We didn't tell Charlie he couldn't play soccer. We sat down with him and said, "if you could choose, what would you play in the fall -- soccer or football?" We knew what he would say to that.

So, given his choice, we laid out his options for the spring:
  1. Play rec soccer
  2. Join the kids triathalon training team at the community center we recently joined (training once per week)
  3. Play no organized sports and just enjoy the freedom of being a kid
He picked the kids triathalon.

So, in about 6 weeks when the soccer fields start filling up with players and fans, we won't be there. And while the prospect of free weekends is a bit exciting, I'll admit to being a little sad about the end of the soccer era in this house.


I did it! I fixed it all by myself (with a little bit -- ok, a lot of bit) of help from searching the Blogger Help forums. It was something in the Friday Frags post that made everything go wonky. So I removed the formatting from that post -- haven't looked, probably a total mess on that post right now -- and repasted in all the xml code that I'd saved before.

Woohoo! I feel so smart!


Ok, got the sidebar to show up again. I think what messed it up was something in my Friday Frags post. But now I have to figure out how to get the sidebar content back where it belongs.

Have I mentioned that I really don't know what I'm doing? And that I have a bazillion other things I should be doing today?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Son of a gun!

I just opened my blog and everything was fixed. I had replaced all the xml with a copy of the code that I'd have saved on my laptop (thanks for the suggestion, Liz.) The replacement didn't work, or so I thought. But then I logged back on after a few hours, it was fixed and I came here to post that maybe I did know what I was doing. But now it's wacky again.

Beth and Ellemes -- it looks normal? Does it look ok to any one else? What I'm seeing is that the right hand column is missing and is mushed into the left.

I've tried viewing it as a guest, logged in, on Safari, Firefox and Chrome and it's the same thing. Arrrgh!

Gonna have to try to do something with it tomorrow. Hot date tonight.

HTML rescue, please!

I know a little bit about HTML. I can usually get into the code and make some minor changes on my blog. But I can't write code and I can't make major fixes. Which leaves me right now in a bit of a pickle because it seems that the entire right side of my blog is messed up, as in gone and doesn't exist.

I've been contemplating a blog re-design, but I wasn't quite ready for it right now. Though it kind of looks like that decision might have been made for me.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Frazzled Friday Frags

"Thank God it's Friday" doesn't even begin to cover how I feel about the end of this week. Frazzled is a good way to describe it. But I'm happy to distract myself with a foray into Mrs. 4444's Friday Fragments.

Mommy's Idea

And lucky us, Mrs. 4444s is having a playdate with Danifred of Sippy Cups are Not for Starbucks (is that the best blog name ever or what?!), who serves up her own fun with Friday Night Leftovers.


With all the great frags and leftovers to click and read, who needs to rent a movie on Friday night?

I made the most delicious discovery the other day. Chocolate-covered Peeps! Can you stand it? They come in dark and milk chocolate and are really yummy. They don't have that wonderful gritty sugar that regular Peeps do, but I'll forgive them. Also, the inside marshmallow yumminess is neon yellow, which I could have done without. But of course that didn't stop me from eating the dark chocolate version. I gave the milk chocolate to Mike. Wasn't that nice of me?


I used to spend hours watching the TLC channel. It started when I was pregnant with Annie and I got sucked into "A Baby Story." Then came "Trading Spaces." Then "What Not to Wear" and "Say Yes to the Dress."

Now, I'm convinced that TLC stands for "The Little Channel." Seriously, how many shows about little people can one nation watch? "Little People, Big World." "The Little Couple." "Little Chocolatiers." And now "Our Little Family." Big overkill, if you ask me.

Cilantro lime fish. Sounds yummy, doesn't it? It did to me, too, until I saw it was being offered at Burger King. Thanks, I'll just have a Whopper Jr., no cheese, no mayo, please.

Being more organized and having a neater, less messy existence is always on my to do list. But there are times that erring on the side of slobbiness is beneficial. Yesterday, for example. I was on the treadmill at the gym when I realized that when I packed my clothes to change into for work (after a shower, thankyouverymuch), I forgot to include a bra. So it was either wear my sweaty sports bra to work -- utter a collective "ewwwww" here -- or stop at the store to buy a new bra to wear.

A few minutes later, still running and still sweating, I remembered...I had a bra in the back seat of my car! For all you gutter-minds out there, it had been in another bag that I'd had to quickly repurpose for one of the kids so I just tossed the bra into the back seat. For once, not adhering to my mother's "Everything Out of the Car" song had paid off!

Today I'm wearing the one piece of really gaudy costume jewelry that I own:

flower ring

I bought it for $4 at Global Gifts. I saw it and wanted it, but decided to pass. A few months later, I saw it again and still wanted it so I bought it. Best $4 I've spent in a long while. It's obnoxiously large, but it makes me happy!

For those of you following Mike's elephant leg saga (here and here), we're at the orthopod's office right now getting an MRI. I sure hope it's nothing, but if it is, it will be a very expensive nothing.

Update: Just got a call from the doc about Mike's leg. Assuming my best Arnold voice: "It's naht a toomur." It is, however, a big bag a fluid that is pushing all the muscles out and down, causing swelling and pain. I said, "Now you know what it feels like to be pregnant!"

On Monday, the doc is going to attempt to drain it. If that doesn't work or if the fluid looks to be infected, they'll take him straight to surgery.

That's all I've got. Hope you have a fraggin' awesome weekend!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Scenes from the ER

Our visit to Mike's orthopedic surgeon yesterday earned us a "Do Not Pass Go. Cough up $200. Go Directly to the Emergency Room" pass.

The good news is that Mike's x-rays at the ortho's office looked good. No damage to all the doc's hard work last November. But beyond that, the surgeon was stumped. He said this is clearly not an orthopedic issue. So he stepped out of the exam room to call Mike's family doctor, whom Mike had seen a week prior.

After some back and forth discussion in which the ortho guy said "No, this is not a pulled muscle" (yes, I was listening with my ear pressed against the door), the two docs decided the best option was to send us to the Emergency Room.

Maybe it's the journalist in me, or perhaps the irreverant and could-be-more-supportive wife, but I snapped a few pics along the way:

ER entrance

This is not the most reassuring quote to have
at the entrance to the Emergency Room.

Create your own humor

He didn't think it was so funny, but I thought the fact
they put Mike in an OB/GYN room was worth a giggle.

(Don't worry, he does have skivvies on under that gown, so no use trying to enlarge the pic for a better view.)

Once we were settled into the room, we were greeted by a doctor who obviously had left his bedside manner at home. He was pretty hostile about the fact that the ortho doc had sent us to the ER when Mike had a normal ultrasound just two days prior. Every time I opened my mouth to say something, he practically ran right over me with his own excuse as to why that wouldn't work or why what I was saying didn't make sense.

As they wheeled Mike away for another ultrasound and some other specialized scan, I took out my frustrations about the doc on Facebook. (Thanks to those of you who offered suggestions and support.)

Then I checked my work e-mail, only to find out that my boss had left for the day to tend to one of her family members who was in an Emergency Room a few hours away.

I hit "reply all" and responded "I'm in the ER right now too, with Mike and a very large prick of a doctor."

Soon enough Mike came back. Good news: no blood clot. Bad news: no confirmation of what it is that is causing so much pain and swelling his leg up like a blowfish. Just a prescription for pain meds, instructions to ice and elevate and check back with the doctor in a few days.

Back at home, I checked my e-mail again to see that my "reply all" to my boss had also gone to her boss -- the Provost of the university!

We may be headed back to the ER...this time to remove my foot from my mouth.

Biggest Loser: It's back with Blue v. Black

Biggest Loser logo

Remember where we left off? Biggest Loser: Olympic Style

Darrell lost the challenge against Cheryl, holding a squat while balancing a torch on his head for just under 10 minutes. He has nothing to be ashamed of though; he lost 75 pounds in six weeks.

This week the contestants broke out of pairs into Blue vs. Black teams. The person who got to divide the teams was the winner of a food temptation. Only Drea and Michael decided to play. The game was set up like the old fashioned Memory game. The person who found two matching golden tickets would have the power.

If they selected two spaces that weren't a match, they would have to eat a cookie. I could see a lot of cookies in their future! Make a match of the snack foods -- some healthy, some crappy -- and the other person had to eat it and would lose a turn.

Both Michael and Drea start feeling sick from all the sugar and fat. When Drea handed Michael a blueberry muffin, he semi-jokingly said "I'm going to throw up on you." After a bit, Michael was getting the meat sweats (what movie is that from?), only this time it was the treat sweats.

Finally, after eating 2,310 calories worth of snacks, Michael found the two matching golden tickets, winning the right to make the teams, plus the chance to give one person immunity.

The teams were divided into 6 and 6, with one person given immunity. Next week, the person with immunity will join the team that loses a player at the weigh in.

So here is how Michael divided the players (former colors in parenthesis):

Black - Jillian
Sam (grey)
Cheryl (orange)
Drea (black)
Stephanie (purple)
Sherry (pink)
Ashley (pink)

Blue - Bob
Koli (grey)
Daris (orange)
Lance (red)
Miggy (green)
Sunshine (yellow)
Michael (white)

Michael gave immunity to O'Neal (yellow) and took the guaranteed spot on the Bob's Blue team. That insured he would be on the team he wanted. If he had taken immunity for himself, his fate would have fallen to whichever team lost the weigh in.

Once the teams were divided, Bob and Jillian came in and Jillian freaked out at how badly Michael stacked the Blue team. I really wanted the Black team to show up the Blue team on the scale. Bob tried to warn the Blue team not to get complacent and think they have the weigh in won already.

Michael kept saying he finally put himself first. Maybe it's a wrong assumption on my part, but a 30-something single man who still lives with mom and dad? My guess is that he's put first a lot.

Once the teams were divided, Ashley and Stephanie started talking about forming alliances.

The first Blue v. Black challenge took place off campus. They had to lift their teams banner from the ground to the top of a building -- standing on the roof. No flipping way. I would have sat down on the sidewalk right then and there.

The Blue team got off to an early lead, but the Black team pulled steadily in unison and stayed close behind. Every time the teams leaned back to pull the banner, I got the heebee jeebees, thinking that someone was going to fall of the side of the building.

Ultimately, Blue team won the challenge and the opportunity to read letters from home. Sam, on the losing Black team, had the best reaction:

"We're not here to get letters. We're here to lose weight. If we want letters, we can go to work for the post office."

Last chance work out -- Black team really kicked butt, but will it be enough?

Weigh in:

Blue Team: Total Lost - 48 pounds or 2.7%
Michael: -15 which means he set a new BL record: 109 pounds in 7 weeks
Sunshine: -7
Lance: -5 He'd hoped to get out of the 300's, but stopped right at 300.
Miggy: -4
Daris: -7
Koli: -10

So the Black Team needed to lose more than 39 pounds.
Drea: -5
Cheryl: -4
Sherry: -6
Sam: -8
Stephanie: -8
Ashley: -10!

The Black Team beat the Blue Team on the scale! Woohoo! 41 pounds or 2.82%. I'm not sure I have an opinion about which team I like better, but I was happy to see the underdogs win.

So the Blue Team went to the elimination room. I'm worried Sunshine would be sent home, but it was wasted worry. The votes all were cast for either Lance or Miggy.

I wish you all could sit with my husband during the weigh in. "Oh, he voted for Lance, but it's ok because he wrote 'sorry' with a little sad face." It just makes me giggle.

In the end, Miggy was voted off the ranch. Even though Lance had the lowest percentage of weight loss, his ability to win challenges saved him. In the transformation moment, Miggy said she's learned to meditate to help release her negative energy and she really did look much happier. She was down to 170 something.

They also showed Darrell's transformation. He's lost a total of 120 pounds, weighing in at just under 300 pounds.

Next week, I'm sure the Blue team will be gunning to get back at the Black team. Should make for good TV!

Pain in the...

Occasionally, I make a passing reference to Mike in my entries here. But generally, I don't talk about him because, frankly, he doesn't like it when I do. However, I'm breaking my rule to tell you a frustrating tale that we're living right now.

(If you're here from MagMoms, this will sound familiar. Feel free to scroll on down to "Buzz word.")

Mike hurt his knee playing racquetball (read: channeling his inner 16 year old) with the kids about 10 days ago. This is the same knee he had surgery on in November. It wasn't like a big major injury on the racquetball court, but he said he did notice it being sore from time to time as he was playing. Well that night, the knee swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. He was in quite a bit of pain and spent the weekend icing it and staying off it.

By Tuesday night, the swelling grew to include his calf and he was having severe calf pain. I was worried about a blood clot, so he went to the family doc on Wednesday. (He'd called the surgeon who did the knee surgery, but never got a return call. Don't get me started...) The family doc looked at it, said he didn't think it was a clot and used a needle to drain some of the fluid. That bought him about 6 hours of mild relief.

Once the initial relief of the needle aspiration was over, he was using his crutches and really unable to get around at all. Thursday afternoon, he called the surgeon again but he couldn't get an appointment until Tuesday (today). So he just kept icing it and taking ibuprofen. By Friday afternoon, he was in real pain. I'm sure traipsing around at the Go Red for Women luncheon didn't help. We called the family doc again, since the surgeon's office had been oh so helpful, and they called in an Rx for some pain meds and said he could see the family doc today (Monday).

Saturday night, he woke me about 2am and showed me that the swelling had moved up to include his thigh as well. I used a tape measure to see that his right thigh (injured leg) was swollen to 4 inches bigger in circumference than the left leg. By Sunday afternoon, it was 6 inches, so we went to the ER.

At the ER, they did an ultrasound and assured us (again) there's no clot. Then they sent us home with instructions to keep doing what we're doing and see the surgeon on Tuesday. They did give him an oral antibiotic in case there's an infection. His leg is so swollen that he can't bend the knee at all. He's in pain. He's not sleeping (so I'm not sleeping, hence the mid-of-the-night blogging). He can't drive, can't walk and is quite frankly depressed about the whole situation.

Please pray that the surgeon has some real answers for him. He/we just can't keep this going like we have been for the last 10 days.

I've been googling like mad, trying to come up with a diagnosis -- because you know, doctors love it when we do that. But it makes me feel like I'm doing something.

Anyone out there have a medical(ish) degree -- real or from Google University -- and care to offer any ideas? We're all ears...and one giant, puffy leg.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Buzz word

Attention fellow bloggers: Want to create a buzz on your blog? Just mention the word "triathalon!"

18 of you wonderful readers commented on my Crazy Talkin' entry in which I contemplated aloud the possibility of celebrating my 40th birthday in August by competing in an all-women triathalon.

The majority of you were all for it, saying "You go girl" or other similar sentiments. A couple of you were helpful as well as supportive; my friend Ellen offered to do the triathalon with me and my neighbor Cathy offered the use of her pool for the swimming portion of the training.

My friend (and fellow Better U challenger) Ruth suggested I talk to my trainer, which was good advice. Krista recommended that I read The Slow Fat Triathlete, a suggestion which had me chuckling.

At this point, I'd say I'm 95% sure I do want to do the Go Girl triathalon.

The other 5% of me is still fixed on what my mom and my sister Shelley had to say. (We can always count on family to keep us real.)

My mom's reaction when I told her on the phone that I was considering a triathalon to celebrate my 40th birthday was: "In August?! Do you know how hot and humid that could be?" Hmmm...didn't think about that.

Shelley sent this in an e-mail: "Ummm...I'm sorry, but I think you have the wrong email address. I don't know WHO the heck this is sending me this crazy email!! :) I think you should definitely do a 5K. You could do that! What about the mini marathon we did a few years back? Remember? You got picked up on the racetrack by the ambulance???"

Ok, I had to laugh at that. I think the heatstroke must have wiped that incident from my memory.

So I've got some thinking to do. And some working out if I my thinking leads me where I think it will.