Friday, August 31, 2007

That's not how it was supposed to work out damn it!

Grace has school for an hour and a half today. I made this deal with myself that if my blue track pants were in the dryer, I would go do my run while she was in school. If not, I would go to the library and peruse art books. Guess where I'm going?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


is what we're aiming for here. Today is my first full day at home in weeks. The house is looking a bit ragged. Ha! Who am I kidding? The house is trashed! But it is getting better as the piles of everything we've piled start to disappear one by one. Except the laundry pile.

I wasn't able to form an opinion of Charlie's first day of school because he wasn't very forthcoming. All he wanted to talk about was a new boy who is going to teach him "jitsu" (?) which is apparently a form of magic with some crows or something. I can't figure it out. It doesn't sound like something I will like when I finally figure it out. He seemed content enough after school, just not overly excited. He's a kid who is usually overly excited about school so I don't know what that means either.

And Grace is spending this, the last afternoon before she starts school, in her bed. By choice. She just got up, walked to her room and crawled into her bed. For a little bit she told me she had a tummy ache. Then it was a headache. Now she's not pretending to be sick but is busy telling stories to her stuffed animals and engaging in wild flights of fancy. The stuffed animals appear to be having a wonderful time.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This one is about to get a lot of use

because school starts tomorrow, soccer starts this afternoon, Grace starts karate later this week. It's strange though, this has been the craziest summer I can recall, I actually feel like things will settle down a bit as fall arrives.

I am starting out the last day of summer with a pit of dread in my stomach. I washed the passports. Yes I did. Apparently they were in the pocket of Justin's shorts and I rushed to get his clothes washed when we got home so he would have something to wear to work. Big mistake that. When when when will I ever remember to check pockets? So, first stop today is the post office and I am really hoping I can get it fixed without too much red tape. My passport gave me trouble this whole trip anyway; they always had to do a secondary check on it. So maybe it's for the best. Yeah, I'll keep telling myself that.
After that, (hopefully) the pit of dread will disapparate and we are going to the zoo. And then maybe the pool. And then maybe the park. What else can I fit into this last day?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh yeah

and one more thing while I'm listing my litany of irritants.

The park where I run is apparently the current local trysting place for certain elderly and middle aged gentleman. Eh, I've known this for awhile - they seem to move parks all over the area until they attract the attention of local law enforcement and move on. And I've only ever noticed them in mid-afternoon on weekdays when the park is less crowded. It's a very remote place, mostly wilderness and walking trails so not a lot of use by kids. But today they started meeting early. At least they could try to blend in and wear some clothes that make it look at least like they're pretending to use the trails for walking or running. But no - penny loafers and dress pants buckled up to their chest. Nobody is fooled sir, nobody.

I'm a wimp

and I'll be the first to admit it. We went school shopping this morning - into the city - and I live in a place with a lot of bridges - the famous three rivers and all of that. Curiously, every single major bridge we drove over today was being inspected. Interesting. They must be worried about the pigeon poop problem.

And then we drove home past a gas station and we noticed that one of the pumps was on fire. And lots of police cars and firetrucks heading in that direction. More interesting. Apparently, they either shut off the power in our town to keep it from exploding or something happened with the power to make it catch fire. No power. Means no air conditioning. My car thermometer reads 97 degrees. We went to the pool for awhile but the whole town seemed to have the same idea. After I had been smashed in the face by the third pre-teen boy doing a cannonball, I conceded defeat. Headed home. Still no power. Still no air conditioning. So I came to my mom's. And here I will stay until my house is cool again.

I note that this will be the second time in under a month I will lose the entire contents of my refrigerator to an extended power outage. Not that I'm bitter or anything. But we did just do major shopping when we got home from vacation. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

And last but not least, I did something to my back during my morning run. Which probably accounts for my snideness. I didn't realize it until I reached for something in the car this afternoon and honestly believed for 10 seconds that I was having a heart attack. Then I realized it was my back, not my heart. But at least my mom's air conditioning is working just fine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Oh my beautiful Tulum...

I hope there was not much damage and no loss of life. It did not look good this morning.

In the Dominican Republic, Dean gave us barely a whimper.

It gusted and rained heavily in the morning. They closed the beach. Then it was just windy and we actually spent the day at the pool drinking at the swim up bar - not margaritas as I had vowed, because they were truly atrocious, but some other tropical concoction more fitting to the island.

We spent far more time off-property than we planned but in truth, neither Justin nor I are good for sitting at the beach or the pool for more than a couple hours a day. We snorkled, we swam with the sharks and we did an ATV tour through the countryside. They took us to a freshwater pool in the middle of a hidden cave and my daredevil husband jumped right in while all the French and German tourists looked on in terror. And we also braved a market place where Justin was convinced he got a sweet deal on a case of Genuine Original Hand Rolled Cohibas (see, they're sealed and everything) but discovered to his disgust this morning that they are counterfeits. Shocking.

And I got to speak Spanish to my heart's content, sounding ridiculous I'm sure but damn it, there had to be some reason I paid all that money to learn the language. The tourists in the Dominican Republic are still overwhelmingly European so everyone seems to speak a different language. When we swam with the sharks, the guy in charge translated everything into English, Spanish, German, French and Italian. I wonder if he gets paid enough to be able to speak all of those languages.

I am glad we went, we had a really nice time but it was for too long and I missed the kids immeasurably. And yesterday was a travel nightmare - it took us 14 hours to travel what is gate to gate, a 5 1/2 hour flight - so we resolved last night that we're going to drive to our next vacation. And the kids are coming, no matter what anniversary we're celebrating.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tropical Storm Dean

He's a persistent guy. We've been watching him over the last two days, debating what to do... go ahead with the plans, try to find an alternative, cancel altogether. Unfortunately, although we purchased the hurricane insurance, it turns out it's virtually worthless as it won't cover us until there is a complete cessation of all travel services at our destination. Sweet.

And though you might think there would be a plethora of last minute deals, surprisingly, that is not the case. We had our choice of several third rate, very poorly reviewed resorts - seriously, the first three reviews of one of the places were "Worst Vacation Ever" "Don't Come Here" and "Terrible vacation." Wonder why they had last minute openings!

Eyeing the projections which weren't too bad this morning, we decided to go ahead and confirmed this afternoon. Then the 5:00 projection came out. Saturday afternoon, category 3 hurricane. So we're either stupid and cheap being unwilling to forfeit the entire cost of the trip or else we're just crazy optimists hoping it will shift again tonight. Shift shift shift. Out to sea Dean, go back out to sea.

It may be the shortest vacation ever if, as we suspect, we are evacuated on Friday. At least the insurance will kick in at that point!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

All is well in my world

My little man is okay. Biopsy was normal. 4th time I've ever cried from joy in my entire life. It's a very very good thing.


Here is the layout I made with "Two weeks" entry I did last week. I think I am felt challenged.

We won the court case yesterday. I feel like I have been fighting and winning the same battle over and over this summer. That is probably because that's what has happened - three times so far. The court system makes a lot of sense in some ways and not so much in other ways. But we have an order through the end of the year now. It went much longer than expected and I never had a chance to eat breakfast or lunch and I didn't bring anything to drink so by the end of the day, I was quite ill. To me, that's the only sign that I am getting older - my body just isn't as forgiving of the abuse I inflict upon it, I can't bounce back the same way.

We've started the 2 day vacation countdown. Did the last minute shopping last night. And I had a very amusing episode yesterday (amusing to me at least!) I work with my dad. My mom and dad are watching the kids while we are away. I can't handle a closing that was rescheduled for this Friday because I am going to be away. My dad should be aware of this right? But no. The other attorney informed him yesterday that I was going to Nicaragua. Really? Well somewhere in Central America. Really? He had no idea. No idea I was even going away. Let alone to Nicaragua (which we're not.) He was quite perturbed that I was daring to go to Central America without telling him about it. I should have told him I was planning to visit Cuba.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Couch to 5K

I guess you can't read tha journaling. It recaps my morning adventures - while I was running, I was passed by an elderly couple out for a morning stroll. Charlie reminded me that because they were old, they'd had more practice.

I did the first week. And I'm going to survive the second week. But next week's regimen requires me to run for 3 minutes straight and I'm just completely doubtful that is ever going to happen. Some poor person will come across my body blocking the path and wonder what in the world I was ever thinking that I could run that much all at once.

The other interesting thing about this endeavor (well, humor me that it's interesting at least) is that I've changed where I go to run to a little trail through the woods that winds along a stream. It's a beautiful spot and except for one ridiculous hill in the middle, it's flat. But it's in the woods by a stream which means there are bugs. Weird bugs. Big bugs. Bugs that want to bite me. I may eventually have a svelte physique (that is possible, right?) but I am also going to covered with large welts that give the appearance of a communicable disease. No pain, no gain?

Also sharing my morning run today was a beautiful man. Beautiful. He looked just like Matt Damon as he loped along, passing me once, turning around passing me again and then turning around and passing me for a third time. Yes, I am that slow. There was once a time when I would have been humiliated by that. When I would have cared what I looked like, huffing along, face purple with effort, arms bleeding from smacking at the bugs, hair all over the place, my dumpy self running along to the persistent beat of Eminem's Slim Shady... but not anymore. I have no pride left. I got passed by elderly people taking a walk.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Movies in the park

I got the best pictures ever last night. These aren't them - but I thought these were cool in their imperfection. So yes, Grace went in her Cinderella costume (there were plenty of adults that shook their heads knowingly, but there were also plenty who seemed awfully surprised that I would actually let her wear that costume to a public event. That's just the way I roll.) and I got some breathtaking pictures of her - you know I could see the layout in my head as I snapped away. First thing I'm going to do today.

They declared a state of emergency in my community due to all the storm damage and flooding. We won't file for anything even though we don't have flood insurance; what we lost was so minimal compared to other people and we don't need the assistance. We've had to throw out thousands of dollars of stuff but I guess if that stuff really was important, we wouldn't have been storing it in the basement. I am puzzled about the whole flood insurance thing - we don't qualify to purchase it because we don't live in a flood zone - so what happens where there is a flood anyway? I am saddest about our fruit trees; the beautiful apple and pear trees that gave us bowers of white blossoms in the spring; gone, victims of the storm.

Two more weeks of summer, two more weeks to play in the yard all day, to run through the sprinkler and drip popsicle juice all over the sidewalk. Two more weeks of summer boredom and summer bliss. Two more weeks of having the kids around as much as I want and more than I can take. Two more weeks of bickering and boundless giggles. Two more weeks of pirate adventures and sandbox racetracks. Of late nights chasing fireflys and late mornings snuggling on the couch. Of evening trips to the ice cream stand and afternoons spent at the pool. Of shorts and flip flops and soggy beach towels left on the porch. Two more weeks of summer. It's never quite long enough.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

I've had that song stuck in my head for the last day; I tried to find a scan of a birdhouse layout I did last summer but no luck. So you're stuck with just the image of me humming along in pure whimsical joy.

The last 24 hours were kind of crazy. I had chaos at work, chaos at home, chaos trying to get home because we had horrible storms and flooding that closed most of the roads. But then, as almost always happens, things got better. The world dried out, our basement dried out, and all of the problems at work got resolved this morning. It's the weekend baby. Not to put to fine a point on it.

And if you don't happen to be a fan of They Might be Giants and this whole post makes absolutely no sense to you, then I apologize!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

As Myron would say, double yoi.

(For you non-Pittsburgh blog readers, Myron Cope is a beloved local character who has a very colorful command of the English language.)

Panic is a strange thing. It seems like it's a mental thing but I've discovered that for me, at least, it's mostly a physical thing. My head can tell me one thing. Logic can rule the day. But it can't quell that swelling tide of panic and anxiety that wells up inside of my chest and won't back down no matter how many times my head tells it to go away. That's where I was last fall. That's where I was again yesterday. And yesterday, to make it even worse, I KNEW why I was freaking out, I knew why my body was rebelling but I still couldn't control it. I confessed it to Justin and I resolved that I wouldn't let it get it out of control again. And then, I did the google (everyone's getting my cute GWB reference, right?), saw the stats and just like that, the panic disappeared and all was well. It's freaking annoying not to be able to control that you know? I'm still feeling a general undercurrent of anxiety - the "all is not quite right in my world" feeling but I think that's closer to normal.

What is NOT closer to normal is my darling daughter. I raised the issue of calling in an exorcist to Justin today. That child is just not right. Never, in all my days, did I imagine that any child of mine would behave the way she did at the dr's today. She was like a caged animal. One that bites. Is this a 4 year old thing? Because I don't understand how one day she could go from being a normal, high-spirited child to this creature that I simply cannot control. She was fine at home before we left. Fine in the car. Abominable at the allergists. Fine in the car. Fine at home. Abominable at karate. So is it just going out in public that is the problem? Is she destined to a life of being confined to the living room? I honestly don't know and I honestly don't know how I'm supposed to ignore her behavior (what the pediatrician suggested) when she is screaming at the top of her lungs in the middle of a room full of very alarmed looking people.

Ah. I know this too shall pass. I've been a mom long enough to know that they go through some very odd and puzzling and trying phases. But wow, this is not one I was anticipating. Maybe she just wants me to happy that school is about to start again?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Well crap

Charlie had a "routine" appointment with the dermatologist this morning before my class; had the kids up and out of the house at 6:00 a.m. which they were none too happy about. He's had this mole on his back since just before his 1st birthday - it's always bugged me and I ask the pediatrician to check it at every physical and he's always said it's fine. He said that again this year and I said that given what I just went through, I wanted it taken off as a precaution and he agreed. It took 3 months to get the appointment; but I wasn't worried about the darn thing - it's been there for 5 years; I just wanted it off so we never have to worry about it in the future. But (you know where this is going, right?) it turns out that we DO have to worry about it. And I pressed the dermatologist - do I really need to be worried given his age and how long he's had it. He just shook his head and said he doesn't like the way it looks and we'll have the biopsy in a week. He also said he took a little bit more than usual this time so that if it does turn out to be melanoma, hopefully he got it all.

This did not serve to make me feel better. In fact, I vacillated between abject panic and abject fury for about 2 hours. Sorry to the poor participants in my class as I'm sure they wondered whether they signed up for a class with a lunatic. I've calmed down considerably as Justin reminded me that the chances are great it will turn out fine just like mine did and that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it beyond what we did today. I'm still pretty angry though; I love our pediatrician - he was my pediatrician - but I trusted him about this and he was wrong. Charlie is very dark skinned like his dad and he is young and I think those two factors led our doctor to the wrong conclusion.

Please. Get your skin checked. It's a painless process but one that everyone should do.

Edited to add: Well I did the thing you should never do and I googled this and it turns out in this case to have been a calming effort. There is virtually no chance - like 7 in a million - this is something we need to worry about. Now we just wait for the confirmation!

Monday, August 6, 2007

What I Would Tell this Girl

A lift of Alleen - Sagehen at Two Peas. I thought this mini-album was a really cool idea and it was an honor to lift it.

Tomorrow is a crazy kind of day. I'm teaching a required continuing legal education seminar for new attorneys. I've never taught other attorneys before so I hope it goes well. And then more CASA training tomorrow night. And it's a busy work week with a looming custody trial and its necessary preparation. One day at a time.


That's what this weather is. Blech. When you go outside, it feels like you are breathing underwater. I should have started exercising in October instead of August.

We are busy doing the end up summer wrap up stuff. Physicals, dentist, haircuts, etc. Charlie goes back to school in 3 weeks. I am very sad about it; kind of shocked at how fast the summer went and dismayed when I look at my work schedule in the time we have left. Overtime should have to wait until the kids are back in school. They are excited though - both eager to go back and see their friends and get back to the regular schedule.

One of the women in the pub at Two Peas passed away last week. She used to post on the Layout a Day thread; I didn't get to know her very well but she had a very mischievous sense of humor and her passing has hit me hard. She has two boys at home and I just cry when I think what they must be going through. Things like this are not supposed to happen. I'm going to lift her later this week and will post it here.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Baby it's hot hot hot

The thermometer in my car actually stopped working today but the sign at the bank said it was 100 degrees at 11:30. I believe I've posted before my theory about productivity, the third world and air conditioning. It's hard to get anything done on days like this - Justin and I spent most of the day trying to conserve energy, alternating between grumpy and lazy, and feeling guilty for not wanting to venture outside.

Little man tested for his green belt this morning and we were surprised and proud when he volunteered to do his form by himself. This is a big step in the world of tae kwon do - you can't move up to the more disciplined Karate for Kids until you demonstrate the self-confidence to do the form without the instructor's direction. So, in typical Charlie fashion, he decided to turn this proud moment into something, and asked us to take him to lunch. Okay. To the Golden Corral. Oh. Now not to denigrate this fine restaurant or anyone who is a big fan, but I am not. Not a big fan of the buffet in general. But to a kid who thinks macaroni is a food group and can eat a pint of strawberries in 5 minutes flat, Golden Corral must seem like heaven.

The only benefit to this outing (at least as far as I was concerned) was that everyone had such a big lunch that I didn't feel the need to cook for dinner. Sandwiches and zucchini all around. Lazy days of summer indeed.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The only good thing about insomnia

is that when it was time for my 6:00 run, I'd already been up for hours and didn't have to worry about finding the energy to get out of bed. At this point, I'm ready for a mid-day nap. I'm trying to give up my Diet Mt. Dew habit but right now I'm re-thinking that strategy.

The run wasn't so fun today. But I did it and that's what counts. I wasn't sore yesterday or this morning but I am feeling it right now.

I am doing Layout-a-Day again this month; I've done a lot of collecting of scrapbook supplies the last few months and not enough scrapping so I figured this would keep me accountable. Is that starting to seem like a theme?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Yes, I can!

I'm so excited - I did the first day of Couch to 5K and I didn't die! Not only that, the endorphins must have kicked in around the 4th minute because I was having fun. I probably won't be able to walk tomorrow but I can't wait until Friday to see if I can do it again!

Not going to post more now; I just got home and saw the news about the bridge collapse so I'm going to go watch the news. I'm praying it's not as bad as it looks.