Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random thoughts

I've heard the expression "brain dump" recently  - that applies today. I'm actually working on several things - I have posts scheduled in advance as part of a blog challenge I stumbled across today, and I'm also working on my first-ever joint blog post. As for today, though, all I have are random, disconnected thoughts.

I really need a haircut. My hair has gotten so long it's ridiculous. When I can put it in a bun with only one clip and no work, it's too long. My hair is very fine and thin and straight, so when it gets like this it just hangs flat and I can't do anything with it. So, it's time to get some inches off.

Don't you hate it when you try on new shoes in the store, at the end of the day, and they're comfy, but when you wear them to work they pinch all day? I'm hoping these will break themselves in soon!

I finished Depression Cookies this week and fully intended to write a post reviewing the book. But, I suck at book reviews. I have a hard time talking about the book without giving too much away! I did write a review on, though, so you can read that review. And buy the book while you're there, it's incredible.

I had something great happen yesterday at work. I was chatting with a security guard and he suddenly said "Christine doll, (he calls everyone doll) you've lost weight! What's your secret?" I felt so good that someone could tell a difference! I still have quite a way to go, but it's nice when even a small loss is noticed. It's encouraging.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Random Pinterest finds

I love Pinterest.

I've found so many neat things and great ideas on that site! Craft ideas, recipes, inspiration, even planning Sophie's second birthday party.

Like recipes:

Two-ingredient ice cream bread
Homemade pretzel bites

Crafty ideas:
Handprint owl
DIY dollhouse
Good ideas:
Spice rack for other organization
Moss graffiti 
And things that just make me smile:
I love this expression
And this is just a tiny reason why I love Pinterest. I have things that are important to me, things that inspire me, and things I hope to have pinned on different boards. From the board entitled "Dream home" on which I pin photos of rooms or houses that really shout out to me, I realize that I want a home with light, open spaces, and a sunny, breezy feeling. And lots of book storage.

I also have a whole board planning Sophie's birthday party. I'm finding lots of ideas from that I know I can make myself! It's several months away but I'm already getting excited. And gives me plenty of time to start making things!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I'm laying in bed with a chatty little toddler who slept all the way home from her Nana & Papa's house, so she's not in a hurry to sleep now.
She's kissing & hugging the cat. She's singing. She will sing along and do all the motions to Wheels on the Bus if you sing with her. She's trying to tell me something, but I don't understand. She's stood & banged the headboard and hidden under the blanket. She's even thrown in a high-pitched toddler scream just for good measure. I tried to take a picture a few minutes ago- she was laying with her head on my husband's pillow with her blankie over her head, so only a bright blue eye could be seen. My phone got her attention, though, & I never could get a photo.

She's talking a bit more. She calls anything to drink "milk" and says "mone" for phone. She said "no bocks" yesterday when she was done with her blocks and "my bites" when she wanted her sister's dinner. Somehow we often understand what she's saying even when the words aren't clear.

She was still for just a moment! Don't let the expression fool you- she's not sleeping in this picture.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Fit Mama Club Week 8

Last Week's Weight Loss: 0 lb
Total Weight Loss: 8 lbs
Last Week's High: I did ok most days with staying within my calorie goal. My focus this week was on Emma, though, so I didn't do much else.
Last Week's Low: Even though yesterday was a wonderful day with my mom, I completely blew my calories for the day. We stopped for dessert at Cracker Barrel, and my piece of cake had almost 800 calories!
Plan For This Week: Watch my food intake every day. Keep doing my PT exercises (and use a heating pad after so I can walk afterward!), and do some form of exercise at least twice this week.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I made a word cloud with Tagxedo, using my latest blog posts. I wanted to make a "real" post today, but I have no energy left. Today was a  nice day, though! It's my mother's birthday, so we had a mother-daughter day, just the two of us. Then after I got home, I spent time with the girls, then Em and I made dinner, bathed Sophie, then did my physical therapy exercises together. Sophie finally gave up and went to sleep, and I'll be following soon.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 26, 2011


I am so glad we all made it to the weekend. What a week this has been!

Today my husband and I both took the day off, since we weren't sure how long we'd be at the hospital with Emma today. We decided to take Sophie with us instead of dropping her off at her babysitter's house. Last night I downloaded an episode of Sesame Street (her favorite right  now) and a few Sesame Street podcasts that are basically 6 minute episodes from iTunes in preparation of a long visit. I packed her diaper bag last night with snacks and books, and Emma took her blanket, book, and puzzle book. We were to be at admitting at 8:00, and signed in at 7:59. We got her registered, were sent to radiology, and she had her CT scan 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. That has to be a first for a hospital!

After the scan, I asked the radiologist where to next, and he said "home!" Really? When the nurse from our pediatrician's office called, I had the impression we were seeing a neurologist today also. Of course the desk there doesn't have any information about that, so I called our pediatrician's office. Nope, neuro appointment is in October! Like my friend said, though, if the radiologist had seen a problem on her scan we wouldn't have been simply sent home.

So still no answers, but we're moving in that direction instead of just waiting, at least.

A very happy note, though, is that today, Emma is fine! No headache, normal appetite, laughing, playing around, perfectly normal. It's so nice after two weeks of pain. I really hope this lasts this time and we have a long time between headaches again.

Yesterday I had called her school to let them know she was still going to be absent, and that today was the hospital visit, and they were getting her assignments from the week from her teachers. We were going to stop on the way home to pick them up and she suddenly said "You can't! You have to call and ask for that first and give them lots of time!" I informed her I did that yesterday morning while she was sleeping. "Oh crap." So she's been catching up on 4 days of missed schoolwork.

It's been nice having the extra day to spend all together. We've been helping her with her homework, I did the grocery shopping before 6:00, and did a little laundry. Mostly we've just been enjoying each other. It's been a while since we've all felt like it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm not wearing orange tomorrow.

I mentioned in a previous post, and it's been all over the national news, that Pat Summitt was recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Supporters all over, not just at the university, have started a movement to wear orange tomorrow in support of her. (Here is the Facebook page for the event.)

But I'm not going to wear orange.

First off, I don't have anything orange TO wear, even if I wanted to. The particular shade of orange for UT athletics is hideous and clashes horribly with my red  hair. But that's not why.

It's too easy.

Orange is pretty popular around here. People wear UT-colored clothing year round, not just during a sports season. Especially on Fridays. Many workplaces have "UT Fridays" built into the dress code. While I understand the sentiment in the vein of the wearing of red for heart disease, they might as well say "wear jeans on Friday" or "wear shorts in the summer" - it's something almost everyone does already so it doesn't mean a lot.

Also, if I was going to wear a specific color in honor of someone who was just diagnosed with an illness, I'd wear the color designated for that illness - you know, all those awareness ribbon colors. Purple happens to be the color for Alzheimer's awareness. So why not say everyone wear purple on a specific day in her honor? Because I'm sure it's the team color for some rival team - and we can't have anyone think that anyone in Tennessee might be supporting another team, can we? Because sports matter THAT much. (Insert sarcasm here.)

Don't get me wrong - I do support her, and all others who have this tragic illness. It tears families apart every day. I hope the fact that such a high-profile figure has this diagnosis helps push for advancement toward a cure, like Michael J. Fox has done for Parkinson's Disease. But I think there has to be a better way to go about this than simply putting on the orange shirt you were probably going to wear anyway, saying "It's for Pat" and feeling like you did something. Why not ask everyone to send five dollars, or even one dollar, to the Alzheimer's Research Foundation? If the population of Knox County alone sent in $5 each, that would be well over $2 million towards a cure.

Wouldn't that do a lot more than wearing a t-shirt?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


That's how I feel right now.

Simply helpless.

Today was Emma's follow-up appointment with the pediatrician for her headaches. She gave her headache journal for copies to be made. No pattern to her headaches. No relief from the new medication. No answers. The nurse is scheduling an appointment with a neurologist for a consult and a CT scan at Children's Hospital. I didn't think I'd ever have to meet with neurologists there ever again! Nothing against the hospital or doctors, all were wonderful, but some people you never hope to meet professionally just because it means something isn't right, you know? We had our fill already.

I admit I'm worried. I tell myself there is nothing to be worried about, I've seen a CT scan performed and know it's fast and simple. But still. I worry that there is something wrong. I worry that it's something simple and we're missing it. I worry about how we're going to pay for all this.

And helpless. I feel so helpless because I can't make her pain go away.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Busy news day, and Versatile Blogger award

Today, I am glad I don't work in journalism after all. First there was the shocking "news" about Will and Jada Smith splitting (Neither rep has confirmed, so I'm still hoping it's a rumor). Then this afternoon East Tennessee was rocked by the news that beloved coach Pat Summit has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. Shortly after that, there is an earthquake on the east coast. On top of all the national news, Emma is sick at home with another bad headache. She's been following the medication regimen, keeping her headache diary, and taking the new prescription pain medicine. Today, she woke with another one and has gotten no relief all day. She also runs a slight fever each time. Tomorrow morning is her follow-up visit, and I'm afraid she'll have to have the further testing - CT scan, some other sort of test of the sinuses and ears, and who knows what else. That's just the "Worried Mama" in me, but I can't help it!

On a happier note - I'm happy to accept the Versatile Blogger award for Inspired Life from Tia at Depression Cookies. I am reading her book (also titled Depression Cookies) and loving it. I am honored to be included on her list of what I consider "real" writers.

The Rules of accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs (contact them to let them know).

Ok, seven things about myself:
1. I despise tomatoes. I like ketchup, and spaghetti sauce, things like that, but I H.A.T.E. tomatoes. And I live in tomato country! People here go nuts over big, red, ripe, juicy tomatoes, ooh and ahh over tomato sandwiches, and put them on everything. The smell makes me want to throw up. They're gross and stinky and slimy.
2. I seem to have beaten my caffeine addiction without even realizing it! I didn't do it on purpose, but once I started using I realized how many calories I was ingesting daily. All that sweet tea, Dr Pepper, and lattes and cappuccinos really add up! Now if I can only battle the sugar problem... I have made a big improvement there, also, though.
3. I'm not a fan of "reality TV" but I LOVE Big Brother and also Gene Simmons Family Jewels. (Even though I've never been a KISS fan)
4. I'm a procrastinator.
5. I watch too much TV. Thank goodness for DVR, though! I'd see much less if we still had only one tv and could only watch one show at a time.
6. I'm a reformed technophobe. I never used to care about things like that, now I'm excited to check out the new products from the CES show in Las Vegas. I have iPod, iPhone, laptop, Blackberry, netbook, tiny video camera, regular camera. I had an ebook reader before they were popular (unfortunately, though, the thing is dead now. RIP old faithful friend!) I am dying for a Toshiba Thrive.
7. I am by nature a night owl. I could easily stay up until the wee hours of the morning and sleep until 11. Unfortunately, being an adult with the usual working hours puts a damper on sleeping in, and I struggle in mornings.

Ok, now for the 15 bloggers. All wonderful writers!
1. The Traveling Fridge
2. Passion. Dedication. Life. Us.
3. Ph.D Candi
4. Love, Life, and a Baby
5. View from Down Here
6. bhulbhulaiyan (Great blog, but don't ask me to pronounce it!)
7. Let's Talk and Walk
8. She Started It
9. Babyhellfire has a blog?!
10. A Bumbling Idiot
11. Renee CK
12. Southern Goddess
13. Perceived Truth
14. Caitiskirt
15. Mom Et Al

Fifteen great writers - check them out for yourself!
And thanks again to Tia, who really made my day. I was having a "why do I keep doing this, it doesn't matter" kind of days. Thank you for inspiring me to keep going.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fit Mama Club Week 7

What a week this has been! With Emma's illness, my pain, and all the normal "stuff" I'm happy to rest this weekend. However, I did stay within my calorie goal every day this week!

Last Week's Weight Loss: 1 lb
Total Weight Loss: 8 lbs
Last Week's High: On Sunday we went to the park to walk the trail. I walked close to a mile and a half! I made better meal and snack choices all week, too.
Last Week's Low: OMG the pain! Friday after my first PT session I had this neat electrical massage thing stuck to my back and a heating pad on top of that. I laid there for 15 minutes enjoying it. Yesterday I did my exercises, and could barely move the rest of the day. It was awful. I hurt so bad I wanted to throw up.
Plan For This Week: Keep trying the exercises. I have two more sessions this week. Keep planning lunch and dinner so we're not scrambling.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Good morning!

I'm testing a blogging app I downloaded to my phone last night. Several times I've wanted to write but didn't have computer access, so out of curiosity I went searching in the app store. So far I like it!

Just for fun, here's a picture I snapped last night at Target.

Sophie wanted to help! She was cute last night, waving at everyone we met.

We all met at the store after work, and didn't get out until after 7. Since it was so late, we ordered Chili's carry out to take home. I am happy that even though I ordered my usual crispy shrimp tacos (and they were delicious) I didn't go over my calorie limit for the day! I had to laugh, though. I ordered my tacos without tomato. There are 3 in an order. Two were tomatoless.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Friday!

I'm hoping that the week will end nicely. This week has been... interesting. And tiring.

Monday was fine. Tuesday morning on my way to work I had to go back and pick up Emma from school and take her back home. She gets recurring (but thankfully not frequent) horrible headaches. She hadn't had much appetite and felt very nauseous with it. I worked part of the day and came home early. Slight fever (not really enough to classify as a fever, but higher than normal) and no improvement. Wednesday morning, no change. I remembered her prescription medicine for the headaches and gave her a dose of it, and had her stay in bed until it was time for Sophie's checkup that morning. Still no improvement. Thinking she just needed a medication change, I called the office to see if she could possibly be seen while I had Sophie there, and she was worked in later that morning.

After several calls back and forth with updates (I had to come on to work but luckily Nana is back on Wednesday duty and took care of both girls) it was decided that she should try a combination of Claritin and Afrin for 5 days, a new prescription for the pain, and keep a headache diary. We go back next Wednesday to follow up. Poor girl has been miserable, though.

On a positive note, Sophie's checkup was great! She is 26 lbs 11 oz now, and 33 1/2 inches tall! I was amazed - she doesn't seem that tall to me. She still is only saying maybe 15 words, but her doctor said between now and her second birthday we'll see a huge improvement in her vocabulary and decline in attitude :) She had one more shot, and she's done until age 4!

Today I started physical therapy for my back/hip pain. It was a long session, and for a while the therapist was stumped. Nothing seemed to make sense. We finally determined that it was not just one thing causing the pain, but at least two problems. I have my list of exercises to do every day and next week's schedule. At the end of today's session I was hooked up to this electrical stimulation/massagey thing that was heavenly. I'd go back every day for that!

Tomorrow Emma and I are planning another mother/daughter date. We're going to see the Glee movie. Hopefully the weather will be nice, also, and we can do more painting on our house! I am impatient to get it done so I can see the change.

And mainly so I can count once and for all - a list of Sophie's words:
Mama, Dada (or daddy), Adda (or Emma), Daisy, Tucker, Charla, out, me, mine, please, uh-oh, ow, ew, what's this?, What's that?, hi, hello, NeeNee for Bunny, Mammy for her monkey. She's working on milk but it sounds more like she's meowing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Writing break

As before:
I found a first line here and start with it and just write. I'll write until I have to stop to think and we'll see where this goes. Enjoy! (Hopefully)

Ellen threw her bag on the floor and burst into tears. This day was not going as she had planned. Her favorite eye shadow fell and shattered, she was late catching the train to work, and once she was there noticed a spot on her blouse and a hole in the seam of her pants! Of course there was no going home to change. Even if it was convenient instead of an hour commute each way, there was too much to be done at work. Deadlines, meetings, and then the final interviews for the promotion she was trying for. How would she ever get promoted now? She couldn't even get herself to work on time and looking presentable! She set the timer on her phone for five minutes and just let herself cry. Her door was locked and no one could see her. When she heard the chirp of the alarm, she dried her eyes, repaired her makeup with the emergency kit she kept in her desk drawer, and took a deep breath.

There. That felt better. Even in-control ladies have emotional outbursts. She made a cup of tea and calmed herself by taking a quick inventory of her office. Desk drawers - all closed. Handles dust-free. Pens lined up by color and purpose. Emergency kit - stocked. Makeup, wipes, sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, ruler, cleaning cloths. Phone at exactly a 55 degree angle to her computer. She picked up her ruler and checked her books. Yes, all lined up. Wonderful. She stirred her tea five times and then took five sips. She counted the shelves on her bookcase - five. She checked the drawers on her side cabinet - five. She wiped imaginary spots and fingerprints off each one. She sat in her cozy corner chair and said a prayer of gratitude for five things in her life.

At precisely 5:00, she walked five doors down to the conference room for her interview session for the promotion. Something told her she had this. She knocked softly on the door. Rap rap rap rap rap A voice said "Come in," and she opened the door. The firm's five partners were sitting around the table.

Yes, she had this. Silly little compulsions or not, she could get this promotion. The signs were all around.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blazing images

I've been off-and-on reading the book Novel Voices on my lunch breaks at work. It's a collection of interviews with 17 award-winning novelists all about writing. The cover of the book says "on how to write, edit, and get published" but so far I've seen more about the writing process itself. Admittedly, I do scan over some areas because I'm not familiar with the author or the passage just isn't holding my attention.

Today, I was reading the interview with Carrie Brown. I confess, she is one of the authors that I'd previously never heard of. But just from reading her chapter, I want to read her books. Several of her answers resonate with me, and make me want to write more.

Especially this one:
What is your writing process?
The best description of my writing process would be that it is like moving in a dark room after leaving a brightly lit space. I've no idea where I'm going, the way might be dangerous, and all I can see are these blazing images imprinted on the retina and fading fast.
I wanted to say out loud, "Yes! That's it exactly!" When I begin writing something, I have no idea where the story is going. One I've been working on for a while, my NaNoWriMo attempt, is still sticking around and now the story wants to go in a completely different direction than the vague idea I had in my head last year. I'm not sure yet how to transition the story, but it's still there. The characters are just like the "blazing images" Ms Brown describes- I can almost see them when I close my eyes.

In another question, about how quickly she's produced her volume of work, the author has another response that I can identify with. "Some days, everyone in the novel seems to cooperate with you in moving the thing forward. Other days, they refuse to even get out of bed." Right now, my characters are in the refusal to get out of bed stage. There are times when they jump up ready to go, but those times usually happen at the worst times for me - working, driving, times when I'm unable to record the words.

I feel like I need to schedule a "writing time" in my day, maybe not every day. Writing "as I find time" never seems to happen, as there is never extra time to be found. As I'm learning with my health, nothing good will happen unless I MAKE the time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fit Mama Club Week 6

Wow I can't believe it's been six weeks already!

Luckily, I have progress to report! As of yesterday, I've lost 7 lbs since I started using SEVEN POUNDS!! I was shocked when I stepped on the scale yesterday. I'm also planning my lunches for the week just like dinner, so I have healthy meals and snacks ready to go.

Last Week's High -I did much better. I only went over my calorie goal one day, and I was sick so it doesn't count ;) It wasn't way over, either. I did great with water, too. I also got sugar-free fruit punch mix to drink at home instead of sweetened tea, sugary lemonade, or Koolaid. Sugar is my weak point.
Last Week's Low -I didn't exercise all week. That needs to change.
Plan for This Week - Stay within my calorie guidelines. Add in exercise. I start physical therapy for my back/hip issue on Friday, but that's not enough.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rambling? Maybe.

I'm up early on a Saturday morning (I know it's not early now, but I've been up for 2 hours already). I just printed a menu planning worksheet I used in the past. I'm going to plan out a week of healthy meals, and go grocery shopping. I found some helpful guidelines yesterday that I printed out, so I'm not quite as overwhelmed as I was earlier in the week. It also looks like I won't have THAT many changes to make! I've never eaten terribly unhealthy; I always buy and cook lean meats because I can't stand fat (it leaves such a horrible taste in the meat, even when cut off), I never fry foods, and use olive oil if I cook with oil at all. Mostly I use cooking spray, unless I'm using a nonstick pan.

I can see where it will be difficult, though: I love sweet tea. I am Southern, remember? It's in our blood!  That just reminded me of something. A few years ago my sister in law was visiting from Illinois (land of no sweet tea). We were at a restaurant and I ordered a glass, and after the waitress left she asked me "How do you know they serve it here?" I just told her that down here, everyone serves it. Usually if you don't specify unsweet you will get sweet. That's just how it is! Anyway, I can drink a lot of it. Since I started using My Fitness Pal I've really cut back, though. I need to drink more water at home. I also have been keeping lemonade and Koolaid in the refrigerator as alternatives, but neither is the sugar-free version. I always wonder, though, which is worse: real sugar or chemical sweeteners?

With the whole cholesterol thing thrown in, I'm almost afraid of breakfast. I love omelets (eggs, bacon pieces, cheese) but that's high in cholesterol. I love pancakes, but those aren't exactly healthy either. Biscuits? Pure carbs. I wish Bisquick came in a whole wheat variety! That would make weekend breakfasts so much simpler :)

Today is going to be a busy day. We have a lot to do this weekend, and tonight is my 15 year high school reunion. Luckily, it's at a restaurant minutes from my house. That's super convenient today! If we had to travel again the day would be awful. There is just too much to be done, and this is not the weekend for that hour drive each way.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Skirt! interview

If you didn't know, I have been a blogger for for several years now.  This is a blog feature this week - the SkirtSetters are doing interviews. It's fun getting to know little details about everyone! Here's mine.
Meet: Christine

Right now I’m reading: Oddly enough, I'm not reading anything at the moment. It's a bit shocking! But I am expecting a copy of Depression Cookies, and can't wait to read it.

My lucky charm: I don't have one.

Signature Scent: I don't wear perfume often any more. I got out of the habit when I was pregnant with Sophie - the morning sickness was just too bad! When I do wear it, it's Stella McCartney. I LOVE it.

One item always in my purse: A pouch with many lipsticks. I like my choices :)

Where I Get My Coffee: My favorite coffee shop closed (but they're reopening soon!  Can't wait!) so right now i'm doing instant cappuccino at my desk at work.

My Workout: I don't really have a "workout." I like to go to the park with the family and walk the trail. In the near future I'll be doing physical therapy also, so that will be a

Red, White or Beer? I drink so little that it was a couple interviews in that I realized this meant alcohol...

I love: My husband. My daughters. Red. Music. Reading. Writing. Trees. Autumn. Beautiful clothes. Our town. The lake. The ocean. My parents. My extended family. My heart-sisters.My friends. Shoes. Baby kisses.

What makes me smile: So many things every day - Sophie dancing to SuperBass. Emma laughing so hard she can't breathe. A hug and kiss from my husband.
(Sophie's dance is here)

I Can’t Live Without: My family. Caffiene. Internet. Sugar. Food. Oxygen. Sleep. Books. Conversation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Big changes ahead

This morning was my follow-up visit for my hip/leg/back/whatever pain. The good news is that it should be treatable with physical therapy. The bad news is it probably won't ever go away completely. The doctor said he'd consider 80% improvement a success.

Since this is also my new primary care doctor, I had blood work done last week for an overall screening (something my old doctor never cared about, even with a close family history of diabetes and my history of hypoglycemia, which he never seemed to believe happened). Everything is in the normal range, BUT not great. My cholesterol was fine overall, but the "good" kind is too low and the 'bad" kind is too high. I was surprised, because I am not a meat fan, don't eat a lot of fatty or fried foods, and the thought of a fast-food hamburger and fries makes me want to vomit. I do like cheese, though.... and ice cream.
Also, and surprisingly related, I'm "pre-diabetic." My glucose reading was on the high end of normal, but much higher than it was just a few years ago.

Neither problem is at a point to be treated by medication, but a diet change will work. And is necessary. I only have one body and one life - I want to take care of both. We'll have to make a drastic change as a family, though, in what we eat and what we do. I'll need to go back to meal planning so I'm not scrambling to cook a meal after work; when I was doing this it was easy to shop for and make healthy meals. Also - a huge cutback on pasta.I realized today we either have a pasta dish or potato dish with every dinner. I need to learn other options. More vegetables.

It turns out that my signing up for My Fitness Plan was perfect timing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

So my daughter wants to go to private school

Saturday Emma and I went shopping for her school supplies. During the afternoon, she was telling me about a friend of hers who is transferring to a private school this year. She couldn't understand why, since her friend is a popular, well-liked girl at their school. I explained that sometimes it's about more than popularity; she may want a better academic school (not that their school is bad).

A little while later, Emma said she would probably have a better chance of getting into a good college if she went to a private school. She told me that she knew it was super expensive, but if she worked really hard this year maybe she could get a scholarship? She was so intent on concentrating on her grades this year in hopes of a scholarship that I just had to look at schools here to see what they were like.

I found one school that was not a religious school. I am not at all against religious schools, I even went to a private religious college, but I really want a school that focuses on academics for her. I found one that sounded wonderful, read through all the information, then looked at the scary page: tuition.

For the high school levels, tuition is merely $15,000 per year. Every year. Then there are the extras: uniforms, books, lunch, required iPad, other miscellaneous fees. So a rough estimate is just over $16,000 each year, or $64,000 for all four years of high school.

That made me sad. I would LOVE to be able to give Emma every academic advantage possible. But realistically, there is no way short of a winning lottery ticket we'd ever be able to send her to private school. And I worry about her chances for a scholarship. The school I looked at does offer scholarships, but the process is lengthy. While she has the grades, she does  not have the extra curricular activities or community service.

I know that it is just as possible to get into a good college from a public high school, but I know what public high school is like. I love the offerings at the private school, all the many sports, clubs, experiments - so many opportunities for hands-on learning!

But, I just have to accept the truth. And do my very best to help her get the education she deserves from what we have to work with - there is no reason to limit ourselves to what is taught in school. We have museums, libraries, the internet - plenty of supplemental material to work with.

But I can still wish for a better opportunity for her.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fit Mama Club Week 5


Sort of...

I haven't lost anything yet, but I will!

I mentioned earlier in the week that I joined the My Fitness Pal website and downloaded the app for my phone. I also have extended my "support group" of weight loss seeking friends who cheer each other on and offer encouragement when needed.  I also bought a scale yesterday so I can finally track numbers.

Last Week's High -A week of mostly  healthy eating! I did eat in the cafeteria one day, but that was the ONLY day. I'm also tracking my food and exercise on MFP. I even worked out early Saturday  morning!
Last Week's Low - Thursday - Krystal breakfast on my way to work (scrambled eggs, toast, kryspers, tea) and cheeseburger and fries and soda for lunch in the cafeteria. Went way over my calorie goal for the day.
Plan for This Week - Avoid soda. Weigh myself daily. Keep tracking food and exercise.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Toshiba Thrive - a non-technical user review

Toshiba Thrive
Yesterday evening my husband brought home a new 'toy' from his office to try out - a Toshiba Thrive. We've both been wanting one for months, since we first heard Toshiba was developing them. Since I'm currently the only human awake in our home, I'm trying it out.

I don't have an iPad, but we both have iPhones so I'm pretty familiar with IOS. This uses the Android system. There are a few differences I've found so far. For one thing, I've realized how much I rely on autocorrect while using a mobile device.  This does not have the same aggressive autocorrect feature. I do like the typewriter sounds as I type, and the emotion key. I'm still working out how to move the cursor around. I made it work perfectly once, but since then all I can do is select text.  I'll get there!

Like the iPad, the Thrive has both front and rear cameras. The picture quality is amazing. I'm not used to seeing such large pictures on the screen. Unlike the iPad and other tablets, this one has LOTS of extra ports. USB, SD, others I don't know what they are... But I do know that a SD card will let you expand the device memory as needed, and also makes for simple photo importing. A USB port lets you....almost anything.  Printer, mouse, external hard drive, keyboard, a toilet bowl speaker...

 I want to spend more time playing with the Thrive, to see what all it can do. I can't download any apps since it doesn't belong to us, but I did look at the Android market. I know there are many more apps than I could find, but I am not familiar with that market at all.

Color options
One feature I am very interested in learning about is the ability to create/manipulate Office documents (Word, Excel are my main focus) without compatibility issues. I would love one of these tablets for work. It would be so much easier to carry around than even the netbook I currently use, and even though the screen is a similar size, netbooks don't have the ability to enlarge and move what is displayed on the screen. (There are also different colored backs available which I LOVE.)

My overall first impression is I WANT ONE! But I would have a lot to learn to fully use the tablet. I did get frustrated halfway through this post and switched to my laptop (thank you Blogger autosave!) but I know with practice (and instructions) I wouldn't have a problem.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday randomness

Today has been a busy day! I like busy days, because they seem to go faster.

Also, did you realize that if you type "today" too fast you can get "toady?"

Yes, this is going to be another post full of randomness. My brain is tired.

Yesterday I stopped by my doctor's office to have blood drawn for my appointment next week. We'll go over the results of both the bloodwork and the xrays from last week, and then see where to go from there. I'm expecting an MRI. One part of me doesn't want to bother, but a bigger part of me is just tired of being in so much pain. And it's getting worse. Last week, it was only really bad if I sat down for a while, like the lenght of dinner or a tv show. Now it's if I sit for just a few minutes. Makes my 45 minute commute to work just peachy....

Not a complaining post, though! I hate those!

After my appointment, the girls and I went to Emma's school for registration. She starts eighth grade on Monday! I can't believe she's that old. I certainly don't feel that old! She's had a good summer, though. She's had her rest time, her week at camp, her vacation to Florida. She was a little sad that yesterday was her last day babysitting Sophie all day, too, until the next school vacation. I think Nana misses her day with the girls, too. Sophie and Emma have gotten so close, though. Sophie simply adores her big sister! But I know she misses her Nana - the last time we were down there visiting she kept running up to her and hugging her legs and running off again.

My 15 year class reunion is in 9 days. I need a haircut and have no idea what I'm going to wear. It's at a casual restaurant on the lake, just a few minutes from our house. Our ten year reunion was horrible - it was at our old high school, in the cafeteria and gym. No air conditioning, and SUPER hot. This one is more planned out. I wonder if there will be anything besides dinner - at the last one there were photo boards from our high school days.

Today I signed up for My Fitness Pal. There's a website and iPhone app, and both are free to use. I forgot my lunch today and ate a cheeseburger and fries from the cafeteria and drank a soda - not such good choices. But I found one  awesome feature of this site - put nursing sessions on the food tracker, and it counts as negative calories! So I'm doing just fine today after all! I still want to make healthier food choices, but it's good to know I didn't blow my first day with one meal. Yet another benefit to breastfeeding until age 2!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Writing break

As before:
I found a first line here and start with it and just write. I'll write until I have to stop to think and we'll see where this goes. Enjoy! (Hopefully)

The house dwarfed everything in the street. It was four stories tall, robin's-egg blue, with a great grey gabled roof. It was a wide house, also, with a wraparound porch and balconies in various spots on upper floors. It really stood out among the ranches and split-levels, making perfectly fine houses seem tiny in comparison. Molly was embarrassed by it sometimes, and other times she simply adored it. She loved exploring the many hiding places offered by the expansiveness, and that alone outweighed her resentment toward her parents at moving their family across the country, away from all her friends. They simply said "Oh, you'll make new friends," as if her feelings and hurt and pain didn't matter to them at all. They gave her a bicycle, a shiny red one with handlebar streamers that she was pretty sure they meant as a bribe, trying to get her to like the house and the neighborhood. She knew there were other kids on her block; she'd heard them playing outside when she was testing out a hiding place near a third-floor window. Whenever she would go outside with her parents when they were going to visit Granny Pierce, though, she never saw anyone. Granny Pierce is the reason they moved so suddenly. She was Daddy's mother and quite old in Molly's ten year old mind. Daddy was the very youngest of his four brothers. One was killed in the war, one was on a Navy ship somewhere on the other side of the world, and one wasn't responsible enough to keep a job, much less take care of their mother. That left Daddy, and Mama and Molly. She was also part of the reason why they bought such a huge house - Mama was hoping they could talk Granny P into moving in with them, and she had already been making one of the rooms on the bottom floor into what she called a suite for her. Molly thought she meant dessert at first, and couldn't figure out why Mama was cooking in a big empty room not even close to the kitchen. Then Mama explained that it was a big bedroom, and its own bathroom and sitting room. A nice place for Granny P, if she would do it.

As Molly was sitting on the front porch, swinging and thinking about all this, a boy that looked to be about her age was walking down the sidewalk. He saw her, and stopped. "Hey, do you go to Hartsvale Primary? I don't know you." Molly just looked at him at first. She recognized his voice; he was one of the children who played in the street. He had reddish-brown hair and freckles, and had on jeans and a green-striped t-shirt. He was carrying a ball. "My name is Molly Pierce. We just moved here." "I'm Jack," he said. "I knew I hadn't seen you at school. Whatcha doing?"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Did I really just hear that?? Mental illness vs. physical illness

I try REALLY hard not to blog about work at all. I enjoy my job, but I don't really have a job where details can be discussed with outsiders - HIPAA and all that. But today I went into the breakroom to eat my lunch, and the conversation I overheard sent me right back to my desk as soon as the microwave finished.

Background/disclaimer: I understand that the combination of the city's busiest ER and the close proximity to the homeless shelter can be frustrating to the staff here. I understand venting. That in itself does not bother me at all; I'd much rather the staff vent to each other instead of to a patient. Another disclaimer: I work at this facility, but am not employed by this facility.

Anyway, as my lunch was heating, two men at the table were having a political discussion. They were covering all the big issues: budget crisis, Socialism, Medicare, Social Security... you know, the hot buttons.

Quick aside: they were saying that there is enough money in the country, but it's distributed wrong - too many people making too much money for "nothing." Just as I was thinking that so many conservatives feel this way but are so opposed to Socialism, although their solution is the very definition of Socialism, one man said "Better not say that too loudly, we'll get called Socialists or Communists." At least he's a little aware...

But back to the issue. As he was ranting on and on, he wondered how many of his patients on disability or Medicare or Medicaid ever worked. Then he said if a patient is really sick, he doesn't care one bit if they work or not. A person is a person, "What would Jesus do?" Then went on to say but if they're just here because they're drunk or overdosing or suicidal, he doesn't care, get out of his way so he can help the real sick people.

I ALMOST pointed out that the second part of his statement totally goes against the "WWJD" part  - if I remember correctly from all my years of VBS, Sunday School, church, and the whole growing-up environment... Jesus didn't discriminate between physical illness and mental illness. He didn't say "Bring me your sick, but only if they're physically sick and insured."

Sadly, this is a prevalent attitude toward mental illness in our country. Not many people seem to be interested in treating these people, but instead want to hide them away or write them off as "you asked for it."

Here are some facts about mental illness from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness):
You can see how vital treatment is of mental illnesses. It's not an uncommon problem, either. Did you notice this line? "One in 17 Americans live with a serious mental illness." One in 17. Think about that for a minute. Do you know 17 people? Then odds are someone you know lives with a serious mental illness. Wouldn't you want your friend or loved one to get the help they need?  That they deserve?

Some resources for support or information:
Dept of Veteran Affairs 
Other mental health resources