Friday, March 30, 2012

Writer's Block Friday: Still Nothing to Say

Blah, blah, blah . . .

We went to the Big Mall (You might call it the Mall of America) on Wednesday.  On Tuesday D declared it was hard staying home all the time.  This is so true.


I didn't tell you but I was a small competition to be an Internet correspondent at a food and wine festival in California.  I think I was one of a handful of contestants.  Got my "thanks, but no thanks" email today.  It's all right.  I can eat chocolate chips at home, I guess.  Who needs a stupid ol' trip to California.


Tough Girl Running Journal:
Wednesday - Cross Training Day
Thursday - 1.5 miles. As I was running along my earphone cord was flapping around, and I decided that it was not helping the picture of fat mommy running.  I ordered some made for running.  They came today, and I must say I certainly look the part until I actually start running and you see the huffing and puffing fat mommy part in full.
Today - .5 miles.  This was nothing.  I am a machine!


Blood Marrow Journal:  No report

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Writer's Block Tuesday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

It's spring break week here.  Preschooler D has been wearing the same set of PJs going on 48 hours now.  We are all having a hard time remembering we took our fun trip to "Central Florida" during the teacher convention.  It's a long time from October to March in Minnesota -- even with the great weather we've been having.


Colin's summer shoes arrived today thanks to the FedEx man.  They are the same size as his dad's.  I am having a hard time keeping up with his teenage eating schedule this week.  I've set a huge bowl of snacks out in the middle of the kitchen.


To entertain D at lunch time I suggested we play Sorry with Brent.  D took about five turns, declared "this game is wearing me out," and took his PJ'd self back to the couch.


From the whiny department:  Who besides me is tired of mommies who only post the best of their children on Facebook.  "Little Irwin is finally potty trained at 6 months!!!"  Since both my boys weren't trained until after 4 years, this makes me want to make unloving statements in the comment section.  Something like "Who's really trained, honey?  The kid or you?"


My last Facebook status: "Thought I was looking foxy at the grocery store. Turns out I had a big blob of coffee on my nose." Yes, that really happened.  Yes, it really was a big blob.  It was where my nose pressed against my travel mug, so it covered the whole end of my nose.  Here I thought I'd been rocking my Phoenix Zoo sweatshirt.


Tough Girl Running Journal: I was out for what I had calculated to be a mile this morning.  It wasn't.  It was .81 mile.  The wind was really howling this morning, and I don't think I could have kept up my record of not stopping to walk much farther anyway. Every little bit counts, though.  Three weeks ago I didn't know I
could run a  whole mile.


Blood Marrow Donation Journal:  Nothing to report.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How Autism Looks

Sometimes when I am telling someone about Colin, my 13-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum, I will get this response:  "But he doesn't look autistic!"  I know the well-meaning friend means to comfort me in some way by saying this.  Or maybe the well-meaning friend is just surprised because Colin seemed "normal" to them.  I'm not sure, but I haven't figured out the polite answer yet.

He is an honor student.

He is the jazz band pianist.

He plays the drums in our worship band.

He will be on the track team starting Monday.

I've always tried to be very up front with people about Colin because -- in all fairness to them and to Colin -- I want them to know what to expect.  Colin has a hard time with eye contact. (So do I.)  Colin will be able to talk to you for a few moments before he will bolt away.  Conversation is difficult for him.  The words and ideas get mixed up and he has to untangle them.  It's a lot of work for him.

People give up trying to engage him in conversation.

No one calls him.

He doesn't call anyone.

He spends most of his free time hanging out with his parents.

He spends a lot of time talking to himself.  Out loud.

There's beauty and heartache to autism.  My son sees the world differently than I do.  My son worries about things he does not need to worry about.  My son plays the piano more beautifully than anyone I know.  My son  remembers things other people would forget in an instant.  My son is more polite than the average 13-year-old because he knows he has to be.

Would I change him if I could?  I don't know.  I love him so.  I would like it to be less hard for him that's for sure.

Next Monday is World Autism Awareness Day.  Will you do me a favor and click on this link?  It's an article from written for teens about other teens with autism.  I find is so well written and so helpful.  There's a kid version as well on the site.  

The more we know how to include people who fall on the spectrum, the more normal everyone will look.

TGRJ:  Sat. and today 1.5 miles NO STOPPING!  Wind was nasty ugly today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Church Ladies

"Do you want me to do it?  I'm faster," he said over my shoulder.

I was in the tiny office of our new baby church working on the bulletin because reader-friend Sue who normally does this is in Nevada (not Arizona as some have reported). Now Sue had most of the bulletin finished, but it's really challenging to sit down at someone else's desk, someone else's computer, someone else's programs and pick up where she left off.  Even though bulletin creation is right up my publishing background alley, it took more time than Sue normally takes, I guarantee it.

So I had a little voice over my shoulder at the beginning.

"Pastor," I said.  "Why don't you go into your office and wait there until I need you."

Most people call him Steve, but I like to call him "Pastor" in my most grating little old Scandinavian-Minnesota accent.  Our new baby church is woefully short of little old church ladies and the tone of voice is something I like to contribute to the cause of our church plant free of charge.

It sounds like this, "Paaas-ter."

I don't think Steve is in love with this, but you can't just run off and start a church and expect that you can run away from little old church ladies.

Our church has some ladies who are grandmas, but I wouldn't say they are little old church ladies.  One of them wears yellow Chuck Taylors with shoelaces that say Jesus on them.  I like this.  I am a daily wearer of cream no-lace Chucks, but they're just not as jazzy.  I think you need to be of a certain age and disposition to wear them, and she is.

I might need to purchase some for later use.

Thurs - 1.25 miles.  Almost stopped to walk. Didn't.  Probably could have walked faster than I was running.
Fri. - .5 mile.  Got myself an armband so I can wear my phone as I run and it will keep track of where I am and how fast I am going.  It's a pretty cool program, but I have a big phone and I can't decide if I look like a techie runner or a fat mommy who is trying too hard.

Blood Marrow Journal:  No news is no news.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rethinking Kindergarten

Kindergarten Round Up was yesterday.  I didn't cry, but I may have to rethink this whole thing because, clearly, it was traumatic for D as seen here:

Can't you see the terror and fright in his face as he proudly displays the button which says he is a future Laker?


Okay . . . you're right.  He LOVED it.  He can't wait.  He wants to know why it is so far away.   He insists he is going to ride the bus.  I wouldn't let Colin ride the bus until he was in third grade.

But Colin is a different kid and I am an (ahem) older mother now.

It's better this way.  How awful would I feel if he wasn't excited?

TGRJ:  Cross training day.  Also got on scale which was a huge miscalculation on my part . . . and the scale's.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Grace of Marilyn

Who besides me is in love with Marilyn Hagerty from the Grand Forks Herald? Apparently a lot of people are because the 85-year-old daily columnist has received national attention for her recent review of the Olive Garden.

Grand Forks is about three hours northwest of here on the North Dakota side of the border.  It's not a huge place.  They have a daily paper, and I'm pretty sure they have a mall.  Any new restaurant in town is probably a big deal.  Marilyn writes a daily column about various topics, one of which is restaurant reviews.  She wrote a glowing report of the Olive Garden and the rest of the country found it charming.  She's been on all kinds of talk shows.  I just watched her on Anderson Cooper.  Andy gave her a cruise to Italy.  She was just tickled, but I think he was surprised to discover this will not be her first trip.  She was on a University of North Dakota alumni trip a few years ago.  She said she'll have a great time if she doesn't have to "go to the old folks home first."

It doesn't seem like anyone is making fun of her.  Even the acerbic celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain tweeted that he, "Very much enjoying watching Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty triumph over the snarkologists (myself included)." 

Maybe the rest of the country is delighted to discover we don't take ourselves too seriously up here.  Maybe they like a woman who brought beauty and honesty to a lunch at the Olive Garden.  Maybe the rest of the country is ready to admit out loud that there's nothing to be ashamed of with a lunch at the Olive Garden.

I automatically have a fondness for her because all little newspapers used to have a Marilyn.  My dad owned a couple of weekly papers and our "Marilyn" was Lila Marie.  Lila Marie was abandoned by her first husband (if I remember right).  The man who owned the paper before my dad felt sorry for her and hired her as a columnist.  Lila Marie had a very similar writing style to Marilyn.  She was very good at describing things and could make the two squirrels wrestling outside her window sound like a trip to Cirque du Soleil.  In my teenage years, I thought she was awful and thought Dad should just get rid of her.  The older I got, though, the more I began to appreciate seeing the good in all things, even squirrels.

Lila Marie was killed tragically a few years ago in a car accident.  It has been wonderful to see Marilyn shine and take it all in stride as befitting a beautiful woman of her age, disposition and heritage.  It is never too late to shine.  It is never to late to be graceful and gracious.  It is never too late to enjoy your lunch -- no matter where it is.

TGRJ: .75 mile.  Left after 7am today.  Note to self:  That is too late.  There are too many dogs out.  There are too many neighbors out watching me huff and puff along.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Where Am I?

This weekend the weather in Minnesota made me wonder if I had been transported to a brown lake-filled Florida.  It will not surprise you to know, faithful reader, that my weather home page has the current temperature for Central Minnesota and the current temperature of a certain resort in Central Florida.  On Saturday morning the temperatures were the same.  Crazy.  Normally we'd be on sandbox watch about now.

Here it is:

I did not realize the sandbox was so blind until I went to take this picture.

I appreciate that we need to be aware and proactive about global warming and climate change, but I have to say that -- and I think I speak for many of us -- for most Minnesotans, it's going to take us a while to really get on fire about this subject.  A mild winter and freakishly early spring is . . . well . . . nice in a climate where winter takes up most of the year. We could have been buried by a snowstorm on this date in mid-March and instead we were grilling.  


In our shorts.

We are living in our own spring break.  How great and economical is that?

TGRJ: 1.25 miles.  I really wanted to stop and walk the last two blocks, but I realized that I would be walking the extra mileage I was trying to add on today.  I made it.  I am almost up to the halfway point.  Caught a glimpse of a huffing and puffing little middle aged mommy in a business window.  Wait, that was me.  I've got to  work on looking cooler.  Literally.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Blood Draw

Today was the day of my blood draw for confirmatory testing for the National Marrow Donor Program.  Because I live so far from the nearest center, they sent a nurse to my home.  I thought it would be a vial or two.  It was 11 vials.  I wish I'd had the presence of mind to take some pictures, but as she kept unpacking vials I got a little overwhelmed.

But now listen -- it took less than five minutes to fill those vials up.  Less than five minutes to continue to be a potential candidate for someone whose life is running out of options.  It was not that big of a deal.

Was it a little creepy to see them all lined up on my kitchen table?  Well, of course, it was.  I didn't really want to look at it or watch her draw the blood and I ran out of places to look. But -- I started to think about it this way -- that was perfectly healthy blood  in those vials.  Someone needs perfectly healthy blood.

As far as I know it's perfectly healthy.  I was able to answer no to the awkward questions about my (ahem) history* on the forms I had to fill out prior to this point. They will tell me if there's an "abnormal" result.  They are testing for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Human T-Lymphotropic Virus, Cytomegalovirus, syphilis and "other infectious diseases that could affect the patient's outcome."

*Think hard.  What kinds of questions would they ask if they wanted to rule out HIV/AIDS or syphilis, for example. Good.  Now assume in addition to those, there are questions you haven't even thought of yet.

TGRJ: .5 mile with Fritz who really wanted to go but didn't want to run -- so basically .5 mile dragging dog.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

True Confession Thursday

Up until Sunday my five-year-old was still using a pacifier.

Don't judge like you don't have some skeletons in your parenting closet. Come on now.  I know you do.  Anyway on Sunday the pacifier went missing.  We were down to one and it was sad.  It was Fritz T's goal every night to see if he could sneak it away from D without waking him up, and let me say, Fritz T is a talented dog.  Maybe not talented in the ways I would like -- not barking at mailmen sort of talent -- but talented.

That's right.  I was letting my five-year-old use a pacifier the dog had repeatedly chewed on.

Fritz never ate the entire thing.  In fact he would usually come and deliver it like a prize.  Perhaps he was trying to remind me that five-year-olds shouldn't be using pacifiers.

So anyway, the pacifier was missing and we spent the evening trying to track it down.  D, my future soap opera actor, had a traumatic time going to sleep.  "I will never sleep again!!!"  Eventually he did go to sleep, and so did we all. My husband got into bed, reached his arm under his pillow, and I heard this:  "shoot."

Pacifier found.

Well, if you think I was going to have the first night without the pacifier be in vain, you are wrong.  The pacifier quickly became lost again in this drawer:

We've had a rough couple of nights, but he's doing great.  He has a new video game today as a prize/bribe. I am not above that, and neither are you, and don't tell me otherwise.

Tough Girl Running Journal (TGRJ): 1 mile. No animal bites. No foaming at mouth or gangrene from Tuesday -- so far.
Blood Marrow Donation Journal (BMDJ):  Blood draw postponed until tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 2: I Become a Real Runner

I got bit by a dog this morning.  It drew blood. And I . . . kept on running.

Right?!  Good, huh?? Tough girl!! Plus -- and here's the best part -- it was dark out.  That's right.  I was up before day break to run, PLUS I got bit by the dog.  I mean if that isn't earning my running wings, I do not know what is.  Good for me!!

It hurts, though.  I would not recommend it.  I will call the police next time.  Don't get me wrong.


In other news . . . you may have heard things about my school system on national news.  I hope you have not.  I'm not going to talk any more about it because I do not want to draw attention to it.  There are two sides to every story and the side that is being told now does not line up with what I know to be true about the school my children attend.  To me, it lines up more with an adult who is trying to gain attention and using her child to do it.


In other news . . .  I got a call from the bone marrow people today.  I am moving on.  Someone is coming to take my blood on Thursday and it will be tested for West Nile Virus, HIV/AIDS, and a range of other infections and diseases.  They will also test to see how close a match I am to determine if there's a closer match.  If I pass the next round, there's a physical and more blood.

I know now that the patient has Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.  This is apparently a rare and aggressive form of cancer.  Please continue to lift up this person and his or her family.  Can you imagine (or maybe you know from experience) what an exhausting and anxious time this must be for them?

Monday, March 12, 2012

She Runs: Day 1

I decided to get a real running coach.  Okay, no -- well, sort of.  One of our small group members is a runner, and so I begged him to take me on as his pupil.  My husband is a runner, but I know how to work around him. I thought it would be better to have someone more emotionally detached.

At first Coach Sam thought I should get someone else from our church.  This woman runs marathons . . . you know, before breakfast.  I think she gave birth to her fourth child and then hit the trail the same day.  She is a serious, serious runner.  After I laughed in Coach Sam's face over this suggestion ("I need to run with the fat mommies, Sam!!), he admitted he'd tried to run with her once.  Once.

Coach Sam sent me my first week's assignment last Friday and I laughed out loud.  On my first day, I was to run a mile.  HA!  A mile.  Right.  I've never been able to run two blocks.  In the one and only 5K I have ever actually entered when I was 20 years old and in the prime of my youth, I was beat by a lady who walked the route. No, that was a joke.  Run a mile.

But you know . . . somewhere between all the yoga, Pilates, low impact, high impact, blah, blah, blah, I must have gained some strength.

"I will run as far as the store and then I can walk,"  I thought.  But when I got to the store . . .

"I will run as far as the lake and then I can walk," but when I got to the lake . . .

"Oh, look.  My turn around point isn't that far.  I will turn around and then I can walk."  And then . . .

"Well, it's all gravy now.  I'll just run as far as I like and then I will walk."  But when I was ready to walk, it was only two more blocks.

So, I will be darned but I ran the whole way.  No one was more surprised than I.  So, it's only day 1, but I feel sort of hopeful.  Maybe this is the year I become a runner.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Running Again

Every spring I think I am going to be a runner.  I'm sure we've talked about this before.  Remember the story of how when I was in college I announced I would be running a 5K and on the day I was going to quit, I got the paper where my dad had written how proud he was of me for being a runner?  Remember that?

So . . . I ponder training so that I can spend the summer running 5Ks and impressing my friends and family. And . . . then I get out there and I remember I don't really like running.

Last year I did the training on my treadmill, ran a 5K on my treadmill, and quit the day after.

I am a faithful exerciser, you know that.  Weights, Pilates, yoga, tae bo, low impact, high impact, step, Zumba, dance, walking -- I've done it and survived.  What is it about running that defeats me?

I'm not in a mood to be defeated right now.  I have cleaned the Christmas decorations off the treadmill and am back in action.

Let's not get our hopes up, but I have made it that far.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Poem for Tuesday on Thursday

We have to have a poem this morning because I have gotten up too early.  I was up late watching TCM again. No, really.  I get sucked in.  Last night was Troy Donahue.

Why Am I Glad?
Solveig Paulson Russell

Why am I glad when march winds blow?
Can't you guess?  Don't you know?
Why, March winds toss my kite so high
It seems like an eagle in the sky.

And March winds drive the white clouds so
They look like sheep or drifts of snow.
They turn the windmills and play such jokes
As blowing off hats from the common folks.

Why am I glad when March winds blow?
For all these reasons.  Besides I know
That the winds of March are the wings of spring,
And soon we'll have flowers and birds that sing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Round Up Envelope

The kindergarten round up papers came the other day.  I just sat and stared at the envelope for a while.  I don't want to go down like this.  I don't want to be the crying mommy.  It is my job as a parent to prepare my child for each step in his journey.  It is my job to hold his hand until he can walk on his own.  Then, it is my job to walk behind him until there is no danger of falling.  It is my ultimate responsibility to create a responsible, independent adult.


It's because I am doing my job well, that he is going to be totally ready to go to kindergarten in the fall.


If we're going to get from the little one on the right to his neighbor, to the one on the left, and finally the one in the middle . . . well . . . we can't have meltdowns over filling out the round up papers.

Just fill them out and get over it.


Pass me a Kleenex.  I am going to be totally ready when the time comes.  This happened with Colin too.  I freaked out until the day actually came to take him to kindergarten and then I was fine.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My New Fear

Several years ago I wrote about my true feelings for marshmallows.  I don't particularly care for them.  Other people do, and I celebrate that.  Good for you, marshmallow lover!  More for you!!

Today while grocery shopping I saw a sight so hideous, I made large retching, gagging noises right in the middle of the store.  And, of course, I stopped to take a picture to send to my sister.  It took all that I had to even look at this:

Look at that.  Can you see it?  Down at the bottom in the yellow oval.

That's right.  They're "jelly filled."  What????  Why????  Who would do that???? Who would make that????  Better yet, who would eat that?????  It's just. so. wrong.

I mean, bless your heart if a green apple filled jelly marshmallow is your idea of a good time.  It takes all kinds.

I just don't know if we can still be friends.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pink Strings

In the middle of Grandpa's long drive through the desert last week was a stop at this place sort of in the middle of nowhere that had this band playing outside in their porch area.  Of course, I was delighted because they had a fellow chick bass player.  Well . . . she could actually play the bass.

She was such a rocker chick player she had pink strings.  I mean, how great is that?  I cannot imagine getting to a place where I was bold enough to have pink strings.  I don't think anyone should be looking at my strings or fingers right now.  In fact, I would prefer if no one looked at me because I fear it would be in alarm.  "What are you playing?  What have you done?  What note was that supposed to be?"  No, it's better if no one looks at me at all.