Thursday, October 21, 2010


Before I return to the subject of my continuing education, I’d like to ponder this: how many blogs out there are powered by insomnia??

Midterms are done for this semester.  I survived!  There’s a REASON this blog is so spotty.  There are weeks where I barely get up for air.  But it’s all good!  Busy learning!  It feels good to be half done!

My folks are on vacation in a warm, sunny place.  Sounds nice.  Though the days have been beautiful here… high 50s into the 60s, sunny, colorful.  But laying on the beach while people bring you beverages and guacamole that’s straight from the Hand of God… sounds tempting.

The boys


Cosmo’s good!  He’s so “enlightened.”  He was saying something about his brother the other day and how Cosmo had “a lot more life experience” than Swing.  It was all I could do to keep from exploding with laughter.  He was a handful while the Woodsman was out hunting.  Kids thrive on structure… even a small rift has such a big impact!  My kind, helpful boy seemed to somehow return with his father, even though his body never left…

We had quite a good time tonight thinking about birthday treats.  Someone in his class had a birthday today, so we were talking about it.   Last year, we packaged up some veggies in gift bags and Cosmo went to give those out for birthday treats as a gag before he handed out the ACTUAL treats.  This year, he thought it might be fun to hand out random canned food type items.  You know, a package of taco seasoning, a can of garbanzo beans, a can of green enchilada sauce… He’s at a new school, so it would be a fresh gag.  We’ll figure something out.  He’s pretty excited about it.  2 months will be here before we know it!


Swing is … still a charmer.  He’s no dummy.  He knows how to turn on the charm to get his way.   I’d like to say he’s not as effective as he’d like to be, but I’m pretty sure I’m just deluding myself.  I think he’s the preschool teacher’s favorite.

The days have been pretty nice here, and we’ve had a couple picnics at the park.  One day, I was scrambling to get schoolwork done before class.  I wen to pick him up from preschool with plans of setting up a date with Swing and Nick Jr so I could finish, but he said to me “It’s such a nice day mom, it’s perfect for a picnic in the park!”  How could I say no to that???  So we packed up some food, I grabbed my homework, and he played while I briefed health law cases.  I also discovered that we live close enough to the park to still be connected to wifi.  How cool is that??

The Woodsman

The Woodsman just got back from his second and last hunting trip.  He did his best to keep the number of days down so that he could have the best of both worlds… being able to hunt with his lifelong friend, and being here to make sure I had everything I need to go to school.  He did a good job.  :) 

We have a new pet

Before I go, I should share our new pet with you all.  He’s orange, and fuzzy, and the boys were quite excited about our new addition: cat faced spider 003

If I’ve googled effectively, he’s a cat faced spider.  And no, my dear sister, we did NOT BUY it.  He was free.  A “gift” from God, if you will.  He just showed up.  He’s HUGE.  He’s gone now, which I’m not disappointed about.  He was outside, so I didn’t want to hurt him… besides, you can’t really squish something with that large of a body.  Well, you can, but I’m certain there would be unpleasant consequences.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Swing’s in a Sling!

My poor boy broke his collarbone.  It’s not broken all the way through, but it’s definitely broken. 

He was running through the living room pushing a laundry basket and “lost control around a corner” and hit the ottoman.  He cried so hard, I was pretty sure he was really hurt right away.  But I had him lay down for a bit and he slept… but he woke up crying.  When he walked out of his room and his one shoulder looked like a ski slope, we left for the urgent care center right away.

Funny thing is… the group project I whined about (immediately below) was regarding the profitability of a hypothetical urgency care clinic. 

Anyway… he’s in a sling, and he’s doing pretty well.  Though it’s strange to see him not be able to use one arm.  He gets around differently, and we need to help him with some things. 

I always knew that we’d end up with broken bones at some point (since we have boys) but did it have to be the 4 year old?  Well, maybe that will keep them both from running indoors for a week or two?

Like it or not, life keeps coming… full speed ahead!!

Seth's clavicle 001Seth's clavicle 003

Friday, October 1, 2010

Group Projects

Group projects are pretty much universally loathed by college students everywhere.  There is a reason for this.  Occasionally, the beleaguered student will happen upon a relatively painless group project.  I do not know why this happens; I believe pain is deliberately designed into these projects as a means of weeding out the weak.

I’ve decided to compile a well thought out list of why people hate group projects.

The classmate with KIDS.

This classmate (in this instance, me…) NEVER seems to have time to work on the project, and you end up having to wait for his/her portion to get done.  And then it’s not right, so you have to wait again.  At that point, you aren’t thrilled with his/her work, but you have to suck it up since s/he took up all of the calendar time “taking care of kids.”

Leader Chicken. 

Everyone has different ideas about how to make the thing work.  Roughly one-third of your time spent on the project revolves around deciding who is going to cave to the will of another.  It’s like a geeked-out version of chicken, only instead of involving a mode of transportation and the fear of a wreck, it involves “leader rights” and the fear of running out of working time.

Bossy McNaughtboss.

Invariably, there is a passive aggressive member of the group who doesn’t play chicken.  Too aggressive.  Not passive enough.  This member generally loses out on the leader gig, and isn’t pleased.  So s/he compensates by doing the least amount of work, trying to assign work to others, and complaining about the work s/he didn’t do.  This student was designed to be a union leader.   I’m not working on a Master’s in AFL-CIO.


Afraid of making other teammates cranky, this one is always looking for validation.  Just do it already, and we’ll make it work.  Constant requests for “does this look okay” slow the rest of the group down.

Rubric Schmubric

“The instructor’s guidelines are good enough for HIM, but I like it better this way.”  Hey, dipwad… the PhD types aren’t exactly well known for small egos and being “schooled” by their students.  Feel free to jury-rig the format on your own grade, eh?

Last Minute Perfectionist

An intense project has been turned in, and the blood pressure has cooled down to somewhere just below “geyser”, only to be repeatedly called by a teammate who decides the work is not done correctly.   This is generally a role taken on by Bossy McNaughtboss.  It’s turned in.  It’s done.  There’s no more talking about this.  It’s time to vacuum.  And shower.  And not brain for 20 minutes. 

Any others?  I’m sure you all (all 2 of you) have a group project that haunts you to this day.  Do share!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


So the boys have been having fun playing with the new neighbor’s boys.  It’s been great!  I’ve been so excited and relieved to have found a pretty good match for them, especially since Cosmo has had difficulty maintaining friends in the neighborhood.  Seems the kids (and their parents) don’t want to get to know him now that he’s on meds.

At any rate, they were playing yesterday, and were fighting (like all kids do), and one of them told Cosmo “my dad doesn’t like you.”

Since school started, they haven’t been able to play as much, and I was suddenly worried that we were going to have the same result with these neighbors.  Seems that’s where my  mind defaults anymore.

A phone call cleared it all up, however.  Holy relief!  See what happens when you don’t worry, and you wait to talk about it?  Lesson learned.

School is busy

So I’m pretty much struggling to find oxygen this semester.  Between being PRESENT with the boys when we’re all home, household duties, and homework… I don’t have much time to have my own thoughts in my head.  Thankfully, I do have downtime after class to “de-brain.”  I’ll watch an hour or so of TV before hitting the hay.  I’m pretty much done after class gets out. 

This semester I have 5 classes; next semester I’ll have 3, and no LAW class.  Hopefully that will make life so much easier!  I do like law, don’t get me wrong… there’s a lot of reading and writing involved, though.

I did have an interesting conversation with a couple classmates, though.  When people ask what I “do,” I tell them “I”m a student.” Then, I feel frustrated when they assume I’m going to a community college.  (Silly pride, I know).  I feel guilty, somehow, telling people that I’m a grad student, as I don’t want to be self-aggrandizing… but then I have the lame-o pride thing (because people in school should just be proud of themselves regardless!). 

They told me I should tell people “I’m working on my master’s.”  I suppose this is true.  There’s no reason for me not to be proud of it, and then I won’t have the silly pride problem.

The real question is “Why would I rather have people think less of me than more of me?”  I always minimize my skills, knowledge, and talent, for fear of coming off as a braggart.  And because, somewhere in my head,  I figure I’m SO good that it should just be obvious.  I guess this is something for me to ponder while I’m re-engineering myself. 

Fall is here!

The Woodsman turned 40 on the first day of fall.  He spent his birthday holding down the fort while I was at school studying and in class.  He’s so good!  We’ll celebrate tomorrow, when we can all be together for dinner (and dessert)!

So we’re now in the time of year where there is less daylight than there is dark.  It’s silly to be bummed, I know… but that’s the ONE part of fall that I don’t love.  If I could set the timer on the sun, I’d turn it on at 6am, and turn it off at 7:30pm.  “Up” where we are on this globe, we will have sunsets at about 4:00 pm, dark at 4:30.  Swing’s birthday is the shortest day of the year; the winter solstice.  Two members of this family are equinox/solstice people!

Anyway, nothing terribly exciting here, except for what’s in my head!  I’ll leave you with this awesome photo of the boys… they made these super duper toilet paper pumpkins today!  I got the idea from my friend, Carla


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Impenetrable Pooch

Okay, I have no idea what this REALLY means.  It’s what Cosmo called the dog the other day.   He’s 8.  I asked him “What does impenetrable mean, honey?”  He says, “you know, like indestructible.” 

Oy.  Where does he get these words?

I asked him “where did you learn that one?” He points to his head with an exasperated look and says “Smart.”

Preschool Love

Swing seems to have a girlfriend at PreK.  There’s a little girl who cries and won’t let her mom leave if Swing isn’t there.  As soon as Swing walks in the room, she’s fine and tells her mother curtly “you can go now.”

Will the shoe drop?

Things seem to be going pretty smoothly this week!  I’m wondering if this is a calm before the storm??  Or do we get a peek at a “normal” life?  Right now I’m grateful that homework isn’t a war, MY homework is current (not as far ahead as I’d like, but hey, I’m not running late), Swing is doing great at school (he’s saving the tantrums for home—he BIT me tonight at bedtime!), and we are figuring out our routine.  It’s pretty peaceful (but not creepily so). 

Am I really this fortunate?  I’m pretty sure I haven’t done anything spectacular to learn it…

Monday, September 13, 2010

Late Start Mondays

So our school district implemented a new policy.  Late start Mondays.  The purpose for starting an hour late every Monday is to allow teachers a chance to get together and collaborate.  This is a FANTASTIC idea!  It’s quality improvement at its finest, and I’m honestly geeking out about the process.


I am NOT so fond of the way in which it’s been implemented.  Why why why does the routine of every single family in the county have to be disrupted by an hour per week?  Granted, they do offer childcare … for a fee, and minus the transportation.  Additionally, Kindergarten is in its own building, not with the elementary schools, so families with a child in kindergarten and a child in another grade will either have to make arrangements at work to go in later (and keep the bus), or drive kids to multiple destinations before work (for a fee) to keep some semblance of routine and normalcy.

There was no parent or community voice in this decision.

Why can’t this be done before or after school hours?  Why must every family with a child enrolled (in the state mandated school system) have to cater to a wonky schedule?  There is no other occupation in the world that can do this to thousands of people.  Submit to these hours or suffer the consequences!!!

I understand there are all sorts of demands on teachers.  I really really do.  But this solution to implement a super idea is flat!  My (highly scientific and statistically significant) research (via Facebook) indicates this is happening across the country. Though many teachers are underpaid, the fact remains that … it’s a salaried position.  I worked more than 40 hours, too, when I was employed, and I didn’t get summers off.  Granted, licensure requirements for continuing education, etc, likely get in the way, and add demand to teachers’ time.  Can’t we find a way to allow this collaboration effort to fill a CE requirement?  What better way to learn than from other teachers!  There must be some way to allow this time to the teachers without such an impact on the community. 

Chances are fair that there’s a teacher or two out there unhappy about my post.  (I’d claim there were more, but I’m fairly certain this corner of the web doesn’t get too much traffic).  I don’t mean to be abrasive, but honest and forthright in a real issue with real impact.  Granted, my weekly hour with its logistical complexities isn’t on the level of homeland security or global hunger… but it is one more frustration and one more thing to juggle on top of:

  • My homework
  • Cosmo’s homework
  • Getting Swing to PreK
  • Getting Cosmo to 3rd grade
  • Getting the boys to the sitter before school
  • Remembering Cosmo’s meds in the morning
  • Remembering Cosmo’s meds in the afternoon
  • Making dinner
  • Feeding the pooch
  • Keeping track of the Woodsman’s retail schedule
  • More of my homework
  • Realizing I neglected to read two articles before class (and there’s a QUIZ)
  • Pulling something out for dinner
  • Making sure the boys’ teeth are brushed

All these things I run off in a checklist in an order every morning.  When the routine is interrupted, the entire checklist is interrupted.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person alive who operates this way.  I should be able to “run on autopilot”.  Late start Mondays strip me of that.

*steps off of soapbox*

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monkey-ing with Meds

One of the purposes of this blog is to share my experiences with ADHD.  We’ve gone through a few revisions of medication in the last couple months. 

In May, we started on Strattera, which is a non-stimulant med.  It started off working pretty well.  I was excited that we might be able to manage this thing without the dreaded class II narcotics.  At the end of the summer, it became clear that it wouldn’t be enough.  Cosmo was still unable to focus on simple tasks, and I’d have to ask him repeatedly to pick one thing up, it would take HOURS. 

So at the last med evaluation, the pediatrician started him on Adderall, a “stronger” stimulant, and we discussed the possibility of using smaller doses of both stimulant and non-stimulant meds.  Well, the Adderall worked well for focus and general behavior, but Cosmo could not fall asleep, even though I’d given him melatonin and Benadryl. 

So I tried combining spare Strattera with the Adderall like the pediatrician had mentioned.  Worked well.  I called, got a refill on the Strattera, and we’re good to go!  He gets the stimulant in the morning, and the non-stimulant after school / at dinner time.  He’s sleeping, focused, and well behaved (well, you know, NORMAL for an 8 year old).


The BEST part?  Cosmo got into the science magnet school in our area!  So he has a class full of people who didn’t know him “before.”  And the meds are working well… and he’s making friends!  He said to me (like it’s a whole new world) “Mom, I feel like I’m PART of the CLASS!”
It’s heartbreaking, really.  To know that the previous three years of your child’s life were spent wanting to fit in, wanting to be wanted.


Which brings me to something I’ve been avoiding.  Cosmo went to church camp this summer.  I was so happy for him, even if I was a bit nervous.  But I knew he’d be able to make friends, since he was on meds, etc, right?

He was bullied the entire time.  Ruthlessly.  By his cabin mates.  He did have fun when he was not in his cabin, which is good.  But … the other kids threw him in the garbage several times, put him in some big tire, and surrounded it and wouldn’t let him get out, took almost all of the candy his grandmother had sent with him, tore took some of his money, tore up a dollar bill, threw his toiletries into a field where they couldn’t be found, put sand in his sleeping bag, and more torture I can’t remember off the top of my head. 

When I talked to the cabin counselor about it, the response was “He brought it on himself” and “it’s really not a big deal.”  Cosmo called the other boys names, streaked through the cabin, and made it messy when they were supposed to clean it. 

I know his behaviors weren’t okay.  But that doesn’t somehow absolve the other boys from their bad (worse) behavior.  Cosmo’s behavior gets progressively worse in a negative atmosphere.  He didn’t bring it upon himself, they brought it upon themselves!  … Okay, not really, but you see how circular the whole blame game gets? 

At any rate, we’ve written two messages to the elders at church, which have been unanswered.  We’ll go in in person sometime this week to talk to someone.  Meanwhile, we aren’t attending.  I can’t leave my kids in a place where the leaders think it’s an acceptable policy to allow kids to “earn” torture.

UPDATE!!! Since posting this a couple hours ago, I got a phone message from the church!  I'll make arrangements to speak with the leader of the children's ministries as soon as I talk to the Woodsman and share the message with him.  The person who called was apologetic and sincere, so I'm hopeful!

UPDATE!!! Since posting this a couple hours ago, I got a phone message from the church!  I'll make arrangements to speak with the leader of the children's ministries as soon as I talk to the Woodsman and share the message with him.  The person who called was apologetic and sincere, so I'm hopeful!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Ninth Anniversary

I was at work.  The Woodsman and I worked 12 hour days then, for a Fortune 100 company, making printed circuit assemblies for test and measurement equipment.  We started at 6am.  One gal came in talking about a plane that had crashed into one of the twin towers in New York.  I thought it had to have been some random accident with a small plane. 

I was compiling a quality report.  I had my radio on quietly.  I had to get the report ready for an early morning review of issues in the last 24 hours.  Status report—quality engineering.  I hear the news on the radio that a second plane had flown into the other tower.

I knew at that moment we were under attack.

All the TVs at work were tuned to the news.  I watched the towers fall, heard the thunk-thunk-thunk of jumpers (before the news media had the good sense to stop airing it).   I know I’ll never forget.  It was traumatizing enough through the TV, I cannot imagine being there.

I was about 7 months pregnant with Cosmo at the time.  I spent weeks wondering what kind of world I was bringing a child into.   The stock market was shut down… the entire economy came to a screeching halt.  Our world changed on that day.  The threat is still there, hanging out, waiting for us to get comfortable.  Laughing at our Airport Security Initiatives, planning, plotting.

No use living in fear, however.  Besides, I know where I’m going when my time comes.  There’s nothing to be afraid of.  “They” can’t take that away from me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Audio Textbooks?

Anyone know where I could get them?  Holy moly, there’s so much reading this semester… and I have 40 minutes to and from school.  I’m thinking life would be so much better if I could use my time in the car to listen to what I should have read earlier.  Plus, I’m lazy. 

Okay, I’m not REALLY lazy, I just have a lot of other things to do that distract me.  You know, like grocery shopping and laundry.  And paying attention to the adorable little faces in my home.

Speaking of adorable little faces, school is going well so far!  Cosmo is 2 days in, and is glad he changed schools.  He told me yesterday that “he feels like part of the class.”  He says this like it’s a whole new world, and part of me is sad for him...three years on the outside, looking in.  I’m glad he’s where he is now, though!  I’ll do whatever I have to to keep it going so well!

Swing continues to do well in preschool.  He really enjoys it.  He’s not quite getting the letters yet, though.  I hope the concept starts to come to him soon! 

The boys are so different!  Cosmo was able to read well before Kindergarten… though he didn’t like to, so it was hard to get him to do it.  Swing… just needs lots more repetition to get the letter thing.  He’s more interested in how things work.  And in instigating trouble with his brother. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Polishing Silver

I cleaned my china cabinet last night.  It’s a lot of work – so much glass to clean!  Plus, I’m a horrible klutz, so I’m always afraid I’ll break something.

There’s something nice about touching all of the pieces I have, though.  The china is my mom’s; she bought it in nursing school before she met my dad.  We used that china every holiday growing up.

I rearranged my Lenox pieces: my cake topper from my wedding, a Noah's ark from my parents, and a couple pieces from Aunt Lorraine.  I washed all of my little serving bowls, all of them from family.  My teacups, also from family.  I love the teacups.  One day I’ll identify them all.

I also polished my Gram’s silver service.  It was a 25th anniversary gift from her siblings.  I’m not sure if it’s from just before I was born or just after… but either way, the service set is more than 30 years old.  I can still see it in her china cabinet.  The pinochle cards were kept nearby.  :)  She taught me to play pinochle.  We spent HOURS, and I never did get a hand with any meld that evening.  I remembered spending time at Gram’s in the summer with my family at the lake (she had a lovely place on a lake).  A few years, I’d get to stay behind with Gram while my family went home.  Polishing that silver was like spending an evening with Gram again.  I miss her.

Anyway, cleaning that cabinet out was a chore, sure.  But it was also a way to reconnect with lost family.  It was a good evening.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Back to school!

It’s Thursday!  Last day of my school week.  First week back.  The workload is intimidating and exciting!  Next week, Swing starts pre-K; the following week, Cosmo starts the 3rd grade! 

I think the return to school will be good for all of us.  The boys have started to drive each other (and ME) crazy.  They are bored of the park.  Can you believe that?  It was a fantastic place to go for quite a while, though.  Swing will love pre-k, and I’ll have some time to study.  (or that is the plan).  I’m looking forward to the predictability of routine again. 


Guess who forgot to post?  ROFL!  Well, school’s been keeping me busy, that’s for sure!  Five classes. 13 credits… I can do it!  It will be nice when the Woodsman is back from hunting tomorrow.  He wasn’t gone long, but he’s such an enormous help and support with school… I really miss him when he’s gone.

Swing loves preschool!  He’s been doing great!  He’s making friends, and is doing a good job following directions.  It’s a relief, really.  Sometimes the ADHD thing makes me wonder if I’m crazy and I’m just really not doing things right.  Knowing that the same techniques that haven’t worked on Cosmo DO work on other kids… it’s a strange relief.

Cosmo starts back Tuesday!  We are so excited; he got in to a Science Magnet school nearby!  He loves science!  LOVES it!  I’m hopeful that a “new start” will be good for him socially, and that the focus on science will benefit him academically.

We’ve changed meds again.  Back to the stimulants.  Bigger guns this time.  The hope is that the “stronger” medicine will help him on a lower dose so he can sleep at night.  So far it’s looking like we’ll have to go with part stimulant and part non-stimulant so he can focus and sleep.

I’ll close with this… kinda defines life right now… Seth's mess 002

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Amy the Intern

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything!

So I’ve been interning at a local Community Health organization; I’m documenting one of their IT processes—drawing process maps and writing procedures.  It’s pretty interesting work.  I’ve been working about 3 days per week, 6 hours per day.  Gosh, if only I could keep that schedule forever!  It’s been nice to have plenty of time at home, and still have time to interact with adults. 

They like me.  It feels really nice to feel like I’m contributing something, and to feel like part of a team.

Though interning is a bit weird.  The relationship building is different when you know you are only going to interact with people for a few weeks. 

I’m learning something I’ve always known… the quality / process improvement activities are low priority in a lot of people’s minds.  I’m not sure that I’d like to continue a career in process improvement.  I think I’d like to explore other avenues of leadership and bring my process improvement skills with me, but not as the primary purpose of my position.

Granted, I know every position has its challenges, but I do prefer feeling like people think my position is vital as opposed to a nuisance. 

I’m learning a lot.  Not so much about office politics and how things work (like I’m thinking many of my younger classmates are), but I’m listening (overhearing) IT service desk calls, and hearing how different applications support the operations, getting a feel for how the healthcare specific elements fit into a regular business structure.  I hear terms used in context, etc. 

All in all, things are good!  I’m pretty much living the charmed life… without the disposable income.  LOL

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stone Island

We toured Stone Island today.  Was very nice!  We really enjoyed the tour; it was the perfect thing to do at the end of a longer vacation when the boys are getting “bored” of the pools and  beach.

The boat ride in was nice.  It’s been a while since I’ve been on a boat.  I liked the gentle rocking, and also enjoyed the dolphins and sea lions.

Mexico 2010 035

Iguanas.  Every little boy’s dream.  Swing was afraid to hold one when we had the opportunity, but then wished he had.

Mexico 2010 042

We got the boys ink’d… I didn’t really like Cosmo’s dragon, but he’s in love with it.  At least Swing went for a lizard in a more “little boy” style!

Mexico 2010 054 Mexico 2010 053

We rode horses when we got there.  That was fun, too.  The boys have never been on a horse.  Cosmo has been on a donkey, but that’s not really the same thing.  Swing rode with me, and the Woodsman and Cosmo had their own caballo (horse).  Bummer, there’s only one shot of horseback riding…

Mexico 2010 073

Lunch there was great.  Some of the best food we’ve eaten here, really.  Then we went on a “buggy” ride.  Looking back, I should have let Cosmo ride the yellow banana boat, but I was nervous that the boat would go fast, on the ocean, with a group of mainly college aged kids.  He had fun, anyway!

Mexico 2010 071

Check out the buggy ride… the wooden chair cracks me up, but really, it’s the Mexican Spirit! They don’t need fancy, they just want something that gets the job done!

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Finally, a few pictures of the living conditions.  Next time I complain about not having a large enough closet or storage for all the junk I’ve amassed, I’ll have to come back and look at these:

Mexico 2010 047 Mexico 2010 082 Mexico 2010 051 Mexico 2010 086

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Swing Swims!

I’m so proud of my little boy!  Less than a year ago, he was a terrified, clingy octopus when we came NEAR the water.  Since then, we’ve taken him to swimming lessons (he didn’t “pass” the level one/two for the toddlers), and I took him to the pool at the gym pretty regularly.  Took him a while to swim in the deeper water in a floaty suit, but once he got used to it, he learned to make himself go.

So I brought floaty suits here for him.  And swim trunks.  He was not pleased at the idea of going without his floaters, but he went.  He hung on to the Woodsman and me, and one moment, he kicked off me and just went.

And just like that, he was swimming!

He doggy paddles, and then puts his face in the water, and brings it up for more of the doggy paddle before putting his face in again. 

I’m sure most of it is from watching his brother in the water. 

Swing has swum distances of over 20’, though he’s afraid to swim for a target that far away.  I have to hold my hands out for him to swim to and back up.  But he does it!  Mexico 2010 203 Mexico 2010 204

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cosmo - ‘Coon Hunter

Perhaps I should change Cosmo’s name to ‘Coon.  His middle name is Hunter.  It would fit. 

Tonight, as our bedtime strategy, I took Cosmo on a walk while the Woodsman settled Swing with a movie (the Sandlot… baseball, of course).  Separating the boys typically works best when they are overtired.

So Cosmo and I are walking the grounds of the resort.  It’s a very lovely place, and we feel fortunate to be able to stay here.  At any rate, there’s one building with the top set up for events.  It’s a nice place to view the pool and the ocean.  As we approached the rooftop, I spotted an animal on the ledge of the building.  I pointed it out to Cosmo.  It was cool!  So we get to the rooftop and peek over the wall onto the ledge about 3ish feet below, and there’s the animal—a raccoon, and he’s hissing at us.!  We’re pretty sure it’s a raccoon, anyway, because it could have passed for a prettified possum.  *shudder*  So we cross the rooftop and gaze out at the loveliness, and listen to the waves, the pool fountain, and crickets.  Until we realize the raccoon was brave (read: stupid) enough to jump over the wall/railing from the ledge to “greet us.” 

So we walk calmly and quickly off the rooftop onto the bridge to get back to the walkway. The animal followed us!  Kept following us.  So we started to run.  (I hear these things can be mean, and I have no intention of finding out, or letting my son find out firsthand).  Goofy thing wouldn’t leave us alone.  We ducked into the area deli, and watched it walk away a bit. 

So after we browse the deli (a little mini-mart sort of place in the resort), we decide we’re safe to head back to our room.  We see no sign of the blasted critter.  We turn up to get to our building, and there he is!  He was on a retaining wall, giving us dirty looks.  He was just above Cosmo’s head, and I thought for sure he was going to jump on him.  So we took a different path, and the darn thing follows us some more. 

I had Cosmo stop talking, and instructed him to walk fast and quiet so the animal couldn’t follow us.  That seems to have done the trick.  We got to our building, and the elevator door opened up just as we approached, no animal in sight!

Of course, when we get back into our room and report our safari adventure to The Woodsman, he does not believe us.  Clearly, there are no raccoons in this area.  And clearly, we are unable to identify an animal with rings around it’s eyes, three rings around its tail, and a cat-like body. He knows his animals.   He’ll see.  Though if I’m smart, I’ll put high stakes on the outcome.  :D

Mexico At Last!

We made it!  Oh, it’s heavenly.  The travel day was long, of course, as our closest airport is smaller.  We had to get up at 2am to catch a 5am flight.  We had three legs total.  The boys were angels.  I almost wondered who took my boys and replaced them with the pod children.  Swing did start to get antsy at the end of the third leg, but that was 10 hours in.  It was a relief, really; I knew 12 hours traveling was a LOT to ask of a 4 and 8 year old!

At any rate, we got here, and my parents were here to meet us!  We are so excited that they pushed out their leave date here (they were going to leave the day before we came in) so they could see us for a few days.  They were kind enough to go to the front desk of the hotel and pick our room for us (early), so we have a nice one.  The “better” ones go fast!  So we have a lovely balcony and are close to the pools and the “super deli.” 

It’s been hot.  I won’t complain, though.  It’s so nice to feel hot and get into a lovely pool.  It’s so relaxing to have fun with the boys and keep them so busy that they don’t have time to argue or whine.  The food is so tasty!  It’s such a hospitable country; the people are so friendly and helpful.  It’s really easy to be grateful and in a good mood when things are so easy (There are no chores)!

There’s lots of walking, too.  The first day I was wondering if I’d be crabby about it until I realized that I needed to be walking, anyway.  :D  The resort is spread out quite a bit, so even though we are close to the things we’d do at the resort, when we want to leave, we have to walk quite a ways to do so.  My legs are a bit sore just on the second day.  That’s good… I’m working hard enough to get sore, but it doesn’t feel like work when I’m doing it!

Anyway, it’s time to go to bed now.  I’m feeling really spoiled and really grateful right now to be at such a lovely place. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Semester End Approaches! Things Are Good.

I am nearly done with my first semester of school.  I’m so excited!  I’ve learned quite a bit… more than I even realize.  Last night in class, the instructor gave us a “quiz” where he’d throw us chocolate if we answered a question right.  I knew most of the answers!  I didn’t realize how much information I’d retained!  This gives me some hope for the final!

So tonight I have a group presentation, and next week is one final exam.  Then we’re off to Mexico!  I cannot believe it!  One down, four to go!

This time last year, I was working 8-5 and had no idea that my world would be turned upside down and I’d be finishing a semester in school a  year later.  It’s a good path.  It’s a miracle, really.  I feel like I have more recognition here in school than I did in my previous position.  I have so much more opportunity.  I’m seen; a year ago I was invisible. 

I have  a lot of work ahead of me.  My family will have to work for this, too.  But I have a fantastic family.   I’m willing to work and so are they! 

It’s feeling so good to look back and see the change in direction here.  I started this blog to work out the negative emotions surrounding my layoff, and now I have nothing but positive attitude about it.  (though I’ll admit, I sometimes wonder if my tasks are being done “as well” by someone else). 

In order to be here, in school, in this TAA program (funding), I had to be laid off 8 years ago: my job had to be sent overseas to qualify for this education program.  I had to get my bachelors at my last job, and I had to be laid off again to qualify for unemployment and TAA.  All those “bad” things had to happen to me.  Here I am today, looking at a career I’m excited about, taking classes I enjoy, about to start my first internship in a new industry…

Things are good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Magnet School for Cosmo?

So, it would seem as if the clouds are clearing and the skies are turning blue.  A school in our area is becoming a magnet school for science and math!  It’s about a mile further away than Cosmo’s current school.  So the Woodsman and I are talking about applying for a slot there.

Cosmo’s not so sure.  He has “lots” of friends where he’s at.  I think he’s afraid of starting over when he (now) has a couple of kids that are nice to him sometimes.  But I’m thinking he’s … he’s a different kid.  He talks differently, thinks differently, and of course, the behavior problems that have vastly improved (but still need some work).  He talks and thinks differently because he’s exceptionally bright (I say this at risk of sounding like one of THOSE moms… but it’s true).  I’m hoping/thinking a school designed to attract kids more “like him.” 

We’d be responsible for his transportation, though.  The mornings would be no problem.  The afternoons are a different story, since my classes all start at 4pm about an hour away.  The aftercare program runs until 6pm, so that would be iffy if the Woodsman had a late shift at his store.

At any rate, I was feeling badly about sending him to “that” school again next year.  (I love the teachers, loathe the administration).  The main questions now are whether or not to push it when Cosmo says “no” and how to handle the evening logistics. 

My Birthday

I’ve taken another trip around the sun!  I’m 29!  *wink*

I took some pictures of my darlings in the morning.  Boy, was it windy!  In the evening, we went out for dinner.  Though we didn’t factor that it was PROM.  So our two first choices were out: Olive Garden and the new Texas Roadhouse.  Chilis it was. BONUS!  No wait!  HA!  It was an hour (add 20% to that for the prom factor) wait at the Olive Garden.  So I had ribs and one of their fantastic margaritas.  We took dessert home.  Perfect.  No cake that I kinda like but feel obligated to have, no cooking, cleaning, and the boys were good.  :)

Anyway, I’ll terminate the banter.  I know you all just want to look at my handsomes, and I want to hear all about how adorable you think (know) they are!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Taming of the Shoe

So I woke up yesterday to this: shoes 002

It would seem as if the Woodsman was not enamored with the large number of shoes we had stored in the baskets below the entry table, and he laid all the shoes in the house out to make a point.  Most of those are mine.  But to be fair, there were a few of the boys’ shoes not represented,  AND many of mine were stored in the garage just outside the door.

Nonetheless, I was tasked with culling the shoes.  No small feat (pun intended… besides, I wear an 11.  HA!).  These are my shoes:

shoes 013

I’m going to argue (successfully) that the slippers are NOT shoes.  But subtracting those from the count, I still have 28 pairs there.  Now, I’m no Imelda Marcos, but that’s still a lot of shoes.  I did manage to chuck 6 pairs, which brings me down to a total of 22 pairs of shoes.  There’s a nice variety there, don’t you think?  Though I had to toss my black flip flops last year, and I was in need of new ones, so I found a  pair of those (plus a “bogo half” pair of pointy-toed kitten-heeled slippers).  SSsshhhh, don’t tell the Woodsman!

Though to his credit, there are a lot of shoes in the “immediate use” area, and I’ll be getting some containers to store the shoes I use less often, and perhaps a large container for out of season shoes.  The Danskos I love, but I’ll be wearing them much less now that it’s warmer!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh, snore.

I wish I was.  But alas.  I’m attempting, yet again, to cure insomnia with blogging.  It works well enough, plus there’s no morning grogginess. 

Partly I’m awake because I’m thinking about Cosmo and his social problems, partly because I turned in my first graduate paper today, and instead of being relieved, I’m worried that it’s not good enough.


I even sent my paper to my mom in a pre-emptive attempt at bolstering my confidence in my abilities.  It was partially successful (my mom is my biggest fan), but I still don’t know what the instructor will think.  Alas.  It will be weeks, and I need to just forget about it already.

I am an A student.  I have this obscene fear that I’ll get a B.  Really, is that so bad?  What is my deal?  I have had panic attacks over grades before.  It’s absurd.  I am not proud of it.  Part of me is glad I’m driven to excel and learn, but really?  This level of obsession is just not healthy.  I’m hoping I’ll feel more comfortable next semester when I’ve gotten more into the groove of knowing more what is expected.


No interesting developments with Cosmo today.  Other than I saw him ride his scooter sans helmet ON the splash pad.  No wheels allowed there, and he broke that rule.  The splash pad has been vandalized already by skateboarders who “grind” on the bench and who have damaged the lovely paint job.  So he’s grounded from it for a month.  Repeat offenses.  Plus, we’ll be on vacation for two weeks, so it’s not really THAT hefty a fine.

To sum it all up…

I’m thinking I’ll sleep better when I learn to give up my illusion of control.  This is why my mind whirls and thoughts spin around like a mental tornado in the wee hours.  I have faith, I do… but it’s more about my fears of inadequacy than about not ACTUALLY having control.  Did I do it right?  What will other people think?  Really, Amy… get over it.

Now that I know what my problem is, I need to find a solution that will work and implement it.  HA!  easier said than done.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Note to self: take tissues to the park

The mommy gig is exhausting.  I thought taking the boys to the park would have been a highlight of the day.  Notsomuch. 

There was a group of boys playing.  Cosmo went to join in a game of tag.  One of the boys gave him a menacing glare and said, “you get out of here.”  So he pretended not to really care, and went over to another area to play by himself. 

I tried not to.  Really hard.  But that just made the tears come harder.  Thankfully I was wearing sunglasses.  *sigh*

I’m proud of him, though.  He found something else to do.  He didn’t cry or throw a tantrum.  Then he came and sat with me for a while.  He sat with me at the park last time we went, too.  Now I understand why.  This is why he always takes some form of wheels.  So he has something to do when the other kids won’t play with him.  He can’t find his helmet, by the way, so no wheels.  So he sits with me. 

He pretended he wasn't hurt.  He’s a good actor. Is that good or bad??

It’s just soul crushing to watch him work so hard on his manners and social skills and continue to be ostracized by other kids… and even their parents.  It’s hard to see this fledgling life that is so important to me be so unimportant to others, so much as to be disregarded them.

He has improved so much! 

The Woodsman wants to move when I get my degree.  I’ve been telling him that I’m not eager to move, and I want to look for work nearby.  If things don’t change, I’m sure my opinion will.  Maybe the best thing for Cosmo is to find some place where people never knew him before the meds.

I have a thousand words to write for a paper tonight.  I thought I was distracted before.  Oy.  How on earth am I going to keep my mind on “Pay for Performance?”  I’m hoping writing will help alleviate my mind.  Maybe it will make me less crabby?  How can I be so crabby when my son went through the same thing??  *deep breath*

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A light unto my path…

I had some revelations this week.  I feel so much more confident in where I’m going and where I’ve been.  After hearing about improved relationships at my old employer, I know in my bones that I made all the right moves there. 

I also know that my dismissal was a fantastic gift. 

Not only are politics pretty much the same where I was at (aside from the one improved relationship)… but the forecast is so much sunnier where I’m headed!  My school held a little banquet for the students, staff, and area employers.  It was largely intended for networking, which I appreciated.  So I sat at a table with people I didn’t go to class with, and I recognized one of the women. 

I had worked with her before!  She was in HR at my last employer.  She recognized me right away, and carried on about how awesome I was (too bad my instructors weren’t right there).  She also told me that her employer is looking for a QA person, and she’d called our previous HR asking about me.  She was trying to recruit me at the table! 

If I didn’t want this degree so bad, I’d probably have seriously considered it… but there are many reasons why I need to just continue on.

But how utterly flattering!  Not only did she remember me, but she’d asked about me!!  And told my classmate I was AWESOME!

That all felt pretty good.  God is looking out for me and letting me know I'm headed in the right direction.  It's a good way to be.


What a great week!  Easter was lovely.  I have pictures to prove it. I was actually able to get a couple shots of the boys together!  They aren’t super duper shots, but they’re good enough to post!    They still have their name stickers on from Church… LOL.Easter 2010 080 Easter 2010 075

After church and the egg hunt, we went to the park.  Cosmo practiced tricks on his skateboard.  Swing played around with the pooch.

Easter 2010 086 Easter 2010 162 Easter 2010 144 Easter 2010 135 Easter 2010 170

Aren’t they adorable?

Sleep is for the weak

So I confess, the main reason I’m here is because I can’t sleep.  My knee hurts for some reason.  Aleve is about the only thing that seems to help the joint pain I’ve been having.  So I’ve taken some, I’ve put my thoughts down and shared my darlings  (BTW… Swing has been telling me “Mom, you are my angel darling”), the meds seem to be helping, and I better off to bed while I still have the remnants of a nice, cozy “had a glass of red tonight” sleepyhead.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter Egg Hunt

Today was our church’s Easter Egg Hunt.  It’s a very large church, and it was a very large community event held at a local high school.  The soccer field hosted the school aged kids, and the football field hosted the littles.   The parking lot filled up, and people parked way down the street.

I’m blown away at how well thought out and organized the event was.  There were thousands of people there, and it was so effortless to attend.

It was also chilly with a gusty wind.  My boys lacked coats.

I shouldn’t feel so guilty.  After all, I reminded them several times to get their coats before we left, but they preferred to chase the dog, or otherwise run around like screaming banshees.  It’s hard to be little and contain excitement.

So I’m there in a coat and gloves with a hot cup of coffee while Cosmo is in only a long sleeve tee.  At least Swing had on a fleece top… , right?

Though in all honesty, I don’t feel THAT guilty.  They are big enough to get their own coats or jackets.  They were reminded, and chose not to heed my advice.  Besides, it was 44*, they weren’t going to die or lose digits due to exposure.  And they still had fun!

I also forgot the camera.  So I have no pictures of the adorableness.  Swing was intent on only picking up blue eggs at first, so it started off kind of slow, but he had fun.  Cosmo was on his own at a different field (5 areas based on age). 

In the end (a whole half hour later), we all had a fantastic time despite the weather (that wasn’t even wet).  I’m looking forward to Easter Services tomorrow.  I think we’ll watch “The Passion of the Christ” as a family tonight.  We should make it a tradition to watch it on Good Friday.

Friday, April 2, 2010


So I was offered an internship!  I’m so excited!  This community health organization is growing, and they need someone to document their systems, specifically one of the IT processes.  I guess there’s a good potential for future employment there, too.  I’m excited.  I’m not sure what the specifics are: hours, length of service, etc, but I’m still jazzed.  The folks who interviewed me were personable, and I’m optimistic that I’ll enjoy this project!

Road Trip

Let me tell you about a recent road trip I took to visit the fam.  It’s about a 375 mile trek.  The trip as an adult isn’t so bad.  But when you are 4 or 8, it’s dreadfully boring.  The trip in was perfect for about a half hour.  Then the boys decided they would rather fight than sit in a car reading, playing with cars, etc.  I was mitigating so much fighting that I blew right by my first exit.  I drove 30 miles before I realized I should have turned South by now.  So I drove the 30 miles back to my southerly turn and corrected my course.

I drive another hour or so and decide I want to find something in my purse.  But I can’t find my purse.  I pull over and check the trunk; surely it must be in there.  It was not.  I’m nearly half way to my destination before I realize my options are to turn back, or see if my parents can meet me at some point to refuel me.

I did not want to go back.  I did not want to drive 6 hours with crabby kids for nothing, only to have to do it again (I was running an errand for the Woodsman). 

You can imagine the frantic calls to the Woodsman and my parents.  Turns out, the Woodsman confessed it was his fault.  (How on EARTH could I have missed my purse?).  Like most people, I put everything that needs to be in the car by the door to be loaded.  If it’s by the door, it’s as good as loaded.  I had both my computer bag and my purse there.  Therefore, they were both in the car, right?

Well, the Woodsman is fastidious.  As this incident proves, sometimes TOO fastidious.  He thought I’d moved my wallet from my purse to my computer bag (as I do for school), so he put my purse away in the closet.  While I was loading. 

Of course I was utterly frustrated and pretty upset when I discovered I was not to “blame” for the whole debacle.  But… we all have our annoying habits that sometimes work against us in a big way, no?

Thankfully, I have the best parents in the world, and my dad drove 75 miles with a 5 gallon tank of gas to fuel me up.  Thankfully again, we were able to get all the way to a state park, so the boys had a place to play while we waited. (The refueling trip was not perfectly timed, but who could complain about that when someone makes such a heroic rescue?)  We played on the swings, found “snake holes,” ran around… it was really the perfect waiting spot.  It couldn’t have gone better!   Plus, Dad brought us lunch!  We were hungry.  No money = no lunch stops!

It’s really amazing how helpless you feel without ID and a debit card.  I felt like I wasn’t an adult.  I was so dependent.  My mom gave me a spare wallet and some cash, which was such a blessing, but the feeling of utter dependence didn’t magically disappear.  The Woodsman had my wallet mailed to me (second day), and all was better when I received that package!

The visit was nice.  I completed the task for the Woodsman, despite his error. 

The drive home was lovely.  The boys could NOT have been better behaved.  I am really very proud of them (still).

No Meds

Though this posting is already quite the tome, I wanted to talk about one other aspect of the “Mystery of the Missing Purse.”  I had Cosmo’s meds in there.  5 days without them?  Could I do it?  I had called the Ped’s office to see if she could call my parent’s physician to write a script to be filled in town.  I knew it was a long shot, and ultimately I wasn’t able to do it.  the Woodsman attempted to mail them, but that was also foiled.  So we had to suck it up and work with the ADHD kid off the meds.

I gave him coffee.  It worked pretty well.  It wasn’t the same as medicated, mind you, but it “took the edge off.”  I gave him a cup in the morning and a cup in the afternoon. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quitting School

So I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  This school schtick isn't easy.  At least not with two small boys, so I'm going to take a different route.  I've signed up to be a representative with "Close to my Heart."  My mom and my sister are big fans of their product, so I know I'll have a good customer base to start off with.  This company sells tools and equipment for scrapbooking.  It's a solid, growing market, and I'll be able to spend more time with the boys, and enjoy walks in the park with Swing during the day.

I haven't yet decided if I'm going to finish out the semester.  I'm current and all, but the end of term projects are coming due, and it's really going to be very busy.  There's SO much work!

If you haven't figured out why I'm quitting school and upending my entire career roadmap, check your calendar.  If that doesn't help, I don't know what to say.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Love Coffee

It goes without saying, really.  But I really do enjoy a good cup.  I also like to pop in to my local Starbucks to study.   Which I’m foolishly attempting to do now.  It’s free pastry Tuesday, and the place is swarming.  But the library is closed for another 12 minutes, and the hubs works this afternoon / evening.  So here I am. 

I’ve decided to blog instead.  But I have everything and nothing in my head.  Which is why I haven’t been writing.  And I’m wondering if I should continue the diary style writing I’ve been doing, or pursue a more organized article-type blog.

Because I’m not a journalist, and because I have a litany of things I just want to get out of my head and on to paper, I’m thinking I’ll stick to the diary shtick.

Bypass Surgery

My mom recently had bypass surgery.  She went in for an angiogram and possible stent placement, but the angio determined a triple bypass was necessary.  The triple turned into a quadruple. 

So I went down to be with my family.  It was nice.  And a bit scary.  But mostly nice.  My dear, dear, lifelong friend watched my boys three full days so I could spend time with my mom and family at the hospital. 

She’s doing very well.  I’m so pleased.  Because I’m just not ready to lose her.

Heavenly Weather

It’s been increasingly lovely here.  While I am loathe to change the time on my clock, I’m quite thrilled that the sun is setting much later.  There’s more time in the day to “be alive.”  I bought some balls and rackets, and we’ve been going to our fantastic park to play tennis, basketball, horseshoes, ride bikes/scooters/skates, walk the dog, and just plain be outside.  I’m thinking we’ll suspend our gym membership for the summer here pretty soon.  It would be criminal to be indoors.  Maybe.  There is a nice quietude to listening to my iPod on an elliptical and then doing weights.  So we’ll see. 


So.  I’ve applied for one whole internship.  The Woodsman and I talked about it, and decided I should try for one if I can.  Not sure what that will entail.  I don’t want to give up my spot in the food room.  So hopefully, if I can get an internship, they’ll be willing to work with me on hours so I can do both.  The drawback is that they aren’t generally paid (here in this area), and I’ll have two kids that need childcare.  Which isn’t free.  So we’ll see.  I think it would be good for me (and therefore the family) to get some experience under my belt.  If I can see what life is like on “the inside,” I’ll be able to retain what I’m learning more.  Plus, I’m (gasp) middle aged with no industry experience, and two internships can only help my resume.


I’m too frustrated to talk about the recent events regarding our government and recent changes to healthcare to talk about them.  Might be best to just not be too loud.  Right now.  Or perhaps I’ll coagulate my thoughts and write about them at a later time. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Do Windows!

Not sure where this whirlwind of energy came from, but I’ll take it!  I’m thinking my VitD must be kicking in.  Let’s hope this round takes.  I really like feeling normal!

At any rate, I got quite a bit done today: I cleaned my windows.  Inside and out.  It was above freezing, not really windy, and bright and sunny.  The windows called me by name.   They are beautiful.  The daylight coming in is somehow different. I have a nice, clear view of the outside.

Which sparks a debate: are windows worth the effort?

Of course they are.  However, my contrary friend from B.C. disagrees. I think this stems more from her odd inkling to refer to slurpee flavors by their given names (Super Sunshine Raspberry Circus) instead of the correct nomenclature (by color).  This might be fun to discuss here at some point in time; she’s done that topic (in)justice already. The Great Slurpee Debate

But I digress.  Window work… Do you do windows? 

It doesn’t really take much time.  I just take vinegar and water, a scrubby sponge and a squeegee  and make it happen.  About twice per year.  Not only does it allow better quality light to come in, it makes the whole house feel clean.  I also get a chance to clean the casing, which can get really ucky. 

So tell me all about your window washing ways!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Woe is me??

So life is slow and good right now.  Well, aside from the hemorrhaging money part.  The “check engine” illuminated the other day, and the whole re-tighten-the-tank-lid thing didn’t help.  Allergist fees - $100, vet fees - $250; now the mechanic costs… good thing we’ve saved up, eh?  Otherwise we’d not survive this whole living “quarter employed” deal!

Yeah, somebody call the whaaaaambulance here.  I’m not in danger of losing the house, and I have a kitchen full of food.  I also have a wonderful family, better friends than I deserve, and so much more to be thankful for. 


Because every day is the weekend when you’re unemployed!

I have no plans for the weekend.  Other than taking the boys to the gym to swim, maybe, and church on Sunday.   And homework.  Let’s not forget the homework!

Allergy update

My eyes are mostly normal now, but they ached all day.  I had no idea swollen eyes hurt.  But they do.  Gumption was lacking today, on account of the eyes.  I might just go back and get that epi pen, anyway. 

Allergy testing!

So today I went to the allergy doctor.  Instead of the uncomfortable poke-your-back-with-irritants test I was expecting, they drew blood.  I guess allergy testing has made some vast strides!  So we’ll hear what the deal is with the almonds in a week.  So I get to go back and pay another $50 copay.  Joy.  Though I’m still grateful to have insurance, so I won’t complain (too much).

Of course, I am having some reaction to something now.  It’s frustrating to not know what is going on.  I took some pictures.  No, it’s not just me with my eyes partially closed, they are puffy.  And the photo with my eyes closed… can you see the crease in the lid from the puff?  My right eyeball feels like it’s going to explode along with the sinus cavity behind it.  So I can’t sleep.


Class Discussion

Another reason I can’t sleep is that I keep thinking about a discussion in class tonight.  I disagreed with quite a few members in class about something, and I left out a critical detail in my reasoning.  It was an assumption on my part.  I’m frustrated with myself.  Though I’m not sure why I’m giving the issue such an audience, as (forgive me) they are all very young and entirely inexperienced with office politics and general business “stuff.”  So it wouldn’t have mattered.   But my 10+ years experience with that very topic in addition to my education in that topic shouldn’t be dismissed.  It really bugs me.  I guess I feel like I don’t fit in. 

I need to focus on the prize.  In 2 more years, I’ll be able to find a job where my skills and knowledge ARE appreciated. 

Austin Bomber

I’m so disgusted with the event in Austin, TX, today.  Domestic terrorism over frustration with politics.  Seriously?  Killing innocent people, somebody’s mother or father, sister, brother… over frustration?  Pathetic.  I have a string of names I’d like to call this guy… a software engineer who couldn’t get a job.  (REALLY???  That’s one of the more stable career paths these days) Yes.  Killing innocent people will fix it alright.

I suppose I hope he was mentally ill.  Seriously mentally ill.  That would make his action somehow more forgivable.

I’m going to try to get some sleep.  Hope you all are having better luck than me tonight!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blogs, the Better Sleep Aid

I haven’t been waking up rested, so I thought I’d try the Trazodone again.  Bad idea.  Seems as if I wake up in the middle of the night when I take it, and then can’t fall back asleep.  I’m hoping writing down my thoughts will calm my mind so I can sleep.  A bowl of cereal will probably also help (with the sleep, not with my dress size).

Go, go, go, busy, busy, busy!

It’s been busy!  Playdate, Vet appointment, Thesis class/meeting at school, grocery shopping… Yeah, I was barely home today.  I remember feeling important or somehow validated when I was “barely home” in high school… now it’s just exhausting!

Healthcare Access

So this week in Health Law, we’re looking at the volume of uninsured and healthcare access.  I’ve come to a few conclusions.

Healthcare should not be tied to employment.

  I think I’ve mentioned this before.  Why, oh WHY is it illegal for insurance companies to offer services across state lines?  Why can we not buy health insurance like we do car or homeowner’s insurance?  People shouldn’t lose insurance when they lose a job… or I suppose I should say, people who are left with half (or less) of their income on unemployment shouldn’t be saddled with deciding whether or not they could/should/would pay 4x as much for health insurance when their pay has been decimated.

I’m frustrated as to why there hasn’t been one simple bill to take care of this problem.  It’s a huge barrier in the industry.

Imagine being able to really shop for insurance.  Instead of employers offering their limited plans, there would be so many possibilities!  Perhaps employers could offer a tax-free subsidy instead of the current method.  Think of the cost savings for employers there!  How many HR administrators does it take to manage health insurance at any given business?  Why do businesses need to specialize in health insurance as well as their core competency?

We need to stop counting those living here illegally as “uninsured / underinsured.”

  Yes, there are sad stories and good people out there.  Yes, they work hard.  However, there are legal means to live here and become a citizen.  I don’t think our country should be burdened with the duty to provide health insurance to the population of the world, which is where our current path is taking us. 

We need to admit that some people simply make “bad” financial decisions.

  Many people who “can’t afford” health insurance CAN AFFORD expensive cars, iPhones and the corresponding spendy data plan, new TV’s, etc.  Most of these people DO understand the value of health insurance, but they don’t prioritize it like they do housing and food.  We have a culture with a screwed up view of priorities.   STUFF has become a priority for many.  This is also why we have so much consumer debt.

Granted, there IS a problem.  I’m not denying that.  But let’s stop with all the political correctness here and look at some of the real underlying issues.  We can’t fix it by looking at surface data.  There is a level of personal responsibility that should be expected.

Now it’s time to see if I can catch some ZZZzzzzs.  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

It’s a Good Day For the Gym

I say this mostly because the boys need to be busy.  Oh, MY!  The last couple days have been filled with fighting and roughhousing.  It’s nice enough, perhaps we can go to the park, too?  I’m a bit nervous to take them swimming as it gets busy on the days school is out.

Though I’m not sure we’ll be able to go… Swing is in desperate need of a nap.  He’s been all attitude the last couple of days.  I think I’ll get them some warm lunch and then see if sleep happens. 


I have doors and windows open, and I’ve swept off the porches.  I hope Spring sees that as a welcome sign and decides to make her way to my area!  I’m ready for the sunshine again!

I can’t wait for it to warm up so I can clean my windows!  Not that I love the chore, but I do love the clean windows!  I guess there’s nothing keeping me from cleaning the inside windows, but it seems silly to do it when the outside is dirty.  Though I guess it IS warm enough to do them now.  … 


I’ve made an appointment for our pooch to go the vet.  I think he’s diabetic.  He’s put on a lot of weight this last year, and he’s drinking lots of water, and isn’t always able to control his bladder.  Poor pup (and poor carpet!).  We’ll see what we can do.  He’s 10.  Not getting any younger, but he’s still my pupper love.


Snow 043

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

It’s Valentine’s day!  I was greeted this morning with a lovely card and many hugs and kisses! 

I took the little Valentines to Starbucks yesterday for a little treat.

Valentine boys

Tonight we’re having a store bought rotisserie chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and a yummy trifle.  MMMmmm, Chocolate cake, vanilla pudding, cherries, and whipped topping!  The woodsman will be pleased to come home to such fare!

I took the boys out for some pictures quickly the other day.  These are the best of them.  Silly me… rainy / cloudy day near sunset.  So I had to turn off the flash, extending the lens time, so they are a bit blurry.

011021  029

Two moving targets.  Yeah, didn’t get a shot of them together.  It gets harder and harder!  Though I think the first shot of Cosmo is pretty decent.  I might play with a bit… desaturate and/or BW all or part.  I love Cosmo in that hat!  Swing was adorable, but was constantly in motion.  The least blurry picture of him has a beer can in it.  Croppable, I suppose.  LOL

Nothing else interesting going on, really.  School is fine.  I got one essay back.  18/20, but no comments as to why I missed two points.  Bummer.  I like knowing what the target is.  At least the grade is decent enough!

Washed the car yesterday.  So of course it rained today.  My bad!

I have an allergist appointment on Thursday.  That will be interesting.  Perhaps I’ll get lots of answers!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vitamin D-Day… again

Well, folks, apparently my summer course of high-dose vitamin D was insufficient to bring my levels above the “severely deficient” line.  So I’m on the D again.  Weekly pills of 50,000 IU. 

I’m thinking I should be able to write off the family’s trip to Mexico as a medical expense, since there’s not enough sunlight where I’m at for my body to synthesize the vitamin D from the UVB rays.  How horrible.  I’ll have to lay in the sun to get healthy.  Pity me.

Seriously, though, I will be sure to spend some unprotected time in the sun each day UP HERE (the Mexico sun will be too intense to go without sunscreen, methinks) to see what I can do to increase my levels.  I’m surprised the first course “didn’t take.”  I can’t remember if I was at 18 or 22 before, but I’m up to 24 now, and the “line” is drawn at 30.  I hope this course does the trick!

I did see some 2000IU pills at Costco today.  I do have a liquid D3, and when that’s out, I’ll get the pill form. 

Next time you need a blood draw, PLEASE request a vitamin D check!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I’m a Lucky Girl

I really am.  I have a fantastic family.  Outside of that, I have some fantastic friends, and their family.
How many people can say they are still close with people from their childhood?  Not many.  My friend's family lost someone special last week.  As much as it pains me to be powerless to heal their hurt, I feel so blessed to be part of their circle.  While they were hurting, they took time to make ME feel special. 

Yeah, I’m a lucky girl.  And Erika, I WILL be collecting on that deal for an evening coffee with you… one of these days!

Healthcare is not a FREE Market

Did you know that hospitals have to get permission before opening?  They have to prove to the government that there is a need for their services.  They have to get what’s called a  “Certificate of Need.”
What other industry quashes the competition with such a tool? 

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the basics of supply and demand.  The more supply there is of something, the more the demand is relieved, and the price goes down.  The less there is of something, the more people want/need it, the more they are willing to pay for it, and the price goes up.

I’ve said for YEARS (because all the decision makers consult me, NOT) that health insurance is a layer of insulation over the health market. When people aren’t using their own money, they make purchasing decisions differently and suppliers innovate and price their products differently.

Couple this with the elimination of natural competition…
I’d like to see the following (because I’m a shining beacon in the dark, dreary world of healthcare politics):
  1. Eliminate the requirement for the “certificate of need.”
  2. Allow insurance companies to compete for business across state lines. 
  3. Phase in a scheme that combines a health savings account with an insurance plan, including a fair incentive to not overspend.
Anyway, these are my thoughts at this point.  I’m sure they’ll change, but not drastically.

More Food Room

I met a woman today.  She walks a mile in a few times per week to volunteer in the church thrift store.  She also walks in every week to attend services.  WALKS.  This time of year, we usually have a foot-ish of snow on the ground from December to February.  And She slipped and broke her leg a few years ago, and got some snow cleats.  So she can walk to church—several times per week. 

She got food today, but she was worried about taking too much to be able to carry on the bus. 
And here I thought I was doing pretty well for carving out three whole hours per week to volunteer.  The excuses I’ve made to not participate in stuff are so so so whimpy.  This lady WALKS to volunteer when she’s qualifies to be a recipient of the help.  I have so much, and yet my help in comparison is… nothing.

Last week, we were packaging up diapers (6 diapers to a package), and were talking about how we didn’t have any size 4 diapers.  This couple who was in to “shop” with us, heard the conversation, and bought a case of size 4 diapers because they wanted to give back.  A CASE.  Wow.

People are awesome.  That is all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The food room

So today I began volunteering at my church’s food room.  Mind you, I’m not sharing this for accolades or for any reason related to the ego.  So please don’t comment in this regard.  I’m sharing this because it’s a fantastic window into my humanity.

Anyway, It was a great experience.  I really enjoyed helping people, and I think I made people feel comfortable while receiving charity.

I had to check my bias at the door.  It wasn’t as easy as I’d like to say it was.  That’s not to say my attitude was horribly troublesome, but my heart was lacking some of the charity that I thought was there. 

I quickly learned to identify that some patrons “worked the food bank circuit.”  And some patrons weren’t overtly grateful.  At first I wondered what I had gotten myself into.  But then I realized: “SO WHAT!”  These are PEOPLE.  They need FOOD!  I get to go to the grocery store every week and spend plenty of money to feed my family.  I get to pick items without high fructose corn syrup or MSG.  I get to buy organics.  I get to buy the expensive berries whilst saying to myself “I could blow money on berries or blow money on chips, so at least I’m being healthy.”  I get to be a snob.

I got to be the face of God to these people today.  In a very real way.  I don’t know what these people are thinking or doing, and I could very well be one of them.  They don’t get to be food snobs.  Their lives are hard enough today that they have to set aside their pride and come ask people for free food in order to feed their family.

I got to be the face of God today.  I’m the one that needs to be grateful and happy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I’ve found a good routine!

Well, I’ve been to two classes at the gym, both of which I enjoy!  I’m excited about it!!!  I’ve taken a water aerobics class and a “low impact” yoga class.  The “low impact” is less of the vinyasa  and more about holding poses and stretching.  There’s still some strength training.  It’s good stuff!  Perhaps I’ll be able to convince the Woodsman to come with one time…

I met with a personal trainer, too.  So I have a weight routine.  My goal is to do weights and elliptical 3-4x per week, and a class about 2x per week. 

I’ll do my thing at the gym, and Swing goes into playcare.  After I spend an hour working out, I have another hour I can study before the playcare time limit is up.  It’s a swell plan.  Though today I didn’t get as much reading done as I’d have liked.   I can also take swing into the pool afterwards if the time is right. 

Dinner Table Woes

Am I the only parent out there who has a hard time instilling table manners in her kids?  Whoa.  It would seem that it doesn’t matter what the consequences are, it’s worth it to use potty talk, get up and down, not eat, play with food and/or brother, etc. 

I think I’m going to have to break out the Table Manners Bootcamp Again and go uber strict.  First minor offense is loss of meal AND means early bedtime.


Otherwise, things are good.  The weather is crazy this year!  we have NO snow!  Generally we don’t see the lawn from late November through February, but we’ve hardly had any snow this year!  It’s been relatively warm.  The good news is that the boys get to play outside on their wheels! 

Cosmo got a skateboard for Christmas.  He loves it.  He practices tricks every chance he gets.

Wheels 009  Wheels 025

Wheels 012 

Swing loves his bike.  He’s really getting the hang of the pedals this year, too.  I’ll wager that he rides without the training wheels by the end of summer.  If you look closely at the second picture, you’ll see that the training wheels are on different levels, and the back wheel isn’t touching the ground.  He kept pedaling.  Was pretty darn cute!

Wheels 040 Wheels 039

Almond Allergy

I discovered last week that I’m very allergic to almonds.  My eyes got super swollen one day, and I figured it was either advil or almonds, and my suspicions were confirmed a few days later when my husband rubbed my shoulder after eating almonds.  I had a huge welt larger around than a baseball, and about a half inch “tall.”  My goodness was that uncomfortable. 

School is great! 

The Health Law class requires the most work, and the Health Management class is fascinating.  In both classes, I see so much room for process improvement integration in the industry, and I’m hoping my career can progress the way continue to envision it.  Regardless, I am really feeling a fit here… more than I did in Hi-Tech while I was working there.  I hope my actual experience is much the same. 

Political commentary

One thing I learned still has my mind reeling.  In my local area, a pretty average city, 80% of hospital revenue comes from Medicare (elderly and injured).  16% comes from Medicaid (low income) and 4% comes from private insurance.  I guess the 80% figure is easy enough to digest… though still staggering.  Of course more money is spent caring for older individuals.  But why do they collect FOUR TIMES as much revenue from low income people than “middle class?”  Is it because they don’t have to pay for it (or for very little?)  Is it because they don’t take care of themselves?  I’m sure some of it has to do with a lower standard of living, but that cannot possibly account for all of the discrepancy.

And people say we don’t care for those who aren’t insured.  THIS is what gets me.  The uninsured are still cared for. 

Don’t get me wrong, the entire “market” is a big, jumbled mess of regulation and bureaucracy, complicated further by the layer of insulation created by the insurance industry.  It needs a lot of help.  It needs an overhaul.  However… we ARE NOT leaving people suffering in the street.  People are falling through the cracks, and things don’t seem “fair,” but that’s the exception, not the rule.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to learning more!  I am excited that our society is on the precipice of change in this arena, but I hope we slow down and do it right, and for the right reasons, rather than rushing through something that will end up being worse than what we have because “people are suffering.”

I also can’t wait to blather on more about what I learn!