Friday, August 31, 2007


As long as I am on a roll:

I was blog-surfing recently and read a funny post about Dunkin' Donuts having it out for the author... I'll be darned if I can remember where I saw it, and I'll be back to link to it if I can figure it out. If it's you, drop me a note and/or just know that you tickled my funny bone. We've been visiting DD on a regular basis this summer as the two year old has developed a real yen for their smoothies or "hobies" (?) as he calls them. Our order is nearly always the same, only the price constantly changes. Can't figure that one out... But with an antsy kid in the backseat I'm not gonna argue too loudly, particularly when it's in our favor. What I find particularly irritating however is the fact that I place my order over the "squawk box" only to reach the window and have the person ringing me up say: Now what did you have? Why do I bother? And there is always at least one thing not right. Today's order was: a small tropical smoothie, small iced tea with sugar and lemon, a glazed donut and six munchkins (2 plain, 2 glazed, 2 sugar). What I got was the smoothie, the tea minus the sugar, a powdered sugar donut and 4 munchkins. Go figure.


I am, shall we say, a bit lax on the issue of the two year old and TV. The whole "No TV Before Two Years Old" movement is great in theory, but it just didn't work out that way around our house. And part of my whole "Dirt Makes Fat" philosophy is all about ditching the Mommy guilt, because goodness knows I certainly don't need any more.

I do, however, try to keep an eye on what is on TV. Nothing too violent or racy, and our lack of stereo equipment sometimes means that we have the country videos on in the background for a little music around the house. Daniel and Trace Adkins, Gretchen Wilson, Rodney Atkins and others are really becoming best buds.

There should be the same restrictions on commercials as there are on TV shows, though. We will have something pretty innocuous on the tube and suddenly there is a commercial for Halloween or The Ring II or some such movie on... and the commercials are just as bad as the flicks. They have their place, but I shouldn't have to go diving for the remote to keep these images away from my kid.

That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All the King's Men

In many ways I feel as though I shouldn't be complaining. There are so many who have far more serious issues surrounding bridges and construction in this country. That being said...

Our complex has exactly one entrance/exit. I've lost track of exactly when it started, but crews have been repairing the bridge that crosses the (fairly small) river that sits right next to us. It's a mammoth job and while all the heavy equipment and noise has created no small amount of amusement for a two year old who loves anything on wheels, Mommy is really ready for this to be over. Thanks to the newspaper I now know that this millions-of-dollars project will not be completed until next summer. Not this summer - next summer.

Our entrance/exit sits at a bend in the road that cars tend to travel too fast. Trying to leave on a good day often results in taking a deep breath and simply ramming your car out into the traffic flow. I'm actually happy to see the local cop when he decides to park in the drive across the way because traffic actually slows down, and maybe some of the speed-demons might actually get a ticket for their troubles. When they cut down some of the trees to make way for this project it actually increased the visibility which was great. The visibility promptly decreased again when the trees were replaced with various cranes, bulldozers and heavy trucks - not to mention the personal cars of all the construction workers that have decided to park lining our entrance/exit.

I've been trying to hold on, thinking: Hey. Town improvement and all that. But next summer? I'd like to be agreeable and feel that progress is being made, but there are whole stretches of time where no work at all is being done.

All this promises to be even more fun when the New England snow finally descends and the snowplows are looking for somewhere to pile everything that has just been shoveled off the roadways. Yes, my idea of fun is to take your life into your hands every time you try to leave your house. Just one of many reasons that it may be time to move.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Saga Continues

I seem to be a bumpy person.

Besides the obvious reference to having had a baby bump, there has been:

A nice sized lump on the back of my right elbow. You know that spot on your elbow that seems to be termed a "funny bone?" I was in college, and had a nice-sized bruise back there to go with the lump. Said bruise and lump also used to earn me zaps from that nerve, you know the type, where your hand goes tingly and then painfully numb and useless? A visit to the student health center found me a doctor who pretty much advised me to not lean on that elbow when I went to the bar. Um, right. Moving on eventually found me at the University of Michigan Medical Center for my third surgery to try and get everything out... It was eventually termed a histiocytoma, and determined not to be cancerous.

A potential breast lump. And a mammogram and ultrasound to go with, which turned out to be nothing, thank goodness.

A potential thyroid lump. Multiple ultrasounds had subsequent doctors going: Huh? Well, I don't see anything. This thankfully stopped short of the needle biopsy (of the neck! I still get the shivers!).

Gallstones. I ate (or actually didn't eat) my way through the year and a half after having Daniel not knowing about this and not knowing what I could put in my system that wouldn't cause me abdominal pain and/or intestinal distress. Not how I would recommend losing the baby weight. And why it took so long to get this diagnosed I think I will never know.

Liver bumps? So I had gallbladder surgery and recovered and was doing much better thank you when my gastroenterologist's office called. I figured it for a How are you doing after that surgery? type of follow-up call, but no... You know that ultrasound that (finally) showed up your gallstones? There were some spots on your liver that we believe are hemangiomas. You need to get a CT scan to confirm this.

Off I go... this is scheduled for tomorrow, and I will keep you posted. But please, no more bumps for awhile, OK?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I want to potty all the time...

C'mon, you knew it was inevitable. This blog got started due to the kid, after all. Here 'tis: The post on pee and poop. Our recent visit to the pediatrician also included the question if Daniel was "aware" of needing to go. I'd been putting this out of my mind since umpteen books, online sources and heck, just people in general have all talked about boys training later than girls. So... this has just been something for "later."

There is occasional discussion of "pee" when I ask why he's patting his diaper, and poop time usually results in Daniel running into the other room for some alone time... So, when I thought about it, it turned out that the answer was, Um. Yeah.

I elected to go with one of the potties that fits on the real toilet, 'cuz hey if I can eliminate the step of having to clean the baby potty so much the better. What this also, amazingly, takes into account is Daniel's yen to do things just like Mom and Dad. When I explained what the new potty was, and showed him how it fit on the seat, I also asked him if he wanted to try it out. He nodded yes, and I gave him a boost with his shorts on and all figuring this would just last a second and he would be on to the next thing on his toddler agenda.

He proceeded to start tugging, saying: pants off. The diaper went too, and I'm sure it was entirely coincidental but we had a little pee and lots of praise. I don't plan on pushing any sort of agenda with the training... maybe plunking him on it once a day and seeing what happens and how things progress.

But holy cow is my baby growing up!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Along Came a Spider

I'm not sure that Daniel knew quite what to do when Mama started doing the "heebie-jeebie" dance as we left the house today to go to the grocery store. The dance was the result of the big black thing dangling from the light fixture right in front of my face. Just like the nursery rhyme...

Have I mentioned that I hate bugs?

I can take lots of things. I used to go fishing with my Dad and Grandpa and brother which involved all kinds of bait. Usually worms, but occasionally other stuff. They taught me how to get the fish off the hook too... I can remember having turtles in the old goldfish bowl we had as a kid. And my little brother and I used to grab flashlights and go frog/toad hunting, which usually involved the things peeing down your arm once you got hold of them. As long as I knew they weren't poisonous even the snakes didn't bother me. But give me a many-legged anything and just watch my skin crawl. We seem to have a nice selection of critters in our area, much to H's amusement as he escorts them outside when I find one or another tucked into the corner of my shower in the morning. Things could get interesting around here once Daniel is old enough to really realize just what bugs are and what they do to Mama...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Boys, Boys

Daniel has sort of connected with a little boy named Edgar at our playgroup. Edgar's Mom and I were talking, when we started hearing some crashing noises from the next room. We investigated, only to see two little figures peering into the dollhouse, with the two of them taking turns sending each wooden piece of furniture crashing down the dollhouse stairs.

And all I could think was Aww, how cute! He's learning how to play with the other boys!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just a Girl and her Allen Wrench

This was my project of the day... 115+ pieces. Nicely challenged / complicated by the two-year-old who wants to PLAY TRAIN!

We had a hectic weekend the past few days with the last bit of Daniel's "progressive birthday party" at my Mother-in-Law's house with Aunts and Uncles and at least one of the cousins. Daniel did extremely well what with his schedule being turned upside down yet again... He's really pretty adaptable. Tantrum Kid seems to come out nearly exclusively for Mama and Dada and Angel Kid is reserved for everyone else. As a result I've really been holding onto my patience today.

I am thinking of renaming this birthday: Trains, planes, and automobiles (and bikes and trucks and...) as Daniel's focus on anything with wheels has remained firmly in place. One of his birthday trucks actually came with a DVD showing trash trucks and explaining where all the trash and recycling goes. I found it surprisingly interesting!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Poke in the Arm

Yesterday was Daniel's 2-year appointment. The 18-month appointment was a bit of a scream-fest, so I was uncertain how things would go... The actual visit with the pediatrician went well. We did the usual getting the stats, brief look-see in the ears, questions about how things are going with the eating, sleeping, etc. Then came the Hepatitis B shot. Traumatic, but quick. The topper was realizing that we needed to go upstairs to get blood drawn for a lead test.

I know it's important... especially given the scavenger hunt all us Moms and Dads have been doing recently due to The Great Toy Recall of 2007. But, um, yeah... the last time? It took my husband to hold him down. I decided to brave it out if I could, otherwise it would mean maneuvering another appointment around H's work schedule and so forth. I'm happy to say that we got through it OK. I was a little bit amazed when the doctors office called this morning to say that his blood workup was normal. I don't think I have ever seen such a fast turnaround.

My heart breaks a little bit every time my little guy looks at me and says in a small voice, "Doctor hurt." But I think all has been forgiven. Now if we can just work on the nightly scream-fests that come with the brushing of the teeth.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It was the strangest thing...

So, what is the strangest thing you ever saw while you were "on the road?" My brother was crossing the Mackinac Bridge on his way home from the visit to our parents' house when he caught this picture. Just like a scene out of Cops!

We had just crossed the border into Ohio, and had taken our first toll ticket when I saw 10-15 emergency vehicles on the other side of the road. As we started speeding up I noticed the FedEx truck that had "reared up" and was crumpled under the overpass like someone had used a can opener on it. H also noted that the cab looked burned. Also noted by us both was the 8-10 mile backup of cars we proceeded to pass. People had actually gotten out of their cars and were walking around talking to each other. As the traffic started to thin out, I wanted to wave a big sign at approaching cars and shout, "Turn Back!!!"

We were driving to playgroup yesterday when I rounded a corner and had to drive around what looked like a door flat on the road in the intersection with what looked like an industrial saw horse on top of it. This was reminiscent of the time I was driving to my summer job years ago and rounded a corner to find a desk and chair in my lane. They were perfectly set up, as though they were just waiting for a computer and office worker. A little way up the road was a pickup that had pulled over to get their errant desk.

What about you?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tag Team Restauraunt-Going

Sigh. OK, so I know, I know, he's two... but any recommendations about how to get the kid to sit still in a restaurant?

We thought we would have a brief dinner out yesterday. Daniel is sort of getting a "birthday month" this year. We spent the 10 days leading up to his birthday with my family in Wisconsin (thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the bike!). And the actual day fell hard on the heels of the 1,200 mile trek home. Knowing we were all kinda tired and messed up schedule-wise we thought of a dinner out as a celebration, with getting together with H's family for another time. Dinner, unfortunately, became a tag-team event in controlling the toddler with one of us getting up from the table and even taking him outside if things were getting too unbearable. Any toys I brought were a distraction for about .2 seconds. Drinks were only good if he got to drink one of ours ("sip! SIP!"), and he was not content to just take a drink through the straw ("HOLD!").

We probably need to start enforcing more dinnertime rules at home, but it's hard. H and I are on wildly different schedules during the (6-day) work week, which makes sitting down all together at the table for meals difficult. Can someone please tell me that this is a phase? And when does it end? I don't want to not take him out places, but sheesh! Yesterday had me contemplating food delivery rather than eating out for the next few years.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


There are some very nice friends of my parents in their neighborhood. We visited many of them recently, just to say "hi" (And who am I kidding, to show off Daniel a little...) One of these friends, Burt, collects and sometimes even races cars. Daniel took a shine to a yellow car in the garage that Burt and Teddi referred to as "the Dino." Come to find out from talking to my father later that car is a Dino Ferrari, much like the one pictured, and is quite expensive. Just the thing I want my two-year-old's hands all over!

We are home. Three sore behinds from 1,200 plus miles in the car with a toddler. A toddler who is now wildly off his schedule for little things like sleeping and eating. But hearts are all the richer for getting to spend relaxing and fun time with far away family.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Seventy Years Ago

My Mom likes to venture out to estate sales and auctions, and she seems to have the best luck: from small items on up to getting a kitchen table, an old steamer trunk that makes a great coffee table and a wonderful antique flip-top desk. Maybe I need to look further, but the antique shops I've found in New England were of the variety that bought the pieces, did the restoration for you and then charged far too much for you to acquire an item. Fun to look around, but goodness knows I wouldn't be buying anything.

I was nosing around my parents house and found an old Diary from 1937 that my Mother had picked up at an estate sale. It is strangely compelling... the writer is a woman whose husband Arthur owned a tavern in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. She doesn't have an entry every day - there are many blank pages. But what is here is an interesting snapshot of life 70 years ago. The daughter, Joan, gets sick several times. "I started to worry about her," laughed my Mom. They go to the theater many times, and the author notes received bowl, or received salt and pepper shakers: a common practice (I am told) in the thirties. It is noted who is on duty at the tavern on specific nights, and Joan's dancing lessons and purchases of dresses and sittings for photographs. Progress on the construction of a new tavern is noted, as well as the day that the Mayor visited to look around. The author's name is never mentioned, although she does note the deaths of various folks around town.

Blogging has some interesting parallels. Some of my favorite blogs are just that - snapshots into the author's life. While I love this new medium and its ability to connect people across the country and across the globe... there is a certain excitement to holding this old volume in my hand and wondering at the author's life. There is something tangible in being able to press into the spine and turn the pages and peer at the faded ink... There are many reasons that people blog. Getting a chance to look at this old book makes me wonder: If I am writing this as a means to keep a record... Should I be making some provisions for what happens to "my little corner of cyberspace" when I am not around? It's hard to imagine someone 70 years from now stumbling across these words. The unknown author I have been reading would probably have said the same thing, I imagine. But it makes me sort of sad.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On Golden Pond...

There is something about these trips to Wisconsin to see family and friends... I have been very nostalgic about it recently. The passing of Grandma B, and sale of her house pretty much marked the last of the "houses of my childhood." It's a different perspective from H's family who still lives in the same house he grew up in.
Driving through town there are so many little tidbits that are familiar, liberally mixed with things that are new. Elkhart Lake is a resort town, familiar to many as the home of Road America. My parents have a great condo, and practically around the corner is the street where Grandma and Grandpa T used to live. The old house has been being renovated for quite some time. It's a refreshing change from the original purchasers who had been letting the place fall down around their ears... but it's hard not to feel a tad possessive even now about the place where I spent so many summers as a kid. At least these folks are taking care of it. On that same street's corner is the Gritzmacher place. You used to have to go up this long narrow set of stairs to their house. Beneath it (once upon a time) was a blacksmith shop. The whole shebang has now been turned into a bar/restaurant.

We had an early dinner this evening at Schulz's Restaurant in Sheboygan: charcoal grilled steak sandwiches with pickles and onions and real butter on the hard rolls that starts to drip down your hands. Yum! Daniel loved the french fries... It's a favorite stop when we journey into Wisconsin. Tomorrow we will have an Aunt and a few cousins and their assorted kids over for bratwurst and hamburgers and lots of chatter and we will work on making new memories.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Holy Cow

Um, yeah - the trip.

Item 1: The car. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry has a confrontation with the car rental agent who has held his reservation, but not actually held him a car? When they finally find him a car, he requests the insurance because,"I'm gonna beat the hell out of that thing." This was the scenario that kept running through my mind as we argued with the car rental agency... First they found us a vehicle, only for us to discover that it was reeking of smoke. By the time everything was straightened around we weren't on the road until nearly noon.

Item2: The toddler, day one. I will say this. All in all, for spending so much time pent up in a car Daniel did pretty well. There were tantrums, but we tried to keep up with the snacks and the toy cars to play with.

Item 3: The hotel. Or lack thereof. One of the first times I have had to check approximately 8 places before finding a room. Complicated by the cranky toddler who wailed every time Dada stepped out of the car.

Item 4: Yeah, the toddler? The one who spent most of his day strapped into a car seat when he usually spends most of his day on the move? He was the one running laps of the hotel room while his exhausted parents tried to get him to sleep.

Press repeat on the toddler, the time spent on snacks and cars and playing... at the end of all this was Grandma and Grandpa and Sophie the dog (Soapie!!!). Daniel was so excited to see everyone that he was grinning and practically vibrating in place. I'm looking forward to spending some time seeing relatives, sleeping in, getting some good "Mom-cooking" and just generally relaxing. And trying hard not to think about doing a repeat of this on the way home.

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Two-Fer

One two-year-old in the car for two days. I remember being in the airport to and from Chicago for BlogHer and seeing all the kids and thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice? It's only a two-hour trip by plane..." We tried it last time, and that was the LONGEST two hours I have spent in quite awhile. Serious contemplation was made of renting a car for the return trip home. Maybe in a year or two we can try that again.

Grandma and Grandpa and many assorted relatives and friends are tickled that we are coming. Truthfully, so are we. I don't get to see everyone as much as I would like.

Also truthfully: Send good wishes for the sanity of the two parents.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

On My Mind

A dear friend contacted me recently... the day I left for Chicago in fact. She and I don't live near each other any longer, and as sometimes happens when people move we hadn't spoken in awhile. My friend has dealt with losing her mother to a recurrence of breast cancer, and has struggled with the idea of having genetic testing to determine her own risk of developing cancer.

The test results came back positive.

She has known this was a possibility. But now she is dealing with increased testing and monitoring and the doctors proposing some pretty radical ideas and treatment. I am being purposely vague on details here, as this is really my friend's story to tell and not mine. I wish I lived closer to be able to offer the concrete support of being there... a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold or a friend to provide a distraction by talking about music or movies or the craziness of life in general.

The older I get the more people I find who have been touched by this. I'm only heading out of my thirties and I have had a mammogram of my own (nothing, thank goodness!). Recently I've discovered Toddler Planet, and a young Mom who is going through inflammatory breast cancer, another aspect to this disease that I really knew nothing about. I've been spending some time trying to wrap my head and my feelings around all this. But my friend is on my mind and in my thoughts and prayers, and I felt a need to throw this "out into the Universe."