Friday, October 30, 2009

still sick

Nothing interesting to say except Sam and Sally are sick, Stu and I are tired, and I cannot wait for the end of the flu season. Oh, and I hate it when Sam gets hives. And all the people working at the pharmacy in Albertsons know my name.

I think that is it. Too tired to write more and my hands hurt from washing them so many times. I'm going to put on lotion and watch Tom and Jerry with Sam.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

reporting in

Well, Sam is still running a fever - for the fourth day in a row - so since he started coughing on Wednesday I made him a doctor appointment for this morning. He woke up at 4:30 am and was feverish again, so I got him some water, some ibuprofen, and a cold cloth for his head. We camped out in the family room and went back to sleep. I had to wake him up at 7:15 so we could take Sally to school and then head to the doctor. I was very worried about waking him up and having him be miserable and having to drag him around to the doctor and then to the pharmacy (and what if they want to do blood work or give him a shot and then I'm holding down a crying screaming miserable kid who has been sick for four days and . . . . and . . . see, sometimes I'm really just a crazy person pretending to be normal . . . ) I can't tell you how nice it was to hear him chatting with Sally and making jokes with her on the way to school. The doctor says his lungs are clear and that a secondary infection probably set in after he had a regular flu last week. Thankfully, he didn't think a blood test would reveal anything at this point, and they are all out of flu shots for the year. Got the medicine, got the grocery shopping done for the weekend, and got back home. Sam is resting quietly watching a movie. He's watching Over the Hedge, which is why I'm over here on the computer. (I was pushing for Harry Potter, being that it's so close to Halloween, but I lost. Next up is National Treasure.)

I'm a little bit of a wreck today. It's not the cabin fever - I could hole up at home all week and not go crazy with it. I've got plenty of projects and things to do around here, and I don't mind the quiet. It's the worrying that makes me crazy, and it's the being the one in charge that makes me exhausted. I'm the one that has to decide: ibuprofen or tylenol; make him eat or leave him alone, take him to the doctor or stay home and rest . . . . and on and on until I can't even decide what to eat for lunch and I can't remember what day it is. So I'm going to sit and be quiet and think positive thoughts. I'm going to take my vitamin and drink extra water. I'm going to, sadly, watch Over the Hedge with Sam.

Hug your kids today. Be well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

home again

Sam got sick again early Monday morning. (Like 2:30 am early. Why does it always start in the middle of the night?) After a really rough day yesterday, he seems to be doing better today. He's eating, he's resting. He even started talking again. Sam is an easy patient when he's sick, but he worries me so much because he doesn't talk. I swear, the kid could lose a toe and he wouldn't tell me until I ask why there is blood all over the floor. He just lays there on the couch, miserable, and then I feel him and he's burning up and I say, "Hey buddy, do you feel sick?" and he tells me he's really hot and then he throws up everywhere. Sally, on the other hand, is my drama queen. Any twinge of a stomach ache and she's doubled over and heading for the tums.

Anyways, he's doing better today. He ate toast for breakfast and drank some juice (I gave him some clear juice in a juice pouch - yesterday he had a grape popsicle and threw up purple and Sally almost lost her lunch at the same time) and his fever is below 100. Last night, in an effort to quarantine the sickness, I decided that Sam and I would sleep on the couches in the family room, and Stu and Sally could have our bedroom. I woke up in the middle of the night alone in the family room. Everyone else was in my bed. I guess it was just fine because Sally and Stuart are at school and work, and Sam slept all night and hasn't thrown up today.

I played with the colors on the blog - let me know what you think. I'm not sure about the green color on the left side. I like the brown, though.

Shouts out to my cousin and her husband, who had their first child on Sunday. Welcome to the world, baby Mia! Can't wait to meet you! Sally is grateful that you are a girl, and she really wants to hold you.

Also sending love out to my mom friends at school who covered for me at the jog-a-thon and who always tell me that family comes first and not to worry about staying home with a sick kid. I love it when people make a point of telling you the right thing to do. It makes me feel proud to be in a community that values family and friendship like that.

OK, enough fun. I'm going to change all the linens and disinfect the bathrooms again. Note to self: buy more lysol.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This & That & Lotsa Stuff

First off, Sam is much much better. He was fever-free for most of the day Wednesday, so he went to school on Thursday. Perfect timing, as it was the day that a teacher needed a sub at lunchtime and I was able to cover her classes. Second grade is not easy to teach, that's for sure. The kids are super great, though, and I had fun reading to them. They are total angels when you read to them - it's like magic quiet dust.

We've had a pretty quiet weekend, for us. Soccer game on Saturday morning, then home for some family time and lunch. Sam was tired and took a nap. I think it was a combo of the last of being sick, and growing. He's going to sleep and sleep and wake up taller, I just know it. I don't know what's gotten into me, but after subbing on Friday, I came home and made homemade croutons (yummy) for our dinner salads (with lasagna that I made last week - froze half - instant dinner). Saturday I made a Halloween costume for Sam and started one for Stuart. Today I got up and made some pumpkin muffins. (I'm tweaking the recipe again, so check back for a new version soon!) I made some with cream cheese and some without, because guess what? Stuart doesn't like cream cheese in muffins. This was quite a shock to me.

Today, Stu took the kids to the movies, and I'm having some quiet time. I'm going to go finish sewing his costume, then either knit or nap. Probably nap. All this productivity makes me tired.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Sam has had the flu for the past three days. If you follow me on facebook, you know that it's not a particularly nasty strain of the virus - he's been running a fever on and off, and sleeping up a storm. Like 12 hours a night, plus daytime naps. I figure that sleep and fluids are the best thing for him, so he's on the couch with a little dish of crackers, a cup of water with a straw, and watching cartoons. Later, we are going to watch Underdog. I hate Underdog. I think I'll use the time to knit something complicated, like those gloves.

I've been stuck home, except for last night when I spent almost forty minutes in the line at the Walmart pharmacy. I don't know what went wrong there - maybe somebody called in sick - I just know I was fourth in line, and by the time I got to the front, there were at least ten people behind me. At 8:30 pm! I really don't like Walmart, but their prices are so low that it's worth it. I tell myself that it's character building, standing in line, cultivating my patience. It doesn't really work, but I'll keep at it anyway.

It doesn't really bother me, being stuck at home. I've become such a homebody lately. There is always plenty to do, and I like the quiet.

Monday, October 19, 2009

RCE - another piece of the puzzle

Back in July, I wrote about how I figured out that I sometimes sleep with my eyes open. I have since taken to sleeping with a sleep mask (the satin fabric kind that you get in a drugstore). I put a thin smear of vaseline on the mask where it will be on my eyelids, and gently press it onto my closed eyes. This has worked very well in keeping my eyes closed and I have had little discomfort since I started doing this.

Today, though, another piece of the puzzle clicked into place. When I found out that my corneas were peeling off, I knew there must be some reason for it. All the doctors told me that it had to do with my eyes being dry and that sometimes people have damaged corneas. I was convinced that there was more to my condition, though. At first, I thought it may have to do with a drug that I took during high school to control acne. Then I thought that I might have cancer. (OK, that was a parnoid thought, but the eyes are the windows to the rest of your body.) I don't think either of these things had anything to do with my RCE. I think it goes back to my gall bladder.

In 2003, Sam was born in June, and I had my gall bladder removed in October. Before my surgery, I was eating very little and I lost quite a bit of weight. Basically, I stopeed eating dinner for two months. I knew if I went to bed hungry, I wouldn't wake up with the awful gall bladder attack pain. It took me several months after the surgery to get back to a normal diet. But my body was not the same, and I couldn't eat some kinds of food anymore. Sadly, I didn't make the connection between certain foods and how my body felt after eating them for over two years. (I blame the Mom Thing - I was so consumed with taking care of two young kids that I wasn't overly concerned with my occasional digestive issues.)

However, over this past year I have been making changes to my diet. I have stopped eating almost all pork. I never eat hot dogs or bacon. If we have ribs (previously one of my favorite things), I only eat one and make sure I have extra vegetables. This summer, I tried going without red meat. I didn't miss it too much, and I even considered becoming a vegetarian exclusively. Except for one big thing. I love hamburgers. I know me. I don't know if I could go through the rest of my life without a hamburger. But, feeling good is better than a hamburger, so for the past few months I've been having gardenburgers.

This weekend, though, I fell off the wagon. I ate a western bacon cheeseburger. The aftermath has been, um, significant. I can't ignore the fact that this kind of food makes my body sick. And this morning, when I woke up with a really dry eye and I still was having diarrhea (OK, more info than you wanted, but if this helps even one person with RCE, then the honesty was worth it), it hit me: I was dehydrated. I have probably been dehydrated since 2004. I was so dehydrated that my corneas became dry and damaged.

It wasn't random. There was a reason. I was dehydrated and I was sleeping with my eyes open.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. I can't tell you how much RCE messes with your head. The randomness of the episodes and feeling so out of control of yourself is horrible. I was having small panic attacks at various times of the day. Even now, almost two years later, I have a small panic if the store is out of the ointment that I use, and when I find the ointment I almost weep with relief. It's sad - I know that it's totally irrational, but I can't help it, so I let myself feel it. I tell myself that it will be ok, but I still know that it might not. Anyway, now I have another thing that I can do to protect my eyes. I can make sure that I am hydrated. I can avoid foods that my body can't process. It's a small thing, but inside my head it's like turning a corner; it's like the day after a week of cold rain. It's sunshine.

(PS - If you are reading this because you or someone you know is dealing with RCE, please leave me a comment or email me. I'd love to talk to you.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

off the deep end

Some knitting to share. I got it in my head to try some colorwork mittens. I haven't done this stuff before mostly because I'm afraid of steeks. See, this kind of colorwork is done in the round, and if you are making a sweater, you knit the body, then cut holes in it for the arms. You cut big holes in your knitting. There are no words. I cannot picture a day in my life where I will knit a project that requires steeking. It makes my hands shaky just thinking about it. Anyway, mittens need no steeking, so I thought this would be a good fit for me.

Then I came across The Endpaper Mitts. They are fingerless gloves. They are like my knitting soulmate. Then I tried to follow the pattern, and that's where it all fell apart. I tried to do the Italian tubular cast-on, and failed. I tried again, and started knitting. Then I realized I must have done it wrong, because it didn't look right to me. Then I read through the Ravelry forums and found a link for the cable rib cast-on. Now that looks like me. So, yesterday, I ripped out the few rounds I had, and started over. I knit the cuff - with size 1 needles. I changed to bigger needles - size 2. (For the non-knitters, US1 and US2 are very small needles.) I added the contrast color and began the pattern. I bored my friends with my cleverness. See why?

Aren't they pretty?
Yarn is Cascade 220 in Celtic Green and Lavender Heather.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Banana Muffins

I found this recipe on a blog a few months ago when I was hopping around the internet, and I can't remember where I got it. I just searched for it and I can't find the source, so I'm so sorry to not be able to credit the appropriate person, but I must share because these are YUMMY. My kids don't like coffee flavor, so I left that out and added some whole wheat flour and ground flax meal. Please do not tell my kids! The cocoa powder and banana texture hides the good stuff so well that you don't even know it's there. My batch made a dozen regular size muffins and 16 mini-size muffins.

If this is your recipe or your friend's recipe, please leave me a link to your blog so I can give you credit. And thank you for sharing this with me!

Mocha Double Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Yield 12 muffins and 8 texas sized muffins
Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour muffin tins

1/4 cup oil and 1 cup plain applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3-4 ripe bananas
4 Tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water (it's like a syrup)
2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 and 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (for the batter)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (for the tops of the muffins)

Mix everything together. Fill tins 3/4 full and top with chocolate chips. Bake 20-25 minutes (12-15 for mini muffins). Cool. Enjoy.

Friday, October 09, 2009

fun link friday

So I've been thinking about fractals this week (yes, my mind is sometimes a scary place) and I came across this beautiful website and I realized that I love Julia Sets. That's a Julia Set Fractal to the left. I like the swirly parts. If you have free time, go wander around the website. Beautiful artwork.

What else? How about a sheepy wedding dress? I love these photos! Such a cute couple.

And speaking of cute couples, The Office was great last night - Jim and Pam's wedding - loved it. Best opening of any Office episode that I've ever seen. Stu and I watched that scene twice!

That's all - I'm off to run some errands, including going to the yarn store because, you guessed it, I ran out of yarn in the middle of the hat that I am making to use up the leftover yarn. BUT - I found contrasting yarn in the stash to use for the two-color mittens, so I only have to buy one skein to finish the hat and make the gloves. (I better not run out while making the gloves. That would be a travesty.)


Thursday, October 08, 2009

bi-monthly blog?

Everyone around here seems to be adjusted to the school schedule, but our lives are very full these days. The kids are keeping busy with school and homework and playdates, and Sally has soccer and flute and Sam has gymnastics. (And phone calls. For both of them. Sam got his first friend phone call yesterday - Sally answered the phone and yells out "Sam! It's for you!" and I was totally caught off guard. Then, I heard Sam say, "OK! I'll put you on speakerphone and go get on-line!" WHAT??? Yes, my six year old knows how to put someone on speaker phone and how to log on to Club Penguin to network with his friends from school Seriously. I don't know whether to be scared or proud.)

I've had a few sub jobs and a few sub-Lunch-Lady jobs, and I've been keeping busy with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, and being Personal Assistant and Driver for both kids. I've been knitting lots of things, but some are gifts and some are other things I can't talk about yet (mysterious, yes, but the waiting is killing me too). Yesterday I got the crazy idea to knit some traditional colorwork mittens, like these:
I know, I know. Latvian two-color mittens! I live in Southern California, and these have no practical purpose in my life, but I might go somewhere cold some day, and they would make a lovely gift for someone, so I think I might just go ahead and make some. Also, this solves another little problem that I have - I made a green scarf for myself last year, thinking that I would try out this yarn and see if I want to use it for a sweater. I don't. It's too itchy. So, I have about half of a skein left. Of course, I decide to make some gloves. So I start off and get almost done with the first one when I realize that I will not have nearly enough for a second glove. So I put it away for a few weeks, avoiding the fact that I'll need to buy more yarn (to use up extra yarn! crazy) or rip out the glove. After making about five other pairs of gloves with different yarn, I ripped out the almost-finished green glove and decide to make a hat. Slouchy knit hats are all the rage this year, so I find a pattern and cast on. It's charming, I love it, and guess what? I think I may run out of yarn. (@%&*) But now I really like this hat, and I don't want to rip out another project, so if I go out and get more of this color to finish the hat, then I can get a contrasting color for the gloves! Problem solved!

See why I have no time to blog? Just thinking about all this takes most of the morning.

Yesterday I was most productive. I washed my car, went to the post office, visited a friend, volunteered at school, had lunch with a new friend, went grocery shopping, picked up the kids, took Sam to get a haircut, helped the kids with homework, made homemade soup, cleaned the kitchen, folded laundry, and took Sally to soccer practice. Today I woke up an hour early for some reason. I'm going to fall into a coma around 7:30 tonight. I better get all my stuff done. Maybe I should start with another cup of coffee . . . .