Archive for ◊ February, 2008 ◊

28 Feb 2008 Stop freaking vexing me already, Cancer
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Leave a Comment

I hate cancer.  From some of my past  entries it’s probably pretty obvious and if you’ve been reading me at all you know why I’m motivated to particularly like the jerk that is cancer.  Jerk, actually, is a mild word for how I feel about cancer in general, but I’m trying to be nice because that’s how I roll.

c_orange.gifA while back, an Internet friend of mine wrote about how difficult it is at time to have a loved one die from one of the less popular cancers. Naturally, I can’t find the entry when I want it, but I know she wrote it and understand how sometimes you wonder where YOUR ribbon color is.  She has a fabulous blog, though, so go read it anyhow.

But I’m digressing.  I watch daytime television.  Normally court shows (which I watch after the old school game shows, but that’s another post too).  The court shows are riddled with commercials for affordable insurance and injury attorneys, but from time to time The Cancer Treatment Center puts on a commercial with shiny, happy cancer survivors telling the story of how the Cancer Treatment Center helped them treat their cancer.

Now, overall I’m not bitter about that.  I understand now, in a way I didn’t before May of last year, that melanoma has a POOR prognosis, particularly once it has metastasized, which was the case with my Mom, but I don’t begrudge people having treatable cancer.  That much should be obvious.  I’m not THAT bitter.  There was a time when I mentioned The Cancer Treatment Center to my Mom.  She indicated that it was a “last resort” sort of place. I can’t say if that much is true or not.  I’ve not researched it because, frankly, I don’t want to know.  I <3 denial.  Anyhow, you’ve probably seen these commercials.  I’m sure most people have.  The most recent one featured a spry looking older man that indicated that being diagnosed with cancer in a fatal stage “made his tail droop” and after visiting Cancer Treatment Center “his tail was wagging again”.  He was cute. I didn’t mind his analogies.   But the other commercial that gets a lot of play around here is with the lady who had breast cancer.

First, I admit to getting to annoyed at how overjoyed she is that she got to keep her breast and how dismayed she was that conventional medicine suggested a mastectomy as part of her treatment.  I won’t pretend that I don’t pass my own judgment, but mostly because i can think of a score of things worst than having your breast removed.  I admit that while my breasts are useful (and are currently feeding my 26-pound Princess) I’m just not sure that losing one them to cancer would cause me distress. I mean, cancer would, but the boobs going?  Meh, not so much.  Of course, I admit that I’m not there and I reserve the right to change my opinion on that if I ever had to actually deal with it.

But, the breast thing isn’t what bothers me.  It’s the statement that “We’re fighters.  And Fighters win.”.

That actually pisses me off, because I can’t really step aside from what I think she must mean and what she’s actually implying.
c_black.gif At no point in time over her last three years did my Mom quit fighting.  In fact, her body kept her cancer at bay from it’s first appearance when my brother was an infant.  She fought it off for 25 long
years before she succumbed to it and it pisses me off that somehow it’s being implied that maybe my Mom didn’t fight.  Because she didn’t win in the conventional sense.  I really don’t think that much of her last three years could be considered much of a victory in any sense, though I do believe that good things happened during that time that I’m grateful for.

I just hate the implication that if you’re losing your battle to cancer that you weren’t a fighter, even though I’m nearly 100% certain that’s not what that statement meant, but it’s just not easy for me to separate that.  I believe that most people with cancer wage a battle against their insidious foe.  Some win.  Some lose.  In some philosophical way, I suppose you could attribute some of the wins to sheer will and fighting spirit, but overall, I think it’s medicine and happenstance.  I mean, if you get cancer and if it’s a treatable cancer you certainly are likely to have a different outcome.  The odds of your fight turning into a win are much higher than someone who finds out they are in the end stages of an incurable cancer, but does it mean that the person who “wins” is a better fighter?  Am I the only one who manages to find some offense at what that statement seems to imply?

Probably, but I’d disappoint my Mom if I didn’t manage to get indignant  and melodramatic at least once a day.

But, since it’s scripted, why couldn’t they prompt her to say “We can win because we’ll fight” or something.  Something that implies less and says more.  I have no doubt in my mind or my heart that my Mom fought as long and hard as she could (and in her final weeks, more than we thought she could have or more than she maybe should have), but she still didn’t win.  In my mind, it certainly doesn’t negate her roll as one of the bravest people I’ve ever known, but hate that it’s out there. Implied somehow subtlety that to someone else, in some grand scheme of marketing and profiting that she didn’t do all she could.  That she wasn’t a winner because she didn’t choose to take that one, last, desperate step that took the chance of erasing her hope; of erasing all of our hope.

Whatever.  You were a rock star, Mom. 

27 Feb 2008 We Did it Our Way
 |  Category: Cadence  | Leave a Comment

In September, I realized something about Cadence.  The truth is, Cadence wasn’t much for sleeping.  She didn’t really seem to have time for it.  It was frustrating for me as trying to find ways to entertain a four week old baby that wouldn’t sleep was a difficult task.  I struggled with it, as Cadence would lay on the couch next to me snuggled in the boppy, her dark blue eyes focused somewhere around me as I pondered what exactly one did with a baby that young who didn’t sleep at all.

It got to the point that I actually began to keep a daily journal of how long Cadence slept thinking, in my mind, that she slept much more than I thought but that I wasn’t really hitting on her cat naps.  The total was abysmal, really, and confirmed what I thought.  The baby didn’t sleep.  Really.  She didn’t.

Cadence got older and sleep times became more trying.  She would scream and cry when I would try to rock her to sleep, doing her best to fight off my intention that she sleep.  Nap times were abbreviated and night times were night mares.  There were times when I wasn’t sure that I could stand one more second of sleep deprivation.   But we pressed on.  Cadence didn’t sleep better at the “magic” six weeks when most babies start to sleep for longer stretches at night and she wasn’t sleeping better by three months or even five months when we started her on cereal in an attempt to see if her night time sleeping would stretch out at all.

It didn’t.

By nine months, I was desperate. Eric was even desperate and we scoured the Internet, asked for advice and read books trying to find some way to help our baby and us sleep.  After a very trying night, I made an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner at my Pediatrician’s office.  I was desperate.  We’d tried everything we could think of.

“You have to let her cry.”, she said, “It’s the only way.”

She outlined a plan for us.  We put Cadence to bed.  We closed the door.  We didn’t go back.  Not if she vomited.  Not if she cried until she fainted.  After a few nights, she said, Cadence would stop crying and would sleep.  I smiled and nodded and called Eric when I left the office.

“I can’t do that to her.”, I said

“I can’t either.”, he said.

So we didn’t.  We read more books.  We tried a bedtime routine which really didn’t do anything but stress us out if we didn’t start the detailed and long process early enough.  I bought things to put on her crib that other people claimed lulled their babies to sleep.  I rocked, I sang, I nursed, I bounced, I shushed.  Nothing worked.  Cadence fought sleep tooth and nail and woke up a handful of times every night.  When we slept away from home it was worse, Cadence feeding off of my distress at keeping other people up, would sleep in light, fitful snatches that left me in tears.

We tried, a few times, to use the Ferber method with her around her first birthday.  It didn’t work either.  Cadence cried no less than forty-five minutes at each sleeping time and she wasn’t sleeping any better over night.  There was no benefit to her crying, so we stopped and went back to rocking and cajoling because it seemed more gentle.

I joked, of course.  We wouldn’t be doing this forever, right?  I mean, at some point she’d either learn to sleep or be old enough to deal with her wakefulness on her own..  We struggled in the mornings, Eric and I operating in a fog and Emily complaining grumpily that “the baby cried a lot last night”.

Two months ago, things started changing.  Cadence began, infrequently, sleeping through the night.  She combined two short naps into one longer nap and slowly but surely, around a month ago, began to sleep through the night more nights than not.  We still have a night about once a week when Cadence can’t resettle and we have to get up, but those nights are tolerable because of our new found glut of sleep.

And, of course, we have the added bonus of getting to feel superior over our refusal to engage in a bedtime battle of wills with an infant.  That we didn’t take the bad advice of leaving her along and scared to cry.  I don’t want to get into a debate. I can fully understand you need to get your baby to sleep, sometimes desperatly, but I couldn’t leave my baby to cry uncomforted for hours.  It’s just not how we roll (and, yes, my baby would cry for hours because that’s how SHE rolls).   All we really had was hope that our path would pay off and Cadence would sleep well in the end.  Of course, it it didn’t pay off, I wouldn’t feel superior, but it did so I do.

25 Feb 2008 Cadence says:
 |  Category: Cadence  | Leave a Comment

What Cadence says=What Cadence means

  • Mama=mama(or daddy or any human)
  • Up=Up (or down)
  • Mah=more
  • bye=bye(also goodnight and possibly hello)
  • ba=ball(also sometimes book)
  • broom=broom
  • arrr=what a pirate OR a lion says
  • emah=Emily
  • okay=okay
  • ‘gan=again*
  • clock=clock*
  • all done=all done*
  • gaga=good girl#

*not said frequently enough to verify
#said frequently but not yet attributable.

20 Feb 2008 No Ragu for YOU
 |  Category: Cadence, Momdom  | Leave a Comment

(please sing as if singing the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies)

This is a story about a girl named C.
Who  didn’t like to nap as anyone can see.
One dinner time she was eating up some Ragu
and in the afternoon came some bubbling crude.
Poop that is, stinky pants.  Yucky.

Well the next thing you know, C wiped poop in her hair.
Wiped poop on her face, wiped poop everywhere.
Mom said, in the shower is where you ought to be
So she stripped the girl naked and tossed her in….um….there.

Yes, it happened.  After 8 years of parenting and two kids in diapers Cadence finger painted her body with poop.  Why?  I don’t know.    Some things Cadence does I say, “Well, wouldn’t YOU if you could?”  But poo painting?  I can’t say I want to ever do something like that.  I think it’s POSSIBLE that some ended up in Cadence’s mouth considering her propensity for putting EVERYTHING In her mouth, but that makes me want to throw up a little bit, so I’m trying not to think about that.

When I hit the top of the stairs I smelled her and the smell got worse the closer I got to the bedroom.  You know that scene in “There’s Something About Mary” when Cameron Diaz uses Ben Stillers’….um….stuff becuase she thinks its hair gel and her hairs all standing up and stuff.  That’s what Cadence looked like, but she used POOP as mousse.

I took no pictures.  I had to shower too because I decided the easiest way to deal with it, was just pick her up and carry her instead of trying to NOT get her poop on me.  Sigh.

Never a dull moment, I say.

19 Feb 2008 Dancing with the Devil
 |  Category: Suburbia  | Leave a Comment

Today, I shopped at Wal-Mart.  I don’t have to explain that I usually do all I can to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart.  Not just because our local store is old, crowded, dingy and understaffed, but because I believe that voting with your dollar is the best way to make sure companies know that you don’t like how they do business or where they’re buying their products from.  Once upon a time, Wal-mart prided itself on having more Made in American products than other store.  Now, it seems like the shelves are normally crowded with things brought in from other countries to ensure a better bottom line.

But, I’m digressing.

My town doesn’t have a fabric store.  That leaves me a few options if I need some simple notions or thread.  I can drive about 15 miles to the next available fabric store OR I can bite the bullet and shop at Wal-Mart.  Typically, I end up at Wal-Mart.  Not because I like the place.  I don’t, but by the time you figure in the extra gas and time it takes to get to the fabric store the next town over, my $4 in thread and $2 zipper have suddently become a lot more expensive in both time and gas.

Anyhow, so the Girlz and I are in Wal-Mart.  I need white thread and a zipper.    ON our way to the craft department, Emily spots a huge rack full of Hannah Montana t-shirts.  If you have a pre-teen daughter in your household I shouldn’t have to explain Hannah Montana to you.  If you don’t, just google her.  ;o)  Hannah Montana merchandise is in high demand.  Tickets for her limited engagement 3-D movie were so poplar that Disney agreed to extend the run a week and stories abound of parents paying four figure prices for her concert tickets.  Anyhow, the rack was full of Hannah t-shirts next to a display crammed full of Hannah dolls and right next to that was a display of Hannah accessories, including Wigs so you too can masquerade as Hannah Montana.

Emily picked out a shirt, of course.  We hadn’t seen one in our usual forays to Target and I remember well what it was like to be a fan and want a shirt (I should write a post on my loves one day….but I’m digressing). Target has a small display of Hannah Montana dolls as well, but nothing like the multi-item attack that  Wal-Mart was launching.  We carried on to the craft department and picked up what I was actually in Wal-Mart for.  I picked up my thread and my zipper and some glue sticks for my glue gun.  ON the way out of the fabric department we came across Hannah Montana fabric.  This stuff is in pretty high demand as it is limited and yet….there’s Wal-Mart with a part of a bolt.

Emily asks, of course, but it was flannel backed satin and I don’t even want to go on a tirade about that crap AND it was $8/yard it takes two yards to make Emily anything so that was out.  We were waiting for a phone call about another item I had spotted at Wal-mart and I decided that since Emily had gotten a Hannah shirt it would only be fair for Cadence to get a Dora shirt (the love of HER life).  None to be found, save a few outfits with a decidedly unDora looking Dora on it, but a huge display with TONS of Disney t-shirts AND a full circular rack FULL of Disney summer outfits.

What’s my point?

I think Disney might be in bed with the Devil (aka Wal-Mart).

I know plenty of people think Disney itself is probably the Devil.  I disagree, of course, for a million reasons.  Yes, I know Disney is a huge company.  Yes I understand that they’ve partnered with Nestle (and if you don’t know why people hate Nestle, again, google). I understand people think they turn out subpar story lines, market kids to death and over charge for their theme park experiences, but I, of course, disagree.  I think the Disney storylines are just fine and i have one little princess here who thinks and feels the same way.  Disney’s partnership with Pixar have turned out, in my opinion, charming engaging imaginative fun and funny movies.  Too much merchandising?  Well, any company marketing to kids (or really anyone) could be accuesed of that, so I don’t think that’s a blemish on Disney’s record.

But, the abundance of Disney merchandise crammed onto Wal-mart’s shelves has made me wonder.  What’s the connection?  Does Disney have an exclusive deal with Wal-mart?  I don’t recall seeing much Disney clothing on the shelves at Target which is where I normally shop.  I don’t recall seeing much or any at Kohl’s (which is the place I shop second most)  Or, do people who shop at Wal-Mart demand more Disney products.

And, what does that say about, um, me?

If Wal-Mart and Disney have some sort of exclusive thing going on, does that change my view of Disney? 

17 Feb 2008 Love in the Time of Cholera
 |  Category: Books  | Leave a Comment

I confess I’ve been reading this book for several months.  It was slow going.  Long, wordy prose.  Tedious at times, but the story intrigued me and I stuck with it.

It is the story of Florentino Ariza and his love Fermina Daza.  In the 1800’s, Florntino spies the lovely young Fermina Daza, a young woman with a substantial fortune and a dubious family line.  Florentino falls in love with Fermina and composes long, poetic love letters to her as he tries to win her favor.  Fermina responds in kind and her father takes her out of hte country to cool the love she’s feeling for Ariza, who is a hard worker, talented, but illegitimate and poor.  Fermina’s father wants better for his daughter and while she is gone from town she matures and upon hr return realizes that what she harbored for Florentino was just youth and she decides to marry the much more eligible, socially well-placed Juvinel Urbino, a respected young doctor.

Florentino is heartbroken and spends the next fifty years of his life tracking Fermina’s life and engaging in affairs with over six hundred partners while he waits for his next opportunity to win Fermina’s hand.

You know, it was difficult for me to draw a bead on these characters and normally my opinion of a book is directly related to what i think of the characters.  Florentino, with his mad, adulterous (sparknotes.com calls him a nymphomaniac) should be despised, particularly when he begins an affair with his young god daughter, but somehow he remains, if not tragic at least somewhat forgivable haven given his heart and life to Fermina Daza only to have her reject him, smashing his hope.  Fermina is likable and understandable, considering her position and she makes a choice of the head and not the heart when she marries Dr. Urbino.

Dr. Urbino seems the most insipid to me, and I’m not sure why I feel that way. 

Overall I liked the book but disliked the ending.  I felt it was very anti-climatic.  I’m not concerned, really, with a neat package, but some idea of how things will go is important to me.  It reads very slow and I found myself rereading pages and passages frequently, which I’m not typically prone to do.

Overall, I’d recommend the book as it was totally different from any I’ve read of late, but can’t really give it high marks on my readability scale.

14 Feb 2008 Love Day
 |  Category: Kids, Momdom, Suburbia  | Leave a Comment

I admit I’m still trying to determine what “casual” use of the Internet equates to.    I’m still not sure.  Apparently vacation planning shouldn’t be considered “casual” (and I agree. Vacation is freaking necessary!) but what is casual?  I really don’t know. I think I should have thought a little more about that.

Our Valentine’s Day celebration has wound down now.  Emily is sorting through her Valentines from her classmates (overseen by Smokey, her new Webkinz) and Eric is watching hockey (to Eric hockey=love and I guess it does to me too come to think of it).  Cadence is sleeping, hopefully having happy love filled dreams because she’s a baby and only lovely things happen to her.

Well, there have probably been a few less than lovely things, but Cadence’s balance of lovely things vs non-lovely things is pretty heavily weighted in favor of lovely things. 

I think.

And so, on Valentine’s Day it occurred to me that the concept of a “Stay at Home Mom” is actually a fallacy.  Today, I got up at 6:30 and showered and dressed.  I got the kids fed and took Emily to school at eight.  Cadence and I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things (party tray for mom’s group party, books for Cadence’s valentine gift) and then returned home where I ate a hasty breakfast and then wrangled dressed Cadence for our DUAL parties.
DSC_0103.JPG

We left home at 10:00 to ensure that I’d actually be able to park in the school postage stamp parking lot and I made some phone calls for some upcoming mom’s group events.

Cadence and I hit the school at 10:25 (punctual as never usual) and then the fun really began.  At first, there were just two moms.  I helped set up the food (the teacher is super organized and makes requests for the families and the kids end up with a nice spread of unduplicated and healthy snacks.).  I had a problem, though. I didn’t realize I’d actually be helping the party.  I thought I’d stand around and observe and be overwhelmed by the cuteness.  Not so.  I left Cadence’s stroller in the car anticipating being available to chase her around the class room.   But I had to manage snacks and activities and Cadence hit her head and got a gooseegg on her eyebrow within fifteen seconds of walking into the classroom.

Thankfully, though, Cadence had a great time and Emily is still thrilled to have us come to her things.  I know the time will be coming soon when she just can’t be bothered with us so I’m trying to make the most of this time while I can, but this is about LOVE, man, and not the lamenting of me.   

Anyhow, we finished up Emily’s party LATE and I didn’t have the cushion of time I intended to have between the party of 22 second graders and the impending chaos party with my Mom’s group.  I adore my mom’s group.  Really.  I found it through Meetup and I HIGHLY recommend it, but the plain truth was there were 39 confirmed parents coming to the party.  Two dads.  A couple grandmas pushing the adult numbers to about 45.  Everyone, obviously, came with at least one child.  Probably half of the original 39 came with more than one child swelling our numbers to close to a hundred people.   But, it’s love Day.  And, the party started at nap time.  It seemed to me that an unlovely situation could occur but Cadence had a nice time.  She colored.  She played.  She hid inside the playhut tube….DSC_0119.JPGand she got cozy with other moms.  Thankfully, my group is full of friendly moms so they didn’t necessarily mind her lounging on them.  One she had met before and maybe she seemed the familiar to C, but the other was pretty much a stranger and Cadence was giving her cuddles (and calling her Mama, but she’s not realized, I guess, that Mama is a unique name because EVERYONE is Mama now, even Eric and the harder we insist that he’s Dada, the harder she laughs).

After staying at the party forty minutes longer than I intended (Cadence was not 1 hour and Forty minute late for her nap and I’m not going to get into our sleep issues around here, but let’s just say getting Cadence to sleep for certain lengths of time is crucial to ensuring that she’ll continue to sleep well).  Eric agreed to come home early so Cadence could nap through picking up Emily.  I was at home for about an hour before I was into the car again to pick up Em’s V-Day gift from 7-11 (They had the exact Webkinz she wanted. I could have gone to Hallmark, but I didn’t see a reason to drive out of my way and run the risk of not being able to get the gray cat she specifically wanted, so I bought a Valentine’s gift at 7-11.  Big deal), picked up Emily from school, stopped at Target to pick up the finishing touches for Eric’s gift and a giant raspberry colored ball for Cadence from Emily. 

I spent another hour at home before we left to go to Eric’s mom’s house so she could babysit for us in exchange for us loaning her Dell (my other love) for some book keeping she had to do.  We had dinner and now, after 9, we’re home.

Stay at home?  Whatever. (actually, tomorrow I DO plan on MOSTLY staying at home.  And I can’t wait).

11 Feb 2008 Happy Birthday, Mom
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Leave a Comment

Lyrics: I miss You by Miley Cyrus

Sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
You used to call me your angel
Said I was sent straight down from heaven
And you’d hold me close in your arms
I thought of the way you felt so strong
I never wanted you to leave
I wanted you to stay here holdin’ me

I miss you
I miss your smile
And I still shed a tear every once in a while
And even though it’s different now
You’re still here somehow
My heart won’t let you go
And I need you to know
I miss you
Sha-la-la-la-la
I miss you

You used to call me your dreamer
And now I’m livin’ out my dream
Oh, how I wish you could see
Everything that’s happenin’ for me
I’m thinkin’ back from the past
It’s true the time is flyin’ too fast

I miss you
I miss your smile
And I still shed a tear every once in a while
And even though it’s different now
You’re still here somehow
My heart won’t let you go
And I need you to know
I miss you
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
I miss you

I know you’re in a better place yeah
But I wish that I could see your face, oh
I know you’re where you need to be
Even though it’s not here with me

I miss you
I miss your smile
And I still shed a tear every once in a while
And even though it’s different now
You’re still here somehow
My heart won’t let you go
And I need you to know
I miss you
Sha-la-la-la-la-la
I miss you


05 Feb 2008 Before Lent
 |  Category: me, in a nutshell  | Leave a Comment

Yes, it’s true. I’m giving up casual use of the computer for lent.  I’ll be spending about 10 minutes a day checking my e-mail and keeping up with my meetup group obligations.  I haven’t decided, yet, if blogging counts as casual use or not.  I’m not sure what giving it up is going to mean.  I’m sure I’m going to have a few days of withdrawal, that’s for sure.  Add in meatless Fridays and things are going to be CRAZY around the house.

Anyhow, I just wanted to tie up a few loose ends (haha!) around here before I went.

Emily is eight today.  We took her to American girl place today where she picked out another doll to love and be loved by.  She was very mature when picking out her agreed upon two outfits (and because she behaved so nicely we agreed to let her get the starter kit and I threw in the half price outfit of the week).  She’s currently flying Mia over her head in ecstasy.    It was worth the time and effort and money.

of course, on the way home we ended upo driving in possibly the worst storm of winter and, let me tell you, we’ve had some doozies thus far.   Noaa.gov is predicting 9 to 18 inches of snow.  WTH?  I mean, really.

Oh, and to the prick in the Lexus tailgaiting me down Darrell road this evening, eff off dude.  Seriously.  There were three cars off the road in less than a mile and i KNOW you have four wheel drive in your fancy car, but the roads were very bad and four wheel drive ain’t never stopped no body.  I considered flipping you the bird as you passed me in the turn lane on the way to God knows where (but not the hospital, so there goes that excuse) but I had my girls in the car (which is why I was driving like an old poky grandma) so I gave you “the look” and called you a peckerhead on your way by (and then went back to saying The Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary until we got home).

So, anyway, happy lent. :o)