Archive for ◊ April, 2008 ◊

28 Apr 2008 Gray Day
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Leave a Comment

When Emily was little, she loved the book “My Many Colored Days”.  We read it endlessly with each emotion given a color and an animal (black was mad, pink was happy, purple was mopey).  Gray was characterized with a page done fully in gray with two bright yellow owl eyes staring outward.  On Gray days you watch, but nothing moves.

When I started this entry in notepad, Cadence lounged on my lap, I was writing about our dreary weather.  And dreary it was.  It was one of those days when it was dark enough to need the lights on, but not dark enough for the lights to seem like they were lighting anything and so we sat in what felt like darkness all day.  Even Cadence was slow and quiet, not bouncy and jumpy and busy like she normally is.

Last week, Jack went to the Vet to have a growth on his side removed.  I had felt it, and it caused Jack no pain and seemed to be free floating in his skin.  He’d had it for a while, but it hadn’t grown measurably in a long time, and, I admit that I was in denial about it.  I knew I couldn’t deal with another cancer diagnosis, even if it were just in my dog. 

The results of the biopsy are in and I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure, that the growth Jack had was malignant and, as May stares me down I’m once again dealing with Cancer.  Not from a distance, like I’d hope, but in my life and personally.  Again.

I am comforted by the fact that, besides the wound from his surgery, Jack feels fine.  He plays.  He eats.  He barks.  He snuggles.  He snoozes.  He chases. He does the “happy puppy” (a funny gallop  like run that he does when he’s happy, usually during chasing or some other similarly possibly naughty activity).    I’m hopeful that, despite this, he’ll live out his life here and the tears we’re shedding today for things we fear will never come to pass, but in the back of my mind I’m afraid of the next step. I know too well what could be coming next.      

24 Apr 2008 HFCS is all natural? On what planet?
 |  Category: Current Events  | Leave a Comment

I love lemonade.

Love. It.

I particularly like it as “lemon shakes” that you get at fairs mixed with fresh lemons and lots of sugar, but lemons are kind of expensive so when the weather gets warmer to get my lemon fix, I buy lemonade. Oberweiss dairy (a local joint) makes great lemonade and the Simply Juice line makes a pretty good one too.  At the store on Monday I picked up Newman’s Own Virgin Lemonade.  It’s all natural!  It tastes good!

YES!

I get it home and drink a couple glasses.  I decide to check to the ingredients.

High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Wait, didn’t it say all natural?  Why, yes.  Yes it did.

But, high fructose corn syrup?  Is that all natural?  Does this sound “all natural” to you?

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is any of a group of corn syrups which have undergone enzymatic processing in order to increase their fructose content and are then mixed with pure corn syrup (100% glucose)
to reach their final form. The typical types of HFCS are: HFCS 90 (used
almost exclusively in the production of HFCS 55) which is approximately
90% fructose and 10% glucose; HFCS 55 (most commonly used in soft
drinks) which is approximately 55% fructose and 45% glucose; and HFCS
42 (used in a variety of other foods, including baked goods) which is
approximately 42% fructose and 58% glucose.[1] HFCS is generally made from transgenic (genetically modified) corn.

link

So, I have to admit I’m questioning how the Newman’s Own brand can claim they’re making all natural juice when they’re using enzymatically modified transgenic corn to sweeten it.  Doesn’t that seem, oh, perhaps the opposite of natural?  HFCS is being scrutinized as not being healthy and possibley contributing to diabetes and liver conditions. 

I admit, that I’m concerned about what we’re doing not only to our environment, but also our health.  With the current news about BPA in plastics, evidence linking HFCS and hydrogonated oils to health problems, it’s kind of getting a little bit scary out there.  If you want to truly have a frightening experience, you can check out  how toxic your health and beauty products are.  Especially alarming are the baby products.  The Johnson and Johnson products sitting in our shower are noted as being a six on a scale of 1 to 10 (so we’ll be replacing it with some health friendly, but way more expensive products as soon as we’ve used what we have.  I’ve already replaced our soup with a item ranked as 0 on the toxicity scale and will be replacing other products in our home as we use them up).

Are some the health epidemics we’re facing due to the products we’re eating and using in our homes?  Would changing the kind of contact solution we use and juice we drink help us to be more healthy and to avoid some of the diseases that plague our generations?

24 Apr 2008 Nostalgia? For this?
 |  Category: me, in a nutshell  | Leave a Comment

Today I was looking back over my archives and I wondered in which month I had posted the most prolifically.  It was July 2004, which really struck me as odd and when I clicked into the archives I was transported back to our first summer in Michigan and, I confess, missed that time.

DSCN0128.jpgThe condo was small and actually cramped.  We couldn’t park our cars in the garage and, in fact, they hardly fit in the driveway.  We had no dishwasher, only one bathroom and it seemed like our meager furniture hardly fit inside the joint, but somehow, I miss the simplicity of  it.

Which is totally crazy on several fronts, the first of which being we’re certainly not over run with room and amenities here.  But…Eric was working a very predictable bankers hours job that he rarely brought home.  The pay was okay and for the first time in a few years things were okay financially, even if they weren’t great.

I was home, again, and had confidence to go out and do things that I hadn’t had before.  I took Emily places beyond the grocery store and, Emily, well, Emily was four which seems sweet and uncomplicated compared to eight.  We played and got along easily and i had all the time in the world for her, something I miss.  I feel like we’re not as close now as we were before Cadence came, but that’s another post, really.

But there is just this feeling of peace that surrounded those first few months.  Despite our sadness at leaving our home, our first few months in Michigan are marked in my mind as peaceful times; cool, misty mornings.  Emily asleep just down the hall.  Shaded mornings playing in the back yard under flowering apple trees.  Afternoon sunshine blazing through the windows, the cool breeze from the lake and the confidence that I knew where everything was and how to get there.  We would listen to NPR on the weekends on the stereo in room off of the kitchen and Emily would play and Eric would use the computer and I would sew and we were peaceful together.

Things would change so quickly.  By August things were rushing forward and we wouldn’t return to that peaceful place again.  We moved out of the tiny condo in November to avoid dealing with them selling it while we were renting and while I felt more at home in the new place, I never again found that peace.  In fact, once Fall of 2004 rolled around we were riding on the Bad to Worse train and things wouldn’t improve until we made it back to Lakemoor in 2006.

But for a little while, it was great.  And I miss it a little bit.

20 Apr 2008 Finally!
 |  Category: Suburbia  | Leave a Comment

Usually I write about spring more than this.  I love the changing of the seasons and adore the change from winter into spring.  It usually sneaks up on me.  One day I walk outside and the birds are singing and the air smells different and it’s obvious the long, long winter is over.  This year, though, the signs haven’t been so obvious and we’ve been plagued with cold weather and snow for far too long.

My crocuses didn’t even bloom this year.  I think they were on strike.  Either that or stunted from being buried under feet of snow as late as March.

We’ve had great weather the past few days, sunny and warm,b ut with a nip in the air.  But, the girls could still wear shorts outside and we could roll down the windows in the car and open up the house AND do some “gardering” as Emily used to call it.

Spring 08 001.jpgWe took a trip to the ‘Dept today and bought paint to spruce up the trim around our front door.  I bought a couple of new forget me nots and we bought new hdege trimmers.  We have some more work today, but the place is looking pretty good.  While we were out holes for our new plants, Emly found a worm and shared it with Cadence.

Cadence thought the worm was pretty cool and spent a good amount of time carrying it back and forth, showing it off, dropping it, pinching it when she picked it up. I’m sure the worm was dead when she was done with it, but she really had a nice time.  It was funny to she wasn’t scared by it and really seemed to like it and want to keep it around.  She’s a hoot.

It was really nice to just be outside.  I pruned my lavender and we planted two more forget me nots to replace the  ones who have died over the  past year.  Turns out, I need a third (meaning three of my four have died since 2006) so Cadence and I will venture back to the depot.  Eric mowed the lawn and put down some grass seed in our bald spots and Emily and I pulled up the sunflower stalks (though our back garden isn’t ready for planting yet).

We also planted strawberries in our planter boxes, so we’ll see if that actually pans out for us.  The past few years  we’ve killed everything we’ve tried to grow in there.  I’[ve also been planning how to better use the deck including finding some patio furniture and getting a burner so we can enjoy the extra outdoor living space (which I still wish was grass).

Honestly, it’s made me long for summer.  I think I’m as tired of school as Emily is.  I’m ready for our whole day to be our own.  At least for a couple weeks, by which time I’ll probably be tired of refereeing and coming up with something to keep Emily occupied.

18 Apr 2008 I know..
 |  Category: me, in a nutshell  | Leave a Comment

You know, from time to time I struggle with what the purpose of this blog is.  I wonder if anyone actually reads it.  I struggle with deciding if I want to put it out there for other people to read or if I’m happy with a little word of mouth traffic.  Sometimes, I’ve decided to make my blogging separate and then tried to drive more traffic using other blog sites, but I always come back here, because I’m still not sure of my readership and it seems silly to maintain two blogs.

And so, I get quiet.  I don’t leave because I won’t, but I’m in that phase again where I’m trying to figure out purpose and intent here and all of that crap.  Do I want to put it out there?  Do I not?

And so on and so on. It’s cyclical.

So, a quick update. 

Things are well here.  Emily made her first communion last week.  She was excited and I was happy that she’s so
First Communion 016.jpg so involved and interested in church.  I admit that I struggle with faith and figuring things out and it’s just nice to see Emily who can just plunge forward and not ask questions and have doubts.  This is who loves her.  This is who she loves.  It’s what I love best about kids. 

On Tuesday we’ll head to church for a special mass with her classmates and a celebration brunch.  Emily is excited about the whole thing. S he gets to wear her dress to school, take pictures, sing songs, participate in mass.  It’s like a Happy Communion Girl Trifecta.   And, of course, we get to see her all dressed up and looking like an angel, which isn’t so bad either.
All of this underscores that this is a sad season.  Those who know me know why and I struggle with how much I speak about Mom and all that crap (Mom would be amused by lumping it into one “that crap” statement.  It’s an inside joke, kind of, that involves my wonderfully dramatic and super funny brother).  I’m working hard to focus my mind on something else, but I keep flitting back to last year.  To make matters better, my anxiety has come back and I headed to the doctor and had my happy pills increased in strength so I can get by this little bit without being a mess.  I can deal with the sadness just fine, but the hysteria over the panic attacks really doesn’t work well for me.