auntbijou: (Golden-eyed Weasley)
Most of the time, I deal pretty well with my mother having Alzheimer's. If dealing pretty well means living 150 some odd miles away and not having to deal with it every day, and avoiding calling sometimes because we have the same conversation every single time.

Some times, I feel like the worst daughter on the planet, and the worst sister.

Other times, I'm realistic about it. My sisters' kids are all grown up and mostly married with kids of their own, or at least independent. I still have teenagers at home, and though one will be starting college soon, the other still needs a lot of time and attention. I remember very well what it was like to have my mother caring for an elderly relative and babysitting a grandchild. Something had to give, and a lot of times, that thing was me. I won't do that to my son.

Every once in a while, though, it'll hit me, and hit me hard. Talking with my mom is an exercise in patience, because her short term memory is non-existent, so she forgets what she's talking about in the middle of a sentence sometimes. Her memories are compressed, so now, instead of my sisters growing up in the fifties and being teenagers when I was arrived as a surprise, now, we all grew up together and are only a few years apart. Then she sees my kids and corrects, but I can tell it bothers her and she can't reconcile it in her mind. That frustrates her and makes her unreasonably angry.

Well, actually, she does have a reason. She knows something is wrong with her memory, but she's not sure what it is. It frustrates her. And it scares her.

Flaky Sister has told me about times that Mom has attacked her or acted out with her, and I've tried to point out that it isn't personal, because it isn't. Mom will be furious with her and sulk... and three minutes later, she's completely forgotten about it. But Flaky Sister, who still has not dealt with her childhood the way the Blonde Sister and I have, can only see Mom through the lens of those years. So everything Mom does is deliberate and personal.

This worries me.

For now, though, there is nothing we can do about it.

This can't go on, though. We're going to have to put Mom in a home. She is already starting to exceed the Flaky Sister's abilities to take care of her. At first, Flaky wanted me to take Mom and put her in a home here, but I find the fact that our doctor refused to give me any kind of clues about what the home was like to be... ominous, and further research convinced me it wasn't exactly the best place for her. Plus, they don't handle Alzheimer's patients. This fact was confirmed for me when pleas went up on our local discussion board for places that do handle Alz. patients when the local home refused to deal with several patients who had reached the combative stage of their illness and wanted them placed elsewhere.

I have taken Mom for weekends, and I've told my sisters that three days is about my limit (they always want four or five). Three days is my limit, because I can't deal with the demand of taking care of my mom and my kids, and deal with my own issues.

Which my sisters conveniently forget, mostly because they don't see me all that much anymore.

I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease, and while at first, it just made me really tired all the time, now if I get a little virus or infection, it's like getting slammed with a brick wall. Seriously. Christmas 2013, we got the flu. My husband was up and about in two to three weeks. Me? I was down for nearly six months! I got over it and started getting better, and thought, well, I'm back to normal now, okay, yay, life!

Then I got a flu shot. And had an infection in my gums.

I'm still recovering.

It's like my immune system has turned into this hyper overprotective mother who has to completely overdo things and then turns around and punches my thyroid for reasons.

Where my mom is concerned, you have to be completely on your game. Seriously, her memory may be spotty, but that woman was sharp in her prime, and she still has her moments. The only difference is now, when she's angrily laying down the law or ranting about something, I can nod, and then say, "Look, Mom, DUCKS!" and it completely derails her.

It helps that we actually have ducks.

I once sat and watched I Was A Male War Bride on Netflix with her four times in a row. Why? Because every time the movie ended and the screen returned to the title page, she'd get excited and say, "Oh, let's watch this one! I've never seen this one before!"

The first two times, I tried to remind her we'd just watched it, but she had no memory of it, and I'd gamely start it back up again. After the fourth time, my daughter took pity on me and distracted Grandma with her art.

Oh, and I can't leave her sight. She'll look for me, so this makes going to the bathroom tricky. She's a fall risk now, and my sisters would absolutely kill me if Mom fell while in my custody and broke herself.

So my limit is three days. Three days on a weekend, because let's face it, we have to tag-team Mom. So that means two adults and two teenagers, plus three cats and three ducks, to manage one little old frail 87 year old woman who may not have her memory, but still has no trouble getting in trouble.

I still, however, am determined to find a group of willing bikers for a prank photo op. I want to take a photo of my mom astride a Harley, or some similar huge machine, with a big burly biker sitting behind her, grinning, and the rest of the gang around them, grinning. I want her hands on the handlebars, and maybe a bandanna around her forehead. Maybe a leather jacket on, too. And I'll send it to the Flaky Sister. And wait for the incipient heart attack.

That should pay her back for the four and a half days she left Mom with me nicely!

No, I'm not vindictive at all!
auntbijou: (Default)
I somehow never envisioned this day.

Well, I did, but far off in some misty, distant future, nebulous and untouchable in the land of Someday. Because in my mind's eye, last week, my daughter was two and lurching around the living room with a very large dog and three attendant cats, chocolate smeared around her mouth from the chocolate chip cookie she was hanging onto with fierce determination as she headed for her goal; the front door.

Three days ago, she was pushing her baby brother in a giant Tonka truck across the kitchen floor while he squealed with glee, making "Vroom! Vroom!" noises while the Triplicats scattered out of the way.

Two days ago, she was waving impatiently at me to leave as I hovered outside her first grade classroom, her brother in a backpack on my back, hoping she was going to be okay, and that she would make friends.

Yesterday, she was playing in her first soccer game, stunning us both as she displayed a determination and ferocity that has gotten her through every hurdle that has been placed in her way. I still remember having to hold onto the Husbandly One when a kid who seemed like a veritable giant loomed over her and looked like he was going to plonk a massive fist on top of her head and crush her as he stole the ball from her. She looked up at him, sniffed derisively, then plowed him over as she took the ball back, and passed it to one of the forwards, who immediately took it and made a goal. She then turned to face the boy and flounced past him to show how beneath her contempt he was and ignored him for the rest of the game.

It was very demoralizing for him.

Last night, I hugged my seventeen year old daughter for the last time, and this morning, I hugged my eighteen year old daughter for the first time.

The night the Impertinent Daughter was born was one of the most... ridiculous and yet wonderful nights of my life. My water broke three fourths of the way through an episode of the X-Files, an episode I still to this day have never seen through to the end, and then we were rushing to the hospital, feeling woefully unprepared. I mean, we decided on her name on the way to the hospital!! Seriously!!

I had a C-section, because she was a breech baby, and I remember when I heard that first cry thinking, "Oh, my God... what have I done? What have I done?? I can't be a mother!! I'm too immature!! I'm not stable enough! I'm gonna fuck her up, and she'll be lying on a couch by the time she's 25, spilling her guts to a therapist about her whacko mom and how she totally fucked her up and... and... I CAN'T DO THIS!!"

Meanwhile, they were cleaning her up, and the Husbandly One was looking at her and cutting the cord and all that, and then they laid her in my arms, wrapped up like a little burrito. I looked into her tired little scrunched up face, her centuries old eyes looking up into mine, and felt my breath catch. She wriggled a tiny hand free of the burrito wrap, then reached up to touch my face, stroking my chin, and suddenly, I was calm.

I could do this.

We could do this. We would grow and learn together, and we could totally do this.

And now, here we are, eighteen years later. She's got a driver's license. She'll be graduating from high school in a few weeks. And there's a part of me that's screaming, "No, no, I can't do this! I can't let go of my little girl, my baby, my firstborn, I can't let her go out into the wild, crazy world, because she's not ready! I'M not ready!!"

Today, she hugged me, and touched my face, and I thought, "Maybe... maybe I can do this."

Nah, not really, but you know... I'll give it a really good try.

Happy Birthday, Impertinent Daughter. You have given the roller coaster of my life some really wild twists and turns, some of them utterly terrifying, but I hung on and I've enjoyed the ride. And I can't wait to see where it'll take us next!!

auntbijou: (Default)
So, tomorrow, I will be fifty.

I'm still trying to decide how I feel about that. It is, after all, half of a century. And I have known the Husbandly One for half of my life, which seems really weird, because I feel like I've known him forever.

When I turned thirty, I barely noticed it. I was a little busy, so it just sort of... passed by. And when I turned forty, well... aside from some black balloons from a few friends, it wasn't that big of a deal, either. In fact, I found forty rather freeing. It was sort of the equivalent of being forced to stand up straight and at attention for 39 years, and then suddenly realizing it was okay, I could relax and take a nice, deep breath and have a bit of a rest now, thanks.

Not only that, but I was able to let go of a few things that had been weighing me down, realizing how utterly ridiculous they were, and boy, was it a relief! They were mostly things my mother had pre-programmed into me, and I was very happy to let them go.

Now, I'm looking at fifty and wondering where that's going to take me. I don't think I look fifty, though I'm not sure I know what fifty is supposed to look like, exactly. The Tall Blonde still insists on looking at my driver's license from time to time because she doesn't entirely believe me, and if she wasn't such a polite person, she'd probably demand to see my birth certificate as well. Still, I feel better than I have in a long time, and as a result, I'm more active than before. It's pretty awesome, so... I guess I'll call my fifties my "awesome decade."

Hey, whatever works!!
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
Yes, yes, haven't updated in forever, I know, I know. Life has been busy, and plenty to do and all that stuff. As usual.

So, how have things been? Well, let's see. After weeks and weeks of annoying low-level headaches thanks to being reduced to taking Prilosec while waiting to find out what exactly is going on with our medical insurance, I am now back on the Dexilant, and today is the first headache free day I've had in what feels like forever.

Second... I've been hesitant to proclaim this, but seeing as I'm back on the Dexilant, why not?

I haven't taken my asthma meds in over three months. I haven't needed my asthma meds in over three months. This isn't to say I don't have asthma, because I do, but at the moment, I'd say it's relatively mild, almost to non-existent. Why? Because... I don't think I have asthma. I have acid reflux. Which is being taken care of by the Dexilant.

And I have to say, it is the weirdest thing, to realize that I have been taking asthma medications for some twenty years now that... I probably didn't need. Except I did, because twenty years ago, they didn't have any of the medications that they have now for acid reflux. I remember actually getting medication for acid reflux twenty years ago that didn't even come close to making a dent in my asthma... and I wasn't being treated for acid reflux! I was being treated for a gall bladder flare up that had me throwing up almost constantly, and my doctor was trying to protect my esophagus. So... it's extremely weird to think that my problem all this time has been acid reflux, and when I told my gastro that, he said, "Actually, it's quite common," and he explained why, which I am not going to share because... EWWWWWW!!!

Still, I have to say, the Dexilant has changed my life, and I'm grateful. It's worth the hassle I've been through over the last two months. Seriously.

And I have some... pretty incredible news. Yesterday, for the very first time ever. EVER. The Impossible Son got a 100 on a math quiz.

*pauses to let you all absorb that*

Yes, you read that right. He got a 100 on a MATH QUIZ!!! HUZZAH!!!!!! *does cartwheels*

First, he has a pretty awesome math teacher. Second, because our district has not met "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) in math and reading (among other requirements that haven't been met) my son's class is required to take an extra class that is basically a tutorial class in math and reading. Which is awesome because Mr. Impossible is finally getting the instruction in all the stuff he was supposed to have learned in elementary, and they've finally stopped teaching the stupid "strategies" that were actually hampering his ability to learn math. I'm sorry, but teaching kids the "shortcuts" in how to do certain math functions before you teach them to do it the "long way" is... well... STUPID.

And over at the high school, the district has all of a sudden come to the horrifying realization that, "OMG, our students have no clue when it comes to writing! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???"

*makes a rude noise*

I'll tell you how it happened, you idiots. It happened because you were teaching the kids how to take a stupid standardized test for the last ten years, and you skipped over some very vital bits of instruction, and gave them the bare minimum it took for them to be able to write a little essay for the test. Woopie. Ding. Dong. And now, now that things have changed, that when you realized, hey, wait a minute... they don't know anything.

The Impertinent Daughter's class is the last who will take the TAKS, and only now is the district changing the curriculum and actually requiring them to know how to write. So over the last two weeks, Miss Impertinent has been literally sitting at the table, staring at her notes, her head spinning as she contemplates complex sentences and structure, compound words, predicate nominatives, superlatives, and all those wonderful parts of speech that my generation was learning in second grade, and that hasn't been taught in our schools in, what... fifteen years??? And all of a sudden, they're supposed to know it? Heh... I know my kid isn't the only one sitting in her chair, looking hopelessly lost while swathed in a paper cocoon of notes!!

So far, that's all I got. But... that's enough, don't you think?

Oh... and I'm contemplating the arrival of... 49. And gave the Blonde Sister heart failure when I pointed out that next year, I'll be contemplating 50.


Fun fun fun PLAY!!

Thursday, December 30th, 2010 12:46 pm
auntbijou: (Voldie Santa)
I'm trying not to be bummed. The Husbandly One was only supposed to go in for half a day of work today, but after he got there, he discovered he had to work a full day after all.


OH well.

Let's see... Christmas... didn't post about that, did I? Well, Christmas Eve, my best friend and her family came over for dinner, and we had a great time reconnecting, and I was able to reassure myself that her oldest son was indeed whole, hearty, and did not suffer unduly during his time in Iraq... yes, yes, I know, but I was there when he was born, so he's like one of my kids, and it's not entirely logical, it's a mom-anxiety thing.

Anyhow, we had a good time, talking, laughing, eating, and reconnecting, and after they were gone, the Husbandly One talked me into letting the kids open one present.

Normally, we don't do this. And I have to admit, we have been unduly nice to the kids where presents are concerned, because we don't torture them by wrapping them up ahead of time and setting them under the tree where they are visible, and mysterious, and totally unknown for two weeks!! No, we've always kept them hidden until Christmas morning.

Of course, mostly, this was because we had a Labrador Retriever who couldn't stand seeing wrapped presents for his kids under the tree, and he would most thoughtfully unwrap them, and then start barking happily until the kids came running (and toddling) to see why...

Don't even get me started on what the Triplicats did.

So... no wrapped presents under the tree. My parents, of course, were the type who would wrap presents even before we had the tree, and start setting them out where the tree would eventually be.... just to torture us!! Then there's the Husbandly One, who wrapped my engagement ring in a small box and made it into an ornament on my parent's tree, just to torture me for two weeks, until he proposed to me in front of my entire family on Christmas Eve.

So, anyway, we put our presents under the tree Christmas Eve morning, and you'd think we had done it just to torture the Impossible Son specifically!! Heh. Anyhow, I had stood firm against opening before Christmas, but then THO said, "Look, the gifts I got you and the Impertinent One are the kind that... you should open tonight, and that's all I will say about that."

So...we each opened one present on Christmas Eve. And the Impertinent One and I both got... iPod Touches.


Okay, so the reason he wanted us to open them early was so we could get them set up for the trip into Houston on Christmas. Logical.

Now, the thing I have to say here is that setting up the Impertinent One's iPod was far too easy, and that should have told me something. It took 34 minutes to download the update for the thing, which should have also set my alarm bells ringing, but it only took five minutes to download music and a couple of videos into it, and she was done, off to her room to explore it and squee over it.

It took less than a minute to download the update for mine. But... it took fifteen hours for me to set my iPod up.

No, I'm serious. Techno-geek that I am, the thing frustrated the crap out of me, and I had THO hovering around behind me, determined that it was busted, broken, didn't work, etc. and I just needed to give up on the damn thing and let him return it.

I knew that whatever the problem was, it was ME, not the iPod, and I just needed to keep playing with it to figure it out. And when I did, it was one of those, "D'oh!" kind of things, where you can't believe you were so stupid, but then again, why was loading this thing so much more complicated than loading a Shuffle??

Anyhow, finally got the thing working, and I was a very happy camper.

And no, we didn't go to Houston. Mainly because Mr. Impossible woke up with a very nasty, very juicy cough, and knowing that he usually has a nasty, very juicy cough when we're leaving Houston, we decided not to push things toward, oh, I dunno... pneumonia, perhaps?

So, we stayed home.

And, let's see, on Tuesday night, the Impertinent One was working on a drawing at the kitchen table while listening to her new iPod, gets up to go get an eraser from her room, comes right back, and her iPod is off. Fine, she thinks it's in sleep mode, so she presses the menu button and... nothing. She presses the power button, and... nothing. It still had half a charge left, so she brought it to me, I plugged it into the computer and... nothing. She plugged it into her charger, and ... nothing. It was deader than a doornail.

Turns out some of the functions it had hadn't been working so well, either. Oooookay, well, THO had it insured through Best Buy, so we took it in yesterday to have it looked at... and ended up exchanging it for a new one because... it was deader than a doornail.

So, when we get home, she goes to the Mac to set it up, the update takes less than a minute, and I leave her to set it up, only to have to come back running when I hear her wail, "NO, WAIT, WHY ARE YOU DOWNLOADING MUSIC??? I HAVEN'T MADE A PLAYLIST YET!!!"

Wow, did that sound familiar!

Since I had already figured this out, it only took a couple of tries to get things working properly, and now she has a fully functional iPod that everything works on just fine. Heh.

Let's see... what else... oh, yeah, we went and saw "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" at our local theater, using the movie passes we'd won last month. And it was better than I expected. What really made it fun, though, was how excited the Impossible Son was, because he'd just finished reading the book recently. I was glad they'd stuck a little closer to the book this time, if only for his sake, because he didn't get scared or upset when things got scary (YES, my son, knowledge IS power!!), and when it did deviate from the book, he looked at me and said, "I totally get it now, Mom."

"Totally get what?" I asked, distracted.

"Why you get so upset when a movie isn't like the book. Why sometimes, the book is so much better." He nodded. "I get it now."

I nodded. "Yep. So, what do you do now?"

"Let go of the book," he said with a grin.

That's my boy!!

I'm sure there's vastly more stuff, but really, how much of the minutia of my life do you want here?

I'm going to pull out my DVD of The Quiet Man, make some popcorn, and settle in to warp my kids some more. Heh.
auntbijou: (Devilish)
The Husbandly One walked into the bedroom and started taking off his shirt, which immediately got my attention, and he said, "I'm going to pop into a quick shower, and after I get dressed," he gives me a conspiratorial wink, "you and me are gonna get some wrapping done."

I snort, because he was torturing the kids with this yesterday, and on a whim, I say, "Okay, but I have to tell you, I'm not very good at making up rhymes on the fly." (Auntie, deliberately misunderstanding THO in order to make a very bad pun.)

"You are pretty fly, though," he said with a grin and disappeared into the bathroom, tossing his shorts out the door behind him just to torture me.

Heh, heh, heh... we're awful!
auntbijou: (Voldie Santa)
It's been a busy week. I got to argue with Dr. Endocrinologist about my thyroid medication. The dosage was lowered during my last visit because my levels were too high (????) and not even three days after the dosage change, my hair started falling out again, I was experiencing Personal Antarcticas again, my skin was drying out... oh, yeah, I was a totally happy camper, don't you know? I especially enjoyed the falling asleep at the drop of a hat part, yeah, that was fun. Not.

And after all that hair grew back in again, too! Damn it! Now I'm going to have weird short tufts sticking up when it starts growing back in again! *grumble grumble*

So, basically, Dr. E. had a very grumpy, snarly, and very determined Auntie in his office. He laid out all the risks of increasing my dosage, with increased risk of bone fractures, heart palpitations, and laid them next to the hair loss, the fatigue, the dry skin, the cold flashes, the weight gain (I had lost over twenty pounds and gained them all back!!), the hair loss, the sleep disruptions, the hair loss, the lack of appetite, and did I mention the hair loss??

He's increased my dosage back to where it was, thank you very much!

The rest of the week was spent on frantic bouts of last minute shopping for the walking stomachs kids, who seem to be outgrowing or wearing out everything they own all at the same time. I had to get it done before noon today, because... it's kind of hard to shop for the kids and have the stuff you buy be a surprise if they're with you. Plus, the Husbandly One will be off for the next two weeks as well, since business slows down at this time of the year. Which is totally awesome, but makes me wistful, because I miss the years where we'd have a couple of days to ourselves before school let out for winter break. Heh.

I think this is the first time I've sat down in three days!

THO, of course, is feeling rather stressed right now. Let's just say that [personal profile] koshweasley isn't the only one feeling screwed by his employer at the moment. No, THO still has his job, he's just... not terribly happy at the moment. His boss makes the Grinch look like a happy, cheerful, and entirely generous sort of fellow.

*more grumbling with occasional snarls thrown in*

Oh, I almost forgot one of the funny things that happened this week. Soccer practice has started in earnest for the Impertinent Daughter (she made the high school junior varsity team, YAY!). This means she has to go to two different campuses; the freshman campus for her classes, and the high school for athletics. This week, they were taking their midterms, which meant their schedules were... well... nuts. I mean, come on, y'all have heard me bitch about this school district, so you know it's going to be chaotic, right?

Normally, a bus runs between the freshman campus and the high school for this purpose, but... the schedule was, as I mentioned, chaotic. Meaning the Impertinent Daughter's class was letting out a little late for her to catch the bus for the high school. The bell rings at 3:42, the bus leaves at 3:45, and they had to be at practice by 4. Sounds simple, right?


Three minutes is plenty of time to run to your locker, switch out your stuff, and haul ass out to the bus. I even told her that. "Hell, you're a soccer player! Hauling ass is normal for you!"

Except... her group was taking a TAKS diagnostic as part of their mid-terms. Which meant they got out at a little closer to 3:50.

So, on Tuesday, I had three teenage girls in my minivan, along with the Impossible Son, and let me tell you something right now. Teenage girl pong is just as bad as teenage boy pong.

*wrinkles nose*

Eeeeurgh!!! My eyes were watering!! and the only reason I didn't fling open the windows right away was because all three girls were changing into their practice gear on the way. In fact, I think the only reason one particular group of boys aren't road-kill is because the bus driver who nearly plowed them was paying attention to driving.

They were too busy staring open-mouthed at my car while the Impertinent One whipped off her shirt and tugged on her jersey, much to my astonishment (and theirs), and I had to remind her that while our windows are tinted, the front windows aren't that tinted, and they could still see her. They couldn't see anything beyond her shoulders and bra straps, because she had her back to them, but still!! It was an amazingly weird experience to be driving along with clothes and soccer gear flying all over the car, the Impossible Son in the rear seat wailing about his eyes burning and oh, gods, can we open a window, Mom, pleeeease???, and all with Japanese ska playing in the background.

Surreal doesn't even cover it.

And just to wrap up my week in total, I managed to get about five pages written today that didn't suck. Now, if I can just keep it going! Somebody grab me the Anti-Writer's Block spray!!
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
Our cats are always on the search for the Freshest Water Available.

This has led to some interesting conflicts with their humans, as you can imagine. When the Triplicats were kittens, the water dish was more than sufficient for their needs. I refilled it every morning and every evening, and all was well in their world.

However, as they got older, somehow... this did not satisfy any longer.

They started knocking the water dish around, as if they had to, I don't know, rough it up a bit before they could drink it. Nothing like freshly jostled water, you know? Only problem was, it tended to make the floor wet, and the we were always getting our socks wet when we stepped in it, or the ballistic missile that is the Impossible Son would hit it and slip during one of his circuits of the house, resulting in howls of pain and indignation.

So, I started cleaning and refilling their water dish more frequently. I started with three times a day. Then four. Then five. Then I got to where I was pretty much refilling the water dish every time I walked by it.

It wasn't enough.

Then the cats started noticing that we drink water, too. In containers. Containers that we often set on tables and counters. Containers that the younger two tended to forget and leave sitting on tables, counters, and occasionally, the floor.

That's when we started holding our glasses in our hands almost constantly, because the moment you set the thing down, a cat would be there like a shot, either trying to shove their whole head into the glass to lap at the water, or dipping a paw in to drink daintily from their toes.

Until Yuki got too frustrated to do it that way and started knocking the glasses over so she could lap it straight from the table, or the floor.

And if the glass didn't have water in it, they'd knock it over just to be spiteful.

Damn cats.

Then Yuki started hanging around my feet when I washed dishes. She could hear me turning the water on. It... tantalized her. It sounded so... splashy, so liquid, so... fresh... And one day, she finally jumped up on the counter, and saw the water pouring from the faucet and unable to resist, she jumped into the dry side of the sink and tried to lap from the stream of water pouring down.


She didn't try that again for a while, though she would sit on the counter and watch me wash dishes with a disgruntled look on her face. And pretty soon, Calcifer and Muta joined her. It made me kind of paranoid, to tell you the truth, having three cats in various places on the counter, all eyes fixed resentfully on me while I played (in their view) with water too hot for them to drink! Even washing their water dish out while they were watching and refilling it and putting it back in its spot didn't help.

It didn't take Yuki long to discover that we use cold water when we brush our teeth.

Next thing we know, we're jockeying for space to spit the toothpaste out with a cat determined to get to the faucet and drink. I swear they were all but laying in the sink with their mouths open like a college kid on a bar, waiting for an open mouth tequila shot.

You'd think we never gave the damn cats any water!

You couldn't even wash your hands without three cats suddenly leaping up to the counter and crowding you out for a shot at the faucet! There was a time when they all had toothpaste spots on their heads from them slipping into the sink just as we were spitting out!

I drew the line when Muta started jumping into the shower with me. He won't let me bathe him, but he would jump in the shower to sit between my feet and bat at the water drops. He's a huge cat, with impressive claws. I do not relish the thought of trying to explain to an emergency room doctor how and why my legs got sliced up by my cat. "Well, you see, Doc, it was like this..."

No thanks.

So... we bought a cat water fountain and that solved our problem for about... two and a half years. They loved the cat water fountain. It circulated the water through a pump that took it through a charcoal filter, and then spilled it back out into a bowl where it went right back through the cycle. The cats drank very happily from the spill, and all was peaceful in Burrow-land.

Until Calcifer started the pawing thing.


First, he simply pawed at the floor. He would make scratching motions for a minute, then circle the fountain until he'd gotten it and himself at juuuuuust the right angle... and then he'd drink.

It was weird, but mostly harmless.

Until he started putting his paw in the fountain's bowl.

He didn't paw the water... yet. He simply put his paw in and then licked it, then put his paw in, then licked it, until he was satisfied and then... he'd circle the fountain until he'd gotten it and himself at juuuuuust the right angle... and then he'd drink.

This meant cleaning the bowl almost every day because... everything on his paw got into the water and thus would clog up the filter. But okay, fine, I did that.

Until Cal started pawing the water and the bowl, which resulted in water sloshing everywhere, and then the fountain wouldn't have enough water in it and the motor would start growling and grinding and I'd have to clean it and refill it and mop up the water that was all over the floor. The wood floor.

And then Yuki started doing it, too. And since she pawed even more energetically than Cal, this meant that water was spread even further around the floor, and there was the added bonus of the fountain sometimes becoming unplugged. Which would lead to them pawing the water even more enthusiastically, because now it wasn't being refreshed like it had been before, and... AAAAAAUUUGGGHHHH!!!!!

So... I resurrected Max's old water bowl. Max was the Labrador Retriever who is responsible for our having cats in the first place. The Husbandly One and I got him right after we got married, and had him for eleven wonderful, crazy years before we lost him to skin cancer. His water bowl was huge, because he was a big dog living in a hot climate and he drank insane amounts of water which he shared with his cats very lovingly. Yes, you read that right. They were his cats.

Anyway, I got out his old water bowl and filled it ... and put it in the bathtub. Why? Because I was tired of mopping up water. If the water bowl is in the bathtub, the cats can paw and slosh to their heart's content, and it won't hurt anything but their dignity. If they start acting like they're dying for water, I pour it out, and simply turn on the faucet and refill it. If someone wants to take a bath, they take the water bowl out of the tub and set it on the tile floor, which is easily mopped up. When they're done, the bowl goes back in the tub, or they face the Wrath of Mama.

I'm fine with it. At last, I can brush my teeth without fighting a cat for the faucet!
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Dear Principals, Teachers, and other concerned adults,

You wanna prevent bullying in schools? Really? Want me to tell you how? Okay, stop with all the "Oh, let's build up self-esteem and tell the bulliessocially awkward and overly enthusiastic children that bullying is wrong and hurts people!!" crap, because y'all have been doing that for about, what, ten years now? Is it working?

NO. It's NOT.

Let me elucidate for you. The BULLIES already know that bullying is wrong. They already know it hurts people. That's why they do it.

They don't do it because they have low self esteem.

They don't do it because they're unaware of their own strength.

They have a sense of entitlement, and they know their own strength and have no trouble at all using it.


Well, maybe they're being abused at home, and they're acting out. Maybe one or the other of their parents is a bully at work, and has given their child the impression that the best way to get what they want, to get things done, is to bully people. Because if you think bullying stops when the bullies graduate, you are living in a dream world.

But the main reason bullies do it? Because... they can get away with it. They know that you, the principals, teachers, administrators, counselors, etc, will only do so much when one of their victims is brave enough, or desperate enough, to report them to you. They know you will take them into your office, sit them down in chair, and talk gravely to them about bullying. You'll ask them if they understand what they've done, and they'll say and do whatever they need to in order to get you to leave them alone. They know you will nod, and frown, and speak firmly to them, that you'll say something about calling their parents, and then let them go back to class. You'll send them to the counselor for a few weeks, who will also talk gravely to them, maybe make them watch a video or two full of those "happy, happy, cheerful, cheerful, don't be a naughty bully!" crap that does nothing at all whatsoever, maybe have them draw a few pictures, and then release them back into the population of the school. A few weeks will pass where the bully will do nothing. Then, when everyone's breathed a sigh of relief that the bully has been magically cured...

... it will start all over again

You might go a little farther if the victim's parents throw a hissy fit and mention the words, "lawyer," "lawsuit," and "police involvement" when they call you or storm into your nice, quiet, clean offices. You might give the bully an "in-school suspension."

Or you might send the bully home for a few days with a mild suggestion to his/her parents to see a therapist, or even to just "communicate effectively to your child that bullying is wrong!"

All you've done is give that kid a three day vacation from school work.

Wanna know how to stop it? Really, really stop it?

For one thing, tell your teachers when they're on playground duty to stop gathering in little clumps and getting so involved in conversations with each other that they only notice bullying when it's reached the point that someone is either bleeding or has a broken bone. If they're on playground duty, they need to separate and walk around the playground. They need to pay attention when they see a group of girls around one single girl, and need to notice the expression on her face. If she's crying, looks angry, or terrified, she's being bullied, you nitwits, not playing a game!! If a boy is being pushed down to the ground and two other boys are kicking him, it's bullying!!

Shit, people, this isn't rocket science!!!

And so help me, if you come back at me with, "What, you mean I'm supposed to actually watch the kids like they're in jail??" I am going to kick you so hard, your grandchildren will feel it! Yes. You are supposed to watch the children. You are supposed to walk around, keeping your ears and your eyes open. You're supposed to intervene before fists fly, before words that are worse than sticks and stones hit, before that one kid who stutters, who is smaller than the others, who wears weird, hand-me-down clothes, who has unusually colored hair, who wears glasses, who has braces, or whatever other fucking stupid reason bullies use to justify why they torment their victims is hurt again. That's your job.

That means at junior high level, you not only patrol the halls, you walk into the restrooms. What, you don't want to intimidate the kids? Why the hell not??? Isn't that your job, too?? What the hell else do you think is going to work?? Don't you remember junior high? Where did most of the worst bullying happen? IN THE RESTROOM!!!

And high school, same thing. PAY ATTENTION!! It isn't that hard. You did it every time you took your own kids out to play at a park, or at a family gathering, or any place where there were other kids, some of them older and bigger. You watched your kids like a hawk, and swooped in like a fury when they were threatened, and gods, if you didn't, I feel so sorry for your kids.

Well, you know what? For eight hours a day, my kids are your kids. And you better damn sure watch them like a hawk, because if you aren't, then you shouldn't be teaching. Or a principal. Or a counselor. Or anything to do with kids.

Seriously, people. You want bullying to stop, you don't try to make them feel good about themselves. You don't show them flowery, happy videos, and you don't treat them like victims who are mislabeled, or misunderstood. You stop them. You make them know, in a way they cannot ignore, that they are being watched. You get in their faces and confront them. You tell them it won't be tolerated, and then you don't tolerate it. You call the police and file charges on the behalf of the school and the victim. You fine the parents. You do whatever you have to do to make it damn hard for them to get away with it. You give the damn bullies consequences. Remember those? You stopped teaching about those a few years back, right about when you stopped teaching logic and critical thinking.

Until you do this, it won't stop. It will keep going. You can't wish it away. You can't close your eyes and pretend.

You're just as responsible as they are for what they do, what they get away with, and the damage they leave behind.

Well? I'm waiting...
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
Dear Bill Nye the Science Guy,

Thank you so much for teaching my children, especially the Impertinent Daughter, all about physics. You made learning science so much fun, and you also made it easy to apply what they learned.

In fact, my daughter learned a whole new way to apply the physics of centrifugal force! She learned that if you're running low on ketchup and want to get all that ketchup at the bottom of the jar to the top quickly, you can apply centrifugal force and this is what happens!!

Click to see what the Impertinent One learned! )


Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 11:29 am
auntbijou: (Golden-eyed Weasley)
I want to thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes! And thank you, [profile] lusiology for the cake! Hee!!

And you should all be very, very proud of me. I started walking again a couple of weeks ago, and I managed to walk a mile today!! YAY!! Once I work myself back up to five miles, I'll start running again.

I'm kinda tired of being "pleasantly plump."

We've had all kinds of adventures over the last week around here. Friday night, we had friends over, so I spent most of the week tidying things up, and Friday morning, while I was picking up shoes, socks, books, and other detritus that the kids tend to leave all over the floor, tables, couches, etc, I discovered the desiccated remains of... the gods only know what. Might have been a mouse, might have been an unfortunate member of the spiny lizard tribe... who knows. So, after about ten minutes of squeamishness and, "oh, ugh... blech... why am I always the one finding this stuff," among other complaints, I picked it up carefully and disposed of it. Found a few more, got rid of them, and thought that was it.

However, once our guests arrived, I noticed R kept wrinkling her nose, though she was trying to be subtle about it, and I thought, "Oh, great, there's probably more of whatever it was that I didn't find, and now it smells... wonderful."

We never smelled it, even after going outside and coming back in.

Then Saturday morning, I got up and shuffled into the kitchen for caffeine to wake my brain up... and beat a hasty retreat back to the bedroom, gagging and wheezing.

Seriously, guys, you shouldn't have to think, "Dear gods, what the hell crawled into my house and died," before you've even had enough caffeine to be even semi human.

A frantic search of the house narrowed it down to the kitchen/living room/utility room. But practically tearing those rooms up revealed nothing, and we had soccer to deal with, both with the Impossible Son having a game, and the Impertinent Daughter refereeing a U6 game. *sudden LOL at the thought of the "Impertinent Referee"*

Except... I started itching like crazy while we were out there, EVEN THE INSIDE OF MY MOUTH!!! WTF????

We came home, where Auntie ingested mass quantities of Benadryl and passed out for the afternoon, thus enabling the Husbandly One to take the kids shopping at WalMart and stopping by a local resale shop to buy a 10 speed bike for himself (for $20).

This is relevant, trust me.

I woke up and was hustled outside so he could show off his acquisition. Not quite with it, I nodded, and watched him ride it around, and tried to be properly impressed. However, being in a Benadryl haze, I probably didn't succeed too well at this wifely duty. THO decided this bike, being a Bianchi (???), should go in the garage. So... he opened it up...

... and we all promptly staggered back, coughing, gagging, eyes watering, and flailing as we struggled to find the edge of the Funk Zone for some badly needed oxygen.

OMG... whatever it was... it was in... the ... garage.

The garage. Filled with boxes. And boxes. And boxes of... unpacked stuff from our last move.

Pity the Husbandly One. We all abandoned him to the thankless job of shifting the boxes to find ... The Corpse.

Of course, there was a corpse. There had to be a corpse. With a funk that strong? Honey!!

And... it was. It was the corpse of... a possum.

*pauses while [profile] eloquent_toast cries out in dismay*

We knew a family of possums had taken up residence either under our deck or in the bamboo of the backyard. Evidently, this particular possum found his way into the garage... but couldn't find his way out.

The Husbandly One removed le dead opossum and disposed of him/her/it properly, then sprinkled cat litter over the spot to dry it up and deodorize.


Sunday, we needed to run into Austin to a Men's Wearhouse to get the Impossible Son fitted for a tuxedo. He is going to be an usher in my second oldest niece's wedding. And he is going to look unbelievably cute! And hell, yes, I'm going to take pictures!!

It was at the moment that we were walking out of the store that I suddenly realized...

1.) This was going to be a formal wedding.

2.) This was going to be a very formal wedding.

3.) One cannot wear the very casual clothing I have to a formal wedding.

4.) I have to go shopping, for myself, and for the Impertinent One for clothes for a formal wedding.

5.) I have no idea what the hell to get.

Y'all already know, right, that I am absolutely hopeless at shopping for myself? That I should not be allowed to buy clothes for myself, because I am pathetic at it?

You see the problem?

I was not mentally prepared to shop for clothes. It did not go well. One should not bring a 9 year old boy along to shop for clothes when one is trying to get used to the idea of shopping for clothes again.

It did not end well.

I also realized that I have completely lost my "shopping at department stores" skills. The Husbandly One is dreadfully spoiled, y'all. I don't shop for clothes all the time, and when I do, it tends to be jeans and such, and sneakers. Because I don't shop for shoes like I used to, either. And I don't shop for makeup. Which... I need to, now. Ugh.

And I have until the 16th.


Needless to say, I'm doing my research now. And plan to hit either San Marcos or Austin's Barton Creek Mall this weekend for clothes. Hopefully, the Impertinent Daughter will keep me from making a frump of myself.

And, the Impossible Son had a project due this week. They're reading A Paradise Called Texas by Janice Jordan Shefelman in his class, and the students were required to build a model ship based on the Margaretha, the ship in the book that took German immigrants to Texas. It's both a test grade and a reading grade for the class.

Fortunately, I knew about this several weeks ago, so I'd been gathering materials beforehand to get ready. We built it out of two 12-pack soda can boxes, one for the body of the ship, one, cut into two pieces, for the poop deck and forecastle, and two cardboard tubes that came from boxes of parchment paper for the masts. A pencil was used for the mast that juts out from the bow of the ship, and I drew the figurehead that hung below it. We worked on it for three days, and it turned out to be absolutely awesome! Plus, made from recycled materials, YAY!! Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of it before it was taken to school. Blame fatigue and not enough caffeine!

And now, I must get ready to get my hair cut. It is time. Since my hair is growing back, thanks to the new meds, it is getting very thick. While the curl hasn't come back, it still has a mind of its own, so the best way to deal with it is to cut it into submission. It's already getting long enough to bother me, and I know my stylist is going to fuss at me again for not coming in every six weeks. Well... sometimes I can, and... sometimes I can't. That's the life of a busy mom for you!

See you later!

*goes off merrily on her way*
auntbijou: (Golden-eyed Weasley)
I am trying my hand at knitting on circular needles. It took me three or four tries, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. First, I was doing it backwards (because the illustration in the book I was using for reference was... well... fershmeckled), then it ended up with odd ridges in it. Considering I'm doing stockinette stitch, that should not have happened. So it was rip, rip, rip and start over. Now it's going along nicely, and I'm kind of amazed, to tell you the truth.

It's funny that I find knitting more soothing than crochet. I've often said that crochet is my tranquilizer. Any time that I've felt stressed or nervous, I would crochet to calm down. Now knitting is taking that place. I think it's because I can knit and read at the same time, whereas I can't do that with crochet unless I'm, say, making an afghan where I'm using the same stitch over and over, and even then, I have to look to make sure I'm hooking into the right loop.

Right now, I'm working on a scarf in the Impertinent Daughter's school colors. My friend, the Tall Blonde, has more or less commissioned me (actually, it's more of a dare, but she used the word "commission" so I'll run with that) to make scarves for her daughters, son, and herself, plus my daughter and son, in time for the high school soccer season in November. Don't know if I'll have that many made in time, but I'll give it a good try. Her idea is that the other kids will see those scarves, or their parents will, and they'll want some, too. Then they'll ask her where she got them, and she'll either point at me (if I'm sitting there, which let's face it, I probably will. Miss my daughter's soccer games? Not willingly!) or tell them it was me, and I will find myself with orders to make scarves, which I can charge them for, and make some extra money on the side.


I love her to pieces, but I don't know if my skills match up to her ambitions! But I will give it a good ol'' college try! When she enthused that I could make them with soccer balls worked into the design on the ends, I said, "Wait, whoa, I'm still working on learning how to do stripes, let's not have me doing designs yet!!"

I'm using the school colors pattern from Charmed Knits, which is going along well. And thank goodness I learned how to pick up dropped stitches with a crochet needle, or I'd be in tears now!!

In other news, the Husbandly One and I are gearing up for school to start next week, and worrying over the Impossible Son. I know I've mentioned his tummy troubles before, his complaints of stomach aches, and constant throat clearing, and all that stuff. We've worried that he has appendicitis, or an ulcer, and he's been to the doctor numerous times about it. He's complained of sore throats a lot, too, with no fever or other symptoms. He coughs and gags a lot, like my dad did all his life, throws up when he gets really upset, and we've been at our wit's end at times, trying to figure it out.

Well, our doctor sent us to a pediatric gastroenterologist back in May, and she put him on Prevacid, which did a huge amount of good for him. That and we kept a "tummy log" which we found very revealing. Sometimes, Mr. Manzie would go through these... non-stop eating binges, especially after dinner, where he would ask for grapes, then for cheese, then for toast, then for frozen peas, etc., etc. And we'd say, "But... you just had dinner!!" And he'd say, "I'm still hungry!!"

I was beginning to think he had a hollow leg or something, because the child does not have an extra ounce of fat on him! He's 4 feet 2 inches tall, and weighs 58 pounds, fer gossakes! But, as we kept the tummy log, and he would complain of his tummy hurting before he started asking for all the food, I finally had a light bulb go off in my head. "Are you asking for this because your tummy hurts?" I asked one night.

"Yes," he said, eyes wide.

"Are you hoping if you put enough food in your tummy, it'll stop hurting?"

"Yes," he said uncomfortably.

"Does it work?" I asked, getting down on my knees so we could see eye to eye. And I waited for the answer as he stared at me sadly.

"No," he finally said. "Not always. Sometimes it does, but... most of the time, no."

That was a huge revelation, and one I passed on to the doctor when we saw her again last week. He spent 6 weeks on the Prevacid, and 6 weeks off, and if we hadn't already known there was a problem before, the 6 weeks off would have confirmed it. Because it was as if those tummy troubles came back with a vengeance. With the added bonus of some of the most atrocious breath ever. *grimaces*

End result? He's going to have an upper endoscopy to take a look at his esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. This Friday.

Thanks to everything my dad went through for his cancer, I know what an endoscopy is, and what Mr. Impossible will be going through. However, there is a small, shaking part of me that is curled up in a terrified little ball, because this is my baby. The rational adult knows that this is necessary, because we really need to know what's going on inside his tummy, especially given that he's been having so much trouble for the last three years, and he is the spitting image of his Grand-Daddy.

Just knowing that keeps me from freaking out too much. I listened to my dad do everything my son is doing for years. Coughing and gagging when he was upset. Constantly clearing his throat. Eating the kinds of things that would fill his stomach (and probably make it stop hurting) before he went to bed, like bread and milk. And my dad got esophageal cancer when he was 78.

His mother died of what they thought at the time was "tuberculosis of the throat" at the age of 25, back in 1928, when he was five years old. We're now pretty sure she had the same cancer as my dad.

You bet I want to know what's going on in Mr. Impossible's tummy!!

They'll take biopsies while they're in there, too.

Does it tell you how upset I am that just writing this, I want to faint? Both the kids are sound asleep right now. I want to have my complete freak-out and meltdown over and done with before they wake up. I've put it off for six days now and finally have a moment to myself with no witnesses (except for you guys) to get it over with, so I can be brave, and cheerful, and upbeat for my son for the next five days.

Yay me.

I feel just like I did when the Impertinent Daughter was seven days old, and we were at the doctor's for her first shots. They had taken her from me and laid her on the treatment bed and given her her shots, and she, of course, being an infant, had started screaming. And I remember feeling utterly panic-stricken, wanting to both faint, and snatch her up to run away with her at the same time. The Blonde Sister, who worked for that doctor, stood next to me and patted my arm. She knew what I was going through, and told me the first time was always the hardest.

I feel like that right now. And I am sure that on Friday, I will be sitting in the parents' waiting room at the hospital, knitting for dear life and wanting to both faint, and run in to snatch up my son and run away with him. I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is knowing you have to trust utter strangers to take care of your child in what they reassuringly tell you is safe and controlled, but you know in your heart is utterly and terrifyingly dangerous, but it has to be done anyway. All of this, while you're sitting ten feet away in another room. Knowing that until he's sedated and out of it, that he's scared and wants you there... and you can't be. This is one of the really big, low dips in the rollercoaster of parenthood. I hate it. I just have to keep reminding myself that the rollercoaster will be going back up soon, and truly, that is all that gets me through these moments.

I hate fear. I'll get through it, but oh, man, oh, man, I hate the fear.

He's such a brave little man. In some ways, much braver than his sister. My heart of hearts knows he'll be fine. I just wish I could get the paranoid part of me to believe that, too.
auntbijou: (Default)
Okay, so... the Impertinent Daughter and I were sitting at the kitchen table this evening. She was sketching and talking, and I was knitting and listening. Somewhere in there, she had pulled out this little toy, one of those little hopper things that you press with the tip of your finger to make it go >pop< and it hops forward a wee bit. She popped it at me and I smiled indulgently as she picked it up, grinning, and turned it over, looking at the underside. Then she laughed triumphantly and said what sounded very much like, "MANGINA!!"

I blinked and looked up, stunned. "What??"

"Look, see?" she said, turning it toward me so I could read what was embossed on the underside of the toy. So I obligingly looked, thinking, this, I gotta see! and wondering vaguely if there was some new, bizarre toy company that someone had named, "Mangina" to make it unforgettable. Kind of like Smuckers for jams and jellies, right?

It said, very clearly and plainly, "CHINA."

That's when I died laughing. I mean, really, I had done so well up to that point, manfully holding my laughter in, because really, the last word in the world that I would ever expect my 13 year old daughter to say would be... "MANGINA!!

Especially with that degree of relish and satisfaction!!!

*dies again*

When I had calmed down, she said, "Oh, boy, do I even want to know what you thought I said?" Oh, my daughter, she knows me so well!! I did tell her after I'd calmed down from that one, and she was like, "MOM!!! When or why would I ever say that???"

About all I could manage through my helplessness was, "Well... it might just... come up in conversation!"

We pretty much both lost it at that point!!

I have a feeling I'm really going to enjoy my old age!!!
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
You know, I was going post about my weekend and last night's choir concert, but after I read it over, I deleted it because it was so negative and complaining that I sounded as if nothing could ever make me happy. Kinda scary, actually.

So, all I will say about my weekend is that I froze my little patooties off, but we made money for the soccer league, and let people know, again, that yes, we have a soccer league in this town.

And all I will say about last night's choir concert is that it was long, interminable, soporific, and that my daughter's little solo group was one of two bright spots in the entire night, the other being the high school choir's third period performance group that performed a truly stunning acapella version of "Carol of the Bells." The audience was so relieved to hear something that wasn't hurting their ears that they broke out in what the Husbandly One dryly termed "premature clapulation" before the song was quite over!

And the Husbandly One made me extremely happy by bringing home some Extreme Chocolate ice cream last night. Life is good!!

And I am literally dancing with excitement until my contribution to [profile] harry_holidays is posted. I can't wait!!

I am close to finishing two afghans that I've been working on for what seems like AGES, and that I should have finished months ago. That's one of the problems with coming up with your own designs... you have no real stopping point. You just finish when you feel you've finished. Now, if I can just finish them before Christmas, then I can give the one that was supposed to be a friend's birthday present to her for Christmas.

*sigh* I am so lame!

And now, I must set the beans to simmer for dinner tonight. YAY!!
auntbijou: (Voldie Santa)
We're expecting snow today, and a hard freeze tonight.


Yep, that happens in Central Texas from time to time. Funny thing, Houston is expecting 3 to 4 inches of snow, and we're expected to only get 1 or 2. I think it's distinctly unfair that Houston is going to get more snow than we will!!

I can appreciate it right now, but I can guarantee tonight, I'm going to regret it very much because y'all, Auntie is going to be freezing her tookus off! It's the annual "Dickens on the Square" and it starts tonight with a light parade, and all that stuff. And the soccer association is once again having a booth, which means that yours truly and the Husbandly One will be huddled inside the crafts tent, bundled up in every single item of clothing we own, shivering and trying to look cheerful as we sell raffle tickets and little soccer chachkies and oojahs while trying to convince folks to sign their kids up for soccer rather than Pop Warner football or Little League baseball.

And after an encounter with our registrar yesterday, I have come to a realization. Whenever wintery weather looms on the horizon, or occurs, it is inevitable that you will hear local radio DJ's start ragging on us poor Texans who "freak-out" when we have snow or ice, or how we don't know how to drive in snow or ice, or how everyone in town stays home from work to "hide" from the white stuff. Blah, blah, blah, right? Well... Miss Eileen (and no, she's not really a "miss" since she's married, but we call her that because it's a Southern thing) had come by to drop off some tables for the Dickens fest, and she was just fretting and fretting about, "OMG, it's going to snow tomorrow and the weather is going to be horrible and we won't be able to drive in it, and they may cancel the Dickens fest..." and on and on and on...

I just smiled patiently and said thoughtfully, "Well... you know... snow would sort of set the tone, don't you think? I mean, you know, Dickens, snow, cold weather... kind of fits the theme, yeah?"

She blinked and said, "Oh, well, yes, if you put it that way!!" Then she went on to tell me how when she had moved to Texas, she had kept her snow chains for her tires, because she knew it snowed here, and well... she might need them! And how she'd never used them since, and finally got rid of them a few weeks ago, because she never used them and wouldn't you just know it, we're going to get SNOW!!

That's when I came to my realization. In fact, after I'd soothed her down and closed the door, I sat down and thought about it for a while, reviewing all the conversations I've had that were in a similar vein and it dawned on me... it isn't the native Texans who are freaking out about the snow. See, we've lived here all our lives, right? We know what to expect when it snows, so yeah, we stay home, partly to just stay off the road because we don't put chains on our tires, etc. but mostly so we can enjoy a rare treat with our kids!! I mean, who wouldn't want to stay home to watch their kids go wild playing in the snow??

We know what to expect, so... it's no problem.

The ones who are freaking out are what we affectionately call "transplanted Yankees" and "snowbirds," meaning those folks from the parts of the country where snow in winter is a fact of life. I think for them, hearing the word "snow" in the forecast sets off a sort of Pavlovian response, and they start thinking, "OMG, I threw out the snow tires/chains last winter!! How am I going drive in this shit??" or "Wait... I don't have a snow shovel any more, how'm I gonna clear the sidewalks, do we have enough salt? This is Texas, it's not supposed to snow here!!!"

And if the weather guys say, "Yes, we're going to have a heavy accumulation of snow tonight..." they really freak.

Y'all... out here, a "heavy" accumulation of snow is like... 3 or 4 inches. Maybe. Just barely enough to make a snow man. Barely. And if it lasts an entire day, it's a miracle. We get snow and thaw usually within about two hours of each other.


In other news, I know I was a bit cryptic in my last post, but... well, I turned in both of my fest projects, one for [profile] bestmates_xmas last week, and one for [profile] harry_holidays this week. I did something a little different for [profile] harry_holidays this year and that's all I'll say about it. I will freely admit here that I almost called [profile] thanfiction for a little semi-hysterical hand-holding, but I got myself out of my "corner" so to speak, and instead contacted [personal profile] the_minx_17 just to be sure I was on the right track. And now that I've nicely muddled the waters and confused you all greatly, I will also say that I simply can't wait until my contribution is posted, just to see what the reaction will be!!!

*is dancing with excitement*

And y'all, I have been looking for this for AGES. So, for your enjoyment, Miss Piggy and the Muppets singing, "Christmas is Coming..."

auntbijou: (icon by <lj user="odyssey">)
You know, every once in a while, I completely astonish myself.

It's good for me, admittedly, but most definitely surreal.

*chuckles and shakes head, still stunned by it all*


Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 09:17 am
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
I just had to say that, because I will be baking myself into oblivion today. Mom has taken over the reins for Thanksgiving this year, because the Salt-Encrusted Ham of Doom convinced her that the Flaky Sister just... should not cook for Thanksgiving. I mean, it wasn't just the ham, it was many, many other things, mostly... it's because after cooking since she was old enough to stand at the stove and stir a pot for our mom... the Flaky Sister just... can't cook. Mom and I were chatting about it a few weeks ago, and reliving last Thanksgiving, and then went on to talking about other meals we've had at the Flaky Sister's, and... *shakes head*
Cut because of length and pictures, omg! )
auntbijou: (Default)
I just thought you should all like to know that yesterday was a very, very important day for me.

One of the hallmarks of hypo-thyroidism is... puffy fingers or swollen hands. Because of this latest bought of adventure on the Thyroid Seas, I have not been able to wear my wedding band for about three years or so. In fact, I've been wearing my paternal grandmother's ring for about a year now, so that I didn't feel "unmarried." However, yesterday, on a whim, I picked up my wedding band and slipped it on and you can see the result here...

The Return of My Wedding Band

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am!! And I'm still wearing it! The Husbandly One congratulated me and said that perhaps the current dosage of thyroid hormone is working for me. I think he may be right! We'll see if the endocrinologist agrees in two weeks!

*dances off, ridiculously happy*
auntbijou: (Calcifer)
I have discovered yet another of the consequences of my "lost summer."

I spent a good twenty minutes hauling multiple plastic containers out of my fridge and seriously grossing out over their contents before tossing them into the garbage. YUCK!!! Several of them seemed to have burgeoning populations of possible intelligence, because I swear some of them waved at me just before I chucked them in the trash. And I'm not even sure what half of the food was (I'm not sure I want to know, to tell you the truth!), because most of it was unlabeled, though I was rather horrified to discover a few that did have names and dates written across the top, by me back in June!.


Poor THO, trying so hard to keep up with everything while I was incapacitated. Though even when I'm my usual bouncy self, he doesn't label the leftovers before they go into the fridge. And he teases me about my habit of doing that, though he refuses to eat anything in a container that isn't labeled. Which might explain the amount of containers with nasty science experiments in my fridge!

See, a couple of years ago, I got tired of pulling out plastic containers of food in the fridge and having to go to THO and say, "What is this? How old is this? I mean, when did it go in the fridge/we last have this, etc, etc." And I also got tired of say, heating up a container of what I thought was spaghetti sauce for lunch, dumping it over freshly cooked noodles, and then discovering that it was Slow Jalopy (Sloppy Joe) sauce. Not bad, but a pretty nasty shock when you're expecting spaghetti sauce!

I had discovered by accident (because of the kids) that dry erase marker on plastic containers rubs off easily. So, I started keeping a dry erase marker in the cabinet, and every time I put away leftovers from dinner (or lunch), I slap the top on, then write something like, "Slow Jalopy, 08-25-09" on it, then pop it in the fridge. No more mystery, no more sniffing dubious contents and trying to guess what it is and if it's still edible.

The few tummy troubles we've ever had greatly decreased after I started doing that!

And though THO teases me about it mercilessly sometimes, saying I'm being all anal about it, or very obsessive compulsive... he refuses to eat anything that isn't labeled. *rolls eyes* This drives me nuts, as he refuses to label anything!!

In other news, I saw the doctor yesterday for my face to face. The node in my lung? Turns out it's on the right side, not the left. It might be scarring from the bouts of pneumonia I've gone through over the last three years, but they're not sure. What bothered my doctor, and she showed me the lab sheet, was that the radiologist who read the CT recommended I get another scan... in one to two years!! She said she wasn't comfortable with that, and wanted me to go in six months. The nodule is only half a centimeter now. If it's still half a centimeter in six months, very likely it's scar tissue. If not, well, we'll deal with that when it comes.

However, when I asked the results of the rest of my lab work, she blinked and went through my file, then said, "What lab work?" Then, before I could say anything, she went back to the day she'd ordered the CT scan and frowned. "Wait... where's the paperwork for your bloodwork?"

She had to hunt down the flaky nurse who had called me and make her look for it, then came back muttering under her breath about "three strikes being fucking over," and "that's it, no more," before she sat down and started looking it over. And then she boggled and said, "When did you last see the endocrinologist?"

"May," I said.

So she went to look at his report, and her boggle got bigger, and she frowned, and said, "Your TSH(thyroid stimulating hormone) was at 3.0 in May, which was a little high, but you were doing so well that he decided to keep it there. However, two weeks ago, your TSH dropped. Dramatically." And she pointed at it.

And I boggled. Because it said, "0.1."

What does that mean? It means... too much thyroid hormone, meaning something wonky is going on with my thyroid... again.

So, she decreased the dosage of my medication, and I am going to call the endocrinologist to get in A.S.A.P. to see what needs to be done.

Because I'm telling you, I am so friggin' tired of this. I mean, Tuesday, I went grocery shopping, and it was a big shop because, well, I've been sick and unable to do it all summer, right? So, I was basically playing catch-up, and went fully intending to do my usual lightning fast grocery shop. I had my list, I know where everything is in the store, no kids with me to slow me down, it's very much veni, vidi, vici, grocery-style!

But Tuesday... not so much. Tuesday, what usually takes me an hour and a half, tops, took me... nearly three hours. I barely had enough time when I was done to run home, throw all the cold stuff in the fridge, and race to pick up the kids. As it was, I was ten minutes late to pick up the Impossible Son, which upset him greatly. Not because he didn't think I was coming, because he knows I will always come get him, but because I hadn't called the school to send him a message about it. Which I always do if I am running late for any reason.

At least I had him and Miss Priss to help me put the rest of the groceries away after!

The irony in all this is that the Asthma Monster has been abnormally quiet since the near pneumonia in June, knock on wood, and on that front... I'm doing great! And my heart's been behaving well, too, which is... unusual, but hey, I'll roll with it! Now if we can just get the rest of me to cooperate, things will be just peachy!!
auntbijou: (Calcifer)
I have to say that by and large, my kids are pretty well behaved. Usually, if I talk to them before we go shopping, or to a movie, or out anywhere in public, they keep the usual sibling picking and bickering to an absolute minimum. And mostly, during this summer where I've been feeling so lousy, they've been careful not to waste Mom's energy in having to curb their arguments.

But, you know, that can't last forever, they're human children, after all, right? The Impertinent One only has so much patience with her Little Bother and his persistent questions, Energizer Bunny bounciness, or his off-key singing. She'll put up with it as long as she can stand it and then... the picking begins.

Soon, I hear him shout, "Stop it!" and then... he retaliates.

And then she complains that he's "hurt" her. He's punched her in the arm, and it's practically broken it! Of course, I'm skeptical. I mean, this is a girl I have watched get straight-armed during a soccer game, watched her get knocked to the ground and bounce back up, fierce as ever, watched her get hit, and hardly flinch.

I also know that Mr. Manzie pulls his punches when he hits his sister.

So... I give them both the Hairy Eyeball, fuss at them for fighting, take away privileges (No more Nintendo! No Wii for three days!), and leave it at that. Peace will reign for as long as half an hour, sometimes. Or the rest of the shopping trip, at least.

Yesterday, though... I don't know. It started off well, but then the Impossible Son got all excited about markers, and pencils, and this year they get to use pens, and he interrupted the Impertinent Daughter when she was trying to tell me some endlessly complex story that involved a lot of back-tracking (and I admit, I don't have a lot of patience for that, though I do try, really hard)...

... and then I saw the school uniforms hanging on racks... AT THE GROCERY STORE.


Um... school uniforms? I blinked and stared. There they were, racks of khaki and navy blue shorts, slacks, and skirts, with white and dark blue polo shirts, hanging there in the grocery store.

They've never sold school uniforms at our grocery store, which is the only one in town.

Now, I have been checking the elementary and junior high websites regularly this summer, especially since the woman who had been principal at the junior high, the woman responsible for the dress-code shenanigans of the past two years, was elected to the school board and became the school board president. I've been expecting to hear about district wide uniforms, or at least a district wide dress-code change, but... there's been nothing.

However, it would be very like them to spring the change on us on the first day of school. They've done that before. So... I was considerably freaked out, as you can imagine.

The kids got quiet, and were cooperative for about 25 minutes. And... it all went downhill from there. Very frustrating. Even worse, I couldn't find all the things on the list at the grocery store, so... I had to go to WalMart.

And y'all know I just LOVE to go to WalMart (is being very sarcastic).

And guess what was hanging in neat rows in the clothing departments? You guessed it, khaki and navy shorts, skirts, and slacks, with white and navy polo shirts.

I ignored that, and headed straight for the school supplies. It briefly got better there, but fell apart to the point that I had to send Miss Priss to another aisle for HER things, while I went to another aisle with Mr. Manzie for HIS.

But she had to stay with us when we went to look for a new backpack for the Impossible Son.

I don't even want to talk about it.

Let's just say, it should be a lesson to the Impertinent One that most eight year old boys do not appreciate having a Tinkerbell backpack put on their backs where any of their friends might see it.

Worse? I have to go back to get a backpack today. And it's the tax free weekend... starting today.


I have posted this photo before, during my "Week in the Life" meme a couple of summers ago. But I'm posting it again. Because I think it is most representative of the relationship between my kids.


She calls him, "Little Bother." I think that says it all.

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