31 August 2009

First Grader

The bus stop is the same as last year, although it seems that only TPT and 2 other kids are at the bus stop. One of the other kids is starting kindergarten today and had no intention of getting on that &^%$*#-ing bus. She bolted twice. Her mom wasn't able to carry her on the bus and her older brother (2nd grade) wasn't able to cajole her. So the shrieking kindergartener was driven to school. We'll see what happens with her tomorrow. TPT, on the other hand, hopped right on the bus and happily went off to school.

I can't believe that I have a kid in first grade. I swear she was just a baby shrieking in her crib just a couple of weeks ago. Now she's in first grade. How did that happen? College is just around the corner, I guess.

ThePinkThing, may you have fun and learn lots this year.

30 August 2009

More From Great Wolf Lodge

We had a very nice time, although 2 full days is about all I can stand.

Our discussion upon arriving at GWL really set the tone for the days we were there...

TheHusband: We're here!
ThePinkThing (gummy-eyed from a nap): We are? Yay!
NeuronDoc: Yes. Let's get out and go check into the room.
TPT: Can we go to the water park now?
ND: After we eat some lunch.
TPT (gets out of the car): Ooh look, Mommy! It's made out of giant Lincoln Logs.
ND (trying not to laugh): They look like Lincoln logs, but really they are fake big tree trunks. And how do you know about Lincoln logs, anyway?
TPT: We learned about them in school and got to play with some.
ND: Really?
TPT: Yes. They're called Lincoln logs because President Lincoln invented them.
ND: Umm, no, they are probably called Lincoln logs because President Lincoln lived in a log cabin when he was little.
TPT: Oh. (pause) Can we go to the water park now?

Lincoln logs were invented by Abraham Lincoln?

We did manage to shove some lunch into her then trundled off to the water park. I really like that they have a family hot tub -- it is large and not as hot as a real hot tub. TPT enjoyed that. She climbed the fort-like thingy in the middle about 25 times to go down the two slides, but what she liked best was the bigger slides that TH took her on. She is not quite 48", but slyly stood on her toes to go on them. After she went on "the big kid slides", the other slides were also-rans.

We hooked up with my friends and their kids on Thursday, and TPT had a great time playing with the older two boys (ages 7.5 and 6) and the baby girl (1 yr). She spent the least amount of time with the almost 4 year-old, partially because of age and partially because she still hasn't forgiven him for terrorizing her a couple of years ago. The only way he gets anything in a house with two older and bigger brothers is to be very forceful. My little only-child isn't used to that. (This isn't TPT in the picture, but I didn't have my camera with me the 18 times she went across this "path").

TPT enjoyed the evening Clock Tower show the first night but missed it the second night, because we were having fun in the arcade (more on the arcade tomorrow). Doug and the two older boys played MagicQuest -- some sort of computerized D&D-like activity, but TPT really wasn't interested. David (the 6 year-old) was especially pleased at her indifference because she gave her magic wand to him (thus he didn't have to share with his older brother). I splurged and got TPT a manicure-pedicure, both of which she thought were great. She is very ticklish, and she just giggled during the pedicure

We made a point of having rooms next door to each other on the ground floor, which allowed for "back-door" visiting. We even ate dinner on Thursday night on our little patio. It also allowed the grown-ups to hang in our room after the kids were in bed (although Doug kept going in to check on the kids). That kind of hang-out time makes me really sad that they don't live nearby.

My BFF (aka Claudia)

(don't ask what he was holding in his hand...)

TheHusband, enjoying a Pepsi

All-in-all, a nice time. Now it's back to school -- tomorrow is day 1 of 1st grade!

28 August 2009

Wal-Mart adventures

I don't shop at Wal-Mart. I really like the idea of supporting smaller chains or, best of all, mom&pop type establishments. Also there is no Wal-Mart that is convenient to my house. I've only been in a Wal-Mart once, and that was within the past 6 months. I guess I lost my Wal-Mart virginity then.

I am currently vacationing in Williamsburg, VA, and the place we are staying (Great Wolf Lodge) is almost directly next to a Wal-Mart. The convenience is overwhelming. We arrived yesterday, and TheHusband wanted to buy a pair of water shoes, because his feet get sore running around after ThePinkThing. So he went into the little shop here at the hotel. It is actually inside the water park. Did it have any water shoes for men? Nope, none.

At that point, he drove over to Wal-Mart figuring that they have everything there; they'd certainly have men's water shoes, and likely they'd be cheaper. He found a Wal-Mart employee and asked where he could find water shoes. He was told "the shoe aisle." So he went to the shoe aisle. No water shoes. He tried the "Seasonal" aisle, where (shockingly) there were no water shoes. He finally found another (slack-jawed) employee and asked her where he could find water shoes. She looked at him disdainfully and said "the shoe aisle." He told her that there weren't any. Apparently, she rolled her eyes and took him over to some water shoes. But they were women's shoes. Not helpful. Then she walked him over to the men's shoe aisle, where there were... no water shoes. She thought about it and then said "they're out of season." Out of season? In August? In a Wal-Mart literally next to a Great Wolf Lodge? At that point, having had this great big light bulb blink on above her head and having passed on that information, she simply walked away from TH and started talking to a coworker. No apologies, no good-bye. Just simply done with him.

TH ended up trying on the largest women's pair available, but it was like one of Cinderella's stepsisters trying to squeeze her foot into the glass slipper. Unsuccessful. So TH is (somewhat grumpily) running around after TPT in bare feet.

My BFF went to Wal-Mart this morning to pick up some food (she has 4 kids to keep happy). While asking a Wal-Mart employee something, a young woman came up to them. This woman asked where she would find cinnamon sticks. The employee's suggestion was the craft aisle (!), clearly having no idea what a cinnamon stick was. When Claudia (my BFF) suggested that the spices aisle would be a better choice, that was greeted with favor. The employee curiously asked the other customer what she wanted cinnamon sticks for. Answer: "I like to smoke them." (!)

I went over to Wal-Mart also this morning. I needed a few school supplies that were sold out at two stores in Bethesda (crayons and binder dividers). Here is a reasonable outline of that conversation:

Neurondoc: Hi. Can you help me find some school supplies?
Wal-Mart employee: School supplies?
ND: Yes, school supplies.
WME: School supplies?
ND: Yes. You know stuff for kids going back to school.
WME: Oh. (pause) We don't carry school supplies.
ND: What? You don't have crayons and notebooks and paper?
WME: Oh that. They just moved that stuff, and I don't know where it is. You could try the stationery aisle (pointing to the farthest back corner of the store).
ND: Okay.
WME (to another nearby WME): Do we have school supplies?
WME2: Yes. They just moved them.
ND (aaaaaaaahhhhhhh): Thanks for your help.
WME3 (seeing me standing there indecisively): Can I help you find something?
ND (dubious): Do you know where the school supplies are?
WME3: I think so. Over here.
ND (after following WME3 to a nearby aisle, NOT at farthest back corner, mind you): Hmmm. These are office desk supplies. I need some crayons and binder dividers.
WME3: Binder dividers?
ND: Yes, the pages you stick in a 3 ring binder to separate sections of paper.
WME3: Binder dividers? (asks another nearby WME)
WME4: Oh, they're right over here. (walks over one more aisle and points)
ND (truly thankful): That's exactly what I want. Thanks.

I needed the help of 4 people to find school supplies, which as it turned out were in 2 aisles at the front of the store, being as this is the week before most local kids return to school. Sheesh.

27 August 2009

Swine flu!

ThePinkThing is finished with camp. We have an upcoming long weekend of fun and frolicking, then it's the nose to the grindstone in 1st grade. She's enjoyed her summer, splitting it between 2 camps. She has just finished camp at her aftercare program. I think it was a nice program, iwth just the right amount of structured activities and free play.

When I went to pick my daughter up from her last day of camp yesterday evening, I chatted with a friend, the mother of one of ThePinkThing's friends. The mom happened to mention to me that her daughter had just come back to camp after having had swine flu. I was shocked, because I hadn't heard anything about it. TPT's BFF was out all of last week with flu-like symptoms, and I had wondered if she had swine flu, but I hadn't heard anything for sure. TPT had a very brief flu-like illness last week, but she recovered quickly, other than a lingering cough. Now, of course, I am wondering if she had a mild case of swine (H1N1) flu. If so, I am glad, because she will likely be protected during the upcoming flu season. I am also glad because TPT's friend has recovered and looks like she is back to her usual wacky self.

What concerns me is that there was no information passed along to the parents that there had been a documented case of swine flu in one of the campers. Obviously, the director shouldn't mention names, but a general notification would have been appropriate. Fergoshsakes, these people post lice and strep notices all the time. The director said that she was expressly instructed by the main office of the childcare organization (they have multiple locations in the DC area) not to mention that a child in the program had swine flu. She was told not even to mention that one of the kids had a flu-like illness. I believe that this was a very poor decision on the part of the main office, and they will be receiving an irate phone call from a parent who is a physician today (namely me). I tried to find out if swine flu is a mandatory reporting disease to the Health Dept, but that isn't clear. Even if it isn't mandatory to report it to the health dept, it is only common sense and fairness to report a communicable illness to the parents whose children may be affected. Adequate notification is essential when dealing this type of highly communicable and potentially life-threatening (okay, mildly life-threatening) illness.

What acceptable reason could they possibly give me?

26 August 2009

Working like a dog to take time off...

I am insanely busy at work, in order to have a couple of days off. Therefore, don't expect to hear any of my wonderful words of wisdom until Monday.

Just in case you were curious -- the days off will be spent at a place guaranteed to make ThePinkThing happy -- Great Wolf Lodge. We've been before and had a great time. I plan to spend a few hours in the hot tub; in fact, my goal is to come out of there a hot, pink raisin. And best of all, this Great Wolf Lodge comes complete with a best friend. Yes, a real best friend. One who usually lives far away but is currently in my time zone (and has been so for like a whole week now without me getting to slap eyes on said best friend). So, hooray for my upcoming long weekend!

Hope yours is nice, too...

24 August 2009

Brain still in weekend mode

Insert witty, amusing blog post here...

20 August 2009

I'm an Elf?

Not that I have a clue, but apparently I'm an Elf. It's kinda hilarious, since I can't sing, and I don't get poetry. And nobody would ever call me graceful. But at least I'm pretty intelligent.

I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Sorcerer (5th Level)

Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

19 August 2009

I (heart) Barney Frank

Mind you, I don't always (or even often) agree with his ideas/stances/policies/posturing. But kudos to him for taking on some of the bugshit crazies who seem to be infesting these Town Hall meetings. He didn't stand there and take it, try to reason with them, try to hold a rational discussion with people clearly not intending to behave rationally, not use the usual political weasel-wording so prevalent amongst politicians.

Sock it to 'em, Barney!

This is the long version. The bugshittiest one is first...

So, would you rather...

...catch swine flu or become a zombie?

I am not sure of the answer, but a bunch of mathematicians at University of Ottawa (those wacky Canucks!) used mathematical models to calculate the effects of plausible pandemics by using an infestation of zombies as the disease vector. This paper has been published.

For disease models, the researchers picked the typical slow-movie zombies from movies such as Night of the Living Dead which infect humans with a bite and can only be killed by a blow to the head. The population was broken down into live humans, zombies and dead zombies. In their model, there was no cure other than complete eradication, and that had to happen right from the start with coordination of efforts. "A zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly," they write in the paper. "Modelling zombies would be the same as modelling swine flu, with some differences for sure, but it is much more interesting to read."

For some odd reason, this talk of the end of civilization reminds of a long thread on the Bujold listserv, from at least 10 years ago. Someone postulated that if all of the members of the listserv were magically transported to an uninhabited planet with no Earth food, water, medical equipment or tools, we would all eventually die. The planet did potentially have edible items and potable water but how would we tell? In this exercise, an evil (or mischievous) alien named Yeltar was the reason behind our removal from Earth. After much discussion, it was pretty well agreed upon that, given the above scenario, the colony on Bujoldia was doomed. If the planet came with a user's manual and was eminently hospitable, then perhaps we'd scratch by. Perhaps. And occasionally I still think "Bite me, Yeltar"...
H/T to The Telegraph
Photo: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

18 August 2009

Ridiculous Money

I like sports and am, in general, a sports fan. I became a NJ Devils fan when my dad got season tickets, and still follow hockey on a reasonably regular basis. I like the beauty of the skating and the excitement of a goal scored. The fighting -- meh. The players -- mostly meh. Sports figures as people to look up to, idolize, pay attention to -- nope, sorry, not into that. I believe that they are grossly overpaid for their jobs, to the point of ridiculousness, and that considering them heroes or idols is plain old silly.

And that brings me to the point of today's post. Last night at 11:58 pm, the Washington Nationals reached a deal with Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 draft pick in this year's baseball draft. The amount -- a staggering $15.1 million, plus incentives, over four years. $15 million to throw a baseball at (okay, towards) other men who will try to whack the shit out of it. That's reportedly the most money ever paid to an drafted amateur player in baseball history. It's ridiculous. It's obscene.

Apparently, Strasburg's agent felt that Strasburg's "free market value" ($50 million!!!) was greater than anything ever before. And that the Nationals (or any team lucky enough to land this kid) should pay through the nose for it. For a 21 year-old kid who had never pitched a MLB game. (insert eye roll here...) I am not a baseball afficionado, but I understand that young pitching arms need to be brought along carefully, and that most pitchers spend some time in minor league ball to bring their arm along. Or whatever. A sizable number of pitchers never make it out of the minor leagues, and so these top money contracts may be all for naught. That may very well not be the case, as Stephen Strasburg is heralded as the kind of pitcher seen only once in a generation. But it is a lot of money for an organization (a pathetically losing organization) to gamble on one player. We won't know if it was the right choice in the long run -- until the "long-run" happens.

But I found one thing especially galling about this situation (at least what I read in the papers). According to The Washington Post, Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo says that all Strasburg wants to do is play.
"The reason he signed -- he wants to be in the big leagues, he wants to be a Washington National, he wants to win a Cy Young award and he wants to win championships in D.C." Rizzo said. "That's the reason he signed with us here. Money was a nice perk and a nice byproduct for him, but he's here to pitch. He's chomping at the bit to get on the mound. He's ultra-ultra competitive, and I think he was getting a little tired of sitting around the house."
Oh, puh-leeeze. (insert another eye roll) If all he wanted to do was play, he would've signed the original contract for $12 million that he was offered. Which is more money than most people will see in their lifetimes.

17 August 2009

I can't decide if I love it or hate it...

My aunt sent me an email with a link to this Youtube video. It is the Christians United for Israel's (CUFI) version of "Hava Nagila" - Texas style

Overall, I think I like it (in a sickly fascinated sort of way), but "Hava Nagila" is now stuck in my head.

15 August 2009

A Saturday Kitty

Ajax is our big, intellectually-challenged, formerly male cat. He loves playing with toys, although as he's gotten older (and fatter), his play has become lazier and lazier. Ever since he was a kitten, he's loved what we call "ballies" -- little glitter pom-poms. He loves them so much that he eats them. Every time. Then he inevitably barfs the ballie back up. His favorite place to barf? My bed. Not surprisingly, we ration the ballies, letting him occasionally play with one, keeping a close eye to prevent eating. Last night was a ballie-night. He played with it, until my husband threw it down the steps. At that point the ballie became invisible, even though it was completely obvious at the bottom of the steps.

Silly kitty.

14 August 2009

Short Trollops

I finally have a trollop of my own height. Look -- we're the same height! I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy for dinner last night. She kindly schlepped to me from Crystal City via Metro. We went out to dinner, then stopped by the local supermarket, picked up a pint of Ben and Jerry's and came to my house to eat it. I had an excellent time with her, and hope she felt the same. Then TheHusband drove her back to Crystal City, because I was too tired (afraid I'd fall asleep on the way back with nobody to entertain me). If the event involves only 2 trollops, is it still a Trollopalooza?

I'm the pink one (not ThePinkThing), and Wendy is the turquoise one. :-)

13 August 2009

Cooking is scary

Yes, really, it is. It's scary for someone who doesn't have an innate feeling for the stove, oven, mixer, blender, etc. My mom didn't (and still doesn't) enjoy cooking, and I wasn't interested in learning the basics when I was a kid. My husband, I am sad to say, did not marry me for my domestic capabilities. (Yes, I am tame and domesticated; I am just not domestic, or feral for that matter.)

I can cook pre-made stuff, like pasta with jarred sauces, chicken pieces in the oven topped with salt and some spices, hot dogs in a pot. I do make a mean chili, but it never tastes the same way twice because I just throw reasonable stuff into the pot and cook it for a couple of hours. With lots of hot pepper. However, recipes make me nervous. They often involve terms that I don't understand (poach? braise? fold?), and I don't have anyone around to ask. TheHusband's cooking skills make me look positively cordon bleu, so he's no help. (And he hates things with sauces and vegetables and mixed up food like stir-fry, so I am not inspired to cook for him either.) The internet can answer all questions, but it (mostly) lives in the basement in my house, not conducive to the kitchen and quick answers.

Luckily, I do have people in my life who can cook and cook well. And don't make me feel like a moron when I ask simple and basic questions (such as "what is folding in?" or "what is medium-high heat on my stove?"). One of these people is my aunt. She cooks for a living. She writes cookbooks. Good cookbooks. Prize-winning cookbooks. And lets me ask questions and gives me ideas. This wonderful aunt lives in NYC and rarely ventures out of those environs. But she came to visit this past weekend, and she sat me down with a couple of her cookbooks, and we discussed recipes. And she told me how to modify some of the recipes so TheHusband might eat the outcome. She moseyed through my selection of spices and made up a few "shakes" for me. A shake apparently is a mixture of spices that you shake on meat, chicken or fish before broiling. I am sure they have other uses, but the atrophied cooking area of my brain could only absorb the one use.

Some of her advice to me:
  • Get a grill. TheHusband is a meatatarian and doesn't like sauces or "fancy" stuff. We had a charcoal grill, which I never used, because TheHusband had to get the fire going. It got blown into our neighbor's yard a couple of months ago during a storm and gave up the ghost. We were planning on buying a propane grill anyway.

  • Experiment with soups. I like soups of various kinds (as long as they don't contain lima beans or are split pea). They are easy to make in large batches and freeze well.

  • Browning the meat before cooking in a sauce is the best way to seal in flavor and juices. Gotcha.

  • Potato bread is boring. Buy other types of bread and freeze the loaves. Make the sandwich on the frozen bread, and by lunchtime, it will be good to go. Check. Will send TPT with peanut butter or cream cheese on raisin bread.

  • Buy a small freezer and put it in the basement. Keep the long-haul frozen stuff there, and use the (crappy) freezer in the kitchen for stuff used frequently.

  • "I told you so" -- she told us that a freezer on the bottom fridge is really annoying, and she was right. We hate it.

  • Buy a knife sharpener to keep the knives sharpened. Dull knives do not work well.

  • You can look up just about any recipe online. Do it, print it out, and make it.
I am sure there was more, but I can't remember. It was a great weekend. But I am still a bit nervous in the kitchen...

12 August 2009

Scary Times, End Times?

For the past 10 or so years I have been uneasy about the world I live in. Not bothered by a specific action, situation, or person. I just have had fairly constant and general feelings of unease. I can't blame it on ThePinkThing, although I have definitely become much more of a worrywart since she arrived on this planet. An only child provides for much fodder in the worrying business when her (or his) mother is inclined that way. Nothing in particular is bothering me about TheHusband (although I wish he would remember to clean his dirty dishes off the coffee table). It's not my job. I changed that a couple of years ago and really like my current position (I am probably in the minority in that I actually like my job). TheHusband's business seems to be weathering the recession or depression or whatever it is, so far.

I am uneasy about the general climate of my country. I am not overtly patriotic in that do-or-die, One-Nation-under-God kinda way. I love my country, but in an abstract sort of way, like you love a favorite uncle -- you love to spend time with him but you don't think about him constantly or even on a daily basis. Not like you love your parents, siblings, or children (if you are lucky enough to love them). Or your best friend. I am grateful that I was born, raised and live here. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had and still have.

But I feel like my country is slowly and (not so?) silently becoming something else. Not mine. Not a place in which I am comfortable. A place in which people of substance and regular Joes cannot have a discussion about difficult topics from opposing sides. A place where emotions overwhelm rational thought and reason. A place where a dance teacher who proselytizes to young Jewish girls in her class sees nothing wrong with that and literally can't understand why the parents find it objectionable. A place where my father said to me (shortly after the election) "Now we'll see what Barack Obama does to this country; this man who people like you voted into office." People like me? People like me? What was he thinking I am, a Martian? A bogeyman? A dirty tree-hugging Liberal? This was my father, fergoshsakes, someone whom I love, saying crap like that to me, outlining the unbridgeable divide between someone like him and someone like me. A place where compromise and consensus are evil words, not goals to work toward. A place where it's all about winning and getting your way, even at the expense of other people and other ideas. A place where people use fear tactics to bolster their agendas, to separate their group from the "others", to convince their adherents that what they believe is right/good/better/God's will/whatever. A place where things like McCarthyism, fascism, and a Holocaust could occur and/or flourish.

When did this happen? Why is it happening? Am I being overreactive and paranoid? Perhaps. I don't know. I would like to be wrong. But if this is the case, how can we fight it? How do you make someone (or really boatloads of someones) see that this is where the country is heading. People who think that they are Right. And if they are right, you must be Wrong. How do you have a meaningful conversation with people who are uninterested in reasonable discourse and rational discussion?

I just don't have any answers, although I am still uneasy.

11 August 2009

Happy birthday to Cuzzy!

Today is my cousin's birthday. She is exactly 50 weeks older than I am.

She is a wonderfully caring, creative and lovely person. We are very different from each other, yet strangely alike. When we are together, people think we are sisters, perhaps because our laughs are similar, our senses of humor are quirky, and we like to make faces at each other. We both love to read books, although our tastes do not (for the most part) intersect. We love to sit on the beach on cool days. We love sushi and chocolate, but not together.

She is an artist and makes her living making things beautiful (or more beautiful). I am a neurologist and can't draw a straight line. She loves to shop, and I think that the mall is a place designed to torture innocent people (like me). She can make a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt look fashionable. I look frumpy in a nice dress. Yet we are more than just cousins, we are friends, and I am lucky to have her in my life. I just wish we still lived in the same city.

Happy Birthday, Cuzzy!

07 August 2009

Shoeless Baby Gets Shooed Out

No matter how old you are, you better wear shoes to the Burger King in Sunset Hills, Missouri. On Sunday, a woman, her mother, and her 6 month-old baby stopped in to Burger King for a quick meal. They were told to leave because the 6 month-old didn't have shoes on. A 6 month-old. Who can't walk and probably can't crawl and likely has cleaner feet than anyone reading this blog post. Unreal. Eventually somebody from Burger King called and apologized, and the over-zealous workers had to undergo some sort of training to help them decide on whom to enforce this rule. Or something. D'oh!

H/T to the AP and about 50 zillion other news organs that picked the story up.

06 August 2009


So I am back from my long weekend away. A much-needed mini-vacation. Except it wasn't a vacation. It was a busman's holiday, so to speak -- filled with medical issues.

First the good parts:
  • On Saturday night, I met up with four old friends from sleep-away camp. I haven't seen these "girls" in more than 25 years, and I last went to camp with them in the summer of 1979. Literally a week after I joined Facebook, one of my old camp friends friended me. That was a really pleasant bolt out of the blue. Over the next couple of months, we talked and decided to have a "Real Life" get-together. I must admit that I was a bit nervous. I am no longer 13 or 17 (or whatever I was when we last met up). I am over forty and feel it (and am starting to look it). My adolescent insecurities reared their ugly heads -- what if they thought I was stupid or ugly or boring? What if they all liked each other but not me? Stupid, I know, but events like this really do turn me into a quivering bag of internal insecurities. But (not shockingly) I had an excellent time. If you asked me specifically what we talked about, I don't think I could answer you. We talked to some degree about our kids and husbands and parents and siblings. We didn't talk about our jobs or politics or current events. We reminisced about things we did at camp. I either had a much worse time than they did and am suppressing my memories or I just don't dwell too much on the past (which is the most likely reason for my lack of memories). It was an extremely pleasant 3 hours, and we are hoping to get together again, next time with the families.

  • The other good part was getting to hang out with my best college friends (handily married to each other) at their lake house. They have 2 daughters, one of whom is a few months younger than ThePinkThing (D1). They play together nicely and try to exclude my friends' younger daughter (D2 -- age 3). We love spending time with them. Most of the time. Well, not when we visit them at the lake, actually. Two years ago, TPT and D1 were jumping on their beds, when TPT fell, banging her face on the headboard, causing a laceration above her right eyebrow. That required a trip to the ER and 4 stitches. The next night TPT peed in her bed. When we arrived home, I found a tick in my back, which TH had to remove with tweezers. Not a stellar trip. Last summer, TH lost his glasses in the lake. We had high hopes for this weekend, with a trip to the NJ State Fair (aka the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show) and a trip to a local beach at the lake planned.

We drove up the evil I-95 corridor from MD to NJ, leaving around 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, and arriving around 3:45 pm. I swear that *&^%$-ing drive just gets longer and longer each time. Delaware is an absolute nightmare. The NJ Turnpike (which is an excellent road when there is no traffic) was dreadful for about 7 miles. There was a bonus back-up on the Garden State Parkway, near to our final destination (my grandparents' place). Five hours and 45 minutes to go 230 miles. We did have a nice visit with my grandparents, who I love to pieces.

As we were leaving my grandparents' house, I tripped over a carpet outside the back door. Those who know me know that I trip fairly easily, but I don't often fall down. When I do, it is usually a bad fall. This one was one of those -- one of those falls in slow-motion for me and for the onlookers (which included ThePinkThing). I tried to catch onto the railing but missed, so I went head first down about 3 concrete steps. That fucking hurt. I whacked my arm, belly, and head, and scraped my hands and knees. Thankfully I didn't break anything, but I raised a spectacular set of bruises. I didn't notice the worst part until Monday, actually. Apparently I landed smash onto a small cyst that is on my belly, at my waistline. On Monday I noticed that it was swollen. By yesterday, it was hurting and today it was red, hot, swollen, and really painful. Yay, an infection. So (never wanting to treat my own self) I dropped by a friend's office. He offered to lance and drain it. I said "No freaking way! How about some nice antibiotics?" So now I am on antibiotics for a giant painful subcutaneous infection on my belly. I am falling apart. The bruises in the picture are 4 days old and healing.

No big deal you say -- it was just a fall, nothing broken, just some bruises, and a small infection. What are you whining about? Why the glum face? Well, I haven't mentioned TheHusband's 9 hour emergency room visit on Monday, have I?

He'd been complaining about belly pain on and off for a few days. On Sunday, I noticed that his potbelly looked bigger than usual, and pointed that out. He agreed. On Monday the pain was a bit worse, but we went to the fair anyway. About 30 minutes into the fair, he was white, sweaty and looked like he was going to pass out. He said that the belly pain was worse and localized in his right lower quadrant. "Crap, that could very well be appendicitis," I thought. He was clearly dehydrated and improved a little after drinking 16 oz of water. We decided to go to the ER anyway, because the belly pain wasn't any better. After much discussion, we decided that B would drive us back to the lake house (~1 hour away), while T would remain with the 3 kids at the fair. We'd pick up our car and drive to the hospital in Scranton where TPT had gotten her stitches. Of course it was a Monday afternoon, so the ER was packed. After about 2.5 hours, TH was taken into a room. Eventually he had a belly CT (yum, drink that contrast now...), which didn't show a surgical abdomen. So at 11 pm we trekked back to B&T's house. TH's belly is still a little distended and it still hurts (although it is a little better now), but at least he didn't require surgery. It is off to the doctor on Monday for answers.

Thankfully, TPT was clueless about the ER visit. She had a great time at the fair, answered a question correctly at the Census Booth (who was president of the US in 1790?), saw (and petted) a boatload of animals, rode on an elephant(!) and a pony, and went on about 40,000 carnival rides. A good time was had by all of the kids, which was really the point of the trip to the fair.

But you do see why I need a vacation to recover from my vacation, don't you?

05 August 2009

What he said...

This whole Birther "movement" is literally beyond my understanding. These people must come from a different planet or something. I want every last one of them to receive simultaneous pokes in the eye and brain transplants, and I don't want to hear anything else from them ever again.

I am incapable of coming up with any original thoughts on the Birthers, so I will just refer you to Jim's three posts on this topic.

...What he said...

I'll post the saga of our long (and I mean LONG) weekend away tomorrow. After a good night's sleep. And after the antibiotics kick in.