Friday, September 28, 2007

Aimlessly wandering around

Some time last week, I lost my planner. Suddenly, my notes of directions, appointments, reminders, and tasks was gone. I looked everywhere and helpful acquaintances asked, "Where's the last place you left it?" Um, if I knew that....

Today I gave into the realization that my lovely 2007 Moleskin weekly planner was gone. I started to look for a 2007 date book but discovered these are not easy to find. 2008 planners as far as the eye can see featuring everything from dachshunds to outhouses, but not a single 2007 edition to be found. T finally located a blank one. I spent part of the afternoon filling in my dates and calling various places to figure out when I or Q have appointments.

I have felt so naked and disorganized with my planner. I love to write my tasks nice and neatly in there. It gives me some semblance of control. I feel much calmer now with my new book organized and ready to tell me where to go.



I just had my Lasik follow up appointment, and my vision is 20/20. Amazing. A week ago, I was blinder than a bat.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Conquering shrimp

Q started swimming lessons this week. It is one of those things that is so wonderful to do for him and very fun at times, but in the early morning it is not easy to pull on a swimsuit and go get in a cold pool. The nice thing is, this lesson ends in the nice warm therapy pool. Quite cozy. Today Q floated on a noodle, did a little kicking, and held his breath when the instructor dunked him under. He always looks vaguely stunned when that happens, but he seems to get it. He is a "shrimp" right now. The lowest of the low levels. He was in "shrimp" last year as well and apparently flunked. Some day we will make the elusive "kipper."

We ordered Q's Halloween costume this week. It will be most excellent. It could perhaps top last year's lobster.

I found out this week that a girl I work with doesn't know how to ride a bike. Isn't that absolute madness? I don't know how she got through childhood. We lived on our bikes in those days. She also just learned how to swim recently. I offered to take her to our "shrimp" class if she needs a review.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The second time around

T and I have known we were expecting another little one for about seven weeks but waited till the end of the first trimester to share the news. This time around feels very different for some reason. We were both thrilled to find out, though skeptical as usual. We got pregnant very quickly, and so I bought out the pregnancy tests just to be sure.

I was happy and fulfilled to know another baby was on the way but much calmer. Last time, I didn't know what to expect and was anxious and stressed, but this time I already have all the necessary paraphernalia. There are the expected financial concerns and worries about how we will juggle two babies, but I think it will become natural quickly enough.

One worry I have is that this baby will come early like Q did. I had my first prenatal appointment last week, and while the doctor said that is certainly a risk factor, I will most likely go full-term. I'm sure I will be nervous as the 34th week approaches, but I am optimistic this pregnancy will go better. If I never see the inside of NICU again, I will be a happy woman.

Another difference this time around is how quickly I am fattening up. I don't look pregnant per se. I just have a pot belly. I hate this stage. I am not in maternity clothes yet...just billowy shirts and elastic waistband skirts.

It is strange to look at my sticky little boy as he smears peanut butter in his hair and imagine him as someone's big brother. But, soon enough that will be true!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

A new view

I am typing this without any contacts, glasses, or seeing implement of any kind. Hallelujah!

I went in for Lasik on Friday. They said to expect to be there for several hours. The doctors work at sites across the region and come in a few days a month and knock out 40 people. They were doing 22 that day. They called me in for another set of scans. I was just sure they were going to say, "Oh, I'm sorry. We were mistaken. You can't get this done!" I actually saw one woman turned away because her corneas were too thin. Why didn't they know that before?

I squared away the type of procedure I wanted and the financing. Then took a mild sedative and read my People magazine. The guy next to me was quite nervous. I said, "My eyes have been hurting for a decade, so I am just ready for this."

Then they finally called me in. I put on a blue hospital cap and little booties, and they numbed my eye with drops. They taped my eyelashes open and fit this odd thing onto my eye to keep it nice and wide. The doctor poked me directly in the eye a few times to make sure I couldn't feel anything (mercifully I couldn't), and then the procedure began. They peeled back a top layer and pressed down firmly on my eye. Everything went dark, and it really felt like my eye was closed, but it was wide open. Then all they told me to focus on the flashing red and green lights, and the laser went to work. It was very surreal. They counted down for a minute, and then it was finished. It is a cold laser, but I could smell a burning. A bit disconcerting to smell your eyeball burn. They carefully place the layer back over my corrected eye, untaped my eyelids and did the same thing on the other side. After the long wait, the whole procedure took five minutes.

I was sent home with sexy goggles to wear while sleeping and a multitude of eye drops to put in everyday. They told me to sleep as much as possible for the first day. When my eye-numbing drops wore off, my eyes burned. Quite a bit more than I expected really. They burn like you got a chemical in them, and you just want to give them a good rub, but you absolutely can not. By the evening, they felt much better.

The next morning, I could drive and watch TV and read. I went back in for my follow up, and I think my vision was about 20-25. It should improve over the next weeks though. My eyes are still pretty dry, and I will have to use artificial tears for awhile. Overall though, I am thrilled. I can't actually believe I am liberated from my glasses and contacts. I have relied on one or the other since pre-school. I just feel like I have my contacts in now. I keep my glasses on the dresser. I feel like this will wear off, and I will need them! It's a whole new outlook I have to get used to.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ode to single mamas

I honestly don't know how single moms do it. T was gone for two days on a last-minute work trip. I was slightly annoyed, because I had to juggle some things around. The hardest thing though is being solely responsible for your child. It sure is nice to switch off dirty diapers and early wake-up calls. I just can't imagine doing it all on my own. I really do think about that a lot every time I get a small taste of parental independence. I don't like it. Even parents whose spouse goes off to war. It would just be incredibly hard.

I was driving around forever yesterday, taking Q to daycare then going to pick up our Community Supported Agriculture box and then into work. I find myself just hating every driver around me. This can not be healthy. I preach to my yoga class about breathing through stress and not letting those things get to you, but I fear I do not practice what I preach. Other drivers are annoying though. Why must they drive so slow? Why must they stop at yield signs?

I had a delightful manicure-pedicure appointment this morning. I look forward to that every few weeks. I get a coffee and cinnamon roll from the coffee shop next door and then indulge in a little pampering. This time, Q had to come along for the entire appointment. This made me extremely nervous. He did a wonderful job though sitting in his stroller and charming old ladies. He spent a lot of time marveling over one of those very real-looking stuffed cats.

Tomorrow is the day my eyes forever change! Being the cynic I am, I keep thinking they will say, "Oh, I'm sorry. You are actually not a candidate. Oops!" So, I am not going to flush my contacts until I am absolutely sure.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I am scheduled for LASIK surgery this Friday! Yay! I couldn't be happier. I have worn glasses since pre-school, horribly painful hard contacts since I was 13, and now have been waiting for my eyes to stop changing for three months. But, today was the day. They said I was ready. And luck was in my corner as someone cancelled their Friday morning appointment. So, I am in, and if all goes well I will be seeing clearly by Friday afternoon. I must say the release I just signed and initialed warning of "blindness, loss of eye, or even death" was a bit disconcerting. But, I know many very happy customers, and I am ready to put my eyeball under the laser.

In related medical news, T's melanoma incision opened up today. It was disgusting. I was changing his bandage which grosses me out anyway and noticed his previously sewed up surgical site was now an oozing hole. I asked him if it was supposed to look this way. He already is battling an infection and got his stitches out earlier this week. Apparently they didn't do the trick. He went straight to the dermatologist, and they give him so extra creams to rub on it, and said it was going to be gross for awhile, but decided to leave it open. Poor T.

Lastly, a co-worker brought her new German Shepherd puppy in to work tonight while Q was visiting his mama. Q was sooooooo excited to see the doggie! He was just ecstatic. It was an absolute delight to see the two babies check each other out. We were all laughing and smiling to watch them in such sheer joy. It brightened my night.


Yoga countdown

I will soon be able to sleep in (kind of) Monday and Wednesday mornings! I have instructors to take over my classes! I can't wait. Just two weeks left of getting up early. It feels long now all of the sudden. October 1st, I will turn over the reigns. A part of me will miss it I am sure, but most of me will enjoy sleeping. I must force myself to do yoga at home those days. There is really nothing better for toning your body.

Tomorrow I have my next eye appointment. I am so hopeful! If all goes well I could be getting my eyeballs sliced and diced this weekend. I couldn't bear to wear my glasses out to the clubs in Vegas, so I wore soft contacts. I am not used to smoking in bars. All that smoke combined with dry, cold casino air made my poor eyes feel like sand paper. I hope that didn't set me back.

Send my corneas good vibes!


Monday, September 17, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas

I am back home from my quick weekend trip to Vegas. I lost $50, which is probably pretty paltry compared to most people. It is amazing how much money you can spend in that town. I ordered a water at one club and it was $5.

There were some high points. Cirque du Soleil's Mystere, a vegetarian sushi roll called Ume Shiso, the lazy river pool, a club called Tryst in Treasure Island, seeing good friends from far away.....and some low points. One friend got her wallet stolen two weeks after her purse was stolen. I had a few issues with my flights home, and my new super high heels killed my feet.

Traveling always stresses me out a bit. If I could have one super power, I think it would be teleportation. But, it was fun to get away and leave my life behind for a few days and soak in Vegas.

The last time I was there was three years ago, about seven months after I got married. I remember missing my single life a bit during that trip, and faintly wishing I wasn't tied down to a responsible life. I didn't feel even a hint of that this time. I looked at other girls and was so happy I have what I do, and I don't have to play that game anymore. The best part of the trip was getting off the plane again and seeing my two men waiting for me.


Friday, September 14, 2007

The road not taken

I did my interviews today for my story on prescription drug abuse. It was a very interesting and alarming experience.

I went to a treatment center about an hour and a half from here. I spoke to a couple of counselors and then two former addicts who had gone through drug court and were now clean. A young woman was 23 with three children. She said she got hooked on methadone and would snort it. She talked about hoping to get her kids back and discussed her brother who was in prison for breaking in to 24 homes to fund his drug habit.

The man was almost more heart-breaking. He horribly injured his leg when he was in the Navy 17 years ago. He got hooked on pain medication and when he was taken off it, he was still in miserable pain. He turned to street drugs and then mixed in pills again later. This guy also managed to be a single dad to two daughters. He had to hurry to go pick them up from school.

It is just so interesting to me how some people fall into this lifestyle almost as if they are destined to. I have been given prescriptions for painkillers that I didn't even touch because I didn't like how they made me feel, but some people are just inexplicably drawn to them. Others are in constant physical pain, and prescription drugs just become a way of life. I feel lucky that I don't have that addictive type of personality. It seems like quite a demon to battle.

I am looking forward to working on this project. It is such an interesting subject. Prescription drugs are not illegal per se, but many of the activities surrounding them are. Prescription drug addicts are not stereotypical and can be teens, businessmen or soccer moms. Many of them legitimately need the medicine, but their use just gets out of hand. Prescription drugs are seen as softer than street drugs for some reason. They come from the doctor right? So, they can't be that bad. Though the young woman we talked to said withdrawal from pills was the worst thing she ever went through.

Now I have hours of tape to weed through, but I am excited to produce something interesting and meaningful.

I am off to Vegas tomorrow. There I may gamble away up to $30. I am about the lowest roller you can get.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yoga class up for grabs

I am desperately trying to give away my yoga class. I teach it Monday and Wednesday mornings at 8:00 a.m. after working till 11:45 p.m. the night before. I just get so tired and absolutely dread it. When I had Q, I retired from the class, but then got stuck filling in and now have been teaching it again for nine months. How did that happen? I feel so ridiculously tired most of the time. I have a loyal class and enjoy teaching them in a lot of ways, but for the most part I am desperate to give it up! I told my supervisor, and I think another instructor might be willing to step up. Now that I know my days are numbered, it is even harder to drag myself to class. I will still teach Saturdays and fill in here and there, but it was just far too much on my plate, and I am glad I finally spoke up.

That being said, I was very skeptical when I started teaching yoga three years ago. I have taught aerobics since sophomore year in college. But, yoga was a whole different ball game. I didn't even like it at first, but now I really feel like it has changed my body and made me stronger and more toned. I feel relaxed and refreshed after class and have definitely been won over. I doubt I will have the discipline to do a challenging hour-long session on my own at home, so I fear my body will turn into a gelatinous mass when I stop teaching. If that happens, I will demand the class back!

I am headed to Vegas this Friday for a three-day weekend with a three other girls. Two are good friends, and the other is a friend of a friend. I am excited about it, but also a bit nervous. I am the old married mom, and they are three single girls. Who do you think will be the boring one?


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A good friend is hard to find

I find that friendship takes sort of a parabolic form (if I am using that term correctly from my long-ago geometry days). When you are young, making a friend is as easy as asking at the playground. It gets a little tougher as you go through middle school and high school, peaking in difficulty in the single years after college. I mean, how do you ask another single girl to hang out? It's awkward.

I think it becomes a bit easier when you get married or are in a relationship. Then you are "double dating" and there is less pressure. When you have children, that adds another connection. You can make a friend by asking for a play date.

I think it comes back to the easiest again when you are 97 and in a nursing home. You have to stick together, because there just aren't many of you left, right?

That said, I don't think it is ever really easy to make a friend. A woman from my mom's group reached out to me a few weeks ago and said she thought we clicked and wanted to hang out. I thought that was wonderful of her and was happy and flattered. We met today for lunch and coffee at the place I mentioned before where kids can roam free.

I think that we will be friends, and it is so nice to find a good one and so rare. It's just like dating. Sometimes you are really into someone, but they just don't feel the same. Or the almost more awkward opposite situation, when someone always wants to hang out and you must invent reasons you are busy.

Making and keeping good friends is even harder when you move often and are 1,700 miles from where you grew up as I am. That's why it's so important to grab onto a good friend and keep them. This poor girl doesn't know what she has gotten herself into. :)


Monday, September 10, 2007

Fancy jeans

So T and I decided we deserved some very nice jeans. We figure we don't wear them much, so we deserve one really good classic pair that we can wear for many years. This weekend, we set out to the expensive store where we occasionally browse but never buy.

I told my saleswoman I was on the hunt for jeans, and she dutifully brought me an array of size 29 Seven, Rock and Republic, and Citizen of Humanity jeans. I am usually a Gap jeans girl, so this was heaven.

Poor T was cornered by the salesman/owner who piled him with jeans, khakis, shirts, a winter coat, ties, polos, and even shoes. I think he had $5,000 worth of clothes in there. He dutifully tried on all his outfits, making mental notes so he could copy the looks at Old Navy.

I found a butter soft pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans, but the Paige jeans were also lovely. Thankfully, they were 40% off, which still makes them ridiculously expensive, but feels like a good deal. I got both, and Tim managed to walk away with a single pair of dark Citizens of Humanity jeans. Our bill was more than $400, but you have to treat yourself sometimes, don't you?


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Creepy Internets

I have been watching that show I-Caught on ABC a bit recently. Though the anchor's tendency to pretend he is clicking links on screen is quite annoying, the show is actually very entertaining. Last week, though they had a segment that was very creepy to me.

It was all about this phenomenon called "Second Life." People go online to this site and design their digital alter ego. They can buy land, take pictures, party, meet friends and lovers. It's like a creepy alternate universe. The show featured two people, one an obese man in a wheelchair, and a fairly average woman. Their "avatars" as the digital alter egos are called, resembled them only slightly. Otherwise, they were physically perfect. The two met in Second Life and fell in love. They even had a wedding in the weird cyber-world.

The journalist even interviewed them in Second Life through his own avatar. Rather than living their own lives, the two sit side by side on computers and meet in the virtual universe. Something about this just creeped me out.

That paired with a story I was working on tonight about a self-professed pedophile just has my skin crawling. This guy posted on a site where men profess their love for young girls. I read a few of the posts until my stomach turned. The Internets can be creepy.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Faux meat

I have been a vegetarian for about three and a half years. At first, that mainly consisted of nachos and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I have educated myself and learned to prepare tofu and paneer and beans. I had two new types of faux meat this weekend and both were pretty good.

Sometimes, I prefer to just skip the meat substitute and fill up on the side dishes. I tried tofurkey last year, and it was okay, but I'd prefer to just indulge in potatoes and stuffing. For the most part, being a vegetarian has been easy for me. There aren't too many things I miss. I did desperately miss tacos, and when I discovered those wonderful soy crumbles, I almost cried. Really.

I also like hot dogs, but those tofu dogs just weren't cutting it for me. They had an odd texture and didn't have an actual skin on them. I wasn't fooled. T found these non-tofu meatless dogs this weekend. I'm not sure exactly what they are made of, some soy-type thing, but they are delicious! Especially when coated in ketchup and mustard.

I have also come to love Quorn products. They make a lovely gruyere cutlet that even my meat-eating husband loves. That is some sort of microfermented something, that has a meatlike texture. Last night, I made their chik'n nuggets. Dunked in barbecue sauce, they weren't half bad.

People always ask me why I am a vegetarian, and I find myself defending my lifestyle a lot. I absolutely hate that. I had this very overweight girl at my work arguing with me about it, and I wanted to say, "I'd like to recommend you skip a few cheeseburgers," but I held my tongue. I don't force what I do on anyone else. T and Q both eat meat. It is just what feels right and works for me. So, why do people always have to interrogate me?

Three years ago, I decided to try for two weeks to not eat meat. It wasn't difficult, and I really felt proud of myself, so I just kept going. That doesn't mean I will never eat meat again, but right now this works for me. Sometimes I also have people (including my mom) worry about my iron and protein intake. My iron is a bit on the low side, but it always has been. I am just about the healthiest person I know, so I find it laughable when someone who hasn't eaten a vegetable in a week is questioning my diet. I balance my protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables, and I exercise at least five times a week. I think I take care of myself admirably, not questionably. So, don't question me about it! ;)


Monday, September 3, 2007

Child's play

We went to the best little place this weekend. It is a cafe dedicated to families. The food was simple, but very tasty, but the best part is the entire place is dedicated to kids. There is a pirate ship and castle, various little toy boxes, race tracks, cars, and even baby toys. Q could crawl all over the place, while we enjoyed cappuccinos and lunch. It was wonderful. Why don't more places use this idea?

Two bigger kids came in and started tearing around on these scooter things, so we had to keep a closer eye on Q, but he still had a ball. He didn't want to leave after an hour. It wear him out though, and he was ready for a nap.

T mentioned it was hard to get used to the fact that it was okay to let him loose. We are so used to hushing him in restaurants and trying to make him as invisible as possible. It was nice to be somewhere that actually celebrated his playfulness.

It has been a long, lazy weekend. I have a rare day off today, and I almost feel guilty about it. T has to work. I love having Q to myself, but that means I also have all the dirty diapers to myself.

I talked to a college friend for awhile on the phone today. She is a DJ at a St. Louis radio station on the weekend, and it was funny to hear her say, "Hold on....."KZX 101 will move you! Next Nelly Furtado! You're in the middle of 42 minutes of non-stop music!....OK, I'm back. Where were we?" Tough job, huh?