Saturday, April 28, 2007

I am jumping ship

I've been toying with the idea of moving my blog elsewhere for some time. I am going to leave this one up for a short time until everyone links on over to my new blog:

The Domestic Goddess

I just feel it is easier to use, has more capabilities, has more design choices and is easier on the eyes. This blog is ok, but I wanted something a little more. I am also going to try to change my style just a hair. Once I go through some old posts I may delete some of what I've written, mostly because I do not want other people reading it and associating it with me. You know, like the negative, poor-me posts? GONE.

Anywho, please check me out on my new site and fix yer links/bookmarks accordingly. I'll still keep my google sign on, may change it to Domestic Goddess. We shall see

Friday, April 27, 2007


Sorry for the txtspeak, but I've always liked this song and now I like it even more. If you have ever heard KT Tunstall and "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" (and I don't mean the Americal Idol version, folks), please, PLEASE go here and watch this. This girl has more talent in her pinky fingernail than most people have in their flipping body.

Flippin' sweet link:


I tried putting it right on my blog but it kept freezing up. Dang blogger. But anywho, enjoy your moment of zen. And may your basement not be full of water today.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Surviving the MRI

I did it.

I got the MRI for my lumbar issues. Once they get the results we can find out if it is truly herniated (as they suspect) or if I am just a big hypochondriac (unlikely, since I have a high tolerance for pain and went through medication-free labors until I had complications and ended up with emergency measures. And I once pierced my own ear cartilage without any numbing device, just a potato and a needle. Don't ask.).

I decided to cancel my appointment for the regular MRI and went to their open MRI instead. On my way there I was attempting self talk and praying, trying to psych myself up for it. This is no easy task. To make matters even more difficult, I am in my "manic" phase of the month, which means I am jittery, anxious and irritable to begin with. If that wasn't enough to derail my efforts to get through the MRI, I decided I was hungry on the way there and stopped at Wawa to buy a hotdog. And I don't like hotdogs. Yes, I am confused, too.

Once I arrived and sat in the parking lot eating my hotdog I reminded myself that it would be over quickly. It is just a machine. I can do this. I can get through this test. I took a deep breath, walked in and registered. I was the ONLY one there, which made it even easier for me. As I waited in the entrance I noticed a sign with a picture of their brand-new, state-of-the-art Open MRI. It was square, open on all sides and looked fairly harmless. Until I was called back.

By then, my heart was in my throat and I could feel my hair tingling with every beat. I slipped off my bra (because, when you get an MRI, they want you to be as embarrassed as possible) and locked the door behind me (because they give you these nice little changing rooms to lock your stuff in and there are inspirational posters hanging in there, and signs that say you will be charged if you don't get through the MRI without having a panic attack). The technician was so sweet and understanding. When she asked me if I was claustrophobic, I blurted out, "YES!" before she had a chance to finish her sentence. Gulp.

Once I was on the table and she adjusted pillows and such, I was relieved to see I was going in feet first. I mean, I was still going to be UNDER the machine (very creepy) but I just kept talking myself into it. You can do this. You will get through it. My heart was still pounding and felt like it was leaping out of my chest. The hotdog was a biiiiiiig mistake at this point. I kept tasting it in my mouth and felt like I was going to dry-heave. I can do this. I can DO THIS. It is just a machine! Take a nap, I dare you! Now, who did I sit next to in 9th grade English? What should I make for dinner? Before I knew it, the headphones were on, the music was started (XPN, w00t!) and I was given instructions. The first bit was six minutes long...

The next thing I knew she was starting the next round and I must have dozed off. No, really! I did! The LOUD white noise was actually soothing. I had my head turned to the side to see out of the machine and my arms were hanging out anyway. My feet were also out of the machine, so it wasn't so bad. I just ignored the fact that my hips were restrained, concentrated on the wall next to me and watched the technician again until...

Must have dozed off again. Test is over! I was being rolled out of the machine. Of course, I was groggy and tired but it was over. OVER! DONE! I should have the results in two days.

My complaint with these tests is that they KNOW how uncomfortable people are. They know it is scary. And yet, no one has bothered to come up with a better way to get this info? I mean, they did it on Star Trek! C'mon people! Gene gave us great ideas on that show! If we can invent a door that says, "Schweeeee" then we can make a body scan like Bones' tricorder. Right? RIGHT?

My boys are lucky. The get Versid squirted up their noses when they get MRIs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Oh Linen, How I Love Thee!

My name is M-j, and I am a recovering linen addict. I cannot help myself.

I love linen. I love the way it feels on my body. You know, being a natural fiber and all. I know it wrinkles easily, but that is part of the beauty of it. No one expects you to be wrinkle-free in linen! And I rarely iron it...

In a store, I can feel the linen vibe three aisles away. I can sense it. I can spot it. I HAVE TO HAVE IT. These days linen comes in many fine colors, not just the drab earth tones of yesteryear. I have found PURPLE, FUSCHIA AND CANARY linen. I kid you not (Yeah, it hurt my eyes, too. I do not know why anyone would consider owning this colors.)! In the past two weeks I have found affordable and SUPER CUTE linen at Tarzhay and ON, my favorite cheapo haunts. Tarzhay had the CUTEST linen skirts and this weekend they were on the sale rack, meaning, I got them for 40% off. I wore said linen skirt to church with cute little brown Mary Jane-type heels and a nice short-sleeved sweater. I felt so trendy.

The linen you find these days is softer, easier to wear. It is "washable" which means it doesn't fall apart the first time you wash it, just the second or third. And who the heck would take linen to a drycleaner? Certainly not Moi. Not since I invested in Dryel! Which does not work, by the way. I often use the handwash cycle on my new-fangled washing machine. Can you believe the irony in a hand-washing cycle on your AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINE? Oh yes, it exists. Hey! I just said irony! Iron-y. Get it? Do ya, huh? Well, I thought it was ironic. There I go again! IRON-IC! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm killing me, here! HAHAHAHAHA!


Take a look at my closet (please don't). I have a whole skirt rack of linen skirts, another one of linen pants. I even own linen shorts (and I do not typically wear shorts). I have a few linen shirts (that I rarely wear). I even have...wait for it...a linen bathrobe! YES! YOU HEARD THAT CORRECTLY!

No linen underwear, though. Aren't you glad you asked? You didn't? Well then. Moving right along...

So, I am obsessed with linen. I love Easter, when you can traditionally wear linen and white shoes again. This year I took a walk on the dangerous side and wore lined, linen dress pants on GASP!!! Palm Sunday! With off-white shoes. I know, I know, fashion faux-pas! Since when have I been fashionable?

What's the big deal about linen? You can find out everything you want to know (but were afraid to ask) here .

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bug Boy Can be Charming

Bug Boy would do anything to play video games. I am not kidding on this one. We can write a list of chores as long as his arm and he does them, without complaint, and sometimes we reward him with a turn on Playstation. He is rarely allowed to play on a school day. Heck, he NEVER plays before school and only once in a while plays in the evenings. On weekends we stay busy. The grand total for the week (seven days) is somewhere in the vicinity of one to two hours, maximum.

In honor of National Kill Yer TV week, I've decided that it will ALL be off, minus the computer. He is not allowed to play the computer but it is on. This really is not all that difficult, the boys are not television junkies. The watch maybe a total of an hour of the idiot box per week. They are extremely active boys so a certain amount of outdoor time (or basement trampoline and playtime on rainy days) is necessary for all of our nerves to avoid being frayed.

This week, for some strange reason, Bug Boy has been relentless on his quest to play video games. He has always been obsessed with electronical devices (hallmark of ASDs) but this goes beyond the usual eating, sleeping and breathing. He is sneaking around. He is saying and doing anything to be allowed time. He even wants to cash in his reward tickets for extra video game time. Here is our conversation from yesterday morning before school:

Bug Boy: Mooooooom. Pleeeeease. Please, Can I play video games? I'll turn them off on time, I promise! (whining the entire time)

Me: No, Bug Boy. We've talked about this. We've also talked about the way you are asking me.

Bug Boy: Oh. Then MAY I PLEASE play video games?

Me: No! You know the rules. You need to stop asking. The rule is that there are no video games on school days and NEVER before school. Never! Now, go and get dressed.

Bug Boy pouts and hangs his head. He stomps up to his room, disappears for twenty minutes and comes back down, fully dressed. He has also brushed his teeth, washed his hands, combed his hair, washed his face and put his shoes on. This is typically something that takes us over an hour with FIVE PROMPTS and a check-off list to do. Proof that he can do it when he is motivated enough!

Bug Boy: Ok, Mom! I'm READY! I have TONS of time to play now. Hmmmm...what can I do?

Me: Bug Boy, I am glad you are dressed and ready but you are not playing video games. You know the rules. Why don't you get out a library book and read it with me? Or get your lincoln logs out?

Bug Boy: Mom! You are SOOOOOO pretty! You are pretty mom! Mom! I like your hair today! Now, May I please play playstation?

This is, coincidentally, the first time my son has ever told me I am pretty. Which I told him I appreciated. And then I told him he would not play playstation. I am a heartless woman.

This morning we had to drag ourselves out of bed, hitting the snooze several times (who invented that? I want to talk to that person!). While we were busy showering, dressing, ironing, etc, Bug Boy must have decided to sneak downstairs and play, you guessed it, video games. We both tip toed down when we went in to wake him and we was not in bed. The look on his face is one that I will never forget!

When we confronted him he knew he was caught. He also said sorry. He also asked if he could just play for a few minutes. He also told us we looked nice today. Sigh.

I know kids sneak. I know kids lie. I also know they misbehave. But sometimes it is more difficult to get through to Bug Boy. Even though he could recite a list of rules VERBATIM he still stretches or disregards them when he sees fit. That is the egocentric thinking that he possesses. That four-year-old mindset. You know, the one where THEY are the most important person in the universe and therefore whatever THEY think is good and appropriate must be the correct viewpoint? Let's just say for the sake of argument that the powers that be estimate Bug Boy's emotional and social skills to be that of a four-year-old. At the age of six. This does make things difficult. I must remember that I have to explain to a very intelligent six-year-old in a way that makes sense to a four-year-old with consequences appropriate for his age.

So, no video games. In fact, he has lost them this weekend. I am happy since I don't have to hear the music for Star Wars Lego for a while. Killing the zombie machine is not so hard to do.

Totally off topic: we received Bugaboo's progress report yesterday. For the first time in eighteen months of early intervention our child has MADE PROGRESS! I mean, I know he has made progress, but we are talking real, measurable progress towards his IEP goals. This is a grand thing, indeed. Bugaboo has had plenty of regression and difficulties this past year, the report is the best thing since sliced bread, in my opinion. He has mastered or possesses over half of his goals! WOOOHOOOO!!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sleepy Guys

The weekend was glorious! Warm weather, fun outside, plenty of playing and plenty of things on the Honey-Do list finished. We now have bunk-beds in Bug Boy's room and mulch around our playset. The house is relatively neat (except for the oft-untidy basement playroom, but that is nothing new) minus the floor, which looks like a protest against Martha Stewart.

The boys played HARD this weekend. They were filthy-dirty, covered in mulch and grass. The sunblock seems to be a dirt magnet. My tub has RINGS, folks! I kid you not!

We thought that since they spent the majority of their time outside this weekend, climbing, running, riding bikes, playing with friends, pulling wagons and just generally being kids, they would become EXHAUSTED by bedtime. N.O.T. We thought a warm bath and a good meal in their bellies would be the catalyst for getting them to sleep soundly. W.R.O.N.G.

For some odd reason it was nearly impossible to convince them that the day was done and the mommy and the daddy were tired. All three evenings this weekend were a chore. They were literally bouncing off the walls. The fact that it is still light out when they are crawling under the covers does not help our slumber cause. Since they are up in the wee hours with the roosters and sparrows (and rabbits and the *^&$% squirrels eating my trash) they are not getting much sleep. In fact, we aren't getting much sleep. And who is more important? That's right. Me.

If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. If I do not receive the required (not desired, required. Let's be honest here!) amount of sleep, I do not function. At all. Add in the cold that has lingered for a month, the second round of antibiotics, the muscle relaxant for my current back issues and it all makes for one tired momma. Eight Hours. I need EIGHT HOURS. I managed to make it through the infant years because Bug Boy sleep every two hours and so did Momma. Bugaboo was one of those dreamy babies who slept seven hours his first night home and kept that up until toddlerhood, when we first suspected the seizures. Even still, he sleeps solidly through the night these days, rarely waking. When he does stir it is for a mere moment and he drifts blissfully back into slumber wrapped in momma's arms with his little feet tucked between my knees.

The past three nights I figured out (because I am a math tutor, and I am good at this stuff) that they have each received a whopping 8.5 hours of sleep a night. Since it takes me over an hour to get through my routine at night, picking up the floors and finishing chores, that leaves me with about seven hours of sleep (this is the Mj version of math we are talking about, if you are lost). I am often up before them to start breakfast or hop in the shower. 8.5 hours is not enough for these active boys. I mean, some boys can function on that. My children cannot. They are beyond reasoning with , super cranky, puffy-eyed, whining and miserable. Every little thing is a major ordeal. Here are some examples:

  • Since our niece was with us Saturday evening and we did manual labor for twelve hours, we decided to go our for pizza. Bugaboo normally does well at this local, family-friendly pizza joint that we frequent. At five in the evening (when kids are hungry) the place is dead. Bugaboo even sits most times, but not this time. He insisted on being in the lobby area where the take-out customers wait for their food and wanted to peruse the soda and chip section. He does not drink soda, just molests Pepsi bottles. He then found a brand of chips he recognized (because he is so picky that he can distinguish between brands of food and drinks) and would not give up. To get him to return to the table I handed him a small, blue bag of chips. He seemed satisfied. We got to the table, he had a meltdown in the booth (luckily there were only two little old ladies giving me the hairy eyeball that evening, I may have flipped them the bird). He dragged me BACK to the chips and sat and felt up the bags. After picking up three or four and hurling them behind his back, he finally found the color bag he wanted. RED. Never mind that he has never in his life had a ruffled potato chip. Tonight he was going to open that red bag at all costs. And we did. Upon returning to the table he parked himself on teh booth bench, reclining with his chips. I could not move him. I ended up sitting at the end of the table on a chair. At least he was quiet. Until he climbed under the table and ate things off of the floor. Things we did not order. Ewwwwww...

  • We go to TJs every week (sometimes more, because I am addicted to that place). There is this great guy there who makes balloon animals for the kids and always remembers their names. Bug Boy loves to go in with me (while Darling stays in the car with Bugaboo because Bugaboo hates to food shop) and loves getting a balloon animal or light saber, whatever is being twisted that day. We arrived at home and it was nearly bed time so Bug Boy put the animal down in order to get ready for bed. He put it down. On the floor. We have a dog. You know, with claws? Yup...let's just say that a three-hour bedtime battle ensued. He could not go to bed without a balloon animal! It was important! He would NEVER fall asleep without it! He is staying up ALL NIGHT! ALL NIGHT! He was NEVER going to bed again! We had to drive RIGHT BACK TO TJ'S!!!
  • More examples: Bugaboo insisting on being barefoot with no pants but had to have his winter coat on. In 80 degree weather. Bug Boy wanting to wear flip flops to church. Bug Boy sneaking binoculars into church and was surprised at my reaction. Bugaboo climbing up and bringing me every single one of his clean, empty cups from the cabinet when I told him he couldn't have more juice. Bug Boy wanting chocolate chip pancakes for dinner. Cold. Bugaboo wanting M&Ms for dinner. It got better and better all weekend.
So you see, they can be a wee bit inflexible when they are tired. Who am I kidding? They are always this inflexible. I just think it is magnified to a certain degree when they are exhausted. And when Momma is exhausted it is even MORE fun in Chez Bug Boys.

Can we reverse daylight savings time. Pleeeease?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Incarcerated Animals

Back in my vegan/WWF/Save the World Days (no, not World Wrestling Federation, World WILDLIFE FUND) I would never dream of going to the zoo. My parents would take all nine thousand of us (kidding, just nine) and I would pout and dream of going to Kenya to build natural boundaries for the wildlife parks there. At the time I was completely obsessed with Elephants, knew everything there was to know about them and even sponsored one at the zoo. Although, on my teenaged babysitting salary, I was able to buy one skin wrinkle for three months.

It's all about the elephants.

The zoo is sad to me. Yes, I know, it is America's oldest zoo. I know that they work diligently on preservation. I know they participate in worldwide efforts to stop animal poaching and participate in animal husbandry to thwart our best human efforts to destroy the planet. Because, after all, if the bees start to die, so will we.

Off the soapbox we go...

Anywho, today is the kindergarten zoo trip. This unit they have been learning about the differences between reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds and mammals. They have learned about how animals reproduce (in five and six-year-old terms, that is). And now, the culmination of that lesson, the dreaded take-two-hundred-kindergarteners-to-the-zoo-for-three-whopping-hours-and-make-sure-you-hit-the-petting-zoo-for-your-healthy-dose-of-e.coli-on-the-way-out.

Some kids love the zoo. Bug Boy cannot get enough. His favorite show on the planet is Zaboomafoo and he truly understands about conservation efforts and why animals belong in their natural habitat. Bugaboo, on the other hand, HATES the zoo. Since he has limited eye contact to begin with and has difficulty with parts of his vision, he does not see what we see. To him, the zoo is a huge sensory mess, complete with loud noises, wind blowing the hair on his arm, colors running together, ants on leaves on trees a mile away and being strapped into a stroller so as not to climb into the Hippo exhibit. Again.

I promise to bite my tongue and not get on my soapbox at the zoo. I promise not to get into a discussion about how I feel with another mother. And, scouts honor, I will not lose children, pity the animals or tell the kids how I really feel. Someday they will be able to make up their own minds about Gorillas behind glass on a monkey bar (no pun intended) and perhaps they will come to the same conclusion I did. Or they will think I am a total loony, either one.

And the elephants? As sad as it is to see them in their tiny enclosure, the good news is that the Philadelphia Zoo is shipping the elephants out in May. Two (the African ones)will go to a wildlife and elephant rescue in Tennessee and one (the Asian one, the smaller of the three) will go to a large exhibit in Maryland. Our zoo tried to rebuild their habitat here but it is too expensive to keep elephants. Even if they are the main attraction here. I am sad to see them go (because I could sit and watch them all day) but happy that they are going places that are better for them.

Don't get me started on the circus being in town this week...