Sunday, March 27, 2011

Counting Down the Days

...or weeks. Ten weeks. That's all I have left in the United States. My husband's going to be on orders to Germany. And I'm thrilled.

But I'm stressed out, too.

There's so much to do.

Order birth certificates. Social security cards (why has it taken me so long?). Get dogs shots and microchips.


Give housing our notice.


Have a yard sale. Decide what we don't want to keep.

Learn to speak German. So glad we have free Rosetta Stone.

Look where we get to live...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vacation, Sweet Vacation

I've just returned from a much-needed, restful, fun vacation with my daughters, mother, and sister.

We camped in Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs, FL. Well...I say camped, but actually, we cabined. Yes. I created a word. Cabined. We cabined. Or housed, as it were. It wasn't a real cabin. It was large. And well appointed.

We rested.

We played.

We climbed.

We hiked.

We rode.

Well, not me. But everyone else rode.

We enjoyed nature.

We laughed.

And we got ticks.

And now, it's back to reality. In another house. Without ticks.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Have


I went to see the rheumatologist last week. I've been missing in action on all three of my blogs, and I've felt guilty about it. I've missed posting. But I've been so very sick and tired.

I'm like the lady on the commercials for Lyrica. As a matter of fact, that's one of the many prescriptions I now keep on my desk.

I take several more.

Want to feel "old"? Walk out of the pharmacy with a giant brown paper grocery bag filled with your medications!

So, what is Fybromyalgia, anyway? Well, I'm learning more about it each day. I'm already compiling a list of questions to ask my doctor next time I see him (in a month).

Will it get worse? Is it a progressive disease?

Will the medications stop working after a while?

Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder when a person's brain sends out too many pain receptors...or something like that. Basically, it means that I feel more pain than the average person. And by more, I mean excruciating at times.

I feel like my bones are sick.

I ache.

I hurt.

I am constantly exhausted.

I sleep twelve to fourteen hours a day.

I get bad headaches that take three doses of medicine to go away.

I forget simple words. Like SALT. I forget appointments.

My joints hurt. My muscles hurt. My skin hurts.

But not all the time. And not always all at once. And not in the same places every time, either.

Right now, I feel pretty good.

So I'm here, writing to you. And later, I'm even planning on sharing a recipe on my cooking blog. As long as my energy holds up.

And if it doesn't? I'll just let myself crawl into bed and watch some garbage on Netflix, snuggled between two comforters and a fleece blanket.

And I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I am no good at waiting.

I'm waiting for test results. These results will tell me whether or not I have a life-changing medical condition.

And it's weird, but I almost wish they would come back positive. Just so I had answers.

Because many times, the unknown is far worse than the known. At least if I know, I can do.

I hope they call today with the results. I've been waiting all weekend.

I was told the results would be in "the first of next week" and today is technically that day. Please, please, let those results come today. Either way. So that I know.

I'm tired. I just want to know.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rough Start to the Day

My precious little one had an emotional morning today. Her pants didn't feel right. Her hair was tangled. She couldn't find her folder. She was tired. She was weepy.

I wish I could keep her home and make her feel better. I hated sending her off to school like that. I hated it. She's my baby.

I gave her a long hug and a back rub, reassured her how much I love her, and tried to be cheerful as I sent her walking to school.

She dragged her umbrella, head hung low, as she walked out of my sight.

I don't know what brings on rough mornings like this one, but it's tough to be a mom in times like this, having to do the grown-up thing, sending her to school despite her bad morning. I'd rather crawl into bed with her, cuddle her, hold her, console her, coddle her, and let her fall back asleep and try the day all over again.

But she'll be okay. And so will I.

And at the end of the day, we'll crawl into bed, cuddle, and chat. And all will be right in the world.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Weird Dream

I love it when I can remember my dreams. It doesn't often happen. Hey, I'm a busy mother. I am lucky to get enough sleep at night. I sleep lightly, but I sleep deeply at the same time. It's a mom thing. Anyway, that means I don't frequently remember my dreams. A couple mornings ago, I woke up with the memory of a vivid, strange dream. I thought I would share it here.

My mother and I were in a shopping mall. We were looking at pictures of my youngest sister and her boyfriend. They were prom king and queen in the photos. At the mall, the same sister was competing in a Thanksgiving food eating contest with many other girls her age. None of them looked happy to be there.

As my sister was scarfing down mashed potatoes, my mother asked me if her sneakers...sneakers, mind you, made her look fat. I assured her that, no, they didn't make her look fat in the least bit.

At that moment, a snooty woman with a bully breed of dog on a thin flexible leash walked by us and her dog began attacking my mother! He was barking and biting and lunging at her. My mother and I yelled at the owner of the dog, using many expletives, chiding her to get out of the mall with her crazy-ass dog. She was offended and refused to leave.instead, she kept walking through the mall.

My mother and I ran after her, yelling at her to leave.I asked my mother to call the police, but she wouldn't donut. I got the feeling she was afraid of the police, though she never said so. She just wouldn't call them.

It irritated me that she wouldn't call (why didn't I just call? Dreams are funny things). so I ran out of the mall into the parking lot.

My mother came racing past me, giggling and simply said, in a manic voice, "run!"

I looked behind her and there was a tiny, pink pig. I asked my mother, "is that a wild boar?" and she nodded, still running away quickly.

Suddenly, I was encumbered by a grocery shopping cart full of bags of something. It was heavy and I couldn't run fast like my mother. I tried to jump onto an old boxy car to escape the vicious pink piggy, but I didn't make it.

The pig bit my calf and I woke up.

How's that for a strange dream? Have you had any good dreams lately?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goals for the New Year, Revisited

In the last thirty days, I've talked a bit about my goals for the new year. Here's how I'm doing...

Goal 1: lose 49 pounds in 2011.

Progress: I've lost 8.6 pounds so far in 2011.

Left to go: 40.4

Feelings: YAY! This is going to happen! I'm doing great at this goal!


Goal 2: Establish a $500 savings buffer.

Progress: I've budgeted $30 toward this cause so far.

Left to go: $470

Feelings: All of my financial goals are going to be hard to meet this year due to unforeseen expenses that recently cropped up. However, I will keep at it! I might even be able to totally fund this with our tax return. We'll see.


Goal 3: Make at least two double car payments.

Progress: So far, none.

Left to go: $993.56

Feelings: not insurmountable. I plan to use some of our tax refund to do this. Taxes are already filed, so I'm hoping to have this goal crossed off the list by late February!


Goal 4: Pay off credit card.

Progress: None. Paid $100 this month but ended up using it! :(

Left to go: $1800

Feelings: Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.


Finally, just because I'm so crazy about them, here are a couple pictures of my dogs.  I hope you enjoy your Thursday!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You Know You're a Weight Watcher When...

  • Your second grader asks you at the dinner table, "Mama, is this the right portion size for butter?" ...and gets it right.
  • The same kiddo asks you how many Points Plus value are in any given food.
  • You wear the same baggy shorts and tee shirt that you started weigh-ins wearing, so that the scale accurately gauges your weekly losses. Those shorts no longer fit you properly and ought to be given away.
  • You notice weight loss in weird your elbows and toes.
  • You go through your cookbooks, calculate the Points Plus values on the recipes and write them in the margins.
  • You beam with pride at the register when you realize that you haven't purchased any junk food at all this week!
  • When your middle schooler acts like your weight loss is no big deal, you order her to hold out her arms while you load them up with the 24 pound bag of dog food, 3 pound bag of rice, and five one-pound bags of dried beans. THEN you ask her if she thinks it's a big deal. She does.
  • You get excited about star-shaped stickers. You have a collection of them.
I am a Weight Watcher. As of last Saturday, I've lost 32.6 pounds since September 19, 2010. My goal is to lose 49 pounds in 2011. I've lost SIX so far this year.

43 more to go in 2011. With Weight Watchers, I can and will do it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Have you ever seen the show?
 Before bed, I have time for what I call Junk Food Television. Shows such as Hoarders, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, and Pawn Stars all fall into my Junk Food Television category.

I allow myself this strange pleasure every night.

Hoarders really bothers me. It makes me feel uncomfortable and it makes me take a second look at my own messy spots, and wonder:

Could I become a hoarder?

If I'm not careful, could this be me?

Also, is my husband a hoarder?

Unlike hoarders, I love to get rid of things. I am always selling, donating, or throwing things away. However, it seems that no matter how much I do, our belongings muliply like gremlins exposed to water after midnight.

Please don't age me by telling me you don't know what a gremlin is.

Like the hoarders I see on the TV show, I have a hard time with certain items. I tend to hang on to books or items that might be useful someday. But they are never useful.

This closet is the embarrassment of my house. It's a large storage closet. And it's full. And disorganized. Chaotic. I can't stand opening the door. To find something in here involves taking everything out. And then putting it back. Too much work.

I just threw out an old sewing machine that wasn't worth keeping. I had been keeping it -- for the day I learned to sew -- since 2005. I don't know the first thing about it.

My husband never throws away a computer part. We have boxes and boxes overflowing with wires and hard drives and modems and cables and a bunch of stuff I know nothing about. They're all tangled and impossible to find.

Cleaning my house is not on my list of favorite things to do. But I do it. I keep up with it using the filing card system. If I don't, I start to feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. My house is almost always passable on the cleaning front, but it takes a lot of discipline and self-direction to get it done. I am not a natural-born housekeeper.

So I wonder what triggers a person to hoard. If I'm honest with myself, I can see hoarding tendencies in both me and my husband, and even in our oldest daughter. I wonder if there are many, many people like us, who would hoard if not for the self-imposed structure and limitations. Or, are those self-imposed limitations the very thing that makes me NOT a hoarder at all...just a perfectionist?

I'll leave you with that thought, and I welcome your replies. I have to get back to cleaning my bathroom now. I stopped mid-chore to write this blog post. I'm a terrific procrastinator.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Flat Stanley

If you have a grade school child, you probably know all about Flat Stanley. Based on a book, the Flat Stanley project requires my daughter to take a personally made Flat Stanley around with her on her Christmas vacation and write about his travels. Here's where our Flat Stanley traveled over the last two weeks:

Day 1: Flat Stanley got in his PJs with Tuna and enjoyed a candy cane near the Christmas tree and we all watched some Christmas movies.

Day 2: We went shopping at Justice with Flat Stanley. He has impeccable taste in costume jewelry.

Tuna spent most of her vacation sick. Very sick. So we improvised. Flat Stanley cuddled in her snuggie on the couch.

And then he came to see the doctor with us. Our doctor was willing to pose with Flat Stanley. What a swell guy.

Tuna was so sick that she slept almost an entire day away. The night before she was very sick, throwing up and all. So she crawled into bed with us and slept. Until 2 p.m. the next day. I snuck F.S. into the bed with her for a photo op. Because we were running out of options. Our F.S. project isn't very exciting.

Tuna pretends to administer a dose of amoxicilin to Flat Stanley. She hates this stuff. Claims it tastes like rose petals. I think the pharmacy should have flavored it. It's pretty awful.

Big sister and Diego and Flat Stanley all crawled into bed with Tuna on this sick day. They watched videos on their new netbooks.

More indoor playtime. Poor kid didn't get much time to play outside over vacation. She was pretty much sick until it was almost over.

Thankfully, this Christmas, Charles and I gave gifts to occupy an indoor imagination: computers and video games! Here, F.S. learns to play the Wii.

FINALLY, Tuna gets to ride her new bike! She got this for Christmas and wasn't able to ride it until New Year's! I'm so glad she's feeling better.

A note on this project:

Teachers, please don't make us parents do Flat Stanley homework on our vacations. I mean, let's be real: this is a parent assignment. Parents have to take pictures. Parents have to print pictures. Parents have to do most of the work. It's a real drag to cart this paper doll around and pose him with our children in fake, static poses. It would be different if we could pose him alone, pretending to climb a mountain, or in a lion's mouth (ah, the tricks of photography) and then have our children write a fiction tale about his travels (just like the book!). It's a hassle to disrupt family time to take a phony photo of this paper doll. This is our second time doing this project. I really hope that we don't get stuck doing it next year, too.

Tuna writes her story.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Last night, I wrote an entry in my journal detailing my 26 goals for 2011 and I thought about how to attain them.

Many of them are too personal in nature for a public blog, but I am going to share with you a few of my most important ones, which I plan to keep updated here.

First goal: Lose 49 pounds in 2011.

How: Continue attending Weight Watchers meetings and following Points Plus program. Exercise at least 5 times per week, Monday through Friday, for at least 30 minutes. Possible options include Zumba, treadmill with a friend, Wii Fit Plus, Yoga, Pilates, Kick Boxing, Walking the dogs, and using my weight bench.

Second goal: Establish a $500 savings buffer. Separate from investments and retirement, I want to establish a $500 savings this year.

How: Envelope method. Save at least $20 every two weeks for one year.

Third goal: Make at least two double car payments.

How: Envelope method. Save at least $40 every two weeks for one year to make two double payments.

Fourth goal: Pay off credit card. Current balance: approximately $1800.

How: This one is tricky and I will have to involve my mathematical husband. But I will be applying any income tax refund we receive to this balance. I imagine $200 a month will do the trick, otherwise.

So there you have it. My goals for the year. They're very doable, and just challenging enough. I'll keep you posted.