Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Don't forget that you're in the middle of felting a bunch of stuff in the washing machine and let it go through the whole cycle, unless you really want your stuff to be sized for American Girl dolls.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Um, yeah. Hooray?
She finished last week, and we've been taking a break from doing any "lessons" since then. I had started reading Pippi Longstocking to her a few weeks ago, so we finished that up during the time we used to use for her phonics stuff, and now we've moved on to Puff the Magic Dragon. I have to say, she's handling that book better than I expected, what with all the scary giant pirates and dying stars and stuff. Usually that sort of thing sends her screaming for the hills, but now she seems to be fine as long as I tell her ahead of time that everything works out okay in the end.
Meanwhile, she's been reading to herself for pleasure, without me having to encourage her in any way. We've got a basket of books next to the potty, and I know my services are going to be needed soon when she disappears and I hear her reading to herself. And last week she managed to read a new joke from the toy she got in her kids' meal, which she thought was just the coolest thing ever. (It was actually new to me, too, and pretty funny, at least the first 400 times: Knock knock - who's there? - repeat - repeat who? - who who who!).
She's still working through the Hooked on Handwriting stuff, although I haven't really seen that it's doing a lot to help her writing skills. We're filling up the house with the practice activities, though, so don't be surprised if you get an inappropriately-themed postcard from us with barely legible words on the back. Why someone decided to have "Viva Las Vegas!" as one of the cards in the practice pack, I'll never know.
Today she dragged out the Hooked on Phonics Master Reader set (which was stuffed behind a bunch of other stuff in my office) and wanted to look through it. It's a completely different format than the first module, and it's obviously geared toward older kids. Actually, it's obviously geared toward older boys, because the whole module has this sort of gritty robotic look to it, and a lot of the stories are about sports or scary animals. But there's a computer game, and the stories are on cool little cards instead of in a workbook, and there's a progress chart with stickers, so of course Little Miss Way Too Advanced For Her Age wanted to get started right away.
The new module is laid out a lot differently than the previous ones, and all of the actual lessons are in the computer game. There isn't a lot of explanation, at least in the first lesson, which assumes that you know what "syllables" are. That's not something Liza and I had discussed before, so we had to take a break to talk that over, but after that she was pretty quick to pick up the game. And she made it through the first story pretty well, with most of her stumbles more than likely due to the late hour when we attempted it instead of her inability to read them. So it looks like we'll be pressing on with this, at least whenever she asks to do it.
Lest you think I'm a total slavedriver, I will also admit that (at Liza's request) I've been using the library's Handy Manny DVD as a babysitter quite regularly over the past week or two. You'd be surprised how much flooring you can get laid in a bathroom during 90 minutes of "You break it, we fix it!" Plus, now the kid knows the names of most of the things in my toolbox, which was handy when Jason was working upstairs and I was downstairs and we needed someone to run tools between us. It's amazing how much faster things go when you've got someone to find the flathead screwdriver for you :)
* Don't remember Easy Reader? Morgan Freeman does. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_PuAqRQLKA
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I loved the construction on this, even if I'm not super excited about the puffy sleeves. The yarn is a silk/cotton blend, so I should actually be able to wear it this spring. I think the need for a cami may limit my ability to wear this in the summer, but maybe I can just pin a dickey in the neckline instead :)
Friday, April 17, 2009
Public service announcement: If you think you have a wart on your foot, do not let it fester for seven months before going to the podiatrist. You'll regret it.
Now would be a good time for the squeamish people to do an about-face and go look at cute kid pictures or something.
So the thing showed up on my foot in October. I know this because I assumed it was a callous or a plantar wart and used OTC callous/wart remover on it, which resulted in my wading around at the water park on my birthday in early November with a bandaid covering the hole in my foot. I was pissed, because I had planned to get a pedicure at the spa as a birthday present for myself, but I wasn't going to risk it with that on my foot. I burned the living crud out of that hard little nubbin on the bottom of my foot just where the back of the foot joins on to the instep, burned it until so much skin was gone that it hurt to touch it.
Meanwhile, another one showed up in the exact same place on my other foot. I decided that maybe it wasn't a wart, because really, what are the chances of them showing up in identical locations at virtually the same time if it's a viral infection instead of some physical issue? I had just stopped wearing my sandals and started wearing winter shoes, which irritated the spots and made them hurt even when I wasn't wearing shoes at all. I researched other possible culprits, including bursitis, and heel spurs, and plantar fasciitis (I love words with two i's in a row), and corns. Didn't look like any of them, or like warts for that matter, so I went to see my doctor.
Corns, he said, grinning as he used a scalpel to cut the center out of each of them. Probably developed to protect something wrong with the architecture of my foot, or aggravated by switching to unsupportive shoes. Wear supportive shoes and pumice away the hard skin around it, and it should go away once the annoyance has been removed. They felt better for a few days after his impromptu surgery, until the centers started to grow back.
And the pain got worse. Instead of feeling like I was walking with a nickel in my shoe all the time, it felt like I had a pointy rock digging into my foot whenever I went barefoot for more than a few minutes or wore any shoes other than Birkenstocks. A dull ache most of the time, unless I stepped on something in that area ... which I inevitably did, several times a day, sending pain so bad it brought tears to my eyes shooting up the nerves in my foot. Worse, the concave shape of the areas after my doctor's little craft project was done made it act like a suction cup on wet surfaces, so when I was in the shower my feet would literally stick to the inside of the tub, and boy, did that hurt when I picked up my feet and the skin stretched a little before the suction let go.
Just a corn. Wear supportive shoes. Give it some time to heal. Eventually I decided that the fact I was avoiding going for walks meant it was bad enough to go see a podiatrist, but every time I called the one my doctor had recommended, his office was closed and I got the Surly Answering Service Lady. Then the thyroid stuff came up, and I decided that seeing one specialist at a time was all I could handle.
Thyroid situation on hold, I called this week for an appointment. Got to have another chat with Surly Answering Service Lady, but the following day I booked an appointment for today. Huzzah, more fun stuff to look forward to! More expensive tests and x-rays and stuff! Orthotics! Surgery! Debilitating longterm condition that requires amputation!
Or, not. I walk in, he takes on look at my foot, and says, "Warts." More specifically, "Wow, those are some big ones you've got there." Dude, I sooo did not want to hear that. Anytime my doctor seems impressed with my particular affliction, it's a sign that bad things are about to happen. "Yeah, you hit the jackpot on these. They're in a sensitive area, so we can't go in with novocaine and the laser (!) and cut them out, unless you want to be off your feet for a long time. So we'll just use this 70% acid solution and burn them off every couple of weeks until they're gone." He grabs a bottle of liquid and a scalpel and goes to work without even giving me a chance to get a word in edgewise. I am a total pussy when it comes to pain - ask my parents about my childhood band-aid removal tantrums - so I keep talking to try to keep my mind off of what's going on down there.
===="So, my regular doctor said these weren't warts, just corns. Are you sure we need to be digging them out like that?" erghhhhh oh, not pleasant at all
-----"Honestly, family doctors are not the people to see about feet issues. See how this one is bleeding? Warts are vascular like that. Boy, this one is a lot deeper than it looks!" I hazard a look toward my feet and see him wielding the scalpel like he's coring a tomato. Blargh. Look at ceiling. Look at kid. Do not look at feet. Dig dig scrape dab wipe dig dig
===="And the fact that they're in an unusual location, and showed up on both feet at the same time?"
"Mommy, can I ride in the chair when you're done?"
===="We'll ask the doctor once he's done digging all the way up to my knee with no anesthesia and ooooh boy, dammit, that's gone from uncomfortable to painful, could we let that one have a break for a while?"
"Mommy, we don't say dammit."
-----"Dude, have you seen what he's doing to my foot? I think it's okay for a grownup to say it in this situation gaaaaaahhhhh."
-----"Okay, taking a break. Now this one, wow, that's a big one." He's tackling the one on my other foot now, the calloused white crater that's the size of a dime and actually made Jason recoil in horror when he saw it last night. Dab dab dig dig wipe off blood dab dab dig dig
===="Yeah, that's the one I didn't treat with the OTC stuff. Hey, I guess the dozen little craters that showed up on my heel a week ago aren't just my winter callouses wearing off from pumicing the sore spot, huh?"
-----"Nope, those are satellites. They're still tiny, so we'll get rid of those pretty easily."
===="So, what are you coloring down there, Liza? Wow, nice letters. It was nice of the nurse to lend you those highlighters, wasn't it?" Please try not to notice that I'm gripping the arms of the chair so hard that I've lost feeling in my fingers. Boy, I should have brought my knitting in for this one. I couldn't have knit, but at least I could have stabbed the dude back with something pointy in retribution.
===="Arrrrrrgh. So, you're sure this is the less painful way?"
-----"Oh, yeah. Trust me, you don't want to dig these out all at once when they're in this part of your foot." He's finished now, wiping the debris off and getting bandages on my feet. Liza is fascinated, watching over his shoulder like a residency student. She's a little miffed that I didn't get Hello Kitty bandages like she does when she gets a boo-boo.
-----"So, are you going to be a doctor when you grow up?"
No, I'm going to be a ballerina astronaut.
-----"Okaaaaay. Now these shouldn't hurt much. We'll just keep digging them out a little at a time. Another four or six visits and they should be gone, okay? See you in two weeks!"
I got to my feet gingerly, convinced that the warts are going to bleed through the bandages and ruin my good Birkenstocks right before the summer starts. But the only thing that hurts is where the self-stick ace bandage thing that's wrapped around my instep bends and pinches the top of my foot. All that unpleasant digging and scraping that led me to believe that I have a gaping wound the size of Pluto (with satellites!) on the bottom of my foot ... is miraculously pain-free, even though I'm standing with a lump of gauze and bandage and stuff strapped directly over the previously painful spot. You know, the exact spot that had me howling in agony if I stepped on a wrinkle in the bath mat with it.
Damn right I'll be back in two weeks ... I might have a three-bourbon lunch before I come so I can sit in that chair without digging holes in my palms to match the ones in my feet, and I'll probably avoid bringing the kiddo with me, but I'll be back. Now, if I can just get up the nerve to rip off the bandages tomorrow morning, I'll be fine. shudder
Those tiny red dots are the "vascular" thing the podiatrist mentioned, which you couldn't see before he carved up this foot. Similar dots were clearly visible in the other foot this morning, but you can't see them in the middle picture because they're obscured by the remarkably quick upwelling of blood that showed up any time I took pressure off of the wound.
As I hopped around trying to wrangle a camera in bad light with a dripping foot, I joked with Jason that I hoped I didn't bleed out while I sleep tonight. Hah! See, there's that comedic exaggeration again!
I slapped some antibiotic ointment on an extra-large band-aid and covered that with a sock to keep the whole mess in place overnight. Then I got ready for bed, marveling at how the actual giant gaping wound on my foot still hurt less than the wart did this morning.
Then I noticed that I was leaving bloody footprints on the floor. Through the bandaid. And the sock (which luckily was a store-bought one, not a hand-knit one, or I'd have been really pissed).
Now I've got an extra-thick jogging sock (thank you, orphaned sock pile!) over it, and I'm going to go think good coagulating thoughts for my poor wounded appendage. Wish me luck tonight! Because if things go badly, I'll have Jason post pictures of my exsanguinated*** corpse tomorrow before he calls EMS. And nobody wants to see that.
***thanks to my college drama teacher, I actually knew that word without having to look it up online. That, and "defenistrate" are two of the least useful bonus point vocabulary questions in the world. But now I finally used one in a legitimate context! Hurrah! See, there IS a bright side to this whole bloody mess.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
On the first pass through, I think #44 is my favorite, with #42 and 27 (and 23, and 6, and 4, and, oh, damn, every other picture) way up on the list, too.
What are your picks?
Monday, April 13, 2009
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Well, actually my hair stylist cut it off, and then blowdryed it so it was nice and shiny and straight. Don't expect to see that look around here very often - I think we'll be going for the wash-and-wear approach most of the time. There's still a decent amount of wave left in there, although not nearly as much as there was the last time it was this short.
She was as good as gold during her haircut, and when the stylist was done, Liza spent half an hour wandering around, looking at herself in various mirrors and windows in the mall, saying, "I look like Chloe!" in the most rapturous voice imaginable. Shame we didn't do this before Susan's wedding - we could have had twin flower girls :)
Monday, April 06, 2009
I tried to convince him to go to the awards banquet, but the thought of renting a tux for the first time since my wedding was enough to prevent that from happening. Probably a good thing he didn't go, because he would have been all, "It was nothing, Senator, and besides, you can see the tiniest bit of endgrain in this part here, and speaking of endgrain, did I ever tell you about the time ..." and after fifteen minutes the senator's handlers would have had to pry him away from my father.
Anyway, since Dad is too technophobic to set up an etsy shop, and not motivated enough to do craft shows with any regularity, he doesn't get a lot of feedback from "regular" people. I know we're not exactly normal around here at Chez Mind-Flush, but let's give him some props here anyway, okay?
All those who think my dad's awesome, raise your hand! Or at least post a comment for him.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled program of bitching about the snow and posting cute kid photos.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
2. We moved some furniture out of my studio in preparation for an upcoming yard sale, and it looks so much roomier in here now, I'm inspired to start sewing again.
3. Plus, I found my list of project ideas when we moved the furniture. And some of them don't suck!
4. I found a bunch of non-fiber crafts I made in college, and they are now on display in my studio where I can giggle at them regularly. I had waaaaay too much time on my hands in glassblowing class after all the lab projects were finished.
5. On Wednesday I managed to get a 1/8" square piece of food stuck in between one of my front teeth and the gums surrounding it. Like, embedded 1/8" below the surface of the gums, where I couldn't get to it with flossing, no matter how hard I bled ... er, tried. So I've been convinced that it was going to fester there and cause an abcess that would bore a hole straight through my chin and out my neck, corroding my teeth and allowing all of my food to dribble down my shirt front. And then last night as I was messing with it with a toothpick, I managed to dig that sucker out! I have never been so happy after flossing in my life. I was so happy, I almost convinced myself it was a good idea to wake Jason up (despite his jetlag) and tell him about it so he could celebrate with me. It still gives me a nice warm glow to think about how I'm not going to have a huge hole rot through my chin. And I'm going to see the dentist next week, just to be sure.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
So we drove to Kentucky.
Yeah, I know, but it makes about as much sense as anywhere else you can drive on one tank of gas, plus we have friends down there who were desperately in need of swaddling blankets and crocheted stroller blankets. Right?
On the way down we stopped in Columbus to visit the zoo there with some friends. It was alternately pleasantly chilly and viciously cold and rainy, and we weren't really dressed to stand it for long, but Liza and Joy had fun chasing each other around the inside exhibits.
The zoo has a brand new baby elephant - as in, "born two days before we got there" new - which wasn't out where you could see it, but they had shuffled the pens around and the male elephant happened to be in the area closest to the observation area in the elephant house (where Liza and Joy were running endless laps around an interior wall). Let's just say that he had some impressive junk, especially when he decided to pee the entire contents of a wading pool all over the floor. For five minutes straight.
As soon as we left the zoo the weather cleared up, and Liza enjoyed the sunshine as she spent the next four hours "reading" her new fairy tale books and listening to The Princess and the Pea audiobook over and over and over again.
Our first morning in Richmond was a bit chilly (we had to scrape the ice puddles off the bottoms of the slides), but that didn't keep us from enjoying one of the 5,086 parks in town. We proved that she's now fully capable of conquering every slide that previously caused her to quake in terror.
We enjoyed the spring flowers, which are several weeks farther along than the flowers in Cleveland.
One of my main reasons for visiting Richmond was to eat at some of the restaurants we have missed since we moved. The Thai place was still there, and Sonny's, and Madison Garden, and Giovanni's, and Sonic. Yeah, should have brought more elastic-waist pants on this trip.
We had gotten the basic "Hooked on Math" for Liza before we left Cleveland, and I accidentally left the first set of flash cards in my purse when we left for Kentucky. Liza was perfectly happy to "do her cards" while we waited in restaurants, and she was super excited when I proposed that she take her first "quiz" while we were killing time at the hotel one evening.
We spent lots of time at the hotel pool, but unfortunately there aren't any photos of that because I wasn't about to get the camera anywhere near Little Miss Splashes For No Reason Whatsoever. I can highly recommend that parents of preschoolers find hotels with indoor pools whenever they go on vacation. Not only does it give you something to fill the dreaded two hours between dinner and bedtime (when the kid is tired, you're tired, all the playgrounds are closed, and there's nothing on television that you'd let them watch), but it also makes a great threat to enforce good behavior. "Sit down in that chair this minute or we're not going in the pool when we get back to the hotel" is remarkably effective, especially when the kid knows you're just mean enough to follow through on the threat.
What with everyone having babies within a day or two of our arrival, the schedule was a bit, um, flexible, but we managed to catch up with many of our Richmond friends. Here's Liza and her cohorts trying to trick the geese into thinking that the grass they're throwing is actually something tasty.
2. Unlike Gimpy (last year's recognizable squirrel), BlubberButt has made it through winter and keeps coming up on the deck to see if we've accidentally dropped another full cup of dried corn out there, because, you know, it could happen.
3. Jason made it home from Germany last night, despite the gale force winds in Cleveland that propelled a stick from our neighbor's trees into our house so hard that I was convinced I'd find it sticking out the side of my sewing room.
4. The yarn store I visited in Lexington was having a sale on types of yarn that I "needed" anyway.
5. "Mom, you aren't allowed to fly away in the wind! I would miss you! Who would wipe the poop off my butt if you were gone?"
Friday, April 03, 2009
... or should shiny, dangly, realistically-scrotum-shaped hitch ornaments only be sold to licensed stud services?