Ohhhhhh, I get it now

This is all a test, right? Same as when I started my new job and had a metric tonne of assignments thrown at me to see if I could handle it. I did it then, I’ll do it now. 

Last week boy midget had an asthma attack, which is not, unfortunately, new for him. On Thursday afternoon after seeing no improvement in 48 hours despite increasing his meds and introducing the ’emergency’ ones, we decided to take him to the best hospital we have here, and he was treated for about 6 hours. That’s 6 hours of him receiving meds periodically, then having his vitals monitored to see if his health was improving. Poor kid has been inhaling steroids, taking steroid pills, and applying steroid cream to his problematic eczema. He was an emotional wreck all weekend as a result. 

On Thursday afternoon I also found out from our tenant that his immigration claim has been denied, and that he has to leave the country immediately. Our tenant was madly cleaning and packing his belongings all weekend. I’m not sure exactly when he’s leaving but the result is we won’t be collecting rent from him for April. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I just paid for girl midget’s summer camp this week. And we just got back from NYC. And our hydro bill is monstrous (and we’re told it’s going to increase by 40% next year or so, permanently). And I just paid the bi-annual garbage and sewage bill. Oh and property taxes have started up again. 

As much as I have chafed against my ‘safe’ job, I’m thankful I have that security in my life, at least. That and my wonderful husband. This weekend I put a lot of time into helping boy midget complete some class work he had missed while off sick most of last week. I also did the usual house stuff, and I hate winter right now. Actually what I hate are the dirty ice piles everywhere that seem impervious to salt and shovels. And I hate the dog poop lodged in there that refuses to budge. The alternative isn’t much better I suppose – goopy mud. But still. Ick. 

And of course in the face of all of this negativity I quickly look for the positive aspects of our situation. The vacant basement will be handy for our soon-to-be-visiting snowbirds. We are planning to leave it vacant until June 1 so that our families can visit and not feel rushed out due to lack of space. Boy midget is happy and healthy once again, relatively quickly. We are planning his birthday party for later this month. My baby boy is turning 13, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Husband remains a wonderful source of support for me. He’s a happy, youthful person, which is just what I need. His expansive chest is warm and soft, and his arms are almost always available for an embrace. We shall emerge from this temporary crisis same as all of the other ones; strong and happy as ever. 

 

 

 

 

Same old, Same old

I was surprised by the news that the Paltrow/Martin marriage is ending, but then again not really that surprised. It would be difficult to maintain a close relationship when 1 of you is nearly always pursuing your own artistic endeavours and with so much public scrutiny. There must be so many layers between them, don’t you think? If mere mortal cube farmers can barely hold it all together, how easy would it be for and actor and a musician, both of whom depend on public interest to keep their careers alive and both of whom are hardly ever home? Both of these industries create fragile egos in its participants, sooner or later.

No matter how ‘down to earth’ a celebrity seems in the completely staged interviews during which the interviewer asks canned questions and the interviewee gives canned responses, I’m confident these are not secure, balanced people. How could a person be ‘normal’ with a normal amount of self-doubt, narcissism, and perspective, while being surrounded by publicist, agent, fans, photogs shouting at you, and more money than they ever predicted earning, of which most (I think) goes to all of the machinery supporting this career choice. Plus? The machinery relies on the actor to keep up the pace. According to some gossip blogs I read, actors do almost no regular daily tasks themselves (assistants do it), and are manicured/waxed/buffed to within an inch of their lives. Lainey (www.laineygossip.com) once wrote about seeing an assistant adjust the camel toe of the actress she worked for.

Relationships are commonly exploited for professional gain, and some are manufactured in a publicist’s office. I’m not sure how one can weave a web of trust, understanding and companionship with another person, knowing all of this background info? Expressing one’s feelings openly and honestly is difficult for, well all of us until we learn how to do it. And with very little besides our own feelings at stake, most ‘regular’ people still can’t be honest with others. 

If I was a celebrity, I don’t know if I would be able to resist reading tabloid news about myself and my fellow famous people. And I would have a hard time not being affected by whatever was reported, whether it was true or not. Of course. I mean after all, I’m only human, and while I’m not that easily influenced I can be swayed with effort and inundation. 

 

I’m Getting Them All to Adulthood, No Matter What

My younger boy midget has asthma, and his problems began when he was 8 months old. At that time he nearly died, due to his blood oxygen being as low as 50-60%. I had no idea what was wrong with him. He had been crying for days and nights and when he finally wouldn’t eat any applesauce or bread (his 2 main food groups) or nurse, I took him to a Saturday walk-in clinic. The doctor there took one look at his stomach sucking in and told me to get to a hospital emergency room. In fact, the doctor would all ahead to ensure the staff there were ready for us. 

After a battery of tests, antibiotics (for ear infection as it turns out) and an overnight hospital stay, we took our boy home. This was just the first of what would be a bi-monthly trip to ER. It seemed we couldn’t get a handle on his breathing issues; and every time he got the sniffles he would have problems breathing (but even when he wasn’t sick, this still happened regularly). Eventually we took our boy to a well -known children’s hospital. No more fooling around with the local one. Once there, they expertly treated him (with equipment built for a baby, since that was their specialty) and the doctors had seen his issues before, and so they knew how to proceed to make boy comfortable. I had returned to work when boy was 11 months old, but I missed so many days that I wondered why I had bothered. I was reminded why when I picked up the many prescriptions. Our lives revolved around doctor’s visits and emergency room stays. Every time was traumatic, for we had to hold him down while a mask of ventolin was applied. And then hold him some more to get some prednisone into his little body. Every cough was regarded with worry. We constantly looked for signs of an attack, since our boy had been dubbed a Happy Wheezer and so wouldn’t show signs of distress.

Boy is nearly 13 years old now and has still not outgrown his condition but at least he is great at managing it on his own (mostly). This is a boy who would rather do anything else besides take a shower. He takes terrible care of his eczema patches on his arms, but he remembers to take his puff and pill every day.  And we adults in his life have all learned how to administer proper meds when anomalies arise, such as him feeling wheezy. I’m trying not to get terribly worried each time, just moderately worried. Our conversations include questions and answers about chest tightness, chest pain, neck and stomach sucking, and nostril flaring.

Today while at work I received a call from the school, which is never a good thing. It was boy midget, complaining of wheezing above the norm. He and I calmly talked about him walking home (slowly), locating the ventolin puffer once he arrived there, and calling me soon after to give me a status on his health. Meanwhile, I’m at work trying to wrap things up here and gather work to take home with me. And I’m trying not to worry obsessively. I’m failing miserably at that, try as I may. 

I’m getting this boy to adulthood, no matter what. 

Srsly

This is my favorite shorthand when I text and talk. It’s the perfect response to unreasonable midget behavior, inanimate objects that tick me off, and unfavorable life events of all sorts. In that case, I add a question mark sound to the end.

I’ve been struck down with a cold. That seems like such an insufficient term for how I feel today. I’ve got body aches and a throat that feels raw. I’ve been in bed for 2 days, but all I wanted to do this weekend was anything else! I’m about to muster up the strength to have a shower and brush my teeth, then change my horrible bed sheets.

I’ve been watching movies on my computer and iPad for many hours. Paul Newman, no matter how unattractive the character he’s playing is suppose to appear (in personality and looks), is gorgeous. I could watch him drink tea. No acting required. Currently I’m watching him in The Verdict.

On being faux-Jewish

I am not Jewish but Husband is, as are his 3 kids. Before I met Husband, I hadn’t had any exposure to that culture. I find it fascinating how similar and different it is from the big C – Christianity. By finding out about being a Jew, I’ve also seen how many knowledge gaps I’ve got of my own religion/culture.

Part of my Jewish education has signing up for email newsletters from http://www.Chabad.org. I’ve been learning about all of the holidays and the history behind them. In turn, Husband is learning about Christian traditions (not that he hasn’t been surrounded by this culture since he was a boy) and the reasons why we celebrate. I find this cultural exchange fascinating. I’m learning, more and more, that the Jewish culture assumes its members exhibit certain behaviours. Sometimes I am confused about interactions I witness or take part in, with Jewish people, and Husband helps me figure out the subtext. I’m blissfully unaware most of the time. This ignorance is refreshing for Husband; I’ve got no assumptions or expectations. I pretend, successfully, that his Jewish acquaintances aren’t guarded around me, expecting me to discriminate against them. Their defensiveness and hesitation surprises me. But once we/they get over that hurdle, it’s clear sailing. It’s getting to that point that’s difficult.

What surprises me most about Jewish culture is how insular it can be. When we visited FAO Schwartz in NYC, we discovered not everyone knows about that store. Anglicized people who we know do, but none of the kosher-keeping, yarmulke-wearing people knew what we were talking about. I would never dream of thinking I’m not allowed to travel wherever I please (ok I’m not going to the middle east any time soon but I could if I wanted). The uber-Jewish people I know have this reticence, and rarely leave the confines of their small community, even within their own city. To them, the world is dangerous and mean, and not worth visiting or learning about.

We don’t keep a kosher house and most of the holidays go by without any pomp and circumstance. But there are a few days (called High Holidays) that we do observe: Rosh Hashana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosh_Hashanah) and Yom Kippur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur).

My biggest revelations about Jewish culture:

  • Married women wear scarves or wigs when in public and in their own home if anyone besides the immediate family is present. (Why a wig though? That’s hair!)
  • Women and Men don’t shake hands or swim together or touch each other in anyway, so as not to mix their essences. (I don’t know yet why their essences shouldn’t co-mingle.)
  • Husbands and Wives don’t do any PDA. That sort of affection is reserved for private times.
  • Holiday decorations don’t exist on a grand scale. (Enterprising Jews are missing out on a good opportunity)
  • Jews like their meat. (Or at least, the Jews I know do! I think Jews invented the chicken.)
  • Jews are sensitive about their noses, and many get rhinoplasty when they finish high school or so. (I love Husband’s perfect 45 degree angle schnoz.)
  • Jews all look a little bit alike, especially when they wear glasses.
  • Being a Jew is like being in a secret club. All of the Jews I know are very private about their religion and culture. And when I figure out someone new is Jewish (Neil Diamond – I don’t know how I missed that one either), I feel the same as when I’ve found a puzzle piece that fits.
  • Jewish men are similar to Christian men in that their wives end up in charge of holidays – shopping, food, and dinners.
  • Being a dedicate Jew keeps you busy. There are weekly Shabbas dinners and a break from ‘work,’ keeping kosher means you don’t eat in restaurants ever (or nearly never), and Saturday temple services take half the day and are a must.

My employer grants me 2 religious holidays per year that I don’t need to count against my vacation/personal/sick days. That support is just one of the many perks that keep me in my current job.

I don’t know what happens

What happens to me on evenings and weekends? I am a creative person who is interested in lots of different projects and ventures. In theory, anyway.

I crochet, I do some DIY, I love to redecorate. But I also get distracted easily, leaving many half-finished projects around my house. Even worse is when I don’t even start anything because the thought of starting is enough to make me crawl onto the couch and watch reruns of The Office.

For example: I know our yard needs to be cleaned up, since the snow is actually(!) starting to melt. I would like to plant a vegetable garden, start a compost corner, and maybe create a more welcoming oasis of a yard behind our house. But I haven’t done any of that. To get started on that garden, I would first have to replace all of the dirt in the currently appointed garden areas. Why? Because they have dog poop in them. Lots of it. Why? Because I have 2 dogs and it’s winter. Plus, the big dog likes to poop in the garden year round, I kid you not.

So, let’s say I manage to replace and replenish fertile soil suitable for vegetable planting. I then need to come up with a system for keeping the large dog out. I guess that wouldn’t be difficult, I just need some electrified chicken wire.

We have many bicycles in our shed and a few behind it too. None of them are in working order. It has been my dream to have bikes at the ready so that we can actually(!) ride them when the weather is pleasant. Husband has pledged that he will ensure all of the bicycles are in working order, and those that aren’t or can’t be repaired will vanish. I figure we will get rid of about 3 bikes in total, leaving us with around 8. No I am not kidding.

I am not much of a gardener. I probably should have put that in first. I figure, if I learn how to raise a baby and keep my sanity by reading up on it, I can figure out how to garden.

Is there a Gardening for Dummies? Yup.
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/home-garden/gardening.html

Is there a Composting for Dummies? Yup.
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/composting-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html

Now I just need to do it. When the weather finally cooperates, consider this a Go.

A Very Vegan St. Patrick’s Day

House of Snuggles

Good Morning, Snuggle Friends and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

I think this is one of my top 3 favorite holidays of the year! I do have a fair amount of Irish pride (my great-grandmother instilled it in me at a young age) so my love for this holiday may be a bit biased.

Here are a few interesting facts about St. Patrick’s Day:

  • St. Patrick’s Day is an American holiday. It began being celebrated in the 18th century by Irish immigrants to show solidarity and reconfirmed their ethnic bond.
  • St. Patrick died on March 17th
  • You have a chance of about 1 in 10,000 of finding a four-leaf clover
  • St. Patrick didn’t drive snakes out of Ireland. It’s a metaphor for driving out pagan traditions and converting pagans to Christianity.
  • St. Patrick’s Day was a dry holiday until 1970.

(Want more fun facts check this out here.)

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10 Reasons To Use Arbonne Products!

I’ve got a friend who sells these products and although I was reluctant to try them (because they are expensive and I was skeptical that I would be wowed), I am really happy with the products I have tried.

Discovering Arbonne

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We Conquered NYC

Yes we did! March Break consisted of us seeing the following sites:

Liberty Island & Statue of Liberty
High Line Park
Chelsea Market (old Nabisco factory)
FAO Schwartz (private pre-opening tour, highly recommended!)
Rockefeller Center
Century 21
Times Square
Cycling in Central Park
Frick Collection
American Museum of Natural History
China Town

Veni Vidi Vici!

Too much bad news

I receive, on average, 4 emails a week from various organisations (local politics, global politics, environmental) informing me that bees are all dying, our libraries are closing, global warming is huge and it’s our fault, no one is looking at Fukushima, and our species and all of the other ones who live on earth are doomed. These are all very real issues that require the attention of many people in order for the problems to be solved. But. After I read an email bulletin like that (and more and more lately I skim at best) I feel helpless. I’m just 1 person and I don’t know how to help save our planet, make sure our city facilities are kept operating, and I definitely don’t know what to do about Fukushima. Does anyone? Instead of running around proclaiming the sky is falling, for once I would like to read an email that tells me, point by point, where I can begin to make a difference in this world.

And if these organisations really want to get the average Jane motivated, they should tell her where we are making improvements. Are there none? Really?! I refuse to believe that. These emails are the equivalent of what used to be the evening news, and I stopped watching the news years ago because it made me depressed. So guess what? Enviro groups and political groups just lost an avenue in which they could have reached me. We need to change the narrative from doom and gloom to encouraging and hopeful.