Monday, November 25, 2013


I am transitioning from working at the complex job of being a stay at home parent and all that includes, to working as an attorney. The idea is that I work part time--that I can still put my child first. The reality is that often at 10:00 at night I am at my computer. I don't work part time; I just delay part of my work day until the evening, when the child is asleep. I'm not complaining, just noting.

Captain Obvious is transitioning from being a fully supported work-outside-the home person to providing more support to me, and to Captain Adorable. We want Capt. Adorable to have a parent put him on the school bus and a parent pick him up--either one is fine--a parent at both ends of the school day.

We haven't got it all figured out yet. Often there are unpleasant surprises (having to cook dinner after working all day) or just unmet expectations because they remained unspoken for whatever reason. No one is being bad; we're just transitioning, and it is difficult right now. We'll get it worked out, with love and good humour, and the willingness to accept our own mistakes and each other's.

I was recently speaking with a dear person who has cancer and who is making a transition--the one from having a life expectancy of years to having a life expectancy of a few weeks or days. My dear friend is also not making the transition well, so far. Sometimes it is impossible to see what is staring one right in the face. Like all transitions, it is difficult and the person doesn't have it all figured out yet. It will get worked out, with family and friends giving love and good humour, and willingness to accept whatever comes next.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Height of Fall

This week we are in the height of fall. The sky is so blue and the leaves are so red and yellow and orange. Yesterday I took away the left-over jack-o-lanterns we carved and watered the bright yellow and burnt red chrysanthemums. The geese fly overhead, calling out to each other as they go.  The sound of the leaves touching down on the lawn as the wind brushes them from the branches. My fingers wrapped around the rake. Captain Adorable jumping into the pile of leaves I've collected.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Downhill Bike Riders

Over the weekend the our little family joined Captain Obvious' father, aunt, and brother for a ride on part of the Great Allegheny Passage. We rode bikes downhill for about 25 miles--from Deal, Maryland (a bit north of Frostburg) to Cumberland, Maryland. It took several hours (which is what happens when you go "grandpa-speed," a phrase Captain Obvious coined). I enjoyed myself thoroughly! It was an adventure, but not too strenuous or demanding. It was beautiful--the fall colors, the sweeping views, the novelty of the tunnels and train tracks. We put coins on the tracks for the trains to drive over and flatten. Captain Obvious found some railroad spikes and we took one of those home--Captain Adorable is taking the flattened coins and the railroad spike to school today to show his class.

The constant slight downhill slope made it possible to almost not pedal at all, and we could do little tricks on our bikes--riding with one's legs in lotus position with feet together on the cross bar of the bike, standing up with both feet on one pedal, standing on the cross bar, bent over to reach the handlebars, and some other ones. Captain Obvious and I discovered we could ride very close to each other--with our arms around each other and snuggle. We did this a few different times, and the last time, my handlebar got tangled up with his or something, his brake handle got squeezed, and down we went--crash! I ended up on the bottom--he landed on me! I had a scraped knee and hurt my already-hurt ankle somehow. But I thought the whole thing was beyond hilarious and laughed my head off.

Also, after a couple hours or so of riding, Captain Adorable got really bored and grumpy, refusing to stop and wait with the group when we stopped for one reason or another. He just wanted it over at that point. Captain Obvious came up with a great idea (followed the example of his father and his aunt) and gave Captain Adorable his iPhone and headphones so he could listen to an audiobook (one of the Septimus Heap series). That cheered him right up and he happily pedaled along with the group, now going grandpa speed.
Biking the Great Allegheny Passage
The next day some of us had sore bums and some did not, but we were all happy with our downhill biking adventure. Hopefully we can do another family bike trip sometime soon.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cow's Milk and Snot

I have read/heard for a long time that drinking and eating dairy (cow's milk and its products) can cause people to produce more snot. Now, I have nothing really scientific to back this up, but it is something I've heard often.

Capt. A often snores if he is even the slightest bit snotty, to the point that I ended up taking him to an ENT to see if there was any type of obstruction in his throat/nose or if there was a tonsil problem. After three visits and a couple of hearing tests (his ears are fine), there's nothing wrong with my boy and no fix to the snot/snoring problem except squirting some drug up his nose, which I don't want to do, he hates and he experienced diarrhea the only two times he ever used it (the doctors say this is impossible, but it did happen, so what am I supposed to do? Just ignore that?).

So, what to do? Seems pointless to take him back. But he does snore (which means he has a lot of snot) often, and he does get ear infections kind of can I reduce this snot?

I decided to try reducing his dairy intake. I'm not cutting it all off, just not putting a milk box in his lunch everyday, not offering cheese with dinner/lunch, not providing yogurt as a breakfast or snack. He likes almond milk, he prefers to eat cinnamon raisin (whole wheat) bread for breakfast anyway(slathered with butter), has juice boxes or water for lunch, and doesn't miss the cheese. On the other hand, if we are out somewhere and he wants a quesadilla I let him have it. You see what I am getting at? Reducing but not cutting off completely.  (Of course I am no longer consuming dairy products of any kind, as noted in an earlier blog entry, but I do not expect my Captains to comply with my dietary choices.)

So back to the snot: its been almost 2 weeks. Greatly Reduced Snot. No more snoring. Hasn't been far anyhow.

We will see...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Grump, Grump, Grumpy

For the last few weeks we've had an attitude problem in our house. Captain Adorable has been grumpy, disrespectful, contrary, and difficult. He's been pitching a fit whenever he doesn't get his way. I've been responding with little to no patience and understanding and my frustration level through the roof at the first sign of trouble. As I am sure you can imagine, things have not been going well. In fact, we even got a note home from Captain Adorable's teacher, asking us to speak to him about his behavior in the classroom, saying that he needed to calm down, stop falling out of his chair, leaning over the girl seated next to him, and listen and follow directions. This about my super-well-behaved rule-following child, who picks his friends based on whether or not they get in touble (he hates getting in trouble)! We had a long talk about this and he straightened up--the teacher sent home a Happy-Gram to tell him and us that he had done a good job of behaving well in class after that.

Yesterday, after another series of frustrated exchanges, I finally realized what the problem is. My fractured ankle has stopped all exercise for me and for him. That is the one big change in our lives (yes, lots of other changes--him starting school, me working more) but the one really big change is that instead of daily exercise in the form of walking, running, or riding bikes, now we do nothing. I know the lack of exercise makes me grumpy and on top of that, it is difficult for me to fall asleep, which leaves me tired and therefore even more grumpy the next day. I now understand that the lack of exercise is affecting him, too. He went from riding 2-3 miles per day on his bike, in addition to maybe a walk or other activity to no activity to speak of. We've got the no-exercise-grumps!

Now that I understand what is going on, I can try to fix it. I will do the arm exercise DVD my darling mom loaned me and I have not even tried(!) with him this afternoon. I will encourage him to ride his bike...somehow...I will come up with a solution.

Can't wait to be back to normal. Heal, ankle, heal!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Few Bits From The Last Few Days

Captain Adorable's vocabulary is expanding again. We've been reading Cornelia Funke's Ghosthunters series to him (we're on book 2, The Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost). Yesterday, when  commenting on a stinky fart, he declared it was "ghastly". Quite an excellent pun, I thought! Especially for a six year old!

The follow up appointment for my ankle is on Wednesday. It still hurts and I am expecting that I will have to wear the boot for longer. I am quite sad about this, as it is incredibly inconvenient and , of course my ankle hurts. In addition, the weather is cooling, which is great, but I am worried about how I will wear fall clothes (pants) with the boot. I don't want to incorporate my boot into a Halloween costume!

I have gone vegan. My brother's wife suggested that I read The China Study recently. I had seen Forks Over Knives but did not change anything in my diet. Reading the book, however, has inspired me quite a lot. I do not want my cancer to come back, and I believe the diet advocated in The China Study will help to prevent cancer growth in my body. Plus there are many other health benefits which I want for myself and my family. Next CT Scan is Jan. 4, 2013.

Building a law practice takes a lot of work! Some of it is fun, though, especially helping friends.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fortieth Birthday

My birthday was over the weekend. I am 40 years old now! And so pleased to be! What a joy to celebrate living and growing older! Surrounded by family, friends old and new, and neighbors, we ate and drank and talked and played despite the heat/humidity.

I've survived for (almost) 6 years after my initial diagnosis. I am blessed by the people in my life, by the community where I live, and by my own desire to communicate and explore. I am building a new venture. I am planning new experiences (biking!). I am living a beautiful, beautiful life.

Words have power, and I want to use my words to give credit to the ones I love:
My darling Captain Obvious worked so hard for me--setting up my party and working hard to host everyone despite being sick--he shows me his deep love with the time and effort he spends on me and on us.

My beloved Captain Adorable is reaching out, confident enough to ignore his family and yet remaining close and showing a strong protective instinct.

My fantastic Mom and Dad, traveling all the way to Maryland (yet again) to share their time, love, experiences, and ideas and their constant willingness to work! helping us to prepare.

And all the friends who came and celebrated with me. It means so much to see your smiling, sweating faces. And to the family and friends who could not attend, so sent their birthday greetings and love.