Friday, July 31, 2009

Miscellaneous thoughts

I'm slightly disturbed that Blogger now has a Facebook style "reaction" gadget I can add to my posts. People no longer need to even string two words together in a comment...just hit a button that says "interesting" or "funny" or "I'm a lazy a$$ and can't think of anything original to say in a comment so I'm just clicking this stupid button."
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Speaking of which...

It seems I'm limited to two distinct types of communication lately. Short Twitter-like statements OR what my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Stanley, used to call verbal diarrhea. (And yes, I am quite impressed that I know how to spell diarrhea correctly...spellcheck verified and I did a little happy dance because, YAY, I'm smarter than I thought I was!) Anyway...this is my problem. Nice problem to have, right?

Honestly, I've been doing. That's right DOING. More than I've done in YEARS. Sewing. Volunteering. Working (my boss will be so pleased). Connecting with friends. The summer is here and it's filled with fresh blackberries straight from the vine (oh, ok, not STRAIGHT from the vine...we have animals...I washed them before eating), water gun battles, picnics on the front porch that were taken indoors to escape the killer mosquitos, sunshine until 9:30pm, beautiful dark pink and purple sunsets, laughter, adventures and love.

I heard something on Guiding Light the other day (yes, the soap opera...don't be so judgmental) that really resonated with me. If you're spending so much time trying to take it all in, recording it so you can recall it later, then you're not really experiencing it. Maybe that's why I blogged so much during the time the grief was so bad...so I wouldn't have to experience it all...so it's edges were dulled by the recording and sharing. Who knew?!?! Real life lessons on soap operas! Cool!
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Anyway...this summer has been a lot of Myles climbing on everything. And yes, of course there are pictures.

But the cutest is when he climbs up on top of his big brother and "attacks" him. It's really adorable the way he cries a war-cry and then growls like a ferocious beast. It makes me laugh every time. And Sam, bless his heart, says, "No baby," and laughs with me.
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As we knew he would be, Sam is an amazing big brother. He does get frustrated every now and then, but we've tried to teach him to find the humor in Myles' annoying habits and it seems to keep him on an even keel for the most part. Despite "hating soccer," he has recently announced he wants to play soccer again in the fall. I look at it as guaranteed crochet time.
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The whole family is currently preparing to say goodbye to our friend, Daisy Mae. She's had a bad spell here the last few days and, while she's feeling better right now, she probably isn't long for this world. It's an important lesson for all of us. I brought her home because she's old and "unadoptable" and I didn't want her to die alone in the animal shelter. So we'll love her as long as we can...and then we'll wish her peace and hope to see her again in another life.
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Last week I had lunch with a friend from high school (and elementary school before that). It was nice. A little weird being adults together now since I know all her "growing up stuff" and she knows all of mine. It was followed by immediate insecurity on my part. Did I sound like a bitter old lady? A complete dork?

Imagine the chuckle I got when she sent me an email apologizing for being nervous and "not the best conversationalist."

Now I remember why we've been such good friends for so long.
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I have discovered I will never be a really great boss. I just can't deal with the tough stuff like discipline and firing. I'm a member of a board of directors that is currently dealing with the realities of having employees who "just don't work out." It's not fun for anyone.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Forgiveness and hero worship...just the facts

"Everyone fortunate enough to be part of the league is held to a standard of conduct higher than that generally expected in society and is correspondingly accountable when that standard of conduct is not met."
~NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
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Let's take a look at what that higher standard offers the rest of us...the people who DO follow the law...
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The 2000 Super Bowl featured 13 convicted criminals.

21 percent (more than one in five) of NFL players have arrest records and have been charged with at least one serious crime, including two murder arrests, seven rape charges, 45 counts of domestic violence and 42 charges of assault and battery.

Only ONE NFL team owner refuses to employ criminals on his team.

In April 1997, the St. Louis Rams selected Ryan Tucker in the fourth round of the NFL draft. At the time, Tucker was awaiting trial for an assault that left the victim paralyzed and brain-damaged.

Byron "Bam" Morris missed a meeting with his probation officer and Ravens owner Art Modell tried to get the absence excused based on "complex nature of his position with the [Ravens] club." Yes, that's right...we had football practice and couldn't go to a meeting with his PROBATION OFFICER.

Patrick Bates was charged with assaulting his pregnant girlfriend and, three weeks after the baby was born, kidnapping the child and beating the mother with a gun.

Cornelius Bennett was charged with rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment.

In 1998, Susan Gutweiler, wife and mother, was killed by St. Louis Rams’ defensive end Leonard Little while Little was driving drunk. And despite claiming the horror and guilt of the accident caused him to attempt suicide, he was subsequently arrested for DWI in 2004.

Ray Lewis - testified against his "friends" in exchange for the dismissal of murder charges.

Jamal Lewis - cocaine (for distribution, I believe)

Adam Jones - assaulted a woman (who is conveniently referred to as "a stripper" in most accounts of the story)

Tank Johnson - carrying a concealed weapon and assault of a police officer

Andre Rison - failure to pay child support to the tune of $100,000+

Donte Stalworth, drunk and driving, hit and killed husband and father Mario Reyes, 59. Stalworth is currently not playing.

Michael Vick.
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I've heard and seen reports where people say, "Do you know how many convicted criminals are in the NFL who have done way worse than Vick?" Yes...yes I do. That doesn't comfort me in the slightest.

I've also heard and seen reports where people say, "He's served his debt to society, it serves no purpose to keep him off the football field." Sure it would. Give him a job in a local animal shelter for minimum wage. Let him see how WE, out here in NORMAL society, live with the remains of what he did...what others like him do. He's a convicted felon...treat him like one. How many convicted felons do you know get to return to their pre-incarceration positions of trust and power? But I guess all is forgiven because this guy can run with a football. An irreplaceable talent, for sure.

Michael Vick admitted to soaking a female dog (who had lost a fight) with water and helping to electrocute her. She was completely innocent and defenseless. And yet I'm somehow supposed to care about HIS "right" to earn a living in his chosen profession? I'm supposed to buy his number on a jersey for my child to wear? I'm supposed to drop my $30 on a ticket to be entertained while watching him play a game?

"I do recognize that some will never forgive him for what he did," Goodell said. "I hope that the public will have a chance to understand his position as I have."

His position? He's a lousy human being...but he's a money-maker. Same as all those other criminals who run around on the field with a football for our entertainment. They are awful people who make a lot of money for a select group of people. That's all this is about. And making people worship these guys...that's the true irreplaceable talent.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not as young as I used to be

Last night, Steve went with Sam and the Cub Scouts to a camp-out at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

I sewed for a while (photos pending) and then stayed up until 4am and watched a marathon of DVRed episodes of Raising the Bar (while eating a mountain of candy).

I've only ever had one or two (well-deserved) hangovers in my life.

This is worse.

Not quite as good as travelling to BlogHer or ComicCon (I'm not certain I would survive either of those events at the rate I seem to be aging)...but fun nonetheless.

Now somebody PLEASE pass the coffee.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crafter overload

I'm gettin' the itch again. I was at an outlet mall last weekend and there was a scrapbooking store and I found the BEST stuff for my boys' scrapbooks. Now I just have to GET TO IT!

I still get emails from Archiver's. And they have an ad out now for ScrapFest 2009! Oh, how I would love to go... (the wheels are turning in my brain now)

And today I run across the A Crop for All Seasons, Ohio Scrapbook Retreat and I think, "Why didn't I think of that?!?!" What a cool idea!!!

I have multiple sewing and crocheting projects going on right now. So I'm going to have to finish some of them before I break out the scrapping in earnest. I'm still bummed that the 'first year" digital book I did for Myles is on the old computer that won't boot up (must remember to get that looked at and see if stuff can be recovered).

Current crochet projects include:
~a Christmas gift for Mom that I'm not sure I'll have done for Christmas
~a baby blanket for my co-worker's baby due in September
~some snowflakes for the Christmas tree (supposed to be a snowflake a week and I'm WAY behind)

Current sewing projects include:
~the long awaited new medieval faire costume for mom (planned in 2006...FINALLY started in 2008...will be done within the next three weeks...I swear)
~a couple new shirts and dresses for myself

Monday, July 20, 2009

Expanding vocabulary

There comes a day when you're sitting in a restaurant and your baby starts hollering, "Pooooooooop! Pooooooooop!"

And there comes another day when everything becomes, "mine! MINE! miiiiiiiinnnnnnne!"

What a thrill, this language development.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No increased psychological risk for subsequent child

Stillbirth Not an Issue for Next-Born
No increased psychological risk for subsequent child: study

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Children born after their mother has a stillbirth aren't at increased risk for psychological problems, according to a British study.

Stillbirth can cause serious mental stress for parents, and some research had suggested that a child born after a stillbirth may be psychologically vulnerable, according to background information in a news release about the study.

The study included 52 first-time mothers whose previous pregnancy had ended in stillbirth and 51 first-time mothers who hadn't experienced stillbirth. The mothers were followed from pregnancy until their children were 6 to 8 years old.

The researchers found no significant differences between the two mother/child groups in terms of child cognitive or health assessments, or in teacher-rated child difficulties. However, mothers who had suffered a stillbirth were more critical of their children and reported more child difficulties, in particular problems with their peers.

"Whether this was because previous loss of a child renders some mothers more sensitive to aspects of their children's behavior that cause them concern, or whether there is real variation in the child's behavior is unclear," study lead author Dr. Penelope Turton of St. George's University of London, said in the news release.

The study was published July 8 in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

"We are continuing to follow this group of mothers and children and will follow up again once the children reach adolescence," Turton said.

"This type of study is very important in helping midwives, health visitors and doctors to provide psychological care for both parents after a stillbirth and in the next pregnancy; while the severity of grief usually diminishes over the first one to two years, some mothers continue to experience more intense or prolonged grief and we need to know what long-term effects this can have," she added.

More information
The March of Dimes has more about coping with pregnancy and newborn loss.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, news release, July 8, 2009


Good to know.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

#28 way to change the world

Hi, I just dedicated a page to my Aunt & Uncle, Jonette & Harold Boggs at LIVESTRONG Action.

This page is a part of the world's largest dedication book that LIVESTRONG Action will use to pressure world leaders to do more to fight cancer.

Can you add your name to my dedication page? It'll only take a second, it doesn't cost a dime, and you can help me reach my target of 25 dedications.

Please sign HERE.

Thanks!

#27 way to change the world

After taking a week off for the holiday, I had this all set and ready to go...and then I forgot to post it. oops!

I've been dealing with something relatively big lately and I'm ready to talk about it a little bit now.

Those of you who pay attention to my blogroll may have noticed I have added a bunch of "gluten free blogs." It's a not-too-interesting story how it all came about, but the gist is, I am now eating a gluten free diet because I think I may suffer from Celiac disease.

See...I've watched my mother struggle with "weird" symptoms all my life. It seems as though she's had one diagnosis after another, without any of them really "fitting."

And then things started to get weird for me. I started having strange symptoms just before I became pregnant with Myles that have continued to really bother me. My hair falls out by the handful...I can't concentrate on anything...I feel sick whenever I eat...I have pain in my joints...I am so anemic I couldn't give blood...I have repeatedly tested high white blood cell counts for no reason...I have this weird, non-spreading ITCHY rash on my right hand and inside my elbow on my left arm.

One day, I happened upon this post and I was compelled to read every word Shauna has written. She is an amazing writer and I <3 her blog. But more importantly as it relates to this story, her blog raised my curiosity about Celiac disease...gluten intolerance...heck...GLUTEN. I had some vague recollection of these words, but never really paid them any attention.

And then I read the list of symptoms. Pretty generalized list...could be just about any other illness. In fact, Celiac is often misdiagnosed as a host of other illnesses with similar symptoms. Something clicked into place when I read the symptom of "Skin disorders (dermatitis herpetiformis)." I Googled and...well...found myself staring back at me.

Yep...I initially thought it was poison ivy (I'm highly allergic and have pets that do go outdoors). Then when it didn't go away, I thought I was allergic to my crochet hooks and changed to "natural" hooks. But that still didn't seem to fix the problem. And the itch...I can not describe to you what this is like. I have never experienced an itch like this. Oh wait...yes, I have...and I have the blog entries to prove it (I won't bore you with the links). After reading through my archives, I noted that I've been getting the SAME rash in the SAME spot for the last THREE YEARS now...and I chalked it up to poison ivy each and every time. Three years running...SAME SPOT. I mean, really...do I need someone to club me upside the head with an obvious stick?

So now that I've self-diagnosed...maybe I should see a doctor, right? Well...not necessarily...

The current prevailing theory is that if you have DH, you have Celiac. Of course, the only way to definitively diagnose is with intestinal biopsy. You may be able to diagnose with skin biopsy near your rash area, but still...BIOPSY...a word I'm not such a big fan of in the theoretical sense (and I'm sure I would be even less of a fan of in actual practice). AND...the only way to treat Celiac is to eat gluten free. That's it. Something I could do on my own without having to be poked and prodded.

So...I tried it. And guess what? Yep. No more itchy. And I FEEL AMAZING!

I've now been mostly gluten free for about a month. The few times I've slipped (pizza is a big weakness for me), I have paid for it with an intensely itchy outbreak three days later. I've only recently sworn off even the occasional pizza after an encounter with Pizza Hut. Seriously thought I might have to cut my hand off in order to get some relief.

Here's the thing...it's not just that the itch is gone. My brain is clear and I can function again. Focus. Accomplish things I really want to accomplish. My whole life I have never had a good memory. People talk about memories they have from years back (at which I was reportedly present) and it was like I wasn't even there. There was a big blank. Heck, a lot of time, I couldn't even remember yesterday. Lately, I've blamed grief and/or possibly depression, but when I really think about it I have to admit that I've always been this way. Finding it could be due to something as simple as what I was eating...it was a relief and a serious blow all at the same time. You see...I love food. I love all types of food. How in the world was I going to do this forever if this was, in fact, my problem?

Thank goodness for the internet and a heightened awareness in our society of food induced reactions (autoimmune and allergic). It's actually been wonderful. Yes, it's somewhat difficult because I can't just absentmindedly grab something to eat anymore. But the results have been SOOOO worth it. And, like most things in life these days, there are blogs...and webpages...and people to talk to for support. This past weekend I found a support group for Erie, PA, and they told me that Boston's has a new gluten free pizza. So we took a little trip and it was pizza...REAL pizza...and it was good! And there is gluten free beer...and it's GOOD TOO!

I'm sure there will be commenters who question and/or criticize. Maybe it IS all in my head. But honestly, I don't care if it's all in my head because my itch is gone and I am so incredibly happy about it that I don't care that common sense seems to have left the building. Whatever. I'll take it.

So...my good cause for this week is The Celiac Disease Foundation. Why? Because their website has been an amazing source of information for me and I respect their work in raising awareness.

That's it. My current life "issue." Not the first...not the last (with any luck)...and not very exciting. My next entries will be crafty, I think...just for counterbalance on the 'interesting' meter.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Frugal Friday

I'm back to shopping some deals this week...just because there were some deals that were too good to pass up.

Rite Aid

Natural Instincts haircolor
Crest toothpaste
27ct Pampers
2 Sally Hansen Hard as Nails
Anti Monkey Butt Powder

$25.03 out of pocket
$6.75 saved
$13 in rebates coming

CVS

2 27-count Pampers

$5.57 out of pocket
$19.00 saved

Giant Eagle

Hot dog buns
Wheat free waffles
Cinnamon toast waffles
Seattle's Best coffee beans
Hot Dogs
Corn tortillas
Shredded cheddar
6 yoplait yogurt
2 Easy mac
Transformers M&M's
6 mentos gum

$30.19 out of pocket
$15.06 saved

Joann's

3 skeins Bernat Baby coordinates
Vogue Knitting: Crocheted Hats book
2 Butterick patterns
2+ yards Rose print fleece

$20.20 out of pocket
$36.25 saved

Kmart

Kotex tampons
Edge shave gel
Reach dental floss
3 Lysol cleaners
3 boxes ziploc bags
2 64-ct Huggies wipes
Box Pampers
Mighty Dog variety pack
Heinz ketchup
2 Easy mac
3 Chef Boyardee
11oz Folgers
2 100-ct boxes Splenda
2 Oscar Meyer bologna

$51.57 out of pocket
$34.43 saved

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Check out my new widget--->

If you've got some spare change, our Animal Protective League could use it!

The shelter was closed to the public for almost three weeks during the month of June due to a small outbreak of Parvo. During that time, we had zero dog adoptions...which means a full shelter and no money coming in. So even if you've got a dollar or two...we would gladly accept it. Just click on the little widget.

Because I know someone will ask...sadly, we lost two litters of puppies and one adult dog to the virus. But thankfully, we were able to bleach the heck out of the place and it didn't spread like if often does in shelters.

Now we just need to find some decent homes for (all of) our doggies.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dear crochet friends

Because I always like to share a good deal...

Interweave's Hurt Book Sale.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Everybody loves fashion

First, Myles "helped" me sew.
Then they both tried on shoes.
And finally, the dress that I can't wear for a zillion self-deprecating reasons. (Pay no mind to the hair...I've been sewing and have had no time to think about it.)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Official old age

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You know you're old when...

...you are excited about buying an adult sized padded toilet seat.

...you do a happy dance because you can get a baby sized padded toilet seat on clearance for two dollars.
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Much stitching and sewing going on this weekend...must get back to it (after some ice cream, I think). I hope to have pictures of a couple finished projects tomorrow evening (I know you can hardly stand the suspense, right?).
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Friday, July 03, 2009

Thank you Shinny!

The future of the old laptop is still in question. I hope it can be saved, because I had some GREAT shots from Cedar Point that I'd hate to lose.

The amazing Shinny came through with a few shots that I wanted to share so you wouldn't think I was making it all up in my head (I know you think I do that sometimes).

Myles after the poop incident. Yes, I was the mom walking her diaper-clad baby through the park after changing his poopy butt on a park bench. And yes, he walked around the rest of the day without pants. Don't judge me...it was Steve's fault.

Sam on a mini kids version of the Tower of Power.

Myles and me on the merry-go-round...Myles' first official ride.

Sam entertaining the crowds with his snoopy dance. There is video somewhere...but this raises that ugly question of how much embarassment is too much for the kid of a blogger.

Sam on a train ride...he's having fun...really.

Cheesy smiles all around...



Proof the boy was there too.



It was a lovely time and Steve's already thinking we need to invade Shinny's house so we can visit their amusement park (Six Flags?). I'm not sure I'm ready for an 8 hour drive with this crew. Maybe if he drives and I take tranquilizers it just might work.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Where I embarass everyone (without pictures)

It all started with my saying, "I need a serger," and Shinny offering to give me one. When I read that I thought, "Wow! She's crazy." Of course, a little crazy didn't stop me from then proceeding to make plans to meet up with her at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Hey...a serger is a serger...definitely worth risking the possibility of being hacked up into pieces.

So yeah...I met Shinny! And she is as awesome in person as she is in my magic computer world...actually...she's more awesome in person (and not just because she was willing to give me a serger).

It's always a balancing act when I take the family to these kinds of things. Sam's at the age where he doesn't quite want to go on the big kid rides and Myles isn't big enough to ride any rides. The Boy came with Shinny...with the express purpose of riding the big kid rides with my husband...how nice is that?!?! I hope he didn't think we were too lame (he's 15). Steve said, "The Boy isn't a man of many words." They apparently spent a good deal of time just staring at each other. lol! I do have proof that it was all an act though...

(insert goofy picture of The Boy here)

But thankfully, Shinny didn't mind entertaining Myles...A LOT...

(insert cute picture of Shinny and Myles)

And Sam was able to ride a bunch of little kid rides...

(insert cute pictures of Sam riding rides)

We did talk both Sam and Shiny onto a real "big" roller coaster...

(insert picture of Shinny, The Boy, Sam, and Steve on the Blue Streak roller coaster...Shinny is making a funny scared face)

Yeah...she looks terrified...but she survived...AND managed to not pee her pants...lol.

I came home to dogs out of their crates and my stash of "good yarn" tangled and tied up into a ginormous ball (apparently I need to be more specific with the petsitter as to how we manage our multi-dog household). No worries though...I am so stubborn that I have already invested several hours untangling and re-balling three of the skeins (I only had to resort to scissors once so far). Hopefully I can save it all...we shall see.

Drama from this trip includes leaving Myles' baby blanket at the Cedar Point hotel. Except, it isn't Myles' baby blanket...it's the baby blanket I crocheted for Sam before he was born. One of the last coherent conversations I had with my grandma Ruby was about that blanket. I remember sitting on the couch in her living room stitching and chatting about crochet and babies. So much has changed since then...I'm really overly emotional about that blanket right now. Lost & Found says they're looking for it...but I'm not going to hold my breath because the fact is I don't have that kind of good luck.

And of course, now the additional drama of what appears to be the slow death of the home computer. (You didn't think I PLANNED this post to be this boring did you?) I was being all efficient and uploaded from my camera...planning to do this post...and the computer has decided to need a computer doctor. Pictures are currently inaccessible. I'm hoping somebody can retrieve them but...as you know...I don't have that kind of good luck.