Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The More You Try to Explain, the Worse it Sounds

It's been a while since I mentioned anything about the local police log. It's been very much the usual stuff.

Today, however, brought this tidbit:

Friday, 10:45 PM

Caller reports playing with handcuffs, unable to remove from wrist. Officer assisted.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


There's a quote printed in today's (print) paper by a semi-local, very rude comic. It reads, "Men have three things in their heads at all times: sex, sandwiches, and blowing stuff up."

As I read it, I laughed. Then I read it aloud to my hubby.

Hubby: There's 33% of that quote that is debatable.

Me: You mean the 'sandwiches' part?

A (Minor) Conundrum

Baseball season starts tonight with M. C starts Saturday, as does S.

Also on Saturday morning, we start our annual Tball coffee sales efforts (for the walk for the hospital that treated C). When C emailed the Tball organizers a couple months ago, he asked if his sister S could be on a Tball team that always plays at the field at which we sell coffee. (There are four sites around town where games are held; the field at which we sell actually has three fields and thus a higher concentration of players and parents at any given time.)

We finally have S's Tball schedule - and her team plays at the desired field exactly once over the next seven weeks. Great.

Now, I know this is minor in the scheme of things. But it is a real pain in the patootie. Especially the weeks when my hubby is working weekends...I'd be dropping C and M at one field to sell while I go across town to watch S play at another field, etc., etc. I suppose it can work, but it's no where near ideal. And what about that simple request? Admittedly, I should have followed it up with a more formal request, but C's communications with these organizers had gone so well - they were so responsive to him, that I didn't think I needed to do more.

Anyway, I scoured the team lists and schedules for teams that do play at the desired field consistently. There are two of them. I've emailed the organizers about having S moved to a different team. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that 1) they will switch her, and 2) it will be to one of the two teams. The second of the two teams includes the son of one of the more virulent anti-school start time change people, one who has tried to stare me down in a meeting, and one who had to be asked to stop contacting a prominent sleep needs researcher because the researcher was feeling harassed. As much as I don't want to be driving all over creation on Saturday morning with coffee selling in one place and an actual game in the other, neither do I relish the thought of spending those Saturday mornings with this person.

It's always something.

UPDATE: The Tball organizers were kind enough to make the change and move S to a different team. The second of the two. I'll take it. I'll smile at this woman and cheer her child. There's a bigger reason I asked for the change, and I will focus on that.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Facts? We Don't Need No Stinking Facts!

I'd like to say this is the last time I will write on this whole sleep time issue. Let's be realistic, though: it's not. Comments about it will continue in some form or another, I am sure, for months to come. I may be on a transition committee.

Anyway, a woman I have been working with a little on this (I contributed some very simple research on civil twilight, sunrise and bus schedules to the cause proving that kids will not be going to school in the dark as the group opposed to the change likes to claim) told me a story about an email exchange between two school committee members. I laughed because I'd already heard the story from a school committee member. But I was still incredulous that it happened at all.

School committee member 1 is M. She is opposed to the time change. She is also in favor of increasing class sizes, cutting arts, against full-day kindergarten, for abstinence ONLY health education, and a few other things on the opposite side of me. Just being honest about that.

School committee member 2 is K. She is for the time change. She is in favor of maintaining class sizes, keeping the arts, led an effort to implement full-day K (which failed), for abstinence FIRST health education, and a few other things I like. Just being honest about that.

In the midst of this debate last month, K came across some research on the topic that she thought would be helpful for the discussions. It was survey data about a school district that implemented a similar change. K emailed the data to the other school committee members as part of the process of considering all data.

M emailed back that she didn't need any research from K. In fact, she didn't need any research at all, didn't want it, and didn't care what it said. She had made up her mind and no facts could sway her. She was voting her "conscience, " and that's all there was to it.

Mind you, M is a woman that the group opposed to the change is holding up as a paragon of the democratic process, the kind of thoughtful, considered, intelligent leadership we all need and will benefit from.

God help us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Did It

In the years that we have been giving mobiles to the PICU on the anniversary of C's illness, it's been my hubby that's done it. He's the one who has called H and J and L (our favorite pediatric critical care nurses) and taken in the mobile along with a card and a photo of A.

I've been back to the PICU twice. Once on May 23, 2003 (the day my dad died, as it happens), and once on September 15, 2003 to drop off some scarves I'd made for the nurses. After that September visit, I went to my first prenatal appointment with S and heard her heartbeat for the first time - but it took almost two hours to get my blood pressure to normal after the panic I felt walking through the PICU doors.

This year, we asked C if he wanted to deliver the mobile. He said sure. That he was open to it at all is a huge step. We planned to try it today, even though none of our favorite nurses were working at the time. It's school vacation week and we were planning to go into town anyway.

C backed off a little on wanting to go in today. I understand, but figured we needed to follow through, too. I just sensed this was a hurdle that needed to jumped. Just a little push. I reminded him that giving the mobile each year is less about him and more about the fabulous staff in the PICU and showing our appreciation. It's about brightening in a tiny way the days of the kids and families that are there and going through hard stuff. I also know how much it helps H and J and L to know there are kids on the other side of what they see every day - kids who are doing great. It helps them get through the awful stuff. (I hope we'll see them on the walk this year.)

So after a visit to the Aquarium, we went over to the hospital.

At the elevators, my heart raced when we pressed 6.

At the doors of the PICU, my husband called in, the doors opened and we stepped just a foot inside. I honestly don't know what I was feeling. I was near tears. My stomach was doing flip flops.

We were met by their current gatekeeper who barked at us about how the doors worked and how the kids had to be in the hall. She was just doing her job, I know - and her manner rather snapped me out of my anxiety - but goodness. All I can say about that. We sent the kids 2 feet away, but on the other side of the doors, and asked for the charge nurse. The gatekeeper seemed confused, looked at us like we were aliens and went to get her.

I looked around. It was the same, place of course. A little too familiar. Room 8, where C was for those weeks, was occupied, though a quick glance in that direction made it clear it was a fairly stable situation. Thank God. There were mobiles around.

The charge nurse came around the corner and I recognized her immediately. She was totally warm. She asked for C to come in, to see him. We talked briefly. She pointed out another of the docs that was there, one who worked on C during the code on that awful first day. I recognized a few others in passing. She said they love having pictures of the kids who have been through there and are now healthy and strong. She said they'd put this most recent picture in their conference room.

C played it cool. He played embarrassed. I'm pretty sure it was something else, but let it go. C hasn't been there since that May, 2003 visit.

The charge nurse wanted to see our other kids, too. She opened the doors and M and S were waiting. They smiled. S, of course, is totally clueless about what all this means. M's memory is cloudy.

We said once again how appreciative we are for the care C received there. I almost cried. C rolled his eyes at me. Then the charge nurse had to get back to work, and we had to get on our way to dinner.

It was an exchange, a scene that lasted all of five minutes, but it was momentous in a way. I didn't know if I could ever walk in there again, but I did.

I was especially proud of C walking in there. I wish he didn't think he always has to play that brave, cool dude. Maybe that will change someday. Meanwhile, I'm just glad we did it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Impressive, but Not in a Good Way

I had an email conversation with my college roommate this morning.

L and I were roommates sophomore year, about the time hubby and I started seeing each other, and hubby and I having met due to L and her then boyfriend, now hubby, R. We were good friends, though not BFFs or anything. After our roommate year, we actually didn't see much of each other junior or senior year as there'd been a falling out in the wider group (long story) and she happened to be closer at that time to the other side. Still after college, I was in her wedding, and she in mine. There were no lingering hard feelings or anything. But we haven't spent any time together - and communication has been intermittent - in the intervening years. This is probably only the fifth real exchange via email. Ever.

Our lives took different paths. She was the consummate military wife for many years, moving around a lot, and she and R delayed having kids. She has three, too, but her oldest is two years younger than my youngest, S. (She has a set of twins) She's very driven, career-wise, and now that R has retired from the military and flies planes commercially part-time, she's the main breadwinner. I gather she really likes that level of control.

We've been in a little more touch lately. Her hubby friended me on Facebook, then she did. While she's not as active on Facebook, her hubby's status updates are always amusing for their TMI tilt, especially when it comes to the number of poopy diapers he claims to have changed. Euw.

Anyway, a college reunion looms. She may or may not come up for it, but one tradition, the "record book," is being compiled now. It's a summary of what you've been doing for the last 5 years or more since last you were in contact with this particular group of overachievers friends and acquaintances. Our individual pages are due imminently, and I emailed my encouragement for her to participate. (I was the organizer of this particular project for one reunion, so have particular sympathy for the organizer's efforts.)

I noted in my email annoyance with one area of the record book: a place to note your college major and any graduate work or degrees you might have. When I saw that, I thought, "Who the fuck cares?" Ironically, our college magazine recently had a big article on alums who have chosen motherhood over careers outside the home, and how they felt they fit into the college tradition, relative feelings of acceptance by fellow alums, and so on. It was a very interesting and thought-provoking article. After that article, the record book page section focusing on just one type of achievement felt less than respectful, even thoughtless.

We had a few emails back and forth, and I ended up saying something about how my ideas of my children's success had changed dramatically since C was sick, and how such a fishing for "achievements" feels flat and false to me.

She managed to turn that comment into a several paragraph tirade about our new administration. It was so filled with hate - not to mention inaccuracies - that it really took me aback. I didn't even think we were talking politics (I've long been careful not to do that with her. We're different, I know it, and I try to respect it). It was the type of tirade that left no ability to respond because it was so out of left field and ludicrous.

So, it was impressive, but not in a good way. I'm glad I didn't bite back, but - sheesh - maybe it's best if she doesn't come to our reunion....

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Hubby was kind enough to let me sleep in a little this morning. After coming downstairs around 9 and getting some coffee, I was just sitting on the couch, trying to wake up when this exchange occurred.

M: Mom, are you tired?

Me: Yeah, I am still a bit tired.

M: Because you look really tired.

Me: Um...

M: You have dark bags under your eyes.

Me: Huh.

M: (Pulling his own cheeks downward) Yeah, they go down like this, really far. I don't think I can imitate it because my eyes just close when I pull on them like that.

Me: Um...

M: Anyway, you have really dark big bags under your eyes and you look really tired.

Me: Thanks, sweetie.

M: You're welcome. Can I use the computer?

Reason enough for me to go back to bed. I was never a morning person anyway.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trying to Keep Things Light

C came home from school today and said, "Hey, Mom! Happy Tax Day!"

And I said, "Hey, C! Happy day Dr. G cut out part of your lung!"

Then we both laughed.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Book Recommendation

A few months ago, hubby was looking for something to read to M.

(Hubby has been the boys' designated reader for years, reading to them really great stuff. Hobbit and LOTR trilogy by Tolkien, entire Swallows and Amazon series by Ransome, Iliad, Odyssey, Beowolf, Moby Dick and more. Seriously.)

Hubby has this set of books that was his maternal grandfather's. They were printed almost 100 years ago, I believe. After looking through those books, M and his dad picked one. They picked "Two Years Before the Mast." The pages were old and brittle and they had to be careful with the binding. They both loved the book, and finished it a couple or three weeks ago.

I had the privilege of listening in to some of the reading. It's totally fascinating. Sailing, California before it was what we perceive of as California, and so on. It was really great for young and old, and the two of them keep coming back to the book in conversation. Something will remind them of it and they are talking about it again.

So, a recommendation: Go read Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana. It's not always easy reading, but it's very worthwhile reading. You will be especially interested if you know California at all.

Go. Order it. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Series Finale

I was just watching the ER finale.

I used to watch it almost religiously. But after C was sick, I just couldn't. I was too familiar with what they were doing when they acted out intubating patients, chest compressions, placing chest tubes and various other procedures. It was at least three years before I could even watch a glimmer of the show - it's too realistic. This is actually the first time I've watched an entire episode since before C was sick. I didn't realize it was the series finale until I read it on the local news site.

The piece on the news site was in reference to a particular ER episode from the first year called, "Love's Labor Lost." If you ever watched the show, I know you remember it. But what the writer of the article wrote about it was very interesting:

"It wasn't the gore or even the reminder of how tenuous pregnancy can still be in this modern age. It was how writer Lance Gentile and director Mimi Leder had collaborated to cause the whole terrifying thing to creep up on me. To remind me that tragedy is not necessarily accompanied by a spray of bullet-shattered glass or a solemn diagnosis. Tragedy lurks in the corner of every decision, every bit of hurried advice; tragedy doesn't always occur, sometimes it just accumulates - until it fills the room and then empties it."

Like clockwork, now that C's birthday has happened, I have a short but intense lead up to the anniversary of his illness. It's on my mind constantly, and I question myself more intensely than at other times. C's crash was an accumulation of events, a perfect storm of sorts. Just one tiny different decision and it could all have gone so differently - in either direction. And so, more than at other times of the year, I agonize over decisions I should make on autopilot, almost becoming paralyzed by the enormity of everyday life.

If the pattern of the last few years holds, I have about a week of this to go. A very busy weekend will help me get through some of it; the need to finish planning games and such for S's 5th birthday part should help, too.

Still, it's an anxious time, hoping with my whole being that what is accumulating is not tragedy but triumph, and trying without any possibility of success to steel myself just in case it's not.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


As of today I am the mother of a teenager.

I don't even know where to start with that.