Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Did They Expect?

It's been less than 24 hours since our president announced his nominee for the United States Supreme Court. I knew she'd be subject to attacks, often ridiculous ones - and they have only just begun. God bless anyone for being willing to step into that spotlight.

What is more incredulous to me is right wing supposedly "horrified" that this woman has left-leaning tendencies. Just what did they expect? That our president was going to vet his choice with someone like this or this? I mean, really.

I never expected our previous president to do anything but look at people from his side of the political spectrum, even as I was pretty horrified over those he did choose. Just being realistic there. For the right wing to somehow think they were going to see a conservative nominee is sheer idiocy.

Then for someone to say she's, "not that intelligent." What the fuck? I know this guy and my favorite left leaning political pundit have something of a respect for one another given their banter on her show, but I hope she takes him to serious task for this. Then pounds him into the ground. For good.

Next up, this astoundingly easy target. Over on a FB group someone wondered in a comment when he would shut up already. Someone else replied, "When he overdoses on Vicodin." Can we please get him a new dealer and put us all out of our misery?

I read a piece on a couple of the sitting justices recently. While it noted that one justice in particular hadn't said anything from the bench for years, it noted the regular sound bites from another justice. It recounted a particular speaking engagement, and in this case, comments about how one becomes a law clerk at the Supreme Court. The gist was that one had to go to the H law school, and others weren't considered because the really smart ones go to H and that's all there was to it. How entirely elitist and dismissive of the traditional "American dream."

That got me thinking about my dad's favorite justice - NOT an H graduate, or a Y, or a C, or any of the biggies - but someone who ascended to the highest level of the judiciary nonetheless. If he were working his way though in this day and age, he likely would have been pushed back even harder because he didn't have the narrow educational background someone like the guy mentioned above would have wanted. (I also think Dad would have been horrified by how the current chief was elevated after the death of the former chief. It should have gone to someone already on the court. Though I wouldn't have relished the idea of that windbag I mentioned above being elevated to chief, or a couple others, I feel that way, too.)

At any rate, I think the current right-wing establishment is totally threatened by the nominee. An unabashedly smart woman who worked her way up from the bottom...even getting that Y degree (and that P one isn't shabby, either, especially at a time when schools like Y and P were still getting used to women among them women who were there were multiple times smarter than the men around them). So instead of saying anything of value, they attack her for being "not that smart" or "liberal" (some ratings have called her moderate).

When justices are nominated, I think about my dad. While my dad was very conservative, he also would have had some serious respect for what the nominee has done with her life. She is not from privilege, nor was my father. While, as a conservative, my father would have, of course, preferred a different outcome for our recent presidential election, and resulting nomination from the right, but I also think he would have been annoyed with the ridiculous and unfounded commentary we're hearing right now. It demeans the entire process and further promotes partisan bickering. It's not helpful to anyone.

I believe the nominee will persevere. I believe she is a smart choice. I believe she will go one to be a very good justice. I think there are a couple other justices waiting to see how this whole thing plays out before they consider leaving. (I think our president will have at least one other opportunity to nominate a justice, possibly two or three. )

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Life Just Keeps Happening

I started out by writing, "It's been quite a couple of days." But that was almost a week ago. Unlike Panthiest Mom, I really haven't lost any days. I've experienced all of them quite fully. It's just that I am exhausted, and the summer is just starting.

First the funny stuff. This seems totally incongruous to me. This totally homophobic organization...has a cake decorating patch.

Last Wednesday about 1PM, hubby's cousin called. His voice had that tone of urgency in his voice so that when he said he needed to get in touch withy my hubb, that his son had just been admitted to the hospital, I didn't stop to ask why. I just gave him instructions on how to reach Hubby the fastest way possible.

It was several hours before I heard more. To shorten the story significantly, O's (the cousin) son, G, had been having headaches off and on for three weeks or so. It was attriubted to being "post-viral." Then in the couple days before this, some nausea and vomiting had begun. J, O's wife, brought him to the hospital, determined to get a diganosis. The doc decided on an MRI and admit afterward to figure it all out. G was sedated for the MRI.

THe MRI showed a tumor on G's cerebellum. They didn't even wake him up from the MRI sedation; he went straight to the OR in the care of the top neurosurgeon at the hospital. On their way in to the OR, they were pretty sure they knew what kind of tumor it was.

After a long evening - Hubby stayed with them until G was out of surgery and settled somewhat - the sugeon reported a very sucessful procedure and G was admitted to the PICU for recovery. The same PICU where my C was for those weeks in 2003. The surgeon said the tumor was as expected, though they still need to wait on pathology, and an MRI the next day would check to be sure everything was out.

I went to go see G (and J) the next morning at the PICU. He looked great. Really great. J, of course, was tired. G had a drain in and they were watching pressures. Everything looked really positive.

(It was hard to go into the PICU - still - and even for a reason totally separate from my own child. I saw some of our A team of nurses, the "How can we?" team: J and H and L. We talked for a bit. They asked after C, of course, and I told them about the couple lingering issues he has: fire alarms and needles. The fire alarm issue was of particular interest, and J thinks it might help some other parents of longer term patients to know about it. G's nurse was not someone we knew from our time there, but she knew who I was because of the mobiles and because we make sure we send the PICU an updated photo yearly with the mobile - she specifically thanked me for that, said it helps them tremendously to know that the kids they care for in such precarious circumstances go on to live full and healthy lives. G had had one of our nurses overnight, and it was sweet to compare notes with G's mom. It also turns out that when word had come the previous day that a child would be coming from neurosurgery that night, there were two rooms available, #2 and #8, and they had to pick one to set up. Then they heard it was C's cousin, and they chose #2. #8 was C's room. They still remember that, and even for them it would be too weird for cousins to have the same PICU room.)

By Thursday night, G had had a "phenomenal" day according to the nurses. The follow up MRI confirmed all the tumor was gone. G even had Thai food for dinner. Hubby was checking in on them several times a day. On Friday the pathology report came back as expected - no chemo or radiation required, and it's not likely to recur. By Friday night, the drain was being removed and he was transferred to the regular floor.

We wanted to visit G on Sunday as we were going to be near the hospital anyway. But we couldn't - because he had been discharged!

We are just so thankful for this outcome. It's made our annual walk for the hospital even more meaningful - didn't think it could mean more, but it does.

Meanwhile at home...

...on Wednesday evening, while waiting for word, M had a baseball game for which C was umpire. After getting home, I made a quick dinner as it was late. Boring pasta with red sauce with fresh grated Romano on top. After eating, I needed to get S up to bed, and asked the boys to please clear the table and get things put away. I heard them bickering as I went upstairs but opted to ignore it. When I got back down stairs an hour or so later, things did appear neat and tidy.

Fast forward to Thursday. I'm naking spaghetti carbonnara. The bacon is cooked, the egg is ready, the pasta is almost ready, and I go to get the cheese. That nice new hunk of Romano we'd grated on dinner the night before. No cheese. Anywhere. I scour the fridge.

I ask the boys. They each claim the other was supposed to have put it away. I find the wrapper in the dog's crate.

The bickering has crossed the line. It's not just the two of them anymore - their bickering affected the rest of the family's ability to have dinner! I was livid.

I sent them to bed without dinner. I did.

It't not like they were starving or anything. I'm not evil - not most of the time anyway. They'd been snacking on some chips and salsa and guacamole before dinner. I just needed them to feel some real consequences - especially since taking away the standard privileges just hasn't been working lately.

M was particularly remorseful. C is 13 - which means he's too cool to let me know what he's thinking. But I think they both got the message. And I had big breakfasts for them the next day.

And that's the big stuff from the last week or so. The weekend was very full - a fundraising party at the school where the boys sail (I admit I had a little more wine than usual - something of a release after the intensity of the previous few days - and I paid for that all Saturday), Tball, coffee selling for the walk for the hospital, baseball, soccer, more baseball, a birthday party (at which we were all exposed to strep, I have just learned), Cub Scout activities, Memorial Day parade and remembrances, the anniversary of my father's passing, lots of yard work, and more baseball.

No wonder it's the work week and I need a nap!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Aside from the usual "suspicious car" entries, the most recent police log included these items:

Saturday, May 8

2:43AM 911 caller reports possible bonfire. Fire department reports just light reflection off pond.

Tuesday, May 12

6:22PM Caller on A_____ Avenue reports four cows in the road. Animal control officer notified.

Wednesday, May 13

7:16PM Caller from C_______ Street reports two fishermen in the way of a swan crossing the road. Officer spoke to fishermen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thoughts I'd Tweet - If I Twittered

"Possible fill-in sitter, you are fired even before you started. Please learn basic communication skills."

"Surgical shoe covers over stiletto sandals. In the building cafeteria. It's a look."

"Self-righteous pronouncements about your 'research' to people who are actual experts in the field make you look like an idiot. FYI."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pushed Away

When I was young - 10 or 11 - my mother told me I was an accident. Not unplanned, not a surprise. "Accident" was the word she used. While I was not surprised by this revelation as she hadn't shown much interest in me, really, it was hurtful.

My relationship with my mother is complex and often like walking on egg shells. We are not close. I never know what is going to set her off. A few times over the years she has expressed an interest in having a closer relationship, and I've tried to do that, but there's been no follow through on her end. Times I've tried to reach out have been wholly ignored.

I have many stories about her. Among the many tidbits:

She questioned whether hubby and I should have a wedding (because we'd lived together - this from the woman who had an affair, divorced my dad and married the guy in a wedding, albeit small), showed no interest in or offered any support - emotional or otherwise - for the wedding, then threw a fit that her name wasn't on the invitation.

She doesn't show much interest in my kids - except to complain that none of the kids were named after her side of the family (neither I nor my siblings have any family names, mind you). She sends a card and all for their birthdays, but no real interest. No calls. I do my best to shield the kids from her disinterest; I make excuses for her not calling, etc.

For years she never acknowledged my birthday, and when she did, she'd get the day wrong.

Through all this, she is still my mother. I am concerned about her. She's getting older. I try to talk to her a couple times a month.

I've been trying to reach my mom for about a week now. Mother's Day and all. No answer, no call back.

Turns out my mother had knee replacement surgery last week. It was her 2nd one. She did this not telling thing last time, too, and two years ago when she had back surgery that was an absolutely disaster.

You might want to say, oh, she's a private person. Thing is most of the rest of the world knows. My sister knew prior to surgery, but was away when it actually happened. My brother learned about it the night before. My cousins knew long since, as did her brother and sister-in-law. Her cousin, H, to whom I was closer when we lived down south knew. Friends. There apparently is a stack of get well cards waiting for her.

But tell her daughter? Nope.

I can only conclude that if she doesn't want to communicate the basics with me that I just need to get it through my thick skull that she doesn't want me in her life. She never did.

Monday, May 11, 2009

No More Flip-flops in the Garden

Mother's Day was a fairly uneventful day. My teenager was in classic teenage form - grumpy from the get-go. M still very swollen from his surgery and slightly subdued, wanted to be close to me most of the day and tried his best to make my day nice. S was alternately lovey and crabby. Who knows why. Hubby was working.

I didn't expect much from the day, really. It was beautiful outside and I thought of maybe going to pick out some flowers at the garden center and planting them with the kids. M and I went outside and brainstormed what we might put where.

On my way back into the house, I saw it. Slithering along the foundation at the front of the house and right into the gap under the steps to the front door. Slate gray. About 18 inches long.

I know there are snakes in the area. There are plenty of woods around us. I understand the roles that garter snakes play in the garden and yard. But I don't like them. Not one little bit. Still I thought I could deal with them. Nuh-uh.

I screamed.

Then I backed away quickly from the house and went around and into the house from the back door. I was a little rattled. No, a lot rattled. I do not like slithery things like that. Period. It's one of the reasons Ireland and New Zealand are so attractive to me - no native snakes!

My first thought was that we need to step up our chipmunk reduction efforts (fewer rodents for food = fewer snakes). I put out some butter to soften for that (as previous experiments have shown us that homemade chocolate chip cookies are the best way to lure chipmunks into Havahart traps - more than a dozen over the last few years). Then, shaking a little, I went to the internet to try to figure out exactly what kind of snake it was. To make sure it wasn't poisonous. And for ideas on how to get rid of it.

I think it was a ringneck snake, though I didn't see the yellow ring on the head. I was NOT pleased to see that this type of snake is sometimes found in basements. And that it's food is salamanders. I don't know where it would find a salamander here because we made an effort to get rid of all the salamander habitat (rotting landscaping timbers) a few years ago. Guess the trapping and removal of chipmunks won't help this situation - but I think I'll do it anyway as I don't want any other kind of snake showing up.

At any rate, I am totally spooked about walking out the front door. I recognize that this is ridiculous. I do. I'm going to have to get over it somehow. But until then, I will not be walking around the front yard in flip-flops. I am going to get myself a very nice pair of gardening boots and wear those when I am in the yard. Shorts, tshirt, hat, sunscreen, and tall rubber gardening boots.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Wondering What To Do

After falling into bed mentally and physically exhausted - both M and me! - I woke up this morning rather pissed off. As much as I think the surgeon is a good technician, We were not properly informed of what the aftermath/recovery from M's surgery would be or could be. Had I known this, I would have fought the insurance company tooth and nail to have had the procedure done in the OR. The main anesthesia used in the clinic procedure room is not the same as what they use in the OR, and some quick Web searching suggests it was the specific anesthesia that has this effect in pediatric patients.

When my hubby arrived home later last night, we talked about it. He'd never seen anything like that emergence from anesthesia - and he's a physician! He was and is upset about it, too - obviously. We don't quite know what we are going to do, but I feel like we have to do something. I hate to think of other parents going through this.

M is more swollen today and uncomfortable. Some bruising is developing under his eyes and down his cheeks along the nose. Maybe all that would have happened anyway, but I just didn't know! That said, my friend the dental hygienist is horrified by how he looks and by the anesthesia stuff. The doc did say the third day probably would be the worst in terms of swelling. That's tomorrow. Oh, goodness.

Friday, May 08, 2009


"He might be a little disoriented or agitated upon emerging from anesthesia," she said, "It won't last very long."

M had that extra tooth removed this morning. After a fight with insurance over how much anesthesia they would cover, it was done in one of the clinic procedure rooms rather than the OR.

The procedure itself went fine, and we have the extra tooth with us now. It's a little thing, smaller than a baby tooth, but had a fully formed root, etc.

It was the couple of hours after the procedure that have left me rather traumatized.

M wasn't just a little agitated or disoriented upon emerging from anesthesia. He was thrashing and moaning and crying and kicking and wailing. He pulled out his IV. They managed to get another one in to give him a sedative, but even with the sedative, he was thrashing and crying for about an hour after we came in to the recovery room.

I think I really lost it when, at one point, M wailed, "I can't do this anymore. I'm not going to do this anymore." I had an instant flashback to the first awful overnight in the PICU with C, before he crashed and coded, when we were trying to get him to use the pressurized mask to get better oxygen saturation. C said exactly the same thing - exactly - as he threw the mask off his face; his body was getting so tired at that point and we knew things were getting very critical.

We were practically laying on top of M to keep him safe - not hitting his head on the wall, not pulling out his 2nd IV, things like that. It was physically challenging beyond the emotional challenge of seeing your baby going through something like that.

For the most part, the team was good. One of the residents was trying to hang out with us, but finally my husband said, "I'm not comfortable with this, with what is going on. I want an attending here." The resident left in a huff, the attending arrived, and as much as I like our surgeon, I felt like I never had the whole story of what the process could be.

Finally, finally, he started to settle down. He made us promise he's never have to go through this again. We were happy to do so - we never want to do anything like this again, either. We got him ice chips and water. He didn't want the popsicle we tried.

After a couple hours, we were ready to leave. M was wobbly, but wanted to walk. There are lots of blood stains in his clothes, my clothes, my husband's clothes. C and S have been sports, mostly, but S is a little scared of how M looks.

As we were leaving, I saw that resident (the one we asked to get the attending) in the hall. He looked straight at me, then turned away without acknowledging us. Asshole. You are a RESIDENT. You are in TRAINING. Someday, a parent will ask for an attending, and that attending will be you, but for now, don't take everything so fucking personally. Meanwhile, LEARN! And learn how to work with patients - and patient's parents - instead of being an asshole and walking out of a recovery room in a huff.

M is swollen and uncomfortable. He has trouble swallowing. The stitches behind his front teeth are annoying and bothersome, he says. I took him for ice cream (or local seasonal shop opened today). He ate it very slowly. I took him into the toy store next to the ice cream shop and asked if there was anything he wanted. He looked around a bit, but said no. Man.

Now we are on to laying low and soft foods. I feel emotionally wrung out. M is doing okay.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Quick! Stop Them Before They Have Fun!

While not quite as good as last week's entry, I did laugh at this in this week's police log:


12:27 p.m. Car loads of youth reported in area of beach.


wakeupandsmellthecoffee tagged me yesterday.

1. What are your current obsessions?
The daily sudoku puzzle. I used to be obsessive about knitting. Given the amount of yarn I have around, I *need* to become obsessive about it again.

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
Definitely jeans, one pair in particular. Close after that is a hoodie my hubby gave me for Christmas.

3. Last dream you had?
I remember having some dreams last night, but I don't remember a thing about them. Funniest/saddest dream I had in recent memory was a dream about sleeping. Seriously,

4. Last thing you bought?
A couple books for the boys. One is the last in a series M loves, and a Michael Crichton book for C.

5. What are you listening to?
When I started responding to this yesterday, it was, "The click-clack of computer keyboarding. I'm at the office taking a break from wiki markup language." But now it's Arthur. S is watching while snuggling and having her loved vanilla milk.

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?
No idea.

7. Favourite holiday spots?
Thousand Islands was pretty great, but Hawaii and Ireland top the list tight now.

8. Reading right now?
I'm part way through several books. Plenty, Groundswell, and And Now You Can Go.

9. Four words to describe yourself.
These days I'd say: Feisty, anxious, impatient, overwhelmed.

10. Guilty pleasure?
Many, thanks.

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
My daughter.

12. Favourite spring thing to do?
Gardening and planning for summer beach-related activities.

13. Planning to travel to next?
As we haven't begun to think about summer vacation, the only for sure bit in our plans is a trip to Philly for a wedding. Reminds me that I need to get our hotel set for that.

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Burnt Caramel ice cream.

15. When did you last get tipsy?
Over the weekend, feeling stressed about M's upcoming surgery - which now may or may not happen due to insurance glitches.

16. Favourite ever film?
There are so many, really. But probably "Diva."

17. Care to share some wisdom?
The words of my father that infuriated me for decades: This too shall pass. Dang it, I hate it when he's right.

18. Song you can't get out of your head?
Thanks to a reminder by someone recently, "Arc of a Diver," by Steve Winwood.

19. Thing you are looking forward to?
The first real beach day of the summer.

20. If money were no object, where would you choose to live?
Coastal waterfront somewhere.

I'm supposed to tag others....hmm....if you are reading and haven't done this, consider yourself tagged!