Sunday, November 8, 2009

Short and sweet

The only thing I feel like saying tonight is that I'm kind of tired of being overweight and out-of-shape.  Not sure what I'd like to do about it, though.  Change is difficult.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Entitlement and H.GTV

[I don't really feel like bloggin tonight, but I'm determined to write every day, so here goes.]

I've been watching a bit of H.GTV since we got cable last year.  My older daughter enjoys watching the channel and has sometimes turned to it when there wasn't anything good on the cartoon network.  She especially enjoys watching the house-hunting shows, where people are looking for their first place or just for their next home.  I enjoy those shows too....but only to a point.

If you want to see a prime example of crass American capitalism combined with flagrant examples of rampant feelings of entitlement, watch "House Hunters" some night on H.GTV.  After a while, if you have any empathy for the state of impoverished people around the world, you may not be able to watch another minute.

We've watched many an episode where couple after couple would be looking at a house, and they would be alright with the property until they (gasp!) realized that the house did not have (gasp!) a master bathroom.  Gasp!  Or, they would walk into what the realtor told them would be the "master bathroom", and proceed to whine that it wasn't big enough.....when, in reality, some family in Haiti probably conducts their entire life in a hut smaller than that "master bathroom".   Or some couple would walk into the kitchen of the house they were looking at, and would immediately decide that it needed a complete re-do, because (again, gasp!) the appliances weren't stainless steel.  I mean, really, people???  Since when did people in this country come to feel like a house wasn't acceptable unless it had a master bathroom/suite, for pete's sake?  When B. and I were looking for a house, we certainly had some "wants" on our list - a two-car garage, at least 1.5 bathrooms, and air-conditioning or at least the option to install it.  And we didn't care if there was a "master suite" - mostly we just wanted a house we could afford in a better school district than the one we were in at the time.  At the moment, when I shower, I have Dora bath toys staring at me, so obviously our bathroom on the first floor is shared with our kids.  And you know what, that is perfectly fine with me, because it means I'm probably not a pretentious snob with misplaced feelings of entitlement, stuck cleaning the "master bath" in a house that is more than we can afford.


Friday, November 6, 2009

One of the most challenging aspects....

about blogging every day, or just blogging in general, is that I never know if anyone else is reading this except me.

I will admit, I have been too chicken to e-mail all my friends/family/acquaintances and say 'hey, come read my blog', because quite frankly sometimes I may be writing a post and complaining about something, and someone may take it personally even though it wasn't meant that way.  So, for the time being, I don't exactly have a for-sure audience.  I won't say I'm hiding significant parts of my character from my friends/family/acquaintances, but there may be some surprises.  For instance, there is a post on here, from earlier this year, where I'm venting about feeling like a single parent because my husband is very often not home, and in the post I basically say that he begged off a church meeting by saying I was sick, so he couldn't go.  Well, I admit right away that while I was not actually physically ill at the time, I was pretty da%$ sick of being at home with the kids by myself all the time.  Now, some of my friends/acquaintances are people from church. Do I really want them to read that post?  I mean, it's not like I'm confessing to a crime, but still...

  I have to admit, it is a very good 'brain stretch' to consider, throughout the day, what I'm going to post about that day.  Various topics run through my mind, and forcing myself to write every day is definitely a good thing if I believe I have any writing skill at all.  B. sometimes (sort-of-jokingly) asks me when I'm going to write my bestseller!  I always reply, 'yeah, I don't think I exactly have time for that unless you watch the kids for 8 hours a day, and I'll treat writing like my job".  Hasn't happened yet.  But really, if I ever had any thought of writing seriously, it does take serious discipline, and this exercise is a good way of getting in the habit.

At the same time, am I really doing this for an audience?  I mean, it would be fantastic to "meet" other bloggers through this exercise, and I read various blog which have quite a following (yes, I'll admit, I'm a bit envious).  But those blogs have some really gripping story to tell.....a serious illness, a miracle baby, a baby's serious illness, the death of a baby....I don't have a really gripping story, or at least my experiences don't seem all that gripping by comparison.  Sigh.  See?  I'm doubtful that I have a bestseller in me...although, with fiction, it's very easy to come up with a really gripping story, so maybe it's possible yet.

Okay, there's my post for today.  Yay!  I've made it six days, that's a good thing!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grocery store dilemmas and questions....yeah, I'm there too much

Having to go to the grocery store sometimes 3 times a week has turned me into a pretty opinionated shopper.  I suppose that's true of anything people do often - if you're having to do it three times a week, you are going to have your likes, dislikes, and pet peeves.

For instance, why is it that sometimes when I go to the grocery store, there seem to be scads of people moving sloooooooooowly through the aisles, looking around like they've never been in a grocery story before?  I mean, perhaps they haven't been in that particular store before, but some days it just seems like everyone in the store is there for sight-seeing purposes, and not to actually accomplish anything.  Describing this to my husband one day, he suggested that perhaps there need to be "lanes" in the store, with the aisles wide enough for a slow lane down the middle, and the fast lanes right up close to the shelves on the right and left.  That way people who weren't sure of what they were buying, or where things are, could go down the middle as slowly as they wanted!

And then there's this situation:  You're going through the store shopping, and halfway through your regular 'route' (i.e. the path you almost always follow at the store you frequent most - produce, candy aisle for Hershe.y kisses, beverages, and so on, up and down each aisle) you run into someone you know.  Now, you're both about halfway through the store moving right to left, and inevitably you know you will meet up with this person one or two aisles over.  You've done the initial hello-ing and chatting a bit...and then you both continue with shopping. Now assuming you're both on the same 'route' more or less, what do you do the next time you run into this person?  Say hello again?  Make a joke about "fancy meeting you here" or "so nice to see you again" or "wow, it's been a while" (which works the first time, but after that it gets old quick)?  Avoid making eye contact completely, which still feels odd since you just had a chat in the soup cans 3 aisles back?  Or, do you completely reverse your route, and instead of going down the pasta aisle, you go directly to the far left side of the store to get Klee.nex, hoping that will shake up the pattern?

Such a quandary.  I for one am generally thankful when I can get through my shopping without having to deal with this dilemma!

Another question:  why is it that ground meat is never packaged in exactly a one-pound quantity?  It's always 1.25 lbs, or 1.34 lbs......when so often, whatever recipe I'm following (although this happens even with H.amburger H.elper) only calls for 1 pound.  Maybe because the meat always cooks down when it's actually used?  Any grocery store butchers out there with an answer to this?

And does anyone else...well, other women, I guess...sometimes avoid going to the checkout lines with the teenage boys as cashiers, because somehow it is embarassing to have him run your pads through the scanner?

And why is it that the coupons that get printed out at the register, and handed to you with your receipt, are never for stuff you actually use/just bought???

See, can't you tell I spend FAR too much time at the grocery story?  :-)


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

10 Thoughts of Thanks

Since Thanksgiving is coming soon, I have been thinking about what I am thankful for.  I am, of course, thankful for much more than what is on this list, but this is a start!
[a slight edit: I'm not sure if this was originally posted on a Thursday, but I decided it fit into the "Thankful Thursday" that's where it is!]
1.  I'm thankful for my husband, who is a really good person, smart, and a very hard worker.  He doesn't always like his job, but he goes and does what he has to do, and thus far we've been able to manage without me working consistently.  (I'm thankful for that too!)

2. I'm thankful for my two beautiful, smart, funny daughters.

3. I'm thankful that, thus far, the presence of Prader-Willi Syndrome in S's life and our lives has not been too difficult to deal with.

4. I am extremely thankful that we can still afford our house payment, which leads to the next item...

5. I'm thankful that we have really great neighbors, who have become friends.

6. I'm extremely thankful that my mom's car accident a few weeks ago did not give her more serious injuries.

7. I'm thankful that the ice-cream I'm eating right now is helping my ear not hurt as much. (I would not normally be eating ice cream at 11:30 at night, but wow, am I tired of this ear-ache.  I'm ready to do whatever for some relief!)

8. I'm thankful for my in-laws...they are awesome people.

9.  I'm thankful for my health.

10.  I'm thankful that, long ago, I learned how to read.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My own eating habits? ummmmm....

In my post from yesterday I did a little ranting about food issues, specifically about parents who dislike the fact that our gradeschool has a new policy about providing healthy snacks/treats for birthdays and holiday parties.

But, can I just say, that my own eating habits have gone down the toilet since I've had kids??  And that they've probably gotten worse since the entrance of Prader-Willi Syndrome into our lives?

So really, I probably shouldn't be very judgemental of these other parents who are upset that they can't provide junkfood for their child's classroom, because God knows I make poor eating choices for myself all day long.  Especially after my kids are in bed, because then I can eat whatever I choose without feeling guilty, or having to 'hide' it from S.    That has been a consequence of the PWS diagnosis:  it has definitely influenced what foods I feel I am entitled to eat, since I feel I sort of  'deprive myself' all day long for S's sake.  It's complicated, and of course I may very well have gotten to this point even without having to adjust to PWS. 

I guess when it comes to this subject of what kinds of snacks or treats our kids eat at school, in the context of school parties especially, I am perfectly okay with a school district saying "enough already" and placing some guidelines about what parents can provide.  I've been in K's classroom enough times, and seen what kinds of food they are given to eat (quickly) before getting ready to go home, to dread these scenarios for S.
Because what am I supposed to suggest as alternatives for her, when these situations come up next year?  Keep her out of school that day?  Find some way for her to not be in the classroom for the eating part of the day?  Pick her up early, and make it obvious to her and everyone else that she's missing part of the activities? This is the very, very fine line that PWS parents have to walk:  to what extent do you allow the syndrome to influence the mainstreaming of your child's education?  I want S to have an educational experience that puts her with the other students as much as possible - but not if that puts her in an unsafe situation, where she eats foods that cause her to gain two pounds in one day.  And not if being around that kind of junkfood causes her so much anxiety that the day isn't fun for her anyway.  Last Friday in her classroom, they did do some Halloween-type things, and she wore her costume to school (I have to try and convince her to pick a non-dress costume next year - I was having waves of anxiety, thinking about her going up and down the stairs with that thing on!).  But just the change in the regular routine was enough to unsettle her, and I could tell she was out of sorts when I met up with her after the little costume parade they had.  I'm glad she is able to participate in these kinds of situations...but that's now, when the "Extreme Junkfood" school parties haven't even started yet.

As for me and my poor eating habits...tonight I've had ice cream, and now I will have to exert some extreme self-control to keep out of the Halloween candy.  S. does still go trick-or-treating, only because a)she's cognitively able to want to participate in the whole thing, and b) she generally forgets about all the candy once I've put it out of sight.  I, however, need to stay out of the candy...eating this late in the day is especially bad!


Monday, November 2, 2009

School Parties without the junkfood??? No way!

Our school district here has, starting with the 2009-2010 school year, instituted a healthy-food policy regarding the treats brought in for birthdays and school parties (Halloween, Holiday, Valentine's Day, etc.).  There's probably an actual title for this policy, but I can't recall it at the moment. 

You would think someone had demanded that parents supply only brussels sprouts for parties, the way they have reacted to this policy.  I happened to be in my older daughter's classroom on Friday, helping out with their Halloween party, and the other moms and I got to talking about this new policy.  Their general feeling was that they were not in favor of it, and not only did they express some general disappointment at the "healthy" snacks (bagged popcorn, pretzels - hardly brussels sprouts) that had been provided, one room mom even chose to go against the policy and bring in chocolate cupcakes with the requisite gooey frosting.  I brought in some juice boxes (which, in my opinion, are probably of less nutritional value than the home-made cupcakes!).

Now, let me explain where I am coming from with my take on this new policy.  Over the past 5+ years, since Sophie's diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome, my feelings towards food in general - any food, not just junkfood - have changed.  I have never spent so much time thinking about food, and the calories in various types/quantities of food, than I have in the last five years.  The PWS diagnosis demands that B. and I, as S's caregivers, pay strict attention to every calorie of every bite of food/drink of anything that goes in her mouth, right down to the T.ums she takes with every meal.  Granted, this puts us as parents into the "extreme" end of vigilance about what our kids eat.  On my part, I grew up in a lower-middle-class, large family - the youngest in a family of 10 children with Depression-era parents who, because of necessity and their own backgrounds, were not able or willing to feed us with mountains of junkfood.  We didn't ever drink pop.  All of our dinners were home-made, and if we had sweets it was home-made cookies.  We almost never went out to eat.  So, when I had my own children, I too was not (and still am not) into buying lots of pop/junkfood/candy/chips etc.  Not that we never have those things - they just aren't considered the main food group in our house.  As a matter of fact, I personally have grown rather tired of the whole concept of food in general, both because of PWS and because I am quite tired of spending so much of my time either shopping for food, or cooking it, or cleaning up after the eating of it!!  I often have the thought that maybe someday, humans will evolve to the point where we just drink protein shakes all day, or take some kind of Super-Vitamin-Pill, and that's our nutrition for the day.  Think how much time, and perhaps money, we would save.  The act of sustaining human life would become simply a 10-second-routine, a brief moment a few times a day, emptied of all of its emotional and psychological baggage.  Hard to stand in front of a frig eating half of a chocolate cake, when there is no frig, and no need for a chocolate cake.

Yeah, I know.  Sounds like a sci-fi novel.  And even I would miss the pleasure of having a piece of a good chocolate cake with ganache icing on it!

But anyway, I guess my point is that PWS has shown me how to place MUCH less importance on food.  In our house, food is absolutely never used as a reward.  Never.  We just can't do things this way, not with S. and also not with K.  The thing is, I don't think K or S will suffer at all, or have a miserable childhood, as a result!  I was never big into the food-as-a-reward thing even before S. came along - I'd rather buy my kids a book or a new box of crayons, anyway.  It doesn't bother me one bit that my kids hopefully won't be stuffing themselves with junk at school parties, or coming home with a bag full of candy because it was someone's birthday.  In talking with those moms on Friday, they commented that part of their dislike of this new policy is that it's a bit hypocritical on the school district's part, given that the lunches served in the cafeteria every day are not healthy at all.  In that case, I say, pack your child's lunch.  Don't even give your child the option to use their lunch-money-account to buy ice-cream sandwhiches!  Yes it's a chore to pack lunches, but then the parent has control over what their child is eating.  K. takes the same thing for lunch every day, and she's fine with it, and there really isn't any question in my mind as to what she's having for lunch.  As far as the party in classroom on Friday, well, I didn't hear ANY of the kids complaining about the pretzels, or the popcorn, or the jello jigglers!!  I heard more complaining from the parents!  Personally I think the kids are just excited that they get to wear their costumes and do something different with their afternoon at school....and aren't they going to go trick-or-treating and collect bags of candy anyway???



Sunday, November 1, 2009


Huh, what the heck is that title??  Well, it stands for National Blog Posting Month, and the idea is to do a post on your blog every day for 30 days. 
I saw this on a blog that I read occasionally, and thought I would try this....again.  I actually have tried this before, either on this blog or a previous one.  I very much enjoy blogs, for whatever reason...maybe as a way of connecting with people, learning about the world beyond my front door and quiet street.  I'm not sure if I've ever done a post that just serves to explain a bit about Who I Am, so here goes:
I'm in my 30's.  I have two daughters, and I've been married to B. for almost 14 years (thinking about going to The Melting Pot again for our anniversary....yum.).  We live in Ohio, which I find to be a pretty great place to live even though most humans always seem to want to live someplace bigger, hipper, warmer, on and on.  I have a college degree which, I have to say honestly, I'm not sure I'm getting much use out of by being a sort-of-SAHM.  I used to have a regular job in the library system here, and left there as a concession to B.'s 70-hour-a-week job with Tar.get, beginning in 2007.  Reading is probably my favorite thing to do, with knitting/crocheting as a close second - although I can't say I've ever actually followed a pattern!
As you can see from the post just previous to this one, our younger daughter was born with a rare genetic syndrome called Prader-Willi Syndrome (first word pronounced PRAH-dur or PRAY-der).  PWS has certainly changed me over the past 5+ years...adjusting to the syndrome, and learning how to live sanely with it and help S. to the best of my ability, has been challenging.  For that matter, being a parent has been challenging!  I have had to deal on a daily basis with this realization about myself:  I'm just not at my best having people (i.e. my kids!) aroud me ALL DAY, asking me questions about every move I make, and just questions in general.  Whoever I was before I had kids, is definitely not who I am now, as a result of my brain having become more than a little fried just trying to get through the day!

One last detail, for now:  If you read any of my other posts, you may find that a)I'm a bit opinionated, b) I like to challenge my brain, and c) I find it a bit hard to take that in our society, women are generally the ones who suffer the most, intellectually and financially, in the process of having children.

Here's to NaBloPoMo!