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Archive for family

long time, and all that

Daily Drop Cap is the latest cool thing I’ve seen, and I’ll probably use them often. Maybe it’ll get me to post more often.

A few things that have happened:

  • Moon is off to college. I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would. She’s doing beautifully and we’re super proud of her.
  • Peter has become rather awesome to be around. I don’t like to say too much about my kids because of their privacy and blah blah blah, but I figure that’s pretty much says it.
  • Ludwig has one less eye than he had when we adopted him. Exactly two weeks ago, I was taking him for his evening walk, and he stopped to pee at a wooden fence. (Privacy fence, not enclosed fence.) There were three barking dogs behind it, but I was used to them barking pretty much every day, and I noted that they were chained up. Two were small dogs, one was a rottweiler. Well, the rottweiler ran up to the fence, stuck her snout underneath and grabbed Ludwig’s face. She tried to pull him under, but the clearing under the fence was only about 4-5″ or so. Long story short, she pulled his eye partially out of the socket and it ruptured.
  • The resulting surgery was $1,520. Ludwig is doing very well and is still his sweet self. We humans are a bit more traumatized. And we walk on the other side of the street now. The rottie’s owner is not willing to pay any of the costs because she’s been told she has no legal responsibility to do so. That’s another story, but life goes on.
  • I have a crappy cold, but I’m still glad sweater weather has arrived in Wisconsin.
  • Natural thyroid medicine has become very difficult to procure. I’ve been off it for a month or so, but my chiropractor gave me a supplement that includes some thyroid in it.
  • My in-laws are in Europe. Someday when I travel I’m going to be one of those crazy dog ladies who brings her pomeranian into the cabin with her.

one crazy summer

Tomorrow is registration day at the high school. I can hardly believe it’s already time for that. Peter is going to be a sophomore, and it won’t be long before he’s old enough to get his learner’s permit. (I’ve mentioned that his half birthday takes place right around when progress reports arrive. Awesome! More incentive to get a good start this year, am I right?)

And in two weeks, we’ll be back home after moving Moon into her dorm room at U of M. I’m sure we’ll be in tears during the drive home, but oddly enough I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago. Probably because it’s all happening, instead of me stressing and guessing about what might be going on in the kinda-distant future. I know she’s going to be fine. I think I ought to be fine, too.

Seriously, it’s so strange seeing her friends leave one by one. Today we mailed a care package to the first of her friends to go off to college. Moon spent Monday baking four different kinds of cookies, something like 300 total. We’ve been enjoying many of them. She dropped off a bunch at her boyfriend’s house, too.

But there are departures every day, whether we realize it or not. My very dear ALF lost both her parents this summer, less than three weeks apart. ALF is my almost lifetime friend, and obviously I’d known her parents for just as long. It’s a shock, and I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be in her shoes. She has been in my thoughts pretty much round-the-clock, and my heart goes out to her whole family. I so admire her strength. There have been other huge challenges for her this summer, ones that would put me over the edge.

Our biggest issue right now is that there seems to be a mouse residing in our house. A smart mouse, that is not cooperating with our efforts to corner it in a humane trap. On the up side, we’ve cleaned out some cabinets that hadn’t been touched in a while.

Anyway, I’m just popping in to say I’m still here. So goes it.

she’s 18!

According to Moon, this was her best birthday ever. Which I hope she’ll be able to say every year from now on… happiness increasing on a yearly basis, that would be cool.

I can hardly believe it was 18 years ago that I was in a state of euphoria after completing the most difficult (and nerve-wracking) physical task of my life, rewarded with a jaw-droppingly beautiful newborn girl. (If you didn’t see this picture four years ago, here it is again.)

It’s a privilege and a joy being her mom. She is one of the best people I know, and I’m not even being biased. (I mean it.) A few more pictures. (The cake was delicious, by the way.)

coincidence or no?

The Daily Om for today, Moon’s 18th birthday:

Permanently Parents: The Changing Nest

Once individuals become parents, they are parents forevermore. Their identities change perceptively the moment Mother Nature inaugurates them mom or dad. Yet the role they undertake when they welcome children into their lives is not a fixed one. As children move from one phase of their lives to the next, parental roles change. When these transitions involve a child gaining independence, many parents experience an empty nest feeling. Instead of feeling proud that their children have achieved so much—whether the flight from the nest refers to the first day of kindergarten or the start of college—parents feel they are losing a part of themselves. However, when approached thoughtfully, this new stage of parental life can be an exciting time in which mothers and fathers rediscover themselves and relate to their children in a new way.

As children earn greater levels of independence, their parents often gain unanticipated freedom. Used to being depended upon by and subject to the demands of their children, parents sometimes forget that they are not only mom or dad but also individuals. As the nest empties, parents can alleviate the anxiety and sadness they feel by rediscovering themselves and honoring the immense strides their children have made in life. The simplest way to honor a child undergoing a transition is to allow that child to make decisions and mistakes appropriate to their level of maturity. Freed from the role of disciplinarian, parents of college-age children can befriend their offspring and undertake an advisory position. Those with younger children beginning school or teenagers taking a first job can plan a special day in which they express their pride and explain that they will always be there to offer love and support.

An empty nest can touch other members of the family unit as well. Young people may feel isolated or abandoned when their siblings leave the nest. As this is normal, extra attention can help them feel more secure in their newly less populated home. Spouses with more leisure time on their hands may need to relearn how to be best friends and lovers. Other family members will likely grieve less when they understand the significance of the child’s new phase of life. The more parents both celebrate and honor their children’s life transitions, the less apprehension the children will feel. Parents who embrace their changing nest while still cherishing their offspring can look forward to developing deeper, more mature relationships with them in the future.

post-birthday wrapup

Since I just celebrated another year, it’s only fitting that I went through my entire collection of blog posts to spruce it up for greater consumption. What I learned is that most of it is boring enough that I shouldn’t worry about real-world friends/family finding it and eagerly reading every word. I made a bunch of stuff private (mostly mom-type musings that I know my kids would hate having out there now). Some stuff is actually missing, which is no big deal. I’ve given up on trying to remember every detail of my life. I’m a sporadic diary-keeper.

I do have some pictures, though. In other news, fireworks are scheduled for tonight. I’d rather have them on the real 4th of July, but apparently it will save a lot of money to not have to pay overtime to all the cops and fire fighters who will need to be on duty while the controlled explosions are taking place.

like an episode of ‘house,’ without the life-threatening part

Latest update: My dad was supposed to go home from the hospital yesterday, but he developed a fever and had to stay another day. They didn’t find anything seriously wrong with his heart or arteries. My mom remembered a friend of hers had chest pain before having gallbladder surgery. So she asked the doctor if he thought my dad’s gallbladder should be tested.

That’s what’s going on today. I also had my hair cut. I’m trying to decide if it’s short enough. (I do like it, though.)

Also, I’m all about the zombies today: read this and imagine seeing that during your morning commute. Also, check out this soon-to-be-released book. Awesome.

major organ update

My mom called me this evening to fill me in on what’s been happening the past 48 hours. Yesterday, my dad had major angina pain—which freaked the heck out of him because he has already had two heart attacks. (The last one was something like 17 years ago. He’ll be 81 in March.) At first, he thought it was indigestion. When it worsened, my mom insisted on taking him to urgent care. The first clinic they went to was closed, so they headed to the next closest clinic. As the staff was whisking him inside, getting nitroglycerin, etc., they asked my mom why she didn’t go to the emergency room.

Same reason she didn’t call 911. It didn’t occur to her. She was in trying-not-to-panic mode.

Anyway, they sent for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Funny enough, the hospital my mom would have chosen if she’d been thinking more clearly wouldn’t have been able to take him. Their emergency room was overflowing. He ended up at a different hospital, where he was given immediate attention. Serendipity.

So he’s been having tests, getting medication for the pain, and being constantly monitored. Coincidentally, the doctor is the same one who did both his angioplasties many years ago. Everyone seems to agree he’s in great shape for his age, and it appears he didn’t have a full-blown heart attack.

Tomorrow he’s getting an angiogram. They’ll be prepared to do surgery if necessary. I made my mom promise to call me as soon as she knew something, because I didn’t find out any of this until about an hour ago. She’s keeping up a good front, making jokes about having to take out the garbage tonight and so forth. (Same as I would do, actually.) I talked to my dad a few minutes ago. He said not to be worried, but I told him of course I’m worried. I feel optimistic, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be anxious. And a little shell shocked.

The universe seems to be taking care of things pretty well so far, but any positive vibes you can send our way are much appreciated.

hiding out

We finally convinced Peter to work on his German dialog, which is 60% of his final. (Tomorrow is the last day of finals, which were pushed back a few days due to dangerous windchills, school cancellation, blah blah blah.) Moon is helping him, because of course hers is done, despite the fact that she would have an A in the class even if she skipped the final. Because that’s how she rolls.

Anyway, I thought I’d remove myself from the situation because I know if I’m sitting there I will interject unwanted comments, and my deep desire for Peter to pass his classes will emit desperation rays and distract everyone from the task at hand.

This has been a busy weekend. Moon and Pete had master class at Good ‘n Loud yesterday, which was a wild ride of difficult music including Rush’s YYZ. (For some reason, my mind shuts down when I speak that song title. I’ve called it XYZ, XYY and XXY. Hey, there aren’t any lyrics, so it could be about chromosome abnormalities.)

I’ve been knitting as usual and have already finished some new projects. Now I’m back to working on my Cassidy. The back and front panels are done, and I’ve started the first sleeve. At this rate, I won’t finish until spring, but that might be okay. The yarn is kind of an in-between weight.

In other news, I convinced the family to get AT&T U-verse, which means we have (1) DVR, and (2) way more channels than ever before. The DVR thing is way, way better than having to use videotape. And it’s been a culture shock getting used to watching quality programming such as The Colbert Report whenever we’d like. Remember when I eschewed television as opiate for the masses? And was proud that I’d never seen an episode of Friends? Yeah. I kind of think TV is awesome now.

in like a lion, out like a lamb

Christmas was great, but since then we’ve been wrestling with an unwanted visitor. Namely, the stomach flu. It’s been like the movie Alien around here. Who will be next? Which ensign will be found with his innards eviscerated?

First, it was Moon. We came home from our post-Xmas/gramma’s birthday celebration from my parents’ house. The dinner theme was Casseroles! so Moon was complaining that the food was giving her an upset stomach. She put on her brand-new PJs (from gramma, featuring a penguin that lights up when you move, which is actually cute and fun) and we started watching some Lost Season 4 (one of my presents).

A bit later, she ran to the bathroom and started puking so violently I couldn’t believe it was all coming from her. Basically, the puking kept going on and on until the runs kicked in. And chills, she also had chills. At one point she decided to just lie down on the bathroom floor to rest.

But her penguin PJs were certainly cheery, lighting up with her every move!

She was much better by Monday night. At that point, my stomach started doing strange things and I interpreted it as “hunger” when I should have been thinking “possession by evil viral spawn.” So I had a bowl of — wait for it! — leftover split pea soup. With wasabe peas and some Christmas cookies.

A few hours later, it was like a scene from The Exorcist in slo-mo. Needless to say, I was up all night with chills, cramps and vomiting. Like Moon, I attempted to sleep on the bathroom floor.

In the morning, my body started ejecting from the other end. This went on and on. So on New Year’s Eve, I’m weak and still ejecting a bit. Moon is much better. We’re thinking about playing games and having family fun. Except… Pete is sitting in the kitchen, doubled over, with his forehead on the table.

Another man down! About an hour later, Peter is crabby, crampy and testy. On the up side, neither of them had eaten any dinner. Peter had skipped lunch. So at least they hadn’t been eating split pea soup.

I just made a run to the store for some more popsicles and chicken & rice soup. Par-tayy! Happy New Year, and with a start like this, the end of 2009 ought to be awesome.


I can’t remember if I mentioned that Moon had a job interview yesterday and was hired on the spot. Her training started right away (last night), so I ended up running around with her trying to get a work permit and not being able to find her social security card, then going to the social security office to apply for a replacement, but having everything work out despite not being able to go to see “Role Models” as we had originally planned. (Peter, who was with us, wasn’t too happy about the turn of events. We’ll try again.)

Today I had swimming lessons and did a small amount of shopping. I’ve been collecting yarn for afghans lately. Acrylic stuff to crochet. I worked on my prayer shawl this afternoon and got quite a bit done. We caught the end of the Wisconsin/Minnesota game on TV. Moon was there in person with Brooke’s family, and seemed to have a good time despite the way the game turned around in the second half. The Paul Bunyan axe stays here. Woo?

And that’s about it. I think I’m back.

finally, the doctor horrible pics

Here’s the whole set (and I really do suggest you look).

This embroidery is my contribution to the ensemble. I was nervous because I don’t really know what I’m doing, and I had to work directly on the finished pocket—which I then had to machine-sew in place. Moon lightly sketched the image for me in pencil.

moon as dr. horrible
She looks pretty good as a blond Evil League of Evil member.

meeting the teachers

I had the first of 13 parent-teacher conferences today at lunch. The rest are tomorrow morning, and since they are only 5 minutes each, it’ll be humanly possible to go to them all. At least I think it will be. Some of them are back-to-back because it was the only was I could schedule them.

Anyway, today’s warm-up was with Peter’s gym teacher. She was very nice, and noted that the cargo shorts Peter has been wearing all year are not the best for class. Apparently she wants the boys to wear something that won’t ride down in the back when they’re running. Okay, shopping trip this weekend. (I don’t blame her for not wanting to see adolescent plumber butt.)

The report card already arrived, so I’m somewhat prepared for what I’ll be hearing tomorrow. I tell you what, I am much better equipped to cope with this now than I was a week ago. Timing is everything.

good news

We’re going to be paying the big bucks to University of Minnesota — Twin Cities next year. Moon is a very happy future student.

finally, it’s election day

I can’t remember if I mentioned that Moon signed up to work at the polls today, through a program at school. The thing is, it wasn’t especially well organized, and only half of the kids received an assignment yesterday during school. Moon waited for an email but hadn’t received one this morning. She was up before 5 am to check.

Right before 6, I called the teacher in chrage, hoping that it wasn’t too rude of me. She was up (yay!) and near the phone, and no, she hadn’t heard anything more from the clerk’s office. Her advice was to go to the closest polling place, have Moon tell the person in charge she was trained and sworn in, and hope for the best.

So that’s what we did. Except our polling place already had 15 workers, and the guy in charge wasn’t sure he’d need any more. He gave us the phone number for the clerk’s office. Apparently the office was open already. We might not get an answer, but it was our only hope at that point.

Neither of us had brought our cell phones (hey, it was early) so we borrowed one. And the universe was on our side, because who should pick up the phone but the guy in charge of the high schoolers. I explained the situation and gave him Moon’s name. He looked her up, and told her to report to the police station. I have a feeling he made up her assignment on the fly. Moon was happy, though.

I stopped by at noon to see if she needed anything (such as lunch). I was surprise to see that no one was in line to vote. Sounds like it was busy at first, then slowed down quite a bit. Maybe it’ll pick up again at 5.

As for me, I voted a few weeks ago, but I still stopped by Starbucks for my free coffee. I’ll probably be glued to the TV tonight. My usual inexplicable sense of dread has been replaced with a vague unsettled feeling which is probably normal considering the past few presidential elections.

Fingers crossed, people.

back from minneapolis

We only had time and money for a mini-vacation this year. So we decided to take Moon up to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for the College of Liberal Arts preview last week.

Mall of AmericaHere are our photos of the trip, which included:

  • A pit stop in Eau Claire to visit Chicken Unlimited, recommended by JM and Nichole.
  • Two non-consecutive overnights at the Embassy Suites in Bloomington, because it was so much nicer and more comfortable than the much more expensive downtown Holiday Inn. (We needed to be downtown first thing in the morning on Thursday and didn’t want to mess with traffic.)
  • A consumerist pilgrimage to Mall of America, where we bought a bunch of stuff from The Body Shop. I also had a chance to demo the Wii Fit (and got free socks!), and of course I want one of my own now.
  • Dinner at Fogo, which is now my favorite Brazilian restaurant. The service and food were unbelieveable. We spent $275, but it’s okay because we had free breakfasts at the Embassy Suites and free breakfast/lunch at the UM the next day.
  • The aforementioned preview day at UM. We ran into one of Moon’s friends from school, which was a fun surprise.
  • A tour of the state capitol in St. Paul, because I have a thing about state capitols.
  • Our first (but not last) taste of pie at Norske Nook in Osseo, conveniently located off the interstate.

We brought home a few souvenirs. The pecan fudge pie is already half eaten.

17 years old

Today is Moon’s birthday, and to celebrate, Pete and I opened a checking account for her and switched her “kid-friendly” savings account over to a full-fledged statement savings account. With online access, a debit card and everything.

She was happy to see how much she’s accumulated already. For some reason, this whole banking thing really hits home to me that she is almost an adult. Wow.

We also went out for Chinese food at lunch. I think it’s another birthday-cake-for-dinner night.

brats are not naughty children

We celebrated July birthdays (me, Moon and Sister #3) today at the homestead. I was gifted with oodles of spending money, and I just made two online orders with some of it: a Knitter’s Block (which I’ll have to wait until August to actually get) and a pair of Toms Shoes.

Moon is upstairs playing Guitar Hero III, and I’m thinking about joining her soon. I’m moving slowly because we ate so much uncharacteristic-for-us food today. Brats. Cheeseburgers. Ice cream cake. Regular cake. Blueberry cobbler (excellent, and probably the most nutritious of the offerings).

Somehow Peter is still mobile despite having eaten 3 brats and 4 burgers (or maybe it was 4 brats, 3 burgers). I have a feeling he might not eat again until tomorrow, but I could be wrong.

I guess the whole bottomless-pit-male-teenager thing isn’t just something the writers of Archie and Jughead made up.

my favorite cuisine

We have a birthday tradition in our family: the birthday person gets to choose a restaurant at which to dine on the special day. I chose India Darbar’s lunch buffet, much to my children’s delight. Rarely do we dine in the restaurant. However, we order carryout often enough that the staff recognizes us.

On Peter’s birthday in April, he chose dinner at India Darbar. When our waiter found out we were celebrating, he brought us complimentary mango ice cream. He gave us some more next time we ordered carryout.

As we were paying for today’s lunch, the subject of my own birthday came up. Our waiter said that if he had known, he’d have brought me a glass of wine. I thanked him and said it was okay since I was headed back to work.

My kids thought it was the coolest thing. And we all loved the buffet. My favorite dish is palaak paneer, but the spinach dish on the line was just as good.

stormy weather

The gods have been hurling thunderbolts and swirling clouds all day, it seems. I was able to make a quick trip to Home Depot for some painting supplies during a lull between storms… Moon has already started taping, and she wants to paint the hallway tomorrow. It’ll be good to have something done before we start tackling the living room.

A few weeks ago, Peter decided not to go on his class trip to the Wisconsin Dells, and that ended up being a wise decision. For one thing, did you hear what happened up there over the weekend? Lake Delton drained out, some houses collapsed, and some roads were closed due to flash flooding. The trip was today, which makes me wonder how much actual water park time the kids got before the tornado warnings and pestilence began.

We received an automated phone call right after hearing an announcement on the news that a group of kids from Peter’s school were stranded and awaiting a police escort so their bus could get them back to Madison. The call was a recorded message saying pretty much the same thing, but with a later time frame. I’m guessing that the kids are back by now (it’s almost 10 p.m.) but imagine how worried all those parents must have been. My anxieties would have taken over my body well before the 3rd or 4th tornado warning.

I’m sure the kids will have lots of good stories to tell, though.

all done

Peter is officially finished with 8th grade. He decided to wear his suit to the ceremony this morning, much to the surprise of his friends and teachers who have only seen him in shorts, t-shirts and hoodies for the past year or so.

I’m relieved. Next year will be the first time both my kids have attended the same school together since 2002. They’ll even have a class together, as both of them wanted to take first year German.

I won’t need to drive anyone to school or pick anyone up. Now, we just need to get through the summer.

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