And so it goes

Posted by Slowplum on 12/11/2008 10:57:00 AM
Christmas is looming closer by the minute and I feel too ill-prepared for it this year. I am hoping for something low-key but I know better - it won't happen.

My only wish is to be able to stay in my pajamas all day for Christmas, lounging around and eating nothing things and maybe napping, but as we are somehow hosting it this year for the hubby's side, I don't think it will happen. S says I should just stay in my pajamas anyway, which is very, very tempting.

The kids are very excited about Christmas but also bummed out because my parents will be in Mexico for it this year. Oh well. My dad is coming to visit next week for a few days then going back to be with my mom, and that will have to suffice for now.

I'm back at work on my regular hours but the shift has gone from 10-3 to 12-5, to accommodate the higher volumes that occur in the afternoon. Our building serves the company nationally so we are open from 8 am to 8 pm EST. I don't mind the noon to five as it allows me to be kind of sluggish in the morning, but then I'm rushed in the evening to get supper and homework and all those other things done. Work is exhausting me as well, but I'd rather be there than be at home having a boo-hoo pity party. I am the type that needs to feel like they are contributing, you know?

Ok I'm off to get ready for work. Hope everyone is doing well.


Smile like you mean it

Posted by Slowplum on 11/18/2008 12:57:00 PM in , , , , , ,
I've been a terrible journaller, but to be honest I've been saving up my energy for everyday life, and it leaves little left for this kind of self-indulgence. Fear not, citizens, I am alive. Not well and not whole but alive, and that is something to be thankful for.

At my doctor's behest, I've started to see a psychologist, to sort out all my current frustration and stress. I've been to a few sessions and it's going ok I guess. I have issues with the whole therapy thing but this person seems to not play any of the typical games and is genuinely trying to help me. She also thinks its ludicrous that I've been put on all sorts of pain killers and whatnot because while it is helping yes it is also not helping in that it is not treating the root cause. She's also concerned about my family doctor's laisse-faire attitude about my health these days. There's more, so much more to this, but I really don't feel like blathering on about it here.

The snow has finally hit here and it was like one day there was nothing and then suddenly the ground was covered in white. Welcome to Canada, right? Doesn't mean I have to like it. My parents have already emailed me to gloat about their lovely Mexican weather. If I could afford the holiday (both monetarily and physically) I'd be on the next plane to visit them.

With snow comes thoughts of Christmas. It's going to be a weird time without my parents around this year but I'm sure it'll be fine. I've somehow managed to get finagled into hosting Christmas Day at my house - I have zero energy for this but S has already said he'd do what he could and that we don't have to make it a huge thing and fuck his family if they don't like it, and he thinks they'll understand either way, but again if they don't too bad. I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me to have this man in my corner. He is my rock, my safe harbor in a storm.

I've been knitting up a storm as well - not much else to do when my mobility is limited and I get tired so very easily. I have to put the projects down often, but it's good to know they are there and within reach and portable and easy. When my mom came down during thanksgiving she yoinked a bunch of my yarn, and while at the time I didn't mind, the yarn she took was stuff I actually had in mind for use of making things. Ah well, it's only stuff, and I can get more whenever.

I've been fighting off this hell of a wicked sinus infection (at least I think it is- it's been 3 weeks of pressure and pain in my face and ears - unless it's part of the Super Mystery Science Theater Disease From Hell).

Ok, time to go back to watching more Six Feet Under (a.k.a. Gay Dexter as S calls it) and maybe take a nap before the kids get home from school. Cheers.


America I love you tonight.

Posted by Slowplum on 11/05/2008 03:46:00 AM


And baby makes...

Posted by Slowplum on 11/03/2008 06:17:00 PM
So I can't remember if I posted this already, but my brother and his fiancee are due on April 5. Well guess what?

They're having TWO babies!

This is the happiest news I've heard in a long, long time. I am simultaneously excited and afraid for them.

I'm still processing this - I can't even imagine how they are feeling.

Wow. WOW. Wow is all I can keep saying.


And now for something completely different.

Posted by Slowplum on 10/24/2008 08:59:00 AM
Feist on Sesame Street!

The orange singing Carmen. I remember watching this when I was a kid and stop motion animation was the cat's pajamas. haha.


And on the other end of the bipolar spectrum that is my life these days:

Posted by Slowplum on 10/15/2008 06:54:00 PM
Holy Snapping Duck Do! I just opened mine eyes, and lo! I have not updated this since long before Shakespeare wast a boy... You would not believe how heavy that rock really is. But I'm sorry you'll just have to take my word for it..

I am totally exhausted with discovering time doesn't stand still, watching Dexter, just generally being a hindrance to society in general, my day is passing in a blur from crawling out of bed at 6.30 to 11pm at which point I fall asleep on the couch. I am looking at rectifying this. life happens.

I won't promise anything to you but I will write something that makes sense soon. Well, I'll try. This is for my ever faithful, devoted public..

generated from Lazy Bloggers Post thingie


Breathe. Keep breathing.

Posted by Slowplum on 10/14/2008 08:28:00 PM


Still breathing

Posted by Slowplum on 10/07/2008 06:18:00 PM
Still breathing, sort of. Life threw me a curveball when I tried to pretend that I was totally healthy again and I ended up getting driven home from work by my boss and then my husband literally had to drag me in the house and I collapsed on the couch because I couldn't walk - it was like I was drunk - and my legs wouldn't move the way I needed them to.

Doctor is of course no help as he is all "we've done xyz testing, I don't know what else to say" and "try gravol for that vertigo" and "I don't know how to fix the ear ringing or the arms feeling like lead weights". Awesome possum. Yay for socialized medicine and a lack of available doctors (thus negating any efforts to find a new one).

Ok back to bed. Just a small update - I'm using twitter more than anything else because basically it's only 140 characters and takes very little effort to update.

How is everyone reading this? Hope all is well. Love to all.


In a world where...

Posted by Slowplum on 9/03/2008 09:10:00 AM
In a world where movie voiceovers are awesome, one man dies and can voiceover no more.

RIP Don Lafontaine. You made listening to trailers fun.

(I realize this was yesterday's news, but I'm only catching up now.)


school daze

Posted by Slowplum on 9/02/2008 07:55:00 PM
First day of school was great, but I feel terrible, but it was good, and I'll write about it later.



Posted by Slowplum on 8/28/2008 09:12:00 AM
Fell asleep on the couch watching Reservoir Dogs. Woke up with pain, no surprise there, but also woke up from a really creepy dream wherein my mother was staying at our house and she shaved the cat and cut its tail off "because I was afraid it had fleas" even though she had a flea collar on and I had just given her a bath. She also rearranged my house with the help of my hubby. At one point I looked out the upstairs bathroom window and he had built a canopy above our front porch. The neighbor across the street suddenly had 6 dogs and they all went under this canopy because it had started to storm. The storm caused a fuss inside our house as well and everything was dark but I could see in the dark. Someone kept asking me to turn the television on and change it to channel 513. No matter what I did I couldn't get that exact channel - sometimes I would be wayyy off and sometimes only off by a number.

Messed. UP.

Did I mention that two days after losing a tooth, K lost another one? Literally two days later, the tooth on the opposite side of his mouth so he has matching gaping holes. I guess his development is all about symmetry. Funny thing, he literally *lost* the tooth - we can't find it anywhere! He was carrying it around rather than putting it in his tooth fairy pillow. He was pretty morose about it and in the end we decided it would be ok if he wrote her a letter. So his letter was pretty fun. "Dear Tooth fairy, please still come to my house even though I lost my stupid tooth. I promise to brush my teeth and be good. PS I promise not to try and fool you when I finally do find the tooth and try and get more money from you. PINKY SWEAR!" Pinky swears are a big deal in our house - it's like a super duper promise. If you break a pinky swear, WATCH OUT. The tooth fairy left him his toonie and some stickers. All was well.

C's molars are starting to bug her, which means those will be coming out shortly. She also grew wayyy too quickly - size 8-1/2 shoe - ladies! She's in petite women's clothing as well, because she's too tall for the girls' clothes. But her waist is in that weird in between thing, so sizing her is becoming an issue. She's also going through this sappy, drowning-in-hormones thing and I even caught her listening to Depeche Mode the other day which just tickled my funny bone - she's my daughter all right.

K says he needs a CD player in his room now so that when she is listening to her "boring wa wa music, mom, I swear to God she is trying to drown me in it" he can belt out "SABOTAGE!" because he seriously just loves Beastie Boys to bits. Again, totally my kid. S hates the Beastie Boys.

Ok, time to get some tea in me, shake off that really weird dream, and mentally prepare myself for another day of work. It's the busiest week of the year this week - you'd be surprised how many people buy homes or refinance the week before school starts. Also it's freezing outside. So much for summer!


Happy Birthday, Dad

Posted by Slowplum on 8/25/2008 06:19:00 PM
Today is my father's birthday. He is all the way in Mexico, and the only way I can wish him a happy one is over the phone. But I cannot get through to him. We got his voice mail, and the kids and I sang happy birthday to him, and that will unfortunately have to be enough for now.

I find I am really missing him, now more than ever. Growing up, my father was my confidante. He was the first important man in my life. He wasn't afraid to tell me the truth, no matter what I asked him about. He showed me how to dig out weeds and dig my hands into the earth unafraid. He taught me how to dive into the water no matter how murky or deep, how to keep afloat when it felt like the only other outcome was to sink. He nurtured in me the love of music. He taught me to be unafraid to feel, I mean truly feel things. He also taught me to protect my heart - that you can love someone with everything you have, but always keep a piece for yourself - the piece you will need to keep it together when life disappoints you.

So now, because life has been pretty damned rough with me, I find I miss him. I am a woman and a mother and a wife now, but I was a daughter first. And no matter how old you get, there will be points in your life that you need your parents. Whether you like to admit that or not, there it is, the truth.

In any case, sending the vibe out into the ether - happy birthday, Dad. I love you.



Posted by Slowplum on 8/21/2008 11:51:00 PM in , , , , ,
My dear friend "rose" gave me my birthday present a little late. First off, it was wrapped in some beautiful fabric that I can make something out of, tied with real ribbon that can also be used.

Inside there was:

Knitpick Wool of the Andes Yarn - 3 of the Sapphire Heather, 1 Black Cherry Heather, and 1 Amethyst Heather. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff.

There was also:

Sensual Knits by Yahaira Ferreira.

I have to tell you, this made my sucky day so much better, I can't even tell you. I have had so much crappy and when I get these little bolts of happy, I find myself fighting tears - grateful tears.

So now I am giddily considering the prospects of knitting a fab coat from my new book, and this gives me more incentive to go to the yarn fair in September (thanks for the tip, Karen @ Shall We Knit?).

I showed my sister in law the new book and stash (memo to self: take photos to update ravelry stash info) and now she wants to knit more than ever. Rose wants to coordinate some time with me her and my sis in law so we can both teach her how to knit. They both have more than that in common and I believe they'd get along famously, so I'm trying to figure something out that works for all of us (and then there's the equal challenge of finding a day where my health does not prevent me from enjoying my time with them).

Anyway, no need to get in that, I just wanted to crow about my treasures.

A moment of weakness.

Posted by Slowplum on 8/20/2008 07:54:00 PM in , ,
I spent most of this afternoon sitting alone on the couch crying into about half a box of kleenex. I am full up and had to empty somehow.

(I got away with this because S was gone to work and the kids were playing some online game - probably Neopets - and were so engrossed that the only thing that they might have noticed was possibly an earthquake or some other catastrophe)


It's all right 'cause I'm Saved by The...

Posted by Slowplum on 8/20/2008 07:53:00 PM
Here is a fantastic blog that made me laugh and laugh.



Other Things

Posted by Slowplum on 8/19/2008 10:18:00 AM
Woke up this morning positively freezing - had left window open last night to pump fresh air into my poor addled lungs and this morning was *frosty*. Brrr. Am wearing favorite cardigan and wooly socks. Wishing I had some biscotti because I really want some right now for some reason. Some biscotti and a warm fresh pot of coffee. I am also craving a cigarette, something I haven't felt in a long while - I've been a non-smoker for years now and I'm not about to break that streak. I quit cold turkey and I refuse to return to that deliciously deadly habit. But it doesn't mean that I don't still occasionally want one.

K lost a tooth last night! He was so stoked to leave it for the tooth fairy. Our tooth fairy doesn't just give money - there's usually a present of some sort (stickers, gum etc) that comes with the loonie or toonie. So last night I couldn't find my sticker stash, and I was out of gum. I had stashed away some cherry m&m's to bribe him with helping me weed the garden, so that would have to do. Put that + a toonie in his little tooth fairy pillow that hangs on his door, thankfully remembered to remove his tooth. He checked on it at 1 am (woke up for bio, and saw pillow full) but only saw the chocolate. Told me this morning in a concerned voice "Is the tooth fairy going broke on me? She only left me these?" and I told him to dig deeper. He found the toonie and was delighted again. "How does she know I love the cherry m&m's? Is she a spy? Is she watching me *gasp* right now!?!" (I hugged my boy like the dickens today. I can't tell you how much my kids have helped me these past few months). C told him that she was pretty sure that mom had a direct line to the tooth fairy like she does with santa & the easter bunny.

C is getting to a tricksy age - she *wants* to believe but she hears so many conflicting arguments. Last Christmas her faith in Santa was renewed when she and K each got a DS - neither knowing we'd saved for a couple months to get them - because "there's no way you and Dad could afford to get us each one plus all the presents plus everything else Mom. There's TOTALLY a Santa and I am going to punch A in the arm when I see him next for telling me there wasn't! I think Santa just gave up on him because he doesn't believe anymore and maybe that's worth TWO punches!" and then she got all concerned and said "Do you think Santa would consider that naughty? I mean I *am* defending his honor and everything - I bet he would forgive me for it!" And I said of course he'd be ok with it but also said to be careful because in grade 4, punching a boy in the arm is the universal code for "I like you" and she said that was ok because she was pretty sure A wouldn't think that of her because "we're just friends, mom, seriously" (insert eyeroll here).

S and I have been of the philosophy that we will let the kids figure it out little by little. My Dad always said the trick was to make it so that you never really remember or pinpoint the age when it happens - it happens so slowly that you just sort of emerge on the other side of the magic unscathed. You're okay with the truth by the time you learn it, because it came upon you in stages, and it grew with you as you grew up. And I think that's ok by me. The world has so little magic left in it and so little innocence, and kids are exposed to so much and practically forced to outgrow these things, that I am fighting it tooth and nail. Every year we manage to pull something miraculous off that reaffirms their wavering belief. I realize our grip on this is tenuous at best, and that they probably realize things more than they let on, but fuck it, this is one lie I am willing to live for a little while longer.

That was a totally left of center thought process. On to other stuff.

This past weekend I went and saw Caesar & Cleopatra, and let me tell you - totally worth the 2 days of pain afterward. Christopher Plummer is fantastic! It was a thrill to see him, and we got really really good seats. Set design was also fantastic, but then I've never really been disappointed with anything I've seen at the festival, and being a local, I've seen plenty.

Also got a crapton of yarn from a nearby yarn store that had Needlecrafts yarn on for 40% off - she was making room for more Noro stuff. Because I'm on her mailing list she sent info on it before the sale so a friend got there early for it and got some on my behalf. Italian silk and chenille for 40% off? Yes please. There's a knitting fair in September, which I am already gearing up for.

Medically speaking, there's a lot more testing going on, but it's nothing I really feel up to talking about - I'm tired of being a pincushion/guinea pig and I don't really like complaining every day about what's wrong with me. So while it would appear to the untrained eye that I am doing fine now, the truth is far from this, but also something I don't feel up to unraveling any more than it already has.

Coffee's ready. Time to have some and see if it will keep me awake. Will have to settle for some toast, as the biscotti fairy refuses to magically make some appear for me.


Items currently on the agenda

Posted by Slowplum on 8/18/2008 09:14:00 PM
In the land of "things you want/need to do even though you are exhausted and have zero energy and are still sick but suck it up buttercup, drop and give me 20!", the list is King.


(which can be done during most of these other activities, come to think of it)

- finish knitting the shrug (see entry here for details)
- start on sweater for K
- start on wrist warmers for myself
- start on socks for C
- start on baby surprise knit for *somebody* on this list who is eggers preggers.
- knitting fair on Sept 13! Must go!


- get that damn heart container from the arrow minigame in Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (zomg that game has me wanting to throw the damn DS I swear to God)
- practice that stupid clock game in Brain Age 2 (I CAN CONQUER THIS! I MUST!)


- Mad Men (I am behind myself - missed last night's episode so I'm watching it tonight - love the lovely On Demand channel. Am considering proposing.)
- Seasons 1 & 2 of Dexter (to get jazzed for season 3).


- Finishing up "eat pray love", next are "Night" and some other trash novel that I picked up at random but I'm too tired to go get it and write it down here. I'm sure it will be vapid and full of fluff, but sometimes you just *want* to read that sort of thing.

Also, I just finished reading the Secret Garden again. It is a guilty pleasure of mine to re-read some beloved children's books now and again, just because I can. What is really interesting about this is that my cousin also confessed to reading this one recently herself - it is funny how our lives parallel like that sometimes. Always has.


(note: I've seen all these before. I am recycling viewing).
- The Graduate, Pretty In Pink, Superman III, The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, Mirrormask, The Dark Crystal, Coffee and Cigarettes, You Kill Me, Perfume, Fight Club, Kung Fu Hustle, Basic, Stand By Me, Pan's Labyrinth, Two Mules for Sister Sara (which I now have to watch on principle because of a friend's poll on Western Movies)


- bloodwork to get tested for a myriad of things that haven't already been tested, as well as re-testing for some other stuff
- cleaning out the fridge in preparation for the back to school snack stuffage of said fridge
- laundry (oh my word I HATE LAUNDRY)
- reconsider the idea of meditating to try and focus mind on other things to detract from pain
- talk to oc
- get together care package for mom & dad in mexico
- sleep! that's where i'm a viking!

The movies and television are at least doable, as I can be lying down when I'm totally drained and half-watching it. Ditto reading. The rest is a write-off at those points though.


I'm a lemming.

Posted by Slowplum on 8/15/2008 10:57:00 AM
There's this thing going around the blogosphere about things you should eat before you die. Here goes:

The Omnivore’s Hundred is a list of foods the gastronomic Andrew Wheeler thinks everyone should try at least once in their lives.

The rules of the thing: bold those you have tried, strikethrough those you wouldn’t eat on a bet.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Alligator
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari

12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects <- I was tricked into this one - told the candied ants weren't really ants.
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk in cheese form
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more <- thank you grandpa

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin <- chances are many of us have consumed this in small doses without knowing it.

64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa <- fantastic on grilled tuna
94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta <- bleh, I hate this stuff, my grandma used to force me to eat it every Easter
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

Huh. I've eaten more on this list than I thought I would have. Interesting.


Just when I thought it wasn't possible to love NPH any more than I already do

Posted by Slowplum on 8/14/2008 11:48:00 AM
He goes and has some fun on Sesame Street!



Posted by Slowplum on 8/14/2008 11:38:00 AM
The word “lethologica” describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.

I feel like this ALL. THE. TIME.


Epicurean Stumbles

Posted by Slowplum on 8/13/2008 02:27:00 PM in , , , , ,
Turns out I wasn't scheduled to work today after all. Stumbling about.

Pac-Man sugar cookies!

Some Kitchen Myths debunked

Soy you want to know the "truth" about soy

Meals for 4 under $15

The Accidental Scientist - Science of Cooking

How to cook like your Grandmother

An excellent baking blog - pictures are mouthwatering

I guess that's enough for now.



Posted by Slowplum on 8/13/2008 11:43:00 AM in , , , , , ,
The Top 100 Classical tunes is actually a pretty neat site, when you consider most kids out there aren't really exposed to classical music in the traditional sense and probably don't realize just how many songs they hear in adverts and cartoons etc are decades and decades old.

It also makes me realize how nerdy I am because I could identify most of these without the help of this site, heheh.

Watching the Jeffersons now, and it reminds me (as does Sanford & Son) just how much the comedies of the past got away with.

Ok time to clean up some before heading to work. Ugh. Work has been a real challenge in some ways, but in others it's a different experience in that I just really don't care when people call to push my buttons because theirs have been pushed and it rolls downhill. I just sort of remain this blank slate that doesn't really give two shits that your client is ramming it down your throat - in the grand scheme of things there are much more important things to worry about. Interestingly, this blank calm seems to work on the caller and they tend to slow down and breathe (especially when I say "Hey. Slow down and breathe. Ok, now tell me what is wrong").

As far as medical insanity is concerned - there's too much to talk about and I am not really in the mood. The synopsis is: I remain a mystery of science, and they just keep feeding me different meds to attempt to calm down the symptoms until they can figure out the root cause.

Now I'm going to go listen to Bizet and get myself pumped for another day.



Ok so maybe I'm the only one who thinks in these terms

Posted by Slowplum on 8/12/2008 11:35:00 AM in , , , , , , ,
Reading a CNN article stating that "Men are buying more clothes than women", I found it interesting that they felt the only reason for the disparity between men and women purchasing more/less clothing is that "Women's wear has painted themselves in a corner. By offering too many options and with everything a trend, it is very easy not to buy anything," and did not perhaps consider the fact that:

1) Hello fashion trends of the past? Please for the love of God take your unflattering clothing back. The current trend of potato sack dresses and giant shoulder pads and fantastically ugly colors and everything else is just depressing as it only really flatters a very small minority of people, who I am convinced may be some sort of hybrid alien


2) Excuse me, stores that sell clothing to us plebians? There's a reason why you are stuck with six million size 2 dresses that you end up having to sell at 25% the normal price, and your size 12 and up sell almost the minute you put them on the rack. When the rest of us normal people go to shop, there is nothing left for us to buy that would actually fit us.

and of course

3) Men do like to look good, believe it or not. Kudos to the fact that the current trend seems to come to realize this and is apparently appealing - so no wonder men are actually buying things for themselves. One of the reasons I think the whole "metrosexual" thing took off is because the media finally gave men permission to look good without feeling weird about it.

Of course, I also have to remind myself that this article was published by CNN, not exactly the most reliable news source to begin with, but the article just made me sort of snort out a laugh and wonder if perhaps the producers of Mad Men paid CNN to plug them in an inadvertent way. (PS I have not seen last Sunday's episode so please do not say anything about it until later - I am watching it on demand tonight.)

Ok, insipid rant about things I have no expertise on done.


Just one of those days

Posted by Slowplum on 8/08/2008 11:50:00 AM
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” - Neil Armstrong



Posted by Slowplum on 8/06/2008 01:10:00 PM

World travel never looked so fun.


Happy Birthday Mom!

Posted by Slowplum on 8/05/2008 04:31:00 PM in , , , ,
Today is my mother's *mumblemumble*th birthday! She doesn't look a day over 30, good gravy I hope I inherit that! The kids and I called and sang Happy Birthday to her over the phone, which made her cry of course. It doesn't help that Dad is in Canada (!!!) right now getting their paperwork in order so they can FINALLY get their stuff moved down there to Mexico with them. Getting a call from Dad saying he would be over in a few minutes with chicken & buns from the Portuguese restaurant in London was like getting a Christmas present early.

I was so happy and I am so thankful I got to see him. Dad travels a lot, which is funny because he used to complain about how his Dad used to travel lots. I don't begrudge him for it - his kids are grown, the nest is empty, and the only thing to stop him from doing it is himself. But what this means to me is, all those hours and hours that most people take for granted when they get to see their fathers, are boiled down to precious minutes for me. He gave me a huge hug when he saw me and I breathed in his cologne and I was five all over again. He is the most important man in my life aside from my husband, and I cherish whatever time I get with him.

Last night I got to talk to my friend V via Skype. It was so fantastic - we both have webcams so we got to see each other while talking - for FREE. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider the fact that I would have paid a kazillion dollars for a 51 minute phone call to the UK, this is a HUGE deal. And you don't have to have a webcam to use it - just a microphone and speakers, or a headset. That's it. Calling from skype to skype is free, calling from skype to a phone is chargeable. But whatever. I'm not a paid advertisement for Skype, I am just happy I got to talk to her, on the internet's dime. That's two really important people in my life that I got to be in contact with in two days. My own little blue heaven.

That may not seem like much, but to me, the way things have been lately, it is everything. Which isn't to say I am not thankful for the people I have daily access to - they are every bit as important to me. All I am really saying here is, I miss the ones who are close to my heart but impossibly far by geographical standards.

Other items on the agenda: You might notice to the right there is a bunch of "Tweets" - that would be my gratuitous use of Twitter which really feeds the lazy in me - when all I want to say is one or two things without doing a whole dang journal entry.

Ok, that's probably enough for now. The pneumonia sucks and woke up this morning with a migraine for extra fun. If it weren't for all the happy I'd be pretty darn sad right now.


Wherein I babble about comics and such

Every once in a while I ask myself why I bother to keep reading Scary Go Round, and then John Allison does something that makes me fall in love with it all over again.

I've loved his comics since Bobbins (which is totally worth reading over again, by the way. Who doesn't love spunky little Shelley?). Scary Go Round is really hit and miss with me, but it's worth sticking to in the long run.

What I really like is that Allison tends to reinvent himself; what I mean by this is, bit by bit he changes up how he produces the comic, so that visually the eye candy just gets sweeter. He isn't afraid to push himself, which I find is the mark of a good artist. The storyline sometimes falls flat, but you can hardly fault him for it - this is something he does in his spare time after all.

Look at Penny Arcade for an excellent example of artistic evolution - the Penny Arcade of yesteryear certainly doesn't look like the current version. However, even as the art changes up, they consistently remain funny, and very tuned in to the current pulse of gaming. I could go on for pages about how truly fantastic they are - Child's Play, anyone? - but it's all been done before, and in a much more eloquent than I could produce, I'm sure.

Jeph Jacques' Questionable Content is another example of reinvention, artistically speaking. The original characters look nothing like the current version. His plotlines have gone from random to a bit more cohesive, and he managed to shake the Tony-Angela (in his case Martin/Faye) sharkjump successfully, by not even going there.

One comic I've really grown to love as well is Wapsi Square by Paul Taylor. Initially, his comics were haphazard and without an actual plot, but over time he has told a pretty intriguing story, and I find I can't wait to see where he takes his characters next.

It is really interesting to me to see these artists emerge and find their groove. I am glad that once they find their mojo they stick to what works - this is a process that thanks to the internet we as an audience are privy to. In the world of print, we wouldn't necessarily see these changes - by the time a comic artist gets into syndication, they have already refined their characters et al.

However, if you look at Diesel Sweeties, you can see what artistic consistency looks like as well. R Stevens is fantastic, hits just the right tone, and has maintained the same aesthetic for his characters since day one. He did actually make it into syndication as well, breaking barriers between online and print comics without self-publication (what I mean by this is, he has been syndicated in actual newspapers, rather than for sale in printed anthologies sold by the artist).

I used to love PVP, and I can still tolerate it to a certain degree if I put my horse-blinders on to Scott Kurtz's insipid commentary and overall sense of self-righteous bullshit. On more than one occasion I have seen him rant about something that most human beings would think was a waste of breath, and then recant after getting called on it, ad nauseum, stating that "oh no I meant it this other way that is more acceptable to the masses". I'd offer up some examples but it would pain me to have to go through his archived news; also I'm pretty sure he's erased evidence of most of those kinds of posts anyway. One example that comes to mind was when he ranted about how horrible it was that dude who does Ctrl-Alt-Del was going to be charging his viewers for the cartoon version of his comic. And then a while later, Kurtz attempts the same damned thing! Now I'm not about to go and defend Tim Buckley tooth and nail, because from anything I've read the guy is a bit of a prat too, but really, Kurtz shouldn't be calling the kettle black here. I realize that he is a human being, like the rest of us, prone to mistakes and change his mind like the rest of us, but he still just sets my teeth on edge. There is nothing he can do to fix that, and I am not about to demand he fix it.

Beware: Here there be a million links!

That being said: I would be remiss if I didn't mention Homestar Runner, even though technically it isn't an online comic, it is still a site I visit that consistently brings on the funny, as well as reinvents itself over time. They actually poke fun at online webcomics in a Strong Bad Email. What I love is that while most people who watch and love it are addicted to Strong Bad & Co, I find the quiet perseverance of Homestar's hilarity is what draws me back time and again.

Strong Bad's emails are arguably the most popular feature of the site, most especially the one featuring Trogdor. (Even Strong Bad reinvents the way he answers email by continually "upgrading" his machines to similar older model computers and laptops and "newer" printers.)

The Burninator aside, I find that the funniest StrongBad Emails are the ones featuring Homestar Runner. I am also tickled by the sbemail spinoff, Teen Girl Squad. The origins of that would be found here.

Ok that's enough for now I think.


Package out of nowhere.

Posted by Slowplum on 7/30/2008 10:30:00 PM in , , , , , , , ,
Have I ever mentioned my friend V?

Probably not. The reason being - I miss her so very much. There is a huge vacancy in my life that is left especially for her, and no matter what I do, nothing and nobody else can fill it. We were friends in college, and of all my "college friends" she is the only one that has stuck. What I mean is, I don't write about her much because there is so much to say. But I think of her all the time. She moved to England quite a few years ago. We get together maybe every 2 years if we are lucky. If she or I could afford it the visits would be much more frequent.

Today I got a package in the mail from her. She gave me "eat pray love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, and a CD of her making. It was so strange because I have seen this book on shelves in stores all over lately, and have felt drawn to it, but always held back from getting it. Now I know why. She wrote all over the inside cover of the book and I cried. And I read the tracks on her CD and I laughed and then I listened and then I cried.

All I really wanted to say here is, I miss her.

I thought it less like a lake and more like a moat.
the rhythm of my footsteps crossing flood lands to your door have been silenced forever more.
the distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
it seems farther than ever before
oh no.

I need you so much closer

(death cab for cutie - transatlanticism)


Happy Birthday to me?

Posted by Slowplum on 7/27/2008 10:40:00 AM
After 6 hrs at the hospital yesterday, guess who has pneumonia on top of everything else?

Will be celebrating my birthday with a nice round of antibiotics, possibly followed by some ice cream and ginger ale. Whoopieee.


Happ Birth Day to my new little cousins!

Posted by Slowplum on 7/21/2008 06:57:00 PM
As an extra special present for K today, my cousin Lola's babies were born!

I can be excited about this because she and they are doing fine, but wow it must have been a scary time for her. From my aunt's info it appears as though she was suffering from toxemia, she was doing better but then overnight took a turn for the worse and the doctors decided to get the babies out via C-section. So today at noon little baby girl was born, 3 lbs, and a minute later little baby boy was born, around 3 lbs as well. The hospital will likely keep the babies until they are bigger.

I'm so happy for her I can't even begin to express it. After all the struggling they had to get these little angels, I'm glad that things are ok.

K is extra thrilled because he gets to share a birthday with them. He was a little bummed because he wanted to sing happy birthday to them on the phone, when I explained they weren't available and why he said it was ok he would make them a card and give it to them later.

So it's been a pretty terrific day actually.


Happy Birthday K!!

Posted by Slowplum on 7/21/2008 12:13:00 PM in , , , , , , , ,
My boy is EIGHT today!

He was pretty surprised at his cake.

blowing out candles

This morning I made him chocolate chip pancakes with hearts cut into them for breakfast, as per his request. Supper tonight will be sweet n sour meatballs & french fries (also his request. A weird combo but it is tradition that the birthday boy or girl gets to request their meal).

So the short term income people were fucking me over stating I had to start work today for 4 hours. My regular shift is only 5 hours. Huh? How does that equal half a shift, like my fucking doctor wrote on the forms? I talked to the medisys people on Friday and the woman was totally uncool about it - said there was no way that my company would allow for 2.5 hrs and it would HAVE to be four.

So of course I'm upset - I can barely do groceries without needing a nap afterward, whiskey tango foxtrot over.

I called my boss on Friday and he said there was "no way in hell I will allow you to come back in those conditions" and "sit tight, I will handle this" and "the medical insurance company is probably pissed that we are taking the business away from them and giving it to another company" and "DO NOT COME BACK UNTIL I CALL YOU".

I called today and left a message to see what was going on - he called back and said that he was looking into it, that HR agreed with him and said there was no way I should come back all at once, that they could even set it up that I only come back 1 hour and then work my way up slowly at my own pace. And that the medical ins co could suck it. Ha and HA. So he said even if I don't get a call back in enough time today, he would *winkwinknudgenudge* give me hours as if I had (knowing full well that I've on more than one occasion stayed an extra hour and never put it on my time sheet - this is strictly a quid pro quo move on his part).

The only reason he is being so cool about this is because he knows what I am usually like - I'm that person that comes in even though I'm dying, I'm the person that is cool about staying extra time when it's needed, and I'm the person that gets a METRIC FUCKTON of accolades from fellow employees, brokers, and lawyers that call in.

He said he would rather eat glass than see me come in before I am truly ready.

So yeah, basically, health wise, I'm better than I was say 2 months ago, but still not fabulous. I am more or less biting through the pain and trying to get my life back in order. The amitriptyline isn't doing shit for my sleeping, the doctor wants me to go up to 30mg by next week to see if that will work. And during the day I get to suck back the gravol for the dizziness and extra strength advil for the pain and just pray my vision/hearing doesn't go off on me. It isn't much of a solution but what can you do, right?

I've also been set up with "telephone counselling" that may/could eventually turn into "counselling in an actual counsellor's office", depending on my needs. The first call from them was kind of weird, it was this whole "please tell me your life story and the principal characters in it" and the lady on the other side was ok but also went into tangents about herself (which I totally expected to happen - next time you talk to me, ask me what I really think about counselling). It was ok in that I got to complain to a semi-neutral ear, but bad in that, here we go again, I do more listening than talking and feel like I've wasted my time because they aren't really listening, they are pausing until there is a gap and then talking talking talking. Ugh.

Ok, time to go pick out a movie to watch with the kids (read: fall asleep to).


Dr. Horrible, will you marry me?

Posted by Slowplum on 7/20/2008 02:39:00 PM
Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

Come on, how much do I love it?

heart dr horrible

So very, very much.

It's up for free until midnight Sunday, so soak it up darlings. Otherwise you can then purchase it for a pretty small fee at itunes.


KFC indeed

Posted by Slowplum on 7/20/2008 02:38:00 PM
The answers here make me laugh and laugh.



Posted by Slowplum on 7/18/2008 09:37:00 PM
So Jason Reitman made a short film called "Consent" back in 2004. It was on the internet for a while and then disappeared, but I found it again. It is hilarious, however I will warn the moms out there to wait until kids aren't present to watch it. There isn't any nudity or violence but.... ok just watch it, you'll understand


So true.

Posted by Slowplum on 7/16/2008 03:05:00 PM
I wasn't giddy over this book, but there's this one quote that just sticks to me.

"I try to believe," she said, "that God doesn't give you more than one little piece of the story at once. You know, the story of your life. Otherwise your heart would crack wider than you could handle. He only cracks it enough so you can still walk, like someone wearing a cast. But you've still got a crack running up your side, big enough for a sapling to grow out of. Only no one sees it. Nobody sees it. Everybody thinks you're one whole piece, and so they treat you maybe not so gentle as they would if they could see that crack."

Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood



Posted by Slowplum on 7/16/2008 03:02:00 PM in , , , , ,
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

I'm back at square one, with nobody knowing what is wrong with me, and therefore unable to help. I've been put on amitriptyline to help me get some rest at night; unfortunately, it is making me groggy during the day as well. I'm being referred to an ENT specialist, a back specialist, and possibly another neurologist because the first one was - I don't even have words for what he was.

The possibility of my going back to work on modified hours is now looming over me, and I am actually happy about it for the most part. Mentally I need this. I need not only to have something new and outside of myself to focus on, but I need to feel useful. I need to contribute. I'm not the type that likes to sit at home and feel sorry for myself. I am frustrated, yes. I am exasperated, yes. I have been doing my utmost to refrain from complaints because, frankly, complaints aren't worth anybody's time. And they don't get you very far. There are people out there in much greater need of help than I am - I am not so self-centered as to believe the world must spin around me and my worries. Whether I am physically ready for this is another story altogether, but I am nothing if not tough.

In the meantime, the bellows of my lungs continue to pump air through my body, although sometimes they falter. The little muscles and valves in my heart click and pull and do the job they are meant to do, pumping life through me, again only pausing for a break now and again. I keep convincing myself that one day I will wake up, fully functioning, and looking at this as some horrific dream. And every morning, I trick myself into it, until little by little it all comes crashing down. All the king's horses...


I see a shark in the waters.

Posted by Slowplum on 7/15/2008 09:53:00 AM in , , , ,
Much as I love CSI, I have to admit that the recent news of Billy Peterson leaving the show makes me feel as though anything they do afterward would be a magnificent shark jump. I didn't care much when Jorja Fox decided to jump ship a while back, knowing that eventually they would pull her back in. I admit that I was pretty upset to learn that Gary Dourdan was leaving the show, but not surprised.

But how do you replace such a pivotal character as Gil Grissom? (It pains me to link to wikipedia in any shape or form, but that's a pretty comprehensive description of the character, so I suppose it can stay). Based on this report, it appears as though CBS is trying to court a 'big name' to bring the fans around (Larry Fishburne? Kurt Russell? John Malkovich? I'm glad there was a scheduling conflict to take Malkovich out of the running, because, um, ewwww there's no way), but I think that it will be a tough act to follow. I am pleased that the rest of the original cast is remaining, but Grissom leaving is taking a big chunk out of the heart of the show.

That being said I am still willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt, but I have a feeling this upcoming ninth season may just be their last.

As for recent medical insanity, I'm still not up to talking about it. Sorry.



Posted by Slowplum on 7/04/2008 03:06:00 PM in , , , ,
MRI results: No tumors, no bleeding. There was an incidental note of retention cyst/polyp in both maxillary sinuses (not something to get all up in arms about though).

Inconclusive otherwise.

I see my neurologist on Monday. My family doctor is frustrated as he has no answers for me.

Me: "What do I do about the excrutiating pain in my head and left side?"

Doctor: "I don't know?" (looking very flummoxed)

Me: "Excellent. That makes two of us."

So I'm to take the amitriptylene at night for now to help me sleep, and just wait it out till I see the neurologist. Just a few more days, right? I shouldn't die before that, right?

I am looking at the silver lining here: No tumors. No internal cranial bleeding. The headaches and severe pain I am having have no basis in something life-threatening, apparently.

Talked to a friend who has MS, she said to wait it out. Her first three MRI's came out clear before she got a diagnosis. She also said at least if there were no lesions/plaques apparent, then if I did have MS, that remyelinization was occuring and that was a *good* sign because it meant I was getting it early. (Earlier diagnoses make for better prognosis - aggressive therapy can stop a lot of the progression in its tracks.) In the end I am not caring much what it is as long as it's treatable and there is an answer for me to bring me back to normal life (whatever that is).

Had an x-ray of my back done this afternoon. That was uneventful, as x-rays go. Won't know results of that until next week.

Um. So yeah. How was your day?


What's new cashew?

Posted by Slowplum on 6/25/2008 01:05:00 PM
An update of sorts for the morbidly curious. The battle has been uphill, but I'm a fighter. I went to the eye doctor in the beginning of June to verify that there is nothing optical going on, she said that my prescription was actually a bit better from 2 years ago but that my optic nerves were inflamed (a sign of neurological issues). She wrote a report for me to take to my neurologist who I finally get to see on July 7 (believe it or not, that's actually *fast*? Typical wait time to see a neurologist is between a year and 18 months!).

June 19, Thursday night at 8 pm was my MRI. It went ok, no claustrophobia but I did feel a pulling/throbbing sensation especially around my ears. I felt like if I could just pull my earplugs out it would be okay. The tech said that sometimes happens to people, it wasn't something to get too upset about bla bla bla. I got to take a CD home, the human brain looks pretty weird and scary I have to tell you. I don't really know what I am looking at when I see it so I can't say for sure what is wrong in there. The CD is to take to my neurologist appointment.

The next night (Fri. June 20) I was back in the hospital again and I felt like my insides were literally on fire just beneath the skin, and my head was going to crack open. Ears stabbing. Could not get comfortable for anything, so I had my sister in law take me to ER and my mother in law watch the kids, as S was out with his dad for a late father's day outing. We got there and I was triaged and would have been treated right away, except an MVC (multi vehicle collision) came in - three victims on stretchers, all unconscious, bleeding, heck I saw there was still glass in the one guy's arm. Drunk teenagers. So I was in for a long wait, which included watching a girl in a prom dress and no shoes come in and bitch to the nurses about how they don't make cocaine like they used to, and ecstasy was over rated, and bla bla bla. Basically had a nervous breakdown in emerg. You can imagine how quickly she got the red bracelet and was sent to the psych ward.

Dr. M saw me in her travels to and from patients, and while it probably isn't a good thing that I'm known on a first name basis, this time it sort of benefited me because she came right to me, asked what was wrong, apologised for the wait and said she'd get to me as soon as she could. She told me to tell the nurses if my condition worsened. Which of course it did, but by that point there were no nurses to be found. About an hour later she walked by saw me and disappeared. 30 seconds later a nurse is pulling me into a room and giving me a shot of Toradol in the hip. She asked me if Dr. M said I could come home after this I said I had not spoken to her and had no idea what was going on. The nurse checked and said no that Dr M saw I was in agony and wanted the nurse to give me something until she could see me.

She finally sees me around 4 in the morning (I got there at 11:30 for time reference) and of course very apologetic but I wasn't going to complain, of *course* accident victims come first, anyone with half a brain knows that. Anyway, she did more testing (touch my finger, touch your nose. Flip your hand this way and that. Walk a line. Do you feel this? Do you feel that?) and said "Listen, girl, I know you don't want to hear this but I think you need to seriously entertain the idea that you might have MS. You show all the signs and there's definitely something neurological going on here." She did tell me to call the hospital that did my MRI and confirm that there was nothing urgent (ie tumor, blood clot) as my family doc is on holiday until next week. She gave me some pain killers & then something to help me sleep at night as I get no relief and night time is the worst.

So now I just play the wait game a little bit longer. If it really is MS, I'm ok with that - just tell me so we can sort it out and get me on some aggressive therapy to combat it. If it's something else, that's also fine, I just want some answers and help. I am going a bit stir crazy because I can't go anywhere without assistance, I can't drive because sometimes my feet don't work and sometimes my eyes don't work. I can't walk because again, sometimes my legs will give out or I won't be able to see. For lack of a better description, I sort of feel trapped in my own body.

S has been really terrific through all of this, although you can tell it's bothering him as well, he tends to change the subject when people ask him about it. I try not to burden him with too much, but at the same time I also hate that I have to in the first place. I need an escort just to do groceries for crying out loud, and even then I have to take a long nap before, and then I pay for it afterward.

Saturday in spite of my not having had any sleep the night before, we held a glow in the dark bowling party for my son K. He turns 8 on July 21, but because most of his friends go on vacation around them, he never gets a party. This year we promised him he would, so we did it a month early. He only had a few friends come but he was so happy. I was in agony but it was worth it. C got to have one of her friends come as well so that she wasn't too bored by the situation, so everyone in general was happy. I ended up going to bed that night around 7 pm and did not wake up until 1 pm Sunday afternoon. My children were happy, so I was happy, but boy did I pay for it. This is something that is becoming commonplace in my life, sad to say.

This past Thursday afternoon, I went to the clinic to have my left leg double-checked. The attending Doctor taking over for my family doc asked a bunch of questions and then checked over some files, asked me if I'd been in the woods our outside much recently, and then ordered some blood testing (he wants to test me for Lyme Disease, which I find HILARIOUS) and an x-ray of my back (he isn't convinced that I don't have some post-lumbar puncture issues, ie infection or whatever). Told me to double up my meds if I was in pain and sent me home. My daughter went to my mom's house, and my son went to my mother-in-law's. Shawn was at work of course.

An hour later I get a call from my son, crying like you wouldn't believe and All I heard was "(mumble) died!" and at first it sounded like "Daddy" and my heart skipped 2 beats. I asked him to repeat himself and he said "Abby died. Please come mommy I want to go home". It turns out my mother-in-law's girl chihuahua got loose from her leash in the backyard and went running after a jogger, was hit by a car. They were inside when this happened but a neighbor saw and came to get her. So my mother in law was hysterical and my son was pretty upset - nobody wants to see a dead anything, much less a family pet.

So I limped over, got my son, limped back home. He cuddled up with me for most of the night, he was terribly upset and when I called my daughter at my mom's house she was quite upset herself. The kids understand what death means but it doesn't make it any easier when it happens. I held my son in my arms and did my best to soothe him and ignore the pain I was in, because I pushed myself too hard, but my boy needed me and nothing else mattered at that point in time. My daughter opted to stay with my mom, and that was fine. They cremated the dog yesterday. My daughter insisted on seeing her first, to "say goodbye". That was incredibly difficult but my girl is pretty strong, and has a touch of dark in her; it will not affect her near so great as my son, who thinks only on sunshine and happy things.

There is so much more to talk about but my fingers are numb again, and I need to rest my eyes.


Google the lyrics.

Posted by Slowplum on 6/25/2008 08:32:00 AM in , , , , , ,
É ingratidao falar mal do vinho
E a provar o que digo

Vamos, meu amigo, a mais um copinho

- Mariza, "Ouça Lá, Ó Senhor Vinho"

Dear whoever this concerns:

I haven't written much lately. I feel like I have poured too much sad and not enough happy, and things are feeling flat. I don't mean for most of my tales to be sad. Truly, I don't. It's just that I'm always told, "Write what you know". It is as simple and as difficult as that. Most of what I write is true, and most of what I write is real, and most of what I write is probably a bad idea.

I still have many stories to share and I don't know where to begin. It is like all these moments are surfacing for me and I want to express them but I already feel so damn exposed here. At the same time I wonder why not? Over time I have peeled myself down, layer by layer. It is all out there if you want it. This is something that has been both painful and cathartic. The knife ever so gracefully poised over my cadaver, waiting to sink into flesh and reveal all the viscera underneath. But I am no longer looking to see who is wielding the scalpel, instead I am itemizing these things, labeling them neatly, presenting my case and stepping back to allow for the words to speak for themselves.

What you don't see is what is happening between the lines. I am really good at playing the bumbling fool. However, the curious (but wholly expected) side effect of playing the fool is that I am never taken very seriously. This is my protective shell - do not allow myself to be seriously considered and then I won't get hurt. When I am cornered into telling it like it is, no fancy analogies or anything, I shuffle my feet abashed and wishing that the focus was on anything but me. People would not believe that I am terribly shy; that I rarely tell the people I love how I really feel about them; that I rarely smile; that I cry and cry until I am dry and then I won't cry for months; that these days I think that I am almost always afraid. I have spent literally decades of my life fooling people into thinking I am unapproachable, like some freaking special unicorn faerie or something. That if you touch me you will find that I disappear into the mists. I am fun but I will hold you at arms length.

I am really tired of pretending that I am ok. I pretend and I pretend and everyone else goes along with it. That is so much better for me than to see their worried glances and sometimes even see their questioning eyes. And I want to be honest here, life has been one long struggle and this past month or so has been more than I can bear at times. So now I am trying to just sort of live day by day, watch the seconds on the clock march in cadence and bring me closer to an answer.

I keep opening and closing my hands. I keep blinking my eyes. I keep feeling my pulse under the surface of my skin and I am grateful for every little beat that pumps through my heart.


Yes We Can

Posted by Slowplum on 6/25/2008 08:11:00 AM in , , , , , ,
I had seen this months ago when it was initially created, but I am sharing it now anyway, because it was in my head tonight. It moved me and I keep thinking in my head "Please be the next U.S. President. Pretty please?" Because really, look at the alternative... and also truly, it's been a very long time since I've felt drawn to a political leader the way this man draws people in. I actually prayed that Hillary Clinton would be ousted. Not to cast any disparaging remarks against her, as nobody can fault her for fighting for something she worked hard to achieve, but I really don't think we need another Clinton in the White House.


Yes. We. Can.

When Obama speaks I feel compelled to listen. People compare him to MLK and you can kind of see why. The speech that inspired the song can be seen here:

There is an excellent a capella version of the song, performed by students. Gorgeous.



Posted by Slowplum on 6/19/2008 02:15:00 PM in , , , , ,

"and Eric Stoltz"

Oh man.

Just amusing myself while waiting for the time to leave for the MRI. Wish me luck.


Summer Breeze

Posted by Slowplum on 6/17/2008 11:39:00 PM in , , , , , , , ,
You want to shake your head some? Download Type O Negative's cover of "Summer Breeze". (YouTube has a user-created vid here, if you are curious. The vid is just a montage of Peter Steele and the rest of tha band ad nauseum, but the music is the part I'm talking about anyway.)

So um. I went to doctor again today, because couldn't sleep at all last night. Or for the past forever. Pain like you wouldn't believe. He checked my legs for blood clots (just to be safe) of course found nothing. "Take some advil & tylenol if you are finding it to be too much at night, go easy on the narcotic stuff". Right, because I'm huge on pills.

As I am wide awake, I figured it would be a good project to hook up the Wii to our wireless network. Well what do you know, I am a genius and managed to do it, even remembered the WEP code to allow it access. Now I am waiting a zillion years for it to update as the Wii has been out for quite some time now and we have never updated it.


Recently watched "You Kill Me" again, which is a rather dark "romantic comedy" (I use the term very loosely here - this is not your typical romcom) featuring Sir Ben Kingsley & Téa Leoni. I love them both and it was interesting to see how they interacted with each other. S mentioned that Kingsley's voice sounded really odd in this film - I pointed out that he is playing an alcoholic - and doing it rather well at that. The slur is intentional. If you have a macabre bone or two in your body, you will find parts pretty damn funny. I bought the film used for 4 bucks at the video store a few months ago. For less money than a rental, I can now watch it at my leisure.

Let's see... there are still things I need to update on but my mind is in a ramble bramble sort of mood so I can't really articulate it all at present.

I'm going to try napping, we'll see if my legs & arms cooperate & let me sleep - even if only for a little while.


Mmm Deadly

Posted by Slowplum on 6/13/2008 04:58:00 PM in , , , , ,
Who wants these awesome glasses?

This girl. That's who.


Happy Birthday, Baby

Posted by Slowplum on 6/13/2008 08:38:00 AM in , , ,

Happy birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Hammer! Wish I could have afforded to purchase those for you, but tonight I will buy you one of these:

Also, this makes me wish I had a mac. Dammit.



Things to discuss

Posted by Slowplum on 6/12/2008 08:37:00 PM in , , , , , ,
Itemized for future reference, I will get to this when I'm not falling over exhausted (today's activities especially took a lot of energy from me - I think I managed to fool people into thinking I was ok though).

- 2 packages coming in the mail
- Ibrahima
- doctor's appointment (aka guess who still can't go to work?)
- appointment with the school re: K
- Hammer's visit
- Sir T's visit
- K's upcoming trip to the kid's museum by way of train (I know! How exciting is that?)


Thank you, Wil Wheaton

Posted by Slowplum on 6/10/2008 10:05:00 AM in , , , , , , , , , , ,
I've been a fan of Wil Wheaton for a while, and not just because of his stellar performance in Stand By Me (which is what most people pair him with, if not Star Trek: The Next Generation). In all honesty, I've been a fan of his journalling, and more recently his books. So I yoinked this from his blog:

Classics in Lego

Actually, all of Balakov's photostream is pretty kickass, worth the viewing.

Haven't slept much in the past few days, due to general uncomfortableness (is that a word?) and the raging storms at night. Two nights in a row with severe thunderstorm/tornado warning type material. Whooboy. Welcome to summer!

I watched Bee Movie the other day with my kidlets. They had already seen it at the theatre with their grandparents but I hadn't, so I was more than happy to rent it for them. Afterward came a frank discussion on the importance of bees. The kids were receptive and K and C were pretty upset about the whole Colony Collapse Disorder thing. It's hard to explain this sort of thing to children, so I kept it as simple as possible, and left the conversation pretty open for follow-up questions (which inevitably come at night time when they are supposed to be sleeping).

S kept me up last night because he was all pumped about watching the season 5 finale of CSI. He said it was the best finale he's ever seen, which prompted a long discussion of how much of that was Tarantino's influence, and how much of it was the regular script writers. Then of course I couldn't sleep and I watched Pride & Prejudice because for whatever reason, to me it's the world's greatest sedative, and then of course S couldn't sleep. So we were grumpy at each other, and the end result was my coming downstairs and camping out on the couch watching re-runs of Holmes on Homes (thank you On Demand channel) until I passed out.

Busy week this week. Meeting with the school principal on Thursday to discuss K's educational plan for next year, something that was postponed due to my illness. I'm still not top drawer here but I can hold a conversation for a few minutes at least. Then after that I go see my family doc for my weekly review. Friday is K's school trip, which I had initially signed up for, and I am kind of wishy-washy about whether I will go or not. Friday is also my friend Hammer's birthday - hurrah!

Time to go and get whatever housework done that I can before I get a case of the fatigueishness (I know that isn't a word).


Update: My work has approved paid leave until July 7, in light of current circumstances. This simutaneously pleases and worries me. I don't like not working. It's an illness unto itself - I'm the type that will go mad when I retire if I don't have several time-consuming hobbies in place by then.

Update update: I also find it a hilarious form of serendipity that Mr. Wheaton's post today is about (drumroll) Stand By Me.


Where indeed?

Posted by Slowplum on 6/08/2008 09:13:00 PM in , , , ,

Feeling pretty numb and lost. I think I've just about had it up to here with everything. Let's run away, hobo style. Little stick and scarf with precious things in it.

If you could pack a scarf, and you could only fit 4 things, what would they be?


Baby Brain

Posted by Slowplum on 6/07/2008 04:45:00 PM in , , , , , ,
My cousin Lola is having TWINS (insert happy squeal here) and so of course I now have babies on the brain. The best thing about someone else having babies is that I can spoil them and send them home. Thus far I'm the only kid in my generation on my Dad's side to spawn children, and on my Mom's side only my cousin M has a couple of little girls, but he lives in Nova Scotia so I never see them. My kids are well past the baby stage and tragically I can not have any more (although when I am most honest with myself, I don't want any more). My hubby's side is equally bereft of little poop machines, so naturally I am pretty damn excited about this.

So I have been scouring Ravelry for some patterns, and wouldn't you know it, I am knee-deep in cuteness. Ravelry links you to the site where the patterns in question can be found, so here are a few I've been eyeing up.

Viking Baby Cap! (Some people have actually added on little yellow braids on each side to make a girlie viking cap - very cute)

Little Devil Baby Hat

Sakicho Kimono Sweater

Hoodie Baby Blanket

Cardigen for Merry(For you Tolkien nuts)

Kiddie Cadet Hat

Felted Baby Yoda Hat

Bernat Baby Hoodie (you have to register free on Bernat site to access pattern)

Crochet Top (you may have to register with Lion Brand [it's free yo] to access this pattern)

Five Fruits Sweater (sorry dudes you need to be on ravelry to see this one - magknits went bu-bye)

Jive Turkey Baby Hat

Leg Warmies

Ruby (I got a chuckle out of this)

Seed sticth jacket

Ok that's enough, I'm starting to see double again. Ugh.



Posted by Slowplum on 6/06/2008 10:06:00 AM in , ,
I totally want to go to Bora Bora after looking at those photos. Who's with me?


And now for something different.

Posted by Slowplum on 6/05/2008 09:39:00 PM in , , , , , ,
My journal has been chock full of medical complaints recently. To try and spiff things up a bit, and keep me cheerful (I'm not going to lie - I have been pretty down in the dumps of late) I'm going to just post random stuff today. Not belittling what is going on but I need to focus on the happy/amusing here or I will go stir crazy.

Things that have amused me today:

Awesome Lunch Bags

Toe Tag Dinner Place cards!

Dr. Who wall panels

NES coffee table/storage bin

Nerdy baby flash cards

Super Mario Wedding cake!!

Indiana Jones amigurumi

Canstruction Vancouver (They make sculptures out of cans!)

R2D2 PC case mod

Spock Apron

Pac Man cupcakes!

Han Solo in Carbonite - the desk!


Together we can rule...

Posted by Slowplum on 6/03/2008 10:09:00 AM in , , , , , ,
Being stuck in the house for the majority of my time has caused me to develop an Etsy problem. I've made a few purchases (which I am very excited about!) and have been surfing. I came across THIS father's day card, and I curse that I don't have the Y chromosome to pull it off. Because ha and HA. I actually giggled reading it.

I couldn't sleep well last night, no matter what I tried to do. Intermittent pain and nausea made life super extra fun. S didn't come home until 4 am because he had to work overtime, he was exhausted and more or less plunked down onto the bed and immediately began to snore. Which didn't help the not being able to sleep thing. Eventually I managed to doze off by itemizing the things in my house, one by one, until the banality of the task finally set my brain synapses on shutdown mode. Hey, you do what you can, right?

If anyone knows of any sightings on ebay or elsewhere where I can get my hands on a boatload of knitting supplies on the cheap, please let me know. I left most of my favorite things at the hotel back in March when I went with my daughter & mother, and the hotel staff has cheerfully not only refused to mail it back to me (even at my own expense) but it appears as though they have just tossed it out altogether. The manager was appropriately apologetic and offered me a discount on my next stay, because I was appropriately pissed off and gave him a polite but angry earful. I am REALLY good at complaint politics, and while I am heartbroken (I was almost finished my octopus!) I can't say no to discounted hotel stay (and it's a significant amount).

Back in April I got S the first 4 seasons of CSI (among a boatload of other things, because it was his 30th this year) for his birthday. We have slowly been plowing through them, skipping the ones we'd seen or sometimes re-watching them. We finished up and then he couldn't stand the idea of having to wait for the next giftable event to receive the next, so he went out and bought Season 5. So I've been watching them when he's sleeping, and vice versa. I've seen a LOT of season 5 on the telly but I don't mind re-watching, plus I have this illness where I actually *like* listening to commentaries on DVD.

So now I'm going to go fall asleep to that, or try to at least.

Can somebody wake me up when the Democrats get their acts together? Until then I'm on strike from the news because enough is enough.


What the

Posted by Slowplum on 5/27/2008 10:05:00 AM in
So CT & x-ray results? No stone. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Over.

No explanation for blood in the urine either. Also, fun fact, I lost 6 lbs in 3 days (probably due to my appetite going to almost nada. I'd probably have lost more had my husband not thrust food upon me now and again). I already had an appointment set for this Thursday for my doctor, so I'll just have to wait until then to talk to him about it. What's two more days, right? In the meantime, percocet and gravol are still in steady diet rotation. I do my best to go as long as possible without taking the perc, I hate taking meds.

I'm pretty sure my chronicles here are just further fueling the point with my American friends that socialized medicine can be pretty frightening.

I feel pretty guilty complaining here when there are a kazillion people dead in the East due to natural disasters. I have to think about that - at least I am alive, I have breath in my body with which to complain. All of this may turn out to be nothing, just some weird viral infection and at least I do have access to medical help in some capacity. My family is whole, I am not fretting over where my children are. They don't know what it means to go to bed hungry, to wake up hungry, and to have nothing to fill their bellies. I have a warm bed and clothes on my back. A cupboard full of food. A job that not only pays well, but has supported me through this illness. I need to count these blessings and be thankful.


Oh joy

Posted by Slowplum on 5/23/2008 08:42:00 AM in
I went back to the hospital last night with terrible pain in my left side & back, on top of everything else this was a new pain. They took a urine sample & there was blood in my urine (not visible but a blood count there) so the doctor believes I may have a kidney stone on top of every thing else going on (he said my other symptoms are more neurological and I'll have to wait for MRI for that) so today at 4:00 I'm going for a CT scan of my abdomen, they want to see if it is blocking anything or if it is small enough to pass. They gave me more meds, and told me to keep drinking lots, and after the CT they will give me a strainer to catch the stone (how fun is THAT)

Isn't life grand?

You know what would be really awesome? What would be really awesome is if this is really a kidney stone, if passing it would just make everything go away, it would be totally worth it.

If wishes were fishes, right?


mini update

Posted by Slowplum on 5/22/2008 01:25:00 PM in
on my way to the bathroom (because i go about as often as a pregnant woman these days), i collapsed on the floor again last night. came to, to see S hovering above me looking very very concerned. i couldn't see him at first although i am told i had my eyes open the whole time, and was actually talking to him. i came to with a terrible buzzing noise in my ears and i couldn't feel my legs for a while. S got me up and into bed but neither of us got much sleep. i just didn't feel right no matter what i did, but i refused to go back to the damn hospital. head aching and i couldn't see out of my right eye for a short while. and stabbing stabbity stabbing in my left side, but that might have just been gas, who fucking knows anymore.

saw my family doc today and he managed to get me an MRI for June 19, at about 8 o'clock at night. That really isn't so bad when you consider the regular wait times for them are terrible - i have a friend who has hers scheduled for september, and she made the appointment in january. maybe it depends on your circumstances, but i'm pretty glad i got on the short list. basically there isn't much more he can to for me. he's trying to get the neurologist appointment but so far no luck - because my testing results were ambiguous or clear (dude i don't even want to go into how many times i've been poked with a needle - heroin addicts have less holes) some neurologists will not bother, however my symptoms are not getting better. i have some good points of the day but for the most part i'm buggered.

on the positive: i may get out of jury duty due to my illness. here's hoping.

ok, nap time. i feel like such a tool from being so fatigued. i guess i will have to get used to it.


Ok so.

Posted by Slowplum on 5/21/2008 01:15:00 PM in
I've posted this elsewhere, I forgot to post here. Those of you who read it elsewhere can ignore this. It occurred to me that not everyone is privy to the other posting, and since some of you have been asking, I felt it was time to give you an update.

Here are some things.

Ok, here goes: As for how I am faring, I WAS doing well as far as getting better last week, then I had another episode that landed me back in the hospital (I've been there a few times now, beginning of April I had pneumonia & bronchial infection, back to work for a week and then back off work). Here is the story of what happened.

On Monday the 28 April, I ended up collapsing on the floor with a severe headache and pain/tingling on my left side. Initially I figured it was a migraine (which I am prone to) but it persisted beyond anything I was accustomed to. It felt like I was hit by lightning, and no matter what I did I couldn't get comfortable or lessen the pain. I had a friend drive me to the hospital. They ran some tests, among them a CT scan, and then 2 doctors attempted a lumbar puncture (Spinal tap). Neither was successful and ended up giving more pain than good - bruised, they kept hitting the spinal column, and poked me a bunch of times before I finally begged them to stop. I wanted to go home, they said if I went it was AMA, and then filled an IV with something to help me sleep. They kept me overnight until the head of the ER department could see me the next morning. She came in and managed to successfully do the procedure, I barely felt it. But the damage had been done. While the lumbar puncture came out clear (a good sign - they were concerned of aneurysm or possibly meningitis, they did a full run of testing on me) the fact of the matter is the botched attempts traumatized my body.

My family doctor wasn't sure at that point if it's the original issue, a third issue, or if I'm suffering from post botched lumbar trauma, but he is pretty adamant about me not going back until he says so. I'm supposed to and allowed to get up and out for a bit each day but I'm supposed to rest when I feel the pain surging (which it inevitably does after about 45 minutes of me sitting up and pretending I'm ok) and it's completely frustrating for me. He also figures since I'm only just recently recovering from pneumonia/bronchial infection, that my symptoms are taking longer to heal than they typically would. I'm only just now noticing the IV bruises going away, and they gave those to me several weeks ago so there you go.

I ended up back in the hospital the next night because I was still in pain. They hooked me up to toradol and then sent me home next morning, and then I threw up all the next two days and I couldn't keep anything down, not even water. I had to pee constantly which also contributed to the dehydrated feelings.

On the bright side I didn't/don't have an aneurysm which was the whole point in them sticking a giant needle up my back in the first place. I'm pretty mad at the hospital and my husband took pictures, counted about 7-9 holes where the first two doctors butchered me. He has half a mind to file a formal complaint.

I suffered from severe symptoms of lp trauma, including headache, vision disturbance, nausea, ear pain, and my left side was still in agony. When I saw my family doctor a few days later, after not being able to keep any food down or in, he said it was difficult to discern if I was still suffering from the initial symptoms or if it was still the lp stuff. He put me off any work or any thing for that matter, and suggested lots of bed rest.

So then on Mother's Day after taking my mom out for brunch (my first outing in 2 weeks) I got back to her house and basically threw it all up again. My left leg was killing me and my left arm and back were hurting and tingling. I took some advil and whatnot and instead of getting better, I started to feel worse. After a few hours I finally begged my husband to take me back to the hospital. The head of ER happened to be there again (this will have been my third visit now in 2 weeks) and she ran more tests. The end result is they still don't know what is wrong with me and she is going to work with my family doctor to get me a neurologist as soon as possible. She did some weird tests where she would touch various parts of my arms and legs with both blunt and pointy things, cold and hot things, and noted some loss of sensitivity on my left side. I couldn't discern between pokey and blunt with my eyes closed, nor cold & hot. She made me try to walk a straight line one foot after the other, and I was completely unbalanced. She is suggesting the possibility of MS, if not another neurological issue. I'd need an MRI for that, but it takes time to get one here. My family doctor up to this point has been entertaining the idea of inner ear issues, but this new information may blow that out of the water. I've since been feeling the numbness sort of taking its turns, my hands then my feet then my face for a while, and my back really really hurts. And I have to pee like, all the damn time. And my eyes get blurry and my balance is messed up. And the back of my head hurts. And sometimes my ears feel like they are full.

I'm just really tired and I'm tired of being tired. I'm doing my best to get better, I'm hoping the doctor will maybe entertain the idea of me coming back to work on shorter hours at first until I am 100%. Here's hoping. In the meantime I'm stuck with fuzzy thinking and a body that doesn't want to work the way I need it to.

It's now May 21 and it is cold outside. Last night I saw a few flakes of snow fall.

I'm going to see my family doctor again on Thursday, I'm hoping he will approve me going back to work for short hours at first, letting me build back up to my full hours. I have a feeling he is going to say no, but I am going to try anyway. Because frankly I am completely frustrated and I just want to be able to get up and go and do things and not be so tired and hurt. Really what I want is to see a specialist, see someone who is actually capable of telling me what is wrong. A diagnosis means at least they'll know how to fix me. I don't know. It's sort of like a marathon runner, and one day they break their leg. They want to keep getting back up on their leg and they can't. But the doctors don't know what's wrong with their leg, so they just pump them with pain killers and tell them to sit the hell down. But who's going to race? They need to get up and run, dammit!

I don't really expect anybody to understand what is going on, because I barely understand it myself. I don't expect anybody to care. I'm not the type that likes to milk being sick, I leave that for other people. I am the type that goes to work sick anyway, that schedules six events in the same day, that juggles the lives of 3 other people in a household and still manages to eke out a little time for me. I try not to think about what is happening to me, because frankly it is a little frightening. I don't like going numb for no reason, I don't like having shooting pains in my legs and arms, feeling like my back is going to break. I don't like feeling off-balance, feeling mentally fuzzy. I don't like feeling exhausted. I have never felt this way before and I don't like it. Sadly enough I'd rather go back to just having migraines, at least I could deal with it and carry on.

I think that's enough for now.


What says the sea, little shell?

Posted by Slowplum on 5/19/2008 08:12:00 PM in , , , , , ,
Memory from last year:

K is seven years old. We are driving to a beach and he and his sister C are each looking out a window at the passing traffic and roadside. He is meticulously counting the number of cows and horses we pass. K loves animals.

We get to the beach and start the trek from parking area to sand. The sand slips in between our toes through the sandals and the kids shriek with glee. The sun bearing down and the sand swishing, whispering at our feet. My husband S slips his hand into mine and chuckles as we watch the kids race ahead of us. K is the one to find the spot where we will set our things.

We pull the blanket out and it flaps in the air. I briskly snap it out so that it will settle on the ground nicely. The kids know the drill: sandals on the corners, so it doesn't get whisked away. They run gingerly to the shoreline, gasping and jumping with each step as the sand perfectly reflects the heat of the sun.

We are at a lake but to K it is like the ocean. Any body of water will do, so long as it is vast and can hold some secrets. K is a little bit nervous about submerging, he rarely will swim under water. He does love to look into it though, and share his observations and discoveries with me. One day soon I will show him what the ocean is really like. I will hold his hand and watch his rapture as he feels the salt spray on his face and smells the fresh, damp air. I will glance at him sidelong and drink in his wonder at the life brimming just below the surface of the water. A perfect reflection of the life beneath the surface of his skin.

C loves the water for other reasons. When she was very little, she used to pretend she was a mermaid. She loved the way her hair would float around her in the water. She used to take extra-long baths because she wanted to see what it was like living as a fish. Sometimes I think if she was given the choice, she would take water over land. She gets this from me. It is in her blood and it courses so fully through her, that I cannot fault her for it. She leaps into the water as though into the arms of a long-lost love, and it fills me with a strange sort of mixture of joy and calm to see the rapture on her face as she emerges from the water. Her laughter is infectious, and S will toss her from his shoulders in to the lake again and again until they are both gasping for air from laughter and mischief.

K loves to collect artifacts from the places we go. A leaf, a feather, a rock, a stick. A shell. He brings them to me, eyes full and the words describing his discovery will tumble out in such a rush, I have to remind him to slow down. "Look, mom, this stick looks like a spider. Look mom, what kind of feather is this? Do you think the birdie will mind if I take it home? Look mom, this rock has a fossil in it! How old do you think it is?"

On this day at the beach, he finds a little shell. He immediately puts it up to his ear. Then I note he puts his mouth to the opening of it and starts murmuring. I am intrigued but I do not want to intrude. I keep watching him to see what he will do. I expect him to come to me in excitement and show me his latest treasure. He does not. Instead, he puts it up to his ear once more, and then once more murmurs something into it. Then he does something unexpected. He tosses the shell into the water, as far as he can throw.

I don't press him for information; instead, the day goes on as lazy days at the beach do. We picnic, get an ice cream, swim some more now and again. K and I dig for treasure, while C laps up the last of the waves and S snoozes on a towel. Half an eye on C, half an eye on K, I use a stick to draw things into the wet sand you usually find a couple of inches under the surface, if you dig enough. K thinks this is great fun and then he decides to dig some moats, fill them with water, and float his toy cars into them. He makes buzzing car noises and "oh noooo, he fell into the ocean!" and he and I are giggling. C comes up and splatters water all over us, laughter and the sun.

It is time to go, and we collect our things. Wash the beach off and change into clean clothes. K makes one last trip up to the shoreline to rinse off his sandy feet one last time and looks down. He finds the same shell he had thrown a few hours before. He picks it up and dusts it off and looks at it thoughtfully. He puts it in a pocket and brings it with him to the car. On the way home, he barely sees the cows, barely sees the horses. His eyes wink and blink and then fall slowly to a close. Sweet mouth breathes in and out; K is asleep. C, beside him, recounts her adventures of the day, one by one. She herself is fighting off the sleep; she is nine, she says. She doesn't need a nap anymore. But she is no match to a day full of clean air and sunshine and exercise in the water. Soon her eyes fall heavy and she too is sleeping.

We get home and S carries them one by one into the house. Pretty soon he won't be able to do this. The kids are growing in leaps and bounds. I follow him up and tuck them each in. C first. She mumbles a thank you for the fun day. I straighten up some mussed hair out of her face and oh, child, please don't grow up too quickly. Then I move on to K. He is in that half-sleep state, eyes fluttery and he's clinging to something in his hand. I gently pry the fingers open and see his little shell. His eyes open and he says in a sticky sleepy voice, "Listen to the shell, mum. I told it a secret." I put the shell to my ear and hear whistling air. I tell him I couldn't hear it quite right. He says "Oh, the ocean must have kept it." I gently rub his back, a ritual we sometimes share when he is feeling extra sleepy. He says "I know it isn't really an ocean, mommy." I say it's okay to pretend that it is. Pretending is the best part of being a kid.

"I know," he says, and lets out a big yawn. I kiss his forehead, and while I am close he says "Mommy, the ocean will always keep your secrets. That's why it's so salty you know - it's full of your tears." I am taken aback and I don't quite know what to say to this, so I say "Is that what the little shell told you?"

I wait for an answer, but none will be given. The ocean is still. K is fast asleep.

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