Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bipolar weather patterns...

It's supposed to be in the 60's again today, then a cold front is supposed to come through for the weekend.  I am so confused on how to dress, and while I love having a window cracked open for the fresh breeze, one never knows what it will be like next.  Today it's overcast (hence holding the heat in I guess?) but smells like rain, and I guess that wouldn't be so bad--I would rather have it rain and get it over with than sit with these gloomy grey skies, even if it is warm out.

Reimond has the Influenza A, diagonsed at the clinic and confirmed by the hospital lab next door to the clinic. He has been a pretty sick cookie, and like the swine flu of a few years ago, hit him suddenly like a ton of bricks.  I need to run to Walmart and get an rx for Aurora and I of tamiflu (preventatively) and we are supposed to watch Skye fairly closely, given she is a bit small to give the meds to, but has been exposed as well (Eric and Brie had flu shots, and Patrick is rarely home). Rei has been out of school for this week again, but they are being great about it.

I am looking forward to next week when Liisa and Zack arrive. They will be here on the first and through the fifth. It will be wonderful to see her and spend some quality time getting to know Zack better on my turf. I really need to work on some of the house stuff, but honestly, my get-up-and-go is somewhere on strike, and I can't seem to get myself motivated to do much of anything.  I did get my 34 year old cedar chest lid re-covered and padded, and it looks wonderful (got tired of the supplies shifting around and gathering dust). I am pleased with how it turned out, and only took about an hour or so to do by myself. I am almost done with the second sock for Februrary's SKA challenge, and I even finished chart 2 on the Evenstar shawl! It is looking lovely but there is a twisted stitch decrease that I have not yet mastered and I find myself doing it even in my dreams trying to wrap my mind around the directions for it...  It's currently sitting back in "time-out" while I finish the sock and plan what one I want to do for March.

I am feeling guilty because a lot of what I haven't been doing I have blamed on Skye and the time I spend with her, but really, that isn't fair.  I once upon a time managed to juggle a home daycare, chores, and projects, along with making meals and educational activities, so why am I feeling held hostage by one little girl?  Some of it, quite honestly, is that I don't have the energy these days that I did 20 years ago to multitask and/or switch gears at a moment's notice; some of it is that I enjoy giving her undivided attention at times, when it's just her and I; and some of it is that so much of what I do/want to do isn't childproofed or child-contained.  I can block her into the living room and much of there is childproofed, but the kitchen/sewing room/hallway/front room/stairs is unblockable, and she is quick and curious. She wants to be exploring and she isn't content to just stay by me in any one spot. This stops me from laying out patterns (unless I drag everything into the living room), or focusing on making anything elaborate in the kitchen (including doing dishes or mopping the floor) when she is underfoot, and she is NOT content to be in the living room or the high chair for any length of time "alone."  Even 6 years ago when I had Justin, the house in Minneapolis was easy to zone and childproof, whereas here the "open floor plan" makes it a trial to have "containment areas" for her OR the dogs!

I am dreaming of making doll clothes and stitching on garments for me. I came across a website that has gorgeous heirloom stitched doll clothes on it for collector dolls that has me in awe, and I just got my little dragon boy from Denver Doll and he needs clothes (and he needs to have his wings, tail, and feet "painted" as well, something I am excited to try). I look, and I dream, and I plan, but so far it has all been a mental exercise without tangible outcomes.  I would love to change that.

My class continues to be interesting, and I am looking forward to starting my paper.  I have all my resources printed off and need to start reading them.  That is one of my goals for this weekend when Eric is working. We went to the winery for dinner on Saturday night, and I have to acknowledge that it was the first time I was disappointed in the meal I ordered. I had ordered a chicken jambalaya, which had been the featured item at their Friday night MardiGras meal/special, but it was overcooked (leftover, I am guessing from the previous day) and while it had hotness to it, it was "tasteless" (or, as Eric said, there was one flavor to it rather than a blending of flavors). Not only didn't I care for it, I think it didn't agree with my system (esp. combined with wine), and I spent Sunday with an upset tummy all day/evening. I didn't even eat it all--Eric traded me his entree for mine and finished it for me, while I ate his much tastier Jack Daniels chicken, but the wines were nice, and we had a wonderful conversation about all kinds of things.  They have a new strawberry wine (not yet labelled, so they can only sell it by the glass) that tastes like strawberry soda and is wonderful! Can't wait til it's labelled so we can buy it by the bottle. What we did discover is why we generally wait for nicer weather to go there: they had a wedding reception going in their reception room, so it was loud in the main wine tasting room, and when we took our bottle upstairs to drink it there wasn't as much "ambience" as there normally is when we go outside.  The reception did feature a professional fireworks display that was short but lovely over the lake, and that was cool.

One drawback to my big boy being sick and self-quarentined to his room is that I have to wait on him, and I swear I am getting a workout running up and down the stairs.... Time to get him some lunch!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Musings on a Sunday morning.

  • I have been really enjoying Pinterest, a new site that touts itself as an electronic bulletin board.  I think of it more like a magazine: I look at pictures, click on things that interest me and go to the sites for more info, and I "pin" things that either look do-able to me, inspire me, or intrigue me.  It is a time waster, true, but it is also a great source of ideas and inspiration!
  • Courtesy of Pinterest, I just found a watercolor artist whose landscapes really speak to my soul. His name is Z. L. Feng, and I adore his work! The colors are amazing and subtle, the play of light, shadow, and water....  I miss open water. I miss my lakes and rivers of home, and I miss the sound of running, moving water. I would love to have one of his prints to grace my wall, where I could look at it and dream.  What an amazing talent he has!
  • It's as close to a perfect winter's day as we get down here, minus snow on the ground.  Clear, blue skies, sunny, and crisp but cold!  It's invigorating, and ennervating, and I want to bundle up and just stand outside and soak up the atmosphere!
  • I continue to read the mystery series centered on Alaska and really wish I could see it "someday." Not sure why it speaks to me as it does, but I love the descriptions of the land, the people, the crafts, the way of life...  God knows I would never make it functioning on subsistence living (killing one's own meat, butchering and processing it, canning, living off the land...  I am too freaked out by dead animals and wouldn't know where to start for the rest!) but the idea of it appeals, especially the reverence held for the elders, and the passing down of ways of life and otherwise lost arts.
  • Reimond's girlfriend lives in Alaska currently, and she just got permission to come down for his Prom in May.  She had lived here (on the airforce base, and went to school with him, which is how they met), and he has been invited to visit her in AK this summer, if we can make it happen.  I hope we can, because it would be an amazing experience for him, and a part of me is jealous at the idea (see above--I'd love to go too!)
  • I learned yesterday that a dear friend who has struggled with health issues of varying sorts may have early stage Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I am in shock, because this news comes out of the blue, a result of an MRI on her brain because of some lasting damage she sustained in a car accident a few years ago.  The damage they found related to the accident would not explain some of the symptoms she is experiencing, but the damage they found would, and is unrelated to the accident but would explain some things she has experienced in the past few years.  I feel so lost right now, because I want to be there to help and support her; I feel helpless to be so far away; I started looking at patterns for things I might make to send her to show my love when I am so far away, and I want to cry, because I am familiar with worst-case scenarios.  This is a degenerative disease that there is no cure for, although everyone experiences it differently, and there are degrees of disability that accompany it.  I am torn because on the one hand I want to scream at God and ask "WHY!!!????" as this friend has had to deal with so many trials and challenges,and it seems so unfair; while on the other hand I find myself trying to accept, knowing that God has his reasons, and we need to trust in his mercy and grace. As I said, I feel so helpless right now as I pray, ponder, and prepare for what will be...
  • I have been thinking a lot about my past (the single parent years) as I go through the various topics under discussion in my current class ("Topics in Child and Adolescent Development"). We are taking a look at development through the filter of a larger lens, that of public policy, law, and social values; a "macrosystems perspective" for those familiar with Bronfenbrenner, or a "multidimensional filter" as discussed by our primary source...  In the past few weeks I have reviewed the effects the economy and economic system affected my ability to parent and my decision-making during those years (child care, paying bills, spending habits, etc), healthcare policies (managed care, how changes in medical benefits created havoc in my budget because of increased co-pays), education polices (how it affected my children's education compared to my own, the differences between MN and IL); and this week's topic is mental health policies, which I am all too familiar with...
  • I have been alternating various projects and trying to spend time on different things. I have returned to knitting on my Evenstar Shawl (such fine yarn!), I have continued to work on backstitching and beading my Lady of Shalott, I still have my second Feb. SKA sock to knit, and I have some sewing I want to do (including a polar fleece hooded jacket I want to make up using my serger!). It's hard to pick and choose things that I can do around Skye, because at times she is adamant in her desire to help me--and I envision her pulling needles out of knitting, unravelling skeins of yarn, and losing pins/needles on sewing...  I am focusing on things that need a minimum of concentration and few supplies when I am on baby duty, and save the more complicated things for when she is napping, sleeping at night, or I am off childcare duties.
  • I have not been on Everquest as much as I would like to be (it's been a week again since I last logged on) because I just haven't had the time/interest in getting involved in anything too time consuming; By the time it gets to be 8:30/9 p.m. all I want to do is get into my jammies, find some simple handwork, watch a little tv, and unwind from the day, not log into a game that will suck me in for hours at a time. That, to me, is the biggest difference between EQ and video games: video games you can play, start and stop at your leisure. EQ moves on, whether you are there or not, and if you get too far behind, you are "lost." I love the social aspect of the game, and the competition of it, but I also like the "soloing" when I can just do what I want to, when I want to. Maybe that's what I will do today: play EQ on my own for a bit! (but I still want to sew too).
  • I have been procrastinating on my meal planning, in part because I never know who is going to be home, and in part because I have been lazy.  I have been making some crockpot dishes lately that I love--fix it and forget it, and eat when everyone is home.  Love that kind of cooking!
  • I went to the BX on Friday afternoon when I was out doing errands, and got some really cute new things for myself at 75% off, in fitted styles (mostly tops), and a maxi skirt that I really like.  Eric said we would go to the winery next weekend for our valentine's day celebration, and I wanted something fun to wear. 
  • Brie, Skye, and Jason are getting ready to take off (didn't realize until a couple of hours ago that I was off babysitting duty--it's a drill weekend after all) so I have the afternoon to myself!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finally Winter?

The temps have dropped to the teens, killing our flowers of early spring...  It's not terrible to have it finally feel like winter for a few days--we might even get some snow that sticks early next week--and I am relieved to say I have finally started to feel better.  I added Nasonex back into my routine of morning meds and it seems to be taking care of the swelling/allergy symptoms side of things.  Love not feeling like my head is gonna explode!

It has been a painful week in many regards.  Brie, who was buying a car online, was the victim of an elaborate scam, and has at this point lost her money and the vehicle she thought se was getting.  The police have been notified, as has been Ebay cars and western union. Hopefully something can be done to stop these horrible people, but in the meantime, she is heartsick and sad.

Aurora too has had some trials.  There are things going on with her bowling team she had concerns about, and because she took it up with the coaches, she and a friend both have a one tournament suspension. It seems unfair, and we are all angry about it on her behalf, but it doesn't feel like there is much that can be done at this point that won't  make things worse, and Aurora is accepting it with good grace, under the circumstances.

Eric is in the process of getting his assignments completed for the term, of which there are two weeks left for him. I am at the midpoint of my term, and am finding this class to be interesting, challenging, and more "global" than I am used to (we need to look at things from the widest lens--the govenrment policy position, and how these things affect the individual and child/adolescent development).  I am unused to looking at things from so broad a perspective, and it has been a challenge to find resources to support or even determine a position on some issues.  The terms seem to be going well for all of our other students (which covers everyone BUT Patrick and Skye, heehee), and we are settling into the routine fairly well.  Dan is helping with transportation for the nonce because Brie's current car needs some work, and he is headed to basic training sometime in March. We are enjoying having the full house, but sometimes it does feel a bit chaotic, especially around mealtimes, and headcounts are not always reliable.

Liisa and Zack are coming down the first weekend in March.  It will be his first time here, and he hasn't done too much traveling.  I am thinking Mascoutah may be a bit of a shock to him! He is a city boy through and through. Tony and Andrea closed on their house and have moved their belongings in.  I am so excited for them, and I cannot wait to see it!

That's the scoop from around here for now...  Time for more coffee and returning to the books!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spring, already?

I am not sure where winter went, and as long as I am bragging about it being so nice we will probably be slammed with nastiness in the near future, but I am loving the mildness of the days of late.  Hard to believe it was over the months of January and now early February!

We had some exciting news this week: Liisa is engaged to Zack Bakke, her boyfriend of 6 months. He bought her a lovely ring, and they got engaged on the 31st. She is quite happy and it's so nice to hear her sounding so excited! They haven't set a date yet, and we haven't really talked much about future plans; she is just basking in the glow of the moment.

Tony is supposed to close on his house soon too, although they had a minor catastrophe there: the hot water tank apparently exploded and flooded the basement; no one is sure how long the water was flowing for because the house has been empty for about 6 months, and he thinks it's been closer to 4 since he last walked through it.  The assessor for the closing is the one who found it, so that assessment has been rescheduled for after the problem gets fixed.  Tony is also starting a new job soon, one in his field of welding (that he went to school for and got certified in) and he is thrilled with the idea of regular hours and a dependable paycheck (versus working on commission). Life is looking good for all the kids.

Skye went and played at the park today with her mother and had a ball with some little ones she met there.  Still isn't sure what to do on the equipment, but she is eager to try and so far really likes the slide. She was supposed to get shots today at her new clinic (on base) but Brie was late for the appointment so they rescheduled it for the 14th.  Oh joy!  She needs shots, and I am curious about how much she has grown since the last time I took her in.  She has certainly slimmed down and gotten leaner--looks so much like a tiny girl rather than a baby, with her curls and her blue eyes.  She is trying hard to pick up words, and she is quite the mimic.

I still haven't finished the stuff to send out my resume yet.  Not sure why I am dragging my feet, because I need to get going on it.  I just get sidetracked onto other things and then shake my head.  I don't like it that I am procrastinating, especially now that I have things pretty well set and sounding good. I just need to fine tune my cover letter, and take it from there.

I am still trying to work on my weight loss.  Still haven't hit the 15 lb loss mark yet, but am really close.  I see changes, and that's all to the good.  Just wish I could lose faster...  I know that isn't healthy, but I feel like such a failure sometimes when I just putz along, .2 lbs at a time...  It's like my body is fighting to stay where it's at and not let me be "smaller".

I still am really wanting/needing to get away for a day or weekend.  I am feeling cabin-feverish. Aurora has my van now to go back and forth to school and bowling practice etc, and that limits my ability to come and go as I'd like. Brie was home today and it would have been really fun to go to embroidery club at Jackman's but that couldn't happen because I had no way to get there.  I am trying to be patient--and I really appreciate not being the taxi service, but at least when I was taxi service I was also free to come and go as I pleased, with Skye readily in tow. Now, not so much!  I am finding myself staying in my nightgown til noon, something I really don't like in myself, and even when I dress, it's in sloppy clothes (like sweats and tees) with no makeup and my hair in a ponytail.  I miss putting on makeup and doing my hair, but right now it's like "why bother? No one is gonna see me, might as well be comfortable."  I need a good haircut, and my bangs are down past my nose, sorta, so I have been pinning them back.  I have been toying with growing them out, but they annoy me so when they flop in my face, so I pin 'em back and ignore them.  I really am quite hopeless right now!

Brie is headed for class pretty soon (she has to be there at 4) and I have Skye through her bedtime.  It should be an ok evening though, and Skye has been such a sweetheart lately.  I guess that is all I wanted to chat about today!