Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm currently lounging on the couch with my left foot up and my laptop in my lap. My left foot is up because I sprained my ankle Tuesday night playing soccer. I managed to very gracefully run into another player and got stepped on, flipping my foot under sideways with a lovely accompanying crunching sound. I didn't break anything at least, but have a pretty plastic aircast to wear for the next few days or weeks. At least I can hobble around without crutches today, and the swelling on the side of my ankle is down to golf ball size.

Yes, I'm going to be looking hot tonight when I throw on the Valentine's Day nightie and have a big plastic cast over the white knee sock on one foot. The nightie is my gift to Hubby. He doesn't like chocolate or cologne (which I figured out soon after our first Valentine's Day together. Those are the special gifts I bought him. His roommate very much appreciated them!) and doesn't wear jewelry other than his wedding band and a watch. I don't try to buy him electronics, as he knows what he likes and tends to buy those things for himself. So, he's getting a nightie. The plastic ankle cast is a pleasant extra.

Time to go get Harrison, then we'll head to Hutton's school for his Valentine's Day party, so I can keep him from eating all of the gluten and dairy-filled crap they're going to be serving.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Exciting Times

I just got off the phone with Hubby. He never calls home during the day, unless he's going to be late. But, since it was only 1:45, that didn't seem likely. I answered and the first thing he said was, "Eddie Money is performing two shows at the Skagit Valley Casino!" He had to get up early this morning to go to a meeting in Seattle, and didn't get enough sleep, so I think he's feeling crazy and manic. I told him I wasn't sure we'd be able to get tickets, as I'm sure they're going quick, and he answered, "Whatever will be will be." Then he told me he's going to Arby's. Lucky guy! And yes, he was joking about wanting to see Eddie Money. See above about lack of sleep.


What else to report? Yep, the blog title is in the ironic sense, as always. I took Harrison to his soccer class this morning. It's our new Tuesday routine, since he doesn't have school on Tuesdays. At his water break, he told me, "Soccer is hard!" I agreed with him and told him it takes lots of practice. They took team and individual pictures in their uniforms after class. Harrison's jersey comes to his knees, so looks like a nice soccer dress on him.

Afterwards, we went to lunch at a taco place, and they were playing amazing music. Stuff from the 70s that had my feet tapping the whole time. Not classic rock, though. The cheesy disco and pop hits. Like this, my fave song when I was four. Who am I kidding? I totally have to get this on my MP3 player, now. Seeing the musicians for the first time -- wow! That hair! Especially the drummer, at 3:19. And that vest! I'm getting flushed.

Came home and got Hutton from the bus, got his lunch and latest round of meds -- we're currently chelating with DMSA and ALA, and I'm doing it, too. We'll see if this helps my brain function better! Hutton's verbal skills seem to be improving steadily, but it's hard to tell, since I'm with him all the time.

Other than the DMSA and ALA, I'm doing anti-yeast therapy, thinking my excessive craving for chocolate at 10 every night might be out of my control, and actually the little beasts running my body. (Plus when you chelate, you tend to stir up yeast, as well. Toxic metals and yeast! Sounds fun, doesn't it? Don't be too jealous of my glamorous life.) Reminds me of the "Plankton!" episode of SpongeBob where Plankton takes over SpongeBob's mind, literally.

OK, I've provided you with a killer song to get stuck in your head. Time to go get some stuff done around the house. Is it too early for chocolate? But the yeast...must have chocolate!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Obligations, or Why I Need to Screen All Phone Calls

I have this friend. I use the term loosely, as I only see her a couple of times a year. She's nice and all, but she's not someone I'm terribly close to. I met her in a local online group I joined years ago. This group would get together to exercise and do outdoor activities.

At the beginning, our little group would get together for hikes, bike rides, roller blading, snowshoeing, etc. Four of us trained for our first triathlon together, and two went on to do longer triathlons, but I was content to rest of my laurels and not have to run anything longer than a 10K, ever. (I really don't like running anymore, which I reinforce anytime I go to the gym and struggle to get myself to just do the elliptical for 25 minutes. I ran cross country and distance events in track in high school, so I think I got it out of my system then. I will grant you that it's great exercise, but I can't do the whole mind over matter thing anymore!)

This was the group that introduced me to my good friend Amy, who also has a son with Autism, born a month before Hutton. We got together two or three times a week when we were pregnant to do water aerobics at the local pool, then to eat lunch at a Chinese restaurant. After both of our sons were diagnosed, I thought a lot about our pool sessions and lunches, and wonder if they had something to do with it. The heavily chlorinated public pool? The possibly MSG-laced food? Who knows! Anything is possible. Of course, I also think my eight mercury-laden fillings had a lot to do with it, and Amy has a lot of tattoos, and who knows what is in those. Amy was the one who helped me figure out where to go to get a diagnosis, as the wait lists to just get a diagnosis were months long, and when you're trying to get started helping treat Autism, having to wait six months to just be told, "Yep, your son does have Autism. We don't have anything we can do about it. You can sign up for our ABA treatment, but there's a year-long wait for that. Buh-bye." Anyway, Amy found a neurologist in Tacoma, about an hour and half south of here, who didn't have a wait list and was willing to provide a piece of paper saying, "This child may or may not have Autism, but here's a piece of paper that says he does so he can get on some wait lists for treatment." Actually, the piece of paper got Hutton into the early intervention program and speech therapy, so that was nice to have as we waited on ABA treatment.

Back to my other friend. She joined this group a few years ago, when the group had moved to meeting mostly for social reasons a few times a year, rather than for exercise a few times a month. Yes, we've evolved. Every once in a while, someone new will join and realize we're not really an exercise group anymore. They either get annoyed and leave, and, as one person did, rate us as an abysmal exercise group when posting for the last time, or say, "Fine, I like social stuff. I'm in!" We email regularly, and keep up with each other's lives, and some of us do still exercise, but that's not really our focus anymore. So, this friend recently emailed all of us some information about this program she and her husband were involved in. It has something to do with "excellence" and I don't think it's in the Bill and Ted sense. Needless to say, I don't want to have anything to do with excellence. I'm fine with mediocrity. Really, I've come to terms with that. I'm 34, I have two kids, some pets, get on to blog about my life a couple of times a week, and make extra money mystery shopping. I don't think any of that needs to moved to the next level. I did all of my excellence in school, and by the time I got to college, I started focusing on procrastination, which led me to mediocrity.

I was fine ignoring the email, thinking, "No thanks. Delete." Then, it happened. The phone call. A week ago, on Super Bowl Sunday, The Friend called. Fortunately, our phone wasn't working for some reason, because if I had had to answer the phone during the game to listen to her talk about the Conference for Excellence or whatever it's called, I might have been pissed. (She's Canadian, which is why she thought it was OK to call a person on Super Bowl Sunday.) After the game, I went upstairs and noticed a voice mail message, then figured out our phone wasn't working. I listened to the voice mail. It sounded ominous: "Laura this is The Friend. Can you please call me?" What is going on? The Friend never calls me. We communicate solely by email. Something must have happened! I didn't even think about Excellence. I went out to the car to get my cell phone, and called her back.

She told me about The Conference. There was a free introductory session at a hotel downtown on Wednesday night. Amy was going. I wondered if Amy really wanted to go, or if she was suckered in out of niceness. Amy has more backbone than I, so she might have actually wanted to go. I listened politely, then came up with my ace, "That sounds good. I have to check my calendar to see when my book club meeting is. I'm out in the car right now, but I'll go check it later." The next couple of days, I wondered if I should lie about my book club meeting being the same night as the conference, or if I should actually go. I did the classic Laura: I lied. But hey, that was night of the Duke-Carolina game, and I'd much rather watch that on TV than go to some conference!

I thought I was free. And then...another phone call! This one even worse than a call on Super Bowl Sunday. She called at 9 a.m. this morning. Friday morning. The one weekday morning I get to sleep in, as the boys don't have school and will usually keep themselves entertained until at least 9:30 before they start demanding food. I answered in my sleepy voice, but apparently The Friend, who is a psychologist, doesn't know when she's woken someone up. We made small talk for a minute, then she told me about ANOTHER introductory session. How was Tuesday the xth? Phew! Soccer night! "Oh, no, that's my soccer night." Hallelujah! Saved by soccer. Wait, she's countering. "How's Wednesday the xth?" Damn! Damn! "Hold on. I have to go check my calendar." I walked into the office, trying not to audibly sigh to let her know how damn annoying this was, to be awakened by a phone call pertaining to something I have absolutely no interest in. I looked at my calendar. Nothing. I was thinking, "That's probably actually going to be a book club night, as they're usually the second Wednesday of the month, but I already used that excuse, and it was the first Wednesday of the month. Would she buy it?" Sigh. I said, "My calendar is free. That will work for me!" faking enthusiasm. The Friend asked if I wanted to meet her and Amy beforehand for dinner. Sure, sounds great. Then she sealed my doom: "I'm glad that you're interested in doing this, since it's something I'm very involved in!" or something like that.

I really don't know anything about this stuff, but I feel like I'm about to step into a pyramid scheme or religious cult or something. Oh well, I have a month and a half to come up with an excuse. I don't think I'll use appendicitis, since I still have my appendix, and if I lied about that, I would probably be stricken with real appendicitis on the night of the next introductory meeting.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Post #2 - My Night of TV

Well, if you consider Sunday the first day of the week, I didn't post at least two times this week. However, if you consider Sunday the final day of the week, as I usually do -- you know, that day of rest and contemplation I take after a hard week of working nine to five, er, nevermind -- then this will be post number 2! And the first post for February!

How is it already February? I spent far too many hours in January sitting on my fattening butt (meaning, my butt is getting fatter, though I'm sure if a cannibal were to eat me, he'd find my gluteal cuts to be pretty well marbled). February hasn't been much different. I'm in the process of re-knitting the sweater I finished, as it was just too ugly to wear. I have two sleeves to reknit, as well as a few more inches of the lower torso. Sadly, I've had to knit in front of a TV that has offered very poor viewing of late. When I get into a knitting groove, I have to get to a good stopping point, and that often means I will watch anything on TV as I do so. Friday night, I watched the premiere of Eli Stone, which I had recorded Thursday night, followed by 20/20, the local news, Nightline, Jimmy Kimmel, and then finished off by watching an infomercial about the Collector's Edition of the Carol Burnett Show available on DVD. Yep, once I get to watching infomercials I know I've stayed up too late. And I really didn't have too much to show for my knitting, as I'd done a lot of frogging that night - ripping stitches from the sweater so I could re-knit it.

The TV started out well - Eli Stone is another lawyer show (wait, there are TV shows that focus on lawyers? Really?) but the central case on the premiere involved a woman suing a pharmaceutical company for causing her son's autism by having "Mercuritol" in its vaccines. Hmm. Nothing I recognize in that. Of course, the American Academy of Pediatrics had a kitten and forced ABC to post a note at the end of the show that the preceding was in fact, fiction, and that if you want information on autism, please go to the CDC website. Yep, the CDC has lots of bullshit good information on autism, I'm sure! I'll go check. Let's see, they have these choice quotes:

Entertainment-based television shows can be a source of education for viewers, but should not be a primary source for health and medical information. We understand this program may cause concern among parents, so we urge parents to speak with their child's physician or health care provider.

Extensive reviews of the scientific and medical evidence have concluded that recommended childhood vaccines do not cause autism or autism spectrum disorders. At CDC, we place a high priority on vaccine safety and the integrity and credibility of our vaccine safety research, and we are fully committed to the health and well-being of children.

I don't know about you, but if I saw something on TV on a fictional show the piqued my interest, I'd probably do more research on it, even before I spoke to my child's physician. Did you know that some things you hear on TV aren't true? Some things you read on the Internet aren't true either! Golly! Sometimes you have to think for yourself people! But this: they place a high priority on vaccine safety. So, is that why there's never been research into the effects of all of the current recommended vaccines on babies and young children? Vaccines are typically given together -- several vaccines at one time. Have they researched the safety of multiple vaccines given at the same time? Oh, I'm just sure they have. Sarcasm. And why most flu vaccines, which are recommended for babies and pregnant women, still contain mercury, a neurotoxin? And most other vaccines may still contain trace amounts of mercury? Oh, but I'm sure small amounts of mercury are just fine for those babies. I mean, sure pregnant women shouldn't eat tuna fish because of the mercury they might ingest, but mercury is perfectly safe when injected in small amounts. Right? Those other ingredients -- including aluminum and formaldehyde, aren't exactly my idea of healthy treats, either.

I found the show entertaining, but don't know if I'll become a regular viewer. Then again, it's not like there's a lot of other things to watch right now!

I have lots more to write, but will now go take a shower so we can go out to eat lunch without offending anyone with my greasy hair. I'll be back later.


I'm back. We went to lunch, and now I'm watching the Super Bowl. I'm pulling for the Patriots, since I grew up in Massachusetts.

Back to my earlier talk. So, after watching Eli Stone, I watched 20/20, which was about Amanda Knox, an American student from the UW who was arrested for murder while studying abroad in Italy. She's currently in prison in Italy. Thinking about this, along with the latest in the Natalee Holloway case (a Dutch investigator taped Joran Van der Sloot confessing to her killing, though of course, Van der Sloot claims now he was lying) I am thinking if I had a daughter, I wouldn't let her travel in a foreign country without a trusted male chaperone. I traveled to Europe when I was a junior in college. I was on a program in London, but arrived a few weeks early to do some traveling. I flew to London, then took a ferry to Belgium, and traveled by train to Germany to visit friends. This was before the ubiquity of cell phones, and when I first arrived on the continent, I wasn't able to contact my mother by phone for several hours, then when I arrived in Berlin, my friends weren't where they were supposed to be and there was bit of craziness until we met up a few hours later. My mother knew about this because I phoned her asking if she'd heard from my friends. Needless to say, Mom was freaked. Did I mention I didn't even speak German? Ahh, good times. But, I wasn't murdered or accused of murder. And I realize thousands of American girls and young women manage to travel independently every day without dying or being imprisoned, but still, if I had a daughter...scratch that. I don't think I'll even let my sons travel alone if the day ever comes, unless they are third degree blackbelts and have good street smarts.

So, after 20/20, I watched the local news, which went on about Amanda Knox, since her family lives in the Seattle area, and about the huge amount of snow in the mountain passes, which sounds good for skiing, but is not, as it meant the main roads were closed for avalanche control. The ski mountain we usually go to didn't have any electricity yesterday, for that matter, so even though the roads were re-opened, you still couldn't ski.

Nightline was about an obese 4-year-old girl and her family. The girl weighs 105 pounds. Hutton, who is 6, weighs 42 pounds. Given, Hutton is a boy, and slim, but still. It seems obvious that this girl has some underlying medical issues, but her mother said they have had her tested and not come up with anything. When not demanding food, the daughter was throwing tantrums and yelling at her mother. It was hard to watch. It showed the mom grocery shopping with her daughter, and filling the cart with things like Top Ramen. Man, that sent chills up my spine. If nothing else, this family should try a diet of NO processed foods, and cutting the sugar. I know it's hard. My boys eat too many "healthy" junk snacks - granola bars and fruit leather are faves, but they're still just sugar to the body. I have been wanting to change our diet to more of a cave man style - meats and veggies, no processed foods, grains or dairy. I think the boys and I would greatly benefit from it, but it means pretty much no eating out, no "easy" dinners on those nights I don't feel like cooking -- wait, do I ever feel like cooking? -- and most importantly, the end of my latte habit. Right now, Hutton is gluten, casein, corn and egg free. The corn is the real hard thing to eliminate, as corn syrup is in so much, but it is possible. I hope the family on Nightline can come up with some solutions so their daughter can grow to be a healthy adult.

Jimmy Kimmel - Not much I remember, other than the Sarah Silverman video here, which I found quite amusing.

As for the Carol Burnett infomercial? I don't really remember her show from childhood, though I think I was usually playing with toys while the reruns provided background noise. I do remember and have always liked the Went With The Wind sketch - Carol as Scarlett O'Hara with the dress made from drapes, complete with curtain rod. The infomercial didn't get me to order the DVD, though. So, I'm not that desperate for entertainment, yet. Sure, I'll watch an infomercial at 1 a.m., but those are free!

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