29 February 2008

A Message From "God"

While in the bathroom attending to certain business, I heard from the other side of the door a deep booming voice, "Mom? This is God. Not Evan. I want you to go to Toys R Us and buy some toys. Again, this is God. Not Evan."

Nice try, "God."

27 February 2008

My New Look For Spring

This is, according to an article/pictorial in Harper's Bazaar, what should be in every woman's wardrobe this Spring. Really.

Quite a statement to make at Wal-Mart or pre-school pick-up.

I think I hurt myself laughing too hard.

26 February 2008

Ah, 1970's TV. The Spice of Life.

Last night WILL, between money-begging jags, aired two episodes of a five-part documentary called, Pioneers of Television. The chapter I happened to watch was about variety shows.

I thought the program did a fairly good job of (very) briefly covering Ed Sullivan and Arthur Godfrey, Your Show of Shows, the Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Laugh-In (Nickelodeon aired reruns of Laugh-In in the late 80's on Nick at Nite. I remember being in college and just devouring this show. I loved it.) and others. Ed Sullivan could've had an hour devoted just to him alone.

What I liked about this show, aside from the nostalgia factor, were the interviews with Sid Caesar, Dick Van Dyke, Pat Harrington ("Schneider" from One Day At A Time, who worked on the Ed Sullivan show), Tim Conway, Johnathan Winters, Andy Williams, Carol Burnett and Phyllis Diller. As a viewer I got a sense of history and, for me, this episode about variety shows was way too short and could've used more video clips. I wanted more than the hour could give me.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the variety show. I am a child of the 1970's and spent my formative television viewing years watching Sesame Street, The New Zoo Review, Mr. Rogers, The Electric Company and variety shows. It seemed that every known celebrity had a show at one time or another. In the 90's everyone got a talk show. In the 70's everyone got a variety show. The format was basically the same: "a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants" (musical numbers, dancing, and sketch comedy).

Variety shows I watched as a kid:

The Carol Burnett Show
Hee Haw (Which, surprisingly, was not mentioned at all in the documentary. It was a summer replacement for The Smothers Brothers Show and was meant to be a rural Laugh-In and aired for 4 years on CBS.)
Tony Orlando and Dawn
Sonny and Cher (glossed over completely)
The Jackson 5
Donny and Marie (I was a die-hard Donny and Marie fan. I had the dolls, the records, loved purple. The first concert I ever went to was to see the Osmond Family at the Illinois State Fair. The only thing I can remember of the concert was that a lady sitting a couple rows in front of us got a paper airplane stuck in her bouffant.)
Shields and Yarnell(Only in the 70's could mimes have had their own show.)
The Flip Wilson Show
Glenn Campbell
Tim Conway
Howard Cosell (Yep, the famous sports announcer had a short-lived show.)
Captain & Tennille
Barbara Mandrell & the Mandrell Sisters
The Muppet Show (Far and away the best, in my book. It still holds up after almost 30 years.)

A couple years ago Wayne Brady tried and failed to resuscitate the variety show format. Too bad, really. The world could use more song and dance numbers.

But maybe not so much Tony Orlando or mimes.

23 February 2008

Dare I Say It?

I do believe my home is illness-free.

Knock on any wood or wood-like substance you have handy.

Flynn has been fever less for 3 days now and had the last dose of zithromax today. She's been able to sleep entire nights, thank God, and last night I was able to sleep in my own bed (I had been bunking with her in the guest room in case she needed me). She still has a bit of a cough but otherwise she's back to her old spunky, occasionally sassy and defiant, self.

There has been no vomiting by anyone in this house, including the cat, since Wednesday.

It seemed like this day would never come but it's here.

It's about damn time.

22 February 2008

21 February 2008

Separated At Birth?

I've thought this for a while now: Maria Shriver looks suspiciously like Skeletor from the "He Man" cartoon.

20 February 2008

This Is The First Time I've Ever Said This, But...

February sucks it big time. And in a major way.

My family has been plagued by illness after illness.

Last night as I was trying to get my daughter to go to sleep, I heard this god-awful sound - something akin to someone pushing a heavy piece of furniture across a wood floor or a walrus cutting loose.

It was neither of those things.

My son was vomiting all over the bathroom floor.


After getting him (and the bathroom) cleaned up and put to bed, all my husband and I could do was laugh. We certainly weren't laughing at our poor boy, but at the situation. We just can't catch a break from those evil little germs.

Evan was up several times during the night with diarrhea. So he's home from school today.

If it weren't 5 degrees out I'd open all the windows and air out the house. I may do that anyway.

Internally, I'm having a very Basil Fawlty-like tantrum, resulting in a killer migrane.

Eff you, February, you sucky month you. Take your germs and microbes and whatnot and get the hell out.

19 February 2008

The Saga of Illness Continues...

I was at Convenient Care bright and early this morning with my daughter. Her cough has gotten worse and she could barely sleep last night.

The nurse practitioner listened to Flynn's chest and declared, "I'd like to have a chest x-ray done since her lungs don't sound right."

I was floored. Never did I suspect this was coming.

So Flynn had some "pictures" taken of her lungs by a lovely older woman who reminded both of us of her Friday morning class teacher, Ms. Pam.

Well, the x-rays were ready in no time (gotta love digital technology) and Flynn has (drum roll, please) pneumonia.

Yep, pneumonia.

She's currently on a regimen of Zithromax and Benedryl.

If you have some good thoughts to spare send them our way would you?

18 February 2008

Freedom, Sweet Freedom

Yippee! I got to go outside today for the first time since last Thursday!

My daughter's still fighting the crud - her temp's still over 101 and she has a cough and is congested (but flat-out refuses to blow her nose, go figure). I'm wondering if I should take her into Convenient Care tomorrow a.m. since there's no way she's going to school.

Hubby had the day off today so I could escape for a few hours and my son went to a day-long camp sponsored by his karate studio.

I went to the gym and had a great cardio session but could really tell there'd been 4 days between workouts (my quads are still a teeny bit tight). Elliptical machine + bike ride = a happy misc.

Then I went to World Market. It's a shame that place is closing - it's the only place in town where I can find my favorite candy bar, Cadbury's delicious Curly Wurly, which is very much like the old Marathon bars of the '70's - chocolate covered caramel. What's not to love? I also really like their selection of Republic of Tea teas.

Also went to the grocery store as we were in desperate need of apples, bananas, and brownie mix. Apparently, I was not aware my home was devoid of brownies until I saw that IGA has them on sale for $1 a box.

So Flynn and I made fudgey brownies. Mmmmm. A little bit of freedom never tasted so sweet.

16 February 2008

Two Pair On The Floor Now

The day went well, I guess. As well as it could with 2 sick children - one camped out in my bedroom so he could watch movies and be close to a bathroom, and the other on the family room couch so she could be close to the cat (that's what she told me - "I don't want to leave Bootsie alone"). In lieu of the gym I got my exercise tramping up and down the stairs bringing books, stuffed animals, water and/or melba toast, an occasional dose of fever reducer and ample cuddles.

Both of my active children, who won't nap for anything, slept at some point in the day. That tells you how wiped out they were.

Best part of the day? Evan apologizing for vomiting, "I'm sorry I threw up in your toilet, Mom."

Just when I thought we were in the clear (nobody had barfed in about 4 hours), Flynn vomited all over the couch. Frank had just gotten home to drop off some much-needed items fully intending to go back to work, but then had to take Flynn up for a bath while I hosed down the couch. So that scuttled his plans for the evening and he stayed home and took Evan to bed.

Usually, when Flynn gets a stomach bug she pukes every hour on the hour for about 6 hours. She's never been sick during the day - always at night. Which means neither one of us sleeps (well, she does until she's sick again while I just stay up). In anticipation of this, I set up an air mattress in the family room. I figured that while she slept, I could at least watch some TV (Why does TV suck so much after 9 p.m. on Friday night? I guess that's a good case for DV-R, which we don't have).

Around 10:30 she woke up and said she wanted to go back to her own bed. I was happy to oblige, but bunked with her in the guest room. Her fever was over 103 and I wanted to be with her in case she threw up again. She fell asleep with her barf bowl on one side and me on the other, holding my hand. Fortunately, Flynn did not throw up after the initial purge. We were both up a lot during the night and she woke up before 7 a.m. wanting to go downstairs. She was very happy to watch a dog show on Animal Planet while I curled up in a chair and dozed between breeds (she had to know what kind each dog was and declared that one day she'll have "5 Skippy John Joneses" [chihuahuas]).

Luckily, Evan slept like the dead. He really needed it and he feels better today (no vomiting) but still is weak with very little appetite (this from a boy whose every other sentence is, "I'm hungry.") and he looks a little gray.

Wish me luck as I head into my second day of double-duty nursemaiding (I don't think that's a word, but cut me some slack - I'm riding on very little sleep).

15 February 2008

The Other Other Shoe

Evan woke up at 5:30 this a.m. vomiting. At least he made it to the bathroom before blowing chunks on the floor.

And now things are coming out both ends.

I guess the bright side is that there's no school today.

14 February 2008


That's the sound of the other shoe falling.

The one I've been waiting for all week.

Since the hubby and I were sick, I've been wondering when the kids would fall.

Looks like Flynn's the first to go. Earlier this evening, over a Valentine's Day dinner of chicken nuggets, she said she was cold and that she wanted a blanket. After her bath she was shivering. While she was indulging in some Dora, she curled up under the blankets on my bed and almost nodded off. So I thought to see if she had a fever. Her temp clocked in at a shade over 102.

Ah, this may explain the tantrum outside Walgreen's yesterday. She just wasn't feeling herself. That, or she was just mightily pissed off that Mommy was being very mean by not buying her make-up (that she could then smear on the couch).


No school for her tomorrow (no haircut for me, either).

I wonder when her brother's going to get it...

13 February 2008

Love Love Love

I love them.
I love them.
I love them.

There are days when I repeat that little mantra over and over and over. Days when there is no end to the shit my kids will pull to test the boundaries lovingly cast by me and their father.

Flynn wiped little girl make-up all over the couch (which is a complete bitch to get out of micro-suede, let me tell you).

(deep breath)

I love her.
I love her.
I love her.

Evan called me selfish because I refused to go out and get him a Nintendo DS just because he wants one.

(another deep breath)

I love him.
I love him.
I love him.

Flynn threw a massive temper tantrum (full on kicking, screaming, scratching, shoe-flinging) at Walgreen's because I wouldn't "buy her kid make-up RIGHT NOW!"

(great big huge deep breath)

I love her.
I love her.
I love her.

Evan gave his sister a wedgie then tried to tell me "she started it."

And then they wrap their arms around me and say, "Mommy? You're the best mommy in the whole wide world."

And, oh, how I do love them.
Love them.
Love them.
With that feral tenacity, that wild abandon that overwhelms the anger and brings me to tears.

12 February 2008

All Are Welcome

My husband and I are very happily ensconced in our nerdiness.

Frank is a long-time comic book reader and collector. He also collects comic book related toys, Star Wars toys and Star Wars sculptures. His area of the basement is affectionately known as "The Android's Dungeon", after the comic store in The Simpsons. I also call it "Gamer's Paradise" and "Fan Boy Land". He spent a week designing and building custom shelving to house his collections of plastic and paper. If you've ever set foot in a comic book store, you'll get an idea of what Frank's area looks like. Frank also has a superpower: he can turn any conversation into one about comic books and/or superheroes. It's a fun party trick.

As a kid, I read my fair share of comics - mostly Wonder Woman, Archie and Richie Rich digests. I also read my dad's stash of horror comics from the late-50's (the few that survived the great purge of 1960 when my grandmother threw out all of his comic and baseball card collections after he moved to college. I don't think he ever forgave her for that.). As a teen, a dear friend introduced me to Dave Sims' incredible Cerebus the Aardvark, an indie comic that remains one of my fave reads. In our 20's he would hand me an issue of Neil Gaiman's epic Sandman comic, titled "Dream of a Thousand Cats," which would make me a die-hard Gaiman fan. That man could write box copy for bran flakes and I would buy it. He's brilliant.

Our family vacations are planned around the comic book convention in Chicago. We're contemplating going to San Diego this year to the country's premier comic book convention.

Our son is named after comic book writer/artist, Evan Dorkin, creator of the hilarious Milk & Cheese. Incidentally, Evan could name the members of the Justice League before he knew his ABC's. That's right, we know what our priorities are.

So that's the back story.

Not so long ago Frank and I had the following conversation:

Frank: I just saw the coolest episode of "Mythbusters"! It was all about superheroes! I indulged my inner nerd.

Misc: Inner?

Frank: Okay, outer.

Misc: How about all?

Frank: The all-nerd? I am the All-Nerd!

Misc: (doing a fair impression of the creepy little old lady from "Poltergeist") All are welcome! All are welcome! Come into the light of the All-Nerd!

Both dissolve into fits of giggles.

11 February 2008

I Heart Euro-Mart

Went to one of my favorite places in Champaign today: Euro-Mart, an international grocery store on Springfield Ave.

This tiny little store crams more yummy goodness into its square footage than seems possible. The bread and date-filled cookies are fresh from the baker, the cheeses are plentiful and delicious and there are more olives than you can shake a stick at, which in my book is a good thing.

I'm not necessarily a foodie, but I love going to grocery stores especially ones that are stocked with all kinds of exotic goodies. One of my favorite things to do on any vacation is check out the local grocery store (I bought Jelly Babies in bulk in Ireland). My husband has indulged this quirk of mine in Toronto, Ontario and various states in the U.S.

Anyhoo, I digress. There are two reasons why I like shopping at Euro-Mart more than any other international grocery in C-U. One: Euro-Mart carries a salami my kids and husband adore, one I thought we'd only be able to get when we visit my MIL in Chicago. The salami itself is made in IL (my MIL buys her's from the maker, Bendi) so it's not like the stuff comes direct from Hungary but I could never find it downstate until I ventured into Euro-Mart.

And two: the guys that work at Euro-Mart are friendly and open, not like at World Harvest (another international grocery store I like). For example, a couple of months ago I was in with my daughter and while we were paying for our things the guy behind the counter gave Flynn a lollipop (she thought that was pretty awesome) and today the credit card machine was taking longer than usual so the guy discounted my total by 10% for waiting. Talk about customer service!

Euro-Mart is small on space but packed to the gills with great, not-easy-to-find international food and offers second-to-none customer service. I love this store.

10 February 2008

It's Good To Be (Mostly) Back

The good: my kids are healthy (knock on wood) and have remained so despite the fact that...

The bad: my husband was ill with the flu from last Sat. evening until, well, he's still got a cough but went back to work on Thursday.

The ugly: I came down with said flu beginning on Wed. I could not get warm to save my life. I mean I was teeth-chatteringly cold and shivering even though I was wearing a sweater and had a blanket draped over my head. Thursday I woke up and called in to preschool telling the director I wasn't taking my daughter anywhere because I didn't want to spread my sick germs to the other kids. Then I reversed that position and headed straight to convenient care for a rapid strep test. My throat felt like I was swallowing shards of glass and I wanted to be sure. The test came back negative and the doc told me to try Theraflu, an OTC concoction that she takes when she gets sick. So, off to the grocery store I go in search of Theraflu, Co-Co Wheats (excellent comfort food), and movies. My daughter and I rented 3 from the Red Box dispenser at our local County Market: Hairspray (the new musical), a SpongeBob video, and a collection of animated storybooks (if you've not viewed any of the Scholastic Video collections, you should). Once we were home, I changed out of my yoga pants and t-shirt back into my comfy jammies, fixed up some Co-Co Wheats and Theraflu, grabbed our videos and high-tailed it to the cozy confines of my bedroom. Flynn settled in next to me and we watched movie after movie. I got up only to change the DVD or get something for Flynn to eat and/or drink. I think I dozed off during SpongeBob. And I definitely snoozed during "Ralph S. Mouse". Luckily, it was not my day to drive for the carpool to bring Evan home from school and Frank came home early from work bringing dinner.

Friday I had Flynn stay home from her park district program and she and I loafed around - she playing quietly downstairs while I stayed in bed for most of the morning. I have to say, she was a real trooper while her 'ole mom was not fun to be around.

Yesterday, I had more energy and could actually breathe through my nose (quite an accomplishment, I assure you). Flynn even said, "Mommy, your voice is back to normal today." So what did I do? I hosted a birthday party for my son at the local children's museum. My 2 kids plus 14 others. It was fun - the kids had a blast and best of all, they weren't at my house. And we were home before 1:30 in the afternoon. Not fully recovered, I retired to the bed to rest. I didn't actually sleep since Evan and I played Lego Star Wars on the X-Box 360 for a while. Flynn played with her Polly Pockets next to us.

Today finds me more energetic than yesterday, but still occasionally hacking up a lung between loads of laundry, picking up toys, and helping Evan when he gets stuck building a Lego contraption. I'm not 100%, but I'm getting there.

My husband's kind of surprised that I'm up and about quicker than he was. I'm not. I'm a mom. 'Nuff said.

04 February 2008

A Sad State of Affairs

Monday-Thursday, after I drop off my daughter at her preschool, I head to the gym (unless I'm scheduled to work in her classroom). My gym is located in a mall. I have very fond memories of this mall - it's where, as a child, I did my Christmas shopping with my dad or played on/inside the huge stone whale and brass bears by the main entrance while waiting for my mom to finish her shopping. As a teenager, if I didn't have to work at my job at my hometown's pizzeria, I would hang out either there or at Record Swap on Green Street.

So you can imagine the disappointment I felt when I saw water cascading down the wall of the front entrance with nothing to stop it except for a sign that said "Wet Floor". There were also buckets strategically placed throughout the mall to catch water from the leaking roof. One can see the water damage on the ceiling. Lincoln Square Village has certainly seen better days. It used to be a bustling place. When it opened in 1964, it was the first enclosed shopping mall in the state of Illinois and was anchored first by Robeson's (and later Bergner's), TG & Y drug store, Record Service, International Galleries, Art Mart and a wide variety of other stores. Only a small fraction remain. The Radio Shack, Record Service and TG & Y are long gone. Art Mart and International Galleries are the mall's main draw, I think, as far as shopping goes. It's sad to see this building fall into such disrepair. It's like this little mall, once the only gig in town, is hanging on by a thread. CAUTION: Old Lady I-remember-when remark on the way - I remember when Market Place was built. I could see it go up from across the cornfield from my dad's backyard. Once it opened I believe that was the death knell for Lincoln Square. Don't get me wrong. I love Lincoln Square. I just wish more businesses felt the same. But I don't think the residents of this community are willing to let it go, thank God. There is a sense of inclusion at Lincoln Square that one certainly doesn't get at Market Place. Lincoln Square Village invites you to linger. You are a welcome and vital part of the Village.

So I invite you to check out Lincoln Square, if you haven't already. Piato, in the food court, has great food (as does Art Mart and Milo's). Buy some Illini wear or support your local high school's teams (though I think Brownfield Sports is a little heavy-handed on the pro-Chief stuff). If we support those shops, maybe others will be tempted to rent space there and make Lincoln Square what it once was, a hub of Urbana and the surrounding area - a nice alternative to North Prospect and Market Place.

Just make sure to watch for puddles.

01 February 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Just a couple of things I did this week that prove the brain's ability to make good decisions does not necessarily mature at 25:

1. You may recall that a few weeks ago I injured myself while at the gym. Well, since then I've been taking it easy on my strained hamstring. I've been working out on the elliptical machine and the incumbent bike and my leg had been feeling better. Better enough for me to think on Tuesday I could run again. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I walked for a mile.5 then decided to run for half a mile. That felt ok, so I continued to walk another half mile and then ran another half mile at a little faster pace than the previous then slowed down to walk another mile or so. After I got off the treadmill I could tell the injury was back in a big way. Walking hurt. A lot. I didn't know that a strained muscle is a pretty major injury and that when I was pushing it I was actually causing a lot more harm than the initial strain. Looks like I'm off the treadmill for the foreseeable future.

2. This a.m. while making a mix disc as a party favor for my son's impending birthday bash, I inadvertently included a song that drops the f-bomb. I was listening to the disc while I was making the liner insert when I thought I heard, "I don't give two fucks about your review." Whoa, did I just hear what I think I heard? I checked for the lyrics online and sure enough, I was right. I've since taken that song off the play list. At least I caught this snafu before I gave the discs out to 7-year-olds, unlike the disc I made for Flynn's last birthday when I included Elton John's "Island Girl". Who knew that song was about a hooker? I certainly didn't until I'd heard it about 40 times. By the way, the song in question was the excellent "The Modern World" by The Jam.

Those are the two main examples of my stupidity this week (I'm sure there were many more). And there will be more to come.