31 March 2009

The Dare

I overheard this on the way home from school:

Evan: Flynn, I dare you to say weenis.

Flynn: NO! No, Evan, I don't want to say that word.

Evan: I dare you to say it. Say weenis.

Flynn: No. way.

This from the children who never shut up about penis this and penis that. It's penis, penis, penis around here from those two.

But weenis makes me laugh out loud.

30 March 2009

"Benign" Is A Beautiful Word

The beginning of last week was a little fraught with stress, what with my biopsy and all. I tried to push the lurking anxiety out of my brain by keeping the kids busy (playing at the indoor playground, a trip to Bloomington on Friday to the Children's Museum). The end of the week brought me good news: a) the blood work I had done the previous week showed that my thyroid is functioning normally (with the help of my daily dose of thyroid hormone) and b) the biopsy results tell that the nodule is benign and consistent with my current diagnosis of Hashimoto'sThyroiditis.


How do I know these things when I'm not even scheduled to see my doctor until tomorrow morning?

The U.S. Postal Service.

Yep, the hospital mailed my test results to me.

When I mentioned this to some friends on Facebook a couple of them took umbrage with the impersonal-ness of the mail. Why couldn't the hospital call me with the results, my friends asked? I'm sure there are people out there who need their doctor to call them and hold their hand. I am not one of those people. And my doctor knows that. He's been my doctor since I was 12 (my pediatrician retired and Dr. D was just starting his practice). Tsk-tsking the medical community is not something I normally do. Doctors and nurses have enough to do, have tons of patients to squeeze into appointment-filled days, that I'd rather they spend the time with their patients that need them than ring me up to tell me everything's OK. Frankly, I'm just happy I got the notice in the mail. I don't care if they call me or not. Actually, I think I'd be more concerned if they did call.

And it unsettled me a little when the day after my biopsy, some very nice lady from the radiology department called me to see if I'd had any side-effects (bleeding, bruising, etc.). I told her that I was fine aside from a little tenderness at the injection site, I was strangely bruise-free (I bruise quite easily so I'm surprised I wasn't sporting a purple contusion the size of a nickle. That tells you how good the doctor was.). After I hung up, I thought, "That was nice that they called. And a little weird." What that says about me, I don't know.

So I'm A-OK.

Happy dance time (a little Fred & Ginger's in order):

23 March 2009

Nothing Says Fun Like A Needle In The Neck

Because I have a thyroid condition (an auto-immune disorder called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis), I see my doctor once a year for a check-up. He palpitates my thyroid, orders up some blood work and I go on my merry way. Last September, Dr. D. wraps his hands around my neck, asks me to swallow some water then says, "Hm, I think I felt something there. I'm going to order an ultrasound just to make sure everything's OK." One sonogram and a couple of days later I'm on the phone with his nurse who told me that there was something on my thyroid, we'll keep an eye on it and do a follow-up in March.

It's March.

Last week I had my follow-up sonogram and the radiologist who read it found a nodule that was large enough to warrant a biopsy. Now, from my independent research (which mainly involved Googling "thyroid nodule") I gleaned that nodules are fairly commonplace and most are not malignant. That did little to calm my nerves and I'm very thankful to my friends who talked me down from a bit of a freak out, because you know the first thing my mind went to after hearing the word biopsy was cancer: "Don't freak out." It doesn't sound like much, but it helped immensely.

Today was my biopsy.

I was scheduled to have it done at 2:30. I walked into the exam room at 3:30. It wasn't so much that I had to wait an hour that kind of ticked me off, but that I a) had the kids with me and b) Frank took off work to watch the kids during my procedure. Luckily, there was a TV on in the waiting room tuned to the Disney Channel and Evan had brought his DS with. But still.

The sonographer took some more grainy pictures of my thyroid and then we waited for the radiologist to come work his needle mojo. Dr. B., was warm, friendly and very thorough. He told me exactly what he was going to do, what it would feel like and what to expect afterward. I like that. I appreciated being treated like an adult with a brain in her head, not some stupid moron who has no clue about anatomy or how a microscope works. So he numbed me up with a local anesthetic, then went deeper with another. That stuff works lightning fast because I couldn't feel anything as he used a fine-needle syringe to cull the cells from my little thyroidal hitchhiker.

A cytologist was also in the room with her microscope and she prepared a slide of my cells making sure Dr. B. got enough. He had to do a second pass to get the correct amount. Then they cleaned me up and sent me out (at this point it was well after 4:00).

So now I just play the waiting game until next week when I meet with my doctor to discuss today's results.

And if you happen to see me out and about over the next few days, I'll most likely have a lovely bruise on my neck. Pretty.

19 March 2009

Age Is Relative

So I spent yesterday teaching 4th grade. I've been with this class several times and have always enjoyed my days with them. They are a good group of 9- and 10-year-olds, if not an excessively chatty and antsy bunch.

During reading class we were grading their workbook page, which had to do with a story they'd read the day before about the famous baseball player, Jackie Robinson.

These kids have no frame of reference for the significance of Jackie Robinson's inclusion in the major leagues (he was the first African American to play major league baseball, playing when Jim Crow laws were still on the books across the country and Civil Rights was roughly 20 years away).

To help them put the story in historical context, I told them about what life was like during the pre-Civil Rights era. What I know is what I've learned from watching documentaries and reading about early-to-mid-20th century American history.

"Mrs. M.," asked one student, "were you around when this happened?"


"Uh, no." I replied. "I'm not that old."

17 March 2009

Beautiful Music For A Beautiful Day

Good God, how I love the totally fabulous Miss Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings! I came across this band on Amazon while I was searching for free music downloads. Their song, "100 Days, 100 Nights", from the album of the same name blew me away and I had to have more, more, more. Theirs is a seamless blend funk, soul, and rhythm and blues.

And if Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul, then Sharon Jones is the heir apparent. Her voice. Gah. So. damn. amazing. This is music that touches your soul. Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele even, pay attention and listen up.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings sound like they just stepped out of the 1960's and their videos tend to reinforce that (love the art direction, the grainy quality to the film and the cross-fades), but make no mistake about it, they are contemporary artists.

So, enjoy their song, "Tell Me". In it I hear echoes of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", which makes this song just that much better.

14 March 2009

Derby Day

After three weeks of preparation, planning and building the Big Day had arrived: our first Pinewood Derby.

For those of you unfamiliar in the ways of Scouting, the Pinewood Derby allows Boy Scouts (and their siblings) a chance to design and build their very own race car. Out of a block of wood. It's the highlight of the Boy Scout calendar and is kind of a big deal.

In January, Evan was given his kit which contained a small block of Pine wood, 4 wheels, and 4 nails to be used as axles. The cars, when finished, must all be within a specified length and weight limit (a mere 5 ounces).

Of course, Star Wars fan that he is, Evan wanted to build a speeder bike (as seen in Episode VI, Return of The Jedi). So Frank and Evan got down to business. Evan did the majority of the woodwork and the painting (he did get some help from his dad with the tricky bits like the handlebars). I helped with the bedroll on the back (felt & hot glue) and the Imperial Scout Trooper's kerchief (quite possibly the rattiest looking Boy Scout kerchief in existence, but it did the job).

Evan chose not to race his car, but wanted only to enter it in the design competition. He received a certificate for 1st place in Best Detailing.

Personally, I think he deserved to win a trophy for Originality (and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom and I know how very hard he worked on his car). I don't know how the judges scored the entries or if they even bothered with the cars that didn't race (Evan's and one other one that looked like a Mario Kart, complete with Mario which looked awesome).

Maybe the judges didn't believe Evan did the work himself? I dunno. What I do know is that he's rather disappointed that he didn't get a trophy and two of his friends did. But he'll get over it.

He's already planning for next year's car.

13 March 2009

Ch-ch-ch-check It Out

My first post for The Full Mommy, reviewing the "Easy Times" CD.

Pretty darn cool, if I may say so myself.

11 March 2009


About a month ago, Sarah over at Color Kitten documented, in a series of posts, her experience of growing mushrooms indoors. From a kit she bought online. I thought this was a super-cool idea and that the kids would get a kick out of this. Once again, she inspired me and I followed her lead and ordered my own little kit from Fungi Perfecti.

The kids were enthralled with the idea of growing mushrooms we could harvest and eat within a couple of weeks. Well, Evan thought it would be cool to eat the mushrooms. Flynn, not so much.

Not long after I place my order, my Enokitake colony arrived snugly wrapped in plastic and nestled in its own blend of sterilized, enriched sawdust. We followed the directions and within a week we had these baby mushrooms:

"Oh, Mommy! They're sooooo cute!" said Flynn.

These mushrooms grow best in cold temperatures and I didn't have room in my fridge, as recommended in the growing directions, so I left them in my garage and misted them with water two times a day.

This is what they looked like today, a week later, just before we harvested them:You can see little baby ones at the base.

I've never cooked Enokitake mushrooms before and next time I think I'll leave them raw (the way Evan prefers them) and add them as a garnish to a miso soup. Tonight I just sauteed them in a little butter, olive oil and garlic. They tasted fine, but think they'd fare better with gentler treatment.

And, to my amazement, Flynn actually ate one, teeny, tiny mushroom. After she'd chewed and swallowed, she said she'd rather just hold the mushroom.

Evan wants to try a different type of mushroom next time.

Maybe the Shiitake...mmmmm.

06 March 2009

Because I Need A Laugh

Frank took the day off today so we could see the new, long awaited movie, The Watchmen. We went out for breakfast then took in the 10:30 show.

It's been a long time since I've read the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons landmark graphic novel and I think the film is faithful to its origins (the comic's better) but some of the performances were a little flat and that may have been due to the script, which I thought was pretty lackluster. The best performance of the bunch was that of Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach. Excellent. Some of the dialogue was a little stilted and not very genuine (it reads better on paper - some of the lines were lifted directly from the comic). It's very, very dark, gritty, grimy, and bloody. It was a little much for me, but Frank really liked it.

"That was the comic book movie equivalent of The Lord of The Rings," said Frank commenting on the movie's length.

After nearly 3 hours of superhero gore I need something funny.

So in homage to LOTR, I give you Flight of The Conchords' "Frodo, Don't Wear The Ring". Which is even funnier because Bret McKenzie (one of the Conchords) played an elf in LOTR, The Fellowship of The Ring and The Return of The King.

05 March 2009

Back Among The Living

After being pretty much bed-ridden for the past two days, I can safely say it's good to be up and around again. Man, that cold was/is wicked bad and knocked me on my ass, messed with my sleep and generally made my life miserable.

Today, I feel much better. My energy has returned, if not to my regular level then it's nearly there. I can breathe (with the help of Mucinex D) and I slept much better last night than the previous two.

And while I felt close to my regular self, I didn't overdo it: no gym, no vigorous housework. All I did was clean up my vapor trail of dirty Kleenex in my bedroom and the family room and allow myself to become engrossed in an America's Next Top Model marathon on Bravo.

We can resume our regular schedule of after-school activities, from which we've been absent for the past week and a half.

Tomorrow is a franknmisc day: Frank's taking the day off work and we're going to see the new Watchmen movie and hang out together while the kids are at school.

I'm happy to be back, but I'm wondering when Evan will come down with the ick.

Hopefully, not tomorrow. Or ever.

03 March 2009

I Feel Like Death Warmed Over But She Looks Good

It's official: I have the ick. I believe I have what Frank had - serious congestion, general malaise, and overall cruddiness. Last night I had my pj's on and was in bed well before 8 o'clock. I did not rest easy last night, between fits of hot and cold and an inability to breathe through my nose. Bleah.

This morning, I got up at my normal time, showered, got dressed, fixed the kids' lunches.

"How do you feel today?" inquired my loving husband.

"Like crap."

"Do you have anything you need to do today?"

Not really, only try to power through a strength training workout, drop off the dry cleaning, run by the post office, clean up around the house, I thought. "No, nothing much."

"Good. You should take it easy today. Go rest. I'll bring dinner home tonight."

He knows me well enough to realize that I needed to hear, "It's OK to take care of yourself. Go do it." I'm used to running on all cylinders, illness be damned. Moms have to keep working even when we feel like hell.

But I heeded Frank's advice. After he piled the kids into the car and they headed off to school and work, I sipped a couple cups of tea, ate some breakfast and then headed back upstairs to camp out in my bedroom until it was time to retrieve Evan and Flynn from school.

A couple of weeks ago, Frank was told to take Mucinex D for his congestion. He had some left over so I choked down a pill the size of a small submarine that tasted like how a vet office smells (that sharp, unmistakable odor from my childhood: part medicine, part disinfectant, part animal).

That stuff works. I have been able to breathe without looking like a neanderthal all day.

And while I did not sleep (I'm not a napper by nature, just ask my mom), I did finish one book and nearly another. I rested.


Flynn's new boots arrived today! She could hardly wait to put them on (they look great with her school uniform, but she wanted to change into play clothes before I took a picture).
Snazzy, no? She especially loves that they have a bit of a heel on them and the silver bit on the toe. Luckily, they fit just right.
She loves them so much, it might be difficult to get her to take them off tonight. She may just sleep with her new boots on.

Which is just fine with me as I plan on going to bed early.

Like now. I have stuff to do tomorrow...

02 March 2009

The Kid's Back In Business

Saturday saw Flynn's fever back down to 101 and her energy level, when she was on Motrin, was fine. She played Little Pets vs. Star Wars with her brother, they built a super fort, and got on each other's nerves like siblings do, regardless of health.

Sunday Frank took Evan to early mass and then out to breakfast. They also had a mission to accomplish: acquire the tools necessary for building a Pinewood Derby race car. They'd spent the bulk of Saturday afternoon designing said race car and wanted to get building. They have a week or two to finish.

Flynn slept pretty well and woke in a good mood. I took her temperature and it was back to normal. Yay! (Except for the croupy cough that goes along with the virus, but I'm hoping that makes its exit soon.)

Showered and dressed, we had breakfast then went to the grocery store as we were in desperate need of cereal, milk, lunch meat, and fruit.

Flynn's energy level is back to pre-illness levels; she's back to spinning like a top. She's happy she returned to school today and got to see her friends and her teacher. But we're taking it easy this afternoon and playing hooky from swim lessons.

And now I'm all congested and I can feel my energy waning.

I'm going to go eat some oranges now and pray I don't come down with the crud. I have lunch plans later on in the week with a friend I haven't seen in a long time and I really don't want to cancel.

But I'm glad Flynn's back in (relatively) good health.