Mothahhood

life in my hood with 2 teenagers, a toddler and chronic pain

morongo, really? June 23, 2009

Back in college in my marketing class, we learned about the power of subliminal advertising. We looked at magazine ads for alcohol that had barely perceptible pictures of penises and other body parts embedded in the ice cubes in the glasses of scotch and that was supposed to make you drop everything and run right out to buy a bottle of Chivas.

There is a casino (you know, a place where people go to part with their money and get nothing in return) outside of Palm Springs called Morongo. They advertise on television here in L.A. and every time I see their ads, I am baffled by what seems to me to be anything but subliminal. Admittedly, this is a casino owned by Native Americans and the name is, presumably, of Native American origin and I mean absolutely no disrespect here, (I just googled Morongo, but couldn’t find a definition) BUT…Is it just me or does anyone else notice the irony of the name here? Moron go. It amazes the mind.

Don’t even get me started on the word therapist…

nufced

P.S. I have complete respect for the Native American’s right to self reliance through the ability to provide opportunities for folks of all races, ethniticies and nationalities to part with their money.

The following is on the Morongo Band of Mission Indian website:
The new $250 million Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa is the largest private sector employer in the region employing more than 2,400 people and serving thousands of patrons daily.  The casino’s revenue production provides the foundation for the tribe’s economic diversification.

Advertisements
 

yes, we can June 19, 2009

O.K. ladies, anyone recognize this conversation?

My little one finished year 1 of preschool and brought home 2 absolutely beautiful finger paintings. My husband came home from work a little while ago and observed the loveliness of the artwork. So far so good, but here’s where it gets…shall we say fucking annoying?

J-“I really like these paintings that she made.”

me-“yeah, they are great.”

J-“Can we get some frames for them and hang them up?”

me-“Can we get some frames? Yes, we can. You can go about 4 minutes over yonder there in that there direction (as I motion with my hands in a general westward direction) to a place called Aaron Brothers Art and Frames and buy some frames and then come home and hang them up.”

Yes, we can. (I wonder if Michelle Obama originated this phrase.)

nufced

 

Can I get a witness?

Can anyone relate? C’mon I know you can. I love to cook. Or at least, I used to love to cook. I used to plan really good meals, whole dinner menus, even. And, I used to shop, go to the farmer’s market for the best, freshest, organic produce to have all the right ingredients in the house. We used to have dinner parties consisting of fabulous food, wonderful wine and witty repartee. And I did all this in a fairly small, cramped kitchen with crappy appliances. Then something happened. Or many things happened. 3 kids happened. 3 kids who don’t eat any of the same foods except pizza, burritos or macaroni and cheese.

And then something else happened. We remodeled our kitchen with beautiful countertops and stainless appliances and a prep sink and opened it up to our den, creating a “great room.”  And then pain happened. Pain that makes me tired and makes me lose my appetite. Do you know what it is like trying to plan dinner when you are tired and have no appetite or nothing just sounds good and the kids don’t like the same food and your husband could be late from work on any and every night of the week? Probably you do know. I end up throwing out more perishables than could feed a small island and we order in food enough times in a week to stimulate a small economy and I feel like a loser of a mother because I don’t have dinner, steaming in its serving bowls, on the table every (or any) evening and I hate it. And then I remember the starving children in Africa and I feel guilty for being such a spoiled, whiny bitch.

nufced

 

Why does this not surprise me? June 16, 2009

Teen Outsmarts Doctors In Science ClassSelf-diagnosis impresses docs who’ve missed signs of her disease for years

By EMILY FELDMAN

High school senior Jessica Terry studied her own tissue samples as part of her school’s biomedical course.

When doctors didn’t give a Washington state high school student the answers she wanted, she took matters into her own hands.

Eighteen-year-old Jessica Terry, brought slides of her own intestinal tissue into her AP science class and correctly diagnosed herself with Crohn’s disease.

“It’s weird I had to solve my own medical problem,” Terry told CNN affiliate KOMO. “There were just no answers anywhere … I was always sick.”

For years she went from doctor to doctor complaining of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and stomach pains. They said she had irritable bowel syndrome. They said she had colitis. They said the slides of her intestinal tissue were fine, but she knew that wasn’t right.

“Not knowing much about a disease you’re growing up with is not only nerve-wracking, but it’s confusing,” Terry told theSammamish Reporter.

So when local pathologists stopped in to teach students in her Biomedical Problems class how to analyze slides, the high school senior decided to give her own intestines a look.

What she found? A large dark area showing inflammation, otherwise known as a granuloma–a sure sign of the intestinal disease.

To confirm her suspicion, she checked in with her teacher.

“‘Ms. Welch! Ms. Welch! Come over here. I think I’ve got something!” she shouted.

Mary Margaret Welch, who has spent 17 years teaching science at Eastside Catholic School, had a feeling Terry was on to something.

“I snapped a picture of it on the microscope and e-mailed it to the pathologist,” Welch said. “Within 24 hours, he sent back an e-mail saying yes, this is a granuloma.”

The finding impressed doctors.

“Granulomas are oftentimes very hard to find and not always even present at all,” said Dr. Corey Siegel, a bowel disease specialist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “I commend Jessica for her meticulous work.”

While Terry’s glad to finally have answers, she now knows she’ll have a tough road ahead.

Crohn’s disease is an incurable, though treatable condition caused by inflammation in the intestines. It can cause malnutrition, ulcers, pain and discomfort.

Still, she looks towards the future with optimism.  She’ll begin nursing school in the fall and hopes to have a kid’s book on Crohn’s disease published.

nufced

 

monday morning blues June 15, 2009

Monday morning blues…So much to do, but I’ve got the flu.

nufced

 

divorce, doggy style June 2, 2009

Several years ago in May, our beloved dog, Gaby, died.  While we were all devastated by losing her (I had her before I had my husband), she lived a long and wonderful life. I always wanted to have 2 dogs, but Gaby was one royal bitch who had no interest in sharing us or her home with any other member of the canine species, bitch or otherwise. A few weeks after she left us, we decided it was time to find 2 dogs to add to the chaos that was already our lives. To cut to the chase here, we ended up with, not 2 new furry additions to our home, but 3- a very large male, goofball, descended from Bernese Mountain dogs and some type of terrier, possibly Airedale, and 2 females (yes, bitches). One was a medium/small part black lab, part who knows what, 3 legged sweetheart and a puppy (for more on her read my previous post called “bitches part 1”). In order, their names are Major (Tom), Ziggy (Stardust), and China(girl). See the connections? Hint-we took our 2 big kids to their first concert shortly before getting the dogs and the performer was (drumroll, please)….David Bowie. They are also known to us as Majee, Zigmund and China Berry Pie.

 

majee

majee

 

Other than the large expense of feeding these 3 mutts and cleaning up the inevitable outcome of those feedings, all went swimmingly in our house of 4 humans and 3 canines for about 1 1/2 years. During that time, we added one more human to our family and the delicate 3 male/4 female ratio shifted even more heavily in favor of the females.  (kind of like the liberal/conservative ratio on the Supreme Court) Anyway, we were one big happy pack, until one day. I can’t remember much about it except for one incident. China and Ziggy got into fight, not a little catfight, mind you but a teeth-baring, till-death-do-us-part kind of fight. It is all a blur to me now. All I know is that I had to separate them and somehow I did. But, not before Ziggy was bleeding heavily from several spots and I was terrified. I had absolutely no idea what got them started or why. All I knew was Ziggy needed to get to the vet. Several stitches and several hundred dollars later we returned home. With trepidation, after Ziggy recovered sufficiently, we allowed the 2 girls back together. Major, being the alpha male of the pack would get between them if he saw anything amiss and they would respond respectfully to him. Things seemed fine for a while until it happened again. Again we took Ziggy to the emergency vet and got her fixed up. Keep in mind that Ziggy is at a numeric disadvantage when it comes to legs and by this point in their lives China had outgrown Ziggy by a good 20 pounds. 

 

the girls before the trouble began

the girls before the trouble began

 

We assumed China was at the root of all this evil so after many consultations with our dog trainer and our vet, we shipped China off to doggy boot-camp to be rehabilitated.  She was away for a few weeks at which point, our very own dog whisperer returned China to us with specific instructions on how to manage the dogs. He told us we needed to establish ourselves as the leaders of the pack and that they should read our signals to stay away from each other if they couldn’t be bff’s.  We tried, we put up gates where there were no doors, we closed doors were there were some and we kept the girls separated unless we were with them in the room. Thing is, I had an infant in my arms during much of this time. The big kids were good about remembering to keep the girls apart and so were we up to a point. After all, we are only human and always remembering to keep the girls apart was not easy or convenient. Major would take turns hanging out with each of the girls so almost always, one of the girls was by herself. Truth be told, this was a very stressful way to live for human and canine alike.  We were in constant fear of the dogs getting hurt or killed or worse, even, one of the kids.

Nonetheless, the dogs are part of our family and we had trouble even conceiving of giving one of them away. We are not give -up-easily or dog-giving-away people. End of story. But, alas, that was not the end of the story. One day, one of us left a door open, Ziggy found her way to China and as my 10 year old son saw them approach each other, he jumped in to try to stop them. It was too late and they were lunging at each other. The worst happened. As China went for ZIggy, J’s leg got in the way and China sank her teeth into his leg. Interestingly, as soon as she realized what she had done, she immediately backed off. Ziggy went after her though and it was, then, in hindsight, that we realized that It was not China after all, but Ziggy, sweet little ZIggy, fiercely dominant and unrelenting Ziggy who had been the instigator all along. Jalen was fine, after an ER visit (it was not his first nor his last). But our pack, our family, was not fine. We realized with heartbreak that one of the girls had to go. We couldn’t decide which so we put out the word for both of them. My husband wrote beautiful biographies for each of them and we advertised around. Eventually a family came forward who fell in love with Ziggy. We knew this family would love Ziggy as we did and so one sad day my husband took ZIggy to her new home, where she, surrounded by 3 cats, lives as the 3 legged queen of the roost. Our hearts ached, not only for our loss, but as parents, for the loss that our children felt and our inability to provide them any comfort. They understood that we had no choice.

The only solution for peace in our household was divorce.

We visit her and she always is thrilled to see us, but when it is time for us to leave, she walks us out and looks at us as if to say, “that was a lovely visit, please do come again.”

We are told that Ziggy has a gentleman (dog) caller named Archie. 

nufced

P.S. Last week (in May), we received a holiday (2008) card from Ziggy’s humans. There was a detailed explanation for its late arrival and inside, a picture of Ziggy, wrapped in a red cape sitting on the lap of Santa Claus, looking almost like she belongs there.

 

daunting task May 29, 2009

There are a stack of envelopes sitting in the corner of my office calling my name, beckoning me to open them.   The task of doing that is hanging over me like a college term paper.  Do you ever have a chore to do, a call to make, an errand to run, that feels so onerous that you find anything and everything else to do in it’s place?  You know that the idea of tackling it is worse than the thing itself, and that if you actually do it, you’ll feel better, but still you procrastinate? That is how I feel about this task. The envelopes fall into two categories-EOB’S(explanation of benefits) from my insurance company and bills from my doctors and hospital and diagnostic centers. The task it to match the EOB to the bill, like one of those matching games where you match the hat to the job, i.e. baseball cap to baseball player or firefighter hat to firefighter that we used to do in school or in those kid’s magazines, only not nearly as much fun. Then part 2 is to pay the bill.

Here’s the thing.  The task is certainly easy enough.  The problem is that I don’t want to do it for 2 reasons.  First, opening the bills and EOB’s just reinforces the reality that I live in daily pain.  Second, as I described in an earlier post that my pain is like a bad child-whining, demanding of my time, sucking my energy, but also demanding of a great deal of money, money that could be used for so much more joyous purposes, like a family vacation, or college for my kids, or summer camp, or our eventual retirement or for causes more needy than us.  But unlike my real children, I get no rewards from this one, no baseball games or dance performances, or delightful thoughts, or spontaneous hugs, or unconditional love.  This child takes me away from my real children and that fills me with resentment many days.  I have tried to come to terms with this part of my existence and much of the time I am at peace with it. I know I have it better than many. I also have no intention of giving up the battle to destroy this little demon. Like any true Red Sox fan, I do feel pessimistic at times, even with a four run lead, but like any good Red Sox fan, I do continue to keep the faith that I will prevail in lifting this curse. I just hope I don’t have to wait 86 years.  I don’t have that long.

nufced