Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crossing the NaBloPoMo & #NHBPM Finish Line

Whew -- it's finally Nov. 30 and I am grateful to have made it to the end of NaBloPoMo without missing a single day of blogging. Most days, I seemed to barely get my post done before the day ended. (I always did like to work under deadline pressure!)

I'm grateful to everyone who read my blog each day, and those took the time to comment here or send me email about it. 

It's not exactly a new lesson, but NaBloPoMo 2011 confirmed for me yet again that I can't handle daily blogging. My email inbox has over a thousand unread emails collected over the past month, and probably nearly as many emails that need(ed) some sort of response or action. I've mostly disappeared from Facebook. 

On the other hand, I think NaBloPoMo reminded me that I like to blog, and the longer I go between posts, the harder it is to get back to blogging. Doing more blogging keeps me looking for inspiration for topics. I got an email yesterday with the topic for next week's edition of Patients For A Moment, and instead of telling myself I should think about trying to pick up the challenge of it, I just did it. And that felt good. :)

So once again I end NaBloPomo relieved I managed to finish out the month with a post a day and inspired to try to be a better blogger. (But not inspired to be a daily blogger! Oh no! :)

Anyway, thanks to all of you who have been through this with me!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Is Why I Write

Sharon over at Bed, Body & Beyond is hosting the next edition of the patient-centric blog carnival Patients For A Moment asks interested bloggers to examine the reasons they choose to blog.

My first response is that I write because I've always written and always intended to write. Somewhere, there are a bunch of gothic/horror short stories I wrote in my tween and early teen years after discovering H.P. Lovecraft. In junior high, we had to do career reports each year from sixth through eighth grade. When I couldn't find a good estimate for income for a fiction writer, which I was required to include in my career report, I chose journalism to focus on because, well, the statistics were easier to find. I didn't even intend to study journalism; it was just a much easier topic to research for those reports. 

In high school, I was on the student paper in a variety of roles. It was a way to meet people as much as an extracurricular activity. I learned that reporting was a great excuse to satisfy my curiosity on just about any topic, because just about anything could be fodder for a story for the school paper. Seven years after I left my job at The Associated Press on maternity leave, I still use my background in journalism as an excuse to ask personal questions. :-)

I was essentially blogging without a blog starting right after my daughter was born. What started out as an email of a baby photo every day or two to family members developed into a weekly email blast with 50 or 60 recipients, and finally moved to a real blog format for it fairly soon after I started Sick Momma in 2007.

Writing has long been an emotional release valve for me, probably starting with the diary my brother and sister gave me for my ninth birthday. The highlights I thought worth writing about back in third grade including my math homework (which was very exciting! That was the first year I had a hardback textbook instead of a workbook and had real homework!) and complaining about the deep unfairness of not having cookies in the house because my dad was on a diet. :) Yep, I'm sure someday someone's going to want to make a movie based on that diary!

More importantly, writing is the way I process things; it often feels like a keyboard is an extension of my brain. As a reporter, I didn't always know exactly what my story was going to be when I sat down at my computer with my interview notes next to me. The best stories I ever did sort of wrote themselves. (If only they had edited themselves too ...) 

Blogging about my health issues started as a way to track what was going on, both for my personal records as well as keeping my extended family updated on what was happening. I needed it as a way to keep straight the chronology of what happened and what my doctors were doing. I still do some of that, certainly. 

But something funny happened along the way, and blogging became more about community than I'd ever imagined. I get emails sometimes from people thanking me for writing about something that hits home for them. I also get so much support from my readers. 

Why else do I write? I write because I want to be a voice out in the ether of what it's like to be (relatively) healthy and then suddenly, literally overnight, get sick and be forced to change my life. It's something I didn't know was even possible before it happened to me, and since then I've found out how relatively common it actually is.

When I write, I can express all kinds of emotions that I don't talk about otherwise. It allows me to connect with people who live anywhere in the world. It's personal, but I can also separate from it and write with a reporter's dispassion if it's a little too close for comfort. 

Possibly most important of all, writing gives my life a sense of normalcy. I've been writing pretty much as far back as I can remember, and even if I feel like my vocabulary has shrunk thanks to the thick layer of fatigue that has slowed my brain to molasses, it would be so much infinitely worse if I couldn't write at all.
Sharon's deadline for PFAM submissions is Monday, Dec. 5; please go visit her blog and consider offering a post. Her edition will go live on her site on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 28: Nearing The End!

The thing I love about NaBloPoMo is that it spurs me to write more frequently than I sometimes manage. The thing I hate about NaBloPoMo is the pressure to produce something, anything, every single day, whether I've got something meaningful to say or not. 

I had a relatively successful holiday weekend on my own and crossed a higher percentage of items off my While The Cats (Are) Away list than I expected: 

  • Ordered holiday cards
  • Tackled an area that's needed to be cleaned up (the small space between my side of the bed and my nightstand had collected way too many things that had slipped down there, and since the space is tight, it wasn't getting vacuumed either so it was mega dusty down there). 
  • Made significant progress on crafty holiday gifts (the problem being that the more I make, the better they come out and then I look at the early ones and declare them Not Good Enough, which makes it hard to feel like I'm ever done with them.
  • Got Ellie's teacher gifts prepped for her to do her part.
  • Made a dent in my laundry.
  • Did some holiday shopping online, including ordering a dress I hope will fit well and look good enough to wear to the school auction. (I'm a huge fan of Coldwater Creek but always thought their prices were too high; earlier this year, I discovered that they periodically have sales of 40-50 percent off everything, sometimes with free shipping; those prices make shopping in their clearance section really affordable. I've bought cardigans that were originally priced at over $150 for as little as $18.)
  • Did some reading, including speeding my way through the newly released sequel (Crossed) to a dystopian novel I'd really enjoyed (Matched by Ally Condie). Interesting, but not nearly as good as the first book (which seems to be typical in most trilogies that the middle book is rather mediocre compared to the first and last). Won't stop me from reading book #3 when it's released.
Plenty more things that need doing, especially since Ellie keeps reminding me that her birthday is just 23 days away, and that's coincidentally also the first day of Chanukah. Lots to do. And I'm kind of relieved to know that I won't have to find time and inspiration to blog daily starting in just a few days.

Meanwhile, a friend posted a YouTube video of what she says is her favorite Christmas song. I have to say that if there were more songs like this getting played in stores and on the radio, I might not get so grumpy about being inundated with Christmas music constantly for a month (or more!) in public places. I hope you like it too. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chronic Illness Means Plenty of Meds

Last month, I broke down and bought one of those pill dispenser thingies at the dollar store. 

For ages, I'd thought that I didn't need one because I can remember which meds I take when. But several times, I'd find myself halfway through my morning or evening routines and find myself distracted and not sure which pill I had just swallowed. Or realize belatedly that I'd just taken my morning meds at bedtime. 

So I decided to try one of those weekly pill dispensers. And discovered that I really like it! It's nice to not have to say "ow" as I open those child safety lids the pharmacy sends them home in. They're always particularly hard for me to open in the mornings when my hands are at their stiffest. 

In fact, it's just so much easier that I sort of wish I could have a monthly one, although I suspect that would be too easy to get confused about what day it is. :)

An added benefit is that since I only need to get pills out of the pharmacy bottles once a week, I managed to clear them off my bathroom counter and it looks much neater. Decluttering is a Good Thing.  And when we went to Chicago in October, I only brought prescription bottles for the meds that are considered controlled substances; it made for a much smaller bag of meds in my carry-on than I've had previously.

The only downside is that it's not at all childproof, particularly since I keep it on my bathroom counter. But I've had lots of conversations with Ellie about how medicine isn't candy, even if it looks like candy, and how she should never touch my medicine. I think she's probably old enough now that it's not an issue, but I worry a little anyway. It helps that she doesn't use my bathroom and is almost never in it. 

What do you do with your medications, especially if there are young children visiting or living in your home? 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tis the Season to Shop

I was never very into Black Friday shopping. I have vague memories of doing some of it in my teens with friends, but even though I love a bargain, it's been forever since I tolerated the crazy crowds and long lines.  And since getting sick, it's a challenge to do any kind of shopping, even with a close-in parking place and an empty store.

I do most of my shopping online these days, and try to keep an eye on some of the deal sites for bargain hunting. I'm thrifty, even with limits on my ability to shop. :)

I was excited when Target decided to offer free shipping on all purchases made with their Redcard, on top of the 5 percent discount, even on sale prices. I actually bought soap online last week, with the advertised sale price and free shipping. Who knew? :)

I finally started using too, after reading about it in various deal blogs for ages, and got my first "big fat check" from them this week. The way it works is you go to their site to start your shopping and go to the store website you want via their link. The percentages of cash back you get vary by the store and sometimes by the day. There's always a "double deal" each day with double the usual percentage back for that store. For Black Friday, they had 500 stores with double their usual cash back. They send out checks four times a year, I guess, or you can sign up to get your money via Paypal. 

The cool thing? You can even get cash back on a Groupon deal from Ebates. I'm not sure it gets any better than that! :) And every little bit I can save adds up, which is good.  (If you're new to Ebates and decide to sign up, I'd be grateful if you used my referral link; but if you're not comfortable with that, you can always go directly to the site at

What tricks do you have for saving money? Have you done much shopping this weekend, either online or in the stores?

Meanwhile, if you're going to be shopping at Amazon, please consider using a blogger's link. (Mine, if you want, or someone else's.) You pay the same amount you'd pay anyway, and it helps support your favorite blog(ger)s. I try hard to remember to always go through someone else's Amazon links since if I'm spending money anyway, I might as well help out a friend or someone whose blog I admire. :) No one is getting rich off these affiliate links; I personally have never earned enough to actually receive money. But hope springs eternal, right? :)

Full disclosure: I receive no compensation for this post other than what I might get if you use my affiliate/referral links. I wrote this post because I know I appreciate the tips I get from other blogs like Chief Family Officer, Totally Target, Moms Need To Know and Moneywise Moms and figured it could be helpful to share some of what I've learned from them. It is not a paid or sponsored post in any way.      

Friday, November 25, 2011

Things First Graders Say: The Poetry Edition

I like so many of these that it's hard to choose a favorite. But I'm especially fond of Gili's: "Something that someone writes with some words." You can say that about so many things!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a good Thanksgiving!

So, I'm trying to come up with a creative name for an Etsy shop, where we'd sell a combination of hair candy and Scott's amazing woodworking.

Any ideas for a name that would encompass both? Some of the ideas we've been playing with (that I'm not even sure if they're available!) are Branches & Blooms, Twigs and Fibers, Stitches and Nails ... but none of them really resonate for us. Any suggestions? Thanks! 

Have I shared any of his work here? If not, here are a few photos. (Aargh! Blogger won't let me add more than these two, but Scott does a wide variety of work on his lathe.)

We donated this segmented piece to our school's auction, which is coming up in December. The woods are naturally those colors; it's made of 721 pieces of maple, Oregon black walnut, bloodwood and purpleheart. Amazing work, isn't it? 

It's part of a series of 8 that Scott made, but the only one that was carved.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things First Graders Say -- The Thanksgiving Edition

I'm not sure why Ellie doesn't have a quote, but I thought it was still amusing enough to share the comments that her teacher captured as the kids were asked what they knew about Thanksgiving. 

I'm hoping these were the responses the kids made before they started learning about the holiday. :)

Meanwhile, I hope you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! (And for you Canadians, I hope your Thanksgiving last month was awesome, too!) (Hey, do Canadians traditionally eat turkey on the Canadian Thanksgiving, too?)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One of Those Days

The rainy season has officially begun here in lovely western Oregon. And boy was it rainy today! It was coming down in torrents and way too many streets got flooded thanks to storm drains that were clogged with fallen leaves. 

Can I just say I wanted to stay home today? 

Instead, I went to visit my rheumatologist, whose office is way across town. If I get lucky, it's only about a 15 minute drive. But I didn't get lucky, and it was well over 45 minutes.

To be honest, I wish I'd gone with my first inclination, which was to call and reschedule. My hands have been hurting so much that I really dreaded the drive, but I thought hey, maybe going to see him when I'm having a lousy day will help clarify things for him. 

Instead, it clarified things for me: I need to find a new rheumatologist, preferably on this side of town. 

My rheumatologist has given up and just shrugs off anything new that I bring up. My hands have swollen knuckles? Eh, they've done x-rays of my hands and feet before that don't show any joint damage. No big deal. My fatigue is up? Probably just the time change. 

Mind you, I don't know what I wanted him to do about it. But I felt patronized when he told me, yet again, to just "push through it" when fatigue and pain limit my functionality. Which would be nice, if I could actually manage to do it. But how could he think I haven't tried over the nearly 4.5 years since I got sick? 


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Miscellaneous Kind of Monday

It's been funny to watch Ellie deal with the daylight savings time change. On Sunday night, we ate at our favorite local Chinese restaurant. It was pitch black out, of course. Ellie, who was facing a window, said something like, "It's so late! I can't believe I'm up so late!" It was 6:15 p.m. :) 


Today was parent-teacher conferences at school. (The kids are out of school all Thanksgiving week here.) I also had more hair candy for the school auction to drop off that I was worried about getting organized and doing the paperwork for. Last night, I was busily sewing flowers on headbands since Scott had signed us up for an 11:15 a.m. slot, which is on the early side for me to be somewhere, especially on a Monday. 

(An aside: Ellie wanted the lime green flower on a lime green headband so badly that she offered to pay for it out of her allowance. Which is huge, because most of the things she begs for, when we tell her she can buy it with her allowance, she declares that she doesn't want to spend her money on it! She offered me $4 for it, and I told her I'd have to think about it. It's a pretty big deal since she only gets $1 per week. I decided that I'd "match" her and we could bring the money into the school office next week as a cash donation. A teensy cash donation, but huge that it's coming from a first-grader!)

There's a rhinestone in the flower's center that doesn't really show but Ellie insisted was necessary. :)

Anyway, since I was worried about having time for the donation paperwork and also had to actually choose which flowers I was going to hold onto and which I'd be giving, I woke up too early (7:30 a.m.) and couldn't go back to sleep. Which has made for a very long day and will probably make tomorrow, when I have to be way across town at 10:40 a.m. for an appointment with my rheumatologist, rather challenging, too. It all kind of snowballs, and I'm very thankful I chose to stay home for the Thanksgiving weekend while Scott and Ellie visit his parents.

You can tell how tired I am because I haven't even gotten to the point on this anecdote yet. Anyway, we found out when we got to the school office that Ellie's first grade teacher wouldn't be there today. Her son, who's a freshman in college and allergic to dairy, apparently ate something with dairy in it yesterday and had an anaphylactic reaction. He tried taking Benedryl instead of using his Epi-pen and ended up in the hospital. Luckily, he's going to be fine, but how scary for a parent!! We'll be going back to meet with her next week; meanwhile, Ellie's Jewish and Hebrew studies teachers said she was doing really well. We were a bit surprised to hear how well she's doing in Hebrew especially; I guess I can stop worrying now that she might have forgotten everything over the summer when we failed to practice it with her. :) 


So more about next month's school auction: Little things add up. I was surprised to realize as I did the paperwork this morning that my donation of (relatively) inexpensive hair candy was totally up to about $300, if they're able to sell everything. (My hair clips, headbands and brooches will be sold as priced, not actually bid on, since it's silly to have people bidding on something with a list price of $6. :) That's not as insignificant as I thought my donations were going to be! 

Here's what I took today:

Hard to capture headband details! The orange flowers are on a brown headband. The one on the right is purple with metallic embroidery; that flower was a funky fabric that has pink, blue and purple tones with little circular metal disks scattered through it. On the left, the lavender headband is scalloped, and that's a kanzashi folded flower made from scraps from fabric Ellie's grandmother made a dress for her from. (Yes, I made sure to keep some flowers from that fabric for Ellie!!)

 I'm keeping this one for me:

I do like it a lot, but a big reason I'm keeping it is I got the headband at the dollar store and the fabric covering it is so thin that I fear sewing a flower to it was too much and it's going to start coming undone.

Well, that's about all for today! :) I think I'm headed to bed super early tonight. Like possibly right now. 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Somewhat Random Links Worth Reading (IMHO)

Well, I figure if I don't have anything in particular to say, I can at least share with you what I've been reading and found interesting and/or humorous. Of course, there's no guarantee you will find these things interesting, but it's worth a shot, right? :)

The Washington Post had an article this week on hospitals' embracing of complementary/alternative medicine, even if primarily as an additional revenue stream and way to attract patients away from other facilities.

An article on stalking tips seemed right on target when it quoted the woman leading a seminar on dissecting online dating profiles saying about one, "I hope no one here knows him" because I was recently browsing a crafting blog I sometimes follow and was surprised to find a local friend of mine in a photo at the top of a post offering a crafting challenge to do something with a unitard. It was a photo he'd posted on Flickr of himself in a halloween costume that she had (quite legally and with proper attribution) that she used to poke fun of unitards with. What are the odds?

A hilarious video poking fun of new iPhone's Siri at College Humor. Warning: Contains offensive language not appropriate for (most) offices or young children. I think I've watched four times, and it makes me laugh out loud each time. :)

An advice columnist essentially tells a non parent to stop judging today's parents by comparing them unfavorably with his rosy memories of his childhood. I'd personally expand the target to include parents of children an entire generation (i.e. 10 or more years) older than the children of the parent being criticized. Things change rapidly these days. My kid's not even seven yet, and I've lost touch with what parents of babies and toddlers have to deal with. (No one had an iPhone to entertain their kid with when my kid was a toddler.)

A better pain chart, which has been floating around the internet for ages but is always worth a look, especially if you've had to put a number on your pain anytime lately. I hate those damn charts. I need to remember to print this one and take it with me, especially if I ever end up at the ER again with anything approaching the pain I had with that gallbladder attack last year that the EMT thought was a panic attack.

Slate had a fascinating article about the hazards of doing medical research on lab rats that everyone should read. Turns out, those rodents in control groups are unhealthier in many ways than the ones getting experimented on. And can I just say that the guy who's publicizing the issue with medical research really looks like maybe he could use more than his single meal a day.

Do you have an Apple product with auto-correct? I do, and it can be embarrassing if I don't catch what the auto-correct decides I might mean to say on Facebook or Twitter. Apparently, I'm not the only with this issue, nor am I the only one who finds it funny when it happens to my friends. Check out this site, Damn You, Auto Correct!, but again, don't read it at work. And don't read it if you're likely to get offended by bad language.

So thanks to the small world of Facebook, when I reconnected with a former work colleague (who I haven't seen in, well, about a decade), I discovered she'd had a baby girl even though somehow, I'd always assumed she didn't want kids. Turned out, I didn't know her particularly well at all and I was probably just projecting because in those days, I didn't want kids. But I was curious about the husband I'd never met but occasionally heard about, and somehow found a link to his blog somewhere, which I started reading and found I loved his sense of humor and read all his archives. :) Luckily, at the time, their kid was only around a year old, give or take. Anyway, he apparently has a deal to write periodically for the TODAYMoms blog (i.e. a mom oriented blog affiliated with the Today Show, and he recently had a post there in defense of potty humor. Since I'm incredibly immature and giggle way too much at potty humor, I liked it. You might too. And yes, I have the books Everyone Poops
and The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts. I consider the former especially to be one of the greatest perks of parenthood since I'd never heard of the book before becoming a parent. :) And yes, I fear that my child appears to have inherited my mirth over everything potty related. But maybe she'll outgrow it, right?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 19 And Counting

Nearly two-thirds of the way done with NaBloPoMo and #NHBPM, and wishing it were already December, if only that wouldn't make me late for way too many pre-holiday preparations. Remind me next October how much I whinged about this year's daily posting challenges, ok? :)

Ellie had a lovely time at her friend's birthday party tea party/slash spa day and came home with a bottle of lovely bath salts and a very glittery pink (foam) crown. :)

But during the 20 minutes or so she was home between skate practice and going to the party, I learned she was yet again having symptoms of a bladder infection, including having run to the bathroom several times during practice. Well, for accuracy's sake, she skated to the bathroom. (And I try hard not to imagine the mechanics of using the bathroom as a female while wearing roller skates, especially ones without toe stops.)

Sigh. Well, that hadn't been in our plans for the day. But that's life, right?

So I sent her off to the birthday with Scott, and then after they got back, we headed off to an urgent care to get a urine test done. 

But that was only after I did the mental dance between the benefits of going, getting it out of the way so we could start the antibiotics sooner versus waiting until Sunday morning, calling her pediatrician's office at precisely 8:30 a.m. when they start answering the phones and getting one of the limited weekend slots they save. (They're open for patients 9a.m.-1p.m. on weekends.) I'd prefer to have her see her own pediatrician, or at least one of the docs from the same practice, but it would have meant that there was a good chance they wouldn't be able to go to skate practice on Sunday morning and Scott had already scheduled a coaching session for himself then. 

So we went today and had to do the first-come, first-served wait. We arrived just before 3:30 p.m., and didn't walk out until 5:15 p.m. Could have been worse; I would have considered that a short visit if we'd gone to an ER! :) But it sure felt like forever. 

It didn't help that I realized I was hungry when we got there, and of course hadn't brought snacks. And then I really got grumpy when, while collecting a urine sample, Ellie hadn't sat far enough back on the toilet so I ended up getting sprayed with urine that ricocheted off the edge of the toilet. (I might not have gotten so grumpy if I weren't hungry. Or if she hadn't thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world. But we've done these urine sample collections with her so many times over the past three or four years that it irritated me pretty badly that she'd done that, and my irritation lasted until my jeans were finally dry from it.) 

(Somehow, I thought only boys ever peed on their moms. Especially once they were past infancy. It was a learning experience when Ellie was a baby and managed to spray urine in my face while I was changing a diaper, too. Who knew parenthood was so full of learning experiences? :)

Yeah, so that was my day. How was yours? Anyone pee on you? :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Scott To The Rescue!

I have a gift shelf, like many moms I know, of things I've picked up on sale here or there so I have something on hand for when Ellie gets invited to birthday parties and/or when I need a reward for her good behavior. 

But somehow, even though they are things I think would make good gifts (I'm partial to board games and like to gift them, for instance), when faced with a party for a specific kid, everything on the gift shelf that isn't earmarked for my kid looks ... generic. Which I guess it is, since it was bought without a specific recipient in mind. 

Last month, I grabbed something off the gift shelf for a party for one of Ellie's classmates who I knew well enough to know she'd love one of the Klutz books I'd bought for Ellie: Fairies: Petal People You Make Yourself.

Of course, when Ellie saw what she was giving Rose for her birthday, she cried because she wanted it. Of course. After all, I knew she'd love it, that's why I had bought it for her! She doesn't know, but I've bought another copy for her, which she'll get for Chanukah.

So tonight, I found myself standing in front of my gift shelf again. Ellie's going to a party tomorrow for a girl she met at daycare after I got sick, when they were 2.5. I'm not sure why I didn't look earlier, but I stood in front of the shelf late this afternoon and everything was either not girly enough (she's a very girly girl, even more so than Ellie!), something I thought was too likely she might already have, or too small a gift but not something that paired easily with anything else I had on the gift shelf. 

Luckily, Scott had decided to take Ellie to Costco for dinner and the weekly shopping trip (we buy a lot of our produce there!), and when he called me to ask if there was anything he didn't have in his cart that I wanted, I told him I needed a favor and it was likely to be unpleasant. But he agreed to visit the toy aisles, something that's not much fun with Ellie because pretty much everything she sees, she exclaims, "I want that! Oh! I want that!" But he kept me on the phone so I could help choose the "right" gift, even though he had to repeatedly remind Ellie that their mission was to find a gift for her friend, not for herself. 

And sure enough, he found the perfect gift for a little girl who's having a "spa day tea party" -- a selection of bath stuff with a Hello Kitty theme that was right in the price range I gave him. I topped it off with a flower hair clip I made that Ellie chose, and it's a lovely gift:

Doesn't the flower clip make a great "bow" for the present topper? :)

But it took at least 10 minutes of phone time to choose, and it saved me from having to make a trip out on a day I didn't make it out of my jammies and definitely didn't have the energy to go shopping. But what else could I have done if the stars hadn't aligned for Scott to be my designated shopper?

So today, I'm extra thankful for my awesome husband, who willingly tackled a task that wasn't exactly his cup of tea. :)

(I wish I was going to be able to go to this party tomorrow; it's a place I haven't heard of but it sounds very cool. You can see its website here if you're as curious as I was. I hope Ellie will pose for a photo after she's had her spa day! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

With one week left until the (American) Thanksgiving, I figure it's past time to start thinking about what I'm thankful for, both the mundane and the exceptional. 

I hope it goes without saying that I'm most thankful for friends and family, but I suppose it shouldn't go without saying, should it? I won't claim my kid is an angel, but she's smart, funny (both knowingly and unknowingly :), talented and interesting in the best possible way. And with a decade of marriage under my belt, I can honestly say that I married up. :)

Random other things I'm grateful for:

  • That we ended up at the school we were meant to be at, even though we didn't set out to consider it. Somewhat ironically, it took my getting comfortable with the idea of sending Ellie to a school that had "Episcopal" in its name for me to be comfortable sending her to a Jewish one. I love the community of parents at Ellie's school as well as the staff. The fact that she's getting a great Jewish foundation as well as a great secular education is just icing on the cake. 
  • That I finally got approved for disability, which gives my family a little more financial wiggle room, a little more pad for our budget. Mind you, I'd rather have my health. I'd rather have fewer doctor visits, fewer medical bills, fewer prescription co-pays. I'd way rather be able to work, or at least be able to manage as a proper SAHM and not have to send my kid to an after-school program, which would save a considerable amount of money right there. 
  • That I live in the age of the internet. I can only imagine how isolating it must have been to have to have a chronic illness 20 years ago. (And technically, if it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't have met my husband, even though our first meeting was in real space. But I never would have been at that party if it weren't for the internet. :) But thanks to blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, even when I'm too sick to leave home or even talk on the phone, I can get support from other people in similar straits. And that's huge in combating the isolation that's a natural result of debilitating chronic illnesses.
  • That even though I have been challenging to fully diagnose, my doctors have doubted that I have an illness, they have never accused me of malingering or exaggerating, they have never accused me of being a drug seeker. I hear way too often about other people with chronic illnesses who face all those barriers to decent health care.
  • That I've found a creative outlet that I can do in small doses and (generally) not cause myself to flare too badly. I love making my fabric flowers and it's kind of fun to play with the idea that Scott and I will open an Etsy shop and sell my hair candy and his woodturning.
  • The amazing fall colors the trees turn in Portland. We have a vine maple at the bottom of our driveway that is a glorious shade of red that I wouldn't have imagined could occur in nature if I didn't get to see it in my own front yard. Wow!
There's undoubtedly many more things I'm thankful for, including all the amazing people who read my blog! I started blogging thinking it wouldn't make a difference if no one read ever it, but y'know, it really does make a difference that people do read it. So thank you!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quiet Day At Home

I try to volunteer in our school library on Wednesdays, but I just couldn't face it today so I had a quiet day at home instead. 

(When I volunteer, I pretty much just sit at the main desk during the school librarian's lunch hour so that the middle schoolers have the library as an option during their recess. Which means the most physically strenuous part of the gig is getting myself dressed and to the school. If I check out three books to kids, it's a very busy day. :)

Didn't really get anything done, other than read some email, some news articles and not nearly enough blogs, and managed to burn my dinner to charcoal. But hey, I got the kitchen fan on quickly enough that I didn't set off our smoke alarms! :)

I seem to have refreshed my passion for shopping on eBay. It started innocently enough with looking for a few gymnastics leotards for Ellie, who had outgrown her old ones enough that she got red marks from the elastic when she wore one last Friday for a daylong gymnastics camp. Since I've got her signed up for three days during Thanksgiving week, I decided I needed to find her something new asap. When was out of appropriate leotards in her size, I started browsing eBay and nabbed a few. 

The problem is, once I start browsing eBay, it's hard to stop! My "watch list" is six pages long with a wide variety of items divided almost equally between things for Ellie and rhinestone type buttons for the fabric flower centers. It's all SO tempting, but I keep trying to remind myself that I haven't used up all the ones I bought in my first shopping spree. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We're Halfway There

Well, I've made it halfway through NaBloPoMo and #NHBPM, and that's something!

It has seemed harder this year, but I know I always struggle through it so it might just seem harder this year because I'm in the middle of it. Things always seem harder when one is in the middle of them.

But I'm dragging myself through more than I think I did last year this time. And I just can't seem to catch up. And then I remind myself of Flylady's mantra of "I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are."

And although I've given up on "flying" with Flylady, the advice to not try to catch up because, really, it simply leads to feeling overwhelmed is good advice.

Now if I were just better at feeling comfortable simply "jumping in" when and where I can. But it's always good to have goals, right?

And meanwhile, I can't get that Bon Jovi song out of my brain! :) 

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Main Downsides To NaBloPoMo For Me

The main downsides for me to daily blogging is that I can't keep up as much as I'd like with my favorite bloggers (not that I'm good at keeping up with everyone I'd like to keep up with when I'm not blogging either!) and I can't put as much time and thought into the posts I'd like.

On nights like tonight, I really just don't have anything to say. I don't even have any good, new photos to share with y'all. 

So, um. I guess this is just one of those desperate-to-find-something-to-write-about posts that I occasionally resort to during the annual self-torture that is NaBloPoMo. :)

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Library Love Letter

I've loved the public library as long as I can remember. 

I don't have many early childhood (i.e. preschool age) memories that are clear, but I remember half a dozen distinct trips to the public library from those years and I'm sure they're just a fraction of the visits we made.

By the time I was 9, I was riding my bike the mile or so from my house to the library. I probably would have done it sooner, but that's the age I officially learned how to cross the major four-lane street between home and the library. :)

Some of my happiest childhood memories involve the public library. And flash forward to right now, I'm still loving my public library, where I borrow books, music and movies on a regular basis, thanks to their outreach program for folks like me who are mostly (or fully) housebound. 

But right now, I'm especially loving the service they started participating in earlier this year that allows me to legally download three songs per week per library card (and yes, I use my husband's and daughter's, which I was told was legal as long as they agreed to it) from a site called Freegal. I highly recommend checking with your library to see if they participate in this service too. It's awesome! :) I actually set a repeating alert on my ipod to remind me on Saturday nights that it's my last chance to download that week, and one on Mondays reminding I have more downloads available.

You add the free downloads of music I can keep forever to all the other services I can access from home, from e-books to digital movie downloads, and it's really amazing. I could never afford to buy all the library books I read, the library DVDs I watch, the music I'm legally downloading. 

And I love that I live in a city that appreciates its libraries as much as I do! Multnomah County Library recently was awarded five stars by the Library Journal, one of only four in the nation in its category. More than 22.7 million items were circulated in fiscal 2010, a record high for any library in the nation serving fewer than a million residents.

It looks like we're going to have to vote next spring on funding for our library, and I'm hopeful that Portlanders will again choose to support a library funding measure. The current local option levy that provides 66 percent of the library's budget expires June 30. 

Meanwhile, I hope you all had a good weekend and the coming week is kind to you.
Eds. Note: In case this sounds like a sponsored post of some sort, I want to be clear that I was in no way compensated for this post, nor was I solicited in any way to write it. I was just downloading from Freegal and marveling over the many valuable services I get from my library. I guess it all boils to this: I'm just a girl who loves her library! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What A Day!

Today was a doozy. But a good doozy!

Scott and Ellie competed in their first roller skating competition just across the state line in Vancouver, Wash., and did awesome! Scott came home with two firsts, and Ellie "tied" for third in her sole event. (Tied is in quotation marks because they gave every kid in that event an award. There was one first-place winner, one second-place winner, and all the rest of the kids got certificates saying they were in third place. They didn't have the score sheets posted yet when we left so I don't know how she really did point-wise.)

I'm most proud of both of them simply for participating in it. And I'm proud of myself for managing to get Ellie's hair in a bun (with a little help from Scott). :)

Boy, a little sparkly blue eye shadow really emphasized those eyes!

A matching scrunchie came with the dress we bought used last June.

Her scrunchie is bigger than her bun! :)

Sadly, I didn't get a decent photo of the two of them together in their skate outfits. I might have to re-stage it ...

More tomorrow! I'm beyond tired ...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Paying The Piper

So yesterday I crafted more than I typically do in a single day. 

(Although I was a little disappointed that my output wasn't higher for the amount of time I put into those felt flowers. Doing triple layers required exponentially more work than double layers to keep them rolled tightly and get them glued up, not to mention having to cut out a third more of the felt fringes.)

So this morning, I woke up with swollen, painful hands that hurt to grasp, flex and pretty much do anything besides letting them stay curled into claws. 

Which means I'm not going to get out my glue gun and work on my satin flowers. Nor will I be making any kanzashi flowers today. 

Ah well. It's yet another reality check that, even after nearly 4.5 years of this illness, I haven't mastered pacing myself. 

Today is all about resting up to try to be as present as possible for my family over the weekend. 

Hope all of you have a good weekend!


P.S. If you enjoy the blog carnival Patients For A Moment and want it to continue in 2012, please consider applying to host it at your blog. See here for how to apply. Leslie has extended the deadline, but please apply ASAP.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How I Spent My Day Today

I had a badly needed "jammie day" today. Those are essentially days I stay home in my jammies all day. Which technically is the way I spend most of my days. But lately, I've had too much on my plate. 

Yesterday, I brought some donations for Ellie's school auction. I brought one of Scott's bowls, and a bunch of hair pretties that I made. I remembered that last year, the woman who runs the auction had told me that they don't like to get multiples of things because then there's less competition on the bidding. 

So I wasn't sure about bringing too many of my hair pretties, but I also figured they were a low price point and I know firsthand what it's like to attend a school auction and not be able to afford to bid on anything. 

What I didn't expect was that the women working on the auction would be so excited by them. Instead of saying I'd brought too many, they requested more of them. Which was pretty exciting for me. :)

And so today, I spend as much time as I could being crafty. And here's what I managed:

Each is attached to a matching elastic pony tail holder. I was kind of surprised but they want to sell them as matching pairs. Since each felt flower is 4 to 5 inches across, I personally can't imagine wearing them on pigtails. Especially since as pairs they'll be bigger than the heads of girls young to wear pigtails. But as Scott says, they can use the second one as a spare if the first gets lost.  

Ellie's brilliant contribution: She asked why I couldn't use three colors of felt. I hadn't thought to try that since the tutorial I saw only included two. But I did a "practice" roll-up of a trio of colors and thought, "Wow!" So all the ones I made today were for triple layers.

Meanwhile, I also got requests for my other kinds of flowers too. Luckily, I have more of those already made:

Ellie's contribution to this type was her insistence that they needed rhinestones in the centers. And every woman who passed through the school office while I was talking to the women who are organizing the auction donations commented on the "jewels". :) You can see one lonely kanzashi flower at the bottom of the photo. 

Btw, for anyone who wants to make the felt flowers, here's a link to the tutorial. As you can probably see, I didn't bother with the stamen. But they look great anyway, imho. :)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PFAM: Finding Inspiration

Thanks to those who offered blog posts for this week's edition of Patients For A Moment, the blog carnival about, for and by people with chronic illnesses! If you're like me, and you find yourself writing about a topic after the deadline passed, please leave me a comment with a link to your post and I'll add you. And consider including a link to this post in yours! Thanks!

I have to admit that I'm a glass-half-empty kind of person, and I also tend to see things in black and white, blind to all those shades of gray in the middle. Especially when I get overwhelmed.

As you can imagine, or already know, it can be easy to spiral into a dark depression when one has a chronic illness. My most pervasive symptoms -- an intense fatigue and joint pain -- can push me right over the edge. And maybe if I were doing all this on my own, without my unbelievably fabulous husband and my six-and-five-sixths-year-old daughter (she insists on including detailed fractions! :), I would just wallow in a permanent self-pity party. I can see how easy that could happen.

But although I can't do as much as I'd like for my family, I can try to limit the wallowing. Sometimes I need a little inspiration to help pull myself out of that dark hole. I find it in so many places when I remember to keep myself open to it. 

In fact, it was reading a post by Leslie Rott of Getting Closer To Myself that prompted me to ask other bloggers about how they do it. (Although I don't think I actually mentioned that to her, and she didn't submit the link I included above. But I don't think she'll mind. Right, Leslie? :) Leslie inspires me with her courage in writing such personal details and emotions, and the fact that even when she takes a major hit, she gets back off her couch and puts herself out there again and again. She just rocks!

I don't know why, but I also find inspiration in books and other personal tales from people whose lives have taken the kind of twist mine has. It's not that they miraculously get cured; it's the combination of knowing my situation isn't unique and seeing how other people find meaning in their lives after being hit with a debilitating chronic illness. Some of my favorite books that left me feeling inspired are:
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Tova Bailey made me both appreciate that my life hasn't had to shrink as far as hers did and also that living more slowly and intentionally has its own benefits (even if neither she nor I would choose chronic illness over good health). 
  • The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing and the Science of Suffering by Melanie Thernstrom is a book I've mentioned here many times and highly recommend.
  • How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide For The Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard. I'm still fairly early on in this book, but I've been following Toni on Twitter (which actually is how I heard about her book) and she blogs at Psychology Today. So far, at least, the book really resonates for me. While I'm not sure I could adopt a Buddhist view of life, her book is helping me see my life from a slightly different angle
Laurie Edwards of A Chronic Dose is always a point of inspiration for me. In fact, it was her blog that inspired me to start this blog. And in her post, On Inspiration, Laurie inspired me again -- this time to google the definition of "perseverating." Have I mentioned that I love learning new words? Laurie nails the idea that inspiration doesn't have to be a big picture kind of thing. Anything we find uplifting -- from our growing children to a eulogy by a genius's sister -- can make a difference in how we get through the next five minutes or five hours or five days.

Kelly from Fly With Hope uses some of my standbys when I need something to make me smile -- feel good TV shows and movies are great for helping lift a dark cloud. Read her other favorites in her post Coping With The Funk.

Jamie at Chronic Migraine Warrior fights one of the same impulses I do when she hits a funk: Pushing friends/family away and isolating herself. Like me, she luckily has a supportive husband who helps her find some perspective. In her post, Keep On Keepin' On, she writes about having a circle of friends and family, as well as her faith, that she can depend on when she's feeling at her worst.

Meanwhile, Mo from Day By Day With The Addison Girl wrote a post that many in the chronic illness community have found inspiring. If Someone You Love ... was Mo's response to a skeptical relative who accused her of exaggerating her symptoms to receive sympathy. That's something way too many people with chronic illnesses face, and it's a link to consider sending to any Doubting Thomases.   

Thanks, everybody, for participating and/or reading.The next edition of PFAM will be hosted at FibroDAZE on Nov. 23. Go check out Kathy's blog and keep an eye out there for her topic and request for submissions.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Procrastination, Thy Name Is ... ????

I don't really know how to finish that sentence, but you get the general idea.

It's not that I'm actually intentionally procrastinating -- do people do that? -- but I'm fairly unfocused and my days feel pretty short lately due to fatigue and pain. 

I seem to only be getting things done that absolutely must be done. I have good intentions, but I just get distracted way too easily. 

Not that everyone doesn't have that problem, at least some of the time. We all have too many balls we're trying to keep juggling without dropping anything. 

Thanks so much to those who have sent contributions for tomorrow's edition of Patients For A Moment. I'm sorry to say I won't have it up as early as I'd like, but please come back tomorrow evening to check it out!

Meanwhile, if you like science fiction type stuff and you don't mind foul language, I'm laughing while watching the movie Paul, which I borrowed from the library. Hilarious! And take it from me, laughing is definitely good for your health. :)  

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Could DO Something With That

Scott and I have a favorite mantra that started out as a joke but I've found to be true way too often: "I could do something with that!" 

Of course, I also think that's how people become hoarders ...

Lately, I've been finding it kind of zen to fold fabric squares into flower petals. I picked up this cool fabric a few weeks ago; I don't even know what it's called, but it reminds me of a metallic tissue paper that just happens to be fabric and not paper. I love it.

To the point that I decided that hey, surely there's something I can do with the teensy scraps. So I started collecting them:

Aren't they pretty?
 Ellie likes just digging in the box. :)

What could I do with these snips of fabric? I've had some thought of using them as padding in boxes I ship the way some people use shredded paper. Wouldn't it be festive to open a box and find these pretty fabric confetti around a present?

I've also had some thought of suggesting Ellie use them for a mixed media collage of some sort. 

Any other ideas?


Sunday, November 6, 2011


I have a really weird headache.

It's a headache because, well, it's my head that's hurting. 

But the pain is behind and slightly above my right ear. Which is not exactly what I think of when I say I have a headache. But it's not in my ear, so it must be a headache, right?

Anyway, please forgive the short post. It's painful to look at the computer screen right now, so it is what it is. 

Meanwhile, it's another week starting tomorrow. I hope you all have a good one!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Words of Wisdom From Someone Who Knows

It's been a lazy (for me) Saturday.

I slept for 12 hours overnight (boy, did I need that!) and woke up still exhausted. I was back in bed sleeping within three hours of waking up. It's just been that kind of day. 

Scott and Ellie, of course, had a very different kind of day. 

Meanwhile, somewhere in the occasional waking times, I came across a link for a blog post by Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy that I thought was worth sharing about the 10 things he has learned from living with chronic illness that I think applies to people with a wide range of diagnoses (or, like me, still waiting for that diagnosis).

Of course, his first item on the list about getting all the rest his body needs not making him lazy resonated today. :) 

But his other points are good ones too. 

Hope you're all having a good weekend! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Not the Day or Week I'd Planned

I feel like a record with a scratch that keeps repeating the same 10 seconds or so. 

And yet, there's clearly a lesson I keep banging my head against but don't seem to fully absorb. 

I make poor decisions and/or choices when I'm tired. It's like the closer I get to running empty, the more I try to force myself to do, even if I'm shaking with exhaustion.

We attended a funeral this morning, which was the second day in a row I had to wake up way too early. (Yesterday, I had to get up for the guy to clean our carpet, but then of course he came at the final few minutes of the "arrival window" I'd been given. Sigh.) 

On the way home, we stopped to solicit a donation for our daughter's school auction at a woodworker supply store (I wanted to go with Scott because I figured they'd be more likely to give a donation if they recognized the person asking. Or at least the husband of the person asking.). 

The afternoon was a blur thanks to my brain fog. But what stands out for me was when I found myself cutting fleece into scarf-sized pieces, and couldn't remember the chain of events that got me there, nor why I thought it was a good idea to do today. I mean, yes, if I'm going to get things prepped for Ellie to "make" scarves for teacher gifts for the holidays, I need to have things moving along. (How come helping a kid to make a teacher gift requires at least three times as much time and effort as simply making the gift myself?) 

But if I was going to force myself to be crafty on a day when I shouldn't have been handling sharp objects, there are other projects that are more pressing.

It's been a busier week than my body was ready for after our travels. I gave myself a little over a week to rest and do little else -- I even rescheduled two doctor appointments because there was no way I was going to make them on my own steam -- but then we had tickets to Pinkalicious: The Musical on the 29th, followed way too quickly by Halloween. And the week just snowballed, somehow. 

The lesson I seem to be having trouble learning is to pay attention to my body and stop, or at least slow down, when it's clear that I've overextended myself energy wise or am headed in that direction. Instead, it's almost like I decide subconsciously that, "Ooh! I'm clearly headed for being bed- and/or couch-bound again, so I better try to get as many things crossed off my list as possible before that happens! Hurry up! Do more, because you don't know when you'll be able to do XYZ again!" 

Oh, and the other thing I do when my brain starts misfiring because I need to go sleep for a day or three? Yeah, I ramble. Kind of like this blog post. 

Meanwhile, I need opinions: I tried out a cool wavy blade on my rotary cutter for some of the scarves I cut out today. If the fleece colors/patterns are gender neutral, does having cool wavy (kind of like pinking shears cut, but on a bigger scale) edges make them too feminine to give to men? I'd post a photo so you could see, but it's way too late to start looking for the camera. Tomorrow, maybe. :)

For my fellow bloggers: Tomorrow (Nov. 5) is the last day to sign up to participate in NaBloPoMo, so if you're on the fence, go sign up right now! It has moved over to the conglomerate (men are welcome to participate despite the name!), and OMG they have truly awesome prizes this year! And they're apparently giving out a prize every day. Wow! Not that I do this for the prizes -- particularly since I've never won anything -- but it's more fun to dream when you're actually in the game than not. 

Yep. Rambling again. 

Must. Stop. Typing. And. Go. To. Bed.

See y'all back here tomorrow!



Thursday, November 3, 2011

Product Review: My New Buddy

As a book addict, my chronic illness has been both a boon and a curse. 

While I have way more time to have my nose in a book these days than I would if I were healthy, I also have way too many days when my hands hurt too much to hold a book. Sometimes, I hold the book anyway and pay the consequences while wearing wrist braces. Other times, I watch too much TV.

Meanwhile, I'm a sucker for a (free) contest and enter anything with a prize that appeals even slightly. 

So when Tami, who helps run a local support group for people with fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy, announced a giveaway that she was offering at her blog for a Book Buddy, I immediately entered.

Imagine my surprise when I found out I won! 

I got to choose the fabric from the website, and they mailed it out to me super fast. 

And here it is:

I love this book so much that I actually finally ordered it on Amazon this week because I want to support the writer, Diane Gilleland, who blogs over at
It's essentially a small rectangular pillow with adjustable ribbons that help hold your book both in place and open. I wouldn't typically use it with the book I photographed with it, but it was the only book within reach when I decided to take the photo. :)

It's especially wonderful when I'm reading thick hardcover book, which always make my hands hurt to hold. And since most of the books I get from the library are hardcovers, this is really useful.

Could I manage it with a normal small pillow? Probably. I've certainly used small throw pillows to prop up my books on my lap before. Having the ribbons to hold the book open to the page I'm reading is an extra level of luxury. 

It also came with a plastic "desk" top to attach to the pillow using the ribbons for a hard surface to work on. The website suggests using it as a base for a laptop, but when I tried that while sitting in my recliner, it put my laptop's keyboard at a very uncomfortable, and non-ergonomic, height. I'm sure it's useful for some people, but the plastic/plexiglass/whatever desktop has been claimed by Ellie for some of her various games. :)

My only complaint about it is the fabric used. The fabric for the top feels like cotton (I had expected it to be silky from its appearance on the website, but it's not) and is fine, unexceptional but fine. However, the back of the pillow is this navy blue polyester-feeling fabric that I dislike the feel of. 

I am, admittedly, a fabric snob; and the type of fabric used doesn't impact the function of the Book Buddy. Texture is important to me when it comes to fabric. Whether I'm looking for a new sofa or a dress, I go through stores touching everything as I pass. And I have to say, that navy fabric would not have passed the touch test for me. But really, if that's the only complaint I can come up with, it's a pretty decent product. 

I don't know that I would have bought the Book Buddy, but I'm very much enjoying using it. And I'm grateful to Amanda Crawford Designs for giving Tami the opportunity to give a Book Buddy away to one of her readers.


Full Disclosure: I received the Book Buddy for free in a giveaway on another blog with no strings attached. I did not receive any compensation for this post (or even promise that I would blog about it), and my opinions are my own.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day Two and I'm Already Out of Ideas?

Somehow, last November, I managed to get a post pre-written and scheduled to post shortly after midnight each day. And here I am at 8 p.m. and I still haven't managed to get Day Two's post started. Ah well. I'm not ready to give up yet. 

What I'm Reading: I just recently started reading Toni Bernhard's book How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers,
and it's intriguing. Meanwhile, I also came across a blog post she wrote on the challenges of living with invisible pain or illness that I identified with so much that I felt like I could have written it if I just changed the date for onset of illness and the fact that I'm a mom and not a grandmother.

What I'm Crafting: Well, I can't give you too many details about my latest craft projects because I'm hoping to give them as holiday gifts to some of the family members who read this blog. :) But if I ever get those done, here's something totally cool that I'm planning to tackle next with some help from Ellie: Yarn & Felt folks. Aren't they adorable? I probably can't manage it, but I'd love to make them for party favors for Ellie's 7th birthday, which is right around the corner. 

What I'm Watching: I'm really loving Suburgatory and I'm mildly hopeful that Terra Nova will be among the few that survive the curse of being a science fiction-y TV show. I haven't yet checked out Grimm or Once Upon A Time, but I will at some point. What are you watching?

Best. Surprise. Ever: I logged into my bank account yesterday to see if I'd paid a bill yet or not and discovered that the lump sum past benefit that Social Security had determined last March that I was owed was finally direct deposited. Without, of course, any notice from the government. Boy, did that bank balance make me do a double take. And then several more takes! 

And Last But Not Least: Just four more days until the deadline for submitting a post on where you find inspiration to get out of a chronic-illness-caused funk for the upcoming edition of the blog carnival Patients For A Moment. See the details here.  

This post was written as part of NaBloPoMo and NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: