Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Christmas went well. I got an iPod, and Frank got enough Thomas the Tank Engine stuff to sink the Titanic. Everyone seemed to enjoy dinner, too, which made me happy. Of course, there was a ton of food, because I thought I was going to have four more people here than I had. Yup, SIL never notified us that they were not coming. Well, check that, she did- she emailed Darrel at his work email at 1pm on Christmas Eve. And, despite the fact that Darrel called their house and left a voicemail asking them to call us back and let us know what they were doing, we still have heard nothing from them! I mean, come on- even if you thought emailing someone at their work email on the afternoon of Christmas Eve your plans for the next day, when you get the voice mail, at least think to yourself that oh crap, maybe I should call and apologize for the mix-up!

Gah! I'm all for just dumping their presents on their front porch- we were in the neighborhood Saturday- but Darrel isn't. I told him the presents are his problem then, because I am not going out of my way to get them to SIL and her family.

We went to visit MIL Saturday. The facility she's in is very nice. On our way up to her room, I kept looking in all the rooms we passed, checking out all the facilities.

MIL seemed to be in good spirits. She said the day before had been a bad one, but that day, Saturday, was going pretty well. She gets her pain meds upon request, about a half hour before therapy starts, which is good, because then she can get a lot out of therapy. I liked seeing that, when we wandered the halls together, she pushed her own wheelchair for much of the time- only towards the end did Darrel have to push her. She'll be in this facility a total of just over three weeks, and then she will be at home, with some home care coming in.

Darrel is sick. He has a flu-like illness. It could be genuine flu- he had the flu shot, so, even if he gets it, it'd be a milder case, anyway. He's been sick since...Hm, Sunday, I think? Chills, sweats, fever, the works. He's been feeling better the last day or so, and has been eating. He gets one of these about once a year or so. Otherwise, he's almost obnoxiously healthy. I guess one of us has to be, right?

Frank went to daycare yesterday and today. He really seems to like it, and Darrel and I both felt that we needed a break. As it turned out, what with Darrel being sick, it's just as well Frank went- the less he's around when Darrel is sick, the better, both for Darrel and for Frank- I don't want us to have to stay home with a flu-ish child next week! He'll go to daycare Friday, too. I originally was going to go into NYC Friday, but the weather is calling for snow showers, and I don't really want to be walking around in that all day! It pisses me off- I was really looking forward to it. Oh well, hopefully I'll be able to go in a day or two during February break.

Our toilet in our bathroom is totally broken. Now I have to remember not to use it when I wake up in the middle of the night and have to pee! We're hoping to geta plumber here in the next couple of days.

New Year's Eve...I predict we'll all be asleep well before midnight. My life is so boring and predictable. I can't remember the last time I actually did anything for New Year's Eve. Not that I ever did anything fabulous- mostly just hanging out at friends' houses- but I do miss having a social life. Actually, I have decided that is my New Year's resolution this year- we are going to have people over and socialize more often! I'm tired of my boring old life with nothing except work and bed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I screwed up the spritz cookies. Up until then, it was a pretty productive day, really.

I got up at 6am, showered, did a load of laundry, and cut up veggies for tomorrow. Frank woke up right about then, so I chased him around for a while, and then I set about making the mashed potatoes for tomorrow. I made enough potatoes to feed an army! This is a good thing- I love mashed potatoes, so now I will have lots of leftovers. :) Darrel had to work for a few hours today, so all of the above took the better part of the morning.

I don't like to have the oven going when frank is up and running around, so I thought I was being all smart and stuff- I made the batter for the spritz cookies while he was still awake, and then I covered it and put it in the fridge, with the idea that as soon as he was in for a nap, I'd take it out, preheat the oven, and go to town with it all.

Yeah, not so much. The dough was seriously stiff. Like, dry and hard kind of stiff. I called my mother, who thought the problem was I'd let it get too cold and I had to let it get back to room temperature. I tried that- I kept kneading it and everything. I fianlly got it all into the cookie press, but by the time it was even remotely soft enough to try pressing it again, it was 3pm, and I had to leave by 3:30pm for church. So, Darrel had gotten home, and I explained to him what was up with the cookies.

He tried, he really did, and it is not his fault, but they are just bad news and they will not be served tomorrow. :( I'm so mad at myself- it's Christmas, my first one in the new house, and we are supposed to have Christmas cookies, dammit!


In other news, Frank pooped in the potty for the very first time today! I made the appropriate big deal out of it, sang and danced around, and made a ceremony out of dumping it into the toilet and flushing. Poor kid- he looked in his potty and started to cry- I think he thought he was in trouble for pooping outside his diaper or something! But he liked when we flushed it down the toilet.

Ah, the utter excitement that is my life.


I still don't know if Darrel's sister and her family are coming tomorrow or if they are spending the day with MIL at the rehab center.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


So, I came straight home from school at 1pm today and began to bake cookies. darrel was picking Frank up at 5:30pm or thereabouts, so I had the house to myself all afternoon. (Side note: Frank's daycare was supposed to have a holiday sing along Friday afternoon at 3:15pm. It was postponed until today, because of the bad weather. Had I been smart and baked all weekend while I was snowed in, I could have made it. Yes, I do in fact feel guilty about not going to my two-year-old's holiday singalong that he will never remember.)

I am still not done with the cookies. I have to do the spritz cookies. Why I saved the most important Christmas cookies until last, I have no idea. But I am cookied out. Between all the crap that was floating around today at school and baking all afternoon, I feel like I could slip into a diabetic coma and not come out of it until around March.

So, while chasing around a two-year-old tomorrow, I have to:

*bake cookies
*slice up veggies
*make mashed potatoes
*figure out how exactly we're cooking the two turkey breasts we got
*get Darrel to find out if his sister is in fact still coming Thursday

I also need to go deposit my paycheck and go to the post office at some point tomorrow, but I have to wait until after my IVIG gets delivered, and I've no idea when they'll be here with it. Hopefully it'll be earlier instead of later!!

Then, I have to interpret a 4:30pm service in Hackettstown, a little more than a half hour drive from here.

Hm, maybe tomorrow night when I get home we can get pizza...

Monday, December 22, 2008

MIL's hip

So, last Tuesday, we get a phone call from Darrel's sister. My MIL has babysat for her children since the first niece was born, five years ago. She watches them three days a week while SIL and BIL work. BIL's mother watches them the other two days, or BIL works nights and watches them days- I lose track of what goes on sometimes. So, anyway, MIL went to the supermarket near SIL's house, on her way there, and she fell and broke her hip. It was hard to get information out of SIL- when she called Darrel, she was somewhat hysterical, and we kept getting different info- it wa sher leg, she was just bruised, no, it was her hip.

It turns out, it is the top of her left femur that broke, which is actually part of the hip mechanism. She had surgery that night, and three pins were put in the bone. She did fine with the surgery, and was transferred from the hospital to the rehab center on Friday.

The main issue right now is, she doesn't seem to comprehend, or believe, just how critical an injury she has. She's acting like she should have the same recovery time as a second-grader who broke his arm, but that's just not going to happen. She's a 67-year-old woman with serious osteoporosis who doesn't reliably take her medication and has so many physical woes, she makes me loook like a robust specimen of human. I mean, it'll probably be a good six months before she can even takle stairs, or squat on the ground. She'll never be able to sleep on an Aerobed, or a couch, like she often does at SIL's- neither are supportive enough for her now. And, according to my mother, who worked in geriatrics for nearly forty years and thusly has seen quite a lot of this kind of injury, 30% of all geriatric patients with hip fractures die within a year!

My concern, of course, is that MIL doesn't want to cause any problems for anyone, and will therefore rush her recovery and screw something up royally. We've told her not to worry about SIL or anything- MIL's job right now is to focus on herself and get better properly, not rush things. I don't think she's hearing it, though.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

This was my son after almost an entire weekend of snowfall. Well, that's a slight exaggeration.
I got the phone call Thursday night that school would be closed for me due to reports of harsh weather for Friday. I thought it was odd to call it the night before, especially as my district virtually never calls snow days- delayed openings, early closings, sure, but I think I can count on one hand the number of snow days we've had in nine years, and I don't believe we've ever had one before Christmas. Oh, well, at least I didn't have to get up early Friday morning, or be awakened even earlier by the phone ringing!
I went to the doctor Friday morning, and brought Frank with me- we kept him home from daycare that day, and Darrel was working from home for a half day. It was barely starting to flake when we left at ten am. By the time I went to the doctor, had a nebulizer treatment (frigging asthma), went to CVS, and came home, at 12:45pm, it was a full-on blizzard! SO not fun to drive in. Frank, however, loved it, because we kept passing snowplows. "Beep beep! beep beep!" he yelled. (Beep beep is his term for anything larger than an SUV but smaller than an 18-wheeler.) Darrel had to help me get the car up the driveway when I got home- I kept skidding!
Friday was Darrel's birthday, too, and Frank and I gave him his cards and presents that morning. Thankfully, we had a respite from the snow Saturday, because I'd hired a babysitter, our very first non-related one, to come Saturday evening so Darrel and I could go out to dinner for his birthday. He had no idea- I'd told him to be ready at 7pm dressed in something he'd wear to work. The girl who came is the younger daughter of one of my co-workers, and she lives ten minutes away. She'd come over earlier in the week to meet us, and for Frank to get to know her.
Today the snow started up again before dawn, and continued, along with sleet, the better part of the day. The last time I checked on our deck, it was close to ten inches. Where the drifts are, it's probably 12 to 14 inches. Yay. All this before Christmas, too. So not good. I have a bad feeling about the rest of the winter!
Oh, and last week, my MIL fell and broke her hip. But that's another saga for another day...

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I brought Frank to church this morning, for the first time since he was maybe nine months old. Considering that, and that he's two, it wasn't that bad, I guess. I was utterly exhausted by the end, though! They had no child care today because it was Family Sunday, what the church i grew up in called Youth Sunday. This means all the kids go to the entire church service, and the sermon is a children's sermon- the priest calls all the kids to come up front, and she preaches to them, on their level. I carried Frank up front and sat down with him for the sermon, but he was up and about again within a couple of minutes. So much for that!

This is a new church I am going to, too. The church I have been a member of for the last ten years or so has changed a great deal the last couple of years, as have I, and I no longer really feel like a part of things there. I've been going very sporadically basically since Frank was born. So, since we moved, and there's another Episcopal church about five minutes closer, I decided to check them out.

They are a very friendly congregation, which took me a bit off-guard! The first Sunday I went, the assistant priest was preaching, and, after church, when I greeted her in the reception line, she asked me my name and chatted for a couple of minutes. Then she flagged her husband down, and he introduced me around at coffee hour. Today was the second time I've been there, and I had a few people come to me and introduce themselves, including the senior warden. (The wardens are, for those who don't know, part of the Vestry, which is the governing body of an Episcopal church. The Senior Warden is essentially the president of the Vestry.) The senior warden made sure he told me that he thought I handled Frank very well (taking him out of church when he got too loud and coming back in), and that small children were absolutely welcome in this church. However, there might be a few older people who might say something about the antics of a small child, and, "...if anyone says anything to you about it, come and tell me, and I will take care of it." Wow. I guess they've had issues with this before!

There are a few things about this church that are different from any church I've been a member of before. In the Episcopal church, you can generally divide churches into High and Low. High is more formal, more traditional music, and people generally dress very formally for church- men will wear suits, for example. Low means the service tends to be less traditional- modern forms of prayers, for example- different types of songs and hymns, and the people dress more casually. I have always gone to High churches. This church is definitely Low. I mean, many people wore jeans, both Sundays I've gone! To me, the only time you wear jeans to church is when you're, say, doing yardwork on the church property immediately after coffee hour or something. So, it's different, but the people are very open and friendly, which is nice. I am already on the list of people going to the luncheon after church on January 4th, for Epiphany!

Anyway, I think I am going to switch to this church, which means I'll need to get a letter of transfer from my other church. It's not a big deal, except the priest there is an interim, and she'll probably want to sit down and find out why exactly I'm leaving, a conversation I really don't really want to have.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


...after having gone to bed essentially without dinner every night since Sunday this week, Frank actually ate most of his meal tonight. Could it be...he's actually...you know...learning?

He also went to bed easily, which he damn well should, since he woke me up at 4:45am this morning and neither one of us ever went back to sleep.

Darrel comes home tomorrow night. I can't wait!

We had two interpreters absent today. Since we still have one out on maternity leave, this means we had five people doing the jobs of eight. Yay. I feel sorry for my supervisor, who has to figure out exactly how to cover everything when these things happen!

Monday, December 1, 2008

My son

The child will be lucky if he lives to turn three.

His latest stunt (I strongly suspect he has a bad case of "I'm two") is, when I set his dinner down in front of him, to eat two bites, and then saunter off into the living room. My original thought was hey, he's being social, I'll have something to eat with him.

Yeah, that didn't work.

So, I thought hey, I won't establish a precise mealtime- when he's hungry, he'll ask for food, and if he's hungry enough, he'll actually eat chicken instead of continuing to beg for cookies or crackers instead.

Yeah, that didn't work.

So, two nights ago, Darrel and I turned off the TV and put away all his toys. We then each sat down to read...ignoring Frank completely. I think we bored him to death, because he eventually did decide to eat that night.

Tonight, I was trying to get a couple of things done, waited for him to request food, etc...and he wouldn't eat. When I took his plate away, and turned off the TV ("I want Elmo!") he started in with a temper tantrum. I mean, full-blown, sobbing hysterically. I even hauled him upstairs and threw him in his crib for a time-out for a couple of minutes...mostly so I wouldn't strangle him.

I called my mother in law. "Talk me out of beating my son," I told her. I had to repeat this, twice, because the subject of the fantasy beating was still sobbing hysterically in the background ("But I NEED Elmo!!" I NEED COOKIES!"). (For what it's worth, MIL agreed with me that Frank is in fact behaving like he's two.)

Darrel got home an hour after the whole fiasco began. Frank immediately ran over to him and started wailing again. Darrel, thankfully, is quite perceptive, and he looked at me sitting on the couch, and noted the daggers shooting out of my eye sockets towards the boy. He then narrowed his eyes at the boy and asked him why he wasn't eating his dinner.

Frank then flopped down on the floor and began sobbing in earnest once again.

He went to bed with very little dinner in him this evening, for the second night in a row.

Our only concern with allowing this to happen is that we don't want to be awakened at 3am by a hungry child.

After all this, I am amazed by two things:
1. That anyone, after having all the "fun" of one child, actually decides to have a second. I mean, we got into this not really knowing just how much "fun" this all is, but after one, you know!
2. That any child ever actually makes it to see the age of three.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We need a little Christmas...

So, aside from tree decorations, I put everything up that we have. It's totally dwarfed in this house- you don't notice it at all!! Must buy more stuff!! I found a tree farm about a half hour away, so we are going to chop down our own tree this year for the first time.

SIL update: The family has been taking turns going down and helping them out. SIL came home a week ago Friday. She's not on any antibiotics, although she's still wiped out and naps extensively throughout the day. The, eh, problem? Yeah, it hasn't totally resolved. It should any day now, though.

According to my mother, brother does not want SIL to ever be pregnant again, he's so emotionally scarred by all this; SIL, however, after a year or more, wants to have another baby. Brother wants to adopt, instead.

They are closing on a house on December 12th and moving in the 13th, a fact I shall believe when I see, as I believe this is the fourth closing date on the fourth house they've had.

Abby is growing and thriving; she is now over a pound above her birthweight. I have not seen her since that time; their lives as well as mine have been crazy, and I will not be going to help them any time soon because I have a full-blown cold. Good thing I had my IVIG today! This means that my tentative date with Co-worker to see "Twilight" this Tuesday is very likely out, as I do not go to see movies in a theater because I'm not sitting there coughing my brains out and ruining other people's enjoyment.

We hosted Thanksgiving; Darrel's sister, her husband, their two girls, and MIL all came:

Frank and Niece #2, who is seven weeks younger than he is. I like this picture because Frank is playing with N#2's toy and N#2 is playing with Frank's.

Aside from the Satanic red eyes, I like this picture of Niece #1, who is five and in kindergarten.

And, from when we went pumpkin- picking with his daycare in October:

Sunday, November 16, 2008


My poor SIL...without too much gory detail, she has an infection, and is in hospital again for a few days to get IV antibiotics...something I know entirely too much about. (The IV antibiotics, not the particular type of infection.) Little Brother hasn't answered my test asking if he needs any help. I hate taking days off from school if I'm not completely dying, but for this, I'd use up my remaining two personal days.

Got some Christmas shopping done today. I'm not going to say here what all I got, except, Big, I immediately knew that your gift was so you! :)

I'm beginning to feel Christmas-y. I went through our decorations today, and some of them are pretty old and crappy. Now that we have a nice house to decorate, I want to really do it up nice. I want to buy this: http://www.fontaninistore.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=54537&Category_Code=5inchnativitysets&Product_Count=1. I'll put it on the mantle over the fireplace, so Frank can't get at it. It's a bit pricey, but for something I'll use for the next thirty years or so, it's not terrible. I've been looking for a really nice Nativity set for several years now, and am happy I found one I like. I want to get an Advent calendar, too. Darrel and I also decided that we're putting the tree in the bookshelf room. I want to get the tree earlier than usual, too, like maybe Thanksgiving weekend, and I want to cut it ourselves. There's a tree farm about a half hour from here that we can go to.

I'm still not letting Darrel play Christmas music around me yet, though. My rule is, we watch the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving, and after Santa rolls in, at the end of the parade, that is the true start of the Christmas season. :)

My coworker and I have both read Twilight and are planning on going to see the movie together. She can get us free tickets, because she has the Optimum triple play. Squee!

Friday, November 14, 2008

NJRID Convention...and I meet Niece #3

I forgot to write about Convention last weekend! I loved it and had a wonderful time.

The Convention was held in Jamesburg, at a hotel. Several of my coworkers and I went. A couple commuted back and forth, but I wanted to stay at the hotel, and asked around. Male Coworker was the only one without a roommate at that point, so I asked him if he wanted to be roomies, and he said yes. No, Darrel did not have an issue with this. Why? Male Coworker is gay. I told Darrel that Male Coworker and I were rooming together and he just shrugged and said okay. Male coworker actually asked me a few days before the Convention if Darrel had a problem with it, and I told him no, there are some things in life that Darrel is actually pretty laid back about. He seemed relieved- I think he was worried Darrel would have a problem.

It all worked out very well. We're both very neat people who share the same taste in music and generally are not party animals...although he did hang out chatting with I have no idea who (in another room) until 3am Saturday night/Sunday morning! For the record, I was in bed with the light out by around 11:30pm both nights.

I went to some pretty good workshops. One that I found utterly fascinating (even if I'm not sure how much it will affect my interpreting) was on profanity, its history, and how different cultures use it. For example, virtually every culture ever has had profanity- the types of words that are profane, though, differ. In modern American culture, the f-bomb is one of the most profane words; to the Puritans, anything religiously-based was the worst thing you could say. Certain linguistic things simply fascinate me, so I was totally into this workshop.

There were a couple of others that focused on interpreting in the schools, and ethical decision-making that were also quite good. I still have to go over my notes for those and type up a report for my coworkers. We pretty evenly divided which workshops we were all going to, so I think we covered almost all of them between us.

I left Sunday morning, right after breakfast. There was still one more workshop session, but I was driving down to Exit 4 off the Turnpike to meet my new niece! (I apologize in advance for the pinkish cast to the pictures- my camera is dying! That's a rant for another day, though.)

This is me, holding Abby for the first time.

This is Little Brother. I can't believe my Baby Brother has a baby of his own!

This is Sister-In-Law.

And here is Abby, giving me Stink-eye.

She's such a tiny little thing! She looks completely lost in the carseat that we used for Frank when he was first born! She really is beautiful, though. As I told Little Brother, "She's the most beautiful girl baby I've ever seen. I've seen only one baby overall who I thought was cuter at birth, but I may be a tiny bit biased." ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proposition 8

In the euphoria of Obama being elected, some things fell into the background for a while. Proposition 8, for those who don't know, was a ballot initiative in the state of California. Gays and lesbians have had the legal right to really get married in California for many months now, and Proppostion 8 proposed taking that right away, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. The proposition passed, by a pretty narrow margin, and it didn't take until sometime the next morning for word of that to officially get out. This, to the best of my knowledge, puts gay couples in CA who had already gotten married in some sort of legal limbo. In my mind, though, that's not the worst of it.

People who voted for Propostion 8, for the most part, will probably tell you it had something to do with religion, specifically, the Bible. In the Old Testament, in the book of Leviticus (aka, "the rules"), it prohibits a man being with another man. Okay, yes, even I will admit, both versions of the Bible I own do say that. However, they also say that I am prohibited from wearing clothing of mixed fibers (oopsie, guess I have to get rid of several of my favorite shirts), I cannot eat shellfish (DAMN!), and I can in fact sell my two-year-old into slavery. It also says several other things I can't recall off the top of my head that are quite common nowadays.

Most of the people who will tell you it had something to do with religion are of some variation of Christianity. I am a lifelong Episcopalian. I haven't been a regular churchgoer for a while, although I do still interpret a couple of times a month for a deaf person who goes to church. I went to many years of Sunday School, and have sat through many sermons, and, to the best of my knowledge, Jesus was all about love. Loving God, loving each other, just loving everyone and being nice to people. Jesus hung out with people many at the time considered to be the dregs of society, much to the horror of some who would or did follow Him. He did not believe in discrimination at all, so my mind boggles: Why do His followers think discrimination is the right thing to do??

The campaign for Proposition 8 was an ugly one. There were ads saying all the horrible things that would happen to the state if this didn't pass. Who paid for these ads? Well, there are a lot of regular citizens, many from outside the state of California. (Why?? What do they care about what happens in a state they don't even live in??) The Mormon church, and many private members of the church, gave a lot of money to support Proposition 8 as well. Again, where is the love for all that Jesus taught??

I am not gay. I am as straight as they come, really. But this whole thing has hurt a longtime friend of mine, someone I have known for 30 years, very deeply. He's a resident of California, and is hurt by the fact that his fellow citizens have delegated him to less-than-a-full-citizen status. My heart hurts for him, and I wish there was something I could do for him to heal his hurt.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system...

Seriously, I have always said, when the subject came up, that I was sure this country would elect a black man before it elected a white woman for President. Still, though, I did not expect it to be this soon. I wasn't even sure either event would happen within my lifetime.

I fell asleep on the couch early Tuesday night. By the time I fell asleep, though, it was looking good for Obama. I watched McCain's concession speech and Obama's big speech online Wednesday morning, at work. I thought McCain was very classy during his speech. His audience, however, was not. Yes, I understand that in those circumstances, any audience of that nature is going to boo the idea of a concession, of the other guy winning. This audience, however, booed Obama each time he was mentioned by name, and I found that to be unclassy.

As we watched Obama's speech, I felt myself getting teary-eyed a bit. Not because I am a die-hard Democrat- I'm really not. (I'm registered to vote, but I am Undeclared. I'm too Liberal to be a Republican and too Conservative to be a Democrat. The beauty of being Undeclared in NJ is that you can vote for either party in the Primaries. ;) ) I was watching the people in the aidience while listening to his speech. I saw several people laughing and weeping together, black, white, and everyone in between. What a freaking awesome moment for this country. My parents grew up in a time when segregation was still perfectly legal in the South; my father told me a story once about when he went to Norfolk, VA for Naval training, and, having grown up in the North, he had to ask someone what "Colored" meant on the bathroom doors and above water fountains. My parents grew up in a time when black people in the South had a hard time even being able to vote, and now my two-year-old son will never remember a time in which it was crazy talk for a black man to aspire to be President of the United States.

I'm proud that this country was able to overcome its prejudices and have this moment in history. It's nice to have a positive historical moment my son will ask me about years from now, as opposed to something like 9/11, and know that I was here to witness it.

Now, President-Elect Obama, please prove that our faith in you was not misplaced. I certainly don't expect miracles from you or anyone else, but please help to set our country on a good path.


Tomorrow morning I leave at 8am for my interpreting conference. Yay! Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Car! And, life and death.

So, Car Man totally came through for me! I drove up to Middletown, Connecticut Saturday, a two hour and forty five minute drive, in the Sentra, turned it over to Car Man, and got my new car. The drive was long but uneventful- I kept looking at my GPS and praying the car would make to under 100 miles, because with AAA +, we get up to 100 miles of free towing. Then, I prayed I wouldn't break down on the Tappan Zee Bridge, because it is a very long and very narrow bridge, with no breakdown lanes; if anything ever happens on that thing, it's tied up for hours upon hours, and I didn't want to end up as part of a traffic report! Then, I prayed I'd at least get into Connecticut, because I would feel less of a douche telling the tow truck driver to tow me to just south of Hartford.

I made it, twenty minutes early for my appointment with Car Man. I allowed myself three hours to get there, especially since I didn't drive above 65 MPH the whole way. Car Man was out on a test drive with another client, so I hung out in the showroom until he got there, and my cousin Nina showed up soon after. By just after 2pm, I drove out of there with my shiny new navy blue 2009 Altima! They handled all of the registration stuff for me, and transferred the Sentra plates onto the Altima. The only weirdness is I have no inspection sticker on the car; that apparently comes with the permanent registration card, in the mail, but it's a bit nerve-wracking driving around without one!

I love my new car. It's not a terrific time for us to be taking on a car payment, honestly, but hey, the car is shiny and has lots of cool gadgets. It is easily the coolest car I have ever owned. Pictures will be forthcoming once the weather clears and I can take nice ones to appropriately show off its shinyness.

Little Brother called Darrel today- Niece #3 is coming home tomorrow!! Yay!! of course, he never calls me, or emails me, or whatever, nor does SIL, so I am guessing this means her body temperature and digestive issues have been resolved. I am hopefully going to see her Sunday, after my Convention gets out.

I went to a wake this evening. The father of a coworker died. He'd been really sick for four years or so, with various types of cancer, but what killed him in the end was pneumonia. He was 60 years old. It got me thinking, as I drove home, about pneumonia in general. I was very ill in March 2007 with double pneumonia, in addition to a type of infection called empyema. My doctor told me that if I had walked around like that another couple of days, I could have died.

I actually told the whole story to my cousin Saturday. She'd known I was sick, obviously. She'd known I was very sick, but I don't think she'd known just how very very sick I truly was. I'm not sure too many people really do know that. (Well, aside from my coworkers, who had to cover my classes for seven weeks while I stayed home recuperating, on IV antibiotics.) I think a big reason is that people just don't think that much about pneumonia anymore. They don't give it the respect it deserves. Far more people die of it each year than you'd think, and antibiotics don't always cure it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Car talk

Yes, it sounds like an auto-related radio show.

My brother's best friend (he was best man for my brother's wedding) is a Nissan saleman in Connecticut. I have known Car Man since he and Little Brother were five years old and running around my house. He is like the extra little brother to me. Car Man has come through on autos for family before, so, after narrowing down the kind of car I want to get to another Nissan (Up until this point, I have to say, the Sentra has been awesome, and I was very happy with it. Also, everyone I know who's bought a Nissan has sung their praises.), I contacted Car Man via email to see what he thought about certain models. He gave me the scoop on a few, and Monday I test drove three- the Rogue, which is a smaller sized SUV, the Sentra (why not), and the Altima.

I liked how the Rogue drove, but I could not get past two things: there are a LOT more blind spots in it than I am used to, and that freaked me out. Also, the gas mileage, while good for an SUV, is still...well, not fabulous. I then drove the Sentra, which was fine, and the Altima was last. I liked the Sentra and the Altima equally, but overall, the Altima has been rated a better car, it's got a bit more room than the Sentra, and the gas mileage is almost as good as the Sentra, so I decided to go with that.

Car Man has found me a car! It's blue. (Anyone who knows me and knows how much I love the color is apt to just say, "Well, duh!" here.) It's got some extra toys in it, but not extravagantly so. I made an appointment to have the Sirius satellite radio taken out of the Sentra tomorrow after school, and have started taking all my stuff out of it. If all goes well, I shall be driving up to Connecticut Saturday morning to get my new car and trade in my Sentra.

Of course, this is provided the car actually makes it there. My check engine light came on today! It's still running the same as it's been- starting a bit rough in the morning, etc. I'm driving it to and from school tomorrow (and to the Sirius dealer after school), and then Friday Darrel will drive me to and from school. Darrel originally was talking about him and Frank following me up Saturday morning in his car, in case I break down en route, but, really, what could he do for me that AAA won't be able to do already? And, frankly, it sounds like a nightmare to me- him, me, and a cranky two-year-old, standing alongside a highway, waiting for AAA. It's going to be nearly a three-hour drive each way, and while I'm up there, I may as well stop in at my cousin Nina's house on the way home for lunch or something. If the car breaks down en route, I'll call AAA and have them tow me to Car Man's dealership.

*prays car makes it there*

Of course, since I'll have my nice new car, this means Frank and I can go visit Niece #3 Sunday after all! Frank, of course, will not be able to go into the NICU, but Little Brother or SIL can stay with him in the waiting area while I go in with the other person. Must bring my camera with me...

The NJ Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (NJRID) convention is next weekend. I. Can't. WAIT. It's going to be so much fun. It's in Jamesburg, which is not a scenic town, and is about an hour and a half from me. I am staying in the hotel the entire weekend. I can't wait to get away and just worry about ME for a weekend. Ahh, the luxury...going to dinner and only carrying a small purse, not a diaper bag!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Niece #3! And, I hate cars!

Abigail Barbara was born at 11:54pm Thursday night. She weighed in at five pounds, seven ounces, and was 18 inches long. All around, not a bad size for a 34-weeker, huh? Yeah, I think they were a little off on the due date there.

Anyway, according to Little Brother, whom I spoke with on the phone Friday night, she is breathing totally on her own, but has issues with digestion and body temperature control, both of which are par for the course with premies. They are currently giving her some kind of magic goo they give premies, for nutrition, and SIL is pumping her breastmilk and storing it.

Little Brother called my mother at 12:30am Friday morning to tell her- apparently, at that point, they were still trying to get the placenta out of SIL! Apparently they had to press down on her stomach or something to encourage it along. There you have one reason I am glad I had a c-section, although some women I know who have had vaginal births tell me that part is no big deal.

SIL was due to come home yesterday afternoon, which, coincidentally, is the same day they were planning on moving into a new apartment, closer to where Little Brother works. I haven't spoken with either of them since Friday, so I don't know how that all went. Abby is probably going to be able to come home in a few weeks, very likely by Thanksgiving.

As for when I'll meet my new niece...well, that's up in the air. The head gasket on my car is dying, and I am car-shopping. I couldn't have gone to visit today, anyway, since Frank and I still have the remnants of whatever killer cootie we had the past few weeks, so next Sunday was the next available date I could go see her, anyway. I don't feel comfortable driving my car down the Parkway, especially since the mechanic told me not to drive it any more than neccessary. I'm just really pissed about the whole situation- we can't get a fucking break with ANYTHING. And, yes, for those who are counting, the head gasket was the exact same thing that went wrong with the Neon I drove before this car, thankyewverymuch.

Of course, the way dynamics in my family run, I (and my husband, by extension) will look like a giant schmuck because EVERYONE will have gone to see Abby LONG before I have any hope of getting there to see her.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New baby

No, not mine! My brother's wife is in labor as I write this with their first child, a girl they've decided to name Abigail. Her water broke prematurely; I think she's at 34 weeks gestation, but if her water's broken, that baby is coming today whether they like it or not. I'm still sick, and am home for the third day in a row, so it's not like I could even go and be moral support or anything, either. :(

The two of them have been house-hunting for nearly a year. They were looking in the area they currently live, down the Shore, because SIL's mother lived there. However, her mother died quite suddenly this summer, so they are now looking closer to Brother's job. They've actually put bids in on, I think it's four houses, and backed out of each one for various reasons. The most recent backing-out happened maybe a week ago. They currently live in one of those teeny tiny Shore apartments (with their dog) that's little more than a glorified closet. I sure hope they have an idea for where to put the crib, even though Abby won't be coming home for several weeks yet.

SIL has been through a LOT of stress recently. I can't help but wonder if that has had anything to do with the premature labor. I'm quite worried about her.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still sick

I came home from school early yesterday and stayed home today. I hate being sick. I hate using up sick days this early in the school year.

The good news is, I don't think this is going to become a sinus infection. I still feel sick, but I think it's starting to pass, thankfully. *crosses fingers*

On the down side, the heat in my car died yesterday. It works just fine when I have my foot on the gas, but when I take my foot off the gas, it blows cold air out. I got a recommendation from one of the women who run Frank's daycare for an auto repair place here in town. We dropped the car off this morning. Darrel is currently on his way to pick me up to go get my car, as it's just about ready. I don't really want to go get Frank yet- I am too tired to deal with his energy- but there's no point in me driving home without him, when I'd just have to hop back in the car maybe a half hour later to go get him.

Frank is still coughing from this cold, too. I've been using his inhaler on him a couple of times a day, which seems to help, but not a huge amount. I'm giving him until Thursday, and if he's not improved, I'm calling the doctor.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sinus stuff

I feel like crap today. And I had to get up early and interpret church this morning. I just hope getting to bed early tonight will give me enough energy to get through the day tomorrow...and every day this week. I already used up one sick day for something stupid- I woke up one morning after a late night with Frank, and felt dizzy and had a massive headache. The headache, I would have popped some Exedrin and sucked it up, but dizzy...yeah, I was having a hard time walking, so I thought driving would be bad. We have nothing after school at all this week, so I can just come home and lie down each day if I want, for an hour or so, and then go get Frank.

On the plus side, I got a Neti Pot recently. http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Neti_pot.jpg

Basically, it's a way to irrigate your sinuses. You put some of the salt in, fill it with warm water, and tilt your head over a sink and pour it up into your sinuses. I only just started using it, so I still feel somewhat like I am drowning while using it, but damn, the thing works! Without going into too much detail, much grossness comes out of my nose each time I use it. (Of course, this being me, my sinuses are full an hour or so later!) I know several people who swear that using this sort of thing has kept them from getting sinus infections for years, and I am willing to try many things when it comes to reducing sinus infections, which is why I got this thing. The jury is still out as to whether it'll keep this current cold from becoming a sinus infection, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I have a cold. Thanks, Frank, for coughing in my face for the last two weeks.

Homecoming at our college is today, and after that, we have a birthday party for the one-year-old daughter of a friend of Darrel's from high school. We don't get to see them much- we've never even met the one-year-old, actually- so we're still going to that, but we've bagged Homecoming, because I don't think I could take that long of a day. (The friend and his wife live in south Jersey, easily a two-hour drive from here.)

So, to prepare, I've started packing the diaper bag. We have to bring food for Frank everywhere, because he has two food problems: he's highly allergic to milk and eggs, and anything with even the tracest amount of either in them, and he has sensory processing disorder (SPD). SPD basically means his senses work too well. Some kids with SPD are super sensitive to sounds, some to light, and some have problems with tags and seams in clothing. Frank has problems with anything oral. He was diagnosed at age 17 months because he was refusing to eat. Seriously. He ate like three different foods, and would refuse to eat anything else. i got all kinds of conflicting advice. "Leave him in his high chair with an unfamiliar food- when he gets hungry enough, he'll eat it." Um, no, I tried that, for well over two hours, and he didn't eat it. And he was starving, I know it. "All toddlers are picky." Yes, but one-year-olds are not. And how many babies, when they start crawling, do you know that will never ever put a single thing in their mouths, ever? Frank never ever checked anything out orally, even teething rings- he would chew on his fingers when he was teething! Frank also has had problems with tolerating anything gooey on his hands, from glue to fingerpaint to food, but that problem is MUCH much better than before- he now plays with glue in school!

We started with Occupational therapy (OT) in February, and, to be fair, Frank has made a lot of progress since then. He now eats several different things, and, as I said before, he is much better about things on his hands. We're currently working on getting him to eat vegetables, at least a few, as he currently eats none of them, except for, ocasionally, green beans.

It's very frustrating, because not a lot of kids have been diagnosed with it as yet, and even I admit it's a little weird- how can you not want to eat?? People think I'm pathologizing normal toddler behavior when i explain it to them. I really wish it were that simple. My mother says I have to learn that not everyone is educable, and that I don't have to explain the whole thing to everyone. I guess, but I figure the more people I explain it to now, the less people will think Frank is weird with food when he gets older.

In the meantime, we have to pack his food wherever we go- between the SPD and the food allergies, we assume he won't be able to eat anything anywhere we go.

I keep telling myself that in ten years, when he's going through puberty and eating us out of house and home, I'll look back on all this and laugh. So far, though, it's really not that funny.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!

Darrel took the day off today, so when Frank and I got home from school, the three of us went out to rake some leaves. It was Frank's first time experiencing the fine art of jumping in leaf piles:

He seems to have enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Field trip!

Today I took a personal day so I could go with Frank on his Very First Field Trip. His daycare went pumpkin picking. I'm honestly not sure what he liked best, the pumpkins themselves...(The first picture is Frank trying to collect every single pumpkin on the ground.)

Playing on the wooden train they had there...

Or riding on the school bus!

He did argue with me when I put his seatbelt on when we got on the bus: "No, I don't want it." I'm pretty sure he noticed that there were a lot of other kids on the bus whose parents weren't making them wear seatbelts. But I am something of a Nazi when it comes to seatbelts, so I told him too bad, Mommy says yes, and he learned to ignore the seatbelt after a while. ;)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I love Deaf people.

So, I wore the new glasses to school for the first time today. Before I get into the rest of this story, I need to explain about Deaf Culture. Deaf people have a totally different culture from Hearing people. There are customs, when meeting and leaving, regarding touching, etc. Anything you can think of regarding your culture, there's something in Deaf Culture corresponding to it. (It's interesting, how language reflects a culture. Or a culture reflects a language. Or both.)

Deaf people, in my experience, are, quite simply, way more blunt than any Hearing person you will ever meet in your life. For example, I have seen a Deaf person say to someone, in an entirely complimentary manner, "Wow! You lost a lot of weight! That's good, because you were fat before." If a hearing person said this to me or one of my friends, I'd be offended. A Deaf person said it, so the person it was said to (and I) laughed, and the formerly fat person thanked the Deaf person for the compliment.

So, today. I got to a class and sat down. One of my current favorite students took one look at me and said, "You got new glasses?" I nodded and smiled, refraining from asking her what she thought, because, well, she's Deaf, and I knew she'd tell me.

Sure enough, she did: "I like these much better than your old glasses." When I laughed, she expanded on her statement. "No, seriously, the other ones were way too big for you. These are much better."

I love Deaf people.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


So, I've had this headache for well over a week. I thought it was my old glasses, maybe, or a sinus thing. So, I got new glasses, and I've been doing sinus irrigation things more often, all to no avail- I feel fine, don't have any illnesses coming or going, and still have this headache. Advil just puts a dent in it- not that it's migraine status, by any stretch, but it IS annoying. Exedrin Migraine helps it, a lot, but I have to take two, and I hate taking any more medication than I have to- I mean, my poor liver!

Frank has a cold, and has had one for several days. We are very fortunate in that, most of the time, when he gets sick, other than the typical gross, runny nose thing, and coughing, Frank doesn't whine much- he gets more clingy and he sleeps a lot. My mother tells me that I was very much that way as a child- often, she first became aware I was getting sick because I'd sleep much more, which is generally what happens with Frank. He's in bed right now, and has been there for nearly three hours. He hasn't been sleeping that whole time, but he seems to have been content just to lie there. Although, he's whining now, so I guess I should go get him up...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New glasses

I got new glasses today! I went and picked them out Wednesday after school- I picked up Frank from daycare and then went on my way home. Poor Frank- he watched me try on one new pair and burst into tears! He was completely inconsolable the rest of the time we were in the store. Then, I went and got them today, and he didn't seem to noticed when I walked in the door with them on.

The glasses have black frames, and they're sort of rectangular. They're much smaller lenses than my previous glasses are, so it's going to take me some time to get used to the fact that I can actually see all the way around the frames out of the corner of my eyes. But I like them, I now have a spare pair so I don't need to freak out as much when Frank touches them, and Darrel even said, completely unsolicited, that he liked them, too.

Pictures will be forthcoming after we get back from pumpkin picking this afternoon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New blog & Circle Line cruise

My old blog site wasn't very user-friendly in several ways, so I've created a new blog here.

Yesterday, my husband and I went into New York City and took the Circle Line cruise. I work in a high school, and I had the day off for Yom Kippur. We are not Jewish, so, yay, free day for me! My husband has something like fifty million vacation days he needs to take before the end of 2008, so he took a day off yesterday as well. We left our two-year-old son at daycare, as per usual, taking advantage to take the child-free date we'd been fantasizing about since...well, I really don't know when, and drove down to Weehawken to take the ferry over to Manhattan. We then walked slightly north to the Circle Line terminal, arriving in time to purchase our tickets for the three-hour tour that goes around the entire island of Manhattan. *pauses and waits for audience to finish singing "Gilligan's Island" theme*

Yesterday was simply a glorious fall day- breezy, brilliantly sunny, a high in the low seventies. For once, we really lucked out with everything, and I have the pictures to prove it:
This one was taken from the West Side, maybe twenty minutes after we left the pier.

Lady Liberty- I remember being allowed to go up into her crown when I was in third grade, with the Girl Scouts. For those of you who never got to do this (you can now only go up to the pedestel), it's really not that great- it is very small inside, just enough room for one person to go up and the other to go down, and it gets very hot in there!

These next two are of my favorite bridge- the Brooklyn Bridge. I just think it's a very elegant looking bridge, with the stonework. If you ever go to New York, walk across it- it's free, and you can get some great views of the city from there! If you walk all the way across, I hear there's some great retaurants in Brooklyn right there. (I virtually never go to Brooklyn- it's a PITA to get to from NJ!)

This is my favorite building, the Chrysler Building. I've never been inside, and I have been in the Empire State Building, but I have always like the way the top of this building is constructed.

This is the United Nations building. I've been in here, too. Security, as I'm sure you might imagine, is insane. But it's fascinating to see the inner workings of the building- the tour I was on even got to sit in the delegates' seats in the General Assembly chamber!

For those who read the book The Little Red Lighthouse when they were kids, or read it to their kids, these pictures are for you. The lighthouse sits at the base of the George Washington Bridge going from Fort Lee, NJ to Manhattan.