Archive for November, 2008


Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been both busy and a bit crabby and I write less when I’m crabby. I’m not the sort to spill it all out on the page. In fact, in the journal I have kept since I was 16, you can always tell something bad happened when there are gaps in the entries, but frequently, I don’t even give a hint as to what was upsetting me so much. I know that is backwards to how most people do things, but hey, different strokes and all that.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a colostomy. It was a side effect of the exploding colon. I do not like it. When I was in rehab, a nice lady from the Ostomy Association came in and gave me a pile of literature about living with an ostomy and a big running theme was, Isn’t this great?! There were little articles written by people who’d lived with ostomies for decades and just thought they were the best things, wouldn’t go back even if they could. Changing the bag is easy once you get the hang of it! It’s all easy, really! Just give it a couple of months and you’ll be happy, happy, happy!

I’m not happy. Changing the bag is shitty, much more so than just wiping your own butt. The bag is held in place by a big bandage, basically, with a hole for the bit of intestine sticking out, which is called the stoma. The bandage is called a flange, and it needs to be changed too. You rip it off and glue another on. Skin does not like this and gets all rashy. (There are many, many ostomy products aimed towards healing this.)

I’ve gotten used to all this and good at dealing with it, but I still don’t like it. Especially since my stoma prolapsed. This means that the stoma, instead of protruding only a little bit, sometimes hangs way, way out. Likes, 6 inches. Remember in Alien, when the little baby alien busts out of the guy’s belly and looks around? That’s kind of what it looks like. It’s intestine. It’s all ripply and alive.

Beyond the generally grossness of this, there’s my concern about hurting the damn thing, which makes me constantly aware of leaning against counters, putting on seat belts, etc.

So I’ve been rooting for a reversal in a big way. I’ve needed a couple tests to see if it was possible, and I had the appointment with the surgeon last Tuesday to see how possible it is.

It is. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he likely has to re-open my great big scar – the one that runs from above my belly button to my pubic bone. Hooking the guts back up carries the risk of a leak which could lead to sepsis – the problem I had in the first place. Or scar tissue could lead to blockage. The surgery also carries a risk of damaging the spleen or may require a temporary ileostomy which will then need to be hooked back up too. And I have to stay in the hospital for about a week.

That last one freaked me out more than one might expect, mostly because the father of a friend had a heart attack a few months ago and then had an emergency triple bypass and he was out 3 days later. It speaks to the seriousness of this surgery, which I had been significantly downplaying. Significantly. I’d read that reversals can sometimes be done laprascopically, so I figured, no big deal.

Only turns out it is a big deal. Hence, crabbiness.

The surgery is set for December 12th.

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J has been away for a little over 1.5 weeks and I’ve been going it alone. Since I can barely go it with him around, it has been a bit nuts. Not as nuts as when the kids were little, but enough. I bailed one skating lesson and one fiddle lesson, which actually doesn’t seem like a lot when you write it down.

But my crowning achievement was to utterly forget about the taping of the monthly TV show I do. It was a dreadful night for it – Maya at one place and Asher at another and me having to pick them both up before rushing off to the the show – but my guest couldn’t switch and I had no other guest. I tried to get it switched a couple of different ways and failed, but I’m sure the fact that I was up in the air about the time until the last minute didn’t help.

Ironically, it was probably the calmest night we’ve had, which should have tipped me off to a problem right there.

When I realized what had happened, thanks to the confused emails the next day, I apologized to my intended guest and to the woman considering being my replacement (which I have been looking for since realizing that adding the job to already over-full life just had to shove something off the plate, and since none of the kids were volunteering to go …), who had come to observe.

The replacement-to-be graciously accepted my apology and then, to my relief and delight, agreed to take on the job anyway. The guest was a snot about it. I briefly felt guiltier, but then realized that I didn’t anymore. I still feel somewhat guilty, because forgetting people who have come out to help is a bad, bad thing. But it wasn’t intentional, and even for a healthy person, which I’m not, I’ve had a lot on my plate, plus I did grovellingly apologize, so I actually cut myself some slack.

I’m either maturing, or becoming too tired to care what people I don’t know think of me.


On an entirely different note, I thought I was being smart tonight when I buried the leftovers for dinner at the bottom of the dog’s pile of dinner kibble. I figure that he’d have to at least eat some of the kibble to get to the good stuff. I then went upstairs and when I went back down a few moments ago to get my laptop, I discovered kibble scattered all over the floor. As far as I can tell, he must have picked it up and then spit it out on the floor until he reached the leftovers. Outsmarted by the dog …

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1. You cannot knit angora on size 3 needles in a movie theatre, even if it is only a scarf, because the moment you make one mistake, you are screwed.

2. You cannot listen to Sarah Vowell’s book Assissination Vacation on your iPod while the movie is playing – or anything else for that matter – because the movie is just too loud.

3. There are actually adults who come to HSM3 alone, apparently voluntary, and stay through the whole movie.

4. While watching the movie may make you forget about your burgeoning headache for a while, it will attack with even greater force once you walk out of the theatre, even if – as in Asher’s case – you really wanted to see the movie.

5. In America, they have very, very big, very, very clean high schools with huge, gorgeous rooftop gardens.

6. In a Disney movie, you can act as flamboyantly gay as you want, as long as you ask a girl to the prom near the end of the third movie.

7. Thanks to all the boppy music, the movie wasn’t as painful to sit through as I thought it would be.

8. It is, however, very difficult to walk past the theatre showing the new James Bond movie and into HSM3 in the fist place.

9. No matter how much you squint, Zach Efron is no replacement for Daniel Craig.

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Mary G from Them’s My Sentiments tagged me for a cool meme, where in you find the 6th photo in the 6th folder of your pictures and post it. I mostly hang out here on my laptop now and it mostly has work photos on it, so that didn’t work (lots of cute children, just not mine, and therefore, not mine to show to the world). I went back to my original computer, and this is what came up, from 2003. We went up to the cottage one weekend and my FIL had just gotten a digital camera, one of the first popularly available. I was intrigued with them, but resisted even looking at them seriously because I loved my old-fashioned one so much. Couldn’t resist taking his for a spin, though, and to his shock I took about 300 photographs that afternoon. I guess I was an early adopter after all. My FIL used his digital camera exactly the way he used his film one, taking only a photo or two of each subject. I already had figured out the way to get a good photo was to take a lot and tended to plunk babies down and take a couple of rolls of pictures at a time. With digital, the possibilities were endless. I got maybe 25 photos I really liked enough to keep, and this was one.

This is Boo, at about a year old. Is she not the most adorable thing? It makes me sorry I didn’t start this blog until the kids were older, because they were so darn cute when they were little. Maybe I’ll have to just toss in the occasional baby photo of them just because.

Tagging. Hmmm. Well, Yogamum, just because, although she doesn’t post faces of her kids, so it might be tough. Informal Matriarch takes great photos, so she could be interesting. I’ve recently discovered The Live and Times of Organic and she has gorgeous pictures, so her too. I tend to be a big lurker, so this is as good as it gets.

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I starting taking more regular walks again with Jasper. We both need it. I am pathetically deconditioned.

Today, I decided I would march around the path at the dog park, as I used to a year ago. I was going to barrel along, working up a sweat and raising my heart-rate. It didn’t go as I expected. Do you ever have dreams where you are trying to run and you just can’t get your legs moving? I used to get those a lot, although ironically not since the Big Nap. Trying to stride along quickly was like that. My legs just wouldn’t go fast. It was weird and annoying. I couldn’t work up a sweat. I did get a back ache, though.

I ran into another doodle mommy. Her guy, Oscar, is about a year younger than Jasper and they had a lovely time running wide circles around us. As we walked, kinda slowly, several other people all caught up with us and there were suddenly a great pile of dogs all chasing each other around.

Caught up in the mix were two young boxers. Oscar who, like Jasper, clearly doesn’t know his own size, was chasing one the boxer pups and bowled her over. She yipped like she was being murdered, but then popped up and was right back at him. This happened a couple of times. Now, when Jasper does this, I try to call him off, but if I really only worry about it if the other dog appears to be distressed, and a dog that throws itself back into the fray is clearly just a drama queen.

Suddenly, a large man turned to my walking partner and said quite aggressively, “You need to leash your dog now.” She asked why and he said that obviously her dog was hurting his dog and so she needed to leash him. She pointed out that his dog kept going back to hers and so it seemed unlikely that she was being injured. He announced that he did not see it that way and she had to leash him. She announced that she wouldn’t, and he was welcome to leash his if he were concerned.

We walked a bit ahead (still not fast enough to break a sweat, sadly) to get Oscar away from the boxers and were continuing our talk when we heard the man say behind us, “Wow, you really are a cunt.” Isn’t that sweet?

We wheeled on him and both told him that he had gone beyond the pale of even an uncivil discussion. He said he could use any words he wanted and we said not if he wanted to be taken seriously by anyone. And so on. At one point, it occurred to me that we were in the woods, an old, fat woman and a young skinny one, in a heated argument with a large young man. Maybe not so smart. But, really, who the fuck did he think he was?

Fortunately, who he was was someone who found himself actually cowed by two women who did not let him get away with using that language, and when my friend once again suggested that if he had a problem he could leash his dogs, he said something like, “Well, maybe I just will!” as though he’d won the argument, and went off to get his dogs.

We might stand up for ourselves, but we aren’t stupid, and when we reached the parking lot, we just hung out for a while until he had gotten in his car and driven completely away, before getting in ours.

I’d forgotten how much action there is at the dog park!

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Funny. But sad.

I’m watching Jon Stewart on my laptop and he just described Sarah
Palin’s knowledge of North American as, “Us, gay us up there and the
burrito guys down there.” Which I thought was pretty darn funny.

And speaking as ‘gay America,’ what’s with the actually voting in favour of
prop 8? It took me a couple of days to figure that out, because I confess it did not seriously occur to me that it would pass, so I didn’t take the effort to find out the results. Vote in the
black dude but keep oppressing the gay people. Baby steps, I guess.

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I’m trying

I’ve been trying to get a post together for two days now, but work has interfered. This work thing, it kind of keeps a person busy at times.

The world seems like a different place since Obama was elected, but that’s mostly because summer has returned. Seems like the whole world has kind of tipped on its side. I heard the words “President-elect Obama” on the radio and it was downright weird. That I was driving along in my t-shirt made it weirder. One week, snowmen in the backyard. Next week, t-shirts and crocs.

I took advantage of the weather to take Jasper for nice long walks in the woods. And since I got this great little camera for work and have finally learned to carry it in my pocket all day (because who knows when a kid is going to do something cute at school and part of my job is to catch it), I also caught some doggy-walking pictures. Loved the light.


Jasper likes to run ahead.


But if he gets to far ahead or I stop, he does this:


I stopped a lot, too, because I was a bit obsessed with the light and milkweeds.




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So, it was a pretty average day today. I worked longer than I was supposed to, but it is fun and they got me a real desk chair, so I’m pretty happy about that.

I then went to get the dog before coming back to pick up the kids. We then took the dog for a walk around the block. I let Boo hold the leash, because Jasper’s a pretty mellow guy. He’s also a sneaky dog. He loped along beside her until we reached the house where, four mornings ago, he found an ancient dried chicken bone. Four mornings ago – how does he remember that? That time, I spotted it just as he did and pulled him away before he could get ahold of it.

Today, by the time I figured out why he’d suddenly started pulling Boo along, he’d reached the bone still at the edge of their lawn. It was about 4″ long and he scarfed it right in. I grabbed him and he clamped his jaws shut. Here’s what people who have never owned dogs probably don’t know, and those who do wish they didn’t need to – dogs have gaps in their teeth, so even when they are clamping those jaws shut, you can get your finger in between the teeth and into their mouths. Through the gap on the left side, I shoved the chicken bone out the gap in the right. The moment it left his mouth, Jasper relaxed and just started back on his walk like nothing had ever happened.


Asher is in heaven over having a computer. He’s finding his written work much easier to get through and it actually, voluntarily, doing his homework. I was shocked speechless yesterday when he came home and, without any prompting, starting doing his spelling homework. Yay for assisted learning technology!



There, a nice normal post on a nice normal day. Nothing else going on in the world.

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I have New Yorker magazines all over, strategically-placed in the bathroom, by my bed, in the car, in my backpack. I had a bath this evening and read the bathroom one, which turns out to be one of the more recent. It has a David Sedaris column. I love Sedaris. He holds the same opinion as I do on the undecided voters in the American election, only he’s funnier about it. This is what he writes:

“I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want to lot of attention?

To them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down th aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it besides my seat. ‘Can I interest you in the chicken?’ she asks. ‘Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?’

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.”

He then goes on and write about how his mother made him vote for her when he was 11 years old, which also kind of resonated with me because in the election we just had, I marked the X, but it was Asher who told me who to vote for. There we were, behind the little ballot box and I still hadn’t made up my mind, so I asked him, “Liberal or Green?” and he said, “Liberal,” so I put an X next to the Liberal’s name.


Speaking of Asher, we got him a computer, putting out family total at 5 – two desktops and three laptops. This is not something I ever imagined. I did imagine maybe have 2 computers, one for the kids and one for the parents. Clueless.

We have the old desktop and the new desktop (pretty much side-by-side), J’s laptop, my laptop and Asher’s laptop. Asher’s is little and cute and he loves it so much he refers to it as his baby.

Asher has a graphomotor disorder. Basically, he can’t write. He has an awkward grip and this weird, uneven scrawl. And he’s slow as all get-out. They teach typing at school and, even at the age of 9, he touch-types faster than he writes. We are hoping this will reduce his frustration level. The new challenge? Not losing the laptop at school.

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Yesterday was a little bit of One of Those Days. I misplaced my bank card, so I grabbed a credit card to go to the grocery store and pick up a few last minute necessities on the way home from school with the kids. The plan was to pop in, pop out and then rest for an hour before the Halloween madness hit, because I was tired.

Instead, having picked up last minute face glitter, candy to give out and food for an easy dinner, I found out the grocery store didn’t take the credit card I had. Instead of abandoning it all, I called J, who was just leaving work, and asked him to come to the store and pay for it. Then we sat down to wait.

The next 20 minutes were not pretty. For one, it should have only been 10, but the traffic was hell and hubby was slow. And his phone died, so I couldn’t call him and tell him to give up. I got to just sit and listen to Maya freak out about how Halloween was ruined and we’d never get home in time to eat, dress and and get an early start on the greed. This was her last Halloween and it was completely ruined! How could I do this to her?!

I used the time to phone the mother of the friend Maya was going out with to find out her timeline and discovered they too were running behind. I explained what was up with us and we agreed to touch base later.

When I hung up, a woman approached me and said she’d overheard me saying I’d brought the wrong card and was waiting for a not-appearing husband. She then, this total stranger, offered to pay for my groceries, give me her address and I just have me mail her a cheque. She could see that the kids were tired and strung out and had been there and wanted to help.

I declined, because we were stuck waiting for J anyway, since I couldn’t reach him, and I was sure he’d show up any minutes, but she made my day anyway.

There are good, good people in the world.

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