Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Major Pain

How do you handle pain?

I am going on day 7 of a major headache. Yesterday I visited the doctor, wondering if I had an ear infection. The pain has been located only on the left side of my face, usually centering in my temple, but often radiating under my eye, or down to my jaw. I frequently have a stabbing or pulsing pain. My sleep is often interrupted, today at one point it felt like someone was jabbing my ear with an ice pick. Advil is my friend. The doctor said I have a virus attacking my trigeminal nerve, ( I will try to explain this as best I can, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on t.v.) there is one trigeminal nerve on each side of your face. The nerve branches into 3 nerves near your ear and one part goes to your head, one is under your eye towards your nose the other runs down by your jaw.

My mother-in-law suffered from Trigeminal Neuralgia, constant pain, which would intensify when she was outside on a cold windy day. She has had lots of sympathy for me, and is worried it will develop into what she had. She finally underwent surgery to numb the nerve. I now have more empathy for her than I did when she was in pain.

I feel like a wimp. I don't like to take medication, I've had 4 babies without drugs, even endured back labor, but this is kicking my butt. I haven't slept well in a week, a few times I have almost cried. Waiting for the Advil to kick in almost kills me. I think I am Dr. Jeckle/Mr. Hyde. Once the Advil starts to work, I almost feel normal, but occasionally I'll have times when the pain is stronger than the medicine.

I am determined to defeat this. Tomorrow I will not go back to bed after the kids leave for school. I will stay up and go jogging, maybe with the pain in my face, I won't notice the pain I feel when I jog. I will also be kinder to my kids, less grouchy. I will smile.

To all those who suffer from chronic pain, you have my fullest sympathy and support.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Book Tag

Mary tagged me for this.

The Rules of the game:
1. Find the nearest book to you.
2. Name the book and author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
5. Copy out the next 3 sentences and post to your blog.
6. Tag three other people.

Well the closest book was, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but page 123 was rather boring. The first 3 sentences were: Take a good look at each sound. Say it slowly if you can. Don't get fooled.

So I reached for the next closest book, Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime. It only goes to page 67.

So I walked a bit further to my library stack. Waiting for me is Indian Summer by John Knowles, for background he wrote A Separate Peace and Peace Breaks Out. I enjoyed both of those while in High School, and I was excited to find another book by him.

The voice, which was low, clogged, and expressionless, asked the routine questions. Squirming nervously but gazing with his levelest green stare past the nose into the glazed eyes, Cleet responded as though under oath. Eventually the transaction was finished, and turning, executing virtually a military about-face, Cleet crossed to the entrance of the building, looking neither to right nor left, experiencing some of the emotions a youth leaving a whorehOuse for the first time might feel: relief, revelation, shame, discomfort, deflation, impatience, and a battered sense of new maturity.

Wow, sounds interesting, I'll have to finish my Dick Frances book tonight so I can get started on it. Never thought I'd type the word whorehOuse on my blog.

This was fun. I now tag: Deanne, Wendy, and Laurie

Yesterday I helped in Abby's second grade class. I decided to stay and have lunch with her and Peter. Eating lunch at school is a learning and enlightening experience. I am always amazed at how little the kids eat. One girl, who was telling me that some days Abby will just drink her juice, eat 1/2 her half sandwich and all of her cookies, only had a slice of pizza and chocolate milk for lunch. She took about 4 bites and ran out to play. Several other kids had the pizza, and a few apple and orange slices, but I didn't see very many of them eat the fruit. Very few kids brought their own lunches. Another of Abby's friends had chocolate milk with her sack lunch, she only ate her peanut butter and butter sandwich, throwing the rest away. Watching how fast the kids stuffed their faces was like watching the Nathan's Hot Dog contest, see how much you can eat in 2 minutes so you don't waste any recess time.

I then went out to recess with Abby and Peter. We played tag, or as Peter calls it, tag-your-it(one word). We wanted to jump rope but couldn't find a long jump rope, so I spun around holding a short one while the kids jumped it. After getting very dizzy some of the other kids took turns. Trying to jump while your head is spinning is about impossible. After Abby's recess ended, Peter and I chased each other around the jungle gym. Kids flocked to watch me squeeze through different climbing things. What a great workout!

We watched the movie Super Size Me a while ago. I think a cure for the poor lunch choices/decisions for teenagers would be to give them 1/2 portions, 2 minutes to eat and a jungle gym. Make the teens play tag, jump rope or play hot lava monster for 30 minutes a day. I'm thinking I need to eat lunch more often with my kids!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Clean up-clean up

At work, I've been helping in the floral department. Being a bit artistic and creative, I've really enjoyed myself. I've had fun trying to make arrangements, but mostly I've been there to unpack boxes and clean up.

Valentine's Day was crazy. Watching men frantically try to pick out the perfect arrangement was fun. Watching my manager and co-workers start to unravel was also entertaining. I felt like I was running a marathon, I'd ring up one customer, with several in line, the phone would ring, and I'd try to hear and figure out what that person wanted. Then I'd have someone ask me a question, so I'd go out on the floor to try to answer it, only to get mobbed by several more questions. I was in charge of getting the deliveries out, and organized....etc. If your loved one picked out flowers for you, there is more of a thought process involved in it than I realized.

Yesterday I my co-worker called, saying the mess was huge and they needed my help. So I went to work early and was amazed by the aftermath of Valentine's Day. The department looked like a war zone (not that I've ever seen one) or maybe like a hurricane came through (never seen that either). The young girls who closed up decided they were tired and left without doing any of the cleaning they were asked to do. Not knowing where to begin, I started in one corner and with a broom. Then I went back through and put things away. I finished my evening by cleaning out the tool drawer. Since I was the one who closed last night, it was nice to go to work this morning and have everything still clean and in it's place.

All the cleaning and organizing made me look at my house. How is it that I enjoy condensing and straightening at work, but ignore it at home? Tonight after being unsuccessful in trying to locate a pen in our junk drawer, I cleaned it out. It only took about 10 minutes, but it is so nice. Abby keeps opening the drawer saying, "look there's our scissors, or look I can find a paperclip". My goal is to continue with the straightening and organizing. The computer box from may find a new home, and maybe I can finally get Rick to take his tools back to the barn. And if I'm feeling daring, I may even take down our Christmas lights so I can put that box away, it will have to stop raining on my days off before I attempt that though.

I remember hearing a story once when I was in Primary. A little boy lived in an old run down town. One day he found a can of paint and painted his wagon. Later that day he parked his newly painted wagon in front of his weathered picket fence. When his dad came home from work, he saw the wagon and the old fence. He gave the fence a fresh coat of paint. The neighbor saw the nice fence and decided to paint his house, this continued on until the entire town was clean and rejuvenated. Maybe my clean junk drawer will be like that, the catalyse to a clean and organized house. (I also think that when I do my weekly de-cluttering of the counter tops, only to find it in the same condition the next week.) Maybe I just need to teach everyone around here to put things away when they finish using them. Maybe it would be easier to hire a house cleaner.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Where's the Safty Instructions for These?

Abby's class was given CTR rings today. She showed me her cute hand wearing the cheap green ring. (when I was a kid, we had to earn money so we could buy our own, I think it was all of $.45)
After church I changed into some comfy clothes and had just picked up a book to read. Abby came running into the family room gasping, crying, coughing. She croaked out, "Mom, I swallowed my CTR ring." The thing was caught in her throat thanks to the poky edges. Rick jumped up and stuck his fingers down her throat trying to make her gag. Unfortunately she isn't like her brother who can throw up at the mention of vegetables. After several attempts he was able to turn the ring and bring it back up. I was standing by Abby holding her, and crying with her (I'm such a great help). After Rick got it out, she asked if she was going to die. The ring is now tucked safely in my jewelry box, she said she cannot wear it right now. We have yet to figure out what the ring was doing in her mouth to begin with. Thank goodness Rick has long fingers!

Feel the Love

Round two!

For Valentine's Day, I aim to celebrate all day long. We start breakfast with heart shaped biscuits, thanks in part to Bisquick. I serve it with scrambled eggs, bacon and oj. Each place setting is decorated with a heart shaped paper place mat and a small gift. This year the gift is bubble soap.

I also need to make something for the kids who walk with ours to the bus stop. They are foster kids, their foster family is great, but they really enjoy special treats.

For lunch I try to continue the heart/red theme, heart shaped sandwiches, red jello, heart shaped dessert (cookies or brownies) etc.

Dinner is the main event. Before kids we use to go out to dinner. But that is almost impossible these days. (by the way, how much do you pay teenage babysitters?) Rick has agreed to bbq either tri-tip or salmon. We'll also have salad and bread. But the fun part is dessert.

My parents tradition is to make German Chocolate Cake. In the past I've dipped strawberries in chocolate, or made Creme Brulee. But this year I've been considering making Cherry Pie (one of Rick's favorites) or Cheese Cake.

So vote on your favorite. If you were coming to dinner would you prefer German Chocolate Cake, Creme Brulee, Cherry Pie or Cheese Cake?

Here's my Creme Brulee Recipe:

8 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar (for the top)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and a pale yellow.

2. Add cream and vanilla, continue to whisk until blended. Strain unto a large bowl, skimming off any foam or bubbles. Divide mixture among 6 ramekins or custard cups.

3. Place in a water bath and bake until set around the edges but still loose in the center, about 40-50 minutes. If using larger ramekins it may take longer.

4. Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cool.

5. Remove cups from the water bath and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

6. When ready to serve sprinkle a few blueberries or huckleberries on top. Push into the custard. Sprinkle sugar on top, tipping ramekin to get full coverage, pour off excess sugar. Using a small hand-held torch, or place under broiler until sugar melts. Re-chill custards for a few minutes before serving.


Friday, February 9, 2007

Valentine's Day Traditions

Rats, just lost my post. I'll have to try again later.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Hey Baby, What's Your Sign?

February 18th, is the Chinese New Year. My husband's family being Japanese enjoy looking up their signs to see if they really are what they should be. Abby believes that since she is a bunny, she is truly a friend to all. Peter is a snake, and can tend to be a bit sneaky. Michelle is a sheep or goat and lives in her own happy world. When we had Cristine and Rick realized she was a rooster he said "Oh, NO! Another one. (his mom and sister are both a bit rooster-ish, peck peck peck). I'm an ox, and I like to think that is why I'm a born leader (ha!), detail oriented (HA HA) and a tireless worker (ha ha ha). What can I say about Rick? He just a dog!
Here's a site that has some information on each animal. http://

One day my mother in law came over with a book, wanting me to read about Rick being a dog. She thought everything fit him so well. My question is how can people born the same year all be the same animal and not be identical? Is it like the other horoscopes, and you can pick and choose what applies to you?

When I think about the Chinese Zodiac I'm reminded for some reason of the Hmong people and celebrating New Years with them. Isn't there a picture of Laurie and I dressed up in traditional Hmong clothing? Want to go play catch? How about some egg rolls and noodles? It also reminds me of when we learned dressed up in Laotion clothing, and danced to the crummy tape at a fundraising dinner. I think there is a fun picture of us in then too. If you look closely you may even notice a 'mosquito' bite peeking out. I didn't have enough chest to hold the yards of fabric that was wrapped around me.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

New Tricks

Cristine is a climber. She likes to look down upon the world, but she hasn't learned how to get herself down. A few weeks ago she climbed up our step stool. I was in the bathroom at the time, and could hear her hitting the dryer door and making a whining type noise. I took my time and finally walked into the laundry room to find her perched on the top step of our two step stool.

For a month or so, she has been able to climb onto the table from her booster seat. Most mornings while I'm frantically trying to get Abby and Peter ready for school, she'll wake up. Not wanting her underfoot as I'm making breakfast and lunches, I put her in her chair with some cheerios to help occupy her. That works for a few moments, then she'll stand and climb up on the table.

This week she figured out how to wiggle up on a chair and from there get on to the table. Easy as pie, you may think, until you realize our chairs (except for the one with her booster seat) are on rollers. So as she stretches out to get up on the table the chair is pushing backwards. Last night a chair was conveniently in front of the refrigerator. She climbed up, cup in hand, and figured out how to get a drink of water.

Once again today she wiggled up on the table, I walked in to find her coated in butter. Note to self, put the butter away! Our other kids have all learned this fun trick, but I don't remember them being so young. So much for letting her entertain herself while I get things done!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Hey What's for Dinner?

This year I've been trying to plan out our weekly meals, based on my work schedule. Something from the crockpot if I work until 6pm or so. I've also been trying to eat up leftovers, and not forget about the food hidden in the drawers in the fridge.

Here's my delima, I am out of ideas! This week we had tacos for 2 nights, then chili for the next 2 nights. Tonight we're having little smokies, chopped in half cooked with sweet peas served with rice. Sound yummy? Last week we ate a lot of chicken. But now my mind is blank. Since I work at a grocery store, and I don't work this weekend, I'm not about to show my face in there unless it's a life or death situation.

Thought for the day.
Get caught saying something nice about someone else. Today I met one of my co-workers husbands. He told me that she'd said I was a very nice person. That made my day. It also made me evaluate what I say to my husband and others about those around me. Working at the same place for over 14 years, and having many co-workers who have been there almost as long, we can almost call ourselves family. We can also in a matter of seconds tell you each others good and bad qualities, sometimes without taking a breath. Today after my nice complement, I started thinking about some of the not so nice things I'd been saying about others, and I resolve to try to improve my thoughts and comments about others. I think our kids and spouses can also benefit from this. I know my kids get pretty excited if they hear me mention some good thing they've done.

Mom and Dad, Happy Anniversary! I tried to call you to get the special German Chocolate Cake recipe, I think I may still try to post it.
Love you guys! Thanks for the good example you've set!

Happy Ground Hog Day everyone