Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tis' the Season...

...for holiday memes! Here's the latest, sent to me by Ms. Can't Stop Knitting. It's everything you didn't want to know and didn't bother to ask me about what I do at Christmas! Actually, doing the meme got me kind of excited about Christmas -- we'll be getting our tree next weekend, most likely.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags, baby.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real, especially Douglas Fir.

3. When do you put up the tree? The weekend after Thanksgiving, usually.

4. When do you take the tree down? Some time after New Year's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Only if there's rum in it!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Raggedy Ann (and I still have her)

7. Hardest person to buy for? Daddy.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Jack. He's 2 and he Just. Doesn't. Care.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a primitive wood set that the kids love.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I'd rather not say in case that person ever read this blog!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story -- "You'll shoot your eye out!"

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Any time I see something appropriate.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I think I've regifted a bottle of wine.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Chili Egg Puff.

16. Lights on the tree? Only if they're the small white twinkle lights that don't blink.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Santa Baby as performed by Eartha Kitt.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, please. At least until the kids are a lot older.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, if I sing the song!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. We have a tall red glass tree topper

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Those Salvation Army workers that ring the bells and ask for donations. They're everywhere and the bell ringing makes me crazy.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like the Victorian style glass ornaments.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? My special mashed potatoes.

25. What's on your Christmas wish list this year? A new wedding band in platinum.

26. What do you want for Christmas this year? A peaceful holiday with friends and family close by.

27. Who is most likely to respond to this? Why, everyone! Who wouldn't want to talk about Christmas and kick the season off?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

3's About Me

Another email meme that I thought would be fun to answer on the blog.

Three places I have lived: Minnesota, California, North Carolina

Three shows that I watch: NCIS, Top Chef, Dexter

Three places I have visited: Italy, Switzerland, France

Three places I have been this week: Yarn & Fiber Company, Trader Joe's and the pediatrician's office.

Three people who e-mail me regularly: My mom, the Crafty Mamas and Knitting Daily

Three of my favorite foods: mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and broccoli

Three places I'd rather be right now: Emerald Isle, Antigua or a cruise to nowhere

Three people I think will respond: Who knows?

Three things I am looking forward to next year: Rhinebeck 2009, the March bonus check and Emerald Isle

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Either Sadness or Euphoria

Remember a few weeks ago, when I got the bad news from my GP about my echo results? I ended up doing a follow-up stress echo to get more information. The news was GOOD. My heart measurements were all normal, both at rest and under stress. My EF was normal (and up 8% from the "bad" echo, so that little dip was just a normal variation, I guess).

The only thing that looked bad was my blood pressure. It was low at resting and bottomed out at 70/35 after the test. Did you know that having a BP of 70/35 will make a lot of alarms go off? There was much flurry and concern, especially when my pressure was still 80/50 after everything else went back to normal. There was also some confusion as to why the low pressure wasn't bothering me in the least, at least until I explained that my resting BP was usually around 80/60. After that got straightened out, they let me leave.

My doctor brought it up when he was discussing the results with me on Friday. He told me, and I quote "It's not good to have pressure constantly that low." Oh, really? Because my pressure has been that low for almost 3 years and I've expressed my concern about that to him at least twice that I can remember. In fact, it started right after they put me on the BP medicine after my heart failure. Coincidence? I think NOT! Seriously, though, I was a little taken aback that my cardiologist and the staff doing my stress echo didn't seem to put together the facts that (1) I had low normal BP before my heart failure; (2) I was put on medication to lower my BP to help my heart rest; and (3) now I have unusually low BP. After I told my doctor how crappy, tired and dizzy I felt all the time, he said "let's try going without it for a while and see how you do."

So I am officially heart/BP medication free! Whee! I was a little afraid at first, but now (4 days later), I feel pretty darn good. I haven't felt the bone-crushing exhaustion that usually hits me around noon for a couple of days. I also started feeling a lot less depressed on Sunday, which led me to wonder if the BP meds could have been contributing to that as well. A quick tour of the internet revealed that low BP can cause depression, as well as forgetfulness. I've been dealing with both since Jack was born, so I'm curious to see if the med change will make a difference.

On the other hand, I might just be really, really happy and relieved after 3 years of taking meds that made me feel sick and 3 years of worrying that my heart would never get better. So, I'm withholding my judgment about the effect of going off the BP meds until I've had some time to get used to being a person with a healthy, normal heart again.

Oh yeah, tip to those of you who might have to take a stress echo in the future. Find out before you go in what kind of exercise you'll be doing. It won't make a difference in how hard they push you, but at least you'll be mentally prepared. I was expecting to "ride a stationary bike." I was a little confused when I got into the exam room when I didn't see a bike. It turned out that the "bike" was actually pedals mounted on a table. I had to lie flat on my back and pedal from that angle. When it was time for them to do the echo, the table rotated sideways at a 45% angle. Have you ever tried to pedal a bike on your back while tilted sideways? In the words of the echo technician, "They don't call it a stress echo because it's a walk in the park." No kidding!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Potty Training

We are trying to train Jack. This summer, he self-trained for about 3 days at my mother's house when she gave him some "big boy" underpants. After the novelty wore off, though, he reverted to the pull-ups. Since he left daycare this fall, I've done intensive training several times. He usually pees in pair after pair of underpants until I give up. On the other hand, every time he takes a bath, he asks to pee on the potty before he gets in and does it successfully almost every time. So, we know he CAN train, but he seems to want to do it on his own time.

He has a potty chart right now where he can earn a black licorice dog when he's successful. Every single dog was earned at bathtime...until tonight.

I was knitting a pair of socks and half-watching a movie. Both kids were asleep, but suddenly, I heard "Mommy! Mommy!" I thought it was Lily at first, but then I heard "Mommy, pee started coming out and I have to use the potty!" Apparently, he suddenly woke up and had to pee!

I went into the hallway and saw Jack standing in the hall, wearing his blue footie pajamas and holding a black plastic gun. He said "Pee started coming out in a pullup! I need a potty!" He was waving the gun for emphasis. I took him into his bedroom and unzipped him so he could take his pullup off. We went into the bathroom and he sat down on his little potty.

Nothing happened. After a few minutes, I said "Are you done?" "I need a little more time," he said. I said "Would you like to read a book while you're waiting?" and he said "Yeah!" Then he pulled the bathroom stool towards his potty and laid the plastic gun on it. "I'm jus' gonna put my gun here," he said.

I went to his room and came back with a book, which he took and opened. I said "I'm going to go into the living room. Just let me know when you're all done." "Okay, Mommy!" A minute or two passed, and then I heard "Mommy! Come here, Mommy!" I went into the bathroom.

"Where did THIS come from?" he asked, holding up a small plastic dog. "I don't know," I said. "Are you finished?" "No, I need a little more time." I left the room again. Pretty soon, I heard "Mommy, come here, Mommy!" I went back in. "Are you finished?" "No, I need more time. I'm all done my book," he said, handing it to me. I took it and left.

Several more minutes passed and then he appeared in the living room, naked from the waist down with the bottom half of his pajamas trailing behind. "Come look! I peed! I gonna get a licorice dog!" I gave him his dog and took him to his room to get his pullup and pajamas back on. "I felt a pee coming out and I went potty!" he said. "Good job!" I said and turned off the light.

"Mommy?" I looked back in. "What?" He sat up in his bed and said "I need my gun."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's Under My Couch This Week

It's been a while, but rest assured, I have been cleaning under the couch. Life has just gotten in the way of posting about it lately. This is what I found last Tuesday:

Yoga Ball pum
empty 2 liter bottle of Orange Dry soda
2 small pumpkins (one was slightly squashy)
paper crown liberally decorated with gems by Lily
sucker ball
1 marker
paint brush
toy walkie talkie
2 binkies
2 halves of Jim's favorite yoyo (Jack took it apart)
book of stickers
felt witch hat from the pumpkin Jack decorated on the 18th of October
1 matching pair of socks
a piece belong to Lily's magic set
2 golf balls
Christmas napkin ring
3 magnet blocks and the entire set of cards showing different designs
silk daisy
1 penny
letter from MGH reminding me of the date for my echocardiogram
2 Hotwheels cars
toy fishing rod
part to the old vacuum cleaner
cow doll
playdough tool (looks like a jackknife with lots of playdough shaping implements)
party blower
glass suncatcher
1 gigabyte thumb drive
1 card from the Wild Things themed UNO game
1 Good Times token
1 stitch marker

The two golf balls were the inspiration for Jack's latest song called "My Two Balls." Some of the priceless lines from the song "I got two balls" and "Eat my balls" (the second line was sung while he tried to shove one of the golf balls into his mouth).