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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Girls' Day

Diva and I spent the day making cupcakes. A few weeks ago at Sam’s I found a book with all kinds of artfully decorated cupcakes, so of course I had to buy it. It’s always a challenge to entertain Diva on the rainy days, what with Walker addicted to shoot-em-up movies that I’d rather Diva not see, and the basement family room still not rebuilt after the floods two years ago. Cupcakes seemed like a great idea. I encourage her creativity whenever I can.
This was a first attempt for us, and I think they turned out rather well, considering. The ladybugs (M&M’s painted with frosting) were tricky to create and trickier still to apply to the flower. We dropped a few onto their ladybug noggins. We ended up eating those. The centers of the sunflowers are Oreos.
I was impressed that, at seven years old, Diva’s attention span didn’t waver the entire time we were working. She’s a dedicated little thing. And the best part? Sharing the finished product with the rest of the family.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bear in the City

Looking back on the last post, I'm struck by the irony of the timing. This weekend, a black bear that has been living in the woods on the edge of town for several years without incident decided to take a walk down the bluff, across the highway, and into the city limits. He climbed a tree in a local park and was promptly shot dead by DNR officials who stated they had no choice. They say the nearest agency with a tranquilizer gun is ninety miles away, and they couldn't take the risk that the bear, who was drawing a crowd, would stay in the tree. If he tried to get out of the tree, they reasoned, he would be loose in a residential neighborhood.
Well, I'm not a bear expert but I do believe I'd have called for the tranquilizer, ordered the area cleared of onlookers, and waited it out. IF the bear came down, well, then you do what you need to do. But to senselessly kill him on the chance that he "might" become a threat.....well, those people are right up there with the folks at Anthem who thought a hysterectomy was the best course of treatment for a benign fibroid.
I was disappointed and upset to see the footage of this story on the local news, complete with video of the bear getting shot and falling from the tree. Was it necessary to show that? It must be ratings time.
I have to wonder, too, why the DNR didn't have a dart gun when they knew this bear was living so close to the city. I mean, his woods borders a golf course. Golfers were warned to watch for him, and hikers were taught to be aware of his presence. It would seem logical that someday there would be a need to relocate him. It's been dry here this year. I think it's possible that the bear came down in search of food. It seems irresponsible to say there was no choice but to shoot him. I think it was more a matter of poor management. I just hope we learn from it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dawn in the Garden

This week I’ve been working overnights at my job, covering for a coworker who’s on vacation. I really like working nights, and if it wasn’t for the fact that most of the world works daytime hours I’d do this schedule in a heartbeat.
One of the best parts of this shift is coming home at dawn. There’s no traffic on the highway, the sun is just starting to come up, and the air is cool and fresh. This morning, I went into the garden as soon as I got home. Walker and I had planted some trees over the weekend, and since we didn’t get the rain that was forecast, I had to water them before I went to bed.
It was peaceful, there in the garden before the world woke up. A chubby striped chipmunk dashed from plant to plant, making me laugh out loud as I watered and weeded. Last week, Walker saw a fox run through the yard in the early morning with a squirrel in his mouth. I warned the chipmunk to watch out for him.
As much as I enjoy the wildlife that visits our yard – deer, rabbits, raccoons, chipmunks, fox, possums, and even ducks have made appearances – we live in the city. I know these animals would not be here if they weren’t losing their habitat to development.
After an hour or so, the garden was tidy, the plants were watered, and my eyelids were getting heavy. Fog was rolling in from the river a mile to the west. I rinsed off my tools, rolled up my hose, and went to bed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Making Connections

A month from tonight I will be in the hospital recovering from surgery. I’m nervous, of course, but excited too. That probably sounds strange. Here’s the thing: I’ve been dealing with a very large uterine fibroid for a couple of years now and finally, I get to have it taken out.

Last summer I underwent a new-ish procedure that killed part of the fibroid. The idea was, the dead part would be naturally broken down and flushed from my body, making the rest of the tumor smaller and easier to remove. My insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield decided that the procedure was unnecessary and therefore not their responsibility to pay for. They stated that I should have had a hysterectomy instead. Um, WHAT THE HELL???? You don't amputate your arm when you get a wart on your finger. This is a treatable condition. Besides, I don’t know who made Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield think that they have the right to decided that I don’t get to have children. I’ve been battling them ever since the day that letter landed in my mailbox. In the meantime, I have had to make payments on a very hefty medical bill. So additional treatment had to wait. The fibroid continues to grow, putting my fertility further at risk. I have to face that.

Some days, I look like I'm already pregnant. Other days I just look fat. I have no idea what size I will be when this melon is removed from my belly. I do know that it doesn’t weigh 42 pounds so I still have a lot of work to do. One thing I noticed was, as I wrote out my monthly clinic bill payment I had major cravings for chocolate. Thinking back on it, I realized that a few days ago when I spoke to a girlfriend on the phone about this very topic, I compulsively ate M&Ms the whole time. I bet if I tracked it, I would see a pattern between the tumor growing in my belly and the junk food I stuff in my mouth.

I know I eat when I'm not hungry. At those times, I usually reach for junk food. Making the connection to why I'm eating when I'm not hungry can only make it easier to say "no!" to the cravings. The fact is there are plenty of things to stress about these days. While I can't control a lot of what goes on around me, I can learn to control my reaction to it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What I'm Reading Now:

The Men I Didn’t Marry by Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

This is the story of a lawyer named Hallie who finds herself abandoned by her husband after their youngest child leaves for college. After what seems to me to be a too-brief period of mourning, Hallie sets off to find the men with whom she had a significant relationship prior to her marriage.
I liked the concept of the story better than the story itself. I thought things came together a little too easily, even for a light “chick lit” novel. Bottom line: it’s well written and interesting enough for a beach read, but it hasn’t earned a place on my bookshelf. I’m recycling it on the Amazon used books list.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Forty Pound Sack

When I started this blog, one thing that I hoped to gain was a sense of balance in my life. I tend to take on too many commitments, underestimate the time it will take to complete tasks, and generally try to stuff fifty pounds of figurative crap into a forty pound sack.

The idea was simple: I would post my goals in a public forum, therefore making me accountable to someone besides myself as I work toward them. I also felt that by taking the time to explain myself I might be able to see where my thought process was breaking down and maybe figure out once and for all why I do this to myself when I know better. I mean, why do I constantly set myself up to fail? A friend once saw my weekend to-do list and commented that she didn’t know I had taken the week off. Um, yeah…….except the list was for two days. I did not come close to finishing the list. And yes, I actually thought I might, if I could stay focused and just keep working through each task.

Why is it when we see a friend or a family member juggling too many responsibilities we rush in, ready to help, offering to carry some of the load; but for ourselves, the standards are different? Even when half of me knows I will never be able to accomplish the 10 hours of work I have listed in the 4 hours I actually have available, the other half of me tries to squeeze in just one more thing. The result, of course, is disappointment and failure.

I need to turn this around but I’m not exactly sure how. I think this constant feeling that I’ll never get caught up is holding me back from trying new things. I mean, I can’t very well add more to my already bursting sack, right? So maybe it’s a safety net of sorts. There’s comfort in the routine, even when it doesn’t work.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Contemplating a Cutie Pie

My coworker brought me a treat.
Back from a lunchtime run to Walmart, he deposited onto my desk a two ounce fruit pie individually wrapped in a slick paper sleeve. This yummy concoction is called a Cutie Pie. Mine has exactly one cherry and a smear of filling tucked inside a crust drizzled with icing. There is no question that I will eat it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On Nurturing

I have a theory: If you can’t stand your body, you will never be able to care for it properly. To that end, I have spent time every day doing something special for me, something that makes me look and feel better. One day I gave myself a manicure, one day a perfect faux tan. I bought a new shirt and changed my hair. I haven’t spent a lot of money, as most everything I used was already stashed out of sight in the back of my hall closet.

When I take time to use makeup or wear jewelry, people notice, they compliment. While I don’t dress for other people’s comments it doesn’t suck when someone tells me they like my outfit, or my earrings, or wow that color makes my eyes look so blue! Feeling good about me makes me more likely to take care of me – all of me, inside and out.