Monday, July 21, 2008

A Valley Like This.

A poem by William Stafford sits atop Washington Pass in the Cascades. I read this beautiful poem this weekend just after I had gazed into the gorgeous valley below and peeked at the craggy spires above this pass for this first time. I almost cried after reading it:

A Valley Like This

Sometimes you look at an empty valley like this,
and suddenly the air is filled with snow.
That is the way the whole world happened
-there was nothing, and then...

But maybe sometimes you will look out and even
the mountains are gone, the world become nothing
again. What can a person do to help
bring back the world?

We have to watch and then look at each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully
save it, like a bubble that can disappear
if we don't watch out.

Please think about this as you go on. Breathe on the world.
Hold out your hands to it. When mornings and evenings
roll along watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party your life is.

--William Stafford

I will post a picture here, eventually, of the pass so you can see for yourself.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy July 4th!

Just got back from viewing the excellent fireworks in a neighboring (small) town...very fun and brings back such nice memories of when I was a child. Ahhhhh...

Couple of things I keep forgetting to mention...

First of all, I finally was able to do a single pick-up in tap a few weeks ago! I couldn't believe it! I had never even tried them as I had so much trouble learning double pick-ups but, S, my teacher encouraged me to attempt them and -- WOW -- I can do them!

Secondly, Munchkin and I attended the wedding reception of my boss last weekend. It was fun but the coolest thing was the band! A group called The Tallboys played old-time swing music and the guitarist was also a clogger! She actually clogged at times while she played guitar, serving as the percussionist for the group! Now, if you know me you know that I am not a big fan of nor am I very knowledgable about swing music or bluegrass but these guys were fun and that girl was amazing! Yay, cloggers! I have no idea what clogging really is but it sure looked a lot like tap dancing to me.

Thirdly, I'm back at Intermediate Tap this summer. It is fast and difficult but not as overwhelming as last year. I definitely can manage it better and it is more fun now, too. I think the online work I've been doing to learn more tap is helping me. I wish I had time to take more classes. I did do an online class this afternoon and tried to improvise a bit to an old Macy Gray CD (I forgot that my iPod was within easy reach). I need to do that (improvise) more often, too.

Well, that's it...almost midnight and I am exhausted! Good night!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kool Kreme?? Now, do we really need this??

Okay, so you already know that I love donuts. Krispy Kreme are not my favorites but--hey--when you don't have Dunkin Donuts anywhere in a thousand mile radius you'll take them. I really don't get donuts often but a handful of times per year I get a bad jonesing for them and break down and buy a couple (or three!).

ANYway...I digress. An ad arrived w/the junk mail today. Krispy Kreme is now selling ice cream called Kool Kreme. It's soft serve. Sounds fine and all but they also have Donut Sundaes. Ugh. Do we really need a sundae built around (or on top of) a freakin' donut, folks? Or, perhaps even worse, Caramel Apple Fritter Sundaes or Kool Dogs (maple bars filled with ice cream)? Even *I* am totally disgusted by these combinations.

That said, however, I might be coerced into trying the soft serve in the version of a small vanilla cone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Last Day of Preschool...

Wow, how bittersweet is that? Weird that three years have flown by so quickly. Odd to feel so glad about not having to shell out our $600+/month for preschool and not having to deal with some issues which have developed at this school over time (minor but still concerning) the same time feeling sadness that it's "over"...that, come Fall, Munchkin will enter an entirely new building, meeting brand new friends, developing a trusting relationship with a totally new teacher, learning a new routine and new curriculum. Sadness that these teachers whom we have come to trust will no longer even be nearby to comfort Munchkin if she is scared or hurt. Sadness that the beloved Ms T will not be there.

It was such a special period of growth for Munchkin. Ms T and Ms R both told me today that there are some kids who just are "your favorites" and that Munchkin is one of theirs. Ms T has told me that since year #1 when she would send Munchkin home with a whole box of tissues under her arm...recognizing that Munchkin needed a transitional object long before I did. She said that in her 15+ yrs of teaching two kids are her very most special favorites--one of them is Munchkin. What a warm feeling. I cried hugging her goodbye today. I think even Munchkin "got it" when she was saying goodbye to everyone. I think she is full of excitement and anticipation for Kindergarten but will be nervous and timid and scared when the day comes. As will I.

This whole parenting thing just tears at my heartstrings.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day!!

Happy Father's Day to my sweet and special dh, BikeBoy!! He is obviously loved by his little Munchkin as she just awoke calling his name! :)

And thinking about my dad, Vince, and my FIL, "Pop," today, too...wishing they were here in the physical world with us they are missed. I will call my step-dad (who is 86!) once Munchkin is out of bed.

And to all you fathers out there, may your day be joyous and filled with love and hugs and kisses from those you love the most.

And, I can not end a post without mentioning food...Munchkin and I decided to get dh donuts for Father's Day. He used to love them and eat them every weekend but when he overhauled his diet/exercise routine a few yrs ago donuts got crossed off the list. He still loves them but never eats them. Well, I found delicious organic ones at the natural foods store and bought them...the cinnamon sugar ones are to die for...they taste the most like my Uncle Bob's homemade donuts. So here's the link: Go ahead...drool! :D

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The verdict is in...I will live to see another day!

Okay, so earlier this week I developed a huge lump in my know?, the kind you get when you are about to cry? Only it didn't go away. My throat had been really sore for about 2-3 days which I wasn't too worried about after having a bad sinus infection which turned into reactive airway and being on various antibiotics and steroids all month along w/inhalers, etc. Then on Monday I ate a bite of a didn't seem hot at all when I bit into it, just warm as it sat on my tongue...then I swallowed and it felt intensely painful in my throat. It hurt a minute or so but felt better after a few sips of cold water. I didn't really think much about it afterward.

So, the next evening, I am trying to eat supper and feel as though the food is barely able to slip down my throat. It hurt like hell. I really only briefly thought of the "quesadilla incident" from the day before. I palpate my throat...I feel a lump, it is painful to touch, it hurts to cough, it hurts to move my neck/head. Think about how painful a case of strep throat is, right? Well, take that and multiply it by at least 5 on the intensity scale and you've got what I was feeling. It was absolutely horrendous...I actually cried about it after putting Mia to bed...I even had to take 2 XS Ibuprofen.

I looked on the internet (I know, big mistake, huge...). I either have a muscle spasm in my throat or I am dying of thyroid cancer which mysteriously manifested overnight. Whatever it is, it sucks.

I called my ENT the next appointments available. I suck it up and resolve to see what happens. I go about my merry life but am barely eating because anything (and I do mean ANYthing, including liquids) hurts like a knife slicing my throat open. In fact, I wonder if I ask McDonald's to take a rolling pin and flatten my tiny hamburger into a more pancake-like state if they will think I am weird! On Thursday I call the ENT back and see if they have any cancellations...they did, for Friday. I can wait another day.

By Friday, the lump sensation was gone but the throat was still intensely painful. I go to the ENT (who is awesome, btw). She does the usual scope but this time passes it all the way through and down into my throat. She said it looks like I burned/seared my larynx. She said the food probably wasn't that hot...that if I had eaten it three months ago when my larynx wasn't already irritated and inflamed from being sick for a month it wouldn't have done anything at all but my larynx was primed for injury. The bad news...there's nothing to be done about it. The good news...despite the excrutiating pain the burn is not severe and it will heal on it's a month or so.

So, I am relieved. Tonight it still hurts but each day is a little better and what other more fantastic excuse could I have for having a daily milkshake (something I never ever treat myself to)?? I have had 2 in the past two days and it has been like a little treasure! That's got to be the silver lining in all this! :D

Monday, June 09, 2008

Kids' music that doesn't suck...

I abhor kids' music which sounds like kids' music. So much of it sucks. It's just too cutesy and annoying to me. We have tried to introduce Munchkin to lots of different styles (rock, blues, jazz, classical, opera, an occasional foray into K-pop...). She likes a little of everything and has her favorites (Aerosmith!). But, when we are in the car we often listen to Kids' Stuff on Sirius. We have found some new favorites there and also on iTunes. Here are some of our current favs in no particular order:

  • Peter Himmelman: "Feet" and "My Green Kite"
  • Asylum Street Spankers: "You Only Love Me for My Lunchbox" (watch out, though, as these guys only have one family-friendly album out...lots of their other tunes have the "explicit lyrics" tag!)...this song is my current personal favorite as it has a very bluesy feel to it!
  • The Dream Jam Band: "Look Around"
  • Medeski, Martin & Wood: "Where's the Music?" and "Let's Go Everywhere"
  • The Sippy Cups: "Magic Toast" and "Use Your Words"
  • Brady Rymer: "Pie" and "Road Trip"...okay so "Pie" might be tied for my favorite! I love that song!
  • Uncle Rock: "I'm a Fire Engine"

We also love Ralph of Ralph's World--he puts on a rockin' show (really rock show-like). A local guy we love is Eric Ode--very family friendly songs and a very nice guy in person, too. Most of Laurie Berkner's music is fun even if it is sometimes too cutesy and lots of Dan Zanes' tunes are good, too (some are a little too folksy or sad sounding to me but there are others I "Malti").

I even have a whole playlist on the iPod just for Munchkin's songs (and we listen to it together when we are on plane rides!). It's really quite enjoyable if you are picky about what you listen to!

Chalk another one up for acupressure...

Okay, so Munchkin had been constipated for 2 days this weekend...firm belly, complaining about a sore tummy, etc. I decided to try an acupressure treatment (specifically for constipation) on her. It was hard to do because she is so fidget-y and ticklish but I managed to get to most of the points for a total of about 5-6 minutes. I offered to do some abdominal massage but she wouldn't let me. We went outside to do some yardwork (well, I was going to do yardwork, she was going to color the driveway w/sidewalk chalk!!). A few minutes later she yells, "Mom! I have to poop!"

So...there you have it. I don't understand it but it has worked every time I've used it on someone thus far, for whatever reason (pain, fatigue, etc.). I need to learn more, don't I??