Free Pass

I got a wake up call from the Universe yesterday.  I had some medical tests run, and while some were much improved (my cholesterol and triglycerides are waaaaaaaaaay down.  Thank you, thank you very much.) others were baaaaaaad.  I am just barely on this side of the fence from something I dread like the plague: diabetes.  Diabetes sucks, my friends.  Not only because it turns you into a human pin cushion and lets you see way too much of your blood, up close and personal-like, but because it wrecks havoc on your body.  Your heart.  Your eyes.  Your kidneys.  Your circulation.  Your everything.

But hey, thank you God, I dodged that bullet.  I do not have diabetes.  Do you hear that Universe?  I am NON-DIABETIC.  Maybe just barely, but still, I am fighting that diagnosis for all I am worth.  I am worth a lot.  I am worth too much to too many people to have allowed my health to be compromised like this.  It’s not like I don’t know what to do, what to eat.  Did you read that super foods post?  I have this stuff down cold.  What I struggle with is my compulsion to eat decidedly non-super foods.  My remedy for every stress in my life, all my life, has been food.  I like to exercise and move, but when you are fat, you are ridiculed for exercising and moving, so no, I don’t exercise enough.  It is also not easy to lug this ginormous body around.  None of that matters.  Exercise and eating healthfully are no longer optional for me.  I am not starting on Monday, or on the first of the month, or after all the Easter candy is out of the house, I am starting now.  I have now started.  It is official.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to go to the gym.

Giving In To Peer Pressure- My 15 min of fame as a child actor

This is for the hundreds okay, the three of you who requested to know more about my brief but shining career on TV as a wanna be Barbara Walters when I was a kid.  And I don’t want to get you too excited, but yes, it is true, I did in fact, interview Mr. T.  (don’t be a jelus hater, dude.) Also, I am absolutely sure that the producers of Napoleon Dynamite ripped off the idea for the Happy Hands Club from me, and owe me serious props.  No lie.  I will prove it. The show was called Kidsworld, and it was a news show that was written and reported by kids.  It was a national program that aired every Saturday morning after the cartoons.  The local NBC affiliate in Spokane, KHQ, would occasionally do a story on a local kid to be aired on the national show.  When I was in 2nd grade, that kid was me.  See, every year, my parents sent me to YMCA summer camp to get rid of me broaden my experiences and allow me to commune with nature.  At camp, you could chose from different interest classes, and one of them was sign language. In sign language class, we learned crucial elements of ASL vital to communicating with the deaf, such as the “Bumble Bee Tuna” jingle.  Once we mastered that, (along with the words for poop, vomit and fart) we learned to sign along to Bette Midler’s “The Rose.”   I freaking loved sign language class.  I loved it so much, I followed the counselor who taught it around during other activities, asking for more. (“How do you sign lake?  How do you sign my roommate peed her sleeping bag again?”) I love it so much, that when I got back to school in September, I started a sign language club.  And what song did we perform for the talent show?  You guessed it!  The only song I knew other than the Bumble Bee Tuna song, “The Rose.”  And what song did the Happy Hands Club perform on Napoleon Dynamite?!  The Rose!  Coincidence?  I think not!  Because the director of Napoleon Dynamite was from Nampa, Idaho, and what is the NBC affiliate for Northern Idaho???  You guessed it, KHQ.  And KHQ decided to interview the weird little 2nd grade girl who started a sign language club that caught on like wildfire at her elementary school.  And that weird little girl?  Yours truly.  I know in my heart that the creator of Napoleon Dynamite saw me on Kidsworld and created the Happy Hands Club. If the story ended there, it would surely be worth the precious moments of your life that you have wasted spent reading this looooong post.   But no, there’s more. You see, a few years later, KHQ decided they would like to do a local edition of Kidsworld with stories of NW kids, and call it Kidsworld Special Edition.  It would air once a month, in the evening.  If you’ve ever seen the show PM Magazine, it was done in the same style, because we shared a producer.  The producer decided to call all the kids that had appeared on Kidsworld or the news in the last few years, and ask them to audition.   I begged and groveled and begged some more, “Pleeeeaaasse, Mom!  You’ve got to take me!  I know that I can do this!  I will die if I don’t do this!  I will die I tell you!”  Mom decided she didn’t want to hear any more begging even more than she didn’t want to drive me clear across town to audition.  Each kid had to write two sample news stories, and do an on-camera interview and screen test.  I wrote my stories, edited them over and over, and put on my coolest purple top that made my eyes look extra green.  I was ready. What I didn’t know was that the station had also put the word out to local talent and modeling agencies.  When we got to the station, there were kids everywhere—little kids, teens, all of them good looking and guarded by vicious attack stage mothers.  Instantly all confidence left me. “Mom, I am never going to get the job.  Let’s just go home, ok? Mom turned a particular shade that made her face look like an angry pomegranate.  “You made me drive 45 minutes, clear across town, in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic.  YOU ARE DOING THE INTERVIEW.”  Nothing is scarier than my mom after driving at rush hour.  I did the interview, and got the job, one of 12 spots.  Over 600 kids had auditioned for it.  In the end, it was my writing and the fact that I looked and acted like a real kid that made them pick me. I was on Kidsworld from the time I was 11 until I turned 14 and the show was cancelled.  Each month, I would either write and report my own stories, or ghost write for some of the other kids who didn’t quite have as much knack for it.  I also did the wraps, the cute little small talk in between stories, introducing the topic and going to commercial.  I did too many stories to remember, but one that stands out to me was a story I did about the world’s longest soda straw at a high school.  They got into the Guinness Book of World Records, but the best part was the cheerleaders who wrote special cheers just for the event, (“Rah rah rah!  Suck it up a straw!  Boom boom boom, suck it to the moon!”) Another one was about a kid hot air balloon pilot, and they made me go up in a hot air balloon and I was so scared I almost peed my pants, as I was and am, deathly afraid of heights.  There was the parrot that took a crap in my hand on camera (that eventually made it on to the show “TV’s Funniest Bloopers”) and a celebrity interview with Richard Simmons that almost scarred me for life.  But the highlight of my TV career, by far, was interviewing Mr. T. This was at the height of his fame, when he had just done the Rocky movie and the TV show “The A-Team” was a top-rated show.  We weren’t even on his schedule; the producer just pulled me out of school, took a camera man and sent me up to him at a car show where he was signing autographs.  I begged him for an interview, and he agreed, because he loved kids.  I don’t remember much, except that his real name is Lawrence Tarro and the whole Mr. T thing?  A total act.  Seriously.  He was a nice, soft-spoken, perfectly normal guy with a weird Mohawk and a tad overkill of bling, until the camera went on.  Then “I pity da fool!” and all the rest came out of the hat.  After the camera went off, “Mr. T” was gone and “Larry” was chatting with his sister, who is his manager and travels with him everywhere.  His on-camera interview was the typical “study hard, stay in school, and you too could have a hundred pounds of gold chains and an afro Mohawk” but that interview changed my life forever.  I started getting recognized.  “Aren’t you that girl?  From that show?”  or “Hey, you’re on Kidsworld!  Mom!  It’s the fat girl from Kidsworld!”  and “Did you interview Mr. T?”  At first I would cop to it, yes, yes I was that fat girl from that show and yes I did interview Mr. T. But the thing is, kids are not adoring fans of other kids for long.  Kids quickly become little butt heads, at least they were to me.  “That show sucks!  Can you get me an audition?”  After a while, I started to lie.  Nope. Not me.  Wrong blonde fat girl; don’t be embarrassed, we all look alike. The most surreal part, and where I’ll end my story, happened after the Mr. T interview aired nationally.  My biological father, who had divorced my mom when I was 2 months old, saw the interview, and knew by my name and my face exactly who I was, the daughter he had not seen in 13 years.  He contacted my aunt, who contacted my mom, who gave him our address, and out of the blue, I get a letter from him.  It was all very “Maury Povich” long-lost-family-reunion show.  I found out I have 2 half-brothers, whom I later met and am still in touch with.  I am an aunt to a niece and nephew who both have my green eyes and chubby cheeks. And I pity da fool who doesn’t give me props for the Happy Hands Club the next time they watch Napoleon Dynamite!!

Super Foods

I love Easter.  We are having a Honey Baked ham (drool), asparagus, potato skins, pasta salad, crescent rolls, and stawberry shortcake with homemade vanilla ice-cream for dessert.  But after I have eaten, drunk, and been merry (but not drunk!), it is time to think about eating healthy again.  I found this cool article about SuperFoods.  My comments and notes are in italics.  (Please note, I am not a doctor or nutritionist, nor do I play one on tv or the internet.  This is information I gleaned from many years of reading articles and in talking with my nutritionist.  Ask your doctor, natropath or nutritionist what is right for you!)  I share it for me and for you:

The fourteen SuperFoods and their possible benefits:

  • Beans – lower cholesterol, combat heat disease, stabilize blood sugar, reduce obesity, relieve hypertension and lessen the risk of cancer. (Not crazy about beans?  Try sneaking them in to soups and chili, or sprinkling them on a salad.)
  • Blueberries – lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and help maintain healthy skin to reduce the sags and bags brought on by age. (All berries are excellent and provide different phytonutrients, fiber, and have a very low glycemic index for a fruit.)
  • Broccoli – boosts the immune system, lowers the incidence of cataracts, supports cardiovascular health, builds bones and fights birth defects.  (Also try other members of the broccoli family: cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts.)
  • Oats – lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease & Type II diabetes, high in fiber and protein.  (Forget about carbs, we NEED whole grains to prevent heart disease and stroke and to prevent cancer.  If you want to cut carbs, cut out sugar, not whole grains or fruits!)
  • Oranges – support heart health and prevent cancer, stroke, diabetes and a host of chronic ailments.  (Calcium fortified o.j. is awesome too, provides many of the same benefits.  You pregnant ladies and wanna be pregnant ladies absolutely need this one–it has folic acid to prevent birth defects.  Also try grapefruit, mandarins, clementines, other citrus.)
  • Pumpkin – helps lower the risk of various cancers (lung, colon, bladder, cervical, skin, and breast) and supplies nutrients necessary for healthy, youthful skin.  (Try using your banana bread recipe and substituting pumpkin.  It is delicious.  I also like to make a box up of sugar free vanilla pudding, add 1 cup canned pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice and more splenda if needed–it tastes like creamy pumpkin pie, but way healthier.  Also a good source of beta carotene for you are carrots and sweet potatoes.)
  • Wild Salmon – lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer. (Also take an Omega 3-6-9 supplement.  This nutrient is thought to help depression, brain development and memory, help heart disease and prevent cancer.  If you can only take one supplement, this is it.  Adding in a good multi-vitamin is even better!)
  • Soy – helps prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, and helps relieve menopausal and menstrual symptoms.  (Like corn nuts?  Try soy nuts, I swear they taste the same.  You don’t have to eat tofu to get soy–sprinkle edemame on your salad, eat a garden burger, or drink a soy smoothie–they taste like ice cream.)
  • Spinach – decreases the chance of cardiovascular diseases, a host of cancers, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. (Stop making salads with ice berg lettuce.  Seriously, just stop.  It has almost no nutrition, and isn’t that why you’re eating salad?!  Make a spinach salad, (best) or at least use romaine or spring greens.)
  • Tea – boosts the immune system, helps prevent cancer and osteoporosis, lowers the risk of stroke, promotes cardiovascular health. (In spite of all the hype, it doesn’t have to be green tea.  Green tea is great, but so is regular black tea.  I love this one!  Love it!  Try iced tea on hot days–so refreshing!  Also coffee lovers take heart–there are also studies that show that coffee helps prevent diabetes, and has anti-oxidants.  Freshly ground is best.)
  • Tomatoes– lower the likelihood of cancer, raise the skin’s sun protection factor and seem to play a role in preventing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.  (Lycopene is also in watermelon and strawberries–yum!)
  • Turkey – a perfect example of a Twenty-First Century “healthy” protein source, extremely low in fat, and provides multiple nutrients which help build a strong immune system.  (Skinless chicken white meat is good too, if you are a meat eater, and fish is so good you should have it 2-3 times a week.)
  • Walnuts – reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  (Also on the good list are peanuts, almonds, and most other nuts.  Be careful with portions though, 1-2 oz are all you need.  That’s about a regular handfull–not much.)
  • Yogurt – promotes strong bones and a healthy heart, another health promoting protein source, and a great source of calcium.  (1% or fat-free dairy has also been shown to make you lose more weight for the same amount of calories)
  • I am also adding some I think they left out: 
  • Olive oil: lowers cholesterol, increases HDL or good cholesterol, prevents cancer.  The only oil I use now, even for baking, and no, you cannot taste it.
  • Garlic: called Russian pencillian, it is one of the only known anti-virals as well as antibacterial.  I eat lots if I feel a cold coming on.  Also famous for lowering cholesterol.  Eat actual garlic, rather than taking a supplement.  Why?  They are not sure exactly what does all the good in garlic, and it may be several factors in it working together.  Also?  Garlic tastes great!  Roast it and smear it on whole grain bread with olive oil and eat it with your next salad–yum!  Also: garlic=cheap, supplement=expensive and not as good.)
  • In general, eat brightly colored fruits and veggies, lots of variety, whole grains, lean proteins, good fats like olive oil and nuts, and avoid sugar and trans fat like the plague.

Dust Bunnies

When my kids were little, I wanted to find a way to stay home with them.  Small problem, I was a newly divorced single mom with 0% help from Prince Charming.  I also had no desire to be on welfare.  I worked outside the home, briefly, until a babysitter assaulted Matty (bit him all over his arms till he was black and blue, that is a whole other post, but yes, I pressed charges!) when he was 2.  I decided, hey, since I am spending every lousy dime on the damned daycare, why not become the daycare, and get paid for staying home with my sweeties?  I love kids, lots and lots, so that’s what I did.

I read all you wonderful young, mamas with your cute as a bug photos with your adorable kidlets and it all rushes back to me:  being overwhelmed, yes, and broke, for sure, but also the fun, the joy, how great the holidays are with a cute little ankle biter in the house.  I miss the excitement of GOING! TO! THE ZOO!  TO SEE MONKEYS, FOR REAL ONES! and being led by the hand by an excited little person to see a cool leaf or a neat bug.  That is the good stuff.  Only trouble is, when you are in the middle of it you are too derned exhausted to enjoy it.

I thought I would post my favorite smaller kids ideas from time to time, and if you masterful mamas want to, you could leave your great tips in the comments or on your blog and tell me about it here.

Here is my favorite “Letting Them Help- Easter Edition.”  Little guys love to help with chores, as a rule, as long as they are cool, big people chores, like sweeping, mopping, or dusting, and not sticky yucky kid chores, like picking up the toys.  I got a cheap feather duster (from Target I think) and a bunny-ear headband (viva la Dollartree!).  Each day, a different kid got a turn to be the “Dust Bunny.”  The Dust Bunny got to wear the cool bunny ears and dust to his or her heart’s content.  The kids frickin loved it, and believe me, I never had to hurt my back dusting the baseboards, every low surface stayed so dust free you could manufacture micro-chips.  I would dust the up high stuff, or better yet (to them) put the kid on my shoulders to get the high shelves and pictures on the wall.

Try it with your kids and let me know how the Spring Cleaning goes!

Want some free jewelry?

I pink puffy heart this site and order way to much from them.  I am not saying that I’m cheap (oh yes I am, out of necesity mostly) but I love a good kid’s birthday present that is under $10.  Under $6 is even better! My rule is that it has to look more expensive, so people don’t realize how cheap it was what a good bargain shopper I am!  I have been giving this jewelry to my daughter’s friends since they were about 8, always to ooohs and ahhhs and “you shouldn’t have”s and now that she is a teen, they still like it.  I order extra for the present closet because no one seems to give you any dang notice that they are having a party anymore.  Why is that?  Anyway, check this out, if you wanna.

What Mallory Needs

This is the best meme ever, stolen from Joshilyn Jackson at Faster than Kudzu. 

What you do is google your name and the word needs.  So I googled “Mallory needs…” and here are the first 10 entries:

1.  Mallory needs a toy (oy, how did google find out about my B.O.B. post?!)

2.  Mallory needs ketchup on her burger (true.  and mustard and mayo please.  oh, and better make it a veggie burger!)

3.  Mallory needs a bodyguard (um, do you know something I don’t know?)

4.  Mallory needs access to the traffic (ah, no, actually, I get plenty o’ traffic driving the kids to school in Outer Bumsquat morning and afternoon, thanks anyway!)

5.  Mallory needs to be here (ok, you got me!  Where’s the party?!)

6.  Mallory needs a real job, one that produces a bona fided W-2 (Wow this is scarily accurate, sort of, ‘cuz I have a real job but I am on a leave of absence and now I am slaving away at housework and wound care and other fun stuff but it does not pay (except in hugs and love and gratitude, which is more than enough, but still,  I will now demand a W-2 from my disabled mother.  Thank you, google!)

7.  Mallory needs to humiliate him and Pepper will lose his marbles (Ok, I’m game, hey Pepper, your name is a seasoning!  Take that!)

8.  Mallory needs to take up collecting stamps or something (um, ok, I choose “or something” )

9.  Mallory needs to go back to wherever she’s been whoring around (ok, Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?)

10.  Mallory needs to spend hundreds of millions of dollars (now this one is definitely my favorite!  Let’s get started now!)

Ok, now it’s your turn!  You do it and let me know in the comments so I can come read it!

Mallory, From A-Z

 
[UPDATE: If you do this meme tell me in the comments so I can come to your blog and read it!  Long live the meme!]

A is for Age: 
37.  Over-the-hill but not quite under it.  So, yay me.

B is for Booze of choice:
Shirley Temples.  Not really, but what’s a tee-totaler to say?  Iced tea and plenty of it is my preferred libation.
C is for Career:
Mom.  Everything else is secondary…
D is for your Dog’s name:
Hazel, Australian Shepherd extraordinaire.  I also have Smokey the Lame but Adorable Cat, Trevor the Female Aquatic Frog. 

E is for Essential Care Instructions:
Hmmm.  Feed me, love me, rub my back, give me lots of iced tea.  Do not wake me up.  And presents!  Presents are nice…

F is for Favorite food at the moment:
Orange Chicken from Panda Express. 

G is for favorite Games:
“Zuma” and “What Word” and “Jeopardy” on the ‘puter; “Cranium” is definitely my favorite board game.

H is for Hometown:
Roswell, NM.  Seriously.  I am not an alien that I know of, however.

I is for Instruments you play:
I can play Silent Night and Jingle Bells on the piano.  I live in hope of getting lessons one day and broadening my repretore.
J is for favorite Jams:  On my ipod, you’ll find everything from Sheryl Crow to Paul Simon, Nora Jones to my favorite 80’s songs like Funky Town and Le Freak.

K is for Kids:
Lovely Liliana, age 14 (!) and Wicked Witted Mathew, age just turned 12 in March.
L is for Last kiss:
This morning, from Hazel, unfortunately.

M is for Most admired trait:
Hmmm.  Well, I guess I would say intelligence and sense of humor, but then I would, wouldn’t I? lol

N is for Name of your crush:
Crush? None to speak of.  Ok, I am waiting to see if Matt Damon’s marriage works out…
O is for Overnight hospital stays:
Having my tonsils out, age 7; Having my gallbladder out, last August, Having my babies out, age 23 and 25

P is for phobias:
Heights.  Falling.  A wee bit scared of air travel, which seems natural, considering it involves both heights and the possibility of falling.  Yikes!
Q is for quotes you like:
 “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” John Burroughs

R is for biggest Regret:
Not working my ass off in school, getting lots of scholarships and becomming a doctor.
S is for Sweets of your choice:
Chocolate: preferably See’s, but a nice Lindor Truffle or Hershey’s Symphony bar will do in a pinch.
T is for Time you wake up:
6 a.m, generally.  Unless I have CBS- “Cozy Bed Syndrome”  then later
U is for Unique Facts: I was on a t.v. show as a child, aged 11-14.  It cured me of ever wanting to be famous.

V is for Vegetable you love:
Broccoli, asperagas, sweet corn on the cob, a good spinach salad.  Thank God I love veggies.
W is for Worst Habit:
Too many to list.  Ok, ok, I’m a (reformed) slob and I eat too much. 

X is for X-rays you’ve had:
When I was 11 for broken wrist, and again when I was 13 for you guessed it, the same broken wrist.  Also lots of dental x-rays, and chest x-rays because I am prone to pneumonia.

Y is for Yummy food you make:
I make a pretty good potato salad, my mom’s recipe.  I also make a mean brownie and chocolate chip cookies.  I have recently discovered that I am a good but reluctant cook.

Z is for Zodiac sign:
Capricorn.  Famous for being stubborn.  That part is true, but I think Astrology is all hooey.

The Eyes Have It

eyes1.jpgA multiple personality disorder, that is.  I would normally say my eyes are green, but here they look really blue. 

Do your eyes do this too? 

Or this more proof of my alien heritage?

What about B.O.B.?

Are you dating B.O.B. ?  A lot of my friends are, and they aren’t shy about singing his praises in the bedroom.  What’s more, a lot of them are married, and most of their husbands know all about their flings with B.O.B.  Some even encourage their wives and girlfriends to be with him! 

B.O.B. stands for Battery Operated Boyfriend, the secret identity of things that go buzz in the night and cause squeals of delight.  Once relegated to the plain brown wrapper mailorder and secreted away in shame, vibrators are coming out of the nightstands in all their twirling, whirring, purring glory.  When soccer moms get together for party plan sales event at a hostess’ house, that’s not Tupperware they’re buying, those are toys for big girls and boys.  Playthings with names like The Magic Bullet, the Eager Beaver, and the legendary wascally Rabbit of Sex In The City fame.

I have never been to one of these Passions parties, but I’m not saying I wouldn’t go if asked.  Yvonne from Joy Unexpected wrote about her Passion party experience and I almost needed Depends to read her account of the Girls Gone Wild, Suburban Housewife Edition that ensued.  Even if I wasn’t in the market for a B.O.B. of my own to date, you can bet I’d be all over that action, and I swear to Bob I’ma gonna take photos!

The joy buzzers that intrigue me most are not the edible undies or Long Dong Silvers.  Nope, the B.O.Bs that set my imagination  in motion are the James Bonds of the B.O.B. world, what I like to call the “Stealth B.O.B.s.”  These are the pleasure wands that go incognito: that lipstick in your girlfriend’s purse?  Um, you might not want to borrow that, no matter how great the shade!  (But you really might want to get your own!)  Ditto with her nail polish: it may not be her nails she’s been polishing.  There are Stealth B.O.B.s that masquerade as flashlights (“oh!  the lights!  they are flashing!”)  and as keychains.  But my absolute fav has got to be the sweet faced little rubber ducky that looks for all the world like the one favored by Ernie on Sesame Street.  No wonder he is so crazy about that rubber ducky!  It brings a whole new meaning to the little ditty he sings, “Rubber ducky, you’re th one!  You make bath time lots of fun!”

You’re probably wondering if I, um, rub my duckie.  Well, tell you what, you show me your nightstand and I’ll show you mine!  Inquiring minds want to know:  Have you ever been to any of these Passion parties?  If you do get down with B.O.B, does your sweetie know, and if they know, how do they feel about it? 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do some late night shopping…

[Edited to add:  I chickened out.  My nightstand is sadly empty.  I just pictured my dad getting the mail and seeing the package and mistaking it for my mom’s medical supplies or something and thinking “Hmmm….wonder what kind of wound care you do with this here thing?”  Seriously, do you remember the “electric ear cleaner” from the movie Parenthood?]

The Cheese Stands Alone

My name is Mallory, and I am a blog addict.  Seriously, my day doesn’t feel right until I’ve caught up with Dooce and Zoot and Amalah and Mir, and Wacky Mommy, oh, and too many others, just wait till I build that blogroll.  You’ll wonder how I do anything else. 

 Actually I do a lot.  I’m a left-leaning, life-loving, NPR-listening, book-reading, blog-addicted, crafts-making, scrapbooking,  positive-thinking shutterbug who is an ample, angsty, over-scheduled, overfed, under-rested but still smiling mom of two amazing kids. 

The amazing kids, (and yes, yes they are amazing and awesome and wonderful) do lots of stuff.  There are two of them, a 12 year old boy and 14 year old girl.  They are both cast members in a professional children’s theatre, and both do tap and jazz dancing.  (Yes, even the boy, since he was 6 years old.  And yes, he is straight.  Which, who cares, I’d love him any old way, but he is.  Decidedly, emphatically straight.)  The girl also does Irish dancing, and we go to Feisanna, which are Irish dance competitions. 

The girl and boy have actual names:  Liliana and Matthew, who is also Matt or Matty, but Liliana is always, always Liliana.  She won’t let anyone call her Lily (but I do) or God forbid, Lil.  They go to a public school that is a math and science magnet (to balance out the artsy stuff) that has an accelerated curiculum and is about 75% TAG kids.  This school is waaaaaay across town, but we get to go there because we live in “da hood” and the President-That-I-Would-Never-Ever-Vote-For got that law passed that if your local school sucks you can go to a different one, etc.  So I drive a lot.  A lot.

 Did I mention that I also work full time?  And I am going to school to be a nurse practioner?  I should say, I did work full time, because I am currently on a medical leave of absence, not for me, but for my mom.  Here is the Cliff’s notes version:  Mom went in for a “routine” 3 hr operation.  It ended up taking 17 hrs.  They gave her a medication that she was allergic to, that causes massive blood clotting all over her body.  They had to give her clot busting drugs to save her life, drugs you should never, ever give while a patient is opened up in surgery.  She lost 18 units of blood.  She almost died.  She spent 56 days in ICU, had 4 more surgeries.  Had to have her left leg amputated.  Got a horrible post-surgical infection that damn near killed her on Christmas and on my birthday a few days later.  Was on a ventilator, and the doctors kept suggesting we ought to give up and pull the plug.  Instead we prayed and cried and begged her to hang on, and she did.  She went to a skilled nursing/rehab for 6 wks.  She was weak as a kitten, my strong, amazing mom who used to work 9 and 10 hour days on her feet. 

She needed someone to take care of her, so I did.  I have one sister, who’s single, but financially, she couldn’t do it.  So the kids and I moved in, I took the leave of absence and I am trying to live on my child support, which is laughably little but so far so good.  I do everything for Mom and also for Dad, who has MS and uses a wheelchair part time himself. 

If my life were a sandwich, I’d be the cheese, a life sneaked in between supporting active kids and disabled parents.  I love my life.  I feel like I have found my purpose.  It is a life of service, and it brings me meaning.  It also means I have to work harder to take care of myself, and I don’t always do a good job.  That is what I am working at the hardest these days.

 So that’s me–Mallory in the middle.  Nice to meet you.