It Only Looks Like I’m Choking Them

Blessed

I am so very, very blessed in my life.  Some times you just have to take a minute to be grateful.  I am thankful:

  • That my mom just woke me up at 4 a.m. because she needed to use the bathroom.  I am so grateful that she is alive-we came so close to losing her so many times these past few months.  She is getting healthier and stronger by leaps and bounds daily.  I am so grateful that I was able to get off work to be able to be there for her.  I am thankful too that I have both of my legs, that I am healthy and strong and able to help.  Most of all, I am so grateful for the love and gratitude in her eyes.  I know not everyone is so lucky to have their moms anymore, and not everyone has the wonderful loving relationship we share.  For this, I am truly grateful.
  • For my parents’ ice-maker.  Yummy refreshing iced tea with as much ice as I want, any old time!
  • For my kids who have been testing their teen limits lately.  They had to make a huge adjustment in moving in with their grandparents.  They had to put most of their stuff in storage and feel like long-term guests.  Liliana gave up her haven of pink teen coolness, while Matty gave up his room that we made into a jungle, complete with mural on the wall and stuffed monkeys swinging on vines across the ceiling, and a mosquito netting canopy over his bed that I had hot glued rubber bugs on.  I am grateful that they have been so understanding and supportive and loving toward their grandparents.  I am even grateful for the arguing, because they can actually make a thoughtful and passionate case for what they want.  (But no Matty, you are not going to see Disturbia, even if it is less violent than Heroeswhich is on regular t.v.  Liliana, if you are willing to write me an essay detailing why you need to have your cartilage on your ear pierced, detailing how you are willing to take care of it and prevent infection, I will reconsider my position.)  They are smart, good kids and I am very lucky.
  • For Prince Charming (finally) mailing the child support that we are living on.  I know not everyone even gets the ridiculously paltry and unrealistic (wait!  this is a gratitude list!  must focus!) amount we get.  I am happy that he (usually) remembers to send it.  I am also grateful that we are going through a smoother time in our relationship and are both focusing on putting the kids’ needs first.
  • For my wonderful friends who are still close even though I have moved clear across town and have 0% free time.  They are understanding and always offering to help.  They always listen and they love me.  I am truly blessed.
  • For my own health, and for the new awareness I have of the importance of the care and keeping of me.  I have a great parks and rec health weight/cardio room right nearby that has great hours (I can go really early before I have to get mom out of bed and take the kids to school.) and my 3-month pass was only $35. Woot! 
  • For Liliana going to work out with me at the butt crack of dawn.
  • That the Whopper eggs, Starburst jelly beans, Reese’s chocolate bunnies and Milky Way eggs that are finally all eaten by everyone and OUT OF THE HOUSE not to make their sugary return till next year.  And finally…
  • For my new blog and all the wonderful Internet-friends I’ve made and all the support they’ve given me.  I am lucky to know all these smart, funny, articulate women that I can so relate to, and to have a place to get out my thoughts and read theirs.  I think I’m gonna like it here! (Thank you Miss Zoot for making it purty for us and telling us about it!)

Thursday Thirteen–Thirteen Acts of Germicide

(First off, props to Wacky Mommy (www.wackymommy.org) and Mamatoo, (www.mamatoo.blogspot.com) talented purveyors of the Thursday Thirteen for introducing me to it!)

How it starts:  your kid comes home from school with a little runny nose and a wee cough.  The virus that causes your little angel mild discomfort just about kills you.  No, you only wish it would kill you.  Instead it makes you feel like you want to sleep for the next ice age or two, except you can’t because you are hacking up a lung every time you lie down and your nose is so runny it could win the Boston Marathon.  Make no mistake, being sick sucks.  When I get a virus, I treat it as a act of war on my defense system.  I set aside my normally pacifist ways and set out to commit premeditated germicide thusly:*

1.  Take it lying down.  Get thee to bed.  You are tired because your body needs to focus all its energy on getting you better.  Call in all those favors, get someone to watch your kid, and go undercover.

2.  Vitamin C  Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling said that Viatmin C would help lots of things, especially the common cold.  That’s good enough for me.  Why not have a great big glass of O.J. so you can get your C on and…

3.  Pump Up The Volume of your fluid intake that is.  Pushing fluids helps to flush out toxins in your body, and can help you combat the dryness caused by some cold remedies.

4.  Zycam  I swear by this stuff!  I am referring to the original Zycam, the zinc homeopathic gel that you put up your nose.  It comes in other forms, but for me it’s nose gel only.  It is thought that over 90% of common cold viruses are rhino-viruses–meaning they originate in the nose.  To me, it only makes sense to stop them in their tracks, arrest them and keep them from reproducing where they start, before they spread to your sinuses and lungs and make you miserable.

5.  Airborne  Lots of my friends think this is the bee’s knees.  It is like an Alka-Seltzer fizzy tab that delivers a big punch of Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.  Again, can’t hurt, might help, and it lets you get your fluids and tastes pretty good too.

6.  Garlic–It’s Not Just For Vampires Anymore!  Garlic is known in herb-lore as “Russian Penicillin” and is used medicinally all over the world.  It is one of the only know anti-virals and has anti-bacterial properties too.  Plus it tastes really good in your…

7.  Chicken Soup  It could be that it has garlic and onions in it, or that it has a saline-like salty broth, or that it is warm and the heat loosens phlegm, or just that it is another way to get your vital fluids, or a combination of all of these, but whatever it is, chicken soup seems to have a magical curative effect.  And it tastes really good, too.

8.  Don’t Share  your germs, that is.  Wash your hands frequently, every time you wipe your nose.  Cover your sneeze with your arm rather than your hand, and cough down your shirt.   And for goodness sake, toss those tissues as soon as you use them, “saving” them spreads germs.  It is better for you (any everyone you come into contact with) if you stay home when you are sick, if you are able.  You really do need to rest to recover.  If that is not possible, warn people that you know you are going to see later that you are ill.  Especially, stay away from babies and seniors–both can get serious respiratory problems from the same bugs that cause only minor discomfort to us.  And tell people your kid is sick BEFORE you show up to the play-date.  If you get their kid sick, they might return the favor in the future.

9.  Wipe Don’t Blow  According to www.realage.com, blowing your nose spread germs all through your sinuses and can make your cold worse.  Fight the temptation and dab delicately at your poor little red nose.

10.  Use Good Tissues  not napkins, paper-towels or even dollar store tissues–they can be really rough on your nose.  Stick to Kleenex or Puffs.  You deserve to be pampered right now.

11.  Put Up A Good Defense  against chapping and chafing.  Use a lip balm at night to protect your lips that get chapped from mouth-breathing when your nose is stuffed.  Protect your nose with a thin layer of petroleum jelly.  It will thank you later.

12.  Get Steamed  A nice warm shower will feel great, and the steam will open your sinuses, soften mucous, and wash away germs on your skin. (Follow with a smooth slathering of your favorite lotion.) You can also use a humidifier but it is not as nice and warm as a shower.

13.  Don’t Beg For Antibiotics  We all want something that will make this go away, NOW if not sooner.  Colds are miserable.  They can feel really serious and scary.  But the fact is, over 90% of URIs (upper respiratory infections) are viral, so antibiotics won’t help, and worse, they could give you diarrhea, you could become allergic, and they can upset the delicate balance of benficial bacteria in your belly and other places–like you really need a yeast infection right now.  Most colds last 7-10 days, but the cough can hang on longer.  You just have to wait it out.  If I use Zycam right away, and faithfully, my colds seem to go away in just a day or two.

Hope you feel great again soon!

*This is just what I do.  I am not a doctor, nor am I giving medical advice.  Consult your doctor for your medical advice!

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!