Wednesday, April 30, 2008

04.31.2008 -- A c c o m p l i s h m e n t s.

.Zoe doing her best to look like she doesn't care about a dog treat,
incentive for her to stay on our front porch while I take her picture.

1- I finally ordered a dog-containment system. Ordered last week with cheap-skate shipping--it should arrive about a week from now. I hope it works.

The base installs by plugging it in, then the wearer of the collar can go anywhere within a 90 foot radius of the base unit. (Adjustable.) This should let Zoe go out the door and even go around the house without leaving our lot. It will be a relief not to worry about her being a nuisance or getting into trouble.

Lucy adding water to the fish bowls.
A good time to talk about the effects of hot water on fish.

2-Lucy's fish are (mostly) still alive.

75% of our fish are still alive. About a week after I brought the four fish home, I found one of them floating at the surface. I had never flushed a fish before. This motivated me to go down to one fish per bowl. I have two bowls, so I had Lucy pick two fish and give them names.

The lucky (or unlucky) third fish lives in the pond behind Grandma Judy's house. Baby Fish and Ken are still with us and I am finding that I really like fish-keeping. It's therapeutic and at moments, meditative. (Never having "done" bonzai, I can't say for sure, but I can imagine that there is a similar feel to both.)

I'm faking it!

3-I have managed not to bite my nails for about 5 days (in a row).

It helps that I am trying my best to prevent Lucy from learning this bad habit of mine. One thing that I have found helpful is that I encourage Lucy to catch me biting my nails. When she sees me biting my nails, she'll say, "Mom, don't bite your nails!" She's good at getting lots of feeling into it.

Since I was a little girl, many, many hours have gone into plotting, scheming and devising ways to get me to stop doing lots of things: sucking my thumb and biting my nails have been the main puzzlers. The first that I remember was a plan conceived of by my Grandma.

Note of little consequence: I have one Grandma and one Granny. Grandma sometimes goes by G-ma, Granny sometimes goes by Gran. I have always thought this much preferable to Grandma Xyz and Grandma Pdq. My grandfathers were Granddaddy and Grandpa.

My Grandma made me a dress (probably one of my all-time favorite dresses) with boat-shaped applique pockets. The dress was red and white striped and when I wore it, I felt exceptional. Grandma made a deal with me. She gave me a bunch of pennies to keep in my pockets. These were my pennies to keep--unless she caught me sucking my thumb. I guess money has never motivated me much.

My parents put a cast on one hand to make the offending thumb inaccessible. This worked. I no longer sucked my right thumb. I switched to my left. I would have liked to have been there when they explained to the doctor why I needed a cast. Maybe they brought a note from my dentist. Ha!

My parents had a dental appliance installed that prevented my thumb from touching the roof of my mouth. It didn't work. My parents painted my thumb and fingernails with nasty stuff that was supposed to keep me from wanting them in my mouth. This taught me perseverance. Sure it was terrible at first, but it was only a thin layer. It didn't take long for it to dissolve.

When I was school age, it was perceived peer-pressure that helped me stop sucking my thumb. The nails? I still lose them completely from time to time. This usually happens late at night while I watch TV or a movie. Even when I don't bite the nails, my cuticles rarely escape unharmed. Maybe hypnosis could help me stop. But then, I don't really believe that hypnosis works. Accupuncture? Maybe I should watch the fish more.

Ken and Baby Fish in holding together while I clean their bowls.

In case you are interested:
Here is something I read this morning which I liked and agreed with a lot, although I have never leaned towards atheism. In the future, after Tenille and Don post something more recent, you can follow the above link and find the Under the Banner of Heaven post.


Special challenge for the next 90 days: I challenge you (and myself, of course) to say nothing negative about yourself or others in the next three months. This means that you avoid saying unkind things about yourself or anyone else to yourself or anyone else--even strangers--for three months.

You are exempt if you are required to do this sort of thing for work. But you are only exempt when it is required to responsibly fulfill your work duties.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Slogan?!

Your Slogan Should Be

Valerie. Hand-built by Robots.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

04.27.2008 -- Big Adventure

This weekend, two of our best friends, Sarah and Rob, started their Big Adventure. They got married. Festivities started Thursday night with Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, and ended last night with a lovely ceremony and reception. They did a great job planning their wedding. It was a beautiful event, and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I missed most of the ceremony. Lucy had to "powder her nose," which meant a short hike from the Red Butte Fragrance Garden to the Orangerie. By the time we got back, it was over. Oh well.

Last week was packed with things that had to be done right and could not be forgotten: kid wrangling, tree planting, and wedding stuff. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't go without having Lucy's buddies, Shawn and Nicole, over Wednesday and Thursday, I wouldn't give back the trees, and I wouldn't have missed the wedding festivities. Taken all together though, with the hormones and weird come-and-go tiredness that my "delicate state" predisposes me to, it had added up to a lot of "good stress" and less sleep than is probably ideal for me these days.

I knew I had to do something about it, so I did get in some yoga Saturday--at home this time. (Didn't quite make Corena's class, so I just did it by myself and it went fine.) Brian took Lucy with him to scout out some "local" kayaking runs, so I was able to run errands a little more quickly than normally. That was nice. Lucy loved it. She is the definition of a daddy's girl. In fact, we may have some Electra Complex issues cropping up. Ha ha.

Brian's mom made Lucy's dress for us. She made me promise to get a lot of pictures of Lucy all dressed up, so I obliged her (twist my arm). I also broke out my camera for a few other photo ops. I got some pictures I like, but I'm posting just five.

I plopped Lucy in front of this mirror in the Bride's dressing room and asked her to look at herself. At times, Lucy is amazingly compliant. Once the gloves were on, she couldn't stop rubbing her fingers together. Maybe I should have let her wear them more beforehand. She didn't seem to like the feel of them because the gloves didn't stay on for long, and she wasn't interested in putting them on again.

In this picture, Lucy was watching Sarah put her dress on. She had been so excited about the wedding and Sarah's dress. Here she is seeing it all come together and is a little awestruck, I think.

Lucy with Sarah and Rob. (Rob is standing behind Lucy, playing with her hair.) Friday night at the rehearsal dinner, Lucy ran to Rob with open arms, lips all puckered up for kissing. I didn't see it, but word is that she wasn't disappointed.

Another best friend, Jami Taylor, did a fantastic job providing live music for the ceremony and for some of the reception. She's amazing. Jami's husband, James, officiated. We like him just as well as we like her.

Brian and Lucy warming in the sun.

Friday, April 25, 2008

04.25.2008 -- Trees' Company

Yes, the neighbor behind us is a sub-station. It's quiet, consistent, keeps to itself and almost never turns on a single light. We love our neighbor, but we don't want to see it all the time.

Wow, that title is bad. Notice, I'm not apologizing.

We are making more progress with the trees! I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when Terry's Tree Farm had men up installing trees. Some trees were planted where they should not have been. Today, we have Larry from Layton and Terry's guys here. In addition to correcting the placement of some of yesterday's plantings, we also decided to move some around, so there is a lot going on today.

Next door, our neighbors have been doing a lot on their home. It looks as if they may have stucco finished soon.

04.25.2008 -- Comments, Anyone?

All right. I know that you are dying to know how I finally got my comments to show up. First, I would like to thank Crystal and her husband, Chad. Although Chad did not actually send me the the perfect information (through Crystal), they did get me looking at the code again. (I never did see the tags that the instructions on Blogger refer to. I'm pretty sure that this is because my template was designed in 2004: ancient.

I fixed it by clicking the "Revert to Classic Template" button. Once I did that, I was able to go to the comments tab and reselect all of my preferences. (They were set to not allow comments, etc.) Before I reverted to the classic "Dots Dark" template, my comments preferences showed that comments were allowed, but somehow, that never got put into code.

Now, if I get an itching to customize my template, I have to pick the new template. If I go back to the "new and improved" version of this template, no comments.

I will have to figure out which is worth more: my link list and quotes, or the comments. In the meantime, I will probably start looking for another template that allows both. Any suggestions on where to look?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

04.24.2008 -- Special Treat for Snow Day

It's snowing. No trees today. Lots of snow-crusted mud, though! I will tell you a short story in honor of this April 24th snow day.

Once upon a time, there was a band called Hummingfish. I was introduced to the band in college by our friend Ben. We even had Christy and Ben perform one of their songs for our wedding.

Years later, our friend JD made a mix CD and the singer from Hummingfish was singing one of the songs. Ofter a brief obsessive period, I discovered that Deb Talan has been in a few bands. Currently, she is in a band called The Weepies, with her husband. I was in heaven. I bought all of their albums.

The Weepies came out with a new album two days ago. You can listen to the album for a few more days if you go to this site. Look in the lowest, leftest corner and click on ecard. (Or you could just click here, I guess.) Send the ecard to anyone you want (even yourself) and the happy recipient will be able to listen to the whole album. Hooray for The Weepies!

You are welcome.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

04.23.2008 -- The Lorax Would be so Proud!

Brian and I have a thing for trees. My own thing extends to rocks, especially BIG rocks. When we decided to move into our current home (new construction), we did so with the intention of putting in a truck load of trees and rocks
. This was all in the budget.

Today, we are seeing the beginnings of our little forest.

Layton Tree Farms has been working hard to dig up the trees that Brian, Lucy and I picked out in the past few weeks. Like every other construction-related industry, actual delivery and installation of the goods is about a week behind the first date. I honestly can't tell you why I continue to be disappointed when things happen a week after contractors say they will. It is the rule that things will start to happen a minimum of seven days after something is scheduled. I guess it's my eternal optimism.

So far, two trees have been planted.

Of course, Lucy is having the time of her life supervising.

Now, a word of warning:

See this little foil-wrapped ball? The packaging on these says "Fine Hazelnut Chocolates." I am pretty sure that they contain equal parts hazelnut, equal parts crack. Beware.

Monday, April 21, 2008

04.21.2008 -- Gone to the Dogs

One of our good friends, Phil, adopted a dog a few years ago, Clementine. Clem was very shy--I guess fearful would be more accurate than shy. She was good natured, came with a mouthful of a name, and was...gigantic--nothing but bones and sinew, but still gigantic.

I forget how Phil found her, but I do remember having conversations about the pros and cons of having a dog. We also had a lot of discussions about how a single person could manage to be a responsible dog owner and have a full time job and stay very active. Phil is a cyclist. He spends a lot of time on a bike.

It has worked out for Phil. Clem is a lucky dog, and as far as I can tell, Phil is very happy with Clementine.

When I think about the various types of complications involved in being a pet owner, I sometimes wonder that so many people do it. Add upon that list of complications the unknowns of adopting a mature dog, and I'm amazed that older dogs find homes at all. In my book, Phil is a little bit of a hero for adopting Clementine. It's one thing to bring a puppy home. It's a different thing to bring a full-grown animal home. Puppies have their own challenges. Dogs can come with baggage. Phil has braved all of Clem's baggage, and Clem has presumably also come to terms with whatever quirks Phil has developed over the years.

We have cousins who have done work with a foster program for homeless pets. They asked us once if we were interested in having a dog stay with us for a while--just until it got placed. I considered having an unknown dog in the house with Zoe (this was before Lucy) and, even with no children to worry about, the thought was slightly terrifying to me. I found myself imagining dogfights, ruined carpet, ruined furniture, marked walls, destruction in the yard... I was not brave enough to invite a strange dog into our home.

I keep thinking of these parallels between marriage and pet adoption. Let me restate that: I keep thinking of parallels between marriage and dog adoption. I had the pleasure and privilege of growing up with lots of pets: cats, hamsters, rabbits, gerbils and newts. From what I gather, my parents did get a dog. One dog. Once. A very brief foray into the world of dogs.

Our family specialized in cats. The world of cat ownership (or hamsters, for that matter) is completely different than the world of a person who owns an in-house dog.

When I think of my reaction to the idea of a foster dog, I can't help but think that it may be similar to the reaction my single friends might have to the idea of a blind date. After all, there are certainly mature dogs out there in the world (unattached) who are attractive, well-mannered, intelligent, non-violent and housebroken. Statistically, you'd just have to concede that such dogs exist. Likewise, there have to be single people who are of age (and mature), attractive, well-mannered, intelligent, non-violent and housebroken.

I know, the orientation of the evaluator's spine makes for a much longer and complicated list.

Let's say I have a friend who is past what the local culture would consider to be the prime age for marriage (20-27). This friend is a very nice person, average-to-good-looking (depending on your taste) and intelligent. This friend is pleasant to be around--to a point. Let's say that experience with this friend has uncovered some idiosyncrasies that sometimes make me wonder if I could, in good conscience, set him or her up with another mature, unattached person. Does anyone's list include ugly? Self-absorbed? No? How about less-than-feminine? How about slightly-effeminate? How about middle-age spread? Surprising. How about mental health issues? No? Is frigid on the list? Hopelessly messy? Controlling? Manipulative? Can't hold a job? Unambitious? Workaholic?

And yet: every one of these "never on my list" traits belongs to at least one married friend of mine. I would bet that a lot of these flawed people are very happily married, too. I won't disclose how many of these traits are mine.

Back to the dogs. Would you be surprised if a homeless dog were a little quirky? Maybe the dog is moody, or so wary of strangers that the dog snaps at an outstretched hand once in a while? It would be hard to say if the dog behaved this way because it lacked a stable home, or if the dog lacked a stable home because of it's anti-social behaviors. Either way, continued homelessness would do nothing to help the dog overcome it's self-defeating behaviors.

My relationship with our dog, Zoe, has deeply enriched my quality of life and, frankly, has forced growth in my character. I am a happier, better person because of and through my relationship with our dog. My patience is tried...daily--several times a day, in fact. My life is greatly complicated because of her, but I love our dog. I would not want to be without her. (Okay, maybe some days.)

We encouraged some of our best friends, a married couple, to get a dog. Their dog had (has?) a tasted for expensive plastic things: sunglasses, telephones, cell-phones, get the idea. Their adorable, blue-eyed puppy was a monster. (My words, not theirs.) In every home, there is a considerable investment made in these, plastic things that are hardly noticed. The dog destroyed easily hundreds of dollars worth of our friends' stuff . Stuff they didn't want to think twice about. Things that were inconvenient and expensive to replace. After they acclimated to puppy ownership, they told us that our names were taken in vain more than once within their home.

Brian and I had forgotten what it was like to find expensive, hard-to-replace items in the middle of the floor, half-chewed, after a long day at work. Zoe had a taste for shoes (leather only, thanks), furniture (oak, cherry, pine, cotton, polyester--all of it), clothing, toothbrushes, backpacks, purses, etc.

She completely destroyed a couch by chewing holes in the upholstery and pulling out all of the stuffing. We would reconstruct the couch as best we could every day. It's funny in retrospect. That couch cost us as much as one pair of Brian's nice shoes that Zoe used as a chew toy. There is nothing like a puppy to teach anger management and organization.

In a way, even though we encouraged our friends to get a puppy, not a mature dog--a person could argue that it's comparable to setting them up on a date. We found the puppies and lured our friends in to "spend some time with them." We conveniently brought up only the positive aspects of dog ownership in our conversations with them. We made comments about how spunky and perfect the puppy was that they were considering. We absolutely encouraged them to take the plunge. We had nothing but the best intentions for all three of them.

In such a situation, you open yourself up to blessings or cursing, depending upon the day. However, if a commitment is made, chances are good that puppy problems will be resolved somehow and a relationship will develop that can be called good in almost any light.

So what is the ethical requirement when arranging time spent between people (or dogs) without attachments? Is the person who does the arranging obliged to full-disclosure? Say I have a lot of affection for and respect for a friend and I want to line him or her up with another respected and affected (ha!) friend. Am I bound by some moral code to spill everything good and bad that I think I know about each of my respective acquaintances? Here's my logic: because my knowledge (and therefore my assessment) of said individuals is imperfect at best, it would be misrepresentation to pretend to be able to give an full and accurate resume of these people's perfections and flaws.

Besides, I am full of flaws, and Brian married me. (I really tried to let him know what he was getting into, but he still wanted me.)

That's what a relationship is about, after all. It's about taking all of the good with all of the bad. It's about learning to brave your partner's baggage. It's about learning to come to terms with whatever quirks your partner has developed over the years.

It's also about having someone to encourage you to get off your duff and take a walk. It's about having someone to curl up with when you read a book or when you're sick in bed. It's about having someone at home who waiting, wanting you to get home soon, more than anyone else in the world.

**Let me know if you want me to arrange for you to spend time with one of my perfectly imperfect friends.

04.21.2008 -- What I've been up to lately

Isn't this a lovely girl? She asked me to do pictures for her wedding and I got my friend Crystal to join me. Last Thursday, we had a little photo shoot and I've been trying to organize the hundreds of photos I've got. The bride said that Crystal and I could post photos on the web provided that we don't identify her. They aren't completely through the editing process, but you, my privileged readers, may have a look anyway!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

04.15.2008 -- Rogue Doctor on the Loose

I went to the Podiatrist today for my plantar fasciitis...Not a good idea to make an appointment for April 15th, but my judgment maker has been defective lately. Lucy and I were late. I HATE to be late. This may surprise some people because it's not uncommon for me to be late (at least it feels that way to me).

Now, I have never been to a Podiatrist before. In fact, I don't remember a single visit to a specialist growing up. Well... There was the visit to the woman doctor when I was having especially painful cramps as a teenager, but never any other. This visit turned out to be an experience that stands alone among 31 years of doctor visits--but I don't think that seeing a 'specialist' was what did it.

This guy, Dr. Greg Gulso, answers his own phone so does his own scheduling. When I called to schedule, he answered by saying, I think, "Dr. Gulso's office," or something to that effect. Sure, just by having his phone answered by a man, he thumbs his nose at decades of tradition--but he answers it himself! I could hear two or more young kids fighting over something in the background and actually had difficulty hearing him.

I called another office before calling Dr. Gulso's; a woman answered the phone. I had no difficulty hearing her, and I was told that they had an appointment for me in 6 weeks. In 6 weeks, my foot would probably get better on it's own. Popular doctor.

Dr. Gulso, however, was scheduling a couple of days out.

So I made an appointment with the guy on the phone who was caring for the screaming children. I figured it had to be Dr. Gulso himself--thought he probably just keeps his Blackberry on him and forwards his calls when he's not in the office. The major tip-off there was that no one in his or her right mind would pay someone ELSE to do this very unprofessional scheduling. (Hey--a spade is a spade, is a spade.)

I have never been to a doctor's office with no receptionist, so I had difficulty imagining a situation where Dr. Gulso would do his own patient receiving, but when Lucy and I walked in, the office was empty except for a thirty-something guy wearing a tie with a nicely-ironed shirt, patiently waiting behind the little half-wall: the Receptionists domain.

Dr. Gulso apparently answers his own phone, schedules his own appointments, and does his own paperwork. He was the one who showed me the clipboard of new patient forms and waiver, and it was he who apologized for the faulty OfficeMax pen. He was very nice. He even responded (unbidden) to Lucy's requests to draw with her own clipboard and her own OfficeMax pen.

As nice as he was, I found the experience a little disorienting. While I filled out the forms and had these pleasant little exchanges with the man behind the counter, I still couldn't be sure that he was the doctor--because he didn't introduce himself. He just had me sign in. It was a little awkward when Lucy said something about going in to see the doctor. I think I half-ignored her, half-mumbled an acknowledgement that she had spoken about seeing the doctor. I should have just asked him if he was Dr. Gulso. I know.

I just felt that it would be weird and somehow disrespectful or rude to turn and ask him, "so...are you the doctor, then?" It would've been a little like pointing out that he was doing everything and I might've left the impression that I didn't approve. I knew we would find out soon enough, so I just did my best to give the impression that it was all very normal to me.

After returning my insurance card and checking my forms briefly--without a word of explanation as to his role in his practice--Dr. Gulso directed me to one of his exam rooms and became the doctor. (He pushed two spots on my foot that were exquisitely painful, gave me a shot of steroids in the problem foot, answered my questions, gave me his advice, and rescheduled me for May.) My foot is killing me. He told me that I would probably have some discomfort tonight that may last for 1 to 2 days.

Receptionist, Nurse, Doctor divided by three. Is this the future of medicine?

I really can't decide whether to be impressed with his hutzpah or put-off by his complete failure to acknowledge so many of the norms of the modern doctor's office. If he's just starting his practice, he probably has a good amount of downtime. I think that if I were in his shoes, I would probably question the need to hire a phone-answering paper-shuffler, too. (I have been employed as a phone-answering paper-shuffler, so no disrespect is meant brother called me a phone monkey once and it hurt my feelings. I believe he meant well and I don't believe in holding a grudge, so I'm over it.)

I guess I am a little fascinated by the fact that a different (maybe better) model for a doctor's office was almost stunning to me. Lucy's only two-and-a-half, and she "knew" too, that you don't see the doctor before he opens the door to the exam room to take his rolling stool. That is, you don't unless you don't give a flying squirrel about people's expectations and the way it's done--unless you're Dr. Greg Gulso, apparently. On some level, you've got to respect that. I respect that.

The doctor I usually go to is Dr. Stephen A. Beck. It's his shared General Practitioners office that I've been going to since I was probably 5 years old. I realize now that there is at least one strange thing about his office, too. If I, as a patient, see a doctor in the hallway on the way to the exam room or to the powder room, we both seem to be expected to pretend that the other person isn't there. Weird. Why not just turn the head and give the patient a nod? Wary of engaging an unsuspectedly long-winded time sucker, I guess.

I always liked seeing Dr. Beck. To me, he is the quintessential family doctor: Somewhat short, somewhat round--with sparkly blue eyes and (now) white hair. He is the doctor I have seen (mainly) since I was...since I was still wetting my pants, probably. His partner is doctor...I don't even remember his name. A guy who is good whom I like, but is not lucky enough to have my loyalty. Aha. Dr. Peterson. Doctor Peterson is a remarkable typist. While you explain that you have been blowing your nose with unattractive results for two weeks and feeling slightly chilled at times, he will be looking at you intensely, nodding and squinting thoughtfully--typing at a tremendous pace on his computer. Who knows what he types as he listens? He does listen well. I've never had any complaints about his care. But what if he's an insanely good multitasker? Maybe his "notes" look like this:

her golden tresses. Phillip stroked her creamy neck and whispered
in reply that he too
, could use something to quench his thirst. Hedda
had never known such a man. Phillip


had come into her life when she had stopped believing in men who
cared, men who listened. Phillip, with his wisdom-filled eyes and
graceful ways. Phillip with his work-hardened arms and iron chest

When I was a teenager, Dr. Beck must've gotten too busy to deal with his patient load, because he hired a PA, David Badham. I always resented it when I called to get an appointment with Dr. Beck (whom I trusted implicitly), and I ended up having an exam from a guy who I didn't know from Adam. I admit that I put David on a hard road to acceptance, but I had gotten used to Dr. Beck's maturity...his quiet way of asking questions. This "David" guy was a lot younger and louder. He also liked to crack jokes then laugh at himself.

I understand that if a Physician or PA spent time between appointments chatting with all passing patients, they would be even more behind schedule than when all parties are invisible when not in an exam room. However, I have witnessed these same doctors (mostly David, in Dr. Beck's office) leaning on counters with charts tucked tight into armpits or dangling by fingertips on an extended arm, chatting it up with their staff.

Yeah, David has maybe gotten a bad rap from me. Still...he does pretend not to see me whenever I'm out of an exam room. It's very unnerving when he completely ignores me in the hall, then turns up the amplitude and charm once he's in the room with me feeling my glands. Who knows, maybe it's me. Still, I find it

and--not ideal at all.

So which is better?
The rogue Dr. Gulso: Jack of all trades and (hopefully) master of Podiatry?
Or David Badham, Physician's Assistant: Nice guy and good care provider who, blind to patients like me in the hall, unveils his cordiality along with his general practice mastery only after he taps twice on the door of the exam room?

Lucy's fantastic pediatrician, Dr. Judd, does not ignore us in the hallway. Amazing. Yet, there are only women receptionists at Grow Up Great. (Ha.) There are also mostly women doctors in practice there. In fact, Dr. Judd is the anomaly. Announcer voice would be good here: The only man in an office of women.

We ended up with Dr. Judd because it was with him that we had the shortest appointment wait time when I called to schedule for just-born Lucy. He had barely started up; his schedule was wide open. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Lucy is one of his "oldest" patients. (I don't know this. I just know that he started practicing in July of 2005. He saw Lucy for her first check-up and she was born in August, a month later.)

Lucy likes Dr. Judd a lot. Getting an appointment with him is a lot different now that he's established a following. Well-Checks aren't a problem, but sometimes it's hard to get in fast for a sick visit. It has gotten so if I can't get an appointment with Dr. Judd, we just go to InstaCare instead of seeing the other doctors at Grow Up Great. I've taken Lucy in to see a couple of different Grow Up Great doctors. One was unremarkable in a good way, if that can be said...the other was not.

I think I took Lucy in for what I thought might be an ear infection and--by my estimation, anyway--was not pleased when this other doctor failed to do a major part of her job. She noticed that Lucy's teeth are chipped and asked if she had broken them falling down. She then completely ignored the information I gave her about Lucy grinding her teeth and made comments about how her kids have broken teeth falling down, too.

Lucy has fallen down plenty. She's a normal kid. When Lucy appeared one day with a noticeably chipped tooth, Brian assumed that she had broken it in a fall, too. I wracked my brain trying to remember any falls and finally told him that she hadn't had any falls against anything hard recently. It was a mystery for a long time.

We were completely in the dark about Lucy's teeth chips until we went on a trip with a veteran dental technician, Kate, who took one look at Lucy's mouth and knew exactly what was going on. The teeth grinding explanation has also been confirmed by an endodontist who has been in practice for probably 30-40 years.

So yes, I just happen to believe that most, maybe all, of the damage done to Lucy's teeth is done at night when she grinds her teeth. I hear her. It's nerve-racking. I tried to explain this to the other Grow Up Great doctor, but she ignored me and made those brief but smug and very direct comments about kids falling and breaking teeth. It, frankly, offended me that she would think I would lie about something that small. The fact that that she didn't even appear to register the information I gave her made me never want to take Lucy to her again.

Good doctors, bad doctors...Is the Rogue Doctor Gulso a good one or bad one? Do his unconventional choices in how to run his practice offer any insight into his expertise as a doctor?

I think maybe Dr. Gulso is onto something. I don't fault him for tightening his belt and doing some of the dirty work himself. I just wish he would have said something in the beginning to relieve the uncertainty. Something like, "This is Dr. Gulso. I do my own scheduling. Would you like to make an appointment?" He may have to repeat himself a lot in the beginning, but then people wouldn't lie awake at night wondering if that was the doctor or his hard-luck cousin Eddie who needed a break. If only he knew that I am engaging my outstanding brain power on his behalf... He would be so relieved!

To be fair, when I call for an doctor's appointment now, I still ask for an appointment with Dr. Beck, but I also find myself frequently asking, after finding out when the open appointment is for Dr. Beck, if David has anything open sooner. That's a big deal. I don't mind him as a doctor now. But I would still prefer a nod to an invisibility cloak in the hallway.

I'm off to ice and elevate my foot per Dr. Gulso's instruction.


Update. The day after:

Dr. Gulso called this morning. He wanted to be sure my foot was doing well, I guess, because I called him yesterday to ask if it was normal for my foot to be in a LOT of pain. Happily, I was able to tell him that my foot feels great. Hooray!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

04.10.2008 -- Bad Invalid

I give up. I am a really bad invalid. I resent not being able to walk normally and I hate not being able to exercise whenever I want. I guess it's time to grow up, suck it up, and move on until my foot does. Brian thinks it's planar fascitis. I'm 90% that I spelled that wrong, but I don't care right now.

This foot thing has come and gone--usually pretty quickly. Most recently, though--it's lingering, and it's making me ANGRY! Ha ha. So...Rachel went out of town last week and I was on my own for exercise. Lucy has really been digging the gym lately and conveniently wants to go a lot. I took advantage of this Friday last and went to the gym with the intention of running a little on the treadmill. I really took it easy. Started out walking--took my time.... I was feeling great, so I threw in some sprints and ended up going about five miles. My feet didn't hurt. I stopped because I was trying to be conservative and I tend to feel guilty leaving Lucy in the gym "playroom" longer than needed.

So I picked Lucy up from the gym with her new princess coloring project and headed to the park. I have made this deal with Lucy--I just haven't informed her of it yet. The deal is that when we go to the gym, we spend as much or more time at the park afterwards. We spent a while at the park and had a lot of fun. By the time I got home, my left foot was killing me.

Bah. So that's the beginning. I hope to be able to give details about the end very soon. It's gotten better. I haven't had to crawl up the stairs today (and Lucy and I spend a couple of hours at the park)!

I am really, really, really (really) missing my morning workouts.

I guess I should try to remember how lucky I am to so rarely have an injury.


Some loved ones who are far away sometimes ask how the house is coming. The most recent progress has been made in the study. When we moved in, all of our random boxes found a home here. Brian found shelves and a desk that he liked (got me lots of shelves--lots more than he would have gotten on his own, which is how we compromised) and got them all moved in and set up. Before we left for Costa Rica, I put most of my energy into organizing this room (those boxes were driving me NUTS). It paid off. I got it done. It's not perfect by any means, but there is not a box in sight (and the closet is tidy, too)!


If anyone actually reads this blog, anyone may have noticed that I have done some kind of odd posts lately. In my defense, I am growing a human right now. Maybe that can explain the dog puke writing and the po-em. We, by the way, are ecstatic.

Monday, April 7, 2008

04.07.2008 -- Lucy Likes Ben

My parents were in town Wednesday night through Monday morning. They stayed with us for one night then headed up to PleasantView to spend time with my sister and her family. Above is a picture of my dad with my brother-in-law, Eric, and Lucy. It was taken at a soccer game. It got cold enough that Lucy stopped running around for a while to warm-up in her uncle's arms.

Ben and Lucy

Lucy Likes Ben

Lucy likes Ben.
She likes to sprinkle food to her two fish:
"Baby Fish,"
and "Ken."

Lucy likes pink shoes with bows.
She likes to pull off white seeds stuck to the heart of a cut sweet pepper.
She likes swinging "fast" on a baby swing,
and polish on her toes.

Lucy likes to dance.
She likes melon in a red enamel bowl in pieces small enough to chew.
She likes belts and dresses, bows in her hair,
and pink leopard-print pants.

Lucy likes bags (all kinds).
She likes pocket collections of sidewalk rocks, pine cones, sticks and bugs.
She likes Clifford the Big Red Dog books,
and feather-dusting blinds.

Lucy likes swordfights.
She likes to climb mountains, dirt or human, and play yoga or acrobat.
She likes company, old or young,
and doesn't like goodnights.

What is this?

I ran into one of my favorite teachers from high school after 14 years (give or take) and it made me want to try a poem.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Promised Photos from Stakebake/Tayler Soiree

The lighting was really bad for most of these. My apologies. I bought a decent flash yesterday, so I hope to never have this problem again!

Lucy and Luis at dinner.

Luis decides to satisfy his public.

Tanner and his second block dog. Lucy's destructo skills overcame the first.

Demonstration of Lucy's energy level.

Cameron and his Japanese-influenced architecture.

Cameron appreciating Lucy's destructo skills.

Monica intentionally encouraging the development of Lucy's destructo skills.

Brian, mastermind behind the BBP (block boy project), and accomplices Tanner and Eric Sr.

Cameron, BBP.

Eric Jr. and Lucy, BBP aiders and abbettors.

Eric Jr.

Ready, set...

"AAaaaaah!" See Cameron's face?

BBP II, enduring paternal fallout.
Tanner, Eric Sr., and Monica

04.02.2008 -- Up at Night, part II

I had a lot of other ideas for the title of this post. Dog Vomit. Vomitous. Dogs are stupid (not in a pejoritave sense). So much vomit, so little time.

I have been laying in bed for about a half an hour and all I can do is think of things I want to write in my blog about dog vomit. Maybe there is a huge, undiscovered market out there for musings on dog puke.

I woke up at about 3:30 a.m. to the sounds of our sweet dog, Zoey, retching. This is never good. Sometimes she retches enough in advance that one of us jumps out of bed yelling verbal cues and we succeed in getting her to make a vomitous puddle outside. Mostly, we're not so lucky. This morning I woke up to three distinct vomit puddles in our bedroom: one on the duvet (freshly washed yesterday, thank you), one at the base of the bed on my side, and one randomly placed puddle again on my side of the bed.

Dogs can do some amazing things and they are great companions, but they can be incredibly stupid. I know by looking at her that Zoe feels very sick right now, but what do you expect when you act the part of a living trash compactor? I wish I could say that this has never happened before, but that would be a lie. And if that were true, my vomit removal system would not be nearly as fine-tuned as it is. Stupid dog.

We had Zoe for about 7 years before Lucy, and there is a distinct difference (may my words never come back to haunt me), between dogs and kids. Lucy has thrown up. Zoey has thrown up. Lucy, on one hand has never gone around intentionally ingesting completely indigestible stuff. Wait a minute. Okay, lose the comparison--while Lucy has never been one to eat weird stuff (really, I'm telling the truth), I'm not ruling out the chance that we may someday have a child who does. It's in the genes.

So there I am, it's 3:30 am. There are three largish puddles of puke in our bedroom.

Let me suggest to you that one litmus test among many for a relationship is to arrange for large amounts of vomit to be distributed liberally around a shared bedroom at crazy hours. Arrange for it to be a surprise, if you like.

I only raised my voice twice. What do you think? Is that good?

The first time was when I was scooping up the puke and Brian said to me, his voice all muzzy from sleep, "Did Zoe get out yesterday or anything?" Harmless question.

Answers the dragon-lady, "Only when YOU let her out when you were outside!!! (Roaaar!)" I did not raise my voice when I said, "I honestly can't understand why you don't get it that she cannot go roaming around." It was under my breath. Brian might've heard it, though.

The second time I raised my voice was when we were back in bed, trying to ignore the distinct odor of vomit that permeates the room (still), and Zoey started retching again. I think I said, "ZOE! OUT, OUT, OUT, OUT, OUT, OUT, OUT!!!" And that was more in panic than anger. We did make it outside in time, but Zoe started to head next door where they are building the house and where dozens of malicious construction workers, apparently, have stashed copious amounts of trash that our dog thinks is edible in order to thwart me. I called Zoe back, but...unchecked, I would bet that she would eat the same pile of junk that she just puked up.

Someone remind me to get an electric fence, please.

Can a dog help it if she wants to eat everything that smells like it has any caloric value whatsoever? I submit to you, the dog cannot. Can a dog help it if next door (next door, for crying out loud!) there is a virtual trove of old (read:aged to perfection) junque food left by construction workers? A dog cannot.

A dog that would pass up a chance to swallow pieces of ham, mushrooms, sausage, napkins, paper cups, cigarettes, hamburger wrappers and remains, and onions (think that might have been onions), is not a dog. A dog is only a dog, ladies and gentleman. A dog cannot make the logical leap to associate early-morning puke madness with the trash smorgasborg that the dog is presented with in the moment.

Remind me, somebody, to get an electric fence.

Brian removed the duvet cover from the duvet and put the cover in the washer. He also piled up the duvet by the laundry room for washing. I tried to get him to go back to bed, (third time I raised my voice, but I was only raising it so he could hear me from the other room) but he wouldn't. I am not always against having help dealing with spontaneous puke in our bedroom, but he stayed up late and did laundry while I was sleeping last night.

Speaking of which...It's time for the truth to out. For all the women out there who think I have the perfect husband, I am about to disclose some saddening news. Brian is guilty of committing willful acts of laundry.

I'm going to interrupt this interruption to bring you fascinated readers a real-time update:
I just let Zoey out again (this time to eliminate from her other orifice, which must be a nice change for her), and she is now sitting at my feet. She is a sweet dog, and I feel bad that she is sick, and ho-ly cow, she stinks.

Back to Brian's civil disobedience. Despite a number of talks I have had with Brian, he continues to act in blatant disregard of my wishes. He does the laundry. Not only his laundry, but Lucy's and mine along with his! I tried to explain to him that, mostly because he has a job that he actually has to travel to five days a week, and because I consider our home (and maintenance of said home, including laundry) to be my job, well...he should not be doing my job. I explained that it was not only making me feel guilty, but that some people could find this annoying and even insulting. I tried this line of reasoning on him:

Would you like me to go to work and start doing take-offs for you???

Pretty good, huh? (I have a vague idea about what might be involved in doing a "take-off," but only vague and only about what might be involved.) Brian is an Estimator/Project Manager for an Excavating company. On his card, it's in italics, so I guess that would be an Estimator/Project Manager. A minor difference, but a difference all the same, wouldn't you agree?

I think that our little talk might've made a difference. Mostly it made me aware of how much I want to do the laundry, as strange as that may seem. As a result, I have more frequent outbursts of laundering competence. Right now our laundry room is stuffed to the brim because I've lined up all the rugs and linens along with a considerable amount of regular laundry. I didn't realize until yesterday that Brian was actually out of clean underwear. I guess sometimes a guy just has to take matters into his own hands.

Another change since that latest of laundry talks is that I try to appreciate the fact that Brian does laundry more. I know a lot of women who would LOVE it if anyone in the family would even think about putting a load of whites into the washer.

I just took pictures of the sick, bleary-eyed dog and myself (point and shoot computer). They're separate pictures because Zoe is still smelling horrendous.