Week in Review: August 12-18, 2018

This week flew by, yet also managed to crawl along. Matt was on call (ugh) and I had a few bad days and a bunch of good days in there, too. Let’s get started.

Life of Lizzie

Poor kid didn’t get to go to the pool until Saturday, as it was too hot or I wasn’t feeling well enough to take her or Matt got paged or…something. We went last night, right after dinner and enjoyed the empty pool and lack of direct sunlight.

She went back to the eye doctor for one of her regular appointments and her eyes are really not working together, markedly so from her last visit. This means it’s back to patching her eye, an hour each weekday. Thankfully, I never tossed out the old box of patches AND she’s finally old enough to realize we’re not torturing her, by trying to help her. Patching her right after school has been the ticket.

All week, she’s brought up things she’s looking forward to, over and over. My birthday trip to Florida. Going to Italy. Halloween. Her birthday party – to which she has said she only wants girls there and it’s going to be My Little Pony themed. Asking when it’s going to snow and if she has to go to school when it snows. Guess she’s tired of summer?


(Sporting some shades I got her from the Target dollar area…and a ton of dirt from playing outside.)

On the Needles

I started and got a little bit into another Sockhead Hat for my neighbor in Socks That Rock Lightweight in Island in the Sky. This was my at-work project all week, though you can see how busy my week was by how little I got done on it.

I pulled out the progress I had made – little as it was – on the dark purple shawl and started it again as another Riparian Entertainment, one of my favorite lacy cowls. I brought it in to show it to the recipient, a coworker, and she loved it.

Not much progress, overall, as it’s been quite humid and I haven’t felt like knitting other than here and there. And the knitting is all away at the moment, so no pretty yarny photos this week.

Fabric Stabbing

After months away from it, I started back on cross stitch project. It’s great for when it’s too humid to knit. I played around with a few things, but eventually settled on this rainbow mandala I had previously started. If I can get it done in time, this will be part of the goodbye gift to Lizzie’s preschool teacher; Lizzie’s been under her care since she was a year old, so it’s a big deal. (I also got her a pound of excellent coffee because, well, she’s had to deal my kid for 3+ years.)



Brazilian steakhouses are pretty good, even if you’re like me and don’t eat a ton of meat at a time. I went with friends on Friday night and really enjoyed myself. If it wasn’t the same price for just the salad bar and the salad bar plus all-you-can-eat-meat, I would have been very happy with only the salad bar. (Yay for DC Metropolitan Area Restaurant Week!) Also, need to remember they have free valet at that particular location so there’s no need to pay $5 to park in the garage down the street.

The Cara app for tracking symptoms, sleep, food, medication, and a bunch of other things. It helps you to figure out what may be causing your issues or, at least, what may be related. I came across it on a blog about Crohn’s and it’s been very helpful. It’s free, too.

The Great Interior Design Challenge on Netflix. Competition show out of the UK that’s just what it sounds like. Everyone’s pleasant, the settings are lovely, and the designs are varied and fun.

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Humidity. Crazy-high humidity. How did I ever survive, growing up in South Florida?

Inability to sleep on steroids which I fully expected but is not my most favorite thing to deal with.

Finding out the medication my doctor had prescribed was extremely expensive. Lots of fretting lead to my deciding to get it, anyway. I was in so dang much pain that day, my cheapness lost out. (I was saved by his having a stock of samples of an alternative for me to try and an odd lack of traffic – at 4 pm! – to get back over there after having already left the area to get the meds from a pharmacy by my house.)

A Better Me

I had a pretty good week, health-wise. I saw my primary care doctor on Monday for a quick chat. His first words to me: “You got our call about the CT results? Kinda scary, huh? But we’ve got this.” Saw my GI doctor on Tuesday, the day I was the worst pain all week. I’ve stepped down my Prednisone dose and added an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory to the mix. I was also given pain meds, should I need them. Looking at the Cara app – I had 3 bad days, 3 good days, and 1 OK day. And that’s judging them relative to feeling totally normal, so quite a lot better than the week prior, where I went from feeling like death to feeling like maybe I was actually already dead. Or..something.

On Tap

  • Back to GI doc to see how the meds helped and figure out when I’ll start more specific testing to see the severity of what’s going on
  • Finishing that hat? Or maybe a shawl? Or the mandala?


Weekend Coffee Share

In an attempt to find something to write about today, I’m turning to another idea from a fellow blogger, this time from Part Time Monster. It’s called Weekend Coffee Share. You write what you’d say to a friend if you were having coffee on a weekend afternoon; what’s going on in your life and/or what’s on your mind.

If we were having coffee right now…I would tell you that I’m happy that Lizzie is asleep. It’s been a hard day, dealing with her. She chose me as her favorite parent for the day so barely left my side from when I got up to when Matt her to sleep. She sat on me on the couch or snuggled right next to me until she needed to get ready. She insisted that I sit on her little stool right next to the tub while she bathed. I had to sneak awake to get dressed in another room – perfectly timed with her dad coming down stairs to ensure her distraction. She didn’t nap at all, constantly making noise until I gave up and let her out of bed. (Yeah, she still won’t get out of bed on her own, despite being in a Big Girl Bed.) She followed me around as I framed and hung new photos and re-arranged old ones. Then she did lots more sitting on me on the couch while Matt made dinner – dinner that wound up taking longer than he expected and she didn’t eat any of.

But, again, she’s asleep now and I’m happy to be able to do my own thing. No one on top of me or at my heels or talking all the time or demanding to watch Hibe (The Hive) or Maya Bee (Maya the Bee). I can just be. Or, crazy thought, go to the bathroom alone!

If you have kids that are older, you’d tell me that this phase ends, that she’ll choose Matt as the favorite parent or she’ll get too big to want to be held. And that I’ll miss her come Monday when I’m at work, alone behind my desk. Right now, though, it’s really nice.

If we kept talking, we’d probably talk about the election. If we have different political leanings, you’d mention it with something non-confrontation like “I can’t believe he won.” If we have the same political leanings, it’s probably be a comment a bit something more like “I can’t believe he won. What do we do now?” You’d seem either afraid or empowered to do something in response. Unless you’re my high school friend LL, you’d talk about donating to a charity that supports women, minorities, etc; if you are LL, you’d talk of participating in the Million Women March.

I’d laugh awkwardly, either way. It’s not something I want to discuss, with anyone, really. Not anymore. I’m no longer angry. Or in disbelief. Just sort of numb. Not yet to the point where I feel like I’m going to do much of anything but trust that things won’t be as bad as we all think they’ll be. But that I should, that I feel guilty.

I may point out that I can’t get a single line out of my head: Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. That the line is to the tune from a song we sang in church choir when I was in middle school. We sang that song after serving in a homeless shelter in the middle of our annual tour, where we sang in other churches in our denomination. How I still remember how magical that day seemed. Like maybe we were doing something that mattered.

But you’re having coffee with me, I’d not want to linger on the topic for long. I’d make some joking sort of comment about how the election results weren’t all bad, that it’s meant I’ve had lots of energy to focus on knitting. That I finished the first sleeve on my sweater…and tried it on to find out that it makes my arms itch like crazy. I posted this on Facebook and a former coworker has already claimed it, though she’s much taller and thinner so it may be too big yet too short. The sweater is up on my desk in my office, in timeout.

Instead, I’m working on a hat for some coworker, using a pattern a friend designed (the friend happens to be Olga Buraya-Kefelian, the pattern Roku). It’s a sort of mustard but not yellow and going slowly with all of the ribbing but the 16″ needle I got this morning is making me a bit faster than the 24″ one I had on hand when I started. I want to make a whole box of hats, bring them into work, and let the guys I work with choose which one they’d want. Guys are always hard to knit for, all they want is boring hats. That’s why I’m starting with the yellow one.

What would you talk about with a friend, over coffee, this weekend?


Day 14 wants us to write a letter using an interesting word:

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there. 

Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

(I’m ignoring the twist on this one, focusing on the word-as-inspiration part.)

What book do I have closest to me? Java – a Beginner’s Guide. (Because I decided that I should probably re-teach myself Java (again) since it would be helpful at work to, you know, actually be able to review the code I’m testing if there’s an issue.) Page 29 has a listing of the Java keywords and a little blurb about what keywords are and what they mean, then goes into the next section about classes (the programming kind, not things with teachers and students and learning). Most interesting word there? Transient.

Transient, in Java speak, means just what it means to normal folks: temporary. It’s only there for some brief period of time but will go away as soon as it’s no longer needed. It’s for purposefully denoting something that will go away. But, in life, we can’t always control things as easily as in programming and I’ve had to learn that lesson again and again. Things don’t stay the same forever. Things change. You’ve got to learn to adapt.

Continue reading “Transient”

Songs of My Life

[I don’t know how long I’m going to stick to following the daily prompts for Writing 101 but I’m really enjoying them so far. Things aren’t super exciting in my life right now so it’s giving me something to do to completion each day that’s unique to that particular day. Also – I’m not sure if I’m a fan of people being able to like posts on here. It’s nice to have some indication that people, well, like my writing but I could really go for actual comments. Hint. Hint. Yes, mom, that’s directed at you.]

Here’s the day 3 prompt from the WordPress Writing 101 folks:

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.

Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

(The writing practice part will be a different post, but I wanted to include it for completeness. If I remember, I’ll edit this post later to point to that one. Someone please ping me – man, I hate that phrase but still use it – if you don’t see something about establishing a writing practice on here in a week or two.)

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with music. I listened to it anytime I could get away with it – radio in the car to and from school, doing homework at the kitchen table, cleaning the bathroom on a Saturday morning. It didn’t hurt that, for most of ninth and tenth grade, I was also into a guy who was obsessed with music. Now, I always tell people that I really enjoy music and i listen to it a lot, but nothing like back then. Now, it’s background noise or something to sing along to on the way to work. I don’t really, truly enjoy it anymore. It’s just..there.

But that’s not what the prompt asked for, it asked for the three most important songs in my life. Two popped into my head immediately: “If you’re happy and you know it” and “Oye Como Va.” The other, well, I still haven’t come up with a third yet. We’ll see if one identifies itself later on.

If You’re Happy and you Know it (Traditional children’s song)

Anyone who grew up in the US – and maybe elsewhere, but I don’t want to assume – knows “If you’re happy and you know it” and it’s structure. It goes like this:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands

*Clap* *Clap*

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands

*Clap* *Clap*

If you’re happy and you know it, (and you really want to show it)
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands

*Clap* *Clap*

On subsequent verses, the actions to show how happy you are change. I don’t actually remember the “real” verses after this first one, though it’s easy enough to make them up as you go along.

So, why this song? Because Squirms loves it. If she’s upset, we’ll sing it to her, making her perform each of the actions as we go and it’s like MAGIC. And it’s not always “if you’re happy” – common variations are “if you’re squirmy” and “if you’re fussy.” I guess you could say it represents my life right now – I am her mom. I sing silly songs to get my daughter to calm down, to smile at me.

It makes me smile every time I sing it to her and I often hear the tune in my head when I talk about her other people. It’s her theme. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to clap and squirm and kick and pat along with it though I do like the current Squirms-as-parents’-puppet version for the closeness it requires.

Oye Como Va (Tito Puente)

I grew up on this song and music like it. My dad, he’s a classically trained percussionist who idolizes the speed and passion of the playing of Tito Puente. My mom, she likes music with a good beat. And I grew up in South Florida where you can’t deny the Cuban influences.  You’ve probably heard it before (here’s a link to Santana’s version on YouTube).

I’ll admit, I never knew what the words actually meant though I could piece it together if I wracked my three-years-of-high-school-Spanish brain. Wikipedia tells me it’s “Listen to how it goes.” The whole repeated phrasing (“Oye como va…mi ritmo / Bueno pa’ gozar”) translates to “listen to how my rhythm goes / good for enjoying.” He just about begs you to dance. And I have, many a time, even if it’s just in the shower or in my chair at work.

My favorite version is from a  concert that happened back in 2000 called “Jam Miami.” All of the biggest names in Latin, particularly Cuban, jazz got together for a big concert and they recorded a CD (Amazon link) of it, which I still have in heavy rotation at work (sorry, Dad, I swiped it from you years ago). It’s in a medley with Ran Kan Kan called, appropriately enough, “Medley para Tito.”

I think of my parents and going to concerts in parks in the summer when I hear it. I especially think of going to see Nestor Torres  who was just some dude who played Latin Jazz flute then, at my hometown’s arts festival in elementary school. (My dad made a comment about how he could be really great with a better backup band; a couple years later, his CD popped up at Barnes and Noble on one of those little “listen before you buy” stations.) We got a seat only about five feet from the edge of the stage and I sat there, transfixed, for the entire concert. My brother was somewhere nearby but not quite listening, my mom probably hoping he’d burn off some energy dancing along or running around the grassy seating area. It’s the first concert I remember going to and really enjoying.

A Third Song? Eh.

I can’t think of anything that jumps right into my head and really means anything to me at the same level as these other two songs. I leave you with my list of possibilities: It’s a Small World, Let’s go to the Mall (from How I Met Your Mother), Do Re Mi,…