Tag Archives: personal

House Swap

Song Lyric of the Day:

Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young / “Our House

Rich, Coraline, and I visited some friends in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this week. I’m fine mentioning that now, but it’s kind of a policy of mine to never write about an upcoming trip. I blame this website for my healthy paranoia. As it is, a family member always stays at our house to house- and pet-sit, and we let our neighbors know so they’ll help keep an eye on our house. We return the favor when they let us know they’ll be out of town.

My mom was the generous soul who stayed here for this trip, a favor which I will reciprocate the next time she and my dad go out of town, as is our pattern. While she’s here, my dogs and cats are spoiled rotten and given carte blanche. The boys make her feel safe by earning their keep and being good guard dogs while the cats practically fight over who gets to sit on her lap. Mom has also occasionally stealth-decorated when she’s house-sat for us, leaving a neat Union Jack tray (you know how I love all things British) on the living room ottoman or hanging a curtain on the sunroom door, something which I pointed out contradicts the openness of the sunroom, but I digress. Meanwhile, when I house- and pet-sit for Mom and Dad, their youngest cats mug me for my feather keychain (since replaced) and their dogs hog the bed while I’m trying to sleep. That’s tempered by my dad’s sweet cat, Luckey, staying right by my side and another cat, Tigger, asking for kisses.

No matter how our respective pets might harass, bug, or steal from us, though, it provides a lot of peace of mind knowing our house and furkids are being taken care of and in good hands. Even when some of those furkids are thieving bastards (I’m looking at you, Troubadour).

And let me just add that it’s so nice to be back home where I can sleep comfortably in my own bed. I won’t name names, but a certain curly-topped youngling was a total bed hog while we were on our trip. She’s lucky she’s cute and that I love her.

Notice how much room Baby Miranda gets. Room for baby doll? Check. Room for Mommy? Not so much.

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Baby Miranda’s Day at the Office

Song Lyric of the Day:

I’m taking what they giving ’cause I’m working for a livin’

Huey Lewis and the News / “Workin’ for a Living’

Coraline’s #1 toy is her favorite baby doll, Baby Miranda (named after her little cousin). She never goes anywhere without her and even falls asleep with her in her arms. When we drop Coraline off at daycare, she always leaves Baby Miranda in the car so she doesn’t have to let her friends and classmates play with her (apparently the thought of sharing Baby Miranda is appalling). Yesterday, however, she wouldn’t let her go, which resulted in me taking Baby Miranda from her and leaving Coraline in tears. Thankfully, her teachers are great at calming her and distracting her. They don’t, however, appease my guilt at making my baby cry, so I promised Coraline I’d take Baby Miranda to work with me. So without further ado, here is Baby Miranda’s first-hand account of her day at the office with me.

I started my day by logging on and putting on my headphones. Gotta listen to some tunes while I work!

Hamming it up with a cubemate's Snoopy phone

Getting comfy in Coraline's mommy's office chair

Coraline's mommy's friends helped me play a joke on her by sitting me next to the kitty statues on her cabinet.

Time for a coffee break! It felt like it took forever for that cup to fill up.

I enjoyed a yummy lunch with Coraline's mommy and her friend Mary at Chuy's.

Snuck over to Coraline's daddy's cube and checked out his desk -- and coffee mug. Coffee rocks!

Had to drink lots of water to dilute some of that strong coffee I enjoyed earlier.

Checking voicemail messages at the end of a long, productive day

Back home with the bestest little mommy in the whole world. I love her so much!


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Song Lyric of the Day:

I’m just a believer / That things will get better / Some can take it or leave it / But I don’t wanna let it go

American Authors / “Believer

Over the years I’ve declared my intentions and set resolutions. I started to wise up a bit last year and didn’t really set any. So what am I doing this year? I’m setting my only resolution as making every effort to follow through on the projects I start and activities I participate in. That way, instead of beating myself up about not working out every day or being super-productive in an endeavor or even just updating my blog as often as I’d like, I’m giving myself permission to start and finish only what I can handle at any given moment. Whereas in years past I would stress out because I skipped a daily workout or didn’t write those planned 500 words, I will instead be happy that I fit in a workout when I can and count however many (or few) words I write as progress instead of falling short of a larger goal. Basically, I’m going to try this approach this year in the hopes it helps me stay somewhat sane throughout 2013. Here’s hoping.

Image found via a Google search

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Shiny & New

This is my family’s New Year Baby: My new niece, Sabrina Irene, was born on December 21, 2012, just in time for Christmas and the new year. My whole family is in love with her, particularly big cousin Coraline (going in for yet another kiss in the second photo).

Here’s to a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous, relatively sane 2013 for us all. Happy new year!


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Last week I was planning on blogging about Christmas starting this week, then the Sandy Hook tragedy happened. I, like the rest of the world, am thinking of and praying for everyone in Newtown, Conn., whose lives were cut too short, those left behind, and everyone affected by this tragedy. They are not alone in their unfathomable grief. Hug your babies today, and every day.

Image courtesy of KGO Bay Area ABC 7 News


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Melatonin Down Bedtime

Song Lyric of the Day:

Soft the drowsy hours are creeping / Hill and vale in slumber sleeping / I my loving vigil keeping / All through the night

Harold Boulton / “All Through the Night

The last few weeks, Coraline has experienced a drastic personality change at bedtime. She went from this:

Video uploaded by thebrushborder

To this:

Video uploaded by babylonsfalling

We have no idea what caused the change. She used to be so easygoing and ready to go to sleep for the night after reading some books (oh, how I rue the day I introduced her to my old Disney reader of Three Little Pigs). Then bam! — she’d start screaming like she was dying the second you closed her bedroom door. Seemingly overnight what used to be a pleasant half-hour of quality bonding time turned into up to two-and-a-half hours of Rich and I tag-teaming each other, taking turns trying to calm Coraline into going back to sleep. (Thankfully, she has not been having night terrors.)

A couple of weeks ago I got desperate and called our pediatrician for advice. His nurse promptly called me back and explained that at this age toddlers develop “bedtime resistance.” She suggested giving Coraline two milligrams of melatonin drops about a half hour before we wanted her to go to sleep. Since our bodies naturally produce melatonin, she said you could, in theory, take melatonin drops indefinitely (which we aren’t going to do). Desperate for a return to normal evenings and uninterrupted sleep, Rich and I went straight to a vitamin store after work to buy some. We were giddy at the thought that something might finally help Coraline go back to her old non-screaming, non-head-spinning-and-pea-soup-spewing sweet, sleepy self. I very well may have skipped into the vitamin store.

That night we were only able to get one milligram of melatonin into Coraline, but it did the trick. It was Rich’s turn to put her to bed that night (OK, so I chickened out and traded nights with him. She was THAT bad at bedtime), and he said that she got drowsy right on schedule. He put her to bed without incident, and we didn’t hear a peep from her until it was time to get up the next day. It was glorious.

We’ve made giving her that milligram of melatonin part of her bedtime routine. It has an orange flavor, and since she loves taking medicine, it’s not a problem to get her to take it. We’ll probably stop giving it to her after a month, like her nurse suggested, and see if she’s been “retrained” to sleep by then. If she hasn’t, back on the sauce she shall go.

Now if only I could figure out a way to get her to sleep in on weekends …

Coraline with Red Panda and Nemo. Not pictured: the 72 other stuffed animals and dolls she sleeps with. (10/15/12)

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Things Can Always Be Worse

Song Lyric of the Day:

The trouble it might drag you down / If you get lost, you can always be found / Just know you’re not alone / Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Phillip Phillips / “Home

I wrote recently about how lousy October was for us. Unfortunately, some of that carried over to this month. Leaks that we discovered at the end of the month turned into this:

Our master bath being dried out

And this:

Our engine/utility room (directly under master bath) being dried out

I admit, I had a pity party last week when all this happened; it was kind of the last straw for me after the last few weeks, and I cracked (I’ve cried a lot these last few weeks). Then I started seeing the photos of the aftermath from Hurricane Sandy, and I snapped out of it. I (and Rich) looked on the bright side of things. We caught the leak when it was still only water, not mold, damage. We are insured. Our daughter is healthy. We are healthy. Our house is still standing.

We currently have family and coworkers in New York/New Jersey who are still without power and hot water, which is unbelievable to me. They are also now getting snow from a nor’easter, adding insult to injury. And yet they too are looking on the bright side of things. They are safe and healthy, even if they’ve been displaced (it was SUCH a relief to start receiving emails from my editors last week that they were OK). Their friends and coworkers have opened up their homes to them. As power and water services have been restored, they in turn have opened their homes to those without.  I can’t tell you how proud I was to read their offers of a warm place to stay on Facebook, often posted as soon as they got home from wherever they had been temporarily staying. Our company opened up one of our offices to employees and their families so they could have access to clean, hot water, recharge phones/laptops, and just be warm for a bit. I work — albeit from far away — with some really awesome people.

So that’s how I’ve been able to deal with all the crap that’s been thrown our way lately — I’ve made myself look on the bright side of things. Every night when I say my prayers, I thank God for everything I do have. I’m taken care of. I will be OK.

Things can always be worse.

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Write On

Song Lyric of the Day:

It’s time to begin, isn’t it? / I get a little bit bigger, but then I’ll admit / I’m just the same as I was / Now don’t you understand / That I’m never changing who I am

Imagine Dragons / “It’s Time

I’ve written some here about my writing aspirations and countless failed attempts at bringing them to fruition. So despite the chaos going on in my life right now (my stomach is eating itself from stress at this point), I’ve decided to try and make myself accountable. To myself, anyway: I took the plunge and signed up for National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. As of tonight, day 1 of the project, my word count is only 830. Baby steps, right? The goal is to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. I chose the story that’s been on my mind (in my imagination?) the most lately versus the one which I’ve written more of (8700+ words so far). We’ll see how far I get. If an impending nervous breakdown doesn’t get me first.

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Song Lyric of the Day:

I think I found something / I think I found something in my TV screen / I think I found out, that I have nothing / That I have nothing in this place for me

The Neighbourhood / “Female Robbery

I’ve never really looked forward to the end of a month before, but now that the end of October is in sight, I’m thisclose to breathing a sigh of relief. Because it has been a very stressful month, to say the least. (Heads up: This is going to be a long post.)

The downward spiral, as it were, started on Monday, October 1. Midday, a coworker came to tell me Rich was laying down on a couch and thought he had food poisoning and wanted me to take him home. We packed up our stuff, and I finished out my workday from one of the upstairs couches while Rich slept fitfully on the other couch. Around 5:30PM, he asked me to take him to the hospital since he felt worse. I called Mom to let her know what was going on so she’d know why we weren’t on our way to pick up Coraline. Hours later, we got the diagnosis of kidney stones and I left to pick up Coraline while Rich and I tried finding someone to bring him home; our neighbor ended up saving the day.

That Thursday I started a week of house- and pet-sitting for my parents, so I was going back and forth between our houses a lot (Mom and Dad have diabetic kitties who need insulin shots twice a day). The following Monday Rich ended up getting blasted by lasers to break up the larger (5mm) of the two kidney stones. Thankfully, his mom was able to bring him home from the hospital so I could continue working and watching Coraline.

Wednesday morning rolled around and when I got home from Mom’s house to help Rich get Coraline ready for daycare and then carpool to work, I noticed that our dog Happy couldn’t raise her head to say hi to me. Rich then told me how he hadn’t been able to get her to eat or drink the night before and that he’d found her collapsed in the grass during the dogs’ bedtime walk. Happy had been in decline for a few weeks by this point, and even though she had rallied a bit, I still didn’t want to admit this might be the end. We came home from work at lunchtime, and when I walked In the living room, Happy was so unresponsive I at first thought she had died. I started crying (again after a morning cry) and asked Rich to please call the vet. We dropped her off at the vet on our way back to work; we were scared she would hurt herself without us around. We arranged to come back at 4PM to be with her and say goodbye, and Rich called his parents to let them know (we rehomed Happy from Rich’s parents). Back at work the time remaining until 4PM seemed interminable, with me making numerous trips to the bathroom to cry. By the time we got to the vet, Rich’s parents had been with Happy for an hour, so I was grateful they had some time together. Rich, his parents, and I were all with Happy when the time came to say goodbye. It broke my heart when we brought Coraline home from daycare and she immediately pointed to the dog beds and said, “Happy. Where’s Happy?” I said, “Happy’s not here anymore. She’s in heaven now.” Then I rushed to the bathroom to cry while Rich attended to Coraline. That turned out to be the tip of the iceberg as far as how Coraline has noticed and been affected by Happy’s passing.

The next day I picked up Coraline from daycare and took her to wrap things up at my parents’ house; my sister was picking them up from the airport later that night. Everything was going fine until Coraline started down the stairs just ahead of me, after I told her to wait for me. I think I had three simultaneous heart attacks as I watched her fall down the stairs (about eight steps, I believe). The only saving grace was that she rolled down perfectly parallel to the stairs and did NOT hit her head, even on landing on the floor at the bottom. I called a triage nurse immediately to find out if I needed to take Coraline to the ER; all I kept thinking about was Natasha Richardson and her seemingly innocuous bump on the head. After several minutes of me answering the nurse’s questions, she advised me on what to watch out for so I would know if/when to rush Coraline to the hospital. If she’d hit her head, I would’ve taken her to the hospital straightaway, but (THANK GOD), she didn’t hit her head. She didn’t even end up with any bruises. Someone was watching out for her that night. I knew she was going to be OK when she said, “I fall down stairs,” a couple of times, followed by her asking to finish eating her chicken nuggets. Once we got home, as Coraline was jumping up and down on our bed, I told Rich what had happened. Needless to say, he doubted my story a bit as Coraline was hopping around like a nut.

The next few days were blessedly uneventful until Mom called me at work Tuesday morning to tell me she’d fallen down a couple of steps and had hit her head. I ran and told my boss why I had to leave, picked up Mom and my nephew, who she was watching, and rushed to the hospital. I spent the next few hours waiting to hear that Mom was OK (her CAT scan came back clean, thank God) and sending texts and returning calls to keep our family apprised of what was going on. Turns out Mom also had someone watching out for her.

Oh, and there was also a shakeup at work that led to my friend/coworker’s departure. And Rich and I also received some news that has helped send our stress levels skyrocketing. Because we weren’t already at all stressed this month.

I know things could have been a LOT worse this month, particularly with regard to Rich’s health and Coraline’s and Mom’s falls. But with my life turning into fodder for a country music song in the span of a few days, it was definitely bad enough.

So that’s why I can’t wait for this month to be over. I sure as hell hope your October has been better than mine.


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Quiet Reflection

Song Lyric of the Day:

All these kinds of places / Make it seem like it’s been ages / Tommorrow some new building will scrape the sky / I love this country dearly / I can feel the ladder clearly / But I never thought I’d be alone to try

Passion Pit / “Take a Walk

Last year on the anniversary, I poured my guts out about where I was that day and the emotional fallout for me. Today I’ve kept mostly to myself, both online and offline, largely in part due to a stomach bug (or food poisoning) that has me feeling pretty rough. But also because — particularly after last year’s post — I think I’ve shared all I’m able to share about how that day affected me.

Instead, today I kept foremost in my thoughts the emergency/first responders lost that day, the service men and women we’ve lost due to that day, and the first responders still dealing with health issues from the fallout.

I also thought a lot about Adam and Ryan, and their families and friends. Based on the search terms for my blog today, many other people were thinking about them, too.

You can learn a bit more about Adam here and here. And you can learn more about Ryan here and check out his widow, Heather’s, book about Ryan here.

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