Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Like some kind of fraternity initiation stunt, or something

Yesterday was the craziest day we've had for awhile, in terms of driving and being places at certain times. I think my hair may have turned pure white overnight, but I haven't looked in the mirror yet.

Anyway, yesterday was our ARCHES meeting for October. Megan was the day's chairman, which meant that she had to be there early to prepare to get the meeting started, which is not as easy as it sounds, particularly if you are as nervous as she was. This month's event was the Living Rosary Around the World and it is the ARCHES geography project, and a very fine one it is.

We had to be at the retreat house in Indianapolis where we hold our meetings at 8:45, which meant that we had to be there at 8:40 because Meelyn and I are such nervous nellies. The retreat house is on 52nd Street or something like that, so it is a good bit from our house, a solid forty minute drive at least. And that's not really counting morning rush hour traffic.

On a Monday.

Our angels must have been watching over us because the trip there was fast and easy. We got to the retreat house and immediately went to get Meelyn sorted out, a simple task, thanks to the efficiency of the ARCHES director. Meelyn looked very competent and lovely as she stood before the large group with the mircophone in her hand. I knew she was nervous, but I don't think anyone else would have known.

After the prayer and pledge leaders had been called forward to do their thing, she got the day's journalist, photographer and timer taken care of, and then it was time to go back upstairs for Mass.

On this particular ARCHES day, the girls and I weren't going to be able to stay to participate in the living rosary, which also meant that we didn't have their projects to bring along with us. The reason for this is that we had to attend a funeral Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Carmel at 11:00. We were going to pick up our friends Katie and Rebecca along the way and then plan was that we would get to the church at about 10:40, allowing us to go in and find a seat and compose ourselves in prayer.

Well, you can probably guess how that went, right?

The ARCHES Mass ran over quite a bit. Usually, daily masses last about 25 minutes. This one, because Fr. Bob Robeson was asking questions of the children during his homily, must have lasted about forty-five minutes, from all I can gather. It was so cute and funny, that homily, that I didn't really register the passing of time, mostly because of things like this:

FR. BOB: What is one of the most important gift parents can give a child in a family?

CHILD [raising hand excitedly]: Faith in Jesus as their savior?

FR. BOB: Oh, absolutely. You are right. That is the number one most important thing. Faith in Jesus is an awesome gift that can grow over the years! Great answer! Anyone else?.....I see a lot of hands.....What about you?

CHILD #2 [little first grade boy]: Toys?

FR. BOB [chuckling]: Well, it is nice to have toys, but in some parts of the world, parents can't afford to give their children any toys at all since the countries they live in are very poor. But they can still give their children some gifts! Anyone else?...How about you?

CHILD #3 [another young one]: Mother's milk?

FR. BOB [spluttering a little bit, trying not to laugh]: Oh, yes! That is very important for a child's nutrition, isn't it? So yes, that is probably one of the most important gifts parents can give to their children.

The assembled mothers all giggled and elbowed each other. Father Bob is a brave, brave man for opening up the floor like that. You just never know what you're going to get.

When Mass was over, Meelyn and Aisling came to the back of the chapel where I was sitting and I said, all unaware, "Well, we'd better be moving along. What time is it?"

Meelyn got our her cell phone and looked at the clock. "Ummm...it is 10:19."

"Ten nineteen!" I said with a little scream. "We have to be in Carmel in nine minutes to pick up Katie and Rebecca!"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Highlights of our day

1) Volleyball practice lasted until 9:00 last night, so by the time the girls got home, ate a snack, showered and we all sat down to pray the rosary, it was 11:00. So we all got to sleep in until nine. Yippeeeee!

2) Meelyn and Aisling each put several hours of work into their Rosary Around the World projects for ARCHES. Meelyn's country is Ireland because she feels a solidarity to the old country and Aisling is doing Japan because she likes volcanos. Both projects did give them the chance to highlight Our Lady of Knock and Our Lady of Akita. So that's nice.

3) I went to my final doctor's appointment today and have been pronounced Well and Healed, although I'm still on the antibiotic. Which is still making me feel nauseous. Just in case, you know, you were wondering.

4) The girls and I breezed into the Hallmark shop in New Castle to have a peek at their Webkins stuff.

5) Late in the afternoon, we drove to Fishers to this running store that is named The Running Store (where they come up with these crazy, imaginative names for businesses, I just can't fathom) and bought my husband an arm band with a little holder on it for his cell phone. After we got separated in a crowd of 60,000 people at the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon last May, we decided we never wanted to go through such irritation again. So now, he can carry his phone in this little do-dad and will hopefully call us at the beginning of the last mile so that we can go watch him cross the finish line.

6) I had to call our cell phone company's Customer Service line today and explain to them how I could have been such an eejit as to lose a cell phone after only nine days (I blame it on the Vicodin) and order a new one, a mere bagatelle at $60. Arrrrrghhhhhhh..... It should arrive in three business days, which I estimate is exactly the amount of time it will take for my other cell phone, now canceled out, to become unlost. You just know that's what's going to happen, right? You'll know when it does happen because you will hear me screaming like a banshee, all the over to where you live.

7) We drove down to Ft. Benjamin Harrison to pick up my husband's runner's packet for the Indianapolis Marathon tomorrow. We are leaving at 6:45 a.m., yet here I am at 12:48 a.m., typing.

8) Husband and I had a lovely little dinner at Bob Evans. He carbed up with chicken fried steak, three dinner rolls, two servings of mashed potatoes and gravy and a piece of banana bread. I had roasted pork loin and mashed potatoes on an open face sandwich with gravy - a pork Manhattan, perhaps? All I know is that it is a major comfort food, a cozy reminder of the wonderful school lunches served between 1969 and 1974 at James Whitcomb Riley Elementary School in New Castle, Indiana.

9) Something very, very weird happened today. My mother has a friend who happens to be a nurse practitioner who assisted with my minor surgery last week. I didn't know that this person was a friend of my mother's; likewise, the nurse practitioner didn't know that I was the daughter of one of her friends. My mother saw her at church and said, "You saw my daughter as a patient this week" and her friend, the medical professional, said something indiscreet about the procedure that was done on my person.

I was so startled by this at first that it didn't really register with me. I mulled it over for several hours and then settled on thoughts like "violation of privacy" and "outrage." I mean, this indiscretion was revealed to my mother, who knew all about what was going on anyway. But the medical professional apparently gave up her bit of information voluntarily. And this was a delicate subject, you understand. I'm definitely not loving the idea of my delicate procedure being discussed in the foyer of my parents' church, even if the conversation was brief, even if it was with my mother.

I told my husband about it because he has a very level head and he doesn't get all freaky-beaky about about stuff the way I do. I figured he'd help me sort out my thoughts. His thoughts were: "What she did was really unprofessional and wrong. Don't let them schedule an appointment for you with her again."

This is very bothersome, because she was so nice. She put me at ease in a situation that was both painful and scary and, well....delicate. I'm really disappointed that she didn't protect my privacy and say kindly, "Oh, that was your daughter? Well, how nice. But I just can't talk about my patients, even to their mamas!"


Thursday's List (on Friday)

READING: Florian's Gate by T. Davis Bunn, which is either one of the world's most memorable names for an author, or one of the most ridiculous. I sincerely hope it's a nom de plume.

At any rate, the book is very intriguing. It's really just a pleasure novel, but somehow TDB has managed to include a lot of information about the antiques world of buying and selling and how collectors work. He even took me to an auction at Christie's, which was very interesting. The other side of the novel is a mysterious story about life in Poland after WWII and life in East Germany just before and just after the Berlin Wall came down. The main character, Jeffrey, has ties to both places through an elderly second cousin (whose antiques business he manages) and his lady love (who is studying the German and Polish languages at the University of London.)

LISTENING TO: Rain pattering down on the sidewalk outside the window. I love it.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: I don't have it quite yet, but I'm hoping to get a new cell phone to replace the one I LOST. I LOST MY STUPID CELL PHONE AFTER ONLY NINE DAYS WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME WHY AM I SUCH AN IDIOT IDIOT IDIOT!!!


Excuse me. Every now and then, I have to lie down on the floor and thrash around like a horse with colic and scream a little bit whenever I think of that phone.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Today was the first day of HISTO Ancient Greece. It went really well and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. One of my favorite things was hearing four or five students say, "I had such a good time today!" Yay! And you learned some history too, you little curtain climber. How's that for a great deal?

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: I am in a really, really bad cycle of insomnia. It's just awwwwwwwwwful. If I were a drinker, I'd being doing tequila shots right now, lining them up on the kitchen counter and knocking them straight back, attempting to at least make myself pass out. At least. Of course, then I'd freak myself out with the worry that I'd be unconscious and choke on my own vomit if I got sick, which I undoubtedly would, so then to keep myself awake, I'd go outside to revive myself in the cool air and probably attempt to sing "Fernando," that old song by Abba and get arrested for public drunkeness and I don't think our local jail has Wi-Fi.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: I want to go to sleep, but can't. I want to go to sleep, but can't. I want to go to slee-... As I got out of bed at 12:30 (I am typing this at 2:30 a.m.) my husband said groggily, "Honey, make yourself stay in bed. Just resolve to lie here and be still until you drop off."

I sighed. "You know, that's just like torture to me, right? Just lying there, staring at the ceiling? If I try to do that, my mind starts going a mile a minute and I have thoughts going around inside my brain like stock cars at Talledega. I can't just lie there and manufacture resolve."

"Ah, well, there's your problem," he said with the air of a man who has just solved a major problem in the universe. "You think to much. Way too much. You need to train yourself to be completely thoughtless."

"I did just lose my cell phone, nine days old. That was thoughtless."

"Okay! Now we're getting somewhere! You lie there in the dark, trying to fall asleep and leaving me alone and you think about what you did with your cell phone and where you might have put it."

"Thanks. You are such a big help. Huge."

"You're welcome. Good night. I love you. Stop talking to me, I mean, like, now. Go downstairs and play with your Webkins."

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Saturday, when my husband runs the Indy Marathon, halfway only, 13.1 miles.

Here's a song the girls and I made up for him a few years ago, when he signed up for his first 5K run. It is sung to the tune of "On Broadway." I sing the lead and the girls do backup. We are freaking awesome.

They say that I won't last too long in 5K
I'll pack my running shoes and leave, they all say
But they're dead wrong, I know they are
'Cause I can pass this speeding car
I'm gonna make the front-page Star for 5K
for 5K....
for 5K...

PRAYING FOR: My friend Jane and her family.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How to draw attention to yourself

The girls and I ate lunch with Nanny and Poppy on Tuesday, and after we were finished, Nanny and I lingered at the table talking grown-uppy talk, so of course, Meelyn and Aisling were hanging around, trying to be very quiet and unobtrusive so that no one would tell them that little pitchers have big ears.

(Whatever that means.)

All was going well with them until Aisling made herself too visible. I happened to look across the table and was jolted back into an awareness of her presence by the fact that she was sitting with her chin about an inch above the table's top, avidly listening to our conversation while buttering Fritos corn chips and eating them.

She was stopped by a forcible comment from me and a long, drawn out, squeally, "Ewwwwwww! How grossssssss!" comment from Meelyn, who prefers low-fat microwave popcorn. I know. I don't know where I went wrong, either.

Monday, October 15, 2007

All this and nausea too

I am currently taking a prescription for a high-powered antibiotic to fight off a nagging infection that keeps taunting me without remorse. I was on one kind of antibiotic, but that one wasn't doing its job properly. It was giving me, shall we say, intestinal disturbances of a violent and unpleasant nature without doing diddley-squat to curb the infection, so my doctor put me on a new one.

The new one is killing the infection just like a lioness kills a weak little baby gazelle, so I'm all over that. But one thing I'm having a problem being glad about is the side effects of this medication, which include a metallic taste in the mouth and nausea.

Now, I know I'm suggestible. If I get a sore throat, I can go from the streptococcus bacteria to a malignant tumor in something just under 2.7 seconds. I don't even stop to bother with trivial things like the common cold or post-nasal drip due to seasonal allergies. My time is valuable and if I could fritter it away being all of a doo-dah and worrying about colds when there are things like flesh-eating bacteria to keep me up all night, well, I wouldn't be writing this blog post at 4:57 a.m., would I?

Anyway, I am so suggestible that I never read the side effects of any medication I am prescribed. My pharmacist very kindly prints out this enormous list of Things This Drug Can Do to You (other than curing you); it is always conveniently stapled to my little white sack. But as I mentioned before, if I read on that list that a medication can cause, say, a tingle in the left nostril, I have been known to experience specific nostril-tingling before I even take the first dose.

It's just better to pace yourself in things like this.

So when I realized that I was feeling like I was on the verge of vomiting everything I have eaten since birth - which, trust me, is a like of Quarter Pounders, doughnuts and intermittent broccoli spears that could circle the planet six times -- accompanied by a taste in my mouth that suggested I had been licking the exterior of our minivan, I began to wonder.

I wasn't as concerned about my breath, which you may think is very selfish of me. Because I talk to people, after all, and occasionally when I whisper something to my husband before Mass, he gets this tragic look on his face and says back, sotto voce, "Hush. Just...please. Hush."

If that's not a hint for a mint, I don't know what is.

But what I was really wondering was why I felt so sick. So I did what any reasonable hypochondri-....I mean, normal person, would do and got on the internet and looked up the side effects for the particular drug I am taking.

Yep. It causes nausea.

And I ask you, how fair is that? Hm? To have this awful infection and not feel so great anyway, combined with a dumb side effect that is making me feel that I need to throw up?

Again, could I have the attention of the pharmaceutical companies, one of which lies just to the southeast of me about twenty miles: Is there some reason why you all can't manufacture medications that have side effects like, whitens teeth or may cause cellulite to vaporize or reduces need for anti-parspirant/deodorant?

Is that too much to ask?

This just in from the living room

I was in the kitchen cooking some meal or other on Saturday - my family unchains me from the stove for ten minutes every two hours to allow for restroom breaks - when I heard my husband say in a sharp voice from two rooms away, "Aisling! Quit drooling on the carpet!"

Just as a reminder: Aisling is our twelve year old daughter. Not our ten year old dog. Or even our five year old dog.

Daughter. Drooling. On carpet.

Have I done something wrong somewhere? If I could get away from the stove, I'd go read a child development book or something.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

To my credit, I didn't stomp the modem into dust

I missed my very first Thursday's List this week since I began my blog, but it was through no fault of my own. My internet connection has been down off and on (mostly off) all this past week, taking our telephones with it.

I have already started doing the research to get us switched over to broadband internet and our cable provider's phone service. Broadband is so fancy-schmancy, I didn't think we'd be able to afford it, but it turns out from my minute scrutiny of a mailer sent out by Insight and several telephone conversations with our friendly local Insight agents (whose office is only about four blocks away - I love living downtown), it's going to turn out to be cheaper than our DSL and telephone service through Some Big Annoying Well-Known Phone Company. Who knew? The savings is $10 a month, which isn't enough to even buy us a pizza when all's said and done, but still.


My husband has a broadband internet connection at his desk at work, of course, and he can hardly bear to use our computer at home, which he believes is powered by a little gerbil running on a wheel inside the tower. I have told him a thousand times that I leave carrots and cabbage leaves there for a snack, not to feed some mysterious form of rodent power. Our computer, he complains, is slow beyond belief. And older than dirt. Possibly even laughable.

I have to agree. The DSL has not turned out to be as fast as that Annoying Phone Company promised. In lots of ways, it isn't much different than my old dial-up, back in the days when connecting to the internet meant listening to the computer go "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! Squeeeeeeeeeeeeak! Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! Grrrrrreeeeeeek!" before it finally grudgingly allowed me view my local weather.

So this has not been a good week for the internet. However, it has been a GREAT week for improving my cussing skills. No profanity, Mom. Just bunches and bunches of good, solid Anglo-Saxon epithets whose origins I learned at Ball State University as an English major. So, see, it isn't really cussing so much as it is a literary endeavor, like speaking a second language. There! Aren't you proud?

This week also marks the time when I lost my cell phone, my brand-new cell phone. It was so new, it only had two numbers programmed into it and I still hadn't figured out how to take a picture. The last time I had it in my hand was on Tuesday evening, when I was using it to make a call. And then, no more. We've tried calling my number, but all calls go straight to voice mail, which means that I either turned the phone off or the battery has run down. It is true that I hadn't recharged it in a couple of days, but you wouldn't think it would run down that fast, would you?

At any rate, I can't tell you how upset I've been about this. I have a stupid $20 Tracfone that I've had for something like four years, and have I lost it? Heavens, no. But now I get a "real" cell phone through a real cell phone service provider, and what do I do? I lose it. After nine days. NINE DAYS.

I am encouraged by the fact that my husband hasn't demanded an immediate divorce or at least a separation from my whining, moping, cell-phone losing, internet-access complaining self. He must like me a lot more than I suspected.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Snacks, books and ice galore

We're just now getting ready to leave for the state volleyball tournament in Ft. Wayne, loaded down with an insane variety of low-calorie snacks and drinks, along with things to keep us occupied during down time when the girls are on bye.

Road trip!! Wooooooohooooooo!!!!

I hope I will still be feeling this chipper at 11:30 tonight when we roll in.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thursday's List

READING: Brother and Sister by Joanna Trollope, another fine one by this author, although I didn't find the end nearly as satisfying as I do most of her books. This one was about what happens when two siblings, both of whom were adopted from different birth parents, decide to find their "real" mothers.

LISTENING TO: The sound of two girls bickering. Constantly. They were so bad on Tuesday, I threatened them with my "Homeschooling is a Privilege" speech, this time adding that I would not only send them off to public school, but I'd also make sure to find one with drug pushers and pimps lurking around outside.

FAVORITE NEW FIND: After about a month of dealing with an old cell phone with a dead battery, I finally got a new cell phone the other day. It is super-cute and the girls tell me that I can take pictures with it -- Pictures! With a telephone! -- but I don't know how to do that yet.

FAVORITE THING TODAY: Today is October 4, which is not only my father's birthday (Happy Birthday, Poppy!), but also the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, which means that the girls and I are going to load up the stinky ones in the van and drive them over to the church for the Blessing of the Animals.

HOURS OF SLEEP LOGGED LAST NIGHT: Only six, which turned out to be not quite enough, considering that I only had about four the night before.

THE CAUSE OF MY STRESS: Shakespeare and HISTO are ganging up on me.

THE CAUSE OF MY JOY: I love my little Webkins, a Chinese pug. You have no idea how restful and cheering it is to come downstairs and go to Webkins World when I can't sleep. It's so much better than coming downstairs and morosely answering emails.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Still looking forward to the Fishers Renaissance Faire on October 6 and 7. As it turns out, some of the people on the volleyball team are also cast members at the Faire. I am anticipating a good time, although I hope they'll have more to offer in the way of food than a hunk of slightly rancid cinnamon-spiced mutton served on a trencher of bread. Although I wouldn't say no to mead.

PRAYING FOR: Peace in our homes and peace in the world.

Volleyball Game #5 - WACHE (here)

We hosted the the WACHE Lady Warriors volleyball team at our gym last Friday night, September 28. WACHE, just in case you're wondering like I was, stands for Wells-Allen Christian Home Educators.

At any rate, they pounded us. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Massacred. Us.

There was nothing at all commendable about the whole thing. I worked in the snack bar for an hour and got a chance to buy a piece of made-from-scratch vanilla cake with homemade buttercream frosting. Aisling did do a lot of playing, subbing in several times. We were grateful to the coach.

Other than that, we're trying to block the whole thing from our consciousness. It's just painful to contemplate.

Our state tournament is tomorrow in Fort Wayne. (Hi, Lilly! I'd come see you, but we'll be playing volleyball right at the time you're headed into work.) I hope the girls will snap back into their good form. Otherwise, it's gonna be a lo-o-o-o-ng night.

Along came Ludwig

On Tuesday, the Shakespeare Workshop class went to see Hamlet at the Indiana Repertory Theater in beautiful downtown Indianapolis. It was an amazing production which I personally enjoyed very much, but I'll devote a little more time to that later. I hope. My blog-writing has seriously slacked off since our new year of homeschooling has started, which I kind of figured would happen, but oh well.

Anyway, after the play, my friend Michelle and I and Meelyn and Aisling and Michelle's two daughters decided to have some lunch on Monument Circle at one of the many cute restaurants there. We chose Quizno's, which is a place where the girls and I eat frequently, but for some reason it just looked better in Indianapolis than it does in our city.

So the six of us were walking cheerfully to Quizno's, when suddenly, we were approached by a main in a blue tailcoat and knee-length breeches with white stockings. He was wearing a white wig of insane looking hair and I at once identified him as our dear friend, Ludwig.

"'Allo!" he said in a passable German accent, with an air of bonhomie that I associate more with our dear friend, Wolfgang, than with the notoriously curmudgeonly Beethoven. "Guten tag! I vant to inwite you to come to hear my moosik!"

I absolutely love people in period costumes. I can't help myself. There's something in me that has to speak to them as if they're really the character they're portraying. I have this strange compulsion, even if I know good and well that the Goofy costume is inhabited by a surly college student who is silently telling me to go somewhere very hot, and I'm not talking about Orlando. "Oooh!" I said, "I love your music!"

He bowed gallantly. "Danke schoen! Thank you! Vould you like to come listen to my moosik on zis Friday in ze eeffening? You vould like zat, ja? It vill be my Ninth Symphony, the one zat I left unfinished at my death."

"I'd love it!" I said. Michelle, cheerful and game as always, said, "Me too!" The four girls just stood there, looking at Herr Beethoven with deep suspicion, obviously recalling all the times their mothers had warned them to never speak to strangers on the street. If Beethoven had offered us candy, a quarter or a ride in his car, Michelle and I might have conceivably gone right along with him, while our daughters stood by, irritably writing down a description of him and possibly his license plate number.

I took a picture of all the girls posing with him and Aisling poked me and hissed. "How could you do that to me?"

"Do what?" I asked. "That was fun! You don't see Beethoven walking the streets of our city, do you?"

"That wasn't really Beethoven," she said witheringly.

"Yes, I know," I said. "First of all, because I can distinguish between fantasy and reality, and second of all, because everyone knows that Beethoven was DEAF. Helllllloooo?"

And suddenly, there were carrots everywhere

One of my favorite things to have for lunch is a bowl of soup, especially Campbell's Chunky Soup. Because it is, as you know, the soup that eats like a meal. And I am all about the meals.

So today, I thought I'd have a nice bowl of Chunky soup, the kind with the little sirloin burgers in. That's been my favorite Chunky soup since I was a little kid. I emptied half the can into my bowl, put the bowl in the microwave with a sheet of paper towel covering it, and set it to heat for three minutes because I like my soup boiling hot.

The next thing I knew, there was this huge explosion in the microwave. Like, *BANG!* The door didn't fly open, but it certainly was a loud sound. It made me jump and I nearly spilled Diet Coke down the front of me, since I was taking a sip at the time. I looked incredulously at the microwave and noted that the inside of the door was liberally smeared with running soup.

I opened the door to a scene of utter devastation. It very nearly looked worthy of calling CNN so that one of their reporters could come with a camera crew and stand in my kitchen saying, "It was a peaceful day, Thursday around lunch time, when a sudden explosion rocked the McKinney microwave. We've been told that there were carrots everywhere and that the paper toweling used for just such an emergency ended up being inadequate to the task, leading the lady of the house to believe that she should perhaps switch brands. The soup was hot and it tasted good with a little pepper ground over it, but the microwave was temporarily declared a disaster area. The one-woman clean up crew took ten minutes with a sponge, soapy water and then some Windex and a few more paper towels to restore normalcy to the microwave area.

She finished off by having two sweet gherkins as a reward. Now back to you in the studio."