Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 2: Jog, Swim, Tennis

Total Jog: 2
Total Swim: 2
Total Tennis: 1

The heat index was over 100 nearly the whole week, so although there was talk of tennis, my friend and I decided we’d rather live. I did My Fitness Coach once, too. So, not ideal but not awful, considering the weather, how much overtime I worked, and a certain birthday party that needed to be organized and held. See? I have excuses! Those are pretty solid, right?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eating locally

I made $400 off my butternut squash today. I know, it sounds crazy. But they had a photo contest at work, and I submitted 2 squash photos and won first and second place! Clearly I am a fine and talented photographer.

Well, it would seem more impressive, except there were no other entries in the “green initiatives” category. Takes a little bit of the thrill out of it, except that, hey, $400. Then I won a book in a raffle. That was a little embarrassing.

And! This feels like a dream, but it actually happened. I presented on “eating locally” at my Big Corporate job. It went over big. Huge interest, lots of questions, and I had a quiz and corporate-sponsored lettuce seeds to give out. There’s talk of starting a gardening discussion forum. On the Big Corporate Internal Web Site. Turns out that public speaking isn’t as awful if there’s something you really want to talk about. (see previous Big Corporate
Public Speaking Experience).

I discussed the
Obama white house lawn vegetable garden, CSAs and farmer markets (Chicagoland 2009 Schedule), and the buy-these-organic dirty dozen. And how to know which foods are in season when at the markets.

Then I plugged Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver some.

I also went with the logic of trying to make gardening sound easy, so we discussed perennial fruits (strawberries, rhubarb, grapes, kiwi vine, raspberries), fruit trees (apple, pear, peach, cherry, serviceberry, etc.), vegetables (asparagus) and herbs (chives, oregano, sage, mint, thyme) for zone 5.

I have to figure out how to make a living at this.

Book club pick

Book for August: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I don't know whether I've read a whole lot of Swedish mysteries. Or any. But that's what book club is all about. Reading things you would not have heard about otherwise.

Happy summer reading to everyone! Anyone have an enjoyable/intriguing book suggestion with good discussion material? I haven't chosen one for September yet, which is my next hosting month.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two weeks until the big apraxia conference

I'm in tears, having just read an essay a parent of an apraxic child wrote for the CASANA scholarship. Ah, the heartbreak of apraxia. Looking forward to the conference coming up! I think I'll bring a box of tissues.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Passing on the gift

“For most of the poor in this world, stretching out their hand for help weighs heavily on their conscience. When these receivers are capable of giving to someone else, a feeling of dignity beyond explanation overcomes them. After all, the idea of changing someone’s life for the better with a selfless gift, even one as simple as an animal, is a revelation in itself. If every one of us in this world, old or young, gave what we could afford to someone less fortunate than us, the world would be a better place to live in. “ -- Heifer

I finally donated this blog’s Amazon proceeds to Heifer again. It was nearly $25 since December. No wonder we’re in a recession, people! You aren’t purchasing enough! (Kidding!) As always, thanks for remembering to click through the ad in the left sidebar. Every bit helps someone get on their feet.

You can read about more Passing on the Gift ceremonies here. Brings me to tears every time.

Oh, and if you are vegan, they have tree donations now. I'm just saying.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week 1: Jog, Swim, Tennis

Well, the good news is that I attained my goal of jogging once, swimming once, and playing tennis once, despite the record-breaking rainfalls. I even did a round of Wii My Fitness Coach and some Wii tennis.

The bad news is that Dad was right. There! I said it. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. He warned me that tennis is a dangerous sport, due to the sudden shifts in direction during play. I reassured him that I wouldn’t try too hard, har har. But I pulled a groin muscle anyway. I didn’t even have that injury in my most probable list. N and I both royally suck at tennis, so I’m surprised I even managed to work hard enough to hurt myself.

Anyway, it’s not too bad, and I think I’ll be able to resume my plan if I take it easy for a few days. It does mean no little-old-lady-breaststroke, though. My preferred mode of swimming. Guess I’ll have to do mostly backstroke. I can’t do freestyle for very long. I blame my miserable lung capacity, but it’s probably technique and laziness as much as anything.

In summary:
Jog: 1
Swim: 1
Tennis: 1

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Apraxia, again

I don’t talk to the kids on the phone that often. Generally there they are. Right next to me. But when I was in Toronto last week, I spoke with both of them daily. Boo sounds so much younger than going-on-7. Cute and perky and really young.

Talking to Nea was difficult. I know that sounds stupid, but I don’t realize how much I depend on her gestures and context to help. Context is everything. “Yellow but” is either “yellow school bus” or “yellow karate belt”, but usually it’s less clear than that. “Stop” is either “stop” or “camp.” I mean, the substitutions are endless. But if I’ve spent the day with her, I generally know what she’s talking about, in general. Usually. You know. Generally. Mostly.

She had her 5-year checkup yesterday. I love our doctor. He’s always been really great about referrals or anything else we need. They had this exchange:

Dr. Dave: So, Nea, where do you like to go?
Nea: Park.
DD: And what do you like to do there?
Nea: Peel. (aka, spiel, German for “play”)
DD: (pause) And are you good at that?
Nea: Yeah!

Dealing with the apraxia always hits me the hardest around Nea’s birthday. Soon I'll be the mother of a 5 year old who can barely talk. It didn't sound as bad at 2. Or 3. Or 4. But 5? Yeah, that doesn't seem ... right.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The history of objects

I spent a few days among conversations regarding the history of family possessions. I’ll assume you can figure out roughly why. My parents both grew up during the war. You know the one, the one right after the Great War, known as the War to End All Wars. If you are from a family that fled repeatedly, you might have noticed what a toll that takes on how many things your family has from the old days. We have a few books. Part of a plated silverware set. Some photos. Not much.

My grandfather gave a stranger the coat off his back once. Back when that meant something. We’ll have to explain these things to our children. No, he couldn’t go home and put on another one. No, he couldn’t get another one at the store. A similar, yet different, scenario is the best scene in
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (spoiler below).

When the older generation dies, who will remember the stories behind the common humble objects? The spoon that doesn’t match, worn with use? The cracked children’s book, yellowed and falling apart? How long will we remember our family history, and the choices that were made under pressure, of what to save and what to leave behind?

How will our kids have any emotional connection to their possessions, when they are overwhelmed with plenty? I justify our filled bookshelves and toy chests with the “I bought it used! It was cheap.” motto. My parents always say, the only two things no one can take away from you are education and the memories from traveling. Which can probably be condensed down to just education, really. They have a valid point.

A rich lady is fleeing Paris, slowly and with all her worldly goods and luxuries. She thinks it’s fun and generous to hand out candies to the local kids, until she goes to buy more and realizes that the war has caught up with her enough that the stores are empty. At that point she panics and hoards the rest for her own family.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer resolution

Summers should be different. They should stand apart from the rest of the year. I’ve decided to try an experiment for the next 10 weeks. Each week I will jog once, swim once, and play tennis once. Using the ever handy, I see my usual jogging path is 2.5 miles. Walking to the pool and back is 1.2 miles. To the tennis courts is 0.8 miles roundtrip. Now, I figure the weather will be a factor, especially since it’s been so cool and rainy here in the Greater Chicagoland Metropolitan Area. So, if I jog more at the beginning and swim more when it’s hotter, no big deal, right? I’ll aim for 10/10/10 by the end of the summer. Since tennis partners aren’t always available, I’ve decided that hitting a ball against the side of our grade school should count, too.

The real suspense, however, will be how my body will fail me. Who wants to place their bets? Here’s some likely contenders: carpel tunnel (already have a little problem there), tennis elbow (have never really played, so this is a wild card), throwing out my back (not high returns on that – fairly likely), heat stroke (not at the rate this summer is going, but August is always hell around here), knee problems (another dark horse – no problems here thus far. However, both my brother and my mom have had meniscus surgery.)

Weekly results will be posted on Saturdays. This week (naturally) started out strong, with a jog yesterday and a swim today. I'm nearly done already!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


N trashpicked one of these and wow! The kids loved it. They climbed in it one at a time, and we rolled them back and forth on the patio. N is planning to saw it in half when the kids are not in it (ha) and will use it to make some footings for the bird feeder and such.

I'm excited that he didn't buy it. Score.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Twelve years ago my dad had his first heart attack. When he called and asked me what he should do about his chest pains, I said, "Call 911." Later I found the piece of paper he'd written it down on. I spent the next 20 minutes wandering around my condo, wondering what I needed to bring to the hospital. I ended up bringing a few books.

I have a deep automatic response to the information that someone will be lying around doing nothing for a few days. The response is to supply the affected with reading material. Much of my hoarding behavior is centered around making sure I have just the right reading material at hand for any given scenario. Too tired to continue a novel? Try an aged newspaper! Newspaper too unwieldy in bed? Maybe a nice magazine! etc.

Speaking of magazines, I, like many people, have trouble getting rid of magazines once they are in the house. So glossy! So I've come up with the perfect solution. I check them out of the library. Our library carried all the good leftist rags (Mother Jones, Mother Earth News, Organic Gardening) and as far as I noticed, none of the right. I'm really enjoying trying new ones and returning them after three weeks. Why, it's brilliant, this library idea. Ours also has Wii games. Truly magical.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Different kind of family vacation

My husband ("N") and I first met in October 1998. Within the first few weeks of dating I found out he'd never had a passport. I told him that he was going to need one if we were staying together. He received his first passport in January 1999. We went to Switzerland to visit family and hang out that February. If you've been paying attention, you'll already have noticed that this means that his passport expired in January 2009.

We recently decided to visit my aunt in Canada this summer. As in, immediately. Eventually it dawned on us that N's passport had expired. And though you can walk into a passport office and immediately receive your first passport, renewal is only available by mail.

So. I'm going on a road trip with my dad. Just him and me. There's a first time for everything. Imagine! I only have to pack for one person. I don't have to play tour guide/entertainer the whole time. Probably can skip packing the crayons and kiddie snacks. It's like a whole new world opening up.

I plan to crank my favorite music the whole time. Dad loves that.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Profound apraxia at age (nearly) 5

I've been noticing that dd2 talks and sings to herself more these days. A month ago I listened in as we were walking home from the library. She said, “Two peepo in uh cah” (Two people in a car.) I mean, no one other than me probably would have understood the whole thing, but WOW. 5 word phrase? Unheard of!

Today she wanted more of some candy she'd had earlier. She told me, “liddle whi din eat” and then she said “dum”. So, little white thing (to) eat. Gum. I LOVE her workarounds. A skill more vital to a kid with profound apraxia? Can’t think of one! A sign of intelligence, I’m sure we can all agree.

Boo read us two books from the library today. She’s really improving. Nea likes to mumble the words to herself as her sister reads. It’s a little annoying, this small echo as we read along, but I’m not about to tell her to stop trying to say all these new words.

All the cool kids are doing it

Well, Baywatch did, anyway. Post a deer photo. And if he says it's cool, you can bet on it.

OK, fine, mine doesn't have lasers. Mine are Appalachian deer, though. They like to keep it more traditional.

Somehow I'm skeptical about this catching on as a system-wide meme. But I've been wrong before. Now I'll be able to yawn and say, yeah, I was hopping that bandwagon in the early days.