And Mustard

Do Not Perturb

For the past, um, six? Maybe it's seven? Anyway, for the past one two three many nights Edward has woken up screaming for me and I have clomped upstairs to join him. Most of the time he falls back asleep and I fall back asleep and it's no big deal but the past couple of nights he has failed to honor this unspoken agreement; choosing instead to whisper, "Can I turn on the lights?" And when I say, "NO. Go to sleep" he lies still for about twenty milliseconds and then says, "I've got an idea! I'll turn on the lights!"

So if you were looking for me last night around 3:30 am you would have found me in Edward's room with all the lights on, trying to sleep in a race car bed with my head sandwiched between two pillows while Edward used my back as a dirt track for his Matchbox cars. And yes I know this is just the sort of overly indulgent post-War parenting that will lead to a generation of self-entitled layabouts with no gumption and, I dunno, rickets but it is truly the best I can do in the middle of the night. I am TIRED in the middle of the night.

But this isn't the story I wanted to tell. This is just the framework for the story so that you understand why Edward and I were sound asleep in his room two nights ago with all the lights on when Caroline sashayed in a little after five in the morning. God only knows what she was doing up at that hour but she was, indeed, up (very very up) and she greeted me with a hearty, "Oh THERE you are, Mommy! What are you doing in Edward's room? Why are the lights on? Can you make me breakfast? Can you make me super-special oatmeal for breakfast? Is that Edward? Is Edward asleep? I think he is sleeping" and she reached one of her surprisingly long and elegant hands across me in order to poke her brother in the face.

"Caroline," I hissed. "Do. Not. Wake. Him. Up. Shhhh. It's still night time. Go back to your own bed."

Caroline considered this for a moment and then said, "No, thank you. I don't think so. I don't think I want to go back to bed. I think I want breakfast."

"You should go find Daddy," I whispered, throwing Steve to the wolves (well, wolf) without pause. "Go find Daddy and tell him you want breakfast."

Caroline said, "OK!" and trotted off and I snuggled closer to Edward and tried to fall back asleep again.

One minute later Caroline returned.

"I need you to make me breakfast," she said.

"Where's Daddy?" I asked.

"Daddy was ASLEEP," she said reproachfully. "I don't want to wake him up."

And that - in a nutshell - is what happens to dopes like me who continue/d to get up with Baby every time s/he opened their little milk holes. Almost four years later they still see me as their after hours caterer slash entertainment director who can be roused on demand; whereas Steve - who would cheerfully lock them in their rooms until the big hand is on the twelve and the little hand is on Daddy's Awake Now - is treated like a sleeping Venus. 

There is a lesson there for those of us who are propping our eyes open with bags of tea.


The walk-in doctor who saw Edward last week thought his lungs sounded ok but she decided to do a chest x-ray when Steve and I couldn't remember how long (I just typed 'lung') he had had his cough and were talking about September in our attempt to recall. She looked at the film and said he looked good to her and sent us home with amoxillian to try to clear the sinuses. The next day, however, she called (personally, I liked that. I mean she called personally) and said that the radiologist had reviewed the xray and had found an infiltration in his right lobe and she wanted to keep him on the amoxillian but if he wasn't significantly better in four days to bring him back in. I said okey-dokey and googled walking pneumonia, which is when I discovered that it is contagious in close proximity. This prompted me to reevaluate Caroline's on-going cold as well as my own lingering cough. I took Caroline to our regular doctor who said he lungs sounded "junky" and he put her on azithromycin, which he switched Edward to as well. Done and done and they are both doing much better.

As for me, I went to urgent care and explained that I had this COUGH and the guy looked skeptical but did a chest x-ray anyway. He said the x-ray looked fine and that I should try sleeping with a humidifier. Fine.

When the clinic left a message the next day asking me to call them back I thought Ah-HA! I assumed the same thing had happened to me as Edward - that the radiologist had seen something that the first doctor had missed and they were going to give me something to treat my racking cough.

Instead the nurse said that my regular doctor (urgent care and primary share a clinic) wanted me to be sure to repeat a chest x-ray in four weeks.

And I said, "Um, ok" and then I said, "Wait, what? Why? Did the radiologist see something?"

She said, "Oh let me check" and then said, "Yes he found a nodule in your right lung so they'd like you to repeat the x-ray in four weeks."

Is it me or should that have been the first thing they told me? I admit I was pretty close to blowing off a repeat x-ray when I thought they were just following up on the first one that said I had a cold.

Anyway I googled pulmonary nodules and then I regretted googling them and I emailed my doctor and said hey could it be a pneumonia because we are all about lung infections right now and he said no it isn't because your blood counts were normal; come back in four weeks and if it is still there we'll do a CT scan. 

So I'm still coughing and I have a thing in my lung but it isn't causing the coughing, which is sort of the worst of all respiratory worlds, you know?




Autumn in Minnesota. And Patrick invented snowcone cones (snow, meet food coloring. food coloring, meet (and defeat) every stain remover in my laundry room) and joy reigned.



Every Christmas as a stocking stuffer my mother and I have given each other desk calendars by an artist named Ling Chang who does very pretty flower prints in watercolor. I don't even remember when or why we started this but we've done it for over decade. Then last year I decided I wanted something different, so I notified my mother of the pending change and went to Etsy to review the options. I looked at ink and watercolor and gouache and photography; dozens and dozens of different artists. I kept coming back to this one calendar, which was comprised of color photographs of plants and flowers. I really liked it so I ordered it and as I did so I thought, huh, her name seems familiar... lo and behold the photographer wound up being a blog reader and commenter and I thought it was so funny and random that out of all of the calendars I went through I should pick something by someone I "know" that I made a mental note to mention it to you guys. Here it is almost a year later - calendar ordering time - so I thought I would give her a shout out (Hi Shawna) and direct you to her site in the hope that you will like her work as much as I do.    

Shawna Cameron Photography

On the subject of people I sort of know who make things I really love I would also like to direct your attention to Heddy Freddy handbags. Full disclosure: I am a handbag person. I would like to be a shoe person but my feet are too fat so I am stuck with the bland offerings of an indifferent shoe industry (Steve calls them my shoe muus) but bags? I love them. So when my friend Jennifer invited me last Spring to an open house for a friend of hers who has a store in St Paul dedicated to the handbags she (the friend) designs I was all over it. And I liked her bags so much that I bought one, even though I didn't really need one and I don't usually do that sort of more than $5 impulse thing. But they were just so pretty and fun and CLEVER that I could not resist. She explains it much better on her website but basically you get this nice looking insert that keeps all of your stuff and then you can magnet it into different shells for day or evening or by season or mood. Then she also has this larger business tote that works with the insert which is brilliant because you only carry one bag to the office but then your purse pops out so you can take it to lunch or whatever. AND - this is why I am bringing it up now - she has just finished designing a diaper bag that dittos (roomy bag for stuff plus zipped changing pad plus purse insert - all in one; like I said, it's very clever) and she emailed me to let me know it was finally completed to her satisfaction.

So, another female artisan and entrepreneur whose work has personally given me a lot of pleasure and I thought would pass her link along. Fa La La and all that.

Heddy Freddy


And finally... holiday presents.

I have no freaking idea. None. I do not have a single thing planned for anyone, including Steve whose birthday is in (lemme check my desk calendar) two weeks. So please tell me what the big and little people in your life really like so I can get some ideas. Oh! And I got a Kinect for my birthday but we only have the game it came with. What are good Kinect games - either for the whole family or just for me?

And to share, under the heading of things we already have I guess I would recommend:

For 5 and under -

1. Fisher-Price iXL players. We call them the monkey players since they came preloaded with some random monkey software. Caroline and Edward got them for their birthdays a year ago and they are not only still working (a miracle unto itself) but beloved. I load music and audiobooks on them for bedtime and both Caroline and Edward like the games. They were able to use them from 2-turning-3 by the way. A downside is the relative lack of available software but the upside is the ability to put your own mp3s on them.

I would be interested in hearing if you have and like any of the other little kid handhelds, though, as I might be open to something that has more games. Leappad?

For your very own Patrick -

2. Patrick has just gotten into video games but he doesn't like 99% of them for one reason or another. What he does like - would walk all night again just to buy it some shoes in fact - is Portal 2. It's a spatial puzzle game and incidentally very very funny (the closing song starts "So here we are again/ it's always such a pleasure/ remember when you tried to kill me twice?") He also likes Crazy Machines. For what it is worth.

I'd love suggestions for other games (PC or Wii or Kinect - I guess we are a multi-platform family) he might like. I tried to load my all time favorite Grim Fandango for him but was defeated by all the cursed Windows platform updates from the past decade.

For some random person -

I love my Aerogarden A LOT. I have a 3-pod and then I got a 7-pod. Both are terrific. I have flowers in one and herbs in the other. Warning: it hums loudly and the light is a lot like glaring sunlight so probably not a great idea for people in studio apartments.

I think that is it. Please advise.

PS Mayo on Monday. Fingers crossed.

PPS We are going to my friend Noelle's for Thanksgiving. That's why I am looking so happy and relaxed.

PPS Oh. Sorry. Yeah, about two weeks after I moved Caroline's bed into Edward's room she decided she wanted to move back to her own room again. Now they play in his room for about half an hour at bedtime and then she returns to her room to sleep. Unless she falls asleep in his bed - which happens - or he requests that she leave, which happened last night and she was mortally offended.