Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Biking in France

"Biking in France" (essay found in my daughter's 1st grade writing journal)

If I could ride anywhere on a bike I would ride to France. I could see my friend at France cause I have a friend who lives in France. I would ride all around France and see the pretty sites. I could learn some French on my bike. I could see how you have a life in a bike in France. I could take a pitch [pit] stop on my bike and try there foods. I could meet all the difrent people in France on my bike. The only word that I would not learn there is bongor [bonjour] because I already know it. But maybe I could learn some words like how are you, nice to meet you or something like that. I would probably buy a new bike at France. I would look at all the dogs at France and see if there are any new kinds of dogs I don't see in Georgia. I would ride all around and see how they spend there life in France. Maybe there lifes are like ours or maybe not like ours at all. I could get a post card with a picture of a cool bike.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our New Digs

We moved into our new, temporary digs two weekends ago. We'll be here for six months during Phase I of our home renovation. (I'm just hoping to finish the phases before my 9 year old leaves for college.) It looks like a single-family home -- and originally was, in 1911 -- but is actually a duplex with a separate carriage house in the back. I was told that Atlanta's premier milliner originally lived in the home and had her shop on the ground floor. Our landlords bought our unit from John Oetgen, an Atlanta interior designer. (Wonder whether he chose the paint colors, which are working out really well for us.) A nice couple and their dog live in the other unit, and our landlords use the carriage house for their occasional guests.

We're on the left (smaller) side, with small being a relative term as our bedrooms are HUGE (16' x 16'). Although we're in the same neighborhood as our home, the scene over here feels different, more urban as my dog walks around the block pass the High Museum, the Woodruff Arts Center, and various office buildings, yet more green as we're across the street from the largest of our great neighborhood parks.

Demolition has begun on our home renovation, there's a port-a-potty in our front yard, and a layer of what is most likely lead paint dust has settled everywhere. So happy to be here instead of living through that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Days Are Here Again

It has been almost four months since my last blog post. Four months! In my defense, I spent the last two and a half months walking my leper dog on a leash.

We had gorgeous weather here the first half of November, and I took my dog out to play with other dogs in off-leash parks multiple times each day. When we picked him up from Thanksgiving boarding, I spotted a white growth on his tongue, which soon became multiple white growths. A Google search and a vet visit later, we had a diagnosis...canine oral papilloma virus, otherwise known as "puppy warts." Do NOT Google this term unless you want to see some pretty nasty images. I had recurring nightmares over what I saw!

The vet said that the virus would clear in two to four months as my dog's immune system fully developed but that my dog was highly contagious and could not play with other dogs. Major lifestyle change. My leper dog and I could no longer visit the wonderful parks in our neighborhood, at least not when other dogs were around, and the dog parks were completely off limits. No more doggy daycare or boarding, which meant NO breaks from dog care for me. We did every variation on leash walks that I could come up with and frequented the nature preserves (yes even the one where the guy crept up on me last summer), where I had to put my dog back on leash whenever another dog approached.

We tried raw food, supplements, and two courses of zithromycin. I even took my dog to the vet twice to have the growths crushed with a hemostat (sorry!), in the hopes that releasing the virus into the bloodstream would stimulate an immune system response. Nothing. Then, about 10 days ago, I checked my dog's tongue, and it was completely clear. The growths had literally vanished overnight without a trace. Amazing!

God was looking down on us as the virus cleared just as the weather turned from miserably cold (and a week of snow and ice in January) to 68 and sunny. In February! We were able to return to off-leash fun just as the other dogs and their owners were venturing out in full force again.

Happy days are here again!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Hate Your Food!

We had ten of my husband's relatives visiting this past weekend, including five children ages 8 and under (plus my two). Sunday morning, my husband told the kids that he was heading out to the bagel shop to pick up bagels for everyone. My 6 year old nephew responded that he does not like bagels, and my husband told him that we also had homemade pumpkin bread. As soon as my husband was out of earshot, my nephew announced to his cousins, "I hate your food!" I was standing in the next room and overheard him. A few minutes later, my 6 year old daughter came up to me and whispered, "Did you hear what R said?" Oh, yes, I did! It's not like we were offering him brussel sprouts or broccoli for breakfast!

This was not the first time my nephew had made a similar comment. At my mother-in-law's home over Memorial Day weekend, he announced that my mother-in-law buys "really bad bread" and that his mom's bread is "much better." What kind of bread did my mother-in-law have on hand, you ask? Whole grain bread. What kind of bread does said nephew's mother buy (when she's not picking up takeout or McD's for their family of five)? White bread.

That same weekend, this child asked what Dorito's are made of. I squelched my desire to immediately respond "a bunch of nasty chemicals; read the package," and my brother-in-law instead responded: "Bread with melted cheese."

And we wonder why there's an obesity epidemic in this country...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happiness, Six Year Old Style

A sensory poem by Cate, age 6:

Happiness is me and my friends.

It sounds like lafing and talking.

It smells like yummy and pretty.

It tastes like good and sweet.

It looks like jumping and smialing.

Happiness feels like nicse, good, mysilf.

Happiness, 40 year old style: Pulling this poem out of my daughter's backpack, and seeing her smiling face every day after school.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shirts Optional

Every morning after I see the kids off to school, I down a quick breakfast and cup of coffee, glance at the paper, then head out with the dog to one of our neighborhood parks (unless it's Monday, in which case we walk the golf course). One of our favorites is Winn Park, and we typically run into at least a few dogs and their owners there. Several times this week, we've seen a new dog (to us) and his owner.

This morning, I finally got around to introducing myself to the dog's owner, who told me that he was "Robert," and asked if my kids had been on the neighborhood club's swim team. A light bulb went off in my head, and I realized that he was "Coach Robert." I immediately responded, "Coach Robert! I didn't recognize you with your clothes on!" Ha!

Background...Coach Robert was quite popular among the swim team moms this past season. He is this gracious young Southern gentleman who also has an amazing body (remember, we saw him daily in his swim trunks) and a drop-dead gorgeous face. I have friends who unabashedly told me that they signed their kids up for individual lessons with Coach Robert just so they could sit poolside for half an hour and ogle him through their sunglasses. How could I not have recognized him in his street clothes? All I can figure is that the first time I saw him at the park with his dog, he was sitting on a bench with another guy, so I pegged him as one half of a gay couple (which he is not). (This is not much of a stretch as I live in a neighborhood with one of the highest gay populations on the East Coast.)

Looking forward to more mornings at the park with "Coach Robert" and his dog. Now if I could just figure out a way to make those park outings "shirts optional" for the guys...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Somber Post

Lanie, a friend of mine, recently started a heartfelt, heart-breaking blog titled "A Mourning Mom." From her "About" page:

I am a mother of four. Two of my children share a room down the hall from my room. Two of my children share a plot in a cemetery which is fifteen minutes from our home.

“A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his/her parents is called an orphan. But there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that’s how awful the loss is!” (Neugeboren)

I don’t have the answers to why Jake and Sawyer predeceased me. I don’t have the steps to get through the enormous grief and sadness which comes from burying your child or children. I am trying to get through this day by day. I welcome any and all advice, encouragement or support. I am hoping that I can assist others get through their difficult journeys. I want Jake and Sawyer to be remembered. I want to carry on their purpose in life (whatever that purpose might be).

Lanie's blog may be difficult to read at times, but her journey has been beyond difficult. I recommend that you take a look, and pass this link along to others who may be grieving the loss of a child (or, God forbid, two sons born years apart, as with Lanie).


And while I'm talking somber...

Yesterday I ran into a friend (category: moms I know because our kids went to preschool together), who mentioned that she had recently learned that a mutual friend -- let's not exercise any creativity and call this friend Jane Doe -- and I used to work in adjacent offices. I immediately responded "yes" with a smile, and shared my favorite Jane Doe story. Eight and a half years ago, I had just returned to work from maternity leave after the birth of my son. Jane stepped into my office and announced that there was a baby boy who had been born at the downtown hospital who was available for adoption. He had been abandoned by his mother at the hospital. What did I think? Should she adopt? I was floored. Jane was (and is) a single woman, maybe eight years older than me. I had no idea that she was interested in adopting a child. She has no family nearby to help. She travels for work regularly. We discussed the pros and cons of adopting this child (who had been exposed to drugs in utero) as if we were discussing the purchase of a new car.

Jane ultimately decided to bring this sweet baby boy into her life, and he is now in the same grade as my son at our public elementary school. So yesterday, our mutual friend asks, "Do you know about Jane's cancer?" Jane's cancer? Jane is a Facebook friend, and a prolific poster, but never ONCE has she mentioned her cancer on FB. Apparently Jane was diagnosed with stage 5 ovarian cancer months ago. She told my friend that she has a 5% chance of surviving more than 5 years. But I was also told that she has an incredibly positive outlook and that the cancer seems to be responding to the treatment thus far.

Please keep Jane and her son in your thoughts, and please God let her be among that 5%.