Monday, March 31, 2008


I went in to the Physician's assistant today. "Why are you here?" the nurse asked. "Migraine. Day 6," I said, and was surprised to hear a little catch in my throat.

No, I'm not in horrible pain this time. But still. 6 days is too long. And it reminds me of the time when I had the never-ending migraine. The 3 month one. 4 ER visits. 1 CT scan. 9.9 on the pain scale. Morphine. Blood on the brain? (No). One side of my body going numb. Not sleeping, for days and days. Not eating because any spice made me sick. Then eating bland food constantly just because then I couldn't taste the tinfoil in my mouth. The rusty icepick in my eye, twisting.

Not a fun trip down memory lane.

The PA listened to my story, convoluted and twisted and full of "oh, and one time?" and "uh, I forgot, I also tried this and this and this..." She didn't know what to do for me. I've been down this road before and it looks like I'm headed there again.

She set me up with a neurologist for next week. I don't know what they'll be able to do, but at least the ball is rolling. The PA said there wasn't much I could take because of breastfeeding, and wondered when I was going to stop. "I want to make it to a year," I said, "but..."

A year seemed so long back then. Now? It's almost tomorrow. Too soon. I'm not ready to think about stopping yet. She's just a little baby, isn't she? She still needs me.

So today she gave me an injection of Toradol. I've had them before, and they can help. I got several decent hours, and Dr. B even commented. "Your face, you look... like you must feel a little better," he said. I could still taste the tinfoil, but it was better.

But, she had cautioned, I really shouldn't breastfeed Rowan on this. Pump and dump time.

Fine. Since I had fed her just before the appointment, I figured she could wait until her dad got home to have some milk. He had fed her bottles before, and he could probably get her to take it this time. I fed her solids--turkey and rice with sweet potatoes and peas, and applesauce. I carefully thawed 7 oz. of breastmilk, pumped back in October, and prepared a bottle. Handed it to him, and left the room to do the dishes, so she would eat.

And just like when I tried last week, she wouldn't take the bottle.

She was fine as a newborn, fine as a 4 month old, but now that she's 9 months +, she doesn't want anything to do with it. She won't take a sippy cup, either. With both of them, she just plays with the nipple or spout, smiling and biting at it, but not actually sucking anything out of it.

"What do I do?" he asked.

"She needs it," I said. "She hasn't had any since 1:30, and she's got to be thirsty, and needs her milk." I remembered what a friend's husband had done while she worked and he was the at home parent with the kid who wouldn't take the bottle. "You'll just have to throw it in."

I brought out a Tupperware cup, a relic from my own childhood, with a curved edge. "Pour a little in the cup at a time, and kind of throw it in her mouth when you can." Rowan loves to drink from a real cup, but she doesn't really get the whole gravity thing yet, and is pretty sure that by bending her head down toward the cup, the liquid will enter her mouth from the downward angle. It doesn't really work that way.

I watched him as he tried to get more milk in her mouth than down her pajamas. He failed miserably, but since there was 7 oz. in the bottle and she usually only drinks around 3 at a feeding now, I wasn't too worried. He carried her to the kitchen sink, stripped her to her diaper, and washed her off. A pair of clean pajamas, a dry diaper (not sure if it was pee or milk or water, but it was wet), and she was tucked into bed.

And here I sit, with so many thoughts swirling through my mind. Worried and confused and concerned. Wanting her to grow up and be independent and to stay little and need me forever. Wishing my body wasn't doing this to me, again, because it keeps me from being what I want to be, for her. Angry, that it's yet another thing I can't control or protect her from.

And hoping, that maybe by tomorrow it will be gone. At least for a little while.

Cross Your Fingers

I have an appointment with a physician's assistant at 2:20 today. Hopefully, she'll be able to give me something that will stop this. I know her, though, and I know she'll suggest 8 billion berries and twigs first. (Sorry, lady, but organic bear toe jam is not going to take away a 6 day migraine.)

I also have a hair cut scheduled for Thursday. Yay! My first since November. Yeah, it grew out really well, so I just let it. Planning on a little more length for this summer, so am just going to have her shape it up. I want to leave it longer anyway, so I can do this for the reception this weekend.

I've been busy planning in my head, and just bought us a new suitcase, smaller than what we had because we were tired of paying over-pack fees. Trying to decide which clothes to bring for Rowan, because she's got so many cute ones, and wishing it were warmer so we could break out the cute spring dresses and anklets. I'm looking forward to having Dr. B with me to navigate the airports--it will be much easier than when Rowan and I had to do it on our own.

I'm really looking forward to our trip. Time alone with Dr. B where he's not talking about work, seeing family and friends, and just getting away to a city. I love our life here, but I prefer a larger metropolitan area. There's just an energy that you can't find here, and I really miss it. Plus, we'll be back in the midwest, where everyone is overly friendly and no one comments on our accents, or lack thereof--I'm from Fargo, and every time I mention that, I hear, "but your accent isn't strong at all!" Note to everyone who's seen the movie: PEOPLE FROM FARGO DON'T TALK LIKE THAT. And Joel and Ethan Coen should have known better.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll even go for Thai. Ooooh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I have a list.

A long list, of all the projects and things I'd like to accomplish. Sewing. Knitting. Sorting. Purging. Clearing out the old, the unused, unwanted, not needed.

And yet, here I sit. Nauseous. Achy. Woozy. Crabby. Unable to do anything. My sense of balance off, causing me to tip to the side and nearly fall. Craving chocolate and sweets, and having them make me even more sick when I succumb. The taste of tinfoil in my mouth. My sense of smell heightened, triggering yet even more nausea.

No, I'm not pregnant. I have a migraine. A whopper, day 4. Could have been many things--the change in seasons, change in air pressure, Easter being over, dog stress, bills, an upcoming trip to Minneapolis for my sister's reception, the looming 10-year anniversary of my Mom's death. All contribute, but that doesn't change the fact that it's here. Weighing on me.

As usual, I'm nervous about taking my medicines. The ones that don't work but are approved for breastfeeding mothers. The ones that kind of work, sometimes. The ones that do work if I catch it at the right time, but don't always. Unfortunately, there's no magic pill.

I put it off until I can't stand it anymore. Then, it's not enough.

And now I worry again. That she won't take the thawed milk I have for her in the fridge, because it comes from a bottle and not from me. That she'll get crabby and start to scream. That I'll get crabby and start to scream.

I want to feel better. I wish I wasn't complaining. I'm sorry. I just need it to go.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Voilà mon passeport!

J'adore les Flight of the Conchords! Even when they absolutely butcher the French language, do a terrible impression of Maurice Chevalier, and picnic in sorbet-colored togs a stripey scarves while cavorting with baguettes.

C'est si bon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stand Up and Cheer!

Stand Up and Cheer!, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Good luck at regionals, Fighting Sioux Hockey!

Rowan's here in PA, cheering you on!

(You can take a girl out of North Dakota, but you can't take North Dakota out of the girl!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In the Ool

No topic is sacred. Especially at the bar. I love DadLabs videos.

So, do you?

Monday, March 24, 2008

And we thought a newborn baby didn't let you sleep.

Lucy, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

We had a potluck last night, at 8 PM, with Dr. B's student group, and since I'd nixed the bowling event they planned a while ago, we were obligated to go to this one. Of course, 8 PM on an Easter Sunday is not exactly my idea of good timing, but what do I know? Before leaving for the shindig, I laid the tinfoil that the jerk chicken legs had baked on down for Lucy, as a little treat.

Anyway, Rowan was a really good girl, both during the long Easter service yesterday morning, and during the after-her-bedtime potluck party. We got home, and Rowan did her new trick of not wanting to sleep unless one of us was with her. I took the shift, since he'd done last night, and crawled into bed with her in the nursery.

At 3 AM, he woke me up. Lucy had woken him up every 15 minutes to go outside, for the past 4 hours. Something was wrong. We tried calling the vet's emergency line, but since they hadn't seen her yet, the answering service would not call the vet on call. Great. Since we still have Madison cell phones, I called the ER Vet there. They were very helpful and kind, but basically said they couldn't do anything for us from there.

Dr. B was upset. Angry. Paranoid. Of course, it was all my fault. It must have been the chicken that made her have to pee. Or the babyfood jars I sometimes let her lick out. Or the chili I made the other night (that HE let her have.)

"And she has a bulbous growth on her head!!!" he shrieked.

Bulbous growth? What? I took a look.

"It's a woodtick," I said, as I yanked it out, gave her an antihistamine, pulled out the bits I could get with a tweezer and applied some Neosporin. "There's nothing more we can do until she sees the vet at 7. I gotta get some sleep," I said, and tried to go back to bed.

Dr. B was still pretty upset, which he made very clear every time he opened and shut the front gate to take her out to pee.

Thump! Jingle jingle jingle. WHAM! ka-chuck ka chuck. (long pause in which I try to fall asleep and fail.) WHAM! ka-chuck ka-chuck. Jingle jingle jingle. Thump!


"I'll take the next shift," I said at 4. From 4-5:30, I lay in my coat on the couch and got up to take her outside to pee every 10 minutes. (Note: I used the back door so I wouldn't wake him. Ahem. Yes. Still cranky about this.) At 5:30 I had to nurse Rowan, and his alarm went off, so he got up and started getting ready for the day. I took Lucy out again during his shower, and put a few leftover muffins into his briefcase. After giving me a 20-minute lecture on all the things it could be that he had googled while I was lazily sleeping away, and what horribly bad dog-parents we were because of course it is all our fault and she's probably going to die or need a thousand-dollar surgery, he prepared to take her in to the vet's office before his 8 AM meeting so they could start any tests they needed to do.

I slunk off to bed for a few minutes before Rowan woke up (it was 4 minutes, really), and then got up and got dressed. He came home between meetings, and I grabbed myself a leftover muffin and a cup of coffee and prepared to go drive him to his other meeting across town (the bus to there is too infrequent) and head back to the vet at 9:20. I was already exhausted, and it was only 8:35. He had fallen asleep laying on the floor in Rowan's room, face down in front of her play mat. Before we left, he apologized for yelling at me and being angry. He knew it wasn't the chicken. All the way to his meeting, he was fighting tears and swallowing hard, trying to convince himself that he had done everything he could. (My husband is such a softie.)

The vet was very kind and reassuring. Turns out she has a very wicked Urinary tract infection, and no, it did not come from the jerk chicken (though he got a chuckle out of that). In fact, it was nothing we did wrong. It just happens this way sometimes in older dogs, and they can't be sure where it came from. She was peeing lots of blood, but her drawn bloodwork looked "great for a 10 year old dog", the tick spot looked fine, and nothing else seemed wrong, aside from having a bit of tartar on her teeth (which we're planning on taking care of soon anyway.) The vet didn't see any kidney stones on the Xray, which was a big relief to us. He said it probably "just exploded" and that's why she really hadn't shown signs of a problem before last night. The puking she did at 6 AM was likely just nervousness, and she didn't have Lyme disease.

Of course, it was 300 bucks to find all that out, but at least we know she's going to be OK.

Now I wonder what the bill will be for the shrink for Dr. B. ;)


You Are Miss Piggy

A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.

You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.

You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.

Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!

The Muppet Personality Test

I'm both embarassed, and a little flattered.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sugar, Sugar! Ba ba ba ba buh baaaaahhhhh!!!!

I started this post earlier, and thought, "oh, how wonderful it would be to put in a real poll for people to take!" I started Googling. I wrote the post. The poll didn't work. Trying to figure out why, I googled some more. Then realized it was a template problem. Googled some more.

I now have about 47 tabs open on how to fix this problem, and I've gotten absolutely nowhere.

Except, of course, to the bottom of the candy bowl.

Easter candy is a very special thing, because unlike Halloween candy which is mainly just orange and black regular candy, and Christmas candy which is mainly just starlite mints in a cane shape, Easter candy is completely unavailable at any other time of year. So much so that my mom, bless her heart, used to buy Mini Eggs for me and freeze them so I could have them any time I wanted. The shells all fell off, but they were still delicious. And yummy frozen, too. You think I'd actually wait for them to thaw? Pshaw. I think she may have also done this for my sister, who is a Peep Freak. But then again, Rock probably just hid them under her bed. She was known for having up to 5 years worth of Halloween candy under there, so I'm pretty sure there must have been some Peeps, too.

Anyway, since this is a timely post, I might as well just ask you to leave your answer in the comments and I'll figure out this poll thing eventually.

Here's my question:

What's your favorite Easter Candy?

My options were going to be: Peeps (they're cute as heck but I hate actually eating them, sorry Kyliemac ), Cadbury Mini Eggs (my personal fave), Cadbury Cream Eggs (the yolks creep me out a bit), Cadbury Caramel Eggs (you should just surrender 3 teeth when you buy one they have so much sugar), Jelly Beans (I go for black ones, but also like making "lipstick" from the red ones), Malted Milk Eggs (for Mama Bear), or Reese's Peanutbutter eggs (for Flare.) Or whatever else floats your boat.

So, what's rotting your teeth about now?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Door

Fridge, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Vivi posted a photo of her fridge door, and it got me thinking about how much I love to look at people's fridges when I'm over at their house. Unlike the medicine cabinet (which is officially snooping), the fridge is out there, available, and shows a lot about the people who live in that kitchen.

I'd love to have a neat, clean fridge. I'd love to love modern design and "clean lines" (if I hear that one more time, I'll scream) and have a neat, clean, spare, organized house that looks like it comes from a magazine.

But I don't. My house is a cluttered place, full of all the little interesting things that fill my life. It's not the big, open space you see in magazine layouts. It's small. We look a bit more like a Pottery Barn catalog meets garage sale than like a Modern Living design. Our furniture is a combination of old and new, cozy, somewhat traditional but not really, but the Scandinavian element is less about empty surfaces and sleek furniture and more about wood, Carl Larssen prints and Dala horses. We admire people with style like that, but it's just not us.

So here it is, my fridge. Actually, the freezer, too (we have an upright). At the bottom is a pic of Rowan that graces the door, just to make it fit in the mosaic. To see the real ones, and find out what all that crap is, click through and take a look at my photoset--there are notes all over the photo.

And now, I wanna snoop in someone else's house. I tag Flare, Katia (because I know she'll never do it) and my cousin Mama Bear. If you want to participate, please do, and let me know! I want to see!

What's on your fridge?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lullaby: Edited

Rowan loves to hear me sing, and often her bedtime involves a lot of it. As mentioned before, the cry-it-out theory does not work with her, and I have since dumped the pediatrician who tried to make me feel guilty for not using it. Some nights, she gets placed in her crib with her entourage (the bears Roosevelt and Eleanor and the red Monchichi with the leaf on her head, Apple), tucked in, and she goes to sleep easily by herself to the sound of the WombBear as we happily skip downstairs to a bowl of ice cream and some boob tube /internet /movie /book.

Other nights? We rock. And rock. And rock. Sing, sing and sing. Or even lie with her in the big bed until she falls asleep. (And try not to fall asleep ourselves. Usually failing.)

You'd think that a music teacher would have tons of great lullabies floating around in my head.

Yeah, you'd think.

Nope. Seems the only things I can remember are the Chipmunks Christmas Song and some very inappropriate Monty Python tunes. Ahem.

So, I'm learning some new ones. I now know all the words, in French, to À la Claire Fontaine, Au Claire de la Lune, Gentil Coquelicots and Frère Jacques (yeah, that one's pretty easy). We sing some jazz tunes, like the Gershwin tune I sang at my sister's wedding. And I make up new words to pop tunes that I can't remember the real words to (like Safety Dance: in my version, "we can dance! we can dance! everybody's wearing their pants!" I think it actually makes more sense than "everybody look at your hands!" as the real lyrics go. Why?)

But the most valuable tunes are the ones you can extend over and over, when she's just about there but needs a few more verses. So here are our current favorites.

  • Old McDonald (on his farm there are not only animals--we've got tractors, combines, swathers and sports cars! Tonight, there were squirrels. They go "chitter". Just so you know.)
  • He/She's got the Whole World In His/Her Hands! (Anything works with this. He can have trumpets and bassoons, she can have armpits and toejam, he can have a glass of wine for Mommy--whatever!)
  • Oops--I forgot! This Little Light of Mine. We keep it going by not hiding the light in lots of places, including the trunk of the car, the linen closet, and if Dr. B is singing, "my armpit" and other, um, unmentionable places.

So, I would love some new ones! Do you have any favorite lullabies? Especially never-ending ones? Please, tell us!

And just because you know you want to watch it, a little Men Without Hats.

What's for Supper?

It's that time again, and since last week I never bothered to post (we had some good stuff, but I don't feel like rehashing), I figure I better get back on the wagon. Currently, I've got tomorrow planned, but I am hoping that by the end of this post, I'll have the whole week done. Motivation, thy name is blog.

OK, so here goes. Including yesterday. Thanks, Laura!
Sunday: Lunch: Cashew Carrot Ginger soup (highly recommended), baguette, 4 cheeses (provolone with garlic and herbs, a basque sheep/cow cheese that rocked, an Italian truffle cheese that I liked but he didn't, and a Comté), sliced apples.

Supper: Boneless Pork Spare Ribs with Kentucky BBQ sauce (Target boutique version), steamed asparagus, baked potatoes with butter and sour cream.

Monday: Chili with cheese and sour cream, beer. (Love those simple meals!) Note: we're not Irish, and don't like being pinched, so we don't celebrate St. Pat's. Except with the beer.

Tuesday: (friends who just visited France are coming over, so we're making at Breton specialty). Gallettes de Sarrasin with lardons (bacon), egg, mushroom and cheese served with sour cream (a good stand in for crème fraîche, because the American kind tastes weird), green salad with vinaigrette, baguette, hard cider. Our friend is bringing the dessert.

Wednesday: Jambalaya (I'm going the lazy route with a mix) with chicken, green salad.

Thursday: Hamburgers and Fries (yeah, also lazy, but I'll toast the buns!)

Friday: Urgent Enchiladas* (not authentic, but delicious! Recipe follows.)

Saturday: Lunch Grilled Ham and Cheese, chips, carrots and pickles.

Supper Round Steak (my mom's recipe, slow roasted with tomatoes and onions), baked potatoes, asparagus (if they still have the lovely stuff we got last week.)

Sunday: Lunch Leftover enchiladas

some sort of soup, bread and cheese.

*Urgent Enchiladas
The name came from an email from my MIL: "Urgent!!! I need your enchilada recipe!"
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey, browned with onion and drained (optional)
  • 1-2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (1 if meat, 2 if no meat)
  • 1 jar ChiChi's salsa (theirs is really good--Fiesta, Fire-Roasted, whatever. All good.)
  • 1 can MILD Old El Paso red enchilada sauce (I don't get the Hot or Medium. They're really hot! Dr. B eats habanero sauce on his eggs, and he thinks they're too hot!) You can use 2 if you like them really juicy.
  • Shredded Mexican-blend cheese, about 2 cups (Sargento is good, and doesn't have any spices added, just 4 cheeses. Or use cheddar or whatever.)
  • Taco seasoning (about 1 T.) (I have used regular taco seasoning, but right now am using Penzey's Bold Taco, which I love. Doesn't much matter though, whatever you like, or make up your own from the spice cabinet.)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Brown meat (if using), add beans to pan and heat with about 1/2 jar of salsa and taco seasoning. Heat until most of the liquid is gone. If you're doing only beans, you could mash them a bit so they're easier to eat. I hate refried beans (too mushy) so that's why I use whole beans, but I go the easy route and get the canned ones.

Grease a 9x13 pan. On each tortilla, put about 3 T. cheese in a line, add filling (about 1/2 cup) and roll up. Nest together in the pan. Your pan will be really full.

Cover with enchilada sauce, making sure to cover all surfaces, especially ends. Pour leftover salsa down the center of all the enchiladas, and top with any leftover cheese.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until bubbly, covered with foil. Serve with sour cream, lettuce and black olives if desired. Serves 4 very generously, or more if you serve it with some side dishes like rice, beans, salad, etc.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Oh, I am happy I found this. Like hanging out at FNAC all day, without the overheated french mall and annoying plastic smell. You may not be able to play music in a store or restaurant without paying each and every artist royalties (French law) but you can play any song you like for free on the internet in your own home.
free music

The French: they're nothing if not contradictory.

Go to Deezer to listen to all the music you want for free. Whoopie!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rocket Ship

Rocket Ship from Ronica on Vimeo.

Rowan and her dad love to play together. She likes "flying", just like her grandpa.

So nice to see these smiles and hear this laughter once again.


Things are looking up. The weather is thinking about improving. Today was sunny and in the 40's, though the temperature dropped back down once the sun went down. Stars were clear and bright in the sky as I took Lucy for her 9 o'clock walk. The grass has hints of green in it, and only the dregs of snirt remain on the berm. It still doesn't feel like Spring, but there is a chilly promise that it will come, before too long.

My cold is much better, as is Dr. B's. Rowan still has the ishy river o' snot running from nose to mouth, but she's learned that it's very tasty and quickly sucks her upper lip into her mouth after sneezing, whipping her head from side to side in protest when we come at her with a tissue. She's eating again (things other than snot), though she's decided she's had enough of yams for a while. She's pooping. (Yes!! *pumps fist*) She's playing, and even laughs and smiles on occasion. And, she's napping, for good ones. Touch wood, she's also going to sleep without rocking, cajoling, singing, stories, or lying ins. I'm sure that now that I've said this, it will change, but I'm enjoying it thoroughly at the moment.

Tomorrow we're driving to a town nearly 2 hours away for an appointment with a dermatologist. The local guy's next available appointment was in mid-August, but another doc had a cancellation in Danville, so we're driving. I can't wait.

Dr. B decided that Spring Break really was not supposed to mean "work all the time", and after 2 days of going to work when nobody else did, he spent today at home, working some of the time, and watched Rowan this afternoon while I ran a bunch of errands. Without a baby in a carseat to slow me down, I actually had the flexibility to try on clothes and found a great pair of jeans on sale at Target. They look a lot cuter than the picture, and they fit great. Plus, they're a size smaller than I thought I was. Bonus! (Thanks to my sister--I finally cashed in that Birthday gift card that's been burning a hole in my wallet since August, and which you ordered to be spent only on myself.)

Little things, but they make a difference. Maybe tomorrow I'll have an answer for my chappy little problem. One can only hope!


They landed like that, I swear. I did not rearrange.

Gotta love it.

(And for the record, I'm currently losing this game.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free Stuff

My mom worked at Coke back in the early 70's. She was in on the creation of Fresca (it's grapefruit flavor, BTW, and she hated it), was able to buy cases of "low-fills" for cheap thus becoming the coolest sister-in-law ever to my teenage uncles, and had a Coke baby outfit for me (which she didn't save, unfortunately. But I still have the booties from the Budweiser outfit I also had. I have no idea where she got that.) She worked as the office manager (I think?) and learned some important things while working there. The main one was that if you have a problem with a product and take the time to write a note or make a phone call, you get free stuff! Throughout my childhood, she would do this and we would receive coupons or vouchers for free items. She only did it when she had a true gripe (like when we found a rock in our chunky peanut butter), but it always worked.

So I do it, too. Yeah, I like the free stuff, but I also like knowing they are aware of my opinion. Once, when I opened a fridge pack of soda on the bottom shelf of our refrigerator, an hour after mopping the floor, and cans rolled out and burst all over my floor, I called the Coke company and told them to make better cans! (I was pretty peeved that I had to remop the floor.) And they actually did--they sent a package for me to mail in the can so they could test it, because they had recently changed their cans and were concerned about the strength! And I got 5 free cases of soda!!!

I recently wrote to Gerber, concerned about the #7 plastic baby food containers and the bisphenol A that is in them. They wrote back, promising coupons, but basically telling me that my concerns were worthless. I wrote again and said I'd only buy their glass jars, thank you, because despite what the federal government tells me, I still have concerns. I never received the coupons. I guess they showed me.

Anyway, my favorite shampoo-conditioner combo recently changed the scent in their conditioner. I hate it. So I wrote.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 12:09 PM
To: Silk, Sun
Subject: Sunsilk Information

I have been using Sunsilk's extra- volume shampoo and conditioner (the yellow bottles) since it came out. I love the way it makes my hair react. Recently, however, you changed the scent in the conditioner. I just have to write to tell you that I hate it so much I will have to stop using your product. It smells like that crappy cheap potpourri people used to boil back in the late 80's. Yuck! Who wants their head to smell like "Orchard Fresh"? More like "dead cat rotting in a pile of plums left in the sun."

I'm really disappointed, and I hope you haven't made this change a permanent one. Thank you for reading this, and I hope you take it into consideration. I'd really rather my fully voluminized hair smelled fresh and clean, rather than like the floor in the back of a city bus in August.

La Rêveuse

And got this reply:

Hi La Rêveuse,

Thanks for writing!

We are aware that response to fragrance is a highly individual preference. The scents created for our products are carefully tested before marketing, to ensure they meet preferences of majority of consumers. All product fragrances should be light, fresh, and pleasant.

We will certainly forward your e-mail to the Brand Manager and the appropriate staff. Consumer comments are important and evaluated on a regular basis.

Thank you for providing your address*, as we are sending complementary coupons of our products.

Chris Green
Unilever Consumer Services

*They ask you to provide your address, but I would have anyway, because I know how these things work.

So, I guess I'm on the lookout for a new, non-stinky Unilever product. A free one. Any suggestions?

Egg on Face

You know how when you rant publicly, usually the next day you are pretty much proven wrong? Well, yeah. A nurse called with my test results (no problems), and offered to refer me immediately to a dermatologist since this was causing me "so much discomfort". Finally! No week-waiting! She wasn't sure she could get me in with their normal guy in a timely manner, and she assumed I probably didn't want to wait a long time (assumption correct), so she said she'd see what she could do, but I might have to drive a ways.

Fine. Not a problem. I last filled up with gas on Feb. 1 and still have 1/4 tank--it's not like I'm driving a ton, so it might be a refreshing change. Who knows, maybe there will be an Old Navy nearby Dermatologist X--that would be enjoyable. And I am just really relieved to have someone who listened to me and didn't make me feel like I was exaggerating. My doctors in the past (and my current one who is great) have always loved the fact that I am very in touch with my own state of being, and know when something's not right, and am the first to go in and have it checked out. I watched my mother self-medicate for years, and watched her die when there was a big problem she didn't want to face because she wouldn't ask for help. If normal OTC stuff doesn't work quickly, I get help from experts. I don't mess around with health stuff; it's just too important.

OK, end rant. I'll update you on the lip situation, if you care. (Aside to Jenn: Tried the butt paste. Felt weird putting butt paste on my mouth. It didn't help--even seemed to dry out faster than carmex or chap stick. Back to the drawing board, but thanks again for the tip.)

Today, Rowan woke as fussy as she has been over the last few days, and I was worried. But she is now on nap #2 and had a good couple hours between where she played and didn't cry the entire time (as she has for the last week--she's either been asleep or crying or crying while asleep.) Plus, Dr. B called and is coming home early to help out with her. And she let me put saline drops in her nose without crying, twice. That's progress. She's also had 2 poopy diapers, which we haven't seen in 2 days. Hallelujah! Working on it--meds + yams worked until she was sick of yams. Now we're eliminating applesauce, adding prunes again and trying quick oats. We are also taking out her vitamins and just giving her fluoride drops--I'm suspecting the iron is doing it, because it does that to me. She is eating better today (she enjoyed the oatmeal/prune combo), and nursing more, so all this points to her starting to feel better. She's still got a runny nose, and gets mad when I wipe it away (she prefers to eat it--yuck!), but her cough seems a little better, and she's sleeping more soundly.

The clouds are lifting...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Culture Shock at the Doc

This is a rant. Officially. I am frustrated. Stop reading now if you're not in the mood--I won't be offended.

Today I took Rowan in for her 9 month appointment, and then saw a PA at my doctor's office (whom I love, so was disappointed that she didn't have an opening). The PA asked if we liked living here. I said yes, but it was a bit of a culture shock. She seemed a little offended. But you know, this is not the midwest. I am reminded of that regularly. It's just not the same. There are things, little things. They probably are no big deal, but we miss them. People in the midwest are really friendly and very relaxed. They have incredible work ethics. They always strive to make you feel comfortable. They have high standards, and those standards apply to everyone. And when it comes to health care, these are things I notice.

Yes, I'm living in Appalachia. But come on. This is a college town. A major university. We should have top-notch health care, right?

And I suppose it's probably fine. We're not dying or anything. But comparing it to the great care we received in Madison, and the wonderful doctors I saw in Paris, I just feel that something is lacking. Stupid, little things. The nurses never introduce themselves. I don't get asked the laundry list of questions every time just to make sure nothing important has changed. When phoning in with symptoms, they say, "well, if you think you should come in, you can."

I shouldn't have to think. They should tell me. THEY'RE THE EXPERTS. And when a baby has had a fever for 5 days, it's worth checking out! What if she had an infection? What if there was a major problem? How long am I supposed to wait--how serious does it have to get before they say, "you should really come in!"????

Then, we get notices from our insurance saying they won't cover trips to the ER, even though no other doctors were available at the time. Because it turned out to only be strep throat and wasn't serious enough. Which we would know... how? Except by going in, and when the pain has markedly increased and is nearly unbearable, well, yes it is an emergency! And it WAS strep throat!

In Madison, we were members of 2 different HMO's, both rated in the top in the country. They told you who to see and when and how often. They told you where to go based on the possible seriousness of your condition. More often than not, you had to go in. And they knew what they were doing. They were efficient, friendly, thorough, professional and they always introduced themselves. They made us feel like they really, really knew what they were doing and we would be well taken care of. And we were.

Here? I call at 2 in the morning because my baby is screaming and running a fever of 104, and they act as if it's no big deal, but don't take the time to reassure me of that fact. They don't tell me what temperature I should be worried at--just that "it should break in the next 24 hours". I go in for painful, itchy, scaly lips that haven't improved in 6 weeks despite throwing every possible thing I can think of at them, and I get asked if I've tried anything organic or Carmex and if I'm taking vitamins. You know, because a little fancy twigs-and-bark lip balm is going to solve a problem medical-grade lanolin and pure olive oil can't. And get told to come back in a week if Carmex doesn't work, and they'll refer me to a dermatologist. (At least she did take blood work for a thyroid test when I asked for it, since there's a family history.)

So here I sit. Itchy lips, a baby who still is fussy and won't sleep, and I don't even remember the names of the two nurses I saw today.

I want my HMO back.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Still Sick, but Surviving.

Last night was long, but at least we did get some sleep. At 8, I put the baby to bed, and went to brush my teeth. I was washing my face when she started to cry, and she kept it up while I moisturized and put on my jammies. I picked her up, and climbed into the guest bed in her room. She fell asleep in my arms, and despite waking up several times during the night for snot suck-outage, nasal drain lifts, retuckings, pacifier taps, and just general "it's OK, Mommy's right here" soothings, we did get some sleep.

Rowan's fever is still up there, but at least it's only hovering between 99-102. She was still fussy and clingy today, but had stretches where she'd play by herself, allowing me to clean the bathrooms and do some loads of towels (which helped my mental state a lot.) I still feel tough, but a little less hideous than yesterday, and the state of the house was really starting to get to me. We laid down together for a nap at 2:30, and by 2:45 she was sleeping, so I decided it would be OK for me to close my eyes, too, rather than sneak out and vacuum.

We woke up at 5:10.


Dr. B had planned to be home early, but got involved in his work and didn't make it until nearly 6, but since we had been sleeping, it was OK. He took over, feeding her yams, tofu and applesauce, strapping her to his hip when she didn't want to be set down, and playing with her while I headed to the grocery store for much needed supplies and to pick up some dinner (again ordered by him. I don't think he appreciated the burnt gravy last night--or should I say no gravy.) I made sure to pick up some stuff that I wouldn't have to think about to cook, like a frozen pizza and a frozen lasagna, just in case. When I got home, he had put her to bed.

And she's still asleep. Alone in her crib. Hallelujah.

Maybe I'll get to sleep in my bed tonight.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Last night was a rough one. Dr. B was working on 3 hours of sleep, but still ran to the store for more medicine and kleenex, to the video store for a return and to pick up dinner (he ordered me to not cook.) I am still feeling horrid, with a stuffy head, coughing and aching abs from all the coughing and nose-blowing, so was looking forward to a slug of NyQuil and a long rest. Sensing that something was coming, I propped Rowan's crib mattress up with a few books, just in case the cold we have was hitting her.

Then, at 12:30 she woke up, screaming. I ran in, picked her up, and brought her to the changing table. Then I nearly passed out myself. I think the quick jump up combined with the sickness and cold meds made my blood pressure drop (not unusual for me). "Honey, you need to come! I'm in trouble!" I yelled. He took her, I sat in the bathroom until I could see straight, and went back to bed as he rocked her back to sleep.

At 2, she cried again. I couldn't find Dr. B, so I ran in to get her. He came flying up the stairs; I guess he had just laid her down after rocking her to sleep and ran to get himself some OJ. "What's wrong? I just laid her down, she was fine," he said. "Oh, dear God, she's burning up!" I answered, and pulled out the thermometer as I laid her on the changing table.

She screamed, but didn't fight the thermometer placed in the place where nobody wants anything placed, if you know what I mean. Ahem. I watched it climb, and felt my heart sink.


A call to the doctor, some liquid Motrin, and a night of her sleeping in my arms. She would cry as soon as I laid her down, so I slept with her head nestled in the crook of my elbow, and as she cried out in her sleep, I'd tap her nuk until she calmed down again and sank into slumber.

Up at 7:30, down for a 10-minute nap at 9 (yes, TEN minutes. TEN.) and one very fussy, clingy girl.

It's gonna be a long, long day. Sigh.

Monday, March 03, 2008

What's for Supper?

I figure if I start writing this, maybe I'll get enough energy to actually do the planning involved. It's a pipe dream, due to the cold I am fighting, but I think by Friday I'll be hoping that I planned for more than just orange juice and Theraflu, so here goes. Thanks, Laura, for the motivation.

Sunday: Lunch Brie and Ham Omlettes, salad. Supper Bison Steak Haché (chopped steak) with Chicago Steak Seasoning from Penzey's, brown rice and couscous with Herbes de Provence from Penzey's, corn. (Dr. B's business trip took him to Madison, so he stocked up for me while he was there. The CSS was awesome--made the bison burger taste really steaky. BTW, that's why I didn't post last week--I basically ate the same thing for 3 days, then another same thing for 2 while I waited for him to get home. Not so exciting.)

Monday: Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce with Ground Turkey, Salad. (That is, if I get up and get going. Signs are not great. We may be having cough drops and 7up for supper.)

Tuesday: Pork chops, baby red potatoes, glazed carrots.

Wednesday: Beef hard shell tacos, salsa black beans.

Thursday: Ham and Swiss Hoagie Melts, salad.

Friday: Salmon with Dill Yogurt Sauce* (recipe follows), green beans.

Saturday: Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas with salsa and sour cream, fresh fruit. Supper: Norwegian Meatballs, potatoes and gravy, corn.

Salmon with Dill Yogurt Sauce

This is my own recipe, developed by experimentation, that I used to make back when we did the low-carb thing and got all skinny and then we got tired of all the fuss so we started eating again. (We're squishier, but happy.) But this one was really good, lightening fast and super easy, so I still make it often. It looks fancy when you serve it, but it's so easy a monkey could make it.


Salmon filets or steaks
olive oil
salt and pepper
plain yogurt
lemon juice
dill weed

Preheat oven to broil. Line a baking pan (I don't bother with the broiler pan--to much of a pain to clean) with heavy duty foil and grease it well with olive oil. Place your salmon filets on the sheet, folding under any thin bits so it's pretty much of even thickness. (If you have a piece with a skin side, put it down. You'll be able to leave the skin on the foil when you lift it off with a spatula. Voilà! And if you let your dog eat the skin, she will love you forever.) Brush well with olive oil (Don't skip this or your salmon will dry out. I know it's a fatty fish. It still will dry out.) and season well with salt and pepper. Broil 8-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Don't overcook!

Sauce: Mix your desired amount of plain yogurt with salt, pepper and a pinch of dill. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Make lots, because it's yummy and you'll probably like it on your green beans, too. We do!


Dr. B is home from a week-long business trip, to Madison of all places, and he brought with him a whole bunch of delectable spices and herbs from Penzey's and a lovely cold. Yay. (Well, to be honest, I was feeling one start before he even arrived, so I can't really blame it on him.) The weekend was spent doing much of nothing except being sick, but he's back at work today. I made it to Target yesterday, but it proved my undoing. My cold has ramped up, and I feel horrible, so the usual Monday plan of menu planning, cleaning the bathrooms, washing sheets, and vacuuming will just have to wait. I'm too busy. I have to evacuate my nose every five seconds, and there's just all that blinking to do.

Rowan took her morning nap early, allowing me to shower and even sneak in an hour of Zzz's with her. She's happily bouncing in her Jumperoo and playing with her new Oball, which is the bomb (thanks to Lisa's friend whomever-you-are for grabbing one for us in Altoona!)
[photo of it is from Amazon] I am thankful that she's in a good mood, despite the telltale snot and coughing that she's starting to display. So far, we've been very lucky. When she's sick, she doesn't seem to get too upset about it. I just wish she had that same reaction to being tired and taking naps.

But we do have something to look forward to. Yesterday, I blew our budget out of the water. Though I was not happy about doing it (it took me ages to hit the "confirm" buttons), I am happy about the results.

A. I got Rowan's new carseat, on the Britax sale. Saved 60 bucks and got free shipping. This should last her several years. Woo hoo!

B. I got plane tickets, a hotel reservation and a rental car reserved for my sister's wedding reception weekend in Minneapolis in April. The in-laws are coming, too, and much of my family will be there, including my 85-year old grandparents. The deal was so good that the hotel and rental car only added about a hundred bucks to the cost of the tickets. Can't turn that down.

And just as I was typing this, a friend dropped by with her dog to take Lucy for a walk. This, plus the existence of extra-large Kleenex*, is proof that I have a guardian angel.

(*These are the bomb, BTW; you can really blow without covering your hand in snot, and you can use them more than once without having to search for the tiniest dry corner. They're like a dish-towel Kleenex. AWESOME. Plus, the box fits in our cool kleenex box cozy Dr. B got from one of his students. I think she was from Taiwan. Anyway, it doesn't hold the taller boxes, but the flattish extra larges fit great.)

So today, I'm going to play some Scrabulous, try to figure out this BlogHer stuff, and drink my weight in OJ and Theraflu. The vacuuming can wait.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Saga

Yes, I am a new Mom. And I write about poop. A lot.

It appears I found the cure for her constipation. At least today. Yes, I did up her dose of the med the doctor gave her. But I don't think that was the answer.

The thing that got things, um, going?


Roasted, cooled, peeled, puréed (with a small amount of water) and fed to her with tofu and carrots.

Man, oh man, did that work. 4 times and 3 outfits in one day work.

I yi yi.
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