Tuesday, April 29, 2008

H-E- double hockey sticks

Well, it's over. What is not-so-affectionately called Hell Week in Dr. B's department due to three banquets, countless lectures, and lots of clapping and fake smiling for awards for people you've never met. Salmon, steak, salmon and steak, and steak and some sort of fish that wasn't salmon. Rolls with so much rosemary they tasted like Pine Sol. Learning to make a bishop's hat with my place card because I was so bored during the lecture on petroleum-in-Oklahoma BUT IT'S DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT'S SHALE AND SOME SORT OF *SPECIAL* SHALE AND THEY HAVE TO DRILL SIDEWAYS!!! WOOO EEEE!!! (ugh.) And of course that was the night where the ever-so-generous oil companies didn't pay for any wine. Three different dressy outfits because there is overlap with all of the banquets, three days of shaving my legs and cutting myself repeatedly because I'm a klutz, two babysitter nights (requiring a somewhat-clean house) and one playdate. But, having a babysitter meant we could linger afterward and have a glass of wine with friends, which we enjoyed immensely.

And now? Rowan has a bear of a cold, because her playdate playmate is a daycare boy, and that's just what happens. Poor little bug is congested, hoarse, and not sleeping well. Thus, we are not sleeping well. I took the first night, Dr. B took last night, but he doesn't have Mommy-radar, so I heard her every time she cried before he did, even though he was sleeping with her in his arms in her bedroom. And then Lucy decided she needed a walk at 1:30 AM. BECAUSE WE'RE ALL UP ANYWAY! Party time at the Brownsons'!

Last night, we finally got her to sleep around 9 and pulled out the movie I had run to rent after supper (from our video store which is closing and we're not very happy about that.)

We spent the next hour and a half searching for the remote because we can't hit play on the DVD player without it. Moving couches. Pulling out cushions. Checking every drawer and cabinet. We never found it. Finally, around 10:30 we gave up and watched an episode of Red Dwarf before going to bed.

Dr. B has a lecture to go to tonight, and another reception, so he'll be home a bit later than normal. I think I'll watch Juno on my laptop. Maybe we'll find the remote by the time she goes to Kindergarten.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008


She took a two hour nap this morning. I mopped the floors after seeing the grunge that was on one knee and one foot of her sleeper pajamas. Her crawling is, um, very interesting. (And I swear I just mopped last week, but YUCK!)

She had a bath, we played, had lunch, and I folded laundry, which she didn't throw on the floor. She let me watch Ugly Betty online and didn't pull the laptop to the floor while chewing on the charging cord.

Then she took a two and half hour nap this afternoon, waking up smiling. We went for a walk. Then, it was time for goƻter. Rocky Road for me and grapes and bread, chopped into tiny bits, for her. Now she's running around her playstation carrying the top of a cardboard box, and giggling as the dog licks grape juice from the tips of her fingers.

She hasn't destroyed anything. She's slept when asked and for long periods of time. My hair hasn't been pulled, my mouth hasn't been probed, she hasn't drawn blood. No screaming. No crying. She didn't go back to the dog's dishes after I said 'no' and moved her away. She's been happy, in a good mood, easy to be around.

She gives me big hugs when I pick her up. After curling my hair for the banquet tonight, she looked at it in wonder, touching a curl gently with her fingertips and smiling.

Mom's been gone ten years today, but there's no doubt. She's still watching over me. And our little girl.

Thanks, Mom. Today has been a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I am terrified of the toilet.

It's time. She's mobile. Upwardly, downwardly, backwardly and forwardly. Kind of wonkily, actually. Hello Adverbs! I love you today!

She's sort of crawling, with one knee and one foot, and making quick progress into whatever she shouldn't be into. She pulls herself up on the furniture, and cruises along, as quick as a wink. She's even tried pulling herself up on Lucy, who doesn't like it very much.

I have learned:

  • toys aren't fun unless they can inflict serious bodily harm. Or kill you.
  • electrical cords are delicious, like spaghetti! Especially the sparky ones.
  • little bits of unidentified crud are meant to be eaten. A dog who gets 3-5 walks a day brings in a lot of unidentified crud. (Mom now vacuums daily.)
  • the bottoms of shoes are tasty and should be licked frequently! Especially outside ones.
  • Buttons are meant to be pushed, dials are meant to be turned, and all music should be played at level 11.
  • Doggie water dishes are baby pools. With added spit!
  • Things in drawers or baskets should be out of them and thrown on the floor. Ditto for stuff on shelves.
  • If you think she won't get into it, she'll get into it faster. Especially when you aren't looking or have your pants around your ankles or have a pot boiling over.
  • Dogs don't like to be pulled up on by a 20 pound baby. They don't like vacuums either.

So, we've begun to babyproof. Candles are mostly gone, save the 'necessary' bathroom one for the stinky moments. Sit-around-cute-decor-crap is put away. Baskets of magazines have been recycled and closeted. Plugs are plugged, cords are tucked behind the couches, and stuff is pushed back to an unreachable area on each end table. Plexiglass has been ordered to cover the stereo/cable TV/ computer equipment and cords, and any tippy furniture has been screwed to the wall. She is a climber--she already started with her dresser drawers. At 10 months! And people wonder why we call her the evil monkey.

And the next paycheck plans include a mounted gate for the top of the stairs, toilet locks, drawer locks, cabinet locks and any other assorted baby safety crap that becomes an absolute necessity when I'm standing in the store.

They'll be able to smell a sucker like me a mile away.


Living in Madison, we were part of some of the best HMO's and insurance programs in the country. We never worried about care--they told us where to go, who to see (and allowed us to change easily if we didn't click with our doc, or to choose a doc we liked), what to do, and we never paid out of pocket for anything except prescription copays, which were never more than 15$ (even for pricey migraine meds). We had it good.

Then came Pennsylvania.

After the third bill came in saying the insurance wouldn't cover it, we were really starting to get ticked off. Dr. B is under enough stress being a first year professor. He doesn't need to add this crap. He put the bills in his briefcase, and set up a meeting with the insurance people on campus.

Then he started having chest pains. I wanted to take him to the ER, but he refused. After arguing with him for a while, I knew the only way to get him in was to manipulate the entire situation. I didn't like doing it, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

After calling our insurance company and getting the OK, and trying to set up an appointment for him and getting told to take him to the ER right away (I set one up just in case he was really stubborn), I called.

"What time are you done with work? I'll come pick you up."

I neglected to tell him where we were going. He figured it out en route, but couldn't argue any more.

And after six hours waiting, pacing the halls with the baby and eating horrid vending machine food, he got the diagnosis.

"We don't know."


They did an EKG, blood tests and an Xray, as well as a bunch of other stuff, and nothing was apparent. He's stressed*. He's pretty sure that's the reason, but the doctor at the ER wouldn't tell him much of anything.

Today, I got a call from the business office of our health care provider. She wasn't happy about resubmitting a bill to insurance with a changed code, but she was doing it. (Well, I wasn't happy about getting a 200$ bill for some tests I didn't ask for, that they say I did. Who would ask for a comprehensive screening panel when you've got chapped lips? I didn't even know the words "comprehensive screening panel". Give me a break.) I'll still have to pay for part of it, but hopefully they'll get it changed and resubmitted so I don't have to fork over the entire bill.

And now I have a new mantra when I go to the doctor.

"But, will my insurance cover it?"

The things you learn when you leave Wisconsin...

*He promised to take a nap today, and I'll nag him more about taking bike rides, meditating and doing yoga. Asking him to stop obsessing and worrying about stuff is like telling the grass not to grow, but I'll do my best to counteract what I can.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I love it!

I love it!, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

I finally got around to loading some photos from the last few weeks, including some from the reception weekend, as well as more recent ones. There are a few shots from a picnic we took this weekend, as well as one that's a bit NSFW from this afternoon--but you'll only see it if you're allowed as a flickr friend, so if you are, don't be lazy and not login--it's worth the price of admission! ;) Let's just say Rowan decided that there were much more entertaining things to do than take a nap...

This one (above) was taken at Bucca di Beppo. We stopped at the one nearest our hotel in Eagan for lunch, starving after a very early wakeup and two flights, and it turned out they weren't open for lunch, because they are in an industrial area without a lot of local traffic during the day. But, the owner saw us leaving and felt bad that we were disappointed. He said because they were prepared for catering everything was ready, so we were invited in and enjoyed a delicious Italian meal with a restaurant all to ourselves! I'd call it Midwestern hospitality, but as Dr. B said, "the owner is from Mexico. This is Mexican hospitality!" He was right. The owner stopped by our table several times to chat, and he was a really nice, warm and friendly guy. We were not disappointed, and we highly recommend this location to anyone! As you can see, Rowan highly approved! (She thought the bread was the bomb.)

I've also uploaded am trying and failing to upload my first video to Flickr---will have to move a bunch from Vimeo. This one is Rowan playing with her Grandma while we got ready for the reception.

And if you're in PA and a registered Democrat, go vote tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Vacuum. Dust. Change the sheets. Sweep the floor. Clean the bathrooms. Dust the baseboards. Mop the floors. Wipe down the appliances. Laundry laundry laundry. Clean, dry, fold, put away. Plan the meals. Shop. Make the meals. Pack a lunch. Iron the shirts. Pay the bills. Sort the mail. File the papers. Wash the diapers. Box up the outgrown clothes. Fill the drawers with the ones that are still too big. Make the phone calls. Set up the appointments. Pick up the toys. Sewing projects. The dog needs a walk. Knitting projects. Thoughts of going back to work. Cleaning out closets. Plans to cull, give to Goodwill, get rid of those things I've saved that I don't want, don't need, never liked in the first place so why did I keep them? Keeping up the chatter.

Trying, so hard, to keep myself busy so I don't remember. So I don't think about it.

It's coming.

Ten years. The anniversary. Ten years since she died.

Even still, it comes back, familiar and strange. When you're busy, doing, making, being the responsible one. Trying to not let it in. But it's there. It comes.

The sounds. Ksh! Chip! The smell of cigarette smoke. The door to her room, still closed. The garbage sacks full of clanking cans, sour dripping, ashes.

The phone ringing and ringing and ringing.

No one wants to talk about it anymore. They turned out fine, they are responsible adults. She really was a great mom, considering. Too bad it happened that way, but now they've moved on. Look how happy they are now. See, it's OK.

But it's not.

I still need her. I still miss her every day of my life. And I still hate that she couldn't stop, wouldn't, until it was too late.

Ten years gone, and it's as raw as ever.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Rock and Rowan, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Well, despite the fact that I completely forgot to take any pictures at my sister's reception last weekend, there is photographic proof that it happened on my flickr site. I take no credit--these were on my Dad's camera (and some are funky because the setting got messed up) and he sent them to me. There will be more coming, from Josh's brother, who took a lot, and even managed to get a photo of one of the dolphins swimming by.

This one's my favorite, though. Well, I am a little biased.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Doublemint Doublememe

Tagged with two memes in one day, but I waited to post the second so you wouldn't get memed out (if you're not already). This one is from my cousin, Dee.

Two names you go by:
1. Mama (well, Rowan actually says, "Mamamamamamamamamama!")
2. RonBon (Nikki is the only one that calls me that, but she still does, even 20 years later!)

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. hausschus
2. REI fleece jacket in sort of a cornflower blue and black. It's my current favorite "bathrobe". (Yes, I'm still in my flannel jammies.)

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. read
2. dance

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. to have a good dream with my mom in it (they feel like visits)
2. to know what to do about next year

Two favorite pets you have had or have now?
1. Lucy
2. Sammy (he was everyone who knew him's favorite dog ever. How's that for good grammar?)

Two people who will fill this out: (therefore these are my tags! You're it!)
1. Andie
2. Vivi (because I'm going to totally meme-spam her. Heh.)

Two things you ate last night: (Too many things, really. Thank heavens for breast feeding or I'd be a house right now.)
1. vanilla ice cream swirled with raspberry sorbet
2. bite-size chocolate chip cookies
(Dr. B was on a business trip to Pittsburgh and didn't get home until an hour and 45 minutes AFTER he said he'd be home and he wasn't answering his phone--because it wasn't ringing--and he thought I was sleeping so he didn't want to wake me and I wasn't and I was totally freaking out.)

Two things you ate today:
1. toast with natural organic peanut butter and 3 berries jam
2. homemade plain yogurt

Two people you last talked to:
1. Rowan
2. Dr. B

Two things you're doing tomorrow:
1. if I say vacuum, maybe I'll do it.
2. ditto for change the sheets.

Two favorite holidays:
1. Christmas (I just wish it wasn't so much work.)
2. Halloween (does anyone say Arbor Day?)

Two favorite vacations:
1. France (I got a whole year!)
2. New Orleans (I've been 3 times. Love the food, the culture, the music, the history.)

Two Favorite Drinks:
1. Arnie Palmer (unsweetened brewed iced tea and lemonade mixed together--favorite summer drink ever.)
2. root beer float (that counts, right? Ice cream melts into a liquid, so it's a drink!)

August 13 (The Ides of August! Whatever that means...)

Now copy, paste and blog it. I look forward to it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Proof that I'm the biggest dork that ever lived.

From the Tudors website. I am such a goober.

And yes, I would totally wear that dress.

(By the way, don't tell Dr. B about the one I did of him. It's really bad!)

What's Up, Doc?

I had an appointment with the neurologist yesterday. I was excited, thinking through my history and planning what to say as I showered and blew my hair dry, hoping he'd have some ideas. Wondering if he'd take a CT scan. Could he prescribe massages? (Hoping). Would he want me to be a part of some migraine study, since they were so weird, and so unpredictable and so changeable? Was my head going to explode, or would he have a miracle cure?

I got to the appointment, went through my history sketchily, thinking he'd ask for copies of all my medical records. I listed the drugs I'd tried, the ways the migraines had changed over the 13 years I've had them, the lengths I'd gone to to stop them.

"Well, Ronica, you're a classic case."

What? Huh? When? Who?

Wait a minute. I've been going to doctors for these for years, and now I find out I'm a classic case???

Turns out, I have a chronic case of low seratonin. It can cause migraines, fibromyalgia (which my MIL has), and depression (which is common in my family.) When I was pregnant, it was high, and now that I'm 10 months out, it's dropping again. Thus, my headaches.

He prescribed higher doses of Imitrex and injections, and said I could go back on the amytriptylin if they got really bad again, so I headed happily to Target to get the new prescriptions filled, smiling as I drove down the street with the windows wide open and singing along with the CD.

My problem is solved! I know why! And now I know at least partly why my mom struggled as she did, and why other members of my family have struggled with depression and migraines. We have low seratonin! We're not freaks, it's just a medical thing!!! YAY!

I dropped off the scrips and toodled around the store, picking up the things I'd forgotten at the grocery store the day before and grabbing a few extras that of course we had to have. I went back to pick them up and check out before stopping at the Redbox to drop off our free rental of Sweeney Todd.

"Um, Mrs. B, do you know how much these scrips cost?" the pharmacist asked.

"I know they're pricey, but not exactly, no." I said.

"This one's 150 dollars with your insurance. This one's 97 dollars. I thought I'd let you know first. We get migraines, too," she gestured to another pharmacist assistant, who nodded and began shaking her head at the price, "and I don't know if you...uh... well..."

"Um, can I just not take them today?"

"Sure! No problem!" she smiled. "We'll keep them on file for when you need them."

I sighed with relief, and then headed toward the checkout, making one stop.

In the seratonin isle.

Thank God for chocolate.


My friend Sarah tagged me with a meme, and since y'all know I'll do anything you tell me (OK, maybe not anything), here goes.

Seven Weird Things About Me.

(I'll have a hard time limiting it to just 7.)

1. Bright lights often make me sneeze uncontrollably. (Thank goodness for Kegels. There is no 'p' in my ants and I really want to keep it that way.)

2. I hate semicolons; I rarely use them. (HA! I used one!) So does my husband. Another reason we're a good match besides the runny eggs and the toilet-paper-over-the-top thing.

3. One of my favorite breakfasts is cold tuna casserole. With a diet Coke. And a pudding pop. (They make them again!)

(Waiting patiently while you get over the grossness of that revelation. Mushy peas, soggy potato chip topping, tuna, cola and chocolate-vanilla swirl. I know. Disgusting.)

4. Men's feet creep me out. Even nicely pedicured ones. Therefore, I hate mandals and I really, really hate man-flip-flops, with the only exception being the fisherman sandals that pretty much cover everything. I tolerate Dr. B's Chacos because he is my husband and I know his feet are clean. (At least I hope so.)

5. I hate it when people write LOL. If you can't think of a better way to tell someone they're funny, don't. I usually don't say anything because I don't want to offend any commenters who've used it, but now you know. It drives me crazy.

6. I have a sick, sick love of Spaghetti-O's with meatballs. I've been known to eat them straight out of the can, at room temperature. And despite all my stinky-cheese lovingness, I also enjoy Velveeta. ICK! I know!!! (But hey, I hate Doritos and pepperoni pizza, so there you go.)

7. I get really irritated by grammatical errors like misplaced apostrophes, your/you're, their/there/they're, ask/axe (I know it's 'dialect' but it still bugs me), "cute" spellings and when people misspell chipotle. (It's not chip-OL-te. It's chip-OT-le. Chip Oat Lay.) So much so, I considered carrying around a Sharpie and fixing them on signs. Dr. B stopped me.

I mean, cum on, dont' you know witch is witch? Your not telling me this bug's you? Their are so many reason's to axe me why I do'nt like it. Doncha wanna axe?

(Yes, I did that on purpose to make a point. Irritating, isn't it?)

So, now I want some other weirdos to come out of the woodwork. Vivi, MamaBear, Danny*... show me your quirks. (Moo hoo ha ha ha ha haaaaa!!!)

(*And yes, that was a shameless way to find out if he reads me. He follows my twitter, so maybe he does? Hoping, hoping...)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


It's finally done! Yaaaaayyyyy!!!! (jumping up and down)

Combinations of Excedrin, Advil Cold and Sinus, Benadryl, Vicodin, an injection of Toradol and a fair amount of yoga.

I'm a bit sore, but I can finally relax and not worry that in the next half hour life will become unbearable. When we get back from our trip, I will have an appointment with a neurologist, so hopefully we'll be able to figure something out. I'm not ready or willing to stop breastfeeding yet, but if these escalate again, I might have to. I hope not, but it's better to take care of myself, for Rowan. Though it was a totally different situation, that's one of the things I am still angry with my mother about. I can't do it to my little girl--she deserves to have to put up with me for a long, long time!

Note to self: must do yoga more often. It does help. Now if I could just find a yoga studio in this dinky burg that has day care. I'd love to be back in a regular class.

Thanks for all your concern and well wishes. When you're suffering, it helps just knowing others are out there wishing it wasn't so.
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