Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Short picture sequence, and a surprise ending

Steamer basket... check...

What's in here?


Leta (mom#2): No-no, Cullen!

Brilliant musician already...



Sorry about that. Yuck, I can see my under-eye makeup and it looks very yellow. :( And I never noticed that the freckles have spread to my eyelids.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Millions of invisible needles

I wasn't going to take the tree down today. I was planning on taking the ornaments off sometime this week and having Jason take the tree down this weekend, as Monday is the beginning of curbside Christmas tree pick-up.

I knew that a lot of needles were going to fall off, so as I was staring at the needle piles under the tree I thought perhaps I should get a head start so needle clean-up won't be as laborious this weekend. I took the angel off the top and heard a few needles daintily fall to the floor. I took the paper chain off, and a few more needles let go. But when I started taking down the ornaments, whole branches were ending up bare! By the time everything was off there were enormous piles of needles on the tree skirt--so much that the skirt was no longer visible.

I took it in for a minute, looked at the distance between the tree and the door, and decided to go for it. I gingerly pushed the tree skirt aside. I propped the doors open, and I took the whole thing, base and all, out the front door.

Cullen was watching from the porta-crib (or as we call it "baby jail") and the girls were trying to help pick up needles until I snapped at them to "just stay out of the way" (there goes my Mother Of The Year award). I tipped the tree over and unscrewed the base as fast as I could, then marched it over to the curb/snowbank.

Pleased, I came back inside.

Into my personal hell.

sharp little needles everywhere
+ vacuum cleaner not giving top performance
+ carpet that hides everything
=hours of obsessive, frantic needle searching
=unhappy baby
=no dinner at dinner time

AND after all that work I am still stepping on (EXPLETIVE!) needles!!! And my neck is killing me.

And I feel like I have suffered a severe trauma.

And I feel terrible for that, because I know there are people out there suffering for real and I'm out here in suburbia getting crazy over some needles.

But it doesn't change the fact that it nearly broke my brain.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Booo dead Christmas tree

I don't think we'll ever buy a tree from a lot again. We did it sort of out of desperation. Usually we go to a farm and get a "fresh" tree but this year we just waited too long. We went to a lot near our house and bought a cute little tree for $20.

This tree has been shedding needles like crazy since we bought it. Jason made a fresh cut when we brought it home but it still isn't really drinking the water I give it. The bottom branches are bare now. Every time Leta jumps I can hear the needles falling. The trees we get from the farm never lose their needles. Last year we had our tree for over a month and it was still doing well when we took it down. Maybe that's the difference between a $20 tree and a $50 tree.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year in review

I've had this blog since 2004 but I didn't really use it until about a year ago. Now it's time to reflect and do the Year In Review.

Several recurrent topics: depression and RAGE!!!, various hellish skin problems, lots of sickness

  • vowed to get in shape, remember birthdays, clean the garage and start parking in it.
  • started using Google Analytics
  • car broke down (saved a bundle going to Import Auto Clinic instead of dealer)
  • lots of knitting and running (brrr)
  • celebrated six years of marriage
  • trip "home" for nephew's birthday party
  • got "Why Does The Sun Shine?" stuck in my head for a long time
  • sick family all the time
  • Leta got a camera for her 4th birthday
  • I went to the dentist!
  • root canal
  • sick family all the time
  • Leta's birthday party
  • had a date with Jason
  • Leta went to the dentist
  • Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School
  • Mina went to the dentist
  • visited Chelsea in Steven's Point
  • yard work
  • Mother's day weekend with Grandma and Mom
  • started donating blood
  • birthday party at Cafe Montmartre
  • severe weather! floods! disaster!
  • Samsa family reunion
  • cut the dickens out of my finger!
  • trying to make finger better
  • Mina's "anti-Leta" phase
  • Cullen's nipple-biting phase
  • visit from step-brother
  • sharpie drawings
  • reminiscing about Damrow's
  • I started wearing my panama hat (thanks, Shannon!)
  • hip x-ray painting got some attention (street anatomy, kevin md, animal new york...)
  • Cullen saw dentist about his fused tooth
  • new x-ray painting
  • Leta started preschool
  • aaaaand sick
  • Mina started kindergarten!
  • Patrick Saunders died unexpectedly
  • started participating in Illustration Friday meme
  • sick kids
  • Mina turned six!
  • high school reunion (trip to Appleton)
  • brother-in-law's wedding (another trip to Appleton)
  • chaperoned my first field trip
  • new hairdo
  • Cullen's first birthday!
  • furnace trouble
  • Mina stopped receiving services from WEAP
  • Mina's tooth extraction
  • finally giving in to nervous breakdown--hysterical call to doctor=paxil prescription=terrible horrible crippling depression
  • switched to wellbutrin, light box, supplements=lots of highs and lows
  • NOROVIRUS hits--three out of five Samsas violently ill
  • spread it all around at Thanksgiving--you're welcome, Appleton!
  • adjusting to medicated life
  • Mina got glasses
  • annual physical
  • Cullen started taking steps!
  • couldn't donate blood due to anemia
  • Mina has pink eye!
Well, that's it so far. It doesn't seem that impressive when I sum it up in this way, but trust me it totally was. :P

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not the same kind of crust as a pizza or a pie

We've been back since Christmas night, but it took me a little while to catch up with things.


I had a sinking feeling last night when I was putting the girls to bed and Mina was saying her eye tickled. It was very red. I wondered not if, but WHEN she would wake up and scream about her eye being glued shut. Calmly, I told her that there might be germs in her eye and she should not rub it because then the germs would get on her hands, and maybe to her other eye, and maybe to the rest of us. She had a tiny eye booger that was driving her nuts and we removed it with a wet cotton swab.

This morning around six the crying started.

"My bad eye won't open!" She yelled from under her comforter.
"No problem," I said while running a washcloth under some warm water. "We just need to hold this washcloth against your eye for a minute."
When I approached her with the cloth, do you think she would let me near her? Noooo. Screaming and hiding under the blanket, shaking, hysterics... When I told her that she could hold it on her own eye, she still resisted. The other eye started to look like it was crusting over, too. She couldn't see out of either eye. I tried and tried to talk to her, until I finally gave up and turned on cartoons.

Thirty seconds later she wanted the washcloth.

I suppose I should be calling the doctor's office Monday.

Everyone has a pretty bad cold right now, of course. Lots of sniffling and coughing and mouth breathing. Cullen and I are healthy (ish). I feel a little post-nasal drippy but nothing too bad. No coughing, no sniffling. Sometimes I wish I had one of those hazmat suits.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Random pictures and the weather--what could be more interesting?!

Mina was laughing for a long time about her invention, the beard crunch. I had Jason take a picture of it with my camera, even though I look terrible. And here I am posting it for all the world to see. *pats self on back*

This is what Cullen does when he has to wait .002 seconds for food.

Some chopped spinach.

Some lentil soup cookin'.

The girls watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Now for something completely different:




I'm not sure when I will be going out to finish Christmas shopping... I guess I shouldn't have waited until the last minute!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I couldn't give blood today because my hemoglobin was 11.6. I let them poke me again, you know, in case it was a fluke or something, but it only got lower.

Jason is excited about this because it means more beef for dinner. The guy at Red Cross said it means Jason has to take me out for steak dinner. I like that idea except I hate steak. Apparently the spinach and lentils aren't enough though. Or maybe I'm just bleeding internally. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Twitter is eating my brains

I think Twitter is making it hard for me to write here. Suddenly all of my thoughts are 140 characters or less.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunshine! Oh glorious life-giving sunshine!

I happily drove around in horrible, slick, snowy conditions this morning, gliding past accident after accident after accident, because there was a big blue sky above me and sun shining in the windows.

I had a lot of errands to run which would normally make me a little grumpy, but I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face if I tried.

I never thought I would feel this way about the sun.

I was driving around smiling and shaking my head, thinking, "We just keep going through all of this, every year... Crazy..."

Jason was up in the dark this morning shoveling snow, and our friendly neighbor helped us out with his new snowblower.

Snowfall after snowfall, we dig ourselves out, we trudge through, and we help our neighbors trudge through (or in our case our neighbors help us).

There's SOMETHING about it... Something that kind of makes you feel alive. Something that makes you huddle together. Something about the friendly Wisconsinites enduring the blustery cold blowing snow. Something about all those layers of clothes, the ugly boots, the hat hair for months and months, the regular consumption of alcohol, the extra layers of fat...

As much as I hate it sometimes, especially when the sun hides for weeks at a time, I also think it's kind of... What is the word I'm looking for... scary+fun+cozy+heartwarming+unbelievably awful+ Well... I'll think about it. You can help me out if you like.

I guess what I'm saying is... Wisconsin isn't for everyone, but for now at least, I kind of love it (even when I hate it).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I think I finally have some ideas for Christmas. No, I'm not going to tell YOU! Sheesh!

I've been very tired for the last few days for no good reason. Wait, maybe it's because I haven't had coffee in 5-6 days. Maybe that's why I've been feeling down again. Hmmmm... I have been drinking 3-4 mugs of tea per day. I wonder what will happen when I stop doing that too...

Jason's giving me 'tude about blogging instead of feeding my family dinner. I'm annoyed AND I feel foolish at the same time! NEAT!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Walking! and Thanking! and Freezing!

Cullen has taken a lot of steps this morning. He's going to be walking by the day's end, I'm sure of it. He actually runs. ONETWOTHREE and then falls over laughing. It's the funniest thing. I know it's not so cute to READ about but god, this kid is so adorable. The bigger he gets, the more pronounced his dimple is. I think I'm in love. Sorry, Jason. Cullen has stolen my heart. ;)

I decided to send the doctor a thank you. It's in the mailbox now. I've been a pretty demanding and hysterical patient. Rightly so, mind you, but still, he always calls me personally rather than having the nurse call, always makes time, is always really nice, and I want to encourage that. Plus, it's almost Christmas, AND he and his wife are about to have a baby, so you know, lots of well wishing had to be done. That totally makes up for the fact that I don't have any Christmas cards to send out yet much less presents, right???


Have I mentioned that it's -1 degrees F with a windchill of -20? That was a REALLY cold walk up to the school this morning. Maybe we should move out of this frozen tundra. It seems like kind of a pain to go through winter now, with the light box and the vitamin d and the horrible rosacea and OH I don't have to worry about that anymore because I froze my face off this morning. Everyone who lives here is crazy. Just thought you should all know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What kind of light box am I using?

It's a SUNBOX. The SunRay II, in fact. It looks like a giant glowing briefcase. It's my personal sunshine and I want to hug it every day. I only wish it could make breakfast for me.

Well Woman Visit

I've been jotting down notes for the last few weeks about what I want to talk to the doctor about. I filled up an entire mini Moleskine with said notes, but most of it was babble from when I was feeling bad. I decided to do some editing and make it a more concise list of concerns and got it down to three pages. Last night I worked hard to get it down to one page, front and back.

Do you think I got it out of my purse today at the appointment?

You're right. I didn't. Oh well. We didn't have two hours anyway.

I weigh 135.5 lbs. I thought it was about ten more than that, I really did. Amazing! Those are the kinds of surprises I don't mind. Now to start pumping iron... Dr. Dude said if I got below 130 I would need to add calcium to my supplements.

The pap was, well, it was what it was. Uncomfortable. But not bad. No pain. There was a nurse in the room "helping" but I have a feeling this is something that the male doctors are doing these days.

The nurse told me she just loved working with Dr. Dude and isn't he just the nicest?

I apologized for all the crazy phone calls and was assured that they weren't crazy and that if I sat next to him for eight hours I would realize that I was "better than normal". Well I guess that's my brand of crazy then, worrying about being crazy. Ha!

My socks were complimented by the doctor and nurse. Dr. Dude said he always likes my socks. What do you say to something like that? I shrugged and said, "Thanks... I love socks," and they laughed.

I'm to continue with the stuff I'm doing. Dr. Dude is going to be off for the next few weeks but "They know where to find me," he says, if need be. I am sure I can leave Dr. Dude and his family alone for a few weeks. :P I go in for a follow up (re: Wellbutrin etc.) at the end of January.

Oh! I asked about cholesterol because the one time I had it checked it was 400something, but he said since I was pregnant (with Mina) that was normal, and that when you're pregnant your body wants to hang on to all that cholesterol. He said I could get it checked but he doesn't think I need to and normally they would wait a few more years. Of course I didn't want to get pricked more than I needed to so I said I would just wait!

And I got my flu shot. Have you had yours? I have to bring the girls in for theirs.

Well, that's about it. I'm healthy. Aren't you glad I told you?

P.S. I feel kind of bad for the nickname "Dr. Dude". It's just that when I started seeing him I was not confident in his abilities and thought he was just some kid who may be delivering my baby... Eek. Little did I know! Maybe I can upgrade his nickname to something more fitting now.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm almost done saying The Line


Okay. Really. This is getting out of hand.

Moving on...

My grandma gets worried when I don't post for a few days so I'm sure the rest of you do too, right? No? Well I will post more anyway, because I love my grandma.

Since I don't have any big thing I want to say, I will do some tidbits:

  1. We've all had a cold for a few days.
  2. We got a ton of snow today and Madison public schools were canceled.
  3. We broke a shovel.
  4. I spent way too long tonight reading archives from my livejournal and cracking up. Yeah, I think I am funny. Mostly I was laughing at stories about the kids.
  5. My lips are in pain. Winter is pain. Wind is pain.
  6. I'm getting anxious about my upcoming doctor visit.
  7. I got out three Christmas decorations today. It's a start, right? I think this weekend we shall get a tree. This week I need to figure out where to put it. I need to stop being such a grump for the sake of the starry eyed children who can not stop talking about Christmas.
  8. Mina and Leta got along famously today. They were laughing so loud all day it was kind of driving me crazy, but it was kind of great. I get to see the inside scoop on what it's like to have a sister. Kind of like having a brother, because they have so much fun together, but different because they are SLIGHTLY more considerate. Maybe.

Okay. Time for bed.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"I drink YOUR milkshake!"

Do you ever get a line stuck in your head for days, or even weeks, and just say it over and over throughout the day?

I have the milkshake line in my head and I walk around all day every day saying it, each time trying to sound more like "Daniel Plainview" in There Will Be Blood. It brings me immense joy. Sometimes I laugh for a minute after I say it.

Today I asked Jason if he was getting sick of hearing it and he told me that he quite enjoyed it. I asked if he was joking and he said no. Well, that's good. I guess I married the right person. ;) I imagine most people would probably be driven crazy by something like that.

Light Box DON'T

I think the dark circles under my eyes were from looking at my light box, which the sales person at the medical supply store told me would give me the maximum benefit. They seem much better since I stopped doing this a few days ago, instead letting the light in less directly. I hope my eyes aren't permanently damaged! Thanks for the eyestrain, pal!

Not very "Madisony" of me

We are in the thick of dry skin season here in Wisconsin. While I'm sure most of the locals are feeling the pinch from paying out the wazoo for the latest berry extract goo, I'm going another way...

Petroleum jelly has been my first aid for extreme dry skin for a while but never have I slathered it on daily in place of lotion. That is, until I read this dermatology blog article and decided I would give it a try.

This is day two and so far my skin is looking and feeling pretty great! Sure, it doesn't smell delicious, it feels kind of gross going on, and it's PETROLEUM JELLY... But my legs are seriously smooth and not itchy like they were before (despite liberal daily applications of Lubriderm).

It's still possible that I'm going to break out in a horrible rash or full body acne or something, but so far so good. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hmm... Internal dialogue better than therapy

So I was folding laundry for a couple of hours tonight and I kept stopping to think. My internal dialogue was being so obnoxious that I couldn't fold towels and think at the same time.

Something that's been bringing me down when I think about it is that I feel sort of like a failure, admitting defeat, talking about this with professionals and going on about it here, taking a drug. I zone out on that thought a lot, and then have to shake myself free from it. I tell myself I'm doing the right thing, not to think like that, and all of those things.

By the time I was putting the towels away I was doing that thing where the lips are actually moving and you notice thankfully before anyone saw. (But then you go and blab to the world about it on your blog...) Anyway (there is that word again!) I came to an important crystallization I think.

I've been wearing this ugly sweater every day. I can't remember the last time it was washed. It's more of a robe, really. It's actually a maternity sweater that ties like a robe. I just want to wear my sweater all the time, and be really, really warm. I have always enjoyed clothing, and have been known to change my clothes several times in a day, so not caring about my outfit can be a sign that things are not well. I also haven't wanted to talk to people, haven't wanted to go anywhere, I just want to stay home with my family, wear my sweater all the time, and watch Boston Legal DVDs, and I am usually pretty squirrelly and need to get out and talk to people all the time.

I stopped in front of the mirror, taking note of the acne around my chin and by my eyes in weird places, and I said to myself, "It feels kind of good to allow myself to just go ahead and have a nervous breakdown."

I thought about that for a minute, about if that's kind of twisted, but no. I think it really is good. I've always felt that I wish I could go back and tell myself ten years ago that it was okay to be depressed and have really bad days, and to just wallow in it for the day and get it over with...

This may have been a long time coming, but I've just been going and going and going, and now I just have to sort of get it over with. The help I'm asking for and the things I'm doing will help for sure, and from here on out, but I think for me, it's important to be okay with "not doing well". I think that this is already cheering me up a little.

I'm not a photographer

Here is Mina multi-tasking. 1) looking through her glasses 2)deciding what to eat next 3)writing and coloring 4)getting her picture taken

I bet you thought she was just having a snack. Do you see how complicated life is when these organizational skills don't just come naturally? She is thinking very carefully about four things at the same time.

Leta really wanted me to take a picture of her in her new glasses, too. I let her wear sunglasses in the house if she wants to because it keeps her from saying that she can't see out of one of her eyes and needs glasses just like Mina. I hope she will get bored with it soon. Mina thinks Leta's preoccupation with her crooked sunglasses is pretty funny. You can see she's trying very hard not to say something mean here.

I just hope she doesn't break/lose her glasses today at school.


Mina got her glasses. One side is impossibly thick and the other side is almost normal. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but I love glasses and find people with glasses much more approachable. I want to squeeze her so hard but she doesn't like that. :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Feel Good - Look Terrible

I have really dark circles under my eyes. Let me hear your best beauty secrets for this problem. I am very fair skinned so the skin under my eyes is practically transparent. I really do not like the way makeup looks under there and am wondering, is there a better way?

One thing is that I'm very thirsty all the time, so maybe it's from dehydration.

My sleep habits haven't changed.

That wasn't even what I wanted to write about. Distracted much?

Ah--Okay. Wow. This is hard. It's so hard for me to say. I'm not sure there's any good way to put this so I'm just going to put it out there in all it's ugliness: I really hate exercise. I've been trying all year to get healthy and form good habits and I just keep thinking that when I do it enough, all of a sudden, I will LOVE it. I will enjoy doing it. I will feel great. Is it ever going to happen? Is there something fundamentally wrong with me? Will I ever be able to change from that frail, lanky looking, floppy girl who preferred scribbling in notebooks to riding bikes?

Tell me!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Are you feeling too happy?

That's what Jason asked when I told him I was going to see if I should lower my dosage of Wellbutrin SR.

I got pretty freaked out this morning when my heart was thumping super hard for no reason while I walked Mina to school. I know that for some people it can cause panic attacks and I also had too much coffee this morning. So I was pretty sure I wasn't having a heart attack or anything like that...

When I got home my vision was all weird. Sort of hazy. Sort of tricky. Like a light where there wasn't light.

So I start googling like crazy and of course come to the conclusion that I'm having a seizure. PANIC! PANIC!

I called and left a message for Dr. Dude's nurse. Dr. Dude called me back 20 minutes later and said to go back to 150 1x daily since I was feeling great on that much, and I told him I thought 300 was making me annoyed with everyone and wanting to be left alone... I mean more than usual. ;) He asked what we did for Thanksgiving and I told him we went around our hometown spreading Norovirus everywhere. He thought that was nice of us. Anyway...

Anyway anyway anyway. I say that word a lot. Because I get side-tracked a lot I guess.

I'm feeling normal now, everyone. I'm going to quit drinking coffee or at least cut down. I know, I know, you've heard it all before.