Sunday, November 27, 2005


We are very very lucky people living here in the US. Today, Nicholas Kristof wrote in the NY Times another in his series of reports from the Darfur region of Sudan. (I would link you to it, but it is one of the articles available only to "premium subscribers." If you find yourself near a newsstand today, I suggest you shell out the 2.50 and buy The Times if for no other reason than to read this article, and Frank Rich's while you're at it!!!)

In his article, Kristof linked to this blog. It is written by an aid worker living in the region, and she is telling us information that we are getting from no American news source that I've been able to see, other than Mr. Kristof. Two years ago, the president and congress passed a completely impotent resolution against the genocide in Darfur, and since, in American minds, the issue appears to have been "solved." Unfortunately, the genocide continues, and much like Rwanda in 1994, it continues unabated and with no sign of help from the US, and very little from NGO's and the UN. We can only hope that unlike in Rwanda, the aid agencies are able to stay to help the displaced people.

Why is it that people are complacent? We are talking hundreds of thousands killed because of their ethnicities. Is it because the notion of Africa comes with the a priori images of rape, civil war, AIDS and famine? Is it because they are black? Is it because the idea of helping them seems hopeless? Or is it because no one even knows about it until someone in Hollywood decides to make a movie about it?

For me, this is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. Education is the key here, and I'm not just talking about being able to locate Sudan on a map of the world. I'm not even talking about schools. We need to educate our children and each other in the art of empathy. It's so simple. How would you feel if you were forced to go out into fields to collect grasses, certain that if the armies of your enemies find you, you will be raped, if you are female, or killed, if you are male? Did you know that the women in the camps in Darfur often do this work, get the water or the food outside of the camp, because if they are found, they will be "only" raped while their husbands would be murdered in the same scenario? Can you imagine making that choice? Beyond the simple "substitution" idea of empathy, there is then our government, that has the power to fight this kind of killing (but I suppose has never done so appropriately), but instead seems overly concerned with filling their own pockets with a corporate, oligarchical political agenda and keeping alive a single braindead woman in a coma in Florida. In my ideal world, the ideas of empathy and democracy would be one and the same.

We are so lucky to have been born here. Here is my Thanksgiving post, I suppose. For me, I am thankful to be a financially struggling single mother of a bipolar child. I still have everything that I need, and am not in danger.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Turkey's over, Bring on the Roast Beast!!!

Okay, how is it not only November, but almost December? They say that time flies when you are having fun. Clearly, the last three months have been LOADS of fun, then. My mindset is still in August. Maybe I've progressed to understand that it's September. The weather is not helping. Last week we had temps in the 70's. Damn this global warming.

I did put up my Christmas tree today. Whoa. The Kid was PSYCHED. I had told him that the chore for today was to clean the house so we could get out the Christmas stuff. Like, get out the Christmas stuff, eventually. He saw it as a one-day deal... So, like any right minded 5 year old, he woke me up at 6:30, rolled the vacuum into my room, and said, "Get up! It's time to clean!!!" Um, a little role reversal anyone?

I fought him for time. We did wake up and clean, but I was still in no way in the mood for Christmas stuff. I then remembered, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." We watched Elf, which I now have to admit is my absolute favorite Christmas movie--sorry to all my Hoosiers and Christmas Story fans, and my dad, for It's a Wonderful Life (which is not so much a Christmas movie to me but a year-round reminder of the impact of our lives and definitely one of the best tear jerkers EVER made, and so falls under a whole other category). I drank a cup of coffee, and frankly, I'm not sure which gave me the initiative more, but we then decorated. Beautifully, I might add. It's always so fun to get your Christmas decor out.

The Kid then wrote his letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

I've been very good. I helped my mom clean and put up the decorations. Can I please have some presents now? [Oh, now I get the motivation... Kind of like cramming for the exam!!!] What I would like for Christmas is:

  • Scamps, my playful pup
  • Smoochie Pup
  • Sunshine Bear (a care bear)
  • A new remote control Velociraptor [so I guess we can't get him a used one?]
  • A sled
  • A kid RV [his only 'dream on' entry, he wants one of those mechanical cars for kids, which, dream on, yo.]
  • A Dinosaur Skeleton Puzzle
  • A new stuffed penguin w/ a Santa hat [um, what?]
  • Harry Potter stuff, especialy a Dobby toy
  • Cold-nosed pup in yellow [I was laughing at this, until I googled it, and they're way cute, although I still don't get the "cold nose" thing. Is it refridgerated? Will I have to put water in it? I'm scared...]


The Kid

All in all a pretty good list. Santa can abide. Something makes me think that The Kid likes dogs...

I still don't believe it's November. Now I need to go shopping? Huh?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

All is well

The Kid made it through his surgery just fine. I hate saying surgery because it makes it so much more of a big deal than it was. I mean, it was a big deal, but only because of the general anesthesia. The rest of it was normal dentistry.

More later, I've got a date with Harry Potter.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Jumping the Shark

Funny Kid.

He just asked me, "Is jumping sharks a sport?"

I said no, realizing he wouldn't let this issue rest until he knew what the heck shark jumping is all about. He got the idea from a cartoon, called Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, which recently aired an episode about one of the main characters rising to fame, until he jumped a shark tank, and then fell to obscurity again.

So, I began, "Once upon a time, there was a show called Happy Days..."

The Kid sat on my bed in rapt attention as I told him the story of Fonzie waterskiing over the sharks, and how the phrase "jumping the shark" has come to be a signal, a phenomenon, when a TV show becomes no good. This is how we spend our evenings. For reals.

When I finished the story, The Kid got super excited and said, "I want to see Fonzie water ski!!! That sounds so COOL!"


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Happy Birthday Meema!

Today is the birthday of The Kid and my favorite person in the world... Happy Birthday mom!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What's the worst word in the English language? Dentist.

In March of 2004, I took The Kid to the dentist for the first time. He had just turned four. I had avoided going to the dentist mostly because I feared his lack of ability to handle the experience. In short, he's too much of a spaz for the dentist's office. Also, I had no idea that people brought their children to the dentist much earlier than four. Apparently, they do.

We went to the dentist in March of 2004 because The Kid had an extreme toothache. Because that was an "emergency" visit, they didn't clean his teeth, but instead they told me that they had to extract the offending tooth immediately because it was so badly infected. I thought I'd never felt like a worse parent at that news. That was until they put him in the straight jacket (in fairness, they call it a "papoose.") and used a mouth holder-opener car-jack-type of instrument and had four people holding him down, holding his head still until they got the tooth out, while he screamed, vomited and cried. The Kid was horrified, and he told me later that he thought they were going to kill him.

We then came back a few weeks later for a proper teeth-cleaning and dental exam. He had about 10 cavities, needed four root canals and would be given silver caps on 6 teeth.

The author of this post has never had a cavity [knocks on wood]. I do not have soda in my house except on birthdays, and I rarely even have juice. We do eat our fair share of ice cream, but don't have candy around, pretty much ever--halloween excepted. I could not get the dentist to believe me on these points (except for the ice cream part), and instead of just listening to me and talking about next steps or perhaps a stab in the dark why his enamel might be bad other than my complete and utter neglect of him, he felt it necessary to inform me that we do not feed our children gummy bears for dinner and don't have them gargle with Yoo-Hoo. Thanks, Dentist.

In order to do all of this work, and in light of the straight-jacket experience, they opted to have him put under general anesthesia in order to fix his teeth. This all went well. Done. We've been back since, again, all well.

About a month ago, The Kid started up about a toothache again.

Shit. Again, we went into the dentist's office on an emergency basis. They took an x-ray of the tooth he said hurt, but found nothing. I think this disturbed me more than had there been full-scale tooth decay. Was it psycho-somatic? The imaginary toothache?

Since then, I've just treated the toothache with small doses of motrin and tylenol. Generally, he's been okay. Last Friday, however, he started screaming at my mom's house about his pain. This began at 7pm or so. We went home, put him in the bath, tried to get him down to sleep. The whole time, he screamed and winced in pain. I gave him new doses of pain killer every two or three hours. At midnight, I gave him a full (and then some) dose of Benadryl. Still, no sleep, the pain didn't let up. At 2am, desperate and frankly freaking out, we went to the emergency room. By the time the doctor finally saw us, though, the drugs and the crying finally caught up with The Kid and he passed out. The ER doc told me to give him motrin. That was $50 and a sleepless night (next to the drunk tank and a guy having a heart attack) well spent.

We had a long standing (like, before the toothache began) check up scheduled for today. He has to get another silver cap and another root canal. And, sure enough, he does have a tooth that needs to come out. The pain he complained of on the day we went to the dentist before was on his lower teeth. The inflicted tooth is actually on the top. The dentist explained that pain can transfer because of the many nerves in the mouth, hence the confusion. Sure wish they would have thought of that before, huh?

She said she wanted to take the tooth out, that they had a "papoose" that would hug him and restrain him. I said, NO STRAIGHT JACKET. Then I said words like "Bipolar" and "ADHD" and "four people on top of him and he still wasn't still" and I got her attention. She suggested sedation, although she mentioned that sometimes it doesn't work.

Knowing our luck, I said, The Kid will be one of those to not be sedated by sedation.

In order to get the sedation, however, we'd have to wait for a month before they could see us. I told her this was impossible. The Kid is in real pain, and what would happen if we let the infection spread for another month?

I asked about going elsewhere, and she kind of played along with it for a while, until she decided to get advice from the attending physician (this dental clinic is in the Children's Hospital, and is a teaching program). Apparently, the attending agreed with me, and suggested another round of general anesthesia. This would be a two month wait. Additionally, this would take medical director's approval, and he's out golfing or vacationing or whatever doctors do when they aren't at work, until Tuesday.

Here we are, to the right of us is a rock, and to the left of us is a hard place.

Two months of slamming back shots of motrin morning and night? Doesn't sound too great. We left it that she'd get back to me Tuesday, and we'd work on it then. My brain hurt so much at that point that I agreed.

One hour later, I got a call on my cell phone. She told me that she talked to the other attending and he cleared a space in the OR for us on Tuesday, November 15. They will take care of his teeth then. I thanked her excessively.

So, I am relieved. Only 4 more days of yelping pain. At the same time, I'm stressed beyond belief. More medical bills. More time away from work. And will he need general anesthesia every time he gets a cavity filled? And will we ever be able to address why his teeth are such crap despite our brushing, flossing and lack of sugary drinks about the house?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

We had an interesting night Tuesday. The Kid got to go to his first all-ages Rock and Roll concert.

Before you go all, "No She Di-dint" on me, it was the taping of a radio show that will eventually air on NPR, so like, chill out. It was still a pretty subversive first concert, though.

Techinically, however, I must document that his first concert was a Boston Pop's Fourth of July concert in 2004 (my big sister sings with the Tanglewood Choir and we had to go see her sing in it!!!), a highpoint of that show being that Diamond David Lee Roth (yeah, that David Lee Roth)guest starred, and we later met him, but that is a story for another time.

I was slated to see a fave band of mine called Bright Eyes perform at the taping a radio show called E-Town. I was to go with my friend who, that afternoon, called to tell me that she had the stomach flu and wouldn't be able to attend.

I am not missing Bright Eyes again! I told myself. Every one of their shows this year (and in a rare move, there have been three) was sold out before I ever heard about it. And, like, it's a hobby of mine to know who's coming to town. I've just been cursed with the Bright Eyes thing. The E-Town opportunity was not to be missed. I did a little half-hearted scrambling to see if anyone else could go with me, before I thought of The Kid.

Well, the tickets say "all ages"...

I weighed the decision. Late school night/someday legend of singer-songwriters... I chose to take The Kid to his first Rock and Roll concert.

Granted, it was in Boulder, so it wouldn't be smoky, and it would be a short set because it's only an hour-long radio show. It was actually ideal, although The Kid is only 5.

So, we headed up to Boulder for the show, and arrived just in time to find 2 okay seats toward the back. The Kid suggested we go check out the balcony, perhaps we could find better seats up there... The show began with another singer-songwriter named Eliza Gilkyson. The Kid pretty much freaked out completely in the middle of her set because he changed his mind about the seating arrangement he'd chosen.

Now, during the taping of radio shows, it is generally frowned upon to have a temper tantrum. Just so you know.

The Kid FREAKED. At first, he silently suffered, wrinkling his face up, tears streaking down his face. I told him, DEAL. Then it hit the fan (oops, my bad). He hit full tantrum stride right as we made our way out of the balcony section and into the lobby of the theatre. As we sat on the stairs of the Boulder Theatre's lobby, The Kid sobbing into my arms, this grumpy usher-guy came up to me and shushed us, and said, "You need to quiet him down."

I gave him a good crusty, as I can only do when defending my kid, and said, "Working on it!" but refrained ending the sentence as I was wont to do with an "Asshole."

After a minute, I got The Kid to settle down just enough to level with him. We can't stay out here. We can't sit downstairs (it was sold out). I'm not leaving without seeing some damn Bright Eyes. Let's go back to the balcony.

Then a nice usher-woman came up and gave The Kid an E-Town sticker, and asked him what was the matter. He replied, "If *gasp* we sit *sniff* upstairs I won't *tears dropping* see Bright *wipe nose* Eyes close *snort* enough..."

The nice usher-woman winked at me and said, "Let me see what we can do." She disappeared into the house of the theatre. A moment later, she came back to say that she'd found a couple of seats up front for us, but that The Kid would have to promise to be super-duper quiet.
She led us to the front VIP section, where we could see PERFECTLY, and even had our own table. It was glorious. I wanted to give The Kid a high-five. I've pushed my way to the front at concerts, but I've never bratted my way there. This is a new strategy...

[side note for Grubmer and Boc--you think Jugs or her kid at the bronco games has a mental/nervous disorder and thus gets those good ADA seats? Not like I'd work it that way, but just wondering...]

So, the show totally rocked. Not only was the music great, but it was fun to see diminutive, bohemian Conor Oberst (lead singer/songwriter for Bright Eyes) go all 'young Bob Dylan' and alienate, mystify and not directly answer any of the questions from the middle-aged hippie host dude. The show will be broadcast sometime in December, check out the website and find out when it will be on a station near you. In Denver, it's on Sunday's on KBCO I think at 7 or 8pm.

As we left, The Kid and I went up to thank the nice usher-lady. After that was done, coincidentally as we stood right in front of the Bright Eyes merchandise table, The Kid asked loudly, "Do you think we can meet Bright Eyes now?" [After the Boston incident and meeting David Lee Roth, I think he may think you can always go meet the stars of the show afterward?] The merch guy heard The Kid say that, and immediately showed up with a Bright Eyes t-shirt for The Kid. It's one of those rediculously tiny women's t-shirts and it actually fits The Kid great, except that it's a little bit long. The Kid wore it to school today, totally proud, thinking he was too cool for school.

So, Jaci, don't feel so bad that you're gone in Chicago. Erin, don't feel bad about the stomach flu. I found myself a new concert buddy. Wonder what they'd do if I showed up at the Larimer Lounge with a 5-year old? Just kidding....

Just a little more Harry Potter

I got super frustrated trying to put all of these photos on one post the other night that I gave up completely, but I still feel a real need to share.

These three photos The Kid himself commissioned from me. He wanted to act out "being Harry Potter," and I got to document it.

Picture number one: The Kid is acting out Harry finding the snitch in his hand as he wins his first Quidditch game.

Picture number two: This is what Harry Potter looked like when he fought Voldemort.

Picture number three: This is how Harry felt when he looked into the Mirror of Erised.

I'm a sucker for The Kid's acting. He gets my personal Oscar fer sure...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Harry Potter

Blogger is driving me crazy tonight, so I'm not finding a lot of patience to make this perfect, but here are pictures of The Kid as Harry Potter.

Friday, November 04, 2005

A Quick Word About My Boss

I know, I know, we've all heard about the girl who lost her job because of her blogging about work. I've seen her site (here), and it's actually very funny. Anyway, this post is in reverence of the man I call my boss, although he's technically not my boss, but I've never met my technical boss and I'm frankly kind of scared of that guy (and no fear of getting "dooced" for that one, because from the little I know of him, he'd love to know that I was scared... Like dogs and bees, he can smell it anyway, all the way from the east coast.).

As I've written before, my boss's mother had BPD, and his eldest son has it as well. My boss, however, does not. Instead, he has the most amazing ability to calm people down, is cheerful and even keeled (is that how that is spelled?). I've been in meetings with him where tempers have flared, and he has the most amazing knack at regaining focus, getting everyone to acknowledge what they are angry about without remaining angry, and moving on to the task at hand. I've been known to throw my own little temper tantrums at work, as it is a highly frustrating job, and he constantly refocuses me, calms me down, and not only points me toward the solution, but does it in a way that aids ME in finding the solution myself. This of course, is a personality of a man who spent his childhood essentially mothering his mother when she would get manic.

He's seriously one of the most amazing and kind people I've ever met... I love him like a family member, but one that, you know, you work with and would feel really weird hanging out with at a swimming pool or something.

When I told him that the forthcoming DU report was going to find bipolar disorder as a possible diagnosis for The Kid, he immediately ushered me into his office. We sat down, talked a little about what it was like for his son. Luckily, they knew that lithium worked on my boss's mother, so they pretty quickly found a dosage that worked with my boss's son as well, and since then, he's done pretty well. He's in high school now, is class president, an athlete, and scored decently on his SAT's and will probably get into a pretty good university.

During this conversation, I said, Boss, don't you get this strange sense of serendipity here? I am so lucky to know you.

He let out a gasp and started to cry, and nodded. I cannot tell you what that felt like. It was, um, cosmic. I was meant to meet him, to have him help me. I can't imagine what I'd be feeling with this diagnosis if I didn't know my boss and his son.

Do you understand now? I am blessed! If you thought that I was overly naive or optimistic with the whole "this is the best of all possible worlds" thing, do you get it now? I can't ever feel "why me?" or feel put upon, because it just all fits together so well. It feels like destiny. It feels like it's what we are meant to do.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Kid is a Genius

He's doing his homework right now. His job is to draw his favorite fairy tale character. He chose Puss in Boots. He grabbed a fairy tale anthology that I have that has a picture of Puss bowing on the cover. He is currently drawing a really shockingly accurate bold-lined contour drawing. Like, I don't think that I could do it this well. I'm seriously freaking the f*ck out right now. It's amazing.

... Ten minutes later...

He lost interest in it, and then rushed the ending. He's a genius, with attention issues...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Totally Off Topic...

But I just had to comment.

Tonight, the voters of Denver passed a referendum to make possessing an ounce of marijuana legal. They did it on a platform of "Well, if you are stoned, then you won't beat your wife." I'm totally not kidding about that.

I've been totally and completely annoyed by the entire campaign since day one. It's such a defeatist attitude... "Since you are going to get butt-ass wasted anyway, why don't you try pot? You won't get in fights this way." Dude, that is like so totally a stoner way to fight the man. Too bad you'll REALLY want to still get behind the wheel of your car to go buy Twinkies at 2 am.

But then I got to thinking, it was truly brilliant. Basically what's been done here is to decriminalize pot possession, freeing the prisons and law enforcement to investigate more serious drug issues, sellers, ect. No one in Denver would have passed it had it been promoted like that...

So, the owners of 7-11 and Taco Bell rejoice around the city. I predict Phish, Widespread Panic and Grateful Dead album sales will soar.