Now that Halloween is over, it’s time to start the Christmas posts, right? I mean, the stores have been putting Christmas stuff out since the beginning of October. And last week I saw egg nog – egg nog!!! – on the shelves at the store. Didn’t we used to have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for egg nog? I mean, sheesh, why not just sell it year round… and while you’re at it, why not sell girl scout cookies year round. Or peeps or whatever your holiday treat of choice is. Isn’t the whole idea of only marketing those things at certain times of the year that people will find it special and therefore buy more???

But I digress… again.

I present (ha ha get it pre-sent/present – ok, I know that was awful) to you my very first entry into the bloggers quilt festival.

Years ago I saw a tree skirt at Pottery Barn that I fell in love with. Of course, I didn’t want to pay $95 for a tree skirt. I mean, when I was a kid, I think we used an old sheet or something. No way, no how I was paying more than $15 for a tree-skirt. But oh, I had to have that perfect tree skirt, and this was in the height of my Pottery Barn knock off days. (You should see the wine cabinet I made Chris build.)

I’ve had friends bugging me for years to blog about this particular project. I did want to do a post on it on several occasions, but could never drag myself up to the attic to dig it out of its storage box before we put the tree up, and by the time the tree was up, the living room would be such a mess that there was no way I wanted photos of that on my blog.

So here it is. Well loved and not washed until last year… I was so afraid to wash it despite all the dog hair and dust because the only machine sewn seam on the whole thing is between the white background and the red border. Everything else is hand sewn. These days, I wouldn’t worry about hand sewn goods being put through the wash, but this was one of my first projects, and knowing now what I didn’t then, I was terrified that the whole thing would turn into a frayed mess in the washing machine.

But last year, after all the presents were opened and the piles of trash in the living room were picked up, I noticed a big gray smudge on the once white background. From the dog lying on the skirt. So I had to suck it up and wash the thing. I figured if it fell apart I’d just make another one. Though, I must admit that I did consider reenforcing it before the washing. But when I pulled the tree skirt from the dryer last year, I saw that now my beloved skirt was not only in one unfrayed (and clean!) piece, but it was also all freshly-washed quilty crinkly. I was elated. (I was also glad that the red border didn’t bleed all over the white background.)

The quilting on this bad boy shows me that by the time I made it, I had come a long way from the first quilt, and had some idea of what good hand-quilting was supposed to look like. Or at least what traditional quilt-show worthy hand-quilting looks like. I only say that because these days big visible stitches in hand-quilting seem to be the cool thing to do. You can also see that I didn’t “properly” bind this quilt either. I merely rolled the backing fabric to the front and sewed it down. I’ve done that on a few quilts too, because sometimes it’s just the only thing that will work. I’m sure that quilt-show judges would ding me for that, too. (Yes, Amanda, I’m talking to you… wink wink).

And just because… a gratuitous kid photo. Apparently she likes lying on the quilt as much as the dog.

I told you how awesome my fourth of July weekend was, what with the fabric and pattern finds, but what I haven’t mentioned yet was the conclusion to that weekend. Technically, I suppose my luck ran out after the weekend and just before the first of the work week.

Tuesday morning, July 5th. The day before my sweet boy’s first birthday. I buckled him into his car seat to take him to the sitter (my mom) so I can go to work. But damn. I forgot the container of creamer to take to work, so I ran back in to get it. Back outside I remember that we’d been working on my dad’s house over the weekend and the shop vac with nasty gunk in it was in the back end of my car. So I open the tailgate and put the shop vac into the garage. Come back around and pick up the creamer and pull the tailgate shut… and that’s when I was all of a sudden on the ground wondering why my teeth hurt so bad.

Yeah. Genius. Ow ow ow. Holy shit, my head hurts…. I crawled into the car from the passenger side and fished around in my purse for my phone while holding my head with the other hand and dialed Chris and told him to come home. NOW. I knew he would think I was over reacting, but I was really proud of myself for not crying and having the presence of mind to actually call him before collapsing in the driveway. That’s when the baby started screaming. That’s when I noticed my head was gushing blood.

Somehow I managed to get a towel out of the kitchen and put it on my head. And all I could think of was the pain. And that I was very lucky that the baby was already buckled into his seat. He was pissed off about it, but I knew he was safe. I was also really glad that I didn’t get any blood in my Coach purse. Yeah, I have my priorities straight. Really.

I think Chris was pretty shocked when he pulled up to the house a few minutes later to see me bleeding and rocking in the driveway saying “oh shit oh shit oh shit” over and over again.

Next thing I knew, we were in the ER and they were asking me if I blacked out. I didn’t think so (though now I do think I did as this disjointed recollection clearly — ha ha — shows). Then we were sitting in the waiting area for what seemed like forever while some dude kept telling me that I had blood running down my arm. No kidding, Sherlock, really?

What happened to blood being the ER’s equivalent to a fast pass at Disney? Cue really bad elevator music.

Fast forward a few minutes. Now I’m sitting on a table in a freezing exam room with a wad of gauze stuck to my head with some sort of numbing gunk on it, blood drying on my pants and arms. Meanwhile, the doctors and nurses are running around freaking out because the handout on the tetanus shot says that people who’ve had Guillain-Barre syndrome, might be contraindicated. Whatever.

Lucky me. While they were trying to locate an immunologist, I needed to go…. badly. So I found a restroom. But on the way out my gloppy gauze fell off my head and landed — yep, you guessed it — gooey side down on the nasty hospital bathroom floor. Joy.

Twenty minutes later the doctor comes back in and tells me he thinks that I could have the tetanus shot because my reaction was to a flu shot and the tetanus shot doesn’t have the same ingredients that caused my reaction. Eh? I didn’t care anymore, I was going to get the shot anyway. I’m pretty sure my neurologist would have told me to get it.

Now the doctor wants to go ahead and do the staples in my head — because staples are better and don’t require shaving hair — but the nurse has brought the wrong staple gun in. That thing was huge. I swear it was big enough to staple an elephant who just had a c-section together. After the doctor finds the smaller stapler, I finally get to point out that the numbing gunk has been off my head for a while, and that maybe we should put more on there. The doctor declines and says it will be ok, it hasn’t been long enough to wear off. Um, ok.

Five staples and much pain later (yeah the numbing effect didn’t wear off at all), we finally got out of there. Chris took pictures, but I’ll spare you the gore. They forgot to mention that I might have a concussion. Which I didn’t really figure out on my own until a couple of days later when I ran a red light in my foggy stupor and realized that maybe I shouldn’t be driving… especially with the kids in the car. The fourth day, I woke up and everything was clear again, and that’s when I realized I must have been concussed. I’m telling you, top rate speedy care at that ER, baby. All for the bargain price of $1500 bucks or something.

So that’s how my awesome weekend ended. I suppose it could have been worse.



Filed Under Parenting, Ranting | 4 Comments

What is it about the public school system? Why do they want every child to conform? Why can’t they see that some children need to learn differently than others? Why are children expected to behave in exactly the same manner? Why are differences in creativity smothered?

If they have programs for children with special needs, why can’t they adjust the curriculum for children whose skills are far beyond the lessons being taught in their classroom? In my opinion (which is worthless at best) gifted children *are* special needs cases. At the very least, they could skip the child ahead to keep her challenged. But that is not generally allowed either. Children must be grouped according to age. For some unknown reason, they think that putting a younger child with a group of older children at the same academic level is unacceptable. Chris said it best, “No child left behind means no child gets ahead.”

Have you seen the test for graduation from school in 1895? I’m willing to bet that the percentage of students graduating today who could pass is remarkably low. I know I can’t pass it. Schools are so focused on passing standardized tests, that they forget to make learning fun. Children are filed into a classroom, expected to sit still and pay attention and go over the same monotonous bullshit every day. For the students who have already mastered the days lessons, it is a painful, boring process. And what do young kids do when they’re bored? Well, I know what MY kid does when she is bored, and that is entertain herself. Unfortunately there isn’t much way for her to entertain herself in her classroom. Her notebooks and crayons are put away out of reach. Without thinking about it (because she is FIVE) she begins singing to herself or wiggling. And when a child demonstrates these behaviors the first thing school administrators and teachers do is jump to the conclusion that she is ADHD.

I can’t tell you how angry this makes me. Not because in some cases they are probably right, but because in this case, I told the teacher MONTHS AGO that my child was bored. And that this is how she behaves when she is bored. For example, if we take her to a restaurant and she is given a coloring sheet, she will happily color it until the food arrives. However, if we forget to bring paper and colors, or the restaurant doesn’t have special kids activities, she wiggles, and sings and tries to get up and walk around.

But ADHD is out of the question. Alexis can sit for HOURS and color. She can sit for HOURS and write a story. She can read a 150 page book to me in one go. I don’t think her attention span has any deficit at all.

From what I can understand, the reading lessons in her classroom consist of staring at a sight word on the overhead projector and saying it out-loud with the class for several minutes. Can you imagine how boring it must be to read the word “the” 50 times? Especially to a child who is starting to read chapter books to herself?

But according to her teacher, “It seems to me that being challenged is not so much the issue as is learning interpersonal/social skills”. What a load of crap. My child can carry on an intelligent and engaging conversation with an adult. “[S]inging the Good morning, Weather, Days of the Week and Month of the Year songs with the class [and] counting the number of days we’ve been at school on our number chart” is probably BORING.

But hell, what do I know? I’m just her mother.

** I’m half tempted to post the entire email thread here just to prove what an idiot this teacher is.

How am I supposed to get any real work completed when there is so much slacking off that must be done? I mean, hell, there is shopping to do, forums and email to be read, and (most importantly) blogs to write. Dammit, there is even bubble wrap that must be popped. And don’t forget the on-line crosswords, jigsaw puzzles and – who’s the genius that implemented this? – sudoku. I also need to chat with my friends and Stumble! some. By the way, if you’re not stumbling, then you have no idea how to waste time.

As my co-workers will tell you, there are always cards to be played. One of our key requirements for new hires is that they can shuffle large decks of cards quickly.

The lunch wheel must be spun NOW. Eew, no not that place spin again! No, again! Deciding where to go for lunch can take a good half hour. And after lunch we’re heading over to the bookstore for some research – on novels and comics and craft magazines.

I must checkout the kitchen to make sure there is no new free candy or something. I need to get countless bottles of water and cups of coffee. I need to stand around the brewing coffee pot and shoot the shit with my friends. Oh and now I have to pee 20 times in a day because of all the coffee and water I just drank.

I’m sorry that I fell asleep in that meeting last week. I forgot my laptop so I could hide behind it and plan my next 5 vacations. It takes serious scheduling to get 5 weeks of vacation out of the 3 weeks I’m given. Now that’s time management!

I’ve got phone calls to make, evites to check, appointments to schedule and errands to run. There are TV shows to review, video games to play, parties to plan, and websites to write. And someone should really solve that Rubik’s cube, it’s been sitting unfinished for a couple of hours now.

Don’t go on vacation, because then I’ll have to deface your cube in some way, and that takes planning. Do you know how long it takes to collect enough post-it notes to cover your entire workspace? Coming up with an original idea is just too much work, better to just google it and steal someone else’s prank.

Whew, I’m tired. I think tomorrow I’ll work from home.

* If you’re my boss and you’re reading this. It’s all a joke. Really. Besides, don’t you have a meeting to go to or something?

Flu Flack

Filed Under Ranting | 3 Comments

I’ve been getting a lot of negative responses to my flu post. According to these readers, I’m pushing people who are on the fence about getting the shot to make the decision not to. Apparently this is a bad thing. They say I am going about trying to convince people not to get a shot the wrong way. They say I am using scare tactics and that I handled it badly. I didn’t write the story to handle anything.

I wrote the post with the sole reason of telling people my story. I never said that anyone shouldn’t get a flu shot. I told my story in the hopes that people who were looking for information on the flu shot would find both sides of the argument. I told my story as a way to face what happened in full. I told my story because it’s interesting.

I want people to THINK about what they are putting into their body before blindly following the sheep to the slaughterhouse. THINK about what’s in that shot. Did you know it has mercury, formaldehyde, and steroids in it? This video is meant to be funny, but it’s also informative. And sad though it may be, his version of the flu shot might actually be more effective than the actual vaccine because it contains the ACTUAL STRAIN that is out there. Did you know that the flu shot given is just antibodies against 3 PREDICTED strains. As if all the chemicals weren’t bad enough, now we’re throwing ESP into the mix.

If propaganda isn’t your style, then maybe this is something to think about. There are years when the flu shot is in short supply, and the people that REALLY should get a shot can’t because Joe Blow down the street got a shot even though he’s not in any of the risk groups. I cited the CDC when I said that the shot is meant for people with a high risk of complications from contracting influenza.

People who should get vaccinated each year are:

  1. People at high risk for complications from the flu, including:
    • Children aged 6 months until their 5th birthday,
    • Pregnant women,
    • People 50 years of age and older, and
    • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions;
    • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.
  2. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu.

Believe it or not, I’m not one of those people who refuses to vaccinate her children. Honestly, for most diseases that have an immunization it’s a really good idea. I mean, do we really want to reintroduce Polio or Diptheria back into the populations. Hell no. But the flu (and chicken pox) rarely kills individuals who are young and healthy to start with.

But you know what? The bottom line is that this is MY website, MY blog, and MY story to tell. And that’s really all the justification and explaination I should need.

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