Tuesday, May 6, 2008

This and that

It feels like it has been ages since I've posted anything, though in reality it hasn't been that long... We've been dealing with the nasty head cold the kiddo caught while still on the antibiotics for her strep (I know - virus vs. bacterial; still, you'd think that being on megadoses of medicine would somehow grant immunity to all other germies) and then subsequently passed on to me, despite my rigorous handwashing following every nose-blowing assist given. For me, it's just all jammed up in my sinuses as well as a pretty decent, breath-stealing cough every now and again, whereas the kiddo has a hacking, wet, thick, gooey cough that makes your lungs hurt to hear it to accompany her Niagara Falls Nostrils (now with Magnificent Snot Bubbles!). Mostly the cough is occurring at night while she's sleeping, thank you post-nasal drip.

Seriously, I am so sick of germs. I don't know if it is because she was a preemie or what, but the kiddo manages to pick up seemingly everything that goes through preschool. I'm assuming she'll have an immune system made of freaking adamantium by the time she starts kindergarten... As for me, well, I was feeling a bit smug at how I managed to avoid her strep germs, so of course I had to catch the head cold. At least it didn't sideline me for more than a few early evenings when I was sound asleep by 8pm, and only once of those while under the influence of my magical elixir, aka Nyquil. The kiddo is generally healthier in the summer months, so hopefully this will be the Last Bad Bug (*knocking wood*) for the foreseeable future.


In other illness-related news, I've been dealing with a rather nasty eye disease (I'd been calling it a "condition" but was corrected by the eye doc; it is, in fact, a disease - whee!) for the last six months. The disease caused bumps to form on the underside of my eyelids, and when those bumps grew menacingly large enough, they began to mess up my corneas, scratching them and putting pressure on my eyeballs in weird ways that affected my vision and also rendered me unable to wear my contacts. I had to use steroids in my eyes along with other eyedrops and gels to get things under control, so I've had to deal with occasional bouts of eyelid 'roid rage - not pretty, all that overly-aggressive blinking and winking. Hee. Seriously, though, for a while there was the very real possibility that I'd have to have a surgical procedure done to the insides of my eyelids (I won't go into gory detail - I'll just say the procedure involved membrane peeling and allow you to shudder sufficiently at that) but after two visits with the eye surgeon, the verdict thankfully came back that no membrane peeling was required. (The actual exam, by the by, made me feel like I was a victim in one of the Saw films... seriously one of the more unpleasant things I've ever had to endure and something that made me more convinced than ever that I shall never undergo any sort of eye surgery - Lasik or what have you - unless the choice is that or utter, permanent blindness.)

So, this morning I had an appointment with my regular eye doc, following up on the follow-up with the eye surgeon from last week, and I had more good news: I may be able to wear contact lenses again! That was the biggest downside (well, other than the possibility of permanent corneal damage and all that) to this disease - the fact that I've had to wear my glasses for the last six months. I'd barely been able to wear my contacts for a while before that, as the eyelid bumps made the lenses shift around on my eye - not good for the whole "visual clarity" thing - but to be told officially "No contacts" made me a bit sad even though I'd mostly given up on them already.

See, the thing is, I'm ridiculously - nay, ridonkulously - nearsighted. Have been for decades. Started wearing glasses back in elementary school, and one of the happiest days of my teenage life was my 16th birthday, when I was fitted with my first pair of contact lenses. Having suffered through either the indignity of glasses back when they seemed to have more of a stigma (Four Eyes, Mr. Magoo, etc) than they do nowadays, or the indignity of having to squint with fuzzy vision while not wearing my glasses (eg - I refused to wear them for my role in The Mikado one year in high school, and then had to find my mark onstage by lining myself up with the reflection of the spotlight off our music director's bald head in the orchestra pit, as I couldn't see clearly enough to find a mark on the floor). So, I began wearing contacts at 16 and they became my primary source of vision correction for the following 20 years. That is, 'til this disease slammed me in the eyelids and I was thrown back into the world of glasses.

Things for glasses-wearers certainly have improved over the years. The stigma seems to be fading, if not gone, of being a Magoo. Even the glasses themselves look a lot nicer, and with the invention of the "featherweight" lens, my glasses are now down from Crazy Coke Bottle thickness to a more flattering half-inch thick. (I'm not kidding - I just measured. Seriously, a half inch thick. Yowza.) The biggest downside for me to glasses is my photosensitivity - I can get a wicked migraine from too-bright light, and am therefore a bit paranoid about light. (I'm also allergic to sunlight, but that's another post altogether...) So, with contacts, I could whip out the darkest, largest pair of sunglasses I could find (for years, I wore Ray Ban Wayfarers in tortiseshell, but alas, their price has gone from merely steep - $54 for the last pair I purchased, several years ago - to utterly insane - over $100 a pair for non-prescription glasses!) and I'd be good. I did have a pair of prescription glasses with those cool, clip-on, magnetized sunglass overlays, but these came with problems, the first being that they weren't really dark enough for my liking and the second that they were miiiighty delicate. So delicate, in fact, that one of the bajillion times the kiddo accidentally knocked them off my face, they broke in such a way that repairing them was impossible.

My solution for the past six months has been to have two pairs of glasses - one regular, one sunglasses - and I've felt alternatively like my parents back in the 70s, who used to do the glasses-swap (my dad most nervewrackingly while driving, tossing the pair he was removing onto the dashboard while polishing the pair he was about to don on his shirttail, thereby rendering his vision blurred for waaaay too long in his passengers' opinion), or like some bizarro Mr. Rogers, having to whip off my glasses, invariably having to hold them in my teeth while I replace them with the other pair, and then stuff the removed pair into their case in my purse every time I walk in or out of a building.

This has just been a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. I could have a lot worse to deal with than the double-glasses issue, I realize that. That doesn't mean that I didn't get just a wee bit giddy, though, when the eye doctor handed me 5 trial pairs of daily disposable lenses, with instructions to try out the first four pairs for no more than 8 hours per pair over the next two weeks, then wear the fifth pair to my next appointment to see where things stand (um, pun intended...hee!). Daily disposable lenses are way more expensive than my previous 2-week disposable lenses, almost prohibitively so. If they do work for me, though, I will most probably get a supply and then just not wear them every single day, thereby stretching out the boxes to a more cost-effective value. It would be nice to have the option of contacts for things like taking the kiddo to the pool, for example... There is still a decent chance that the contacts will aggravate my eye disease and that, in fact, I will not be able to ever wear contacts again, but I am cautiously hopeful about the possibility of returning to at least an occasional spectacles-free state.


Stephen King (whose latest book, Duma Key, was awesome, btw) wrote a column in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly (aka my favorite magazine) in which he listed his Top 20 songs, as decreed by what were the most frequently played tunes on his iPod. That made me wonder what my Top 20 are according to my iPod, so I just looked. Wanna know? Well, here is the current Top 20 Most Played songlist from my (full to the point that I can't get one more song on there right now) iPod:

- Macavity, the Mystery Cat and Mr. Mistoffolees, Cats OBC. This is because of the kiddo, who is presently obsessed with Cats and has most of the soundtrack memorized. She frequently requests that we listen to various tunes from the show while driving to and from preschool. (A girl after her own mother's heart: I was once caught by my younger sisters (who whipped my bedroom door open without knocking) dancing around in a "cat-like" manner and belting my heart out to the record, while wearing a belt around my neck as a pseudo-cat collar.) (I cannot believe I just admitted to that in public.)

- Envelop Me, Obsolete and Nothing Here to Hold You, Magne F. For those of you not in the know (or not 80s pop music junkies like myself), Magne F (Furuholmen) is a member of the band a-ha. I've been a fan of a-ha since the 80s, and now am a fan of Magne's solo work. These are my favorite three tracks off of the album, and I'm hoping that his next album (out this month) will also be available on iTunes since his stuff isn't exactly stocked at the local Best Buy or FYE.

- Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, Billy Joel. What can I say, I'm a diehard Billy Joel fan, and this is my favorite Billy Joel song.

- Hangman Jury, Aerosmith. What can I say, I'm a diehard Aerosmith fan, and this is one of my favorite Aerosmith songs.

- Never Let Me Down, Life on Mars? and God Only Knows, David Bowie. What can I say, I'm a diehard Bowie fan, and these three are among my favorites.

- Imagination and Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone, Harry Connick, Jr. Love Harry. I was, for a while back in college, a true Harry groupie. Saw him in concert several times in a short period, including the opening night of his first Broadway run, and hung around various stage doors as well. Not only did I get to meet and talk with the man himself a few of those times (and I have the autographed poster, framed and now stashed in the basement, to prove it) but I was ultimately on a first-name basis with several members of his band. They were all really nice guys. I think I even convinced one of them that Syracuse was a good school for his son to consider... Go Orange!

- Cara Mia and From Me To You, Bobby McFerrin. Cara Mia is another kiddo-assist, as it is her favorite Bobby McFerrin tune. From Me To You is one of my favorites.

- Days of Elijah, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. This, aside from being an awesome song, was a song we did at church a few months ago in which I had the solo, so I listened to it even more than usual for help in memorizing the part.

- Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Meat Loaf. Please bear in mind that I generally only listen to my iPod while either driving in the car or when working out (so, mostly when driving in my car...). This is a great, driving-with-the-windows-down, arm-hanging-out-the-window, blast-it-from-the-stereo kind of song. Yeah, not so much with the minivan but hey, I've still got a fondness for it.

- Travelin' Thru, Jason Castro. My hubby and my best friend both are utterly bemused and disbelieving that I - or anyone - could possibly be a Jason Castro fan, but then again, he's made the Top 4 on this season's American Idol, so I'm not the only one out there who likes him. They just don't get him, I guess. (For that matter, neither does my mom, who was quite upset that he continues to remain while Carly went home...) It doesn't help that I find his charms rather inexplicable, so cannot adequately detail my reasons for liking him as much as I do... there's just something about his voice. I've downloaded several of his songs from this season, but this is my favorite.

- Elvira, The Oak Ridge Boys. Another song whose appearance in the top 20 is kiddo-assisted. Yes, I will confess to being a diehard ORB fan (I've even seen them in concert - more than once!) and I will further confess to trying to influence the kiddo in her musical tastes by playing the occasional ORB song (as I've likewise quite successfully done with Harry Connick Jr., Bobby McFerrin and the showtunes genre). I didn't realize that she'd take to the oom-pah-pahing of Elvira with such gusto, however! (Sad but True Story: for my tenth birthday, my family went to a "fancy" restaurant for dinner to celebrate. I was allowed to bring two friends as well. This restaurant was so fancy that they had an accordian player wandering about, taking requests. When he approached our table, I was allowed to make a request, as I was the birthday girl. After telling me he couldn't play The Entertainer (because really, wouldn't Joplin sound totally awesome on an accordian?), my second choice was Elvira. It was the year the song came out and it was burning up the charts, and the dude actually knew it well enough to fake his way through a bit. He did not, however, know the lyrics, which I graciously supplied by singing along. Are you getting this picture? Me, with the badly permed, big hair, ginormous glasses and mouth full of glistening metal and elastic, singing Elvira along with the accordian. In public. Happily.)

- The Swing of Things, a-ha. Yep, I love me that 80s pop. Have for decades, since I was a teenager and it was actually current. This is one of my favorite a-ha songs, though I could rattle off others. (Strangely enough, Duran Duran, which was my absolute, most-favorite 80s pop band back in the day, and also the first "rock" concert I ever attended, doesn't make my top 25. I guess that is because I listen to all the songs as opposed to just one over and over again. Hmmmm. I was going to marry John Taylor back in the day, you know. Shame on me for not letting my former-future husband into my top 25.)

- Ain't No Cure for Love, Leonard Cohen. There are other Leonard Cohen tunes, including Hallelujah, in the top 25 playlist on my iPod, but this is the one that cracks the actual top 20.

Oh, and honorable mention has to go to Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede, which is a recent addition (late last week) to my iPod and has completely entranced the kiddo. She is getting quite good at belting out the "ooga-chaka" part while I sing the lead vocal over it. Keep an ear peeled should you spot a silvery-green Toyota Sienna cruising about town with the windows down one of these days...


Birthday party update - the invitations went out to the kiddo's class today. (Or "Valentines" as she kept calling them, before correcting herself.) We've also managed to secure a cake topper (one of those edible sheet thingies) that matches the kiddo's chosen party theme for this year - the Little Einsteins. Turns out that Disney has a stranglehold on all things children's birthday party-related in the Little Einsteins genre, and without resorting to Ebay or other online stores, LE stuff for parties is kinda hard to come by. We're baking the cake ourselves (half chocolate, half vanilla), but it will look a lot nicer with the professionally done topper than, say, last year's cake, when the best I could do for the Go, Diego, Go! theme was frost the cake with chocolate icing, call that "the ground" and then jam a bunch of Diego and his animal posse action figures into the top. The stupid scarlet Macaw kept keeling over into the "dirt" too... Now I just have to obtain and stuff a piñata that preferably matches the LE theme without being able to actually procure an official LE piñata thanks to the aforementioned Disney stranglehold. Maybe I can find one that looks like a music note or something... We've got the menu planned (pizza, fruit salad, pretzels, veggie tray, cake, water and juice boxes) and some games in the works as well. Hopefully the weather cooperates and the kids can run around the playground and we won't wind up crammed under the pavilion in the rain for the entire two hours. I wonder how many of the kids from her class will actually attend? I hope a decent number, though the distance may factor in, as folks in our area are notoriously xenophobic about burbs other than their own. (Hmm, agoraphobic? Burbaphobic? Well, they hate driving to "the other side of the city" at any rate.) The kiddo really wants ALL her friends there, and we've given enough advance notice that we should be able to get on folks' calendars without conflicts. We shall see!


In gardening news, the seed starter trays that we planted a few weeks ago have really done well. So well, in fact, that the kiddo and I had to transplant the corn and sunflowers to the actual ground because they were straining against the lid of the tray. The other stuff isn't far behind, so we're gonna have to get the garden bed prepped sooner rather than later. We also added some blackberry bushes to our berry patch yesterday, courtesy of a woman in my local freecycling group who was thinning out her own berry patch. They look like they withstood the transplanting pretty well, so hopefully we have some delicious blackberries to harvest along with our other berries this summer! Our strawberry plants already have blooms on them, which is the earliest they've ever blossomed, too. Woo-hoo!

Wow, this is a pretty darn long post. Guess that'll take the edge off my blogging jones for a bit! Off to get the kiddo scrubbed in the tub and then sample the new mac and cheese recipe I tried in the crock pot for the first time today. Hopefully she likes it - she is a bit picky about her mac and cheese. A regular mac and cheese gourmet, my kiddo....

1 comment:

Crazy Momma said...

I LOVE scenes from an Italian Restaurant! So glad I stopped in to check out your list!

Thanks for showing the love on my blog!