Save Calypso

My dog has an allergic condition. Her treatment will be a minimum of $600, most of it up front. I can’t afford it and so my only other option is to euthanize her. No shelter will take her with a medical condition and finding a family willing to take on her expenses will be next to impossible. I can’t euthanize her. I can’t do it. She’s only TWO, people.

In better times

Her treatment begins at $600, and goes on every year for life.  At least half is required up front to get her a test to show which allergies she has and create a custom twice-yearly vaccination for her.  It could take up to 3 months for that to even be ready to administer.  So we’re looking at another $300+ in temporary meds to quiet her allergy reaction to get her to the point where we can even begin to treat her.  I don’t have it, not with two kids in daycare for the summer. And I can’t stand to watch her suffer, scratching herself bald and bleeding until school starts again. Believe me, we’ve tried EVERYTHING. Diet, prescriptions, prescription foods, supplements, shampoos, you name it.  The only thing that has worked so far has been $150 a month in medicines that aren’t sustainable for her whole life, even if we could afford that amount.  Seriously, we’ve spent close to a grand trying to find a way to help her. This custom vaccine is our last hope.

So I’m doing something I’m very uncomfortable with. I’m asking for help.

Help Me Save My Dog

This goes to my Paypal account.  If donations reach more than we need, I’ll take the extra and donate it to a local animal charity or the humane society in my area. The internet can be a scary place, but it can also be a wonderful place, and I wouldn’t hesitate to help out someone in whatever way I could. Unfortunately, me and my dog are the ones that need help now.


At the Seams

The following is an email I sent a few days ago to a friend:

Last night, Mike was off doing his own thing (downloading music 2 floors down from me and the kids) and the kids were in tears and screaming because I finally put my foot down about them sleeping I my bed and giving myself some alone time, and I was ready to cry and pull my hair out, and I ended up giving in, which only reinforces for them that they’ll get their way if they throw a big enough fit.  Which is what happens when Mike tries to give me a break and put them to bed for me.  Unless they’re just wiped out, they both end up back in my bed at some point, usually with Daughter in tears and demanding to be held and rocked.  She’s only 2 and I remember Son having these kinds of needs when he was her age.  But man, it’s trying.

I’m coming apart at the seams.  I get no break; we’re not that stable financially though we’re better than we were, but it means I can’t afford retail therapy and I can’t afford a shrink, and I can’t even afford to get my fucking hair colored.  I’m miserable with my health and my weight, and despite the Babysitter of Awesome letting me bring the kids earlier so I can work out before work, I’m having a hard time dragging myself out of bed at 5 am to get them there by 7 so that I can work out.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I come home and it’s all kids, all evening long.  Baths, stories, bed, I knit while I try to get them to sleep in my bed while we catch up on shows on TV, but they’ve started bickering over something, a toy, the covers, who gets to lay next to me, something.  I knit as much as I can (maybe an hour) before I can’t stand it anymore because I constantly have to stop to readjust the covers from their fighting/jumping/flopping all over, or get someone a drink, or help someone brush her teeth, or help someone with her pull up so she can go potty…  My knitting gets interrupted, my reading gets interrupted, they follow me all over the house, and I can’t even play the fucking piano without them coming over to plink on the keys with me.  Most of the time it’s endearing but lately, annoying.  Last night, I put them to bed (together) in Son’s bed and Daughter screamed her head off and Son was crying too, accusing me of things like, “You just never want to snuggle with me AGAIN!”  After the third time putting her back in bed with Son, she came in to my room gasping and hiccupping and desperately saying, “I sorry! I sorry! I sorry!” over and over, so we can add worst mother ever to my emotions.  I am so tired by the end of the evening fights that I go to sleep later than I wanted to feeling awful and so when my alarm goes off at 5, I can’t get up right yet.  So then I’m late dropping the kids off, and late to getting to the gym at work, so I can’t work out fully before I have to shower so I’m not late to my desk.  Then by midmorning, I’m stressed out again over learning another job and waiting forever for my replacement to be found and hired.  I feel so bad about things that I just want to fucking eat.  Eating is comfort, but it’s the reason I’m fat.  It’s the reason I feel like shit.  So I fight it until I can’t anymore and I give in and spend my last dollar on vending machine shit and then beat myself up for my weakness.  Then I just want to eat more to feel better again.  Then I’m done with work and on my way home for today, and then it’s kids, and dinner, and baths, and bedtime… Lather, rinse, repeat.

I hate my temper being so short but I can’t find the time to get away by myself for a couple hours.  I hate the way I feel emotionally, physically, and temperamentally to Mike and the kids.  I’m running out of gas and I seriously need to recharge my batteries, but I don’t know how.

BUT!  I want to go to the vending machine so bad right now, except instead, I got out my Ziploc of edamame and have been snacking on that instead of wasting money on empty calories.  I’ve broken the food/self-hatred/food cycle for the last ten minutes at least.

Things are better than they were when I wrote that email, but it gave me pause.  Something’s gotta give, and on some days, it feels like its my sanity that’s the weak chain link.  I don’t know what the answer is, but something occurred to me, with the help of the friend to whom I sent that email.  I’m letting these things be a reason to not take care of things, bitching about the sad and trying circumstances and yet doing nothing to change them.  I’m playing the martyr, and I HATE martyrdom when it’s not justified.  I was all ‘woe is me’ while stuffing Cheezits in my face.  Not going to help matters in the least.

I fully admit to having an unnatural attachment to food, to emotional eating, and to eating as a form of self-defense.  With a bit of sketchiness in my past, food became my comfort, and frankly, I’m wondering if I’m understanding all of the causes of my comfort eating because the period of time in which I gained most of my extra weight does not coincide with the event I thought was the sole reason I go to the food trough in time of hurt.

I’ve started to keep a food journal and document not just what I’m eating but what I’m feeling before, during, and after to show my feelings, what may trigger my overwhelming need for food in the wrong quantities and wrong times.  I’ve also started thinking about eating better not as a whole picture but a puzzle.  Each piece of the puzzle results in a single decision.  Taken one decision at a time, one good choice after another, I could make an overall very healthy puzzle, if I’m not concerned about the whole picture, not concerned about making sure I have everything for the foreseeable future planned to the T.  I need to get it through my head that to be a successful lifestyle change, I can’t flip a switch.  It’s a day at a time, a decision at a time.  Baby steps can lead to big changes.

The other thing that my friend helped me see was that I need to be selfish to pull this off.  I’m so used to putting myself last, so that Mike can go out with the guys, so that the kids get what they need, so that things are taken care of.  I’m lucky in that I have a husband who is not allergic to housework.  In fact, he’s cleaner than I am, so our home is a product of both our efforts. But Mike and I disagree on some things regarding food, namely what’s healthy.  I want to cut out processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and buy organic meats as much as we can.  He starts to draw the line there.  We can’t afford organic, he says.  I say we don’t need meat every single meal, and that if I can find good recipes that don’t have meat in them, he’d probably be pretty happy anyway as long as he’s fed.  And then it would also make the meals with meat not only more anticipated, but tastier because it’s better quality meat.  But he’s not ready to take the step to eating less meat.  He grew up with meat every meal (so did I, but I’m more open to change right now) and hasn’t wrapped his brain about feeling full without a meat included.  But I have, so why do I have to eat like he eats to get my own health?  Sure, our budget has some restrictions but again, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing just yet.  A few choices here and there can start the process.

I need to be selfish in asking for workout time, too.  Luckily the Babysitter of Awesome has stepped up to the plate here, but on days like today, when I slept too long through my alarm because of the up late thing again, I’ll have to be worth it to myself to ask for some yoga time when I get home from work.  I have to be more demanding for things like when I ask for something, like asking Mike to blow up my balance ball ~ three times…in the last two weeks ~ that I follow through when it doesn’t get done.  When he was training to try to join the local police force, I most certainly helped him not only keep the kids out of his hair, but we all went to the track with him and I timed his laps so he’d know where he stood.  Sure the kids were bored and hanging off me like monkeys in trees, but he needed me so we all went.

Recently, another friend has needed some help and advice.  I’ve spent hours talking with her, trying to do my level best to be a good friend, a good listener, and be a valuable sounding board and safe landing spot for her in a trying time.  I’ve got another friend who has been dealing with something difficult for months now and I’m always happy to talk to her when she’s upset, or even just wants to talk about anything other than the big elephant in the room.  And yet another friend came to me for quick advice on something and I’ve availed myself to her through email.  Another has opened a bridal shop and I was there for her grand opening, offering to photograph her dresses when they come in, tweeting about her shop and commiserating with her when she realized she’d have to get a part time job to pay for some of the opening expenses she took on since deciding to forego a small business loan.  I’m a generous person, and I try to be kind and caring, treat people as I want to be treated, and be a good friend.  I try to be a safe place for my friends to be selfish when they need to be because everyone needs to feel important at times, especially if they’re dealing with stress and hard to handle things.

It occurred to me that the kindness I show others I should maybe show to myself too.  I should take myself seriously, stop with the “can’t” thinking and give myself some priority over stuff that can wait.  If I treat people the way I want to be treated, why can’t I treat myself that way, too?  It’s a good question, one for which I have no answers.  But I think I’m going to find out.

Baby steps…


I’m Not Even Going To Offer An Excuse for My Blog Absence This Time, Frakking April

So I woke up one day last week and decided my life needs something.  I’m missing something, a je ne sais quoi, a joi de vivre that defies me at every turn.  I’ve undertaken a quest, if you will, to find that elusive thing I’m missing.  It has so many names, but it boils down to one: happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty happy most of the time, but in a self-deprecating way.  I’m more inclined to make fun of myself for my inabilities and if I’ve learned anything from reading Linda’s blog it’s that I should be asking myself why I immediately jump to the conclusion that I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t do something.

I’ve spoken about this a bit on the fitness website I contribute to, My 15 Minutes to Better Fitness that I have special circumstances regarding an old injury that I have to consider when working out.  (If you’re interested in it, it’s under the Andrea Wrote This category.) I’m bound and determined to be a runner, but after going well for a couple weeks, my bum foot would swell to the point where I nearly couldn’t wear shoes, so I’d rest it.  It’d shrink and I’d feel good again, start running again, and boom. Balloon foot.  After three times of this, frustration and bitching to my husband about how I just wanted to run for crying out loud, he very gently (yes, gently, there will be no Mike-bashing today, but stay tuned. I make no promises that I won’t make fun of him in some capacity in the future.) suggested that perhaps if I lost some weight before trying to run that the impact to my bad foot would be less and therefore my foot might be able to handle it if I weigh, say, 150 instead of 210.  He has a point.

So I’ve been researching things to do that have low impact so I can sustain a workout that won’t kill my foot to the point where I have to stop.  I’m playing it by ear, but so far have tried yoga, elliptical machines, and weight machines. When the pools open, perhaps I’ll finally learn to swim (I can only doggy paddle, and drink heavily while floating happily on a noodle) and do some of that.  I have an exercise ball I’m going to blow up tonight.  I may swipe the husband’s bike and go on a ride.

Thing is, I need to believe in myself.  I’ve done some pretty cool things in my life.  I’ve published a poem.  I’ve won writing contests.  I’ve learned to play piano pretty well.  I was a kick ass catcher on a softball team in my teen years, until I blew out a knee.  But all that stuff was done when I was a teenager.  Yes, I was published as a teenager, and by a publishing house, not by a blog software program.  But all my potential has stagnated and I have slothed around enough to get up over 200 pounds and lose all belief that there are awesome things I can do.

I need to prove it to myself again.  I need to believe.  So I’m giving it another go round.  This wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of the Babysitter of Awesome that we now take Daughter, from here on our referred to Renuzit as a result of a shocking and clandestine few minutes left alone in the bathroom, to for our workdays.  This Babysitter of Awesome has earned herself TWO pair of handknit socks in just the two months she’s been watching Renuzit, one for volunteering to take on my stomach bug ridden daughter because four of her six biological children (yes, I said six) also had it.  She took Renuzit so that I wouldn’t miss any more work with the sicknesses.  The second pair comes from our agreement to drop Renuzit off an hour earlier so I can work out before work.  I love her.

I don’t have any pictures for you today.  Maybe if I can get this ball rolling, I will have the nerve to post some before and after pictures when I have some progress to show.  But for now, just my talking about it will have to do.

I’m going after it, that elusive belief in myself, that I can do something other than slut around on the couch with my knitting and the TV.


Adventures in Kitchen Disasters

I once set a stock pot on fire. A few minutes after that, I burned the crap out of my hand, requiring ice.  Don’t believe me?  I have pictures to prove it.

This was after we used flour to put out the oil fire from me reading a recipe wrong.

This after I transferred the food to the crockpot, then burned my fingers on the little metal strip of the heating element beneath the ceramic insert when I pushed the crockpot aside.  It was not a good day.

Last night, the kitchen disasters were almost as bad.  It all started when I ran out of olive oil.  We were having pork sausage and hashbrowns for dinner, and the hashbrowns require a good bit of oil. I looked for vegetable oil before remembering that we took it to our camper for use and it wasn’t easily accessed.  I wasn’t driving across town for it, nor was I going to the store in the middle of cooking dinner.  Mike was covered in grass clippings and new oil was not to be procured.

Then I remembered some peanut oil we bought for frying a turkey.  I retrieved the giant, 3 gallon jug from the top of the fridge where we keep it, spinning my wheels about how to pour out only a little.  I know, I thought.  I’ll get a cup and then use the cup to pour it into our oil decanter.  Brill.  Tipping the giant jug, which inexplicably comes wrapped in a box that we, for some unknown reason, hadn’t removed, I got some oil between the jug and the inside of the box. Whoops.  I hurriedly tipped it back, trying not to spill any more.  For some reason, though, I tried to tip it back while holding the cup to the lip of the pour spout, which then emptied the cup back into the jug, but not gracefully, so there was now more oil in the box. 

Turning on the faucet, I rinsed my slicked hands for better grip and tried again.  Same thing happened.  Shit.  Then, I looked closer and saw a steady stream of oil falling from the corner of the box onto the floor, spreading out on the counters, and splattering up on the front of our dishwasher.  Double shit. 

By this point, the paper towels were flying, the oil was slicking everything, my grip on the floor was fading as was my patience, and my daughter decided to come in and demand a drink. 

To keep any more oil from spilling I quickly poured my cup full, hauled the box, streaming, from the counter and put it in the garage on our crap rug we use to wipe our feet, leaving an oil slick behind.  I turned in time to see the cat coming to the open garage door.  I could just see it, my own version of a tar and feathering.  Only it would be an oil and furring.  I managed to scare the cat off without getting his fur tangled up in the mess and turned to hurriedly get Daughter’s Drank Drank!  As I turned, my feet slid, and the kitchen floor became a skating rink.  Woo!  Barely remaining upright, I banged my elbow on the counter trying to keep from landing on my butt on top of Daughter.

Luckily, then, Mike returned from retrieving our son from the neighbor’s house and was able to help me clean up without injury, further mess, or any other oil slicks.  Unfortunately, the hash browns still didn’t make it.  In my hurry to get the damn dinner done already, I poured too much oil into the pan and drowned them.  Mike ate them, but he was the only one, prounouncing them edible and good, but could be better.  I quickly transferred what was left in the cup to the oil decanter, whipped up a batch of mashed potatoes from the box and called it good. 

At least when I burned my hand and that pot I’d still managed to salvage our dinner.  After that, I bathed the kids and settled in to knit.  At least there’s no way to fall while sitting down knitting.  Or, I haven’t discovered it yet.



My apologies for the extended absence.  There was some shit going down and my state of mind was not worth sharing in more than little bits and bobs on Twitter. I also didn’t trust myself to post about anything else because I figured my bitter would show through even the most benign of topics.  I don’t know if things are better.  But I do know that I need blogging, bitter seeping in or not.  I need to feel connected to others and a place where I can be open and honest without worrying about super judgy people in my real life. 

So! Onward.  Have you seen these socks?  I saw them and damn near fell over.  How awesome are they?  However it’ll have to wait.  I’m still in baby blanket hell, though I’m staring down the last curve and looking forward to the home stretch of seaming and blocking.  25 blocks is a lot of knitting.  Well, apparently baby blanket hell isn’t enough to stop me.  I’m going to be in baby blanket hell for a few more weeks, so I took the time out to do some selfish knitting.  I’ve kept exactly one thing in the year and a half that I’ve been knitting, so it was high time.  I did the Skew Socks and I love them very much. 

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Carabeño.
Needles: 2 US 1 24″ circulars, US0 DPNs for ribbing.
Satisfaction level: astronomical. I love these socks.  I will be wearing them as much as possible.

Not digging the holes on the sides, but knitting them on the bias like that made it hard to keep the increases from having little holes now and then.  I think of them as ‘air conditioning’.

I have also joined the Evenstar Mystery Shawl Knitalong.  It’s engrossing and lovely and the yarn is The Unique Sheep Eos in Silverlode.  I didn’t get the entire gradience set, just the skein second from the left in the picture.  The yarn is delicious and I want sheets made of it, it’s so soft.  I would wear Eos underwear if I dared make such an animal.  It’s that yummy. 


I also have finished another baby blanket.  I do not like the colors of this blanket very much.  I thought they would be great together, but the green and charcoal are not contrasting enough for my taste.  Alas, the blanket is done and I’m not redoing it. 

What’s everyone else up to right now?  I need to get back in the loop.


The Ride of a Lifetime

The pains started Monday night.  I was asleep and I had to get up thinking I needed to use the bathroom.  Blearily, I struggled out of bed and tried to obey the pain’s demands but it didn’t work.  So I went back to bed thinking if I laid down again it would go away.  Or if I went back to sleep then maybe I could sleep through it.

Ten minutes later I was up and in the bathroom again.  Again, no joy.  I had the presence of mind to poke Mike and say I didn’t feel very well, but that’s as far as my thought processes went.  I fell back into my pillow and didn’t think about it again.

Until ten minutes later when it woke me up again.  Dayum, I thought, shifting position.  Mike, having been roused by my earlier poke, was the one who suggested maybe I should time the pain.  It hadn’t even occurred to me.  Holy shit, was I in labor?  I timed.  I realized that yes, the pain went away and came back regularly.  Dude, I was having contractions.  After two, three, then four times when Mike told me to time just one more and then we’d see where we stood, and each successive one was between six and eight minutes, I finally said, “I’m not your fucking snooze button.  Get out of bed and call your mother.”

That was six years ago yesterday.  After thirteen hours of labor, our son made his first appearance into the world.  Today is my son’s sixth birthday.  He’s come a long way from the cone-headed baby to the chatty curious boy he is now, the one who throws his arms around me with abandon and says, “I love you, Mommy,” with the heart-meltingest smile on his face.

Happy Birthday, boy.  I can’t wait to see how you blossom in the next year.


The World of Me

So, there was this laundry mishap that I swear has kept me from getting on the treadmill this week.  Would you believe me if I told you that the inside of my dryer eats clothes?  I mean, more than just the socks most people attribute to the Dryer Monster.  There’s a, well, a rip in our drum , so as clothes thump whump thump whump around in the dryer as it’s running, this snag in the drum catches the clothes and eats them or rips them to shreds.  It’s getting wider, too, to the point where if I didn’t know better, I’d swear the dryer ate my running shorts and dammit, I only have one decent pair of running shorts to my name.  I suppose I could wear the maternity shorts I’ve repurposed into pajama shorts but honestly, though the scale hasn’t moved that much I’m reshaping my body (much like my daughter did during our cohabitation phase, and yet this reshaping expedition is so much harder than sitting on the couch pigging down a bag of Doritos and wondering what kind of ice cream I hadn’t hoovered out of our freezer yet) and my bedshorts as I’ve come to think of them aren’t exactly staying put over the giant pseudo-pregs belly I’ve been sporting since Daughter’s eviction.  Plus, my running shorts are slippery basketball short material, which helps with the Thigh Rubbing Friction Fire most of my other options wuss out on.  The slipperiness also helps with that whole Creeping Northward Giant Cameltoe Experiment most shorts seem to try on me, and aren’t you glad you decided to stop by and read today?  I would panhandle on the side of the road for money to buy Lululemon running pants if their largest size would even cross my thigh threshold, but that’s a goal to be set in the future.

I have been frantically looking for my running shorts for three damn days now.  They’re not in the dryer, nor are they in the load I assumed they were in that’s already folded.  They didn’t get shoved in the wrong drawer, nor did their helpful slipperiness cause them to slip from the correct drawer into another one.  I have torn my dresser apart.  I found a rather, shall we say, ambitiously sized bra and panty (gag, hate that word) set gifted to me by a friend who promised they’d come into good use after my breast reduction, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I wasn’t getting a tummy tuck or ass lipo while I was being reduced chesticularly. 

By last night, I was getting desperate, wondering if Daughter repurposed them into a blanket like she repurposes everything: remotes become phones, brushes become microphones, purses become toy chests…  Perhaps I would find my shorts in her closet housing her shoes.  Maybe she stuffed them in the cat house that the cat never uses.  I have looked EVERYWHERE, except of course where the shorts actually RESIDE.

I haven’t touched the treadmill this week.  I am pissed at this turn of events, and a saner person would have given up and purchased another pair of shorts so that running could resume, and that when the first pair turned up, there would be a backup pair or some smart shit like that, right?  But have I mentioned birthday party preparations are in full swing?  I have no money for new running shorts because every penny I can spare (and probably more that I can’t) are being sucked up by this party before I can even imagine spending it on something selfish like clothes that would help me regain my health and vitality, and god aren’t kids just the ultimate sacrifice I grumbled to myself last night as I was watching Biggest Loser where Bob was telling Michael (heaviest contestant ever) that even though his mother fell on her face and broke actual no shit bones rather than risk falling into a swimming pool it was okay if Michael had decided to continue putting his own benefit first by finishing the challenge to avoid a 2 pound penalty at the weigh in instead of going to the hospital with his mother and not finishing the challenge.  Does that theory work if the self improvement involves a massage or skin care products that cost a month’s daycare? No? 

This morning, I dejectedly looked around my closet for the fiftieth time and halfheartedly kicked my workout bag out of the way to see if my shorts were under it, and I thought, “Huh.  That bag felt rather substantial for just having a pair of running shoes and a tube of deodorant in it.”  Upon further inspection, I realized that I owed my kids an apology for resenting that their birthdays costs all my spare monies right after Christmas when I’m the one who planned their gestation period in the first place and I’m just a douche canoe for not getting my workout clothes into the freakin’ laundry in the first place.  Yeah, I suck. 

Tonight, a small load of laundry and perhaps 30 Day Shred after bedtime, if I can hitch up my sleep shorts enough. Tomorrow, the treadmill, full stop. I’ll feel better for it and I know it.  Hey, at least I didn’t lose a whole week.

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