Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Feel Pretty

“Pinkeye (also called conjunctivitis) is redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. The lining of the eye is usually clear. If irritation or infection occurs, the lining becomes red and swollen…Pinkeye is very common. It usually is not serious and goes away in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment.”

Thank you, WebMD.

With so many friends, relations, and acquaintances dealing with REAL health problems (like cancer), it is perhaps churlish of me to devote a post to an unserious malady that will go away on its own in a relatively brief amount of time. I will do it anyway. My two eyeballs are stuck very prominently into my face, and I have been unable to think of anything else since I woke up Monday morning and discovered that I couldn’t open my right eye.

Two days later the left eye followed suit, sending me to impressive depths of self-pity. That afternoon my right eye was just about as bad as it was going to get before improving, and I had to pick up Nels from school. (Shaun had been kind enough to take over drop-off duty.) Having rejected Shaun’s helpful suggestion that I borrow a pirate eye patch from the boys, I decided to let my hair fall in front of the ugliest eye and keep my head down in an effort to avoid any eye contact.

Alas, I was unable to resist making a gentle dab under my eye with a finger, and at once the jig was up. One very nice mother took a peek at my swollen face and red eyes and exclaimed, “Did something happen? Are you OK??????!!!!!” The alarm and concern were so kind and so out of proportion to what was actually wrong with me that I was tempted to invent a dead pet or relative right on the spot. Instead I sheepishly said that I was fine apart from an embarrassing case of pink-eye.

As I was leaving, another mom inquired how I was doing. I explained about the pink-eye. She was fascinated and offered her help. “I never had pink-eye!”

Well, neither had I. At least, not until a year ago, when I caught an extremely mild case of it from the boys. My contraction of pink-eye contained a double indignity. First, pink-eye, like a lice infestation, is for kids. There’s something unseemly about a 35 year-old woman with pink-eye. Second, pink-eye is not just for kids, it is for OTHER kids. I don’t remember a single case of pink-eye in our house growing up, though my mom may remember differently.

Other kids got pink-eye, of course. I figured it was a case of some sort of deal their parents had made with the devil. These kids had their own bedrooms, slept in hotels rather than tents on family vacations, had televisions, wore store-bought clothes to grade school, and enjoyed lunches that contained items such as chips, cookies, and juice boxes or pouches. In exchange, the children suffered from asthma, allergies, ear infections, and the aforementioned pink-eye. All of the above benefits and liabilities were virtually unknown in our household.

So this killer case of pink-eye renders me suspicious. Now that I’m grown and have children of my own, I realize that my kids have their own rooms, wear clothes from Old Navy, and watch way more TV and eat far more processed food than they should. They’ve been known to have an ear infection or two. I have had a few bouts of symptoms that resemble allergies. It could be that all that’s standing between my kids and asthma is their infrequent (thanks to me) consumption of fruit juice.

No, I don’t really think that. I did get a doozy of a cold courtesy of the virus or bacteria that brought on the pink-eye, so most of this is the DayQuil talking. But it still couldn’t hurt to get a family camping trip in this year.

P.S. I really wanted to include a photo with this post, but I figured I’ve subjected you to enough.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Aspiring Polyglot

"Mom, how do I say 'I don't want to do it' in French?"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Halloween And A Big Birthday

Ah, yes. Halloween. It's a holiday that ceases to have any importance once one reaches junior high...and then regains its relevance once one has children who are old enough to enjoy dressing up and trick-or-treating. Having Nels around makes it fun, because he's really into all the accoutrements, not just the candy. Fake cobwebs, jack o'lanterns,'s all a big thrill. Our kids are still just young enough that we can dismiss the "evil" stuff with "monsters are pretend." I'm sure we'll have a much more nuanced, thoughtful Christian response to Halloween...eventually. For now it's just fun.

Nels wore his costume to school, as did the rest of the kids.

He ended up wearing it all varying degrees.

Willem wore the rooster suit that Nels wore on his very first trick-or-treat outing. Let me tell you, if you want to spread a little love around, all it takes is to run some errands around town with a toddler dressed as a rooster. I'm pretty sure it was the best day of Willem's life, thanks to all the smiles and attention directed his way.

The day after Halloween was my 35th birthday. I can finally give my poor mother her due. All those years of having to costume children and then put on a birthday party the next day...I was worn out and I only had to come up with one costume (the rooster was a no-brainer) and think about getting older in lieu of throwing an actual party.

Despite the lack of a party (or perhaps because of it), I had a notably good day on my birthday. Nels didn't have school, so I didn't have to be anywhere. I didn't feel unsettled or melancholic or lazy (which are feelings I commonly have). I felt lucky to spend the day at home. I felt thankful for my husband and my children and who they are and that I get to spend my life with them. I felt glad for my life, even joyful. Yes, full of joy. I have no reason not to feel this way every day, but emotions are fickle. The alignment of emotion with reality was a birthday gift I wouldn't have thought to ask for but was happy to receive.

Lest you roll your eyes, let me hasten to add that my birthday was celebrated in a less spiritual fashion as well. The following weekend we enjoyed a birthday repast the likes of which will never be seen again.

Shaun made wings! From scratch! They marinated all day in balsamic vinegar and garlic and fresh rosemary and goodness knows what else. The smell of them cooking was beyond belief. The Hamiltons provided the meal proper, which was my birthday request. Beet and goat cheese salad, butternut squash ravioli with browned butter and crispy sage, and a sticky toffee pudding-esque cake. It was all delicious. In our giddiness we washed it down with a few more cocktails than were warranted. Gluttonous? Borderline. Memorable? Indeed.

And I've got a leg up on next year's Halloween costumes. I can send Nels out as Salvador Dali.

House Fer Sale

We've survived two open houses and one lone showing by appointment. No buyers in sight. Please, take the (edited) tour...