Tag Archive | health and wellbeing

Childhood Danger

Bombala's (perpendicular) back-in parking style.

Image via Wikipedia: My parking lot kinda looks like this. Only, you know, less backwards.

I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can start writing again–while the post-a-day is too much, I’m going to aim for a post a week. Maybe, once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll start writing more.

Yesterday, during Max and Lulu’s afternoon walk, I observed one of my neighbors in some questionable activity. It’s not what you think. (Although, I HAVE seen what you’re thinking, on various other walks. I’m not looking for it, people just don’t close their blinds.)

This woman left her apartment with a car seat and her about four-year-old son.  She headed to her covered parking spot, while her son waited patiently in the row of cars closest to the building. Upon getting the car seat into the car, she sprinted the 30 feet or so separating  her from her son, and picked him up. The kid quite literally starts kicking and screaming at this point, and from the way she held him at arms length, this was a normal thing.

So, holding the kid at arms length, she once again runs the 30 feet back to her car, and a few minutes later, leaves.

Grand total of vehicles entering the parking lot during this event? 0.  And even if there were, she was parked after the storm drain/speed bump/giant pot hole (or possibly other storm drain; either way, it was filled with water, and I’m really careful when I drive over it) gauntlet that WILL damage any vehicle whose driver isn’t paying attention.

I watched this in a bit of disbelief. The way I see it, the mother’s method of getting a perfectly mobile child to her car put him in more danger than letting him walk himself the 30 feet to the car. The chances of her tripping seemed infinitely greater than him getting hit by a car. Heck, while I was watching this, Max and Lulu were running around off leash (which I know is a stupid thing to do, but they get more exercise that way) and the kid had a good 3 feet of height on them.

Yes, a kid is different from a dog, but her kid was well-trained enough to wait in the comparative safety of a row of cars for his mother to come and pick him up and risk his life. How much better off would he be if she taught him to look both ways, and carefully walk across while she’s putting the car seat in? Or, if that’s too “dangerous”, (hint: It’s not) than holding his hand and walking across the parking lot with him–you know, while teaching him to look both ways and proceed with caution.

While I was watching this, I was thinking about a post written over at Free Range Kids; click here for the actual post, and here will get you the video Lenore is talking about.

I’m not a parent. I don’t know what it’s like to worry about my child’s safety–but I firmly believe that “protecting” kids from every bump or bruise or overly hyped “Stranger-danger” is, in the long run, harmful to a kid that one day will be expected to grow into a fully functioning adult.


Here we go again.

Yesterday, while I was complaining about not being able to sleep, my Mom found herself in the emergency room.

Yeah, that totally put me in my place.

Mom’s not going to like me telling the world this, but, here goes anyway…

Mom has hip dysplasia.  Or she did, before the hip replacement surgerys.  All three of them.  I inherited it–though my bad hip is in better shape than Mom’s good hip.

One of her new hips isn’t tight enough, and can pop out of joint.  That’s what happened yesterday.  She went first, to the emergency room local to her, but they weren’t comfortable popping it back into place, so they sent her to the closest big hospital–an hour and a half away.  Add in all the administrative stuff, and that makes it two hours away.

She’s okay–really sore, but okay.  I, however, have been recruited to come help take care of her, and clean house in preparation for the party that is being thrown for my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary.

So…yeah.  I’m at my parent’s house again, for a few days, at least.  We’ll see how it goes.  Max and Lulu aren’t to happy to be back here again, but at least this time, there are no little hands to pull ears and tails.

Which is good, because I do too much of that as it is.

Tomato, Tamatoh

On Thursday of last week, I had a case of vertigo while I was driving.  I was coming home after running errands, and was stopped at a stoplight, waiting for my turn to make a left turn.

This particular stoplight is located on a hill, so I was facing downhill.  My car was in drive, and I had my foot on the break pedal.   There was a pickup truck ahead of me, taking his sweet time, so I wasn’t actively looking for a break in oncoming traffic large enough to allow me to turn.

Suddenly, it felt like I was moving backwards.  I pushed down harder on the breaks, and sat straight up, worried about my car.

While I was still waiting for my chance to turn, I realized that it probably wasn’t my car–being in drive and facing downhill would mean that if my breaks slipped, I’d go forward, not back.

Later, I talked to Dad about it, and he suggested vertigo, caused by the vehicles going straight through the light–the ones I wasn’t paying any attention to, but would be able to see in my perhephrial vision.

The next day, I went to Sis’s house, and the zoo.  On the way home, I got motion sickness, which turned into an internal distress that Mom got mad at me for discussing on Facebook.

I had to stick pretty close to home on Saturday and Sunday–going to church notwithstanding.  This morning, I was still feeling–if not exactly healthy, then not exactly unwell enough to keep me from my daily activities.  Big, not-daily activities, like dealing with the administrative stuff for school on the other hand…

I did manage to go grocery shopping, and the store was having an amazing deal on roma tomatoes, so I loaded up on them.

Upon returning home, I made a simple lunch–a cheese and tomato sandwich that was baked in my sandwich press.

Now, a sandwich isn’t going to use a whole tomato, even a smallish variety like romas.  I don’t like refrigerating tomatoes–they have a flavor compound that shuts off if it gets too cold, and doesn’t turn back on again.  Tomatoes are right on the border of foods I like vs. foods I don’t like, so I’m not going to press the issue.

But–with my sandwich cooking, I’m left with half of a roma tomato that I can tell wasn’t very good quality to begin with, but I don’t want to throw it away, and I don’t want to refrigerate it.  So I pulled out the salt and I ate it.

Apparently, if you’re not getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, it makes you feel all wonky.

And that tomato was the best thing I ever ate.

Honestly, it was such a strange combination of a not very good tomato being the tastiest thing I could imagine while I was eating it.  All I know is after eating that tomato, and drinking like a gallon of water, the upper part of my body is feeling much better.

Sis is in the hometown, taking G to swimming lessons.  I laughed at this, but apparently, she missed the sign-up day for her local classes, so she’s spending a week at my parents house.

I got a call asking where I was–when I was at her house on Friday, I bought a book of amagumri patterns, and said I’d come down for a day or two so we could make these little toys.

Well, apparently, she thought that when I said a day or two, it meant I’d come down today.  Which, because I’m a sucker, I did after getting her phone call.

G welcomed me with “I had swimming lessons today.  I know how to swim now.” and then promptly hurt himself and started to cry, which woke E up, and got him crying… yeah.  I’m glad I came down.

Fun fact: Once you’ve had heatstroke, you don’t ever really recover.

I hate to complain about the weather, mostly because it’s been consistently 5-10° cooler than average this summer, and all y’all on the east coast are in the midst of a heat wave.  Seriously guys?  Thanks for taking the worst of our weather this year.

So, there’s a new gorilla at Hogle Zoo, and, as gorilla’s happen to be G’s favorite animal, Sis suggested taking a trip to the zoo to see it.  The zoo was fun.  Afterwards…

I love my nephews, I really do.  And I’m glad that I can do fun activities like go to the zoo with them.  The problem is, activities like the zoo wear out little boys, to the point of orneriness, but not necessarily sleep.  So, while wedged in the back with a 3-year-old going back and forth between throwing a tantrum and stealing his brother’s pacifier, and a 9 month old who wanted to go to sleep but couldn’t because his pacifier kept getting stolen, I started to feel sick.

Like,”Oh, crap, I’m going to puke.” sick.

I get car sick, and know that I can’t, say, read while in a car, but usually just driving, even if I’m in the backseat isn’t enough to make me sick.  Especially on paved roads.

The B-I-L mentioned that it was a warm, if not super-hot day, and it might have been brought on by heat exhaustion and dehydration.  Which actually makes sense to me.  I had full-on heatstroke as a kid, and, like I said in the title, you don’t ever really recover from heatstroke.  Once you’ve had it, your sensitive to heat for the rest of your life.

Of course, the extra weight I’m hauling around isn’t helping anything.

I did make sure to bring some water, but, G liked my stainless-steel water bottle, and ended up drinking most of it.

Anyway, I ended up staying at Sis’s house for longer than I meant to, trying to recover before heading home–I would have stayed the night except I didn’t take the dogs.

So I’m home, alive, and still feeling whatever this is.

The good news is, I’m tired enough that I’m actually going to get to bed at a decent time tonight.

There’s something embarrassing about having an affliction commonly associated with young children.

Especially when I didn’t get ear infections as a child.  I know my ear drum burst once, but I don’t remember it, and I don’t remember ever having another ear infection.

I remember constantly having pink eye, but not ear infections.

WebMD has taught me more than I ever wanted to know about the physiology of the head and face, to the point where I’ve decided that I need to focus on clearing my nose and throat, rather than worry about my ears, in hopes that in doing so it will allow the gunk that’s making my ears hurt to drain in the way they’re supposed to.

In the mean time, I’m feverish, tired, and it hurts to open my mouth to eat or talk.

But I’m actually feeling better.  I guess that’s what happens when I was actually able to breath and sleep all night long.

I’m know this is a mild thing, but it’s what’s consuming my life right now.

Confessions, and a letter from PostSecret.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I attempted to kill myself.  Honestly, that’s all I’m ever going to say about it.  I’ve only verbally told a handful of people, and it feels strange to be putting this out where the whole world can see it.  Suicide in western culture is a shameful secret, one we keep from ourselves.

Off and on, since then, I’ve purposely put myself in danger, half hoping that something would happen to me.  I once explained it to a therapist by saying “I’m not going to step in front of a bus, but I’m going to take my time getting out of the way if I see a bus coming.”

PostSecret today featured a very touching letter and response.  I would like to share with everybody.

Suicide prevention is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  Depression is a painful disease, but it shouldn’t be a fatal one.  Frank is, of course, Frank Warren, of PostSecret.com


Dear Frank

I thought about sending a postcard but wanted to share a story without anonymity. I’m a senior at Cornell University and at your PostSecret Event here two years ago, I shared the following secret: “My main motivation for applying to the PhD program in Clinical Psychology was to honor the memory of my three cousins who took their lives by acquiring the training to help alleviate the despair of others.”

Recently I received an offer of admission to the USUHS in Bethesda, Maryland where I will be joining the Suicide Behavior and Prevention Laboratory. As soon as I received that offer, I remembered the secret I shared with the audience that night and how deeply meaningful it will be to follow through.

It makes me smile to know I’ll be moving so close to where all the secrets are sent and being only a few miles away from someone breaking down barriers in the mental health field in a way science has yet to discover.


I still have good memories of the Cornell PostSecret Event in 2008. And being a basketball fan I enjoyed watching Cornell’s team go deep in the NCAAs last week. But I’ve also been distressed to see the lopsided media coverage of student basketball compared to the half dozen student suicides at Cornell this year.

According to Yahoo, 7,573 news stories were written about Cornell Basketball in the past 30 days. During that same period, only 275 stories were written about the six Cornell students who took their own lives.

Suicide is a secret that we collectively keep from ourselves. But if we can find the courage to tell the painful stories, together, we can take the actions that will bring help and hope to those of us who suffer in silence.

This year over 1,000 college students will kill themselves. March is the month with the highest rate of suicides. Here are five ways you can fight back today.

1. Support the Pick-Up-The-Phone 30-City Tour with headliner Blue October.

2. Tell your story (or your friend’s story) and learn how Active Minds can help you fight suicide at your school.

3. Join Congressman Kennedy, HopeLine founder Reese Butler, Jamie Tworkowski and myself in Washington DC, April 12th, for the 6th Annual National HopeLine Network Capital Hill Press Conference.

4. Text “Suicide” to 20222 to make a $10.00 donation to HopeLine.

5. Share this message on facebook and Twitter.


My sister has a friend who’s into the whole new-age mystic healing stuff, and she warned Sis, upon hearing that we were going to the Gem Faire, that crystals put off energy, and it could mess with people who aren’t used being around it, so bring chocolate to stay grounded.

I have a hard time believing that, say, lapis lazuli (which is a rock, by the way, not a mineral, and therefore, not a crystal) gives off any energy except to make people say “oohh, pretty blue”–but, after leaving the Expo center, eating chocolate did make me feel better.  Of course, eating chocolate always makes me feel better.

The expo was a bit overwhelming.  There were TONS of people there, to the point that the entire parking lot was full (there was also a scrap-booking exposition, and a golf exposition) and things were pretty crowded.  It also didn’t take long for all the sparkling beads to get to be too much, so we just focused on jewelry that had already been completed, with some side adventures for valuable gemstones.  I loved all the ammonite, but that didn’t really surprise me–I’ve always had a thing for fossils, and I love the idea of fossils as jewelry.  I found a booth selling ammonite rings, and a ring made of–I don’t remember what it’s called, but people think it’s a fossil but it’s not.  It looks very ferney and delicate.  Dad, a little help here?


Dad remembered the name of the formation–Dendrite, and I was able to search online for dendrite rings.  This isn’t the ring I fell in love with, obviously, the stone is different, but so is the housing, but it’s a close approximation:

The stone of the ring I fell in love with looked like an antique Japanese painting.  Very lovely, and Sis agreed that she could see me wearing it everywhere.

And back to the original post:

I wanted the not-fossil ring, but it cost $45, which I most definitely don’t have.  I did come away with a blue and orange beaded necklace, that’s long enough for a flapper.  I’ve been having fun figuring out different ways to wear it.

I also have to say, Dad, that I was reminding myself of you.  We were looking at a booth that had geodes and obsidian and stuff like that, and I saw some cross sections of stalactites.  I mentioned to Sis that the stalactites bothered me, I didn’t like the idea of cutting up a cave for cheap trinkets. (Okay, so I didn’t notice the price, they could have been very expensive trinkets.  They were pretty–they looked like the inside of a geode.  But still…)

Okay, so on to the news from yesterday.

Uncle Ornery, one of my mom’s brothers (not his real name, obviously) was scheduled to have minor surgery yesterday.  In bout of stupidity that has lasted a couple of years, he lost, among other things, his driver’s license.  So, Mom’s been acting as his personal chauffeur.  She took him to the hospital in the town 50 miles away from where she lives (35 from where he lives), dropped him off, and headed home.  Just as she got home, she got a phone call, basically Ornery saying that they weren’t going to operate, that his white-blood cell count was too high, and the doctor thought it might be leukemia,  “but I’ve got another ride home, so don’t worry about me.”  Ornery had an appointment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute today for more tests.

Long story short, it’s not leukemia, his red-cell count was too high as well.  So, they took some blood, and scheduled another appointment for two weeks.

I guess I should also mention my Grandpa in all of this.  A few years ago, Grandpa began showing all of the symptoms of leukemia, but tests revealed that he was cancer free, month after month, and year after year.  I’ve never heard a name put to what Grandpa has, but his appointments at the Huntsman Cancer Institute have gone from every two weeks to every three months. Also, grandpa’s only sister died of leukemia.  So, there is a genetic predisposition towards the disease.

I don’t really know what’s going to happen.  Because of the stupidity, Uncle Ornery lost his health insurance, his cattle (which were his main source of income) and most of his money.  He’s said that if this gets too expensive to treat, he’s just not going to do it–but he doesn’t want a handout from the government.

I’ve been avoiding the whole health care reform debate, but I think that this discovery is very timely for Uncle Ornery. If a deal to lease his water rights goes through, he’ll be given a considerable income, and now, insurers can’t turn him down for having a pre-existing condition.

Anyway, I don’t want to turn this into a big debate over health care, and even if I mentioned that particular caveat to Ornery, he’d still grumble about how democrats are ruining this country…

Of course, it’s not coincidence that I gave him the code name of Ornery…

What? I need to write a post for today? Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

I’ve had a hard time finding motivation to do much of anything the past couple of days.  Even this blog–

I did spot a homemade mason bee house on the morning walk this morning, and I started to write about mason bees, but I don’t know enough about them to have any sort of authority, and I wasn’t willing to do the research to find out more.

Life’s just been odd lately.  I can’t really explain it.

Moving on…

There is a unit in my condo complex that has been vacant since August/Septemberish.  It seemed to me that the family who occupied it moved out overnight, then the next day, there was a notice on the door saying that the property had been repossessed.  I’ve rolled my eyes as the various take-out menus, flyers for companies soliciting tutoring help, and phonebooks have piled up on the doorstep of a property with a lock box clearly placed on the doorknob all winter long.

A few days ago, I noticed that all the clutter had been cleared away, and a new sign had been put on the door.  Specifically:

Okay, so the shot is a little blurry.  Heaven forbid that I run downstairs and take another picture…

Basically, it’s saying that the property was winterized on March 1st, so don’t try to turn on the water, etc.

To recap:  This property has been vacant since the end of last summer.  I know it’s been shown a few times, but units in the same building (even the one directly below it) have been bought and sold since it became available.  It got stupid cold in November/December, but the rest of the winter has been very mild.  And they waited until March to winterize.

Yup.  Makes perfect sense to me.

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