Saturday, September 26, 2009


Ten year old self: I want to live near my sister so I can see her often and our kids can play together and know each other well.

Myself today: I've moved back to Maryland. I live near my sister (may even move into her neighborhood if I ever get a friggin job). I have kids and she knows them well. But she doesn't have kids, so one plan is foiled.

Nowhere in my, or my sister's, childhood dream of have a close-knit extended family was by brother much in focus. I guess he was always somewhere in the background of our imaginations. He'd be there at Christmas, of course. That uncle the kids know, but don't know. We certainly had that experience growing up.

And now, reality is quite different! Yesterday we all had dinner together: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, kids, great-grandfather. My sister, brother and I all "home" with our significant others, all of us getting along, actually liking each other, knowing each other. We had a great dinner, laughing, telling stories of our first time drinking, what we used to drink and can't now, why mom doesn't drink beer (her theory is because she never tasted beer from her dad as a little girl and that's what it takes--which is a true circumstance for everyone else present last night), stories from before mom and dad had kids, when they were young like us, stories of how I caused both of my brother's facial scars from childhood (unintentionally, I swear), stories of how we fought, but didn't really fight (my brother never had it in him to beat us up, except one time he punched our sister and shit hit the fan), stories of camping, the positive memories like dancing to the 1965 mixed tape in the camper doing air guitar and lip syncing, stories.... everyone accepting each other (no political talk, obviously). So nice. Then we cleaned up, put the children to bed. We "kids" and our husband, fiance and girlfriend played The Settlers of Catan, which turned out to be a most awesome game. We were rowdy and stayed up too late, but it was so fun. Then everyone slept over for a big breakfast in the morning.

After breakfast, my sister, mom and I walked with the girls to the park where we talked about how nice it was to have each other together, to really like our brother's girlfriend, to like our brother! (Sorry, bud, always loved ya.) We recognize our blessing in having each other.

This is what it's all about.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Christians won't like this

While watching Laurie Berkner's new video on Noggin today (with my four year old, not by myself) I saw something that made me declare: "Christians are going to stop watching Noggin." See if you can find it. (And it's not because those puppets look like her breasts. Seriously, stand back and you'll see.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My hypocrisy

My name, Lauren, is typically pronounced one of two ways. Spelled phonetically:
1. Lore-en
2. Lar-en
In each the accent is on the first syllable. I prefer number 2. Sometimes Will says number 1, but he doesn't usually say my name unless he's yelling it for me to come see some travesty the kids have orchestrated, so in that circumstance I don't even pay attention to how he pronounces it.

Here is my hypocrisy. The name Maureen, which usually has the accent on the second syllable (and that may be why I like it this other way) can also be pronounced in two choices similar to my name.
1. More-een
2. Mar-een
Sometimes people even put the accent on the first syllable in option 2. THAT's weird. For Maureen, I like number 1 with the accent on the second syllable.

And that's that.

Monday, September 21, 2009



The experts say, "Don't label yourself." Well, only one nutritionist I've read wrote that. It's a good idea, I think. But, when you're trying to explain to someone why you're not going to eat THAT, it helps to say something concise.
Yesterday we went to Will's grandparent's house. He had told them we'd bring lunch from Subway, but then Grandma called back and said not to bring anything because they had hot dogs. Hmm... we don't eat THAT. So, we just brought lunch anyway and had to tell them I'm a vegetarian and the girls are mostly vegetarian. My sister-in-law has been vegetarian for a while, so I figured they'd understand and Grandpa did. Grandma isn't as sharp as he is, so she still continued to offer me a hot dog and Grandpa got a little agitated and raised his voice slightly to stress that I'm vegetarian. Hm? was Grandma's response, so he had to just say SHE DOESN'T EAT HOT DOGS! Then the questions started, What do you eat, Do you deny the girls or do you let them have certain things when they go to a party, Does your doctor advise you, Why are you on this diet, blah blah. She's done the same to my sister-in-law, so I wasn't surprised.

Technically speaking, I'm vegequarian. I eat eggs, cheese and seafood. Last week I decided enough was enough with the poultry, but then two days later my mom served turkey meatballs with spaghetti, so I had them. Ooops. No worries, though. I had three beef (hamburgers) slip-ups during the year long transition process I gave myself toward cutting down to just poultry as a meat item. From my twenty-seventh birthday to my twenty-eighth I changed my diet for the better. Though this summer has been difficult with living in my parent's house. They eat nice dinners, plenty of salad (which I haven't been feeling like having at ALL) but there's just too much food and I'm home too much! So, I eat more than I want to and I have more junk food and sodas than before. I'm making a conscious effort to change that even with staying home. Today is the first day in that effort. I'm attempting to do all raw mornings (except for my coffee). This morning I had a fruit and spinach smoothie which I shared with my girls. Then I had my coffee. Then I had a banana. It's 10:25 and I'm getting a little hungry, but I don't want to eat lunch until 11:30, so I might have an orange. Fruit is through the stomach in about 30 minutes. It's a quick-exit food, unless it's paired with anything other than fruit. Then it's kept in the stomach longer and can ferment (according to the aforementioned nutritionist).

I know that I've not been digesting well and I'm getting bloated, so this change should make me feel much better. S had me read the Berenstein Bear's Too Much Junk Food recently and so I've pointed out that we've been doing the same and it's time for a change for all of us. She told me what fruit and veggies she'd like for lunch and snack and if she fusses, I'll remind her she picked out the food and it's going to make her body feel good. Both the girls know I'm health-conscious. I've never said I'm on a diet or complained about eating healthy food. Instead, I point out the positive attributes of the food we eat, what vitamins it has, how it helps our body, how tasty it is.
Saturdays my Dad makes link breakfast sausage. At first, I let the girls have it, but it's not something I want them to have, so I got some tofu sausage I can cut into patties. S wasn't so sure about it at first, but then she started saying that it was good. After she'd eaten most of it I told her I was really proud of her for eating such healthy food because it's not meat sausage, but it's made of vegetables. She interrupted me there and said "And that makes it healthier! And it tastes good." She's getting the idea that I don't want them eating meat. I'm not taking away poultry and there will probably be times when S will have a hamburger, but at home she won't. My parents grilled steak yesterday and the girls had chicken fillet sandwiches, which they loved, so they were happy. I had the BEST grilled portabella mushroom sandwich. I marinated the mushroom in Bragg's, ginger powder, onion powder, garlic powder, honey, sea salt, pepper and brushed with olive oil. So good! My Mom is so awesome for thinking about me and getting portabella mushrooms. Thanks, Mom! She's so supportive of my changing diet. She does a lot of vegetarian meals, too. My poor Dad is getting such stiffness and inflammation in his knees. I wish he'd stop eating cured meat and only have meat at dinner a few nights a week.
I'm going to make a white bean dip today. It'll have cannellini beans, rosemary, garlic, olive oil. I'm debating whether or not to cook the beans. Some recipes say to fry the beans up before blending them with the other ingredients, but I think a raw dip would be nice, too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Six Year Old Society

S has social skills. I'm not really surprised as she's always been a very friendly little kid, but I'm intrigued by her ability to interact so maturely. When I pick her up from school I observe her as she confidently strides by students. If she sees someone from her class she puts a sweet, subtle smile on her face and says "Hi, so and so" at exactly the right moment: as she's approaching about 2.5 feet from the student so he/she has time to say hi back just as she's passing him/her. One little boy walks the same way home as we do and every time S sees him she says hi, but he only smiles and runs away. Then he acts crazy jumping off of everything he can on the way home. S told him he's crazy. Guess he took that as a compliment cuz he kept being crazy.

As friendly and confident as S is in addressing her peers, she's just as gullible. A classmate has told her to expect an invite for her birthday where, among others, the Jonas Brothers and Zack and Cody will be attending as guests. Really. Her father is calling to personally invite them. I explained to S that celebrities do not attend parties unless someone was friends with the celebrity before that person became famous, or if that celebrity is paid for the appearance. I believe S brought this up with the little storyteller which is when she pulled out the excuse that her father has yet to call them, but WILL be doing so. This'll be one of those social interactions where S will just have to learn from experience. I know I did, because I was a pretty trusting kid; basically, because I knew I wasn't out to fool anyone. Of course I met my share of storytellers, too, and eventually I learned to tell what was probably not the truth. I still have some trouble with that, though, so I'm not going to fault S for wanting to believe the awesomeness that is the dream of meeting Zack and Cody.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Genius of the Trailer Park

Here's a column I found that I find quite amusing. I was looking up the asthma of the esophagus as that's a possibility for me. Read the last question about prostate cancer. The woman is a real thinker!
The photo is from here. She was my photography teacher at Shepherd U and that pink trailer (normally white or gray or something) was our classroom and her office, though the dark room was in the main building.

Not happy

I've been feeling trapped lately. I've felt trapped before, by my baby. Of course I wasn't trapped at home. I could go out, but I was tethered to G because I was her only source of sustenance. Finding a play group was the best thing for me at the time because then I didn't feel alone in that sentiment.

Now I'm trapped by something else. It has multiple factors, but mostly I am trapped by my health, or poor health. I'm not alone in this situation. I have to say I have it pretty good. I don't have a life threatening disease. I don't have cancer. I don't even feel bad most of the time. My asthma is so mild. My allergies are not flaring. My reflux is mostly controlled by medicine. And that's where the problem lies. If any of these three things flares, the medication is expensive. And I cannot STOP taking medicine for reflux and that shit is so expensive. I know I've recently explained this, but I'm just feeling more and more down about it.

The economy is out of my hands. The lack of employment opportunity in my chosen field is out of my hands. It's not my fault I don't have a job right now. The only option I have in my chosen career is to substitute and I've already explained how I'm forced to either not work and have my medicine and health care covered by medicaid or go on Will's insurance and have to sub just to make back the money we'd be spending on my health care. Either way, we're stuck here.

Here is my parents' house. It's fine, it's fine. BUT we want our own place. My children want our own house. If it feels like a long wait for me, I imagine it feels almost hopeless for them. S was telling me on the way to school she wants us to get our own house NOW. We could do it, really. We could find a low price rental (they're more available these days) and we could stay on medicaid and get food stamps, but that would just make it impossible to pay off the debt we're able to at this time, even without my having a job. So, we can't let our desire to move out overrule the common sense plan we've got going here, which is to pay off debt while we're here and then we'll be in an awesome position to buy a house (or rent still depending on what we can find) when I DO get a job. Because I will. It's so very frustrating right now, but I will get a job, eventually.

Imagine if I didn't have to be below a certain income to have health care. Imagine that I could just fill out a form and have health care coverage like I do now with Medicaid, but I could make money! I could substitute teach so I keep my foot in the door and get experience and get paid. I could take long term sub positions. That's just not an option right now and I really want it to be soon. Instead, I'm trapped in my parents' house because having my upper endoscopy covered is more important than making $75 a day subbing.

You know that argument about not wanting the public option becoming the only option? Well, that's BS. There will always be private companies. Even England has private companies for supplemental care. Look at Medicare and Medicaid. There are options for each. I had about 7 different companies to choose from when I signed up. There were options!

A public option would give us the option of moving out and being independent.