Why is your foot in my ear?

Filed under questions you never thought you would ever ask, but then you had kids: “Why is your foot in my ear?”
- Me, last night, while sitting in a chair

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End of Year Cards Being Sent

It’s made me very happy to be getting holiday / New Year’s cards after the new year! Two so far!

Why? Because I only just finished up my own holiday / New Year’s letters!

The pictures were printed at the end of Nov. Cards were bought right after Christmas. The letter was written at the end of Dec. The address labels and letters were printed last week (early Jan). Cards have been put away for next year as they are Christmas specific. I dated pictures, signed letters, and assembled most of them all last night. I hope to have them in the mail today!

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Joy Joke

So we’re having dinner at my step-sister Liz and her husband Ben’s new house. It’s a Sunday, mid-December. My other step-sister Joy is there too, as are my Dad and step-Mom Colette. Joy is her usual funny self, making puns (which I love) and opposite expectation jokes. I hardly notice anything is amiss.

After a while, Amber starts saying “CJ” in a drawn out un-amuzed groan type way. I don’t get it. I do notice it’s always after her Auntie Joy says something in a laughing way. Finally, Joy says she needs to get dressed in a tank top, shorts, and flipflops so she can go out in the snow.

Amber replies “See – Jaaaaay” in that way again.

I can’t take it and ask almost exasperatedly, “What does see-jay mean?”

Liz is first to answer, with Joy also responding as a quick echo, “It means Classic Joy.”

Amber immediately amends their answer, saying flatly, “It means Bad Joke.”

We all laughed so hard!

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Merry Christmas!

For any who were worried, we are home safe (have been for about 1/2 an hour).

Merry Christmas! We landed on time. We made it home. Despite the big melt last week, it’s a White Christmas. Clearly someone knew what to give me for Christmas!

LOVE to all! And to all a good night!

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People were really nice today!

People were really nice today! It wasn’t everyone, but it was *every* where I went, and the *entire* day!

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My Lyrics for Halloween

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!
With kids trick-or-treating
And everyone greeting
With candy and cheer!
It’s the most wonderful tiiime, of the year!

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Astronauts for Halloween!

First off, Amber chose to be an astronaut this year. Yes! And it was all on her own! No prompting or hinting from me, though I was very happy she picked that! Later I asked if Aurora could be an astronaut too. Amber said only if she (Aurora) wasn’t an orange one.

So last weekend (not this immediately past one), Amber and I tried to tackle the helmet issue. Internet seemed to think the best solution was paper mache. Hmm… I’ve never done that on my own, I don’t actually even remember the last time I ever did paper mache! But, recipe and advice from a couple sites set me on a seemingly doable path, and some kind of echo of a memory surfaced enough for me to get it. (See image #1)

I used the “COOK” method:
http://www.dltk-kids.com/type/how_to_paper_mache.htm

Amber and I practiced on Aurora’s balloon. 2 layers, then let dry completely, then 2 more layers, was my favorite site’s recommendation. I realized at this point that each layer should go in the opposite direction of the previous, up and over one layer, around for the next, so it would be easy(-ier) to see where the second layer actually started and stopped, so as not to put too many or too few layers in any given spot. Then we, or rather I late that night, got the first 2 layers onto Amber’s balloon. (See image #2)

But I noticed that the paper mache from earlier that day wasn’t smooth anymore on Aurora’s. I thought perhaps using warm “glue” had caused the balloon to shrink a little as the “glue” and paper cooled. The next morning Amber’s was mostly dry, only part not was the part that had been in the bowl all night. Aurora’s was still pretty wet, and smaller. Later that day I tried to slide the paper mache down and push the balloon up inside Aurora’s hoping to get it smooth again maybe far enough to make a short helmet for her. It all moved the way I expected, but the paper mache didn’t straighten out. I pushed and slid a little harder, and heard a distinct hiss…. Argh! Her balloon had a hole! Well, oh well. Amber’s was the more important one. Aurora wouldn’t know if she didn’t have one that it was missing. Plus, given her reaction to Amber’s near finished helmet later, there’s a very good chance Aurora would refused to wear it if it did get made! I got 2 more layers on Amber’s that night, the last of which I did in white printer paper on the advice of that same site. (See picture #3)

I was very glad for that white paper advice. Not only would painting white be easier, but the lines looked very cool. I had somewhat inadvertently done the last 2 layers in the proper directly to make it look great. We ended up not painting at all!

The, finally, we got to pop the balloon and cut the bottom edge even all around. I was worried it wouldn’t fit over Amber’s head and I’d have to get creative with cutting the visor hole so she could get it on. The balloon had shrunk just a little bit as the “glue” dried. But nope. It came out amazing! WOO! (See picture #4)

Lastly, we cut a visor hole for Amber. It all worked perfect. So glad!

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AADL Nerd Nite Solar Eclipse Presentation

Oh YAY! The Ann Arbor District Library posted my short talk on the Aug Eclipse that I did for Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! You can view it here, if you want to see me do a presentation despite the topic being past relevant.

Thank Emily for the suggestion. I hope to get a video of my Ceres presentation to post too.

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So Hard

It’s been so hard getting over the Summer slump and forcing myself back to working on getting into Med School, especially with Summer lasting so far into September. BLAH. But I did. It’s not an immediate path anymore, I have to take Biochem (1 class) and Organic chem (2 classes) first, somehow. Then I had to force myself to finish up again last week, which due to a not-meant-to-be-inspirational post from Lisa, I did! So then last Wed I went to the U of M Postbac MEDPREP informational open house. Informative! But, *sigh* challenges and having to “defend” myself and my actions thus far and then the follow up swirl of emotions to deal with: confrontation, obsession over if the wording in my application essays was just right even though its too late to change them, anxiety over waiting for an answer even though its the weekend now and doesn’t count towards the review time, ….

I’ve been wondering for a month (or two?) if I’m really doing the right thing. If I’m being fair to my kids. I’m not going to have a flexible work schedule as a doctor. I’m not going to be able to make last minute decisions or changes to our schedule. I’m probably going to have night shifts and lots of 12 hour shifts keeping me away from dinner and bedtime once through med school! I keep thinking how selfish I’m being. I know I’m a selfish person, I had kids on my own because *I* needed to. Now I’m planning to sell our house, possibly (but hopefully not) have to move Amber to a new school, and scale back on our lives, because *I* want to go to medical school. *sigh*

It’s so hard. Trying to find the best way to get where I want to be. Keep getting the timeline pushed farther and farther away because I need those 3 classes in order to do well on the MCATs. (Did I tell you how I did on them last May? Percentages are not how many questions I answered correctly, they are how many people I scored better than: 90% on Critical Analysis and Reading. 75% on Psychology and Sociology. 7% and 13% on Organic chem and Biochem.) But, at all local and online colleges, the 3 classes I need have prerequisite classes and the courses I took back in college have “timed out”. I took them 17 – 20 years ago, so they aren’t considered valid anymore. Only U of M doesn’t require prereqs, only demonstration of proficiency. So I’m trying to get into the MEDPREP program to take those 3 classes I need. Well, we’ll see. Two of the guys in charge recommended I ask the MEDPREP administration for a consultation on my application, to give me advice on what I really should be doing. I think if they say no to U of M Postbac MEDPREP program, I’ll just go take the courses online at UNE. It will end up being at least 5 or 6, instead of 3. More money. More time. :(

It’s just so difficult. And I keep going back to thinking how bad financially I’ve been doing this Summer and Fall. Trying to catch up, finally seemingly starting do so! And then another unexpected medical bill shows up. I know how to fix the money issues:
1) get a better paying job. I’m pretty underpaid, but I told my boss last year I was only going to work 37 hours a week, and I have a lot of flexibility, so I’ve been fine with it. Plus, why go through all the effort of finding and landing a new job, and then having to make it a priority to establish myself at the new job, when I’m planning to go off to Grad school?
2) sell the house now, buy a new smaller home of some kind with the profit, and then have at least half the monthly mortgage payment (if not more) as “disposable income” EACH MONTH!

This morning I started thinking about all this again. I could get a better paying job AND sell the house / buy a smaller place, and end up with ideally a whole bunch of extra money that I could use to do the other ideas to help people I’ve stacked up over the years:

  • A seasonal access free storage facility for homeless
  • “Penpals” app designed to ensure teens have friends when entering high school
  • Try to do the “same great medical care if you have Platinum insurance or only emergency / hospital insurance” doctor’s office idea despite not being a doctor myself. This involves convincing doctors to donate 8 hours of their time once a month to the office. And trying to get at least one insurance company to let the office buy X number of “beneficiary to be named later” insurance plans – basically buying coverage for X number standard medical procedures and screenings per month.

I’d be using my existing skills for these. Hopefully could save up enough money in a few years to go part time or even maybe early retire, and focus on the kids and the helping other ideas.

Then I turned on to Main St and heard sirens. I looked around quickly, nothing. I looked in the rear view mirror: Ambulance behind me. I immediately pulled over. As the ambulance passed me and carefully drove through the lights in front of us, I was reminded of a LOT in less than a second. Culminating with I NEED to be in the ER.

I can’t. I just can’t. It’s hard, but I can’t give up. I HAVE to go to Med school. I need to help other people in that way. And when the girls are off to college I can go do Doctors Without Borders, until there starts to be grandchildren. :)

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The Wounds of Dementia

I imagine this is what my Mother, and others like her, feel like these days. I’ve never heard this song this way before, not sure I’ll ever hear it the original way again.

“I must be looking for something / Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide / And it’s too hard to cross

And even though I know the river is wide
I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore
And try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find out what I’ve been looking for

In the middle of the night / I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear / To a river so deep

And I’ve been searching for something / Taken out of my soul
Something I’d never lose / Something somebody stole

I don’t know why I go walking at night
But now I’m tired and I don’t want to walk anymore”

Billy Joel – The River of Dreams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSq4B_zHqPM

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