Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have decided to stop opening each blog post with an apology for the delay of every new blog post. I guess you guys should all just--if you haven't already--get used to my posts being later and later. And as you'll see in this one, the next one might be later still. At any rate, instead of saying it EVERY time, I'll just go ahead and make a blanket apology for all future tardiness, mmmkay?

It's gorgeous here. The leaves are turning with ever-increasing momentum and the way the colors are climbing up the mountain, it feels like a VERY slow sunrise or something. We had a nice long rainstorm last night which always makes the treebark darker and the leaves even brighter.

The garden is on its way out. The squash is long dead--finished off by the squash bugs that Sam refused to suck up in the ShopVac (I know how I'm handling that situation NEXT YEAR). The tomatoes are still holding on, giving little bursting gifts (no, for real, because of the rain, many of the tomatoes have burst from all the water) every day, but not like before. The good news is that I was able to put by (in the freezer) several pots of homemade chili before the tomato harvest died back down to salad quantities. I am happy with the tomatoes, but will definitely do a better job of mulching and feeding next year (as well as making sure I plant them a few weeks apart from one another for a continual harvest instead of another Big Tomato Spurt). I want to be able to make ketchup, spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, dried tomatoes, etc. and we just didn't get enough of a harvest for that.

So, I can say that for the little work I did (which really was a LOT of work--granted most of the effort was spent on structure) and for as late as I did it, we didn't do bad. The freezer is full of zuke bread, chili (MY tomatoes and peppers) and pesto. Next year, I'd like to buy a second freezer and build a second garden location. I NEED peas, yo. I need green beans. I need taters (mine didn't do SQUAT, but I'm not surprised because they went directly into the crappy soil we had here). I need onions, garlic, ginger and herbs (which I didn't get to spend a lot of time on). I need carrots and winter squash and pumpkins and watermelons. I wasn't able to really research and care for that stuff as much as I did the easier to do stuff like the peppers, tomatoes, basil and squash. But, I will.

Next year will also bring either goats or chickens (maybe both?) and a dog. But I'll get to that soon enough.

Now to the updates...


Okay, so you'll remember that I applied for that library job. I got an email saying that they wanted me to interview but that the salary that I indicated on my application was too much and would I still be interested in the job if I were only making $18k. It's not very much money, of course, and not NEAR what I should be earning as a Librarian starting out, but I didn't get into the library business for the money, mmmkay? So, I wrote back and said I was interested.

I showed up early for the interview so I could get a good look-see at their collection and was pleasantly surprised at how nice their YA section was. It made me wanna work there. Then, I talked for a few minutes with the person working at the desk. That made me wanna work there more. Then, I went in and interviewed--during which I had to read a book of my choosing (I chose Green Eggs and Ham cuz that's the one my kids told me to read) and present a storytime "lesson plan" (for which I followed the theme "food" in keeping with Green Eggs and Ham). During the interview, I could tell how cohesive the staff was (because I was interviewed by a "panel" of two) and THAT made me wanna work there EVEN MORE. When I left there, I was VERY excited about the possibility of working there.... BUT, I was TORN because I had so much other stuff going on (get to that later).

So, when I got an email saying that I had made it into the finalists, I was really conflicted. By then, I had had time to think about how I would be able to balance everything. Would I be spread so thin that I wouldn't do ANYthing well? But I went anyway and interviewed again. And DURING the interview, I LOVED the thought of working there with those super-intelligent women. They were the personification of my dream colleagues and they reminded me of the women who made me wanna be a Librarian in the first place.

But, when I pictured myself working there, I got intimidated and a little nervous. So, I think the truth is that I didn't want a job. I mean, if I was going to have a job, I would have LOVED to have that one. But I didn't want a job. I had already committed my mind and heart to other things and had already gotten just enough involved in those things to not want to pull out before seeing them to fruition. And if I were to get hired, I'd either have to let those other things slack a little, not be a great library worker or stress myself to the brink of breakdown trying to do all of it well (and probably not be a very good wife and mother). To make it worse (?) though they were AWESOME and energetic at the beginning of the interview, happy to see me and talk to me again, toward the end of the interview, I started to sense that their interest was waning. And I could only take that one way: They had already made up their minds and were just going through the motions to be fair. Or maybe they were waiting for me to bring my A game and surprise them into changing their minds. (Something I wasn't really prepared to do.) Either way, when I left there, I was smiling--For one, because I knew I had done my absolute best under the circumstances, but also because I already knew that they weren't going to hire me. It was a relief. It meant I could stop stressing about what I was going to do.

And sure enough, a few days later, they emailed me and said that though they wished they had more than one position open, they only had one. They had proposed the job to the top candidate and they had accepted.



So, lemme tell you why I didn't want a job.

First, you know that I'm living on a homestead that I would like to see develop into something that produces at least enough food to feed my own family, right? Wellllll, we FINALLY got our insurance money reimbursed from one of the surgeries I had in France and were finally able to buy our TRACTOR!!!! The procuration of the tractor was just sorta like a sign from the Universe that we are doing the right thing. We don't have plans to use it for much more than mowing right now, but we have it and when it's time, we'll know well how to drive it, lol!

Second, the PTA is in full swing. We finished our first fundraiser and though we were SURE we wouldn't make much this year because of the recession, we ended up doing $2000 better on it that they did last year!!! How EXCITING!!! Then, we had our first non-fundraising function (a Parent Social so that we could establish committees) and though we didn't get the numbers we expected, about 25% of attendees signed up to be on a committee!!! Our primary goals were to 1)bring in a little $$$, 2) make a strong connection with teachers and 3) start connecting with parents. Well, because of our success with the fundraiser, we were able to grant teachers a higher "stipend" than they got last year. It's still not big, but it's progress. And because of our Recognition Committee, teachers are starting to feel appreciated. Then, with the Parent Social being a success, we're starting to see a connection made with parents. Our next step is to set up a website to keep things going stronger. I am VERY optimistic about PTA success!!! I'm SO excited about it. We have some AMAZING ideas for programs and fundraisers that really are going to energize the school. I'm proud to be a part of that!!!

Third, I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I applied to start a mommies site here in the area. There's a network called The Mommies Network that has sites all over the country. I was a member of one in Charlotte when I was there (I still am a member in fact). That site REALLY helped me be a better mom in SO many ways. And I see a NEEEEED for one here! So, I applied to start one. I didn't realize what a big deal it is and how much work it takes to get it going (that's what I started to realize while I was in the throes of interviewing for the library position). The site will be called LynchburgMommies dot com, but it will serve mommies in the four-county area (Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell counties and including the cities of Bedford and Lynchburg). That means a LOT of running around, organizing, doing PR and site maintenance!!! I REALLY believe in this site and how much it could help moms in the area. AND, I feel that being the PTA prez gives me advantageous access to make the site a success! So, I'm neck deep in training (yes, TRAINING) to run the site!!! Woo HOOO!

Fourth, I've been running. Of course, I continued to do my activities at the YMCA (my muscle training and cycling and zumba and swimming) but I've also started back to training for the marathon I want to do in December. I've run a few 5ks (it's HILLY here, y'all) and ran the Virginia 10-miler just a few weekends ago. I've had to get up every morning and train and then do long-haul runs on Saturdays. All of that has recently come to an end and I'll get to why in just a minute, but this daily training plus the two hours spent at the Y nearly every day has really taken up a lot of my time and though it's good for me, did make things a little more stressful as far as scheduling.

So, while there are other little things (cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, dealing with non-PTA-related school things (I'll get to it), and trying to adhere to our nutritive principles, reading and getting back to my writing), these four have been the main time consumers. I miss writing and will still do my annual NaNoWriMo (Google it cuz it's cool!!!) and I'm going to a Polidori (Google that, too) party toward the end of this month and of course, any free time (stop laughing!!!) I get will be spent working on my other book, but it won't be my main concern.

I've decided that while working a paying (and validating) job would be great, I just don't have time for it and it's just not in the immediate hand of cards. My job is to be a mom. In every sense. At home, with the kids, at school and in the community. For the next few years, I have a feeling that that's all I'm going to do seriously. I do want to keep writing and I will, but for the most part, like I said, I'm going to be a mom and homesteader NOW while my kids need me. And I'm going to work to be the absolute best mom I can be (by my own definition).


September (and, ahem, half of October) was a busy month. We did stuff and went places nearly every weekend.

One weekend, we went to Washington, DC to meet up with a couple of friends from England. Jim is a friend I haven't seen in over 15 years. He and his wife Jenny (and their baby girl bump whose name will probably be Daisy) were coming to DC for a work-related vacation and since they had a sort of itinerary to follow, it was easier for us to drive there and meet them than for them to drive out to the homestead. We hadn't been to DC since Sam and I were in grad school and it's only 3 hours away from us here. We hadn't made plans to go because we didn't think the kids would get it but believe it or not, after we got home, Ryan drew pictures of all the major landmarks we saw. *mouth agape* He really did pay attention (though you wouldn't have been able to tell DURING the trip). It was great to see Jim again and to finally meet Jenny. Ironically, we also found out WHILE WE WERE THERE that some friends of ours from grad school live just outside DC. So, we've made plans to go back up there and see them again here sometime soon.

The first Saturday of every month is "Family Day" at Lynchburg Grows (the local farm that teaches the disabled and less fortunate how to farm sustainably). So, September was the kids' first time (Ryan and I went with Z and her mom, A but this was the first time we went as a family). They loved the turkey, chickens and the goat--not to mention the roses, hydroponic gardens with goldfish swimming in it and the greenhouse-building workshop. We met a lady there named Kathie who runs a place down town called The Nature Zone. It's just a little room where they have different educational stuff about nature. So, after our Lynchburg Grows thing, we went out for lunch and then to The Nature Zone. I thought it was cool, of course, but Ryan absolutely LOVED it and still talks about it. He said that he wants to work there when he grows up, LOL! We made friends with Kathie and keep in touch with her by email (we send her pictures of wildlife we take around the homestead and we also gave her a lot of advice about her trip to Paris). We use the prospect of going back to The Nature Zone as an incentive for good behavior for the kids, LOL!

Then, the first weekend in October was the Lynchburg Grows Fall Festival. On top of having the cool animals, they had pumpkin painting, a scarecrow craft, family photos and pony rides. Funny enough, our REALTOR who helped us buy this house was there running the pony rides. Her husband (who works for the same company as Sam) is a big contributor of Lynchburg Grows. It was funny that one of the workers saw us coming and said, "Hey, you guys are becoming 'regulars'!" :-D

Last weekend, we went to the Appomattox Railroad Festival. There were crafts and carnival games and carnival FOOD and a parade. SO many people I knew were supposed to be there (Okay, get this, Sam and I were eating sushi at the local Habachi Buffet and were talking about a friend of mine coming up from Charlotte especially for the Railroad Festival (well, and her anniversary--Hope it was good, Nic!)... I got up to take Lolo to the restroom and when we walked out of the stall, there was my friend! *snort* We made plans to meet up in Appomattox at the festival, but my cell phone chose that weekend to get sick and go into a coma *eye roll*). We thought we weren't going to see anyone after all. But then, we were on the train they had on display when we hear Z's familiar voice. We ended up hanging out with them the rest of the time. The kids had a blast and I always love hanging out with Z's parents!


The kids started swim lessons this past Saturday (before the Railroad Fest). Ryan had lessons in France, so he was used to it. Lily loves the IDEA of swimming and loves putting on her swimsuit and playing in the rain. But she's TERRIFIED of a pool of water and usually when we go, she spends all her time CLINGING for dear life onto one of us... So, I was a little skeptical. Lolo, on the other hand, NEEDS swim lessons because she's absolutely NOT scared at ALL of the pool. She's the kid who thinks she can breathe under water so she just JUMPS.

Well, they all did GREAT! Lily was a little skittish at first, but the swim coaches are so good (and parents aren't allowed down on the pool deck--we wait in the lobby and watch through the windo) that Lily loved it and talked about it all this week. Lolo loved it so much that she kept jumping in *eye roll* per usual, lol! Ryan did really well and wasn't afraid at all, but he did act up a little (more about that later, *eye roll* (expect me to roll my eyes a lot this post)). I'm just so glad they're excited about this and it gives us something for them to do every Saturday. Something for them to look forward to.


So, you probably all know that I donate my hair. There's an organization called Locks of Love who use the hair to make hairpieces for children who have cancer and who have lost their hair from chemo and radiation treatments. Well, it had been just over two years since I had donated when I decided I was SICK of dealing with this hair. I went to the local hairdresser and had her cut my braid off and reshape the remains into a page boy. When I got home, Lily said, "I want my hair like Mom's!" We talked to her about it for several weeks to make sure she was absolutely certain. She said, "Yes, I want to give my hair to the sick, bald girls." *eye roll* That's sweet and adorable, no matter how inappropriately expressed, right?

So, after going to see Toy Story 3 together as a family (in 3D--the kids LOVED it btw, as did they Dispicable Me... we saw it together TWICE), we went to Supercuts and after cutting off Lily's gorgeous princess mane, they chopped it into a horrible little haircut. Of COURSE Lily looks cute no matter HOW her hair is cut and OF COURSE, she makes short hair look impeccable, but I was critical of the choppiness on the left (stage left) side of her head. She looks like a little French girl. I didn't think ANYTHING could make Lily any cuter, but well, you can look at the pix and tell ME!


Okay, so, you know all the stuff I went through last semester with Ryan and his behavior, right? And with the exception of a little acting up here and there, We thought all the work we were doing with him had helped scaffold him to a place where he could control his own behavior. The melatonin. The early (7:30pm) bedtime. Avoiding sugar and food dyes. Plenty of exercise. Not much TV. It worked!

Since the beginning of school, he has been doing just INCREDIBLY in his academics. He's reading and writing on his own now (and unprovoked, too... he loves sitting in bed at night and early in the morning and looking at books and he now reads signs everywhere... AND, we can't talk to each other and spell out words we don't want them to know about because Ryan decodes it and rats on us). His math is impeccable (though he still writes some of his numbers backwards). He's learning to tell time. He knows a lot of stuff about a lot of things. He hasn't mastered the days of the week yet, nor can he tie his own shoes, but for the most part, he's good, academically.

And he did really well behaviorally, as well. With the change of classes--the keeping of old friends, the loss of some, but also the gaining of NEW friends--there were a few days of transition, but all in all, he was doing okay. His teacher and I continued the sticker system of last year (adding to it a 1-5 scale of behavior).

All was going well.

Until just after our trip to DC. We were about to run out of melatonin and the only place we can find the chewable .5 mg is at Traders Joe's. The closest TJ's to here is either Charlotte or Richmond (both three hours away) and there are a kazillion of them around the DC area, so I scheduled a TJ visit into our DC trip. But in the excitement and chaos, TJ's got forgotten. Sam, ever the skeptic ANYWAY, said, "Oh well, tough. We'll just see how they do without it."

Fast forward to about two weeks later. Three of those days, the kids each had a "vitamin." But then there were none left. So we waited and watched. Then, forgot.

THEN, one day while I was up at the school, Ryan's teacher sees me and mouths, "I need to talk to you." My heart dropped into my stomach. Turns out, Ryan had smacked this little girl on the butt. In his defense, the teacher found out that the girl had TOLD him to do it (whuh?!?) but then it was STILL about NOT doing everything that everyone tells us.

I said, "Well, we ran out of melatonin a few days ago."

"Huh." Her brow furrowed in surprise. "How many days ago?"

"Week or ten days give or take."

She stared back at me. "Interesting."


"Because, for just about that same amount of time, Ryan has just NOT been himself. He has a hard time staying in line, keeping his hands to himself, raising his hands before talking, arguing, fidgeting, that kind of thing. It's interesting that this might have to do with sleep deprivation."

It DOES though. Since Ryan hasn't had melatonin, he really IS another person. He wakes up in the middle of the night and gets up super early and turns on his light. He's just not sleeping like he did before.

I went to the local health food store and bought the only thing under 3 mg that they had--a liquid melatonin that we could use to give him only half a mg. But, Ryan HATES the taste of it and it really isn't working like the other one did.

THEN, last week, Ryan tells me as he's getting into the car, "I got a 2 today." All I can get out of him for a reason is that he has cut out something he wasn't supposed to. But when I get home, I have an email from his teacher saying that he has locked some kid into the classroom bathroom by pushing his chair up against it and sitting in it!!!! The teacher wasn't there but the aide left a note saying that the only way she knew it was going on was from the little boy SCREAMING in the bathroom.

UGH! For me, this is suddenly no longer a behavorial management problem so much as a symptom of an illness. Ryan MUST be just ill. He must have ADHD or some other sort of learning or perception problem. I was devastated. And all Sam wanted to do was clobber him. "We need to punish him NOW so he knows that it's not okay." But *I* know that punishing him now, several hours later, WOULDN'T teach him anything. He wouldn't make the connection between the crime and the punishment. And punishment should be for behavioral modification. And I know that that won't work this time. I know that what Ryan needs is deeper treatment.

So, I've gone to the school counselor and I've talked to Ryan's teacher and we're going to try to work together to get this straightened out and HOPEfully without chemicals. A friend in CLT (hey, Ju) has express mailed me some more TJ's melatonin. I'm going to return to enforcing a 7:30 bedtime (we had all sorta picked up a European rhythm... eating at 7pm and getting to bed around 8:30). I'm going to try to have dinner ready by 6. Baths should be done by 7. Stories and stuff should be done and the kids in bed with the lights out (and the minty taste of melatonin on their tongues) by 7:30. We are going to go back to our strict dietary principles and we are all going to get more exercise. There's no way we can do this all at once (especially with my operation coming up--don't worry, I'm getting there). But by New Year's, we need to have this place back in a fairly organized state.


Lily loves school. She's good at it. But she has completely lost all of her French. It's GONE. I can't believe that in less than two short weeks of school she had already blocked it out. It's so bad that we've enstated a rule in the house to ONLY speak French on the weekends (and I speak some French with Lolo during the day at home). I'm hoping that a nice long trip in France will help Lily get back to it, but I'm not sure. She absolutely REFUSES to speak it and almost looks at us like we're beating her when we insist. She still understands everything but answers us back in English.

She has a nice little circle of friends she talks about all the time and who squeal with delight when they see her out of class. She even has a little Latin boyfriend she calls her "boy." When Sam heard it, he narrowed his eyes and growled. He said, "No Lily, I'M your boy." Lily said, "No, Papa. You're MAMA'S boy." *cringe* I'm staying out of it. LOL!

She talks all the time about being a superhero. "With all of my stuff and all of my powers." I've recently learned that all her "stuff" means her costume. Guess what I'm getting them for Christmas THIS year? LOL!


Ahhhhh, my little sidekick. She's an absolute JEWEL to be with at home during the day. She is very independent and insists on doing everything "by myself." It took her NO time at all to potty train and now she has even given up the baby potty in exchanged for a step stool up to the big people's potty. She's ADORABLE in every way imaginable. The things she says, the way she looks, her expressions, her reactions. All of it. I even took her to my doctor's appointment with me the other day. She sat in a chair and ate an order of french fries one potato at a time, wiping her mouth and hands every few bites and carefully placing her napkin back in her lap. I sat there and watched. Marveled.

She turned three at the end of September. We didn't do anything fancy. We went to Cici's pizza and after eating lunch, we put a #3 candle into a plate of brownies and lit it. She loved it! Since she has everything she needs, we didn't buy a present. BUT, as I unpacked a box that morning that had Lily's old shoes in it, I pulled out a pair of fuzzy, faux suede Dora the Explorer boots, Lolo exclaimed, "For ME? Are these my birthday boots?" My answer: "YEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!" She loved them. I ended up buying her a second-hand bike the next day at a thrift store which she immediately called her birthday bike. That's all it takes to make her happy. Very little.


It's hunting season. Bow hunting to be exact. And everyone likes our land so much they all wanna get on the list to hunt here. And since with a bow you have to be right up on top of whatever you're shooting, I'm all for it. Especially if it means people are going to fill my freezer full of meat.

Interestingly enough, I have heard that there are bears on my neighbors properties. To both sides. Know what that means, don't you? That means there are bears on MY property. When I think of all the times I've let those kids play outside by themselves...

I have to let them. I moved into the woods so they could. But now, it makes getting a gun and a DOG all that more urgent. I had wanted to wait until spring to get a dog, but I'm not sure if that's gonna happen. It might be time to assess our funds and see if a dog run and house will fit into our budget. It'd be nice to have a big animal who can pee all over everything and bark at the slightest movement. If we have a protective run and a nice big house for him to live in at night and then let him run around during the day, that'd be good. I'm just wondering if he'd end up getting shot, too. I remember having a dog when I was a kid. Our dogs ran all over the place and came home only to eat and sleep. Is that realistic to our situation now?

Either way, Sam and I are going to have to get serious about finishing a gun safety course. We need to learn it, buy a gun and a safe and get that done. We live in the woods. It's IRRESPONSIBLE for us NOT to have a gun out here.


Oh and we thought they were back in September, huh? Well, I thought that having ten or twelve on the window was bad back in September. Try 50. Try 100. Try never being able to walk out on the deck because the suckers were swarming so bad that they'd DIVE BOMB you while you stood there. Yeah, okay, we've discussed the fact that they won't hurt you. Sure. But have you ever had one of them on you? CREEPY. And still, ever since that one bit me and sprayed me, it has been on. I told you I caved right? That I called an exterminator? Well, I called him BACK out to spray again this month because every time it warms back up even a little the suckers come back!


So, though I was SURE that Sam could finish the guest room in the basement in just one weekend, it is now the middle of October and he's just now really getting into the swing of the electric work. LOL! The lady from the permit office called the other day asking if we plan on finishing before the end of the year and I said, "It BETTER be done by then!!!" To his credit, the framing looks AWESOME. He really is doing a great job. I know that when it's done, it'll be done really well. It's just that it's taking FOR-E-VER. I keep telling people "Yeah, you can come visit and stay with us in our guest room... As soon as it's done." LOL! When the electric is done, we have to have it inspected and then we're gonna do the insulation, the sheet rock and the fixtures. And our friend/contractor George gave us a TON of new berber carpet and carpet pad and baseboards and even wire shelving that will fit PERFECTLY on the other side of the guest room in the pantry!!!! *sigh* I can't WAIT!!!!!


You'll remember that I went back to church. Yes I did. And I was going to follow that for as long as it was good for me. I went back again, excited to see our regular Sunday school teacher. But, as usual, I had questions. I'm a pot-stirring trouble maker. I'm not a sit-there-and-listen-head-nodder. I disagree? I say something. I have a question? I ask it. Well, I did. And it escalated into a bit of a... confrontation? And when the person I was having the discussion with (not the teacher) started to get a little patronizing... a little condescending... a little insulting... Well, I dunno. It just started to taste like old fish in my mouth.

I left wondering if that was my calling. To go to Sunday school and say what I needed to say... to get others to think and not be so damn comfortable with what everyone else says.... all their rhetoric and whatnot. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that even if that might be what God might want me to do, I don't feel up to that challenge right now. I don't have the energy. I don't have the motivation. It would be different if this was a church I had gone to for a long time. But it wasn't.

In fact, just that morning, my friend A pointed to the roster and said, "Oh, looook! They put you on our roll sheet! You're official!"

It was so great to feel so wanted. To feel like I could fit in. But the truth was--I DON'T fit in there. If those people knew ANYTHING about the real me (other than A), they would NOT accept me. I would be a sinful abomination to them. AND, being accepted and fitting in and being wanted and loved really isn't the reason I go to church. So, if I'm going there for their approval and to be on the roster, I'm going for the wrong reason. And I think that's what it boiled down to. I was going for social interaction and because it felt comfy. That's nice and all and I'm not saying I won't ever go back. I AM saying that I won't be joining that church for good. And now that I have so much going on on the weekends, I don't really have TIME for church outside my closet. I still talk to God every day. I still communicate with God constantly. But I feel like church stirs up more shit than it's worth to me. *shrug*


Okay, you'll remember that just after my gall bladder surgery, I was very big on getting out and working on the Dream Garden. Remember? Remember how I nearly pulled open my bellybutton incision spot? Remember how I've complained about how no matter how much ab work I do, it doesn't look like my UPPER abdomen will EVER flatten out? Wanna know why?

Well, let's go back a little. A few months ago, this summer, I felt as though there were things in my gut that were shifting around as I did things. Usually it was when I needed to, ahem... have a "movement"... so I thought it was bowel related. That maybe I had some sort of colon thingamajig or whatnot.

It seemed even more pronounced after the girls got back. Nearly every time I lifted them, my gut seemed to shift and squirm a little. Sometimes it hurt to sleep on my belly (my lifelong sleeping position).

A friend asked if I might have a hernia. Whuh?

But then, I went to see my primary care physician about it. She said there MIGHT be something there about the size of a buttonhole but that I should go see my surgeon to get confirmation. In the mean time, I could still do my regular training, but just go easy on the abs. So, I did.

And then, I went to see my surgeon (FOUR weeks after I saw my PCP because he had no appointments open). He said he didn't feel any hernia and that we needed to do a CT scan. So, I went in for that. I had to drink this nasty "vanilla smoothie" (which will effectively keep me from ever drinking anything vanilla flavored ever again). The nurse told me I'd need to wait for an hour before they did the scan so that the smoothie could move through me. She said that there was a bathroom in my waiting room just in case it moved through me faster than expected. While I waited, I sat on the floor and compiled my PTA parent survey results. An hour later, a nurse came in, put me on the table and started an IV. She asked, "Where are you hurting." I showed her the area near my bellybutton. I said, "It doesn't hurt all the time, only when I cough or laugh or sneeze or yell at my kids." We laughed. I turned my head and coughed. She said, "Oh, my gosh, yes. That's a hernia." I looked down and saw what looked like a baby's elbow poking out of my gut near my bellybutton. I almost threw up. I hadn't ever seen it before. Had the doctor seen that, he probably wouldn't have had me get a scan.

After the scan, I got home and got to thinking about it. I wanted to have more babies. Wouldn't a hernia keep me from doing that? I did what I shouldn't have and started Googling. Sure enough, I read on site after site that if they had to put the mesh stuff on the hernia to repair it I could have some big problems. That put me in a BIG FUNK. Listen, here was my plan: Workout, run my marathon, drop 50 pounds by May, get pregnant, twice and then REALLY concentrate on my body and growing old in a FIT state. A hernia might mean no more babies. But it would definitely mean no marathon this year.

When I went back to his office to talk about it, he said that yes, effectively, I would need surgery to repair it. I asked him if I could have more babies and he said that while I would be at risk for another hernia later, he wouldn't let it stop me from having babies if he were me. That was good news. However, he also said that the recovery would be at least a month. So, definitely no marathon. Not this year. Blah. Maybe I can find a marathon in March or April--before it gets hot. I can take it easy-ish for the next few months and get back into the swing of things after the new year. It just means that I'd have to be super careful about my eating.

Can I just tell you how freakin' depressed I was when I thought that I couldn't have another baby? I'm just now finally getting to a place in my mourning where I'm comfortable talking about trying again. (I was thinking next Spring). And after all that work trying to get back to normal, now I find out I might not be able to make more? I was devastated. Don't get me wrong. I WORSHIP the kids I already have. But I was seriously mourning the future kids about which I had already dreamed. I'm better now.

Well, that's pretty much the long and short of it. Mostly, anyways. I was going to go into a long sermon about how much I'm loving this Michael Pollan book "In Defense of Food" and about how it should be required reading in high school and again in college. And that it should be required reading for citizenship in the U.S. BUT, my fingers are again tired and I have, again, spent the better part of a day writing all this stuff out. AND, I still gotta get this month's pix in here for you.

Not sure when I'll be back. Probably as I lie around trying to recover from my next invasive surgery *eye roll* Maybe I'll have some fun Halloween pix by then.

Thanks for reading me.




CARROTS FROM THE GARDEN... not very many but we'll plant more next year!


White House Garden!!!!!

White House Bee Hive!!!!



Family Day:

Lynchburg Grows Fall Festival:




Interior separating wall:

Furring on the concrete wall:

Closet framing: