Ender Yoga

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We begin with a gentle stretch. Inviting the breath. Coming to presence in this peaceful space. A space, and a time, that’s just for you.

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Ground the hands and the feet, lifting the hips toward the sky. Feel the lengthening. Warming shoulder muscles, warming calves…

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…and come up.

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Exhale deeper into dhanurasana. Remembering to breathe. Making space in the chest, opening the heart.

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If this is too much for you, modify the pose. Feeling strength and stability…

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… and releasing completely into savasana.

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…Namaste.

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Starting Early

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“I am literally starving, but I have to hold up this wall.”

I live in a wonderful small town. It has one independent coffee shop, for which I am grateful because most of our town is choppers and mullets – we’re basically poor white trash, and before you get in a twist, I am in no way differentiating myself.

The coffee place gives you a nice discount if you bring your own cup, so I do (see above), and if it’s quiet, I stay there to drink it, but TODAY… I was behind two women who hadn’t seen each other in some time (long enough for one of them to bring a card and a cheerful bouquet, you know, when you want to embarrass the hell out of a so-called friend).

They were both in activewear (check out the video, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, but you DO) and they both had GIANT bags. They weren’t even hand bags, they were tents with handles. The bags were under their arms, jutting out in back, and they kept stepping back from the counter, and almost bludgeoning me with their GIANT-ASS bags. That was pretty annoying.

One of the employees started making sympathetic and then goofy faces at me at their expense, so I was NOT imagining their annoyingness.

Our beloved coffee shop in PWT’s-ville used to have regular and decaf, but now, in keeping with the times, they have regular, dark roast, and decaf.

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“Slow down – you’re blowing my mind.”

 

This was TOO MUCH for these women, who wanted to know the backstory of both regular coffees, and impart what they knew about the chemical processing of decaf. (Causes cancer, you say? Give me the whole pot!)

Once they heard the story of the coffees – “I vas born in var-torn Berlin…”  – they did NOT order coffee. NO! They wanted to hear all about the TEAS. What is this one? Optimus Prime?! OMG! Razzle-Dazzle?!?!?! Oh, gosh, IDK, what do you recommend?

I recommend you go ahead and order before I break my foot off in your ass.

At last, the woman behind the counter said, “Why don’t you give it some thought and come back when you decide,” which made them decide IMMEDIATELY on two iced mochas.

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Well, surprise, surprise, surprise!

They went looking for a table (out of the three that are in the tiny coffee place), and the one holding the flowers dropped the flowers… (passive-aggressive!) They both let up a wail that disturbed the one pot-bellied guy who sits there all day enough for him to flap his newspaper.

The server not making their mochas (my sister in impatience) came out with a broom and dustpan and assured them there was no damage, the place could take worse, and I think I even heard her say, “Calm down.” It was like having Elf and Ed Grimley together at last.

Once my coffee was ready (took 2 seconds!) in my reusable cup, I got the hell out of there, but now I wish I had stayed and collected more material. It’s episodes like these that feed my morbid creative instinct. Alas. Please comment if you have a snarky story to share. I’m a snark-fueled vehicle.

La Mom-Cierge

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It’s close to midnight. I’m dreaming about having a Twitter argument over Mr. Bubble with Mark Ruffalo, when I hear,

“Mom. There’s a big, fat, black spider in my pillowcase. Don’t kill it.”

Cold sweat rolling down my pits, I climb up the jiggly ladder to her loft bed. Sure enough, there it is. Its too big to kill. I’d have to roll it in a carpet and dig it a grave.

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Holy CHRIIIIIIIST!!!

I take the pillowcase to the tub and shake it out. There are some nice ants coming up through the bathroom tile this time of year. It’s an upgrade.

Meantime, she watches to make sure I don’t flush it.

“I’ll put it outside in the morning,” she decides. Then, she climbs back into her bed and is asleep again before I turn out the light.

As I fall asleep, my brain casts back to the most terrible thing I remember from childhood: the cartoon version of The Hobbit where Bilbo finds the trolls have been captured by the spider. Only, the trolls are my kids, and I get captured…

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One of many nightmares of St. Rita’s

I wake to the sound of plastic stuff clattering to the ground. The cat was excited by the spider episode and wants to play some more, so he’s knocking my son’s diabetes stuff off the dresser.

“Mom,” I hear him whisper. He’s still mostly asleep. When I walk into his room, I catch the cat’s glowing, guilty eyes in the light of my phone.

“Get out of here,” I nudge him off the dresser and pick up the lancet and test strips. Only he has another idea.

“As long as you’re up, my bowl is empty.”

“Nice try,” I tell him, but I wonder if he’ll let me get back to sleep. We sort of meet in the middle: he doesn’t jump up on the bed and step on my neck, but he continues to stalk my houseplants and knock over the Christmas cactus.

I just fall asleep, and it’s morning.

I hear the door slide open as my daughter steps out to free the spider. So, I smile and get up, still tired. My son’s awake, too. The routine commences: breakfast preparation, the shoving of the food down the throats, lunch packing, the pulling of the clothes upon the bodies, the horrific brushing of the teeth, the terrible wrangling into the car, and school drop-off.

There was a time I muttered curses at parents who turned the wrong way into the parking lot, and judged them for letting their kids go to school in flip-flops on a 30-degree day.

Now, I know someone was probably up holding hair away from a barf-bucket, rocking a new sibling for the fortieth time, or waiting for the dryer to finish because ALL the socks were in the wash.

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“It’s 11:30! NOW you’re building a Mayflower?!”

“Today is library,” my son says.

“Oh, that’s great,” I say.

“My library books are still in my room.”

“Put them in your backpack when you get home, you can return them tomorrow.”

I am happy to handle night-time duties, but can not be held responsible for forgotten library materials. One of these days, they will check out of Hôtel aux Parents, I will lose my job as mom-cierge, and maybe get a good night’s sleep…

And I won’t know there’s a spider in my pillowcase until it’s too late.

I have a book coming out soon! Click Follow on this blog for updates! 🙂

Two Children’s Books on Friendship

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If you don’t have school-aged kids, you might think all kids get along; they just want to play together. Maybe it takes some common interest, but once kids “connect,” they’re cool.

If you have school-aged kids, you know there’s more drama in grade school than on all the streaming services combined.

While you can’t force kids to be “nice,” to each other, you can teach them friendship is a choice, not an obligation. The earlier you teach them, the better, in my humble opinion.

We were once in the “everyone should be friends” camp. This might have been okay when the kids were closely supervised in a three-hour preschool program (even though sh*t still happened). Once in elementary school, however, they quickly had to learn to fend for themselves. Often, there are kids who know how to be “good” around adults and sheer evil when nobody’s looking.

That’s why I recommend two books, both classics by established authors, available in most public libraries: A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban and Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells.

A Bargain for Frances is an “easy reader” book, but it’s worth reading to your child, especially if they’re having a bout of friendship trouble. Frances’s friend, Thelma, has a history of mistreating Frances. Despite her mother’s disapproval (hello!), Frances continues to play with her until Thelma plays a mean trick. Frances finally snaps and gets her revenge with the kind of calculation I wish I had as an adult!

The two of them come to a very evolved understanding. “We can be careful [continue to distrust each other], or we can be friends,” is the proposal Frances finally makes to Thelma, who chooses to be friends. Yes, it’s idealistic, but it’s true: two people can stay friends only if both friends treat each other with respect. Frances gives Thelma an ultimatum, Thelma agrees to change.

(This actually happened with my daughter who had a “bad” friend in kindergarten. She told the girl she noticed she was only mean to her, and not to the other girls, and she didn’t want to be friends anymore. Time has passed, and they now get along with no meanness or disrespect.)

The second book I like (moving a little closer to Defcon 1), is Rosemary Wells’s Timothy Goes to School. This is for the friendship that’s not going to happen, or needs to end immediately.

Timothy is a sweet, good-natured racoon. His teacher encourages him to befriend another racoon (*cough* profiling!), Claude, who turns out to be an arrogant SOB. Claude snubs Timothy, all the while playing the rest of the class (including the teacher) like a saxophone.

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Manipulative raccoons play people like saxophones.

Timothy is miserable, feels hopeless, and wants to give up on school. He even wishes bad things would happen to Claude. Now, before you go all “terrible message!” on me, this is a very astute book. Meanness hurts!! Who doesn’t want the a-hole in traffic to get pulled over by the cop? Who doesn’t want the co-worker who hates your ideas and then presents them in the meeting as his own to suffocate in his skinny pants?

But what’s this? Timothy finds another tormented soul in his class. They get together after school over cupcakes and snark about their tormentors. The end.

Wells’s lessons aren’t very “nice,” but they are realistic. First, your child is not alone. Finding someone who is going through the same thing can be an enormous relief. Second, there are some kids who will hurt your child no matter how well he or she treats them. Those kids aren’t worth it. Why not laugh about it, and move on?

Kids are always hearing; to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend, and kids who are mean to you just need patience and understanding – they’re actually suffering!, and once we all learn to get along, we can be happy ever after. That’s bull.

Do not teach them to placate and pacify people for the honor of a conditional friendship. They can and should wait for friends who are kind, loyal, and respectful.

These books alone won’t protect your child from bad friends (unless you roll them up into tight little batons…), but they’re a subtler starting point than parental outrage and disapproval. I hope our kids are blessed with the good friends they deserve.

Happy reading!

My books are available here.

 

Looking for Pants in All the Wrong Places

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BLOG pantsWhy is it so damn hard to find pants? I have a body with the standard number of legs. It’s different than it used to be, but it’s not different from most human beings. I still have a torso! I still have ankles! What happened to pants to make them all so…wrong?

(Please, this is not the time to bring up LuLa Roe. I’m being serious, here.)

I was never a one-brand pants kind of person. That’s why I liked TJ Maxx – you could find 10 different brands, maybe something you wouldn’t have chosen, and one or two would fit. You might end up wearing a pair of “Yuma Zumas” to work, and they might have purple zippers in random places, but they fit, damn you, they FIT.

Now, TJ Maxx’s selection isn’t as diverse, and it looks as if they have their own brands, which don’t impress me. In fact, stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Burlington, and Ross have less selection than mall stores (Gap, J. Crew, Gap… is there anything else in the mall? It’s been awhile) that were wise enough to come up with different cuts & styles. Unless you want a Shakespeare bust, then, by all means, TJ Maxx is your place.

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“You should be bard from wearing those pants.” – Renaissance burn

I have very good luck at consignment stores when the time is right. If someone who is me-shaped has just come in and unloaded their closet, I’m all set. The trick is to make obsessive rounds to the shops in my area. But, I can’t always do that…

Lately, I’ve resorted to online pants-buying. I can shop in the middle of the night if I know I’ll be needing pants three to five days from now. I have to stick with certain styles within brands. I like Ann Taylor’s “Depressive” and Old Navy’s “Shoplifter.”

Even here, I have criteria. I won’t compete for a pair (my final offer is $4.80. It just is.), and I won’t pay outrageous shipping. (My ass is big, but it’s not $6.99 in fabric big. It is “large envelope” at best, thank you!) I also look for ratings, geographic proximity (leggy Texan woman do not share my Midwestern plight), and a reasonable return policy.

So there you have it. If you’ve ever wondered why I always look like Gallagher, now you know.

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Lookin’ gooood!

Now, I was just on my way to get some pants. Wish me luck!!

Dexcom Dosing Sing This Song…

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If you read this blog, you know that I have a son with Type 1 Diabetes, and he takes insulin, and has a CGM. It’s a Dexcom brand continuous glucose monitor, and I LOVE IT. Before he had it, I was afraid his blood sugar would drop drastically while he was in school, or he’d go low in the night and not wake up.

Now that he does have it, it’s great, but like any other piece of technology, it’s not perfect.

That’s okay, Dexcom, I love you just the way you are. BLOG flight2

Does the sensor go wonky when you just put it on, or when it’s near the end of its life? Yes! I know that when the little trend line looks like Woodstock’s flight path, it’s time for a change. Does it wake me in the middle of the night with false alarms? Yes! But, only once in a while, and I can live with it, and it also wakes me with real alarms – the reason we got it in the first place – which has kept my kid from the aforementioned scenarios more than once.

Early in my boy’s “journey”, we heard a speaker ask an audience of Type 1’s if they ever calculated their insulin dose from their CGM without testing (that is, using a drop of blood on a test strip to get a reading from a blood glucose meter). All of them raised their hands. They weren’t “supposed” to do this, it wasn’t FDA approved, but most of them were adults, and probably pretty comfortable with their diabetes. If they felt okay, and their CGM said they didn’t need a correction, they skipped the strip and dosed.

It seemed miraculous! No more finger pokes? Sign us up!

However, the question was NOT, “How many of you always dose from your CGM,” it was “Have you EVER.” They would test, of course, if there was any doubt – they would be putting themselves in danger if they didn’t. That is because everyone who has one knows they can be wrong sometimes.

Take lows, for example: a CGM will alert the user if their blood sugar goes below, say, 70mg/dL. (You set your own high/low thresholds.) Lows can be sneaky and they can mess with a person’s judgment, so generally when it goes off, they test (old school strip and meter style) and treat if the alarm is correct. (Treatment for LOW is eating or drinking sugar, btw.)

Since the CGM takes a while to catch up, it can look like the person is still low, even after 15-20 minutes. The protocol for low treatment is to test again 15 minutes after eating the sugar. But, if you’re just watching the CGM, the reading might go even lower after you treat. At that point, it’s wrong – inaccurate! – but you’re still not sure, so you might eat more glucose, shoot your blood sugar into the stratosphere, and then you have to treat for a HIGH (with insulin).

Once you get used to the CGM, you learn to be patient and wait for it to catch up. Like I said, not perfect, but much better than a meter alone.

Several months ago, the FDA did approve the Dexcom CGM for dosing. Hooray! Throw away those expensive test strips! Because we all know when the FDA approves something, it’s guaranteed safe.

After all, why would a group established for the safety of human beings, approve something if it weren’t safe or effective? To make a product like a CGM more attractive to consumers and healthcare providers, that’s why. The manufacturer was just so sick and tired of customers saying, “You mean I still have to test?” So they asked the FDA very nicely to please change that restriction. Type 1 Diabetics have grit and gumption! They can decide whether to test or not. If the CGM happens to be off that day, it’s the risk they take. (Which is great – I might be that way, too, but I’m making the decision for my kid!!)

I was devastated the day my son was diagnosed. I spent a whole day in the ER learning only a bit of what I would need to know, and I spoke to a dozen doctors and nurses. One of them was an endocrinology resident who told me, “If you’re going to get diabetes, now is the best time in history to get it.” Oddly enough, that didn’t make me feel any better, but I knew what he was trying (ham-handedly) to say:

Medicine and technology is available and amazing. Not affordable, but that’s another post… There’s more on the market and in the pipeline for anyone diagnosed with diabetes, which is still a crappy, unpredictable, life-long disease.

I love the CGM, and someday, I might love for my son to have an insulin pump, but realistically, they won’t take his diabetes away. There have been times I’ve dosed him from the CGM – usually if I’ve tested him recently for some other reason and I’m confident nothing drastic has happened. But, when that alarm goes off in the night, you better believe I’m pricking his finger, no matter what Dexcom or the FDA say. Trust but verify!!

As a parent, I didn’t need this FDA indication. They had me at “He’s low.”

A Tale of Two Groceries

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BLOGjoesextWhere can you find white thirty-somethings lined up to bag your groceries? (Besides Tiburon.)

Trader Joe’s! Yes, you, with the MFA! Grab a Hawaiian shirt and join the grocery chain that sounds like it was named after a sex trafficker.

Here be treasure in delightfully-priced little packages. $7.99 for coffee – good coffee! $2.99 for real Camembert! They even have their own wine, their very own cheap wine!

But, you don’t NEED to shop at Trader Joe’s, asserts somebody at church. They have EXACTLY the same things at Aldi for EVEN LESS!

Oh… Aldi. :/

There’s an Aldi in my neighborhood. It’s certainly… German. The first time I went, my daughter was a toddler. It was late fall (drizzling!), and I had her in one hand and my reusable bags in the other. When I got to the carts, I realized they were chained together and I needed a quarter to “rent” one.

Another woman was returning her cart and saw me with my baby. As I rummaged in my purse, she said, “Do you need a quarter?” She took it out of her cart and held it out toward me. As I was thanking her, she changed her mind and pocketed it. “This is my lucky quarter,” she explained.

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Thanks, obscure TV series.

Cartless, and downtrodden, I went into the store. I wasn’t even looking at the prices because I was too distracted by the “Designer Impostor-ness” of the merchandise: “Lundt Chocolate Truffles” and “Pressed Oat Snack Bars” displayed in their own cardboard shipping cartons. Unlike a German store, the floor was a little gritty, and the employees were not making a living wage. I felt punished for my years of suburban consumerism.

I wanted to walk right out, but even that wasn’t possible. I had to exit through a check stand, only wide enough to fit eins Wagen! That meant waiting in a checkout line with a little kid. She was savvy enough to grab hold of a plastic satchel of faux Legos, so I bought it (for 2.99), but we donated it after a few weeks because instead of interlocking, they just “interfit,” making unbelievably unstable structures.

Yesterday, I was in Aldi again – “The short name saves you $$!”  – shopping for cheese. Someone I know* insisted they had the same cheese at Aldi that they had at Trader Joe’s! Sure, they had cheese… But would I want it…? Nope.

*You know who you are.

This time, with my second kid in tow we escaped with just 2 packs of breath mints. I beat a path back to Trader Joe’s, where I found my cheese, just as nature intended: fair-trade and wrapped in smugness. Trader Joe’s! How I’ve missed you! Let me tell you how bad your brother has been…

Aldi’s website has justifications for every complaint an American shopper can think of like, “Why are your hours so crappy?” (Being open more convenient hours would drive up prices!) and “Why don’t you have any bananas when you had bananas last week?” (Don’t get too comfortable – my italics – with your shopping list. Grab it now because it could be gone tomorrow.)

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Don’t worry, they have an off-brand comedian to explain it to you. (I’m sorry, he’s not a comedian, he’s a “funny man.” – Another way Aldi lowers prices!)

They’re the same in much the way the Wiggles and Judas Priest are both musical acts. Trader Joe’s is an indulgence. Aldi is where you go when you’re fresh out of options and have just one lucky quarter.

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Even the trash can is in despair.