Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Voted

Yesterday I took Anna and Colin with me for early voting. There was much campaigning for my vote from the backseat.

"Vote for the girl!"
"Vote for the boy!"
"Vote for the girl!"
"Vote for the boy!"

Anna said, "Mommy, all the other presidents have been men. Vote for the girl!"

I said, "Yes, but all the other presidents have been white men. This time a black man could be president."

Anna said, "OK! Vote for the black boy!"

I said, "Well, just voting for someone because they are a boy or girl - or because they are black or white - is not a good reason to pick a president. You should vote for the one you think will do the best job."

So that's what I did. As much as I'd love to see a woman be president (and I think Hillary would do a good job), I think Obama is the better candidate. Whomever wins the nomination, at least it will be a better choice than last time. And, whomever wins the general election, it will be a better choice than last time!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The offspring

Anna lost another tooth on the bottom. Eating things like bagels and apples is a challenge. Tonight she discovered another lose one on the top! They are falling out way to fast for me!

Colin loves reading his books about sharks. Two of them mention how sharks' skeletons are made of cartilage, which is more bendy than bone. For example, your ears have cartilage.

Colin asks me, "What's in your hair?"

I say, "Uh, dead hair cells. Keratin."

Colin says, "But hair is bendy. Hair is cartilage."

I say, "Well, your hair is bendy but it isn't cartilage."

He grabs my nose and says, "Your nose has cartilage inside."

I say, "Right! And what else?"

He says, "Boogers."

Anyone for dessert?

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Hello, yes, I am still here. Thank goodness last week is over. It was a perfectly disharmonious chord, a dissonant triad of me working overtime, Anthony being gone, and Colin being sick. I knew it would be tough at the beginning of the week, and I felt ready. Then life as a single parent working full time kicked my ass.

The salve for last week was our wonderful new Manny. He's a graduate of Texas A&M, like us, trying to do the musician thing here in Austin. He's not satisfied with his other jobs - substitute teaching and food service. He picked up Colin at preschool on Tuesday, then called me at 4:30 when the vomiting started. I got home to a sick boy, but a clean daughter, who had finished her homework and was fed and bathed. The kitchen and living rooms were clean!

Wednesday I only worked until 2:30, so Colin came with me and watched videos in the breakroom. He was feeling better and snacked on crackers and soup. That afternoon he was perky, played outside, and ate a full dinner. After a full breakfast Thursday, I figured the worst was over and sent him to preschool.

They called me at 10:30 and said he'd vomited all over the classroom. Yikes! I had a full appointment schedule, and of course Anthony was over 2 hours away. I called the Manny, and he dropped his midday plans and picked Colin up. He took a bucket in his car, just in case (smart!). When I got home that evening, again Anna was ready for bed, and Colin was pitiful but calm. "I'm still sick, Mommy. But (the Manny) picked me up and take care of me."

So the Manny for sure is a keeper. He got nothing but vomit the first week, and he seems eager for more! I hope next time he and Colin can play.

Friday I took Colin to work with me again. Thank goodness I have a job where I can do that; although, staying home with him would've made the doctor schedule a nightmare, so I'm pretty sure work is happy with that compromise. Colin watched more videos, and thankfully never vomited again.

Anthony arrived at my work at 1 pm to get Colin, and I was so happy to see him, on so many levels! There was more fun for me, I got to work Saturday morning, too, but thankfully it was routine with no crazy emergencies to work in.

In retrospect I never would have volunteered to work so much if I'd known Anth was going to be gone all week, but it was all agreed to before he got this great new job. It really became a necessary evil, and anyway it all worked out in the end. Except I didn't get that long night of uninterrupted sleep that I'd anticipated with my occasionally snoring husband gone. Instead I got to sleep with my occasionally vomiting son.

On Thursday I tried staying up to watch the rerun debate, and woke up when Colin on my lap said, "This is boring. When are they going to stop talking?"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Working hard

Anthony got himself a new job. They came and sought him out. Its basically doing the same thing for a better company, with better opportunities for advancement, better equipment, and, oh yeah, more pay. He can still work from his home office, so we don't even have to move.

So, this week he is going for training/orientation out of town, and unfortunately its the week I volunteered to work everyday (Mon-Sat) to cover the schedule when we have 2 doctors out. We have a brand new nanny to take care of afterschool childcare, and I think he's going to really work out. Cross your fingers for me.

Work has been picking up, too. Tomorrow I have a surgery extravanganza - 5 neuters AND a splenectomy. Seriously, I can't wait. When Anna heard about all the surgeries, she said, "I don't want to go to school. I want to go to work with you! Please, Mommy, can I come help?"

Not today, sweetheart. Maybe when you have another day off or in the summertime. Right now your job is school.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day, dear

"Did I get you flowers on our first Valentine's Day?" Anthony asked me the other day.

"Yes, I think so. Your mother did, too." That was 1991. It's hard to remember that far back, but I'm pretty sure Anth made me pancakes for breakfast, too.

Since then, we have decided not to go overboard celebrating V-day. A card is nice, chocolate's always in season, but no pressure for a big gift.

We used to go out for a fancy meal. After too many times being disappointed by an overworked waitstaff and uninspired kitchen at a high end place, I decided we would eat Thai food the year I was pregnant with Anna. I couldn't drink wine at a fancy place, anyway. Thai food is spicy and passionate. So that became our new tradition.

Until this year. I worked today, and wouldn't get home until 7pm. The kids need to be in bed by 7:15 on a school night. So we ate leftover enchilada casserole that I made earlier in the week, with fresh chocolate covered strawberries.

"That is so sad!" a coworker said. He knew about our tradition and that it was being broken. "Yeah, you make a lot of sacrifices after you have kids," I said, smiling. Later I thought, you also make a lot of sacrifices for a job you love. Eh, it's worth it. I see Thai food in my near future, anyway.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

All Mandibles

Last Friday I got to do surgery on two broken mandibles (lower jaw). Well, actually, one was a healed mandible.

The broken one was on a cat who had been dragged around like a rag doll by her head. A 8 month old boxer that she lives with was the culprit. She came in the day before with major head trauma. We stabilized her, and the next day she came back much more alert but she looked like hell - her face was all swollen, her eye was bulging, and her jaw was wonky. Cats just have a fibrous symphysis - bone does not go all the way across the middle - and it frequently breaks there. The repair is relatively easy - I placed orthopedic wire across her jaw behind the canine teeth, exited either end of the wire under her chin, and twisted it closed like a bread bag tie. It will come off in 6 weeks. The battered cat ate ravenously a few hours after surgery.

The other patient was a lot more complicated. A coworker saw a dog with a painful mouth in December, and it was obvious her mandible was broken on the lateral side. Her owner claimed she'd been in the backyard the whole time, but an injury like that requires a really forceful blow. She had other injuries consistent with being hit by a car, so I'm sure that's was the cause.

That's the side of her right jaw, just in front of the molar. You can't pin or plate a mandible because all the screws would go right into the roots of the teeth. You can use the remaining teeth as orthopedic pins, placing an acrylic bridge to stabilize the fracture.

That's the simple version. I have been anxious to do a case like this for a long time, so I was so thrilled to try it out. However, the first time I tried to fix it something was wrong with my acrylic, and it wouldn't set up. We tried to call a local dentist to borrow a replacement, but it was Friday afternoon, and all the human dentists were off. We did find one eventually, but by then I had so many different layers on this thing... anyway, it broke the next day. So, I repeated on Monday, starting off this time with the correct product, and got a great reduction of the fracture in less than an hour.

The young guy who owned this dog was less than ideal. First of all, his dog was unspayed and not on heartworm prevention. Also, I told him to feed her a gruel-consistency diet (as in mix canned food with water), then later he told me she couldn't eat the food he was "grinding up." It turned out he was mashing up dry dog food, adding water, and giving that to her.

I was worried he would let her go outside and do something to break her acrylic appliance, so I sent home DETAILED instructions about all the things she was not allowed to do. I also offered him FREE weekly rechecks so I could make sure nothing was going awry. He only came in once, and that was because she had developed an ulcer on the cornea of her eye!

I wanted the appliance to come off after 6 weeks, so we started calling him to schedule the appointment. He usually didn't answer; once he told my receptionist he was too busy and had to work. I called and left him an urgent message, and he finally brought her in 3 weeks behind schedule. Fortunately, her mouth looked good, and her Xray was excellent.

I took off all the acrylic and polished her up. I made her reminders to come in for vaccinations and a heartworm test next month, but realistically I know I probably will never see her again. So I kissed her on her squished little mouth, took a picture, and said goodbye.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gung hay fat choy!

Happy Chinese New Year! We celebrated today at our local Asian megamart.

Anna got a nifty tatoo that means "Good Fortune."

Colin really got a kick out of the firetruck.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

100 or Bust!

Anna skipped off to bed last night, saying, "Tomorrow's the 100th day of school! Yippee!"

These days, the 100th day is celebrated with all kinds of number games that help kids visualize what a big number 100 is. Anna was bringing 100 rocks to school, and chocolate chips to add to the big batch of Trail Mix the whole first grade was making.

Then, the vomiting started at 5 am.

Anna was heart broken not to go on this particular day to school. Even Colin recognized that she'd been looking forward to it and felt bad for her. He also tried to get out of going to school, but no dice.

Anna laid on the couch, occasionally puking into a bucket, then played on the computer for about an hour, then read "Little House in the Big Woods." She had some soup for lunch, then got out her "Get Crafty" book. I have a love-hate relationship with this book. It has pictures of very realistic kids in it, sometimes with bad hair and funny noses and always with big permanent teeth growing in, and tons of projects. Anna always pulls it out when I'm not feeling crafty (ie not up to dealing with the messy aftermath), and she usually picks a project I do not have all the supplies for. However, I am always amazed at her creativity and longevity at these projects, so I try not to always say no.

Today she chose to do a cloth doll. I didn't have any flesh colored fabric like she wanted, but she happily settled with cutting up an old pink stained Tshirt of mine. I am also working hard at not micromanaging these projects, trying to let her learn from her mistakes. So I let her design the doll and cut it out herself. The resulting doll had limbs too narrow to be turned inside out, but Anna was happy to leave her with the seams showing and stuffed her anyway. She is bald until I go to the craft store to get yellow yarn, which is the only detail that upsets Anna. "How would you feel if you were a lady without hair, Mommy?"

When Colin got home he was jealous of all the sewing (he fancies himself like the Tailor of Gloucester). He made another pillow from his Buzz Lightyear fabric. Anna also sewed a dress for her doll and a pillow for brand new Baby Ainsley, born today!

Monday, February 04, 2008

She blinded me with science

Colin's school was off today, and he enjoyed a reprieve from the discipline of his school. We both went out for a while and dug in the pit (the bare dirt left behind from removing our above ground pool, until we get brave enough to install a pond).

Later, he asked me about a cat's skeleton while petting Fratello. He also asked, "Mommy, are there bones inside your eye? What is inside your eye?"

He got this:

You can see where he circled each number after I told him the name of the bone, and the schematic I drew of the eye. I wasn't sure if he understood the cross-section of the iris, lens, and retina (with the little flower image on it), since he looked so bored and distracted. Later in the day he said, "Mommy, there is a picture of the sun on the back of my eye," and I knew he got it.

Also, a question about what Pluto looks like lead to this poignant image:

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Here's today's project: Anna made 20+ individual Valentine's day cards for her classmates. She amazes me in so many ways.