Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Help for Christchurch after Earthquake

On Tuesday, Christchurch, New Zealand, one of the five largest cities in the country, was rocked by a 6.3 earthquake that caused buildings to collapse, leaving hundreds trapped and sixty-five dead, as of last count. Several aftershocks have left more damage in their wake, and the people of Christchurch sit on pins and needles waiting for what’s to come.

Last September, a series of earthquakes tore through Christchurch, weakening buildings, but little else. This time, the damage is far and widespread. Buildings that have been standing for hundreds of years have crumbled under the weight of this quake. Large cracks in the roads have appeared. California? This? Could be US.

I know, not my usual upbeat, humorous piece. But you see, I was just in Christchurch, last year. I fell in love with the historic old city, and I am so saddened to see what has happened there. And what do politically conscious, social media types do when we feel like we can’t do anything? We write. We publicize. So.

If you feel that you might want to help, you can give to the

Red Cross NZ

if you want to follow trends on twitter:

#NiewZeeland (Dutch)
And I, for one, will remember my beloved Christchurch like this:

In time, buildings can be rebuilt. The people of Christchurch? Well, that's another thing entirely.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Morning with my Eldest

Teenagers R Hard.
cartoon: xkcd

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What the hell was I thinking?

Seems I am always apologizing for not writing more often these days. I have a really, really good excuse this time, though. So be nice to me, I am an emotional basket case currently.

Poppy, my Newfoundland, is now 13 months old, and it was time for her to be spayed. I did all due diligence, and trust my vet implicitly. We decided, at the same time, to do what is known as a "gastropexy" which is basically a stomach tack. The stomach is moved about 1.5 inches, and stitched to the abdominal wall. It sounds barbaric, but I assure you, it is actually helpful. Some background:

Broad-chested dogs can have a problem that we refer to as "bloat." This means that the stomach fills with gas, and cannot escape. Often when this happens, the stomach twists, which is called torsion. It cuts off the blood supply and you have roughly a half-hour to get the dog to the vet, or you are going to lose her. Bloat is a concern, because we really don't know what causes it. Some say elevated feeding bowls, some say bowls on the floor. Too much water, stress... there are many thoughts, but no one really can pinpoint which dog will suffer from it. So while we had her there for her spay, we went ahead and had the gastropexy done, as well. If it keeps her alive, it was worth it.

Now that you know that, you will better understand the next part. The day we brought her home, within two hours I could tell she was in pain. So I drove the 30 minutes back to the vet's office to get her medicine. That first night, she was drugged out of her mind, but didn't have a lot of pain. By Friday, she had some pain but it seemed mostly controlled. She wouldn't stop licking, so we bought a "cone of shame" and put it on her for nighttime, since we couldn't watch her while we were sleeping. The rest of that night, she would alternatively wake up crashing around, or just stand and refuse to lie down. For two nights now, I have been awoken with an adrenalin rush because she refuses to settle for long. I am exhausted. Luckily, today is Saturday, and JNerd let me sleep in once the dog finally collapsed into sleep.

Skip to now. Today, Saturday, she is in pain. Panting, and standing, pacing a bit. She is eating, so that's good. I drove to the vet's office again and picked up an anti-inflammatory, to try bring down the swelling. Poor thing will lie down, and then jump back up quickly. I think the incision or the razor burn are very uncomfortable. If she isn't better tomorrow, I will be bringing her to the vet. She is absolutely NOT herself, at all. I wish there was more I could do. Her meds are delivered via vanilla ice cream, the thing she loves more than anything in the world. At least there is that bright spot in all of this. But honestly?

I am worried.

Friday, February 04, 2011

How do I stay sane?

"Mama HOW do you stay sane?" My eldest asked me this today after a marathon day that included my twelve-year old's belligerence, my youngest's obsessive behavior, a glitter mishap that looked like a fairy crime scene, fits, complaints and just overall needneedneed. I looked at her and said, "I drink." Of course I was joking. Luckily, she knew it, too.

But I started thinking, how do I remain sane in the face of two with autism, one who is turning into a testosterone-infected teenaged boy before my very eyes? Sometimes, it isn't easy. I guess I have a choice, you know? I can fall apart and cry, rail at the universe, and curl up in a fetal position (which I do end up doing upon occasion). Or? I can just take deep, cleansing breaths, try to give hugs, and get on with my day. Hugs are a stretch for me. I am not a touchy-feely person by nature. I tend to ball up into my shell when I am feeling stressed. But God, in his infinite humor, sent me a child who needs that closeness. If she is feeling on-edge, that is the first thing she wants. Me? I want quiet solitude. Funny how kids stretch us.

How do I remain sane? I take time for myself, no matter what. Even if it is just five minutes, stolen in the bathroom ("The door is NOT a speaker!") or the rendition of my favorite song by the Pogues. I close my eyes, and just...be. For sometimes 30 seconds at a time. But it gets me through.

How do I remain sane? When my husband is home, I take the dog to the dog park, 5 days a week, sometimes 6. It is the place I feel happiest. I like the people there, and I like watching the dogs. It keeps my dog tired and content. It is my stress relief. When he isn't home, I load up the kids and the dog, and go walking in a nearby park. It isn't nearly as relaxing, listening to the litany of questions, comments and obervations from a nice-year-old who is just never quiet, but it is easier than being at home.

How do I remain sane? This helps, a lot:

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