Archive for the jools (also a beloved child) Category

skateaway

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), books, FAMILY, jools (also a beloved child), ms. malaprop on March 19, 2009 by wrekehavoc

my right pinky is currently attempting to sever its ties with the rest of my right hand. it is assuming the hitchhiking position, a position that only my thumb should know how to do but generally fails (if only it hadn’t been pulled completely backward in a ninth grade game of kill the guy with the ball.) in short, my pinky — tiny, nearly useless appendage — aches and aches. the little bastard is currently punishing me for doing something i shouldn’t have done.

i went ice skating with the kids on saturday.

ah yes. last weekend, when it was get the kids the hell out of the house while the husband does income taxes weekend. i remember it well. usually, when this weekend in march rolls around, i escape to NJ with the kids. unfortunately, the three-day-weekend prior was chock-a-block filled with plans (mostly abandoned), so i was left with this past two-day weekend. and who really wants to drive 200 miles on saturday and then 200 more sleep-deprived miles on sunday with two kids in tow?

exactly.

so of course i figured that i might just plan a fun-filled weekend for the three of us. the three of us turned into the four of us when BC’s pal J — a lovely, lovely girl who could move in with us as far as i’m concerned, as i think she’s very sweet, well-mannered, and, most importantly, doesn’t treat jools like he’s something that someone scraped off her shoe  — joined us in our exploits on saturday. my plan: take the kids ice skating. then a movie. drop off BC’s pal. take jools to his first-ever playdate with his pal h, which was going to be at the school playground during h’s older brother’s baseball game. simple, right?

those of you who’ve been here for awhile remember the ice skating debacle of 2007 and know that i get a little gunshy about ice skating. nevermind that preteen wreke went skating most fridays and saturday nights at our town’s ice rink. nevermind that i really DO know how to ice skate, though stopping is still a challenge. but our hero learned that when you fall at age…21 and a half, you don’t necessarily bounce back the way you did at 13.  yes, i did get back in the saddle again after that. but i think that was the last time i was on skates.

until saturday.

so off we went, BC, jools, J, and me.  J and BC are competent skaters; i truthfully don’t have to hover anywhere near them. jools…i wouldn’t call him a skater as much as i call him an ice runner. and damn, he’s fast.  LL Cool j (because deep down, even these two ladies love cool jools)  spent his time chasing the two girls, who had made friends with two other girls and were mostly ignoring him. i pretended i was a speed skater (pretended being the operative word. i’m about as fast as a glacier) and was in hot pursuit of all. not an easy task considering all the potential landmines there.

let’s see:

there’s the middle of the rink, where people are taking private lessons and doing all sorts of advanced tricks. somehow, my kids, as well as others, didn’t grasp the need to stay outside the cones. there were girly figure skaters there; there were burly hockey boys there; and there was a grey-haired, brittle-boned woman who looked to be nearing 60 with knee braces on doing little leaps. every time jools went near those people, he was nearly taken out. that boy is constantly flirtin’ with disaster.

then, there was the idiot father and son tag team who were literally racing around the rink playing — wait for it — tag. the son, who had to be about 15 and who was the size of a burgeoning linebacker, was zipping in and out of clumps of people, chasing his dad, who was doing the same. and when they tagged each other, they actually knocked each other down. oh, the hilarity. i was waiting for someone to skate over the dad .

dorothy hamill and dick button had decided that the middle of the rink was too crowded for their jumping and skating practice; the two, middle aged ice mavens took over the entire goal area of the arena for their training exploits. at one point, mr. button nearly took out my daughter as she actually skated where she was actually supposed to be skating. (silly girl.) and. he. scowled. BC, being 10, was completely oblivious to the situation. i, being 21 and a half (as previously mentioned)  was not. hey kids, i said to the four, let’s leave the kennel to lassie and skate further away. if i had only known that the two grownups who actually owned the ice arena were hard at work, preparing for the olympics, i would been more careful with my children.

and of course, lest we forget the clumps of people who decide to stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the skating path. there was the line of teen girls, stretched almost completely across the entire path, all holding hands and stopped. (i lied. there was one who was texting, right near the sign that said no cameras or phones on the ice.) there was the happy loving couple twenty-something foursome, taking turns taking pictures of themselves on the ice because gee, we’re fun people wearing fun, inappropriately fashionable clothes in a fun skating rink. we’re  just. TOO. FUN!

and, of course, my favorite: the clump of dads just standing and talking about hockey. every time i passed them, slowly manoeuvering myself around and just barely avoiding contact,  i learned a little bit more about the washington capitals and their success while on the road. [note to the men: there's a snack bar where you can buy BEER and have that conversation. (yes, i said beer. now shoo!)]

in short, for 90 minutes, i lived in utter fear.

every now and again, jools would randomly skate across traffic and smack himself into the glass. i’d say a little prayer as he cut off countless skaters, all of whom were much larger than he and possibly not terribly adept at stopping. he always looked pained, so i would magically skate across traffic as safely as possible and get over to him. usually, he complained his back hurt him (what, are you my age already, little boy?); i’d tell him to come sit down; and he’d skate away.

one of these times, i essentially body checked myself. bashed my pinky. all 98 pounds of me barrelled down on my tiny little finger.

we survived our skating. we went out to lunch. we never made the movie, though we did end up meeting one of BC favorite authors and got her autograph at a local bookstore. it rained and rained and rained, so i couldn’t take the kids to a playground. that rain also doomed jools’ playdate later. oh, i saw my future, and it wasn’t looking very pretty. thus,  i did what any desperate self-respecting mom would do: i took them to dunkin donuts, got them sugared up, and drank myself a cup.

and lucky me. it’s thursday, and i still have a happy little black and blue remembrance of the day.

gah.

mamma mia

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, health, jools (also a beloved child), ms. malaprop, political animal on March 17, 2009 by wrekehavoc

a woman on my favorite list, DC Urban Moms, had the gall to share a well-written article from The Atlantic. (kudos to you, girlfriend.)  she asked not to be flamed, which of course incited some serious flames among the well-thought-out posts. (and i don’t mean well-thought-out in the sense that i agree with all of the posters’ points; i just thought they made some interesting and useful ideas known, as opposed to the ones who think that anyone who isn’t comfortable breastfeeding requires professional help. to which i’d reply, yes: cleaning, cooking, and other domestic professional help.)

anyway, i thought i’d share my response for those of you not lucky enough to be among the group. i got a little upset, to say the least.

as always, your mileage may vary.

~wreke

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

this article resonated with me. VERY deeply. i’m not being my usual politic self. apologies in advance.

i was unable to nurse my babies; and Dog knows i tried. with baby#1, i read everything known to humankind about nursing. a week postpartum, my DD was losing more than her normal share of weight (to the point where she may have been in danger) and i was freaking out. i was determined to make nursing work, even though my pediatrician — who is incredibly supportive of nursing, btw — strongly recommended  i supplement my DD with formula for her own sake. i pumped. i tried to feed her (though we were imperfect nursing partners.) i called la leche.

the la leche representative Brought. Me. To. Tears. this woman seemed far more concerned with carrying the torch for nursing than she was for the well-being of my child and myself. hello? yelling at an engorged, wildly-hormonal, first-time mother because she is considering feeding her starving child with formula is not the way to go.this was not the case of the expected one-week weight loss. this was a crisis in the making.

no one wanted to make this work more than i did. i was in an endless cycle: nurse the baby as best as i could, then supplement with formula, then pump. (oh, and i worked full-time and had to pump *in the bathroom* during the day.) for those of you who got the hang of nursing easily, it’s quite simple to turn your noses up at people like me and think we didn’t try hard enough. that we need professional help if we’re stressed because we can’t get the hang of the balance right with work and child and feeding. you simply have no idea of the pressure you feel when you fail. (or, as the author did (after nursing her first two) when you decide that you’re done.)

the AHA! moment came from an unexpected source: my husband. he had seen me in my round-the-clock-dance of nurse-feed-pump one too many times. and there i was, in pump mode, sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor. 3 AM. crying. “honey,” my husband said, “our daughter needs a sane mom more than she needs breastmilk.”

yes. exactly.

i understand that fewer women breastfeed in the US than in other nations. i get that people want to promote nursing. i’m on board with it as being a completely natural thing to do and get equally upset when women are told to hide or leave the premises rather than to nurse babies. i will admit  — and i don’t care if people flame me, btw — that i don’t actually understand why moms still nurse kids who are in kindergarten; but at the end of the day, it is their choice — not mine — to make, and so i respect that choice and stand ready to defend it if necessary.

but what i don’t get, and what i hear in this article, is the pressure that people in the breastfeeding camp have placed upon a whole generation of women. listen, sister la leche: those first five months with my baby? they’re gone, and they’re not. coming. back. Ever. and while they weren’t completely unhappy, they consist greatly of a blur of inadequate feelings Because I Could Not Nurse. And. My. Baby. Suffered. For. It. needlessly, i’d add. the pressure was THAT intense. my baby could have been happy AND HEALTHY with formula — what’s more, her mom could have been happy and healthy *with her*. but the message i received throughout my pregnancy and thereafter was that i was somehow failing my daughter in my very first task as a mom. that message is especially crushing for a first-time mother. i wanted to do what i understood was best for her. thankfully, when i grew mom-balls and started trusting my own judgement on what is best for my child (in this case, by giving her formula), life inched its way toward the quasi-nirvana we enjoy to this very day.

sometimes, i think that breastfeeding advocates, as well as rank-and-file moms on the upper/middle class milieu, often lose sight of the forest for the trees. shouldn’t we be supportive of WOMEN? some women are uncomfortable with the idea of nursing for reasons that might be more personal than you or i can fathom. some women, like me, simply are not able to nurse (and yes, i have receipts somewhere from the lactation consultantS i saw — for both babies, btw — i tried, and failed, again with baby#2.) whatever: it’s not for me or you to decide whether they should or should not be nursing. if they want to nurse, let’s give them information and help them along. if not, let’s support them, too, and not treat them like they are amoral, child-abusing, pariahs. the best thing we can all do for each other is to give each other the courage and support to make the best decisions for our children. and not just about breastmilk, either.

after all, there is so more to being a mother than whether or not you serve up lunch from your mammaries.

guilty pleasure monday: from a whisper to a scream (elvis costello)

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), ms. malaprop, music on March 16, 2009 by wrekehavoc

like a finger running down a seam…

faked you out again, huh? in fact, i was going to feature a completely different song today… until BC started singing this song at bedtime last night. (in the fine tradition of her dad, who usually sings the glenn tilbrook part to my elvis, girlfriend started singing bits of tilbrooks’ part on the car ride home from sunday school.)

when i was growing up, the only person i knew who loved elvis costello more than i did was my friend leifer. (add also pete townshend and the jam to that list.) i mean, the dude had an altar to pete in his room in college. (perhaps he’ll confirm in the comments so you all know i’m not a liarliarpantsonfire kind of girl who hallucinated too much in college.) his lyrics (costello’s, not leifer’s) at times are incredibly pointed and cleverly invective –anyone recall this gem, for just one example:

Some of my friends sit around every evening
And they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
And the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up, they don’t wanna hear about it
It’s only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
Tryin’ to anaesthetise the way that you feel

yep. the only thing during that period that came close, in my opinion, to costello’s brilliant songwriting was the stellar team of chris difford and glenn tilbrook of squeeze. in their early days, there was nothing finer than those two… plus i adored the hilarious keyboard player jools holland. (do any regular readers of this space know of anyone else usually referred to as jools? anyone? anyone? bueller?)

i still have fond memories of asking my mother, the original ms. malaprop, to borrow the then-latest squeeze album from my Brother The Doctor  (before he was a doc and was merely my brother) during her visit to his apartment. my brother later called me up, laughing. mom asked for georgie porgy by the crush. i figured out you wanted argybargy by squeeze.

thank Dog he could translate elaineese..

anyway, when elvis costello produced squeeze’s east side story, i nearly went over the edge. (happily, of course.) squeeeee! two, two, TWO mints in one!  i played tempted at least 50,000 times in a row on my little rinky-dink tape recorder every single day during the summer of 1981, smiling dementedly whenever i heard elvis break in singing his little bits and bobs. (later on, i’d lose it every time i heard him squawk no milk and sugar! in black coffee in bed.) and when i wasn’t listening to it on cassette, i was playing it on the damn piano, over and over until i suspect my parents considered having me committed. (don’t worry; i was still working on my old partridge family favorite… in secret, though. the patridges were tres uncool in the early 1980s in my set.)

so, to my delight, elvis and glenn did a little duet on elvis’ classic album, trust. is it either’s best work? hell, no. but their energy, along with the contrast in their voices, makes this song a firm favorite.  (i’m not a belter, but i belt elvis’s part so loud, people probably hear me in west virginia and wonder what the hell is up in them there hollers.)

i remember it coming on one time and i started singing one part… and lo and behold, BS, a man who doesn’t sing a lot, period, suddenly burst into the tilbrook part. maybe it was an early sign of the apocalypse, but hell, it charmed me!

so hell. i’ll sing it anytime, any place, anywhere. thanks to my big, sometimes off-key mouth, the torch has been passed to a new generation. today, elvis. tomorrow, nirvana? now that BC is singing it, my musical hope for her has started to bloom anew.

take that, jonas brothers.

guilty pleasure monday: dog and butterfly (heart)

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), FAMILY, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), music on March 9, 2009 by wrekehavoc

it’s my party, and i’ll sing what i want to.

we’re getting older/the world’s getting colder/ for the life of me, i don’t know why.

yes, today actually is my birthday. (i’m 19 in case you were wondering.) and actually, i celebrate my birthday for the entire month of march — i mean, why not? but today is the actual date.

sure, i could put up the beatles (for which i crank the volume up to 11 every year on this date.) i could put up the smiths unhappy birthday (which i also listen to every year on this date.) but neither one captures the guilty pleasure essence; there’s nothing to feel guilty about over either song. methinks.

and then, there’s this chestnut, which has nothing to do with birthdays but everything to do with wanting things you can’t have, keep striving for things anyway, and being happy to be as you are in the meantime. sure, it didn’t chart as well as it’s companion single, straight on, another heart song i, ehem, heart. [in fact, my dream cover band will definitely sing that one. i would kill to have ann wilson's voice.] but i think it’s a beauty nonetheless.

(i remember a comedian once making fun of dog and butterfly, though i cannot find it anywhere on google. ah well.)

anyway, every year on this date, i try to remember all the good things that have happened to me in my life. there are waaaaay too many to list, and besides, you all didn’t come here to read pollyanna’s sweet guide to the sweetest life ever, right? and of course, people who read this regularly or who know me know that it hasn’t all been wine and roses (in spite of the fact that some spouses, unnamed of course, think i step in shit and up pops a daisy. yes, honey. i’m talking to YOU.)

i haven’t had a birthday party in years; i suspect if i ever want one, i will have to plan it myself. but i do get a lot of love from my entire family; and, if luck holds, they’ll bake me Betty Crocker’s finest cake slathered in Betty Crocker’s finest, er, cake goo (and covered in a zillion pounds of pink and green decorating sugar. my teeth hurt just thinking about it.) we’ll hit a restaurant, perhaps not my favorite one (which doesn’t exist anymore, anyway), but one where the kids will also eat and where it’ll just be fun to be out together (and not have to do dishes!)

yes, sometimes it is important to reach for those slightly-out-of-reach birthday stars; but more often than not, it’s good to appreciate the soft, green grass beneath your feet.

teach your children

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), FAMILY, jools (also a beloved child), ms. malaprop on March 6, 2009 by wrekehavoc

a meme sent to me from my bud kellygo.

Copy this note, ask your kid the questions and write them down exactly how they respond. Tag me back if you haven’t done this; I’d love to hear the answers.

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?

BC: I love you.
Jools: Behave.

2. What makes Mommy happy?
BC: Purple
Jools: Purple

3. What makes Mommy sad?
BC: Everything.
Jools: When one of your parents die. (GAH!)

4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
BC: Say funny things.
Jools: By tickling me.

5. What was Mommy like as a child?
BC: My brother.
Jools: I dunno.

6. How old is Mommy?
BC: ** (let’s just say she got the answer correct.)
Jools: ** (let’s just say he got it right, too.)

7. How tall is Mommy?
BC: 5-2. (close!)
Jools: About I dunno.

8. What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do?
BC: Be with us.
Jools: Do chores.

9. What does Mommy do when you’re not around?
BC: Go on Facebook.
Jools: I dunno.

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
BC: Writing a book.
Jools: Cos she wants to get a million dollars. (!)

11. What is Mommy really good at?
BC: Writing.
Jools: Wii Tennis.

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
BC: Not crying.
Jools: Wii Boxing

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
BC: What DO you do, mommy?
Jools: Clean the house.

14. What is Mommy’s favorite food?
BC: Indian food
Jools: Fake bacon.

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?
BC: That she wrote a story.
Jools: That she cleans up everything in this whole house. Sometimes.

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
BC: Minnie Mouse
Jools: Jimmy Neutron.

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
BC: Go to Six Flags.
Jools: Play.

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
BC: We have the same smile. And cheekbones.
Jools: We both like games.

19. How are you and Mommy different?
BC: We have different last names.
Jools: Cos you’re *age deleted* and i’m 5.

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
BC: Because she says it a million times a day.
Jools: Cos she always says it.

21. Where is Mommy’s favorite place to go?
BC: Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
Jools: Red Hot and Blue. (a local restaurant.)

guilty pleasure monday: ray of light (madonna)

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), music on February 23, 2009 by wrekehavoc

i’ve been busted by my 5 year old.

let me clarify. i am the girl who put a no madonna clause in the DJ’s contract for my wedding. i am the girl who loathed all the wannabes who seemed to flourish everywhere i looked during 1984-6. i am the girl who pretty much can’t stand 98% of ms. ciccone’s musical output. and when i read andrew morton’s biography of the, erhm, lady, it solidified everything i suspected about  Her (faux) Blondeness.

so why the hell does ray of light have a place on my mp3 player’s shuffle?

i think the first time i heard ray of light, i had just become a mother for the first time.  there was something so vital, so bouncy, so energetic about the song. parenthood had left me feeling sluggish, sloth-like, and nearly dead. how could this little creature who i loved more than life itself manage to suck the life out of me with her medical issues, her exhaustive needs, her never-ending wails?

and then, i heard this almost-trance-like sound from the TV. it was upbeat, it was exhilirating, it was… madonna? WTF? and yet here was a lady who was a relatively new mother — a single mother — and she was Doing. It. she was getting things done. (nevermind the fact that i’m quite sure she had an army of help. money changes everything.) it somehow connected with something in me.

i. could. do. this. too.

so quicker than a ray of light i snapped out of my foggy doledrums, little by little. basically, you might say that i felt like i just got home.

amusingly, hellboy adores this song, especially at the end, where madonna screams like she’s finally lost her mind.

so hellboy, this one’s for you.

(now don’t go telling people about how mommy also likes to hear bananafone by raffi, okay, or her already-laughable coolness rating will completely go down the tubes.)

what a difference a day makes

Posted in BC (beloved child the elder), BS (beloved spouse), CVID, FAMILY, health, jools (also a beloved child), miracles of science on February 18, 2009 by wrekehavoc

yesterday was the anniversary of the date i first went into the hospital, three years ago. i never knew a day could change my life so radically, but then again, as the old clichee goes, what a difference a day makes.

my doctor had called me back late that afternoon with my blood test results. i think i may be the poor guy’s medical bete noir; i’ve thrown down shingles at him as well as other interesting medical predicaments. you know, he said to me, your reds and whites look fine to me. but its weird — something must be wrong with the test — we can’t get a reading on your platelets. he had already seen how i was black and blue all over (crack whore, the description my beloved pal jaxx had given me a few days later, was how i truly looked); when i told him about today’s joys, a never-ending nosebleed and the fact that i was, er, let’s just say hemorraghing, he told me that perhaps i ought to hit the ER.

my best bud murph ran home from work, stayed with my kids, and BS and i hit the ER. and waited. and waited. and waited. two men who were also waiting are forever pinned in my memory: one, walking around with his urine sample and complaining bitterly of the pain he was in, and another, whose stitches on his knee had opened and who was raining blood down on the floor two seats down from me.  i felt this eerie calm, like i was sleepwalking, as i marvelled at the men. jesus, i said to BS, one guy has a urinary tract infection and is screaming like he’s about to die. i’d expect that from a woman in labor, but if every woman with a UTI screamed like that — and it can be painful, i know — the world would be wailing. and i just watched the blood drip…drip…drip onto the floor from the other man’s knee. later, i would watch a cleaner come and mop it up. and then mop some more elsewhere.

ew.

anyway, the ER nurse, when i finally saw her after giving blood, proceeded to laugh at me as i recounted how my previous day had gone down: i had dropped one child off at school, gotten on the bus and gone downtown, walked a half mile to my office, worked, met friends about a half mile away for lunch, walked back, worked more, walked to get the metro, took it to hellboy’s preschool, picked him up, picked up the car, drove over to pick up BC and BS at BC’s school, went home.

did you not notice you were tired? she asked.

i replied, i’m a mother of two young children. i’m always tired.

apparently, not tired enough to notice that i had almost no platelets left in my system. normal levels of platelets are 150k – 400k, for you trivia buffs. below about 30k, they want you in the hospital. below 10k, you’re in danger of your brain bleeding.

when i hit the hospital’s ER, i had 2k.

(yeah, i’m an overachiever.)

no one knew why my platelets had disappeared, but they threw some platelets in me to try to get me stabilized. i ate those suckers up like wheaties; the benefit didn’t last long. idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura was the term thrown at me. which, in english, means your platelets have fallen and they can’t get up. one theory was that my son, who had been ill, gave me some regular old, garden variety childhood virus that i had never had (and which makes grownups quite a bit sicker, apparently.) so they gave me some antivirals.

they also pounded me with steroids. after a few days, my platelets went up to a respectable 36k, so they let me go home with the stipulation that i hit the hematologist the very next day.

and hit it i did.

when i visited the hematologist, my platelets were back down to 4k. whee! this gave me a free pass for a bone marrow scan. i hope none of you, NONE OF YOU, ever have to get this. i wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. you are awake. there’s a tiny bit of local, but you feel the scraping of the doctor inside a piece of your hip bone. the pain is excruciating, like childbirth, only with childbirth, you are pretty sure you’ll have a happy outcome. with a bone marrow look-see, you’re praying for the best possible outcome, an outcome that doesn’t involve a horrible illness that will shorten your days. the technician helping my doctor gave me a tiny little bear to hold. i was grateful for the kindness, but i was lacking the will to be creative that day. i named him platey. he rides in my car to this very day.

and while they scraped around inside me, i talked. i talked about jamaica. i talked about the sunblue waters in which i once swam, in which i once snorkeled and saw the most beautiful, colorgleaming fish, fish i never think i’ll see outside of an aquarium. i tried so very, very hard to be anywhere but in that little room. i wanted to think about a place where i had been so very, very happy. and i didn’t want to think about my children, as i couldn’t bear to make any mental leaps about my children and sad, sad, news that hung over me like a shroud.

when it was over, i had to wait for my doctor to get it all together. he was going to look under the microscope himself. the longest half hour of my entire life. i sat there and planned my funeral. who would be at my funeral? where would i be buried? what songs would they play? who would be looking after my children? how would my husband cope? would my parents ever recover from this or would this kill them, too? i tried so very, very hard not to cry. but i hurt, inside and out.

soon, BS joined me in my personal circle of hell. and the doctor broke out his little slide and started to look. come here, he said to BS. i want to show you something under the microscope. surely my hematologist wasn’t going to gleefully show my husband my death sentence, swimming around on a little slide. surely it would be a sick and cruel thing to do. i sat up as straight as i could.

see, these are platelets,” the doctor showed BS. “tons and tons of platelets.  she’s making them, which is a great thing. your wife has the hardest working platelets in show business. something must be killing them on their way to the spleen or at the spleen.” in other words, i was having some sort of crazy autoimmune episode where my body marked my platelets as invaders and shot them down. giving me more platelets wasn’t going to do anything but give my body more opportunity to shoot down more little platelets.

the good news: not cancer.

the bad news: back into the hospital with lots and lots of steroids. BTD (aka my brothuh the doctor, for those of you new to the place) was totally in the act now, talking with the hematologist, telling him about when he had ITP and then was discovered to have CVID. the pieces of the puzzle were coming together, although my hematologist, unaware at the time of any genetic link for CVID (or any link between ITP and CVID for that matter), was absolutely gobsmacked. when this is all through, you need to see my friend in bethesda. he needs to take a look at you and help you figure this out. this is amazing, this is. (and i do now see his friend in bethesda. every 6 months.)  in the meantime, have you tried giving her IVig? my brother asked.

IViG was very difficult to come by then; i had heard that they were saving it and sending it out to the troops in Iraq, though i’m not sure how accurate that is. but i knew my brother couldn’t get any for me at his hospital. my hematologist probably gave away his first born child for me; he somehow finagled three treatments for me from other hospitals. too bad for me, no one knew i would have a hideous reaction to it my first time. once i premedicated with benadryl, though, things were looking up.

after nearly two weeks in and out and in the hospital again, i was set free. my count was improving, though i had to stay on massive doses of prednisone for months afterwards, which made me a little teeny eentsy weentsy bit psycho..heheheheh. (and waaaaay fat. but better to be fat than be dead, i always say.) but over time, i improved and improved. i was so grateful for all the support my family and i received from friends and coworkers. my boss — hell, the entire organization — could not have been more wonderful in my absence.

but that day completely changed the course of my entire mental state, my entire perspective on my life, my family, my work, my very existence. today, i am relatively healthy — my platelets were clocking in at 215 when they were checked in january — but i know now that every day being well, being on my feet, being here — is a day that i wouldn’t trade for anything.

month of 70′s gpms: mary had a little lamb (paul mccartney)

Posted in bad '70s music, BC (beloved child the elder), guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), music on January 29, 2009 by wrekehavoc

hello, and welcome to one of the biggest search terms that lead people to my blog. don’t know why, of course.

okay, okay, so this one was released only in the UK. but how many times do you need someone telling you how amazing jet is, or maybe i’m amazed, or even another seriously guilty pleasure of mine, helen wheels?  i’ve already yammered on about venus and mars/rock show.  so i figured i’d take a little meander, again, off the beaten 1970s paul mccartney output track.

the first time i ever heard mccartney’s musical ode to mary, girl with the crazy, clingy sheep, i was watching a TV special called james paul mccartney. i must have been about eight years old, but it made a HUGE impression on me. for years afterward, i would anxiously scan the TV Guide, hoping it would be rebroadcast. and occasionally, it was, at some bizarre hour. i would set my alarm clock, wake up at aforementioned odd hour, and watch it, all the while bemoaning the fact that i had no way of recording it. (this was before the days of VCRs, kiddies. yes, i’m that old.) sure, there was a bizarre number where paul was singing and dancing with a group of half-men/half women split down their middles that i didn’t care much for. but the rest of the music was great, and i especially looked forward to mary had a little lamb.

fast forward about twenty or thirty years.

meet wreke the mom. i would sing this song to my babies. and i would be thrilled listening to them attempt to sing along with me. little babies, you see, can muster the la la parts. the only problem: mom always got teary toward the end of the song, much to the babies’ confusion. the teacher always turns the lamb away, much to the children’s (and the lamb’s) dismay.

But the lamb loved Mary so,
the eager children cry,
And Mary loves the lamb, you know,
the teacher did reply.

mom always loves her little singing lambs.

month of 70′s GPMs: this song (george harrison)

Posted in bad '70s music, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child) on January 27, 2009 by wrekehavoc

could be “sugar pie, honey bunch!”

could be “rescue me!”

no, george. it apparently is he’s so fine.

(none of the videos permit embedding, so click here to see and hear this song.)

people often beatify george harrison; he, saint george of the hare krishnas, world citizen of peace, love, and sitar music. and, in truth, there’s plenty good that harrison did in his lifetime (including perhaps the first major concert for a cause), so many musical treasures he created. (i’ll just ignore the entire traveling dingleberry period, which always made me want to barf.)

but then they forget that the man had a wicked sense of humor.

this is the same guy who befriended the monty python crew and ended up producing movies, including my beloved life of brian as well as making cameos and such.

and he definitely set his angst to music in this song, a humorous hit from 1976 which served as public therapy for harrison, who at this time was fighting a legal battle over whether his song  my sweet lord copied the chiffons’ he’s so fine. this pre-MTV video is hilarious, and seeing ronnie wood dressed up as a frumpy housefrau is worth the trip alone. when this song came out, i was just thrilled to have output from george that had nothing to do with indian mysticism. (i skipped over within you without you so many times on my old Sgt Pepper record that it was a shock to me the first time i heard it on a CD.) it’s a bouncy tune that features eric idle shrieking could be “sugar pie honey bunch”… could be “rescue me,” a snarky aside showing that george was a bit tired of the US court system’s analysis of music. i love it; hellboy loves it, too.

anyway, george lost that trial, but george also had the last musical laugh: he ended up buying the rights to he’s so fine, making that song, as well as this song, his own.

month of 70′s GPMs: evergreen (barbara streisand)

Posted in bad '70s music, guilty pleasure monday!, jools (also a beloved child), music on January 22, 2009 by wrekehavoc

this one will get me laughed out of the he-man woman haters club fer sure.

She Who Is Like Buttah did not put a lot of songs out in the 1970s that i particularly like. (i went off on one of them back in november, you might recall.) in fact, most of the time, i would prefer to focus on her movies of the 1970s — what’s up doc is one of the funniest films i have ever, ever seen (and which plagues hellboy to this day — whenever he mentions the name of one of his buddies from school, i immediately launch into dialogue from the film):

Howard: It gets kind of complicated now. First, there was this trouble between me and Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: You and me?
Howard: No, not you. Hugh.
Hugh: I am Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: You are me?
Hugh: No, I am Hugh.

yep. i’m sure little hugh can’t wait to come over for a playdate.

anyway, another extremely successful film of bahbra’s was the 1976 remake of a star is born. admittedly, i didn’t like it any of the times around. see, i have a big problem with a story about how a relationship disintegrates when the woman becomes successful and the man is in a period of decline. it grates on me nerves in the way only a wildly sexist plotline can.  yeah, yeah, sure, sure, people loved this remake. and babs does turn in an outstanding performance, though i never was able to suspend my belief long enough that kris kristofferson could be a successful rock star. he has all the charisma of a tub of cookie dough.

but i cannot lie: this academy award-winning AND grammy award-winning monster hit is also an incredibly beautiful song. sure, i found it smarmy when it came out, but i was also 11 years old at the time and easily grossed out by mushy lovesongs. paul williams lyrics are often simply brilliant: love, soft as an easy chair. whodathunkit? and barbara wrote the music, so props to her highness for that.

i wish i could say positive things about more of her music. i mean, anyone has to admit that, regardless of where you stand on her politics, the chick has got pipes. but she has chosen such unadulterated shlock over the years — or at least in the 1970s — that it makes it hard to cheer her on.

but i’m doing it here. bravely, in public.

i know snark awaits me.

bring it.

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