Thursday, February 28, 2013

Old School

My dad doesn't have a cell phone.  My dad doesn't have an answering machine.  My dad will call but will not speak on an answering machine or voice mail.  My dad shows up spontaneously.  My dad is positive that all manner of illnesses are caused by going outside with your hair wet, not wearing socks, or catching a chill.  My dad does not believe in the Internet.

In order to talk to my dad you have to call his home phone number while he is inside the house.  Recently Lucy was in the hospital for Croup.  When I called his home phone at 8:00 p.m. he was home and answered the phone.  I told him about Lucy and that we would most likely be home the next day.  The next morning I called to give him an update on Lucy.  He wasn't home.  He lives a two hour drive away from our house.

Later that morning I looked at my phone and realized I had missed a call from a number I didn't recognize but they did not leave a voice mail.  I called the number and it was the grocery store by my house.  I started to suspect that my father was in town to check on his granddaughter.

When I turned the corner to my neighborhood I wondered if my dad had left a note to let me know he was in town and how long it might be before he came back by our house to see if we were home.  When I pulled into the driveway I saw this.

Even though I had never seen this before I knew that my dad had left it and was in town.  This is my dad's version of leaving a note to let me know he is in town.

About 10 minutes after getting home from the hospital he pulled up in front of our house.  His old school method of not calling ahead and not carrying a phone or a piece of paper and pencil seems to work out just fine.

As he was talking to Lucy in the living room he asked her about the recent snow we had.  He asked her if she got cold.  She said "Yes, and I got really wet!  My feet were soaked!"  He looked over at me and nodded a nod I have seen before.  Then he said, "No wonder you were in the hospital."

If my dad had the Internet, I would direct him to the CDC website which explains how Influenza is transmitted through the cough and sputum of others; not by making snowmen in the snow.  But he doesn't.  So I didn't.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let the Television Be Your Guide

I don't like SpongeBob SquarePants.  Quite a number of years ago, when Emma Jane was 3 or 4, I turned on an episode and was offended by something.  I can't remember what.  I don't remember what offended me but I remember finding the cartoon objectionable and thinking it was inappropriate for her to watch.  I turned it off.

And apparently I hold grudges against cartoons because I have never given him another chance.  That is unlike me.  I sometimes try pickles just to see if I like them yet.  I still don't.  So whenever SpongeBob would come on the station we were watching I would turn it.  I do not believe that I ranted or raved about my dislike.  After all, I really can't remember why I disliked it so.  But apparently my kids have heard the message loud and clear.

Today as Lucy was on the up swing of her illness and I was just on the rapid decent into mine, I laid down for a nap.  I turned on Nick Jr. and told her to come get me if she needed anything.  Max and Ruby were on.  What a sweet show. 

I must have fallen deep into sleep because it took me several times of her saying Mommy, Mommy for me to focus on what she was saying.  She said, "Mommy, I need you."  I said, "What do you need baby?"  She said, "I need you to turn the channel."  I told her that I couldn't make it to the living room as bad as I was feeling at the moment and could she just be happy with what was on. 

With a pitiful, still scratchy, voice she squeaked out, "But SpongeBob is on the TV and I don't know how to change the channel."  I smiled into my pillow and said, "It's okay can watch it this time."

About 20 minutes later I woke up to see her sitting in the chair beside my bed.  She was sucking her thumb and had been crying.  When I saw that she had been crying I jumped out of bed and knelt down in front of her and asked her what was wrong.  She said, "You need to go to the hospital."  I told her that I would be okay that I didn't need to go to the hospital. 

She said, "But you must be REALLY SICK, because you let me watch SpongeBob!"

Einstein Overnight

One of the quintessential Mayo experiences is the overnight.  There is an overnight for each group of grades.  The Pre-K and Kindergartners are called the Einsteins.  And the Einsteins have their overnight in the school.  Last Thursday before Lucy got sick on Friday, we spent the night in the school.

We did activities around the building, including reading this book in the library!  You can read about why this is funny in this post.

We made pigeons with paint and our hands (as in Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus).

Then Lucy painted a truck in the cafeteria.

The first thing she did was grab a paint brush and put a big swath of black paint across a paper plate.  Just as I was about to ask her why she did that, she put the truck down and ran the wheels through the paint, thereby painting the wheels all the way around.  My jaw dropped.  It would have never have occurred to me to do that.

Then it was time to brush teeth and read books and go to bed.

Lucy has a little trouble with the water in the water fountain jumping off and running down her shirt.

Below we are reading books with our dear friend Lily and her dad Jeff.  I hope we didn't give her the Flu that we ended up with 48 hours later!

I did not get much sleep that night but it was worth it!  I will always treasure the bonding time of the overnights.  The teachers put so much work into this night.  It is always a learning, bonding, sharing, memory-making adventure.  I can tell you who has sleep apnea, who has allergies and who has a deviated septum!  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.

On the mend

Lucy is improving slowly.  Her respiratory issues are resolved and now we are just treating the flu.  But I think we might be past the worst. 

She has been a very patient patient.  She covers her mouth when she coughs (even in her sleep) which is great because she is sleeping with me.  We have always had a rule about no kids sleeping with us.  I broke all the rules this week.  She has had way too much TV in the last 4 days.  She has eaten on the sofa (gasp), slept with me, and watched back to back to back episodes of Caillou. 

Thanks for all the well wishes.  My sweet neighbor across the street brought us a pan of lasagne (Get Well Lucy Lasagne).  My dearest friend Jen took Emma while we were in the hospital (I think she is secretly hoping we will have another emergency so she can be whisked away again).  I am so lucky to have people who step up.

Monday, February 25, 2013

We have a diagnosis

Lucy has Influenza B. All 4 of us got the flu vaccine but I guess it was useless. She is very sick. Her fever was 104.1 all night last night. Home again and trying to get her comfortable. Keeping her hydrated and treating the fever.

The last 18 hours

Poor Lucy has taken a turn for the worse. She is really not well. Tough night last night. But better at home than in the hospital.

I told her last night that I wanted her to sleep with me so I could check her breathing and hear her if she got into trouble. She said "oh mom, you've never been that worried about me before." She is correct. I have never been this worried before.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mom, I need a costume!

Have you seen this ad?

Well I had a similar experience, with albeit a little more notice.

"Mom, I am in a living museum at school and I am a French Canadian named Louis Jolliet, a fur trader and cartographer who mapped the Mississippi River in 1675.  I need a costume and three artifacts that he would have had in his era."

Yes dear...

There is faux buffalo and bobcat fur all over my craft room.

The last 36 hours

On Friday night Lucy started running a fever.  She started coughing a little in the night and it was a barking cough that sounded like a seal.  I was pretty sure she had Croup.  On Saturday morning she had audible wheezes which turned into stridor (a growling, gasping sound when she would breathe in and out).  She had Croup when she was two so I knew that it was a virus and would run its course.  We sat in the bathroom with the steam running to help with the barking cough and stridor.

Mike and Emma Jane went up to Mayo to work on the lofts again.  After Lucy's nap she came into the bedroom where I was folding laundry and was in respiratory distress.  She was struggling to take a breath.   I opened her PJ shirt and she was using her stomach muscles to breathe.  Her diaphram was retracting under her sternum.  Her breathing was ragged and loud.  She looked scared.

I put her in the car and drove her to the pediatric ER at St. Francis.  The triage nurse took one look at her through the window and waved us through the doors.  They put a pulse ox monitor on her and she was showing 87% oxygen.  They immediately started treating her with racemic epinephrine and Decadron.  We stayed in the ER for about two hours and had a couple of breathing treatments before we were admitted to the children's hospital for observation overnight. 

She is so much better this morning that she wants to ride her bike.  She is all finished with being tethered to a oxygen saturation monitor.  The hospital bed that goes up and down and up and down has lost its appeal.  The playstation is of no interest and the TV with DVD is old news.  She wants to go home.

Her color is back and she is breathing quietly and with relative ease.  So we are just waiting on the Doctor to tell us we can go home.

What a difference 24 hours (and good medicines) make.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Avogadro's Number

There is this number in Chemistry, Avogadro's Number.  It is the number of particles found in one mole of a substance. It is the number of atoms in exactly 12 grams of carbon-12. This experimentally determined value is approximately 6.02 x 1023 particles per mole.

It is the basis of all the mass numbers on the periodic table of elements.  It is a VERY important number.  Chemistry geeks celebrate Mole day on October 23 (10/23) at 6:02.

When I graduated from college and moved to Tulsa I was given the option to pick my phone number.  I asked for 602-1023.  And I was told that I couldn't get that prefix in Tulsa.  I was so sad.  I had imagined being out somewhere and being asked for my phone number and replying "It's Avogadro's number.  Call me!" 

This is when the quest began.  Whenever I was in a different area code I would call 602-1023 to see if it was a valid number.  If it was actually a working number I would ask the person who answered if they knew they had Avogadro's Number.  I was usually met with "I have had this phone number for years and there is no one by the name of Avocado at this number!"  Whenever I would travel for work or on vacation, I would pick up the hotel phone number and dial the local area code if necessary and then 602-1023.  I was always greeted with either a non working number message or an angry person who had no idea who Avogadro was.

Until Cleveland.  I was in Cleveland for a very short stop over one day.  From the hotel I called 602-1023 and I asked the man that answered if he knew he had Avogadro's number.  He said "YES!  I am a chemist and I have had this number for years by my request!"  The man on the phone was so freaking excited that I understood what his number was that we talked and talked and talked.  He could not believe that I called the number when visiting other cities and he thought we should meet.  Oops.  Now, this is thankfully where the sensible girl won out over the super-geek.  I thanked him very much but it was very late and I was in a strange town and didn't know a soul so I would not be meeting him at a convenience store to get kidnapped and held in his basement.  Goodbye!

After that I stopped calling the number.  I don't actually know if I need to meet anyone whose brain works like mine.

This is Avogadro.  Do you have his number?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Element and the Ion

On new year's day, 2011, I was out running in my neighborhood, thinking about whether I should run 1 mile, 1.1 mile or 11 miles (since it was 1/1/11).  It turns out I didn't even make it a mile.  Just before the 1 mile mark I saw something that I had been dreaming about for years.  I saw a Honda Element parked next to a Saturn Ion.  An element and an ion together!  What could be more perfect than that?  (I suppose it would be really cool to see two Elements that had smashed into each other, but I digress.)

I ran home at 6:00 in the morning squealing with delight while most people were in bed with a hangover from their new year's celebrations.  I got my camera and ran back (so maybe I did run 1.1).  I took a photo and then ran back home.  I got out my laptop and used photoshop to create license plates that were apropos.

I was giddy with excitement over my epic dorkiness!  I chose sodium (Na) because the Element was orange and the flame test for sodium is orange (duh..).
I could not wait for my family to wake up to witness my blend of technology and science.  I emailed it out to all my friends and family before 7:00 a.m. on January 1st.  I will never forget that day...sigh....

Just when I thought I had reached a plateau in my nerd graph, where the value of y had remained constant over time (x), I found that on this numerically significant date I was able to tap into my nerd reserves.  Let this be a lesson to me.  There is always more, you just have to look for it.

1/1/11, the day a dream came true....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trashy Books and Dirty Shows

Yet another great Emma Jane story.

When she was 5 and in kindergarten she went on a school field trip downtown.  Of the many places they visited, the Library was her favorite.  She was to draw a picture and have someone write the caption of what her favorite part of the field trip was.  Her picture was of books in a library.  Her caption read "I liked reading trashy books in the library".

When I saw her drawing and caption I asked her about it.  I asked her to explain what they did in the library.  She said that the teacher read them these books about a trash man that picks of the trash in trashytown and then recycles.  The trashy books were actual books about trash.

When I went into the school to have a laugh with the kindergarten teacher about my misunderstanding she told me a story as well.  A few weeks back Emma was yawning during morning meeting.  She asked her if she was tired and Emma replied "yes, I stayed up past my bedtime watching a dirty show with my dad". 

Upon further questioning, Emma revealed that last night's episode had the guy in a chicken coop cleaning out the dung.  The teacher asked if the show was "Dirty Jobs" and Emma said "YES!  We love that show!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I have this talented friend Aime...

I have this talented friend Aime.  She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.  She and her husband Alex moved to Tulsa for a brief time a few  years ago.  They bought our old house on Darlington from us.  We became fast friends due to all our common interests.  We both love to sew, craft and be creative.  She taught me to knit when I was on bed rest with Lucy.

Anyway, I am so sad that she can't come over anymore for craft time or dinner.  She and Alex moved back east and now she runs a home preschool.  She is sooooo talented.  She has always been able to paint these intricate designs and I was the beneficiary of this talent in the form of refrigerator magnets, a rocking chair for Lucy and numerous other things that I cherish.

The most recent medium on which she is unleashing her creativeness is cookies!  She paints them with icing and they are little works of art.  Too pretty to eat.  I want to frame them.  However, when you smell them you will not be able to resist gobbling them up.  I was at least able to hold off long enough to take pictures and then we devoured them quickly thereafter. 

I, of course, could not have been more pleased by the custom stamp on the letter.  What a beautiful display of my love of chemistry and her affection for me!  Priceless!

You can see her creations and I think order something soon at The Painted Pastry Blog.

Thank you Aime and I miss you so much.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Spinach salad with strawberries, red onion, and mushroom in a balsalmic reduction with lemon broiled mahi mahi.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Look what was in our tree

We woke up one Saturday morning to see this hawk hunting in our yard...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fabric Flower Tutorial

I have noticed that there are all kinds of fabric flowers on Pinterest.  So Emma Jane and I decided to make some.  We used scraps from a fat quarters to make the flowers.  I cut the fabric in 2 inch by however long a fat quarter is.

I ironed the 2 inch strip in half to make it 1 inch wide.  Then we used chip board to hot glue the end of a piece.  Emma Jane started to roll the fabric and then pressed it into the chipboard.

Then she began to twist the fabric and glue it down as she went around.

Once we ran out of fabric we trimmed the chip board with scissors so that it didn't show behind the flower.


Then we hot glued the chipboard to a wreath we wrapped with burlap.  I attached some paper flowers we made a long time ago using a Martha Stewart paper flower kit.  I added some ribbon and tulle and hung my wreath.

Holiday Themed Frame

I got a great idea for a holiday themed frame project here.

Now most of the time when I see something on a blog I think to myself "I could make that," but I rarely do.  This time I did!

I bought an open frame from Hobby Lobby.  I found the clips in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby and the wire in the jewelry section.  I found the screw eyes in the frame section at Michael's.

This is the first one I made.  It is too small, I think.

The second one I made was for my friend Jenny.  Her favorite holiday is Valentine's Day and her birthday was Monday. 

Here is what the back looks like.

Mike drilled tiny holes but I also think you could start the hole with a nail and then put the screw eye in once the starter hole was made.

The wire is jewelry wire that was strung tightly across.

I made Jenny enough paper hearts to fill all 30 clips.  I also made her cardstock that says Happy Valentine's Day.

I can just see it at Christmas time filled with paper ornaments.  Or at Easter with flowers and bunnies!
Or with your Instagram photos!

I cut my paper hearts out using Amy Butler paper from Michael's and my Sizzix die cutter.

Tough Crowd

I was recalling another Emma Jane story from when she was in Kindergarten.  That particulary Christmas I made custom notepads for all of her teachers (she had 1 home base teacher, 1 teacher's aid, 1 music, 1 PE, 1 art).

Now, you may or may not know that I have a printing business on the side.  I design, print, and glue notepads from my home.  I have more printers than one person should have.  I have a guillotine cutter to cut the pads.  I also have a paper drill and pull the ribbon through myself.  I am a one-woman print shop.  I can then package them and send them out.  I don't have them made or order them through a wholesaler.  I make them myself.  This is important only because of what happened next.

When we took them to school the teachers were very impressed.  They said "Oh Emma Jane!  Did your mom make these?"  I was standing behind her when she said, "Well...kind of...She didn't make the paper, or the ribbon, or the ink."

Ouch.  Tough crowd.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Knitting Retreat

Q:  What do you get when you combine knitting, wine, great food, yarn, smart women, a little more wine, and hysterical laughter?

A:  A knitting retreat.

This past weekend I drove to Kansas City for The Studio's annual knitting retreat.  It was held at Unity Village just outside of Kansas City.  We stayed in a new hotel and conference center built on the property just a few years ago.  Most of the participants were from the greater KC area, but I know there was someone there from Chicago and a group from Omaha and of course one lone Tulsa girl.

I found out about it from my friend Jessica.  She and I went to high school together and have always remained close.  She works at The Studio and has invited me in the past to this retreat.  This was the first time I have been able to make it, but it will NOT be the last.

We were given the coolest goodie bags with a water bottle and snacks.  The Studio also set up a yarn market right there at the hotel.  There were classes but I did not enroll in any of them.  I actually learned a lot from sitting with my friend Jessica for two days.  I met the nicest, wittiest, most talented women.  Everyone there is someone I would want in my kitchen with me and a glass of wine.  They were amazing.

The grounds of the Unity Village were beautiful.  I went for a walk on the first day I arrived and found myself on a golf course with about 2 dozen deer and this wooden statue of a woman golfing. It was about 23 degrees though so I didn't stop to talk to her about her wardrobe choice or her orthopedic shoes, or her dry skin.

Two things I failed to take pictures of, my friend Jessica and the amazing food!  We were fed three times a day and had great meals.  The coffee was also quite good.  It was Parisi coffee which is owned by two brothers from KC, Paris Brothers Inc.  If you ever get the chance to drink Parisi Artisan Coffee, do so!

My sweet friend Jessica and I shared a room together and I felt like we were having a sleepover.  We stayed up late talking and giggling and drinking wine.  It was a much needed respite from our normal roles as mom, chauffeur, cook, laundress, homework tutor and scheduler.  It was heaven.  Thank you to Wade and Mike for making this possible.  Thank you.

My biggest lesson learned was a really simple one that I never knew because I am a lone knitter, not a group knitter.  I did not know you pull the yarn from the center of the skein.  I just assumed that it would get tangled up that way.  It does not.  You pull from the center and the ball does not roll all over the place when you knit.  Clever.  Simple.  Perfect.