Bullet dodged…for now.

I just got in from going to the doctor with Soleil. I made Jay come too because I was pretty upset about it.

The doctor would prefer not to do surgery. She believes that Soleil has a very narrow tear duct opening, most likely due to the bone structure in her nose. The ducts are draining right now. IF and I repeat IF we have to do surgery, it would involve breaking the bones in her nose to make the duct wider. The doctor is very hesitant about doing this to children (as I am also).  Instead, we got permission to go ahead and treat her eyes with antibiotics when ever they get red. We have a standing prescription (she gave me 1 with 3 refills) and we can call for more as needed. When ever we travel, we should have either the meds or the prescription with us.

She was very  hesitant on saying this would ever clear up. There may be surgery in Soleil’s future, but not for now.

Bullet is dodged…for now. 

Meet Frank

This weekend was busy… But first, let’s meet FRANK!

Yes! Jay bought me an iPod Nano. Right now, I am listening to my Long Island favorite, Billy Joel. Memories of college are floating back right now. Ah…. 7 years of hell fun!  Yesterday, I was pumping iron to a-ha! Seriously. I had that album on, VINYL! VINYL folks! It is funny how music is linked to my memories. I used to take my tapes of BJ for walks around campus. On drives out to Montauk… Man, I can’t believe I am writing this, but I miss Long Island…


On to Acupuncture. It was, interesting. The woman, Yoko, started with some touching, she said that I was "weak" because she could feel my pulse in my belly (which I have always noticed). Then we went over all of the things I wanted to work on and she said everything led back to kidneys. What the heck that means? I have no clue.

She did the front first. I could feel 2 needles from the front. One I could "feel" but it didn’t hurt. It is odd, imagine that your nerves are not reporting pain, but reporting that there is something sticking out of your body.. Yeah.. That was it.

She left me for 15-20 minutes, where I promptly feel asleep (…ooo! "Big Man on Mulberry Street " just came on! Do you remember when they used that on "Moonlighting"? Does anyone remember that show?).When she  came back, my ankle cracked just by her touching it. I was extremely relaxed. I turned over and she did my back.  One needle hurt like a son-of-a. She removed it and tried again. That one left a bruise. It felt like someone was putting fire on my back.

Finally, she got my back of my knee. Again, a kidney point, that one made me jump. Now, she had put about 20 needles in at this point and I only had 4 that bothered me. She repositioned that one and it was there, but not hurting.

I rested again while she left me. When she came back, she did a massage and worked my lower back.

While I felt wonderful, I wasn’t sure if it was just the time to be alone or the acupuncture. The next morning had my answer. Jay and I went out to shoot some pool on Saturday (bad idea because the billiard hall, which is just down the street from Fenway was having a "watch the Red Sox" party. After the game came on, it got very hard to concentrate on the pool. We both blew our last game of 9 ball). Usually, my back hurts after pool because I lean over so far to stabilize my shots.  Sunday morning, I went to work out the knot I have in my back, and it was almost GONE! Holy Carp! This was the smallest the knot has ever been since I first found it in middle school! It is slowly getting larger, but I have some quantitative measure of this working…

I have 3 more weekly sessions and then we will re-evaluate how things are going… 


The morning after

Rough rough night in the space house. Luna developed a croupy cough. She even vomited up during one cough. Not the "stomach bug" vomit, but the "I’m coughing so hard I have to vomit" one. Poor thing. She would only take Jay to hold onto.

Then Soleil came in at 1 in the morning with the SAME cough. EEK! Jay wants to know how long I locked them outside while he was gone! (I didn’t) This morning, the daycare teacher told Jay that several kids have this cough, so clearly Luna caught it and shared with her sister.

It was nice to have Jay back. We are far more disorganized with two of us. I don’t know how I am more organized alone, but I am… 

Sunday, Soleil will be consecrated as part of the Hebrew school. She is very excited and has been learning the Sh’ma, one of the holiest prayers in Judaism (it basically is the declaration of one G-d, not three parts, just one) and she sings it EVERY NIGHT. (I am personally getting sick of it). Her grandparents are making a special trip to come and see her because this event is so important. I really don’t know much about it and I keep reading  ‘consecrate’ as ‘concentrate’ as if she were a can of orange juice. Oh well, at least I made Jay promise he would be in charge of their religious training if he wanted Jewish children.

I have an acupuncture appointment this weekend. Wish my pincushion body good luck! And I plan on starting the dress this weekend. Measure and cut the fabric! 🙂 Promise I will take photos!


Fiction Friday

This Week’s Theme: Write about an auction

When I was younger, my grandfather ran an auction house. I remember the old musty smells of mothballs and cedar that seemed to permeate the items for sale. Most of the auctions were estates; grandfather worked in the real estate business and would help families get rid of the secrets in the attic. It always seemed to me that the auctions were more than just a sale. It was ripping the soul out of the item.

I remember one Saturday afternoon when we went to the auction house. Grandfather told us that there was an estate lot that had some of the most amazing furniture. Mom was fascinated with antiques and furniture was her favorite. I tagged along with my Barbies as I was still to young to stay alone.

This was one of the larger lots that I had seen Grandfather work with. There were bureaus and dressers, and armoire that reminded me of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". I wondered what world was hiding behind the heavy doors and was quite disappointed when I peaked in and found nothing but dust and the stench of cedar.

Mom saw a Governor Winthrop desk. Oh, how she had always wanted one of those! She was very excited when she saw it and carefully inspected the quality. As she examined the structure of the desk, I climbed up and looked inside. So many cubbies! This would be an amazing place for Barbie to play, I thought! In the center, there was a tiny door. I opened it and found a set of note cards, tied with a blue satin ribbon. I glanced up. Mom was behind the desk, knocking on the back, muttering to herself. Grandfather was busy working with the auctioneer who was almost ready to start. I snuck the package of note cards into my jacket and shut the small door.

Suddenly, it was starting. Mom herded me towards a chair with a stern reminder to be still and quiet. This was adult business. Surprised, I looked around and realized that I wasn’t the only child. There was a little girl here too. She was about a year or so older than I was. And she was staring at me. I felt a bubble of guilt start. Did she know I took those cards? How could she? No one saw me. Or did she?

The auctioneer started and his cadence waxed and waned with each item, climaxing with the cry of "SOLD!". I lost interest after a while and thought about the cards in my jacket. I looked up and the girl was still watching me. She knows, I thought. I don’t know how, but she knows. In some ways, I felt like that funny poem Dad had told me about, with the heart beating under the floor. The note cards wanted to leave me. They burned in my jacket pocket, almost screaming that I was a thief. Finally, I couldn’t take it any more. Mom was now completely engaged in the auction. The desk was next. I slipped out of my chair and went to the girl.

"Hi", I said.

She looked at me and whispered "Hi" before dropping her gaze to her shoes.

"My Grandfather runs this place." I said, trying to establish that I belonged. Maybe I was trying to explain why I took the cards.

"Oh." More studying of her shoes. "These things are from my Nana’s house. She died last month."

The note cards suddenly weren’t important anymore. Not to me anyway. I thought about how I would feel if Grandfather was gone. I would be devastated. I would miss his walks with me, the Sunday afternoon football games on TV, the smells of his house, everything.  

She motioned towards the desk. "I loved playing with that desk. Nana would let me draw for hours at it. I am going to miss it." But I heard her say she was going to miss her.

I pulled the note cards out of my jacket. "Here. I found these in the desk!" I blurted as I pushed them into her hands. And then I ran back to my chair. I was overwhelmed with the guilt that I had taken something from her Nana. I had to get away from her.

The auctioneer was still working on the Governor Winthrop. The price was edging higher and higher. Mom was still active in the bidding with two others fighting over the desk. Numbers were being called back and forth while Mom raised her hand every few seconds. Suddenly the word "SOLD!" was called out. I glanced up in surprise. The desk was gone. Mom’s eyes were bright and I knew we had won the auction. I looked back, but the girl was gone as well.

At the end of the day, I tried to find the girl, to let her know that her Nana’s desk was going to a good home, but I couldn’t find her anywhere. I was afraid to ask Grandfather in case she told him about the note cards.

I never did see her again, but the memory of her was burned into my brain and I could not help think of her every time I walked past that desk.


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“It must be a Thursday…

I never could get the hang of Thursdays"—

    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe

Actually, today is not so bad. I just sent out my gazillion emails to all of the observers I am supporting this next Chandra Observing Cycle. Whew, it is tough because some observers have 60+ observations associated with their program and I need to put a link to each observation in the emails. Instead of hitting the poor people with one for each observation, I tend to give them one email with all of the links in them.

Anywho, my week of single mom is almost done. Jay returns from Huntsville, Alabama where the 8 years of Chandra Science Meeting is ending. Good for me because I am about fried. The girls have actually been really helpful this week. Last night, Luna awoke at 1:30am and I brought her in bed with me. She spent the night grinding her teeth. It really upsets me that the girls get so stressed so young. What could be so hard in her life that she is grinding her teeth? Really? Maybe it is because mommy made her clean most of the blue dye out of her hair (Soleil kept telling everyone at the Halloween party last night that I had tie-died Luna’s hair. The thought of tie-dying hair just gave me giggles all of the time…). Maybe because mommy laughed and sighed when I saw that she spent nap-time at daycare coloring her tights purple. And that the marker had bleed through causing her legs to turn purple…. The teacher was mortified because she thought Luna was coloring a picture, not her legs! I told her not to worry, it will wash out. If not, eh we have a new design on tights!

I think I am really settling into the new routine of life. I am getting used to parties and school and searching backpacks… I found a book report from Soleil yesterday
"Daniel had 2 dolars. He went shoping. He bot a kite." Not bad, my love, not bad at all

 I hope to do Fiction Friday this week. I really need to release something, I just don’t know what! 🙂


BTW- a great comet showed up yesterday. Check out spaceweather.com to see more info! 

Eye don’t like this one at all!

So Soleil has dacryocystitis. Poor girl was born with blocked tear ducts. If you don’t know where these are, put your fingers on the bridge of your nose, near your eyes. Move your fingers towards the corner of your eyes. Do you feel those bumps? Yeah, that’s where your tears drain into your nose (why you get a runny nose when you cry).

Soleil has infections in her eyes since day 1. A photo from 1 month old.

From 5 months old

And from the day after the probing at 13 months

We had her undergo a procedure known as probing. A small probe is inserted in the tear ducts to clear them. We were told the procedure would take 20 minutes. It took 45 and the doctor was surprised by how long it took.

Every winter, when Soleil gets a cold, one or both of her eyes get infected. We have always been told it was conjunctivitis, pink eye. But this time Soleil got an infected eye, the doctor was surprised when I told him that it was conjunctivitis. He said no. And he looked at her chart, felt her eyes and told me that it was dacryocystitis. She has NEVER been infectious. This is just the mucus from the cold backing up into her tear ducts and into her eyes. I had to explain this to the school nurse and the temple school.

What to do about this? Well, I cannot tell you the number of times I was told to "squirt some breast milk into her eyes!" Yeah, um, no thanks. Besides, this appears to be something physical… We have an appointment on Halloween to see the doctor who did the original probe. It is VERY RARE for a child of 5 to still have this (so raspberries to all of those people who told me I was a terrible mom to have the probing in the first place because "she would grow out of it") Here’s a link to some of the solutions. I worry that they will need to cut a new channel. I am really worried that they might have to break her nose to fix this. I

As a mom, I doubt my worry will ever end, but for now… I am worried.

The Other Shoe… Lisa’s Story

I got the book "The Other Shoe…Lisa’s Story" on Saturday. I was done Saturday night. It’s a fast read, but HARD. So hard.

For a quick summary, Lisa Moore discovers a lump in her breast. It is cancer. She gets a mastectomy, chemo, etc. She is finally declared cancer free. She debates and decides on reconstructive surgery.  Fast forward 7 years later. She is helping her support group and goes for a blood test. Follow up tests are requested. The cancer is back and it has metastasized. There is a brief mix up where she thinks she is cancer free, but after a while, she decides to stop treatment and to let herself live the life she had left.

It was a hard read because her daughter is the same age as Soleil. It was hard because she was ready to die. I am not in the position. I was up for a long time on Saturday night. I thought about the story because it is not all that uncommon. A young woman, with kids, struck down by cancer. There are many many success stories. There are many who live and I want to focus on that, but there are still those who can’t win.

A recent study showed that the woman’s outlook did not change the course of cancer. This is good to me to hear. I think that focusing on the whole body, mental and physical is important, but to tell a cancer patient that they need to stay positive or they will die… That just seems harsh. Even if people don’t use those words, that is what you are saying to tell a patient to think positive thoughts.

Luna is becoming obsessed with death. She asks when will I die and when will Soleil die. She can’t comprehend Jay dying, so she doesn’t ask. Today she told me that she isn’t ready to die. And I am not either. But if I ever got to the place that Lisa did, I hope that I can take a good look at my life and say "this was a good life. It may have been shorter than I wanted, but I have made a difference." And to be able to face death, not with fear, but with grace.

BTW- the book has started a new fund at a major cancer center in Cleveland!

Stop making me think!

Side note of the day: Soleil has Dacryocystitis. Tear duct infections. Lovely. She already had a minor procedure for this, but now we might need surgery. With lasers. Nance is not a happy camper. Not at all.

Sometimes, you run across bloggers that make you think, and hard. Lately, Jody over at Raising WEG has been doing this. There are 2 recent issues she brought up. I want to discuss hiring help for the house today. I have a house cleaner. I started this when I was on bed rest with Soleil. I suddenly was confined to the couch. I was not a happy camper. I hired a local company.

I ended up with two different women every time. They were white, American workers. I paid the company. I talked to some of the women and I found from their conversations that things were tough for them. Living paycheck to paycheck and trying to get enough for rent and their kids. I couldn’t decide if it was good, or bad to have hired this company. After Soleil was born, I was not comfortable with this company. Lots of reasons, but we fired them.

When we moved to our current house, I hired a friend. She was great. She had started her own business and she did a great job. Unfortunately, she had to quit to work in an office to make more money. We always paid her in cash. I spoke to friends and found another woman. She was from Brazil. She was wonderful, but she had her daughter do our house and slowly that relationship fell apart. We found another woman (again Brazilian) and we worked with her for a while, but then the first Brazilian woman asked if she could work with us again.

After much talking, we decided to hire her. Let’s call her J for fun! J left Brazil with her husband and two children. She joined family here in the States. She went through an abusive marriage, divorced her husband and raised the kids. She started cleaning houses for other people and then started her own business. As far as I know, she is a legal immigrant. I know she hires family. I do not know if she hires legally or not.

Jody brought up the issue of using immigrants for cleaning. Are we exploiting immigrants by hiring them "under the table?" This is a very good question. I think about J. Now J is a bit of an anomaly. She LIKES cleaning. She loves it! She has told me "this is hard work, but I love to see and smell clean houses". I don’t get it! I like clean houses too, but I hate the work!

Jody wrote

Cleaning my house should not be an underground activity conducted by
people living on the margins of our economy.  My aunt for many years
hired a local woman to clean her house, a farmer’s wife who reported
all her income and furnished documents to her employers every year at
tax time.  I’d be more than happy to do that.  Not one of the people I know locally with house cleaners has such an arrangement.

And she is correct, I have never asked J if she does income tax or how she works the Medicaid, etc. I DO know that J is documented. She goes back to Brazil once a year and this means she has the paperwork to travel. But she does drive a early model vehicle. She has a great relationship with a friend of mine and she once asked for an advance of payment because her cash flow was tight. She has called us about switching days and times so she can see a doctor (which I completely said yes). We have slipped her an extra $20 when the house is extra dirty. But we have never asked her "How do you pay your family?"

I don’t think, at this point, I would change my hiring of J. We definitely give her extra money at holiday time (and BEFORE Christmas, so she has the cash to buy what she needs, not after) and we tell her often how much we appreciate her.  But do we contribute to her being pushed to the edge of the middle-lower class in the Boston Metro area? The rents here are outrageous. Really.  She loves it here  (there is a large Brazilian population in Boston). But can she afford it here? Her rates are not dirt cheap. She is not much cheaper than a company who can come out with different people each time and with insurance to make sure our home is safe… These are the same companies that offer ads with "Our women speak English!", the ads that make me just a little sick to read….

I don’t know, but dang it Jody, you are making me think!


Internets? I need you! I am in serious need of a relaxing situation.

Have you ever tried acupuncture? Seriously. I am terrified of needles, but I am looking for a way to find some way to get my body to relax. 

Thoughts are greatly appreciated.