Celebrate today…with broccoli!

Copyright PartyHare on Flickr…(Tell me this doesn’t look like a broccoli and two balloons? Because both of my kids wanted to know what the broccoli was doing there).


 The girls and I just spent 4 days in Florida. Thursday we flew down. Friday morning, Dr Jay flew to a meeting. We stayed at a friend’s timeshare. Wow. Let me just say wow. The girls and I went to Olive Garden for dinner, they LOVED it. I let them go to the restroom with each other while I stayed at the table (major mom anxiety, but they are getting older and we let them at home and they stay together…wait, my blog, why am I trying to justify this? Because society makes me feel like I shouldn’t let them.). We went food shopping and then came back to go swimming. At night! In a pool with a VOLCANO! THAT GLOWS RED! AT NIGHT! OMG! an you tell the kids were excited?)

Friday morning, we got up early and went to Disney. I met another friend, who’s sister works at Disney and her sister got us passes with her corporate points (or something like that). I was so blown away by the generosity. The girls dragged me all over the park. I mostly let them agree on rides. We did roller coasters, the flume (I hate both of those rides except Space Mountain), we did the pirates of the Caribbean (TWICE-even though they changed it to match the movies) and we even got to SEE Space Mountain. We did our fast pass on that and when we had 30 minutes left, we did the people mover ride. It takes you THROUGH Space Mountain. The lights were on, so we got to see that the coaster is really compact and small. We did the people mover again, but by then, they were testing the equipment. I checked to see if they were ready, but they weren’t, so we ran off to two other rides and then came back, did Space Mountain, and met with my friend with the timeshare. They live in FL, so her daughter is already in school.

We went to bed REALLY late. Then up again in the morning to do Animal Kingdom. This time, we meet our other friend and her sister, and 4 more kids! We had a ball and enjoyed the Safari, didn’t enjoy "It’s a Bug’s life" (Soleil was on my lap SCREAMING to get the hell out of there with the spiders) and we had fast passes for the roller coaster "Everest". Well, our friend and her posse of 4 kids went home before the coaster time. We had 5 people, and 10 fast passes. Guess what? We did Everest twice! OMG, I hated it because a) I don’t like coasters as they can trigger migraines and b) it went backwards! GAH!, but you do things for your kids and enjoy it, right?

We stayed up way too late and enjoyed ourselves. This morning, my friend and her daughter headed home. We checked out and went swimming for 2 hours, Got lunch and headed home.

This was an amazing weekend. I want to give a shout out to my friends.Yes, I could have afforded the tickets and the food and the hotel. But your simple generosity blew me away. You wouldn’t let me pay for things (which let me spoil my kids more) and my girls really had a magical time.

Now we are back to the grind, but that’s okay. Except for the cold I picked up on the way down!

T-Tapp: week two measurements.


 So, here are week 2 results. I am kinda of shocked to realize that I have lost over 10 inches over all, but that is all over my body. The biggest shock is that my abdomen is 4 inches smaller in circumference. Really? Why don’t my pants fit better? Oh yeah, my hips are… 1/2 down. That’s like, Um, nothing.

But, I started working on the actual workout, which runs 16 minutes, a bit faster than the instructional video. I am currently ripping the instructional video to ipod format so can put it on my blackberry and have it for travel. Easier than remembering the DVD.

My goal is to fit into my smaller clothes. You know, the pants and shorts I USED to fit into. Even after having Luna? Yeah.. wish me luck on that!

I went to TJ Maxx and got a natural bristle brush and I started the dry brushing stuff today. Again, I have NO scientific evidence that this will work. We will simply have to wait and see. Sigh. I hate that.

I do feel like I have a little more energy, but I am not sure if that is real or not. It is such a difficult thing to quantify. I’ll have to stick to qualitative for now. I have been sleeping better, but it does help not to have poison ivy or lack of breathing waking one up.

So, we wait and see…





 Week 1  Week 2  Week 3  Week 4  Week 5
Bust: fullest point  -3/4 in  -1/2 in      
Pecs:just above bust line  -1/2 in  -3/8 in      
Ribs:top of rib cage below bust  -1/2 in  -1/2 in      
Waist:at navel  +1/2 in  -1 in      
Abdomen: three inches below navel in line with hip bones  -2 1/2 in  -1 1/2 in      
Hips:tighten butt and fullest point  0 in  -1/2 in      
Upper Thighs:just below butt cheek  R: 0 L:-1/4in  R:-1/2in L:-1/4in      
Lower Thighs: 2 in above knee cap  R:-1in L:-1 in  R:0 L:0      
Calves:fullest point  R:0in L:-1/2in  R:0 L:+1/4in      
Upper Arms:below deltoids  R:1/4in L:0  R:0 L:0      
TOTALS: -5 3/4 in

-4 7/8 in

(-10 5/8 in since start)


Keep moving forward

A few people asked privately: "But how do you FEEL on T-Tapp?" So far, I am not sure. I really need more data. You know? I will note that my medical ID bracelet is suddenly looser. That is weird, but I assume it has something to do with the relative humidity being under 80% for the last few days. I can be hopeful that the T-Tapp is helping, but I am awaiting on my experiment.


We hired our contractor on Monday. On Tuesday, the deck went away. On Wednesday, a port-a-potty showed up. On Saturday, someone is coming in to dig up the foundation area and the drainage around the perimeter. The new thing is to have a drainage system to go to a cistern instead of daylight. The cistern then slowly releases the water back to the ground to prevent flooding downstream. It means more digging, but we will live. Next week, the foundation and drainage system go in. Very little building until September. We just signed on the $$ to pay for all of this (well, we have money to pay for it, we just aren’t liquidating everything to do this, KWIM?). On one hand I am very excited, on the other, I am so busy with life, that I can’t figure out how to do everything.


Luna- ah yes, my little ice skater. She is doing a double class of skating in the fall. She’s continuing with her group lessons and she is taking a class on edges. As in "how to use the edges of your skates instead of just the flat of the blade". These lessons are cheap and she loves them. I have a friend who I am hiring to drive Luna to the second class. It’s on a Wednesday, and I work in the office those days. Fortunately, I have a wonderful friend who is willing to drive her, lace her up and then drive her over to after school care for us. I am glad i have that. Now to figure out when we can do piano lessons for her.



Soleil is a happy soul these days. She is excited about the return to school. Of course, I need to get the health form to school so they will LET her come, but eh, that’s just paperwork.

Life is good. That is helpful!

waisting away in Margaritaville

Monday is the measuring day I have chosen for the T-Tapp Workout. I started on August 9 and did 4 straight days of the workout. And then we went to Buffalo, and the workout waited on me… Okay, I did what is called the Primary Back stretch both days, just to keep me going, but I don’t have the whole thing memorized.

Yesterday I measured after I did the workout. I probably should have done the measurements first, but hey, I am tired and busy.

 I am going to list my changes here. Note Changes. I am terrible at body image, but I will list change from baseline instead of full changes.

Measurement  Week 1  Week 2  Week 3  Week 4  Week 5
Bust: fullest point  -3/4 in        
Pecs:just above bust line  -1/2 in        
Ribs:top of rib cage below bust  -1/2 in        
Waist:at navel  +1/2 in        
Abdomen: three inches below navel in line with hip bones  -2 1/2 in        
Hips:tighten butt and fullest point  0 in        
Upper Thighs:just below butt cheek  R: 0 L:-1/4in        
Lower Thighs: 2 in above knee cap  R:-1in L:-1 in        
Calves:fullest point  R:0in L:-1/2in        
Upper Arms:below deltoids  R:1/4in L:0        
TOTALS: -5 3/4 in





Now I know many people claim to get amazing results the first week. Well, let’s be honest here. The first 2 workouts I was still working from the book. The second 2, I used the DVD and saw a difference right away. So far, I’ve used the T-Tapp on Monday and then I went to the gym this morning. I plan on doing MWF for T-Tapp for the next 5 weeks. I go to the gym on Tuesdays and I am planning on going on Thursdays or Saturdays. Keeping me going.

Another thing I am looking into is something called "Dry Brushing". Of course, there is a T-Tapp way of dry brushing, but that costs $$$ and I am a cheap bastard. So I plan to swing by Home Goods and find a reasonable brush to try. This will require some photographic evidence. The claim is that dry brushing will help reduce cellulose. Um, yeah… and all of the health "benefits"? No scientific studies I could find agreeing that dry brushing will stimulate the lymphatic system. In fact, no scientific studies at all. Once the poison ivy is all gone (maybe another month?) I can try this, but for now, I will simply research it. A Facebook friend says it is amazing! I wonder if it would work the same way with me.

That’s the scoop for now. I hope a public experiment will be good!

Changes in attitudes

Yes, as normal, I am using my blog for navel gazing. My blog, my navel.

Anyway, I have been trying to do better for my body. This month, has been very difficult. I am still dealing with the poison ivy (note to others, yes, it can take 3-5 WEEKS to get rid of it), I am tired from my body fighting it. The first two weeks after the bee sting were difficult in the fact that my system was in total overdrive.

I have gained a tad bit of weight back (3lbs, but enough for me to say, wait… that’s 3lbs) and I am entirely looking like an almost 40 mom. I have decided to change that. I see a personal trainer once a week. He’s good and he is teaching me some great exercises, but I am not being entirely honest with myself. I haven’t gone to the gym like I should, I haven’t exercised like I should and I certainly am not eating the way I should be.


I have 2 facebook friends who are into an exercise theory called "T-Tapp". I bought the book and found it entirely difficult to follow. I got discouraged and stopped. However, I decided to change. I bought the DVD. I got out the book and read over the exercises again. I started what the author calls "boot camp" again. I am not making the mistake of following her advice to only do her exercises. I fell into that trap last time and ended up not doing ANY exercise. I have planned out Mondays, Tuesdays (with trainer), Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as exercise days. I am doing the T-Tapp 15 minute exercises for a 4-6 day boot camp. The DVD I ordered will arrive tomorrow, and that will help me get the form right.

I need to get my body in shape. My family is prone to getting nice and lumpy as we get older. I will be 40 next year. Time to take charge and deal.


In another set of changes, we have signed on with a builder. The loan we have worked out will close next week, we hand over the deposit to the builder and off we go! Since Rosh Hananah happens early this year (Sept 9) we are planning on having the foundation set in August, and then the building start after the holiday. Dr. Jay will not allow anyone to work for him on the holiday, so this gets us started, the concrete in place, and gets his moral obligations dealt with. Yom Kippur falls on a weekend, so he has no issues there!.

Now we get to do the fun stuff, pick out wall sconces, exterior lights, paint and speakers. We’ll move our 42" TV from down stairs (our current family room) to the new room when completed. We get to pick out furniture and windows. Very very exciting.

And we have to pay for all of this, but that’s another day!

The lack of reason

The other night, I was kept awake by the poison ivy (yes, I am still bitching about that, SHUT UP!), I suddenly had a new idea for a story in my head. Then I wondered, if I decided to try to write this story (short story format), should I try to just jump in and write like the NaNoWrMo format, or should I try to develop a plot outline, a character sketch series of the main characters and try to move that way? I am not sure. Truth is, I will probably never write it. I can write it in my head, but really? I am not a writer. I am a scientist. I am jealous of Mrs. Figby (the of the late blog, Mrs. Figby). She can punch out these amazing poems. I can write C++. Somehow, these are not as compatible as one would hope.


This weekend, Soleil heads off to Girl Scout resident camp. This camp is doing a sample for incoming 3rd graders. This is a Sunday-Tuesday camp instead of the full week. I printed out her packing list last night and she had put out most of  her clothing today. She has camped with Girl Scouts before, but this will be the longest she has ever done it. It will be an experience for us all. It is funny, the radio just played "Cats in the Cradle"(I hate that song) and I just can’t imagine not knowing my girls the way I do. The father in the song gets to his son’s 10th birthday and doesn’t play with him (one of the reasons I hate that song). I know so much about my girls. I know how Luna hides her feelings, I know how Soleil has a streak of social justice.  I know when neither could fall asleep last night, it was because Sirius Black had just died in the book we are reading. I gave them the extra time to try to sleep and I did curl up with Soleil for a bit.

Unfortunately, work is calling me right now. I better go an do it!

Buy Buy Buy!

I don’t normally plug for things here. I don’t have THAT many readers and I certainly am not a great consumer in our world of buy, buy, buy!

However, you will see a new image on my sidebar. Clicking on that will take you to the Lauren’s Hope website. I recently bought my medical alert bracelet there. It was easy, quick and I now have my name, allergies and an ICE number with me.

I really don’t advertise much, but I have to say, this was worth it.

Drama Queen Alert or The post where Nance loses her sh*t

Okay- this totally sucks. The rash? Yes, it is poison ivy. You see, I knew I was working with it (Poison Ivy), but then I got stung. And when one is allergic to bees and gets stung, the first thought is "Hm, I should probably go use that epipen I paid good money to sit around the house". One doesn’t think " Perhaps I should take a nice cold shower and remove all of the poison ivy oil off of my body before I go to the ER and stop breathing". * Note I never stopped breathing. Drama Queen is kicking in to exaggerate today* Anyway, Perhaps I should have. Taken a shower, that is. I am currently at work with a small, yet lovely container of oatmeal and baking soda paste next to me. I am placing it on my mild poison ivy rash on my arms and on leg. Some points are fine, others itch like hell.

The two worse patches on my arm, I actually remember the ivy touching my skin. I remember saying, "I have got to shower and use some olive oil so it will bind to the ivy oil and remove it". Then I got stung on the ear. I did drop the gloves I was wearing (those gloves are getting thrown out along with the socks I was wearing). However, somewhere between the realization that this might be a good time to use the local ER and the time I was back home nursing a pained chest and a mightily bruised arm from an IV, I touched poison ivy oil to my back. And my other arm. And my leg. In my defense, I did rub rubbing alcohol all over my arms when I got home from the hospital before I showered to try to remove any oils. By that time, it was too late.

Oh my Lord, this stuff is terrible! The blisters look like regular blisters, but they feel like rubber. The itch is amazing. It’s like someone took a tiny anthill of microscopic fire ants and injected them under your skin. But if you scratch, you will break the blisters and then you will scar and possibly get infections.

I had one of the larger blisters on my arm break. I foolishly tried to "drain" (note, appropriate quotes) the blister with a needle. This is after I disinfected the needle with rubbing alcohol.Unfortunately, the release of pressure caused the entire blister to burst and I now have an open cut to both keep dry and try not to get infected. Lovely.

I think the worst part of all of this is the delayed reaction. Because my allergist put me on steroids for the anaphalaxis, I think that delayed and hopefully, reduced the reaction to the poison ivy. So I feel like I have been deal with first the bee sting and subsequent scare and now I am a hideous mass of blisters. Itchy blisters. My back has a 4×4 inch blister and a 10×8 inch patch of red. Ick.

 Being the good mother I am, today my kids were complaining that swimming was too cold in the morning. I snapped "what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger". Soleil quickly retorted, "How does the poison ivy make you stronger?" I said "Next time, I pay someone to remove the ivy"

To be honest and not so much drama, the Internet has taught me two things: 1) I have a very mild case of poison ivy and 2) if I try some of the home remedies, the rash should go away in 2-3 weeks, if I leave it alone, it will go away in 14-21 days.



Somewhere, on the deep dark fragments of my mac disk, I have a story. It is still there in a word document. I was hoping for a novel. It printed out at 38 pages. It sucks. I use stumble at nights to see what is out there on the Internet. I found a creative writing site that suggested writing character studies. Describe a character’s attributes via his conversation, or his actions. Don’t describe him, use the character to describe himself. 

I look at the characters around me in the world. At work, we have the true geek astronomers with the pocket protectors and the Sheldon Coopers here. We have the pony tailed, socks and Birkenstock astronomers. We all try to fit in somehow. None of us are the extroverts we wish to be. We pretend the best we can to fit in the society around us.

I look at the women in town that I meet through our children. They are very concerned in the local politics, the cost of the best supermarkets and the latest American Idol contestant. They don’t understand how I raise my kids, and I don’t understand how they raise theirs. I hear of girls wanting to go to the malls and mother and daughter shopping trips. These are the things I eschew.

I see the people in my book club. Again, we are drawn together through our children. Our group turns out to contain a large number of children with autism or Asperger’s disease. I can not relate. My girls are on the gifted scale (yea, I still hate that term), but have other emotional issues that are shoved under the carpet because they are so bright the teachers figure the kids will sort it out themselves.

I see characters all around me, but I am not sure I could ever wright a character that I could understand. How to create the character you want when you don’t fit into the world yourself?

Still calling, closing in on a decision

We spent a frantic weekend discussing, researching and talking to people who did go modular. We decided this morning to nix it. The biggest factor was a friend who needed a house built. They did it fast, but it didn’t save them any money. They had horrible fights because the factory and the company would argue with each other over whose fault something was. Any electrician who came to make changes couldn’t because of the way it was done in the factory. They did the finish work themselves.

Another person pointed out that he got a $10K bill from an electrician. He had to fight for 2 months to fix that. I don’t want these headaches. I really really don’t. So, we are back to our 2 people. I think I just don’t trust #3. I actually get to meet #2 today. I think we will go with him if things click. I really love #1, but I am not sure which is better, #1 or #2.


Building is so hard to do.

Meanwhile, I’ve developed a nasty rash on my arm. At first I thought it was poison ivy, but it doesn’t itch. It is just UGLY. Then I discovered it’s on my back too. I think it is a secondary effect of the anaphylaxis. Lovely! Just so happy!

Oh well, I have a great deal of work this morning, and I am happy with the way it is going. back to writing my memo!