The post in which I lament my white hair

this should describe a snow man
not my shining head

It was pointed out to me today that when I stand in the sunlight my hair has a silver quality to it. I was all, "An otherworldly silver quality? Like a mysterious young writer who, after she was struck by lightning, could time travel kind of quality?" I was answered with, "Just, I don't know, like old lady silver."


I would like to point out that I am 33. And sure, this past year and a half or so has stressed me out, but still. Silver before I'm 35? Suck it, melanin!

It's like I have this one last defense against being completely silver. It's a weathered shield of auburn hair that sits on top of the granny hair. But my last defense is turning on me. And when I do something like pull my hair back in barrettes, you better jump back. All up under there is enough silver to take my noggin to the Antiques Roadshow and impress the shit out of some nerds.

So what to do? I have experimented with semi-permanent color in the past. My awesome stylist dude made it look great. But now he's off gallivanting around styling famous people's hair for movies and TV shows and I am left channeling Heloise.

I don't have enough money to find a new fancy hair guy, but I DO have enough money to raid the hair care aisle at Target. If I decide to go through with coloring my own hair, though, I should probably videoblog it. I can only foresee explosions and destruction coming from this. Remember when I tried to cook the ham and it resulted in a huge explosion? That was JUST A HAM. Ham, dish, oven… kablooey. This is my HAIR. And CHEMICALS. And a requirement of wearing gloves that will be too big for my hands. And there will be a stopwatch involved, probably, and I lose track of time so easily.

It is a scary prospect.

But is it scarier than being silver-headed at 33?

Is it scarier than the idea of someone asking me if I'm dropping my grandson off at school?

Is it scarier than trying to match Chuck Taylors, a Modest Mouse shirt, and non-ironic hair color?

Is it scarier than having people think I am my husband's elderly sister?

No. No it is not.

So prepare yourselves. I may not be brave enough to vlog it. (I am not even brave enough to say "vlog." What a horrifying word.) But I might just liveblog it.

Please don't let my head explode like a ham. Please, please.

Dear Swine Flu, You Asshole, Again,

Hello. I know I already wrote you a Dear, Swine Flu, You Asshole letter, but I thought it would be nice to follow up. Cool? Cool.

Listen, I know we've said some harsh things to each other. And I know, at the time, we meant them. You meant to make my trach baby as sick as possible and laugh in our germophobe faces, and I meant it when I said I want to punch you in your tiny dick.

There's no denying we aren't friends. However, I'm a little worried about you.

I know that sounds weird, but really, how is your state of mind these days? I feel a little bad because our family was able to kick your ass with so much more vigor than you were able to kick ours. I mean, at first you definitely had the upper hand. I'll give you that. Making me rush my baby to the hospital via ambulance in the middle of the night because he's unresponsive gives you some points. Asshole points, but points.

Having the pediatrician tell me that we are the worst case their practice has seen of the flu to date… gives you more asshole points.

Having my little dude be one of only a handful of people in town who have been hospitalized because of you – even more points.

And yet, he was only in the hospital for two days. And not even in the picu. BURN.

The other two kids had it and were only sick for a couple of days. BURN.

The pediatrician is telling all the freaked out moms not to worry because if his former 28-week preemie trach baby patient can be OK, their kids should be fine. BURN.

And so, while it seemed like you had the upper hand there for a few days, and I was busy freaking out in the hospital with Ike-a-saurus, we were actually teaming up to defeat your ass. How about that? Sneak attack!

I know your ego must be in shambles right now, and I feel for you, I really do. Or maybe I do. Or really, no. No I don't. But still. I just want to make sure there are no hard feelings. Please do not think you have to prove anything by causing a relapse or mutating or any of that mess. Please just move along. There's nothing to see here anymore. No one left to infect. You tried your best, you gave us a run for our money, and we prevailed.

Suck it!

But I mean that in the nicest possible way.

I was also wondering if you could spread the word to your friends "RSV" and "Seasonal Flu" and "Parainfluenza" and "Viral Pneumonia" and all those other beasties you hang out with. Can you please tell them the embarrassing ass-whopping they face if they dare to come into this house? I would appreciate it.

Now tuck your hemagglutinin between your legs and scurry away from here. We are done with you. I will lob nasty language and threats at other germs now.

Be gone, swine flu! And take your damn aporkalpse with you.


concerned mother


a cool, rainy day
brain tries to comprehend it
this requires noodles

So "requires" has two syllables, right? My southern heritage is telling me that it has three. I think my southern heritage is misleading me, so I'm sticking with two. But feel free to argue.

Anyway, hello cool weather! It was so chilly this afternoon that Ike-a-saurus was out on the porch, sitting on his nurse's lap, legs covered with a blanket, hocking loogies on the concrete. Just like an old man.

In my imagination, it could have been a scene from Annie. With Ike playing FDR, his nurse playing the wheechair, and with more loogies than I remember seeing in that movie.

Inspired by Ike's old man-ness, the cool weather, and my husband's hacking swine flu cough, I made some soup. Like actually made it – I chopped up carrots and celery and everything. What the what? I know! It was good, too, with chicken in it, and egg noodles. Also, there were some bones that I didn't manage to fish out, and I burned my finger, but overall it was a surprisingly successful foray into the kitchen.

It's hard to believe fall is here, and yet, it feels like it's been about a thousand years since last fall. In the beginning of October last year, I was going to the NICU everyday, scrubbing my hands and arms raw, and teaching a four-pound Ike-a-saurus to breastfeed.

I take back the thousand year thing. It feels like a MILLION years ago. And a million years before that was the last time I made soup.

It's nice to make soup again. It's nice to feel a cool breeze. It's nice to see lungs strong enough to splatter mucus on the ground. 

If Daddy Warbucks was here, I might even burst into song.

Liveblogging the Emmy’s!

6:19: Don't worry, they haven't started yet. I'm just popping in to warn you: Football is running long. (Surprise!) I don't know if this means the show's start will be delayed, but if so… awesome. That means the Emmy's and my kids' bedtime schedule will be in sync.

6:22: If the show isn't delayed, the liveblogging will be. Must not abuse my swine flu-riddled husband by forcing him to put the kids to bed on his own. (Yes, even my cold black heart is not THAT evil.)

6:24: Never fear, though, through the powers of TiVo I will be caught up to you all in no time.

6:30: And because my warm-up act involves prescription drugs and reading Jon Scieszka, we will all be happy in the end.

6:31: See you soon. Go find yourself some Cheetos and give your self-respect the night off. Woo!

7:02: It's starting on time! Hey, how fantastic that NPH's face is a billboard for Bare Escentuals.

7:08: Family Guy makes me want to stab people

7:12: Tiny, tiny, Kristin Chenowith wins for Pushing Daisies! She is the same size as the Emmy. She makes Tina Fey look like the BFG. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

7:26: Just finished frantically putting the kids to bed. Will they stay? Probably as likely as Battlestar winning the directing Emmy.

7:28: All these boy writers. Hilarious? Yes. Making me want to be a boy? Yes. Wait. They should make me want to kick ass as a girl. When I'm done writing lame blog posts, I'm totally going to get on that.

7:31: I will never get tired of NPH's "what was that? where am I? what?" look.

7:32: Oh shit, you guys, Kevin Dillon is going to be hitting someone in the face tonight.

7:34: Oh, and here's an idea: Maybe if the Emmy producers want more people to watch, they should stop giving awards to Two and a Half Men.

7:38: Toni Collette is channeling some bronzed Skeletor tonight. Bronzed Skeletor. Sounds like something I ordered at Red Lobster last time I was there.

7:42: Weirdly, Leighton seems to have boobies on her shoulders. And Blake seems to have boobies everywhere.

7:43: Kanye joke #2. Take a shot!

7:46: And I'm caught up. This means I can't fast forward through all of the horrible things Lyrica can do to you.

7:52: The way Alec Baldwin is talking about how awesome producers are, it makes me want my own producer. Can stay-at-home mom writers have a producer? I promise to feature you in my evening credits. Just email me.

7:54: I will never think Seth McFarlane is funny. I have some kind of mental block. It's like he's a friend of the family, who comes to Christmas and makes fun of you to your face, but in a way that makes people think you're an asshole when you don't laugh.

7:56: Playing Britney during the Reality montage? Meta!

7:59: Wouldn't it be great if, just like they're having this dance thing from Dancing with the Stars, they also had live snippets of other reality shows? Like the Amazing Race people would have to come milk a goat and run the milk up a hill. Project Runway folks would have to make a very quick skirt out of Emmy ballots and bags of silicone.

8:01: Do you think Jeff Probst's dimples are like Mary Poppin's magic bag? Maybe his wife never needs to bring a purse anywhere, because he can just stash her lipstick and tampons in his dimples.

8:08: Oh, Amazing Race, Phil. Can I meet you at the mat? (When you stop dressing like a foppish undertaker, that is.)

8:09: Movies and Miniseries time. Potty if you gotta.

8:11: I just want to say, all three children have awakened at least once since I started this. Bad omen for the Battlestar Emmy, you guys.

8:13: Is anyone more beautiful than Shoreh Agdashloo? Does anyone spell that right the first time?

8:15: Is it wrong that I am hotly anticipating Drew Barrymore winning so that I can hear what the PC guy makes up about her?

8:16: Kanye joke #3. Take a shot!

8:17: Holy shit, you guys. Stunt women give you organs when you need them? I need a stunt woman AND a producer. Is there a stunt woman out there with a fully functioning trachea she could hook us up with? That would be rad.

8:23: Kate Walsh has bad, bad hair. What happened there? Too much conditioner? I just threw some barrettes at the TV, hoping a Pleasantville/Last Action Hero type thing would happen, and she would be saved. Alas.

8:26: It is unfortunate the Patricia Arquette wore a sparkly shoebox, accessorized with Season Nine Scully hair. But not as unfortunate as the floppy slo-mo boobies in front of me right now. The require sound effects. Which you can't hear me making right now. Too bad.

8:30: That man's name is mendick? No way!

8:32: Dr. Horrible hijack FTW!

8:33: Do you really think Alec Baldwin woke up this morning and was all, "I can't WAIT to wear a lilac tie!!!111!!"?

8:35: If Drew gets up onstage and makes out with Jessica Lange, I will not be surprised.

8:36: "Drew Barrymore's great great heart" = "Drew Barrymore's Judy Garland Trailmix"

8:39: Hey Sprint guy, you should be peenalized for saying peenalized.

8:43: The lady who is up on stage right now wearing grey and brown and looking shiny but very happy… That would be me if I was ever onstage. Poorly dressed, sweating profusely, and quite pleased with myself.

8:49: Was briefly mesmerized by the variety montage. Shiny! Fireworks! Anyone still there?

8:51: Have you noticed that like half of the Emmy winners tonight have accents from countries other than the US?

8:54: again! All the writers nominated are boys! Well, most of them. It's not like I'm bitter or anything. At least my genitalia is prettier than theirs. Probably.

8:58: Note to commercial makers: Anthropomorphized snot is grosser than real snot. If you showed me real snot on TV, I would be less grossed out. Snot doesn't need a face. Just like toenail fungus doesn't need a face. None of these things need faces. Snot ≠ pork pie hat and teeth.

9:02: Hi there, Muppets, it's nice to see you! If Justin Timberlake had his hand up your ass, you would totally win.

9:06: Did Ricky Gervais just say cock-up? If not, I am hallucinating again. But that's cool. I don't mind hallucinating British curse words. I am projecting tourettes. Is that a thing?

9:11: In case you were wondering, Ike-a-saurus has the exact same shaped head as LL Cool J.

9:12: I think the grammar or something has gone awry with that last sentence up there. Can I say he has the samely shaped head? That's not right. "Similarly shaped head" sounds too waspy and uptight. It is a conundrum trying to properly compare Ike's head to LL Cool J's head.

9:16: Right when the drama montage started, a trach fell off the wall and made me jump. Can anyone else in the world say that?

9:18: BSG shout out! BSG shout out! True Blood shout out! True Blood shout out!

9:19: Oh shit, you guys, LL Cool J is dressed like snot!

9:20: Note: I am not married to Michael Emerson, even though he just called me his wife.

9:22: I find it stunning that Grey's Anatomy is still considered a drama.

9:23: Wow. How fit is Cherry Jones? I wish she would come and body slam Sarah McLachlan. No offense, in Memoriam folks.

9:28: Every time I hear that the all new Ford Taurus has a sync system I think, awesome! I can wash my hands in the car now!

9:30: Also? People wearing unitards, dressed as lotion droplets? Not a fan. Points for creativity, I guess. And I'd like to see the dancers' resumes. "2009 – unitard wearing lotion droplet in Vaseline commercial"

9:35: Did you see that? Girl writers! Winning stuff!

9:38: Ironically winning for a show that I stopped watching because I didn't like how the women were portrayed. Ha!

9:41: Oh no, G
lenn Close is getting all self-importanty about Hollywood. But then she thanked writers. And Ted and Bill, whoever they are. But not Wolverine for air-conditioning her dress.

9:45: The Oxy Clean commercial has wonky color. Unless the dirt on a baseball field really IS the color of infant poop.

9:49: Bryan Cranston looks nice with his head shaved like that. It makes me forgive him for just saying "cinderfella."

9:54: Yay 30 Rock! Sorry for the pause there. Our night nurse just got here. Can I get a WOO HOO? WOO HOO.

10:07: And we're done! Both with the Emmy's and with my report to the nurse. NPH and his cute white suit jacket did a swell job tonight. So did Ike, staying on only 2 liters of o2. Now I'm in this weird live blog state of mind. I feel like I should live blog the news. live blog my snack. Live blog Ike freaking out right now. or maybe I should go sit with him. Good night!

Has tweeting overtaken liveblogging? Never!

The Emmy's are tomorrow! You know what this means… lots of yelling at the kids and rushing around so that I can sit on the couch and liveblog the debacle ALL FOR YOU.

This year, though, there are two problems to overcome:

1) This fucking swine flu

2) the Twitter conundrum

First, let's address 1. Everyone seems to be feeling much better, which is great. Possibly, we'll even have a night nurse tomorrow – even better. However, the daddy of the house has yet to fall to the Swine. Today he was feeling a little weird and I'm afraid tomorrow he'll be puny for reals. This might make it hard to live blog, because I will have to make myself useful around here, instead of just sitting like a lump on the couch, with my computer in my lap.

And as for 2, what do you think? Is Twitter the place where the real-time snark should live? I feel like it might be. But the problem here, is that one who is so prone to writing run-on sentences verbose as I, might have trouble with the limited format.

What to do, what to do.

Better stick with the "old-fashioned" liveblogging so that I can go on and on and on. But also, don't be sad if I am late to the party. Oxygen tanks and sick spouses and nursing reports cannot be paused like TV. Alas.

I promise to make every effort, though. And because the Tamiflu makes it hard for me to think or form complete sentences, I think the effect could be quite entertaining.

Swine flu + Neil Patrick Harris + self-important Hollywood types = Win!

Things I have learned from the swine flu:

1. You'll never know if you actually have the swine flu because no one will send the test off for it. Well, you might know if you are dead, because they test post-mortem.

2. The ER and our pediatrician said all type A flu in Austin right now is H1N1 because there is no seasonal flu yet, so I guess 1 doesn't matter.

3. Boy howdy am I tired

4. Boy howdy has it made Ike-a-saurus puke a lot (the flu, not me being tired)

5. We are going through oxygen tanks like they're, uh, oxygen. Those tiny little lungs are not pleased with the swine situation right now.

6. When you have home nursing care, it's required for your case manager to make a visit to your house no later than 48 hours after a hospitalization. When your case manager arrives, she will gown up and mask herself in the parking spot by the house, so that all the neighbors come out on their porches to go W. T. F.

7. The dude mowing his lawn will go inside when he sees 6.

8. You will laugh at how funny and alarming 6 is, and take secret pictures (as seen in exhibit A below)

9. You will wonder if someone is going to put a quarantine sign on your front door

10. Mostly, you will want to take a lot of tylenol

11. And naps. You'll want those, too.

12. Pedialyte, thickened to nectar consistency looks like candle oil

13. Not everyone with the Swine gets a fever

14. And, yet, I can't stop sweating

15. They make tiny, tiny, baby-sized surgical masks

16. It's a good thing Clorox has that bleach spray stuff, so we don't have to get all Velveteen rabbit up in here

17. We are the first "flu family" our nursing agency has had so far. WHERE IS OUR DAMN PRIZE?

18. Cross-contamination with our primary nurse, FTW. At least she could still come this week.

19. Cross-contamination with our night nurse, FTL. She wasn't allowed to come this week.

20. I know. Confusing.

21. Hospitals? Still suck.

22. The Emmy's are on Sunday to cheer us all up.

23. Should 22 be a joke? I'm totally serious. If everyone is up to snuff around here, I'm going to liveblog the shit out of that show.

24. Imma let you finish, but this list is getting out of hand

25. What?

26. Tamiflu makes Ike-a-saurus a) sleep so heavily he doesn't breathe right b) stare into space with his mouth open c) cry randomly. Same side effects as methadone. Fun!

27. Tamiflu make me say things like, "The vice principal of your school is the sheriff and the principal is like the parent. I mean like the principal. I mean the parent. I mean the president."

28. There is no 28

29. Avoid the children's hospital ER at all costs. Seriously, I expected goats and chickens to be milling around. Hooray for trachs earning you priority. Well, and ambulances earn you priority, too.

30. Swine flu is too tiny to punch in the dick. But if I could find it, I would totally punch it in the dick.


Exhibit A:


Grown women should not sleep in cribs

We're home!

Ike-a-saurus is still on o2, still feeling kind of poorly, but his respiration rate is way better and he doesn't need tons and tons of oxygen like he did a few days ago. The consensus between doctors is that since we have our own little respiratory floor right here at home, and our own arsenal of nurses everyday, we can monitor him for secondary infections as well as they can in the hospital. Plus, he'll eat better, take his meds better, and get more sleep at home. So here we are.

After spending two nights laying with him in his hospital crib, it's no surprise my knees and back are achy. And with no sleep, it's no wonder why I'm exhausted. But that doesn't explain why my throat hurts. Or why I can't stop sneezing. Guess it's mama's turn for the Tamiflu.

Good times over here at Aporkalypse Ground Zero. But at least we're home. I hope we get to stay.

The Aporkalypse

We knew this would be a tough flu season, we just didn’t think it’d happen SO FAST.

Ground zero for the Aporkalypse? Apparently my house. Ike is positive for the flu. It’s not confirmed H1N1, but we’ve been told 98% of flu in Austin is of the swine variety.

He’s in the hospital right now. Last night we enjoyed a 911 call and a first class ambulance ride. Today, he’s choking down two different antivirals to see if that can help things.

We’re obviously really concerned about secondary infections and his respiratory status. He is breathing really really fast. Like if panting was on fast forward.

No fun.

Times like these make me wish I’d researched swine flu a little less.

Oh, the humanity

fever, chills, oh my
not as bad as Hindenburg
for the big brother

The wee one is sick today. He woke up with a raging fever and a headache and chills and all that fun stuff. So I whisked him off to the doctor for a rapid flu test. He's had the FluMist, but with Ike-a-saurus being high risk, I just don't want to take any chances. It doesn't appear to be the flu, and he was feeling a little better tonight. Very good, but still. Come on, stupid germs. No whammies! No whammies!

Anyway, while we were at the doctor, the wee one and I took part in our favorite doctor's office past time – discussing major tragedies and/or war. I'm not sure how this started. Today, the discussion was about the Hindenburg. The last visit it was the Titanic. The time before that we got into a chat about war strategy and how it relates to the battle scenes in the Phantom Menace.

The conversations are always organic… they evolve from something normal, into something not so much. How do we do that? Today, we were just hanging out in the exam room and this is how the conversation went:

1. The wee one was worried that he can't remember things from when he was a baby. I told him that not many people remember being a baby, and that my first memories are from when I was around two. I remember sitting on the concrete floor playing with blocks while we visited our new house that was being built.

2. The wee one said, "so you mean under this floor is concrete?" I said yes. Then he asked if there were squares (like in the linoleum) on the floors of airplanes so that people with parachutes could lift them and jump out. I said they usually jump out of the doors. Then I told him about how when I was a kid I used to watch parachutists flying through the sky on the way to a landing area that was near our house.

3. Talk of parachuting reminded him of the time a hot air balloon went down our street, just above the tops of the houses. He wanted to know how many people fit in the basket. We talked about how it depends on the size of the basket, and then I said that big airships used to carry lots of people and have dining rooms and things.

4. "Did those blimps ever crash?"

5. And there you go.

If I could remember, I could probably do the same thing with the Titanic chat and the war strategy, too. It starts off innocuous, and ends in me regaling stories of newsmen shouting, "OH, THE HUMANITY" because people painted hydrogen blimps with paint made of rocket fuel components.

So which is more traumatizing? Going to the doctor on a Saturday, or having to listen to your mom talk about flaming airships? Maybe if the doctor came in the room faster we wouldn't have to worry about this.

Or maybe I could learn to filter myself a little better. Ah, well. At least he's feeling better. And at least I know what the feverish nightmares will be about tonight.

So much to learn

remember the bus?
hot, bumpy, full of bad kids
wee one learns so much

The wee one came home from school today with angry eyebrows.

"What's the trouble?" I asked, as he marched down the sidewalk from the bus.

"That kid I told you about called me an asshole of a horse!" [this is the same kid who apparently blew into the wee one's face when the wee one told him he has a brother at home who can't be around germs]

"Well, that's a very awkward insult, if you ask me. Lots of words."

[a glowering look]

"Did he get in trouble?" I ask.

"Yes! BIG trouble!"

"There you go. I'm sorry he called you that, but I'm glad you didn't retort." [pause] "Wait. Did you say anything back?"

"No!" He goes in the house and readies himself for the shower we make him take everyday after school (because we are crazy that way). "Hey, mom?"


"What's a 'dick'? Someone wrote something on the bus seat about some girl liking dick. Is that a person or a thing?"

And this is when I start to wonder… is riding the bus really worth it? Because ugh. If I wanted him to know about assholes and dicks, I would just let him read blogs.