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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back 2 School - 8/17/10

It's hard to believe that I have TWO kids in elementary school now, but it's true! John and I dropped the boys off to school that morning and reminisced about how quickly they've grown up. It seems like just yesterday we were changing diapers and wiping drool. Now, BOTH of my kids can wipe their own butts and they have homework to do.  My boys are getting big. And, I'm an old hag.

Back to school shopping is easy because the boys wear uniforms and their supply list is pretty straight forward. It's not cheap, but at least it's an easy task to execute. The fact that we actually have money to afford these lovely items is refreshing. Again, I grew up po' as hell so school shopping was very limited. Child support wasn't enough and/or non-existent and my Mom worked for a bank -- I had a lovely $100 "Mervyn's shopping spree" once a year.

John and I definitely aren't affluent, but it feels good knowing that money isn't an issue when we have to buy kids their Back 2 School necessities. My boys will NEVER experience shoe-refurbishing like I did.

Here are a few pics from that monumental day.
The Lion King and his Cubs...
Kev & Boo: My 2nd grader and Kindergartner!
His 1st Day of "Real School"
Kevin Entering the 2nd Grade...
Boo waiting for his name to be called. The Kindergarten teachers release the kids one by one.
8/17/10 was an awesome day. My cubs are grade-schoolers and we found out the baby's gender.
I can't wait until we have all four little lions in school! If I'm doing my math right, Diamond will be in Kinder, Niki in 2nd grade, Boo with be in 6th grade, and Kevie will be in 8th grade. I'm SUPER interested to see what my blog post about school supplies will be like then.

Oh, how broke we will be. But I LOVE it!!!! :)

Blog Post #6 -

It's HemAware "Wednesday", ya'll! Okay, I know this post is a day late, but better late than never right?


Walter & Mao's Wedding 8/7/10

It was a good thing that Niki recovered so quickly. Otherwise she would have been splinted, accessed, and too miserable to enjoy her Uncle Walter's wedding on Saturday, August 7th. John was the Best Man and Boo was the Ring Bearer so it was a busy day for our den. This was Boo's first time being a ring bearer and I would have hated to miss it.

Boo is utterly unpredictable, but he did splendidly.

He was a good boy throughout the entire ceremony, but lost his cool during wedding party picture time. I wasn't there because I had to take Kev and Niki to the reception. But, John told me that Boo got hungry, and just like his Daddy, turned into a big ol' grouch when his tummy started to grumble. He ran away mid-picture! Boo absolutely refused to take anymore until John bought him a kite! So, there they were in tuxedos, buying a kite at the Berkeley Marina from some random vendor. Boo was all good after that. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the photo shoot needed to be done. ;-)

The wedding was so unique and sweet. It made me wish I was still getting married this year. I also had tons of fun hanging out with the extended lions den. Despite my throwing up to the end the night (yay pregnancy!) I had an awesome time that day. Good times!

Here's some pics of Walt & Mao's special day! Enjoy!

Boo and the Groom
Some of the Extended Lions Den...
The Ceremony has Begun...

At the Reception...
Boo's Grand Entrance!
The Bride & Groom's Footwear :)
The Entertainment for the Night...
My favorite performance. Watch the video in HD.
Good Times!
Lionesses and Lion Tamers...
More of the Lions Den
Father-Daughter Dance
The cubs were pooped, but it was totally worth it. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Left Ankle...

On Thursday, August 5th, I went on a much needed dinner date with my very best friend K. After enjoying an evening of good conversation and delicious Thai food, I came home to a very cranky baby.

Normally when I get home, Niki walks up and greets me at the doorway. Well, this time she didn't -- she just stood there and stared at me. I thought it was odd, but John said Niki had been cranky for the past 1/2 hour. Her eyelashes were still moist with telltale tears so I paid little mind to the fact that she didn't walk up to me when I came home.

Niki occasionally goes through bouts of grouchiness and it was close to her bedtime. I thought she just needed a bottle. I picked Niki up and held her while John warmed a bottle for her. She got her bottle, but didn't seem very interested in it. And, she was still grouchy and sulky. So, I figured she was hot. Niki was wearing footie pajamas and when I started to pull them off, she began to cry in protest. That's when I knew something was up.

Once she was fully undressed, I began visually scanning her for bruises or swelling. John and I checked her entire body, carefully bending and examining each joint until John finally discovered thumbprint-sized bruise (hematoma) on her inner left ankle. The area where the knot was located was warmer than the rest of her foot. Upon closer inspection, we realized that Niki's entire left foot was a bit more swollen than the other, but she also has adorably chubby feet so it was hard to tell at first glance.

Here are a few pictures of the bruise/knot. It looks insignificant, but it (the hematoma) was the size of a gumball.
Swelling... (pictures taken while waiting for the EMLA to kick in)

Niki was crying during entire "exam" so it was hard to tell if the lump was the actual source of pain. She bruises easily and she always has some sort of odd knot or lump somewhere. Besides, joint bleeding is typically accompanied by larger bruises, redness, warmth over the entire joint, and "guarding" of the joint. John and I were leery about making a snap-diagnosis. We were leaning toward an ankle bleed, but we weren't 100% sure since she didn't fit all the criteria. AND, she's never had a joint bleed before so we honestly didn't know what the hell we were doing.

No amount of "reading up" on something can help you when that something actually happens.

Niki is a headstrong little girl so she was trying really hard to end the exam.  The minute she had the chance, she broke free from us and attempted to get down from the couch. The instant her left foot touched the floor and bore all of her weight, she yelped in pain.  Niki quickly lifted her foot and used the couch for balance  instead. She then gingerly held her foot ever-so-slightly off the ground and stared at us she whimpered.  It was at that very moment that all everything fell into place. She was barely walking earlier because her ankle was starting to hurt!

It can take a while before a joint bleed actually becomes painful. Pressure builds up as blood fills up the joint capsule. Pressure = pain. I've read that the initial sensation of a joint bleed feels like "bubbling" in the joint. Niki isn't exactly vocal so she can't tell me when she thinks has a bleed. It's hard to identify "cranky baby" vs "I'm-in-pain-baby" at this stage in her life.

The way I've written the sequence of events seems drawn out, but in actuality, this all occurred within the course of 5 or 10 minutes.

Once we discovered the problem, John immediately got on the phone and contacted the on-call Hematologist. I grabbed an icepack and placed it on Niki's ankle while she used her other foot to try and kick my hand (and the icepack) away. What can I say? The girl is a fighter.

Niki was not a happy camper. The good news was the Hematologist said we didn't have to take her to the ER for the bleed. As long as the swelling and warmth didn't spread once she got a dose factor (this would indicate that the factor didn't work and she was still bleeding into the joint), then we could wait until morning to have her evaluated. The bad news was we had to wait for the EMLA (numbing cream) to kick in before we could give her factor.

Although I agree it would have been barbaric and traumatizing to poke Niki without numbing cream, I still wasn't fond of waiting ONE HOUR for the EMLA to kick in before I could administer factor. Sometimes it feels like it was soooo much easier when she had her Broviac. I'll post videos someday, but basically, all we had to do (when she had her Broviac) was screw on/off syringes. Now, we have to put on EMLA one hour before, poke her, screw on/off syringes, and remove the needle while she screams and cries.

I'm wondering what would happen if she had an acute bleed/injury? Will we have to poke her sans EMLA then? I dread the idea of having her hurt in two places at once. I tried a bit of EMLA on my hand once and it didn't do a damn thing to numb me up. So, I'm really starting to believe that EMLA has more of a placebo affect than anything else.

That was the longest hour EVER, but we all made it through. We  thought of different ways to keep her preoccupied while we waited for the EMLA to kick in....

NovoSeven is a Godsend!
Infusion supplies...

We (John, my MIL, SILs, and I) were not allowing Niki to walk AT ALL until further instruction and we iced her ankle like crazy overnight. By morning, the swelling had improved and she seemed to be in much better spirits. Nurse Richard called to let me know that Niki needed to be evaluated and possibly have the ankle splinted so it would stay immobile. Unfortunately, Dr. Awesome didn't have any appointments. I had trouble getting off from work to take Niki to her appointment to see Dr. Sweetheart. Believe it or not, my manager denied my last minute FMLA request! We were very short staffed and even though Dr. Sweetheart is two floors down from me, my manager still couldn't let me go to Niki's appointment.

It made me feel like I should have called in sick instead.

I wanted to be there for Niki and it REALLY SUCKED that I couldn't be. But...I'm the "good insurance" supplier and I have to do everything I can to protect my job. John was just going to have to go to the appointment by himself. It was a factor day so Niki already got her prophy dose of NovoSeven before I left for work. However, I messed up because I should have kept her accessed (with a needle) in case her dose/regimen was going to get bumped up for the bleed. At least I know next time she has a bleed, right?

The good news was Niki didn't need to have her dose bumped up after all. Dr. Sweetheart (her Pediatrician) diagnosed Niki with a really bad hematoma. Niki still had some tenderness in the area, but she was well enough to bear weight on her ankle again. NovoSeven is the bomb I tell you! A friend with FVII-def told me that she didn't have bruising when she had joint bleeds either. So, I'm not 100% convinced that Niki didn't have an ankle bleed. I just so happen to believe that NovoSeven is just awesome like that. ;-)

I guess we'll never know if this was a true joint bleed or not, but I'm just happy that my baby is OK.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Diamond Tiara...

My amniocentesis went well.

It was painful, but relatively quick. The worst part of the procedure, for me, was when the needle was thrust deeper into my uterus. Poking my fatty tissue sucked, but feeling the needle pierce the thickness of my uterine muscle REALLY sucked. The sensation of the doctor aspirating 3 syringes of fluid wasn't much fun either. retrospect, it wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. Or perhaps, my recollection of the pain has been trumped by the fact that I found out Fireball 2's gender just minutes before the procedure. I stole the ultrasound tech's thunder because I announced it out loud before she even had the chance to.

In case you haven't heard, my womb's latest inhabitant is another little GIRL!

John cracked a huge smile when the tech confirmed the baby's gender. Later that night, Boo, was so disappointed with Diamond Tiara's gender that he cried when we told him. (He's over it now.) Kevin, on the other hand, was excited that Niki had a new playmate on the way. My sisters and I discussed via text all the lovely joys and horrors of growing up with a sister. EVERY girl needs a sister to fight and be best friends with. :)  My very good friend "J" jokingly declared that I should name Fireball 2 "Diamond Tiara" when I tweeted the baby's gender. I laughed so hard when I read her tweet that I vowed to refer to Fireball 2 as Diamond Tiara from this day forward. Besides, the nickname "Fireball 2" is too masculine for a little girl anyway. (Sorry, Boo.) Aside from that, her name is going to remain a secret until she is born. (John's idea, not mine.)

We selected Ethan's initials to be E.N.D. because it was supposed to symbolize the "end" of the boys or the end of our lion cubs, period. We've had two little girls join our family since Ethan was born so, he really did did turn out to be the end of the boys. John committed an EPIC FAIL at the appointment. He got so distracted by the length of needle (he said it looked about 6 inches long) that he forgot to take video or pictures of the moment. Ya'll know I'm ALL about documentation so I was royally disappointed.

This will probably be my first and last amnio, and I really wanted to capture it.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the stop codons and our mutations. Now that I know we'll never have mild or moderately affected children IF he/she is affected by FVII-def, I just don't know if it would be wise to keep "rolling the dice." It's definitely do-able to raise multiple children affected by a bleeding disorder, but it's also very challenging. It's challenging not just for John and I as parents, but for the kids as individuals too. Besides, taming four cubs is going to be crazy hectic! I took Kev, Boo, and Niki to their routine check up on 8/9/10 and we took the better part of Dr. Sweetheart's afternoon schedule! Once Diamond Tiara is born, we're probably going to take up Dr. Sweetheart's entire afternoon! Oh, and don't even get me started on Dr. Awesome's schedule if Diamond has a bleeding disorder too.

And....raising four kids is going to be expensive!

Paying for four mouths, four college educations, four cars, and thousands of vials of factor is all going to add up. Aside from that, having two girls, 23 months apart means that John has to pay for a Sweet 16 and Cotillion one month from one another. First, Diamond Tiara's Sweet 16 in January, then Niki's Cotillion in February. Yikes! I think it's wise to start saving now, don't ya think?

I can't wait to really feel what it's like to tame four little lions. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pokey-Pokey Time...

According to the infusion records that we keep for Niki, she received her 18th dose of factor via port on today. That means that John and I have poked Niki a total of 18 times in the chest.

Crazy, huh?

Niki started off responding very well to port access. You may even remember me telling you that she didn't flinch nor cry the very first time I poked her. In my blog entry, I marveled at how well she seemed to be doing for the first couple of pokes. At the time, I naively thought that the only challenge we would have to face was getting her used to being restrained during infusions.

Well my friends, I was wrong.

Slowly, but surely, Niki started to develop needle phobia. I'm convinced that EMLA works in the same capacity as the topical numbing solution the dentist gives you before a shot. Sure, it *helps* with the pain, but being "numb" doesn't necessarily mean you can't feel the poke.

Niki now resorts to all out crying the minute we clean her skin with Chlorhexadine. We play her favorite videos (Barney, Beyonce's "Single Ladies", & Justin Bieber's "Baby") and it just barely helps with her anxiety. We've tried letting her play with her syringes and needles (with the actual needle removed, of course) and it still doesn't help come actual "pokey-pokey" time. We even give her a pep talk when we put the EMLA on. She knows that EMLA means "pokey-pokey" time is near. John and I  try to make to make everything pleasant and soothing for her, but in the end, Niki still pulls back and screams the closer the needle comes to her chest. John and I take turns accessing her port because it's emotionally draining for us.

We just don't like the idea of  hurting our kid, you know?

We're her parents for godsakes -- we shouldn't be invoking fear in her the minute we snap on sterile gloves! Sometimes, this all seems so unfair. She's just a  little girl! She shouldn't have to be going through all of this. We shouldn't have to go through all of this. Even though we've already experienced the worst case scenario with Ethan's passing, I still can't force myself to be OK with poking my daughter in the chest every other day. With time, I'm sure we'll all get used to this.  We've gotten used to everything else, right?

I just wish time would time would hurry up!

I attended a private healing mass by Father Manny Fernandez at Dr. F's (our dentist) house on Friday, 8/6/10. The Mass was spiritually moving for me. I cried. Fr. Manny said a special prayer for Niki and the baby inside of me. And, Dr. F gave me healing oil (the Oil of St. Joseph) as a gift -- Fr. Manny blessed it specifically for our needs. I use this oil every night to anoint Niki and my belly (for the baby). In addition to my nightly prayer, I also say special prayer that accompanies the oil for Niki and the baby.

I'm not perfect, but I DO have a very strong faith in my God. After all, the light of Christ shines brightest during times of darkness, doesn't it?

All I have left is faith.

Blog Post #5 -- Updated!

**Oops! I didn't realize that my post was blank.**

Without further ado, here is the link for my 5th post @ The baby monkey really did make me cry.  And, watching Losing Isiah did it too.

While you're on HemAware's site, please DO check out their articles.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

London Update...

I'm going to have my amniocentesis at 3pm today and I am terrified.

I'm not too keen on the idea of having a very long needle slowly inserted into my abdomen, ya know? I'm also not very fond of knowing that the tip of this needle will be centimeters (millimeters?) away from Fireball 2. I'm EVEN MORE nervous about the small risk of miscarriage following this procedure.

But, it must be done and I'm all "man-ed up" ready to do it.

My super-fab Genetics Counselor "R" called me last week (8/11/10) to share some exciting news. London found BOTH copies of our mutations in Niki. This meant that they could successfully test Fireball 2 for factor VII deficiency once they received DNA samples from the baby's amnio. "R" is super-fab because she was able to get me an appointment for amnio pretty dang quick. Amnio normally has a waiting list, but she pulled some strings and bumped up my appointment.

"R" had some "bad news" to share though....

The mutations John and I have possess something called a "stop codon." I'm not a science geek (that's my big sister's, but R explained to me that a stop codon basically means that our mutations are incomplete. It can somewhat be compared to reading a paragraph and only having the first few sentences. Both of our "paragraphs" aren't complete.

This means that we will ALWAYS have babies that are severely factor VII deficient IF they are going to be affected by the gene. We will never have babies that are mildly or moderately affected by FVII-def because of we both have stop codons. So, our particular mutations don't have enough data for our kids to have even *some* factor in their system.

So, it looks like it's all or nothing when it comes to this bleeding disorder.

Believe it or not, we're okay with that as long as we can be prepared. In a few short weeks, I will know the FVII status of this kid. At this point, I'm hoping for either a carrier (only has one copy of the FVII gene) or a normal. If we're blessed with another baby with special blood, that's okay too.

At least Niki will have someone to share medical supplies with. ;-)

Either way, wish us luck....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blog Post # 4..

It's HemAware Wednesday, ya'll. Please consider this my blog post for the day. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fireball, Teeth, and Church...

July 27, 2010

Tuesday, July 27th, was quite eventful -- I caught a glimpse of Fireball 2, had another appointment with Dr. K, my OB/GYN, Kevie & Boo had a dental appointment, and I attended my sisters/stepmama's 96th anniversary Bible study/celebration for their church.

I started my morning by heading over the San Francisco Kaiser to have Nuchal Translucency test in Perinatology. This particular screening involves a blood test (which I completed a few weeks ago) followed by an ultrasound to measure the width of the baby's nucal fold. The width of the fold combined with the results of the blood test, can determine that baby's likelihood of being affected by chromosomal abnormalities like Down Syndrome or Trisonomy 13. The screening was completely optional based on my age, but I've been a huge fan of being "safe rather than sorry" ever since Ethan passed away. The results of the scan wouldn't change my decision to continue to pregnancy, but I'm totally Type-A and I like being prepared. Besides, ultrasounds are fun. :)

I held my urine for the exam (which I might add is VERY hard to do when you hear running water while brushing your teeth), got stuck in traffic, and fought for parking, but I made it to my appointment and had the opportunity to watch Fireball 2 dance on the screen for 30 glorious minutes. I hadn't eaten breakfast yet, but Fireball 2 was full of energy. He/she wasn't compliant with the exam at all. FB2 kept squirming, twisting, and arching his/her back which made it very difficult for the ultrasound tech to measure his/her nucal fold.

The tech vigorously tapped/shook my uterus with the probe several times in an attempt to get the baby to move, but the little bugger was stubborn. It mildly ticked me off that the tech was tapping my uterus while my friggin bladder was ready to burst, but she had to do what she had to do. However, I felt a little more defensive every time I'd see poor Fireball 2's head/body bouncing and wobbling all over the screen from the taps. I told John about it after the appointment and he reminded me that it's probably worse for Fireball 2 during sex.

Poor little guy/gal.

The good news was the tests and ultrasound came back negative so it was all worth it. (Not that a positive result would change my mind about continuing with this pregnancy.) And, I walked away with some nifty pictures of Fireball 2. Evidently, this kid does not have the de Leon schnozzle. Hooray! After staring at the baby for 30 minutes, I'm starting to think this kid is a girl. And if so....I'm excited! Every girl needs a sister to fight and be best friends with. :)

Fireball 2's non-de Leon schnozzle.

After my appointment in San Francisco, I sped back down to DC to meet with Dr. K. As always, everything was on point with Fireball 2 and we spent the bulk of the appointment just talking. Dr. K's wife passed away shortly before I lost Ethan so we often talk about our similar experiences with grief. During this visit, we came to the consensus that surviving the devastation of grief pretty much means you can survive anything. We also talked about the plan with Genetics and my upcoming amniocentesis. So far, I haven't heard any word on whether or not "London" found the mutations, but I'm hoping to hear back in a few short weeks.

I'm just hoping everything will turn out okay...whatever "okay" is.

Later that afternoon John took Kevie and Boo to the dentist. My brother is the RDA and we've been going to that practice for years now. John had no qualms about taking the kids alone. Dr. F (the dentist) is like family so the boys have zero fear of the dentist's office. Even with their weak little fangs. Boo had been complaining of pain for a few days, but as it turned out, his back molars are coming in. So, his gums were tender because he's -- I guess -- kind of teething? Lol. I'm no dentist so bare with me. Basically, my little Boo-Boo is getting his first pair of adult teeth and it hurts.

And I'm an old hag.

Kevin on the other hand, was a bit of a late bloomer. He still hasn't lost his 2nd tooth so the doctor yanked it out. The KID's adult teeth are growing in mighty crooked, but I have orthodontics coverage so I'm not worried. We had to temporarily put the tooth fairy on the back burner because I misplaced my tooth fairy letter and John didn't have cash to put in his pillow that day. (Parenting fail, yet again.) John told Kev that the tooth fairy was on summer break which -- to Kevin -- meant that the tooth fairy wasn't going to visit until school started again.


John could have just told Kev that it was the tooth fairy's day off or something, but nooooo....he sucks at parental fibbing. There was no way to fix the summer break story once he said it. Omg, we're doing all sorts of "wrong" with this whole tooth fairy thing, aren't we?! On the upside, at least that gives me time to make another letter.

I missed out on the whole tooth fairy/dental appointment fiasco because I was in San Jose for the 96th Anniversary of my sisters/Stepmama's church. I had been meaning to attend one of their Bible studies for a while now, but finding the time to actually make the trip to Vallejo was a little more challenging than I thought. So, when my sister invited me to attend the celebration, I was more than happy to join them. My Stepmama and sisters have graciously attended the kids' religious events in the past, so the least I could do was reciprocate the same amount of open-mindedness and respect.

And, I was not disappointed. :)

It was very enlightening and educational to hear scripture interpreted from a different perspective. I was amazed to see so many people in attendance of the celebration, too. The whole event center at SJSU was filled and I really think it's a true testament to their faith in God and the Church. We (my sisters, stepmama, and I) come from different faiths so I had a lot of respect for what I learned that day. Most importantly of all, I was honored that my sister asked me to attend such a special celebration. It was nice to spend time with my sis, my future BIL, and my Nanay (grandmother). Nanay also attended the celebration and I believe this was the first time we've ever spent alone with her -- well, in a while at least.

I love my Nanay. I can listen to her tell stories for days.

More on her some other time...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rescuing Me...

I didn't have cable when I was growing up.

In fact, cable was a luxury that my family couldn't afford until my late teens. My Freshman year in high school,  I distinctly remember a conversation where my very good friend "L" innocently asked me if I watched Starz.  I was too ashamed to admit that my family was too poor for cable so instead, I tried to pretend that I knew what the hell she was talking about. My ignorant ass thought Starz was a  television show! L didn't correct me when I fibbed and I like to think it was because I actually succeeded at hiding my "dirty" little secret. But if that wasn't the case and she saw right through my little lie, then L, thanks for being such an awesome friend all those years ago. ;-)

It was absolutely embarrassing to NOT have cable, but my Mom was a on a fixed income so I really couldn't complain. Even John made fun of me when he found out I didn't have cable!

However, lacking cable television and channels like MTV early in my high school career was actually a good thing. I barely zoned out in front of the TV. I got my daily dose of Hip Hop/R&B from CMC and then it was back to homework as soon as local horse racing or the Chinese news came on. Oh how I miss the days when I would lazily nap to whatever music video line-up Chuy Gomez or Franzen & Trace chose to play that particular school day. If you were a teen in the mid-to-late 90's in the Bay Area, you should know *exactly* what I'm talking about.

The benefits of "limited channels" doesn't start at my teen-hood though.

Not having cable while growing up allowed me the opportunity to spend my free time exploring the wonderful world of literature. And that my friends, was a definite plus. Aside from nourishing my love for reading, it taught me to cherish television shows that kids my age wouldn't normally appreciate.

In my opinion, network television had the best Saturday morning cartoon line-up, but, as soon as cartoons were over, my sister and I didn't have Nickelodeon to turn to. No, my sister and I tuned in to PBS (channel 9) to watch Julia Child (we referred to her as "the Amish Lady" for some reason), The Frugal Gourmet, or Jacques Pepin cook up a storm. And to feed our creative hunger? My sister and I watched Martha Stewart or Bob Ross if we were lucky enough to flip through the channels at just the right time.

I was a grown-up little kid if you really think about the types of shows I watched. So, NOT having cable was pretty awesome if you ask me.

Limited channels allowed me the opportunity to dabble in things that most kids my age showed little interest in. As it turned out, I wanted to be and do so many things when I grew up. I knew that I wanted to be a mother, but, aside from that, I wanted to be a pastry chef, a master crafter/improviser, a damn-good oil painter, and a famous Harvard-grad journalist.

Actually, most of my goals held true for brief stints in my life -- with the exception of the journalist thing, of course -- because those TV influences really resonated within me.

I used to bake/cook all the time thanks to Julia, Jacques, and good old Jeff Smith. Being a baker/cooker doesn't fit my character now, but that was me for many, many years. I *really* wanted to go to culinary school up until junior year in high school when I discovered that I hated Chemistry. (Cooking is all about chemistry in case you didn't know.) So, I abandoned that dream and decided to keep it as a hobby instead. Believe it or not, I know how to make apple pie from scratch and I've even made creme brulee and caramel cages a la Jacques Pepin. I just haven't done it in a while.

Bob Ross broke my heart when I learned just how expensive yellow ochre and canvas was. So, because I knew that stocking up on oil paints according to Bob Ross' supply list was well out of my budget, I chose to watercolor and draw instead. I purchased (and stole from school -- I was bad, I know) watercolors, brushes, watercolor paper, and Prismacolors. I used to spend hours and hours of my free time drawing or painting. One time, I spent days drawing a replica of the Lion King cover box for no good reason at all. (A premonition of life that lay ahead for perhaps?) And in high school, I opted to take an art class in night school to make up some of my missing elective credits. My instructor was a watercolorer too so she taught me some pretty nifty tricks. By no means was I a budding artist, but there was something soothing about transforming a drab, blank sheet of paper into a world of color.

As for Martha's influence? Well, I've made doll clothes from underwear and to this day I'm still totally DIY when it comes to organizing parties for the cubs, scrapping, and all things artsy-fartsy. John absolutely hates my craft drawer and my affinity for accumulating endless supplies of ribbon, doo-dads, and paper. And, he refuses to buy my long-coveted Wishblade or Cricut until I use up all the --what he calls "crap" -- I have now.  I've always been a bit of a art supply hoarder, but it always ALWAYS comes in handy in a pinch. In fact, my niece used to refer to my early craft supply bag as the "Barney Bag" because I've *probably* been this way (craftily prepared?) for as long as she can remember. You just never know when you're going to need to flat back jewels or grosgrain ribbon on short notice.

And, I owe it all to NOT having cable when I was growing up.

Alas, over the years, my life has gotten way, WAY busier and all of the things that I LOVED to do (with the exception of writing) has slowly fizzled out of my livelihood. Before I couldn't imagine living a serene life without my hobbies and now, I can't figure out how I to find time to do them. I haven't picked up a pastry cutter or rolling pin in years. Instead, I opt to "Go Betty" or support friends by buying from their businesses when I need pastries in a pinch. Don't even get me started on painting or drawing! There is no time for art when you've got cubs roaring in the background all the time. And Martha? Well, I still haven't finished Ethan's scrapbook and I wish it were only because it's too emotionally draining to stare at his pictures. The only time I have time to indulge in crafts is when someone has a birthday coming up. It gives me a guilt-free excuse to drop everything just to...create. I'm still yearning to learn how to sew so I could make Niki's prom dress when she gets older. My grandma totally turned me on to the trade.

For years, I worked seven days a week and had night school 3-4 times a week.

I got SO accustomed to drowning myself in all work and no play. Working hard pacified my need to indulge in my old "limited channel" self,  now that I have nothing to over-work myself with, I feel totally unproductive. Such is life. Even though I know I've got a lot on my plate already, it isn't enough to make me feel like I'm doing something with myself. Especially now that I know school won't be in the picture for a very long time.

So my friends, I NEED some rescuing.

I still don't have time to indulge in all of my long lost loves, but I'm vowing to rendezvous with Julia and Martha once more. I really need to finish Ethan's scrapbook -- not to mention get started on the other cubs' books. And, I getting tired of placing orders on food/treats that I know how to make. Lastly, I'm even on the hunt for a vintage sewing machine so I can get started on learning how to sew for Niki.  I have a little more free time than I did before, so why not?

Rescuing me is going to be a lot of fun.

HemAware Blog Entry # 3...

It's that time of the week again. Check out my post at

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Infamous Clear Heels Post...

Written by me in 2006. An oldie, but goodie. By far one of my all-time favorite posts. Of note, I still need to buy myself some skank shoes.  Yet another "me time" task that I've placed on the back burner. Four years is waaaay too long.

Clear Heels...

Today my coworkers and I were discussing the definition of what makes a woman sexy. I say that sexy is a state of mind, not how people perceive you. Sexy doesn't necessarily mean "slutty".

One woman can feel sexy dressed conservatively while another defines sexy as showing as much skin as possible. Sexy is defined by how you feel inside, not by how you want others to see you. Sexy should be for yourself, not for the world. Sexy does not necessarily equal sex!

After having children, women easily forget what "sexy" is. Ironically, the ultimate expression of a woman's sexuality is the very thing that takes "sexy" away from us. Pregnancy can be a very erotic symbol if you think about it. It just screams, "Look, I had sex!" However, bearing a child and the aftermath of pregnancy can also increase a woman's insecurities.

I'm not only focusing on mothers or wives, but ALL WOMEN. Every woman from time to time loses sight of their sexiness. We obsess about our looks because of print media and television. We feel like we're not sexy because we don't meet our society's definition of "hot". The reality is all women are sexy dammit!!! Every woman can be sexy in their own way. You just have to rediscover yourself and ignore all the bullshit that is put out there.

So the question we were trying to answer is how do you bring "sexy" back? (No Justin Timberlake reference implied.)

I hypothesize that every woman should own one pair of what I like to call "skank shoes". EVERY woman should own a pair of the sluttiest shoes you can legally buy. Go to Broadway (in SF) and buy some clear- heeled stripper shoes if that's what you're in to! Regardless, your mission should be to find one pair of shoes that make you feel confident.

The shoes make the woman.

Shoe fanatics feel me on this! Certain shoes can make you feel a certain way thus wearing sexy shoes will make you feel sexy. Hahaha! You don't have to wear the shoes out, but just break them out when you're feeling particularly low on any given day. Wear 'em around the house while vacuuming or doing the dishes. Wait till the kids are asleep if you don't want to feel silly. Make a pact with your friends and wear them bad boys out in public if you have to. Whatever it takes to bring sexy back in your life.

Either way, I think every woman, especially mothers, should have one pair of skanky shoes to bring "sexy" back into their lives. I guarantee that it will work.

Now, who wants to go shoe shopping with me so we can test my theory? Hahahaha!

Love & Water...

Stumbled on this super old entry that I wrote in early 2007. I love that I save everything I write in Word because it gives me huge insight on my state of mind during that current time period. I was 24 going on 25 when I wrote this so I'm really wondering what was going on in my relationship during that time. I've learned a hell of a lot about love since then. Some of the analogies don't make sense to me now, but nevertheless, I thought I'd share. I'm in a "love" kind of mood anyway. ;-)

Love is an interesting thing. Wait no…love is like water.

Love comes in different variations just like water does. It can be refreshing, poisonous (yes! see: water poisoning), calm, turbulent, clouded, clear, too hot, too cold, and of course, satisfying. Just like water, love can either be scarce or free flowing. You could be suffering from an emotional drought or have an abundance of love to quench your soul's thirst from. Just like water, we also tend take love for granted because we always think it will be around if we need it.

Love is also necessary for survival, just like water is.

Love can be affected by outside elements. If the relationship/love becomes too cold, your heart freezes and stops feeling. In both a sexual and abusive sense, if love is exposed to too much heat, it will turn into vapor and fade away. This is when love can become toxic. Relationships based on lust can be addictive, but deadly if the emotional connection isn't there. Someone is bound to get hurt eventually. Love is poisonous when abuse is involved.

Love's mood can be compared to the ocean - it can be turbulent during stormy weather or calm on a nice sunny day. Lovers can be "fair-weather friends" too. When the rain is pouring, some people duck and hide while others relish in the sheer experience of the moment.

The level of mutual understanding and acceptance involved in a romantic relationship can be compared to lakes. The clarity of your lake could be crystal clear or dark and murky depending on your level of communication with each other. Honesty and integrity have a lot to do with how opaque or translucent your lake will be.

On the flip side, love can be the most refreshing and invigorating feeling once you allow it to enter your soul. Just like water, love quenches your thirst. True, clear love is pure because communication is the key to clarity. Good love is balanced in temperature - never too cold and the heat is just right! Real love is calm with a few storms here and there.

Love makes you really live!

Love is SO much like water that I've come the conclusion that there is no such thing as someone who does NOT need love. It is not humanly possible to live life without ever loving someone. Even the most solitary people need to realize this fact. If someone cares about you, perhaps you should open your eyes to what that means. Look past the glass that the water comes in. You can't live without water so why think that you can live without love? You will never feel satisfied or quench your soul's thirst by just taking sips every once in a while (booty-calls and the latter). You're dehydrated and you don't even know it. Love isn't perfect, but you need it to truly live life.

Embrace it and drink up. Keep yourself hydrated.