Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Discourse Dermatological

P.S.-First I must note that I do NOT like the Twilight series better than the Harry Potter series. In my mind, very few books compare to those genius works of fiction.

ATTENTION: If you don't like to read about zits and cherry angiomas, skip this post. If you don't care about zit-talk and want to know what a cherry angioma is, read on.

Alright. So today I went to a dermatologist. Not to have botulism injected into my 25-year-old crow's feet (oh, please...) or have collagen squirted into my lips, but because my skin has been VERY unhappy since about September 2005--which I remember that clearly only because I had Jaxon the month before. In fact, I fully expected the benefit of beautiful glowy skin that is usually mine to enjoy in pregnancy when I found out Savvy would be coming along (September 2006). Lo and behold, my skin actually got worse. Now, I KNOW that my skin is not THAT bad. But when it is bad, it usually responds to the various things I do to help it. However, it has maintained a stubborn unhappy stance for the last three years, no matter what, and I figured it was time to go see what a dermatologist would tell me. Plus my insurance covers it to a limited extent.

Well, after giving me a sample face wash and moisturizer, and some little prescription ointments for really bad areas, he inspected a couple of moles, expounded on the various causes of a pimple (I had no idea there were so many ways to get one of those pesky things), and handed me a mirror so I could show him something on my face that was concerning me. (Turns out it was an extremely tiny cherry angioma, completely harmless but I'll spare you an extended dialogue and you can just click on the link if you're curious) Well, when you are at a dermatologist's office not wearing makeup, sitting under headache-bright flourescent lights--why? Why would they use that horrible light in a dermatologist office where you go to feel better about your skin?!--talking about the various skin problems you're having, being handed a mirror isn't so pleasant. I about fell over. It was like the cartoons where they put a magnifying glass up to a seemingly normal person's face and you see green warts with hairs growing from them and mountainous red spots and little bacteria setting up lemonade stands. Okay, my skin wasn't THAT scary, but I was unpleasantly surprised and quickly handed back the mirror, which made the doctor and his assistant laugh. (Oh, shut up. Just because you have doctor-of-dermatology skin.) So I hope what they gave me will work and I can quit feeling like nothing I'm doing is working.

And what have I been doing? Oh, several things. I drink more water, I try to eat less yeast-ee things, I try to eat less sugar, I eat yogurt which has helpful bacteria in it, I don't touch my face a lot, I wash with an oil-free non-comedogenic cleanser, I change my pillowcase often, I keep my hair out of my face when I can even though I feel like it weighs three pounds, I drink loads of water, I run away from antibiotics and hormones, and I exercise. So you would think that all those things combined would help. Usually three of them together do the trick. But not so in the last three years, which explains my considerable frustration. I guess. Oh, and with regard to pictures of myself posted on this blog, note that while I don't have such great skin, I do have Photoshop. I use it. So....don't think I'm being crazy and making a mountain out of a mole hill. (Hee hee...mole hill.) Maybe if I get extra brave I'll post a picture of my skin AS IS! Or maybe I never will. Yeah, that's more likely.

While I was in the office, something occurred to me. Do dermatologists become dermatologists because they have great skin and want to help others have great skin? Or are more dermatologists formerly acne-plagued and want to help others have great skin?

And the last little tidbit from my surprisingly thought-provoking appointment. While I waited for my appointment, reading posters like "Ask about Botox. It's all about freedom of expression!" and "Juvederm. Parentheses have a place, but not on your face!" a woman walked out of a room looking, oh, "well-rested" and smooth. :) On her way out of the waiting room, she glanced over at another woman (whose face I couldn't see) and nearly shouted, "OH...MY....GOSH!! I HARDLY RECOGNIZED YOU! YOU LOOK SO GOOD!!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

And finally, a Twilight post....

WARNING: This post is LONG....

When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published, I wasn't underground--I heard all the hype, I read all the reviews, I listened to almost every person within two hundred miles of me raving about this great new book they'd just read. Did I run to the store and grab a copy for myself? No. Not at all. I stubbornly refused to do what everyone else was doing. I didn't want to be standing in line, feverish, when the next one came out, hearing conversations like, "I love Harry, oh, I love him so much, blah blah blah blah blah...."

Why? I guess I'm a book snob. But not in the way it sounds. I suppose that I'm rather selfish about my books--yes. That's it. I want to read it on my own time, after my own deliberation over whether it's even worth my time or not, and then come up with my own opinions about it, without having to mix with others' opinions yet. And it's not just the selfish thing--there's a part of me that resists being that googly-eyed-fan-of-celebrity. I am not one to fall over myself over a celebrity, at least I don't want to be, but maybe it's that secretly I AM a rabid fan! Because once I finally bought the first Harry Potter book, (some time after the fourth one was published) I, too, tensely waited for the next, all the way up to the seventh and (sob) final, when instead of choosing to quietly order it online, rather than stand in line and smile as big as I knew I would be smiling as the cashier picked up that volume of golden words and beeped it across and into my shaky hands, I went to the store. Granted, I didn't wait until midnight the night before. I might do that with Reed when he gets older and The Next Great Work comes along. But I went the same day it came to stores, around dinnertime, and without any other rabid fans watching me, I smilingly picked up my own copy from the gargantuan stacks right at the entrance, read the first sentence in the middle of the store and then clapped it shut. (And just to keep myself grounded, I moved on to the grocery section and bought some milk and eggs.)

So when I hear a book mentioned over and over for a year or more....well, it's then that I decide maybe I would like to amble over to the store and check out a copy for myself. After the fervor has died down. (As for why I don't want to share in the resounding cheer around the world when The Next One comes out, search me. I think I'm just silly.)

Anyway: After hearing soooo much about the Twilight series, I was more than intrigued. It wasn't so much the subject matter of the book that kept piquing my interest. It was the wide variety of opinions:

"I hated it. I thought it was the stupidest book I'd picked up for a long time and set it down after the first page."

"It's life-altering! Mind-blowing. Better than Harry. My favorite books of all time!"

"Well, I didn't like them. But I couldn't stop reading them."

"I liked them, only I didn't like Bella."

"Why is a Mormon writing about vampires?"

"They didn't get anything right. Vampires are not like that at all."

"Why do I like a teenage-lit book so much? I'm the mom of three little children!"

"Why did she write a teenage-lit book? She's the mom of three little children!"

And so on, forever and ever amen.....and it wasn't just the varied opinions that intrigued me, it was that everyone who had read the books wanted to know if you had read them, your reasons for liking or hating them; they wanted to share.

So. I finally caved. I borrowed Twilight from a friend. At first, I wasn't that interested. I kept reading, though, and eventually found that I liked this take on vampires, and liked this take on--what should I call it--teenage science fiction, which is something I rarely venture to read. And actually, I found myself thinking through a range of emotions as Bella experienced a range of emotions. I enjoyed throwing myself into a totally illogical and rather unhealthy romance. (Because sometimes it's just fun.) Then I quietly chastised Bella, thinking, "You dumb girl! Why don't you just move away and live like a normal girl and complete your years as a healthy, well-adjusted, typical human being? Isn't your feeling for Edward nothing but infatuation, anyway? This won't last. What more do you have with him?" Then of course there were times that I completely gave in to the corniest side of myself and shouted internally, "Go ahead! This isn't very smart of you, but he's really sweet and good and great and I'm 17 too! There's not really much real substance to why you love each other, but go for it!"

And with New Moon, I found that my opinions were no less complex. I found myself thinking that she was ridiculous not to just leave Edward as is and stay with Jacob and be safe. Which is hilarious, because how is Jacob any safer than Edward?
(That darn sweet Jacob. Complicates everything.) Obviously this girl has a problem forming healthy, functional relationships. If you were to deconstruct it all to its barest frame, I guess you could say that normal life--safe life, safe & healthy relationships, or even not-so-happy boring relationships--are too boring for Bella. So she delves into non-human pursuits to make up for it. And we delve into the very human pursuit of reading, of letting our imaginations take us away from our so-called "normal" life. (Because sometimes it's just fun.)

I am practically salivating after reading the last word of the last page of New Moon, because I don't yet have Eclipse waiting on the table next to it. I will probably make a quiet, slow trip to the store to pick up a copy. And you can bet I will be online on Friday, (again quietly) making my purchase of The Next One, Breaking Dawn, without the self-conscious embarrassment of people in line with me, also smiling and handing over our treasures to the cashier, watching it with hungry eyes until we have them in our shaky hands again.

Think it's very obvious that I'm rather fond of this happily escapist series?

Go ahead, bloggers across the world. You who love the series, unite and blow me away with a resounding "TOLD YOU SO!!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Why, oh why, didn't I take a photo? (This ugly question sometimes even invades my dreams.) A few days ago, I was sitting right here at the computer, doing something I probably thought was important but wasn't, and I realized that it was very quiet in the boys' room. Since silence is more ominous than outright screams, I called, "Reed, what's going on?" Reed comes down the hallway behind Jaxon, hands on Jaxon's shoulders, saying, "Tell her Jackee. Or I will." (Ah, brothers.) So Jaxon says with not a care in the world, "No!" and runs to sit on the couch. Reed comes up to me in the posture of someone about to deliver some very bad news and says with great piety, "Mom, Jaxon colored with permanent marker on the walls. And the door. And the dresser." So I calmly walk back to their room to inspect the damage, and nearly fall over laughing.

On the light switch are two arrows, one on top (pointing up) and one on bottom (pointing down). Below that is a smiley face, and below the light switch, an up-arrow indicating where the light switch is, should you forget. To the left of the light switch was drawn a sword. So I said, "Reed. Jaxon can't draw arrows. Or a sword. Or smiley faces." And Reed says with clear desperation, "He learned! He just learned!" but when I ask, "Oh? Who taught him?" Reed is silent and morose. Then I walk over to the dresser and see that a lovely wheel has been drawn on the top. And on the door of the guest room, what appears to be a happy face with mean eyebrows, with a circle around and slash through it. That happens to be the time-out room. So at first I thought, "Oh. No happiness allowed?" and was trying to keep it together! I hid my face behind my hair as I grinned away, and when I gained some control was able to get a reluctant confession out of Reed. Phill learned later that the sign on the door of the guest room actually meant "No Girls Allowed." And although it was on the walls for a week, because I had no Mr.Clean erasers, I did not take pictures!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sleep & Quotables

I have gotten out of bed before 7:00 or 7:30 since Monday morning, up to today. (Gasps all around, expressions of disbelief, now the applause....)

It was Phill's idea that we get up together when he gets up for work, and have some quiet time together before the kids. And although the kids have accordingly adjusted their wake-up times--I think Jaxon wants to be Phill when he grows up--I can really see the benefits of waking up early and finding something to do right away. My productivity level has skyrocketed! Sort of. I admit I've also been very, very tired, and certain things have fallen by the wayside some days.

Phill has been so sweet to me, being very calm and saying very soothing things in response to the melodramatic statements I tend to make upon waking up and having to move my muscles before I want to. ("I think I'm going to vomit all over the sheets..." - Phill: "I know, sweetie, just start moving." - "It just feels like the world is coming to an end...." Phill: "Yes, sweetie, it's not." - "It hurts to move! I'm going to die, I'm sure I'm going to die!"Phill: "You're so much prettier than me when you wake up." - "I will never feel happy every again!" - "You will once we get moving and have some breakfast. It's okay.")

Waking up cheerfully and smoothly seems to be one of my major difficulties. But I'm learning to just be quiet right when I wake up, or to just let myself cry for a minute (I'm laughing at myself. Go ahead, you keep laughing too.), or remember that I only feel dead for the first half-hour or so. I believe it's called sleep inertia? As much as I'm laughing at myself now, I'm telling you, it is no laughing matter as I wake up! It's painful. I'm nauseated, shaking badly, and feel for an extended period of time (at least ten minutes) like I feel when I am falling asleep and abruptly jerking awake. And my body doesn't move like it should. When I go to get Savvy out of her crib if she wakes up at night, I often bump into things (okay, walls) because I'm so clumsy right out of bed. So! This is quite the triumph for me.

And now for some cute quotables:

Lily and her mom and sister visited us for a few days this week! Reed had some cute conversations with her, one of which sounded like this:
R: We could get you a pony. We would just keep it in the backyard. Would you like that?
L: Yeah!
R: Sometimes it would need to poop. We would just let it poop in the backyard. Mom, is that okay if her pony poops in the backyard? (He asked me in all seriousness.)
Sometimes we'll just turn on the hose if he gets thirsty. Right, Mom? Lily's pony can just drink from the hose?

A few days ago Jaxon said with great concern, "There's a cheek on me. Can you kiss it?"

Last night the sun was behind a huge rain cloud and lining it with gold, and shafts of light were coming down through the cloud and around it. Reed looked up and shouted to me, "Mom!! That looks just like when Heavenly Father came down to the Nephites!!"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Spiderly Musings

From The Bug Book (1981 Childcraft Annual), which Reed asked me to read to him this morning:

Water spiders: "When two...water spiders mate, the male spider builds a smaller house close to the female's house. He connects the two houses with a tunnel of silk. The eggs are laid in the female's house and the babies hatch there." (p.269)

Jumping spiders: "If you could jump as well as a jumping spider, you'd be able to leap more than two hundred feet...These spiders also have marvelous eyesight. They can see their prey a foot or more away. And they can judge the distance perfectly. " (p.271)

Flying spiders: "Soon after a spiderling breaks out of its egg sac, it climbs up a tall grass stem or to the top of a bush. Then, facing into the warm spring breeze, it lets out its silken threads. The breeze catches the strands of thread and pulls the spiderling into the air!...The bits of thread are like a balloon, which is why this strange sight is called ballooning. How far will the spiderling fly? If the breeze dies, the spiderling may go only a short distance. But it can take off again. By increasing the length of the threads, a spider can go higher. And by shortening the threads, it can come down. Spiders have come down on ships as far as two hundred miles from land! And they have been found at a height of ten thousand feet! Why do spiderlings journey through the air? This is nature's way of helping them survive. Hundreds of baby spiderlings come out of every egg sack. If they stayed where they hatched, there wouldn't be enough food for all. By soaring off into the sky, each spiderling has a chance to come down in a place where there are no other spiders." (p.273)

Now Reed has brought his blankets and pillows out. He has one blanket bundled up in a loose round shape. He placed this behind his pillow and laid gently by it. Jax stepped down nearby and Reed said, "Don't! You don't want to smash the spiderlings in their egg sack, do you?"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Self-help poetry

A little silly perhaps, but I needed the boost today!

A blog can wait,
but babies can't.
It does me no good
to rave and rant.

If I work out
before four o'clock,
I'll remember getting strong
really does rock.

When it's time to choose
between work or play,
a little of both
makes a balanced day

And last of all,
when shortcomings are many,
enjoy your successes
and see blessings a-plenty.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Before you enjoy (I hope) the photo-packed post below, a quick question:

I'm going to be adding a blogroll and/or updated blog list to my page. I know some of you have private blogs, and so adding yours won't give unwanted viewers access. But any of you who do not want me to add your blog to my list, speak up, please? I'm not going to be ruthless, there's no "speak now or forever hold your peace!" But I'd like to know if any of you are not comfortable with that, according to the unspoken rules of Blogiquette, which should have its own post. Email me or post a comment. Maybe this itself is horribly rude in the world of Blogiquette! Ah, quel horreur! I've not a clue.

Photos from the 4th

I'm not going to sit and write much, because I'm cleaning and I should keep cleaning, but a tiny bit of background: we had our radio friends over (Phill does the breaks--as radio personality "Sergeant Phill"--on weekends for Sunny 106.1 down here!) and they have a tradition of packing a little toy car full of fireworks each Fourth of July. And then, yes, lighting it. We thoroughly--and safely--enjoyed sharing in the tradition.

Our day was rather testosterone-infused, though, and I'm afraid I feel like going completely estrogenward in response. Spa day, anyone? A little Steel Magnolias and huge bowls of ice cream, followed by a giggly sleepover and makeovers? We decided to do our own "show", rather than go downtown and be unbelievably close to the city's show. (Unbelievably close like ash falling on you, hair catching on fire, least that's what everyone said it was like in the Sun Bowl. And sometimes fireworks shows have sounds that are particularly jarring to Phill. So we decided a show controlled by ourselves would be easier.) It was a blast! Play on words fully intended. :)

Aerosmith was playing in the background, would you believe it?

(Approaching it with much trepidation after the first lighting provided nothing more than a bit of smoke and sparks.)
And then it worked. Oh boy, did it work.....

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Roseola! (Oddly pretty name for something rather annoying)

On Sunday Savanna had a fever of 102.3. We couldn't see or think of any reason for it, just probably teething, we thought. So we gave her a lukewarm bath and some baby Motrin. She was lethargic and sad and exhausted. She took two naps and went to bed an hour early, sleeping solidly through the night for 14 hours.

The next day she was a little hot still, but not as lethargic. Instead, she was irritable and sleepy. So we just tried to keep her fever down, but we still couldn't see that there was anything wrong--as in
, any obvious reason for the fever.

On Tuesday she was less sleepy, but still irritable, and that night, she woke up twice, and the second time, stayed awake for over two hours--starting at 3:00a.m. She refused milk, she didn't want to be held, and she was uncomfortable in any position. She finally fell asleep at 6:30a.m., and woke up at 9:00a.m.

At that point (yesterday morning) I noticed that she had little red uneven blotches o
n her stomach. Then I realized that they were actually all over her stomach and chest, and although they were spread out, they were unmistakably there. I called Abby, who googled chicken pox and other things for me, but we didn't find anything remotely resembling her rash. I called a neighbor for the number of a nurse in the ward, not in a panic, but just wondering if the nurse would be able to shed some light on this, maybe come over and have a quick look. I had to leave a message.

Then, yesterday eve
ning, my neighbor (who is rapidly becoming a great friend here!) called and said, "ROSEOLA! My daughter had it when she was the same age, and it's really common in their first and second year. They start out with a huge fever, which is the most dangerous thing about it, and if you keep the fever down, you're going to be fine. The rash doesn't itch or burn, but they're probably going to be generally unhappy." !!! So I google "roseola" and find numerous photos of sweet little babies' tummies with the same exact rash on them, most of the photos from blogs.

And then
a very helpful article about it, which made me laugh when I read it, because she fits the symptoms to a T--down to her poor puffy little eyes. I was really glad to learn that what she had was nothing to be worried about, something that will just run its course and cause her mostly minimal discomfort (at least after the first couple of days)!

Last night she was so tired and so uncomfortable that we called over my friend's husband to give Savvy a blessing. She fell asleep ten minutes later, slept 'til 11:00p.m., stayed up talking and smiling at us for an hour and thirty minutes, and then fell asleep and stayed asleep (thank you!!) until 8:00 this morning. And it seems that if a baby is going to get a rash, this is the best rash to get. It's hardly contagious after the rash has appeared, and according to the article, most kids show hardly a sign of the uncomfortable symptoms except the fever!

So, in thanks to all bloggers who posted photos of their little babies' roseola rashes and helped me figure out what was going on, I am posting these of Savanna for all bloggers/clueless moms/young medical students googling roseola/anyone googling roseola'S benefit! :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Grocery luck

Bread at Lin's was 2 loaves for $4.00 today! My favorite bread. Which is usually anywhere from $2.79 to $2.99 these days.

We have some people in our ward who own chickens and have a huge garden. They have so many chickens (around 10, maybe?) that they sell the extra that
they can't use for really small prices. Like free, if you don't happen to have a dollar on you at the time. :) The dad in the family is an amazing ceramics artist, and his beautiful work is everywhere at their house, which is decorated in a way that I love! In their backyard is a nice, big, green lawn, and then his pottery studio, and then the chicken coop and garden. They have a huge variety of chickens, even the crazy almost-zebra-patterned ones! And their garden is just full and beautiful. I'd love to live like that, although I might be way too lazy to do the upkeep.

Anyway, I got some eggs from them today, and was really amazed to see that a couple of the eggs were pale green! I knew about the brown ones, and the speckled ones are pretty great, but pale green?! How cool is that?! She (the mom, that is) said that the eggs really do taste better than store-bought ones, so I'm eager to test them. They also brought by a huge zucchini and some summer squash, for which I've looked up about five recipes to try! Zucchini bread, of course, and zucchini brownies (which are a million times better than they sound), and a casserole involving squash (not always my favorite), cheese (always a favorite) and bread crumbs (so it must be good).

Carrot blow-darts

Because we are at the end of our groceries and I haven't yet been shopping today, the boys had carrots for breakfast. (My awesome neighbor gave us some canned fruit last night, but with my slow morning brain cells, I forgot about that So there are carrots everywhere, and Savvy is perfectly happy with one in each fist.
So--last night I accidentally broke the towel rod in the bathroom. And my darling Reed just came up to me and said, "Mom, I can't get the carrot out." With the towel rod held out to me. Yes, there was a carrot stuck in the towel rod. I tried to push it out with a pencil, but it was too far. Finally I gave up and blew on the end. And wouldn't you know, the carrot shot out and flew twelve feet before smacking the wall and rolling away. :)

I have a feeling they'll remember this when they're ten or so and into creative weaponry. Who knew carrots could be so deadly?