Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So, how's the clutter thing coming along?

Okay, I have to keep myself accountable.

On Monday, I decluttered my craft table.

On Tuesday, I decluttered my kitchen counter and more of my craft room.

Today, I decluttered the kids toy room enough to vacuum the mat so that Kim and I can workout together. It is far from done, but one can actually tell that it has a workout purpose. Very exciting.

On the docket: getting clothes out of Max's room that do not fit; decluttering where I keep my bills (and maybe paying some, too!); decluttering my brain by getting report cards done...

Monday, December 28, 2009

365 Days of Decluttering Challenge

This is a very cool idea. I accept the challenge!

Today, December 28, 2009, I shall begin to declutter. One thing each day... physical or mental clutter.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

I went to Mass at 10 PM last night. Max was still awake when I got home, but not because Scott wasn't trying. He finally went to sleep soon after, as did I. I awoke to the wind at 2 AM... thank goodness!

The house awakened at about 7:30 AM. That's when these photos were taken. The big gifts were, for Max, Elefun, and for Ignatius, Super Mario Brothers for Wii. There were other gifts, but these, by far, were the highlights. Scott has been longing for a Presto Burger, the burger machine of his youth, for a few years. It was that you could only find them on eBay or somewhere similar. Now, Presto has re-released them (in an updated version).

Santa brought me some money which will be used on a new phone, since mine will not charge. Woo hoo! IPhone with video, here I come...

Merry Christmas to all! Hope Santa was good to you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eclipse Counter

Yes, it's true. I'm a Twilight junkie. Just to prove that, look to your left on our blog home page and you will see a countdown for Eclipse, which is a little more than half a year away from release. Yep... running from reality yet again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yeah, but...

Every now and then, as the parent of a student with an IEP, I receive a progress report that shows Max's goals and how he is doing with them. A little report card.

One would think, being the data queen that I am, that this information would make me happy. And logically, it should. However, it is also a stark smack in the face with the reality stick. He is functioning at the 36 month level. He is 56 months old.

Now, I KNOW he has had the same span of deficit since we started intervention. And I also know that, without intervention, he would have had, perhaps, a larger gap. But it doesn't make it any easier to look at. As I looked through Ignatius' childhood records, he was always above where he needed to be... no worries, except how to challenge him. I know... apples and oranges...

So, it is still somewhat of a mystery to me as to whether or not Kindergarten will happen next fall. His teacher seemed to think it was in the realm of possibility. But he will probably be a year behind academically/socially... so how do you know?

Deep thoughts... back to grading for me!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Goodbye, Internet Explorer!

Been a PC/Windows fan for as long as I have had a PC. Tried Macs and actually have an iPhone, but the platform just doesn't feel like home. Moving on up to Windows 7 here in a few days. Alas, Mr. Gates, I am dumping Internet Explorer. I poo-pooed people who told me to venture to different browsers... thougts of AOL buried deep in my psyche. But when a simple Image Uploader was blocked for no reason the other day, I realized that I was in a bad relationship. IE8 and I needed to part ways. Locking up, shutting down, taking forever to load... I blamed it all on my poor little laptop. Well, no longer. I am now with Firefox by Mozilla. I am pretty crazy happy with it, particularly the spell check setting that will give me suggestions not matter where I am (blog commenting and the like). The install was easy, transferred my bookmarks, favorites, home tabs, etc. No crazy toolbars every 5 seconds. And it's free. Yes, I will still be a Windows user... PC all the way, baby. Just not Internet Explorer. Sigh.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Faking out my stomach, Installment #1

Rather than denying my body what it craves, I am trying to find ways to fake it out. When I find successful ways, I'll post them here.

Installment #1: Yes, it is apple cobbler.

Cut an apple into 8ths (use your typical apple cutter).
Wrap it in aluminum foil with the pieces together, leaving a cylinder in the middle where the core was.
In the center, place a few Craisins, a Tbsp of Splenda brown sugar, a sprinkling of cinnamon. Sprinkle oatmeal on top.
Bake for about 20 minutes... 350 works well.
Take out carefully. Sprinkle with Splenda sugar (not the brown sugar).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weight Watchers

The journey begins again! A few weeks back, I had some bloodwork done. Why? Well, I had gained a lot of weight in a little time period (without the womanly assistance of being pregnant), I was depressed (clinically, not just feeling sad), and I was fatigued to the point that getting out of bed was a Herculean activity. I went to see my doctor, fearing a "chronic fatigue syndrome" type of discussion. After bloodwork, I learned that my cholesterol is way out of whack, as are my triglycerides. The doctor prescribed medication, stating that just diet and exercise don't typically lower cholesterol when it is over 100 points higher than recommended.

It's good to know at this point that I HATE taking pills. I have a sucky gag reflex, and even the smallest pill is a chore, as opposed to my husband, who can swallow a mouthful of vitamins without water. The prospect of having to take a pill every day was, apparently, enough for me to take a GOOD, HARD look at what I was (and wasn't) eating, and what I was (and wasn't) doing. So, two weeks ago, I joined Weight Watchers Online... again.

Weight Watchers is a system I have used three times prior to this. It really does make sense, and when you do what you are supposed to do, you really do lose weight. It is the most realistic system I have used to manage my weight. Some may say, "Yeah, but look how many times you have started and stopped..." Well, there are some solid reasons about me that have very little to do with Weight Watchers that need to be taken in to account. So, I will not badmouth the program.

I have motivation issues as far as weight loss is concerned. I know what it takes. I have done it many times in my 40 years o' life, even when I clearly didn't need to be worrying about my weight... like when I was 12 for goodness sake. I typically see results, and then I slip. What is key with any program is that one needs to embrace a long journey, and it needs to be about behavior management/changes. Weight Watchers allows me to eat like a real human, as everything has a point value, even if it is 15 points a serving (BTW, that's a really high point value for those that may not know). It also accounts for days when you will eat more points than allotted (35 points a week are there for flexing), and it rewards activity efforts (activity points can be earned and used as flex points as well). WW has also recently started its Momentum program, which allows you to see and choose foods that may be more filling. That's where I liked Jenny Craig's program and the idea of Volumetrics... if you are eating a lot at a sitting, your body can convince your mind and stomach that you do not need to eat a lot of garbage. Anyway, the Momentum program relies on this principle as well.

I started taking a multivitamin with some trepidation. They have a tendency to upset my stomach. Without a whole lot of overthinking, I found One-A-Day Women's Active Mind and Body... and the difference was almost instantaneous. I have energy. The fatigue and lethargy is practically gone. I haven't taken my antidepressants in almost two weeks, and I have had NO physical setbacks from that at all. I attribute this in a large part to this vitamin. Yes, it has caffeine, but it's also loaded with B vitamins, as well as other vitamins. I will gladly take something like this every day, despite the gagging that may ensue.

I have also been trying to incorporate exercise into my week. I would be lying if I said I work out every day. However, I have been trying to not let two days go by without some type of formal exercise. I have taken to very much liking Zumba. It's a great time, and is based mainly on dancing... but you don't have to be a "dancer." You just go with the intention of having fun. It's typically a great cardio workout, and a good time to boot. I also try to incorporate some muscle-building in my week, as it can't be all about cardio. I mix in some Slim in 6 when I want to work out at home. When I am in a little better shape, I would like to incorporate P90X again, because I LOVED that workout for strength building. You cannot jump in to that program lightly, however, and I do not want to fatigue myself the way I did last spring when I tried following it to a T.

So there you have it! Counting points, trying to balance my week, and having energy that I did not have before. That's my story. In January, I have my bloodwork again. If changing all of this does not lower my cholesterol, then I will take the meds. Until then, let's try the old-fashioned way...

Friday, November 20, 2009

DC Concert: Rock on!

Previous David Cook blog postings: David Cook, Eating Crow, Obsessive escape from reality, On this blog (I actually tagged these!)

And now, the latest...
Last night, I went to the Peoria Civic Center with Karen to celebrate my birthday. We began with a delightful Ruby Tuesday dinner. Then, with two ISU students in tow, we traveled to Peoria.
Upon arrival, Karen found out what a rip-off Ticketmaster truly is. Lesson learned: do not pay for a preferred parking pass, as it was $5 more than it would have been had we just paid there. Mmm hmmm.

When we entered the Civic Center, we immediately saw the "Concert Memorabilia" area. I got a David Cook concert shirt (thanks, Jessie and Karen!), and we kept seeing this stuff for a band called The Script. We even texted them to see if we could win a chance to meet them after the show. We had NO idea who they were. They had some cute concert shirts, however, and Karen was tempted to just buy an adorable hoodie, none the less.

As we entered the concert area, we noted that there really was no bad seat in the house. It was much smaller than I thought it would be, which was a huge advantage. We were in aisle U, but we were DEAD center... terrific view.

A band called Green River Ordinance was playing, which completely confused us. Was The Script the name of their album or something? They were pretty good, and they seemed to have a little groupie following there. After the show, the band was outside selling their CDs, which I, for one, thought was pretty cool... I bought 2 CDs just because I was impressed with their work ethic. :)

We got all pumped up thinking they were the opening act, and the crowd was getting ready for David... or so we thought. Out comes The Script. {Insert confused faces here} Well, holy crap. It was The Little Band from Ireland That Could! They rocked, and we all ended up being groupies. Another CD and Tour Booklet purchased. Karen is busy deciding how to incorporate a song or two into her Zumba repertoire. Can't wait!

Finally, a bit after 9 (we got there at 7:30), the main act hit the stage. I was euphoric... truly. David put on the show I imagined he would. He opened with Heroes, one of my favs. OK, so I like all of his songs... good point!

He was so real... very down to Earth. He found Peoria's reaction to him worth a few laughs... perhaps he didn't expect a bunch of Midwestern 20-50 somethings to get into his performance this much? Dunno. He also singled out an eight0year-old boy in the audience and climbed over seats and people to talk with him. That definitely was endearing, but who brings an eight year old to a concert on a Thursday night? Or to a concert that will leave his eardrums humming for days? At that point, Karen and I were both thinking, "If only we had brought Max and Maddie... who knows what might have occurred?" Nah, let's get real.
The bad came on for two encores, one being Bar-Ba-Sol (yeah, baby). Can't recall what the last song was, but I know I left with a GREAT feeling. We stopped at the Steak-n-Shake in Morton for a much needed way to cap off the night (I got fries and a Cherry Coke... yeah, my WW points went through the roof!).
In all, a very memorable night! More photos and video on Facebook!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Carving at the Platos

A fun night! Max was so excited. Each of us carved his/her own jack-o-lantern. Pretty cool.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Some photo teasers

More of these photos are uploaded to Facebook, but I thought I would put out some "Blog teasers."

Friday, October 9, 2009

I am puzzled...

In the 20 years of my teaching career, I have seen a trend in student motivation. Students definitely seem to believe that they should be rewarded, regardless of the work they put in. If they lose at a game, they believe they, too, should earn a prize. They believe there should be prizes for getting homework done. Without extrinsic motivators, we have a generation of students who have, quite frankly, little to no motivation. I have tried to believe that they will not be ready for the "real world" with this attitude. Today, I was proven wrong.

The Nobel Foundation awarded its "peace prize" to President Barack Obama. The nominations were filed last September, before he was elected President. The awards were determined in February, two weeks after his inauguration. The foundation awarded him the prize based on "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." When did this occur? What countries did they ask? On what is this based?

From what I can find, the committee is awarding the prize to encourage Obama, and it is not based on what he has done, but for what he wants to do. This boggles my mind. The people who were also up for the award this year included people who were risking their lives for human rights. They HAD walked the walk, not just talked the talk.

There are many things with which the President and I agree. I would love to live in a world free of the threat of nuclear war. I would love if we all just "got along." But we don't. Iran is not going to listen to him. Neither are the Middle Eastern extremists. These are people who are out to cause some serious bloodshed. Being told what to do will only make them more hell bent on pissing people off.

I wish the President luck, but I wish he would have done the right thing and declined this award. It diminishes the meaning of it. Elie Wiesel. Desmond Tutu. MLK. Our President does not (yet) deserve to be in their ranks. He said that, but it's hard to believe that he means it if he didn't let someone more deserving have the award.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Well, I was hemming and hawing this morning about going to church. I wasn't feeling my best, but I have felt worse. So, I decided to go. Here is my series of unfortunate events:

-I decide to sit in a pew where the sun is beaming through the large stained glass window right into my face. The glare didn't bother me, but the additional reason to sweat (besides my usual hormonal reasons) was unwelcome.
-Parents in front of me with two small children. One child, less than a year old, has snot pouring out of his nose. He throws things about the pew, like his Thomas train and dad's cell phone. At no one time do these parents think about taking this child to our rather large vestibule or to the staffed nursery.
-Speaking of cell phones, person next to me has a cell phone that goes off not once, but twice, during Mass.
-Father starts talking about "the Catholic" perspective on health care, all should have health care, which makes me think, a. When did Catholic hospitals start being free? Who knew? and b. Are you going to pull this in to today's readings at all? (Answer: not really)

So, I kind of, sort of, physically attended Mass today.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Coming Around Again

It's time for the Autism Walk again! If you wish to sponsor us through prayer... thanks! If you wish to sponsor us through a donation, even better!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ignatius Starts Seventh Grade

Today, Ignatius hesitantly entered his second year of junior high. He is growing like a weed, currently in size 16 shorts and 18 shirt. He had a great day overall, loves his teacher, and is exhausted.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Perpetual Vows

Here are pics from my sister's Perpetual Vows. More to follow when I am not quite so sleepy.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Plato Family Trip East

Stay tuned to the blog for posts along our journey. Here's a brief itinerary:

Monday, August 3: On the road
Tuesday, August 4: Arrive in Lee, MA
Thursday, August 6: I turn 40. I think it was on Nostradamus' list for Armageddon, so, if there is a next day, we'll still be in Lee.
Monday, August 10: Head to Reading, PA
Tuesday, August 11: Girls' Night with some old friends
Friday, August 14: Head to NJ
Saturday, August 15: AM's Perpetual Vows Ceremony and Reception; start to head west that evening
Sunday, August 16: Home again, home again, jiggedy jig
Monday, August 17.... wait, that's not vacation anymore... it will be avoided until then

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's new in the land of diet and exercise...

Well, here we are three weeks before August. Some lessons I learned:

1. Depression apparently is the enemy of healthy weight.
2. Depression meds are, apparently, part of the enemy forces.
3. Jumping in to a heavy-duty exercise program would have been OK if I wasn't working at the same time. Too much fatigue for both parents.
4. Supplements may or may not be helpful. I have to take them long enough to make a definite conclusion.

So, tomorrow, I will begin a new regimen geared more to the fact that I am almost 40 and fighting some demons that I didn't necessarily fight "back in the day."

EXERCISE: I am using the Slim in 6 program. This program starts off very basic and allows you to move up when you feel you have mastered basic moves. I am not doing the dieting part of Slim in 6, as some of its tenets were recipes for failure for me. For example, it suggests that you do a two day fast before starting the program. Yeah, that will not work. Also, they recommend a slew of supplements. Went that route before, too. I'll just be completing the exercise portion of the workout. Slim in 6 is based on the idea that, in 6 weeks, you'll be slimmer than you are now. Of course, in advertising, they show dramatic results. These are people who, undoubtedly, went whole "hog" with the diet, supplements, meal replacement drinks, etc. I will just be happy to be back in a good place with my motivation.

DIET: I will be using Complete Nutrition's Reveal program. I like the idea that the company notices that older people need different supplements and that different times of the day require different nutrients. I will also be attempting to consume their SMART smoothies. These protein smoothies are supposed to be quite good and high in good protein and (good) cholesterol.

Should be interesting since I start a week of technology training tomorrow. At least my mind will be busy. For day 1, I'll take the makings of a smoothie with me, but if that doesn't work well, I will just eat the regular lunch on Tuesday. I'm trying not to do a lot of huge sacrificing, as that has backfired on me in the past. As I eat, I am just going to try to half the portions I would normally take. That's a huge step! I will, however, try to avoid excess sugar. That was a major portion of my diet, and it was dragging me down. I won't avoid it all together, but I want to be more conscious of how much of it I am eating and drinking.

Speaking of drinking, many programs advise against diet drinks. We'll see how that goes. I do have my occasional diet beverage, so I don't think I'll have to worry too much about that. I will be a LOT more conscious of getting in my water, though.

So, that's all for now. We shall see how this goes. Both programs have gotten really good results, so I look forward to a hybrid approach.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

Even though it was rainy, we still got in some fireworks (Towanda) and some sparklers. It was Max who really pushed us to get in the car and go see what was going on. We were sure that the shows would be postponed. We were wrong! He kept saying, "Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!" as he saw the fireworks while we were driving.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy July!

It is overcast and cool. Crazy. June was hot and humid. Yeah. Global warming.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

LASIK: Two weeks later

In the last two weeks, I have seen Dr. Lockhart three times (not including my surgery). He says my eyes are doing great, and I now have 20/15 vision. What does that mean? Some comparisons:

To have a pilot's license, one must have 20/20 vision. To drive a car without corrective lenses takes 20/40 vision. 20/80 is where you could be considered for special assistance. 20/200, you're legally blind.

My laywoman's explanation: The 20 represents what a "typically"-sighted person should see at 20 meters. The second number represents my visual acuity. The higher the second number, the worse your sight is. So, 20/15 vision means that I could read something at 20 meters that a "typical"-sighted person would need to move 15 meters away from to see. My sight is better than typical. If a person is 20/80, that means that, what a "typical"-sighted person can see at 80 meters, that person would have to move to 20 meters to see.

Basically, my surgery was a huge success. I still have my regimen on drops, but they are now decreasing in frequency. The Refresh drops I use about 2 x an hour, and I am alternating Pred Forte and Decadron every other hour until this weekend, when I can decrease that to every two hours. I am also still placing Zymar in my eyes 4x a day, but that will end soon as well.

Things are not necessarily as crisp as I had thought they would be with my new vision, but I think that's mainly because I have not been resting my eyes a whole lot. Also, I guess I believed that people who could see without lens corrections saw as well as I did with my contacts in. Probably not the case. I can drive, see the TV, shave my legs in the shower, etc. all with my "new eyes." I am very glad I took the plunge.

Summer begins

I have elongated my school year by consciously choosing to participate in and lead various workshops. Why, why, why? Well, because it was all stuff I liked doing. But now, I am really, really tired and I feel like summer will finally begin for me on Friday... close to summer's actual start date.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

JoLynn Plato - IlliniData Trainer

[Today's blog post is designed for people who are participating in Moveable Feast. If you are one of my typical blog readers, read on, but know there are other purposes for today's information.]

Welcome to my latest obsession

As of the last year and a half, I have been enamored with Blogger and Facebook. It was a paradigm shift that allowed me to leave a lot of the typical control of a website's format to someone else and let me deal with my favorite part... the writing. So, when I was asked to write a bio for being a trainer for what we lovingly call "The Feast," I decided not to recreate the wheel. If you really want to know about me, it's out there on my blogs. Take a look at the sidebars, click around.

Professionally speaking

For those who are curious about my background in education, you will really want to read my vitae. If you would like to know about me in a nutshell, here is your fast and furious list:

Born: JoLynn Paul, August 6, 1969 in Reading, PA, the youngest of 8 children

Exported to Illinois: Attended Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL, where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics; married Scott Plato and moved to Springfield in 1992

Moved around Central Illinois: We lived in Springfield, Riverton (adjacent to Springfield), Normal, and Bloomington over the last 17 years

Bragging rights: I am a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) and a continual presenter for topics that excite me

Why a techie?: I earned my Masters Degree in Education in the area of Curriculum, Technology, and Education Reform from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000. Since then, I have been passionate about finding ways to engage and maintain the interests of intermediate through junior high school students through the use of computer technology. I have done a great deal of work particularly with SMART Boards over the past six years.

Why so in love with data?: That's the math side of me. We in education seem to generlaize quite a bit. I support generalizations that are backed by reliable and valid data over time. I also believe that it is needless for anyone to have to sift through papers in hard copy files to find data in the year 2009. We have at our disposal powerful digital databases that can give us what we need in formats that make sense. Because I am a "dataholic," as well as a bit nutty about continuous assessment, I was happy to be asked to present IlliniData for The Feast this summer.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

LASIK: Post-Op Appointment

Drove myself to the doctor this morning... because I CAN SEE! The result: it all looks good. I am 20/30 in my left eye and 20/20 in my right eye. My right eye has some swelling which is why it feels irritated), so I have to increase the Pred Forte to once an hour. Otherwise, I got a clean bill of health. Since I wasn't seeing Dr. Lokhart today, Dr. Halperin wanted me to come back Monday morning to check on my right eye with Dr. L. My appointment was originally scheduled for the 19th.

So, all is well in sight land! Over and out!

LASIK: The Day After

Last night, I went to bed looking much like a human fly. When I woke up this morning, I opened my eyes in bed and could see! The moment I had been waiting for. Most of the fog has lifted (although some of it returned when I added Pred Forte and Zymar). This is worth the money most definitely. I have wasted years in contacts. I'm off to my post-op appointment at 8:45!

Friday, June 5, 2009

LASIK play-by-play (no gore...)

This morning I had to clean my eyes and place some Zymar drops in them. At 10 AM, I reported to the doctor's office. First, they ran a few tests, similar to last week's tests. Then, I waited for a bit with some other pre-op patients.

I was given the rundown by the nurse I learned to lovingly call Nurse Ratchett (they will now be getting her a nametag with that on it). She really was nice... I am programmed for sarcasm. I got a hat and footies and some Valium (I welcomed that!). Then lots and lots and lots of intermittent drops. The nurse cleaned my lid area with betadyne (sp?) also.
Dr. Lockhart took a look at me and marked off some parts of my eyes. After that, we went into the operating room.
They had me lay back and hold on to a bear... another thing for which I was grateful. No, it wasn't Doc Smurf and the Care Bears. I probably would have ripped my hands off at the wrist if the bear wasn't there. Nerves plus the unknown.

Above my head was the laser machine. They patched up one of my eyes. For the other one, they put in lid restraints so I would not blink (think Clockwork Orange). The next part was the only part that was painful, and, compared to childbirth, it was a piece of cake, but uncomfortable. They put a covering over my eye that kind of bulged it up a bit. Then the doctor created the flap and pulled it over. At that point, I was ready for the lasers. Twelve seconds later, they were done. Then the flap was placed back into position. I have to say the right eye (the first one) was not as uncomfortable as the left eye. My left eye is whacky... very blinky, crazy reflexes. However now, hours later, the right one hurts like hell and the left one feels great.

I then sat in the waiting room for a bit (picture a big blue La-Z-Boy recliner with nature music playing in the darkness). Intermittent rewetting drops were placed in my eyes. I saw the good doctor again, and then, clad in cool shades, I was on my way. It was like looking in a fog, and still is to a degree. At first, it was as if I had a covering of Vaseline on my eyes. Now, it is equal to falling asleep in your contacts for a few hours... of wearing them for the first time. I definitely feel the edge. Which leads me to my next act of stupidity.

I watch too much House. I have a Vicodin prescription. I could use it or I can just take Tylenol or Advil. So, all I can think of is House's addiction to Vicodin and that WEIRD season finale. So, I try Motrin. Yeah, right. Are you kidding me? That's like giving someone an aspirin for a broken leg. Sent Scott for the Vicodin... I must now eat a normal dinner (for which I am not hungry) before I take one. However, should you have this procedure, take the damn Vicodin.

I have done Refresh lubricating drops every 15 minutes since the surgery. I have also done Pred Forte four of my six times today and have two more sessions of Zymar drops today.

Now, it is 5:45 and I am wearing "fashionable" safety goggles. Max likes the very area on my face that I cannot touch. So, the doctor's office had some handy dandy safety glasses. Scott says I look like Bono. Cool.
There you have it. I am slowly beginning to see (swelling is subsiding), and it is surreal. I keep having to tell myself that I do not have on contacts or "real" glasses.

Tonight, I have to tape on these protective eye pieces that will make me look like a ginormous fly. I will probably sleep in our recliner since I have to be super careful not to knock my eyes. Then, tomorrow morning, I have a checkup to see how I'm progressing.

So far.... very much worth it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Night Before the Day Of

Tonight's pre-op preparation includes some Zymar drops in my eyes. I need to repeat that tomorrow before the surgery.

My arrival time is 10 AM. I am asked how long it will take, and honestly, I do not know. The actual procedure is very fast, I am told. The prep takes a bit.

So, there's my LASIK update for now.

Friday, May 29, 2009

LASIK Journey: Sight and how much I appreciate it

Today I had my pre-op appointment at Gailey Eye Clinic to see for what, if any, laser vision correction I might qualify. I have never had my pupils dilated before, and I was a little anxious about that part of today as it was uncharted territory.
I was dilated at about 9:30 this morning. They put a drop of the solution in each eye and sat me in a room for a half an hour. It was wild because I was watching the first season of M*A*S*H (which, by the way, was comic genius), and I could see the TV just fine with my glasses on.
"This stuff is not working," I said to myself, "I am supposed to be blind, right?"
Well, after about 15 minutes I attempted to look at my watch. No way was that happening. It was a total blur. And when I took my glasses off, I could see better than when I had them on. Bizarre.
The picture above was one I just took. My pupils are still a little crazy, which is expected, even though most of my vision is back to normal. My peripheral vision is still funked up, but I obviously can focus enough to type this, and, yes, I can read my watch. Scott says I look like I anime.
Now you may look at the photo and think, "You look fine!" However, my pupils have been that big, without changing much, for 12 hours. When someone's pupils don't change with light and such, it's a tad freaky to look at.
The one gift I had today was while I was waiting outside of the clinic for Scott to pick me up. It was a gorgeous day. I could tell because of the warmth of the sun on my arms. There was a lady with a walker going into the office. I could tell by the slow squeak of her wheels as she crossed the street. There was lots of traffic. I could hear the tires on the road's pavement as I stood. I had my eyes closed because it was painful, even with sunglasses on, to be outside with my pupils dilated. Eliminating the vision aspect of me opened up some other senses, particularly hearing, to take a more central place in my perceptions. It was fascinating, and it made me appreciate the vision, though slightly out of focus, that I currently have.
But not enough to cancel the surgery. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


David Cook is one of my favorite singers. The guy has pipes. Ignatius and I pretty much exclusively listen to his album every morning. When the song "Permanent" comes on, Ignatius asks every day how I think David's brother is doing. Well, sadly, David's brother lost his battle to a brain tumor this week. The following video is of David announcing his brother's passing after completing the Run for Hope in DC. Then, lyrics to the song "Permanent." If you ever have a chance to hear the song in its entirety, do.


Is this the moment
where I look you in the eye?
Forgive my
broken promise
that you’ll never see me cry
And everything,
it will surely change
even if I tell you
I won’t go away today
Will you think that you’re all alone
When no one’s there to hold your hand?
And all you know seems so far away
and everything is temporary
rest your head
I’m permanent

I know he’s living in hell
every single day
And so I ask
oh god is there some way
for me to take his place
And when they say
just touch and go
I wish I could make it go away
But still you say

Will you think that you’re all alone
when no one’s there to hold your hand?
When all you know
seems so far away
and everything is temporary,
rest your head
I’m permanent
I’m permanent

Is the moment
where I look you in the eye?
Forgive my promise
that you’ll never see me cry

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

We began the Easter weekend with a day off for everyone... even Dad was home, off and on, on Good Friday. That was nice.

On Saturday, the Easter Bunny was BUSY making impulse buys at Walgreens. We also colored eggs before church. That night, we all attended Easter Vigil Mass at St. Patrick of Merna. Max was fantastic through the 3-hour service. He held a candle and tried hard to follow along in the program. Absolutely no foul words through the entire Mass (for anyone, but especially Max). Perhaps an exorcism? I just love the Easter Vigil, despite it's length.

Party boy Max didn't want to go to sleep when we returned. That meant we went to sleep and Mom needed to wake back up at 2:30 to make sure the Easter Bunny had arrived.

Max went around the house saying, "Happy Easter Bunny!" on Sunday morning. We had our typical pancakes and bacon. Then, at around 1, we had a ham dinner. After that, we all crashed. Now, at about 6:15, Scott and I hear Tony Horton calling us to, "Bring It." My heels finally don't ache, and I think I might be ready after my day o' rest.

Great weather, good times. Enjoy the photos.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ouchie wa wa!

OK, so I am obviously somewhat addicted to the P90X workout. At about 9:30 PM, I was feeling a little unsettled, as we had "skipped" Yoga tonight. Scott was really tired, and I had smashed my pinky toe into a kitchen chair, and it was wicked swollen. Yoga just didn't sound like our gig tonight.

I decided, with some cajoling from Karen, that I should give it a whirl. It's an hour and a half routine, and it kicks behind. I do most of the stretches, a lot with modifications, trying to keep the spirit of the stretch. I need to purchase some yoga bands to help with the lifting of my legs to where they need to go. Otherwise, I really like this particular workout.
Conclusion: When you don't want to do it, just do it. I am not always good about pushing myself.
I am glad I completed it, and am now thinking of running some bath water. The toe survived.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My legs finally stopped aching

Whew. I have let myself get out of shape, and this week, I have paid the price. The P90X workout has kicked my legs to a level they have not gone in a while. Cool. Heh heh.

I literally was grasping the railing at school while I went up and down the steps. Lots of quad work. Sprinkled in there was some yoga, which I think was a great thing for my legs at the time.

I am just having trouble getting in all the food I need to get in. Lots of protein. Lots of veggies. The protein is not a hard thing, but the veggies... yeesh. I am not a big fan.

So, as we wrap up week 1 of P90X this evening, in all, I really have liked it. We repeat this week next week and the week after. By then maybe I will feel comfortable doing a decent pull-up. We shall see.

Our gym membership also began (again) this week. I am not sure how much I want to do above the P90X workouts, but at least it's there if friends are going. I will definitely need it after I get this rear back in shape.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fabo at 40 - The "I Hate You, Body" Workout

Sucked in by the land of infomercials, I found myself strangely attracted to the P90X exercise and nutrition program. Understand that I was the same person who was, a week prior, sucked in by the Malibu Pilates chair. I was poised and ready to order that when Scott said, "Have you read any reviews on that?" He's so logical. The reviews on the chair sucked.

So I thought before I approached him with, "Let's spend $150 on P90X!," I would research it. You know what? People LOVED it. It was crazy. I was a little wary because they all talked about how you had to be "in shape" already. It promises that, if you stay true to the program, you will have a "beach body" in 90 days. People were thrilled with their results.

The program works in three phases for each of the months of the workouts. After taking the Fitness Test and, well, kind of, sort of passing it, we thought, "why not?"

The best part of P90X is the power of choice. You can choose between three programs, Classic, Doubles, and Lean. It all depends on what you want to accomplish. The meal suggestions come in two options for each Phase (month), Portion Approach or Meal Approach. They give realistic calories and the food intake changes as your workout changes. We are prepping to start the "Fat Shredder" part of the program. I am using the Portion Approach (how many servings of what in a day... similar to WW), but get this... I need to eat double the calories of any weight loss program I have ever been on. Interesting, yes? It's not the calories, it's where the calories are coming from that is key.

Scott and I have participating in two workouts so far. Day 1 was Chest and Back, Ab Ripper X. This basically kicked both of our behinds because we just aren't as strong as we used to be. I fell in love with the individualization that Tony Horton stressed. Personal goals for each exercise. He tells you what the "extreme" goal is for reps, but the whole point is that you work to failure (you just can't physically do any more). Scott and I were so sore today, it was insane. Even though I did what I considered to be very few reps, it was the quality of what I was doing that was important. I also used muscles that I have let grow dormant. With a slight modification, touching my foot to a chair, I was able to do pull-ups. I haven't done even one pull-up in YEARS. I was so excited, now I really can't wait to do them without a chair. But that's wayyyyy down the road. :) We also were thinking we would use our Bowflex, but we really need to invest in some additional free weights unless we want to really elongate the workout (already a 50-60 minute workout). They also give you enough time on the DVD to transition, and they build in water breaks, unlike other DVDs I have done where they stop the camera, but at home, you just have to keep rolling right along while they look all refreshed.

Day 2 was Plyometrics. Oh my gosh. We were already so sore. This was... I can't even come up with a word... CRAZY? But in a good way. In their words, "Plyometrics are drills designed to connect strength with speed to produce power." It is supposed to help you, "run faster, jump higher, and maneuver in multidirectional sports." It reminded me a lot of volleyball camp. I believe tomorrow, I will feel the same way as I did on Day 2 of camp after we did a million suicides on Day 1. Wait... I'm 39, and I was 16 then, so... it will feel worse. :) What Scott and I both realized was that we have to do the low impact version of this. Scott has a leg that was weakened by a bad break in his teens, and I have strained, sprained, and stretched just about every joint in my legs and feet. The nice thing was, the program allows for these modifications. It's all about pushing yourself to your maximum. They had one person who was supposed to be showing lower impact, but I think she got overly excited and was hopping around way too much.

The program also stresses vitamin supplements and after-workout drinks (theirs, of course, and why not?). Scott and I already have a regimen of supplements (I have gotten a bit sloppy with taking them, but I will need all I can get now), and we bought an after-workout powder similar to what they were selling through P90X at a local store (ironically right by Krispy Kreme in Bloomington!).

So, that's our gig. I am trying to get home right after school so we can work out before picking up Max. He is not the most flexible child when we are working out together. We found that one out on Sunday! I'll keep the blog updated with our progress as we go. No photos, no weight postings. Just how we're doing and how we feel. Maybe some measurement stats. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Comic Relief for Parents/Teachers

Please be aware... dealing with ADHD is no easy thing to deal with. However, if you are a teacher/parent who deals with an individual/individuals with ADHD on a minute-to-minute basis, a sense of humor is essential. So, I bring you comic relief. You know what happens in your head. Be honest and laugh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

So here we are at 4

Max's birthday was filled with all sorts of the foods he loves. Since his brother has "birthday brownies" for his birthday, Max wanted the same. He was loving on the big "4" candle, and blew it out before we even finished singing. That was Sunday, of course, because he didn't want to wait until today.

Today, we ate at his favorite place: Noodles. He loves the buttered noodles. It's ridiculous, since buying noodles at the store is dirt cheap. But we all love Noodles and Company, so why not? It happened to be right next to Krispie Kreme... and they happened to have a hot batch of original glazed coming out. Damn them. Max can eat a half dozen in a sitting if left to his own devices. I have no idea where he gets that from.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Max at two

Today's photo highlights when Max was two. So much occurred during this year... oh, so much. On his second birthday, I attended a funeral for a friend. Before this year was up, Max had been diagnosed with autism. I also had a leave of absence from school for a bit to pull it all together without completely falling apart. My family and friends were my glue. Prayer also played a large role. And this little face.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The countdown continues

Today I am highlighting Max from when he was 1. One was a hard year, as it was when we realized that he was speech delayed. He also had this head-banging issue that made it look like we beat the crap out of him. It was all self-inflicted, and he actually started it again lately. The difference is now he looks at us like, "Hey, that HURT, man!" Thank God. So here is a picture I took while saying, "I'm going to show these to you when you are 16." I call it, "Headbanger's Ball." Despite the bruises, he was still such a cutie.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Four. Cuatro. Quatre. Vier.

In four days, Max will be four years old. The amount of time he has been a part of our family will officially pass the amount of years we waited for him. Life has most definitely never been the same. So, for the next few days, I'll try to highlight a photo from each of the years he has been around. Today's photo is from his birthday... the actual day of his birth, March 3, 2005.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Update on Marilyn

This little voice inside my head kept telling me to call Marilyn this week. Maybe it was because the anniversary of Marita's passing is fast approaching. Maybe it was because I have been listening to David Cook's song "Permanent," which reminded me of his brother's fight with brain cancer. Or maybe it was something larger. Who knows?

Anyway, Marilyn was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer in June. When I called her, she was her upbeat self. She had really good news. She stopped chemo in December. She went to a team of specialists in St. Louis (Barnes) who looked at the "cloud" and still couldn't determine what it was. They could determine, however, that it had NOT grown. Also, she is regaining some of her strength. Next step will be a biopsy of her brain. If the mass is necrotic tissue, then the cancer is gone (the tissue would be its dead remains). If it is a tumor, they will take it out right then and there. So far, to their knowledge, it has not spread.

This is such a ray of hope! She was given six months to a year in June. I know better than to place all of my hope in this news, but it sounds pretty good. So, if you would keep her in your prayers in the next few weeks, I am sure she could use them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My latest obsession

Some of my old blog readers may remember last spring's obsession with American Idol David Cook. (See May 22, 2008 and May 21, 2008 and May 20, 2008) Well, it didn't get ANY better now that his album is out.

Okay, okay. I always listen to albums over and over. This one is fantastic. I love every song on it. Nothing is skipped. And, it's the kind of album that you can turn up load and sing, well, "at the top of your lungs," as he belts out in "A Daily AntheM."

His first release was "Time of My Life." Loved that one. I believe that was the song that won the American Idol songwriting contest.

"Light On" is the next release. I love that one, too. (Well, that must be obvious by now.) The video is not my favorite, but I figured since I embedded his little you Tube American Idol videos, I might as well embed a "real" music video. Enjoy... and buy his album! Expect more ramblings about the album in the next few days. OCD!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


In the lives of children, you never know what will end up being significant. If you think long and hard, that kind of pressure is worse than any high-tension job. Most days as a parent, I don't give the day-to-day stuff that kind of thought. Some history, and then a story about Max.

For some reason unknown to me still, Valentine's Day was my father's holiday. Though I n'er recall the words, "I love you," leaving his lips in my direction, I think he used Valentine's Day as his big day to show it. He would always come home with something. A bear full of cinnamon red hots, a mug filled with conversation hearts, and the like. I am not sure he knew of the significance of this act, but it impacted me greatly. I appreciate having that type of memory, especially in the middle of February. I haven't had a Valentine from him in a few decades, but I don't need one. The memories from my younger days are etched in my mind.

Needless to say, I like to surround myself with the candies of the day. Necco Conversation Hearts are my FAVORITE. Who new reading could be so tasty? Oh, OK, so I don't always read them, but usually I do.

On his way out of day care one evening, Max spied some of these tasty little delicacies on the counter. The one he picked said, "Cutie Pie," which is SOOOOOOoooo fitting for my little guy. Well, Mr. Autism repeated the words "cutie pie" all night that night as he proudly carried around his conversation heart. Now, when referring to them, he calls them, "cutie pies."

So, being the overzealous freak that I can be sometimes, I bought a huge bag of them at Target. The bags aren't the most sturdy, and hundreds of conversation hearts threatened to tumble all over our basement floor as we watched the DVR of American Idol together. I kept saying to Max, "be careful, we don't want them to spill." Suddenly, he left the room. I thought I bored him. :) A few second later her returns with a gallon-size Zip Loc bag to which he transfers all of the hearts. I was so proud of him. My little guy, whose expressive language skills are echolalic and delayed, ROCKS with his receptive language and his problem solving skills. It was a little gift from God. Actually, that moment was a big gift from God. When we started intervention a little over a year ago, he would not respond to his name. This was a milestone. It's also something that I may have considered insignificant if I had a "typical" child. I know i didn't celebrate things like that when Ignatius was younger. I had no idea all I had taken for granted.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Agenda on Education

The Obama-Biden administration has a great deal on their education agenda. I wish them luck with what they want to do, considering the problem is typically state congress/board of ed. interpretations.

This language excites me greatly:

Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama and Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. They will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.

Amen is all I have to say to that.

Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama and Biden will address the dropout crisis by passing legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school -- strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.

Wow. Recognition of the pivotal middle level years! Extended learning time! Maybe even being able to have enough staff to help the students who have no IEPs and no parent support. I'm tingly, but skeptical that the money will ever make it to the schools. For now, our middle school has to RIF three more full-time educators this spring.

Support College Outreach Programs: Obama and Biden support outreach programs like GEAR UP, TRIO and Upward Bound to encourage more young people from low-income families to consider and prepare for college.

Don't forget those of us in the middle, please. It's backbreaking to pay for an entire car in a year, yet we're supposed to pay for college, which is as much per year as a car in many cases. Let's realize that we are all feeling the economic crunch. I see further along in the agenda, the American Opportunity Tax Credit is mentioned, but not without forced public service as retribution. Interesting.

Districts will be able to design programs that reward with a salary increase accomplished educators who serve as a mentors to new teachers. Districts can reward teachers who work in underserved places like rural areas and inner cities. And if teachers consistently excel in the classroom, that work can be valued and rewarded as well.

Oooh, Mr. President. Have you discussed this with your NEA supporters? Merit pay... good luck with that one!

Friday, February 6, 2009

It's Back!

The Agenda that was up on the "President-Elect" site is back. Today, I finally had a chance to take a peek at the Executive Orders that have been instituted by our new President. The one I am going to discuss is EXTREMELY disturbing to me.

I am decidedly and unwaveringly anti-abortion. I don't believe it is acceptable to kill our unborn children under any conditions. The Executive Order found here, named Mexico City Policy and Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning, negates our government's stand on what Federal grants, MY MONEY, can be used for by foreign countries. The grants have now been expanded to include money for "voluntary family planning," aka abortions (not my words... the order specifically states this). Apparently, it is not bad enough that the United States kills its young. We want to share this "technology" with other nations.

This is one of the key reasons that I could not stand behind or vote for our new President. This is a key issue for me for whomever I vote. I have had discussions with family members where it has been stated that the President doesn't have much to do with decisions on abortion. I think this Executive Order proves that notion to be wrong. I guess all that's left to do is pray for a reversal of this... or run for President myself. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shoot Some Hoops

Ignatius is participating in his school's Hoops for Heart Fundraiser. If you would be interested in donating to this cause, here is his website: Hoops for Ignatius
Thanks for your support! This fundraiser benefits the American Heart Association.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Time keeps on slipping....

... into the future. Tick tock tick...

Yep, feeling a little old. Ignatius will be turning 12 this week. Max is almost completely potty trained. Rights of passage... fast passage.

Ignatius also found out today that his teacher has throat cancer. He LOVES his teacher, and he was very shaken by this news. We had to remind him that cancer is not a death sentence, and he knows several survivors, like his grandmother and his cousin. Alas, he also has voids in his life due to cancer: one of his godmothers and both of his paternal grandparents. I think the prognosis for his teacher is good (as translated through what Ignatius reported was said). Still, it's a dirty c word.

Cancer just sucks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fabo at 40: Keeping Track

The supplement regime seems to be going well. At the very least, I have been taking them each day and no adverse effects have come to me, that I know of. I have a cold, but I don't think it was caused by the supplements in any way.

Scott and I started to track our food intake using the Weight Watchers Turnaround Points. This is about the third time I have used a program of Weight Watchers. The company has the most realistic weight loss program, as you are eating "real" foods. The program that we are using I had used a few years back, and I was fairly successful. I lost about 25 lbs., and then I got sloppy, which seems to be my pattern.

This time, I am not doing this to meet a magic number, though that would be nice. I am doing it to get us back in check with our eating. We were relying way too much on take out food. Consequently, our butts and our budget were battered by that. So, last night, I spent quite a bit of money at the grocery store and purchased some food that would benefit our collective health.

It's interesting to actually write down what I eat. It can be somewhat of a controlling factor in my choices. There is also a points value for activity, which will come back into our lives slowly. I got on the elliptical the other day, and Scott and I have done a good deal of shoveling over the last two days. I am not one of those people who can workout through an illness... I would just rather get better, then get with that program.

So, one more step in the walk of good health. I'm off to drink more water!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fabo at 40 - Tablet Regimen

Scott has been a bit of a research crazy man lately. He's been taking a look at supplements. The typical "multivitamin" makes me sick to my stomach. I have tried several different combinations with the same results. He has been looking specifically at the symptoms of fatigue, listlessness, weight gain, and stress. We seem to both exhibit these more than we like.

His research began as his one-man quest for a cure for autism. You know how that gets from time to time. Perhaps someone is hiding something? Perhaps there is some magic pill that will make it all go away. I guess I am not looking at autism as something curable. It's not a disease. Just a condition of human genetics. Kind of like having blue eyes. At least that's how I see it. Or maybe that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. It may not be "normal," but it's my normal.

So, here's the regimen, the daily dosages, and the alleged effects. After about a week of taking these and appropriately hydrating ourselves, I will report back. Feel free to comment if you currently take any of these or have had experiences with them.

Soya Lecithin Dietary Supplement; 400 mg; "a natural fat emulsifier, is found in every cell of the body and is a significant part of nerve and brain tissue;" so, maybe I'll be able to find my car in the Meijer parking lot?

Magnesium Glycinate Dietary Supplement; 100 mg; advertised as the best absorbed magnesium for the body; might help with: bone health, muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve impulse transmission, blood pressure, heart function; magnesium deficiency is typically attributed to foods grown in magnesium-poor soils or the consumption of processed foods that eliminate magnesium; magnesium is typically eliminated from a multivitamin because it tends to make a vitamin bulky and hard to swallow; deficiency is said to play a role in anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, depression, muscle twitching, high blood pressure, leg cramps, menstrual cramps and constipation; it is also said to play a role in diabetes

Coenzyme Q-10; 50 mg; "plays an important role in cells and is utilized in the normal process of energy production...key nutrient that may help maintain a healthy heart"

Vitamin B12 Dietary Supplement; 500 mcg; "contributes to normal brain and nervous system functions"

Taurine; 500 mg; supposed to support a calm mood

Odorless Garlic; 1000 mg; supposed to promote heart health and good cholesterol

We shall see what, if anything, changes. This and water consumption are the only variables for this week.