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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Prom and Then, Prom Again

Prom was a busy weekend for us.

The prom for D-man and A-girl's school was on a Friday night.  Then, the prom for J-girl's school was Saturday. Then, Sunday, was Youth Sunday at our church and D-man delivered one of the sermons.

Originally, D-man and J-girl had talked about saving money and just choosing one prom, but in the end, they decided it was their senior year and went to both.

But, I am going to start with A-girl.  They went with a group of kids.  A-girl went with her friend, C-girl.  (much more relaxing way to enjoy prom than on an awkward date with a boy you hardly know)

I  was so proud of her and her dress.

I am going to brag on her a bit.  She put this dress together for $15.  The top part was a dress she found on clearance at a local boutique.  The bottom tulle was from a different dress in our stash of clothes for repurposing for the fashion line she and L-girl have.  She sewed the tulle onto a separate underskirt, so she didn't have to alter the knee length dress at all and it could still be a little black dress for later in life.

Voila.....old Hollywood glamour for $15!

She was able to borrow earrings from my friend, Alex.

I wanted her to have a little something special for her first prom and since she wouldn't be getting a corsage from a boy, I made her a hair comb.  (I just noticed that it is sticking out a little funny in this picture, but you get the idea.)  I went to an antique store and found the sparkly leaf pin and then just used invisible thread to sew/attach it to a hair comb.  She will be able to wear it as a brooch (if she ever wants to).

D-man and J-girl:

I love that crazy haired man/boy.  He has a great group of friends.


A good time was had by all.

Onto prom weekend, Part II.

 She adores her big bro.  She has gotten to the point where almost daily she will ask when he is leaving for college.  Then she sort of reassures herself that it is still a long time away (in her mind this mom's is coming up alarmingly fast)

When D-man and J-girl went to prom last year, I went with him to pick out her corsage at a local florists shop.  The lady behind the counter whipped around her shop, grabbing this rhinestone bracelet and that ribbon and said, okay, that will be.....$90.  I gulped   I looked at D-man.  He looked at me.  I said to the lady, "Is there anyway we can bring that price down some?"  She said we could take off the rhinestone studded bracelet and that would bring it down to like $75.

I looked at D-man and said something like, is that the amount you had planned to spend?  Is that in your budget?  That kind of thing.  I was trying to give him a graceful way to get out of this completely stupid expense.  He was offended/embarrassed that I had said anything and huffed at me, "Yes, mom, that is fine."  Took out his wallet and spent stupid money.

As we walked out to the car, I couldn't keep my mouth shut.  I uttered phrases like "complete and total rip off!"  "what a racket!" "Why would you think it is okay to spend that much money on flowers that are going to die?" "I could make something like that for under $20."

D-man, in turn, uttered phrases like, "Why did I even bring you with, mom?"  "Enough, mom, I get it!"

I made him promise me that next year (which is now this year) he wouldn't be so stupid with his money and would at least consider letting me make something for him.

As prom weekend was getting closer, I finally said to him "So, are you going to let me make J-girl's corsage this year?"  He said, "If it will save me money and still look good, then yes."

So, I did.  I had some ideas about what I wanted to do and put out a call to my friends to see if they had any costume jewelry or brooches that people didn't want or were just sitting in their drawers.  My friends Paula and Alex came through and gave me all kinds of stuff to choose from.

This started as one of those headbands.  I added an old earring in the center of the flower and the dangling key.

I made his boutonniere too.

Not sure if you can see it, but I cut apart a necklace that had hearts and keys and attached the heart to D-man's and the key to J-girls.

In the busy-ness of the weekend, I forgot to get close-ups of the ones I did for their second prom. This one shows them off pretty well though.  For this night, I gave her the heart hidden in her corsage and him the key.  I also went to an antique store and found a brooch/pin for the center of her flower.  So, she can leave it as a corsage, but also take it off and wear it as a pin somewhere down the road.

I was actually really proud of how they turned out.  I used stuff we already had, borrowed some ribbon from my friend, Sherri, had the jewelry from my friends, Alex and Paula and bought Dollar Store/Walmart flowers.  Seriously, I probably spent like $22 total and that covered A-girl's hair thing, plus 2 nights worth of corsages and boutonnieres.  .

J-girl says I should go into business making these next year.  She didn't realize that I had made them until Sunday when D-man told her.  (Thankfully she hadn't make any bad comments about them before she knew I had made them.  Whew!  She liked them, she really liked them.....)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Lest L-Girl Be Forgotten

L-girl also had an April birthday, amidst all my doctor's appointments last month.

We have the no cell phones until you are 16 (and can pay for it yourself rule) and we also have the no devices like iPods until you are 14 rule.  Here is A-girl showing L-girl all the ins and outs of her new to her iPod in the wee, small hours of the morning.

L-girl was also stuck me me for her birthday lunch this year.

I have to put this one in here because it makes me laugh.  We took pictures across from each other at the restaurant where L-girl likes to order fried green tomatoes (Yup...we live in the south now)  Anyway, she took this picture and said to me, "Umm.....maybe you should put your arms down and behind you, or something."

Don't my arms and hands look huge?  I am sure it is partly a perspective thing....and partly real life.  Reminds me of "man hands" from Seinfeld.

Anyway, I complied and put my arms down and it looked much better.

These pretty flowers were along the street by the restaurant.

We stopped and surprised a friend from church who is L-girl's birthday twin.

We opened gifts.

J-girl works at a local monogram store, so my girls have been in heaven with their gifts!

Rainman and I got her a new tennis skirt and a beauty box, since she loves to experiment with make-up and watches countless make-up tutorials.

L-girl has been my biggest challenge in finding a traditional birthday "cake" that she gets excited about and loves.  We have tried and rejected many cakes (she just doesn't have much of a sweet tooth).  She have tried a few fruit type pies.  They were okay.

This year, I think I may have hit on a winner though.  She loves Jell-o.  Her favorites are orange and raspberry, so I tried to do a fancy layered Jell-o pie.  My layers didn't really stay separate the way they should have, but it was a hit anyway.  I think I know what I did wrong, so next year, hopefully my layers will be separate and pretty.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful 14 year old.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How Social Media Can Be A Big Fat Liar

Remember A-girl's birthday post?

Remember this picture?

A-girl posted this on-line and she got all kinds of comments from people we both know about how great we looked.  Lots of comments were about how great I looked.  Comments about me being a "hot mama", for instance.

But, let's look a little closer.

Notice my sweat pants....the little bit of blue you see behind my arm is actually my pajamas....notice the strategically placed hair and birthday presents.....meant to hide the fact that I am not wearing a bra.  And, if you look closely at my face, you will notice my slightly red nose that would tell you that I had been crying a large portion of the afternoon.

A-girl and I had both gone to the eye doctor for contacts.

I ended up being called back first.  I told the doctor and his staff that I knew my prescription had changed because more often than not, I just take my glasses off when I am trying to see something and that I have been getting headaches - probably because I was making my eyes work so hard...either by wearing the wrong prescription, or not wearing any glasses at all.

I noticed a few whispered conversations after they took the initial look at my eyes and printed out the little paper thingie that tells my basic prescription.

The doctor turned down the lights and had me do the annoying thing they do where they ask you if 1 or 2 is better.  I always feel like I am somehow failing a big exam at this portion of the eye exam.  Always.

Then he turned on the lights and asked me if I had ever been diagnosed as having diabetes.  I told him I had not.  He then explained that my eyesight had changed so significantly, so quickly, (basically from near sighted to far sighted) that he was somewhat alarmed.  He said that is usually a sign of diabetes and that I should see my doctor and have blood work done right drive over to his office right now.  I told him that I have my blood work done a lot because of the problems they have had with the thyroid medications.  I had my blood work done about a week before and everything was fine.

He decided to just see if he could get pictures of the back of my eyeballs without the dilation (since A-girl doesn't have her license yet) and see what would happen from there.

They successfully got pictures....and more whispered, slightly frantic conversations ensued.  He said he was going to call a retina specialist friend of his and see what he said.  I asked them to get A-girl taken care of because I didn't want to ruin her birthday.

They took her into the office by a different door and had me wait in the waiting room.( First I had a good little silent sob session in the bathroom.) A little while later, I was sitting in the waiting room (without my glasses) and out waltzed A-girl in her new trial pair of contacts.  She was practically glowing.  She was so happy.  She looked so good.

She blinked at me a few times.  I am sure she was thinking that I was also sitting there with my trial lenses too.  Then, she looked a little closer and asked me what was wrong.  I tried valiantly to assure her that all was well.

It was like she literally matured over night and wasn't just a teenaged girl getting rid of her glasses. She looked right at me and said, "Mom....what is it?  What is wrong?"

I told her that they thought something was wrong with my eyes  and were waiting to hear back from a specialist.

They called me back and asked questions about whether I had been getting headaches.

I had.  Almost daily since before Easter.  At first, I had thought that I was reacting to the pollen.  It is seriously crazy down here with everything covered in a thick coating of green pollen.  I said that many days I woke up with a headache.

Then he asked other questions like was I ever seeing flashes  of lights or vision changes.  I was sometimes seeing "sparkles"....if I stood up too fast or changed from light to dark or vice versa too quickly.

He asked if I ever had ringing in my ears.  I told him that I did sometimes hear whooshing, like I was hearing my own heartbeat.

He let us leave and promised to call when he heard back from his friend.  He reminded me to head to the hospital if my headaches or vision got worse.

I left super scared and was trying desperately not to ruin A-girl's 16th birthday.

They got me in with the retinal specialist on Monday morning.  Rainman came with me for this one.  Lots of eye drops and tests later.  He declared my retina healthy, but said there was swelling at the back of my eyes at my optic nerve.  I even had a hemorrhage in the back of my left eye.  It was serious.  Very serious.

He took out his cell phone, took a picture of the picture of my eyeballs and texted it to a friend of his who was a neuro-opthalmologist.....while he typed out his message, he said, "I don't flipping care about HIPA right now".

Then he looked at me and said, I don't even know you, but I am taking this seriously, so you had better take this really seriously.  He asked what I did for work.  I said I was mostly a mom and took care of a few extra kids during the week.  He told Rainman to dust off his child care skills because I needed to make this my only priority until it was taken care of.

He got me in to see the neuro-opthalmologist the next day.

You know when doctors can see you too quickly how you sort of panic?

Yeah, me too.

Everyone was getting me in right away.

Rainman luckily had the day off, so he took me to this appointment too. This doctor gave us pretty much the same information as the one did on Monday, but he had a much different delivery.

As we were leaving, Rainman turned to me and said, "Somehow I feel like we just got the best diagnosis ever."

I had to laugh, but it was true.  He told us the same slightly scary stuff, but his delivery was more matter of fact and assured us that it would be treatable, but I would have to remain vigilant for the rest of my life.  I will have to take medicine and lose weight.

In order to accurately diagnose me, they ha to eliminate other possibilities, including a brain tumor.  So, I was scheduled for a brain MRI late last week.  Rainman couldn't come with me and  my friends were busy.  So, I went by myself.

Huge, huge mistake.

Let me just say that I didn't really think I was claustrophobic.  I mean, I have never really liked bunk beds and I really didn't like those elevator pods that take you to the top of the St. Louis Arch, but I really didn't think I was claustrophobic.

After I took like 5 nervous pee trips to the bathroom, I was called back.  I was told to take off my bra and my glasses, but could keep the rest of my clothing on.

She got an I.V. port ready on my arm for when they would inject the dye during the second portion of the MRI.  She explained a few things, had me lay down, gave me a little panic button to squeeze if I needed anything and in I went.

It was awful.



Now, granted, I am a big lady, so I had to sort of squeeze my arms in while I went into the tube.  She assured me that I could relax and rest my arms against the sides when I got into place.  But, really, I felt like I was being squeezed by the tube.

Also, I should have kept my eyes closed like my friend, Sherri, told me to.  I am just naturally curious and I like to learn things.  I thought I would just glance around a little in there and see what it looked like.

Holy cow!

It was just mere inches above my face.  Like, at the most, 2 inches from my nose.

I panicked.

Like, total meltdown kind of panic.

The nice tech asked if I needed to be taken out of the tube.


I can sort of laugh about it now...but....I cried like a a crazy person.  I also kept apologizing.  I kept saying stuff like, I am sorry I am messing up your schedule.  I asked if I could just be put to sleep (and figure out a way for somebody to come pick me and my van up somehow).

This facility didn't have a doctor there to administer medications.  She said I could call my doctor, have him prescribe a Valium, drive over to the pharmacy, get the medication, take it, and wait in the waiting room for it to kick in and they would try again.

Well, that sounded awful too.  So, I said that I wanted to try again.  She suggested covering my eyes with a washcloth, so I couldn't look even if I wanted to.  She gave me earphones (because the machine is really loud while it is is doing its thing).  I asked for a Pandora station that played massage music. (Remember, I am/was a massage therapist)

I breathed deep.

I prayed...and prayed some more.

I was able to survive my MRI because I gave myself a virtual massage, stroke by stroke, while she did the tests.  I was in the machine for a total of about 45 minutes.

Honestly, I was shaky and weepy the rest of the day.

Rainman called me afterwards to check on me and I started crying in the parking lot.  It was awful.  Really.  But, if you have never been inside one of those machines, I don't think you can really explain it in a way they will understand.

If I ever have to do another one, I will make sure I am adequately medicated ahead of time.  I will also make sure that Rainman is there waiting for me to give me a big hug. Sometimes it stinks to have to act like a big, tough, grown up.

Long story short, I have something called Pseudotumor Cerebri.

I am waiting to be scheduled for a spinal tap/lumbar puncture sometime in the next week or so.  That should help with my headaches.  I will start medications after they make sure that the spinal fluid doesn't show any other weird infection or something.

Then, I will try to lose weight.

Most of the people diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri are apparently middle aged, over weight women.  They don't know why.  Obviously, not every overweight, middle aged women have it, but statistically it is me.  Losing weight helps and they don't exactly know why.

That is fine.

I wanted to lose weight anyway.

But, well, you takes a lot of thinking....and food is my.....thing.  My - go to thing - when I am happy, sad, tired, depressed, scared.  You name it.

I have already started trying to be extra smart about my food choices, but it totally bums me out to have to think so much, instead of just feeding myself and my family.  But, as annoying/depressing as that is, it would be way more depressing to actually lose my eye sight.

So......there you have media can lie....big time....and mislead you about the fabulous things happening in other people's lives.

Because on this day, I was just trying to keep my head above water and not ruin my daughter's memories of her 16th birthday.