Saturday, March 24, 2007


Here in Texas, we have approximately two weeks of spring weather, then it quickly turns into summer. For the last week or so I have been enjoying our spring. This is the time of year where I usually get the urge to plant a vegetable garden but convince myself not to since our summers are so hot that the plants will most likely die, so I just replant my flower garden.
Luckily, this year we have a solution. My son's cub scout den has decided to take responsibility for one of the plots of land at the local community garden. We were there this morning, planting lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and a variety of flowers. The boys really got into it, especially J. He is the one who always begs each summer for a garden (we had one when we lived up north). He loves the thought of being able to get ripe vegetables right from the plant. Even the fire ants that had infested the area we were working were not a deterrent for him (luckily, he did not get bitten. I can't say the same for me - 3 bites on one hand-ouch). With this plot, we'll be able to get our fresh vegetables and do a good deed for the community since most of the vegetables will be donated to the local food bank. Plus, I won't have to do all the weeding. A win-win situation.

beautiful weather

It's a beautiful day out today....sigh...and I'm inside typing. Not for long - there is way too much yard work to do for me to stay in. So, now that it is spring here in Texas (for all of 2 weeks, then summer will be here), I probably will not post much at all, unless I have a funny gardening accident happen (very likely with my graceful self) or if I tell you about the hole J-man dug in the yard because he wanted a fort to hide in and jump out of to scare people. He got pretty far, considering my backyard consists mainly of clay. Now the yard looks as though a St. Bernard tried to tunnel out. Oh well, I said he could do it. He had to have something to keep him busy on spring break.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Army "care"

Recently in the news there has been quite an uproar over how vets are being treated now that they are returning to civilian life. Unfortunately, the substandard care they are receiving has been going on for years, only to finally be brought to light. I can personally tell of at least 4 times where I received care that was negligent, malfeasance, or one might even consider malpractice.

Case 1: When I first became pregnant with my son, the army "doctor" told me not to take prenatal vitamins, as they would just upset my stomach and cause me to be nauseous. He informed me that I would receive enough nutrients from my diet (this from a man who didn't know my eating habits from Eve's). My son was born with a hole at the end of his spine, a defect caused by not getting enough folic acid during the first trimester, something that would have mostly likely been addressed by my taking prenatal vitamins. For this I will forever feel guilty.

Case 2: I had either an injury or illness and went to the clinic for care. I was in my first trimester at the time. The "doctor" prescribed medications, one of which I could have sworn was not advised for pregnant woman. When I brought this to his attention, his response was a shrug of his shoulders and "I'll have to look it up later". I strongly suggested he check his PDR (physician's desk reference) right then and there before he prescribed it to any other pregnant females. Low and behold, I was correct, there were strong warnings about birth defects caused by this medicine. If I had blindly taken this medication, I could have severely injured my unborn child.

Case 3: During my last trimester, I moved back to the states. Since the local military hospital was deemed to far for me to travel, I was allowed to have my son delivered by a civilian doctor. While I was in the hospital, in early labor, it was determined that I had a common complication of pregnancy, thromobocytopenia; one that could be deadly if undiagnosed. My doctor discovered it when she went to take my blood and I wouldn't stop bleeding. After reviewing my files, she realized that the Army doctors had failed to do a routine screening for it, which would have given the hospital staff some forewarning about my case. Luckily, the civilian staff was able to make the necessary accommodations needed for my delivery.

Case 4: After the birth of my child, I went for my annual well women exam. After waiting 6 weeks for my PAP smear results to come back (they always take 6 weeks), I was told that I had ambiguous results which most likely meant that I cervical cancer, that there were several things that could be done for me, but that we would wait until we had clear results back before any treatment was started. I was sent for another PAP, waited 6 weeks, more results that were difficult to interpret, another PAP after that, more waiting, then results that came back negative. I had three months of worry that I had cancer, which I did not share with anyone since I didn't know if it really was cancer; worry that a new post-partum bluesy mother really did not need.
After doing some research, I found out that many new mothers, especially those who are nursing, come back with irregular PAP smears, that in fact it is a common side effect of pregnancy.

Case 5 (not my case so I didn't count it): Hubby injured his knee while jumping out of an airplane. After going to the clinic, he is given a prescription for 800mg ibuprofen...and nothing else. I had to ask the doctor for crutches, since hubby was using me as his crutch and I really didn't feel like being made any shorter than I already am. Turns out he tore ligaments in his knee.

Did you know as a soldier it is against policy (law?) for you to sue the government for malpractice? Yup, when you sign to receive services through the government's hospitals, you are signing away your right to have doctors be held responsible for their actions.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Parental fitness

I saw this on another website and just had to reprint it:

How many times have you heard the comment that "People have to take a test to drive a car, but anyone can be a parent?" A test is needed! And not one with a bunch of Bozo questions like 'How many servings of vegetables are required for a thirteen-year old female living in Michigan who walks 4.3 miles a day? No, this test will ask the REAL questions. Are you ready to find out if you have the right stuff to be a parent? Get those number two pencils ready. And let's keep our eyes on our own papers, people.

Section One -- Mathematics
For each problem, estimate the total number of times this phrase is used per parent per week. (2 points per question)

I don't care what the other kids get to do.
... and this time I really mean it
Somebody's going to get hurt doing that
See, I told you somebody was going to get hurt doing that
Now we're REALLY going to be late
One ... I'm counting ... two ... I'm counting ...
What were you thinking?
Because I'm the Mommy (Daddy)
Let's not discuss that at the dinner table
Why is your brother (sister) crying
It's time for you to go to bed
Okay ... but only five more minutes.
I'm gonna turn that computer off (or take it away)

Section Two -- Fill in the Blank
Write the correct word(s) in the blank(s). (3 points per question)

Tickle Me ____________.
101 _________________.
The Berenstain _________.
Clifford, the Big _________ Dog.
_______________ Nuggets.
_______________ Meals.
Please won't you buy me a __________ __________?

Section Three -- Matching
Match each vocabulary word with its letter definition. (4 points per question).

A] Small bits of plastic designed to accentuate any style of carpeting.
B] Either a recreational device originally developed for hamsters, but since has been adapted for use by children in fast food restaurants OR that which is placed in ears when Letter "C" fails.
C] A pink substance which is usually a regular part of a toddler's diet.
D] A frozen food amazingly devoid of any nutritional value.
E] A disposable article of clothing which one swears will only be necessary for a few more weeks.

Section Four -- Problem Solving
Briefly describe the solution to each problem. (5 points per question)

It is 8:50 a.m. School starts at 9 a.m. Where are your car keys?
She says that he started it. He says she started it. Who's right?
You are attempting to go to the post office with two very large packages, two very small children, zero very close parking places, and one frazzled parent. How will you accomplish this?
At 7 p.m., you must be at dance class with Debbie, Cub Scouts with Carl, and soccer with Susie. Without any King Soloman maneuvers, how will this be done?

Section Five -- Essay
Answer the following question and defend your choice. (19 points)

Which of the 'Big "V's" has made a bigger contribution to parenting? Vacuum cleaners 'Velcro' or the VCR?

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Now that the weather is warming up, every time I go outside I see someone working on their yard. They are mulching and weeding, tilling and planting, and just making their yards more presentable. Then I look at my yard. I have a flower bed that has a figure 8 shape, and it is pathetic. All of the mulch from last year has long ago decomposed, the plants that once flowered vigorously are now just dead sticks poking out of the ground. There are some daylillies and a rose bush which still live, but they make it look worse, since the green from them accents the decrepit state of the rest of the flowerbed. Plus, my wild bluebonnets are starting to sprout, and they look like weeds until they flower.
I plan to do some work on it this weekend, but I need inspiration. I usually have a color theme, but this year that won't work because the lillies are yellow and the rosebush is ...well, I don't know since I got it on clearance last year and planted it after it had already bloomed. Anyone have suggestions on flowers that will tolerate the hot Texas sun and that like clay as their growing medium?