Monday, May 25, 2015


That's just geography. 

- Vivian Ward 

Well, I'll begin by reporting that I did, in fact, make my mom cry with last week's post, & so today I'm aiming for a little lighthearted banter accompanied by a few photos of the misadventures of this past week.

For a summer week, last week was pretty busy.  I left the house every day, & applied all the make-up three times.  Admittedly, Monday's jaunt to the outside world was limited to the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, but it involved one bra, six non-houseshoe shoes, & two kids who had to be securely fastened before take-off, so it counts.

The first make-up application came Tuesday morning in preparation for a solo trip to Dillard's, a trip made possible by my mother-in-law, who'd indicated she wanted to spend some time with the kids, which worked out beautifully, because I wanted to spend some time without the kids in order to accomplish a highly specific shopping goal.

Everything is now very official concerning our beach trip (including the occasional night terrors I'm having about packing).  The only travel decision left to make is determining whose Keurig we're bringing, & so last Tuesday I faced the inevitable head-on & went shopping for a swimsuit.

Dillard's is, in my opinion, the best bet for swimsuit shopping locally.  I do love to shop online & am pretty good at reading reviews & analyzing size charts & ordering things that fit me, but this is just not an option when it comes to a swimsuit.  There's no room for error when it comes to finding something you'll be wearing in public while soaking wet, possibly chasing your children.

The swimsuit section at our local Dillard's is completely overwhelming.  Great strides have been made in women's swimwear over the last decade or so, & the choices have expanded beyond one-piece or two-piece?, which used to be the end of the discussion for women looking for aquatic attire.  I usually opt for a two-piece (because, hello, bathroom!), but one that covers the area of my body that my children stretched beyond belief.  I believe this option is called a tankini, but that word is a little too precious for me.  Logistically, a one-piece doesn't work so well for me because my torso is long.  Also, there's this tiny voice in my head that I think continues to rebel against my mother's edict re:wearing a one-piece.

While having options is great when it comes to shopping for anything, the vast array of suits, coupled with a lack of organization on the department store floor, meant I was wandering around the swimwear department for nearly an hour before I ever made it to the dressing room.  Currently, the swimsuit section is organized by brand name, best I can tell, but most women aren't looking for a suit with a particular brand name on it.  I suggest a huge section of one-pieces, & a huge section of two-pieces.  The two-piece section should then be further divided into a section with traditional two-pieces (those that cause teenage girls & their mothers to have epic throwdowns), & two-pieces that cover a bit more, including but not limited to the evidence a couple of eight-pounders have vacated the premises.

There were a few moments I was this close to forgetting it all & going to sit in the food court with a cup of coffee & a giant pretzel from Auntie Anne's.  But, I knew I'd be so disappointed in myself if I left without a swimsuit, having ingested a ton of carbs that would make any swimsuit I did eventually find a little tighter in places I am already fighting a tightness battle.

Long story short(ish), I did find a suit, & I am pretty happy with it, though the real test of suit happiness comes when I find myself sticky, wet, balancing a toddler on my hip, & a bag full of four people's beach gear on my shoulder; if I can make that walk gracefully, well then I know I have hit swimsuit gold.

Even if I did spend most of it squeezing myself in & out of swimsuits, I was glad for the time alone Tuesday because Wednesday Trey & Reagan & I drove to Jackson for our quarterly appointment with the pediatric endocrinologist.

Here's Reagan, happy as a lark after ingesting her chicken minis from Chick-fil-A (3 = 30 carbs, + 10 for fruit for a 40 carb breakfast).

We were a little early for our appointment, so we took pictures of ourselves . . . Reagan wanted to make a different face for each picture, & I think it can be said that she succeeded. 

And here she is in Barnes & Noble post-appointment, stretching her arms wide to indicate there are just so many books & toys & she simply cannot be expected to make a decision re:a purchase. 

Forced to join me in the Clark's store, she was thrilled to find this blow-up monkey in the adjacent Columbia Outfitter's store:

Four times a year we drive to Jackson to visit Reagan's doctor, &, like the diabetes that set us in search of a pediatric endocrinologist, these days have their highs & lows.  The highs you see above in photos, the Chick-fil-A breakfast, the Barnes & Noble glee, etc.  Regardless of the reason we're there, it's fun to drive to Jackson & enjoy some of what a larger city has to offer.

I am always a little frazzled on these days, & not just because I have to secure a sitter for Henry & make sure Reagan & I are up & out of our pajamas pretty early in the day.  Diabetes is all about numbers.  I see & calculate so many, many numbers every day, but the one that matters most, & the reason I stress about the daily numbers, is that they all factor into the A1C number we drive to Jackson to learn every few months.

Reagan's most recent A1C was a 7.8, up slightly from a 7.6 a few months ago, & the highest A1C since her diagnosis.  Needless to say, I was not, & I am not, happy.  A few minutes after the nurse shared the A1C with us, the doctor breezed in the room, a big smile on her face, & announced she was pleased.  She reminded me of things like this . . .

. . . reiterating that Reagan's target is a 7.5, & that for a small diabetic child, keeping her under an 8 is great.  And you know, I can see the charts, & I see that 7s & 8s are in the "good" range, & while I know we're not going to be hitting a 6 anytime soon, I want to do better than a 7.8.

I knew the show was all for me, the doctor's big smile & the fancy charts; I am pretty certain they have a file on me, the anal retentive parent, in addition to their file on Reagan.  I know the doctor sees many diabetic kids & I know she has to scold parents whose kids are running A1Cs in the double digits; I know all this, but it didn't change my mood on Wednesday, or on Thursday, when I was admittedly engaged in a little bit of sulking & self-loathing (but did get us all three out of the house long enough to go exercise while my parents watched the kids).

The doctor said Reagan's days are looking pretty good.  The uptick in her A1C is likely due to her sitting a little too high at night lately.  At the risk of sounding like I'm writing an Eagles song, the nights are easy, & the nights are hard.  They're easy because she's asleep & thus not eating anything, & so it's a matter of nailing the basal rate.  Sounds so simple, right?  The nights are hard because, (1) Trey & I need a little sleep, (2) children grow at night, & when the body grows, it demands more insulin, but there's no neon sign that comes with a growth spurt, letting me know ahead of time to tick up the basal.  Of course, just when I am comfortable upping her nighttime insulin, the growth spurt ends, & she dips too low at night.

*insert image of me pulling my hair here*

Here's what I like about facing down an A1C every three months: it gives me a goal, something to improve upon, & I need goals.  I need a number to lower, a number to beat in three months, because otherwise, I will wallow in the daily struggle that is diabetes.  I don't want to compare diseases; I don't know enough about other diseases to do that, but I do know diabetes, & I understand why diabetics (& their caretakers) are prone to depression.  It never ends, not for one moment, no matter where she is, no matter where I am, no matter the time of day, or the holiday, or the week designated as vacation.

Friday night, Trey took the kids to sleep at his parents' house.

*insert angels singing hallelujah chorus here*

After they left, I went & wandered around Hobby Lobby & then sat alone at IHOP, where I sucked down coffee, a steak omelet, & pancakes.  Then, I went & slept at my parents' house because they have Pitch Perfect recorded, &, having never seen it, I promised my sister I'd watch it so we can go see the recently released sequel when we're in Florida & can leave the three kids with dads & grandparents.  Again, goals.

Friday night was wonderful.  Sleeping upstairs, alone (well, with Sophie the dog), with my parents downstairs, I felt fifteen again (& that's always awesome).  At some point last week, the above quote from Pretty Woman crossed my mind.  If you've seen the movie, you likely recall the exchange between Vivian & Edward toward the end of the film.  Vivian, a prostitute, has spent the week with Edward, &, as is always the case when Hollywood glamorizes prostitution, Edward has fallen in love with Vivian & offers to get her an apartment, which he claims will, "get her off the streets,"  to which she replies, "That's just geography."

I thought about that statement when I was in Dillard's Tuesday, & when I was sleeping upstairs at my parents' house Friday night, lying there at midnight wondering if Trey had checked Reagan's number.  Did he fall asleep & forget?  Did he check & the number was fine, so he opted not to text me?  Should I text him?  Should I call?  There are some things that don't change, that you can't change, no matter where you are, no matter how far you travel.  Vivian feels she can't escape her prostitute label.  Reagan will always be diabetic, & I will always be her mom; I will always be worried about her number, whether she's in the next room sleeping, or at her grandparents' house, whether she's in the buggy with me at the grocery store, or at home with a grandmother while I am struggling with swimsuits in the dressing room at Dillard's.  I enjoy my time alone, & the occasional nights alone, I do, but I could fly to China, or the moon, & never outrun the diabetes, which is, again, why I'm determined to feel challenged, rather than defeated, by the A1C.  Vivian is wrong, by the way; she can walk away, though maybe she needs the 1990 version of Richard Gere to convince her.       

I'll end by answering the question I know is on your mind, what am I reading?  The book club's May book is Nobody's Cuter Than You, a memoir about friendship by Melanie Shankle, whose blog I read regularly & whose books are quick, easy, & hilarious reads with a sprinkling of deep thoughts.  So, I knocked it out in a day or so a few weeks ago because I knew I needed to begin climbing the mountain I've agreed to scale this summer.

A few weeks ago when my sister drove over for my sister-in-law's wedding, she brought these with her:

These are the seven books that comprise the Harry Potter series.  I stare four & five down daily, which are obviously monstrous in size, & I may or may not say (aloud), I. am. coming. for. you.  

It's slow going right now.  I've read book one, but I didn't read it quickly.  It's easy reading, but I am just not in love with Harry Potter yet.  Throw my kids in the mix, & if I don't fall in love with a character, he quickly falls by the wayside. 

I made a decision to finish Gilmore girls after I've read Harry Potter, although I admit I do watch an episode now & then.  I may dally my way through season six this summer when I need a reading break, & then make a strong push to knock out seven, the final season, after I finish Harry Potter.  It's a loosely constructed timetable; I'll naturally keep you apprised of any changes because I know you care so much.

What's pulling me away from Harry Potter at the moment is not the Gilmore girls.  You may recall it was about this time last year that I began my affair with Alexander, my Russian soldier.  This links to what turned out to be the first of several posts in which I discuss The Bronze Horesman.  If I didn't talk you into reading it last summer & you're considering reading the book now, that post contains a brief overview of the book.  If you're really on the fence about it, let me know & next week I'll be happy to bombard you with amazing, lengthy quotes from the book.    

Oh okay, you talked me into it.  This is a description of Alexander I kind of love a lot:

A bus came.  The solider turned away from her and walked toward it.  Tatiana watched him.  Even his walk was from another world; the step was too sure, the stride too long, yet somehow it all seemed right, looked right, felt right.  It was like stumbling on a book you thought you had lost.  Ah, yes, there it is.

*Annnnd exhale.*

Isn't that simile about a book just the best?

And, in keeping with today's geography theme (because Russian geography has a major role in The Bronze Horseman), a description of Tatiana:  

Tatiana was order.  She was finite matter in infinite space.  Tatiana was the standard-bearer for the flag of grace and valor that she carried forward with bounty and perfection in herself, the flag Alexander had followed sixteen-hundred kilometers east to the Kama River, to the Ural Mountains, to Lazarevo.
No, I don't know how many miles = sixteen-hundred kilometers.  Yes, I know, Lazarevo is the most wonderful name for a tiny Russian village, &, *spoiler alert,* much loveliness occurs in Lazarevo; it is their Eden (& by the time you, & Alexander, & Tatiana make it there, well, you all deserve some loveliness).

Needless to say, this being the one year anniversary of Alexander coming into my life, I am really wanting to reread The Bronze Horseman.  I am a very seasonally oriented person, & with school ending, ushering in the lazy days of summer, I'm remembering fondly the nights I stayed up engrossed in the story of young Alexander & his Russian love, Tatiana, whom he meets as Hitler is pushing into the Soviet Union (which, if you don't know, was on June 22, 1941).  With all that on my mind, this eleven-year-old wizard boy seems kind of dull.

I'm going to forge ahead.  Obviously the Harry Potter books are popular for a reason, & so I am plowing through Harry's awkward pubescent years hoping I'll eventually meet a teenage boy I can love with my whole heart (and here's to you, Mrs. Robinson . . . ).  I can see that Rowling is a genius.  She's perhaps the best I've read at world-building, but the world she's building is not captivating me just yet.  I hope it does soon, because these last few nights my battle cry has been Give me Alexander!, or give me sleep.  

A friend reminded me of what my sister has told me before, that after book three, things get dark for Harry.  I like dark; I need a little darkness in what I read (like Hitler, or a contest where children kill children, or a vampire boyfriend who might kiss you or kill you).  So, I am holding out for an older, emotionally complicated, darker Harry Potter who must be able to keep me up at night if books four & five are to be read cover to cover (six & seven aren't short, either!).    

I assume I made no one cry today.  I can't imagine that I did, other than maybe someone with swimsuit shopping anxiety, or perhaps someone who loves Harry Potter so much they can't bear to read that I prefer a tall Russian solider with an amazing backstory to this wizard boy. 

I hope your Memorial Day is wonderful.  Mine will be spent torn between my kids, an eleven-year-old wizard in training, & a soldier named Alexander who has so much on his plate (metaphorically that is, what with Hitler blockading all the food) he doesn't deserve the cold shoulder from me.  

And hey, how about some props for me for a post in which Pretty Woman, the Hunger Games series, the Twilight series, the Harry Potter series, The Bronze Horseman, The Graduate, Simon & Garfunkel, & the Eagles are either alluded to or directly referenced?

*enjoys mental image of readers slow-clapping*

Thank you.  We'll chat, the Lord willing, in June.   


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