Friday, April 11, 2014


1. There's nothing like an immaculate (well, at least, much cleaner) front room to make you want to sigh happily and rest on your laurels instead of continuing down your To Do list and tackling the pile of paper sitting behind me of stuff from school that needs to go in this year's binders. In fact, the room is so clean, when Miranda walked in, she asked me if our cleaning lady had come today. I have to say I was a little offended, as if I can't clean off the table and vacuum by myself. But she's right; it hasn't happened much lately. I generally start the day intending to clean off the table (it's a dining table in our front room that doubles as a dining room, my office and the entry to the rest of the house, including a coat closet off to the side) and end the day reconciling myself to the fact I made a little headway through the piles and try to ignore the drops of maple syrup that decorate the places where the children sit for breakfast that have hardened into cement. (On school mornings, both children have pancakes for breakfast.) I gave up on table cloths sometime in the winter because Alex was forever pulling it half-way off so he could have a hard surface to write or draw on, which looks even messier because it would stay that way for at least a week. Before that we tried plastic place mats but he was forever peeling off the laminate, so those are all hidden in a cabinet somewhere, at least, the ones that survived. I have a drawer full of cloth place mats; maybe I should unearth them.

I did manage quite a bit of my To Do list this week and got back into walking regularly (so lovely to have cooperative weather!) so I'm feeling pleased. Also, the kids are spending tomorrow afternoon at my parents' so Marshall and I can go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier together. I'm trying to remember the last film we saw together. (Checks list). It was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in January. Yes, I know, we're pathetic. It was a rough winter.

2. So, since we're off to see Cappy tomorrow, that means we're all caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Yes, I can confirm that in the last week, we've watched 10 episodes. We enjoy the complicated plotting and tons of unanswered questions but it does explain why it isn't overwhelmingly popular. You really need to start at the beginning of the show to understand all the nuances. Still, the acting is good, the guest stars are fun and I want to see what happens next. But we're starting to call it the Farscape Syndrome. After S01E18 of Farscape, it was very difficult to follow the action and characters if you didn't have all the background. Now, for myself, I started watching Farscape in the summer of 2001 when it was halfway through Season 3 so I managed to be fascinated without understanding everything. And the Scifi channel helpfully ran Seasons 1 & 2 every weekday evening after the end of Season 3, so we did get caught up eventually.

But catching up on on TV series just reminds me of all the other unfinished series littering my DVR. The advantage of a 2 terabyte drive is that I can collect video almost at will but the disadvantage is that sometimes it sits there for years, unwatched, because I hate finishing things. For example, the series finale of Awake aired May 24, 2012, and I've yet to watch it, or the two episodes before it. I haven't seen the finales of either Lie to Me or The Chicago Code, even though I liked the shows. But it's not just the canceled series that are difficult for me to finish. I haven't watched an episode of Castle, NCIS, or Sherlock yet this year. Sure, I've spent the time watching baseball or tennis or reading lots of good books. But I still have anxiety about finishing these series. I guess my brain finds more comfort in the unknown than in the possibility of disappointment (either because the series doesn't end well or because even if it does, there won't be any more). I am notorious for hating cliff hangers so much that if I know a season is going to end with a cliff hanger, I will wait until the new season premieres to watch the previous season's finale. Or, if it's a 2 parter from Doctor Who, Marshall has learned by now we're going to finish the story, no matter how late at night it might be at that moment. This would also explain why I haven't read the last two Percy Jackson books and am waiting until October when The Blood of Olympus comes out to play catch up. Or, at least, that's what I'm telling myself. It's probably telling that I didn't discover Percy Jackson until reading a book review for The Last Olympian, book 5 of the first Percy series. I feel like Inigo Montoya: "I hate waiting."

I'm going to try, in the coming months, to pick something each month to finish. One thing. It's probably cheating to count Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for April, so I'll pick Awake.

3. Alex had a very anxious week. I think it was blow back from saying good-bye on Saturday to Truman and the Fenglers, but I have no idea if that's why. We did make the changes to his meds recommended by the new psychiatrist (an increase in his AD/HD med and exchanging his Zyrtec for Cyproheptadine in hopes of increasing his appetite) and are cautiously optimistic. He is at least eating more. But I have the challenge of integrating yet another physician into our web of advice. The kids see one set of pediatricians for sick visits and our GP for ADD or AD/HD medical advice and now we're folding in the psychiatrist for more specialized medication advice. I want to continue to see all of them because each brings something valuable to the table but it is a complicated challenge.

Miranda will meet the psychiatrist on Monday. Our focus for her is a possible ODD diagnosis. She certainly has the behaviors and we need help helping her get unstuck when she's dug herself a hole and fallen in.

4. The great thing, though, is that Monday after we see the shrink, we get to go back to my parents' house and visit with my brother Brandon and his wife and daughter. They are staying here for 3 days on their way to France and I'm really looking forward to spending time with them. My kids adore their cousins, all of them, but especially the younger ones since I've insisted there will be no more siblings for them. Here's hoping for lots of adorable pictures.

5. Speaking (writing) of adorable pictures, Miranda's school pictures came home yesterday and they are amazingly good, despite the fact that I once again forgot to dress her in something photogenic. Yes, I wrote myself a note and reminded myself several times the day before, and still forgot.

Here's last year's adorable debacle:

and then this year's offering.

Remarkably handsome child.

6. I did manage to do some gardening this week. My purple hyacinths were looking ratty so I bought seven new pots of them and planted them in the gaps. I forgot to take a before picture, but here's the happy after one.

The darker flowers are the new ones. My hostas are just starting to come up so I've already warned my father that he'll be getting a large pile of them in about a week. If I don't cut them back every year, they try to take over the world. And my father was kind enough to come over and trim my roses so they won't be going haywire this year, but I still need to give them the rose food. And I promised to radically cut back the butterfly bushes before they start blooming. But gardening makes me happy, especially when I indulge my compulsions and dig wild onions out of the lawn. There's nothing so satisfying as putting them in the trash can by the handful.

7. I gave up on Intelligence and The Blacklist a few weeks ago and deleted them from the DVR. The former because the writing was so awful even the pretty visuals and good actors couldn't make the show palatable. The latter because the body count was awfully high and I have enough difficulty stomaching Justified for that reason. Besides, I think Alias did twists and mysteries better.

Don't miss Jen this week. She's very funny.

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