Friday, June 29, 2012


I kind of feel like Chloe gets overlooked sometimes.  She is the middle child, after all.  But, she's my middle child, and she's just so gosh-darn cute, and I hate that I am guilty of the overlooking on occasion.

And she just says the cutest things!


We saw a mommy duck with her five little ducklings, and then we noticed the daddy duck fishing not too far away.  Joel started asking the kids if they knew why the male duck is brightly colored and the female duck isn't.  After a rousing conversation with the girls, Chloe piped up,

"And pecans are the same!  The girl pecans are just brown, but the boys are all different sorts of colors!"

Luckily, she can laugh at herself, and I kind of think there's going to be a new family joke here.  Too bad blue pecans don't exist.


We were out shopping, and we came upon a product that had "LOL-Laugh Out Loud" on it.  Chloe looked at it for a while and then said,

"I never knew it stood for Laugh Out Loud!  I always thought it meant Little Old Lady!"



Chloe checked out a book at the library last weekend about fun craft projects to make for your garden (or something like that).  She is dying to make a fairy house, which involves altering a birdhouse with moss and sticks and such so that the fairies can live in it.

We had to go to the store to buy one of those decorate-it-youself wooden birdhouses, and on the way home, the following conversation took place:

Chloe:  "Mom, did you know there are already three fairies living in this house?"

Sophia:  "Fairies aren't real, Chloe."

Chloe:  "Fairies ARE real, Sophia!  And one of them just died because you said that.  Every time you say that fairies don't exist you kill one."

Sophia:  "Daddy, are fairies real?"

Joel: (who hadn't been paying attention in the first place) "No."

Chloe:  "You just killed another one of my fairies, Dad.  Great."

So, be careful what you say about fairies, because we want Chloe's fairy house to have inhabitants.


A friend of mine has been cleaning out her craft room and she gave me and the girls a lot of fun glitter and beads and glue and fabric and ribbon and other exciting stuff today.  Chloe was having a blast going through all of it when we got it home, and she found a box of tiny little things.  A tiny little telephone, a tiny little bird, and lots of other tiny little trinkets.

If you know Chloe, you might know that she has quite a fondness for tiny little things, which is why she has a gigantic collection of Littlest Pet Shops.  She ran into the living room with her newfound treasures and proclaimed,

"I find this box ever so sweet!!!"

And Chloe, we find YOU ever so sweet.

Please stay that way forever.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Thirteen years ago today, I married the love of my life.
To celebrate such a momentous occasion, we drove to Marquette for orthodontist appointments.
And since our three beautiful daughters are the greatest thing that the two of us have accomplished in these thirteen years (even if their teeth aren't perfect), we spent the day exploring with them.  We walked halfway to the lighthouse out on Presque Isle (I wouldn't let them go further, much to their chagrin) and found hundreds of beautiful rocks on the beach.  We also went shopping, which is something we have to do in Marquette since they have these amazing things called stores there.  Like Target, Menard's, and Michael's.
We did manage to arrange some babysitting for the three princesses while we headed off to an anniversary dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant.  We couldn't have gone there without a gift card from some dear friends, and even after that generous gift we paid much more than we usually do on a night out to dinner.  But, thirteen years, you know.  It's something to celebrate. And it was absolutely worth it.

Thirteen years, and he's still the love of my life. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Opera Chorus Maids Go on Tour

a.k.a.  Esoteric humor at its finest.

a.k.a.  When the chorus only has to be on stage for a cumulative 15 minutes in a 3-hour opera, much mischief is "maid."

The music festival which I am involved with is a traveling festival, and tries to take its shows to most of the larger towns in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  This year, Cosi Fan Tutte, a comedic opera by Mozart took the UP by storm, starting in Iron Mountain.

We stayed in Iron Mountain for three days.  Luckily, my two eldest children were on a Girl Scout trip to Green Bay during this time.  Unluckily, I didn't get to go with them this year.  I always love chaperoning the Girl Scout trips, but at least I didn't have to worry too much about childcare for them.  Sophia got to stay with a friend and she basically had the time of her life going to parades and the beach and jumping on the trampoline.

Meanwhile, The Maestro and I were stuck in the Iron Mountain Motel 6 whenever we weren't at the theatre sitzprobing or rehearsing.  Also, most of the other cast members and orchestra musicians were put up at the Motel 6 where it reeked of cat urine and smoke.  And our room had a lovely iron burn right in the middle of the floor, yet there was no iron to be found until we called the front desk and found out they keep them there.  Weird.  Possibly because people kept burning their carpet with them.

My fellow maid has a wickedly creative sense of humor and excellent PowerPoint skills (yes, PowerPoint!), and so began our series of "The Maids Go on Tour."
Then we headed to Marquette, where we perform in the middle school auditorium.  This isn't as bad as it sounds, as the school was built 100 years ago and the auditorium is gorgeous.  The only real downside is using the lunch room as our dressing room, where peanuts are banned and the men are only separated from the women by upended lunch tables with blue blankets on top.
And last night, we finally closed at another historic theatre, this one only 20 minutes away from home.  However, the fire hall is actually in the theatre--I suppose those 19th century builders were excellent at multi-tasking.  And so are the opera chorus maids, if you must know.
Yes, I am holding a vacuum attachment.  Don't even ask.

And yes, we took all of these photos right in the middle of the opera, in all that downtime we had.

And I totally understand if you don't think it's as funny as we do.  I understand that maybe you had to be there.  I still wanted to make sure it was on the blog, because just in case I ever get around to making one of those blog books, I want the Maids' (mis)Adventures to be immortalized for my posterity.

But, it wasn't all fun and games and fighting fires--here's another photo the whole opera chorus took.  Kenton is the 12-year old son of a friend of mine (Bria's age!), and he was just diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia last week.  He will be spending several months up in Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City as he goes through chemotherapy and battles the cancer.  Friends of Deb's have put together Team Kenton, and people from all over are sending in photos to cheer Kenton on in his new reality.  I know that Deb and Kenton would love a picture from you, if you feel so moved.  Check it out!

In case you're wondering, the whirlwind of opera tour means that no, my children have not done many chores or practiced much.  And they are, in fact, watching a movie on the iPad as I type this, even though I haven't heard a single note of practicing this morning.  My house is a disaster (where are those darn maids when I need them?)(probably off taking silly photos), and I am exhausted.

Next week, we're back on the wagon, and I can hardly wait.  Of course, I'm in another show in three weeks, but we just won't think about that just yet.  One day at a time...

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How I Know I Married a Musician: Part 6

We've been traveling a lot lately for the music festival/opera.  A couple days ago, as we were driving back home from spending three days on the road for rehearsals and performances, Joel was wondering why the car behind him never bothered to try and pass us.  He checked the speedometer and declared:

We're going at a really good tempo, I guess they like it.

Parts 1-5

Monday, June 18, 2012

Movers, Dreamers, and Risk-Takers

I'm a wee bit late posting this book review.  I have lots of reasons.  I was out of town all weekend for the sitzprobe, piano tech, dress rehearsal, and opening night of the opera I am currently in.  Oh, do you want to see a picture?
Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart.  It's awesome, and if you're local you really should come and see it.  And if it's not already evident to you, I'm a maid.  And I am brilliant.  Especially since the chorus only has to sing about 12 minutes of the entire 3 hours.

Anyway, we had to stay in a motel all weekend and I hardly slept a wink.  Then I had hoped to sleep today as much as I could, but that was thwarted because I had to go to physical therapy on my foot in the morning and then teach a few lessons.

And-oh!  It's The Maestro's birthday today.  So, that meant I actually had to cook him dinner and bake him a cake.  And of course he chose his favorite meal in the world: his mother's famous chicken noodle soup (he really should have been born in the fall).  I have never actually made this particular soup before, so it took a while.  And I had to shop for the ingredients and stuff.

So, anyway.  That's why this review is a bit late.  So, it's a super good thing that this book is all about ADHD, because, let's be perfectly honest, the real reason this review is late is because of my ADD (I am not lucky enough to have the H).

Had I not been frantically trying to read the book backstage this weekend, and actually planned ahead and finished the book in advance, this review might have been on time.  Had I actually asked my husband what he wanted for his birthday dinner before this morning, I might have been a bit more prepared for that and still gotten this review up on time.  Had I actually tried to go to bed on time instead of surfing the web until 2 am, even though I always have a doozy of a time sleeping in beds that are not my own, this review would have been up on time.

Or so all the non-ADD people in the world would tell me.  But they'd be wrong.  Because I would have found fifteen other reasons to procrastinate, and then fifteen more after that.  I am the queen of procrastinating.

"Procrastination, although often an annoying and self-sabotaging behavior, can serve to increase cerebral arousal.  ADHDers often talk about needing intensity in order to get motivated to work.  While it may always seem like an unproductive behavior, leaving things until the last minute creates a crisis, which then creates the levels of neurotransmitters and cerebral arousal needed to stimulate the brain enough to focus on the task.  This is why many ADHDers function well in jobs that require crisis and intensity."        ~Kevin Roberts

The fact is, I have ADD.  I hate that it has the word "disorder" in its name, and this book has reaffirmed for me that it is simply a different way of processing the world, not a disorder.  There is nothing wrong with me, but I know I can be frustrating to, say, my very not-ADD husband and mother.  I have managed to develop a ton of coping skills throughout my life, and have been pretty successful in school, but let's not forget that I studied music.  And I totally winged my way through high school by the seat of my pants, which is just a fancy way of saying I did not learn normal study skills.

This book is a great read for anyone who either has ADHD or has an ADHDer in their life.  I love the thorough look Kevin Roberts (an ADHDer himself) gives on the topic.  I had my pen out and underlined so many words of wisdom.  I especially liked the chapter on tools for helping those with ADHD. Too often, well-meaning parents and teachers will simply try to force the ADHDer to conform to planning and organization, and it backfires.  Kevin Roberts gives many ideas for helping an ADHDer in ways that make sense to the ADD way of thinking.

Really, it's just about learning to understand the many different learning and thinking styles we have, ADHD being just one of them.  To stop trying to make every person fit into the same box and accept that we all have different ways of processing the world.

Do you have an ADHDer in your life?  Are you one yourself?  Read this book.  I have one copy to give away, comment on this post and I will put you in the running.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scales before Screens

Sophia working on Song of the Wind this morning.

So, here's the scoop on electronics and practicing...

I hate, HATE, hate (and yes, I am aware that hate is a strong word) the way my children are so easily drawn into screens. Their eyes glaze over, their ears stop working, and they turn into little zombies while watching a movie or playing on the iPhone/iPad/Wii/Computer. I don't mind a little screen time--but my children seem to take after their father and me and that means that it's too easy to get obsessed and end up on the couch in a catatonic state with drool sliding out of the corner of your mouth while playing Fruit Ninja on the iPod.  Really.  We are all or nothing sort of people.   And we're working on it, but in the meanwhile, we also need to help our children work on it.

During the school year, I do not allow electronics Monday through Thursday.  It just eats into our time too much, and homework and practicing and chores and eating dinner don't get done.  On Friday, the kids often come home from school, run upstairs to the TV room and stay there until midnight.  I do not love that, but it was kind of the consequence for not allowing it all during the week.  Much like they ate everything in sight during spring break, they also rarely come up for air from various electronic devices on school holidays.  See?  I told you we were all or nothing kind of people.

So, I was trying to figure out how to successfully place limits this summer when my friend Erin posted on Facebook about what she was doing to limit electronics at her house: One minute of screen time for every minute her children practiced the piano. Obviously, I stole that brilliant idea from her faster than you can say Super Mario Brothers 3.

So that's it. For every minute they practice their instruments in the morning, they get a minute of electronics. In general. Sometimes they can have more, like maybe for our insanely long car trip this summer. They can also save up their minutes for a huge electronics binge if they want to. But they still have to practice every day and do their chores and reading before their eyes can so much as glance at a screen.

It's working pretty well, so far. There has been absolutely no complaining about practicing, and that alone makes me over the moon happy. Of course, we're only three days in, but I think it's a good sign.

Chloe said that it should count for Joel and me, too. No screen time for Mom and Dad unless we also practiced. I thought that was fair enough, and so the only reason I'm allowed to be blogging right now is because I spent three hours at opera rehearsal today. And since I doubt I'll actually spend three hours online today, I totally have tons of minutes saved up!

Go me!


P.S.  When I was working on cleaning out my office last night (which is in its typical end-of-the-school-year horrifying state), I found my old friend Walking Into a Hug. I then guiltily remembered that I have been trying to blog about (and actually DO) this project for nearly two years now and flipped it open to see what the next task was, and wouldn't you know it? It was Turn Off.

"Turn off or limit the television, computer games, videos, the Internet, and other electronic gadgets."

So, this post totally counts for Project Walking into a Hug, and we'll see how the rest of the summer fares in getting through the rest of this project! Someday I will finish it!! I did find my book, after all.

Here's to not having zombies for children this summer.  Or ever.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Have Self-Reliant Kids This Summer

Looking for summer activities for kids that will help them learn self-reliance?

Summer reading ideas for kids

Here are three ways we are taming the summer chaos by teaching kids to be more self-reliant this summer.

Today was the first official day of our summer. And of course, the first day of summer brings with it all of Mom's crazy ideas to keep it fun and productive.

Last year, I went easier than usual on the girls.  No workbooks or music theory, and a fairly simple chore system. The biggest thing I tried to make them do was read 12 books each, which only Sophia (the one who couldn't even read at the time) actually accomplished.

Don't get me wrong, last year's system worked pretty well, and I was happy enough with the results.  But it did have its flaws, and this year I'm hoping to fix them by teaching my kids to be more self-reliant. They are old enough now that I shouldn't have to hover over them all summer and I also think they will enjoy themselves more if they learn to be in charge of their own schedules while still doing things like chores, music practice, and reading.
Summer activities for kids that will help encourage self-reliance and productivity

3 Ways to Tame the Summer Chaos and Have More Self-Reliant Kids


Last year, the girls cleaned their rooms and the playroom and then drew two jobs out of the chore bucket. These were jobs that need to be done on a weekly-ish basis, like mopping floors and cleaning baseboards. What I noticed was that the house was still always a wreck, and despite the fact that the girls diligently did their jobs, I was the one doing the bulk of the cleaning.


I decided to be a little meaner this year. (And when I say "mean" I just mean that I am going to require a little more from them this summer.)

chore charts for summer.

We've been using these clipboards this school year for the girls to stick any important papers that come home in their backpacks for my review. This summer, they are the new-and-improved chore chart.

Every morning when the girls come downstairs, they will find their chores for the day on the clipboard—PLUS they still have to draw two sticks out of the chore bucket. Each girl will be in charge of cleaning one whole room in the house, and I have left detailed instructions for that room.

For instance, today Chloe was in charge of cleaning the dining room.  Here is what her paper said:

1.      Put away anything that is on the tables in its proper place
2.      Clean underneath the big table.  Put everything away where it goes
3.      Clean off radiator.  Put things away
4.      Straighten side table, make sure all fruit is in basket.
5.      Wipe down table, side table and radiator
6.      Make sure the linens under the side table are folded nicely
7.      Sweep the floor
8.      Move chairs into living room and vacuum the carpet under the table
9.      Put chairs back, nicely
10.  Turn on Scentsy candle
I started doing these detailed lists for Saturday jobs a couple months ago and it was such a DUH moment for me. I couldn't believe how much better the girls did at cleaning by themselves, with little help from me. And I couldn't believe how I didn't have to nag them and tell them to do things over again at all. I also couldn't believe how excited they were to check off each item on the lists. So, we will do lists like these nearly every day in the summer. And it will be AWESOME.

They also have a little slip of paper with a few easy jobs. Obvious stuff like making their beds or little things around the house that need to be done but aren't in the chore bucket.

Get some printable chore lists for common rooms in the home here: Printable Cleaning Checklists


Last year I assigned them each 12 books. I handed them their stacks of books, and I pretty much never saw those books again. I know some of them were read, because I saw them do it, but I know that not all of them were. I also know that Chloe started several of her books, but never finished them for various reasons. Usually because she couldn't find her books anymore.


This year I decided to go a little easier on the reading load. I asked Bria and Chloe how many books they thought they could read this summer. Bria said 8 or 9 and Chloe said 6 or 7. So that is what I gave them. I figure that if they finish them, they can choose their own reading material for the rest of the summer. Actually, they can read whatever they want—the books that are in the bins are things I think they would like or new genres I'd like them to try, but they are not required to read them at all. I just want them reading, and they were so excited about the books in the bins that I think this will work wonderfully!

Summer reading bins

To ensure that we don't lose books in the middle of reading them (or that Chloe doesn't anyway), they each have a bin to store them in. Those bins live in my office and they can put the book away when they are finished reading for the day. If they want to read at night, that's totally fine with me, they will just have to find the book if it gets lost under their bed or behind their nightstand or whatever other weird place they decided to read it.

While we are looking at this picture, how's about I tell you what their books are for the year? I got ideas from a list I found online, but has since been taken down. I bought each girl two new books (Joel didn't win an Amazon GC this year, so I couldn't do more than that, darn it!) and used the list to see what I already have in my library, which was quite enough to round out their bins, I assure you!

Bria's summer reading (age 11 going into 7th grade):

Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Enna Burning by Shannon Hale  (She ADORED The Goose Girl last summer)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Animal Farm by George Orwell
A Dog's Purpose by  W. Bruce Cannon

Chloe's summer reading (age 9 going into 4th grade):

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Tuck Everlasting by Natlaie Babbitt
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (Yes, this is carrying over from last year)
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate diCamillo  (Also carried over...)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Sophia's summer reading (age 5 going into 1st grade):

Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Empty Pot by Demi
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

These were all books on the first grade list. I also put a whole bunch of easy readers and Dr. Seuss in her bin as she is doing well reading on her own at that level. In fact, she read 13 books by herself today, so I may be combing the shelves again by next week to find more. And, of course, we always have the library.

And, ohmigosh, this post is getting to be a lot long. But, bear with me, because I have more!

Find more summer reading lists here: Summer Reading Lists for Kids


Last summer, as well as every other summer in the history of our family, the girls eat us out of house and home just because they are home and not necessarily occupied every single second of the day like they are at school. When this happened again over spring break a couple months ago, I came up with an idea to (hopefully) solve the issue.


Instead of just getting to have a gorilla bar (thanks to Sophia, this is what we call granola bars around here) or a Gogurt or a string cheese or some crackers or whatever whenever they asked, they each have a bin (I just love bins, don't you?) with their snacks for the week in it.  These are, of course, things that don't need to be refrigerated. Any refrigerated items, like cheese and Gogurts, are in the fridge in a plastic bag with their names on it.

Tired of your kids eating everything in sight all summer? Make the summer snacks last longer with this great snack box idea.

They can eat this food whenever they want.  I don't care if it's all gone on Monday, but they can't ask for more. The one exception is that they can have fruit whenever they like, though that is also gone when it is gone.  (Oh, and don't you love my stylish 70's carpet-covered shelves in my basement stairway?  Neither do I.)  Also, Joel bought a box of ice-cream bars, and there is a chart on the fridge for those. They just check off theirs as they eat them.  Technically, they get one per day, but it is Monday and Sophia has already eaten all of hers. C'est la Vie!

See what we've done with snack bins in later years here: Summer Snack Bins

Today went like an absolute dream. All of these things were designed to help them be a bit more self-sufficient, and I think it worked wonderfully.

Bria came down and practiced (I guess I'll talk about practicing in another post as this one is already a novel and if you're still here I'm totally impressed) at 8:00 this morning, then got to work on her jobs. The other two ate breakfast and started on their jobs while Bria practiced, but right at 9:00 Chloe got her practice time and at 9:45, Sophia did. Everybody managed to complete their jobs in a completely satisfactory manner with very little help from yours truly. This is especially amazing because remember how I've been a bit of an invalid this last week? And when a mommy can't walk without screaming in pain, not much housework gets done. Add to that an insane last week of school kind of schedule and you really didn't want to see the state of my bathroom or kitchen.

We got the kitchen done last night, but I assigned the most awful rooms to the girls this morning (Bria made that bathroom sparkle!) and they did an amazing job. They then happily did their reading out on the back deck while I taught a lesson, and then they have had the rest of the day to do whatever they wanted, though electronics usage is on a tighter schedule than usual (more on that later, too).

My main goal has been self-reliance and independence this year, and I really tried to keep that in mind as I "designed" our summer this year. 

Now, if every day this summer can be as good as today was, I will be one happy Mama!

Summer reading

Friday, June 08, 2012

Bring On Summer!!!

School is O-U-T!  And not a moment too soon, either.

Yesterday was Sophia's very last day of Kindergarten.  I'm still a little sniffly and sentimental about that because she's my last one.  And that kind of kills me.

Still, she's pretty much the cutest Kindergarten Graduate ever, wouldn't you agree?

When she started Kindergarten last year, she had just lost one of her top teeth.  Now she's got them all grown in plus a bunch more. And yes, she's going to have a million orthodontal problems, thanks for asking!

Not only did her teeth grow, but she did.  For comparison, see her first day of school pictures here.  Doesn't that just kill you?  No?  Well it kills me.  I'm dead.

IMG_3745 Sophia last day 12 web
She had two really great teachers this year, one was her main teacher and the other was the aide.  But the aide took over in late April because the main teacher had a baby and was out for maternity leave for the rest of the year.

Sophia and Ms. Y.
IMG_3754 Last Day 12 web
Sophia and Mrs. M. and her new baby!
IMG_3755 Last day 12 web

Chloe and Bria had their last day of school today.

Chloe is finished with the third grade!  And she desperately needs a haircut, poor thing who inherited her mothers unruly mane.

IMG_3760 Last day 12 web
Of course, she grew a whole bunch this year, too.  (Why do kids insist on doing that?)  Her first day of school pictures are here and her hair is almost as unruly as it is today, but not quite.  Somehow we care more on the first day than we do the last.
IMG_3758 Last day 12 ewb
Chloe, of course, also had a very good teacher.  We're so thankful for good teachers!
IMG_3766 last day 12 web

And Bria has successfully completed her first year of middle school.  This perhaps kills me more than the Kindergarten thing, but I haven't quite decided which is worse.  It doesn't matter really, since either way, I'm dead.
IMG_3762 last day 12 web
And, seriously?  Just when I thought this child couldn't grow anymore, she grew some more.  Here are her first day of school pictures for comparison.  She has thinned out and really looks like a young woman now instead of a little girl.  Of course, she turns twelve very soon and will actually be a young woman, so that's probably okay.  But I don't have to like it, do I?  Although, if I'm being honest, I do like it.  Bria is absolutely deLIGHTful right now.  She is just the best kid ever and I'm so glad she's mine.  Even if she insists on going to the freaking seventh grade next year.
IMG_3764 last day 12 web
And since I'm pretty sure that it's uncouth to take pictures of my student and all of her middle school teachers, I just took a picture of her walking into school.  I suppose that counts.
IMG_3765 last day 12 web
I wasn't sure how to deal with teacher gifts for middle school...that's a lot of gifts!  But we went with Joel's famously yummy white chocolate popcorn with M&Ms.  She's got six bags of it in that great big red bag there.  That's what we gave the elementary specials teachers as well, and their main elementary teachers got Scentsy warmers this year.  I wasn't super creative with any of it, and my friend actually did all the pretty packaging for me while I convalesced with my gimpy foot.  (Which is doing much better now, thanks for asking, though I still have a slight limp and enough swelling I can't wear shoes.)

And now for summer!  I have big plans, as usual, but I have been a bit derailed this past week.  And the opera opens a week from Sunday so I am a little crazed right now, but I'm still so very happy that it is summer.

Bring it on.

Monday, June 04, 2012

It's Official: I Really Am Falling Apart!

About five years ago, I worried I was falling apart. I found myself with thyroid issues, PCOS, PMS, plantar fasciitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. it hurt to walk, it hurt to do anything with my right hand, I was exhausted and irritable, and I felt like killing the whole world. OK, so maybe I only wanted to kill people about one day a month, but I was still in pretty bad shape.

Now, I really don't like going to doctors. I avoid it like the plague. I would rather suffer through an illness than go get a prescription. So, that summer five years ago, I did a lot of Internet research on all of my issues, and saw a doctor for the thyroid and hormone problems (but only because my mother made me). I cured my carpal tunnel by wearing a wrist brace, limiting computer use, and taking Omega 3 supplements. I cured my plantar fasciitis by wearing high heeled shoes as often as possible and doing some good stretches. Seriously, the fasciitis doesn't bother me at all anymore and the carpal tunnel only flares occasionally.

With the help of a doctor I started to get the other stuff under control, and while I haven't always felt wonderful, I felt pretty good.

Until a couple months ago. Now I'm just falling apart all over again, only it's so much worse this time!

I don't even know where to begin, and this time I've had to actually see doctors in the plural ugh

First, my thyroid started really acting up. When I realized that the thing was beginning to take over my entire neck, I headed to see my endocrinologist. He verified that it was indeed pretty big, but I wasn't going to win any awards for it or anything. At least THAT was good news! As it turns out, I have Hashimoto's, which is an auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks the thyroid. My doctor off-handedly mentioned that I might want to go gluten-free because gluten intolerance is often linked with Hashimoto's.

So, I went home to do my customary research on the Internet and, due to all the information I found, went gluten-free right then and there. Within one week my thyroid was back to normal size. That made me a believer and I haven't looked back, even though that's going to mean no pumpkin bars or pumpkin cookies for me ever again. (Just kidding, there's always GF flour)

But now my foot has been having some major issues. And it's not plantar fasciitis, either. It's something totally different and a million times more painful. It flares up every now and again, and this last flare up has lasted nearly a week and has been absolutely excruciating. My gym going has ground to a halt. I hobble around the house trying to do a bit of vacuuming or let the dog out. Mostly, I just lie around surfing the web or reading whilst trying to ignore my throbbing foot.

After some middle-of-the-night research, while up with a sick puppy ( baby had a violently adverse reaction to her first dosage of heart worm medication )(she is falling apart with me), I determined I must have gout, but in my heel. And then I proceeded to freak out. I finally went to see my podiatrist today, and he disagreed. He feels I have Achilles tendinitis. He gave me a shot, which took my pain from about a level 8 to maybe a 6, and I will be returning often for some therapy for a while. I just hope I can walk again by the time the opera opens in two weeks! I also hope I don't gain forty pounds because I'm no longer exercising.

Things were looking up, though! Sure, it still hurt quite a bit, but I was beginning to believe I wasn't actually falling apart, or that at least I was fixable.

But all of those hopes were completely dashed to (literal!) pieces when one of my molars broke in half during dinner tonight.

I'm just waiting for my head to fall off next.

Please excuse the myriad typos in this post, and possibly even the choppy train of thought. I wrote this while wincing in pain, lying in bed, on the iPad, which isn't super blogging friendly.