Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Herding Puppies is Harder Than Herding Cats

A Selection of Short Stories

Take Your Kids to Work Day, unofficial version:

On Friday I got a text from Tara saying she had a family emergency (dad in the hospital; he's now fine) and could I be home by 4 so she could drive to Dallas to be with him. Of course I responded, we'll make it work, but I was so busy and at a critical point in something I was writing, I asked if she could bring the kids to me instead. Surely adding my three generally well behaved children would be easier than packing up and trying to write from home, right? And I think it was, but 3 kids is just a lot of energy to bring to your federal government office at 4:00 on a Friday when the only people there are the ones who really have stuff to do.


The big kids brought their kindles and read fairly quietly in my guest chairs. Cora, needing to be like the big kids but not in possession of a kindle, also packed a little Lululemon bag with a blanket, sunglasses, and a small plastic gorilla. When she got to my office she spread out the blanket, sat down in the middle, donned the sunglasses (upside down, obvi), put her gorilla in her lap, and looked around expectantly for what would happen next. I believe she was disappointed, though she did borrow my blackberry to make a few important calls.

When I went to grab something from the printer, I returned to an empty office, only to find all three of my kids newly camped in a coworker's office, like they had just moved on after my 30-second abandonment.

After an hour I finished my memo, wrapped up another document, and logged out. Feeling productive and yet also totally exhausted, we stopped at Yucatan for dinner. My meal was in the form of semi-frozen tequila and lime. Cheers.

Parental Layover:

Then my parents came to town! Arriving just in time for my mom to attend my noon barre class (she rocked it) and leaving after brunch on Sunday, we packed in the fun and even the tiniest bit of shopping.

After barre, we cleaned up a bit, ate some of my Greek Quinoa Salad, and then headed out to the Japanese Gardens at our beautiful, local Botanic Gardens. Free, and located just a few miles up the road, we'd visited the Botanic Gardens many times, but somehow we'd never bothered to turn into this other driveway and enter the Japanese Gardens, which are not free, but well worth the price of admission.

Big trees, ponds, awesome bridges, big porches, beautiful landscaping, and also this koi who wants to eat your soul.

feeeeed me

Luckily, they also have fish pellets for your convenience.

We really enjoyed exploring/running at full speed down the paths. Also, since we had to take 2 cars, my mom and I accidentally stopped at Sephora on the way over where I talked her into buying an Urban Decay Naked palette and a few other goodies. Perfect warmup for some garden strolling.

Later, my parents took the kids out to dinner while James and I went out on a fancy date for his birthday at our very favorite place, Grace.


Dinner was amazing, as always, and I even branched out and ordered not-steak, though the bruleed goat cheese cheesecake OBVIOUSLY still remained on my heart and in my stomach. Best dessert ever.

James liked his food too, but refused to post for pictures with it.

And I was pleased with my eye makeup; made possible by the earlier stop at Sephora for a replacement Naked palette because I left mine in the Orangetheory bathroom (also where I dropped a $160 bottle of skin serum; I maybe just need to stop trying to get ready there) and never found it again. I've been spackling myself together with leftover eye shadow samples, but now I have my full neutral rainbow at my fingertips again. Paying for the makeup lesson for my birthday two years ago remains one of my better life choices.

After dinner we hung out with my parents a bit, swapping stories and making them watch John Oliver and SNL clips. On Sunday we went on our long walk through the neighborhood to our favorite park. Cora really took my dad under her wing, encouraging him through all the challenges of the big kid playground.

Come ON Papa!

Yay, Papa, yay!!

We ended with then treating us to a delicious birthday brunch at James's favorite place. We ate everything, said goodbye, and continued home to give the kids some nap/rest time before...

Family Pictures
(Aka: herding three deaf, ADHD puppies who don't recognize English or you, generally, and omg just SIT. STAY. DAMMIT.):

Family pictures on Sunday night! Always a favorite of mine, never a favorite of anyone else's. We've had some outtakes, but also many many other shoots that I simply adore and don't care if everyone else found tortuous. I do a lot for this family and I'm allowed to ask for one hour back. Except, apparently, when I'm not.

They weren't bad, exactly, they were just... puppies. Like scampering about, hiding behind hedges, running along walkways, literally climbing on top of each other... puppies. Like herding cats but actually worse because puppies are so JOYFUL about the fact they're flagrantly ignoring you. At one point Landon and Claire just disappeared. The photographer and James and I were spread out calling for them and finally found them around the back of the building where they'd gone "to explore." The idea of a family picture containing all five members of the family in the same frame was SUPER CONFUSING.

In the end, I think we got some beautiful shots, and my goal this time around was really to get some nice portraits of each kid on their own. They'd get to pick the place and the poses and just have a few minutes with the photographer to be themselves (which is how we lost L&C). And I think we got that. And I even think we got some nice family shots. But OMFG when we sat down on the grass together after successfully negotiating Cora's chosen placement (NEXT TO YAYA MAMA) and then Landon pulled out a bunch of grass and dropped it down Claire's neck, the daggers that flew out of my eyes and straight for his jugular were only barely metaphorical.

As I told our photographer at the end, I'm so glad we're friends on facebook and she's shot us for the last 3 years because she knows the love I hope we were showing wasn't fake. It was just fake right then.

This week's food:
Sun: Greek quinoa salad (basically this recipe, double the dressing-except the olive oil, tossed with 2 cups cooked quinoa), naan, TJ's cilantro chive dip because it's the best
Mon: Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Chili, various toppings: tortillas chips, cheese, sour cream, cilantro
Tues: Flank Steak, twice baked potatoes, sauteed green beans and carrots (James's chosen birthday dinner!)
Wed: BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad (this recipe for the chicken; quinoa, lots of yummy toppings like black beans, corn, tomato, cilantro, avocado, cheese)
Thurs: BBQ Chicken Enchiladas (Leftover BBQ chicken rolled into tortillas with shredded cheese, topped with a schmear of sour cream and a little more cheese; bake at 350 for 20 mins); Refried Black Beans, Mexican Rice, Avocado
Fri: Creamy Meaty Spaghetti (Another one I kind of just make up; ground beef, onion, garlic + tomato sauce + half block cream cheese + 2 lbs. pasta); carbo-loading for the kids' triathlon on Saturday morning

This week's workouts:
Sun: long walk; herding puppies behind a museum and making them smile
Mon: Orangetheory
Tues: C2 Yoga
Wed: Orangetheory
Thurs: C2 Yoga
Fri: C2 Yoga
Sat: Barre- teaching

Peak Cora Sighting: kitty shirt, tutu, leggings, Christmas socks, shoes on the wrong feet, purse stolen from her sister, upside down sunglasses, and large semi-broken bow. Perfect.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Most Beautiful Butterflies

So first of all, I don't have cancer. The tech who called me emphasized that they checked the sample twice just to be sure, because it looked so suspicious, but despite appearances, my skin is NOT (yet!) a parfait of cancers and that's something we can all celebrate. I'm enjoying a nice glass of red if you'd like to join in long-distance.

Second, fall is sort of maybe temporarily here. After bouncing back to the 90's for most of October, we hit the 70's today and though it looks like we're bouncing back upwards again, Cora did FINALLY get to wear some of the fall clothes I bought her weeks ago. The kitty cat shirt, with matching half-cat leggings (she spent a long time searching those pants for the other half of the cats on each leg), were a big hit.

A friend at work gave me a big bag of extra bows. They're giant and tacky and Cora ADORES them. Her recycled infant-headbands seem so demure by comparison and now nothing but a large head bow will do (in addition to the four hair bows and two ponies of course).

Landon loves them too.

Speaking of the big kids, report cards came out this week! Landon's was typically Landon and quite good.

Claire's was too, but what was particularly special to me was the note that came home from her music teacher. As I wrote a few posts ago, music just speaks to Claire's soul. Her music teacher is brand new to the school (and to teaching- it's her first year and she seems absolutely wonderful) and Claire only goes to music once a week, so I thought it was so special that her teacher picked up on how music just "clicks" with her. We are blessed with such amazing teachers at our sweet school.

The big kids went out with James for ice cream to celebrate.

Cora and I stayed home to wear bows and read all the books. Since neither of us particularly like ice cream, and since I had had this glorious creation for lunch, and hanging out with Cora is basically the best thing in the universe right now (she is SO funny and so sweet and SO chatty, there is no level of Cora that is too much Cora), it worked out well for everyone.

Pork Belly & Angus Chuck Patty topped with a Sweet Potato & Bacon Croquette, a Bourbon Roasted Apple Chutney, sitting on a bed of Fresh German Coleslaw with a Pretzel Bun
(also French Fries)
(of course)

Since we're talking about food, we are eating more of it this week! It never ends.


Mon: Slow Cooker Chicken Gyros (SO GOOD), pita, various toppings (tomato, kalamata olives, feta cheese, cucumber), and the best dip ever- Trader Joe's Cilantro Chive Yogurt Dip (sort of like tzatziki sauce, but stronger and more delicious); these delicious Greek Potatoes. This was my favorite meal in a long time and even though all three kids included every toppings offered in their pitas, they all loved the DIY aspect of it all.

Tues: Lasagna Soup deliciousness, ciabatta bread. Cheese was the vegetable. (Changes because of course I make them: beef broth instead of chicken; 1 lb. Italian chicken sausage + 1 lb. ground beef; full small can tomato paste; and I generally use bow tie pasta and regular diced tomatoes.)

Wed: Turkey sandwiches on mini pretzel buns. Weirdly a kid/James favorite. Costco sells the BEST mini pretzel rolls and I just slice them open, add deli turkey and sharp cheddar slices, and put on a tray in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they're all warm and wonderful, then top with avocado, tomato, and balsamic or ranch dressing. Also chips, fruit.

Thurs: Chicken Sausage and Roasted Vegetables. New recipe and it was so good! I put all the ingredients in a big bowl to toss them before spreading them out on two baking sheets to roast (you probably could do one, but I wanted to make sure the veggies could get a little crispy). I used Trader Joe's Chicken Apple Chardonnay sausage and served it with pasta tossed with a bit of Italian dressing; will definitely make again.

Fri: Tamales (steamed, from frozen; TJ's are good), refried black beans, avocado, tomato, probably scrambled eggs because the kids think those always go with tamales now.

~ ~ ~

Workouts: (new thing I'm tracking weekly; basically copying Sarah)

Sat: Barre (teaching!)
Sun: Bikram hot yoga
Mon: C2 Yoga
Tues: Orangetheory; C2 yoga
Wed: eating a giant hamburger
Thurs: Orangetheory
Fri: C2 Yoga

Orangetheory is still really working for me. It's still hard, every time, but it's always different and always goes by quickly. Wearing the heart rate monitor remains distracting and educational. I've noticed that not only can I run much longer and harder than I could before, but my heart rate actually stays lower. Sometimes it's annoying that my calorie burn numbers aren't as high as they used to be (it's like getting a report card each time), but I know it's because my cardiovascular health is so much stronger. It's a great feeling, like when I first started going to barre and saw physical changes in my body in the mirror. Obviously, it was superficially thrilling, but more than that, it was powerful. I had done that. Now I feel that way when I hit higher speeds on the treadmill with each new month and my heart rate monitor doesn't flash red like I'm going into cardiac arrest.

Strength day today; many inclines; my heart is still very not used to those.

But yoga is the backbone of my workout world right now and I try to go 4x a week. I got to do a headstand with my arms outstretched sideways, palms facing up the other day and I didn't even know that was a thing. I LOVE finding new things that are things! And I continue to love CorePower. Their heated C2 classes are athletic, dynamic, and always different, and they still stretch and loosen me up like nothing else. My whole body feels better after a class; I'm sleeping better, my headaches are fewer, and I just generally love the balance it's providing me right now to connect my barre teaching (which I adore, but is intense and hard on me- I burn more calories per minute teaching than anything else I do) and OTF (also hard-hitting and intense, but has the cardio I need).

It feels like the perfect blend for me right now, and my ability to do it at all is why I continue to politely decline recruiter emails.

~ ~ ~

And finally, Claire brought home a card today. I assumed she had made it, but she said, "No, mom, this is from my new other best friend Rachel. She draws the most beautiful butterflies."

And she does. And what a delightful way to be so earnestly and emphatically described.

(Also, throwback to another beautiful butterfly.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Human Pigs and Other Animals

An illustrated survey of the Lag Liv family's interactions with the animal kingdom over the past few days

(and buses)

First up, on Friday I took the afternoon off to chaperone Landon's third grade field trip to the Science Museum and IMAX theater. I had yet to chaperone a field trip and since part of the point of my job is to be involved in the kids' schools (though to be fair I spent Monday night at the school for a PTA general meeting, Tuesday night at a PTA Board meeting, and Thursday night at a Science Fair meeting), and it was the day before a three day weekend, and I had nothing on my calendar, so I said sure! I was excited to see Landon in his natural habitat and he's still young enough to be totally pumped that I was coming along.

You guys, the kids were all really very good and the whole thing went as smoothly as possible, but a bus full of third graders is the LOUDEST PLACE ON EARTH. The giant IMAX movie - "BUGS! A Rainforest Adventure!" with 4-story tall bugs eating 2-story tall bugs piece by tiny gooey-yet-oddly-crunchy piece was relaxing compared to those bus rides. Teachers deserve so much more than we give them.

Human Pig
(which is the worst kind of pig because the real ones are actually pretty intelligent creatures)

Later on Friday I got to listen to the Republican candidate for president brag about committing sexual assault. Filmed when he was 59-years-old and at a work press event less than a year into his third marriage, while his wife was pregnant with their child, he describes his failed attempt to hook up with a married woman: "I moved on her actually. You know she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I'll admit it. I did try and fuck her, she was married. . . . I moved on her like a bitch. I couldn't get there and she was married."

Then, EVEN BETTER, he sees the actress he'll be interviewing with and says:

Trump: "Yeah that's her with the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful... I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: "Whatever you want."

Trump: "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

After the rage simmered down in my belly and I spit out the phantom taste of a 59-year-old Donald J. Trump tongue shoved in my mouth, I decided a line in the sand had been drawn. I love politics. Political news, stories, theories, strategy, polling, etc. are all some of my favorite things to read and discuss and I spend a lot of time doing both. I'm politically progressive and have voted Democrat for every seat in every election since I turned 18 and looking at the current Republican party I can't imagine a time when I won't. But I grew up in a staunchly Republican community (though my parents are not), went to the most conservative law school in the Top 10 (though admittedly that's not a high bar), and currently live in a community that heavily leans conservative (though with liberals and a strong independent streak mixed in), so I regularly see and hear many contrary views, and I appreciate the insight and enjoy the way they help me shape and strengthen my own beliefs. I rarely post about politics on facebook (twice so far this year until yesterday) and it rarely comes up in my more mixed groups of friends. Day to day I'm a working mom of 3 and there is a LOT to talk about, laugh about, and discuss that has absolutely nothing to do with a single political figure.

But, bragging about sexual assault and dismissing it as "just words" and "locker room talk" is too much. I mean, to be clear: I think Donald Trump is a terrible person and a terrible candidate. He's a demagogue. He mocked a disabled man. He is racist, misogynistic, rabidly xenophobic, and incites violence. More than half - actually seventy percent!- of his statements in the campaign have been found to be "mostly false" (18%), "false" (35%), and "pants on fire" (17%). (Hillary's, for the record are 15%, 10%, and 2% in those same categories for a total of 27%, which is still not awesome, but the idea that she's "the liar" and he's not when you have a 7/10 chance that whatever he's telling you is a lie is alt-right nonsense.) He's a petulant, overly sensitive bully who can't pass up an insult, and his temper and impulse control issues render him unfit for office and an active twitter account. He has clearly made no attempt to study foreign policy or understand the complicated world we live in, and other than repeatedly claiming that everything he will do will be "tremendous," the only actual plan he has put forward with any detail is his tax plan which was found to increase the national debt TWENTY-SIX TIMES more than Hillary's, mostly because he wants massive tax cuts while also expending infrastructure work and social security, medicare, and medicaid, and mathematically that just doesn't work out. He hasn't released his tax returns like every other modern presidential candidate, and while he claims he doesn't owe money and has a "fantastic" balance sheet we can't know that because he won't prove it, and we have no reason to believe it because he lies 70% of the time (and I'm sure if it actually was true he'd have long ago produced his tax returns to prove it). But democracy means everyone makes their own choices and publicly, I stay out of it.

But. Bragging about being entitled to sexual assault women and dismissing it as "just words" and "locker room talk" is too fucking far. It's not "just words." It's words that describe past actions. And it's certainly not the offensiveness of the words as some are trying to spin it now. I curse all the time and the word pussy doesn't offend me in the least. But the idea that you can grab mine without my permission and get away with it because you're a "star" is revolting. A friend posted this meme on her facebook page and for the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE I wrote something to contradict someone else's political post.

Me, totally cribbing from a friend who posted a righteous denunciation of this breakdown in logic:

Yeah no. I stay out of my friends contrary fb posts because everyone can think what they want but this comparison is ridiculous.

We are not outraged because of "naughty words." We are outraged because Trump said he can touch our most intimate parts without our permission because he just can't help himself and because he's a powerful man. No, actually worse: he said he has actually grabbed a woman's most intimate part without her permission and he feels *entitled* to do so because he is a star.

This is not "naughty words." This is not "naughty sex." It's called sexual assault, and it's a crime.

If we must compare it to the book, Christian did not assault Ana. Christian cared so much about consent that he drafted a contract with Ana. Also, Christian is a FICTIONAL CHARACTER, not a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. Just no.

It says something at how furious I was because 50 Shades was terrible, but I love romance novels and the fact that I enjoy reading a good consensual sex scene in NO WAY means I'm okay with you grabbing my genitals without my permission. It is insane that I need to make that clear. We've basically taken the "well what was she wearing?" and turned it into "well what was she reading?" and OHMYGOD I just cannot.

(Update: I've since had four more friends post that meme and you guys, it is illogical and beneath you.)

(Updated update: One friend pulled his down after my response, even keeping my comment visible with a placeholder describing that he'd removed the meme and why, which was actually very powerful and humbling to me. I have no intention of arguing my way through facebook, but I do think that every now and then, when something really matters to you, you can speak up and maybe make someone think about what they're posting? Anyway, I wanted to be fair and include the update though it is killing me a little how much I am defending a book I really didn't like.)

But back to Donald. So he was clearly bragging about how he can kiss women without their consent and grab their pussy without consequence, but let's say it was "just words" and he didn't actually do the things he said. But words matter too. The rape culture he's perpetuating in that video and now dismissing matters. Promoting the idea that you can just reach out and grab me, my daughter, any woman anywhere "by the pussy" and then brag that you can get away with it because you're a big important man is morally repugnant. Telling my son this is just "locker room talk" and "look, it happens" is equally so. And when you're a 59-year-old thrice-married man nowhere near a locker room, you're not only lying in your desperate attempt at spin, you're attempting to normalize unacceptable behavior and abdicating all responsibility for your own words and actions. And if you really do sit around with your guy friends and swap sexual assault stories, you're also telling me a hell of a lot about your own morals and those of the company you keep. He is vile. I'm with her.

And in a bit of perfect timing, my t-shirt arrived on Saturday!

Because hell yes we are.

(Last minute addition- I haven't been a big fan of the Daily Show post-Jon Stewart, but their clip tonight was quite good and includes a viewing of the tapes themselves about 2 minutes in and the audiovisual element really adds a layer of creepy lechery that the black and white words in the transcript don't quite convey. I can't get it to embed, but you can watch it here.)

Frogs and Toads
(and humans pretending to be them)

Also on Saturday, after testing out my new shirt and apologizing to an indignant Claire for not buying her one, we got as fancy as we ever get in Fort Worth and headed out to our first Children's Play of the 2016-2017 Casa Manana season: A Year with Frog and Toad. It was so cute and, as always, so well done.

We love that theater and feel so lucky to have it just up the road. Cora hung out with her best friend, our nanny Tara, but pretty soon she'll be coming too!

Sheep and Ducks
(also pumpkins)

We didn't all attend this, but it must be noted that Landon got to go with a friend to the Mainstay Farm pumpkin patch on Saturday morning and I think it sounded amazing. I say "think" because Landon spoke in stream of consciousness style so fast and so loud and for so long when he got home, I really have no idea what he did. The phrase "...and then we RACED SHEEP!" came out and "... we raced ducks TOO but not real ones this time," so it fits the theme. I assume the sheep were real and the ducks were rubber but in neither case were they actually riding either animal? There was also a giant maze, hay ride, go karts, a giant chair (?), giant hay bales, a giant slide, and maybe just a lot of giant things? Also pumpkins, I presume. He had the BEST time and we're going there to get our Christmas tree this year.

Giraffes and Other Noble Creatures
(plus an ostrich)

On Sunday, we headed south to Glen Rose to drive through the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. I've wanted to go forever, but for some reason we waited 3.5 years and yesterday was the day. Beautiful weather, three thrilled children who were woken up really early because their parents don't handle crowds or lines well and have to do everything right when it opens, and 9 miles of paved safari road.

This is basically Landon's heaven.

We met many a prong horn.

Landon can tell you all their official names, but I prefer to make up human ones. This is Larry.

Cora LOVED it and so did Claire, at least until this intrepid ostrich bit her hand and then it was DEATH TO ALL OSTRICHES.


Do not fuck with Claire. She never forgets.

Claire's Blacklist Entry #1

My absolute favorite was this gorgeous gentle giant. We came across about 6 giraffes and this one is my best friend. I love him and think he would be so happy in my backyard. We could gaze at each other through all my sky lights.

He had the softest nose and the world was a better place when I stood up through our sun roof and he nuzzled my head.

All in all it was an excellent few hours spent feeding and communing with the animals. We will definitely be back. The zebras snubbed me this time and while I took it rather personally, I'm willing to let them try to be my friend again.

[Cooing noises]

(it's been a busy few days)

Clearly I need to wrap this up, but the kids went to Benbrook Stables for a part-day camp today and it was AMAZING. For $55 they got to ride, groom, and feed horses, play a bunch of games, interact with the other animals at the stables, eat lunch, and be generally cared for and supervised for five hours. They loved it and had so much fun. A friend told us about the camp and if you're a local, I highly recommend checking them out.

And now I'm cutting myself off (Cora wore an adorable cat shirt but we are saving it because this is already too long and I'm uncomfortable with all the Donald Trump pussy talk and an adorable picture of my toddler in a kitty cat shirt existing in the same post). Back to regularly scheduled Cora programming (there are also new bows; GIANT ones) soon.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

So Many Things And Also Skin Cancer, AGAIN.

Let's start with the fun stuff. When we left off at the last post, I was enjoying a fun, food, and friend-filled weekend in beautiful Fort Worth. We continued that by going to the zoo on Sunday. I love our zoo. It's one of the best in the nation and it's less than 3 miles from our house. Membership is super reasonable and parking is free, so we pretty much go all the time. The kids are experts on animal feeding schedules and know all the quickest ways to get to each exhibit. It's a special part of our life here.

We usually pop in for an hour or two, so we never do any of the extras- no snacks, no train, no carousel, and never any feeding of the birds. The first few because I don't even bring any money with me into the zoo anymore and the last one because I really don't like birds. But our happy weekend made me crazy and we spent three whole dollars on feed sticks for the kids. It was a HUGE hit and maybe I like birds more than I thought. 

Landon, the animal whisperer, immediately got a bird to land on his hand- and he even made sure it matched his shirt!

Cora took her job as bird feeder VERY SERIOUSLY and basically hunted down the birds waving her stick threateningly and yelling "HERE BIRDIES, EAT. EAT!! EAT THE FOOD!".

Amazingly, it actually worked at one point and she was THRILLED when a bird pecked seed off her stick.

It was a really great morning. The day continued with Landon losing his mind over absolutely nothing but that I'm sure was somehow related to his sleepover party on Friday night. He was banished to his room until he could better handle life. Later, we rode bikes around the street and spent nearly an hour throwing the frisbee around with the kids. The weather was finally below 90 and 85 felt practically crisp compared to the highs of our fall so far.

~ ~ ~

On Monday night Landon performed for the PTA membership with his third grade class. It was as earnest and adorable as all elementary school activities should be.

back row, middle

Landon is not musically inclined. He's super smart and reads like the wind, but music is like Greek to him - brand new dialects of Greek - every single time he hears it. It's the craziest thing. Claire hears a song on the radio once and wanders around the house absently singing it for the rest of the day. Landon hears a song on the radio 10x on 10 different days and it's brand new every time. So he had to work SO hard to memorize the songs and was concentrating SO hard during the performance. And though he had previously voiced skepticism at the air guitar and other moves, he was a good sport and jumped right in. Air guitaring while singing new Greek dialects is very hard and I was very proud of him for managing.

Claire sat with her posse and Cora, who has recently decided Claire's best friends are also HER best friends, bounded over and squished her little behind right in between two of the big girls and then gazed at them adoringly throughout the performance (a performance she INSISTED her Landon was not in). Then when we were walking down the hall to pick Landon up post-show, she had to hold hands with "my friends" too. It was adorable and so far the big girls find her endearing. Like a little pet or mascot.

~ ~ ~

On Tuesday nothing particularly notable happened, but I did master crow to headstand in yoga and that was exciting. I also went to barre at night which I haven't done in forever and it was fun and inspiring (and exhausting! Katrina kills it) to be a student again.

Cora Pose

~ ~ ~

And so on Wednesday I headed to the dermatologist for my follow-up after using my flesh-eating zombie chemotherapy anal wart cream to basically destroy my skin and take my basal cell carcinoma with it. My skin had finally largely healed- it was still pink and a bit tender, but I could wear normal clothes and leave my house whenever I wanted. I was a little nervous going in to the appointment because a new spot had appeared on my chest, in about the same place as the cancer spot. And sure enough, as soon as Dr. R saw me she said, "Okay, we're going to need to take a biopsy of that today." Because of course- I'm in a dermatologist's office, why would I get to leave with all my skin intact?

another day, another wound care brochure

She thinks it is likely skin cancer, again. But just for variety and bonus points, this time it's probably a squamous cell carcinoma! She explained that it's possible the cancerous cells came to the surface in this squamous cell growth after we basically burned off all my old skin and my body had to make new. So like the Earth, I have layers. Mine are just made of cancer.

I'm honestly pretty depressed about it. Squamous cell carcinomas aren't the worst skin cancer to have (that would be melanoma, but you know, that's probably just underneath this one), but they can grow large and spread rapidly to other parts of your body, so I'm not exactly moving in a positive direction.

On the upside, I showed her the pictures of my chest on the chemo cream and she was horrified. She took my phone, showed it to all the nurses, and then told me to email the pictures to her so they could go in my file. She assured me I would never be on the cream again; that my reaction was extreme and terrible; and should she ever think of suggesting a chemotherapy treatment again I was to tell her "NO" and remind her to look at the pictures in my file again. So at least I have validation I wasn't just being a whiner? Because I really felt like one at the time. (But oh my god you guys, I really did hold most of it back, that was such a terrible process.) So, now I get surgery instead! Yay?! Nothing like a nice white scar across your clavicle and the knowledge that tumors can just be hiding under your skin and you don't even know they're there until you get bit by a zombie and lose a bunch of skin and then they show up when you're all better.

I'll get results back next week. It's possible it's just a non-cancerous growth that came up while my body was regrowing so much skin. She didn't sound like that was likely, but we'll see. I've already treated myself to two new pairs of shoes as pre-treatment just in case, and I'm keeping them regardless of the results but they haven't helped yet. Yes, I'm glad we found it, I'm glad it's localized, I'm glad it's not something worse, etc, etc, but I'm 33 and I have layers of skin cancer and I'm just kind of bummed. Maybe I need more cookies?

~ ~ ~

And to end on a high note, food!

Sun: Homemade Mac & Cheese and my mom's Chili; made separately and served in the same bowl (I omitted the crackers on the mac and cheese)- SO GOOD. I'm done waiting for fall, we're just making fall happen while the air conditioning continues to blow because it's 95 outside; also, green beans on the side to make it healthy. 
Mon: No Boil Baked Ziti (made it on Sunday, cooked it Monday; so good!!)
Tues: Taco Soup (I got the recipe from my mom, but this one is almost the same except I use about 1-1.5 cup of frozen corn and 2 cans of drained pinto beans; note: I hate ranch dressing, but the inclusion of the dry ranch dressing mix is essential and delicious), tortillas, chips, salsa
Wed: Creamy Spaghetti (inspired by this recipe, though I don't use the crockpot, I just cook 2 lbs. pasta and make the creamy sauce in separate pots, then dump the al dente pasta in the sauce and let it soak it up for a few minutes and serve)
Thurs: Pumpkin Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, Trader Joe's Pumpkin Rolls for dessert because dammit I might have cancer again (they're delicious; buy them next to the crescent rolls in the refrigerator section)
Fri: Frozen crispy fish (Panko Crusted Cod from Costco; so good), sauteed veggies, rice mix from a box.
Sat: Homemade Pizza because I "never make that anymore" and everyone now claims it's their favorite.

It's also totally possible we'll bail on Saturday's pizza plans because I'm not sure I have active yeast for the dough anymore and I really want a frozen margarita. It's medicinal and cheaper than the third pair of shoes I just added to the my DSW online cart. Skin cancer is so expensive.