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2017-07-22 01:59 pm
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Saturday's Activities Include: martial arts, track, 110 Grille, Kimball Farm

I took T. to martial arts. We dropped up some groceries at B.'s while we were there; she'd forgotten them in our fridge. Then we went to track. We stopped at Boyston Public Library to use the facilities and they kindly issued us library cards so I checked out the DK book about Sociology. It is interesting, altho (bet you know where this is going) I have some Issues with the book. Anything to do with women / patriarchy / feminism / etc. is sort of an afterthought and a lot of the language used to describe the ideas that are included display, at a minimum, editorial distancing from the ideas (putting words in quotes, for example, or using language different from language used for men talking about non-gender-specified ideas -- so instead of said/described, claimed/believed/felt. Similar things occur in the race sections, which are even fewer).

Handling of poverty and class issues is, as is always the case in sociology, just weird. I always feel like sociologists are trying to diss people with more money and power, while simultaneously trying to pretend that meaningful class structures/ladders don't really exist, except in groups other than the one the author identifies with. And then there's all the is-it-really-a-need garbage that I keep thinking people will eventually recognize is not worth getting into any more, but there's always someone willing to jump right into it anyway.
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2017-07-21 11:00 pm
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Friday's Activities Include: the Ants Are Listening?

I got two walks, one with M. and one around the long loop after dark.

When I checked, the ants were swarming like mad. So I discussed with R. what kind of ant trap to buy at the hardware store. I don't like to do things that have distant effects (dragged back to the colony and kill the queen type of thing), but these ants are driving me nuts and I've already found and corrected two leaks and dumped the one not entirely sealed container of desirable food (sugar with a pour spout).

Apparently, the ants are listening. No more ants for the rest of the day or that evening (yes, I kept checking). I didn't think ants could listen, much less make sense of what I have to say (which is not completely coherent under the best of circumstances). I haven't bought a trap. I'm going to wait and see what happens next.

I vacuumed out several of the drawers under the island and decluttered while I was at it. I even vacuumed under the drawers (flash light and a vacuum wand, if you are wondering) once I realized (a) there were dish towels that had fallen down there some time ago -- years at least -- and (b) those towels had a bunch of saw dust / construction dust on them when I retrieved them.

ETA: I had a really nice conversation with my friend K.

I took A. to the library to watch _Rock Dog_. Best set up I have ever seen for movie at the library: chairs, lots of people, really nice screen, popcorn and water. Alas, power went out about an hour in and didn't recover in a timely fashion so the balance of the movie was canceled. Some kids played on the playground; we went home.
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2017-07-20 09:55 am
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A. said the other day that if the ants find the sugar bowl, they'll really love that.

Well, I was skeptical, because I don't keep sugar in a bowl. But we do have a couple of those restaurant style cylinder things, glass with a metal lid with a flap for the pour hole. I pulled it out, opened it up and promptly poured the sugar and a really large number of small ants into the trash. I probably should take the trash out of the house now. Maybe this will finally fix the problem. I think we found the water problem. The upstairs toilets needed to have some tightening on a connection and were leaking from the tank a little.
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2017-07-19 11:00 pm
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Wednesday's Activities Include: walks, Red Raven, ants

I walked with M. It was a really hot day, but we got out in the morning so it wasn't too bad yet.

A. had a good time in the afternoon hanging out in the sitter's pool. She ate at a different restaurant. While she didn't care for the bun this time on the cheeseburger (that's a new one for her), she was apparently happy to eat the patty by itself. Go figure; the hamburger steak returns, and not just for low-carbers.

R. and I went to Red Raven before he headed up to Pepperell to pick her up. We still haven't eliminated the ants, but their numbers are once again reduced. I trimmed some house plants and did a bunch of vacuuming. I think I've finally gotten most if not all of the sand out of the house. Until more gets tracked in. For people who live absolutely no where near a beach, we seem to wind up with a lot of sand in the house. Road treatment explains the winter sand. The summer sand is a little mysterious; maybe it is just leftovers from the winter. Some of it came from Nara.

I watched some more Marvel Agents of Shield; I think I just have one episode left.
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2017-07-18 06:08 pm
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Decluttering: toys edition v.x

I decided that since both kids were at school and then with sitters for the day, I'd been walking with M. this morning, and my Dutch lesson was moved to Thursday (and then we wound up canceling for complicated Reasons), I might as well get rid of some Stuff.

This round of decluttering was focused on toys, for a couple of reasons. First (and probably most important) whenever A.'s toys start colonizing new areas, T. inevitably gets his hands on them and starts methodically destroying them. I don't think it is intentional; he's like that friend you have who can't have a water bottle in their hands without shredding the label. Not just removing the label. Shredding it.

Anyway. I had entirely removed her toys from the table and the island to a bin. Then I went through the bin, repopulated a very small container on the table. I then started decluttering the living room shelving and the upstairs hall and A.'s room (I'd already gone through T.'s room with him). I acquired an empty green bin along the way and started putting toys in it that are not Pink -- a green fidget spinner, a Happy Meal Minions toy that we had at least two of, a green sensory toy that lights up and has tentacles. So now T. (altho he doesn't know it yet) has a bin of his own toys to destroy. Fingers crossed.

I'm pretty careful when decluttering toys to focus first on getting rid of things that there are many copies of, and reducing the number of copies to a manageable number, and then rearranging the shelves and other storage so there are no suspicious empty spaces.

The whole process took many hours. I ran roomba downstairs, let it recharge, and then did the upstairs hall. Now roomba is doing the green bathroom. There was a _lot_ of sand from A.'s hair last night. Things look a lot better now, and the floor is no longer incredibly annoying to walk on barefoot.

ETA: I went to Julie's Place for dinner and had the new burger (bigger than the 4 ounce yet smaller than the 8 ounce. Really, the perfect size). T. and his sitter were there already; she felt awkward that T. didn't want me sitting with them. I didn't care; I just wanted to drink my drink and decompress from all the toy shuffling and going up and downstairs from the basement to the second floor. R. joined me after a bit. He rode the Bianchi. I brought the i3 thinking I'd head to Pepperell after to pick up A. We swapped, but both went home for a moment. Then he took the car to go get A.

I ran roomba downstairs and upstairs. I skipped the playroom downstairs, and the bedrooms upstairs. There was still sand from last night. After I ran it in the green bathroom, I noticed there was a suspicious amount of splatter on a part of the floor where that should _never_ happen. R. investigated and did some tightening of Things around the toilet in that bathroom and the master bathroom. With luck, that moisture is what has been attracting ants on and off for the last month or two, and the problem will go away.
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2017-07-18 02:38 pm
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_Lobster Chronicles_ Linda Greenlaw

I'm still not sure if this is the first time I read this, or a reread. I have no idea. I went camping on Isle Au Haut once.

Saga of Isle Au Haut from pre-kid days:

http://walkitout.dreamwidth.org/10725.html (This last has the actual trip description.)

Those entries don't mention _why_ I wanted to go to Isle Au Haut; I'm pretty sure it was part of a multi-year NP visit thing I was doing while reading Nevada Barr novels.

Anyway. The island is a little odd, but nice, if you can survive the mosquitos. Greenlaw's family has been on the island (they used to own the Keeper's House, apparently, and the land the light is on before that) for a long time. She went off to swordfish, and was played by Mastroantonio in _The Perfect Storm_. Junger's recommendation is on this book. In this book, she describes a mediocre-bad lobstering season as she tries to fulfill her life goals of settling down with a family and a house. She makes some progress in this book -- indications are she makes more progress in other books.

The book has great narrative momentum. The stories are light and funny, despite what is sometimes some tragic material. If you like to feel like you learned something, she's happy to teach you about a variety of topics, historical and natural. I read it as this month's book group selection for Mayberry, NH (<-- not its real name). The group gave is about a 3.5 collectively on a 5 point scale. It was tricky keeping discussion centered on the book. Usually this means that we were all more or less okay with the book, but it didn't strike a chord deeply enough in any of us to get riled up enough to be passionate about talking about it.

C. talked a little about what she saw as odd decision making by the author / protagonist. I noted that a lot of what she wound up saying and thinking -- as depicted in the book -- looked to me like conflicting impulses (wanted to get married; aggressively hostile to actually being set up with someone). In conjunction with some other funny but not necessarily entirely positive descriptions of things like the EMT project, I concluded that a lot of what makes Greenlaw seem odd (and the other people on the island) is a set of adaptive mechanisms that are basically what let them _stay_ on such an isolated rock, with all the attendant dangers of being more or less stuck there whenever there is bad weather especially in winter.

The book has been out for a while, but it has aged fairly well.
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2017-07-17 11:00 pm
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Monday's Activities Include: walks, book group, NYAJ

I got a walk with M. and then after the kids were in bed (finally), I did the long walk. It had cooled down somewhat by 10 p.m.

R. and I had an early and quick dinner at Not Your Average Joe's, before I went to book group.

Book group was fun. Great conversation and a good number of people. A. brought a recipe she made from _Animal, Vegetable Miracle_, a berry and apple crisp with balsalmic vinegar and basil in it. Unexpected and delicious. Our fearless leader brought lobster dip, because the book was _Lobster Chronicles_ by Linda Greenlaw.

While A. was at Nara with a couple other kids, one of the other children (4 year old girl) rubbed a bunch of sand in her hair. That took a while to get out. *sigh*
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2017-07-16 03:29 pm
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Sunday's Activities Include: haircut, McDonald's, groceries, horse

No track today, because T. had track yesterday. I actually slept in until almost 9. Bliss!

T. wanted to go to McDonald's today. We got him a haircut first, because he was looking a little shaggy. Then we dropped some things off at the library (2 books, one I read and reviewed already; the other I abandoned rapidly when I realized it was really awful; one DVD that didn't play. If they had been open, I would have gone in and shown them the problem with the disc. Didn't feel like hanging onto the disc long enough to go back again, so I just left it in the drop). After that we got lunch at McDonald's, so he could get the Happy Meal Toy with Balthazar Bratt's Rad Speed Boat from D3. We had a long discussion about super villains in this and previous despicable movies. We keep saying Benjamin Bratt, but that was the guy who did the voice of El Macho in D2.

Then we went to Roche Bros to get groceries. We dropped them off at home, and then went to the horse.

At Roche Bros, I stopped T. from running ahead and potentially tripping up a gentleman who had some kind of movement disorder -- looked like Parkinson's, of course you can never tell just at a glance with a total stranger. The gentleman said as I went by that he wasn't drunk, he had Parkinson's. I circled back to reassure him I hadn't thought he was, but I was trying to teach my son who had autism to be careful of other people and to give them the time they need. I said I had extended family with Parkinson's (true) and had assumed that was the case here. We wound up chatting on and off as we kept re-encountering each other in the store. Some other parent had commented within his hearing to a child that he's had "one too many". That's a real shame. He said he's missed taking his medication. All I could think of -- didn't say it -- was that I was glad he had medication that was generally pretty effective. That's not always the case. I have a lot of trouble finding the line between being "I see you as a human" -- something that a lot of people with visible disabilities benefit from, because so many people immediately avert their eyes -- and getting up into people's business. Today seemed to work out, which was really nice.
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2017-07-15 11:00 pm
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Saturday's Activities Include: martial arts, track, 110 Grille, walk

I took T. to martial arts. After that, we drove out to Tahanto Regional High school for his track. We got there ludicrously early, because it didn't make sense to go home in between. And then, of course everyone else knows this but I didn't, there is _nothing_ close to that high school in terms of bathrooms, buying coffee, snack, etc. Oh well. We had time so we drove a bit and found a gas station. This area violates the can't-drive-a-quarter-mile-without-seeing-at-least-one-Dunkin'-Donuts rule for New England.

After track, we went to the 110 Grille. I think that's the first time I've been there. I got the fish and chips. It was good; I'd go back. They handle allergies there really well, which I appreciate.

I got a long walk by myself in the afternoon.
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2017-07-14 11:00 pm
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Friday's Activities Include: Revise Energy / Mass Saves, drinking in Hudson

Revise Energy soaked up the entire morning. They're going to do some more insulation and similar around the basement and the attic. That'll be nice. They also swapped a bunch of light bulbs for LEDs; they dim a lot better.

I took A. up to the baby sitter around noon. Then R. and I got a quick lunch at home. I walked with M. After the walk, R. and I went to Hudson to go to Lowe's to get fertilizer, a shower faucet and a smaller bin for road trips for food, that can serve as a place to set things while driving. After that, we went to Horseshoe for an early dinner.

I had learned about the Less Than Greater Than bar in the Microcreamery from J. at the liquor store in Acton next to NYAJ. So we went over there a little after 5 p.m. (so really early). We got a Little Italy, an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan -- I think the Little Italy was the best but they were all good. R. got one of the pork belly tacos; it smelled fantastic. The staff is fun, the ambience is impeccable and of course they take their cocktails very, very seriously.
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2017-07-13 10:17 am
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Book Review: _Is It All In Your Head_, Suzanne O'Sullvan, MD

Subtitled True Stories of Imaginary Illness

There's only one person in the book (that I can recall) who was outright faking to collect on a lawsuit. And there are only two people in the book (maybe three) who were engaged in some form of Munchhausen's. So if you are looking for that particular kind of hilarity, this isn't the book for you.

This book is about hypochondriasis (health anxiety, etc.) secondarily, and psychosomatic illness primarily. The doctor is a neurologist and placed a ways up administratively in a UK NHS hospital, if I understood the book correctly. She sees people whose seizures do not respond to anti-epileptic drug treatment. Mostly, she keeps them around on video camera and wired up to an EEG for long enough to get both kinds of measures simultaneously on seizures. Generally speaking, in her experience, the non-responsive kinds of seizures don't show up on EEGs, and she attributes this to psychosomatic processes and refers to a psychiatrist. She has occasional amazing, almost faith healing like success, but generally speaking there's a lot of denial.

Her stories make it clear that persistent, no medically known cause patients often are part of family systems which are not very emotionally supportive (like at all) until someone is ill and then they are a lot more emotionally supportive in fact incredibly emotionally supportive, so, you know, incentives. She is not suggesting this is a conscious process on anyone's part, but then neither is that whole Pavlov dog and bell thing, either.

Woven into her excellent, novelistic like stories of patients (suitably adjusted to preserve anonymity and avoid ethical and legal violations), is a brief history of neurasthenia, hysteria, and a variety of related conceptions of these sorts of problems in the past. Anyone who has made a habit of reading Victorian (written or set during the era) novels has a pretty good sense of what these problems have looked like in the past and will not be surprised to learn that women tend to wind up with these labels more than men, then and now (despite the weird history of the theory of neurasathenia).

I had no idea, until I started talking about this book to friends, that so few people knew about seizures that don't show up on EEGs. My sister -- a nurse -- is certainly aware, and told me of a neurologist -- presumably not the only one -- who refuses to accept new patients who don't already have scans. So I absolutely believe the high rates of yeah, these are not the seizures we are accustomed to. I remember the history of hysterical paralysis (very lightly touched on here, sadly); there are psychosomatic syndromes which go through phases, eras in which some particular thing is a Thing, and then it dies down again. Usually once word gets round that the doctors have a test that is 100% accurate.

Really makes you wonder, doesn't it?

If the goal is to get people out of dangerous over-use of medical testing -- and over use of medical testing is incredibly dangerous. If you live long enough and look hard enough, you WILL find cancer. Period. End. We'll all die with it, if we live long enough, even tho far fewer of us will die of it. And many of those logged as dying of it probably died as a result of treatment, a tragedy that will never be adequately accounted for. (The woman whose psychosomatic illness mirrored her mother's breast cancer and death did not trigger any discussion of the evolution of the treatment of breast cancer, and how so much mortality of breast cancer in certain eras is probably directly attributable to the hazards of the treatment.)

If the goal is to get people out of the habit of dangerous over-use of medical testing and to start addressing some or all of their issues via the mental health professions, she's probably going about it wrong. The preventive health services have, on and off, argued against physicals -- going to the doctor to have a bunch of tests done Just To Check. But physicals are a profound form of propaganda for the medical profession. Come here. We'll check you out. We'll tell you what's good, what needs work, etc. And we'll monitor your progress. If you want people to be using mental health services, if you want to destigmatize, if you want the people who NEED mental health services to realize that and make use of it -- and their friends and family to nag at them to do that, rather than to get more unnecessary medical testing done -- maybe we should have mental health checkups. Why doesn't anyone ever suggest that?

In the mean time, O'Sullivan's book looks perfect for book groups. She's overtly compassionate (I don't completely buy it -- I think she's just cautious and covering for her judginess. Believe me when I say, I know what this looks like. I do actually have _some_ self insight). Her descriptions of people and her interactions with them are wonderful -- novelistic and with a nice amount of foreshadowing built into them, along with a lovely sting of had-I-but-known. Under 300 pages, no index, all medical terms explained in relatively accessible ways. It has won at least one non-fiction prize.

So for all that I wish she could have at least _mentioned_ the evolution occurring in somatoform disorder definition, and experiments with DBT and other borderline personality disorder treatments being used for somatization, and for all that I could have wished she had just left allergies and food intolerances right the fuck out of her disquisition on psychological illness popping up with physical symptoms, for all that she managed to leave everything about every treatment modality in bodywork entirely by the wayside, I still think it would be lovely if lots and lots of middle aged women read this book in book group and then started applying some pressure on people who are getting lots of tests that are not leading anywhere useful to at least try seeing a few therapists.

Because in the end, if whatever is going on with us isn't killing us quickly, we'll probably get better faster if there is someone we can talk to about what is going on, and who will help us problem solve so that we can re-arrange our lives to better support our whole selves.
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2017-07-13 09:58 am

A Significant Complaint about _Is It All In Your Head?_

I've been reading _Is it All In Your Head?_ by Suzanne O'Sullivan, MD. On the whole, it is a very good, very important book. Unfortunately, there are a few things in it that I had a problem with. All of my complaints involve when O'Sullivan steps outside her neurology arena and starts applying what she is talking about in patients she sees in her neurology practice who have symptoms (seizures, paralysis, weakness, loss of feeling, etc.) in her area of expertise which do not behave the way those symptoms should behave when objective tests are applied (EEG, electrical stimulation of nerves, reflex testing, etc.) in areas in which she has no expertise. Especially allergies and food intolerance.

Some people have meat allergy which appears for the first time in adulthood, and which in some people disappears after a few years. The onset of the allergic reaction tends to be quite delayed vs. most food allergies.


This is a _classic_ instance of "Oh that must be medically unexplained but surely can't be a REAL allergy because real allergies don't behave that way." Adult onset. Delayed. Etc. ON TOP OF THAT, it's a reaction to a _carbohydrate_, and allergies are reactions to proteins. Right. RIGHT?!? (ETA: I am describing a rhetorical position here; it is not mine.)

To be clear, O'Sullivan makes no mention of meat allergy or alpha-gal. (ETA: Technically, it is not hers, either.) I am using it as an example. We got really incontrovertible evidence of the _mechanism_ that alpha-gal delivered via tick bite causes adult meat allergy when scientists wanted to figure out why there was regional variation in negative reactions to cetuximab. (ETA: My position is the science-y one. Science has shown conclusively that at least some adult onset meat allergy which behaves very unlike some allergies is caused by a tick bite.)

O'Sullivan is ALSO very clear that every year, something with no medically known cause is found to have a medical cause. She just figures that it happens so rarely that people are really bending way too far over backward looking for medical causes and not looking for psychological causes and that needs to change. I don't actually disagree with her general thesis.

On page 190, she talks about candida and candidiasis, and that period of time now past when a lot of people thought they had it but actually didn't test positive for it even when medical professionals looked really hard. On the next page, she says:

"In the twenty-first century the exact same symptoms are more likely to be attributed to gluten sensitivity or allergies."

I'm not necessarily going to argue about the basic idea: there is a fraction of the population -- not trivial in size but not by any stretch of the imagination most people -- which will tend to latch on to the latest Oh This Is Causing All Your Problems, adopt an associated set of health prescriptions (usually diet oriented Don't Eat This / Do Eat That) and try to pester everyone they know into doing the same, while claiming that it cured all their ills. I'm not even _opposed_ to the general phenomenon. I figure each one of these things helps some subset find the thing that really was wrong with them, they stick with what worked for them, and the herd moves on to the next thing. My theory is that some day, everyone will have finally found the thing that worked for them and we'll all feel about as well as we can. (Is my progressivism / optimism showing? Oops! I'll try to cover that up again. I know it is unseemly.)

Here is what she says:

"I recently went to a dinner party where every person bar two, at a table of ten, reported that they had an intolerance of or allergy to at least one foodstuff. Most had developed the allergy in middle age, which is not how an allergy typically behaves."

She's a neurologist. How did she become so expert at allergies? Adult onset allergies are not particularly uncommon. Adult discovery of allergies is also not uncommon and sometimes deeply tragic. And every time someone decides to actually do a general population study for food allergy, we learn all kinds of new things, which means the field is by no means all caught up with reality. (See alpha gal above, but did you know that 2-3% of the general population is allergic to shellfish? I didn't. I am, and I didn't know how common it was. Legal Sea Foods has employees who have been quoted in the press saying that every little bit somebody shows up from the Midwest, eats something they've never had before and drops from anaphylaxis at the table and often is never revived. Don't you think this is something that maybe shouldn't fucking be dismissed so readily?)

I live in an area where food allergy is taken very seriously by restaurants, in part because of restauranteurs like Ming Tsai (mmmm Blue Ginger):


I've got food allergies and intolerances (yes, Dear Reader, both the proteins AND the sugars in milk cause me problems -- and not just cow's milk either, alas), some of which were detected in infancy and some of which I learned about the hard way as an adult. My husband has food intolerances. Many of my friends have food allergies and intolerances. The group that the author encountered may well have self-selected -- this was a party, I'm assuming some of these people hang out together on purpose. I know it's much easier to socialize with people who have or know someone who has food issues. Dealing with doctors like that one at T-weekend a while back -- or Dr. O'Sullivan -- is the worst. Here we've finally figured out a way to stay out of the doctor's office, and the doctor is now joining us for dinner and trying to tell us that it's just a phase.

No, dear doctors. No, it's not just a phase. It's not all in our heads. And just because food allergy now doesn't look like we used to understand it before is actually reflective of progressively better understanding of food allergy. Which it would be nice if you put some effort into catching up on.

She also disses IBS as probably psychosomatic; she seems blissfully unaware of FODMAP.

Oh, and as near as I can tell, this book is further evidence that in the UK, when people say "learning disabled", they mean something super-different than people mean in the US.

I have no reason to disregard O'Sullivan's neurology based expertise. I agree with her that there is a population over-using (to their own detriment and our shared expense) the medical system in pursuit of something which would be better found through the mental health professions. We part ways whenever she steps out of her area of expertise, which leads me to suspect she hasn't really understood the mental health side of this problem at all.
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2017-07-12 02:46 pm
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Wednesday's Activities Include: Vacation file, walk with M. sitter canceled, phone call

I had a really great phone conversation with K. today. Wonderful! She had some great reads to tell me about, and I got to chat about _Is It All In Your Head_ and there was overlap around epilepsy. Who would have seen that coming!

I walked with M. T.'s sitter canceled, so I will be taking him to eye therapy and dinner later today. A. is out with her sitter until 7 p.m.

I've decided I really am going to eliminate (or at the very least drastically reduce) the vacation file. I cherry picked the New Hampshire trips first, and logged (in a text file I keep on google docs) the dates of trips, which parks which days, which restaurants which days, etc. Then I did the balance of 2016's travel (visit to DC, Disney, the Cape). I took a few photos of paper ephemera for each one, but for the most part, I'm not taking pictures of the receipts -- those are either just getting tossed (because they've aged already) or I'm logging the rounded up amount if it was a ground dinner outing. I am photographing airline information, in case some poor fool in the future has to answer ridiculous questions from children about which flight we took on which trip (<-- this kind of thing has happened in the past, which is why the google doc exists listing trips and when we took them with links to online trip reports and flickr photo albums for each trip).

This is definitely one of those exercises that makes me go, yay! The file is going into the trash! And, holy crap why do I keep this stuff in the first place. I think it must have made more sense when there was a lot less of it and I was traveling to new places every day on road trips. But when you go to the same places over and over again and buy popcorn, reese's peanut butter cups and similar over and over and over again, it just seems ridiculous to keep the evidence.
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2017-07-11 04:41 pm
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Tuesday's Activities Include: pizza, CamStand

I walked with M. at 10 a.m.

T. got me up really early and I don't even remember why, but I didn't get back to sleep. I took a nap in the early afternoon.

A. wanted to do chalk on the driveway this morning, but it rained, so it was wet which doesn't really work with driveway chalk.

The sitter picked up A. at school, so that was nice. They went out to lunch, but A. had already had lunch, so I'm assuming that was A.'s dinner. She's rewatching _The Pirate Fairy_. She saw a trailer for it on the discs for the Little Mermaid II. She had watched it a while back but forgotten about it.

I used the CamStand to take pictures of receipts and other vacation ephemera (ticket stubs and similar) from trips this year, and stashed them (me only, so if you are friends and family on flickr for me and want to see them, let me know; I'm assuming no one is interested in these otherwise). I'm debating the merits of going back through the entire file and doing the same thing for earlier vacations. The alternative is to sort of treat it like a coffin and let it age in place -- or to just pitch the entire file. Which is really, really tempting.

I decluttered my sock drawer. I don't know if that counts as a worthwhile activity, but at least I can now put stuff away again.

I came to the depressing realization today that teachers and other people working in public school systems are primary amplifiers of urban legends. *sigh* _Not all teachers_, I get it. But more than I had realized.
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2017-07-10 11:00 pm
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Monday's Activities Include: T. school, doctor, A. school, play date, walk, takeout

T. had school, but left early for a doctor's appointment. The sitter took him. Meanwhile, I picked up A., and took her with me to go get my haircut. After the haircut, we went to the library for the Stuff Animal Picnic, where we were meeting friends of hers for a playdate. They had other friends there as well, so the playdate continued after the picnic (yes, it was juice boxes, water, grapes, crackers and pretzel sticks -- how did you ever guess?) both coloring in the children's library and outdoors at the playground.

I got a walk with M. in the morning.

R. and I had takeout from Ginger Court for dinner. I was still not feeling great, so I had general tso's. I'd cooked some rice and brussel sprouts for lunch, and had that with some leftover steak from the 99's. Their smothered steak tips has way too much meat in it.

ETA: I got all the photos from both parks downloaded (from the stick for Santa's Village and from SmugMug for StoryLand) and uploaded (to Flickr). I still need to do the receipts. My CamStand arrived from Etsy and R. assembled it for me. Very simple and he did have an enlarger easel that would have worked, but this has slightly more adjustments.
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2017-07-09 11:00 pm

Sunday's Activities Include: packing up, Santa's Village, migraine, unpacking, laundry

We packed up in the morning and checked out, stopping to tell them about the electrical problem.

We drove to Santa's Village. We got there around 10:30 and had to park across the street, but the lines were not too horrible. It was a _really_ sunny day; I think I got too much sun because I had a wicked migraine by the end of the time in the park, and sitting in the sun driving home did nothing to improve things.

A. did the water park this time, and the alphabet game. We had lunch at the Mess Hall. I only got a couple pictures (A. with Santa) because we didn't do the log ride (A. is opposed to them currently) or the monorail (it is getting cramped for all four of us and the line can sometimes be long).

We unpacked very quickly upon our return and got through the laundry. I had done laundry twice at T.'s request at the hotel. I could probably bring fewer clothes for A., since T. keeps wanting to do laundry anyway. My sister travels that way and has really reduced the amount of clothing she brings for the family.

No dinner out -- mostly just snacked. We were happy to be home. Both kids have school on Monday.
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2017-07-08 11:00 am

Saturday's Activities Include: StoryLand, 99's

Mostly a repeat of Friday. The kids did more things together: tea cups, the two boat rides, Cinderella pictures. A. spent a lot of time on the land side of Splash Battle; she got a little sun. She lost track of me and wandered over to Loopy Labs and they called me on the PA. Ooops. I had told her where I was sitting, but she apparently misunderstood. Next time, I'll point.

We hung out in the room after, then went to 99's and did a little outlet shopping to get T. some headphones.
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2017-07-07 11:00 pm

Friday's Activities Include: StoryLand, Applebee's, bike ride

We went to StoryLand. R. made A. pancakes in the room; I took T. down to breakfast for waffles. I remembered to bring my own english muffins so I didn't resort to eating a bagel (this is good, because they are huge, and they are all white flour and I'm a middle aged woman who needs a little whole grain in the morning).

Our season passes having been set up at Memorial Day weekend, it was easy getting into the park and we had a nice day. It wasn't hot, but A. wanted to do water rides, so we did Splash Battle and Doctor Geyser after changing into swim suits. We got really cold, but it was fun. We had lunch in the park and left in the early afternoon so R. could get a bike ride. The kids and I hung out in the room; they didn't want to go swimming.

We went to dinner at Applebee's after R. got back. T. left his headphones at the restaurant; they are lost now.

ETA: I had a brief conversation with my friend K., but I just couldn't maintain focus on the call and do stuff at the park so we gave up. I'm a little bummed; looking forward to next week's call.
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2017-07-06 11:00 pm

Thursday's Activities Include: Notes confusion, play therapy, packing, driving to NH

I finally did a little research on a persistent problem I have been having with Apple Notes. Somewhat randomly, text in my To Do Note gets turned into a link to something somewhat random. I fix them ... and then they recur sometimes in the same place or near it, sometimes elsewhere in the Note. Research suggests that (a) this is a known and persistent problem with (b) long notes that (c) sometimes improves if you start a new Note and move stuff over to it and shorten it up. So I did some of that. Mostly, I ganked a bunch of text out about a possible blog post and stuck it in a me-only post so if I ever want to think about it again I might be able to find it. It was probably never going to get turned into a real post anyway; it was a little too rambly and complex.

I packed my stuff for our long weekend in North Conway, NH. I had already helped T. pack, and packed A. I had to finish, tho, because we left today. I also packed up food and other stuff.

In the middle of packing, the play therapist arrived. Oops! I totally forgot about that. Oh well. We were home and after an initial round of complaints from A., she settled in.

The complaining was because she had come home from school wanting to watch The Little Mermaid II. I couldn't find it on iTunes and so we got the discs from the library. She didn't want to interrupt watching it to hang out with the play therapist, but they had fun once they settled in.

We were leaving for NH after R. came home from work, so I got a snack and a little food into A. We never had a proper dinner however and R. just had a bowl of cereal when he got home. We didn't want to stop at the Common Man on the way up (would have taken too long) and T. had eaten dinner already. We did finally decide we were too hungry and stopped at a McDonald's in Ossippee.

Checkin to the Residence Inn was largely uneventful, altho the light by one of the beds was not working and tripping a breaker after heating up. I told R. not to report it lest they determine the room was not occupiable (it was the last available two bedroom, and I didn't want a downgrade). We decided to tell them on the way out, and leave the light unplugged in the mean time.
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2017-07-05 03:46 pm
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Today's Activities Include: first day of summer school, Blundstones arrive

Today was A.'s first day of her summer program. She came home telling me that K. had invited her to his (their, properly speaking -- K. has a twin, G.) birthday party. I hope we get to go! We really like the whole family and haven't seen them in months (since A. quit gymnastics, basically).

A.'s Blundstone's arrived from Zappo's. I'd never heard of these before attempting to find wider paddock boots for kids. They seem to work, altho getting her used to a pullon is tricky. They are purple, which helps a lot.

T. is off with his sitter. I had a nice walk with M. I have been bragging on my husband's behalf as I run into friends in the neighborhood.