Monday, April 27, 2009


So when A. was a tiny one, and I was desperate for new places to go out with him besides the grocery store and the gas station, I trolled our local playgrounds. I even pulled out an old-school map from our glove compartment to try to find new ones.

"You know what would be a good idea?" I thought, "If someone would create a website rating all the local playgrounds for moms." I was just starting this blog and thought I might do something like that for our local moms. I live in a very diverse (read: lower SES than the rest of the Bay Area) community, and although there were resources for moms in the wealthier communities, we local moms valued clean, safe playgrounds, too. And we have them, but they're not really listed anywhere and some are tucked into residential areas and hard to find.

"I'll take my camera and take pictures and post a review every time we go to the park!" I thought.

Yeah. So that didn't happen. It's still a good idea, and someone else has had a similar idea and run with it. KaBOOM! is hoping to host reviews and maps for playground all over the U.S. , Canada and Mexico (it may reach farther, those are the countries I tried). Their overarching goal is to create playspaces within walking distance to every child in America.

They've got a campaign to register 100,000 parks in 100 days. Another cool thing is that you can create a group for your cause, and each park that you register (with a photo) earns you $$ for your cause, plus enters you to win some prizes like a Kindle. Win-win-win.

I'm really going to take pics and post pictures now that someone else has set it up for me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oxygen Etiquette

So at some point on Earth Day, A. learned that each tree creates enough oxygen for 8 people. He went outside for a while, then informed us that we can't have more than 48 people in our house at once.

Because we only have 6 trees and it would be rude to invite people over and then not have enough oxygen for them.

I think I'm raising Dwight Schrute.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

You Know You Want to See My Gallstone

Look at that sucker
Originally uploaded by ColleenAG
Check out that sucker!

There were more stones, but the surgeon told me he saved the prettiest one for me to view. I didn't get to keep it. It looked just like a large piece of dry dog food. G. was impressed, which was worth it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Random Thoughts on Gallbladder Surgery

1. I found it rather disconcerting that everyone who talked to me asked, "So, what are we doing for you today?" Like a hairdresser. Shouldn't it be written down somewhere?

2. The surgeon came and said hello in the pre-op room, and then took out a marker and wrote "YES" on my belly. I'm glad he approved.

3. I told the anesthesiologist that I had a wicked caffeine-withdrawal headache before the surgery and she ordered up some Fentanyl. Fentanyl's like 80 times stronger than morphine. This chick wasn't playing around. No wonder it's been about 36 hours and I'm still feeling the effects of the anesthesia. I think she gave me enough for an elephant.

4. My contribution to Earth Day was to recycle the ginormous stack of papers from the pharmacy listing all the possible side effects, etc. in LARGE TYPE of the Metamucil they sent me home with.

5. We took pics, but they're on my sister's camera. You can see the prettiest gallstone for yourself. They wouldn't let me keep it, which made me exactly what point did it stop being my property?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Goodbye, Gallbladder

So tomorrow I'm going into the hospital and when I leave, I plan to be gallbladder-free. They can do the whole thing in less than a day and I should be home tomorrow afternoon, amazingly enough.

It's practically a procedure rather than a surgery, but don't suggest that to my surgeon because he gets very bent out of shape and all of a sudden it becomes "Major Abdominal Surgery," the likes of which I can't appreciate because I've only had two C-sections, which I guess would be considered "Minor Abdominal Ripping-Open and Gutting of the Uterus." At first he was all, "It's no big deal, easy recovery," until I suggested I knew about such things because of my C-Sections, and then he told me I would feel like I'd been hit by a truck. But in a kind of way where I could go home the same day, I guess.

So I'll have some time on my hands in the next week. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


New book review on my self-help, thrifty living, life hacking blog: 10-10-10.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


So today I found out I've got the genetic mutation for hemochromatosis. It's a mutation on the sixth chromosome, and I don't have any details like, which mutation is it (there are a couple, and one is worse than the other), is it on both chromosomes, etc., but I do know I have it so I gave the vampires at the hospital more blood today (good thing I'm not afraid of needles) so they can run more liver tests to see if I've got iron overload. This thing basically makes your organs absorb too much iron, which damages them over time.

One of the possible symptoms listed on this site is "Setting off metal detectors for no apparent reason." That sounds kind of fun ("No, seriously! Nothing but cotton!"). I didn't pay much attention to the magnetic science portion of high school, so I don't know if I could also use my forehead as a portable magnetic message board, but I'm hoping so.

And, no wonder I always find myself pointing north! (ba dum dum)

It can also turn your skin bronze, which is kind of cool because I could throw out my bottles of sunless tanning lotion.

But really, I'm not going to get any of the cool side effects. I probably don't have the organ damage yet, and fortunately, I probably won't get it because the treatment is really easy and effective - bloodletting. No kidding. Women are usually not diagnosed until menopause because you know, they bleed monthly. Men don't, so they get diagnosed earlier, if at all. People with hemochromotosis sometimes have to give blood several times a week until they get their iron saturation levels down. Bring on the leeches!

The biggest bummer about this disease is that I may very well have passed it on to my boys, and they're at risk for organ damage, cancer (apparently cancer loves iron - who knew?) and heart disease if they have the mutation and aren't successful at keeping their iron levels down. That part bothers me.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


The fact that I had 2 C-sections is a minor blip on my parenting screen. It's not what I'd hoped for, and certainly not what was in our elaborate and doula-inspired birth plan. But, you know, the boys came out fine and it does seem that they weren't going to come out any other way. Still, I find I have a hard time reading accounts of home births. They sound so wonderful - peaceful and powerful. Maybe it's jealousy, maybe it's hope dashed since that kind of birth will never be among my experiences. Then I found this video on F-Bomb's blog, and all is better now. I've never before actually been grateful for a C-section. (Warning: the forceps segment will make you squirm).

Heaven Has Another Angel

So, I've followed The Spohrs spohradically (hah! See what I did there? BTW, the server keeps crashing due to all the traffic, but they're working on it) after BlogHer08. Their lovely, spirited, Matt Lauer-loving daughter Madeline died unexpectedly a few days ago. She was planning to roll alongside her parents at this year's March of Dimes walk. They're still collecting donations, and if you support saving more premature babies with beautiful eyes, I hope you'll consider donating in Maddie's memory.

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