Monthly Archives: March 2017

S Town

For folks not in the podcast world, S Town from the makers of Serial dropped earlier this week.

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For those who have been living under a rock, Serial season 1 made podcasts a household term. From Serial season 1 came many, many other spin offs. And podcasts about podcasts, like one of my FAVORITE podcasts, Crime Writers On.

I honestly tried to follow the Crime Writer guidelines – listen to episode one before Tuesday, then episodes 2-4 before Friday, then 5-7 before next Friday. But once I started listening, I could NOT STOP.

Super grateful for my work commute this week. That was my only way to justify binge listening to the entire series. So thanks to Girl Scouts NC Coastal Pines for not only reimbursing my mileage, but also giving me time to listen to this amazing story.

I finished the series with so many feelings, so many thoughts, and so many things to write about. I will try not to ramble too much. And full disclosure, do not read any further if you do not want spoilers.

The main character is John B. He wrote to a producer of This American Life asking him to come to his Alabama town to investigate crime and corruption. He calls where he lives Shit Town.

John B was a horologist (a person who repairs clocks) and there are so many clock references in the series. But John B was much, much more. He also suffered from depression. As the child of a mom who also suffered from depression, John B was so relatable. There are times early in the series when he seems manic. It is as if his words cannot keep up with his mind. There are also times when he seems so sad and defeated that it is hard to listen to him rant about his Shit Town.

So why the clocks? Besides the fact that John B was obviously a genius, I think the clocks served as a way of evaluating his life…. “the measure of time has something to do with me… time going by and never coming back.”

So why never leave Shit Town if he hated it so much? This is probably the hardest part of being in a relationship with someone with depression. You so badly want the person to move in a forward direction, make a change to make things better. But they are so stuck because of the depression that they cannot make that change.

I think John B reaching out to Brian Reed was his way of leaving his mark on the world. And in the end, I think he saw himself as a citizen of the world, not just a person from Shit Town.

Once I finished the series, I had a lingering thought. What if John B had left Shit Town. Would that have changed the outcome of his life and legacy? I don’t think so. Just like I do not believe his suicide was the result of mercury poisoning from his years of fire gilding. I think John B’s depression would have followed him wherever he went. His inability to connect in meaningful ways with others was such an ingrained part of him.

Whew, what an amazing story of a complicated person. I will finish from a quote from Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy

Ground zero is where the normal people live their lives, but not us. We live in the negatives so often that we begin to understand that life when the sun shines should be lived full throttle, soaring, The invisible tether that binds the normal people on their steady course doesn’t  hold us in the same way. Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else. Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow. And sometimes…. we fly.

Thanks This American Life for a great podcast. Fingers crossed for more stories as interesting and thought provoking as this one!

Kristan

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feet

Yesterday Rahul did the annual Colorectal Cancer 5K. Remember the race from 2015? Samantha asked if I would run with her, and said she wanted to take a walk break right at the end of the race. Then took off trying to beat me.

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I did NOT let that happen.

But last year’s race was my last run. My right foot hurt so much after that I gave up running for good. Click here for that depressing story.

I have done shoe inserts, chiropractic care and still have some lingering pain. I have avoided the podiatrist referral mainly because the idea of shaving the bone of my foot makes me queasy. This is what I think it would look like –

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No thank you. Rahul, noticing my sadness for not being able to just run a 5K… and not being able to just run for fun in general, finally did a bit a research for me on bone spurs. A gal has to work hard to her Dr hubs to help her out…sigh. And it seems like my running fate might not be totally doomed. Read this article for more fancy technology that makes the above picture seem super old school.

So, gulp, I am willing to at least get an opinion on my busted feet. I am convinced that if I fix my feet, that the rest of body will be able to run again. I miss it SO MUCH. Not me really, more my brain. It needs me to run. Fingers crossed for good news and I can pound that pavement again soon!
Kristan

 

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life with a teenage boy

An update on my sweet Aidan. He has been struggling with cystic acne for the past 6mos. We did 4 mos of oral and topical antibiotics with no success. And I know firsthand what teenage acne can do to your face long term. I still have scars from my cystic acne and have done LOTS to get rid of those scars over the years. So when the dermatologist recommended 6mos of Accutane, I knew it was coming. Rahul got a second opinion from a dermatologist friend who agreed it was time. This medicine can be safe if used appropriately, and like Rahul’s friend said it can change the life of a teenager. You see Accutane is 99% effective at getting rid of cystic acne.

Part of Accutane treatment is monthly blood work. We had baseline blood work done at his visit last week. I was a bit surprised when I got a call today that his overall cholesterol is slightly elevated. I immediately went to my friend Google to get the latest and found this article on Web MD making the argument that teens need their own standards. But that does not mean Aidan could not be making better choices with his food.

I talked to him tonight and he was surprisingly on board with some changes that we will be making –

  1. oatmeal is good to reduce cholesterol but he does not like the texture, so we agreed on granola bars. And not the super sugary kind.
  2. Apple slices are easier than whole apples so they will be added to the AM routine.
  3. nuts – he likes slightly salted almonds.
  4. Orange juice with whey protein added.
  5. tea in the afternoon vs Vanilla Bean Frappuchino
  6. spinach with dinner
  7. soy milk vs regular reduced fat milk
  8. 30 mins of fast walking on the treadmill 3 times a week

Part of me is grateful for acne. It is a concrete reason to get the teenager to make better choices. Objective, not just me being a nag.

Wish us luck on the journey to get rid of cystic acne. After the 6mos of treatment is over, we will begin the long process of getting rid of the scars.

Kristan

 

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life with a tween girl

Samantha and I had a rough week. She has gotten into a bad habit of scheduling social activities without asking or coordinating with a grown up. It came to a head on Monday when she called me during soccer practice to *tell* me she was going to get dinner with Julia, go to the screening of Screenagers at school, then get a ride home with Regan. The problem? Well, there were actually many. I was working in Sanford and had already coordinated a ride home for her, which I will have to repay the favor once my spring programming is done. Oh and obligating 2 other families to make this happen. I said no and was met with serious resistance. I stayed calm and said that she has to *ask* before plans are made.

Fast forward to this weekend. It happened AGAIN. She coordinated a double sleepover without asking about the second one. Oh, and offered our house for the second one…. with Rahul on call. So we had to set some serious boundaries –

  1. No double sleepovers at other people’s houses. She should spend some time at our home with family each weekend.
  2. I have to know when plans are being made and approve of how she will get to said social engagement and how she will get home before approving.
  3. She needs to learn to think about other people in the family when making plans.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love that she wants to hang out with her friends, but this socializing has just gotten a bit of of control. Time to regain control.

In other tween girl news… here is her bedroom door these days. Inviting, huh?

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And the slime…..

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Tween girls, not just mine, spend hours and hours….and LOTS of parental money making this stuff. Some schools have actually banned slime.  Want to learn more about slime and why it is so popular among middle school girls? Click here.

As much as I dislike slime, I have heard that slime is replaced by an interest in boys… so I will take slime and all of its mess for as long as I can.

Never a dull moment in the parenting world. The toughest job you will ever love. Be honest and keep talking… that is our motto.

Kristan

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working dads and working moms

A video of a dad doing a very serious news interview while working from home went viral last week. Check it out if you have been living under a rock and have not seen it yet.

 

Yesterday a parody of this video with a mom doing a similar interview hit the internet.

 

YES, YES, YES. All joking aside, there are days that I feel just like this mom. Working from home is a HUGE perk of my job, but it makes juggling all aspects of life challenging some times.

And on a related note, how did we entertain ourselves before You Tube?

Kristan

 

 

 

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summer planning from one proud mom

So our kiddos are aging out of traditional camps. They will be 12 and 13 this summer, so its time to start thinking about different ways to keep their brains working over the summer months. Here is an update on what they will both be working on… very different, but both make me one proud mom.

Aidan wants to build a computer….from scratch.

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He has been doing research and thinks he can do it. My only job is to get all the parts, which he has conveniently bookmarked on my Mac Book.

Samantha has requested to get tutoring in pre-algebra so she can go on to Jacob’s Math next school year. Back story: she got really behind in math in 3rd grade. We did pricey Sylvan Learning Center tutoring to get her caught up, but there were still some pockets of deficits showing up last year. She was right on the edge in terms of taking Math 6 or going to pre-algebra this school year. We decided to stick with Math 6 so she would have a strong foundation before heading to pre-algebra. Samantha decided halfway through the school year that she did not agree with this decision because Math 6 was too easy. So, she emailed her math teacher and the math dept chair and asked to move from Math 6 to Jacob’s Math. I asked that she make the request because 1) it was her idea and 2) I did not want to come across as one of “those parents” who thinks my kid is smarter than everyone else.

She was given some work to do to see if she was interested and ready for this big jump, and it seems like she is. Her math teacher has told her this will be hard work, but Samantha is up for the challenge.

Now, if you are like me you are wondering what in the heck is Jacob’s math?  Here is a blurb from amazon.com…

For instructors of liberal arts mathematics classes who focus on problem-solving, Harold Jacobs’s remarkable textbook has long been the answer, helping teachers connect with of math-anxious students. Drawing on over thirty years of classroom experience, Jacobs shows students how to make observations, discover relationships, and solve problems in the context of ordinary experience.

So, computer creation and pre-algebra. I am sure the kiddos will do some camps as well. Samantha is interested in volleyball and basketball, and we are trying to get Aidan to be a Counselor In Training (CIT) at the FARM and he will continue in his band… so good stuff all around.

Summer…we are ready for you!

Kristan

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You Are Here book signing

Yesterday I got to meet one of my favorite and super hilarious writers – Jenny Lawson. By the time I got the bookstore with friends, it was standing room only. Her book reading and Q&A was hilarious, relatable.

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And here is her picture of us.

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Go Raleigh, NC welcoming the Bloggess. I will be forever grateful for her way of thinking, her books, her blog, etc. I cannot wait to color my first page of You Are Here!

Krisyan

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