One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Why, hello old blog! I'm just sneaking over here to indulge my own piteous self-pity. Guess what? The entire town is covered in a blizzard! Every school in town is shut down, and many businesses, too. The university is closed, as well. Guess where my husband is? Yes, he is at his office at the university, having plowed through the snow in his trusty whatever-the-Mercury-version-of-a-Ford-Taurus-is. Tenure rocks. And, by the way, a few comments on my last post clued me in to the fact that some of you may not realize that I haven't actually dropped off the face of the internet. I'm just mainly updating the other blog, and keeping this one for sentimental purposes. And also for posting stuff that will be deleted upon full realization of how very pathetic this is.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

go fish

Frankie and I decided to play a game of Go Fish while Annika finished up her lunch today. You should know that "lunch" for Anni has become something of a 3-hour extravaganza, punctuated by frequent requests for me to come listen to her tummy (ear pressed all the way to belly is required) to see what it is "still hungry for." Meanwhile, Frankie will stuff 6 snowpeas in her mouth and wander away from the kitchen, evidently bored by the totally played-out concepts of "food" and "nutrition" and "survival." So between frazzled attempts to ensure Frankie doesn't go the way of the supermodel at age 2, and desperately trying to learn the language of The Stomach Gurgle (hint: The tummy talks about potato chips a lot. Evidently, the tummy doesn't believe in low-sodium diets.), I can get a bit, shall we say, exhausted during the lunch hour(s). Today Frankie meandered into the living room while Annika was still mowing the tops off her steamed broccoli florets with the single-mindedness of a proud member of A.I.C.E.. Almost casually, Frankie grabbed the box of Go Fish cards and upended it, so that cards scattered everywhere across the living room, which was already a total minefield of toys and magazines and books and all sorts of household crap. I had to grit my teeth to keep from screaming at the thoughtlessness of it. She didn't even seem interested in the cards, or even watching them fall. Just some light-duty mess-making. Hey, nobody gets hurt, right? There's probably a clean-up fairy for stuff like that, right? But the same headache that's kept me from picking up the place for the last 3 days (let's just say it's only been 3 days, 'kay?) meant I also didn't have the energy for letting loose with my exasperation. Instead I asked Frankie if throwing the cards on the floor was her way of saying she wanted to play Go Fish. Frankie went from being the disinterested purveyor of chaos to gathering and sorting cards with the professionalism of a Vegas dealer in about 2 seconds flat at that offer. Annika, meanwhile, had moved on to the rice on her plate, which apparently requires less concentration because she struck up a conversation with me. "Did I tell you about my weird dream last night, mama?" No, she had not. "Well, it was about this porcupine, who was a singing porcupine. And it was really strange because this porcupine was on a low-sodium diet, BUT he could eat anything he wanted!" Interesting. What a strange dream. "Yes and he was walking around and eating everything and singing at the same time." I probably should have seen where this was going, but I was distracted trying to make sure Frankie found all the cards. "He was singing this song that was like this:" she goes into her opera voice "Oh, fooooooooooooood! Oh, majestic stuuuuuuuuuufff!" She was playing the opera singer role to the hilt, arms flung out with a fake vibrato on the stretched-out notes. I looked over at her and saw rice spouting out of her mouth at the "ff" ending of "stuff." Of course, she was demonstrating to me what it looks like when a porcupine sings while eating. Only the knowledge that Jörg cleans the kitchen floors every night kept me from curling into the fetal position with my pounding head sheltered between my arms. Frankie had finished picking up the cards, so I dealt us each 5 cards to start playing. Annika continued on with her story of the singing porcupine (but only between bites, as I was now careful to caution her). I can't believe how well Frankie plays Go Fish. I don't mean that she actually plays well. I could have asked for the blue shark for the past 15 turns and when she finally draws it herself from the pond, it would never in a million years occur to her that, hmmmm, perhaps mama has the matching blue shark. All I mean is that she can correctly identify all the cards (which requires being able to distinguish between a flounder and an angelfish, a distinction that still trips me up sometimes) and she waits her turn and she hands over the right cards when asked. That's a lot to ask of a 2-year-old, right? "Do you have an orange pufferfish?" I asked. "No. Go fish." "Do you have a blue jellyfish?" Frankie looked at me hopefully. "Yes!" I handed it over. Frankie smiled and stuck it in her hand. I waited for her to lay down her match, but she looked over at me expectantly. "You need to lay down your match," I reminded her. "I don't have a match!" she protested. Figuring she had gotten confused, I looked at her hand. Sure enough, my blue jellyfish was the only one in her hand. I pulled out the blue jellyfish card. "Frankie, you're supposed to ask for the match to a card you already have, silly girl! Go ahead and take your turn again." Frankie's smile disappeared. "But I wanted the blue jellyfish! I like the blue jellyfish!" So, yes, I gave her back the blue jellyfish. And Frankie lost the game, which she celebrated by throwing up her arms and yelling, "I win second!" Annika interrupted her story of the porcupine (which went on for another 15 minutes or so and thank goodness that I know better than to transcribe the entire thing here -- it turned into a total Shrek rip-off about 8 minutes in anyway) just long enough to shake her head and say, "That doesn't make any sense!" But at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, "Which of us really got the point of the game?"

Monday, July 17, 2006

a little kindness

I just noticed recently that Julie at a little pregnant has designated Annika's transplant fund as the July beneficiary of her advertising revenue, which is very lovely. Andrea? Was that you? I'm figuring everyone in the world already reads Julie and Paul, but I thought I'd point out that the clicks on the sidebar advertising benefit Anni's COTA account this month. Donations are tax-deductible, as COTA is a 501(c)3 charity. Although I guess "two clicks" is not exactly something you can list on a tax form. And, of course, my favorite part of COTA, any donations beyond Annika's medical needs go to assist other children needing transplants.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Must you see the sun to know it warms you, Grasshopper?

OK, so now I get the reason all my neighbors own gas mowers. I'm thinking that I sweated (sweat? swote?) off maybe 15 pounds today mowing the front lawn. The back yard will just have to remain all wild and untended until the heat breaks, because my little green reel mower loses much of its cuteness when viewed through eyes bleary and stinging from the drops of sunscreen-tinged sweat rolling down my forehead. I was wishing for a sweatband today for the first time in my life, and that's saying a lot because I made it through my entire teen-aged existence in the 80s with neither sweatband nor legwarmers. Our cat is endlessly fascinated when I go out to do yard work. He lolls about luxuriously on the window sill, stretched out to his considerably furry length, watching my every move through the window screen. I'm pretty sure I know what he's thinking. "Stupid, stupid humans." And coming from a cat who has run, in a panic, straight into a wall and attempted (repeatedly) to hide himself behind a toilet, that's saying a lot. Here I am, after mowing the lawn today (click to go bigger, if you dare): a) here you see my super-ultra-mega-sunscreen melting off my face b) here you see splotchy, smudgy marks where my sunglasses rubbed a lovely raw patch c) here you see me mouth-breathing, like an overweight Saint Bernard panting in the Sahara d) here you see my crazed, blood-shot eyes (Why, no! I haven't ever had an internet stalker! Go figure. One of life's great mysteries, I guess.) (edited to add: I just checked my referrer logs and discovered with wondrous serendipity that I am the #2 result on the WebMD search "underarm stink." Just out of curiosity, I checked Google. #4.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

We don't use our air conditioner much in the summer, which might explain why every October we go on a treasure hunt collecting all the toys and stray socks that have taken up permanent residence under the sofa. I'm just too meltingly hot to go belly down on the floor, reaching for that toy that nobody has really missed, anyway, not to mention all those annoying magazine subscription cards that come fluttering out of The New Yorker 3 at a time with every issue. But as everyone is fond of saying around here, "It's not the heat. It's the humidity." About this time every summer, the house begins to take on a distinctly sponge-like atmosphere. This morning found me drinking my morning iced coffee (because I cannot take my caffeine hot at this point) and trying to finish up Life of Pi for book club when I heard Annika grunting. Looking up I saw her pounding her fist on the puzzle she'd been working on. It didn't take long for her to dissolve into a weeping fit of frustration, "It's not working! It just isn't working out right now!" Here is what I saw when I came to her rescue: Yes, our house is so humid that her puzzles have gone funky. So I sent her downstairs to the basement to gather up a new game, which led to more cries of frustration when she couldn't get the door to the playroom open. I had to go downstairs myself and kick the wetly swollen door open, a la Charlie's Angels. Time to turn on the AC? Or should we wait until our house absorbs enough moisture to expand our square footage by another 9 feet or so?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

for one thing, I can never get my feet to match up

I suppose it was insanity to think I could maintain two different blogs. It appears all my time lately goes into The Other Blog. One problem I have is that I cannot simply post and let those puppies go. I have to go back and re-edit and add links and fix punctuation and do all those things that you're not supposed to do when you're blogging, because that kind of freedom from editorial obsession is exactly what makes blogging so great. So even when I'm just writing 5 posts per week, it turns out that they end up sucking up all sorts of time because I keep going back to the things, even long past the time anyone's likely to read them. Does anyone else do this? Surely I'm not alone in my crippling inability to leave well enough alone? I've always heard that writing frequent posts is a tried-and-true way to up your readership numbers; advice I blithely ignored on the theory that writing more frequently wouldn't be helpful if I had to resort to anecdotes about toenail clipping and other such fascinating activities in an effort to be more prolific. I mean, some people could make toenail clipping into some hilarious parable illustrating the Meaning of Life, but I'm pretty sure I'd just end up writing about, well, toenail clippings. And maybe also about how sad toenail clipping really is. But now either the blogosphere is just getting too big to keep up with frequent posters, or my Toenail Theory was spot on, because I am apparently getting fewer readers now that I post all the time. So maybe I should just roll this blog up into the ClubMom Blog Extravaganza? Would it make more sense just to have the one blog? Make the situation less complicated? Ease my guilt when I see that my last post was nearly a month ago, and really only contained a link to the other blog? So, anyway, here's something: we were finally sent a copy of the contract that the re-insurer has with our insurance company. We had requested a copy around the time of the whole insurance fiasco, just to convince ourselves that there really was some justification in black-and-white for our impending screwing. Not only was there no mention of using the date billed, rather than date of service, to determine our annual maximum, there was no mention of this "annual maximum" business at all. If you remember, it was the annual maximum (as opposed to a lifetime maximum) that left us ineligible for most government help programs (since she was still technically "insured," even though our insurance wouldn't pay). There is, however, an annual maximum clause listed in our contract with the insurance company (as opposed to the re-insurer). Did I mention that the annual maximum idea was new in the past year to our healthcare plan? Proposed after Annika entered the pool of insurees? (Things that make you go "hmmmmmm.") And even more you wonder what happens to people who don't have the resources to fight these decisions. We were extremely lucky that we had powerful people at Jörg's workplace pushing for our situation to be remedied. It's good to be out of the emergency situation, both with Anni's health and the insurance. It's too bad neither one of them has been fixed permanently. I can't believe that Annika could still slip between the cracks of our insurance system with just one PICU stay at the wrong time of the calendar year. And, of course, I still can't believe that Annika really needs to be transplanted, again. I really hope that the next presidential campaign includes lots of debate over the healthcare situation in this country. Then I would at least have something to blog indignantly about over in this space.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

iMovie is a dangerous, dangerous thing

For those of you begging for more of those a-DOR-able home videos, I've posted another over at The Wait and the Wonder.

Friday, June 09, 2006


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World Cup mania has hit the Tiede household. This is the only sporting event that Jörg insists upon watching, and it's only every 4 years, so I'll roll with it. Training of the younger generation has begun. Video to prove it.

Friday, June 02, 2006

in the chapel

in the chapel Frankie, in the chapel in Bloomington, Indiana where Jörg and I were married. (Click to go bigger)

Dear Readers of this Blog

(should there be any left), Everything is OK. Well, Annika's labs still show that her liver is failing. She's started a new drug to try and lower her ammonia levels, which were screwing with her little brain and turning her into an incredibly sleepy and totally drunk-sounding almost kindergartner. Today she's getting an intramuscular vitamin K injection to try and lower her bleed times. We took a last-minute trip to Indiana on Wednesday, showing the girls the little chapel on the campus of IU where we got married, then heading up to Indianapolis to see the zoo and loll about in a hotel pool. I got all weepy during the dolphin show, where we were surrounded by hundreds of children all breathless with delight while Annika wiggled around on my lap, unable to get comfortable, and clearly not enjoying herself. "Let's just get out of here," she whispered into my ear. Mainly, I'm just wiped out trying to keep up with my required 5 posts a week over at my new blog. Over there, it's clear that the point of the job is to get as many clicks as possible and there has been some discussion on ways to increase readership on the private discussion board for the other ClubMom bloggers. Some of the suggestions have been things like "doing memes" (or "not doing memes," the field is divided on that issue) and writing "short posts with breezy content." I think I am going to have to take up the short posts idea, just because, well, they take less time. But I'm still trying to think about "breezy." When I sent in my application, I pointed out that my topic was probably not the kind of stuff they were looking for. It's not that I'm more "serious" or whatever. It's just that I'm not sure it's the kind of thing moms looking for an escape and a fun read are going to gravitate towards. It's probably not the kind of thing that inspires readers to click on advertising, unless it's advertising for the latest, greatest anti-depressant. I did just post a shorter entry about Frankie and an M&M disaster, but really it has nothing to do with my assigned topic "Children's Health and Diseases." (BREEZY!!!!) Anyway, so thanks for asking, Tina.