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.

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.