Saturday, September 18, 2010

The picture. It's a metaphor. A *really* obvious one.

Soooo . . .  I'm shuttin it down.  Which isn't a huge surprise, right?

I haven't posted--or even been inspired to post--in forever.  Sad.

And I haven't been checking in on anyone else's blogs in the last couple months.  Also sad.

A quick update on my family before I close the door on the Country Mouse House:

  • My beautiful daughter and her husband have taken 3 month old Logan back to the hospital because he has a painfully difficult time digesting food.  They haven't been able to get anyone to take their concerns seriously until now.  Logan, when he isn't in agony, is a happy, sweet little guy.  He has hit all his developmental milestones on schedule and appears to be headed in the right direction.  The food/digestion thing needs to be worked out but besides that he's really doing miraculously well.

  • My darling little Sweet Pea will celebrate her 2nd birthday in a little over a week.  She is extremely verbally competent and, like her older brother, is quite clever.  A little too clever sometimes : ) 

  • And speaking of Sweet Pea's older brother, Gabe started Kindergarten this year *and* caught a 15 pound King salmon while fishing with Grandpa!  w00t!


  • Youngest has his driver's permit and thinks he's all grown up.  As 15-year-olds do : )   He also had his very first day of school EVER recently.  He's attending a private school for a couple classes a week and doing the rest at home as per the usual schedule of events.  He has matured enough to begin to know his strengths and weaknesses and to know where he needs help.  He also has become a much harder worker with school and sports and is doing well at football--freshman team (his first year playing.)  He's such a laid back, sweet kid.  It's great to see him coming into his own : )

  • Number One Son is engaged!!!  He finally asked his girl to marry him and it looks like the wedding will be next July before they move to Texas for grad school.  Number One is also on the front cover of a climbing magazine.  Kinda cool!  He did some climbing with a friend this year in the Brooks Range in Alaska and actually named a mountain.  Named it after his fiancee.  What an unusual, and beautiful, gift : )

  • My not quite adopted son, Guy, and I don't have as close a relationship as we once did but I think that's a good and healthy thing.  He has come a long way--he has grown and has taken my naggy advice on many fronts.  He will *never* admit to that though : ) 

  • My sweet Mister and I are continuing to enjoy getting to know each other again now that we pretty much have an empty nest.  He is still funny and sweet and a pain in the ass.  Nothing's changed : )

  • And the voices in my head for which I started this forum?  Still there : )  Still raucous and bickering and still making me who I am : )

Thank you all so so so so so much for hanging out with me and being supportive and funny and loyal.  I wish you all the best.  Take care!

XXXOOO,
Kristin

Monday, August 2, 2010

Long overdue update!

Yikes--so much has happened and we've been so busy! 

First of all, Logan is doing fantastically well!

Secondly, thank you so much for all your thoughts and continued concern for our little guy.

Logan was finally discharged from the hospital about a week and a half or two weeks ago (I'm sorry--you'd think I'd never ever forget that special day, but . . . ) 

He is living at home now with his big sis and with regular visits from big brother.  He was sent home *without* a feeding tube or any other medical intervention.  He is still having some difficulty with food and seems to be suffering from colic but is otherwise healthy and completely normal for an infant his age.

Both his neurologist and pediatrician have said that Logan is, so far, exactly where he should be in terms of development.  The pediatrician went on to tell Logan's mommy and daddy that he has seen children who were deprived of oxygen during their births who then had cool cap therapy and children who haven't had the therapy available to them and the difference is drastic.  Children who have not had cool cap therapy are visibly affected and it's devastating.  On the other hand, children like Logan have outcomes that are about as close to 180 degrees opposite as possible.  I cannot even begin to tell you how humbled I am by how blessed our family is.  My heart goes out to families who are the other side of that fateful coin.

Again, I am so touched by your support.  Thank you all so much!

Logan was talking to his mommy when this picture was taken : )



Gabe, so thrilled with his bravery in the water!


Lily, *always* moving very fast and always excited!
                     

Friday, June 18, 2010

new nursery!

Yay!  I am happy to report that Logan was moved to the Intermediate Care Nursery on Tuesday or Wednesday (sorry--so much happening, I've lost track : )  The new nursery is much less "medical" and much more "baby nursery" in appearance.  It's cute and dimly lit and decked out in Beatrix Potter character paintings. 

Logan had an EEG on Wednesday morning but his mommy and daddy have been so busy tag teaming with his care and with the care of their other two children that they haven't had a chance to sit down with Logan's doctor and get the full report.  What they have learned from the nurses and one phone conversation with the doctor is that he is making improvements!  His sleep/wake patterns look normal (via EEG) and the voltage in his brain is higher than last time, however, I'm not sure if that's universally or in limited places. 

On the downside, he is having some seizure activity.  Not full-blown seizures, but it is problematic enough that he is on the highest possible dose of phenobarbitol and will have to be bumped up to the next level of anti-seizure drug.  I do not know whether there are any long term side effects to be concerned about--I can't think that far down the road right now.  I can only concentrate on the here and now at this moment. 

I wish I had updated pictures to share!  I have some on my phone but no way to upload them from the house where we are staying.  I am returning to work next week on a restricted hour schedule.  I will still be able to help the kids and I hope it will only be a couple more weeks until Logan can come home. 

Again--thank you all for the thoughts, prayer, and support.  You have no idea what strength I have been able to draw from that : )   And someday when things slow down, maybe I'll be able to catch up on your blogs as well!

Monday, June 14, 2010

encouraging news

Whew--what a week this has been!  Yesterday our family celebrated Logan's first week with us--and that was a milestone we weren't sure we would reach. 

Logan had a cranial ultrasound and an EEG last Thursday.  The neurologist and neonatologist told Logan's parents they were "cautiously optimistic" about his prognosis.  We'll take that!!!!  All areas of his brain are functioning--they all have low voltage compared to what is normally seen in a newborn, but that is to be expected under the circumstances.  He will have another EEG sometime this week and again, we're hoping for miracles.  Frankly, that seems kind of selfish in light of what we've already been given and in light of the human suffering going on all over the world, but we're still asking for just that.

Logan has been breathing on his own for a couple days now and hasn't had any seizures (to my knowledge) during the last couple days.  His outlook is good enough that the medical staff will likely be moving him up to the intermediate nursery sometime in the next day or two.  Praise God : ) 

Here are a couple pictures--much easier to look at than the ones I posted before.  And thank you all for your thoughts and kind e-mails!

Logan and mommy having a chat


no happier feeling in the world for this girl



we've come a long way, baby!




Tuesday, June 8, 2010

my grandson

I'm going to make this short.  Main details only:

My daughter was in labor on Sunday.  She was pushing when the baby's heartbeat plummeted and didn't recover.  An emergency C-section was performed but baby Logan was delivered without a pulse.  Resuscitation efforts went on for 15 minutes with no response.  At one point my daughter heard a nurse ask the pediatrician, "Do you want to call it?"  Shortly after that, Logan's heart started beating again.

Logan was without oxygen for at least 15 minutes.  It could have been up to 24 minutes.

He is a beautiful, 8 lb 8 oz, baby.  He's well filled out and physically healthy and lovely.  His heart and lungs seem to be strong and functioning well, but there is brain damage.  He is currently on a cold cap and will be until Thursday.  On that day they'll do brain function scans.  I don't know what or how much that will tell us. 

We are praying for miracles.  I don't think there's anything else to say but that.



Logan Wyatt



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No sh*t.

I think I've mentioned before that my daughter lives in a bit of a sketchy neighborhood.  It's not the kind of area where there's the "good" side of town and the "bad" side of town.  It's a "good" house next door to a crack house . . . next door to a junkyard . . . next door to a charming elementary school.  That kind of sketchy.

Case in point:  here is the view looking across the street from my daughter's front gate




Nuff said?  Yeah, I thought so.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday, Monday, so bad to me . . .

Monday was a crapfully crapful day! From beginning to end. Awful. Personal stuff. Family stuff. Work stuff. Friend stuff. AWFULLLLLLLLL!

One bright spot in my day was that my sweet, sweet husband, without knowing a thing about how sucky my day was, dropped by to see me at work and brought me flowers. Just because. Just because he loves me and likes to surprise me from time to time and let me know how much he appreciates me. You can't buy that kind of devotion.

Non bright spot?  After Doug surprised me with flowers, I asked him to go over to the coffee shop and bring me back a cup of cocoa since it was way too busy for me to go myself.  When he returned with the cocoa I was in the middle of a transaction with one of our regular customers, Mr. M. 

Handsome Mr. M was standing at the counter holding his 3 year old child while sliding his debit card through the terminal.  While Mr. M was looking down to enter his PIN, Doug put my cup down on the counter over to my right--out of Mr. M's view.  As Doug was leaving I looked over his way and said, "Thank you, Honey.  See you later."  When I looked back at my customer, I could see a funny expression on his face.  I laughed and explained, "I wasn't calling you honey--my husband was over there."  Of course by then Doug was nowhere to be seen.  Mr. M forced a nervous chuckle and told me, "I just thought you were talking to my daughter . . . "  AWKWARD!!!

Another a non bright spot?  And this one isn't even funny?  Sweet hubby took me out for dinner and drinks later that evening.  I was just unwinding and feeling okay when hubby's aunt walked in.  Hubby's aunt is a little doom-and-gloom, a little woe-is-me.  Also?  She has never approved of homeschooling--even in light of my older two kids' success . . .

I was trying to be cheerful by mentioning the light of Aunt's life--her grandkids.  "Youngest is going to attend the private school with your grandkids next year," I happily reported.

"Oh, good," she replied, "because every time I see Youngest he looks so unhappy."

Wha??? 

a)  He's 14.  Both my daughter and I vividly recall cultivating that look on our faces when we were that age.  That look that reads, "I cannot believe I'm stuck with these people."  It's a teen thing, right?

b)  Whenever I mention this run-in with Aunt (and believe me, I mention it a lot) everyone says, "Happy-go-lucky Youngest looking unhappy?"  Exactly. 

c)  Aunt only sees Youngest once--maybe twice--yearly.  WTH is she even talking about????

d)  So what if Youngest does look unhappy.  Who says that to someone's mom?  Who talks that way? 

On the other hand, I went home that evening with a man who understands and loves me.  Aunt went home to an aging cat.  Now who's having the crappy day?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I said "Be careful his bowtie is really a camera"

Driving Youngest up to the school this afternoon for track, we were in the middle of a conversation when I noticed an odd thing.

"Check it out," I said to Youngest and nodded toward the unusual scene I was watching.  "An older man walks to the corner of the high school campus, puts a suspicious box on the ground and takes a step back." 

"Wearing a cowboy hat and a suit," Youngest takes up the thread.  "And he's putting his hand into his pocket."

"You think he's going for the detonator?" I ask.  "Oh, wait a minute," I change my tone, "the side of the box is printed with the letters NKJV.  He's passing out Bibles to the students as they leave school . . . "

"Nice going, Mom!" Youngest chides.  "You've just made a terrorist out of a well-meaning pastor!"

Eh.  Can't win em all : )

Thursday, April 29, 2010

randomy stuff

Last night Doug and I went out for dinner at what is supposed to be a swanky-ish restaurant. The food sucked. Bad experience. But what was interesting was the couple at the table across from us.

She looked to be in her late 60's, maybe early 70's. He looked 10 or more years younger. Maybe. I couldn't decide what kind of relationship they had. Were they a married couple? Was he her care giver? Relatives? I don't know. What fascinated me was that they both had books and were independently reading between courses.

At first I wondered why they would bother sharing a nice dinner if they weren't going to also share conversation. But then it occurred to me that if they're both retired and spend all their days together anyway, they're probably all talked out. They both enjoy reading. They both enjoy good food. They're not eating alone. So what's the harm? Still though, I was glad to be eating with my friend and partner and having interesting and funny discussion.

*********
Earlier yesterday afternoon I picked my grandson, Gabe, up from preschool because Beautiful's pre-natal exam went late. Over the last couple weeks, every time Gabe's daddy has picked him up from school, Gabe has asked for a milkshake. Daddy doesn't give in to junk food often, so the answer has been no. Since yesterday was a special day with Grammy, Daddy gave the go ahead for us to indulge in a special milkshake treat.
Gabe emphatically chose strawberry. Over the whole of the 30 minute drive back to my house, Gabe kept repeating over and over, "This is delicious!" It tickled me : ) He also kept referring to it as a smoothie. A very new-millennium moniker.
When Beautiful came to take Gabe home she reminded him to thank Grammy for the goody. He started but got stuck between the words 'smoothie' and 'milkshake.' What came out of his mouth was, "Grammy, thank you for the smoothcake!"
I would buy that little boy a smoothcake every day of the week just to see his happy little smile : )
*********
Youngest is in track at the junior high. He tried out for shot put, discus and low hurdles. He was chosen to do the field events, but not the running event. It is, however, open to kids even if they weren't formally chosen--which is really kinda cool so the kids can try whatever they want and not be told they can't. I think that's how it should be in junior high.
Since he's allowed to run hurdles if he wants to, he put his name on the list for tomorrow's meet. The major problem is that he hasn't practiced the hurdles for 2 weeks!
This morning, with puffed up chest and his funny false bravado, he told me, "Yep, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be the Hurdle King." I mentioned the lack of practice. He didn't think that would be an issue. So I let it go, tried to say something encouraging while hoping he doesn't fall flat on his face. Literally.
This evening he came to me and said, "So . . . I'm a little worried about the hurdles tomorrow."
"Oh?" I asked, "what happened to Hurdle King?"
"Turns out," he told me, "I haven't practiced in two weeks. It might not go so well tomorrow."
"That's okay," I reassured him, "I won't tell anyone you're my son."
heh heh

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A nice, tidy ring.

My husband has a friend, Chuck, who knows everything. At least my husband thinks he does.

They've known each other since they were kids. For a few years, they even worked together. That was the worst. There was no end to, "Hey Honey, guess what Chuck told me today?" and, "Chuck mentioned this book he thinks I should read." Ad nauseum.

It went so far as, "Chuck thinks we should build the porch this way . . . " with, as you might guess, my reply being, "But I think we should build it that way."

In a not terribly surprising coincidence, my lovely daughter went through a similar phase as a teenager. Only it wasn't Chuck to whom she deferred, it was her mentor, Sara.

"Hey Mom, Sara thinks I should take summer dance classes at Cornish to stretch my range and broaden my horizons!" she told me one day. Funny how she didn't hear me say exactly the same thing only days before.

"Mom, Sara wants me to start teaching classes at her studio. She thinks it will help my confidence and be a good addition to my dance resume." Really? Sara thinks that? You don't remember me thinking that several months ago?

Today, Beautiful called me with a medical/pregnancy related question. She does that a lot lately.

"You don't have a fever?"

"No."

"And you're not uncomfortable?"

"No."

"And you aren't having any other symptoms that concern you?"

"No."

"And the nurse said it was fine to wait until tomorrow to see them? She wasn't panicky like you should come in right now?"

"No, she was calm. She said it would be fine to wait."

"Okay, then I don't think you have anything to worry about. You're seeing your doctor tomorrow anyway and if you have *any* discomfort or fever tonight then you can just go in to prompt care. But I'm pretty sure your husband has said all the same things to you, hasn't he?"

"Yes. But I evidently ignored every word he said and went directly to the phone for your advice."

"You mean the way you used to do to me with Sara's advice?"

"Yep," she laughed, "just exactly like that."

Ladies and gentlemen, we have achieved full circle : )

Now if only I could get rid of that Chuck guy . . .

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bag of vomit trumps all.

In the Grocery Store Protocol Governing Right of Way, employees, especially those taking out the garbage, come last. Very, very last.

When walking around in any grocery store, it's considered polite to let the handicapped, the elderly and women with small children go before you, Mr. or Mrs. Regular Customer. For a grocery store employee, the code is a little more complicated than that. The sequence of who gets priority goes a little something like this:

  • Handicapped with service dogs
  • Handicapped in motorized carts
  • Pregnant woman in her 3rd trimester
  • Self-important SOB from nearby Island Community because, goodness knows, they own the very air we are privileged to breathe.
  • Handicapped not in motorized carts
  • Elderly
  • and/or confused
  • Mother with a child who needs to go potty RIGHT NOW
  • Mother with a child who needed to go potty a moment ago and is now a wet, embarrassed, bawling mess
  • Pregnant woman in her 2nd trimester
  • Mother with an infant
  • Mother with a 2-year-old
  • Rogue 2-year-old
  • 60-something woman with long gray hair and a blindingly pink velour track suit--don't look directly at the track suit!
  • Customers who dawdle along, oblivious to anyone else in the world, sniffing all the handmade soaps and trying out the backscratchers with no concern whatsoever for the other people who exist in the same space and have either shopping or a job to do . . .
  • Regular customers
  • Employees
  • Employees taking out the garbage

Today, however, I made an executive decision and amended the rules. The card that trumps them all, the situation, no matter who is in the aisle and with what infirmity, that outweighs all other situations is: Employee Carrying Bag of Vomit.

Could my job *be* any more glamorous?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

a little announcement . . .

I meant to mention this earlier. Like a month or four ago . . . And yesterday a couple girlfriends stopped by to see me at work and called me out on this. Sorry, girlfriends! Here it is:



Remember this little girl?



Hi, Sweet Pea!




Well, she's grown a whole lot!


Hi again, Lily! Oh, wait--what does your shirt say?????

Yep! Our little Lily is going to be the big sister very soon! The new baby is due on May 30th. All the babies in the family have always been late--so I'm shooting for June 12th . . . which just happens to be my birthday! Beautiful isn't willing for any such date. Beautiful is willing for, mmmm, let's say sometime in late May. And that is all. Period. We'll just see : )

Oh, and guess what else?


New baby is a boy!!!!



And just one last picture because I am, after all, the Grammy and I am, after all, contractually obliged to shamelessly indulge : )


Who's that darling little girl sitting on Uncle Wrestler's lap?

Yeah, I know. Even I am going into a diabetic coma : )

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This is going to hurt you way more than it's going to hurt me.

In the midst of making my famous--and delicious--Mexican Chicken Chili, Youngest walks in to the kitchen and says, "That looks good. But you know what's really good? Grandma's white bean chili."

Oh, that poor, stupid little bastard.

"First of all, Youngest, you're not having any dinner tonight. Secondly, here's a heads up for you: If a girl is ever cooking you a meal do not start a sentence with, 'You know what's really good?' You'll thank me later."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Viva, Baby!

This month Doug and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Twenty five years of wedded bliss. Or as close to bliss as anyone in a relationship for 25 years can muster : )

Our favorite toast when we're out with friends is, "To whores!" There's a funny story behind that, as you could probably guess, but I'm going to leave that out for now and just tell you right up front that I had no intention of toasting to our wonderful life together using that particular sentiment.

That toast aside, we've been talking for a year about how we wanted to celebrate this truly Herculean feat. I wanted to go to Hawaii. Doug wanted to take a cruise. In the end, we decided we didn't want to commit that kind of money. We were just about to book a room for a couple nights at our favorite hotel at the ocean when Doug turned to me and said, "You know, it wouldn't cost too much more to go to Vegas instead."

He was right--airfare and a nice hotel didn't cost much more than spending the same number of days at the ocean. However, as we all know, add in the ground transportation, baggage fees, higher end restaurants, show tickets, rental car, tips for everyone and his brother, and it's a little more expensive after all. But at some point we stopped tallying the cost and decided that after 25 years together we could just relax and enjoy the ride.

And that is exactly what we did.

Also, as everyone knows, as long as you're in Las Vegas, you're pretty much obliged to get married. Only we're already married. So we opted for a vow renewal. Which is odd because it seems like such a hokey, saccharine thing to do--it's really not in my character to buy into that sort of thing. But buy into it, I did!

All I was really looking for was a moment between my husband and me at a pretty outdoor location. I wanted to wear a lovely dress. I wanted a bouquet (which I didn't have in our original ceremony) and pictures by a professional photographer (another item we didn't have 25 years ago.)

I looked online at a dozen little chapels and called the wedding coordinators at a number of the larger hotels. I couldn't get a photographer without also paying for the clergy, the witnesses, changing room, certificate, keepsake silk flowers and the rest of the tacky Vegas wedding trappings. We even dropped in on one of the little chapels at the far end of the strip to see if they'd cut us a last minute bargain. When I told the woman what I wanted, the first question out of her mouth was, "Do you want Elvis to officiate?"

Not. Even. Close.

In the end, we decided that we'd dress nicely, I'd have a bouquet, we'd choose an outdoor location, spend a few moments alone together and take photos with our own digital camera.

Surprisingly, it was Doug who picked a romantic location. He chose the observation deck of the fake Eiffel Tower at night with all the twinkly lights below us. Unsurprisingly, his choice was at least 50% attributable to the 50% off coupon he had for the Eiffel Tower elevator . . .

Surrounded by a bunch of other tourists oohing and ahhing over the lights and the Bellagio fountain show across the street, Doug and I stood aside to talk to each other about the past 25 years, the accomplishments, the disappointments, the changes, the kids, the grandkids, and the future.

Yes, I cried. A little. Or whatever . . . And Doug gave me a lovely silver ring. As he put it on my hand, he got a twinkle in his eyes and said, "To whores!" And I could do nothing but laugh because that sense of humor is exactly the reason I married this wonderful man and have stuck with him through all the good, the bad, and the everything in between.



This is my favorite picture of our trip. We were at Red Rock Canyon. I'm telling Doug how to operate the camera ("No, Doug--tilt the camera down a little or it will cut me off!") and he's intentionally cropping my mouth out of the photo. God love that man! I sure do : )




Olympic dreams do come true! Well, you know, sort of . . .

Tonight while watching the Olympics with hubby I suddenly had a memory from when I was a kid. When I was 11 or 12 I was chosen, along with another member of my gymnastics team, to compete in the Junior Olympics which were being held somewhere in the Seattle area.

At the last minute our coach pulled out because she was concerned that the level of competition was way above our heads. And boy was she right! Instead of competing, we took a fantastic road trip to watch the meet. The girls who we watched were so far out of our league that they had a different zip code than our league. My teammate and I looked at each other with relief and gratitude for being saved from what would have been certain humiliation.

So. While I was trying to tell hubby of my near Junior Olympic moment, I accidentally said that when I was a kid I was slated to take part in the Special Olympics . . .

Yeah. I'm never going to hear the end of that one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My car perished in a murder/attempted suicide.

Forgive me for not posting in such a very long time. I am sure you will understand when I tell you that our family suffered a tragedy.

A couple weeks ago, we lost a dear family friend: my car. My dependable, comfortable, fully loaded car.

The circumstances surrounding the death of my car are still unsolved. While it's clear that my car was slain in cold blood, it is yet uncertain as to why this tragedy occurred and whether it could have been avoided.

Had my car been parking beneath another tree? Did it come home late with foreign pollen on it's windshield?

We may never know.

All we do know is that it was ruthlessly butchered by the vengeful tree in our front yard. Sadly, a few innocent bystanders were also injured in the attack. Our daughter's car is in serious, but stable, condition. Hubby's truck, our boat and a classic car suffered minor injuries. The extent of Jet Ski A's injuries are undetermined. Jet Ski B and the jet ski trailer are not likely to survive.

Though the tree attempted to end its own life, it was not successful. However, the prosecuting attorneys (hubby and me) asked for the death penalty. The judge (our insurance company, and let's face it, insurance companies are the final authorities on everything anymore . . . ) concurred and has sent the tree to the chair, so to speak. The date of execution has yet to be released.

Pictures do not capture the true carnage, still, here are few photos from the crime scene. (Note: Out of respect for the victim, the graphic photo of the jagged branch stabbed through the back seat of the car has not been posted . . . )



Exhibit A




These photos don't even *begin* to capture the true violence of this attack.




The deceased . . .




Jet Ski B is not likely to survive its injuries. *sniff*

Sunday, January 3, 2010

death by chocolate

I stood at the drinking fountain with my two small children inside the Baskin-Robbins at the mall. Nearby, a high school girl ordered a double ice cream sundae with caramel sauce and whipped cream, nuts and sprinkles--the works. Her mother was obviously unhappy with the choice. "I'm going on my diet tomorrow, Mom--this is just my last hurrah," the girl explained.

I knew then that her diet was going to fail in short time just as certainly as I know now, twenty years later, that the girl is still fighting that battle. And I'm quite sure that inside her head there has been a catalog of justifications, bargains, excuses and plans.

Visualizing her slimmer frame, she's been telling herself, "in time for graduation . . . " "before my 10 year high school reunion . . . " "before the wedding . . . " "I'll start right after the holidays . . . " "after the baby is born . . . " "when the little one is in school full time and I can exercise regularly . . . " "before my 20 year high school reunion . . . " each time allowing herself to have that one final indulgence before getting serious and really doing it.

Having waged a similar campaign on and off over the last 10 years, I know better than "the last hurrah." It's an act I've never much participated in.

At work, five technicians and one pharmacist are going on the crazy-ass diet as of Monday, January 4. Since, once again, I allowed a few holiday pounds to make themselves a cozy home on my hips and thighs, I'm joining the madness and going on the diet with everyone else. And I've revelled in enough special treats lately that I won't be feeling any deprivation and, in fact, am quite anxious to start this regime in order to get back to healthier eating. I have had no "last hurrah" mindset. None whatsoever.

Still. All it took was working with Robbie on Saturday. He mentioned that he and Tracy would very likely eat fudge brownies on Sunday before buckling down to the rigors of the diet on Monday.

Fudge brownies. Mmmmm . . . fudge brownies . . . . It was all I could think about during the last couple hours of our Saturday shift.

By the time I clocked out on Saturday evening, I was famished. And I couldn't go home to eat dinner because I had to drop some things by my daughter's house first. Just to tide me over, it wouldn't hurt to eat a brownie or two in the car, right? A last hurrah, if you will . . .

Arriving in the bakery department, I realized the fudge brownies that I was craving so weren't cut into convenient pieces. Just a sheet of brownies in an aluminum pan. How could I eat a brownie while driving?

I did the unthinkable. I grabbed a fork from the salad bar. Yes, I drove in the dark, in the rain to my daughter's house while maneuvering a pan of fudge brownies and a fork. I knew without doubt that the paramedics would have no difficulty seeing what caused the accident I was surely destined to die in. There would be fudge smeared all over the smashed windshield and my face would be mingled blood, bone and chocolate.

"It was a classic 'Housewife Special', " they would tell the police officers. "Eating while driving," they'd say with authority.

I'm just going to pre-order my headstone now. It's going to say, "But she would have looked great after the diet!" I think that about covers it.