I'm Bringing Chèvre Back. Havarti, Goat Cheese and Pepperjack.

Hey Blogstalkers!  I am back.  Back with a vengeance and a newfound penchant for rhyming.

Ok so maybe creating mad rhymes is not so entirely a newfound passion for me, but I do find it has become a stronger urge in the last day or so.  Like it has become almost an obligation for me to speak like a Dr. Seuss character.  It's inexplicable.  Well, it's either inexplicable or easily explained by the fact that I *might* have bumped my head pretty hard last night and thus knocked all the rhymes free.

Oh you want to hear how I bumped my head then?

First a little bit of background.  Ryan and I live in a four story townhouse with a lot of dangerous wooden stairs.  Also, our front door is weird in that it is entirely made of glass.  It's a very sturdy glass door with a number of locks so it's totally safe but as someone who grew up with a door made of regular door material (what the eff are doors made out of?) that one could shut at will and thus expertly block out the nosy prying eyes of neighbors who do not understand normal family activities like Pumpkin Seed Wars and What Is The Smallest Box You Can Fit Into?  it's been weird.  The door only looks into the first floor foyer so the mailman and Mr. Cheese (the man who delivers my cheese-of-the-month club selections) can't see much, but it's still sort of freaky to come down the stairs and see the doorman of the neighboring condo building peering in because he wanted to let you know that someone had left the trunk of your car open.

Sidenote: The cheese delivery man's surname is not actually Cheese but rather DeVries.  But he is great fun and joins in the dancing and the singing of "Mr. Cheese! Mr Cheese!" (to the tune of the Mr. Clean jingle) every month when he makes his appearance.  And Ryan is always like "Don't encourage her!"

Sidenote 2: Yes the someone that left the trunk of the car open was me.  

Ok so back to the story.  Around 7pm yesterday I was making dinner and realized that I did not have any lemons.  And I totally needed lemons.  At first I was perplexed because usually I am excellent at not forgetting things at the grocery store.  (My dad owned a grocery store when I was a kid and has taught me excellent grocery shopping techniques.)  And then I realized I had not gotten lemons because I thought I had lemons because of this.

A bowl of decorative lemons.  Decorative lemons that I purchased and arranged.  I swear parts of my brain don't communicate well with each other.

So anyway, I had to head back to the store.  As I was heading down the stairs to the front door I saw a suspicious shadow move on the front porch and I flipped out.  I don't know exactly what occurred next except that I remember flying through the air and then smashing, head first, into the glass front door.

Ryan heard a giant noise and the dogs barking and ran down the stairs to see what the trouble was.

Ryan: What was that?  Are you ok?  Did you fall?

Lauren: *groaning* I think I might have leaped actually.

Ryan: You leapt into the door?  On purpose?

Lauren: It was instinct?  There was something mysterious happening on the porch and I had to protect my home and my family.

Ryan: So you jumped from the stairs into the door?  That sounds like something the dogs would do.

Lauren: Or like a majestic leaping panther.

Ryan: No.

Lauren: You don't seem grateful enough right now.  I probably just scared away an intruder and saved your life.  You are welcome RYAN.

Ryan: *looks out door* OH MY GOD!

Lauren: What?! What is it?  Is it a mongoose!?  **grumbling** Mischievous little bastards.

Ryan: It's plastic bag.

Lauren: Well shit.  Let's not tell anyone about this.  Or if we do let's go with the graceful jungle cat protecting its loved ones from a pack of egg-sucking mongeese story.

Ryan: Let's get you an ice pack.  I think you hit your head.

So that happened.  Such is the life.

What've you all been doing the last couple of days?  Catch me up.

P.S. If you don't follow me on FB I think I've decided to start a separate food blog for my kitchen escapades and successes and dramatic failures of epic proportions.  Rest assured it will not take away from this blog since I will always make my first blog baby a priority.  I'm thinking of using the URL TakeItToTheFridge.com but I am open to suggestions.

Come here girl, add pecans to it.
Come here girl, croissant with meat on it.
Come here girl, put croutons on it.
Come here girl, have a bonbon minute.
Come here girl, needs bouillon in it.

Here's To A Happy New Year

I know what you're thinking Blogstalkers.  Posting on a Sunday?  What?  Not Lauren, she barely posts during the week recently.  Someone must have hijacked her computer.

But seriously yes I am posting on a Sunday.  Because I've been feeling out of sorts lately and I thought maybe writing about it would help.

I've also gotten some questions on Facebook about why we are "playing Santa" for Ryan's siblings and why his sister is living with us.  So hopefully this will explain everything.

I think it has not gone unnoticed by any of you that when it comes to Christmas, I can tend to go overboard.  I am a Christmas freak.  From November 1st until midnight on December 25th my heart beats are all "Fa La La La La La La La La."  I love the spirit of the season, the camaraderie it inspires in strangers, the fact that may people are more willing to help out where needed, to donate a couple of coats or canned goods or throw a couple of dollars at the ever-ringing Salvation Arm bells when leaving the grocery store.  I love the snow and the smiles and the smells.  I LOVE Christmas season.  Usually.

This year I'm having trouble finding my holiday cheer.  And that is making me sad.  And then I get even sadder that I am sad around Christmas.  My depression is firmly under control so I know that this melancholy is something I am legitimately feeling and not just something my brain is tricking me into feeling.

This Christmas is going to be hard.  If you've not been reading this blog for a while then you probably do not know that 2012 was an intensely difficult year for Ryan's and my family.  Ryan and his three younger siblings lost their father in February due to a middle-of-the-night cerebral hemorrhage.  He was 54 and it was entirely unexpected.  Just five weeks later Ryan's mother lost her battle with cancer.  She was also 54 and had been diagnosed only a little over a year earlier.

Obviously Ryan and his family were beyond devastated.  His parents were wonderful, loving people.  This was not the life they deserved.  And so now Ryan and his little brothers and his little sister are not living they life they deserved.  And that breaks my heart.  It shatters my heart into a million pieces.  And if I am that broken for them, I can not even imagine their pain.  

So as can only be expected the holiday season is difficult this year.  Ryan's mother was Jewish (hence why Ryan identifies as Jewish) but his father was Catholic and wholeheartedly loved this season of giving.  It feels wrong not to have them here with us right now.

We are doing the absolute best we can, making most things very different so that the things that are missing are not so glaringly obvious.  We are having Christmas here instead of in their childhood home.  Katie (Ryan's sister) and I have taken over the delicate art of filling Boy Stockings and Ryan and I have donned our Claus suits (literally haha) and are working on creating a Christmas morning, that we can only hope will have some sweet mixed in with the bitter.

I'm so sorry to bring everyone down just two days before Christmas but I've been having a lot of trouble being upbeat in posting lately and so the blog has been quiet.  And I wanted to explain in the best way I know how.  We are all doing well and are looking forward to celebrating Christmas together.  I hope you all have just the LOVELIEST of holidays and I will be back to my normal cockamamie self in no time.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays Blogstalkers!  Thanks for always being around.  You are my little miracle-workers.  I hope you know that.

Ryan and I can only hope we'll have as happy of a marriage.

P.S. To be clear, it's not ALL misery around here.  Ryan lightened the mood considerably by sitting his sister and I down and telling us a grand story of how he thought he had bought the GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TIME for the entire family.  Katie and I were intrigued and sent each other psychic brain messages like "Do you think it's a trip?" and "Yes! Fingers crossed for Greece!"  And then Katie went upstairs and I was like "Ok Ryan, you need to tell me what this gift is since it sounds expensive," and he was like "It's...wait for it....two remote control helicopters.  And I was like "Katie! Come down here and hear what Ryan's GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TIME is."  And so she did and was equally disgusted.  And now whenever something is good, like the burgers we ate yesterday, either Katie or I will be like "Well, yeah, it's good, but it no remote control helicopter."

Help Me Santa Baby, Please Bring Me A Baby, You're My Only Hope. (Thanks for NOTHING Turkey Tom.)

This is going to be an incredibly busy week Blogstalkers!  So forgive me if the posting is light.  I didn't realize how much time it takes to label and send out like a thousand (seriously) Christmas cards.  Also, Ryan and I are acting Santa a bit this year for his younger siblings and I still have some of that shopping to catch up on and stockings to make (with the help of his little sister who is now living with us.)

But I wanted to at least get a quick post up today.

Remember how Ryan and I hosted Thanksgiving for our families this year?  Well I made sure to carefully extract and save the wishbone and dry it out so Ryan and I could each make a wish and break it.

Two weeks after Thanksgiving (which was the suggested drying time on the website I consulted) I called Ryan to the kitchen and this conversation ensued.

Ryan: What now? Did you get something else stuck in the garbage disposal?

Lauren: Maybe....but that's not the reason for me calling this impromptu kitchen meeting.

Ryan: I can already tell this is going to be ridiculous.

Lauren: Actually it's not.  I just want you to break the wishbone with me.

Ryan: Oh.  Ok.  Wait...what are you wishing for?

Lauren: OH I think YOU KNOW. (obviously a baby Blogstalkers)

Ryan: Shit.  Ok well then I wish to counter your wish.

Lauren: Ryan, that is wrong for so many reasons.  For one, you told me your wish, which is against the rules.  For two, it doesn't even make sense.  If I win then my wish comes true.  If you win then your wish to counter a wish that is not coming true comes true which is like a double negative and means that my wish comes true.

Ryan: That's still my wish.  I just want to put it out there into the universe.  

Lauren: FINE.  Get ready to have a baby RYAN.

And then we broke the wishbone and this is what happened.

Lauren: *awestruck and wide-eyed - whispers* What does this mean?

Ryan: It means the universe has finally come through for me!!!  Because now either both of our wishes come true which means I have successfully issued a counter to your wish or neither of them come true which means nothing changes.

Lauren: OH MY GOD YOU'RE RIGHT.  This is the only possible scenario in which your stupid counter wish would have worked.  I think you might be some sort of secret brilliant genius.  Although, I must say, you've been hiding it really well.

Ryan: Whatever.  No babies for you.

And then I drowned my sorrows in candy canes and researched if poinsettias really are poisonous to dogs on the internet.

And then called Ryan back to the kitchen to fix the garbage disposal.

P.S. For those asking for Christmas card reasons - my P.O. Box address is now included in my Contact Me page.

Referencing Matilda Always Makes Me Want Chocolate Cake

Merry Friday Blogstalkers!

First and foremost I want to offer up my thoughts and prayers to the families and friends involved in or affected by the Sandy Hook shooting this morning.  My heart is absolutely broken for all of you.

If you're not new here then you know that I have a really bad neck that tends to basically decide to stop doing all of its neck jobs a couple of times a year.  The most recent bout was so bad that once again I find myself back in physical therapy.  I hate physical therapy.  Here is how a typical session goes.

I walk up to the therapy office and face the same decision I make before every session.  Do I enter and endure the tortuous hands of Nate-The-Not-Great or do I ditch therapy and instead visit the bakery across the street?  Ultimately, like always, I decide to go through with the therapy*

*Except for that one time when the bakery lady waved to me from the window and I was like, "What! Who could resist NOW?  This is almost definitely a sign from God to skip therapy today," and then I called Nate and told him I was having stomach issues (in that there were currently no cupcakes in said stomach) and that I would need to reschedule.  And then I skipped over to the bakery and had the best chocolate marshmallow cupcake of all time and was eating it happily on a stool looking out the window until I remembered that if Nate looked out the window of the therapy place then he would almost positively see me and flung myself off the stool onto the ground and slunk out of the bakery while the owner watched and probably thought "What an odd girl.  I take back my wave of earlier.  I shall never wave at her again."  And she never has.

So I sigh and enter the building and climb the two flights of stairs to the physical therapy floor and grumblingly sign in and trudge over to the doctor's table thingy on which stupid Nate performs his hate massages.

And then Nate saunters over like he is a good person and not a demon in man-skin and I think "No one is fooled by your happy walk NATE.  A real good person would be much more reluctant in their walk over to stab me repeatedly with their fingers."

And then he's all "How are we doing today Lauren?"

And I'm all "Who is this 'we' you speak of Nate? Have you got a mouse in your pocket?"

And he's all "Haha same old Lauren"

To which I do not respond because I have no idea what that means.  I close my eyes and brace myself for the onslaught of pain that I am soon to experience.  And then Nate laughs an evil laugh (probably) and begins.

Here is a partial list of some of the things I have said/shouted during massage hour:

If I were you I would keep your fingers away from my mouth Nathan, my teeth feel very spasm-y today.

Have you ever read the book Matilda by Roald Dahl?  Yes?  Ok well you know the part about the 'Chokey'?  I would rather be there right now.

Safety word! Safety word! Safety word!

You know that song that's like "I've got the magic in me," it is NOT written about you.

I am giving you a new nickname today Nate.  It is "The ManHandler."

You definitely just did something wrong.

**throws self off doctor's table**

Now entering the WWF arena Nate The ManHandler Matthews!

This isn't the Tower of London you goose! Ease up on the torture!

And then eventually Nate announces that he is done and he makes me do some stretches and some exercises with resistance bands, which are basically just giant rubber bands, which makes it very difficult for me to not try to snap him with them and shout "Revenge!"

Not soon enough the session is finally over and then I get to pay for what I have just undergone.  And Nate is all "See you Thursday Tiger!" (Yes he calls me Tiger) and I throw a little grimace and wave in his direction and stomp home.  After going to the bakery.

P.S. The winners of Heidi's book Crooked Love are Morgan, Melody and Kristen Swift.  If you are one of those people just email Heidi at GirlToMom@gmail.com with your address details!

P.P.S I feel ridiculously gross about the way I look these days and so I have decided I'm doing something about it and starting a diet and exercise journey on Monday.  I am telling you all this for accountability reasons.

I Saw Ryan Kissing Santa Claus

Only 12 days left until Christmas Blogstalkers!  And tomorrow there will only be 11 days left.  And the next day there will only be 10 days left.  Because that is how counting works.

This last Tuesday was Ryan's and my 2 year wedding anniversary.  Pause one minute for gratuitous wedding photo.

 Ryan and I have decided to make it a tradition to go eat lunch every year at the restaurant at which we got married, so I was expecting to do that on Tuesday.  But Ryan completely surprised me this year by also getting tickets to go see How The Grinch Stole Christmas - The Musical.

And I wore Ryan's Santa coat instead of my normal Winter coat.

After the show it was a nice-ish night so we decided to walk home.

Lauren: What did you think?  I thought it was just OK.

Ryan: Are you kidding? It was terrible.  It gave me literally zero ideas on how to steal Christmas.

Lauren: Oh hilarious Ryan.  If you don't start behaving you're going to be Home Alone tonight.

Ryan: Oh good.  I could really use a Silent Night, a Holiday Inn if you will.  It would be like a Miracle On *Our* Street.

Lauren: .....

Ryan: It would be The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.  I might even be moved to sing A Christmas Carol.

Lauren: Are you done?

Ryan: Maybe. I'm trying to work on something using The Little Drummer Boy.

And then I picked up a Jingle Bell Rock and shouted Here Comes Santa Claus! and charged my no-good husband.  But he just laughed and kissed me and I was like "Awww, it's Love, Actually. 

So that was our pretty normal anniversary.  What have you all been up to?  Celebrating anything lately? 

P.S. I am literally out the door to pickup my P.O. box keys right now so I'll post that later today!  And I'll let you all know who won copies of Heidi's book tomorrow!

The Day Santa Claus Came To Town

Hey Blogstalkers!  It's finally the day for which you either have or have not been waiting with bated breath!  The day you maybe have been anticipating with a pounding heart!

Yesterday was unimaginably wonderful.  Like the second best day of my entire life.  (I have to say second best day because of an argument I once had with Ryan in which he purported that I throw the phrase "best day of my life" around with much too willy nilly of an attitude.  In his defense this argument may have taken place in the middle of bakery after I took a bite of an especially delicious chocolate cupcake.  In my defense, the cupcake had two kinds of sprinkles.)

In case you do not remember what yesterday was, let me refresh your memory with this post.

A promise my husband PRETENDS to bitterly regret.

Ok back?  Lovely.  So yesterday was the day Ryan and I and our dearest friends in the world got all dressed up and wandered the busy Chicago streets dispensing holiday cheer.

The morning started like any other - with Ryan and I arguing in bed about who had to take the dogs outside in the frigid morning air.  And then a Christmas miracle occurred and the doorbell rang and it was OJ!  All the way from warm sunny Dallas!  And HE took the dogs out!  And then he and the dogs came and got into our bed and all five of us fell back asleep for two hours.  I don't know why I allowed this to happen.  I have a strict no dogs in the bed policy.

Anyway, eventually we all woke up and I sadly noticed that it was raining.  And I was like "It is almost literally raining on my parade right now!" And OJ and I moped about for a bit and cried tears of sadness.  And Ryan researched the best place in Chicago to get chilaquiles.

But then the rain slowed and the forecast changed and it looked like it was going to clear up for us after all.  And OJ and I sang a Christmas duet.  And Ryan cried tears of what I can only assume were joy.

Soon Vanessa jetted over and we blasted Christmas music and all got ready for the big day.  And we made a plan.  We would take a cab to the very North end of Michigan Avenue and make our way South to Millennium Park and The Bean and then head to the Christkindlmarket in Daly Plaza.  Everyone was very much on board with this plan because this was how we figured we would run into the largest amount of people.  Everyone except Ryan of course.  His suggested route contained a curiously large amount of back alleys and bathroom breaks at bars along the way because, and I quote, "I drank a lot of water this morning."

(Just a quick note - the package of costumes I bought was supposed to come with a Santa beard but did not and it was too late to order another one and though I tried both Target and Michaels, sadly Ryan ended up beardless.  Also my costume was quite large and I ended up having to stuff it with pillows and paper towels to get it to fit, which is why I look so intensely pregnant.  I LOVED it.)

So on with the pictures then.

Vanessa was Jovie from the movie Elf.

See? Not lying about the pregnant thing.
OJ's costume did not fit over his broad man shoulders in the back.  He still stole the show.  Seriously.

People could not get enough of Gingy The Gingerbread Man.  Sure the costume was awesome but OJ's gingerbread man persona was ridiculous.  For example.


He talked in that high-pitched voice all day.  He never ever broke character.  He jumped around and shouted "Hello!" and stopped random people and asked them "Do you know the muffin man?"  One guy was like "Oh yeah, the muffin man, he lives on Drury Lane."  Also, once a little boy came up and asked him "What are you?" and OJ replied shrilly "I'm a gingerbread man, what are you?"

He was also quite the flirt.

He asked these girls, "So, are you all from Chicago?"

And these girls got "Who wants to kiss the gingerbread man!?"

Just to put this in a little bit better perspective, this is the voice he was using.

This guy wanted a picture of himself eating OJ.  And sure enough OJ shouted "Not the gumdrop buttons!"

So anyway we walked down Michigan Avenue and got SO MUCH ATTENTION.  We were all guessing last night and think we probably took pictures with well over 300-400 people.  Once we got to The Bean, we had a line for a good hour.  It was the most fun ever ever ever.

OJ and Vanessa had a jumping contest at the bean.  I'll let you decide who won.



Even Ryan got into the spirit of the day!

Seriously...we took SO MANY pictures.

 We were out from just before two until about six and decided it was time to head to the Christkindlmarket to spread more cheer and also because they serve beer.

Again a line formed near the giant tree and we took pictures for about another hour.  My face started to hurt from smiling all day.  But I couldn't stop smiling.

 Ryan is not drunk on anything but love in this picture.  Though his countenance would suggest otherwise.

Oh did I mention that OJ randomly photobombed any pictures he saw strangers taking all day?  Because he did that.

I told you he stole the show.

There is a 'real' Santa to take pictures with at the Christkindlmarket and OJ was SO EXCITED to sit on his lap and tell him what he wanted for Christmas.  (Which - in case anyone is wondering- is a Mrs. OJ and to pet a chinchilla because he hears they are very soft.)

But then he saw this sign.

I have the best friends ever.

 As far as best husband ever, that is under review.  Because once we finally got inside the beer tent, Ryan revealed what he was wearing under his jolly St. Nick costume.

 Soon it was after seven and time to head home since we had dinner plans with friends who were also eager to see OJ while he was in town.  We met them at our little neighborhood pub.

Yes we did stay in character the entire night.  From our head to our toes.

We had so much fun that we decided that we're making this an annual thing.  And next year we have about twenty more friends that are ready to get onboard.  It's going to be epic-er.

So what do you think?  Did we follow-through on our promise?  Vanessa was seriously surprised herself at how much fun we had.  She said, "I thought this was going to be pure humiliation but there was actually some joy mixed in.  I wasn't going to tell anyone at work about this but now I think I might."


Lots of love and holiday cheer Blogstalkers!!

Crooked Love - A Novel by Heidi Ferrer

Hey Blogstalkers.  So my neck is still being a pain in the butt neck so I am still somewhat out of commission.  Mainly I am lying on the floor with my legs on a chair and watching "It's A Wonderful Life" on repeat while waiting for Ryan to get home and hand-feed me bits of his sandwich.

I'll be back at you bright and early next week because SUNDAY IS THE DAY RYAN IS DRESSING UP LIKE SANTA AND THERE WILL BE SO MANY PICTURES/VIDEO ON MONDAY!!!!!!  And also, less importantly, Tuesday is our 2 year wedding anniversary, so I have a post planned for that as well.  And I still owe you all a review of The Casual Vacancy but it's been hard to read with all that's going on lately.  Because it turns out that if you read a book while on muscle relaxers you do not remember what you read the next day.

So I thought today would be a good opportunity to help out a friend.  I'm sure many of you know Heidi  from Girl To Mom which means many of you probably know by now that she's written a book!  A book that supports a very good cause.  So when Heidi, who I met at BlogHer this year and who gave me a big hug even though I almost certainly smelled like bacon (there was SO MUCH bacon for breakfast) asked me if I would mention her book here, I thought I would do her one better.

So without further ado, here's Heidi.

Hello to Lauren's adorable readers! My name is Heidi and Lauren is very generously letting me guest blog and share my story with you. I'm a fellow blogger (GirlToMom.com) and the reason I started my blog, which led me to meeting Lauren and stalking her, is the reason for this post.

The holiday season is all about being thankful and I have a lot to be thankful for, my little boy Bexon, age 5, has a rare form of scoliosis that is potentially fatal in babies and young children, but he was saved by an unlikely village of heroes.

At age 19 months, his little spine was so dangerously curved; his back looked like a letter "C." The craziest part was that it happened really fast, at age one his spine looked pretty normal, with a slight curve that was almost unnoticeable to a casual glance, but over the next six months it veered off course like a train hurtling off the tracks.

I've heard it said that if your boat aim is off by even one degree as you set sail for Hawaii, you will miss the island by 100 miles. That’s what it's like with Progressive Infantile Scoliosis, the slightly curved spine gets way worse as the child goes through rapid spinal growth before age two. (Interesting fact: The human spine grows 50 percent of its full adult length before age two.)

The other unbelievable part of our story is that no doctors in the entire city of Los Angeles, and we went to "the best in the West," gave us the right medical advice or even warned us that our baby's spine could crush his heart and lungs. We found the right treatment, a series of non-surgical body casts, through a Google search.

Without the Internet, our boy's life would've been forever altered for the worse, he would've endured horrible multiple surgeries from age three on, been deformed and fragile and suffered pain, not to mention psychological damage. He couldn't have jumped or been bumped in the lunch line at school, let alone play sports.

The reason we're so lucky is we found a non-profit charity started by an incredible single mom in Colorado named Heather Montoya, whose daughter Olivia has IS. Heather helped bring a form of casting (body/torso casts) that are the only cure for this condition if begun in time, ideally starting under age two. At nineteen months, we were almost too late.

This treatment was invented by an India-born female doctor named Min Mehta who practiced in the U.K., but it's only done in the U.S. because of Heather's advocacy and Bex’s doctor being willing to learn the technique.

As a mother, I wanted to crawl into a hole from the fear and horror of this situation, honestly, I wanted a morphine drip. I wanted to be put into a coma until it was over (I developed PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression), but you can't give up as a parent, you have to advocate for your baby and fight. 

My fear tuned into anger and outrage that this treatment wasn’t done in the whole state of California, it was hardly done in the U.S. at all. We travel to Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah for medical care, and we owe them so much- without Dr. Mehta, Heather and Olivia, and Shriners, we would’ve been lost. 

Bottom line, other kids like our son were (and are) falling through the cracks every day, doctors were making 1.5 million dollars per child from these surgeries and it was in my opinion, criminal, when these non-surgical casts are a cure.

Cut to today. Bex has had 10 Mehta/EDF casts from the age of 19 months to 4 years old, and he is now in a night time only, removeable brace. His spine went from 63 degrees at 19 months (zero being straight) down to 1.21 degrees at age 5 in his current brace!

While I was in the thick of his treatment, before we knew what my son's outcome would be, I began writing a novel called CROOKED LOVE about it, in order to get the word out to save more children and provide comfort to other families in this boat. The characters are fictionalized, I made the mom younger than me and a single mother, because I simply can't imagine how moms like my friend Heather survive this alone.

I added some subplots and twists and turns, humor and a love story to make it a good, fun read, but the medical facts and the emotions are all true. (The book is available on Amazon in paperback, with the Kindle and Nook e book versions coming next week that will be a lot cheaper at $5.99.)

Two dollars from the sale of each book will go to The Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program and Shriners Hospitals (one dollar each), and I'd love to give three signed copies to you guys. Take it away, Lauren and thank you so much! I will be closely following your yoga moves and delightful Christmas cheer. XOXO

Oh hey guys! It's me again! As Heidi mentioned she's giving away three copies of her book (which is in a vein a la Jodi Picoult) to all of you. So if you'd like a copy just comment here. And if you have any questions at all for Heidi, post those in the comment section as well and she'll be more than happy to answer them.

I'll talk to you all on Monday!

There Will Be No Merry Tap Dancing To Christmas Tunes For Me This Week.

If you've read my previous post Blogstalkers then you will remember that I was all "I feel fantastic! My neck is totally healed!  Now I shall go jump on the bed without a care in the world!"

Well it seems I spoke too soon.

I felt so grand and pain-free yesterday that I top-to-bottom-including-inside-the-refrigerator scrubbed my kitchen.  Seriously it is gleaming.

Unfortunately that was not a smart idea as I am still supposed to be taking things easy.  Today, I can not move.  And I am in so much pain even with muscle relaxers that at one point I briefly considered dropping a heavy rock on my foot to distract from the pain in my neck.

I am not trying to garner sympathy because this is quite surely my own dumb ass fault.  Anywho, I went to the doctor again this morning and it looks like I am back to physical therapy! Glory glory hallelujah!  Not.  90 minutes twice a week of resistance bands, stretching and something I swear my therapist should trademark as "Hate Massage" is not my cup of tea.

All of this is a long way to say: I am incapable of being funny today because of all of the anger I am currently feeling toward myself, my stupid clean kitchen and my physical therapist who refutes my claim that spontaneous fist swings are common side effects of massage.

So ummm, I'll be back in a day or two.  Until then, if you're newish here, here are some popular posts from the ol' archives.

Christmas Themed

Ryan's Attempt To Ruin Christmas 2011, #1.

Ryan's Attempt To Ruin Christmas 2011, #2.

Our Ridiculous "Love" Story

The High School Years.

The College Years.

The Wedding - Part I.

The Wedding - Part II.

The Honeymoon.

And now I am off (in my robe mind you) because getting dressed right now is an impossibility to therapy.  And I swear if my therapist tells me one more time that "Pain is fear leaving the body" he is going to get slapped.  With a taser.  Shock therapy.

I Am Smarter Than The Average Bear. I Should Hope. Being That I Am A Person.

Holiday Greetings Blogstalkers!

I'm in a fantastic mood today!  My neck is feeling a thousand times better!  Thanks mostly to a well-timed shot of cortisone and maybe a little to that yoga class I took yesterday upon the instructions of my doctor.

She's actually been telling me to go to yoga for years since I have terrible balance as well as various mental ailments.  But until now I have not gone.  Please do not tell my doctor that because for some reason she maybe thinks I go twice a week and that my instructor's name is Anthony and that he has a ponytail.

But anyway, it seems as of late that the amount of time I spend couch-ridden and drug-addled because of my neck has increased.  And as I am beginning to think Ryan is getting tired of me alternating between being all "My neeeeccckkkk" one hour and asking him (once the drugs kick in) to go to the store and get me candy canes so "I can rub them in my nose and make the whole world smell of Christmas," the next, I figured I should maybe do something about this.

Sidenote: That candy cane comment did actually occur and Ryan was rather judgy about it.  Which makes me somewhat incensed as he is the dummy that came home from the bar after two football games on Saturday and told me he'd had "cups and saucers" when I asked him if he'd had anything to eat.  I assume he meant chips and salsa, but really, I can not be sure.

So yesterday morning around 730 am, I rolled over in bed and hit snooze on my alarm and decided to take the 11 am yoga class instead.  Bait and switch m*therf*ckers.

I actually made it to the later yoga class and copied all of the other girls with their tiny tops and bouncy ponytails in getting out a mat and sitting on it and stretching out my legs.  It turns out my legs are not very stretchy so I switched to doing some sweet elbow maneuvers with my double-jointed elbows (yep true story) to make myself seem like an advanced yogi person.

Soon the instructor came in and introduced himself as Anthony and I was all like "What the what!" in my head because it turns out I am psychic and I never knew that until now.

Then I imagine the class progressed as normal yoga classes do. All downward-facing-dog and alligator-goes-to-lunch and that one pose where you get to pretend you are a warrior princess shooting a bow and arrow at the person in front of you in class.

After a while it was time for quiet reflection which began with everyone in the class saying some sort of chant that I could not understand so instead I just intoned "Iced-Venti-Nonfat-No-Whip-Iced-Mocha" a couple of times since that was the treat I had promised myself if I went to the yoga class.

Then it was time to just sit silently on our mats and meditate.  I was not excellent at this.  My mind does not get quiet.  Here is a rundown of the things I thought during those ten minutes.

Ok clear your mind Lauren Rae, make it a peaceful soothing quiet place.

What the hell!?

Ok at least try to think about quiet things.

A sleeping mime.  A baby mouse peeing on a cotton ball.

I wonder if I could convince Anthony to grow a ponytail.  I know we have not known each other for very long but he did touch my butt a little bit earlier.

I really feel like some curried butternut squash soup right now.

I feel like I have been sitting here for a really long time, I wonder if this is some sort of newbie hazing ritual where they get me to close my eyes and sit quietly and then all sneak out of the room and leave me here.  *opens one eyeball and peers around surreptitiously*

Ok good they're all still here, probably knew I was un-foolable from my no nonsense bun.

It is SO quiet.

It is SO VERY quiet.

Do not do it Lauren Rae, do not break the silence.


Bibbity Bobbity Boo.  Bibbity Bobbity Boo.  Alla Kazaam Sweet Marzipan and Bibbity Bobbity Boo!

Ooh I'll bet shrimp would be excellent in curried butternut squash soup.

Oh it's over, thank goodness.

And then I cleaned my matt and rolled it up and put it away and went to Starbucks.

Later Ryan asked me how yoga was and all I could say was "Oh it was a real mind and body workout let me tell you."

And then he said something snippy and sarcastic and I was just like "Iced-Venti-Nonfat-No-Whip-Iced-Mocha-Iced-Venti-Nonfat-No-Whip-Iced-Mocha."  Yoga is clearly my thing.

How were your weekends Blogstalkers?

P.S. Check out Katie's Blog for her take on J.K. Rowling's A Casual Vacancy.  My review is coming later this week.  I meant to post it Friday but it's really hard to read when you are high on drugs (prescription drugs) so I'm still finishing up the book and my review.

P.P.S. For anyone stalking their mailboxes for a Christmas Card, they will not be sent out until after next weekend since that is when OJ is in town and when we will be finishing up the cards.  I'll have my P.O. Box address up tomorrow (when I pick up the keys) for anyone that wants to send a return card.  Obviously this is not required.

Now I must be off.  I just scrubbed a bunch of pennies until they were super shiny and I have to go scatter them heads-up about the neighborhood.
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