Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Please help me raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society!!

Last year after completing the Bike MS 150 ride to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society with my dad, I swore that not only would we (my dad and I) do this mitsva (good deed) again every year until the wheels fall off our bikes, but I would get on to my fund raising earlier in the year. Yet, here it is less than a month from roll out and I am just now writing this plea. (subliminal message: donate to my MS 150 ride)

I will admit that I procrastinated. (subliminal message: your donation could help find a cure for MS) I could have made it my new year's resolution to write my plea. Or promised that as a birthday present to myself I would write my plea. Or taken a couple hours one random weekend to sit down and write. 

But, I didn't.

And I didn't.

And I didn't. (subliminal message: go here to donate)

And then life went astray. I write this as I sit in the Family Care room outside the ICU, smelling another family's fried chicken dinner, and waiting to hear what the next step will be in my husband's recovery from a season filled with injury, ill health, and a massive dose of bad luck.

This summer has taught me a lot about illness, injury, health, caregiving and support. Illness, whether acute or chronic, affects everyone in a person's family and social circle. Although my life has not been touched directly by MS, my experiences over the last 3 months have given me a much greater appreciation of what people with MS, or any chronic disease, and their families go through day in, and day out. (subliminal message: I need to raise a minimum of $500)

In case you were wondering, this is what 400,000 people looks like
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system. The disease is progressive and increasingly debilitating. In the U.S. there are about 400,000 affected people and 2.1 million in the world. So, it is likely that you know of a relative or a friend who has MS. Most people are diagnosed between 20 and 50 years of age and two-thirds are women. The MS Society supports research, education and provides support for individuals and families.

The MS 150 bike ride is a major fundraising event in the eastern half of North Carolina for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The ride is held in New Bern, NC on the weekend of September 7/8. (subliminal message: donate NOW!) This is the second year that I will be participating and I am thrilled that I will again be riding with my dad who has done this ride for the past 5 years.

The MS 150 is a opportunity for me to pay it forward: To try to help improve the lives of people with MS, their families, and their friends. Last year 2,100 bike riders participated in the 150 miles over two days to raise $1.7 million for research and education on MS and support for individuals and families. It is also a wonderful opportunity for me to share some quality time with my dad.  Last year, we went the distance - the full 150 miles over 2 days. (subliminal message: if my dad, who will be 74 years young this year, can ride a bike 150 miles over 2 days, you can support our ride with a few dollars.) I can't describe what it means to me to undertake a ride like this with my first riding partner. Given the circumstances of this summer, I don’t know that we will be up for the full distance but we will be out there no matter how many miles we are able to log.

By making a donation in my name to the MS Society, you will be supporting my efforts, ensuring that I don't have to supplement my donations in order to be allowed to ride (subliminal reminder: I have to raise $500), and most importantly aiding the MS Society’s program.

To contribute, go to:, and follow the directions (click on Donate), fill in my name, click on the name when it appears in the box, click on Donate to Participant and make the donation). Or, you can send a check made out to the ‘MS Society’ to me: 998 Ralph McGill Blvd, NE, Atlanta GA 30306.
Thank you for your support for the MS Society and its programs, and thank you for making this into a group effort for all of us together.

(subliminal message: have you donated yet??) 

Bike MS

Friday, August 9, 2013

Technology and my preschooler

Have a child and you will discover how technologically un-savvy you really are. Even if you knew going into it that you were completely un-savvy, watching your toddler master your "smart" phone and be able to do sh*t with it that you didn't even know was possible will drive the true magnitude of your un-savvyness home with the force of a supernova.

By the time your child hits preschool, you can be certain that you will never be as familiar or as comfortable as technology as she is.

Conversation with Brenna yesterday:
B: oooh! Pretty! Mommy, I like your necklace! It looks like CDs!

um, yes, I guess it does.

I thought of the disks as coins but I guess it all depends on your frame of reference.

On tablets and iPads:

About 6 months ago we bought a Samsung tablet. Ostensibly, this tablet is mine and I promptly loaded all (four) of my favorite apps on it: a crossword app that gives me the Wall St. Journal friday puzzle every week, WordFeud, Kindle and....uh, something else that I can't remember. I also arranged the preloaded apps onto the screen and picked a clock widget that I like. Job done.

Then I figured I'd make a screen with games for Brenna so she would stop bugging me to play games on my phone. Brenna now has an entire screen of princess, barbie, fancy nancy, and hello kitty games, and the requsite Monkey's Lunchbox and a couple other "learning" apps (which we didn't really need scientific research and press coverage to know that our kids weren't really learning anything other than to be sedentary...and quiet....ok, quieter.

And there is no place where quieter is more
appreciated than on an airplane
Several months passes and I discoverd that not only could Brenna easily navigate from the locked device to her favorite games - including unlocking the home screen, swiping to her page, picking games, closing pop-ups etc. But she had also mastered taking photos and videos, navigating to her favorite channels in YouTube, and once even posting a Hello Kitty game she likes to my Facebook page (but I'm pretty sure that was an accident).

Conversation between Brenna and Daddy several months ago after Daddy got an iPad:

B: Daddy, is that your tablet (pointing to the iPad)?
D: Yes, that's mine.
B (pointing to MY tablet): And that's my tablet.
D: Um....
B: Daddy, where's mommy's tablet? We should really get mommy her own tablet.


Well, at least I can still lay claim to my phone...Or can I?

B: Mommy! I'm taking pictures with your phone and I will send them to you when I'm done.
(Great. She's going to send me pictures from my own phone. Wait! She knows how to forward pictures?!)
 - A little while later -
Photo credit: Brenna
I have no clue what she took a picture of but I think
she has a future in abstract art.
B: Mommy? Can you send me some photos?
M: What?
B: Send me some photos for my school thing.
M: You want me to send you pictures?
B: Yes. For my school thing that I need to make.
M: You mean print some pictures?
B: Yes! Print them!
M: Sorry sweetie, we don't have a printer.
B: What?! Oh. But how are we going to send pictures?

A preschooler's wisdom on when to stop playing on the iPhone:

B (handing my phone back to me): I don't want to play on your phone anymore. My fingers are sweaty.

And finally, this is just too disturbing to put words to:


Really, I don't want to know what she was thinking when she plugged the keyboard into the baby's mouth.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Newton's 3 Laws of Parenthood

Here is what it would look like if Newton applied his 3 laws to parenthood of a preschooler:

Newton's 1st law:

 Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Thus, your preschooler will remain in constant motion until acted on by complete exhaustion. At which point s/he will drop in his/her tracks.

(But generally not without a complete meltdown just prior to drop-age [See Newton's 2nd law]).

See for example:

Newton's 2nd law: 

The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma

In other words, the relationship between the size of your child's meltdown (m), the speed at which s/he is going just prior to the meltdown (a), and the force (f) of the exhaustion is:

F = ma

Exhaustion = (meltdown)(accelerated speed)

Newton's 3rd law:

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Action: Your child announces that instead of a cookie for breakfast (yes, I've done that) or a trip to the splash park, she would like her special treat for staying in her bed to be a trip to the botanical gardens to see the plants.
(This announcement immediately instills a sense of liberal pride in a parent, i.e., I have created a being that appreciates nature over processed foods and artificial outdoor play spaces)

Reaction: The next morning she gives herself (another) hair cut.

The correlary to the 3rd law can be seen in your child's response to your request that she put her dirty gardening gloves outside where they belong: 

Child's response: Dammit!