baby steps and other random stuff

I'm learning little blogtips one at a time. Did you know you're supposed to comment back when someone comments on your page? Now I do! L'il sis, the real blogger in the family, gives me tips now and then. She's been nominated for the BOB awards. (Ok, I nominated her, but if I hadn't, someone else would have.)

I need a lot more tips.

... so what's with the middle of the night stuff? Best time to blog - but then, what else are you going to do at 2:30 am when you can't sleep? My house is not teeny, but it's not huge, either - most housecleaning is too noisy. besides.... housecleaning? I don't think so.

I'm hoping this insomnia is a symptom of impending change of life... finally... maybe... or not... (!) Some people think I'm crazy, but I really think women should have a say in when they're ready for the hormones to stop. And I say now! Actually, I said I was ready a few years ago, but the hormone gods weren't listening. I get kind of cranky now - maybe that's a sign. The other day, dearest husband had a glass of water on the bed with him and it spilled. I was unreasonably irritated. I took that as a good sign. But then a day or two later, my system decided it is 15, not 51 and I head for the feminine products AGAIN. And I get a little grumpy when I talk to people around my age who haven't had a period in a few YEARS. What's up with that? The hormone gods are punishing me for..... can't think of what. So I'm cranky and I can't sleep. No hot flashes, nothing else much happening. Guess I can just keep buying the industrial strength products.

'nough of that.

It's raining here - that usually means snow in the mountains. And that is good news! We're going to Tahoe this weekend, spending a few days there to celebrate DDD's 21st birthday, and the hockey man's 15th. I booked the week almost a year ago, only to find out that school starts up again on the 3rd. This means hockey man has to miss two days of school, which is not good - freshman year is proving to be a bit of a struggle for him. Organization is not his strong suit. So, we'll go up, stay and ski Monday and Tuesday, then the boys will head home and the girls will stay until late Thursday. None of us gets to enjoy the entire week. Oh well... Ms new-legal-of-age-drinker needs to fly back to school on Friday so she can audition on Saturday for the spring shows. ... me, I'm looking forward to playing in the snow again.

I love being near enough to the ocean that we can get there and enjoy it, near enough to the snow that we can get there and enjoy it and not have to deal with the general weather either place. Yep. That's a definite bonus about living in the bay area. Traffic - that's a drawback, but then, I've been in worse traffic visiting my family up in Portland. (On the other hand, I don't have to drive I-880 every day.)


I have a singing Christmas clock that we put up every year. L'il sis gave it to us several years back. I sometimes used to think Big sis gave it to me because she is always giving me noisy things, but this was L'il sis' contribution. Every year, people tell me it would drive them crazy. It sings a different Christmas Carol every hour on the hour. And it sings a pretty good size portion of it, too! But I love it. It has a light sensor, so it knows when it's dark, be really quiet, and when it's light, sing away. The only problem has been when oldest son is up super late and leaves the lights on (which they all do, btw) - then it's singing nice and loud at 2am. That's not so much fun. But it is a good and smart clock, and I intend to put it up every year until it can't sing anymore. Then I might still put it up in memory of the chirping.... and my smart clock just told me it's 3 am. and I'd better at least try to sleep.



Harry Potter!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is coming out in JULY!

Yes, I will be there in person to pick up my copy and get started on it right away! I just finished the 17 cassette set of "HP & the Order of the Phoenix" (book 5) on tape, and enjoyed it just as much as I did reading it the first time through. This guy who reads the books, Jim Dale, is fabulous - I don't know how he does all the different voices, and *mostly* keeps them all straight, but he does! (well, once it was someone else talking with Dumbledore's voice, but that didn't happen much)

Book Seven will be a meloncholy experience. I definitely don't want the series to end, yet I know it is not something which should go on indefinitely. I guess I'd like to have one post-script novel eventually with some adult experiences, but sometimes that doesn't seem so great, either.

In the meantime, I'll wait in joyful anticipation of the 6th year at Hogwarts...

What do you think? Any other HP fans out there? (stupid question....)


thought for the morning

Comcast has this headine today:

Bush to Sign Intelligence Bill

Isn't that an oxymoron?


coming home for Christmas

The absolute best part of Christmas is the people who come home for Christmas (and I do mean HOME). This is getting to be a bigger and bigger group of people all the time for me. My L'il sis is the only one who still lives within occasional visit distance, even though sometimes it doesn't feel that way... Big sis and family will be coming in from up north next week. Woo hoo! Pops will come in from the sunny desert next week, too.

Biggest son actually moved in here again a couple of months ago, so he's already home, but biggest daughter is due in TODAY from Boulder. Such excitement!

Life is good.


Tech Toys

Just reading an article about tech toys.

I was planning to go out today and get the older kids' shopping done. They are almost 15, almost 21 and just turned 24. Their Christmas lists consist of electronic device, electronic game, electronic this and that, and jeans. The 15 yr. old wants an iPod. The 21 yr old wants a camcorder. The 24 yr old was disappointed with his MP3 player a year or two ago because it wasn't an iPod. A new game system would probably be right up his alley this year. At least he likes movies. He's got one of the most complete DVD libraries of anyone I know, which of course, makes movie buying difficult - what doesn't he have? Turns out he's a little light on the kung-fu stuff.

Kung Fu.... brings me back to all that tech stuff - you can't just buy a nice puzzle type game, even the electronic kind, for the 15 yr old, it has to be a kung-fu fighting, automatic rifle shooting chaos game to interest him. I hate that. Have you seen Grand Theft Auto and its sequel? I can't believe they even make those. And yes, K has one of them. yuck. Good thing he's not an obsessive player. He plays once in a while, and then, it's likely to be the football game.

Shopped for the 2 year olds the other night. it was great - the toys are still cute and much less expensive, but it's getting difficult to find toys that aren't electronic, even for them! The Sweet Sounds dollhouse looked cute enough, but I wanted one that didn't talk and sing. I want Missy K to talk and sing for herself! So we went up an age level and got a couple of Sweet Street sets. Hope that works. I did knuckle under and get a LeapPad, though. sucker that I am...

Anyway - I didn't go shopping for the big people after all - it's so darn expensive. I think I'm just prolonging the agony, but I'll just see if I have a better attitude tomorrow. sigh...


One step closer...

We signed "adoptive placement" papers today! Doesn't mean a heck of a lot, but it is one step closer to those final papers. We won't get funds from the county anymore, technically, but there is an adoptive assistance program that gives funds to adoptive families. This will be very helpful in creating a college fund for our young lady.

The way I understand it, we have one more set of papers to sign in a month or so, then we can set a date with the judge to have the final adoption granted. So, if you believe in the county's ability to predict the time it takes to do this, we could be adoptive parents next month. But I don't - now, I'm just hoping it will happen before her 3rd birthday in February.

...but then, I was really hoping to have it done before the holidays, too.

oh well - one step closer!


etch a sketch

remember those great time wasters - the pre-video game phenom, Etch-a-Sketch?
I love this site. All the fun of playing with none of the etched-into-the-surface-forever lines, or the "oops" moment when all your hard work vanishes when you drop the darn thing.
Have fun!

btw - I'm over 200 now on my counter - who the heck is visiting? I've only told a handful of people... Hi, out there, whoever you are!


help - my pictures went away

Anyone know what happened to my pictures?
I added the one tonight and all of a sudden the other 3 are gone! That was way tricky - and not very nice.
I used Hello to post them to the blog, which worked just fine for the first three... if there was a limit to how many I could post, I didn't read it. And if there was a limit of three, you'd think only one of the old pics would have disappeared. hmmmm - any ideas?
.... later...
OK - who's goofing around here? - it's about 2 hours later and after much research and NO intervention on my part, they're back. It's a little too weird. But I guess I didn't do anything to cause them to go away, since I didn't do anything to make them come back. I hate technology.

I think this picture is obscured enough by hat and glasses to post here - this is our little urban chic(k). Makes me smile just to see that little face. Guess that's what it's all about.  Posted by Hello


Stop and Go Hiking

Stop and Go Hiking! Posted by Hello

Do it again! Posted by Hello

joining in the fun

Joining in the fun! Posted by Hello

Stop and Go Hiking

So - you go hiking with a two year old. Crazy? Maybe, but she invented the funnest (yes, that IS a word - sort of) game we've played in a long time! Everyone's walking and the 2 yr old suddenly says "stop". We all think she's tired of walking and wants to be carried like any other young princess her age. Wrong. She wants everyone to stop. right now. Then go. Then stop. Then go. When we'd stop in all kinds of goofy positions, she went into hysterics. It really was pretty funny. I was armed with the camera, so just kept clicking away while she nearly collapsed laughing at her super funny sister and brother. Dad got in the swing of it after a while too.
I recommend it!
(sorry about the captions being messed up - this is my first try at using pictures.)


movies movies movies

1. Polar Express - a little weird, but delightful for adults and older kids.
Little K spent much of the time on one lap or the other. She was scared a few times. But mesmerized most of the time. At least two families with younger kids - maybe not quite 2, left early.

2. The Incredibles - didn't see it, but the boys came back singing it's praises. There is apparently a reason it's been at the top of the box office for two weeks in a row.

3. From Netflix - Monster. Yikes. Charlize had me convinced she was a total nutjob scumbag. I'm still not too sure she isn't....

4. Also Netflixed - Whoo Hoo! Wiggly Gremlins! Now, anything with Whoo Hoo in the title has got to be fun. I liked it better than many other Wiggles DVDs. Good music - fun, catchy songs. The strange people are just a part of the whole package. I've gotten over it.

5. Netflixed, natch - Family Guy - season 1 or 2, who knows which volume. They're all the same. I can't stand these, but the boys in my family think they are hysterical. I can kind of see the humor, but I have this awful reaction to the PITB baby, who naturally is supposed to be one of the funniest parts. He irritates the crap out of me. So I try to avoid the room when it's on.


panpakes and chrischris

I love the way 2 year olds talk. Sometimes it's super clear - so much so that you can't quite believe what you're hearing. Other times, they make the words their own. Little K wanted "panpakes" this morning. Y'know what the rest of us call them? yep - panpakes.

She's pretty excited about "Chris-chris" too. I usually try to repeat this one correctly to her - just think if she says it to someone else, they might think she's talking about her preschool boyfriend. (she might be, come to think of it...) She's super happy about Santa, and talks about him with the anticipation I didn't really think we'd see until next year.... until the part about sitting on his lap rears its ugly face. I fear we're destined to have pictures with Santa for her whole childhood with Daddy, or bigger K or Mom in the picture between child and Santa. I have a screaming picture of one of my children on Santa's lap. Cute as it is, I won't do that again.

Last year, one of the local newspapers ran a feature on scary Santas, complete with pictures of screaming kids. Scarred me. Scarred AND scared me. Some of these Santas were downright frightening to adults - why in the world would they be hired to don a Santa suit and scare the hell out of little kids? This isn't the article I read, but another one with the same theme. Can't find a link to the other one. But I was struck by the terror of the kids. If my little one wants to see Santa but needs a buffer - ok.

But back to the good stuff - "I like dis and I like dis and I like dis..." She can amuse herself with newspaper ads for a good 20 minutes. The toys she picks would be discarded in minutes, but she adores the pictures. Anything with Dora and Boots is a certain favorite. Doesn't matter what it is. But then, she likes the cars too. The only thing she skips is the dark pages where the "boy" stuff is. What kind of marketing is that? Boys get the dark pages, girls and babies get the bright pages... seems a little strange to me, but it's pretty darn consistent. So we like pretty much everything on the bright pages. It's all good. Gonna make shopping for Chrischris a snap this year.


dangers of reading blogs before sleep

So, I wasn't intending to spend any time at the computer today. My eyes hurt, and I've spent too much on it at work busily answering emails and fixing problems. But then I read my sister's post today and off I go down memory lane.
She talks about the Lawrence Welk show - it's a little horrifying to watch today - with our "beautiful little Mexican Seniorita from South of the Border" and other terrors. Truth is, way back when, I had a tough time watching this show... and my parents LOVED it. So, since I never particularly liked it, why did I am I still trekking down memory lane? Bobby and Cissy? The honky-tonk lady (I had to look her name up, cuz it wasn't coming to me) Joann Castle? Certainly not Myron Floren and his accordion - I hated that! And poor Arthur Duncan - I always felt sorry for him. I thought he deserved at least one other black performer to work with. I did love the Lennon sisters, though - I pretty much thought I might be Janet some day. It never worked out - that Janet thing.
But - Mitch Miller - THERE was a show! fun, bouncing balls across the screen with the words (!) so you could sing out no matter what your voice sounded like and be part of the fun. Kareoke before it's time! I couldn't learn to read fast enough. I am convinced that bouncing ball is responsible for some of my A's in reading.
So here I am reminiscing about shows from way back when, and typing on the computer with really tired eyes, all because I happened to read that post before heading back to my comfy cozy bed. Be careful what you read before bed. I'm sure I'm heading for some nightmares of some kind!
"Be kind to your web-footed friends, for a duck may be somebody's mother. Be kind to your friends in the swamp, where the weather is very very damp (pronounced "domp"). You may think that this is the end. Well it is."
How clever is that???


changing the subject

Decided not to become a political blog, despite such astonishment at the narrow-mindedness of many of my fellow citizens. The one thing I am certain of, however, is that I will personally be more politically active in the future. The pendulum is swinging too far to the right, and I'm concerned about the consequences. What has to happen before the more reasonable of the "red" voters (I know you're out there) say, "oops" and decide we'd better put a stop to this madness. I know this last election did it for me.

Back to the title and changing the subject, Halloween was great fun - little K was a very cute CU cheerleader. She did go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, but got tired of it on the second street. This is the first year in a very long time we haven't been overloaded with candy. I'm grateful! I have a couple of really cute pictures, but one of the maddening constraints of foster parenting is that you cannot publish any pictures of the child. All those foster care posters you see? Not foster children. Cute kids on the websites? Maybe adopted former foster children, but definitely not foster kids. When the local newspaper did an article on foster parents, they came over to my house to take pictures of us. Little K had to be facing away from the camera. Bigger K was in the background playing with her. Turned out cute, but she's such a cutie, I'd sure love to be able to share that. When I put albums out on Webshots, I have to protect them and only let people see them by invitation. At her preschool, when they take pictures, they have to be careful to select pictures without her for publication. (They can post the ones with her in the classroom, though)

Other restrictions? We can't use the neighborhood kids as babysitters. To watch a foster child, you must be 18 and fingerprinted or licensed by the county/state for child care. Even Bigger K can't babysit because he's not 18 yet. DDD has been fingerprinted, and is our only respite. But wait - she's at college. oh well. Good thing we don't go out often.

Let's see - we can't travel out of the state without written permission from the court. They don't even want us to go to Tahoe without permission. Truthfully, that has never been a problem - as long as we give them a couple weeks notice, they've never botched our vacation plans yet.

We were hoping for a finalized adoption by the end of the year, but that looks most unlikely now. I think she may easily make it to her third birthday (Feb) as a foster child. While it makes me angry and frustrated sometimes, I know that there is no difference in her life now than there will be once all the paperwork is complete. It's just those little restrictions we live with.


IQ and your vote

don't know how accurate this is, but interesting nonetheless. (click on the "IQ and your vote" title.)


Hope you and yours stay healthy...

All I can say is I sure hope all you people who voted the current administration in based on "moral" issues like stem cell research and gay rights remain healthy and have wonderfully unchallenged lives.

The fact that research involving stem cells could improve, if not cure, many of today's health issues may not matter much - until it is you or your family affected. One day, you may certainly cheer to hear that a treatment now exists to make your little grandson with cystic fibrosis breathe normally and live an active life. Made possible by some forward thinking scientists and genetic research. think about it.

I'm struck by the constitution these days - the original, preamble and all. What foresight that group of men had at a time when they had no real guide, no template to follow. They had a goal that included a statement allowing basic human rights for everyone. The document they created seems brilliant in retrospect. It is vague enough to allow for growth and change of an entire nation, yet has some basic rights built in quite specifically.

Of course, as times have changed, "details" such as just WHO exactly gets to vote, and WHO exactly is included in that vague statement that "all men are created equal" has been debated, fought over and that apparently continues today.

For example - a marriage is between one MAN and one WOMAN? Well, we've done such a bang up job with that already, that 11 states decided it was time to make that an AMMENDMENT!! ??? If everyone is created equal, why not just two people, period? In fact, why is marriage included in a constitution at all? What the heck does that have to do with the running of a government? I was appalled when Dubya brought that up as a possibility with our national constitution and I am appalled at the states that decided they needed an ammendment in the absence of a national one.

Do you remember when mixed racial marriages were absolutely unacceptable? What is different about that issue and this one? The only thing I can come up with is time. Back in the day, we didn't have to worry about all those homos - they stayed in their closet where they belonged, but those negroes - we had to watch out for them. They will surely hurt our women and children. hunh??? So now, we realize it really isn't race so much that's the issue, but economics, opportunities and a myriad of other cultural issues. Gee, there are wonderful black, indian, asian, hispanic, whatever people out there along with the wonderful whites. Oh yeah, and there are some pretty nasty white folk out there too. go figure.

gonna have to take some time off from my soapbox. All I can say is, I hope you're right, you dubya folks - and I hope you and your kin stay healthy. sheesh. What I really hope is that something not too tragic will happen that will open your eyes to see beyond your little "morally constricted" world.


Election Day Madness

This is a real conversation this morning.

7:00 am ON THE DOT. ....rrriiinnnngggg...

me: "Hello."

MIL: "Are you up? I knew you would be."

me: "Oh Hi - yeah, I just took K to his early morning cross country practice. I'm still awake - sort of. "

MIL: "I remember he did that. I just wanted to make sure you read your email before you go vote. J (niece) just sent you both something that you have to see. I want to make sure when you vote, you vote the right way."

me: (growing curious and just a bit amazed - we're both 50, afterall...) "Oh?"

MIL: "You know, we can't have that monster in office - you know which one I mean... "

me: (fully awake now) "I hope you mean Bush."

MIL: "NO! Of course not - Kerry! You know what he did in Vietnam? And those things with Jane Fonda!? "

me: (ignoring the Fonda remark - I know better) "You DON'T mean the monster who ignored the rest of the world's advice and invaded a country? Not that monster?"

MIL: "Well, that doesn't matter. Doesn't anyone remember 9/11 anymore? Are 'people's" memories so short? Don't "they" remember Vietnam?" (my quotes - I know who she was referring to...)

me: "hmmmm." (I try to be the master of tact with my in-laws, and have a raw tongue from time to time to prove it) "But if you remember Vietnam and Jane Fonda, you surely MUST remember that the United Nations - that collection of people from countries all around the world, advised strongly against invading Iraq, saying there wasn't really enough evidence, and Bush did it anyway? That was only a year or so ago... "

MIL: "Well, anyway," (she's done with this liberal commie pinko) "I just wanted you to see that email, it's very interesting. "

me: "ok. I'll go see if S is awake. "

later that very same phone call.....

S did wake up to get the advice his mother needed to give her 50 year old son.... along with some other choice information. This is all second hand, but amazing nonetheless.

Did you know:

* that Kerry is a monster? (That was well documented in conversation above)

* that Teresa is Cruella deVille (still chuckling hours later about that one)

* that Kerry did something with Jane Fonda, Abby Hoffman and some Chicago 7 guy? Apparently, they were "thick as thieves!"

* that S's Uncle Al who is a "yellow dog democrat" (whatever that is...), wouldn't vote for that slime - he's a monster, you know...

* that Kerry went before a commission of some kind and said that some Americans were doing things that were against the Geneva convention back there in Vietnam?

sigh. These are real people, casting real votes. If the Cruella deVille thing wasn't so damn funny, I'd cry.


Top Ten Comfort Foods

1. Campbell's Vegetable Soup or Tomato Soup, with saltine crackers broken into the bowl.

2. Strawberry Jam sandwich. That's just the jam, no PB. on Wonder Bread, natch. Otherwise it's health, not comfort.

3. Fudgesicle. 'nuf said.

4. Hot Chocolate with or without marshmallows, with or without whipped cream (but preferably with).

5. Snickerdoodles. They make my stomach ache after a while, but I love 'em anyway.

6. Graham Crackers and milk. Dip the GC into the milk and taste the golden goodness.

7. Chocolate milkshake from the little drugstore counter place in Berkeley.

8. Oreos. Preferably Double Stuff. As much "stuff" as I can get.

9. Rolos.

10. Sliced bananas with milk and some sugar sprinkled on top.

Holy Smokes! Do I have a sweet tooth or what??? Notice that no where on the list is carrots, celery, skinless chicken or whole wheat anything? Wonder why I have a hard time losing weight.


Diet Coke is a health food

Really. I've had this very strange chest pain for a couple of years - I knew it wasn't really anything having to do with my heart - I have no risk factors, my cholesterol is shamefully low for my age, I'm not overweight (not underweight, either...), etc. etc., plus it just didn't really feel like cardiac stuff, and I didn't have the typical other symptoms.

Anyway - after going through several tests to make sure it wasn't my heart, we've decided it's probably some kind of
chondritis. So I looked that up and found that low phosphorus can cause this kind of pain. My symptoms match roughly when I stopped drinking Diet Coke (better for my health, you know). I used to drink several diet cokes a day... and haven't had more than one diet coke a week in several years. Diet Coke has phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid. They don't sell phosphorus at Longs. But they do sell Diet Coke. Get your daily allowance of phosphorus today.

Diet Coke is a health food.

I rest my case.


Confessions of a virusaholic

I love Dr. Mario. I used to play it on my oldest's Nintendo. The first one - we got the one with the power pad. Then we got Game Boy and I could travel with Dr. Mario. I'd be on the plane, probably the only mom in sight nimbly thumbing those A and B keys and directional arrows.

I'm good, too. The only person who gives me any competition is my DDD. Just another indication that our minds, like it or not, work pretty similarly. Now that X-box and PS2 are around, I'm happy to announce that the N64 is pretty much mine. Dr. Mario - any time I want! There's something addicting about lining those little viruses up and watching them disappear. There's also that really cool "WIN" graphic you get when you win.

I've gotten in trouble over my video games - I hear I neglect my housekeeping AND my children because I'm playing video games. I'm good enough that I can keep up a complete conversation with them, I can pause it, go check out the little lipstick smearer and get back to finsh my opponent off in minutes. Neglect my children? Nah. Housekeeping? yeah, I suppose that's true, but I'm not much good at that anyway...

Dr. Mario, anyone??


confessions of a non-blogger

so I started the blog in August. It's now October. looking a little like my diary entries when I was a kid... like - nonexistant. I'm certainly not keeping up with C. and her Everyday Lunasea in even the smallest way. I'm not even keeping up with Richard and his occasional efforts! oh well.

Do you know anyone who can pick up the lyrics of an entire musical after seeing it twice? I used to have a pretty good memory, but I walked out of DDD's musical last weekend humming one or two songs, and certainly not remembering a lot of lyrics. Mr. Freshman, however, could sing almost every song and have verses and choruses nearly word for word. amazing. That must be some sort of gift. I don't think it's normal.


This is the BEST day of my Life!

I'm the mom of 4 - ages range from 23 to 2. yep. 2. 2-3 at home at any given time, 1-2 out. S. and I both work full time. busy house, but fun. mostly.
How many times has the first day of school been the BEST DAY OF [your] LIFE? I have two very happy children right now. The 20 year old is back in college in Colorado, happy with her living arrangement, despite her room being about the size of my rather small walk-in closet. She LOVES her classes this semester, and got called back for all the shows she auditioned for, plus one she didn't audition for because the show she's in right now conflicts with it. For the uninitiated - this means she went to an audition and they liked her enough to ask to see her again. The call backs are usually more intense - in her case, they typically include singing, dancing and acting, since she is a musical theater gal. From these call backs, they cast the show. So, she loves her classes, her house, the cook (she lives in a sorority), AND she not only got called back, she got a role in the next "main stage" production at the school. Pretty damn exciting.
The 14 year old started high school - likes his teachers, mostly, he thinks. He also decided at the very last minute to try out for the cross country team. (Last minute, like we were almost out of the parking lot onto the main road when he jumped out of the car and ran back to the XC group.) He thinks he might actually kinda like it! He is also a roller hockey dude, and played his final game of the season for 3rd/4th place. They won pretty easily - the other team only had a few players show up. They gave out awards after the 1st/2nd place game, and he got the award for most assists! We've often talked about that being actually a nicer award than the high points person, because it shows you are really a team player and not a hot shot just taking all the shots. So he was up late talking about how it was probably the best day of his life - starting high school, finding a sport he might actually like, winning a hockey game and getting not just a team award, but a LEAGUE award! Woo hoo!
Gotta enjoy these days when they come - we know not every school year starts like this!