Strange things to do for strange reasons (a.k.a. confessions from a guilty person, and a little snitching, too)

1. I sometimes throw my candy wrapper away in someone else's garbage can.
(what I think/say)....because I'm just passing by and need somewhere to throw the garbage.
(confessing) .... so the cleaning team won't know I eat the darn stuff (or maybe how much)?

2. I scour the town to buy gas for 2 cents cheaper.
.... because I'm a smart consumer.
.... because I'm cheap. The irony of spending $1 to save $1 isn't lost on me, however that knowledge doesn't seem to stop the behaviour. Nor does it matter that I'll spend $1 anytime for nearly any kind of junk, but it's important to save that 2 cents x 17 gallons!
.... I won't, however, only fill my tank 1/3 full in order to make it to a town with cheaper gas. (DH will)

3. I count how many times my DH and I have dropped off or picked up little K during the week.
.... because I like that we share these duties.
.... I want to make sure I'm always at least one ahead. Keeps the balance tipped in my favor! for what? dunno.

4. I cut teeny little slivers of brownies from the pan instead of cutting out a square or rectangle piece.
.... because it tastes better that way!
.... so no one will know there isn't exactly as much as there was before. I don't think I'm really fooling anyone. The brownies have a strange way of shrinking that I don't think goes unnoticed.

5. I learned to like iced tea.
.... I wanted to drink less soda.
.... because it was the only drink with "refills" for quite a while. (see confession for #2) Now it's more a habit. I always order iced tea with my dinner. But at home, I drink milk.

6. DH has to buy the biggest drink and biggest popcorn when we go to movies.
.... it's the most economical (if you can use that word about theatre goodies) buy there.
.... because he can refill them for free! And he absolutely HAS to refill them, regardless of whether or not we really want more.

What are the little quirky things you do and rationalize to yourself?


politeness run amok

As my l'il sis and family are going to spend Christmas with his family up in the Northwest (where they'll be able to at least get together with my big sis & family too), we had our Christmas celebration last weekend at her house. Our 3 year olds are so incredibly different, but they do get along fine, thankfully! Mine goes around discovering toys she doesn't have and pretty well creating a toyful mess everywhere, but quietly and sometimes on her own. She also travels the house to find other treasures. L'il Sis' 3 year old wants to share his every thought with you (and he has a LOT of thoughts!). To help him in this matter, they have worked with him on "Excuse Me" rather than interrupting.

It's a good thought.

In reality, it's created this hilarious repetitive sequence where you will undoubtedly be chatting with someone and an insistent little "e'scuse me, E'scuse me, E'SCUSE ME!" comes along. So everyone stops and either listens to his wisdom (and this 3 year old does have some) or watches as he jumps or breakdances for our enjoyment. When he's done, we all congratulate him and go back to chatting. ...when a little insistent "e'scuse me, E'Scuse Me, E'SCUSE ME!" happens again. You get the picture. Actually, it's really not nearly as irritating as it might sound, though, because he truly is a funny kid. But it's clear there are some drawbacks to teaching politeness.

We tried getting him to add an "Auntie R" or "B" to his e'scuse mes, so we would know he was trying to get our attention, but it wasn't terribly important to him who responded, so that effort fell flat on its face.

Another drawback. When you call him now, he answers, "yah, what?" Which seems strange except... think of how you would respond to "e'scuse me, E'Scuse Me, E'SCUSE ME!". You'd respond, "Yes (or yeah), what?" He hears it all the time. Completely reasonable. Makes him sound a little like he's from Minnesota though - the "yah, what" has that drawn out "yaaaah" you hear up there. He also answers "yah, yah, yah" or "no, no, no" to Y/N questions. Put your best Minne-sewww-tan accent on for those and you've got it.

I wonder if it's a "first child" thing - my oldest used to do that kind of thing all the time. The others, not so much, although miss drama queen herself would just break out in song whenever she felt there was an audience available... kind of similar. But current 3 yr old would never dream of attracting everyone's attention to herself. Mostly personality, I think, but interesting just the same.

I love this age.


I'm surrounded by


Now normally, I'm not terribly germaphobic. I don't get terribly excited about germs. I think people who take great pains to avoid the little buggers generally get a whole lot sicker when they get caught by those microbial pests than those of us who just take normal precautions. There's something to be said for building immunity, I think. I don't even get all frantic when wee ones pick stuff up from the floor and immediately put it in their mouth. In fact, I sometimes have to remember that most people are not as laid back as I am about this stuff, and try to remind myself to act more concerned. I cheerfully watched my darling little nephew try to wrap his little mouth around a golfball without batting an eye until I saw the horrified look on my sister's face. "Oh yeah", I said, "He probably shouldn't do that." as I distract him with another ball and extract the nice sort of clean one from his grasp.

That said, my office is infested with coughs, raspy voices, sneezes and all around miserableness. As I do not have my Christmas shopping done yet, I do not appreciate this proximity with microbes. Like I'm not going to be surrounded by them every time I step into Wal-Mart. (just kidding - don't go walmart on me ok? BTW - Have you noticed that walmart can be used as a verb, sort of in place of the word "postal", which seems to have fallen out of favor, what with the crazies showing up more at fast food places and high schools instead of post offices these days. I digress, but actually, I'm interested to know if anyone really knows the definition of "going walmart". I can tell it's negative, but beyond that, I'm a little fuzzy.)

Back to the point. I think the nasty little buggers have figured it out so that I will stay nice and healthy right up until the holidays. Then, when I have a few days off, I'll get hit with the creeping crud and be flat on my back instead of enjoying the festivities. So - I figure I'd better party now, eat all the goodies and enjoy myself, cuz who knows what's coming. Yep, that's what I'm gonna do!

Tis the season!

btw - thanks to detstar for having a picture I could borrow! (I may not love those viruses, but I love Dr. Mario....)


If wishing could make it so...

1. I could write something and not have a much better way to say it the day after I've posted.

2. I would have the confidence to get my master's degree. I just don't know what I would do with it.

3. My children would all be sufficiently driven to success that I would not have to do the driving.

4. I would be able to work and still take in more foster children.

5. My kids would ALL find their niche and be truly happy in their lives.

6. I would have come up with an idea like Threadbared. (Congrats on the book offer, dudettes!)

7. My extended family would live in close enough proximity to see each other frequently, but not so close that it becomes a chore. There are really only 2 members of our family close by anymore, and while I'm thankful for them, that's just not enough!

8. I could find the way to let go of others' trials and challenges.

9. I would always know the right thing to do with teenagers.

10. I would make lots more wishes!


Quarter of a Century ago (warning, boring birth story coming)

This little boy was born. It was a chilly morning at the end of November. We had been doing a lot of walking, because that's what pregnant women like to do along with eating super spicy pizza, in the hopes that one of those old wives tales will actually work for them and get this whole whale episode of life over. Most women, after being pregnant for 9 months or more are REALLY ready to deal with labor, just for the ability to put those baby pounds down in an infant seat for an hour or so. I can't recall anyone that I knew wishing they could stay pregnant "just a little longer".

Anyway, I felt some contractions around noon, but didn't think much of it. They became regular around 6-8 pm and we alerted my sister, who was going to lend some support to this whole process, but we stayed home. And DH went to sleep. I still marvel at that. There was no sleep for me, however, and I just sat there all night timing those crazy sqeezy things happening to me. It took FOREVER for them to get closer than 5 minutes apart.

Went to the hospital finally around 5:30 am, after asking DH to please wake up. Nurse's name was Mony. ("Moan-y") She had a cohort, but all I can remember is that we called her Groan-y. I'm sure she had another name, but I sure don't remember it. We had our sack of important things, and we pulled the backgammon game out to pass some time. Moany and Groany decided that if I was comfortable enough to play backgammon, I was too comfortable to be there. OK - so I'm supposed to make noise or cry, or MOAN and GROAN??? (ha ha...) We were suitably chastised and put the damn game away. One or both of them attached the monitor and decided that I wasn't kidding about having contractions, so they let me stay. Back then, it was the thing to have "natural" childbirth - no drugs, no epidural, just really good lamaze techniques. So I focused on something, did my breathing, whatever and finally decided I would really appreciate one of those pain shots they'd offered me 20 times and my DH had politely and then not-so-politely refused. (at my request made when I was several days or maybe weeks pre-labor, so should never have been listened to, I should add...). Turns out they decided it was too close to delivery now, so no, you can't have anything anymore. What kind of logic is that? Am I going to pass it to my baby MORE right before I give birth than I would have a couple of hours prior?
So, after some pleading on my part, I got "1/2 a shot". Honey, a shot is a shot. But the 1/2 part is probably to be believed, because there was absolutely NO RELIEF from the damn thing. Really totally not worth the pain of the shot.

At 12:35 pm, our firstborn, M, joined the world. Bullet headed, but still obviously the most beautiful baby ever born. We got lucky and got the "family birthing center" so that all of us could stay together all night. (I really loved that part.) And the next day, we all went home. Again, back in the day of 24 hour stays. I liked that part too, I may be a nurse, but I truly hate hospitals and will always opt to go home early. I am a really crappy patient. Because I know best and I know that I know best. I'm quite sure it's mutual - they're pretty happy to see me gone, too.

Thus starts the next 25 years of joy, wonder, and a whole lot more than a few challenging times. But that's another post.

Happy Birthday, M. We love you. Posted by Picasa


Baby Fix

We spent a beautiful week with family in sunny Arizona. With an 8 week old and an 8 month old, even little K got her baby fix.

...and she LOVES babies.

There is so much to be thankful for this year.

My sisters and I have all had an addition to the family in one way or another. Yay for 2005.

Happy Thanksgiving Posted by Picasa


I'm Just Wild About Harry

I am on disc 16 of 17 of the latest HP audio book. Yes, I've already read the book, but this guy reading it - he's incredible! Jim Dale has won a well earned Grammy for his work on this series. They're an enjoyable commute pasttime book after book. Every time a disc ends I groan. I mean, a loud "aaaawwww" (as in "aw shucks" y'know), whether there's someone to hear me or not. I just don't want it to be over because that means I'm one disc closer to being finished. Most books, this is a good thing - it means we're at the exciting part and soon to move on to something else. For some reason, I have a really hard time letting go of Harry. But very soon I will be done with this book. again.

The good news? The #4 movie (Goblet of Fire) opens on Friday! And since #4 is my favorite year/book so far, I am appropriately jazzed. Who knew I'd be a such an ardent fan of a "children's" series at my age? I realize 7 is a LOT of books to write, especially with lengths of 700 pages, but jeez - do you think we can convince Ms. Rowling to just keep on going?


Red paint dots

We all got "pictures" with globs of red acrylic paint on white paper on our nightstands yesterday. It was very sweet - she didn't announce it or anything. The pictures were just there. It wasn't a problem except for Mr. Teen's, whose picture dripped on other papers and the white rug. He has a bit of a pink spot there now. Wish I knew how she found that paint...

btw, regarding last post, big sis has one word for me. Hormones.

jeeez, I wish.


Sweet and Sour

Maybe it's timing, maybe it's my age, but I am a GRUMP today (and yesterday, too. and maybe even the day before that...). Thank heavens there are sweet things in my life (see most recent post from dear, darling, thoughtful, thankgodforjustabouteverythingexceptthatyearshewas15, daughter) because otherwise I'd rival Maxine for attitude.

Yesterday was an election day. My DH and I actually do NOT speak of whether or not we voted. It is the biggest secret ever - why? BECAUSE WE WANT THE OTHER ONE TO FORGET!! If we both vote, we pretty much always cancel each others' votes out. So it's 7 pm-ish when I vote, polls close at 8. I sign in and think "Yay - he hasn't signed yet, so he's probably forgotten". I do this sneakily when I know he's busily occupied elsewhere. There is no, "Bye, honey, I'm going to go vote." in this house.

Feeling smart and maybe even a little cocky, I exercise my right to tell our guv where to shove...well that's another story, or rhyme, maybe. Maybe even a country song... Anyway, I stick that little ballot into this tricky little machine that looks a hell of a lot like a scanner to me and beat it out of there like a bat out of hell. No thank you, I do NOT want a sticker saying "I voted" because that just might REMIND a certain someone that it is an election day and I. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. DO. THAT.

Later that evening, we've picked up a couple of pizzas to share at K's hockey playoffs and are lamenting the lack of parking places at the community center parking lot because, Hello, this is a polling place!, and I asked if he voted (knowing there is NO way on this earth he'll miss the hockey game to go run off and vote). But the answer is Yes. AAAAARRRGH! And I was SO CAREFUL! I told him I did, too. But he already knew, because of course, he has to sign in right below me.... I knew I should have kept my maiden name.

So we cancelled each others' votes out again. But the beauty is our dear guv got told where to shove it anyway. phew. Take that, you vote canceller, you!

Back to the grumpy stuff -

1. Why does every piece of clothing in the house HAVE to be freshly laundered and ready to wear EVERY DAY??? I think if you have enough clothes for a week, then you should only need to run the washer/dryer combo once a week. Daily laundering, besides being on the obsessive/compulsive side of normal, is a waste of water, soap and ecological resources. Weekly or even semi-weekly laundry - sensible, I think.

2. If you want to teach your child to do something, what SHOULDN'T you do? That which you want them to learn, right? Well, I've been on a campaign for a couple of months to get the teenager to learn that it takes just about 20 seconds to make a bed, and that he CAN, in fact, launder his own clothes in a satisfactory way. Two very good skills for a college bound kid to have. Sounds good, except that the bed frequently gets made in the teenager's absence (which is quite convenient if you're the kid), or if said teen has taken only 10 seconds on it and it looks a little shifty, sometime in the minute or two after child leaves for school, the bed transforms itself and looks amazingly nice. And strangely, the laundry basket for same teen is almost always mysteriously empty! Not that he doesn't contribute to the dirty laundry in this house because, oh my GOD the amount of laundry a teenager can produce is mind boggling - but these things fall into category of grump#1, where all dirty clothes MUST BE LAUNDERED IMMEDIATELY AND AVAILABLE TO WEAR AGAIN THE NEXT MINUTE BECAUSE I JUST DON'T KNOW WHY. I *swear* to you, we all have plenty of clean underwear.

3. The barking dog CANNOT get the hang of this move back to Standard Time. Why in the world do we have to monkey around with our clocks anyway? Off the subject... It's been a week or so now, and dog wakes up every morning between 5:30 and 6 and barks.
Dog: BARK! 5 second wait.
Dog: BARK! 5 second wait.
5 minutes of quiet (just enough to get that dozing going)
Dog: BARK! 5 second wait.
Me: "That *&^^%# dog - I'm gonna kill her."
DH: "Go ahead. I won't tell anyone."
Me: "SNICKERS, ***SHUT UP***! (can you tell I keep yelling louder - thereby waking not only me, but everyone in the house up)
Dog: BARK!
and I get up, mutter a lot, and go let the stupid animals outside. Meanwhile, I play a game or two of solitaire so that getting up so frikken early isn't a total loss.

I used to like dogs. I'm looking for someone to rescue a couple of beagles right now.

See - I'm grumpy. Leave me alone.


Wanna know how to

make your mother cry?

Call her and leave this message:

"Hi Mom. I've had a huge urge today to call you and tell you I love you. So I'm calling to tell you I love you! Love ya, B"

yep. sniffled all the way home.


Someone stole my idea!

Got this link from Amalah's blog -
I have oft lamented the look of the not-so-trim young things in those just-a-little-too-snug low-rise jeans, and have said the girls look a little like cupcakes or muffins spilling out over the jeans.


Two people couldn't have come up with the same thing, could they?

Just for the record, I dislike the pants hanging off the boxered-butt a whole lot more. It amazes me to see a kid running across the street hanging onto his pants around his crotch so they don't fall down while he runs... Wait till they grow up and think back on THAT one! Parents, are you taking pictures??? Your grandchildren will LOVE you for it!


Glam up the breasts

Who knew? I've been doing it wrong all these years...



My baby sister turned 40 yesterday. 40. pfff.

My sisters' birthdays have always had a more profound effect on me than my own. I've never gotten excited or bothered about any of the typical milestones. I didn't get a car on my 16th birthday, didn't even get a key. I didn't go out for drinks on my 21st birthday. In fact, my mother was in one of her silent angry modes and I got a box with an outfit in it shoved in my face without ceremony. My boyfriend was also angry at me and went to a party without me. If not for my little sister, who hadn't seen her 10th birthday yet, and to whom birthdays were still very important, I would have ignored that milestone completely. But that cute little face wanting more than anything else to sing "Happy Birthday" to me and see me blow out a candle remains etched in my mind as the one wonderful thing from that day.

25, a quarter of a century, was spent somewhere, doing something. Who knows. 30 was spent walking the floors all hours of the day/night with a little 2 week old screaming wiggly thing.

40 was a wonderful celebration with family in a beautiful setting near the beach in Santa Cruz, and 50 was spent in another celebration with sisters and niece getting my very first massage, facial and some other treatment with a fancy name. A wrap of some sort, I think. So it's not that they haven't been celebrated or special. It's just that other people get there before me, so it's really no big deal when I get there.

Older sister milestone birthdays are tough because it makes me realize and ponder the passage of time and it always amazes me that she's "so OLD" and looks so GOOD! And wherever she is, I know I'm headed there next! In reality, she hasn't even seen the top of the hill, let alone gone over to the other side. Numbers matter not.

Then there's baby sis. Every milestone is the end of something, and the realization that whatever milestone she hit, I hit it a VERY LONG TIME AGO! Maybe it's all part of the middle child thing, who knows - but I do know that my baby sister is in her 40s now and that's pretty weird. But it's been 40 well-lived years and I'm awfully happy the tumor my mother thought she had turned out to have red hair, dimples and a killer smile.

Happy birthday, "little girl" - Love you!!



some representative email subjects from today:
fw: seersucker cunning
fw: starfish synthesis
fw: ...
fw: carl cinnamon

Now admittedly, I'm an IT geek, so I know not to open these, but who in their right mind would respond to "seersucker cunning"? What could it be? How to wear seersucker surreptitiously? How to look especially smart whilst wearing seersucker? (Give up!) And supposedly, these things grab words from other emails in your box. Seersucker??? When have I last emailed about seersucker? OK, so NO. That's not it. And frankly, the seersucker and starfish subject lines make more sense than most of the ones I get, as far as normal words and grammar is concerned. (carl cinnamon????)
What I don't get is if these spammers want us to open their infected mail, why don't they just use real language and subjects that make sense? Until they wise up, I guess it's nice to have that heads up.

Sandtoy motoring anyone?!


have sticker, will travel

Apparently both dogs needed stickers.Posted by Picasa
Beware of 3 year olds bearing stickers.


Things I want to remember

"Whip-sops" turned into "lip-lops", but really means "lip gloss".

Using a "poof pick" to pick up her hotdog pieces and dip them in ketchup. (toothpick)

"a-b-c-d-e-f-g... h-i-h-i-a-b-c".

"Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Up up up up like a diamond in the sky...." (this never works cuz it throws the whole rhythm of the song off, but it doesn't stop her from trying.)

"doc dogs" - those things she picks up with her poof pick.

"ah-bah-lah" turns out is really an umbrella. That took days.
"grey groo" was playground. Ditto on the days. But both of those have been corrected by age...

every kind of meat is "chicken". Honest, we don't have it THAT much...

"When you finish your "pooter", we can play." ...spending way too much time reading blogs...

"OOOHHH, that's BEEE-YOU-TI-FUL" when shown her new bedroom quilt and pillows.

When she saw a "Wicked" poster and said - "Hey there's Bri-Bri!" (Wouldn't it be nice if someday that turned out to be true???!!!)

"Cheer-weeder!" omg cute.

sigh. they grow up way too fast...


rantings and ravings

Nothing makes me want to go buy an American Girl doll more than a group of religious zealots saying they're going to boycott them for supporting a cause. Now, the American Girl folks are not supporting the Columbian drug lords (oh my, here come a bunch of google hits), or assault rifle sales in Richmond. They gave some money to Girls Inc., a group serving hundreds of thousands of mostly latino and black young girls.
The protest is directed at an ongoing American Girl campaign in which proceeds from sales of a special "I Can" wristband help support educational and empowerment programs of Girls Inc., a national nonprofit organization that describes its mission as "inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold."
Apparently that's a bad idea. Don't want any low income girls to actually think they're smart, strong and bold... no - better to have them shoot out dem babies and stay on state support. The real problem is that Girls Inc. supports contraception, the Roe vs. Wade ruling, and even offers support to those gals struggling with sexual orientation.
Now, this hits home a little. My little K was the third child born to a drug abusing, physically abused mother on her 20th birthday. What would her life have been if she'd not been placed in foster care immediately and eventually adopted? What about her mother who grew up in that environment encouraging drug use and pregnancies? If Girls Inc had been available to her, could she have perhaps made better decisions? maybe. maybe not. But that's a charity I'd have to think hard about NOT supporting! The good news is perhaps programs like this will actually benefit from these narrow minded boycotting campaigns.
Yep - I've never wanted to buy an American Girl doll before, thought they were a little overdone and kind of silly, but they sure as hell have my support now. Maybe they have a cute little latino gal I can give my little latino chica.
I'm going out to buy my "I CAN" wristband for now. Join me - maybe the huge spike in sales will send a very clear message to those who need that message sent.
...again and again.


makes a pretty good pirate.  Posted by Picasa

some scurvy bilge-rats if e're I saw some Posted by Picasa


Late, not necessarily better

Took a break - I do that. Lots has happened - just busy stuff, nothing terribly earth shattering.
TLAP day was rousing success. I have some cool pics of people getting into the swing of things. I put lots of pirate decorations up, flags, skeleton pirate people, etc. Also provided on the walls, pirate vocabulary, so everyone could find a word or two to use (they did), and pirate jokes, some funny, some stupid, Pirate pick-up lines, which I had to turn facing the wall with a disclaimer on the other side so as not to offend any harassment-prone people. (sheesh) We had the requisite treasure chest full of candy and some borrow-if-you-want bandanas to really get involved. Everyone got a little pirate flag and an eyepatch at their desks in the morning. I recommend celebrating stuff like this - just for the fun factor - nothing else.

The following week we had "IT Week". There is no such thing, so we just picked a week and did it. (As opposed to TLAP day, which I did NOT make up.) We made project boards with interesting facts and stuff about what we do on them along with one whole board just for jokes.

We had the "new" equipment there for people to look at and play with, people to answer questions, and some raffle prizes. We visited the 3 main campuses of the hospital on different days for a few hours around lunch. An amazing number of people showed up to visit at our two larger facilities. Lots more than we expected filled out our "quiz" (all answers were on the boards) and entered the drawing. Again - a great success.

This was all great, but incredibly time consuming for yours truly, the ambassador of fun. I probably have some decent stories from the events, too, but who can remember?

In the meantime, my niece went and had her baby, a nice, healthy 8 pounder. He's beautiful - as expected from those two! First grandbaby on both sides, so I imagine this little guy won't be lacking for attention.

Also, Miss Theatre Major opened and closed a show in the time since I last wrote. She was in Seussical at CU. She was disappointed in her casting (bird girl), but it was still a fun show and she enjoyed it. Here's one of her renditions of some opening night fiascos...

"For the first number the entire cast is supposed to run up onto the stage which is covered in purple fun fur. I got up to the edge of the stage where the fun fur starts and my shoes slid out from under me. Did I fall? Sort of...
I tumbled to the ground, rolled back up, and kept running. I couldn't stop laughing for the rest of the first number.
My voice cracked on my solo line in Horton hears a Who. I do the "sold" stuff at the auction, but I was so mad at myself for messing up my first solo.
Then my shoe fell off of my foot (not very noticeably- phew!) in Amazing Mazie and I tried to discreetly put it back on.
I started laughing at J. C. (Vlad Vladikoff) and K. R. (as Yertle the judge turtle) onstage. I tried so hard not to, but you should have seen them. Last night was the first time they were in complete costume and I almost died trying to hold my laughter in.
The birds didn't have our complete costumes until last night. We had an addition of "wings" (pieces of fringe that connect to the back of our costume and our wrists) on the Final dress, and last night we had new tall headpieces added to our hats- mine is like a sprout of purple fuzzys about a foot off of my head. This may not seem like a big deal, but I cannot tell you how much of a difference these two things make. We kept getting stuck on scenery, mics, and each other with the wings. The most noticeable catch for me was on the bows when I went up to bow and my arm just stayed up by my head until I could figure out how to untangle my wing from my purple fuzzies (the director noticed this one... embarrassing!) There was more, but I think these were the funniest and most ridiculous things that happened last night."

I SO wish I could have seen that, but then I suppose I'd have had to make for the nearest water closet to avoid an uncomfortable scene - I tend to laugh a little too hysterically at other people's misfortunes. A nasty habit of mine... I am wondering, though - what's up with dress rehearsals these days? Having costumed a show or three myself, I know nothing's supposed to change after the last dress rehearsal, unless it's something like a shoe decoration or a minor piece of jewelry. Adding a headdress? yikes! I am jealous, though - hubby and youngest son went out there this weekend to see the show and visit. I keep talking about how nice it would be to win the lottery, but then I guess I'd really need to buy a ticket or two in order for that to happen.

Anything more will just have to wait. My brain is tired.


My Pirate Name

Remember, Monday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
I have several things planned for work, as I am officially the Ambassador of FUN there. (Well, at least one of them...)
What's your pirate name?
I have several:

Captain Morgan Vane:
Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You tend to blend into the background occaisionally, but that's okay, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!

Bad-Rum Tess
No description, but really, is one needed?

Capn Elizabeth the Wicked Wench
Again, name with no description, but clearly, I am the captain sort.
*puffs up chest*

Wanna know more about Talk Like a Pirate day? I can't wait.


Update on Opportunities

Who'd've thunk it? I tried the sticker chart with the 3 y/o stealth sneaker last week. She had to earn 3 stickers to get a trip to the Jungle.

Evening 1 - Sticker chart explained to stealth sneaker. She's thrilled that she can get a trip to the Jungle out of this and says she can stay in bed all night because she would like to go to the Jungle. We think we might get one night out of this experiment, but at this point, even that's worth it.

Night 1 - stayed in bed ALL NIGHT! We were shocked. Of course, neither of us slept more than an hour or two at a time, waking and wondering if she was still breathing (no, neither of us was willing to go check). She picks a sticker and I have to tell her where on the chart it should go.

Night 2 - stayed in bed ALL NIGHT! Wow - maybe this isn't really beyond a 3 year old's grasp. Happily put sticker #2 on the chart in a strange place, but we really don't care about that.

Night 3 - stayed in bed. Woke up and cried and cried and cried. Finally we got out of her that she needed to go potty. Since we hadn't exactly gone over what to do when you have to go potty, but you've made a deal that you won't get out of bed, she still earned her sticker. But now she knows she can get up and go potty as long as she goes back to bed again. Oops - another case of parental instruction omission. Be careful what you don't tell these little people!

Day 4. Weekend day, trip to Jungle earned. BUT.... playground bully behavior overcame all good 3 year old senses and Jungle trip was postponed. What do you do when your kid is at the top of the slide sitting sideways, blocking all other children from coming down, AND WON'T MOVE despite reasoning, cajoling and threats of varying degrees? Once the tot immediately behind her tried to climb over the edge to get around her, I determined that safety came first. I climbed UP this spiral monster, about 100 feet or so, with slippery shoes, arms basically pulling me up, grabbed her shoes and slid down with her in tow. Twenty minutes of "I want to go to the Jungle" whined in the same pitch over and over again garnered some sympathy from bystanders, but mom and big bro tuned it out pretty effectively. Nope - if I'm going to have arms I can't move the next day because she's stubborn, she's not getting rewarded. For ANYTHING! (and yes, my arms were quite sore the next day)

Day 5. Very nice cooperation today, Jungle trip restored. Mom took Advil in advance (advice - never go to the Jungle unmedicated if you're over 11). All is well in the Beastar household.

Bottom line - damn - those sticker charts can work on even little people!
(and even though we don't know what trip is next, she's still getting stickers - and we're starting to actually sleep! YAY for us!)


driver training

My teenager passed his written driving test today and walked out in proud receipt of three stapled together pieces of paper which say he can start practicing to drive. Through a very strange set of coincidences, I just sent this teenager off with a complete stranger in a powder blue mini cooper with decals ablaze. "Driversed.com" "Your complete driver training source" etc. etc.

Top Reasons to be Concerned:

1. My son is learning to drive in one of the smallest and easiest to crush vehicles on the road.

2. He is learning to drive with the handicap of not being able to see the action ahead for the ginormous SUV sure to be in front of him at all times.

3. I found the driving instructor on the INTERNET for god's sake.

4. The car is POWDER BLUE! What will his hockey pals say?

5. Until we adopted little K., this was my BABY! *teeny tears welling up*

6. Big K says, after his successful test results, "Do I HAVE to wait for the lesson to start? I want to practice first so I can impress the teacher." uh huh.

7. The 6 months countdown to the actual drivers test has officially started.

8. The car is POWDER BLUE! No one drives a powder blue car! Everyone will laugh at him!

9. The driving instructor answered his phone "Hello." Instead of "Your best Driving School ever, how can I help you?" or better yet, some secretary-like person saying, "Hello, Best Damn Driving School Ever, there are 14 eager callers ahead of you, will you please hold?"

10. This is my baby out there in a POWDER BLUE Mini, risking his life in the quest of this driver's license, unable to see anything, and getting older every day and every day is one day closer to when he dresses up and picks up his date for the prom, and then graduates and then goes off to college and then...

oh shut up.


Apolitical me

So is it my imagination or are things a little screwy? GW gets Roberts on the Supreme Court basically through the back door and then gives him the job of chief justice? And the rest of us are so focused on the devastation in the southeast that we're not even phased by this? AND he gets to appoint another justice as well. be afraid. be very afraid.



Little L. went to another foster home last week. A long term one.
This is the first time I've had to give a child up to non-family. Apparently, the judge saw some wisdom in releasing her 4 older sisters so they can be adopted by the foster family who has had them for the past 2 years, but letting little L have the benefit of trying to reunite with her mom but not her dad. Mom has not left Dad in the last 2 years of county run scrutiny, let alone the last 12. I don't know how that will change in the next 4 months, and in the meantime, little L's lost the opportunity to be adopted with her siblings. (although it could still happen sometime in the more distant future - my fingers are crossed!) But that's what the ruling was, and we couldn't continue the foster care arrangement with both of us working, so we did not get to place her directly with either an adoptive family or her mom. This is so not what we got into this deal for. But we know she got a good, healthy, stable and secure start. We know we got her to the point where she will sleep through the night on occasion, where she will smile when she hears my voice or sees my face. (The others had to work a little harder.) And that has to be enough. big sigh.

In comparison, my stealthy little one can't stay in bed for more than 2 hours straight - ANY night. And she wants Daddy to put her back to bed. Sucks to be the favorite at 11pm, 1,2,4&6am. I haven't figured out how to get her to just stay in bed and let herself fall back asleep when she wakes up. I know putting plastic spiders around will not work this time! I read somewhere that one family made a chart and every night the child stayed in bed was worth a sticker. After a certain amount of stickers, a trip to the zoo or some other fun place was awarded. Nice idea, but for the instant reward/consequence 3s, I'm not sure it will work just yet. I might try it anyway. In the meantime, I'm taking my opportunities when they show up. Watching "Nevergood" the other night ("Everwood" for the non-initiated - I just renamed it because I can't stand the main character. But for the record, the show itself is a kind of guilty pleasure and I do watch it more than not), Amy scoots herself onto her bed to be by herself for a while. She gets a phone call which she does not answer, and curls up. I know it's a solemn, even sad moment where she's thinking about her graduation and her mother's cancer which is progressing despite chemo, and my comment is "I bet she stays in her bed all night". Just seizing the opportunity, folks! Pan to Ephraim, who placed the unanswered phone call, sitting on his bed with his half packed backpack, and S. and K. both chime in (after delivering a shocked and appalled look at me after my comment) "I bet he stays in his bed all night, too." Guess they saw the opportunity.

Speaking of my stealth snuggler, there were a handful of times through the sleep deprived nights of little L where I'd wake up because my arm was asleep and look over to find a cute little head on my arm, or snuggled into the space between me and the edge of the bed. This was different from her barreling days when she'd run in and climb OVER me to sleep in the middle. She was definitely being sneaky. And she'd found that I might not wake up if she just climbed in and snuggled. Have to admit, she had a good plan. Not only was she able to sneak an hour or two in my bed before I'd wake up, I had a hell of a time telling her she had to go back to her own bed when she was snuggled so cute and sweet next to me. Truth is, we probably would just let her sleep with us as long as she needs if it weren't for her gymnastics and kick boxing nights which come far more often than the snuggly ones. Oh well - any and all ideas are welcome!
A Challenge and an Opportunity.


A Kid Gone Good Posted by Picasa

A Kid Gone Good

We drove down to San Diego this last weekend for my niece's wedding. 4 adults and two car seats in a car that officially seats 8, but you'd never want to drive from San Fran to San Diego with 8 in the car. Anyway, the kids did pretty darn well for such a long trip, and most of the adults did too. I still can't figure out why my oldest (24) will always find something to be grumpy or unhappy about, and if it's not readily available, he'll go looking for it. But that's another post.
My niece is the same age as above grump-pot but has been such a ray of sunshine to me. She had some very rough years as a teen, resulting in a teen pregnancy with a young man who was soon to spend considerable time in jail. She was pretty well written off by her dad, my BIL. So she lived with her mom for a while, got her GED and started working. It wasn't long before she realized she wasn't going anywhere except her mom's without an education, so she pursued a college education at a state college with student loans and student family housing. Somehow, between toddler feedings and toys, she got to the point where she could transfer to a school where she could finish her degree in nursing. As I am a nurse, we chatted many times on her path to her BSN. All this time, she continued to make her education and her child her top priorities. I was impressed.
Somehow, she met a young man a year younger than she, but who accepted her completely, child and all. He must have been 18 or 19 at the time. Again, amazing, but I held little hope for the relationship. They proved me wrong. They have been each other's strength now for about 6 years. They have also had a child of their own.
My niece graduated from nursing school (apparently nothing derails this young woman) last May with two children and a bill or two to pay. She proceeded to get a job in Southern California and now works nights supporting the family.
She is almost 25, a new bride, and one of the strongest people I know. I'm so proud to be her aunt and godmother. The wedding was beautiful and I thank her mother, stepfather, MIL and FIL for hosting it for them. These are two kids who have been through some rough times and deserve some good. So happy they found each other, and that we were able to share some of that happiness.


I put on a John Mayer CD the other day while working. Looked back a couple of minutes later to see this. Coincidence? I think not. Posted by Picasa


why fast food amuses me

Haven't been to McDonalds in maybe a year or so. But I'm between meetings yesterday, driving back from one hospital to the next and I pass one. I think, "S. had a nice looking salad from there - maybe I'll go through the drive-thru." There are only two cars in front of me, so I get to the crackling order speaker fairly quickly.

"How can I help you?", a young crackly voice says to me.

"I'd like a grilled chicken caesar salad, please." I crackle back at my hostess.

"What kind of dressing would you like with that?", she asks earnestly.

"Let's see.... ummm.... Caesar?", I reply in crackly confusion...

Is there a choice of dressings on a caesar salad? I thought it was implied in the name. So is she throwing me a trick question? What would the salad be if I said Thousand Island? An Exiled Caesar? But then, he did wear a toga and that crown of foliage... maybe that fits. But what about Ranch? A Good Ol' Boy Caesar? Besides conjuring up a really goofy image of a long deceased ruler, I have to say no - if the dressing's gone, then the Caesar part is gone too.

I spent the better part of a 1/2 hour chuckling at various combinations of salads and what they might be named.

And that's why fast food amuses me.


better late than never.... or not

See, this is why I was never a good diary person. Whole months would go by without my even wanting to open the darn thing. Then I'd be all over it for 3 days. So maybe I'm not much of a blogger person either.

Since the last flurry of activity, I have finished the HP book - liked it alot, but preferred both 4 & 5 to it. I loved the amount of action in those, and the fact that I'd be a quarter of the way through the book and it would feel like the end, and I'd know I had a whole lot more coming! It amazed me that the author could come up with those great stories and tell them so well, and still have more in store for me! Year 6 was still interesting and a little darker even than 5, but that, too, makes sense, seeing as Voldemort is gaining strength and the showdown is coming... da dum, da dum...

We also baptized our little 3 year old. We had to wait until the adoption was final, obviously, first, then we waited until our favorite priest was back from Mexico, and until my sister and niece could join us. Then we joined up with my incredibly cute nephew and had a joint ceremony. It was so nice. I thought she might freak out (being that she's 3 and all...), especially with the water part, but she watched Ben first, and didn't have a problem at all. The only disappointment is that her godmother, aka her older sis, couldn't be there. She was "stuck" in Colorado at the Shakespeare Festival. She tried to get clearance to come out, but she's in two shows and understudying a part in both her show and in yet a third one. They said no. But her two godfathers were there, aka her older brothers, and they filled the bill quite nicely. I borrowed my sister to stand in for my daughter and all went just wonderfully.

We also had a baby shower for my niece which also went quite well. I provided the house, tables, chairs, plates, etc and cake. Her other three aunts provided the food and entertainment. It seemed that everyone had a nice time. Niece looks absolutely fabulous - she's always been really striking anyway - but you know how they say there's that "glow"? Well, I never felt I ever had one, but she does. And she's a little sensitive about "how big she is". She's not really all THAT big, but she does look farther along than 7 months usually does. Everyone carries differently... I once met a mom picking up her son at my son's birthday party. She was wearing a pair of overalls, and I swear, if she looked 5 months pregnant, that was a stretch. She told me she was due in a week. And by golly, the next week a beautiful full term baby was born. I think she must have not had any other organs in there! Still can't figure out where she put it! Simply amazing. But I digress...

In the meantime, I have my own baby fix here - Little L was born on the 7/15, I picked her up at the hospital on the 17th, and have been a "new mom" again ever since. She's had a couple of really cranky nights, (mom-to-be niece was around for one of them, unfortunately) but by and large, she's been a decent sleeper. Those cranky nights will get you, though. I also realized there really is some value in that whole maternity leave thing. Most moms caring for a 3 week old don't have to go to the office the morning after a crankypants night. That's a good plan. I think when we take our next foster baby, I will not be working. Despite good intentions, the "unemployed" 1/2 of this couple just can't stay home to take care of her. I'm doing lots of telecommute days and various other creative forms of time management. Thank heavens for a flexible job and really great bosses.

Other news - youngest son (15 1/2) officially has his first girlfriend. Always cute. And he picked well, too - she's really sweet (and cute too). They've been friends for several years now ("secretly" harboring a crush on each other, both sets of parents have always thought), play roller hockey together, referee together, etc. I suppose it was inevitable. Kind of a Disney movie thing. He is showering a whole lot more, and chews gum too. hmmmm. The showering is definitely a bonus - if you know any hockey players, you'll know just what I mean. There's something about all that equipment - the smell just never quite comes out no matter what you do with it.

Have a great however long until the next time!


So the new HP book has been out for a whole day. I have my copy but I'm on [gasp] Chapter 2. I'm also as of yesterday, the foster mom to a newborn linebacker, so all of a sudden, my free time has taken a nose dive. So don't tell me the story - I'll get there - but just a little bit late.
 Posted by Picasa


watch what you land in

I'm a busy blogger lately! But had to share the headline of the day.

back to the 4th

Forgot to send this link out for the 4th, but it's still so freakin funny, here it is now. (actually, the whole site is worth visiting...) so, happy 4th y'all, 4 days late.



Strawberry Shortcake.

Neldam's in Oakland makes the best ever, but it's not available year round. This presents a problem for those of us born in the month of January. or December or February, for that matter. So instead, I choose shortcake to celebrate everyone else's birthday. Today, for example, we celebrated the birthday of a friend born on the 4th of July. Checked in with her hubby about her favorite cake (nice touch, we thought), found out she liked SS too. Super cool. Then asked if she liked anything better. He says "Yes, but I can't talk about that." Great comeback. Why can't I think of those?

I do - but twenty minutes later.

It's that same talent that has me conversing with myself. Not really with myself, with other people, just not when they're around. My Jeckyll/Hyde neighbor is one I've had numerous "conversations" with. My MIL, too. Those are always fun - they're usually about the right to choose, the various contradictions of the right-to-lifers who are gun-ho about the justness of our presence in Iraq, etc. One of my favorites is our beloved "W". Even though I don't consider myself a political expert in any way, I can come up with some good stuff about him. Regardless, I'm always quite erudite in these, and easily prove my points. Unfortunately, very rarely do my real life conversations mimic these fascinating mental/verbal jousts. It sure is a pleasure when they do, though. My l'il sis and her hubby (both psychologists) probably have a term for me, but I don't think I want to know what it is.

Why is it that when a baby falls asleep in your arms, there is nothing better in the world. They become an extension of you and are yours forever... until they wake up, or have to go home with their mom and dad.

When a house alarm goes off in the middle of the night, there is no freakin' way you can remember the damn code. And the infernal and incessant ringing just doesn't help the memory banks unfog. And did you know, the damn alarm can go off even when it's not armed? We found that out last night. Hint: get the key to the stupid box BEFORE this happens to you. They "usually don't leave the key" with the owner when they install the box. What??? Why the hell not? It's our box! Hint #2: check the transformer. Somehow the power to the alarm system is interrupted and it gets nasty mad when it doesn't get power. Now you know.

Mary Poppins 4 nights in a row is difficult, but tolerable. Pete's Dragon 4 nights in a row is enough to make you slit your throat.
Julie Andrews vs Helen Reddy - no contest.

Bubbles may be the world's most perfect toy.
And that makes the "Bubble Lady" a very cool person.

Have a great Friday, everyone.


child proofing - stage 3

I remember buying those little cabinet locks when my now 24 year old was a baby. That was the extent of my baby-proofing. Well, that and the rug that covered the fireplace hearth which had already caused a couple of stitches. That approach was sufficient for my first three kids.
This fourth one is crafty. ...and curious. She's been out of her crib now for well over a year because she'd climb out. Or maybe she'd jump out - we've seen her jump off the kitchen counter. We just know we'd hear a THUD and she'd come barrelling into our room sometime between midnight and 2. The crib got dismantled pretty quickly. She still comes into the room, but sometimes now, she sneaks instead of barrells. When this happens, she usually scares the bejeezus out of me. I prefer barrelling.

I've been suspicious that she's figured out the cabinet locks for a week or so. I've found little travel bottles of lotion in strange places. Yesterday afternoon, there was a peculiar smell from her - a pleasant one - but peculiar. I looked at all the available lotion containers - not it. Found the sunblock (she LOVES sunblock) - not it. I found some very nice smelling polish remover a while ago. She found it too - and put it ALL over. Then she tried to fix it by washing herself in the kitchen sink with dishwashing soap. It took about 5 rinsings to get that off. After that, she found a nice black marker behind locked doors, and now she needs another shower.

At three, she's not old enough for me to trust taking the damn locks off, but how to keep her out? Looking for good ideas!

In the meantime, if you want some of the more dangerous or permanently messy things in my house, you'll have to look WAY up. And it has to be a way up that is inaccessible by countertop of any kind. She's even gotten really good at using my step stool to reach. Which of course, I will need to use more and more now because I am still a shrimp.

My only idea so far is to buy a bunch of plastic spiders and put them in the cabinets I want to keep her out of. She has this incredible ability to see a spider at almost any distance. That might work.



Can't tell if the little one's color blind, just not interested, or ornery. When you ask her what color something is, she'll get a little smirk on and say, kinda sing-songy,

"Not purple. Not red. Not orange. Not green." until she gets the color and you say "Yes, green."

Then she laughs.


I've been tagged

I don't know anything about tagging or being tagged, but I'm learning. I'm a fast learner. I'm also a good responder. Since Lunasea tagged me, and she's pretty much the only person who EVER comments on anything I blog, I feel compelled to respond. If there's only one person out there who loves me, I'm gonna do what she wants!
(but don't send me any chain mail - it WILL die with me. I'm also the kill-joy who looks up your urban hoax stories instead of sending them around again and lets you know they're fake. Maybe that's why there's only one person sharing the love out there... food for thought.)
So here goes:

Three screen names I've had: beastarzmom; hockeymom; rag722.

Three things you like about yourself: I am good at my job. I am not compulsive about anything. I am silly.

Three things I don't like about myself: I avoid confrontation too much. Procrastination. Really awful housekeeper.

Three parts of my heritage: Irish, English, miser.

Three things that scare me: Losing a child. Car accidents in my vicinity. Heights.

Three of your everyday essentials: Hugs. Underwear. E-mail.

Three things you are wearing right now: Sandals. Black pants. B/W sweater set. (oh, and underwear!)

Three of my favorite songs: What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) Butterfly Kisses (Bob Carlisle) Because You Loved Me (Celine Dion - for the record, I pretty much can't stand the singer, but I LOVE the song...) gee - do I have to stop at 3?

Things I want in a relationship: Cooperation. Support. Trust.

Two truths and a lie: I have 21 nieces and nephews, as evenly divided as possible. A large part of my income goes to the University of Colorado right now. I love camping.

Three things I can't do without: Chocolate, apparently. Hugs. A "baby fix" from time to time.

Three places you want to go on vacation: Mexico. Bali. Italy.

Three things you just can't do: Jump into a swimming pool without holding my nose. Touch my toes. Develop a taste for coffee. (I don't even like the smell...)

Three kids names: hmmm - that I haven't used? How about Evan, Alan and Kate.

Things you want to do before you die: Get fabulous seats to watch my daughter on Broadway. Babysit my grandkids. Eat healthy.

Three celeb crushes: Denzel Washington. Tom Cruise (Katie - give it up!) OK, seriously - Robert Redford, Paul Newman.

Three people you want to know these things about: gee - this one just sounds so much like a chain letter, that I'll noodle on it some more before answering... If you want to be tagged - let me know - I'll gladly accommodate!

late entry:: Based on a Lunasea comment, I'm tagging kyknoord.

You're it.


ENOUGH ALREADY! Posted by Hello



Man - you put a little picture of Jerry Rice in your blog and you go from 1000 hits to 1400 overnight! What a gimmick. Sorry to those of you who thought you were actually going to get some information about him. tuff luck as they say. But Hi anyway - nice of you to drop by! Leave a comment and tell me why you're searching the big guy out... always curious.
But fame is fleeting. I'll be back to my 2 hits/week again pretty soon. That's what happens when you don't really have much to say!


Here's today's shot from the CC Times. That's more like it. Posted by Hello

Here's the mug shot from yesterday's Comcast. I think he deserves much better than that. Posted by Hello

It comes in Threes

My MIL has always held that deaths come in threes. If one person dies (celebrity, friend, extended family, neighbor), she's always on the lookout for the next two. Strangely, she pretty much always comes up with the other two somehow.
I just happened on the obituary page (don't ask - it's sad) and found that the voice of Tony the Tiger, Fred Flintstone and Frank Gorshin, who voiced untold numbers of characters all died recently. Where have I been???? I did not hear about any of these losses.
I'm starting to believe my MIL - it does come in threes.


Getting Old is Not for the Weak

We'll just try this and see if it works.
Comcast posted an article today about Jerry Rice signing with the Denver Broncos. Now, I'm a Jerry Rice fan - I loved the glory days with Montana and even Young. Now I'm thinking, Jerry - you're 42, you've got a shitload of money, it's time to GET A FREAKIN' LIFE! Love ya, man, and I'm proud of the "not gonna give up" attitude at Oakland, but move on. Seattle, and now Denver. A serious message is being sent and it's one you should listen to!
Oh, and who's idea was it to print a mug shot of the guy? I thought I was going to read a story about the 87 year old grandmother he just mugged.

OK. This is weird. I'm not kidding here - I JUST opened my Chinese Fortune Cookie and read:
"Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned."

I stand corrected.


the Guilt

How awful does it feel to shut a drawer and only after the drawer is just about closed, realize that your toddler's fingers are still in there? I know.


Great minds think alike and more foster fun

I was reading an article about the Bay to Breaker's race, and remarking how it's a little strange that the people you see running naked are never the people you wish you would see running naked. And there it was. My comment. In print. Credited to someone else who undoubtedly has the same incredibly pithy insight to these occasions as myself. It's a conundrum.

Other news - we have a new little foster daughter as of yesterday. Brooke is 10 months old and is super cute! Don't know how this happens. I'm pretty sure they don't have a list of foster homes for cute kids and a list for not-so-cute kids, but we have certainly gotten the cuties. She's got a great little temperament, and doesn't seem to be having a huge problem with the fact that we are all strangers here taking care of her. We don't know how long she'll be here, but we do know her mom was arrested. Beyond that... all conjecture. I hear from friends that we're such "great people" to do what we do, but I gotta tell you - the kids are SO sweet. We always get more than we give. These kids deserve so much more. They deserve parents who will watch them, make them smile and be there for them ALWAYS. We're only doing a little - a teeny bit - to keep these kids safe and happy. But every little bit helps, I guess.


The joy of older siblings

Aren't big brothers fun? Last night we had hysterics in the car.

Big K: Guess What?
Little K: What?
BK: Chicken butt.
both: hysterical laughter.

repeat this sequence about 150 times, alternating who gets to say "Chicken Butt" and you have our drive home from hockey last night. If the laughter hadn't been so genuine and tummy-aching, it would have been a whole lot more painful, but I'm just a little concerned about what we'll hear from the preschool teachers today. Not too many of the kids have a 15 year old brother to teach them cool tricks.


The Doodlebops

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Based on my nearly 180 degree turnaround in my opinion of the Wiggles, I'm reserving judgement on the Doodlebops. Maybe strangely colored people with odd hair and ears who sing and dance hip-hop are just what the toddler set needs. I'm thinking they (the toddlers) probably won't really be able to dance along with these way cool dudes, though. I mean jumping up and down and from side to side while you stick a hand in the air is one thing (the Wiggles...) but hip hop movements??? I don't think so. But even so, there was a time when Greg, Anthony, Murray and Jeff freaked me out ... in fact there are still times when that happens. ("I am a Dancer" omg...) And even after all these years, the purple dinosaur and the sticky sweet kids have never grown on me. In fact I cannot listen to them - a very strange and perverse feeling of extreme dislike washes over me like one of those Maverick waves. It's best for everyone if I change the channel. And Doodlebops - what's with the "Where's Moe" bit? Even blatant rip-off acts should have a little originality!
But I do like the primary colored Aussies now, so I'm reserving judgement on Deedee, Rooney and Moe.


Wait - I made one of those!

Wish I'd thought of this! the memories, the thrill, the horror!

Texans caring for their kids

Apparently, gay people are once again a bad influence on young, innocent children. The Dollars should move there - there will be lots of need for more incredible foster care. yikes.


Oh yeah - one more - in honor of the upcoming holiday, we had a peep show this year! Hee hee! Posted by Hello

Birthday decorating at work! (read from bottom up - I still haven't spent any time trying to figure out how to post two pics at once.)  Posted by Hello

And just a touch of Japan for this guy - complete with a bamboo curtain, bonsai and sand tray and even gong! It's fun - a lot of the decorations have been left up. People who visit our department conclude we must have a lot of fun there. It's pretty much true. Posted by Hello

This was one of my favorites - a friendship garden. Very simple, with friendly quotes on paper dolls all over. Great idea from that team! Posted by Hello

This guy is an Oakland fan - both Raiders and A's (even when they have stinky seasons), so he got a schizophrenic cubicle 1/2 As, 1/2 Raiders. Posted by Hello

We have fun at work. Last year, we decorated cubicles for people's birthdays. We had a team chosen each month to pick a theme and decorate. This cubicle belongs to a gal who likes to garden,so she got a spring garden cubicle, complete with flowered arch entrance. Posted by Hello


Little Miss K (trying again, to see if it will stay) Posted by Hello

coming next - the wedding

Well, it's been a while, but we're still basking in the glow of being a complete and full and legal family. I've got a few wedding pictures, which will come soon, but until then, here's the scoop -
The day we adopted K, we jumped into the car and drove down to Santa Monica - about a 5-6 hour drive normally, but the weather sucked as did traffic, and it took us about 8-9 hours to get there. We added one to our family and were about to add another. We were going to my nephew's wedding.
And a beautiful wedding it was... (of course, have you ever been to a wedding that wasn't?) Somehow, the torrential rainfall that happened that weekend down in So. Cal missed us at all the important moments - waiting to get into the church - no rain. From church to reception (3 large deluxe buses took all 300+ guests from hotel to church, then to the USC campus where the reception was held in the "Town & Gown" building), it rained while we were on the bus, but not while we loaded in or got out and walked to the building. There was plenty of evidence it rained hard while we celebrated, but it wasn't raining when we walked to the buses again afterwards. Kind of eerie, but nice for everyone.
My nephew and his bride were beaming and beautiful, and their day suited them perfectly. He was part of the glee club in his days at Notre Dame (which is where the two met, btw), so they came and sang during the mass. Still incredible after all these years! The two of them took some dancing lessons so they wouldn't embarass themselves, and proceeded to entertain the crowd at the reception. It was actually very sweet.
My hope is that when my children find their partners, that my sons and daughters find someone they can cherish as much as J does A and that they are cherished in kind. The extravagant wedding was important to J&A, and was wonderful for them, and for us as well, but the most important thing was not the extravagance, nor the surroundings, nor the rain, rainbows or peeking rays of sunlight, not the multi-course sit down dinner, or the chocolate martinis, but the look in their eyes as they started their life together.
Good luck and many happy years together, my nephew and niece.

Our little miss K. (and now I can actually show her cute little face!)
One of these days, I'll figure out how to have more than one picture in an entry, but hey - I'm still at the point where I think it's pretty cool that I can even post a picture with an entry!
...of course, now that I've said that, my picture has disappeared and my hope is that those picture gremlins who took my pictures last time but gave them back will do it again. If not, hey, there's a teeny one of her with the family that has seemed to survive. It must have something to do with editing the post after the picture is placed, so I'm not touching anything else. C'mon gremlins - give little miss K's face back!
Posted by Hello

The gotcha bracelet (see adoption entry) Posted by Hello

Adoption pics Posted by Hello



IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the petition be granted and said minor child is now the adopted child of the petitioners, S and R, and shall be in the custody of said petitioners and be regarded and treated in all respects as their own lawful child; that they shall sustain toward the child and the child toward them the legal relation of parent and child, and each respectively shall have all of the rights and be subject to all the duties of natural child and that the child shall take the name of G and be known as K, the adopted child of S and R.
Executed on February 18, 2005.

I've said this before - I did not know this was to be the end result of my first foster care experience. But I do know that life throws curves and it's our job to either catch or miss them. We caught this one. GOTCHA!

One of my dear friends from work joined us for our big day, and brought with her a "gotcha" bracelet. I, being not quite the internet surfer I probably should be, given my occupation, had not a clue what it was. There are some great adoption sites out there - a little late, but now I know!

Here's what the card with it says:

The history of the gotcha charm comes from the Chinese tradition of placing a red dot in the middle of the forehead of a child waiting to be adopted to bring it good fortune. Americans have adopted Gotcha Day as the day the child was placed in their arms.

I knew the moment I saw it, that it would be our special heirloom. I will wear it and cherish it until little K is ready, then it will become hers.

It's an interesting bond, this adopted child and parent thing. I couldn't love her more if the biological cord were mine, yet there is a difference. It wasn't always a given that we would grow up together. Even though we tried, and her bio father definitely tried, we were pretty sure the family reunification plan wasn't going to be successful maybe as much as 2 years ago. It took me a little longer than my husband to get on board this adoption track. I have seen my 50th birthday - and while I don't feel "old", this wasn't part of the retirement I envisioned... I didn't see this coming - at least for quite a while. I thought we would provide this safe harbor for many children until they either found a safe place with their parents or adoptive parents. I didn't think that ultimate safe place would be my home.

But I wouldn't change a thing. If I had had adoption on my mind earlier on, I don't think our visits with bio father would have been the same. I was trying to cultivate a bond between them - would I have done that if I had been planning to adopt? I know he tried to change his life and provide a safe home for the children. Would I have been as open to seeing that if my ultimate goal was to adopt her myself? When the time comes that she wants to know about her bio parents, I will be able to tell her without a doubt that she was wanted. No, I wouldn't change a thing. Except maybe I would have liked to have played the waiting game a little less. Her bio parent's rights were terminated one full year ago today, and that was a full year after "services" had been terminated, which was 6 months longer than the county says is their goal... the adoption was finalized 361 days after rights were terminated. Why so long? I'd love the county to work on that.

So little miss K joined our family on 2/18/05, but really, she joined it 3 years and one day earlier when we picked her up at Alta Bates and gave her that first kiss.



high school??

One of my least favorite shows was on last night - One Tree Hill. Unfortunately, I watch it way more than I'd like because it's on after one of my favorite shows - Gilmore Girls. We watch precious few TV shows on a regular basis, and I absolutely hate reality shows... so that's one of the shows I really try to watch.

anyway back to my least favorite - it's becoming more and more bizarre to follow this thing - these "kids" are in high school. (maybe 5 or 6 years ago they really were, but we're supposed to believe that anyway). One couple is married, and she just left him last night to try to make it in the music world. A couple of seasons ago, this girl was the smart, anti-popular one who tutored other people. ok. I'm trying to buy it...

Another couple has an unwed father, who just got back from running away with his infant daughter so her loser of an older woman mother wouldn't take her. hmmm. there's more. A popular cheerleader type went after him to bring him back, and now they are apparently shacking up together, since they cuddled in the same bed with the baby between. HIGH SCHOOL!!!??? What the heck high school is like this? I realize my vision is clouded by not being brought up in the inner city, but these are not inner city portrayals, either. I'm pretty darn sure my two who finished high school and the one in it now have no contact with anyone remotely living these kinds of lives.

The poor little rich girl is trying to run for president. (And I thought they were seniors last year - what's she running for - president of the high school alumni association?) If they're not even seniors yet, then she was one of those head cheerleader types as a freshman. I know freshmen girls - they don't look, sound, or act like this... even the "fast" ones.

And our hero, Luke, (played by Chad Michael Murray who hasn't seen a high school in at least 5 years, and looks it. But I digress again...) is now dealing with living with some kind of heart ailment whose acronym I didn't even recognize, but he wants to keep it a secret from his mother, so he's moving in with his wicked and wretched oaf of a biological father who didn't acknowledge him for 20 years. oh yeah - oops, he's still in high school... anyway, I know I've been out of the direct caregiver part of healthcare for a while, but couldn't they come up with something most of us could recognize?

So I guess you just have to suspend belief if you want to follow these shows, or, if you're like me, a better option is to find that damn remote before Gilmore is over and just turn it off!



address labels - I'll never have to buy another address label for as long as I live. ...at this address, anyway. Let me warn you - if you donate anything to the leukemia, alzheimers, breast cancer, heart association, or MADD, you will get labels. and labels. and labels. I think I've gotten SPCA and other labels as well, since I seem to be on the "give her address labels - it works" list. Just cuz I sent someone some money sometime... but hey, if you're in need of labels - give one of them a try - you can never have too many Ziggy or flowers or whatever in your drawer.


Why women live longer than men

This is hysterical - You GOTTA visit this site (www.abrasha.com/misc/women.htm ). I'm still utterly amazed.
This has nothing to do with the SF artist's website about jewelry, but I imagine he found it amazing as well.... These guys should definitely be up for the Darwin awards.


shooting daggars

Is it just me, or did Donald Trump just marry someone who always looks like she's pissed off and somebody's gonna hear about it as soon as these damn photographers go away? Oh, but take just a few more before you go....
daggar Posted by Hello



omg. I have nothing more to say.
omg Posted by Hello


"stop that rhyming - I mean it!"

You'll find my family spouting lines from movies pretty much anytime...
Napoleon Dynamite is getting a lot of coverage right now. But I really kind of think they talked to my 15 year old before making it. I think they were really imitating him. jeez.
Rocky gets more than it's fair share, since one of my daughter's friends' name is "AAAdriennne".
We sometimes hear "Anybody want a peanut?" in response to anything that rhymes with nut (Princess Bride). This ALWAYS leads to a rather long rendition of how to kill a sicilian, and usually one or two "you keeeled my father, prrrepare to die" thrown in there. We can get carried away. "That word... I do not think it means what you think it means." see what I mean? Once you get going it's hard to stop. Incontheeevable, Butt-ah-cup.

The little one gets into the act now, too. Usually it's a Wiggles phrase or something tame. But during the Christmas season, she took a liking to "The Santa Clause" with Tim Allen. In one scene, he's outside in a pair of nice silk, very red pjs while neighbors are walking by. He tells one lady in particular that she should be happy he's wearing these because he usually sleeps "buck naked". Little K thought that was hysterical and said it many times for many days. It was funny, especially when we realized she was saying "butt naked" (which actually makes more sense, don't you think?). The craze died down and she'd been back to her normal stuff, when she recently decided to share her love of her version with all the people shopping with us at JC Penney and Safeway. It was nice. ...and what else do you teach the child?

We're watching the Songs from Disney tape from now on.


I've learned

...that John Mayer is really good background music for telecommuting.
...that the soundtrack for Wicked is not.
...that while I love Christmas decorations, it's nice when they're packed away.
...that Tahoe road dirt does not get washed away in a downpour. or two.
...barking dogs really bug me. (and one of mine barks - a lot!)
...so do pouncing cats. 'specially in the middle of the night. Isn't a pouncing 2 year old enough?


LISTEN before you answer...

Child: "Can I have a [something ridiculously sweet or inappropriate]?"
Male parent: "OK".
Child proceeds with the [something ridiculously sweet or inappropriate], having been given the approval needed and the female parent now walks in.
Female parent: "Why does [whoever] have a [whatever] when we're about to sit down for dinner?"
Male parent: "I dunno."


Sometimes it's bewildering...
C: "Does that clock say 2:30 or 3:30?"
MP: "Uh huh."
C: sigh...

Now we're told we need to address the MP in the text of our question, because he doesn't always listen. (duh)
A variation of the above happened the other evening....

C: "Is this a TV show or a movie we're watching?"
C: "Dad?"
MP: "Yes."
C: "Which is it?"
MP: "Which is what?"
C: (laughing) "omg... is this a TV show or a movie?"
MP: "I dunno - I think it's a movie. maybe."
C: "Why did you answer "yes?"?
MP: "Didn't you call me?"

Apparently, if the "Dad" had been included in the first question, the whole exchange would have been smoother.

My own father wears two hearing aids and still doesn't hear well. This exchange took place back when he was aware his hearing was getting worse, but was in a bit of denial about it. I think he may have had one hearing aid, but only wore it occasionally.
This was a holiday dinner of some sort, with family sitting around the table. My mother got up to use the restroom. The male parent in this one is of course, my dad. Can't remember who the child is, my l'il sis, probably.

MP: "Where's your mother?"
C: "She went to the bathroom."
MP: "Did it ring?"

Hysterical laughter followed, and the story gets repeated frequently at family gatherings still. Wish I could say it's inherited, but that would have been MY dad, not my husband's dad... so that doesn't work.

Maybe it's the gender.