Christmas stories

Christmas just isn’t quite Christmas when you’re not at home.

But it’s pretty good. Family is great. My dad looked pretty good. He does sleep a lot, and he can’t hear much even with his hearing aids in, but he could have been a lot worse. Mr. Social, he's not. But never has been. Pretty much everyone else was sick, but we managed to avoid catching it. Babies were adorable and fun. Nothing like watching babies run around the house. SOOO cute! And the 4 year olds had their testy moments, but were mostly really very good with each other and us! Thanks to big sis, there was lots of cookie baking.

We did take the pop-up down there and parked at a pretty darn nice RV lot. Close to the bathrooms (very important when all you’ve got is a pop-up!) and clean showers. The heater worked very nicely the entire time. No complaints. I thought it would be kind of awful, but it wasn’t bad at all. I don’t suppose I’d have wanted to be in that close quarters the whole time, but for sleeping – it was just fine.

Cute moments:

A. telling his aunt he didn’t have any shoes. Or a sweatshirt, either. This was the day after he’d told his older cousin that he’d been forced to sell all his videos. Except one. Roly Poly Ollie. Poor child. Poor neglected child. We found out later that not only did the family still own all their videos, they had never owned a Roly Poly Ollie one! I think there is a future in storytelling, if the government gig doesn’t pan out. Come to think of it – it may play very nicely into that government job!

Sparked no doubt by the talents of that same cousin, author and performer of the catchy and inimitable “Snow is Slippery”, and inspired by an actual acknowledgement of the Christmas story, we spent a trip back to the trailer entertained by Little K and her new composition called “Mary and Jofus”. It went something like this:

“Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus and Jesus too.
Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus and Jesus too.
And the baby is asleep. Mary and Jofus, Mary and Jofus. And Jesus too.”

I’m suspicious that A. planted the seed. But I did love the “Jofus” part. I’m told when I was a little one, I used to call Mary’s companion “Jane Sofas”, which is probably 3 year old for “Saint Joseph”.

Speaking of words and the passage of time – we were speaking of that weren’t we? Every day words come out more and more clearly. I’m missing the little toddler mispronounciations all the time. During this trip, we went from “lipsops” to a very deliberate “lipstick”. And it was only a mere few weeks ago that we got “Honey Bunches of OATS” instead of “Honeyvunches a boats”. (But that was totally understandable – it started out a very confusing “sim-mon-a-boats” I think she thought it had cinnamon somewhere in its title.) So I’ll enjoy the “Jofus” moments when they come. There - see – there was a point there after all!

Little Ben decided that I was a wonderful snuggler and climbed up into my lap time after time to get some snuggles. Does that kid know how to wrap an aunt around her little finger or what???!! And I got lots of blown kisses from great nephew L. Can’t get much cuter than a couple of 1 year olds playing the adults like violins.

So, we got back safe and sound despite very heavy winds and rains on the last 90 minutes of our trip (and it was still my turn to drive), which also coincidentally was around midnight after I’d gotten up at 5:30am to take DDD back to the airport. Needless to say, I was super tired, but that weather scared me enough that falling asleep just wasn’t much of a concern. We blew around the Altamont pass a little, passed through some very heavy rains and hydroplaned our share of the road. But the trailer stayed hitched and behaved itself quite nicely despite the challenges thrown at it.

Hope your holidays were wonderful as well.


Happy Birthday, Nan

Today marks the 109th anniversary of my grandmother's birth. She didn't live all those years, in fact I think she didn't get much past her 80th birthday. (I'm really bad at remembering dates - I'm very happy my sister got married in 2000. I can usually remember that. The other one got married in, gee, let's see - I think E. was 16 or maybe 17, so that makes it 1982? or 3? See, that's how my brain works, so I'm usually close, but can never be relied on to be accurate.)

I suppose most families are dysfunctional in one way or another, and mine is no exception.

Let's see how much I can come up with about my Grandmother.

1. She LOVED to hug me.
2. She used Dove cold cream every night.
3. Her skin was creepily soft.
4. And very wrinkly.
5. I don't think the Dove did what she wanted it to do.
6. She lived in a house in Skokie.
7. Skokie is a heavily Jewish population. (or at least, it did.)
8. My grandmother was Catholic.
9. And pretty darn anti-semitic.
10. I loved that her house had an ALLEY behind it!
11. And there were garbage cans in her alley!
12. And that the street sign was a wooden 4x4 sticking up out of the ground with the street name carved in it.
13. And that I knew just how many street signs I was allowed to walk to.
14. But I walked farther than that. A lot.
15. She let me watch the Mickey Mouse Club EVERY time it was on.
16. She used to jiggle her fat.
17. She used to say "Nanny, Nanny with the big fat fanny".
18. I suppose it made me laugh, but it seems a bit odd now.
19. I was a rascal and she still had a sweet spot for me.
20. She was pretty racist.
21. She once turned down popcorn at a movie because a black man was serving it.
22. She married her brother-in- law after they were both widowed.
23. She remained married to him until he died, although they barely lived in the same house let alone occupy the same rooms.
24. She was a pretty attractive young woman in her 20s.
25. Her son (my uncle) lived with her until the ripe old age of 42 when he died from a heart attack.
26. She used to travel to Europe to visit us when we were there.
27. I liked her visits.
28. My parents didn't as much.
29. My mother called her "mother".
30. I thought that was weird.
31. She used that temporary hair rinse they used to sell in drugstores to "cover" her gray.
32. She frequently had pink hair.
33. I thought that was weird.
34. She never quite got over my mother having a 3rd child at 42.
35. She was nice to my little sis, but never had the connection with her that she had with big sis and me.
36. The woman could hold a grudge.
37. She sent me (only me) money the year my uncle died and I was so appalled that I used that money to pay for my sister's and my airline tickets to go back to the funeral.
38. She bought me my first sewing machine.
39. I made my wedding gown with that sewing machine.
40. She was alive for both my older sis' and my weddings.
41. She saw her great granddaughter, but none of her great grandsons.
42. I loved the "sleeping" porch at her Skokie house.
43. That house is SOOOO much smaller than I remember it.
44. She used to take me to the bakery after church every Sunday for a donut or pastry.
45. No wonder she was overweight.
46. She finally moved out to CA to be near her daughter in the 1970s.
47. I used to visit her at the assisted living place.
48. Her eyesight was horrible.
49. And she had cataracts.
50. And glaucoma.
51. Her eyedrops were always in the door of the refrigerator.
52. Her apartment never smelled very good.
53. She loved Jimmy Dean Sausage.
54. Mom and I would eat lunch with her at Marie Callendars.
55. She would always order the clubhouse sandwich.
56. Or was that my mom?
57. She loved my husband.
58. My mother didn't.
59. Reactions related? maybe.
60. She liked polyester pant suits.
61. oh my god.
62. She was apparently married to a potential FBI agent.
63. My l'il sis knew that. I didn't.
64. She gets lots of little details out of people. (my sis, not my grandmother)
65. I would never have a drink of anything at my grandmother's place (later life)
66. Because she couldn't see very well, and never cleaned anything very well.
67. It grossed me out.
68. She liked to be called "Nan" by her grandkids.
69. She had a grandchild she never wanted to know.
70. It was my uncle's daughter.
71. Who had no relationship with her father.
72. My older sis and I met our cousin once. I don't think she (the cousin) was thrilled about it.
73. Neither was my grandmother. (or was she already dead? oooo, there's that time continuum problem again.)
74. I know she did not want us to meet our cousin.
75. She prayed the rosary every night.
76. She taught me how to pray the rosary.
77. In a very kid friendly way. I didn't have to say the mysteries and stuff.
78. I teased her about her laps around the beads.
79. She had enough of a sense of humor to laugh about that.
80. I miss her.


Squish, squash, that's my tit you're trying to smash!

Had one of my yearly (cough, cough) mammograms last June. The radiologist found something of concern and had them ask me to come back for "additional views".

I said no.

They asked again.

I said no, and talked to someone who could stop the nagging. (They did.)

My doctor tried to appeal to my sense of reason, saying it was only a mammogram.

I said no.

Mammograms are among the absolute MOST painful procedure I have to endure. I realize it is not so for all women, but most women have a fair amount of fatty tissue in their breasts. I have pretty much all ductwork in there. They've been called "dense". They've been called "difficult to place" and "difficult to read". They are very careful not to say they're so damn "SMALL". It's painfully obvious that I present a bit of a challenge to the poor radiology techs.

To top it off, I have some cysts in there. Been there for years. I've had two (yes, TWO) stereotactic biopsies on them. After the first one, I vowed I would never do that again without some kind of medication. Now, people - I have had two children without any kind of anesthesia - I can typically handle pain ok! After the second one where I WAS medicated and all that did was make me cry the entire time, I vowed that they would have to take my breast off me if they wanted to biopsy something in it again. It makes sense to me that if I had cysts in my breasts at one time, why would I stop making that tissue? It makes sense to me that they would eventually see more. What makes them believe this is anything different?

Anyway, last month, I had about a week of strange pain in one breast (the concerning one), in roughly the location they were concerned about. While breast pain generally doesn't mean anything other than a shift in hormones, I decided my body was trying to tell me something and I set up the appointment for the additional views.


And YOUR GOD, too!

We squeezed my little tit every possible way it could go. And then the radiologist still couldn't see the exact location, so we squeezed it again. And again. And again. And again. Move this way. Turn your head that way and kind of lean back. (While I keep your tit prisoner in this vise, btw) Relax your shoulder. OK, try your head this way. Now try stepping forward and THEN leaning back. I think I went out to the waiting room and back into the procedure room at least 5 times, garnering some mighty sympathetic looks from the gals around me. Still no one acknowledged just how small my breasts are. (but I did hear about all the ductwork in there again... I confess I think about heating ducts when they say stuff like that, but these little dudes do nothing to keep me warm...)

Bottom line - the radiologist is going to classify this as "suspicious" and something that should be biopsied, but acknowledges that it is in such a difficult place to pinpoint, that a normal needle biopsy probably wouldn't work. Guess what I told him? Yep - just take the whole damn breast and check it out. I don't need it anymore. In fact, take them both and give me some nice B cups instead, OK? He laughed a little and told me that since it had already been nearly 6 months since my last tittie twister, and he didn't see any change, he would be ok if I wanted to wait another 6 months again. But that it had to be at 6 months, not a year. (Oh, and if I'd have come back in a few days AS THEY WANTED ME TO DO, there would be no way he'd be ok with waiting. He would insist on the biopsy. Sometimes patients DO know best!)

So back to today. Yeah. Fine, I said. But I really mean it - they can have these things. Betcha if they put implants in, they would stop trying to squish the living bejeezus out of them. I want to see some male type radiologist have his little private parts squashed in one of those machines. A new way to do this would be on the horizon in no time!

So, I'm back on the 6 month plan. Yippee. Can't wait till May.


Beast and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

There are some days when things just don’t go your way. Ask Alexander, in the book by Judith Viorst. He knows.

I had one of those days last week. I didn’t wake up with gum in my hair, but I did wake up with child parts draped all over me and the backache that goes with remaining stationary for too long.

We had the normal battles getting clothes on, brushing hair and teeth and recognizing the importance of wearing a coat when the weather turns cool. Then we headed off to school. Nothing too exciting there, except that we needed to share our moldy pumpkin with our classmates, so mush-head needed to travel with us. And my tea spilled on my lap. And my water I moved so my tea could take it’s place didn’t have the top screwed on quite tight enough.

So I drove to work, and found my normal parking lot with it’s “full” sign out front. “BALONEY”, I said and proceeded to drive around the very full parking garage in search of a spot. There WAS a spot, for a car without doors, maybe. But not for me. So I went to my second choice garage and scouted around 5 more floors of spots. No luck. Try the valet, even though I hate leaving my keys, they’re full too. Go to #3 parking lot, out in the rain and about a MILE away. (OK, not that far, but still it’s a trek.) Find a spot and feel grumpy about wasting about 45 minutes trying to park.

This is where it gets fun! While crossing the street in the crosswalk provided, I’m about 1/3 across when a big old white van guns its engine and drives straight for me! It was like I was in one of those movies where the bad guy is trying to take out the witness who will put him away for life. But of course, it wasn’t and I’m not. The crosswalker (me) SCREAMS and jumps – two steps, maybe three, but I’m sure no more than that. See, those guys in the movies know what’s coming so they’re not glued to their shoes. They actually have the presence of mind to throw their bodies out of the way. I’m here to tell you (Thank you, Lord) that two steps, maybe three is really the max. So driver screeches to a stop and crosswalker who has just seen that she was going to be thrown, but wondered seemingly casually in which direction, looks down to see a silver bumper touching her thigh. No bump, no real hit. Just a damn close call. That might be enough, but instead, crazy driver (I do not use that term loosely here) rolls down his window and screams “I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY! OK??? I’M SORRY! OK?? I’M SORRY, OK?”. I have still not quite discovered how to breathe yet and can only raise my hands and shake my head as I push away from the van and finish my walk to the curb. I get there successfully and start the rest of my walk to the office, nodding at the nice people who all stopped in their tracks and are now asking me if I’m ok. But since I’ve only started breathing again, I can’t talk and simply nod in their direction. But crazy driver is not content. Crazy driver decides to park his weapon of destruction at the curb and run over to me, waving arms wildly and yelling “I’M SORRY! WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO? I’M SORRY!” Several times. Enough that more people stopped. All I wanted was for him to stop yelling at me after he nearly killed me. That’s all I wanted. But could I tell him that? No. I’m still concentrating on getting my eyes back to their regular size and my breathing to stop hurting. That and I was THIS close to tears. I did not need crazy driver yelling at me. I finally managed a weak “I’m fine. Leave me alone.” and continued my slow shaky walk.

Work is actually OK. I keep shaking and can’t seem to contain the nausea, but it’s not so terrible that I can’t get things done. I find I’m distracted and make stupid mistakes, but nothing harmful, so I’m feeling lucky.

It occurs to me that I carry a guardian angel given to me by my sister several years ago. It’s about the size of a quarter, and I keep it in my coin purse so I’ve tried to spend it a few times, but thankfully that’s never quite worked. So I’m semi convinced that the guardian angel works now. Or maybe I’m just a little crazy myself. I do know that in the past few days, I find myself jumping when cars move and I am near them. I feel a little like those meerkats whose quick and jerky head movements are always so entertaining as it looks like they are so very alert. Well, maybe they’re just jumpy. I know the feeling.

Back to my day… this happens to be the evening of callbacks, which I am decidedly NOT looking forward to. But we get there on time and learn a dance. I’m not a great dancer after 30+ years away from it, but I learn it and I know I’m not the worst. I do not, however, get picked to be in the group to learn the “more advanced” dance. Fine with me. So far, I am NOT impressed with the way this call back is being run. We turn into our favorite jungle animals and we sing as a group – a HUGE group. Not smaller little groups where they can actually hear our voices. “Thank you very much, you can leave now. We will let you know early next week. Let’s say a prayer of thanks.” Huh? You can cast from THAT? OK then!

I wait around, because DDD is participating in a call back for that smaller part. She’s clearly the strongest singer of the group, but several of them were very good dancers. (She’s no schlump in that department, but she wasn’t clearly the best dancer, just ONE OF the best dancers.) The director moves them around, changes parts, looks at them this way and that and thanks them, letting them go. That was as close to feeling like he was really paying attention as I got the whole time. I’m still not impressed, and frankly hoping that I do not get cast. For DDD’s sake, I hope she does get cast, because she’s feeling antsy and wants to do something!

Only one car decides it wants to occupy the space I am in on the way home, so I count myself lucky. We get home, having digested that whole “callback” and go to bed. Fortunately for me, the next days are MUCH better.

Oh… and neither one of us got cast. I hope I didn’t ruin it for her, but I’m breathing a sigh of relief.


Girl, you in TRUBL!

So… My liberal pinko commie-ness has apparently reared its ugly head again.

As some of you know, I married into a very conservative family, in general. In fact, there are a few who have, in recent years, become more or less fundamentalist types. They are born again, I guess. I’ve always felt being born once was sufficient.

So, my ultra Christian SIL sent out a website notice to her brothers and sisters etc. from the American Family Association. This notice informs their constituents that Wal-Mart has donated $60K to “Out and Equal, a homosexual organization pushing the same-sex agenda, including same-sex marriage, in the workplace.” …gasp…

It further encourages all of us discriminating people to boycott Wal-Mart on Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving in protest of their poor taste in charity recipients.

First of all, I HATE to shop after Thanksgiving. I hate to shop ALL the time, and this particular weekend is the worst.

Now I will drag my sorry ass out of my nice cozy home to shop at Wal-Mart, where I almost never shop (I don’t like their controlling and restrictive policies as a whole) because, damn it, I have to support this organization for actually having enough balls to buck the “family values” crowd.

So back to my black-sheepiness, I wrote back to thank her for alerting me to this and that I would most definitely get out there to support Wal-Mart, if just this once. I knew that was not the intended response, but sometimes I just get testy. (This response did not go to everyone on the list, because I’m just not THAT self-destructive!!)

This, then, engendered an apologetic response from SIL (to EVERYONE), who did not mean to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings.


So being the blacksheep that I apparently strive to be, I sent back my response again to EVERYONE this time, assuring there was no offense taken, no feelings hurt and acknowledging our differences of viewpoints. I even went so far as to invoke God’s name in the beauty of people having differing ideas and ideals and still being able to get along.

Since then – no response. I think I’ve been blacklisted. I’m also pretty sure I won’t be on that particular mailing list anymore!!

At the very least, I figure I’ve got a few people praying for my degenerate soul. That can’t be all bad, can it?



I've followed AT and his family on their journey since l'il sis first linked to it. I asked for prayers from the larger community via Mom's Daily Dose (thanks, Amy). The ending we all asked and prayed for was not what happened.

AT, thank you for sharing this intensely personal time with us.
Thank you for sharing this incredible love you have for this woman and your family.
Thank you for all of it.

I don't think I'm alone in saying this journey has touched my life and my perspective on many things is a little different today than it was yesterday.


Testy, testy, testy

Had a conversation with a co-worker who has two young'uns yesterday. Her husband was commenting on the 'P' that Grover or someone was showing on Sesame Street. Their 3 1/2 year old insisted it was an 'H'. Dad said, "no, it's a 'P'". Youngun says "No, it's an 'H'". Dad says, "No, that's a 'P'". Youngun says "It's an 'H'. NO FAIR!" Mom looks at Dad and wonders why in the world you would argue with a 3 year old...
This rang a bell and maybe even touched a nerve. This has been my life for about 6 months now.

LK: Is today a school day?

Beast*: Yes. It's Wednesday.

LK: Today is Saturday.

Beast: No, today is Wednesday. It's pizza day at school.

LK: But Miss Betsy said it was Saturday.

Beast: Actually, Saturday is a few days away. Today is Wednesday.

LK: NO! It's Saturday. YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS!

Beast: Well, I'm not going to argue with you about this.

LK: Well, you're not the boss of me.

Beast: Well, actually, I am.

LK: NO, YOU'RE NOT! You're not the boss of everything.

etc. only I typically strive to end these conversations before the ongoing Who's the Boss episodes run through my brain. I hate that.

So we're running into this 4 year old AT. TI. TUDE. And it drives me nuts. This, coupled with the great fun of running away whenever I call her, and the lack of cooperation with little everyday things is making this a challenging time in the life of this family. The hardest part, I think, is keeping the other old people in my house OUT of the conversation! My 25 (almost 26) yr old just LOVES to get into it with her, and will go round after round about which day it is, or which vegetable is on her plate, and then of course, who's the boss. And that drives me even more nuts!

So apparently I'm a little testy these days.

I read a couple of blog entries by l'il sis, and empathized with her reaction. I understood it and thought I'd feel the same way. Did not feel it was "over the top" as she did. So I left a short comment, in effect, saying I didn't feel she needed to clarify or backpedal or any such thing on this subject because one of the persons involved found out about the entry. In much less words and not at all as direct as this. But she pointed out that an excuse was given and that was all that was needed.

So testy little me thinks - un, unh (how the heck do you spell that?). I don't think so. You just don't ignore when it suits but jump on it when criticized. The only thing that stopped me was that subject of controversy said "apologetically yours" on her comment. OK. That was nice and probably enough to smooth raised hackles. But I stand by my initial reaction and comments.

Last night, DDD had her callback. She felt it was a good one. They asked her to wait around to read a little later with a couple other characters, so she waited an hour and 1/2. When they all went back in, the director pulled the stage manager to the side and said something really quickly, and next thing DDD knows, she's being led out of the room and told she can leave. But she can come back tomorrow (tonight) for another part. WHICH SHE IS GOING TO DO!!!

My little testy hackles are all up in arms again. You don't have a person sit around for an hour and 1/2 waiting and then unceremoniously single out and dismiss them in front of all the other actors! In my little (inexperienced) world, that is unacceptable. Even if it was someone's mistake - you put them through the paces anyway, and discuss the mistake with the person responsible later. I do not want to work with that director at all. I do not want to give that director the time of day. I, I, I. I apparently have a much shorter fuse than others, or maybe I'm just more sensitive. Don't know. I just know that these people I'm related to must be nicer people than I. It also points directly at why I am not cut out for more than recreational dabbles into this theatre stuff. I've always known I can't take the rejection. But now I know, it's not really the rejection I can't take. I actually find that fairly easy to deal with. It's the potential rudeness. Every time you audition, you put yourself up for someone else's examination and the potential for rudeness. I don't tolerate that well.

So this will be interesting - we're both going to the callbacks tonight. But my heart is REALLY not in it.

* BEAST came about when a commenter on l'il sis' entried happened to agree with me, and wrote: "Beast. Amen." Making both sis and I laugh out loud. I like it and I'm keeping it!
For those uninitiated to my strange family- I am "Be-a-starz-mom". "Be a star" has been a catch phrase around here since DDD was little. I even used it as a password for a while. So when I started this blog, DDD was going through college as a theatre major and that was a huge focus in all our lives. We'd arrange our trips back there to see her shows. So I became beastarzmom. And that's that. But I like Beast almost as much, (and it certainly seems to fit me, at least these days...) so that's who I'm gonna be! Thanks to MamaLee!


Are they NUTS?

So I went to an audition.

A real one.

Because DDD was going and I think it would be fun to be in something with her, even though she's got talent, experience, training, a BFA in theatre performance, the look, etc.

I've got... red hair.

So, neither one of us left feeling we'd done a particularly good job with the audition. Speaking from a point of extreme inexperience, I felt like I completely screwed it up, which didn't surprise me at all. She felt like she'd certainly done better, and they asked her to read for a part she'd already played and didn't want to repeat, so she wasn't terribly pleased. We both wrote it off.

Imagine our surprise when BOTH of us got a callback! Now getting a callback does not mean you are likely to be cast. Just that you got past the first round of cuts. Speaking from inexperience again, and from being the last kid ever picked for a sports team, I am still in shock. It's a small part (inexperience again, thank you! - I'm relieved!!!), but DDD's up for a lead so I'll stick with the process and we'll see what happens.

One day I'll write about my first ever experience with a huge, middle of a scene brain fart, but not right now. I need to keep whatever brain cells I have left around for this next round of whatever comes up. They're in for a world of surprise if they want me to dance!

So that's the excitement for now!


My celebrity call list

It's voting day.

So last evening, I'm waiting for a call from DH who is in India for a few weeks. Instead, I get calls from Ahnold, Clint Eastwood, Dianne Feinstein, some registered nurse named Diana something, and Bill Clinton.

Why don't we ever hear from these people except the evening before election day?

Actually, that's not fair, I've gotten several calls from the guv-ah-nator. Can't tell you what we've chatten about because it's a pretty one-way conversation. Not much of a listener, that guy... And last night was my second call from my buddy, Bill.

It used to be telemarketers. Now it's politicians. I hate it, but frankly, I feel less guilty hanging up on Clint and Arnold than I do the poor schmuck with the crappy telemarketing job.

But I think there should be a "do not call" list for political calls. I'm so going to be the first one on it!


Oh, Doogie!

Three words:

#1. Duh.

#2 &3. Who Cares?


questions, questions

LK: Mommy, do you know where your lipsops is?

Me: Isn’t it in my bathroom?

LK: You should look for it. Maybe it’s in BK’s bathroom.
…But I didn’t take it.

Me: How did it get in BK’s bathroom?

LK: Did you look for it yet?

Me: [continuing to dry hair] Why are you asking me? Do you know something about my lipsops? Did you put it in BK’s bathroom? (Ha, three to one on the question answering a question ratio!)

LK: Maybe you should look for it in BK’s bathroom.
… but I didn’t take it

Me: So who put it in BK’s bathroom?

LK: Did you find it already?

Me: Why are you so interested in this lipsops? Did you move it somewhere?

LK: I’m just wondering. (breaking the question for a question mode once again.)

Me: [Stops hairdryer, walks into BK’s bathroom, finds lipsops right there on the counter. Reacts with shock and amazement]
Well – I found my lipsops! How did it get in BK’s bathroom?

LK: I don’t know.

How to get that cute little pink cell phone:

Leave old phone in pocket for laundry obsessed DH to send through the washer.
Visit e-bay and bid on cute little pink phone.


How you know it's been too long since you listened to country music

You're pulling into the parking garage wiping the tears from your cheeks after listening to Collin Raye tear jerker, "Love Me".



Klepto Kid

We’ve recently had a smate of robberies. Well, maybe not really robberies, but petty thefts. We know who the thief is. She’s 4 years old, and has a new haircut that she really loves.

The thefts occur at all times of the day. So far, we’ve been theft-free during sleeping hours, at least to the best of our knowledge, and I should know, since she still earns her other nickname, the Stealth Snuggler.

Most of the thefts are items that belong to DDD, BK or me. She tends to like lipsops (lipstick – we think the name is a combo between lipstick and lip gloss, but we’ll never know), blush and nail polish. Most of the BK thefts are of the candy version. I don’t get too excited about that. Stop keeping candy in your ROOM!! But sadly, both DDD and I have had favorite glasses (the optical kind) removed from our possession. LK remembers that she had them, but cannot come up with where they are.

Now I know why.

Yesterday, I was changing the sheets for all the beds. Ripped the sheets off, and pretty well emptied out the shelf with the 2nd set of sheets on it. Guess what I found? My favorite glasses!!!

On the shelf.

Behind the sheets.

I wouldn't remember that hiding place, either.

Sadly, no, no favorite glasses for DDD. We are still in search mode for those.

But the haircut – oh so cute.

And I loved being able to use the word "smate" in a sentence!


Terrorists are LTAO

I’ve been busy. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t advertise my blaaawwwg, as I would probably feel very obligated to update it all the time, instead of the rather vague guilt that comes with being just too darn busy to think, let alone update.

I’ve recently come back from a business trip involving airports. It was before we could start bringing certain toiletries with us, as long as they were not in the handly little travel cases designed for such things, but in a one-quart plastic zip-lock bag. (Zip-lock profusely thanks the TSA, by the way, for this endorsement requirement.)

So, because I like to travel with deodorant and makeup, I had to check my bag. I noticed a remarkable abundance of overhead compartment space. I also noticed we loaded and deplaned a whole lot faster. (The airlines thank the TSA for inadvertently increasing their on-time departure rate, but they hate like hell all the baggage handling.)

I think it’s odd, though, that we are allowed to bring these items with us now, but only in 3oz or smaller containers. Anyone who has watched a recent or even not-so-recent spy movie of any kind knows that explosives can come in VERY SMALL amounts and VERY SMALL containers. So what’s up with the 3 oz limit? We’re not worried about your 3 oz bottle, but boy, don’t you even try to bring 4 oz with you!

Our favorite terrorists are laughing their asses off. Whose bright idea was this anyway? If you CAN identify an explosive (or can tell it is non-explosive) in a 3 oz container, what makes you think you CANNOT identify one in a 5 oz container? I’m a little baffled at the logic here. I appreciate that we can bring this stuff along now, but I just don’t get it.
While I don’t suppose I would choose the same method of expression, I think I probably agree with this guy.

Flying isn't nearly as much fun as it used to be. In fact, it's really a pain. And a stupid pain, at that.


We Remember. We Care. Keith Glascoe 1962 - 2001

I remember the moment I saw the first tower crumble.

I never watch TV in the morning, but the news that wakes me up every morning was alarming. The TV was on in a flash and the first tower was smoking with an aircraft stuck in it. Like others, I watched in horror as the second tower was struck.

That seemed horrific in itself, but it wasn't long before the crumbling started. My first words were - Oh my GOD - There are a ton of rescue workers who just piled into that building! There were no other words, just tears.

Keith Alexander Glascoe was one of those firefighters on the scene. He'd packed plenty into his 38 years, but not enough. Born 12/9/62 in San Francisco, it's clear he was the strong, athletic type. I don't know when his family moved back east, but he played football at Midwood High School in Brooklyn. According to all records I've found, he started playing as a youngster and never lost that connection. At 6'4", 270#, I'm quite sure he picked the right sport.

After graduating from college, he pursued more football and some did some acting as well. His role as "Benny" in The Professional with Gary Oldman was a highlight from that period.

He married Veronica Squef in 1996 and was father to two sons, Nolan and Owen. They were expecting his third child when tragedy struck. Keith Jr. will not know his father's arms, but through his family, (and the internet), he will learn of his father's legacy.

There are links and links with wonderful memorials dedicated to Keith. Some written by people who had the privilege to know him. Some informational sites. Check them out. See what this man brought to the lives of others and to our country. Leave a message.

It's been 5 years. Look around you now and appreciate the people you have the privilege to know. Appreciate those who have touched your life in some way, and those whose lives you've touched. Appreciate those who have touched your life in ways they can't know. Keith is one of those special people who have touched my life, long after he gave his. I am privileged to honor him in whatever little way I can. Thank you, Keith.

We remember you.

We care.

We thank you.

Rest in Peace.


Please feel free to comment, add more detail, remember, honor this wonderful man.

I participated in 2996 to honor the memory of all those fallen in the terrorist attacks.

http://www.dcroe.com/2996/ for more tributes to other victims of 9/11. We cannot ever forget them.


Homerun on Cuteness

BK and girlfriend celebrated their 1 year anniversary in August. BK’s a bit of a loser when it comes to doing “special” things for special occasions… for example, he really didn’t like the gift he bought her for Christmas (and he was right – he was being a cheapskate), so he just didn’t give it to her.

Until about 3 weeks later.

Waiting until the right MOMENT, you know…

On Valentine’s Day, his mother dragged him by the hand (let me tell you, that’s embarassing when you’re 16!) into the store to buy something cute and some Hershey Kisses and flowers.

6 month anniversary (only important in year one, you know…), a mix CD happened along with a necklace (purchased by the mom, natch). At least the CD required thought.

Birthday gift was purchased (after a bit of badgering) by you know who. Gee, I wonder if he ever paid me back for that.

So I didn’t have any real hopes that things would change for this occasion. Being a girl myself, though, I know how important an anniversary is – especially when you’re young, dating, and it’s been A WHOLE YEAR! So off we go.

Being a supportive mom and trying my best to instill thoughtfulness into my son, I took him shopping. After many, many jewelry shops and a readjustment of pricing reality, he chose a very nice heart shaped necklace with a few little diamonds and the word “Love” in it. You’ve seen them. While I wouldn’t wear something like that, I agreed that it was probably perfect for a 16 year old girlfriend. So he dug out his $$ and bought it along with a nice chain for it.
He also took her out to a nice dinner. Points scored.

Until…. Ms. Homerun in Cuteness strikes. Whenever I think she’s maxed out on the cuteness factors (she made him a hockey monkey at Build a Bear for last Christmas - freakin' darling!), she ratchets it up a notch. Get this:

She sends him on a scavenger hunt of sorts. He gets a clue in an envelope telling him where his next clue is. There are ten in all. #1 starts at her house and sends him somewhere else special to them. Also included in card #1 are 10 reasons why she loves him. (I know, but try to remember being 16 and in love…)

He travels to various places, Starbucks, Blockbuster, etc. and picks up cards telling him where to go next, and including more reasons why she loves him (9 reasons, then 8, then 7… you get the drift).

Near the end of the hunt she sends him to the community center where they met playing roller hockey. After finding things various places, including their favorite – a Dr. Pepper, the last clue sends him to the faceoff circle where he will find his present. Guess what it was. Or guess WHO it was. Yep – can’t put anything over on you! There she was, all cute and stuff waiting for him. Along with the very last of the reasons she loves him. (oh yeah – and a coupon book she made full of stuff he can redeem – backrubs, skating, bowling, all that kinda stuff.) (Oh yeah – and a nicely framed picture of the two of them.) GAHHH.

How can a mom compete with that kind of cuteness? Clearly the boy cannot come up with ideas on his own to use cuteness to his advantage, nor is he inclined to ask his friends for ideas, so geeeez it’s kinda up to me. And let me tell you, I long for the days when the kid just called up the other kid and asked her/him to go to the dance. Alas, they are truly no longer here.

But the worst part about it was that this was one of the ideas I gave him last year for asking her to the homecoming dance. I even suggested that maybe that would be especially good for the prom. Now we gotta come up with something new.


and yet... HELP!


Where ya been?

This - is where I've been.
Still a little disbelief that I'm going to get up on a stage after 34 years and do this, but I guess that is the logical result of all the rehearsals and stuff I've been doing lately. Some of it's fun, some is not. Working with many young people is interesting. We've definitely got some characters in this cast! And as it's a musical, we have musical girls and musical boys. Always good for some fun. We're told tickets are selling pretty well, so the run may be extended to the end of October. I guess that's good, but I was pretty happy it would only be 4 weekends. 7??? Not quite as crazy about that idea. Our lives are already in turmoil from the wreaked schedules.

School has started, BK is a junior and all of a sudden pretty sullen and pulling away from activities he'd done before etc. And of course, we're watching him like a hawk now.

LK is an official "Junior Kindergartener", which makes her the big kid in the school. She's tying her own shoelaces, which makes her the only 4 year old in the school doing that. But to be fair, she only recently figured out her colors... we all have strengths. Hers apparently have to do with shoes.

DH is still job searching and having many interviews, some of them look interesting and promising and some seem like just more of the same. My only advice (I try to remain like Switzerland in this whole process, but this time I slipped a little) is to get the hell out of the business he's been in. Do something - ANYTHING - as long as it's different. So maybe I'm the U.N. this time. I mean well, I give advice, but have very little effect on the decision.

Construction update - house next door almost has a roof again, cutting off our fabulous far away view of some nondescript hill that DH cherished for the few weeks we could see it. Our window has still not been fixed, but that is scheduled to happen next week. The trees are still scorched and strange looking, but I suppose next year they'll look good as new. Hammering starts at about 7:30am, but has never been really terrible. Neighbors across the street ripped their shake roofing off this week and replaced it. Good move. There are about 3 more who really should do the same.

See - life goes on, busy lives are just more boring, I think. I don't have any time to even find the humor in anything right now. Maybe in November.


A day in the life

I was supposed to write a nice mushy post about my anniversary this year. As of last Monday, DH and I have been married for 30 years! God, that is forever. And I have ideas for things that take 30 years, what else happened 30 years ago, etc. etc. But those require a little research, and mostly a little time. And I'm in very short supply of that particular resource. So I’m going to refer you to a very nice post by Amalah, who celebrated her 8th anniversary the day after our thirtieth. She did a wonderful job of summing up anniversary feelings, so thanks, Amalah – and to DH – “what she said…”! Love ya!

So - Discretionary Time is just not available lately. A sample of a recent and, unfortunately, typical day (because it requires no research and links are minimal):

5:30 Alarm goes off. Beastarzmom is supposed to get out of bed and get gym clothes on.

6:10 Beastarzmom finally groans loudly and gets out of bed.

6:25 Get to the gym, only to find all the elliptical machines are taken. Who ARE these people who get up at this ungodly hour to exercise? And dammit, I need the elliptical, as my scoliosis makes the impact I inflict on my body by the treadmill quite painful. And geeez, I HATE the stairstepper and the exercise bikes make my butt hurt and lord almighty, what else can I complain about?

7:35 Leave the gym. Who cares if the workout is done or not, I’ve burned calories and they say that’s a good thing – anyway, there are things to do!

7:40 – 8:30 Shower, pick up left over messes from previous night owls (16 y/0, 22 y/o and 25y/o who I am so TOTALLY not staying up for anymore.) Encourage somnolent 4 year old to wake up and get going.

8:30 Physically pull 4 year old out of bed. If it’s shower day, take screaming child into shower. Wash & condition hair, soap up, get the hell out.

8:45 Try to brush screaming 4 year old’s hair which has just been conditioned, so it’s just not that bad, child! Get over it.

8:55 Round child up again and get hair finished and teeth brushed. What? Forgot breakfast? Shit. Breakfast bar it is. Maybe you'll just eat the school lunch today. Do I have any money? Shit. Throw a quesadilla together and stick it in a lunch bag.

9:20 Finally in car driving to day care. Get reminded to turn the right way. Thank you very much underage back seat driver.

9:30 Peel child off legs for the fourteenth time, wondering aloud why some days are so easy and some are so awful. Beg telepathically for a teacher to come along and peel child off with me.

9:40 Get in car and drive off. Damn. Late for work AGAIN! Don’t know why they put up with me.

10:10 Park after listening to whatever book on tape/CD I’ve got going. (Nicholas Sparks’ The Guardian – so far totally predictable, but a nice commute pasttime nontheless.) Grumble as car/tape gets turned off and walk to office.

10 – 5 (sorta) Work. Find work to do. Sometimes busy, Sometimes not. No details. I know better.

5:00 Walk back to car, looking forward to listening to story again. (I actually would drive around places just for the hell of it when I was listening to Harry Potter. Jim Dale – you are incredible!)

5:45 Get to daycare, coerce unwilling child to actually leave day care. (So what was that all about this morning?)

6:00 Finally get child into car. Listen to all the reasons she should have stayed there and it is no fair that I picked her up.

6:10 Get home, swear at the mess that aforementioned larger people have left during the day. Try to find something to eat that only takes 10 minutes to prepare. It sucks that we don’t do fast food anymore.

6:30 Sit down to “eat”. In reality, shovel food into mouth at breakneck speeds. Realize that 4 year old is not keeping up with the pace and go get container to take food with.

6:45 Drive to rehearsal at 7. Hope not to be late. One little old lady or little man with a hat in front of us and we’re toast.

7:03 Shit. Late, but not by much. Rehearsal has started. Easy enough to catch up. Set up young lady with remnants of interrupted dinner. Watch as young lady decides to dance with the music instead. Shrug shoulders and go take my place in the scene.

7:03 – 9:55 Alternately walk through scene, take notes, wait, get confused, wait, walk through scene with child on back, get confused, wait, wait, wait. Finally leave.

10:15 Home. Child wants to watch a movie. I suggest that 10pm is really not a good time to turn on a movie. Daddy is already turning the movie on. Sigh loudly and go catch up on email – maybe she needs to wind down a bit after all too.

10:30 Turn off TV, Try to get young lady into her own bed. Being unsuccessful, elicit promise that at the first kick, she’s off to her own bed.

10:40 Go out and gather up crap left by aforementioned larger people (mostly boys). Find places for it.

10:50 Grab jammies and slide into my 6 inches of bed. Get into butt-up-against position and try to sleep.

11:03 Acknowledge 16 year old who is finally home at the stroke of 11. (California State imposes curfew rules of 11pm for 1st year drivers. I like this – for once, I don’t have to be the bad guy.) Try to remember what I need him to do the next day.

11:50 Look over at clock and swear, wondering WHY someone so exhausted could still be awake.

5:30am 2nd verse. Same as the first.


Will you join?

I found this on one of the "nurse-y" blogs that I visit.

I'm totally in. Admittedly, it doesn't take much to make me misty, but whenever I read or re-read an account from 9/11, or hear stories of its aftermath, my heart just breaks.

I will join in and post my tribute to "my" victim on 9/11. Please, if you have a blog, take the time to join the ranks. If you don't have a blog - blogspot's pretty darn easy! Try it for a day! What a great reason to start.... even if you don't continue.




Hooked again

Here I was, minding my own business, playing my favorite solitaire and card games, retaining my title as Queen of Dr. Mario, and along comes a new game – Sudoku.

Now, Sudoku is not really new. But I’ve been avoiding it. Like the plague.

You see, I know myself. I have a bit of an addictive streak when it comes to puzzle types of games. I have no interest in Grand Theft Auto, or Halo 1-17. I will occasionally dabble in a little word yahtzee or boggle, but my addictions tend to be of the puzzle type.

So, my internet provider very sweetly offered me a free full functioning game of Sudoku. I decided I’d just go ahead and see what everyone was talking about – not that I’d play it or anything.

Three days later… I am hooked. Can’t get enough. I’ll play it with “automark” on, “automark” off, any level, for time, for points, for whatever strikes my fancy. Oh, and the IP provider/game service tracks scores for the last 24 hours, so if you think you’ve gotten a pretty good score and submit it to the global list, you can see just how stupid you are, that there are 653 people with better scores than the great one you just submitted.

But then – you submit a score and find that you are number 54! Whoa! Only 53 better scores than yours??? Let’s go for getting into the 40s! the 30s! the 20s! How about top 10? You see where we’re going with this? I had to DRAG myself away from the computer to exercise my feeble attempts at conversation and family togetherness. All the while trying to figure out what I needed to do to get that higher score.

Wonder if there are any Sudoku Anonymous groups starting up. I might need one.


I don't get it

For People Who Can’t Tell a Joke, like me, hearing a good joke is wonderful. But even hearing a bad joke is ok. One of my colleagues tried to tell me a joke a day or so ago. He is also a Person Who Can’t Tell a Joke, so I thoroughly enjoyed the agony he was going through to get this thing out. I have no idea what the joke really was supposed to be, but it was something about a damn fish and some m-f butter. He ended the joke with the requisite apology, that it was a much funnier joke if only he could have told the “beginning” part right! I so totally know your pain.

I have exactly two jokes in my repertoire. Actually one is a riddle. (But I even mess those up, typically – usually putting some part of the witty answer in the question. Yeah – you want to hear those things from someone else. Trust me.) And the other one could definitely be considered offensive to some… Anyway – I have periodically attempted to increase this repertoire, and have made it to 4 or maybe even 5 jokes from time to time. But the old memory thing just doesn’t work for this stuff, and I revert back to my two old standbys. Hence, I don’t tell jokes.

But I like to listen – Those of you who are blessed with the ability to tell a good story - got any good ones?


Talk about a full house...

I read this and after the omg horror moment, am ashamed.

I have my 4 kids all living under the same roof again, in a not huge, but decently sized 4 bedroom home in a nice suburban area with terrific schools, etc. etc. and I'm complaining (ok, not really complaining, but THINKING) about how crammed in here we feel. How much messier the house seems now, how no one EVER cleans up after themselves. OK, maybe they do, but with more people in the house, it's more noticeable when they don't.

These people wanted lots of children. They have 2. want more. go get pregnant and have triplets. think they're done. get pregnant again and have 4 more. WHAAAAA? And the kicker for me? They live in a one bedroom apartment. 11 people in a one bedroom apartment? Granted the quads aren't home yet, so it's only 7 right now. That's one more than is in my house right now, and one of mine is in the garage!

God bless them and watch over them and I'm gonna shut my damn mouth!



So last week's hockey tournament went well - BK's team won! The kids won windbreakers, a heavy rectangular medal and a nice trophy for the rink. At one point this year, his English teacher had the kids write out some goals for the year. One of BK's was to win a tournament. So it took nearly all year, but check that sucker off!!!

It was very exciting.

And very smelly.

They kind of expected to come in second, so it was doubly fun for them. And special, too. They have a guy on the team who has over the last 6 months, lost most of his sight. He is now legally blind, but can still see some shadows and stuff. He still suits up, and when there's an opportunity, the coach puts him in and he just sticks to one of the players, trying to keep his movement contained. But it's like having only 3 players out there, because he can't see the puck. Once in a while someone forgets and passes to him - it's just heartbreaking. He's such a nice kid and he was a real force on the team in the early part of the season - strong defense, great skater, very fast, great shooter, the whole enchilada. I don't know the name of the syndrome, but it is apparently hereditary. He has a younger sister who's already been affected.

After the tournament win, the lady running the thing asked for our team captain. We don't have one, but all the kids said "M" - almost in unison. My throat closed up like I'd swallowed one of those giant jawbreakers. (Remember I am the person who will dissolve into sobs over a newspaper article.) I needed more than a couple Kleenexes for that one! So he got his picture taken with the trophy. He had to be led up to get his jacket and medal and he said the flash kind of hurt his eyes. I'm getting misty just writing this.

I'm sure they wondered if we were putting one over on them about him playing, there were some mighty questioning looks, but no one asked. He's going to Anaheim for the finals tournament with us, too, but will do the same thing. If we have a decent lead, or the situation is such that he can play, he'll go out there and skate, trying to stick to one of the opponents. I'm quite sure they'll find some time in the games to use him, just so he can get whatever the team wins.

I'm bringing my kleenex.

A whole box.


When is red red?

My older sister has blond hair. My younger one has red. At least, that’s what we all thought. I also have red hair. My mother was a redhead as well. We outnumbered the blondies 3-2.

(note: In the middle of writing this, I was checking other blogs, hers included, and found her entry about the VERY SAME THING! . A little ESP like stuff. …creepy. But I do this with my older sister all the time, why not the younger? So go check it out for yourself – red or not?)

I married a French-Italian, with skin that tans and what used to be a full head of dark wavy hair and these beautiful brown eyes. (Age has taken care of the dark, the wavy AND the full… ah well, but the eyes are still beautiful brown.) Due to this, I now have a house full of dark haired children (but they all tan fairly well). I used to say, when asked whether I wanted a boy or a girl for my third, that I really didn’t care, I was going for the redhead this time. Didn’t happen. Can’t even adopt a redhead! But that’s beside the point.

Younger sis also marries a dark haired spouse, but ends up with a beautiful red haired son. My envy has no bounds! But I’m glad one of us got blessed. So, she goes out with this little redhead (who gets compliments on his hair color ALL THE TIME), and people ask where he gets it from. Really!

We’ve laughed and marvelled at this more times than I can count. Don’t these people see? To me her hair is clearly red, but then I grew up knowing her hair was red. True, it’s lighter than mine. Mine is kind of a deep auburn and she has a lot more blond in hers. But shoot – it’s still red.

The other day we were at the zoo and little A. came running to catch up to me. She told him to “stay with Auntie R.” and got a response from someone nearby that he must have gotten his red hair from Auntie R. Ok, granted, my hair is brighter, partially because I have this fabulous colorist who has been covering the gray for oh, I don’t know, a year or so, now (I can’t believe I confessed in public!!! But it’s not a really a secret – it’s just that she’s matched my natural shade so well that no one really knows unless I tell them – or I’ve gone too long between appointments :chagrin:) but still, if you are clearly talking to the mother WHO HAS RED HAIR, would you say that??? Besides the fact that it’s really difficult genetically for me to have contributed to his red hair, I hate that it makes her crazy. In this ladie’s defense, I suppose she never thought an off-handed comment like that would create such turmoil, but then those are the kinds that typically do.

I managed to find a picture with the three redheads in a row. The lighting's a little off, and we've all taken better pictures, but the point is the hair color, so you can make your own judgement.
Now she wants to color her hair. Go weigh in on this one or her site and let her know what you think.
Redheads unite!


Whose best friend?

... the dogs came back - the very next day,
the dogs came back, we thought they were a-goners
but the dogs came back they just couldn't stay away...

(inspired by "The Cat Came Back" by Harry S. Miller)

We used to have one beagle. Smart, sweet and playful, she was sometimes a handful, but mostly a good dog. Then we decided to go ahead and breed her.

(Bad Idea)

(Don't Do It)

So she had a litter of 5 little puppies. Cute little puppies. SUPER CUTE little puppies. 3 of them went off to live in other homes and two of them stayed with us. We had 3 kids, now we had 3 beagles.


Mama beagle was a very good mommy for a couple of weeks. Then she decided to get testy and crankity and crotchity and any other grumpy type adjective you can come up with. She was a PITB. period. But the puppies were cute, so ok.

But puppies take time and training takes time and no one had time (read "I", since the only person even remotely inclined to train them would have been me) to train these puppies. Snickers (mom) was content to leave the kids alone, Oreo was a little high strung and shook like a leaf if any of them or a kid got yelled at. Rolo was placid, laid back and STOOOOPID. But he was super great about letting LK climb all over him and pull his ears and stuff, so he got lots of slack for that.

Beagles roam. They escape. One of them frequently comes back injured. Let me tell you - it is NOT worth it! We found a nice home with some older kids for Oreo when they all got out once and this family found him. When we went to pick him up, he was clearly preferring their company, and they confessed they'd been looking for a dog. As being the weak link in a threesome here clearly made him anxious, we agreed to let them adopt Oreo. I haven't seen him since, but the last time I talked to the family, they were enjoying him, but not his escapes.

Many escapes later, we have misdiagnosed a broken leg, had to have surgery to insert a drain into a wound that also required stitches, picked them up from relatively remote locations and removed more ticks than I care to think about. Two nights ago, they got out again. It's a sure sign they're gone when you go to feed them and they don't come running. I sent the teenager and friends out looking, as they are usually the culprits in leaving the gate or doors open, and after they came up short-handed, LK and I went out in the car. Nothing. Even the next day, nothing.

DH was clearly and enthusiastically supporting their escape and was hoping we wouldn't get a phone call. I told him I would be calling the pound on Monday just in case, because I just can't handle the consequences, but I have to admit, I was kind of hoping someone would just think they were so cute they'd keep them and to hell with us.

The calls came, last night, about 2 hours apart from the college nearby.


So, today it was off to Pet Foods Express (THANK YOU for installing those dog washes!!!) for a bath, remove ticks AGAIN, and wash their beds. again.

And whose best friends are these?

Anyone want a beagle? or two?


3/4 home

Working on a Full House
We have 3 out of 4 children under one roof again. Since graduation in May, DDD has completed a business course for non-business majors, and then took some time to play. DH flew out last weekend to move her back and drive with her for the 17.5 hour (according to Magellen, which has been probably the best gift DH has ever gotten from me) trip back in her little CRV.
She's been pretty much asleep ever since.
Unsettling rumor - oldest son may come back again. YIKES! He has to move by next week and hasn't found a place yet. DH kindly offered him our garage, as strangely enough, our bedrooms are full right now, and there just aren't terribly great "double up" opportunities when your kids are as spaced out in age and gender as ours are.
So we're at 3/4 full right now. Let's hope it stays that way!

Bug Detective
LK continues to have an uncanny knack of finding spiders everywhere. But there's a twist to it now. We are no longer allowed to smoosh them with a kleenex or a shoe or anything like that. We must now trap it and put it "in the garden". She also finds "rollie pollies" and is their primary mode of transport from the front of our house to the rear. My plaintive attempts to get her to leave them alone go unanswered. Even when I say they might get sad if they can't find their mommy or daddy. I thought that was pretty harsh, but it doesn't seem to faze her. She just says they'll find them in the garden. Wherever that garden might be.

Driver Frustration
BK took his first driving test this week - I say first because all the males in my family have had to take it more than once. Many moons ago, his father, bless his little 16 year old heart, took it 5 times before passing. Anyway, BK's examiner spoke to me about it, saying he was doing really well until he had to make a right turn on a red light and didn't come to a complete stop. Made me think of all the flights I've taken where you are asked to remain seated until the airplane has come to a "full and complete" stop. How many times have you seen compliance on that?
But I digress. He's convinced he did stop, but I betcha next time he definitely comes to a full and complete stop! I felt bad afterwards for not warning him to exaggerate everything just a little. I tried to think of everything (both hands on wheel at all times, use mirrors, but don't forget to turn your head too, etc. etc.) but I left out the exaggeration tip. He's a pretty darn good driver, too. Let that be a warning to y'all teenager parents!


Sleep positions

I've posted a couple of times now about the stealth snuggler. It can be a problem now and then, as she is typically an active sleeper, so it can fairly ruin a good night's sleep. After all this time, though, we've worked out some positions that work. Most of the time. And that got me thinking about the positions we all sleep in.

I've always been a fetal position sleeper. I think it's particularly because of my scoliosis - my back always hurts in the morning if I sleep on my back or front. I think the position gives my back the best amount of support with the least amount of stress. Or maybe I'm just making that up. According to this article, 41% of us sleep the same way I do. If it's right, then I'm also tough on the outside, but sensitive at heart. Like the rest of the 41%. Safe guess.

DH sleeps fully splayed out, typically with at least one arm over his face. I've noticed this is a very good position for snoring. It's called the freefall and supposedly, these people make good friends. OK. maybe. But DH doesn't really hang out with "friends". He's not a loner, really (although BK frequently teases him - and us - about our lack of friends), but he's not a joiner, drinker, sportster or anything like that. He's his mother's son in that way - a homebody. He is a very good snorer, though. I'm working on making him a little tougher on the outside while maintaining his sensitive core. ("GOD you're noisy - would you PLEASE turn on your side??")

Back to the stealth snuggler - I got on the subject because we've worked out this position where I'm on my side, she's on her side and we're back to back. She is a toucher, so her little butt is pretty much snuggled into my lower back and her head is just kind of below mine. It works really well right now, and we both get some sleep this way. I call it "buttupagainst". Then, I'm cruising around websites here and there, and what do I find? Once again, someone's gotten there before me. Way before me.

I don't think I should try to become an inventor.

Back to the point again... (What WAS the point?) Anyway – that blogger’s post (from “weirdbabe”) from a long time ago was pretty fun to read and it got me to thinking about how after just about 30 years of marriage (it will be 30 years in August. I'm astounded. But I'm not that old. Really.) our sleep positions have changed. I'm still a fetus (or "foetus" if you prefer) style sleeper and always have been, but I'd have to say at the early stages of marriage, every night would start with "Spoons" or "Sweetheart's cradle" (gag - what a name) for most of the night. After some period of years, I guess, it's more like "leg hug" but sometimes it's "arm hug". Now that we've been married longer than we were ever single, it's been more of a kiss, a snuggle and off to your side of the bed where you can splay or curl up as you desire. We were ok with that – after all, you have to expect some changes in 3 decades.

After having 3 children who mostly slept in their own beds, we were not really prepared for a snuggleupagus. I'm not a particular advocate of "co-sleeping" - I think every family has their own preferences, and like everything else, what works fine for one child doesn't necessarily work for another. But I don't mind sharing the bed - there's plenty of space, and I also know there will come a day when she WANTS to sleep in her own room. I don't think we necessarily have to force the issue, as long as we're all getting some sleep. But she’s such a snuggler – we find that if the one she’s attached to gets up for any reason in the night, she will almost immediately go attach to the other. (I’ve found this useful some nights…!) But sometimes, she’ll attach to both. One of us will get a head, the other gets kicked. So that’s why the buttupagainst works so well for us. She gets her connection and we get some sleep.

I wonder what kind of sleeper she'll be when she's married... She obviously loves to have some part of her touching someone else while she sleeps (we think that's why she can't stay in her own bed to begin with), so maybe she'll be a pursuer, or a honeymoon hugger. No matter what, her special someone will need to be ok with constant contact!

And interestingly enough, we’re finding that when she does stay in her own bed, we end up sleeping closer together again. And I guess after 30 years, that is all right with me.

What kind of sleeper are you?
(yes, I’m fishing for comments – it’s been a little slow lately!!! Besides - I'm curious.

and sensitive.

and tough on the outside.)


Some things are just hard

Last night:

me: Did you have fun at the zoo with A&B?

LK: ummmm no. Well, ... yeah.

me: What was your favorite part?

LK: I liked the zebras and the bugs ... (Insert lots of animals) and the fast ride (small child's rollercoaster) and the train to go home. (pause) But I didn't like the sharing.

It's hard to be 4.


Younger Next Year

A colleague of mine from work finished the AIDS Lifecycle today. He rode his bike along with several other friends (like 2,200 of them) from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I am in awe of this. They pitched and slept in tents all the way down the California coast - and biked some 585 miles in 7 days.

He says he really started thinking seriously about doing SOMETHING after reading a book, Younger Next Year, about how to live the last 1/3 of your life in a healthy, happy and more fulfilled way. I looked it up and found they have a website! (Of course, I have a website, so why wouldn't this guy?) But I still want to read the book as it was so inspiring to Allen.

He does work out regularly, and found himself enjoying a "spinning" class. I think that's what started the whole biking thing. Now I've always loved riding my bike, and am still a bit traumatized by the thing being ripped off (another story that I might just skip), but I think perhaps a 100 mile ride would be my limit - and that's after some considerable training.

Check out his website - if you feel so inclined, you can even increase his funds raised! But mostly, get inspired by this man who is actually doing something to make a difference. He went a little above and beyond as well, posting some of his original creative writing on this blog about the AIDS ride - just to share a bit more of himself with those who pledged support for him.

Way to go, Allen - consider yourself an inspiration.


A new look at the blasted video games

The dude is practicing for his career as a neurosurgeon!
Phew... I feel better.


A new weapon

When you just don't think things can get crazier... they do.


Did it have to be such a hard slap?

Just when you think you’ll never blog again, because the last entry was all sappy and filled with happy and pride and all the good stuff, and if you write something else, it will be all frustrated and can’t-we-get-through-high-school-with-ANY-decent-grades?-and-stuff-like-that, life shows up and slaps you around a little.

This is my next door neighbor’s house. I got a frantic call from a neighbor across the street yesterday. She’d gathered my dogs and taken them to her house but couldn’t find my husband, whose car was in front of the house. My neighbor’s house was on fire. BIG fire. OhmyGOD fire. I started calling DH’s cell phone, home phone, work line, etc etc. Let me tell you – you tend not to think about whether to take the cell with you if you see flames out of the house next door and you go try to keep the roof wet with a little old garden hose until the fire dept gets here. But that freaks the loved ones out a little, so if you’re ever in this situation, grab the cell, OK?

The house is a complete loss. The fire stayed fairly high, so you’d think there might be some furniture that survived. Not so much. All the smoke and water does a pretty good job on that stuff. The neighbors were out at the time, and had just the clothes on their backs – one of them had borrowed shoes. But no one was hurt, the HUGE redwood tree in between our houses got pretty singed, but didn’t explode. And all we got was a cracked window. (We think the heat + the water from the fire hoses cracked it.)

Anyway, before I got home, I’d talked to the DH and heard the whole story, so the drive wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. But I had to park a couple of blocks away because there were 8 really big red trucks parked along the way, with 5 of the ambulance sized trucks and 4 cop cars there for good measure. I’m still not sure what they all did, but if it took all that effort to keep the fire contained, that’s just fine with me!

Anyway – I’m still frustrated and worried about the teenager who just can’t seem to put any effort into anything, but my outlook has been refreshed. My blessings have been counted. Again. Posted by Picasa


Just on time

She turned over, sat up and crawled on time. I think those were the last things she did “on time”. She didn’t feel like walking until she was 16 months or so (she took her first steps around 13 months, but she must have realized what was ahead, because that was it for several more months). But she potty trained herself between 18-19 months. And she was singing “Once Upon a Dream” (Sleeping Beauty) and “Somewhere Out There” (American Tail) in their entirety before she was 2. Early or late, late or early – we never knew what we’d get from her. But we always knew there was a light in there. A special light. An inextinguishable light.

She showed us that light in her daily activities, in her near constant songs, in her laugh, in her silliness. We saw how she looked up to her big brother when she was two. We saw her excitement when her 1st grade teacher put her article in the “Daily News” every few days.
We also saw her disappointment when she just couldn’t run as fast as the other kids, or when she wasn’t exactly the first kid to get picked for a team. We saw her devastation when she got a D in reading in 4th grade. Apparently she hadn’t realized the teacher actually wanted her to HAND IN those book reports.

We saw her careful gentleness around her prematurely born brother, and how she has watched, cajoled, played and nurtured him ever since. And now that he is several inches taller than her, we watch how she teases and loves him and how that is returned in kind.

We saw a reasonably “popular” (I hate that word…) and well accepted child opt to leave that particular clique of girls and hang out with quite the opposite group of girls, simply because one of the “popular” girls was really mean. That was a very hard thing to do.

We saw the light find the stage. We knew it was there – we ALWAYS knew it was there. She had a leading role in her school plays in 4th and 5th grade. It was there. She opted to learn an instrument instead of sing in the choir in intermediate school. She was a big fat OK at it, and was encouraged to keep at it instead of switching to choir in 8th grade. But she followed her heart and ended up with a solo or two at the end of the year in choir. Her director praised her for picking the right “instrument”. She has always known best.

We watched her in high school – finding her way through the social maze, the hormone haze, the academics, detention. Detention, not for any kind of disrespect or behavioral problem. Well, maybe it was a little behavioral – what else is tardiness? Tardy. Always tardy. After school detention, and then when that avenue was exhausted, Saturday school. Remember the Breakfast Club? She was there. She wasn’t any of those stereotypical kids, though. She was just the good kid – there with the troublemakers because she can’t get out of the house on time. Still can’t to this day.

But above and beyond all that was the music. Oh the music. The music saw her through it all. She sang, she danced, she still played soccer and participated in the youth group. She tried, but did not get to be a cheerleader. She tried, but didn’t make the “chamber choir” her junior year. She was devastated. She didn’t get decent roles in her high school plays. She was devastated. She did get VERY good roles in her summer musical conservatory programs. She kept the light shining. She knew – she always knew best. She knows how to persevere. She knows how to take someone’s opinion and take what’s important about it and leave the ugliness behind. Turning a “you can’t do this” into an “I’ll show you I can” is her specialty. And she has. Posted by Picasa


I watched the nurturer in her as she encouraged her mom and dad to get their foster care license and as she fed, changed and loved the little girl who ended up in our care. I saw her pose happily for pictures with a little baby who could have passed for her own, but for the obvious lack of pregnancy. The light never flickered. The light never cared about that.
We watched that light brighten up a stadium filled with black gowned and crowned bodies. We beamed with a little light of our own as the president of the college congratulated and introduced the 2006 graduates from CU. We (ok, I) took about a thousand pictures to memorialize the event. All her living grandparents made the trip to celebrate this achievement. Plenty of aunts, uncles, cousins & their families joined us to celebrate as well. Some traveled from quite a ways away. This was special and we all knew it.
DDD graduated from college. On time. Not early, not late. She hasn’t been on time for much since those first few months. But here she is. On time. Perfectly on time. What a kid. Posted by Picasa

more grad thoughts

The smile brightens my world.
The light shines brightly.
The future is limitless.
She is going to reach for the stars.

And I think she just might grab one.

Congratulations, DDD. You have done an incredible job in these last 4 years of college and we are SOOOOOOOOO very proud of you. Posted by Picasa


Teaching the fine art of shopping.

Today I took LK shopping with me. I had a christening gift and an engagement gift to buy. I would check for something cute for graduation as well, since we are leaving Thursday for

my. first. college. graduation. where. the. graduate. is. MY. kid.

We found something kinda kitchy and cute for the engaged couple, stopped by Jamba Juice for a couple of kid size jambas(how can you pass on that?), stopped by Williams and Sonoma, who have a VERY cute little set of princess cookie cutters and cookie decorating kit. They also have pink spatulas. And pink oven mitts, and pink aprons, and pink mixing bowls, and pink... but I digress (who wouldn't - with ALL THAT PINK!) Then on to Restoration Hardware where we found absolutely nothing to interest us, then Smith & Hawkins, which I have never been to, but I love their catalog. Ditto on the nothing. I'm not a good shopper. Never have been. But I've heard through the years that my kids wish they were better shoppers and that they'd gone shopping more, so I'm making an effort. (OK, that was mostly my older daughter, but my younger son is a pathetic shopper, so I think she was speaking on his behalf as well.)
Then we took the LONG way to the Hallmark store, visiting a shoe store, the Build-a-Bear store. the personalized gifty thing store and Claire's (talk about SPARKLY!!!) where a young girl was getting her ears pierced.

"Why's she doing that?"
"Because she wants to wear earrings in her ears."
"Can I get my ears pursed too?"
"It hurts to get that done - they put the earrings right through your earlobe, right here..."
(showing her where her earlobe is)
"Uhhh, let's go"

We found dolls in the Hallmark store who spoke Russian, German, Yiddish, French, Swedish, and Spanish. Lots of cute little smooshy animals (like my favorite "huggy" pillow) and other cute things, but not a hell of a lot of christening and engagement cards. Knowing they were headed for the garbage in a day or two anyway, so not caring much what they looked like, I selected two and we headed for the graduation display. LK immediately lights on to a Mickey Mouse with a mortarboard on his head. DDD's college entrance essay was on her connection to all things Disney, so of course I bought it for LK to give her. (There are Disney stamps on her graduation announcements, too - just how Martha is that???)

Then we start walking back to Pottery Barn, our last stop, taking a detour to pass by every fountain we can find. And Kid's Gap, of course. They have very cute slippers there. I want a pair. So does LK.

"But you never wear slippers."
"But I WILL wear slippers."
"But you always go barefoot - you don't like shoes on your feet at home. You don't even like socks!"
"But I REALLY like these slippers. I will wear them. All the time."
"I don't think so."
"Oh, I think these slippers are SOOOOOO beautiful."

I bought the slippers.

After our last stop at PB where we bought the original thing I saw and liked for my niece and her fiancee, we went to the car.

LK lasted about 3-4 minutes before she was slumped in her seat, snoring.

I'm raising another shopper.


Yes, I can rant

I know it will be hard to believe, but I can rant. REALLY.
I got a progress report from big K's Spanish teacher yesterday. It's a nice synopsis of what this school year has been like for us. Yay - doing great! Good Job! You suck! No driving! Oh good, it's back up to a C - keep it up! What the HELL is wrong with you?? and so on... So I finally ranted a good one at him as I forwarded his [lack of] progress report.... and I'm just strange enough to share it with all my two internet friends.

BK -
You went from an A to a C+ in one week (I know you're awfully close to a B-, but still that's a HUGE drop in one week). Dude - you HAVE to get your homework DONE and GET CREDIT for it. You also need to KNOW WHEN YOU ARE HAVING A TEST - and STUDY FOR IT. If you can't manage that, you need to stop ref'ing until school is out, and you can expect itunes, myspace, IM and computer games to be off limits. You are WAY TOO OLD to be pulling this kind of crap. You know what the assignments are, you know they are tracked, you know it hurts no one but YOU when you blow them off. You also know (because I am NOT quiet about this stuff) that it is unacceptable and FRUSTRATING to have to babysit you and your homework and deal with your lack of responsibility. (Just a personal note - I am FAR less irritable when I don't feel the need to nag...) This is way beyond ADD or maturity. This is lack of discipline and willingness to do what you need to do. You absolutely HAVE to develop this within yourself NOW, because there are enough distractions and other challenges to deal with in college. If you are already predisposed to this kind of attitude towards your classes, you set yourself up for failure from the start. That just isn't the way to have a good experience - and it CAN be a good experience.
OK. That's all for now. You know the rest - 2nd verse, same as the first.

Yep - when I get a little bug in my bonnet. I can rant. Sigh.


FINALLY! We have a 10 day forecast with NO RAIN! Woo Hoo!


How many of you have a lascivious daughter?

According to Mark Collins, writing for the Daily Camera in Boulder, my daughter can pull off "lascivious". How many of you can say that? And how many of you would brag about that?
Heh heh... (put whatever accent you want to that!)

(Heavily paraphrased, because after all, it is MY blog and it is all about MY offspring.)

"The show boasts several terrific performances, ... [DDD] (as a lascivious Catesby)...
...Changing the gender of the Catesby character from male to female works due to [DDD]'s believable performance as an opportunistic hanger-on. ...
...Weitz's cast brings humor to the dark show in other unexpected places, such as in Catesby's sleazy flirtations..."

Yep, that's my gal - the sleazy, flirtatious, lascivious tragic comedian.

I'm so proud.


Sleeping Disorder

My husband and I have a sleeping disorder. It's called snugglyitis. It's been 6 months or so since I last chatted about my stealth snuggler, but I woke up the other day to this sight and knew it had to be shared.

This is where the large sleeper gets squished into a little sliver of bed by Ms. Snuggleupagus and manage somehow to grab some sleep on that little 6 inches of king size bed. We don't know how exactly she manages this, but it's a recurring theme. We also don't know why picking her up and moving her is so darn hard in the middle of the night that we opt for "sleeping" on that sliver of bed.

A day or two later - here's what my side of the bed looked like when I rolled out of it. She's an equal opportunity snuggler. and yeah - when you're on the edge, you can't sit up and stretch or anything, you just roll out. But I can't complain - I had maybe 6 inches of PILLOW! Almost unheard of. She still gets stickers when she stays in bed all night, and she's still proud enough to brag when it happens, "I stayed in my OWN bed ALL NIGHT!!!"

But it doesn't happen nearly enough. Posted by Picasa


Home decor, 4 y/o style

We found these in our well worn hallway recently, so "dey could help us to don't get lost!"

edited note (I can't seem to get this Picasa to blogger thing to work right so the right caption is with the right picture. It looks fine in the preview!... I'm giving up right now, but might just be back to try again. AAArgh.)
edited again - at least I have the right captions with the right pictures now - what a pain. Gonna have to go get me a different photo service or something...

This note tells us which direction to go - we always get lost in this intersection between bedroom door and bathroom.

And sometimes a white (cream, really) wall just needs a little gingerbread lady to spice things up.

This wall needed a bandaid. Not sure why, but it's true this particular hallway has seen its share of bumps and bruises.

Posted by Picasa

Here's another directional device. I think it had a prior life as a sombrero, but I can't be sure...

Anyone know a good housepainter?