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