Wednesday, April 30, 2008

if mom is ma and gramma is mama

Last night when I got home, Jack, Jessie, Breanne, and Janey were waiting for me in the tv room here in the gardens. When I opened the door--because Breanne insists that doors around her must be closed--Breanne immediately called out, "Mama", and ran to me with her arms outstretched. As soon as I picked her up, she wrapped herself around me and murmured, "Oh, mama, mama, mama," and hugged, patted, and kissed me. So endearing.

After a few minutes, Breanne and I went into the living room to look at the family pictures that are scattered around in there. Breanne identified all of Jack's and my immediate family from a picture taken several years ago. Then she brought over the pictures of Jr and the drummer with their grandparents from grandparents' day at their grade school.

Breanne quickly identified Jack's mom and my mom as mamama; next she called my gramma, mamama. Then she looked at the pictures of my dad (who she knows) and Jack's dad (who died several years before she was born), and said, "mamamapop". Smart kid.

*I totally stole these photos from Jessie's blog...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the only thing left is the weigh in and the photos

By some amazing feat of physics or some magical change in gravity that has changed the way things weigh, I only gained 1.4 lbs on the cruise. Or perhaps it is because I only ate one dessert with each meal. Either way, it feels like a victory.

And here are a few of the photos.

the carriage ride

the ocean with the variety of beautiful blue colors

a closeup of my new 'do and some of the crushed up shell sand
that coated me after my tumbles in that blue ocean


Monday, April 28, 2008

and finally

the last three comments

The flights were, well, flights. Our first flight was short and then we got on a plane from Denver to Fort Lauderdale. The guy sitting next to the window, next to me, was, from the start, one of those chatty guys. We hadn't even clicked our seatbelts before he knew we were from Salt Lake, were going to the Bahamas, and numerous other things. Before we left the ground, I was having those thoughts about wishing he would just shut up (or something like that). After a couple of minutes, Jack got out his credit card and charged the $5 it cost to watch tv. with commercials. That didn't stop chattyman. He continued for another half an hour until I leaned towards Jack and said I didn't think I could stay in my seat any longer. maybe not even on the plane. Jack did the reasonable thing. He suggested that I get out my credit card and put on my headphones. Which I did. Even that didn't stop chattyman. He started out telling us about his work (making custom staircases for wealthy clients), progressed to weather in Colorado, and eventually landed on politics. By this time, Jack was engrossed in Bill O'Reilly's tv show, which he used to watch all of the time, but gave up on a while back, but hey, it was his vacation too, right? Anyway, I think that's what got chattyguy thinking we all agreed about politics. And that's when I did the only reasonable thing I could think of. I changed the channel until I found Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, obviously the antithesis of O'Reilly. And I watched as intently as I could, nodding my head and saying, "Absolutely, Keith, Right on". That finally shut him up. Smart me.

About that van ride back from Pleasure Island. We didn't have the taxi van to ourselves. The driver insisted he needed to fill up the van, so he started recruiting riders, including a family that I'm guessing was from oh, let's say, New Jersey. The most talkative guy had to slide across the seat to sit near me and that was his first complaint. Not that he had to sit by me, just that he had to slide across a seat that was wet and sandy. Score one for me. For the approximately five minutes we waited for the van to fill up, this guy loudly carried on--how long do we have to wait, I'm not waiting any longer, what the heck is taking so long, blah, blah, blah. Finally the driver found two more lucky riders and we started back towards Nausau. I cannot even begin to explain how much I would have paid to be able to fart on command. I wouldn't have cared if the farts were loud noisy farts. Silent might have been better. But anything would have been good. Anything to give him something else to moan about. I saw him later on our ship, walking around with one of those nextel walkie-talkie things. I feel fairly certain that the reason he had that was because the rest of his group wanted to be able to stay as far away from him as possible and while he might have thought the nextel things were a great way to stay in touch, I think they were really a way to keep lots of space around him. Crazy whining dog.

Finally, for some reason, I had this crazy idea that while on the cruise, eating all kinds of white flour rolls, divine desserts, and whole eggs with sausage, that as long as we walked around a lot and took the stairs most of the time, that I would continue to lose weight. In fact, several times I commented on my size and shape to Jack. I want to thank him publicly, here and now, for never, not once on the cruise or at any time on this vacation responding to my question, "Do you think I'm losing weight?" by saying, "Are you huggin' high?"

He's a good man to travel with.

and then there was nausau

After disembarkation (fancy ocean talk for getting off the ship), almost immediately, we hopped onto a horse-drawn buggy for an historical tour of Nausau. Learned many things about the Bahamas, particularly how much we didn't know about Nausau. (Another addition to my list of things to google or go to the library about.)

Our driver was a pro. As was his horse. At one point, he hopped off of the buggy and told the horse to stop so he could pick up a tire from the buggy in front of us that had fallen off. Those two were pretty entertaining. It seemed that someone on every corner knew the driver and his horse. I asked how long he had been driving carriages and he replied, "Since I was eight, mon." No wonder Nausau knew him.

Next we hopped on a ferry to Pleasure Island. Or at least that's what I remember it being called. On the ferry ride, the tour guide pointed out Mick Jagger's place, Nicholas Cage's place, and Mary Kay's place--the pink Mary Kay makeup lady, not the twin Mary Kate and Ashley. Then we cruised by the Atlantis, a resort that previously was a ClubMed. He claimed that there was a suite of rooms that rented for $25k per night with a four-night minimum, but our buggy driver said it was a seven-night minimum, so I'm not sure who I believe. The ferry guide said that Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, and many others had stayed there and we could go home and save up because it was reserved for at least the next ten years. Mon. Hilarious. Yeh Mon.

After leaving the ferry, we made our way to the beach. Luckily for us, a taxi drove up and offered to take us to the beach to save us some time. We both rode for $2 each. He was entertaining as well.

At the beach, I decided to test the waves and as usual ended up completely submersed, with the waves rolling me this way and that, and as usual, I was wearing my clothes, not a swimsuit. Every time I came up for air, Jack would point out that my hair and my face and my whole self was covered with sand. We learned later that the sand is made of crushed seashells, which somehow explains why it was stickier than usual sand. So sticky that Jack couldn't get it off of his feet. Without help from my $5 Smile Mon t-shirt. While we worked on his feet, we couldn't help but notice the Sopranos-type crew renting beach chairs and umbrellas, and selling Bahama Mamas and other tropical drinks. It was just what you would have expected.

After sufficient sunburning and splashing and rolling in waves and crushed seashells, we walked back to the taxi stop place where we ended up in another van back towards Nausau. This time though, the driver took us through the back alleys and neighborhoods. It was a completely different version of Nausau. People living in cardboard shacks. Every now and then, a brightly painted house, pink and aqua, with a sign indicating that mama's cooking was for sale inside. And that is where the locals were going to eat lunch. It made for a more complete look at Nausau.

All in all, Nausau was itself. The bright tropical colors, palm trees, colorful people-- not of color, but interesting, friendly, welcoming. Touristy locations, historical locations, and regular citizen locations. All wonderful to see. Realizing that 80% of the population works in the tourist industry and they really hustle to make a buck. And seem so happy with what they have. Lovely.

about the panty poll

Clearly, I'm going to continue posting as is. A three-way tie is as good as a run. And runs win games.

the wow list

Did any of you know just how great cruises are? Let me list the ways:

1. Wait. I've been sitting here for two minutes trying to decide which wow thing should be #1. And I can't decide. We'll just forget the list and I'll type as it all comes back to me.

Great food--yes, lots of food, but not Vegas buffet or Chuck-a-rama buffet. Really good food. Breakfast buffet with lots of choices, lunch buffet with lots of choices, and dinner buffet with lots of choices, that is if you didn't want to eat in the formal dining room that wasn't really formal at all. Pretty much just no flip-flops at dinner. But salmon to die for, beef short ribs, steak, prime ribs, amazingly fresh tasty fruit and salads and appetizers and then there was dessert. Black Forest cherry cake, pie, and my favorite, the chef's special chocolate warm melting cake, which was a custard cup of cake with a warm melty fudge inside along with two little scoops of ice cream. And just like everybody says, you can eat 24/7 if you like. There was pizza and ice cream cones and drinks whenever you wanted. And don't forget room service. And if you didn't like something you ordered at dinner, you simply asked for a different something or if you wanted two desserts or salads, they both appeared. Our wait staff was wonderful and delightful especially Kate our head waiter who was from Belarus and cute as a button with this totally hot accent.

The stateroom exceeded my expectations (Carnival's choice of words). Seriously, it was big enough to hold a king-sized bed with wonderful linens and pillows, and it also included plenty of closet space with plenty of hangers. Our room was at the back of the ship, so our view was amazing. And the bathroom was exactly what it needed to be. With so much hot water available that I couldn't believe it. In fact, you had to be careful so you didn't scald yourself with all of that hot water--in the shower and in the sink. Then there was the toilet. It looked like it might work like an airplane toilet, but no, it was like an airplane toilet with an airplane jet engine for flushing. Perfect.

Then there was the housekeeping staff. I don't remember the name of the lead staff member, but his crew was outstanding. We'd get up in the morning for breakfast and when we returned to our stateroom, our room would be spotless and there would be an adorable towel animal someplace in the room--on the table, on the bed, hanging from the ceiling. While we were able to identify a monkey and a walrus, one of the animals could have been a sheep or a pig or a dog. We never did decide. Anyway, when we went back to the room after dinner, the staff would have been through again, making the bed, leaving mints and notes about the next day's activities, and cleaning up the bathroom, making sure we had plenty of towels. I would pay very good money for that service at home.

Speaking of the staff, it appeared that there were 3000 guests on the ship and 1000 crew/staff. That 1000 staff were all so friendly and helpful--they even learned our names! Yes, that deserves a !. One night, we sat at a table in a walkway from one restaurant to another, looking out the window at the sea, playing cards. There was a guy from the wait staff who made sure we had drinks and comedy to enjoy for three hours. He was great fun.

We bought drink passes for $16 each that allowed us to get all of the soda and juice we wanted on the cruise. We got most of our drinks from the same bartender, Rowena, who was as good as they come. Quick, attentive, funny, and always there.

The cruise was definitely worth what it cost even if I did have to miss the paralegal training in Jacksonville. And I haven't even said anything about the Bahamas.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

time away

I think I may have mentioned that Jack and I are taking a vacation.

We leave tomorrow afternoon for Fort Lauderdale and then head north to Port Canaveral to board a ship headed to the Bahamas. We'll sail for a few days and then head back home on Monday. Descriptive words in my mind about the trip: lovely, warm, sunny, sand, ocean, summer clothes, no worries, no work, no cooking/cleaning/blahblah. I will take lots of pictures for posting on our return.

There is a story behind this vacation. Several months ago, I received information about some training in Fort Lauderdale that my boss thought I should attend. Since the company would cover my airfare, car rental, hotel, and food, I suggested to Jack that we could go together and stay a couple of extra days on our dime. He said that if I could find cheap flights--less than $200 each--we could go together. I watched and watched the internet, checking regularly for flights. About two months ago, I found flights for $189 per person to Fort Lauderdale, talked to Jack about them, and we agreed to book them. I was pretty much not-so-secretly delighted by my smart, diligent effort.

I then went to the original email about the training to determine which hotel was hosting the training so I could book a couple of extra nights. That is when I realized the training was going to be in Jacksonville. Not Fort Lauderdale. Jacksonville. Jacksonville is on the northern border of Florida, then midway down the state, you see Orlando, then way down at the southern tip of Florida, that's were you find Fort Lauderdale. Just a few miles from Miami. Not at all by Jacksonville.

You can imagine my shock. I do not make these types of mistakes. No No not me. But not me or not, I did. Just to change the flights would cost $100 each. Flights to Jacksonville started at over $500 each. So changing the flights would have cost me at least $800. In a panic, I called Jack to explain what I had just done. His response was, as I recall, to laugh and tell the guys in his office about what I had done. When he stopped laughing, he pointed out that we could take a vacation to Fort Lauderdale and I could attend the training in July in Oklahoma City. Now that's planning--Oklahoma City in July? Delightful, I'm sure.

Next I began pricing hotels in Fort Lauderdale. It quickly became apparent that this training trip that was originally supposed to cost us about $500 was now going to cost $130 per night for a hotel, plus the $250 for the rental car, plus any activities we decided to check out, plus food. At that point, Jack suggested we (and by we, he meant me) try to find a cruise.

Let me say that I got a great deal on a cruise, and although the trip will be more than $500, it will be less than our usual flying vacation, and there will be beaches and ocean and good food and time away together. Sounds ideal to me.

Except that Jack loves to tell people about his FREE $2000 vacation. I sense that before we are back home, everybody on the ship and everybody at the hotels and restaurants we visit and at the car rental counter will know the story of our vacation.

Jack is already referring to it as "Our Memorable Vacation."

how 'bout that jazz 2

Only one comment from the gardens about last night's Jazz stomping of the rockets.

It was truly astounding to me to realize that one play could have such major impact on the outcome of a game. One simple flop by Andre caused the rockets to disintegrate into little puddles of sweat that could never-never-no-way-not-ever come back to win. Poor rockets. Poor rick adelman. Poor tmac. Bad refs. Bad JAZZ.

Whiner babies. Sorry, that was more than one comment. hehehe.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Yesterday, while driving to get my hair cut, I came up behind a white truck that had some of those white window stickies on the back window. As I got closer I realized it said something about dog pooh removal and this phone number--910-4544.

You may recall that here in the gardens we have two large collies who are too old and arthritic to go for walks where we could pick up their pooh in a little plastic bag (which is just as well because I think that picking up dog pooh with a baggie would cause me to retch and throw up and then I'd have to carry an extra baggie to clean up that mess) Let's just say that we have lots of large dog pooh around the yard that needs to be cleaned up regularly.

Of course I did the only thing to do when I saw those white window stickies yesterday--I pulled up alongside the white truck (now I'm wondering if it was white?)...anyway, I pulled up beside the truck and started honking my horn. Those two guys in the truck must have had the radio jammin' because my little Scion's horn is pretty loud and sharp and they didn't even look my way.

Obviously, I took that as a challenge, staying alongside them and honking, until we stopped at the next light. Then they looked over. Of course, I gave them the international roll-down-your-window signal and they complied.

Our conversation went like this:

Gilian: How much do you charge?

Truckguy: Oh, that's not me, it's him--pointing to the driver

G: Okay, how much do you charge?--pointing to the driver

Truckdriverguy: Well, it depends.

Truckguy: I have a bull mastiff and he charges me about $10 per week.

Truckdriverguy: Yeh, if you sign up for six months, it's $5 per bag for the spring cleanup, and then $7 for the first dog and $10 dollars for two dogs per week.

G: Okay, thanks, I'll keep your number.

Truckguy and Truckdriverguy: Okay, thanks--

And we drove our separate ways on down the road.

So there you go. It just goes to show that if somebody can make money doing it, somebody will. Now that's as American as you can get. Seriously.

bacon bra update

Jack told me yesterday that he didn't find the bacon bra the least bit erotic. I can't help but think that it would have been better if the bacon had been cooked...

One other thing from Jack--he's a bit concerned about my occasional irreverence, like the bacon bra and here (where I wrote the p-word. twice) and well, I couldn't find another example, but I did read through old posts and saw my new year's plans and amazingly, I am still living the plans. Yes, I know that doesn't belong in this post, but give me a break--we're almost to May!

I'm going to post another survey, this time about whether or not I need to be more better in my blog, because hey, if nothing else, I listen to input from my readers. The last survey (and months of therapy) gave me the push to express myself to my mom in a way that might just improve our relationship.

So, here you go, anonymous readers--vote away.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

now this, this is bread

After all of my shopping, it seemed somehow appropriate to bake some bread. This time I did it the semi-old-fashioned way. I used my mixer, but not the mixer/baker machine. Instead, after the ingredients were all in the bowl, mixed just a bit, I scooped the dough out of the bowl onto the counter and I kneaded and kneaded and then baked it in the oven. After the shopping, it was very therapeutic.

Both loaves are multi-grain (I think maybe seven or so different types of flours) and both have flax seeds and sunflower seeds, but one of the loaves also has raisins and cranberries.

It's amazing that something so tasty and beautiful could be so good for me. In so many ways.

how 'bout that jazz

Just finished watching the Jazz beat the Rockets. While I am not the same rabid fan as I was in my youth, I do still like to see Williams slip in a layup, or Boozer hit a jumper, or Andre block a shot, or well, I just like looking at Harpring and Ashton Kutcher. (I really have no idea whether or not I spelled any of those names correctly.)

About tonight's game, I have two comments. Well, one is about tonight's opponent and the other is a constant complaint about the recent Jazz past.

First, let's have a singalong. Everybody repeat with me in your best singalong voice:

MacGrady is a baby, MacGrady is a baby.

Come on now, say it like you mean it.

Doesn't seem like his teammates like him. Don't think he even touched the ball after he stared down Chris Rock (or whatever that guy's name is) when he passed the ball and somebody on the Jazz held up MacGrady just long enough for him to be unable to catch the pass. Poor baby.

Is he related to Kobe?

Yep, I bet the next time I see Breanne if I ask her what a MacGrady says, she'll tell me, "Wah, Wah, Wah." She's such a smart girl.

Second, after listening to and watching Craig Bollerjack tonight, it seems obvious to me that he needs three things:

a hair cut
a better dye job
a surgical cliche removal.

And maybe somebody could do something about his super-hero/mighty sports announcer voice. I mean I know Hot Rod could be difficult sometimes, but I was kinda used to his bitterness. It was so familiar it was almost, uh, comforting.

the thing is

Sometimes the only enjoyment I can find in a particular event comes from knowing I can blog about it later.

My shopping trip this morning falls directly under the heading of "Things that can only bring me pleasure on my blog." Jack and I will be enjoying a vacation this next week, which, of course, means I will need some new clothes. (I don't make the rules, I simply follow and enjoy them.)

I got an email from Kohl's yesterday reminding me that today was an earlybird sale day, which means everything is on sale at least 20% off, but many things are on sale for 60%, 70%. and even 80%--if you're interested in winter clothes for summer. Try as I might, I could not convince myself to buy a really cute hooded sweater--in denim blue or sage green--for $10. I wanted summer clothes.

I wandered around the jr's and women's departments, collecting a big pile of summery dresses, tops, capris, and skorts and eventually made my way to a dressing room. I started with the tops and skorts and was happy to find some of each that I liked--style, color, and price. Next I tried on some skirts and dresses. Or, attempted to try them on, since I couldn't get most of them on over my lower body. Some of the dresses zipped up the back and I quickly realized the dresses were all too small. I say quickly, because I realized it quickly, but taking them off--really, just one in particular--took considerably longer than realizing it was too small. As I lifted the dress up over my head (because it wouldn't fit over my womanly hips) my arms got stuck, raised in the air, and the dress had me in its clutches and I couldn't get away. I don't think I could even see what was happening because it was covering my eyes and I was started to feel like maybe I couldn't breathe and even had this childish urge to stomp my feet and throw myself to the floor, while sobbing uncontrollably, until someone came in and rescued me--likely by cutting the dress off of me.

Next I tried on some swimsuits. Yes, I know shopping for swimsuits is torture for many women, but it was at that point that, even without my glasses, I could see the true extent of my recent weight gain. Holy cow. If I were a pot roast, I would be very tasty because clearly, my body has gained significant marbling (fat, fat, fat) and everybody knows that it's the fat that makes the meat taste good.

After I stopped trembling enough to leave the dressing room, I headed back out to collect more of the same clothes but in the next size larger. Silly me. Why would I think that just one size larger would be enough for all of my marbling?

After attempting to zip up and pull on those clothes, and failing miserably (underscore miserably) I again left the dressing room to pick up an armful of still larger clothes. It was at this point that I realized why I really prefer to shop at Ann Taylor over Kohl's. At Ann Taylor, the sales help is right there to bring different sizes or styles. At Kohl's, I have to undress, try to try on the obviously too small items, wriggle and struggle out of the too small clothes, get dressed in my own clothes, go try to find the next bigger size, and go through all of that again. And apparently again and again.

I finally left the store with three tops, a skort, and a pair of those black stretchy knee-length workout pants. And a swimsuit and a pair of espadrilles and a sick feeling realizing that it is really time for me to get serious about getting off the couch and off the sweets. I guess that sometimes it takes hitting the bottom (in my case, my big bottom) before you can start to rise again.

Jack and I met for lunch so he could console me and point out that there are many women who are much larger than me, that I am still so very attractive, and after much badgering, admitting that, yes, he had noticed I'd put on some weight, but seriously, what good would have been accomplished had he mentioned it to me? He is really a smart man.

The only thing left for me to do after lunch was to get my hair cut. All of my hair cut. Off. Okay, not all of it--obviously I still have some hair, but the hairs are all about 2" long. And if I'd had my way, they might have been even shorter. Luckily my stylist kept her wits and her scissors about her and did not follow my directions exactly.

After the hair cut, I decided to go to Ann Taylor to find a dress or two because, after all, Ann had sent me a $15 gift card and how could I let that go to waste? As soon as I put on the first dress at Ann's, I realized yet another reason why I love that store.

Besides the instantly available help and the amazing fabrics and details of the clothes, there is yet another reason why I love shopping at Ann Taylor more than Kohl's.

I left with two summer dresses that fit perfectly, and were a full two sizes smaller than anything I tried on at Kohl's.


Friday, April 18, 2008

i guess i was wrong--and well, a change is in the wind

Yep, I was wrong about the bacon bra. All of the girls in the gardens who blog, including me, thought 1) the bacon bra was kinda funny and 2) it would have been much better if it was made of cooked bacon. Boy was I wrong. The men in the gardens are totally refusing to even look at it. What's up with that anyway?

However, turns out that after much discussion with the therapist, many moments of training at her knee, I used some of the things she has tried to get me to do and TADA! --seriously--really big drumroll here with huge fall and big cymbal crash--it worked! Yes, it was a little breakthrough, but a breakthrough none the less.

Let's just say that while I expected the absolute worst outcome, it went far better than I had anticipated and well, that feels pretty good.

Monday, April 14, 2008

this seems like a no-brainer

What man wouldn't love this? Bacon--Boobies? A Mandream if ever there was one.

tagged once more--likely more than required

I've been tagged again, this time by Jessie.

The deal is, I'm supposed to pick up the nearest book, turn to page 123, line 5 and type it on my blog.

Line 5, page 123 says: "Or could it be that a vague dissatisfaction with the way in which my work was going--the onset of inertia which has possessed me time and time again during my writing life, and made me crabbed and discontented--had also haunted me more fiercely during that period than ever, somehow magnifying the difficulty with alcohol?" Or, if I don't count the half sentence at the top of the page, line five is simply: "Unresolvable questions, perhaps."

The book I have been reading and marking up of late is called, "Unholy Ghost, writers on depression". It is a collection of essays written by writers who have either experienced depression firsthand or have a close relative who lives with depression. As I read each of the essays, my thoughts about those written by the relatives were that they just didn't get it. Whereas the ones written by people who live with depression seemed right on. Easy to relate to and understand.

Probably my favorite essay right now was written by William Styron in 1985, as part of his book, Darkness Visible. These are some of my favorite words by him:

"As one who has suffered from the malady in extremis yet returned to tell the tale, I would lobby for a truly arresting designation. Brainstorm, for instance... Told that someone's mood disorder has evolved into a storm--a veritable howling tempest in the brain...even the uninformed layman might display sympathy rather than the standard reaction that 'depression' evokes, something akin to 'So what?' or 'You'll pull out of it' or 'We all have bad days."

and this:

"I shall never learn what 'caused' my depression, as no one will ever learn about their own...Plainly multiple components are involved...That is why the greatest fallacy about suicide lies in the belief that there is a single immediate answer--or perhaps combined answers--as to why the deed was done. The inevitable question 'Why did he [or she] do it?' usually leads to odd speculations, for the most part fallacies themselves...To discover why some people plunge into the downward spiral of depression, one must search beyond the manifest crisis--and then still fail to come up with anything beyond wise conjecture."

He discusses the connection between melancholia (the term he uses to describe depression that I find somehow comforting) and hypochondria:

"It is easy to see how this condition is part of the psyche's apparatus of defense: unwilling to accept its own gathering deterioration, the mind announces to its indwelling consciousness that it is the body with its perhaps correctable defects--not the precious and irreplaceable mind--that is going haywire."

And finally, some of his descriptive phrases about depression:

"...ensnared me in a suffocating gloom...I felt an immense and aching solitude...the muddied thought processes register the distress of an organ in convulsion...I have felt the wind of the wing of madness..."

Possibly some of the most comforting words are these:

"It is of great importance that those who are suffering a siege, perhaps for the first time, be told--be convinced, rather--that the illness will run its course and they will pull through. A tough job, this; calling 'Chin up!' from the safety of the shore to a drowning person is tantamount to insult, but it has been shown over and over again that if the encouragement is dogged enough--and the support equally committed and passionate--the endangered one can nearly always be saved."

He's right, you know.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

without specifying anybody in particular

Yesterday afternoon, Jessie, Shilo, the girls, and I went to a bridal shower for Jack's niece. It was at his mother's house and it was very nice--she had her house cleaned on Thursday (less stress) and hired a caterer (even less stress) and it was fun to see the cute little bride so excited about a set of sheets or a mattress pad. OOH! Pillowcases!!

Towards the end of the shower, the door opened (no knocking or doorbell ringing) and in she walked--thru the dining room and into the middle of the party. Totally uninvited--to the party or into the house. She greeted Jack's somewhat surprised mother, saying she just wanted to make sure that Jessie and Shilo knew that she had purchased diapers for all three girls and had left them at my house.

Background Information: 1. Since the birth of the first girl, she has provided all of the diapers for the three girls, with the exception of maybe two boxes of diapers for each girl. A considerable expense, much appreciated by Jessie and Shilo, but always with the expectation that they needed to come to her house to pick up the diapers. On occasion, she would drop off a box at Jessie's house, on her way out of town to Mesquite, but not very often. More often, she would call me or the girls' mothers to constantly remind them that she had diapers at her house for them, when would they be coming over to pick them up--today? tomorrow? soon? Don't they appreciate the diapers? 2. Lest you think she arrived at the bridal shower completely unaware that it was happening, just know that she had asked me about it no less than three times last week, in addition to once that morning, and one other time when she visited Jack's mom while the house cleaners were there.

Back to the story. After explaining to Jack's mom the reason for her visit, she immediately moved to Jessie, who was holding Janey, who was, luckily, swaddled in a blanket, because Jessie had somehow forgotten to bring socks for Janey and we would have never heard the end of that--what kind of mother takes a five-week-old out in public without socks? Next she chased Breanne towards me, asking her to please give her a kiss, which, of course, Breanne refused to do. Thank heavens she didn't catch up with Breanne, because Breanne had a runny nose and she would have insisted on forcibly wiping it while Breanne wailed at the outrage. Realizing that Breanne wouldn't cave, she moved up behind me, trying to get Audrey to allow herself to be lifted off of my lap so that she could kiss and hug her, but as with Breanne, that wasn't gonna happen either. Next she looked down at me while telling me that she had purchased diapers for the babies and left them at my house. Then she gave the same message to Shilo who was sitting less then two feet away from me. She then turned and walked back through the guests, stopping to say hello to Jack's aunt who used to live in the house behind her house.

She seemed to realize at that point that she really didn't belong there, ensuring that everyone knew that she had purchased diapers for the three girls and had left them at my house. I watched as she slipped back through the dining room and out the front door.

You probably know how much I respect my therapist and all of the suggestions she has made that have been so very helpful. But somehow, when one of these events happens, I am left speechless--all of the great suggestions are locked in some room, way in the back of my brain, along with my ability to verbalize anything.

What can I say? It is whatever it is.

bad kitty

Remember a few days ago when I posted this picture of some sweet little pussy willow branches?

This is what they look like today.

Apparently, Oscar either really likes pussy willows or else he really doesn't like pussy willows at all.

Friday, April 11, 2008

i can wait no longer

On Monday, March 31, the eldest grandbabygirl turned two years old. Hard to believe. I have been waiting since the party on March 30 for some pics from the gala to post with these thoughts, but I can wait no more. It was a two-unwrapped-gifts-night---for me.

You may recall that the Saturday before the party was not one of my better days. After the crushing blow administered by my parents, I was certain that had it been nearly any other kind of party, I would have graciously excused myself and stayed home in bed with a pint of Ben & Jerry's or at least a king-sized Reeses' with a large diet coke.

But, it was Breanne's birthday and how could I miss that. Besides Jack and I had found some adorable clothes and some other stuff, including a little Elmo that was obviously going to be just the right size for a two-year-old.

We were a bit late arriving at the party. In fact, when we got there, everybody else was already there--Cory's parents, sisters, my parents, Jack's mom, our other kids and Audrey--pretty much everybody. When we entered the house, Jessie was showing Jack's mom around their home because she hadn't seen the place yet, and as we said hello to everyone, I heard Breanne's voice asking, "Gamma?" and Jessie answering, "Yes, it's Gamma!" And then Breanne ran through the kitchen, calling, "Gamma? Gamma?" She saw me and jumped up so I could pick her up and hug her. Always a good feeling. At that point, everyone in the room exclaimed, nearly in unison, "You're the only one she would go to--she refused to let her mom put her down and she refused to let anybody else touch her."

Yes, that was the first unwrapped gift to me.

Breanne then proceeded to show me her presents on the dining room table, asking if she could open them and when I said, "We'll have to ask mom," her mom nodded that it was okay and Breanne brought one present after another to me to hold while she unwrapped them. Her mom filmed it all.

After the present opening and the singing and cake and ice cream eating, the guests started to leave. As Jack and I prepared to leave, Breanne ran to me again with her arms up so I could pick her up. We gave each other loves (hugs with much oohing and aahing and patting of backs and cheeks), we gave each other kisses, and as I gave her what was intended to be the final love of the night, she said, "Gamma, IIIIIII wub ewwww." That was the first time she has ever said that all on her own without me initiating the exchange of those words.

Perhaps one of the best birthday presents ever especially since it wasn't even my birthday.

If only I had some visuals...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

just two more

1. Update on the bread. Turns out you can't make multi-grain bread or multi-grain/fruit bread on the express setting of the bread mixer/baker unless you like tiny little dense loaves that are almost gooey in the middle because a) the yeast was too old, or b) stupid, the instructions say that the express setting is only for white bread. Yeah, those two adorable little loaves. Were not supposed to be so little. And even though the vast majority of people would have tossed them and started again, they were so cute that Jack and I had to eat them anyway. We can hardly wait until the next batch (which won't be made until we eat the remainder of the loaf and a half of Orogrow or Orowheat or whatever the heck that storebought bread is called that we bought earlier this week before we got our panties all twisted over the thought of homemade bread) (and by our panties I mean my panties). Oh, we also went back to the flour store and bought more bread flour and more fruits--dried cherries, apricots, and blueberries because how can you go wrong with fruit in your bread--keeping in mind that figs and dates are not fruits, they're something else that is not edible? Then we stopped at Walmart to buy some containers to keep all of our new little bags of flours in because we don't want anybody or anything thinking those flours would be a good place to live. If you know what I mean. So now the cost of our two tiny loaves (and their future siblings) has climbed to $80. But they are and will be so worth it.

2. On a different note (what does that mean anyway?), I visited the doc today. A couple of weeks ago, I saw him to talk meds--mostly that the stuff I was taking didn't seem to be working because after over a year and a half, I still had nearly constant thoughts of offing myself and I felt as though I was walking around, seeing the world, even sleeping in a fog. Not just any fog, mind you, a dark, sad fog. Apparently that means your anti-depressant isn't working. He gave me a new medication that also has an anti-anxiety component to it. Can I just say, Hallaleuya? Well, I can say it but apparently I can't spell it. But you know what I mean. After just 3 1/2 weeks, the difference is astounding. I recognize that a couple of recent therapy sessions have been veryveryveryvery helpful, really helpful, but the combination of the new drugs and the therapy has lifted my mood immensely. Okay, just to be clear, let me cite an example that obviously shows the difference in my mood. A couple of years ago, I bought two adorable purses. I don't even remember what the first one looked like, although I carried it on my shoulder for almost a year. But the other purse is a red leather (okay, faux leather--why buy expensive purses when there are so many cute cheap ones that you could never own them all?) so it's red and it has a braided handbaggy handle and its about the size and shape of a small wienerdog that is sleeping kind of curved around itself. It was a big adjustment going from the black, small suitcase-size bag I've been carrying around, but there is the clue about how much better I feel. I've had that red bag sitting in my closet in open sight for a long time and I haven't even had it in me to scale down the stuff I was hauling around in the suitcase into that great little bag. Do you see? I feel better! (yes, that feeling does deserve a ! or even !!) That is when I knew the new medication was working. The day that I got out that red bag and started using it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

we made bread

And not just any bread.

Jack and I have started a couple of new diets and exercise programs so that, well, geez, why do you think we've started diets and exercises? Of course. Because our shapes have become more and more like grandparents and we can't keep up with the girls anymore because of our big bellies. Or something like that.

One of the diets is all about burning fat and building muscle. Sounds easy, right? Don't kid yourself. Weight Watchers is easy--just keep track of the calories, fat grams, and fiber grams in every bite of food you put in your mouth and assign points to the food and keep track of the points and you'll lose weight as long as you don't eat too many points of food and as long as you drink lots of water and as long as you exercise. And suffer.

The fat burning-muscle building diet is about all of that and more. You don't need to keep track of points. But you do need to eat five meals every day and those meals need to be balanced, a certain percentage of protein, carbs, and fat, and about three hours apart.

Oh, and don't forget the shopping for the correct foods and determining what to eat and when to eat it.

By now, you've probably figured out the secret to weight loss on these diets--you spend so much time figuring out the diet that you don't have time to eat. Add a little exercise time, and some time at work and there's your waking moments.

Well, not really.

Jack and I have been trying to get all of the diet stuff figured out for a couple of weeks. He works with a guy named Bernie who has been on the fbmb diet since last September and has lost almost 50 pounds. Bernie gave us some sandwiches he made on his own homemade bread. It was incredible. Lots of seeds and nuts and grains. Not like anything I've ever eaten before that I called bread. None of that fluffy brown-colored white-wheat bread I've been paying almost $4 a loaf for. At Costco.

Bern gave us the recipe for the bread so on the way home tonight, Jack and I stopped at the grain store (I had no idea there was such a place). We bought rye flour, oat flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and barley flour. We bought bread flour, wheat gluten, dough enhancer, and lecithin. (It's an oil replacement. I don't know where it comes from. It comes as little tiny bright yellow beads? And no, I don't know what wheat gluten is or what dough enhancer is, but they both look like another little bag of some kind of flour.) We bought flax seeds and sunflower seeds. We picked up a bag of pecans and a bag of dried cranberries. It only cost us $40 to make our loaf of bread.

Okay, okay, all of those little bags of flour et al will make many loaves of bread.

When we got home, we measured all of the newly purchased ingredients along with water, canola oil, salt, honey, oats, and yeast into our bread mixer/baker and pushed a couple of buttons and 58 minutes later, we had a loaf of that yummy bread. Well, we had half a loaf because we worried that the recipe might make too big of a loaf for our mixer/baker to handle, so we only put half of the ingredients into the mixer. Yes it was yummy, but it was also so adorable. What could be cuter than a little tiny loaf of bread all full of seeds and grains? I mean, seriously, what?

And because we still had enough of the mixture of many flours for another tiny cute loaf, I put all of those ingredients into the mixer/baker along with the pecans, cranberries, some raisins, and a bit of cocoa and what do you know? Yes, that's right, another adorable tiny loaf with fruit--with fruit--just 58 minutes later.

I love these diets and exercises.

check out the shoes

It starts early.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


how can you not love this face?

Audrey has learned how to make a new puckery-lipped face--hysterical!

gaaa--not again

This morning Jack and I stopped at the IHOP for breakfast on the way into work.

As we drove into the parking lot, Jack said something and I replied, "Well, not to change the sandwich, but..."

Jack and I immediately exchanged glances (stares) and I said, "Did I just say sandwich? Because I meant to say, uh, er, ssssubject."

And then we laughed like the maniacs that we are.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

must. tell. internet.

Sweet little Janey, at only 27 days old, after battling rsv, and recovering so nicely that she now weighs in at 9 lbs--one whole pound over her birth weight--

Sweet little amazing Janey looked up at me with a big, open-mouthed, whole face, including her eyes and cheeks and chin and eyebrows--SMILE.

She melts me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

did i tell you about saturday night?

After surviving the mental beating of Saturday afternoon, Jack and I went to dinner and got home just in time to play with the little girls. All three of them! Their parents were headed out for the evening, so they came over for several hours. It was the best.

Breanne and Audrey have some sharing issues since Breanne regularly reminds Audrey that everything is "MINE". (Her words--not mine.)

And not to be outdone, Audrey is very good with her never-give-up attitude. Whenever Breanne hollers, "MINE", Audrey continues to walk towards her, hands outstretched, expecting Breanne to drop whatever is MINE into her grasp, as if that happens all of the time. (Or never.)

On Saturday, Janey came for her first stay in the gardens. (Can I just say that she is every bit as adorable as the two older girls?) Apparently, Janey was so excited to be in the gardens that she stayed awake the whole time, except for about 10 minutes of nap around 10:00 pm. That was great for me because I haven't been around her nearly enough, between her rsv and my ailment. I got to hold her and change her and feed her and change her and burp her and change her and change her and be completely entertained by her. It was all delightful.

I wondered if all of the time I was spending with Janey would cause the other girls to feel abandoned by their Gramma, but my fears were completely unfounded. The girls spent the majority of the evening chasing each other around at toddler high speed, trying to catch up with the cats, and playing with a variety of toys--sometimes even allowing the other to touch a treasured toy.

At one point, Breanne brought a puzzle to Audrey and then got a puzzle for herself. They were sitting right next to each other--so close in fact, that when Breanne wasn't looking, Audrey reached over and quickly grabbed a piece of Breanne's puzzle and threw it towards the wall behind her. Over and over. Breanne was obviously confused about what had happened to half of her puzzle pieces, but once she started putting her puzzle together, Audrey was delighted to be able to produce them so that Breanne could finish the puzzle. It turned into some kind of team project. I almost expected them to high-five.

That little-girls-playing-together-thing was so right.

quick! write this down!

1. Everybody is entitled to their own feelings, thoughts, emotions, actions, and privacy.
2. Everybody gets to set their own boundaries.
3. Everybody is responsible to maintain their own boundaries.
4. Everybody can say, "This conversation/situation isn't working for me, so I'm going to leave now".

Wow. I love therapy. I go in with my body and mind in knots and I come out with all kinds of new insight. That therapist is good.

did you hear the one about the three cats on the bed?

Okay, so there isn't really a joke about that, but seriously, there was a time not too long ago, when I wondered if these three could ever become buddies. They couldn't all be in the same room without somebody hissing or growling or streaking away as fast as Dale Jr. at Daytona. (Okay, okay, they're cats so obviously they can't run as fast as Jr., but maybe as fast Gordo.)

But check them out. All on the same unmade bed. And not a one sleeping on the sheets, all on the end of the bed. Astounding if for no other reason than they all seriously prefer sleeping on the Egyptian cotton sheets. I mean, who wouldn't?

ps If you look closely, you can see the big black floppy hat the drummer gave me for Mother's Day last year. Unfortunately, Oscar chewed up the Mexican wrestler poster that came with the hat. Stupid cat.

definitely spring

Even though it is still snowing every other day, it has to be spring if we are seeing these kids in the gardens.

And these are the first blossoms of 2008 in the gardens. Say hi to the King Alfred daffodils.