Monday, June 30, 2008

lifts and separates

In my youth, I often heard that phrase, "lifts and separates," always related to Playtex bras, always assuming it referred to the way your lifted and separated parts would look with a sweater over them, because that's what always appeared in the commercials after the picture of the bra, lifting and separating.

But I never understood that concept in real life. Until recently. As in on our cruise a couple of months back when I thought it would be clever and a very smart idea to pick up some sports bras because they looked so comfortable and I totally love the look of a pair of boy shorts with a sports bra. And as described in a previous post, I was working on the perfect gramma body.

But, please, if you learn only one thing from reading this blog, let it be that you will never use the phrase, "lifts and separates" to describe the action of a sports bra. At least not the Champion ones I purchased. There is no lifting or separating going on with those bras. And while there is an element of visual effect with a sports bra that is different than a typical bra (I admit, I don't know what a typical bra really is), that whole lifts and separates thing is 90% about a completely separate issue that has nothing to do with appearance.

And if you know what I mean, then you know what I mean, and if you don't, well, sorry, but that's all I'm saying.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

shopping with jr

Turns out Jack isn't the only amazing shopper around here. Here's the list of things Jr and I picked out, I tried on, and he approved for purchase yesterday:

1. Four pairs of pants--green corduroy, solid gray, gray with plum pinstripe, gray with pale blue pinstripe.
2. Two Vera Wang silk dresses--one a delightful print in dark sage, plum, mustard, and the other dark sage and lime with plum and dark sage jewels.
3. Two sweaters--one lightweight plum, one for fall in brown, cream, and black.
4. One black jacket--falls just past the waist, with big black buttons, a big shiny zipper, and details too numerous to count.
5. Four pairs shoes--black slippers, classic black heels with the pointy toes, black heels with rounded toes and pleats all around, and brown mules.

This is what we spent:

1. $10
2. $14
3. $24
4. $22
5. $46

This is what the original prices were:

1. $124
2. $166
3. $156
4. $50
5. $200

That's right--$116 instead of $696.

We also found a pair of slacks, a shirt and a tie for Jr that were on sale for $48 instead of $100.

And two pairs of brown shoes for him--one pair of dress shoes and one pair of slip-ons that were $73 instead of $160.

If only we'd had a little more time to find accessories.

Friday, June 27, 2008

seriously, what do they know anyway?

The other day, jr and I were out driving somewhere and out of the blue, he says:

"Drummer and I were talking (before he left for his summer gig) about your weight gain."

My thoughts--??? talking about my weight gain???

"We both knew that you've been pretty upset about your weight and your inability to drop that extra weight."

My thoughts--yeh, so what about it?

"Drummer said he thought you were just having an issue realizing that you're a gramma now and gramma's bodies are supposed to be different than young mom's bodies--more body to snuggle up to the grandbabies."

My thoughts--too jumbled to print...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

clearly i haven't learned yet

how to post a brief entry. this is your warning for the next several posts.

i've got to get this lengthy blog thing under control or how was the past week in the hospital with jack?

In an effort to get the blog length under control and because my emotions are still close to not under control, I'm going to give you, dear readers, a list of events from the past week with Jack in the hospital.

1. Two weekends ago, Jack started to come down with something--he was completely wiped out by the end of the day for the previous two days of work and after noon on the weekend days, he was too tired to do anything. He slept most of the weekend.
2. After work on Monday, we go to Jessie's to install a swamp cooler and on the drive home, Jack can hardly keep his eyes open.
3. On Tuesday, Jack insists he's okay to go to work, but when he picks me up for lunch, I take one look at him and ask if he wants me to take him home and he agrees to go home.
4. At 3:00 am on Wednesday, Jack wakes up with such a high fever that breaks and leaves him sweating and shivering so violently that he can hardly get a couple of advil into his mouth. He decides to stay home. He agrees to go to his doctor that day. But the doctor and his nurse are out of the office that day.
5. I call Jack at 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon and ask him how he's feeling. He's feeling low. I tell him that when I get home, I'm taking him to the instacare or to the emergency room and he asks when I'll be home. I leave immediately.
6. We arrive at the emergency room, expecting a long wait for a short visit with a doctor who will either send us home with antibiotics or with the diagnosis that Jack has a virus, so go home and take some more advil and drink lots of water and get more rest.
7. The length of time we spend in the ER is just as expected, but we are more than a bit surprised when the ER doc announces that while Jack's high fever indicates that he has a virus, his white blood cell count is critically low (not typical with a virus) and he's trying to decide whether or not it's safe to let Jack leave the hospital. After six hours in the ER, we leave, Jack sporting an IV that has safely delivered antibiotics into his body (after the first round of antibiotics caused hives, resulting in a dose of benedryl followed by a different round of antibiotics). We agree to return in the morning for more antibiotics.
8. We return to the ER on Thursday morning, Jack's birthday, and the ER doc says that as soon as a room is available upstairs, he will be admitted for more tests. And, oh, by the way, his white blood count is lower still. A room becomes available eight hours later and Jack settles in 3W16 in the Oncology wing of the hospital. More tests, worse headache, high fever, sweats, chills, no appetite.
9. Friday--more tests, worse headache, high fever, sweats, chills, no appetite--infectious disease doctors come and go, hospital internal medicine docs come and go, nurses and CNAs come and go and still no test results. The infectious disease docs test for blood counts, liver enzymes, west nile virus, hepatitus, and dozens (only a slight exageration) of other possible ailments and Jack endures a liver ultrasound and cat scan of his head, all while he has the worst headache, high fever, sweats, chills, no appetite, and aches and pains shooting through his entire body.
10. Saturday--more of the same. The docs mention the possibility of performing a bone marrow biopsy on Monday if his white blood count doesn't begin to rise. And there are more tests, worse headache, high fever, sweats, chills, and no appetite. I wonder if when they put Jack in a bed in the Oncology unit, it wasn't just because there are less germs there as we'd been told.
11. Sunday--A repeat of Saturday in all ways.
12. Monday--Another repeat of Saturday, symptom-wise, but a visit from the docs to say that the white blood count is rising, slowly, but higher than before. They have decided against the bone marrow biopsy. I start to breath again. Jack seems to be improving slightly.
13. Tuesday--the whatever-it-is that has laid Jack so low for almost two weeks is back with a vengeance. His fever is higher, his pain is worse, he tells me he thinks he might die from this and while I tell him that can't happen, we have plans, I wonder to myself if he's right. The docs order a lumbar puncture (doc talk for spinal tap) and order an MRI. The docs give him more pain meds and later in the day, produce a paper that shows his numbers, documenting in black and white that his blood counts are rising, his liver enzymes are dropping, there are clearly virus cells in his blood, he does not have meningitus, or west nile virus. However, his symptoms seem to indicate that he has one of the many thousands of viruses that are around, and his symptoms seem to match up with those of someone who is suffering from Colorado Tick Fever--a virus that is transmitted from an animal that has the virus, to a tick that bites the infected animal, and then bites a person, in this case, Jack. The ticks don't burrow into the skin, they can simply bite, suck in some blood, transmit the virus, and hop away. But the cultures that the doc sent to the state lab could take up to eight weeks to confirm or deny that Jack has this particular virus. The docs tell Jack that he can stay in the hospital for as long as he needs to or he can go home to recuperate in his own bed, with food he likes, and nobody there to check his blood pressure or blood sugar round the clock, and he won't have to cope with the hospital noises--the beeping and ringing of medical equipment, the calls for help, cursing, and general insanity from the nearby patients (and I mean that in the kindest, most honest way), and the loud, apparently entertaining banter of the staff, who obviously enjoy each other and their work.
15. Wednesday--The docs tell Jack that he is improving, although he will likely feel bad for a few more days. They write prescriptions for large quantities of pain killers, tell him that the MRI was normal as far as this illness is concerned, but did Jack know that at some time in the past he'd suffered a slight stroke. We think we can identify when that happened. We wait all day for the doc to come write the discharge papers so we can go home. Jack showers and dresses in his out-of-the-hospital clothes and as soon as the doc signs the papers/prescriptions, we get outta there.
16. Jack is still recovering at home. Today was very much like Tuesday and Wednesday, but tonight, Jack looks much better and the docs assured us that he will recover completely in the next week or so.

What a week this has been. Who stays in the hospital for 7 1/2 days? Who has so many tests with so little information? The docs' plans seemed to be to rule out all of the really bad stuff and wait. While it's good to know that Jack doesn't have a bunch of really bad ailments, it was a long week.

I don't think hospitals are all that different than they were when I was bearing children. Jack's room did have one pretty cool feature--a little black button that I could push from my recliner next to Jack's bed that would release the door and shut out all of the commotion around us. That's about as good as it got. A little black door release button. And unlimited diet coke.

i forgot part 2 of dream 1

It's the part where I have been chosen to be a madrigal at my high school and the other madrigals are kids I went to school with, but they are high school age and I am my current age. I ask them if it bothers them to have somebody who is old enough to be their mother singing and dancing with them (because this group of madrigals not only sings, but dances) and they hem and haw and one of the girls, Marcie, says, well, it wouldn't be so bad if you'd quit using words that we use and just talk like a mom. So I stop using words like dude and we all get along fabulously. We prepare for our first performance by running through the songs two times, but we don't have time to go all the way through the dancing part of the performance. The girls all have two different dresses--a long, dark blue, fun-to-twirl-around-in dress and a cream-colored lace that almost looks like a dress someone would wear for a second marriage. Our first performance is in the biggest concert hall I've ever seen and there are lots of madrigals from other schools and famous people ready to judge the entrants. Before we even begin our song/dance, I realize that I'm wearing somebody else's dress--a girl who has missed the performance--so I try to change to my own dress while on stage, but Marcie will not allow it. We begin the song/dance and I quickly realize that I can't remember most of the words or any of the dance, so I try to follow the others and only mess up slightly one time at the end of the dance. After the dance we mingle with some of the other students from other high schools and we learn that we are right in the middle of the scores--not in the best groups but not in the worst groups. We gather in our choir room to talk madrigalese, where I learn that I missed the first get together/information meeting and I need to go to Hill Air Force Base to pick up my madrigal jacket. The madrigal teacher then hands each of us an envelope that contains a check made payable to each of us. I open my envelope and find a check for $6000. The other madrigals tell me that I can use the money for whatever I want, but there should be enough to cover the cost of my dresses and jacket and our two out-of-town performances, one in Los Angeles and one in New York. I ask where the money comes from and they tell me the madrigals have sponsors who like to donate money to the madrigals because it's a good tax write-off. As a former band geek, I know that we never had that kind of sponsorship and I think to myself, "I could buy an entire top-of-the-line tuba with this kind of money."

technicolor dreams of the past two nights

Dream 1.

I am working as a nanny for one of my neighbors, but I've never met this neighbor in awake life, so I don't know her, I only recognize her home. I'm caring for a two-year-old boy, who is curious and bright and adorable. The mother leaves and then the UPS guy starts delivering packages. It is lightly snowing outside. As I take the packages into the house, I realize that several women I work with and several women I know from high school are in the house and we are having a party. The little boy loves the women. The doorbell rings again and I greet the UPS man who has left so many packages that they are stacking up on the porch. I return to the combination kitchen, living room, tv room to join my friends and realize they have started opening the packages. They have opened a large box that is divided into sections and they are debating about who should get to keep the plates, the bowls, and the colored goblets, which are the source of much discussion. Everyone wants the goblets because they are beautiful, no, magnificent, perhaps even divine. (Those are the words my mind said in the dream.) There are deep red, blue, gold, and green, and some are heavy in your hand and some are the most fragile crystal I have ever seen. There are all sizes and shapes, from tiny little port goblets to the largest drinking goblet. As we ooh and aah over the goblets, the doorbell rings again and it is UPS man and behind him is the mother of the boy and she is slightly upset that I have left packages out in the snow, but more upset that my friends are visiting, and very upset that they have opened her package until she sees the look of delight on her little boy's face. He is sitting with my work friend, Kay, with a tiny but heavy goblet and when she points out that his mother is home, he hops down and runs to show the goblet to his mother.

Dream 2.

I am in my old neighborhood, not the neighborhood where I grew up, but the one where Jack and I raised our kids. I'm going to visit my neighborhood friend, Kay, who is always good to see--she is honest, compassionate, and fun. But in the dream, she lives next door to my parent's house. On the way to Kay's I run into my mom, who begins to correct me about something I've just said and I interrupt her by saying, "There, that's the thing you do that drives me crazy, always correcting me like that," and she giggles and says, "Yes, but you should listen to me because you know I'm always right," and I say, "There, you did it again," and she smiles and says, "Well, that's just the way I am, and I'm always right." I tell her that I need to take a shower and she suggests that I go over by Kay's house where my parents motorhome is parked and use the shower in it. I decide I don't really want to use the motorhome shower so I grab my hair mousse and attempt to put it on my hair. But the mousse container is messed up--the mousse comes out as liquid no matter how many times I try to squirt it out in my hand, and the liquid doesn't make my hair behave. I eventually decide to take a shower after all, but for some reason I have to go through Kay's house to get to the motorhome. I walk in, Kay says hi, and then she throws a can of orange soda at her dear husband, Brian, because he hasn't fixed the fridge and her soda is frozen and she's waited long enough for him to fix it. I'm more than a little shocked as I head out the door with Brian who asks me if I think there's enough room in their backyard for a pear tree because he's wanted one of those for a long time. That's when their daughter, Erica, and her husband walk up and Erica is yelling at her husband and I'm thinking that that is everybit as out of character for Erica to yell as it was for Kay to throw a soda can at Brian. I go into the motorhome, wade through all kinds of clutter to the back of the motorhome to get in the shower. I look out the bathroom window and realize the motorhome has starting rolling backwards down the road. There isn't much of a hill, so I hurry to the front of the rolling motorhome as it crashes through fences, yards, into cars and street signs. I finally get it stopped and attempt to drive it back to park in front of Kay's house. But I can't make the clutch and gears work and when I finally figure out the shifting, I drive back to Kay's and park on the opposite side of the street. When I hop out, I realize that I've effectively blocked the whole street by parking diagonally. I go back in to the motorhome and the whole thing happens again--the rolling backwards motorhome, the crashing into all kinds of stuff, the inability to shift and the bad parking job. And it keeps happening over and over again.

Don't know what to make of either of these dreams except that they both seem very chaotic, which closely matches the last week of life in the gardens.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

stressure/flatulence theory

You may recall a recent post in which I mentioned a possible connection between my new anti-depressant and an increase in flatulence.

Jack and I have spent a huge amount of time together in the past week, with an even huger amount of stressure (yet another word that tumbled out of my creative mouth--an obvious combination of stress and pressure).

I told Jack that during my solo therapy session last week, the therapist pointed out that when Jack hears someone say something, he processes it and typically assigns it a value of 1 on his scale of stuff that he cares about, whereas I hear the same thing and assign a value of 20 (well, she backed off the 20 and said maybe it was only 10.) I told Jack that when he hears news about the health of a loved one, he processes that information as, "hmm, I didn't hear anything too bad, so this is low on my scale of stuff that matters," but when I hear the same news, I immediately go to LEVEL 10 alert, as in, "omg, he/she is going to die!" to which Jack replies, "we will all die someday" to which I respond (HIGHER LEVEL 10) "what? we're all going to die?"

Jack thought about that for a minute and said, "you suck all of the pressure out of a situation for all of us" which is when I noted that yes, I do absorb a lot more stressure than most and hey--could that be the real reason behind all of the flatulence? And could it be possible that releasing the flatulence is the perfect way to release my silly need to take responsibility for all of the stressure around me so that nobody else need feel it?

Without going into that area known as TMI, let me just say that just a small bit less stressure inside of my body caused a 1/2 lb weight loss. Seriously.

In my mind, that is certain proof (rising almost to the level of law) that stress and pressure can literally weigh me down, causing the numbers on the scale to rise, my shoulders to droop, and my hair to gray. Apparently I need simply recalibrate my response process and I can live lighter, on less medication and with less flatulence.

No wonder my dad is so carefree.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

miracle of the pancakes

The old girl, Ginger, has been fading. She has lost most of her hearing and eyesight, and her hips and back legs don't always move in her usual coordinated collie fashion. (She is not the old girl who stumbles over her feet and hits her nose as she walks past corners and doors.)

About a month ago, I began the springtime brushing of Ginger. She was her usual perky, don't-brush-me-there-self. It took me a week and a half of brushing, a bit of dog each night, to finish clearing out her undercoat. The only remaining clumps to remove were under and behind her ears, in that silky-soft-behind-the-collie's-ears fur.

Two and a half weeks ago, I went out to brush her again, to remove the bits of undercoat that I'd missed and to brush out the ear-fur knots. That is when I began to feel her bones. If there is one word that has always described Ginger, it would have to be fat. Well, not fat fat, but fat as in big ole fat happy girl. But the day I attempted to brush out the ear-fur knots, Ginger was no longer fat. No matter that she had been fat only four days before. She was now bony. I ran my fingers over her body and could feel her ribs, her shoulders, her neck, and her hips. Jr brought up the talking scale from the basement and weighed himself and the dog and then himself alone and we realized that in a very short time, Ginger went from 92 lbs to 60 lbs.

Since that night, the only thing Ginger would eat was milk bones or human food. She was content to lay on the grass, even after Jack hooked up the swamp cooler on the deck for the girls--the swamp cooler that the neighbors think we use to try to cool the whole world because it is cooling the deck that is outside of our home.

Still, she seemed content to lay around, occasionally moving to a new place on the grass or wandering towards the water trough that refills itself every four hours with fresh cold water--thanks to Jr's sprinkler smarts.

Every morning, I've gone to the deck to watch her laying on the grass, to determine whether or not she was still breathing and every morning, she was. Last night, I got home around ten and Jr said she wasn't doing so well. I went out to check her and decided that it was probably time to take her to the vet one last time.

I woke this morning with that thought in mind. Jr had a friend stay overnight, so he rose early and made homemade pancakes--the same homemade pancakes that are second only to homemade waffles in Ginger's list of human food she loves. I picked up a couple of the pancakes and a bottle of orange juice and headed out to sit on the deck steps about ten feet from Ginger.

Of course, Dolly immediately trotted over hoping against all hope that I'd toss a pancake her way. Ginger lay still, breathing, but so still.

And then, the miracle happened. Ginger's long collie nose began to sniff, and it sniffed her muzzle up and sniffed her whole head up off of the grass and then she began sniffing the air, back and forth, trying to determine where the wonderful pancake smell was coming from. Jr came out and I told him about what I'd seen, so he headed over and gave her a pancake, which she wolfed down and then I gave her a pancake that she wolfed down and then we moved a bowl of water by her and she drank some.

And then her tail wagged.

I don't know how much longer Ginger will be with us, but it felt good to watch her, still able to use that amazingly long collie nose to locate one of her favorite foods and to enjoy that food.

I always knew those pancakes were delicious, but I never suspected that they were miraculous.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

accomplishments in the gardens since yard sailing nirvana

1. Many happy plants in the gardens--new, relocated, from seed. The orange and yellow poppies are perfect by the deck.
2. Three nirvana pots of happy plants.
3. The old girl is still alive and kickin' or at least breathing and wandering.
4. Father's Day featured the best 1/2 pot roast in a long time. And due to a slight miscommunication between Jr. and me, we will have another 1/2 of that pot roast soon. (Turns out Jr. thought that because the pot roast came from the Costco meat department that it wasn't one 5-lb roast, but was in fact two 2 1/2 lb roasts.)
5. Survived another Jensen family party with cheesecake.
6. Many wee cheesecakes are in the fridge in the gardens left over from the JFP.
7. New plantings require watering, which requires many visits outside with the hose.
8. I've developed this urge to run, something I've only done in the past to entertain gym teachers laughing at my clumsy lack of coordination. Don't know what this running desire is all about, but I'm on it. Sometime. After I think about it for a while. And no. We haven't gone for another hike. Not for lack of interest, simply an increase of summer colds/fevers/aches. Perhaps this Sunday will be the next hike day. Or sometime after that.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

sugar is going to be so mad at this...

Jack and I went to IHOP for breakfast this morning and then we went looking for yard sales--in particular for a yard sale that had one specific item for sale. Yes, yes, we were looking for a swing set for the darlings to play on together in the gardens. For years, Jack has strongly objected to any encouragement to the sweeties to play out back. The big old girls live out there and the gardens were pretty much a mess. But then Jr took over maintenance and I came alive to planting and care again and voila! the gardens are seriously coming together and Jack agrees that the girlies can play safely out back.

We headed south and watched for signs. We stopped at a multi-family neighborhood sale--three front yards of crap for sale by many families. I kept telling Jack to stop, stop, stop the car, and he finally parked by the northernmost house. I hopped out and asked if either of the salers had a swingset for sale. They both said no. As I started heading down the driveway to the next two houses, I walked past a bistro table with two chairs, and then immediately whirled around to check out the table and chairs. I have been looking for a curly wiry table and two chairs that I could redo with a mosaic tile top and ohmyheck, there it was, the set I've been dreaming about. It is all rusty and the table top is wood and the chairs have been out in the weather, so one of the seats is all ripped up and one is all faded. They were perfect! And only $25. Not so expensive or perfect that I'd feel like I couldn't tear them apart to make them like I want them and lots of potential-- character even, in an eclectic kind of way. Perfect! I could have gone home happy, except I did need to find that swingset. So we headed further south and east, following the signs.

We stopped at another sale that had cold diet coke and homemade chocolate chip cookies, which I never pass up, but not much else we really wanted. I thought for just a few seconds about buying the snoozing ernie, but of all of the words he said about going to sleep and feeling sleepy, the only thing I could really understand was when he started to snore and his belly rose and fell. Cute, but not really worth $5.

Next, we found a sale with a bunch of kid stuff where we looked at an Elmo vcr tape, an Elmo head Halloween candybag, but that Elmo head with no body was more than a little creepy. As we started towards the car, I noticed a box of little girl hats at just about the same time that Jack found some wooden puzzles, and when we saw the one with puzzle pieces of hand tools, we knew we had to buy the puzzles. And the hats. And the bag of megablocks for our toy closet, especially when we saw the bonus in the bag of megablocks--a little tiny plastic girl doll, maybe four inches tall. Must be a Thumbelina or Polly Pocket or something. That all added up to $7.

Next, we started following some superior signage--large, neon green signs with big black arrows and big address letters. We must have seen at least five signs, but in one of the only disappointing moments of the morning, the sale was next to nothing. Great signs, seriously low on good crap.

But, next to the last green sign, Jack spotted a small, storebought yard sale sign with a tiny little arrow. So we followed it. and the next one, and the next one, and doubled back to find the next one. By now, we were up against a mountain and a golf course that had both golfers and deer playing on it--the golf course, not the mountain, although there may have been both on the mountain too, I wasn't wearing my glasses, so I can't be certain about that.

The driveway of the house at the end of the little signs and arrows had one rack of ski clothes and old robes, two matching wooden rocking chairs, a travel bag, and a wall sculpture that caught my eye. We got out and realized they were selling more stuff in the house. I was drawn to the wall sculpture, a metal sculpture of a grove of trees that I knew we needed. We set it aside while we checked out the inside of the house.

We learned from the owners that they were moving to a smaller home in California to be near their grandchildren and before long, we realized they didn't want money for their stuff, they just didn't want to have to pay to move it. After twenty minutes of browsing and a return trip with our trailer to carry all of the crap we bought from them back to our house, this is the list of stuff we bought for $150:

2 matching wooden rocking chairs
1 metal wall sculpture
4 paintings/pictures
1 sturdy wicker magazine stand
1 chrome firewood holder
1 lamp made of metal in the shape of an ornate bird house
3 large pots for jr to plant annuals in for the gardens
1 decorative metal heart shaped box hanging on a piece of ivy
1 healthrider
1 barbeque with propane and all kinds of accessories
1 solid oak home entertainment center for the big screen in the basement tv room
1 antique Lane cedar chest that looks just like my dad's mom's cedar chest
2 ladders, one wood, one metal

And probably more crap I can't remember right now. This was the jackpot of all jackpot yardsales. We didn't ever find a swingset, but I've put it out there in the cosmos and sometime in the next month or so, it will appear, the perfect swingset, at the perfect price, with lots of potential.

Sugar, you've got to see this stuff. Hopefully you're still talking to me...

bad news in the trib

At the IHOP this morning, I bought a newspaper and began the search for promising yard sales. On my way to the classifieds, I scanned through the paper and read three articles that were disturbing and outrageous, each in its own way.

The first article on B1 of the Trib is titled, "Racist or just naive? Obama toy fuels furor" and is an article about a West Jordan couple who have developed "The Sock Obama", which is for sale on their website. This toy is a sock monkey. Yes, you read right, it's one of those sock monkeys kids had years ago but this one comes with black hair and a suit. The couple who developed the toy(?) said they were "saddened that some individuals have chosen to misinterpret our plush toy. It is not, nor has it ever been our objective to hurt, dismay or anger anyone. We guess there is an element of naivete on our part, we simply made a casual and affectionate observation one night, and a charming association between a candidate and a toy we had when we were little." wow.

The other two articles on page B6 are titled, "Father held after tiny infant was beaten, blinded" and "Cops: Man kicked, strangled son, 4". About the first article, the only two things I will say are that the infant was first injured at three weeks and again at six weeks and the father is a 22-year-old man from Provo.

The article about a 42-year-old Pleasant Grove man who beat up his four-year-old, says that "the boy told police his father bit his ear, covered his mouth and nose, threw him on a bed and kicked him in the stomach. He told police his dad was upset because his little brother was crying. The father admitted to stopping his son from breathing by covering his face, but said he thought he kicked him in the neck rather than in the stomach."

What the hell is going on with these people? And seriously, does the 42-year-old really think it would be better if he meant to kick his four-year-old in the neck, not the stomach, especially after he covered the boy's face and stopped his breathing?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

peacefully soiled fingernails

almost a whole week now to put my hands in the soil in the gardens

sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy--doesn't matter

for now is planting, weeding, mulching, growing time

time for old familiar friends to re-emerge

time to mourn those who were lost.

time to discover new beauties, rediscover long lost friends in the greenhouse.

time to portion off the smallest part of, or seedlings from, the familiar, introduce the new and the lost, and find a place for all to begin again.

generations in my gardens

Monday, June 9, 2008

your choice--last night's dream or where i got sunburned while cleaning up my flowerbeds

The first part of today's post is about my dream last night. The second part will be about the fun in the gardens this weekend and a mysterious bit of sunburn that appeared. You may choose whether to read part one, part two, both, or neither. Because this is America and you are free to choose.

About the dream. I dreamed that my gramma was still alive and living in the home she lived in for years and years, before she moved to Sandy, Mesquite, and to my house. She had only two couches in her livingroom, because all of her other stuff has been given to family members since her death. For some reason, she had cut her hair into a flat top type do, buzzed clean on the sides and back, and about an inch tall on top. But of course, it was very thin, and I couldn't help but think that I hoped it grew back quickly in case she died again because I didn't know what my mom might try to do with her head for her funeral. (Remember it was a dream.) Then, my cousins, Judy and Lee's boys, showed up and started demanding that I give them money--John wanted $2000 for braces on his teeth, and Tim wanted $10,000 because he insisted that gramma had promised him that. And Mike just wanted money to buy drugs. I told them all that the money had been distributed in accordance with her will and they should ask their mom and dad for their share of money--and then I remembered that their mom recently passed away, so I told them I was sorry for the loss of their mom, but I didn't have any money for them. And when I finally got away from them, I realized I was carrying 6" purple plastic coke bottles that contained my three grandbabies and my niece's grandbaby (the niece who doesn't have any children yet.) All of a sudden, out of nowhere, these creatures like something out of road warrior showed up and tried to take away my grandbabies in their coke bottles. And I fought off those bastards--used my kung fu kick and my kung fu grip. And my gramma fell off of her couch, worrying me that she had broken a hip or something, but she got up and told me to hurry along and come back again and soon.

My interpretation of that dream is that if gramma has an opinion, it is that she doesn't think I need to go to the memorial service.

Part 2. About the gardens and the sunburn. I spent a couple of days over the weekend pulling up all of the weeds I could find in the gardens in preparation for planting the perennials that jr and I bought a couple of weeks ago, as well as preparing to move and plant some of the already established, almost overtaking the gardens perennials, and the few perennials that have been planted in someplace other than their favorite spot in the gardens. All the time this weekend was spent on weeding. Perhaps I will go out right now and plant, transplant, separate, and enjoy the gardens. And somewhere during all of the weeding, I picked up some sun on my arms, my face, the tops of my feet, and a triangle across my lower back that goes from side to side, mostly straight across, and forms a triangle headed down my backside. I think the sun must have shined straight down inside my jeans somehow. Who knew that could happen?

It makes me wonder how I didn't end up with a sunburn on my right side from the top of my butt to the back side of my knee where my apparently worn out jeans finally gave it up, granting me both sun and a nice cooling breeze on the back of my right leg.

I love it out in the gardens. The surprises in the soil and the surprises on myself.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

yes, dears, i am still here

i know it's been a week since my last post, but i had to unclench my hands and brain before i could work the keys on my compy. still don't feel up to using the caps yet, but hey, at least i'm typing.

i've spent a bit of time thinking about my aunt judy and uncle lee in the last few days. i suppose that if i could feel like everything--all of the feelings i can identify and all of the feelings i can't identify and how to deal with all of these huggin' feelings--i would be doing great right now. but that's a lot of feelings to figure out and believe it or not, i'm part of the group of people who don't figure out the feelings very quickly. so when some hard to deal with situation arises, i go into the ACK! i can't deal with this, i must hide, i must run, i must*t. how have you all survived all of the years in your life with all of these feelings? and how long is this going to take before i get my sh*t together? apparently more than hours, more than days, more than weeks, more than months.

but back to judy. i've been told i can write a pretty mean obituary and by that i do not mean mean as in hurtful, but mean as in truthful, flattering, full of thought. i've debated about an obituary for judy. after talking to my therapist, i realized i do not have to attend her memorial and stir up all of the feelings i have towards her children, my cousins, or my uncle lee, or even get involved in trying to satisfy all of the expectations regarding being an extended loving happy family. so, i've settled on an obituary. of sorts. i don't have all of the dates, or even the totally correct names, but i know what judy was like in my life and i think i can clearly express who she was in my mind. here goes.

judy was someone who could see the big picture. she appreciated it when others took care of the little details, but she clearly helped others catch her vision and make it work. sandy city became a different, better place after judy was elected as a councilwoman.

judy was a living example of the concept that if you don't take care of yourself, who will? she encouraged others to live independently, especially her children. i think she desired success and freedom and independence for her kids and grandkids. while she desired independence for everyone, she also appreciated the benefit of somebody who had your back. she protected lee and he protected her. and countless times, they did the same for their boys.

judy expressed her emotions freely. you always knew where you stood with her. if you had to guess, you weren't paying attention or listening, because she expressed her emotions and thoughts often.

judy cared for her cats and birds and gardens and kitchen. she was a good cook and whenever you entered her home you could tell if she had been cooking because there were amazing aromas coming from the kitchen and if you were invited to eat, you would experience wonderful textures, tastes, and hospitality.

for as long as i can remember, whenever i saw or heard janis joplin, i was reminded of judy. i don't know if judy was a singer, but i'm certain that if she was a singer, she could have jammed with janis--similar look, attitude, and i'm sure, the same gritty, rockin' voice. or at least i've always suspected that.

i understand that judy was very sick for the last few years. she denied how sick she was until last month when she finally admitted how sick she felt and her doctor ordered some tests that revealed that she had cancer--in her lungs and in her pancreas. she told lee she had things she wanted to do and didn't want to spend the next six months--her last six months--dying through the haze of chemotherapy and radiation. lee respected her decision and in two weeks, hospice came to their home and judy passed away two weeks later--in one month, not six.

while i am still not ready to get together for sunday dinners and christmas eve with lee and his family, i do feel sorrow for their loss. i am sorry for judy's suffering. and i am sorry for lee's suffering as he watched the woman he's loved for many years, languish and then die.

and that is about all i have right now.