Saturday, October 31, 2009

oh the halloween we've had

This year's Halloween included:

1. Two adorable little girl tigers
2. One beautiful Cinderella
3. One sassy flapper (but if you asked her, she was a princess. 'course.)
4. One Halloween Eve party, costumes required, (vampires, werewolves, or zombies only), no one under 18 allowed, friends, co-workers, fellow band and school chums, with pizza galore, numerous snacks and sodas, held in the partially-finished, lit by colored and black lights only basement. With a band.
5. Band for said party included the drummer who sang but didn't drum because he can't drum and sing at the same time (but he can seriously sing those Modest Mouse songs), a replacement drummer, because the original drummer (who was replacing the drummer) got a job at the gas station of the local Smith's and couldn't get off work, one of the usual quirky cast of characters around here on electric bass, one of the former basement dwellers on lead guitar, and the drummer on backup chords on guitar. It was a whole lotta great. And while no werewolves showed up, there were many dracleas, many more Edwards, and an adorable zombie. Jr had some amazingly realistic vampire teeth. And the drummer made a pretty convincing punk rocker in his boots and leather pants.
6. Did I mention that the drummer's last four or five girlfriends all attended? How does he pull that off? Very well, thank you. Maybe it's because he's the drummer/lead singer in the band?

And while he doesn't read my blog (horrors, I know!) I still want to wish the drummer a happy birthday tomorrow. The band gig was a great birthday present from him to me. I love to see my kids doing things they do well and enjoy so much.

Friday, October 30, 2009

this may sound pathetic

But where are you all? No comments for days...I'm in withdrawal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

i work with rocket scientists

read this or go here to watch a cool video.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

it's happened

Our little girl is growing up and she is stuck in the middle of teenagerville. You know that time when a kid goes from affectionate and cuddly to hyperactive and I'm bored? JoJo is there. Waffling between point A and point B not realizing that point C is really the place to get to?

Example 1: JoJo discovered snow this morning and it was the perfect vehicle to express her boredom with her hyperactivity. Fits of sniffing, running, scooting, sliding, interspersed with bucking bronco leaps back onto the deck followed by high speed running in the form of figure eights, and mad dashes back onto the deck, slip-sliding across the wood, and ending up back inside the house. Nonstop. All day. Please let me out, no please, please, please let me in. No out. Oh geez, in. Out. Then, what's this round white ball-shaped thing you've tossed my way? A ball? A snow ball? Holy cow, it's cold in my mouth but if I'drop it and stomp it, it disappears? Whoa. Make me another, please. Oh that's cold. Stomp. Wha? Where'd it go?

Example 2: About a month ago, I discovered a chunk of fabric had been chewed off of the front part of my gramma's couch. Not something I expected to find, since there had been no real indication that we had a couch shredder in the house. Perhaps I should have researched on the google because I might have realized that if someone is a box springs cover shredder around the age of six months, she might become a couch shredder by the time she's ten months old.

Example 3: Remember when I posted about someone shredding the edge of the rug we used to have in the front room? But we don't have that rug any more because somebody had to, simply had to remove the fringe from the edge of that rug? Turns out that after fringe removal, the next step is carpet removal, which, had I googled I would have known, begins simply enough around the edges of a carpet where it meets up with a tiled surface, but can then progress to chewing out pieces of carpet as big as say a pancake from IHOP, which is what happens when you go out to breakfast and kindly leave the pup in the house instead of outside in the freshly falling snow, and while you may have been doing her a favor by not letting her freeze to death, she was possibly doing you a favor by beginning the removal of that carpet in the diningroom that you've had for five years that could possibly use an upgrade.

It just occurred to me that someone may have been watching movies with the dog--maybe something like Marlie & Me? And now, JoJo, sharp as a tack JoJo, quick as a cat JoJo, sly as a fox JoJo, realizes she has work to do. No more laying around, looking adorable, chasing the ball as often as someone will toss it for her, chewing on her rawhide chewsticks. No, no, she has new stuff to cover or uncover as in the case of the furniture frame and the diningroom floor under the old carpet. She has cats to chase and remodeling to participate in and tennis balls to locate and hide. And of course, there will be more snow.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

sisters at gramma's house on a rainy day

Janey and Breanne came to visit yesterday and even though it was a bit brisk and a bit rainy, we had to play out back because it was time for Breanne to demonstrate her newly discovered princess scooter riding ability.

and if you ask nicely...

she might just show you her muscles...

Yesterday was also the day that Breanne and Janey discovered that JoJo likes to run fast, really, really close to little kids, but she understands that she can't run directly into little kids. However, she does occasionally come close enough to give little kids a couple of kisses right on the lips or cheeks or ears...

While Breanne was practicing her scooter skills, Janey was checking out the wind chimes...

and the play kitchen...

and dishes...

and because it wasn't really raining all that hard, they played with the drinking fountain...

and made it rain on JoJo...

Friday, October 23, 2009

conversations with audrey or a girl and her uncle's horse

(Upon entering the back of my car and seeing part of the back seat folded down)
Uh oh--sumpin's not right here.

Audrey, do you like to eat cereal?
No Gramma Jill, I like snacks.
Do you like to eat corndogs?
No Gramma Jill, I like snacks.
Do you like to eat spaghetti?
No Gramma Jill, I like snacks.
Audrey, do you like to eat snacks?
Yes, Gramma Jill, they yummy.

Audrey, does Baby Ellie have hair?
Yes, Gramma Jill, Baby Ellie has hair. Baby Ellie has little hair.
Little hair, Audrey?
Yes, Gramma Jill, little hair.
Audrey, do you have little hair?
No, Gramma Jill, I have big hair.

Shhh, Audrey, play quiet so Grampa can sleep, okay?
(in a whisper after looking at Grampa asleep in his recliner)
Gramma Jill, Grampa sleeps loud.

Gramma Jill?
Yes Audrey--
You play cards on your puter.
Yes, Audrey. Does Daddy play cards on his computer?
No, Daddy no play cards, Daddy play warcrap.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

an odd premise

I had a dream last night that made a lot of sense if you can get past the odd premise.

I dreamed I was hanging out with Kerry, Bill, and Gina from Radio from Hell on X96, KXRK, Provo.

That's the odd part. The rest of it made total sense.

The dream started out at Bill's house in the Avenues, and I have to say, he has a nice back yard with some of the best grass I've ever seen. We decided to walk to my house, through the University campus, in buildings I'd never seen before. At some point, Kerry said something that made me feel a bit sorry for him, so I gave him a hug and a little momkiss on the cheek and after that, I thought he seemed friendlier than I'd thought before. Bill was his usual self--passionate about the stuff he was talking about, which is one of the things I like the most about him and Radio from Hell. Gina had troubles keeping up, not because we were walking but because she kept getting distracted by stuff she saw.

It took a long time, but eventually we got to my house, at least it was the house that is my house lately in my dreams. It isn't a house I've ever seen real life, but it's always familiar in my dreams so I know it's my house when I see it.

When I woke up, I was kind of excited to realize I was driving up north today and I'd be listening to those kids.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

jojo again

Yes, she loves her tennis balls, but she also loves a good squeaky toy like this stout rubber ball I found at Petco. It is the ideal squeaky toy because it has no parts that stick out for her to chew off, but it is without a doubt the loudest squeaky toy I've ever heard. Maddeningly, annoyingly, dog-lovingly loud. When we throw it for her, if she makes an especially impressive catch, she wags her tail in circles and squeaks it with glee--

And speaking of loud, have I mentioned that JoJo is a singer? Yes, she is, an adorable singer. Just try to convince me that this isn't the cutest dog singer you've ever seen.

Precious? I think so. Did you know dogs howl as a form of communication? It's a way to join in the conversation at a dog party or family sing-a-long. (seriously, I read that on the internet.)

Here she is, collecting grapes from the neighbor's vine, all the while keeping an eye on her squeaky ball--

And in case you weren't already aware of her astoundingly quick moves, here's one more.

Monday, October 19, 2009

a couple of thoughts

1. Jack underwent surgery on his thumb this morning. The doctor showed me the x-rays that clearly demonstrated the extra movement in the joint that was injured. Jack now has a teeny metal bracket holding his ligament in place until it heals--a week in the splint and five weeks in the cast and he'll be back to his old thumb self.

2. I think I've mentioned before that I like to do some of the word puzzles on the Merriam-Webster website--usually I do four puzzles each day that take up about 5-10 minutes total. I especially like it when I solve the Word Roundup and it responds with "Nice Ropin!"

3. And from Merriam-Webster today, The Universal Cryptogram: The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.

4. If I could invent anything in the world right now (besides world peace, an end to hunger, good health for all, and well, all of those other heavy, important things) I would invent a sparkly dust that could be sprinkled on people who choose to always see things from the negative point of view that would help neutralize their negativity and occasionally help them see the positive point of view. I know, I know, there has to be negative to appreciate the positive, but seriously folks, some people need to give others an occasional break, cut 'em some slack, or just not say anything if they can't say something nice. Sheesh.

Too short, too short, too short, life is to spend it irritated with people who are, I think, most of the time, doing the best they can do. And if they aren't, isn't that punishment enough for them, to know they are performing below their own personal par?

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Sometimes there is nothing quite as satisfying as a simple, "excuse me?"

For the past few months, I've had the opportunity to interact with a guy at work who regularly shoots out little zingers. You know those snide remarks that people say that leave you wondering, "hey-what was that?" Comments, in particular, about the field I work in--legal--and about those in the same job as my boss--an attorney.

I know that, contrary to popular opinion, there are many different types of lawyers. And when I say different types, I don't mean lawyers who practice family law and criminal law and contracts law or corporate law. I mean there are good lawyers and bad lawyers--and you can break that down into bad lawyers who don't know how to practice law effectively as well as bad lawyers who are sleezeballs and dopes and also some who don't know their clients because they are only practicing law to make as much money as they can. The ones who will seemingly say or do anything for a buck.

But there are also good lawyers. There are many attorneys who know the law, understand how to represent a client, and still can sleep at night because they are decent, honest people. They know the area of law that they practice in because they have learned it in school and have spent years working in that area. They stay abreast of changes in the law in their area. They understand the importance of civility and professionalism and courtesy and compromise.

So, back to the guy at work. For several months now, he's been poking me when I'm not looking. He's the guy who sends an email to everybody up and down his chain of command and mine when he needs something from me (that I've already provided) or when he needs to cover his backside because he's let something slip so he cleverly directs the blame my way when he and I both know what he's up to. And instead of replying to everybody when I respond, I have simply replied to him, re-supplying whatever it was that he needed, ignoring his little jab.

But this week was different. A couple of days ago, he sent me some information that was in conflict with directions his boss had given me. It wasn't a big deal, but his boss was waiting for me to send him a document and I didn't know what to do with the information the guy had sent. So I sent his boss the information as the boss had requested and said that the guy had requested that I change it in this different way, again, not a big deal kind of thing, but would the boss please let me know how to proceed with it. The change in direction was something related to how my lawyer boss wanted something done versus how the guy's area lawyer wanted something done and the big boss wanted the two lawyers to figure out how to resolve things so they were both doing this thing the same way.

I didn't hear back from the guy's boss, but a few hours later, I did get copied on an email the guy sent to his team saying that they needed to stand down until the lawyers worked out their issues. I responded to his next email by answering a different question and also mentioned that I had forwarded his earlier request to his boss for direction.

A bit later I was copied on another email from the guy to his team where he said,

"Hold off for now. We need to wait until the elephants (legal) finish their dance."

Yes, that is a direct quote from his email including legal in parentheses.

I sat for a few moments, stunned that he referred to legal (and by legal, I mean not just my boss and the guy's area attorney, but me, hello, I'm in legal too) as ELEPHANTS.

My immediate thought was that he was referring to us as elephants because

a) we are big and slow moving (which is not even true, we are catlike and quick), or
b) we are elephants as in the 800-lb elephant in the room that no one wants to deal with (or is that an 800-lb gorilla?)

No matter how I tried, I couldn't see any possible way that being referred to as an elephant in this situation was a good thing. So I did the only thing I could think of.

I replied to his email and said, "Excuse me?" "Elephant?"

He immediately replied by saying, "Oh, not you. I meant John and Bob." (note: names changed to protect my job.)

I did not respond.

I received another email from him that said, "When I referred to legal as elephants, I only meant that elephants are the top of the food chain like lions and I was referring to legal as elephants and the vice presidents would be the lions. That is all I meant. Period."

I did not respond.

Towards the end of the work day, I responded to another email from him regarding another question related to the original topic. And then I went home for the night.

Early, early, early this morning, the office door opens and in walks Mr Animal Namer Man.

He cheerfully greets our assistant (who was aware of the earlier email and graciously greeted him while still remaining a bit distant).

Next he pokes his head into the Big Elephant's office and says good morning to my boss. (I wish I'd told my boss about the email so he could have trumpeted out a greeting.)

Finally Mr ANM enters my office and stammers out some nonissue question about the document I'd been working for him.

He asks how my son is feeling. (He became aware of Stu's liver transplant after complaining [to me and copying everyone up and down the chain] that I was not responding quickly enough to his emails during the first few days after the transplant when I was not in the office but was checking email. I had apologized for not getting back to him immediately because I couldn't use my laptop in the ICU. Oh, and it was Labor Day weekend for heck's sake!)

And then, as he rises to leave, he asks me if I'm okay, I understand about the elephants, right? He didn't mean anything derogatory, okay? And I say, sure.

And he points through the wall towards my boss's office and conspiratorily whispers, "Bob. Bob is the elephant."

And instead of telling him to explain that to me--because I thought he told me being an elephant was a good thing because it's the top of the food chain but now he's telling me that only Bob is an elephant so doesn't that mean I'm no longer the top of the food chain, so what does that make me?--but instead of asking him to explain this, I let him off the hook.

And he slides, snakelike, under the door.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

what? you need a list from me?

1. Jack is scheduled for thumb ligament reattachment surgery on Monday. Then five weeks in a cast.
2. The drummer accepted a job offer as the bass drumline tech for the Madison Scouts, a drum corps in Drum Corps International, and was so excited to learn he'd be working with his hero of the drum world, the guy who runs the drum program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the school he wants to attend after he graduates from the U, that he couldn't sleep. I think he would have paid to work there, but instead they will cover the cost of flying him to Wisconsin once a month between now and next May when they head out on the road, riding the buses, sleeping in the gyms, performing all over the midwest and south and east coast.
3. Jessie and family are visiting New Hampshire while she grows sweet girlie number three. She is in that part of pregnancy when the morning sickness ceases, you can feel the amazing movements of the life within, and you are still comfortable moving about.
4. Stu's last blood tests were all normal. NORMAL. normal.
5. As much as Jr likes to complain about the drama that is his life, he seems very content, attending the U, working at the credit union for pay, learning new skills and using new tools while working on the basement remodel.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

jack, jack, jack

Last night, the perfectly delightful Audrey came to gramma's to play on my park (swingset), and play with my pincesses and their house, and have a bath and put on jammies, and go to the eat house (McDonald's). A whole lotta fun for Audrey and me.

Jack and Jr were downstairs working on the basement remodel, nailing up stuff and drilling holes through floor joists for pipes and wires to fit through (so they would all be up inside of the suspended ceiling, instead of hanging down crisscrossing all over the place).

Audrey and I were preparing to head to the eat house and then to her house because she had had enough of the 'scary noises' (pounding and drilling) coming from the basement. Perhaps I should have known right then. I mean, if a two-year-old recognizes a scary noise, shouldn't I?

But I didn't recognize the noises for what they were. Even when they stopped. Quite suddenly. It wasn't until Audrey and I entered the kitchen to pick up her bag and blanket and saw Jack that I realized those scary noises had been telling us something.

Turns out that even though Jack is a big, strong, manly man, a construction guy, a man of all trades, capable of and regularly performing repairs and redos of all kinds, even he is no match for a corded drill with a hole saw attachment. Well, he might be a match for that drill and hole saw, but his thumb wasn't.

Just 30 seconds after he warned Jr of the dangers associated with power drills that are plugged in (as opposed to the battery operated type, which means seriously increased power to the drill), his hand lost control of the power drill for just a split second (really, not even a second), and that drill got all high and mighty and decided to be king of the basement remodel world and Jack's right thumb. Um, I think it's called 'torque'? The drill bit (in this case a hole saw that makes big holes in wood) dug its teeth into said wood, but not enough to chew through said wood, only enough to cause the rest of the drill to try to spin, taking Jack's thumb with it in said spinning motion, putting Jack into a really, really bad place. Because by then, it wasn't just his thumb that was overtaken by that dirty rotten drill and its hole saw bit, it was pretty much all of Jack.

That's how it is. Everything's going great one split second and then--BAM--things go very bad and your thumb may be facing the correct direction after the BAM, but for some period of time there, it was not facing in the usual anatomically correct position and suddenly your hand hurts like heck. (I said heck there because Jack doesn't like it when I cuss in writing. But he did say he may have cussed out loud when the drill tried to spin his thumb off.)

When I entered the kitchen and saw his face, I knew something was very wrong. More wrong than two days before when I saw the look on his face after the piece of sheetrock that covers the opening into the attic broke into two pieces and fell, folded edge down, directly onto his right wrist that was holding onto the ladder he was standing on. He told me then he thought he might have broken his arm, but after holding an ice pack on it for a while, he decided it would be okay. And maybe it was okay, but it does have a nasty mark on it that looks like a burn that removed the hair on that spot of skin and will probably become a bruise before it's all healed up.

Last night, when I saw his face, I knew something was more wrong than the arm injury. I asked, he answered, we both looked, I took Audrey home, and then we headed to the emergency room. As we parked the car at the hospital, Jack asked me if I thought the insurance company would give us a hard time for going to the ER for a broken thumb. I think I told him they should just try it and see what happened.

Believe it or not, we were at the ER for less than two hours. It may have even been around an hour. However long it was, I think it was a world record for shortest ER visit ever. We walked in, they admitted Jack, we hardly waited in the waiting room, they called him back, the doctor came in while Jack was in the restroom, the doc asked if it hurt to touch his pinkie with his thumb (those ER docs are soooo sneaky, I think he knew it would hurt and it did, caused all kinds of new wincing on Jack's face), x-ray guy took him to radiology for x-rays, chatted about his own construction work injuries, nurse came in and gave Jack a tetnus shot and some percoset for the pain (pausing for just a second when she saw the dosage, but Jack's a big guy who was in big pain), came back and splinted his wrist and hand, doc said there didn't appear to be any breaks but likely he had torn the ligament that stabilizes his thumb, gave us a prescription for more of the pain medication and the phone number of an excellent hand specialist (who happens to be the son of the guy who repaired Jack's knees, ankles, and shoulders after various sports-related injuries over the years), and sent us out the door. In less than two hours.

So there you go, you can get excellent hospital care even if you are at the ER and not the transplant floor.

And now Jack's got a big ole fat splinted bandage on his right hand to immobilize it, and according to the internet, he's headed to surgery to repair it. And he has to put up with not only the injury to his thumb but also his pride when all the maintenance guys he works with see his big splinted hand and harrass him about it. And I'm thinking that the basement remodel has been the biggest pain in the butt remodel we've ever attempted. It's hard to tell yourself that it will all be worth it when the power tools take over.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

jojo update

Not sure how or when this happened, but JoJo has stopped licking the TV and must have moved it over a couple of inches towards the wall because now she can reach in between the TV and the wall when she intentionally nudges her tennis ball back there.

Hope she doesn't get much bigger across the forehead.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

a month later

On September 6, Stu got a healthy liver. One month ago today. I think about how he looked before the surgery. I think about how he looked immediately after the surgery. I think about how he looks now. I think about how he'll look in another month.

Once again I have to say the whole experience has been remarkable. His liver enzymes are still far lower than we'd ever hoped for. His color is so, so, so normal. He only has a few staples remaining in his belly and a mostly healed-over incision. No tubes, no wires, no monitors. Just a belly covered with steri-strips until they all fall off in a few more days.

He told me tonight he isn't yet strong enough to call a batter out on strikes in a major league baseball playoff game, but seriously, did he ever really want to do that anyway? I mean anymore than any of us? Today he was strong enough to talk on his cell phone to me and walk at the same time. I know, amazing, right?

It is really amazing. Awesome. Incredible.

Monday, October 5, 2009

some people

I spent Saturday morning with Sugar and Colleen, yardsailing, talking, and laughing.

Have you noticed how sometimes people use those plastic drinking cups to make signs on fences or skywalks--they say things like, "Welcome home" or "Don't do drugs" or "Will you go to prom with me?"

We saw one that said, "Cups for sale".

Sunday, October 4, 2009

amidst all the banging and drilling and wire pulling

Jack and Jr and the drummer have been working on the basement remodel for the past couple of days. I typically underestimate the scope of such a project (me: seriously, we just need to paint and put up a ceiling and lights and get carpet, right? Jack: and rerun all of the wiring for outlets and switches and lights and cable and internet, and remove and replumb the drains from the washer and upstairs laundry sink so they are not in the middle of the room, and run a vent duct from Jr's dryer to outside of the house, and reinstall the hot water heating pipes and radiators, and replace the windows and sills and frames, and finish spackling and sanding. And then we can paint and install ceiling, lights, and carpet).

So it might take more than a week of evenings? Okay, I get it. But at least the project has begun again and it's been more than great to see and hear Jack and the boys working well together. I've not heard any whistling or singing, but I've also not heard any hollering or cussing, so there you go.

Today, I woke to the sound of thunder and the flash of lightning and more thunder and rain splattering hard on my windows. I thought about how rainstorms in the spring feel so different from rainstorms in the fall. And I got up and took my camera outside to get some pictures of one of my burning bushes in the rain.

And this is what you get when you can't get your flash to turn off and you don't want to get out from under the deck to take a closeup because you are so sweet that you'll simply melt if that rain splashes on you.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Remember when I said a few days ago that Jack and I were feeling really crappy with a fever and aches? And then we got better but Jr got the H1N1 flu and then the drummer got the same sickness?

And then everybody seemed to be getting better? And Stu is doing great too?

Then this afternoon, my nose started to feel a little drippy. And I sneezed a couple of times on the way home. And an hour ago, I started coughing.

My heck. I think I'm coming down with something.