Friday, February 26, 2010

factors and me

Tonight, for the first time in the history of the world, a math teacher said to me, "Good answer."

I couldn't help myself--I said aloud, "That's the first time I've ever heard that." And I nearly squealed in delight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

confessions of a one-time graffiti artist

Despite my frequent visits to bathroom stalls everywhere, I have yet to write or etch anything on a stall wall.

Once, when I was oh, probably eleven or so, I wrote on a white painted wall on the outside of Roller City. Something about the girls I was with, and the boys we met, one of whom had a red Bic pen, and that clean, freshly painted white surface, and before I knew it, we were drawing on that little bit of smooth concrete. I don't even remember what we were writing or why my always "she's such a good girl" brain fell out, and there I was, defacing the local skating palace. I suppose it might have been the round and round skating, the blisters on the insteps of my feet, or perhaps the once-too-often attempt at backwards skating that resulted in a mighty fall on my bony butt, but for some reason, I totally forgot that if we got caught and my mom found out, not only would I be in trouble, but so would everybody at the place that evening. We would probably all be grounded for our twelfth year of life. By my Mom. And she would have added something icky like cleaning our bathrooms for that whole year. With no phone and obviously no video games or dvds or texting because none of those had been invented yet.

Lucky for us, we were all novice vandals and did not remember or notice that the white wall was adjacent to the ticket booth, both very close to the well-lit parking lot. In no time at all, the probably 19-year-old manager stormed out of the place, hollering at us, asking what were we doing? It was a gentler time and he did not even ask what the heck did we think we were doing? In just moments, the 16-year-old assistant manager joined us, tossing us dirty rags and sploshing down a bucket of water at our feet as he instructed us to get busy and clean up that mess. Totally humiliating all in all.

My escape from death by graffiti and the feeling of that dirty rag in my hands in the cold water that night were and continue to be enough to control my strong desire to mark up those signs that are seen in every eating establishment restroom. I so seriously want to change them from:

Employees must wash hands


Everyone must wash hands

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

oh--i forgot a couple of things so read this after the next post.

1. About the Olympics. I can't help myself. Neither can Jack. We love curling. It is so Canadian. Eh. We absolutely did hear a former curler turned curling color commentator say, "Oh those dang Canadians." Hilarious. Yah shure. Doncha know. Eh. hehehe.

Jack watches curling and in usual Jack man-fashion, has figured out the rules but will say he still doesn't really understand all of the rules. I don't know anything about the rules. He patiently explains it to me time and again, but I'm not watching it to understand the rules.

I watch curling because I think it is so astoundingly great when the women curlers yell, using all of their stomach muscles, "HARDHARDHARDHARD" over and over with increasing intensity so their teammates will brush the ice harder causing the stone to move faster over the ice. (That ice brushing thing? Physics. I love it.)

The other thing that is a total hoot about curling is when the men are yelling for their teammates to brush the ice harder and it sounds like those Martian muppets that keep saying, "YIPYIPYIPYIP".

Be warned that if you watch curling, you might have sore belly muscles the next day from laughing.

2. REVELATION: if you suffer, and I do mean suffer, from depression, and you are taking your medication exactly as directed and you are still feeling sad inside, you may find happy by knowing that upping the dose a tiny bit can help with that sadness. Turns out deep inside sad really isn't my true state of mind. Just as I suspected. Not that tossing back extra pills will make you giddy when life is stinky. Oh no. And it won't send you to the moon if you're already feeling pleasant. But it may help you feel more like yourself. Especially if you're getting enough sleep.

Just thought you'd like to know.

updates like crazy--yes it's a long post.

First the good news. Cailin is back home with her mom and dad and sisters. Breathing much better. Less stuff to suction from her nose. Much better. Seriously prefers to sleep in someone's arms over sleeping in her bassinet. Seems to expect everyone in her home to realize that she is--hello!--an only child, uh, except she has two sisters who had a great vacation sleepover at gramma's but really missed their mom.

Second. That great vacation sleepover at gramma's house. No, I didn't take any photos of the three days and three nights Breanne and Janey spent with us. Because a) I was too busy taking care of two girls, which is hard work or perhaps more accurately, physical constant fulfilling tiring rewarding work and we should all worship or at least proclaim loudly praise for women who stay at home and raise wonderful children or women who raise wonderful children and work outside of their homes, and b) Stu and family would have felt bad that I took pics of Jessie's family on their sleepover vacation but not his/their family on their sleepover vacation. gotta keep it fair. sure. Because I am a mom.

Anyway. I learned a few things or perhaps one very important thing from Audrey's and Ellie's sleepover--mostly that nobody is going to get any sleep if we all (and by 'we all' I mean me and JoJo and two little girls) try to sleep in Jack's and my bed.

Which brings me to a slight interlude--the guest room remodel. I gave serious thought to a guest room and realized that all of our guests will be our granddarlings, so we assembled our boys' bunkbeds (made by Jack many years ago), tossed on the quilts I made for those same boys several years ago, and moved in a few items with serious kid entertainment value, and while we haven't hung pictures yet, I'm telling you, people are happy to vacation here.

Yes, there is a birdcage lamp.
When Breanne first came to visit and saw the bunkbeds and the kitchen and the tv, she declared, "Gramma, it's a house in a room!"
And so it is.
The House Room.

Many, many totes and totes of monkey puppets and dragon puppets and princess puppets

And of course, princesses and kids and furniture.
Yes, that is a monkey next to a Princess Jasmine who has !gasp! lost her hair.
And her pants.

These are a few favorites--
For Breanne, the dog leash (an entire day spent on the leash was almost--almost--too much for even JoJo who became a different dog, tail and head down until freed from the restraint of leash which freedom resulted in much leapy and racing full speed through the house) and the hoppytaws (aka donuts).
For Janey, orange soda.
For both, Grampa's bedtime reading of, "Are you my daddy?" (cwazy gwampa),
which led to much speculating about other versions of a new book written by Breanne,
"Where is my mother?" (or daddy or sister or costume or princess or GWAMMA!"

Even the cat likes the new arrangement. Finally someplace JoJo cannot jump onto.

Speaking of Jo, this is Janey's view of her favorite dog--

And this is Breanne's puppy.
She's very good at creating puppies, you know.

All in all, we had a delightful three days and three nights. My favorite comment was Breanne's pure joy when I told her Grampa had bought some chocolate milk and she exclaimed, "Oh, finally!" My favorite events of the vacation occurred each time Janey wore out from all of the excitement and climbed into my lap with her blankie, snuggled down against me and dropped off to sleep in just minutes. There is something remarkably healing about the sweet smell of her soft curls and her deep even breaths.


Back to the updates--number four. We finished the study. Except for hanging pictures.

The brioche and library red look good with the new floor.

This is Jack's new desk/work area. He has been very busy in there. And happy.

This is my desk. It's a table Jack built for me for our first real home years ago. I probably need to refinish it sometime, but that will include cleaning off all of the memorable stains.

And check out the adorably practical lamp that Jack picked up for me at Target.
I am becoming a fan of Target.

And this is part of the bookshelves. There is something so very satisfying about looking at my books. Textbooks or novels or how-to.

And there you have it. We have officially remodeled the whole house. It feels like ours.

Don't tell Jack, but the other day, I was doing some laundry for Jessie in the basement of her house that was built in the 1920's and I couldn't help but think of Breanne telling me that she thinks basements are scary. I asked what was scary about basements--mine has just Jr and the drummer and the playroom and theatre room and Grampa's shop down there. Then I went to her basement which is a typical basement in a house built in the 1920's with old peeling plaster and a flaky ceiling and spiderwebs and pipes and furnace and that part under the stairs that is still dirt.

And I thought, hmmm, this basement of hers could be a great space if we just sheetrocked the walls and ceiling and painted it a cheery yellow and put down some commercial grade floor tiles in a checkerboard pattern--maybe in gray-flecks and yellow-flecks.

Seriously, don't tell Jack I even mentioned that.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

don't read this if you don't like it when i cry

My heart is breaking for my girl.

Baby Cailin is still about the same--needs a bit of oxygen, a bit of medication, a lot of suctioning of her nose. They--Jessie and Cailin--have been in the hospital for almost a week and while Jessie gets three square meals each day and sleeps on a fold-out chair bed and the baby is getting exactly the medical care she needs, it is just plain hard to have a sick baby who will likely remain in the hospital a few more days, two little girls who need their mommy, and the rest of a life that has come to a stop, appropriately, until the wee girl is breathing clearly again.

Jessie is so steady and tries so hard to do the best she can, but I can't help but think that she just wants to take her healthy baby home and hole up with her husband and kids. This is another one of those times when I wish I could remember where I left my magic wand.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

the good things

It looks like Cailin is recovering. She is gaining weight and requiring less oxygen. Her respiratory rate is half as fast as it was yesterday, which is a good thing.

Even though she misses her older girls, Jessie has been able to rest easier at the hospital than she might have at home since Cailin is hooked up to monitors that are watched by the nurses. Rest and monitors--two good things.

Even though she looks in the bassinet every time she toddles by it and says, "Where Baby?" and says, "oh yep" when I tell her the baby is with mom at the hospital, there really are not many things better than listening to the smooth, even breathing of a sweet impish almost two-year-old who has dropped into sleep as she leans against you. Very much a good thing.

Playing with two adorable girls, forming playdoh dogs and cats and foxes and snakes and turtles--it takes so little artistic ability with such a vast amount of imagination--and the best part might have been seeing Breanne's beaming smile accompanied by her delightful, "Ta-Ta," (her version of ta-da) when she created a nest for her playdoh pets. A very good thing.

Yesterday morning, the phone rang as I was preparing to go to Jessie's and it was Stu who was at the emergency room with abdominal pain. Uh, what is a mom to do? Stu assured me that Jessie needed me more than he did, which I questioned, since he was under the influence of pain medication and IV fluids, but I headed south anyway. The ER docs performed numerous tests and released him several hours later with the instruction to come back today to meet with his surgeons. When he called just now, I thought it would be an update on today's surgeon visit, but instead it was a call to tell me that he got busy at work and forgot the appointment. No one could have been more surprised than he was to realize he was feeling so good that he forgot the appointment. He felt so good that he forgot the appointment. Truly a good thing.

It is good to find and savor the good things.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

did i mention

Baby Cailin is in the hospital. Just two weeks old with her first ear infections, her first bronchiolitis, her first bout with RSV, her first nasal suctioning and aerosol inhaler treatments, and her first oxygen unless you count the oxygen they sometimes give to babies while they're being massaged immediately after birth.

See, the thing is, Jessie is a good, solid mom. She is consistent. She is calm. She understands. She's fun. One thing she isn't is negligent. She has been all over the washing of hands and the not breathing or kissing right in the baby's face, but Janey is a very good almost two-year-old. Who needs, needs, needs to show her love for her baby by snuggling faces with her. While recovering from her own ear infections and breathing issues. It seemed inevitable that Baby Cailin would get a share of germs that would bring the first cold of her life. And she did and she has.

The other thing is, Cailin looks like such a healthy baby, it's hard to believe she is as sick as she is. She's cuddly and snuggles up against you and sleeps sweetly. She is still pooping and peeing. But that breathing thing is just too hard for her right now, so she struggles for every quick gasp, and between the struggle for breath and the struggle against the nose suctioning, she is just plain tuckered out. Sadly, one of the best things for her is the nasal suctioning because not only does it clean out her breathing passages, it also makes her cry and crying causes some pretty big breathing.

I spent several hours with Jessie and her girls on Friday and again on Saturday, hoping to give Jessie a chance to catch up on her sleep. But by Friday night, Cailin had been diagnosed with the ear infection and on Saturday night, as I held her before leaving for home, I looked at her closely and watched her for a few minutes and with no prompting on my part, I had the clear thought that Cailin was going to get more sick before she got better. And she has. But, she has a good mom, good nurses and respiratory therapists, and all of us to help in any possible way.

Can I just say that there are times when I feel overwhelmed by that thing called, The Human Condition, and then there are other times when I feel the concern so focused that it might be confused with a laser beam?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

is it asking too much?

Where do I start? A stronger marriage than ever before. Four amazingly great adult children. Five adored granddaughters. Two bonus, loved adult children. A swell dog. Three curious cats. A healthy liver in a healing body. Educational opportunities. A satisfying career. Plenty of food and shelter and beauty all around. Good times. Physical strength. Emotional growth.

How is it that with so much I can still feel so sad sometimes? I spend my days and my nights in a life that is filled with so much---yet the sadness persists. Am I recovering from a devastating earthquake? From the lingering, painful death of a loved one? The loss of a spouse or child or even beloved pet? Have I endured the endless pain of recovering from a serious burn or illness? Do I go to bed hungry each night, or worse, watch as my child goes without? Do I live with constant cruelty by or fear of my government or my neighbors or my own family?

no. none of these are my life.

So, why then this deep sadness? How do I rid myself of it? Or, is that too much? Perhaps I expect too much? But how do I live in a world where so many have so little to survive with--or so much suffering--and not feel the sadness?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

this i love

that man who
knows me best
accepts my nonsense
laughs at my funnies
steadies me as needed
tries so hard
listens so much
loves me always.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

please--you tell me

what does this mean?

1. you're holding a soda in your left hand as you and your honey are riding along in his truck and you ask him if he'd like a drink and when he reaches toward the soda, your right hand gets a mind of its own and reaches for the soda at the exact same time and moves it out of his reach.

2. you're heading to the car for dinner out with your honey and your kid and you grab one of those little reese's peanut butter cups from the candy dish on the bar, and as you walk through the garage, you open the wrapper, mouth watering in anticipation, and then your right hand that is holding the candy tosses it into the trash can in the garage and your left hand that is left holding the wrapper--foil and that little wax paper cup--instantly realizes that it is not holding anything you want to put in your mouth.

it is as if my hands are no longer willing to work together and the right one is possessed with a devilish spirit and the left one is so tired of the hands getting blamed for messing up again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

three random thoughts. that's all.

A couple of things I've had on my mind lately--

~~Jack's truck has about a billion radio stations available, including the 70's on 7 station, whereon we heard the old favorite, "Welcome Back, Kotter." Haven't heard that song in years. Haven't really missed it, but listening to it made me wonder if a whole generation of guys became school teachers after watching that show. Obviously I don't really remember the show too well, but I do think that anything and everything John Travolta did since then must have been better than his Vinnie Barbarino role. Which he repeated in Saturday Night Fever.

~~Me and my math class? We're tight. And so happy together, which is another song I heard in Jack's truck but it was on the 60's on 6 station.

~~When the drummer was in grade school, he had a friend named Matt, who was a nice kid, much bigger than drummer, and really into sports, probably because he had an older brother who really liked the sports who he was always competing against. Matt introduced us to the term, "puppy-guarding". I never truly understood that word until we got JoJo. This is puppy-guarding:

Jo either lost or ate her red squeaky ball. Or the neighbor took it. (Just kidding. I don't think she ate it or gave it to him.) Anyway. She really likes tennis balls, but she LOVES squeaky balls. So we got her a new one that just happens to be the same color as a tennis ball. (Did not realize there was a new game created when we bought the tennis ball green squeaky ball and she probably won't fall for it for much longer...)

So, puppy-guarding--verb; 1. The act, as demonstrated by young dogs, of intently watching an item so that it cannot be taken from the young dog. 2. The act of guarding an opponent too closely, usually involving young boys playing neighborhood football, soccer, basketball, and other team games. "Hey, back off--no puppy-guarding the ball!"

Monday, February 1, 2010

sisters at home

Breanne Elizabeth, Janey Renee,
and Cailin Danielle

I can see some fun times ahead.

*another pic from Shi's camera