Tuesday, April 27, 2010

bff project

Been working on the bff project again.

First, in case you've forgotten how cute my dog is--

I think Jo and Millie are making progress--

Little Cat has started coming upstairs again--she's sitting behind Jack's chair--

Jo is waiting patiently for her to come out and play*

Seriously, who doesn't love a dog that chases her own tail?*

*these photos are definitely on the "top 100 pics of Jo" list. and the "funniest behavior top 100".

Monday, April 26, 2010

slide show, not a movie.

i stayed home from work today--messed-up back, big barky cough, and very little voice. it's killin' me. the not being able to speak part. so, jojo and i headed out back with my camera and guess what we discovered?

Align Center

we are so funny

polling advice

I've decided I'd like some anonymous advice from you, dear readers, so please, feel free to respond to the poll, as many times as you'd like. And if I didn't list an option you would choose, post it in the comments for this post. I'm trying to figure out what most people do in certain situations.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Here in the gardens, this is spring--

and this is spring--

and this, this is spring--

and of course, this is spring--

this is spring, too--

and if I had emptied out the flowerpots last fall, this would not be spring--

But, really, are my gardens the only place where this is spring too?


ps. In case anybody thinks I just waltzed in to take my math final without adequate preparation, this is where I studied for hours and hours beforehand...oh yeh, I studied. a lot.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

a dog's life

It must be so tough to be a dog. Especially JoJo.

On the positive side, she is a strong, agile, energetic, determined, curious creature, blessed with amazing senses of smell and hearing, keen eyesight, and quick reflexes.

Those are the very traits that get her in trouble. She is so strong, she sometimes pulls things apart before she even knows it. Her agility usually keeps her from knocking over small children, while her energy keeps her going far beyond the level of energy of those same small children.

Her determination is already legendary. You've probably heard the saying, "You can move a mountain, but you can't budge a big dog." JoJo isn't really a big dog. But you can't move her if she doesn't want to go. And she will wait for hours, on the ready, for someone to throw the ball that she has dropped into that person's lap.

Luckily, she is curious, and it is often her curiosity that can be used to move her in the direction you want her to go. Curiosity is not a good thing when boredom sets in, e.g., holes dug in the back yard, furniture and rugs chewed up, etc. I've seen and halted the stop of that process--she's laying there, minding her own business, begins sniffing the grass or the corner of a chair or the edge of the rug, and before she knows it, she's dug or chewed up a mess.

I'm certain her sense of smell plays a huge part of the curiosity/boredom dilemma and is very likely a major factor with her energy/determination issues. I think most of her brain must be devoted to sorting out all of the scents her cute black nose picks up. Sometimes, those scents lead her to the garbage can with its assortment of doggie delights/trash. Sometimes, the scents are in the soil or the bushes or under the cushions of a chair. But once the nose picks up the scent, the brain will not calm down until the source of the scent is identified, even if it means using the strong front paws to dig through the soil or bush or cushion, whatever it takes to uncover that source.

Jo's eyesight is amazing. Her eyes were the first thing about her that I noticed and were the reason I fell in love with her. Deep brown, soulful, and aware of every little bit of movement within her range of hearing or smell, and of course, linked to the nose and ears so every movement must be identified.

It must be tough to live with all of the input she gets and then control all of the output she gives.

And speaking of output, some of her best traits are her output. JoJo doesn't just hear and see and smell. She processes all of that and connects it to her duty to protect her people. Whenever she hears a noise, even if it frightens her, she goes to investigate, and then promptly returns to protect me, or maybe to let me know if there's something I need to check out. She recognizes the sounds of each of her people when they return to the house. She is delighted when anybody comes to visit and shares that delight with jumping leaping kisses all around.

JoJo includes the grandbabies as her people. Most of the time, if I'm home, she is with me. If Jack is in his shop or the study and I'm in the bedroom or kitchen, she is torn between whether she should stay with me or go to him, so she either runs from one of us to the other or she lays midway between us in the hallway. When the darlings are visiting though, she stays by them. Or nearly on top of them. Or right beside them. She moves when they move. Sometimes the curiosity or strength factors are a bit overwhelming for the girlies--like when she starts sniffing a doll and ends up chewing off its toes or when her excitement to see the girls causes her to knock one of them over after she steps on the darling's toes. But most of the time, it seems clear that she is quite simply devoted to them and their safety.

JoJo forgives and forgets quickly. She trusts that you mean well. And she is always happy when someone comes home. In fact, she is pretty much happy all of the time. If she has a ball to chase, a little bit of food and water, and a person nearby, her life is good. Toss in some soft pillows on Jack's side of the bed, and she's in paradise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

cross your fingers

On this rainy spring day, with my newly developing head cold, I, The Amazing Gilian with MATH am heading over to the college to take my final.

And I am so ready to get the high grade. Because the first thing I wrote in my new notebook on the first day of my math class was

"I am so ready to do math." And I was. And I am. And. I. Can!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

if your dog gets the poops

JoJo got the poops last week. I'd forgotten how nice it is to have a house-trained dog.

After Jack and Jr and I each cleaned up after her for a day or two, I called the vet. My vet is great. So great, that she's kind of hard to get in to see, so rather than making an appointment, I usually just head over there and wait for our turn while everybody in the place oohs and aahs about my adorable dog.

This time, I called and told the person who answered the phone that my pup had the poops. She asked if Jo had gotten into anything and I said nothing out of the ordinary. She told me to give JoJo canned pumpkin, boiled hamburger and rice, and plain yogurt for 72 hours and if she was still sick, I should bring her in on Monday.

These are the things I learned:

1. Yes, canned pumpkin. JoJo loves loves loves it. I was a bit concerned about what color her poop would stain the carpet if she happened to poop pumpkin in the house, but that didn't happen.
2. After three days on the diet, JoJo was back to her old self.
3. Even though I think the diet was considerably cheaper than the cost of the dog food I give her, the vet's office said I couldn't keep her on that diet all of the time. It's a bland diet that is only for when/if she gets the poops again. Seemed pretty balanced to me.
4. Even though Jo is happy with her usual dog food now, she had quite the quizzical look on her face the first time I gave it to her after three days on real human food, if you consider boiled hamburger with rice, canned pumpkin, and yogurt to be human food. And she did.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

shopping with jr

I think I've mentioned the love for shopping that is in Jr and I'm certain I've talked about how willing he is to clean and to shop for cleaning products. A few weeks ago, he said he thought we needed a litterbox for the cats downstairs because JoJo was terrorizing them so much that they wouldn't come upstairs to my bathroom, the location of their kitty litter box. I knew in my heart of hearts that the little kitties were using the litter box in my bathroom, but didn't mind if he wanted to set up another box in his bathroom, as long as he was responsible for cleaning it out. We agreed that he could use my debit card for the purchase and an hour later, he had set up the poogloo--a domeshaped kitty litter box that is surprisingly well constructed for keeping our tall puppy's nose out of the kitty's business.

I may have been a bit vocal about the cost of the poogloo and its filling material--somewhere around $48, which seemed a bit steep at the time, but now that I only have to clean out the original catbox every two weeks, I'm thinking that may have been the best $48 I ever spent. Let's see--cleaning catbox every 18 hours versus every 18 days--yes, I definitely got a deal for that $48. Well done again, Jr.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

there were many more

I forgot to mention that Breanne and Janey played out back for a while yesterday. Usually Janey is determined to drag out a couple of kid-sized plastic adirondack chairs, but yesterday, Breanne discovered a couple of short legged folding lawn chairs that she dragged off of the deck onto the grass. I showed her how to unfold them and since she was on the grass, I figured that if she got folded up or tipped over in one, she would be okay. First she set up one and sat down in it. Then Janey dragged out one of the adirondacks and sat right next to her big sister. Then Breanne went back and dragged out the other folding chair and set it up right next to the first chair, so JoJo would have a seat. And that's when Janey climbed down from her chair and with help from her big sis, carefully climbed up into JoJo's chair. Janey slid to the back of the chair, looked over at Breanne and said, "Now we same!" To which Breanne responded, "We same? Yes, we same."

And, in case I didn't mention it earlier, baby Cailin has the sweetest smile. She made me work for it, but it was so totally worth it and once I earned it, I got it back tenfold.

never enough

Jessie and her girls spent the afternoon with us yesterday. She and Jack are building toddler-sized bunk beds for Breanne and Janey. While they were out shopping for wood--poplar, because it paints up so nicely--I stayed at home with the three girls. I held the sleeping, snuggly Cailin while Jr made pancakes and scones for Breanne and Janey. They sat up at the bar and even sprinkled powdered sugar on the yummy golden-brown cakes and scones. It was amazingly(!) not too messy.

I don't remember how old most kids are when they start to understand concepts like colors and shapes and such, but Janey knows them already. It cracks me up when she responds to questions like, "What color are your pants?" with "No. Pink." Or "No. Blue." Or "No. Black." Or, you get the point. Did I mention she is two? Only real two-year-old I know that uses No in place of words like "uh" or "like".

One of my other favorite parts of yesterday was when they were preparing to leave and I said something about the story of the three bears, which prompted Breanne to offer to tell me the story of the three bears. It was delightful and she seriously knows that story. Next she made up a story that began with once upon a time about a princess with pale blue hair and a red dress named Princess Tiana America Kilger, and a prince, who had fun times having sleepovers and playing street hockey and finally, eventually, got married, had ten children, and lived happily ever after. She speaks clearly and precisely, in character, with hand gestures and raised eyebrows. That girl can spin a yarn.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

what to think?

A few weeks ago, Jack and I started watching The United States of Tara on Showtime. Briefly, Tara is a woman who was abused in her childhood and developed multiple personalities, and the show is about how she and her family live with her illness. There are story lines about Tara, her numerous personalities, her husband, their two kids, and Tara's sister. When we started watching, Tara had apparently returned home from a hospital stay, and everyone seemed to think she had her illness under control as long as she stayed on her numerous medications. The stresses of life quickly built and one of Tara's personalities re-emerged. Tara realizes she is experiencing memory lapses again, which is a clear indication that her illness is not under control anymore, and she is nearly overwhelmed by the intensity of it all. She cannot believe it is happening again, she cannot bear that her family will have to live through it all again, she cannot bring herself to tell her husband that the medications are not enough. She realizes that she is lying to him and everyone, but it is all too much to deal with out loud, even with the people she loves the most. It isn't long before her lie is exposed to everyone in a very public, painful way, and her family reacts in a very normal way--they feel betrayed and hurt and angry.

I know it's only a show on TV. Probably sounds over-the-top dramatic. I also know that many mental health experts dismiss claims of multiple-personality disorder as misdiagnosed or even made up. But it's only a TV show. Not a TV show I'd recommend to just anybody, because there's some fairly crazy stuff going on, but it is so well done that I'd recommend it to anybody. Well, anybody who could enjoy a show like The Sopranos. Not for everybody, but very well done.

The moments during which Tara's lie was exposed were powerful. As I watched the events leading up to those moments, I could feel her anguish, realizing she was still so sick, feeling so powerless over her own mind, unable to bring herself to re-open the wound caused to her family by her own special form of crazy. I watched the reactions on the faces of her family, and listened closely as her husband said to her, "I've never been anything but nice to you," and then walked away from her, leaving her standing there, alone, to cope with the weight of her actions. I felt paralyzed as I experienced her pain and the pain of her husband.

Maybe if you've never told a big lie, you would have watched this show and not thought about it again. But it haunted me. It opened a somewhat healed wound in an incredibly personal way. I even talked to Carolyn about it several days later.

And while I think this show is very well made, I suppose there is only so much a TV show can portray. Amazingly, in the next episode, the family made a few wisecracks, the husband said he was mad because she lied, he admitted he had behaved badly because he had been so angry, and then life went on. Apparently they all really were just angry because she lied.

I still don't know what to make of it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

april snow

Okay, you probably already know that I think I'm a pretty good mom and a pretty great gramma. I will admit though that there was one thing I really did not like about motherhood.

Outdoor soccer.

Sign up in autumn to play in spring and autumn. Go watch the kids loving being outside. But the spring half of the season was spring in this pretty great mountain desert state. Which meant that out of what, ten spring games, eight were played in snow, rain, wind, or at least cold and cloudy. Outside. I really wanted to support the kids out there running their guts out, but honestly, I didn't really like sitting in my lawn chair with my much smaller butt freezing.

I'm so happy that JoJo prefers indoor soccer with her teammates, Oscar, Weezie, and Millie.

Monday, April 5, 2010

my 517th post

Presented herewith, a few odds and ends:

1. Jessie doesn't take a bad picture--as in, she always looks good.
2. I got my new Sears card in the mail today. There was one in my name and a second card for my bff, Kivon L Sykes. Seriously. I could not have made up that name. Too bad, though, Kivon. The credit limit was only $1,600, your attempted charges were declined, and the account is closed. Bummer for you, loser. Dude.
3. I really like that April is poem a day month. Not that I can write poetry. Oh no. But I can read it and very much enjoy it.
4. Shilo has been working so hard to get more physically fit and damn! she looks good.
5. One of my favorite Easter pictures is the one where Stu and Audrey are looking for eggs and I imagine she is talking all the way across the yard.
6. When Jessie's family arrived on Saturday, JoJo was so excited to see the girls again that she raced to the front door, and in a series of events that I missed, somehow, knocked Janey down the one step from the entryway into the living room. (Thus JoJo's afternoon exile to the back yard.) I didn't realize they were even in the house until I heard all of the commotion that ended with Janey wailing. Her daddy swept her up in his arms and comforted her until I came around the corner and offered my outstretched arms to her. She came to me, sobbed her sad, two-year-old-speak story, and snuggled up tight to me. She stayed by me nearly all of the day, refusing to sit with anybody else, although she did participate in the egg hunt with Whitney. Her usual sweet smile was not to be photographed that day. She does have a cute pout though.
7. I am so glad that Jake likes Whitney and she likes him. (I mean, I'm especially glad the drummer likes her and she likes him, but it is so nice that all three of them get along so well.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

get ready for more family pics

Since all of our family was here yesterday, we tried to take family pictures.

I wanted some shots of the girlies and me.
It is not easy to get five little girls all in the same shot.
Audrey was behind me in all of these attempts, except for this one in which she is hiding beside me.

(Yes I am wearing an adorable apron that Jack's sister made for me last Christmas.)

Jessie wanted some shots of her brood.
Apparently it's easy enough to get three out of five subjects to smile at the camera.
Still, these are pretty good.

We also tried for the family shot.
You may be able to see that it was late afternoon and a bit chilly.

Janey did not want Audrey's leg touching her leg.

You may be wondering about the cute little brunette next to the drummer.

I'm not making any announcements or anything, but her name is Whitney and drummer's facespace status recently changed to "In a relationship." His status was "Engaged" this week, but it was April Fool's Day.

I have no idea what was going on in this shot, but my three sons are clearly up to something.

Next, my parents joined in the fun.
Janey was not impressed with Audrey's legs.

Janey's protests only increased the volume of Audrey's voice.
Hilarity is about to break out.

Then we all lost it.

and went in to eat

*All photos taken by Jr's friend, Martha. Thank you, Martha.

the family festivities

Stu started pulling funny faces at the camera around age 9.
These girls are really advanced.

before tossing the grass

after tossing the grass

our littlest kid was not happy about being banned from the festivities...

*All photos taken by Jr's friend, Martha. Thanks, Martha.