Monday, November 29, 2010

more than a bit exciting

Twenty-nine years ago about now, they said, okay, we're keeping you. And just 11 hours or so later, I met my first baby.

He was a beautiful bluish-gray color--it was quite an entrance really. Five minutes later and a gurgling cry and they whisked him off to the neonatal intensive care for a thorough working-over.

The next time I saw him, three hours later on the way to my room, he was in his daddy's arms, far across the room, through a window. My tiny little boy and his big daddy.

The nurses told me that he was wide awake, looking around with his big baby eyes, taking it all in. A sure sign of intelligence.

The next time I remember seeing him was the next morning, although it may have been that night or two days later--I was a bit of a mess too--but he was pink and healthy.

I will always remember the first time we spent alone together--five days later. We were home, on the bed in my room, the Army-Navy football game was on the TV, and he needed a diaper change. It was the first time I'd undressed him and cleaned him and diapered and swaddled him.

As I looked at him, that tiny little being, I was struck by the most overwhelming, deepest feeling of love--real, consuming all over love for another that I'd ever experienced. Before that moment, I'd had no idea what it would feel like to be a mother.

What an amazing journey. What a blessing.

Happy day, dear boy of mine.

Friday, November 26, 2010

reality of thanksgiving

Various observations of Thanksgiving:

~~The day before the big meal:

~~The day of thanks:

~~The familiar old recipes for the amazing pies:

~~The lovely ingredients for the pies:

~~Wouldn't this have been a great shot if only I'd removed the labels on the apples...

~~Dogs and snow, solid joy

~~Homemade turkey cookies made by Audrey and her mom in the shape of Audrey's hand, yummy, adorable, and very much wanted for eating by Audrey--no potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, cranberry jello, stuffing, turkey, or rolls. Cookies! Just cookies. Really, who could blame her though?

~~Mom's call, during the ten minutes just prior to the meal, whilst making gravy, baking rolls, steaming green beans, filling bowls with potatoes, stuffing, etc.--asking if I had a can of yams she could borrow--no, but you could have fresh sweet potatoes--okay, she'll come pick them up--only to have her call just before the meal to say, nevermind, she went to Smith's and bought a can. Oh, did I mention someone in my kitchen had already peeled and diced three lovely sweet potatoes and put them in a ziploc bag?

~~What kind of pie do you want? What? No razzleberry? What was I thinking?

~~Crashing to the floor of the biggest best pyrex sweet potato pan that ever existed

and don't forget

~~Janey's volunteered blessing on the meal and us all.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The turkey is in the oven, the pies are done, the sweet potatoes are ready to be boiled and then candied, and it's sit down time for a bit until it's start the rolls time, and this seems like the perfect time to put together a list of thankfulness.

I am thankful (in no particular order) for:

feeling loved
a warm shelter
jojo, gus
a soft bed
loyal friends
tasty, nutritious, ample food
breanne, audrey, janey, ellie, and cailin
clean water
loving others
my partner, jack
stu, jessie, herschel and jake
jack's parents and siblings
good health for me and my loved ones
millie, oscar, weezie
finding creativity
feeling joy
my parents and brothers
shilo, cory, whitney
a beautiful garden
experiencing giving

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

if i'd just called one more time first

Called my mom's house tonight--she answered. We talked for twenty minutes. Hardly a hint about the lack of communication for the past two weeks.

Uh, so, nevermind?


I've been thinking about something for a while--nearly two weeks--and trying to decide whether or not to post about it. And looky--apparently I'm going to share.

Two weeks ago this Saturday, Jessie and her girlies came over for a visit. We played and talked and ate and that was the first time I played the dancedance game, right? I remember so clearly standing at the kitchen sink, after dinner, stacking dishes, when the phone rang. It was my mom.

Mom has this practice of emptying the furniture out of the carpeted rooms once a year to have the carpets cleaned. She also takes down the floor-length curtains in the livingroom so they don't get wet while the carpet is being cleaned. She and dad stay at a local motel for two nights and then go back home after the carpet has dried. Obviously, they can't move all of the furniture out of the house and into the garage, so they count on the menfolk in the family to help with the furniture moving.

So anyway, the phone rang and it was mom. She said dad was having a "hissyfit" about the curtains not being back up and could I come over right away and help her put them back up. I told her that Jessie and the girlies were there, that we'd just had dinner and I was cleaning up, and that we'd played a videogame that had left me so sore that I could hardly move, so would it be alright if I came over the next morning and put up the curtains then? She said dad was mad that the curtains weren't up yet and I suggested that he might put them up himself? She said he'd asked where they were so he could do it himself--she said she'd told him they were in the bathroom and he could see them every time he went in there--[because everyone puts their curtains in the bathroom when they take them down?]

Anyway, I told her I just wasn't up to hanging curtains right then but I'd be over the next day.

She called back five minutes later and asked if I'd bought a bunch of crap while out at the yardsales with Sugar that morning and I said no, we'd been unable to find any sales so we just went to breakfast. She said oh--and then hung up.

Five minutes later, the phone rang again and this time it was dad. He asked what mom had called me about. I said she'd asked me to help her put up their curtains but I couldn't come over right then but would be over in the morning. He said that he would take care of it himself in the morning so I shouldn't come over. I asked if he was sure and he said yes, thanks, but he would do it and I shouldn't come over.

So I didn't go over. I spent that day and every spare moment since working on either calculus or a research paper for labor economics.

I didn't hear from them on that Sunday so I called on Monday night while driving to calculus. No answer on the home phone or cell phone.

No return call either.

No return call since. Not even in response to the calls and messages I left on Thursday, Saturday, or Monday of this week. I actually drove by the house Monday after class when they didn't answer their phones, but the lights were on and everything looked fine. I even talked Jack into driving by a couple of times on our way to work to see if the lights were on in different rooms and they were, and one morning, we followed mom onto the freeway--although Jack had to punch it to catch up to see if it was really her. It was. Jr went over on Sunday morning and shoveled the snow off of their driveway and sidewalks and saw them both and they were fine.

So, I'm scratching my head and wondering, what the hell? They aren't answering my calls and they don't return my messages? Bewildered, confused--my parents aren't speaking to me? Or don't recognize me? certainly distracting. or uh. hm. okay. Well, not okay. More, uh, what the hell?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This little show-offy meme is from my girl's blog--you know, my kid who was born with words.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this list. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Color up the ones you've bought at yard sales with good intentions of reading them someday if you ever get through calculus. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, November 22, 2010

this one thing occurred to me tonight

I am so tired of feeling like the stupid kid in calculus.


One other thing.

Only two more classes, I think, and then I'll be done.

With my degree. And possibly my college career.

ps After tonight's shellacking (yeh, I know, that's probably a misspelled word, but you get my drift)--a quiz (sounds so easy, right? NOT!). Anyway, I asked my calculus teacher if I could write a paper about calculus to try to make up for my stupid. He said that was an interesting idea. Please, if you understand calculus and calculus teachers, please tell me what does that mean?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

seasonal show

Every few months or so, Jack says to me, "We need to do something with that tree. It's so big and weak-wooded and it could really cause some damage in a big storm."

And I hmmm. And I think about that tree.

It is, first, a tree. How could I justify removing a tree?

And more than a tree, it is a marker. A clear indication that all is right in nature, in the world.

I look at that tree and I know that life is continuing and even when it is dark and stormy, that tree knows what to do. It hunkers down through the stormy times and emerges in the spring, even when it seems too early for buds. Because that tree knows that if it waits until it is certain there will be no more frosts, it will be too late for buds. It will be time for seedlings and leaves.

And even when it seems too early for those leaves to be changing color and falling off, it knows if it holds on to those leaves until the storms come, the weight of those snow-covered leaves will break off its branches and leave it weaker and open to diseases and insect attacks.

When Jack says we need to do something about that tree, I think to myself how lucky we are to have that tree.

And maybe I should call the insurance company to see if we're covered if we're attacked by tree.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a couple a things

1. Jessie pointed out that the video game is Just Dance 2. I think she's right.

2. Jr and I have danced off our butts for four of the past five days (actually, early mornings except for Saturday, the inaugural event) and I am totally addicted. I look forward to the shakin' and jivin' and turnin' and twirlin' all day from the moment I head back upstairs after our workout until I hop out of bed ready to pound on his door telling him it's time to get up so we can DANCE!!!

I am going to be so fit and healthy. And I'll have all of the moves from 1960-2010 before too long.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

these girls are so photogenic

Jessie and her girls came over yesterday for a visit.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

physically speaking

Jr got me to join him and Jessie this afternoon for a couple of rousing rounds of Dance Dance 2.

I totally kicked butt on Proud Mary.

I totally can barely move now.

But I'm sure that if I keep up a daily workout on DD2, I'll be ready for skiing by Christmas.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

crazy. dog crazy

Did I mention we have two dogs now? Probably didn't mention that sweet big lovable JoJo has become crazy bigfoot must chew up everything JoJo.

And Gus? Crazy ex-con dog. But if you don't count the part where he doesn't seem to have any good manners, has no sense of understanding about the whole dog poop doesn't belong here thing, really seems to have no desire to make buddies with the cats--except for that, how do you not love this?

He looks so old and wise but he's really fairly young and dopey.
Sweet, but slow--dense--for such a fast runner and high leaper.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

wearing red

I wore red boots and red tights and a red cardigan today.

I don't remember the last time I wore red tights and I don't think I've ever owned red shoes or boots. Although I might have had a pair of red galoshes when I was young, really young.

Sadly, just a bit, the red boots were not these amazing red cowboy boots, because my size is no longer available, but still, they are red ankle boots and I'm feelin' pretty sassy about them about now.

Isn't there something supremely great about wearing a new pair of tights?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

the arts

We went to the ballet tonight. Enjoyed--no that is not sufficient--perhaps a better description would be that we were submerged in sensory hits.

The ballet performed The Four Temperaments and then they (the ballet) and a select group of local singers (including the drummer's girl) performed Carmina Burana. These works are not the ballet performing The Nutcracker. More like The Nutcracker on steroids and maybe LSD and without the 18th century dresses or knickers or children. So powerful. Maybe like Fight Club for ballet?

It was overwhelming--the colors and movement and music. Any one input--the starkly colored backgrounds, the orchestra, the fluidly moving artists, the grace, the strength, the voices accompanying the movement--any one of those would have been food enough.

But together they were almost overload. Almost. So moving.

So satisfying.

Friday, November 5, 2010


  • Glorious fall foliage
  • Wildlife--deer, eagles, hawks, massive flock of countless blackbirds swarming and swirling in that crazy bird flying dance
  • A few hours with the adorable blondies--cheese sandwiches, bath time with big fluffy towels and Johnson's baby lotion slathering, pretend frog play and silly sweet sisters together.

  • What? No photos?
  • Yep. That's pretty much it for the downs. High fives all around please.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

really? a list?

1. I'm having ups and downs. In case you hadn't noticed.
2. Medication can kick your butt. Even if/when you're just trying to do without it.
3. Life can kick your butt.
4. We are all mortal. Mortal bodies fail. Sadly.
5. Communication. Vital.
6. Even with all of the above, and not to minimize any of it, this was a fun party. Check out all of the videos of that little band, Hold the Mustard. They made me smile--made me--on Saturday night and tonight. Mom bias probably.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

well isn't this a fine mess

It's election day. Hope you voted. Hope your voter dreams come true. Good luck with that. I'm beginning to think that they say whatever it takes to get elected and then find out that they either can't or don't really want to follow through or maybe never even intended to and their dear voter fans are stuck with them.

Ah yes. I'm feeling a bit cynical. If you want to skip the cynical part of this post, just click away from here now or enjoy the photo I took of the view from my deck on this election day. Because it is a beautiful day in the gardens.

But if you're still reading, well, you were warned.

I overheard a conversation between two women the other day and it stunned me deep down. I don't know when we became who we are.

One of the women was telling the other one about a conversation she'd had with her husband who had recently lost his job. He'd worked for the same employer for around 30 years and then one day, he no longer worked for that employer. For all of those 30 years, the man got up and went to his job and the woman stayed home and was a housewife and mother.

He had worried and fretted about his job ending for the past few years, and then one day, it did.

The woman told her friend, the other woman, how angry her husband had become through those past few years of fretting. And then how he was shocked and hurt and angry that his life had suddenly drastically changed.

The woman, in addition to being a housewife and mother, was a daughter and caregiver to her aging parents who lived nearby. And not surprisingly, when her husband's life suddenly drastically changed, hers did too, but not really. She was still a housewife and mother and daughter and caregiver, but now she also had a very angry husband around the house all of the time.

And then she told her friend about the conversation she'd had with her angry unemployed husband.

One day, he told her that since he no longer had his job, that maybe it was time for her to get a full-time job with insurance. He had taken his turn and now it was her turn to work. Somewhat dismayed, she pointed out that even though she had a college degree, she wouldn't be able to get a job that paid what he had earned, and besides, what about the housekeeping and mothering? Who would do those tasks? And what about her parents?

That is when her husband said, "So, you take off a day for the funeral."

And I keep hearing that conversation over and over in my head and I keep asking myself when did we become this?