Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blog Hiatus

My dear friends and readers…

As you know I have been a strong supporter and blogger for Governor Bill Richardson for a very long time. I believe with everything that I am that Bill Richardson is by far the best candidate for president that our country has seen in years.

I have been offered the opportunity to take my support to the next level and help Governor Richardson in a more substantial way, coordinating volunteers for the campaign. This is a really exciting opportunity, and I am proud to answer the call. So, for now, I feel an ethical obligation to refrain from blogging altogether. I will be back when the campaign is over. Until then, you can email me at to volunteer!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kids are so funny

I am constantly amazed at the things that come out of the mouths of my children.

Yesterday, I was getting in the van to take Sarah and Maddie to the hellementary. Maddie gets in our van and says, "Man, something is really stinky in here." and she and Sarah begin the debate about what could be the cause. Did someone leave a cup with milk? Is there some random thing in the van that is causing the disgusting aroma? Then Sarah brings out a gem, "No, it's just because it's fall, and fall gives you the stink."

Then this morning Amanda was getting in the van to go to school. I opened the sliding door for her and William, William got in, and she was hovering in the doorway with a smile on her face and her eyes closed in bliss. I got in the van, put the keys in the ignition, turned back to her and she said, "Ahhhh I love the feeling of the wind between my ears." I chuckled and said, "Ok Beans, just get in and buckle your brother in."

We then began the short mile and a half drive to her school, and she said, "Mom, sometimes I don't remember my dreams." I told her, "That's normal, a lot of times people don't remember them. Some people never remember them, some people remember them a lot." So Amanda says, "Well sometimes when I don't have a dream I see a screen that says 'THIS CHANNEL IS NOT AVAILABLE." I told her, "Amanda, you watch too much television."


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hellementary School

I have kids in two different elementary schools. Amanda goes to a liberal arts magnet school. It is a fabulous environment for learning, supported by the community, and with a great staff. She is really thriving there, and making lots of great friends.

Meanwhile, my other two, languishing on the waiting list for said school, are at a neighborhood school. Maddie's teacher is fabulous, one of those adorable blonde people who loves little kids and has the patience of a saint. She knows how to get the kids motivated and on task. When I brought cupcakes for Maddie's birthday, the whole class cheered in unison "Wow!" It was pretty cute.

Sarah, however, brought home a note from school today saying her teacher is leaving. A transition is always tough, but this will be her fourth teacher for this school year. YES FOURTH. We are in our fifth week of the school year.

I am so unimpressed with this neighborhood school.

I Just Met the Meanest Man

Yes, the meanest man.

This morning I had a terrible headache. I got up, took Sarah and Maddie to school, came home, showered and jumped back in the van to get Amanda to her school. I had to go back to Sarah and Maddie's school for a PTA board meeting. I knew I needed a cup of coffee so I stopped at my very favorite little coffee place. As I got out of my van I noticed someone had written on the sidewalk in big pink chalky letters...


I am a big fan of random political speak. It made me smile, but I was still oblivious because of the headache, I walked in the door, and was pulling it shut behind me, and the lady at the table next to the door said, "Oh there is someone behind you," and there was a man trying to get in. I pulled the door open, and I said, "I am sorry, I didn't see you! I guess you can come on in!" and he looked at me with the most contempt filled face and said, "Well that's really funny." We approached the counter at the same time and the girl asked me if she could help me, and I said, "I just closed the door in this gentleman's face, please take his order first." He turned and glared at me, and then asked for coffee. By this time I was pretty uncomfortable around him, so I decided to give him a wide berth. I stood close to this nice young guy who was sitting and having a cup of coffee with his mom, and just patted him on the shoulder, because I was invading his space, and he was being very cool about that. Mister Sunshine got his coffee, added his flavorings and left. I got up to the counter and ordered my latte, and chatted with the owner and his daughter for a few minutes, and left.

I got outside and into my van before I noticed that Mr. Sunshine was sitting at a table in front of the coffeehouse. I started the van and waved and smiled like he was a lifelong friend, and pulled away. But as I did he sneered, actually curled his lips in disgust at me. What a jerk!

Monday, September 24, 2007


I know this is a few days late, but happy anniversary honey. Thanks for eleven great years, four beautiful kids, two cats in the used to be so hard, but everything is easy cause of you.

I love you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Late Entry: The Passing of Grandma

My grandmother, Lee, passed away in May and we were in the middle of moving, so getting this entry and the photos in was really challenging. I don't have all the photos from that day, and am really sad that I didn't take more photos of the family together. The service was beautiful, though I swear the music came from The Best of John Ashcroft.

I really miss Grandma.

Photos from Grandma's Funeral

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hot Fun in the Summertime

As I write this I am suffering from a tremendously sprained ankle. I don't know why I thought I was capable of walking and carrying a mug of coffee at the same time, in retrospect I should never have attempted such a complicated move. Way outside of my skillset. So, it happened Saturday morning. Charles had gone into work, and the kids were still asleep, and it was a truly lovely morning. I ran outside to turn on the sprinkler and water my crunchy tomato plants, and then went out front and got the newspaper. The kids were just emerging from their nests, and were eager to go out and play, so I thought it would be a nice idea to sit out on the patio with a cup of coffee and the paper while they blew bubbles and drew with sidewalk chalk.

So I ran inside, grabbed a cup of coffee, and the rest is history.

The fall itself was quite artful really. I stepped out onto the back step, still holding the storm door with my right hand (the handle cut the base of my George Bush finger as I went down). My left ankle gave as my sandal slipped a bit and I went airborne, suspended in a twirl like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, coffee arcing around me. As I hit, I skinned two toes on my right foot and the inside (huh?) of my right knee as I splayed out on leftover feathers from a bird Juniper brought to me earlier in the week.

The kids were wonderful. They helped me back up, didn't quibble about going back inside, and helped me over to the sofa. Maddie brought pillows. Sarah got the phone and remote. Amanda made me an ice pack and prepared oatmeal for her sibs. She even got me a piece of cold pizza to chew on.

Later in the afternoon Charles came back and my mom watched the chillins while we went to the ER. I felt pretty guilty because I got in, was seen immediately, and was out very quickly, while people who had been sitting there for hours continued to wait. They confirmed no break, and sent me home on crutches with instructions to not do that again.

I have learned a few things. The most important is to not sit in the leather recliner wearing shorts for long periods of time or your skin becomes one with the chair. Also, don't go back to the kitchen after a couple of days on your back. The men and kidfolk don't get it that we do not want to deal with every single dish in the house piled along the counters and in the sink, and the garbage stacked precariously on top of the cans. Also, be sure to tell your mate if you have clothes in the washer, or you will be rewashing them.

Today I will venture out to the patio again, gingerly. I have a beautiful terra cotta pot that I want to get my herb plants into.

Wish me luck.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Well, yesterday Donna was removed from life support. An EEG determined that she had stroked out and her brain was no longer functioning. Carla, accompanied by her partner Greg and friends from the parish, surrounded Donna and sent her off to a very gentle death. My friend Bridget tells me it was a very beautiful, but sad, event.

Slick Willie, he of the Aquaphor addiction, coated our long haired cat, Gabby in Aquaphor the very next day. The cat had to have a bath, only adding to her humiliation and anger. Of course, she had to receive the "Dawn Wildlife Treatment" to get this thick viscous goo out of her fur, and she promptly hid for a couple of days.

Sarah has lost another tooth, I can't imagine she has any more baby teeth at the rate they have been popping out of her.

Maddie continues to wrestle with the forces of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on her other one. Usually the devil wins.

Amanda and her friend Katie talk several times a day about our upcoming move to the city (oh yes, we are moving!) and how they will cope with their separation.

I sit here on the computer ignoring the urgent need to pack and clean. I keep telling myself that once my cold passes I will get moving, but Scrabble calls.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Heartbreaking Day

Donna and my little girl, Amanda
Easter 2000

There are people who come into your life and fill such a big space in your heart that no matter how far away you are from them, or how long it is since you have been together, they are always with you. This is about my friend Donna, in St. Louis, and her daughter Carla. Donna is lying in an intensive care unit tonight, and they are saying that there is no hope, and will likely not live through the night. My heart is breaking.

I met Donna and Carla in the fall of 1998. Charles, Amanda and I had recently moved to St. Louis from Kansas City, and started attending mass at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church. Carla was in the choir which I joined to give me a little time out of the house on Wednesday nights and make some friends. Carla has this incredibly magnetic personality and we were drawn to each other immediately. She was young, incredibly funny and stylish in a very eclectic gypsy girl way, and has the most incredible singing voice of anyone I have ever heard. She fell in love with my little Amanda, who wasn't quite a year old yet, and introduced me to her mom, Donna. She said that her mom was the babysitter for almost every kid that had ever lived in the neighborhood forever, and lived across from the church.

Anyone who has ever met Donna even once will never forget that contact. Donna is a bubbly, outgoing, wickedly funny, and profoundly in touch with her inner child. She loves Tweety Bird. She loves musicals. She is witty and sweet. Kids love her. Everyone loves her.

She is an utterly devout member of her church, in fact she is the lady who stands at the back of the pews before Mass and hands out the hymnals and church bulletins.

Most of all, Donna was the most loving mother that has ever lived.

Donna married later than usual for the time. Her family had really tried to keep her at home, I don't know why. She worked a job downtown, and met a wonderful man, Carl. They would spend lunch hours together, take the bus to the zoo, surreptitiously dating until one day they simply took the bus to the courthouse and got married. She told me of how they kept this a secret for a while, and she continued to live with her family. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but eventually the marriage was revealed, and she and Carl got their own place.

They had a son, Chuckie. He was born with a heart problem and died within a few weeks. Donna talks about Chuckie often, always with a smile on her face, about what a beautiful son he was, and how much his daddy and she loved him. She told me the story of the funeral mass, and how as she was leaving the church and getting into the limo to go to the cemetery a butterfly fluttered around her and landed on her shoulder. She brushed it off, but when she arrived at the burial the strangest thing happened...the same butterfly landed on her shoulder, she really believed it was, and sat there for the whole graveside service. Tonight I believe she was right.

Donna and Carl had another child a couple of years later, Carla. Carla was a beautiful little girl who filled her parents with so much hope and joy. She was adorable personified, and trust me on this, she still is. They enjoyed four utterly wonderful years together, but sadly Donna and Carla lost Carl suddenly to a heart attack. This loss was unfathomable, and Carla and Donna clung to each other.

Being a single mother is a difficult job. Donna wanted nothing but the best for her little girl, so she did everything she could to earn enough money to put food on the table and save for an education. She cleaned the parish's school to help offset tuition for Carla, and eventually started taking in kids. This vocation was her true calling.

While Donna worked hard to care for the children, Carla worked hard to get good grades. Carla's great gift to this world is her voice. The first time I heard her sing a solo was our first practice for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, when she sang "Oh Holy Night." I was so dumbstruck by her voice that I stood there with my mouth hanging open, unable to sing, and weeping. She has the purest, cleanest, and sweetest voice; there is nothing forced, false or contrived about it.

Donna was the proudest mother in the world, and loved to hear Carla sing, whether it was at Mass or in a musical. Charles and I took Donna to see Carla in her college production of South Pacific, where she completely stole the show as "Bloody Mary." The three of us had such a wonderful time that night.

On most weekends Donna and Carla would come have dinner with us either Saturday or Sunday. We usually grilled out. I was pregnant with Sarah, and it was just a wonderful time in our lives. Donna and Carla were the only family we had in St. Louis. They were at all the baptisms, the birthday parties, all the family events. When Sarah was born, they were there. When our house became infested with fleas a week later, they were there...or rather we were there, they took us into their small apartment, all four of us, and let us sleep. Donna took care of Amanda and my newborn Sarah for free while I tried to sleep.

Donna cared for all four of my children at various times. My youngest, William, is two months older than her grandson, Noah. Noah was a big baby, and at birth was the same weight as my 2 month old, 11 and a half pounds! He was a fantastic, happy baby. I haven't seen him since he was very little.

We moved back to New Mexico. The last time I spoke with Donna was Thanksgiving Eve. We talked about the kids, and Noah, and how happy she was. I told her that I wanted her and Carla to come visit me in New Mexico, that they would love it here, and she had to take a vacation, and she really wanted to come. I feel so bad that I didn't talk to her again.

Today Charles called me at work. He said that a mutual friend called, and that Donna was in very bad shape. She had gone in to open heart surgery for 16 hours and was not expected to make it, that she had been transfused with over 70 units of blood, and there wasn't much hope. As soon as I got home tonight I called that friend, and she told me that she had gone into triple bypass surgery, and they had found a, get THIS...butterfly, she said her heart. I don't know what that really meant, but butterflies were very important to Donna. To me, butterfly just made sense. To me, it seems that Chuckie is with her.

She said that they couldn't figure out where she was bleeding from, and after 16 hours they had to stop the surgery. Donna is in ICU, her chest open because they have to keep draining the continual bleeding. She has had over 100 liters of blood, and she is not expected to live through the night.

All I can do is cry. My friend told me that Carla had gone home to shower and change, and maybe get a little rest, but that she wanted me to call her. I did, and she is so lost. That is all she could say, she is so lost. She said Donna had gone into surgery with such a great attitude, that she had complete faith in her doctors, and that her nurses were so HOT! This is so typical, this woman is so positive. She told Carla she would be fine and would talk to her after the surgery. Carla and Noah are going to be all alone.

I told her that she would always have us, and I know that isn't any comfort at this point, but it is all I have. I wish I could go right now and be with her through this, but it is not possible.

This is all I can do, to tell people about Donna, and what a remarkable woman she is, and how the world is going to lose a big chunk of kindness tonight. My only consolation is that she and Carl and Chuckie will be together again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Slick Willie

Meet Slick Willie.

Today I was busy with a diary on DailyKos, and doing my thing, basically letting my son do his thing. I thought his thing was sitting quietly in the chair and watching Barney, but I was so wrong. While he was maxing and relaxing, William helped himself to a little product called Aquaphor.

Aquaphor is a very thick balm for very dry skin. It comes in a tub. Its consistency is somewhere between Vaseline and Crisco. William covered himself in this stuff. Head to toe. Note the thick, opaque goo on his hands. Behold the mighty sheen of his knees.

He was told to park it on his little potty while I rounded up the tools to degrease him. I filled the tub with a nice warm bath and got a wash cloth, a towel and a bottle of dishwashing liquid which proclaimed its usefulness for saving the lives of waterfowl after the Exxon Valdez. I figured that it would be the best in this situation. After a thorough scrubbing the bulk of the Aquaphor is gone, but his skin is incredibly soft.

Say Hey! BP Has It All!

This is another disturbing ad from BP. Apparently the Fisher Price people of the early 1970's are now their spokespeople, and in this spot it is parents actually driving the children, a wild departure from their last ad. The parents are tired and zoning out on the road, and kids are bored in the back seat. Miraculously in the middle of the desert appears a BP and there is a magic transformation. Lucky for mom and dad BP carries those little packages of "Trucker Speed" and plenty of sandwiches and beverages for the little ones. All is well. Thank you BP!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Say Hey...Did I Drop Acid This Morning?

This commercial is messed up.

Zima - Mom My Ride

This is a hilarious video, and what makes it especially funny is this is EXACTLY my van, down to the repaired mirror.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

CNN Sucks

Breaking news! I get these alerts of breaking news from CNN in my email, because I am a hopeless news junkie. This is the garbage I have gotten this week...

-- The local prosecutor who charged three Duke lacrosse players with raping a stripper apologizes to the athletes, The Associated Press reports.

-- An explosion has occurred in the cafeteria of Iraq's parliament building where members of parliament were having lunch and there are casualities, according to Iraqi state television.
(OK, that is real news...thanks for the information).

-- Kurt Vonnegut, whose novels included "Slaughterhouse Five" and "Cat's Cradle," has died at 84, his wife tells The Associated Press.
(Sad, true, but at 84...hardly shocking, or breaking.)

-- MSNBC is canceling its simulcast of Don Imus' radio show after he made racially charged remarks about Rutgers women's basketball team.
(Who really needs to know this???)

-- David Evans, one of the three men exonerated today when the final charges in the Duke lacrosse sex case were dropped, said they went "to hell and back" and he hoped changes to the legal system would be made as a result of their case.

-- Defense Secretary Robert Gates extends Army unit tours of duty to up to 15 months and says they will be given 12 months at home after a tour ends.
(Oh my goodness, some actual NEWS sneaked through the system!)

-- North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper drops all sexual assault and kidnap charges against three men stemming from a Duke lacrosse team party.
(Ah nice, local news. I don't live in NC though!)

-- Larry Birkhead is the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby, a court in the Bahamas rules. Birkhead said he hopes to have custody soon.
(All those sleepless nights I have spent worrying about this are over!)

-- Controversial radio host Don Imus will be suspended for two weeks starting Monday April 16, NBC reports.
(Again, friggin wow.)

Does anyone care about the fact that the network news media has been almost singularly focused on Imus this week?

It seems to me there is plenty of real news going on without me needing alerts about Anna Nicole's baby or the Duke Lacrosse team.

I Am Weak

Let me say this upfront. I HATE reality tv. Ever since I was a teenager and read Stephen King's "The Running Man" that whole concept just seems like a creepy modern version of the Roman games. It is with great shame that I report this...

Last night my bed was full of sick people with stomach flu, and cats concerned for their wellbeing. I was hanging off the edge, and forgot to take the benadryl I use at night for allergies, so I was also WIDE awake. I watched Frazier, then The Golden Girls, but I can't take that bizarre medical show afterwards, which the two times I have watched has come across as one long commercial for pharmaceuticals. So I flipped, needing to bridge the half hour gap before The Daily Show.

I came across the devil's network.

Fox Reality. God help us.

I have to admit, I was sucked into this trash, but hear me out...

What can I say? I am weak.

The show in question is called "Strip Search" and it involves hot young Australian males with their adorable accents auditioning for an all male review. They said things like "cheeky" and smiled those gorgeous smiles. I could not change the channel.

Rupert Murdoch, you evil bastard.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Why I Suck

Lately I haven't been very good to my most beloved blog. I have neglected it. I have been writing, but I end up saving drafts for various reasons, and not finishing my work. I think I need therapy.

I will say that I have had a full plate lately. First of all, I am working again, and that is taking a lot of my energy and most of my weekend time. Also, my grandmother is not well. Well, that is an understatement. My grandma is dying. When I work I stay at her house and watch her, and if she is in the hospital, like she has been a lot lately, I watch her cat, Winston.

Also, this winter has really sucked. We have had about 80 inches of snow since December 1, and I hate snow. I get in a winter funk and fail to achieve much of anything except new levels of sedentariness. I am not a fan of winter at all, but this one has really been awful. Plus we have had a lot of snowdays, and even if the school had classes it was always hit or miss if the bus would actually show up. Cabin fever amplified by four kids...YIKES. I have got to get off this mountain before the next winter!

This brings me to illness. I got sick right after Thanksgiving, and lost my voice until last week. My kids have had various illnesses, including but not limited to chickenpox, colds, and strep throat. Maddie, the 5 year old, got strep in the middle of February, went through her antibiotics, finished a week and a half ago, and then last Thursday was sick again. Friday she was worse, and Saturday morning we took her to the Emergency Room, where they decided to admit her. Her sodium levels were high, she had strep, dehydration, and was in ketosis. Thank goodness we got her in! Saturday was pretty damned scary, she just laid on the bed, unable to swallow her own saliva, in terrible pain, with an IV. They gave her morphine, and that didn't even make a dent in her pain. She had steroids, and a nuclear bomb of an antibiotic to halt the infection. Now she was released on Sunday, but given another course of a stronger antibiotic, and when she is done we have to have her cultured again to determine if she is a carrier! UGH!

So, I will try to get better about this, and catch you up on the excitement. I have a draft for my beautiful daughter Amanda that I wrote on her birthday that I will finish tomorrow (January 20th was the date I wrote it, so I am a little behind!) and there is the Father Daughter Dance to blog about, and I am working on a little thing about Willie and his new favorite game, "Crazy Eyes!"

Back tomorrow!