Monday, December 31, 2007

Out with the Old

Mmmhmm. All three children plus Bella and Maggie are lined up looking out in the back yard. Don is making a horrible face. We were preparing to go out for the evening, but it looks like that won't be happening. Buster has eaten something which does not agree with him. Something that looks pastel and foamy. I think it may be a bath fizzy that has combined with dog food. Yuck-O.

The kids freaked out because they thought there was something wrong with Buster's leg. Don & I were more concerned about the super slobber trailing from our obviously distressed big baby. Of course he did not throw up on the hard floors but on the master bedroom carpet. Ewww.

Instead of playing poker at a friend's home tonight we will instead be home nursing our big illin' dog. The idea of crating him in this state is entirely outside the realm of possibility. The kids and I thought it would be novel to learn to play poker, but it is not meant to be tonight. Since the ante was supposed to be wrapped candy, and we have four complete novice players, I bought a small mountain of candies which we will not be needing. Oh, boo-hoo, whatever will we do with those lovely candies? Hee. Or the big chocolate bread and newly created white chocolate bread in the dining room that were just waiting to go out the door tonight. Don suggested we just buy a veggie tray at the grocery store instead of me spending the day baking, but--- as he put it "Heaven forbid that we show up with something from a store." (You know it was said sarcastically.) The dog is super needy because his giant tummy hurts, the children are all being crude because one of them is gassy, and I am not looking forward to the remainder of 2007.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bad, Bad Bella

Maggie and Bella playing in a manner that resulted in the ultimate destruction of this particular cozy critter retreat.
Next Friday, the Bad Bella cat has her big vet appointment. She is scheduled for her special kitty visit to the vet. The free kitten is now four months old and needs to be "fixed" before she comes into season. There needs to not be a season. There definitely needs to not be a whole herd of little bad cats.
Bad Bella has been very busy. She is no longer making Miss Libby scream by leaping at her from assorted furniture and hidey-holes. Now she busies herself with climbing the Christmas tree. She reaches out and swipes the children's ornaments which she has carried off to who-knows-where. I did find a stuffed bear from the tree in one of the dog's beds and another ornament was laying in the middle of the master bedroom floor. (If I can just find the rest of the ones from the bottom half of the tree, we can get those put away before there are any further disappearances.)
Bella is still maintaining her excellent relationship with the doggies. Buster is still horribly uncomfortable with his Bella-assigned role as the "Buster Mama" who she loves to snuggle up with at night. He finds her entirely unnerving and a bit scary. Maggie and Bella love to play and wrestle. It's still a little odd to me to see Maggie with 6 lbs of cat wrapped around her head, but the dog and cat both seem to enjoy this activity so I have opted to avoid intervention. Maggie is Buster's dog and Bella is Maggie's cat. Erin is still hoping that Mom & Dad will supply Bella with a fish. After the first family pet comes home, it really is a slippery slope...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wrong-O Moosebreath

There's wrong, and then there is WRONG. This morning I was fussing with the Spode Christmas Tree china that I have collected for the past dozen-plus years after falling in love with my Aunt Dee's collection. Several new pieces were added last weekend and I entertained myself by arranging and rearranging the assorted pieces on shelves and on the table in the dining room. (Yes, I know I'm a big dork, but I am perfectly okay with that.) I even took pictures of the whole mess--- actually that was for insurance purposes, but it makes the story sound better if we just say I was taking pictures of the china.

The new pieces just did not seem quite right next to the other pieces collected over the years. This afternoon I noticed that there was *Gasp!* a "Made in China" sticker on the bottom of one of the new pieces. Huh? Spode is classic English china, and it is definitely made in England. Apparently that changed this year. Now Spode Christmas Tree classic English china is made in Malaysia and China. The Malaysian pieces are okay, but the Chinese pieces are yucky.

Being the nut job that I am, I pretty much freaked out. You know I have already written to Spode today. I'm sure the company will be find my concerns valid and rush to rectify the problem. (Uh-huh, bet they'll get right on that.) I felt much better after venting, um, I mean, putting my thoughts in writing. Don and I returned the offending Chinese pieces to the retailers. I think we cost one of the stores some sales as I explained to another collector why we were rooting through all the pieces hunting "Made in England" or "A6" marks. Don made sure to thank God for the "Christmas Tree from England--- but not that stuff from China" along with saying grace at dinner this evening.

EDIT: Received a kind reply from Spode in less than 24 hours stating that the Far East manufacturing is in response to competitors (Wedgewood and Royal Doulton) sourcing production and consumer demand for competitive pricing. The writer was sympathetic to my desire for "real" Christmas Tree china, but for the company to "keep the doors open" the products must be sourced. If you come for a holiday meal, whatever you do, don't break or chip a dish without checking the bottom to see where it was made...


Today is all about the leftovers. We are eating up the last of the edible leftovers from rolls to shower salad. (We all just sort of cringe when the bottomless bowl of tortilla soup confronts us accusingly from the bottom shelf of the fridge.) I am supremely sick of ham, corn casserole, shower salad, and the once beloved tortilla soup. Thankfully, the ham bone has been transferred to the freezer for a future pot of beans. The last of the rolls and corn casserole were consumed with lunch. I confess to pouring a bit of the tortilla soup down the sink simply because I couldn't stand the idea of even one more meal from the stuff. (I was thinking of the starving children, but that bowl still tilted right over the drain. This once, I choose to live with the guilt of waste.) I am actually thankful as I consider the need to prepare our next meal.
I've spent the day burning the last little bits in the bottom of all the Christmas candles and combining the wax into jar candles. I then meticulously scrape out any remnants and wash the assorted glass jars. The clean, empty jars will go to Ally who will recycle them by adding fresh wicks and wax. It's a beautiful "Waste not, want not." sort of thing. It's my way of redeeming myself for the soup down the sink thing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


It is done. Christmas 2007 has come to a close. I personally saw it out laying on the couch watching TLC shows about people with 8,000 children after Don banished me and the crying t.v. babies from the bedroom so he could sleep. I always find those shows fascinating. I figure it's more than I can do some days to keep up with three kids, two dogs, a cat, and a husband. I like to watch the people who do everything I do multiplied by a zillion while pregnant with their eighty-second child. (I watch feeling smug in the effectiveness of my hysterectomy as birth control.) Seriously, I am amazed by the order in the families with older children and the organized chaos in the ones with herds of babies who are usually the result of some sort of crazy-high multiple birth. I am not cut out to parent any more children than I have been blessed with, so I like to watch big families on t.v. I get to feel like I have a clue about the daily life of a big family without the additional pregnancies/adoptions or responsibility. What's not to love?
For those who actually know our family well: as newlyweds, Don and I thought we wanted a bigger family. We were talking more like six kids plus furry friends. Can you imagine three more sweet dumplings raised with our parenting skills?! The idea is worthy of the Thorazine Shuffle. Bahahahahahaha...
EDIT: Katie asked that I show her the Thorazine Shuffle after reading this post over my shoulder. Hee. We explained what Thorazine was so she would not ask anyone else to teach her that dance...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Christmas

The kids unloaded their stockings this morning. The Bad Bella Cat had a great time batting the kids' stocking treats all over the living room. We had banana bread for breakfast along with some of Don's special Holiday Blend coffee for Mom & Dad. There was still more Guitar Hero after we walked the dogs. We phoned the grandparents and wished them a "Merry Christmas". I talked with our neighbor Carol about our holiday plans for today while the kids rode bikes and skateboards. I e-mailed a few Christmas pictures out. All said, we had a fairly quiet Christmas morning at our house.
The corn casserole is baking, the shower salad is in the fridge, and the second round of chocolate bread is ready to be carried over to the Rodriguez home as we continue last night's Christmas celebration. (I tried to tell Ally's brother-in-law Brian the first round of chocolate bread was all his, but Ally's Dad objected to that idea. Bryan had to share with the rest of us. Good thing I made more than one!)We always have a great time together. It's a fun crowd that gathers to share wonderful food and even better company... We are very thankful for our relatives who all came in last weekend and for the "extended" family who continue the celebrations through Christmas Eve and Day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Girls & Guitars

Miss Katie is playing her green guitar while wearing her green pants and shirt. Unfortunately, Katie only knows one song. Instead of running scales on that green guitar, she is running "Smoke on the Water"... AGAIN. I am heartily tired of "Smoke on the Water". Please, Lord, inspire the child. Her Daddy is teaching her to pick and press the strings, but it is going slowly. It is going much more slowly than my impatient girl would like. She does think she looks really cool holding that green guitar. (And she does look cool, too. Really cool.) The big daughter has a guitar player personality, but I think the little one might just make a bass player like her Daddy. (The boy is a radio or cd player like his Mama.)

Don & Katie combined a bit of Christmas money to purchase a Guitar Hero game. It makes my hair stand on end to see my smallish daughters rocking back and forth to the musical stylings of bands they are not allowed to listen to at any other time. (Groan.) Both daughters have tried to reassure me that they are "not really listening" to the lyrics. I think of how clearly they hear me telling them to put away their laundry, and it is reasonable that they could be playing this game while hearing NOTHING of the words being sung. I guess KT, Blues Monkey, and Erin can play their game while I cringe over the noises coming out of the T.V. I think maybe I would like to go back to the High School Musical singing game now. At least that does not have "Shout at the Devil" anywhere in the line up.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Oooooh. I saw Paula Deen make these yummy-looking mint cookies last week on t.v. (Apparently everyone else in the world saw her make them, too because peppermint patties have become strangely scarce at every store this week. I did manage to procure some of the sought-after mint patties.) Place a peppermint patty between two slices of store-bought sugar cookie dough and pinch the edges together to seal. Brush on a little egg yolk and press some pecan pieces into the top of the cookie. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes at 350 for some serious cookie goodness. Personally I can recommend paring one with a cup of hot tea, the girls suggest a glass of milk, and I suspect coffee would also be good. (Don recommends I make these cookies since he will stay slim through the holidays if I put mint in all the sweeties.) It is very good that I have made the cookies because I am happy to have one cookie, but those peppermint patties are not exactly satisfying in a quantity of one... unless we're talking about one handful of mints (with a chaser of antacid).
(Mom and Dad are here. More later....)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pain in the Pocketbook

Bad news today. Seriously bad news. My IVIG may no longer be covered under our medical insurance. It will still be covered, but, unfortunately, it may be under our prescription drug plan which means a 20% copay that does not have a maximum out of pocket and requires us to pay for three months at a time. That means the expense on the IVIG just sky-rocketed to within range of our monthly mortgage payment without a cap on maximum out-of-pocket expenses. We're reeling from that news this morning. I have a call in to my immunologist to ask for any suggestions, advice, or treatment options she might be able to offer and another to the nursing service to see if they can get us an answer one way or the other on coverage.
We need prayer, but I honestly don't even know what to ask for at this point. Our every need is always met, but I hate the not knowing how that will happen. What a headache.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hormones Bad

Yuck. Erin gave me her cooties. My everything is sore. Thankfully, Erin went back to school today. Unfortunately, both the girls came home moody. We have had a very unpleasant preview of what we can potentially expect to see when the big one is 17 and the little one is 13 or 14. The one is already a hormonal loony and the other is acting like it thanks to her steroids.
The sniping between the two was enough to drive their doting Daddy off to the bedroom. He stated again, "That is why we need a bigger house before they get older." I have argued against that thought on many occasions, but tonight there just was no valid point when the two girls were shrieking at one another over--- get this--- where Erin would lay out her jeans and shirt for tomorrow. They have since moved on to Katie bossing Erin, Erin wanting to read while Katie wants it dark, and a host of similar squabbles. Their Daddy just emerged to tell them to knock it off. Now they are crying. (He was not in the least mean to them, but they are crazy. Sigh.) I am off to take my next turn with the difficult duo.
Assuming the gunky cough does not keep me up all night, I am really hoping to get some rest while I wait for the antibiotic du jour to kick in... or not. The girls are at it AGAIN. It's going to be a long night at this rate. (Ooh! I think they might have allergies... why, yes, allergies! They obviously need a Benadryl--- so they can rest. Bahahahaha.) Seriously, I'm off to referee since they have swung back to crying about who is mad at who and who should be worrying about herself and so on...

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Apparently there is confusion as to what is included in "Mommy's Christmas Medley". Let me clarify: whatever pops into Mommy's head. It usually begins with Rudolf the Red-nosed reindeer in it's entirety. The next minutes (or hours!) are filled with fresh interpretations of classic Christmas lyrics like the following rendition of a basic Mommy Medley.
Deck the halls with bows of a holly, jolly Christmas this year. Here comes Santa Claus with all those reindeer pullin' on his sleigh... Frosty the snowman had two button... er, eyes made out of coal...We'll have a blue Christmas without you. Ooooh Woooh Ooooh. We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we travel afar ... hills and mountains--- maybe a fountain? Oh, Christmas Tree! Oh, Christmas Tree! How lovely are your branches! Silent Night, Ho-uh-lee Night... Nooo-elllll, Nooo-ellll. There was a manger in Beth-uh-luh-hem--- Nooo-ellll, Nooo-elll. Shepherds quake at the site. Holy infant so tender and mild. Christ the Savior is booooorn. Chriiiiist the Savior is BORN! Sing Hal-ay-looo-yah! Joy to the World (all the boys & girls now!) the Lord has come (Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me!) Let every hmmm hmmm declare some stuff... and Heaven and Nature sing! Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells. Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Over the hills we go, laughing all the way "Ho Ho Ho! Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" then how the reindeer loved him. I'll be home for Chriiiistmas, if only in my dreams. Grandma got run over by a reindeer, and the bat mobile lost a wheel, rockin' around the Christmas tree.
There are many other versions, but this one is probably a fair representation of what happens when Mommy Sings Christmas Songs. (I'm not even going to bother running spell check on this post. I wonder if it would cause the computer to implode if I did...) Erin was seriously impressed that I could remember "all of that whole song" until I ruined everything by explaining that my memory was not super-human, and I was just making this stuff up as I go along. Did I mention there's a dance, too?


You think you know a person. Somehow 13 years of marriage have passed while Don's dislike of mint has escaped me. I guess his willingness to use mint toothpaste allowed this tidbit to fly under the radar. (He does have what was believed to be simple preference for cinnamon flavored dentifrice.) He recently made a shocking statement to the effect of "I do not like it Sam I am, I do not like it..." by itself or in combination with other things. Suddenly I'm having flashbacks to the vanilla mint breath mints and toothpaste he hated, the peppermint cocoa, Andes mints, and (most appalling) Girl Scout Thin Mints... it all made sense. It was an oddly "a-ha!" moment. Seemingly unimportant, but with consequences for the future.
I have been stockpiling my baking goodies. The recipes for holiday treats that will be created in our kitchen in addition to the banana and chocolate breads have been carefully selected. Andes mint pieces for cookies, peppermint marshmallow makings, candy cane cheesecake... you get the picture. For the record, Katie and I love chocolate with mint, vanilla with mint, etc. so it seemed reasonable for us to churn out minty goodness from the kitchen this December. I feel that this plan needs revision since parting the veil of mystery apparently still surrounding my husband to reveal his dislike of all things minty. I will still try out some of the mint-featured recipes, but that will no longer be our primary focus.
I'm thinking peanut butter and chocolate. Mmmm. Peanut Butter.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Ten days to go until Christmas, but I'm not feeling particularly Christmas-y at the moment. Erin is better, but she is not thrilled about the medications--- especially the ear drops and the inhaler. (I figure a kid who can complain must be improving.) She still has an icky cough, but she slept through the night. There is much baking to be done, but I hesitate while waiting for the sick-people germs to clear. Instead of the scents of cinnamon and baking cookies, we have bleach and Lysol.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Creeping Part 2

Erin still feels awful. She does not have pneumonia though. That is a relief! Her left ear is still draining hours after the ear drum gave in to the pressure. It's just nasty. Poor baby. She has her oral antibiotic and antibiotic ear drops, the inhaler, and will be adding an oral steroid now that we have pneumonia ruled out. Hopefully these medications will help her to start fighting off the Creeping Crud. We're definitely in for more sick days before she will be well enough to be out and about or return to school.

Creeping Crud

I'm tired. I woke a couple of times between 10:00 and midnight last night. Erin was up crying at 1:00 because her creeping crud is getting worse. She spiked another high temp yesterday. She had a nasty cough and her left ear really hurt. We watched movies from the couch snuggled into a blanket. Katie was up with a bad dream, and Don came in at some point to see what the noise was from the living room. Eventually everyone went back to sleep by about 5:00. I ran through the shower so I could start waking people up and making coffee.

We took Erin in to the pediatrician. She's wheezing. Her left ear drum gave way and her right ear is also infected. She has had a chest x-ray and we're waiting for results to determine whether or not she has pneumonia. If she does not have pneumonia, then she will start steroids in addition to the antibiotics, ear drops, and inhaler. If she has pneumonia, we'll be going back in to the office for an antibiotic shot, but there will not be steroids. I'll update when we know more.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good Stuff

I see my Bah Humbug beginning to fail. The gift shopping is finally over. I do not enjoy that aspect of this time of year. Part of the difficulty is my desire to find a gift that says to the recipient "You are appreciated.", "You are known.", and/or "See--- we pay attention to your wants/needs/likes." That creates the potential for some emotionally charged searching when it meets with my compulsion for bargain shopping.
Each item needs to be wrapped and placed under the tree for the cat to bat around the living room. That involves more shopping for pretty papers, tape, and gift tags. (I am currently boycotting ribbon. It's a personal problem that I might get over, but I'm not particularly worried about it.) Once the wrapping is finished I get to make piles of gifts according to who we will see on what date. My organized little heart grows several sizes with that activity.
The fun part of the holiday season kicks back in now. (I liked Thanksgiving. It was relaxed with just the five of us.) We look forward to a service project this weekend, getting together with loved ones, baking, cooking, shared meals, continuing our tours of local neighborhood light displays, Christmas Eve services, Mommy's Christmas Medley, etc. We're spending Christmas Eve and Day with a friend who is a planner. It gives me a big happy to discuss the menus, times, and the other details that we both recognize as important in enjoying relaxed celebrations by heading off as many potential uh-ohs and whoopses as possible. Merry Christmas here we come!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Most is peaceful around here this morning. Libby is curled up around a teddy bear asleep on the couch. Katie is zonked out on the love seat, and Evan is lurking because he is not supposed to be out of bed before 6:00 a.m. Don is feeding the dogs so they are a teensy bit overly excited. (The food followed by their walk is a highlight of the basic doggy day.) Last night was less peaceful. In fact, it was overly exciting.
Don had a rehearsal. Erin had a temp that soared over 103. (104 is where I head for an E.R., quack shack, or M.D.) She was miserable. I phoned Don. Gave ibuprofen and insisted that Little Bit drink. It was a big relief to see the temp start to go down after an anxious hour. (Not being anxious is hard to do when there's a child staring at you with gigantic blue eyes that plead and fully expect for Mom to make her better.) We passed a fairly quiet half hour after her temp came down.
Thankfully, Evan went to bed during that time and fell asleep. The power went out. I don't mean a flicker. I mean no power at all. I grabbed one of the flashlights from our Christmas light walks, and headed off to climb into the recesses of my closet to get the emergency candles and some decorative ones I had stashed while talking to the girls in my best crisis counselor voice. Once we had a dozen votives lit (sitting on whatever flat glass surfaces I could find from a pie plate on a riser to a cake plate) and the fat Christmas candle from the dining room, I decided to check outside since the girls seemed reassured by the soft light after being in pitch dark. There was not a single light up and down the creek (Okay, the realtor called it a creek. It's really a drainage ditch with trees and a green swathe of grass.) or the street out front where half the neighbors have buried their homes under twinkling lights they do not fail to turn on nightly.
The cell phone network was busy, and without electricity there's no internet connection and no home phone since they both require the router and the phones to have an electrical source of power. I reached Ally who was going to try to find out by phone or internet what was going on in our neighborhood with the power. I phoned Don at rehearsal--- again reaching him only after waiting for the call to go through. He was heading home, and he would pick up a few more candles in jars on his way. A neighbor from across the neighborhood phoned via cell to see if our power was out, too.
Evan would have just flipped out, but he did not wake. The boy has a serious fear of the dark. He also dislikes candles because he has a certainty that they will burst into massive flames, and he puts them out every time I light one. Last night's power outage would have caused him some serious conflict between darkness and fire. (That would have caused me and the girls some serious craziness.)
The animals were keeping life interesting. The cat really wanted to play with those dancing flames. Our big dogs have those giant swishing tales that threatened to knock the candles from the tables. I shut them up in our bedroom and ignored the meowing, woofing, and whimpering coming through the door. Ally arrived because she could not reach me by phone, and I had concerns about the charge on mine. We dug up an electric bill so she could phone our provider.
No explanation was available, so she called Jose to put him to work calling the actual company providing the service to the lines. She hung around until we knew that the lines were being "worked on" and Don was on his way with the additional candles. Naturally, the power was restored shortly after he returned home.
We are blessed. After making do with space heaters and an electric blanket for keeping warm, the new furnace was installed in time to warm the whole house yesterday afternoon and evening. The house was warm enough to maintain the more comfortable temperature. That would have been highly unlikely with the more meager heat of the space heaters, blanket, and whatever the oven and clothes dryer generated with their regular use. I felt a lightness as I returned to darkness around midnight to finally crawl into bed and fall asleep without adjusting the electric blanket or getting up to check the heaters and the kids' blankets throughout the night for the first time in weeks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


We've been preoccupied with warmth since the heater has been out of commission. That issue was occupying much of our thoughts until Miss Libby presented with a temperature in excess of 102. Awesome. She has some sort of viral creeping crud. Miss Libby will be staying home until she is fever-free for 24 hours. I figure she'll be home the rest of the week. She's feeling pretty yucky.

Our weird Texas weather catered to our household climate control issues beautifully today. The installation of our new furnace took place during some oddly warmish weather this morning while Lib & I headed off to the pediatrician. Once the heater was in the outside temperature headed south. I will not miss the whir of the space heaters, but I am glad to continue to be warm. It will also be much easier to keep Miss Libby comfortable with a working heater as our weather gets more wintry.

There are certain benefits to illness for the kids around here. I get the ill child settled in. Then I go shopping to provide "sick food". The well kids are super-big fans of sick food. (They really encourage whomever is ill to get well so they can help eat the left-overs.) Sugar-free Jell-O, bananas, rice, diet Lemon-Lime soda, sports drink, yogurt, applesauce, crackers, toast, sugar-free popsicles, noodles, soup, and for those without tummy troubles pudding, peaches, and ice cream--- What's not to love? It's also a great gauge of just how ill they are at a given moment. Any kid too sick to eat pudding or Jell-O must be at death's door. Sure sign that they need a mother's nurturing. Poor baby, let me help you... give Mama that pudding and the spoon since you haven't even tasted it.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Tonight we put a new spin on one of our family holiday traditions. Evan's first Christmas he was up all night crying. It was not awesome. He was quiet when we were driving around in the car. Holiday lights helped to pass the time waiting for it to be late enough (or at least not entirely too early) to call up Grandma and Grandad to begin the Christmas morning festivities. Every year since, we have gone out looking at lights. We have driven around several neighborhoods in our town annually to see our old favorites, and we are always pleased to see new additions.
Instead of cruising town looking at the displays, we opted for a walking tour of the neighborhoods closer to home. Armed with flashlights (and warnings to keep the lights on the ground rather than shining them at passing drivers) for visibility, we headed out into the darkness. Rather than the driver missing out on half the lights while everyone else is craning to try to catch the sights as we pass by homes, we had plenty of time for all to "ooh" and "ah" over our neighbors' contributions to lighting up the night.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Each month Evan and his buddies from the social skills group (referred to as the Super Friends in the interest of privacy) go by bus to a store where they have the opportunity to make some sort of snack. Today's cooking class was a holiday party for cookie decorating. Evan and a neighbor boy used up most of the candy decorations for the cookies. (Or maybe not, since the reporter of this news was admittedly occupied with eating frosting while the so-called candy overuse was occurring.) The boys had a great time, and they were very proud of their creations as they emerged following class with their colorfully decorated cookies. One of the highlights of my day was definitely checking out the finished cookies as several of the boys presented their creations.
Evan's interest in cooking, thanks in part to the classes, has recently brought him into our kitchen. I happily assigned him a task the other day as I was hurrying to get a corn casserole into the oven to bake. I sent him to the pantry for corn muffin mix. No problem. I sent him back for creamed corn and whole kernel corn. That took some discussion. ("It's not in a box, Bud. Look in the cans." "It's in two separate cans." "...because one is creamed corn and the other is still in the whole kernel form." "I don't know who came up with the term "creamed".) Then I told him to open the corn. The boy had no clue how to work a manual can opener. Evan was completely flummoxed by the thing. My guy had never been shown how to use the contraption. (I am glad he knew which do-hickey was the can opener. I have been remiss in teaching the kid his way around the kitchen.) Once he was shown how to clamp it on the can, he did just fine. Needless to say, Evan will be given more opportunities in the kitchen. He's a good helper, and I suspect he will continue to show interest in kitchen duty now that he has noticed his sisters not having to help with laundry (2nd most-hated chore after making the bed based on futility) because they are assisting with dinner.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Wheee! The adrenaline coursing through me packs a pretty serious wallop. I just cut Katie's hair. (Yes. You read correctly. I just cut Katie's hair.) I gave all the appropriate warnings about the likelihood of me botching it. (Never mind that this is the child who would cut her bangs off at the crown every six months between the ages of 1 1/2 and 4 years of age. I can see where she would lack concern about what I might do to her hair with scissors.) I also considered taking her to a salon, but I just spent two weeks correcting my last haircut to get it right so I am feeling a bit gun shy when it comes to the pros.
She looks good. I cut layers in to give her more texture, and we cut off 6 inches or so. (It was touching her caboose when we started. We had some wiggle room.) She looks great, and she is very pleased with her new 'do. We did have to go back to cut in more "wispies". (I'm not a fan of wispies. They bug me by slipping into my face at the least convenient moments.) I think she looks slightly older with her hair shaped instead of in the usual blunt cut.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Don still has both his full-time and part-time jobs. There's answered prayer. I know God will provide for our needs through whatever means He sees fit, but I really appreciate not making changes right this minute.

The latest "suspicious" tissue found in or on someone we love turns out to be "dense" tissue. There's some more good news in answer to prayer.

Dad's knocked out another series of the immunotherapy for his cancer. It wasn't pleasant, but he's done until February. Glad this round is over.

Evan is doing very well at school, and everyone present was seeking to see that he continues to do well. There was also discussion about putting him in an Algebra class next year if he qualifies. We'll see how he responds to that opportunity. We need to provide medical documentation of an autism spectrum disorders again. (sigh) This documentation is more in preparation for high school where we will again have a whole new set of teachers and administrators saying he seems like every other kid... right up until there is some big, ugly, blow-out or ongoing string of bizarre behaviors. I am incredibly thankful for the precious people who work day-in and day-out with Evan. Prayers answered, and some new requests here. Take your pick.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Raining Shoes

We've had several situations where we were "waiting for the other shoe to drop". Apparently it's time for all the shoes to drop at once. I'm feeling overwhelmed.
Lay-offs at the Mama Company (As usual, names have been changed to protect the innocent... or just those who might sue. Either way.). One lost from Don's group, but it was thankfully not him. He goes to lunch with the Powers That Be from his second job today. The offer we have dreaded for a full-time job will be made today. If he does not take the full-time position, he may be out of the second job which represents 1/3 of our total income. It is unlikely the smaller company can come anywhere near the types of benefits the Mama Company offers employees, although they will likely be able to offer a better salary. Potential for uh-oh. Either way, he still works from home.
The boy is still ticked off at the therapist, but he did talk to him yesterday. (I'll take the improvement gladly.) Today is the ARD meeting, and he goes back to see the doctor after school. We shall see how that all plays out.
We'll be switching infusion companies again. Mama Co.'s insurance has decreed that the provider they switched me to this year won't do for next year. That means new approvals for the meds and the nurse. It also means learning a new company's protocols, and it means getting used to a new stranger in our house. It's a bit of a headache.


Today it begins. Happy Birthday, C! The warning bells started going off a few years back as friends became mothers of teens, but they all had "big kids". For Sylvia to be the mom of a teen hits closer to home since our three eldest are only months apart, and we shared much of the early years of our youngest children. How can my children's honorary "other mother" be the parent of a teen when our kids are all in the same age range? (I was hoping there had been a mistake.) L's birthday is only weeks away. It's lurking mere days before Christmas to confirm the beginning of our years as mothers of teenagers. Sylvia will be the mother of two teens by the end of the month.
While C and L are hardly the first, or last, children ever to turn 13, they symbolically usher in the teen years for me when a new style of parenting will be needed. The years of ever-increasing freedom, independence, and personal responsibility have arrived. If we do our jobs well, these young people will grow further away from us daily. I think parenting may be the only relationship human beings engage in knowing that the ultimate goal is to grow apart over time as our offspring attain their individuality and independence. Hopefully, I will be more accustomed to the idea by March when the first of my own turns 13.

The challenges of this herd of teens and soon-to-be-teens are going to keep us all on our toes in the coming years, but at least we are rid of baby-proof outlet covers. (One was still lurking in an infrequently used outlet here.) There is good news, I have twelve years to get this down. My youngest will not exit her teen years until 2020. I think I can work with that time frame.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Generally Uninspired

I am lacking in inspiration this afternoon. The gray day may be contributing to my general blah. The high point of the day is yet to come though. Katie will be back home from her three-day trip at 3:00! I am looking forward to hearing all about her adventures while she was away from us. I am so ready to see her beautiful freckled face.

I did get in to have my cortisone injected this morning. I did not enjoy the experience. (That's good since it's creepy when people enjoy pain.) Now I am supposed to "take it easy" for 24 hours. It's worth it to have the injections done because there is substantial pain relief and better mobility for almost a year afterward. (Yay!)

Last night was blissfully uneventful with the kids. Everyone went to bed without a battle. Evan and Erin did their chores with only token resistance. I was up for hours after the kiddies went to sleep on the phone with Dad, then Mom, then engaging in round two of post-infusion nausea. This is one of those infusions where stuff hurts and food is not my friend. I hope that does not last all weekend.

Good news from Dad: Aunt Retha's oxygen was turned off this morning, and she seemed to still be getting enough oxygen on her own. She may be breathing without the respirator today. She developed some secondary infections (allergies and bladder, I think) that were a concern yesterday. We continue to wait for more news and pray.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Follow Up

Several goodies today. The meeting at the school went well. Evan is doing what he is supposed to be doing. He instigated a "point sheet" that includes goals that he and his teachers evaluate daily to assess his performance. He accrues points for meeting goals, and he can earn treats or privileges like video game time or a library pass. I am proud of him for remembering that this system worked well for him in the past and suggesting it. His classroom teachers all report that he is keeping up and doing well. He has one B, and the rest of his averages are A's. He stumbled a bit getting caught up from his absences while he was in the hospital, but he is back on track now. The ARD committee (Assessment, Review, & Dismissal committee) will actually meet next Tuesday afternoon. Today we were just talking about the boy in preparation for the actual meeting. He has had some obstinate moments at school, but thankfully nothing like what went on at home during the holiday break.

Infusion is done. My hips are on fire. Some nausea this afternoon, but it was gone by dinnertime. The infusion was largely uneventful. I did zonk out the second I came back in from meeting with the teacher. It is time for more cortisone injections. I wish we had just done them the last time I was in the rheumatologist's office, but she said they would work better if we waited until the pain was really bad. Fabulous.


Everything hurts. I hate days like this, but I sure am thankful that they are infrequent now. Just have to get through the meeting at school and the infusion today.

Please pray for Aunt Retha who had a heart attack yesterday. She is on a respirator with congestive heart failure waiting for fluid to clear from her lungs and had three stents placed yesterday due to aterial blockage. Please keep her husband Randy and their grown children K.C., Jay, & Kim plus grandchildren in your prayers as well. We give praise for the immediate care she received as the heart attack occurred while Aunt Retha was being given tests at the hospital with the necessary doctors present. As Daddy put it, "She must be living right."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Broken Stuff

My IVIG has been postponed until Friday. For those of you just joining our program, I have an abnormal immune system. I am given a blood product every 4 weeks by IV. Last month was supposed to be the one month a year when I am given two infusions(every 4 weeks = 13 times a year), but there were issues with the insurance and getting the medication. (At over $5400 per treatment, we need the insurance to cover the IVIG, so we waited for the official authorization. That meant doing two treatments in November instead of October.) Now there is a scheduling error that means waiting three more days late this time. I am worn out, my joints are starting to cause pain again, and I'm concerned because we are running infusions late right in the heart of cold & flu season. I am tired, grouchy, and irritated with my body for not working correctly in the first place.

The Christmas tree toppled this morning. We have all hard floors. 14+ years of carefully selected and stored ornaments representing so many precious moments in our family's lives were broken or smashed. It's not just the loss of the pretty little things, but more of what each one represented. I have redone the tree with the assorted ornaments that are not breakable. I think it might be a little ugly. The good in this is that there is plenty of room for the gigantic kid-made ornaments that would have produced over-crowding previously. I'm still sad though.

My bad attitude is driving me nuts. I cannot get away from me, and I am driving me crazy. I wonder if a nap will chill me out? A walk did not help... I think it just gave me an opportunity to get more worked up. Argh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Plan

Evan is now totally ticked at the therapist. He is not speaking to Dr. Dan. So Dr. Dan asked to talk with me instead. He seemed a bit bewildered by the total turn-around in Evan's behavior toward him. I explained that Evan is now blaming Dr. Dan for the level system instead of blaming me or Don. Dr. Dan responded that this is not usually the way the level system works. Normally, parents would introduce the level system. Then the kid goes in to tell Dr. Dan about the crazy new thing the parents are doing. Dr. Dan can listen and offer sage advice to help the little darling begin to accept responsibility for their actions and see how their choices are leading to their consequences. That sets the parents up as the bad guy, but Dr. Dan is at least able to offer counsel. In this instance, the kiddie is ticked at Mom & Dad for enforcing the level system and at Dr. Dan because it his system.

Dr. Dan responded to my displeasure with the introduction of the level system by saying that he has never presented the level system to a kid himself before--- and our current situation is why. He did not apologize for painting any potential for failure of the plan as the fault of Don and I last week, but I am satisfied without an apology. The reason for Dr. Dan's presentation of the level system is because Evan had provided such a glowing version his life that it absolutely threw Dr. Dan to hear about what we have been dealing with at home. We are now wondering how much purpose there is to keeping the next appointment if Evan will not talk with Dr. Dan. I figure we will keep taking him to the appointments for a few weeks. If he still refuses to talk to Dr. Dan in 2-3 weeks we can revisit whether or not to continue. We will keep him on the level system as it is set right now.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


In the early years of our marriage, I was accused of nagging. I never have caught on to why it is "nagging" for a wife to tell her husband what she wants or needs. If she tells him more than once, wouldn't that seem more like an issue on his end since he's the one who's ignoring or putting off a request? In the middle years of our marriage, Don began to change his views on my requests. I would ask him to "take care of" something, and if he did not--- let the consequences fly. I developed the habit of greeting him on the phone or at the door with the words, "I told you so," until the words were no longer necessary, and the look said it all.

It is not fun at all to recognize that a spouse actually has free reign to do dumb stuff, and that there is nothing one can really say or do to avert the potential comedies, tragedies, and inconveniences that will occur as a result. (Kids are different. If we succeed they will eventually set up housekeeping somewhere else. Friends and relatives are different. Their lives are not tied to our well-being in the same way.) We morphed into our latest stage a couple of years back. I have not heard the word "nag" from Don in reference to me in years. He does not even require the look anymore. He just does whatever I ask of him, tells me when he will get around to it, or lets me know that he is not going to do it at all so I can take care of whatever it may be myself. He is developing the ability to read my mind with at least 60% accuracy which is all I ever really wanted from him. He recognizes that the "We" in "We need to [fill in the blank]," is literally translated to "He" or "You". This seemed to be working well for us until very recently.

In the last few days, the nagging has returned. Here's the catch: I am nagging in my sleep. Last Wednesday night I was sound asleep, but asked Don over and over again if he thought the turkey would be cold enough. (The bird was in a brine, and it was iced down. It was fine. The night-time nagging stopped after I got up in the wee hours to check the bird.) I laughed it off thinking it was a strange thing to ask him about over and over again in my sleep. Then he came in from playing late last night to snatch a few hours of sleep before he left to go play at church this a.m. The electric blanket was not warming, and he had paid for it so I had no idea where the receipt was in case it needs to be exchanged. I was soundly sleeping under a pile of blankets by the time he came in last night. Yet I still managed to ask him again and again about the receipt and explained that the blanket that was not warming. He eventually just got out of bed and fixed the blanket. Apparently I quit asking him about the blanket after it started warming. I was pleasantly surprised to find it working when I awoke this morning.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Level Up

Ugh. Last night was infuriating, heart-breaking, depressing, and generally not my cup of tea. The boy succeeded in getting dropped all the way back to Level 3 (in his room) again. He threw things, tore up a wall, growled and spit, the usual fireworks. He decided to blame Dr. Dan instead of me for the Level System. That's new. The level system was all my fault a couple of days ago.

He said he was never going to talk to Dr. Dan again. I said he didn't have to talk to him, but he was going to go to the appointment scheduled for Monday either way. Katie very helpfully informed Evan that Mom and Dad didn't like Dr. Dan either because of the levels. (Ugh. Me and my big mouth.) I explained that we like Dr. Dan just fine, but that we very much fail to appreciate Dr. Dan telling Evan about the Level System and saying that "parents just don't stick with it" without bothering to give us a head's up that he would want us to start the program as discussed weeks ago. Our objections were to the lack of forewarning and to the statements made to Evan with me present about parents as if they all are lazy people who can't be bothered to take responsibility for discipline. I treated the statements made as if they were challenges, but I was not pleased by the derogatory nature.

Yesterday was a mood swing festival of crying jags, screaming, yelling, pounding, and grousing. Today we were able to mitigate his restriction by taking him out for a long walk in the cold followed by our shopping trip. We also decided that we were going to tailor Dr. Dan's plan to better work for us. Instead of the 24 hours required to move up from each level, we are going with 12 hours. Evan's patience is far less than what one can reasonably expect from someone his age. He is doing better this evening. I think I would be ready for a commitment hearing myself if we had replayed last night's behaviors from the boy.

So tonight he has electronics, and he is out of his room. On Monday, Don or I will be having a few polite words with Dr. Dan regarding dropping bombshells like the Level System plan on Evan without preparing him for change. Change is not good for Evan, and a dramatic variation in discipline at home was not the way to go. He usually has a hard time handling the holidays, and the level system definitely exacerbated the usual issues. We are trying to do what we are "supposed to do" by having the boy see a therapist, but thus far I have yet to see any notable benefit to Evan or our family.


We spent our morning out hunting a Christmas tree that would suit us all. Once the silver and white ones were nixed, the kids turned their considerable energy to picking out a green one. (The fresh ones are unwelcome because we already have enough shedding around here with the animals.) Don wanted a hinged tree that came pre-lit. I wanted a skinny tree that would take up less room and a small tree on which to hang the excess ornaments that will not fit on the slimmer tree. (I collect Hallmark ornaments, and the kids each receive and/or make several new ones each year. The numbers are legion.) We eventually agreed on an anorexic tree, bought separate iridescent faceted light strings (because I liked them better than the regular naked bulbs), and added a second small tree.

Now we just have to make a trip out to the dump with the Mother Tree. It's mammoth, and it has served us well for the decade that it has been in use. We have added a child, a herd of pets, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law, both of our dads have retired and our moms gone back to work full-time in the years that the old tree has been with us. I wonder what the new one will witness in the coming years?

Friday, November 23, 2007


I am one of those lunatics who will head out shopping this morning. I popped up out of bed at 2:30 this morning to make coffee. I've already scoured the ads with Katie to plan a shopping route based on opening times and what we are hoping to purchase. This morning's Black Friday (aptly named since this is the day when many retailers hope to "be in the black" and to gauge holiday sales) adventures will include one of my daughters for the first time. It's something of a milestone in our family. We are not those people who have matching sweatshirts made up to identify one another as they gambol around the stores fighting for one of the limited to 50 larger-than-life-size Santa blow-up yard decorations for 19.99 available only from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.. Those people are crazier than us. (I know I'm okay as long as somebody else is still crazier.)

The first year I went along to this madhouse we lived in Midland, TX and I was in high school. My cousin John and I were both along with our mothers and Mammy. I was only along because John was going along with Aunt Sue. John was going because his Mama wanted him along, and he was more patient than anyone else on the planet with Mammy's shopping techniques. Mammy's technique was to very slowly peruse every single item in any given store. (This explains how Papa patiently spent years of his life sitting in the parking lots of K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and craft stores all over Texas and parts of New Mexico in the years before cell phones made it possible for our loved ones to track us down after we disappeared through the automatic doors.) It became a running joke as to who was going to be tagged to take Mammy to the store. John Paul was acknowledged by most as the very best shopping buddy for Mammy, and I began to aspire to his extraordinary patience. It was not an exercise for the hurried, but it was a delight to learn to see the standard aisles of your mega-mart as an adventure unfolding before the wheels of your cart.

While Mammy is no longer with us to cruise the aisles of our local discount retailers, the men who marry into the family have noted an interesting phenomenon. All of the women in the line seem to develop this see-it-all tendency and become ever slower as the years pass. My mom needs something in the neighborhood of 40 minutes to "run in" after one or two small items. I have a compulsion to wander away from my targeted shopping in case there is a "deal" available on the back end of an aisle somewhere. I walk into a store and my focus becomes fuzzy and eventually dissolves entirely. Mom and I are only a few decades into our lives. Mammy had 74 years in which to perfect the art of becoming distracted and to develop a pace as unhurried as molasses running uphill. Despite marrying into a clan where shopping is not so much a leisurely stroll as a timed test, I continue to grow slower with each passing year.

Today I will pass the torch. Kaitlin turned 10 last Spring, and I have noticed that she has lost the urge to rush in and out of a store. She now lingers. She suggests we check out "one more thing," and she is no longer able to resist the siren song of a clearance rack. The signs that she is maturing into her birthright are present.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


A whole day devoted to giving thanks, pie, good food, pie, family, football, and pie. (The boy should also be out of his room again, too.) Well, we'll probably skip the football (Yeah, yeah, I know that is sacrilege.), and pie will be a higher priority; otherwise, the preceding should describe our day.

There will only be chocolate or pumpkin pies offered today. I know it doesn't sound right. Don's the only one who likes pecan pie, and I'm the only one who likes apple pie. A whole pie that only one family member will eat seems like an expand-o-matic waist waiting to happen. Let's just not go there.

I am thankful that I can walk for miles... quitting only because I am bored with walking or short on time. I am thankful for the giant blond dog who is laying at my feet because he thinks I need guarding when I wake up at 2:30 in the morning, and for the foolish kitten making guerilla attacks on his wagging tale. I thank God for the four other people sleeping soundly while I am awake listening to the wind blow in the trees.

I am thankful for the family and friends who share our lives, and for Christ who gives us all purpose and hope. I am thankful for Oren who will receive his Master's in a couple of weeks, for Lou who already did, for Jim who completed his Air Force training, for Evan who is back in school, for Erin who remains the family comedienne, and for Kaitlin who chooses not to grow up quite so fast. I am thankful for Mary Ann and Daddy who always answer the phone. I am thankful for Sylvia, Ally, and Meera who almost always know the answer---even if that just means knowing when to admit there is no answer. For Neely's Aunt Worma who keeps going. For Cindy who turns 30 today. For Mom who took off work to come. For Don's excisions, Daddy's washes, answers and grace for Cindy & Oren, and my IVIG. For a year without a near-death experience. Brittany who was baptised on Sunday. Our Life Group. Loving Your Husband AGAIN with Sarah and Brittany. The list goes on and on. The Lord is good to us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Well, the boy is parked in his bedroom for 24 hours. He reset to another full 24 hours at 10:30 this morning because he was banging on the walls. Thanks very much, Dr. Dan, for telling Evan about your disciplinary plan for him when he was going to be home for a full nine days. Dr. Dan is not very high on my list of people I like right now after he introduced his system to Evan along with the issuance of a parental challenge to "make it work" without any warning to us that he would be doing so. Better still, we actually pay Dr. Dan to be a pain in the rear.

Dr. Dan's brilliant plan involves a "Level System" where the boy forfeits any time with friends including phone privileges when he gets put on level one. Level two is where electronics go away. Level three involves Evan hanging out alone in his bedroom except for potty breaks, bathing, meals, church, and any exceptions granted by Mom & Dad like school or a doctor's appointment. Evan is put "on a level" for any behavior, words, or expressions that are deemed disrespectful. He remains on the level for 24 hours. If he has a separate incident, we either reset him to another full 24 hour period at the time the incident ends at the level, or we can bump him to the next level.

Dr. Dan's plan is based on the methods used in the mental health hospital setting. It works. Of course, in the hospital setting there are lucid adults who are not personally involved or invested in the kids available 24 hours a day (secure in the knowledge that another shift will arrive to relieve them every 8-12 hours).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Making Do

Hmmm. The heater is out. Yes, I kow we should get that fixed. I also know the heater is not going to be fixed for the money we have available for that purpose right now. We'll get it done. We will not get it done before the temperature drops this week. I consider an air conditioner to be necessary in Texas. It is conceivably life-threatening to go without a/c in a Texas summer. Our winters are generally pretty mild, but I am concerned about our projected drop to freezing this week. That might not be fun.

This afternoon we all piled in the truck to head for Wal-Mart to look for ways to keep warm over the coming cold snap. Sarah's suggestion of electric blankets was inspired, so we made sure that was on our list for the kids. Thermal underwear for everyone seemed like a good idea to me. (The girls were offended by the appearance of the long johns. I confess to rolling my eyes a time or two over their concerns with color and pattern.) A few over-sized fleece blankets, extra gloves, and dorky hats for all went into the cart as well. (Our photos on Thanksgiving Day are going to be funny if we actually get cold enough to wear those hats inside. I am half-way hoping it does get cold enough.)

While a space heater seems like an obvious solution, I just cannot make myself purchase or borrow a space heater. I've just seen too many episodes of the evening news where houses burn down thanks to a space heater. I really cringe at the idea of a space heater with the kids and pets. It takes no imagination for me to envision a child draping a blanket over a space heater or an animal knocking one over. We will just have to bundle up, hang out in the kitchen, and snuggle up.

One More

One more is a recurring them around here. Today we celebrate one more birthday. This morning there is one more kid on-hand. I need one more cup of coffee. I hope I don't have to go back to quiet the boys' noise level one more time. (I could hear them from next door while talking with Mrs. Carol & Mr. Art after our walk.) I am being asked one more question by one more child...

Don turns 35 today. The day will be otherwise ordinary. He picked out his own gifts over the weekend, and there was no point in wrapping them. He feels like there have been too many sweets and meals out recently with Erin's birthday last Thursday. My in-laws called to wish him a "Happy Birthday!" which is apparently to be the only celebratory moment. I did not even realize today was the 20th until he mentioned that his mother called and why. It seems wrong to have a birthday just pass like any other day, but that is what we are doing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cheap Pie

Whoo-hoo!!! The super-shopper strikes again! Tonight I outdid myself on baked goodies. 4 pies, 4 dozen rolls, and a tub of Cool Whip for $5.75... and the cashier then printed me out a coupon for $5 off my next shopping order. Yay!!! My cheap little heart grew three sizes today.

I think my children may have been switched at birth. I baked an apple pie. An ooey-gooey, warm-from-the-oven apple pie for their dessert. The friend who was sleeping over proclaimed, "It's PIE! Don't ask questions. Just eat it." (That's a smart one there!) My lovies tasted the pie. Both girls put it aside after a single small bite. Evan inhaled the crust and topping, but left behind the cinnamon apples. How can they not like apple pie?! (I am convinced that is somehow un-American.) They have suggested we have pumpkin or chocolate pie in the future.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I almost never saw her. I was watching for trouble on my left and from the rear while trying to gauge the speed of those ahead as I prepared to enter the highway at a steadily increasing speed. The lunatic in the Honda came out of a parking lot across a couple of lanes and the solid white line to enter the highway. While I was impressed by the level of creativity her driving showed, I was definitely not pleased to discover another vehicle about to plow into the side of mine where Don was riding! I figured my parents were probably having a stroke since they were following us and likely had a far better view of our new friend than they wanted. I also wondered if the officers who came to the scene would accept my parents as witnesses that this lady t-boned us on the access road. Fortunately, we did avoid an accident today, but it was a near miss.

I wonder what I am not seeing in life that will blind-side me later? I wonder if there is something streaking toward us as we blithely move through our day that will force us to slow down and re-evaluate... spin us out of control in a series of slow-motion heartbeats... or bring us to a grinding halt.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Today Erin is 7 years old. Wow. She's the Queen of the World today. Actually she's running around the house with a cat and a blob of pink play-dough--- I hope it's play-dough and not gum. Tonight we will celebrate with a party at the Zone where she and her friends and siblings can bounce to their hearts' content on giant inflatables. Then we will feed them all pizza and cake and send them home sugared-up with play-dough.

Mom and Dad are here so we drove to Arlington to visit my Grandma Pat (Dad's mom) and Uncle John Hayden (Dad's uncle). We had lunch and took pictures with scare crows. We hit Bass Pro Shops and headed home to pick up the kids as they get out of school. Now the party favors are stuffed, and we have to go pick up a neon pink 3-D Barbie cake before meeting Miss Erin's guests.

I realized today that this is not only Erin's 7th birthday, but it is also the 7th year we will celebrate with the Reeces. That's almost as much of a "Wow." as Libby turning 7! Here's to long-time friends in our transient world.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Optimism is what I have been asked to bring to my marriage today. My husband needs optimism. Optimism as in "an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome" according to Webster's Dictionary. He has a best-case scenario outlook on life. I do not happen to share this perspective. Interestingly enough, he does appreciate that I am purposeful in most of my words and actions while he finds himself to be more lackadaisical in his approach to life in general. I foresee difficult days ahead.

That lack of an expectation that "All will be well." is precisely what drives me. I am constantly fighting the entropy in our lives. Entropy as in Webster's "a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder". I fight chaos. I thought that his relaxed approach and my need to plan worked rather well together, but apparently my concerns are weighing more on his happy than I realized. I am completely at a loss for how one can function without the driving need to hold the world and its craziness at bay. Hmmm. This request will have to be put to prayer. I have no idea how to meet this desire he expresses. It is utterly alien to everything that I am.

His glass is half full, but the waiter will be by at any moment to fill it back up. My glass is half empty, but I am carefully guarding it against evaporation and spills. I think my glass may actually be a sippy cup.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I think the kitty may be brain damaged. She chews on electronics. She perches on the top of the bedroom door. She thinks the tail of a 90 lb male lab is a toy and that the dog it's attached to is her "snuggle buddy". Don just returned her to me after he found her... in the oven. Most disturbing, she does not flee the children. That is not the brightest kitty.

I do not really know why we have added the kitty to our menagerie. We pull into the church parking lot to retrieve Miss Katie who is volunteering in the nursery playing with babies. She climbs into the car and Don spies the sign reading "Free Kittens". The free kitten needed litter, a box, a too-big collar she has yet to grow into, a litter scoop, more food, a kitty dish... and she needs shots and fixin'. The jury is still out on whether or not she will keep her claws.

It took several days to arrive at her name. There were many suggestions from the oh-so-original "Kitty" and "Cat" to the spice family of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, etc. (I started to wish we had brought home the black kitten that was missing part of its foot so we could call it "Lucky".) I thought maybe "Brin" since the cat was a brindle, and Don suggested "Fender". Eventually it became obvious to me--- and I was doing the naming--- that the hairball's name was "Bella". She looks a bit like a "Bellatrix", but since the Harry Potter character was evil we're saying it's based on Spain's Queen Isabella as in the mother of Katherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife) and the grandmother of Bloody Mary.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Hmmm. A blog was suggested, and now I am getting around to it.

Today I am all about the chilis. Well, the dried chilis anyway. I have discovered the wonder of ancho chili that I can shake out of the jar. (Are anchos dried habaneros? I think so, but I am not sure. Sylvia is bound to know because I am pretty sure she is an expert on habaneros.) It makes a nice addition to the regular Cayenne, Garlic, and Cumin. I kept adding the chili powder waiting for the taco meat to be just right. I may have been overenthusiastic in my use of spices; however, Evan (who complains bitterly about regular pepper being too spicy) asked for seconds so it must not have been too hot. The real test will be Katie. That child can detect the slightest variation in food. It's both a source of pride and a major annoyance.