Monday, December 29, 2008
We had a really lovely Christmas this year. Eric and Anna spent Christmas Eve at Oma and Opa's as is the tradition; while they were gone I frantically wrapped every single present. Anna, completely out of character for her, wanted me to curl her hair, because going to Oma and Opa's is special. How adorable is she?
Then Christmas morning Eric came over first thing so that we could all spend Christmas morning together. I can't tell you how blessed I feel that this is our situation, that my current husband welcomes my ex-husband into our home so that Anna gets to spend Christmas morning with all of us. She is at a GREAT age right now where she wanted all of US to open our presents first, because she was so excited to see OUR reactions. She and Eric made two bird-houses for me and she painted them. Very cute.
All Anna wanted for Christmas was (get ready)...an ostrich egg. Yes, my child is WEIRD. She is really, really into rocks and crystals and fossils and bones...since she was just tiny she has collected bits and pieces of nature: antlers found in the deep Oregon woods during a mushroom-gathering hike when she was less than 3. A coyote skull found in the woods of N. Idaho (I've never had the heart to point out that the hole in it's skull is likely from a bullet). A wing from an owl. Feathers. Rocks. Shells. Bird nests. The top of her dresser looks like it belongs in a natural history museum. So when mom and I were in NYC and Kim took me to Evolution, I found several really cool things for Anna. And then, when I got back, I showed her the website. She spent HOURS pouring over their offerings. Finally she announced that she simply could not live another day without an ostrich egg. THANK YOU internet. I love the look of complete rapture on her face as she's clutching the large egg to her chest.
I have to say, I NAILED it with the gifts for her this year. At Evolution I found a Horse Anatomy kit, a teeny sea-horse in a bottle, a gorgeous beetle, a beautiful rock to add to her rock collection and a book on identifying rocks and crystals. I also found, on-line, a "crystal-mining" kit, which is essentially a block of porous concrete type stuff with several rocks and crystals inside and some tools. The child then has to dig and scrape and brush away the concrete to get to the stones. That was a big hit. After finding the treasures, she ran and got her rock-collection display case and put them inside. I am so glad that she is not into dolls or Barbies; I love that she loves to learn. It certainly makes it fun to shop for her.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Now. I'm off to drive home in the howling, 30mph winds and blowing snow. Fun!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
(if you just click to get it started, the slideshow will begin and advance itself.)
Ok!!! Finally, here is a slideshow of my trip to NCY with my beautiful mom. These are only some of the photos; now that I know how to do this, I'll post more soon. Picnik and Flickr came through for me. Photobucket: YOU SUCK.
Anyway, our trip was so much fun, I can't even tell you. It started out a little sketchy. In fact, so many things went wrong that we started a list. But the thing is, each thing that went wrong ended up being resolved fairly painlessly. To wit:
Mom lost her boarding pass at the Las Vegas airport and did not realize this until we were BOARDING. Silver lining: They quickly and easily reprinted one for her and we got on the plane.
We arrived at the Long Island airport to POURING RAIN and our driver was nowhere to be found. When I called to check, I was told at first that there was no record of a reservation. We were exhausted and overwhelmed and we'd been travelling for over 12 hours with nothing but some peanuts and a Cinnabon to eat. Silver lining: Luckily I had printed the emails exchanged between me and the car service and they sent a car right away. Our driver was charming, interesting, and gave us great advice on what to do and what not to do in the city.
We arrived at the hotel, only to be told that our reservation had been cancelled. Here we were in a city we didn't know at all; it was pouring rain and we wouldn't even have known where to begin looking for another hotel. Silver lining: The front desk realized that the cancellation was THEIR error and they had a room available. It was similar in size to a cruise-ship room, but hey, it had beds and at that point, that's all we cared about.
Our plan on Friday was to spend the day exploring Rockefeller Center, including a tour of the NBC studios. We waited in line and our group filed into the auditorium for a short movie clip. But first, they had to check everone's tickets because they somehow had an extra person or two. So one girl went around with a flashlight checking all our tickets to make sure we were supposed to be part of the 11:00 group. Apparently, 1 or 2 extra people were NOT acceptable. Then, they had to check agian. Then they checked a third time and then one of them had to go confer with the manager. We are all really grumbling, ready to get started and irritated that whoever was the intruder didn't just admit to it. Finally, she came back in and said "Ok, apparently someone here is actually booked for Friday December 19th. I need you all to look at your tickets again." Yep, you guessed it. Silver lining: They were able to get us in on the next group. And as we were touring the SNL studio, we saw Seth Myers.
Oh, and this is my favorite: On the Metro on the way back to the hotel from Rockefeller Plaza, it was Friday night and the subways were just packed. At each stop, a few people would get off but ten times more would try to cram on. The conductor kept saying "Do NOT block the doors. You can't stand in the doorway." And then at the next stop the same thing would happen: "Do NOT block the doors. If you can't fit onto this train, there is another one right behind us." Of course, no one paid any attention to him at all and continued to cram their way in and block the doors. Finally, the conductor got so mad "Because you people aren't listening to me and it's causing delays" he decided to SKIP OUR STOP. He just announced that there wasn't going to be a stop at 28th street and that the next stop would the 14th st. That would mean a 14 block walk, in the dark, back to our hotel and I would have ended up carrying mom on my back I think. Lucky for us a kind local woman recognized our "tourist-in-headlights" look and said "I am going to 28th street too; we'll just get off and get on the next train". Which we did and that conductor was kind enough to STOP AT THE DESIGNATED METRO STOPS and so we were able to pop up right in front of our hotel as planned.
The rest of the weekend went relatively smoothly. We toured the city and saw the sights and I became a pro at hailing cabs and we got to see Kim and it was really an all-around fabulous trip that both mom and I will remember forever.
I love NY. And my mom is pretty cool too.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Eric and Anna and I skiied to the store for baking supplies. Have you ever tried to x-country ski in 3 feet of powdery snow with a gallon of milk, a few pounds of flour, a bottle of wine, two pounds of butter and 3 dozen eggs in your back-pack?? Luckily my ex-husband was willing to be my pack-mule. Anna is doing so well on skis! She fell down several times but she'd get up smiling and keep going. We were very proud of her great attitude.
Ok, I'm off to the Tribal Christmas luncheon and then HOPEFULLY home for the weekend. Will post more later.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
So now I'm just DONE working with photos today and ya'll just have to wait until tomorrow. Me? I'm going to go crawl under my desk and suck my thumb while watching the snow fall.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I love everything about it: Going to a tree farm and finding just the right tree, bringing all the boxes of ornaments and decorations up from the basement, hanging the lights out on the porch, stringing up our paper snowflakes across the living room, the fire burning, and always, ALWAYS playing the soundtrack to Charlie Brown's Christmas as we lovingly unwrap each ornament.
This year we planned on doing all this on Sunday as rest of the weekend was full: Anna had birthday parties to attend both Friday and Saturday nights, Saturday was spent running errands and doing some shopping, and Sunday morning we had company coming for coffee. Also Sunday morning, Eric picked Anna up to take her over to Coeur d' Alene to have breakfast with his family and then to go into the woods to pick out and cut down the tree for his house. So by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, Anna was tired, grouchy and DONE with the whole Christmas tree thing. I could see that the window of opportunity for Christmas cheer was diminishing, so I adjusted my hopes of going out to a tree farm and agreed to just go to a nearby tree lot.
We brought our tree home and as David and I wrestled it into the tree stand, Anna wandered off and got a book, settling in the big chair next to the fireplace to read. I was disappointed that she wasn't as excited as I was to decorate, but I wasn't going to let that hinder my little fantasy. I got some apple-cider and cinnamon sticks simmering on the stove and then turned on the music. I figured that once she saw my excitement as I re-discovered our favorite ornaments, she'd join in.
Instead, she got up, went over and TURNED OFF MY CHARLIE BROWN. Nobody messes with my Charlie Brown, and I told her so, quite nicely. "But I can't READ if there's music on!!!!", she wailed. Now remember, Charlie Brown is soft piano music. It's not as if I was listening to AC/DC. Again overcoming my disappointment that she wasn't interested in decorating the tree, I suggested that she go UPSTAIRS to read if the music was bothering her....because there WAS going to be music playing in the living room. "But I don't WANT to go upstairs. I'm comfortable here!!!!" I decided to just go about my Christmas business and hope that she would get involved. Instead, every time I went into another room to get something, she'd turn the music off....and I'd come back into the room and turn it back on, again urging her to go to another room if she was going to require complete silence in order to read. We went back and forth like this for at least 15 minutes, and finally, I just lost it. I marched into the living room, leaned down into her face and yelled
"We are going to have some GOD DAMNED CHRISTMAS MUSIC ON!!!"
Now that's the spirit.
I will post about our NYC trip once I get our photos downloaded.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
My daughter is the funniest person she knows. That's me, in a wheel-chair WITH a cane. And, um, a small afro apparently.
Later today I leave for Boise to hook up with my mom and tomorrow evening we'll be in NEW YORK CITY, baby!!! I am soooo excited I can hardly stand it.
Have a great weekend, ya'll. There will be stories and pictures next week.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
So now that we are BFFs, Maddie and I e-mail back and forth every now and then, because, you know, actual LETTERS are soooo last decade. Below is the email I got from her this morning:
heey kate i cant belive ur going 2 ny im sooooooooooooooo jealous. in zkewl we r making center pieces and delivering them, then on the 12th we( the whooole 6th grade) r going to the mall 4 secret santa (hohoho) shopping 4 preasants 4 little or big kids!!!!!!!!!!!! it will be sooooooooooooo much fun :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)yes we have put /\ i luuuuuuuuv the smell 2!!! we got all messed /\ with the lights so we have 2 kinda sorta redo them soya 4 christmas break i especially want to chill but i want to have christmas reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyyy soooooooooooooooooooon wooooooooooooooooooooooooooohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo any ways im really x-ited 4 nye (new years eve) and nyd (new years daay) r'ent u?????? i just love playing with my c-mas preasants and my daddies side of the family all go to church and stay the untill midnight ( 11-12 ) its cool kuz my bff emma goes 2 our church 2 sooo we sit 2-gether and get all sleepy and stuff sooya its really fun
b t w (by the way) a.k.a. p.s. 17 days until c-mas and 23 days until nye aaaaand 24 days untill nyd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
Seriously. What the hell? Am I completely old and out of touch, or is this kid speaking a foreign language? In fact, when I just ran a spell-check, my computer coughed a few times, started smoking from somewhere deep within and then melted into a puddle on the floor.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I was incredibly lost and overwhelmed living in a neighborhood, and, as expected, I fell in with the kind of kids that you don't want your children hanging around with. Those are always the kids who will take in a new-comer; they are misfits themselves, so there are no high-standards you must meet in order to become a member of their group. These girls were older than me by a couple of years, and from crazy, seriously dysfunctional families.
One of them, R., had lost her mom to cancer. Her dad was a creepy Jr. High band-teacher who blatently leered at her and her friends as we passed through the kitchen and left his Playboy and Penthouse magazines in the bathroom. Now that I am older I am certain (based on her advanced sexual knowledge and inappropriate behavior) that he was molesting my friend, his daughter.
Another one, L., had, at the age of 10, the body of a very mature teenager; an older man who lived in a house a few blocks from our elementary school took notice and began inviting her in to his house for a coke every day on our walk home from school. No one else was invited or allowed inside.
Another friend, B., lived in a rickety, old, falling-down house with no furniture other than mattresses on the floor. The house was always full mangy dogs, cats with ring-worm, and an endless parade of drug-addicts, carnies and (inexplicably) cross-dressers.
This was back in the day when kids left the house in the morning and our parents really had NO idea where we were, who we were with or what we were doing, as long as we were home by dark. Even then I knew that these were "bad kids", the wrong crowd, and yet it was all I had. I can only imagine the course my life would have taken had I not met my friend Kim.
Kim lived just two blocks from me. We were the same age, but had never had the same teacher. Then one summer I was in Spokane (Washington) with my grandma visiting my uncle. My grandma and I were downtown shopping when I saw a familiar little red-head coming toward us. We shyly said hello, and my grandma and her mother started a conversation, marveling that Kim and I lived in the same neighborhood in Boise and then ran into each other in downtown Spokane. Turns out Kim and her mom were in town visiting her grandma. Meanwhile, Kim and I were staring at each other's shoes: we both had on brand-spanking new identical blue suede Earth Shoes. (Shut up. Earth Shoes were very IN in 1976. And they're back in now, you know.) Before parting ways, we agreed on a play-date the next day at her grandma's house.
Once back in Boise, we began to hang out even though we still didn't have the same 5th grade teacher. By 6th grade we were in the same class and we became inseparable. She was funny as hell and SMART. I was enthralled by her parents, her mom especially. Jennifer had been just SEVENTEEN when Kim was born (it was 1964 after all); so when we were 10, her mother was a very hip 27 year old. Her parents smoked pot, listened to National Public Radio, drove convertible European cars, and discussed politics at the dinner table. Kim and I were as close as sisters all through jr. high and high school. But I could never understand why she was so MORTIFIED when we'd come home and her mom would be mowing the front yard in a teeeny macrame bikini, or when they had dinner parties full of other interesting 30-somethings and we would come downstairs to find them passing around a bong and singing along to the Beatles White Album. Me, I was completely smitten.
Not to discredit my own parents, who were also smart and funny and loved me. But, well, they were OLD. My mom was 33 when she had me; heck, she was practically a GRANDMA (43!!) by the time I was 10. (Hi mom! I love you! I'm sorry I thought you were old. Now I'm almost 44 and my daughter is only 8. Pay back time.) Anyway, I have always felt that Kim's mom had a huge influence on me in terms of style and books and my addiction to NPR.
When Kim and I were 16, my father was murdered. It was beyond horrible; I was in complete shock and denial for the longest time. I couldn't (or wouldn't) allow myself to hurt or to feel anything, really. Kim's mom Jennifer helped me then, too, all but forcing me to come to terms with my father's death. Then, a year or so later, Kim's parents divorced and she was devastated. I was able to be there for her, and we made it through the insanity that is jr. high and high school together.
During our 20s and 30s, Kim and I drifted apart (we were almost TOO close, you know?) and at one point had a falling out over something stupid and did not speak to each other for several years. Her mom Jennifer and I both lived in Oregon at the same time, and kept in very loose touch. When they came to the coast they would stop by, and a couple of times Eric and I visited Jennifer and her new husband in Bend. Then I heard through old friends that Kim's dad died. I contacted her to tell her how sorry I was and how much I'd admired him, and we've been back on ever since.
Why am I bringing this up now? Because guess who called me out of the blue on Saturday? Yes, Jennifer. She was in Spokane (which, in a bizarre twist of fate is where I live now) visiting relatives and asked if they could come by to say hello and to meet David and Anna. (Ironically, Kim and I both married east-coast Jews named David.) Jennifer looks just the same, and we had a WONDERFUL visit, talking about politics and comparing notes on books we've read lately. It felt so good to finally be a grown-up (as opposed to the messed up little punk I was in high-school) and to have her in my house.
And, AND later in the week when my mom and I go to NY, we get to see Kim, too. Both of them in one week? It's almost too good to be true.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Yesterday I received a letter in the mail saying that they were gathering more information to include in her file, "personality" type information. So last night I'm filling out the questionnaire, and I'm not too proud to admit that I was literally singing "My daughter's gifted, my daughter's gifted, nuh nuh nuh nuuuh nuh!" I am thinking that I will be one of the first parents to return the questionnaire, thereby confirming that she comes from superior stock.
This morning on my way out the door, I grabbed my outgoing mail and looked at this envelope. No stamp in the corner. "Hmmm" I thought, "I KNOW I put a stamp on this last night."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Now, pass the shrimp cocktail.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Dunkin Donuts originated in Boston, so it's very special to Bostonians, like lobster from Main or Cafe du Monde chicory coffee and beignets from New Orleans.
I love the visual of him hauling his suitcase, a cup of coffee, a big white teddy bear (a gift from Grammy Susan) and a box of donuts through the airport. If only I had a picture of the white bear sitting next to him and the box of donuts on the table by his Bloody Mary in the "executive lounge" in the San Fransisco and Seattle airports (for there is no such thing as a direct flight between Boston and Spokane.)
Then he drove straight to Eric's from the airport to deliver them to her so that they were fresh. Is that not the sweetest thing ever? Needless to say, she thought that was pretty cool.
Yeah, I think he likes my kid. And I like him.
Monday, December 1, 2008
See, my mom is amazing. No, really. I know that you think yours is too, but mine really IS. She has been through so much that her life-story would make an amazing book. She would never admit that, but it's true. And she's come through it all with incredible grace and has earned the life-long respect of everyone who knows her. And on top of it all, she is unbelievably generous. She once took our entire family (her kids and our spouses) on a week-long cruise through the Inland Passage. She took me and my siblings to Washington DC. She has paid for countless trips, paid off debts, helped all of us buy our homes, helped put her grandchildren through college and on and on and ON. And she asks for nothing in return.
Now, there are two things that mom has always wanted to do. One is to go to Cornwall, England, the other is to go to NYC to see The Rockettes. So my siblings and I began plotting, and on her birthday this past summer, my sisters and I made a ridiculously embarrassing attempt at a Rockettes performance to tell her that she and I are going to go see the real thing. Why am I the lucky one to go with her? I dunno....I guess because I have done the most travelling in my family and am most comfortable with it. Also, I'm the only one who has ever been to NY before.
I've mentioned here before the trip to New England that Eric and Anna and I took when we FINALLY sold our house and business in Oregon. Part of that trip included staying with my best childhood friend and going into the city for the day. Truthfully, Eric and I both had very low expectations; we expected it to be crowded, dirty, ugly, smelly, dangerous. But we thought that since we were RIGHT THERE visiting Kim anyway, we might as well check it out. The crazy thing is, though, we both loved NY. I mean LOVED it so much that we went back the next day, without our local tourist guide. It was not at all what we expected. We adored Central Park (we couldn't believe all the amazing birds we saw) and I want to LIVE in the Natural History Museum.
So needless to say, I am so bloody excited to go back. We are, of course, going to see the Rockettes (and therefore Rockefeller Center), but other than that we are pretty open. We can't do a ton of walking (my mom's feet bother her) so I'm looking for ideas for what we should do with our 3-4 days there. We are staying in mid-town (east side). Anyone have suggestions?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Speaking of stealing, I blatantly stole that from Fussy. You can double-click on it to be able to better read it.
Coincidentally, yesterday Anna and her babysitter went to their favorite store, a place that sells incense, fossils, stones, Buddha figurines, beads, wind chimes...you know the type. Melissa bought Anna this little Hindu-goddess figurine (I know she must have a name, but being the heathen that I am, I don't know it. Feel free to educate me.) Anna got some of her favorite rocks and created this little shrine.
*For the record, before anyone calls Child Protective Services or sics the missionaries on me, I tell her constantly that I want her to learn about ALL the religions so that she can decide makes makes the most sense to her. I love, love, love that she is being exposed to and beginning to explore the different teachings and practices. I'll respect where ever it takes her.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Then: "Anna," (trying hard not to laugh) "What do you mean?"
"You know, people would think he was like a cat."
There is an explanation, but it's far too complicated, trust me.
Suffice it to say that for a mother as twisted as I am, hearing that coming out of my sweet 8 year old daughter's mouth? It just made my day.
One: I've decided I am crazy to try to replace Snuggy. After all, Anna is EIGHT...it's not like she still NEEDS it. Also, Snuggy is just irreplaceable. What made it so wonderful is that it used to be mine, and it was soft and so well-loved and ratty and abused and maybe a bit smelly. Anna and I talked about it a little bit and she decided that what she did want was for me to make her her own little quilt, because her cousin Sarah (who is in 6th grade) has her own little quilt which she takes with her on sleep-overs. So Anna and I went to the fabric store and I made her a little quilt yesterday. Also, she overheard me telling David and Eric what she'd said the other night about "What if someone found Snuggy in the restaurant and is using her as a RAG?!" and she had obviously been mulling it over in her mind...because yesterday she said "Mom, I'm pretty sure I left Snuggy in the pumpkin patch." That is where we'd gone before the restaurant. Eric and I both KNOW for a fact that she had it in the restaurant, but she'd rather believe that her beloved Snuggy came to rest in a pumpkin patch than a cheesy chain restaurant...and I don't blame her.
Two: Remember how a week or so ago our dryer died? And I wrote about how David did NOT get mad? Well, not only did he not wig out, he FIXED it himself!! We have a dryer again! And all for approximately seventy bucks, vs. $150. Woohoo!!
Friday, November 21, 2008
When it was time for her to move into her own room, into her crib, the best advice I got out of the 864 books I’d read on the subject suggested giving her a “transition” object, something that would help her feel safe and secure. I thought, what better than the very shirt she’d been snuggling up against for the first I’m-not-going-to-say-how-many-months of her life. So I sacrificed my long-underwear top: I cut off the long sleeves to protect her from getting them wrapped around her neck, and Anna became totally attached to what became known as “Snuggy”. She slept with Snuggy, she snuggled Snuggy, she WORE Snuggy (she LOVED that she could put the entire thing around her body). When we had some family photos taken on the beach for Christmas cards, Snuggy was there in the pictures because she refused to put Snuggy down. Snuggy went everywhere with us, from the library and the grocery store to every trip we made into Portland for supplies. Snuggy traveled by car and airplane on several trips to Boise, and to Spokane when she stayed with her Nana for a week at a time (twice) when Eric and I went to Alaska and then Hawaii. Then, when we took our big trip in the fall of 2003, Snuggy flew across the country with us to New York. Snuggy went to Central Park, the National History Museum, restaurants, galleries, stores…on subways and ferries and carousels, zoos….upstate NY, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Main….you get the idea. Somehow we managed to cover thousands of miles and and did not lose her. It was easy because Anna simply never let go of Snuggy. Snuggy was very well traveled and extremely well-loved.
Until… the darkest day ever. We’d moved to Spokane and were just having a regular Sunday when we heard an announcement on the local public radio that one of our favorite blue-grass bands was having an impromptu “concert” on the roof-top garden of a photography studio downtown. We decided to grab some lunch first and then we went to the show. By the time it was over, it was getting dark and Anna was tired and then...she realized that SNUGGY. WAS. GONE. We backtracked and looked and looked and made phone calls to the restaurant and the photographer and looked and looked and I took time off work the next day to go scour the parking lot where we’d gotten into and out of the car and we called the restaurant AGAIN. But it was no use: Snuggy was lost. I’m sure that we’d left her on the seat of the restaurant booth and someone, thinking she was just a piece of fabric, threw her away.
That was five years ago, and to this day, if Anna is very tired, she will cry and say how much she misses “big Snuggy.” I had, for some reason, saved the sleeves I’d cut off and tucked them in a drawer. So Anna still has two bits of Snuggy fabric to snuggle, but it’s not the same. Just the other night as she settled into bed, she said “What if” with big tears streaming down her cheeks, “someone found Snuggy and is using her as a RAG?!” OOOOOHHHHhhhhh rip my heart out and tap-dance on it. She is so afraid of losing the two remaining bits of Snuggy that she wants to have her dad make a “special box”.
I’m going somewhere with this, I swear.
Where I’m going, is that I have become obsessed, OBSESSED with finding that fabric. Be it another article of Patagonia’s “base-layer” clothing, or in plain fabric form, I would practically KILL for a good-sized piece of that mid-weight capilene fabric in Periwinkle blue. I want to make her a blanket using that (or VERY similar fabric), so that she could have her Snuggy back. Not because she needs Snuggy anymore; she is, after all, 8. But for sentimental reasons. So that she knows that I know how very important Snuggy was (and is) to her.
Of course, Patagonia only made that exact color one year (roughly 1995). I’m not even entirely sure what the fabric is; it’s mostly polyester, I think, but has the “hand” of a light-weight cotton or jersey. It’s not "slick" like polyester. I have, of course, checked the Patagonia website and all the usual outdoor retailers. I have checked E-bay to see if someone is selling their old long-underwear. I have even thought about writing to Patagonia and seeing if they just happen to have some of that fabric lying around a warehouse somewhere. Am I crazy??
But can you imagine her delight in opening a present Christmas morning and finding a Snuggy blanket?? It’s worth it to be crazy. If any of you have any ideas to help me find that fabric, I would be forever in your debt.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I thought to myself "Yeah, and I'm sure they stayed at the Holiday Inn Express while they're in Washington DC, right?"
Well, now the news is that they all flew to DC - to ask for billions of tax-payer money to save the companies that they ran into the ground - on PRIVATE JETS. Of course they did.
"There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrystler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.
"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious." He added, "couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it."
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
What is outrageous is that the state wants to charge him as an ADULT. He is EIGHT, people.
My 8 year old daughter has trouble comprehending the consequences of not feeding her bunny rabbit. As the mother of said 8 year old, it seems like not so long ago that she was in diapers; many 8 year olds need help making a sandwich for crying out loud. Eight year olds are CHILDREN. They can't possibly be treated (and punished) as if they have the mental capacity to plan and execute a crime such as murder, while considering the consequences.
What the hell are those state prosecutors THINKING?? Where, exactly, would they even house an 8 year old? You can't exactly put him in with the general population of a prison, now can you?
Furthermore, this boy has never been in ANY sort of trouble before; not so much as a single disciplinary action on his record at school. Oh, AND there is now evidence of child abuse.
What this CHILD needs is help. He needs therapy and love. And where the hell is his mother?
I am outraged.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The slightest thing would set him off. It could be that, on the way out the door to go have a picnic at the beach, I had to run back in the house to get our toddler's sunscreen. It would just irritate the crap out of him that I'd forgotten it, never mind that I'd packed everything else for the entire adventure. The rest of the day would be ruined, him mumbling under his breath. Pretty much every single vacation or weekend get away we ever took ended up with him withdrawn, angry and brooding because he resented spending money on, say, a hotel room when HE would have been perfectly happy to sleep in a sleeping bag in the back of the truck.
It's not as if he was abusive (he is, in fact, a sweet, gentle man) but his anger and disappointment in me was painfully obvious. His dark moods took a huge (HUGE) toll on me, as I struggled to avoid anything that would set him off. In an effort to fly under his radar, I had become someone other than who I am at nature: essentially a big, galloping, happy Great Dane of a person. I realized that I spent more energy walking on eggshells than I did enjoying him or our daughter. If, god forbid, something happened out of our control, such as needing to purchase a new vacuum or the car needing repaired, it was as if a gigantic black cloud would settle on our house. It would figure that our first home together was a total money trap: leaking ceilings, broken pipes to the master bath, and a re-occurring and very expensive water pipe leaking in our driveway. I can't tell you how I dreaded telling him when I suspected something needed to be repaired.
I bring this up now because my situation now, with my wonderful husband David, could not be more different. Saturday morning we woke up to a freezing-cold house: the furnace was broken. Of course it happened on a Saturday which meant getting a repair man out to look at it took time and cost extra. Next, I noticed that the filter in the fish-tank wasn't working. The furnace guy came, fixed the problem, and David went to get a new filter for the tank. That afternoon it was obvious that the heater STILL wasn't working, so we had to have the repair guy come out again. Meanwhile, I was doing laundry and the sheets just would NOT get dry. I took half the load out and started it again. An hour later, they were still a cold, damp ball of flannel. There was no heat. My old fears kicked in and I cringed at the thought of having to tell David about this latest problem. So I pretended everything was fine and started the dryer AGAIN. And again. Finally, I had to admit that there was a problem and I worked up the courage to tell David.
Do you know what he did?
No yelling, no swearing, no mumbling, no tantrums, no finding a way to blame ME. I couldn't believe it!! After he looked at the dryer and determined it was beyond his ability to repair, he did some research on whether it was worth fixing (it's an 8 yr. old dryer) or if it was time to replace it. We discussed it, a solution was reached, and that was it. IT DID NOT AFFECT HIS MOOD OR OUR DAY IN THE SLIGHTEST.
I am still a little stunned, to be honest. And when I told him how much I appreciated the way he'd handled the situation, he said "Well, I learned how NOT to do it from my father." He knows from experience that living with someone who gets angry over things beyond their control feels awful and that it is unproductive. And HE MAKES THE CHOICE TO BE DIFFERENT. This is an evolved human being.
And that, folks, is why I am keeping this husband forever.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I will never understand how followers of religion can say that marriage of any kind is against "family values". "But two men can't procreate!" they shout. Well, guess what? Neither can an 11 year old. Also? I know this comes as a shock, but not every one in this country adheres to the teachings of the Bible. How can one religion declare what is and what is not moral for the rest the people of this country?
Not surprisingly, there are millions of people in this country who are outraged, and tomorrow has been designated a national day of protest against Prop 8. CLICK ON THE "No H8" IMAGE to the left to find out if there is a gathering in your town. If there is, I urge you to GO!!! Marriage is a CIVIL RIGHT, not a special privilege granted only to heterosexuals.
Or, as David says "Gays should have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us."
I love that guy.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
First, for my sister, who is OLD and doesn't know who EV is: he is the lead singer of the band Pearl Jam. They were HUGE when my friends and I were in college, and to us HE. WAS. GOD. Kind of like Paul McCartney was to you old farts. hee.
My college roommates were my best friends Jennifer and Christina. Jennifer and I had worshiped Eddie Vedder. We owned all their CDs of course, knew the words to every song and plastered our refrigerator with pictures of him. We searched the latest issue of Rolling Stone and Spin for new photos (this was back in the prehistoric days before the World Wide Web....jesus, this makes ME old.) Anyway, we knew everything about him: who he was dating, what his political beliefs were, that he'd had an abusive childhood, that he left home to become a beach-bum in Southern California and was asked by a fellow surfer to join some unknown Seattle band that needed a lead singer...you know, the kind of ridiculous trivia that obsessed young women tend to know about smokin' hot rock-stars.
Christina did not get our EV obsession. She did, however, just happen to be friends with some of Neil Young's sound technicians, and this came in very handy when we learned that Pearl Jam was on tour with Neil Young. A few years prior, she lived in the Bay area and frequented the same tavern in Half Moon Bay where Neil and his crew went to unwind after recording at his studio nearby. So Christina being Christina, she befriended these guys and stayed in touch after she moved to N. Idaho for college. When we found out that the tour would be coming to The Gorge, Christina not only scored free tickets to the show, she got us BACK STAGE PASSES. The Gorge is a really beautiful outdoor venue at a winery in central Washington, with the stage overlooking the Columbia River.
Part of the fun of attending a show at the Gorge is that there is on-site camping, so it's a big party before and after the show. So once we arrived, we set up our tents, popped open the wine and (Mom! Look over there! A bunny!) smoked some pot. Then, armed with our backstage passes, we headed to the show. We found Christina's friends and were invited onto one of Neil's tour buses for some more "pre-function" partying. Wandering around back stage, we saw Neil eating with his family under a big white tent, some of the guys from Mud Honey (another Seattle band) were hanging around drinking beer, and we listened as Blind Melon warmed up the crowd. When it was time for Pearl Jam to come on, Christina's friends (to whom I might have mentioned my love of Eddie Vedder) led us up to a small platform just a few feet above and to the left of the band. We watched their entire performance from backstage. It was incredible to have the band's view of the crowd, thousands and thousands of screaming fans dancing and singing along to every song. With just a few songs to go, I decided to get an even better view and climbed down off the platform and made my way to the actual stage, standing discreetly next to some large piece of equipment, up against the back wall. Finally, their performance ended, they said their goodbyes, put down their instruments and made their way toward the back of the stage. I realized I was standing right next to the ramp that they would be walking down to leave, and as each member made his way down off the stage, I simply fell in line directly behind Eddie Vedder. At that exact moment, I looked up toward the platform where Christina was standing (she hadn't even realized I'd left our perch for the real stage). We locked eyes, her jaw dropped open at the sight of me grinning as I walked off stage with the band, and that was all the encouragement I needed: I very subtly reached out and just barely touched Eddie Vedder's butt. He didn't even notice, or maybe he thought it was one of his band mates jostling him as they hurried off the stage. They went on their way and I went on mine, to hook up with a hysterically laughing and completely shocked Christina, who had witnessed the entire thing.
And that, my friends, is why I haven't washed my hands since 1993.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
For some reason Whoorl thinks I will excel at making fun of people. Only this time it has nothing to do with people getting hurt! I get to make fun of, specifically, celebrities with bad hair. Whoohoo! So head on over (ha! head...hair get it?) to Hair Thursday to check out my first installment of "Celebrities: What Were They Thinking?"
Monday, November 10, 2008
When Eric and I left Oregon, we looked into relocating in this area. There are two communities: Twisp and Winthrop. Both are very small and very charming. Many artists, musicians and authors call the area home, so it is full of our kind of people. In fact, when we were leaving yesterday, Anna and I saw two gentlemen, probably in their 60s, holding signs that said "Impeach Bush!!" and "No More War!" I love, love, LOVED it!!! Additionally, the area is just breathtakingly beautiful: huge, towering mountains and the gorgeous river running through the valley. But after living on the Oregon coast for 8 years, I had to admit that I couldn't live year-round in an area so remote: it's a 3.5 hour drive from Spokane on a good day, 5.5 from Seattle. They get a ton of snow in the winter, so it is very hard to even get OUT of the valley in the winter; the road to Seattle closes down for at least 4 months of the year due to snow and avalanche danger. It's a lovely place to visit, but I knew I would go bat-shit crazy living there after many years on the rainy, remote Oregon coast.
Anyway, Anna and I met up with my friend Nichole and her daughter who came over from Seattle, and they brought some friends. So there were 4 women and 4 kids; we all really enjoyed each other. There was great conversation in front of the crackling fire, some exploring along the river, wonderful food, soaking in the hot tub, reading, laughing and lots and lots coloring, painting, glitter and making shrinky-dinks.
We rented this amazingly funky, artsy, whimsical house on the Methow River that is owned by a Seattle film-maker. I want them to adopt me.
The house is a re purposed barn:
Outdoor swinging bed, on the porch. This is my dream.
The "secret" passage-way was a big hit with the kiddos:
The farm next door had some horses and a couple of donkeys.
And a huge, lovable Golden named Honey Bear. Honey Bear LOVED the kids, and he loved to dig for mice. He would dig, dig, dig and then stick his entire head in the hole so that only his ears were resting on the ground. He'd snuffle and snort and then dig a new hole. He entertained us with this for a good 15 minutes. Finally Anna and I saw a terrified little field-mouse pop out of one of the holes and run for his life. Honey Bear was oblivious, still digging. He was a sweetie.
The second day the farmer came down and told us all about the animals and that he and his wife, a social-worker, are starting a animal-therapy group for families. He even let the kids ride on one of the donkeys.
There was even a trampoline. This place was heaven, for the kids AND the moms.
Can't wait to go back when the weather is a bit less soggy, and WITH my hubby.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
For what it's worth, I love option B, the cat-eyes, and those are the ones the girls at the frame shop loved too. The first ones (A) we thought were nice enough but...eh...not so interesting. They thought the cat-eyes were much more FUN, like me, they said.
As for my husband, you may remember that somehow I managed to marry a man who does not share my love of all things retro. In fact, he pretty much loathes anything vaguely 1950s. So I knew he wasn't going to go for the cat-eyes. But do you know what that sweet, amazing man did?? He chose the cat-eyes because he knew right away that they would be MY favorites.
(Yes, as a matter of fact, he DOES have a brother: a cute, FUNNY, and SINGLE brother. The catch is you have to move to Boston. If you're interested, or know anyone who is, I can hook you up. I am sort of his un-official match-maker but frankly, I'm not doing my job AT ALL.)
So anyway, I still don't know WHAT the hell you all decided, but I'm going with B, baby.
And now for a complete change of subject:
Have you guys been reading The Pioneer Woman this week? If you know and read PW, you know that she and her family live on a huge cattle ranch in Oklahoma. They homeschool their four kids, who rise before dawn each day to saddle up their horses go work the cattle. They do this from the time they are 3 years old. Her blog is a fascinating look into ranch life, plus she's funny and smart and takes amazing photographs.
Well, this week she is sharing the stories and photographs from her husband (Marlboro Man, as she calls him) and their two daughters' trip to the Dominican Republic. The three of them travelled to the DR to meet the children their family have been sponsoring through a group called Compassion (you can click on that link to go to their page). You see those ads with beautiful but hungry-looking big-eyed children, asking you to "help a child in a third-world country", and I cynically wonder how much, if ANY, of the money actually goes toward making a difference in the lives of these children. So it is really cool to see Marlboro Man and his daughters getting to meet the actual children that they have been sponsoring and corresponding with.
I would very much like to do this with Anna; I think that would be a very powerful learning experience for her. If I knew that our money was actually helping, I would feel great about sending a check off each month. She and I could learn about the other country and the children write back and forth to each other. What a cool experience.
You MUST go see the photographs of their sweet strawberry-blond girls playing and swinging and laughing with these kids in the dusty villages of the Dominican Republic. It's beautiful.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It's hard to tell in the photo, but these are olive-green-ish.
These are tortoise-shell and more cat-eye.
Please ignore the fact that both pair are a bit crooked; apparently one of my ears is three inches higher than the other. Also, disregard frizzy hair. It's suddenly that time of year when you must moisturize 15 times a day or you begin to resemble a crone.
Anyway, what do you think, A or B? The girls at the frame store went bat-shit crazy over one of the options, also the one I like best. But I'm curious to see what YOU think.
As always, I reserve the right to blatantly ignore your vote and choose the ones I like best anyway. But thanks for playing!
Look, even if McCain won, he'd have to raise taxes. That is the only way to get us out of this ridiculous, ugly mess that we're in: we've borrowed TRILLIONS of dollars from other countries to fight these wars, while things here at home have undeniably crumbled. There is simply NO OTHER WAY to dig us out of this hole.
There are cries of "Socialist!". To that I say: is Socialism really so bad? To have what you (and you and you) NEED, and then to help others so that they, too, may have what they need? Doesn't everyone in this great country of ours deserve food and clean water and shelter and medical care? If you say "But I earned this money! It's mine!" well then, I encourage you to take long hard look at a true Capitalist society: Mexico. There, the wealthy live in huge villas surrounded by walls while the "have nots" live on the streets like dogs, beg for food (because there are no social services to help them) and suffer horribly in a completely lawless society. There is no middle class in a true Capitalist society.
We are blessed to live in America where, if God forbid you lose your job, you can apply for unemployment insurance to help you get back on your feet. You can get Medicaid and Medicare. You can get food stamps. These social programs make it possible to feed and clothe and care for your family when you need it. It is easy, when we DON'T need those social services (EACH OF WHICH WAS CREATED BY DEMOCRATS, by the way) to think "Well, I work for MY money. They should too." But you don't realize how so many of us are just a paycheck or two away from NEEDING those services.
I remind you of the saying "there but for the grace of God go I."
I, for one, will never resent taking a portion of my MEAGER income and sharing it with people who have less than I do. If we all live by the golden rule, there WILL be enough to go around. We can, if we just remember to share, make this country the best country in the world.
Yes, we can.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
If you were as wealthy as the McCains, where would YOUR eight homes be?
1. Stanley, Idaho
2. Castle Valley, UT.
I love Southern Utah. It is breathtakingly beautiful down there, with hundreds and hundreds of wild canyons full of natural arches, wandering creeks lined with Cottonwood Trees, weird sand-stone formations, ancient Indian dwellings under the cliffs and amazing birds. You could go out exploring every day for years, and still not come close to seeing everything. It is really a magical area. Castle Valley is a tiny community 20 miles east of Moab; it is (as you can see in the photo) a lush, verdant valley surrounded by stunning red-rock sandstone cliffs. Many environmentalists and naturalists call Castle Valley home, including one of my favorite authors, Terry Tempest Williams.
3. Next, and this is more about the house then the location (most of them are in California or Illinois) , I would buy a Frank Lloyd Wright house because owning a FLW has been a dream of mine since I was young. I just love his designs; they are modern yet warm.
The one I would quite possibly KILL for is this one. (I can't copy/paste the photos so you'll have to follow the link). It is the epitome of everything I love about Frank Lloyd Wright design and it is, quite simply, MY DREAM HOME. It's on 80 acres, between Monteray, CA and Yosemite National Park. It's actually for sale, for a cool $2.7 million. Worth every damn penny.
4. Hawaii. Gotta have a place in Hawaii, right? I found some land on Kauai that would do.
It's $6,000,000. With $1.2 million down, your monthly payment would be $31,000. And that's just for the LAND people. But look! Private beach! And I think I see a spot to pitch a tent.
5. Manhattan. Food, music, arts, food, and...um...FOOD. I was hoping for Upper East Side (my understanding is it's more bohemian, where the wealthy, artsy, liberals live). But I require a view of Central Park, so all I could find was this penthouse on the Upper West Side. It's $21,000,000. It's a bit over-the-top (who owned this place, Liberace??), so we'll have to redecorate. But that shouldn't cost more than a couple million more. The view is lovely, though, no?
Oh my god. I've only bought 5 homes and I'm EXHAUSTED. I still have 3 more to go??? Uugggghh. This real-estate-collecting is, to quote W, hard work.
In fact, I'm losing my motivation and my blood sugar is crashing. So in the name of brevity, I'll just list the rest:
6. Vermont. I'd find a huge old barn and convert it into a home and have many, many acres with some horses.
7. Alaska...this one is for David. He gets to choose where. As long as it's on a lake or river. Honey, I'm happy to allow you one house out of 8. Because that's how I roll.
8. I'm stumped on the last one. Really....there's no where else I can think of. So YOU, my readers get to choose the last one. How's THAT for being a socialist??
Oh, also, I'm supposed to "tag" some people to play the game. So if you are reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged! Come on, Jodi, Jacki, Heaher, Robyn, MP...whoever else. You're up!
Oh, and be sure and tell me, in the comments, where we should buy our 8th house.