Sunday, December 7, 2008

Victoria's Secret

Usher performed at the annual Victoria's Secret runway show in Miami Beach. I only know this because a commercial for it came on while I was watching some show on TiVo yesterday while I was ironing. (Obviously, I'm way behind on some of my programs). Anyway, Colin came through the room when the commercial was on. He watched with great intent as beautiful women walked up and down wearing not much while Usher's music is playing in the background. Cut to a shot of Usher doing a little of one of his numbers we can expect to hear at the show. Commercial ends. Colin says, "Mom, I want to watch that." I thought about this for a minute. Instead of saying, "No! You can't watch that. Your Daddy can't even watch that...." I asked a question. "Why do you want to watch that Colin?" He said, matter of factly, "For the music!" .... of course. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

1635 Miles

We just pulled into the driveway from a very long road trip. The time in the middle with my family was a great time. We're glad to be home. Driving 1635 miles is not an easy drive for the driver or the rider and I think Colin summed it up beautifully in-between Kingman and Barstow (the absolutely most brutal portion of the trip - ain't NOTHIN' out the window.) You have to say this with a little whine in your voice. 

"Mom, I'm done to death." 

Amen, amen. I didn't have the heart to tell him we still had 250 miles to go. I just agreed completely! Done to death. Can you get anymore done that that? 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Time Slippin'

I can't believe it was election day that I posted last. It was election day that I read anyone's blog last too. Time slipped away friends. But I've been a little busy. 

I got my first "teacher's cold" that turned into a serious cough, that turned into a sinus infection that just today, I can finally feel my lungs normal again. Then I gave it to Colin who went through his typical Nebulizer treatments, Inhalers, Antibiotics, and trips to the Dr. Since that little cold, I've been wiping my room, the chairs, the door handles, the table tops with Clorox Bleach cleaner every day. I'll be damned if I get this crap again from one of those little cuties with cooties. 

Also, a new job, I don't care what it is, is hard work. The previous teacher left me nothing! So I've been writing curriculum, making copies, shopping for manipulatives, building bulletin boards, creating a creative, educational, helpful room, and pulling stuff out of my ass for these guys every day, while looking like I know exactly what I'm doing and making it look easy. Luckily, I have a fantastic boss and good teacher friends and Andi around me who will not let me fail but instead are a constant source of help and encouragement. It also helps to have a 4 1/2 year old at home so I know exactly what these little guys are into, what they can do, what they should be doing, what they shouldn't be doing. Colin has been a remedial Masters Course in teaching Pre-Kindergarten for me lately. You gotta love God's providence in this one. 

So, forgive the absence. I'll be back. We're leaving for New Mexico to go spend Thanksgiving with my family. We're driving. We'll be back next weekend. Looking forward to the break. So, I'll be posting again in December. I'm also gonna go back and read all your posts for November.... I've missed you guys!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Vote

In honor of the election today I decided to hold an election in my class. After discussion of what today was all about and who the candidates were (names only) and that all their parents were going to vote for a new president, I thought they should experience the process. 

We have a new alligator in the class who will help every morning with circle time. He needed a name. I let each child come up with a name they liked. I had everything from Mr. Alligator to George, to Lisa to Princess. I told them that there was no wrong names and that Ms Stephanie and I would narrow their choices to two and then they would cast their vote on secret ballot. 

The top two contenders were Noodles and Pepper. Each child voted by either writing 1 or 2 on the ballot. After the votes were counted, the elected name for our alligator is Noodles. Won the vote 10 to 4. 

On the way out, each child got a "button" to wear home. It was a good day in America. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back to School

So, I went back to school on Monday. I've just spent my first week as a Pre-K preschool teacher. I had no illusions of how difficult this job was going to be; but I grossly underestimated out of pure ignorance. 'Ignorance is bliss' is not just a catch phrase. So here's a little list of what I learned....not exclusive by any stretch of the imagination, I just can't remember it all. It was a long first week. Ms Celeste tired.

1. A preschool is no place to break in a new pair of shoes. 
2. You can make a pumpkin patch out of brown and green paper in about 10 minutes. 
3. You can learn the names of 23 children in a day.
4. You can pee on command.
5. You walk a lot at a preschool and you never sit down.
6. Empty walls need something creative.
7. Glue is messy but cleans up easy with water.
8. Kids like things done a certain way and will tell you.
9. You can never show your fear.
10. "Wash your hands" is a relative statement.
11. Boys LOVE little cars and blocks.
12. I have inherited a classroom bird named Rocket. (I know nothing about caring for birds)
13. I hand-made an apron for my "Mary Poppins" costume. 
14. Four years olds, don't really know who Mary Poppins is. 
15. Five minutes without purposed activity will lead to all out uncontrolled chaos.
16. Kids eat buggers. 
17. Teachers have to stick together.
18. Sleep is the best reward to a long day.
19. Parents trust you and hope the best for you.
20. I'm completely ill-equipped and completely excited.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Loopty "Loo"

So, I've not pooped in two full days and I was due. I get situated for a little stay with my magazine and content for Colin to self-manage and come and go if he can stand the stench. 

He interrupts: 
Colin:  Mom, I have to poop. 
Me:  Well, I'm already pooping. 
Colin:  Can you get off?
Me:  Can you go to the other bathroom? 
Colin:  I need your help to wipe.
Me:  By the time you're finished I'll be finished. 
Colin:  Mom (dancing) I have to poop right now. 
Me:  Okay, I'm moving. Give me a second....

I do necessary cleaning to "move" to the other potty. Colin settles, I settle again on the other potty and we're content. Then I hear...

Colin:  I'm dooooonnnnneee!
Me:  I'm noooooootttttt!
Colin:  Are you coming Mom?
Me:  Be right there. 

I do the necessary cleaning to "move" again and to wipe the other bottom. I do, I sit again on a very warm seat and finish my job. I tell you, a good poop is hard to beat even if you're interrupted three times. 

Here we go loopty "loo", here we go loopty ly, Here we go loopty "loo", all on a Tuesday night


Sunday, October 26, 2008


Granny and Colin's handy-work. Is there better patience in the world than that of a grandmother's? I think not. Colin said, "The purple one with two candy corns is the one with noculars." (binoculars) Brilliant!

Holloween Time

Granny and Pop were here this week so we went to Disneyland. They have it all dressed up for Halloween Time. Very cute. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Comma

On my way to the church to drop of Colin at school I pass by this spot that has had me thinking lately. I know, seriously dangerous, me thinking but it's happened and I thought (there I go again) I would share it or at least write it so that I can stop this infernal thinking as it were. Be patient with me, I promise not to do this too often. 

I must begin with a moment out of a movie that was originally a play written by Margaret Edson called "Wit". Emma Thompson then stared in an HBO film production of it and I have to first say that if you haven't seen it, you absolutely MUST. It is in my top 10 movies of all time and shall be there forever. It is one of the few that grace my shelf. It is also one I watch at least once a year just to bathe in its perfection. Need I say it? Strong, weak in no way. 

I'm going to painstakingly type out the scene for you because I happen to have a script of the play so you can read all the words. For it is the words themselves associating with this picture that has me thinking in the first place. 

There are two characters in the scene. Vivian Bearing, PhD who has been diagnosed with stage four cancer and her professor, E.M. Ashford, D.Phil. In this scene Vivian is a student of E.M. and she's remembering a conversation with her professor about a paper she's written on the poem Death Be Not Proud by John Donne. Vivian ultimately becomes a professor of seventeenth-century poetry. She becomes an expert on Donne but in this scene she hasn't grasped even the simplest idea of it all. 

Enter Prof EM Ashford. The scene is 28 years ago. Vivan suddenly turns twenty-two, eager and intimidated.

V:  Professor Ashford?

EM: Do it again. Your essay on Holy Sonnet Six, Miss Bearing, is a melodrama, with a veneer of scholarship unworthy of you - to say nothing of Donne. Do it again. 

V:  I, ah...

EM: You must begin with the text Miss Bearing, not with a feeling. 
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mightly and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe.
You have entirely missed the point of the poem,  because, I must tell you, you have used an edition of the text that is unauthentically punctuated. In the Garner edition -- 

V:  That edition was checked out of the library --

EM: Miss Bearing!

V:  Sorry.

EM: You take this too lightly, Miss Bearing. This is Metaphysical Poetry, not The Modern Novel. The standards of scholarship and critical reading which one would apply to any other text are simply insufficient. The effort must be total for the results to be meaningful. Do you think the punctuation of the last line of this sonnet is merely an insignificant detail? 

The sonnet begins with a valiant struggle with death, calling on all the forces of intellect and drama to vanquish the enemy. But it is ultimately about overcoming the seemingly insuperable barriers separating life, death, and eternal life. 

In the edition you chose, this profoundly simple meaning is sacrificed to hysterical punctuation. 

And Death - captial D - shall be no more - simicolon!
Death - captial D - comma - thou shalt die - exclamation point!

If you go in for this sort of thing, I suggest you take up Shakespeare. Garner's editions of the Holy Sonnets returns to the Westmoreland manuscript source of 1610 - not for the sentimental reasons, I assure you, but because Helen Garnder is a scholar. It reads: 

And death shall be no more, comma, death thou shalt die. 

Nothing but a breath - a comma - separates life from life everlasting. It is very simple really. With the original punctuation restored, death is no longer something to act out on a stage, with exclamation points. It's a comma, a pause. 

This way, the uncompromising way, one learns something from this poem, wouldn't you say? Life, death. Soul, God. Past, present, Not insuperable barriers, not semicolons, Just a comma. 

V:  Life, death....I see. It's a metaphysical conceit. It's wit! I'll go back to the library and rewrite the paper --

EM: It is not wit, Miss Bearing. It is truth. The paper's not the point. 

V:  Isn't it?

EM: Vivan. You're a bright young woman. Use your intelligence. Don't go back to the library. Go out. Enjoy yourself with your friends. Hmmm? 

So, as I drive Colin to school every morning I pass this scene and I think of this scene from the play and movie. I see a living illustration of the pause, the comma between death and life. And again I see the heroics of the firemen. 

Death Be Not Proud
by John Donne

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, death, thou shalt die.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crayons and Monkeys

Colin:  Mom, I need a crayon. 
Me:  For what? 
Colin:  To stick in my ear.
Me:  What? 
Colin:  To stick in my ear. 
Me:  You can't stick a crayon in your ear. 
Colin:  Curious George did. 
Me:  Well, "Curious George does things you can't do."
Colin:  But I want to. 
Me:  You can't stick anything in your ear except your elbow. 
Colin:  Then can I have some paper and colors? 
Me:  To color with?
Colin:  Yes
Me:  If I find you with a crayon in your ear I'll take away your Game Boy for a week.
Colin:  A week? 
Me:  That's seven days.
Colin:  That's a lot of days. 
Me:  You can't stick anything in your ear, espcially a crayon and I mean it. 
Colin:  thinking... then hangs his head, pouts for a second, and abandons his idea. 

What the crap is Curious George teaching my kid??!!!


It was a beautiful Sunday October afternoon and I was just sittin' on the couch reading "The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle" JD was lying on the couch watching football, Colin was sitting playing with his Game-boy when we all heard a crash. I looked up and JD looked at me and I said, "What was that?" He said, "Sounds like something just fell off the washer." could say that. 
Under the washer, down the door, down the wall, on the ceiling, out into the hallway, on the carpet of the guest room, on the door knob, under the didn't end.

What a mess! There was detergent EVERYWHERE!!!! It took me the better part of an hour to clean this up. And are you thinking what I was thinking? I was thinking, "Thank you God the basket was there." 
The salvaged detergent. 

At the price of this stuff, I saved every drop I could. That's probably why it took so long to clean up. UGGG!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pulling and Plucking while Puling

I've said, "I'm going to grow old gracefully." I'm not even sure what that means but it sounds like something you should say, so I do. However, lately, I've been plucking and pulling hairs out of my head like a mad woman and I'm not sure this is graceful. I'm pretty sure this falls under disgraceful. I used to couldn't find a gray hair. I had to really look and the light had to catch it just right but the time of that luxury has passed. Now, I don't have to "look" they just scream, "See me? Here I am." And then I go to pull it out but my eyes are going and the light is bad and I pull a brown hair out instead and the gray one continues to sneer at me with great satisfaction. I sneer back with contempt and pull hairs until I find it. And the plucking? What the crap? I used to only pluck my brows once in a while but now, I can't keep up. I've resorted to carrying around tweezers in my purse because the only time I can really see the little buggers is in daylight using the car's vanity mirror. Vanity for sure. And let's not even mention the three little whiskers on my chinny chin chin that will not give up. They keep coming back like a reoccurring zit during PMS. I'm just waiting for the hair to show up in my ears. This will be a very very very disgraceful day, I promise!

I'm going to grow old DISGRACEFULLY. I'm resigned. 

pule (pul) v.i.  puled, puling, to whine

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hidden Ingredient

Remember the Friendship Bread attempt gone bad? Well, I finally gave up on trying to get something good out of that mess. However, recently I bought some zucchini and decided I would make a zucchini cake. It truly is the oldest recipe in my collection. Got it from my Mom. Been making this cake for 25 years. You can also put apples or carrots in this cake and I'm telling you, it's fail-proof. Colin really liked the friendship bread even though to me it always tasted wrong, so I called this cake "friendship bread" and didn't mention that it had a vegetable in it. He ate the whole cake almost by himself. So, for all you mommies who like to hide the good stuff in the food so your kids will eat it unknowingly.... (Seinfeld Cookbook)
...this might be a recipe you would like. Like I said, it's fail-proof. 

Apple or Carrot or Zucchini Cake (Bread)
2 C sugar (if using apples only put in 1 1/2 C)
2 C grated apples or carrots or zucchini
2 eggs
3/4 C oil (1 C if you like it more moist)
2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp (heaping) cinnamon
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Mix ingredients with mixer about 3 minutes dump into greased and floured bunt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool and dump onto cake plate. Slice and serve. It's wonderful. You can also add cream-cheese frosting to the carrot version for more of a dessert. 

Weight Watchers  - a slice has 5 points w/o nuts and 6 points w/ nuts. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fighting Spiders

I don't usually brag on my son's coloring, drawing, or writing abilities because in a word, they're not that good. He's a boy, he's in a hurry, he's about getting it done so he can go play with cars, heros, trains, swords, and other boys. But the other day he handed me this. I took notice because first of all, it had more than one color, second, it had different texture (dots, lines, movement). It looked like he actually cared about this. So I said, "Colin, this is really good. What do you call this piece of art?" He looked at it and then said, "It's 'Fighting Spiders'." I praised him some more and then he said, "See the two spiders Mommy? One of them is blue and purple and the other is red and yellow and the black marks is the FIGHT!" (fight said ferociously). I was impressed and decided that I would frame this one. I also decided that maybe each of his pieces have a meaning and I should be less critical and more attentive and appreciative. 


Sunday, October 12, 2008


Not even gonna waste my time writing a review but simply going to warn you NOT to go. Complete utter waste of time and can't find a redeeming thing about this movie, especially for children. Dark, gloomy, weird, sad sad little film. Do not be deceived by this cute little poster.

Weak, strong in NO way!

One funny thing that happened. At the very beginning when the lion roars for MGM, a little girl was opening the door to the theater at the same time. She see nothing but blackness and hears lion roaring. It made her cry and she refused to come in for fear of a lion on the lose. I shouldn't laugh, but that was really funny. She sat in the lap of her Daddy the entire movie. The movie scared her too. On two different occasions she asked to go home. Poor kid, my guess is her dreams were not pleasant last night. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Underwood Farms Harvest Festival

Welcome to the Pumpkin Patch
Most of Colin's class
The Pumpkin Train
Watching the Bees work in their hive
Watching the bees work at the flowers
Riding the Pony (Arizona)

Colin's preschool class went to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark on a field trip. JD and I went as staff / parent and to just get in on the fun. And fun it was. What a wonderful place to be all day. We went to a little lecture on how pumpkins are grown, the different kinds of pumpkins and a display of all the kinds we would find there. Then we rode a wagon and got a tour of the place. Then we picked our pumpkins. Harder than you expect -- so many to choose from. After that we all had some lunch and then we did other activities: pony rides, watching the bees work, bounce house, train rides, and more. Glorious day!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We have heros among us and they run around in big red trucks, sometimes yellow and save lives and put out fires. Firemen are awesome! That's really all there is to it. The EMTs always have my highest esteem and anyone willing to run into a flame for my safety is nothing but a hero. I admire them. I support them. I get out of their way when they are coming down the street and as they pass I always pray for them and whomever they are racing to save. Racing, knowing they might not make it through the day, but they go anyway. 

But it when the hero takes off his mask and hangs with the kids, they become the most hero-like. Only a human, no different than the rest of us, save their every day bravery, shows a kid how fun it might be to be a fireman someday, how to avoid being caught in a fire, what to do when a fire happens, and what it feels like to hold a fire-hose powerfully alive with water....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beverly Hills Chihuahua - Review

We went to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua yesterday. I was actually excited because it's Disney and I expect movie-making perfection from Disney even when it potentially could be ridiculous. My expectations for really liking the movie were reasonable in that I don't really have an affinity for dogs. I've never had a dog as a pet because I'm allergic to them. But there have been some of the best movies ever about dogs: Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Incredible Journey, K-9, Turner and Hooch, My Dog Skip -- I loved them all so I was open to this movie. I can also appreciate a good dog, especially one that has a job such as K-9 police dogs, sight dogs, sheep dogs, drug dogs, search and rescue dogs, etc. And I can appreciate a loved family dog. I like to watch "Best In Show" like anyone else and am fascinated by all the breeds. But for the life of me, I don't get the chihuahua. I don't get why people think they are so cute and how putting clothes on them can possibly be rationalized as normal behavior. I don't get how a yappy little rat-like thing could be a good companion or bring any good to the world whatsoever. So, I half expected the movie to do one of two things, either change my mind about the love for the chihuahua or make me despise them all the more. 

As far as the movie itself, it was fine. The story line was good enough. Good verses Evil, finding your place in the world, overcoming adversity, becoming a hero in the moment of extraordinary circumstances, etc. The special effects were what you would expect with talking animals. The characters were okay. My favorite was the German Shepherd, voiced by Andy Garcia. Honesty, without that character/dog/actor, I wouldn't have made it through the film. Kudos to the dog trainers behind the scenes. They brilliantly made fun of the ridiculous behavior by the wealthy and the treatment of their "precious babies" with spa treatments, outfits, diamond collars, doggie birthday parties, special sized furniture, doggie play dates, and more. But then they went all support-the-cause and awareness on me and overall just pissed me off. It makes me mad when a film is used to support a cause. It's not what I signed up for. I came to be entertained. I don't like the bait and switch approach. That's not going to get me on your band wagon....ever! And it really makes me mad when they deceive you with the trailers into coming to see a movie you have a preconceived idea about based on those trailers and then bombard you throughout the movie with their cause and you are watching a completely different movie. Wall-E is a perfect example. 

Basically, this is what I got. Some dogs have way too much to the point of ridiculous and the dogs themselves are tired of it. As a breed they are done being treated like "precious babies" and want to treated with some respect. "No Mas!" There are other dogs that are being abused by their owners to do their dirty work. There are the lost dogs captured for ransom or used as money making machines in the dog-fighting arena. (tastefully, there was never a "dog-fight" in the movie) There are a lot of dogs without homes and deep down, that's all any dog really wants in the world - to be loved and wanted. 

I was not happy! Bob Barker did it best. Consistently and subtly, "Help control the pet population, have your pet spade or neutered." 

No Mas! Oh, and my thoughts about the chihuahua; pretty much the same. Less against the dog itself, more against the people who need to own them as an accessory to their lives. 

Weak, strong in a way

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Today begins O-crap-tober. Where you knew the busy season was coming but you were still in summer mode and then all of a sudden you realize it's already October and all the things you were putting off until fall is now due and you don't have as much time as you thought you did so you are now in trouble if you don't seriously get busy. 

Some things to think about: 
There's only 84 more days until Christmas
Every catalog ever printed will arrive in your mailbox over the next two weeks. Just when you've thrown them all out, you'll get round two and eventually round three. 
Halloween candy is already stale in the grocery stores because it's been there since August 15th.
You can't find anything to buy that's summer anymore because every rack is now covered with long sleeves, coats, scarves, gloves, pants, wool, corduroy, and fleece. The sales have been cleared but fall is still full price. (It was 90 degrees here yesterday). 
Airline tickets are still expensive and they're not coming down. 
Gas is still really close to $4 / gallon. 
You feel pressure to "decorate" your house for fall or Halloween or Thanksgiving or all the above. 
The days are really much shorter now but the country won't let us recognize that because they moved the official daylight savings time to first week of November. (Guess the whole country was complaining about O-crap-tober so they gave us a little more daylight a little longer). 
Football is in full swing and if you're a football widow, you're starting to really feel it now, probably worked yourself into a real good mad. 
Baseball is finally in playoffs so that's a whole new kind of obsession
Basketball mania is just around the corner
Your kid will change their Halloween costume idea 50 times before the end of the month and then you'll end up making something out of old pajamas at the last minute.
Homework, soccer games, football games, choir rehearsals, science projects, etc have taken up all your family's spare time. 
You're ready for another vacation but see no light at the end of the tunnel until Spring Break.
And because everyone is super busy, they (whomever you choose) decided to make us "aware" of some serious stuff: It's National...
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month (get a mammogram girlfriends if you're over 40)
  • Down's Syndrome Awareness Month. 
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Meth Awareness Month
  • Energy Awareness Month
  • National Cyber Security Awareness Month 
It's also finally cooling off, the leaves are turning colors, time for apple pie and pumpkin spice lattes, and we should remember to be thankful while we're being busy busy busy. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Favorite Part

Recently, Colin went with two of his friends to see Sleeping Beauty at El Capitan in Hollywood. He went because I've taught him to love the movies no matter if it's a chick flick or not because there might be something wonderful you otherwise would've missed. And on this trip Carson was going so it couldn't be that bad right? Calliegh was of course our princess for the day. See Andi's blog about that with pics. 

My point of this post was a little conversation with Colin last night on the way to a birthday party.... 

Colin: Mom, remember when we went to see Sleeping Beauty?
Me: Yes. 
Colin: You know what my favorite part was? 
Me: Tell me. 
Colin: I liked the part where that dog had on a pointed hat...

(pause to hear my thinking...I'm thinking about the movie. I don't remember any dogs especially ones with a pointed hat. I can think of the fairies with hats, Maleificent with a pointed hat of sorts but no dogs.....Colin interrupts my thinking and finishes his thought)

Colin: know the one that said, "Eiii Chiwawa" (Little laugh from Colin) That was so funny!

Again I pause to try to figure this out and then it hits me. Colin's favorite part of seeing Sleeping Beauty was the previews for the new Disney movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Can you guess where we'll be on Friday?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How old?

Colin: Mom, why don't you like Spongebob Squarepants?
Me: Because, he's not nice. He says and does things that are not nice. I don't like him.
Colin: But I like him.
Me: You think you like him because it's a cartoon but that doesn't necessarily make it right for kids. It's actually for adults.
Colin: It's for kids and adults.
Me: No. You're not old enough to watch Spongebob Squarepants.
Colin: How old do you have to be?
Me: Thirty five

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Just finished this book yesterday. It was absolutely delightful! I loved it. Written in a unique style of nothing but letters back and forth from the characters. It takes place in 1946 just after WWII in London and the Channel Island of Guernsey. It's a great historical lesson mixed into the story and while you're learning something, you simply forget you're reading fiction and these people become like your friends. It makes you want to write a letter, receive a letter, and cherish the written word in someone's actual handwriting. As bloggers, you'll find this much like what we do now, posting our lives back and forth, sharing the latest events and our thoughts on random things and finding friends through other friends. You'll wish to visit and have coffee and eat some pie and share a story. Filled with stories of love, heart break, humor, heart ache, recovery of the destruction of war, and true friendship, I recommend it highly. It's a gentle read. It quiets the soul. I give this book strong-weak-in-a-way.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Diagonal Crossing

Can you say brilliant? When I walked through this it felt like the first time I drove around a round about. Amazed at the beauty of perfect thinking. I said, "Who thought of this?" So simple. So perfect. Can we put one on every busy corner? This is one of the Brighton corners.

In 1987, the City of Beverly Hills modified traffic signals at eight intersections within the Business Triangle to include an exclusive pedestrian phase where all approaches would stop to let pedestrians cross the intersection either diagonally or conventionally. The intersections included:

Brighton and Canon
Brighton and Beverly
Brighton and Rodeo
Brighton and Camden
Brighton and Bedford
Dayton and Canon
Dayton and Beverly
Dayton and Rodeo

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No Longer a Virgin - I've Been Sprinkled

My friend Jo Anna is one of a kind. She is the mother of five kids that she loves dearly but drive her crazy and give her great stories to share and make us all laugh. She's the one that will volunteer to drive anywhere and take as many in her car as want to fit. She's the organizer of "field trips" to various places just for fun, to create a memory, to share a good time with good friends. She is a great photographer, an avid Dodger fan and I think she's fabulous! Today she planned a trip to Sprinkles Cupcakes. 

Sprinkles is located in the heart of Beverly Hills. So a group of us went and I had high hopes that were not disappointed. I've had these famous cupcakes but haven't been to the store until today. There's something magical about going to the store. Sort of like the first time you step foot into a Krispy Kreme with the "hot" light on. It's impossible to describe how wonderful a hot Krispy Kreme is until you try one right out of the icing-fall. Anticipating that the Sprinkles Cupcakes would be a very similar experience I couldn't wait to get there. We walked in the door and there they were: little paper pockets of pure sin all lined in rows waiting for us to take them home. I understand why they keep their daily choices to approximately 10 or a person would never be able to complete an order. Let me just tell you this: These ain't your mamma's cupcakes.... these are little pieces of heaven that will have you praying that all the calories in these mounds of confection perfection will miraculously somehow stick to those skinny-ass hips prancing around Beverly Hills and not your own. 

So there it is, I'm no longer a virgin, I've been Sprinkled. I highly recommend it. Worth every calorie you smell and swallow. Fantastic. Thanks Jo Anna.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Summer's End

Today is the first day of Fall. Hard to believe that summer's over but in truth, it's been a long summer's journey with many unexpected turns. It's brought perspective with truth and acceptance and sometimes without understanding. The following includes the summer's events in synopsis form. To delve in too deep is hard. There was a time of silence on my blog this summer and since this is a place I purge my thoughts as well as keep my friends and family up to date, I'll recap with you and share pictures as I go. Although this will be stunted, it's still a little long by blog standards. 

The summer basically started with the end of Spring and the Rocky Peak Children's Choir production of "Race To Win". I did the drama portion and it was a delight to watch the show come together and then watch the kids do a fantastic job. Colin was part of Pint Size Praisers. For only being three and some, he did a great job.
Lizzie, Colin and Caden -- best buds
The whole show was about learning to run the race of life with God instead of on your own merit. Little did I know, that would be the theme of the whole summer. 
About the same time that the musical was going on, Michael Crumrine arrived in town. He was about one month ahead of his family moving here from Texas. While Andi and the kids stayed to pack the house, finish school and say good-bye, Michael started a new job at Rocky Peak. We were so excited that our dear friends were moving to Simi Valley. In an instant, what was just another place to live, became like home. Michael stayed with us a couple of weeks before he got into his house. It was a great time getting to know him so much better. We all waited impatiently for Andi and the kids to arrive. 
There was one week where we had Michael and J-bird at the house together. It was great fun for both JD and Colin to have playmates. WALL-E opening was just around the corner and Bird got roped into watching trailers with Colin OFTEN!!! I'm not sure who enjoyed it more. I do know that Colin loves him some Bird!
The last week of May and the first two weeks of June consisted of moving. We moved from one house to another and although it was a great move for our family, it's expensive and exhausting. We were so glad to get it done. We took a short break and went to Disneyland with good friends from Colorado and jumped right back in. Then came time for the Crumrines to move in. Michael and his brother JD (also a John David) drove their belongings from TX and for a week we got their house all set up for Andi and the kids. By the end of that, I was happy to stay put the rest of my life. Fell in love quickly with our backyard and was looking forward to the summer that would take place back there. 

Andi and the kids arrived and we quickly got into the Beach Wednesday routine. Always a little chilly in the first few weeks but soon, there's nothing but sun and fun for all. Good friends and great kids. I can't tell you how grateful I am that Colin will grow up going to the beach. I grew up going to the lake but the beach is just yummy! Colin grew a lot this summer in his bravery. He finally tackled the waves and the critters with attitude and confidence. I became one of the moms dousing my kid with baby powder at the end of the day to get all the sand off. 
Picture by Jo Anna Wiseman
This summer Colin also grew in the area of swimming. He learned that his little life jacket would keep him afloat and overcame his fear of the water. He went from being a kid who needed his mommy to swim with him and hold him to a kid who was fearless about jumping, sliding, and getting all wet, all by himself. It was a remarkable transformation. Thank you to my friends with pools. He also learned about Star Wars, perfected some dance moves, and got really good at hitting a baseball in the back yard. He started playing video games on the computer and a Game Boy, compliments of Carson, and his vocabulary and his height both grew tremendously. Because of his height, he rode several rides at Disneyland that would or could be considered "scary" but he took them on and conquered. He even learned to monitor his own peanut contamination to prevent another trip to the ER. (We did that in early July) To say Colin grew this summer would be an gross understatement. 

About the middle of June - a week before Father's Day, Colin and I were on our way to Target to get a few things but specifically, a pregnancy test. I of course didn't tell Colin this is what were getting but on the way he mentioned that he would be faster than his brother. My ears perked up. "Your brother?" "Yeah, I'm gonna be faster." "What if you have a sister? You know we don't get to pick this. Would you be okay with a sister?" "Yeah.....but I'm still gonna be faster." We get home from the store and I take the test. It was positive. I held this news for about 24 hours and then had to tell JD. I showed him the stick and said, "Happy Father's Day." Well, to make a long story short, we miscarried the baby in mid July. This is our third miscarriage since Colin. I'm 41 years old and we decided that we do not have the fortitude to ride that roller coaster any more. This was not an easy decision but we feel it's the best one. We love our family just the way it is and have come to accept it with great love and gratitude. We are still open to other ways of growing our family but we've given up trying to control that. My favorite moment of this time on the ride was when Colin picked up the pregnancy test and asked, "Mom, what's this?" I smiled and said, "What do you think it is?" He said, "It's a Destinator." Perfect. I wish we could know our destiny as easy as peeing on a stick. I would drink my weight in Sunny D, daily. 

We celebrated the fouth of July with Granny and Pop. It wouldn't have been a complete summer without a visit from them. We had a garage sale and got rid of some more stuff. Also mid July we did VBS at Rocky Peak and I was in charge of one of the story rooms. The fun had can't be explained. Just know that we had a job to tell stories about Jesus and we did it with great passion and absolute fun. This picture is the day we were telling about Peter walking on water and learning to be brave. Each person dressed up as either part of the sea or part of the boat crew. Andi made the loveliest mermaid I've ever seen. I was an Orka and talked like Dory's whale talk from Finding Nemo the entire day. The kids loved it! This was my team and they were fantastic!
Kathleen, Cindy, Susan, Andi, Me, Danielle (Elaine, Sherill, and Will not pictured)

Late July, training started for the Cowboys just down the road. JD and Colin went and watched them practice. You see, JD's been waiting a long time for this, teaching Colin about football from an early age. Not sure Colin appreciated the significance but I know JD did. So far, so good, the Cowboys are doing well. Click on the picture and you can see Romo in the background.

Then before we knew it, it was August. We knew the other Crumrines (JD, Kim , Tyler and Tanner) were coming for a visit and they were going to stay with us. We had such a good time watching all the boys play and Calleigh be the lone princess, which she handled beautifully. We did Disney, the beach, etc. Good times with good friends. 
Carson, Colin, Tyler, Tanner and Calliegh

However, that happiness was shadowed by, a tragic accident crippled my family. My little nephew (3) got his left hand caught in a meat grinder. I'll keep these details to a minimum because it's hard to explain and my family reads this blog and it's all still very hard to take in. Orion was rushed to Tuscon for emergency surgery to save his fingers and hand. The prayers were answered and his fingers were saved, his hand was saved. He had three surgeries in one week. He was staying with my mom and dad in NM while his mom, my sister Chantell, was in Phoenix starting a new job and moving into a new house and starting her other two children in school. Orion was helping my mother make salsa. She was grinding chilies and onions in the grinder. Only for second did my mother turn away and that's all it took for a little three year old to be more than curious. At his side 24 hours a day for almost four weeks in the hospital were mom, dad and Chantell. He's home now. He's recovering. Although his hand will never be the same again, he still has it and will find a new normal faster than any of us will imagine. He's going to require much therapy and more skin graphs, but for now, things have settled. 
Colin and Orion playing in the hospital 

It was during those three weeks that our family drove to Phoenix to help Channy move in, then on to Tuscon to see my Mom and Dad and Orion in the hospital and then on to San Diego to do Legoland and Sea World. It was a difficult vacation as our emotions wanted to be on one side of glad or sad but we kept forcing them to mix together. Worrying for my family and celebrating Colin's fourth birthday. 

This was my favorite picture of the trip. We were at the Pima Air Museum with Dad. There was an engine behind glass and you could push the button and watch the engine run for a minute. As it did, Dad explained to us what each part was. Curious for more, Colin kept asking, "Papa, what's that?" "Papa, what does that do?" It was precious to me. A stolen moment of happiness away from the tragedy just down the street, engrossed in the joy and curiosity of a boy with his Papa. 

We returned home from that trip and dove head first into school and routine. Summer ended. God's grace poured over us again and again as we learned to run our race and live our life with Him at the helm. Knowing He is good all the time and that the trials we went through and are still going through are for our ultimate good and with his grace we will be more and more like Jesus. 

Welcome to Fall everyone. It's almost O-crap-tober. Breathe while you can and happy football, pumpkins, apples, costumes, and most of all thanksgiving. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Case for a Clothes Line

I had the same washer and dryer for over 15 years. It was a good set but old. Good enough to sell with the house in Henderson. Then JD and I moved to Dallas and we decided it wast time for a new set. We didn't spare any expense and bought the best and latest in new technology where these appliances are concerned. They were great! I loved the new set. I could wash more clothes in one load than I could accumulate in one week. I couldn't believe how much faster things were washed and dried. Less time, less water, less soap, less energy. It was a beautiful thing. And silly as it is, they were beautiful to look at as well. We obviously kept these little beauties when we moved to CA and my love affair continued. Then we moved to this house and the honeymoon was over. 

The first load out of the dryer that should've been dry in less than 40 minutes was more than damp. So I thought maybe something happened to the dryer during the move. I called an appliance guy. For the price of $35 he informed that there was nothing wrong with my dryer. The problem was in the vent. He said it was too long and he said it was probably clogged. I needed to call a different company to come clean out the dryer vent. Great! I obviously couldn't do anything about the construction of the vent but I could get someone to come and clean it out. 

So I call an air conditioner company who says in its ad that they also do dyer vents. I explain to the people that the vent is really long. It's the entire width of the garage and if they need to bring anything special to reach that they should. Of course that information was lost in translation and when they guys get here they claim if they had known it was going to be that long they would've brought the air compressor. Great! They do the best they can with what they have but while they're pulling the dryer away from the wall they break the hose from the dryer into the wall that then goes through the wall out to the garage and down the wall through the wall to the outside. Great! So now I have to get a new hose from Home Depot and JD will install that later. Great! Anyway, they get a lot of crap out of the vent run but are pretty sure they're going to have to come back with the air compressor. Will I do a few loads of laundry and let them know. Yep. They leave. I do a load to see. Not fixed. Need air compressor. Great!

In the meantime, I have to get laundry done. The dryer will dry things eventually but it requires more time than before on the highest heat the dryer has. Even after 65 minutes, they are just barely dry. So things like jeans, towels, sheets, etc NEVER get dry. So I decide to get creative and hang those types of things outside on the chairs of my outside table. What I discover is that in the morning sun the jeans will dry in less than 30 minutes, towels will dry in an hour, and sheets will dry in about 20 minutes. GREAT! So although my problem isn't solved a solution, temporary or otherwise has been found. So I delay in calling for the air compressor to come out. 

The longer it went along and the more loads that the sun dried, the more I liked the idea of an "outside dryer". It saved energy and it worked faster and better than the dryer ever did even on its best day. Also, the smell of sheets from the outside was so great. The jeans didn't need starch anymore, just a hot iron and they were better than if you'd have picked them up at the cleaners. Great!

Now, most of you have met my husband. You know and if you don't I'm going to tell you; he is very particular about several things. Aesthetically pleasing is of most importance to him. Things have an order. Color matters. Texture is important. Flow of a room, theme of color, ideas of decor all matter. The outside is just as important. So you can imagine his chagrin to see our laundry hanging in the backyard. It probably wouldn't be so bad except we back up to a golf course and the whole golfing community can see our sheets blowing in the breeze. This mortifies my husband people. Mortifies him. While he appreciates clean, dry, ironed clothes he doesn't want the rest of the world to know our clothes get dirty. That's private. So, for my husband's sake, I keep the clothes that go outside to just sheets, towels, jeans and shirts. No undies, pajamas, or unmentionables. Those toss around in the dryer for over 65 minutes just to get barely dry. Exhausting.

I, on the other hand, don't give a rip. I don't care what people think. I don't care if they not only see sheets but underwear, bras, swimsuits, whatever. I don't care. If it were up to me the entire wash would be out on a line....a clothes line with clothes pins. We live in the land of eternal sunshine. It doesn't get cold and with the morning sun in our backyard, we could dry clothes outside all year around. I ponder this, think about this, and decide to present my case for a clothes line to JD. I did my research. I know without ever asking that he's not going to "install" a clothes line that stretches across the yard. Whatever I present must be removable. It has to be able to disappear from the sight of the world because for JD a clothes line with clothes hanging on it is just plain tacky white trash and he's not going there. 

So after planting the seed in JD's brain and watering it and nurturing it and looking for a long time to find the perfect solution, I find an umbrella clothes line that folds up and goes away when not in use. The base that's in the ground is the only thing "permanent". I pulled it up on the computer for him to look at and asked him to really consider this. He literally, went up the screen, glanced at the picture (didn't even sit down), backed up and shook his head and said emphatically, "No!" This was not just a simple "no", this was a "Hell NO! Not in a million years, not as long as I'm alive, ain't no way this will ever be in my back yard!" kind of no.So I put it to you, the reader, the objective, the unattached, the people who have dryers, the people who have dirty clothes, the people who believe in saving energy for the sake of our planet. If I'm going to put the clothes out regardless, shouldn't I be allowed to have a tool that accomplishes the goal better? Doesn't it make sense to utilize the technology available to our benefit? Don't you like clothes off the line? If it's a removable line, wouldn't it make sense? I do the laundry. I care for our clothes. I deal with the dryer problem. I've found a great way to save energy. I should have the line outside. I think laying the clothes on the table chairs is tacky. I think hanging the clothes on a line designed to hang clothes is smart. I don't care if the golfers can see it. And I'm pretty sure they don't care either. I rest my case. 

By the way, I did call for the company to bring the air compressor and finish the job. They set an appointment and didn't show. And I also think that even if they did come out, it wouldn't solve the problem. The problem is the old vent is 20 feet long, made of metal and holds the heat therefore, shuts the thermostat off on the dryer to prevent a fire. At least that's my theory. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Bunny Story

The following story would have the disclaimer "viewer discretion is advised" if were a TV production due to "violence, adult content and adult language". It was a horrible experience mostly because there was nothing I could do to prevent the inevitable. 

The crime scene: from the backyard to the kitchen, around the breakfast table, and finally the front porch. This was the only picture I could find of the table and rug.
The victim: an adorable spring baby bunny probably just weened from his mamma.
The killer: an old fat family cat who was energized by the spring weather and motivation to bring a gift to his mamma.
The witnesses: a toddler boy and his hysterical mamma.
It was a lovely spring afternoon in Texas very close to Mother's Day. The cold had broken, the rain had stopped, everything was turning green and it was warming up. The back door was open to let in the fresh air and Tumbleweed was thrilled to be allowed in and out again. The back door led into a huge backyard of nothing but a lot of grass and a big wooden fence that went all the way around. Not exactly a place for hunting anything spectacular but Tumbleweed didn't know that. In the short time we had lived there, he brought several gifts to me; baby moles, lizards, and occasionally a bird. All arrived at my feet dead. Now you might be thinking, "Ah, poor animals." But they're not that cute and dead, they're even less attractive. Besides, I'm used to it. Tumbleweed has been bringing me gifts of love for many many years. It's like getting fresh flowers from your husband for no apparent reason at all. Always a surprise and sweet. Only with a husband you automatically wonder what he's done wrong that he needs forgiveness or what he's planning to do that he needs permission. I digress... Anyway, I always thank Tumbleweed for his gifts and pat his head and dispose of them discretely. Although I had seen bunnies in the back yard, they were usually too fast for Tumbles and would manage to squeeze under the fence before he could get them. But this day was different. This day, Tumbleweed was energized by the spring air and the bunny unfortunately didn't stand a chance. 

Colin had just woke from his nap. He was about a year and a half and still very much "toddling". I distinctly remember him playing in his room just off the kitchen. I'm working in the kitchen doing who knows what. Doubtful I was prepping anything for dinner, but for the story's sake let's assume I was being productive. It was quiet and peaceful. Then I hear this little noise. A squeal of sorts. I look up from the sink and I see Tumbleweed carrying something in his mouth as he trots into the house. He greets me with a meow (nothing like a cat talking with its mouth full) and I see the bunny. He has it by the throat and it's squealing for his life. I know this because a rabbit only makes noise when it is in dire straights; otherwise, they are quiet. This bunny was begging for anything to save it. Great! It's one thing for Tumbleweed to bring me a gift that's already dead or even almost dead (especially a lizard - who cares right?) but it is quite another when the gift is NOT dead and is cute like a baby bunny and is going to die if I don't do something. 

So I approach Tumbles and calmly say, "Put the bunny down. Let go of the bunny." Tumbleweed looks at me like I've just lost my mind. He's not going to drop his prize. Besides, he's not done with it yet. He still needs to play toss and catch, bat and swat, watch and wait. He just barely got it under control from outside. Drop it? Not gonna happen. Also, my cat is panting. He's worked really hard to get this little guy. But I'm thinking I can rescue the bunny if I can get Tweed to drop him. I continue to press for him to let go. He continues to talk with his mouth full. So I decide to beat him at his own game and I choose the "watch and wait" card. I figure, he eventually has to let it go no matter what he plans to do with it. He NEVER eats his kill so I'll get it eventually (it's for me right?)

Finally, Tweed drops the bunny. The bunny has been holding the "hold still and wait" card. As soon as his body touches the floor, he moves. I expect him to hop away and huddle under something and I'll never catch it, etc. I wish! Not this bunny. Apparently, many many rounds of toss and catch / bat and swat have already taken place. This poor animal was in horrible shape. 

At this point, I'm now horrified. I am no longer using a calm voice with my cat. I am no longer filtering my words for the sake of my toddler in the next room. I am absolutely hysterical. Probably not as hysterical as the bunny but dang close. The words coming out of my mouth are along the lines of the following: (read hysterically) OMG, Tumbles what have you done. Oh poor bunny, oh your leg, oh it's bleeding. Tumbleweed it's bleeding. I need a towel, don't get on the rug bunny, don't...oh my....shit! Tumbleweed, leave it alone, don't .... Stop! Bunny Stop! Oh, there's blood everywhere. What is that?! Are those intestines, is that guts, is that what guts look like? STOP! BUNNY! STOP! Tumbleweed, I will never forgive you for this. Colin, stand back, don't touch the bunny, don't touch the floor, no touch, hear me? no touch....This towel won't work, I like this towel. Oh, shit, shit, shit! Tumbleweed, leave the rabbit alone! Oh crap. You poor bunny. My rug! Tumbleweed you are in so much trouble. The baby bunny's back leg was broken but out of desperation he moved as fast as he could and he took off into the kitchen. As he moves, you're thinking, "Oh, good, you can rescue the bunny and save him from that horrible cat." In theory yes. But the bunny was no longer a cute fluffy ball of fur. It was drenched with saliva, blood and intestines trailing along behind his broken leg. And my cat no longer is trying to catch the rabbit but instead is just watching the rabbit try to get away. Admiring his work perhaps? So it hobbles along and then goes toward the round table in the kitchen that sits on a rug. Until that point the bunny had been on a surface that could be mopped of any evidence of brutality. But as he approaches the rug I become even more hysterical. At this point the only intelligible word in my hysteria is "shit" repeated over and over. I am beside myself trying to catch the bunny (failing). I've gotten a kitchen towel to grab it with, but it took me a moment to find one that I was willing to throw out, I've tried to get the cat away from the rabbit (failed) I've tried to tell Colin to move back (failed). I've tried to stop the bunny from running all over the rug leaving his body parts along the way (miserably failed). It was absolutely HORRIBLE! Literally, the bunny's bowels are strung around the table, a trail of blood is from the back door to the kitchen and around the table, the bunny is still bleeding, Colin thinks his mother has lost her mind and the cat doesn't understand why I'm getting involved in his game. 

Finally, the bunny is exhausted and stops. I yell at the cat to get away. I pick up the bunny with the towel. I feel his little heart beating with fear. He immediately knows that he's been captured again but somehow knows it's not by the cat. He starts to calm down. He's dying. He knows it and I know it. At this point, I'm just wretched with anguish over the whole thing. I apologize to the bunny that I wasn't able to rescue it. I apologized for my cat being a cat. I promised that he would be able to die in peace. I gently wrapped him in the towel and placed him on the front porch in the shade. I knew it would only be a few minutes and he would die. I didn't have it in me to put him out of his misery. I wouldn't know how and even if I did, I wouldn't have been able withstand one more squeal. We were both exhausted from the trauma. Enough was enough.

I went back in the house and Tumbleweed proceed to give me a mouthful of why I shouldn't have gotten involved, that he had the whole thing under control and he was not pleased with my behavior at all. I proceed to let Tumbleweed know that I don't want any more bunnies as gifts, not ever, dead or alive! Colin was still standing in the exact spot where I had moved him out of the way. He looked as if he had just witnessed something unique. I'd say; a murder would qualify as unique in my book. I just broke down and cried. I cried for the bunny and as I looked at my rug that would never be the same again, I cried some more. I cleaned up the scene of the crime and realized that I would always have blood stains on the rug to remind me of the incident known now as "The Bunny Story"

I eventually sold that rug without divulging the whole story. Practically gave the thing away due to some "wear and tear and a few stains". 

The next day after the incident I picked up Colin from Mother's Day Out. His craft he made was a lovely cutout of a Momma Bunny with her baby bunny all decorated with Colin's early attempt at coloring and a little message about a mother's love. Sick sense of humor our God has.