Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Now my kids think I'm cool ...

I gave the hub an i-tunes gift card for his birthday. He's downloading music like crazy and uploading it to his i-pod. This downloading and uploading is a new skill for him (welcome to the 21st century sweetie). Among others he downloaded "I Miss You" by Blink 182. This is my son's new favorite song. As a result it is also middle and baby sister's new favorite song. The four-year-old knows the lyrics by heart.

Hello there, the angel from my nightmare. The shadow in the background of the morgue.

Yes, yes, I know. Talk to their father. Although I must admit the tune is rather catchy and I've been singing it myself.

The unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley, we can live like Jack and Sally if we want, where you can always find me
, we'll have Halloween on Christmas and in the night we'll wish this never ends, we'll wish this never ends.

So here is the cool part, the part related to mom that elevates her to a new status; one well above the bore who demands clean rooms and completed homework. I went to school with Mark Hoppus. Yeeeah, serious! It doesn't seem to matter that I don't remember him nor he me. It's enough that he's in my yearbooks: junior high and high school, albeit a year behind. I am like sooo cool! They're off to tell all their friends. My mom is wicked awesome! She knows a rock star (by proxy).

So there it is - my fifteen minutes. And you know what? I'll take it. I've been perusing Mark's site (for research of course) and I'm glad I'm not famous. Lot's of "i love you's" and "your f**king awesome" and other assorted comments with creepy "i'm stalking you" undertones. Just ignore the comment that goes something like, "Hi! You don't remember me but we went to school together. I think you are soooo cool and my kids just love you. If you are ever in the Pacific Northwest look me up. I'd love to get together and reminisce about good 'ol R/C. LOL! Those were good times!"

*cough, gag, puke*


It wouldn't be fair of me to post old yearbook photos without posting one of myself. So, here you go. Shexy ain't it!

Monday, April 28, 2008

I like to knit, oh yes I do. I like to knit, how 'bout you?

I like to knit. I learned with a do-it-yourself book and basic needles. The first thing I made was far from perfect. The last thing I knit was far from perfect. But I have fun. I absolutely love that a simple ball of yarn can transform into something usable and dare I say ... attractive.

(By the way - thank you to the person who bid on my hand- knit scarf at Jeni B’s auction. You are supporting a good cause and lifting my spirits in one fell swoop! Somebody bid on the scarf, somebody bid on the scarf! Thank you, thank you!)

My latest project is a felted bag - The Constant Companion. I’ve made three of these bags thus far. The first was given as a diaper bag. The second, assuming I sew the lining before Saturday, is also slated as a diaper bag. The third is mine, all mine! It’s for my knitting supplies of course as they're my current baby. I’ve decided not only to line it but also to embroider it.

Now, I can knit. I’m comfortable with that. But my machine sewing skills are suspect. And embroidery? Never done it although I do a lot of hand-sewing at work - we call it suturing. The suture patterns I frequently use are simple-interrupted, simple-continuous and ford-interlocking (which looks suspiciously like a blanket stitch - I’ll bet ‘ol Ford stole that one from Grandma and put his name to it).

Anywho - Friday I finished knitting my bag and felted it. We have a front-loader and felting is a bit more difficult but it can be done. I usually end up finishing it in the dryer which has the added benefit of being more dry that with machine felting alone. I blocked it overnight and took it with me on our weekend trip to my folk’s house. I wanted to embroider a bird on the front to match the lining.

But here’s the catch. I can’t draw. However I can use a camera. So I took a picture of the lining, blew it up and printed it out. Then I traced the outline on waxed paper and voila! We have a bird. So began my adventures in embroidery. I probably should have looked up some stitches but no, I decided to wing it (get it? wing it?). And really it didn’t come out too bad. It does resemble a bird. We’ll just call it folk art.

I think the bag needs another bird and maybe a branch. Today I decided to seek professional help. I googled basic embroidery and found this site. Look at all the wonderful, new and fun stitches to play with. I may be hooked.

Don’t be surprised if the next time your dog goes in for laceration repair he comes out with a fancy closure. Maybe this, or this, or this.


And now I have housework to attend to. It seems that while I was gone (a mere 30 hours) the dust bunnies had a party - a rager to be exact. Happy Monday!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sex and Drugs

Boy will the perves be peeved when they find this post. Read on safely, read on - with one warning. A photo below may be too much for some young eyes. My kids? Been there, done that. They think it's hilarious. We don't coddle them much. Okay, you've been forewarned. Continue on.

I am allergic to juniper. No. Let me rephrase that. I am allergic to many, many, many things including juniper. Actually a better way to define my allergies is to say I am not allergic to mold. I am also not allergic to medications nor do I have known food allergies. Having said that I’ve had two cases of full body hives to which I can not attach a cause. Food may or may not be a culprit. And there are certainly times, especially after rich meals, when a bathroom becomes an absolute necessity. Things can move very quickly through the bowels. Enough said.

But, as far as environmental allergies are concerned, I am allergic to the world. And, yes, this list includes dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, mice and hamsters. Good veterinarian, good. Sit. Stay.

To counteract my allergies I take daily anti-histamine tablets and subject myself to allergy shots. I started getting four shots twice a week. I’ve been a compliant patient and have now graduated to three shots every two weeks. Lucky me! These shots have been helping a lot. My asthma is better. My allergies are much better. Then the juniper pollinated. Oh lawdy I am a stuffy, watery-eyed, snot-nosed mess.

This afternoon I needed help. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. I had to take all three kids to the dentist. So I stopped at a convenience store and went for the big guns - benadryl. Benadryl works. I can breathe. I can see. And I am wandering around in a fog. I set up a playdate for my daughter, she was to go to the neighbor’s house in fifteen minutes. I promptly forgot. Forty-five minutes later I remembered and she still got to play. But come on! Maybe it’s not the drugs. Maybe it’s early alzheimer’s.

I wish these trees would get a room already. Stop having your dirty dirty sex right in my front yard. I find yellow remnants all over my car! What has this neighborhood come to?

And speaking of neighbors. Remember my clothesline? My neighbors across the street do not have their own clothesline. But they elected to contribute to ours.

To be fair these boxer shorts were a gift from us after our trip to Italy. My neighbors went to Italy and all they brought me were these lousy boxers (actually we gave them grappa too - we do like our neighbors after all). And at least they put some laundry out on the line. I nearly peed my pants when I saw them out there, in the FRONT YARD, for all to see. We are trying to be environmental but we are not nudists. Really.

There has been an awful lot of sex in my yard. What’s a girl to do?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Conversations with the kids

Kick up your heels!

Conversation with a four-year-old:

Her: Mom? Can I have some monies out of the money thingy?

Me: I don’t have any money.

Yes you do! In the thingy.

I pull open the ashtray and hand her a nickel.

Her: I want more! Give me a penny!

Me: What do you say?

Her: Pleeeeeaase!

Me: Okay, how many pennies are there in a nickel?

Her (without hesitation): Five.

Incredulous I hand her five pennies.

Me: How many pennies are there in a dime?

Her: Two.

Me: No.

Her: Four?

Me: No.


Okay, I’ll hold off on those college applications just yet. But I do wonder if she might be ready for kindergarten this fall rather than next ...


Conversation with an eleven-year-old:

They’re doing the four-star program at school.

Me: What’s that?

It’s about abstinence.

Me: Oh. Well, I think abstinence has some valid points. After all sex doesn’t come without risk.

Him: You mean std’s?

Me: Yup, and babies. I don’t want my babies having babies.

Mom? How old are people when they first have sex?

I don’t know, I think it’s different for different people.

And if you ask about me I was forty. Oh wait, I'm not yet forty. Okay, thirty. Yeah, that's it thirty. He can't do math right? Okay twenty, minus two or three. But it doesn't really matter what I did, right?

Him: But what’s the average?

Me: I don’t know. I suspect some people in your school are having sex - which is way too young. And some people don’t have sex until they are thirty. I guess that averages out to something around eighteen.


Me: What?

That’s only six years for me.

Me: Well, you can wait longer. I have no problem with that.

Him (sniggering):
But I don’t want to be a forty-year-old virgin "... Hey, lady, can I put my bike in your car?”

Me: I think it went "...I hope you have a big trunk ‘cause I’m putting my bike in it.”

Him: Huh?

Never mind.

I’m in no hurry for the baby to start school. She'll get there soon enough. She can definitely wait another year. Definitely.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Earth Day!

Saturday was my town's Earth Day celebration. The weather was cold and intermittently snowing. But myself and a few tenacious neighbors hung our laundry in protest of local restrictive covenants. And so far so good - no wild complaints from the neighborhood association.

We also walked to the Earth Day Festival. There weren't many people out and about. My husband postulated it was too cold for those concerned about global warming. He's probably right. Go figure.


In Honor of Earth Day Here Are Ten Things We Can All Do Now To Save Our Planet:

1) Let it all hang out - your laundry that is. Did you know that your electric dryer uses as much energy as a refrigerator and consumes more than six percent of the household energy? That's the scoop according to this article in the New York Times.

2) Change incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents. Flourescents have a longer life span and use 60 to 80% less energy according to TreeHugger.com.

3) Start a compost pile. Don't have room? Consider a worm bin. My worm bin, made from a $5.00 plastic storage container, sits in the garage outside the kitchen. And, honestly, "this poop don't stink."

4) Ride a bike or walk to work, the store, the mailbox (yes Dave and Michelle, I am talking to you. No one needs to drive one block to mailbox). The exercise is good for you, environmentally friendly and you'll save on gas - seems like a no brainer to me.

5) Recycle. Freecycle. Keep things out of the landfill.

6) Unplug your appliances and turn out lights when not in use. You could save as much as 25% on your electric bill. Check out this article on reducing standby waste. Eliminate this waste with a product such as Buy Buy Standby.

7) Conserve water: Set sprinklers to a timer, water only when necessary, fix leaky faucets, use low flow shower heads, wash only full loads of dishes, capture tapwater and on and on.

8) Turn down the thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and turn it up to 78 degrees in the summer. Install a programmable thermostat and decrease the temperature even further at night. Nothing beats snuggling up with a warm blanket on a cool winter's eve.

9) Buy some candles and have Earth Hour once a week: perhaps a romantic dinner or Scrabble by candlelight. Or use the time to meditate, slow down and appreciate the simple things.

10) Garden organically. Use the soil from your compost or worm bin to fertilize. Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Organic mulch makes great weed control. And a little hand weeding? Why that is good for your soul.


The remains of the day ...

Check out this great new flickr group called the Remains of the Day. It's a place to photograph your kitchen remains, seriously. You know, the things going into the compost pile (or the chicken coop. Yes, yes, I'm dreaming here. Are you listening hubbie? Our neighbors won't mind. Really they won't. )

One person's trash is another's treasure. Here are yesterday's remains from our house:


So, raise your glass. Here's to conservation, saving both money and energy, healthy living and exercise for the body and soul. Here's to Mother Earth and all her progeny. Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Earth Day is Coming!

Last year in my little home town there was a major controversy. A woman, Susan Taylor, hung her laundry out to dry. This seemingly benign action sparked a major debate that made it all the way to the Wall Street Journal. You see, a clothesline went against her neighborhood’s covenants. And, as one neighbor put it, “this bombards the senses...it can’t possibly...make people think this is a nice neighborhood.”

Now I happen to live on this same little butte in this same little town, albeit not in the same neighborhood. And, I happen to love clotheslines. They are romantic, energy efficient and, in my humble opinion, aesthetic. So, in honor of Earth Day, my neighbors and I will be displaying our clotheslines with pride, in the FRONT YARD (Oh my, did she say that? A clothesline in the front yard? What is this world coming to? What about the property value?)

I’d like to invite all of you out in bloggerville to join me. Earth Day is April 22, 2008. This happens to be a Tuesday. But, my line will be out starting Saturday April 19th, rain or shine. Let's join together and show the world what Earth Day is really about!


Check out Love Thursday at Shutter Sisters!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's Finished!

I finally finished the scarf I've been working on. It's been packaged up and shipped off to be included in this charity auction.


And, along those same lines, who is stupid enough to go to the post office on tax day?

Me. With a crabby four-year-old in tow. You gotta love April 15th.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Toilets, triathlons and tutus

I did it! I did it! Thursday evening I rode my bike to work. It’s not far, probably four or five miles. And I need to get in shape for July’s sprint triathlon. The biking portion will be the most difficult leg for me. So what better place to start than by biking to work.

My initial ride did not come without challenges. The first of which proved simple - removing my bike from the hook in the garage. No sweat. This biking stuff is E-Z! Then I discovered the tires were flat. Really flat. I found a bike pump (note to self - thank hubbie for cleaning garage) but couldn’t figure it out. I thought I might have to give up and try again another day. But I persevered and low and behold - the tires magically filled. Not only did they fill but they held air. Hooray!

Next I searched for my bike helmet. Other helmets were hanging on their respective bikes. Mine was not present. That’s when I remembered the labradork and his helmet fetish. For those who are not aware - young labradors will chew, no, annihilate, helmets of any variety, ski, skate, bike, army - whatever. Only the dork was older now and his fetish had long passed. Wooo boy - it had been a quite a while since I’d ridden my bike. I tried on my daughter’s helmet - too small. I tried on my hubbie’s helmet - too big. But my son’s skating helmet? Just right.

I tied my right pant leg down with a piece of string and off to work I went (hi ho, hi ho).

Cars steered clear. No one wanted to hit a “special person” on her bike. It only took me twenty minutes to get to my destination.


The next morning I rode home. The air was clear and crisp. The mountains were glorious sno-capped beauties standing guard over our village (okay so it’s really more of a town but village sounds wonderfully quaint). The morning was cool but not too cool. And I was the only person on my bicycle. Clearly I was “special.”


The weather has been spectacular the past couple of days - warm and sunny. This climatic shift coupled with exercise dramatically improved my spirits. As a result I am full of ambition and yesterday made a snap decision to sew my girls tutus. Only I don’t sew. Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with sewing. I just don’t know how to do it. I can count on one hand the number of things I’ve sewn since 7th grade home economics. But I decided nonetheless to make tutus - no pattern necessary. And off I went to the fabric store. I bought 10 yards of tulle, 10 yards of ribbon and thread. You can see the results above. The second tutu turned out much better than the first (proof that I can learn from my mistakes). But, the real beauty of it is that my four-year-old loves her tutu, the first one sewn, blunders and all.

After buying fabric I hit the hardware store (you know - the one that has depot in its name). I needed to buy a toilet repair kit. Now, before I tell you the rest of this story you need a bit of background.

In many ways my hubbie and I have a standard relationship. I, obviously, am the woman and he the man. But we don’t always adhere to conventional stereotypes. I, for one, don’t care for shoe shopping. The hub loves it. And, the hub will stop and ask for directions in a heartbeat (yes, really!): “Hey look! There’s a 90 -year-old foreigner who speaks no English and has ginormous hearing aids. Let’s stop and ask him for help!”

Me - I hate to ask directions. The same applies in a store; I’d rather wander from here to eternity rather than procure assistance. Why? I don’t know. It’s just the way I am. But, yesterday, in the interest of time, I approached a depot employee and asked for the toilet repair aisle. He replied politely, “Two rows over on the left.” Great, that wasn’t bad. Only he wasn’t finished.

He proceeded to ask if I’d like him to walk over there with me. “No,” I said, “I think I can find it, thanks.”

“Okay,” he replied with a strong upward intonation: translation - women and indoor plumbing are mutually exclusive.

I found the aisle without incident. I also found the needed repair kit and had it in my cart when another male employee came sliding around the corner. He also asked if I needed help. I said, "No, thank you," and walked away. He turned and immediately left the aisle. I had the distinct impression he was sent specifically to see if I needed help.

They must’ve sent out an APB, over the intercom in a deep manly voice, a voice so low that women can not hear its timber: “Attention all units, attention all units! Unmanned woman in plumbing aisle. I repeat unmanned woman in plumbing aisle! She is considered unknowledgeable and dangerous. I repeat unknowledgeable and dangerous! Must lure back to garden department ASAP.”

As I wanted to buy flowers I went directly to the garden department after my plumbing adventure. I could just see them, those men, in the break room, all high fives and slapping asses, maybe some towels snaps too. “Way to go Larry! Way to herd that woman back to her place. The flush valves are once again safe and order has been restored! Long live men and plumbing. ” And truth-be-told I’d rather not join their crew as I prefer my butt crack inside my pants. But, hey, that’s just me.


The toilet repair kit is sitting in my kitchen, superseded by tutus. I’ll let you know how the installation goes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I walk through the door slightly sweaty and out of breath. They are all wearing black. They are all made up. They stare at my “Life is Good” cotton shirt, my Target cargo pants and funky checkered hat. I am not wearing make-up. I cut my own bangs. I am definitely not a salonite.

The girl takes me in the back, through the curtains to the darkened area with mood lighting and calming music. I lie on a padded table and close my eyes. She wafts lavender essential oil past my nostrils and massages my head. My body is heavy. My back is warm. I sink into the table. I am relaxed. She smoothes warm wax on my brows, gently presses a cloth strip against my orbit and rips the hair from its follicular nest. I burn. She has hurt me. She knows and presses a cool finger on my searing skin. The pain is dulled. She repeats again and again. It’s cathartic. I relax even more. She hands me a mirror. My brows are beautifully shaped.

I leave the salon with a bounce in my step and walk back to the park to meet up with the baby, her friend and my neighbor who graciously agreed to watch them while my brows were done.


I have time to spare before retrieving middle daughter from ballet. The babe and I stop by the brewery to visit papa. His co-worker looks at me quizzically and says, “I didn’t realize you were so short. You look more impressive in your doctor clothes.”


The kids are loud. I’ve been hauling them around all day. I need a break. I leave the boy in charge and run to the market. I buy two chicken strips, three corn dogs, two bags of cheese puffs, two loaves of high fiber bread and a bottle of wine. The checker cards me. It turns out we are the same age.

I debate switching careers. I want to be Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street. Then I remember - I can not text. I may not look it but I am too old. Besides, the neighbor girl would rat me out.


I arrive home and eat half a bag of cheese puffs - low fat of course. I drink a glass of wine. A delicious combination which I highly recommend. I’ve also eaten a cup of soup, a green salad, a cereal bar, a mocha, a tea, two small yogurts and a Tofutti Rich Rewards Bar: not all at one sitting.

I did walk three miles today. I wonder if I could run that distance. And swim 5/8 of a mile and bike for 12.5. Then I could eat whatever I wanted.

I passed my echocardiographic stress test. There’s a sprint triathlon in July. It’s on a weekend when I’m not working. I’ve seen a lot of signs. Lots and lots of signs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


The alarm screams wake up, Wake Up, WAKE UP! It’s 6:30 am and I have to take my son to school. My eyelids are heavy and puffy. I rub them which does not help. I sneeze several times like a cat with dust in her nose. Overnight it snowed. There are two inches on the ground. Um, hello? Spring? I drag myself out of bed and subsequently drag my son out of bed. The hubbie is still asleep. I throw a coat on over my sweats and plop on the couch, put on the tv and watch with eyes half open as my son gets ready for school. Soon enough there is a knock at the door. The neighbor boy has arrived. The boys and I pile into the car and I drop them off at 7:20 am. My son has forgotten his backpack. I tell him tough patooties - don’t forget it next time.

Once home I make coffee. I attempt get middle daughter up. She doesn’t want to get out of bed. She whines and fusses. Finally she comes stomping downstairs. Her hair is a mess, essentially dreadlocks. She’s already mad at me so I take the opportunity and brush her hair. She screams. Her screams wake up papa. He comes wandering out, stares at her and then goes to switch the laundry.

She’s hungry. I give her a cereal bar. She is not impressed. I tell her that if she would get up earlier she could have a proper breakfast. Another neighbor comes to pick her up and she is off to school.

Finally I drink my coffee and snack on low fat cheese puffs (yes, tremendously healthy, I know). I pop a claritin. Then I get the baby up. She has ballet. Miraculously she dresses herself - tights, ballet outfit, panties - the whole shebang. I brush her hair. She is braver than her sister, less sensitive. She gets french braids.

I put on "real pants" and don a knitted hat (yeah for snow). We go to ballet. I knit during her class. The scarf is almost finished. I want to make a matching hat but don’t know if I’ll have time.

The babe and I have lunch at the club. Me, a BLT with hummus and green tea. Her, a bagel with cream cheese, chips and apple juice.

We get home and I sit on the couch. My eyes are heavy again. The hubbie is still doing laundry. The baby goes and plays in her room and I fall asleep.

I wake up as the hub is leaving for work. I snuggle with the babe. Now she is asleep. Soon we have to leave to pick up her sister. I’ll be armed with store bought cookies.

I am very tired. I have no energy. I am not sad per se. Just tired, very very tired. I need to exercise. I need to take my vitamins (although they look nice sitting on my butcher block). I need to eat three square meals and healthy snacks. I need for it to stop snowing already and warm up. I need some green (and not just tea). It’s the cloudy days that just kill me. I wonder if I’m dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Yesterday I found these crocuses prying their way up out of the dirt. Such tenacity in a monotone world. I want to be these little guys; a bright cheery spot against a dull background.

But right now I'm the background. I did manage to make homemade ravioli last night. And I’ve got ambitious plans for this afternoon. Perhaps the treadmill. And a shower. Maybe a bit of knitting and maybe some sewing. And I’d like to finish the laundry for that grand husband of mine. We’ll see how the afternoon progresses.

Addendum #1: The cookies were a smashing success. The ride home from school was most pleasant. Note to self: bribe middle child with cookies, responds well to sugar-filled stimuli.

Addendum #2: I, like millions of others, typed tired into google and found this interesting little site and article. What a curious world we live in and I am a part of it. But, no, I didn't send in my own confessional. This blog is enough.

Addendum #3: I really am getting on the treadmill. I'll be there in 10 minutes. Here's to a wakeful tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2008

She’s standing on the curb, adorable, a pink striped turtle neck, capri’s, yellow and blue striped socks. Her disheveled hair sprongs to attention, curls ignited by the wind. She sees the car, cracks a toothy smile and swings her pink pack over her shoulder.

Maybe things will be better today. Maybe she’ll understand.

“Hi Mom! Can we go to Riley’s Market?”

“No, honey, we can’t.”

The smile contorts to a frown, her nose wrinkles and her eyebrows furrow. Her irises shift from blue to aqua; the mood ring of her soul. She glares at me, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“But, whhhhhhy? You never let me go to Riley’s Market, WHHHHHHHY?”

Why? WHY? Because we have debt. Credit card debt. Bad debt that we shouldn’t have. And this debt is from nothing. No big expenditure. It’s from life. Groceries, insurance, daycare. Target and Safeway. We have to pay this off. We can’t have this over our heads. We can’t go to the market for chocolate and cookies.

“Because I already told you we could go only once a week and, besides, you don’t need the sugar.”

“But I’m hunnnngry.”

Good lord child we are five minutes from home.

“We have food at home. Goldfish crackers, yogurt, Go-gurt even.”

“I don’t like those things! I don’t want them!”

“Well we have nuts, pistachios and cashews. There are frozen nuggets and veggie sausages.”

“Hmmmmpfff!" she grumbles, arms crossed. The conversation is over and I am momma non grata, the epitome of all evil who cares not for her child or her needs.


They are in the bath, the girls. I want to sit and read to them as they luxuriate in the warm soapy water. But the black hole of our house has rendered our book invisible. Perhaps there are fourth dimensional beings (or fifth or sixth) greedily savoring Pinky Pye. I should consider myself lucky. A major astronomical phenomenon resides within these walls. Perhaps tomorrow Hawking Radiation will spit the book back into this realm and we’ll be able to finish our story. But not tonight.



“But you have to. You’re tired. You’re growing. You need to rest.”




“You told me to leave.”


What you really want, child, what you need is to sleep.

“Okay, I’ll stay, but only if you tell me a story.”

She's crying again. I tuck her hair behind her ear. She turns away from me and looks at the wall.

“Once upon a time there was a girl. She had a very mean mommy who would not buy her snacks after school. There was nothing but yucky food in the house and she made a gross dinner. She wouldn’t even make her daughter noodles. Then the little girl had to take a bath and go to bed. The end. Now you tell me a story.”

Her story told she rolls over and defiantly faces me. She's sure I understand the gravity of the situation, the meanness that is me. I pull the blanket up under her chin and sit on the end of her bed criss cross apple sauce.

“Once upon a time there was a Mommy. She had to work very hard at a job in the middle of the night. The job made her very tired. Then she came home and took her daughter to school. After that she took a nap but didn’t sleep very much because the neighbor’s dog wouldn’t stop barking. Then she got up because she had to pick up her daughter from school. Her daughter wasn’t very nice. She wanted to go the the market but her Mommy said no. Her mommy doesn’t want to work so much. She doesn’t want to work so hard. She wants to be able to stay home with her kids. So she is trying to save money to get out of debt and spend time with her family. The end.”



"You didn’t tell me that, you didn't.”

"Well, I just did."

She gets it. She gets it. Does she get it?

“I love you Mommy.”

“I love you too. Good night baby, good night.”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Boys will be boys?

Yesterday while I was at work my son and his friend were playing basketball in his friend’s front yard. Two other boys, a sixth and eighth grader, snuck up and began shooting them with airsoft rifles. My son told these boys to stop, it wasn’t funny, it hurt. They did not stop. My son came home, told our sitter what was going on and got his own airsoft rifle and safety glasses and went out to scare them away. His gun was not loaded and he was shot several more times including once in the forehead. The babysitter began screaming at the instigators from an upstairs window and the kids rode off on their scooters.

Just as these kids were leaving my husband arrived home - dropping middle daughter off from ballet. He had to go back to work but was infuriated by the offending boys’ behavior. He called their parents. The boys said, “aw, shucks, it was nothing, we were just having airsoft wars.” And the father said, “oh, they were just having airsoft wars.” My husband was livid. My son had (has) welts all over his body.

This parent’s lacksidasical attitude angers me. Airsoft guns are NOT toys and there is no such thing as, “just airsoft wars.” And, really, there is no “soft” about it - watch this YouTube video to see what these guns are capable of. These weapons (yes, I called them weapons) need to be used in a controlled environment with appropriate protective gear and adult supervision. At risk of sounding like Ralphie’s mom - they can put an eye out (or worse). And, shockingly, I’d prefer my son remain visual through out his life.

The American Journal of Pediatrics flagged airsoft guns, as well as, BB, pellet and paintball guns as “...dangerous weapons capable of killing and maiming”. The report, Injury Risk of Nonpowder Guns, goes on to state that “...a persisting problem is a lack of medical recognition of the severity of injuries that can result from these guns, including penetration of the eye, skin, internal organs and bone... the potential seriousness of pneumatic weapon injury is frequently underestimated ... injuries from air guns should be treated in a manner similar to those from low-velocity powder firearms.”

This afternoon we got a call from one of my son’s friends. He left a message on our machine warning my son not to go outside after school because the shooter was plotting to return for another round. We called the shooter’s mother. She, thankfully, was livid and pulled her son out of school then brought him to our house to apologize to my son (who stayed home today). I don’t know what further action she will take but sincerely hope this boy is punished, not only for shooting my child but also for lying about the circumstances surrounding this event.

My son and I had a long talk about peer pressure, responsibility and honesty. He’s a great kid and I absolutely hate to see him targeted. I am proud of him for being honest and brave. I’m also glad he did not return fire on these children but am not happy he retrieved his own weapon. This incident is a mere preview of the teenage years to come. Oh lawdy!


I picked my daughter up from school and relayed the day’s events.

She responded, “Oh crap!”

“Don’t say that,” I replied, “it’s not very lady-like.”

“I’m not a lady,” she said, “I’m a kid.”

“Okay then, it’s not very kid-like.”

“Do you know how many kids say crap?” she retorted

Well isn’t that just crap-tacular?!!

"And the world spins madly on...."

Today is Love Thursday at Shutter Sisters. And this post is all about love. I love my son. I love my children. I want them to be safe, happy, healthy, honest, courageous, forthright and kind. And I want them to have eyeballs, two a piece, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April's no fool

At age seven I made a decision, a decision that would shape the rest of my life. I decided to become a veterinarian. I also decided to move to New Zealand, this has yet to happen but at this point I’m not discounting the idea. At seven I knew very little about the realities of a veterinary career. But I did know I loved and adored animals. I assumed all other people felt the same.

My first pet was a Great Pyrenees named Pepi. Pepi was a puppy when I was born and we grew up together. He was gentle soul - a creature you could cuddle up to and confide in, someone to provide unconditional love whenever the rest of the world was persona non grata. Pepi was a complete and total part of our family. Every Christmas card contained photographs of me, my sister and our furry brother. I never considered the possibility of life without a dog.

Then one morning, when I was ten, he didn’t come when we called. Did he run away? Where was he? We found him, lying in the yard, very very still. He was dead. Though never before experiencing death I understood. I knew he was gone. And yet - what if they, the adults, were wrong? I got a milk bone. I put it in front of his nose just in case. He did not move. He was stationary for the entire day. And, finally, animal control arrived to take him away - he was too big for my parents to reasonably bury. Pepi’s death solidified it. I had to be a vet. I wanted to save animals.

My parents were very indulgent and permitted us children many other pets growing up. As a consequence I experienced a lot of death - guinea pigs, rabbits, cockatiels, tortoises, goldfish. Each pet’s passing left an indelible impression that remains with me like old pictures and reel-to-reel movies flashing through my mind. With each of these moments my helplessness increased as did my desire to pursue a veterinary career. I wanted to make a difference.

I studied biology in college and, upon graduation, took a job at as a wastewater management technician. It quickly became clear this was not the career for me (it takes a special person to spend their days with the effluent from another’s toilet). I decided once and for all to apply to veterinary school.

I took a job, and a pay cut, as a veterinary assistant and applied for admission. My grades were good, as were my GRE scores, but I was not immediately accepted. I was put on a waiting list. I didn’t make it that year and applied the next. I also got married and became pregnant (in that order thank you very much).

I was six-months-pregnant when I had my second school interview. My pantsuit disguised my condition and I did not tell them I was expecting. I was accepted. To make a long story short my son was born three-months before I started school and my middle daughter was born three-months before I completed school. I graduated with honors.

Initially, I hoped to pursue an internship and residency - thus becoming a veterinary specialist. But, family obligations prevailed and with my student loan debt we were in dire need of a steady income. I chose emergency medicine because it scared me. I figured if I could learn emergency medicine I could handle any aspect of veterinary practice.

And here I am eight-years and one more child later. I am burning out. It turns out not everyone loves their pets as much as I. And some love them too much, beyond reason, unwilling to let go. I am there to help. I fight a good fight. But I am not God. Death will always prevail. This job, these people are wearing me down. I am tired. I am helpless.

And I wonder, why did I choose this career path? But I know; I know why. I believe in, I strongly ascribe to, the human-animal bond. It’s the decrease in blood pressure when a kitty sits in my lap. It’s my daughter resting on the couch, her arms wrapped around a dog, sleepily watching a “baby show”. It’s knowing my children have the same unconditional love I had as a child. And, it’s knowing my children understand death.

I need to find a way back. To find a way to work with people who feel as I do. To help people who love their pets and to help the people who love their pets also let them go. What will I do? I don’t know. But I know I need to get there.


Midlife has hit me with a hammer. It’s not what I expected. I’m exhausted. My health is suffering. I’m bloated and sore and palpitating and hot. I’m only 36.

I made an appointment with a naturopathic physician for an annual exam and hormonal evaluation. I may indeed be in perimenopause (what a grody word).

Why a naturopath? Two reasons. First, she was recommended by a good friend. Second, the sign at the local market told me to do it. The sign said, “the mind is like a parachute, it only functions when open.”

I’m looking to the universe for signs and the market responded. It’s one stop shopping - worldly advice and a gallon of milk.

I’m going to keep looking for signs.


When twins are in the womb and one of them is born - Sara remembered hearing once - the twin who remains behind watches his sole companion vanish and suffers an agony almost too devastating to bear. Only a moment later, he will understand that his twin has not died, but quite the opposite, that his vanished friend is closer to him than he can know. This, according to a story Sara once heard, is also the way of real death and the world to come.

From The World to Come by Dara Horn