Saturday, December 31, 2005
I love doing the Christmas puzzle. I don't do other puzzles, but like all things Christmas, it is a challenge. A way to make that time between Christmas and New Years feel somewhat productive.
The last few years we struggled to find good puzzles. We have exacting standards. They must be 1000 pieces, why bother with anything less. They must have Christmas theme and they must be done before school begins or Epiphany at the latest. If at all possible, they must be Springbok puzzles. Hallmark carried them since time began but due to some shifting and corporate by-outs ( I think Subway owns them now), they stopped having them. We had to do inferior puzzles but I found them on the internet and we are back in business. I picked this one because it was pretty. Oh, well, I am glad it is a challenge. I have a picture of the box and our current progress. Should be interesting.
I find I do lots of thinking while I am working puzzles. It is good to look at something a long time. A chance to digest it's intricacies and it's detail. It is good to know that sometimes you have to change how you look at things and leave a frustrating situation for awhile and look at it again. It is important to keep an open mind. Sometimes pieces surprise you and fit where least expected. The star in the middle is a good example. I was heartened that M-E took that one first thing.
I guess 2005 will be the year of the challenge. The seemingly impossible challenge.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Okay, I read this book, the title above. It is a book that required lots of concentration. It is complicated and the story is told by three different people during two different times. I finished it and still don't know a bunch of answers to some basic questions like
Was Paul Caldwell and Hugo Marlow killed by Ralph Trilipush? Was Ralph Paul or just a crook with good luck. Did Ralph kill his future father-in-law and then himself and put new stuff in the tomb?
Oh well, I will just wonder and pass the book onto someone and see what they think.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Okay, it is hard to see but in the tree is one of our flickers. They are defiantly our friend. They love the suet and come three or four times a day. I love to watch them. I suspect we now have two pair. That lets us know the neighborhood has some nice rotting trees and sufficient cover. I am sure that is a good thing.
We did a couple of things today. I even did a load of laundry. I have better hopes for tomorrow ( in the laundry arena.)
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Well we did the last of the shopping last night. We went out to accomplish three things. Obtain a copy of the American Native Christmas, a CD done by a women with a great voice, singing traditional songs in lots of different languages. Well, we failed. We are headed to Amazon.Com. They promise delivery in 4-6 weeks. Oh, well. See if you are not the only one the listens to NPR in Seattle it is a problem. We did end up with 5 other Christmas CD's, no Very Brady Christmas but Barry M did come home with us.
We then were successful at going to Marie Callendars for dinner. Turkey Pot pie was a perfect end to a very rainy day. Then off to Greenwood market. Three items, potatoes, jello and stuff for it, and eggnog. How hard it that? Well let me tell you they have moved some things in the store. Marchino cherries are not easy to find. First they are not with the baking stuff nor are they with olives. Now there are 64 kinds of olives and pickled sun dried tomatoes. I asked two clerks and they were easily confused. They were finally located. Well geeze, they are not in a tall bottle and now they come with stems still on them. What is that about. Oh, well, the jello was just as hard. Their are still really only 4 choices, green, red, yellow and now blue. There are more kinds of red, raspberry, cherry, cranberry, strawberry. It is sort of amazing what they can do with red food coloring.
We accomplished our mission and headed home. Now if I can just figure out how much the prime rib weights. I know how much it cost. Oh well, there always has to be a challenge.
Friday, December 23, 2005
They are all around. We are so lucky. The Flickers are here this morning. They are working on the Suet. I put a sheaf of wheat in the branches of the tree and they love to hid around it. The other birds have not figured out what it is. I keep thinking they will catch on some day.
We have been very quiet here. Just mellow. I have to pick up a few things today but we are simply waiting, waiting for a gathering of friends. It has been very nice. I have had to do a couple of things but it has simply been a time of renewal and rest. I am decompressing after a very long time. I am a bit at wits end. We spend so much time running around and have such busy lives that real time, real time to relax feels foreign. I am working on it however and bonding with deep breathes and just time. Time, a wonderful thing.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Pictures from last years Christmas. Things are so much better now.
It is coming down. It does not hamper the birds or the christmas lights. It does make Sadie a bit reluctant. For Christmas, I am going to find her rain coat and her sweater. It is in the basement. I do not have enough nerve to even take a picture of the basement. There is a challenge.
Off to the store, time to do Christmas dinner prep. Today the vegies are being roasted and I am scouting for green beans that look edible.
Wish me luck.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Okay, what do you think of this. It is bright and early on the 21st and I am sitting here talking to Mom and the Ballard Florist Truck shows up. Out of the Back comes a huge center piece. He walks to the door and then looks and goes to the neighbors.
I told him he better get back in that van and get me something. I gave him a jar of Jam and we both laughted. I told him to be careful, not everyone has such a great sense of humor.
Do you think it is bad that Santa is hanging above Mary? It is not a statement on our priorities, it is just that there was a hook that worked. I am all about practicality.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Years ago, I came down with nasty case of pneumonia the last week of November. It wiped me out like a sparrow in the path of a Bazooka. I was so sick that I had to drop layers and layers of the Christmas fesivities. It was the year I discovered it was possible to have Christmas without one trip to the mall or without Christmas stamps. I found that Christmas came no matter how many projects were completed. It was great training.
I am working on not getting stressed. It is the year that I have been given an extra day to prepare. I found out that I am a day ahead of myself. Oh, maybe I will be able to go to Trader Joes to pick up a couple bottles of Balsamic dressing. We shall see.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I spent a Christmas in Venice. Almost 30 years ago. It was cold and people were rushing around. There were a few decorations up but mostly it was just simply beautiful. The creche at St. Marco's was amazing. Lots of gold.
Lots of simple quiet waiting for the birth of Christ.
I have a new appreciation for the waiting part of this time of year. I have found that the darkness is a protective place as long as the little lights are on.
It does not take much to make the darkness feel safe.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I just don't know who messed up my table.
Mom, My stomach is upset........
I had not heard that one for six months. It took me a moment to react. First line, zofron. But it takes a while to work. Old stand by, Benydryle and Reglan, a good dose of a sleep inducing anti histamine and an anti-psychotic, good combo.
It seemed to work. We have just 4 days of school and work left this year. I just want to make it through to collapse time.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Her labs took a very long time. ( ANC 2100)
Things were a bit off today. Lots of people were waiting. There are times that just happens. If the Hem/Onc labs take 2.5 hours there are lots of sick kids in the hospital, new admits.
It is sort of like pizza or the cab. If you call and have to get a recording it is going to be awhile. The kids are good the parents keep busy. The clinic could use some better magazines.
We always run into someone we know. That is a good thing most of the time. It is when you don't run into someone for awhile and then ask and get the "look". It makes you not ask after a couple of times. It is better to just assume that they are doing so fantasic that there are not more reasons for any visits.
I have been a bit tense and I think I dread each of these blood draws. It feels like we are playing roulette. Will the bullet fire this time. We are 4.5 months into maintenance and things are smoothing out. I have convinced myself that if I can get her past the 6th month mark we can breath a sigh of relief.
I will be so happy when I don't have to hold my breath any longer. I am turning very very blue.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Things seem to go along and we do okay. But it is never quite 100 percent. I always have great ideas for how to handle this time of year and then it all goes to hell in a hand basket. (Better than a laundry basket, I suppose.)
We have made some progress this year. I did find the lights for the tree but then put them out side. I found ornament boxes but no ornaments. I found ornaments but not the major ones. For example, Baby Bear is holding up the fairy tale all by himself! I will keep looking for the rest of the family. I don't have any of the nativity scenes out. We want this to be an Isabel friendly Christmas. It needs to be a time of great touching and not lots of no.
The village is up, lit and the snow has fallen. The angels are out for the first time in a while. The orchestra is ready. One of the arch ornaments is up, M-E wants to put them up but the right moment has not presented itself.
Oh, yes, the advent candles are in the back of the car waiting for their place to cleared but that would be the dining table that can not be cleared until the pictures arrive for the card that are ready to go. See, that is the problem. Maybe I can work on it a bit today. Maybe I should get one of those storage units to sit outside in my yard for this time of year. It could hold all my Christmas stuff, I could have it delivered the day after thanks giving and taken away the day after Epiphany. I will look into that as soon as I..........................
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Nothing is one step, everything is a process. I have the cards ready to go but the pictures are yet to arrive. I have the tree up, but have not run into the ornaments for it yet. I have the village out, but not lit yet because we are looking for a couple of more pieces. Oh, well, Life is a process. Only that weird cake you make in a pan without any bowl is one step, and even that has to be mixed and baked.
Friday, December 02, 2005
What a beautiful day. Snow fell and then promplty melted ( in down town). We have a bit on the roofs and some slush in other places.
It did cause a fair amount of mass hysteria. The entire Puget Sound emptied on to the free ways and began to clog traffic. I made the mistake of taking I 5 north and it was not an original idea. We have to venture out today but it will be fine. Sadie was pretty excited but she was a bit confused as to why big hunks of stuff would fall on her head each time she was under a bush or a tree. It is pretty funny. She was just fed up at one point and simply barked at the tree.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Margaret and Mary-Elizabeth on a "winter picnic".
Turkey sandwiches of course.
Years of living in Idaho and Michigan and Switzerland and.......... places where it does fall has given me a distinct advantage over Seattle people. Those of us with the knowledge just know. We just know when it is coming and how to drive in it. We don't drive because of all you crazies, but we know how.
On Monday night I walked the dog and came in and announced that there would be school on Tuesday A.M. How did I know? it did not smell right. It was too warm and I could see the shapes of the clouds. They were all wrong.
Here are the rules about snow:
1. It has to be a dry kind of cold, but no too cold. Yes, it can be so cold it can not snow.
2. The clouds have no shapes and bumps, they are a uniform flat light gray. If you look at the clouds and can see any sort of shape, you are looking at rain.
3. Snow smells. The next time it snows, go stick your nose in the snow and take a big whiff. Once you do, you will always know it. It could be described as a clean, slightly sweet, but tangy smell.
4. Seattle Rule: Once it falls, don't move if others are on the road. These people think they still have brakes on their cars, they don't understand what happens when they stop on hill and generally drive like snow nerds.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Yes this is almost brown but then Thanksgiving is about brown food. Brown turkey, brown rolls, browned and candied sweet potatoes, brown gravy, even the veggies are made brown with the right amount of brown soup. The only bright spot would be the cranberries and the ever present, famous and oft forgotten Jello Mold.
We had a great time.
Our drive to Portland was interrupted by a quick (not!!!!) stop at a German restuaant. Margaret was wanting German food. We had reasonable traffic but then I was asleep after all the great food. Rheinlander on Sandy Blvd in the Hollywood district.
Mom called us on the phone about 6:00 p.m. announcing that she was going to bake the pies. I capitulated and told her the secret to Sally's Amazing and wonderful, not to be surpassed Pumpkin pie recipe. Just so you know, doubling the nutmeg is not the secret.
We arrived in Eugene about 8:00, settled in, learned that Mom thought 63 was an acceptable house temperature and offered us all hats and coats and more layers if needed. We fussed with some preparations for dinner and did math problems.
Yes, math problems. Why do you doubt me??
If you want to eat at 2:00 p.m. (because that is between important foot ball games) and the free range organic holistic turkey with a budist mother and a hippy father weights 30 lbs and has been lightly stuffed and put in the roaster breast side down, what time should it go into the oven and at what temperature?
Well we all settled on the following formula:
15 minutes per pound. 4-15 minutes per hour therefore divide 4 into 30 and you get 7.5 hours. Add 30 minutes to keep from getting samonila from the dressing. Keep in mind the turkey has to set while you cook the rolls. Count back from 2:00 p.m. and the answer is 6:00 p.m.
So we all headed to bed and imagine my shock to let the dog out around 5:30 a.m. and have the house full of those great Thanksgiving smell. The shock and confusion did disapate when Mom told me that she had put the turkey in at 2:00 a.m.
Evidently the dog was up and it sounded like a good idea. A full turkey dinner at 12:00 p.m. allows you more time for leftovers.
I called Ruth on her cell phone to let her know that the tradition of Turkey breakfast was being continued.
It all turned out, the guests were told to come in early for dinner, the turkey was perfect, no one spilled any water. Austin made if very clear that he would be the only one to put food on his plate so not to let anything touch. Dad carved with great old doctor skill and Alex can still mash potatoes.
We all offered as a prayer the things for which we were thankful.
Mine was Chemo Therapy.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I let her sleep this morning and it made life much easier
She needed that extra couple of hours. I think it made a great difference.
Tomorrow we are headed to Eugene.
Who is already upset with the movement of boxes and things.
Hoping for lots of rest and a few good shopping opportunities.
New taxi ramps attract large commercial hangar.
By Tim Sheehan / The Fresno Bee
(Updated Tuesday, November 22, 2005, 6:05 AM)
VISALIA — Millions of dollars worth of improvements to Visalia Municipal Airport could start paying dividends as new areas of the airport property open for business.
City planners and engineers are evaluating plans by pilot and businessman David Lanham for a 15,600-square-foot hangar to house and fuel a small fleet of commercial airplanes. It will be the first new hangar along either of two new taxi ramps built last year to lure business traffic to the airport.
The hangar proposed by Lanham's Optimal Aviation Services "is a pretty big hangar, one of the larger ones we'd have out here," Airport Manager Mario Cifuentez said.
Lanham said he plans to house six Beechcraft King Air 200B twin-turboprop business aircraft in the building. Some of those airplanes already are based at the airport, he said, while others would be new arrivals. The hangar will include no offices or maintenance facilities, but will have fuel storage to keep the airplanes' tanks topped off.
"We want to go ahead with this," Lanham said. "We're already two months behind where we'd wanted to be by this time."
Before Lanham can build, he will need approval from the city's Airport Committee as well as the Tulare County Airport Land Use Commission. Once those groups sign off, principal planner Paul Scheibel said, Lanham can apply to the Visalia Planning Commission for a land-use permit.
Lanham's hangar will be the first in an area opened for access by the new taxi ramps. The 16-acre section is south of the airport's fire station, along Hangars Way.
"When we built those taxiways, that was the whole idea, that if someone wanted to come in and build their own hangar we'd have a place ready for them to go," Cifuentez said. The airport will install access gates for vehicles to reach the hangars from Hangar Drive.
Cifuentez hopes Lanham's project will spur interest from others. "We've seen before that once a new hangar goes up, others take notice ... and it becomes a self-perpetuating thing," Cifuentez said.
"There's a larger number of corporate aircraft that people want to relocate here; we can lease them the land at a reasonable price and they can afford to build their own hangar and economically it makes sense for them."
The ramps, south of the airport's fire station, were part of $1.4 million in improvements last year to improve the airport's service capabilities.
In addition to the taxiways, a row of small hangars to be leased for private airplanes was built; the runway safety area was graded; the parking lot for the passenger terminal was rebuilt and expanded; and the lot for the rental car area was rebuilt.
"The whole premise is looking ahead, looking at the possibilities for growth," Cifuentez said.
"Within the confines of our federal dollars, we'd like to set ourselves up to be in a position to accommodate development."
It all adds up to more use of the airport facilities. More than 160 aircraft are based at Visalia Municipal Airport — mostly private airplanes housed in 103 small hangars.
But there are a number of larger corporate hangars similar to Lanham's, where a company leases the land from the airport for up to 40 years and constructs its own building. At the lease's end, the property and building revert to city ownership.
Lanham's hangar is one of perhaps a dozen large buildings that could fit in the new area, according to a concept plan prepared by a consultant.
But the east side of the runway isn't the only part of the airport that could see increased development.
Work is nearing completion on improvements with the potential to attract more customers. A new $2.9 million west taxiway will eliminate potentially dangerous midfield crossings by planes based on that side of the field.
"The pavement is done, but it's not open yet," Cifuentez said.
"We've got the striping about 50% done; electricians are about 80% done with wiring for lights and signs."
Already, Cifuentez added, there is business interest in the west side.
"We envision mostly cargo business on this side," he said as he showed off the newly paved taxiway that runs the length of the 6,500-foot runway. "I've asked our engineer to come up with a plan for the west side to show how it could be laid out."
Other commercial interests with airport-related needs also could find a home off the west taxiway, officials said.
Between what is inside the fenced perimeter and surrounding land that includes Plaza Park, Valley Oaks Golf Course and the John Jay Inn site, the airport owns 720 acres.
That's likely to grow over the next few years as the airport embarks upon its next big goal: to lengthen the runway and taxiways to at least 8,000 feet to handle larger aircraft such as Boeing 737 jets.
The project, with an estimated cost of about $6.2 million, will require the city to buy a significant amount of property, upward of 350 acres, at the south end of the runway to maintain a required safety zone clear of homes or other structures.
Much of the new work of the past two years has been paid for with federal airport improvement grants that cover 90% to 95% of the cost.
When the runway extension happens also will depend on when grant money becomes available, Cifuentez said, but it is included in the city's capital improvement plan for the next five years.
Creativity in finding money also helps with projects, including a new solar-power system being installed at the airport's business terminal.
The cost is about $260,000, but the price the city pays is being reduced by an $84,000 California Energy Commission rebate to promote solar power.
Shiny black panels of photovoltaic cells, which will convert the sun's rays into about 30 kilowatts of electricity, form an awning on the south face of the building.
Steel supports nearby await the installation of more panels that will shade a row of parking spaces along the fence separating the parking lot from the tarmac.
Cifuentez said the panels, which will be activated in early to mid-December, will generate about 60% of the electricity used in the business terminal, three rows of hangars and parking lot lights and, over the long haul, pay for itself through a reduced power bill. The reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or(559) 622-2410.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Well, wish me luck. We have a test run on morning in 4 minutes. Last night she was suffering from the Prednisone "awakes" . I was restless and got up round 10:30 p.m. and she was wide awake. We watched an episode of Northern Exposure and she went to sleep. She has not had much sleep. We shall see how this A.M. goes.
Oh, that is Lucy in the window. I think it is a pretty interesting picture.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Full Moon, cold clear night. Everything sort of out of sorts and focus.
This was the full moon on the 16th, the night of my 52nd birthday.
I have no complaints about my birthday. I received great cards and lots of calls and bad singing from lots of friends, great presents, rain chains, a badger fetish, a red hat pin, We had a number of birthday meal celebrations, chocolate cake and Isabel learning that there is no end of birthdays.
It just seemed out of sorts. I let the activity of the week get to me M-E was having a hard time with lots of different things and that makes me crazy so it was just all fell apart.
Belle and Karen were here and we had a great day of just doing weird things that people from little towns that have no shopping available do for fun, like go to Bellevue. We were there before Nordies opened. What surprised me was how my sister thought she would get more than 30 minutes of time to shop.
Nordsroms and I do not have a good relationship. They have never quite forgiven me for the fact that I took 42 uniforms back the first two years that Mary-E was at St. Joseph's. The buttons kept falling off and I simply did not have time to deal with it.
Just to report, things are better this Sunday. The moon is fading and house is almost ready for Jackie tomorrow. I have cleared a few items from the car for the trip to Eugene, I think we are under control.
But then I have made that mistake before............
Saturday, November 19, 2005
It was a hard week. Lots to do, no energy for things I thought should get done. As I look around the house I can see bits of chaos everywhere. Unrecycled boxes, items not put away. You know. Life not in neat and tidy places.
M-E has had a hard week. The emotional war is winning now. I am always surprised by the way things are out of control for no apparent reasons. I don't know where the triggers are hiding. Lack of sleep, too much unplanned activity, life in general. It sort of creeps in and pounces every now and then. Each slide back into despair she makes takes tremendous amounts of energy to regain normal. It is possible but sometimes I let my life get me down.
It will be better. We will be able to make this work. We will let the world move beyond us and catch up later. Life is not a straight line, it is a complicated process. Simple is not reality but something we strive for each day.
The link below is to a site that helps with stress by focusing it on the puzzles. Little accomplishments. I have even managed to finish a few correctly.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The universe seems to be taking it in stride. Full moon, clear fall sky's, frosty crispy mornings. I was just excited to have a new batch of Northhill Bakery Granola.
I don't want anyone to think I am complaining. It has been a great month. Wonderful presents, good doctor's appointments, good friends and cake. Always cake. Sadie is back, the house warm, M-E is a bit under the weather but doing okay. Belle and Karen were here. Ruth and gang came with pizza and great salad. Isabel was very happy to sing happy birthday.( She learned that even old people get to have birthdays.)
Maybe it is a time of no real surprises or too much hoopla. I think we have had enough of that to last a lifetime. Some time of quiet and rest and knowing you have enough suet to feed the flickers through the winter is what 52 is about.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I figured that after 6 starts, I would have it down pat. My organization would start with the end of 4th grade. I would keep the end of the year packet in a place I could find it. I would hand over the school supply list to Mary-
Elizabeth's father at the beginning of August. I would measure our daughter and order everything from Landsend by the first week in August. I would line up all the beginning of the year fund raising recipients. I was ready.
I was ready to go. Then it started to deteriorate. We, Ruth and I, were power shopping ( Two Moms on the web, searching the same site.) We were in search of "Hunter Green" shirts. Oh, now what there is no "Hunter Green"!!!! We know that when girls enter 5th grade, everything has to match. We can't have almost "Hunter Green" we have to have "Hunter Green". So I, being the rebel, order "vintage green." It looks close, I know Landsend won't let me down. I know in my heart that I will not have to drive to the Uniform Store in Tukwilla. I will avoid the fate of having to figure out the difference between Andover Parkway East and Andover Parkway West. They couldn't come up with another street nameÂ Â . I was not too discouraged when the shorts were back ordered. I was set. We were on track.
I went to the special place where I kept the -end of the year- packet. I pulled out the colored sheets used to list supplies and discovered to my horror, I had recycled the list for 5th grade. Don't panic. It will be on the web. We have spenthousands's of dollars raised from boxes of chocolates and wrapping paper and auctions on computers. The list will be there. The panic begins to creep up, no list. Calls to good friends. They have lists but they are using their lists. More calls finally I remember, It's not my job. I delegated it to her father. He can find his own list. Solution found.
I waited for the perfect hemmed to ordekhakihi pants to be delivered. I was still a bit anxious about the "vintage green" but we had some time. I open the package. I got an eye full of "vintage green" Oh, yes, remember those canned peas they used to feed us. The ones we were still rejecting in the college dorm cafeteria. Do I need to say more. More panic, more dread. I was about to go on line and find a detailed map to Tukwila when I called Landsend. I got a hold of a nice lady who commiserated with me about my lunchroom food experiences and she helped me locate the right color. I learned from her the you must call and ask for "Evergreen" Life is good yet again.
So we are ready. Shirts, pants, backpack , back ordered shorts, school supplies. 2" canvas ( material no longer made in this country ) binders, not 1.5" note cards, red, green, blue ball point pens, hole reinforcement rings ..But then, it happened. The elusive holy grail of school supplies.
1 protractor with arm
What's a protractor, I remember the word. I don't believe I ever owned one. It sounds like a scary medical device I don't want to think about. I get brave, I ask the teacher. I am shown the item. I begin the search.
We go to 5 different places. Drug stores, office supply warehouses, K-Mart, and nothing. I write a note to the teacher. The response "If that is all you can find, well okay." Translation: you are a looser of a parent. Your child will never get out of 5th grade. We are calling Child Protective Service. You should not be spending money on private school but rather on therapy for your child." I am inspired to try again. I finally find "1 protractor with arm" in hot pink. All is right with the world.
First week goes great, the second begins with some dread. Did I forget something. Did I not do something, then I remember it is almost 9-11. I just get very sad and withdrawn. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I start to get anxious. All the joy of starting school seems to float out the window. So I take action. I went to church on 9-11 with Mary-Elizabeth. We sang, we prayed, we listened to scripture. We listened to Father Craig and then I walked out the side door to the parking lot. I looked at the lot and realized how many parents had stayed to attend the service with their children. I realized what a great statement that was about us as a community. We love our children we love our school, we love our county and church and most of all we love our God. It really isn't about the perfect color shirt or the right math tool, it's about caring and sharing and being with our kids and working in the school and new beginnings.
So just remember, Paper, Jog-A-Thon, Auction, Candy
( Written September 11, 2002)
Now the children are involved. Remember the good old days when Mom and Dad went to see the teacher and the teacher gave us the real scoop. Now the children analyze their learning styles and explain where their "Break Downs" occur and come up with an objective plan as to how the problems will be "addressed in a positive and constructive manner"
Yes, remember these are the people that noted on M-E's second grade report card that she did not "excel in behaviors that enhanced learning" translation: She talked to much.
It must have been her father's fault.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
We all see different things. Sadie spends hours looking out the window. She is so excited about what she might find. Yesterday she was at the window and was watching a squirrel bury some secret treat. I had the door open and she simply could not help herself and bolted.
The squirrel was so surprised that it took him a while to end up in the tree. M-E went out and thought she could catch her. Sadie was not interested in chase game but did manage to keep away from her while very close to the tree. We were all surprised by the event.
Sadie did come back into the house by herself when offered a chew bone.
Sadie likes to look out the back window. Not much of a view right now. The grape leaves are in their last phases of color. The grapes are gone but Sadie is sure there are more raccoons around. She looks and sniffs a lot of the time.
The view from the window changes almost every day. Nothing seems to be static about the world as we know it. Things stay interesting. I am certain that we have had enough "Interesting to last a life time."
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Well life is pretty much back to normal. We are yelling and each other. So I am a happy camper.
Mary-E was just told that Laura is really really coming back. I hope things work out.
Sadie thinks the new food providers are straight from heaven.
We are watching Northern Exposure, season 3, and watched our neighbor Bob.
The leaves are gone from our trees but not the grapes.
The election is over in a couple of hours. I voted almost a month ago so I have been very miserable recently.
I have to do lots of things this week and am looking forward to a Friday off.
Belle and Karen are coming next week. Belle is upset that someone else bought the 132 piece sterling silver set 2199.00 on E-Bay.
We are going out to dinner. I can not face the kitchen.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Last night was the first night of the St. Joseph's Auction. The 8th graders were able to do some volunteer time. They were to report to work at 5:00 p.m. Well it did not make any sense to have the girls go anywhere after school so we put them in Free Dress. Gave them negotiable instruments ( Money, Tully's Cards) and arranged pick-up times and places.
I called about 3:30 as I was leaving work after the very productive but exhausting week from hell. She answered in that coy, "oh, my mom is calling, I have to answer" way of the young teenager. I could hear giggles and young girl voices. We chatted for a moment and I took report. Who was there, how long they would be there. What they were eating and drinking, when they were leaving and confirmed the pick-up time.
When I "disconnected" the transmission, I smiled to myself. She is headed out the door towards those times where most of her social time is spent with her friends. I felt great knowing she has great friends, a head a good head on her shoulders and is able to act so "normal".
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I was given the Mother of the Year award yesterday by my daughter but I would not be given the Parent of the Year award by anyone.
Mary-Elizabeth was feeling less the 60% yesterday. She was not a happy camper, flu shot and Methotrexate. She was up and was able to sort of pull it together and we headed to school. We were even there a few minutes early and were chatting in the care. Were were on the phone discussing a child hood poem with my dad:
The dog sat on the Burning Deck
The flames licked up around his neck
And I looked out the car and there were a couple of children walking down the street and I asked of today was "Free Dress", to my daughter in here prim and proper St. Joe's uniform.
Well, instant, unexpected, uncharacteristic explosion. "Mom take me home to change. I cannot go in, they laugh at the kids that forget. I just cannot take being laughed at today!!!!!!!!!"
I was scheduled to meet with some clients in deep and serious crisis. I had 45 minutes before the meeting. I was sitting on Capital Hill with an upset child.
I made the decision that she was not going to go home. She could go to school or she could with me to work.
The "Parent of the Year" would have made the child go to school and been able to come up with the right answer to handle the situation. The "Mom of the Year" looked at her tired, crying child and capitulated.
Oh, well. I find it odd that a child that has been through so much can be pushed over the edge with such a small miss step. Then I thought that perhaps this was a sign of Mary-Elizabeth returning t0 normal.
Oh the picture is Isabel, in her free dress.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Somewhere in my simple simple mind, I have convinced myself that if M-E makes 6 months into Maintenance without relapse, she will be home free. I am sure that if I don't hope too much, keep to the program and keep a close eye, the evil liukemia will not return. As we move further and further away from intensive treatment, I realize how debilitating that part of our lives has been.
While you are in the process you just keep going. You just keep at the process and don't even question. I realize how crazed I have been the last few months. It comes to me when I feel we can sit down and watch a movie together or I can let myself quilt and not feel guilty or I feel guilty that the laundry has not been done.
We have stepped so far off the path that I don't know if I want to go back or even if I can find it.
I can remember a Ray Bradbury story. I am sure it was a short story. The people were taken back in time and allowed to kill dinosaurs. They were to stay on a path and only killed the animal just before it was to die. The main character stepped off the path and wondered around the forest. He climbed back on, pretty happy with himself and returned to current time. When he arrived everything was slightly different. The uniforms had swastica's on them, the area was a different color, the world had changed. He looked down and on the bottom of his shoe he found a small glistening wing of a butterfly. His act has changed the world.
I feel that our feet are covered with wings and things may never be the same.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
So any way, Grandma always made things special. Nice dishes, silver ( not sterling but great plate). Flowers, soup bowls, candles, well balanced, colorful nutricous meals, you get the picture. My mom, while raised by Grandma, seemed to have a bit more of the Okkie genes. She has been seen barefoot, in the snow chopping wood. She has pulled the head off her share of chickens and can make pie with the best of them. She has dishes she loves and great silver plate, and knows where the lace table cloths are. She was the one that taught me that the reason you use lace table cloths is that the food falls between the holes and you don't have to change the table cloth too often. (True story).
So, I have a bit of both. I love dishes and silverware and I appreciate the well set table. When M-E was little I started to buy her Sterling. Queen Elizabeth I by Towle, of course. I decided that she would not be without her sterling. She has three sets plus the child's set. She could care less but I am sure that Great and Great Great Grandma approve.
So, I look for her pattern on E-Bay on occasion. During the search, I have discovered the world of Sterling is very complex. I realize that I am totally uneducated and essestially nothing better than a pretender. I know nothing about proper table setting. Martha would fire me in an instant.
I have a list of sins so long that only a small portion can be shared here.
I don't have a lemon fork, further more, I don't know why the tongs are so weird.
I have a large fork but I am not certain if it is for cold meat and I am confused why I would need the cold and hot meat could not share.
I don't have a single strawberry fork and I am not certain if every one gets one or just the strawberrys.
I don't have a cracker spoon. To make matters worse, I have never had a cracker spoon. I had to be informed but a much more elegant and educated person that they are only for oyster crackers. Now what do I do about my Ritz?
The potato fork dilemma continues with the unanswered questions like, does everyone need one. Are they used only on baked potatoes could they be used on home fries also, or would home fries be served by slotted serving spoons.
Bon Bon Spoons are different than Nut Spoons. Pastry forks are different than Salad forks, oyster forks are not the same as pickle, olive or dinner. Of course there is that never ending duck egg vs chicken egg issue. You would never eat a chicken egg with a duck egg spoon. Heavens, that would require your instant departure from the "I have too much time and space to store stuff society."
Okay, there are my early morning issues.
Oh, still no ideas about Halloween. I think I will be the lady in the Orange and Green and yellow house that gives out candy. Now there is something I can handle.
Belle and Karen are expecting 6 to 8 HUNDRED children.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
We went to the Memorial service of James Haines yesterday to support Maggie, our dear, dear friend. We had gone to our friend Miller's service a little more than a month ago. We have vowed to find other reasons to gather.
It was very nice. Maggie had arranged to use Anthony's and there was great food and lots to drink. She commented that all the food that was ordered was her Dad's favorites. Many of his friends and most of his family joined the gathering. There were people that had known him for decades and those that had worked for him for their first jobs. Many old proud gentlemen shed some tears at the loss of their great friend.
Maggie's brothers both talked and Bill gave Maggie a small part of the credit she deserves for all the care she gave her dad over the years. Her other brother Jiggs( It is a real name) said some very lovely things.
It was the type of gathering we all hope we can pull off, either for someone we love or for ourselves. Humor, tears and mostly lots and lots of love.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Isabel loved the leaves. She put most of them in the container but there was a certain amount of throwing involved.
It is a skill and something you have to practice. I have learned the skill but need to "stretch" more all the time.
Today for example. I am up, I am ready to go. The house is in marginal shape for the housekeeper. Bless her heart. I have the dog fed, the dish washer ready to go, the washer and dryer are working. I have put items out for mailing and here I sit on an ice bag.
M-E is just off her prednison. It is the first night she has really slept in a week and she cannot get out of bed.
I have taken to the ice bag for reasons I do not understand. It has made such a huge difference in my mobility. I am not certain as to why ice would make such a difference. Maybe all flexiblity come from times of quiet and then of activity.
I still have lots to learn and more stretching to do. I am better at letting go of the tense feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes from anxiety. It takes a lot for me to get to the place anymore. It is still not perfect ( ask poor Nancy and Rhonda about Friday). I have to learn to let go of it before I do get there. Another place for me to practice my flexibility.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
It was on the pear I bought at the store this morning. A little pear, a pear I had never seen before, one of about 8 different kinds of pears that were at the store, all bearing a fruit sticker.
They cause me endless trouble. What do you do with them? Can they be recycled? Do they remain undigested for years in you stomach? Are they made from a substance that will cause me to be in class action law suit in the distant future?
The biggest question. Whose fault is it? Is it because there are just so many different varieties of pears because growers are trying to make us crazy? or Did we demand more variety? Oh, it might be the fault of people like me. I will try most things at least twice. I did come home with three of the eight variety this week. Two different types of yams and three kinds of greens and 100% organic whole wheat flour. Opps.
I am the sole cause of fruit stickers.
We are going out once today so it has to be an efficient trip. I am not sure I can get M-E out of the house. She is pretty entrenched this week-end. She is done with her Prednisone for this month and she will be sore for a while and hungry and grumpy.
A bit of much needed rain, not enough sleep (Three raccoons let Sadie know they were visiting.) but great coffee. Thanks to Jack and to the Free Trade people.
Time to make a shopping list.
Friday, October 21, 2005
It is an up happy hip. It has been complaining a lot for a long time. I have been ignoring it so it is totally out of hand.
I finally made the call and went to see the Orthopod. You have to be in the right mood for a visit with them. They are always tall and skinny and disgusted with people of "substantial" size. So you have to be ready to have the :
" You need to loose weight"
Like I don't know that nor have I known it for the last 45 years. It is like hearing the surprise in the voices of government officials when the tragedy struck New Orleans. "Oh, we seem to have a problem in the Super Dome where there are thousands of people and no supplies. "
So back to me. Well I have bursitis. It is the inflammation of the Bursa which is the doctors word for everything that is not a muscle around a socket. It gets inflamed and then your muscles contract as you hold them tight because you don't want anything to move and then it gets worse and then you ignore it and then you don't go see the doctor and it gets worse and then you have to have the "You need to loose weight" talk.
So, physical therapy, ice, time, patience and if it does not get better, Shot into the muscle. Oh like I am going to let a skinny doctor come at me with a needle.
So moral to the story: I have hit the age that if something hurts, I should not ignore it. I should not feel like I am wasting the doctor's time. Pain equals a problem. Just walking it off is for stupid boys in their 20's.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
( This is the plastic Chicken Ted Mittermeir gave M-E because we did not have any Garden Decorations. She is our favorite, so no laughing.)
Permission is defined by Websters as: the act of permitting.
Permitting is defined by Websters as: to consent to expressly or formally
I have learned over the past few months, to give myself permission "to do" and more importantly "not to do" many many things.
I now can go to bed if the counter is not clean.
I can fix toasted cheese sandwiches and soup and call it dinner.
I can let the laundry pile up and buy new underwear if I need it.( Old habit returned from Law School Days)
I can forget to pick up the paper and let a few sit on the porch and then recycle it.
I can have more pillows than anyone else in the whole world.
I can play hours of mindless solitaire.
I can ignore my daughter's rants and rages when she is on Prenisone because she is a great kid and it will pass.
I can let the dog chase the neighbors cat when they are not watching.
I can go to church and light candles I don't pay for.
I can be mad a God sometimes while relying on comfort the next moment.
I can sit back and watch the leaves fall and know they can be raked this week-end.
I can let the Morning Glory grow and pretend it was the planted kind.
I can shop on E-Bay just for fun even I don't buy anything and forgive myself when I do.
I can bid on things just to make the price go up.
I can paint my house colors no one else will.
I can wear jeans to work on Thursday.
I can say no to cases that will make me crazy.
I can take a few minutes a week to quilt and watch bad television.
I can take a nap instead of doing the dishes.
I can worry endlessly about M-E because that is my job.
I can be thankful beyond measure for all the support and good food that St. Joseph's has provided us with for these many months.
I can look forward to the future and be hopeful that it includes M-E.
I can walk the dog in my bathrobe and not care about the neighbors.
I can spend a few non-billable moments with my office mates because they need some help with a serious problem or just want to chat.
I can write on my blog when I should be doing other things.
I can ignore the sorting in the basement because it can wait.
I can use lots of coffee in my pot because I only drink a cup or two in the morning and it should be good.
I can leave my christmas lights up too long.
I can have more than one Christmas Village.
I can spend hours with M-E reading Harry Potter when she has time.
I can ......
Okay, I have to feed the dog and wake up M-E. It is not a perfect life but it is one I would not have missed for all the tea in China.
Do they still grow tea??????
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
It was exhausting for both of us. We are sort of out of practice. I was able to get all her numbers for the last part of treatment and that was nice. She has good numbers. She is in the 2000 plus range on her ANC. She will be falling this week due to the chemo but it is a nice place to start.
There is the little problem with her foot. She stepped on a tack. It was on the floor and it has been bothering her. It was all red and we all freaked and Karyn was calm and told us not to worry and to soak it.
We are in such a different place than a year ago. I still worry. I am still on edge like a cat with a bunch of dogs barking at them from below and a hawk hanging around up above. I don't know how long it will be before I quit worrying about a relapse.
Can not think about that now.
Mom brought up a rug that she swore would not ever leave the bathroom. It was very stiff and ridged.
Well she was right. No more disapearing rugs. But the rug and the content of the cat's feeding dish and the tray and the water could be smashed all over the bathroom...... at 4:00 am.
We had a visit by the raccoons and they tried to come in and evidently were only successful in making lots of noise. Sadie is now on guard. I am not well rested feel safe.
Monday, October 17, 2005
She is asleep. She is NPO or nothing by mouth. I have to wake her up soon and then we have to leave for the hospital by 7:30 a.m. She will be having an ultrasound on the spot where she had a blood clot in her jugular vein and then down to clinic for a blood draw and the old Methaltrexate into the spine routine.
Then home for some important post sleep.
We met our new Make a Wish person yesterday. Tera and Keith came over with pizza and Italian soda. They had a chance to meet Ruth and Whitney. It was nice. Zeeks Pizza donated the food. I am amazed at the generosity of people and organizations.
No one wants a child that can receive a Wish but working with this group has been very gratifying. They are a first class organization.
We are trying to replace bad experiences with good. Having Pizza with your "Wish" volunteers close to a full moon in a "Good Thing."
Sunday, October 16, 2005
As the smells from the oven emerged, the friends begin to gather. One at first, then more and then the noise level increased.
Carolyn was here yesterday. She figured out that we have been together as a group since 1998. People have come and gone and come back. It has been great. A supportive group of women together. Friends through good and bad times. It is always very invigorating for my spirit.
The St. Joseph's Auction quilt is completed. I am going to do a label and deliver it on Tuesday. The last of many quilts that have been part of my contribution to the school. The next one will be for Holy Names or Blanchett.
The deliver of this quilt makes me realize that our time at St. Joseph's school is almost over. Each event, each act that marks the year will be the last. We have been at St. Joseph's for 9 years. I wanted M-E to have a continuous connection to a school and not move around a lot. Who thought, with my migrant history, we could do it. Out of chaos and instability, we all have the ability to create calm stability.
Friday, October 14, 2005
We have made it through another "13"th. I don't even know how many months it has been since we entered this rabbit hole. It may be 13. I want it to be the 13th year.......
She loved Holy Names. The school, the teachers, the students, the atmosphere. Oh.......... I want it for her. She is such a special child, I hope this is in her future.
This school selection thing is one of those issues that is as hard for the parents as for the children. It is different for them. She has never had to go through this selection process before. It is new. She was too little to know about the first time I had to choose schools for her. Now she knows. We have not frame of reference about how they will evaluate her, how she will test, how she will be seen by the schools. All that sits in the pit of my stomach is my memories of applying to law school, the essays, the letter of recommendation, the waiting.
The disappointment in not getting my first choice. The disappointment is countered with the knowledge of how it ALL WORKED OUT.
It all works out. The choices and paths we take have good results if you have the faith they will.
I remember trying and trying to move to Eugene. Boy that would have been a bit mistake. We would have handled it, but being here during this time has been the best.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
"Choice" is something we think we need but when faced with choice it can make us very uncomfortable and down right cranky. We are not happy about having to make the final decision. We all hate the "you can not have your cake and eat it too" statement about life. The problem with "choice" is that it does not come with a guide book on how to make the right or the best choice. We have to rely on our friends, families, past experiences and our gut. Not a very scientific why to run lives.
Some times we only have hard choices and choices that have huge consequences and there are no good answers. Those are the worst.
I think that as a society we have too many choices in some arena's and not enough choice in others. Do we need 14 brands of canned tuna and 86 different types of mustard? And yet we have only 2 or three choices as to vehicle fuel and are given those choices if you live in the right place and spend 6 months on a waiting list.
I look at my own life and those of my client's and friends and we are all making big choices. Chemo or no chemo. Move or Stay. Public or Private. Surgery or alternate therapy. House one or house two. Married or stay single. Divorce or stay married. Have a child or terminate. Have a child or relinquish for adoption. Republican or Democrats. Steak or chicken. Vegetarian or Vegan. To buy or lease. Cable or satellite.
Let's face it there are no true "Win Win"situations. Each choice comes with a problem (except maybe the steak/chicken thing since so many meats taste like chicken.) We simply don't live in a world that makes it easy.
People long for the "good old days". Some of my contemporaries talk about the times when women stayed home and took care of children and baked and had coffee with each other. I long to have been a stay at home mom with a house full of kids and meat loaf in the oven every night. ( Maybe M-E wouldn't hate meatloaf). Those that lived that life, a life they did not necessarily choose, are not so sure was such a great thing. They remember it as a time of little choice but one that was great for the husbands and the children. Ask anyone over 65 about the way "things used to be?"
Choice paralyzes some, invigorates other, frustrates most. Choice points out the problems in our lives and consequences of past choices. They all start out bright and shiny but sometimes turn dark and foreboding. Sort of like a pile of fall leaves, the ones on top are fresh as the other's are beginning to decompose. The good thing is when it is all said and done good things come from the entire pile.
Well it is time to go forward and begin the process of finding the right high school from Mary-E. She visits Holy Names tomorrow. She will be spending the day with a student "guide". I saw her in class and she seemed to fit.
I will pray that all of our choices make a nice pile at the end of the day.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Or you worry about getting your homework and getting behind and the more you worry, the more you are not able to get the job done.
Uhm..... I wonder if there is a lesson here?
Monday, October 10, 2005
Her hair is coming back in so thick it is sort of scary. It is very dark and very short but very cute. She is pretty excited about it. She says that she is going to grow it to her waist and then cut off 10 inches for Locks of Love. As she put it so well, Mom not everyone feels they can be seen without their hair. I was lucky. I have a cute head.
That is hard to argue with on any level.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I did more than the garage. It was just an added bonus. I had it painted when the much needed trim work was done. So here are some pictures.
The solid picture is of the front door. And the lawn did not photograph very well. It does not look that bad in person!
We have all had to invite new things into our lives. M-E has a new sister. I have been dealing with M-E's lukemia, and now Sadie has a real rival.
Her name is Mea "Culpa". Here is her first picture. Note she is sitting on one of Sadie's favorite blankets.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Sadie is quite excited this morning. The rest of the neighborhood does not share her enthusiasm. She was able to chase the cat that was stalking the squirrel. This sort of behavior is sort of a doggie double play. We were out walking early and no one in the neighborhood joined our exploration.
It is a bit gray but not cold. No rain, yet, and the leaves make a wonderful shuffle noise when we walk. Now, I am the only one with leaves so I have to walk back and forth lots to get my fill. Oh, well, it is one of those days where I will be filling bird feeders, raking leaves and doing some minor winter clean up. M-E will be doing some homework and trying to get her IPOD up and running again. No excitement.
I watch many run around and am glad I have learned to not be in that place of constant motion. Time for quiet is very good for the soul. My sole has needed lots of quiet. ALL finally let me be in a place where that is a reality.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seed already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations what will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effect beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything and this is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end result, but that is the difference between the master builder and the workers. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Archbishop Oscar Romero
WE all have a different perspective on life. Our filters keep the world in our view and not that of the rest of the world. We are changed each and every day as a new truth or reality slips into place as a new lens on a camera or that weird thing the eye doctor uses to see what your prescription should be.
I sit here this morning in awe as to how much mine has changed. Some of the good, some not so good. M-E's illness has pulled my focus away from many points of concentration. Since she was diagnosed, all efforts have gone into her recovery. The amount of energy it has taken is hard to measure. It is not that I have had more energy, it has just been focused more intensely.
It is sort of like Sadie. She has a god given desire and purpose in life to hunt the "rodents" of the world. She has generalized and now includes all small creatures that will run from her. She can not be shifted off focus for very long. Her determination to "get" the creature is overpowering to her. She will get the creature.
She is sitting by me in her kennel as we speak. She has been very agitated this week over the raccoons. They have been enjoying the almost ripe grape buffet. This morning she was especially nuts. I heard her bark like the house was on fire, while a flood was happening. I went down stairs to put her back to bed.
Sitting at Lucy's bowl was a cat door sized raccoon. Sadie was so angry and upset her heart was about to jump out of her chest. Her world had been invaded and she could not get to the 'culprits'. I have never seen Sadie so focused. From her perspective, she was doing the right thing. From mine, she was doing an good job as a watch dog. From Mary-E's she was just a big noisy problem.
Sadie put on a great show for the raccoon. She barked and jumped and ran and tried and tried to leave the floor but gravity was not cooperating. The raccoon was nonplussed by Sadie's activity but managed to saunter out when Sadie's reinforcements arrived.
Sadie felt vindicated. She has been telling us for years that we are about to be attacked and she is ready to defend. I am going back to bed now. From my perspective that is the only thing to do.