Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Snow Knowledge

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

Thanksgiving the Real Story

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

Great Trip, Great Food, Fun Times


Traffic: down, okay, Back Great
Turkey: wonderful
Saturday Market:Fruitful

Greatest Accomplishement: Dad talked his doctor out of flu shots and gave them to us.

More to come with pictures.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Over the River and Through the Traffic We go

off to eugene i am typing with one hand.l sadie is upset. she will be hap[pier when we p[ut her in the car. have nice turkey day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Things seem to back on Track

Good mornings
Good evenings
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.
With Sadie
Who is already upset with the movement of boxes and things.
Hoping for lots of rest and a few good shopping opportunities.

Brother David Made the Front Page

Visalia airport spreads wings
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 or(559) 622-2410.

Monday, November 21, 2005

4 Minutes

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

The Picture says it all

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

Reflections on 52

Tomorrow is the big 52. I just don't seem to be very excited about it. I guess there is the "oh well" factor. 50 was huge. 52 feels like 34. A birthday of no consequence. I wonder if this is because my daughter is fighting a real battle and who really cares if lots of days have passed since the last coconut cake came into my life, or if it is simply the placement of the date on a mid-week that makes it seem less than spectacular.

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

Something I Wrote at the Beginning of 5th grade. I just wanted to stash it here for now.

School Year Beginnings

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)


They are not like they used to be.

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

Views out of Windows

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

Some Random Useless Ramblings

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

Independence and Tully's

This is a brown post. Virtually unheard of from me but then lots of things have been different recently. I want to first let Cousin Jack know that this is not about brand, it is a location thing. Second, I would prefer to call this color Deep Burgundy.

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

Different Titles

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.