Tuesday, December 15, 2009

True Colors

My Grandfather served in the army in WWII. He worked on the tarmac directing planes to and from the hangars. Well, he did this until they discovered he was "color-blind" and could not tell the red lights from the green lights. To his credit, the story goes he managed his duties a long while before anyone caught on.

My Grandfather had a form of red-green color deficiency that is carried with the x chromosome. Women ( xx) get this defective x chromosome but have a another "good" x to compensate for the "bad" one and are not effected. Men (xy) only get the defective x. Here's a link describing the whole process.

My Grandfather (xy) passed his color-blind x chromosome down to my mother (xx), who in turn gave one of them to me (xx) and one to my self-proclaimed "color-retarded" brother (xy). A few weeks ago we confirmed that I passed down one on my color-blind x chromosomes to Robby (xx). It's the gift that keeps on giving!

Robby can see red (in its purest form) with little problem, while my brother cannot. Robby cannot see green all the time. I have a feeling green and brown are two different names for the same color to him. Blue, orange, yellow, black and white he can see. Purple? Don't even go there! Orange causes occasional problems. When colors stray into shades and pastels they often get lost in translation to Robby.
Above is an Ishihara plate used to test for color-blindness. People without color deficiency see the number 8 while people with red-green deficiencies see the number 3 because they cannot differentiate between the green and brown circles.

Here, the majority of observers with red-green deficiencies see the number 73. The majority of observers with normal color vision see nothing at all! This is because normals' sense of color is actually masking the subtle brightness differences which color deficient observers use to see the number.

An example of how a person with a red-green color deficiency sees:

Robby can see reds, but the green and browns look a lot alike. Here's a great example from The Colorblind Photographer's website. Now I get why Robby's favorite color is yellow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Something Big Was Gone

My friend lost her father last week, after an unexpected and cruel illness. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding, raised one hell of a woman and always made me laugh. I will miss him and I know he's somewhere causing trouble and getting a lot of laughs. I hope I can get my friend to come play on the swing set soon.

They say you can't take it with you, but I think that they're wrong
'Cause all I know is I woke up this morning, and something big was gone
Gone into that dark ether where you're still young and hard and cold.
Just like when they built you, brother, they broke the mold
- Springsteen
Rest in Peace, El Greato.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

H1N1? R2D2?

When Robby was about 18 months old we went to Arizona to spend Christmas with my family. Two days before we left for the trip he went to the pediatrician and he got his first flu shot. Within 12 hours of landing in Arizona he was already showing flu symptoms and by the second day there we were at an urgent care in a strange city seeking help. He had never been that sick. He had fever, chapped face, congestion and double ear infections.

I was convinced it was the flu shot that had made him sick. I was still convinced when our pediatrician insisted that the shot did not make him sick. That feeling I get at my core, my "mama sense" just knew that flu shot did not go well with my kid. I know my son better than anyone, even if I don't have a medical degree. I know that anyone who has had a child develop autism after a vaccination will understand that statement. John, and most members of his family, have all gotten the flu right after receiving a flu shot. Not every child reacts well.

When I read Jenny McCarthy's book, it moved me beyond words. I believe in vaccinations and Robby has received all of his vaccinations. People who do not vaccinate their children rely on the rest of the world to vaccinate theirs, preventing an outbreak where their child would be vulnerable. When a mother says that her child was completely fine and then after a vaccine unable to communicate and the light was gone from their eyes I believe her. Completely.
More research needs to be done. I can understand the CDC does not want mass hysteria to stop parents from vaccinating their children. Clearly, the greater harm lies in not vaccinating. But when the CDC flat out discounts these mother's feelings and stories, I call bullshit. As a parent, I reject recommendations being presented as facts. Give me the facts, then give me your recommendations. Help me by giving me the information I need to make a decision for my child.
Telling me what to do while not giving me all the information is manipulation.

Has anyone else noticed how swine flu has become H1N1? Suddenly the media is only using H1N1 when referring to this strain of flu. I can't help but wonder why and how this all came about. There is a short supply of this vaccine and everyone is scrambling to get one. I have to ask myself if this "shortage" and the coverage of it was planned. In our area, there are long lines of people lining up outside of clinics that announce it has the vaccination available. I've seen news footage of it here locally and in other parts of the country. I went with my mother to her cardiology appointment and when she asked if she should get a flu shot her doctor said that she most likely could not get one as even he and his colleagues at the hospital could not due to the shortage.

I try not to be a conspiracy theory lunatic (like my husband). At the same time, I don't want to be a sheep either. Clorox and Lysol are even using this flu scare to sell more of their products. I can't wait to see what other ways this flu scare will influence advertising. So much media input is bound to influence us in some way. I've actually decided against indoor public playgrounds for a while. I use hand sanitizer more. People have gotten ill. People have died. I don't want my child to get this flu. No of us do.

Ultimately, the decision whether or not to get a flu shot for your child falls to you, the parent. More than one parent has asked me what my decision is. I've told them that we decided against a flu shot but that they should get as much information as they can and make the decision they feel is right for their child. I tell them to get as much information as they can. Here is what the CDC says. I also tell them not to buy into the guilt either way. If they do not get a flu shot and their child develops flu, don't blame yourself. If you do give your child a flu shot and they get sick, don't blame yourself. Easier said than done.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shame on Maine!!!

This is why the Founding Fathers insisted on separation of church from state. This is how this country was founded. They left England for this very reason.

I do not feel secure in my freedom, my basic rights or my child's future today. I am mad and I am scared. I think you should be too.

Equal rights, for all. PERIOD. Let's evolve as a society. Don't you people watch Star Trek?

If you think that these religious leaders are doing anything but selling fear and hate all tied up with a pretty red bow that says "Jesus" on it, you need to pay attention because they will come after you next. They've already started coming for women and their rights. All in the name of God.

And what about the children you say? Read this. I can't say it any better.

Please. Please. PLEASE! Do something today. Talk about this with someone; with everyone!
The time has come. Let's take the gloves off and stand for what is right and what this country was meant to be. My child, your child, their children all deserve the best world we can give them. If you can stop using Styrofoam, you can at least quit buying into all the hate and fear!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Spies Like Us

(This adorable picture of Robby all dressed up and ready to go trick-or-treating will hopefully make up for the next picture you will see.)

Every year my brother, Uncle Mike, and his lovely wife Aunt Jeanette throw the most amazing Halloween party. Every year gets better and better and the decorations gets more elaborate every year. This year, the bathroom had an evil clown theme that will give me many nightmares in the coming months. Uncle Mike LOVES zombies. In fact, one of Robby's first words was BRAINS! in a monsterly voice. I knew our costumes had to be worthy of this party because this is the guy who would be hosting:

Again, I apologize. Note the bloody mouth from the blood capsules. Like I said, NIGHTMARES!

I started making costumes for The Papa and I a week before the party. With my schedule, this is serious planning. I paper mache'd and glued myself into a frenzy most nights. I want to go on record right now that black duct taped saved the costumes and my life. Thank you black duct tape!

Can you guess the costume? First the props:

And then...



Make this!


John was the black spy and I was the white spy. We had a great time at the party, mostly because it is hard to eat bloody fingers and drink ghoul punch with a big cone on your face.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We're Starting Up a Brand New Day

Today, I will marry the man I love more than life...for the second time. Having looked at life without him I have found the one reason that makes all of the pain, all the tears shed and all of the voices that cry "don't" seem diminished. I am following my heart and choosing to live a life full of all the love I can stand. It's a leap of faith and those I have taken in the past have made me stronger and more whole. I don't want to spend my life in a bubble.

I want more than just a dream to tell.

Your thoughts, prayers, friendship, happiness and love are welcome to join us in this...

Brand New Day

How many of you people out there
Been hurt in some kind of love affair?
And how many times did you swear
That you'd never love again?
How many lonely, sleepless nights?
How many lies, how many fights?
And why would you want to
Put yourself through all of that again?

"Love is pain," I hear you say
Love has a cruel and bitter way of
Paying you back for all the faith you ever had in your brain
How could it be that what you need the most
Can leave you feeling just like a ghost?
You never want to feel so sad and lost again

One day you could be looking
Through an old book in rainy weather
You see a picture of her smiling at you
When you were still together
Or you could be walking down the street
And who should you chance to meet
But that same old smile you've been thinking of all day?

Why don't we turn the clock to zero, honey
I'll sell the stock, we'll spend all the money
We're starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock all the way back
I wonder if she'll take me back
I'm thinking in a brand new way

Turn the clock to zero, sister
You'll never know how much I missed her
I'm starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock to zero, boss
The river's wide, we'll swim across
We're starting up a brand new day

It could happen to you,
Just like it happened to me,
There's simply no immunity
There's no guarantee.
I say love's such a force if you find yourself in it
You need some time for reflection
You say, baby wait a minute, wait a minute
Wait a minute, wait a minute
Wait a minute, wait a minute

Turn the clock to zero, honey
I'll sell the stock, we'll spend all the money
We're starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock to zero, Mac
I'm begging her to take me back
I'm thinking in a brand new way

Turn the clock to zero, boss
The river's wide, we'll swim across
We're starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock to zero buddy
Don't wanna be no fuddy duddy
Started up a brand new day

I'm the rhythm in your tune
I'm the sun and you're the moon
I'm the bat and you're the cave
You're the beach and I'm the wave
I'm the plow and you're the land
You're the glove and I'm the hand
I'm the train and you're the station
I'm a flagpole to your nation - yeah

Stand up all you lovers in the world
Stand up and be counted every boy and every girl
Stand up all you lovers in the world
Starting up a brand new day

I'm the present to your future
You're the wound and I'm the suture
You're the magnet to my pole
I'm the devil in your soul
You're the pupil I'm the teacher
You're the church and I'm the preacher
You're the flower I'm the rain
You're the tunnel I'm the train

Stand up all you lovers in the world
Stand up and be counted every boy and every girl
Stand up all you lovers in the world
Starting up a brand new day

You're the crop to my rotation
You're the sum of my equation
I'm the answer to your question
If you follow my suggestion
We can turn this ship around
We'll go up instead of down
You're the pan and I'm the handle
You're the flame and I'm the candle

Stand up all you lovers in the world
Stand up and be counted every boy and every girl
Stand up all you lovers in the world
We're starting up a brand new day
- Sting

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Little House on the Cul De Sac

Last Sunday we went to the Mt. View Orchard in Hood River, Oregon. We decided to pick us some apples and pears and can them. It was a beautiful drive with all the fall colors out in full force. The Columbia Gorge is amazing anytime of the year and something you really should see if you are in the area.
Mt. View Orchard and Fruit Stand is an amazing place. The owners are nice and helpful. You can pick your own fruit or just fill up boxes from the what seems like hundreds of bins already packed with picked fruit. I never knew there were so many varieties of apples and pears!

Robby insisted we pick our own, so we were off to the orchard. There were plenty of trees with apples low enough for him to reach.

They had a mini play area for the kids, but wouldn't let us take the John Deere out to the orchard.
It didn't matter, we had a wagon, a box and a little four year old who was as excited as I've seen him.

We moved from tree to tree and got at least four different varieties of apples into our box.

We hauled our apples back to the stand to pay for all thirty four pounds of apples! We also got about ten pounds of pears when we saw a jar of pear butter for sale at the fruit stand. We've made apple butter before so pear butter sounded like a good idea as well.

We started peeling, coring and slicing 34 pounds of apples. After an hour of doing this, it became apparent we would need a very large container to hold them all and allow them to soak all night.
We pored the 10 cups we had so far into a large plastic storage bin.

And then we cut some more. And then we got out the peeler/corer/slicer we borrowed from one of Grandma's co-workers (Thanks Sandy!). This made things a lot faster and made a huge mess!
Robby loved cranking the handle for about three of the apples and then grew bored with the whole process.

Finally we had all thirty four pounds of apples sliced and in the bin. We added sugar, stirred and let them sit covered overnight to soak in their own juice.

It was a really great feeling to finally see the empty box three hours later!

Robby helped for a while and then entertained us by showing us how he could put puzzles together on the kitchen floor. Firetrucks are a lot cooler than apples and canning.

The next day we (mostly The Grandma) got the apples and juice into 20 quart jars and hot bathed them into a beautiful sight.

We have done this in the past and we just love how we can take a jar of these out at any time of the year and make an apple pie using "fresh" sweet apples. I've never tasted a better apple pie than the ones that come from using these canned apples.

Next came the pears! We peeled, cored and chopped all them by hand this time. It went pretty quick compared to the apples. We put the chopped pears into the food processor and pureed them into pear sauce.

When we filled up our crock pot and still had pears left over, it was time to go knocking on the neighbor's door to borrow a crock pot. Living on a cul de sac is great for knowing your neighbors. Most of the time.
Thanks to my neighbor we had two crock pots to finish. We added cinnamon and sugar (only a cup and a half per crock pot!) and let them bubble all night. I visited Ree's site to get recipe ideas on how to make this amazing pear butter. She just finished her first cookbook and I can't wait to get one!

I have to admit the best part of making pear butter is how it makes your whole house smell delicious.

The next morning the butter was reduced by half and ready to go into jars. We got a total of 12 half pint (8 oz.) jars.

Four of the jars were shorter and wider and were so cute The Grandma couldn't resist buying them and paying $1 each for the jars. Money well spent if you ask me!

Now the job at hand is not eating all of these ourselves and saving some to give as presents this holiday season!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Things You Never Knew You Needed

I have been fighting sinus and/or lung infections for the better part of a month. I am so tired of being sick and having no energy. It has triggered my allergies into full bloom as well. My left eye has taken to swelling to a size larger than my right eye. I look like Ferb.

"It's not a tumor" and I have the cat-scan to prove it. That being said, it seems petty to complain about allergies and infections that can be cured with drugs from your local drug store. In fact your local drug store has everything you never knew you needed. Observe:

Count Chocula Lip Balm
How many times have you wished for something that tastes like imitation chocolate in a small tube so you could apply it to your lips?

Long Term Relationships for your hair.
The marketing campaigns targeting horny single women have really gotten out of hand.

Devil-faced pacifier

Your baby is not cute enough with a normal pacifier? Going to a Marilyn Manson concert with the little one? This is a MUST have! Satan gear for your baby. Has Pat Robertson seen this one yet?

Edible birthday cards for your dog

As my little brother says, "It is amazing the things people would rather have than money".

A Snuggie for your dog.

How many times has your dog been sitting on the couch under a blanket wishing his paws were free to talk on the phone or knit a keen Christmas sweater for himself? Can you see the "Kill me. Please." look in his eyes?

I think the only reason the store had all of these things is because people out of their right minds with diseases come in and are forced to browse the merchandise while waiting.

I am proud to say that I only walked out of the store with antibiotics.

That Snuggie would be super cute on my brother's beagle though.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Liberal Agenda at Work


I went to the eye doctor (shouldn't it be eyes doctor?) yesterday and got some bad news. My left eye is not doing so well these days. It has decided to be larger than my right eye and not see as well as it used to. I blame Obama. I think I get this blame everything on Obama from John. If the left is bigger than the right, it has to be Obama and the Liberal Agenda's fault.

I had Lasik surgery in 2000 and have had over nine blissful years of not dealing with glasses or contacts. It has been so amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone who suffers from Mr. Magoo syndrome like I did. I don't want to wear glasses again but at least if I do they won't have to be so thick they necessitate a permit to be worn on sunny days.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Family We Get to Choose

Robby has been lost at preschool for the last week and a half. Every morning he gets to the steps and scans the playground looking for his best-est friend, Emma. When he discovers she's not there, he slowly descends the steps and half-heartedly heads off to play. Emma's grandmother died and she has been home grieving with her family. When it happened, the teacher told us parents, but not the kids. Two days ago, I had to break down and tell Robby what had happened and why Emma was not in school. We were driving home from school and Robby asked me, "Why do people die? Do kids die too?". Naturally, I assumed they had mentioned it in school that day.

Such tough questions coming from his little four year old brain. I knew I didn't want to lie to him and so I told him that yes, sometimes kids die too. I told him that every living thing will one day die. In the past, I've told him way too much information and all he wants is specific direct answers. He asked, "Who am I going to live with when you and Papa die?". I told him that by the time we died he would already be living with his own wife and children and not with us. He seemed to grasp that. I also told him that I thought that even if a person has died and you cannot see them or touch them anymore a part of them will always be with you in your mind and heart. Then he said that was why we included the "those I never knew" in his nightly prayer. So that Grandpa Charlie (my dad) and Peepaw (John's dad) would stay in our hearts. "Exactly.", I said.

He hasn't asked any more about death since that afternoon. When we got to school this morning he scanned the children running around the playground, as he has every day since she has been gone. At the very moment he spotted her running toward him with her long brown hair flying behind her I could actually feel his heart leap from his chest. They hugged and ran off chasing each other and laughing. They didn't say one word to each other, but I could see that each child was getting exactly what they needed from the other.

I am blessed to know this kind of friendship three-fold in my life. I am ever so grateful that Robby knows it too and at such a young age. There are many sayings about friendship but the one that has always stuck with me is this one; Friends are the family you get to choose.

My dear friend is flying to Chicago today to say goodbye to her dying father. Even though we don't get to play with each other five days a week anymore, our friendship, at its core, is a lot like Robby and Emma's. I know that when I do get see my friend, my heart will leap at seeing her and getting to hug and comfort her. Because we are adults, she knows that I am here for her and I know that she will make it through this tough chapter in her life. But oh, how my heart aches with longing for that shared hug. I wish I could sweep her up, hug her and run off to the swing set with her and make it all okay.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yes We Did

I come from a long line of women who were saying "Yes we can" long before politicians. I submit the following evidence:

We purchased a new BBQ grill and having no access to a truck needed a way to get it home. We took it out of the box in the parking lot of the store and what would not fit in the trunk of our Mitsubishi, went into the backseat. Right next to our 4 year old in his car seat.
Thinking outside the box or desperation? You decide.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Channeling Annie Kinsella

I cannot believe that the summer is almost over! Where did it go? We had a six day stretch of record high temps but other than that it's been a cool (cruel?) summer.

School started yesterday in our neck of the woods. Robby is one year away from Kindergarten. (Is is Kindergarden in the US? I'll stick with the original German spelling.) Our assigned public school does not have full-time Kindergarten. They have two sessions, both 2 days a week with an third day thrown in every other week. This means that we will still have to shell out money for daycare/preschool for another year. The daycare center he is attending now offers a Kindergarten class with an accredited teacher and everything. If we had to make the decision today, he'd stay in daycare Kindergarten and wait until first grade to go to the public school.

As a parent, how do I know what's best for his education? What research can I do to assure myself I've made an educated and correct decision? I'd like to use the public school system and not just for the financial freedom it will offer. I've heard about charter schools where they are supervised by the government but parents chip in financially. I don't think we have any in our area though. Most private schools here are faith based and very expensive. I am going to check out the Jewish school and some Christian schools though and compare. To be honest though, I feel extremely uncomfortable exposing him to one specific faith and other people's beliefs. Spirituality is important to me and I want it to be important to my kid. How do I accomplish this without exposing him to all the thing I disagree with in the religion I was raised in? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Homeschooling is out of the question for two reasons. One, I want Robby to be smarter than us and two, I don't think I could be his teacher and mom and stay sane.

My plan is to join the PTO (When did it stop being the PTA?) and watch that scene from Field Of Dreams over and over. You know the one. Where Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan are at the PTA meeting and they are discussing banning books from the school. She stands up to defend Terrance Mann and calls Beulah (another parent) Eva Braun and says "At least he's not a book burner you Nazi cow". That's me. Poor Robby....

Monday, August 31, 2009

One For The Books

I realized I had not made one single post in the month of August and thought I'd better get at least one in.

Life has been hectic this month and filled with lots of work, lung infections, oral surgery and fun changes. Right now, my thoughts are with my dear friend who is in Chicago with her ailing father. He's a man not only large of stature but heart. When my own father was in intensive care and unable to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day he stepped in. I don't know if he ever really knew how much that meant to me. He was not only a physical stand in for my dad. He acted like my own father would have. The money he slipped me that day was enough to save my honeymoon but the hug and kiss on the cheek are what I will always cherish.

I've done a lot of soul searching too this month. I'm contemplating changing the way I earn money in this world. It seems like the harder I work, the more I need to just get by. I know a lot of people are struggling with this in today's economy. I need a plan better than the lottery to get me off the financial hamster wheel of death.

Hang in there with me please. I find the words hard to come by lately.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Girl in the Bubble

When The Papa and I were getting divorced a few years ago, I saw a therapist. She helped me sort through a lot of my feelings and was a great sounding board for me. In our last session, I asked for help with all the grief that was consuming me. We did some visualization exercises and I was shocked with the results. I pictured myself on my wedding day; all dressed in white and happier than I have ever been. The changing autumn leaves falling all around me and so in love it oozed from my pores. I then captured that part of me and put her in a snow globe. Separate and safe from the day to day me, she could sit among the leaves that were falling from the trees in her own little bubble. The therapist was concerned that I would leave her in there forever and encouraged me to visit her often in hopes that one day she could once again become a part of me.

From that day forward, I put my mental “leaf globe” up on the shelf. I would shake it up every once in a while and check in on her. I always deemed it too unsafe for her to leave the bubble though and back up on the shelf she went.

Somewhere along the way, I deemed her strong enough and let her out of the bubble.

Ten years ago today, The Papa and I went on our first date. As I sit and reflect on the past ten years, I am amazed and ever so glad that she escaped that bubble and can celebrate them with me. After all, it was her that made that leap of faith that day. I trusted her belief that it would be okay to let someone love us.

Today, I feel whole and complete. I have learned that love does change, people do change and that it is okay to love someone, and yourself, through all the changes.

Through the next ten years and beyond, I hope we can keep remembering and cherishing that special love we have for each other. I love you, John.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Power of Elvis!

We were all sitting at the kitchen table last night after dinner, trying to get the thank you cards written and addressed to all the lovely people who sent Robby birthday gifts. I had purchased a box of generic cards and Robby's job was to stamp "Thank You Very Much" on them and then write his name below.

After a few a "R" and "B"'s were done, I was feeling pretty proud at how far he has come in learning to write his name. He has been able to spell it well over a year now. We were on the tenth card or so when Robby lost interest in writing his name and where you could make out a few letters a few cards ago, now all we could see was a scribble. (Maybe he will be a doctor?)

The Papa pointed out how people had spent their hard earned money to buy him a birthday present and he could at least try hard to write his name nice for them. He also may have mentioned that nice writing would be likely to prompt another gift in the future. Apparently, that's all the motivation Robby needed.

I am totally going to be one of THOSE moms and say,"Isn't my kid a friggin' GENIUS! (Ok, except he stamped the thank you upside down.) He can write his name at 4! Woo-Hoo!"

Thank you. Thank you very much!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Greeks Don't Want No Threeks

The many differences between The Papa and I not only drive me crazy at times, but are the glue that holds us together. An example?

The Papa has always preferred a threek to a fork. Urban Dictionary defines a threek:

1. threek
a three-tined eating utensil, similar to a fork.
"Look Mommy, this lady uses threeks instead of forks."

Our flatware is so old it looks like it came across the Oregon Trail. I've passed on several opportunities to get some nice, new flatware because there are no threeks in the set. Me? I use forks like the rest of the sane people of the world. When The Papa and I first co-habitated and all our books and belongings started to mingle, I remember how cute it was to see the pitiful little threeks in the silverware tray all stacked with the forks. They looked like little three-legged puppies. For a while, when The Papa was gone from the house, I actually missed them being in the drawer. I think their absence was a great reminder for me how much I need to get my "freaky threek" on in life. Without them, it was just all forks, all the time and you knew that when you reached in the drawer a fork is what you would get. Every single time. Life is so much sweeter for me not knowing if an occasional threek is going to be thrown into the mix.

Now, if I could just get him to put the toilet seat down...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lifestyles of the Gay and Famous

Years past, a relative once told me she loved Aunt Mitch (my dearest friend and brother of 28 years) but did not approve of his lifestyle. To which I replied, "What lifestyle? Watching the Golden Girls on TV every night?". The more people know about the gay "lifestyle" the better educated they will be that really, we are all only people with the same wants, needs, desires and trials of life.

To all you hetero readers who want to see how the "other side" lives and all you homo readers who want a great love story just click here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Life On Life's Terms

The Papa left last Wednesday for a week long trip to Idaho. The first part of the trip he was at a ProRally and had some fun racing cars. After the rally was over, he went to eastern Idaho to visit his mother and his eldest brother, Lars, who is ill and in a nursing home. The second half of his trip not being as fun as the first part. He is bringing his mother (The Meemaw) home with him for a visit and they will arrive tomorrow night. Robby's 4th birthday party is Sunday. (I cannot believe he will be four!) The Meemaw will be able to come to the birthday party, as well as attend the 2nd birthday party of one of her great-grandsons on Saturday. I finally got online invitations out last night. The people who don't have an email address will have to settle for a phoned invitation.

I just remembered I forgot to order the birthday cake.

Robby has just had a hard time with The Papa being gone. He has tested me every chance he's had and is more contrary than I've ever seen him. If I say anything he has to disagree with it. It has to be his original idea or plan. Otherwise, it is completely out of the question. Case in point - He refused to go to the playground last night because it was my idea. He said he'd rather stay at home and play. This, from the kid who always begs to go to the playground. Tonight, I am going to suggest he stay up late and ignore the vegetables on his plate at dinner. He stayed at home with The Grandma today.

I just remembered I never called the school to tell them he wasn't coming today.

We are having a backyard BBQ with hamburgers, hot dogs and lots of water fun for the kids. I have managed to get the lawn fairly green again in time for the party. The larger weeds are all gone, and every guest will notice this, as small bare dirt patches speckle the lawn in their place.

I just remembered I need to get a replacement handle-starting cord installed in the mower by Saturday.

The machines in my life are on strike this week it seems. Last night, my cell phone battery died sometime in the night. I feel bad that I didn't even hear it cry out that familiar "bong bong" as it powered down for the last time.

I was not greeted with the usual time display on the coffee pot this morning. Sometime in the night, a flashing "Errr2" took its place. After reading the very unhelpful owner's manual, I have concluded that "Errr2" is Kitchen-Aid for "The burner took a shit and won't heat up now".

The Grandma just called to say the she and Robby were on their way to the third Goodwill store of the day. She is determined to find a coffeemaker for $5. She probably has driven 25 miles looking for the next Goodwill store. At 11 miles per gallon that's roughly a $7 investment in the $5 coffee pot. Maybe it's true that eventually we all turn into our mothers.

Tomorrow night cannot come fast enough. The Papa will be home and things will once again be right with the world. I always sleep better when the entire pack is back in the den. I miss telling him about my day face to face. I miss all the little things he does for me to remind me that I am important too. I long to hold his hand and hear about how his brother is doing and how he is dealing with the thought of losing him. I miss his smell. I miss his touch.

I just remembered why I love The Papa so much.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Big Elephants

We went to see a special behind the scenes zoo class this morning called Big Elephants. Thanks to The Nanny, we are members of the Oregon Zoo and got a chance to enroll in this special two hour class. After a late night of fireworks and BBQ at Uncle Mike's house we got up early and made it to the class by 9:30am.

Robby even told them how to spell his name for his name tag.

As soon as all the kids arrived we set off to go see the elephants. The star of the show was Sam, the baby elephant born at the zoo last August. Sam is already well over 1,000 pounds! It was a hot day so the elephants were getting some water and having some fun cooling off.

The instructor told us all about how elephants use their trunks for many things. They can pick up a toothpick or an entire tree with their trunk. Robby had The Papa to lift him up for a better view.

After seeing the elephants and holding real elephant bones, we went back to class to hear a few stories about elephants and have a snack.

Then we had some art time and made a few projects to take home.

Elephant with green spiral noodles.

Robby painted a YELLOW elephant mask. Yellow is his favorite color.

Then the kids got to sing a few songs about elephants and pretend they had trunks.

After class we grabbed some lunch and headed out to see the other animals at the zoo. The Sea Lions are always a favorite. They swim right next to the glass.

This is always so cool! The Seal Lions are pretty big!

We even said hello to our old friends the Penguins.

A good day for sure, even though we were all still worn out from the Fourth of July celebration.

I spent many years dreaming of a day just like today.

I am such a lucky woman.