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Monday, October 31, 2005

darn it

plunked down on a slab of cake - not "slap". Why do I never see them until I've hit publish and it's too late?

Over the Halloween hump for another year

It's almost 11:00 p.m. PST and girls are sleeping. Tonight was Rochelle's turn to wash black dye and goop out of her hair and a ton of paint from the rest of her body.

Rebecca dressed in a purple (what else) harem outfit, Rochelle was a skeleton (left over from last year) with her vampire cape and Elcie wore the wedding dress once again. Their makeup kit came with silver glitter so they will probably be sparkly for a couple of days. We can never get all that stuff off. We ended up with six kids and four adults (in two cars). It was one of the better celebrations. The church provided punch and nachos, had a costume parade, and a dance for the little kids afterwards. They did the chicken and the twist and some other things I didn't recognize but they did. When we left, everyone was doing the limbo.

They made out like bandits at trunk or treat and then we drove them to the Bates Motel. My favorite Albertson's employee had told me about fixing up his house so we stopped by. It was awesome. He had everything spooky there including himself. I wouldn't have recognized him; fortunately, he recognized us.

We came home to hot chocolate made by my husband while we were out. Yippee!! With marshmallows of course. Might as well go all the way while we're ignoring nutritional values.

Rebecca enjoyed her birthday. She had several small presents from all of us and a new bike from her dad. He had gone looking for new rollerblades and came back with a bike instead. Cake and ice cream tomorrow. I'm still mulling over the suggestions about ice cream cake (bought or home made?). I though home made would be something like Baked Alaska but Gawdessness made it sound simple. Of course a scoop of ice cream plunked down on a slap of cake would be simpler yet. I'll think about it tomorrow.

After all my stewing about a pastry blender, I read the fudge cookie recipe again and the "link" for pastry blender was included. Same picture as the one I found or almost. Once you've seen one, you've pretty much seen them all. I was thinking about that recipe. I think I dumped the peanut butter in with everything else that was microwavable and then just stirred the whole gloppy mess together. My recipe probably came from a box of Quaker Oats.

I've been trying to find a recipe for a "no bake" fruit cake which uses Eagle Brand condensed milk (the sweet kind - not evaporated). My friend in Arkansas used to make it and it was nothing like regular fruit cake. I'll keep hunting on line but if it sound familiar to anyone, let me know. I'm already projecting for the next round of holidays.

Mollie, boot sales sound like fun. We had fence sales in S. F. People hung their clothes and whatever on cyclone fences. (I also know what the "bonnet" is.)

I used up half a roll of film and will try to take a few more pictures soon and get them developed. My anonymous friend tells me the dreaded Walmart has digital cameras that will do everything I want for about $30. That's a possibility. Now that I'm doing this, I'd really like the digital. I can never remember to develop film and then there's the hassle of albums as well. Besides, I want to show off with everyone else online instead of showing you halloween pics at Christmas (of 2006).

Star Wars (latest) comes out on DVD tomorrow. My husband may not sleep tonight. One of our California department stores has a commercial which shows a woman tapping on the store window saying "open, open". That's my hubby.

I have begun yawning so suppose I should find a stopping place here somewhere. Morning comes early around here and this is Carol's chemo week which means four trips across town to the Center. Two for chemo, one to remove the plumbing she uses, and one more for weekly blood test. She skips a week and starts again.

I have probably missed someone in the comments but I think I hit the high spots. I'll check again tomorrow when I'm a little wider awake.

Here's Elcie - October 2005

I think this is her best school picture yet. 7th Grade. Don't have much time now. Kids caught a break on homework tonight and we're getting ready for trunk or treat but I wanted to get this on here in case it takes 4 tries again. Posted by Picasa

From the U. K.

Mollie, by all means add granny to your list. I've already added yours. I loved the cookie making, especially the photos.

More later - trying to get two little ones out door. Rebecca has two birthday presents already. I think I said once before getting them out of her is like herding a convention of cats. Rebecca spent most of the time in bathtub scrubbing black dye out of her her.

Here, for all, is the link to the blog. She has great cookie making photos and she's a very funny CA transplant to England.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Howling, if scary success

Girls just came in exhausted but happy. They were slimed and singled out for attention by some of the cast. It ran real late and I think they left before it was over. We wiped off most of the makeup. Rebecca can't get the "washable" black coloring out of her hair. I'll try in the morning - no big deal either way. They're already in bed.

Here's a shorter link for the pastry blender. I forgot about my handy tinylink gadget.

They'll tell me more in the morning. If there's anything to report, I'll let you know. Tomorrow "trunk or treat", Tuesday small birthday party, and then I can relax until Thanksgiving. Too much stuff, too close together. Our stores have begun Christmas promotions already. It's too soon - I get tired of it and I like Christmas. It's just the commercialism and spend, spend, spend, that offends me.

A link is worth a thousand words

This should take you to a photo of a pastry blender.

Typo alert

It's okay when I catch my own - even after the fact. Should have said "does" - not "oes" in first line. I need to cut my nails - I can't feel the keys. I never could type with long fingernails and didn't understand how anyone could.

Ice cream cake

Roger, Ray & I were talking about that tonight. It oes work for everyone and Rebecca would feel very special with that luxury item. She's used to Grandma's cakes. I bet she'll adapt quickly. The grocery store's version here is pretty awful so I may bite the bullet and head for Baskin-Robbins. Birthdays are only once a year. We don't have nearly the choices here that the city did.

L., what I call a pastry blender is a half-moon shaped thingie with a horizontal handle and knives across the "smile" of the half-moon. It's used to "cut" flour and shortening together usually. You grasp the handle firmly and "cut" the ingredients until they're are small lumps. I missed that part of the recipe - just glanced at the ingredients and the magic word "microwave" and recognized it. I don't remember doing that much work with my version of the recipe but it's been a while since I made them. I do, however, own a pastry blender because I still make "scratch" biscuits once in a while.

Still waiting for girls.

Fudge cookies

Fudge Cookies
3 cup oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
Combine these ingredients with a pastry blender in a large bowl until crumbly. Set to side.
In a glass measuring cup add:
2 cups sugar1/4 lb butter1/2 cup milk1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)Cook in the microwave, stirring often, until boiling. Immediately stir into the oat mixture until thoroughly combined. Using a tablespoon, drop cookies onto waxed paper and allow to cool.Makes 60-80 cookies

I just stole this recipe from Angel. I made them for my kids years ago only without the coconut. This time, I'll put the coconut in. They're good and a real no brainer.

Still waiting for girls. Maybe they did wait for second show after all. I'll have to beat them out of bed in the morning.

It's so quiet here

Girls are standing in line (Elcie sitting) at the theater. Their mom has called me twice. Once to tell me Rebecca was getting sleepy and what should she do. The second time to tell me they were getting closer to the front. I haven't heard from her since so I'm hoping they made the first show. I think Rebecca will rejoin the party once they're inside.

Elcie was a bride. She has a wedding dress her Grandma Carol found for her at a thrift store some time ago and drug it out today. She looked beautiful. Rochelle turned into Dracula, totally in black with cape and one of those horrible masks. I'll try to get a picture but it could have been anybody. Rebecca wore her princess dress (more like Esmeralda actually) with Carmen type makeup, complete with beauty spot, and a bright kerchief. She looked very gypsyish and exotic. Usually Rochelle takes the exotic prize with her features and coloring. Rebecca just looks cute but tonight I had a vision of what she'll look like in a few years and can envision sitting on my front stoop with a shotgun. Kidding!!! I took pictures of Elcie and Rebecca but Rochelle was already in the car waiting. I'll make sure I do tomorrow but I don't have a clue what she'll be wearing. Neither does she until she finally puts something on.

Our power was out sporadically during the day. Just a few minutes at a time but still annoying. Then my "mouse" went on strike. I switched back to the old one and nothing. It finally started functioning, barely. I had become so spoiled to the optical that going back was torture. I finally called the girls' dad who brought his extra over. Sure makes a difference but I wish I knew what was wrong with mine. I've had it for 3 or 4 months but there shouldn't have been anything to wear out. It's not cordless so it wasn't a battery problem. Strange.

Elcie and Rebecca may wear costumes to school tomorrow. The elementary school seems to go on a class by class basis this year. I'm scratching my head in puzzlement. Rochelle may not care but can't they make a decision for the whole school? I opt for costumes; one distraction a year won't kill them, and it's so far removed these days from either a Christian or Celt/druid affair that church/state issue seems a little far fetched.

However, we observed All Saints' Day in church today. It was a memorial for members who died during the last year and then a candle lighting ceremony for anyone who wished to participate. I got a little weepy; probably because of the candles, the music, and thinking about people I've loved, especially the boys' dad, who are no longer here. I'm fine now. I do that every once in a while and it passes. It isn't really grieving, not after almost 18 years, it's just memories. Ray reached over and held my hand and it was okay.

Took all of them out to brunch after church to celebrate Rebecca's birthday a day early. Elcie had a smiley face pancake and R & R each had chicken and fries. I'm glad this month is almost over; they're over their french fry allotment for the month. Not that that troubles them. I convinced Rebecca that cake on Tuesday rather than Monday was a good idea. She said she didn't care so much about the birthday cake as the ice cream. "But Rebecca, we have to have candles." "Grandma, you can put them on the ice cream." We will probably have a cake even if the birthday girl doesn't want any. The other two would be crushed if we didn't. Chocolate, I think with orange and black sprinkles for Halloween. That's the limit of my creativity with things artistic.

It's hard to believe our 2 pounder will be in double digits tomorrow. I have never seen any baby as tiny and helpless as she was. Even my two preemies weren't that little. She was a fighter then and a fighter now. If you ever stumble across this, Rebecca, I love you and Happy Birthday from Grandma Ann. I love you too Elcie and Rochelle. It isn't a contest, remember?

It's a little after eight. They must have made the early show or they would have called back. I'd better close this off and get ready for them to come home and tell me all about it, all talking at once unless they fall asleep in the car and have to be carried in, one by one.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pumpkin cleanup, maple trees, etc.

Gawdessness, I loved the maples in the Mohawk Valley (foothills of the Adirondacks) in central New York where I grew up. We had a lot of oak as well as birch, locust, katalpa (anyhow all kinds of trees). We had breathtaking fall foliage. We don't get so much of it here and I miss the change of seasons. I don't, however, miss the snow. Everything's a tradeoff.

The prairie to me means Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. I used to think you were in Vancouver until I noticed the time difference. I know you're anonymous but am I at least hitting the right part of Canada from your little hints?

Re CPS - it seems to vary widely here, even county to county. When Elcie went into foster care in SF, I wasn't even allowed to visit, let alone apply for custody. They never met me and never gave a reason. The court appointed lawyer tried but no one was listening. As soon as her case was transferred here, that all changed. She went into foster care here for less than a month before she came to us where she stayed.

They are overworked and frustrated and I think have seen so much horror that some workers are inclined to think the worst of everyone while others have just become numb and turned into paper pushers. Their caseloads are far too large for individual attention and I'm not sure how well any are trained. I don't know when we will wake up and realize we are throwing away our kids.

I do know my small, financially strapped county did a better job in this particular case than the large City and County of SF (who may be financially strapped as well).

Pumpkins were a success. We ended up with five kids and only four pumpkins but Rebecca shared the painting job with the little girl from across the street. Elcie did a simple smiley face, Rochelle put abstract designs all over hers (she's the artist of the crowd), and Rebecca and friend started out with some attractive designs. I went away in when I came back they were finishing up painting the entire pumpkin, themselves, their clothing, the table, and the floor purple. I put the pumpkin outside to dry, put them in the tub together to get the paint off, and then my friend and I started in. I did the table and surrounding areas and then the sink, she did the floor. The girls picked up after themselves but that kind of cleaning requires an adult, I'm afraid. My whole floor would have been purple had I turned them loose with a mop. We will put the pumpkins, including Mr. Purple, on the front stoop tomorrow.

My daughter said "do you know she's painted her whole pumpkin purple"? "Yes, it's her pumpkin". She may look at it tomorrow and decide to add a little contrast or she may just leave it purple. You notice I mention purple a lot. I read a survey once that said kid's favorite color is red. That may be true and I may have strange kids but around my house it's purple, purple, purple. How about yours? New survey to replace the over/under toilet paper discussion. Incidentally over the roll won in a landslide.

Uncle Roger just popped up with a recipe source called, of all things, . I have it on my list of "favorites" and had forgotten it was there. Thanks Roger. He's correct, it's a good site.

Spelling drives me nuts and I used to win "bees" back in the day. I think our founders and even beyond spelled many words the way each individual thought they should be spelled. Also, so many of our words are borrowed from other languages. There is no rhyme nor reason to tough, though, through, thought, and trough. All "ough", all pronounced differently. And what about "throw"? No "ough" there. And then there's supersede which turns up in the papers all the time as supercede. Nope, it's a different root - I looked it up to make sure.

If anyone except me is still up, don't forget to "fall back". We gain an hour tonight, sort of. I end up just staying awake longer and lose it right back.

Good night all.


Everyone here is probably much more computer literate than I but I received this from a friend who had confirmed it with Snopes so I'm passing it on. I hope we all know not to open weird email and I think this made the rounds once before. I would rather put it on here than have someone not see it at all.


Emails with pictures of Osama Bin-Laden hanged are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it!

Confirmed at:
Origins: There are few headlines that would grab the attention of more computer users around the world than "Osama bin Laden Captured," and that's exactly what whoever created this lure was counting on to snare unsuspecting victims who use Microsoft platforms.
"Osama bin Laden Captured" isn't a virus in itself; it's the text of a message that includes a link to a file called EXPLOIT.EXE. When a message recipient clicks on this link to view what he thinks are pictures of Osama bin Laden's capture, he can end up downloading an executable Trojan known as Backdoor-AZU, BKDR_LARSLP.A, Download.Trojan, TrojanProxy.Win32.Small.b,or Win32.Slarp. Clicking the embedded link in the "Osama bin Laden Captured" message auto-executes a file called "EXPLOIT.EXE," which exploits a known security hole to download the Trojan. According to McAfee Security:
The Trojan opens a random port on the victim's machine. It sends the Port information to a webpage at IP address The Trojan listens on the open port for instructions and redirects traffic to other IP addresses. Spammers and hackers can take advantage of compromised systems by using the infected computer as a middleman, allowing them to pass information through it and remain anonymous


I left out a couple of personal comments but you get the idea.

Soup and other stuff

This basic recipe for Thai chicken/coconut soup is fairly simple although the writer goes on to complicate it by giving us choices.

Google has a bunch of them, most for Cordon Bleu chefs. Maybe Angel will come through with her recipe.

Gawdessness, I'm with you on gay adoption of course. I read the horror stories of children placed in "traditional" homes and wonder how anyone could do any worse. Of course most "normal" (whatever that is) families are caring, but there is absolutely no evidence that same sex parents aren't as well.

Additionally, they seem to be much more willing to adopt special needs kids; especially the little ones who are HIV positive. The kids might face some problems but they would come from the bigots, not the parents. I don't know about Canada but we have far too many HIV children that need loving homes.

Also, in case no one has noticed, most adult homosexuals come from "traditional", not same sex families. It isn't contagious.

Write your letters; I'll be cheering you on from afar.

Girls are finishing up their pumpkins. I have to go look in a few minutes. I downloaded a few designs but they seem to prefer freestyle. I imagine I'll be seeing a lot of purple. I'm letting them surprise me with their creativity. That way I won't be tempted to suggest or criticize. (Why is surprise spelled with an "s" and criticize with a "z"?) Or is it? I think it is, at least in the U. S.

We have a few palm trees here but we're far from exotic. That would be sunny Southern California. I guess San Francisco would qualify; not so much as exotic as different.

Later - I'm going to see how much paint is on pumpkins and how much on girls, floor, and table. Nice thing about acrylic; it peels right off.


The squib I posted yesterday about toilet tank repair came from the Chicago Sun-Times, not the Chicago Tribune.

Sorry Sun-Times.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Catching up on Comments

Gawdessness - I put that commentary on government in especially for you in light of your travails. It would also apply to all of us who deal with schools, silly meter maids, etc.

I think I'll pass on the kipper flavored muffins as well but Angel's soup turns out to be something I've eaten often in Thai restaurants without knowing the name. I made a mental inventory of my pantry and have everything I need except the fresh cilantro and ginger. I may also have to replace the lime that's been resting in my refrigerator door for two weeks. Still, I have the chicken and coconut milk. I googled the recipe but if you have one you wish to share, Angel, feel free. This blog is turning into a little of everything which, I guess, is what I had in mind.

Tomorrow is pumpkin painting day, Sunday night is the Halloween spectacle at the local multiplex (free), and Monday is Halloween as well as Rebecca's 10th birthday. For 2 months of each year, I have two the same age at least in years. She falls through the cracks a little because of the Halloween chaos but at least we'll manage a cake for her although it may be the next day.

I have talked their mom and friend into taking them to the festival. There are two performances each night and a line almost around the block. They'll take Elcie in her chair; it might not get them in any sooner but at least she won't have to stand. We made that mistake the first year - now we know better. I'll probably send a thermos of hot chocolate and maybe some popcorn for the wait. One year I made a thermos of chocolate and sent the empty thermos by mistake.

I was going to write something about perfection but I forgot what it was. It wasn't empty thermoses I know that. Maybe I was thinking about painting pumpkins rather than carving. I remember. I never carved a pumpkin as a kid because my dad always did them for us - perfectly. They were beautiful and they occupied a place of honor on our front porch. I never missed what I didn't have - the fun and the mess - but now that I'm the one supervising the pumpkins, I'd rather turn the girls loose to create. Paint is safer than knives and they enjoy it just as much, including the paint they get all over themselves and each other. Plus you don't want to turn me loose with a knife. I do well to slice a cucumber or an onion. Eyes, noses, and jagged teeth are totally beyond me. I bought one combination set of acrylics - the small vials in many colors and then four larger bottles in purple, red, blue, and green. By now I know the colors they'll fight over. We'll have a five year old joining us so it should be an interesting evening. Her mother will be here as well. I may just disappear and let them surprise me with the finished products. We'll see. I need to remember to take my disposable camera out of its wrapper.

I know I said before I feel much the same way about costumes. Turn the kids loose as long as they are within limits of decency. It's their party, not mine.

Tim refers fondly to most of our special occasions as "memorable". They were that, in one way or another. As we get closer to Christmas, I may tell some holiday stories; for example, the time the tripod for our fake tree lost one of its legs and we replaced it (the leg) with a rat tailed comb. Or the time I bought a very cheap fake tree and discovered it wouldn't stand. It was intended to be hung from a ceiling. So we did.

More to follow as I remember things I hadn't thought about in years.

Fourth time around - Rochelle, Elcie, Rebecca & Kyla on lap

I think this is okay now - can everybody see it? If it hadn't worked, I would have gone the other direction and uploaded from Blogger. Picasa is much easier (usually).

Kyla's 5 now I think so this was a while ago. I wish she lived closer but oh well. She is a little doll. Mainly I stuck it on here so you could see Rebecca at her most Rebeccaist. She did that just as I "clicked" of course. It was probably my last exposure.

More later - I want to hit Publish before the photo disappears. Let's see if it comes through or if it's another red "x" Posted by Picasa

Let's see what happens this time

This is getting silly. Why did it work for everything else? It shows here until I send it.

Angel, if it doesn't work this time, I'll go the other direction and upload from Blogger. This should be simpler when it works. Posted by Picasa

3rd time a charm?

I'm sure my Halloween baby put a curse on this but I just sent it as email and it worked fine. Posted by Picasa

I'm scratching my head

L. and anyone else who may have noticed the absence of a photo.

I'll try again after girls have left. Rebecca may have put a hex on Picasa. I'm sure she'll look at that in later years and be mortified.
one more time Posted by Picasa

I'll try again later

This had been working like a charm. Maybe some of you can read the little x but that isn't the way it was supposed to be.

The Rebecca we all know and love

The baby is their half-sister Kyla who lives out-of state now. Elcie has been going through pictures This had to be about four years ago

Have to get girls ready - Elcie's already left but wanted to get this on. Posted by Picasa

This explains my problems with homework and the schools

Take heart, you who have tried to work your way through the maze that is government - any govenment. There is an explanation.


The University of California at Berkley has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. This new element has been tentatively named "Administratium". Administratium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Administratium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Administratium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons and assistant deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Administratium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." You'll know it when you see it.
- Author Unknown


Elcie found an old snap of the girls that portrays the real Rebecca - not the little angel in her school photo.

I'll get it on here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

And Rebecca 10-05

The strange thing hanging down her cute little face is a braid with beads. Once again, she went for the skinned rabbit look. If Ihad ears like that, I'd want to cover them with something but she's still adorable.

At least so I think.

Later - just wanted to get this on - still no Elcie, they're slower. Posted by Picasa

Mark your calendar

Early Warning System:
Four days remain in National Toilet Tank Repair Month.
If you do not do it now, you will have to wait a year

Stay tuned for more breaking news.

Sorry - this came from Chicago Tribute Quick Takes and I had to share it with someone.

It kind of fits in with our toilet paper theme. BTW, Angel says over the roll although she came live with under.

Later. Have to get Elcie to school.

Bush looking for new nominee.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

This and That - poor excuse for a Title isn't it.

Angel - Thanks for the tip about the scar. We had thought about some rather expensive concealer but were waiting to see how much it would fade over time. She's fast approaching the age when these things matter so I'll probably check out your suggestion. She was so brave when that happened. Of course she was screaming at first - so much blood and of course the shock. She was running down the hall, turned the corner, and our front door was open. She ran full tilt into it. By the time we got to the e.r., she was calm and stayed calm all through the exam and the glue. She had tears in her eyes but that was all.

My oldest daughter had eczema everywhere except her palms and soles. Not much helped except to relieve itching. She finally outgrew it with no scarring.

Seems like it was breakfast for dinner for most of us tonight. Yum. Maybe tomorrow, I'll cook. I have some taters and onions. How does New England clam chowder sound? Oh, and I also have clams and clam juice. Otherwise, I'd just have potato soup.

We had 40-45 people at the vigil. Very solemn and appropriate except for Rebecca and Rochelle who thought it was a rally. An adult who had misunderstood the purpose started with What do we want - peace! When do we want it - now! The girls thought that was great and joined them enthusiastically. We had to explain manner, time, and place.

Take Back the Night was scheduled for the same time, same place. They marched to our old Courthouse museum/park about the time we were breaking up so I, girls, and their mom and friend walked the last few feet with them. "A Woman's Place" here sponsors it. They're the local advocate for victims of domestic violence. They have a couple of safe houses, help with legal issues such as restraining orders, provide clothing, etc. when necessary and, I believe, help with relocation, job training, etc. They run on a shoestring and are totally dedicated to what they do.

We were talking about homeschool a while back. It occurred to me that even though what I'm doing is almost homeschooling, I'm not stuck dealing with the bureaucracy like the schools are. All that paperwork when I should be teaching would drive me nuts. This way, I help the girls, someone else does the grunt work.

Gawdessness - I know about barley but what, pray tell, is "spelt"? I know, you're paying me back for "johnnycake". I think I'll google it. I did and found a neat page of recipes from Saskatoon. Muffins, bread, etc. Also found that it is fed to horses and was the precursor of wheat and very healthy. Seriously, I had never heard of it. We have one supermarket here that has a little more variety than the others. I might check it out. Most of the healthfood, organic things I'd have to order online. There are over 2,650,000 listing for "spelt". Amazing. The www is a wonderful thing. I've been trying to find tarama salata here for years. It used to be so easy to get in the city - any deli carried it. Not here. I found it online at one or two sites and I may order a small bit for when I'm feeling festive. New Year's Eve might be good with some nice crackers and brie to go with the sparkling cider. The girls like sardines and anchovies so they'd probably be fine with a caviar spread as long as I forget to tell them they're eating fish eggs.

Girls have been asleep for over an hour. I should do likewise. Good night all.

And here's Rochelle now 10-05

The pictures are dribbling in slowly so I'll put them on as I get them. I you look closely at the left side of Rochelle's forehead you can see where she went headfirst into the edge a door a few years ago. They tried glue but she'll have that scar. Makeup helps and when she's a little older, she can do it herself or grow bangs.

School conferences went well. Rochelle has almost all A's; Elcie as well. Rebecca - another story. Mostly D's except for some of her reading and an A in spelling. Her teacher and I have worked out a plan. If she had listened to him in class, she would have known that she didn't have to do the ridiculous part of the homework no matter what the printed instructions said. No grids to multiply simple decimals, no graph paper for area of triangle, and especially no estimating to check multiplication. Half of the teachers have written complaint letters to the school district about their peculiar theories.

Some of this is Rebecca. She lacks the ability to focus consistently and she lacks motivation. The teacher and I agreed that motivating a child to do work that makes no sense (like the estimating or the grids) is silly. The new plan - I will sign either her homework or a blank page each day. He and I will both know what she has done or not done and how truthful she is being. He, in turn, will stay in touch with me. My goal is to drag that D up to a B- over the next quarter and settle for a C if I know she's trying.

Without all the superfluous garbage, we can concentrate on basics which is where she needs to be.

Angel has surfaced again and all is well. She offered chicken soup (either for the tummy or the soul, I'm not sure) and I asked her on her blog if sending chicken soup through the net was anything like faxing a pizza. I think this was one the famous "24 hour bugs". Both Rebecca and I are feeling better now; just a little achy and I have ibuprofen for that.

More later. Carol and I are preparing breakfast for dinner. I had a French toast request from Rebecca and I usually spoil the invalid just a little. We all like it so it's no hardship. Posted by Picasa

Easier link - I learn something new every day

Here is an easier link to the codes for degree, cent, and anything else you might want to use.

Here is how to make links shorter:

This site converts a long URL into a dinky one. I checked it out and it works. Thanks to the same friend who sent me the codes for ¢ and ° .

My son, the druid, just left to be all that he can be. It isn't much today; he's suffering from the same galloping crud that's affecting me and Rebecca. I was hoping it was just a cold but no such luck. When Rebecca said no thank you to hot chocolate last night, I knew something wasn't right. She's home today and I'm doing as little as possible.

She just came in wearing nothing but panties asking me to scratch her back. I did that and then suggested she find some clothes. She left again (dressed) and then came back begging for oatmeal. That sounded like a great idea so now the two of us are eating comfort food. Oatmeal is almost as good as chicken soup around here.

I have two school conferences today. At least the school schedules the girls together. Rochelle's will be fine (except for the rock throwing which was an aberration) but I may suggest resourcing Rebecca on her math. I don't think it's all lack of focus although that's part of it. She just doesn't get it. Now she's multiplying decimals which was easy until some genius figured out a way to do it that I don't understand at all. Back to the book. 2 X .5 = 1. They are taking about five steps including drawing a graph to get to the answer. I'm pulling out my hair.

Anyhow, I think I'm going to take a nap this morning or I'll never make it through the day and the vigil tonight. I bailed on everything I could yesterday and just huddled under blankets. Today's a little better and Rebecca's mommy is here so I can take it easy for now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Dutch - here's the link for San Francisco. I posted it on Sweet Juniper as well. There are several in the city - large and small. I don't consider controversial. They're hated because they're successful and grass roots. I don't always agree with them but I do usually and they've never twisted my arm to do anything.

L. I'm going to check your blog right now. I'll get back one way or another. My cold has turned into flu I think. Colds don't come with fever and chills. Two girls are at after school church program, Elcie isn't feeling too great and Rebecca has the drizzles but went anyhow. Won't she love to see that spread across the net if she ever reads this?

I should be ashamed about that comment about my grandson but it's true. Good news is I think he's turned a corner. He's working a full time job and seems to be happy and settled. Another joy - one day at a time.

Silent Vigils

Yes, I know is controversial but I'm putting this out anyway for informational purposes. I've been fairly public about Iraq; more so because we're sitting around holding our breath about my Army son, the druid.

His Nat'l Guard Company has lost 3 and had 14 (I think) injured to date. Total has now reached 2,000 soldiers killed.

Another blogger was asking yesterday how to wake people up. You can find him along with his heartwrenching post at This is a start. At this point, political parties or how we voted or whether or not we supported the Iraq invasion don't really matter. The body count keeps increasing with no end in sight.

My son, good soldier that he is, will go if called. Selfishly, I don't want him killed, maimed, or emotionally damaged. Speaking only for myself, I'm sick at heart about the hole we have dug for ourselves. I've lived through four major wars (or police actions) now; there has to be a better way.

The vigils tomorrow night, 6:30 local time all over the country, will be candlelit and silent. If there is any noise, it will come from passersby protesting us. It's not a political statement, at least not for the individuals, it's a cry for an end to the carnage.

If it's something you feel strongly about, the link at the top of the post will give information on vigil locations across the country. If not, that's okay. I just felt the need to spread the word, not only because of my son, but for all the other sons, daughters, moms and dads, sisters and brothers; both soldiers and families.

Knitting or how my daughter never wore the sweater

We had Elcie's conference this afternoon. All is well. I straightened out a couple of bothersome things that Elcie had reported. They were partly true and partly Elcie's love of drama. Her report card came in the mail yesterday - 2 A's
1 A-, 1 B, and 1 C + I think. The C was one of her reading grades - she had done the reading but hadn't passed her quota of minitests. One more time I explained to a teacher that I can't operate in a vacuum. If there are books she is supposed to bring home and read, they should let me know. The last thing the teacher said to me at the beginning of school was she didn't care what Elcie read as long as she read something. Now it turns out there are these special condensed versions of classics for her to read and pass tests on. Jane Eyre? Condensed? If they say so. As long as they don't try to force her to read Silas Marner. That had to be the most boring one book I have ever read. It almost put me off reading for life. I think every school in the state used it as the seventh grade "classic".

Anyhow - knitting.

I've always known how to knit and purl, cast on and off, and could even manage a cable stitch. My knitting was always much too tight but I kept trying. I made scarves - lots of scarves - in wild colors. Also a potholder or two. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I decided to make her a baby sweater - pale aqua and cable stitch. I didn't know how to use 4 needles so I made the pieces separately to sew together. I finished two pieces of it - cable stitch worked out perfectly and then realized I had made two left sides. I ripped it out, started over and made a right side to go with the other left. The back worked fine. It's hard to mess up the back. I made both sleeves, complete with ribbed cuffs. Then I sewed the ribbing to the shoulder. At that time, I took a good look at my creation. As I said, my knitting was too tight. That sweater might have fit a doll, but never a baby, even a newborn. Plus that pretty pale aqua had become grungy from handling and redoing. I put it in a drawer to look at every time I thought about picking up a pair of knitting needles. I broke my vow once or twice just to show someone how to get started but other than that, never again.

Les Miserables - I do have the Symphonic - the nice, albeit confused clerk found it for me. He finally led me back to the "musicals'' and there it was - one copy. Actually he found the right section for me - I spotted the cd immediately and said something like "Eureka" which confused him even more. If I have to replace it again, it'll be through Amazon; I didn't have a computer back then. He was nice enough to check all the versions and told me there were a couple less expensive. Yes, but I want the Symphonic, thank you. It's complete or very nearly so.

It's my third copy. My grandson borrowed it twice and lost it both times. Each time, one of my sons replaced it as a birthday present for me. I'd say my grandson owes me his firstborn child but I already have his firstborn child (and his secondborn and his thirdborn). We'll have to figure out something else. Now I have it copied to Music Match and have an extra copy on cd. If someone wants to borrow it, they can borrow the cheap copy; not my $60 3 cd set. We get too soon old and too late smart.

My cold seems to have retreated, temporarily at least. We'll see what I sound like in the morning but at least I can breathe at the moment, I haven't sneezed since this afternoon and my nose has slowed to an occasional drip. God that's gross when I write it down.

Rebecca stalled on homework tonight - partly my fault; I let the time get away and she had told me she had only one page. Sure. She had one page - both sides plus 27 problems in her math book; most of them multiplication of the above-mentioned numbers and many others like them. We started a little before 8 with a 9 o'clock bedtime and once I saw what she had, I put my pencil down and said no way. She had completed 13 problems on her own earlier in the afternoon but we would have been there until midnight and she wouldn't have learned a thing. She was making wild guesses at the answers and it wouldn't help for me to keep saying " Rebecca, 7 x 6 is 42. 7 x 8 is 56". She'd forget before the next time she saw them. She'll have to sit out her recess tomorrow.

I will start looking at her homework the minute she comes in the door so I'll know what we're dealing with. I'd like to spend more time drilling the times tables into her hard little head but I can't do that and homework too. That would be cruel and unusual punishment for us both. But she can't multiply those 7 digit numbers without knowing the tables. It has to be automatic. She's learning some bad habits in school that I have to correct. There's no reason for their existence and they'll slow her down and confuse her in the long run.

Please dear Lord, help me stop obsessing over homework.

Monday, October 24, 2005

No more pictures at least for now

Angel - you're catching up with me like I was with you. I've subscribed to something called bloglines which, once I enter a URL, pops up nicely and tells me when someone has said something.

I have a video copy of Don Giovanni with Samuel Ramey who, as far as I'm concerned, is the only Don Giovanni. Others have the voice but he has the looks and the swagger. If I had to pick a favorite Mozart, it would be Marriage of Figaro. For Puccini, Turandot (or maybe Tosca - I'm torn).

Insomniac - It's been a while but I'm sure the two instruments were played separately. As I said, he was eccentric (and a bit of a showoff as well). Forgot to mention he was also an inventor of sorts although I can't remember what he invented. His home was an organized clutter of everything imaginable. He died not long after I left home at 17. He didn't have kids; just a stepdaughter who may have inherited. If I had still been around there I might have ended up with at least my guitar and violin. Possibly one of the small museums around there has them (or did) if the stepdaughter didn't want them. He was something of a local celebrity, rather vain, and I'm sure he had made provisions for them. I just don't know what they were. If I can remember, I'll ask my brother. He stayed in much closer touch than I. Matter of fact, he never went further than 80 miles away.

If you decide to start scanning, you might check out Google Picasa 2. I'm a total dork on the computer so if I can get photos on here with it, anybody can.

You click on the picture, click a button at the bottom of the screen that says "blog this" and it automatically sends the picture and opens the blog ready for posting.

Angel - I don't know why they're making math so hard. Tonight, Rebecca was multiplying numbers like this 2,687,073 X 7 = and then estimating to check her results. An estimate using 3,000,000 X 7 would be 21,000,000 - not even close to the 15,000,000 + answer. I learned how to check multiplication by dividing it back but what do I know. The saddest part is she still hasn't learned the times tables.

I think you finally caught up with the posts.

I deliberated for quite a while before adding that relatively recent picture of me. Nothing to do with anonymity but as L. just said, "you really are a granny". Yep, I sure am. I'm also, on the inside, still that girl in the other photo defying the world. I was the despair of my parents for some time.

Rochelle got in trouble at school for the first time ever (which may have saved her). She and another child were throwing rocks from the playground into the street just as a car was passing. Nothing hit the car but it could have. They were both busted. Her teacher called me and said it could have been a suspension but they considered her perfect (up until then) record and decided there was no malice involved - just lousy judgment or youthful spirits. She came straight home and told me without being asked. Didn't know why she threw the rock; just that they thought it would be fun to throw a rock and didn't see the car coming. I believe her. She lost her recesses for a week and has to pick up trash and clean tables in the cafeteria. I told her teacher that the recess part made sense but it wasn't a punishment for Rochelle to be a helper. It's usually what she lives for. "Oh boy, I'm being rewarded. I get to clean the tables and help save Mother Earth by recycling". We agreed I wouldn't add further punishment. I had a long talk with her and, on her own, she wrote a letter of apology to her teacher. That's the Rochelle I know and love.

Her teacher also said that when the office first called her, she thought they had the two sisters confused and were talking about Rebecca. I said when I first heard her voice on the phone, I couldn't figure out why Rochelle's teacher was calling to tell me about something Rebecca had done. Poor Rebecca - talk about a rush to judgment! She came home with a little smirk on her face - for once she was innocent - of that transgression at least.

I have a knitting story to share, especially with Gawdessness, but I'm going to get the remainder of the laundry out of the dryer and then maybe get back to this.

"Nightline" coming up now, Angel - they're focusing on Wilma. I heard today they're beginning the alphabet again. There doesn't seem to be an end. I'm so glad you and my Houston commenter both made it through safely. One of our former pastors had moved to Mississippi and was there for Katrina. She's fine as is her family but her description of the devestation was almost beyond belief. She's a part of the task force working very hard on cleanup and rebuilding. A long, difficult process.

O.K. so it's a few years ago - maybe 7?

This was taken the day Tim and I "officially" joined the United Methodist Church of Merced. I guess you can figure out who the scowling little people are. Elcie's almost smiling; Rochelle and Rebecca just wanted to go eat and the sun was in their eyes. They had stood up front with us without any idea why they were there.

Tim's natural hair color is almost the same as mine although my blonde has gradually become white.

For some reason he was going through a redheaded (complete with mustache) phase. His brother's a true redhead.

I don't look a lot different now except that may have been one of the few occasions I actually wore a skirt in this town. Once I retired, my skirts and dresses retired as well. If you look closely, maybe you can see the hands on hips don't "mess with me" girl I once was (and still am deep down inside).

Usually I'm the one with the camera. I hate being photographed worse than almost anything I can think of.

Anonymous friend - if you can figure out how to crop that picture to just a face, maybe it would work for my picture on the blog. It's the best (read only) recent one I have.

I'll get back to posting in a few minutes but wanted to get these on. I'm hoping for some Halloween shots of the girls. I bought a disposable today - the problem isn't taking the pictures; it's getting them to Walgreen's and back here. Posted by Picasa

Guess who this is!

My son Tim says I haven't changed a bit in approximately 55 or years. I think I was 11 or 12 in that picture. I still stand that exact same way; especially when I'm laying down the law according to Ann.

It's not a clear shot of me but there's no mistaking the attitude.

One more - I'm not having much luck tonight getting them to go on here together but I'm grateful they're appearing at all. Posted by Picasa

Uncle Jim as I Remember Him

I knew this photo was somewhere in my collection. The writing on the back says born 1856? My brother, the math whiz, (seriously) was trying to back into his age. Birth records were sketchy back then. That might be correct but that would have made him in his 90's in the 50's. Possibly, but I think that birth date might be off by a few years. This is how I remember him in any event. The guitar hanging on the wall (far left) was mine and probably so was the fiddle resting on the table beneath. He built the cello as well. That picture appeared in our local newspaper; I can't remember why. Not an obit, that I'd remember.

I bet there was music playing somewhere and he was swinging his foot in time. He was always swinging that foot or tapping a toe even when just listening.

I've dug up a couple of other snaps if I can get them on here. Not of my uncle, these are the two classics. Some other stuff. I'll be back. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 23, 2005

On my way back out door with kids

Bell ringers performed admirably on "Jesus Loves me". Elcie played the big alto bell and R & R each had their own note of the melody. All dressed somewhat appropriately except for a little too much lipstick which I missed until they were up there for all to see.

Roger - Boheme and Carmen are both fun. Maybe the other was "Andrea Chernier"? It has a party scene at the beginning (right before the French Revolution where most of the partygoers meet a dreadful end). The scene ends with the servants revolting - next the guillotine.

Church having pizza lunch at noon (immediately following second service) and then a showing of a video about forced child labor (mostly abroad, I think although I'm sure some goes on here in spite of laws). I bribed the girls with the pizza because I want them to see it. They're not too young to learn compassion and service to others. I ran home long enough to drop Ray (3 hours straight would be too much on him) and give us a short break. Now, girls and I are headed back.

I googled a johnnycake recipe. It's about what I remember making. They say sifting is optional - not so unless they're making a "finer" corn meal these days. If you don't sift, the corn meal stays grainy and you end up with corn bread instead of johnnycake (which is sweeter and lighter).

I'm back and about to crash for a little while. The video was very well done and even presented a couple of solutions. Covered problems here as well as abroad.

Rebecca has homework from Friday to finish but I can't keep my eyes open. I think this really is a cold. Usually it waits until T'giving weekend and hangs around through Christmas.

World Series on t.v. - I may nap through part of it.

I like "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" possibly because I'm such an ABBA fan. It was already on our list. I don't know the other one but I looked it up on and sent the link to the group. It looks good from what I read of the reviews.

Gawdessness - afterthought. If you find an opera video (or any other dvd) you like well enough to buy, has some very good deals on the used ones. I've never gotten a dud. Probably Ebay does as well - I haven't checked.

You'll be seeing more pictures now that I've discovered Picasa. It's so easy. I just have to get them from album to scanner to here. Another challenge.


Typing malfunction

"He used to come to our house for dinner"

We have pictures

I have about 10 minutes before I leave with bell ringers. I won't even try to describe what they're wearing except to say one is in purple velveteen and tights, the other I'm not sure at moment. Rebecca changed three times between when I left with Elcie and came back.

I didn't realize the snap of the girls came through. It looked from this end like I had frozen the computer trying to send it. Anyhow, that's the girls' mom. Rochelle is her clone. It might be a year old and both Elcie and Rochelle can look her in the eye now. Their mom is as cute as a bug. Where in the world did that expression come from?

I have a couple of old photo albums but not too many transferred to the computer yet. My Uncle Jim was the oldest of his family and wasn't young when I was little. He built me a violin and small guitar and tried his best to teach me to play. I can get the notes right but I lack whatever it takes to be good at the strings. He finally accepted that I belonged with my piano. We used to play duets. Lord, how much of this I had almost forgotten. When I was in my early teens, he used to come to our hours once a week for dinner and I'd always make "johnnycake" for him. He swore mine was better than my mom's and certainly better than his wife's who couldn't boil water. I think he just thought I could do no wrong; my mom and I used the same recipe. She taught me. He was a piano tuner, a violinist (or fiddler), the town photographer, and Lord knows what else. He may have been born around the time of the Civil War; I'd have to go back and look it up to be sure. Cranky, definitely eccentric, and fascinating.

From one side of my family, I learned about classical music and art and developed my progressive, stubborn liberalism. From the other I learned Baptist hymns on the piano, picked up my continuing love affair with baseball, and learned how to clean a chicken coop and candle eggs.

Not a bad education, all around. As I go through the old albums, I might put one of those old pictures on.

Got to go. Have lots of tissues in purse. Partly because of this cold I've picked up and partly if I start leaking from the eyes watching my three "cherubs".

Someone asked for a snapshot

 Posted by Picasa

Experimenting with Google Picasa

This is a photo of my great-uncle Jim taken I don't know how long ago. I think he took it himself. Maybe the 1890's?

He was an eccentric to put it mildly. He built the instruments (except for the piano), composed music (mostly jigs and hornpipes), owned the first camera and car in my home town, voted Socialist, and was present when McKinley was shot. He let me play all of them including that strange double neck contraption which I think was half guitar and half mandolin. I adored him.

No real reason to put it on here. I just updated Picasa and they were bragging about how easy it is to add pictures to a blog and I've always loved this one. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Our allies across the pond

Roger - don't the British also say something like "knock you up" for visiting?

I don't know why you got strange looks for wearing makeup in the Castro unless it was a long time ago. I love the Castro theater. I took Tim to see Zefferelli's "La Traviata" years ago when he was maybe 10 or 11. They still had a theater organ that rose up to stage level with the organist and then sank back again. I wonder if it's still there. He was enthralled with the theater, the organ, the film, everything. I think he even fell a little in love with Violetta and the woman, Theresa Stratas, who sang the role. She's very good at portraying women dying of tuberculosis who are "not all they should be". (She's a Canadian, Gawdessness.) He's spent a lot of time at (and in) the Castro since then.

You never did tell me what you performed at the Opera House.

Note to non S. F. persons: The Castro is San Francisco's upscale, primarily gay neighborhood. Wonderful shops, nice climate, and fun.

No hurry on reply to email. I just thought I'd ask for a second opinion before I started sounding off. Even on the rare occasions when we disagree, you always give me something to think about.

If I didn't have the girls, we probably wouldn't do much with H'ween. We usually let New Year's Eve pass us by as well. I call it "amateur night" and I sure don't want to be on the road or even out of the house. They shoot guns into the air here in celebration. I cook ham hocks with beans (a New Year's holdover from Arkansas only they use split peas which I don't like especially well. They're too green and I always think of Linda Blair.) We usually have a bottle of sparkling cider to share with the girls (plastic champagne glasses from dollar store) and watch the music from Vienna on PBS. Sometimes KQED runs Die Fledermaus which is always fun even for the non-opera people here. (Or I drag out my copy). At midnight, if they're still awake, they stand at our front door and yell Happy New Year to everyone.

It isn't even H'ween yet and I'm already thinking about New Year's. What was that I said, Gawdessness, about staying in the now?

Elcie sound asleep, frick and frack are listening quietly to music. Tomorrow is their debut as bell ringers for the Sunday service. Rochelle just walked in and hugged us good night.

One of the commenters here sent me the "haiku". Even if they're aren't authentic, they describe my feelings about computers perfectly - at least much of the time. And they're funny.

The "7 meme" seems to be spreading. I see it all over the place. I still haven't finished it but I'm thinking at least.

Rebecca is sleeping in a skeleton costume from last year. I forgot to mention Rochelle's final touch to her costume this afternoon was a purple sun visor.

Gawdessness, I took your hint and signed up with bloglines. It's all working except I'm not getting alerts. Possibly no one except me is silly enough to be Posting at this hour of night. I don't have all the blogs listed yet but I'm working at it. Thanks. BTW, why wouldn't you stick with Canadian spelling and idioms? You live there. Besides, y'all are larger than we are; just not as crowded.

My last job involved correspondence with many countries (I dealt with shipwrecks) and I'm sure I absorbed a little here and there.) Probably how the "u" crept into behavior. Everyone but the French wrote in excellent business English. Very independent people, the French. I'd write in English, they would reply in French. I'd go find a translator. Finally, I answered in French (with a little help). They then wrote back in English. Okay, they won.

Gawdessness and anyone else who didn't have the first idea of what I was talking about with "To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar". Above is a link to a Julie Newmar web site, complete with photos. I forget sometimes how much older I am than most of you (except maybe Insomniac). Julie played Catwoman on t.v. in the 60's and some say she was the best. She could certainly stop traffic. The drag queens in the movie (that's what they called themselves so I can use it here) adored her and stole her autographed picture from a restaurant to use as a mantra on their cross country trip.

Hi Worried American - I'll go back and check the FEMA link in a couple of minutes. I do a lot of political ranting here.

Insomniac - if the computer haikus aren't legit, they should be. Either way, I love them. If you have a funny cousin-in-law and L. has a funny husband, there might be a few bored people hunched over computers in Japan thinking of new ways to say "the system crashed".

I'm trying to catch a cold or the air quality is worse here than usual. Think I'll try to get some sleep before midnight for a change.

When you're pulling your hair out at your PC

Forwarded to me by a friend a few minutes ago. They may all be mythical but they're still funny.

Here are 14 actual error messages reportedly seen on the computer screens in Japan, where some are written in Haiku.Aren't these better than "your computer has performed an illegal operation"?

The Web site you seek cannot be located,but countless more exist.>>>*

*>>>Chaos reigns within.>>>Reflect, repent, and reboot.>>>

Order shall return.>>>* *>>>Program aborting:>>>Close all that you have worked on.>>>You ask far too much.

>>>* *>>>Windows NT crashed.>>>I am the Blue Screen of Death.>>>No one hears your screams.>>>* *>>>

Yesterday it worked.>>>Today it is not working.>>>Software is like that.>>>* *>>>

Your file was so big.>>>It might be very useful.>>>But now it is gone.>>>*

*>>>Stay the patient course.>>>Of little worth is your ire.>>>The network is down.>>>* *>>>

A crash reduces your expensive>>>computer to a simple stone.>>>*

*>>>Three things are certain:>>>Death, taxes and lost data.>>>Guess which has occurred?>>>* *>>>

You step in the stream, but the water has moved on.>>>This page is not here.>>>* *>>>

Out of memory.>>>We wish to hold the whole sky,>>>But we never will.>>>* *>>>

Having been erased, the document>>>you're seeking must now be retyped.>>>* *>>>

Serious error.>>>All shortcuts have disappeared.>>>* *>>>

Screen......Mind..........>>>Both are blank.

This is how I feel several times a day.

I don't understand blogs at all

L. said she could see the titles so I went on a search. On my computer, they have moved since yesterday to the right hand side at the very earliest visible post. Almost as if they slid downhill. Also I keep getting messages from my scanner. It wants to scan something that isn't there.

I think we're on our way to the "dime carnival" in a few minutes. Girls are getting into their costumes. I was hoping for help, but their mom went to San Francisco to visit her folks today. Looks like it's just me unless Ray suddenly volunteers. Depends on whether he's up for it. Spirit is willing, etc. I'll probably take the wheelchair for Elcie. Sometimes she gets pushed around in a crowd when she uses the crutches. I don't think anyone does it on purpose; they just don't notice.

We had our usual high calorie Saturday breakfast - a little earlier than usual. I'll probably bend the "junk" guidelines once again and get them something nutritionally useless at the carnival as well which will get me out of dinner nicely. I know they sell tacos, burritos, and probably cotton candy and other stuff. They usually aren't too interested in dinner when they've had a big day. Ray and I can snack after they're in bed.

I just finished up an email to a friend telling her Rochelle was back in her Bloody Mary costume. I know - I helped her tie it at her bloody neck. She went in, took a bath, and came back out as Scooby Doo. It's a little high water on her (last year's) but maybe she can get one more wearing out of it if she doesn't split the pants in the bounce house. My God, she just put my S. F. '49er starter jacket over it.

Think maybe I should go supervise? Naw, it's much more fun this way. Rebecca just came in wearing a purple towel. Nothing else. She has now removed the towel, added panties, lipstick and a hat.

Ray just offered to go. I have trouble sometimes getting the wheelchair together although Rochelle usually can do it with me. We'll just stay for an hour. That's plenty of time for them to get through everything.

The advantage to being an older "parent" is that I've been down this road before and I have a better idea this time around of what's important and what isn't. The down side is we no longer have the stamina to do many of the things that younger parents do.

Scooby has changed into a slinky black dress with purple collar, a Dracula cape, and a fright mask. No, she took off the fright mask - said it smelled. I keep a large sack of dress up clothes and costumes from past years. She may be working her way through them all.

It's just my personal opinion, but the kids seem to have more fun in creating these bizarre costumes than they would in the overpriced "fad" of the year.

Rebecca finally decided on slinky purple satin jumpsuit with a black net blouse over it. Ray's putting the chair in the car so guess we're off and running (after stopping at bank). It's a cheap afternoon out but still those dimes can add up. We might surprise them with dinner out. Depends on behaviour and how tired we are. Just noticed I stuck a "u" in behavior. I've been hanging around Gawdessness too long. Think I'll just leave it - I kind of like the look.


This blog is hexed

Now the "blog roll" and Post listing have disappeared from the right hand side.

I have one solid sheet of purple. What have I done?

Please let me know if you see the writing on the wall or if you draw a blank too.

This is very strange.

Friday, October 21, 2005


This one disappeared and two are out of order - don't know what I did but I'm going to try to put this one back. It will probably end up as the latest entry but you're all bright people - I'm sure you can figure it out.


0 ° C = 32 ° F freezing

100 ° C = 212 F boiling

I can't convert them without going back to the math book every time. I like metrics; they're so sensible (rather like Canada, generally) but they just don't seem to catch on south of your border. The schools are teaching a dual system which the kids are okay with but sure confuses me. I have to translate approximate weights and sizes in my head.

On way to "Julie Newmar" - Rochelle going too - I may end up with all 3.

A Brand New Look - Part III

S'okay friend - here's the link again. I finally found out how to paste from my gmail copy. No matter what language you're speaking, there's a way to do it from that list.

Doesn't the blog look great? No more hidden words. I discovered it looks different to me than to others viewing it. How peculiar. Anonymous spent a good part of her morning working on it. Now we can all read every word of my deathless prose. Also, I learned what the "print screen" on my keyboard is for. Duh. It prints the screen. Unfortunately, when I was trying to send a picture of the blog, the first thing that turned up was my desktop. I didn't realize I had to be at the blog to send a picture of the blog. Poor anonymous is so patient with me. I sent her a smiley of someone pulling their hair out. Not me - her.

PFLAG is having a fun meeting tonight sort of. The last suggestion our friend Chris made was that we put on a movie night. He loved "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar". We're going to have popcorn and lemonade and just hang out together. No issues, no fund raising, just some fun. I love that movie and I'm taking Elcie. I think she'll enjoy it and it has a sweet message about love and acceptance underneath the outrageous costumes.

It's not going to be a wake but we're all still a little sad. He should have been there being goofy with the rest of us.

I was going to talk about Rebecca's school problems but I've had enough drama for one week. Maybe tomorrow after I've talked with her. Or later tonight if I can't sleep.

Got your note L. It was indeed a Kodak moment and I didn't have a Kodak. I think the expression on my face when I first saw my little angel/bloody mary would have been worth a snapshot as well.

Later everybody.

Movie Night, etc.

I ended up taking all three girls after all. They had a wonderful time helping set everything up, teaching us how to make microwave popcorn, and generally hugging everybody and being right in the middle of the fun. They loved the movie even though I'm sure some of it was a little over their heads. We're thinking about Torch Song Trilogy for our next event unless someone comes up with something else.

I have a Rebecca asleep on my bed. She came in a little while ago, swore she wasn't the least bit sleepy, and next time I looked at her she was down for the count.

Insomniac, that link worked from here so I don't know what's happening. I just tried it again and it took me right to the site.

Tomorrow is the "dime carnival". It takes place in the alley behind our Civic Center and is sponsored by Parks and Recreation. All sorts of little games for a dime each with lots of prizes. The have face painting as well. They usually have a couple of bounce houses and food. Last year was fun for the girls so I may try to get them there for a little while tomorrow.

Rebecca - still haven't figured out what to do with that child. I received a second-hand report that she had been hitting smaller kids with her backpack on the playground and that she and her friend were hiding out in the girls' bathroom dancing. Not during class hours but I gather they were breaking a loitering rule or something. The school usually sends notes home - maybe they disappeared between the school and here. She will lose recess for a while, at the least. Why don't they call me? I know they're busy, but still I could have done something, at least about the backpack incidents. I was a little too tired to deal with it tonight other than mentioning it to her and saying we had to sit down and talk over the weekend. Sometimes waiting is better; I'm not so apt to overreact.

I don't know what to do to discipline a child who usually doesn't care if she's grounded. Every time I think we're back on track, it's something else. I can't be at the school to watch her. She clams up when I try to find out what's going on to cause the behavior. She can be so sweet and loving but she has a short fuse which gets her in trouble and she has problems following rules, especially when they don't make sense to her. She's easily frustrated as well.

Maybe it's time to get the counselors involved again. Next year is middle school for her and she won't be in an environment where they've known her for years. The camp is coming up soon and they have strict rules as well. Sometimes counselors help; sometimes they make things worse. I think I need a night's sleep and think about it tomorrow.

Enough already.

I now have a husband asleep in a rocker as well. It's midnight straight up. I may find an empty couch somewhere or just move her over. If I wake her up, she may not get back to sleep for a while. Nope, he just woke up again.

I think I'll shove the kid over and try to go to sleep. Problem solved. She woke up just enough to stagger into the bedroom and pile into Rochelle's bed (lower half of the bunk - Rochelle is passed out on living room couch). They had a busy day. It hasn't been that long since I could carry Rebecca to bed but no more. Maybe, if the house was on fire, adrenaline would kick in but she's around 65 pounds now and sleeping children are always heavier than their actual weight.

Now that I have a bed to crawl into, I think I'll do that.


Angela - look in the comments for the Post of 10-19. (I forgot to title it). The link is there. Not only for the umlaut but for everything you could possibly need. I'd put it here but I haven't had much luck with inserting links here.

(whoops! anonymous friend was trying to fix the blog and accidentally deleted this!)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My little angel - not

I have to add this before I forget. Rochelle (the one who wanted to be an angel) left wearing her angel dress and looking properly beatific. She came back different somehow. She and her friend from across the street had painted her dress with fake blood and drew red lines around her neck. While my back was turned, she had become "Bloody Mary".

She said she "almost" won a prize. For most grotesque? I'll admit, it was realistic.

Computer downtime


My grandson and Tim both have computers. It it hadn't been fixed by today, I would have either gone over there or asked one of them to forge my name and put a brief message here.

My anonymous friend who helped set up the blog has my cell phone number (if she kept it after all this time). It's no secret but I didn't want to put it over the net, even here. She might notice I was missing after a while.

It was a scary feeling though. I wouldn't quite say I'm addicted but I've come to depend on my daily fix of BB, all your blogs, and here. I felt bereft late yesterday and this morning. Actually a daily fix does sound rather like an addiction now that I think of it. At least I'm not into porn sites and chat rooms. I could be doing much worse things.

Good news - I put all the laundry away and caught up filing and a few other things. Then I took a nap. Got up from nap to find Yahoo smiling at me and saying "you've got mail". Wow.

What's really odd is it's working much better now. I was having sticky key problems and thought possibly I had spilled something. Didn't know what was going on. Maybe you'll see fewer typos now.

Left a comment on your blog as well as on L. and Dutch and answered all my personal email. Also signed two petitions. Now I'm going back to BB.

Oh, my kind friend who sent me ¢ and ° sent me a link to the complete list. You'll be seeing cedillas and umlauts all over the place if I suddenly decide to break into Spanish or German (is an umlaut German? I think so). It now occupies a place of honor on my desktop. My little icons drive everyone except me nuts. I have them organized and I know exactly what they're for.

Elcie just left for her choir practice and R & R out front in their Halloween costumes. When I looked at Rochelle's closely, I discovered it already has wings of a sort so I may not have to mess with wire hangars after all. She thinks she's an angel and life is good, at least today.


Internet withdrawal

I've been without the internet for a day and a half. Thought it was me (I always do) but evidently not because I turned the machine one last time about an hour ago and everything was back. It happened once before with Comcast and I kept stitting down in the computer chair before I remembered nothing was there.

Short message - hi everybody who sent comments. I read them first. Kids going to costume party tonight at our local downtown Farmers' Market on Main St. It's to promote safe afterschool activities. Used to be held at our so called Mall but not anymore. Downtown is walking distance for us. I don't like Malls especially well anyhow and ours is really small and unfriendly.

More later - this is the time of day when I need to be available for kids but wanted to let anyone know who thought I was ignoring them that I really wasn't.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The temperature here is a pleasant 60° and overcast. By God, I think she's got it! Thank you. That's the degree sign I was obsessing about.

Alternate 0176 on the number pad. Cent sign Alternate 0162. I'm putting them here in case anyone else ever feels the need to use them and is a computer dork like me.

I'm staring at a pile of unmatched socks, many "more holey than righteousness" as my Arkansas mother-in-law used to say. I used to darn socks but no more. Elcie goes through socks because of the way she walks. It puts a lot of pressure on the front of her foot. Plus, she has the longest big toes in relationship to the rest of her foot that I've ever seen. R & R wear them out at the heels.

In my sock darning days, I used embroidery thread in varying shades that never matched the boys' daddy's socks. I did it once out of desperation when I couldn't find my darning thread and my husband got such a kick out if it, I stayed with it. Eliminated a little of the boredom anyhow.

Just put on a big pot of mixed red and pinto beans. Beans and rice tonight with some corn bread if I'm feeling really inspired. Actually it's more like chili but not as thick. Works well because I can easily convert it to Spanish rice (just stir it together and throw it in the oven with melted Mexican cheese on top. Or chili dogs. Or whatever. Being an damn Yankee originally, I prefer navies or great northerns but once in a while I cater to the chili lovers in the house.

Homework all done, girls off to school. Today may be calmer than yesterday. I have one doctor run for Carol and a funeral in the afternoon. I attended the "viewing" yesterday with Tim and hadn't made up my mind about the funeral. I hate them. However, my friend Lisa called and asked my if I was going. I sensed she didn't want to go alone so I said how about if we go together.

Don't know if I ever mentioned that I was a church organist in Arkansas and piano player for the choir which involved a lot of racing back and forth the front of the church. Not the greatest by any means but I could find the pedals and get the notes right. It was a small church and they loved me. The price was right for them too; I was a volunteer. My son Jim was around four when I started and he joined me on the piano bench and turned pages. Also, I jazzed up the music considerably. When I first started attending, everything they sang sounded like dirges. One big funeral, even on Sunday morning. Anyhow, I played for far too many funerals. I liked weddings much better. I've told my whole family and everyone else I know that if they dare have a "viewing" and all the pomp that goes with it, I will personally come back and haunt them. I think they got the idea and now it's out here for everyone to see. My Arkansas mother-in-law had a picture of her deceased sister (in casket) in her photo album. It took every bit of self control I possessed to refrain from saying something I knew I would regret later. She told me her sister had been so ill for so long that she wanted a picture that looked decent. Different strokes and I was polite and non-committal.

I'd better get back to socks. I needed an excuse to show off my ° sign. It's amazing how simple things can be once a friend shows you how.

Oh, on top of everything else, yesterday, I attended the parents' meeting for Camp Green Meadows. Same info as two years ago but Rochelle would have been wounded if I hadn't attended. She considers every flyer from the school a royal command.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I don't have the first idea for a title

Gawdessness - no computer? Using your son's? How awful. I wondered why you hadn't surfaced in the last couple of days (last I remember you were headed for Sunday School).

L. I have camels and elephants on my dvd of Aida but I've never been lucky enough to see it live. The most famous productions are the hardest to get to. Tickets are sold out immediately.

A few years ago here, I was trying to replace my cd of the complete Symphonic version of "Les Miserables" and the Sam Goode clerk was totally bewildered. I made the mistake first of saying Les Miz, then I spelled the whole thing for him and tried to explain how well known it was. Not in his world, evidently. He was a sweetie and found it for me even though he didn't know what it was he had found. Kind of like my husband looking for opera videos and coming home with Swan Lake. I'm grateful for the effort.

I have one of these overscheduled days today but I'll try to catch up with your blog and all the others later. Carol has chemo, the kids have their after school program and I finally got out this morning and purchased gobs of cheap candy and three pumpkins. I still have to find cheap makeup. They have a choice of six costumes to choose from, courtest of a 1/2 price sale plus buy 2 get 1 at the thrift store. I have five fancy dresses and one large green lizard complete with long tail. Or maybe it's an alligator. I told Rochelle she and I would work on angel wings. She doesn't know yet not to let me near an art or craft. I crochet, knit, and even tat but that's different. They don't involve paint and glue. The pumpkin patch has moved almost 20 miles out of town and even though gas has dropped about 20¢/gallon it's still expensive. Have you ever tried to find 3 identical pumpkins? They don't mind variety when they pick out their own but if I buy one 3 oz larger than the rest, they will notice and we'll have sulking and pouting.

Everybody please notice the cent sign in the last paragraph. Now I have to find a reason to use degree in a sentence and see if I can make that work. I saved my new friend's comments to a folder labeled ann blog but I think that code may be permanently embedded in my brain. She came back and told me you have to use the number pad. There may have been a time when I knew that but it's ancient history.

Roger's comments were part of the 23rd posting, 5th line. I had that figured out; just couldn't find them. He said sometimes the server is slower than the same comments in my gmail box. . Oh - duh. They're both interesting once they're back in context.

On my way out with Carol. Aren't you all glad you talked me into this? Not.

Me and the cent sign and missing comments

To get the cent sign, it's Alternate 0162. It doesn't want to work here but I'm going to check it out on Word Thank you.

Found Roger's last comment. There has to be a better way to dig stuff up than going through my postings one by one. It's in the untitled? post right before "Missing Blog". I can't get the link to work here but the excerpt from his journal is worth reading if you want to go back a little ways.

Finally on my way out after H'ween candy. More later but I wanted to thank my newest reader for solving the cent sign mystery.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Missing comments - 3 found 1 to go

Found all but the earliest from Roger. I could swear they weren't here before. And the link worked here. Very strange.

My car failed smog but I don't think it's too serious and I have a 60 day extension. I would have preferred 90 to get past Christmas but we don't go nuts over the holidays anyway so we'll manage. I just couldn't do smog check, registration, and repairs all in one month.

Five more pages of math homework tonight. We must have had 80 separate questions. We have moved on to the parallelogram. I think she's memorizing procedures without understanding why but that's how I learned long ago and eventually I figured out the rest of it. We drilled and drilled on everything. You'll probably run across a typo or two or four in here, but seldom a misspelled word or a misplaced comma. (Unless I'm really tired). I wouldn't dare. We memorized times tables, formulas (which I've never forgotten), could add and subtract in our heads, knew all the state capitals, and could recite poetry at the drop of a hat. My school was very fond of John Greenleaf Whittier and Longfellow. I still know all the verses to The Star Spangled Banner. It was a different time, not necessarily better, but Il believe a grounding in basics makes it easier to understand theory later on.

It's almost midnight and tomorrow will be another long day. A friend of mine from PFLAG was killed by an alleged drunk driver while riding his bicycle last week. I'm attending the visitation tomorrow and probably the funeral on Wednesday. He was only 18 and had just discovered us. A real good kid who was finally finding himself, had made some new friends, and now this. He and my son had become telephone pals. As we were saying, life isn't fair.

I mention PFLAG a lot and it dawned on me some might not know what I'm talking about. It stands for Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. (Pea Flag)

I'm going to take one last look for Roger's final post and then give it up for the night.

Refrigerator inventory

Roger - your comments are appearing on my gmail but not here. Do you know which posts you commented on? I sent you an email because I couldn't access the links in your comments on gmail. You should have it unless there's a conspiracy and it disappeared as well. I'm believing more and more in conspiracies these days.

The "refrigerator" appeared on She may have borrowed it from someone else; that's usually how these things get started. I know you know her from Blogging Baby and she, L., and I follow each other around the blogs; usually philosophically on the same page. I've found some soulmates. L has her own blog now too - The link's in my post entitled Blog Surgery. Everytime I try to type out the name, I make another mistake. Someday I'll figure out how to add more names to my blogroll. My friend who set up the blog did the list I have and you notice whose name leads it.

L. and I are both stay at homes and we sandwich in the posting. There are probably more useful things I could be doing but this is fun - at least some of the time.

Opera - I remembered from either your journal or somewhere that you are an opera buff. What performances at the S. F. Opera? I'm no expert; I'm familiar with a lot of opera and have a fair video and dvd collection but I couldn'tusually tell you from a recording exactly who the performers are. An expert could and also dissect each individual performance. That would spoil it for me; I'm entranced by it all; the costumes, settings, arias and even the dumb plots and corny English supertitles. I sit there spellbound by the whole thing. I don't want them modernized and I don't want them in English (although the supertitles save me). I've seen only one mediocre performance in S. F. I thought it was me until I read the Chronicle the next day. The soprano sang sharp throughout. For me, even mediocre was okay but the soprano got a little jarring after a while and it's one of the longer operas. A few years later PBS ran the same opera (La Forza del Destino with Leontyne Price) from the Met. No comparison. San Francisco just had a bad night. I'm with your dad - Verdi's fun; especially what I call his oom-pah-pah stuff. I don't like the modern things so well (except for Puccini of course). I'm pretty square and I like traditional harmony and melody. I'm sure the critics would think I'm a philistine, a dilettante, and a rank amateur. They'd be right but I don't care.

More later. If you can figure out what's happening with your comments, let me know. Even the latest one (about opera) hasn't turned up here. Very odd.


I waved my magic wand before I went to bed and Elcie woke up to "skeletons on honeymoon" when she turned on the computer. One was wearing a top hat and carrying a suitcase; the lady skeleton was wearing a wedding dress. Her word - "gross". Not as gross as the Barbie angel, Elcie. Gotcha.

Kids out door and I'm surveying the wreckage of the weekend. It's not too bad; they've become much better with dirty dishes and half eaten bags of popcorn. They do, however, still leave jackets and shoes where they fall and I'm apt to find a roller skate and helmet anywhere.

Carol has an all day chemo session. I'll drop her and then Ray and I will smog the car and pick up a couple of mid-month grocery items. My cat's on the last of the 20 lb sack of cat food and has told me about it several times this morning. Usually it makes the month, but we've had some extra moochers around.

7 meme. I noticed one of the questions refers to "opposite" sex. You may make a substitution if you wish in the event I have any readers from the GLBT community. I know I'll probably hear about it from myyounger son.


Time to go to bed when I can't spell Cinderella

Previous title should be Cinderella (or La Cenerentola if I'm feeling more Italian than usual tonight.) No, I don't speak the language - just read a little from my 2 years of high school Latin.

My "Cindella" desktop

The wolves of this morning changed mid-day to Banderas and Zeta-Jones in "Zorro" - coming soon to a theater near you. I looked again later to find a gilt-covered angel with impossible wings staring out at me. When I ask her how they all got there she just giggles.

I'm changing it now. I have nothing against angels but this one looks like a Barbie with huge wings and a smirk. Too much - I'd rather go back to Van Helsin.

I've learned to make them smaller!!!

Somehow no one remembered to get Elcie out of her chair and help her out of her coat. I would have asked for a retake but I love the expression on her face. It's very Elcie - more than the photo at the top of the blog which is nice but looks more posed. Rebecca always looks like the Halloween child that she is. She has hair - she just chose to pull it all back and go for the skinned rabbit look.

I'm still waiting for their new pictures but now that I know how to do them (somewhat), I won't have to bug my anonymous friend for help getting them on here.

I now have one more thing to add to the list of "things I can do". Next is learning to move them around. I wonder if I can count getting pictures on the blog and making them smaller as two things.

This has been a good day. Elcie hasn't stomped off once, we've had no major brawls among the crew, the weather has cooled down to a pleasant 75 degrees (still haven't figured out how to do a degree sign in spite of good advice from a friend), and dinner was leftovers from yesterday. Elcie has rediscovered the "Classics for Kids" cd I gave her over a year ago. She set Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on repeat. I never knew I would rather cover my ears than listen to Mozart one more time. At least she's listening and enjoying; there may be hope for her yet. Best of all, I've had two days of freedom from homework.

Tomorrow, we run the van through smog testing and pray a lot. Registration is due on 18th and I procrastinated. It passed with flying colors two years ago but it's 14 years old with a lot of miles on it (sort of like me). If it doesn't pass, we'll be allowed at least one and maybe two extensions as long as I pay the registration. We'll see what happens. I like my mini-van. It's reasonable on gas, it holds seven plus Elcie's chair, and it's covered with bumper stickers as I think I mentioned before. It may look like a traveling junk heap but it's paid for and it's my junk heap.

I've actually managed to refrain from whining and dwelling on homework. It's the small pleasures that count. I think I'll stop now before some complaint occurs to me.