Please sign my Guestbook.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bedtime - And I Really Mean I t This Time

The girls are all safely home and asleep. Rochelle and her friend spent the morning doing a "makeover" and Rochelle came home looking like that strange woman from the Drew Carey show (without the blonde hair). They obviously had a wonderful time but she didn't give me any argument when I told her she could keep it on in the house but not leave wearing it all. She trotted right in and washed her face. Some of the glitter is still there but the eyeshadow is gone.

They've been enjoying their last day before the tests. We had our picnic in the back yard. Hamburgers and hot dogs, all the nutritional stuff. They loved it.

And the laundry is put away (although I have another load in the dryer), drawers are sorted out, and much of the winter clothing is put up. I'll tackle the summer clothes tomorrow now that I have a place to put them.

Short tonight - slow day.

Sorry, Mollie, we have to let them win one once in a while. Oshee warned me about their pitcher. She was right.

Good night.

You Know When I Have Too Much Time On My Hands

Or I'm tired and getting giddy. In this case, the girls are all still gone and I'm putting off the job of putting laundry away.

From Zay N. Smith - Chicago Sun-Times - Quick Takes today.

Blogged out

Blog Item: "Raining cats and blogs . . ."

Blog Item: "Blah humblog!"

Blog Item: "Blogatistas, here's a couple of stories . . ."

Stop it.

Stop it now.

And then there's this for all of us everywhere

Bumper Sticker of the Month (from the KGB Report at www.kgb .com): "I CHILDPROOFED MY HOUSE, BUT THEY STILL GET IN."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

More of This and That

I have no kids again tonight. Elcie and Rebeccca spent most of the day and tonight at our friend's house again. Rochelle is across the street with her on again, off again friend. Right now it's on. Before she left, the three of us went out to dinner where she consumed everything on her plate, some of ours including half my green salad, and a small ice cream cone. Happy child.

Final word re Mo-Wo's comment on cat photo. She and I go back and forth on each other's blogs all the time. We kid each other a lot - thus her comment and my response. I can't speak for her of course but I was doing a tongue in cheek response to some of the discussions which go way beyond simple differences of opinion and almost into name calling and accusations of bad parenting.

The idea was I'll post my own kids' photos but never anyone else's without their permission. It doesn't matter what I might think; it's their decision and I respect it. Privacy is important; even in a non private place like the net. Thus my response about cats. Truth is, if I saw a cute cat hanging out, I'd probably take a picture.

Enough of that.

Ray seemed to enjoy his short evening out. First one in some time - we couldn't keep him out of hospital long enough. I forgot the camera, of course.

Dawn and I spent part of the afternoon (after I took Tim to work) on 1st of the month shopping. It helps to have her along because I buy all the staples for the month at once. Cat food, laundry supplies, all the paper products, shampoo, first aid, - I'm sure you hae the same list and it bulks up fast. No groceries to speak of yet. Probably Monday after my "date" with Professor David.

I did buy myself some spring clothes. Two pairs of shorts and two tops (and 3 bras - long overdue). I know, thanks for sharing, Ann. I'm still looking for some new jeans or slacks for summer but I ran out of time and energy simultaneously. My church is very casual so I now have something somewhat appropriate.

Should I be saying two pairs of shorts or two pair? Does it matter? Anybody have an opinion?

I think I mentioned before our husband and wife pastoral team are leaving in July. I read today they won't pastor in the same church but will be in the same city. Shame they can't stay together - they're a great team and I'll miss them. Our new pastor is coming from Sacramento where he was pastor of the church which hosted the"open door communion" Tim and I attended a while back. Sounds like a good fit for our congregation. I met him there briefly so we won't be total strangers.

Our weather is still quite warm but the experts are forecasting a drop to the low 80's next week. I still haven't done anything with their summer clothes but they're all together and we went through last season and got rid of the things we knew would be too small for any of them. I didn't anticipate Rochelle's spurt though. She and Elcie will be next to naked until I do some shopping. Their jeans are okay but they will need some short sleeve shirts and they once again need socks - lots of socks - and probably bras as well.

Always something.

I think we'll have our first picnic tomorrow. Maybe at the lake or maybe the back yard. I have some potato salad and I'll fix either chicken or hamburgers - finger food in any event. Might spring for some more melon. We don't do a production at the lake - just pack the essentials and go. Later, we'll proably take the barbecue along. The lake has them but they're old and the food has a tendency to fall into the coals unless we get there early to find a good one. It's still a little cold for lake water but the girls can at least get their toes wet. It's about 5 miles from here; almost in town. Univ. of Calif. Merced built its new campus right on the lake. Beautiful or will be when it's completed. So far, it's a work in progress.

Giants report for the day: Hi, Mollie

Giants 3 - Diamondbacks 2

Barry took day off. Tied going into bottom of 9th. Moses Alou hit a walk-off home run. Bye Bye Baby. Oshee, maybe your turn tomorrow.

See you all tomorrow.

Anyone Up For Some Really Bad Puns?

As in a bun is the lowest form of wheat?

Check this out.

Thanks to Meow in the land down under (unless you live in the land down under ) in which case (oh, never mind). Going to bed now.

Bedtime? In a Few Minutes

We lost a child and gained a child tonight. Rochelle is spending the night with a friend and Rebecca has a friend over here. I broke even.

Mo-Wo asked me in the comments if I was afraid of posting pics of the cat on the internet. No, but I'm very careful not to post pics of anyone else's cat.

We all have opinions on the subject of personal photos on the net. Personally, I think it's safe enough; certainly safer than they are every time they walk out the door. On the other hand, I respect the people who disagree and I'd never try to change their minds. I like showing off the girls (and the cats) and I love looking at the photos on other blogs.

Update on my post last night about the Professor and his article. The paper printed a full length commentary and apology for not labeling the article as satire. Maybe that will help. I emailed a link to the article to most of the people who commented on it here. They recognized it for what it was and their replies were thoughtful. As for me, I'm still thinking.

I don't know how many of you have read post hip chick's blog. She's a young teacher in the San Francisco area who has used her blog as a running diary of her pregnancy as well as a commentary on teaching and the system. She was 13 days overdue and finally gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Olivia Phoenix. I don't know if she ever lurks here but it doesn't matter. My congratulations to the happy parents. She has a great blog if you want to drop over there to see the baby pictures.

The weather has now turned unseasonably warm. High 80's (F) and into the 90's. I really must tackle the winter to summer closet change. I have a few shorts out and they can get by for now and it's a big job. If you don't hear from me for a day, don't worry - you'll know what I'm doing.

I fixed a big tuna macaroni salad tonight with tomatos, cukes, bell pepper, and avocado on the side. They polished off most of the watermelon for dessert. I think Rochelle grew another inch overnight. She is so tall!!. She's at least a head taller than Rebecca and they're only 10 months apart. Rebecca was such a tiny baby. I can see that she's growing but she may never catch up with Rochelle. On the other hand, who knows. Right now her mouth is the biggest thing about her.

Testing begins next Monday (9 days can you believe it?) At least they'll have a homework break. I'll lay in a supply of granola bars for their backpacks in case they need the boost during the day. Elcie, of course is finished with hers. As bad as I hate the tests, it will be interesting to see Rochelle's results. She's come an amazing distance in the past couple of years and this year has been almost miraculous. Of course her teachers and I already know that - we don't need the tests to tell us.

I think it's bedtime. I'm feeling a little sleepy so maybe my insomnia is once again behind me. It comes and goes.

Ray still doing well. He's been out of hospital a week today which seems like some type of record. He has to take it fairly easy but he's been getting out of the house more and doing more arund here.

Sports report
Giants 10 - Diamondbacks 2. Sorry, my Phoenix friends. I like the Diamondbacks as long as they're not playing us. They have one player named Counsell who cracks me up every time I see him at bat. He has the strangest stance I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it's effective. He's clobbered us on many occasions.

Rambling again.

No word from Andrea yet but I'm sure they're doing as well as they can traveling that distance with a toddler.

Take care everyone. Good night.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

My camera finally came back home. That first photo is Spunky, paw in mouth, about one foot from the ceiling. Second is a few seconds later on the opposite side of the room looking askance at the strange critter. It's an insect (a gift from my son a few years back. ) He knows I'm fond of weird stuffies. The cat is not impressed.

I'll try for Fidget next week. He's asleep at the foot of the bed (about to fall off now that I look at him again). Not the most graceful cat - matter of fact, he's a klutz.

Field Trip (or Party)

Elcie had a great time so I guess I'm glad I let her go. She rode on a bumper car and had a wreck. I tried to get some other information out of her but she was too excited. We'll talk more about it tomorrow.

Welcome to oshee, a Creative Writer and mom from Phoenix who writes a blog called Hallucinations. Some of her writing is included. Alice, take note.

Not much going on today. I met Jim and Tim for lunch but that was about all. Ray seems to have more energy than he did. I hope it continues. He's more focused, he's moving around more and it's good to see. We're hoping it continues.

Since I have absolutely nothing to do, I may have put myself in the middle of a local firestorm. Nothing new actually; I do that with some regularity.

Immigration is a hot button topic here in this largely Hispanic CA central valley city and one I've managed to stay out of for the most part. I can see both sides to some extent and there don't appear to be any easy answers. I may have an cohesive opinion at some point but not yet - just fragments and not enough to jump on any bandwagons.

One of our retired college professors wrote an editorial for the local paper that, on its face, appeared to be an indictment of every immigrant who has ever crossed our southern border, legally or otherwise. It took me about three sentences to recognize it as satire. My first thought was "this guy is in trouble". Sure enough, a couple of days later, two of my neighbors brought me the paper. They wanted me to write a letter about the "bigoted" editorial. I just laughed and said "read it again"; what he is saying is the opposite of what he believes. Okay - I convinced them. Then I emailed the writer and told him what had happened. He emailed back and I offered to help if it escalated. It did. The paper printed a letter this morning supporting his courageous stand and his patriotism. I emailed the Sun-Star and then the professor one more time. He's getting hate mail from one side and letters cheering him on from the other.

I think the paper will probably run something in their weekend edition. He and I were both corresponding with the editors and I'm sure he has other support from people who recognize satire when they see it. He just didn't know his audience well enough to realize that tongue in cheek might not play well here (from either direction).

We're meeting for coffee Monday morning at Barnes & Noble (where else?). Should be fun and I may have made a new friend here. I'd like to hear his actual ideas on immigration.

Other than that, not much going on. I managed to stay awake for most of the day; the girls went to a school program with my neighbor tonight. They weren't part of it so I took a pass this time. We'll have an open house next week and I'll go then. It will be the last one ever at John Muir. Next year middle school for all three.

Talk to you all tomorrow.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I Missed Half a Day

I decided to rest my eyes for a little while this afternoon and woke up six hours later, just in time for Law and Order (rerun).

That means I saw the girls for a few minutes in the morning and a short time in the afternoon. Ray was feeling okay today, their mom was around, so everything was covered. Still, I didn't intend to do that.

This is just me checking in to let you know all is okay her.

I received several comments about the $25 for the field trip (class party is closer to the definition). We seem to be unanimous. I don't know if there's a solution as it seems to be widespread. I'm already dreading proms (for 3) to come.

Many of you wrote about the cost of school supplies. Our elementary schools here provide supplies but I send the girls well equipped as well. We occasionally receive an SOS from a teacher who is paying for additional supplies out of pocket and I always help. It's usually pencils and tissues. I've been guilty of forgetting the tissues in the backpacks so I look for a sale and send a few boxes.

I've read where some schools are brand specific on supplies. Nuts. They may want Dixon pencils and Elmer's paste but they'll have to settle for what I can afford or buy it themselves.

When I was in school, we had a high school band (no, we never made it to the Rose Bowl but we were adequate for the local football games and rallies). The school had a supply of musical instruments for loan. I didn't get the trumpet I wanted (it wasn't feminine enough but that's a rant for another time). I got to choose between the French horn and the bassoon because they're both difficult and I could read music. The French horn was easier to carry back and forth from home. I've never done much with it but I wasn't any worse than the worst of them.

I digress again. These days, families have to purchase the instruments. Rather like buying a pig in a poke with not knowing how much interest their child will have once the novelty wears off. Fortunately we can rent and turn the instrument in without it gathering dust or being sold at a yard sale. Good thing - Elcie's interest in the clarinet didn't last long. The other two are learning a little piano and note reading from me and the bell choir director. They sing at school but there's no organized choir. I think the High Schools do a little better but the parents incur a lot of expense.

Music and art have all but disappeared from many schools and it makes me sad. I'm no artist but I appreciate it and teach the girls what I can here. I am a musician of sorts and I know how closely music and math are tied in. I don't know if it's a problem of time, money, or lack of teachers but it needs to come back.

This started out as a short note just to say don't worry - we're fine. I should know better.

Good night

P. S. Almost forgot the sports wrapup - Giants bit the dust again. Lots of hitting - no pitching. BB hit two home runs to no avail. No game tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Andrea (no longer in Japan)

Her final (I think) post from Japan and then homeward bound by way of China to Canada.

UGH!The last sleep

I say ugh because we are leaving on a 4:30AM bus.UGH!It is the most direct way,as well as the cheapest,to the airport.So basically my first day in Shanghai will be sleeping.Ill try to post from China.

Andrea is the lovely woman listed as one of the adminstrators of the blog along with Jen and me. She's cheerfully updated my blogroll and we've become fast online friends.

I know you will join me in wishing her, her husband, and her darling daughter a safe and pleasant journey. May her return home be everything she has wished for.

I'd include a link but she may be incommunicado for a while. If you want to leave her a comment click on her link on the sidebar (or leave one here - I'll be sure she gets them)..

Good night again.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Some Bright News For A Change

First, before I forget, welcome to The Thinker who is from Toronto and New Hampshire, writes about her work with children, and has recently adopted a lovely black rabbit.

Ray's followup doctor appointment was this afternoon. He went in and told Dr. X his tale of woe about the refusal of Humana to cover Protonix and how he became sick again so quickly. He also mentioned that, for us, the cost would work a real hardship. Dr. X. said "Bush - he no good", reached into his drawer and came out with samples. What a relief. He may not be able to keep that up forever but it will give us some breathing space until his tests in May.

The girls are doing fine. Rebecca lectured me on the importance of an early bedtime next week for the tests. She suggested 6 p.m. I said I thought 13 hours might be overkill. We kept negotiating and eventually compromised on 7:30. If she goes right to sleep that will be 11-1/2 hours but I have a feeling all it will accomplish is to have a wide awake Rebecca at 5:00 a.m. insted of a few minutes before 7:00. We'll see. Rochelle has already delivered the healthy breakfast pronouncement. (They eat breakfast at school and it's quite nutritious). Rochelle thinks she should eat breakfast here and then again at the school.

Actually it's understandable. The school weighed and measured her today. 5'3" and 92 lbs. (Almost 7 stone to you, Alice). At her last pediatrician appointment she was a shade over 5' and 85 pounds. She surfs the refrigerator the minute she walks in from school. So do the other two these days, but she outdoes them. I think the school measurement might be off by 1/2 inch but I can almost watch her grow. She's head to head with Elcie, taller than me, and still growing. She and Elcie are sharing jeans - Rochelle has outgrown most of hers and I don't want to buy more now with warm weather coming up fast.

Rochelle is the same child who was worried about being fat just a few weeks ago. I think she's over it although I've noticed she's reasonable about what she puts in her mouth as long as there's enough of it. I'll still keep an eye on her but we may be over the hump for now.

Elcie is very excited about her trip. I'll wait and then have a quiet chat with her teacher sometime before the end of the school year about costs and kids who are left behind. I don't think I mentioned they're going to an Arcade and buying lunch, hence the $25. They're calling it a field trip but it's not; it's a party. That doesn't make it better - what kid wants to be excluded from a party? It's much more fun than a museum. I may suggest to the teacher that if it's just one class going, that she send a note to parents before finalizing plans. If it's a directive from above, there's not a lot I can do except protest after the fact.

I'm thinking about an early night for a change. I go through spells of sleeplessness but usually not for more than a couple of days at a time.

Mollie's sports report - Mets 4 - Giants 1. Barry hit his 2nd of year to no avail. We need relievers in the worst way.

Good night.

The Daily Fish Wrap

Once upon a time there was a newspaper column by that name. I wish I could remember when and where. Probably San Francisco Chronicle and possibly Herb Caen years ago - his column headers changed by the day.

Anyhow, today was better but a total loss so far as accomplishment is concerned.

I went back to bed for much of it and had enough leftovers from last night so didn't have to worry about cooking - just a little cleanup. Basically, I did nothing useful. Warding off a cold once again - maybe I have a head start on it.

The 5th graders begin testing next week. They brought home a list of suggestions for passing tests.

Plenty of rest
Healthy breakfast
Be prepared
Arrive on time
Don't waste time on what you don't know - keep on going
and 2 or 3 others I've forgotten (in 3 languages English, Spanish and one Asian) I don't know if it's Cambodian, Laotian, or Hmong, we have all three).

I wanted to add one more. When you have completed your test, roll it up in a little ball and place it gently in the circular file.

I restrained myself with great difficulty. I opted them out for a couple of years (at least Elcie and Rochelle in Special Day) but allowed myself to be convinced that it hurt the schools.

Elcie is going on a field trip this week. It will cost $25 which I will scrape up for her. I wonder about the parents who don't have $25 at the end of the month and possibly can't even budget at the beginning? Will half the class be left behind? If it were just me involved I'd protest and I may still - after the field trip. Elcie doesn't have much special going on.

With all the candy sales, spaghetti dinners, photos that cost three times as much as we could have done locally, there still isn't enough for a field trip?

No, I'm not starting another rant. I'll stop now.

Girls long since asleep - I'm following instructions about plenty of rest (for me that is). They have a nine o'clock bedtime during the week and usually Elcie's down before that.

Giants update for Mollie - we won - can't remember score 6-3? Maybe.

As soon as I hijack my camera back from number one son, I'll have some pics.

Not very inspired today - sorry.

Take care and good night (don't forget two other brief posts below this one).

Monday, April 24, 2006

525,600 Minutes (from Rent)

Kuri and Ping have a lovely post up about counting moments in our days.

After all my angst and trauma of late, it was wonderful to read. I think you'll enjoy it too.

Short Post - I May Be Back Later

Blogger was an invalid much of the day. I could read comments but they weren't coming into my mailbox and I couldn't respond in anyone else's comment boxes who uses Blogger.

I emailed the people I could.

Briefly to all of you. Thanks for the concern. I didn't mean to imply that we live in fear constantly although it's always lurking just under the surface.

What got to me more than the actual gunfire was my gentle, loving Rochelle's matter -of-fact reaction. The oh, well "no dead bodies". That should never come out of a child's mouth. Never.

I was right though. Today is better although I did the things I absolutely had to do and went back to bed. Not much sleep last night.

I'm getting this last word I may say on the subject for now (at least in a post) out of the way so I can go back to the daily doings, recipes, and memes.

Until the next time at least.

Much love to all


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Counting Down Once Again

Except for my unfortunate encounter with the bathtub, the week could have been much worse. Elcie and Rochelle had a great time with my friend Stacie, her mom, and assorted cats and dogs. They raved about Stacie's cooking - scrambled eggs for brunch yesterday and supermarket pizza for dinner. Just like home some nights but food always tastes better when one is on an adventure.

We've come up with the equivalent of "brunch" for one of those meals too late to be lunch and a little early for dinner but we can't decide whether to call it linner or dunch. Any preferences from the peanut gallery?

Another quiet day. I overslept and Ray wasn't up to church so we played hookey today. No, nothing wrong out of the ordinary but he tires easily and has a badly swollen hand from the needles. Ouch. Rebecca (the only one home) was a little disappointed so I took her with me to the store and then stopped at Jack-in-the-Box. Salads for me and Ray and a hamburger (no cheese please) kid meal for Rebecca. First french fries of the month. She's one up on the other two. And no they don't get to carry over the allotment from one month to the next. Use it or lose it is my motto.

Tomorrow we begin shoveling out the house, beginning with the girls and moving on to the floors, the tables, you get the idea. They've become quite good at picking up their own trash, dishes, wet towels, and dirty clothes which to me are the biggies. Next we'll work on rinsing the dishes but just getting them to the kitchen sink is something.

Rebecca spent much of the time hanging out with me. She loves adult conversation and probably would have made a perfect only child.

Watched my Giants once again snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory (while checking up on blogs and email of course). Does that count as multi-tasking? I didn't think so.

Had baked chicken with stuffing, green beans, and applesauce for linner/dunch. We're doing a pretty fair job of working around Ray's low fat/low salt requirements. Most of what I cook already falls into that category - just cutting back a little more.

We had one scary moment. R & R were playing across the street when my neighbor called to ask me if I heard the noise. What noise? She didn't know - firecrackers or gunfire - hard to tell.
I took off out the front door screaming for the girls. Over and over forgetting to hang up the phone. I was just heading out to look when they came around the corner of the house across the street, right where they were supposed to be, together and safe.

"Grandma, we heard the noise but so-and-so said it was just firecrackers". In April? Meantime all the other neighbors had surfaced either from the noise or my yelling, whatever, and our Sheriff's chopper was circling overhead. I asked them why they didn't run inside my neighbor's house or straight home as soon as they heard the noise. Around here, they know the drill. In the house, go to the back, stay away from windows. Their reply - "well, grandma, we were going to do that but we thought it was firecrackers and we didn't see any dead bodies so it was okay". My God. Starting over on safety rules that I should never have had to teach.

If there are no dead bodies, it's okay? What are they learning? Gunfire is not a nightly event around here and we haven't had a shooting in the immediate vicinity but we have far too much gang violence. My fear is of someone getting caught in the crossfire or by a stray bullet. It has happened in this city and one innocent kid died watching t.v. in her own living room.

There's nothing I can do about it. I can work to eliminate the gangs and the conditions that allow them to flourish of course but I can't dress the girls in armor and I can't keep them locked inside the house. I must let them be children as much as I possibly can.

So they roller skate, they ride their bikes, they play with their friends, they hold mini-yard sales with their old toys (more of a swap meet actually), and do all the other things kids of their age do. And I figuratively hold my breath.

They're now peacefully asleep, as safe as they can be. I look at them and want to weep for all the children of the world who are forced to grow up before their time or worse don't get to grow up at all.

And I should hit delete but I won't. Perhaps I needed to write it down. It's something I never did before I had the blog but it seems to help. Tonight I'll pray for no nightmares or "what ifs" and tomorrow will be a better day.

Thanks for listening to all this and take care everyone.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The House is Almost Empty

Elcie and Rochelle went to visit a friend early this afternoon and are spending the night. Rebecca was visiting with my friend and her daughter most of the afternoon.

It was so quiet. Of course they're gone during the day when school is in session but this was different; it's a weekend and they've been hanging around the entire week. I decided to take a leisurely bubble bath, ran the water, and then discovered that one of them had used something oily in the tub and I almost broke a leg right then and there. Managed to wipe enough of what it was to crawl in and out but it sure took any idea of relaxation out of my head. I think they might have decided to dump in some lotion. Rebecca says no and I'm waiting to ask Rochelle. If she did it, she gets to drag out the cleanser and scrub the tub (even though I had done most of it, it's the principle that counts).

Number 1 cat is staring at me from the doorway looking for an opportunity to head for my pillow without my spotting her. She'll probably succeed - she's sneaky.

The woman on the motorcycle in the comments is Laurie, a mom from the Detroit suburbs.

Welcome to j., (not to be confused with L.) although that's where I first ran across "j". Everyone follow that? J. is a mom, lives in the San Francisco Bay area, and likes Mozart. Obviously, I was hooked.

If I missed responding to any of the comments over the last couple of days, consider this a thank you to all. Ray still doing okay (Yes I know I've said that before, usually the day before he went back into hospital). Same if I missed welcoming anyone; sometimes I lose track and I'm way behind on the blogroll. Not a hint, my trusted friend Andrea - you should be focused on your major project right now and I should learn how to do it.

For anyone who doesn't know, Andrea in Japan will soon be Andrea back home in Canada with husband and daughter (and all those shoes). I'm sure the last thing to be packed will be her computer.

The storm predicted for last night never completely materialized although Lady Jan, one county south, reported strong winds. Now they're saying dry and calm with temps in the high 60's to low 70's. I can live with that.

I think my son Jim has fixed my stubborn camera. The only problem is he borrowed it to do so. (He put in batteries and must have the magic touch because it worked fine for him.) Now I have to remind him to bring it back - not an easy thing. Their granddaughter was being baptized and they wanted pictures they didn't have to wait for. For any of you who don't know, they're expecting their own baby in May so their grandchild will be older than the baby. The baby is an uncle the minute he pops out. My youngest son Tim is not a lot older than my oldest grandchild (girls' dad) so I have very little room to talk.

We have a new meme (very little thinking involved) right below this post. A couple of people have responded already.

Giants won today. Barry, the person most people love to hate, hit his first home run of the season.

With that exciting announcement (hi fellow Giants fan Mollie), it's time for me to stop rambling.

Good night all.

What time of day are you?

You Are Sunset

Even though you still may be young, you already feel like you've accomplished a lot in life.
And you feel free to pave your own path now, and you're not even sure where it will take you.
Maybe you'll pursue higher education in a subject you enjoy - or travel the world for a few years.
Either way, you approach life with a relaxed, open attitude. And that will take you far!
What Time Of Day Are You?

Thanks to Angela for the loan of her meme.

She's a nanny with interesting stories to tell. Check her out when you have a chance.

I'll be back.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I Spoke Too Soon

Yes, he's home, no, they're not doing the tests on Monday.

He's scheduled for May 8th which means if we can't figure out his meds here, he'll probably be right back where we started a few days ago. Doesn't mean I'm not glad to have him here but once again I can't figure out what they're doing.

To all of you who have already commented, thanks and I'm sorry if I misled anyone. I was parroting what they told Ray earlier.

I may not have anything more until tomorrow. Quiet day with the usual stuff. We do have a storm warning for the south part of the valley but heading this general direction. Heavy rain with 1-1/2 inch hail. Whoopee. It's still Fresno County and we have one county (Madera where Lady Jan lives) between us and Fresno. It it shows up, it will be a while yet. If it hits late at night, I'll have at least two kids plus Ray plus two cats piled in with me. We have one of those ridged roof covers on our patio (next to their bedroom) and hail or even heavy rain sounds like machine gun fire out there.

Please hold a good thought for both of our waterlogged counties.

Talk to you later.

Home Again

By the time I finish typing this, Ray should be home for the weekend. A friend took my van and went after him. I'd just gotten back from visiting and they had said they wanted him until they could run gall bladder tests on Monday.

Someone a little brighter figured out there was no point in keeping him there over the weekend so he'll be home and I hope he'll be okay until he can get back there.

Someone had either left a note in the comments or emailed me suggesting gall bladder. Sorry I can't remember now who - it was during the hospital stay before this one or even the one before that. They all blur together in my mind. Anyway, I didn't think he still had one and neither did he. Shows you what we know. I guess the docs can tell so that's the next thing to be checked.

More later. I have a ton of clothes on the bed to hang (thinking I had more time to do it) and I'd like him to have one small corner to fall into.



Earth Day Tomorrow

The link is to the World Wildlife Fund.

I think the girls and I will be picking up trash in the gutters on our street. We've done it before and even though it's just symbolic, they learn and enjoy at the same time.

Stealing from Stephanie This Time (I have no shame)

Stephanie has a lovely spiritual (as opposed to religious) blog dedicated to Surviving the Workday. Since for many of us, our home is also our workplace, I borrowed her latest post to start our weekend off with a smile and a bit of hope.

Salutation to the Dawn

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendor of achievement;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

- Attributed to Kalidasa
A Hindu Prayer

Friday Cat Blogging - Another Post Below This One

If you take a look at this post from last Friday, you'll notice the same supercilious expression on the face of the cat.

Nothing has changed with Ray which is not a bad thing. Means nothing is worse and he's in a ward, not the step down unit. Maybe home tomorrow? We'll see.

Today was peaceful and warm with more frolicking under the garden hose for the girls. They're all asleep (Rebecca is back in my bed again) I should sneak a pillow under her as soon as I'm sure she's sound asleep. She'll have a horrid crick in her neck in the morning if I don't.

I actually did some cooking (country style ribs marinated in Caribbean jerk sauce and baked). Very different from my usual thing but good. I saw the bottled sauce on sale and decided to try it (along with a couple of other sauces for $1/bottle). It's a good way to find out what we'll like without a huge investment in either ingredients or a more expensive version of the product. Polished off most of the leftover beans and used the sauce from the ribs over the leftover rice. Then I cleaned out the fridge.

I grew up in a town and an era in which Franco-American spaghetti was considered exotic. My mom had a good sense of balance and nutrition but the words "adventures in dining" were not a part of her vocabulary. Imagine my awe when I moved to San Francisco at 20 (1958) and discovered food.

I've introduced the girls to as many types of food as are available here and use many different seasonings with varying degrees of success. I do the same with music and art. Some may rub off and even if they're not too interested just yet, they'll remember.

How did I go off on that tangent? I think it's called Ann's scattergun approach to blogging.

Except for Ray's hospital stay, this vacation week has gone well. The weather has cooperated and, for the most part, so have the girls. The house has suffered of course but they've pitched in with a little nudging so it's not all that bad. Still, I won't mind seeing Monday. Does that make me a bad granny? I hope not.

Once again, I'm going to find some music and read for a while. Maybe a dvd for a change instead of just audio. Just managed to find an opera with a happy ending where nobody dies. Mozart, of course. Marriage of Figaro. It has a dark undercurrent but overall the good guys and gals win - very unusual in opera.

Thanks to all for the comments. I hope I got back to all of you one way or the other.

Take care everyone.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Short PG-13 Post - I'll be back later.

I remembered what Rebecca said that had me cracking up (when I should have been cautioning her on "language").

We're in car day before yesterday.

Rochelle: So and so called me a "ho".

Rebecca: Rochelle, that's "whore" w-h-o-r-e.

Ann: Rebecca, where did you learn to spell that word?

Rebecca: Doesn't everyone?

Ann: Speechless.

Too much of that name calling goes on around here (is it everywhere?) which is upsetting and once I could speak without laughing, we had a talk about what that word means, no matter the spelling. They already knew pretty much. I'm all for sex ed and open discussion but it's a shame they have to know things like that quite this early in life.

I'll be back.


I received a comment (see comments) from Dawn Marie and I answered her in email. Once I looked at it I decided to copy it here. The exchange between the girls was funny but it's a symptom of something darker.

I'm on the fringe of a "bad" section of town with all that entails.
The kids hear these words and worse every day on the playground and on
the block. Once the word comes out of their "innocent little mouths",
we have "the talk". They can tell me more about gang colors and
insignia, etc. than most adults know. We have that talk as well.

Or, if they ask the question, they get the simplified version of the
answer. Better from me than the twisted sexist, racist, version they
pick up from their peers. And I hope it prevents them from using
these same epithets on other children. I know they are a little young
and it saddens me to hear it but it's the times.

I was still blown away and that seldom happens.

I may have just written my next post.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I Can't Resist Sharing This - Regular Boring Post Follows

I was just looking through my mailbox and spotted this. I was afraid I'd forget it tomorrow so I'm adding it here. My former neighbor sends me a lot of pics and jokes - some have already appeared here. This is another of her contributions:

(Just looked behind me - a Rebecca is sound asleep in my bed and a cat is sound asleep in my chair. Now what?)

Some examples of why the human race has probably evolved as far as possible. These are actual instruction labels on consumer goods... (Is there a special category of Darwin Awards for these? - Ann)

On Sears hairdryer:
Do not use while sleeping.
(Gee, that's the only time I have to work on my hair!)

On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
(The shoplifter special!)

On a bar of Dial soap:
Directions: Use like regular soap.
(and that would be how?)

On some Swann frozen dinners:
Serving suggestion: Defrost.
(But it's 'just' a suggestion!)

On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert: (printed on bottom of the box)
Do not turn upside down.
(Too late! you lose!)

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:
Product will be hot after heating.
(Are you sure? Let's experiment.)

On packaging for a Rowenta iron:
Do not iron clothes on body.
(But wouldn't that save more time?)(Whose body?)

On Boot's Children's cough medicine:
Do not drive car or operate machinery.
(We could do a lot to reduce the construction accidents if we just kept those 5 year olds off those fork lifts.)

On Nytol sleep aid:
Warning: may cause drowsiness.
(One would hope!)

On a Korean kitchen knife:
Warning: keep out of children.
(hmm...something must have gotten lost in the translation...)

On a string of Christmas lights:
For indoor or outdoor use only.
(As opposed to use in outer space.)

On a food processor:
Not to be used for the other use.
(Now I'm curious.)

On Sainsbury's peanuts:
Warning: contains nuts.
(but no peas?)

On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.
(somebody got paid big bucks to write this one...)

On a Swedish chainsaw:
Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.
(Raise your hand if you've tried this...)

On a child's Superman costume:
Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.
(Oh go ahead! That's right, destroy a universal childhood belief.)

Short Post About Nothing Much - Update

Wow, my birthday is almost over and I don't feel a day older, let alone a year.

Thanks to all who sent birthday wishes. I even discovered a couple of people, Meg and Theresa, who have the same birthday.

I had dinner with my friend Dawn early this evening and then went over to see Ray just in time to see what they were feeding him. Not bad for hospital fare. He'll eat anything and I could see he was hungry and too polite to eat while I was standing there so I picked up his clothes (to wash and take back) and left. He seems to be doing okay.

I have birthday cake thanks to girls' mom who made two - one chocolate, one vanilla. The chocolate came out more like brownies so she started over.

It's been warm today - enough that the girls were in their bathing suits playing under the garden hose for a little while in late afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer yet and then a ten degree drop (F) the next day. I want to get more of their light weight clothing out but closet space is limited and I don't want them to freeze if winter hasn't left for good.

I'll probably leave a few sweatshirts and sweaters on hangers and put the rest up (or pass on) so I'll have space. Next week though, I'm procrastinating.

Rebecca forgot to turn off the water in the bathroom sink (which doesn't drain well) so we had a flood. Took eight bath towels to soak up which, added to the towels they used from playing in the water, made for yet more laundry. It's done and folded; I'll deal with it tomorrow. In case you haven't noticed, more procrastination.

Giants just went down in flames 10-3 AZ. Grrr.

Rebecca said something so funny earlier and I can't remember what it was. I should carry a recorder around. She just made my bed for me. Yes, I'd done it earlier but she crawled in and I didn't bother to do it a second time. Now she's putting lotion on her feet. Says she has dry skin. She and Rochelle are both dry skin girls - not Elcie though. Oops - wasn't lotion, it was my Oil of Olay body wash. She is now rinsing her feet and I'll show her which is the lotion. She can read just fine - she wasn't paying attention to anything but the smell. Hope she doesn't flood the bathroom again. The water is still running. She probably decided on a complete bath.

Rambling again and I'm a little tired. Talk to you tomorrow.

P. S. Jim and Tim just came by to wish me Happy Birthday. Neat.

Does Any of This Sound Familiar?

From Jacqui, another great-granny and a frequent visitor here comes this little morality tale.

She wrote it about life in her country but it rings just as true in the good old USofA and much more humorous than my rant of the other day about medical care.

Flogging a dead horse.

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed from generation to generation, dictates that when one discovers one is riding a dead horse the best strategy is to dismount.

But it seems the Indian way has been ditched in contemporary Australian tertiary education and government circles and replaced by more advanced strategies.

These are a few examples~~~~

Buy a stronger whip.........Change riders.........Threaten the horse with termination........Appoint a committee to study the horse.

Arrange a visit to other countries to see how others ride a dead horse........Lower the standards so dead horse can be included........Reclassify the dead horse as "living-impaired"..............

Hire outside contractors to ride dead horse.........Harness several horses together so as to increase speed..........Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance............

Conduct a productivity study to see if lighter riders improve the dead horse's performance.........Declare that the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy............

Rewrite the expected performance requirements............And should all else fail............Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position!!!!

This is almost too close to the truth to be funny.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just Checking In For Now

Almost midnight once again and a quiet day. Nothing new about Ray yet - maybe tomorrow.

Dawn and I took all the kids to the dollar store today. Party time. They each had $2.00 to blow and now that they've all learned what is junk and what is worth the buck, they do quite well with their choices. Elcie found two books, Rochelle found a cool red hat and even cooler sunglasses (that's Rochelle all over) and Rebecca found something (can't remember what now) and saved her other dollar.

Dawn invited me to dinner (just me) tomorrow night unles Ray gets out and then both of us if he's well enough. It won't be completely kidless; her little girl is six but it will be a break. Other than that, a very quiet birthday probably.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and the birthday wishes. I've cooled down a little since I wrote the post last night but I'm still not happy.

Everyone, it seems, has been writing about the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Very few left now to commemorate the occasion. Used to be an annual gathering at a landmark called Lotta's Fountain on Market Street. When I lived there it drew a sizable group but now very few are left. The local news interviewed a 108 year old woman, still looking and sounding good who remembered. Wow.

I was in the city for the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. (That's the one that stopped the World Series and took out a small section of the Bay Bridge). Scary but we were all okay with no real damage. Others weren't so lucky.

I'm going to try once again for a reasonably early night. A little reading, some music, and sleep.

Welcome kj and thanks for the comment. I'll try to remember the link tomorrow.

Good night - take care.

What You've Always Wanted to Hear

Zay N. Smith - Chicago Sun-Times Quick Takes today April 18

Stress alert!

Today is National Stress Awareness Day. (anniversary of SF 1906 quake as well - Ann)

Which should make anyone at least a little uneasy

Thanks to all of you who have sent birthday greetings for tomorrow. No big secret - I'll be 68 (going on 15 some days and 90 on others).

Recipes from ipodmomma

I tried to go back and add this to the earlier post but was having problems with edit.

Click on the title for Mollie's special cake and an ambrosia (heavenly hash) recipe handed down from her grandmother.

My Arkansas aunt used to make ambrosia on special occasions, wouldn't share the recipe, and mine was never as good. This one sounds like the one I liked so much.

Three more posts below this one. You are warned.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Okay, I'm Over It For The Time Being

If you're reading from the latest post down (as I usually do thereby confusing myself), I just posted a long rant (about Ray and his lack of medical care which has put him back in hospital once again). There is also a cute little day after Easter cartoon just below that.

Welcome to Kendra Lynn from Michigan who has two cute little girls.

And also to Lion Mom, a SAHM from Texas who works harder than anyone should have to and does it by choice. I first noticed her at Building the Bigger Family and I've been lurking with an occasional comment ever since. She's amazing.

Today has been a little nuts. On my first sleep in morning (kids on vacation), my phone rang at 6:30 a.m. My younger son, Tim, had spent the weekend at his brother's house and when my dil tried to start her car to take them both to work at Barnes & Noble, absolutely nothing happened. Dead battery. I managed to wake up by the time I got there - no luck with the car so I drove both of them to work. Came back home, started laundry, and put away four baskets of clean clothes that I had let pile up over the weekend (well maybe a little longer). I hope they have purchased a battery.

Took Ray to doctor who decided to admit him to hospital as soon as they had an available bed. He went in around 4 this afternoon (see rant below).

We managed to eat our way through most of yesterday's leftovers and I have the ham bone cooking along with navy beans and an onion for tomorrow. My vampire Rochelle just came in to tell me the stove was on. Good thing - the beans needed more water. She asked for tuna glop - told her later this week. Kids are easily pleased - tuna glop is a no brainer and they love it. I just reminded her it's 11:30 (almost) and bedtime. Hug and kiss and off she went one more time.

My Giants managed to blow a 7-0 lead, fell behind 9-7, and still managed to win a game they didn't deserve. They do that to me every season.

I have a feeling I may be up for a while so I started yet more laundry. Where does it come from? My dryer balls are behaving nicely - they've settled in and now consider my dryer their home. No runaways lately. I may try to do a little reading - sometimes that makes me sleepy.

I'm listening to the Triumphal March from Aida. Just put on a long playlist - all opera but mixed so I don't know what will be coming up next.

On my list of weird things I should have added that I'm equally fond of Conway Twitty and Kiri te Kanawa. (and ABBA and Peter Paul and Mary and baroque). Just depends on my mood at the time. Tonight is opera night at the homestead.

Take care everyone. I know some of you are traveling so safe journey and return.

Prepare For the Rant - I'll Be Back With Something More Cheerful

I don't talk a lot of politics over here - if you're interested in that, it's all over at the "other" blog. Granny has naturally evolved into a family friendly, chatty place which is how I'd prefer to keep it most of the time. It doesn't mean that politics doesn't creep in here and this is one of those times. I'll probably post it on isamericaburning as well - I'm that angry at the moment.

On Ray's last hospital stay, they determined one of his main problem was ulcers. The constant sickness and pain was undermining him which in turn made him easy prey for all the other ailments. Rocket science, folks - I'd been saying that for a while.

They began treating him with a proton inhibitor and most of the ulcer symptons disappeared. He came home with a prescription for Protonix which our Medicare drug plan refused to honor. They said he had to try other medications first. What do they think we've been doing? The medication costs $140/month and he had a doctor's appointment scheduled for today so we decided to wait for the doctor to see if there was something else that would be covered. If there wasn't, we would have paid for it somehow.

He started feeling worse on Saturday and missed church on Sunday - just hung out as I watched him feeling worse and worse.

Today the doctor put him back in the hospital. Not because he couldn't be treated at home with medication but because Medicare will pay for medicine administered in the hospital. Back on Protonix from a hospital bed.

What kind of insanity is this? It took almost two years for Social Security to agree that he is permanently disabled, another long stretch before he qualified for oxygen at home, and now they're doing it again.

The bean counters have been instrumental in destroying his health. They're also idiots. To save the cost of Social Security, oxygen, and now one prescription @ $140/month they have incurred the cost of I don't know how many hospital stays - I've lost track. It's been either four or five since the beginning of the year I think and several before that.

I know that others have it much worse and in many ways our life is good. But I wonder if our leaders have ever read the Bible they profess to love so much. (I promise I won't do a lot of Bible thumping on this blog but these verses could apply to anyone)

From the 25th Chapter of Matthew: (KJV because I like the poetry of the language)

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me


A Cartoon Before I Get Down to Serious Ranting

I hope you'll appreciate thie trials and tribulations of the Easter Bunny on the morning after. Some guys get no respect.

Thanks to Pissed off Patricia who visits on Is America Burning but, unless she's lurking, hasn't stopped off here. Hi Patricia, if you're out there.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday Night

Kids are sleeping (I think) and I'm not too far from it.

It's been a good day although our rain came back (with another rainbow).

Ray wasn't up to leaving the house today so Rochelle, Rebecca, and I went to the early service. Very nice. We have two bell choirs - one for kids that the girls belong to and another for adults. The adults played the Hallelujah Chorus to end the service. Only about 10 of them which meant that some had 3 or 4 bells to keep up with. If they missed a note, I sure didn't hear it.

My menu changed. I was tired so we stopped at the super and picked up potato salad, a cellophane package of Caesar salad, and two small cakes (with Light Whipped Cream of course). With the baked beans and ham, everyone was happy, especially me. The idea of actually pouring and stirring and all that was a little too much. Sometimes it's good to be a little flexible by nature.

The girls had a great time with their Zip-loc Easter baskets. More candy than they needed but they always share it around and some gets saved for another day or two.

Lazy day otherwise. Watched some of the baseball game (Giants won) and played bingo with the girls. Elcie won two games straight, one a blackout. They had wanted Pictionary but I said another day. Bingo was a compromise - it doesn't take a lot of thinking and yelling.

Watched West Wing (always). It's running down and has been for a while but I'll hang in until the end. Three episodes to go.

I've been hearing from some of you in the later time zones (almost everyone is later than California) about your days too. Sounds like a good Easter for all so far.

Take care - kids on vacation for the next seven days which means no homework or early hours to deal with. Of course the tradeoff is seven days of kids. Nothing is ever free.

Good night all-

Happy Easter

The frowns are because they had to hold still while I tried to get the green light to stay on long enough to take any pictures at all. At least we got something.

For many of you in the Far East and Down Under, it's already Monday - I just checked. Hope your day was a happy one.

To the UK and the rest of you across the pond, hope you're getting to relax.

To the USA and all my friends up north, have a great day.

I may get back tonight - depends on how the day goes.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Have To Find Out What the Problem Is With My Camera

The green light won't stay on. It switches to red and I know the batteries are okay - it may be in the switch. Frustrating and I keep forgetting to go back and ask Circuit City.

I managed to get a couple of shots of Rochelle, Destiny, and part of Rebecca (her pony tail) before it gave up completely. Not great, but you can get the idea. Destiny is my friend Dawn's daughter, almost six years old now. The videos came out better but I haen't figured out how to do them yet.

Anyway, a great time was had by all as you can see by Rochelle's face. The "puffy kits" were better than I expected. A pen that writes in three dimensions so their designs were "raised" on the eggs. Destiny started out with a happy face on hers and the other girls made designs. We ended up with only four kids after all which meant a dozen eggs each with a few left over. The three younger girls decided to hide their own and let the others find them. Fine with me. Elcie stashed hers in the fridge for later consumption.

I didn't get much prep work done for tomorrow so dinner may run a little later than usual. No big deal. A precooked ham is simple and I can throw the rest of it together easily in the morning after church. We can still eat by three o'clock or so and the kids will be munching before then. (Not entirely on candy; I'm not quite that laid back).

We just set the Easter baskets out - I almost forgot until I was posting the pictures. The bunny has gone hi-tech this year and our baskets are zip-locks. You think the kids will care? Heck no.

In past years, I've always found containers that would serve for something else - little pails and things like that. Now that they're older, most of the containers are a little juvenile and I don't like the prepackaged cheap jobs. I'm sure that, as with Santa and the tooth fairy, they're humoring me or not wanting to destroy my fantasies. I can live with that.

Don't think I've seen Feathers before but I could be wrong. She's in the midwest USA with lots of pets and photos on her blog including one remarkable cat that you'd have to see to believe. Hi, Feathers.

It's past midnight and tomorrow will be busy. To those of you who celebrate, have a blessed Easter. To everyone else, enjoy what's left of your weekend.

Update on earlier post - L. just popped up. It's a calla lily. Perfect for Easter.

What Is It?

To all you horticulturists out there.

Before I tackle the egg dyeing photos, does anyone know what this is? It looks like some kind of lily and it's growing wild along the side of my house. Trust me, I didn't plant it - nothing lives that I plant.

It's pretty, whatever it is. Posted by Picasa

Six weird things (tagged by at least one somebody)

I knew I had done this one before. Sure enough, I did a blog search for "weird" and found too many entries which proves I'm weird because I was usually talking about me or the girls.

There was another meme about the same time - "five weird things about your kids" (or nieces or nephews, whatever) if anyone wants to take a crack at it.

I dug out my old post and added one. It's cheating I suppose but many of you are new since early January so it will be new to you. The comments in parentheses are updates or explanations.

Number 1

I get a hangover from sparkling cider. (Woke up on New Year's Day with a headache).

Number 2

I write posts about closets. (Complete with photos if you're interested).

Number 3

I hate makeup and long hair and dresses. (No big surprise to anyone who knows me). I own one all purpose dress, one lipstick, one compact, and one eyeshadow. When I was interviewed by the local paper a while back, I had to borrow my daughter's lipstick for the photo. I broke down after that and bought one.

Could that be 3, 4, & 5?

Number 4 (I share this with a lot of people - maybe it's not weird)

I want my food separated on my plate and I can't stand eggs and pancakes on the same plate. The yolk gets mixed with the syrup. No way. (Amazing how many people commented in agreement, especially on egg yolk and syrup).

Number 5

I can't climb higher than the second or third rung on a stepladder. If one foot can't touch the ground, I'm uncomfortable. ( I drive across the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge [not the orange one, that's the Golden Gate] with my eyes fixed on the bumper in front of me and looking out of the corners of my eyes for anyone cutting in. There might be a Bay out there but you couldn't prove it by me.)

Number 6 - this one is new - we only needed 5 last time. Inflation is everywhere.

I like Peeps. Purple, pink, yellow, bunnies, chicks, I'm a sucker for all of them. I like cotton candy as well - don't care how unhealthy they both are. Peeps once a year and cotton candy on zoo trips or maybe at a ballgame are not going to kill anyone. I put marshmallows on my sweet potato casserole too and toast them at picnics. Awaiting the food police as I write this.

7. Because I cheated.

I've been chatting with an Australian friend who didn't realize Americans knew about Australian rules football. Sure we do and I love it. That's probably a little weird here but not in Australia. Their referees have a way of announcing goals by putting both arms straight up in the air as if they were on invisible strings. Cracks me up every time. And they kick the ball for scores. We do too but they do it routinely, not just on field goals and point after.

I'll probably be back with pictures of messy kids and eggs. Camera still acting up but I managed to get a couple.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

That's my computer chair she has appropriated. Think I can blame Spunky for the slit? Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Anyone Have an Answer?

I received this from my friend Lindsay in Australia tonight:


Hi blogger friends this is Rachael & Lindsay here can anyone help us with a blog tech question?

We would like to sort our archived articles into categories rather than date ranges. (Eg: Poetry, Science, General Interest rather than 12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004 )

I've looked in blogger help and can't find specific instructions on this. I've noticed that some of you have your archives sorted in this way.

Your help would be much appreciated!!

You can find Rachael & Lindsay here

I made three pans of lasagne this morning (with Ray's help - we do an assembly line). Two for the potluck and one for here. I had an appointment with Human Services in the afternoon (that's the p.c. term for the welfare people) and then the dinner tonight. Ray was a little tired so I took the girls.

Pot luck first, then the Seder.

It was wonderful. The Rabbi had a table with all the symbols of the Seder and Passover. He used the tradition of the Seder as a bridge between Judaism and Christianity.

We all shared "charoset", a symbolic dessert of apples, walnuts, wine or grape juice, and cinnamon between two bites of matzoh with a dab of "bitter root" (horseradish). Rochelle loved it and wanted more. The Rabbi maintains this was the original sandwich, not the concoction invented by the Earl of Sandwich.

Afterward, the Rescue Mission choir sang and then our small choir (the one Elcie sings in). She was joined by her sisters this time.

I'd forgotten about the foot washing ceremony which followed. Elcie had done it before but not the little girls. Elcie and I washed each other's crummy feet and then Rochelle and Rebecca, giggling a little but that was okay.

It was more moving than I would have thought. One of our lesbian members washed the feet of a retired school teacher. I had tears in my eyes as I wondered why people everywhere can't keep it that simple. The Rabbi and our pastors were joking together and the people from the Mission (fundamentalist) fit right in. It was one of those evenings which restored my faith, at least briefly, that we may survive the hatred and insanity.

Ray still seems to be doing well.

I have worked out my Easter menu somewhat. Ham of course and probably sweet potatos and baked beans (courtesy of the Messrs Bush - no, not that one) with some kind of salad. Slaw? Jello? I'll figure it out. Elcie requested cranberry sauce. Unusual but why not? Easter is not the production for me that Thanksgiving or Christmas are. It will probably be just us since both the boys are working that day. I'll invite them for leftovers if they're not too tired.

Elcie enjoyed her field trip yesterday to the high school to watch their drama club perform Schoolhouse Rock. Said she liked it better than the dvd.

One more day of school before spring break. Party day for all three tomorrow. I'm sending napkins and cups with Rebecca, cookies with Elcie, and chips with Rochelle. At least they didn't wait until tomorrow morning to let me know and one teacher actually sent a note a few days ahead.

I have a new visitor - I'll post the link to her blog later. We had a glitch. Hi Betty W. (Love to Dance)from Oklahoma.

Past midnight of a long day. I should probably go to bed. Take care, everyone.

Just What You've Always Wanted - Update

Yes, it's another meme. A shorty this time. No embarassing questions, just your birthdate. You don't even need the year.

From DawnMarie who found it at Northernbound.

Search your birthday minus the year at Wikipedia and list 3 events, 2 births, and one death. If you google your birth date, Wikipedia should be the first entry. It was when I did it.

Here's mine:


April 19


Bridget Bishop witchcraft trial - Salem, MA 1692

Battle of Lexington & Concord - 1775 (still a state holiday in Massachusetts, I believe). It's Patriot's day. (See below)

Oklahoma City bombing - 1995. (It's also the anniversary of the Branch Davidian fire at Waco).


Jayne Mansfield - 1933 (does everyone know she was Mariska Hargitay's mom?)

Tim Curry - 1946 (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

Deaths - (I had 3 of them and forgot to enter any)

George Gordon, Lord Byron - 1824


On way to Seder/potluck shortly with two big dishes of lasagne. Lovely spring day with no rain. I'll probably be back later if I'm still conscious.

Alice once again

I seem to be the official go-between. Alice was able to post before her internet went down again. She'll be back Tuesday. Meantime, if all of you who read her blog start right now, you may be able to finish her post by next Tuesday when she returns.

And that is a great example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Alice, are you listening?

We love you.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My friend, Ms Sisyphus has entered the Lost Blog Contest.
She can be found here and the details of the contest here.

She's writing a continuing narrative (or soap opera if you will) about an historical figure. Our mission is to discover which one from the clues she provides.

So far, she has three chapters written and I'm hooked. Take a look and see what you can do with it. It's fun. But don't read chapter 3 first, that would be cheating. Scroll down a couple of posts.

All three girls will attend the same middle school. Still working on transportation. Pays to have friends in high places and to have been a thorn in the side of the schools for years.

Talk to you later.


An anonymous friend sent me this earlier today.

Guys, hope you know we're just having a little fun here.

Happy IVGLDSW Day!

Today is International Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman's Day

Remember this motto to live by:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a wonderful day!

And she added this:

To the Girls !!

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering
what happened.
Cora Harvey Armstrong-

Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out. But I can
usually shut her up with cookies.

The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy.
Helen Hayes (at 73)-

I refuse to think of them as chin hairs. I think of them as
stray eyebrows.
Janette Barber

My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first one
being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
Erma Bombeck

Old age ain't no place for sissies.
Bette Davis

A man's got to do what a man's got to do. A woman must do
what he can't.
Rhonda Hansome

The phrase "working mother" is redundant.
Jane Sellman

Every time I close the door on reality, it comes in through
the windows.
Jennifer Unlimited

Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and
your body starts falling apart.
Caryn Leschen

If you can't be a good example -- then you'll just have to be
a horrible warning.

If high heels were so wonderful, men would still be wearing
Sue Grafton

I'm not going to vacuum 'til Sears makes one you can ride on.
Roseanne Barr

When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men
invade another country.
Elayne Boosler

Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.
Maryon Pearson

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Just Checking In

Midnight and beddy-bye for me.

Thanks to all of you for the comments on the girls' pictures. It may be considered gauche to brag about our kids but as I said on another blog earlier today, I'm a granny - that's different. It's okay to drag out the pictures.

Ray still doing well and I've had a normal day except for oversleeping this morning. Elcie missed her bus for the first time in a couple of years I think and I drove her to school. A little late but she got there. I think I woke up ahead of the alarm and turned it off and went back to bed without ever waking up.

Went to our PFLAG meeting tonight. We watched a video called "Your Mother is a Lesbian, Here's Your Lunch, Now Go to School. It's the story of a former minister (at least former in her church at that time, she may still be a minister) who "came out" while she was still married with children. Her ex- husband stood with her every step of the way after their divorce and her children obviously adore her. Her parents and twin sister were part of the video and talked about the change in their viewpoints over the years. It was beautiful.

We talked (generally) about families; the ones who love and support their kids and the ones who don't. I can't imagine not loving my kids (even my problem kids - not you Tim or Jim) and it breaks my heart to hear some of the stories. With some, it was the elephant in the living room; never mentioned. With others, their families had disowned and turned against them.

I just don't get it.

We're still working on getting all three girls in the same school. I can ask the District for a change in school assignment for Rebecca. I'll plead unusual circumstances and see if anyone is listening. If she could ride the bus with Rochelle, fine; otherwise, I'll drive the two of them. I could drive Elcie but handling her wheelchair in and out twice a day is too much for me. Possibly she could leave it at school during the week which is what we did in elementary.

My eyes are closing - probably trying to tell me to call it a night.

I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Alice in UK

Alice asked me to please tell anyone who usually reads her blot that's she's okay - her internet is completely down and she'll be back if they ever get it fixed.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Here's Elcie

Elcie Marie - Late March 2006 - 7th grade - 13 years old

I almost forgot to put these on here. They're one at a time because blogger didn't want to cooperate.

A short meme and a brief (for me) post also follow.

AnnPosted by Picasa

Here's Rochelle Leann

Rochelle - Late March 2006 - 5th Grade - 11 years old

I'm not too happy with the effects on this one but I fiddled with it as much as I plan to. The origninal is better. Oh well. Posted by Picasa

Here's Rebecca

Rebecca - Late March 2006 - 5th Grade - 10 years old Posted by Picasa

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It's eased up to drizzles but they're expected to continue through Friday. Merced and six other counties were finally declared disaster areas by the state today.

Which is rather how I feel. Kidding of course, I'm just a little tired. We're watching the first half of a mini-series of The Ten Commandments. In addition to space stuff, Ray loves the Biblical epics. Elcie does too so we're taping it for her. I don't think old Cecil B. DeMille would have much to worry about if he were still around. Or maybe it's just me. It's been running for 1-1/2 hours and so far they haven't even left for the Red Sea. They've turned Moses into an overanxious worrywart (maybe he was, I don't know).

Ray still doing well although I'm almost afraid to say that out loud. Girls asleep (of course). Elcie has finished her standardized tests (boo, hiss) but still has a homework free week as reward. They will have 10 days off beginning Saturday. The next county down (or at least some of their schools) are off this week.

Looks like Rochelle will be in the same school as Elcie next year. We're been working on it and on trying to get Rebecca there as well. The neighborhood school they would normally attend is the worst (as far as I'm concerned) of the four middle schools in the city.

I'd like to keep Rochelle and Rebecca in the same school even though they'll be in different classes because Rochelle will stay in special day classes. Just the logistics of two different middle schools makes me shudder. Elcie is transported door to door. I'd have to take Rochelle over to her elementary school to catch a bus for the same middle school as Elcie because she can't ride on the "wheelchair" bus. Then, if Rebecca can't be with them, I'd have to drive her to Hoover, the neighborhood school. If I have to do that, I might as well drive all three, I hope they can work something out.

Well, if I wasn't tired before I am now just thinking about all that.

Left you a meme on the post below this.

Take care.

What European City Are You?

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.
What European City Do You Belong In?

I don't know about the pub crawl but Dublin sounds okay to me.

What about you?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

One Busy Weekend

With all the trauma the past week, I totally spaced the PFLAG yard sale on Saturday. My son Jim called me Saturday morning to see if I was there helping and could check on baby equipment, especially a crib. I not only wasn't there, I'd forgotten it. I hung up and my other son called to tell me he didn't have to work until 2:30 and would I like to pick him up for the sale. Sure, why not.

I took Rochelle and Rebecca with me, Elcie was feeling lazy for which I was grateful (3's a lot) and we went over to the sale. Fortunately, they had plenty of help and most people who show up at sales are early birds. We ended up spending more than we intended. The baby monitor and car seat were a great deal; I'm not so sure about the golf clubs. For a baby? Nope. Tim and his brother talked on the phone and decided with two sets of clubs at $10/bag, they might take up golf. That should thrill Jim's wife with a new baby soon to arrive. At least they have two teenage girls at home with lots of experience in baby sitting.

The girls picked up a bunch of odds and ends (they need a few more of those) and a couple of little treasures for Elcie. At least we contributed some cash if not much physical help.

We took all of Jim's stuff to his house and then decided on breakfast at IHOP. Tim wanted to hang out with us so we went shoe shopping for the girls. Did very well - one pair of semi-dressy shoes each (okay for school and also for church or other special events). Guessed on Elcie's size but usually what fits Rochelle will fit her as long as it's not tight across the instep and has some support.

By then it was close to time to drop Tim at Barnes & Noble. I had just remembered they didn't have anything new for Easter. It's not a requirement but I try for one new outfit for each in the spring.

Elcie and Rochelle are out of kids' sizes and into the juniors so Rebecca tagged along in that section of Factory 2 U. We found two long crinkly skirts; one in bright orange (Rochelle) and one dark grey with metallic vertical stripes (Elcie) and found tops to match both. Paler orange for Rochelle and solid black for Elcie. Classy but still age appropriate. On to Rebecca. She's still a kids' size 10 or 12 at most and it was hard to find something in the little kids' section that suited. Finally located a pair of light aqua capris and a silky matching shirt. Dressy looking but still very Rebecca. I'll try to get some photos up but it may be next Sunday before they're dressed up. By that time I may figure out why my camera is giving me problems.

Then we were home for the day or so I thought. I caught the last two outs of the Giants game (we won). Then Tim called me from work sick and needing a ride please. He usually rides his bike but since I'd dropped him off he didn't. He can always get a ride at the end of the day but this was early.

Back Elcie, Rochelle and I went to Barnes & Noble. Rebecca was across the street at my neighbors. Picked up Tim; he was hungry so we stopped for fast food and finally got back home. The rest of my night is a little blurry but at some point we got the kids settled in and me too.

Sunday morning all of us except Elcie (but including Ray) went to church. Palm Sunday so the kids carried in the palms, our guitarist leading them like the Pied Piper (waving palms, not her guitar). She's a second grade teacher at their school and the girls get a kick out of seeing Ms. M. up there on Sundays with her guitar just like normal people. We have several of the elementary teachers at the church. Home again and then back to church at 5:30 with five kids (no Ray this time but two of the neighbor girls). We have a movie night every two weeks and tonight was Jesus Christ Superstar. I have it on video but the kids hadn't seen it. I'd thought they might be a little young.

They were fine until almost the end. Rochelle was weeping and Elcie had tears. They know the Bible story so it hadn't occurred to me they'd be upset. I hadn't seen it in a while and I remembered the music and dance more than the ending images which are a little graphic. Not Passion of the Christ type graphic which they still haven't seen and neither have I but still a little grim. We talked about it on the way home and they're fine now.

So that's my exciting weekend.

Welcome to Margaret who lives in Germany by way of St. Louis. She's an Army veteran with a cute little girl.

and Jacqui, a great-granny and maker of dolls and stuffed bears who lives in Bridgetown, West Australia. Nice to have another great-granny visiting.

and Dee who writes fuzzbunnies nest and lives in Pennsylvania.

and Cat a student from West Midlands, UK.

We also have Jo from Utah (mom and granny) and Jaws from someplace in Dixie. I thought I'd introduced them before (especially Jo) but maybe not. Oh well, twice is better than not at all. If I missed anyone, it was inadvertent.

We've had a couple of decent days in a row but more rain forecast for Monday through Thursday. So far it looks like it may be light showers, unlike last week. I took a look at the creek closest to us today and it's down to almost its normal level. It never did flood, at least not in town. I drove over a road full of chuckholes that I don't think were there before our storms. I'll avoid that one for a while. They're still concerned about the Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River (a combination of rain and snow melt could cause some problems). Lady Jan and I are both tired of being wet. San Francisco's been catching it as well.

I'm looking at almond trees sitting in water halfway up their trunks. (T.V. news). Disaster for the growers. Lettuce and cotton are suffering as well. And we still have people living in shelters. We may not be out of the woods yet.

Thanks to anyone I might have missed for their concern about Ray (and me). I said to one that the big problem with chronic illness is that it's chronic. We may or may not be off the roller coaster for a while. As of this moment, life is good.

Take care everyone.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

More from Merle

It's Saturday morning and I've been blog surfing for a while. Probably won't post this until tonight.

Want to know if you've become a mature adult? Check out the list. (I don't think too many of us will be able to answer "yes" to the question about computers.)

I may take R & R shoe shopping today. Rebecca has a blister and Rochelle has outgrown almost everything except her boots and Elcie's shoes. I'll see what I can find.

More later.

Not more later after all. It's now Sunday and I'm working on a longer post. Oops.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Just For You

Click on the title please.

Official Now - He's Home

And he's sound asleep while I'm watching a rain delayed ball game. I'll try to hold out.

Elcie's been asleep for two hours, Rebecca and Rochelle are bedded down in the living room but should be asleep soon. It's their campout night.

My alpha kitty Spunky is sitting on my bookcase like a vulture. Fidget is cuddled up with Rochelle, probably for the night. They're both under the covers and all I can see is two heads.

I promised a dryer story. Of course I also promised new pictures. I'll get there eventually. Rochelle hasn't brought hers home yet but Elcie's and Rebecca's are beautiful. I'm thinking about changing the banner but haven't decided whether to go with their school photos or a group snapshot (or both?) I have one that some of you have seen of the 4 of us on the beach in SF. It's a good shot but it looks like I live in Portland, OR with my bright red Trailblazer Starter jacket. The price was right (free) , it's the warmest jacket I own, it has great pockets, and it has a hood.

An anonymous friend (who may recognize herself) gave me two dryer balls. Do you know what they are? They're soft, blue, and look like little hedgehogs. They live in the dryer like gremlins and they cut down drying time and help soften clothes. They are little workhorses, last for two years, and do a great job. They also migrate and occasionally, they split up.

My friend Dawn and I have been playing find the dryer ball for a couple of weeks. They have a tendency to snuggle up in the laundry (something like my cat). Once one ran away across the street in my neighbor's laundry. She thought it was a kid's very strange toy football. Ray picked one up from behind a wastebasket and was totally bewildered. With his love of outer space he may have thought we were being invaded.

For some reason (maybe Dawn and I need to get a life) we find all this hysterical. We've finally trained ourselves to check each load of laundry as we take it out but it isn't as much fun as making up stories about the dryer ball.

I've discovered another use for the dryer ball. It works better than a small rubber ball for slightly arthritic hands. My left hand seized up this morning while I was taking clothes out and I grabbed the little alien and started squeezing it. My hand relaxed almost immediately and it's been fine since. Don't worry, it's not serious. My left just has a tendency to cramp up when it's in the same position for too long. This morning we'd been playing cards and that probably did it. Sometimes it's from gripping the steering wheel a little too tightly. It may be a vestige of the carpal tunnel problems that helped me decide on early retirement. Once I stopped spending hours at one stretch at a keyboard, it didn't need medical attention; it just went away. Now, here I am again but I have the good sense to do other things (like the dishes).

I'm glad you're enjoying the Friday Cat Blogging. I'd seen it on other sites and decided to try it out. Julian over at Out of the Blue has a post today entitled Friday Squirrel Blogging. I've thought about featuring my daughter's pet rat but you might not appreciate her. She's actually pretty cute as rats go.

We just tied the game. Had been ahead 3-0, managed to struggle back, and now I think I'll start paying a little more attention.

Take care everyone.

Friday Cat Blogging

Spunky and friends, just in time for Easter.



Probably the last time you see me type in upper case but I felt justified.

More later.

Thanks for all your good wishes.


Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Update - good news

Maybe good news. Ray tells me he might come home tomorrow if all goes well.

The elusive sun came out today and stayed. No rain and comfortable temperatures. Possibly more rain on Sunday but the waterways will have had a chance to dry up.

I've calling it an early night. Thanks to all of you for your concern and comments, both for my husband and the flooding. Oh, and for me as well.

We have a few new visitors. I haven't forgotten you and I'll try to come up with something more complete tomorrow including a funny story about my dryer. In the meantime, welcome to those of you leaving your first comments. I hope they won't be your last.

Good night all.