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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Anyone interested in a lovely cabbage soup?

I have stumbled across an earth friendly blog. Norene is a former San Francisco resident who still lives somewhere in the Bay Area. I noticed madcap mum commenting there. It's interesting how the blogs link together.

I've been ignoring the State of the Union and instead helping with homework, taking a short nap, and checking in on my fellow bloggers who are actually trying to do something about the State of our Union and our World instead of spouting hypocritical platitudes. End of rant - I'll save the rest for the other blog. While I was surfing, I discovered Norene who is indeed working on being a part of the solution.

Anyhow, cabbage soup. I'll post the recipe but for the whole story, you'll have to visit her. It's worth the trip.

Thanks Norene.


Like Cabbage Soup But Better

1-2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 very large leek, chopped
1/2 gigantic green cabbage, chopped (or one smallish cabbage)
1 box vegetable broth (the aseptic container kind)
1 package dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water
2 bay leaves
1 large clove garlic
1 can European Soldier Beans (or other white bean)
2 medium potatoes, cubed, not peeled
1 t. tarragon
1 t. thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Saute the onion and leek in the olive oil until translucent.
Add cabbage and saute until softened.
Add vegetable broth, dried mushrooms in soaking water, garlic, beans, potatoes, tarragon, and thyme.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.


I may be back later. Right now I have to do something creative with clean laundry if I want a bed to sleep in tonight. That means displacing at least one cat. Fidget (the kitten) is trying to make friends with our Spunky - she's not so sure. She allows him to share the bed as long as he stays away from my pillow. At least I did the dishes unless more are piled up. Kids are in bed, it's not quite 10 p.m. here.

A Quick Note About a Friend

My friend, Worried American, and I share a political blog called "isamericaburning". It's over there on the sidebar.

She and I met here on granny when I first began the blog. She's another great-granny who's concerned about the world we're leaving to the generations coming up. We do what we can to help, each in our own way, and we make a pretty good team. I've grown very fond of her.

Her 96 year old mother has been failing for some time now. Worried emailed me earlier this evening to tell me she expected to hear any time that her mother had died. I won't go into all the details; she left a post over on isamericaburning telling our visitors about it. I know how she feels somewhat. My adoptive mom is 93 and in reasonably good health but 93 is not young by any means.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She's a wonderful person and losing a loved one is never easy; even when it's expected.

If you have a chance, I'm sure she'll appreciate a personal comment; either here or over at "the other blog".


Another Recipe from Vale of York

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bake at 325 degr. about 40-45 min.

2 1/2 c. milk
1/3 - 1/2 c. sugar
6 ounc. semisweet chocolate, broken up
2 lg eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
about 4 c. day-old broken up "seeded" bread
1/3 c. raisins

Heat milk/sugar in microwave, add chocolate and wisk until melted, add eggs, vanilla.

Put bread and raisins in baking dish, about 8 x 10 size,
pour heated liquid over bread and let it soak in well for a minute.

Bake til knife comes out clean.

This is excellent hot or cold.

I'm not sure what "seeded" bread is. Poppy seed? I'll ask her or you can. She's on the sidebar and she'd probably enjoy the company.

Coretta Scott King

I know I've said before that I was living in Memphis when Dr. King died. I was involved with the civil rights movement of the 60's and early 70's. Mostly behind the scenes licking stamps for CORE but at least doing something.

I posted her biography from the New York Times on isamericaburning and I won't repeat it here. What I remember most over the years was her courage, her beauty, and her dignity. She never missed a beat in Memphis although she must have been overcome with grief. She picked up his fallen banner and carried it bravely through the next almost 40 years.

I just heard a quote from her on CNN. "I did not marry a man, I married a vision". She made the vision her own.

Fooling people with my innocent image

That part is certainly me. I'm not so sure about decadent except when it comes to chocolate.

Hi neets. Do you mean peck as in "peck like a bird" or peck as in a "bushel and a peck" I can't remember exactly what a peck is anymore but it's much smaller than a bushel. You may have either one. Glad to have you back.

Mollie - should have known you were talking about food. We're always talking about food.

To all other donut lovers who chimed in - hi there.

Once again I'm up much too late. Depressing day for many of us here in the USA of my political persuasion. I've been surfing looking for cheerful posts and may have made a couple of new friends. We'll see.

Elcie still has scratchy throat but no worse. Ray doing a little better each day and we checked out his prescriptions on Medi-care. It's affordable, at least for now, so he can resume taking the meds he should have had all along. Worth the paperwork to have him healthy although I still think the plan is extremely flawed. At least, it's a blessing for today.

Rebecca flew through her long division. Sometime between last night and today the idea of estimating got through to her and she was able to look at a two digit number into a four digit number and know how to begin. And she's memorized some of her times tables without knowing it. Osmosis? Whatever works. I hope she stays on division for the time being. If she learns that, many other things will fall into place. I keep saying the words basics and fundamentals to anyone who is a position to effect change.

Rochelle, the athlete of the crowd, managed a nasty scrape on her hip, right above the pelvic bone along with a bruised knee and elbow. She tried to explain how it happened and I knew just as much when she finished as I did when she started. First aid along with hugs helped but she'll be sore in the morning.

I'm surprised at the number of visitors who said "tuna glop - yum". I even had one - hi Mollie - who likes it on toast as I do. I always hold out a little of the sauce for myself so I can go straight back to my childhood. Everyone else has the pasta although I'd be willing to share.

Andrea in Japan has a beautiful daughter who has just celebrated her first birthday. In spite of the festivities, she (Andrea - her daughter is very bright but not quite up to to Andrea's speed on the computer just yet) managed to update the blog rolls both here and on isamericaburning. Thank you Andrea. I did notice. Actually, we're not as caught up as I thought.

I missed a lovely mother of four who is subject to flights of fancy in her blogger profile. She and I have been discussing Spam (the "food", not the stuff that shows up unannounced and uninvited in your mailbox). Some may question whether Spam is a food. I grew up with it and still like it although not as a steady diet as it was when I was a kid. She has an interesting approach to grocery shopping but you'll have to visit her to discover it. To explain would take me another six paragraphs. Welcome and I hope you'll be back.

Brokeback Mountain was everything I hoped it would be. In case someone hasn't seen it (or read the short story it's based on) I won't say much about it here. I'm glad I made the effort. I don't go out to movies often; I think the last time was when I went with Ray to the first of the "new" Star Wars films. The prices at the concession stand were a brutal reminder of why I usually wait for the dvd. Once in a while the girls go, usually with Uncle Tim who likes movies and can be as big a kid as the girls.

Oh - Elcie's reading level (at least on the tests) jumped almost 2 grade levels. She is beginning to read at 7th grade level. Part of it has been her determination and part of it has been a change in method.

It's late once again. Carol's chemo is tomorrow but her new regime seems easier on her although she still tires very easily.

Take care everyone.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Donuts anyone?

You Are a Powdered Devil's Food Donut

A total sweetheart on the outside, you love to fool people with your innocent image.
On the inside you're a little darker, richer, and more complex.
You're a hedonist who demands more than one pleasure at a time.
Decadent and daring, you test the limits of human indulgence.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Introductions and nothing in particular

We have a new visitor. Stephanierj lives in Pennsylvania and has an adorable little boy who likes to climb furniture, especially rocking chairs.

She and I are frequent visitors to Sweet Juniper and she dropped in tonight. I hope she'll be back. I enjoy her blog; it's funny and smart. You can find her at:


CaliGirl dropped in earlier as well. I've lurked around her blog a few times but I'm not sure if I ever de-lurked. I'll have to fix that. Thanks and welcome to her as well as the other visitors Andrea sent my way. Some are new, some have been visiting for a while.


She is a California girl with a daughter and living on Prince Edward Island.

Midori has a son and lives In Japan. She's already on the blog roll.

kuri and ping

They travel. A lot. I'm envious.

If I missed someone new, I apologize. If you're not new and I've forgotten, oops. Another senior moment.

Ray is still doing well. We made it to church today, all except Elcie, who still has a scratchy throat but I'm sure it's not strep - just a little hoarseness. She learned to make instant butterscotch pudding this morning (for breakfast?). At least it contains milk and she didn't pig on it.

Rochelle was "outstanding Reader" for the month. She read her Award to me.

Rebecca has gone out of her way to be agreeable and helpful. We're still cooking together. I have taught her how to "fold" instead of stir. And how to do it without half of the ingredients landing on the wall. She's a little enthusiastic at times but she's a quick study when it's something she wants to do.

We've had unseasonably warm weather which means the girls can spend more time outside. I have some environmental concerns because it's really outside the norm for this time of year. I should be scraping ice off the windshield and I haven't had to do it yet. Nights have been a little chilly but not that bad. From what I've read, I'm not the only one thinking about global warming.

I've been catching up with my blogging friends today and doing some posting on the other blog. Lots of stuff going on these days, especially the Supreme Court nomination. Of course, we have the usual around the house. We're almost back to what passes for normal around here. The worst seems to be behind us.

We're down to two cats. We finally took four of the kittens to the shelter but kept one (Fidget), at least for now. We'll see how he adjusts. On Monday, we'll try to find the momma cat who keeps bringing us her litters and take her as well. I don't know what else to do. The kittens will either find homes or have a safe place but I'm not sure the no-kill shelter will take her. I can't keep having her show up to give birth and I can't catch her in time to have her spayed. She's already pregnant and these kittens are three months old at most. She must be worn out and she's homeless.

Tim called a little while ago. He has the tickets for Brokeback Mountain and he, Jim, Melissa, and I are going to the matinee tomorrow. Friday and Saturday were sellouts. After shooting off my mouth the way I did, I don't dare wait for the dvd. It will be the first walk-in film I've seen in years.

No recipes today unless you want to know all about tuna glop which is what we had for dinner tonight. It's one of the girls' favorites and involves opening cans, cooking pasta, and mixing them together. If I'm feeling really energetic, I put it all in a large casserole dish, put bread crumbs and cheese on top, and bake it. Otherwise, we dish it up from the top of the stove.

It's almost midnight and I should be sensible. Girls are long since asleep and for once there's no cat on my pillow - yet.

There have been so many kind words since Ray was taken ill last week. I've tried to reply to as many as possible but I know I didn't get to everyone. Please believe how much it meant to have all of you who are old friends as well as people I hadn't met before thinking about us and wishing us well.

Good night.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

You can tell when I'm feeling better

I'm back to thinking about food. Katie, an Oregonian who writes a blog of her experiences in Turkey, has introduced me to a dish called "manti". Rather than reprint the recipe here, I'm including the link to her blog. I thought she was on the blogroll but I missed her somehow.

She has lovely photos of food and scenery along with a link to the recipe.

Clicking on the title should take you there.

Thank you Katie.

Thanks to all of you

Tim and I didn't get back with Ray until after 3:00 p.m. I got Ray settled with his beloved sci-fi, the kids had other supervision, and I went to sleep until 9:00. No school tomorrow so no need to set alarm tonight.

I answered as many of you as I could. To the rest, thank you all so much. I read some of the comments to Ray and he was touched as well. He's not a computer person and was surprised by all the people sending him good wishes.

He's asleep now and seems to be feeling much better. We still don't know what it was and they want him to return in a couple of week to their cardiologist and meantime see his primary physician here (probably Monday because we were so late coming back).

I was a little delayed getting out of here, we ran into a little traffic and two trains (still in Merced), and then I turned the wrong way off the freeway going into Modesto. I knew better but it's been quite a while since I've been there. Fortunately I printed out a map before I left and Tim got to navigate. It's another city with numbered and alpha streets so once we saw 5th street when we should have seen 9th, it was easy enough to say oops and turn back across the freeway. I was hungry so we stopped for fast food a few blocks from the hospital. Modesto is a strange place. It has a functioning railroad track running down its main downtown street - right in the middle, with traffic on either side. I wasn't in that section today. Wanted to show Tim but another time. Many cities have that with trolleys and I was used to it in San Francisco but this is the first actual railroad (Southern Pacific) that I'd seen.

Ray didn't know he was being discharged when I got there. Probably they didn't want him stressed watching the door and the clock. He was eating lunch so we waited for that and then for all the discharge instructions. On the way back, we encountered a traffic jam caused by a tractor-trailer (on the other side of the freeway) which had overturned and struck a house just off the freeway and spilled acid. No serious injuries and the spill was cleaned up. The delay on our side was caused by rubberneckers. Wow!! - look at that!! (as they all slow to 15 mph.)

We just missed being in the middle of it going northbound. If we had stopped for food as originally planned instead of waiting until Modesto, we would have been involved in the huge traffic snarl directly caused by the accident. We figure we were about five minutes ahead.

Hwy 99 can be treacherous. Huge trucks and much of it is still only two lanes each direction. Some of it isn't even controlled access. That section was 3 lane freeway but it's still not enough for the traffic. One idiot passed on the shoulder around the right lane southbound traffic before we came to the traffic jam. I was running between 70 and 75 in a 65 (shhh) - flow of traffic in middle of 3 lanes - he had to be going at least 90. He cut from the far left across all the lanes to the far right, onto the shoulder, back, and kept on going. Gravel everywhere. Never slowed down. I did and so did everyone else. I wanted to give him all the room he wanted. People are nuts sometimes.

Elcie and Rochelle both have scratchy throats and we'll see how they feel tomorrow. Their pediatrician's office won't be open but I can get them in to Urgent Care who will probably just write another cephalexin prescription since Rebecca had strep throat. I was hoping to get lucky but maybe not.

Their mom took over like a real trouper today along with my friend Dawn who was here when the hospital called. I came home to a well organized bedroom (except for Ray's side - she knew that would traumatize him), all the clean laundry put away (was on my list for today) beds made, dinner cooked and girls behaving. Tasha had given them a talk about being nice to each other so Grandpa could rest. I think they listened. It's been very calm with lots of hugs to Grandpa. He always blesses them before bedtime and they missed that. He puts Elcie on the bus in the morning (others could do it including me but it's become a tradition of sorts that I think they'd both miss). We are pretty casual but we do have our little routines and when one person is missing who should be here, it throws everyone off. It must be hard for people who travel as part of their jobs. I enjoyed working but, as I look back, there is much to be said for being home. Of course I'm older now too and that makes a difference. I couldn't do both anymore - not with the kids and Ray. I need to be right where I am.

This is my blessing for today and yesterday and the day before. Whether we think of it as prayer, good thoughts, or just a reassuring word to me and my family, it seems to have worked.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Good news I think

On way to Modesto to bring Ray home. Talk to you later.

1:00 a.m. Friday

One last thing before sleep. Today was much better. Much of it was due to all the comments and email I received. Thanks to all of you and especially to the people I wasn't able to contact through email or their blogs.

Ray is still in Modesto and I'll go tomorrow with my older son. I managed to get all the medical information to them - it wasn't sent along with him and they were understandably confused. They were silly enough to ask Ray (still doped up on morphine) and then called me. He was telling them about meds he hasn't taken in a couple of years and missed one he's taking now. I keep records, at least of physician names and addresses and his medications. I have a pretty good idea of the various diagnoses.

My big question is "why am I doing this"? What if I were wrong? Isn't there a central location somewhere besides my computer? He has a primary physician and at least 6 or 7 specialists. All his medical records should be coordinated and since the primary physician refers to the specialist, I'd think that's where everything should be. Maybe it is and they just hadn't sent it on yet. I don't know.

I'm ranting, sorry.

I did talk to him late this afternoon and he sounded a little more together. With that much pain, morphine can be the only effective drug but it puts him (and probably most of us) on a whole different planet.

Girls are doing okay with it (sort of). Rochelle takes things the most to heart and was sad but I think I reassured her somewhat. I didn't tell them any more than necessary since I don't know much yet myself. Elcie has a scratchy throat. Please no more strep - not now. I'll see how she is tomorrow.

I did almost nothing today which is probably what I needed to do. Messed around on computer, did a little house stuff, and then crashed for a while. There is something about the late afternoon that gets to me. Most times I plow through it and it always passes but sometimes I just give in and let someone else take over for a while.

Good night all - I'll get back eventually to recipes, silliness, and just stuff.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hi - it's me

It's 11:00 a.m. here and I've talked to a cardiologist in Modesto and provided further info to him. They've tentatively ruled out lung for now. Bottom line - no one knows anything yet. He's "stable" and "confortable".

I'll wait until I have something specific before I add anything more.

Thanks for the support. Daylight always makes it easier to cope.

Update on Ray

I'm back from the local hospital, it's 3:00 a.m. and Ray is probably almost to Modesto by now.

He was in good spirits but pretty dopey. They started him with nitro which did nothing so put him on morphine for the pain.

The closest pulmonary surgeon is in Modesto. Fresno is a little further away. Their hospital is much larger and so is the city. They say it's not a growth but they don't know what it is. They're sure it didn't come out of nowhere. It might be old scar tissue, it might be anything.

Unless there's a change, nothing will happen before tomorrow morning probably. I'll try to set things up here so I can go there but I may wait until I know a little more. What I do know is if they're giving him morphine, he will hardly know I'm in the room . We've been down this road before - more than once.

Talk to you later.

I Wish I Had Better News

I wrote earlier about my husband's illness and said I'd update later. It's now around 1:00 a.m.

The hospital just phoned. It's something with his lung and they're transferring him to Doctor's Hospital in Modesto (45 miles away) in about an hour.

I'm heading over to the local hospital now (about 10 blocks from here) to see him before they take him down there. I can't leave the girls in the middle of the night so I may try to get down there in the morning after they're in school.

Not good news at all. I'll let you know more when I know more.

Please hold a good thought for us.

Have You Ever Been This Tired? Part 2

These photos were part of an email from a non-blogging former next door neighbor who moved to San Diego. Thanks Pat although you'll probably never read this.

Blogger wouldn't let me do all of them at once.

Still waiting for word from Hubby.

Have You Ever Been This Tired? Part 1

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Now that the hard part is done one more time

Brief (maybe) because it's been a long day and I'm sitting here on pins and needles waiting for a phone to ring.

Ray has been feeling unwell for several days. I came home this afternoon from having lunch with Tim and picking up a few groceries and all seemed well. I lay down for a little while (late afternoons are hard for me sometimes) and I woke up to find Tasha and Jonathan had taken him over to Urgent Care. I'm still waiting to hear something. He had told them not to wake me up and they obeyed. I said next time wake me up no matter what he says. He and I will have a discussion about that when he's well enough to hear it. He's sometimes almost too considerate.

I said once before that Ray would rather I not stay in a doctor's office or emergency room (or even a hospital visit) for any length of time. I don't know why, it doesn't matter why, I just accept that it is the way it is. He's uncomfortable being hovered over, even from me. I know eventually either he or the hospital will call and meantime, all I can do is try to keep busy, not think too much, and wait.

That's what I'm doing now. There is nothing calling the hospital will accomplish right now although if I haven't heard something in the next hour, I probably will. I know how crowded Urgent Care and the E. R. are and I try to have faith that if something were critical, I would know.

Meantime, I caught up some domestic stuff, worked on homework with Rebecca, drank several cups of coffee (decaf), and then sat down here which is probably where I'll stay. My cell phone is on the computer desk. If I leave the room it will be in my pocket. The girls are all asleep, the t.v. is off and the house is quiet. Tasha and Jonathan are both here waiting with me (watching t.v. in living room quietly). If Ray comes home tonight, they'll go after him. I went a long time without a second driver. It's very nice to finally have one again for things like this.

Of course I'm worried. He has many physical problems and while none are life threatening by themselves, they're all debilitating and it's been several years of ups and downs. However, my falling apart will help no one.

Jim and Tim's dad died almost 18 years ago at 54 after 5 years fighting prostate cancer that had metastized to the bone by the time symptoms appeared. At least this isn't cancer but sometimes, between Ray and my daughter (intestinal cancer), I have a feeling of deja vu all over again as the great Yogi Berra would say (and did).

I'll try to get back here with an update either tonight or in the morning.

Thanks to all of you for the comments. I've read all of them, answered some, and I'll go back through them again to make sure I haven't missed anything.

I don't usually answer comments in the comment box. I either do it as a post or in email if one is available. However, I'll reply to anything specific I missed in the comment box this time I think.

Good night, at least for now.

I guess it's time to run this again. (updated 11-08-08)

Susie asked in a comment why I have the girls. I wrote a post in answer to the same question back when I first started the blog. Here is is again, updated slightly. Susie, you should have my email by now.

When I started the blog, a few commenters who knew me from Blogging Baby came over to lend their voices and support. I never really expected more. I love the way it's grown and the people I've met and come to consider my friends.

Those of you who've been around from the very beginning can skip the rest of this. You already know it.


Why my early retirement didn't pan out
Subtitle - life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.

Jen wondered why I have the girls. Elcie was removed from my grandson and Tasha in San Francisco when she was 3 months old. No physical abuse; it's called failure to protect; a catchall phrase for the parents didn't have a clue what they were doing. I'd already moved from the city. Mistake maybe but I thought they'd be okay.

Tasha's (their mom) mother asked me to have my grandson and Tasha move here so they could get Elcie back. Tasha's mom has heart trouble among other ailments and couldn't handle it. Okay. Once Elcie's records had been transferred from S. F., no problem. They regained custody on the unspoken condition that I be around to supervise. They went on to have Rochelle and Rebecca, 10 months apart. For a while, everything was okay and then my grandson made the front page of the local paper and ended up in jail. Tasha went totally off the rails. When she decided to go live in a crack house, I bounced her and kept the kids. Illegal, but I can be intimidating. My first call was to Public Health, my second to Child Protective Services. We arranged for temporary custody and then the guardianship without much fuss. Tasha went on to have two more children before she finally got her act together. It took my grandson one more jail sentence but he seems to finally be on track. These days they live (separately) nearby and spend a lot of time with the kids. I had hoped to eventually relinquish guardianship but that probably isn't going to happen. I don't think either one will have the long term stability to handle everything involved with special needs children. Elcie has lived with me since she was 13 months old and Rochelle and Rebecca have never known anything else. They love both their parents (kids usually do) and this is working, at least for now. I love their parents too but babies come first.

I don't say a whole lot about my past; it's history and I can't go back and change any of the mistakes I made. I've been sober 26+ years . All alcoholics, from Betty Ford and Dubya on down, cause damage to the people who love them. Some recover, others merely reform. The "Big Book" of AA describes us as "tornadoes roaring through the lives of others". They nailed it. I'm convinced that substance abuse runs in families. I also believe that whatever higher power there is has given me a shot at getting it right.

The Big Book also talks about making amends. There are many ways of doing that. This is mine.

Aren't you glad you asked?


I have another biographical post back there as well. Probably very early October. More of a family tree to help keep the characters straight.

Jim and Tim are my sons who live here in Merced. Jim has 3 teenagers, has remarried to Melissa who has three daughters and one grandchild. He's an Army veteran, now National Guard and we're crossing our fingers. They're expecting a baby in May. Update: Baby Jonathan just turned one year old on 5-16-07 and they're expecting again around December. Tim is gay which helps explain my work with PFLAG. Jim, Tim, and Melissa all work for Barnes & Noble. Jim's the newest; he'll train here and then go to the Modesto store. He had been called up to full time Nat'l Guard ( after being out of the Army for years) but then they downsized again. He's back to being a weekend warrior. Update: Jim is now full time National Guard on the Mexican border and he and family may move to Yuma, AZ later this year. My daughter Carol (oldest child lives with me). She's undergoing treatment for intestinal cancer. So far, so good. Update: My daughter died on May 3, 2007 after a long, hard, struggle. Ray is my husband, a semi-invalid. He worked when we first moved here; he can't now. Full time disability.

Elcie has cerebral palsy and some learning disability associated with it. Rochelle is learning disabled (probably dyslexic but catching up fast in special ed). Rebecca is another story. Very bright but has difficulty focusing. Schoolwork is an ongoing struggle. Not quite ADHD but leaning that way. If something interests her, it has her undivided attention and she can be quite the perfectionist (almost too much so). If it doesn't interest her or if she doesn't "get it" right away, she shuts down.

I spend hours with her plodding through math trying to bring her "D" up to at least a "C". She is enrolled in a 6 week after school program to work on the math as well which is good but it's a long day and by the time we get to homework, she's exhausted which makes focusing that much more difficult.

Elcie and Rochelle have both become self starters for the most part this year (Rochelle always was) so I have more time to spend with Rebecca. They're both Honor Roll kids (at their actual learning level, not grade level). It's still a juggling act though.

Update: Elcie graduates from middle school on 5-31-07 and Rochelle and Rebecca will finish 6th grade. They're 11, 12 and 14 as of this update.

I think that brings everything up to date somewhat. Everyone knows how political I am, flaming liberal and very involved here in Merced. I save most of that type of rant for isamericaburning which I share with "worried american" who began it and gadfly who has joined us. Occasionally, a little creeps in here; especially where education is concerned. Oh, and if anyone cares, I'm a Methodist.

Update: The girls are no longer in my care (as of early August 2007). They're now 11, 12, and 14 and for a number of complicated reasons, Ray & I can no longer do it. Some of the details are on my posts of August and September 2007. I'll be glad to share more in email but because I'm not at all anonymous I need to consider the girls' privacy.


Further update - 11-08-08

The election is behind us. My choice is now the President-elect.

The girls are living with their dad right around the corner. They're now 13, 13, and 15 (until January when Rochelle will turn 14. Rebecca and Rochelle are 10 months apart - born in the same year. All are taller than I which doesn't take much. They seem to be adjusting and I see them often. I'm planning the Thanksgiving dinner once again for all.

My daughter, Carol, died in May of last year at age 50 (almost 51). It was a long struggle and at the end her death was a blessing. We will always miss her.

Son Jim has added two more little boys to his family. Jonathan and Zachary; both adorable. His oldest daughter is attending Junior College here and working as well. His two older boys are a junior and senior in high school.

Jim is currently stationed in Iraq with the National Guard. Communication is limited but we do hear from him and he seems to be doing well.

Ray underwent triple bypass surgery a little over a year ago. He's doing well except for the ongoing lung problems.

Son Tim married his partner Juan earlier this week (when it became obvious that California's Proposition 8 was going to pass in spite of our best efforts). I'm not going to get into politics here; I'm just happy my youngest has found someone quite wonderful to share his life. He'll be moving to Fresno early next year and will continue with college. Hopefully, the job market will be better there so he can work and go to school.

That's about it for now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More food

This time from Vale of York (ipodmomma's mil), her recipe for Rock Cakes.

Monday, January 23, 2006
Yorkshire Rock Cakes

1/2 c. butter or marg
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
beat together

2 lg eggs
and beat together
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 c. self-raising flour
leaving a little bit out for dredging fruit

add flour to previous mix. This will be stiff... but you can do it.

Now add a good handful of either raisins or dried mixed fruit that had been dredged in the reserved flour.

Use two spoons to fill greased cupcake tins 1/3 full and now add half a walnut (if desired), then fill in the tins with the remaining dough. Make sure to leave the tops lumpy to resemble rocks.

I then add a mix of PLAIN flour/sugar/butter/cinnamon and sprinkle this over the top. Makes it nice and crunchy.

Bake in hot oven for about 15 minutes or til it smells good and done


I use self-rising flour all the time but if you don't, be sure to remember to add baking powder. I'd think 2 teaspoons per Cup of flour, but you could check almost any muffin type recipe and it would tell you.



The portrait of the girls was taken the day the Court awarded me Guardianship. I was worried the judge might want to meet them so, for almost the only time in their lives, they were frilly (and miserable). They never had to enter the courtroom so it was all for nothing. Still, I wanted the picture. I can't remember what the photographer did to coax those smiles from Elcie and Rochelle. He didn't have much luck with Rebecca who can almost never be coaxed into anything. They all wanted to go home and get comfortable. They're related to me so that figures.

My small copy of the photo has been missing for a while. I found it again today and decided some of you might enjoy seeing them as babies and comparing with the photo on the banner.

It's hard to believe how much time has passed since then. They are fast becoming young women.

Thanks for the compliments they've received in the comments so far. They were cuties and still are.

I had a PFLAG steering committee meeting tonight and took Rochelle and Rebecca along. Rebecca fell asleep on her Uncle Tim's shoulder and Rochelle, the night owl, just barely made it through. We were home a little after nine, only a few minutes past their bedtime. Probably just boredom but they each got a mini Snickers bar out of it.

We spent much of the meeting making tentative plans for community outreach. We're fairly new here. I'll be speaking at a meeting of Democrats on Thursday, we plan to have booths set up at community events, and in general make ourselves available. Some will throw it back in our faces; others may be grateful we're here. We're working quietly with Mental Health and the representative of Planned Parenthod who handles STD education for the county. So much needs to be done, especially in the schools.

We're planning some fun too. The rest of the evening was spent brainstorming ideas for a casino night (with play money and possibly an auction at the end), a "mystery" dinner (a live version of Clue? - I'll have to check it out), and of course our trip to S. F. in July to see the Giants on Until There's a Cure Day. We'll have a message on the scoreboard and my son Jim is planning on bringing his wife and (by then) two month old baby along in full Giants regalia so maybe some of you will see us on t.v. as well. They like to show babies, especially in uniform.

We have a Progressive Faith Carnival update with a link to the next host. If you have posted something (I'm getting it right this time) that you would like to see included, the link to the next host is there or you can send it to me at my gmail address (see sidebar) and I'll be glad to pass it along. As I said before, it's inclusive; hosted next week by a Buddhist. Please include the word Carnival in the subject line to make it easier to track. The deadline is Saturday so the host will have time to put it all together.

Once again, it's late. Rochelle and Rebecca went to their weekly after school CATCH (Children at the Church) program, had dinner there, and then bell choir. Elcie is in an older group and attends once in a while but is more involved with the Wings of Hope choir. One after school program seems to be her limit and that's okay.

Elcie is now doing long division and is really getting into it. I've told her that division is easier than multiplication because the numbers get smaller instead of bigger and her only problem now is learning to write a little smaller. I have ledger paper which might help. Or not, but it won't hurt to try. I've thought about turning lined paper so she'll have the lines to help her keep the numbers where they belong. It's always been a problem for her. She is maturing in some good ways along with being a real butthead at times. She comes home and settles in with homework and needs very little help. In 5th and 6th grade I had to sit with her through most of it. It's a giant leap.

Good night all.

Do you know these people?


September 1996

Elcie, Rochelle, Rebecca - Elcie is humiliated. Her pullup is showing. She was 3, Rochelle 21 months, Rebecca 11 months.

More later - on way out door. Posted by Picasa

Another new visitor

Quickly before I lose her again now that I finally found her website.

You may have noticed comments by virushead

Don't let the name put you off. She's part of the carnival and an excellent writer. Welcome, virushead, to granny. (I'll get used to that name eventually).

Monday, January 23, 2006

Additional Carnival information (for next week)

Xpatriated Texan - A Maverick Believer in the Garden State: ProgFaithBlogCon Carnival is UP!

For those who are enjoying the gypsy rover carnival, here is the link to the main site.

I just learned how to link a post from another blog to this one. Without sending an SOS out to the blogosphere.

(Granny turning cartwheels). Too bad my camera stays under lock and key when I'm not using it.

Carnival update

For those of you who enjoyed the "gypsy rover carnival" and would like to see more of it,

Progressive Faith Blog-Con 2006 Carnival

This week's Carnival finds a home at Think Buddha. If you want to support a more inclusive public voice for people of all faiths, send a link to

I'm back

Many comments between the Carnival and the silly computer cleaning poem. Thanks to all.

We have two new visitors. PI lives in the United Kingdom, didn't give her age (not that I would expect her to), but from reading her blog, she and I are of the same generation. Good, another granny. She has just begun blogging and is writing about her life growing up during WW II. I remember some of it as well but it was very different and much more frightening on her side of the Atlantic.

Midori is originally (I think) from the British Isles and now lives in Japan. She has an adorable 8 month old son and lots of photos.

Welcome to both of you.

I went back through the posts because I couldn't remember if I mentioned Janice, my almost next door neighbor from Madera, CA, about 30 miles south of Merced. I remember saying this at some point but better to introduce her twice than not at all. She's already on the blog roll.

Rebecca made it back to school today and seems to be over the worst of the strep throat. She had a miserable week. She hasn't lost the dark circles under her eyes but she's no longer writing notes to us. She can talk. We may catch up her classwork by June or so.

We all made it to church yesterday and Jack in the Box afterward. First treat for the girls in a while and they didn't know about it until we pulled into the parking lot. Treat for me as well. It's not gourmet cuisine but I will never believe a french fry from time to time will ruin them. At least their meals come with applesauce and we all know catsup is a vegetable.

I spent Sunday from early afternoon to almost nine at night working on the Carnival. Of course there were a few breaks - life does go on. I started out ready to throw a rock through the monitor and ended up enjoying it. If nothing else, xpatriatedtexan and I have become extremely well acquainted. I'm sure he felt like throwing a rock through his monitor as well but is too much the gentleman to say so. It was indeed a collaboration.

And - I have finally learned to place a link in the middle of a sentence. It was my first experience with the dreaded html. On the first couple of articles it took me two or three tries to get the code right. By around six o'clock I hardly had to look at my cheat sheet. Now, if I can still remember how to do it tomorrow ...

I forgot to mention we were without hot water for the weekend. Our bathtub faucet sprung a horrid leak and the landlord's son couldn't finish up on Friday. Naturally, it's always the hot, never the cold, that's the culprit. We heated water for dishes and extremely shallow, quick baths. Brrr but at least we could stand to be in the same room with one another.

This morning the "real" plumber showed up early. Our tub is probably at least forty years old with pipes to match. He had to run all over town finding the right parts. Once he did, he had it fixed and back together in an hour. We all celebrated with hot baths and shampoos. Oh, and homemade clam chowder. It was a foggy, dank day and comfort food was called for once again.

Andrea suggests we post one blessing a day and sometimes I forget. Hot water is a blessing.

This afternoon, about 40 or so of us met with our Congressional Representative, Dennis Cardoza, to talk about issues concerning both the District and the nation. I wrote a separate post on isamericaburning. Our one hour meeting turned into two at his suggestion and we covered all the items we had given him in advance plus a few we hadn't.

We're a Democratic District (barely) in the heart of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, surrounded by Republicans. He's a reasonable, moderate Democrat (no flaming liberal could be elected here, at least not yet), good on social issues and civil rights, and we agree on most issues. It's not necessary to agree on all.

At least we're doing something instead of sitting "whinging" to each other. I think that word came from madcap but I'm not sure. Remember, I'm the one who thought Tina was asking about computers when it was Granny Fiddler and also the one who can't remember if she introduced Janice. I'm stealing it for my own, no matter where it came from.

Not much about girls today. Probably because they all had a good day. You usually hear more about the not so good.

It's getting late and I'm beginning to fade. Talk to all of you later. Spell check still doesn't recognize "blog". I should start calling it a jou**al.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Progressive Faith Blog - Carnival


Progressive Faith Blog-Con 2006 Carnival

Hi from Ann and welcome to the Carnival. I've never done any of this before and it's a learning experience or so xpatriatedtexan tells me.

Part of the learning experience is reading what this Carnival is. I misunderstood and asked my friends for anything they had read, written, or posted on spirituality that they thought might be appropriate. What we have here is a mix, some are from actual blogs; some are not. I'll know better next time.

From The Feminarian is an article about academic freedom or the lack thereof.

worried from isamericaburning talks about Pat Robertson and Katrina.

Here is landonville with an article about Wheaton College and hiring practices.

rocrebelgranny (me) copied this from Slate about the "conversion" of the Jews. I also found this article about the religious right position on choice and how it affects the poor worldwide.

From my friend Andrea in Japan a beautifully written piece on meditation. Spirituality can encompass many things.

From the originator of the Carnival xpatriatedtexan here is an example of unfair practices which still exist in this country. You should know that the officials in New Jersey have now reversed their decision and this woman and her partner will receive the same consideration as any other government employee.

The religious right and Microsoft comes from mc glee historical preservation society

peterson toscano submitted this memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a tribute to an amazing woman and her family.

Andrew Schamess has sent us two related articles from dealing with Israel anti-semitism. Here are the first and the second

Wayfarer finds some great blogs.

Poor Mad Peter gets politically active

A look at the smell of UU in the morning.

What if Dr. King were alive?

Questions of need.

Who's listening?

If this is the license, I'd hate to see the registration...

Ray Nagin has lost it.

A note from Molly Ivins, and one from Maureen Dowd.

It sounds like an old-time mystery: The President, The Constitution and the Inept.

Should men discuss abortion?

What war on terror?

Truth mirrors fiction.

Is this separation of church and state? And why is the guy on the sign white?

Kris gets laid off and sees a movie for spite.

Music moves the soul.

Thou shalt not be plastic!

The perfect wild goose

Blogging shrinks the world, and that allows us to build bridges over chasms of understanding (hence the BlogCon and Carnival).

What is the sound of one hand blogging? is a lovely woman from California, now living with her family in England. We've become fast online friends and she sent me this.

Spirituality... a very thought provoking subject... how about this:
for me, it's about first figuring out that there must be a centre in one's life. and then what that centre is... and is not. for me, the centre must be focused not on self.

then, one must decide what that centre is going to be... if not self, then something or someone else to fill the vacancy.

I have chosen Christ as my centre, and every day I work on that relationship, my relationship with Jesus, which leads, eventually, to a lessening of self, and a greater acceptance of others. and if Christ is the centre, then what naturally comes next is love...

for that is what Christ is, love. and if that is the centre, truly the very centre, then all that comes, good, bad, ugly, mistaken and wonderful, is coming from love, and ultimately change begins, that filters out the bad, mistaken and ugly, leaving the good and wonderful. it is not overnight, nor is it easy. it can be quite painful. but I am not alone, and will forevermore be joined to the One who loves me, who hopes all the best for me and who gives to me all I need. in realizing this, which sometimes I do forget, (actually, often I forget, but then I am gently reminded) in focusing on this then I go about my day, trying to love, forgive, accept. and the way in which I go about these things is nothing I do on my own. it is done via grace, mercy, kindness and a love that I sometimes grasp for in great agony. there are always going to be time of weakness, doubt, fear and insecurity, but these come more and more as fleeting small moments, which are then swept aside by the hand of a loving God who sees my frailities and worrying tendancies with the eyes of a caring, affectionate Father, and no matter how badly I screw up, how far I run or how little I trust, His love always, ALWAYS brings me back to His Son.

and in that, I rest, assured that where I am is right where I'm supposed to be...

Finally, from me is a short prayer from one of my favorite books. It's guided me through many a rough patch and is included with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous. We call it the 7th Step Prayer but it could be adapted for anyone from any faith.

Seventh Step Prayer

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding.

And Yes, I did include it in at least one of my posts.

Thank you to xpatriatedtexan for entrusting me with his Carnival. Much of the pleasure came from reading the emails as they came in and getting to know more of you.

(note from XT) This was a co-operative project this week - which made it a bit late. Thanks to everyone who participated and especially to Granny for being so willing to stretch her self and give us a wandering home for the week.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

And From An In Person Friend

This came in from one of my friends here, naturally via email. Thanks. You know who you are if you ever read this. (she doesn't blog).

Not being skilled, I finally got the pictures on , I'm sure the hard way. Jen sent good advice which worked with one photo but not the other. I finally printed the email, ran it through the scanner, and retyped the poem. Pretend one photo is at the top and the other at the bottom.

I promise I'll get to the Christmas decorations - tomorrow.

I wonder if anyone except me can identify.

Cleaning Poem

I asked the Lord to tell me
Why my house is such a mess.
He asked if I'd been 'putering',
And I had to answer "yes"

He told me to get off my fanny
And tidy up the house.
And so I started cleaning up...
The smudges off my mouse.

I wiped and shined the topside.
That really did the trick...
I was just admiring my work...
I didn't mean to 'click'

But click I did and oops I found
A real absorbing site.
That I got SO way into...
I was into it all night. <>

Nothing's changed except my mouse
It's very, very shiny.
I guess my house will stay a mess..
While I sit here on my hiney.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Life with a convalescent Rebecca

Here's Elcie who decided right at bedtime to change into that dress. Rochelle "did" her hair as well. I thought she planned to sleep in it but she changed once again into a warm gown. Oh, the joys of pre-teen girls.

I kept Rebecca out one more day although she was feeling a little better. She was reluctant to wake up this morning and I just let her sleep. She's almost back to her old self and bored.

She stayed fairly quiet during the day. Did some arts and crafts and hung out with me. Then, for some reason, she went on an "organizing" bender. Half of my large linen closet in the hall has become my extra pantry. I buy quantities of staples on sale since we do our major shopping once a month and my regular pantry can't manage it. I have five large shelves in the linen closet that serve the purpose. Rebecca decided to fix it. We had boxes all over the hall floor that she was putting in order. I tried for a photo but my camera wouldn't cooperate and by the time I replaced the batteries, she had everything back in place. Too bad - she was adorable sitting there in the midst of chaos. She did a great job. Even I don't sort packaged mac and cheese by brand name. (Yeah, I know but there are some days when I grab up the closest box I can find just to get something warm in their tummies and I always dress it up a little). She can focus when it's something that interests her and she inherited my obsession with order. Not that it does me much good around here.

Yesterday, during the short time she felt well enough to crawl out of my bed, she went through her picture album and organized the pictures.

Someone has placed a "real lemon" on my computer desk. My neighbor had brought it to Rebecca to help her sore throat (mixed with honey in tea). I had lemons but it was still kind of her.

Many comments today and I thank you for all of them. I hope the home school link was helpful. Rachael, thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I was visiting your dad's earlier today. I've answered all the comments on the "carnival" post personally.

The ten trivial facts was so silly, I couldn't resist. It seems to be turning up everywhere now.

I'm sure the creepies have left. Maybe now I can focus on the after Christmas cleanup. The tree is down and boxed with its ornaments; however, the boxes have become part of the furniture. I still have my small decorations on the piano, mantel, and bookcase. They're not hurting a thing there and it would certainly save some time next Christmas. However, I do dust occasionally so I might as well take them down, wipe off the surfaces, and put my others and the photos back up. Someday. When all three are in school. They have a full week off in February (the worst weather of the year of course) so any major projects need to be completed before then.

Our outside lights are still up. I need a tall person to help get at least the colored lights down. I leave the white ones for security. It's almost like having a floodlight if someone prowls. They're hooked into my porch light circuit and I can turn them on from the inside of the house.

It's past midnight and it's been a cold day. I think what passes for winter here has finally arrived. We're in the low to mid thirties (F) at night; just above freezing. The rain has left, the fog is back.

Have a good weekend everyone. For some of you, it's half over already. For me, it's just starting.

Home Schooling info

I don't home school (although sometimes it feels that way) but I have several visitors who do. I have nothing but admiration for their dedication and energy.

I spotted the link (click on title) in Blogging Baby today and include it here for any readers who might find it useful.

Progressive Faith Carnival

xpatriatedtexan, one of the commenters on isamericaburning has started a "spiritual" journal and is looking for input. Here's what I wrote on the other blog:


xpatriatedtexan has begun a separate weekly journal and is inviting anyone interested to send items of spiritual interest. That's a loose definition - I checked with him to make sure.

If you've seen something that might qualify or have written something yourself, you can send it to me at I'm the "host" of the week. Next week will be someone else. We already have a volunteer.

I've received some interesting things already and I'll link back to the journal when it's completed. He has already published journals for 1-8 and 1-15-06 which is when I think he began it. I've looked at them and I'm impressed with the variety and thoughtfulness.

It isn't on the blogroll yet but xpat is and one should take you to the other.


The link in the title of the isamericaburning post provides a much better explanation from xpat himself.

If you have anything you think might fit, send it along to me. He's published two so far and they've been an interesting mix of commentary and links to other articles. I'd like to help him and I know we have many spiritual people around here.

More later on family, etc.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Many Trivial Facts about Roc Rebel Granny

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Rocrebelgranny!

  1. It takes forty minutes to hard-boil rocrebelgranny.
  2. According to the story, Pinocchio was made of rocrebelgranny.
  3. If you blow out all the candles on rocrebelgranny with one breath, your wish will come true!
  4. There are roughly 10,000 man-made objects the size of rocrebelgranny orbiting the Earth.
  5. Fifty-two percent of Americans drink rocrebelgranny.
  6. Rocrebelgranny cannot burp - there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in her stomach.
  7. The risk of being struck by rocrebelgranny is one occurence every 9,300 years.
  8. 99 percent of the pumpkins sold in the US end up as rocrebelgranny.
  9. The smelly fluid secreted by skunks is colloquially known as rocrebelgranny!
  10. Rocrebelgranny can usually be found in nests built in the webs of large spiders.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Photos and other things

Here's the computer again - still no vacuum cleaner bag but the Salt & Vinegar chip lid remains (a new one). That's hot chocolate in the cup and the sunflower cup behind it is a gift from Rochelle. For once, I didn't cut Gizmo's (frilled lizard) head off.

Tina in the Czech Republic was asking for descriptions of computer areas. I responded but how do you describe something like this? Told her I had some photos back in the archives but I'd probably post another one. Update - it wasn't Tina and now I can't figure out who it was. Whoever, there it is. Further update on 1-21-06. Finally found her again. It was granny fiddler.

The other photo is recent. It's what my bed looks like when it's been occupied for almost three days by a sick child whom, you will notice, is still there along with a sleeping cat. We actually managed to see a doctor today and it's strep. By this morning she had a rash to go with the sore throat. The doctor said it often goes along with a virus.

She was a little better today. She ate Ramen noodles, jello, and a little pudding at home and soup, tapioca, and Gatorade at the hospital cafeteria. We had to take her culture from the pediatrician on one side of the street to the hospital on the other and it started pouring. We ran from the car to the door and decided to wait it out for a few minutes. I was hungry by then too and she'd never seen the cafeteria. I wish it always took as little to make them happy.

No special recipe for Jello. It's just Jello. Plain, red, Jello.

By the time we got the lab results and the doctor called in the prescription, she was sleeping. Early morning will be soon enough. The doctor wants her out of school for 24 hours after she begins treatment. I'm pleased they're not starting medication before lab results come back. It used to be automatic and I've said often that kids (and adults) are sometimes overmedicated. It certainly has its place but, like the NIX, it can lose effectiveness, allergies can develop, and antibiotics are not a cureall.

No new visitors today but many returnees. Thanks to all for the kind words and the suggestions. Blogging Baby had a post today about lice that was frightening. This may be my last use of chemicals on the girls. With all the suggestions, I'll try to find something else and if it comes down to cutting their hair (which will grow back), so be it. I think the school has a requirement about chemical treatment but that's one I can fight and win if it ever becomes an issue. More documentation comes in all the time.

I answered some of the comments in the earlier post and some by email.

McGlee Historical Preservation Society may sound like a new visitor but it's Uncle Roger in disguise. He has given permission to use the word b**g as long as I pronounce it jo**nal.

The Sun-Star printed my letter today and Brokeback Mountain will be showing here beginning on January 27. Meantime the Asst. Editor, a friend, emailed me to expect our local homophobe's letter to appear shortly. We have more than one but he stands out in a crowd. My letter wasn't printed early enough to have any impact on the theater's decision but I'm sure the phone calls and the four Golden Globes did. It may have been promotional all along. Wait for the awards and build an audience.

In the meantime, I wrote another letter, wearing my tree hugger hat. I had stayed out of the "build a racetrack" controversy because my environmental knowledge is sketchy and I didn't want to be seen as a NIMBY. Then the Sun-Star printed a letter from the opposition which was an attack on all of us who had misgivings. (To international readers who may not be up on American acronyms - NIMBY, not in my back yard)

He asked three questions in his open letter asking us if we had ever done anything in our own lives to cut down on traffic, pollution, and noise and closed by calling us all Maynard G. Krebs among other things. What do Dobie and friend have to do with all this? I answered with yes, yes, and yes, and I also knew how to write a Letter to the Editor without dredging up old t.v. shows.

Have I ever written to my Congressperson or spoken out, he asked? I could paper the walls with the letters I've written and the petitions I've both circulated and signed (as a volunteer for a cause I believed in, not for pay). Have I met with our elected officials? Duh. Etc. etc.

Lawyers have a saying. Never ask a question when you don't know the answer. The Sun-Star will be inundated by environmentalists.

The only times I write to the Editor is when I'm furious. These two letters are a little close together but some people have letters in at least once a week. Usually from the other side which is one reason I don't do it. I'm a little freaky but I'm not a wingnut and I don't want to get that reputation.

Rochelle and Elcie are fine. Elcie was a little put out by not having her head treated (can you imagine wanting that stuff?) but I gave her a nice shampoo tonight and checked her again. I think she just needed a little pampering to catch up with baby sister. Rochelle was her usual self; helpful and funny. Her Report Card came in. One B, everything else A & A-. Her conduct stayed at oustanding in spite of the rock throwing incident which some of you might remember.

It's hard on the other kids to have the sick one get the attention but I made enough Jello and pudding for everyone which soothed them. Dessert isn't an everyday occurrence and Jello is a rarity in the cold weather.

Speaking of food, our new commenter from India, Neets, is planning to post recipes. I can hardly wait. I worked for a lovely man from India in San Francisco who used to take me to lunch. He knew what to order and it was wonderful.

Maybe tomorrow I'll finally get to the Hermit cookies. By then Rebecca may be able to eat one.

Blog roll

My blog roll started out very basic and very short. Since I didn't know what I was doing, I started introducing people as they surfaced and, if they had a blog, I checked it out and then usually added them.

I like the idea of the people who visit here knowing a little about each other.

It works for me. The only problem is that the list has grown a lot. I'm delighted and I'll keep on adding and I'll solve the problem of too many names if that ever happens. I never expected this many visitors. Wow.

Quick note (for me at least) - nope - it got longer

I have a failproof cure for lice but I can't give it out here. If anyone wants to know, email me.

No don't. I should have made clear it was a joke and I've already emailed two commenters who seriously wanted to know the magic cure. Here it is as I sent it to them:

This is something you could never use on any of your kids. I should
have been more clear it was a joke. However, you'll either laugh or
never speak to me again. I'll go back and fix that post.

Shave one side, pour kerosene on the other, light a match and stab
them with an icepick as they run to the other side.

Hi and welcome to The Subversive Librarian. I'm not sure now where I ran into her. Probably through a comment on another blog. That happens often. She's from Georgia, she's funny, she's raising a child, and her story is a little different than mine although from reading her profile we have many things in common. Another addition to the growing blog roll. I'm going to write another short post about the blog roll maybe.

Andrea - cleaning solution? Some people used kerosene and many probably still do. Don't light a match.

Madcap - I'll check out your suggestion online. I'm all for anything non-chemical that will do the job. In this case, we grabbed for the first cure that came to hand. Of course, that's usually the case. I don't think too many people plan for lice.

Anon - thanks for your comment and the suggestion. The girls are technically "wards of the court" and I have legal guardianship. The court hasn't bothered with me since 1996 when the judge signed the papers. What it means to us is that the State of CA foots their medical bills. In Elcie and Rebecca's case, they have been substantial. Elcie has had surgery twice on her legs and twice on her eyes. She spent a large part of her 2nd year in casts and a splint after surgery and then recovering from the casts and splint. They've bought at least 3 wheelchairs, crutches, braces for a while, and would put a wheelchair lift on the van if I asked. I'm thinking about it. Rebecca has had eye surgery and has been casted because she was a toe walker. She's had tubes placed in her ears twice. She was a tiny preemie and has some minor problems which may or may not be a form of cerebral palsy. No one is sure and I let the specialists argue amongst themselves. So far, the orthopedist who recommended the least invasive treatment has won and the toe walking is gone except when she's a little tired. The state has no problem with the "high end" medical treatment. What they need, they get. I'm in a much better position than many. We also receive a small check from the state for the two younger girls and Elcie receives permanent disability. Ray and I have social security and I have a small retirement pension. We're much better off than many people raising kids these days but it's still tight.

My problem is more one of principle than personal needs. We're in that area just above poverty where any additional expense makes the month more difficult but we always get through. I rant about the people for whom any additional expense makes the month impossible and are forced to choose between medicine (NIX qualifies so far as I'm concerned) and paying the utility bill. Many of these people do work, at low paying jobs with either no health insurance or with premiums that take half their paycheck for lousy coverage. They often qualify for Medi-cal but the more the program cuts, the worse it gets.

All of you who have hung around since I started the blog already know all this but when I look at the blogroll I realize how many friends have joined in since. Once I read anon's comment, I thought perhaps I should explain our situation again.

Rochelle went to school today. The nurse will check her head and decide. We checked Elcie again this morning although with that mop of hair, it's hard to see much.

Rebecca is able to whisper but I'm keeping her out today and will probably get her into the walk-in clinic bad as I hate the idea of sitting around and possibly making her sicker. She's lying in my bed watching Nick (she reverts to little girl easily when she's ill), propped up on a booster pillow and covered with blankies. Just where she should be. Maybe today she'll be more inclined to eat something soft. Broth? Jello? I think I'll go start boiling water for red Jello. I forgot about that yesterday. Okay did that and also grabbed up a couple of boxes of Instant butterscotch pudding. That should slide down nicely. I'll worry about nutrition later.

My buddy Gawdessness just chimed in. She had a post the other day about delousing her dogs and I was dumb enough to tell her about the recent lice outbreak and say so far we were clear. Serves me right.

She has a large photo of a louse on her blog. Aren't you glad I didn't do that? Special person is Gawdessness. I've probably known her, between Blogging Baby and here, for almost a year by now. I recommend Building the Bigger Family (or something close to that - I just click on a desktop icon. It's sort of like speed dial - I can never remember phone numbers any more). Anyhow, she's over there on the blog roll.

My friend Dawn is coming back in a few minutes and we're going to (seriously) wash off the front bathroom walls. We've picked up some mold in this clammy weather. I'm pretty casual but I don't let that horrid stuff live.

Take care everyone. Ignore the typos please. By now you should be able to figure out what I did and I'm not sure how much I trust a spell checker that doesn't recognize the word Blog.

Excuse me Roger, b**g. He hates that word.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New visitors and other things not so good

We have Susie, Aunt Josefina, and Neets here for the first time today. At least I think it's a first for Susie.

Susie and I met through Julian B., Aunt Josefina is a friend of Susie's. I'm not sure how Neets found me but I'm delighted she did.

Susie is a student from Idaho. Don't let the picture frighten you. She writes a blog called Susie's Gobhole.

Aunt Josefina describes herself as a wife and mom from "green country" USA. She has a ton of recipes on her blog, That's Life Too.

Links to all three blogs are on last night's MLK post. I'll get them on the blog roll (or Andrea will - let's be honest, Ann).

Neets is from India, Bangalore I believe (I need to consult a map). She's a software engineer who writes three blogs, one called I'm Back. Very interesting young woman and our first visitor from India.

Welcome to all three.

Now, unless you want to be grossed out, stop reading.

Okay, I warned you.

We have the creepy crawlies at our house. The little girl down the street brought them home from school with her last week. Her mother told us right away and we began checking heads nightly. Last night we found the eggs. Nothing crawling yet that we could see. One emergency trip to Walgreen's and we started in. (Elcie's clear we think - she doesn't spend as much time roughhousing with the other kids which may have saved her. We'll keep checking).

We started in on Rochelle and then Rebecca. Their mom and Jonathan were here with their supersharp vision and did the bulk of the combing and all the other nasty stuff. All that thick, curly hair. The pictures at the top of the page don't show it nearly as well as some of the snapshots do. The NIX was burning Rebecca's scalp so we had to rinse it a little early. We couldn't find anything this morning but I kept them out of school for the day just to make sure.

Words can't begin to describe how I feel about head lice. The last time this happened, I had to shave three little heads. I think the girls were in 1st grade and Elcie in 3rd. It was that or fry them with chemicals on a 3rd application and none of the homegrown methods (mayo, etc.) seemed to work. They weren't quite bald but it was VERY short. At that time, the school district had a rule that if the bugs weren't gone by a certain time, they would call Child Protective Services. We did haircuts. The bugs lost their happy home and all was well.

The school tells us that the critters prefer clean hair to dirty. Great. So I should just skip the shampoos? Seriously, there's nothing we can do. Kids are kids and they will swap hats, borrow combs, or put their little heads together to whisper and giggle.

The only bright spot was that we discovered them before the school called me. It's always so humiliating to have to pick your kid up even though we all know it's not usually anyone's fault. They're a fact of life in the public schools.

I didn't post on this last night. I was just too tired and didn't want to think about it any more.

Of course, we're all itchy. We checked each other and nothing surfaced but all someone has to do is say the word and my fingernails find my scalp.

To compound it, Rebecca is sick with a sore throat. I would have kept her out today anyway. She's spending her second night curled up in my bed. I couldn't get an appointment today but if she's not magically recovered by tomorrow we'll go to urgent care or the emergency room. The medical service for low income kids here is getting worse - not better. It's harder to get a same day appointment and next to impossible to get through the voice mail to a live person. The nurse-practitioners have known the girls all their lives and are good at what they do; it's just difficult getting in to see them.

Meantime she's sucking on Cepacol lozenges. I tried her on herbal tea with honey but when she sets her mind to something she can be stubborn and crying because something might hurt just makes it hurt worse. I've been managing to get her to drink water, warmed with a little honey mixed in and a day without food won't do any harm. It doesn't act like strep and I can't see inflammation but then I'm not a doctor. Tomorrow we find out. It's hung on too long.

Of course the kids are part of the Medicare/Medi-cal system which has cut funding which in turn means cutting staff for the clinics and medicine for children.

One example. Last year they covered the cost of NIX automatically when my friend was dealing with lice. This year they don't and it's $20 for two bottles which barely covers two girls with all that hair. Next week we do it again. Luckily we can and still make it through a month. Many can't. Public Health used to keep a supply on a walk-in basis. I don't know if they still do it or if they've been cut off too.

Other than that, Ann, how was your day? Okay thanks.

The Merced paper called this morning. They're printing my Letter about Brokeback Mountain. There are many more important things going on I could have written them about (and have) but this one really got to me. We'll see what comes of it. Our theater assistant manager says her phone's been ringing off the hook for days. Four Golden Globes should mean something.

Elcie outdid herself with good behavior and not one snit. Buzzed through her homework with almost no help and settled in entertaining herself. Rochelle hovered around the sister she usually squabbles with bringing her shawls, fixing her drinks, offering food, and just generally being Rochelle. She was patting Rebecca's back (Rochelle's cure for everything and not a bad idea).

We fed two of the girls and Jonathan went out later and picked up fast food for us. We have to hide the evidence before morning. I don't forbid fast food; we're on a rationing system, but I had food for them. We just weren't hungry ourselves so I used last night's leftovers and didn't cook anything extra.

It's late (or early depending on your way of looking at it) and I should go to bed.

Hope I don't have you all itching and scratching.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today was Martin Luther King Day of course. I wrote a short post for the other blog but hadn't said anything here except to talk about a 3 day weekend.

I don't know if I ever mentioned that my birth mother was married to a person of color. They met during WW II but had to wait to marry until California rescinded its miscegnation law in 1948. I met him for the first time when I moved to CA in 1958. Wonderful man who died not long after I came out here.

Henry and my mother were stopped on the street by police both before and after their marriage and made to show i.d. The police assumed that only one type of woman would be walking with a black man. She didn't tell me about all the incidents of harassment but I'm sure there were many. They were restricted to certain neighborhoods of course.

And this was San Francisco, CA.

The country has changed greatly since then but not nearly enough.

Doctor King died for his beliefs. There were many others as well as innocents who were killed simply because of the color of their skin. Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo, the three young men who died for helping blacks to vote, and 4 little girls in a Birmingham Sunday School. That is just a sample, not a complete list. Racism was (and is) the shame of our nation and we must never forget the people who paved the way for children like my great-granddaughters. They may not grow up in a perfect world but it's certainly an improvement over what went before.

Here's what I wrote over on Is America Burning:

I was a mile or two away from that motel in Memphis in April 1968 buying groceries with my then mother-in-law. I'd gone out to bring the car around and turned on the radio to hear the breaking news. I walked back and got the store manager and he shut it down. We went back home and listened in horror. My mother in law was a product of her time and place in some respects but she was weeping along with me.

It would have been a tragedy no matter where I lived at the time. I was in California for JFK and Memphis still (in hospital giving birth) for RFK. There's no good place to hear something like that. But there's something about being right there that's different. It's still like it was yesterday.

Here is Tom Paine today reminding us all to not lose sight of Doctor King's other goals which he did not live to achieve


Continued from previous post

I had to change the color of the print for the recipe so it would show against my pretty purple. Now I can read it on the post but it's illegible on my draft so I'm starting over.

Marigoldie has links to several interesting recipes on her blog, especially for any of you vegans out there. Too many to link and post but if you click on the title of the previous post it will take you to (I checked - it works - sometimes they don't).

Life has been uneventful with this 3 day weekend. Kids have been having sleepovers back and forth. Last night one of the kids (Selena?) came over from across the street and spent the night with Rebecca while Rochelle went for a sleepover with the other (Sabrina?) They are stairstep sisters, the two youngest of at least five, and I never can remember which one is which. I call them all ladies, sugarplum, or hey you. Now they're all running amok back and forth and have added a few more.

I slept until 10 this morning - can't imagine how. Managed to miss the parade. I've been making up for it with some housecleaning and the ever present laundry. Last night I cooked a ham, broccoli, and (store bought) potato salad and have plenty of leftovers for tonight. Tomorrow - school. At least the weather has stayed decent, if chilly.

I cleaned a drawer today - sort of. It's my husband's catchall pile of junk. One hammer, one screwdriver, one pair of pliers. The rest consists of every screw, nail, curtain hook, a few unmatched washers, etc. all thrown in the bottom (along with a couple of sheets of sandpaper). I went on junk (tool) drawer strike some time ago. I had little plastic jars (like prescription containers) for the different categories and even had some of the screws and nails roughly sorted as to size. I don't know if it's a guy thing or just the difference in personalities but it took about a week for them all to find their way home to the bottom of the drawer (where they sat minding their own business until today).

I finally opened it this morning and couldn't stand it. I dumped all the unmatched stuff into a larger plastic container (he can dig through it to his heart's content) washed it out, and it looks neat from a distance at least. I moved the sandpaper and tossed the old used birthday candles and drinking straws along with several expired cereal coupons and other trash. He saves used birthday candles - "you never know when you'll need it". Right honey, what you said. I'll see how long it lasts.

I once went through his side of the bedroom and turned up at least 20 screwdrivers, heaven knows how many pliers, a ball peen hammer we'd been hunting for weeks, and Judge Crater. (google if you're confused; you older readers will know). If I had said Jimmy Hoffa would that have helped or still too much ancient history?

I don't suppose anyone else has a drawer like that? Do packrats invariably marry anal retentives?

Brokeback Mountain - I may have jumped the gun with my Letter to the Editor. Tim (my son) and the theater manager are good friends and he tells me there are only 57 copies for the entire 50 states. I guess we're lucky to be in the geographic center of two of the showings. Fresno and Modesto are both larger than Merced. They're awaiting the Golden Globes before they release any more. The theater manager said her phone has been ringing off the hook. She doesn't want me to cancel the letter though; said the more noise the better. Let's see what happens here after the awards. That may help explain why two of the commenters in the USA haven't been able to see it yet. 57 copies??

Sheri is another Canadian living in Japan who I found through Andrea in Japan. Welcome to Sheri. Eventually the blogroll will catch up and we'll put Julian and Elizabeth over here as well. They share a blog.

I still haven't managed to track Callooh. My fault for not bookmarking her blog when I left a comment (unless she found me some other way). Anyone recognize the name (?) (apart from Lewis Carroll which is all I can find on blog search).

Thanks for all the comments about Elcie and the Honor Roll. Cerebral Palsy is a strange thing; its effects can range from slight to severe and some aren't immediately visible. She's not exactly learning disabled and not retarded; it's a processing problem which will remain with her to some extent. She does fine when she's not rushed - the pressure in the mainstreamed classes did her in. When she's allowed to proceed at her own pace, she has an Honor Roll Certificate to show for it.

Of course the No Child Left Behind yo-yos will probably continue to insist on testing her and Rochelle at grade level and I will continue to ignore the results (or opt out once again). Both of their "disabilities" involve speed of reading and processing and on any timed test covering at least one grade higher than the work they're actually accomplishing, they'll test low. It's such a crock.

It's unusual for me to be writing in the middle of the day but the girls are still playing, Ray is watching a CSI marathon, and I had a little clear time. (I like CSI too but this is about the 4th time around for some of the shows).

Leaving now to take laundry from dryer and see if anyone is hungry yet. It's 5:00 here so we may feed them soon and get baths out of the way so they can switch into school mode.

Catching up (and a dressing recipe from marigoldie)

First things first (the food)

If you don't know what "Bragg's" is, we'll have to ask Marigoldie or I may do it now. Google refers to cider, vinegar, seasonings, and many other things the company makes. ???

Revised - here's what marigoldie said about Bragg's
Marigoldie said...

Hey Ann! It's Bragg's Liquid Aminos. I'm so glad you're trying the dressing.

I'm on a recipe kick too. I never thought I had the cooking skills, but I'm learning. It's so much fun to try new recipes...especially when it turns out to be AMAZING.

Let me know what you think of the dressing.

Madness’ Drinkable Dressing

½ c. flaxseed oil

1/3 c. water
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ c. Braggs
1/3 c. nutritional yeast
2 gloves garlic

Blend on high for 30 seconds. Add fresh tarragon or dill (optional).

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Elizabeth Green is here

Hi Elizabeth - glad you took the hint. Your comments are popping up one by one on my mailbox but they take a few minutes to get over here. I'll answer them over at JulianB.