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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brief Update

I hope you can read this. I'm on a strange computer using IE instead of Fireofx.

Here's an email I sent out to everyone who has written lately and who included their email address. My friends have dialup and I didn't have time to go back and look up addresses for the others so am thanking all of you and updating here:]]Apologies for form letter. You'll understand why. I'll write more when I have time (or my own computer).

Form letter:

My computer is packed away and stored. I'm using
a friend's to catch up.

We're okay - just frantically trying to
find a place to live.
I've talked to the girls twice.

when I have more time. Househunting this



Briefly, the landlord told us we had to be out immediately and I called friends and sent my appliances, vital papers, and the computer to a friends house for safekeeping. We started frantically storing as much as we could.

By that afternoon, he's backtracked but by then it was too late. We're getting by, still packing, and will try to be out of there as soon as possible.

A Social Worker came by and said if he pulled something like that again, to call her cell phone. She was livid..

Anyhow, I've talked to the girls twice now. I won't try to see them until things are more settled. They're doing well but still not back in school which bewilders me.

I don't want to put much else out here (again to protect the girls) but I'm emailing back and forth to many of you and talking to some by phone.

Thanks to everyone. I'm totally amazed at the support. I'll be back online whenever possible but don't know when that will be. We started yesterday to send my computer back home and then decided against it.

Ray is doing okay still and I'm hanging in although for once I think he's doing better than I.

Thanks heavens for all of you and for the local friends who have rushed to help.

Have a good weekend and take care everyone. Hugs to all of you.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

See Post Below

I mentioned an article in the local paper about blogging in Merced. Here it is.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Family Crisis Update (Updated Again)

Hello Everyone,

This is Tim, granny's son. As some of you know the girls have been removed from her care. We are dealing with it as a family the best way we can. Upon careful consideration Granny has asked me to remove the previous post due to the possible complications that could arise. We live in a small town and Granny has a small degree of visibility due to her involment in the local paper. She has some concerns that people might be drawn to the blog because of an upcoming story in our local paper about blogging. She does not want any negative attention focused on the three girls.

As her son I would ask any one who is concerned to give her as much emotional support as possible. She has given of herself unceasingly for the past three or four decades and now the universe needs to return the favor.

Granny for all intents and purposes has decided to pass the reins on to someone else who may be better equipped to deal with the special needs of three adolescent girls. At almost 70 she has done enough. It is time for she and "Ray Ray" as we in the family call her husband to start the retirement that was interrupted 14 years ago.

Granny's internet is currently (once again) on the blink so she will respond as soon as she can.
Granny is grateful for all the support and should you wish to call or email please feel free.
I personally encourage it.
Her phone number is 209-230-3354

All my best to everyone and my love to all granny's friends on her behalf.

Update Saturday morning around 9:00 PDT by Ann

Beloved son:

I stuck in a couple of commas and fixed your spelling. (Tim will understand what I'm talking about and smile. When he was taking a writing class here at the college, I was his proofreader)

My net is back but I don't know for how long. I've read back through the emails and I'll try to answer as many as I can. I said when my daughter Carol died that it helped to hear from friends and respond. That's not any less true now.

I wrote the mysterious deleted post without thinking of possible damage to the kids and included a little too much information. I'd forgotten the paper interviewed me for an article about blogging a couple of weeks ago. Someone here might find the blog through a search. It's not that difficult. I called Tim from home (no internet) and asked him to delete and rewrite.

I'm glad to talk about it in email - just not on the blog.

If the newspaper runs the story today, I'll post the link. It was all true when I was interviewed. I had no idea all would be different now.

Thanks to all of you. Ray was in the hospital when all this took place. He's home now and we're making plans to move as soon as possible. We're sorting, scaling back a lot, and trying to put the best face on all this we can. It's hard and I still find myself in tears some of the time.

Friends have told me I didn't fail the girls. I know they're right but I think I finally recognize my limits. It was so hard to admit defeat but it's been coming for a while.

I have hopes we'll put all this behind us and still be a family; just not in the same house.

I don't think I'll give up the blog or my online friends. The internet is a lifeline and I don't want to lose that. The focus may change a little.

Thanks to all of you who have written or called. Special thanks to all the foster and adoptive parents who have been where I am now. You're all heroes.

Madcap asked about the phone number. It's okay; I have a spam blocker for the telemarketers and it was worth the risk to be reachable. It's always on the bottom of my emails anyhow.

Take care everyone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family Crisis

I can't write about it on the blog just yet and I don't have the heart to post about trivia.

Nobody died - it's something quite different. If I can write about it eventually, I will. It's not a secret; just that this is too public a forum.

Update: I should at least say that I have some huge decisions to make. I'm willing to share in email but not here. Just dawned on me I may be scaring you and that's not my intention.

Meantime, I'll still try to get around to your blogs, and respond to comments and email.

Hugs and take care everyone.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

I Couldn't Resist This One

Merle, I know that you and some of my other Australian friends have seen this but I stole it from Gwen anyhow.

Thanks, Gwen.

(An actual post, complete with a meme, is below)

Eleven people, ten men and one woman, were hanging on a rope under a helicopter.

The rope was not strong enough to carry them all so they decided that one had to leave because otherwise they were all going to fall.

They weren't able to choose that person until the woman gave a very touching speech.

She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope because, as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids or for men in general.

She added she was used to always making sacrifices with little in return.

As soon as she finished her speech, all the men started clapping.

So Now I'm a Freak

What Your Pizza Reveals

People may tell you that you have a small appetite... but you aren't under eating. You just aren't a pig.

You aren't particularly picky about pizza. It's so good... how could you be? You fit in best in the Western part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are generous, outgoing, and considerate with your choices.

You are cultured and intellectual. You should consider traveling to Vienna.

The stereotype that best fits you is freak. Obviously.

I don't know what's so freaky about anchovies and mushrooms on a pizza. Seriously, I keep a can of anchovies in my pantry so no one else is subjected to them. The girls except for Rochelle hand me their mushrooms - I pass them my pepperoni. It all works out.

I believe we're almost ready for school. Picked up a few more odds and ends today along with a few solid color tshirts in the accepted colors (lavender & puce perhaps?) Seriously, I have yellow, green, purple, and navy blue. The navy blue may not pass muster but I didn't read anything about a ban on it.

I'd forgotten folders and little 3 hole pencil holders. Always something.

And I treated my self to a caramel macchiato at Barnes & Noble. Son Tim was working which is always a plus. Tuesday I met my friend Janet for coffee and played cards (samba) last Wednesday with Tim and our friends. My partner and I trounced the opposition. Pure luck although of course I didn't tell them that. Naturally we claimed it was all skill.

I don't get out a lot but it's nice to have that break once or twice a week just for a little while.

I'd hoped to go to a concert at the University tonight but it's hot and I'm tired. The performer is a guy from the late 60's/early 70's named Barry McGuire. I may be the only person reading this blog who's ever heard of him. I wonder what those college kids will think of the unreconstructed hippie.

The girls have spent much of last week swimming. Tomorrow I'll make sure they have their clothes in order for Monday. Rebecca already does and her backpack is orderly. Rochelle - not so much.

I still don't have a bus schedule for any of them. I'll send the girls early enough Monday morning to catch a bus before 7:00 a.m. They'll have the cell phone in case they miss it. I'll drive Elcie the first day since I have no clue what time her bus will arrive or even if it will. Calls to transpo have not been returned. I'd rather be with Elcie on her first day anyhow just in case.

It's not necessary with Rebecca and Rochelle. It will be their second year on campus and they know the teachers and classrooms. Rochelle is following behind Elcie so far as teachers are concerned so she's quite comfortable. Rebecca is already complaining about her p.e. teacher before her classes have even started.

Counting down. One more day after today.

Other than that, not much happening. I'm watching a PBS special of Johnny Cash shows from the 70's. Pure nostalgia. Just heard Carl Perkins with Blue Suede Shoes and now we're on to Jerry Lee Lewis and Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On.

Hope all of you are doing well. You're probably becoming weary of hearing about my internet woes but they're still around and I'm still trying to catch up with all of you.

R & R just came in from swimming and Elcie is once again spending the night with her friend (who may someday become her stepmother but that's a story for another time). I'll believe it when it happens.

Thanks for all the comments and take care everyone.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Rupert Murdoch

If you've been keeping up with the news, you know that Rupert Murdoch, who owns FOX network here in the USA (among many other things), has purchased Dow Jones which publishes The Wall Street Journal.

No particular reason for me to mention the above but I got a kick out of the cartoon.

In other news:

Ray is outside watering the crab grass, Rochelle has gone swimming with friends, Elcie is visiting another friend, and Rebecca is hiding out in her bedroom. I don't think she feels well. She hasn't said that but she's very quiet and not interested in food. That's not Rebecca. It may just be heat.

I did my major shopping today. Fewer groceries than usual but the money I saved was eaten up by back to school stuff. (Counting down to August 13). New shoes for Rochelle, two new rolling backpacks (contradiction in terms there), pencils, binders, dividers for same, ruled paper. I think they have enough clothes for now since the weather is still so warm. I usually wait until the cooler weather to figure out what else they'll need.

Usually I wait to buy winter shoes too but Rochelle had either outgrown or worn out all her foot gear. She's much harder on shoes than Rebecca for some reason. Poor child - the sole of her shoe was flapping. She reminded me of Charlie Chaplin. The shoes she got for Christmas are in good shape but she's outgrown them already. Rebecca will inherit an almost new pair of Nikes.

Rebecca is going through a growing spurt finally and Rochelle towers over me as does Elcie. I doubt if much of their winter clothing except possibly for sweats will fit. I can probably pass much of Rochelle's down to Rebecca who occupies the unenviable position of being the youngest. After Rebecca they go to my friend Dawn for her daughter and from her to one of her friends. Considering many of their outfits came from yard sales and thrift stores to begin with, those clothes may be on their 6th or 7th child by now.

I'll have to spring for 3 PE sets at $15 each. Ouch. The 6th graders are exempt from dressing out but not the 7th and 8th. Elcie got away with just the shirt over her clothes in middle school. Now they want her to do the whole thing (I think I wrote about this before). Hoping they'll change their minds when they realize it will take most of the p.e. time for her to undress, dress, undress, and dress again.

It makes no sense. Her P. E. will be done mostly from her wheelchair (or scooter if it arrives on time) except for pushups. She won't run laps. She won't get very sweaty. Why this silly insistence on conformity? As Ralph Waldo Emerson said in "Self Reliance", "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".

They can use store bought binders this year but they must not be blue or red (gang colors). I bought lavender and toxic green in the hopes that no gang has taken over those colors just yet. The dress code requirements arrived in the mail today. No major changes from last year.

What else? Elcie has requested white beans (probably Navies) and rice for the weekend. Girl, it's 95 (around 36 C) in the shade and there isn't any shade for miles. Oh well, I don't have to be in the kitchen for long. Beans are very low maintenance. I'd use the crockpot and start them tonight but it's too small for the amount I cook. I can barely fit a small roast in there and never mind adding any veggies except the onion, celery, and some bell pepper. ("In Australia, New Zealand and India, heatless species of bell pepper are called "capsicums". Thanks, Wiki.) I forgot to buy ham hocks and I used the ham bone from our last ham already but I'll find something to throw in with them. I'm not making another trip to the store.

Today I shoveled out two bathrooms. It used to be simpler but all 3 of the girls primp, they each have their own special conditioners and face products, brushes, hot comb, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with tween and teen girls. And they never throw away an empty anything.

Rebecca just came come out of hibernation. She organized her new binder, labeled her "back pack", and is singing. I'm watching the Giants (sort of - more like listening to the audio and looking up when the crowd moans - we're playing in San Diego). When they're at home, I listen for the cheers.

Yesterday evening, she composed the prettiest little ditty (sort of one-fingered Mozart - deceptively simple) on the piano (even a couple of chords). Then she couldn't remember how she did it.

That's about it from here. A lot of chatter about not much of anything, as usual.

Please keep a good thought or say a prayer for my online friend Dem Soldier who attends the University of Minnesota and for all the other residents of the Twin Cities - Minneapolis and St. Paul. In the midst of that disaster and subsequent injury and loss of life, there was a ray of sunshine. I keep seeing in my mind the photos of that big yellow school bus. 50 young people and aides walked to safety. (The last I heard, the driver and one other person were seriously injured - I haven't seen an update since last night but I hope they make it).

Thanks for all the comments on the last few posts. I've managed to get back to some of you despite my cranky internet. Have a wonderful weekend (half a weekend for those of you enjoying winter about now) and take care everyone.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Get the Lead Out - Updated 8-3-07

This post is primarily directed to my American visitors although any of you with kids or grandkids (or great-grandkids) might find it of interest..

This is a little different from the subjects I usually address here.

Parent Dish (formerly Blogging Baby) devotes much of its space to recalls. For the past few months, one of the writers has focused on toys containing lead - most from China. In the beginning, it was trinkets, mostly jewelry, that we see in all of the dollar stores.

It isn't just junk jewelry anymore and it isn't just the dollar stores. It's Mattel and Fisher-Price. Those of you with kids will recognize the names. You'll also recognize Dora the Explorer, Elmo, and especially Thomas the Tank Engine. For a while, when my girls were little, we were covered up with Elmos, all giggling or "rocking" at the same time but not necessarily in sync. Except for the damage to my own brain from the noise, I never thought twice about safety from an established brand that I trusted and thought I knew. All of my own kids had at least one Mattel "See & Say" and Fisher-Price may even go back to my generation.

And let's not forget the poisoned dog and cat food. My girls have outgrown most of Mattel and Fisher-Price, they've certainly moved past the 99¢ necklaces, but they haven't outgrown cats. Now I have to check recall lists for cat food. As for human food, I'm waiting for that shoe to drop.

It's approaching an epidemic.

Cooper & Emily of Been There and The Motherhood have written about it. (By the way, I recommend The Motherhood for those of you either with kids or interested in their welfare. Anything Cooper & Emily put their names to will be honest and worthwhile.)

This has nothing to do with economics or the political aspects of trading with China or any other nation. I'm not even going to get into the treatment of the workers. I'm not talking about outsourcing and the loss of American industry and jobs. They are all worthy subjects for another time and have been covered exhaustively by folks far more expert than I. It has everything to do with the safety of our kids, our animals, and ourselves.

I will say though, as an experienced shopper I've discovered how difficult it is to find products that are made entirely in the USA. For many of us, we buy what we can afford. I either watched or read online the other day about a couple who bought entirely made in USA products for an entire year. They were obviously in a much higher income bracket than I. It was difficult and it was expensive. I believe they went without one major appliance for months because there was no American replacement. Even items assembled here usually have foreign components.

Back to lead based products. Lead based paint has been banned here for years. Federal, state, and local ordinances are in place. In some areas, Public Health conducts inspections of older houses to check for paint. I know they do here. The dangers to children, including brain damage, have long been established.

And yet unsafe products are being allowed onto the shelves of our stores. It shouldn't be happening. By the time a recall is issued, how many little kids have been happily munching away on a toy containing lead? Far too many, I imagine.

Moms Rising, another group I've joined and promoted, has an online petition to Congress. I've signed it.

China seems to be the main offender; possibly because they are our largest importer. They must be pressured somehow to clean up their act.

Update: When I went back to The Motherhood to add this link to their discussion, I discovered a link to The Sierra Club They've compiled statistics and taken action. Interesting reading.

Update #2. I'd forgotten about the pacifiers being sold on line by American companies in Florida. I don't know where the crystals came from but obviously China isn't the only offender.

Update 3. My friend Tina just advised me that Mattel/Fisher-Price has a comprehensive recall list I looked it up and she's right. Thanks Tina.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Help Me Welcome a New Arrival

Congratulations to Kuri & Ping at International Marriage - What the Heck Is That who have their first child, a brand new baby girl.

Mom and baby are doing fine; dad is hanging in there.