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Friday, March 31, 2006

Elcie and Science Class

Too sleepy to write much. Elcie came home with her school photos today as well as some pictures her pre-school p.e. teacher took 8/10 years ago. I'll try for them tomorrow when I feel more like tackling the dreaded scanner and doing some judicious cropping. The "then and now" is really something although there's no doubt it's Elcie. The same smile.

She also came home with a story about science class. The class had created a "chair" made from recycled test papers and homework pages. She was so excited - said people could even sit in it. Papier mache maybe? Sounds like she's fitting right in to main stream science.

Rochelle's field trip was a howling success and somehow they managed to procure a bus both directions. It's rained here for days.

I could be wrong but I don't think Beth of So The Fish Said has commented before. Possibly once when we were talking about Heifer Int'l but I'm not sure. It may have been email. Anyhow, she and her husband Chris are fantastic writers and I've been keeping up with both of them for a while. I'm having trouble with the link to his blog, Rude Cactus, but if you find Beth, you find him close by. (Just checked. The link to Rude Cactus is on Beth's blog roll.) They have a beautiful 8 month old girl named Mia. Welcome Beth.

I'm glad this week is over. Thegirls have been feeling crummy and will have the weekend to rest and recuperate.

Dawn and I finished up the shopping by 10:00 a.m. and were back in time to put groceries away and play a hand or two of cards before she left to pick up her daughter. I had my annual review with Central Valley Regional Center at noon. They are the Agency that funds unusual expenses, provides respite care, etc. They're the least bureaucratic of the agencies and the best at thinking "outside the box". (I hate that expression, it's been overused, but it fits here).

They want to send her to Easter Seals camp this summer. Yippee. She went to camp with her fifth grade class two years ago and was outstanding there but this camp is designed especially for kids like her. I haven't told her and won't unless it all falls into place (maybe as she's heading out the door). It's a week and may conflict with summer school but too bad. Her grades are fine , she's gone to summer school every year, and last year she spent six weeks doing work she had mastered six months before. It kept her from a boring summer but I can't say she learned much.

Brief tonight. It's been a long day and not especially eventful. The rain is dragging us all down a little. All except Rochelle, the vampire, are asleep and I think she's fading. I may not be far behind her.

Take care - don't forget "spring forward, fall back" tomorrow or early Sunday unless it's already Sunday where you are. Is anyone actually that far ahead of us? I don't think so.

Hi Tanyetta and granny - (yes we have one more). Just saw both of you pop up on gmail. Good night Suzie. You don't know I pulled this back to fix a goof or two. I always notice them just as I hit "post". (Or sometimes a day later as I just discovered now - Saturday at 11:15).

You Have to See This!!

Anybody out there still longing for the good old days? andie d shows us what they were like.

I remember and it wasn't really that long ago. Click on the title for the post, on her name for her blog. (Once you arrive, click on the photo).

Thanks Andie.

Friday Cat Blogging (it's officially Friday here)

From bottom to top:

Fidget (the pooper and all around menace - he's been very good lately)

Spunky (alpha female, ladylike and usually dignified)

Rochelle (not a cat - a kid)

The cats are perched on top of one of the removable video drawers. Fidget has taken to following Spunk around like a puppy. Spunk turns around and bats him gently from time to time but she's usually tolerant.

I'll get around to the meme tomorrow. I still have work to do on it and the questions to answer. I'm going to be sensible and call it a night.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Christmas Decorations Packed in Time for Easter (except for that fake poinsettia)


Welcome to Bacchus who lives in San Francisco with his partner and son. I spotted him on another blog, left a comment, and he responded.

For some reason I woke up today with a lot of energy; not the usual thing at all. My friend was here as usual and we started in on a grand cleaning. All the decorations are down and

packed away, the surfaces have been washed and my bell collection is back in place.

Photo 1, the etagere - I forgot to pack the plant - went back later and swept down the cobwebs I missed. The little hat (amber colored) is older than I am - I don't know by how much but it came from my mom's house and I think it was passed to her.

#2, the top of the piano.

#3 the bookcase in the entryway. Only half - too small a space to get the whole thing. They were, until today, covered with Santas, creches (I collect those too sort of), and all little things we put up each season. Usually they don't remain until the 30th of March but at least it isn't April.

I used to have a larger bell collection but that was BG (before girls). They're not destructive on purpose but accidents do happen. None are expensive, some have been gifts from the girls and Ray, some from yard sales. I like bells.

Onward and upward. We straightened, swept, and Ray vacuumed. Good for him. He wants to help so badly and he's so limited now in what he can do. I cleaned the front bathroom fairly thoroughly. It's the one the girls use and now that they're older it's much more loaded down with their assortment of bath and beauty products. Did the laundry, hers and mine, and had a great time. The girls' mom showed up and did the living room section of the front room. Tomorrow I'll probably run a wet mop over the kitchen and bathroom but that was enough for one day. (Or not - it's grocery shopping day tomorrow). Major outlay for the month. I'll come home loaded down and spend a good part of the day putting things away. Dawn may go with - she quite often does. Ray used to and actually enjoyed it. We do the shopping together and then have breakfast. Now, it's just too much for him.

Elcie's room could stand a little straightening, Carol is responsible for the back bathroom and her room so we're in good shape once again (until tomorrow at least). I've been doing cupboards and pantries a little at a time but that's an ongoing thing. I'm much more obsessive over the things I can control and that are my "territory" than I am about anything else.

Dawn and I have an informal agreement. She uses my washer and dryer and is always willing to help around here. It's a great trade off and she's a good friend. Much younger and stronger. She lives a little further from the school than I so she stops here with her kindergarten daughter and then walks them all to school and usually hangs out with me or at least here if I'm busy until kindergarten lets out. With Carol sick there are some things that just get away from me so I'm glad to have her around.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions about Rebecca. Since there's so little left of the school year, we'll just try to get through it (maybe with summer school if she's eligible). I'll see what's available with diagnostics other than what we've done, and a tutor might be an option. Much of it comes down to money, unfortunately. I'm not sure what the state will or won't cover so that's another thing I need to check out. It was much easier with Elcie and Rochelle - their problems were obvious; Rebecca's aren't except maybe to me.

I have another meme; one that I haven't seen before but I'll put it on as a separate post either tonight or tomorrow. It's courtesy of expat traveler a recent visitor here who has traveled extensively, has great memories and photos of Switzerland, and now lives in Vancouver, BC. Welcome expat (somewhat belatedly)..

A word about memes, jokes, and such. I don't know about you but my day to day life is quite serious much of the time, as well as busy. I enjoy the memes, the jokes, the recipes from time to time, and the back and forth conversations we've established here. Granny has become what I wanted it to be although I didn't have a clue what that was when I started. It's a break from the "reality" I face every day and an opportunity to touch base with friends I never would have met otherwise. So the memes, recipes, and jokes will be here from time to time along with my regular rambling.

Take care everyone.

Here's one I haven't seen before

Took me a little longer than I thought to get around to this meme from expat but here it is.


Name 3 things that you think are strange.

Why I always find one more dirty sock just as the washer has hit the spin cycle
Or one more dish just I've poured the soapy water down the drain
Or their homework just as they've rounded the corner on their way to school
Sound familiar to anyone?

What was the last ceremony you attended?

A flagpole ceremony at the elementary school. They hand out the awards each month. My exciting life. Some people make it to the Academy Awards, I'm saluting the flag at John Muir.

One thing you've learned in the past year

That having a blog (which I didn't know existed two years ago) can be fun

Main Course
Tell us about one of your childhood memories.

Hiding my grandfather's entire collection of nails in the tall grass on the edge of the yard. (I'm not sure if I remember this or if the story has been told so many times that I think I do along with the story of hitting him on the head with his own hammer). I definitely remember my first piano lessons with my grandmother from an ancient church hymnal. I even remember the first hymn I played with both hands (and can still play it). I've told that story on the blog before so I'm repeating myself but it's one of my favorites along with listening with my uncle to the Brooklyn Dodgers on the radio.

If you could extend any season as long as you wished, which would it be?

Probably spring, everything is fresh and new and the weather is usually great after the rain stops. If not spring, then fall with its colors. Summer is too hot for too long. I'd like to extend spring and fall by about two weeks each and subtract it from summer.


Give it a whirl if you want.

Time Stamp?

An online friend just asked me how to change the time stamp on blogger. I don't know. It used to be at the bottom of the page and we could change it manually to reflect the actual time we hit "post" rather than the time we began writing.

Anyone know how to do it these days?



Today Was Report Card Day

Rochelle's grades went up from Satisfactory+ to Good in almost everything. She and Elcie will both be Honor Roll again.

And then there's Rebecca. Her math grade, instead of going up, went from a D to an F for the last quarter. For the past week, she's been diligent with her homework even when there has been far too much. She was hoping for a miracle and was depressed when she came dragging home with her grades. I told her that the grades had already been posted at conference time and it was too late for this quarter but her hard work should show up on the next if she keeps it up. I didn't scold; I wouldn't be telling her anything she doesn't already know.

I don't know what's going on with her class work. She comes home with work she doesn't understand. I don't know if she's not paying attention, if she's afraid to raise her hand, or if they just move too quickly for her to get it. I play catch up with her all the time.

She doesn't qualify for special ed but resource in math might help. Our major problem seems to be that she's not a squeaky enough wheel to qualify for anything. I'm sure part of her problem is something similar to ADHD but she's been evaluated and she doesn't quite make that criteria either. It's a puzzlement. It may be something as simple as she despises math and she's stubborn. Meantime, I keep wringing my hands (and playing tutor).

In some respects, she's very like I was as a kid. If I liked the subject (and the teacher), I made straight A's. If I didn't, I squeaked through. I'm sure my mom was wringing her hands from time to time as well. And we both lack patience with the material we don't understand the first time around. Instant gratification seems to be must with both of us. I've outgrown a lot of that but I still remember flinging my intermediate algebra book across the room. Now I fling pencils - they do less damage and they're not as expensive to replace. So far I've managed not to put a fist through the computer screen.

Enough of that. I was surprised by the number of people who left their responses to the "4's". Funny story about that. My son Tim looked at the "rainbow" post last night but evidently missed the 4's. We had lunch together today (now yesterday but you know what I mean) and a few minutes after I got home he sent me an email asking me to do the 4's. He'd received it from a non-blogging mutual friend in San Francisco and was forwarding it as a chain letter. I sent it back to everyone with a link to granny and a little note to Tim that they were a little behind the curve.

I have included a link (click on the post title) from the Merced Sun-Star about our tornado. Today has been drizzly but the worst may have passed us by. Jerry (jw) hopes it is heading for AZ which needs the rain. I'll gladly send it his way.

Usually I don't get into serious issues here (except where the kids are concerned). I save it for the other blog. We've been talking quite a bit over there about bigotry and hatred. That of course, does concern me, my kids, my grandkids, and the girls. I wrote a post over there earlier talking about it. I can't include the link to the post because that blog isn't set up for links(??) but the title is I Started to Leave a Comment.

If anyone is interested in what I'm thinking when I'm not chattering about homework, memes, and recipes, I welcome you to the other side of Ann.

Good night all.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Finally I'm Getting This Done

First - Jerry said Phoenix t.v. carried footage of our tornado. We're all fine - only damage was to a barn roof and some power lines. More on the excitement in the post below this.

Now at last the 4's.

Four jobs you have had in your life:

  1. Baby sitting and housekeeping
  2. Shoe salesperson
  3. Waitress in sandwich shop
    (all before I was 20)
  4. Insurance broker (solicitor actually but that always sounds like I should be standing on a street corner somewhere) The first 3 jobs taught me the value of continuing education.

Four movies you would watch over and over:

  1. Bang The Drum Slowly
  2. The Third Man
  3. On The Beach
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird
Four places you have lived:

  1. Syracuse, NY
  2. Ilion, NY
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Detroit, MI
  5. Albuquerque, NM
  6. Phoenix, AZ
  7. San Jose, CA
  8. Memphis, TN
  9. Jonesboro, AR
  10. San Francisco, CA
  11. Merced, CA
(and a couple of pit stops along the way) I know it's more than four but I've lived twice as long as many of you so I'm entitled.

Four TV shows you love to watch:

  1. Law & Order (all of them - should count as 3)
  2. Classic Arts

Four places you have been on vacation:

Vacation? What's a vacation?

I've seen a lot of the country but except for a trip or two back to Arkansas and New York and one 4 day working weekend in Hawaii, one in Las Vegas, and one in Salt Lake, nothing really counted as vacations or going somewhere just for the fun of going.

Four websites I visit daily: (other than mine)

  1. Blogging Baby
  2. Alternet
  3. Daily Kos
  4. Chicago Sun-Times

(I'm not counting personal blogs - there are too many and how do I pick just one)

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Lay's Salt & Vinegar Chips
  2. Catfish and Hushpuppies
  3. Breakfast - almost any breakfast
  4. Blue cheese dressing (on almost anything)

Note: This does not mean that I don't eat healthy foods.

Four places I would rather be right now:

  1. San Francisco
  2. San Francisco
  3. San Francisco
  4. San Francisco

(Actually I'm quite content where I am.) All the other places I've lived were okay but just cities. San Francisco was home and in some ways, I'll always miss it..

Four things I always carry with me:
  1. I.D.
  2. Keys
  3. Wallet
  4. Cell Phone

Four people I am tagging:

I may be the only person in blogland who hasn't done the 4's (and not for lack of nagging by my dear friends). Anyone left who'd like to take a shot at it?

Your blog or my comment box - either one is fine with me.

I Can't Remember Seeing This Before.

That is the roof of my house at dusk with a double rainbow over the top. My camera decided to act up or I would have tried for the whole thing. It was huge and against the almost night sky was spectacular. (Click on picture to enlarge)

Of course there's always a down side. We had a tornado warning this afternoon just as the girls had left school. I went flying out in the car and couldn't find them. I came back and here they were along with Elcie who had been dropped off safely. R & R had hitchhiked with my neighbor. It was fine - she and I are on each other's pickup lists and the girls know that.

A friend called around 4 and said a tornado had touched down on Gerard Ave. To you that means nothing; to me it's one block away from my older son's house. A long street but still...

I called my son - he was on his way home from work. He called his wife. Everyone was fine but she was frightened of course. We discovered on the 5 p.m. news that it took the roof off a barn about 3 miles from them and deposited it 100 feet or so away in the middle of Gerard (where it's still sitting I believe.) Took a couple of power lines while it was at it so some areas are in the dark.

We were supposed to have thunderstorms and hail as well but it looks like it headed back east once again.

As I have said before, if I wanted tornados and earthquakes in the same town, I could have stayed in Arkansas instead of coming back here. However, it was almost worth it to see that rainbow. The photos don't begin to do it justice. It was much wider and the second one was more visible.

Other than that, an ordinary day. I kept the girls home from their church program tonight. I've been through one tornado with my family in two different places. Didn't want to do that again.

Rebecca received a "referral" and 3 days with no recess for throwing staples at another kid. She said the other kids was throwing dominos at her. Probably, but she has to learn that she will always be the one to get caught. It runs in the family - I always was. She had 80 math problems that we waded through together. She and Elcie are learning the same things almost at the same time and tonight was Rebecca's turn with the "powers", all the way to the 5th which is a lot of multiplying and dividing. She finished it all if she can remember to take it in the morning. Is it just me or does 80 problems sound like a bit much?

Rochelle has a field trip on Friday to see "Curious George" at Merced College (our Junior College, not the Univ. of Calif.) It's a performance, not the film, and due to "budget constraints" they will be walking to and from. It's about two miles each way but she enjoys walking. I'm not sure how the rest of the kids will feel about it.

She is still young enough to love field trips - doesn't care where as long as she's going somewhere. She's also still young enough to come home and tell me the whole story. Perhaps she will draw us some pictures.

As usual, thanks to all for the comments. Yes, I found my purse. I had left a pile of clean laundry on my side of the bed and didn't dig deep enough through it. Does that sound familiar to anyone? I had a choice between hanging clothes and lunch in Stockton with Mollie. Rough decision but I managed to figure it out. I can hang clothes anytime. And no, we haven't had more cat doo-doo.

I'm running a little early tonight but we may still have some storms. We lost power briefly this afternoon and I don't want to lose it again while I'm in the middle of a post. It might cause me to throw something.

Take care - talk to you later.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm Back and Catching Up a Little

It's around 10:30 and the girls have been asleep for a while. It's been a busy day and I caved for a little while this afternoon.

They all did their homework without nagging (even Rebecca). I hadn't said it before here but their dad is back in jail on a probation violation. I thought he was doing well this time around but obviously something went wrong. They each received a letter from him today and have written back. Rochelle drew her reply.

Kids are resilient but I wish we didn't have this kind of trauma in our lives.

I didn't talk about my preparations for the trip to Stockton. Thought I had everything under control to arrive at 12:30. Checked the weather and driving conditions, kids were dressed (although not in what I would have selected) and all I had to do was grab my purse and go, right?

Wrong. I couldn't find my purse anywhere. Finally gave up. I had my wallet, cell phone, and camera, the other stuff like a lipstick and the small first aid kit didn't matter for that brief run.

I decided to use the rest room here one last time because I'm worse than the girls when we get on the road. Ray was in the closest one so I walked to the back and stepped right into a pile of cat poop. Fidget of course (see photo of his innocent self sprawled all over the homework). He's usually good but every once in a while he forgets. Anyhow, after ten minutes of shoe scrubbing, we were finally on the road. Got to Stockton and realized Elcie's crutches were in Merced. Mollie's daughter J. took over completely with her on our mall walk and she did just fine although I think she felt it the next day.

Blogger keeps sending me "connection failure" messages. It wouldn't dare.

Sunday was church and then just laziness for the most part except for a panic call from number one son for help with his car. Today I made up for it with actual cooking, housekeeping, trip with Carol for her weekly blood test, the usual things. Dishes and laundry don't count as housekeeping. They're in a category all their own.

We all seem to be over our colds or whatever they were although Rebecca was griping a little about her throat. It may be sore because she never stops talking.

Thanks for all the comments and I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Thoughts for the Day - Updated 3-27-06

Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird,

sleep late.

The second mouse gets the cheese.

Courtesy of Merle who is another granny and lives in Victoria, Australia.

Tom says:

What we don't know is if this was an early worm or a late worm who got left behind by the earlier worms who know how to play the game.


And Ms Sisyphus said:

Clearly the message here is it's waaay better to be the number 2 guy in the pecking order. However, the view only changes for the lead dog.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

These Will Make Sense If you Read the Earlier Post First

Mollie and J. in the restaurant. J. is checking out her mom's camera.

Rebecca going wild in Disney Shop in Stockton. We didn't buy anything there but she had a great time looking.

J. (Mollie's daughter).

Elcie, J., Mollie, me, and Rochelle (lying down for some reason). Rebecca had the camera. I'm not sure what Elcie is chewing on but it may be watermelon.

Mollie and Rochelle window-shopping. Rochelle is so good about admiring without nagging.

So - Did We Have a Good Time?

We sure did. The vertically challenged woman in the '49er jacket is I. The tall woman with the lovely smile is, if you don't already know, ipodmomma (Mollie in real life).

Mollie is originally from Chico and has lived in England for several years. Chico is a couple of hundred miles straight north on Hwy 99 which runs almost through my kitchen in Merced. We've been plotting a meeting almost since we first met online and it finally came together today.

We couldn't do it last weekend because I was heading for San Francisco as she was heading for Chico but this weekend worked. We met for lunch in Stockton, a little shorter drive for me than for her but as close to the middle as we could get without winding up in Lodi or trying to find each other in Sacramento. We'd decided on lunch, agreed on Chinese buffet. Google and I found a restaurant that looked good.

The weather cooperated. We were supposed to have heavy rain, wind, and thunder but it either didn't happen or happened while I was asleep. The sky turned blue and the weather turned dry. The restaurant was excellent. Great variety, good service, and low prices - unbeatable combination. I like buffet for kids - there's bound to be something they like.

Mollie brought her younger daughter (she has 3 teenagers) and I brought all the girls. Good food, good company, and the kids were a little over excited but still okay. Her lovely daughter is a little older than Elcie and took over helping with my gang. It gave her mother and me more of a chance to chatter and laugh. Thanks J. You are wonderful. We finished up by window shopping in the mall next door to the restaurant and then, reluctantly, I headed south while she started back north.

Two perfect weekends in a row. Hard to believe but it happened.

I have more photos if blogger cooperates. Mollie will have better ones once she returns home and can post them.

I don't think I'd be comfortable in one of the huge blogging conventions but this is different. I feel like I know many of you so well online that if we do have a chance to meet and both think it's a good idea, I'll grab it. I know not everyone feels that way and that's okay too. Different strokes.

Thanks to all of you who left comments on the "mommy wars" and blogs. I wasn't fishing for compliments but I'm pleased that you enjoy visiting. I certainly enjoy having you.

Lindsay sent the lyrics to "June is Busting Out All Over" and I sent him the last few lines of "You'll Never Walk Alone" - both from Carousel. It hasn't quite busted out here yet but we're working on it. It's definitely spring.

Elcie is already asleep and R & R are washed, dried, and in sleep clothes ready for bed. They're still a little wired so I'm not pushing bedtime. They may fall asleep in the living room.

Long day but a very good one. Ray is still doing well and so is Carol. A day full of blessings, Andrea.

I'll see what I can do about the rest of the photos.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sorry - It's Just Been One of Those Weeks

Nothing dramatic and I just can't think of much to write.

Rochelle went on a field trip to Grasslands over near Los Banos (30 miles west) today and had a great time looking at critters. She made the track team and she's happy. Came out fifth in the tryouts. I did not ask her how many tried out. I don't know just what an elementary track team does when there is no track but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough. Good for her. I've seen her run - she moves out quickly.

Elcie has been feeling yucky most of the week and been out of school. She probably could have staggered in today but it's Friday and this will give her a whole weekend to feel better.

Rebecca says she took that beautiful picture, not Rochelle although Rochelle helped. It is now the wallpaper on the computer at her request. Vain little person.

Spring is here somewhat and the girls are asking for their spring and summer clothes. I still think it's a little soon but maybe I'll get a few out next week. I don't have room to have winter and summer out at the same time and I'll have to see what still fits of the summer clothes and what will not fit next season of the winter things. Twice a year my friend and I do this and she inherits the don't fits for her little girl who is almost six but is as big for her age as Rebecca is small for hers. Recycle.

Have you been keeping up at all with the "mommy wars" discussions? Or with blog categories? I think the whole thing is silly but maybe I'm just the wrong generation. I was a feminist back when we were in the minority and despised and I know I didn't work as hard as I did to see women criticized for the choices they make. That seems to be what's happening lately and I don't like it.

As for blogs. What is this blog anyway? I never have known. I write a lot about the kids, a little about me, I share recipes and jokes sometimes, and once in a great while a little political opinion creeps in. (Most of that is over on isamericaburning). I like the visitors to know a little about each other so I mention them on their first visit (or try to - sometimes I miss someone). I just start writing and see what I end up with. Most important to me, I try not to be mean. Is this a "parent" or "mommy" blog? Does it really matter? It's just a blog and I'm inventing the "rules" as I go along.

I said on another blog today that I would probably bore some people to tears and that's fine. There are a zillion blogs out there to choose from and anyone who doesn't want to be here needs only to change the channel. I tend to stay with the blogs and their writers who share my concerns. That means everyone who visits here and several who don't.

Anyhow, enough of this for now. I'm planning for an out of town trip tomorrow - not as far this time so I'm making an early night of this and it's almost 11.

Good night all.

Thanks Lingamish - I Needed That!!

It had to happen. A blogger called lingamish has devoted an entire blog to smenita which he (aka David) says means disavowal in Italian.

People all over the world are in an uproar. Laptops were being thrown, angry words were being spoken, blisters were forming on fingers from typing "smenita" over and over, and mild mannered folk like me were going nuts.

Take a look at the blog. It's hilarious.

Smenita, everone.

Friday Cat Blogging

This shouldn't really count because Raider was adopted by others after this photo was taken. We kept his brother Fidget.

I've already posted most of the Spunky and Fidget photos. I'll take some more for next Friday. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rebecca was feeling left out

More to say later maybe

It's later and still not much. Rochelle took this picture of Rebecca today and it's the best I've seen. Usually she mugs or she has her hair all pulled back.

Thanks for the comments so far.

Blogger is fixed as far as I know.

It's not late but I'm wiped out. Maybe by tomorrow something exciting will occur to me. I just wanted to get the photo on as soon as I saw it. Rochelle has more drawings and so does Rebecca. Maybe tomorrow I'll post a couple of them.

Talk to you later.Posted by Picasa

Smenita - again

Some word verification is coming up with "smenita". It's happened before and it took days to fix.

You can't leave a comment when it does that. It will just keep stupidly repeating the same code over and over.

This site was fine a few minutes ago. I'll see if it works now.

Nope - Susie got through but she may be the last one for while.

Check the verification code before you start typing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

All Well Here Tonight - Update

Another busy day. Carol had her first chemo of the week (schedule messed up), had errands to run and then lunch with Tim. Carol cooked the chicken. She has good days and bad. This was one of the good ones. By the weekend she'll probably be miserable again. Only a month to go on the chemo I think and then we'll see what's going on with her.

Girls were excellent tonight. Most homework done (Elcie coming down with cold or something so I let her stop before she finished). No big deal - I'll write a note if she doesn't get it done in the morning.

If you have a chance, drop over to visit with Beckster at Gather Your Ideas. She's been having a rough patch yesterday and I'm sure she'd enjoy hearing from people.

She's also a great cook and has two or three recipes on her latest post, one for crab cakes. I'd post them here but I never know whether my "copy and paste" is going to work and it's a big pain when it doesn't.

Glad you enjoyed Rochelle's artwork. Someday I'll try for Rebecca but I know I said before that she's more apt to throw things away in disgust. Don't know why - she can draw too.

It's a little after 10 p.m. here and I am just about ready for bed. Very early for me. At least I've been a little more productive the past couple of days.

More tomorrow maybe. I'll try for inspiring instead of ordinary but no guarantees.


I forgot to mention that I stopped at Goodwill and found a warm sleepshirt that I was sure would fit Elcie so I could get mine back. (Mine is heavy soft flannel with a teddy bear on the front). It did fit her; however, when the girls dressed for bed, Rochelle was wearing mine, Rebecca was wearing Rochelle's, and Rebecca's original won't fit me.

Back to sleeping in a sweatshirt again.

Just put a load of laundry in but I may dry it in the morning.

Good night again.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rochelle Traced the Bird, Drew the Rest - Update

I couldn't crop out the bird without losing her flower growing out of the ocean.

She frets about sharks in rivers and lakes as well. I was a little surprised when she was willing to dabble a hand in the water. She drew this tonight after homework and before bed.

I made up today for the goofing off yesterday. Everything unpacked and at least in the right rooms. They each packed their own shampoos, etc. which I didn't realize until too late. I wondered why the bag was so heavy.

I forgot to mention Elcie was sick yesterday but is fine today and back in school. She did a lot of walking and some of it may have been fatigue. It was still worth it to see their excitement. The other two did fine and had a printout of themselves at the ocean to show off.

I picked up our replacement t.v. at Circuit City and Ray is in heaven. Update: I scared the "poo" out of one of our visitors with that sentence. Ray is in heaven was a figure of speech - he's still doing fine. Our "old" one wasn't that old and was under service contract so this one was almost free. I don't bother with the contracts on small things but on something like this, I figure it's worth it. We stashed the 1969 relic back in the closet until something else happens. Bought groceries, put away laundry, and made a little order out of the chaos. We're almost back to what passes as normal for us. I didn't cook. Rochelle and Rebecca ate dinner at CATCH, their after school church activity, and Elcie settled for leftovers. I have chicken thawing for tomorrow and I'll decide later what to do with it.

Thanks for all the great comments over the past couple of days. I think I got back to most of you. If I missed someone, consider this your thank you. Even my son chimed in. He called to tell me he could not only cross one eye, he could roll the other at the same time. I warned him once again his face would freeze like that. Mr. Eddie, I still say that but I don't see any signs that they believe me.

I spotted this article in the Christian Science Monitor today. With all our agonizing over the problems with kids today, it's refreshing to see the good kids all over the world working to make a difference. I prefer to think they are in the majority.

My girls are putting change in collection boxes at church trying to purchase a heifer for Heifer Int'l. I hope they succeed. We do it every year and I'm not sure if they have ever managed an entire cow but they've always been able to do something. They are learning a valuable lesson in caring whether they can provide a heifer or a goat. It all helps.

Once again, an early bedtime for me I hope. I have a couple of blogs to look at yet and I see I have mail. Talk to you all later.

Posted by Picasa

More Art from Rochelle

Rochelle explained carefully why the flaming eight ball was descending on her along with the lightning. I'm still bewildered and hope it's just a kid's imagination at work and not something that will put her on a psychiatrist's couch twenty years down the road. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 20, 2006

Rochelle At Her Finest

I started to title this "Before and After" but the pics are reversed. Do yours ever do anything quite this silly? She mashed her face against the camera to get that shot and one more almost like it. I wasn't going to post it but she thinks it's a great idea so here it is. I told a friend (to whom I emailed the photo) that we used to tell our kids their eyes would get stuck like that. They didn't believe us of course.

The greatest advantage to a digital camera (and there are many) is not having to scold about wasting film. They can have fun and they certainly did.

I'm not sure if one can suffer jet lag from driving but I did almost nothing today except clear a little space from all the baggage. I once again arrived with much more than I took. How do we manage to do that? I erased almost all of my news and political email. By then I had heard most of it one place or another.

Thanks for all the comments and email. Those, I keep.

Girls are all in bed a little ahead of time, routine stuff done, and I may try for an early night as well.

Talk to you all later.

Rachel and Sara (without the "h" - sorry Roger)

Shame the best photo I have of beautiful Sara is upside down.

This is the last one I'm trying for. We have a few others, but you get the idea and I think the only kids I missed were Sara right side up and L.'s older boy. Posted by Picasa

Juniper surrounded by great big people.

and wondering what the heck is going on. She is adorable. Posted by Picasa

San Francisco early morning

Blogger refuses to upload so I'm putting these few on one at a time. Posted by Picasa

Upload Problems

Maybe I wore it out but can't get the last few on. I'll try one more time in a little while and then give it up until tomorrow. I still have a picture of Rachel with Sara, a couple of girls, and a beautiful San Francisco shot.

Later - probably tomorrow.

Mostly kids - update

L. emailed permission to post her kids. Unfortunately, I didn't get a shot of her older boy. The top two are Little Son and Little Son with Roger's Jared.

Next is Wood playing on the floor with an invisible Juniper because Rebecca decided to pop up about that time. Ham!!

Then, the inseparable Little Son and Jared with the air hockey table. L. says he won't fall off and he didn't.

The beautiful little girl is L's daughter.

The couple of shots I have of Roger's lovely little girl don't do her justice so I skipped them. He has far better photos buried in his journals I think.

I have a couple of my girls including one of Rochelle at her most beautiful and that will be it for the night. Update: Changed my mind about the photo of Rochelle. She'd never speak to me again.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pictures - update

If these stay where I put them, the first picture is of Dutch, Wood, and Juniper, the second of Dutch with Elcie, the third of Roger taking a picture while I was taking a picture of him and the 4th, of course, is L. at home before we went our separate ways to meet up again at Roger's. I have others of the kids but I still have some sorting and cropping to do so no one who would rather not have their kids show up on the net will find them here accidentally.

I'll see if I can get a couple on tonight. They really are cute and I have a wonderful photo of Rachel holding Sarah.

Before I forget, Uncle Roger has a fabulous bathroom. I couldn't possibly do it justice here and it never occurred to me a take a picture. I should have handed the camera off to one of the girls. They would have made sure it was included.

He describes it nicely on his Journal (never a blog).

Please note L.'s first comment. One of the girls took that picture from a terrible angle. I think she looks fine but the camera can do strange things in the hands of a child.

Party Time

We've been trying to put this together for a while now. I've been suitably vague about it all since I didn't know how the others felt.

Now that Dutch has published the social event of the season on Blogging Baby, there's no need for all the secrecy. Sorry the link to the post didn't work but he posts on BB as J. D. Griffioen, it's dated March 19, and should be easy enough to find.

I think this all started with L. and me chatting back and forth about meeting sometime. One of us said "what about Roger"? The other said "absolutely and Dutch and Wood too". We had included a couple of others as well but they couldn't make it. Maybe another time. We all "met" on BB over a year ago now, chasing each other around the comment boxes. L. and I didn't even have blogs then but our friend Jen C., at that time a writer for BB, changed all that by setting up our blogs. Kind of like throwing someone in the deep end of the pool and suggesting, ever so gently, that we swim. We've been dog paddling around the blog pool ever since.

I drove into the city on Saturday, met L. first which helped break the ice and later on we all met up at Roger's. Roger had lots of snacks ready, he cooked steaks, and chicken, L. brought a wonderful rice salad, and we had more food than anyone could eat. Some of us left with doggy bags.

Yes, I have pictures. The picture of L. was taken before the party, the others during. I would have had more if I had handed someone else my camera. Also, some were of kids that haven't had their cute little mugs all over the internet so I'm skipping those. I've emailed copies to their parents. Take my word for it, all the kids were adorable.

I was so nervous. I didn't know if the real life me could possibly fit with all these sophisticates. They'd all be bored to tears and much too polite to say so. I showed up in my usual jeans and sweatshirt, kids in tow, and was met by Roger waving madly with Rachel coming out right behind him. From then on, it was easy. We never stopped talking. L. and family arrived not much later, and then Dutch, Wood & Sweet Juniper.

I'm not going to mess with links. Sometime, I'll figure out what the problem is. Meantime, they're all on the blogroll. Dutch is listed as Dutch, L. is shown as L. the homesick home, and Roger is Uncle Roger's Notebooks, etc., and Jen is shown as one of the contributors to granny. Andrea, of course, is the other, but it would be a little difficult for her since for the next little while she's still in Japan.

Roger has two younger kids, Jared and Sara, and kid friendly house (reminded me of mine)complete with air hockey which was the big hit of course. Roger has tons of dvd's and games. The kids were much too busy to find serious trouble and, amazingingly, they all got along. L. has two boys and a girl; the oldest about Rebecca or Rochelle's age, and two younger. Juniper is barely toddling now, and my girls were the oldest. Nine kids, seven adults, no meltdowns, lots of laughter, and no strained silences that I noticed. Nobody seemed bored. Speaking for myself, it was wonderful.

We were predisposed to like each other and I'm sure that helped.

After way too much food and not enough time to keep on talking, we noticed kids (and adults) were beginning to fade and all went our separate ways until the next time. Dutch and family will be leaving the city (darn it anyhow) but the rest of agreed there will be a next time and there was some talk of moving the party in this direction. Not an exclusive club by any means but we were the ones who weren't scattered all over the globe.

I'll have the pictures up in a few minutes as a separate post.

Me, Girls, and the Deep Blue Sea.

These were all taken at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, on our way out of town Sunday. No, I'm not skipping the party, I'll work my way back to it. They've all seen the Pacific before but on its calmer days.

I think the center photo is my favorite. Elcie navigated down that hill (I wish the photo showed a little better just how steep and rugged it is) with a sister holding onto each hand. Going up was even more interesting in the soft, deep sand. One step forward, two steps back. I finally got hold of her behind to steady her and pushed. We made it and it was worth it. It's one of the better views of the ocean. Elcie got her feet wet when she didn't believe me about the tide and the other two dabbled their hands in it and then jumped back. It's very different from a swimming pool

We came in over the SF/Oakland Bay Bridge (the big one that isn't orange to any of you not from the Bay Area) and I took them on a short tour of the Mission District which is extremely colorful and then all the way across to Twin Peaks which involved several steep hills. I know how to avoid many of the hills but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Didn't get to the crooked street this time. Maybe we'll get back again with a little more time and energy.

They were most impressed with the huge t.v. antenna that is visible for miles. If you read Sweet Juniper, it's part of the banner.

They love the Bay Bridge. I don't. It's a bridge, very long and very high, with a tunnel in the middle. I'm sure you've seen photos. I decided at the last minute to go that way - it gave them more to see. We had made a trip with Elcie last year for minor surgery so much of it old news to her. How soon they become jaded but it was all new to her sisters who had seen the Zoo but not a lot else that they remember.

We made one more stop at Fort Funston to watch fools with wings gliding above the surf. Wish I had thought to take pictures but by that time the girls were ready to get back in the car and head for home.

We went back another route (no bridges but a winding mountain pass), stopped at a tourist place called Casa de Fruta to eat, and came on home.

Ray made it just fine in my absence in spite of my cell phone turning into a paperweight when my car charger didn't work. He had emergency phone numbers but never needed to use them. I came in to find him sleeping peacefully.

It's a little after seven and I need to help Elcie bathe and get to bed. She's close to melt down I think. Maybe I can head it off.

More later.

Enroute to San Francisco Saturday Morning

In Tracy, CA Denny's about halfway between Merced and SF.

A lovely woman at the next table offered to take the picture.

Somehow "we" managed to snap about 15 pictures of my friend's bathtub and refrigerator. Lovely as they are, I'll spare you.

I've emailed some of you and I'll tell you more about the trip later. Obviously, we're back safely and had a wonderful time.

The girls outdid themselves on behavior. I even heard the words "well mannered" once or twice, first from the server at Denny's, a nice woman from Alabama, who was charmed by them.

I'll be back. I have a bunch of photos to sort through, many bathtubs and refrigerators to delete or ignore, and want to get my thoughts together. I'll deal with unpacking and cleanup tomorrow.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Bedtime for Ann - almost

It's not quite nine but I think I'm headed for bed shortly. Tomorrow will be a lot of driving when I'm no longer used to it.

Ray is still doing well and thanks all of you for the comments. Tom said he wanted to borrow the hat to give the cows something to talk about. Giggle.

We did our corned beef and cabbage tonight. A little salty for Ray but he ate just a small amount. He seems to be doing okay - a long nap this afternoon in his own bed helped.

Hi Sarah Elaine. Just saw you pop up.

We have a song from Lindsay (Galway Bay - 50's or so) and an Irish blessing from Granny Fiddler in the comments. I sang Galway Bay at a school Assembly back in the 50's so it has to go back that far at least.

It's been a quiet day. A little grocery shopping, helping figure out the medicatons - still don't have my own listing completed but the one the hospital sent is pretty good. Girls are about ready for bed too. Baths taken. They still haven't packed after all their big hurry but we can get it together quickly.

I have absolutely nothing interesting to write about. Just checking in. I'll probably have more sometime Sunday.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Happy St.. Pat's from Ann, Ray & girls

I almost forgot in all the excitement to say erin go bragh or something like that. Maybe I will just dance a jig. Sure, I will. More details in post below for those who haven't already been here.

I'm Still Here but He's Here Too!!

The crown on his head is courtesy of Rochelle. By the time I brought him home, they had a welcome home sign on the front door as well.

That, for Ray, is a smile. Trust me, he's very happy to be sitting in his rocker instead of propped up in a hospital bed.

I picked him up around 5 or so this afternoon, just in time to feed him dinner at home. He has a bewildering array of new medications for me to figure out. They've put in a new (to us) system with his meds.

They use the computer printout of what he's been taking in the hospital and check the meds he's supposed to take at home, complete with instructions. Big improvement. Before, all the instructions were handwritten on his discharge papers. We got the carbon copy, usually illegible.

They've added xanax to the mix. We'll see how it goes but he doesn't do terribly well with that sort of thing. I hope it works - anything to eliminate stress is probably okay.

Sometime later tonight or tomorrow, I'll take a look at all the meds with the side effects, etc. We already know they prescribed two different meds that do the same thing so I'll check on that. His nurse noticed that one.

We've eaten dinner and, homework is done except for Elcie finishing up her spelling. I have a kitchen to deal with. Later. I'm keeping track of what he eats so we can see what works and what doesn't. Ray is happily watching Law & Order, CI and waiting for the house to quiet down so he can watch the Friday Sci-Fi lineup I taped for him. I tuned it out once, I can tune it out again.

I've been starting and stopping. Elcie's in bed and R & R are right behind. I still haven't cleaned the kitchen; I helped Elcie with math instead. She is beginning to do the "powers". 4 to the 2nd or 3rd power, etc. She seemed to get it once we went through a few problems together except she couldn't remember the word "power". Cubed threw her at first but not now. Square root will probably be next which means I'll have to drag out the book or go online. I've forgotten how to calculate the larger numbers. I haven't used it since high school. Have any of you? Without a calculator?

Thanks for all the nice comments about my peacefully sleeping "angels" and the other kind words and thoughts about my family. I hope I responded to all of you, one way or the other.

Granny Insanity, I just noticed I hadn't answered your earlier comment about No Child Left Behind and the Pentagon. Yes, I did know schools are required to provide information under NCLB and I also know that even though a parent can "opt out" the Pentagon keeps other records for the same purpose. I've posted on it over on Is America Burning but it's been a while.

How many more ways can I find to avoid the kitchen?

I'm planning to take the girls to San Francisco on Saturday and Sunday to visit friends. It's been in the works for a while. I thought about postponing but, when I mentioned it Ray, he was upset that I would even thinking of staying home. My daughter is here, my older son Jim is on notice, and my coffee drinking and card playing friend Dawn is a block away with a car. I have a cell phone and I'll make sure he has my friends' numbers as well. It should be fun for all of us. Tim and I went to a concert in the city late last year and I think that's the last time I've been out of Merced except for Ray's hospital stay in Modesto (which doesn't count as a good time somehow).

I'll know for sure by Saturday morning when I'm driving off in the van. It was supposed to be a surprise for the girls but first my son Tim blurted it out to Elcie (I forgot to warn him) and then Rebecca eavesdropped on my friend's conversation. I don't like to tell them ahead so they won't be disappointed if it falls through. No sense four of us being unhappy.

They wanted to pack on Wednesday evening (another reason I don't usually tell them ahead of time) and again tonight. I held firm on tomorrow. I'll have their sleeping bags washed and they can select their own wardrobe (just not all of it please - it's only two days).

It's almost ten, the dishes haven't done themselves, and I can't think of one more way to avoid them unless my phone rings.

Have a good evening, morning, or whatever it is whereever you are.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm Still Here, He's Still There

but the girls are back in their own beds for tonight at least.

Just checking in. I run my mouth so much over here that some worry when they don't hear anything.

Nothing has changed since yesterday. It's another night when I'm tired enough that nothing I say will make much sense.

See you tomorrow.

Good Night All

This is Funny (In a Sick Kind of Way)

Granny Insanity of Montana is one of our commenters on isamericaburning. She signs in as granny as well which makes for some interesting moments. I have a photo, she doesn't but who would normally notice.

In view of our recent discussion of the french fry and other health issues, please take a look at the take on the Creation. Click on the Title.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

All That's Missing Is The Cat

and he will probably be along shortly.

They've decided to keep me company while Ray isn't here. I think I mentioned before Rebecca steals blankets.

She's not sucking her thumb - she usually has a pillowcase in that hand she sleeps with.

I wish it had come out a little better but I didn't want to take the chance of waking them with a second try. You can see Rochelle but not as well as I would have liked.

I'm about to join them. Talk to you tomorrow.

More About Not Much at All

Rochelle and Rebecca are at their after school church program, Elcie is watching "my" ABBA dvd, and I just took a bath, shampooed my hair, and am ready to head out for PFLAG later. CNN is running a program on anorexia and insurance coverage which is truly frightening. Bean counters deciding on appropriate treatment while young girls die. Sometime I'll write my book about the bean counters.

Has anyone else had a problem with blogger or bloglines not allowing them to view certain sites? It wouldn't bother me quite so much except that two of them are mine. I can always get in another way but it's certainly annoying. I wrote but haven't received a response.

It happened again just now.

It's so much fun when I write about something as trivial as a french fry and receive 12 comments, all well thought out. Mo-Wo says "french fries don't fatten people - people fatten people".

I drove R & R to school today (drizzly and cold) and went straight to the hospital from there. They are feeding him again. Hadn't done that except for liquids for a couple of days and now they're easing into it. He looked pretty good so maybe it won't be too much longer. Someone from their Palliative Care Unit left his card but Ray didn't know what it was about. Now I don't know if they're planning to provide in home service or what's going on. They always explain when he's discharged so maybe I'll know more then. I googled the name and it could mean anything from really serious to just helping out. I will not panic.

I should just turn off the stupid t.v. Now it's bird flu. Our set is still in the shop and the off-on knob on this one has been missing forever. Off is no problem but on requires tweezers. I may do it anyhow. Dubya just came on - That decided it. I'll save the rant for the other blog.

This will be the first time I've been out of the house just for me in almost a month. I've been cancelling everything that involved leaving at night. Time to "act as if" and get myself up and out of here. I always enjoy it; it's just making the first move.

Elcie was having trouble with negative and positive numbers last night so I had her stop. When she's that tired, nothing makes sense and I wasn't a whole lot better. This morning she finished it up but she still was confused and I wasn't much help. I can do them in my head but I have trouble explaining and she's using a number line which confuses me more. She asked the teacher if she could go on to the next lesson and see if it made more sense to her. She did and it did. I think she's got it.

I was thinking about writing a post about Google, the judge's decision, porn viewing by kids (is that what they're really after or do they, as usual, have ulterior motives?), and the government not trusting parents to protect their kids. I guess I just wrote it. After Rebecca's little experiment with the world of porn, I put a child lock on the computer in the other room. Not here yet, I'm almost always around or someone is.

I wonder how you feel about it. To me, it's like the french fry. It's up to me to protect my kids (at least up to a point) and I don't think I need the government's help. But that's just my opinion.

Blogger keeps popping up with warnings about losing the connection so I'd better close this out before it goes away completely.

I may be back tonight but more likely tomorrow sometime. I found a "what kind of car are you" quiz which I may steal in the next couple of days and I'll see what recipes are out there.

Take care.

Especially for Siri

Many people over here are up in arms against "fast food" establishments that serve "unhealthy" food such as french fries, cheeseburgers, etc. They'd like nothing better than to close them all down. I agree that the food is mostly junk but I cook healthy most of the time and I believe in moderation, not government intervention.

We take the girls out a couple of days (more or less) a month, usually after church, and they are allowed to eat those horrible french fries. I eat them too. Twice a month (one medium serving) is their french fry allotment.

The restaurants (most of them) are offering healthier choices on their kids' menus (such as the yogurt or fruit I mentioned. They're also featuring beverages other than soda. The kids choose the french fries every time. They don't get them at home - they do get lots of fruit and yogurt.

More later.

Monday, March 13, 2006

So Who Are You?

You Are Bart Simpson

Very misunderstood, most people just dismiss you as "trouble."

Little do they know that you're wise and well accomplished beyond your years.

You will be remembered for: starring in your own TV show and saving the town from a comet

Your life philosophy: "I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!"
The Simpsons Personality Test

I figured I'd be Marge. Never Bart. Maybe they know something I don't.

Thanks to Jessie at Thoughts on Sweetness.

Still nothing different here. Kids in school, laundry going, dishes done, all the usual stuff. I'll get over to the hospital later.

Noah's Pudding

KatieK of Bosphorus Ramblings talks about Noah's Pudding today. The world is certainly full of wonderful things that are brand new to me.

It's made from rice, garbanzos, raisins, nuts, and evidently whatever you want to throw in, all boiled in one pot.

Katie includes a link to the actual recipe, traditions, and historical information in the post.

I also found a good, simple, corned beef recipe if I can get the link to work. If I can't, it's over on Blogging Baby today.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Quick Takes Again and More Cabbage

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

SPEAKING OF SPELL CHECKS: Ann Adams at wants you to know that the spell-check at does not recognize the word "blog."

I'm including a link to his column today in the title. Much of the column is devoted to blogging peculiarities and most of it is funny.

He and I went back and forth in email about 3 times trying to get spell-check to work at all; let alone recognize or not recognize "blog". He figured it out before I did and verified it.

Zay and I seem to share both a sense of the ridiculous and an occasional dismay at the direction the world seems to be taking. Sometimes I get more out of one sentence than an entire column by one of the "oh so serious" pundits. He makes me laugh and I need to do a little more of that.

Nothing has changed since yesterday. Rochelle, Rebecca, and I went to church this morning and then to Wendy's for their french fry allotment (1/2 of it for the month). Brought Elcie home a kid's meal with a decent toy for a change. Wendy's now offers a choice of french fries, yogurt, or mandarin oranges. I'm delighted to see it but a french fry once in a while is uplifting. If they run through their ration, we'll switch over to fruit or yogurt. Doubtful, we don't go out that much.

I have laundry drying and then I'll head over to the hospital. Elcie was asleep when I left this morning. I'm not sure when she got up but she's in a much better frame of mind. Rebecca slept for at least 10 hours without stirring. I have hopes they both got some of it out of their system; however, the day isn't over yet.

Still cold here and the skies are dark but no rain so far today. I don't think it froze last night but it was close. My windshield was clear this morning.

L. tells me that Mo-Wo left a creamed cabbage recipe around someplace. I'll try to find it. Dave aka Turtle Guy thinks we should have a blog devoted to recipes and came up with a few creative names. Told him I thought there were probably a zillion or so already out there. He suggests "pot roast post" among others.

(Yes, I know I said Gary earlier but it wasn't, it was Dave. At least I got the country right).

Found it in L's comment box in response to the cabbage parmagiana post.

Mo-wo said...

Aren't you all fancy?

My fave. Creamed cabbage. Sooooo good with mashed potatoes and either meat loaf or pork chops. Saute julienne of cabbage in oil for a few moments then add 2-3 tablespoons water to steam it for 7 min or so. Then uncover, pour on the cream, salt, pepper and dynamite with a bit of good mustard seed. Cook until softish..

You can saute it a bit hard if you really enjoy carmelized flavours, really just a matter of the time you have.


She just left me a comment about recipes and the information highway. I'll find out more about it and let you know.

Rebecca is building a clubhouse with her next door friends. Came in for snacks (essential) and left again.

Maybe more later when I get back. I haven't fallen on my face yet today so things may be looking up as far as morale around here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Another Recipe

My friend L. in San Francisco writes a wonderful blog called thehomesickhome. It's full of many surprises. The last thing I expected to find, however, was a recipe for cabbage parmagiana but there it was and here it is.

I've been trying to think of something different to do with cabbage. This is different and simple and the directions are written in L.'s unique style. I think you'll enjoy reading the recipe even if you never try it. I'm going to try it - maybe for St. Pat's which is right around the corner.

I think the stress is catching up with all of us. Elcie had a total meltdown because I asked her to not play the same two lines of a song over and over. Usually I don't care but I was trying to lie down for a little while. I can sleep through a lot, but not that. It's right up there with channel surfing for me. She ended up in bed (which is where she needed to be - she was exhausted) and is still asleep.

I dozed for a little while and woke up to Rebecca screaming and my daughter not knowing what to do next. When Rebecca loses it, she is totally out of everyone's control including her own. All I could do was restrain her to keep her from hurting herself or destroying something. She hadn't done it (at least to that extent) in a long time. I sat her in a chair, took her shoes off, and held her while she kicked a door screaming all the while. Eventually, she slowed down and I left her until she could control herself. It's not a temper trantrum, it's something more and it used to be much worse. With a garden variety temper fit, I just remove the audience and they get bored quickly. Not this time. Like Elcie's, it was caused by nothing - applesauce to be specific. Carol wanted her to eat her dinner before her applesauce; she wanted to eat her applesauce first. I wouldn't have cared as long as she ate. It turned into a big deal which was about the time I joined in, took Carol out of the picture, and dealt with it somehow.

Rochelle coped as Rochelle always does. Sometimes I worry about what she's holding in but it may just be her serene outlook. I hope so.

Of course now I'm wide awake. They've brought their sleeping bags in here and will sleep in my bed tonight unless they change their minds. Fine with me.

Elcie just woke up, I helped her into sleep clothes and she piled right back into bed. Rebecca is already asleep in mine and Rochelle will be close behind.

Tomorrow will be better. We're all just plain tired.

A Little Early (or late) For Me

I've been fading so early lately, I'm afraid if I don't write something now, it won't get done. Thanks to all of you who have inquired and sent prayers and wishes for us. Susie, I'll get back to you about the IEP. I hadn't forgotten.

I wish I had better news to report. He's been moved from a regular room to what they call the "Step-Down" Unit. It's a classification between routine and critical care. I got over there this morning after our regular Saturday morning brunch and he had been cleaning up and they were helping him change pajamas and making his bed. We couldn't hear each other too well over all the activity so he handed me a sheet of paper about how to live with congestive heart failure. Where did that diagnosis come from? The one thing that has been more or less eliminated was heart problems. The specialist in Modesto had noticed something on the tests they ran and wanted to follow up but by that time he was on his second hospital stay here. The Merced cardiologist had been tracking him as well. Yesterday they were worried about blood clots in his leg but now they say there aren't any. They're letting him out of bed so I take that as a good sign in the midst of all this.

I left as they were wheeling yet another machine into the room. I didn't want to leave my daughter too long to deal with the girls. She's been having some problems with her chemo and tires easily. Her feet are giving her problems as well which is one of the side effects. I'll be glad when she's done with it and we can find out what her prognosis is.

The one bright spot is that everything they suggested on their printout are things we were doing for the most part anyway. Low fat, low sodium, exercise. I'm sure he will be on different medications.

And now you know as much as I know which isn't a lot. I'm trying very hard to hope for the best. In the meantime, my approach is to go on with what I would have been doing anyway.

Two kids are outside playing in the sunshine for however long it will last. My blogging neighbor from down the road, Janice, said they had hail in Madera. It was forecast here and a couple of people at the hospital said we had some. Maybe I slept through it. We had a little thunder in the early afternoon and late evening and there may be more followed by another cold front complete with rain. No snow yet. March has decided to live up to its reputation. L. in San Francisco said her kids were making snowballs from the hail they had there. I'm sitting here with two layers of clothing (not including undergarments) and about to find a blanket for my legs. The girls don't seem to notice but I'm cold.

I cooked enough yesterday so dinner can be reheated with no problem. I'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here. Church probably and then just my usual stuff. I don't know when he will be home so I can't do a lot of planning. He had thought at first the weekend but with this latest bit of information I'm not so sure.

Sometime I'm going to write the whole story of his illness and the indifference of the bureaucracy. I'm convinced a lot of what we've been going through would have been avoidable if anyone four years ago had believed us when we said he was sick. Not now though - later.

I have now spoken on the phone with two friends I had met only through our respective blogs and email. It's so nice to hear a voice.

Elcie is enjoying being 13. She's our only teenager and she lost no time in reminding her sisters. Their response? "Whatever". I'm not fond of that word but I still had to giggle when I heard it. As long as it's not directed at me, they can "whatever" each other all they want. They'll outgrow it, I hope.

Spoke too soon.

Just left to referee a squabble, brought both girls in and sent them to separate corners. That made Elcie unhappy because they were invading her living room space. Too bad. She is now thinking about it in her room. Thirteen is not a license to scream at her sisters.

Don't miss the post below this one. I have a recipe for not just any old macaroni and cheese but a recipe from Trinidad.

Talk to you later.

A Recipe From Trinidad

Karen Walrond at Blogging Baby has shared her mom's Trini recipe for macaroni and cheese.

Yummy. I usually make my own (I said usually, sometimes I cheat) but this is something different.

I'll be back later if I don't fall asleep again.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Belated Birthday Tribute to Elcie

I came home at the end of a very long day, the girls' mom was here and I was in bed at 6:00 p.m. for an hour which would have given me time to get to the hospital. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. He's very understanding but I feel awful that I didn't get there. There was nothing I could have cancelled to make more time and by night I was done in. End of whine.

Ray had left me a voice mail on the cell. Sounded groggy but that would be the meds. I'll get over there after I have the girls off to school. Nothing else scheduled for today. He did have a doctor's appointment and tests scheduled for today but of course that's gone by the boards.

It's around 6:30 now, Elcie is ready to go, and I have about 30 minutes before R & R get up.

I took Carol to her chemo session - short - the third day they remove the bag she brings home and she gets to skip the next week except for blood tests. Her white count was down again so they gave her a shot for that. I think she has six weeks to go and then they will evaluate her once again.

Elcie's birthday and her IEP coincided yesterday. I took my son Tim along and the whole world showed up to talk about Elcie. We've decided to try mainstreaming her in Social Studies for the last three months of this year and see how it goes. She's leading her Special Day class, helps in another one for more severely affected kids, and is now reading at 7th grade level. Her math is still at 5th grade but many of her biggest problems have left. She is learning to solve word problems which had been next to impossible.

All this is an experiment to see if we can mainstream her next year in 8th grade with lots and lots of resource help. She's always been borderline and she's learned so much that it's worth a try. They are saying now that they're sure as hard as she works, she will pass the high school exit exam. Our teenager has come a long way in just a couple of years.

Special ed has its faults when it's not used correctly but it saved Elcie and Rochelle. They needed the slower pace and the repetition, as well as the much smaller classes.

For any of you who remember my battle with the school about her attendance, we now have an exemption written into her IEP as well as an exemption for bathroom use. It shouldn't have been necessary but there seems to be at least one bureaucrat in each school and she found us. She lost but I don't want to go through that again. Now I can wave the IEP in their faces.

They adore her at Rivera and she has an entire team of professionals working together. Go, Elcie, go.

She's mainstreamed for p.e. and can outdo her entire group in push-ups. The p.e. teacher is using her as an example. Of course she can do push-ups. Between handling crutches and a wheelchair for years, she has very strong arms. It is nice to see her lead in something though - makes up for what she can't do.

Tim and I took her to dinner at Home Town Buffet which she loves. She filled up on salad, chicken, and fish. They brought her a piece of chocolate cake with a candle and sang Happy Birthday. She's still young enough to enjoy the attention. Probably by this time next year, she'll crawl under the table.

She's agreeable to having her cake and ice cream here delayed until Ray comes home which I hope will be soon. I'll know more later. Once again, everyone is sure something's wrong; they just don't know what.

Anyhow, that was my day. The IEP ran two hours and by the time I got home, I couldn't move.

Ten hours sleep helped.

Rebecca is dressed, Rochelle was taking a bath with Fidget, the kitten, sitting on the side of the tub helping. They'll be out of here in about twenty minutes.

Nancy explained what was happening with Blogger and spell-check. For anyone else who may not know, Firefox blocks it with its pop-up blocker. Once I disabled that, it works fine except it doesn't recognize the word blog. I wish there were a way to tell it once that a word is okay and have it remember the next time but at least I can use it. It isn't much help with my errors which usually involve skipping a word or typing one word while thinking about another. I need a checker that rings a bell and tells me the sentence doesn't make sense.

Welcome to Alissa, a mom from Kentucky with an adorable little boy. Poor guy managed to trip over a rake (bad rake) and bruise up his face. Good thing kids are tough. She and I both read Rude Cactus which is where she found me. (Tried to include a link to Rude Cactus but it took me right back to this post). He's easy enough to find though and I may try it again later.

Big oops. I just went back to Alissa's blog. She has two adorable little boys. I got fixated on the poor kid who fell over the rake and totally missed the photos beneath.

Girls just went out the door, I transferred laundry from washer to dryer, and I should try to accomplish something. We have thunderstorms with possible hail forecast for today with additional rain and cold to follow. I may find myself picking kids up at the school. I think I'll have one more cup of de-caf (at least it's warm) and then try to plan this day.

Take care everyone.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I Forgot Something Important

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

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:

A nursery school in Oxfordshire, England, has changed "Baa baa, black sheep" to "Baa baa, rainbow sheep."

One more thing - are any of you having problems with spell check other than it not recognizing the word "blog" or have they fixed that.

I tried and tried earlier to get it to work and it just lay there like a lump.

Any ideas? I very seldom use it but when I'm tired, it's helpful. You're very forgiving of my typos but I'd like this to be readable at least.

Good night again.

We're Going Through It One More Time

I had some stuff to write about tonight but maybe tomorrow.

Ray started having pain in his chest after dinner tonight. Nitro didn't help so he went over to the emergency room. I'm waiting. I hope it's nothing but a little indigestion but with his history, we don't mess around. I'll keep you posted.

Other than that, we're all okay. All kids are back in school. Elcie's birthday is tomorrow; she'll be 13 and I'll take her out to dinner after her IEP conference. She wants Chinese so that's what it will be. She managed to hurt one her fingers on her left hand so I sent a note to the teacher in case writing was a problem. It's better tonight.

Rebecca's conference was yesterday. She will pass - it was problematical for a while but her teacher doesn't believe in holding kids back. His theory is if they were bored the first time around, a repeat performance won't help. He hates what he's being forced to teach and has lots of good ideas which he can't implement because he's forced to follow the district agenda which, of course, is geared to the tests. He said also that he couldn't in good conscience fail a kid whose grade average in spelling is 97%. She lacks motivation. Yes, I know. Did he have any suggestions on motivating her? No, and he's tried. She hates math and when Rebecca hates something she shuts down. She's better than she had been though. She will sit down and work on her own - even the math.

After I wrote that depressing post the other day, Rochelle was sitting at the kitchen table with her Grandpa going over her spelling words. She dropped a sheet of paper on the floor and reached over to pick it up; grunting and complaining. She sat back up with the paper and said, "Man, I gotta lay off those french fries (pause) and fats". I was rolling on the floor. So was she and when she gets the giggles, it's fun to watch. She laughs all over.

Obviously, I changed my mind about writing. It's better than sitting here fretting and it's keeping me awake somewhat. I may lie down with the phone beside me in a little while though. I'm really beginning to feel sleepy and the last time he was in, I didn't hear anything for hours. There's no point calling; I can't find out anything except he's there and I already know that.

Speaking of that depressing post, thanks to everyone who left comments. I'm not alone in my concerns about kids today. I'll go back through them tomorrow and make sure I haven't missed something that required a response.

I'm pretty sure we have a new visitor or two as well. Yep, sure do. meow is a SAHM from Victoria, Australia, a cat lover, and a frequent visitor over at Susie's place. And then there's cuppa, anvilcloud's lovely wife. They live in a beautiful countryside outside of Ottawa, Canada. Anvilcloud and I have been communicating one way or another for a while and he always talks about his "cuppa" but I didn't realize she had her own blog and could speak for herself quite nicely. Welcome to both of you.

Just stopped to chat with my friend Jen. Not much more going on for now so I may try to rest.

Talk to you later. Good night all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

An Elusive Search for Perfection

This has been my day to think about the difficulties kids have navigating from children to adults. Elcie will be 13 on Thursday and Rochelle just turned 11. Both are developing quickly and both are already obsessing over their appearance. I reassure them as much as I can but what do I know. Even little Rebecca looks in the mirror and shakes her head and frowns.

They are bombarded with images of perfection. T.V., magazines, movies, the cookie cutter women are everywhere. All artificial, all perfect. We read about anorexia, bulemia, drugs, self-mutilation, and, in extreme cases, suicide. It isn't easy being a teenager.

Next I was reading a post on Blogging Baby about bullies. The writer was focusing on racism but she could as easily been talking about the way kids treat any child who is "different". No kid wants to be different and even the most innocent remark can send an already troubled child over the edge.

I went on to a post about the cutthroat competition in New York City for admission to the very best pre-schools. These are 3 year olds we're talking about. If they don't start from the cradle, they're doomed. All their lives they can live with the knowledge that they weren't quite good enough.

I had stored all this away in the back of my mind until I was checking other blogs earlier tonight and ran into Barbie. My gals have never been Barbie fans. They decapitated their Barbies when they were younger and never bothered with the costumes or accessories. Turns out that's not as unusual as I thought but it wasn't what grabbed my attention.

Julian at "Out of the Blue" printed a poem about a teenager who took a bully's words to heart. I don't remember ever reading a more searing indictment of the search for the perfect face, perfect hair, perfect body. Oh, to look like Barbie or the latest Hollywood sensation.

I'm not on a destroy Barbie campaign. Millions of little girls have loved their Barbies, outgrown them, and moved on and to blame one doll for the problems facing teens today is far too simplistic. It's much more than that.

The poem was the extra little push that led me to write about kids. I've been thinking about it for a couple of hours, changed my mind at least 3 or 4 times, and finally decided to write it down. It's a side of me you don't usually see.

To me, my girls are perfect as they are. To them, as they look in the mirror, they see something else. I don't know how to combat the pressure to conform as they get older. I can only hope that some of what I've tried to teach them about real values will stay with them.

Tomorrow will be a better day and I promise I won't do this often.

Good night my friends who live in my computer.