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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More on Halloween

Rebecca with her two friends Destiny and Nicolas.

All three with their mom and Elcie posing.

I'll be back.

Here's Rochelle & Rebecca (and the pumpkins)

See post below for Rebecca's birthday (also Halloween). The scary varmint is Rochelle of course. Elcie is still dithering over what to wear.

Rochelle did the multi-colored pumpkin, Elcie did the permanent marker drawings. Rebecca waits and then smears the remaining paint on her hands and does the entire pumpkin.

I'll be back later. I wanted to get these on while Blogger was cooperating. If Elcie ever makes up her mind, I'll add her.

Happy Birthday to Rebecca - Eleven Years Old Today (Update)

And here she is in all her Halloween glory in our badly in need of painting front bathroom. Ignore the background - at least I cropped out all the mess that goes with 3 vain little girls getting ready for school.

The splotches on the back wall are the result of bribing Elcie with stickers for toilet training. It worked beautifully but I now know that cheap stickers don't peel off.

I'll have pics up of all of them later today or early tomorrow morning with a rundown of our frantic weekend (still frantic) but Rebecca gets this post all to herself.

I can't figure out why Middle School lets them wear costumes but Elementary (where they really enjoy them more) doesn't. Elcie's waiting for tonight but the other two went whole hog. I think she's a good witch and a purple one.

Rebecca is the youngest great-granddaughter and the one we call our miracle child. Her mom and dad were living with me (and had been for almost two years) when she was born ten months after her next older sister. She wasn't due until early January.

I know they save babies smaller than she was but we were still scared. Two lbs, five ozs when she made her appearance. The local hospital sent her in an ambulance to Valley Children's which has a state of the art NICU.

She came home at about 4-1/2 lbs (too soon - she was very frail and just didn't "look right" to me). I'm still angry all these years later. She went back 3 days later with RSV. I found her barely breathing (just a short time after we checked on her). CPR by her mom all the way to the hospital - faster by car from here than ambulance. Once again we were pacing and praying. Obviously she's a tough little kid.

Then of course we worried about all the other things that can happen with preemies. Almost none of them did. She's had surgery on her eyes (twice) and her feet were casted to correct toe walking which may or may not have been mild cerebral palsy. If so, it's very mild. She's fine now and just look at those eyes. Unless she's very tired, they're perfect and as blue as the sky.

Update: I was responding to a comment when I remembered the funny side to the Rebecca birth story (which I may have told before).

Her mom's first sign of labor was a desparate need for the potty. We managed to get her out of the bathroom and on the hall floor while we were calling for an ambulance.

To this day Rebecca swears she was born in a toilet. We keep telling her she wasn't (close call though) but her version is much more exciting.

I don't have favorites, they're all very special in their own ways, but Rebecca is far and away the most "interesting". She's a non-stop chatterbox and never met a conjunction she didn't like. She does not know how to end a sentence and she often forgets to breathe. The very qualities that I'm convinced helped her survive her shaky start are the ones that can drive me up the wall at times. She has always been and will always be a fighter.

She's impulsive and she has a very short fuse. Of all the girls, she's the one who recognizes injustice the fastest and reacts accordingly. On the other hand, she laughs the most and she's the one most apt to bring me flowers from her walk home and spend 30 minutes telling me about her day. I hope that doesn't change.

She's fastidious, almost to the point of obsession, with whatever interests her. She's my best cook and certainly my best cleaner. She could be an A student and finally this year she's working hard on that. (See previous post about her math intervention teacher).

And, of course, I think she's beautiful.

Becca-boodles, you are my treasure and all of you are my life. Happy Birthday, we'll have your cake and ice cream on the weekend, and I bet you'll have lunch or dinner with grandma Ann and pick out your present too.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Post A Day?

Maybe although I sure haven't done it lately. It's a national competition (just for fun and small prizes). If you're interested in participating, click on the banner on the sidebar to join up. It starts November 1 and should be fun.

Thanks for the input on the pedophile question. I have an idea now of what I want to do; it just involves sorting out the logistics. I know I don't want to join a crusade but a blogging friend and I may begin an online dialogue about child safety. We're just in the talking stage and we both have busy lives but perhaps we can do something.

The school conferences have come and gone. I was right to worry about Rochelle. Her teacher is concerned as well. She's known Rochelle for a couple of years because of Elcie and wondered what happened to the happy self starter we all knew last year. We'll have Rochelle talk to the school counselor and go on from there. She seems sad much of the time and can't seem to tell us why. She has started paying more attention to her homework and she was rollerskating this afternoon which is something. I'm hoping it's just a phase.

Both of Elcie's teachers are very pleased. We spent quite a while talking about preparing her for high school. They are working on replacing her lap top with a more up-to-date model which led us into voice recognition software (along with a typing program). It would save her so much time on her written assignments. We've done many of the longer assignments with me acting as voice recognition - she talks, I type. Her teacher is fine with it but I wouldn't mind having the computer doing it for me. If she has it when she starts high school, there will be no question of whether she needs it - it will already be there. She had one teacher who wouldn't let her use the computer. We fixed that but I don't want to go to war if I don't have to. It's easier to present the next school with an accomplished fact and there will be much more writing in high school.

And then there's Rebecca. We may have a problem. She has two teachers; one for math intervention and another for the balance of her classes. You'd think they were talking about 2 different kids. The math teacher spent the whole conference complaining about Rebecca not doing her work and wasting time. She's writing everything out instead of just putting the answers down and the teacher is convinced she's doing that to get out of actually doing the work. I'd already talked to her about it and she swore (practically in tears) that she was doing what the teacher told her to do. Breakdown in communication?

The other teacher couldn't believe it. Rebecca's doing all her work (including more difficult math), is focused, well behaved, etc. She's going to talk to the math teacher. (L., if you're reading this, the math intervention teacher was formerly at Our Lady of Mercy. You may recognize the symptoms.) If that doesn't work, we'll have another conference. I'm not going to have Rebecca bullied now that she finally has her act together.

On Monday afternoon she decided to clean the living room without telling anyone. She called us in to see the finished product. Beautiful (at least compared to what it was). Yesterday she finished her homework and then practiced multiplication and division for another hour. No one told her to do it. Somehow she's turned herself around. She still has a very short fuse but she's so much better.

By yesterday, I was so tired I did nothing I didn't absolutely have to. Today was much better. We (my friend Dawn and I) cleaned all the kids' work and play areas (or most of it) and put everything in order one more time. I caught up laundry and actually cooked dinner (not the same thing as defrosting dinner).

And now it's past midnight.

Thanks to all for the comments. I'm still playing catch up on reading your blogs and Blogger is still being stubborn. I'll get there eventually.

Take care everyone.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

All of Jim's Kids (my grandkids)

I don't know what possessed Jim's older boy (another Jim). That is not his natural color, believe me. My Tim dyed his black when he wasn't much older than Jim is now and I did the same thing when I was 19 (huge mistake). We seem to want to be something we're not. I almost went bald trying to strip the dye out. Ended up the first time with a shade of red you'd never see in nature. Second time a beautiful but totally unnatural platinum. At least hair grows.

My natural color isn't much different than what it is now. I went from very blond to white without even noticing until someone else said something. It never was gray.

Back row, left to right:

Jim 15, Samantha 17, and Michael 14 (6 months older than Elcie) and one year ahead of her in school. Sam was born nine days after Ray and I married.

Front row: Jonathan of course.

I've never posted pictures of the older kids. Their parents are divorced, Jim's remarried. I wasn't sure how their mom would feel about it.

Jim says he has their pictures on MySpace and the kids each have their own. If they're there, it shouldn't be a problem having them here.

I don't see nearly as much of them as I'd like. High school kids have such busy lives. We've decided Jonathan must have been focused on dirtying his diaper. Look at that concentration.

Elcie's appointment went well. The surgeon agrees with the pediatrician. It's a harmless cyst and eventually it will disappear on its own. If it seems to grow or if the pain becomes worse, he'll remove it. He's one of these surgeons who believes "less is more" and doesn't cut any more that necessary. The leg he performed the surgery on at the end of 6th grade is doing well and nothing more is needed, at least for now. The other leg is doing fine. For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, she has an internal brace in her right knee to prevent the bone from growing in the wrong direction (which it had begun doing). He lengthened the tendon once again at the same time but wanted to wait before doing anything with the other leg.

It's a relief. He said 90% of those childhood cysts are harmless but I was right (and so was the pediatrician) to get the second opinion. He's the expert in orthopedics and cerebral palsy.

Conferences with teachers today. I already have their report cards. Rebecca is doing better than I dreamed she would; Rochelle okay but I want to talk to her teacher about her attitude in class. Her conduct grades are fine but I worry about her lack of enthusiasm this year. She's always been the one who loved school the most. Probably just puberty but I don't want to miss any danger signals.

This is short but just received the pictures late last night. I'm heading out in a few minutes for coffee with my friend and then over to the school.

Thanks to all for the comments. Hope you like the introduction to some more of my local family. They're good kids and I think Samantha is one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen. Not that I'm biased, you understand.

Take care everyone.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Melissa and Jonathan October 2006

I tried to get this one on last night. For once I can't blame Blogger. Kodak kept freezing on me and I was getting sleepy.

Thanks for the kind words about the other pic. He is a cutie, isn't he.

I'll get back later - hopefully tonight.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

An Introduction and Other Things (Updated to Include Picture)

Please join me in welcoming Bright Minds to the wonderful world of blogging. She and I "met" on Blogging Baby and I've enjoyed her comments about our kids and education there. She's just begun blogging and has some interesting things to say.

She teaches in what most communities call a Continuation school. Of all the often thankless teaching jobs, I think hers may be one of the most challenging. I know I couldn't do it.

Update: Right after I posted this, Jim sent me the latest photo of him and Jonathan (now almost six months old). Look at those smiles!! Look at those ears!!

This has been a lazy weekend for me. The girls have spent a lot of time with their mom which they've enjoyed.

Tomorrow of course I take Elcie to the doctor. I think her mom will go along for the ride.

I've been reluctant to say much but I have mixed feelings about the parental involvement. Right now, both parents are back in their lives and of course the girls are overjoyed. We've been through this before though. They're here and then they're not here. Or one is and the other isn't. When they suddenly aren't here once again, the girls suffer. On the other hand, I don't want to institute some sort of formal visitation. There's no need.

Anyhow, enough of that. It's just something I live with and have for years. At least the girls are old enough now to understand somewhat.

Glad you all enjoyed the pumpkin. If anyone is interested in the entire collection, email me and I'll be glad to send it along.

I've been giving some serious thought to Word Press. Perhaps Blogger is just going through the hiccups but this entire last week has been next to impossible. It's been fine today; it's actually letting me type and I've left some comments here and there (still behind - sorry).

I have a question for the American visitors (only because our laws would apply). Have any of you received a request to fight pedophilia blogs on the net? I have, I'm not sure what to do with it, and I'm interested in knowing what you think. I have more detailed information but I'm not going to put those links on this blog. Naming them here would give them publicity I'd rather they not have and make me feel even more like I need a shower. Email me if you'd like to know more.

Also, you might want to email me instead of leaving a comment. I don't want to subject any of you to hate mail or anything like that. It's up to you.

Of course if there's a Constitutional attorney out there somewhere, it would help. I have a feeling the blogs, reprehensible as they may be, fall under protected speech. It may be that all we can do is make our opinion heard and watch our kids' computer usage (which is really our job - not the government's).

The net is awash with porn. The girls have their own computer and I've done my best to block the sites they shoudn't be visiting. And I keep an eye on what they're doing with it. I've checked my sitemeter from time to time. You'd be amazed (or maybe you wouldn't) at what some people think a rocrebelgranny is.

Sorry to be so serious today. It's just one of those I guess.

Thanks for all your comments. I tried to get back to most of you. If I didn't and I don't have your email address, blame Blogger.

Take care everyone.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pumpkin - Part II

For some reason, Blogger wouldn't let me add text to the image below.

Thanks to Yellow Dog Granny who just sent me an entire pumpkin collection. This was my favorite.

I can't imagine the patience or imagination it took to create something like this.

We began using acrylic paint for our jack-o-lanterns several years ago. My hands don't work well with the carving and the girls love the paint. They can do it all themselves without my nagging at them to please not cut off their pinkie in the process.

How's This For a Pumpkin?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bored? Too Much Time on Your Hands?

Try this. Thanks to Jenifer at Blogging Baby for the link. She has a link to knock-knock jokes (child friendly) as well. I think I won't mention them to the girls.

(Blogger just ate the rest of my post). It's been cranky all morning. Wouldn't let me type over 30 words a minute. It seems to be doing better now but I'll copy instead of trying to save the draft.

Starting over.

This week has gone by quickly and I've stayed busy. Ray did a great job of keeping up while I was away but there were still things to be done. I celebrated my return by cooking a pot roast on Monday. Tuesday the two younger girls ate at the church and stayed for Bell Choir and Wednesday we polished off the leftovers. Last night I made my infamous tuna glop, much to Elcie's delight. She loves it.

Kept my usual coffee date on Tuesday and lunch with Tim on Wednesday. He's leaving on his Mexican cruise next week and I'm so jealous.

Our weather has warmed a little and may hit 80 or so by weekend. Mornings are chilly though.

I know several of you have had problems with the storms in TX and moving eastward. One of my Ohio friends reported a lot of wind damage (trees down, etc). I'm glad everyone's okay.

The girls are on early dismissal beginning yesterday and continuing through next week. Parent-Teacher conferences of course. At least they're all on the same day and two will be fairly easy. Elcie is doing well and Rebecca is amazing. She brought her last year D in math up to a C and now to a B. She's more focused and much more willing to bring her work home and do it. She's been finishing the bulk of it in class. I can hardly wait to hear what her teacher has to say.

Rochelle (my easy child or so I thought) is another story. I've always been concerned about her. She's a follower and wants to be liked. I know that water runs downhill and I don't like some of the attitude changes I've seen. I know her teacher well - I'll see what she thinks.

I spoke too soon about the typing speed. Back to 30/wpm again. It's driving me nuts. By the time I type it I forget what I wanted to say next. The comment boxes and even accessing blogs have been difficult as well.

So - I'm still trying to catch up with everyone even as a lurker until Blogger gets a grip on itself.

Ray seems to be doing well and almost back to normal for him. Fingers crossed. My cold seems to have left for the most part. The girls are still sniffling but other than that okay.

I've taken Elcie off depo until we can arrange another visit with her pediatrician. Short version - it seemed to be causing more problems than it solved (including morning sickness of all things). I take her to Children's Hospital in Madera near Fresno on Monday to check out whatever the strange little growth is in her ankle. We're hoping it's nothing but it's time to have her orthopedic surgeon take a look. It's about a 50 mile drive each way - not too bad and she'll probably get lunch out of the deal.

Thanks to all for the comments the last few days. Glad you found the Bitacle info useful especially since I don't really understand it myself.

I had a couple more things to say but my typing speed has dropped even further and I'm afraid I'll lose this. Take care everyone and have a great weekend.

Now it doesn't want me to copy. (I have it saved - now it won't post).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bitacle - Part 3

More information from Her Bad Mother below.

I just changed my feed. I hated to do it because now anyone who wants to read the entire post will have to come here to do it. It makes me angry that the selfishness and greed of others makes everyone's life more complicated.

Thanks to HBM for the additional information.

All is well here; I've just been busy. I'll try to get back later tonight or early tomorrow with some actual family stuff.

Two things that I've just learned:

1) If you change your feed to a short feed (in Blogger, go to your settings, and to Site Feed, and you'll see it there), it's much harder for them to get you.

2) Google AdSense has, apparently, pulled their ads from Bitacle. Heard this via Tammie and Soul Gardening.

Good things!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Something for the Guys This Time

On my way to pick up girls and wanted to get this on quickly.

Thanks to Merle for the joke. (see blogroll for link)

Men Are Just Happier People.

What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last

name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take

care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack.

You can be Prime Minister. You can never be pregnant.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

You can wear NO shirt to the water park.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal.

You never have to drive to another service statiom, because the toilet at this one is just too icky.

You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work more pay. Wrinkles add character.

Wedding dress $5000. Suit rental - $100.

People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.

The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.

New shoes don’t cut, blister or mangle your feet.

One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds.

You know stuff about cars.

A five-day trip requires only one suit-case.

You can open all your jars, You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

You never need instruction booklets, they are for idiots and

females. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still

be your friend. You don’t have to worry about your belongings;

they have a way of getting to where they should be no matter

where you leave them.

Entertainment consists of a TV, a remote and three shows

all at once.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three pack.

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays it’s original color.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You only have to shave your face and neck,

You can play with toys all your life.

Your belly usually hides your big hips.

One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color for all seasons.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

You can “do” your nails with a pocket knifel

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December

24th in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Party Time in San Francisco (Again) - Part II

It will make more sense if you read the earlier post first (it has pictures).

We had the usual last minute scramble and I forgot to pack a couple of things (socks, for example - L. has a shoe free house so I borrowed socks from her). Other than that all our plans fell into place, no one was sick, my friend drove me the entire four blocks to Amtrak, and I escaped. I packed twice what I needed but it was only one bag and a very small purse. Not too bad.

I got off the Amtrak bus in downtown SF (Amtrak runs to the East Bay - from there they run a shuttle bus to the city), got on the correct BART train (BART has added an airport run since I lived in the city - I didn't want to find myself there), and Roger and family picked me up at the other end.

From there we went straight to L's. Stefanie was already there with that beaming smile in place. Hugs all around, a little chatter, and on to the important stuff - the takeout menu. As you can see, no one went hungry.

There were plenty of kids to liven things up even without Stefanie's and mine. L.'s three and Roger's two kept their parents busy. For once I just watched and admired. They're all adorable and they'd grown since I last saw them.

I can't speak for anyone else but I had a wonderful time. I knew L. and Roger (and family) of course from the potluck last March. In the "small world of bloggers" category, Dutch and Wood who co-write Sweet Juniper were still living in San Francisco last March and were at the pot luck then.

They moved to Detroit during the summer and, on their way, stopped off in Salt Lake City, met Stefanie there, and spent some time with her family before traveling on. This time Stefanie came west (just for the weekend).

I've already said L., Roger, Dutch, and I all met on Blogging Baby - all as commenters back then. Now both Roger and Dutch write for BB. I can't remember when I first crossed paths with Stefanie but we've known each other for a while.

They're all on the blogroll (including Blogging Baby) and all good reading:

L. - The Homesick Home
Roger - Uncle Roger's Journal etc.
Stefanie - Mommy Matic

Dutch and Wood - Sweet Juniper

Our party broke up around eleven - long day for all of us, Stefanie had to be on a plane at 5:00 a.m, and Roger's kids (as well as the rest of us) were beginning to fade. Time to go our separate ways.

Meantime, I'd contacted another San Francisco friend (not a blogger; I've known Louis for more than twenty years). We don't see as much of each other as we'd like but we've never lost touch. We got together, he and his friend fed me enchiladas and Spanish rice (plus a decadent dessert) for Sunday dinner, watched the Forty-Niners lose to the Chargers, then Louis took me to the Amtrak connection.

I arrived home about 3/4 of an hour behind schedule - Amtrak running a little late. The girls were still barely awake, gave me a hug, and went to bed. From all I heard, everyone managed nicely.

And now it's almost midnight here and tomorrow is a school day. I may still be a little too hyped to sleep but I'm going to try.

But first I'm going to catch up on the mail. I know there are comments awaiting me but I wanted to get these posts on first.

It was a wonderful respite, I'm glad I did it, and now I'm glad to be home.

Take care everyone.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Party Time in San Francisco (Again) - Part I

I never know in which order these will appear. In the picture around L.'s table, left to right it's L., Stefanie, Rachel (Roger's wife) and Roger hiding behind the camera.

L. thought she could hide behind the beautiful centerpiece but I found her.

And Roger decided it was time to comb his hair just as I pointed the camera. Too late, Roger - gotcha!!

From that you should be able to figure out who is who in the rest of the pics.

I'm the one in the doorway with L. and Rachel. Stefanie must have been taking the picture while Roger was busy loading two sleepy kids in the car. No, I'm not mad at anyone, just a little sleepy (and too full of Chinese takeout). It showed. And of course that's Stefanie with the beaming smile.

The empty containers are a testimony to the good time we had.

Roger took many more pictures than I. He's much more talented and has a far better camera. If he sends me some I'll put them on later. If he posts to his Journal, I'll post the link. He's one of the Blogging Baby writers and had a post up (sans pictures) by the time I arrived back in Merced.

It's too darn hard to keep typing around the pictures. To be continued in Part II

Saturday, October 14, 2006

More on Bitacle

I may have confused more people than I helped. For our purposes, I suppose the most important thing is to find out if we're there and how to complain.

I went back to Her Bad Mother and backtracked. Emma has offered to answer questions as well.

Here's the link which explains how to search for your blog. An excerpt from the link follows. You may have to click on the link to click on "aggregates". I don't know if it will show up as a link here.

The entire post is worth reading and thanks to Lorelle for the footwork.

Now I have to go pack for San Francisco. 3-1/2 hours to train time. I may actually get there.

Have a great weekend!!

Update: I have no earthly idea why the sizes and colors kept changing below and I don't have time to fix it. With my luck I'd probably zap the blog again.

"To find out if your site has been ripped by bitacle, you could go to
the front site of and chase your tail. It can be a long
chase. I recommend you go to the search results in the Aggregates
section for this blog and enter in your own search. Use the name or
most popular keywords used on your blog to see if your blog is listed.
Odd thing is that "Lorelle WordPress" turns up this blog, but "Lorelle
on WordPress" returns a "not found". So you might have to dig to find
if your blog is there.

Once you've found your blog, click on the link and you will see the
most recent post or more in the content area, with ads in and around
the content. In the left sidebar, you will see a running column of all
the post titles from your blog, from the most recent to the oldest
they have scrapped. They have Digg buttons so you can dig your own
post from their site - leading more users to read your content on
bitacle instead of your own site. Below your post, there is a comment
box, so people can ask questions and comment on your article even
though you aren't there to monitor the comments, lending even more
visible evidence that they are using your content as theirs. Screams
splog, doesn't it?

If you are among those with content under abuse on bitacle, go to
Stopbitacleorg and follow one or more of the instructions there to
officially complain, which usually involves an email. The more voices,
the better."

Public Service Announcement

Bitacle Debacle

I don't begin to understand this but evidently someone called Bitacle is hijacking our blogs and making money from them.

I heard about it a few days ago and filed it away because I didn't think they meant mine. I figured they were talking about the famous bloggers. You know, the ones with 200 comments on a slow day?

Nope, I'm over there. I checked.

Here's a link from Emma at Fueled by Coffee.

Her Bad Mother wrote about it as well in the last paragraphs of this post

And I've read about it a couple of other places too but didn't pay a lot of attention until tonight. I think Jay Allen at The Zero Boss said something about it but i'm not sure. It was a while ago.

Rather than my trying to explain it, take a look at either one of the blogs above. (Or at Jay's if you can find the specific post.)

From what Emma said, all the material on our blogs is copyrighted which means they shouldn't be using it. She has offered to answer questions in simple English. Her Bad Mother explained it to me and the links on her post show how to check to see if our blog is among those pirated.

And now that I've thoroughly confused everyone, I'm going to bed. Good night all.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hobgoblin Stew

This yummy beef stew recipe from Autumn's Meadow is similar to what many of us make (although I'm sure we each have our secret ingredients).

What is different is the container.

More Moving Bloggers and Other Stuff

Karrie, formerly of The Welblog has changed both her location and her blogging address. She can now be found at "One Weird Mother". I never thought of you as any weirder than the next person, Karrie, but whatever works for you.

I apologize for falling so far behind on reading, commenting, and welcoming visitors. I think I've kept up with the blogroll.

I'm feeling a little better but reading for any length of time is still a problem. I start feeling sleepy. My glasses seem to be okay but maybe it's time to get them checked. Anyhow, I've been doing more lurking than commenting lately but I'm still hanging around.

Thanks to all for the good wishes. I sent the girls back to school this morning but had to pick Elcie up. I was afraid of that but I've said before that if she's there when the bell rings, her attendance is counted. It puts the burden on the school to decide whether she should stay.

Right now she seems fine; when I picked her up she was nauseated. I made her some Cream of Wheat and she lapped it up. Comfort food of the first order.

Tonight is the Homecoming Parade for Merced High School. Rebecca and Rochelle will go with my friend Dawn and her daughter. They missed an early Halloween party yesterday because they were both sick.

I bought my train ticket; round trip not one-way (lol). I'll get into San Francisco a little before five in the afternoon which will give me the evening with my blogging friends (and Chinese food we think). I won't have to leave until late afternoon Sunday and should be back here in time to kiss the girls goodnight.

If nothing changes, Rebecca and Rochelle will stay with my friend from the time I leave on Saturday until sometime Sunday. It will take a lot of the stress off Ray and Elcie should be fine, if a little bored because she has no one to fight with. Her mom and dad are both around and will be checking in with her.

I haven't been away overnight without the kids since my birth mother died several years ago. That would hardly count as a vacation. I love the girls but lately I've been feeling a little overwhelmed. If Ray were up to the trip, I'd take him along (and probably drive) but it's a long drive (135 miles each way) much of it in heavy traffic and he's never been comfortable in social situations which involve meeting a large group of people for the first time. He'll be perfectly happy in his own little corner here with the baseball playoffs and his sci-fi.

The train will give me even more of a break. Not much scenery in this part of California (and I've memorized most of it) but I can curl up with a book or my crossword puzzles or even just stare out the window and meditate.

I've always liked trains except for the last time I was coming back from the city via Amtrak (from my mother's funeral and the week we spent putting her affairs in order) and the train spilled all its fuel along about 3 miles of track. We came to a halt in the middle of nowhere. No cell phone back then, the train crew said a train or bus would be along eventually and then they left. My son turned up at least an hour (maybe longer) later. His wife had gotten in touch with Amtrak when the train didn't arrive here. He borrowed an old truck and set out. I was never so glad to see anybody. I wouldn't have cared at that point if he'd borrowed a horse and buggy. It still beat standing around in a cornfield or whatever that was. Spooky.

Speaking of spooky, happy Friday the 13th to all. Not that I'm superstitious you understand.

Take care everyone. I'll probably be out of touch over the weekend (or so I hope, much as I love you all).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Gadabout Bloggers

Dawn I. has a new blog called Daybreak Laughter and limited internet access, at least for now.

Thordora still has Spin Me, I Pulsate but she's changed hosts.

Their updated links can be found on the Blogroll (I'm lazy today).

I have three kids out sick today. I warned them they would miss the Homecoming Party tonight and they didn't care. I guess that means they're really sick. Rebecca is piled up in my bed between awake and asleep, Elcie is sleeping and Rochelle's in the living room in her sleeping bag. I'll check and see if she's awake.

And I'm taking an hour or two off to go have lunch with Tim. I can be back home in five minutes, if necessary.

More later. I'm trying for a San Francisco mini-vacation this weekend but I'm almost afraid to buy the train ticket. I might jinx something.

I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

When Suffering From the Blahs (or the Blues)

post another joke; this one from Yellow Dog Granny in Texas. (She can make jokes about the Lone Star State, she lives there).


At The University of Texas, students in a psychology program
were attending their first class on Emotional Extremes.

"Just to establish some parameters," said the professor to the
student from Arkansas, "What is the opposite of joy?"

"Sadness," said the student.

"And the opposite of depression?" he asked of the young lady

from Oklahoma.

"Elation," she said.

"And you sir," he said to the young man from Texas, "what about

the opposite of woe?"

The Texan replied, "Sir, I believe that would be 'giddy up "

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Really Behind on Posting

And behind on everything else it seems.

Elcie is still sick. She did go back to school but they sent her back home today. Also, her wheelchair tire came apart over the weekend and we can't get it fixed until tomorrow.

This is definitely short. I seem to have the blahs. I've been reading other blogs and it seems to be going around. Or so the writers tell me.

We're all doing okay; I'm just a little fuzzy. I'll try to think of something a little more interesting tomorrow.

Take care everyone.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pink M&M's for Breast Cancer

My friend Carmen emailed me a little while ago about this and asked me to pass it on.

She included the Snopes link.

And here's the M & M promotion page.

Eat chocolate, help with breast cancer research.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my Canadian friends. Sorry I almost let your holiday go by unmentioned.

Hope you all had a great time.


I just figured out how to do this (I think). Not just for Canada, y'all can read it too!!

Click Here

Friday, October 06, 2006

Recipe Time Again

From Merle in Australia

lb of Steak – Oyster blade, or Rump

1 packet French Onion Soup

425 can Apricot Nectar.

(according to Merle, a 1 lb can (or anything close to it) would work.

Lay steak flat in baking pan.

Sprinkle soup mix over steak

Then pour Nectar over it.

Bake in covered baking dish, (Use foil if no cover)

Bake for 1 ½ hours.- - in moderate oven.

As you can see, I like simple and easy recipes, not ones

with 27 ingredients !!

Note from Ann: I googled Oyster blade and it wasn't very specific. I'd think you could use any of the inexpensive cuts of steak.

Note from Ann: I'll be grateful to any Australian visitor who tells me the size of a 425 can. I noticed it after I posted and googled. Nothing happening there.


Chickens and Roads, the Crossing Thereof

Once again from my San Diego friend. Some of the political statements may be lost on my friends outside the USA but maybe not. They received wide circulation at the time they were made.

Subject: Fw: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on "THIS" side of the road before it goes after the problem on the "OTHER SIDE" of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his "CURRENT" problems before adding "NEW" problems.

OPRAH: Well I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.
GEORGE W BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.
JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am for it now, and will remain against it.
PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.
GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.
JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together
in peace.
ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2006, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet explorer is an integral part of eChicken. The Platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^( C \ reboot.
ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?
BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?
AL GORE: I invented the chicken!
JESSICA SIMPSON: Why would he be on the road, don't chickens live in the ocean?
COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Update to Previous Post

No methadone - no morphine. Ray thought they were going to continue what he was given in the hospital. No way. He has a vicodin prescription and a light sleeping pill which he probably won't need now that he's home. He already had vicodin but didn't use it much.

I'm relieved to say the least.

He's Home and Elcie's Back In School

The first thing he did was fix the t.v. of course. I still don't understand what causes it to go nuts every time a tape comes to its end and rewinds. There has to be a better system. Right now he's comfortable in the living room and I'm listening to music in here. CCR is singing Proud Mary at the moment. I'm dating myself again.

I'm puzzled by several things. I think they discharged him too soon for starters. They're counting his hospital time from when the doctor first wrote the admission note (which was almost 72 hours before he went in as you may remember). He was very wobbly last night but this morning is better so far. I'm watching him closely.

He had some sort of spell in the hospital - blood pressure suddenly dropped to 60. They had crash carts in his room. Did he tell me this? Of course not, at least not until he was home.

They've prescribed methadone and morphine according to him. I haven't picked up the prescriptions yet and I'm going to google methadone. They say it's a common pain reliever in addition to its well known properties of combatting heroin addiction. But then morphine too? Something's going on. He's never complained of that kind of pain. And if his primary problem is with his lungs, why morphine? Strange.

I will find out. He's misunderstood what they've said before. In addition, he has a new anti-biotic.

If I sound like I'm against modern medicine, I'm not. I do think they're taking a scattergun approach though and three different pain meds (not including ibuprofen and the aspirin he takes for his heart) might be a bit much.

Update: This doesn't make me any more comfortable. It does, however, list pain relief as one of the uses of methadone.

In other news? Not too much really. Elcie balked at returning to school but she went. She'd missed two full days plus the first day when the school sent her home. She seems to wake up feeling rotten but an hour or so into the day she's feeling better. That's what I do unless I'm really sick. She'll be spending much of her weekend on makeup work.

Rebecca and Rochelle are accepting their grounding with some grace. They both insist they brought my cell phone back inside and neither one knows how it was stolen. Point is, they didn't have permission to take it outside the house and it's the second phone in a couple of weeks that has disappeared in the same way. I spent much of yesterday trying to get a phone that would work immediately even if I had to leave it on the charger while I used it. Thank heavens Tim came through. Insurance takes a couple of days and I haven't decided whether to file claims on both phones. It will involve a police report (which I can do online), making a trip to one of the Verizon stores, and forking over $100. Meantime, the Cricket stays in my pocket. (And I may let them out of jail before they turn 21 - I'll have to think about it).

With both phones, they were answered the first time we called them - in Spanish. This time I had my Spanish speaking neighbor call back. Some kid answered, swore at him in Spanish, and hung up. I borrowed a phone and turned my phone into a paperweight. They can't use it, can't activate it. If they try to activate it, they're in trouble. I don't think my Hispanic neighbors are more apt to steal than anyone else; it's just that there are more of them. It's the law of averages and some kids steal. These kids happened to be Hispanic and may even be the same kids in both cases.

I've been having some problems with the two younger girls this year. They've had a little more freedom and they're confusing freedom with license. I have clamped down. Even after they're ungrounded, they're restricted. No further than the local store and a strict time limit.

The next few years should be great fun for all of us.

Take care everyone.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Quirky Meme from Scotland

From Depressed Single Mother who until five minutes ago never heard of me. Ray's home. See post below.

Your Quirk Factor: 58%

You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.
Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!

The Day (or Week) I'd Just as Soon Forget

And I'm too tired to write much about it.


My cold is better.

My friend just went after Ray. He's coming home.

That offsets somewhat the two cell phones which have been stolen in the last week & 1/2. Both younger girls are grounded until they're 21. One or the other took my phone outside without me knowing it - neither will admit it. They swear they brought it back. Tim wanted to change phone services anyway so he gave me his Cricket, he got a new phone, and I'll turn in insurance claims on the two missing phones in the next couple of days. $50 deductible each.

I'll at least replace mine; otherwise I'll have to notify the entire world of a phone # change.

I'll know more later about Ray but he may just want to come home and rest tonight. I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for the good wishes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Not Much to Say Tonight

Nothing has changed since yesterday. My cold is making me miserable and I'm on my way to a very early bedtime. Elcie came home sick from school halfway through the day.

And the awful news from Lancaster County in PA has depressed me more than I can fathom.
If some suicidal maniac can line up ten little girls who have hurt no one and mow them down, no one is safe anywhere. He singled out the girls and executed them (or tried to - four are dead) and we'll probably never know why.

Their parents may never read the thousands of condolences which will pour in. They keep to themselves. They are a peaceful people and the last I'd expect to suffer something like this. I still feel compelled to say my heart aches for them and for the family of the killer. His wife and daughters were innocent victims as well.

It's been a dark day for Lancaster County, for Pennsylvania, and for the country. Four little girls dead as of this writing for no reason.

Take care everyone. Tomorrow is another day and perhaps my heart will hurt less.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Falling Asleep - Maybe This Will Be Brief

I did get to the hospital yesterday. As many of you already know from our emails, they now suspect migraine and will be running more tests. It makes sense in a way although he certainly hasn't complained of severe headaches. That doesn't mean he hasn't had them; he's not a complainer and with so many other things going on, the headaches may not have seemed like a big deal. I don't know.

He's epileptic (seizure free for years until recently) and there may be a connection.

My cold is in the runny, sniffly, sneezy stage so I didn't go today. Generic day-quil works well for me so I can keep the worst of the symptoms under control. We talked on the phone tonight and they've added more tests to the list for tomorrow or Tuesday. The only thing they can agree on is that something is wrong.

I did get out with Elcie to the 99¢ store this morning and then over to annoy Tim at Barnes & Noble. Elcie had her strawberry frapp, I had decaf with vanilla and caramel, and we shared a cookie. She bought a couple of plastic horses to add to her collection and I picked up a couple of activity books for the other two. They still like to color. Oh, and Elcie is trying cross stitch; one frog and one cat. I think she'll be able to do it. We'd tried embroidery and she had problems. This doesn't require as much coordination. I showed her how to use a needle threader after the 3rd time she called me to thread the needle. I can hardly do it without the threader anymore; even with bifocals.

A lot of my canned goods come from there as well. It's usually my final stop at the beginning of the month.

We saw a little girl (maybe 3 - old enough to talk clearly) with a woman who must have been either grandma or greatgrandma. Older than I. The child was walking just ahead and saying "I don't want you to get lost so you stay close okay?" She (the child) had both hands behind her back wiggling her fingers as if to say c'mon now. It was so cute. Grandma played along of course.

The temperature has dropped several more degrees. Elcie and I just beat the rain home. Part of the city lost power for a short time, including Barnes & Noble. Only for a short time but they're completely computerized so they were dealing with that.

It makes me grateful for my old fashioned education. I love computers but if the power goes out, I can still function.

I think my battery (the big one that kicks in in case of power failure) is dying. Yesterday my monitor went black and I freaked. We unplugged it from the battery and into my circuit breaker and voila. Today, the same thing with my speaker. I think it may be included in my service contract. I'll have to check.

Still no t.v. in this room although Elcie fiddled around and fixed the vcr/dvd player. It's not the t.v.; we can get one fuzzy channel with the t.v.'s builtin antenna so it's something in the cable/dvd player hookup. It will have to wait for Ray to come home. He has a style all his own with hooking up electronics and I hate anything to do with hardware; computer or t.v. Plus with my crowded setup here I'd have to move furniture to get to all the power cords.

It's humiliating when your kids know more than you isn't it.

I'd planned to make chicken soup (or possibly order hot and sour soup from our Chinese restaurant). Didn't do either one. A neighbor barbecued and sent a care package over via the girls. I didn't have to do anything about dinner but maybe I'll tackle the soup tomorrow. Chicken soup is soothing (even if I'm the one who has to make it) but hot and sour will clear sinuses in a hurry and someone else could do the cooking.

Another neighbor sent birthday cake yesterday. Their youngest (of 4 now), just turned a year old. The oldest is a little younger than Elcie. They've lived next door for years; since their first two were little. Nice family. The mother doesn't speak a lot of English and when she and I try to talk, the kids translate. She's trying to learn but it seems to be hard for her probably because she doesn't get out much and she's so tied up with the kids.

The affair of Elcie and her receiver seems to be settled. No details from the school (they can't discuss personnel matters of course) but Elcie or I are to let them know immediately if she has any more problems. She will, I'm sure of that. Elcie is nothing if not vocal. And she now has her computer. Her new teacher didn't realize or had forgotten she had one; her last year's teacher was out on maternity leave and didn't realize it was still locked in her classroom. They're discussing replacing it and reviewing the software to see what more can be done to be sure she's ready for high school next year.

And finally we're all in agreement on the handwriting. Our next project is teaching her touch typing. I've tried but I'm not getting through to her. It may be because it's so easy for me; I can't understand why it isn't for everyone. A professional with a good online program might be better and I can back them up.

As long as she can print legibly, she doesn't need cursive for her day to day work. Eventually it may become less difficult for her but for now it slows her down and detracts from her learning. She focuses only on putting one letter after another. Silly but it took forever to convince some people. They thought hiding her computer away and forcing her to write was the answer. It wasn't.

And you don't want to see what passes for handwriting with me. I print neatly and quickly but my handwriting has always been barely legible if I draw the letters very slowly. I type everything I can.


I received Merle's comment almost as soon as I posted this. I wasn't clear about the missing computer and her current teacher wasn't at fault.

Here's basically what I replied to Merle:

I should have told the whole computer story. Elcie didn't mention it to me until last week. In the meantime, her new teacher was trying to arrange to purchase one for her; not realizing she's had her own (courtesy of the District) for years. The teacher has had some serious family problems and has been trying to juggle her teaching with the family issues which must be her highest priority.

I know we talked about Elcie's computer before school ended last year and I'm sure the teacher was just at the end of her personal rope and forgot. (I can understand that, believe me).

As soon as I mentioned that Elcie had one, the teacher tracked it down the very next day and is already plotting improvements or even replacement. She's wonderful - no nonsense in her classroom but a lot of common sense and willingness to listen.

At times the school is responsible for some of our problems but this lapse is forgiveable. I don't know why Elcie never mentioned it to anyone. Maybe she forgot too?
This is brief?

I think they're all healthy enough for school tomorrow or were when they went to bed. I hope so.

Thanks to all for the comments and the kind thoughts. I'll see what more I can find out tomorrow. Told Ray I'd try to get over as soon as the girls leave for school. I'll just keep my distance again - he doesn't need my cold.

Glad you enjoyed the joke (see below if you haven't read it). Ray doesn't drive, never has, so I don't have to worry about cooking eggs with a Greek chorus behind me. He's always been the navigator and a very good one. We complement each other nicely. Since he doesn't drive, he's not about to criticize me.

I am a terrible passenger though. I don't carp openly but I grab the sissy bar on the door, try to use the brake on the passenger side, and even gasp from time to time. My older son laughs at me. I'm sure I have control issues. If I'm in my own car, I'm driving unless Jim is along on a longer trip and I'm just too tired to continue.

Take care everyone.

Surely They're Not Talking About Us - We'd Never Do This

Several bloggers on my "must read" list feature jokes. Most of you know Merle of course but I'm not sure how many have read Crazed Mom of 4. She's very funny. Here's a sample.

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.
Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.
"Careful," he said, "CARE FUL!
Put in some more butter!
Oh my GOD! You're cooking too many at once.
Turn them!
We need more butter.
Oh my GOD!
WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER?
They're going to STICK!
I said be CAREFUL!
You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking!
Turn them!
Hurry up!
Are you CRAZY?
Have you LOST your mind?
Don't forget to salt them.
You know you always forget to salt them.
Use the salt.
The wife stared at him.
"What in the world is wrong with you?
You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"
The husband replied,
"I just wanted you to know how I feel while I'm driving."