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Friday, March 30, 2007

Testing With Another Photo - Still Nothing

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Why I Was Asking

The post below this one has a photo of all 3 girls which I did with Picasa. I can't see anything but a small square.

So far, 4 or 5 people have responded. They all can see the girls.

That's been happening to me a lot on other blogs lately. I can see some pics but not all, even on the same blog post. It's very strange.

I did the other post of the girls with Blogger image. It gave me a little trouble but I can see them.

Anyone have any ideas why this is happening? Am I missing some software somehow?


Can Anybody See the Picture?

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Another School Year About to Bite the Dust

For any of you who don't know which one is which, Rebecca (age 11) is in the dark pink, Rochelle (age 12) is in black (and fading into the background), and Elcie (age 14) is wearing the striped sweater. I wonder if there's a way to change that background.

Today was running around day and Ray was well enough to go along. We got the girls off to school, did some shopping, and then went to visit Carol. She was sleeping and I didn't want to wake her so I wrote her a note and left her a "guardian angel" medallion from Rebecca. I did talk to her nurse who says that she's more comfortable than she was last week but she spends most of the time sleeping.

We stopped off to see Tim and have coffee and then came home.
I finally found a pair of everyday shoes that will work for Elcie without causing blisters on the tops of her toes (I hope). They're Dr. Scholl sandals with velcro straps. Evidently she's going to have problems with any kind of closed toe .

This is short but it's been a long day and Blogger keeps sending me a message saying "publishing may fail". It took me 3 tries to get the photos on and then I had to do them one at a time. I wanted to get the school pictures up. The girls have changed so much in just a year's time.

I'm going to try to add a couple of others - the girls with a neighbor dog. We'll see what happens. No luck - I'll try for them on a separate post later.

Thanks to all once again for the comments. Have a good weekend and take care.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Here's Jonathan!!

His little face still hasn't caught up with his ears but he's getting there. He's almost walking, has two bottom teeth, and crawls like lightning. He finally has some hair and he's going to be a redhead like his dad I think. He's finally decided he likes his granny. With Jim away so much of the time and Melissa busy with work, I haven't seen much him and he wasn't quite sure I was to be trusted.

And he's going to have a baby sister or brother sometime around Thanksgiving or Christmas. I'm not sure exactly when yet. I'll have to ask.

My son Jim had a 4 day pass this weekend and he, Melissa, Tim and I got together at their house on Saturday for card playing and laughing. Jonathan was the entertainment chairman. He's so funny. Earlier in the day I took Elcie to the store with me and then met Jim for coffee. Tim had already told me the news.

Jim and Melissa have 3 kids each from previous marriages; all teens. Each of their youngest is a little older than Elcie; Jim's oldest will be 18 this summer. Melissa's oldest has a baby of her own and her own home. The others will be leaving the nest in a few years. They decided after they had Jonathan that since their next 18 years were spoken for anyway, it would be nice for Jonathan to have company. If my math is right, there should be about 1-1/2 years between them.

Rebecca skinned both knees (at once). She's blaming it on Rochelle. I didn't see it happen so I don't know. She did all her own first aid; I went out and bought more gauze pads and anti-bacterial ointment and hoped for the best. She's never been willing to let anyone else do that sort of thing so as soon as she was old enough to do it herself, I let her. Rochelle is a stoic; Rebecca is not. She even knows how to put in her own eyedrops on the rare occasions pinkeye strikes around here.

She made gingerbread and scrambled eggs for all of us on Saturday. Ran me out of eggs and forgot to mention it. I'll get more today. I was too lazy yesterday to get out.

I think I mentioned somewhere that Jim has a motorcycle - Harley of course. He and I have had a running battle between Harley and BMW ever since I can remember. Not that I ride these days of course and I never owned a motorcycle. If I did though, it would be a BMW with all the accessories. They're beautiful.

Did I ever mention my former boss gave me a copy of a Neil Young cd because of the song Unknown Legend? It's about a woman and her Harley and he said it reminded him of me.

Tim's talking about buying a motorcycle instead of a car. He has never learned to drive. Kids who are raised in cities like San Francisco quite often don't. We had no need for a car there until the last couple of years before I retired and then it was almost more bother than it was worth. I used it on weekends to get out of the city but took the bus to work and almost everywhere else.

The CA Highway Patrol gives motorcycle lessons and will administer the tests on the spot after riders have qualified. Jim was showing Tim a little about riding over the weekend while he was here. It will be interesting to watch. He's talking about a small Kawasaki (more for running around town) rather than the Sportster Jim rides from the Mexican border here.

Rochelle's teacher called me on Friday to tell me that Rochelle will be Student of the Quarter for her class. She doesn't know yet. I'll be at the Assembly tomorrow morning to see her receive it. Her school year got off to a shaky start but after the 1st quarter, she's settled down to middle school nicely.

We were due for some good news for a change, weren't we. It helped and so did the beautiful weekend here. I did absolutely nothing that wasn't necessary.

For some reason, I woke up before 5:00 a.m. today (Monday) and decided I might as well stay up. I can always lie back down after the girls are in school if I want to.

We're expecting a stormy week starting this afternoon or tonight. I thought March was supposed to go out like a lamb. Evidently not. The girls will be out of school on spring break the first week in April so I hope it will be nicer by then.

Not much else going on right now. Thanks to all of you for the comments on my last post. I caught up with the replies through about Saturday or early Sunday and maybe this week I'll get back to checking up on all of you.

I'm feeling better, at least for now. A friend emailed me yesterday (still working on a reply) and referred to what was going on as "a perfect storm". That said it perfectly. Everything piled up at once and it all looked hopeless. It doesn't quite so much now although nothing has really changed. The sun still rises and I have much to be grateful for in spite of everything. (see post below this if you don't have a clue what I'm talking about).

It will probably be a while before I get back to posting daily but I'll be around.

Ant now it's 6:00 a.m. and I should start rousting out the girls. Elcie's already up and listening to music but I haven't heard from the other two yet.

Take care everyone.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Week Almost Over

I've been absent lately haven't I.

It's been a rough week emotionally around here. I don't write a lot about how I feel about everything that's been going on in our lives.

I was reading a post by another blogging friend (not the first one who has broached the subject). She wonders if (paraphrasing here) much of what we write is superficial and if we're being totally honest.

I replied that I'm honest in that I never lie on my blog but there is much that I don't say. I said perhaps I should. I also said that I'd slowed down on posting because it seemed like it isn't the happy place to visit it once was (the blog) and I was boring even myself.

For the most part, the blog has been a place for me to relax and chat. I still want that. I want to keep posting memes, recipes, greeting cards, and funny stories about the kids. I love hearing about your lives, responding to your comments, and looking forward to your emails. That's not going to change even though I've slowed down a little.

Tonight though, I'll try to say something about feelings even though it's always been difficult for me. I've been the one who seems to have it together; the one who "makes the arrangements" and keeps her surface composure in spite of it all. People perceive me as strong and some even see me as uncaring because I rarely fall to pieces, at least on the outside. Strong is not always a compliment and they see only the facade. That's pretty much how I've kept it here.

Ray's back out of the hospital again. That's a good thing except somehow they got the idea that he should be in some sort of facility each day. They implied that his ailments might be mental. Nonsense. They can't figure out what's wrong so it's all in his head? We're all stressed and I'm the first to admit that stress can be responsible for much of the way we feel. My energy level is right at zero. But he's not senile, he's not deranged, and it would kill him to be away from here. Fortunately, his primary physician agrees with us.

Elcie threw the temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums on Monday. Over nothing. She got on the bus still sobbing and screaming at me because she didn't get her way. I don't talk to screaming children. I leave the room. Arguing with her just inflames the situation and removing her audience usually works. Not this time.

I think her teacher or counselor must have talked to her because she got off the bus Monday afternoon as if nothing had happened and has been sweetness and light ever since. Today I complemented her on the change and she gave me a big smile.

I'm still a little undone by the whole thing though. It's difficult to shift gears that quickly.

And today Tim and I went to see Carol. I hadn't been there for a while. With Ray in the hospital twice in 3 weeks, I didn't want to be too far away.

It was so hard to see how much her condition had deteriorated. She was sleeping when we arrived. I wouldn't have disturbed her but she woke up crying in pain and barely aware of us. She isn't out of bed at all now and hadn't touched her lunch. It looks like she's not eating. We didn't stay long. I wanted her to be out of the pain and sleeping and she wouldn't do that while we were there. I'm not sure she'll even remember the visit.

I had to turn away from her so she wouldn't see me cry. She's never seen me as anything but positve since she's been ill. Today I just couldn't do it.

She told us she's ready to go and I don't know what's keeping her here.

I was so grateful to have Tim with me although it was as hard for him as for me to see her like that. I think our babies will always be our babies no matter what their age. She's his big sister. She was 16 when he was born and he's always loved her.

Anyhow, we sat in the car for a few minutes talking and then came back. We stopped for coffee and then I dropped him off and came home.

One of the things I said to my blogging friend was that I felt like I had a 50 lb weight on my chest and tears just behind my eyelids that wouldn't fall. They still don't because I always fight them back and the weight gets heavier. I think if I started crying I wouldn't stop.

There may be worse things than watching your child waste away and die. I don't know what they are.

Love you all, thanks for the support, and thanks for reading (if you got this far).

Take care everyone.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Meme - St. Patrick's Day.

Your Irish Name Is...

Avril Browne
What's your Irish Name?

From zztop who borrowed it from Pea at Pea's corner. Don't know if she borrowed it from someone else or tracked it down herself. These things have a way of making the rounds.

Another post follows.

Recipe Time Again

Once more from my blogging friend at Controlled Chaos

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 8oz cream cheese blocks, softened to room temp
2 cups butter, at room temp
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk choc. or peanut butter, or mix of)

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease cookie sheets and set aside. Combine cream cheese, butter, and sugars in large bowl. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add chips. We used half semi sweet and half peanut butter.

Bake 15 - 18 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown.

Makes 4 - 5 dozen.

I've had a couple of unopened packages of cream cheese in the fridge for a while (for cheesecake) but I may turn them into cookies tomorrow while the girls are at school.

Might cheat with self-rising flour. I have good luck using it in most cookies. If you do that, skip the salt and baking powder.

It would be an easy recipe to halve (or even double if you're so inclined).

I included the link to her blog (rather than just that post) because, in addition to being a great cook, she's crafty and has written a post on the construction of birdhouses. She makes it sound so simple. Martha Stewart, move over.

Our birthday party turned into a madhouse. Just as I was setting up the table and thinking that for once I had everything under control, Ray phoned to tell me they were releasing him from the hospital. Out I went to hurry up and wait while they processed the paperwork. By the time I returned with him, it was an hour past our originally scheduled time, the girls hadn't had dinner (which was cooked and waiting for them when we had to leave), and the guests (neighbors) had arrived.

Oh well. As I am fond of saying, life is uncertain, eat dessert first. In all the confusion, I forgot to take pictures. By the time I remembered, it was a little too late. I think they eventually ate a little dinner and I was so glad they had Grandpa home to join in the singing.

Our bowling party went off as scheduled - almost. They had to make a last minute change to a different bowling alley and a couple of our friends missed the email and showed up at the other one. At least there are only two, close together, and one phone call straightened it out. The thirteen of us bumbling amateurs had a wonderful time. We discovered that the gutters can be blocked if requested so maybe next time we'll do that for the kids (although I could use some gutter blocking myself). It's great fun when we're all at about the same level and can cheer each other on. Once upon a time I could average about 110/130 in league bowling but that was way back in the 70's. Didn't even break 100 last night but I had one strike, two spares, and a lot of fun.

The girls were a riot. Rochelle managed to throw one ball backwards. Warning. Never stand behind someone approaching the foul line. It's easy for a hand to slip. By the second game, we noticed that there was a "ramp" for the ball for little kids or kids like Elcie and set it up for her. Rebecca positioned the ramp for each turn, Rochelle brought the bowling ball to the ramp. Great sisterly teamwork. I figure we can do a combination with her of actual "bowling" on one game and the ramp on the other if she wants. (See previous paragraph on gutter blocking too).

Went for fish and chips later and today I'm just hanging out and taking it easy. Ray is still asleep, making up the hour we lost in the switch to Daylight Savings Time. Speaking of which, I hope none of your computers suffered from the change. Mine and the cable were both fine. I set the kitchen clock and my alarm. Later on I'll catch up with all the others.

Thanks for the comments. I think I've answered the most recent ones and I'm slowly getting around to your blogs. The internet has been behaving for the most part but Blogger has had some hiccoughs. Nothing new there.

Hope you've been enjoying the weekend. Our weather is lovely and springlike still and expected to warm to the 80's next week. The girls are in shorts and sleeveless tops. Not me just yet.

Take care everyone.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Cake, etc. Before Onslaught

She hasn't seen it yet. The big Barnes & Noble bag is a lapdesk for her computer (the one with the voice recognition the school district purchased for her).

It's hard to see but the cake is decorated with prehistoric animals. She's very fond of Land Before Time (all 12 of them).

There's another post below this one and I'll try to get back with pictures of the party.

Happy 14th to our Elcie!! - Update

Here's our beautiful girl all dolled up for school.

Their mom was here early to do their hair and clothes and I finally have both camera and software functioning at the same time.

That's Tasha (their mom) with the girls. Great picture except I don't know what was biting Rebecca. Perhaps because it was someone else's birthday? Rochelle looks so much like her mom that when I see them from the back or in dim light it's hard to figure out which one I'm talking to.

No, I don't leave my garbage on the front porch. Those are plastic bags for recycle that I keep forgetting to put in the car. The market takes them back.

She has totally blossomed this year. I can't believe this is the same child who first came to live with us almost 13 years ago. She was this tiny cherub with so many challenges. We didn't know if she'd ever walk unaided. She does. Later, when the learning problems surfaced, we weren't sure how far she'd get with school. She's doing algebra, working almost to grade level (with resources of course), and will start high school in August.

She's an amazing kid who never stops trying. She gets discouraged sometimes but never for long. She's jumping up and down wanting high school to start tomorrow. Patience is not her long suit.

Just look at that smile. Happy, happy birthday Elcie. We love you so much.

We'll probably have her cake and ice cream today. Tomorrow, we'll all go bowling with a group of my friends and I might get her out for lunch sometime over the weekend. The first time Elcie tried to bowl, she made a strike on her very first ball. I wrote about it a few months back and said everyone in the alley was cheering. Here's this kid, balanced on one crutch, handlng herself and that bowling ball.

Ray has been back in hospital since last Sunday. He seems to be feeling better and I have a feeling they may send him home today. Carol remains about the same. She had a brief hospital stay over Sunday and Monday.

We tried to have Elcie's annual i.e.p. meeting (for those who don't know that's an Individual Education Program for kids with special needs). The school's computer went down and lost all her info and then two of the participants had to cancel last minute. Those of us who attended just chatted off the record and then rescheduled for Monday when the representative from Golden Valley High School and Elcie's advocate can make it. The middle school teachers, her P.E. teacher and I didn't want to make any decisions without the additional input.

Rebecca was out yesterday with a sore throat and no voice. She's feeling better today.

I still haven't figured out what's wrong with my "router" but at least I have the net and I can stop throwing rocks at Comcast who was completely innocent this time. The girls will survive without their computer until I can get someone who knows what they're doing over here.

This day is getting away from me quickly and I should go be useful. Thanks for the comments (I'm still trying to catch up on reading and responding so please bear with me), have a great weekend (nice weather here - might hit 80° F), and take care everyone.

Update: For any who don't know which girl is which, Rochelle is the smiling one, Rebecca looks sad, and Elcie is in the chair. If you didn't know where the blog name comes from it's their names: ROChelle, REBecca, ELcie (rocrebel granny). Also, I'm something of a Rebel. They're in the same order on the sidebar.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Internet Down

My net has been down since Monday afternoon. Right now, I just picked up Rebecca from school - sore throat - and I'm at Tim's using a keyboard that is giving me fits. Please excuse typos - I'm not even going to try for edit.

I think I read all your comments so far and I'll get around to you when I'm back on line.

Tim and I are going back to my house and call Comcast. He understands all the plugs and wires. I don't.

Hugs and take care everyone.

Wednesday 1:30 p.m. I shouldn't automatically blame Comcast. It was the router and now I know how to disengage it. Of course that means the girls don't have the net at least for nw.

I'm back.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Does Any of This Sound Familiar?

To my friends over 50 and with thanks to Margaret.

1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
3. No one expects you to run--anywhere.
4. People call at 9 pm and ask, Did I wake you????
5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
7. Things you buy now won't wear out.
8. You can eat supper at 4 pm.
9. You can live without sex but not your glasses.
10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.
13. You sing along with elevator music.
14. Your eyes won't get much worse.
15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
19. You can't remember who sent you this list.

I linked to Margaret before I pasted the list because I was afraid I'd forget where I read it in the few minutes it took to get from her blog to mine.

Another busy day. Elcie's birthday is the 9th so we took her birthday shopping this weekend instead of next. The weather was beautiful, we have a bicycle race going on right here in town, and there was lots to do. She picked out a couple of videos, a cd, and a book about horses. She tells me she's outgrown toys. Not surprising at 14 but she's always been the only one who liked dolls (the others decapitated the Barbies - my sentiments exactly). So much has changed in only a year.

Meantime, my friend took the other girls to the bike race which went practically down our street. It's a big deal here; bikers from all over the country participate and take it very seriously.

We saw cyclists everywhere and had to wind our way around their route to get across town.

I cooked a big pot roast with lots of veggies and potatoes yesterday so tonight day is leftovers. Tomorrow I'm planning on tuna salad with hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, cukes, etc. It's asparagus season here (the only time of year I can afford the stuff) so I may add cold asparagus as well. The weather is supposed to stay warm. If it doesn't, I'll make comfort food instead.

Rebecca wants to help prepare brunch in the morning. I'll probably supervise and hold the number of dishes she uses down a bit. Someone suggested I have her wash the dishes. She does from time to time but it turns into as big a project as her baking. I can find other ways for her to help. I'll wash the dishes; otherwise my kitchen will be tied up for hours. She's been known to empty the silverware drawer and wash every spoon and fork.

I'm thinking about French toast. It's much easier than pancakes which still give her a little trouble with flipping. It'll depend on how much patience I can muster in the a.m.

Right now Ray and I are watching the Chinese New Year parade (Year of the Boar) from San Francisco. A belated Gung Hay Fat Choy to all and take care everyone.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Just a minor rant.

I keep up with my blogging buddies through Bloglines. (see link for explanation if you don't know).

It works quite well most of the time but it doesn't always highlight new posts which is something of a nuisance. You Bloglines folk will know what I mean with I talk about red exclamation points.

Lately it's been dropping blogs from my list. I think I have around 250 entries on there and if you ever look at my incomplete blog roll you can understand that. Some, of course, are news feeders, etc.

I must have reentered at least 6 blogs (maybe more) over the last couple of weeks.


1. If anyone else is having this problem, let me know. It couldn't be something I'm doing because to unsubscribe, I have to click on the blog and and on "unsubscribe". I haven't done that.

2. If you wonder why you haven't heard from me at all, let me know and I'll check the list. I'm a little behind on reading and commenting but I try to keep up.

Have a great weekend if I don't get back later.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Hate Algebra!!

Much as I discourage the girls from saying "I hate", I don't always practice what I preach, especially when it comes to algebra. I took some kind of test in the 8th grade that convinced the school counselor that I had a high math aptitude. I don't. I have a high arithmetic aptitude which is not the same thing at all. I struggled through 2 years of algebra and forgot most of it (purposely) and have never needed anything but the most basic knowledge of equations since.

Fast forward from the 50's to 2007. The girls are covered up in algebra and it gets worse each year. Today is the 1st and my regular monthly main shopping day. After I finished stocking up on laundry products, cat food and litter, toilet paper, etc. along with some jeans for Rebecca who is outgrowing everything and a few shirts for all of them, I treated myself to a hot drink at Barnes & Noble. While there, I purchased a book called Algebra for Dummies. My goal is to stay one lesson ahead of Elcie and two ahead of Rochelle and Rebecca.

I stopped at Goodwill and found more clothes for the three of them and then made a brief stop at home to pick up Elcie (early day for all 3 today and tomorrow).

Elcie and I attended an assembly for 8th graders and their parents the day before yesterday to prepare us for graduation and other end of year festivities. Good grief, one would think it was college. They spent a good thirty minutes talking about dress requirements. Wouldn't it be simpler to just cover everyone in a cap and gown? Evidently not.

The girls MUST wear dresses or skirts and blouses. No shorter than the knee and they must not touch the floor. The list went on from there. Elcie owns a dress or two but seldom wears them; partly because of p.e. and partly because they're ungainly with the wheelchair. (Also, she's a little sensitive about her legs).

They handed out all the instructions complete with two misspelled words. Both homonyms so spell check didn't notice. Bear when they meant bare (no bare backed dresses) and heal for heel (talking about shoes). Not that I have any room to talk but Elcie's teacher and I giggled over it. I refrained from saying if they spent a little less time on algebra and a little more on spelling the mistakes might be fewer.

I'd promised her a haircut today so I called her Uncle Tim and the two of us took her. While we were waiting, we started talking about both of us taking her sometime in the next couple of weeks to look for clothes. Then we decided to just do it or at least see what was available. We checked each little shop in the Mall and found a gray ankle length skirt and a soft green blouse that looked wonderful on her and solved the problem of her legs showing. Found a pair of dressy looking flats to go with it. She's set unless we decide on some jewelry later on.

I'm as fond of clothes shopping as I am of algebra and not that wild about beauty salons either so it was good to have Tim along for company and advice. He's worked in retail for years and knows much more than I. Elcie had a wonderful time.

By then it was dinner time. (Ray was feeding Rochelle and Rebecca). We stopped for Chinese buffet, dropped Tim, and then staggered home. It was a very good day.

Her graduation isn't until May 31 but I know how I am about avoiding what I don't like to do. Left up to me, I'd be shopping on May 30 in a blind panic. Now it's done except for another haircut in May. Even at the rate she's growing, that long skirt will still fit.

She'll be going to Marine World in Vallejo the day before graduation with the 8th grade kids from the 4 middle schools here. She's an animal lover so should have a great time. The next day is the graduation and a dance (same dress) and June 1 is the last day of school (attendance optional for the 8th graders but I'll probably send her). It will be a time for yearbook and t-shirt signing, goodbyes, and possibly even a class party. I don't believe any work will be done.

Rochelle and Rebecca are a wee bit jealous. Their turn will come but two more years must seem like forever to them.

And that's about it for me. Ray is still doing okay and Carol remains the same. I'll probably see her on Saturday if the weather stays decent.

Welcome to new visitor Rositta from Ontario, Canada. She writes that Ontario is experiencing bitter cold, snow, and expected power failures. It's been a bad winter. Please keep them in your thoughts along with Alabama. They've had killer tornados, one of which took out a high school.

Thanks to all for the comments and take care everyone.