Sunday, April 29, 2007


I have this friend. We were roommates in college, we have much in common. Weird things, really. I won't bore you with the details. She's working now on a psych BA, pulling resources from every corner in order to make things work for her family--hubby, boys and girl. She is also an extremely talented shopper.

No. You don't understand. Sure, there are good shoppers, people who do retail therapy well, folks who are constantly beaming over their latest find for the summer cottage. (snort) That is not this person. She finds things, like a pair of Liz Claiborne jeans, brand new, worth at least $60, for $5.99. A skirt, Anne Taylor, $5.99, tags still on--the ones that said $62. And the clothes she picks up for other people fit like they were made for that person, thereby cutting the angst out of the dressing room experience. You see? Talent, I tell you.

She's currently interviewing people who already do this kind of thing--and what she wants to make it into--for a living: shelter directors, not-for-profit experts, personal shoppers (though perhaps no one has yet addressed this particular demographic). She's working at a shelter, researching like mad, because now, with her incredible talent, she's going to work to not only add something to her family's income, but to become a resource to women who are in the biggest transitions of their lives--striving to stand on their own feet.

You know all those nice organizations which provide a suit when a woman is re-entering the workforce and is, shall we say, living on the low end of the resource scale? What a lovely thing, right? But what happens when she spills lunch on that suit? Who pays the dry cleaning bill? What does she wear to work while her one suit is being cleaned? What about the rest of the time? A mama needs something other than a suit to wear while she's feeding her kidlets, right?

So. My friend. She can provide a week's wardrobe, work and casual, for about $200. Work and casual! And the clothes fit! And most of them are washable! And they're so cheap (erm, inexpensive) that when one of the kids accidentally drops open nail polish or an uncapped permanent marker on the pretties, well, it's sad alright, but not teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling worrisome. Which is good. Because the last thing a mama needs when she's trying so hard to make a better life for her little ones is more stress, right?

She's posting about her vision, her work, the details of this journey. Her blog is new, her heart is huge, her will is strong. Go look, check back often. She'll be adding an eBay store, links to other resources, perhaps a Paypal account for donations. She wants to have a sort of revolving fund for this, so no one would have to be turned away--something that could be repaid, like a micro-loan. And, like a micro-loan, it will make all the difference in the world for women who need much for a particular season of life, and will go on to thrive and then affect the same sort of change for others. Ad infinitum.

This just rocks. Hands and feet to faith, I tell ya. I'm so impressed I don't know what else to say.
Why are you still here? Go. Thanks. (wink)

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Yesterday, early evening, our co-op/cottage school had just finished dinner/supper/whatever, I was reading Twelfth Night to the fourth and sixth graders among us, when there were blood-curdling shrieks from the backyard.

One of the seven year-olds had dropped a roly-poly through the wire to the chick(en)s, the other had ducked between the electrified wires to get closer to the chicken tractor. The barely three year old tried to follow, and was scared motionless, "stuck" to the wire. Her mama saw this from the window and took off running. My mom jumped up to look, said little one was by then in the arms of one of her brothers, since my group had heard too and jumped as well, G running to unplug the fence, everyone else making a beeline for the little one. I knew she would want her mom and couldn't figure out where the mama could be. I was all over the house calling for her and then ran out myself.

The mama was on the driveway, still, on her back, staring at the sky, saying her baby's name. It took me a second to register what was happening--it was too out of context, this mother lying still, in stocking feet, on the asphalt. I tried to get her to talk, she was having a hard time. I sent K for Kleenex as I talked and tried simultaneously to calm the kids who by now were gathering round, as stunned as I at the circumstance. I sat her second oldest next to her to stroke her hand to try to keep her awake. She was adamant about the little one needing attention--I told her K had the same thing happen to her when she was the same size, no lasting effects save a pointed respect for electric fences. She was getting shocky--shaking and getting "sleepy", by this time the Kleenex had arrived for the blood from the cuts on her lips. I'd asked her if she could get up and she said she just didn't want to. I told her I was going to take her in or call 911, asked if she had an opinion about which it would be, she said she couldn't move. I ran for the phone.

Ever notice how, when it really matters, it takes forbloodyever for the 911 people to pick up? I asked for an ambulance, they sent the guys out from the nearest fire station--about three miles off? while the 911 operator got the details as best he could. I think the EMTs arrived in about 7 minutes, but it felt like centuries. All the while, the mama is less and less responsive, working harder, or so it appears, to open her eyes when asked. In a stroke of genius, her seven year-old obliges by making annoying noises to keep her awake. It works.

I herd the last of the observers in, having called for back-up from a mutual friend and called the husband while waiting for the EMTs (her ten year old still stroking her hand and talking to her). I tell my mom that I'm leaving her alone with ten kids but back-up is en route and I'll call when I know something. The mama is still having difficulty responding to the EMTs, but seems to chuckle a little when I ask her if she's up for fried chicken (from the backyard) and again later when I ask her if she can give us advance notice next time so we can get the driveway a little cleaner--less dirt and needles to stick to a person.

The EMTs give me printed directions to the nearest level 2 trauma center. I hop in my mom's car and follow. Their lights are on and they're quickly out of sight.

My mom and her team of awesome folks (my dad, aunt, and friend arrived) are meanwhile making banana splits, the boys are playing Gamecube, the girls are having baths, everyone is calming, calming, calming. The oldest was sort of "herding sheep", organizing his younger siblings, and finally relaxed when they all seemed distracted.

I gave directions via cell phone to the mama's husband, who was, I'm sure, driving like the devil was after him, and finally arrived at the hospital myself. One of the EMTs escorted me to the person who needed all that boring personal information. I did the best I could, barely remembering what little I ever knew, other than how to spell the pertinent name, then the nice lady was going to take me in to the room. She poked her head in only to discover that the mama was "about to go to x-ray" (probably off to CT). So I went to the waiting room and called her husband again. He got there something like 15 minutes after I did, assured me he was fine, that the kids probably needed me, and I took off for home, feeling ever worse.

As I drove, I called a friend who happens to be a family practice doc, and asked about the fence, just to be sure. She was very reassuring (it was milliamps, not house current), but was concerned about the mama. So was I.

I got home, called another mutual friend to ask that their (also the family's) church be notified and explained the situation to her.

The husband called--she would be released soon and they would come to get the kids. I urged him to let the mama know that they were all fine and happy and we were putting everyone to bed so they really could just go home and let her sleep. He said he'd call back.

My aunt took off for home (having stuffed Q happily full of his supper in my absence) and my friend got the boys into T-shirts and started washing clothes--assuming until we heard differently that there would be an impromptu sleep-over, much to the delight of the kids. Stories were read, kids tucked in, the littlest ones went out like someone was turning off a light. The bigger ones needed help relinquishing Legos and fears. As our oldest guest was coming up the stairs one last time, his mom called. He sighed, visibly relieved, and gave a full report on the state of the herd. (smiles) She spoke briefly with her second born and then me.

Woohoo! They were on their way to fill prescriptions and she could talk again. Apparently, she could speak much more easily after they gave her some morphine. She'd been in too much pain to speak, never mind the dirt and tooth fragments she was trying not to swallow. The ones I had wanted to sweep for, but I could see she wasn't aspirating, so no messing with what's working, right? Pain also increases shock symptoms, so that would (apparently) explain the disconnect in reactions and things, right?

Evidently, she had, while running to get to her panicked little one, lost her footing on the cement steps leading down to the driveway. She'd had some kind of momentum, because the place we found her was about fifteen feet from the stairs. She tried to catch herself on the arm and shoulder that had already been hurting, and landed hard on her face. Thus the chipped tooth (maybe more than one?), the abrasions on nose and chin, the bloody lips, the scraped and bruised arms. I'd noticed that one of the buttons on her shirt looked like it had been sanded in the fall. It's amazing she hadn't broken ribs, jaw, head or arms.

She went on home and slept, and so did all the punkins. All night. Well, except for Q, but that's nothing new. They're waking up now, watching Veggie Tales. I'm going to go make breakfast. Maybe later we'll go to the zoo. It would seem that this place is so fun that despite the accursed fence at least one of our guests hopes they "have to stay another night." Heh. Quite a compliment.

Next time these two mamas decide something like, say, the kids need to have a basic first aid course, we won't be saying it out loud. One never knows what follows, but there's no need to make such learning a "crash" course. (Oy.)

Thanks for reading, thanks for praying. Here's hoping the rest of your weekend is calm and uneventful. Goodness knows we've filled our yearly quota for excitement.

Blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I dare you to read this without bawling. I couldn't.

Q has an appointment Monday with the children's hospital feeding clinic OT. I'll leave here at 7:45 to get him to his regular OT, then drive straight from there to his 10:30 appointment before returning to do a very fast, full school day and (please make the weather nice) haul the crowd to a half-price mini-golf "field trip." The local mini-golf place charges half their regular price on Mondays and Tuesdays--if you bring a can of food per person to benefit the local food bank. Who can pass that up?

Three people at church today asked me how Q's doing. Each answer got more garbled, until at the last, I wanted to say something like, "You know, I think he's good. I mean, we just keep going on in this. But I have no idea how to describe to you how tired I am, how fast I have to run to hit all the appointments every week for five busy kids, or how just plain weird it is to have four typically developing children and then not even know where to look to see what development Q 'should' be having." But I didn't.

I tried to explain his feeding issues, his gagging issues, his not sitting or rolling or talking. They listened, were sweet and genuine and so supportive and complimentary. But there's just too much to communicate about a little guy whose eyelashes break your heart and wrap you around his little, inappropriately toned pinky, and isn't anything like what a mama would have expected to have in her precious, cooing, burbly last little duck. There's so much that's not "normal" I mostly don't know where to start. And when I do, get started, that is, it hits me all over again how much there is to tell, especially if I'm trying to be brief. I mean, what do I leave out? It's all pertinent on some level, but does anyone get the difference between what is and what isn't? When someone asks how he's doing and I say, with tremendous pride, "He took the spoon with both hands as I was feeding him last week," do they stand there and think to themselves, "How old is this kid again? What is it they usually do at this age?"

I kinda hate the whole "What seems to be the problem?" thing in offices/clinics/therapy places, because what they really need is the whole story from the beginning, but who has that kind of time? So I sort of do a hit and miss history, trying to anticipate the particular areas of interests and answer their questions from there. I hope it works. Maybe they're so overwhelmed with info that they forget to tell me to shut up? Heh.

In other news, the chicken tractor is fulfilling it's duty. I wish I could post a picture, but then I'd have to know how to get the dadgum computer to recognize the compact flash card when it's plugged into the slot. Since I've no idea how to do that, you'll just have to be patient. Or, you could post a comment that would help me? Please?

Another thing you'd like to see a picture of is Q's "little room", made of PVC pipe, Plexiglas, pegboard and whatever toys we attach to hold his interest. A nice man and his wife came and built it, per my modification requests based on the one we had borrowed from the SpEd teacher. It's super. He likes to sit up in it, bolstered by a rolled towel and a boppy pillow and held loosely for stability. He really likes the pegboard and bats at stuff hung from the "ceiling". It's really quite ingenious.

I guess that's it for now. Oh yeah--there's a court date on Monday morning. The whole thing is silly beyond words, but your thoughts and prayers, are, as always, craved.

I'll be back to wrap up other things later.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thesis Topics

Someday, should I ever get back to academia (ha), I think it would be a lot of fun to do a Ph.D. in Art History. (Don't laugh.) Specifically, I'd write on the correlation between general societal health and the manifestation of it's particular, current to that time period quirks in art, throughout history. My theory is that when the communicating portions of the planet (ie: societal groups or subgroups) are undergoing some enormous change in their community function/development (good or bad), funky trends begin to show up in that population's art forms. In modern culture, we see this in expositions consisting entirely of the sacred juxtaposed provocatively with the profane. We see this in the strange camera work in pop radio TV ads (angles and zooms meant to distort bodies to unrealistic proportions--large or small). We see this in the metal outdoor tree skeleton I saw a few months ago.

Some of these examples are just odd, by any definition. They don't seem to fit anywhere. Others, while objectively beautiful, have little to do with reality themselves. Some, like the tree, are an interpretation of the real. The topic holds great interest as thesis material in that I'm positive that following the Plague (Renaissance), around the Holocaust (Chagall), through Vietnam (Warhol), there are some relevant, predictable common themes developed by the art world, including those who don't necessarily think of themselves as artists, which end up greatly influencing the way society processes the trauma it has suffered in immediate connection to the creative trend or genre most currently prevalent.

My contention, based entirely upon conjecture (so far) is that when a society faces unbearable conditions of any sort, the need for expression bubbles out, quietly or explosively, in the way folks put brush to canvas, chisel to marble, knife to clay, or more recently, welding torch to chunks of metal. I would also guess that what we witness in this is that there is a portion of any population who finds holding still under the weight of such impending change (again, good or bad) to be completely unbearable, so they don't. They find ways to wiggle a little, to express things they aren't necessarily able to put into words. They aren't probably aware of the fact that they contribute to the altering of history, to that way people access their emotions, sell their ideas, and then go on to influence every one of every age.

I would also contend that the slow slide into hell we see in Bratz dolls and their ilk (yes, that again) represents an interesting sociological phenomenon. After all, when little girls played with rag dolls, stick dolls, corn cob dolls, no one argued that these were inaccurate representations of people and therefore likely to skew a little girl's view of herself or her peers, to irretrievably alter her ability to deal reasonably and kindly with her own self-image. But neither would a person of that era have dreamed of marketing (or even selling, marketing as a driving concept didn't really exist yet) a doll who represented a can-can dancer. Or one who was known to be the mistress of some famous person. Of course, the tendency of polite society in say, Britain or France to view those professions with admiration or aspiration was predictably low. However, were one a street urchin, rising to position of dancer or mistress would represent a huge and probably welcome change in circumstances.

So Barbie was based on a German prostitute, but redeemed by the latest lowest rung on the toy ladder--Bratz. One of my girls asked her daddy for a Barbie for her birthday because, "She doesn't have all that crazy eye shadow, cat eye's and lips that look like somebody smacked her." I smirked behind my hand and hauled myself out of the room before she could notice my amusement. But it begs some questions, to my way of thinking. I'm pretty sure that the nice lady who brought the Barbie idea home from Germany didn't consciously intend the correlation between the sex trade and her daughter's namesake toy. I don't know what the guy who worked for Mattel and then went to another company with his toy idea for twitty, shallow, spoiled Bratz was thinking, but I'm sure he didn't lie awake at night scheming ways to up the ante in our ongoing contest to see who can invest in the least worthy, most self-indulgent, least substantive cultural icon and make millions (insert evil laugh here). Nonetheless, the world is changed.

Some of this would be merely interesting, not material, were it not for the vast marketing machine which now drives us, propelled by whatever nutty new stuff pops up in the latest focus group. The problem that arises here is that some huge chunk of the public just buys stuff because they can, because it's shiny and sparkly, because it's new, because their only real identity comes from knowing they're capable of doing just the same thing everyone else is, but with just enough of a twist that they can tell themselves they are unique. These people are known as adolescents. Pop culture though these days is asking the very young to hit that stage of self-indulgence ever earlier, to remain in it longer, and for those of us rapidly approaching forty (shut up), to do whatever we can to scramble back to that place and hold on by our fingernails.

No one seems to notice that Bratz are a caricature of the already absurd--Britney, Paris, et al, ad nauseum. No one seems to notice that they look like Phyllis Diller via a Warhol interpretation--and this is attractive how? No one seems to notice that they are so about "fun" that the guy who makes them actually spoke with contempt of Barbie, who has, you know, a job as a pediatrician, and, like, cares about stuff in the world. I mean really. The nerve. Who'd wanna be like that, anyway? Sniff.

So what we see for art then, or rather, now, is strange. The Bratz thing is a culmination of odd and seemingly unrelated forces, some of which are socioeconomic, some of which are creative, some of which are people doing without thinking, some of which are folks saying things over and over until people believe it's true. I think the lack of connection between reality and art is problematic for the way we process issues of any size. As I listened yesterday to the radio (it was my allotted daily five minutes), an art teacher and program host were discussing the importance of art classes in the teaching of critical thinking and what loss is suffered when art is removed from the ongoing discussion that is education. The radio host brought up the fact that when treating kids, psychologists often ask them to draw a picture of themselves or their families. Kids with eating disorders often draw themselves with their heads disconnected from their bodies--in a stroke of near literal irony. So we use art as a diagnostic tool in caring for our children and that is an accepted standard, but we will not provide them with the language they need to use it well?

The break between reality and art is also representative of the issues faced by the U.S. population daily. How do we know what is true? (While I have my own firm ideas, this is not a rhetorical question. Feel free to comment.) We have folks who inexplicably wield a great deal of power in our government, business, schools, in general policy, who place no value on being truthful in their daily undertakings, who in fact, say things over and over that are demonstrably false, until those things creep in to the collective consciousness and sort of become accepted "fact". Or rather, urban legend with a sense of desperate certainty attached. Witness Enron and how long Skilling, Lay, and the rest were able to hold that particular fairy-tale together despite "scrutiny".

Seriously. There's this documentary--The Smartest Guys in the Room. These bizarre scenarios are the sorts of things one hears of only in business law class or practice. When recounting the bare facts of said scenarios to lay persons, one is first nearly laughed out of the room. That is, before everyone falls silent and says, aghast, "Really?"

So where was I? Oh yeah. So while Enron is raging, the middle class is shrinking, and the term "decent education for the masses" becomes ever more hollow, what's hanging on the walls in our homes? What's going on in the art studios? What are we beholding?

Brace yourself. (Please accept my advance apologies if I step on your toes or break your heart with my next assertion. Please? Thanks.) We are beholding. . . Thomas Kinkade. He's pablum for the soul. Not bad, really, but infinitely more a marketing creation than, oh please don't hit me, an artist. (By the way, pablum is Latin. It means food for animals. I'll duck now as you swing.)

I've enjoyed Mr. Kinkade's work over the years. I'd say I've enjoyed it as much as the next person, but I own nothing of his, especially nothing original, and definitely not the toilet paper or one of the houses based on his work, so I can't say that. It wouldn't be true. (Heh.) I think everyone who sees his paintings understands that what a buyer gets is a slice of "home", a place we all wish we could go, without strife, without judgement, where the lamps outside are always burning in eager anticipation of our imminent arrival, where the love, joy, warmth are fairly bursting from every crack. And there are warm cookies on the table just when we're ready for them, jammies laid out on the foot of the turned-down feather bed. No sadness. No loss. No cell phones. Hard to argue with something so nice.

It's just that, when looking around, I wonder about the role of such art in our consciousness. Are we helping to create megamillionaires because we're desperate to feel better about what is true? Are we having trouble facing reality so we create, or support an artist in the creation of, a sort of parallel universe? Is this something done throughout history? If things are going well in our society (even if there's plenty of horror in concurrent societies), do we end up with a glut of horrid "art" that involves the unspeakable? Would we be more comfortable with the proverbial envelope being pushed if we're more grounded, less threatened in other areas of our lives? If things are going badly, do we receive the mother lode of pablum? Do we need visuals to help us stand what is really going on with us when reality is bad, bad, bad?

Maxfield Parrish had some things in common with Mr. Kinkade, stepping even further into commercialism by doing advertising for Coke, but he wasn't viewed as a hack. (Though he deserved to be slapped, repeatedly and emphatically, for his horrid choices in his private life.) Why Kinkade and not Parrish? Do people who put this stuff out, along with the graphic incarnations of Bratz, etc., have any awareness of their role(s) in pop culture and the groundwork they lay for future artists, the extended effects of such things? Are they just high? Can an artist be wildly successful in his or her own lifetime and not come under rabid criticism? Can one be an artist and not be somehow cracked? Can one demonstrate a firm correlation between socioeconomic status and one's willingness to tolerate unconventional art? As in, how many Thomas Kinkade works do you think Paul Allen or Warren Buffett own? I'd like to know.

What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.

– The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: (From A to B and Back Again), 1975, ISBN

I don't know how far this analogy can be legitimately carried. Of course, the nice furniture at Target is more or less the same idea as the expensive stuff at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware, but is it really the same? Not really. I don't know. Maybe Andy had ties to Parrish through Coke? (Heh.) Maybe they both identified themselves more strongly as artists, but had trouble being taken seriously because of their careers as illustrators? Hmmm.

So yeah. I've been thinking about writing a dissertation. Or something.

(If you're thinking of doing a Ph.D. in Art History, you'll have to go get your own thesis topic. This one's all mine, baby.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


So I got tagged for the second time with a meme. (Apologies to Amy, sender of the first--it would appear that I'm just not with it enough to follow through on these at more than a 50% fulfillment rate. Let's talk about something else, shall we? I mean, other than me being all flakey with lighthearted internet communication. Thanks.)

I'm waiting for a post to appear on one certain blog, but I'll be back with my most thought-provoking picks.

Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


So. Where were we? Oh yes--Q's neuro appointment.

The Nice Neurologist upped the Trileptal to 3.5 ml 2x/day because he believes that we can get perfect seizure control. This as compared to the occasional seizure which has been clearly related to an impending illness, brought on by whatever bug has infiltrated the poor little guy's system. So far, so good. We also discussed the related issues of feeding, swallowing, sinus stuff. I believe that I brought up my thoughts on the "inflation" of Q's skull--internal anatomical landmarks expanding less since his brain isn't growing at the same rate a typically developing kid's would be. So, I've wondered if his sounding snuffly when he's not sick (typical of PMG kids, I believe), some of his swallowing/gagging issues, not managing liquids well, would correlate to having a throat that hasn't expanded as it might otherwise have. Does that make sense?

The neuro guy thinks that Q is also having reflux. Okay, I thought it would have been controlled by the Prevacid, right? However, Prevacid only affects the acid production, not the sphincters, and since low overall muscle tone would also show up in the sphincters, continuing reflux would also make sense. Plus? He spits up a lot for an almost toddler age kid. This as he is eating only two solid meals a day, nursing for the others.

Therefore, Q's now scheduled (finally) for the feeding clinic and otolaryngology (ear, nose, throat) at the local children's hospital. Hallelujah. I feel like we're managing okay with the Miralax, which the neuro guy tells me is, chemically speaking, more like the molasses or Karo syrup in water cures of days gone by, so not one of the harsh treatments which can only be used briefly and with some risk to the poor kid's ability to ever process food normally. I'm pretty happy about that, too--Q's got enough other stuff to get through; pooping should be the least of his worries, ya know?

What else? Let's see. . . Q is sitting up while propped with hands on knees in therapy. I should be pushing him more here at home, but sometimes we're hardly here and the other times it seems like he's spitting up or just done eating, so no go with things that crunch the tummy. He said a crystal clear, smiling "Hiiiiiii" through his eyelashes at his SpEd teacher. The way he tilts his head and burbles out his greetings just melts a person right down to one's toes. He's been saying "Go" appropriately more and more, and was verbal in wanting more swinging yesterday in OT. What a hoot.

We spent the afternoon at the local wildlife preserve today. It's a neat place. The kids wandered until they were T.I.R.E.D., thank goodness. E and I discussed the scientific name for wolf (canus lupus) and that Latin is such a handy language to know. (Heh.) Q rode in the Kelty pack for hours, coming out to nurse while we rode the tram around, looking at local wildlife. We've been there a lot, but I didn't know that they have two pairs of Trumpeter Swans (cygnus buccinator) and that they have cygnets every year! Woohoo--we'll be heading back in a month or so to see what's up. Ever read The Trumpet of the Swan? (E.B. White is another author who could've hung around longer, writing 'til I got tired of him. Which would've been, uh, forever.) We've read the book two or three times and drove by the Red Rocks Lakes the summer after the first reading. It's burned into my kids' brains. They were all agog over the swans today.

Spring stumbles along here, in fits and starts. The violets are bodacious and flirty, the grape hyacinths leggy and so blue. The fourteen chicks are getting prettier every day (apparently leaving adolescence in the dust) and in ever more desperate need of the half-built chicken tractor on the driveway. The structure has waited for a dry (or drier) day and tomorrow is looking good. I'll be swinging back by the store for more lumber because I totally forgot that I was putting a hinged lid on the thing so we could get to the eggs more easily. At least that problem is a simple one to address. We're planning to electrify some portion of the structure to deal with predators. Someone should make a movie as we get that part worked out, dontcha think? Guaranteed cheap entertainment.

The huge red rhododendron in front has gone from looking like someone's growing a gazillion tubes of Rita Hayworth's lipstick, to fat, pushy blossoms that bobbed against a blue sky as we hunted eggs on Easter. It's the first time I remember there being any sun on Easter here, but it only lasted a few hours. The rhody, now that it's in full display, looks like it's borrowing it's color from the friendly red front door. Now, as the forget-me-nots brace themselves for the whiplash that surely accompanies their frenzied, periwinkly bursting forth, it's supposed to freeze tonight. What!? The roses are thick with smooth, new, red leaves, the white bleeding hearts are singing themselves silly in a tangle of greens, the lemon balm, sage, oregano, yerba buena, Russian sage and lavender are sending tight new foliage out in hopes of taking the garden by storm when our backs are turned. The lily of the valley is staging a stealthy revolt in hopes of securing the lawn as it's new digs. The peonies are sticking up their red stalks, hearts on their sleeves as they sneak out leaves here and there. It can't freeze.

In other news, I have an appointment with the same derm guy I saw way back in high school. I've got this, this--thing--on my leg. (Lower right leg, three fingers above lateral maleolus.) It's been there forever, or at least ten years. When I was pregnant with K, a different dermatologist did a punch biopsy on it. It turns out to be quite vascular in nature and punching it wasn't the best choice. I required stitches to stop bleeding. A certain someone once looked it up and thought it looked like a blue bleb nevus. I wouldn't ordinarily disagree with a certain someone's diagnosis (he's usually amazingly thorough about these things) but I doubt that's truly it, mostly because I don't have the significant GI issues which typically accompany a blue bleb nevus, at least not that I know of. So I'm planning to go in now because a.) I have insurance and b.) it has gotten steadily larger despite the biopsy and now has other superficial looking smaller veins around it. The skin over it has become thinner and thinner, the margins have become more and more tender, and if I were to have, say, an accident while shaving, it could make the Psycho shower scene look downright tidy (not that I've seen the movie, mind you). So it would seem it's time to get it dealt with.

(Swerving wildly in topics. . .)

I also wanted to mention the church service we had for Easter. Besides being an Easter service, it was also communion (all the renewal, restoration, resurrection ideas piled up together), which can be an interesting undertaking with kids. (The very best communion ever was when we were just four, with the baby #3 on the way, and the mama and the papa took turns with the kids helping wash the mama's and papa's feet. I leaked tears during and after that--it still makes me well up. G and E were so eager to get into it--little kids taking on, engaging in, understanding, the ordinance of humility. Engaging, assisted by their parents, in the beginnings of owning their own Christian experience of this ritual celebrating humility. Wow. On so many levels. Wow.)

Anyhoo, this time church was lots of music, choral (Rutter) and congregational (lilting, soaring hymns). The footwashing came first, meaning that there wasn't a lot of getting up and moving around--a cool variation on the usual order. We missed that part because I only had something less than five hours of sleep the night before and was having trouble getting us out of the house in a "timely fashion" (a phrase sure to come up in the children's therapy--the therapy they'll be having in college to help them get over all I've done to them). There were little scripture readings, short homilies, more singing, big drums and trumpets and trombones. WOW. I had the kids following the service in the bulletins, had them partake in the crackers and juice (which all but S totally get the significance of--she just wishes the portions were larger), had them singing along. It was awesome. Truly the neatest Easter service I've ever attended. Q, as usual, got into the music body and soul--talked to the organ and prayed right along like he does at home. (Heh.)

(Another wild topic swerve. . .)

The question of an Asperger's diagnosis for G has shifted a few degrees in direction. The psychologist suggested I read up on Nonverbal Learning Disability. Between the two, a nail seems to have been hit on the head. I don't know what this means, except it's confirmation that I'm not crazy. Which is pretty important all by itself, I suppose. I spoke with G's OT for a while on the phone last week. She is really special--just right for this job, I think. That G likes her is just too cool for words.

So that's how we are here. Tired, oh so tired, right down to the bones of us (me), but happy about it. It's a tired well earned, a tired that's speaking of energy well spent, in a family of people well loved, amidst a riot of burgeoning spring flowers. And the food's good too. (Think strawberries and chocolate ganache with croissants Easter morning. Yup.)

Off to read more in Emily of New Moon. That Lucy Maud was one prolific lady.

'Night all. Hugs, prayers, blessings and bliss to you and yours. Hmm. . . Smell the rain?

Who'dve thunk?

How wild is this?

I'd like to say I just write because I can't help myself (which is almost 100% of the truth), but appreciation of the masses? Well, I'm not above getting a kick out of it.

So. I can't think of anything else that I need to confess, but I'm sure something will come up.


Stay tuned--more info about Q is forthcoming.

Happy, uh, day!!

(P.S. Do feel free to follow the link above, head on over and vote. For moi, of course.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fools!

It would seem that the full moon is affecting my ability to think. To whit: in addition to the first ten chicks, now healthfully entering their awkward (ugly) adolescent phase, we today acquired another four. This time Silver Wyandottes. They're cute, alright. And when they get through their teenage weeks, they'll be white/gray/black striped and laying light to darkish brown eggs. Fascinating, isn't it? I mean, I used to have sense. But since this whole chicken thing transpired (still trying to figure out how that happened), my mother (not a pet person) has actually considered taking a huge Chocolate Lab. And I did too, but the family he found for himself is quite happy with him. (Hallelujah.)

Seriously. It must be the moon, because I do not have time for a full-scale menagerie. I mean, other than the human one I'm currently running. (It is too funny.)

Am I sounding a little manic? Hmm? I'm only avoiding paperwork, really. Oh, that and I'm highly amused at my own life. Highly. So that probably accounts for the giddiness. But it does not account for the chickens.