Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I did not know Officer Tina Griswold, although I knew she lived in the neighborhood, one of several police officers from various precincts who have settled into this development. It's a large neighborhood and it isn't possible to know everyone but you notice the homes with police cars parked in the driveway. There is a certain peace of mind knowing they are your neighbors. When news of the shooting was first reported I didn't think about the Lakewood police car that parks two blocks from my house but when I took the kids to school Monday morning there were four police cars on the street. Suddenly news from thirty miles away became neighborhood news and at the school, where her son is a student, the kids struggled to understand.
Last night my daughter and I helped the PTSA tie black ribbons on trees lining the main street of our neighborhood. There were maybe twenty of us, parents and children, bundled against the cold and racing to beat the setting sun. There is a tendency in humans to take tragedy and make it personal. It's a double edged sword behavior. One person will be spurred into action, coordinating aid for the victims, organizing memorials, while another will simply gossip. I worry about being the one who only gossips but never know what to do to help.. so when the PTSA asked for volunteers it was a relief to say yes. However, tying ribbons on trees felt like an insignificant expression. When my daughter asked why we were doing this I found myself grasping for an answer. Of course we were tying them in memorial, as a sign of respect for the fallen officers, as a token of support for Officer Griswold's family, but as I talked with her I realized that there is another motivation that is harder to explain. We were there not to be part of the news, but because our community needed a way to come together and express a grief that isn't easy to define. It is a grief that is part gratitude and part guilt for the people who have made protecting our community their life. People who we often don't appreciate enough. We live in our safe, self absorbed bubbles and forget that the police car parked down the street, making us feel smug about the safety of our neighborhood, is driven by one of our neighbors. A person with children and dreams and a mortgage just like us. A person we should have known.
Today 20,000 people attended a memorial service for the four Lakewood officers. So many Law Enforcement Officers from all over the world had traveled to attend that the city asked the general public to stay home and watch the service on TV or in the auditorium of a local University. As I watched I realized that these people did not mourn because they knew the officers personally but because they were part of the law enforcement community. A community that embraces each other as brothers and sisters even if they have never met. We need to learn from them. The police and firefighters in our neighborhoods risk their lives for us, whether they know us or not, they look out for us like we are family and we should return that loyalty and dedication.
Tina Griswold was my neighbor. On Monday night we did what we could to say goodbye to our neighbor because it was the right thing to do. She was one of us and her death is a great loss to our neighborhood.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
At dawn the other morning, while I was trying to pretend that I didn't have to get up, even though my alarm had gone off and NPR was talking to me in an overly aggressive manner (for 5:30 anyway), an interview with Nora Jones caught my attention and finally woke me up. Ever since I have been singing this song. It's catchy. How do you chose between a vegan and a pothead anyway?
Monday, November 23, 2009
It's a little early for me to be talking about Christmas trees but today I received an email from Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Co. inviting me to post a link to their Christmas Tree give-away. Now a give-away is cool and, who knows, you all might want a nice artificial tree. Plus... I really need something to write about so.. what the heck. Christmas Trees it is!
When I was a little girl my family seemed to have a love/hate relationship with artificial trees. My mother hated them while every other adult seemed to love them. I can remember returning home from visiting relatives or friends and listening to her wonder why in the world anyone want to have a tree like that in their home.
Some of the trees I remember truly were strange but, then again, it was the 70's. There were several variations on the aluminum tree, some with self spinning stands and multicolored lights.
This blue one actually matched my grandmother's hair rinse...
and this pink one matched her sister's hair!
Ok.. I have to admit that my grandmother and her sister did not have blue and pink trees. They did have blue and pink hair however and that was almost as fascinating as the trees.
My other grandparents preferred a more natural style.. complete with fake falling snow indoors. We were fascinated by the tube that snaked up the green plastic trunk and blew snow into the air but after the first few nights my Grandfather refused to turn it on anymore. He didn't believe that picking styrofoam pellets off the floor was an appropriate festive activity.
Fortunately the design of artificial Christmas trees has evolved in the last 40 years so if you do win one from Balsam Hill I'm sure it will be beautiful and natural looking. So do enter the contest if you like.. just click on the link on my sidebar... and if you win I could get a bonus of $500 which I just might use to buy this.
Plywood Tree by Buro North
Because I never really liked shiny tinsel trees but somewhere along the way I fell in love with weird Christmas style.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
So.. on to the menu!
Monday - Pink Beans, Fajita Beef, Tortillas, Cheese, Avocado, Lettuce and salsa
Tuesday - Veggie Lasagne and Garlic Bread
Wednesday - Leftovers or Sandwiches
Thursday - Thanksgiving Feast - I'll post the actual menu on Wednesday. It looks like it will be very interesting. Zane is coming up with some fantastic vegetarian dishes to cook.
Friday - Hockey Game! Dinner at the rink.
Saturday - Thanksgiving leftovers
Sunday - Dinner with friends
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
After the bazaar we went straight to the football game which was logistically complicated because the band kids had to tear down and clean up the bazaar and get to the football stadium in less than two hours. Pep band is what really takes us to the games but this year the football has been great too. The team was undefeated until last night's state level playoff game. It was so hard for the kids to accept this loss. The first loss of the year ended their season. They were all bummed out... and the football team took it pretty hard too. It was a fun season though. The games were exciting but I had as much fun watching the kids in the stands. They really are a great group of teenagers. They give me hope for the future.
The last six weekends have been all about football games and making jewelry so it is fitting that both obsessions ended on the same day. Now we can focus on the holidays. Bob will be out of town most of this coming week so meals will be simple and mostly vegetarian. I plan to spend the week cleaning up the house and getting ready for Thanksgiving... and Christmas too because after our Thanksgiving house-guests leave we will only have two weeks until the kids are out of school for winter break!
Ok.. no hyperventilating.. let's just take it one week at a time... organization will get me through this... (I'll probably make this my mantra for the rest of the year.)
Monday - Pancakes and scrambled eggs
Tuesday - Baked Ziti with Tomatoes and Kale
Wednesday - Frijoles a la charra (Pinto Beans) and Quesedillas
Thursday - Teriyaki Tofu or Chicken, Rice, Gingered Carrots
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Anniversary Dinner - I don't know what we are doing yet but I hope it's not staying home and eating fast food...
Sunday - Football munchies - Sub Sandwiches and Chips
Hopefully I will stay on track and get a lot accomplished next week and I will resume posting everyday!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"Women have so much more license when it comes to fun shoes.
Guys shoes are all...just...boring...."
Now I love a challenge. I especially love a shoe challenge. So I had to go looking for guy shoes that aren't boring and I found some. But before we get to those shoes I have to mention that the shoes from yesterday's post are also available in Men's sizes. No, they aren't just big women's shoes, Jason. The shoes I featured yesterday are Sanita Clogs, which are then painted by The Swanx the majority of their standard designs are fairly feminine but they also offer a custom design service and can paint just about anything (they also specialize in pet portraits so Jason could wear Pumpkin and Patches to work if he really wanted to.)
Now, on to the other cool shoe options...
How about these? They are sturdy and fashionable with soles that "Resist alkali, water, acid, fatigue and Satan." Which might come in handy in the classroom...
"For music and fashion lovers alike, John Fluevog and songwriter Brother Daniel of the Danielson Family have finally released their exciting new collaboration. Complete with crowning cut-outs of dark and baby blues, crimson double stitch, and the Danielson iconic heart on the heel"
They are also available in black and white but that's a little boring...
Both are made by Fluevog Shoes. They have many other cool styles for men and for women too.
On the cheaper side there are Sketchers. They are comfortable and fun although they do tend to cause foot funk if you don't wear socks...
These are available at Zappos.com
So, Jason.. what kind of cool shoes are you hoping for? This is just a small sample of what is out there. Boring isn't your only option!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wanna help me pick my next pair?
I forgot to add... these wonderful shoes and more like them are hand painted and available at The Swanx.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was complaining about the movie "Where the Wild Things Are"? My biggest complaint about it was that it took a simple story about a normal boy and turned it into a complex story about a bunch of dysfunctional characters. The story I love, the picture book story, seemed to be a creative prompt for a much darker movie, almost as if the movie had been based on a completely different book inspired by the picture book.
Well, guess what... it was.
The Wild Things
The Wild Things, based loosely on the storybook by Maurice Sendak and the screenplay co-written with Spike Jonze, is about the confusions of a boy, Max, making his way in a world he can’t control. His father is gone, his mother is spending time with a younger boyfriend, his sister is becoming a teenager and no longer has interest in him. At the same time, he finds himself capable of startling acts of wildness — he wears a wolf suit, bites his mom, can’t always control his outbursts. During a fight at home, Max flees and runs away into the woods. He finds a boat there, jumps in, and ends up on the open sea, destination unknown. He lands on the island of the Wild Things, and soon he becomes their king. But things get complicated when Max realizes that the Wild Things want as much from him as he wants from them. Funny, dark, and alive, The Wild Things is a timeless and time-tested tale for all ages.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
When I was eleven I realized why I was such a lousy kickball player. Not because I was lacking sufficient foot/eye coordination, or because I hated running. (So why in the world would I want to actually kick the ball?) No, the real reason I was always the last person picked for the kickball (other than the fact that my nickname was "wart woman") was because I couldn't see well. My vision wasn't so bad that I truly couldn't see but I was amazed to find out that my friends could identify who was standing in the outfield. Glasses solved my vision problem but I never really got attached to being able to see clearly... or to playing kickball. Year after year my glasses sat in a drawer getting more and more unfashionable. Eventually I just decided I never really needed them. That worked until recently... now my pleasantly fuzzy world is finally getting on my nerves. So, after 33 years, I gave in and went to see the eye doctor again. The good news is that I'm no more near sighted than I was in fifth grade. The bad news is that I now need reading glasses. Oh Goody.. I'm progressive.. or at least my glasses are.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
It's been months since I felt like writing anything at all. I don't know why. Maybe I need a challenge? So for the third year in a row I am going to participate in Nablopomo and post every day for a month and hope that I can jump start my creative engine.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Where the Wild Things Are is one of my favorite picture books, although I did not read it as a young child, I actually read it in college as an assignment for a children's literature class and immediately fell in love. The reason I loved it was because I have two younger brothers, brothers who I was frequently responsible for when we were growing up, brothers who could easily have been Max. They built forts in their bedrooms, climbed on the roof, burned army men in the back yard, and had rock throwing contests using each other's heads as targets... basically they were walking nightmares for a teenaged sister to be stuck home with all summer. In other words, they were boys. In the book Max is a boy doing normal boy things and annoying the heck out of his mother. Eventually she loses her temper and she sends him to bed without supper, because the book was written in 1963 and sending a child to bed without supper was enlightened parenting, so much more civilized than slapping him silly or sending him out to cut switches to beat his own butt with. Max goes to bed and that night a forest grows in his room and he takes a trip to a place that most boys I have ever known would love... the land of the Wild Things. The land of Wild Things is a place where a boy can be king simply because he is able to stare down scary things, where he can rumpus without being told to stop howling or to get out of the trees, where teeth and claws don't need to be cleaned, and no one ever yells about grass stains on wolf suits. However, the real magic of the book isn't that Max has found the perfect place to be wild, or that, after all of that wild boy energy has been expended Max, worn out and a little crabby, sends his new monster friends off to bed without their supper. The real magic is an everyday miracle that turns the wildest boys into sweet cuddle monsters... it’s knowing that there is a place where he is loved best of all, and finding forgiveness waiting there for him. For me Where the Wild Things Are is a book about the insanity and joy of parenting boys, regular, normal, wild boys. The kind of boys who might make a normal Mom loses her cool sometimes but who are so adorable that we just can’t stay mad at them.
This is not what the movie is about. (Now, seriously, if you are planning to see the movie you really shouldn’t read this next part.) Where the Wild Things Are – The Movie, is updated for our post Ritalin world where children who aren’t perfect must have a good reason for their aberrant behavior. Max is an unhappy, lonely boy with an absent father, a distracted stressed-out mother, an older sister who lets her friends ruins his things, and a teacher who delights in scaring his students with tales of the end of the world. Max doesn’t smile, doesn’t seem to have any friends, and has a tendency to act out in violent and destructive ways. During a screaming fight with his mother which ends with her chasing him around the kitchen, as out of control as he is, Max bites her and then runs away in a rage. He ends up on the island where the Wild Things are. These wild things aren’t the innocent creatures from the book. They are complex characters with serious emotional issues and sociopathic tendencies. The lead monster is a bipolar bully who destroys anything that isn’t perfect and he decides that Max is going to be their king. Max, intimidated by monsters and frightened by the bones of former kings, lies to convince them that he is more than just a boy. He struggles to lead them but is overwhelmed by the unending dysfunctional battles they wage. Eventually he decides to go home. The movie was filled with amazing scenery, fantastic beasts, and really bizarre music that my daughter and her friends were still talking about two days later, but there was no resolution, no deeper understanding and, sadly, no magic at all.
In all fairness I need to say that my fifth grade daughter and her friends thoroughly enjoyed the movie... but I did not. It was the most depressing movie I have seen this year. The best thing I can say about it is that it was so far removed from the original story that it didn’t ruin the book for me. I reread it several times before sitting down to write this and I still stand by my original understanding of the story. Beautiful in it's simplicity, eloquent in just ten sentences, no extra drama was necessary.
Monday, September 28, 2009
On to the menu!
In our CSA box this week we have:
1 pint Sungold cherry tomatoes
2# slicing tomatoes
2# fingerling potatoes (Austrian Crescent)
1 head broccoli
1 bunch pink beauty radishes
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 bunch arugula
1# Liberty apples
1# Asian pears
I have to admit I am happy that we didn't get any green beans this week. I have found that I would rather eat Kale than green beans lately... it's very weird to see what happens when you have a surplus of fresh vegetables! The Rutabaga will be a challenge though.
Monday - Tortilla Casserole with Rainbow Chard, Fajita Beef, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Guacamole
Tuesday - Spaghetti, Meatballs or Beanballs, Broccoli
Wednesday - Shredded Beef Soup, Bean Chili, Tortillas, Corn and Avocado Salsa
Thursday - Baked Chicken or Chik'n, Roasted Root Vegetables, Biscuits
Friday - Timberline Football - Sandwiches or Hot Dogs
Saturday - Make your own Pizza
Sunday - Teriyaki Beef or Tofu Skewers, Rice, Steamed Carrots, Asian Pickle
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
- Monday - Spicy Tofu or Beef, Mung Bean Noodles and Vegetables
- Tuesday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches, TVP Sloppy Joes, Waffle Fries, Tomatoes and Cucumbers
- Wednesday - Chicken and Fennel made with Chicken or Quorn Chik'n and Couscous
- Thursday - Lasagna - Back to School night at the high school so this will be in the oven
- Friday - I will be at the Portland Bead Fest so it's leftovers, sandwiches or pizza
- Saturday - Shrimp Tacos, Pink Beans, Sauteed Peppers, Guacamole, Tortillas
- Sunday - Bob grills something
Today is apparently the first day of Autumn but we have absolutely gorgeous weather so I'm going to stick the pork in the crockpot and then get on my bike and go for a ride. Have a great week everyone!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Another Monday morning and I'm struggling to commit to a menu for the week. I'm torn between my need to use up all of the vegetables in my refrigerator and our unbelievably busy schedule this week. This is the first full week back to school and we have two band meetings (elementary and high school), two gymnastics lessons, tennis team every day, two (I think) tennis matches, and Pep band at the football game. Plus, knowing how last minute the high school planning is, I expect the kids to come home today with a notice that back to school night will be Thursday. It would be easiest to have fast food a couple of times this coming week but I simply can't do that to my kids. It's been so long since McDonalds was a regular supplier of meals to my family that everyone got sick the last time we ate there. In a weird way this is very good news.
Our CSA box this week looked like this:
3# Purple Majesty potatoes
1 pint Sungold cherry tomatoes
1# slicing tomatoes
2# green beans
3 green peppers
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch cipollini onions
1 bag basil
1. 5# Asian pears
Now I have to admit that my family really does not like the Purple Potatoes. They taste pretty much like regular potatoes but the color just freaks everyone out. So far the only thing they have liked were purple waffle fries. This week I'm going to try hiding them in a spicy stew and then hiding the stew in tortillas! My other admission is that I've never cooked eggplant and I'm a little afraid of it. So I'm going to be bad and start with a fairly high fat recipe that looks really tasty. My theory is that if I can get the kids hooked on something extra yummy with eggplant then they may be willing to try something a little more simplistic with eggplant the next time. We will see... So the menu, so far, looks like this. Wish me luck.
- Monday - Asian Grilled Pork Chops, Spicy Tofu, Rice Noodles and Vegetable Stirfry
- Tuesday - Eggplant Lasagna Tart, Italian Sausage, Pasta Marinara
- Wednesday - Turkey or TVP Gyros, Pita Bread, Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Thursday - Shredded Beef and Purple Potato Soup, Pink Beans, Tortillas, Shredded Cheddar and Salad
- Friday - Leftovers or Sandwiches
- Saturday - Make your own Pizza
- Sunday - Roast Beef, Lentil Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
I hope everyone has a great week! For more menus check out http://www.orgjunkie.com/.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Today was my last first day.
For sixteen years I have enjoyed the excitement of the first day of elementary school. I love watching it all.. from confident sixth graders strutting on to the playground, reveling in the role of the oldest kids in school, to the timid first graders who light up when they see friends from last year. It's great to see the familiar faces in the crowd and the mothers of kindergarteners hiding their tears. But this is my last year. Next year my baby will move on to Middle School.
Who would have thought sixteen years could go so fast?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
For the last few months my doctor and I have been on a quest for the ideal way to control my blood pressure. This is not as easy as it sounds because apparently my body is a bit weird (like I didn't already know that?) and can be counted on to react negatively to most drugs. If the possible side effects of a drug are something like rash, dizziness, and night sweats, I am sure to develop all of them.. and invent a few new ones too. So far the various drugs have made my lips and tongue swell, given me multiple rashes, and caused severe joint pain.. and none of them have made any difference in my blood pressure readings.
I was pretty happy when this month's experiment in modern chemistry actually started working. Within a few days of starting the new medication my blood pressure was completely normal. But, of course, everything good comes with a price and in this case the price seems to be my body's store of potassium. I asked the dr. if I couldn't just eat a few bananas but apparently that wouldn't do. Instead she prescribed huge, banana yellow, tablets. Great, now I'm on a medication to fix the problems that the medication that's supposed to make me well is causing. What's worse? The potassium supplement makes me nauseous and I'm miserable all day. So for the last few days I've taken the medication at night... which has created a whole new interesting symptom... vivid angry dreams. Night after night I've been fighting with my children and friends in my dreams and waking up in the middle of the night upset and unable to go back to sleep. But as unpleasant as it has been for me I think it's been worse for my poor husband who is trying to sleep next to me while I battle my way through the night. This morning I actually HIT him while dreaming! Not just thrashed about and knocked into him.. no.. I punched him and then woke up when he said "OW!"
I guess it's time to call the dr. again.
Monday, September 7, 2009
School starts Wednesday and I think we are just about ready. Bob will be out of town so this week will be mostly vegetarian and fairly easy. Tonight, however, we are celebrating the end of summer with a mexican fiesta.
Here's the list of goodies that were in our CSA share on Thursday.
1. 5# Asian pears
1# slicing tomatoes
1 pin Sungold cherry tomatoes
1# Roma beans
1. 5# red potatoes
1# summer squash
1 bunch carrots
2 green peppers
1 bunch cilantro
1 bag basil
And this is what we'll be making with them!
Monday - Chile Verde, Tortillas, Beans, sauteed peppers and onions, salad
Tuesday - Potato soup, and Grilled Cheese. I'm debating about this recipe.. it's potato, pear and pecorino cheese. Sounds yummy but will the kids eat it?
Wednesday - Spaghetti with Sungold Tomatoes, french bread
Thursday - Omelets, Country potatoes, Pancakes
Friday - Make your own pizza
Saturday - Maybe a movie and dinner out.. or something easy
Sunday - Bob grills something
For more menus visit www.orgjunkie.com.
Monday, August 31, 2009
My menu really fell apart at the end of last week. Friday I took the girls out to a movie and stopped at the store on the way home for a junk food feast instead of cooking pizza. Saturday we were busy all day and ended up just grabbing McDonalds on the way home. Sunday Taylor fell down the stairs and split her chin open. It took five hours to get her stitched up and the poor girl just wanted mashed potatoes for dinner.. so that's what I cooked. Hopefully this week will be better although we aren't off to a great start. Dinner tonight was at the Japanese steakhouse.
Tomorrow I'd better get back to cooking.
Our CSA share for this week contained:
4 ears sweet corn
1# Roma beans
1½# German Butterball potatoes
1# summer squash
1# slicing tomatoes
1 red onion
1 sweet onion
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 head garlic
1 bunch chives
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch flowers
I used the tomatillos and jalapenos for chile verde. Everything else will be pretty easy to use up.. nothing too weird this week.
Monday - dinner out
Tuesday - Rainbow Chard Tacos with Caramelized Onion and Fresh Cheese, Pink Beans
Wednesday - Beef Stroganoff, Vegetable Stroganoff, Potato and Cheese Pierogis
Thursday - Spaghetti and Meat or Bean Balls, Salad, Garlic Bread
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Make your own Pizza
Sunday - Bob grills something yummy
For more weekly menus visit www.orgjunkie.com. Have a great week everyone!
Friday, August 28, 2009
I had onions, garlic, jalepenos, anaheims, tomatillos and cilantro to use so I made a pretty arrangement with them.
It looked nice but was a little too green for my decor so I roasted them all.
and made a couple quarts of chile verde salsa.
Then I took a nap!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
However, I really want to share this vlog of John Green's because it's a rational, well balanced and comical look at the issue. I hope you enjoy it.
"What do you do when you have a pig that's so big he can't walk? You either kill him, put him on a diet, or keep feeding him.. which is more or less what the healthcare debate boils down to." John Green
Oh... and a bit of good healthcare news. After more than six months of conversation with my insurance company and a formal request for reevaluation, that did not inclue this blog post but did include several of the pictures, our insurance company finally agreed to pay for the ambulance transport from helipad to hospital. Hurray!
Monday, August 24, 2009
This summer we joined a CSA (that's community supported agriculture) and have really enjoyed getting a weekly box of vegetables from a local organic farm. However, it has been a bit of a challenge to learn how to use them all, especially the kale and kohlrabi. I did find a fantastic recipe for kale tacos that my family will eat but so far the kohlrabi has been a dismal failure. Fortunately this week we don't have either vegetable in our box.
1 pint Sungold cherry tomatoes
1½# slicing tomatoes
1½# Roma beans
1½# all-purple potatoes
2 fennel bulbs
1# summer squash
1 bunch carrots
1 sweet fresh onion
2 jalapeno peppers
1 head garlic
1 red butter head lettuce
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch chives
Most of the vegetable will be used in our meals but I'm also going to make a chile verde salsa with the tomatillos, jalapenos, and cilantro. I love the fact that an abundance of vegetables has pushed me to build vegetarian menus with meat on the side instead of meat based menus with adjustments for our vegetarians.
- Monday - Patty Pan Squash with eggs, purple potato galette, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers
- Tuesday - Spanish Rice, Nachos with beans, Salad
- Wednesday - Roasted Vegetables with Polenta , turkey sausage, french bread
- Thursday - Chicken and Fennel made with chicken and Chick'n Cutlets, golden couscous
- Friday - Make your own pizzas
- Saturday - Community Garage Sale - Sandwiches or Leftovers
- Sunday - Bob grills something yummy
Thanks to Laura at www.orgjunkie.com for hosting Menu Plan Monday. Check out her blog for more great ideas!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Perfectly Ten she balances between sweet childhood and tart teen and I wish I could save this moment for the future. To savor. Like the blueberry jam that will remind us of summer on cold winter mornings.
Monday, July 20, 2009
When Zane was eight he loved puzzles, mazes, taking things apart, and the food channel. He had a wicked sense of humor and a hilariously accurate Swedish accent. He was patient. He was kind to his younger sisters and cousins. He was a happy, quiet kid who was well liked by his teachers and helpful in the classroom. There was just one problem... Zane's teachers said he couldn't read or write.
In the third grade Zane was singled out because of his reading problems. Zane didn't like this extra attention and countered it with a new tactic. Silliness. His third grade teacher wasn't amused and decided that his problem was ADHD. Zane's mother didn't agree. She didn't believe that the boy who could work on complex puzzles for hours had an attention problem. She didn't believe the boy that would sit perfectly still in order to avoid disturbing the baby sister sleeping on his lap was hyperactive. She knew the teacher was wrong but the teacher had Zane six hours a day and, as the school year progressed, his confidence waned and his silliness increased. At the end of third grade the school said he was reading at a first grade, third month, level but they were sending him on to fourth grade with the warning that if he didn't catch up he might have to repeat the year. The district reading specialist suggested that the problem could be dyslexia but she was unable to provide assistance because Zane was less than 2 grades behind.
So Zane's parents made a radical choice. They decided to stop sending him to school.
When we decided to start homeschooling it was truly an act of desperation. We didn't know what we were doing.. we just knew that we couldn't face another year of watching Zane struggle. A neighboring school district had a charter school for homeschooling families and they happily accepted us into their program. The school supplied curriculum, a few enrichment classes, and an education coordinator.. a teacher who was available to give advice and guidance. Our education coordinator was also a reading specialist and she helped me to design a plan to help Zane. We turned every subject into a reading or writing exercise. I spent hours every night planning lessons.. dividing text into chunks for reading aloud and planning questions to enhance his comprehension. Every morning we sat down with a huge list of tasks, and a stack of worksheets, and dutifully plodded through fourth grade. Zane hated it. He would struggle to read aloud but after a while he would give up and just put his head on the table and refuse to even try.
One day he asked why he always had to read aloud when it was so much faster to read silently. I explained that all of the reading we were doing would help him read better and he protested that he could read just fine.. he just couldn't read aloud. Writing it out like this makes it all sound so polite and civilized but actually there was a lot of whining and growling in this conversation. I was annoyed, he was frustrated, we were both sick and tired of sitting at the dining room table day after day doing nothing but reading the most boring textbooks on the planet. So I got mad and decided I was going to prove to him how wrong he was. I slammed open the science book.. next on our list of tasks.. and told him to read a page silently. He said he was finished in just a few minutes, a fraction of the time it should have taken him to read a page at his 88wpm skill level, and then I started firing question at him about what he had supposedly just read... and he answered every one correctly.
For the rest of fourth grade and all of fifth grade Zane took charge of his schedule. I still made lists and worksheets and gave tests but I didn't teach him much. He learned by reading and he learned fast. He could zip through a day of work in just a few hours and spend the rest of the day doing more important things.
When the school invested in a program to test comprehension and reading speed we discovered that Zane was actually well above grade level. He still struggled with writing so our coordinator suggested that he learn how to type.. and before I knew it he was doing most of his work on the computer and writing funny stories and poetry too. One of his poems even won a state competition.
Zane went back to regular school in sixth grade and faced a new group of teachers who were convinced that they could fix his problem by forcing him to read aloud. But he was a more confident student who knew what he was capable of and teachers didn't seem to scare him anymore. He did what was asked of him and faced their concerns with good humor... and let his work speak for him.
Last week we were notified that Zane passed his high school exit exams with an "exceeds standard" score for reading and an amazing 23/24 score for writing. The next day we learned that he passed the college board AP World History exam and will be able to recieve college credit for the course. Zane just shrugged but I felt like dancing... I wanted to send copies of the tests to a few of his old teachers... I wanted to hug him and celebrate... but he's sixteen and cool so I just said "Good job!" and made him a mango smoothie.
The regular course was Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with; and then the different branches of Arithmetic - Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Today my first baby turned 20.
From the day he was born Ian was determined and self willed. He was three weeks late when they finally decided to do something about getting him out. There I was, lying in a hospital bed, upset that I was disappointing my natural childbirth instructor, while they pasted sensors on my belly and prepped me for induction, but before the nurse could even get the IV started Ian did a little flip and suddenly alarms were sounding. The umbilical cord was pinched and they couldn't find a heart beat. Within a minute my room was full of staff. I have a vivid memory of a harried, gray haired Asian nurse telling another nurse to stop messing with the monitor and get a doctor NOW. For the first time I really appreciated our HMO insurance that forced me to give birth at a huge teaching hospital rather than the newly remodeled birthing suite at the little local hospital... because there was an obstetrician on the floor and I was wheeled into surgery (as the bossy nurse cursed the new-fangled birthing bed that didn't roll fast enough) immediately. The last thing I remember was telling the surgeon "His name is Ian." as they knocked me out and delivered him... a mere six minutes after the alarms started going off. He was in amazingly good shape for a baby that required an emergency cesarean. I wasn't in such good shape but I survived. Everyone joked that Ian had decided he wasn't going to go through that labor crap and just found another exit... I wonder if we set the stage for a life of doing things his own way?
Nah.. he really was that determined.
Happy Birthday Ian!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
...six weeks of planning, rototilling, digging, and planting.
but when you aren't looking things start to bloom.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
A father... knows exactly what those boys at the mall have in their depraved little minds because he once owned such a depraved little mind himself. In fact, if he thinks enough about the plans that he used to have for young girls, the father not only will support his wife in keeping their daughter home but he might even run over to the mall and have a few of those boys arrested. ~Bill Cosby
On the first day of Jr. High I watched my suddenly grown up girl straighten her hair, put on make-up, and leave for school without me... for the first time ever... and I marveled at how fast baby girls grow up.
But on the night before the last day of Jr. High I realized just how fast they truly grow.
Monday, June 22, 2009
"Rain over working in the garden STOP worrying about job and money STOP Zane failing classes girlfriend a problem grounded STOP dining room my new office love it STOP girls growing up too fast STOP Ian and girlfriend fighting STOP girlfriend suicide threat STOP I visit scary apartment STOP More fighting STOP Ian moves home for awhile living in my office STOP dishwasher and computer die STOP Delaney's friends to new school next year STOP Taylor finishes jr hi looks like she's 20 at grad dance STOP Zane's grades up test scores amazing STOP now I have two kids in high school STOP I'm old STOP bought a new computer STOP"
There you go.. three months of blogging in one economical paragraph. Exciting isn't it? I will expand on some of this later but today I just need to break through my stage fright and get something posted to the blog!
Over and out.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Signs of Almost Spring:
Washington is not normal. In the last three days we have had bright sunny skies, torrential rain, hail, lightening, light snow, heavy snow, and fog. Often in the same hour. Despite the crazy weather I did find signs of spring when I went looking a little while ago. My yard is greening nicely as the moss creeps toward my front porch and on the back patio the algae is in bloom! I would take pictures but I don't want to make you all jealous.
My dogs are incapable of reproducing through normal means so they have conspired to create puppies out of their own shedding hair. Dust Bunnies are nothing! Despite daily vacuuming we are in danger of being over-run by litters of fur puppies. The weather simply makes things worse by being warm and sunny for three days, encouraging loose hairs to jump off the dogs in anticipation of summer, and then snowing for a week so that the dogs grow new fur to keep them warm.
Delaney's school has a yearly spring play. Traditionally it is an elaborate production with roles for a hundred kids plus at least one scene with teachers, principal, and occasionally the district superintendent. It's a spectacular show. This year, instead of using a purchased script the director and a few others actually wrote the show. Last week I joined two other Moms and the art teacher to turn pictures drawn by third graders into scenery for the show. We had a lot of fun painting rolling hills, squat hen houses, leaning skyscrapers, and a huge rainbow. I wish I could share pictures here but it's a SECRET. It's like Christmas morning and the theater is a big present in the hall closet. Parents aren't allowed in... and it's driving some of them insane! (and I do mean insane.. one of them had a fit yesterday when she was told she could not watch rehearsal) Opening night is Thursday!
Signs of the Apocalypse / Signs of Recovery:
It's hard not to shake in your boots when the stock for the company your livelihood depends on goes into a spiraling nosedive and loses half of it's value in the first two months of the year.. after losing two thirds of it's value in the last three months of the previous year... but the day that the closing price is 6.66 certainly feels like the end of the world. Of course, it's not. Although the rain, hail, snow, fog of the weekend didn't do much to relieve me... and the fur puppies were approaching the size of small horses... Oh! and the earthquake! Did I mention we had an earthquake too? It was just a tiny one. I'm sure there really isn't anything to worry about. However, if you hear that a volcano in Washington state has erupted without warning you might want to find your Bibles and start reading. Oh, and pray for my soul, because we are right in the path of the pyroclastic flow if Mt. Rainier blows.
Despite the moss, algae, dog hair, insane weather, and shadow of the volcano business, I really do love my home and my neighborhood. We live very close to the largest Army base in the country and a huge percentage of my neighbors are military. They are fantastic neighbors. However, when they are transferred they have to sell their houses and go, no matter how bad the economy is. Our neighborhood is large and the builders (three separate companies) are still building new homes. In January great big yellow AUCTION signs started appearing on the streets where the model homes are and the paper published an article about foreclosures in our neighborhood.. not on individual homes but on the builders lots and models. So I was feeling awfully bad for the four neighbors on my street trying to sell their houses in this mess. Then.. in the last two weeks the signs went away, the builders started three new houses, and all four of the houses on my street sold. I don't know if it is really a sign that things are getting better.. but I sure am glad that the bright yellow signs of despair have been taken down.
Signs of Change:
Bob left yesterday for his first business trip since the accident. It was hard for me to let him walk out the door and head for the airport but I am so glad that he is able to.
Ian called me on Saturday to ask for advice. He wasn't sure if he should pay $16 a week for health insurance through his new job. I'm so happy that he's going to have insurance and even happier that he has worked at a company long enough to qualify for it.
Signs that it's time to stop rambling:
It's 1:30 and I've got to vacuum and get dinner started before heading to the theater for a dress rehearsal. If you made it this far, thank you! You are a true and wonderful friend for still being around to read my ramblings even though I just abandoned you for a few months. I promise to be a better blogger in the future... at least as long as that volcano stays dormant!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
♥ How long have you been together? 24 years, married for 21.
♥ How long did you know each other before you started dating? A few weeks.
♥ Who asked who out? Bob asked me out.
♥ How old are each of you? 44
♥ Whose siblings do/ did you see the most? When we lived in CA we saw my siblings most but now that we live in WA it's about equal.
♥ Do you have any children together? Yes, Ian, 19, Zane, 15, Taylor, 13, Delaney, 10.
♥ What about pets? 2 dogs, 1 cat, 4 hermit crabs, 1 large lizard, 2 mice.
♥ Did you go to the same school? Yes we attended the same college briefly.
♥ Are you from the same home town? No, we are from opposite coasts. I grew up in San Jose, CA and he grew up near Boston, MA
♥ Who is the smartest? I think we are very evenly matched but we have different areas of expertise.
♥ Who is the most sensitive? Hmm.. I'm not sure.
♥ Where do you eat out most as a couple? As a couple we don't eat out anywhere. I don't think we have been out alone once in the last five years.
♥ Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Pisa, Lucca, and Florence, Italy.
♥ Who has the worst temper? I do. I get angry over stupid little things all the time. Bob is much slower to anger but I think he hangs onto it longer.
♥ Who does the cooking? It used to be pretty equal but since his accident I do all the cooking.
♥ Who is more social? Definitely Bob! If it wasn't for him I would probably be a hermit.
♥Who is the neat freak? Hahahahaha! Neither of us.
♥ Who is the more stubborn? Bob. When he makes up his mind he is like a brick wall. Our son Zane is just like him.
♥ Who hogs the bed? The dogs! For 19 years we had a no dogs on the bed rule and then I lost my mind and let the puppy sleep with us.
♥ Who wakes up earlier? Definitely Bob. He has always been a morning person. I will never be a morning person.
♥ Where was your first date? I spent most of the evening sitting on the porch with his Mom and dogs while he helped his Dad set up a stereo. After that we went to Round Table for pizza. It was a preview of our exciting future together!
♥ Who has the bigger family? We have an equal number of siblings but I have a bigger extended family.
♥ Do you get flowers often? No but that's because years ago I asked him not to get me flowers. Every once in awhile he will and I love it. I guess it's more special because flowers aren't his automatic gift idea.
♥ How long did it take to get serious? Oh, he was serious before we even went out! He didn't ask me on a date he said he was looking for someone to build a life with. Pretty major stuff for a nineteen year old! I laughed at him and said I would go out on a date but I wasn't making any promises. I'm not sure how long it took me to decide I was going to marry him.
♥ Who does/ did the laundry? Me. ick.
♥ Who’s better with the computer? His life is computers but I get to say that I taught him how to use his first one. A week later he knew twice as much as I did about computers and he has been learning ever since.
♥ Who drives when you are together? Well, since his accident I do but before that he did most of the driving.
We didn't do anything for Valentine's Day. I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone who just read my fascinating list! However, we did have plans to go out to dinner and the movies but Taylor, Delaney and I all have the flu so we stayed home and ate pizza.
I did have a Valentine's date though... yesterday Ian took me out to lunch! We had a very pleasant visit. He talked about his job, his cats, cooking... It was a very comfortable, adult conversation. I'm praying that we will have many more lunches like this in the future.
So that's all the news that's fit to tell tonight... I'm off to find some cough medicine.
Friday, February 6, 2009
The article was about the dangers of blogging, the loss of privacy, the online predators, and the potential psychological trauma we may cause our families and ourselves when we choose bare it all and seek attention on the web. Some of it is true but most is overblown hyperbole aimed at denigrating bloggers. Because many journalists have the misguided opinion that what they do is write and what we do is wrong. As Kelly pointed out, there are a whole lot of journalists out there who think that Bloggers are ruining journalism. So, she has asked other bloggers to join the Respect the Blog movement and write about what makes us and our blogs worthy of respect. I'm going to do that... but first I'm going to take a few paragraphs to address what is truly ruining journalism.
Newspapers have been losing readership for decades and they continue to point fingers at other media sources as the root of the problem. Radio, television, the Internet, and now blogging, have been blamed for the fact that newspapers are faltering. Heck, if you looked back far enough I bet you could find some ancient newspaper editor complaining that the town crier was impacting his business! Unfortunately, the cause isn't simply competition. Journalists need to take a hard look at themselves and their industry to find the real problem.
Newspapers are unique. When done right they are a cross between timely reporting and measured evaluation. They could have a virtual lock on local news and the ability to connect global events to neighborhood issues. Unfortunately, most local papers have been swallowed up by large conglomerates which eliminated local reporting and centralized national reporting. Newspapers, which used to reflect the personality of their communities, now all look alike. The consumer has very little reason to value their local paper. With this generic focus newspapers are just another version of the TV, radio, and Internet news.. all of them reporting the same stories. Of course newspaper readership has dropped off, the only thing they offer that you can't get anywhere else is ink stains on your cuffs.
Once upon a time you could find everything; unbiased news reporting, birth announcements, a review of the high school play, city council meetings, Mr. Jacob's travel adventures, recipes for the green tomatoes that wouldn't ripen because of the early freeze, plus editorials and letters to the editor that made world news feel more personal, in the paper that waited on your doorstep every morning. Much of the content that made these papers unique wasn't written by the staff of the paper. It was content contributed by the community. Was it all important? Probably not, but it was the kind of news that held communities together. My generation has never had a good source for that kind of specific local news but we haven't lost the desire to connect in a more personal manner with the news. In the last few decades there have been many forms of media that attempted to fill the void, community access TV and radio, newsletters, websites, and now blogs.
A blog is news on a very personal level. It is narrowly focused and interesting to a small group of people. Much of it is trivial and opinionated but it fills a need that we humans have to connect with others. Bloggers aren't competing with journalists. A journalist (also called a newspaperman) is a person who practices journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues, and people while striving for viewpoint that is not biased. (Wikipedia) A blog is often the opposite of journalism. The people who write blogs are creating a community with their words and it is a mostly positive and supportive community. Those words have value and their creators deserve respect and recognition. They deserve the same respect granted to other writers; credit for their work, proper citation, and protection from plagiarism. It is a very simple concept, one that every high school student has beat into their heads whenever a paper is assigned. You don't steal other people's words or ideas. Whether that person is a journalist, a novelist, a memoirist, or a blogger.
I write for myself, to help organize and solidify my thoughts. I write for others, because what I learn, or don't learn, might be helpful to someone else. I write for my family so that they will know me better. I write because I love writing. I write a blog because it's the most convienent and efficient way to do all of these things at once. I don't feel an urge to defend my choice to blog. I am a writer and this blog is one of the things I write.
Respect the Writer!
Friday, January 30, 2009
After his accident he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital ($798), then airlifted to the regional trauma center in Seattle ($14,000). I wasn't there, of course, and he wasn't conscious, so we didn't know that there was another ambulance at the end of the helicopter ride to transport him emergency room of the hospital. I never would have expected that. Since the landing pad is on top of the garage directly across from the hospital, and there are several walkways from the garage to the hospital, I just assumed that there was an elevator and hallway into the emergency room.
I was amazed to learn that they actually landed and then loaded his stretcher into an ambulance with an entirely different crew who then drove around the block and into the ambulance bay of the hospital. It doesn't even make sense but that's how they do it. I'm sure that there must be good reasons for this... far be it from me to question the gods of trauma medicine. (The same gods who missed not one, not two, but four additional injuries and discharged him after three days of observation with an undiagnosed BROKEN NECK.)
Whatever the reason.. the multiple ambulance procedure is how it's done. Apparently the final ambulance company didn't get our correct insurance information so a few weeks ago I received a bill from them ($859 for one block) which I forwarded to our new insurance company.
Yesterday I got a
Feel the love.
Monday, January 26, 2009
(order assigned by RNG)
For the Green set:
Jamaise @ Wishing Penny
For the Blue:
Marie at My Little World
And for the one that I haven't made yet...
Coralie at The Charms of Ordinary Days
Thank you to everyone who entered. This has been a fun couple of weeks and it's been so nice "meeting" everyone and seeing all of your work.
Vallen at Queenly Things was the first person to tell me about the One World - One Heart give-away that Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian hosts every year. After browsing through the various items that people were offering I wanted to enter all 500+ drawings! There are some incredibly beautiful items being given away.
Now I truly believe that if you want something it is very good luck to give something of your own and, since one of my goals for this year is to complete a project every week, I actually have something of my own to give away!
The green necklace is glass and brass beads strung on cotton cord, the earrings are glass and brass on gold filled wires.
The blue necklace is a handmade heart pendant with glass and silver plated beads on cotton cord, the matching earrings are glass and silver on stainless wires.
My give-away is open to anyone, regardless of location. You don't have to have a blog or be participating in OWOH. Simply leave a comment on this post by February 11th and, on February 12th, I will place all the names in a hat and one of my
kids loyal apprentices will draw the winners. After you have entered, click on the One World icon and it will take you to a magical place where you can find hundreds of other give-aways to enter.
Please make sure I have a way to contact you.. if you don't have a blog leave your email address.
1/29 amendment - We still have two weeks until the drawing so I've decided that I will add a third prize if I get more than 300 comments. It will be another set similar to the first two but either pink or yellow. gina
2/12/09 7am: Comments are now closed. I will be chosing three winners using a random number generator and will post them by 5pm today.