Friday, July 31, 2009

Positive Day

Today is officially "Positive Day." It was started by this little 12-year-old girl known to her mother as "Diva Daughter." You can find them at Dust Bunny Hostage.

This is what Diva Daughter has to say about "Positive Day:"


"I first started thinking about this day because I feel like some people are very negative about things that they don't have to be. So I am going to tell you some of the things that I feel positive about and thankful for.

I am very thankful to have a family like mine. My family loves me! I am positive about my friends too. My friends are always there for me. That is one of the reasons I am glad that we moved. If we hadn't, I wouldn't have met some of the friends that I have now. And I am very positive about God and Jesus. I am so glad that I will be in Heaven one day. So on Positive Day, I think people should think about the good things in life. Thank you for being a part of it!!"

This was her idea, not her mom's and this is the symbol she chose to describe her outlook on life:

How can you say no to a face and child like this? I can't so I decided to participate. I drafted my kids, too. Here are some things we feel positive about:

1. Robynn: I am positive I hate housework.....wait.....I may not be in the spirit of this thing. Let me start over.

2. I am BLESSED to have two teenagers who I would prefer to hang out with over anybody, except Grizzly, at any given moment. They are wise and witty and love me unconditionally. Add two dogs into the mix and I have more than I deserve, by FAR.

3. I have real-life friends and blog friends - and the two are blending more frequently - who regularly bless me in so many ways. I could never have imagined any of this eight months ago.

4. I have a husband who braves the heat, hard economic times, and hard physical work to support his family everyday.

5. I have deep assurance that God has his hand on our lives and our comings and goings. I know nothing happens to us that He is not aware of. I know I am the only one surprised by what happens in life. He already has a plan. I can rest in that and in who we all are in Him and TO Him. Even when I'm afraid. Even when medicine alters my thought processes while it poisons me. I quaver. I tremble. He doesn't.

1. Bo’s Comments: Every birthday we all get to spend together is a big deal. No one ever knows how long they will live or where life will take them. Right now, we're all together and we have to appreciate it.

2. The song "Like a Cloak" by Joey Ryan is a happy, sweet song that I'm loving right now.......some lines from the song:

"Since you've been around, honey, it feels just like a cloak has been wrapped around me, and nothin’ could ever go wrong,

“Since you’ve been around, honey, it feels like a thousand stones have been lifted off me, I’ve never felt so strong.

The CD just has five songs but the whole thing has an upbeat feeling and leaves me smiling.

3. A few nights ago I hung out with my girlfriends and we had no particular place to go. Just talked, and walked, and ate, and talked some more. All our lives have come to the crossroads yet we’re staying together and connected.

1. The Wild Man Speaks: I have lots of friends and I realize I take a lot for granted. I need to pay attention more to what good things I get to enjoy that some other people may not get to.

2. Good parents that spend time with me and care about me. And I ALWAYS make my mom laugh and that makes me happy. Even when she’s tryin’ to lecture me I can bust her up. =D

3. I’m glad I’m homeschooled. I have lots of opportunities and I’m not limited. It gives me a lot more options.

Robynn here again……

I wanted the kids to participate because it’s good for all of us to think about things. I HAVE to add that my kids got me through a very rough week after a reaction to medicine for the ear infection/tooth thing that isn’t quite over yet. They sat up late with me, loved on me, petted me, spoke comforting words, and Bo even researched whatever help she could find on the internet. Truly, I have so much. I have deep sympathy for those who struggle alone.

And as a last thought……Bo got up before me and headed out to get me Starbucks this morning. And TWM rarely passes me that he doesn’t reach out and pat me as he goes by with the words, “Pretty Mama.”

Now really, do I NEED anything else?

Copyright 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Observational Twitter 19

Famous Quote:

"To be proud of virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Obscure Quote:

"To be proud of virtue is the pseudo-saintliest and most widely self-accepted form of sin. And the infected rarely know they have the disease. I've only known two truly humble people in my life and the other one would rather I didn't mention his name." ~Robynn

Copyright 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tooth Update and a Plea……


After heading south with this infection yesterday and getting really sick, I had a Waterloo moment with my tooth and served it eviction papers. I’m done pledging my troth to one so unfaithful.

I did some research on troublesome root canals and they can continue to infect your body through tiny things called tubules even after retreatment. This is what you come to me for: cutting edge dental lingo. These tubules can allow infection to do what my infection has done – travel around your body, especially nearby structures, and they can be hard to get rid of. I’m on my second round of antibiotics and you know me and medicine. We’re like….


We stay away from each other if we can. We fight. It tends to win.

So, rather than plunk down hundreds this morning for a mere chance at success, I said good-bye to the first of my errant teeth for a $50 co-pay. With any luck, it’ll be the last. I believe you should hang on to friends and teeth until they absolutely prove rotten. But when you finally accept reality and let go, it’s a relief.

Bo drove me – it’s so nice to let yourself be pampered a little and not have to show up and drive yourself to everything, like heart surgery. Well, okay. It wasn’t heart surgery but I did drive myself home from major breast surgery. I had a duct removed (all men turn away here and throw up……). I was bleeding from a nipple and they had to lay me open, remove the duct, and stitch me up. They said it was a precancerous condition and couldn’t be ignored. Now, if you can imagine this, they shot me up with Versed which is supposed to knock you out and make you remember nothing. It does NOT have that affect on me. I talked like a magpie through the whole surgery. The last thing I remember was the surgeon telling the anesthesiologist, “For the love of all that’s decent! Shut that woman up and give her more!” Some people just CAN’T appreciate a good conversation.

Then they woke me up and made me prove I had a ride home. They made me give them a visual. They told me not to drive for a few weeks (breast movement and all that.) However, I had driven myself there and now there would be a car left and that seemed to be a problem so, I did what we women do. I got in the car and drove home.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, milking my tooth removal (all references to milking and breasts is purely coincidental – no animals were harmed in the making of this sentence.) I told Bo the oral surgeon said I require six weeks of bed rest, excessive milk shakes, and no lifting for at least a year. Bo added that she felt I should even demand complete control over the remote. It brought a tear to my eye. I raised her right…….(sniff……).

So, here’s where you come in. My little follower button? The one over there? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->? It has been stuck. Am I boring? (Don’t answer that.) Does no one new come here? I see names I don’t recognize in my comments so I’m thinkin’ maybe you just haven’t thought about signing up. Now that I’m desperately injured and laid-up, it would bring me great cheer if you would de-lurk, as it were, and sign up to follow. It's inCREDibly easy if you already follow other blogs or have a Google account. If not, you have to sign up for one and create a password. I guess that can be a pain in the posterior but consider me and my pathetic plight. Go ahead, make my day. Or my dinner. Or my massage appointment.

P.S. Sheryl asks: "Was it a front tooth?" That picture would kinda make you think so, huh? No, it was the last one in the back, on the bottom. I'm sure no one will notice but me. This picture is false advertising. I'm bling-less!

Copyright 2009

Paddling Down the Old Root Canal


Today I will lay in a dentist chair and envision the canals of Venice. It’ll take plenty of imagination. Maybe I’ll pretend I’m on a cruise and fording the Panama Canal level-by-level. That would definitely be cheaper than the canal I’ll be exploring.

The ear ache, jaw ache, and infection have all added up to this vacation buster. They THINK (operative word here) that I may have an infection under an old root canal due to a crack in a root. This is when you curse your British roots – literally. We just don’t have the best teeth. Every time the family is watching a program and someone appears with crooked, widely spaced, or browning teeth, Grizzly looks at me, laughs, and says, “Must be British!” Mind you, he isn’t exactly a perfect-toothed Osmond brother himself. I could throw a rock at Ireland from my British shore and hit him squarely between the eyes. I’m quite sure the DNA tests would show that we’re actually related. Too many similarities.

By God’s good grace our children will not have to bear the brunt of our inbreeding. Thousands of dollars and a miracle working orthodontist have spared Bo from bearing the family crest. The Wild Man is fast on her heels. Fortunately, his adult teeth were on a world tour and have shown up VERY late to the party. This has allowed us a small respite between orthodontia mortgages.

But Grizzly and I were born in the era of braces being only for the rich and privileged. In fact, only a few of my friends sport those expensive pearly whites that are as straight and even as piano keys. It just wasn’t done. Unless you could look down your nose and see your two front teeth sticking straight out, you were required to get over yourself and move on. I never went to the dentist until I was 13 and my mother got dental insurance through her job. By then I had eight cavities, not counting the vast one between my ears. I took the bus downtown to the dentist by myself. My mother was working. Eight shots and eight fillings later, I rode the bus home and decided this was one luxury I wanted to live without. Had I known to brush my teeth more than once a week I might have avoided the whole affair. Nutrition could have helped, too, but nutrition was expensive and would have required food knowledge. We lived on canned vegetables, Green Goddess and Thousand Island dressing, iceberg lettuce, Wonder Bread, and Velveeta. Honest-to-goodness I never knew there was any other kind of veggies or cheese until I left home.

I decided to do things differently with my kids. Don’t most new mothers? I nursed them endlessly and started brushing their teeth before they HAD teeth. I was determined to overcome nature with nurture. It has been largely effective as they’ve only had one tiny cavity between them in 18 years. But I was unable to influence tooth placement and jaw structure. Fortunately, our orthodontist is not so constrained. Unfortunately, our budget is horribly constrained. Parents get in line behind children and a root canal for the mother does not factor in. My endodontist says if the root is too badly cracked he will not redo it but will pull it instead at a greatly reduced cost.

Come on British roots, don’t fail me now. Crack wide open and make your cheap escape!

Copyright 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hail, Caesar! Stop The Chariot!

Saw this and had to share. It's from Arthur Black's "Weird Homes" and it's located in Toronto. I've been there but I didn't see this. What style is it exactly? Roman/Greco/Colonial/Patriotic/Americana? In Canada?

I want to meet the people who put it together. Don't you think they might be interesting? Am I the only one or is anyone else seized by the desire to stop and knock on doors of interesting, or beautiful, or cozy houses and just randomly meet the people who live there? Get to know all about them. Stay for the weekend. I'd like to do that with my blogging friends. You've been warned. Lock the door and act like you're not home.

I want to know about the conversation that took place to bring this to life. Did she roll over and look at her husband's balding pate and decide it would look great if he sported a garland and wore a toga? And if so, shouldn't they be surrounded by a setting perfect for him? And was she looking to feature her great arms, set off by a sheet gathered at the shoulder? Do they parade up and down the balcony and hold open-air philosophical discussions with the neighbors? I'm thinking the neighbor on the left doesn't appear all that philosophical, if I may be so bold as to judge a book by it's cover. He probably just cranks up the tv and prays the Empire will be overthrown.

Whatever their story, they've got guts. I like people with guts. Now, I KNOW I don't want to live next door to someone who decides to paint their house chartreuse green with purple trim. But these people? I like 'em. And I wish I knew their story. And I'd love to listen to them. But I'm not wearing the toga. I don't have this lady's arms. Speaking of arms, that would be a great name for this place: "The Venus De Milo Arms."

Copyright 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Humane Award For You, For Me

“The Humane Award is to honor certain bloggers who are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn’t for them, my site would just be an ordinary blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world. Recipients of this award should write a post about it, linking to the person gifting the award, along with ten of their own nominees.”

This came in from Jientje, my friend at Heaven Is In Belgium. I thank you most kindly for thinking of me, Jientje. You should check this woman out. I use no hyperbole when I tell you she shoots amazing photos and makes you long to visit that gorgeous country of hers. She speaks English and apologizes for any mistakes to which I say, "Please. I'm lucky to say your NAME in another language." Thanks for all the beauty, Jientje!

Now, you know I can't pick ten of you. I just can't. All you commenters keep me doing this. I'm not nearly as wonderful as you make me sound but I thank you for caring enough to say it anyway. I've been a little absent for various reasons and I'll be absent a little more while I work on a project but I know how you are. You'll forgive me and accept me. So, this is for you. Please pick it up and post it and know I mean it when I say you deserve it.

With Love,


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I’ve Been Fired (and other news)….

Well first up, I'm still fighting the ear thing. Thought it was a LOT better and then yesterday it flared up again. I think I have a tooth involved and that's where the problem is coming from. Everything that can be done has been done over the years for the tooth and there are no more root canal possibilities. Now they want to do an implant. Have you looked into implants? And I'm not talking the "uplifting" kind. They are about $2500 where I come from and insurance does not typically cover them. So, I'm pretty sure I won't be getting implants - of any kind. As the body falls apart I will just have to be content with tenants moving out or down to lower levels. And that's probably just as well cause the whole place is comin' down eventually anyway. If I can just keep 'em from posting a "Condemned" sign on me I'll be pretty happy.

I do thank you for all your amazing suggestions for the ear. Apparently the problem isn't my outer ear causing problems from the outside in, because it would seem that's now clear as a bell. (Speaking of which.....I wish someone would answer the ringing phone in there.) It's fluid behind my eardrum and frankly, I think my ear and tooth are in collusion against me. My fat stomach may have started the revolt by being revolting. And you know how bad attitudes spread and then soon everyone's on the band wagon. My body's ganging up against me.

Which would definitely go along with the family lately.

They have also decided to revolt and have fired me as the official Blockbuster Online movie selector. You see, here's the deal. I happen to love documentaries for a variety of reasons.

A. I like to learn and expand my base of knowledge.

2. I'm a history buff.

D. I find true stories fascinating.

9. I'm a homeschooling mom - I try to squeeze in education without anyone realizing.

I may have gone overboard. Through Blockbuster we can get three movies at a time. And I guess three documentaries arriving all at once is overkill. Who knew? I was thrilled. But, apparently, the potential for the "Entertainment Factor" is critically low in certain opinions. I insisted they were wrong. I lost and here's why: they were right.

Okay, in my own defense I honestly thought a movie about an avant-garde surfing family from the 60's-70's who homeschooled their nine children, the history of the Celts, and the self-filmed story of the guy who lived with the grizzly bears, would add to our knowledge of the world and enhance the richness thereof. And I like to use phrases like "enhance the richness thereof" because it sounds like I was born under the astrological sign of "Intelligent and Righteous," with "Lawyer" rising. But only to those who don't know me. The three mere mortals I live with are unimpressed. They know this phrase equals Run.For.Your.Life.She's.A.Nutcase.

We opened our viewing afternoon with the surfing family. I never checked the rating. It was a HOMEschool family. Naturally, I was surprised when I saw it was "R." I figured people they encountered may have used some harsh language, etc. We saw approximately twenty minutes of the whole movie and every time we stopped it was a mistake. The father was completely depraved and perverted in his social and family outlook and conversations, and the mother was his identical twin. The now-grown children were all permanently scarred. Only one of them seemed to look back fondly on their Stanford doctor/father abdicating his profession and hauling a family of eleven around the country in a camper on a truck. We tried to listen to what the grown children had to say about the good times they had surfing and competing, or how they survived, but the demented father or mother's face/voice would pop in and we would fast forward while simultaneously retching. Okay. Uh, I can offer no argument against THAT movie call, only prayers for the survivors, including us.

Surfing Family

Next came "The History of the Celts” or something like that. Now, I slept through part of this so I found that to be a plus. The re-enactment was less than believable and the costuming was weak but, compared to the story line, those details were worthy of Academy Award nominations. Very disheartening as our homelands were represented and deserved so much more. It seemed excessively short to me since I only saw the fifteen minutes at the beginning and end but, strike two.

Celtic Reenactment

Finally, we fast-forwarded our way through "The Grizzly Man - The Historical Documentary of Timothy Treadwell - The Man Eaten By Grizzly Bears." I'm not sure that's the actual title but the man was so insufferably egotistical, narcissistic, and irritating you actually understand the bears' actions at the end of the movie. I felt desperately sorry for his girlfriend who he literally led right into the jaws of death, but we only got to see her once, briefly, in all the years he filmed, because it was his own face and words he prized so highly. He was completely imbecilic around the grizzlies and did far more harm than good for the protection of the species. I do not think the bears were hungry when they attacked him. I think they just couldn't listen to him one more second. I don't think he deserved to die for his foolishness but obviously, the bears disagreed with me.


And that's how I lost my job as the "Creator of the Queue." I don't get to line movies up anymore. Now people are looking over my shoulder and questioning me. I have no credibility. I can't even order any "American Experience" DVD's. And those are GREAT. No, really. Trust me!

© Copyright 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Now Ear This!

I know I have given you very little this week. And I want to. I really do. But here's the thing: I have an ear infection that just WON'T clear up. I've been fighting the wretched thing for a week-and-a-half. And it's affecting my ability to do the thinking necessary for writing anything anyone would care to read.

I went back to the doctor yesterday, and after more than a week she said the meds aren't working so changed them all. Add insurance headaches, etc. and well, what a pain in the ear.

I don't do what I'm not supposed to with my ears (no Q-tips, no ear buds, etc.) and I do what I AM supposed to do. So, what gives? I am open to any and all homeopathic, alternative, way-out, only-your-great-Aunt-Matilda-ever-lived-through-this-idea type suggestions as an augmentation to the rot that isn't working. Hit me. Just not in the ear.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We All Scream and Then We Have Ice-Cream....

Consider this a public service announcement to any who would like to indulge themselves. You know I don't usually promote much here but this seemed life and death. At any given time some of you might have PMS. You could be in chocolate or coffee withdrawls. You could become armed and dangerous or you might know someone in the aforementioned desperate situation. Consider this "Emergency Response." Think of me as the Red Cross or your friendly Hostage Negotiator swooping in to ruin save you.

Until July 19, 2009, Starbucks is giving away coupons for pints of ice-cream to Facebook users. 800 every hour. Yes, that's right. And all you have to do is go to Starbucks Ice Cream Giveaway (you MAY have to link through Facebook if this gives you fits). You can nominate anyone - but JUST one - to receive this coupon and here's the TRULY decadent part: you can nominate yourself. Abraham Lincoln said, "We meet ourselves in adversity." I say we meet ourselves when we have to decide if a friend should get free ice-cream or we should.

This could prove to be a Solomonic decision for you. I won't ask any questions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Homeschool Family

Spent the weekend having too much fun with our friends from Bakersfield. Jeannette and I have grown up together since we were TINY. I HAVE to tell you guys a story about the two of us but I actually need to spend some time writing it and I've been playing instead. (I'll do it later this week.) So, in the meantime, here's another Tim Hawkins clip. He was homeschooled his whole life and WE are homeschoolers so, we've both earned the right to poke fun at ourselves. Enjoy! (It's very short and the guy that plays the dad IS Tim. :) ) This is also what much of the world thinks we do and are, which I find almost funnier than the video!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Things You Don't Say to Your Wife

Oh, I just love you guys. I went and read some of your comments again and you are either too good to me or you downright split my seams with the things you say! And I'm feelin' pretty happy, and silly, and generally willing to laugh over anything stupid so I dare NOT look in the mirror!

I get to see an old, funny, wonderful, and very best friend and her hysterical husband this weekend and when we get together, I am always in danger of hospitalization from laughing so hard. They're coming in tomorrow from out of town and J'Nett and I have been friends since we were four-years-old. She used to beg me to let her play with my waist-length hair and braid it while we sat staring at the tv. Back then I didn't want ANYBODY messin' with my hair - and it looked like it. Now, I'm a much more grateful woman. Do you want to play with my hair? Do my nails? Rub my feet? I'm there. And I'll be there for you, too.

On the Fourth of July we were at a party where a dear friend had a bad headache. I rubbed her neck and shoulders to try and help and gave her some tips on how she could sit in the tub relaxing, while working on her neck. Someone said, "That's pretty hard to do to yourself." I replied, "Not nearly as hard as gettin' your husband to do it!" and then we all agreed and had a good laugh at our husband's expense and they were all sittin' 10 feet away and having a good laugh at our expense. Good times.

So in honor of good times, good friends, and good marriages that let you poke good fun at each other - isn't good a good word?! - let me share a good video with you (from Tim Hawkins) that should give you a good laugh. It's short, so don't be scared. I'm leaving to go shopping and I'll take my thesaurus to bed with me tonight so I can come up with another good word.

Have a good weekend! Good-bye!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Well, Just Lookie Here!

I’m movin’ all uptown and everything!

Well, this is uptown for ME. My dear, sweet, good friend, Debbie, over at Jadehollow, made me the little button you now see to your right under the “Grab My Button” banner. You can copy my HTML code underneath it and add this onto your blog if you love me with your whole, devoted, undying heart like me and want others to be able to find me easily. For that I will pay you vast sums of money in foreign currency thank you sincerely and try to be less annoying.

Now this is the sad part: Debbie made this over a month ago. She spelled out EXACTLY how to apply it so that the truly computer deficient among us (she was looking at my picture) would be able to follow her VERY-easy-and-beautifully-simple instructions. Did I find that helpful? Well, I would have if I were just merely deficient. However, I hold the World Cup title in this category.

Computer Frustration

I kept meaning to contact my IT department for support but she kept graduating, and going to parties, and being a general teenager, so let’s just say she’s been backed up. But this historic night I actually invoked my rare thought processes and remembered to go back to Debbie’s email, get IT in here, and utilize all this good information. And look what “we” accomplished!!


Because Debbie got sick of listening to me whine and groan and complain she wanted to help me troubleshoot all these Blogger problems, she sent me to a place called Southern Hospitality for information on a program called “Windows Live Writer.” Debbie said it was absolutely the best thing since raccoons rode on hogs’ backs (you’ll have to see her post yesterday to know what the heck I mean. Those folks got some STRANGE stuff goin’ on in Georgia….!) She guaranteed me I would love it and stop using salty language (doesn’t that make me sound like I’m 90? I’ve got a 5th grade boy and a 90 year old woman – geez – it’s gettin’ BUSY in here). All I can say is, I DO love it! I can feel myself cuttin’ down on salt now, dangit (oops!). And then I found out Debbie herself wrote a post about this on Sunday (which I somehow missed) and it is even MORE informative and it's called Windows Live Writer - Oh, How I Love Thee. She will teach you how to do extremely creative things with your photos.

So if YOU hate struggle with Blogger and moving photos around, or would like to work in a much more professional, user-friendly program, then head on over and get the down-low and the download.

And Debbie? I’m sorry I’m so late to the party but you KNOW how I like to make an entrance!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Observational Twitter 19

Published Quote and Lofty Adult Observation:

"The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands." ~Quoted by Alexandra Penney in Self

Obscure Quote by Woman Who Channels a 5th Grade Boy:

"The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands. Squeeze as hard as you can until all the blood goes out of the other person's hand or they cry "Uncle" and then you're the winner." ~Robynn's gonna be a good week.......I'm havin' fun already!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Answer to Yesterday's Post Question....

The answer, my friend, ain't blowin' in the was on the lips of my children. "Do we HAVE to go to the fireworks? We're having a REALLY good time here with our friends." So, there you go. The answer is, "No." I can't do both. But I'm popular with my kids tonight since I didn't drag them down to the school. I guess that'll do. But I have a rockin' plan for next year. And they're doin' it, dang it!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Foursh-a-Guh-Lie!

Thus it will ever be called and pronounced in our household, thanks to The Wild Man. Around two-years-old he came alive to the realization of Independence Day, The 4th of July. And we're corny enough to still use his tiny-boy description. Do you do that? Do you continue to call anything by the name your kiddos dubbed it when they couldn't quite pronounce things? Bo called french fries "ep-ripes." So, that was what we called them for awhile. TWM came along and they were "eye-yies" ("yies" rhymes with eye - just couldn't figure out how to spell it.) Consequently, we occasionally say we're goin' to In-N-Out for cheeseburgers and aye-yies, or ep-ripes. Maybe we can't let go of their babyhood. I'm okay with that.

The Foursh-a-Guh-Lie was TWM's day. He dreaded it like a root canal and looked forward to it like Christmas. When he was two and three and we went to big displays, he cried through the whole thing and clung to his dad like I cling to the memory of being a size 3 (I was once, for half-an-hour, and you'll never take it from me!). He screamed and ducked while we assured him he was perfectly safe. As soon as he got in the car, he asked when we got to go again. Ah, that's my boy. Much of his life has included the old love/hate relationship. He takes after his mother.

The next year when he was four, we took him to Buchanan high school where they were putting on their first fireworks display. We set the blankets out and tried to peel our son off long enough for him to enjoy the bang and pow of it all. He held us in death grips. Whoever ran the operation had not accounted for the burning cinders that fall from the sky and had set up the firing point far too close to the crowd. We were in the path of Pompeii. As curled up pieces of burning paper floated to the ground and the occasional chunk of cinder landed on the beach blanket, Grizzly and I shot each other looks knowing that if we ran, he would be forever scarred. So, we silently weighed physical scars against emotional ones, and stayed put. Bo got into the action and helped us stamp out the little coals as we all assured him it was perfectly wonderful and nothing could be more normal. I must say, we haven't been back to Buchanan since, though we're considering it tonight.

Girzzly was always into fireworks and TWM couldn't wait until the stands went up. He watched for them weeks in advance and marked their coming with the exultation of a Kodiak bear during a salmon run. Bo was pretty excited herself and was ready to fork out her little dough for the promise of sound and colors and fire. I was the dud and wondered why people would spend wads of money on things that would burn in a matter of minutes. It seemed nuts but my big kid influenced my little kids and I could either join in the fun or get over myself. I embraced the latter.

For years we met the neighbors out in the street and had a quasi-block party of it. Then the main neighbor stopped participating and things sort of fizzled. Also, our firecrackers from New Mexico were offered up to the fire gods (also known as the local police - however, they do much good so of course, we love them! Do you hear that, local police?!) one year. They had been sitting at the end of the block with their lights off and when they heard them, they pulled up and stuck out their hands. They then went home with them and maybe some of their famlies got to use them. I like to think so. At least they would be put to good use.

You have to be careful because nearly everything is illegal in California and the police are charged with making sure we all know it. If you live here, you try to accept being boiled alive slowly, like that proverbial frog, and protected from yourself endlessly. For years you couldn't even get those little, black things we called "worms" when I was a kid. You know the tiny discs you lit with a match and they grew and grew in crazy long shapes? Those were downright deadly, I guess. I think the movie "Tremors" was based on their wanton thirst for human flesh. What other reason could there be? (We got them back a few years ago.)

We continue to be thrilled and amazed we still get to light matches here. But we do. And that was another right-of-passage.

Grizzly was working out of town when one 4th came along and Bo was certain they could handle the fire part of the works. One neighbor joined in for a bit while Bo and TWM duked it out over who should serve as fire king or queen. They are so precious together. :) Soon, another neighbor showed up and his bossy kid outbossed my kids and we couldn't get our hands on our own fireworks. Where's a husband when you need one?

Then we started celebrating with friends at a party where we all chipped in for a fireworks display. Soon, that party got moved to the home of other friends (the husband being one of the police officers we know and love) and then we just watched fireworks from the distant country advantage of a very dark night sky and no personal displays. The fire danger is too high out there. But the fun and friend factor is also high with 50-70 of our closest friends so the kids have usually voted to say good-bye to the displays and hello to socializing. But we still bought a few things and lit them up when we got home.

I don't know this year, though. This was the first year TWM wasn't counting his change and took the erecting of the stands in his stride. No big deal. What? What does that mean? This is HIS DAY! Have we kept him from the thrill for too long? This makes me ambivalent about the party. One fire-fanatic is grown and the other is on his way and taller than I am. I may need to revisit Pompeii and remind them of the former days with a night-sky rush. This ISN'T just another day, after all. It's Independence Day. It's the Foursh-a-Guh-Lie!

I have a little pang. Is there any way we can do both? I'll let you know.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Welcome Back My Friend to the Show that Never Ends!

I have so many useless fascinating things to tell you that I absolutely couldn't get started. Pay attention now. Raptly. Pay rapt attention. What a weird word. Where the heck does THAT come from?

Hold on.....I'm looking it up........okay, here it is....."from the latin 'raptus' carry off, seize......synonyms: ecstatic, spellbound, bewitched. Also having to do with a gift giving tradition: 'I rapt your presunt cuz I coodnt find a gift bhag.' Additionally, has been used to describe a mind-numbing form of lyrical quasi-melody - Rapt Music - most glorified through massive misogyny, i.e., 'I get my kicks from beatin' chicks, but only those with a great big booty, who think I'm fine though I got no looty.' "

I may have mixed some usages as well as spellings. Disregard the former directive to pay attention. Do not pay anything in the way of attention. You would be wise to click over to the other blog you wanted to read now.

Do you see how troubled I am?

First, there was the little fact of leaving paradise at 7500 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Remote camping, no one around for miles, days of 65-70 degree weather, pristine air, crisp nights. And then there was driving down the mountain and descending into Hades, aka as Fresno, average summer temperature: 158 degrees. We came in on one of the cooler days at only 108.

After that came my directive to everyone to put everything away that didn't need to be washed.

One sock went into one drawer.

I have four hundred loads of laundry to do. Well, that's a lie. I've done four loads. That makes 396. I'm more encouraged now that I see it in print. Every sleeping bag - and we took eight because there are four of us - and all blankets we've ever owned (and a few I could swear we were only considering at the store) must be de-dirted, de-smoked, de-haired, and de-sapped. De-sgusting. But wait! There's no time for all THAT......hurry and get your daughter to her de-tooth appointment!

But not before you turn in final transcripts to the college! Yes, that's right! How did you forget THAT little tidbit? What? The transcripts I turned in don't include her graduation date? Do you think she did this complete four years and 28 college units just for fun? Doesn't it LOOK like she would have graduated? But of course, we would love to resubmit them in the corrected form, you darling, you (truly, couldn't have been sweeter about it, darn it).

And oh yes!! What was I thinking?! How in the WORLD did I forget to fill out the FAFSA (financial aid) even though we won't qualify for grants and subsidies for college? We are the working middle-class. But I have exactly 12 hours to get it done before the cut-off date for the entire year (and possible exclusion from other scholarship opportunities, you Raving Robynn dunder head!) and I am so happy to sit down and look at financial information for several hours because it's actually my hobby. I love numbers. That's why I'm a writer.

And oh, thank you! A flaming arrow to the eyeball from someone who not-so-subtly criticizes the amount of time I spend writing. To some, it's kind of a useless hobby unless you get paid a gazillion dollars. And you can't get paid a gazillion dollars unless you hone your craft. So I write and duck. Encouragement! It's a gift!

And what's that daughter? But of COURSE we must go shopping for special food you will need for your non-chewing recovery. How did I forget that? This will undoubtedly disqualify me for that "Mom of the Year" award I was coveting.

And yes, you smart-alec dentist billing diva tersely informing me the bill will be more than you originally advised. If you use the term "We alREADY have to write-off our NORMAL charges" one more time, I may remove YOUR teeth without the benefit of anesthesia. Your use of the word "write-off" represents a poor command of the English language and reveals your loose grip on reality. It is, in fact, what you agree to with our insurance company in order to get the business they send your way. It is actually the amount you will receive for doing thirty minutes of work - $1800. That's right - start to finish - anesthesia to empty sockets - thirty minutes - I couldn't believe it when they called my name to collect my daughter. That's $3600 dollars an hour to you and me, Mr. and Mrs. Average Person. If you do not feel $3600 dollars an hour is adequate compensation, please take it up with your boss, the DEVIL. And do not attempt to further admonish me. I am a dangerous woman with 396 loads of laundry waiting at home.

And what? Now? My back goes out? Ice-heat-ice-heat-ice-heat. Housekeeping going rapidly downhill.

And poor daughter! In pain, throwing up, miserable. Ice-ice-ice for daughter. Call the doctor at 11:30 p.m. He is very nice and has no tone. He KNOWS he makes $3600 dollars an hour. He is a happy man.

Of course, my son! Let me drive you to your sleepover! I'm sorry I'm an hour late in delivering you. What was I thinking, doing, annihilating? Let's go! Isn't life exciting?!!! I'm so sorry you can't take the X-Box 360 with you. It costs a lot of money you cannot afford if you should drop it. And your dad and I don't want you playing video games for the ENTIRE visit like you did with your friend at our house last time because you couldn't walk after attempting to remove your complete knee-cap in a wondrous boy adventure! Wasn't that fun?! I sure hope you have ANOTHER one of those marvelous male moments! LOVE YOU! Bye-Bye!!

What daughter? Are your teeth (well, sockets, to be exact) okay? Are you ill? Why are you calling while I'm taking your brother? Oh? We have company coming by? Oh, isn't that just the best? Oh, no really! She's a darling girl and we love her and it is so sweet of her to think of you. But did you buy mommy an hour so I could hose out the house? What? You didn't? Oh, that's alright. Nothing bothers me. I'm so easy-going. I still feel like I'm on vacation!

There you have it. We're all "rapt" up in life just now. And I've been a tad crabby in the sense that an alligator can grow slightly impatient if you continually pull his tail, gouge his eyeballs with a stick, and remove steak from his mouth during the chewing/swallowing process . But I'm moving out..................................OH! of it, OF IT! (sorry I was daydreaming there for a second), and feeling positively effervescent. And I KNEW you'd want to share in my ebullation. Is that a word?

Hold on, I'll check.