Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Luckiest People on Earth

I am taking a blogging break while I beat back my house, try and get the Wild Man well, and enjoy my daughter before dorm time. I’m not writing much but hope to spend my time in Blogsville visiting YOU soon. In the meantime, here’s a little something to put my life, and maybe yours, in perspective.

Made ME laugh!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Fast Lane, With Rest Stops

What a whirlwind life is at the moment. I know I’m alone here and the rest of the world has nothing to do. Isn’t that right, World?

But in one week’s time I went with Grizzly to Mineral King (exquisitely lovely National Park) and stayed at the Silver City Resort (shudder) which, as I said before, I will have to describe to you so you can be sure to schedule your hemorrhoid surgery and triple root canal instead of making reservations there this year. Beautiful scenery – but I suggest camping, even without a tent, versus the “Resort.” More later when the bed bug bites on my leg heal and the therapy helps me recover from the spiders that hung in webs over the toilets.

And by the way, you have to pass through the town of Three Rivers to get there. Three Rivers is lovely and you should schedule a vacation there. And someone who reads my blog lives in Three Rivers. I don’t know who it is but I see the town come in on my map reader. I wanted to stop and shout, “I’m in town! Let’s say hello!” but Grizzly thought that revealed too much about my faculties so I refrained. We did stop at Reimer’s (of course) and had a great lunch at the River Inn as we watched the Kaweah River roar past. I didn’t get to meet you, dear reader, but, HI!! Would you mind saying hello in a comment so we can be properly introduced? :)

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Sunday was church, an ailin’ Wild Man (third sickness in three weeks), cake baking, and a LOVELY graduation party for our sweet little friend, Ariel, who is headed to college with honors, scholarships, and the love and respect of all of us who know and love her. What a GREAT kid who will do things in the world that will make a difference. She is on the far right in this picture and Bo is in the middle:

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Monday it was off to the doctor with The Wild Man, then the lab, the x-ray dept., and the cemetery. No, he wasn’t THAT sick but I had to approve my stepfather’s gravestone which had arrived and it was right across from where TWM got his x-rays so, I mean, why not?

In the meantime, I texted my girlfriends who were in Pismo Beach and put them on warning that I might not make it there by Tuesday, as we’d planned. I couldn’t leave a sick kiddo. But he rallied the next day and I headed there Tuesday night.

These are girlfriends I’ve known since I was about four-years-old. We remember each other’s lives like family. We are forever bonded because we survived our families, which was nothing short of miraculous. And now when we get together we talk as only we can, and we cry, but mostly, we laugh and we laugh and we laugh because each one of us used humor to get out alive and all the world is now a stage. We throw out our one-liners and crack ourselves up to the point of wheezing. I don’t even remember what hit us so incredibly funny but I wasn’t there an hour before we were in danger of asthma attacks.

I made it home Thursday night and felt I owed you all SOME explanation for being the deadbeat blogging friend I am this week and not even stopping in to say hello but, I know you understand and you know I do, too. If you get the chance to go get bit by bed bugs, take care of sick children, attend parties, and laugh and cry with childhood friends, you BETTER skip me and go.

I insist. (Well, second thought.....I don’t insist you go to the “Resort”……..)

©Copyright 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our New Little Baby

There will never be another JoJo. We miss her every day. But at only a year-and-a-half, Minky is part baby herself and misses her friend. The other night we were watching videos of Jo and she was barking playfully. Minky went and got her ball and then her blankie and looked around for Jo so they could play……:( We just about lost it. But it made us realize we – all of us – needed a puppy.

A sweet young friend (thank you, Kristy!) adopted her sister and told us about the pups. Mom is an award winning, papered and ported to the Midwest for breeding, red merle, Australian shepherd. She was winning Best-in-Show awards by eight-months-old. Dad? Well, dad was the bad-boy-next-door-neighbor opportunist who violated every principle, except nature. Near as the breeder could tell, he was a shepherd looking dog except with short fur. She said he had good lines. (I think she added that as a sort of consolation prize.)

Anyway, eight puppies later, one of them is now ours. It’s probably too much to hope that she will be as dainty and diminutive as her sweet and beautiful mother. But she has a great disposition and she and Minky are already best buds.

Minky’s training her to join in a game we play where we throw a ball to her at the top of the stairs and she tosses it back down to us. Now she’s throwing it to the puppy at the bottom and she’s catching it. :) (Was there any doubt that both dogs are extremely bright, precocious, and clever, and that their owner is modest, humble, and demure?)

This is our new “little” Bodie with our Bo:

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She is CHUN-KAY. I just hope dad wasn’t a nice, smooth, sort of shepherd looking Bull Mastiff.

©Copyright 2010

(Please forgive the absence! We’ve been occupied with a puppy and a crazy get-a-way for Grizzly and I that can ONLY be blogged about. Be by to visit soon!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brought to You by the Letters L, M, N, O, and Urinate (Don't Say P)

In an effort to avoid offending anyone’s sensibilities, including my own, I decided to change the title of my last post wherein I used the word “peeing” in relation to a small child: six-year-old me. It seemed innocuous enough but my telepathy over the vapors some were experiencing from seeing the word in print kept me up half the night.

I struggled mightily to figure out what to call this bodily function and also wondered why it was such a big deal.

The word urinate is positively revolting. I once knew a woman who chided her daughter-in-law for asking her two year old if she needed to pee or poop. She insisted the proper terms were urinate and defecate and they should be used. Number one, (which raises a whole other issue), most kids couldn’t roll that off their tongue if they wanted to and, who would want to? And number two (don’t go there), it sounds like you’re swearing.

I don’t know a mother who hasn’t looked at her soggy-bottomed-toddler progeny and asked, “Have you got a pee-pee diaper?” But do not put that in print because something about it looks wrong. So we can say it, but we must not print it.

Should we say “Number 1?” Doesn’t that freak children out at sporting events when they hear an entire crowd shouting out, “WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE’RE NUMBER ONE!?” Thankfully, most people don’t shout or advertise when they are, in fact, number two. That could scar kids for life.

And how did we get numbers for bodily functions anyway? I grew up with these terms. I never wanted to be in the company of others during counting exercises until I got to the number three. It seemed rather too close a look into my personal life to speak of the numbers “one” and “two” in front of people.

How about “potty?” That sounds mysteriously ambiguous. I know when I’m training a puppy I don’t want to know that it went potty on the floor. I want to know if it peed or pooped. That will help me make an immediate determination about who to delegate for clean-up duty. I’ll handle the pee. Cleaning up poop must always fall to your kids so you can stand back and lecture about the joys of pet ownership. And remind them they said they would do this when they begged for the puppy. No, succinct terms are important for guiding children properly and making them sorry you are not profoundly deaf when they swear their faithfulness.

And “poop patrol” is the hard science of removing unpleasantness from the backyard. Does anyone really want to be assigned to “defecation duty?” (Or is that “dooty?”)

Some people tell their pets to do their “business,” as if it’s actually a job. I’m heartily hoping “business” really has nothing to do with this activity. If you believe that it does, I’m not coming to your office.

I suppose we could use the default setting, “Going to the bathroom,” but again, when your small child says they have to go to the bathroom in a public setting, you want details. This could mean the difference between three toilet seat covers while they perch precariously on the front 1/2” of the revolting and disease-laden PUBLIC toilet, and the full-metal-jacket version involving FORTY seat covers, holding their hands so they don’t touch the seat – which they immediately do when you let go of their hands to help them dismount – and multiple prayers that they will survive the diseases they have now contracted which, but for divine intervention, will shorten their lives and yours and lead to a horrible death.

And when we are enjoying the company of others and we excuse ourselves to go to the bathroom or restroom, does anyone actually think others in the room believe we’re leaving to take a bath? Or a nap? And wouldn’t that be far stranger than the alternative?

“Excuse me but I need to use the restroom. I’ll be out in about 45 minutes and if I’m not, please knock and wake me up. I’m not going in there to, well, YOU know.”

We all know why we’re headed there. Everyone, everywhere, the world over, knows. Because it is what we all do several times a day. God created us to do it. He was not embarrassed. Why are we? In fact, there are a whole lot of words and descriptions in the Bible that would make the subject of a little girl losing control of her bladder (see yesterday’s post) look positively refined, but those who penned the words through divine inspiration did not shy away from telling it like it was, in graphic detail, and sometimes with words no longer heard in proper society (King James Version). I think our piety can be rather more sanctimony when we “strain at gnats and swallow camels.” (Matthew 23:24)

So this leaves us with the “number one” question: Do you really have a right to mention anyone’s pees and cues right out loud and advise them to mind them? And also, what do YOU call it?

Let’s get this potty started.

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504 Main

(I chose this post to run on the Tickled Pink No. 504 Main Fridays Blog Hop - I thought the tickled thing tied in nicely. ->-)


©Copyright 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Alternate Title: Embarrassing Fun with Dick and Soggy Jane

If you know me you might also know I’m never far from a book. Usually, I have three or four going at once. I try not to read fiction (but I do) because I’m a plot junkie. My family goes hungry and the piled up laundry makes a nice bed to recline on while my nose remains planted in the story. Non-fiction is a pick-up/put-down affair that remains manageable.

Maybe I should quit fiction cold-turkey but I’m in the middle of a George MacDonald book right now, “The Curate of Glaston,” so, not gonna happen. MacDonald is an author from the mid 1800’s and if you aren’t familiar with him, start with “The Fisherman’s Lady.” This book is still on loan to me by my good friend, Teresa, who has probably decided to never loan me another book as long as she lives. She handed it off two years ago but I can’t give it back until I have forced Bo and Grizzly to read it, being the gentle soul I am. Bo just picked it up three nights ago. I’m all twitter pated.

Here is a weird side note you can’t live without knowing. The sequel to this book is “The Marquis’ Secret.” When I got done with “The Fisherman’s Lady” I realized I HAD to have the sequel but didn’t know for sure if it was even in print. I leaned back in my chair and, as something reminded me of my sister who passed on many years ago, I began to talk to Bo about her and said it would be nice to have a visit from her. While contemplating, I glanced over to my left and gazed at my large, glass fronted bookcase. I keep special book collections there and know the thing like the back of my hand. I was perusing the titles and just browsing absentmindedly when my eye fell on a title I didn’t know I had: “The Marquis’ Secret.”

I’d be lyin’ if I didn’t tell you that I was freaked out (in a good way) and then completely amused. It felt like Judy gave me a gift and a laugh, which would be just like her. Now, I realize this is bad theology but God has a sense of humor, too. (If you don’t believe me, just read the Bible. It has many laugh-out-loud moments and no, I’m not kidding.)

By the way, this is very bad writing because it’s not what I started to write about at all and I cannot seem to come to the point.

What I really wanted to talk about was how this book obsession started. This is the culprit that fueled my fancy:

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And no wonder, with such scintillating dialogue as this:

Dick said, “Look, look.

Look up.

Look up, up, up.”

Jane said, “Run, run.

Run, Dick, run.

Run and see.”

You understand now why I was hooked.

Reading was magic to me. I absolutely could not believe that you could take these letters and smash them all together to create words and stories. I followed my mother around reading riveting tales to her while she worked in the house. Others needed to know about the magic contained in my first-grade reader and Dick and Jane had incredible adventures with their dog, Spot. I couldn’t keep that to myself.

This dawning-light realization was so profound to me that it didn’t even ruin my first grade year when I peed on the floor of my classroom.

That one moment might have been the first indication that I would have this problem my whole life; not a weak bladder, but the tendency to completely miss something that needed to be addressed, until it was too late.

We were stacking our chairs on the table at the end of the school day. I had faithfully placed my little chair on the table in front of me when it hit. I rushed my hand into the air and asked the teacher if I could go to the bathroom. She declined and told me I could wait as we only had a few more minutes. I couldn't hold it against her because it made sense, at the moment. But what else I couldn’t hold was my bladder. I cringed while something warm rivered down my bare leg. I looked at the floor where my shiny black patent-leather shoes and white bobby socks floated like an island amid an amber sea.

Mortification was not a word I could smash together yet but the feelings were clear as glass. My mind cast about feverishly for a solution that did not involve disclosure. I knew discovery by fellow classmates would be even worse. Instantly, I hatched a brilliant plan wherein I sat down in the puddle, with my coat on, and proceeded to soak up the lake bed by quickly scooting around in it……. inconspicuously, I’m sure.

But no one seemed to notice. Not the teacher. Not my classmates. And, for some strange reason when I got home, not my mother, either. I walked home in that “pee” coat but didn’t say a word. I wore it again. Did no one notice a strange smell? Didn’t I? Didn’t she? There are no answers to this conundrum but the important thing is, I went to a different school the next year.

And I learned to read.

All this is tied together for me and, what could have easily crowded out my love of books, was simply a soggy side note in my first grade career. And actual ownership of the book, “Fun with Dick and Jane,” became a quest. My first copy had gone back into the school’s dark closets, ready to be handed to the next bare legged child with poor foresight. I now dug through book bins and scouted garage sales in my search. Nothing. Then, on vacation in Hawaii several years ago, we hit a garage sale on a reservation in Kaua’i. There, on a little table amid humid tropical breezes, sat the book of my awakening. It was .15¢.

I tried to pay the owners more. They wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, hearing my story, they piled more wonderful books on us – for free – and would not take no for an answer. Pacific Islanders are among the most giving and loving people in the world. And I’m glad the book never came to me until that day because it will forever have their kindness and island location attached to it. Now it sits on a special shelf with other books I’ve loved.

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And Grizzly found the little paper milk carton for me years ago during an old school remodel. It was on a rafter in the attic, no doubt a cast off from someone working up there in decades past. It went perfectly with the book because the other wonderful thing about first grade was the milk and graham crackers we paid .5¢ for each day. I still have a love for those two things together.

It’s probably good I had that little accident. If not, I might have stayed in first grade forever.

And that would be ugly. Especially if I still had that coat on.

©Copyright 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

She Calls Me Auntie Robynn, Too

And she is Matt (the incredible pianist’s) lovely sister.

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As if all his talent weren’t enough for one family, there is also an amazing and heart-stirring dancer in their midst. She has been dancing for most of her life and will soon join a professional company, the culmination of a life-long dream. This video, showcasing a dance choreographed entirely for her, just became available thanks to another talented young man in our midst who is a videographer and short-film maker, Jacob Holly.

I wish I could show you how truly versatile she is but most dances are copyright protected and, therefore, cannot even be filmed. She is STUNNING as a classic ballerina and in the next moment can wow you with a flashy Spanish dance complete with vibrant colors, castanets, and attitude that owns the stage.

We love to see her dance. We are excited to see her go and live out her dream. And we refuse to forgive her for leaving us. What the HECK? You homeschool them all these years only to raise them and find they go off to have their own lives? What were we thinking, Christina? I do believe our grandchildren (when we get some) should be fed only Doritos and Ding Dongs while they sit for hours on our laps watching cartoons. This “acting in their best interest thing” is seriously overrated and leaves us with too-quiet houses and a big risk of wearing red and purple.

But, bon voyage, our graceful butterfly. I expect front row seats when I fly to NYC or Europe to see you one of these days. I’ll be the obnoxious one (you know, like usual) telling everyone who will listen that I actually KNOW you - personally – for a long time – since you were little – I watched you play dress up – you were one of my little camp girls – I know you like to eat the fat on steak. No, it won’t be that bad. I’m sure it’ll be worse.

I’ll know even more by then.






© Copyright 2010