Monday, April 30, 2007

i stand corrected

Shazam! was the TV show. Captain Marvel was the superhero.

I still think it'd be a great halloween costume for DH.

today we will play outside

...all day! At least that's the plan. I have much laundry to do, and prefer to hang it on the clothesline to dry. I also want to plant some more seeds in our little bunny all-you-can-eat buffet aka garden spot. The compost pile needs turning. Poison ivy needs killing. Flower beds need weeding. Shrubs need pruning, and while I'm at it, I'll keep some cuttings to root from that gardenia DH keeps complaining about being too close to the front porch. Yes I know it's the wrong time of year to prune it, but I better do it before he does!

This particular gardenia and I have a long history. It was my very first mail order purchase. I got it from Michigan Bulb Company before I learned they weren't a reputable company (at least not way back in the 80's) when I opened my first ever checking account. I think I was 15. I got this scrawny little twig with three wilted leaves in the mail and babied it along in a flower pot for about ten years before I ever got it to bloom. It came with me to college, and back home, and somehow followed me through my first marriage, divorce, and then my second attempt at college. When my husband and I bought my mother's house, I planted it outdoors on the other side of the sidewalk from a much larger gardenia that was originally planted in the late 1950's. It has thrived there, much to everyone's suprise. I don't know what variety it is. It was labeled "hanging gardenia" by the catalog and came in a tiny plastic hanging basket. When it matured, the leaves became variegated! The miniature blossoms look and smell just like the other gardenia, but are about the size of a nickel or maybe a quarter, much smaller than the other which has softball sized blooms. I have never pruned it or attempted to root cuttings from it, so this will be a first.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

dinner last night

my apologies in advance to our vegetarian friends...

we had a fabulous dinner last night! Even the kids had seconds, DH had thirds!! Seeing as how we are gluten-free and most everything we eat is made from scratch and all recipes must be adapted (those experiments are not always met with such enthusiasm), this gave me great joy and I have to share it with you all.

We had cornbread-battered deep-fried catfish nuggets and tossed salad. Such a simple dinner. I peeked inside Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook, but his batter did not call for eggs, and I knew milk alone wouldn't give me the southern-style crunchy batter I wanted. So I made it up instead. I took one egg, and twice that volume of milk (since we can't do beer anymore), beat it up well with a fork and set the fish in it to soak while the oil heated up. We still had some peanut oil from last Thanksgiving's fried turkey, so I used that rather than the olive oil I always cook with. Then, in a separate bowl I just mixed some cornmeal (we have never had a gluten-like reaction from Martha White Plain Cornmeal, even though it says on the label that it may be cross-contaminated with wheat) with some salt and pepper. Dipped the egg/milk soaked pieces of fish in the cornmeal and quickly fried until it was a lovely shade of golden brown. You gotta make sure the oil is almost hot enough to smoke (Bittman's cookbook says 375 degrees, but I couldn't find my thermometer), too cool and the batter falls off, too hot and your house is full of smoke. Do not overcook! YUMMMY!

Wonder Woman!

Yes, I changed my profile picture. No longer the raz photo of me from two years ago, now I'm Wonder Woman!! I'm even trying to figure out how to make myself look like Lynda Carter for Halloween this fall. Told DH he could be Shazaam! Okay, I'm really showing my age now. Do any of you even remember these tv shows? Anyway, this is my attempt to think more positively about myself. I almost chose Xena, but I think I'd rather be Wonder Woman, even if she didn't have a cute blonde sidekick...

sleep apnea

joy! (sarcasm) something new to obsess over. Of all the things to inherit from her daddy, littlest one has to get his sleep apnea. I jerked awake in a panic last night, she wasn't breathing. So I started breathing on her, and she did start breathing again, but very shallowly at first. Needless to say, this mommy did not sleep well last night, making sure my baby was breathing. She had several episodes where she either stopped breathing, or started breathing very shallowly, probably just for a second or two, but it seemed like an eternity to me, before taking a great huge gulp of air and breathing deeply again. She did the same thing as a tiny infant, but hadn't done it in a while. I'm wondering if it's not related to the fact that I gave her some tylenol last night before bed? She's teething again and was having trouble going to sleep. I can't take tylenol or medications that contain it, makes me itchy all over. DH's sleep apnea pretty much went away (but not completely) when he started drinking less alcohol, and even moreso when we stopped eating junk food. Perhaps it's allergy-related in some way. Those people who think our defense of the family bed is insane, would they think that now?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

to our penpals

we would like to apologize for being slack in replying to your wonderful letters and drawings. Thank you so much for your patience with us. J finally stepped up to the plate and sent something to each of you the other day. Should be arriving soon. please let me know if you don't get a little letter in the mail next week. Hope you are all enjoying a lovely Spring!

Friday, April 27, 2007

another good blog

Psychology of Clutter Check it out!!

edited to add:
I found this post to be particularly helpful on so many levels. Maybe you will find it equally inspiring.

declaring war

on the bunnies! Those cute, furry nibblers who decimated my lovely corn, squash and beans I tried to grow last year have now attacked our newly sprouted sunflowers of all things! It's not like very much actually survived that cold spell last month after I had already planted seeds and transplanted seedlings outdoors. It's not like they don't have plenty of other stuff to eat. Why can't they at least leave it long enough to bloom and set fruit or vegetables? I always plant more than my family would eat, well, provided it lives long enough. Baby spinach seems to still be left alone, and I planted lots of kale all around the perimeter just like my Gramma always used to do. It worked for her, the bunnies would eat the kale and leave the other stuff alone. I also went back to Ace Hardware, where they have those big packets of Mayo seeds on sale for 99 cents, and bought lots more, all different kinds of seeds. Surely out of all that, some of it will survive. Maybe I should have gotten the prickly okra instead of the spineless? Maybe they will at least leave me some turnips? I dunno... we'll see. My kids would never let me live it down if I carried out my threat to eat the bunnies. But maybe that's what's wrong, their only predators are the neighbor's housecats that sneak outside, and none of them seem interested in chasing after rabbits. *sigh* I should probably just put some sort of fence up, don't know why I'm so reluctant to do that.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

roll call

link I hate that our local paper never tells you how our politicians vote in congress. Or if they do, they bury it way deep in something like Tuesday's paper where nobody can find it. I think it should be front page, huge headlines. Everyone should be aware of what our elected officials are up to. Here's the low-down on yesterday's vote on a bill to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. Not that it suprises me at all to see that Zack Wamp voted against it. He's always been a republican suck-ass and will do whatever the money people tell him to do without giving it a single thought, much less a second one. When I send him letters or make phone calls, he replies with sending me newspaper articles telling me how wrong I am. At least he replies to me, I guess, even if it is a form letter. But how does having it printed in some newspaper make something true? Either he's really stupid, or he thinks I am. Maybe there's a third option I haven't thought of, I'm really uncomfortable with either of those.

like I need to start a new craft...

but I really want to learn how to smock! I love seeing pretty smocked dresses on little girls. When I was a little girl, I loved wearing smocked dresses, so comfy and stretchy. I have even contemplated making mock-smocking using the fancy stitches on my sewing machine and some tiny elastic (or something?). *sigh* Someday. Maybe when my girls are grown and I'm Gramma. It's really an art form that I'd want to put all my energy into to make sure it's done right. I'm spread way too thin as it is right now, and I have way too many unfinished craft projects laying around (though lately I've been good about getting rid of the ones that I haven't touched in over five years).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

what constitution?

Rather than forwarding the email I received from the ACLU, I'll share it here instead.

"For the past seven years, George Bush has repeatedly violated the Constitution. Even worse, Congress and all of us have let it happen. This isn’t our America. It’s time to take action. Take action now."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


this is one website/blog I really need to take some time and read...

Monday, April 23, 2007

why is it

that I have no problem making clothes for my kids, and even letting them wear my creations out in public, but still cannot get up the nerve to try making anything more elaborate than a skirt for myself? (okay, besides my diaper bag and totes and the bathing suit top pattern test I made, and I do indeed plan to make myself a swim suit that really fits.) Perhaps it's partially because even if I use a store-bought pattern, I would still have to alter it to fit. So I did buy some patterns recently. It's kinda funny, though, since I'm the sort of person who just cannot follow directions. I even bought myself a book, and found another in our basement, which hopefully contain those tricks and tips the pattern instructions tend to leave out, but that make sewing much easier and quicker.

And part of it might be that I need my clothes to be nursing-accessible, and don't care for Elizabeth Lee Designs, the only company I know of that makes patterns for nursing clothes. I have a sneaky suspicion it might be those floral prints in the pictures throwing me off. Or maybe it's the hair... Or maybe I just don't like the clothes. So very not me. And even her patterns probably wouldn't fit without alterations (there's got to be other nursing moms out there larger than a C or D cup size), though I can't find a size chart anywhere on her website. Nursing moms shouldn't have to look frumpy or old-fashioned or just plain unattractive!! We should all band together and demand cool clothes! Who's with me?

Sunday, April 22, 2007


You couldn't have asked for more perfect weather than we had yesterday!

I made those sundresses, btw :D My sewing is showing signs of great improvement since I obtained a better machine to use.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

happy birthday big sister!

Wow! It really is hard to believe that she's been here six years already! We have a fun day planned, but you never know about us and plans... First is the Earth Day BioBlitz at the Nature Center (which has already started, but activities continue until 2, I think), then visiting with each of her grandmothers, and last but not least, dinner at P F Chang's because they have a gluten free menu, and Chinese food has always been her favorite. All I have to do is make it through the day in one piece. I think I can manage that.

Since my daughters tell me that the presents I make for them are way better than the ones you buy, I made her a lovely sunshiney orange and yellow sun dress yesterday. Went ahead and gave it to her last night, since she saw me making it. I need to get a photo when she wakes up, I know that's what she'll wear today. :D

Friday, April 20, 2007

tooth two

Oldest daughter lost her second tooth yesterday. It was a very big deal. Daddy tied a piece of dental floss to it, and she looked in the mirror and pulled it right out. Suprisingly, it bled a little. The new tooth has already come in behind where the old one was. Thanks again to Heather for the tooth fairy pillow!
And now, while she is still asleep, the little one and I need to wrap birthday presents for big sister...

Six years ago today, my water broke and my labor stalled out as soon as I arrived at the hospital, due mainly to my own fears of the nightmare I was soon to experience. link Had I listened to my heart instead of to what everyone else was telling me, things would have been very much different, I'm sure. But I didn't, and I promised myself that I would never ignore or doubt my intuition ever again. I'm still working on keeping that promise, but I am definitely getting better at it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


JenJen and her lovely son arrived safe and sound late last night. I wonder if she thinks I have changed as much as it suprised me that she has? Well, it has been quite a while since we've seen each other, and becoming a parent does change everything. The children got along like they've known each other forever, even if everyone stayed up way too late. If I'm to get any sewing accomplished today, I need to do it now, while everyone else is sleeping. Have finally decided what to do with those gorgeous orange and yellow coordinating fabrics I bought a couple months ago, and I can't wait to see the finished product! If it goes well, it will be perfect for my sunshiney oldest child.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

nobody asked

but here it is anyway. My opinion on the recent shootings. So there!
Guns are not the problem. We don't need more laws or more policemen. We aren't going to fix things by shooting the shooters or with the normal form of punishment in jail or execution. And I think I know what is wrong. Something big, something really really BIG needs to change. The problem as i see it is that young people are told what to do, how to act, and even what to believe to the point where they are unable to look inside themselves for the answers anymore. If they cannot find answers within, they cannot distinguish between right and wrong. Right and wrong is meaningless when it comes from someone else's rules. We need to allow people, starting with the very young, autonomy and the freedom to make their own decisions. Are you suprised? Why? You knew I was an anarchist all along, didn't you? This is what anarchy is all about, letting people make their own decisions, choose their own actions, based on what their heart tells them is the right thing to do. It's when we take that choice away from people that they don't recognize the distinction between right and wrong that lies within their own hearts.

It's gonna happen sooner or later, why fight it? Be a part of the change instead! Start today by recognizing another person's humanity and their right to decide for themselves what to do. Respect other people, y'all. That's all I'm talking about. With more respect in this world, there would be fewer horrible things like what happened yesterday. But we're taught, starting in kindergarten or even earlier, that we aren't able to choose for ourselves what to do, we are constantly told what to do, how to act, what to wear, even what to believe! We start doubting ourselves, especially when that inner voice disagrees with what others are telling us, which it sometimes does. We lose any self-respect because respect is rarely given to young children. We lose touch with that inner sense of right and wrong that lies within each person's heart. And that, my friends, is what is wrong with the world we live in.

Monday, April 16, 2007

light a candle

and send out good thoughts to those affected by the shootings this morning at Virginia Tech. link (edited to update link 4pm)
of course, I knew nothing of it until I heard from my aunt that my cousin is okay.

Is ignorance bliss, or is it just.... ignorance? I have a sneaky suspicion that clueless people aren't really happier, they just don't know it.

vera scarf

on ebay three hours left, and it's up to $33. It's not identical to the one I got at the thrift store for 99cents, but close. The colors are different, but it's the same print, and the one on ebay claims to be in better condition. I think my orange and brown one is prettier, more wearable, which might explain the signs of wear it has.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

gluten-free recipes I want to try

link Too bad rice flour is not an option for my family, and I try my best to make things with as little sugar as possible. I'll have to continue to experiment, but i love searching other people's recipes for new ideas. Generally, I use a combination of equal parts of the following: arrowroot flour/starch, quinoa flour, and soya powder. I always mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, then fold them together just until the dry gets wet all the way through (lumps are even more important when cooking without gluten). I have had okay results using Chebe all purpose bread mix in certain recipes (biscuits, pizza crust, etc), but should probably just purchase the tapioca flour and tapioca starch instead. I have perfected muffins and pancakes, and sometimes have made really great cookies through trial and error. But I can't really share my recipes because I don't measure anything exactly. I just make the mixture look right, and I cook it until it smells done.

no more junk room

the room formerly known as the "junk room" is no longer. It's a bedroom now, with a brand new king size bed. The whole family fits comfortably, and we all four of us slept together last night for the first time in... well, for the second time ever! Not only that, but the "toy room" also has a bed, though a much smaller full/double size, and will soon be transformed into a bedroom as well. I was slaying dust monsters all day yesterday. Not dust bunnies, these were huge, with teeth and attitude! I feel almost like, nearly nine years later, we are finally making this house, that used to be my parents' house, ours. Major decluttering has been happening, but we aren't anywhere near done with it yet. My insane attachment to things that only serve to remind me of an unpleasant past... well, that can't be healthy, and I'm really working on it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

swim suit dreams

hm... can I justify spending $30+ on fabric and sewing instructions to make my own swim suit? One that actually fits my measurements? I think the main reason behind the fact that I won't wear a bathing suit is because I have never had one that fit properly, not since I was in my 20's and happy in a two piece bikini, and would buy two different sizes for the top and bottom, and certainly not after having kids and my bra size exploded.

Now then, if price were no issue, and if I were built like a 15 year old boy just after a growth spurt, I'd get one of these... As far as I know, I never was a B cup size.

Friday, April 13, 2007

very interesting article

link "America's use of corn (maize) to make ethanol biofuel, which can then be blended with petrol to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil, has already driven up the price of corn. As more land is used to grow corn rather than other food crops, such as soy, their prices also rise. And since corn is used as animal feed, the price of meat goes up, too. The food supply, in other words, is being diverted to feed America's hungry cars.
But corn-based ethanol, the sort produced in America, is neither cheap nor green. It requires almost as much energy to produce (more, say some studies) as it releases when it is burned. And the subsidies on it cost taxpayers, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, somewhere between $5.5 billion and $7.3 billion a year."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

hearing test

Littlest one failed her hearing test again yesterday. Then they cleaned gobs of earwax out of her ears and tested her again. She has normal hearing and all is well. No more doctors, please, at least for a little while!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

thrift store goodies

Went thrifting Monday. Apparently so did the rest of the population that did not have to go to work the day after Easter....

so I got this fabric. Wait! Really, I did. I couldn't help it. There was this big pile of it, all rolled up with packing tape around it, for like $3. But it's a lovely shade of green. I wear lots of green. I don't have any warmer skirts, I generally only wear skirts in summer when it's too hot for jeans. This is lovely heavy-weight cotton (blend?) almost like denim but not quite, and velvety soft, too. I have these plans to make lots of totes and handbags, this fabric would be perfect for that, too. Have had those same plans for years, really. Ever since I began on a certain project something like four or five years ago.... (wait, there might still be a picture in my photobucket album) Okay, so yesterday I finished the tote I started way way back when I was pregnant with my second child. It's gorgeous! I never finished it because I botched the zipper on the inside pocket. So yesterday I ripped out the zipper and finished the pocket without it. So I got this lovely fabric home and it appears to be the bolt end, with some marks on it, but so what? It was really inexpensive, and I really like the color. Seems to be at least four yards of it.

And I found a Vera scarf. Bright orange poppies on a brown background with orange border. 99 cents. yup, had to take that home. Looks so very 70's with the orange and brown, but has the ladybug beside her signature which means it's probably early 60's instead. That woman was so ahead of her time! Justified the expense of purchasing a different scarf with a Picasso painting printed on it for $9 by telling myself I was going to sell the Vera one on ebay. HA!! I already have one Picasso scarf that I purchased in San Diego on my 19th birthday. This "new" one isn't as pretty, but it's twice as large and the colors would match the clothes I wear a bit better.

Did not find but one lone ancient Brother sewing machine (priced way too high, IMO), and no attachments or accessories of any sort for any type of machine. That was my whole reason for going thrifting in the first place. I figured, if Mom got my sewing machine at the thrift store, maybe they'd have the attachments that goes with it, too.

today, hopefully, is the last doctor visit for littlest one. It's just a hearing test. She failed her newborn hearing screen (most likely still had amniotic fluid in her ear canals), and pediatrician and I wanted her retested. She seems to have a slight speech delay to me, especially for a child who talks to adults all day rather than other little kids in daycare. Or maybe my perspective is a bit skewed because of how early big sister was speaking clearly. And she has a cousin with major hearing loss who wears hearing aids. So it's rather important we have it looked into, just in case.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stephen Hawking

has a page on MySpace! link Okay, I am so not with it, still afraid to sign up...

...wandered over there looking for some friends who have lost touch. Randy and Claudia, pick up the phone!! Everyone has been missing you and thinking of you lots lately!!!

help, ideas needed!

Now then, J wants a birthday party, like, next week. UGH! I am so unprepared. Need to get on the phone but it seems nobody ever answers when I try, so I don't bother trying much anymore. Anyway, as I already posted, she's having a dance party, with music, and dress ups, and stuff of that nature. She's also inviting a few boys, which is where I need help. What sort of dress ups would suit little boys at a dance party? I have no problem with them wearing the tutus and skirts, but... Not only that, but I have no idea what day the party is going to be!! Saturday the 21st is her actual birthday, but Saturdays just don't work for our little friends whose parents are divorced, so she wants it to be before her birthday. At this point, I'm starting to think after would work best, give me that much more time to figure out what I'm gonna do! Especially since we are also excitedly anticipating visitors from out of town to stay here with us around the same time, and I still don't have anywhere for them to sleep (DH promised he's going to look into purchasing a mattress today after work). The music of choice is Dan Zanes. But my little DJ has also chosen a very eclectic mix of tunes ranging from "Funky Stuff" greatest funk/disco/dance songs ever to Vivaldis Four Seasons (which I do not have on cd). It promises to be quite interesting indeed.

too funny!

Detroit News reports that the president nearly blew up a Ford hybrid, and himself, when he attempted to plug an electric cord into the fuel tank.

Monday, April 9, 2007

this and that

Waynes this and that is a website I found last year while searching for information on bean innoculant (really). Oh, but there's so much more! This guy describes his website, "Wayne Schmidt's multi-topic site covering everything from kaleidoscopes to electric rocket engines (This site is viewed best in Internet Explorer.)" He has apparently changed things around a lot since I found the site last year. Click Come on, you know you wanna.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

sunrise service

I got up before daylight, turned on the computer and microwaved a cup of left over coffee. It's very quiet in the house, everyone is still peacefully asleep. Quieter than usual, actually, since I turned off the filter in the frog tank to feed them. I hear the first birdies chirping outside, and I'm tempted to open the blinds and watch the sunrise. But maybe not, the neighbors might see me in all my early morning glory *snort* braless (not a happy vision when you wear the size bra I do), greasy hair, Marlboro sweatshirt, stretch pants, and all.

Big sister J was asking about Easter, had it confused with Christmas, since they are both about Jesus, I suppose. I told her that Easter is the day Christians celebrate Jesus going up to heaven. Upon further questioning by my very bright daughter, I explained to her that Christmas celebrates his birth, and that Easter celebrates his death. I'm glad I didn't have to elaborate on it much more than that. I think she's still a bit young to be told stories of torture. We already had an egg hunt, but unfortunately not before the weather turned chilly, and we have been celebrating Spring for some time now in many different ways. She wants to celebrate Easter, too. So I asked her if she'd like to get up before light and go to sunrise service at church. Needless to say, she did not find that idea very attractive, but it was a chance to talk about the symbolism of the sun rising and Jesus' ascent, which is what it's all about anyway, even if you aren't strictly Christian.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

the significance of 4/7/47

My father was born 4/7/47. When he became ill...

back up a minute to elaborate...

Dad was drafted into the VietNam War. It was at his physical they found that he suffered from amyotrophic lateral schlerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig's Disease. His father died way too young of "paralysis" as did many other men in the family, going way way back. He was labeled 4F and did not serve time in the war. That's a very good thing. Dad was often a violently tempered person, especially when he had been drinking, though terrified of firearms of any sort. I remember one time he screamed like a woman in an old B terror movie when a family friend had a handgun in his truck. Okay, so he had ALS, and the death sentence that comes with it.

He was also gay and so self-centered that even though he was married (in spirit if not on paper) to a wonderful man, it wasn't beyond him to give freely of himself to whomever it pleased him to do so. Like far too many other gay men in the 80's, he contracted HIV which soon exploded into full blown AIDS.

During a medical trial in which he participated, it had been discovered that dextromethorphan (cough syrup) not only stopped the progression of his symptoms of ALS but also made them go away. Apparently there weren't enough people who had this benefit from taking the medication, and it was never an approved treatment, though Dad continued to take it until he began AIDS treatments many years later. Stopping the dm, ALS quickly progressed, eventually affecting not only his speech and motor skills, but his heart as well.

He was a very sick man by the age of 46 when he passed away. From the time Mom left him up to the end, I spoke with him nearly every Saturday morning on the phone. It had been an ongoing subject of conversation between us that 47 was a magic number for him, and if he could hang on until his 47th birthday, he would beat the disease(s) plaguing him. He didn't quite make it.

My Daddy

So, in honor of his birthday, and perhaps in attempt to help hold myself together today, I'm going to post about Dad. He was an interesting character, to say the least. Far from perfect, his one flaw was his arrogance and self-centeredness (is that even a word?). But when he became terminally ill, for the first time in his life, he started thinking about other people besides himself. He learned humanity and compassion, there at the very end. And I think that makes it that much harder to not have him around anymore.

Robert Scott Coleman was born April 7, 1947 (that's 4/7/47 - this is important, pay attention) in rural Virginia. He was a very beautiful child, as he later became a very beautiful adult, and was also exceptionally bright, oh, and gay. Not a great environment for a beautiful gay boy to grow up in, I'm sure. His father died when he was very young, and everyone says that's why his mother was so crazy and abusive. I don't know, but I didn't know her back then either. I remember looking at old photos when I was quite small and asking him who the pretty little girl was. Dad and Gramma just laughed that loud horsey laugh they shared, and told me it was my Daddy. So, naturally, I thought my father must have been a little girl when he was young. He always got a huge kick out of it when I asked him questions that began with "when you were a little girl..."

I have no doubt that my parents really loved each other, as far as either of them was able. But they were very young, and it takes more than love to keep a marriage together. I remember sitting by my bedroom window every day there at the married student housing at Yale, looking up the hill into the parking lot, hoping Mom wouldn't decide not to come home. And every evening, I would see her headlights and know she hadn't been pushed past her limit just yet. What pushed her past that limit was coming home early and catching him in bed with his male lover, with us kids in the next room. To this day, she denies every bad thing that I remember ever happened in my childhood, and there was lots of bad. There was good too, and I remember each and every bit of good very clearly, but Daddy had a drinking problem and like I said, never thought of anyone but himself, and never knew anything about parenting except his mother's abusive style of violent punishment and hair-trigger temper.

So Mom packed the car and took us back to Virginia that night. It must have been very hard on her, being a single parent in the 1970's, but it couldn't have been as hard on her as it was on us kids when the parents of the other kids in school found out our father was gay and wouldn't let us play with their children (I still refer to that particular small town in Virginia, near Fredericksburg, as "bigot-town" - and they call themselves a village!). At that point, I still knew nothing about homosexuality, and "gay" was just a word, the worst thing you could call someone else, but I had no idea what it meant. To my point of view, the abuse suffered at the hands of other children was far worse than anything my parents ever did to me.

Dad continued his graduate studies at Yale Divinity School until he ran out of classes to take and they made him graduate... with a 4.0 average, no less! After we left, he and Doug had moved into a cozy little apartment over a small grocery store on Cumberland Avenue in New Haven. Dad worked as a ground's keeper for this creepy billionaire old dude who seemed to really enjoy watching him work without a shirt on, while studying about religion. He had been a Methodist minister back in Virginia, before moving to Connecticut to attend Yale. At one point, later in his life, when I was in college and contemplating studying philosophy or religion (I did eventually go back to school and earn a degree in philosophy after his death), he told me that the more he learned about Christianity, the less he agreed with it.

Upon graduating with the first of what would become three different master's degrees, he moved with Doug to Brooklyn to work at the Botanic Garden. While there, he took classes at the Bronx Botanic Garden (I think) and earned a degree in horticultural therapy, and had the job of keeping up the therapy garden for disabled visitors to the BBG as well as the children's garden. I think he also worked in the library there at some point, but my memory isn't so clear, maybe Doug worked in the library. My favorite part was that the therapy garden was designed to accommodate wheelchairs, with raised plantings, but also was made for blind people with plants that you could experience with your other senses such as smell, touch, and even hearing.

and that takes us up to about 1980, or maybe more like 1983 or 4...

Friday, April 6, 2007

House Party Time!

Big sister J turns 6 on the 21st of April and wants a Dan Zanes house party dance party. :) Very cool, but he makes me miss Brooklyn so very much. My father lived in Brooklyn, too, and I spent many summers growing up there around Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Park area. Dad worked at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which was walking distance from his ground floor brownstone "garden" apartment (he did amazing things with that tee-tiny back yard!). And tomorrow Dad would be turning 60 were he still alive. I miss him lots sometimes, and think of him quite often, still.


Little Miss M now has four beautiful shiny white top front teeth (caps) and two tiny little fillings. Everything went suprisingly well and we were out of that horrid hospital before noon. Dentist did say that had we waited longer, she may have needed a root canal!! ACK! She's still a little groggy, and her throat hurts from having been intubated, so she isn't eating any food, but has been nursing quite well so I'm not terribly worried...yet. I told her she could nurse all she wants today when I had to refuse to let her nurse this morning before going in. She is napping, which explains how I managed to get some computer time. If you don't hear from me for a while, I'm nursing the little one and will get back to you soon-ish.

ETA - me, I'm still suffering hot flashes but the migraine is just an echo of the one I had the other day. Now if DH would only relax, we'd all feel better.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Monster of the Month Club

The girls especially enjoyed this book by Dian Curtis Regan link about a homeschooled little girl name Rilla whose mother is a crazy hippie (my girls are quick to point out so am I, and my oldest apparently can relate to how Rilla feels about it). Rilla is given a membership to the monster of the month club and gets a new monster each month. So we got the second book, Monsters in the Attic from the library a few days ago. If you have kids between 6-13 years of age (IMO it really is geared for the 10-12 year age group), check it out from your library real soon! But as we have started gardening (albeit a bit too early apparently) we are currently reading The Secret Garden again so Monsters in the Attic will just have to wait. Don't bother getting Secret Garden from the library (link, in case you've been under a rock all your life), just buy a copy so you can read it seven hundred times if your kids are anything like mine or like I was as a child. One of my favorite books of all time!

Other than that, had a monster of a migraine yesterday, and hot flashes kept me up all night long. But I'm holding myself together, really I am. Worst thing about it was that empty bottle of migraine pills! I thought, since the bottle was still there, that I surely had one left. :P

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

weather woes

I was starting to think maybe I waited too long to start planting in the garden... Now it's turned a bit chilly and we're even expecting frost this weekend! ACK! At least the spinach will be okay, it likes cold (and I sowed more spinach seeds just yesterday). *sigh* That's Springtime in Tennessee for ya'.

on other fronts, I have completed my first project using the new old Kenmore sewing machine and am loving it! Spent about half the time I normally would have using the Singer, and did a better job at it, too. Was starting to wonder if I were blaming my own shortcomings on the cruddy sewing machine I had, but turns out I'm a much better seamstress than I realized. I suppose you are only as good as the tools you use. Perhaps using that other machine has made me better, because I had to be so careful of what I was doing all the time?

Little one's doctor visit went very well yesterday (had to have a physical exam prior to going to the hospital to have her teeth fixed), though we did have to wait about two freakin' hours! Apparently there's a flu epidemic here that I was unaware of. Even got to talk about cloth diapers with another mom in the waiting room. I could tell she was okay when she carried her baby in her arms, rather than hauling him around in the baby bucket. The doctor asked me why I didn't want my children vaccinated, then seemed to agree with me when I explained my reasoning to her. She wanted to know all about the gluten sensitivity, and probably would have talked to me for hours about that if she'd had the time for it. Did mention that I should try cutting back on how much my child nurses, but I was expecting her to say that. She did not look at me like I had three heads because my three year old still nurses multiple times each day, nor did she even utter the word "wean". She didn't even fuss at me for not bringing my kids in for regular check-ups. Overall, one of the most positive experiences I've ever had with a doctor. Maybe they aren't all agents of the devil after all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

For Susan

I wish there was something I could do or say to help you feel better right now, but I know I can't. I doubt there's anything in the world could help after what happened to your son. And I know you probably aren't reading this either, so that makes it easier I suppose to attempt to offer sympathy after you have experienced my own personal worst nightmare imaginable. Even so, it feels half-assed and empty when I type the words, though I am feeling so much more than I could ever express. I'm thinking of you right now, and I guess that's all I can do. Wish it was more.

my new baby!

looky looky! Isn't she beautiful? And so well-behaved. What a nice, quiet baby she is, too. And sturdy!
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Oh, but just wait, it gets better!
Look, it's TWINS!! Yes, two identical "vintage" Kenmore 158.18030 sewing machines. Hard to call them vintage when they aren't any older than I am. *sigh*

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and things...
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Monday, April 2, 2007


I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified about the upcoming trip to the hospital Friday to have my youngest child's teeth repaired. What else would get me up at 6am, when DH is not up and getting ready for work? What really scares me is that I just realized why I'm so afraid. My mother cannot have anesthesia, it would stop her heart (and did, once). Not only that, but about eight years ago, the one and only time I can ever remember in my entire life that Mom took antibiotics, it caused her to have what they called "organic psychosis" which was the scariest thing I had ever experienced up until the birth of my first child. Obviously, I do not have the same issues with anesthesia nor with antibiotics (well, not that particular kind, I'm allergic to different antibiotics) as my mother, but neither do I share her particular food allergies. My child does have the same food allergies as Mom, what if.... I'm making myself ill just thinking about it. At least she'll be in Children's Hospital, where presumably, they would be best equipped to handle an emergency situation. But it is the same building where it took several days for them to figure out what was wrong that time mom reacted to those antibiotics, just kept saying they'd never seen anything like it before.