Saturday, December 26, 2009

And Now For a Dose of the Post-Holiday Grumpies

I am tired.

I am tired of trying to take care of everything and do everything for everybody and it not being good enough.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Snapping Things Right Back Into Perspective

This morning, after an old high school friend commented on something on my Facebook wall, I thought to myself, "I really should find L. I'm sure she's on Facebook."

For years, L was the only person from high school with whom I kept any contact. It's been pretty much Christmas cards for about six or seven years now, but still. Facebook has changed that a little, and I am in contact with a couple more people there. I last saw L about 10 years ago when C was maybe two and her C was just shy of two - we've talked a couple times since then.

Anyway, I searched this morning on L's married name. Nothing. Hmm. Her C is 13, too, and likely has an account, I thought. I'll try to find her through him. So I put in her C's name.

He died last week. He committed suicide.

I cannot fathom this. I can't.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How To Get Yourself Removed From My Holiday Baking Recipient List

Each year at the holidays I make stollen, the German Christmas bread. There's a whole back story to how the yearly making of the stollen came about, my childhood memories of stollen, why I rarely eat it myself, and all that. But I'll save that for another time. This story starts with my version of the bread being pretty decent and a family in town that has been receiving it for almost 10 years - yeah, even before we moved to this town, they were getting it. My husband and the husband in that family have known each other almost 30 years.

Last year, the wife in this family - let's call her SS - called in early December and said she wanted to learn how to make stollen herself. Could she come over on one of my baking days to learn? Flattered, I said yes, and we set a time a couple Saturdays away.

The Wednesday before our baking date, SS emails me and says she read something about some versions of stollen having a filling of marzipan, confirmed this with her German mother-in-law, and she really likes marzipan, and could she bring some over and we could try it?

I was a little surprised. Yes, I know some versions have marzipan - regular almond paste, actually - but I prefer the version without. I hemmed and hawed and finally said, sure. I figured that would be "their" loaf then. I considered it amusing at the time, and tried to be open.

The next day, SS emails me that she is unable to find marzipan, and oh well. I do not tell her almond paste can be substituted.

On the Saturday at the appointed time, SS shows up - with almond paste.

We get to baking. While I'm trying to talk to her about some details of the bread ingredients and process, it becomes clear that she's not really interested in that. She opens a bottle of wine, talks about other things and watches me. Then she lets it slip that she just wants to be sure that our family's yearly gift to her family is how she prefers it: with almond paste in the middle. Apparently she didn't "just" hear about marzipan being in stollen. She's loose enough with her lips to reveal that she's been plotting this for some time.

When, after several hours of (me) mixing and kneading, and rising, we - no, I - finally form the loafs, I roll out the almond paste and put it in one loaf. She keeps asking if I want to put some in the others. I decline. I tell her I'm not a big almond paste fan (childhood associations, actually) and I prefer the stollen without. She keeps asking if I am sure. Yes, I am. Really sure? Because she's sure it's better this way. Yup, sure.

She leaves shortly after, with a copy of the recipe in hand. I deliver the almond paste filled loaf to them the next day. They like it, great.

I forgot about all that in the intervening year.

This morning I received an email from SS. She asked to come over again when I am making stollen so she can be sure almond paste gets into "her" loaf.

This family is officially off the stollen recipient list. I'll email her the recipe again and offer suggestions on where to find specific ingredients (finding good quality diced candied citron is a bitch!), but I will not make it for them again.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


My sister called yesterday. She asked if we'd ever been to Whistler, British Columbia. We have been a couple times - though not in almost a decade - thanks to frequent flier miles and mooching of a friend's accommodations. And fewer children and fewer demands. It was wonderful. I'd love to go back some day.

My sister wanted to know if I thought it would be worth it for her to try to get her family there for Christmas. Was the skiing really good? Is the village nice? I said it would be nice, told her a few things about it and hung up. (I also winced as I know it's going to be extremely expensive as it's the run up to the winter Olympics there in February.)

And waited for the follow up phone call from my nephew.

Sure enough, my 16 year old nephew called a couple hours later. He called to try to urge our family to meet them in Whistler for Christmas.

A sweet idea, yes, but it shows the absolute cluelessness of my sister and her family. This scenario happens frequently. She calls talking about some vacation she's thinking of taking, then my nephew (it's been successive nephews over the years) calls to try to get our family to come, too. I can always hear my sister in the background urging the nephew on. It's always late notice. And it's always really, really expensive.

My sister seems to live in an alternate universe. She spends 2-3 months a year "on vacation." Whether it's California (at least 4 weeks a year are spent in Del Mar), abroad (Peru, Austria), skiing (Telluride, Park City), visiting in-laws (Texas), San Francisco or Vegas for long weekends, or somewhere else in the US (2-3 weeks a year someplace "new" - last summer it was a cruise), she and her family are often getting ready to go *somewhere*. Great for them. In her world, this is "normal."

It's nice that she wants to include our family, but she goes about it in a completely unfair way, and without any understanding of the way most people live. She has my nephew call me or - worse - call C. Then, when I have to say no, I get made out to be the bad guy by my own child.

I can't count the number of times I've had to sit down C and explain work schedules and commitments and family budgets - and different tax brackets. Something that, apparently, does not affect my sister and nephew. Each time, C says he understands, but I can see he still thinks I am just "no fun."

At the same time, after I say no, my nephew and sister take it as a personal insult and get all huffy and terse. While it's true that I don't want to spend my hard earned vacation time with them (I love them, but given how I have described my sister before, I think you understand), it's also true that we plain can't afford their kinds of vacations.

I've asked my sister before to please stop doing this: using her son in this way and not respecting that we live a very different life. She doesn't, of course, thus contributing to the already fucked up family dynamic.

Merry, merry, and all that.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


A couple weeks ago, M asked when we were going to go to church again. He's asked before.. I gave him kind of a vague answer, but this time, that wouldn't do. He really wanted to know.

I kinda quizzed him about why he wanted to go and where. He said it was going to be Advent soon and he really likes Advent. (What 10 year old talks about Advent like that? This is not the first time I've considered he might be a priest when he grows up. Or an engineer. I wonder what his love of show tunes means about his other attributes?) And he understood we wouldn't go to the old church. Could we go to that other one a couple towns away, where me and his dad know the rector?

I said we'd find a time. But I'd really been enjoying my Sunday mornings in pajamas.

This weekend turned out to be as good a time as any. My husband is away (he rarely goes/went to church), and C agreed to hang out with S for the morning, so it could be just me and M. (Have I mentioned having a kid old enough to look after the younger kids is just lovely?)

We get there and people are friendlier than they've been in a long time at our old church. Within a couple minutes, M had a compliment on the shirt he was wearing and I had two on what a great color my coat is for me (slightly muted turquoise velvet). We find a pew, and just as I am about to sit down, we see.. Fr. M! The former rector of our old church, the one who's retirement from active ministry set off this whole chain of events at the old place. He gave me a big, warm hug, and an equally warm hug for M.

THAT is what has been missing from the old church! That pure warmth.

Fr. M is not the main priest at this church, though. Fr. G, the priest who did our premarriage counseling way back when in another state. Fr. M is just a regular assistant when not filling in for vacationing priests at other churches in the area.

The service itself was fine - no, very nice. Thoughtful sermon. People were warm. There were parts of the service I've been missing, some bits I've forgotten (I used to be able to NOT crack the Book of Common Prayer and do it all from memory). Seeing Fr. M was lovely, seeing Fr. G was lovely, seeing K, Fr. M's wife was lovely, too. It was a very nice morning.

And I am not at all ready to go back to church regularly. I'm not there yet. I feel okay about going every once in a while, especially if M needs it. But no more. I'm still too suspicious of orgnized religion at this point.

When I left Christian Science (almost 30 years ago!), it took years for me to sort out the difference between institution and faith. It took time for me to figure out that I did still believe in God even though I didn't believe in the Christian Science church. I've been with this denomination for more than 20 years now, and while I feel some comfort in the familiarity of the service, the institution is secondary to my belief in God. Enjoying my Sunday mornings in pajamas doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about faith and God and looking for ways to be a better person or to give more back to my community; it just didn't happen to do it within a specific four walls with a saint's name out front.

It's appropriate, I guess, that even though I'm not ready to go to any church regularly, that going back to any church for the first time since that whole fiasco happened during Advent. It's a beginning, just as the season of Advent is a beginning. I just think it's going to be a long, long while before I feel comfortable being part of a church again.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


That would be me.

I'm all out of energy. It seems it left around the the daylight/standard time switch in early November. I usually have a downturn at this time of year, but it's a bit worse this year. The near constant clouds haven't helped (one sunny day out of the last eight or so). It feels like a real slog to December 21 when I'll know there really will be more light each day.

As people have talked about gratitude in the last week or so, I've winced. I'm an extremely fortunate person - I know I am! - and feel a lot of gratitude in my head - I have MUCH for which to be thankful - but my gut feels somewhat cynical or just plain blah. I then feel guilty for that lack of sentiment.

I feel like I've had to battle with myself to get the basics done. Laundry goes unfolded, if it gets done at all. Dust bunnies go rolling by.

I am eating well, though, and exercising. I'm doing the annual holiday challenge on the rowing machine (which requires some serious meters six days a week). I've kept up my regular walks with the dog and the kids are getting to all their things. I'm making time to try to knit some things (small things - no big projects) and plan our usual holiday stuff, including baking. I've been putting on the holiday music and that's been nice. I've found a sitter for a couple nights and have gone out with the hubby. I've had some good snuggle time with S. M, too. And the kitties.

I haven't felt like taking pictures at all. My effort to take a picture everyday has really failed in November. I'd missed a couple days before now, but the last few weeks it's just felt, "Eh." I'm just not seeing things the same way.

I'd like to find the time to do some problem solving with my printmaking. The prints I've done have gunked up in the shadows too quickly. I'm sure there's a solutions, but I don't feel like I have the brain power to find it or hear it right now - or the time to experiment. I'd hoped to have some prints done by the holidays for a couple of gifts, but right now that doesn't look like it will happen.

There were more book edits and some book politics to deal with. Finally, though, an editor with some real communication skills - I've only had to sell half my soul in the editing process. Then last night one more bit of book politics (too many cooks in that kitchen at this point), and I don't know how it will play out. I've felt slightly bullied at some points. Will it never end? If this is writing a book, I don't ever want to do it again.

Have I mentioned the psychos in town over the school time change are still psycho? They are. I continue to be stunned at how many people want to blame their parenting choices (or lack thereof) on the schools, how much they are blaming on the time change that has nothing to do with it at all. Excuse me, but you do not negotiate with a 9 year old about their bed time, then yell at the superintendent about how "hard" it is to do that. You, as a parent, declare it and follow through.

My friend has asked me, again, to run for school committee. No way.

I know much of this will pass after the solstice. It always does.

Anyway, that's where I'm at. I'll be curled up under the covers until the 21st.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Almost two years ago exactly, I wrote this. And now this. May he rest in peace and his surviving family find the comfort they need.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I Expected No Less

About a week ago, I finally told my brother and sister about the book. My brother was excited for me , asked lots of questions, and generally was happy.

My sister's response was a tad different. But I expected that.

When I called, she was at the computer. I guided her through an Amazon search to find the book. When she finally found the right page, she said, "Oh!" and "Did you really write the whole thing?" and "Really?" I tried to tell her more about it, but it was clear she wasn't interested. She spent the next 10 minutes ranting about her Spanish class and how rude the instructor is to actually give pop quizzes and lead the class in Spanish. ("Doesn't she know we can't understand a word she says?")

Several days later, we talked again. She did not mention the book at all. Ok.

The next day she called and spent 20 minutes going off on her mother-in-law. Whatever. (Her mother-in-law is a piece of work,)

This evening, on the way home, I really, really needed to vent to someone about something about the book. I have to make a bunch of edits by tomorrow, and am feeling bullied to make some changes I don't feel comfortable with. So I called, and got her voice mail. A couple minutes later she called back, sounding very happy. So I started to tell her my vent, and she interrupts me, "I made a mistake calling you. I'm too busy to talk."

My sister has NEVER been able to be happy for me in any way. She pulled shit at my wedding, each time I had a child, every single time something good has happened to me. It's why I didn't tell her about the book (and therefore didn't tell my brother and still haven't told my mother - of course, my mother likely would have the same reaction as my sister...they are more alike than my sister will ever admit).

I expected no less, and yet... I hoped. I hoped maybe this time would be different. I know it won't be different, yet I keep going back for more.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Comment Moderation is Awesome

It means that when assholes write shit in comments, it doesn't get published!

So, if you are an asshole - and I think you know who you are - you won't have a platform here. Just FYI.

A Couple of Random Observations on the Morning

Note to the neighbors: There’s a high wind warning today. Raking leaves is pointless!

I was just at the market picking up some things to make cake for M's birthday gathering tomorrow. I saw a tripped out mid-90s Corvette, painted with flames, license plate “SAWEET.” I'm willing to put down money that guy isn't getting any. You know what I mean.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To Each Child, His or Her Own

Yesterday I volunteered in S's classroom. It was lots of fun. What was most interesting was the full range of skills and abilities among all the kids - yet each was totally ready for school.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from someone I didn't know. It was a mass emailing advertising a "pre-writing" workshop for 4 and 5 year olds. In addition to being curious about how the sender acquired my email address, I was stunned at the content. The email said, among other things:

Times are changing. Today's kindergartners are expected to write more than ever. It's not uncommon for them to be expected to write in a journal in the first weeks of school. They need strong skills to meet these high expectations.


We will address sound symbol recognition (letter sounds), good pencil grip and top to bottom left to right letter formation as well as introduction to journal writing to help get your preschooler and kindergartner off to the right start.

I was more than a little horrified. Journal writing for a four year old? To quote my husband, "Are they high?" While I applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of two local moms (a speech therapist and and occupational therapist), I think their target is way off base. They have no understanding of the goal of Kindergarten, at least in this town.

Kindergarten isn't even mandated in this state. It's not. You don't have to send your kid if you don't want to. As such, the goal of Kindergarten in this town is an introduction to the school experience, socialization and needs assessment. It's when the town figures out where kids are at so that going forward they can differentiate need and target instruction.

Going through Kindergarten for the third time in this town, I can tell you that this works pretty well. Not perfect, but pretty well. M, of course, was bored in Kindergarten since he was already reading well and doing higher level math, but we knew that going in; were able to supplement him with a great extended day program and other things - and he still needed to establish social ties with other kids in his grade and be assessed for the future (and now in 4th grade, things are mostly fine! And C, in 8th grade, is doing great). From C's and M's experience I knew what was going to happen for S. And it has.

As far as the "expectation" implied in the email, it's just way off-base! Yes, in November in Kindergarten they do start a "journal" but there's no expectation that it's at any particular level. It's just one of the ways they introduce writing as part of literacy and evaluate and assess. They actually don't care where a kid starts - only drawings and some words or all words and no drawings or any other combination - as long as a kid does start and they are able to support a progression of skills throughout the year.

And in terms of letter formation, so much of that has to do with the development of fine motor skills - and that's totally on an individual schedule; it's something you can't force. When we left North Carolina, I stayed in touch (briefly) with a couple of office mates with similarly aged children. One told me how her daughter was learning cursive in Kindergarten and what a struggle it was. Duh!

It became clear to me pretty quickly that this is a workshop that is more about parental competition than it is kids' needs. If your 4 or 5 year old is ready for writing, super - as long as it's your kid who wants it. You don't need a workshop to force it. If your kid is asking, show and teach and all that - but don't force it.

Yesterday's volunteering session was a great reminder of that. S's class is group 18 interesting and engaging kids. Some clearly have strengths in one area and other strengths in other areas. All of them were really pretty cute - and I think all of them would have been annoyed to go sit in a bare room at the library and be forced to copy letters. The lead teacher and her assistant had an impressive understanding of the different needs of the different kids and I watched them address individual needs as such. I left feeling like my daughter is in good hands and will come through this year not only learning, but really enjoying school.

After yesterday, I wanted to write back and tell these women to just chill the eff out. Let your kids be kids - let all kids be kids!

(I did email one of the two women and asked how she acquired my email address. She lifted it from a formal school communication for parents of Kindergarteners - a big no-no. I contacted the principal of S's school and they have since clarified appropriate use of such information for the entire school community. And I wonder why I'm not popular...:-D )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


All three kids now H1N1 vaccinated. And not a moment too soon. One of the teachers at M's school is out with a suspected case. I'm also hearing a kid here, two or three there.

The call for the injectable for C came yesterday afternoon. The "well" side of the waiting room was packed. So was the "sick" side with kids a pajamas wearing face masks.

The kids having the vaccine, though, does not mean I can let down my guard in terms of prevention and not spreading anything. Still plenty of handwashing happening. I still haven't had the vaccine.

Now to start trying to find dose for myself. My asthma should move me up the priority list, but still, I suspect it will take some time and persistence.

At least the kids are covered.

What a Mom Knows

We've been having some issues with C and his musical instrument practice. Pretty much par for the course, I suspect.

C plays the French horn. He's decent. Not wonderful, not awful. He could be very good with more practice.

We bought C a nice new double French horn last spring after he pretty much begged for it for months (and his teacher said it was time to move up). It was...pricey. And C had to sign a little contract with me saying that if we, his parents, made this effort and investment, he would commit to it and practice without argument. Yeah, right.

Anyway, C is home alone for several hours after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Last night, since it was M's birthday, he didn't get to practicing. He said he'd practice double today. Okay, fine, I said.

When C arrived home today, he called. I reminded him he needed to practice double. He said okay.

When I arrived home, I noticed his horn and backpack by the back door, like they had just been dropped there. I asked if he had done his homework. He said no. I asked if he had practiced. He said yes.

To say I was suspicious is an understatement.

"Then why is your horn here?" I asked. He practices in the loft in the study. He said it was because he has band tomorrow and he needed it to be ready for morning. Uh-huh.

This is a kid who, in the last year, has lost the ability to do anything in advance. He hasn't brought his backpack downstairs and gotten it ready for the next day on his own ever. He has become incapable of picking up his clothes off the bathroom floor. He leaves the milk out. And I am supposed to believe he took his horn to the loft, practiced for 45 minutes, and brought to down again, putting it right next to the unmoved backpack by the door?

I said, "I don't believe you."

He tried to argue, but it was pretty half-hearted. He wouldn't admit to lying, but he wasn't pushing back particularly hard, either.

"You'll practice another 45 minutes after dinner," I said. He tried to argue again. I told him, "If you didn't practice, you'll get your practice in. If you did, it will just be extra." He was annoyed, but not mad.

After dinner, while I got S and M to bed, C practiced again. He sounded okay. Strong. He definitely can use more practice for some faster parts of the music, but it wasn't bad. I still don't think he practiced this afternoon, though.

After practicing, just before bed, I asked to speak to him. He still tried to claim he'd practiced in the afternoon. I told him, "If you are lying to me, you know you are, and you know it's wrong. You do."

Then I sent him off to bed. Nothing like a little mother-induced guilt to go with his REM sleep.

Monday, October 26, 2009

High School, Again

Damn, I feel so stupid.

I put my name in to be the representative for M's school to the district health advisory board. It's a three year appointment.

Usually, these things get only one person interested, if that. I wrote my 150 word description of myself and why I thought I'd be good for the role. I'm good at analyzing data and have my fair share of medical knowledge. With kids both before and after this age group, I have perspective, too. I know the principal of the school well, and the head of the school council. They were thrilled I was putting my name in.

Just got word that I am NOT going to be the representative. Apparently there were two of us, and it went down to a secret ballot at the school council meeting. Then - and I should have done this before - I looked at the list of who is on the school council.

Yes, I lost this position in a mother fucking popularity contest.

I never won those when I was in high school - no chance in hell I'd win one now, especially with the school start time work I've been doing (M's school is the one that went earlier - and they are all FINE! They LIKE it! They are up earlier in the morning anyway, and love having more time to play in the afternoon!). Silly me thinking that if there were more than one candidate, they'd have open discussion and a vote. None of this secret ballot bullshit.

And yes, the person who got it is opposed to the start-time change. She was described as someone who has been mostly quiet in the past but "hit the roof" when the time change came about. She has only younger kids. I will not be at all surprised if this woman has an agenda.

What is also making me mad is how it made me feel. Damn, I thought I was getting over those stupid adolescent feelings. I lost a popularity contest - though, honestly, I haven't been seeking popularity in recent months - and it makes me feel somehow....less. I keep thinking people in general will see through the bullshit around them. Apparently not.

Damn. Damn. Damn.


M is ten today. Wow. Ten years old.

When 2009 started, we realized it would be a big year. C became a teenager, S started Kindergarten, and M went double-digits.

Wow, wow, and more wow. Sometimes I am just in awe at the way life keeps happening.

M had his yearly physical on Friday. While we were in the office, the pediatrician was going over charts and such and said, cryptically, "Hold on." He left the room. A few minutes later he came back in, discreetly holding something in the palm of his hand.

It was two vials of H1N1 vaccine mist. One for M, and one for S, who was with us. (Heck, my husband hasn't even had his dose yet!) The kids all had their seasonal flu vaccine doses in September; timing was perfect.

Vaccine has been coming in intermittently. Injectable vaccine is harder to come by and reserved for certain patients. C is on the hot list to get the injectable when it does come in (they'll call us!), but for the rest of the kids, it's hit or miss, and the doc just happened to know that a box of mist had come in that day. Funny thing is, we're not allowed to tell anyone local that we got it because the demand has been so high while the supply has been so up and down. They are trying to get it to the people who need it most first - and in terms of mist, M and S qualify because of C's health issues, and M also because of his heart.

All that said, it's probably better that I can't tell people we got it. I've been getting very annoyed with anti-vaccine people. I know people have concerns and getting all the info you can is very reasonable and responsible - but H1N1 is doing crazy things and kids especially seem to be at high risk. I've already been through one PICU experience and hope never to be there again. From everything I have read, any risk from the vaccine itself is orders of magnitude lower than risk of complications from H1N1. I want my family protected in every possible way.

There's a good Q&A with a rockin' pediatric infectious disease guy here. This doctor was one of C's doctor when he was sick, and he is so, so good. He's written text books. He's a real go-to guy in the field.

Last week I read this article on the vaccine. The line that stood out to me was this one:

"This flu, seemingly by random, occasionally picks out the healthy child or young adult and puts them in the intensive care unit, hanging on by a thread," he says. "We don't have thousands and thousands of ICU beds and high-frequency jet ventilators standing by to care for those people."

This is all to say, go get yourself and your kids vaccinated if you can. Really. I've done the PICU and high-frequency jet ventilator thing and I don't wish it on anyone. Anyone.

So, M is covered. S will have to go back to get another dose of the mist in a month. Hopefully we'll have found the injectable for C by then. He's on the priority list not only at our regular pediatric practice, but also at the infectious disease clinic up at the hospital. The pediatrician told us to get on every list we could, take the first one that comes up then cancel the others after we actually get it. My husband will get one at work (since he works with immune-compromised patients). I'm looking for a dose myself. Somehow, some way we'll get the whole family covered.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


A few weeks ago, in the midst of my deadline push, I had a dream. I don't remember the subject of the dream. I don't remember anything about it except that my dad was there.

When my dad died six and a half years ago, I was a mess. C had been out of the hospital exactly a month and we'd each just completed our first full weeks back at a school and work, respectively. The whole family was tired, emotionally and physically. We were just wiped.

When the phone rang that night, I knew when my brother said my name what had happened. Hell, I think I knew before that, when the phone rang. Several weeks before C got sick, I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, Dad is really getting older. He's 78 now. He could go any time." I never, of course, expected it to be so soon. I'd just gotten back to writing him my weekly letters, and hadn't had the phone number of the latest nursing home to even call him. I don't know, still, if he ever received that last letter I wrote, the one where I let him know that his grandson, the one named after his beloved little brother, was going to be okay.

My brother, sister, and I never had any closure with dad before his death. Dad's wife kept his pneumonia and deteriorating health from us even though she knew it was bad. I would have been on the next plane had I known, even as fragile as I felt from C's ordeal. My brother and sister would have walked through fire, too, to be there. I know forgiveness is necessary in one's life, but I'm still struggling with forgiveness for this act by Dad's wife. I don't think I hate the woman (though I never did like her), but I truly don't understand how someone can be so heartless.

Anyway, we all went out for the memorial service and surrounding dysfunctional insanity and ridiculousness that is always a key feature of my family's gatherings. It was good to be there for my dad, but in so many other ways, it was just awful. Awful. If I were to tell you some of what went on with the wife and my dad's half-sister, your jaw would drop. It's barely speakable.

I became pregnant with S a couple of months later; I spent the last half of the summer a walking disaster. I don't do pregnancy well to begin with, and combined with the fallout from almost losing C and grief on so many planes and...well, it wasn't a pretty sight.

Unlike my previous pregnancies, my dreams were vivid when I was pregnant with S. Every night. Technicolor. Detailed. Some made sense, some didn't. I had many early dreams that featured a baby girl - and none that featured a baby boy - so when the ultrasound tech wrote "XX" on the screen at my 18 week developmental ultrasound, I wasn't all that surprised. I just thought, oh, my dreams were right.

Shortly thereafter, I had a dream about my dad.

In my dream, my dad was his older self, but he was active and with it. He was not encumbered by Parkinson's disease. His voice was not slurred, his movements were normal, his face had expression, and his hearing was fine. He was smiling.

The other people that were there were interesting. There was this woman who I think was named Nancy. It was a woman I met in real-life once, many years ago, when I traveled with my dad to some meeting. This woman was one of the organizers of that meeting; she was gregarious and genuine - and just the kind of woman I would have expected my dad to end up with (but clearly didn't). She wasn't a "trophy" wife. She was just a cool woman. I can still remember what this woman was wearing and her manner when I met her all those years ago.

Also there were two of my cousins, the sons of my dad's half sister. But they weren't adults. They were young kids, ages I never would have known them at. They were still innocent in this dream - it was before they were completely fucked over by their mother and father. (I refer to them here.)

My brother was there, and my sister was somehow present, but I didn't see her.

In the dream we were all sitting around a table, except for Nancy, who was up and down and around. My cousins were actually fun to be around. They were smiling and impish. They each had crew cuts. (Now I don't want these cousins to know where I am.)

My dad kept telling me, "I'm okay. I'm okay." He was almost smiling, and his eyes were clear. He really meant it.

After that dream, I felt better about his death. Not completely, but I wasn't as torn up about it as I had been - not at total peace but not so worked up. I've always thought that dream was Dad visiting me to let me know that he really and truly is in a better place.

I didn't feel creeped out or anything after that dream. I felt relief. And I hoped Dad would visit me in my dreams again sometime. He didn't until recently, until that dream I can't remember.

I've missed him a lot through the years, of course. He'd get such a kick out of my kids, especially M, I think. He'd dote on S. He'd tear up every time he saw C (as he did before he got sick, just saying C's name would do that). Every time I'd visit, he'd remark on my relative paleness - a result of the East Coast life of a Southwest native. He'd continue to remark that I should have gone to law school. He'd have huge respect and affection for my husband.

There have been times I have been sure we'd have an argument over this or that - politics mostly. There are plenty of things he'd criticize, and other things I'd take too personally. We'd still be sparring over the "Bake him a pie" comment. I'd still get annoyed every time, when there'd be discord among the siblings, he'd say, "I just wish everyone would get along!"

I've wondered what he'd think about how I've become involved in school/town issues. I wonder what he would say about the book - especially since I haven't yet told my family anything about it. I wonder what he'd say about my trying to get back to printmaking. I wonder if he thinks I'm getting it right with the kids.

I wonder if that dream I had recently was just to let me know he's still around. Maybe the content of the dream isn't as important as just knowing he's around.

Still, I hope he visits again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sexism is Alive and Well - and Where I Least Expect It

Coming down after this big writing push has been interesting. The publishing house still hasn't been in touch ("soon" could mean February!), but the name of the book is searchable via Google, so something is being published. (Not on the big book site yet, but some smaller ones - including a "Christian" book site. I think that's a hoot - not that there's anything offensive in the book incompatible with the site, I don't think, but I never imagined it being sold/marketed in that way.) Just wonder what resemblance the final product will have to what I wrote.

I feel like I have a lot to say yet still no time to say it. I'm trying to catch up in so many ways. It felt great to clean my house last Wednesday. But it already needs to be cleaned again. I hate that! Five people and three furry pets will do that.

There's much other organizing and following up and all that to do. And some serious sitting in front of the idiot box and flipping through dumb magazines. It feels SO good to do that.

Anyway, on to the sexism thing.

For years my mother has given me a membership to the local (big) art museum as a birthday gift. She may not call my or otherwise acknowledge my birthday, but she does do this, and that's nice. I always send nice thank you notes (on that good paper, eba).

For several years, she gave me the individual membership, and each year I would pay the additional $25 to add my hubby onto the membership. A couple years ago, Mom clued in and started getting the family membership. Cool.

For all these years, the name on the membership account has been my name on top, and my husband's name with his title on the second line. Appropriate, since the membership is renewed for my birthday.

I was quite surprised this year when we received our new membership cards in the mail. The envelope was addressed to my name followed by my husband's name, but the enclosed letter was addressed to my husband only.

Yup, you read that right, my husband only.

After eight years of membership, I no longer warrant acknowledgment. Nice.

Not that this is a big deal in the big picture - it's not. It's just annoying.

And yes, I have called to voice my displeasure. :-D

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Deadline: An Assortment of Random Thoughts

Last night about 11:15PM, I emailed a 217 page, 67,303 word file to the publishing house. I finished the book - or, I finished it as much as I can tell it's finished. I've never done this kind of writing before or in this way.

In my email to the production associate, I specifically asked her to email me to let me know she received the file okay. I heard nothing all morning. A few minutes ago, I emailed again. "Did you get the file?" Finally a response:

"Oh, yeah, got it. Will be in touch soon."

And that was it.

It feels like such a let down. I worked my butt off on a very tight deadline, and all I hear is, "Will be in touch soon."

Have I mentioned this production associate is young? As in I've been in the work force longer than this girl young woman girl has been alive. Okay, that was petty. She's just really young. I've been writing technical documentation since she was still in diapers, creating whole books on my own.

I thought several times over the summer, no wonder print media isn't doing well. Communication - for a company that's supposed to be all about communicating - has been poor to say the least. They really could stand to step into the 21st century and communicate in a complete and timely manner. I'm not saying they should be carrying crackberries and responding to email 24/7 (not healthy for anyone), just within a couple business days would be good (instead of the ten plus days I experienced this summer and which led me to believe several times the deal was dead or dying - and led to the very tight writing schedule).

I am likely to see bits of the book again in the next few weeks. They tell me there's an editing process, but are a bit cagey about it. I think the experience I do have scares them. Production is supposed to start November 2nd. They actually will still produce blues to proof.

Anyway, for now, I am looking forward to the following:

  • Cleaning my house. Seriously. It's been a tad neglected recently.
  • Reading foufy magazines. And some non-foufy magazines. There's a small pile of magazines to which I subscribe still encased in plastic by my bed.
  • Finally putting together our vacation photo album.
  • Baking.
  • Cleaning out the boys' room. It's time for it to make a transition to bigger kid room.
  • Thinking about Halloween costumes.
  • Planning M's birthday. Any ideas of what to give a 10 year old? I can't remember what we gave C.
  • Knitting! I bought some alpaca yarn the other day just for this purpose!
  • Printing! My beautiful basement worktable has been neglected. And the holidays are coming. I'm hoping to print a good number of gifts this year.
  • Watching some mindless television. I'd been hoping to spend a little time with my baseball boyfriend, but, alas, that is not to be. (CHOKE! Seems like old times, boys.) Going to have to wait for spring training, I guess.
I also have to deal with (but am not looking forward to dealing with) more school start time stuff. Yes, the insanity is STILL going on. These women (about ten of them and one man) still insist they their precious darlings are going to be harmed by getting up early. I recently came up with a list of over 1000 early start elementary schools across the country, many high performing, and they still deny the possibility - no, the reality! - that it IS working here. Just amazing.

(One of the current school committee members has asked me to run for school committee in the spring. That is SO not going to happen.)

Meanwhile the kids and their lives have just plugged along. There's a scout den meeting tonight, soccer all weekend, C is planning on learning the trumpet in addition to French horn, S loves Kindergarten, and on and on and on.

I have a lot of catching up to do.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grown Up Skills I Have Yet to Master

Among other things:

  1. Being gracious while feeling very hurt.
  2. Understanding why people act put out and indignant (or ignore you) when you actually take them up on an offer.
  3. Projecting confidence.
There are more. Lots more. But these are highlighting my week so far. And it's only Wednesday.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

There Are Soccer Moms and Moms of Kids Who Play Soccer. I Think (Hope) I'm the Latter.

Some days I think - no, I know - I don't fit in to this town.

This morning at M's soccer game I observed several moms yelling - YELLING! - at their 9 year old sons for not making plays and for how they were guarding the goal and things like that. It wasn't pleasant to watch. I noticed, though, that the moms who were behaving like this were some of the more "popular" moms in town. Cliques do still exist, long after high school. It got me thinking a lot about the social structure around here.

I was never very good at the superficial chitchatting that goes on at soccer and baseball games. I think that comes mostly from insecurity, but I understand that it can sometimes come off as being aloof. It takes me a while to really make friends - but if we become friends, I'm fiercely loyal (my friends become friends for decades, not just short periods). I don't tolerate stupidity and cliquey behavior very well. I commit to what I believe in.

Clearly this has cost me over the years. Mostly I've been okay with that. Some days are harder than others, though. It would be nice to have more of a local social life.

It may be affecting my kids more than I realize. I don't know what to do about that. Parents not wanting to have their kids hanging around with the kids of that uppity J.

In the last two weeks I have:

  • Asked people (via email) I thought were close enough acquaintances and generally reasonable people to come to the school committee meeting to see what ludicrousness abounds. I said it didn't matter which "side" you were on in terms of the start time change, seeing the tone of the audience was important, and important to try to bring back civil discourse to this town. Not one responded - and two have refused to look at me at various town activities. What the fuck, people. Yes, I still believe the time change is the right thing. It's in place and the kids are doing great with it. Really! They've all adjusted just fine. It's the parents who are still freaking out, still trying to bully the administration and the school committee and I am doing by best to stand up to that.
  • Called out a local mom who inappropriately culled emails from a school list to advertise for a private venture - which happened to be a introduction to field hockey series for four and five year old girls (fine) called "Junior Chix with Sticks". Euw. Lets start objectifying girls really young! I knew this because I have one email account that is school stuff only. If a friend had given her an email address, I would have received it on a different account - and still would have been grossed out by the title but just plain ignored it. I've been out on enough real estate lists by people inappropriately using class email lists that I have low tolerance for it now.
  • Had an issue with the local Girl Scouts when I emailed the mother of one of S's friends about possibly attending sign up night together. S has expressed an interest and I've tried to be open even though my Girl Scout experience was terrible (worst bullying of my life was in Girl Scouts). Imagine my surprise when I learned that S's friend's mom had been contacted in the spring about signing up by a person who said, "I want to get a troop of girls and moms I like together before regular sign-ups." I kid you not - the mom forwarded the email rather innocently (I think). After asking around a little more, I learn there's now this troop of Kindergarten Daisies that are now known as the "good" troop and a waiting list has been established for it. What the hell? That kind of excluding going on when the girls are FIVE! Contacted the local council and asked if this was an accepted practice. Never heard back. My daughter will NOT be doing Girl Scouts.
So I guess with all that, it's no wonder people don't speak to me at soccer games. But do I want to be part of that whole culture? I don't know. I do want my kids to have the option to be a part of whatever it is they want to be a part of, and that may not be possible with me as their mother, at least the way I am right now.

The idea of putting on a false smile and pretending, oh, I don't know what, makes me cringe, but I'm starting to think I may have to do that. Maybe I do have to let my daughter join Girl Scouts and pretend "Junior Chix with Sticks" is so cute and shut up about the time change and all that. Maybe I do have to become a full-fledged soccer mom instead of a mom of kids who play soccer.

I don't know.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mean Mom

That would be me.

On Friday, M had a little fiasco with frozen limeade concentrate. He decided, for unclear reasons, to take container of frozen limeade concentrate as his cool-pak for his lunch. At some point in the afternoon, the concentrate had melted sufficiently, and the tube was punctured, creating a really big mess.

He came home, took his binder out, left it on the stairs and took the backpack and lunch bag to the basement to be washed, which they were.

All day long today I asked him to get his backpack together. At 7:45 he finally does. (Bedtime is 8:30 and he still needs a shower.) Of course, he can't find it. He expects all of us to drop everything and look for it. I refuse to.

His teacher this year is very good. She's all about personal responsibility and organization.

M is wailing, feeling sorry for himself, puttering around and sulking, not really looking. This is most definitely his responsibility, not mine - or his dad's or his brother's or his sister's. Unless he can figure out what he did with it in the next five minutes or in the morning, he'll have consequences with his teacher. I'm fine with that. He needs to learn this lesson.

I do feel bad for the kid - I do. But he needs to learn this.

Yeah, I'm a mean mom.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Conversations I Never Imagined

Soccer season started today. Sure, M was rained out, but C's game was on.

C will be taller than me within days. Seriously. He's already taller than his dad, with bigger feet.

This all means that soccer season was preceded by a trip to the sporting goods store for new soccer shorts AND new cleats.

While we were there, I asked, "C? Do you, um, need a pair of compression shorts under those soccer shorts?"

He looked at me funny. "I don't think so," he said.

Back in the car, I turned up the music so his siblings couldn't discern words well and I asked, "Do you know what compression shorts are?"

He admitted, "No."

"It's to, um, keep, um, everything.....well, secure. So, uh, certain parts of you don't bounce around too much. Because that could cause, well, kinda like bruising."

He gave me a sideways glance.

I asked, "Do you know what an athletic supporter is?" I was afraid of the answer as I'd asked my husband to have this very specific conversation with C.

C replied, "No."

"Ok, it's, um, a garment, kinda like, um, underwear, but tighter and there are just straps around your legs instead of an actual back, and it, uh, holds everything - you know - um, in place."

C looked at me with very wide eyes.

"So," I said, "when you think you need such an item of athletic equipment, please let me or Dad know." All the while hoping that person would be Dad.

I dropped C at soccer and I went home and had a beer.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Putting it in Perspective

We've been busy with start of school stuff. Today was the first day for the boys.

After several months of being deeply involved with this start time change issue, I've been as nervous for today as the kids. Apparently, in all my involvement, I wasn't communicating details well to the boys. C has been upset about the change because it will cut into his free time in the afternoon. (Interestingly, a friend has a 9th grade son is upset for the same reason - and his response is that he plans to do all his homework the moment he gets home so it's done out of the way, and he can enjoy the rest of the day. Kinda what we've been encouraging the kids to do all along...)

Last night, when trying to move C along to bed (M and S already were there) around 9:30, he and I had this exchange.

C: Why are you trying to get me to go to bed so early?

Me: So you get enough sleep. Haven't you noticed that Dad and I have been working to get you guys back to your school-year routine?

C: Yeah, but, it's still to early. Since I get to sleep later. So, you'll wake me up after you put M on the bus, right?

Me: No, I'll wake you up before we go out.

C: Why?

Me: You say you like to get up an hour before the bus. That will be an hour, if I get you up before I get M on the bus.

C: Wait. What? What time will my bus come?

Me: About 8AM, I think.

C: 8AM? What about the school start time change?

Me: That is with the school start time change?

C: I thought I'd get on the bus at, like, 8:30AM or something.

Me: Uh-uh.

C: So it's really only a 45 minute change?

Me: Yes.

C: Really?

Me: Yes, really.

C: All this time, I thought we had, like, and hour and a half difference in the time change. Only 45 minutes?

Me: Yup.

C: So why were all these people freaking out over 45 minutes?

Me: I have no idea.

C: That makes absolutely no sense.

He said it, not me.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

He writes like a girl!

I listened to a great segment on this radio show this afternoon on the way home. As part of talking about anonymous online bookseller reviewers, there was one crack that such an anonymous review might say about George Eliot, "He writes like a girl!"

Beyond the piece being generally funny, I appreciated the discussion about the type of person who comments anonymously on those sites, as if they, and only they, are doing some great service, the only ones speaking truth to power, and all that. The guest, author of this book, then had this to say:

"They're like the 50,000 people at the Mets stadium screaming at Chipper Jones. They're speaking truth to power. But he's on the field getting paid, and you're in the stands screaming. He's going to Cooperstown, you're going home."

Awesome way to put it. The anonymous reviewers claim to know everything, yet they are not the ones putting themselves out there, submitting their ideas and writing to public perusal and hopefully acceptance.

It's something I hope I can remember.

The book thing is back on, and has been for a while. An outline was approved and a contract has been signed. I've found it hard to talk about; I am excited and nervous all at once. What if it's awful? What if I get hundreds of nasty reviews on that online bookseller site?

I've also been writing a heck of a lot - nearly 30,000 words thus far - and have to be rather disciplined in the evening to achieve that. And amid my regular work schedule and going on vacation. I turned in half the book on Monday (and all the publisher said was, "Thanks. We'll get back to you." After my huge push to have it ready, it felt more than a little anti-climatic). The rest is due in about 6 weeks. Amid my regular work schedule and school ramping up again.

I'm sending chapters around for various people to look at. I'm looking for moms to offer quotes (anyone? anyone?). I'm just generally overwhelmed - and I think I'm going to be happy when it's over.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Memory

I think it was early 1979. Maybe March. I know I was in 6th grade.

My father had some business to do in Washington, D.C., though I have no idea what. He did these trips a lot, some or other meeting related to something judicial or legal (obviously).

This time Dad wanted to take me along, and after clearing it with school, I packed up my backpack and got on the plane with him.

Dad took me all over the place. He took me to the Lincoln Memorial where he recited the Gettysburg Address from memory, learned as a cadet at a Tennesse military academy decades previous. I met a couple of well-known judges - well, well-known in judicial circles; I can only remember one name of the bunch. I tagged along with my dad from meeting to meeting on Capital Hill, soaking in politics and the differences of the District from the desert I was used to.

Between two such meetings on the Hill, trudging along, I asked where we were going next. He told me, "Senator Kennedy's office."

"Senator Kennedy? Really?" I replied. I was impressed. Finally someone I had heard of! And a Kennedy!

My father, though, believing he was raising a very conservative, never-to-be-swayed-from-the-GOP kind of daughter, thought that he heard in my voice disdain. Because that's what he wanted to hear, really.

We continued on to Senator Kennedy's office and my father had his meeting with some of the Senator's staff, and, I think, the Senator's counsel (which, as I figured out this morning, might have been Stephen Breyer, a current United States Supreme Court Justice). I sat in the outer office, doing my homework. I remember it being fairly cramped. Stacks of papers everywhere. The staff was very nice to me. I tried to do my homework for the better part of an hour, but I was too excited and impressed. Eventually we left, on to another meeting.

For years, my father would recall that moment walking to Senator Kennedy's office at cocktail parties, using it as an example of what a good little Republican I was becoming. I never had the heart (or the guts) to tell him it was actually quite a different response. He wanted to think it, and I let him.

I remember some of that exchange as the first inkling that I might be different from my Dad, that I could have different political ideas.

Yesterday when we learned that Senator Kennedy had died on Tuesday, I was very sad. You didn't have to like him to see that he worked hard for what he would believe would better our country. You didn't have to be a Massachusetts Democrat to have been impacted - positively - by his legislation. Yes, he was a very flawed man and made some bad mistakes (particularly in his personal life), and I didn't like everything about him (his stance against wind power continues to perplex me, and the only letter to a senator I have ever written was to him on that topic), but he was an excellent senator, and his passing will be felt by many.

The Senator's procession is passing within a mile of my house, probably as I write this. My husband was hoping to take the kids to one of the overpasses to watch them pass and pay respects. I hope they were able to do so.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Mess In Town

If it's not one thing, it's another. This town needs to grow up already.

This time the coach of a very winning high school sports team has not had his contract renewed.

The big sport in our town is - well, it's the same sport as a particular team at a southern school that a few years ago had to deal with an untrue allegation of very bad behavior. Yes, the accusation was found to be untrue, but that the team was regularly acting in such a way that accusations couldn't be dismissed outright, that they could so easily have been construed as possibly being true based on other behaviors - well that kind of culture is what has developed with the high school team here playing the same sport. (And during that whole thing? Before it was ascertained as untrue? People here still 'proudly' wore team jerseys from that school. Ick.)

It really doesn't matter what the sport is. This is the kind of thing that tends to pop up around one sport or another if the team does well for a while. A totally unhealthy deification of teenagers. In fact, prior to 2001, I think it was another sport that had this issue in this town until that coach was removed for less then ethical behavior.

So anyway, this team sport. A number of state championships. Awesome. Except that the coach over the years has gotten cockier and cockier about that achievement and started acting as if he is above the rules. Lots of quid pro quo with parents. Throwing parties for the kids and supplying alcohol. Generally promoting the kind of behavior that contributed to the situation at the southern university. (I am NOT saying the team down there was to blame for the false accusation, but neither did any of the team have a track record of behaving in a dignified or respectful manner. Their mothers and grandmothers would blush at much of their behaviors, I am sure of it.) Generally speaking, when people mention that they know my town for this sports team, I grimace. Goodness knows what they have seen or heard. I do know some of the kids have been arrested but, gosh, never quite made the police log, never had charges actually filed.

Anyway, after a discipline issue with the coach a couple of years ago, the behavior only got more brazen. But the coach is a popular figure in town for all this winning, people like "heroes," and the superintendent has had her share of controversies in the last year. The superintendent, I'm certain, had enough reason to fire the guy for cause. She didn't. She gave him a gift by simply not renewing his contract, thus giving him his best opportunity to find a new job (else her reasons would have been public, and if they are the reasons I am rather certain they are, he'd never get a job coaching kids again). And given his relative popularity and those other controversies, do you think anyone in their right mind would invite this kind of additional scrutiny. Willingly? It just makes no sense. Anyway, I thought the local schools were supposed to put academics first. Silly me.

So people are up in arms. People who otherwise complain that the schools are awful and the administration is doing nothing to improve them suddenly are claiming how wonderful the schools are and the administration is ruining them, and this is a perfect example. People are throwing around words like "travesty of justice" and other ridiculousness.

But then I noticed something interesting. All the letters to the editor and other comments are either from 1) parents who don't have children in this sport at all, 2) players who graduated 4-6 years ago or 3) parents of graduated players. From what I can tell, no current players or parents are speaking up. Interesting. You think it might be because they know why the coaches contract wasn't renewed? Hmmm....

I don't envy the job of the superintendent and school committee over the next month as people bitch and moan. But I do know all of this will die down. The team may not win another championship next spring. Maybe it's time to turn the winning over to another sport in town. See you back here in 7-8 years for this issue all over again.

(Just hope the superintendent survives this and the other controversies. She's doing the right thing in every situation, but people around here are just so entitled. Sigh.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


M keeps asking to call and to see his friend P.

I keep putting him off. Making excuses.

Dead silence from A.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scar Tissue

There's a piece in the New York Times today about scars. I read it early this morning and I've been thinking about it most of the day since, and mostly in context of C's scars from when he was sick. I love the bit in the piece about scars being "signposts of optimism."

As I've written, he's had some difficulty in accepting his scars in the past. For years he wouldn't talk about it, hid it, and the big scar had a name so he could talk about it in code. But in the last two years he's become more comfortable with his big scar and runs around at the beach and the pool shirtless regularly. I don't know if anyone has asked about it. I have noticed that - just as we told him it would - the scar has stayed the same size while he has grown (he'll be taller than me by Christmas, and I'm not short). The scar appears smaller now. Phew.

Anyway, I brought the article home for him to read. He did. He thought it was weird.

I don't know what I was expecting. He's thirteen, after all. I suspect it will hang with him a bit, and the line about optimism will percolate to the surface when he needs it. At least I hope so.

At any rate, in the accompanying Well blog piece linked to the article, there's a comment:

"I tell my children (and myself?) that if you die without any scars you haven’t really lived."

I don't know about you, but I have lots of scars.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So Wrong

Hubby and I were out to dinner last night, and decided to walk around the small town a little afterward, peering into the windows of the closed shops.

In the window of a children's shop was prominently displayed a baby onesie printed or appliqued to look like a zebra-print bikini. I kid you not.

It was so utterly tasteless and so wrong on so many levels. We became more and more disturbed the more we thought about it, even as we tried to joke around about it.

Objectification of women and s*xualization of little girls is such a problem in our culture, and that onesie took it to a new low level. Euw, a million times over. Once home, I did a Web search and found it here. The woman's other stuff looks cute, but those onesies are just beyond tacky. I'm really tempted to get in touch with that shop and say so.

I guess the only good thing I can say is that I have a renewed resolve not to put my daughter in inappropriate clothing. Not that I ever did. But still.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Maybe Not

So as of this afternoon, I'd say that this book thing may not happen after all. That's okay.

They contacted me in early June about this, and I put together an outline. They came back with some edits and wanting more detail. I gave that to them. Today they sent me an outline that they want me to fill out that is completely different in tone from what they first said they were looking for.

I wrote back stating some concerns. There are a million and one books on pregnancy and babies and toddlers out there. Another book with topics on "nutrition and vitamins during pregnancy" - and from a non-medical professional at that - is not what any bookstore needs. I wouldn't buy such a book.

Given what they said they were looking for, I gave them an outline of the kind of book I'd want to buy (or receive). A bit more about the emotional side of things, something reassuring, slightly humorous, letting me know that while I have to go through much of parenting alone, have to do it myself, I'm not alone. That others have had these crazy, hard, wonderful, scary, intense, beautiful moments, too. How every mother reinvents the wheel every time, with every child - and how it all changes you in ways you never thought possible. Encouraging women to trust themselves and ignore the well-intended free advice they receive in abundance. Not overly sentimental, not overly snarky and rude, either.

Ambitious, I know, but broken out into tidy 2000 word essays relating to specific ages and milestones.

Anyway, I don't know if they want that after all. I don't want to write a book that says, "Make sure you take your prenatal vitamins everyday! Some women may feel slightly nauseous when they take their vitamins, so try taking them with a small meal or a piece of fruit." Gag.

I've pretty much prepared myself for the response to be "thanks, but no thanks, we'll find someone else." Or at least I think I have. It was fun (and daunting) to think about for a while there.

(For a "communication" company, the communication has been lacking - and especially for their tight writing schedule. I can go a week between hearing from them, even as they say they are rushed. And the editors and production people I've been in contact with? All in their early 20s. Seriously.)

Oh well.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

If you are going to go to the school committee meeting and start screaming about lack of ethics and threaten legal action, you'd better be sure that your name can't be tied to leaving behind several partial cadavers (in a freezer, thankfully) in an office when the company you led went bankrupt.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Day I Was Dreading

My sister has requested my friendship on Facebook.

God help me.

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

I had another phone meeting with a publishing house today. We're tweaking my outline and probably going to contract stage next week. 55,000 words by mid-October. In addition to my regular job, and a few other things I have going on.

I am utterly terrified.

I was approached about a month ago about writing a book about parenting. Kind of a "what the regular parenting books won't tell you" first five years kind of thing. I got into this due to some other writing I have been doing for about a year and a half now - I didn't dream it up on my own and never entertained the thought of a book on any topic (no Great American Novel in the bottom drawer). I think it's rather laughable that I have been asked to consider writing such a book as I have no freaking clue what I am doing on the parenting thing. I have screwed up so much! Yet the kids are still alive. Go figure.

Have I mentioned that I am terrified? So terrified I can barely talk about it. My family and a couple people know about it, but I am having such a hard time actually talking to them about it.

What if I am laughed at? What if I embarrass my family? What happens if the book is panned as the WORST. BOOK. RELATED. TO. MOTHERING. EVER? Will I ever be able to show my face again? Anywhere?


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Time, or Lack Thereof

Much happening, not much time for writing. Later.

But there were some humorous bits in the police log.

Sunday June 14

6:38 p.m. Caller reports blown transformer on fire on W______ Street. Utilities notified.

6:51 p.m. 911 call to report power out. Officer informed caller that 911 is for emergency only.

[I guess it's all in how you say it. Same issue: one thanked, the other chastised.]

Wednesday June 17

8:58 a.m. Caller reports squirrel will not let her out of home. Animal ran around side of home upon officer arrival.

[Let's review food chain basics. You, dear lady, are likely 5'4"-5'6", and over 100 pounds. The squirrel is a couple pounds, max. Humans can eat squirrels in a pinch - or regularly in certain areas of the south - and IT won't let YOU out of your house? Also, every house in the area has such a thing as a side or back door.]

Friday, June 19, 2009

High Drama

Many doing at the police station this week. The selectmen have overturned the town manager's decision not to renew the police chief's contract. We're learning that a recently elected selectman (by an extremely narrow margin) does indeed have an agenda. People are taking sides. I want to just stay out of the way.

Thursday June 4

8:15 a.m. Investigation of suspicious acts directed to gas station owners on T______ Street.

[That same guy from last week's police report, I guess. ]

2:31 p.m. Report of male party sitting on the side of the road in high grass. All okay.

[Were those last three words mixed up? Should it have been "high on grass?"]

10:02 p.m. Caller reports loud party near H_______ Landing. Officer reports noise is not a party, youths taking boat out of water.

[Those darn youths trying to take appropriate care of property! And having fun while they do it!]

Friday June 5

10:19 a.m. Caller reports motor vehicle all over the road on S_____ Street. Officer stopped operator. Out testing front end for repair. All secure.

[God forbid a resident might want to make sure their vehicle was generally safe.]

Saturday June 6

12:23 p.m. Caller reports two motor vehicles parked in front of no parking signs on P_______ Avenue.

[Such brilliance for persons attending a school graduation.]

Sunday June 7

5:27 p.m. Caller reports parents on field, child ejected from game. Request police. All parties spoken to and told to leave. Police car standing by until all parties have left the area.

[Those 3rd/4th grade baseball playoff games are getting tense!]

Tuesday June 9

6:05 p.m. Suspicious motor vehicle on T_____ Street. E-mail sent and detectives notified.

[E-mail? Really?]

Wednesday June 10

2:37 p.m. Caller on A_________ Way reports he was assaulted by his brother.

[Within a couple years, this may be my boys. Sigh.]

6:35 p.m. Caller on W________ Street reports cut off finger. Ambulance transported to hospital.

[Ouch. Apparently time to check the dismemberment table in your insurance policy.]


Someday I will tell C what an asshole he's being to me right now.

Adolescents suck.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Big Gulp

I had an interesting conversation this afternoon. With a project editor at a publishing house.

So, um, I'm writing a table of contents and a sample chapter for a book proposal.

Oh. My. God.

Not a done deal by any stretch, but it's interesting it's gotten this far.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Quiet Week...

...for the police log, that is. Oh, we had the now expected animal issues - dogs, raccoons, horses, swans. The Animal Control Officer is working overtime, it seems.

The police station itself is a hot mess, however. The chief's contract is not being renewed, letters and such are being "leaked" all over the place, and there are lots of accusations going back and forth in the comments section of the town paper. Part of me is glad there is another controversy in town to deflect attention from the school start time thing (so maybe we on the implementation committee can do our job in peace!), but part of me thinks that Prozac in the water supply isn't such a bad idea. Calm down, people!

Anyway, there were just these bits that caught my eye in the police log:

Thursday May 28

12:42 p.m. Resident of C----- Street complains of speeding vehicles in the area day and night. Advised patrol of the same.

[Day and night, I tell you, day and night!]

Tuesday June 2

2:24 a.m. Suspicious person walking on C------- Street. Officer shuttled party to P------- line.

[What do you want to bet that in that town's police log there's a similar entry time stamped closer to 3:00AM? Each town's police picks up the "suspicious" person, transports him/her to the next town line....kind of effective, really, for the person trying to get somewhere.]

Wednesday June 3

11:48 a.m. Report of a male approximately 30 years old in green sedan yells swears out to owners of gas station on T------- Street every morning at approximately 8:55-9:10 a.m. Patrols notified.

[So the gas station overcharged yet another resident on a repair, it seems.]

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

An Odd Feeling

Hubby just called to tell me that C's surgeon, Dr. G, the one who saved his life twice, has left the hospital for other endeavors. I'm suddenly kinda choked up.

Of course people move on to new things, and it's unrealistic to think they will stick around forever, but it was a comforting feeling knowing those incredibly skilled hands were right there if we ever needed them again - though hoping all along we never would.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Trying to See the Bigger Picture

It's amazing sometimes what life throws at you. If you had told me that I'd have to deal with some recent stuff, I likely would not have believed you.

My family is all physically okay, thank goodness. We still are sorting out emotional fallout from the thing with S and that friend, mostly for M and me. A is not allowing P and M to see each other, and she's shutting me out firmly. On some levels, I can understand it, but at least for M and P - well, they had nothing to do with anything. I'm becoming very adept at excuses to M why he can't see P, but I hate lying to him.

Even if P and M are allowed to be friendly again, I suspect my friendship with A is lost. This makes me very sad; I don't open up to new friends easily. It takes time, and my friendship with A was several years in the making. But thinking about that evening at our house and what I interrupted, I'd act in the same way again. I protected my daughter, and hopefully her son is getting help.

However, this is a small town. I don't know if she intends to avoid me altogether from now on or what. It could make for some very awkward moments, and especially with scouts. Scouts isn't my favorite thing, but M loves it. A is his den leader. I don't know what will happen in the fall.

This whole situation makes my heart feel heavy. I know I did the right thing, but it's a lonely feeling.

In addition to all that, what happened over the weekend just makes me angry.

C broke his wrist over the weekend. He was playing soccer in another town, and after successfully defending the ball, he was intentionally fouled hard after the play was over. The injury happened breaking his fall from that foul. The kid who fouled him similarly (intentionally) fouled another of C's teammates in early May, resulting in...a broken wrist. Apparently that kid as some anger management issues. Anyway, after coming off the field, one of C's coaches managed to align the bone, then my husband took him to the ER. Upon leaving the field, the coach for the other team told C to, "Stop whining." Lovely. C's coach says he intends to file a formal grievance with the league.

I know C could have gotten hurt at any time while playing soccer, but since it was the direct result of someone else's malicious actions, I''m just pissed. And this injury, at this time of year, doesn't just affect the rest of the soccer season (and baseball season). It affects sailing season - and C really, really loves sailing. He had planned the next two summers of lessons to maximize his chances of getting on the high school sailing team (we're one of the few public schools in the country that has a high school team). Sailing starts in two weeks, and C was scheduled to learn a new boat this summer. I just had to withdraw him from first session. We're keeping our fingers crossed for second session, but honestly, it doesn't look good.

Someone noted that in these kinds a situations, new interests necessarily rise to the surface. I hope that's true. The break is on C's right side, and of course he's right handed, so writing is out for a while. But his left hand is fine...and when he plays French Horn, it's his left hand that presses the keys. So I'm looking into a summer music program for him instead.

It's two weeks until school is out. It's a mad dash and endurance race all at once. There are field trips and awards nights and ceremonies and this and that and the other thing. My college reunion is this weekend, and I'm finding I'm nervous for that. Our walk for the hospital is this weekend, too. Then Father's Day, a couple weeks of juggling before our summer sitter is available full-time, Fourth of July, and so on. I feel like it's September already! Yes, summer is that full already.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

This Week in Suburban Law Enforcement

Friday May 22

3:03 p.m. Party reports two youths took two bags of cans from the transfer station. Officer dispatched to residence.

[We like our trash, and we don't like anyone stealing our trash. If you steal our trash, we'll call the police so we can have our trash back!]

Saturday, May 23

10:02 p.m. State DPW truck with lights flashing and no one around reported. State DPW notified.

[Sounds about right for a state department of public works crew. The lights are one but nobody is home.]

Monday, May 25

10:08 p.m. Caller reports motor vehicle pulled up to neighbors house and is hearing loud voices. Officer reports person taking pictures of dragon for scavenger hunt.

[A local firefighter welded together some scrap metal to make a dragon sculpture. He even created a little habitat/display area for it in his front yard, with lighting. He dresses it up on a regular basis to reflect upcoming holidays or events. Today it is wearing a cap and gown.]

Tuesday May 26

8:25 a.m. Swans in road on C_______ Street causing traffic problem. Animal control notified.

2:54 p.m. Carrier pigeon found in yard on S_______ Road. Animal control notified.

7:42 p.m. Caller reports hitting duck on T________ Lane. Area search negative.

[It was a big day for the Animal Control Officer. Three of the five police log entries were animal-related. The police officer's union is currently trying to negotiate a raise; perhaps the ACO officer is the one who deserves it more!]

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

When the Big Guns Back You Up

And now back to the whole school start time issue.

My town is mentioned in an analysis piece in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association. Seriously.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

We Talked

I met A at the local Chinese restaurant last night to talk. It was hard, but good. She is taking this very seriously.

She gave me a letter D had written. D apologized for being in a room with the door closed with S, but not the rest of it. It's a start, I guess.

A is trying to get an urgent appointment with a therapist - one I recommended a few weeks ago, actually. D and his dad, J, have a challenging relationship, and there have been some school struggles, which is why she wanted the name in the first place. I think I was right not to say anything to J on Sunday evening. In fact, he still doesn't know. Although I feel uncomfortable with that knowledge, A explained her reasoning, and I can't argue with it. She wants to tell J in a therapist's office, in a safe place. There are many levels of family issues being revealed in what has happened. J is very results oriented and really doesn't know how to relate to D. Apparently J has already talked about sending D to boarding school, and A worries that this event will seal that deal. D is still A's little boy, she still thinks there's room to help him figure it all out at home.

(J reminds me of my dad in some ways - and not the best parts. All about the results, not the process, difficulty relating at times. When my brother was an adolescent, my father had a hard time relating to him. They ended up sending him away to a boarding school. It took decades for the relationship to be repaired, and I am not sure that it was ever fully repaired.)

I am still very upset with D for what he did, but I want him to get real help, not be sent away. If boarding school is the right thing for him, I want it to be for issues separate from this, for the "right" reasons. I'm very concerned for A. I tried to reassure her that I do not blame her in any way and I have a lot of concern for D, and care for the whole family. I offered to talk to J, when he learns of it, to reassure him of our concern, that S is okay, that we don't blame him or A, etc.

She said that she told D that the families would be taking a break from each other for a bit. I didn't press her on that. I'm not sure if that will be mean M and P, too. I don't know how that will play out.

I reassured her that I think S is okay. For S, hopefully, this is a weird blip. We may have dodged something big, but the point is we dodged it (I am trying to hold on to that thought as much as I can). Hopefully for all of us.

In terms of my immediate family, I feel better about things. I feel like we handled it as best we could - though my husband and I will be feeling some emotional fallout from this for a long while. I am concerned for my friend - very concerned. For her things may be just beginning - and I can only hope that in the end it will be for good. Even as I redouble my efforts to protect my daughter, and talk appropriately to my sons and daughter, I'll try to support her as I can, as she allows.

On the way out of the restaurant, I was preoccupied (obviously). There was a large group in one corner that I hadn't even noticed. As I walked by I never made eye contact with anyone or looked in their direction, but recognized two people out of the corner of my eye and realized it was this gathering of people from our former church called, "God on Tap." Just as I realized that, this voice rose loudly out of the otherwise low-level din, and I heard, "..and we're all enjoying this time together!" It was the rector, R. Asshole.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I Don't Know What to Do

We have these friends - family friends. A, the mom, and I are good friends. We walk together regularly. J, the dad, is a pal, too. P, their younger son, is M's best friend. A is also M and P's Cub Scout leader. D is their other son, a little older. He's a grade behind C. C and D are buds when their are together, but not friends on their own. D and P are like S's other brothers. She loves them like brothers. She loves A. We've all be pretty friendly for years now. A is an emergency pick up name for my kids for school, and I for her kids. Our cats are related - and we care for one another's animals during vacations and such.

Yesterday, my hubby spent most of the day in a boom lift taking out dead trees and branches in the yard. Our neighbors, the SPs were a great help. At one point, M called P to see if he wanted to come see the equipment. A brought P and D over and they spent the afternoon here hanging out. We arranged for A, J, D, & P to have dinner with us and for the SPs to join all of us for an end of the day drink.

So all the grown ups are in the porch chatting when M realizes one of our cats is nowhere to be found. The kids all start looking for him, thinking he got out, though we searched indoors, too. After about 1/2 an hour, M is distraught. I'm trying to console him, as is P and C. I look around for D and S. Does P know where they are? He thinks the front yard.

Nope, not the front yard. Not the study. Huh.

I go upstairs and S's door is closed. I open it. S is startled, but she and D are in there.

S is not wearing pants. I ask S why she doesn't have her pants on, and she say, "D told me to take them off."


I walk in further and D leaves. I ask again what happened, and S says, "I wanted to play with D and he told me to take off my pants.

I verify that S still has underwear on. I tell her quickly that the only people who can tell her to take off her pants are Mommy, Daddy, her doctor, and sometimes a babysitter. I ask her to put her pants back on and she can't play up her anymore tonight.

I go downstairs. D is sitting in the family room (his parent still on the porch), rigid, eyes like saucers. I motion for him to please come talk to me. In the living room, I ask him what happened, and he doesn't say a word. I ask if he told S to take off her pants. He shakes his head "No," eyes still wide. I reiterate strongly, quietly and quickly that it is never okay to go into a young girl's room and close the door and that it is never okay to ask a girl to take off any of her clothing. Ever. He walks away.

I was shaking. We have a house full of people and I don't want this to explode inappropriately in front of the neighbors, C, M, and P, who were not a part of it, and J has a little bit of a temper, etc.

A few moments later, I get A's attention. I pull her into the dining room to tell her what happened. I play it down a bit. Everything is fine, S is okay, I say. She is obviously upset. I tell her I spoke briefly to D. I tell her I wanted to say something now because I didn't want to blindside her in the morning. I tell her we'll get through it. I reassure her. I pour us both more wine and we go back to the party, with a close eye on D and S's proximity to one another.

I get a chance a little later to tell my husband. He says he heard D ask S to go up to her room while he was helping M look for the kitty.

We continue with our evening and have a mostly fun time. I don't think we let onto J that there was something else going on. When they leave, I say goodbye to them all - even managed to high-five D. A and I said we'd walk on Wednesday as usual.

We get M and S to bed. The kitty is found. My husband and I talk. What bullet did we just dodge? Holy shit. I have more wine. I go to sleep.

I was up early this morning. Distressed.

This morning on the way to school, I try, in a light voice, to ask S what happened with D again. She tells me that D asked to go up to her room, that D said they needed alone time, and that after playing a few minutes D asked her to take off her pants.

She suddenly seemed shy and embarrassed about it. I reassure her that she did nothing wrong. Nothing at all. Lots of hugs.

I tried calling A this morning on the pretense that we wanted to let them know the kitty was found. She hasn't called back.

I feel sick to my stomach. I feel like I failed my daughter by not teaching her specifics like "don't take off your pants for anyone!" yet so relieved that I got there when I did.

D is old enough to know better. It was a classic power play. S sees D like a brother, essentially a trusted grownup.

I have a call into one of the school psychologists I know for advice and possibly a referral.

I don't know what to do from here, if anything. I want to address it appropriately, but not make it more than it is or has to be for S's sake. I feel at such a loss.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Did They Expect?

It's been less than 24 hours since our president announced his nominee for the United States Supreme Court. I knew she'd be subject to attacks, often ridiculous ones - and they have only just begun. God bless anyone for being willing to step into that spotlight.

What is more incredulous to me is right wing supposedly "horrified" that this woman has left-leaning tendencies. Just what did they expect? That our president was going to vet his choice with someone like this or this? I mean, really.

I never expected our previous president to do anything but look at people from his side of the political spectrum, even as I was pretty horrified over those he did choose. Just being realistic there. For the right wing to somehow think they were going to see a conservative nominee is sheer idiocy.

Then for someone to say she's, "not that intelligent." What the fuck? I know this guy and my favorite left leaning political pundit have something of a respect for one another given their banter on her show, but I hope she takes him to serious task for this. Then pounds him into the ground. For good.

Next up, this astoundingly easy target. Over on a FB group someone wondered in a comment when he would shut up already. Someone else replied, "When he overdoses on Vicodin." Can we please get him a new dealer and put us all out of our misery?

I read a piece on a couple of the sitting justices recently. While it noted that one justice in particular hadn't said anything from the bench for years, it noted the regular sound bites from another justice. It recounted a particular speaking engagement, and in this case, comments about how one becomes a law clerk at the Supreme Court. The gist was that one had to go to the H law school, and others weren't considered because the really smart ones go to H and that's all there was to it. How entirely elitist and dismissive of the traditional "American dream."

That got me thinking about my dad's favorite justice - NOT an H graduate, or a Y, or a C, or any of the biggies - but someone who ascended to the highest level of the judiciary nonetheless. If he were working his way though in this day and age, he likely would have been pushed back even harder because he didn't have the narrow educational background someone like the guy mentioned above would have wanted. (I also think Dad would have been horrified by how the current chief was elevated after the death of the former chief. It should have gone to someone already on the court. Though I wouldn't have relished the idea of that windbag I mentioned above being elevated to chief, or a couple others, I feel that way, too.)

At any rate, I think the current right-wing establishment is totally threatened by the nominee. An unabashedly smart woman who worked her way up from the bottom...even getting that Y degree (and that P one isn't shabby, either, especially at a time when schools like Y and P were still getting used to women among them women who were there were multiple times smarter than the men around them). So instead of saying anything of value, they attack her for being "not that smart" or "liberal" (some ratings have called her moderate).

When justices are nominated, I think about my dad. While my dad was very conservative, he also would have had some serious respect for what the nominee has done with her life. She is not from privilege, nor was my father. While, as a conservative, my father would have, of course, preferred a different outcome for our recent presidential election, and resulting nomination from the right, but I also think he would have been annoyed with the ridiculous and unfounded commentary we're hearing right now. It demeans the entire process and further promotes partisan bickering. It's not helpful to anyone.

I believe the nominee will persevere. I believe she is a smart choice. I believe she will go one to be a very good justice. I think there are a couple other justices waiting to see how this whole thing plays out before they consider leaving. (I think our president will have at least one other opportunity to nominate a justice, possibly two or three. )

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Life Just Keeps Happening

I started out by writing, "It's been quite a couple of days." But that was almost a week ago. Unlike Panthiest Mom, I really haven't lost any days. I've experienced all of them quite fully. It's just that I am exhausted, and the summer is just starting.

First the funny stuff. This seems totally incongruous to me. This totally homophobic organization...has a cake decorating patch.

Last Wednesday about 1PM, hubby's cousin called. His voice had that tone of urgency in his voice so that when he said he needed to get in touch withy my hubb, that his son had just been admitted to the hospital, I didn't stop to ask why. I just gave him instructions on how to reach Hubby the fastest way possible.

It was several hours before I heard more. To shorten the story significantly, O's (the cousin) son, G, had been having headaches off and on for three weeks or so. It was attriubted to being "post-viral." Then in the couple days before this, some nausea and vomiting had begun. J, O's wife, brought him to the hospital, determined to get a diganosis. The doc decided on an MRI and admit afterward to figure it all out. G was sedated for the MRI.

THe MRI showed a tumor on G's cerebellum. They didn't even wake him up from the MRI sedation; he went straight to the OR in the care of the top neurosurgeon at the hospital. On their way in to the OR, they were pretty sure they knew what kind of tumor it was.

After a long evening - Hubby stayed with them until G was out of surgery and settled somewhat - the sugeon reported a very sucessful procedure and G was admitted to the PICU for recovery. The same PICU where my C was for those weeks in 2003. The surgeon said the tumor was as expected, though they still need to wait on pathology, and an MRI the next day would check to be sure everything was out.

I went to go see G (and J) the next morning at the PICU. He looked great. Really great. J, of course, was tired. G had a drain in and they were watching pressures. Everything looked really positive.

(It was hard to go into the PICU - still - and even for a reason totally separate from my own child. I saw some of our A team of nurses, the "How can we?" team: J and H and L. We talked for a bit. They asked after C, of course, and I told them about the couple lingering issues he has: fire alarms and needles. The fire alarm issue was of particular interest, and J thinks it might help some other parents of longer term patients to know about it. G's nurse was not someone we knew from our time there, but she knew who I was because of the mobiles and because we make sure we send the PICU an updated photo yearly with the mobile - she specifically thanked me for that, said it helps them tremendously to know that the kids they care for in such precarious circumstances go on to live full and healthy lives. G had had one of our nurses overnight, and it was sweet to compare notes with G's mom. It also turns out that when word had come the previous day that a child would be coming from neurosurgery that night, there were two rooms available, #2 and #8, and they had to pick one to set up. Then they heard it was C's cousin, and they chose #2. #8 was C's room. They still remember that, and even for them it would be too weird for cousins to have the same PICU room.)

By Thursday night, G had had a "phenomenal" day according to the nurses. The follow up MRI confirmed all the tumor was gone. G even had Thai food for dinner. Hubby was checking in on them several times a day. On Friday the pathology report came back as expected - no chemo or radiation required, and it's not likely to recur. By Friday night, the drain was being removed and he was transferred to the regular floor.

We wanted to visit G on Sunday as we were going to be near the hospital anyway. But we couldn't - because he had been discharged!

We are just so thankful for this outcome. It's made our annual walk for the hospital even more meaningful - didn't think it could mean more, but it does.

Meanwhile at home...

...on Wednesday evening, while waiting for word, M had a baseball game for which C was umpire. After getting home, I made a quick dinner as it was late. Boring pasta with red sauce with fresh grated Romano on top. After eating, I needed to get S up to bed, and asked the boys to please clear the table and get things put away. I heard them bickering as I went upstairs but opted to ignore it. When I got back down stairs an hour or so later, things did appear neat and tidy.

Fast forward to Thursday. I'm naking spaghetti carbonnara. The bacon is cooked, the egg is ready, the pasta is almost ready, and I go to get the cheese. That nice new hunk of Romano we'd grated on dinner the night before. No cheese. Anywhere. I scour the fridge.

I ask the boys. They each claim the other was supposed to have put it away. I find the wrapper in the dog's crate.

The bickering has crossed the line. It's not just the two of them anymore - their bickering affected the rest of the family's ability to have dinner! I was livid.

I sent them to bed without dinner. I did.

It't not like they were starving or anything. I'm not evil - not most of the time anyway. They'd been snacking on some chips and salsa and guacamole before dinner. I just needed them to feel some real consequences - especially since taking away the standard privileges just hasn't been working lately.

M was particularly remorseful. C is 13 - which means he's too cool to let me know what he's thinking. But I think they both got the message. And I had big breakfasts for them the next day.

And that's the big stuff from the last week or so. The weekend was very full - a fundraising party at the school where the boys sail (I admit I had a little more wine than usual - something of a release after the intensity of the previous few days - and I paid for that all Saturday), Tball, coffee selling for the walk for the hospital, baseball, soccer, more baseball, a birthday party (at which we were all exposed to strep, I have just learned), Cub Scout activities, Memorial Day parade and remembrances, the anniversary of my father's passing, lots of yard work, and more baseball.

No wonder it's the work week and I need a nap!