Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Pix

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gotta run now!

Okay! We got a treadmill! Woohoo! I was a little torn initially. I don't mind running on a treadmill but it feels a little like cheating. But when we saw the ad in the local paper and went to check it out it was obviously such a good deal we'd have been idiots for passing it up, and I'd have to question my committment to this marathon too. And as it turned out it was perfect timing. The weekend after we got it home we had a snow storm. Not much by New England standards (my default setting) but a lot on an island with maybe one plow. THe roads were still more or less ice-packed yesterday, 6 days after the storm. People are driving around with chains on the tires! School was on delayed start every day this week! So, all that to say, no way was I going to risk my life running on the roads and so it was extra awesome to have the treadmill. And this mornign at 5:30 or so when I finally got up it was awesome to be able to go downstairs and pump out 7 miles before anyone else was even up (okay, the Bunny caught the last .25 mile).

Now I'm going to bundle up with the kids and go for a ice-covered pond tour. I figure that with sub-freezing temps all week we should be quite safe walking over the shallows. And maybe we'll take some more grub out to the geese. Ever since it got cold enough to freeze the pond I've been bringing them apples and pears and stale cereal. they love it and I love how they come honking and waddling over to me as soon as I walk out the door these days. They're still saucy but they need a little love too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and all that

Honestly right this minute I'm feeling a little less than festive. After trying to keep my mom and her fiance's issues at arms length and let them have their own Thanksgiving without interference it seems like their relationship has finally gone off the rails. I don't really want to know. I wish it were that easy. But as I laid awake in bed way too early this morning I found myself imagining my mom feeling totally crushed with disappointment that this latest in a series of doomed relationships has gone so bad. Why can't she find a nice, steady guy who doesn't pretend to be more than he is? Maybe because she's crazy and those guys don't appeal? Whatever the reason it's a bummer and this time I hope the economic fallout doesn't completely cripple her. So anyway, I got up to check the fares to visit her instead of going home this weekend. I don't know, it's too early to call her and see if she needs me at all and if so if she would welcome a visit this weekend or if she can wait another week or so.
So there's that. And then I also feel like there must be something I could do to wake my brother up to the fact that he's missing out on a relationship for himself and his family that could be really nice. I don't know when the last time he and my dad were speaking but it's been a while. And it just makes me feel sad, for my dad and for my brother. But I just don't know what the magic words are and I'm not even sure that I'm back on solid enough footing with my brother to make them stick if I can even figure out what they are.
So it's a modern holiday season right? Complete with family crises, odd step relatives and non-communication as well as the usual task of keeping Santa alive and arranging for cards, cookies and gifts to as many friends and relatives as humanly (and financially) possible.

But, enough angst, I'm on vacation and it's been a nice one. We've had just enough time to reconnect with some old friends in St. Louis and I had a great time meeting a dingo here in Wisconsin. We've known each other for a couple years now and I've been following her blog for about that long and finding her life and her balancing of family, work and farming fascinating and inspiring. Actually getting the real live tour of the barn, meeting the sheep, the emu, the chickens, patting Pumpkin Pie, checking out the somewhat creepy borrowed ram, that alone was well worth the drive through Wisconsin farmland. But the real treat was the instant comfy friendiness of meeting my friend in person for the first time. The whole encounter was just so enjoyable and so lacking any weird awkwardness that you might expect in a first-date type of situation. It can be hard and nearly embarrassing trying to describe the dingos to non-dingos but I am so grateful for my friends there and the quiet space of the dingo cafe in which we are able to have conversation about anything and everything without interruptions from children, spouses or anything else.

And for that, my awesome kids, my sweet smart husband, our happy home and stable extended family I am very grateful this Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Status Update

Marathon training is going well! I went out with the women's running group yesterday and we did 3.7 miles in about 40 minutes, much faster than I would have done it on my own, and farther than was on my training schedule too! And I felt good. We ran a couple real hills and I managed to keep up and keep running. I'm sure it's premature to judge but so far so good.

The girls are both doing well. The Bunny was tapped to be in a reader's theatre presentation for the kindergartners yesterday and was pleased that the rest of us all showed up to see. She also tested for her low yellow belt in TKD on Wed. I hope she passes but she hasn't made up her mind whether or not to continue with it. I hope she does of course, I have been so impressed with the kids who are testing to be black belts. They have such incredible poise and confidence. Our favorite girl just made a huge mistake of judgement but unlike what I'd expect of a normal 13 year old, not only did she confess to me what she had done to explain why she won't be available for babysitting for 6 months to a year, but she asked me to forgive her and expressed her hope that my opinion of her was not irreprably damaged. Considering her infraction I think all the more highly of her for her mature way of admitting fault and accepting consequences. A lot of adults could take a lesson from her.
But to get back to the Bunny, she knows she'll have to pick an activity to fill in the gap if she does drop TKD and so dh and I are hoping that her decision won't create any massive transportation complications.

Ali G is doing well too. She is walking and chatting up a storm. Her words are getting closer and closer to what she is trying to say. She is such a sweet little kid . Her default setting is happy optimism and she is calm and comfortable with or without me, a huge difference between her and her sister. During the testing she watched the activity on the mat until a mother picked her up out of her backpack seat and then she spent the rest of the time investigating the contents of bags and packs and being generally charming.

So, that's the update for now. Next week we go to St. Louis to introduce Ali G to her other grandma and then up to Madison to see Dad and spend Thanksgiving.

Time to get some tidying done.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Amen to that.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I just realized how odd it is that I hadn't mentioned the AMAZING HISTORIC ELECTION that just took place here.
The thing about this blog is that I compose entries in my head every day that never get out. I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about the election, crying with joy and amazement and feeling flushed with a renewed faith in the decency and the fundamental goodness of America. Honestly I can't remember ever having this sense of pride in my nation. I was psyched that Clinton won the first time I voted but it's so different to feel that the country has made this sea change in outlook and deed. Maybe I kept putting this post off because I am not able to express this as eloquently as it deserves. But I think you know how I feel. I think you feel that swelling feeling in your chest, that catch of the breath, that feeling of HOPE taking wing.

Running in the Rain ROCKS!

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. Pounding. That isn't actually a common sound in these parts, or at least it hasn't been in the 6 months we've lived here. So today was the day I had resolved to join this women's running group in town. I've been hanging out with the Dingos online for years now but I haven't done much IRL group running and you know, this marathon thing is kind of intimidating so I'm looking for all the support I can find. Anyway, did I mention the POURING RAIN? Well so I got a bit freaked out. Okay it was really more like those butterflies you get at the top of a double black diamond slope that you've just committed to and can't get out of anymore. It was like that. Only for a few minutes there I could still back out because nobody knew I was going but me and dh. But then I told the Dingos and then I called the health cli to see if they were still going. they were. And they got my name. Sooo... I got my gore tex pants and my "wterproof" jacket and went.

And it turned out to be terrific. A really great run. The women are nice and welcoming, though generally faster than me (hardly a feat). We ran the 5k loop that we did for the 4th of July run and which will be the Turkey Trot here. A couple of them are training to do the Vancouver Marathon in May. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Week 2 of Marathon training under way!

Well, my runs are super short but so far so good. Today I did 3 miles and it felt great. I am so excited to see this thing through, I have lots of time but I do hope it's enough.
I found a couple pictures of the Bunny from the costume parade from Halloween in her Hannah Montana getup.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Hallloween!

So the town went all out for Halloween yesterday. All of the elementary school kids got marched down the main street of town and lots of adults got dressed up too. Including me! I went as HazMat Mama with a tool belt full of dipes and wipes. Ali G went as Piglet and we got our picture in the local online journal. The Bunny was Hanna Montana and you can almost see her in a picture on the second page but you kind of have to know where to look.

Here I am with my mom and Ali G waiting for the parade.

Here we are after Ali G's first-ever trick-or-treating.

And the Bunny, looking way too old for seven with her Haloween makeup on.

A journey of 26.2.miles begins with a single step...

I'm doing it.
I started training this week for the San Francisco Marathon, July 26 2009. If we women can make a human in that amount of time I should be able to turn myself into an endurance runner in that amount of time, right? Right.

So far I've done 6 miles. Six incredibly slow miles. But you have to start somewhere (see above) and I'm pretty psyched. For a long time it's been in the back of my mind that I'd like to do a marathon someday. So, thanks to my buddy Poppy, I suddenly thought, well why not now?
And, how about you? Yes, you! You wanna do this thing too? My goal will be 1. to finish and 2. to finish in 6 hours. That's it. Nothing fancy. No heroics. Just 26.2 miles of steady plodding around my favorite city in all the world. Just think of the post-race food! Mmmmmm. Chinatown here I come!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Health Care With No Legs to Stand On: The Questions Behind the Question

Below is an essay written by my good friend, the midwife, naturopath, voice of reason, mother, herbalist, and all around wise woman Alison Bastien. When I saw the picture below I was horrified at the new depth of depersonalization happening in obstetric care but Alison managed to frame my knee jerk response in a far more useful way.

There is a lot of information available these days. Access to the

Internet has made hundreds of journals, books, and opinions available to us

wherever we live. What fascinates me, though, is all of the information I

obtain by what is not being said. It is sort of like those brain teaser pictures,

depicting a white vase but actually, when you focus on the blackness, you

realize you are looking at two ladies in profile. It's not even that it “wasn't”

a picture of a white vase, really, it's more like there's more than meets the eye.

Modern health care paradigms feel like this to me. It's not just what they

“say” is good practice, it's the assumption behind it, the ladies in profile that

become revealed when we stop admiring the vase.

For example: As a midwife and as an interpreter I attended some of the emergency

obstetrical trainings for doctors and midwives in my state in central Mexico.

They are presented by an international medical association composed of

doctors and nurse-midwives who travel all over the Americas giving excellent, and

succinct workshops on the latest updates in lifesaving techniques for the

most common obstetrical emergencies. They simultaneously train the

attendees to become trainers themselves, to share the knowledge in their

medical communities and with their peers.

One of the workshops was on Shoulder Dystocia, a very scary situation

in which a babies shoulders may become stuck, or wedged behind the

pubic bones of the mother on delivery, so you have the babies head outside

her body, and the body unable to rotate and slip out. If not resolved, this

emergency could result in brain damage, or even death by asphyxia to the

baby. Timing is then essential to recognizing and resolving the situation.

The instructors, using their Power Point presentations to emphasize the

steps, and their large model torso of a woman with a removable belly-

cover and the model baby to be stuck inside her, take us through the

options and the steps to resolving the problem:

  • 1. Call for help
  • 2. Consider an episiotomy (cutting the perenium to “get more room”)
  • 3. the “McRoberts”maneuver, flexing the womans legs up by her ears, to “open the pelvic outlet”
  • 4. Suprapubic pressure (someone pushes really hard on the outside, while someone else is putting traction on the baby)
  • 5. Internal maneuvers (is this starting to sound like a war room strategy yet?)
  • A) the “Ruben“ maneuver, inserting ones fingers behind the anterior shoulder of the baby and trying to push it towards the baby's chest, so it can turn and scoot out.
  • B) the“Woods-Corkscrew” maneuver, whereby one presses ones hands on the posterior shoulder of the baby and presses the opposite direction.

These maneuvers are simple and useful, provided one can even slide their fingers in along the stuck baby

in the first place. Though the textbook then mentions as a footnote, the “roll on

fours” (or “Gaskin” maneuver) in the workshop the teacher moved straight on to

worst case scenario measures, such as breaking the baby´s clavicle to get it out,

pushing the baby back in and doing a cesarean, or breaking the woman's pubic bone

(no easy task!)

“Excuse me..” A nurse midwife from the midwest also attending the

workshops waves her hand up, “What about the Gaskin Manuever?”

I was wondering the same thing. The Gaskin Manuever was popularizad

by midwife, Ina May Gaskin, as result of her observations of other

empirical midwives in the highlands of Guatemala in the 1970s. This

consisted of turning the birthing woman over onto a hands and knees position

which , it was found, spontaneously or with minimal interventions, rotated the babies

100 percent of the time with no negative outcomes to mother or babies.

Personally, and for my nurse midwife friend, it was always our first choice for its

much lesser risk of trauma to both mother and baby. In this position, there is no

pressure on the coccyx and the baby's own weight presses the on the pubic bone. It

gives us automatically a little more room in case we still need to use any gentle traction

or maneuvering.

The instructor cleared his throat. “Well, the Gaskin maneuver? It almost always

works. That's why it's last on the list. If all else fails, that one will almost assuredly

rotate the baby and get it out. “

“That's crazy!” The nurse-midwife blurted out, “ Why would you waste all

that valuable time and effort and risk all the tissue trauma on all those other things

first if you yourself just acknowledged this is usually better?”

There followed much loud murmuring and muttering by the several dozen

Obstetricians and gynecologists in the room.

The presenter of the workshop shrugged his apology: “I know it's counter-intuitive, but like these docs are saying, we've got women with

intravenous tubes in their arms, fetal monitoring belts on, and they are mostly

lying prone on the hospital beds. It's a lot more tricky to get them into the

all-fours position with all those wires and tubes. Most of the women have epidural

anesthesia as well, with tubes in their spinal column and no feeling down below.”

The doctors are all nodding in agreement as I translate.

“Really, it's a mess trying to get someone to turn onto all fours on a

slippery metal hospital gurney, especially if their legs are already tied up

in the stirrups.”

My midwife friend seethed, conceding the point.

The Question behind the Question was: “ So why are we still putting women

on their backs on a slippery hospital gurney with tubes and wires all over them and

their legs up in the air in stirrups in the first place, if it hinders them in getting their

babies out?

This isn't just some third world issue by any means. Just last week I was

at a prestigious Ivy League Nurse-Midwifery school. In this case, I was

being given a tour of the teaching facilities. My student guide led me to

the robot teaching models. Actually, we had used an only slightly less sophisticated

model in some of the CPR courses and in the emergency courses in Mexico.

In these versions, a life-like plastic dummy woman with the removable belly

and baby featured a mechanical system whereby everything was programmed into

a nearby laptop computer, to simulate a variety of complications of delivery.

The baby could exhibit asynclitism, malpresentations, as well as the dreaded

shoulder dystocia for the students to practice resolving the problems while

the robot baby and mother exhibit life-like responses in their vital signs

to reflect the “what ifs” of proper or improper management in techniques

and choices. The robot woman had a life sized labia and cervix which dilated

to 10 cm. so the students could also practice checking dilation and station.

I had seen these robots in the medical supply catalogs stacked up for free

perusing and purchasing in the nursing department locker room. I had read

up on all the cool simulator robots just the night before, in a fit of uncharacteristic

insomnia. The teaching mama and baby goes for about 18,000 dollars.

“So, pretty neat, huh?”

I nodded agreement with my enthusiastic student guide, who was at that

very moment demonstrating some hand maneuvers up our robots vagina and


“So, uh, do you guys ever learn about the Gaskin maneuver for shoulder

dystocia? “ I wondered. It wasn't a far fetched question — Ina May Gaskin

often toured the Ivy league medical schools and did grand rounds in

prestigious hospitals sharing her points of view and representing her own books

on the subject and the Midwives Alliance of North America.

“Oh, sure, “ The student paused, “You mean the hands and knees thing?

Yeah, they mention that, too.”

I repeated what the doctors had protested in the obstetrical emergency workshops,

about how impractical it was , given the I.V.s and the fetal monitors and


“Yeah , well, that's the thing…” The student shrugged, simulating a baby

getting swirled around by the corkscrew maneuver half inside the mother

as we talked. “We've got, like, a 90% epidural rate around here. “

That's the thing, I thought. It's pretty hard to practice getting a woman onto

her hands and knees when she has no arms or legs.

And that's the metaphor for many of our issues in health care. People

nod, say “Oh yeah, I've heard of that ...” but have no real models, no

access, no support with which to safely explore and practice the options.

Practitioners will be hard pressed to moving someone to their hands and knees

(ie: a grounded, self-motivated position in which internal changes may then

occur spontaneously) when that someone has no arms or legs!

We need to begin sharing our experiences and intuitions more boldly,

To ask the Questions behind the Question—in this case, if you can't do it because

the mother is on a narrow uncomfortable bed and has too many tubes in her,

then why do we have her on a narrow uncomfortable bed with so many tubes in

her? Is all that part of the problem or part of the solution?

Some people call this “thinking outside of the box” . But I think when

we identify ourselves as inside or outside of a box, that's actually part of the problem.

The question behind the question is: Where the heck did the box come from? At what

Point in our collective consciousness did we agree there even is a box? And then, whose

got a leg to stand on around here?

-Alison Bastien

May 08

Friday, October 17, 2008

Birthday Cake time again

So the Bunny wanted to go with a Swan Lake theme birthday again this year. The cake she wanted can be seen here as Swan 03. I took the advice and used Rice Krispie Treats for the neck and head. That worked great and I might just turn into one of those bizarre people who start sculpting with food.

Anyway, I thought that the initial amount of chocolate cake I had was a little skimpy so I made a batch of brownies hoping to use the gooey center as modeling clay. Well, Duncan Hines disappointed me with its unfudgyness but it still worked to fill in the gaps and give the bird a little more substance.

I also used Nutella as glue and mint flavored dental floss to hold it all together temporarily while the nutella set in te fridge.

Anyway, here are my in process shots. I have to say, although I didn't even think about doing a fancy base until it was quite late in the game, I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. Of course, it still has to survive in the fridge until tomorrow at about 2 so let's all just cross our fingers, shall we?

I do love cooking.

Hmm, does it look like that goose cookie jar is making eyes at my swan, or am I projecting?

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October's here!

So, Xoche has been needing to be groomed for a long time. Seriously, this dog has had her feral-looking moments but she's been neglected all summer except for a copuple of hose downs. But she isn't a particularly friendly dog when it's time to pull out all the matted, stinky, burry, stinky old undercoat. Not that I blame her, but if we want to keep our fingers on, she needs to wear this I tried to reassure her that it's very Lady and the Tramp but she wasn't impressed and tried to bite our hands off repeatedly anyway.

In the end we got a lot of fur out of her and she cleaned up nicely. She has actually been in a much better mood since then too, go figure.

In honor of living back in Squashville we've been doing some stuffed squash. I couldn't resist these cute sugar pumpkins and thught they'd make a nice meal. And they did, we polished them off. For real. Okay, I shared mine with Ali G and The Bunny gave a wee bit of hers to Xoche but basically? We're pigs.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ahh, the deck. With decking .

Well, yes, it is a little anticlimactic. We actually got more done today but I didn't take any pictures. Then I realized that we don't even have all the decking boards yet so it's probably not going to be done by tomorrow either.

Aren't they cute? I just love all the little clues about these people in this picture. Baby has hippie shoes but fundy-looking sling. Dad has the metrosexual frames with the cheesehead uniform and then there are those wires hanging out of the ceiling above their heads. Hmmmmm.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hm, I don't know why formatting this thing is so hard for me. Sorry. I want to have an awesomely clean layout but it just isn't happeninging and considering how long it takes me to post anything at all I don't see much hope for me figuring it out. Whatever. These are some recent pix. The last one is based on an idea stolen from Monica's blog. It's just me (and my lap monkey) unedited taken off the cuff. That's how we often are, unedited. Well, mostly unedited, I cropped my fuzzy arm a bit. Did I ruin the meme?
I love the poppies, these guys have survived however many mowings of the lawn and they are just as red and bold as can be. And every single time I look at them I think of Afganistan. But really, wouldn't anyone?
So we've been working on finding a babysitter to come on out and play with Ali G each weekday so dhand I can get down to business. I mean seriously. We started that deck in June. It will be October on Wednesday. October people. It'sa deck. How much longer can we freaking take? So we found a girl who has come out. She's okay. At first I was kind of psyched about her but on second thought she seems a little depressed. And she doesn't have a car. And she's not really into riding her bike in the rain. Well I don't blame her of course but I don't want to pay for a cab every time and I don't want to cancel out everytime either. So she may not work out. But I'm hoping for sun until we can get the deck decked, we're actually doing that now. It shouldn't really be that much longer.
The good news, we are making friends! real friends, the kind you really like and have things in common with and want to have more things in common with. It's so nice and happy feeling. One new friend dropped by this evening to bring us a pan of vietnamese grilled pork. It was awesome. What faster way to a porkatarian's heart thanthat? I ask you? Another friend has signed up to be a classroom volunteer at the same time as me each week! Yay! A playmate of my own! And I have two more mommy friends who I just need to follow up with, one has a little girl who is just a few months younger than Wendy would be. She is a cute little girl and I like being around her. And the other mommy also has a little one and some older ones and so we have a lot of those 'oh yeah, I know what you mean' moments that help set up friendships. I do see the other crowd that we were first flirting with bak in the spring. I get a strange vibe from them now. I guess I blew my chances with them for the most part. My schedule just doesn't jibe with theirs really and they're all on the first little ones so maybe my parenting style doesn't synch with theirs really either. My challenge isn't figuring out what thebaby will do next so much as how to enjoy that without missing out on the Bunny's life at the same time.
What else? We lost one tenant in Mexico. Another has bought a house and so won't be renewing his lease. The third wants a pet. I say, have a dog if it will keep you around. I dread having to look for tenants again and from afar.
I've been fighting a cold - successfully I think. I've got that nasty old cough happening but it doesn't seem to slow me down too much. But I've gotten stung twice this week by our overly aggressive yellow jackets and in a surprising turn, I'm reacting rather dramatically to the stings nowadays. Both areas went from little raised bump to massive raised red bumpy itchy ugly welt. THe one on my leg feels like a combination burn bruise and chickenpox. What's up with that? The swelling is literally six inches wide. Should I be thinking epi pen? I'm so disappointed too since I've always been a champion of wasp's rights.
Speaking of wasps. I'm really enjoying the episcopal church we've been going to for a couple months ow. I like the priest (ahem, priest in charge) and the congregation is nice and welcoming and not too old. They sing a lot, they've got a great kids area and a nice feast after the service (no donuts), the Bunny loves Sunday School or Godly Play as it's called but which sounds way to pervy to me, and I'm having a great time getting the historical background on all the readings that I'veheard all my life but which never meant anything because I never bothered to look up and nobody else ever bothered to mention stuff like who the corinthians were (nothing to do with leather) or what types of tribalism was being shaken up by Jesus's new ideas.
So anyway, it's kind of fun. Now I hear Ali G awake for the 6th time tonight, it must be another tooth coming in so we'll call it a night down here.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My beautiful Bunny

Um, yeah. Last night that was a whole pie.

The Helmet was not meant to endorse daredevil stunts!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Free Candy All Over the Island!

Man! I love blackberries! I had no idea I loved them so much but I do. I can't pass a bramble without wishing I could stop and load up on them. Sometimes I do stop. Sometimes I make a special trip. Sometimes I'm supposed to be doing something else.
My dad was equally obsessed by those fat juicy black pods of yumminess and we gathered a lot a lot a lot while he was here. But, I'm sorry to say, he missed the real jackpot. Now, today they are READY. Every branch of every bramble along every road and edge of every meadow the blackberries are practically humming with ripeness. I imagine that it is the last gasp of summer before we get plunged into the grayness that most islanders warn us is coming. I took Ali G out for a spin in the Burley this afternoon, thinking about exercise and fresh air. We had barely turned the corner when I started noticing the insane berry explosion that must have come on with the full moon. I tried to ignore it for a while. I tried to pretend that I wasn't just looking for a safe place to pull over and start picking but it didn't work. We could only have gotten about 4 miles before Ali G was sleeping and a massive hedge of the black beauties was calling to me from a sidewalk (of all things). I pulled up right on the sidewalk, parked and within 30 minutes I had my Blue Bunny container full to the brim. The only thing I can't fathom is, why isn't everyone else picking them feverishly too? Dad says he met a massage therapist collecting them on one foray but I have yet to see anyone anywhere on the island picking them like they mean it. I mean, dang people! A half flat of blueberries was going for $13.98. These are organic free range local shade grown fair trade freaking blackberries and I'm the only sucker for them? Crazy damn world. I'm going to go stuff my face again tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin Makes Me Want to Puke

Ick. Just when it looked like maybe McCain would actually have some integrity or honor to restore to the Republicans he picks this scary bitch. It's insulting in so many ways but this video makes me really want to hurl. It's not for the faint of heart, so I hope it gets aired nationwide.

Monday, September 8, 2008

So Hah Old Fat Dude!

So we needed to demolish this concrete a bit and when I went to pick up the jack hammer at the rental shop today this fat old white republican looking dude looked me over and said something about how I probably couldn't handle a tool like this. then he had the nerve to squeeze my arm to check my muscles! For real.
So yeah, I can do it Fatty. I don't think I'd be into it on a regular basis but I'm glad to know I could do it again if I had to.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

This is why I can't post

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to School

Here's my First Grader on Day One. She looks cooler than I ever did on the first day of school. How did I get such a little hipster?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

One year old!!

Happy Birthday Ali G!!!

Whoowee did that year go fast! At least if I look at it one way it did. In another way it seems like an eternity ago that I was sitting with her alone in the Fe waving off nurses that first night.
Anyway, here we are, she all big and cute and healthy and had a nice little party with just the family plus Grandpa and Nancy.
Let's see if I can get some pictures formatted in a relevant way here -

Okay, there they are, our August birthdays, 1 and 70 this year.

Last week we went camping and had a fun time sightseeing some more of this beautiful state as well as meeting up with two of my favorite dingos, Megs_BK and CherylAnn! That was awesome and it did not feel like the first time we all had met face to face. I love that!

Okay, well the formatting is still mystifying me and the clock just struck 11 so I leave it as is. <<<<>>>>
'Night all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Standby PeeWee's Big Adventure. . . PeeWee's Big Adventure - Go.

First the exciting news - I got a bike!!!! An electric bike!!! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude how cool is that?
I am so psyched, it is the bike I was waiting for on steroids. We found it at the fair yesterday at the electric car display. The guy was selling new ones but then threw it out that he was hoping to sell his old one. I took it for a couple test drives and man was it neat to buzz up the hill without a care in the world. So I was hooked. Ever since we first visited this place I've been dreaming of becoming an all-weather bike commuter. Then we found the Burley trailer a week or so ago and it's awesome but still no bike. But, I've been throwing out my vision of the perfect bike to the universe and it came true! Can y'all tell I'm a little excited? I pick it up at the fair today and I'll ride it home this afternoon!!!! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

And I won a white ribbon for my effed up muffins. That was a gift. I also realized that the universe smackdown on my first couple attempts at awesome picture-perfect and to-die-for yummy muffins was a good antidote to me being conceited about my cooking. Thanks universe, note taken.

We had a little raccoon drama here this morning. Our dog had treed a raccoon next to the house and as I was headed over to see what was going on I noticed another little masked face peeking out from our crawl space. Like an idiot I called the dog over to see (WTF?? was I thinking??) so of course she goes diving into the crawl space after the thing. We hear scrabbling sounds and a moment later the raccoon bursts out from under the house and goes up the little apple tree right outside the entrance. For a second it looks like he'll make it to the roof but the tree bends, the dog leaps up and catches the raccoon's tail just enough to make it lose its grip on its branch and the thing falls on top of the dog. There's a bit of a scuffle and then they both go flying back under the house. Then silence. Then barking. And more and more barking.
Dh gives me the WTF-were-you-thinking face. I shrug sheepishly thinking that it's still super early and I haven't been caffeinated. But yeah, I'm still the idiot.
I call off the dog and we put her away in the house and then dd1 and I put up a stakeout to watch for the raccoon to leave. It doesn't. I'm feeling fairly confident that our dog is fierce but not fierce enough to have actually killed or even seriously injured the thing but waiting for it to come out is making me very uneasy. Finally I get the idea to dust the whole entrance to the crawl space with flour so we can see its footprints after it leaves but so we don't have to spend the entire days staring silently at the hole.
As it turns out dh sees it coming out by chance and we all watch it bounding off, obviously unscathed, from the window.

Never a dull moment, I tell you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I don't like Mondays. Oh wait, it's Tuesday.

I don't know what it is but the Bunny's driving my nutty. It seems like she either won't ever stop talking or she is constantly upping the I-need-mommy-more ante or she's whining about nonexistent booboos or babytalking or weeping dramatically. I feel like an ogre, and have been acting like one to I'm afraid, but I just want to yell at her to shut up and go away for a while. Not that I would really do that, it's just the ogre voice in my head screaming it. I should take a page out of DrJen's book on this and do some more one-on-one time, probably. I took her out to the theater on Saturday though and she bugged me the whole time there too. This happens right wise mamas out there? This is normal, I-haven't-had-a-chance-to-appreciate-my-family-from-afar-for-like,-three-years normal, right? <<<<<<>>>>>>>>

Okay, it's not all bad. Friday was our 10th anniversary and it felt good. We went kayaking which I loved and had a tasty lunch out ad then watched a decent production of the Tempest in the evening. There were no gifts as usual but I floated the idea of ten massages apiece and I like the idea so I'm booking it.

The Fair! The Fair! The Fair is here!!!!! Boy howdy if every single person we have ever met on this island hasn't told us not to miss the fair. Whoo weee. So we won't miss it. And, after a few false starts and some startlingly bad baking on my part, I entered some cherry muffins. Okay, so until Saturday I never harbored county fair dreams of blue ribbon greatness, but then I heard about how you get a discount on your entrance if you are an exhibitor and how pretty much anything that can be baked counts and I was there. Dreaming the blue ribbon dreams!

I am a little worried that I might have missed my one window of opportunity to swim in the lake this summer. About 10 days ago we had two days of relatively hot humidity. I swore the next day I'd swim and the temperature went back to 63. Oh well. I do prefer the cooler weather but a summer without swimming feels wrong.

Baby update. She's still as cute as can be. She is presently cutting her upper front tooth and having a heck of a time with it. She had a pretty hot fever for about 24 hours but woke up this morning back to normal, maybe a wee bit grumpier than usual but ogre me can't say nothing about that. She's crawling like a pro, standing at all times and beginning to do that teetering tippy standing unaided that will inevitably lead to walking. Yikes. But she's so cute I let her get away with it. And, takking a page from her sister's book, she's a talker. She doesn't have a ton of words yet, "Da", "Ma" and "Kiya" are pretty much it but she has intonation down like a champ. Half the time I'm sure I know what she's saying because her tone it so clear.

Okay, I'm going to go shine my sink if you know what I mean.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grandma and ALi G hangin'

You lookin' at me?

The prize winning picture, Ode to Three Goslings

Just when we were getting used to seeing all her teeth again - POP!

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Another Fly By

Well, whew. I probably have about 5 minutes before Ali G wakes up but I'll see how far I can catch up.

  • She started crawling! Finally. She's been skooching around for a couple months now but she hadn't really gotten the hang of the whole up on hands and knees crawl until today, her 11 month b'day incidentally. And of course, 3.4 seconds later she'd pulled herself up on a box in the hall and was going after all the stuff there that moments before had been safely out of reach. Time for baby gates!
  • Dh and I tested for our yellow belts in TKD yesterday. I think we did fine. We certainly practiced a lot. Dh was worried about social promotion butI think he'll find he passed on his merits. Anyway, as yellow belts we get to/have to start sparring so I doubt the master is going to want anyone doing that who really isn't ready. I'm psyched, watching the red belts test was inspiring, they were sparring 2 against 1 and breaking boards and it all just looked too cool. And, as in every class, Ali G and the Bunny were so unnaturally well-behaved. Ali G watched most of the testing just chirping away encouragement and cheering during the sparring. The Bunny was extremely responsive with toys and snacks as needed and they both made me just as proud as a parent can be. Just like always.
  • We've made a little progress on the deck but more on getting the upstairs furnished and comfy. The guest room has a king sized bed, we have a real closet and the Bunny's room is pretty much fully decked out and girly. We could still use storage furniture everywhere but at least we're making a dent.
  • Mom's visit was actually fine. She really helped out with the girls, doing pick-ups and drop-offs and lots of baby watching. I think having a clearly stated purpose other than 'vacation' made all the difference. the only crazy part was her belief that she could have any control over the natural world outside the widow. The day after she arrived the geese appeared with three little goslings. They were adorable but also irresistable to the X dog and within days she'd killed two of them. So Mom made it her job to keep Xoche tied up and any time the Bald Eagles came around she'd go out and scream and wave her hat and make a fuss until they went away. She even made a scare crow to put out in the meadow to stand in for her while we weren't home. But during our final meal on her last day we heard panicked squawking and honking and looked out to see Xoche had pulled her leash free of its tie and was violently killing the last gosling. It was absolutely awful and Mom was beside herself. So that was a bummer of a way to end the visit but probably an inevitable end tot he gosling. I just wished that one of the eagles had gotten it instead, I've been having mixed feelings about the X dog for a long time and it's hard to love her when her wild side takes over.
  • I've pretty much flatlined on making friends it seems. My plan to focus on that got kind of derailed while we were bogged down with dh feeling like an asylum candidate and then I got further adrift while mom was here. The women I have met have been so nice that I'm still hopeful that if I can just put myself out there a bit more it won't be hard to make some real connections but it's been feeling a little lonely this week. I don't know, it's kind of silly. There are so many activities happening here I just don't have time to hit them all so the answer is probably pretty easy, make more effort-get more reward. Right?
  • The Bunny won second prize in a sidewalk art contest that was held a couple weekends ago. She was thrilled to get the ribbon and the prize and it was a joy to see her face light up as she listened to the message telling her she'd won.
Whew! i think that's pretty much the update! As it turned out Ali G slept fine but who knows when she actually woke up since the monitor wasn't on! Doh! Well when I went in to check on her she was sitting up in bed smiling and looking happy and rested so it was all good. But add another chip for my Worst Mommy on the Block candidacy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quick Catch up

Well it has been nonstop busy here, and I am left wondering how real bloggers find time to keep things updated daily. Whew.
So we've made a bit of progress on the house now. Dh's bout of unbelievable depression (read panic attacks 24/7 for about 2 weeks) has lightened up as have his allergies. That was rough. It also brought everything to a dead halt around here so I'm glad it's over on all levels.
We pulled the dopey roof off the front of the house, we've added gutters and we dug and poured footings for the deck we're now working on. We had been toying with the idea of shingling the house with cedar shingles but in the end it seems like a very time consuming and expensive project to start with when the stucco is fine. Ugly, but serviceable. And we didn't want to blow all our energy for working on the house on something non-essential. So we're building a deck instead. lol Okay, so that is non-essential too. But at least it will be useful in a way that the shingles wouldn't, and now that we've got the layout figured out (that alone took us weeks to decide) and the foundation mostly done - three holes to go today - it should go pretty fast.

We've also been scoring some terrific deals on kitchen gear. I had been fantasizing about a big 45" or so cooktop for an island but I was getting bummed about the cost (well over $1000 for the ones that looked good to me) plus the added expense of a decent vent (another $1000 or thereabouts) and then my super dreamy wish list item a double wall oven (in the $1500-2500 range) I had basically stopped thinking about it because I didn't want to face the budgeting part. But, now I pretty much have found all of that at the local thrift store! A sweet stainless 47" Jenn Air cooktop with interchangeable elements with a grill and downdraft vent for $100 and a KitchenAid double oven with convection, start/stop timers etc for $250. And they work! Thank goodness Dh knows how to wire them up, I wouldn't have had a clue but he had them each up and running within hours. How awesome is that? My $3000+ kitchen for $350! Now we just have to build an island for the cooktop and a cabinet for the wall ovens. . . and a pantry, and decide on countertops and lighting and flooring and a new sink . . .

And, my mom is here. She had scheduled herself a trip north of here for the end of Oct which was crazy because the place she's renting is hardly a day trip away and because she'll miss all the nice weather here. So I'd asked her to come for a week. She picked the week that dh will be away checking on his mom. So then I thought that maybe it would make her feel good (and help her behave more responsibly) if I asked her to come for a second week while dh was here so that she could be the babysitter while we made some progress. So far the plan seems to be working. She's definitely helping out more than she ever did when we lived in San Miguel. She's not only watching the kids a ton but she's helping wash up after dinner and has even changed a couple diapers (something she never did with the Bunny, she said then, with a wrinkled nose, that she'd changed enough in her life and didn't plan on doing it ever again). So that is real progress. And she seems to really like this place. She says it reminds her of where she grew up in Connecticut so I'm sure all those positive feelings help her ignore the exposed insulation and wiring and subfloors. And the drama happening outside the window has her pretty riveted too.

Our geese, the indignant group of ladies, hatched three goslings the day after my mom arrived. The same day, a group of canadian geese arrived. We hadn't seen them around at all since May but now they're back. We had been guessing that maybe our geese were the culprits in the deaths of the canadians two goslings back in May and so the speculation that the pair had possed up and come back seeking vengance was hard to suppress. Well, the goslings are pretty cute and so it was extremely upsetting yesterday when dh and I discovered the X dog with a dead one in her mouth. She spends her days hunting rodents so it's hardly a stretch to see how tempting a fuzzy little gosling would be but I can't overstate how disappointed I was to see that she'd made the leap. And now I suspect that she was the one who offed the other two too. It was doubly sad too as I had only just saved one of the goslings from a footing hole. The adults were all crowded around the hole honking and flapping and obviously distraught and they all looked relieved and almost grateful when I scooped the little one out and he went flapping and squeaking back to his mom (whichever one she is). There was no doubt that they didn't want to lose one so the thought that maybe geese can't keep track of how many goslings they have kind of went out the window.

Well, my little gosling is awake now too and with that my time for blogging is up. Adios amigos!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Here's me and Ali G after the little 5k we did bright and early. We didn't break any ground speed records but we moved faster than we'd planned and had a good time doing it. And I was happy to give my 2008 Dingo shirt a real workout. Later Ali G got a medal which she wore with pride for the rest of the day.

Do you recognize the Bunny in the bee costume? Her group from camp took part in the parade (which was yet another moment that looked like Hollywood had been hired to do an idyllic small town scene). The parade was remarkably long for such a small town and this year's theme was island pets which meant tons and tons of dogs. Nearly all of them looked thrilled to be there, too bad the X dog isn't really a parade kind of girl and Ninj probably wouldn't have thanked us for taking him either.

Post parade we stopped in at a picnic that was packed with locals. There was music, food and face-painting but we only stayed for a Dove bar and the Bunny had a butterfly painted on her face.

Later that night we drove into town to watch the fireworks over the harbor. The setting was certainly beautiful but as far as fireworks displays go it wasn't any grander than a midsize wedding in San Miguel. But it sure was safe! But it did make us all a little wistful for our rooftop view back in SMA, though I'm sure X dog was very glad that the booms were 3 miles away instead of directly overhead!

All in all it was a nice way to spend the day.
As we drove home from the fireworks the Bunny said,
"So, what was that all about anyway?"

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