Life on the Ridge
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Modern gardening

The teenage granddaughter comes downstairs for her date with this see-through blouse on and no bra. Her grandmother just pitched a fit, telling her not to dare go out like that! The teenager tells her "Loosen up Grams. These are modern times. You gotta let your rose buds show!" and out she goes.

The next day the teenager comes down stairs, and the grandmother is sitting there with no top on. The teenager wants to die. She explains to her grandmother that she has friends coming over and that it is just not appropriate...

The grandmother says, "Loosen up, Sweetie. If you can show off your rose buds, then I can display my hanging baskets."

~from Nana.


you know you are in florida in july when...

~ The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

~ The trees are whistling for the dogs.

~ The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.

~ Hot water now comes out of both taps.

~ You can make sun tea instantly.

~ You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

~ The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.

~ You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.

~ You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.

~ You actually burn your hand opening the car door.

~ You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.

~ Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"

~ You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

~ The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.

~ Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

~ The cows are giving evaporated milk.

from my cousin Cathy


shoulda known better

Michael is in the middle of another obsessive verbalization moment. A while back it was footbridges. Now he is singing "Happy birthday". Loudly. Recognizably. Quite well actually.

Why? Well, yesterday was Bob the Corgi's birthday. (And yes, I had to wish her a belated one!) Anyway she did this cool recording of herself singing in celebration of her own birthday. Michael was fascinated. Extremely fascinated. We're probably the only people who listened to her amusing renditions of songs for about -- oh never mind. Just leave it at Michael screamed whenever I went to close that particular page. He was fascinated, entranced, captivated, thrilled, enchanted, enthralled, delighted with and wild about hearing "Bob" sing.

Now how to explain to Robert who "Bob the car guy" is....



Why is it that my kids believe that they should drop everything by the front door? Why? Actually Kari is the only one doing this now. Rick takes everything to his room. Michael prefers to put his stuff down in the basket in my room.

Kari's stuff scattered on the floor in the entryway: riding boots, riding helmet, the boxes for each, 3 pair of socks, sneakers, several books, backpack, pencils, drawing pad, one headband, a sweater and a few little Hamtaro toys.

This is what has accumulated in the past 18 hours. There's a laundry basket filled to overflowing in the hallway. Everything that is in it has been found in the entryway. On June 1st the entire lot will be given to Goodwill. Kari knows this. Wanna bet she's scurrying around tomorrow night at 11:59 trying to put everything away?



Seared Sea Scallops with Asparagus, Chanterelles and Aged Balsamic Brown Butter

4 jumbo sea scallops (about 12 ounces total)
6 stalks of jumbo asparagus – peeled from 1" beneath the tip to the base
3/4 pound of morel mushrooms – remove stems, remove any excess dirt & water
Aged balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)
9 ounces butter
3/4 ounces lemon juice (1 1/2 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 bunch parsley
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 large cloves of garlic

For gremolata:
Finely chop the parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Combine all of these ingredients and mix well.

For brown butter:
Place 4 ounces of butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to separate and the solids begin to turn light brown in color. Remove from heat. Carefully add the lemon juice and stand back. Reserve.

For asparagus:
Heat an oven to 500º. In a small saucepan melt 4 ounces of butter. Slice the asparagus spears on the bias in to pieces about 1 1/2" long. The bottom 1 – 1 1/2" should not be used. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread the asparagus on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

For morels:
Remove excess dirt by rinsing the morels 5 times with water. Let the morels dry by laying them onto a sheet pan lined with damp towels. Cut the morels into halves or quarters lengthwise, depending on size. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread the morels on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and roast for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper (both sides please). When the pan begins to smoke, add the canola oil and then the scallops. After about 30 seconds, carefully rotate the scallops 90º. This will give them a better, more even sear. Cook for another minute or so. Then add 1 tablespoon of butter. Flip the scallops over and cook for another minute or two until they are nicely seared. Remove from the pan.

Meanwhile, heat another sauté pan over high heat. Add the last 1 tablespoon of butter and then the asparagus and morels. Cook until the vegetables are hot and then add 1 tablespoon of gremolata and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Divide the mushrooms and asparagus into 4 piles and place one in the center of each of 4 plates. Top with a scallop. Drizzle a little of the brown butter around the mounds and then drizzle some of the aged balsamic vinegar onto the brown butter. Enjoy.

recipe from Lumiere via Brian. Thanks, Brian!

Do not even think that this is a difficult recipe. Takes almost no time at all. Really! And it is something that even my picky kids enjoy and have asked for. And to give you an idea of how easy it is to make, Kim's daughter Shelby helped me. Oh, and she enjoyed the dish too -- despite the scary looking asparagus.


in my thoughts

One of my coaches from college is in the hospital.


krispy kreme

Krispy Kreme claims that it's surge in profits this quarter -- almost 50% -- is based on their quality. Lets admit first that part of it is from opening new stores. Looking at same-store sales (stores open for more than a year) there is still a good increase in their profits. A mere 11.8% compared to 50%, but much further ahead of other similar stores.

They also say they have improved their coffee. They bought their own roaster. Their coffee could only get better. Seriously. Perhaps I'll give their coffee another shot. I have noticed that more people are ordering it. (We're Krispy Kreme addicts in this family.)

Allied Domecq, the company that owns Dunkin Donuts, saw a 5% increase during the last 6 months of 2002. I'm waiting to see what their profit is for the first quarter of this year. Bet it won't be as tasty as Krispy Kreme's.


happy birthday, sami!

Belated, of course.


it's raining AGAIN!

gullywasher, frog choker, raining cats and dogs...

According to Kate Aman over at the Medium"The sky is not crying, okay? It's dumping ridiculous amounts of water on your head because you deserve to be soaked to the point where you smell like a wet rat...." I wonder how she'd describe the smell of my moat out back. There's nothing worse than standing water that's over a foot deep and contains rotting grass, a mosquito nursery and houses what must be hundreds of frogs. It's much worse than a wet rat.

fresh spring rain, April showers, cold winter rain...

Yes, we now have a moat. It's fairly shallow on the sides, very deep out back and just middling deep out front. Last year I joked with Robert that I wanted a bridge to cross from our yard onto the Ridge. Now I'm not joking. I'm not able to leap THAT far. Does he really want to deal with a soaking wet irate wife? Perhaps I'll just swipe a few boards from the garage. He won't notice.

skies pissing down, constipated skies, raining like gangbusters...

Yep, rainy season has come to South Florida. We get to have beautiful mornings with bright blue skies and an intense sun. We'll then be treated to building thunderclouds, flashing lightning and flooded steaming roads in the afternoons. And yes, it's actually quite fun.

angel's tears, coins from the heavens, rain...


dinner out

Robert and I escape the house once a week to a restaurant. Occasionally parents do need to have pleasant conversation while eating. Most of our dinners at home center around trying to explain to Kari that elbows should not be held even with her shoulders, asking Rick to stay seated and trying to coax Michael to try something new without spitting it out.

While trying to figure out where to go last night, Cindy told me that her husband was bringing home hamburgers from Outback. Yum! Outback. I envisioned a filet --medium rare (must order as medium well though) and a sweet potato with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yes, I admit it. I go to Outback for the sweet potato. Anyway, Cindy sold me on the idea of Outback, so I called and put our name on the list. Since it takes 20 minutes to get there, they'd be calling us for our table about the time we arrive.

When we walked out our front door, heavier rain started falling. By the time we hit the first major intersection, traffic was horrendous. Nothing like the standing water on roads in South Florida. We looked at each other and went to the right. Outback would have to wait. Billy's Tavern was right there: Myong's baby back ribs, hot wings with blue cheese or jerk wings, fries. We splashed through the shallow lake that was once a parking lot. Someone at the bar had seen us coming and very nicely opened the door for us so that we wouldn't have to slow down. After shaking of like a pair of overgrown puppies, we sat in the back and enjoyed our food.

The rain was heavier and the standing water was deeper when we left. We had to follow a low-slung corvette out of the parking lot. The water was above the bottom of his door. We aren't quite sure how he didn't flood out and stall, but we are grateful.

So, Cindy, next week it's the Outback. Want to join us?


old haunts

There are places I used to go to spend time with friends, to linger and chat, to find solace and share joy. Some of these places I've outgrown or moved away from or no longer feel comfortable.

My brother and I used to slip thru the slats of "T" and Lilly's fence and run over to knock on the door in their carport. Lilly would open her door to us a smile on her face. "T" would amble in from the den and sit at the kitchen table. They were an older couple. Perhaps the age of our grandparents and yet ageless. "T" taught me how to throw dice. He also shared his knowledge about native americans, specifically Tecumseh whom he was named after. Lilly would bustle around her kitchen, let me taste whatever she was cooking and explain to me how to make whatever dish she was working on. She was the disciplinarian. "T" was always congenial, ever laid back one. I haven't been their nextdoor neighbor for 28 years, but I know that if I went and knocked on that door, Lilly would welcome me in with a smile. "T" died shortly after my oldest was born.

In Indiana, a cornfield bordered our backyard, a creek ran along the side. A small grove of trees separated the corn from the barely moving stream. Whenever I was upset I'd run and hide in a hollow tree in that small grove of trees. I could sit and read or just sit and think. My own little haven. My dreams were big when we lived in Indiana. Perhaps the trees growing out of the courthouse roof made me believe that I could do anything. Even play third base for the Cincinnati Reds. The cornfield is still there and so is the creek and the grove of trees. My hollow oak fell over during a winter storm years ago.

And then there was Maine. The village of Kennebunk. Our house was surrounded by woods and all the creatures that lived there. I imagined that dryads kept me from getting lost among the trees and that faeries helped me find hidden wildflowers. Ferns grew higher than my waist and provided low green caves to retreat to when my life felt overwhelming. In the winter, snows would weigh down the boughs of the fir tree out back. Their tips would touch and freeze to the ground. But inside was cozy. Needles scattered on the frozen earth. Branches heaped with snow. A gap between them providing enough light for me to read by.

After we moved from Maine to Virginia I didn't have a safe place. Not for years. I was always edgy and felt stalked. Blame it on the imaginings of a teenager. But college was different. In college I had many safe places. If I was down or feeling a bit jittery, I usually found myself in Johnson Gym chatting with Coach Baker or Emil. Emil especially always seemed to know how to get me back in touch with real life. He didn't coddle. He told me things like they were, but then we'd sit and talk about how to make them better or at least livable. when I needed to get in touch with the earth, I'd go sit in Hobart Park. The little park that my father and grandfather had probably visited during their years at Davidson. The trees were old and the benches always littered with leaves. I rarely saw another soul when there. Emil died several years ago. I still miss him.

Then came marriage and motherhood, a job and then choosing to be a stay-at-home mother. I felt isolated in the heavily hispanic neighborhood where we lived. I didn't speak the language and still don't (I seem to be missing a switch in my brain that allows me to learn Spanish). When I was pregnant with Michael I discovered a messageboard on the internet for other women expecting babies in October of 1999. For years I have laughed, cried, supported and been supported by these women. Many of them mean a great deal to me -- even if it is in that vague internet sort of way. Then changes came swiftly to our board. Changes initiated by the powers that be at IV. Women fled to a new home... a home I could not follow them to. First because I was and now am again unable to access the page. Second because one of the women that started the alternate board called me a liar and would visit my blog and comb thru the archives for long stretches of time. From what I understand she accused me of being a troll on the new board (remember I could not access it?). Funny. She was caught, snared by her IP#, leaving nasty comments on another's blog.

I miss "T" and Lilly. Sometimes I long for my hollow tree or my fir tree. I miss Emil and his little insights and quirks. I miss the board the way it used to be. But now I have the Ridge and various friends from various places.


and the funny thing is...

My favorite color is green, despite the fact that my house is done almost completely in yellows and blues. I adore eating. I'm very solitary. Flying figures predominately in my dreams and when I meditate. My children refer to me as a dragon mother. Richard calls himself dragonspawn.


You are a Dragon! You love to eat lambs, cattle, and most of all you have a taste for Humans. You don't like any color in particular, and you are very solitary, choosing to live inside mountains and atop cliffs. You love to fly, and to breathe flame. Spells are another talent of yours. Dragons are immortal and cannot die unless they are slain. You are quite the magician, since spells simply bounce off your protective armor. You also hate anything you can't eat.

What Mythical Being are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found this over at Steph's.


this and that

We were in the van this morning when Robert started complaining about how the two older kids eat everything we have and then leave the empty containers in the pantry, freezer, fridge. This was prompted by Michael informing us that he wanted waffles with syrup for breakfast. I brought Robert's rant to a crashing halt by turning around and asking Rick, "Have you had any waffles since friday? I just bought more on friday morning." Rick answered with an emphatic NO! Robert just shut up completely. He had forgotten that Rick was in the van. Since we were on our way to drop Rick off at school, I'm not sure how he could not have realized who all was in the van.

Steph is almost done packing up. She'll be moving on wednesday. I wish her a stress-free move and enough boxes to get the packing up job done and at least 2 pair of rubber gloves for the down and dirty cleaning.

My niece is growing by leaps and bounds. She is now 12 pounds and 23 1/2 inches long. Her eyes haven't yet decided what color to be. They look brown in her pictures, but my mother insists that they are grey. Dark grey that is. Coley is lifting her head with ease too. I want her to start rolling over. Mean me wants to see my brother freak out with pride. ;)

Mom and I had lunch yesterday. Via the phone. She had quiche, strawberry bread and fruit. I selected graham crackers with peanut butter and an apple. We talked for almost 2 hours. Such fun! Thursday I'll be having a cuppa tea with Nana. Silly to eat and chat on the phone, isn't it? But it does make us feel like there aren't hundreds of miles of coastline between us.

Kari spent yesterday on the back of Shea, a mean-tempered mare. Kari was horrified at Shea's total lack of manners. Seems that she feels that any horse in front of her must be nipped and every horse following her must be farted on -- frequently. Kari did have fun despite this. She's more at ease in the saddle now and is also slowly becoming accustomed to riding bareback (she spends 20 minutes being led around while working on her leg signals). She thinks these 8 hour days are tons and tons of fun. Hey, as long as she likes it...

And after reading Sue's and Karan's blogs and knowing how my own children feel about my singing, I've come to the conclusion that all moms need voice lessons or all children with singing moms need to learn to sing along.

I cannot stand doing laundry.


piano teachers

I've had several piano teachers: Mrs. Fenwick, Miss Clemenson, three whose names I cannot remember, Joanne Williamson and Christine Solem. My first and last teachers were probably my favorites. Even if they wanted me to practice, practice, practice. I haven't a clue as to what most of them are up to these days.

Ms. Williamson taught me when we lived in Kennebunk. Her house was near the Shawmut (no longer there). Last year we went on vacation to the Kennebunks. I had hoped to look her up, but she died before we arrived. She was a novelist, which I thought was cool. Her novels were for children. All were historical and dealt with religion in some way. But I still enjoyed them. Hittite Warrior has been reprinted recently. I'm going to purchase it for my book collection.

Christine Solem was my most interesting teacher. She was blunt, didn't put up with my crap and taught me quite a lot. She is a cellist and a goat farmer. Back when she was my teacher she was battling the state for the right to sell unpasteurized goat's milk. (Yummy stuff!) She lost twice when the Supreme Court overturned rulings in her favor by the lower courts. She's still battling. She's stubborn.



girl #1: "Daddy, can I have candy?"

father: "No."

girl #1: "Daddy, I want candy!"

father: "N. O. NO!"

girl #1: "But I want candy."

mother: "Didn't you hear your father? He said, "N. O. NO!'"

girl #1: "Please!"

mother: "NO! NO! NO!"

girl #2: "Mom means no. When she giggles and says no, she means yes. 'Cause that's when she and daddy disappear."


memory loss and changed memories

Michael Peterson of Durham, NC is going on trial for allegedly murdering his wife. Currently the prosecution and defense are selecting the jury. One potential juror asked to be excused because he has a poor memory. When the judge inquired as to what he couldn't remember, the potential juror replied, "I don't know. I can't remember." Poor guy was selected to be a juror. Hope he remembers to show up.

Michael Skakel maintains his innocence in the murder of Martha Moxley. RFK Jr. wrote this article about the case. Lengthy, but good reading.

Robert was a juror for a murder case in 1989. He spent two months plus at the county courthouse. He thought it was funny to see that particular case show up on some Discovery show.



Rick's favorite show is That 70s Show. He watches the repeats from 7pm to 8pm daily. He hates the fact that on weekends there are no reruns. He will babble on and on about the various shows. He can even quote scenes (when he is in the mood to do so). I hope he never ever gets hooked on Seinfeld. I'm not sure I could handle family suppers at that point. After all my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and Rick would sit around and make obscure references.

side note: Kelso reminds me so much of one of Robert's roommates in college.


OMG! it's.... it's...

Yesterday I was picking up Rick. Same old, same old. But I was waiting forever for him to come out, because the rain was beyond torrential. A man standing by the front door caught my eye. He was waiting for a lull in the rain so he could sprint to his car.

I grabbed my cellphone and dialed my dad's number. He wasn't there. *sigh And I had so wanted to babble to him...
"You won't believe who is standing just outside Rick's school. Alex Arias! Yes, Alex Arias. He's just standing there waiting for the rain to stop. It's pouring. No, Dad, he doesn't play for the Padres this year. They traded him. Yes, Alex Arias. The guy that played for the Marlins. They traded him and everyone else after the World Series. I don't know who is he playing for now. No. No. Last year he played at short and third for the Yankees. Yes, Dad. Alex Arias. His kids go to school with Rick. No, I will not ask him for his autograph."

That was my excitement for the day.


hmmm... interesting

Looking at how people find my blog fascinates me. Recently all these people from education domains seem to find me by doing a search for annika sorenstamm underwear. Wish someone would explain this to me.



Breakfasts are not a big deal around here. Not at all. First of all I'm not awake enough at 7am to be trusted with something as easy as pouring a bowl of cereal. Spillage is guaranteed. Rick is in charge of coffee when I feel like drinking coffee first thing. Not only does he make coffee better than I do, he doesn't manage to make a huge mess.

Rick likes waffles with butter and syrup. Kari leans towards cereal or dry toast (eww!). Robert can empty one box of cereal in two days. Michael will eat anything. Yesterday he wanted a bologna sandwich with mustard (bigger eww!). Me... I am happy with just about anything I can scrounge up that doesn't require much effort. Although if I wait until 9am to eat, I'm likely to be found at the stove making cream of wheat or oatmeal or an omelet with cheddar cheese, mushrooms and onions. The occasional green pepper will work its way into my omelets. Michael always insists on sharing with me.

I love the mornings when we go out to breakfast. Bagels at the park. Hot donuts at Krispy Kreme. Scrambled eggs and hashbrowns at Waffle House. Although you cannot get a decent cup of coffee at any of these places. And who wants hot tea from Lipton?


Rick's favorite joke

A parent is like a diaper. Always on your ass and usually full of shit.

Nice kid, huh?



I wonder how much of my difficulties going back and staying asleep after waking up from dreaming is related to Robert's little sleeping quirks.

The man must sleep with 2 pillows: a regular pillow and a body pillow. He must have the sheet drawn up to his neck. He even tucks the sheet around his body pillow. When Robert rolls over there's this huge production. Honestly I do not know how he manages to sleep through his rolling over routine.


singing in the rain -- NOT!

The rainy season must be beginning. Looking at the forecast for the next week, there are little clouds with lightning bolts in 5 of the 7 boxes. Of course the rain must come over the weekend.

Of course all the little rain showers we've had in the past 2 weeks have caused my garden to go nutso. Grass has sprouted with a vengeance thru a double layer of landscape cloth. I'll have to dig it out. Damn it!

Don't get me wrong. I love rainy season, but not when it keeps me from my plans: gardening today, cookout on Saturday, beach on Sunday, riding on Monday.... I wanted my garden to be presentable this weekend for Kim's visit. Instead it's a massive overgrown mess. Ridiculous.


staring at me

I'm eating a bowl of cereal right now.

Toby is sitting to my right. When I look at him he whines, wags his tail and gazes from me to my bowl. As if!

Binky is sitting on the toy chest to my left. Every thirty seconds or so she attempts to climb up onto the desk and stick her head in my bowl. I don't think so!

Someone might think that I've been lax in feeding our pets. But then they'd notice just how heavy they are. Binky weighs in at 17 pounds. She is now so chubby that her fur on her belly cannot begin to cover the vast expanse. When she sits up, you cannot help but notice her pink udders. Toby tips the scale at 60 pounds. He's average weight for a male basset, but he looks huge. Must be all that loose skin.

And no, Binky doesn't want the milk. She wants the Crunchberries.



Spam irritates my dad beyond reason. He blocks all email addresses that send him spam. At last count he had 429 different addies blocked. That's just a month's worth. Scary!

We decided to not delete our spams for the week, to save them up and compare notes at the end of the week: from whom, what about, how many of each. Currently I am in the lead with 10 today. He has 8. Robert has a mere 3. I'm still holding firm at 0 for my alternate email addy.


laundry, anyone?

Rick and Kari dumped all their dirty clothes in my bathroom for me to sort and launder. Ummm, this is Rick's chore.

"But, Mom, I need a vacation from laundry."

Guess what I'll be doing today! Laundry and ironing. Rick can take over mopping our ridiculous expanse of white tiled floor.

"But, Rick, you and Kari are the ones that track dirt and sand through the house. I need a vacation from cleaning up after the two of you."

Oh yeah, this will go over well.


lullaby cont...

Still not staying asleep. Now I'm waking up earlier in my dream and trying to positively change it. No will do. Chamomile tea and meditation before bed have not helped. *yawn

Dr. Q wrote me a script for some med that will help me sleep better. Hopefully. We spent a good 30 minutes this morning trying to decipher my dream, searching for causation... looking for meaning... Nada. Not unless I want to be Ralph Rayburn of WSVN-7, the cameraman in the sky.

I'm in a helicopter flying over So. Florida. There's an explosion and flames race across the landscape. Devastation as far as the eye can see. Except for those damn palm trees. The me in the dream doesn't get excited, just keeps filming and commenting. The me who is sleeping becomes agitated and wakes up in a cold sweat.

Sucks. Really sucks. Thirteen days of this is more than enough.


where in the house is Michael?

Michael rarely wakes up where he falls asleep. When he does, we spend the morning commenting on how he managed to stay in his bed. Some mornings we'll find him in our bed. Others he'll be snuggled up to Kari in her bed. Occasionally we'll discover that he's dragged his pillow and blanket into Rick's room and made a nest on the floor.

And then there are the mornings when we can't find him quickly, when we tear apart the house to discover where he has decided to snooze. Robert spent 20 minutes calling Michael and searching closets. When Robert picked up his sneakers from beside the bed, he heard snoring. Sure enough Master Michael was curled up under our bed, lost to the world.


Skunder Boghossian

Skunder (Alexander) Boghossian died on the 4th of May. My newspaper just ran his obituary today. Today! I've very disappointed in my paper.

Mr. Boghossian is was one of the most influential contemporary Ethiopian artists, if not the most influential. He used oil, bark, pencil, crayon, animal skin to create works of art that defy categorization. His mixed-media paintings are full of energy, the stuff of dreams or nightmares (depending on your perspective), complex. I find them fascinating.

Some of Mr. Boghossian's works:Devil Descending, oil and mixed media on canvas; Night Flight, oil on canvas with collage; Rhonda's Bird, mixed media; Time Cycle II, embossed bark cloth; The Spirit is Landing, mixed media.


lullaby and good night

Sleep hasn't been good to me for the past week to 10 days. The problem isn't getting to sleep. I can fall asleep within 3 minutes of telling myself that it is time to sleep. The problem is staying asleep. Normally I am the proverbial log. Nothing disturbs me. The kids could jump on the bed and wail like banshees and I'd keep snoozing.

Perhaps the worst aspect of my nights is my dreams. Grandmother Moon has sent me some of the nastiest dreams recently. Horrid dreams. Two years ago I spent the summer months dreaming about plane crashes, people milling around gawking, secondary explosions and white powder erupting from the planes. Awful. In 1994 I dreamed for a month about drowning, inability to communicate with the people watching me drown and a casket. See, once a nightmare pops up... that's it... I'm stuck with it for at least a few weeks. These recent ones are the worst they've been.

Perhaps I need sleep therapy.


giggle, snort, giggle, ssssshhhh!

I am a lightweight. This is the reason that I do not drink. This is why I stopped drinking after graduating from college. Oh, that and the fact that it doesn't mix well with my meds.

We all went to a birthday party this afternoon for a friend who turned 48. (I'm totally in shock here. 48? Really? I honestly would never have guessed any older than me.) Anyway... what happens when you put together 4 women by a pool on a sunny day? The women drink. The men are given total responsibility for the kids.

We worked our way thru hard lemonade, tequiza, vodka and tonic and wine. I do not like sweet wine. Man oh man that stuff is nasty. But Cindy didn't want it to go to waste, so we drank it for her. The shiraz was good. I don't know that it was appropriate with hot wings, but hey... Vodka and tonic is more my thing. Ssssshhh!

While we were drinking we solved all sorts of domestic and international problems. I can't remember how now, but we did. We also discovered that we all love football -- with a passion. Our husbands are already fearing the upcoming football season when they will be football widowers. Yep, we've decided to rotate houses during the season. Wonder if I should warn them about my mouth?


Oh, and never let drunk women discuss sex.



Someone felt the need to study whether or not politicians lie? And they discovered that politicians do lie? Wow! What a revelation.


get off the phone!

People who talk on cellphones while driving piss me off to no end.

Several weeks ago there was the realtor who slammed on her brakes and came to a complete stop in the middle of the road. She had to answer her phone. She didn't care that she was blocking traffic. She had to take the call. Potential clients, you know. And the person who was behind her honking his horn and yelling at her was the one in the wrong according to her.

I love the people who insist on driving 50 on the highway while they chat on their phone. They swerve around in their lane, crossing over into other lanes upon occasion. They gesticulate so much with one hand while holding their phone with their other hand that passing them becomes a game of Russian Roulette.

This brings us to this morning in the parking lot at the bagel place. A lady driving a Navigator was chatting on her phone. She swung far to the right to pull into a parking space on the left. In the process her side-view mirror clipped an elderly lady on the head. (If the driver had swung any further to the right she would have crushed the lady against the back of a car.) The driver climbs out of her Navigator and goes inside to buy her morning coffee and bagel. She's still on the phone. She's still oblivious to the injury she has done another. When an irate bystander tries to stop her, she replies, "Yeah, right. I think I'd know if I had hit someone. And if I did, she should've been looking where she was going."

Wonder what the cops thought of her story...



Saturday morning. The day when the majority of people choose to sleep in. Not in this household. Robert was up and out by 4:40 since he had to be at work by 5:30. The rest of us were up by 7:00: first, the walk Toby; second, to take Kari to day camp.

Yes, day camp. On a saturday.

Today is her first day at her horseback riding camp. She was so excited. I've never seen her move that fast in the morning. I woke her up and she was ready to go in 5 minutes. FIVE minutes. This speed from the girl who takes 21 minutes to set the table (I timed her every night this week. Twenty-one minutes is her average.) Talk about shocked.

When we arrived at the ranch at approximately 8:09, her nerves were setting in. But then she saw the horses. And a basset hound taking a nap in the dirt driveway. And other girls her age. Within minutes she had made a new friend. Twenty minutes later I drove off and left her. Michael was screaming from his carseat, "Mommy, I'm big. I can ride horses too. I'm 7 now. I'm not 3!"

Never try to explain to a 3 year old that he is NOT going to go to camp with his sister. He doesn't understand. All he knows is that it is Saturday, no school, Rick is out of town (waaaaaaah!) and now Kari is deserting him too. Sad sad scene. The other parents just stood in the parking lot, mouths agape, staring at me, shocked at how calm I was in the midst of Michael's frenzy.

Practice, practice, practice -- something Kari is going to be doing all day long. At least her practicing should be fun and not earsplitting.


Today is the Preakness. Somehow my parents scored tickets in a box at the finish line. How in the heck does my dad do this so consistently? This is not a talent that I inherited.


It's raining. It's pouring. I don't dare ask the weatherman when the drought is going to start. Hopefully he'll be proven wrong as usual, and we will not be 14 1/2 inches under normal rainfall by September.


Wonder if I am supposed to go pick up the Karikins. Nope!


June Carter Cash
23 June 1929 - 15 May 2003

Love Is A Burning Thing
And It Makes A Fiery Ring
Bound By Wild Desire
I Fell Into A Ring Of Fire

I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher

And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire

I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher

And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire

The Taste Of Love Is Sweet
When Hearts Like Ours Meet
I Fell For You Like A Child
Oh, But The Fire Went Wild

I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher

And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire

I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher

And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire

And It Burns, Burns, Burns

The Ring Of Fire

The Ring Of Fire



Robert and I sat on our low hacienda wall for the longest time last night watching the lunar eclipse. We found ourselves whispering to each other -- as if the night magnifies our speech. We laughed at the toads who kept clanking into the gutter, swatted at the giant flying insects that bombarded us and after one particularly threatening sound asked each other, "What was that? Did you hear that?"

Despite the clouds that kept whisping across the sky, despite the bright city lights that dimmed the experience, despite those giant flying insects, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. There's something about sitting outside at night and gazing up at the moon. No other people around. No children tugging at my shirt. No dog or cat bouncing around begging to go for a walk. It's peaceful. It gives us a chance to reconnect with ourselves, each other and the Earth.

And for the first time this week Grandmother Moon sent me beautiful dreams.

(You'd think she wouldn't be that stingy with them. My mother and grandmother are both named after her!)


the trees

Kathy and I have managed to keep all 36 trees alive so far. We are out there every morning with the 3 to 5 gallons of water per tree. The trees received bonus water from the heavens on Tuesday. We are anxiously awaiting the first mowing since the trees were planted. We are terrified that the mower man will either mow a few trees down or will simply not mow, allowing weeds to grow up and over the trees, slowly strangling them.

Our neighbors aren't impressed with our trees yet. One set is still wondering why we even wanted to plant trees on the Ridge. "You want to see trees? You want green?" Another set wants trees -- but for free. No buying the trees, no watering. Yeah, right. Gimme a break.

I just love our trees.



Mustn't... no, shouldn't... um... oh, never mind. Suffice to say that I could possibly be addicted to ...

(Oh this is so Brenda's fault!)



And since my migraine kept me from participating in hangman over at the Lounge, I am sitting here in hysterics over 2 Os. Someone knOOws me far tOO well.


My mind has fallen into the gutter and doesn't want to climb out. Perhaps I should go dig out that Joan E. Lloyd book someone gave me. Hmmm...


expanding the ACC

Hey, the University of Miami wants to join the ACC? I say let them. Syracuse and Boston College too? Sure! Why not?

Of course I'm looking at this from a purely selfish perspective. UVA playing at UM? Kirk has to get me tickets. Duke playing at UM? My dad must get me tickets (even if Duke would be humiliated in football and baseball). Maryland playing UM in baseball? Hey, I get to visit with Terry Rupp. Boston College at UM? Ooh, Peter "I must grab my crotch and often" Hughes is their baseball coach. I can visit with him also. Wake Forest playing UM at Mark Light? Wonder if Coach Greer will remember me. I am curious as to what his son Andy is up to. He was the nicest kid.

Yup. Let 'em in.

Want a less selfish opinion? Visit here.


letting go

Richard is going on a school trip this weekend. Two of his teachers, 2 parent chaperones and 12 children are going to Orlando. No, they aren't going to Disney. They are going to take in Islands of Adventure, Universal and the outlet mall. Not something I'd like to do with that many "barely teens".

I'm having a hard time with this. Silly, but there it is. Richard is my oldest. He is the one with mental and neurological problems (not that many would recognize it). And he's going out of town without me. Waaaaaaah!

One would think that since I've had lots of practice with him going to stay with his grandparents or his uncles, that this school trip would be nothing for me. WRONG! There will be no relatives right there for him. Heck, even with football camp last year, I stayed at a hotel just down the street and spent lots of time on campus visiting with friends in the athletic department.

How will I cope when he goes to college? When he moves out permanently?


throbbing pain

I wish that I could strike a deal with my migraines. I would pay them to go elsewhere or to at least strike later in the day so I could just go to bed without having to worry about my dragonets running wild.

Throbbing... red... flashing lights... blindness in my left eye... oy.


riding a horse

Kari was too excited to be nervous about her first riding lesson -- until Tracy threw her up on Dakota. Kari looked down and immediately blanched. Somehow I managed to not giggle at her expression.

Tracy led Dakota out to the far corral for the lesson. Kari learned the 4 Ss: smile, squeeze, smooch and spank. I had never quite heard it put this way, but then again my first instructor was French and I didn't really know any French at the time. Kari picked up on the smile and squeeze quickly. She'll have to practice the smooching. The spanking -- well, Dakota is far too intelligent a horse to need a spanking.

By the end of the lesson Kari was trotting the corners with the world's biggest grin on her face. Very infectious. I was concerned by her need to hold onto the reins for dear life, so Tracy took pity on me. She made Kari release the reins and then trot around the corral with her hands out to her sides. Kari learned an important lesson: it's your legs that keep you on your horse, not your hands on the reins.

I've been cleared for trail riding, and Kari was declared confident enough and enough of a natural to go to the weekend camps. So exciting. Now to convince my father that this particular grandchild does not need a horse of her own....


appointment day

We cannot schedule anything else today. That's what Robert says. Poor man cannot even buy new tires today. We're that booked. (Not really, but he thinks we are).

9:15 and 10: orthodontist appointments for the older two. Yes, they get to have molds and xrays done in preparation for braces.

2:30 pm: Kari's first riding lesson. One hour. She had better remember her long pants.

4:00 pm: Rick's monthly psych appointment.

7:00 pm: Robert's softball game.

See? I don't know what Robert is talking about. He has plenty of time to go and buy his tires. I, on the other hand, do not.

There's laundry to be done, my trees to water, garden to weed (must cut the basil shrubbery back), a bathroom to clean.... Oh and dinner to plan and make.


happy mothers day!

Robert fixed me bagels for breakfast. Rick brewed my coffee. Kari walked Toby. Michael gave me a big sloppy kiss. I opened my MD cards and smelled the carnations. Kari gave me a decorative tile that she made in art class. Very pretty.

Now they are out of my hair for the afternoon. Robert is driving them to Jupiter as I type. They want to wish Grandma a Happy Mothers Day too and give her the peach roses we picked out just for her.

They haven't been gone but for about 10 minutes. Already Robert has phoned me with a Michael cuteness. Seems Sir Michael was playing with one of Kari's Breyer horses when he noticed something. Since Michael cannot keep anything to himself he announced to all those in the van, "Spirit has a penis." (I know anatomical correctness on toys is one of my major concerns -- OY!)

What to do with my afternoon? Why I'll chat with Steph for a bit, make myself a spot of tea and perhaps take a nap. The joys of solitude.

I did finish my May Day Project.

Oh and take a gander at what's in front of the pitchfork.



The kids loved the way Steph's picture looked when I was done with it. They insisted I do the same to this one. Steph's turned out much better. Perhaps I should have stuck with the lilac shades.

Oh well. Live and learn. Still kind of interesting.


snapping away

I'm driving the kids and the dog nuts with my picture taking today. Poor things. I'm very upset with the way my digicam is behaving -- poorly! Oy. My FG isn't an option and my new camera which was supposed to be here yesterday has yet to show up. Guess I'll just have to live with the results.


Kari and I stopped by Dunkin Donuts after hitting the nursery. We were dripping with sweat and a coolatta sounded like it would hit the right spot. Oh and did it ever. Nothing like a coffee icee when the temps are soaring into the 90s. Kari will remember to get the hazelnut next time too.



I've come to the conclusion that we weren't meant to own cars. In the past year we have put $5,000 plus into the van: AC repair, new brakes (twice!), new tires and then all that work that had to be done last month. We won't mention the other problems that it's giving us or the fact that the AC isn't working well in the back portion of the van. Then there's the Saturn. Every 5,000 miles Robert will be driving down 75S at 75 MPH and the thing will all of a sudden slow down to 25 and refuse to go any faster. Big problem. Bigger problem when Saturn mechanics say they cannot find anything wrong with it.

Now we come to our current difficulties with the Saturn which is only 2 years old. Something about the suspension is causing the tires to get eaten up. It is on the third set of tires. These new ones haven't seen a month of use and already they are showing wear. Since the tires are balanced, at the proper pressure and the car has been aligned...

We aren't the only ones having difficulties. Seems there are quite a few Saturn owners out there complaining about the same thing, but it hasn't gotten to the point where a recall will be done.

Then there's the lovely Ford Windstar. I can't even remember how many recall notices we've received on this one. Right now we are waiting for the transmission problems that many many many other owners have told us to look out for.

I want my 1985 Buick Somerset back. Never had any problems with it. Gas mileage was at 27 in town and 37 on the highway. *sigh



Robert handed Michael his morning milk. Michael believed he could drink and walk at the same time. Milk dumped all over Michael. Robert became mad. Michael started screaming. Robert carried Michael to the bathroom to wash him off. Robert started screaming for me.

Every spot that milk had touched on Michael's skin was covered with an angry hive. Hives on hives on hives. From milk touching his skin. Benadryl cream eased the itching. A second coating of benadryl cream eased it some more and the weals started to fade. Slightly.

I called the doctor. The doctor had me bring Michael in. We put a few drops of the milk on his skin. Instant hives. Michael had an allergic reaction to milk.

Well, duh!

The doctor wanted to have a blood test done that would determine if he was allergic to milk. The problem is that the lab our insurance insists we use utilizes a test that is known to be inconclusive when it comes to allergy testing. This sucks big time. Now, instead of doing a blood test at the pediatrician's, Michael will get to go thru the skin prick test at the allergist's. Instead of forking out a mere $10, we'll be shovelling out several hundred. Where is the sense in this?

Until the allergist can determine if Michael is truly allergic to this cow byproduct, we must deny him anything from his favorite food group. No milk, ice cream, yoghurt or cheese. We gave him some chocolate soy milk. Michael took one sip and uttered, "THIS is just wrong."

So... Richard will never enjoy a PBJ sandwich or a Reeses cup and really should avoid any corn product. We may have a child that must avoid anything dairy. All we need now is for Kari to be diagnosed with celiac disease. Yep, lets just cover all the bases here. Let us make planning meals even more difficult for the cook.


all planted


remember these?

My buddy Kim had them delivered to me this morning. The poor flower delivery man didn't know what to do with me. I was standing in my front yard, eyes awatering. He patted me on the shoulder and said, "Good friends are great."

He doesn't know the half of it.


shark teeth

Today is orthodonist day. Rick has an appointment. Kari has an appointment. Rick is ticked. He doesn't want braces because they will cause him pain. He does not care that he only will need them on the bottom and only for a short period of time. He actually asked for the invisalign braces. Yeah, right.

Kari has one messed up mouth. We're talking a gap between her top front teeth big enough to drive a semi thru, teeth that line up behind each other... Put it this way, Kari cannot eat corn on the cob. We took her to the ortho several years ago and they didn't want to touch her mouth until she had lost more baby teeth. They got it! Kari will be wearing braces, retainers, all sorts of paraphenalia until she turns 40. Hmmph.

I think I'll shut up now though since my dentist is considering braces for my bottom teeth. One of my back teeth shifted and this has forced all my front teeth to shift. Since I wore a retainer for 10 years AFTER my braces were removed, this really pisses me off. The dentist has told me that I didn't need to wear it anymore when I was 27, so I stopped. Slowly all my teeth have been moving.

happy, happy, joy, joy

update: Sometime in the next 2 months Kari and Rick will have tinsel teeth. snicker I will be waiting until next year for my Invisiligns.



Last night I dreamed that I was a tree. A huge, gloriously leafed oak. With special abilities. I was a walking tree. I could go whever I wanted as long as I could walk there. The best part of the dream was when I rooted myself in Joe Robbie stadium so that I could watch the Dolphins play.

I'm a little acorn round
lying on the cold, cold ground.
Everybody steps on me.
That is why I'm cracked you see.

I'm a nut.
I'm a nut.
I'm a nut.
I'm a nut.
I'm a nut.


I like this one better (see entry below)

Life on the ones
who decided to talk to
defeat the
National Arbor Day Foundation or hers.As
a word; of
the already
scenic areas. I really should have
survived. The
people The workers. Four adults
all for trees.


more poetry

If we can call it that. La diva of South Beach sent me here, and the poem below is what I found.

Life on theones who were actually squabbling
over who
are being planted slash pines
We needed
to pop
up slash pines We will
be forwarned not to talk to
five years from now
one of loved ones: family
and imagine 6 oaks supply the
trees We have been dashed. The Ridge
beforeOur section
of the trees in different colors. Those trees
We paid for will
find themselves wandering across the already scenic
areas. I really should have a pink handbags
is difficult
to get their roots in this lady who decided to further
bloom. ~Kane thoughts She
round up slash pines.


partially done!

Hurray! The pines are in! I even was able to help for a bit -- carting some of the trees out to where they'll be planted, soaking the soil before planting. This is just so much fun.

The difference is difficult to see in this picture, so just close your eyes and imagine 6 10-ft oaks and 10 3-ft slash pines added to yesterday's picture. I really should have taken a picture from a rabbit's viewpoint.


word of advice

If you live in an area that is inundated with fire ant colonies, always spray for them BEFORE mowing the lawn. Check to make sure that they are DEAD. And even if you are positive that you killed them all (for that particular day), still look where you are stepping. I'm such an idiot, and my feet are paying the price.


planting day

our little section of the Ridge before

Our section of the Ridge is bare. Very bare. Four to five years ago the county planted slash pine seedlings, but only a handful have survived. The mowers ate them up before they were big enough to defeat the blades. Kathy managed to save the ones that were within a hose's reach.

Since we moved in we've been hearing that trees will be planted again on our section. Time after time our hopes have been dashed. The trees always seem to pop up in the already scenic areas. I don't know how many people Kathy and I have called about this, but they were always the wrong people. The wrong people who told us they'd check into it for us!

Anyway Kathy went out one day and chatted with a lady who was trimming the public property side of our fences. Turns out this lady was the right person to talk to about our desire for trees. We needed to supply the oaks, she'd supply the people to plant them and see if she could round up slash pines.

We have oaks. Six of them are over 10 feet high. The remaining 20 are anywhere from 4 to 8 feet in height. Most haven't started to significantly branch out yet. They have been waiting to get their roots in good deep soil. Kathy and I plan on babying "our" trees. We will water them and fertilize them. We will even paint the stakes with fluorescent paint so that the mowers will be forwarned not to touch our trees.

Monday afternoon found 4 adults all excited about trees. Four adults who were actually squabbling over who was going to help carry the trees around the back of our house to wait for the workers. Four adults who decided that the 6 tallest trees would be planted behind our houses. (Hey, we paid for them!) Robert and I subtley rubbed in the fact that WE don't have to work today. Kathy considered calling in sick.

I'll mark some of our trees with linen yarn in different colors. Those trees are being planted in celebration of the lives of family and friends. I'm hoping that one day fifty or sixty years from now one of the children they are planted for will find themselves wandering across the Ridge wondering which tree is his or hers.

As a side note, every year we give trees in memory of loved ones: family or friends. If you are interested in doing so yourself, please visit the National Arbor Day Foundation or have a tree planted in your community.


the Dixie Chicks

Yes, Mom and Dad, I went to the Dixie Chicks concert last night. No, what Natalie said about President Bush doesn't bother me. We do live in a country that allows free speech.

I had fun! First indoor concert for me since 1985 when I went to see the Bangles. Oh wait, I think maybe James Taylor was after that. Oh who cares. I HAD FUN! Robert tagged along. Totally shocked me. Kari was supposed to go with me, but Robert asked if he could go instead. He enjoyed himself too.

Was the concert worth the money? Ummm... yeah! Can't believe I paid that much, but I'd do it again. At first we were panicking, because the base totally obliterated the music during Joan Osborne's set. What if the same thing happened when the Chicks started? I'd have bawled my eyes out. And I must say that Osborne's "One of Us" irritates the hell out of me.

A few other notes for right now. I'm tired and need my beauty rest.

truth #2

To the girl sitting next to me: you cannot sing. Not in the least. As Paula Abdul would say, "Honey, you were flat thru the whole song. Couldn't you hear that?"

Oh, and, honey, Stevie Nicks recorded "Landslide" way before the Dixie Chicks did. You do know who Stevie Nicks is, don't you?

"I need Wide Open Spaces..."

The Office Depot Center is cramped. There is no way to sit comfortably in those seats. Absolutely no way. A supermodel's bony butt would be far too wide to not sit at an angle. There's also very little room to scootch by in front of people to get to your seat. I honestly thought that I was going to end up on my butt 2 rows down. Once I sat, my feet had to go underneath the seat. There was no where, no where else to put them.

The skinny minny sitting next to me elbowed me half to death (wanna see the bruises?) whenever she shifted. Her hair swung in my face whenever she chose to look to her left. Which was often.

"...too far gone..."

Oh man, the dude in front of us was sooo wasted. Before Joan Osborne was halfway thru her set, he had the drunk stare. When the Dixie Chicks started singing he jumped halfway out of his seat and started playing air guitar. Quite badly. He flung his arms around in time to the music. His head lolled around and jerked about, you know, like when you're in a car and falling asleep. Yeah. Like that. Robert and I got the giggles.

But the best part was at the end. Drunk guy wanted to put his feet up. Someone was in the seat in front of him. No problem. Drunk guy put his feet on the other man's shoulder. Sober man leaned forward, no need to waste time arguing logic with a drunk. This went on for an entire song and part of another. Usher lady had to come over and say something.

The scary part is that his wife was just as drunk as he was. Who would drive home? We sprinted out to make sure that we were "long time gone" before they realized that the show was over.


maudlin, huh

A long time ago
Before I grew up and had
Children of my own
Dreams littered the landscape of my mind
Every day a new one
Forever changing
Growing with me. But something...
I'm not sure what. The dreams
Just stopped. Eliz
Kirkland disappeared and
Left her old dreams and goals
Molding by the wayside.
New ones have yet to appear. I need to
Open my mind and soul and discover a
Purpose. For myself. As an individual. To
Quell the itchy
Restlessness growing inside me.
Seeking something
To strive for --
Uncertainty be damned -- I want to
Value myself, to feel
Worthwhile. I wish to
eXperience again the
Yearning for something and to approach a goal with

(Someone named Brian lied about alphabet poems being "...surprisingly easier than you might think." Hmmph! Then again, writing poetry is not my forte.)



Way back last year there were several of us trying to figure out exactly what sardonic meant. What kind of look would be sardonic? What was the difference between sarcastic and sardonic? Obviously there is some degree of difference.

For some unknown reason I awoke this morning contemplating those words again. Very strange. But then it hit me. Sarcastic is censorius. Sardonic is contemptuous. Sarcastic may be mean, but sardonic is downright nasty.

Now if only I could explain to my children that there is a huge difference between ironic and sarcastic.


little cars

There are family stories that are told and retold so many times, yet each time they affect you.

My dad grew up in a neighborhood with lots of children. Where the kids ran through the backyards playing cowboys and indians. Where playing stoop ball was a common site. Where the kids would organize sandlot baseball games. Dad has maintained contact with many of his friends from the "old neighborhood". He waxes nostalgic as often as we will let him and then a few extra times, just for good measure.

Despite the closeness of the children in his neighborhood, there was still teasing and tormenting. People just love to gang up on the "weaker" person. One afternoon someone rang up my dad on the phone and asked him if he wanted to play little cars. My dad agreed, packed up his little cars and headed over to his friend's house only to find that it was all a prank. The person whom he thought had called hadn't. The kids who played the joke on him all laughed.

I hate when Dad tells this story.

But now Michael has come along and he loves to play little cars with my dad. They'll sit for hours in the sports room on the hard floor guiding Dad's wind-up Dick Tracy car from one side of the room to the other. They laugh and giggle. They blame each other when the car glides underneath the sofa or bangs into radiator. They love it.



"Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men." ~Daniel Webster




dress up

Michael has almost outgrown his frog costume. What will we do when he does?



Since I've felt blechy all week, nothing has been done. Steph forced me to take this vinegar concoction to try and budge this congestion. Almost 30 minutes later I am sensing movement. Hmmm. Now to remember in the future to add a touch more honey.

Kathy and I are going to finally pick up our trees that will be planted on the Ridge next Tuesday. We're so excited. It's our little contribution to our environment. We won't be around when the trees reach their full glory, but that's okay. We've paid for the live oaks that will be planted. The state is bringing in slash pines. Robert is not too fond of the slash pines. He sees them as useless. He wants to see shade trees planted out there. He'll take what he can get and like it. Hmmph! I must remember to take before and after pictures.

My laundry is done. Take that, Mom!


what I want for mother's day

Other than a fun-filled day with 3 children who decide to get along for a minimum of 24 hours, I would like a hand-tied bouquet of flowers. (I wonder if they are paying attention. They ignored my birthday hints.) All they have to do is head on down to Field of Flowers. I think I'll be leaving this picture on the computer with a sticky note on the screen: "This is a great idea for Mom for Mother's Day."

They didn't get the hint for my birthday though. *sigh

For further contemplation -- simplicity: Thanks, Bea.


yesterday's lessons

What I learned from Kari:
Several Naval officers came to Kari's school yesterday to speak to the students. Kari doesn't remember much of what they said, after all she isn't interested in going into the Navy. No horses. So what did she get out of their visit other than their autographs?
"Navy people eat real food -- like people."

"What?!" I gasped. "They eat people?"

My guffaws earned me a glare from a seriously huffed Kari.

What I learned from Rick:
That I'm cooler than Robert.

What I learned from Michael:
"Footbridges are not for cars. Only for people walking. Not for people on bikes or people in cars. Footbridges are not for cars. They aren't strong enough. Nope. Footbridges are only for people." (This babbling went on for about an hour.)



What can I say? I thought this tree was interesting. Since the next post is about my mother and she and I spent a bit of time cutting magnolia branches to use in decorating her church for Easter services...


my mom

My mother always has to be doing something. She is incapable of sitting still. Mom is head of her church's sanctuary guild, a member of a Bible study group, runs from sporting event to sporting event with my father, keeps up with Nana's various activities and appointments, practices yoga several times a week, visits shut-ins and tutors a little girl in reading. These are just a few of the things she's involved in.

Last week, at some luncheon, Mom received an award. She was named the Helping Hands Volunteer of the Year. Way to go, Mom! Does this mean you get your name in the paper? Did they give you a plaque to display? Someone has to give Dad a run for his money. The funny thing is that Mom didn't let anyone know that she received it. She can be obnoxiously humble at times. Hope she enjoys her roses.

See what Erin sent? I just love birthday cards.


when it rains...

Last year we kept waiting for the rain to fall, but the skies remained a beautiful blue scudded with fluffy white clouds well into what is normally our rainy season. Robert didn't have to cut the grass but once a month. Grass just doesn't like to grow when it doesn't rain.

But this year...

Rain, rain, rain. We are running the risk of flooding. Yep, and the skies look like they'll be opening up again shortly. The grass needs to be mowed, but alas, it is far too wet. Our three need to be able to escape into the outdoors to run off some of their energy and to allow me to keep my sanity. Toby's bladder and bowels are going to explode if the wet stuff keeps falling. (My threats of buying him a rain slicker and then making him wear it have been ineffective. He just whimpers and refuses to set foot outside.)



Last night our neighbor came over to talk about picking up our live oaks from the nursery on Friday since a state crew would be available to plant them on Tuesday. Kathy also told me about a family in our neighborhood who lost a daughter in a DUI accident over the weekend. Kari's school held a moment of silence in the girl's memory, because she attended Silver Lakes several years ago and her sister is a student there now.

Since Lauren was participating in a charity bike ride and one of our nephews also takes part in these events along with road races, Lauren's death hit close to home. Since she was struck by a drunk driver and my brother-in-law was once broadsided by a drunk driver, there was another bit of pain involved.

My thoughts go out to Lauren's family.

Here's the article.

Davie family grieves for teen killed by DUI driver during charity bike ride

By Ardy Friedberg
Staff Writer
Posted April 29 2003

Lauren Katzenstein loved singing tunes from Disney movies.

"She liked to sing out loud and didn't care what people thought," said her father, David Katzenstein.

Lauren, 15, was singing just before she was struck and killed by a drunk and speeding driver, her father said, as she rode with him Saturday in the annual charity bike ride to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"It was Disney's Colors of the Wind," he said, recalling the song and noting how the lyrics summed up his daughter's approach to life.

"You think the only people who are people are the people who look and think like you,

"But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you learn things you never knew, you never knew."

Lauren, a sophomore honors student at South Plantation High School with a grade point average of 4.6, was one of about 1,600 riders in the 17th annual, two-day, 150-mile ride from Miami's Metro Zoo to John Pennecamp State Park in Key Largo.

She had just made a turn onto Southwest 217th Avenue from Southwest 344th Street in southwest Miami-Dade County and had stopped to wait for her father, said Detective Robert Williams, a Miami-Dade Police spokesman.

A northbound 1988 Acura driven by Blas Romero, 43, of Homestead hit her at 11:40 a.m. Romero was speeding and impaired when he lost control of his car, Williams said.

Romero was charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and driving without a valid license. He was released on Sunday on $50,000 bail. A search of state records revealed no previous criminal record. He could not be reached for comment.

David Katzenstein, riding behind his daughter, saw it all.

"The driver hit his brakes, and I saw the car skidding a little," he said. "The bike caught under the wheel, and the car ended up against the 45-mph speed limit sign. I knew she was dead. I held her hand and just screamed."

While the weather was not a factor in the crash, according to police, the ride was hampered by rain on Saturday, and the return trip from Key Largo on Sunday was canceled. Bikers without rides were bused back to Miami.

Karen Dresbach, president of the South Florida chapter of the MS Society, would not comment on the fatal accident that marred the ride.

"Our thoughts are with the family," she said.

On Monday, David Katzenstein and his wife, Robin, who live in Davie, were trying to cope with the loss of their daughter.

"That's all she ever did was good deeds," he said. "I just wrote a check for the bike ride, but she loved collecting the money door to door and got all her contributions from neighbors. She did things for others, and that's what made her happy. She was always so happy that sometimes it didn't seem right."

She also was nurturing to her 11-year-old sister, Dara, David Katzenstein said.

"She played with her and talked to her, and that's unusual for kids that age," he said.

There were plaques and photos on the walls of Lauren's upstairs bedroom and shelves full of books and dolls, including a collection of the Barbie Nutcracker series.

"She loved reading Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter and loved to eat pasta and was thinking of maybe going into the culinary arts," said her mother, Robin Katzenstein.

A signed photo of Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, in his astronaut's suit, the result of a school project to write about someone famous, hangs next to framed certificates from the school recognizing her "Outstanding Academic Excellence." There are American Indian artifacts from a father-daughter arts and crafts program and a plaque for her cross-country running endeavors that reads "Never Say Quit."

Lauren also loved drama and was in the Paladin Society, which recreates Renaissance events. She volunteered at Sunday school and was studying for her confirmation, her mother said.

Andre Henry, a favorite teacher of Lauren's who coaches boys and girls cross-country teams at South Plantation, said 60 students gathered in his classroom after school on Monday to remember their schoolmate.

"They are looking for some kind of an answer to why this happened," Henry said. "She was always bright and cheery, effervescent and full of life. She was an absolute flower who was pulled up and taken away from us."

Lauren's parents said her most outstanding trait was that she never gave up.

"She always tried new things and never gave up. She finished everything," her father said.

Coach Henry agreed.

"Lauren never won any races," he said. "Often she came in last, but her philosophy of life was to try."

He said she had spoken of the MS ride and was excited to be going with her father.

"I told her, `I know you're going to make it because you just don't quit,'" he said.

from the Sun-Sentinel, April 29, 2003

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson