Life on the Ridge
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wanna see?

What happens when I let Michael run off with the camera? Curious as to what my youngest dragonet took pictures of? Just pop on over here and take a look.

He had fun. Perhaps it's time for his own camera. (Thanks, Brenda, for the suggestion and the link.)


wee ghosties

"Mommy, he's out there."

"Who's out there, Michael?"

"The boy. He wants to play."

"What boy wants to play?"

"The boy outside my window. He wants to play. Can I go outside?"

We go through this every so often. Usually it's a cat figure walking through our house. Only Robert hasn't seen it. Binky and Frog have hissed at it. Toby has chased it.

But Michael is the only one to see this boy. He only mentions him when he sees him, otherwise it's as if he never existed. A boy with long hair and no clothes, skin the color of toast. He speaks funny words, but my youngest can understand him anyway.


ready for football!

Games of interest to me this weekend:

Wingate vs Davidson: "oh, Davidson, you are the best, from the east coast to the west..." I'm a Davidson alum, married to a Davidson alum, daughter of a Davidson alum, granddaughter of a Davidson alum, great-niece of a Davidson alum, great-great-niece of a Davidson alum, 2nd cousin twice removed of a Davidson professor emeritus. Need I say more? Of course I must. I managed the football team for 3 years, kept their defensive stats for 4 years, did play-by-play for 2 years. My grandfather was their football manager in 1934. Robert lettered all 4 years in football at Davidson and was voted by his teammates as being the best offensive player our senior year. I really like the current coach -- Mike Toop. Yup. I'm a loyal fan -- even during the Gatto years. Especially during the Gatto years.

Duke vs UVA: Hoo to pull for? I'll be blue if Duke loses, but as my brother asked, "Orange you a Hoo fan first?"

UCF vs Va Tech: Michael is wearing his V.T. hat today. Wouldn't Rachel D. be proud? *snicker Sensabaugh for Va Tech was my first crush on an athlete. Bet no one remembers him. Besides, a Hoo fan must follow the Hokies season. It's required.

Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss: Forgive me, but a friend is one of the coaches.

The Miami Dolphins have waived the following players this weekend:

DT Maurice Anderson: Other than he played for UVA (go Hoos!) in college, I know nothing about him. Nothing. Okay, he played for the despised Jets for a season.

DE Corey Callens: Zero experience in the NFL, although he had attended the Ravens camp last year and was waived before being signed to the practice squad. Had been waived from the Detroit Fury practice squad back in February. Did play in the NFL European League where he recorded 12 tackles and 1 sack.

FB Sedrick Irvin: Four years of NFL experience, but hadn't played a game since 2000. How much playing time would he have even gotten with the likes of Williams, Minor, Edwards and Henry ahead of him?

DT Damonte McKenzie: Played in the NFL European League: recorded 14 tackles and 1 sack. The Dolphins signed him to a 2 year contract in June. He just didn't fit in with the defense I'm guessing.

QB Lon Sheriff: When he's a medical doctor, he will never catch himself wondering if he could have made it in the NFL.

P Kevin Stemke: Uh oh, Royalls had better perform this year. Many of us in our section of Joe Robbie were pulling for Stemke. The Fins decided to stick with a 14-yr veteran -- the guy who helped them lose the Pats game.


tap, tap, tap

Impatiently waiting for Derek to comment on last night's UM game. (as if he has nothing better to do with his time) Not only do I want to read his thoughts on the quarterbacks, I want to know what he thinks about UM's secondary.

And is Kevin Donahue of fanblogs the same Kevin Donahue linked over at Candy Genius?



For the first time since Robert and I married, we will not host either Christmas or Thanksgiving. I'm quite put out by this. Doesn't seem fair that I should be denied something I enjoy so much. Doesn't everyone like having anywhere from 19 to 24 people show up and whine to be fed?

Honestly I enjoy this. From the planning to the shopping to the cooking to decorating the tables. It's all fun. I don't think I'll ever beat my record of feeding 22 people for under $100 AND still having leftovers.

Except for this year. This year there is nothing for me to do. I might be asked to make a cake for Thanksgiving or to bring a dish at Christmas, but that's unlikely. *sigh......

But as I was working on copying recipes over from Steph's kitchen site I realized that this year we can celebrate Yule this year without having to work around preps for Christmas.

I wonder what gift we can leave our friendly armadillos or the parrots....


evil laugh

Rick has 2 tests today. TWO! Tests written by yours truly. Okay, not the biology test, that came with his test book. There's a test after each chapter.

Now the German test... I wrote that myself. I passed with flying colors. Give me a gold star. Yup, haven't had any reason to speak German since 1994 - other than when my grandparents' former maid would pop into my store. Frau Grün was a character. (Always correcting my pronunciation which was wonderful.) She would come in and just start chattering away to me. I'd be helping other customers and there she would be, next to me chattering away. Helke, her Enkelin, would stand by the cashwrap, hand over her eyes. Why I ever mentioned that my mother lived in München at the Hotel Columbia is beyond me.

Anyway... back to the tests.

I hope Rick is prepared for these tests. Robert feels that the biology is far too difficult, but I don't think it is. Not if Rick truly paid attention to what he was reading, what we discussed and if he took adequate notes to study by and then actually studied.

The German test is fairly easy: several culture questions, vocabulary words, paragraphs to translate -- one into German, one into English, conversational questions to answer. Yep, he'll do fine. I just want him to be able to read German for now. That's my goal.

After all I do have Michael running around accusing me of cursing whenever ausgezeichnet or vielleicht pop out of my mouth.

NOTE: Rick's first paper can be read here. Only constructive comments, please. And those may be left underneath this post.



Why does my dog continue to attempt to snag food off the counter or table? He knows that he's going to get in trouble and be sent to his cave. He always has food in his bowl and treats are part of his day.

Why do women with roll of fat around their middles believe that wearing lowcut jeans and midriff-baring shirts is an attractive style on them? Come on! You look terrible! May be the style, but that does not mean you act the sheep.

Why do people insist on going where they are not wanted? Why put themselves through that misery? And if they've received notice that they aren't welcome, why continue waltzing in as if they belong? Isn't that trespassing?

Why do people pay a lot of money for football tickets and then spend the time getting drunk? Can you not drink at home, watch the game on tv and then not endanger the rest of us by being on the road?

Why did I choose the definition I did for today's round of Fictionary? Oh yeah, 'cause it amused me. Once it caught my eye, I couldn't look away.


A Balanced Walk in the Woods

Muffled footsteps along the trail, trudging through;
Tiny angry snowflakes pelting our faces red.
Searching the trail for the secrets of her woodland,
Birds chattering in muffled tentative queries.
Turning the corner as the path widens up the hill,
Trees protecting our faces from the onslaught,
Dig in our heels and push forward into the hush
behind the mask of dark moon mysteries.
The hush of muffled chatter along our path,
Slowing our footsteps to listen,
Listening to our breath in muffled snow,
Breathing in the calm of pure snowflakes,
Floating along the eastern air.
Leaving the path to find her, the goddess within.
Crouching into the arms of the curled evergreen.
Flowing, purifying rebirth in her soft flakes.
Circling three times deosil, bringing her energies.
Releasing the dark moon mask, farewell.....
Raised faces, stomping feet, tingling necks,
Her energies flow through us into her earth.
Chest pumping as we struggle up the hill,
Muffled leaves bending as we reach the summit.
Open grove, sentinels encircling the hilltop.
Guarding her tears flowing, upturned faces,
Easterly wind, new moon in Aquarius.
Air flowing through, sparking rebirth.
Arms raised with our faces, stanced firmly;
Circling three times widdershins,
sending electric tingles down our spines
spiral into the poetic rebirth of maiden.
Follow the path south to the fire glowing,
Hearth, home, warrior spirits of Ra,
Bridgitt crone, midwifery mother Bridit,
Maidenly poetic Brigidt welcomes new growth.
A balanced walk in the woods, peace overcomes.

© Old Crone 2/2/03

from Spiritual Sisters


things that bring me inner peace

hugs from my children
a touch of Robert's hand
twiddling my thubs in opposite directions
playing the piano
sitting under my orchid tree in my garden
smelling the roses
petting Frog
meditating on my candles
listening to Beethoven's Pastoral or Clementi's Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 1
chatting with Nana
reading a punny tale from my father
my mother's giggles
support from friends

All these things help me regain my balance. Some days it's simply harder to find that balance because the negative keeps banging away at my psyche.



Nana had her second and third opinions this morning (tuesday). They do not believe that the test results were clear enough. They want to do a heart catheterization to get a clearer picture of what is going on. Nana is happy that someone is agreeing with her. Her children on the other hand are not happy. They've been hearing far too many horror stories about other's parents going under the knife for this surgery (not the catheterization) and then going steadily downhill afterwards.

Yes, I would love to say, "Nana, is it worth the risk? Do you want to do this and then find that your health declines?"

But then I have to remind myself that my opinion is not what matters, but Nana's peace of mind is. If she feels that her life will be better because of this surgery, then she should do it. For her peace of mind.

The situation is a catch-22: don't do it and run the risk of a stroke, do it and risk a stroke. Hmmm. Coin toss. Personally I'd have the surgery. If there's a chance that it will decrease my likelihood of stoke, yes, I'd do it. Even if there are slight odds (1-3% based on surgeon's skill) that I'd stroke out on the table.

Especially if I'd watched my mother wither away from a robust "Barbara Bush" type of woman to someone frailer than a blade of dry grass. Especially if I'd watched my husband have a TIA at the doctor's and then live for almost a month on life support. Especially if I were the designated driver among my friends -- friends who have had strokes, broken hips or suffer from AL.

As a family we have to support Nana's decision. As a family we have to accept that our matriarch is a fragile person, that she is no longer young and capable of taking on the world. (not that her age really stops her from trying to do so)

Our job is simple -- we just need to keep loving Nana.

acceptance of the angry self -- an old link from Mel. I need to read and reread this.


so mad I could just spit!

"I have a right to my anger, and I don't want anybody telling me I shouldn't be, that it's not nice to be, and that something's wrong with me because I get angry." ~Maxine Waters, in Brian Lanker, I Dream a World, 1989

Hmmmm. I turned the other cheek earlier in the year and just got slapped again, so what do I present now? my ass?

It's a shame all this spit will go to waste. Just think or all the good I could do if I were a gila monster.


Does anyone else find the cartoon "Max and Ruby" to be annoying? I wanna gag Ruby sometimes.


You are an Elementalist. Your magic stems from the forces of nature. You might be a forest nuturing Druid, a storm-creating Weather-Wizard or any of the many Elementals, but one thing is sure-- your bond with nature is strong. You can rely heavily on nature to support yourself aesthetically or physically for it lends you both comfort and strength. Your instincts rarely fail you. You are vibrantly passionate but are sometimes carried away by your own emotions.

Which Magical Order Are You In?
brought to you by Quizilla

found over at Steph's.



Kari thoroughly enjoyed her first day of school this year. She decided her teacher was not the ogre that others had made her out to be. She caught up with her friends who had been at camp all summer. She compared notes with other "new to braces" friends.

And she brought me homework.

The sheer number of forms to fill out is absolutely ridiculous, especially if you consider that the same information is going on each form. Why they want her social security number is beyond me. I have never given it to them. And I never will give the school her social security number, unless they show me where it states in the Florida law code that it is absolutely necessary to use this number as an ID #. Umm, hello, aren't we always told to protect that number, to not share it and to definitely not use it as an ID#? Sheesh.

Oh, but the most amazing thing is that Kari has decided that this school year she will be taking more pride in her appearance. She actually washed and then blew her hair dry. No kinky curls mixed in with straight locks, no all-over-the-place hair. Her hair was straight AND pulled back with a single barrette. Quite shocking.

Wonder how long the hair thing will last. Wonder how long until she decides that her teacher is a meanie.


post deleted

Tired of the IMs I was receiving. If something like this happens again, I'll be posting the IMs and notifying the appropriate people.


silly moments

He's really into brushing his teeth and was very upset that he couldn't find his toothpaste. He happened to catch sight of it in the bathroom mirror, but the poor child couldn't reach it. He went running for his daddy, who came in the bathroom and promptly started laughing.

Why? The toothpaste was actually on the edge of the counter. Michael was looking at the reflection of the toothpaste.

I'm quietly reading in our room when all of a sudden there rose a huge clatter from the patio. Robert came bounding into our room to tell me about his startling experience with a wild critter.

Robert had gone out back to look up in the sky and find Mars. (If he'd asked me, I could have told him to go out front.) He's standing there, looking up at the sky when he heard scurrying. At first he thought it was Toby, but the sounds were too small. As he walked over to flick on the light, something ran into his foot. He pushed it away and heard a thunk and more scurrying.

When he turned on the light, there in the overturned turtletank (Rick really needs to take this into the garage!) was an armadillo -- madly trying to scurry away. The poor thing was so scared he didn't realize that he was going nowhere.

Attempting to go to school this morning in her nightclothes. Need I say more?

Putting the cupcakes meant for the freezer into the washing machine, adding soap and starting the machine. Thank goodness those freezer bags seal very well.

Getting up at 7:30, walking the dog, eating breakfast, going back to bed. Getting up again at 9:30, walking the dog, eating breakfast...

Umm, hello, Rick. Any sense of déjà vu?


hair today, gone tomorrow

We finally convinced Michael that his hair needed to be trimmed. It was horribly long and in his eyes and ears. Don't you agree?

Brooks with hair

He told us he wanted his hair cut just like Rick's. Well, that's a shock. The only thing he asked was that we don't let his brains show. He's not quite ready to have his Papa's hairline.

The amount of hair we trimmed off was quite amazing. Michael was deeply disturbed by it.

hair everywhere

After a good scrubbing, a romp thru the house with the dog and some silliness, I was able to get Michael to sit still long enough to snap an after picture. He asked Robert , "Do you think Grandma will be pleased that I look like Rick?"

brooks is pleased with his new hairstyle

Oh, probably not. She'll chew my ear off about it. But Michael is happy.

(And yes, we trimmed the little bits and pieces that evaded the trimmer on the first go-round.



mother earth

Not a day goes by that I'm not amazed by something about the earth. Whether it's gazing in awe at the live oaks on the Ridge, laughing at the antics of escaped green parakeets or finding another patch of herbs that naturalized on the Ridge courtesy of my garden and the birds that strut through it upon occasion.

The rubbish tossed on the sides of the roads infuriates me. The piles of empty beer bottles and the bags of trash left in the parking lot after a football game sickens me. Is it truly so difficult to find a trashcan or to simply wait until you are near one?

Where are the commercials reminding people to take care of the environment? The "crying indian" from my childhood has died, but the simple power of those commercials and his single tear have stuck with me for all these years. "Give a hoot, don't pollute!" is a phrase my children know. They don't have the tv ad to reinforce me when I repeat that phrase though.

Visual aids combined with words or emotions make a big impact, but we don't have these any longer. "No Littering" and "No Dumping" signs seem to be fewer and farther between. When I see one, I swear that the garbage around them is heavier than anywhere else. County Park Services here has placed several trashcans along the paths on the Ridge, yet the trash never seems to make it into them. Instead bottles are scattered under trees and bits of paper and potato chip bags flit across the grass with each breeze.

There are towns out there that do not encourage recycling because of added cost to the town budget. But what of the cost to the planet? If manufacturers are going to continue to shrink wrap and cardboard back every item they produce, if we continue to not recycle items that can be recycled, if we continue to be a society that places great emphasis on material wealth, the rubbish we produce will continue to rapidly outpace our available landfills. We will deplete the resources of our planet. We will continue to destroy our environment.

And then where will we be?


dolphins vs. falcons

The Dolphins pulled off a win over the Falcons. Really not too impressive if you consider that the Falcons were minus Michael Vick (broken leg) and that in their 37 year history as a football team, they have had winning season in less than half of them.

But they won!

Homer brought his girlfriend of 4 months. She's a lovely woman from England. She had never been to an American football game. She drank her beer and listened to Homer's play-by-play of the game. I got to giggling because he explained EVERYTHING. Come on, man, don't scare her off like that. Give her the basics and let her sit back and watch, drink in the game.

The cheerleader of the game was Gina, someone that Bubba watched grow-up. She was in school with his son (aka Asshole). Bubba kept commenting on how he was glad that cheerleading existed so that Gina would have something useful to do. She's also a bartender. That's her job. The funny thing is that her bio says she is an account executive -- something that made Bubba and Homer snort their beers out their noses.

Hahvahd was sitting across the aisle as usual. He's including me in more and more of his comments. Which I love. I learned his real name is Harvey. Robert started laughing. Harvey is simply too close in sound to Harvard, my nickname for him. At least if I slip and refer to him as Hahvahd, he might not notice.

Stupid blond observation: During halftime I ran to the women's bathroom and stood in line for only 2 minutes. The joy of preseason. All of us at the front of the line stood and watched a pair of feet. This woman was walking towards the toilet and back towards the stall door, over and over and over. The woman attached to the feet eventually opened the door and backed out with a quizzical look on her face. "I can't get it to flush!" The lady who was waiting stepped up and explained to her that the toilet wasn't an automatic, that it was necessary to use the handle to flush the toilet. The blonde walked off, still a bit confused, muttering to her friend the horror of having to flush her own toilet. (What does she do at home?)

Robert Edwards had a decent night. I am on pins and needles about him. I've been following his career since first seeing him play for Georgia. When he wrecked his knee in a stupid accident, I mourned. When the Dolphins signed him last season I was ecstatic. Now he's on the bubble. Leonard Henry, a rookie, is having a good training camp and is posting some decent numbers in preseason games. I'm nervous that Edwards could be released. NOOO! Please, no. Hopefully the fact that he has played ahead of Henry in the first 3 preseason games is a good sign. Please.

Oronde Gadsden is still injured. He must be sweating it out watching rookies like Tolver (from San Diego State) have great games. Gadsden has always been a favorite of mine. The man is unshakeable. Unfortunately he was injured and out for many games last season and he was injured this preseason. That cannot be a good thing. I do like Tolver though. He has lots of potential. A bit shaky.

Brian Griese stubbed his toe at the end of his one and only series in the game. He stubbed his friggin' toe! To me that worse than being tackled by the punter on a return. It's not as bad as tripping and failing to fall into the endzone by a mere inch. That would really suck.

Now next Thursday night do I watch the Dolphins, UM or Maryland. Or do I play good aunt and go watch our youngest nephew play in his first game? Oh decisions, decisions. What a horrible choice to have to make.


a ticking time bomb

How would you like your doctor to tell you that your carotid arteries are 90 - 99% blocked? How would you like it if he added that he doesn't want to operate?

Now to that add the memories of watching your husband die a slow death from ARDS, lung damage that occured as a result of aspirating vomit during a stroke. Add to that years of watching your mother, a once extremely capable person, dwindle into a shadow of herself after repeated strokes.

How would you feel about your doctor's decision to not operate to remove the plaque from your carotid arteries?

Nana is upset. Her fear of stroke is well-founded. The women in her family tend to die from and after multiple strokes. One of her close friends suffered a stroke in Nana's presence several years ago. Nana, 80 at the time, picked up her friend, put her in the car and sped to the ER which was down the street. Now Nana drives her friend places that she wants to go. Nana drives many of her friends around from place to place or she runs errands for them. She told her doctor that she cannot have a stroke, that she has all sorts of elderly women relying on her. She doesn't want to become a burden to her friends and family.

Her doctor's reasoning behind not wanting to perform the surgery is that Nana looks and talks fine now. She hasn't had any stroke symptoms. He says that in his experience, this operation can backfire and cause the very stroke that it is meant to prevent or forestall. Many times on the operating table or shortly after. He's seen far too many hale and hearty senior citizens fade away after the procedure.

So Nana has scheduled an appointment for tuesday morning with other doctors. She has decided that she will go with the majority opinion.

I just hope that the majority opinion will ease her mind.

Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you have one or more of these symptoms, call 9-1-1. If someone you love is at a high risk of stroke, know what to look for and make sure that they also know.


thinking of Nana

Nana is in her 85th year, soon to begin her 86th. This has been the year from hell for her -- starting back on 10 September 2002.

She's had a botched cataract surgery, lost a breast to cancer, been treated for ulcers and depression. It's just been a bad year. She's been looking forward to 10 September 2003. A year to begin fresh.

And we're hoping that it will be a better year for her

Especially considering that yesterday her doctor called and told her he needed to have additional tests run based on the results of tests done the previous day. Tests he had said he wouldn't know the results of until late next week.

Nana is terrified.

Her appointment was at noon. I'm still waiting for the results. So are her 3 children, her daughter-in-law, her son-in-law, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and her many friends.


fun with the family dog

Rain is falling again. Boredom has set in. Hmmm. What to do, what to do. I know!

Taunt the dog by waving his woobie in his face. (Stop laughing, my dog requires his own stuffed animal.)


Toby chases me with his ears flapping. He howls in outrage. The windows shudder in their frames.

I stop and wave woobie in his face. Toby leaps up to try and take it away. He misses.

New tactic. Toby runs in circles around me. Hysterically howling. I laugh and let him almost get hold of his toy.

Toby stops. He crouches down in front of me and lets out one long sorrowful howl that starts at the tip of his tail. The howl lifts his front paws off the ground and makes his ears fly up. I give in and let him snag the woobie with his teeth.

Tug-of-war free-for-all ensues. He's growling and tugging. I'm laughing and pulling back. We're moving in circles around the kitchen. The kids are all laughing their heads off.

Finally Toby wins. He pulls the woobie away and runs off with him. Back into my bedroom, onto his bed. He lays down with one paw over his woobie, his head on top of his paw. I can hear him thinking, "Don't even try that again."



Rick and Kari had their braces installed today. Michael desperately wanted braces too, and he doesn't understand that he's far too young for braces. Kari's teeth look awful, so her braces cannot begin helping her quickly enough.

From what I understand, there was a big debate in the exam room about which color the kids were going to get. Rick's initial impulse was red or black. Kari really wanted light blue or bright green. My family had informed her that there would be no UNC-colored braces in her mouth -- ever. They finally made a decision. Rick would get Duke blue. Kari would get turquoise. (I'm talking about the little bands that hold the wire to the bracket.)

So now they have braces. Now we're $2,966 poorer as of 9 am.

At least the orthodontist backed me up with the no soda rule and multiple toothbrushings each day. Rick said his mouth feels nasty after eating. He's brushed his teeth twice already.

Both have decided that they are in pain and have begged me for advil. I just laughed in their faces. They don't know what pain is. They didn't have to wear those nasty spacers for a week beforehand, nor are there rough corners on the brackets. They have it easy.


the Perry update

press release:  camp day 22

Ed Perry, #89, of the Miami Dolphins had surgery to reconstruct his ACL and to stabilize tears in his menisci in his left knee. Since he is on the team's IR list, he is ineligible to return this season.

Heal well, Ed.


a tin roof kind of day

It's raining, it's pouring!

Yes, that's fairly normal for around here this time of year.

But something about today's rain makes me want to snuggle next to Robert in our bed, kids on the bed with us, windows open so we can hear the rain, Frog sitting in the window eyeing the frogs leaping around, Toby shuddering under our bed (he's such a wuss), Binky trying to squeeze in somewhere.

Everyone together. Listening to the rain.

Yep, days like this a tin roof would be welcome.


Ms. Manners, where are you?

My children hate to write thank you notes. They despise it. I've allowed them to do some via email. At least I thought they did them. Until recently.

Nana sent Rick $$ for his birthday. Rick swears he wrote her. She never received anything via email. I checked his "sent" box. Nothing in there to Nana.

He's in trouble.

Guess what he'll be doing later today...

Ms. Manners is shuddering in her shoes.

I wonder what Ms. M would have to say about the latest board woes. I really do. Sue tried to heal the breach by having a "tea party" on the 54 board. Members of the 2 boards were invited. Many showed. A good time was had by all. Marjan brought up reuniting the 2 boards as one. Wonderful idea. She recognized that sticking with 54 wouldn't be a good idea: people can be blocked, someone has to own the board and ownership cannot be transferred. She began getting input from members by posting on both boards and asking their opinions: TPP or somewhere else. Well, so many people were saying they'd go with the majority that her simple question wasn't working. Angel set up a poll offering those 2 choices. Each person could only vote once.

And then, once more, the shit hit the fan. Women started complaining. They said that the poll could be manipulated if you had a dial-up service. There were behind-the-scenes accusations that people from TPP were cheating on the poll, that people from 54 were cheating on the poll. Obviously we are not ready to rejoin if people are going to start accusing others without proof.

And to attack Marjan! That goes way beyond the pale. Marjan was trying to effect a truce. She wasn't playing favorites. She wanted to rejoin the board.

I hope that all those women who attacked her or accused her -- whether they did it by email, IM or just in their thoughts -- apologize to Marjan. They should be ashamed of themselves for behaving in such a manner.



Hagall - Slow, steady pace, no disruptions, asking for a hand from fate within a situation you do not control.


Tir - Victory, leadership, success over other competitors, increase in finances, virility and passion (especially for men).


Mannaz - Cooperation, teamwork, collaboration, help and aid from others, beginning new projects, especially with others.

Cast the runes here:
Rune Caster

found this at Steph's... of course.


more OAMC

Cheese and Olive Bites are a go. Wonder if I'll be able to keep some of them from Robert.

The kids want chicken crepes. Actually they just want the crepe part. They put sugar and cinnamon on them, roll them up and munch away. Quick and easy snack. They've even put apples and fruit dip on them.



I feel the need to rant.

Kids: As much as I love them, they still have the power to annoy me. Last night they were all in bed at 9:30. Or so I thought, but since I was hanging around in the family room, I couldn't hear all the trouble they were getting into on the other side of the house. At 11:30, I informed them they had to go to sleep. They being Rick and Kari. Michael was sound asleep in his own room. At 12:30 they were still up chatting.

Kitchen: When I cook, others get to clean. This only seems fair. Unfortunately I cannot seem to get anyone else to understand that wiping the counters is a necessary part of cleaning. And then there's the piling all the clean pots and pans on the counter or shoving them all a-tumble into the wrong cabinets. Umm, hello, I have explained to all of you where things go in my kitchen. Is it that difficult to put the pans in the correct cabinet and to do so neatly?

Dog: He peed in the middle of my freshly mopped living room floor not five minutes after coming inside from a long walk. What's with that?

Frog: Silly cat knocked a painting off the wall in the middle of the night. Guess he should learn that his leg will not support him or help him leap quite far enough to jump from the dining room window (14 feet off the floor) to the half wall the dining room shares with the kitchen.

October: This board voting thing is driving me nuts. I ran next door in order to be able to read the "other" board. Seems a couple of the women think a certain vote has been tampered with or there is the potential for abuse of the poll. Oy! Get over it. Please just come over to TPP. This whole thing has been drawn out way too far. Ya know?

October again: Why does the majority of my family have to have a birthday in this month? Sheesh! And how in the world am I supposed to keep my mouth shut about us going BACK UP to NC for Mom's 60th? As if!

White: I live in a house with white tile floors and an all white kitchen. Who in the world thought this was a good idea? I really need some area rugs (Robert, are you reading?) Don't know what I can do about the kitchen.

Cupcakes: I've devoured 4 bite-size cupcakes so far. The other little ones are calling me. At least I can ignore the bigger ones. *sigh.....

Hmmph! NOW my day will be better. Now that THE ABOVE is off my chest.

Brigid, the great mother goddess of Ireland,
represents fertility, childbirth, power,
creativity and inspiration. Also known as
Brighid, Brigit and Bride, she is credited as a
protectress and guardian of children; also a
Goddess of fire, the sun, music and medicine.

What Celtic Goddess are You? (With pictures)
brought to you by Quizilla

found over at Steph's



I'm trying to get back on track with cooking and the housework. Summer is almost over, and so is my annual 3 months of pure laziness.

The weekend was spent working on the test kitchen and redoing some pages over in Steph's kitchen. Both sites will be unveiled in the next month. Hopefully. Hey, I can dream.

As I'm sorting thru recipes and wiping the drool off my chin, I began making lists of things to bake and freeze. Certain things must always be in my freezer or my children get upset: spaghetti, stuffed potatoes, meatloaf, brownies and cupcakes. But I have dreams of other things.

What those are, I'm not quite sure yet, but I am making lists.

Today is all about restocking the basics in my freezer. So far I've finished 4 batches of spaghetti, a batch of chicken a la king, 5 pounds of stuffed potatoes, 4 jars of applesauce, 2 poundcakes, 1 meatloaf, potato casserole broccoli casserole. I have 4 dozen cupcakes waiting for the oven. Robert wants me to make cheese & olive bites, so that will happen for him after dinner.

But the rest of the week is for new dishes. Oh, how to make a decision......



Just so I remember...

Last night I was chatting with my parents via IM. They were more talkative than usual. Apparently the food in Saratoga was tastier than in previous years. The horse auction and the races weren't mentioned quite as often as the food.

While we were chatting, my parents kept hearing a cat meow. Kate, their persian, was snoozing away in her room (aka the den), so she was not the source of this meowing. Dad went off in search of this poor kitty that was either trapped somewhere, hurt or just desperately wanting attention or food.

Dad couldn't find the cat outside, so he came back in to continue chatting. Since this was via IM, I hadn't a clue that he had gone in search of a cat. But the cat continued to meow and they could only hear it in Mom's office.

Dad went under the house. Into the nasty spider-infested crawlspace. The space where voles and mice hide. Ewwww! All because of a meowing cat.

This time Mom mentions that Dad is under the house searching for a meowing cat. I immediately started laughing and informed her that my buddy noise was a meowing cat, so the meows were coming from their speakers. She didn't believe me. Over and over again I IMed her... "Do you hear the cat now?", "How about now?" Finally I convinced her.

She collapsed with giggles. She giggled so hard that Kate, a real cat, came into her office with a questioning expression.

Dad was not as amused.

I wonder how long it will be before he chats with me again. At least now when I IM him, he'll hear a horse. If he goes under the house looking for a horse....


when you gotta go...

On our way to the library Michael started chattering away about a print that is hanging in my parents' bathroom. He noticed every little detail about that print. He even informed me that the boy was wearing silly red shoes.

Michael: Mommy, can I pee in the river?

Me: No, you can't pee in the river?

Michael: How about the lake? Can I pee in the lake?

Me: No, you can't pee in the lake.

Michael: We only pee in the toilet.

Me: That's right.

Michael: What's the picture say?

Me: Ne buvez pas d'eau.

Michael: What?

Me: It means don't drink the water. In french.

Michael: Mommy, no one drinks water with pee in it.

Such enlightening conversations we have around here. Now I have a toddler whose favorite line is "Ne buvez pas d'eau." Can't wait to hear what comes out of his mouth the next time someone serves him water in a restaurant.


davidson football

Davidson College suffered the worst seasons of its football history while I was there. We only had 4 wins over 4 years. FOUR! We beat Catawba once and Wofford thrice. Two of the wins against Wofford came during Wofford's homecoming weekend. We were supposed to be patsies. We were the subject of ridicule on a national level. There was even a computer-simulated game between us and Columbia, the acknowledged worst team in the nation. We lost.

But after I left, Coach G was replaced by Coach F. Coach F had a winning season his first year! Shocking, but true. His second year wasn't successful, but he still managed as many wins in one season as the team had won during my years as a student.

Coach F gave way to Coach L. Now Coach L had few rough seasons. Gatto-esque seasons. But through diligent recruiting and judicious use of the talent on hand, his teams pulled off two 8-win seasons in a row. I was quite impressed. So were the division III teams on the schedule. They began cancelling contracts or not renewing.

Davidson now began scheduling Division IA-Mid Major teams. I had to laugh. Mid-Major? What the heck does that mean? Okay, so these teams are more like Davidson. Davidson competes somewhat successfully in Division 1 basketball. They just don't offer scholarships for football. Neither do these other schools. At least I don't believe they do.

And Dad and I discovered Don Hansen. We delighted in reading his site to see what he had to say about Davidson football now. We'd laugh at the positive notes and his rankings. We weren't used to seeing anything like this.

Then came Coach S and the 10-0 season. What a shock! But we loved it. We ate it up. Ten wins and no losses! Don Hansen thought we were wonderful too.

Coach S moved on and Coach T moved in. He's had 2 winning seasons: 5-4, 7-3. Don Hansen has them 5th in the Mid-Major Top 20.

Nothing like progress.

Now I'm just waiting to see Duke's football team make the same progress.



It's raining again... still...

I swear that I'm beginning to show signs of moldering and mildewing. Blech!

Our house, which was a pretty, soft yellow in June, is now starting to get that beigy-white look again. I know that once the wet season has passed we will be painting it a new color, but I still wanted to enjoy the color revealed after pressure-cleaning the stucco.

The ants have been flooded out of their home and have decided that ours looks good to them. We have ant moving trucks pulling up every 5 minutes. Absolutely ridiculous. Nothing ruins the joy of baking faster than a stream of ants heading for the batter, the beaters, the fresh-out-of-the-oven cake.

Frog and Toby are chasing each other thru the house these days to get their exercise. If I find Toby leaping over the back of my living room sofa one more time today I may just scream. Bassets are not supposed to do things like jump down from high places. Their wee legs cannot handle it. At least we don't have curtains for Frog to climb.

And the moat is back. The much despised mosquito larvae breeding ground is here once more. I called the county. Hopefully they'll be by to spray soon. The moat is burgeoning with the larvae. We're talking water rippling with larvae activity. *shudder.

At least my water bill will be lower again next month. Perhaps down below the $40 mark? Hey, keep dreaming, Eliz.


on the face

Rick is 13 and getting ready to hit puberty. Or perhaps he is entering into it even as I type. Oh who am I kidding? Puberty is here and will be hanging around.

This morning at the Waffle House, as Rick sat in a ray of morning sun, I saw a shadow or a smudge. Nope, the smudge didn't disappear with a pass of Rick's napkin or a harder swipe with mine. My eyes opened wide in horror and with a gasp I demanded of Robert, "Have you seen this?"

Robert leaned in towards Rick and narrowed his eyes in concentration. "Yep. I see it now."

Hair. On. Rick's. Upper. Lip.

The beginnings of a moustache.

Now I should have been better prepared. Rick is now almost eye-to-eye with me. His voice is changing in fits and spurts. He now must use deodorant. Even his preferred topics of conversation are starting to change with his greater awareness of the world.

But facial hair?

I'm so not ready for this.



I'm not sure how this always happens to me, but I have lost ALL of Robert's birthday presents.

Poor guy turned 37 yesterday, and the love of his life couldn't give him anything because she couldn't figure out where she hid his presents.

Oh the horror! I'm so embarassed. I've searched in all my usual places and some unusual places. I've come to the conclusion that perhaps 2 of them are at my parents -- hidden in the cassette box in the closet of the yellow room.

Robert begged me to call them and ask if they are in that box in the closet. But my parents are out of town. The races at Saratoga called them and away they went.

On top of the present fiasco no one called to wish him a happy birthday. Not even Nana who forgets nothing. His mother called to chat with me, but not to talk to him. *sigh.

Happy birthday, sweetie. You know I love you.

Now back to my searching....


on emails

THIS is for my cousin Cathy, Mary Lou, Jeff and all you others who insist on forwarding me everything they receive via email that says "Please Forward".

Thanks, Kirk. I had a good chuckle over this one.


football season

The start of football season is right around the corner. Perhaps you could argue that it has started already with the NFL, but preseason doesn't count towards anything but gaining experience and cohesion as a team. Robert is getting ready to become a football widower. Oh, he loves football too, but he knows better than to get between me and the remote and the tv during football season. He's just as bad as I am actually. Thank goodness we have 2 tvs.

Robert and I both are UM fans and Dolphin fans. (Gotta have my Fins season tickets). We both dislike Notre Dame. We both keep up with what's going on with Davidson College's football team. Actually, it's me telling him about their games. Oh, the joy of listening to the game via the internet.

Robert has always enjoyed football. He played from the time he was able until he graduated from college. He was a defensive back for all but the last 3 years. He was switched to receiver his sophomore year because he had good hands.

I, however, am a latecomer to the game. For years I attended games at Duke, Davidson, UVA, VA Tech and IU. But these were social occasions for me. Then I went away to college. Emil, Davidson's SID, roped me into keeping defensive stats. The next thing I knew, I was not only keeping stats, I was also one of the football managers.

My involvement with the team grew and grew. I kept stats, wrote the little blurbs on various players that were sent to their hometown newspapers, helped edit the media guide and the media booklets after each game, gave tours to recruits and even went out recruiting.

I've been known to finagle press passes in order to be on the sidelines or in the pressbox. Love football, have cameras, let me on the field.

Now I'm relegated to the upperdeck of Joe Robbie Stadium or to screaming at my tv, but my joy in the game hasn't lessened.



Recently I was chatting with a friend about marriage. He informed me that he would be instrumental in selecting his children's spouses. When I inquired as to how, he informed me that his children's marriages would be arranged, that he -- their father -- would know much better than they, who would make a good spouse.

Since this particular friend loves to pull my leg, I laughed. Big mistake. He was completely serious. He fully intends to choose his children's spouses.

We talked a bit about why he married his wife. According to him, he had a point system of sorts. He ranked her intelligence, her sense of family, her loyalty, her various beliefs. Half-jokingly I asked him if her looks had any bearing whatsoever on his decision. He replied, "Absolutely." He went on to say that his decision was 90% logic and only 10% hormones. Love was not a factor.

He does say that he loves his wife more and more each day. But I wonder if she would say that her decision to marry him was based on 90% logic and 10% hormones. I wonder what she says to him when he states that he will choose the spouses of his children.

About 95% of the marriages in India are arranged. A family will search for a suitable spouse for their child, allow the children a short period of time to ask each other questions. If the feeling is that the children will suit, a marriage is arranged. There marriage is a blending of 2 families, creating a bond, reinforcing social structure. Families there support each other, living together as extended families. A woman passes from her father's hands to her husband's. Divorce is something that is frowned upon, something that reflects negatively on both families, brings shame.

Here marriages are based on the feelings of the couple. Couples get to know each other and decide to marry -- generally for love. Families celebrate the marriage and then return to their own homes. Extended families living in the same home or even on the same block are rare. Our society is transient. Here divorce rates are high, and common enough that a new phrase has been coined: starter marriage.

There are many good things to say about both approaches, but I do not want to make that decision that will rule my children's lives for decades. Hopefully Robert and I are setting a good example of what marriage is about or can be. Our marriage isn't perfect, but we do love each other. We have for half our lives so far.

I want my children to discover who they are and seek what they want out of life. I do not want to say to them, "I have found you a husband/wife." My vision of their life and their needs may not be accurate. Nor do I want to unwittingly put them in a marriage that is abusive or simply emotionally wrong.

Perhaps I am too steeped in Western culture and am missing some key element. I do know that father does not always know best.



I love it when my daily blogging reads make me think. Especially when two bloggers with dissimilar posts get me to thinking along one track.

Raye started a discussion about something said by minister that was highly inappropriate. Highly inappropriate. What caught my eye was in the comments.

Tony Rosen commented that "Basically, the whole theory of evolution states, pretty explicitly, that we evolve to "get better" -- that is to say "to ensure 'survivability' of the species". If one can't procreate, they can't ensure the survivability of the species, thus, we can't "evolve into homosexuality". The whole purpose of evolution is to procreate into some kind of superior being; is that possible if you can't (lack of a better word) procreate? "

Bea wrote about global warming and the ways we are harming our environment. "I don't know how long we're going to continue taking the planet for granted, and I wonder if we have reached a point of no return with all this atmospheric disorder."

These two things percolated in my brain while I worked on genealogy. What a combination of topics -- human evolution, environmental destruction and genealogy. But then something struck me.

My great-great-great-grandmother Rebecca gave birth to 13 children. By all rights she should have tons and tons and tons of descendents. But she doesn't. Oh sure, some of her children and grandchildren had more than 2 children, but there seems to be more than our family's fair share of infertility. It's as if something clicked in our genes that said, "Okay, you've gone forth and multiplied far too well. Now it's time to cut back."

Perhaps homosexuality and infertility are nature's way of helping control the population explosion that is still happening today. Yes, I've added to that explosion by having 3 children. But in my favor, I must point out that my family has been rapidly shrinking. Attrition. Death. There aren't any more Carters. There aren't any more Wilkersons. There aren't any more Hamlins. My brother is the last of the Kirklands. (Obviously we're talking male lines here).

I don't mean to belittle the trials of those who desperately want to have their own child and cannot, but perhaps there is a reason. Perhaps our bodies are trying to save the planet for the children that will be born of others.

And we do need to think about Mother Earth -- daily, hourly, with all the little things that we do. Everything has an impact on her and thus on us and all the children yet to be born.


bad news

Ed Perry, #89 for the Miami Dolphins, will be out for the season. He tore his ACL.

This is depressing. Not because Mr. Perry is a crucial part of the offense or special teams, but because he is Ed -- someone who has made a dramatic difference in our lives here on the Ridge. He gave our son a wonderful gift, the realization that interacting with other people can be fun, that teasing doesn't have to be hurtful, that Rick is someone worth knowing.

May your knee heal well, Ed. Your fans in section 413 want to see you play next year.


every dog's dream

fire hydrants

We all giggled when this truck blew past us on 95S around Jacksonville. We had fun imagining what Toby's reaction would have been if he had seen this truck with its cargo of fire hydrants....

Poor puppy would never have enough juice to mark all those hydrants.



Bucs 20, Fins 19.

Yes, the Dolphins lost. Yes, the Dolphins looked terrible! Horrible at times. Yes, Ed Perry is injured -- knee injury; he'll be re-evaluated today.

I'm very upset that I didn't get to see Lon Sheriff at quarterback. Instead I was subjected to one half of Griese and one half of Rosenfels. Griese didn't look bad, but the offensive line stunk! They couldn't have kept back my lazy 10 year old daughter. THAT is how bad they were. They should be ashamed of themselves. Griese was sacked twice. TWICE! Rosenfels makes bad choices. Granted he is the perennial 3rd string QB but still. You'd think that he'd learn something with all that watching and practice. I certainly wouldn't throw to the guy being covered by 4 Bucs. I'd go for the guy who was wide open on the other side of the field.

Bubba, Homer and Asshole were there enlivening the game for me. They didn't even give me a hard time for wanting to see Terry Kirby (21), Thomas Jones (22) and Ronde Barber (20) play. Okay, so Asshole made some comment about Kirby being ancient, and how since I knew him when he was in college and I had already graduated.... Brat!

Bubba asked us if we thought it was possible for any of the cheerleaders to be intelligent. Since I've had the pleasure (?) of hearing them interviewed over the past 13 years, I was quick to say no. Robert shrugged. Bubba then told us about how Asshole went to school with one of them and how on a school camping trip -- to the middle of nowhere -- she pulled out a hairdryer. She was asked where she'd plug it in. She said she didn't know, but she needed it to dry her hair. I said that maybe if she cut her hair, she'd be smarter. Asshole started laughing and said that to make her smarter, they'd have to remove her head.

The trio left before the end of the 3rd quarter, but we still had Hahvahd to exchange comments with. He enjoyed correcting my misreads of players' numbers. Pbbbbtht! to the man from Cambridge.

I just love football season. Now where the hell were my arepas?


attitude? tension? and then some...

We were busy enjoying our simple breakfast yesterday morning when the people at the next table ruined it for us.

A man sat his son down at the table, put the child's food in front of him and said, "Tristan, I'll be right back." Tristan started eating. This woman walked over, put her food down and then told the boy to drink his milk.

As soon as he saw her, before she spoke, Tristan became tense. He turtled. (shoulders up, head down) When she told him to drink his milk, he replied with dislike in his voice, "You aren't my mother. You are just my dad's girlfriend. I'm not going to listen to you. I don't like milk."

Well, the girlfriend was quite irate. She slammed the milk down just a bit closer to his plate, got in his face and said, "You'll have to listen to me when I marry your dad. You will drink this milk."

Tristan stuck by his decision to not drink the milk. She slapped him. Across the face. While in public with dozens of people watching. Tristan's dad missed the whole incident. When he came back and sat down, Tristan was busy eating. The girlfriend was smoking a cigarette while seated beneath a "no smoking" sign. The dad put a glass of apple juice in front of his son, then noticed the milk, "Where did this come from? Tristan, you can't drink milk. You know better than that. You are allergic." Dad got up and tossed the milk in the trash.

Girlfriend glared at Tristan whose face still had the red imprint of her hand, "You little bastard."

Rick walked by her on his way for more coffee and muttered, "You're a bitch."

The dad heard, looked at the girlfriend, then at Tristan, then back at the girlfriend, "What happened to my son's face?"

Someone at another table said, "She slapped him for sassing her about the milk. She didn't have any trouble with hitting him either."

Father and son stood up and left the girlfriend sputtering as her cigarette turned to ash in her hand.


the beach

my grandmother and her father about 1922

We ran in the surf, splashing water up on ourselves and each other, while rain fell from the sky. Michael was the first to find a sand dollar. Rick was the first to find a conch shell. Kari just enjoyed the water. I absorbed the joy.

Is there anything better?


where has that foot been?

Bad storm tonight. Real bad storm.

The lightning and thunder were right on top of each other. The hair on our heads and arms was standing on end. Coley was screaming.

Well, we calmed Coley down and then got her looking at us like we were all nuts. We were imitating her every move -- all of us. The funny thing was that her every move involved her putting her foot in her mouth.

Kirk proved that even though he is 33, he is still flexible enough to put one foot up to his mouth or to put that foot behind his head. Shocked us all, including himself. My dad went next. He could put either foot up to his mouth. He opted to not try to put both at the same time. Gina and I were both plenty flexible. Pat didn't attempt this feat (feet?).

My mom, the workout queen, couldn't come close. She tried and tried. The more she tried, the harder she giggled. The harder she tried, the more we teased her. Kari announced, "Gram is so inflexible." That cracked up the whole room.

And Coley? Coley was vastly entertained by the big people trying to do what comes so naturally to a 5-month-old. She kicked and giggled and smiled. All with a foot in her mouth.


Burlington City Park

Today the dragonets and I drove to Burlington to meet Rina and her crew. Rina jumped on the internet and found a halfway point for meeting and then found a fun meeting place -- Burlington City Park. There was a restored carousel, a train and several other rides for the kidlings. A concession stand was even open.

Shayna, Rick, Kari and Roy (Rina's dh) impressed us with their ability to balance and walk across the sewage pipe that crossed the creek. Shayna and Rick even walked to the middle sat down to cool off their feet in the water before finishing their crossing. Roy took them on a jaunt underneath a bridge and into the fenced off area of the park. They recrossed the creek by walking across a tree. Roy was the only one daring enough to jump off the tree and to the ground. He had to lift all three kids down.

Michael and Valerie played on the playground. Up and down the stairs, the ladders, the slides. Patrick did his best to keep up, but even the youthfulness of a 20-month-old cannot keep up with almost-fours.

Valerie has an amazing memory and extremely clear speech for a toddler. She would have kept Rick on his toes at that age. Hmmmm. I foresee boredom at school in her future. She's too ready for kindergarten and she has 2 years to wait. Smart little girl.

Michael is ready to go back to the park in the morning. He wants to go went it is cooler outside. He wants Miss Kim to bring up his friend Jordan and Miss Ree --- Reee --- Reee-nuh to bring "that girl and Patrick" too. (Michael cannot say Valerie, comes out "Fawarie").

I wonder if he wants to do this on Friday....


growing up

Michael is only 3. As much as he wants to be 4 now, he is still 3.

We were driving back to my parents' after dinner, all was quite in the van, when Michael popped out with, "I have a girlfriend."

I was shocked. This is the first I had ever heard that he had a girlfriend. And I am his mother.

"Who is your girlfriend, Michael?" asked Pat.

"Jordan is my girlfriend. She is my best friend. I'm going to see her on friday," he replied.

Poor Michael is going to be so disappointed on Friday. Yes, another Friday where we won't be heading to Tampa so he can see HIS Jordan.

"I'm going to marry Jordan when I get big. You hafta be big to be married. Mommy and Daddy were big. Jordan is going to be my wife. Jordan Sickles. Her last name will be Sickles, right?"

Oh what am I going to do with him? Pat and I were trying so hard to not laugh and therefore injure his 3-yr-old feelings.

"Maybe you'll be Michael Eddy," I offered.

Michael thought that was the funniest thing ever. He laughed and laughed, then decided, "No, we'll just be Jordan and Michael."



Rick loves little babies. He had too much fun playing with Coley yesterday. He took her out of her high chair after her lunch and played with her in her bouncer. When she tired of that, he moved her to her swing. After that it was off to show her how to play Frogger. Why a 5 month old needs to learn how to play Frogger, I'll never know. But it was cute. My big, bad, attitude-needs-adjustment teen was enjoying time spent with his baby cousin. He didn't care who heard him baby-talking or who saw him wiping drool off her chin.

Michael was jealous at first, then he decided that Coley could make a good toy. Hmmmm. He quickly discovered that she would rather chew on something than play. Plus she isn't mobile yet. Michael wanted her to play hide-n-seek. He told her that he'd play with her when she grew.

Kari likes to hold Coley. She did agree to feed her lunch. What a shock! My daughter volunteering to do something? And she was patient too! Oh my goodness. But the true Kari showed up when Coley messed her diaper. "Aunt Gina, Coley wants you!"


happy 40th anniversary

My parents married 40 years ago today. Right now they are attending church -- the same church where they wed.

When Dad was a reporter with the Durham Sun, he happened to notice a photo in the paper one day and mentioned to one of his friends that he'd like to meet the girl in this photo.

photo by Tony Rumple

Dad's friend happened to be dating one of my mom's friends. So my parents met on a blind date. I cannot imagine having to show up at my grandparents' house to pick up my mom for a date and be interrogated by Papa. No way! But Dad was lucky, Nana met him at the door. She talked to him for a bit and then waved the two of them on their way.

To the bowling alley. To ball games. To movies. One spring night after a date, Dad popped the question and Mom said yes. She said yes while Papa was in the house crazily turning the outside lights on and off to let Mom know it was time to go in.

They married three months later and have been married for 40 years. They've lived in 4 states, 7 towns, had 2 children, 4 grandchildren. Dad has retired twice and is back to work again. Mom has retired once -- after 2 years of working for Dad. They like to pick and go whenever they can -- whether it's to a ballgame, the race track, to Florida to see me or wherever strikes their fancy.
They have fun.

I love my parents and wish them another 10 to 20 or more years of marriage.



We have decided that when travelling from South Florida to North Carolina that there will never be a good reason to stop overnight or for food in South Carolina. Never.

Our hotel looked okay on the outside. We even had a cot in the room for Rick. They gave us extra towels at the front desk. So far so good. Then we realized that there wasn't a blanket or a top sheet for the cot. Pat pulled off the comforter from one of the beds. It was too hot to use both a blanket and a comforter. Underneath the comforter there lay a nasty dirty pair of socks. Ewww! Then Kari takes a shower. If you could call it that. Three drops of water came out of the showerhead at a time. Washing her hair was more than a chore, it was nigh on impossible. The a/c could only run on high, and the alarm was disabled. Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy. No more staying in SC.

We went to the Waffle House at exit 119 off of I-95. I don't think the place has ever been thoroughly cleaned. We placed our order and waited. We waited for our drinks. We waited for our food. We just waited. Finally she brings everyone's juice and coffee. Okay, except for mine. We had to wait for mine. Tap, tap, tap go the fingers. She brings mine and walks off, ignoring our request for cream. After 20 minutes I see our order (except for mine) sitting on the counter to be picked up. Another waitress walks by and takes one of the plates and gives it to her complaining customer. Hey! Another 15 minutes, we get our food. Well, the food is nasty. I never knew that it was possible to screw up scrambled eggs. The hashbrowns were still cold and thoroughly greasy. The sausage was cold. The toast was cardboard and without butter or jelly. The waffle wasn't cooked through. The people in the booth next to ours never did get their food. They arrived at the same time we did and left when we did. They were beyond ticked, especially since their waitress kept giving them excuse after excuse for why their food wasn't ready.

No, we won't be stopping in SC again. We'll just floor it right on through.

Oh, and if you see the Qwik-Way truck, id # K0103, in front of you -- stay far far away from it. The dude will run you over, run you off the road and curse at you. He switches lanes with abandon whether there is room or not. He'll roll down his window and curse you out too. So avoid him. He's an ass.


on the subject of marriage

Over in the Lounge, take 2 (we're now on the charmed version), we discussed the possibility of marriage between people of the same sex becoming legal. Personally I don't understand what the big deal is. If two people are committed to each other and their relationship, does it truly matter whether they are of the opposite sex?

Yes, I understand that various religions frown heavily upon same sex marriages. But if we ignore the religious view of marriage and look at civil marriage, what right does the state have to say that people of the same sex cannot commit to each other and receive the same rights as couples of the opposite sex? Why is it against the law? I just don't get it.

Anyway, Holly has written a post on just this subject. She points out that marriages between those of the opposite sex occur for many reasons: love, money, greed, necessity (think along the lines of insurance)..., but that the reasons are personal and not subjected to government rule. So why the difference once the sex of the partners is the same?


bitchy, bitchy

Eavesdropping is something I do whenever I'm out and about. Snippets of others' conversations make their way into my ears. Sometimes I am compelled to join in their conversations.

Such an event occurred recently.

Standing in line to order my coffee, I happened to overhear a woman talking about what good she has accomplished since becoming a child advocate. That's a conversation I wanted to hear more about. Then I saw who was speaking.

The bitch. No, not me, someone from Richard's past. Someone who was supposed to help him find his way in school but who did nothing. I was shocked to hear that she was an advocate now.

I butted in and told them that I was interested in child advocacy because of what had happened to my son while he was in elementary school. The "b" looked quite interested and asked me a few questions. I answered them honestly and she commented that she had a very similar case several years prior and that I would be happy to know that this child was doing very well.

Hmmm. The similarities were striking: same school, same time period, same diagnosis, same sex, same age of child, same breakdown with the police involved, same required sensitivity training....

I told her that I sincerely hoped she was not talking about my son. She startled then gasped, "Oh my God, you are Richard's mother!" With that I turned to the other women and told them that this so-called wonderful child's advocate had lost my son's paperwork several times over a 9-month period which resulted in a bogged down IEP process, that this woman who was in charge of his case and responsible for coordinating the implementation of his IEP failed to return any of our phone calls or our notes, that she did not assist in making sure that the actions called for in his IEP were followed through with by the school, that she failed to find a single counselor who could come work one-on-one with Rick in the classroom, that she did not do the sensitivity training that was requested by the officer and the teacher as a result of the constant hazing, that she was part of a system that hid the fact from us that our child was not spending his days in the classroom but in the office where on more than one occasion they failed to see that he received lunch. I added that Rick's experiences had added to an already difficult situation and put him so far over the edge that his psych team had recommended hospitalization, that 3 years later he still couldn't drive by that particular school without freezing up. I also pointed out that once Rick had his breakdown during a schoolwide event after continued hazing from fellow students, this "wonderful" advocate (she wasn't an advocate then) was pulled off of Rick's case and someone else assigned. I told her that Rick was pulled out of school that day and put into a private school for 3 years and that now he was being homeschooled.

I did not rant or rave or froth at the mouth. I calmly stated these facts while sipping my coffee and then walked off.

Later, when tossing my coffee cup, I noticed 2 business cards in the trash.

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson