Life on the Ridge
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My house is a disaster area. Toys are everywhere. There's newspaper to be recycled in my room, the dining room, the family room. Baking pans are on the counter waiting to be reshelved.

But I'm avoiding the mess.

I'm painting again in the laundry room. The white stripes just weren't white enough. The doors and door frames looked dingy next to the walls. Of course once the doors are painted in there, the doors in the rest of the house will look dingy and I'll have to take care of those too.

And I'll have to bake more bread tomorrow. The rest of my family has discovered how delicious my whole wheat bread is. Oy! How will I ever keep up with supplying them?

Oh there are far more fun things to do than clean....

What else can I get into?



Nana had to make a choice -- have surgery or not have surgery. She met with various doctors and on friday made her decision to have surgery.

Her children do not like her decision and as of last night were still trying to convince her to change her mind. They don't want her to undergo the procedure this morning.

Her doctors discussed her case and all recommended against the surgery too.

But Nana is stubborn. She based her decision on what her body is telling her and what she knows her state of mind would be if she didn't opt for this.

So this morning I'm thinking of my Nana and praying that she comes through this procedure fine. I hope her heart doesn't give out or that she doesn't stroke out on the table. After all we have plans for this weekend and they do not involve visiting her in the hospital or attending her funeral.

Got that, Nana?


where did that come from?!?

Yesterday I dragged the dragonets out of the house, because Robert didn't get home from work until after 7 am and desperately needed sleep.

We were driving through Sunshine Ranches. I commented on how sad it was to see their open space being filled with houses. Trees ripped out, man-made ponds, asphalt driveways and stucco houses. Kari agreed with me.

And then there was Rick's response.

"You know, they really need a grocery store and some other stores. They need to add businesses to their tax base."


"This is Sunshine Ranches, right? The whole town is homes. They don't have businesses. They need some businesses to add to their tax base."

I didn't even know he knew the term tax base. Heck, I didn't realize he knew anything about Sunshine Ranches other than its location.

Now if he could only remember which Bush is president and which is governor.

Happy Birthday, Steph! Hope you have an absolutely wonderful day!


uh oh!

My father loves puns. Loves them. To the point where he becomes absolutely silly. I must admit that upon occasion I egg him on.

Yesterday I egged him on.

Oh it was for a good cause. A friend in Alaska asked for suggestions in regards to this week's coffee special. She wanted a tie-in with the Cubs. (The Cubs clinched their division with a win on Saturday night.)

My dad is a big Cubs fan. He went nuts. He thought she needed to offer a good Cubba coffee, a real Chicago Cub-brewski. A Santo Sanka would be Sosa good.

Eighteen hours later he is still coming up all sorts of puns.



The tv powers that be plan their football viewing schedule by first taking into account what would irritate me the most.

This weekend sucked big time for watching games I was interested in. Seriously. The games were not on tv or were strictly PPV. Like I'm going to pay more on top of the ridiculous amount we already pay for the privilege of cable!

FSU-Duke: we're in Florida for goodness' sake! The game, lopsided though it was, was not on tv yesterday. Oh no, they couldn't show it as it happened. They elected to show it this afternoon. Who wants to watch a game when one already knows the outcome?

Wake Forest-Virginia: PPV. Hmmph. This really pissed me off. I'd been looking forward to watching this game all week.

UNC-NC State: This was to be my backup game... the one I switch to during breaks in other games. PPV.

To add insult to injury, I couldn't even listen to games via the internet. My browser kept shutting down every 5 minutes. I couldn't cheer Davidson on in their win over Emory & Henry.

UM didn't play this weekend.

The Dolphins had a bye.

I had better be able to watch football next weekend. Oh wait! We're going to the Dayton-Davidson game.


baking bread

Robert came home from work this afternoon to the smell of baking bread. Is there anything better? One batch was hot out of the oven, so I sliced the bread and slathered fresh butter on it for him.

whole wheat bread
2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast OR 1 packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons water
1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Dissolve the yeast in the 2 TBS water. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You can feel the difference in the dough!) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dought to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8-inch log. Place the log in a light greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 hour, or until it's crowned about 1 inch over the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350*F oven for about 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom. The bread will sound hollow if it's done. You can also use an instant-read thermometer -- it should register 190*F at the center of the loaf. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Yield: 1 loaf.

Yummy! Delicious! Especially when spread with fresh butter. OR to make sandwiches.


a letter to the editor

This is from today's Sun-Sentinel.
The developing tragedy of the Everglades must have even vegetarians wondering if Dr. Atkins wasn't right all along: Sugar is bad for us in ways we never imagined. ~Eugene Downs


venturing out

I'm a homebody. My outings are generally quick runs to the grocers. Yes, that's the only place I go by myself. Strange.

This morning, I took Kari to her horseback riding lesson and then headed to the grocers with Michael. His favorite shopping cart was sitting outside waiting for him. The truck. He clambered in and put down the door.

"Come on, Mommy, lets drive!"

"But, Michael, we don't need but two things."

"Mommy, get more. I wanna drive!"

And so he drove. He honked the horn when people were moving too slow. He waved other carts out of aisles. We passed this one lady several times. Michael finally asked her if she was going to the fish counter too: "We're going to get sushi. Are you going to get sushi?" She said no and laughed. He told her that sushi was cool and "Ne buvez pas d'eau!"

Unfortunately she asked him what that meant. Michael informed her that "Ne buvez pas d'eau" means "Don't pee on the frog!" That is so not what it means. I called him on it and he told her what it really means. Thank goodness she thought he was adorable.

Michael drove the truck to the van, and together we put the groceries in the back. After we parked the truck in its spot by the door to the grocers, we climbed in the van and went home.


dream journal

I'm thinking that I need to pick up my dream journal again. Tis the season for my dreams to become more intense and odd and thus amusing to my husband. Last night's were particularly amusing.

First dream:
Nana, Mom, Kari and I were all jumping up and down on the bed. Laughing ourselves silly. Nana had the great idea to jump up, grab the fan and swing around on it and let go. Somehow she ended up in a swimming pool. Once we all were in the pool, we played Marco Polo for hours.

Second dream:
Peeling apples. That's all I did. I stood in the kitchen and peeled apples.

Third dream:
I was climbing a massive mountain and was stumbling to the top through the clouds. At the top I found my mother and a laundry basket. Mom was standing there with her hands on her hips and THAT look on her face, "Eliz, don't you think you need to take of this problem?" She waved her hand at the ground. I looked down and saw bushels of dirty clothes.



At 5:30 this morning, I dreamed that Robert woke me up to tell me that "The goddamn smoke alarms had better not go off or I'm going to be pissed."

How do I know what time I dreamed this? Because right as he said that to me in my dream, the damn things did go off. All of them. Yes, all my battery-operated smoke detectors were clanging loudly for 2 minutes.

No smoke in the house. The kids slept right through them. The cats had to be peeled off the ceiling. Toby had to be pulled out from under the bed. Robert had to relax back into sleep.

Over our breakfast of Krispy Kreme donuts he told me that something woke him up just before the alarms sounded. He didn't know what it was. I told him about my dream. He gave me the "OMG did you somehow cause this?" look.



blame it on Stacy

Sorry, Stacy, but you did ask for this. Now please be honest people. This is so not scientific, but still. And be honest. Sheesh! You don't want me to become green with envy, do you?

eliz's Weekly Survey

Okay, you have kids, but do you have sex?
1 to 3 times a week, if the planets are aligned.
Four to six times a week. We're going strong here.
Seven or more, aren't you jealous?
Only in our dreams...

Current results


on the topic of religion

When I was six years old, my parents had Reverend Fenwick baptize my brother and me. We hadn't a clue as to what baptism meant. To us baptism meant that we had to stand in front of the entire church while the minister put his wet hand on our heads and babbled something.

My mother started asking how Robert and I would handle religion in our household as soon as we started talking about marriage. At that time I was very involved in our church. I taught Sunday school and was one of the middle school youth group leaders. Yet despite my involvement I did not feel that baptising infants was appropriate.

Religion is a choice. A feeling. A bond with your god/gods.

How can I make that decision for my children?

None of my children are baptized. Do I feel bad about this? No, I don't. My mother occasionally laments that three of her grandchildren aren't saved yet. I just look at her and keep going on with my life.

My children know about the Christian god. They have been introduced to the ancient gods of Egypt and Greece. Rick can discuss various creation myths. My children know a bit about Judaism and something about Hinduism. We read myths from around the world (I include the Bible in this). I want them to make up their own minds about what they believe.

My mother keeps pushing Christianity. Which is fine. She is passionate about her beliefs and for the most part internalizes them. But this weekend she sent me an email saying that for her birthday present, she would like me to join a church and have all 3 children baptized.

I laughed and kept going on with my life. This was actually her intent. Then Dad read her email and was not happy. He gave her the lecture that she shouldn't interfere in others' lives like that, that it was my place to decide about religion and not hers. He told her that she needed to apologize immediately.

She called. She apologized. I laughed. She giggled. We went on to other topics.

I'm thinking that I will gift her with a wish tree for Yule this year. Wonder what she'll have to say about that. Will she laugh and keep going?


what the kids have been saying...

"I'm so stupid!"
"I'm the greatest!"
"Mom, you know my only interested in architecture. Oh, and art. And cars. I like cool cars."

"Can I go outside?"
"What's for dinner?"
"Where are my socks?" (How should I know? She doesn't even put them in the hamper to get washed.)

"I love you this much!"
"I'm going to marry you when I get bigger, Mommy."
"Can we make cupcakes today?"

Todd, my nephew:
"I wanna transfer to a different school where the football team can actually score a touchdown."

Coley, my niece:
"ma! mamamamamamamamama!"


all I want...

All I want is a day to myself. A day to bake and finish burning some CDs. A day to work on my stitching projects. A day to garden.

Oh I guess that's 3 days. Greedy, aren't I?

But honestly, all day long I chase my kidlings. I may be signed online, but that doesn't mean I'm truly at the computer. Some of the time I'm teaching. Part of the time I'm walking my dad through some silly problem he's having on his computer. Sometimes I'm studying. Sometimes I'm gardening.


lessons learned

1. Never let Robert build me another computer.

2. Never drink strawberry margaritas when eating hot wings.

3. Never put the floss for 2 needlepoint projects next to each other, especially if the colors are similar.

4. When I want to fix chicken for dinner, I should never drive past the sloppy joe billboard if Rick is in the car.

5. When I clip Frog's claws, I wrap him in a blanket and still can only clip one paw's worth of claws a day. When I let the vet tech at the Dr. D's clinic clip Frog's nails, it takes 2 vet techs and 1 vet to hold him down while the groomer comes in to clip his nails. Still... it's worth the $5. Mwa ha ha ha ha.


helen of troy

My face would never launch a thousand ships, but I did almost start a fight at Sunday night's Bills-Dolphins game. The first half of the game was enjoyable. We watched, we yelled, we booed (Mark Royals), we exchanged all sorts of comments with Hahvahd and Bubba.

Then came the third quarter. That's when the asshole behind me and across the aisle decided he was going to stand to watch the game and that he'd whistle whenever he felt like whistling. This wasn't a nice whistle either. No, this was a high-pitched, eardrum shattering, loud whistle. At first I couldn't figure out where the obnoxious noise was coming from. Everytime I turned, the noise would stop. There would be this goateed man looking at me and giving me a male version of Mona Lisa's smile.

By the end of the third quarter I was covering my ear. My inner ear felt like it was on fire. By halfway through the fourth quarter, we had figured out who was whistling and I had asked him to please stop. (Yes, I said please. That is the polite thing to do after all.) He didn't stop. In fact he felt that he had to bend his knees and whistle directly at me. Since he was now whistling at odd times, I didn't know when the blast was coming and my ear was caught unprotected more than a handful of times.

Hahvahd's nephew decided that he had had enough too. He asked the man to stop, but without the please. The man just shrugged and said he was a fan and could whistle whenever he wanted. Nevvie replied quite heatedly that he too was a fan and the whistling was ruining the game for him and causing me quite a bit of pain.

With four minutes remaining in the game and the Dolphins doing their best to figure out a way to lose, I was in so much pain that tears were running down my face. My hand was covering my ear, but the damage had already been done. Nevvie saw this, jumped up and the arguing began in earnest. Robert made me switch places with him. Bubba and Hahvahd turned around. Many words were exchanged, but I couldn't hear a one of them.

Robert told me later that a silent decision had been made. (I love how men can do this.) After one of them threw the first punch at this guy -- one punch was all it was going to take to knock him on his ass -- they would all swear that obnoxious guy was the one to throw the first punch.

Awww. Isn't that sweet? Thank goodness it didn't come to that. Someone else tried to get past the guy who was still standing in the aisle. He refused to be budged and thus was forcibly removed from the aisle. This shut him up for the final two minutes. Pretty much.

Of course when he himself walked down the steps to exit, he paused briefly next to me and whistled. No one could react by shoving or punching his lights out at this point. Not without endangering everyone else marching down the concrete steps.

My ear is still sore.

The bastard. I hope he doesn't return. If he does, I'll have to go find Charlie, our upper-deck bouncer.


plucked nerves

This is one of those weeks where the kids have irritated every last nerve of mine and strained my patience so much that it has suffered a nervous breakdown. Mine will soon follow if I do not get a break from all three of them.

Rick has studied hard, but he's also protested everything I gave him to study. When we reviewed his German lessons he would stand on his head and do somersaults and jump. Normally this doesn't bother me, but this week it has.

Kari has been shoving crap under her bed, leaving a huge mess in the bathroom, scattering her Breyer horses throughout the house. I cannot remember how many times I asked her to pick up her shoes and put them away only to trip over them 5 minutes later. She was just moving them in 2 foot increments.

I don't even know where to start with Master Michael. He has screamed, whined, cried, pitched fit after fit all week long. He has jumped on the furniture, written on the walls, dumped out my houseplants, spilled his drink (he pulled off the lid and turned it upside down on purpose), asked if this, this, this or this gave him bumps.... Oy!

Running away sounds good about now.


football in the mid-atlantic states

A friend of mine from high school doesn't like sports too much. Okay, she really doesn't like them at all, but she did hear something about the VA Tech game on Thursday and we exchanged a few IMs about it.

Hurricane Isabel passed through North Carolina and Virginia on Thursday. Duke, Carolina and State moved their football practices from late afternoon to the morning. Had to get their practice time in. Today's games are crucial for them.

But then there was Tech. Did the Hokies cancel or postpone their nationally televised game? Oh no! They played. Not only did they play, but the stadium was packed. Absolutely packed. Of course they are on the opposite side of the state from all the action of Isabel, but still...

All those fans packing Lane Stadium. I just know they weren't all from southwest Virginia.


the rain fell in sheets

Our neighbors to the north had left at first light to avoid the storm. Mom had cooked a full dinner in the morning knowing that with expected winds of 75 mph or higher, power was guaranteed to flicker and die.

And late morning, the wind arrived. The trees bent in half. Our carport creaked and swayed and didn't know which way to lean. The gas grill strained against its chain mooring it to the metal railing by the basement steps. Our neighbor across the alley darted from her back door to her garage in her nightgown. She ran back to her house with a cat cradled to her chest.

At a quarter to one, the power went out. The rain fell in sheets.


the wonderful thing about tiggers

"...They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun...

They're jumpy, bumpy, clumpy, thumpy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun..."

They claim that there is only one Tigger, but I'm beginning to doubt this.

Almost hourly the sounds of jumping and leaping, pouncing and thumping echo through my house. Furniture shifts and moans with each thud and sproing. Giggles float through the air. The cats scramble. The dog howls. More giggles dance into my ears.

At the least Michael needs to be made an honorary tigger. No doubt about it.

We have talked to him about this jumping. We've given him time-outs for continued jumping. Just this morning he had a stern talking to and an extended time on the bench. Michael just looked up at me and declared, "But, Mommy, I just have to jump. I don't have inertia."

Okay, who has mentioned the word inertia to my youngest? And why does he think it's a horrible illness?


troubles on the verizon

We have been customers of Verizon Wireless for years, but recently I've been rethinking this. Not because they don't provide an excellent service. Oh no, it's all about their website.

Almost all of our bills come via the internet. We only receive 2 paper bills: water and association fees. Some of these bills are paid automatically: FPL, Bellsouth, car insurance. One I wish to pay automatically since the amount doesn't vary. That would be my Verizon Wireless bill.

Unfortunately it seems this is not to be. Way back in February I set the automatic payment up and received notification that my bills would be paid automatically ten days before the due date. The first automatic payment was supposed to occur in mid-March. I went on my merry way, happy that there would be one less thing for me to remember.

The first week of April we received a courtesy call from Verizon Wireless that our phone service was going to be cut off for non-payment. What?! I trotted myself to their website to see how my payments were set up. Automatic payment to occur 10 days before due date. Wasn't made. I checked with my bank. Nothing every came through from Verizon. I paid the bill with a check.

The next month the exact same thing occurred. I switched from the automatic payments to payment-on-demand. This was in May. In August I paid my bill through their website. But somewhere the payment was lost. Gone forever. I have spent more time in the past month trying to pay this damn bill. So far my electronic payment has been lost, my paper check never reached them (what's with that?) and I can't get a straight answer from their customer service desk.

I cannot remember how many attempts I've made over the past month to pay my September bill online. Each time I dutifully fill out all the spaces correctly and then click accept. Instead of confirmation of payment with a tracking number popping up, I get "My account services is temporarily out of service. Please try again later."

Email after email has been shot from me to Verizon Wireless' customer service department. Each time I receive an automatic email saying that someone will contact me within 8 hours to resolve the problem. Hmmph. The quickest anyone has responded is 17 hours, and that's to say that they've passed my problem on to someone else. Their last response was that they tested everything from their end and had no problems. Do they think I'm lying? I've since responded by sending them screenshots of each step I've taken.

Will they believe me now?


it's raining, it's pouring

The garbage men must hate this time of year. They have to ride around on the back of the truck in the pouring rain and the high heat. I want to run out and give them an umbrella or a glass of water. They look absolutely miserable.

Today is garbage day. The day dawned bright and clear. People put their trash out by the curb and then went on their merry way -- to work, to school, to wherever they go. The skies clouded up and rain fell heavily.

Into the garbage cans without lids.

Now I'm envisioning all that extra weight that these hard working people have to lift because of others' short-sightedness. Not only are these cans much heavier, all the water is going to pour out of those cans and splash on these guys. Who wants to shower in nasty garbage water? Not me and I'm sure not them.


Christmas is coming!

In three months.

I need to get a move on. There are decorations to be made, cards to be made, stockings to finish (made 2 more and have started a third). Then there's the shopping. (blech) Baking! I like the baking part.

Oh, and gardening. Yes, gardening is part of Christmas around here. Pointsettias will be planted in the front. Amaryllis and paperwhites will be forced out back. Quite festive. My Norfolk pine has to be repotted into a much larger pot . Decorations for the birds have to be made for the fence and the trees.


off to do some ironing!

I don't like to iron, but this chore must be done. Grrrr. Since Robert is finishing up his work on the computer (formatting, etc -- don't ask me, I'm a computer idiot), I have to occupy myself in other ways.

Today's goal is to finish up the laundry and ironing. Blech. After that I can continue writing out Rick's art curriculum.

And yes, I'm writing it myself. What! Yes, writing it MYSELF.

After that... for fun... Kari and I are going to make snowflakes for holiday decorations. This will be fun. Check out these snowflakes! We're going to hang them from the ceiling in the foyer.

You are smart and sexy!

Which Ultimate Beautiful Woman are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


at the bar

Cindy dragged me to the bar yesterday. Okay, so she didn't drag me, I wanted to go. At 11:45 I picked her up and gave her my Gadsden jersey to wear.

At noon we walked into Billy's, me in my Madison jersey, her in my Gadsden jersey, and grabbed 2 seats at the bar. Kris served us the first of our free beers. From our vantage point we could see 4 tvs showing the Fins vs the Jets, 1 tv with the Colts, 1 showing KC and Pittsburg. I was in heaven.

At 12:15, other people started coming in wearing their jerseys and hats so that they could take advantage of the free beer. Oh my. Cindy and I were the only women for a long time. All the men introduced themselves and included us in their conversations. Turned out most of them were from Massachusetts or Maine and had moved down here in the 80s and 90s.

For four hours we watched the games, yelled at the players, drank our beer, ate hot wings and just had a good time. When Madison was beaten by the obnoxious Jet player on the 5 yd line everyone turned and looked at me. Sheesh! You'd think I was the only Madison admirer in the crowd.

The Dolphins exceeded my expectations by managing a win. We high-fived everyone as we left. They all shouted that we had to come back. We promised we would.

And I learned to never ever say "I can only come on away game days." Those men have dirty minds. One told me that obviously my husband wasn't up for the challenge of dealing with me.
Of course he was the same man that made some comment about someone having big hands to which I had replied, "You know what they say about men with big hands..." Since he didn't, I told him, "They need big gloves."



This morning all of us were rudely awakened by all the smoke detectors sounding off at the same time. We've never moved so fast in our lives. Never.

And not a trace of smoke to be found.

Robert stomped around making sure that the kids were okay. I tried to figure out where the cats had gotten to. While we were doing that the alarms went silent as quickly and mysteriously as they had come on.

Robert decided that since he was up, he may as well go to the bathroom. I sat on the bed in the darkness waiting for him to come back to bed and for my heart to stop pounding so hard. As I sat there doing breathing exercises, the tv came on.

No sound. No color. Black and white images of soldiers rushing across a field. Men falling. Anguish onscreen.

I sprinted into the bathroom and cowered there until Robert calmed me down.

Now our day is back to normal, but I'm not looking forward to going to sleep tonight.


boiled in oil

Click, click, click. Toby comes sprinting from the other side of the house. Michael pops up from the sofa to inform me, "I don't like that smell. It's disgusting."

Heating oil doesn't smell that great. I must agree with him. But I want my empanadas de carne de res.

It's a sickness -- my occasional craving for emapanadas and arepas. Ooh, or ropa vieja. Pastelitos. Medianoche. Flan decorated with kiwis, bananas and strawberries.

I speak not a word of Spanish. Living here in South Florida, speaking no Spanish is a sin. A grave sin. I mispronounce the names of my favorite latin dishes, but no one seems to care. The lady at the bakery just smiles at me and serves up an extra bit of ropa vieja or slips me a fried plantain. She has patiently repeated tres leches to me hundreds of times now. She'll repeat it hundreds of more.

And no matter how badly I mangle caf con crema y azcar , the barista will still serve me my coffee with cream and sugar. He'll roll his eyes at me, but who cares as long as the coffee is hot and he has some tocinillo del cielo for me to eat. (the almond, please)


silly girl

Kari wants to know why someone would name a klutzy basset hound Grace.

I thought she was kidding. I'm sitting here laughing, and she's completely serious. She gave me one of those long-suffering looks.

Perhaps I will not drive her to her riding lesson.

Ooh, that got me a glare.


conversations with a 3 y.o.

"Mommy, I'm eating grapes."

"Michael, put the grapes on the table."

"Mommy, the grapes like it cold. It's hot. The weather is nicer in the fridge."

NOTE: humidity is 91%, temp is 85.



Kari's teeth are bucked out and a gap big enough for a straw to fit without any squishing exists between her front teeth. Or rather it did. Since her braces were put on, the gap has closed tremendously. We were talking about this yesterday afternoon.

Kari was lamenting the fact that now she'd have to floss those teeth. Michael was bawling, because he wants braces. I was laughing at the two of them.

Then Rick jumped into our conversation. "Hey, her teeth haven't seen each other for years. Maybe never. 'Hi! Nice to meet you!' 'Yeah, long time no see. How have you been chewing?'"

Even Kari laughed.



Nana is making a decision today. Does she have surgery or no? Which type of surgery would she prefer? Does she wait until January in hopes that the FDA will approve a particular drug that would greatly decrease her chance of stroke during surgery?

Nana and I chatted on the phone last night. She said she knows that her carotids are almost completely blocked. She wants to have the new type of surgery and is hoping that the good doctors will agree that that particular procedure would be the best for her situation.

I told her to listen to her doctors and then make her decision, that whatever she decides, I'm behind her.



Jeb Bush:
To be American is to be, at heart, an optimist. We have a fundamental belief in our ability to right wrongs, fix what is broken, and change our world for the better. Our country was founded upon this hope, and we renew it every day that we rise, send our children off to school, report for work and continue with our lives.

Guillermo I. Martinez:
... All this makes me Cuban by birth, American by choice -- one with a passion for U.S. democratic values. I am proud of speaking both Spanish and English, of having migrated to this country from Latin America, of having Spanish ancestors and of living in a great country.

I revel in the opportunity to live in a community where people from all over our hemisphere, of all races and ethnic origins, live together.

George Will:
Football combines two of the worst things in American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings.

Lee Greenwood:
And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me, and I'll proudly stand up next to him to defend her still today, cuz there ain't no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA!

James Baldwin:
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

Winston Churchill:
You can trust the Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried every other alternative.

Anthony Walton:
America's greatest strength, and its greatest weakness, is our belief in second chances, our belief that we can always start over, that things can be made better.


heat and idiocy

A woman wanted to go shopping, so she drove to Loehmans. She left her infant daughter in the car while she went inside the store. Another customer called 9-1-1 after noticing the sweat-drenched infant in the car.

The mother was arrested when she exited the store. She was shocked. She saw nothing wrong in what she did. She didn't want to wake her sleeping baby and thought it would be better to leave her in the car with the windows cracked.

Now lets consider. Yesterday was hot. Ninety-one degrees. Clear skies. Not much of a breeze. Her little girl was left in a car. In a parking lot. No shade. For at least 20 minutes.

Added to the story is the fact that she took her older 2 children into the store with her. She said she would have left them in the car too, but they were complaining that it was too hot to sit in the car so she took them inside the store.

Her baby was rushed to the hospital and treated for severe dehydration. Her older two were taken into DCF custody and later released to their uncle.

I'm thinking that people who leave their children in hot cars while they "dash in for just a moment" should be locked in a car under the same circumstances for the same amount of time. Just so they can see what they subjected their children to.


obviously someone else suffers from cotton brains too

Pet peeves. Every so often one will present itself and I must rant on it or someone else does.

In my mail today there was a postcard from Air & Space, a wonderful magazine we've been receiving for years. The postcard was nothing new, but how it was written was.
spacecamp, n hsv, al, is the camp 2 go 4 realistic space shuttle missions. will u survive? if u like 2 know how things work and luv computers, u can select our robotics track, think u can design a rocket 2 go fastr and highr? we have that 2. it's a cool way 2 spend 5 days w/ur friends or w/kids from all over the u.s.! :-)

aviation challenge, n hsv, al, is the camp 4 the most fun u can have in a 3d environment (BYKT). u'll get 2 fly high-perf jet sims, the way they were meant 2 b flown. u'll also find out what it's like 2 b a navy seal with search, rescue n survival train n. if u luv aviation, it's a great way 2 spend 5 days w/ur closest friends or w/kids from all over the u.s. :-o

Is this not the most obnoxious way to try and get children interested in going to Space Camp? Ridiculous.


cotton for brains

I woke this morning, stumbled into the bathroom, stubbed my toe and immediately forgot why I was in the bathroom. My normal pattern of brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, washing my hands -- completely forgotten. Completely. Thirty-five years of doing this same thing morning after morning wiped out by the pain of a stubbed toe.

Pathetic really.

Into the kitchen I hobbled. I stood in the middle of the kitchen and tried to remember how to make a pot of tea. After a moment of contemplation that involved the coffeepot, I said screw it and went to my computer.

Yes, most definitely have brain issues this morning. How much of it can be attributed to lack of sleep and how much can be laid at the door of going back on meds I am not quite sure. Hopefully it will disappear quickly.

Otherwise my blog will be filled with references to Minoan pottery. The only thing I seem to be able to recall clearly.

Oh, and the fact that Merriweather Lewis had a Newf. That seems to be stuck in the forefront of my brain.


the dolphins suck!

Oh do they ever. Horrifying to think that this team will probably end September at 0-3. Disgusting if you consider the talent and the money spent acquiring the talent. (Hmmph! What talent?)

Last week I was struck by something Ralph Friedgen of Maryland said after his team's loss to Northern Illinois: You will have to ask them. Im angry. Im not really into their mood too much. They need to be into mine.

After the Dolphin's loss on Sunday to second year team, the Houston Texans, I expected to read of something similar being said by Wannstedt. But no. Instead everything that came out of his mouth was wishy-washy. He talked about regaining focus and working on problems. There was no fire in his words, just a strange calmness.

There's something to be said about remaining calm in the face of adversity, but a calm that has no fire behind it will accomplish nothing. The Dolphins need the calmness that comes with knowing that they have the skills and the game plan to go out and get a win. They need the calmness that comes with the certainty that they can accomplish something on the gridiron.

Wannstedt's calmness doesn't project certainty. He comes across as someone who is trying to pull a fast one. Someone who doesn't quite know what happened or how to fix it. Someone who thinks that providing a focus is enough.

Calm, focus... where in the hell is the drive?


Hi! Again!

Long time no see. Robert decided to work on the computer which resulted in no computer since Thursday afternoon. Bad Robert!

I have instead been scribbling on scraps of paper. Little bits that flutter to the ground when a door opens or someone walks past. Perhaps I'll move them to my blog. Perhaps they'll age to a nice yellow and years from now crumble when someone picks them up to read.

But the exercise of writing is enjoyable. Whether on a blog or on paper.



Binky wandering through the garden

Binky prefers to stay inside, curled up on our bed, sitting in the window. At times though she accompanies me outside. She doesn't venture far. The garden is a wonderful place for her. Plenty of places to hide, many things to smell and taste, lizards to chase, a tree to climb.


The Pact

Several internet friends were chatting about an author and how wonderful her books are. Since I love to read, I decided to check out one of her books. Within 2 pages I was caught up in her writing.

Jodi Picoult's The Pact is emotionally intense. The reader gets to experience the events leading up to suicide and after, how various people are affected by it. Perhaps I am still too close to what Ms. Picoult chose to write about .

I still feel the shock in Rick telling me he didn't want to live. Sometimes when I dream, images of myself driving into a canal and not struggling against the water seep in from my subconscious and flood my consciousness when I wake. I want to rant and rave when remembering Carter.

Phrases from Ms. Picoult's book will be in my mind for the next few days. Floating through, popping up in unexpected places.

To say there had bee a loss was ludicrous; one lost a shoe or a set of keys. You did not suffer the death of a child and say there was a loss. there was a catastrophe. A devastation. a hell.

Everyone would find out soon enough, anyway. She was well and neatly trapped, with only one small and hidden exit, so dark and buried that most people never even considered breaching its hatch.

"I don't want to be!"

I'm not quite sure where my mind is taking me. Perhaps just reminding myself that life isn't black and white. Life is filled with color -- from the lightest and brightest to the deepest and darkest. We can never truly know another person, only ourselves. We see what we want to see and even that is based on who we are, not who the other person truly is.

Denial is a synonym for blindness.

Talk of suicide is an S.O.S. requiring immediate action. Sometimes though there are no words spoken, just a quiet drifting apart, a separation from the world and then nothing. Nothing is left behind except for the people whose lives were touched, people who wonder what signs they missed, people who will always ask themselves "Is there anything I could have done?"....


favorite quote of the week

Asked about his teams mood after losing to Northern Illinois in overtime last week, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen replied: You will have to ask them. Im angry. Im not really into their mood too much. They need to be into mine.


something significant

Richard has been going to the same psych for almost 3 years. His progress has been quite dramatic. Beyond dramatic.

Three years ago our oldest child was suicidal. Three years ago he had pulled out most of his hair out of frustration with himself and his inability to communicate. Three years ago he had verbal and physical tics that were irritating to the point where we didn't feel comfortable with going out to dinner -- even for fast food. Three years ago he couldn't correctly identify basic emotions or read another person's body language. Three years ago he couldn't look anyone in the eye. Three years ago he lectured instead of conversing.

Now his emotions are on an even keel. Now he has a mostly full head of hair. Now his tics are few and easily stopped by himself. Now he can identify how he is feeling and use shades of grey to further describe his feelings. Now he can recognize clear signals without requiring words. Now he'll shake people's hands and look them either in the eye or at their forehead (hey, close enough!) Now he will talk to people and actually listen to what they are saying.

We're all so happy to have Richard in our lives. We laugh about his idiosyncracies and enjoy his different way of viewing life. Other people would most likely never recognize any neurological problems he has -- not unless they were around him on a regular basis.

And he's happy. That's the most important thing. Our child is happy, thriving, deciding what kind of person he wants to be and making plans to meet his various goals.


something educational

Richard and I went to Starbucks for coffee and a cookie this morning. We talked about his paper on the Great Sphinx. He's going to do a bit of rewriting so that the paper flows better. He was able to tell me about changes he wants to make without any prompting from me.

We bounced ideas off of each other for what direction his next independent study would take. Richard has been fascinated by Japan for the past few years but has never taken the initiative to appease his curiosity. Now he'll get to do so. He couldn't come up with any one topic that interests him the most, so he asked if he could write a series of papers on Japan. Fine with me.

Would someone please explain to me why my cousin insists on sending me umpteen forwards every day? We're talking UMPTEEN forwards. They are annoying me more than SPAM. Honest. They are. I'm irked.


Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

It pays to pay attention to your body and to convince your physician that everything isn't all in your head. Don't believe me? Then read this.


jealousy sets in

Take a look at this. Bet it makes you smile. Not a goofy, "I'm tickled" grin, but a just barely there, thinking kind of smile.

I smiled and began to reminisce about that inbetween time where summer fades into fall. Those days when you wake up and pull on a t-shirt and then a sweatshirt. The sweatshirt will come off after about 2 or 3 hours, but it's essential in the morning and evening hours. The days where sunshine seems not more intense, but softer and bolder at the same time. When colors are fading and evolving. When the air doesn't smell green anymore, but a sun-kissed brown. Gardens are burgeoning, waiting for the gardeners to reap what they have sowed. Birds are circling, testing their wings before heading south. Squirrels become greedier.

Autumn is a time for rejoicing and reflecting.

Face the sun, arms thrown wide, embrace the gifts that Mother Earth has given us all.



Anyone can look at me and say with confidence, "That woman there -- she enjoys her food." And I do. Oh, do I.

My food cravings go in cycles. Last week everything was about cheese. Cheese, cheese and more cheese. We're talking cheese biscuits (more like cheese cookies dusted with confectioners sugar), goat cheese, gorgonzola and apple stuffed pork chops, mac 'n cheese....

This week it's about custards and puddings. Cheesecakes will do in a pinch. I'm thinking perhaps my mouth is wanting to experience a certain texture. Tonight after dinner Robert ordered a Panna Cotta. Absolutely delicious. Light. A good way to end what was not a good meal.

After searching through my various cookbooks I came to the conclusion that Panna Cotta will not be made in my kitchen. Not without outside help.


I've also come to the conclusion that my favorite things to eat are not to be found in my cookbooks. How is that for bizarre? Does this mean that I buy cookbooks with the intention of spreading my horizons? I must.

I have this little notebook in which recipes to try are listed. There is page after page after page of recipes that have caught my eye and tempted my belly. There just are not enough meals in a week! Especially with a "meat and potatoes" husband, "I only eat salad or chicken nuggets" daughter and a son that says "that gives me bumps." Only Rick is willing to venture into tastes unknown.


Guinea pigs! I need to find guinea pigs.


labor day

I'm taking Labor Day quite literally and will be laboring at Fall cleaning.

Fall Cleaning? What? Never heard of Fall Cleaning? Well, when you have 3 children and you are a pack rat, Spring Cleaning alone doesn't cut it.


PLUS: Law & Order marathon.

PLUS: making scones. (Gotta eat my way out of my misery over Robert Edwards being waived.)

PLUS: cooking dinner. As if I'd get out of that one.

PLUS: just chasing after the kids.

Hmmph. In other words, this is just another day in my life (with the exception of the Law & Order marathon).


upset here

Angry, bitter, cross, displeased, distraught, enraged, fuming, furious, incensed, infuriated, irate, irritated, livid, miffed, outraged, peeved, pissed off, seeing red, sore, vexed...

Why in the hell o' Pete did the Dolphins opt to waive Robert Edwards? Why did they keep the rookie instead of the person with some experience?

I've been following Robert Edwards' career for the past 10 years. He first caught my eye when he played cornerback as a freshman at Georgia. While he was a Bulldog, he made the transition from defensive back to running back. He is 11th all-time at Georgia for rushing -- not bad for someone who played this position for only 2 seasons there.

In 1998, the New England Patriots selected Mr. Edwards as their first-round draft pick (18th pick overall). He started all but one game his rookie season. He rushed for over 1,000 yards, scored 9 touchdowns, was only the 5th Patriot to have a 1,100+ rushing season.

Then came the accident. Mr. Edwards almost lost his leg due to a freak injury while playing beach volleyball (or football depending on who tells the story) in Hawaii in 1999 at a ProBowl event. I was horrified when I heard of his accident. My husband just looked at me and asked me who in the heck Robert Edwards was.

He missed the 1999 season.

He missed the 2000 season.

Then last year I was delighted when the Dolphins signed him. Who knew if he'd be able to play. After all he had suffered a horrific injury to his knee. He'd sat out 2 seasons. But Mr. Edwards had been working hard at rehabilitating his knee. He proved that he could still do solid work as a running back. Perhaps he didn't wasn't a Ricky Williams, but he was once again a solid player.

Mr. Edwards did not have a remarkable season in 2002, but he did put in solid work. He was the feel good story of the year. The man who shouldn't have been able to make a comeback but who somehow did. Last year he was the 3rd down back. He rushed for 107 yards, averaged 5.4 yds per carry, 1 touchdown. As a receiver, he had 18 receptions for 126 yards, a 7.0 average, 1 touchdown.

This pre-season Mr. Edwards has been outstanding. Unfortunately so was Leonard Henry. But who knew that the Dolphins would opt to stick with the rookie and not the proven commodity. Especially at a position where the Dolphins have been historically weak.

Robert Edwards -- wherever he goes -- whomever he plays for -- will perform at a high level. I will continue to follow his career and pull for whatever team is smart enough to sign him. And I sincerely hope that when his new team plays the Dolphins, that he runs all over the Fins defense again and again (sorry, Sam!)

I just hope he doesn't sign with the J - E - T - S!

(Hey, the Dolphins kept Royals and waived Stemke! I guess the writing was on the wall. I was simply too blind to see it. Now must excuse myself for more bawling. Can't wait to discuss this with my buddies Bubba and Hahvahd.)


football update

UVA beat the crap out of Duke -- 27 to 0. How can I be so cavalier about the Devils' loss? Umm, Wahoo fan first when it comes to football.

Ole Miss ended up defeating Vandy. Too bad, DT, but it was a close game.

UCF meets Va Tech today. 3 pm. Better be on tv. I didn't get to watch any of the games important to me yesterday. No, I had to rely on listening via the internet.

And Davidson. Poor Davidson was walloped by Wingate -- 22 to 10 . Sounded like Davidson needed some on their offensive line since Wingate's defensive line was larger. Also Davidson's special teams needs some fine tuning. The Wingate return man ran all over the Cats. The QB-receiver connection was working fairly well, but then we are back to the offensive line being able to hold back the defense. Next week's game against VMI could be quite scary. VMI is a scholarship team. Davidson's is a walk-on team.

And on a baseball side note: Mikio is leaving Columbia to be associate head coach at Boston College. He joins his old teammates -- Peter and Turg.

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson