Life on the Ridge
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and today...

...lightning struck a sign about 3 feet from my van. Scared the bejeebers out of me.

...all the lightning was giving the grey day a rosy glow. Can't explain it. Perhaps the flashes were making me see red?

...took 1 hour and 20 some minutes to go get Kari from the ranch and bring her home. Normally this is a 25 minute round trip, but the rain was falling so hard and fast and so many were driving slowly and with their blinkers on.

...our road flooded.

...power went out 14 times that I know of.

...stupid traffic lights are out by our house.

...hopefully the power won't blink off overnight. I might oversleep and miss my flight!


roses on the horizon

Sunday morning I board a plane for Portland, Oregon. Home to my cousin and her shop, straight blast gym -- the parent gym to Rick's dojo, the Japanese Garden and most importantly the Portland rose gardens.

Jo has promised me many meditative moments in the various gardens. We'll even be going for tea at the Chinese Gardens. I have umpteen rolls of film to carry serene moments back with me.

But Monday is the day I'm looking forward to. Oh yes. Monday is the day --hopefully -- where I get to breakfast with Signora Flummel. he he he he he Wonder how she would feel about being joined by a flamingo...


Beach anyone?

Jekyll Island, GA

I keep asking if anyone wants to meet us there sometime for a long weekend or even a week. So far no takers. Such a shame. Very quiet and peaceful place to go... even with kids. Perhaps we'll go camping there in the fall or come next spring.

Rick and Kari walking back to the car from the beach...

WINDY day...

Over near driftwood beach...

Seems like a waste of beautiful water, but the rip tides are too strong for swimming...

Poor Brooks was exhausted from all the walking into the wind we did. A gust did push him from this perch shortly after I snapped his picture. lol


and the bad news...

After 2 ultrasounds, my OB pronounced that I had a blighted ovum. The egg had been fertilized, but a fetus failed to develop. Instead I have this magical gestational sac that keeps growing. Because it is growing still, I have morning sickness and sore breasts.

Nice, huh?

The interesting thing is that while she stated her diagnosis as an absolute, I read my chart while standing at the counter. She had noted: "Cannot rule out blighted ovum."

Odd. She cannot rule it out on paper, but she can verbally. Hmmm. Wonder why that is. Robert says it is to cover her quack's butt.

She encouraged me to have a D&C. Sorry, that is a no go. I also refused the pills that I could take "in the privacy of my own home." Sorry, also a no go. I would much rather let nature deal with this... even if it means I continue to feel nausea whenever I walk through the baking section of the grocers or open the flour bag.

My psych isn't too happy with me either. I had to stop my meds cold when my pregnancy test came back positive. The funny thing is that I feel fairly normal. Perhaps I can go off the heavy duty drug and deal with just the antidepressant for a time.

I'm all for that.

Now life is a waiting game for us. When will this be over? Who knows. If the sac grows for a few more weeks, my waist will have expanded beyond my fat clothes. Yikes! I already miss my 12s. *sigh

My fourth dragonet would have been born on my grandfather's birthday.


oh, ricky!

I'll miss you, man. I'll miss the excitement you bring to the Dolphin's offense, the spark your presence adds.

Perhaps I'm an odd Dolfan, but I do not view your early retirement as a betrayal. Instead I'm glad you are following your heart. Too many of us go with the flow or let others have the final say in our decisions.

Thank you for your two outstanding seasons for the Dolphins. Too bad Wannstadt didn't have the brains to know how to capitalize on your abilities and on the abilities of others that played with you.



What else can I say about a weekend when the youngest dragonet was ill, the dog was ill, the weather was nice enough to play outside, but I had to stay inside....



in memorium

Back in college, there were 3 of us from Lenoir. Two were current residents. I had lived there for 5 years and had spent my toddler years being tormented by one of the current residents. But Lenoir wasn't our only bond. All three of us were involved in football. Jim and Eric played. I managed, kept stats and helped recruit.

This morning I found out Eric died.

Hard to imagine that ridiculously huge smile gone.

I haven't seen Eric for years. The last time I saw him we were both sitting in a huge traffic jam in St. Pete. My windows were rolled down and the engine was turned off. That is how bad the jam was. This voice came booming into my car: "Hey, Eliz! Kirk! Hey, turn around! ELIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!" I turned, stuck my head out the window and saw Eric with his huge smile hanging out his window, waving his arms.


Seen... Sasquatch!

Could someone explain to me why a professional photographer told me this is a great shot? I just don't get it... see it... oh, whatever.

I think of it as proof that Sasquatch exists. ;)


we're walking...

Walking at night in South Florida is reminiscent of walking on a summer's night at Myrtle Beach -- minus the honky tonk music and crashing waves. But the smell is the same, the humidity is there, and the intense heat of the day has taken a break. Peaceful. A different sort of rhythm.

Walking with Grandad was always a start stop event. He had to chat with every person he saw. Buck, the great socializer. He was fun to watch. His tone and expression would change depending on with whom he was speaking. Serious to teasing. Solemn to all smiles.

Strolling with Dad is a similar experience, but without the socializing with others. The conversation is kept to Dad and whomever is ambling along with him. Every word is precious and carefully chosen. Opinions are asked for and debated expected. Physically a slow pace. Mentally a challenge.

Mom and Nana are the speed walkers. Walking is not a sport with them, but it has great purpose. Each step takes you closer to your destination. No one should ever be fooled by Nana's increasing frailty. The woman can move. Posture perfect. Never give in to pain.

And then we come to my brother. Imagine walking with a butterfly and you have walking with Kirk. He doesn't actually stop, start and flutter. He just makes you feel that he has. Quite a talent that.

I wonder how my children will describe taking walks with me....



Rick was injured for the first time today. He's learning submissions and how to keep from being submitted. Suffice to say that he didn't tap out fast enough to avoid wrenching his shoulder.

I laughed. Couldn't help myself. I laugh in tense situations sometimes.

Tonight his shoulder is a bit sore, but he's moving it fine. He's alternating heat and ice. Rick will be ready for class on Saturday.

It's Steph's fault!!!

Steph mentions that she's sketched out a quilt she wants to make and I go off on a google for various quilt patterns. I have found tons that I want to try my hand at.

But Steph said that finishing other projects is her priority. I must follow her good example.

Doesn't hurt to look though. Does it?



The past week has been a tremendous rollercoaster and it doesn't look like it will stop for awhile. I've been down to the center of the earth, travelled along the earth's surface, started for the sky and today I was forced back to earth's center.

Forced with a frown. Sent with the knowledge that a potential is most likely not a possibility. But I'm supposed to keep my chin up and go on with life as it is until next Wednesday.


On top of my own private inner workings, there's the dog. A dog with a UTI and a double ear infection. A dog whom the vet is fairly certain has lymphoma. Toby's lymphnodes are so swollen that once the vet pointed them out, I was shocked that we hadn't noticed. You can see the swelling in his haunches, his neck and can palpate them in his abdomen. Oy.

And I miss Steph, who is taking a hiatus from the internet. I understand why she is doing this, but understanding and accepting is a far step from being happy about it. When you get right down to it, I'm spoiled rotten. I'm used to Steph being around to joke with, to discuss the magic of our children and nature, to ponder the mysteries of the moon.


MEL - ting

I have never been able to figure out why the temperatures posted by the weather service are consistently lower than the ones in my backyard. And not by 1 or 2 degrees, sometimes by as much as 12!

Today I read all about how the thermometers are placed at an airport under a covered area over grass with a fan that constantly blows at 5 mph. As if that is real life! The sun bakes us here and the thermometer gets shade. Now come on, how much shade does a palm tree cast? Very very little.

Now why would they have this policy for how to take the temperature of the area? To keep things consistent. Consistency is the key. So all across the country, thermometers are lounging in the shade with a personal fan blowing on them during the summer.

Think about that next time the weather guy on the news says something about how it was only in the upper 80s. Just say "pbbbbtht!" and check your own outdoor thermometer. At least that will reflect the reality of your temps.

Oh, and so much for temps never going over 100 in South Florida. Lies! All lies! They don't want to scare the tourists away by talking about temps that are consistently in the low-100s once the middle of July hits.


pissed off

Toby is peeing on the rug in our foyer. Three times today! This is absolutely ridiculous. He has been walked. In fact, he is waiting until just after his walk to do this.

I honestly do not know what to do with him. Yell at him? Beat him? Turn him into an outdoor dog? Crate him?

He's 8 1/2 years old and turning into a major PITA. Not only is he peeing inside the house, he is back to jumping up on the counters and the tables. He completely ignores us.

My last nerve has been plucked.


WHAT was she thinking?

Miriam Oliphant was once the Supervisor of Elections in Broward County. She was a popular candidate: charismatic, smart. She was elected by a wide margin.

Things went rapidly downhill from there. Last year, after a special committee came in and reviewed the practices of her office, Governor Bush removed her from office. She was incompetent.

But not in her own eyes. Ms. Oliphant believes that people conspired against her, that people didn't like having a black female in this position (then how was she elected?). She decided to fight her removal by taking the state to court and getting her job back.

So far Ms. Oliphant looks like an idiot in court. Various people have testified about her incompetence, her lack of knowledge and leadership skills. She fired people who knew their jobs and hired her friends -- in one case a person she met in the elevator at her condo -- at salaries considerably higher than their predecessors and co-workers. Ms. Oliphant kept running to the county commission and begging for more money to run elections. She refused any help from other election supervisors across the state. She didn't want to hear any words of advice.

Yesterday Ms. Oliphant filed to run again for Supervisor of Elections. Is she truly blind to public opinion? Does she actually believe that the voters in Broward County are stupid enough to vote for her again? She stated that "I know more now than I have ever known." Well, Ms. Oliphant, so do the voters.


Happy Birthday, Gina!!!


I signed...

Rick had his level testing today.

I dropped him off at 4pm and picked him up at 5pm. He was drenched in sweat. Oh, excuse me. He was glowing.

Rick passed his level test. He earned his orange belt, the right to begin learning submissions and to attend sparring classes. He is over the moon.

Now we have to purchase his protective gear for the sparring classes. I had hoped to put off buying it all at once, but no dice. He has to have all of it in order to go to the sparring classes.

Instead he'll be getting a fancy-schmancy duffel at Christmas. Complete with monogram: ODMA: RAS. Just what he wants.

Now to find out what 2 weeks until next competition means. Does it mean the 24th? Or perhaps the 31st? I just don't know.


decisions decisions

I have a notebook crammed with ideas and possibilities. Looking at all the filled pages and the blank pages makes me smile.

But then came yesterday. I almost tossed my little notebook. Right into the garbage can.

I need to get over myself. Hmmph


happy birthday, rick!



Rick came home from martial arts today with yet another form for me to fill out. The boy is now ready for his orange belt test and for a level test. Noooooooo! Soon he will be so far ahead of me that I'll never ever catch up.


Maybe I won't sign it.



I shouldn't be allowed to have a camera in my hand. Someone pass a law and forbid it. Please!

In the past 3 weeks I have taken 30 rolls. THIRTY! That is beyond outrageous. Fifteen were while I was in Alaska, four were of my niece (B&W and at my SIL's request), the remainder were just a mish-mash.

What is my sudden fascination with the camera? I haven't a clue. I have been having fun though.



Driving 800 miles in one day is not fun when you are doing all the driving or even when you are splitting the driving with someone else. Your butt gets tired of being sat upon. Your thoughts start drifting from the sheer boredom of driving (Hey, it was all on 95S). You get so bored that you start to eat and drink lots of caffeinated beverages in order to stay awake.

And then there is the lovely thing called traffic. I have never ever had to slow down for so many accidents before. The only slowdown I did completely understand was a brief stretch of road where a tornado crossed 4 lanes of traffic. Nice, huh? Trees were leaning precariously, trees were broken, pine needles and green leaves littered the lanes.

Did I mention the rain that pelted us from Florence, SC all the way home? Lovely. Made things quite peachy for us on the roads.


on the road again!

Only 14 hours of driving await us tomorrow and then we will be home. Three weeks later I'll be flying out to Oregon. Oh the airmiles are starting to add up! Perhaps in 2 years I'll accumulate enough to go somewhere for free. Ha!

I have not even finished packing for tomorrow's departure. First I had to go to Fowlers and buy some tea. Shortly after I returned with 3 types of tea in hand, Robert wanted to go out and buy a body pillow (he left his at a hotel and the maid said she didn't find it... yeah, right). THAT only took 2 hours. The only place you can find a body pillow here in Durham is at WalMart, and WalMart doesn't sell the cases so that involved returning to a store that didn't have body pillows but did have the cases. Oy! Now we're waiting to eat dinner -- just as soon as Kirk and Coley get here.

Just not sure we will be out of here by 8 a.m. Oh, how I hope we are. Robert and I will have to sleep in separate bedrooms if we are forced to share a full-size mattress for an extra night. We require a minimum of a queen. He needs the room to scoot away from me, the klingon.

At least the car is gassed up.


quiz time!

20 questions to a better personality

Wackiness: 32/100
Rationality: 88/100
Constructiveness: 92/100
Leadership: 64/100

You are an SRCL--Sober Rational Constructive Leader. This makes you an Ayn Rand ideal. Taggart? Roark? Galt? You are all of these. You were born to lead. You may not be particularly exciting, but you have a strange charisma--born of intellect and personal drive--that people begin to notice when they have been around you a while. You don't like to compromise, but you recognize when you have to.

You care absolutely nothing what other people think, and this somehow attracts people to you. Treat them well, use them wisely, and ascend to your rightful rank.

snitched from Steph

ROFLOL You must be kidding me.


wonder of wonders

Since I left for Alaska on the 16th of July, Brooks has become the ultimate in picky eaters. He often states that all he will eat is a PB&J. Excuse me? What is going on here? He was eating much more widely than that before I went anywhere?

Brooks has decided that anything other than PB&J on his plate must prompt a screaming fit of earthquake proportions. Not a gentle rumbling of the earth, but something deeper, longer and shattering.

I have explained to him that if he doesn't try what is on his plate, he will not receive dessert. The other night Robert went in the kitchen, fixed Brooks a dessert plate and then proceeded to eat Brooks' dessert in front of him.

Oh, the wail heard round the world! My ears are still ringing and my father is complaining that his eardrums are vigrating in such a way that he constantly hears crickets.

Tonight we tried the dessert tactic again. This time it worked. Brooks has rediscovered grapes, potatoes, lima beans and corn.

Thank goodness.


folding my mother's towels

A quarter of a century ago, my mother gave me a lecture on how to fold towels, because I did not fold them properly. As long as I was living in her house, I was to fold them the way she desired, not the quickest way.

The proper way is to lay the towel straight out on a flat surface such as a bed. Fold the towel lengthwise one-third over, then to fold in half. The towel could then be folded in half and half again. This, my mom explained, would keep the linen closet looking neat and organized... just in case a visitor decided to peer into my future linen closets.

Recently though I have noticed that Mom has taken to folding towels the way I had tried to fold them. To my finely trained eye, this looks sloppy and the towels look limp and cheap when draped over a towel rack in the bathroom.

This morning I confronted my mother about this abrupt turnaround in her towel-folding technique. She claims that the larger towels are not conducive to folding into thirds. (Ha! I fold my bathsheets this way. And my beachtowels too!) Then she told me how the folding in thirds came about.

Nana folds her towels the easy way, but Grandmom -- my father's mother -- did not. My mother was awed by the pristine folds of Grandmom's linen closet, how everything lined up and looked like a store display. Why once she even gave one of her friends a tour of my grandmother's linen closet. Grandmom thought this was funny.

Grandmom taught my mother the "proper" way to fold bath towels. Obviously though my mother's roots are starting to show. She's reverting to her mother's ways.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I, however, feel a sense of loss. I'll never look at my mother's linen closet the same way again.


preteen angst?

Having a preteen daughter is making me want to pull my hair out while running across broken glass and screaming myself hoarse. That would certainly be less painful than what she puts us through on a daily basis.

Between the increasing hormone level in her body and drastic changes in her behavior, I am at my wits' end. Is she showing signs of bipolar disorder? Or is this typical?

Her mood swings scare her silly. She gets depressed quite easily. She has difficulty looking anyone in the eye. We will not even discuss how hard she finds it to speak to anyone she doesn't know (not to mention those she does).

I'm fairly certain that this is normal behavior for any girl who is suddenly sprouting breasts, but having bipolar disorder myself and another son with his own difficulties, makes me just a tad anxious....


don't ask for my opinion

Dad was fortunate enough to be able to purchase his grandparents' home recently. The plan was to bring it back to its former beauty and then move in. Now Dad is 99% sure that he won't do this.

He and Mom have asked me several times what my opinion is. I'm not quite sure what the point is, especially since my dad now says that he cannot envision himself living there. He enjoys his current abode far too much.

I told Mom last night that I do not envision them living there. I envision myself living there. I know what I would do to the yard, inside the house and to the exterior of the house.

Unfortunately I haven't a dime to my name. Left it all in Alaska.



Cleaning out a family home after a death is a revelation in many ways. Perhaps you discover that your relative wasn't really as efficient as you had thought. Perhaps you discover family photos that hadn't seen the light of day in decades. Perhaps you discover film in an old camera that hadn't been used since 1929.

Or maybe you learn something shocking about a relative. Something you hadn't known that forces you to rethink how you picture that person in your mind's eye. Something that calls into question so many things about that person.

I'm still reeling from my discovery.



Kirk and Gina took us to this great Japanese steakhouse in Durham -- Kanki. What an experience!

The food was unbelievably good. How in the world do they get the steak that tender? I want the recipe for the ginger dipping sauce. Heck, I want the one for the cream dipping sauce too. And instructions on how to make the rice. And... and... and...

How long do you think it takes for a chef at a Japanese steakhouse to learn to do those amazing things? Do they have a full-time knife sharpener on staff? What is it they use to get the griddle so sparkling clean? I want to know.

If you are ever in the Triangle area, make sure you go to THIS location of Kanki. Gina says it is the best of the three in the area.

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson