Life on the Ridge
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rain, rain, go away...

According to NOAA, our town falls within the cone of Frances' projected path. *YAWN*

Okay, so perhaps I should be shaking in my boots, quivering in fear, incapable of movement other than the shivers, but I saw what Andrew did -- the flipping of planes, the shearing off of roof after roof, the devastation of neighborhood after neighborhood. I saw the flooding after Irene and noticed how the muscovies absolutely loved it.

Mother Nature is going to do what she is going to do. If Hurricane Frances hits us as a category 4 or 5 storm, our human efforts to shield ourselves from her wrath will do little. We will have to huddle in our houses of CBS construction and pray that the shutters keep the winds from getting any little fingerhold on our roof. We will have to keep our fingers crossed that flying projectiles don't pierce the shutters or the garage door. We will have to hope that our trees don't fall and take out a wall or part of our roof.

Sue's daughter had wanted to stay in the Panhandle and experience a hurricane. But Bonnie was a lightweight and fizzled as Sue was logically fleeing. Lucky Sally didn't get to experience howling winds, driving rains and the screeching of collapsing buildings. I think though that over the next few days, I'll post just for her. Little tidbits about how we prepare to survive the storm. And if worse comes to worse, I'll share with her how we survive the aftermath.


hospital food

(for Stacy)

In the past, hospital food has made me long for homecooked meals prepared by my children. Or for Burger King.

Ah, but at Memorial, the food is awesome. I would come here to eat with friends... if the atmosphere was improved. We would all probably scarf down the salmon... baked to perfection with a slight hint of orange... or the tuna or the rotisserie chicken. The veggies weren't cooked to sogginess, nor was it necessary for the cook to add food coloring to restore the veggies to their initial appearance. My carrots tasted like carrots. The green beans did need a little something, but who can complain when the rest was so good?

I must say that I couldn't figure out my breakfast yesterday morning... a bagel with cream cheese, sausage, pears and coffee. So totally not what I would eat, but LaTonya insisted that this is what I ordered. Should they be allowed to call me at 5 am and talk to me when I'm loopy from meds and obviously out of it? She giggled when I asked this.

The cheeriness of the kitchen staff is contagious. They made me smile with their good cheer and their home-cooked food. Now if they'd just add a teaspoon of sugar and a 1/4 onion to the pot with the green beans, my meals would have been perfect.


what I learned this weekend

1. repetition is soothing: I repeated myself over and over and over again. Just for good measure. "Make it stop!" was my catch-phrase. The lady across the hall from me kept screaming, "Ow! Ow! Ow! It hurts so bad!"

2. the power of please: Even though the magic word didn't get me pain relief any faster, I repeatedly used this word and pointed out that I said "please".

3. hide-n-seek: the favorite game of my veins. My veins do not like to be pricked. They do not find it enjoyable, so they hide... driving the anesthesiologist who was trying to insert an IV nuts.

4. vibromycin burns: When vibromycin is given through an IV it burns. BADLY. I thought I was going to cry. I did learn, however, that if they slow down the drip it helps relieve the burning sensation quite a bit.

5. puke pans: If you are in the ER and you must vomit, the nurses expect your spouse or significant other to catch it and clean it up. Do not expect them to go out of their way to assist you.

6. 100.0: This is a magic number. If your temperature tops this, they will not release you. Nope. Any higher than 100.0, you are considered only half-way assisted to better health.

7. blanket warmers: oh, how I want one!

8. blood loss: Not fun. It's gross, it's disgusting, makes you light-headed and nauseous. It does make the ER nurses sprint to the lab fast to type your blood though. (Did they bother asking me my blood type? No! And I know my blood type. Hmmph!)

9. comfort is subjective: The nurse who wheeled me up to the surgical floor kept telling me how much more comfortable the beds would be upstairs. Hah! Obviously she has never ever had to try and sleep on a bed that has a huge lump of pads in the center, pillows that aren't as fluffy as the pads in the center, and having to try and get comfortable enough to sleep upright because the bed will not go down!

10. temperature and blood pressure: Seems they no longer send someone around every 2 hours to wake you up and take these measurements. Now it is every 4 hours. Of course, the IVs must be changed and flushed more often... meaning that sleep is nigh on impossible.


my unpopular opinion

or how to alienate my mother-in-law

Last thursday morning, two cops were shot while attempting to arrest a suspect. One suffered wounds to his shoulder and hand. The other was killed with a shot to his chest. One officer was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The other was airlifted to the trauma center, but he had already died.

I have visions of my brother-in-law, a detective, being gunned down. Before he was a cop, he was shot in his shoulder by a convenience store clerk who had just been robbed. Not by my brother-in-law. He had merely pulled into the parking lot at a bad time. As a cop, he has been broadsided by a drunken driver on New Year's Eve.

The injury or death of an officer is horrifying. But so are injuries and deaths of anyone in the community. Do injured police officers deserve to have a dozen police cars escort them to the hospital? What makes them so much better than the average citizen that traffic is stopped so their ambulance can get to the hospital more quickly? Do dozens of concerned citizens show up to donate blood to the average citizen who is in dire need?

I made statements and asked questions similar to the above in a conversation with my mother-in-law. She was more than a little upset with my point-of-view. She informed me that I would be glad of this if anything happened to my brother-in-law. Yes, I would, but I would want the same courtesies if I were dangerously close to death. I would not receive them. I am not an officer. I am not as important to the community as an officer is.

But I can live with the ridiculous number of cars that escorted that ambulance to the hospital. What I cannot tolerate, however, is the number of police that turned on their sirens and lights and forced their way through rush hour traffic to make sure that they arrived at the memorial service on time. How dare off-duty officers presume to disrupt traffic for a memorial service for an officer that most likely they did not have a personal relationship with! How dare these officers force citizens on their way to work or doctor appointment or anywhere to pull off the road, turn into parking lots or onto streets that put them pointed in the wrong direction.

I know they were off-duty officers. The cars were marked with the logos of various other municipalities in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach. The officers were in full uniform. In order to pay their respects to a fallen officer, they disrepected the communities they drove through, the people they forced to turn off the road, and ultimately themselves. They are supposed to protect the innocent and not cause them harm. Instead they caused traffic to backup far worse than normal. They created situations that could have resulted in accidents.

I'm sorry, Pat, but I don't see that a police officer is more important than any other person in the community. Yes, they may put their lives on the line. Yes, they may die for us. That was their choice in life. My job right now is to raise three citizens who hopefully will contribute to society in a positive manner. How is a mother not as important? How are my children not as important?



An ad on tv caught my attention this afternoon. A man spread some peanut butter on a piece of bread for his daughter and made up a piece for himself. He folded his in half. When his daughter asked why he did that, he told her that his father had done the same thing and he had wanted to do things just like his father.

I had to giggle. I have all these little habits that I picked up from my father. Robert points them out to me. My children point them out. My brother pokes fun at them (which is why I never ever let him know that I see him doing the same things himself).

Perhaps the all-around favorite, the one that strangers will dare to comment on, is the Kupa-ization of a sandwich or a piece of bread. Bread cannot stay in its air-bubbly form. Oh no, we must squish it flat between our fingers before we take a bite. Our fingers will press all the way around the edges of a sandwich before a bite is taken. Our fingers will repeat this whenever the mangled edges have disappeared into our mouths.

Then there's the Kupa version of the Twist. It's the only way any of us know how to dance (Okay, Kirk can do lots of funky stuff, but Dad, myself and my two boys are stuck with Kupa Twist). The dance is done in celebration and in utter silliness. Others groan in horror whenever the shimmying starts. Hands cover eyes and mouths ask "Is it over yet?"

I have other behaviors that are on the quirky side that didn't come from my father, but they are more mundane and seem to have their roots in superstition. Many times I know why those behaviors existed and tradition keeps them in existence. There isn't a real reason for bread flattening, Twisting, the addition mantra....

Watching my children, and even my husband, do the same strange things makes me smile on the inside. Who knows how many generations back some of these habits go. Who knows how many future generations will perform them. A little bit of my father's kookiness will exist for a long time.



Never ever have a blighted ovum. Never! If you do, you will have ridiculous medical bills if you are on an insurance plan like mine. When all is said and done, we will pay more out-of-pocket for this pregnancy than we did for our two youngest's births combined.

I just want to cry.


uh oh!

Last week I bought Robert a new Dolphins t-shirt. Orange. Small logo on the front. Huge dolphin on the back. I liked it so much, I wore it to the first pre-season game.

I noticed that it seemed smaller than most of the larges in his drawer but assumed that the problem was that I still have these huge boobs. After all it still hung down almost to my knees. The short sleeves were to my elbows. Yes, had to be my chest.

Then I did the laundry. As I'm folding Robert's new but previously worn t-shirt, I noticed something quite disturbing about the tag. There was no L/G imprinted on the tag. Oh no. Instead of the expected L/G, the letters read M/M.


Looks like I have a new t-shirt for myself and need to find the same t-shirt in a large for my man.



This is what Kari wants for her birthday. Each store that carries Breyer horses has the opportunity to receive 4... if they are lucky. The stores that I called about this model all said "First come, first served." Hmmph.

I complained to my mother-in-law. Somehow she manages to find a store that let her prepay for one. Lucky Kari. She'll get her wish.


another trip to the OB

I'm totally sick of this. Yet another visit. Yet another sonogram. Now instead of an evergrowing placenta, there is a huge clot. Bigger than it was on Friday.

More meds. Blech. These meds cause the smooth muscles in the body to contract. Quite painful.

Imagine cramping so bad that you cannot speak, so of course the phone rings and my mother is in a chatty mood. Doesn't it just figure?


Kari's first day

6:00am: Rise and shine! She dragged herself out of bed, into the bathroom, struggled into clothes, forced herself to eat breakfast and then brushed her teeth.

6:30am: Robert, Kari and I hopped into the van and headed off for her new school. Middle school. Yikes! No accidents on 595 or the turnpike. Thank goodness we didn't have to get on 95 southbound.

7:05am: Spoke too soon. Traffic is backed up horribly due to this being the first day of school, no one getting a bus pass and everyone being DRIVEN to school. The light cycled more than 15 times before we arrived.

7:31am: Finally! Kari and I walked inside and were directed to the gymnasium. I have never seen so many anxious children in one place in my life! Imagine 10 homerooms worth of 6th graders who were in a new environment and without a clue as to where to go or what classes they would be taking. There were a few of us parents standing around. I was the only caucasian and seemingly the only native American among us.

7:55am: Most of the children have been lined up with their homeroom teachers and are filing out of the gym on the way to their first class. Approximately 30 children have not been assigned a homeroom -- Kari among them -- and are led to the media center to get their schedule. I say "So long!" to my daughter and head off to get her bus pass.

8:00am: I figured out Kari's bus route. This involved leafing through 38 pages of bus schedules and finding the one that was appropriate for her. Absolutely ridiculous to do it that way. I called Robert who was in the parking lot wondering what was going on.

8:25am: Still waiting for Kari's bus pass. I had obeyed the directions given: "find your child's bus route and then sit in the seats, you'll be taken in order". Ha! As if! Oh no, people were coming in and standing around the table and getting helped much faster than those of us obedient sheep.

8:32am: I finally had the bus pass and then went in search of Kari. She had her head down on the table in the media center. I think I woke her up when I tapped her shoulder. We agreed that she would ride the bus home.

3:38pm: In the elementary school parking lot waiting for Kari to be dropped off.

4:05pm: Called Robert and asked him at what point I should panic about her bus not being there to drop her off. He informed me that she was home and wondering when she could eat those brownies. grumble, grumble

4:13pm: Walked in the front door and was greeted by a smiling Kari. She had spent the day in the media center, because the registrar had LOST her schedule and had to recreate it. Absolutely ridiculous. They did feed her lunch -- for free. She met a few people who would be in her classes.

Tomorrow it begins all over again. But tomorrow will really be her first day of school. Hope she enjoys school.


Happy Birthday, Jo!

Hope your birthday is a gas!


da blues

Today has pretty much sucked. Except for my usual morning "chat" with Steph.

Kari and I went to the uniform store to pick up her uniforms for school. First, mapquest gave us backwards directions. We were to take a right and the directions said left. The store didn't have a sign out front and the numbers over the door were tiny -- as in where were my binoculars? But the best part was the fact that we couldn't buy any uniforms. The smallest they had for her school was an adult small. Now come on. Are kids today wearing an adult small in the 6th grade? Please tell me that my kids are not the only ones out there that aren't super-sized.

We went to lunch. A simple salad at Sweet Tomatoes. No mushrooms, no cheese, no croutons, only fat-free dressings. Blech. Even the soup selection sucked today. I'm not into 3 different kinds of corn soup.

The Princess Diaries was supposed to start at 3pm. Of course the time we were given was wrong. The actual start time was 3:15. Not really a big deal, except that when we came back 15 minutes later the ticket line was half a block long (no one had been there a bit earlier -- including in the ticket booth). The kicker was when we walked in and saw the huge line waiting to get in to see the movie we were seeing. Holy moly! I swear every little girl under the age of 12 and living in Davie and Plantation was there. Then there were all sorts of senior citizens there on dates. They were shocked that people were bringing children to see a G movie.

A silly movie. Totally.

But I cried when Julie Andrews sang.

Then there was the whole dropping a dozen eggs at the grocers and waiting in the express lane behind the man with a full cart.


ah, men in tight pants

Finally! Football season has begun. Okay, okay, so it is merely the preseason, but still. I'm so past ready for football.

Robert and I went to the Dolphins-Jaguars game last night. Fiedler showed off his usual wimpy arm. Feeley looked much better. But that's just my opinion. Of course why the Dolphins are spending $7M on these 2 is beyond me. Neither one is great and I don't believe either one can lead this team to a SuperBowl. Heck, we'll be lucky to get to the playoffs.

Offensive line still hasn't a clue as to how to block the defense and create holes for the running backs to get through. Really pathetic running game. Receivers have dropped like flies during training camp, so seeing Lee, Tolver and Morris (?) actually catching the ball was interesting. I wish Gadsden was still around. I miss the big guy.

Defensively -- what the heck has happened to the defensive backs? Madison and Surtain were both on the injured list prior to the game. Freeman and Banks were injured during the game. Awful. Awful. Awful.

Bubba, Asshole and Homer were in attendance. Homer is still dating Loverly. Amazes me. No big busted women in camisoles trotted up the stairs in our section. Poor guys didn't have any reason to hoot and whistle, so they had to focus on the cheerleaders. They poked fun at the cheerleaders they know personally and wished aloud that the cheerleader/special ed teacher taught at their school. Of course, Asshole said she needed to have breast enhancement surgery first. LOL

Some things just never change.

My highlight -- seeing a healthy Ed Perry on the field.


tomato aspic

My first formal dinner party was in Indiana. My piano teacher was the hostess to several of her students and their mothers. All of us little girls dressed in our Sunday best. Our mothers were also in their Sunday best with the addition of pearls at their necks and ears.

The table intimidated us with its lace tablecloth, fine china and more silverware than we had ever seen, not to mention the tea and water goblets. We giggled behind our napkins until our mothers hushed us.

When the first course was served, our eyes opened wide. On a glass plate was something red and wobbly, just like jello. How excited we were to be able to eat dessert before anything else. Eagerly we scooped up what surely was going to be delicious and took a huge bite.

The sprigs of parsley should have been our clue. Ack! Amazingly none of us spit out the nasty stuff. Our faces curdled. So did our mothers'. Ours from the taste. Theirs to keeps us from making any negative comments. Somehow we all muddled through and finished off the nasty tomato aspic, but 28 years later I can still taste it.

This morning my OB asked me detailed questions about my miscarriage. All I could think of was that tomato aspic quivering on the glass dish.


middle school supply list

* Pencils
* Pencil sharpener
* Pens -- dark blue or black ink only
* Loose leaf notebook paper
* Folders -- at least ten (10). Must be 2-pocket and 3-pronged
* Three (3) bound notebooks per semester
* Highlighters - at least two (2) colors
* Two (2) 3-inch, 3-ring binders
* One (1) 2-inch, 3-ring binder
* Crayons
* Markers
* Colored pencils
* pack of gel pens or red pens
* One (1) composition book
* Two (2) packs of dividers
* Compass
* Protractor
* 4-function simple calculator
* Ruler with inches and centimeters
* Two (2) sets of 3-ring binder dividers
* Graph paper
* 70 page spiral notebook
* Floppy disks

How much do you think this will run me? Hmmm? Originally I had $50 budgeted for Kari's back-to-school supplies, but now I'm not sure that will be enough. Sheesh!

The 3 bound notebooks per semester cracks me up.


Happy Birthday, Robert!

Nice of you to finally join me in being 38. Yes, I recognize that I am still older by several months, but at least if anyone asks, I can now say, "We are both 38." Ba ha ha ha ha!

I hope you enjoy playing with your Airtraffic Control Tower. Who would ever have imagined that there would be such a toy or that I would find it. :D Just remember... the planes are not supposed to fly off willynilly. They are supposed to fly in a prescribed path. Got it?

Love you much!



Off to Olympia, WA and the American Diner. If you are ever there for breakfast, please try the blueberry jam. Absolutely incredible and HOMEMADE!

Madame Flummel and the Dragon Queen.

Off to downtown Seattle!

Supposedly the tearing down of an old hotel and the building of this monstrosity of a parking garage prompted the preservation of "Old Seattle".

Can you guess where we went next?

Perhaps this will make it clearer...

Reflection in the Needle's windows. That's my aunt, my cousin and some stranger who popped in at the last second. The nerve!

View of Seattle's waterfront.

To Portland and the Chinese Gardens. A lotus floating in water.

Scene through a window...

Another angle...

Then over to the Japanese Gardens. Detail of a tile roof. Authentic Japanese roofs have 12 tile shapes.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have the energy to scan the color photos.


tomorrow will suck

Tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM I get to go to visit my OB yet again. She'll tell me once more that I have a blighted ovum, charge me $300 to do yet another ultrasound, more bloodwork, etc and then give me meds to jumpstart my uterus so that the "missed abortion" will actually be expelled. Or she will tell me to schedule a D&C.

Obviously my body won't give up a growing placenta on its own. Hmmph. The torture of having an expanding waistline, nausea and ever-increasing breast size has been horrid. A major tease.

And then there's the feeling that because we weren't ecstatic to be pregnant again, beyond excited to have a 4th dragonet, that this is the reason for the blighted ovum. I know in my head that this is an irrational thought, but there it is anyway.


what do you see?


how many hats?



Oh the best laid plans. I went to bed knowing exactly how today was going to go. But upon waking, I knew that today was a lazy day. The sky was overcast. The clouds were drizzling. Who wants to do anything on a rainy day?

I did run Rick to martial arts and stay to watch. Kari and I did our usual mother-daughter dinner out. But the rest of the day was spent being beyond lazy. I stretched out on my bed and watched tv all afternoon. I played Zuma on the computer. I pieced together some of a "Friday the Thirteenth" quilt.

Heck, if Rick hadn't had martial arts, I would never have dressed. Probably wouldn't have gotten out of bed. Must do better tomorrow.

I truly must.


back to the ridge

Finally. After a summer of not being able to sit still, I am home. Home to my 3 dragonets and my understanding spouse. Home to Frog and Binky, who have attached themselves to my legs. Home to the smell of dog piss, since Toby is having some major problems.

But it is nice to be back.

Now to organize my notebooks full of notes, my umpteen rolls of film, little stories that I must write down, but haven't yet found the time. And I must write American and complain.

Oh, will I complain.

Tomorrow will be the return to my normal routine. Rick has martial arts. Kari would have riding... except for the standing lakes that weren't here last week. And cleaning. I'll be doing tons of cleaning.

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson