Life on the Ridge
bko lounge
links and archives
the parent perspective



The neighborhood is almost unnaturally quiet at 5:50am. Birds aren't twittering. Dogs aren't barking. The hum from the bypass isn't there.

The fog that hangs over the grass and diffuses the light from the streetlamps adds to the stillness.

I glare at all the darkened windows of the houses we drive by to get to the bus stop. I want to still be in bed sleeping. My ears scream, "We weren't done resting yet!" as Kari chatters away.

At least this year I can come home from dropping her off and go back to bed if I wish. This Fall I'll have to stay awake and get Brooks ready for school.



About to go under
But violently resisting
Courageous? no
Determined? yes
Every day is a challenge, a
Fight to stay on an even keel
Grim to grinning
Happy to heated
Kids are sometimes confused; hell,
eLiz is often confused
Me, myself and I
Nowhere to go but straight up
Or straight down; where is
Queasy from cycling
Raging and grey
Stability is sought
Time is a friend as all things pass
Under and over, ever flowing
Vague impressions of reality
Will to live life more
Xternally, instead of shut in
Yearning a life without fear; can I
Zen it?



Take the quiz: "What Historic Woman Are You?"

Eleanor of Acquitaine
One of the first great queens of England, Eleanor was her own woman. She married the French prince at 14, but after six years of marriage and no son, she divorced him and secretly married the younger (and wealthier) heir to the English throne. Her sons were some of the greatest monarchs in English history! You must be tenacious, audacious, and brave if you're like Eleanor. Read more about her:


a walk in the park



I have the sniffles. Tomorrow my nose will be stuffed, my sinuses will be full, my throat will be sore and I will be exceedingly grumpy. Should I warn my family or let them discover this on their own? Hmmmm.

To go along with my feeling blue, Duke lost at home to MARYLAND. Feeling a bit shellshocked here. Granted -- Duke doesn't have the bench that Coach K is used to turning to frequently, but still -- this was Maryland for Pete's sake. At least Davidson didn't lose. Instead they chose to win by a mere point over ETSU, one of the weaker teams in the Southern.

I'm consoling myself with my latest obsession -- pear tea. Ahhh. When I'm done drinking this, THEN I'll go apply my Rawleighs Salve. So so so glad that I have my own tin now.


yada yada yada

my house:
It's a mess. I don't particularly care right now either. Hmmph. My house smells like old dog. I cannot figure out how to get rid of that nasty stench.

my van:
The van is working. The new transmission is in. The old transmission is in the garage awaiting pickup.

my dog:
Toby bit my youngest. His teeth didn't break the skin, but they did leave an interesting bruise. I'm not speaking to the hound.

my cat Binky:
Binky has rediscovered the heating pad. She has declared it hers and will only grudgingly share with Frog. We're chilly (for SoFla) and she's really digging the heating pad. If she doesn't feel enough heat is being emitted, she actually checks the lights. I had turned it off at one point today, and she stared at me until I clicked it back on.

my cat Frog:
I'm seriously considering trying pet massage for him... to help ease his muscle spasms. Poor kitty cannot get down from his kitty furniture or the chair or the window sill. His leg is bothering him so much. We may have to give in and amputate.

my writing:
I'm working on several projects. *snicker Most likely none will be worthwhile, but I am having fun.





Kari wants to go to the Kentucky Derby. I was trying to figure out what would diminish her desire to go.

M: Kari, you have to dress up.
K: So?
M: Kari, you have to wear a dress.
K: I don't care.
M: You have to wear girlie shoes.
K: shrugs
M: You have to wear a big hat with lots of flowers on it.
K: I still want to go.
M: You have to drink a mint julep.
K: I'm underage.
M: Then you have to eat a black-bottom pie.
K: Sounds good to me.
M: You have to wear a slip.
K: A what?
M: A slip. You know... you wear it under your dress.
K: Oh, you mean a petticoat. I still want to go.

What? A petticoat? She calls a slip a petticoat? I'm totally confused by this.
Perhaps when I stop giggling about my tomboy daughter calling a slip a petticoat, my mind will think of something that will dim her desire to go to the Kentucky Derby.


Prayers and Positive Thoughts

Steph's father-in-law is very ill and requires surgery this weekend. Unfortunately his current condition places him at great risk of dying. Many prayers heading north, Steph and Michael.



I'm driving down the access road behind Walgreens when a big behemoth of a Cadillac decides to run a stop sign and turn onto the road in front of me. I stopped. Not a problem for me. But the driver of the Cadillac had some problems.

A concrete median stopped his Caddie from making the sharp turn out of the Walgreens parking lot. He had to back up and renegotiate the turn. He glared at me, rolled down his window and flipped me off. I don't know why. I sat there and waited for him to make his turn.

Backing up didn't help him much. This time the median didn't stop him. He ran up and over it with his front left tire. When he came down, there was a loud scraping noise until his left rear tire went up and over the median. The backend of his car slammed down on the end of the median. Again the hand came out his window and flipped me off. Whatever.

As we drove west, the man's car did a funky little jiggle all over the road. My eyes rolled around in disbelief. Obviously this guy needed to go back to driving school. He finally turned left into the condos. I noticed he had a flat front tire.

Was this his bad behavior towards me coming back to haunt him? Or was it merely a reflection of his horrid driving?


history books

(Steph, let me know if you want to borrow any. I'll update this list over the next week or so.)

Child Life in Colonial Days by Alice Morse Earle
Colonial Spices & Herbs by Patricia B. Mitchell
From Colonies to Country by Joy Hakim
Home Life in Colonial Days by Alice Morse Earle
Women's Life and Work in the Southern Colonies by July Cherry Spruill

SOUTHERN: (mostly North Carolina)
A History of Durham County by Jean Bradley Anderson
The Kirklands of Ayr Mount by Jean Bradley Anderson
Motherhood in the Old South by Sally McMillen
Piedmont Plantation by Jean Bradley Anderson
The Road to Salem by Adelaide L. Fries (about the Moravians, personal account)
The Roots of Soul Food by Patricia B. Mitchell


Où sont ces maudites clés?

I swear I think this to myself at least 4 times a day. Hmmph.


double take

Granted we were up a bit early and there was a distinct chill in the air (48*F), but the hour and the temp simply couldn't explain what we saw as we drove to the ranch. I slammed on the brakes and rubbed my eyes to make sure. Kari said, "Ummmm, Mom, are you seeing what I'm seeing?"

I didn't want to commit. Perhaps the early morning sun was blinding me? Uh, no. The sun was behind me and casting its rays on what was in the field with horses and cows and the lone peacock. There was some movement to our right. There wasn't just one of the odd creatures, there were three!

"Wow! I didn't know people could own camels," Kari sputtered.

Three camels in western Davie. How odd. How bizarre. Why don't I have my camera? If they aren't there when I return to pick up Kari... I'll question, seriously question, my sanity.


practicing for nationals

working on a new technique with Matt

Brittney gets 2 points with mount

Taylor also gets Rick with mount.

Matt has Rick in guard.

Rick escapes guard and...

scores points by gaining mount.



Last night Rick had a long practice at martial arts, since his team is preparing for a national championship tournament. Close to 20 children were on the mats being trained by coaches. Parents filled the lobby, crowding the window and the door, trying to keep an eye on their child's performance.

And through it all, Raoul slept. Through the giggles, the yelling, the raised voices, the thumps of bodies falling gently to the mats, Raoul slept. He was flat on his back in the corner with a dummy draped over him. Grown man. Purple dummy. Sleeping. Rowdy students.

Alicia snapped his picture. Raoul slept through the flash. He never flinched. Never. Not even when I accidentally bumped his foot as I walked by to get a drink of water.

When the noise level dropped by several decibels, he stretched and rolled the dummy to the wall. He sat up and blinked blearily. Within a minute he was wide awake and filming his son's practice match.

Raoul forgot to push record.




just because I like it



My house stands on land that was once an island.

When the white settlers came and saw the Everglades, they said, "If we could only get rid of all this water, there would be so much land." They fought the native people and forced them from this land. The white settlers had control.

And so they built a system of canals and planted melaleucas. They drained the swamp. The island became just another gentle swell in the landscape. A family came and planted oranges.

Decades later a developer saw all the orange groves and thought, "If I could buy this land at a good price, just think of all the homes I could build and all the money I could make!"

And so he bought the land from the farmers and built homes. People came from all over to live in this land of sunshine and year round warmth.

Now I live in a home on what was once sacred ground to the native peoples. No longer is this bit of earth surrounded by water and swaying sawgrass. Roads and sidewalks encircle it. The sound of birds and people are overcome by cars and planes.

And I wonder... what would Abiaka think?



The fact that South Florida doesn't have true season changes is something that I do not like. When I travel elsewhere, I always seem to miss seasonal highlights. In Autumn, I miss the leaves turning, the scent of crumbled leaves and dying grass, the edge in the air. In Spring, I miss seeing the crocus leaves pushing up through the thawing earth, the riot of color that erupts with the blooming of daffodils, crocus and tulips. In Summer... oh, I don't miss summer. We have perpetual summer here.

But winter... ah... I miss it all when going to NC for Christmas or New Year's. Summerlike weather follows me up and the Triangle basks in Indian Summer when I visit.

This year though Father Winter decided to taunt me a bit. He brought in snow to North Carolina. Inches of the white stuff fell everywhere except where I was. My brother had snow. My uncles had snow. On the other side of Red Mountain snow fell. But where I was? No, nary a flurry.

Fortunately we were scheduled to go to my uncle Bill's cabin for a meal cooked in his fireplace. Finally my children would get to experience snow. After 15 years of no snow, I would get to walk in it, smell the crispness in the air, see the sunlight glint across the fields and trees, perhaps see a deer pick its way to the salt lick.

Unfortunately ice was the downfall. We couldn't make it to my uncle's cabin. We had to turn around. I didn't get to feel the snow. My children didn't get to play in it. We had to content ourselves with seeing it from our car windows.

Next year we won't be going to North Carolina in the winter. We'll be staying here to celebrate with Robert's family. Oh, how I hope Father Winter graces the landscape with snow over Christmas 2006.

Taken on a cloudy winter day from my car window as we slid our way back from Fuquay-Varina to Raleigh-Durham.



Sleet doesn't pack as well as snow. You cannot form it into a satisfactory ball. When you throw a sleet ball it breaks apart into a million bits of glinting color that cascade to the ground where they skitter to a halt.

But when you are from South Florida and have never seen snow, it is all good.


happy 15th

Brooks informed me this morning that his daddy was taking him to the pool to go swimming. Naturally I was skeptical. Brooks said his daddy stayed home from work to spend time with him.

His bubble burst when Robert corrected him and said, "I'm not going to work, so I can spend time with Mommy. Today is our anniversary."

Watching a 5-year-old's face crumple is hard. We felt like terrible parents at that moment. We decided that a trip to the park was in order. The dragonets could run around. We could sit at the table and watch.

That is never how things work out though. I walked to the park. Robert drove with the children. We ate lunch, watched Brooks play with other children, laughed at Rick and Kari as they repeatedly jumped out of the swings. Then Brooks wanted Robert to push him on the swing. I wandered through the trees to the pond. An hour later we went home.

But tonight... ah, tonight... we went out to dinner. We people watched, chatted about nothing and pondered what we would get for dessert. Our food took so long to get to us that dessert was on the manager. Cannoli. I adore cannoli.

We came back home. I've spent the evening chatting with friends and repeatedly burying my nose in the flowers Robert gave me.

I love him. I'd marry him again. Wonder if he'll ever ask...


technical difficulties

Why, oh why? Will Robert ever mess with the computers and leave them free of glitches? Even uploading a game seems to screw things up big time.

Is it something to do with him? Or is it the computer? He swears it is the computer.


they're back!

Robert and I have been dragonetless since Saturday. We left the little dearlings in Jupiter and drove our Saturn home just as quickly as possible. Brooks was wailing about my leaving him at his grandparents' home.

Today we went back to get them.

We enjoyed the past few days. We saw movies, ate every meal out, slept in late and played. Robert was able to update all 3 computers without fighting with anyone for computer time. I actually did all laundry, ironing, folding and putting away. The quiet was peaceful.

Until Toby started whimpering.

Every time I took Toby outside for a walk and for his potty break, he headed straight for the car and barked to be let in. I told him no quite firmly and pulled him down the driveway. Inside the house, he kept wandering through the childrens' rooms searching for them. His basset hound eyes were more pitiful than normal.

Even the cats were looking for the noise makers.

Driving back in the Saturn with Brooks and Kari tonight was not an experience I wish to relive. First, the traffic was horrendous. It took 40-some odd minutes to go 4 miles. Accidents during rush hour are nightmares -- and not just for the people directly involved in the accident. Second, Brooks decided to spend the driving-stopping time to practice kicking the back of my seat, wailing louder than a banshee and bickering with his sister. Thank goodness Rick was riding with his dad in the "boat".

Definitely will not be quiet in our house.

At least not until the dragonets stay with their grandparents again. I wonder if I can manage to get another few days later this year.... just me and my man.


resolution 2005

Or should that be perseverance? Or maybe determination? Or perhaps "my personal wishlist"?

Many things exist on my want to do list, my wish I could do list, my want to explore list. I cannot do them all, at least not to the level I desire, but this year I truly do want to continue to cross items off my list or at least highlight them as being pursued.

Last year I was successful for more than half the year at controlling my mood swings or staying on top of them so that they didn't spin me out of control. I did something I believed I couldn't do... travel somewhere far away by myself. (Alaska was beyond my expectations). I even wrote and illustrated a short story that made my aunt cry, not because the story was sad or poorly written, but because I gave her something of herself to share with her grandson.

Hopefully 31 December 2005 will find me patting myself on the back.

In 2005 I hope to...

* spend more time working on my writing rather than thinking about it and jotting down ideas

* become more organized at home: go away clutter and piles of stuff!

* focus more on my connection to the earth, my spirituality and further define my beliefs

* become somewhat competent at crocheting

* sell something I have created, whether it be a story, an article, a picture, a crafted item (just to prove to myself that I can)

* continue with running and jiu-jitsu. May I achieve the next level belt in BJJ and run in 2 5Ks with my SIL

There are many little things I'd like to do, but these are the most important to me. These are also continuations of previous resolutions.

May I continue to evolve into the person I wish to be.



Resolutions to be posted later. Today is all about football, drinking up the last of the eggnog and enjoying the day with family.

Now go read Karan's post for the new year. What a wonderful way to look at the start of the year. (Notice what time she posted)

Update: Had a Pepperwood Grove cabernet tonight with dinner. I'm not big on reds, but this one wasn't bad. Especially since I recently learned to serve it at cellar temperature and NOT room temperature. I totally didn't detect any fruit. Tasted more ... ummm... woody? Is that possible?

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson