Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ASL Dictionary

A visual (small video clip) dictionary for American Sign Language (ASL):  http://www.aslpro.com/cgi-bin/aslpro/aslpro.cgi

I'm going to use this link!  Thanks, Dan, from his new blogpost blog: The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind: Now: the Annual End of the Month Slush Dump.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday morning

Sunday morning (hearing Indie and Josh outside)

Sunday morning.
I think of another one, my skin next to yours.
A friend asked me about you yesterday, "Does he make you smile?"
"I only ask the important questions."

Friday, July 27, 2007

I love D.C.

I spent my workday in our D.C. office today.  I had meetings, and was also getting the latest "lay of the land" as I'll be covering for someone else 3 days next week when she goes on vacation.  Essentially, I'll be my bosses bosses assistant. 
I love D.C.  It's taken me this many years to realize that.  After working down there for 9 months previously, I knew D.C. was my city.  I hadn't yet embraced it, I loved Boston, but D.C.?  Today I realized, I think I've missed it, walking the rat-maze halls, seeing the sites so close by.   I saw the WWII Memorial from the office window of my company's CEO, a memorial which had not been there all those years ago.  Nor had those barriers.  Nor were the painted party animals, donkeys and elephants ironically side-by-side.  Oddly, even the oppressive warm muggy air felt good today (less so in the un-air conditioned Metro car - I switched cars).  One of my favorite parts of the long commute is walking across the map on Freedom Plaza, and looking down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, simultaneously along the map and the actual avenue.  
It's been a while since I've been in D.C. NOT as a tourist or visitor, but as a commuter.  It was actually almost fun to show two families how to buy their various fare cards.  Is that pathetic?  No doubt I'll feel frustrated by Metro-riding tourists by the end of next week.   (Kudos to Metro for allowing credit card payments for parking fees now; I wasn't forced to purchase one of the "stupid"-cards.)
Downtown, I got off on the wrong side of the Metro stop I prefer, still knowing instinctively, anyway, which way I was to head.  I took M's camera, yet, didn't take any photos.  I'm a commuter today, not a tourist; I'll let my mind re-absorb all of this.  The architecture, the people, the Smithsonian and everything.  I hadn't remembered the stars in the sidewalk near the Warner Theatre.  I smiled to see the National Theatre, where M and I once performed with my Irish ceili and set dance group.  I may feel less nostalgic by the end of next week.  The commuting sure sucks time out of the rest of the day.
The weather in this greater area is localized enough that it was drizzling at home and nary a drop downtown, until I came back above ground again on the Metro, greeted by light rain.  All those men on the Metro, all those men dressed up and looking fine.  I almost felt pretty, dressed in my new skirt that swishes just a bit, and my heels and light makeup.  I was within blocks of N's office and I know how he looks in a suit....  I'm hoping it's exciting for N and his daughter to show off all of New York City this weekend to her visiting-the-country-friend.  As Bon Jovi sings in his latest song, "let's make some memories."
At the feis last Sunday, I drove down Canal Road and across Key Bridge (into Arlington).  Okay, I drove down Canal Road and onto the Whitehurst Freeway.  But I turned around and then took Key Bridge like I was supposed to.  That stretch along the C&O Canal and by Georgetown, is beautiful.  We lived in Georgetown approximately the first 3 years of my life.  My father used to take our family ice skating there when Doug and I were little and the winters hadn't yet turned quite this warm.  Most of our C&O Canal hiking was further north, not in D.C.  Dad most loves the Independence Parades in Palisades where we'd take M every year, until the heat and walking were too much for him. 
Dad used to love Glen Echo, telling me many stories of when he was a youth there, riding the roller coaster, integrating the pool by accident (oops, no blacks allowed in the poool yet, he didn't know and had let whomever in wanted to come).  So then we'd take M, and then I'd take M.  And she's had caligraphy and metalwork summer camps there.  Glen Echo is actually in Maryland, but after driving back off Key Bridge from Arlington into Georgetown, and Fletcher's boat house that I think isn't being run as a boat house starting this? year?, down Canal Road, I go by Glen Echo. 
In the beautiful sunny green Sunday afternoon, enroute back to the hospital to tell Dad how well M had danced, and talk of the drives so perhaps he'd remember and think of something other than the hospital walls and television.  (I took actual printed out photos yesterday, better for him to see than on the camera.  The books and magazines still unread but there; he likes having them there.)
My father is much improved.  He's ready to be discharged, yet that may not happen until Monday.  We're working together to find an appropriate facility to have him transfer to.  ("We're" meaning the hospital staff and I, along with Dad.)  That's a first.  The first choices, after things like insurance and quality are considered, are the two facilities closest to me. Medicare will pay for the first 20 days.  He will get weaned off of the oxygen, most likely.  He is in the early mild stages of diabetes.  His dementia is likely due to his various strokes.  He is likely to never live at home again without a fair bit of care, if he does at all.  He tells me he just wants to go home for 2-3 days, then he just wants to stop by for an hour and get some things.  I want him to, too. 
D.C. is my city, and I DO love it. 
Heck, I love all the walking involved.  I can't imagine becoming disabled and having to use a cane or wheelchair to get around town.  One teenager was wincing this morning, shod in flip flops.  I can't imagine becoming too unable to get around at all, and spending most of my time in a room in a facility, suddenly.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

another reason to eat a veggie diet

There are many reason to eat a vegetarian, or modified vegetarian diet.  I first started primarily for environmental reasons (for example, less energy and resources are used to produce one pound of grain protein than is required to produce a pound of beef).  Some have religious or cultural reasons.  (I used to aim for strict vegetarianism during Lent, and modified mostly vegetarian otherwise; some religions forbid eating of certain flesh foods or all flesh foods.)  I also started avoiding pork after getting food poisoning from a pulled pork barbeque sandwich while pregnant.  Those sick days are not easy to forget even years later.  Yet, somehow, eating one bad shrimp only kept me away for a few years until my allergy testing proved that I hadn't developed an allergy to shrimp.

I didn't mind the health benefits of eating primarily a veggie diet, yet now, I know it's a critical factor in managing my health.  My main diet-related health concern is for my heart and circulatory system (also for my hypoglycemia).  My younger brother's had two strokes before he turned 40.  My father's had several mini-strokes, as had his mother, and his father died of a blood clot in his brain (his brother from both prostate cancer and a heart attack).  My mother's had several heart-related issues, bypasses and such, as have her siblings; her oldest brother died of a heart attack in middle-age? or younger?  I forget now, other than he was shoveling snow, not uncommon in Maine winters.  As I age, it seems more acceptable to some that I eat vegetarian for my health.  I still have borderline high cholesterol levels, it's hereditary for me, yet I also have high levels of the good fats.  This could be saving my life (combined with exercise, yadda yadda).

The potential cost savings in health care costs is one of the cost savings listed in this CNN article I found on msn.  Another is that the costs of purchasing some of the (non-prepared) vegetarian diet foods are comparably cheaper than the cost of meat protein foods.  Of course, prepared vegetarian products (fake frozen sausage, for example), cost more just as other frozen/prepared meat products often are, imho. 


Basically, if you're looking to cut your grocery costs, consider replacing a few meat-based meals with meatless entrees and meals.  Assuming that you're still including sufficient nutrients, which isn't guaranteed in any diet without watching it, your wallet and body may thank you:)  Besides, peanut allergies aside, how many of us who grew up in the U.S. DON'T like a good peanut butter sandwich once in a while?  Okay, I admit, I eat it by the spoonful, sometimes adding sugar-free jams.  And I enjoy "real" food, too, such as Thai food which isn't listed in this article.  We're born omnivores, sure, but not carnivores.  There isn't really any need to consume flesh foods in every meal.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

first red leaf

first red leaf (of the year). (listening to Tarzan soundtrack by Phil Collins)

I was surprised to find a red leaf this morning, fresh, recently fallen. Red is not quite descriptive. The "stem" was a bit yellow, the red that bright glorious fall leaf red, not the darker fall leaf read. With green, I know it'll be a fall green making the leaf look like a touch of Christmas. But, it's almost spring/lime green. Now. Not a month from now, which is still too soon for school to start back up.

Just yesterday, M's report card FINALLY arrived. No blasted real reason it shouldn't have right after school ended (they have a new policy, all camp fees must be paid first, also, WTF? entirely bogus, AND, yet paid the week followingFather's Day, when C decided tofinally give June 1st child support). Anyway, itcame. Along with M's summer assignments due the first day of school. C didn't get the assignments, also, but did receive a copy of the report card. One section mentions a school assignment (basically, read for pleasure. She can do that one:)

I'm pretty sure it's Wednesday. Sometimes, I forget. Beth thought Dad would be moved to the physical rehab place today; perhaps that'd been the plan at one point. Heck, he has thetransfer approved, to move to a regular hospital room and bed, but, he's still in the ICU. At this point, it's almost frustrating. Yet, he gets good care, and it's a nice room, considering.  I recall the ICU where my grandmother had been, so many there in one large room.  Not nearly as nice.

The room nextto dad's has visitors donning gowns and masks and head coverings and such, just as a visitor did the other day for that room. I pray he's okay, or will be. Tonight, I peeked in some of the other rooms as I walked by. Usually I don't, to respect ehri privacy.

An hour and a half of watching Dad in deep enough sleep, and Everybody Loves Raymond and some silly animated show with an almost-human dog, I leave him a note and leave. I think I know the room where the husband is, the one the wife visits whom I walked out with, oh, some night, Sunday perhaps? We were both as if a bit distracted, and laughed with each other that we both should know the way out by now. She seemed stressed. All these people, worried, their loved ones truly needing ICU care right now.

I sit in the car for a few moments, listening to Tarzan, "You'll be in my heart," M's song. And "Trashing the Camp," which I'm reminded of by her performing troupe's new percussion dance. She loved this cd, wanting it much more so than the movie when it came out. She used to be enamored by Phil Collins' work. I miss her.

We talked today, which is great! "Dad wants to talk with you when we're done." He did have to put that damper on, eh?  "I'm at work right now, and I'd like to just go on to the hospital, honey; I can call him back later." M seemed stressed. "Is he right there?" "Kind-of." Ugh. The last thing I wanted to do was talk with him, can't she and I just enjoy a conversation, not combine things like this? Yet, the really last thing I want to do is put stress on her, particularly for things not of her doing.

So, we exchanged our "I love you"'s and I talked with him. Or, more so, listened. He was incredibly rude and cold to me at the feis Sunday, making a point to push himself between M and I, things like that. Whatever. Life's too short, and I primarily try to simply ignore that attitude. He got on my case, with our girls in the adjacent room, and other families in another, the previous Sunday at "transfer" time, also. BIG SIGH. He's trying to manipulate the court order.... get me to agree to something that isn't just a minor inconvenience but alters a LOT.
But, I talked. The day after that Sunday was when Dad went into the ER. Hmmm, was C recording this, or knew M was still right there, or what? He said he understood that things like this are never convenient almost nicely (I'd also expressed sympathy for his cousins recent tragic passing, one he had not been close with, but still).  I wish I could trust him as if we were old friends still.

Somehow, the report card said M was absent14 days last year, and tardy some amount, and he kept asking if that's something we should be concerned about. Well, she was absent only once last year, albeit another time was almost 1/2 day, so that likely got counted as another absent day. Obviously, the record keeping is incorrect, and she got all A's and one 87 so a high B, and no teacher ever expressed concern, so I'm thinking, "No." He did try to stay digging on that.

M and I talked of feiseanna, and the boy who "swept" Prizewinner (gettin all firsts), and twice M got 2nds, that he just got 15th at NAN's, so she should feel good. She IS feeling confident, that it's a matter of time. "Mom, you said you did sign me up as all Prizewinner at the [next] feis?" "Yep. I just felt you'd move up, but I knewI could change it if need be." (M got first in her Novice Treble Jig on Sunday, yeah, I'd gotten that one added for her (Sh didn't include all of M's dances), so M moves up to Prizewinner level in that dance, i.e., her last Novice to move up.)

We talked of their newest cat (Sh likes cats like I do), and our cats, what M did in Lancaster the otherday, school and report card (she just finished reading Lily's Crossing), how she did find her cell phone (they had hidden it), and she tried to check messages quickly but didn't have a lot of time -- she didn't see my text messages or hear my voice ones to her yet). She's missingbeing home, feeling confident in her dancing "it's a matter of time, I keep getting 2nds and 3rds" in Prizewinner dances.  Oddly, M doesn't know what she's doing the rest of this week, or the weekend, or next week.  Her 3 weeks there are halfway done, (the 3 weeks that should be 2 but life goes on). Summer is halfway through or so.

That red leaf. School summer assignments, butnot yet word on their 8th grade class trip end of summer. For the weekend C is saying hewants but has no plans for. I'll write him, though, the weekend he actually wants, I can switch for, just don't go modifying the whole court order from now to just under 5 years from now.

A fire engine or ambulance, I forget which, beats me home, joining two other emergencyvehicles. A building near mine had a gas leak, I learned later. Daisy is eager to go out, yet scared (hearing the engine sounds) and retreats at first, me encouraging her when my cell phone rings. It's Dad. He woke up, missing me. The nurse who helped him dial reads him my note in the background. It's not the same to visit this way, but at least he knows he's not alone. I almost put up a photo of M or whatever I had in my purse, on his bulletin board.  Ironically, I finally found a cheap but decent summer purse to replace my burgandy velveteen (ack, yes, summer fashion fax paus). The only photos I have in there are on M's digital camera. It's time to wash his hair again. He asks how his house is coming along. We talk of Doug.

At least I found a dress and a skirt today, clearance so affordable. I actually like them:)  AND they fit.  I'll get a blazer to the cleaners, and my one pair of long dress pants that still fit (to be hemmed in other than "silver threads," yep, I staple). I didn't want to think of this right now, yet, I go downtown for 4 of the next 9 days, and almost none of my work clothes still fit. I struggle with clothes shopping now, monetarily and fit-wise. I basically went in and out today, I mostly hate trying anything on lately, but I needed something.  That's the worst part of this middle-40's hormonal spread crap. Nothing fits any more. Blech! :)   I played with colors and clothes for a few moments tonight, encouraged. 

Okay, enough rambling. Daisy is snoring. I assume dad's been back to sleep. I assume Doug had a decent doctor's appointment today. I even ran into Barn Director today, still in summer camp, "I saved a t-shirt and sunscreen for M." Good, as somehow M didn't get hers given to her. M wants to help out there the rest of the summer. It's going so quickly (I think Barn Director has other ideas). That first red leaf of the year even.  Dad stays in the ICU and the rest of the world j just goes so quickly passing by.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Diabetes Testing

Dad resists doctors.  Or, more so, resists leaving the house, but also resists doctors.  And the dentist.  He proudly takes his low-dosage aspirin daily, and his fish oil, and his multi-vitamin.  Some years he'll ask me to take him to get an influenza "flu" shot, some years I have to remind and encourage him; last year he refused.  Sigh.  His hospital doctor said that there isn't really much that I can do if Dad refuses to go.  In part, it's not as if Dad's dementia is that bad, yet, where he can be forced to go.

Doctor and I talked about a few things today, after first clarifying that we were talking about my father, and not my brother (Doctor was looking at Doug's name).  My father just "keeps getting better and better."  Glad Doctor's assessment is the same as mine.  The "stopped breathing" appears to have been caused by too much water buildup albeit it "remains a bit of a mystery."  I know about how many liters of fluid they'd drawn out each day, and know it's a LOT (over 3 liters each Saturday and Sunday). 

The new floor in the hospital comes with a new social worker, who is also new there, who will talk with me on details about the physical rehabilitation center and future and all that.  The social workers didn't wish to talk about that while Dad's in ICU.  He's getting moved this afternoon.

I asked if they'd tested Dad for diabetes, as I'd heard it mentioned and, heck, he's had all sorts of tests.  I do like this hospital.  (I think.  Wondering if they should have been more proactive on drawing out fluid before his breathing failure, but second guessing won't change it, now.)  His blood sugars have been high and they've given him some insulin while he's in there (oh, that's news!), but the doctor said something about how it's not a normal state of things for Dad right now (meaning, he may not have diabetes normally).  He also was not on a regular diet some of his days.  I mentioned how Dad seems to crave his sugars sometimes, and that *I* think his frequency of urinating is rather often.  Doctor said he'd look into it further, which was clinched when I mentioned that my dad's father had diabetes.  Beth had reminded me of that one.  Here I was thinking prostate cancer (oops, my uncle had that, could have mentioned that one, too).  Doctor will run a test that'll show Dad's blood sugar levels for the past 3 months.  Wow, now that is interesting that it can go back that far, and it sounds quite accurate. 

Ha, Dad, now you can't refute it:)

On other news, I finally got a huge start on cleaning out M's room, AND, the financial aid application filled out for her school for next year (online, once I found the name of the place again, better late than never).  I have some other big things going on (including where Dad will go, and work on his home, etc., etc.), yet, with how well Dad was yesterday and such, I finally felt as if I could relax.  He's getting good care and is doing well.  M did great at the feis and was really happy with that, and it just seems as if life is moving forward again perhaps. 

After a mismash dinner, I ate a bit of that good dark chocolate N brought me back from his last trip, Daisy and I finished off the last of some good Irish cheese.  I enjoyed 2/3rd of a bottle of Samuel Adams Summer Ale (last bottle from last summer?? it takes forever for me to drink 6) which tasted so good, had a few lime tortilla chips, and actually slept through the night.  I woke up early, I still have a few nights of NOT sleeping to catch up on, but, I slept.

On another note, N's friend, Mike, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery today.  N wrote me back in the wee hours that for once I was NOT awake in, following my expressions of support and sympathy to him.  (He knows I'd have been willing to go with him, except it'd have been more awkward for him if I had, his kids and all going and they've not met me, etc.)  Sometimes things don't seem to make sense, like Mike's motorcycle accident.  I'm hoping that seeing Mike's wife and kids last night, and the honorable funeral ceremony today, will help N with some bit of closure.  I'm so sorry, N.  I'm so sorry.  Virtual hug to you:)  (I wear black today in remembrance.)

Monday, July 23, 2007


So Mom calls Doug, as I'd sent out an e-mail update on Dad to some relatives and church and such, IRL people, adding a line about Doug at the bottom.  Oops.  Ah, well, so now Mom knows about Doug, too.  And, she called Doug, and they had a good talk.  I'm real glad about that, actually:)  I felt that it'd be best, for them both, if my mother knew of Doug's accident, yet, he asked me specifically not to tell her.  I was torn, but decided that I needed to respect that if realistically possible, so I tried to.  Even if she felt Doug should be doing more for Dad right now. 

And, my dad?  He's continuing to do great, continuing to lose excess fluid, and feeling better and eating more every day.  He is still in the ICU, but, that's due to insufficient beds in the "regular" hospital bed areas.  I'm okay with that reasoning:)  He's getting excellent care right where he is.  Even if he doesn't need it to this extent, I'm not complaining.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Evening (It was a good day)

Occasionally hearing Goo Goo Dolls, "before it's too late," their song from the Transformers movie. It fits the theme, and I do love it:)
"It was a good day." Two of Dad's nurses said that, and it was for M, also. I really should pretend I do more than sleep here a few hours and walk the dog, so I won't get into too much right now. But, my dad was basically okay last night, which I verified this a.m. xyz, and by tonight, wow, he's as if almost himself again. Or, his current state of himself. Not fully certain yet. But, good:)
He was still able to get his beauty salon visit, after all (not exactly professional looking, but, hey, he enjoyed it and it gave the staff something positive to comment to him upon, it was better, and his hair not washed for days cuz it's tricky to do in the hospital). Real good nurses there in that ICU, too. I learn more from than, and they talk with each other about the patients, etc.
Len and Beth happened to call Dad during my evening visit, and he talked with them both, enjoying it. Then, introducing the night shift nurse to me, referring to me as his sister. He corrected himself, that he'd just talked with his sister, haha, that "this is my daughter, not my sister."
This morning, I'd missed M's first dance [as my exhausted self missed pressing "enable" for the alarm after setting it, and I checked in on dad before her 8 a.m. dance], and he told me he wanted her to dance today, proud of her and interested in it. So, tonight, I showed him the digital photos. I don't know how long bourne identity is but egads, and last night we watched the Untouchables together (I prefer that one). (I, too, am very proud of our M, first in Treble Jig (so all Prizewinner now she is psyched, and I just knew she would), and Second in both Reel and Slip Jig (feeling badly she beat L ahh, sweet).
M and L got first in their 2-hand, in some ways, in honor of Kelly and Ian. And, the rest of her dancing, in some ways, in honor of my father. It's all good. I'm real glad.
I suspect that tomorrow, I'll talk more again with the doctors and social workers about "the plan." Dad and I talked some about it ourselves, and have been. Each day, he's more himself again. Well, of course, it was more than, as Dad said, "an interruption" for him to just stop breathing. It can really shake you up (even if told he's okay by the time I'm even told he hadn't been for a few moments). They told me that they're likely to put the mask back on him tonight, not because he needs it, but for precaution. He's in good hands, and doing well. Yes, that does equate to a good day:)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Basically in shock. (Saturday)

For those of you following along at home:

Dad's doctor and I finally got to talk (we've been playing phone tag.) Plan B. Dad's okay, but is in the ICU for a day or two before he gets transfered to physical rehabilitation center now. He'd been doing well in his recovery from pneumonia, with a positive turnaround noticeable last night, even trying to joke with the nurse and some minor complaining. This morning, he was found "unresponsive," and not breathing.

. "You know he has bad lungs." Yes, I do know that one. They are going to try to figure out what happened to cause that.

Your continued prayers are welcome. Thank you.

I'm still sorting this through in my head (and heart). Just glad Dad was there when it happened. He has visitors 7 days a week at home right now, or did when home (contractor still goes there, and I do, but not meals on wheels). I take it this occurred EARLY, however. All was said and done and things quite stable again by the time the doctor called me an hour ago.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday night; hopeful

I was hearing, believe it or not, after I first got in my car at the hospital, Goo Goo Dolls, Better Days. I will likely always love that song.
Just a wuick one, hopefully. Dad is much improved. Oh, still there, still wheezing if you listen, but a turn for the better. Even the nurse there 2 nights ago (I missed last night, though called), smiled as we talked about his improvement, lungs, feet, etc.. He tried to joke with her (she didn't catch that), and he complained mildly about some minor thing or two. (He's even back offthe catheter now.)
Bless the nurse, Ari I think?, who was thee only one of the staff there, and I LIKE this hospital and staff, to try to keep his sheets clean. I usually had to point it out, and then it was "I'll get to that," and an hour would pass. Or, Dad was told they had no more clean sheets, he'dbeen changed threetimes. Um, then something's wrong.
This woman, she didn't put it off (and I couldn't even tell), but he'd recently finished with his portable urinal, and she asked me if I wouldn't mind please stepping outside, that she wishedto change him. She was even respecting his privacy with me, in a way no one else there had. I like that:)
On another note, I have been playing phone tag with the doctor, who I did not see tonight. I did get a message that Dad is doing well enough, that he is likely to be transfered to physical rehab soon. Oh, I may have written that already. lol
but, I called Doug. He's still in pain, and hoped his mail included the MVA forms so hecan send them in andget handicap plates (or go in person, but then park forever away so that's not happening). He said his knee is still looking screwy, leaning IN. That doesn't sound good. But, he's got a second opinion lined up or being worked on. "Notwife" comes by most days on her lunchbreak.
I told Doug I'd likely not hear my cell phone some of this weekend (blocked in the hospital, or appears to be if not in the waiting room, and then the feis!!! on Sunday with M). Doug said he likely wouldn't call, anyway. Whatever. He did talk w/ me about things re: dad and the house work and all, but guess he's expecting me to keep him informed. I'm glad he'll get a second opinion on his leg/etc., however.
Ma called, thrilled at how great of an assistant M was for the beginners camp this week. She didn't play with them, or pick them up, she worked with them and actually had them doing things correctly, yet they had fun with her, etc., etc. "You can't teach that," Ma said, as in, how to work with kids and teach them. "And she seemed to be having fun." I'm so proud of her:) Not at all surprised, but still proud:)
I think M did NOT get to go to the pool party today as the after-camp fun time (at least, the group photos sent don't seem to include her, hard to see them right now), nor did she get to see Grandma (my mom) today as anticipated. C came, alone, to pick up the dance dresses and "stuff" for Sunday'[s feis, yet enroute to getting M, I think, whatever. I know she had fun a lot of this week and being "allowed" to attend is a big deal. I'm happy for that:)
And, then I was thinking later. As nice as all of the staff including the nurses have been at that hospital, that extra touch of dignity and respect the one showed tonight? One can't "teach" that, either, in a way. Show it, model it from parent to child, really, but it is still within a person.
(Ah, and I have a "beauty salon" visit set up for Dad, in his bed. I'm quite happy to pay that money, shampoo/ cut / beard trim, and he askedto have his nails clipped, too, so he'll get a manicure:) )
So, anyone out there prayingfor Doug and/or my father? Bless you, and thank you. Chicklet, I know you're one of them -- I told Doug, and that you had your Bible Camp praying and my church, and that he's in good hands. He thanks you, too:) I do believe in the power of prayer. I've felt it, I know God is there and one way we do have to help someone, is to pray. God is listening. Bless you and thank you:)
okay, way past midnight, even my girlfriend has stopped calling me, first telling me she's outwith all of our Italian friendsfrom that night, including R but not N (I tell her whatstate N's in, and it's not MD), and the one is really funny (I tell her I think that guy isreally sweet, and observant, cuz I believe it). And she can't tell him I said hi, as then he'll know shecalled me, and she' on the metro. She no longer cares that she's got a ticket forthefirst group of Harry Potterbooks.
But, hey, I told her I felt she should go pick it up, still, anyway. She doesn't haveto READ it yet, but, enjoy picking it up now. And now it's Saturday. I have way over booked my plans for today, including cleaning M's room ha, right, hoped to watch MegaMAID dance (but she's dancing way early saturday at this 2-day feis), may catch her in the afternoon and Ma and other adults for some, um, socializing after getting Dad his eyeglasses he's nowready for and money for his beauty salon visit and etc.
Other than the call from the social worker I see a caller id notice on my phone, likely the nurse checking on Dad, which is fine justone more thing, life will be okay. Yawn. :)

I'm not actually hungry.......

Gorgeous Friday, really.  Warm outside, not hot, breezy, and blue skies all the more clear this week.
My dad's getting better and better.  I'm playing phone tag with Dad's doctor, who has relayed that Dad will move into physical rehabilitation within a day or 2.  It's a relief that I don't need to fight for this.  (I did when Dad had his last mini-stroke.)  A neighbor of his, a family Doug and I grew up with and played with, this woman a friend of my mother's, will visit Dad today.  I worry that they're not taking care of everything I want looked at for Dad.  His feet look practically normal, size-wise, and have since Tuesday, really, but the skin is not good.  For one thing.  Diabetes, prostate cancer, can they do a colonoscopy or whatever just in case, as he's had colon cancer in the past?, etc.  I've heard that those with dementia have their brains look different, so will the CAT scan show that?  I'm the one who puts on (and changes) his socks after lotion, and sometimes even with a catheter, as he really is not set up where he can move and get to the restroom, his sheets need changing yet they sometimes don't get changed quickly.  But, as my mother says, for the most part, he's in good hands.  Yes, I like this hospital a fair bit.  We've been to a few with him.  They charge for parking (during the day), but otherwise, they seem real good.  His contractor is a decent enough sort, too.
I'm trying not to be overwhelmed.  I DO, as some have pointed out, have my plate full and it's not all good things to eat, which, of course, would be preferable:)  (As does N.  I wish for him a light spirit this weekend, that Monday and Tuesday (when his friend is interned at Arlington National Cemetary) will still come, try not to think of them, and instead enjoy his weekend away with family.)
I try to balance the heavier stuff with little things each day.  Today, the Guarana soda and Brazilian desert tasted um good in the sunshine as I walked past the aroma of fried pig flesh (at the Amish market).  I'll visit Dad later, and his house, sure, and yet also take Daisy on a hike (hopefully).  Sunday is M's next feis, preparations for THAT.  She'll pick up her dresses and "stuff" from my mom's later today.  It'll be good to see M (on Sunday for me).  I'm feeling really good about this feis for her, and am excited for it myself!  The desk place wanted to deliver it tomorrow, um, ack, no.  I haven't gotten that far yet ha.  Thinking of options of the various projects at my father's, and ideas for housing him until his place is prepared (assuming he returns), having him go through listswith me of things he wants done, and, they'll get there.  Most I knew of, anyway.
I aimed for an hour of "normalcy" last night, knowing life would only let me make 1 hour of the mini-ceili (dance) last night, but by golly, I was going.  My girlfriend ended up not able to go, but that's okay.  She and I talked while I drove, and drove.  I don't even know how much stress relief I'd get from the dancing, or how much would really come from seeing friends/ socializing for I felt down.  I never did find the street.  I realized later, I was near Doug's but he'd have been asleep (and I'd have called first, anyway).  One more drive by Dad's house, then the time NOT spent dancing, meant Daisy and I got a good, long walk in last night. And more laundry, or, I should say, turning on the dryer a couple more times as it just isn't working fully since the dryer ducts were cleaned out. 
Two projects I'm putting off.  I can't do it all.  I AM glad Dad's improved, even sounds better on the phone but also looks better.  I have hair scissors to trim his beard tonight, too, as it's interferring with his bronchial mist treatments.  I don't deal as well with a chronic-crisis bit as I do with a crisis-crisis bit.  The chronic stuff gets overwhelming.  It's more difficult to deal with emotionally, and in terms of "what to do" stuff.  I have to break it down into pieces, as much so I can say, okay, I'll do this now, and that then, as to make it manageable. 
Tuesday, on our second morning walk, a man slowed down in his truck and pulled along side of us.  "Did you notice where we missed anything?"  "Excuse me?"  I had heard him, but was taken off guard, and was trying to place who he was, even though he did look mildly familiar only.  He repeated the same thing.  Oh.  He was the senior guy who'd power-washed all the siding and walls for our condo building Monday that had Daisy going nuts.  "Oh, no.  They look great."  He drove away, seemingly pleased with his work.  I hadn't even noticed.  I knew they were dripping; I knew that they'd picked up every rug and item so our personal belongings would not be ruined.  I never even took time to look at the walls.  I did after this man asked me.  And, you know what?  They DO look great, really nice.
Life still goes by -- take a moment to stop and notice it, too.  Otherwise, it's just too much.  No more helpings for me right now, please:)  
p.s. -- I really appreciate all the prayers and e-mails and support.  Thank you.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Your Irish Dancer Wears Combat Boots" aka, real men can dance

This is just too good not to share.  John Nygard, of Irish Dance school Heinzman, does an impromptu bit of Irish stepdancing for his military unit in the Air Force Academy.  Not in dance shoes or even sneakers.  In his COMBAT boots.  This is worth watching even if not for the added difficulty of those particular boots (meaning, yes, he is great, kicks, posture, style).  Real men can dance:)

WebGuy Videos | WebGuy Notes   or, http://www.usafawebguy.com/video

Please go to the 7/16/07 video entry, "Your Irish Dancer Wears Combat Boots."

If I could figure out how to imbed it, I would. 

Update:  Quick internet search on the name, John Nygard, shows him, if thee same guy as in the two articles I found, as being a World Qualifier in the competitive world of Irish stepdance (and 16 years old in March of 2006).  I knew he was good!  A third article sums up what else I'd come across (basically, bright, good kid, and a heck of a dancer):  http://www.toledofreepress.com/?id=4806

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Mazel Tov is all we do......

Even M now is tempted to sing that, "Mom, it REALLY sounds to me like they're singing, "Mazel Tov is all we do.""  I spent a few days trying to remember what they were actually singing.  I have most of the Goo Goo Dolls songs memorized, at least from that CD.  So yesterday, annoyed with some pop song on the car radio, trying to de-stress some, anyway, I popped in this cd, happily singing along.  And relented, the second time Stay With You came on, and pulled out the lyrics.

"I'll stay with you.  The walls will fall before we do.  Take my hand now.  We'll run forefer.  I can fell the storm inside you.  I'll stay with you....." 

Big difference, really.  ("the walls will fall before we do," lovely sentiment, vice well, the inane thing I could have sworn my ears heard them singing.)

There's a song that I could have sworn sang, "I could do your girlfriends."  Not until a radio station had some lyric/song guessing game on, did I learn that the guy was really singing, "Like you do your girlfriends."   Oh.

What are YOUR song lyric bloopers?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


"Yesterday sucked," said the courier.  Last night, Dad would occasionally say, "I sure didn't think today would end up like this."  I do agree.  Then, once he added, "Ah, well, there wasn't anything good on television today, anyway."  I COULD complain, but what's the point?  Just deal and move forward.

For those of you who have asked, thanks, my brother Doug is doing remarkably well!  He's out of his cast, and will start physical therapy once he gets the handicap tag.  His appointment Friday was rescheduled due to emergency, to yesterday.  Along with everyone else's.  He got a scant if that 15 minutes, and is still feeling as if he doesn't know a lot about what's going on.  He can't get his mail, he can't use some of his house, but he is sure looking forward to sitting in the shower.  Apparently sponge bathes get old.  This new set of un-splinted sensations can be almost as painful as that first day.

So, feeling a lot of relief yesterday after having a cathartic conversation with Beth (following a not great Sunday evening but I did NOT let myself get too down, nope, C can't do that to me any more even if I do miss M), I got some other things rolling.  Almost stopped by Sears last night enroute to visiting Dad, still finding the right refrigerator for Dad.  Nah, Daisy and I will spend some time together instead.  Righttt.   A nurse called me.  Apparently they tried my office when I'd stepped out for a short lunch.  This time, it's Dad.

Late afternoon Sunday, I brought Dad groceries, realizing he really had not eaten as much this past week or did I just over buy?  He was dead asleep, snoring, though, so I knew he was likely alright.  Not feeling well, not even physically, and the house dark, I departed without waking him.  I knew trash gets picked up Tuesdays, and that I'd visit him Monday.  Oy.

Before I was off with the nurse, Dad called me, finally remembering the number I suppose.  He never ever usually forgets numbers.  He was lucid enough, yet I could tell his breathing was not right.  Doug asked if Dad was slurring his words as if another stroke.  "No, I don't think so.  It sounded like pneumonia."  I knew it was something lung-related.  I didn't need to be correct.

Dad fell, and the contractor and helper had difficulty picking Dad up.  He'd missed cues that he had eliminated, also.  He was wheezing.   (After walking Daisy and feeding the pets at home,) I spent oh, however many hours first at his home (he USUALLY has the trash ready for me, but he didn't this time instead it was a bit scattered, and other things that are off for him).   A lot of things got put into the freezer, fresh fruit I'll try to eat I suppose.  Bringing him clean clothes, I met up with Dad at the ER.  Ultimately, about 1 a.m., I finally left after confirming that the doctors would not return, and Dad WOULD be admitted.   Antiobiotics for the pneumonia, tons of questions by everyone, EKG, monitors galore, and insufficient urinal availability.  (Doug thinks Dad had to urinate that often due to the fluids in the IV, but gosh, hourly?  Dad could tell me, though, that he had to go, in advance.)  They'd tested for blood clots with ultrasound (his feet looked horrible, very swollen, I've never seen them like that and I am the one who usually bathes him).   Dad enjoyed that guy, a Mike, said that Mike did all sorts of things with Dad's feet and legs.  They ran a CAT scan with a technologically-advanced looking CAT scan machine (what chipper, positive guys working there, the one cute one offering me a blanket as it was cold).  During the actual scan, I waited in the hallway to protect me from radiation, I assume.  An elderly woman was wheeled up, alone, to wait.  I said something to her, and then she just opened up and talked and talked.  Her dog just came home from a week in "the" hospital for pneumonia, for one thing, but I took note that the womans niece was there, so the niece would know to take care of the dog just in case...   They gave Dad a blood thinner, also, in case he had a blood clot.  His father had died of one at age 76.  Dad's 74.  I think today when I visit, I'll ask them to check his prostate, also; Dad's brother died of prostate cancer oh, late 50's / early 60's?  If Dad really has a "going problem" as the ads say. 

I'm so tired.

At one point last night, I went into the restroom as much for something to do as anything else.  Alone, I thought, "Can I just scream now?"  Or, was that when I first got into my car, leaving Dad knowing he'll be okay and thanking the nurse, and praying. 

I've talked a lot with Doug.  The nurse wants me to call her back with an update.  Fine, nice of her, great, just she called me an hour after we'd talked.  LOL.  I wasn't HOME.  Canceled Meals on Wheels for now.  Get a key to the contractor, and meet up with him to discuss additional needs (bars throughout places, for one of many things).  Dad okayed me giving this guy a key, heck, when he wasn't sleeping (it was SO late for Dad), we talked of a few things.  A few times we went through, "This is where Doug was born, right?"  "Yes, Dad, (some new thought)."  "And you were born in Texas.  NO, that was Beth, that must have been Beth who was born in Texas."  Being so very late at night for him, and on medications and sick, I figured that amount of lucidity was good.

The one doctor told me that my job is to tell the hospital that I am NOT taking Dad home, so that they are forced to put him into physical rehabilitation.  I had to do this once previously, learning that the hard way and a nurse slying telling me this.  Dad had had a stroke, and was still in real bad shape.  They didn't realize that this wasn't his normal.  His incoherency (sp) was on high alert, too, questioning why the other patient in the room would dare enter Dad's home.  That man was being discharged and played along.  Shook Dad's hand, said he was a friend of mine and had been invited, but would leave now.  The man nodded to my distressed face, and wished us luck.  I had to leave, also, discharge was taking hours longer than anticipated (I'd come to pick Dad up, but he physically SO not right, couldn't even lift himself up from lying down).  I had to pick up M and said I'd be back.  Except, in Dad's best interests, it killed me, but I didn't come back that day.  I still cry to think of that.  The next day, they had worked out admissions to rehab, and I drove him the couple blocks over.  Rehabilitation did wonders for Dad after that, physically, AND he's never been that confused since.  What about the people who never recover?   This time, it'll be easier, and this time, it's not a stroke.  They estimate approximately 5 days in there.  Just, this time, CAN he go home after, with more care available than now perhaps?

I've talked a LOT with Doug about a lot of this situation, the larger and littler aspects.  He feels badly he can't help out physically.  I would feel badly I am likely not going to be able to help take him to HIS physical rehabilitation.   But, Doug, and N (who is busy as heck himself), and other friends, have been able to be at the other end of the phone for me.  That still helps:)  

Even Daisy, who barked for SO long this a.m. as they power-washed the sides of our condo.  I can't blame her for that.  I prefered our spirited walk at 1:30 a.m., and her snuggling next to me while I attempted to sleep a few hours.  Life goes on.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy years to Ian and Kelly:)



The official U.S. wedding ceremony for my first cousin, Ian, and his bride, Kelly, is tonight.  In Maine.  I told Beth that we could have made that one!  Then again, M couldn't; she's in her mandatory performing dance troupe camp this week and went w/ C for visitation.  But, I could have.  This will be special for Ian and Kelly and their friends:)  Beautiful island spot, rather intimate sounding gathering.  No family angst possible with no family there.  I think I'd enjoy marrying in such a fashion if I were her.  (But, I'm not, so I'm hoping she is enjoying it.)

July 7, 07, was their "heart" ceremony in Canada, or did it involve a clergy member, it's as if he's truly been married already (to her on that day, then), so ?   The U.S. doesn't recognize it, however.  To be legal here, she is required to have a justice of the peace (or something official) in the states, also.  T

Hey were going to wait until that first week in August, with M and I joining and a lovely reception planned out past Puget Sound. 

Oh, how lovely.  M was to dance there, we'd hoped to bring L with M.  Ma helped create a 2-hand reel specifically for M and L, in some parts, for this reception.  What a relaxing, enjoyable time I had in my mind for all of us.  Too much, though.  As Beth put it, maybe I really just need to stay here where I belong right now (with Doug so injured, what if something happened to our father?  It was tearing me up.  It's one thing if M and I are, say, at the beach a couple hours away.  It's an entirely other thing if we're some 3,000 miles away.  Plus C is being persnickety (and we'd not fly back until a few hours past the due time).  And with L not coming, the girls still wish to spend the week together.  Never mind all the home repairs at Dad's, and trying to clean up ours.   The trip would mean squeezing in so many things in such a short time, also.

Ian and Kelly will still have the reception.  M won't dance :(  I am truly sad about that.  I'm also relieved that this was resolved and now the plans can occur.  But, the "official" U.S.A. legally-accepted ceremony?  It's tonight, now.   Her green card, the next step in her process that she's been complying with all along (has legal fiance status now), is about $3xx. through July 30th.  After that, come August?  Beth told me a cost of over $1,000., I think about $1,100.  Crazy.  They'd spend that if they had to, but, why if they don't?

Here, it's raining, finally. We need it so.  I imagine the island in Maine is gorgeous tonight for them.  Cheers, Ian.  Cheers, Kelly, and welcome to our family:)  Love and hugs to you both!!!

UPDATED:  I updated this to include a photo of the happy couple from their wedding on July 7, 2007, in British Columbia.  The U.S. Immigration Service doesn't recognize this event for the purpose of her immigration applications.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger

A very belated thank you goes out to Angie, Canyonsun04, for choosing me as one of her top 5 Rockin' Girl Bloggers.   (Angie writes three aol journals:  The Black Butterfly is her newest one, about her dreams, My Life & Chaos ! is her private journal all about, gee guess what, her life! (where she awarded 5 of us bloggers), and she also plans to resuscitate The Giving Tree.)

In turn, I am to chose five women who have not yet received this award to bestow this to.  That's why it's taken me this long, Ang.  So many good journalers.  Limiting this to women is one way to edit my list, limiting this to those who have not yet received it, edits out other worthy nominees (congrats!).   To keep me down to just five, I'm including only public aol journals.  I hope you can take the time to visit.

In no particular order, here are my chosen five Rockin' Girl Bloggers:

Rebecca and her blogIn The Shadow Of The Iris   She writes about pieces of her life with superb openness and eloquence.  Beautiful writer.

Sheria and her blogOn My Mind  She writes thought-provoking entries including politics that affect real life, with spirit and willingness to laugh.

Winivere and her blogThe Woman in The Glass Box  Win works with youth, recently unemployed and tackling her search for the best new opportunity and weight loss with positive focus, sharing her inspiration here. 

J.W./silverdoe64 and her blogyathink?  She writes of her life as a mother and wife (to a man with ADHD!), and, well, I just enjoy reading her, so there:)

Kathi for her two blogsMAIL CALL!Supporting the Troops  She is a "soldier's angel" and shares information about how to support our men and women in the military, from care packages to highlighting individuals in her Wednesdays Hero.  The Patchwork Quilt is where she posts such things as photos of her basketcase cat:)  Hey, I'm a sucker for cats. 

Please take a few moments to visit these positive-attitude, strong women writers, Rockin' Bloggers:)  (Even if I'm so not fond of referring to women as girls.  I"m overlooking that right now.  lol

Monday, July 9, 2007

"I have a good excuse this time."

(Brother) Doug calls me today.  "I know I missed M's birthday.  Sorry about that, but this time I have a good excuse." 

Doug tends to downplay things.  He's not one to overdramatize and get all shook up over things.  Nope.  He spent more time living with Dad than I did.  (I lived more with our mother; he lived more with our father).  One time when I was in college and Doug in high school, he called me, "Robin, when there's smoke, does that mean there's fire?"  Dad had fallen asleep on the couch (which at that point in time, meant likely drunk).  Seems a lit cigarette had fallen, and the couch was smoking which Doug had tried to put out.  He didn't wake my father (who had since gone upstairs, I *think*??)  He didn't call the fire department, which would take care of the potential smoke and fire question, but of course would also bring about notice and drama and people into his / Dad's life.  We are not ones to seek out attention.  Nope, Doug called me, who he knew would stay calm and focus on the issue, AND, understand.  We talked about it, and somehow Doug got the couch out back (less notice from the neighbors), and doused with the hose until there was NO smoke left.   Blackened and soaked I suspect.  Home intact. 

In a crisis, both Doug and I can focus on what is important, and get it done.

I knew it wasn't a bull excuse Doug had.  "So, what happened?"  Last week, Doug was on a construction site.  If I'm getting this correctly, some box he was working with of approximately 1,000 pounds fell down on his knee, scrapping the heck out of his leg (it fell along down his leg, I think?), and crushed the rest of his leg, and damaged/crushed the nerve that runs down the leg to the foot.  I get these details later, as he's been bored at home for a few days now, thankfully using his laptop and his phone to stay on top of the work that he can.   He originally tells me simply that he broke his leg, "So, tell M I'm sorry, but I was actually in the hospital."  As in, admitted for 3 days. 

While waiting for the ambulance, Doug called his business partner, asking if that guy would follow through with the afternoon appointment.  (Business Partner then asked why, and then told Doug that Doug should have FIRST said that he was waiting for the ambulance, and then any appointment details.)  Doug also asked his one full-time employee to hire someone who could do some work.  The guy likely was the one who called the ambulance in the first place, and now asked Doug some questions regarding who to hire.  Doug gave some guidelines only, cuz, well, he hurt a LOT. 

Doug was taken by ambulance out of the woods, to a nearby elementary school, where he was medivac'd (taken by helicopter) to one of Maryland's shock trauma centers.  They were very concerned about him losing his foot, so skipped the hospital that was 10 minutes away from the construction site.  The board and braces hurt the heck out of him.  "My first helicopter ride and I couldn't look out the window."  Then again, it'd likely have made him nauseous as he was in such pain.  There at the shock trauma center, they tore off his pants as if there wasn't a moment to lose, and .....   then..... waited...... 6...... hours.......  .  Then maybe having surgery so not allowed anything to eat or drink and I *think* he said still nothing but the most basic of pain reliever so in horrid pain.  Just before midnight, he was brought in about 5 things to drink, which he debated on as his surgery was now the following morning.  IV's had his internal fluids going, just his mouth was dry, and he did NOT want to jeopardize delaying the surgery..

The surgeon gave his business card to Doug, "Please call me as I'm who you will meet with for your followup appointments."   Doug was prepped to go into surgery wearing only a hospital gown.  "So, where did he think you were going to put this card?"   The surgeon was concerned about the potential for infection due to the damage all along Doug's leg, and they decided to just go ahead with the surgery NOW, anyway. 

Doug couldn't have called me THEN, or the night before?  I'd have been with him on Independence Day, or at least briefly, after he'd gotten out of surgery.  "I got to see about 12 fireworks from the window, which went until about 1 in the morning."  He drove himself home 3 days later, with his good right leg. 

Doug's in a full, straight cast now, left ankle to left hip.  He's allowed 2 pain pills every 6 hours, which he didn't realize.  He says that taking just one makes him hallucinate, so he avoids even that until he needs to sleep or something.  He does not wish to risk any chance of addiction to them, and figures the pain's not as bad as that first day.   He has used an occasional beer to help out.  If he is lying flat on his back, his leg and foot completely straight, it feels to him as if his leg is bent, and his foot flat on the couch.  He'll be in that for at least 6 weeks, and was told he will likely need to be re-taught how to walk.

His foot is saved.  His business just enough off the ground where this isn't going to do it in.  Still.  Sometimes, Doug, share the crisis.  You know I can deal.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Traditions (cupcakes and fireworks)

Tonight's the family birthday party for M.  We always have the family party for her the night of "the" fireworks, riding the train into the town and enjoying some smaller-town charm, fireflies, and the surprise of a cool breeze for a summers evening.  It's fun, really:)

My mother verified what birthday dinner M really wants.  "Robin, does she really want goulash?"  It was to be Bob's lasagne, and Grandma's goulash last we visited.  (That girl loves her pasta, asking me to please make her shells and white cheese sauce last night, which I added two veggies to.)  Yesterday's call, I could hear M,  "With corn.  And mashed potatos.  Oh, and some cranberry sauce.  Two cranberry sauces."   After she got off, I asked her about it.  NOW we'll be having a mini-Thanksgiving dinner with a "little bit of goulash."  "M, don't you realize that means Grandma has to make goulash, also?"  "She said I could have whatever I wanted."  My mother is happy to do this, I know, but two dinners, M?


Many of this train's traditional rides, M has dropped off, no longer doing Bunny Trains nor Santa Trains (though she helped served hot chocolate and cookies for a couple extra years for the Santa Train).  Mom and mostly Bob have spent hours upon hours of volunteer work there.  I've put in a few here and there, along with M.  M had a birthday party there one young year, in the red caboose which was several degrees hotter than we'd thought on a day much hotter than the surrounding ones.  Still, memories.  Have to laugh in a way, a couple of the party guests dads got more into the train ride than some of the guests:)   One mother said she'd skip the ride, and could I just please point her in the direction of the town's Starbuck's?  LOL, um, no, sorry, no such thing in that town.



he night before her birthday this year, M tells me that she does want cupcakes afterall.  I hadn't pushed it.  What teenager wants her mom to just show up at camp bearing anything?  Secretly, I'm glad she still wants this tradition.  Had to go get the mix (she chose Funfetti, which seems to be the theme lately), and bake them into the night.  The birth-day itself, I frosted them and added various sprinkles on my lunchbreak, and took them by.  Apparently she only has about a half hour lunch during camp.  Oh.  I'd just missed her, enroute to a rehabilitation clinic (she's in a horse back riding camp this week and next).  That's okay.  Everyone seemed excited to see me arrive.  A counselor put them in the office after I pointed out the special big one with yellow stars and confetti sprinkles for M.  "I wish I was 13 years old again."  She rethought that statement, "Wait, no I wouldn't" said in unison with my response, "Oh, I wouldn't."  It's not easy to be a young teenager.  I'll try to remember that.  I don't dread it, though.  I do like teenagers.

M even had to have the wires trimmed on her braces.  We usually stop for ice cream after, but it was way too early in the morning for an ice cream store to be open, early appiontment so that she wouldn't miss a moment of camp.  (C had gotten her there 1 hour late one day sigh, so she got put with a group 2 levels lower for a day.)  M chose Starbuck's instead of ice cream, and, was the one who had to order mine.  Somehow those fancy stupid names for sizes that have no relevance to their actual sizes, well, she translated for me.  lol   She got a strawberry lemonade, with a promise of caffeine another time that she insists she's holding me to.

Some traditions last, some are outgrown, some are replaced with new ones.  And, well, maybe we never really get too old for cupcakes, birthday dinners, and fireworks:)

ENTRY UPDATED TO ADD PHOTOS TAKEN THE EVENING OF THIS POST (Yes, we rode in the red caboose, that just happened to have up a happy birthday banner!  very packed evening as it'd been written up in the local newspapers, and Independence Day itself was too rainy for many who chose instead to come to this one.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Happy birthday, USA !!!!!  We celebrate our country, its freedom from England, its birth as a "new" country regulating itself.  (Wonder what the native Americans think of all that, really, they were rather taken over.)  And, new to the US or here from centuries ago, we unite in this holiday, and celebrate the good that is to be had here:)  Freedom, independence, liberty.  Maybe someday, Northern Ireland will have that, too, from England.  Maybe more countries will find peace and freedom than have it currently.

It's getting dark out now, still raining some.  It's rained off and on this afternoon (with tornado warnings).  Not enough to thwart fireworks celebrations, nope, not THAT much rain:) 

M is with her dad tonight.  Normally the every/other holiday means until 8 p.m. for July 4th.  I questioned that, but my lawyer pointed out that he and his lawyer requested that, so oh well.  So, C and I switched another night last Spring or so, and she'll stay with him overnight tonight.  Only her second time for Independence Day fireworks (with him / away from me), her very favorite holiday.  It feels a bit weird (however, I am okay).  Friday we'll celebrate with family, fireworks in another town as if for M's birthday.  She used to think that the fireworks anytime this week were for her birthday:)  Eh, it works.  We always go to a particular local fireworks show, AND to this one with my mother / Bob.

Last night, M remembered the one time we went downtown (as in, downtown Washington, D.C.).  "It rained.  Hard!  I remember us hiding under the pillars."  Not exactly "under" the pillars, M.  We went in sunlight to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence the last day possible before the Archives Building was going to close up for a long time.  (It's since reopened.)  We'd stood in line for hours, plural, yes, hours, yet were one of the last hundred or so let in.  It started to pour, and the fireworks started soaring, rebelling that anything would stop its red glare, and other magnificent colors.  M hugged the pillars of the Archives building, moving around them.  Our view was grand and memorable.  I found a tossed umbrella that didn't protect us all that much, as we sloshed our way with the masses back to "the" Metro (subway). 

I remember one year, probably a middle schooler, when my father took my brother, Doug, and I, to Ocean City (Maryland).  I was allowed a bit of unchaperoned time to wander the shops on the boardwalk, and found myself a silver ring with one blue star and one red star.  I still have it.  I forgot until just now, though, so I'm not wearing it.  Or, M's borrowed it.  This morning, M asked for my "red, white, and blue" shoes.  We'd bought matching stars and stripes sneakers super cheap some years ago.  She always thought mine were so ugly, so big.  Yet, THIS year, hers long out grown and our feet now the same size, she wanted them:)  We always get fun shirts to wear, sometimes headbands, whatever, do it up.  I'm glad she's still enjoying herself.  I'm fairly certainly which town they are enjoying events in today and tonight, too.

This morning, I told M to hold on a moment for something, as Birthday Girl was taking my attengion.  "Huh?"  M was confused a moment, thinking I meant her. "Miss Liberty!"  "Oh!"  Liberty, aka, Libby, got some extra attention and extra turkey-flavored treats.  Her brother, Mr. Independence aka Indie, meowed and meowed, insistent upon joining Daisy and I for our morning walk.  For about 5 minutes.  Then he pulled us back across the street towards home.   He snuck out later just as M was coming back outside to join Daisy and I (later walk), and C was pulling up.  Daisy trotted and sniffed herself up to the 3rd floor level, looked out the landing as M got into C's truck which, of course, drove away.  Daisy was alarmed and bolted downstairs as if to say, "Why did that man abscond with our M again?  Where'd she go?"  Daisy started diligently tracking C's scent.  Bad Boy Independence had gone around back, without his lease.  We spent time walking alongside of his excursions onto every patio and bush in the block, somewhat guiding him home. 

Everyone safely inside or gone, I left for the stores.  First stop, ordered clearance desk for M's room.  She'd measured and diagramed.  Then, can I FINALLY find some black pants for myself?  Also found a lot of things for Dad, including yeah, a nice comforter that'll go nicely, was on sale, and comes with sheets and pillow cases.  Of course, he doesn't think he needs it (but he does, and has).  I bought the matching throw pillow which he's most excited for, lol.  I may have to go back and pick up another one. 

A few hours there at Dad's meant I could talk at length with the main contractor working on the needed home repairs, and his assistant.  Rain having come into the home unabated over time has not been kind, nor have the carpenter ants.  We talk of other issues, too.  I usually don't get to visit in the daytime when they are around.  I'm relieved to determine that this is a good man, and knowledgable, and take his number which he'd offered.  I've been checking out new refrigerators for Dad, and main contractor talks with me about that as well.  He says that my father is sometimes very clear-headed, gives a laugh, "especially when it comes to numbers."  I go to mention that Dad had been an accountant, and he waves, "Oh, I know."  I forgot for a moment, this is the main human contact Dad's had for a few weeks now.  Of course this man knows.   This is good.  His assistant also speaks with sensitive perspective and a hard working attitude, suggesting ways I can bleach some of the basement ceiling so they'll only have to replace other portions that are too water damaged.  I'd dreaded actually seeing the basement and damage, so had not yet gone down there.  This man was eager to show me his progress, and, it was looking great at this stage.  So many items we'd stored there; I'd wondered about my late grandmother's glassware, Dad's books, not remembering I had former years tax returns of my own also stored there now too damaged. 

I stayed with Dad a bit after the men left, then go to get a few mid-week groceries.  Dogwalking neighbor sees me and we chat some.  She's happy home repairs are being done, still brings up the mail occasionally.  We say good bye and I go in and make Dad fresh salmon and cut up salad items for dinner he says he's not hungry enough to eat.  But, it's there and about now, he's likely eaten it.  He had food, sure, yet, somehow, it felt better to clean up some things, take the old maybe washable comforter and other clothes to wash, and, make dinner, take time beyond going over the mail and must do items.  Dad wasn't his best today, yet, it wasn't bad.  He asked that I get something for M for her birthday (which I had not mentioned, he remembered himself even while needing me to remind him last week of my brother / his son's birthday).  I did bring a card he signed and I addressed and put in the mail for her from him.  I'm glad to hear the overall opinion of the main contractor.  I am pleased to see money helping things, yet, it's still a matter of time for my father.  Money really isn't everything.

Independence.  What DOES that mean?  To a new teenager, it can mean unchaperoned timein a public place, or a day left home alone (not YET, only portions of a day so far forM).  To a pet, the thrill of sneaking outside with a safe place to return to.  To the divorcing / divorced, a return to making decisions (and having responsibilities) for oneself.  To the elderly, a chance to remain in ones own home, perhaps not give up control (fully, yet).  To the soldier and those who work with them, the greater freedom they commit their lives to (sometimes, sadly, literally).  WEDNESDAY HERO-4th of July

In some ways, we're all still quite interdepent upon each other.  I do rejoice today, for M, for life, and as sappy as it sounds, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Independence and self-government.  Hard won, to be cherished, worldwide even just as N is doing in a country many hours ahead of me at the moment in spectacular fashion.  (Okay, I admit it, daggonit, I've loved getting his e-mails "hello from" so far away.)  Parades and fireworks I've seen in D.C., Santa Barbara, California, Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine, and all over Montgomery County, Maryland (particularly as it's grown in population in the past, um, how old am I, over 40 years).

We are a country, and we are connected to each other, and have much to be proud of.  Let us remember that we're connected to all the others in the world as well. 

Happy Independence Day:)

Francis Scott Key, while near Fort McHenry outside Baltimore, Maryland, said it well:   "....and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that the flag was STILL THERE.  Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave, over the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

For other great, patriotic quotes, please see Win's entry:  Independence Day

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Quiz

Ah, create a bunch of multiple-choice questions about myself?  I can handle that:)  I'm stealing this idea from Amy's private journal:  My Quiz. You better answer correctly!!  She also has a public one focused on her son, Sam, that I list in my side tool bar.  How well DO you know (the public) me?  :)  Except this isn't formatting so well argh....

1)  Breakfast: 

a)  I always eat start the day with breakfast. 

b)  Just a latte for me, please.

c)  I usually eat two breakfasts, and a drink of some sort (latte, juice, etc.)

d)  I eat breakfast if I remember to and have time.

2)  My lingerie and sock drawers are:

a)  Organized by color, style, and fabric.

b)  Exist, and I might get my clean laundry items thrown in there and out of the laundry room.

c)  I always get the clean laundry put away, and folded, but who organizes their sock and lingerie drawers?

3)  I first met C, my daughter M's father, :

a)  Just under 14 years ago, at a nightclub in Frederick.

b)  When we were 14 years old, on a high school field trip visiting colleges in the D.C. area.

c)  In college, at a party that my high school boyfriend took me to.  He and C were good friends.

d)  In the Young Adult group at my church.

4)  My daughter, M, turns/turned how old this week?

a)  12 going on 22

b)  13 egads a teenager

c)  14 and going on 24

d) 16 and wants her driver's license and to start dating ack

5)  What is the last concert I attended?

a)  Stevie Nicks with Vanessa Carlton

b)  Coyote Run and Enter the Haggis

c)  Maggie Sansone and Coyote Run

d)  Blue October with Army of Me

6) M attends what type of school:

a) Catholic / parochial school

b) public school

c) Montessori school

d) evangelical Christian school

7)  We have what pets (answer all the apply)

a) horse(s)

b) hamster(s)

c) rabbit(s)

d) hermit crab(s)

e) dog(s)

f) cat(s)

g) none.

h) fish

BONUS:  If answering that M and I have pets, # of each and what type/breed

8)  Meetings and appointments and such:

a)  Always early, give myself time to relax and handle any questions, forms, go over things.

b) Always on time.

c) Usually on time.

d) Usually on time or reasonably so, but it's a real struggle.

e) Often on time to the first scheduled event in a day, especially if critical, but it's a struggle which I've worked very, very hard on as the years have gone by.  I never mean to be late.  Always on time to subsequent plans in a day.

9)  As a youth, I would read the dictionary

a) every day for 15 minutes after school because my mother felt it highly important

b)  just for the sheer fun of it.

c)  by my choice to rebel against forced reading time in school.

d)  never.  My cousins would have tormented me to no end if I ever did such a thing.

10)  My favorite color is:

a) dark, deep purple

b) deep clear dark green

c) baby pink

d) bright, clear sunshiney yellow

e)  blue, any type of blue

11)  I've been to the following other countries (list all that apply):

a) Ireland

b) Scotland

c) Italy

d) Germany

e) Venezuela

f) Peru

g) Bolivia

h) Canada

i) Mexico

12)  television /movies at home

a)  I watch most nights, morning news, movies, etc.

b)  I watch the news and PBS and that's all I'll let my daughter, and hence me, watch.

c)  I enjoy an occasional movie, but rarely if ever watch regular television shows, cuz, really, who has time?.

d) I'll watch planned shows and movies with my daughter, sometimes PBS, and rarely television news.

13)  I'd prefer to be (check all that apply):

a)  hiking along the C&O Canal

b) at Sebago Lake, Maine

c) skydiving off the Grand Canyon or some similarly beautifully high cliff

d) horseback riding at one of the many wonderful Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Parks

e) inside my office catching up on work

f)  Chincoteague  and Chincoteague Island, Virginia (or Assateague Island, Maryland)

14)  Debates and conflicts:

a)  I love them, rev me up, get me thinking.

b)  I despise them, avoid them at all costs.

c) I despise them, yet have learned to try to work through them and move on.

d)  I've learned that working through conflict can lead to peace making, and hence am always eager to head in and through issues.

15)  Dating.

a)  I've got to have a guy who I'm involved with or dating, or I feel somewhat inadequate and uncomfortable around my "hitched" friends.

b)  Dating?  Give me a good book and some girlfriends.  Not sure all that dating bother could be worth the heartache and, well, bother.  Single life is where it's at.

c)  I'm not looking for a guy or completion, and don't really have time for dating.  I'm comfortable with myself as a single woman / mother, but for a guy I like and enjoy?  I'll find the time for him, and will be happy to enjoy those moments. 

16)  My one cat, Billy, who has one green eye and one blue eye, is named after:

a)  David Bowie's real middle name (he has one green eye and one blue eye)

b)  My brother.

c)  My uncle Billy, who died as a POW in Korea.

d) My favorite college sweetheart.

e)  My late grandfather, Liam but M couldn't pronounce Liam so we Americanized it to William, or Billy.

f)  My first sweetheart.

17)  reading a book

a)  I'll read most any subject, check out the last chapter or so first, and if it's really intriguing enough, either read the second to last chapter next, or skim read from the beginning, skipping around some.

b)  I'll read most any subject, voraciously reading books methodically through from beginning to end.

c)  I'll read a full book through only if it's one of my favorite subjects or genre's, and then read it straight through, beginning to end.

d)  I never read anything but blogs and skim read online articles.  My attention span is too short for books.


Monday, July 2, 2007

um, Robin, that IS a date

Not this past weekend, but the one previous, M and I were away Friday through Saturday at a great feis.  (Great time I'll have to elaborate on later.)  Md and another classmate of theirs was in a musical, Seussical, just that weekend.  We left as soon as we could from the feis to drive back to the Saturday night show.  Sunday's show was at 2 p.m., and naturally transfer time with C was at 3 p.m., so it was Saturday night or nada.

While M slept, I was chatting with MegaMAID, who got to stay at the festival there that coincided with the feis.  Watching fit men in kilts throwing lumber.  Dag.  I hated missing that.  

The dancing hornpipe first place medalist (yeah) woke up as we neared home, texting with friends.   "Mom, do I have time to see a movie tomorrow?"   I understand that her social life is important, and she hadn't had as much chance to see her classmate friends since school's been out.  I'm thinking of her schedule and how to possibly fit this in for her.  Ha, hmmm, "friends" was really J texting M, who'd asked about seeing a movie Sunday and if she'd ask "everyone else."   She texted him back, "who is everyone." 

"Everyone" did include Md, whom J forgot had the show.  M also had a gig earlier in the day, depending upon how long it'd go.  Sh had told me previously that 3 p.m. had to stay as the tradeoff time, as she thought Si would be too tired to do the gig (even though Si wasn't one of the ones asked, and what about M?).  Sh had also told me previously that the show Sunday won't work, either, as they wanted to pick English peas.  (M was NOT wanting to be outside in the sun and didn't care about peas, but hey, C's choice.)  I wasn't sure at that point if M was confirmed for this gig, due to uncertainty of the time and if C would let her go over 3 p.m. tho I'd been asking C & Sh since midweek, and if J would join for the show that night or if a late movie that night would work or earlier in the day Sunday.....  J and M thought "everyone" going to Sunday's 2 p.m. show together, then all out to a movie, would be best.   (M herself texted Sh later, to ask about going to the show.  Sh texted back to call her, which M got after Saturday night's show we saw only half of, but via their calls Sunday, Sh still said no, wouldn't be time for picking peas.  Ends up we met elsewhereper C's request and C wasn't thereuntil 3:15, but whatever.)   J couldn't go late Saturday night, and not sure what happened to earlier Sunday.  But, M WAS in the gig and it was a great fun day for it.  That's what M texted J, that she had a gig. 

BJ and I were talking yesterday morning before church, from lost luggage to our kids.  (No wonder I once referred to N's STBXwife with the name of BJ's ex-wife, lol, they're similar names.)   Yes, M's 13 years old this week and boys, well, there's one she really likes, yes, the same one.  She won't come out and admit it to me yet.   I like this guy for her, good kid with other good traits, good family, all known each other for years now.  No, no dating, just some attempted plans for all the friends go out to a movie.   "Btw, Robin, that is a date."  Huh?  Group dating, in the teenage years, especially if two are planning it and then inviting others along, apparently is a date.


Makes sense, I suppose I did know that.  But.  Oh.

It WAS fitting in a bit too many things into that one weekend, yet I was trying to get it to work for M.  So I told her that perhaps it'd work this past weekend (she was due back at 3pm yesterday / Sunday).   Back home last night, M was texting with friends.  She said it was L.  "Anyone else?"  "No."  Riiggghhtttt.   She and J also texted (his grandfather had died, but he said he'd invite M to the funeral, and what state he's in now whil presumably on vacation).

(Ends up C called yesterday a.m. and asked if he could bring M back 1 - 1 1/2 hours later, which I was nice and agreed to (no plans with friends had been made), and could he bring her to my mom's instead of my house.  I could hear him asking Sh, whatever, it's closer to them, and we enjoyed our time there and back home.)

I don't know that I'm actually ready for this!  I'm thinking dating as the guy coming by to pick her up, and comes in and he and I talk a bit, then they head out.  I know that others in her class have sometimes "dated" others outside of their school / class.  Yet, group dating, these two young teens, some parent still needs to drive them?  Alright, that extent.  And, this is the kid I like best for her.  Just, yikes.