Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Uncle Earl and Dancing Fun on Halloween

Now THIS is fun (you may need to download QuickTime (free) to view it):

Uncle Earl is the band, and no, none of the women have an uncle named Earl:)  They are KC, Kristin, Abby, and Rayna.  Go to their website to find out more: 

Uncle Earl Bluegrass and Old-Time Music 

One of the guys in the video is from STOMP, and the woman in the Irish step dance costume is Maureen Berry.  Someone from Led Zeppelin is involved, but I'm not positive I'm remembering that detail completely correctly enough so will verify before mentioning it (he's also mentioned on their website).  UPDATE:  the pianist is John Paul Jones.  Still don't have speakers.  It IS now a U-Tube video, however, so I'll ahve to add that link.

(Can't wait until I get speakers, also!  lol)


Sunday, October 28, 2007

One more time again........

"I've seen fire and I"ve seen rain.
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.
But I always thought I'd see you, one more time again.
See you one more time again.....
-- James Taylor

Okay, I"m done now. Tinker's on the clean laundry licking her paw after batting about with Indie who is perched ona shelf so he can view outside (but is nodding off). Daisy, who was snoring beside me, is now on the bed, bathing. Then sleeping again.  Billy is batting about a pom pom under the bathroom door, and back.  Captain is perched on top of Dad's "urn," to better reach the remaining flowers from the memorial service (and play with them.  A few of them have been walking about with yellow or orange pollen stains on their sides lately.)  Liberty is posed regally atop my pillow, her front paws crossed just so as she watches with her green eyes.  It's a windy, beautiful fall day. I've been delaying. This is my first Sunday without M OR Dad. No matter how often or few I visited him, I always saw him Sundays after church. I need to get mail from there today.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Both sides of the door.

As I just mentioned in my last entry, it is decidedly not fire-weather here.  It's tires splashing in the puddles, glad I got new wiper blades, leaves glistening with bright beautiful autumnal colors, raining for 3 days weather.  It's chilly (50's F degrees most of today), wet wet wet, if it's not raining, it's pouring, if it's not pouring, it's drizzling, if it's taking a few moments to not even drizzle, it's misting and the wind will blow rain down from the trees along with the acorns and that is COLD on my neck, heels no longer high enough to walk through puddles and keep my feet dry, clothes will get soaked if out long enough without a long enough coat on, raining for 3 solid days so that the ground is fully soaked, weather.

I love sleeping all warm and snuggly inside, with the sound of rain outside.  I love walking in the rain hair and face a bit wet, let Daisy get her coat clean (when my clothing closest to me is dry enough and sufficiently warm).  I had been enjoying this.

It's pouring now, and poured most of today other than this morning, and I imagine this is what "dreich" weather is that pharmolo refers to (I can't find dreich in any dictionary I've found). 

A couple days ago, Indie (my cat, Independence) begged to go outside.  I let him briefly.  I sometimes forget that my cats don't mind some rain.  Indie watches through the windows, he smells through the front door.  He cries and cries, and purrs when I come close to the door every morning, leash in hand for Daisy.  Indie' hopeful I'll grab his leash, also.  I usually reserve that for weekends, however.  I usually don't have time to let him meander as much as he'd like.  I try to let him graze (eat grass), or take some grass in for him and the others.  I usually take Indie back in before he's truly ready, and he'll watch out the window again, and stand guard by the door. 

Indie knows when Joshua is outside, "Joshie" as I call him, my neighbor / new coworker's cat.   Indie knows when I've fed Josh.  Josh's human mom doesn't bother looking for him, not really.  If he catches up to them when she walks the dogs, great.  Oh, Josh well groomed and vaccinated; he's a healthy cat.  She's just a dog lover (and had four, sadly, Chase had to be put down with so many ailments in his elder years).  So Josh has found us, walking many a morning with Daisy and I over the past however long.  If he is out for over a day, I'll feed him.  If it's hot out, I'll leave water.  I've had indoor/outdoor cats previously; I prefer letting a cat spend time outside when the neighborhood is more rural.  Josh no longer has a collar, as it kept coming off.  He will go inside in the more extreme weather (or perhaps Josh's Mom looks harder for him then).  She says he likes to be outside.  Sure, but not always.  He's a beautiful tortoise-shelled tabby, aka, dark and blends right into the parking lots and streets in the dark.  I have to shoe away cars sometimes, like last night, when Josh is following us a few paces back.  Sometimes, I'll carry him across the bigger street, or avoid it.

Indie is mostly deaf.  (He can hear high-pitched noises.)  He knows our neighborhood, and he's white.  If he got out, I'll look for him.  I used to let him out some Sunday mornings by himself for a little while, or later Saturday night, but not any more.  I am just not comfortable risking him being outside for any real length of time.  I would also leave food and water for him on my patio, however, or if another one of my cats was outside.

Josh has been out a couple days now.  I did feed him late last night, and this morning (before our walk with Daisy, let's cut to the chase here i.e., not make him do our rounds but just feed him, and let Daisy-girl romp and go as fast as her morning energy wanted today).   Daisy is becoming a big amorous, even more eager to see Josh than usual.  Now that's amusing.  Josh was really wet.  Josh's mom hadn't walked her dogs and gone to work yet, so I hoped he'd get inside for the day.   

Our second walk, after dropping M off at school where she truly believed she and some of the boys in her class would still run an "extreme race" sort of tri-athalon for the younger students this morning as it wasn't raining too hard uh-huh, after Josh's Mom would be at work, Josh joined us again even more deliberately.  So wet still, I suppose this length of time with bushes as shelter means little time to truly dry off.  He really seemed to want to spend time with us, and join us.  As in, join us inside.  Petting him, "I'm going to PetsMart today and buying you a shelter [for my patio]."  When I walked around the corner and opened our front door, I feltmuch warmer air.  Josh had followed, and then tried to come in with us, a bit hesitantly.  I figured what the heck, I'm not going to keep him from his owner.  Josh came in.  Indie came over.  Josh backed up.  Indie chased him out.  No contact, but as Indie stalked, I picked him up and took him back inside, safe, warm where he felt confined.  (I imagine God feels like this sometimes, doing something for our own good that we don't appreciate, can't comprehend fully.)

I took a cat carrier from the closet, thinking it'd be off the ground so drainage, I'd add some towels from Dad.  Indie thought it great fun to get inside while I got the towel.  lol  Outside, I put the carrier facing out, while snug under a patio table, towel inside for some warmth, a bit of dry food in front (I figured there was plenty of fresh water and the food was more for bait).  It isn't fully obvious from the inside (of my home).  Josh let me carry him onto the patio.  I put him down near the food so he saw the "cubby hole" of the carrier. 

He wasn't around when I left for work, grumble, a few minutes late as I took the time to take care of my neighbor/coworker's cat who couldn't be bothered to spend a few extra minutes finding and bringing in her own cat.

I didn't really wish to leave work at lunchtime today.  Just pouring again, and coldish.  I decided to skip getting mail from Dad's.  I finally drove home, no mail yet, no Josh in the carrier.  Daisy had heard me, so we had a drenched dog (I was alright) walk in the rain.  After getting some actual food to eat, I left home to return to work.  Josh was eating the small bit of food I'd left in front of the cat carrier.  If his mom didn't come home for lunch today to walk her dogs (different schedule then me), or Josh didn't see her, well, at least he knew an enclosure he was welcome to use.  "Hi, baby," I whispered and smiled (as I walked on in the rain).

I'm not sure either Indie or Josh would truly wish to exchange lives, but I suspect for a few hours, they'd enjoy being on the other side of the door.  Both sides of the door have appeal for the one stuck behind the other side.
(p.s. -- For the record, if it was dangerous weather today for a cat to be outside in, gale forces slamming water throughout all the patios, also, freezing rain / freezing temperatures, overly hot weather, whatever, I'd simply close Indie up in my bedroom/bathroom, and taken Josh into M's bedroom / bathroom.)
Update:  I'd tried to add this via IM, but somehow, it went instead to a comment on my AIM profile.  I don't even know how to get to my AIM profile, so this quite confused me.  LOL.  Oh, and I just now figured it out (now being late June, 2008).  So, I wrote this 8 months previous (to June 2008), meaning to add it HERE:
It was just 11:11, M kisses the clock or watch when it hits that time:) So, update time and perhaps to bed.
Tinkerbell (aka, "Stinker") is hiding in M's bottom dresser drawer with her night clothes. Safe. Warm. Came in recently from talking with Josh's Mom. Seems he went in late afternoon. Dogwalker has a key to their place. Good. And, he'd been in a full 24 hours before he was out overnight and all that.
More of a light rain tonight. Looking from my side of "the door," I must admit. I'd rather have all of this rain, then have fires. A nice southern-California weather day occasionally? Well, yes, certainly. Year-around, with fire season? Nah. Give me my four changing seasons. May God watch over all of his beloved ones tonight. I thank him for giving me friends, animal and otherwise, to help me through my pain.
I'm not sure how this will work, so hopefully in theory, this all added as a comment to my last entry on "both sides ofthe door." Doing it via IM'g "AOLJournals." We'll see.


Fire Season

Even with the drought, it's decidedly not fire weather here.  It's been colder and wet, raining for 3 days.  I remember my two summers living in Goleta, a suburb of Santa Barbara.  I would depart both years in time for school to re-start at the University of Maryland.  I'd leave at the end of the summer season and just before fire season would begin there, the forests turning "snapping" branches dry when we'd hike in the lower mountains.  A colorful autumn season would begin here, full and vibrant hikes here.  Moisture.  It's much more moist here, all summer long, all year long, even with our droughts and brown corn stalks that hadn't any real chance again this year.

I look over the various maps of southern California, with the red flaming symbols indicate where a fire has been, or a fire is ongoing NOW.  (Only one map shows the two fires from the Santa Barbara area.)  I have two cousins and extended family living in the areas of some of the fires.  Sean and his two sisters attended Long Beach High School many years ago (I think).  His late father (my Uncle Dan) married his second and third wife in the greater Los Angelos area, and I'd visit them in El Segundo sometimes.  Sean wrote me back yesterday that they are all safe, that they are in the area of the fires, that it's hmmm, what was his definitive word, well, basically chaotic and scary and a bit unreal.  "Thanks for thinking of us."  Well, of course.

Of course I think of them.  Each one.  I think of my friends I've lost touch with.  How are their lives now, right now?  I think of Brian, much further north, and the wildlife he monitors and cares for.  What will be the longer-term environmental effects?  Good, bad, both?  It will be different, anyway; even Chuck says the sky further north near him was a bit yellow earlier this week.  (Some trees and some forest systems actually rely upon fire to get them to their next level of natural sucession and all of that.  This is why some national parks / forests set controlled fires.  Yes I am being serious here (just not intending to have this entry be a teaching science entry).  The earth itself heals, it seems, and sometimes makes good use of fire.  Time will tell for this series of fires.  The fragile lives and ecosystems hmmm more at risk, obviously.)

The air quality of L.A. got me sick every single time I would visit there (in the early 80's).  I cannot imagine it right now.  A neighbor has a niece in greater San Diego, with a 3-month old baby.  What about the ones most susceptible to poor air quality, like that baby, like the elderly, like the asthmatics, like the animals and birds with small lungs.  What debris is floating overhead to land in the Pacific Ocean?  I heard on the radio that people there know to be prepared for an emergency such as a fire, things were set in place.  One result (this was a pet psychologist speaking) is that all horse stables keep their trailers facing out, and there are places set up even for horses to go to, in theory.  If gotten free in time.  If not evacuated.

A "colleague" from M's school and her husband perished in a fire in their home late last night.  I am not clear yet if it was from one of these southern California fires or what.  If so, obviously they didn't get free in time.  Their two daughters were with their grandparents, where they remain for now.  I wait to hear more.  (I don't really know them yet, of course, find myself a bit speechless, this isn't here, it's raining here, how can someone from here, go and be hurt?)

So much tragedy. 

Homes lost, pets lost (or dead), people lost, injured, or dead.   This could be, partially, arson.  This could have been a partially-bungled response I'm hearing (i.e., those who wanted and trained for and willing to go pilot the planes and such to drop water, were kept grounded argh argh argh).

Firefighters (in the air and definitely those on land) have a hard job.  There are different techniques and training involved for forest fires over a comparatively simple house fire.  Long hard, very hot, stressful hours.

Controlled burns for well-thought out forestry management?  Yes, good things.  Raging wildfires out of control resulting in lives lost, and all of this?  No.  This is tragic.

To see some great photos, please visit  (I like the one of the burning bicycle, photographically gripping wise.):  Southern California Wildfires

UPDATE:  YES, Guido (Pharmolo) "gets" it! 

(Other update, the tragic loss of the couple I mention above was not due to these fires but another situation that is horribly sad, leaving behind two orphaned girls, who have loving, extended family and other support, but not their parents.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

His Two Daughters, Part 739B

Over the weekend, however, listened to musicians Mark Arrington, and separately, Niall Mulligan.  Both great and fun.

M and I spent part of Saturday cleaning up our home that'd been a mite neglected the previous week or so with my father's passing.  Finishing up laundry (are those bubble socks dry YET?), packing, writing up some thoughts that could be used, if desired, for the touching lemon tree dedication on behalf of Dad that a journal reader was preparing.  (Bless you!!!  I'm SOOO touched!)  I'd e-mailed M's dad, C, and his long-term girlfriend, Sh, with our plans to arrive that afternoon and what about getting M and her half-sister, Si, together in part to practice their 2-hand for Sunday?  I didn't hear back.

Beautiful day.  Got newspapers out, Daisy out a LOT, and the key to a neighbor dog-owner.  Finally, we drove south, quite slowly in northern Virginia (seemed almost ironic that they have these outrageous speeding fines right now, when no one is hardly moving), finally arriving at the feis hotel.  We'd missed the music competitions (dag), but MegaMAID and Irishrunner and Hop_123 and others were dancing their adult competitions within 20 minutes, so M and I raced to the front of the hotel.  One ground floor room had their blinds open, ah, C, Sh, and Si!  M stopped for a quick hello.

Later, L and A's mothers were hosting a pizza bash in their hotel room; I called C, invited him (Sh, Si), to join the several other families who they also know, from M and Si's Irish dance school.   He didn't ask what room M was staying in.  Almost 1/2 hour later, those gathered were heading back downstairs to watch more of MegaMAID's dances.  I went to call C back, so that they didn't show to an empty room.  Another parent assurred me that she knew they'd gone out to dinner.  Hey, that's fine.

Walking about the early feisers Sunday morning, M spotted Si practicing her hardshoe dances with the yellow duct tape she prefers, all dressed, hair curled, in her pale blue feis earrings that match her solo dress C had bought her but she's not eligible yet to wear, seemingly excited and ready to go.  M and I joined C and Sh in watching Si, M and Sh giving appropriate pointers.   M and Si did one run through of their 2-hand.  M knows 3, so that was good for her to do.   Figured we'd catch them later, also.  (C didn't say a word to me (the entire weekend except when I called his cell phone).  Shrug.  It's been practically 14 years since we've been together (well, back tentatively almost close to M's birth), can't he get over the whatever already?)

M wanted to watch various dancers, Si,and some friends, and get dressed herself.  Figures dances (which includes the 2-hand Si danced with M), were in the middle of this feis, along with Treble Reel, followed by a 30-minute lunch break.  Often times, figures kicks off a feis, and Trebel Reels end it.  Si just looked up, beaming at her big sister, when she danced with M; very sweet to watch.  They competed against A and L!, and another team.  C cheered and hooted as if in an outdoor sporting arena, along with some others, every time Si danced figures (she did the same 2-hand with age-matched, G).  The judge was "appalled," at the lack of decorum (atypical of a feis). 

C talked with M about her next dance, Treble Reel (which she won 1st in again! yeah with Chitty Bang; L won 2nd; and another friend was split into the other Treble Reel group and got 3rd).   Hearing of the potential stage conflict (and fast shoe change required), C suggested that M talk with the stage manager on the Treble Reel stage, "He's a nice guy."  I already had, for M and for L, and yes, that stage manager and his friend joined with several others of us, including a musician, for a while Saturday night, so M and I knew he was a reasonable sort.  I just smiled.  C asked if her Treble Reel "counted," suggesting if M had to chose, that she stick with the figures.  Ultimately, there was no problem, and both M and L had time not only to change into their hardshoes, but change out of their school dresses into their solo dresses.

After break, were the Novice and Open Prizewinner dances (reel, then light jigs M and L weren't doing, slip jig, treble jig, and hornpipe).  Si had a couple Novice dances after break.  I missed M's reel for finishing checking out of our room argh.  A former boyfriend now friend, SO, caught me before Slip Jigs to ask for help with his pretty youngest DD's wig (ack, M and another adult and I got her wig on!)  SO's beautiful oldest no longer dances Irish step dancing; they'd been in a very competitive-oriented ID school and the young one shot up so quickly.  She's happy Si is 8 years younger than M (who is fine with adorable Si's accomplishments, proud of her).  (For the record, SO is close with both of his daughter's, sometimes taking other classes just with oldest; he isn't chosing one over the other but supportive of both, fully 50% custody and involved.)

In the larger room with four stages, we got to watch several friends dance.  SO commented on how very well M danced her Slip Jig.  Yes, she did if I say so myself:)  Gorgeous.  It earned her a 2nd place (nicely done; she DID win a 1st in her Slip Jig at that last feis YEAH, so technically "has" that dance already). 

Sh came to watch M's Treble Jig, "This is the dance M needs, right?"  Yes.  We discussed the screw up of the Team #'s for the figures (the feis accidently placed Si as dancing with L, and M as dancing with A).  I am not sure where C was.  He may have watched M's Slip Jig, but I don't recall seeing him there for that.  As far as I can tell, he was gone by M's Treble Jig, and also missed her Hornpipe.  M nailed that Hornpipe! great job, earning her (another) 1st!

M didn't know when C left.  He didn't say good-bye.  She wasn't surprised, and hadn't anticipated it. 

Sh and Si were in the awards room later (that particular group of volunteers, um, we'll just say they could use some training, NOT checking judges sheets for us for the 2-hand so that could have been resolved Sunday, and twice NOT giving M the correct award for her Treble Reel, nor really wishing to take time on either.  The rest of the feis was very well run and organized, great feis and this awards room chaos and attitude are my only minor in the scheme of things complaint, which the registrar is taking care of now after the fact so all is fine). 

We ran into LessConfirmingGirl in the vendor room, still teary-eyed.  She'd placed for the first time in 6 years, 5th place.  A high school senior, formerly a child wonder champion, she was SOOO happy.  V was in the same competition, winning 3rd!  LCGirl said they were just crying on that side of the podium.  I saw V's father, "Even your dad is smiling."  He laughed, and came over.  He's not one who typically smiles a lot when there are several hours of driving home to do, and many dollars just spent, even with the support of, and pride he has in V.  "So, was it worth it?"  Big grin now, "Yes."

SO saw us again at the end of the day, his youngest with a few Prizewinner trophies (good!), me having won the raffle of a feis bucket and other gear.  Originally, he'd helped guide us into an ID school for M, who started years after his 2 girls; I don't think he knew how close M was to preliminary championship level even while I said that I'm in no rush for M to get there.  I'd be thrilled if she gets that 1st in Treble Jig, oh yes, yet to move up?  It seems to be an entirely different ballgame.  He said he knows several who have stayed years in Prelims.  M is doing very well in Prizewinner right now.  It's okay.

I'd been introducing him to others occasionally, and pointed out L when he came over.  He had stayed with his two girls closer to the ocean beach.  I told him that there were 34 competitors from M and Si's Irish dance school (two didn't dance but entered art and baking, and some of the dancers also entered the music competitions).  We stayed in the hotel for the camaderie.  M had friends, and so did I.  Even L and M, who were in thee exact same competitions Sunday, and had been for years now, had friendship come first.

It was 28.5 hours away from thoughts of Dad and other issues.  It was a road-trip away, yet with friends.  For a bit, L, A, OHBoy, and M, hung out in our room Saturday.  A had to dance early Sunday, but with an injured foot, expectations were low.  Her mother okayed her staying up a bit longer, "This is what she'll remember 30 years from now."  Ah, yes indeed.

M had fun, "Mom, I want to do MORE feiseanna next year!"  Well, we'll see about how doable that is.  We did have fun:)

C hasn't called M to see how she ended up doing.  (He also hasn't brought her eyeglasses yet he promised her the 10th.)

She was to go over there last night, but he couldn't pick her up, and it'd be late before Sh could pick up M (Sh called Monday to switch nights).  M was happy, as she had school pictures earlier today and wanted to pick out clothes from our home instead. 

"....I only get to go to feisanna [sic] [when at my dad's house] because Si wants to.  There are over 20 pictures on their refrigerator that include Si, I counted.  There are just over 10 with me in it.  When I'm there, it's all about Si.  When I'm at my mother's, everything is around me as I'm the only one there." (M had written that in her school work journal I hadn't planned to find while checking on her schoolwork.) 

Sh hopes that M will cancel plans to go out with Md and other friends to join Si on Halloween.  C hasn't expressed nor said anything (M might feel differently if he called M and said he'd like to "do" Halloween with her).  We all love Si, really, and I can understand Si wanting M to join her and Sh encouraging that, it's fine by me.  Just that M wants her dad to care about her as much as he does about Si.  M has her friends, too; she's 13 now.  I'm letting M chose.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the one thing I wanted......

I haven't been able to focus a lot lately, as if that's new but I mean even more so.  The first thing I thought of for Dad's services, was the music. 

I remember the grand sight of the bag piper coming down and through the aisles of my church for a ceremonial event.  He was playing Amazing Grace.  How utterly awesome that can be, and that morning, it was.  I cried.  My uncle Dan had just passed, and I couldn't attend his services.  To me, this was "my" service for him, with the piper and the song.   A woman in my main ceili/set dance group called, and I asked her about finding a live piper.  She's been great, as have others there with several reaching out to us, but no live musician found.  I should have persued it.  Yet, TCRG Ma called me right away, offering condolences and a proper girls night out (which I plan to take her up on sometime when a few of us can make it, in honor of our father's, and for stress relief).  Our Irish dance school has used a particular piper a few times, and Ma told me that MegaMAID could give me that info.  Fantastic, and MegaMAID did so promptly (also been great and supportive in many ways, btw).  With SO much going on, ya think I got to contacting him?  Oy.  MegaMAID offered to for me, bless her yet again, but she hasn't heard back yet (about him or others).  Now I'm wondering, should we bother now if he can, should we not, or?

Bach.  Johann Sebastian Bach, with a bust and all there above Dad's converted player piano.  One of my cousins named Michelle (I have two with that name), told Doug that she remembers Dad playing piano with a glass of Scotch by his side.  Doug said that must have been in his more gregarious days.  Well, obviously before his mother, my Gram / Grandma, passed sending him into depression-induced depression and then several TIA's over time.  But, Bach.  Dad would play piano after we'd gone to bed at night, so nightly I'd heard Dad playing Bach on the piano, Fur Elise is one of them, but some others I have by perfect memory in my brain likely until I pass.  I personally grew up enjoying Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart better (actually considered M's middle name to be Amadeus and calling her Amy, but not a strong consideration much to her relief), and M and I have enjoyed much of Peter Tchaikovsky's works to the point that she asked me when 4 years old how to spell Tchaikovsky.  ("Mommy will look that up while I'm at work today, okay, honey?")  Sure, we'd go to shows sometimes, but mostly, I remember Dad playing the piano himself.  Dad's favorite, however, remained Bach.

And Scott Joplin.  Lively fun songs, I wish I'd seen his home when M and I were out midwest (kept driving up and down that street and saw signs but not thee house).  Dad liked ragtime and Scott Joplin.  I never mastered Scott Joplin myself, "only" some pieces by the other composers I've listed, but Dad did enjoy Scott Joplin.

And The Beatles.  And a guy whose name escapes me but I enjoyed with him.  And, yes, even John Denver (albeit he'd gotten those concert tickets for Mom and him, her not wishing to attend meant that I got the huge honor of sitting in almost front row seats for a John Denver concert with a turning stage at a young age, fyi, Country Roads was written about Clopper Road in my county as it usedto be gorgeous driving along it in the fall).  Dad once had thee entire Beatles collection (he gave that one to me eons ago, possibly in honour of Doug's passing who adored the Beatles). 

For the memorial service, however?  I figured primarily Bach.  The organist available tomorrow differs from the one who would have been available last week.  This one just arrived in from out of town last night.  "This is what I can do with late notice."  I can appreciate that.  But, sigh.  Starting off with hymns (prelude?), including one from Bach which organist believes will be appropriate, and ending after the Amazing Grace song apparently on organ and sung by all of us now, (postlude?) with various hymns.  Last night, Pastor MB, Doug, and I, okay, Doug agreed to us chosing, a traditional Celtic song whose name escapes me but I recognize when I hear it, someshwere during the overall service.  I admit, I'm disappointed.  I wanted the prelude and postlude to be pretty much all Bach.  Dag, the one thing I wanted for Dad's service.  Besides, he wasn't really into hymns.  Or, wait, Mom and Dad DID meet in some church in DC way back years ago...... he knows that hymns are part of this.  So be it.

Pastor MB just called me (interim pastor called me earlier, when I just wasn't up for talking, nice of him, though), and we rediscussed a couple things.  She mentioned that organist and her had talked and that he was agreeable to playing Bach, implying it'd be a few tunes.  Then I told her a funny thing my aunt Beth had written today.  Dad had treated Beth and himself to a trip to Madeira several years ago, I believe for Bach's special anniversay weekend / week long celebration or Beethoveen or something.  Gosh I should find it.  Anyway, my father had enjoyed the flower, Bird of Paradise.  Dad would get arrangements for their mother which the Bird of Paradise flowers occasionally.  Seems Beth's florist wasn't able to locate a florist in the town of my church who was carryinng it, but it came across that no florist in that town had heard of it.  Her florist said that our town here is apparently a small town.  ROFLMAO, yeah right.  It's one of the largest, population-wise, in all of Maryland.  Pastor MB laughed, also.  Aunt Beth grew up in Arlington as my father had, so even now she knows that town isn't small.  Beth asked me about other flower selections which sound just lovely.  Dad would appreciate it and be fine with it.  As we talked further, Pastor MB told me that we don't know who or what to expect, but it will happen, and it will all be okay.  Yanno what?  It's not everything I'd have wanted, but,

Yeah, it will be [okay]. 

And over (this part). 

Even if I was SO dreading it this morning, feeling anxious.  So much to do, prepare.  The one thing I wanted for Dad's service was for the music to be "right," as Dad loved his music.  Then I wanted a good Celtic prayer.  Pastor MB had suggested the breastplate of St. Patrick as a prayer, last week, as one idea she thought was lovely and fitting.  Chicklet had sent, via her father, the lovely one in the comment to my entry "Dad."  I couldn't find my one book (I did find Grandma's "Edge of Glory," but it isn't thee right one).  Grandma, Beth, and I loved these two books.  Border's selection didn't exactly include Celtic prayers of St. Patrick or anyone:)  lol (nor druids, btw), but hey, I was surrounded by books so it still helped me.  Beth looked through hers, sending a few lovely Celtic Prayers, including the breastplate of St. Patrick.  At last night's meeting between Doug, Pastor MB, and me (M declined, tho had the option), we went with the breastplate of St. Patrick prayer in place of the affirmation.  Yes, that sounds right. 

Dad did believe, just didn't like ot be forcefed religious beliefs (by his mother, who was, with her grand child me, able to be my spiritual mentor).  Doug, well, I could say many things as to how he's coping and not coping, like I could with msyefl even if we're at different places with our father and with his death.  I am thankful that he's there, though, and I know that some of why he was, was for him even if he won't admit it, but is also a lot for me as well. 

It breaks Beth's heart not to be here, but she will be in spirit, and sent me words to have read.  I'm really grateful that she has.  I can't bear to open them up yet.  I told her that I can trust her to write something beautifully or otherwise fitting.  She is, after all, an editor, with a good heart, who did love her brother.  Her husband, Len, is ill, remains ill with another episode this past Sunday in church, which is sadly sounding a lot like a TIA (mini-stroke).

M looked a bit panic-striken when I asked her again a couple days ago if she'd want to say something.  Basically, her memories of Dad's good days are very few.  He'd take us to the circus annually, the small one which he thought was the best (I do agree).  Then when it got to be too much, he'd send us.  We'd all go to the Independence Day parade in Palisades, which is a neighborhood in D.C.  He'd get us all t-shirts and everything.  M most remembers the tall staircases along McArthur Blvd., but not really a lot about Grandad (Dad), or even the year Beth and Len joined us, and we all celebrated at Grandma's home later (in Arlington).  She does wish to dance for Dad.  We may or may not have that at the reception.  It's how she expresses herself.  It's one thing he was proud of her for.  The Irish traditionally viewed death (and real wakes) as a celebration of life.  It's part of how my non-Irish church views death as well.  I have to talk with M more about this.

I do know Mom plans to attend.  I thank all of you for your words and prayers.  I was going to pull that post, but eh.  At that moment in time, it's what I was thinking and I needed to spew.  Mom was okay taht night, happy to see M, trying to stay off the topic of Dad's death, not big digs.  She sent a lovely note the next day, how well Doug and I are handling this, signing it "love, Mom" (as Beth says, taht's a big concession on her part, and yes, they talk and have stayed in touch all these years and are fine with each other).  Doug and I both agree that it is just fine to have Mom and Bob attend.  If Bob would not wish to, hey, that's understandable, but he IS our stepfather, and M's fondest adult male.  Mom heard from God via our prayers, or via my Guardian Angel, or via Bob, to chill out with her other own issues, I suppose.  It will be good if she can come.  And  Bob.

I don't really wish to do this.  I don't think I"ll be able to speak, even if I have various thoughts. 

A lot of paperwork stuff isn't happening well, either (could not find his Army discharge papers, but yeah, I found his belt Doug used to play with, with Dad's service # on it, and there's an online way to apply.  I received my response Monday.  Seems in 1973, there was this fire, and the records most affected with those from Army veterans, either discschargecd or deceased in the 1950's.  Lovely.  He graduated from Washington and Lee High School (Arlington, VA), then right into the Army, stationed in Alaska.  (Then, for the record, he attended George Washington University where he received at least one degree, in accounting and was a CPA in DC and MD, and once in Maine, not 100% if also in VA or not).  They're asking me for more info so they can try again to assist me.  Guess this means no flag for tomorrow.)

I'm to put together photos, also.  It's the one thing Doug wants / expects.  Great.  Except he also expects me to prepare it.  lol.  Um, okay.  I've been trying to, sort of.  (Also checking out baby photos of M, as they're needed for an upcoming Southern Region Oireachtas ad, so nicely now she doesn't know all of why I'm looking in old photos.)  Oh, and I really would like clean black lingerie.  Oy.  More laundry.  We don't know if M's black dance dress fits any more (she thinks so, I hope so), and mine likely needs ironing.  I do have Dad, also.  Very weird, very very weird to me.  Tomorrow, he'll have the flowers Beth ordered.

It will be okay.  And, I suppose hearing Dad's Bach song would likely trigger ancient memories that will trigger too many tears, so maybe this is just as well:)  This is all going so fast.  Parts of it I'd just like to have be OVER, yet somehow it feels as if it's going way too fast, too.

Actually, in my head, I AM hearing Fur Elise.    What will be, will be.:)


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

this just ain't right

I have a lot I wish to update on, all sorts of thoughts (threads), emotions, etc., about Dad, about Mom, about my precious M........ entries written in my head but who has time to get online here and write them up?  (Actually, I did add a medical update in regards to my father, at the end of my entry entitled, Dad.  It seemed to me to fit best there, all in one spot.  Dad ) 

Entries coming and going, anyway, at the moment, so who is here to tell us about it, keep us apprised of all things AOL journal-wise?  Except, aol in its infinite "wisdom," not only let go Jeff some time back, which was also ridiculous, but now, Joe?  He's personable, professional, doing a fantastic job and helping us paying subscribers (yeah, I have dialup), a community service and a human connection with their vast system.  I hate that AOL is laying off employees yet again.  But, JOE?  Why him?  UGH.  Wishing you all the best, Joe.  Actually, wishing well to all of those being laid off.

Twofer Tuesday: Missing Entries And Missing Editor

You can go here to wish him well and express your frustrations (well, hopefully limited to your frustrations in regards to having him laid off or about aol journals inadequacies, not really your own inadequacies). 

UPDATE:  Please note below in Kath's comment (#2) what Joe's personal blog is:

Dumb Things I Have Done Lately  Sounds as if Joe is going to try for the healthy attitude route:)  Being laid off sucks, been there done that and it's weird, but it does open up the possibilities.  So, hopefully, it'll go well.



Friday, October 12, 2007

I don't need her drama right now.

Mom called.  Good, we can re-confirm for tonight.  She said she wanted to check on how things are going [with all the stuff with my dad].  We talked some about it.  She'd been helpful earlier in the week, etc., which is great.  Bob (stepfather) was the first person I reached.  In the midst of my e-mails with Mom, she asked when she'd see M again.  Mind you, she skipped Grandparent's Day on Monday which she has never done (never did hear why; I did ask).  I suggested Friday.

We're done with other talking, and I mention us still coming up there tonight.  Did I just press a wind-up button?  Mom got really snippy with me, about how late we'd be up (ah, no, I'm even leaving early as soon as M's off school, but even if it was 6pm, so blasted what?), and seemingly also forgot what I told her M is doing this weekend.  She even fussed that M could bring up her new printer and that Mom would keep it until M pays for it.  M is scheduled to pay for it, part of their overall deal, but not like she's seen Mom to pay her, nor has Mom asked for it again, so meanign to pay her, sure, just what the heck (besides, I need to run to the bank first to do that, get M her money).  "Well, then, I want that old printer back."  Bob had nicely given us a computer printer some years ago, but gosh the cartridges cost something like $30. each and back then, that'd would mean no money for groceries.  I was pulling up to my place in order to check my mail, but didn't plan to go inside.  I just told her I wouldn't be back home first [to pick up the printer].  If I had that amount of time, I'd pick up the death certificates and urn.  (Somehow, I keep putting THAT off....  just a rather weird thing.  I've been doing a lot of other of Dad's affairs instead.)  I did end up going in to walk Daisy, but didn't finish any of Dad's laundry, nor wash M's bubble socks she needs for this weekend, nor figure out the old printer.  I think it still works fine, just too costly.  I've been a little too busy to deal with that right NOW.

Mom concluded with a really snotty sounding, "Well, I guess we'll see you later."  I'm so tired.  I'd love to just stay HOME.  Hang out with M.  We tried some of it last night, and I'd get yet another call (yes, I'm screening them more now, yet they all really mean well, yanno).  See one of the high school football games even which we haven't done all fall yet.  Wait, what?  "We don't have to come up."  She wants us up, well, she wants M up.  Just for longer.  Heck, I'd like more time with M, also.  If it weren't for M expecting to go up, if it weren't for M, period, I would so not bother.   I'm so tired.  If Mom starts in on something tonight, especially if just snippy and no real explanation of whatever is bugging her, I am feeling very tempted to just ask M when she wants me to come back and pick her up, that I'm leaving.

The night my father died, I stayed a while with M before she fell asleep, holding her.  I told M how proud Grandad was of her, and how he was not so perfect (he, ah, had issues), but he did love her, and me, unconditionally.  And he was proud, and he was not exactly very good at parenting or grandparenting, tho he wanted to be, and he did love unconditionally.  Dad was happy to see me even if M wasn't with me (which is not how my mother is like).  If he was unhappy, he'd just say.  I hope my mother gets over her drama before we get there.  Everyone else has been almost overboard fantastic in their support.  I'm not asking for her support, or to overlook something, but I've done nothing wrong, and we don't deserve this snippiness.

Monday, October 8, 2007


It is good to have friends. My mind is too distracted and tired to write much. My father did die today. I was not expecting it. He'd been doing really fantastic.
All of his follow-up at home health providers had discharged him due to him no longer needing them, walking up and down stairs, oh, a lot, he was capable of taking care of him self and proved that to all of us.
I worked hard for him to stay living independently. Then he I don't know, caught a cold or something. Two days after his final discharge (OT and PT, as Rn had discharged him some time back), I could tell his breathing was not right. He was also weaker, but lucid and could move individual body parts, etc.
911 came, but he declined to go to the hospital, wheezing in his left lung but no crisis, I was told that they'd only come approximately 3 times "for this." Not sure what "for this" was, this wasn't his normal.
Spent most of the weekend with him and with Daisy, taking a mental break to miss M and think of how she was doing at the feis with her dad's family.
I got Dad to relent last night to me calling a doctor today, that it likely would mean some sort of medical transport. Oh, he ate, and drank, but was weaker and wheezing more. I wanted him to get an antibiotic, and anything else looked at. We watched the Redskins play. We talked of M and her feis. He was so proud of her, two firsts and a third. He'd skip Grandparents day today (he always did, but still).
So, I found him. I miss him, HIM him. Even going to Giant set me off. A friend took me there for dinner (hey, wendy's only has baked potatos I can eat and I wasn't in the mood). I'd see things that'd I'd normally pick up for Dad to eat.
The stars are bright and clear out tonight, mostly. Dad loved the stars.
Chicklet, the other night, I was so confused what to do, what options we had now, what was needed, what was doable, what was realistic. I couldn't write in here. Too many opinions when I hadn't my own yet. I hadn't enough info yet even. So I sat outside, M sleeping inside, and Daisy and Josh were there, and I cried, and I so appreciated your prayers. Seriously.
Prayer is really based upon faith. Think about that one. I've had entire entries in my head half-composed on that topic, but just think about that sentence some. Knowing you and your prayer group were still praying for my father, Doug, and I, was supportive and I needed that, without elaborating.
Oh, I did spend time with the contractor Saturday, also. And helping Dad write a letter to Ronaldo, a boy he sponsores in Paraguay, and he chose a basketball to send the boy for Christmas. And he signed his tax returns I finally dug out of the back of my car.
Friends are good, and I've had several coming out of the woodwork in real life, and some online, too. I'm going to have Irish music, but I think Bach, also. Is Scott Joplin not quite right? Beatles? He loved the piano once upon a time. I'd listen to it while I fell to sleep at night. Maybe that's what M and I need right now.
She saw me crying here and came over for big hugs:) She's such a good kid. She's doing okay (though I saw her tearing up when Youth Pastor talked with her). I reminded her of how proud he was of her.
He didn't die in the hospital. He didn't die in a nursing home or a group home. Of course, if he hadn't refused treatment Friday, he could still be alive. It was his choice, however. His mother died when she in her late 90's fell, and never got to go back home, like they used that excuse with her but caught pneumonia in the home.
It'd have been easier to just let him be put in one, but I was going to do what I could, realistically and more, as long as he could realistically, to stay living independently. That's what he wanted.

I suppose I'll have to walk those full 187.5?? miles of the C&O Canal without him.

Update next day/Tuesday:  Thank you all for your concerns and comments.  It's possible that Dad had a heart attack.  I think I missed him by maybe an hour or 2 at thee most.  People have been good.

UPDATE (next Tuesday):  Not necessarily a heart attack.  May have been a blood vessel leaking in his brain.  Or ?  Cardiovascular, anyway.  I still miss him.

Talked more with friends in the medical field.  Sure sounding as if Dad had an aneurysm in his brain (his dad did, also, I believe).  The weird part is the huge amount of blood filling and spilling out of his mouth.  In retrospect, maybe that's part of why the police originally kicked me out of the room, immediately, and started asking me questions.  Nah, it's routine for any unattended death, to rule out foul play (which they ruled out fairly quickly, even if it's intimadating and I was hyperventilating and not understanding what / why they were doing this, a rookie who didn't know to explain to me what was going on, later they were all really quite nice, even if I did have to ask them if Dad was really dead, even if I knew.  He was cold but not stiff, etc.  They'd even take care of arrangements for me if I wanted; my county provides those apparently.  Nicely, I reached Bob (stepfather) first, as Doug was in a meeting and had his phone on vibrate right then, and my church (primarily Youth Pastor (who also talked with M) and the church secretary), and could start "arrangements."  It sucks to have to make so many important decisions so very quickly.

If Dad HAD gone to the hospital, he really had a very small percentage chance of living through this, from what I've been finding out.  I really hate that he's gone.  I wish Doug had visited him that last weekend, or I'd said, "I love you" one more time.  But, he knew I did.  (Did his soul see me kiss his forehead and tell him that, after his death, does he know that I found him?)  And, otherwise, he'd have died in a hospital.  He was really glad to have finally gotten rid of all the health care people coming in and out for him.  He was proving to all of us how independent he could be, and wanted them done with.  He wouldn't have wanted to die in a hospital.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

M's at a feis, or finishing up one

So I wait, and pray, as I have been most of the day that M does well today.  Well, really I pray that she feels good about how she does today.  (She's SO close to getting that next 1st place and moving into prelim. championships level.  I want her feeling confident.)  I've never not been to a feis when M's been in it.  Sometimes I've been to help out or watch friends when she hasn't been, ironically enough (on weekends she's been with her dad, C, and hence, until last year when Si started feising, M didn't feis if with her dad).

C and I switched weekends, and M and her half-sister, Si, are spending today dancing and feising in the city where C's oldest sister lives.  (That sister has been my favorite, even if I haven't seen her in, hmmm, a LONG time.)  Besides, he's out of town next weekend, and her being with me means she can do a few other things she'll enjoy.  Even if we're missing a great Octoberfest today we usually attend and she felt sad to miss; she's blessed to have options.  C wanted M this weekend for this feis, yet, I think it was just Sh, Si, and M traveling up there yesterday.  Just as well, as C seems to hate the feiseanna themselves, just isn't his thing.  He may have joined them later or today, I really don't know.

So, I wait to hear the scores, not sure if I'll "be allowed" to talk with M at all this weekend (even if we should be allowed open communication).  I'm hoping that someone posts them on the Irish dance message boards.  I think she's ready to redeem herself, after she and I (she says just I) screwed up her schedule for the last one we went to and she missed most of her dances.  I told her that she should go out there and show those Mid-America dancers / girls just how well she does it:)  She says she feels really good about one in a couple weeks.  She seemed happy Friday as she walked with her classmates for an advisor group game time and I dropped off her three bags of gear (one bag per dress, and a "stuff" bag), "That'd be helpful," M responded when I told her I'd also put in her dance shoes.

Some of her groups are split today, i.e., so many competitors in that particular level/age/dance, that it's split into an A and a B group (with winners for each).  Sometimes that's done by birthdate (and M's July bdate sometimes still has her in the older group), sometimes it's alphabetically or computer-generated random.  Sh didn't sign M up for treble reel, but she did sign M up for Prizewinner Light Jig, with only 1 other dancer.  I usually always did, also, until she got her first in Novice light jig, but mostly for more of a "practice" dance, warm her up.  Generally, dancers at the prizewinner level don't dance light jig competitively; it's not one of the "most get a first place in to move up" required dances.  That's fine, though, even with just M and one other competitor (which means a win wouldn't "count," anyway, as a minimum of 5 comeptitors is required).  Light jig was scheduled a bit after her reel, as reel is usually first, and M does a great reel, Daisy's Reel she and TCRG Ma created for M, so M hopefully felt good and ready to go after her reel and light jig, i.e., by her slip jig..........  Then it's on to hard shoes, with treble jig first (then hornpipe).  M somehow didn't practice slip jig at all in class this past week, but she said she did feel good about her treble jig.  Good. 

This feis also has a sibling dance, which I so enjoyed at Celtic Fling feis this summer.  It means that different siblings dance together in a figures dance, from a 2-hand (2-person), up to however many siblings.  (Some feiseanna hold family dances, or parent / child.)  Naturally, Si and M were scheduled for a 2-hand sibling dance.  It originally started just for fun, yet Si is capable of not only executing but memorizing rather complicated steps for a mere 5-year old, and it's really quite good.  They were also scheduled for either a U-13 or U-14 2-hand.

So I'm taking a break from visiting Dad and everything there, and visiting his home with the contractor, waiting for his one Rx to be refilled, and cuddles with Billy or Tinker(bell), and long walks with Daisy and Indie..... I'm so tired, I really could nap.  Yet, depending upon how this feis runs, it could be about done, or M's part done.  If so, and if C joined up which he may have, with his sister maybe also coming to watch and all, he's usually quite anxious to pack up and LEAVE.   (She wasn't registered for either traditional set nor treble reel which are usually at the end of a feis  -- the treble reel, however, being in the mid-america region, has a different unison step at the very end, which a friend showed M how to do at the recent mid-America feis, and M got 2nd place out of 32 dancers (41 registered)!!!

I did text M this morning (not even sure if her cell phone made it).  I am trying to be patient before calling her (her phone, then I'll try either Sh's or C's).  YAWN. 

I hope she's happy:)  I'm sure she's walking away with SOMETHING, just eager to share it with her.  I miss not being there.  It's okay, though; she knew I wouldn't be.  Still.  I wanna know; I wanna talk with her!  lol  (Besides, she may have found another "striking" solo dress she wants to tell me about.  She found one at the last feis that Ma says looks striking on M, and the current owners mother and I both agree.)  :)

And it's more fun than paying bills, Dads or mine.  Or laundry (his, mine, M's).  And worrying so as he's fighting some bug or something right now (he'll be alright just ugh).  Decisions, even about his house. 

UPDATE:  (Sunday)
I DID get to talk with M! which is great, even if she had a full audience there with her (C, Sh, and Si).  She didn't know I'd tried to call her, but she said she called to let me know how things had gone:)  I'm glad.
I had an update in here written last night in my yawning time.  Then I kept thinking about it, and wanted to re-write it earlier today.  Too busy a day.  Recently, I finally got to check the scores online, and M's not even listed for one dance, so something is way wrong there as in the judges scores didn't even get recorded for her (she could have even gotten first for all we know if the judges scores didn't come through).  Also, I know it's screwed up for one of her other dances (reel) I'm sure.  I can understand not doing well for wahtever reason, from not practicing enough, to different step expectations in a different region, to hunger or family whatever (not saying she was hungry or under any duress), but this is obviously incorrect......  So, full update will wait. 
I do know that M got a first in her PW light jig (as did Si. Si danced with 9 dancers total so hers counts to move her up to Prizewinner in her light jig; Si's goal was to earn Prizewinner so that she could earn the right to wear her solo dress!).  They got a first in their U13 2-hand (by a good margin of a score, too), and third in their same 2-hand in the entry for sibling dance.  M says that the boy and sister who won first in the 2-hand (by large margin!) were really good, and that he won firsts and is going to his Oireachtas (approximately U9).  So, for M, two firsts and a third are good:)
Sh didn't get M entered into M's treble jig, the dance she needed and had worked on this past week.  I don't get that (and M had an audience while talking to me, remember, so she couldn't say much about it yet I know she was really disappointed "what's the point," (M said) even if she thought overall the day was okay and somewhat fun, and I acted neutral yanno, had to, and am glad if she overall had fun). 
The other dance M needs, her slip jig, is the one she didn't have her scores recorded for, argh.  I wrote Sh recently to, basically, ask if she'd check into it or if she'd let me (as Sh registered M, or else of course I'd just do it).  This may require the feis committee to go back and examine the handwritten judges notes and pages, but, if the score didn't get recorded, it needs to be, so that it can be put in with the other scores and M can know how she placed.  Argh, but, we'll see!
In trying to call M Saturday afternoon, I also tried the hotel.  The hotel said that Sh had been the one registered (fine, whomever, Sh or C), but that they had checked out earlier that day / Saturday.  C never gave me address / # info for where they stayed Saturday night as court ordered (and I give the same to him, btw, and I believe I should).  M said they'd be staying at his oldest sister's, the one who lives in/near that city, but other than knowing her sufficiently to think she likely kept her maiden name, I don't even know her current last name nor her address/#.  Shaking my head!  I could point that out to him, but don't wish any conflict over finding out M's actual placement in the slip jig........  plus he hasn't paid for a summer camp for M he was to pay for.  As Doug said earlier today, "I don't need any more drama right now." 
M said that the feis was crowded, but the rooms were spread out well.  We talked of solo dresses we'd seen in the past (including one she considered at Celtic Fling Feis but passed on, now being worn by a dancer in her competitions).  C's sister / brother-in-law watched the girls dance their two figures dances in the a.m. (but that was all), and not sure when C joined.  I'm glad she worked some on her Monday project homework this past week, even missing Grey's Anatomy for it, and hopefully she's enjoying the weekend overall.
I'm still tired, trying not to feel wiped out, will go back to dad's momentarily (a lot of staying with him as I think he's sick, and will contact his doctor tomorrow/ Monday.  He'd been doing so great that his Rn, his occupational therapist, and his physical therapist all discharged him as not needing their care).  Ciao. 
"And, if you get a chance to sit it our or dance, I hope you dance.:)  "
UPDATE to the UPDATE (10/19/2007):   Yeah, I wrote updates twice, deleting the more upbeat one I'd written Saturday night (perhaps I should have but shrug, I did), and sorry to ahve this one (above) with such negative tones (which perhaps I should also delete, I don't know).  I was quite wiped, and I was worried about my father, and in attempting to sleep Saturday night, my excitment in "being allowed" to talk w/ M, altered into thinking through the nuances of what she was saying "between the lines" with an audience.  Then I couldn't find her scores online...... I DO think that M had fun at this feis, which is most important (she also ran into my friend, SO there and his youngest daughter who Irish stepdances).  I DO think she was quite disappointed not to be registered for her treble jig.  She said that most of the dancers were going on to another feis that next day which was within short distance.
Her slipjig score didn't even show, at all, for the feis tabulating website which was posting the results (sans comments).  It was a split competition, but neither A nor B group had her listed at ALL.  I figured out that's why she didn't see herself as placing.  I wrote Sh, asking "respectfully" if she'd check or if she'd allow me to.  It doesn't happen often, but I figured that the judges scoresheets being tabulated by the feis committee volunteers had over looked / skipped over M's score/any comments when they posted results.  (This is all done by hand, judges write on their scoresheets the competitor's #, then the score, then there's a space for comments but comments are optional.  Often quite useful, but optional.)  Sh never did respond to me.  She did, however, contact the committee, and after M's overnight with them a couple nights later, returned home with her new results page with her new score.
M got her first place in Prizewinner Slip Jig!  YEAH YEAH YEAH M :)   She doesn't know if she'll get sent her trophy or not (she should, but?).  She said she'd just use her first place award for Prizewinner light jig as her slip jig, if need be.  Now that M's score is included with the others in her competition, we can tell that she actually tied for first place.  (I would think that if it was not a tie, the previous first place winner would not have to relinquish her award, physical trophy or otherwise, at the later date, but I don't know.)  This means that not only does M have her first place in a soft shoe (reel), and a first place in a hard shoe (hornpipe), which qualified M previously for preliminary championship level, BUT, as TCRG Ma requires a first in all four ofthe main dances (so she only has treble jig left, and has gotten 2nds in that several times, and perhaps would have gotten first at this feis in treble jig, but, there are other feiseanna and Ma is just so happy and proud for M, life goes on.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007



M was less ambigious about her feelings about the new Starbuck's opening a block from our home.

I did let her get something not terribly caffeinated (homework wouldn't require that much focus and attention to require self-medicating her ADD).  Hot white chocolate.  I got an overpriced fruit and yogurt (over 3x what McD's charges next door, while admittedly a lot bigger, too, and probably fresher).  Such nice barristas, eager to welcome their new regulars to their fresh, new store, eager to help and share.

I picked up the iTunes song of the day (yesterdays was Bob Dylan, whom M didn't recall knowing but oh well).  I didn't find Paul McCartney's newest cd which this company had been sponsoring or promoting a lot this summer that I still wish to buy.

M checked out the seats in the "lounge" area, while I noticed a few sets of outlets.  She will, ultimately, find it useful to have a wifi area (ha, I have a clue what that means now!) for her laptop Grandma got her, for homework of course (lol, theoretically).  She didn't find the seats quite squishy enough.  I reminded her it JUST opened.  Ever the artist, she liked their pattern and colors.

We did NOT go this morning.  Almost out of my Oregon's Own Chai Tea mix, the calcium-fortified orange juice and veggie sausages worked just fine for our breakfast:)  

That Matchbox Twenty cd, Exile from Mainstreet, played in the background and then in my car, too.  What a fantastic cd, as if a greatest hits album (um, cd), plus 6 new songs, and their big hits are really good ones.  M and I sang, "I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell......." enroute to her school.  It was one of our very favorites some years back.  It starts off with the very powerful heart racing song, "How Far We've Come," and ends with a great song I've always loved, "Bright Lights."  Mine came with a "MVI DVD," also with lots of cool stuff we haven't looked at, all on sale (Target).

Dad normally makes his coffee (or sugar-free hot chocolate) himself but I was there earlier and he up a bit later, still having his breakfast and morning pills.  Somehow, making Dad his instant coffee this morning, black, no milk, no sugar, one teaspoon for one coffee cup size, just seemed normal.   Even if I myself don't drinkcoffee (as I don't like the taste). 

Wonder if he'd like their pumpkin scone?  Hmmm, not sure, but last night, M noted that this store has sandwiches, so they'd have a way to heat up that tempting scone I did not get.  How do these kids grow up so Starbuck's literate?  lol  (I know it's that she goes often with her father, but still.)  At least, for right now, we still enjoy SOME of the same music:)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We have a Starbuck's

We have a Starbuck's now.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing. 

I actually enjoy the alternatives out there.  Independently-owned coffee cafes have thee most charm and good options without me having to learn a fake language just to order.  (If I let little things get to me, it'd really annoy me that Starbuck's tall isn't, well, tall, and grande doesn't really mean grand which in my mind, both equate to "large."  What the heck vente is, I do NOT care to know, yanno?  Speak any language, or make sense, please don't butcher known languages.)  Okay, vent over.  Maybe that's what a vente is for hehe.  I order in small, medium, and large.  Seriously.  Thing is, I DO order, and I DO enjoy, even if it's usually not coffee but another drink (being that I don't like coffee), a bit to eat, peruse the music and gift selections, and well, M will love this......  [Update: it's "venti."  Who'd have known.]

By "we have a Starbuck's now," I mean, M and I now have a Starbuck's coffee cafe within a block from our home.  Not that we required one; there are now 13 total Starbuck's within 5 miles from my home, per their own website, with another two scheduled to open soon, 15 total within 5 miles.  Two of these are in DIRECT route from my home to my office 3 miles away, along with, direct route, a Dunkin Donuts, a Panera Bread, and a great independently-owned coffee shop I'd name but then I'd be pinpointing my location.  There are two Border's book stores with, of course, cafes, on opposite ends of my city, not too far from the two Target's with Starbuck's inside (one with two other Starbuck's in the shopping area? not within 5 miles of me, though), and perhaps some year, we'll get a Caribou Coffee, or Seattle's Best.  There's a Starbuck's on thee other side of where M's school is. 

But THIS one, will be "ours."  It's a block from us, within dog-walking distance.  Easily enroute TO M's school.  I saw the sign on the street and drove around "our" shopping center twice on separate days and couldn't find it.  Most likely, I could have simply followed the high schoolers after their dismissal from classes, but I think that'd be a bit weird. 

Today at lunch, I got my $4.08 splurge of a sandwich (I rarely eat out) at a sandwich shop.  I hadn't gotten myself anything to drink, figuring I had drinks at home so I shouldn't spend the money for one.  Then I spied it, there on the corner, taking up space that had been owned by another store still there butapparently smaller now.  I'll just drive by, I could "welcome" it to the neighborhood, get myselfa drink, splurge a bit more on this gorgeously beautiful day.  I was tempted.  Nah, let me wait until M's home, see if we get the new Matchbox Twenty cd tonight or not, maybe I'll let her get something from Starbuck's in the morning.  After walking Daisy, I still yearned for some rich tasting, caffeinated drink.  I made myself a cold chait tea latte, knowing I prefer this taste over theirs.

I've been pondering an entry about the "town" of Clarksburg, how it's grown so since I lived there (1978-80?? give or take on both ends of that), and how laughable a recent ad is for Clarksburg with two boys walking in those "farmer" jean jumpers that I'm not even sure the farmers then were wearing, never mind those too-high to be legal, town-home kids are likely to be wearing.....  how it's so built up here, how I'd be happy to still see deer SAFELY darting across the roads (not streets) with their small families.  I do mean Frederick Road (355), not even Stringtown Road where I lived that was a ROAD then, and farmland for miles just across the street.  And now we get yet another chain coffee shop this close to me (not in Clarksburg, but, to me it's analogous as thee entire upcounty has grown tremendously in these decades).   I once read an article saying that my current city had finally "arrived," as it now offered botox.  HA, I gagged on that one, preferring the pre-botox days, frankly.

And, yet, this new Starbuck's of ours?  It's not only in dog-walking distance, it's only a stone's throw from one of my banks.  This may be dangerous.