Thursday, September 22, 2005


E is out of surgery. Her surgeon is pleased with the repair. This should mean that E will be too. Jer hadn't been in to see her when he gave me the message.

Healing thoughts are heading your way, E!


As of this moment, I have about one hour left with my beloved. My beloved will be leaving me again as it happens every year.

I am a summer person. I may be the only non-child who loves summer. Every other adult just complains that summer is too hot.

Spring and Fall are too fickle. They can be hot, or cold. In the same day. I dress in long pants and turtleneck because there is frost in the air in the morning but by afternoon, I am melting because it is pushing 90.

Winter is cold and dark. My bones ache from the cold and my messed up internal thermostat causes me to shiver uncontrollably at the slightest hint of chill. The sun doesn't shine upon me for weeks on end. Winter brings tule fog and regular fog and you don't see the end of the street for 3 weeks straight. And it rains in the winter. For you non-Californians... we don't have a lick of rain in the summer. It stops raining in March or April and does start again until November, maybe late October, often not until December. Nary a drop. No umbrellas. No rain coats. And when it rains, it is cold. We don't do "warm summer rain". We only do cold winter rain.

Summer is sunny.'s hot. But my car, my house and every building I go to has air conditioning. Except for church. But that's going in right now...just in time for winter. But next too will be cool. It is not uncommon to keep a sweater in the car in the summer because the air INSIDE is so cool. In summer it stays light until 9pm or so. Kids can play outside until the street lights come on. Even tho' that's after 9pm, it's ok, because school is out. No homework. No projects. The best gatherings with friends are in the summer... outside, around the pool. The smell of meat on the BBQ is in the air every night. Summer is slower. Summer is relaxed. Summer is napping in the afternoon and still feeling like you have half a day left.

Goodbye my beloved summer. I will miss you. I look forward to seeing you next June....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Useful info for this entry: If you wish to felt wool, on purpose, you must wash it in hot water in a washing machine. The combination of hot water and agitation will cause the wool fibers to shrink and grab onto each other and become a solid piece of wool felt. All felting patterns give this instruction. Sometimes you do this with the Irish wool sweater that you love and so you give it to a toddler. Other times you do this to make a hat or purse or other item.

"I knitted that flower from the kit, but it didn't felt!"

Really? Do you have it?

"Yea, here..."

(flower and leaf are examined. Sure enough, knitted but not felted in the least.)

Is this the yarn from the kit?

"Yea. I bought it here."

Did you put it in the washing machine?

"Washing machine? NO! I put it in the microwave! Does it HAVE to go in the washing machine?"


"I have to put that little flower into the whole washing machine?"


"Well, ok then...."

Bless your heart.....

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


For several days now, I've noticed what appears to be a RUBBER shoe in the intersection by our house.

Just one.

That was weird. A flat. Ballet shoe like. Maybe a 1/2 inch heel. And it is either very smooth leather or...rubber/plastic of some sort.

Today, I found the mate. It's a mile down the road in front of the CSD building. In the middle of the road.

How does one lose one shoe in the middle of an intersection?

Then...toodle down the road and lose the other one in the middle of the road?


Monday, September 19, 2005

What The Heck...

Everyone else has a list, I might as well too....

4 Things To Do Before I Die:

1. Visit all 50 states.
2. Learn to play the piano or sax or both.
3. Be published, in print.
4. Travel to Australia.

4 Things Crossed Off the List:
1. CA, OR, WA, AK, NV, TX, UT, CO
2. Sing a solo in church.
3. Take a cruise.
4. Donate blood.

4 Things I'm Good At:
1. Finding new hobbies.
2. Procrastinating.
3. Being a mom.
4. Voicing my opinion.

4 Things That Need Improvement:
1. Housekeeping
2. Keeping up with my hobbies.
3. Not procrastinating.
4. Keeping my opinions to myself.

4 Things I Can Not Do:
1. Wink with both eyes.
2. Ride a unicycle.
3. Algebra.
4. Donate a kidney.

4 Things I Say A Lot:
1. Would you PLEASE pick up your things?
2. Hi. How can I help you?
3. WTF?
4. Where is.....?

4 Things I Loathe:
1. Brussel Sprouts.
2. The self righteous.
3. Rap/Hip Hop, especially coming from the car four cars away.
4. Housework.

4 Things That Make Me Cranky:
1. Illogical Conclusions
2. Things on the floor
3. Being late.
4. Chores not done.

4 Things That Feed My Soul:
1. Music, all kinds (except rap/hip-hop obviously)
2. IM-ing with friends.
3. Hanging out with Normy doing routine things.
4. Being creative.

4 Things That Make Me Laugh:
1. The Bobs
2. Normy
3. Jon Stewart
4. Inside Jokes

4 People/Groups of People That Enrich My Life:
1. My family
2. Elk Grove United Methodist Church
3. The Elk Grove Community
4. The Bobs - the best friends a person can hope for

4 People That Inspire Me:
1. Norm, who shows me how to love unconditionally
2. My Childrenn, who teach me daily
3. Kathy LaPoint-Collup, my pastor who shows me how too embody Christ
4. My parents, I turned out GREAT!

4 Reasons I Would Marry Norm Again:
1. He supports me in all I do.
2. He is a great Dad.
3. He makes me laugh.
4. He loves me with his whole heart.

4 Quotes That I Love:
1. "There can't be good living when there is not good drinking." - Benjamin Franklin

2. "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. "Your ignorance cramps my conversation." - Bob Hope

4. "The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content in your knowledge." - Elbert Hubbard

Friday, September 16, 2005

I. Am. Californian.

I have lived in California my entire 39 years of life. I have every intention of living in California until I draw my last breath.

As a Californian, I am often confronted by The Myth of California. One of those myths is that everyone either lives in The Haight or is a Movie Star. Sometimes folks remember that there is a REALLY big zoo just south of the Movie Stars. Once in a long while someone will remember places like Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.

California is the third largest state, square mileage-wise, largest state population-wise and would fall somewhere around 6th in the world as a nation, if we were our own nation.

And then there are those who think that 'own nation' thing is a good idea.....

What is less known about California:

We are an agriculture state. When you drive between The Haight and The Movie Stars, you drive through some of the world's richest farmland. We grow walnuts and almonds, peaches and nectarines, strawberries and artichokes, rice and cotton, lettuce and corn. Drive through the San Joaquin Valley and you'll go through a bunch of little ag towns, including Selma, the self proclaimed Raisin Capital of the World. If you eat Sun Maid raisins, you know Selma. Selma grows raisin grapes. Surrounding communities grow table grapes. Napa, Amador and Sacramento counties grow wine grapes. You know you live in grape country when developers can name a street "Flame Tokay" and everyone knows that's a kind of grape. And no one wonders why the people down at the corner have 2 acres of grapes planted; they are going to make wine obviously.

Los Angeles is frequently used to describe any place south of the Tehachipi Mountains. Natives know that Los Angeles is a vastly different place in every way from Orange County. And NO ONE calls it "The O.C.". hasn't caught on. If you want to look like a tourist, skip the black socks with shorts. Just call it "The O.C." You'll go there if you go to Disneyland. The original. The Disney Empire began in a garage in Burbank, but it took root in an orange grove in Orange County. Back then, it probably took Walt about 30 minutes to make that drive. Today? You better leave a solid hour. Once you spend some time in Southern California, you'll never confuse LA and Orange County again.

In California geography is measured not in miles, but in time. "How far is it from Burbank to Anaheim?" I don't know what the mileage is, but I can tell you that it is at least an hour. We know we're different that way, but it is much more accurate for travel planning.

San Francisco is a strange and wonderous place. It is as gritty as any city can be. But with FLAIR! And you can go see the Bison without a lot of effort, most any day. You can STAND on Ocean Beach and dip your toes in the Pacific. Stay out of the water...killer rip tides and it is COLD. You can eat crab caught an hour ago. And if you need a tie-dyed shirt... this is your town.

I live in Sacramento County. My city is just south of The City of Sacramento. It seems the eyes of the nation are on the state capital today since Arnold has announced he's going to announce he's going to run for re-election today. Sacramento is a couple hours from San Francisco, a couple of hours from Tahoe, a couple of hours from Oregon and about 6 hours from L.A. Sometime during this school year, our school district, Elk Grove Unified, will acquire more students than San Francisco and will be the second largest school district in the state (and God help us if we surpass LA Unified...). Our best air conditioner here in the Sacramento County is the Delta breezes. Unfortunately, they also bring all the smog and pollens and whatever else is in the air between San Francisco while they bring that cool air off the Bay.

California has some wonderful natural beauty. The blue of Lake Tahoe. The majesty of Yosemite. The wonder of the Sequoias. The awe of the Pacific. I grew up near the ocean. I live too far from it now. It makes me sad that my children are in awe when we go to a beach. It also makes me glad that my children are in awe when we go to a beach.

We are as freaky liberal as everyone thinks we are. We are as staunchly conservative as you can imagine too. Politically, we are Sybil. We elect executives of one party and a legislature of the other. Then we wonder why nothing ever gets done. In rural areas, we are a red state. In the cities, we are blue. Save the "city" of Orange County, although they have been electing some Democrats lately.

This state was built on hard working dreamers. They came to find gold in the hills, but stayed, worked the Earth and grew crops and livestock. They built railroads and started a whole new industry out of that new fangled moving picture camera. Throngs of people still come here to seek their dreams. Maybe it's to be one of those Movie Stars. Maybe it's just to work at any job so their children will have the chance to grow up in America.

While we ARE the land of nuts (almonds, walnuts) and fruits (apples, nectarines, peaches, strawberries....), we aren't just the fruits and nuts of the other variety. Most of us are not much different than the rest of the people in the rest of country. There's just more of us and we just have to figure out how to get along in this cornacopia of people and geography.

I once was told by someone in a midwestern state how those of us who live on the coasts look down on the "fly over" states. Trust me... that isn't the case. It's just that by the time "it" gets there, we've been dealing with it for years. We are quietly laughing at the rest of the country's consternation at high gas prices right now. We've been running about 50 cents a gallon higher than the rest of you for YEARS. We've worked it into our budgets for quite some time. Immigrants? Yea. Old news. Meth in your town? Yea, we've known it's bad news for decades. Traffic? Housing prices? Yawn....

As Californians we know that we do not live on terra firma...but rather a constantly shifting plate on the Earth. We have built to survive all but the most severe earthquake. Every day the ground moves beneath us and we don't realize it. It makes us angry when "points East" say that the country would be improved if California fell into the Pacific. (see aforementioned 6th largest world economy and ponder how losing that would affect the other 49 states) We pay our taxes to points East and get pennies on the dollar in return services. We are told that if we REALLY want the southern border protected, we should do so ourselves. But generally speaking, we are pretty laid back and we don't get too riled up over national decisions. So forgive us our bemusement when you too have to take out another mortgage to fill up your car.

Come. Visit. Stay a while. If you want to stay...we can show you how to absorb the concept of a $3000/month mortgage payment without use of a defibrillator. We'll show you where your polling place is so you too can vote in intiatives that make governing the state harder and harder (we are really really good at that). We'll make sure your ski boots and your bathing suit are always at the ready. We'll show you how to eat an artichoke and how to peel an avocado (and remove the pit). We'll throw a locally grown, ground beef burger on the grill and ask if you want a veggie burger instead. At the block party potluck, you can travel the world by walking down the buffet. We'll make sure you have your Annual Pass to Disneyland. We'll share our recommendations for books on tape/iPod for your commute. We'll invite you to church, temple, mosque and invite you over for the football game. And we won't think badly of you if you decline. We'll give your kids a great education despite what our test scores say. It's hard to educate the world's children when they all speak different languages, but we try.

All we ask in return? Don't complain about who we are. Embrace our way of life. The beauty of it is that it doesn't matter what your way of life IS, it is here. There is a place for everyone, no matter who you are.

Welcome to California.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


One of the hardest thing in the parenting job is determining if the kid is REALLY sick or just doesn't wanna go to school.

Being stuffy and sniffly always helps add to the drama.

Emma has hay fever. She is stuff and sniffly and often, coughy, a lot. If she stayed home every time she hacked up a lung, she'd never go to school.

Yesterday I was a horrible mean mom making her sorry self go to school. I'll admit that PART of that was because I had to go to work. But I figured if she STILL felt like crud, she could stay home TODAY.

Today she feels fine. Just like yesterday afternoon. Perky and skippy and happy. Uh huh... It was more "I don't want to go to school" than "I feel like crud".

Oh. And I'm itchy... says Emma.

Dang. I bet you are! Emma has a rash. It's on her torso only, save one small patch on her shoulder.

I outlined the rash last night, gave her loratadine, and sent her to bed. I think it's less in some places and bigger in other places this morning.

She's not going to school today. We have a doctor's appointment at 9:50. I suspect it is just hives. But I'm not sure what hives LOOK like. The nurse said it was like welts. Well.... maybe these are teeny tiny welts. Look more like pin pricks. If she had been rolling around on the grass, I'd say "it's a grass rash". But she wasn't. And she wasn't doing it nakey!

But I was right about yesterday. She was allergy struck, but she was able to go to school. I'm kinda afraid it's a reaction to loratadine. What do you do when you're allergic to the allergy medication?? In which case, I just gave her more of what she's allergic to....

UPDATE: Diagnosis: "Contact Dermititis" Meaning she came into contact with something she is allergic to. WHAT that is, remains a mystery. So she is soaking in an Aveeno filled bath. We have new hydrocortisone, but we can't cover her in that. It will just go on the itchiest spots. I have Benedryl to give to her before bed. She is cleared for school tomorrow....

Friday, September 09, 2005


So Kaitlyn is going to Extremz tonight.... first they go to a worship service at another church and then they go to a local small amusement park. They are to be awake all night. But that's not really relevent. The point is, she has to be at the church at 9pm.

I was going to take her.

But then Norm got home and said HE would take her cause he had to pick up a laser printer from Doug (who is an Extremz chaperone)

okey fine

Kaitlyn comes down about 5+ minutes before it's time to go.....she gets her permission slip off the fridge. I tell Norm, she's got the slip.... Okey dokey

The three of us are chatting.I say.... y'all better get going....

So Kaitlyn jumps up and Norm goes and gets his keys and wallet and such.....The TWO of them go out the door.

Seconds later Kaitlyn comes back in....

Me: What are you doing back inside?
Her: I WAS SUPPOSE to go with dad, right???
Me: Yea...why are you inside?
Her: Well, he TOTALLY just left without me.
Me: Are you sure?
Her: Yea....he drove down the street.
(at this point I'm trying to him and ask "did ya forget anything?" or just take her and meet him at the church....)
Her: BUUUUUT he's coming back.
Me: he stopping for you?
Her: Yep. BYE!

.......time passes.......

Me: Did ya forget anything?
Him: I got to the court and said "SHIT!"
Me: "Take child to church" kinda implies that one oughta TAKE the child.
Him: I was going to get the laser printer from Doug. Forgot about the "take Kaitlyn" part.

Him: Doug forgot the laser printer. I'll have to get in the morning.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I Did It To Myself

I decided I wanted to knit a special blanket.

I figured I had plenty of time.

Dang if October doesn't follow September which follows August AGAIN this year.

But in my defense, I had "October 18" as her due date. Just because that is WRONG.... should not be held against me.

Oh. Baby Shower? September 18?

Yea. Panic knitting has ensued.

I absolutely positively MUST make major progress tomorrow.

Photos when I'm done......

(update to my Katrina blog for those interested. shame on the spammer who posted a comment to it. you have been deleted and banned.)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Heavy Hearts

I have a dear friend with a heavy heart this day. It breaks my heart to know that I have contributed to that heaviness. I have not "trespassed against" her. But my troubles have come, and will come, to be her troubles. For that I am deeply sorry.

What I am not sorry for is being who I am. Simply put, if you don't want to know the answer, do not ask me the question. I am not one to blow sunshine up your ass. If you want the sun to shine there.... you need to find someone else to talk to.

I'm not Southern either. I have found they speak a different language in the south. They have a code... a way of insulting without you knowing. A way of criticizing without you seeing the knife heading your way. It works well for them. They understand the code. It doesn't work well when they speak to those of us not from the south.

For quite some time I have butted heads with someone from the south. I would make a statement... not only was I not speaking to or about her, but I wasn't even thinking about her when I spoke. Then BAM! I'm down on the mat. She is irate. How dare I? What do I know of her life? How can I possibly criticize her?? WTF???? I would go over my words.... what DID I say? I would ask others.... Damned if they knew either.

Last night another southern woman took umbruge at a simple word, spoken in sincerity. It wasn't spoken by me...but by a true Northerner. With Scicilian blood running through her veins to boot! One of my southern friends said he could see how it was taken other than intended. It was eye opening to me. I never would have taken it that way. I usually have just enough Southern in me to keep me out of truly hot water.... but I didn't see this one.

My Northern friend and I are a lot alike. We are so different in many ways, unlikely friends really. But what you see is what you get. "What is wrong?" will be answered. And no, you may not like the answer. But an answer is what you'll get.

Yes. I know I need to 'work on that'. But I'm not sure why. Why let it seethe? Why let a wound fester? I HAVE kept my tongue. I HAVE just 'let it go'. But I now see that in doing so gave approval. It let others believe that all was fine and dandy. That decision made were done so WITH my approval. Keeping silent was seen as agreement, not dissent.

There are those who do not like dissent or confrontation. They are very very uncomfortable. There are those who simply cannot understand why someone sees things differently. For most of my life, I was one of those people. Slowly I have come to accept that others see things differently. That reasonable people can disagree. I have also come to a place where I can disagree, state it and still be friends. My Scilian friend and I ARE friends. We call each other a butthead when we are being buttheads. Her definition of a "decent Democrat" to vote for is vastly different than mine. But I'd knock back a lemon drop with her any time, any day.

My best friends will tell me when I'm being an idiot, overreacting, being mean, being a butthead and that those pants make my ass look huge. Of course it stings to be told these things. But when I hear them...from them...

I know I must listen.


Today marks 17 years of this temporary, rebound relationship being made official, in a church, in the eyes of God and the State of California. We've known each other TWENTY years. Dang.... methinks we are getting old.

But that's ok. No one I'd rather get old with than my Normy!

Happy Anniversary!

Friday, September 02, 2005


Five words: "We are ok minor damage"

They came into my phone while I was out walking this morning. Kaitlyn was with me...poor kid. Her mother starts boohooing half a block from school....

Five precious text messaged words from Gulfport, Mississippi.

In today's email was information from the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working to provide needed services. Immediate "rescue" services. Intermediate "muck out and clean up" services. Long term "rebuild and reconstruct" services.

I don't think I'll be able to make the rescue effort. I'm hoping to make the "muck out" effort.

I will be talking to folks from church. Maybe we'll get a group together. Maybe I'll go by myself, but not alone... with their support and prayers. Maybe I'll go to Texas and join my friend Stacy and her church in their efforts.

I don't know HOW. I don't know WHEN. But I am healthy. I am strong. I will find a way.

In my ideal world, I would have an RV that I could fill up with bottled water and canned goods (with can openers) that I could drive into the disaster zone. I could be self contained and not be another mouth to feed, another body to hydrate, another person who needs a place to potty. I could drive out and dump waste and reload supplies and come back. But I will be content with just getting there. Even if it's just driving my little yellow beetle.........

Stay tuned for further developments.

Thank God the Appel family is safe. God be with those who are not.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Damn those tests!

Standardized tests. The bane of everyone's existance....except maybe those who sell them by the gross ton to school districts for a mighty fine price, thankyouverymuch. Ours is called "STAR". An acronym meaning something terribly relevent, I'm sure. (suggestions freely taken, btw)

Last year's results came this week. My children are very very smart. Really. According to the standardized tests, generally speaking, the blow the average kid out of the water. Sucks to be the average kid apparently. Cause my very very smart children don't always bring home very very smart grades.

Emma is 10. She is now in the 5th grade. Since the VERY beginning...back in Miss Rose's preschool... she has endeavored to demonstrate as little knowledge as possible and do the BARE ASS MINIMUM of work. Her grades are reflective of that. But damn if 4th grade didn't suck wind. Big part teacher, goodly amount Emma. As a result, Emma had to go to tutoring twice a week over the summer. She LOVED tutoring. She even went when mom overslept.... it was that cool. She LEARNED STUFF!!!!! She was so stinkin' proud of herself when she got that 1/4 and .25 were the SAME THING!!!!

Which brings us back to STAR testing.

They are broken into "math" and "writing/language". Further broken down by what specifically is being tested.

Under "Fractions/Decimals/Negative Numbers" there was a BIG long line ALL the way over the the right side of the page. Percentage correct? 100%

I showed this to Emma. I said "YOU DO TOO know fractions!" (yes, I was yelling) To which she, in her oh so clever, I am a damn genius way said, "I DO???"


And again, Child Genius can only say "ok". Not too enthusiastically either, I will have you know.

The next morning she handed me a Red Note. Girl Wonder forgot her Reading Log at home. Mind you, I signed the damn thing approximately 10 minutes before we left for school with strict instructions to "put it in your backpack RIGHT NOW".

She's smart. Scary smart. Really....she is. Not only do standardized tests show that.... (she is at least smarter than the average bear by a long shot) but she's just SMART.

Wily. Cunning.

She scares me. She is really too smart for her own good.

But thank God for standardized tests. Every year I get to remind her with an Official School Document that I KNOW she's smart and I am on to her little game.

Tomorrow I am going to duct tape her homework to her head.


I struggle with my thoughts and emotions as I watch the looting in New Orleans. One blog I read this morning called them terrorists. Maybe I should defer to their judgement.

I can sympathize, empathize...understand taking food and diapers and toilet paper. Even a case of Pepsi. Certainly bottled water.

But TV's? There is no electricity. $1000 digital cameras? I can understand shoes... and clothes. But it's one thing to take a change of clothes. It's another to take leather coats. I am quite sure no one needs a leather coat today in New Orleans.

I will send aid. I might even get on an airplane and go and lend my physical help too. I am afraid that there are those who will see the looting and say "sucks to be them" and NOT send aid. They will hear reports of police, fire, military...all coming to help... being shot at and decide they are not worthy.

More people will be dead by the time this is over than died on 9/11/01.

The cost in damaged property will be higher than after 9/11/01.

The economic impact both locally, nationally and globally will be greater than post 9/11/01.

This time we will have no one to blame. No one except ourselves. For building on coastlines. For inadequate flood protection. For poverty so great that some couldn't afford a tank of gas to get out.

This time, there will be no war to declare. No dictators to overthrow to make us feel like we are making a difference. No big guns and bombs to use to vent our anger.

This time. THIS TIME... we must look inward.

Which again, trumps 9/11/01 by a long shot.