Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle or Why I'm Afraid of My Book

"...the Uncertainty Principle says something very simple: the act of measuring something changes the result of that measurement. Heisenberg showed that simultaneously determining both the position of an electron and the speed at which it is moving is impossible. If you can measure its speed accurately, that measurement will itself make its location wildly uncertain. And vice versa."

[Note: I am currently working on a book that examines how women make decisions about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. Regardless of the ultimate choice or the reasons for their dilemma, I'm interested in the cultural, religious, familial, medical, and societal influences that go into the process of making such a difficult decision in a short period of time]

Last week I avoided my book. I'd become stuck, not with the writing, but with where to go from here. I had completed the interviews but I'm not ready to write them yet - I have to let them sit together in my head. I need the stories and feelings to soak down into the pores of my brain so that I can honor them by feeling them wick down through my fingertips onto the keyboard. That leaves the facts. The statistics. The research.

I procrastinated last week, justifying it by telling myself I needed an agent or an editor to help me decide how much hard data to include. I don't want to taint the individual stories with black and white, numbers and percentages, but I have to provide some background. I put it off because I don't know how to get an editor. Don't know if I want an agent. Don't know who I can trust with this book that has been my passion for over a decade. I can't share this with just anyone.

Two days ago I jumped in to the research anyway, reasoning that I'd fill my head with the information and sort it out as it felt right. The process gave me energy, as it has from the beginning. I'm so frightened that I won't tell the stories right, that I won't be able to accurately convey the raw honesty entrusted to me by these courageous women I interviewed. The only balm is the actual work. I just have to get messy and see what happens.

The problem with statistics and measurements is that as soon as they are touched by human hands and hearts and agendas, they are skewed. I want so much to not have an agenda, some preconcieved notion that all readers must embrace by the time they reach the last page. My hope is that these stories will illuminate the struggle, the fear, the pain, and the joy of having the freedom to make a difficult choice for one's self regardless of the decision. I am excited about this book, but afraid that I can't do it justice. So for now, I'll just keep working and try to trust that the fire burning inside of me will point the way.

Monday, May 28, 2007

One of Many

One of many Memorial Day posts on weblogs today,

One of many people saddened every day by the continuing war in Iraq,

One of many families affected by war and how it changes us all,

One of many struggling to teach my children that, although war is not the answer, it is still important to honor those who sacrifice their own safety and comfort to serve in the military.

My father is a Vietnam veteran. His experiences, while he has never spoken to anyone in our family about them, changed him profoundly and, in turn, colored the father he would become, the husband he was, and the way he looked at life forever after.

My mother was born and lived the first few years of her life not ever having met her father who was stationed in India with the British military.

In this era of news traveling nearly as fast as the speed of light, we read headlines of casualties and war atrocities on multiple continents every day. The reality of others taking up arms to defend their principles and beliefs permeates the shields I put up to protect my children from hatred and bloodshed as if they were made of cheesecloth. Now that both of my girls can read, the second they turn on the computer in the morning, they are hit with the number of dead in Iraq and the stories of brutal rapes in Darfur being used as a strategic tactic. As we sat at the kitchen table today and took a few minutes out of our morning routine to discuss Memorial Day and its origins I couldn't help but feel that my explanations were inadequate. My favorite part of our morning is the time we set aside to talk about honoring and respecting each other, learning to ground ourselves in what we know to be true and letting go of things that we cannot control. Today's lesson on honoring the legions of veterans and active military personnel who are losing their lives and killing others every day seemed to crash head-on into our usually serene, peaceful talks. Both girls were eager to choose a Memorial Day coloring page to print from the computer and as I watched them carefully select the colors they would put to the page I noticed the furrows in their brows and imagined the swirling confusion contained inside them. I can sense that they have questions they want to ask but they are having difficulty framing them and I can't say that I blame them. I'm at a loss, too.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Condiments, Anyone?

Okay, I'm feeling a bit random today, and don't have much time to write, as my husband has planned a barbecue for some friends of his from work. For those of you who don't know - S. is an obsessive weekend chef, and back before we had kids, one of the things we loved to do most together was cook.

Two years ago we got rid of the hot tub wasting space on our deck and built an outdoor kitchen, complete with a natural gas grill, a grill that can use charcoal or hardwoods, a smoker, a side burner that can accommodate a professional size wok with more BTUs than I can recall right now, and a mini-fridge. The deal was, if he was going to spend the cash to build this dream patio, he had to be willing to use it every weekend, so we added a roof with a skylight. Since then, it's pretty rare that I cook at all on Saturday or Sunday, and we entertain large groups of people about once a month so he can show off his newly acquired skills.

The only thing that makes me crazy about all of this cooking is the outrageous collection of condiments we have housed in our refrigerator. Here's the rundown:

Pesto (both basil and cilantro varieties)
Mango vinegar/oil salad dressing
Tartar sauce
Seedless raspberry jam
Habanero raspberry jam
Maraschino cherries
Lite mayonnaise
Mustard (honey mustard, regular French's mustard, stone ground mustard, dijon mustard)
Peanut satay sauce base
Cajun hot sauce
Adams Natural Peanut Butter (no, my kids won't touch it - they prefer the stuff that doesn't have to be refrigerated)
honey mustard salad dressing
roasted red peppers
chipotle peppers
spicy sesame oil
Sriracha hot chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Soy vey Teriyaki sauce
Tamari sauce
S. homemade barbecue sauce
"Bone Suckin'" barbecue sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Oyster sauce
Fish sauce
Blue cheese salad dressing
Dulce de leche imported from Argentina

Don't get me started on the pantry! I'm not complaining, though. That outdoor kitchen has served me well.

What's in your fridge?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tying Up Some Loose Ends

I realize that many of my posts contain contemplative questions and musings and not much resolution. Sorry 'bout that. Because I have time and am currently avoiding working on my book, I figured I'd post an update on many of the things I've blogged about over the past months. So, in no particular order, here goes:

  • My father is recovering nicely from his surgery for lung cancer. He was surprised by the amount of pain and the subsequent lack of mobility, but has crested the hill and is beginning to coast down the other side. He starts chemotherapy in June and we're hoping that by Christmas this will all be a crappy memory. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

  • My husband is feeling fairly good and is able to work his normal hours, but is under strict orders NOT to travel anywhere farther away than California (those orders were given by me, not his physician, by the way) until after he has his second surgery. He's not inclined to do that anytime soon, but is aware that should he have a relapse, I take over the decision making and the surgery will happen. We are all able to relax a bit and are hoping we can get through the summer without any difficulties.

  • My grandfather continues to defy the odds and is slowly plugging along, not undergoing any more treatment for his bone cancer since he said plainly, "it sucked", and living on pain medication and the kindness of friends who come pick him up and drive him around the golf course with them in the cart once a week. Lovely!

  • We put the dog on doggie Prozac for exactly three days, at which time I was so dismayed that we had turned him into a fluffy dog-skin rug with no personality or energy that I decided to pull the plug on that. He now happily rides most everywhere with me in the car when I'm gone and the two crates he destroyed have been banished to the garage, never to be used again. We are all much happier and, so far, he has refrained from trying to escape from the car when he's left there occasionally. Cross your fingers that this continues!

  • I had a terrific Mother's Day and was able to dig the hole for my doggie septic tank that afternoon (no help from hubby, I'm afraid - he still thinks I'm nuts). It works beautifully and, despite the fact that he has 2+ acres of places to poop, my faithful companion (the furry one) has begun doing his business within mere feet of the device, making it much easier to clean it up when he's done. Do you suppose it would be tacky to get one of these for my dad on Father's Day? Probably.

  • We have yet to visit the "food pyramid" that my youngest so desperately wants to see, but we've sampled its wares (especially the chocolate) many times, so I'm hoping she'll settle for a trip to the beach this summer instead.


  • My youngest has informed us that she no longer wears "undies". We are now to refer to them as "toot-catchers". Charmer!

  • In that vein, if you have a slightly twisted sense of humor and enjoyed such movies as "The Full Monty" and "Shaun of the Dead", I HIGHLY encourage you to check out "Hot Fuzz". It is in theaters now. My husband and I saw it this weekend and I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself. You know it's tickled you when you repeat lines from the movie in the car all the way home and get yourself into one of those fits of laughter that is indistinguishable from crying.

  • Also on my list of recommendations is a book called "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See and an awesome light (perhaps bathroom-reader) book "101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindogu"by Kenji Kawakami, complete with photographs. If you don't crack up, you're taking too much doggie Prozac!

And that, my friends, is all the news that is fit to blog from my world today. Hope you're all enjoying some Spring (or Fall, in the case of my South American compadres) friends and can feel my warm thoughts heading your way. Love!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hating the In-Between

Are there systems set up to help those of us who are in the beginning stages of a crisis? We have emergency rooms for full-blown crises, and Monday-thru-Friday help for maintenance or prevention, but what happens when you know you're on a path to trouble and it's Saturday evening? You're not critical enough to go to the ER, but if you don't get some help in the next 24 hours, you will be. What happens in that next 24 hours? Waiting. For most of us, that kind of waiting is terrifying. For those of us who can hear that train whistle and feel the vibrations on the tracks, but know we have no way to contact the conductor, we are stuck waiting for the train. You can't un-ring that bell, even if the sound waves haven't reached you yet.

Now imagine this scenario when you aren't the one in crisis, but you are in charge of caring for someone you can see sitting on the tracks. They can't (or won't) hear the warning sounds and have decided to park it there and have a nice leisurely picnic lunch despite your pleas. The trouble with mental illness is that it tricks us into believing that our reality is the ultimate reality. People who suffer from depression can only see through sh*t-colored glasses. Others who start hearing voices inside their heads can't be convinced they're not real.

The fear that comes from being in this position - the 'sane' one, the Chicken Little frantically squawking that the sky really is falling - is self-perpetuating. You are sitting on a brick wall with a two-ton piano dangling over your head. Eventually the dental floss holding it up will fail and the piano will fall - you know that, but you can't move and you can't control its descent. Your loved one will crash and burn and the shock waves will envelop you and anyone else in the vicinity, but you can't stop it. You are in-between. The awful certainty that things will fall apart, and the dreadful inability to predict or prevent the first domino from tipping causes a time warp. You are stuck. Impotent. A spectator unless you choose to turn your back on this person you care for and want to help.

I don't know about your community, but in mine there are no services for the in-betweens. Especially on the weekends. Therapist appointments can be scheduled for the following week, a crisis line can be called, but unless there's a threat of suicide or imminent harm to others, you can wait at home or go to the ER (and wait some more). Worse, if you're uninsured but in a financial position to pay for some services (meaning you have some assets, even if they're not liquid), you don't qualify for most of the help provided by your county or state. At this point, you've got to feel lucky if you have a network of friends and family that can support you while you are supporting the other person until things completely fall apart. It sucks being able to hear that train a-coming and knowing you can't do a damn thing about it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Have I got a book for you! I just finished reading this terrific story about a man with Tourette's Syndrome who is trying to solve a mystery involving the death of his employer/friend. I can't say how authentically the author portrays Tourette's in the novel since I haven't had much exposure to people who suffer from this disorder, but it was a fantastic journey he took me on. The characters were three-dimensional and engaging and the story was fun to lose myself in for a few days. I highly recommend it and want to hear from anyone who reads it and can tell me how authentic the portrait of a Tourette's sufferer was.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My, how much you've grown!

'Okay, I've got 25 minutes to make my way through Home Depot, pay, and get to the coffee shop.' No problem, right? All I need is a few light bulbs, something to remove the Barbie sticker from the passenger door of the car (grrr!), and some bird seed. 'Do not veer off course - do not make your way through the aisles that showcase the gleaming new kitchen faucets. There is nothing to be gained by picking up flats of showy annuals that will only wilt in the car while you're having coffee. Forget the new throw rugs. Just light bulbs, birdseed and the cleaner.'

Made it through with a few minor path adjustments. I love to walk down by the tractors and sit in the vinyl seat of a shiny new green and gold John Deere lawn mower. Something about that makes me feel strong and powerful. Hmm, it's a little like an aphrodesiac. Is that wrong?

'Okay, shake it off. Head for the checkout counter and pay. Stephanie's going to be waiting for you at the cafe. Move it, girl!'

The pleasant smile of the orange-aproned woman completes my sunny disposition. She is happy to be here today, among the scruffy construction guys and elderly ladies picking up bags of potting soil too heavy for their bingo arms. I love this place, too. So many possibilities. At least until I open my wallet to pay and realize I forgot to put my debit and credit cards back in. I have no money. All of a sudden I feel stupid. I have no money. No way to pay for these things I've chosen this morning. And I have no time to fix it because I'm due somewhere else right now.

I apologize, awkward as a 10-year old boy at a school dance. I have screwed up and I'm so embarrassed. I put aside the cart, grateful for the checker's reassurances that this is not so unusual, and promise to return later today. Ugh.

On the walk across the sunny parking lot it hits me that I can't pay for my coffee date this morning, either. A year ago I would have been reduced to tears by this situation. I would have been so mortified at my own irresponsibility that hot, shameful sobs would have erupted from my chest as I sat behind the wheel of my car. Not today. Stephanie will understand. We can laugh about it together and I'll offer to pay next time. I'll roll my eyes at how this could have happened and we will have a pleasant visit anyway.

I am astonished at how difficult it was for me to overcome the obstacles that stood between me and others. I was completely unable to trust my friends and family to accept me as something other than perfect and competent and always prepared. It took a lot of hard work and practice asking for and accepting help from others to get me here, but I like it. I like that I don't spend time berating myself for being 'stupid' and 'thoughtless' when, truthfully, I've only made a mistake. I've only allowed myself to be human, and showed that side to others that care for me. What a frightening exercise that is, but the rewards are beyond my ability to express. Instead of spending the entire coffee date full of anxiety and self-loathing, I was able to genuinely engage with a friend and have a truly relaxed experience. Hallelujah!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Hits Just Keep on Comin'

I have reached a new stage in parenthood, and (mostly) I like it. No diapers, no bottles or sippy cups, no baby food. Getting ready to leave the house in the morning requires much less stuff and more action. Reminders for hair and teeth brushing, checking whether attire is appropriate, making lunch (hate this task), making sure the pets are fed...

Dropping the girls off at school has also changed drastically from last year. Then, I dreaded the sight of my youngest's school, knowing that she would cling to my leg and sob as though I would never return. Her teachers assured me that she shook off her sadness within minutes after I left and spent the next three hours engrossed in all that was surrounding her, but it was torturous to hear her panicky cries and feel her warm little arms encircling my thigh. Every time I left her there in the first two months of the school year I returned to my van, drove around the corner out of sight and parked along the side of the street to cry. In those moments I had abandoned her and she didn't understand why. I chastised myself for forcing her to be without me and wondered whether the message she was receiving from me was that I didn't want to be with her. God, I hoped not.

This year, she skips into her classroom eager to see her friends and greet her teachers with a squeeze. Her face is lit up with a smile nobody can resist returning and, although I get five or six hugs and walk out the door to, "I love you, Mommy! I'll see you at lunch!" repeated until she can no longer see me. It is such a relief to have been cut loose from the guilt and worry. I know that soon enough she will follow in her sister's shadow and prefer to spend time with her friends far more than me, and I know that I'll look back and long for the separation anxiety. Or maybe I'll be busy with something else. For example, something that looks like this...

or this...

Yeah, seems my trip to my dad's house sent a message to the dog he wasn't too excited about. I came home to a dog who is hell-bent on proving he is the poster pet for LOYALTY. He follows me around the house all day long. He has chewed through two crates in two weeks, one heavy plastic and one metal, apparently to let me know that he doesn't like it when I leave without him. He has lost 10 pounds, shredded his gums on the weld spots of the new crate, and has taken to sneaking upstairs at night and sleeping in the doorway of my bedroom. My husband is getting a little creeped out and worries that next, the dog will smother him in his sleep and claim his side of the bed in order to prove his devotion.

The vet calls it separation anxiety and claims it is not terribly unusual. He outlined some possible treatment options: seeing an animal behaviorist (him, I assume, not me), specialized obedience training, doggie Prozac. You know, I'm nostalgic for the days of sitting behind the wheel of my car around the corner from the preschool crying into my hands and knowing that my daughter would eventually get through this phase. My insurance won't cover a prescription for doggie anti-anxiety pills and I'm not sure I can reason with him very effectively. My oldest daughter suggested getting him a puppy so he won't be lonely. Yeah, that's what I need, another 'kid'.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My Love-Pain Relationship

I have a twisted relationship with a massage therapist. He brutalizes me, I suffer through it, and at the end of a half hour, I shower praise on him as if he were the second coming of chocolate.

I lie on my back, flannel sheet on top of me, heated mattress beneath. I can hear the squelch-squelch of the lotion he’s mixing with his hands and when the massage begins, it is heaven. Light pressure moving down from the base of my skull along the side of my neck and slowly making the curve to my shoulders. My grandmother kneading dough for pierogies, warming it up with the soft touch of her hands, smoothing every surface, stretching the elastic dough slowly and gently.

He finds a ridge, a cord of muscle fibers that have braided themselves together. A reservoir of stress. His fingertips press themselves into the cord, separating the strands of muscle tissue, vibrating deeper and deeper. The muscles tense up and push back, defensively. His fingers slip off the cord and into the soft tissue next to it. Try again. Find that length of tightness. This time I remember to breathe. A deep breath in with my diaphragm moves oxygen into the muscle. I picture the fibers loosening and opening up. Parting in spite of the pain. This is so counterintuitive – I want to tell him to ease up, but I know I will feel so much better 30 minutes from now if I don’t. The bruises show up when I indulge my instinct to fight back and tense against his push. Ahhh, I can feel the tissue soften under his hands, like butter suddenly coming to room temperature.

On my stomach, my face pressed against the cradle he has placed there. He finds the area between my spine and my shoulder blade and moves his fingers as if he’s playing the piano, searching for the tightness he knows is there. Bingo, a spark of red pain lights its way down my arm. Again, I forget to breathe and let my body do its best to protect the painful spots. The masseuse places his elbow into the gravelly tissue and begins to pulse slowly, pushing at the muscles and pumping blood into them. I focus on deep breaths in and out, visualizing rich red blood making its way through the traffic jam of vessels knotted there. Open up. Let it in.

I hear him grunt when he hits a particularly dense spot. This is hard work. I imagine him walking me to the door and saying, “Man, you have the tightest/worst/most messed up muscles I’ve ever seen!” I want to believe that I have a higher tolerance for pain than most and he ends up with sore hands and elbows after my appointments. I’m not sure why that’s important, but it is. I keep waiting for him to comment on my deep breathing and how I never ask him to let up or take it easy.

All of a sudden, my 30 minutes are over. He hasn’t praised me and doesn’t seem astonished at my horribly tight muscles. He’s smiling and saying he hopes he’s helped some.

“You are a rock star!” I reply. “I always feel so much better after I’ve been here.”

He blushes and smiles, sincerely appreciative of my compliment. Nothing about how tough I am. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I know I’ve done some hard work. I know I resisted the impulse to fight the pain, instead opening up and breathing through it and I know it will do me good. I can’t wait until next week.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Not the Best Way to Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbors

This particular day was a hot, sunny Monday evening in July. Our new house had been on the market for a while and by the time we moved in, the yard was desperate for water. We had fallen in love with the backyard, a lush, sloping landscape full of cedar and maple trees, pretty beds surrounding grassy lawn that we could envision lying under the stars in. Ahhh.

Wait, shatter that nice little fantasy right here. At this point it just looked like old straw lying on the floor of a barn. I knew I was going to be out of town for most of the week so I decided to give it a good soaking before I left. Without changing out of my silk blouse and skirt I hooked up the hose and searched through boxes to find a sprinkler that would do. What I came up with was one of those adjustable ones that you can set to do an entire circle or particular parts of it. You know, those ones with the evil stake you jam into the ground and it ch-ch-ch-ch goes its way around the portion you set it to do and then abruptly stops and chchchchchchc really fast back to the beginning? I hate them. Always have. I don't consider myself to be a moron, but there are two things I have yet to master in my life: these kind of sprinklers and tying a knot in a balloon. Give me a calculus equation or a brain teaser and there's a reasonably good chance I can figure out a solution. Not so with either of these other things. They are my arch enemy. The Road Runner to my Wile E. Coyote.

Anyway, I decided to start at the upper part of the lawn, on the top of the slope by the back fence. Just over the fence, separated from the lawn by several large trees and some Oregon Grape, was a nice community of mobile homes. I shook off my frustration at having to deal with this kind of sprinkler and told myself I was grown up enough to have bought my own home, I ought to be able to figure out where the sprinkler was going to spray. I dragged the hose to the perfect spot, screwed on the sprinkler and fiddled with the little plastic things in an attempt to set it in a half circle that would water just the lawn and skip the beds and fence behind. The next three minutes or so were spent trying to push the damn thing far enough into the ground to make it stand up - crappy hard soil!

Having accomplished that (still in my silk blouse and skirt) I swiped my hands together to rid them of most of the crud and ran down the hill toward the house to turn the water on. I cranked it on full blast, hoping to water as much grass as I could in the little time I had and ran back up the slope just in time to see the full force of the spray shoot over the fence and into the open window of my neighbor's bedroom.

"WHAT THE F**K?" was that a water buffalo? A huge bellow came across the fence.

I dropped to my belly. I knew he couldn't see me lying on the grass face down over the fence and through the trees. Slowly I reached out and crimped the hose as hard as I could to stop the flow of water and a minute later, I heard the window SLAM shut.

I later found out that he was a police officer who worked nights. The stream of water couldn't have been placed more perfectly. It soaked him as he lay on his bed sleeping off the strain of a difficult shift.

I never did meet that particular neighbor. Nor did I show my face at certain times of the day in our new backyard. I did learn to change my clothes before I go out to water the lawn, and the sprinkler? KO'd. Another trip to Home Depot the following day took care of that. I still hate those kind of sprinklers, but now I have a more legitimate reason, don'cha think?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Why Do These Things Always Happen When My Husband is Out of Town?

The day after moving into our first home S left for a week-long business trip to San Diego (poor baby). I was left with a house full of boxes and my sister's wedding to attend in Oregon that weekend. A new washer and dryer had been delivered but not hooked up, S. explained to me on his way to the airport (I was at work). The delivery men had shown up without enough venting pipe, so could I just get some at Home Depot on my way home? Sure. Sounded easy enough. A refrigerator had also come so I stopped at the grocery store as well. Staggering in, plastic handles of the bags digging into my flesh and pulling my shoulders from their sockets, I hooked the heel of my shoe around the handle of the refrigerator door and tugged it open. I then spent the next 35 minutes removing strapping tape from the shelves and fitting them into place before I could put the food away. Nice.

Too tired to cook after this, I decided to start a load of laundry so I could pack for the wedding festivities. Unfortunately, I discovered that the portion of vent they had hooked up extended from the back of the dryer to some undetermined no-man's land under the house. This 30 year old house. Not one to shirk my duties, I prepared to crawl under the house and hook it up and be done with it. What I hadn't expected were the nests of wood spiders that had colonized this particular patch of earth and weren't afraid of me. I did manage to hook it up, flashlight in my teeth, cobwebs in every other orifice and hyperventilating but determined not to pass out in there. Believe me, S. has never been allowed to forget this!

Next time I'll tell you about watering the neighbor. Yeah, the neighbor. Same night. Same business trip.

Friday, May 04, 2007

New Places to Explore

My youngest daughter began reading this week. I am so excited for her! I remember how my oldest child struggled with her perfectionism butting up against the quirks of the English language, trying desperately to learn to read without anyone else watching lest she make a mistake and embarrass herself. Poor dear.

My youngest, on the other hand, never let on that she was even the slightest bit interested in learning to read to herself. Her big sister, father and I are more than happy to entertain her on the couch with a stack of Dr. Seuss - why would she need to do it herself? Needless to say, I nearly fell off my chair when the two of us were flipping through the pages of a book of knock-knock jokes and she read the punch line before I could. Her round little cheeks could barely contain the grin she gave me as she confessed that she learned to read at school last week. Huh?

Today, we went to the zoo and she astonished us all by reading every sign on every exhibit we went to, wearing her pride like a velvet cape swishing around her legs. I know exactly how she feels. An entire new world has been opened to her. It's as if she has been inside the closet tapping at the door to enter Narnia and finally found the right combination of moves that swung the door open wide. She is devouring everything that comes her way, looking at it all in a new way. Breakfast is no longer just something to eat. She shushes us all insistently and sounds out the words on the back of the cereal box. She can navigate her way around her favorite computer games without asking for help deciphering the buttons. It is as if someone flipped a switch and all the letters that used to be just marks taking up space mean something. What a thrill!

Congratulations, little one!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Top 10 Reasons to Attend A Jennifer Lauck Workshop

(in no particular order - I'm not David Letterman, here)

1. A long weekend away from home and all the responsibilities it entails.
2. You will make new friends - lifelong ones, I promise. Even if you don't want to, these women will attach themselves to you and love you against your will.
3. If you ever wanted to start a blog, there will be some not-so-gentle encouragement and lots of technical and moral support.
4. You will go places you never imagined.
5. Guarantee you'll laugh at least 10 times a day.
6. Mornings always sport lots of coffee (thanks to Carrie) and yummy food.
7. There is always chocolate on hand. Plenty of chocolate.
8. Your writing will be supported and cherished and honed by a fantastic group of people who have nothing but your well-being in mind.
9. You will grow, both as a person and a writer.
10. Why not? You know you want to....

Jennifer Lauck's blog with information about the workshops

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"What We Have Here is Failure to Communicate"

"Mom, someday can we go see the pyramid?" my four-year-old asked from her car seat on the way home from school.

"Well, maybe. It's pretty far away, but I'd love to see them." What prompted this? Were they studying Egypt at school?

"It's not very far away. Julia said she's seen it before."

"There are a bunch of them, sweetie. I'll show you on the map when we get home where they are, okay? It's a pretty long plane ride to get there.

"No, there's only one. Miss K taught us about it at school today."

"Hmmm, maybe we're not talking about the same thing. Does your pyramid have a name?" I'm searching my brain's files to recall a stand-alone pyramid that they might be talking about at preschool.

"Yup, it's the food pyramid. I really want to go see it for real."

Yeah, me too. That's one pyramid I'm excited to get to the top of...
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