Monday, December 22, 2008

The Very Hungry Caterpiller, by Willon

He says, "On Saturday, quoquit cake, eye kweem cone, pickle, slice-a cheese, 'lami, lo'lamipop, churry pie, one shawshidge, one cupcape, one watermelon, kumickache, kumickache - oooh, oooh (full tummy noises)."

Loose tooth

Rhetta is about to lose a top front tooth. She is wiggling it relentlessly with her tongue. All morning she's come to me and asked me to pull on it. It is almost ready but is being stubborn, just like her! I pulled until it made a cracking noise and she said it hurt. Then I smelled blood and got a little oogy. She was acting all goofy, though, so I took out the camera and we shot this video:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My new blog, in addition to this one

Linked right over there ---------------------------------------------------------------------> called Sidetracks.

Rhetta doesn't call me Momma anymore

She calls us Corey and Rob now. I sincerely hope it isn't permanant. Most things in life aren't but with Rhetta you never know.

She has imaginary friends and sometimes goes by different names. When she is upset she'll jump up, say "Buzz will be right back!" and run off fussing to a remote part of the house. She'll take a few minutes to calm down, then come back, "Buzz is back!" and she'll seem like she got it out of her system.

Sometimes she'll call me Corey and I'll respond and call her Daughter. Her reaction is a very terse no. She'll repeat herself then as if to emphasize the first name theme, as in, get a clue and call me Rhetta because I am calling you Corey and that's just that.

It's a fun age, 5, almost 6 now. She has decided on some very concrete rolls for the people in her life and is not accepting that we can have more than the role she has assigned to us. I do momma things and her teacher does teacher things and never the twain shall meet. I am sneaky though. I am disquising teacher things in and amongst my momma things and she is learning despite herself. Daddy does daddy things and she seems fine with those. Then again she is taking on some of those momma and daddy roles herself further confusing her own role as big sister.

We're working on it. Just like everything else. Still, I miss being called Momma

Friday, November 21, 2008

Proud Bookworm

C & P'd directly from Bohemia-Anna where I was tagged at my request. Thanks Anna!

Here is the rule for the award:Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences...The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!!

I am staring at hundreds of books in front of me so I am going to close my eyes and pick one at random...

"...hypothetical injections i am
going to have dinner off a
man eating tiger if a vacuum gets
me i will try and send you word
before the worse comes to
the worst some people i told him inhabit
a vacuum all their lives and
never know it then he said it don t
hurt them any no i said i dont but it
hurts people who have to associate
with them and with these words
we parted each feeling
superior to the other and is that
feeling after all one of the great
desiderata of social intercourse


~ An excerpt from the merry flea within the lives and times of archy & mehitabel by Don Marquis, as written.

It takes a bit of stretching the mind, I think, to truly enjoy this kind of humor but I recommend it nonetheless.

Okay, I have no one really to tag so I guess it stops here for now unless those of you who read this want to do it twice. Let me know!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sunset from my Back Stoop

Thanks to the fires in California we get to enjoy some remarkable sunsets. Ours are visible from the back stoop only after the leaves have fallen from the trees on our neighbor's property along the river. Just another one of my favorite things (the view not the fires.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

When I'm Down I Get More Done

Keeping busy is a sure fire way to completely ignore the fact I'm feeling down. Put something in my hands, especially something that needs to be altered or repaired, and the blues are pushed far back into the shadows. This afternoon I have cut out a pattern for the kids' new winter hat/scarf/mitten sets, sewn up the legs of a snap-up pair of pants because they fit a boy who refuses to stay snapped, contributed to the wood pile by getting rid of a wood-be (ha ha) project dresser that should never have asked to be resurrected (I mean, restored), set up some recycling drums and made nifty laminated signs that read "paper", "plastic", "metal", "aluminum", "glass", "cardboard", and "compost" for my own zero trash project (not really going to happen while I'm using paper diapers but we're working on that, too), unwired my tree-tree (an 18" holiday tree meant for miniature ornaments shaped only like trees) and gave it a bath, finished four new reusable shopping bags made from an old drape, made not one, not two, but three lists of crap I have to get done tomorrow between the hours of 8am and 9am, and totally forgot to go grocery shopping, oops.

I'm feeling blue

So here are some blue images that reflect my mood...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My vote counted!

My cousin Lisa

You might say we're related.

Halloween 2008

Both kids had a blast this year!

Running to get to the candy LOL!

Trick or treating on Main Street Delta.

Helping carve a pumpkin (always ready to help)

Growling at the camera AND touching the pumpkin seeds (a sensory hurdle cleared - woo!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

I am so excited

This is the first election I've paid very much attention to. I admit, I paid somewhat close attention in 2000, the year Dan Rather lost his mind, mainly because he was too freakin' funny. This time I am so full of anticipation I am a nervous wreck. I really shouldn't even drive. I'm surprised my hair isn't falling out. I have been distracting myself with teen fiction. Unfortunately it turned out to be rather lame, in my opinion - too much murmuring, not enough substance - and it was not sufficient enough to distract me.

So go vote if you have not already. I'm not sure how I will survive without constant election coverage tomorrow. It'll be the one day this last 8 years I wish I had TV reception.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Hope, Dixie Chicks

(I hope) For more love, more joy, and laughter
(I hope) We'll have more than we'll ever need
(I hope) We'll have more happy ever afters
(I hope) We can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Those Were the Days

I was just thinking the other day that because my life has changed so much that I don't find money anymore. I used to live in the city and would find spare change everywhere; the drive-up, outside the bar, in the parking lot. Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck. Give it to a special friend, and your luck will never end. One time I found a ten dollar bill while walking barefoot in front of a flea market booth. I felt something smooth under the dirt of the parking lot we were set up in, bent over and found cash. One time a friend of mine found a five in the pocket of some jeans she was trying on at a used clothing store. She proceeded to check every jean on the rack but found nothing more. I just stood and watched her. I was trying on leather jackets. While I was laughing at her I stuck my hand in the pockets of the jacket I had on and pulled out a twenty. Man, was she jealous. I used to go to a lot of concerts and the parking lot was always a good source for ground scores, including money. When I was desparate I could go through all my coat pockets in my closet and probably come up with enough for a six-pack. I used to do the same thing looking for weed I forgot about. Not only do I not find myself in those situations anymore but times have been so hard there is no spare money. We count our pennies and use them as needed. We long since used everything in the spare change jar and the kids' piggy banks have IOUs in them. I fantasize about finding a tight roll of 100s on the path by the river. I'd turn them in and no one would claim them. After 30 days they'd be mine. I always keep my eyes peeled even though I know my chances are much slimmer now. Slimmer because I don't find myself at concerts very often and slimmer because people are more careful with their money, that is, the people in my quiet community are more careful with their money. I know I am more careful than I used to be. Maybe if I hung out on campus I'd find more? Even my seldom trips to the mall yield nothing. So it was extra special this morning when I put on my coat to go outside and found a ten dollar bill in the pocket. I hadn't worn the jacket since, oh, April. What a cool surprise. Ironic even, since I had just been lamenting the old days of finding money. That said, I sure miss the days when you could wake up in the morning and find a brand new hybrid in your driveway with your name on the title.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shades of Orange

Orange is rapidly becoming my favorite color. I don't think it's because fall is setting in and I don't think it's because of all the pumpkins. I have always looked to colors to help make me happy. Now I am realizing that orange doesn't necessarily make me happy but it makes me feel... warm. I feel warm, like fire, and peaceful and comfortable. I can almost smell the color orange and it doesn't smell like oranges. It sort of smells like compost but more like cupcakes. Here are some images in orange I thought I'd share. How do they make you feel?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Circleville (OH) Pumpkin Show

Circleville Pumpkin Show

A very good friend of mine lives just down the road from here. I am going to visit her at this time of year so we can go to the show. I personally can't wait!

Hillary Clinton said...

"Anyone who believes that the Republicans, whoever they are, can fix the mess they've created, probably believes that the iceberg could have saved the Titanic."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Or as Willon would say, "baby pumkeens!".

Rhetta did an awesome job on her own again this year. I adore the pumpkin she picked out and she did so well carving it herself. It was a one-on-one project with Daddy. They played some jack-o-lantern games online. They practiced drawing different face ideas on paper. Then they carved the pumpkin. (I did the one with the spider web.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Books we have! Billions of books. They LOVE books, thank goodness.

Rhetta reads all kinds of books. She enjoys all the Caldecot Award ones from the library and the classics that survived my childhood literally and figuratively. She's even starting to read some science-type stuff.

Willon asks us to read to him all the time. I think it's fantastic and I am so proud my kids love books. The ones he wants however are always Cars (Li' Tween, Yah-yee, Doc and May-moo), Thomas (Boo train), Elmo (Mahmo) and, hmm, nope, that's all. Just those three. He has them memorized - like 10 books.

One book remains a favorite with both my kids, though. I Like it When... by Mary Murphy. I have had to repair that book so many times it is indestructable now. They love it and it's our No. 1 bedtime book. Rob and I happen to love it, too.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Day I want to Savor

"For a single day everything turned in perfect synchronicity, and for the first time since I could remember I felt a kind of tranquility, a peace with myself and with the world, a feeling that, if I chose, I could make this perfect day last forever."

~ Johanne Harris, Five Quarters of an Orange

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Our neighbor has new kittens. I borrowed one for a short time last night. Rhetta is quite afraid of anything furry besides her dad. She was coaxed into touching it's fur a couple of times. Willon was really into the little thing (which was scared to death, BTW) and was a little too rough. He was not happy when the kitten had to be taken home.

Monday, September 29, 2008

South Rim

I didn't take a whole lot of pictures. The wind had kicked up to a fierce, and cold, gale. Rhetta wouldn't get out of the car. Willon wouldn't stop heading to the edge. But the Black Canyon of the Gunnison was still a wonderful sight. You wouldn't really guess there's a huge gaping maw between our green valley and the West Elk Wilderness. The Black Canyon cuts through the Western Slope like a fresh gash on a prize fighter's face, already riddled with scars and imperfections.

It is fall and the leaves are changing. Yesterday was Color Sunday. I didn't shoot a single tree. I simply wasn't in the mood. I got a couple shots of the canyon.

Looking northwest to the Grand Mesa in the distance.

Looking southeast toward the East Portal.

Here are some other pictures I didn't take but that will give you a much better idea of how incredible our backyard really is. :)

More Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It is National One Hit Wonder Day

Recognize any of these? Just for kicks I looked up the ones from the year I graduated high school (1988) Ah, the days before boy bands - lol - but I digress. I only really remember a few of these. I'd probably recognize more if I heard them.

J. J. Fad Supersonic
Godfathers Birth, School, Work, Death
Giant Steps Another Lover
Climie Fisher Love Changes (Everything)
L'Trimm Cars with the Boom
M/A/R/R/S Pump up the Volume
Midnight Oil Beds are Burning
Danny Wilson Mary's Prayer
Scarlett & Black You Don't Know
Boys Club I Remember Holding You
Church Under the Milky Way
When in Rome The Promise
Bobby McFerrin Don't Worry Be Happy
Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Tomorrow People
Bardeux When We Kiss
Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock It Takes Two

One Hit Wonder Central

Paul Hunt

My mom sent me a link to this video and didn't remember that we saw him in 1980 at an international gymnastics invitational. He was so hilarious! And this is the same routine he did when we saw him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Can my kid get any cuter? She brought me her "Goody baubles" and the hairbrush (HUH? no way! She WANTS me to brush her hair??) and asked for "twista hair". Twista hair? I tried her regular pigtails and she declared them "Nooooo!" and pulled them out. I tried one ponytail and got the same result. Daddy figured it out, of course. She wanted braids. So, guess whose hair is long enough to braid again?

We are the Dinosaurs/Laurie Berkner

The kids

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Joleen's ordeal

My best friend since early childhood. She has always had rough times, there's no denying that, though much of it was only apparent in retrospect. While she has lived a blessed life in many ways, here lately she is going through yet rougher times than usual.

Starting in 1995 at age 22, after the birth of her second child, she began having symptoms like mini-strokes, blood clotting, blurry vision and headaches. She went to doctor after doctor, had test after test, got diagnosis after diagnosis, and tried treatment after treatment.

Her first official diagnosis was Protein S Deficiency which I'm not sure she still doesn't have. It is hereditary and is what causes the blood clotting.

When pharmaceuticals didn't work, or frankly made things worse with their side effects, she turned to homeopathy. Sometimes she felt better, other times not so much, but anything was better than the others' side effects.

She clung to prayer and decided she would just live with whatever it was because really, all the bills and hassle were affecting her quality of life more than her symptoms.

Still, there was no relief and nothing seemed to really work. Her symptoms worsened and the list got longer. She lost weight, couldn't sleep, she was prone to seizures and sleep apnea.

12 years went by. 12 years! The symptoms got so bad she could no longer function from day to day. The doctors were baffled. The specialists were baffled. She was baffled. We were all baffled. Then someone, I don't know who, got the bright idea to start over, so to speak. One of the first tests they ever did was an MRI on her head to check for any blood clots that may have passed into her brain. What they missed was something they didn't even know to look for.

The new MRI showed what was not obvious before: a herniation at the base of her skull (did you know you have cerebellar tonsils?), sort of above and behind the brain stem, effectively cutting off the flow of spinal fluid to her brain, that had been gradually increasing in size with every strenuous effort like lifting her children or grocery bags or exercise of any kind.

Diagnosis? Chiari I Malformation Thus ends the first leg of her journey. Finally an answer to their prayers. An answer.

Already almost one year ago John J. Oró, M.D. and his staff at The Chiari Care Center took her as an emergency case. After a quick consult and MRI, surgery was scheduled almost immediately. They had to travel from New Mexico to Colorado.

The surgery was a success. Joleen became known as a zipperhead (warning: somewhat graphic), named so for the long zipper-like scar running up from her spine to the back of her skull. All stapled together it looks just like a zipper. (That's Joleen on the left with her fellow Chiari patient/friend, Terri.)

Just when you'd think things couldn't get more complicated some two weeks post-surgery Joleen was in dire pain. Scared and uncertain they drove to the ER. On their way to the hospital they were in a horrible auto wreck; t-boned by a jerk with no license and no insurance. She suffered whiplash as a result and she only thought the pain before was unbearable.

She suffered for weeks and weeks. Three herniated discs in her neck at the site of the surgery. She couldn't walk, she couldn't sleep, she couldn't do anything. She wasn't healing. Pain management wasn't working. The pain increased and eventually she couldn't barely flex a muscle without almost blacking out. Imagine not being able to move your bowels because the pain feels like your head will literally explode at the neck.

And still she was strong and full of faith that her god wouldn't give her anything she cannot handle. I truly admire her for that. She has not wavered in her beliefs throughout this challenging time. If anything else it has made them deeper and more powerful.

Back to Colorado. They and Dr. Oró decided it would be worth it to do surgery for Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome, another condition she's had since birth that is responsible for her scoliosis and is part and parcel one of the symptoms of the whole. Basically stated her spinal cord was tethered in the lumbar region and they were (are) hoping that by releasing it that will then release pressure on her spinal cord at her neck and allow the herniated discs to start healing and the pain will subside.

Around that time Joleen started a Caring Bridge journal starting on this page. It is password protected but you can IM me or email me for it. Check it out if you want to be inspired by her strength and faith.

And still it continues...

Home finally from the TSCS surgery and she started leaking spinal fluid from her incision. The doctor thought it might yet heal itself and stop leaking and asks them to give it a couple of days. It did not stop leaking. So, flat on her back in the back seat of her uncle-in-law's car, they took her back to Colorado again.

Surgery again at the TSCS site. After identifying the leak in two separate MRIs the doctor could not find it once inside. He spent several hours in there making sure everything was copacetic, applied a blood patch (I think?) and closed her up after piping the spinal fluid lost back into her stomach. Ew. (There is more to what all he did during surgery but I am blanking on that.)

Today she is still in Colorado. They are treating her as if she has a severe case of menengitis to make sure she didn't catch any virus or bacterial infection in her spinal cord. It involves, if I remember correctly, a tube to her arm muscle and a tube into the top of her heart where she receives multiple daily infusions of antibiotics. They are in a hotel now instead of ICU but they can't go home. They can however go on short jaunts in the car and just yesterday spent a day in Estes Park, CO (I am guessing by her description in her journal of bugling elk on a golf course - lol - they are protected in Estes Park.)

They are homesick but they are together. Her husband's job has been very understanding. Her kids are stepping up and taking great care of themselves and each other and their responsibilities at home with help from family. Her community has come forth and thanks to a fundraiser (For more information or to make donations you may contact Christina (Chris) Knox at (505)865-7864 (e-mail christina tk or the church at (505)865-9334.) they can afford to keep living while they go through all of this. Her friends and family have been supportive and helpful offering food and prayer and love and more prayer, etc.

It has been long and trying and I'm sure it seems like it's lasting forever but this is merely a short chapter in her life. Things will get better and her life will be pain free soon. I know she will continue to look forward. There will always be the light of a new day ahead.

I love Tina Fey

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chocolat by Johanne Harris

Although I read it in snatches, I savored it like a cup of Vianne's hot chocolate. Every page at just the right temperature, having not cooled since the last time I picked it up, warming my imagination from the inside out. Delicious, delightful and enticingly mysterious.

The story is written with a rich amount of description. "Very French" as my librarian would say. Enough so that I feel like the people are now a part of my reality. I liked that I could relate so well to being different, and being the stranger. I also liked how the flow was intense but mostly unwavering. Pleasing nonchalance from one voice and suitable irritation from the other.

I am reading the sequal now, The Girl with no Shadow. It is equally well written. Yet it is more suspenseful, and right from the beginning.

They made a movie of this story. I am watching it, too, for the first time. Very disappointing. Apart from the charactor names not a single detail went unmolested.

It was as if they took all the facts from the book and first threw half of them away. Then they took half again yet and turned them inside out. The two or three things they kept from the book seemed to be thrown into the production like exclamation points, totally missing the point of the original story and interrupting the flow of the monster they created.

I would give the movie an F- but for the eye candy of the two prinicipal characters and, at least one of them can act. I wish I had her hair...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Personality Quizzes

You Have A Type A- Personality

You are one of the most balanced people around

Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want

You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back

Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love!

You live life to the fullest - incorporating the best of both worlds

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.

Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.

In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.

You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.

And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

You Are Barney

You could have been an intellectual leader...

Instead, your whole life is an homage to beer

You will be remembered for: your beautiful singing voice and your burps

Your life philosophy: "There's nothing like beer to give you that inflated sense of self-esteem."