Sunday, November 30, 2008

I did it!

I didn't mention in my last post that my sweet Jelly Bean Princess is not the only one who was sick last night. Hmmmmm...we'll be staying home today.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are the Corrigan Brothers:

And, ha! This brings me to 30. 30 posts, 30 days... so I didn't post every day, but I made up for it on others.

Goodbye, November.

My cluttered car (life)

There are times in our lives when we are thankful, not just for our friends, not just for our families. We find ways to be thankful for....our shortcomings.

Last night as the kids and I were heading home from a really kicken' party (kick ass because of the fabulous people there, kicked in the stomach because of the grief most of us there were feeling for the loss of one of our friends the night before Thanksgiving)I was actually thankful that I find it impossible to keep a clean car.

Right before we left our friend's home, Emme said that she didn't feel well. No surprise, it was late for her..and one of her little friends had tossed her cookies in the kitchen right in front of her. Nothing like the smell of vomit in the evening to turn a stomach. In the car, she apologized for not feeling well. ??? Why weren't the bells going off in my head? After brother dearest got violently ill Tuesday night while we were IN A RESTAURANT.

Turning onto Eureka Way, I heard it...okay, you know the sound. There's a reason it's called retching, folks.

I immediately pulled over...flew out of my side of the car and opened her door. There she was.

Holding a casserole dish I'd left in the car after our recent (okay, okay, it was a week ago) potluck at work.

"Look, mama...I got it all inside the dish!"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh, deer me....

So, this is a four-day weekend for me. Or it should have been. Our billing guy conned me into going in today - he wanted me to go by the post office and pick up the mail, then go in and sort it through, so he could have the EOBs....silly end of the month thing. I told him he owed me.

He came through. He brought me....a venison steak. I've eaten venison before- back in the Stone Age, when I was in high school (okay, maybe it wasn't quite THAT long ago, but it was THE 70s). Had it twice...the first time, it was awful. The second time I had it, my friend really knew what she was doing, and I liked it. Of course, the taste was hidden behind the seasonings she used....I remember she coated it with mustard, then floured it, then cooked it in some kind of tomato sauce, like Swiss Steak.

It's in my refrigerator now. It looks kind of dark and scary. I might be afraid of it. Help me!

Saturday morning fun

I don't remember learning to read. Or should I say I don't remember ever NOT reading? Family lore has me reading simple books before my 4th birthday. That's probably right - I started kindergarten at four and I know I was reading then.

I remember a house filled with books. My mother had a pretty decent library. There was a small library in the town we lived in during my grammar school years, but no bookstore. My life nearly revolved around my weekly visits to the town library (our school didn't have one, but was right down the street, so we'd walk). I remember the rule that you could check out the same number of books as the grade you were in - I guess they thought that's the right number of books to have for a week.

Somehow, I managed to convince them I could read more. I was allowed to bring home a stack every week.

In our classroom, we had small readers that one progressed through (they still have them, same company - in my son, Jake's 3rd grade classroom). I'd always be done with the lot of them by Christmas, and that meant I could read whatever I wished. How I loved to be called on to read aloud. It wasn't the being chosen so much that enthralled me, it was the reading itself, the love of words said aloud. At seven, I realized that theater gave me the chance to give life to the words on a page, and I participated whenever I could. It was a small town. There was no theater, apart from the plays we did in school. I must have done something right, as I always got the female lead.

And I continued to read with a vengeance. I loved series - they could keep me going for weeks. Nancy Drew? Once I'd finished the first volume, I didn't finish until I'd read them all - all that were out the time. I remember waiting with breathless anticipation for The Mystery of the 99 Steps. I was 8 at the time. I loved the fact that my mother had read them before me. I loved Edgar Allen Poe. The Brontes. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Madeleine L'Engle.

My mother died when I was 10. I quickly read through her library, then joined a book club. I had to feed my addiction. I was completely catholic in my tastes...I read everything from Please Don't Eat the Daisies to books about the Third Reich. Yeah.

During my early 20s, visitors to my home would see stacks of books everywhere. I slowly purchased bookshelves (saving my money - you see, it had to be solid oak for them - no veneer would touch my books). Still, my books would overflow the shelves. They were my comfort, my family.

And then I had kids. I literally could not read for a couple of years. My sleep deprivation was so great that If I sat down to try to read, I'd fall asleep almost immediately. Books for children didn't do this to me, most probably as I read them aloud. So my only comfort at the time were the Lambs' Tales, which I'd read nightly to my babies.

I started reading again just before my husband left., and then stopped For a year after, I couldn't read - I couldn't sustain thought long enough to gain any remembrance of the words on the page. It took all I had to take care of myself and my babies.

And now I read again. I really should update the section on books I'm reading, but somehow I forget. I love essays, I love mysteries, I read lots of books on raising adopted children and the prenatal effects of psychoactive substances. Small hobby of mine.

This morning I woke early...very early. Checking my email, reading up on the night's Twitters, I surfed from one site to another, before landing at LibriVox. I downloaded the software needed, and now I get to do one of my favorite things in the world....

Read aloud.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks.

I'm thankful.

Today, just before sitting down to a Thanksgiving feast with my children, I received the news that my friend, Heide Hatcher, passed away last night.

I met her through my friend, Sharon. We spent a Mother's Day at Whiskeytown Lake, four moms and our kids. Sharon, and her bio daughter, Isa. Kelly and her two little girls, adopted from China. Me, and my two adopted children. And Heide, and her two adopted girls. Both Kelly and Heide adopted as single woman. Sharon and I divorced and coparenting with our exes.

I was struck by the beauty of Heide's children, HanneMae and Badaboo. Both African-American, HanneMae with skin the color of cappuccino, and ringlets. Badaboo's very dark skin and crinkly hair a testament to her Ethiopian heritage.

I got to know Heide better after her breast cancer diagnosis, about a year and half ago. We formed a group of friends to surround her, since she had no family near. We cared for her kids, cooked her food, spent the night at her house. She had a hard time with chemo and radiation. We thought she'd beat the monster.

Early this year, the pain in her back led her to realize the monster had returned. Numerous back surgeries caused her immense pain. She moved between Stanford and a local convalescent hospital.

Her girls alternated between two homes of friends. As recently as last Friday, our group of friends met to figure how best to help her.

This week she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. I understand she passed away peacefully last night. A few of her friends were there when it happened.

She was an amazing woman. She served as the director/principal at Whiskeytown Environmental School for a very long time. She was a devoted mom. And she was a great friend.

I'll miss her, and think of her always.

I'm going to go hug my kids again now. If you have kids, go do the same. And give thanks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Life as I know it is over.

A few months ago, my coworkers were involved in something. Something seductive, and addictive. I managed to stay away, but it wasn't hard. I've never had that addictive personality, except with one thing, best not mentioned here. And I've managed to stay away from that one thing.

But then, someone else told me of their compulsion for it. Someone I admired. Someone I knew wouldn't lead me down a dangerous path. It was Erica.

A few nights ago, something called to me...I gave in to its siren song. I was at Barnes & Noble. Always a dangerous place for me. I find it hard to resist, hard to ignore the call of the words between the covers.

I dipped my toes into the water, cool yet murky. Quickly, I became enthralled. Soon, I couldn't pull myself away from its call.

Now, I'm lost.

I'm a fanpire.

You'll find my addiction here.

Stay away from it. Be safe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Randy Miller

So here it is: I'm making this really easy for you.

The Big 100

This is it. My 100th post on Blogspot. And I've nothing to say.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Face of Cancer

I've posted earlier about Randy Miller of The Myriad. His sister-in-law and I go way back - back when Jake was a baby. Lorra and her husband were foster parents, and I don't know how many times we encouraged and consoled each other, watched each other's kids, and laughed ourselves silly. And she is an AMAZING cake decorator! She's moved away, and I miss her.

It's an unfortunate circumstance that's brought us back in touch. Ok, that's not even right. It's an horrendous circumstance. Her brother-in-law, Randy, has been diagnosed with mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. Until a week ago, I didn't even know what that was. Now I do.

Thankfully he has some amazingly creative and talented friends. They've made this short video that shows the Randy that's known around Redding. Not the big rock star (though his band DID win the MTV2 Mountain Dew Breakout last year). But the Randy that's a husband, a father, a friend.

Please watch it here: Randy's Mercy Fund, and if you're so moved, kick in a few bucks, ok? They can use it right now.

Note from The Myriad:

Friends and family,

As some of you may have heard, our band mate Randy Miller had a large tumor removed from his left chest/shoulder area which has now been diagnosed as Chondrosarcoma, an extremely rare cancer of the bone. Unfortunately, during the meeting with the specialist at Stanford this week, he was informed that the tumor removed was just the tip of the iceberg. The tumor is much larger than they originally thought and it extends into his shoulder and arm. There is also a tumor in his left pelvic area and thigh and still another large tumor located on his right adrenal gland which is possibly another type of cancer altogether. Due to the aggressive nature of this cancer, Randy should begin chemotherapy immediately but is waiting to hear back from the state as to whether they will insure him. Until then, he cannot begin the treatment process. Please pray that this process is expedited.

There are immediate and ongoing financial needs for the Miller family. These needs can be met by donating to a "Mercy Fund" set up by a non profit organization called The Stirring and currently designated to Randy Miller. There are a few different ways you can send tax deductible donations to this fund.
One is online at www. thestirring. org.
Located to the bottom right of the main page you will see "ONLINE GIVING". If you click on this link you will be directed to a secure page where you can set up an online giving account. Once the account is set up you will see the "MERCY FUND" and be able to send secure donations to the family through this organization.
Tax deductible donations can also be sent in the form of a check to:
The Stirring
RE: Randy Miller
3468 Bechelli Lane Suite E
Redding, CA 96002
Any financial support you can give in order to help the Miller's through this difficult time is appreciated.

Thanks for your prayers,
The Myriad

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I really should go mop my bathroom right now....but, it's NaBloPoMo, and I'm not giving up now...even though truthfully I've missed a few days.

Busy, busy weekend....aren't they all these days? Friday night was a meeting to discuss the affairs of my friend Heide. Did you grow up in Redding? Were you in 5th grade anytime in the last 20 years or so? Then you may know her. She's been the principal/director at Whiskeytown Environmental School for over 20 years. She's amazing woman, an amazing mother. She's the adoptive mom of two beautiful and charming young ladies...HannaMae and Badaboo.

And she has metastatic breast cancer. It's been a devastating journey to travel with her. She hasn't any family locally, except for those of us that have chosen to be family. During the early days of her cancer, we rotated sleeping at her house, caring for the girls, making meals, running errands, while she underwent chemo and radiation.

These days, she's been in a convalescent loving families have welcomed the girls, while others have been tempting her with food made at home.

Today she was admitted to a local hospital. She's a fighter.

What amazes me is the unwavering support of this group of people, all of whom have been touched by her.

Saturday started with Jake's championship hockey game. His team came in second in the 8 & unders. He is one rockin' goalie...the toughest position of all. He's a great goalie - the other team made 18 attempts - 18! and they only scored 5 goals...he blocked 13 goals. I'm so very proud of him.

Then I brought soup & brownies to MSM, helped with cups of apple cider, and had the fun of circulating through the dozens who were there to eat and get clothes. They have so many stories, and they were so appreciative. It's something I don't think I'd get tired of doing.

Last night we took dinner over to Randy Miller. I wrote a bit last night, and I've blogged about him before, but if you haven't learned who he is - you really should. He's amazingly talented, and he's a great dad, and awesome husband to Kristyn Miller. He's recently been diagnosed with a rare cancer and has no medical insurance. It's pretty scary for everyone who knows them.

They have incredible friends.....there are musicians doing benefit concerts and taking offerings during other concerts. But they can use your help, too.

Please, please, please, visit their website and read about this. Donate if you can. Come on, even if it's just $5. This is a great family, and they could really use your help. And they are incredible appreciative.

Redding's best kept secret

I hesitate to tell you this. Promise you won't tell anyone else?

Last night I had a date. Ok, ok....stop laughing now. It was a mommy/son date. Emme was spending the night at her friend's house. We had taken dinner over to Randy Miller's house. What an awesome family he has. Then I let Jake choose the restaurant.

It was hard, folks. Three way tie between Burger King (they have chicken nuggets and indoor playground), Pizza Hut (they have, and a pool table), or Round Table Pizza (figure out the menu, folks, but we'd never been there before and didn't know about the extras).

Ever one to try new things, Jake chose Round Table. We went to the one over on Hartnell. Ok, yeah, they sell pizza and can get that anywhere. Best of all, though? They have.....

Board games.

Lots of them.

And what did we find? People - sitting there, playing them! Families. Teenagers (who should be out drinking and petting, after all) were playing games and they actually looked like they were enjoying themselves!

We played Battleship, and Toss Your Cookies (we had to make up our own rules for that one - the guide was missing), and Snakes & Ladders.

So don't go there, okay? Because we want to find a table next time.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Tonight I was at a meeting. I laughed, I cried, I lost my keys and found them again. A dear friend is fighting cancer right now. She has no family near. But she is encircled by those who care about her. Her daughters are cared for, her bills paid, her medical needs advocated (is that a word?). Her favorite foods are taken to her daily.

We are a community.

Tomorrow we're rockin' the soup, bread, and brownies at MSM. Feeding the people.

We are a community.

Tomorrow night I'm taking dinner over to a family with another cancer battle.

We are a community.

It's amazing what people can do do when they pull together, when they know they're needed.

Brownies are in the oven...they smell incredible! Can't wait to get them there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Simple is good

Simple days are great days. Today was one of those days.

Work was good...I got everything accomplished that I wanted to. Though I got some bad news about a dear friend, it wasn't unexpected, and there are ways I can help her. I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in nearly a year, and did a little catching up. I had an awesomely good workout at the gym.

When I got home, my box from Country Organics had arrived and I made a wonderful soup/stew. Quick and delicious. Then one of my best friends came over..not a planned visit. We hung out and talked.

I'm so grateful for my life, my friends, my faith, my health.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do I look like a target?

Three times in the last three days, drivers have made left turns RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! When I've had a green light.

Don't they know that is absolutely known to be the cause of collisions?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My love affair with a married man

I was so in love with him. He was 24 (I think), he lived in Las Vegas (where I lived at the time), he had a HORSE RANCH! And he was a singer. He was quite a bit older than I, but my parents had no qualms about my love affair with him. In fact, they offered to take me to see him, to celebrate my birthday.

Arrangements were made. A dress was purchased. My hair freshly curled. I was so excited that I didn't eat for two days. I was so in love with him.

His name was Wayne. We were going to see him perform. I chose this evening instead of a birthday party (and I'm convinced there WOULD HAVE BEEN A PONY). But I didn't care....because: I was in love with him. Though we hadn't met, I was sure that he'd see me and ask me to marry him....this was big, really big.

My step-dad worked in the gaming industry, so we had front row seats. Absolutely front and center. I was so nervous and excited, I could barely sit still. But my parents had been taking me to social events since I could walk, and I knew that I needed to sit and sit quietly. It took everything I had to remain quiet and not scream out my love for this man.

A comedian opened the show. I've always had a love for funny men (my father was the first) but I didn't care about this guy. I just wanted, no - needed, to see my man.

He walked out on stage....he was so incredibly handsome. He sang, and my heart stopped. And then he talked about...his wife.

I was crushed. There would be no marriage for me. If I couldn't marry this man, I knew I would never marry.

But then the unthinkable happened....all of sudden, his song ended, and he said that he had a special guest. He called my name, and invited me on stage.

And that is why, and that was when, I sang a duet on a stage in Las Vegas with Wayne Newton. I was seven, and I was in love.

We sang "Red Roses for a Blue Lady."

The rest of the evening passed quickly...afterwards we were ushered into his dressing room, where he gave me his autograph, and gently kissed my cheek.

I've never forgotten his kindness, and I've never had a birthday like that since.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday evenings

Sunday evenings always come crashing down on me. We have so much fun on Sundays....after church we'll go to the Sundial Bridge, or Caldwell Park, or Enterprise Park, drive to the mountains, go to Burney, have friends over...the list goes on and on. But then there's cooking to do when I get home. Because of the kids' sports, we don't get home until 7:30 or so on Monday and Tuesday, and with Emme's bedtime at 8:00 - well, we're pushed, to say the least. So, I try to "cook big" on Sunday evenings so that we can just warm up leftovers...

Then it's bathtime. Reading. Bedtime for Emme. Homework with Jake - he gets his homework packet on Friday, but doesn't like to do any then. It's his last night at his dad's each week, and special to them. Saturday, and somehow homework never gets done. So, Jake does his homework Sunday night, and we're still pretty much one on one for that.

Then off to bed for Jake. I wish there was a bit more time on Sundays. When I was in high school, Sundays were always the longest day of the week. We weren't allowed to do anything, except read and hang out together in between church services. The day seemed to run on forever. And, while I complained about being bored, I miss it now.

While Sunday is the first day of the week on our calendars, it always feels like the end to the period at the end of the sentence. It closes off one week, so that we can move on to the next.

May your Sunday evening be filled with peace and joy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Me, Me, Meme

Hal tagged me a while back, and I thought that today, my 50th birthday, would be a great day to finally get it finished off.

Link to the person who tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.

Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.

Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

Let people know they've been tagged by leaving comments on their blogs.
Okay, here goes.

1. I'm an actor. I first appeared on stage at Bullhead City Elementary School in the role of "Princess" age age seven. With some breaks here and there, I did theatre pretty much regularly until 2000 (when Jake was born) with one encore in Sylvia at the Cascade Theater. It was the second play they did there after the reopening. I think I'm pretty good at it, and I'm starting to really miss it, but as a single mom who doesn't want to leave the kids with a sitter all the time, it's going to be a while before I get back on the boards. My favorite role - tie between Nora in A Doll's House and Mona in Come back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean. But Stella in Streetcar was pretty darn fun, too. But, wait! I really like comedies, too! Okay, I love it all. I love crying my eyes out and slapstick humor, and making people cry with me and laugh at me.

2. Once I walked 60 miles in 3 days to raise money to fight breast cancer. It was honestly one of the biggest things I've ever done. The training, the fund-raising, the sheer pain (I think that was pretty much when I finished off the cartilage in my left knee).

3. I had a truly bizarre childhood. I was the cherished daughter of a Russian composer/conductor who scored over 200 movies for Columbia, and a French model (okay, she was born in France, but grew up in LA). We lived in Mandeville Canyon, and had Glen Ford and Fernando Lamas as neighbors. That idyllic life came crashing down when I was two and my father died. When I was four, my mom remarried a man who worked in the gaming industry. We moved a lot, but ended up in Bullhead City, Arizona (of all places). My mom died when I was ten, my step-dad died when I was 13 and I finished off my childhood living in a foster home in Kingman, Arizona. All of these events shaped me into the twisted person I am now.

3. I do my very best to follow Jesus. He's my friend and my savior, and I don't do Him justice. But He's never left me. And I have to say, I've met the most amazing people through Him.

4. I can cross my left eye while keeping my right eye looking straight ahead. I was bored a lot in elementary school, and this is where I perfected the talent.

5. I love tea. I really like coffee, too, but tea is really where my heart lies. I love the taste, I love the ritual. I hate the way it stains my teeth, and spend a fortune on whitening. My favorite is Russian Caravan.

6. People tell me their life stories. People I've just met, people I work with, people I've known for years. And I carry their stories and their joys and their pain forever after. My boss' wife told me it's because of my aura. Well, I have a dear friend named Aura and I don't think she has a darned thing to do with it. But I really should call her soon, anyway. Maybe we could get together for tea.

7. I was the girl whose photo in the yearbook topped my wish to have a dozen kids, but I didn't become a mom until I was 41. I thought I'd never have kids, but I guess God had a different plan for me. My parts didn't work, but there were two women who were able to have babies, but just didn't have their lives together and they lost their privilege to parent. That breaks my heart at the very same time that I cherish my babies and can't imagine my life without them. Adopting through concurrent planning was a riotous roller-coaster of emotion and I don't think I could do it again. It was a huge contributory factor to the demise of my marriage (I found out that my ex had met his "soulmate" and wanted to leave me only two months after we finalized our daughter's adoption), and that absolutely breaks my heart more than anything else in my life. But my ex and I manage to do a fairly reasonable job of co-parenting (even though he's on his 4th or 5th soulmate since then). It will never, ever be the same as having them grow up in a loving home with the both of us, but I guess it will have to do.

And, now that I have you just where I wanted you, here are my tags:


Thursday, November 13, 2008

My girl

I could write about my kids every day. They are simply amazing. The challenges they've each been through can be shocking. I have a medical file on each of them, from their times in NICU, and it makes me cry to think of the pain they went through. Emme had physical therapy until she was a year old. Of course it was painful - have you ever been through physical therapy? Emme's therapist told me that the pain was probably equal to that I felt when I underwent therapy to release a frozen shoulder. I prayed, I cried, I swore....but I understood why the therapist was causing me pain. My poor child had no idea....she could only cry. It broke my heart and I was terrified that she would blame me always.

Emme was born with congenital muscular torticollis, and because she was in foster care, and the pediatrician didn't pay much attention to her, it went untreated. By the time she moved in with us, her head was badly misshapen (plagiocephaly). I don't take no for an answer when it comes to my children - I'm like a momma bear. I didn't give up. Every week I called the pediatrician, until he could get approval for a physical therapy evaluation. Finally, we were able to start therapy...a wonderful woman from the Moose Lodge (of all things) came out to the house every week.

I have so much respect for fraternal organizations that provide social service help....Emme was caught in the gray area between Medi-Cal and private insurance...we were unable to cover her under my ex-husband's insurance until the adoption was final (yes, I know that's illegal - but what..he's supposed to argue and lose his job?). But the Moose covered it free and clear.

Our therapist worked with Emme an hour a week, but more importantly, she trained me to do the therapy - 6 times a day, 7 days a week. Pulling and stretching and causing pain. The two of us would cry together.

And every 45 minutes while she slept I'd awaken to move her, to change her position, to massage her sweet little head and try to get it to regain it's normal shape.

Mothers would tell me they couldn't do what I did - they couldn't cause pain to their child. It was one of the hardest things I've done, but I had to remember that what I was doing was for her good. That it would allow her to hold her head upright, to prevent neck pain and problems later in life, that it would allow her to have a normal appearance.

And it worked. On her first birthday I had a photo taken of the back of her head, and gave it to her physical therapist, to show how lovely and straight she held her head. It was a success.

Emme is going through so many changes right now - and I have to remember that we'll get through each challenge as we did that one...crying together, praying, and doing it together.

At least until she's a teenager, right?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Randy Miller from the Myriad

If you're from Redding, you might know Randy Miller, drummer for the Myriad. They won last year's MTV2 Dew Circuit Breakout. They're amazing...anyway, Randy is also brother-in-law to a dear friend of's some news about him:

Some of you may have heard, our drummer Randy Miller had a large tumor removed from his shoulder/chest area a few weeks ago which proved cancerous. Initial results indicate Chondrosarcoma (cancer of the bone) and a PET Scan today revealed suspicious spots around the surgical area, his left arm, adrenal gland and pelvis. Chondrosarcoma is very rare and for that reason treatment is necessary at special facilities. He has been referred to Stanford to determine the best course of action. The unfortunate thing is Randy cannot talk with the specialist or even schedule an appointment until the state determines if he is qualified for medi-cal. It appears it could takes weeks or longer before he finds out if he is qualified. We'll keep you updated as soon as we know more.

There are immediate and ongoing financial needs for the Miller family. The support that has come in over the past few weeks has been amazing and we would like to thank everyone for all they are doing. Our friends in Third Day just announced they will be holding a benefit concert for Randy on Sunday, December 7th at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, CA.

Tickets go on sale 11/21 at www. transparentproductions. com.

All proceeds go to Randy Miller.

If you would like to help out financially you can do so by donating to a "Mercy Fund" set up by a non profit organization called The Stirring and currently designated to Randy Miller. There are a few different ways you can send tax deductible donations to this fund.

One is online at www. thestirring. org .

Located to the bottom right of the main page you will see "ONLINE GIVING". If you click on this link you will be directed to a secure page where you can set up an online giving account. Once the account is set up you will see the "MERCY FUND" and be able to send secure donations to the family through this organization.

Tax deductible donations can also be sent in the form of a check to:

The Stirring
RE: Randy Miller
3468 Bechelli Lane Suite E
Redding, CA 96002

Any financial support you can give in order to help the Miller's through this difficult time is appreciated.

Thanks for your support,
The Myriad

My 5 pet peeves about the gym

This is really weird - I am older than my mother ever was. Technically, I'm six moths older than she was when she died - As of Saturday, I'll be an age (nope, I'm not telling) that she never was. As can be attested to by the other members of my motherloss group, that's some big deal.

One of the weird things about getting to be this age is my skin. Okay, I know there's more fat under the skin now - thanks to the back problems that made me stop belly-dancing over a year ago. But the skin itself is - different. Softer, but not in a good's hard to explain. But easy to hate.

I wish I had 24 year old skin back. I was pretty modest as 24 year olds go. Now I kind of wish I'd gone around in a bikini the whole year - just to show off that skin. I could even have gone skinny-dipping. Yeah, skinny-dipping. I really would have loved that. Except the part about being naked, of course. In front of other people.

Anyway, I'm back in the gym. Trying to get control of this body before it goes too far south. And I love it. I love the way people say hi. I love the way I feel when I've lifted more weights than I thought possible (thanks to Jerry). I love the way the shower feels on my not 24 year old skin after a really hard workout. I love that my kids love going there, so I don't have to feel guilty about going there.

But there are some things I. don't. love.

1. People who don't wipe down the machines after they work out. "But I don't sweat." Yeah, right. I don't care about that anyway. Well, unless they've dripped all over everything, and then that's just gross. But there are still germs! So I end up wiping the cardio equipment off first (I'd do every machine, but they'd think I was a whack-job). I mean what if the person who was on the elliptical didn't wash their hands and then got on the machine and put their germy little hands all over it? I'm not a fanatic about germs normally, but the gym just seems to be such a breeding ground.

2. People who talk on their cell phone while working out. Loudly. If a call is that important, and it could be, just take it away from the exercise floor. I find it highly uncomfortable to hear the juicy details about someone's romantic escapades when I don't even know them, but it seems that lots of people aren't shy about sharing the intimates. Yes, that's you - the girl that always wears yellow. Just stop it.

3. Heavy lifters who don't re-rack their weights. Enough said.

4. Women in the dressing room who take up the bench, 2 stools, and half the floor space just to get dressed.

5. And here's the big one. The one that made me start thinking about this whole issue - don't touch the equipment someone else is working out on! For any reason. Even if you think you're trying to be helpful.

Tonight I was on one of the treadmills that has a built-in TV. I was watching the Food Network. But I also had the little matrix going that shows the graph of what I've been doing....I'm working on intervals, and it helps me keep track. This woman, who I've never seen before, walks up and says, "Let me show you something," and clicks my matrix off! The nerve! I know she probably thought she was being helpful, but not only was she so NOT helpful, she scared the snot out of me when she came up like that.

So, lady - if you're reading this: Back off. I mean it. But if you want to compliment me on my skin, go right ahead.

TCM Love

I love TCM...or I guess I should say I love the technology that TCM uses now. I guess I should clarify that it's Turner Classic Movies.

Anyway, they have this setup now, where I searched for my last name, and it pulled up (for now) non-existent biographies on both my father and my uncle. Then I just put in a request for email reminders whenever either one of their movies are playing! TCM emails me a reminder, I go to DirecTV and set it up to record. I can do this from anywhere! And I'll never miss another of their movies! Yippee! And how did I find out about this??? Google Alerts. Love 'em.

This is pretty awesome for me. My dad died when I was 2, and Uncle Costia died when I was like 8. Between the two of them, they either scored or conducted almost 600 movies.

Next up, "Commanche Station" with Randolph Scott.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Can you hand me a tissue, please?

My eyes are puffy, now my cheeks are getting puffy. I woke with a headache, and it's getting worse. I didn't blog yesterday, and it's NaBloPoMo. I'm full of ADD-edness today. Driven to distraction. Not finishing anything. Is it the sheer quantity of carbs I devoured this weekend? Is it the fact that I have a milestone birthday this weekend? And, frankly, it's disturbing me. I've been bursting into tears daily this week. I told the kids I thought they could spend the night at their dad's on Saturday so I could do something grown up. They completely nixed the idea. Tears and pleading. So now I'm spending my birthday doing the best things ever - having dinner at Red Robin and going to the movies to see Madagascar 2.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Boo - I love you.

My kids' school has a tradition. It's the selling of "BooGrams" for Halloween. Great fundraiser for the 8th graders. They can make money to go on field trips where they sneak away from the chaperones and smoke weed. Just kidding.

Jake's 3rd grade teacher forgot to give out the BooGrams on Friday, so they got them Monday. He was really excited that he'd gotten three. One from me, one from his friend Drew, and one from.....a secret admirer.

"Mom, you know my best friend, Hunter? He's got two girlfriends. I think he should break up with one of them. Two takes too much time."

Of course, I questioned him about the secret admirer...he thought it was either M or K. Both sweet girls, I'm sure. As long as they stay away from any idea of corrupting my sweet, sweet son....

"So, Jake, what did this BooGram say?"

Dear Jake,

You are so hot. I am in love with you.


Your secret admirer

"Mom, what does that mean?" "It means she thinks you're cute." "Oh, that's weird. Why would you say hot for that?"

Yesterday at his parent-teacher conference, Jake's dad brought up the note. Mystery solved.

All the little kids go into the 8th grade room to buy their BooGrams in the weeks before Halloween. They ask the 8th graders for help in deciding what to say....

I know there's an 8th grader out there laughing about this now, in between downing shots and making out with his girlfriend.

Friday, November 7, 2008

BFF Forever

Marilyn and I have been friends since right out of high school. We went to a group interview for a health club called "Vogue Figure Control" in Modesto, CA. I commented on her necklace, an "M," and we started talking and haven't stopped. I introduced her to her first husband, Gene. He asked me out and I didn't want to go out with him because we worked together. Okay, so the marriage didn't last, but they did have a most amazing son, Ian.

We walked 60 miles together for the Breast Cancer 3-day. We've seen each other through everything. In many ways we're as different as can be, but we manage to stick together.

She's a gorgeous natural blonde. She works in the film industry, as a studio driver, and has the coolest. stories. ever. Right now I'm wearing a pair of scrubs that she got from the Gray's Anatomy set.....whoa.

She drove up from LA today to see me and the kids. They're with their dad tonight, so we went to C.R. Gibbs for dinner, then tried the new beer pub across the street. Snake Bites are awesome. We were immediately greeted/accosted by a very inebriated man named Kevin....great. We were home by 9:30.

I'm so glad to have a friend like Marilyn. No matter what, we always stick together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christmas is coming

My son Jake is very materialistic. He loves his toys. He loves other people's toys. He loves the toys he sees in stores and on TV commercials. He can't bear to part with old toys. He's great at sharing them, but he's always lusting for more.

This morning on the way to school, Jake was wondering aloud if his dad was going to get him some Legos he'd promised. I told him that I knew he really wanted those Legos, and he's really, really good at creating some imaginative stuff with them.

All of a sudden, he said, "But mom, I don't really need them. It's okay if I don't get anything for Christmas." Thinking he was joking, I said, "Ah, but what about that DS you've been wanting?"

"Mom, all that's really important is you and daddy and God. The toys are nice, but I don't need them."

This kid blows me away.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

They amaze me every day

I wish I would have talked about this election more with my children. Mistakenly, I just didn't, at least as much as I should have. I know when I was 6 or 8, I really had no concept of government. I guess I just thought that my kids were more interested in reading, writing & 'rithmatic. Boy, was I wrong.

Discussion in the car tonight, on the way from school to hockey:

Emme: "Momma, almost my whole class voted for Mr. Senator John McCain (she said it just like that - so impossibly cute)."

"Emme, do you know why so many people wanted to vote for Sen. McCain?"
"Because he's very responsible, and he wants to take care of people, and he wants to make sure that sick people get taken care of."

I'm really glad that she has clarity on this. I wish that I could have gone over the candidates' voting records with her myself. This was a powerful lesson for me.

"So, Jake, did your class hold a vote?" "No, but I would have voted for the other guy." "Obama?" "Yeah, him." "And why is that?"

"Because I think war is awful, and I think that the other guy just wants us to have a war all the time."

Wow. I'm blown away. These kids have very definite ideas - awesome!

We had a talk after hockey, Jake & I. Emme was already sleeping. We talked about some things I thought were important. That the President has a grave responsiblity. That whoever is elected deserves our respect and support. That an African-American is our President-Elect, and a generation ago, African-Americans in the South had to use separate bathrooms and drinking fountains. That President-Elect Obama has a family that loves him, and two young daughters, and that he will make all his decisions knowing their effect on his family as well as ours. That he has an awesome responsiblity, and the fate of all Americans weighs on his shoulders.

We talked about the fact that he won't see another Presidential election until he's 12 years eternity to him.

And then we celebrated with that most delectable of impromptu desserts - rice cakes & Nutella. Oh. My. Land. You really should try it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote for Love

Google has an ad for Prop 8 on my blog today (and everyone that uses Google AdSense). Wow - they must have a LOT of money. I'm not going to remove AdSense for one day, then put it back. But it's not my idea to have it there.

Please know that the opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of its owner. While I might tell you how I'm voting, (which would, I'm sure, bore you to tears, and you wouldn't care anyway) I'm not going to tell anyone else how to vote. Not that you'd listen to my pea-brained reasons, anyway.

Just know that my underlying motives for voting propositions the way I do come back to this:

Is it kind?
Is it just?
Does it best serve the majority of the people, or a select few?
Does it advocate stewardship of the earth, our money, our time?
Does it demonize someone that is created in God's image?

I will tell you to vote, though. Vote your conscience, vote your pocketbook, spin-the-vote, whatever. Just vote, okay? And remember the old adage, if you don't vote, I don't want to hear you complain.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Do I have your attention now?

It's National Blog Posting Month. Every day. Something to read, right here. No promises of quality, just quantity.

Pastor Dan made me think today. So did Los (Ragamuffin Soul). And Pastor Ryan. Thanks, guys.

When I vote Tuesday, I'll remember this: I'll not demonize those whom God has created in his image. And if I vote for someone, or something, I'll continue to pray for them - and for those on the "other side."

And I'll be thankful for my health, and the health of my children. And I'll pray for (in no particular order):

Susan (Fatty's wife, fighting cancer, quite possibly in the home stretch now)
Heide (My good friend, mom to Hanna Mae & Badaboo, and fighting cancer and painful back surgeries)
Randy (Lorra's brother-in-law, just diagnosed with cancer)
Jeffery (Dawn's husband - she just fought uterine cancer, and now is awaiting test results for her husband - he is very ill)
Kelsey (Kirsten's daughter, only 14 years old. Survivor of a congenital heart defect, now fighting an unknown connective tissue disease with a brave heart and a smiling face)

I was feeling so unbelievably confused. Why am I surrounded right now with people who need so much more help than I can possibly give? What can I possibly do to help?

But I know.

I can cook.
I can pray.
I can share what money I have.
I can praise God.

Pray Backwards