Saturday, December 26, 2009


Hello, I am Annie, and I am an obsessive.

Obsessive about "Glee." Have you seen it? Of course you have. If you haven't, you should. You'd be obsessed, too.

When I was in high school, the small town I lived in had one radio station. One AM radio station. The evening air personality (ok, ok, they were disk jockeys then) was named Capri. Like the car. She was a friend of mine, and I'd listen every night. Didn't like the music she played, but she was my friend. The song she'd sign off with was "I Am...I Said." Every. single. night. I couldn't stand Neil Diamond then.

Glee has converted least to "Sweet Caroline." How could one not love it? Especially as sung by Puck.

Ahhhh. This would be my sign-off song. But then, when I hear "Don't Stop Believing" I'm reminded of meeting Steve Perry in the airport in Kona. And again on a corner in Old Sacramento. Coincidence? I think not.

Do I have to choose one "Glee" song? How could I?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It seems appropriate

I know I haven't been here in a while.

In order to write, one must actually make the attempt. To sit down, to put pen to paper (or more appropriately, fingers to keyboard). Haven't felt like doing this in a while.

And this morning, when I set out to write of my mother, it didn't come easily. It's been 41 years today since she passed away, and I miss her every single day. I am so sad that memories dim, but thankful for the ones that remain. Watching Alfred Hitchcock movies late at night. Making snow angels and lollipops and Barbie dresses. Being held.

She was beautiful, and smart, and courageous, and strong. When I was a baby, I'd cry when she'd sing me to sleep (so she wrote in my baby book). Now I'd give anything to hear her voice.

I wrote about her a while ago. If you haven't been following long, you can read the post here.

In loving memory of
Yvonne Marie Wilson Bakaleinikoff Oakley
June 3, 1919 - December 5, 1968

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roman Cavalry Choirs are Singing

Yesterday morning was one of a kind. Perfect. Wonderful.

My kids and I were driving north on I-5, all singing "Viva la Vida" at the top of our lungs. The prince and princess were dancing in their seats - well, as much as they could, as they were very SAFELY BUCKLED IN (for those who would immediately report me to the authorities).

We love this song. Some people may say that Coldplay is not so cool. But WE. DON'T. CARE. We also rock out to "Love Story" by Taylor Swift, and you know what? It's an amazing song. And we're NOT the only ones who think so. Just ask Jon Schmidt.

Today was also one of a kind. But not in the perfect way. And not in the wonderful way. Let's just say that it could have been worse. Definitely worse. But it still was not one of my better days.

We were halfway home. I was snappish and fretting a bit. And then, the prince turned to me and said...

"Mom, can I turn the CD player on? We'll all sing and make you happy. Let's play the song about the king."

And you know what?

They did.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wait, wait....whose kids are these?

Saturday night, I was having dinner with friends. Adult dinner, with adult beverages, and adult conversation. It's been a while...well, except for the Chamber dinner, but that do you say it? Boring.

My phone rings. The woman who is keeping my little prince for the night has a question for me. It seems that my son told her that he was abducted.

Yes, abducted. Face on the milk carton, Amber Alert, go to prison for 10 years, abducted. After laughing, I explained that both my kids were ADOPTED. Not abducted.

It's something we often discuss in our home. Nothing surprising, and nothing my son doesn't know how to pronounce. Apparently this babysitter has sweet potatoes in her ears.

Tonight, the prince came home from spending the day with another friend. Princess Jelly Bean is very sick, and he spent the day elsewhere to give him a fighting chance to not end up with her 103 temperature. They went to a pool party, and I sent him with his navy and yellow swim trunks, as I knew they wouldn't fit him much longer and he really likes them.

He returned home with duct tape all over his posterior. When I asked him what the??? He simply said, "Mom, did you know that duct tape can fix anything?" His trunks had torn right down the side of the rear seam...and he soon realized that the tape was stuck more to his bum than to the fabric.

He asked me to take a picture of the giant red welt it left, so that he could see what it looked like.

He made me swear I wouldn't post it on my blog.

Who does he think I am? Of course I won't.

I'll just keep it until he starts dating.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I could listen to this the rest of my life

LOVE STORY (Taylor Swift) meets VIVA LA VIDA (Coldplay) - Piano Cello - by Jon Schmidt

Monday, August 17, 2009

I can't believe I wrote this trash

I know I should post, but I'm lazy. I mean, I'm tired. I mean, I have two - not one, but two - large first-day packets to complete. So I'll I repost something from long ago. I don't think I have EVER sworn so much, in spoken form. But, it still makes me, without further ado, for your reading pleasure:

I love to read. I always have. I don't remember learning to read - I remember sitting on my mother's lap while she read to me, and ours was the kind of house with books everywhere (just as mine is today). "They" said I learned to read on my own at 3 1/2. I do know that I was the only kindergartner at our small school who read fluently the first day, and was allowed to check out far more library books than the other children. By the end of third grade, the school decided they'd taught me all they could about reading and literature, and I got to tutor the younger kids each day during literature class, right through sixth grade.

I didn't just read - I absorbed books. Especially after my mother died when I was 10 - there was no one to tell me that something might not be appropriate. I read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" when I was 11. I still have nightmares about it.

Some books stand out more than others. When I was 11 or 12 (that part of my life is awfully fuzzy) my step-father's sister (step-aunt? Is there such a thing?) gave me a book on....ahem.... reproduction. All that I remember is that the man lies above the woman. This confounded me - did they have to do it on stairs? Was there a special structure designed for this? Now, if the book would have said lies on top of, or next to, or knelt behind and slammed her like a greyhound, I might have gotten a clue.

So the point of today's missive (if there is one) is this: I read. I read a lot. Unless a particular book is spectacularly riveting, I'll generally have two going at a time. There was a brief period in my life when my kids were under the age of about 2 that I couldn't read - I'd fall asleep if I sat down and tried to read....but thank God, I got through that.

I read when I'm cooking, I read while blow-drying my hair. I read while I'm brushing my teeth. Not flossing, unless it's a large, hard-cover book that stays open by itself. I read to my kids. I read while my dogs are taking a dump in the back yard.

And, of course, some books are better than others. I never read any books about any type of sport. Or those mechanical technical engineery thingies. Some I will read and re-read forever, I love them so (The Handmaid's Tale comes to mind). Some disappoint, though I will almost always finish a book I've started, just to find out the end. These people are real, damn it, even if just in the author's mind, and I have to know what happens to them!

I just read a book that pissed me off. I don't think I've ever said or written those words before. I was so angry when I finished it that I couldn't go to sleep until 3 a.m. I wanted to find the author and throttle him.

It started with great promise. I've read Robin Cook's novels before, and have found them interesting. Granted, it's been some years since Coma, but I remembered it well. A medical mystery - something I can really wrap my mind around and try to unravel myself.

The end of the first chapter had me worried. Too many exclamation points. If your damn story doesn't tell me on it's own when something is supposed to be exciting, do you really think that a punctuation mark is going to help? A chapter or two in and I found the one thing I look for in paperbacks. A typo. A major typo. This was not a good sign. Affect for effect. This is third grade stuff, folks.

Anyway, I won't spoil it for you. I hate spoilers, even though I'm telling you now - don't waste your money on this piece of garbage!!!!! The denouement left me feeling just like I did when I found out my ex-husband was cheating on me with a 21-year old.

Oh, but I can't forget the epilogue, where the good author rails about the downfall of the practice of medicine in the 21st century. Actually, I agree with him, but I didn't need this ridiculous piece of crap to support his thesis.

Ok, maybe I was a bit cranky to start with. The King had invited his oldest friend to stay the night. I know, I know. Never let kids spend the night on a school night. But her mom had let him (ok, so his name is Jake) spend the night at her house once so that he could experience the life-altering attainment of his greatest goal - to walk to school. The short, five-minute walk that gave him such a sense of accomplishment, such joy, and a near-life-threatening exposure to poison oak.

So, now it was my turn. Jake's friend wanted to be driven to school - why, it would be almost like riding the bus!

A word to the wise - set your clocks back one hour. That way, you can lie to the children and tell them it really is 8:00 and time for bed, and they might just be asleep by 10:00.

So, it was in this frame of mind (or loss of same) that I approached the last few chapters of "Crisis." And was reminded why it's a good thing I sleep alone.

I threw it across the room.

Friday, August 14, 2009

An apple for the teacher

My kids start school Monday. How did the summer rush by so fast?

I want to thank every teacher out there....My kids have known the most wonderful teachers. Teachers who have brought out the best in my kids, and shown me sides of my children I'd never have seen, otherwise.

To the teachers who've know, and loved, and challenged, and taught, and expanded, and cracked up my kids:

A giant, giant, THANK YOU!

And yes, that was yelling.

Now I just have to remember to stay out of your way....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fight like Susan

Blogs can be wonderful; blogs can be terrible. Blogs can teach, entertain, challenge, disgust....when someone finds a blog she likes, she can spread the news like wildfire.

Sometimes I hopscotch through the web of blogdom. A link here, a mention there. Before I know it, I'm six degrees from where I began and two degrees back to someone I know.

For the first time, yesterday I met a blog friend, Hal from Dispatches from the Away-Dad Nation. We've been reading and commenting on each other's blogs for some time. I love reading about his wife and son, and his travels while flying helicopters. Our sons are close in age, and he writes wonderful stories. Wow - he's much taller than his photo.

Through blogs, I've tried new recipes, laughed new laughter, cried new tears. I've prayed and watched and waited; rejoiced and linked and joined. I've stayed up far too late; read until my eyes were far too weary.

One of my favorite blogs was found through a link from someone else - truly, I don't exactly remember. Was it Ree from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman? Probably. I've found some great bloggers through Ree. One of these days I'm gonna make that drive to the ranch and cook with her, I swear. Or maybe I'll just let her cook for me. I'll sleep in the Lodge, ride a horse, and laugh A LOT...I know this.

It's, written by Elden. You'll find it just over there on the right.

I can ride a bike. I'm not a cyclist. I'd like to be, but I'm not.

But that's not why I've read his blog. Though his posts on cycling are interesting, even to the non-cyclist, I've really been reading to follow the story of his wife, Susan.

Win, Susan.

How many comments did I leave that ended with these words?

Susan was fighting a battle with cancer, and today she died. Though I knew it was coming, it was still a shock to read the words.

Do yourself a favor. Hug your kids, kiss your spouse, write your sibling, call your parent, call your friend. Read Elden's blog, and most of all:


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Plans. I have PLANS!

I'm counting down.

Three more work days. Three. 24 hours of work - wait, 25, because tomorrow I have a meeting at 7:00 a.m.

The last few weeks have been....interesting.

My kids are pretty much sick of each other after a summer of togetherness.

We'll had WAY too much turmoil at work. Thankfully, I'll never again have to listen to the swinging exploits of a certain coworker of mine (and I don't mean swinging from a chandelier - though that may have been involved)...she was let go. AND. SHE. WASN'T EVEN. THE ONE. WHO WAS FIRED...FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Yeah, it was bad.

It's better now.

I got sick.

I'm pretty much better now.

There has been something else, too. Not sure yet if it's good or bad, but I'm not ready to write about it yet.

I've been contacted by someone from my misbegotten youth, and it was really nice.

I met a blog friend, and it was great.

And now I'm going to get ready for fun...Friday, Turtle Bay. Saturday...packing (ok, that kind of sucks, but it's gotta be done). Sunday...ON THE ROAD, BABY!

But know this...

I have a housesitter with a 9 mm just waiting for you to break into my house because you know I'm gone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And good times were had by all

Last weekend we camped. Camping for me, as a single mom, has consisted of weekends with me doing EVERYTHING or family camps in grungy cabins where I don't have to do ANYTHING. This time I was going to do things differently.

Once I'd picked the spot, I invited my friend Jessica and her son along. He's 10, and just a year older than my Prince. At the last moment, a mutual friend decided to join us - her daughter is just a few months younger than my Jelly Bean.

We were going to leave at 3. Then 4. Then 5. We got on the road about 6:30. Lassen Volcanic National Forest isn't far at all, thankfully.

Once we arrived, Jessie and I started setting up tents while Melissa BBQed...yum. It was truly a weekend of fantastic food!

This was the view from our campsite.

I could NOT keep my kids clean! We went through almost an entire container of wipes (conversation overheard and remembered: Mom, there was a lady in the bathroom using butt wipes ON HER FACE!) and frequented the bathroom sinks, but I eventually gave up. They were having fun!

Of course, the adults weren't far behind in the dirt factor:

The kids decided to dig to China, even though my Prince told everyone they'd never make it through the magma:

The girls had fun eating and drinking:

It was a great time of making memories. We'll return soon, and I'm going to do some climbing!

Have a great summer!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Kate update

Here is the website for updates on Kate. She's out of surgery, but the news is not good. Please pray for Kate and her parents.

Pray for Kate McRae

This is an unbelievable story. She is in surgery right this very moment. It's a reminder that life can change in an instant. Go hug your kids or other loved ones, and pray for Kate...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Perpetuum Jazzil, a Slovenian a capella group, sings Toto's Africa.


Watch and listen.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Those were the days of regret

I was in the 8th grade in '71/72. Yes, I'm exactly the same age as Michael Jackson. The first time I heard the Jackson 5, I was hooked! I had very eclectic musical tastes even then. My first two albums that I bought were Hank Williams (yes, that would be senior) and the Supremes. Jackson 5 came along not too much later.

I was in the 8th grade. It was a troubled time. It was after the flower children, and before Watergate. I was a 12 year old, living with an alcoholic stepfather (am I oversharing?) in a small town in Arizona, of all places..

I was in the 8th grade. I had a best friend named Susan. She was wonderful. And she wasn't allowed to come to my house.

Because I owned Jackson 5 records.

On another note, I wonder if Farrah Fawcett's family and friends are happy that the spotlight has moved, leaving them to some well-deserved peace and quiet. I always loved Farrah. I wanted her hair, but then so did every other girl in my class.

I remember one episode of Charlie's Angels (I wasn't in 8th grade anymore) where they visited a circus...some kind of murder had happened there (big surprise, right?). The family that owned the circus was the Bakaleinikoff family! They used my name!

I'm sure they got it out of the Hollywood archives. But it was so cool.

May Michael and Farrah rest in peace. They brought much joy to our world.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grand Old Flag

So, apparently I missed Flag Day....first time ever. For your viewing pleasure, may I present:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday

to my mother, on the anniversary of her birth.

I miss her.
I love her.
I wonder how life would have turned out had she not died when I was 10.


I'd have put in a better pic of her, but my scanner doesn't seem to want to work this evening.

Monday, June 1, 2009

These times, they are a'tryin'

It's the last week of school.

Emotions run high with first grade girls the last week of school. There's a chance that their mothers will be SO MEAN that they will never, ever see their best friends again until school starts THE. MIDDLE. OF. AUGUST. That's like FOREVER.

They also become very attached to their teacher, who is THE. MOST. BEAUTIFUL. AND. SWEETEST. WOMAN. IN. THE. WORLD. EVER. And she's never, ever going to be their teacher again.

And it's a party every day - today, the Aquatic Center, tomorrow a pizza party, Wednesday is a field trip to Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and
Thursday is the Summer Stampede - a family BBQ for the whole school. That's a lot of fun and excitement for one week.

So, I guess that's why tonight's dinner went like this:

Jelly Bean Princess: Can I have some ketchup on my pasta? (Yes, I know it's gross, but their dad does it).

Me: Of course.

I then put ketchup on the pasta.

JBP: I was wrong....I don't want ketchup.

Sobbing ensues. I scrape off every bit of pasta that has ketchup on it, and give it back to her.

She takes a bite.

JBP: Mom, I think I would like ketchup after all.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Relay for Life

I'm off to walk in Relay for Life today. Our Northern California Outdoor Adventurers group has formed a team.

I've walked in Relay for Life before....a couple years ago for North Valley Bank.

In 2004, I walked in the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer 3-Day. That was tough. And fun.

I lost my friend Heide this year - right before Thanksgiving, she lost her fight with breast cancer. Just heard good news about Randy, though.

I've pledged to walk 3 hours today - may end up walking more.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How do you make a hiker?

We hiked to Upper Brandy Creek Falls today. It's an easy little hike for kids, with a beautiful spot to relax at the end.

We didn't hike it last year because of the fires.

The year before we went several times, and always had a good time. The Jelly Bean Princess would whine a little, but she was only 4. We'd slide around and land in pools of icy water and pretend it was our very own water park.

This year was different.

The Princess cried the entire way there. I'm not talking whining....full out sobs. "Just leave me here." "This is the worst day of my life."

It wasn't even hot.

But there were bugs everywhere. And dirt. And the ground wasn't perfectly flat.

This girl is not cut out to be a hiker....what can I do? I LOVE hiking. The Prince is a great hiker.

Do I leave her at home with a sitter next time, and come home talking about what a great time we had? Or do I just make her buck up and keep doing it?

I'd post pics, but she'd kill me.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's a little warm in here

AwkwardFamily photo
I think it's time for that family photo...actually, I've heard some people look forward to these. You've got the Cables' awesome family photos. Then, there are the rockin' Millers. And the Edwardsons.

Don't even mention the Whittakers.

But I'm more afraid they'll end up looking like:
AwkwardFamily photo

or even:
AwkwardFamily photo

But it might be in my genes. Here's my family:Yeah, I'm not in that picture. Apparently, they were too busy spoiling me to take any more family shots once I was born. That's how I ended up with this sparkling personality.

Here's a nice one of my dad and two of my uncles:Now, don't they look like fun?

So now the planning begins!

And thanks, Los for this great time waster!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hi, my name is Annie, and I'm

Quietly going out of my mind. Or not so quietly.

Back off if you think I'm slamming or making fun of mental illness. Believe me, I'm a good friend of the family. I have friends and family suffering from everything from ADHD (yes, it's classified as a mental illness), bipolar syndrome, schizophrenia. And that's on a good day.

Whatever. You take your insulin, my son will take his meds, ok?

I haven't been blogging much because I've been under SO. MUCH. STRESS. And I feel like a real weenie for saying this. I feel awful.

I follow Christ. I truly believe that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. I get it. I really do.

And I haven't had child or a spouse die. That would truly be the worst.

But I've got a lot of cr*p going on right now. Everything from an unemployed ex, to a son AND daughter who may have serious health problems (besides their regular, garden-variety ADHD.)

Birthparents that won't leave us alone.

A month-long bout with asthma that required lots of steroids that MAKE ME WANT TO SCREAM AT EVERYONE!

$1,000 dental bill that my insurance denied. Did I mention I just had to get new tires and register my car the same week?

I now do the work of two people - literally - in fewer hours. At least I have a job. But I want to cry every time I look at my desk, when what I should be doing is slogging through the stacks of paperwork.

All of it is taking its toll. I haven't been blogging. I haven't been sleeping. I gained too much weight.

But I'm turning this around. Right now. I finally dropped 4 pounds (yay!). I got something from the doctor to help me sleep. And I'm relying on God, and not myself.

There, I feel better now.

Uh, I'm not doing ANY chores tonight. The d*mn house can wait.

I can't believe I'm swearing so much! It's cathartic. Pardon me while I go swear at the dog....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This was going to be different

This was going to be about the crappy day I had. The piles of work on my desk. The call from my daughter's school (she insisted on going this morning and had no fever) just as I was about to leave for the dentist, the two HOURS in the dentist's chair, the $1,000 I had to pay since it doesn't look like the work will be covered by my insurance, learning I now have to wear a night guard.

It was going to be funny, though. It really was.

And then I got home and found out about Kayleigh. I've been following the Freemans' blog since Kayleigh was just a couple months old, and my kids and I have been praying for a miracle. Last night, the day after Mother's Day, the Freemans had to say good-by for now to their precious little girl.

I though my day stunk.

Excuse me, I have to go hug my kids and snuggle down for the evening.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

When plans change

When I was a little girl, I imagined growing up and having my mom always with me. Planning my wedding. Being a grandma. That, and so much more.

Then my plans changed.

Here's what I wrote last year:

A most troubling day for me.

My mom died when I was 10. I loved her as all little girls love their moms - with an unconditional and all-encompassing love. I remember the love of reading she passed on to me. The nights we'd stay up late, snuggling and watching Alfred Hitchcock movies. The way we ate artichokes, and the marrow out of bones. The way she cared for me when I was sick, or when I burned my leg when I was nine. Though it must have been horribly difficult, she cleaned my 3rd degree burn every day and convinced me I would live (since I'd heard that people with 3rd degree burns died, I was convinced it was happening to me). She was so beautiful. She was, really. She was a model, and started a modeling agency in LA with Nina and Virgina Blanchard.

The night my parents met at the Trocadero restaurant in LA, my father, the Russian, saw my mom across the room. The next day the "Daily Variety" had a headline that told what he said when he saw her. "My heart is on fire!" Big time.....

So, when Mother's Day rolls around, I used to just withdraw, because I get cranky. It got a little better after I became a mom myself, but I still MISS. MY. MOMMY.

This year started off very strangely. I planned on taking the kids to the coast, as my NCOA buddies were headed to Patrick's Point for a little camping and sea kayaking. Ok, I wasn't going to let my 6 year old, or even my 9 year old kayak, but I figured we could enjoy the camping and hiking.

But then my ex told me that his parents would be in town and he was keeping the kids through the entire weekend. Yes, he told me that. Didn't ask. Didn't discuss. Didn't consult.

After screaming silently for a moment, I calmed down. After all, my kids rarely get to see their grandparents on his side, as they live far away. And they have no grandparents on my side. It's really great they get to spend time with them while they're here.

So, plans changed, and I headed to the coast sans children.

Once there, I scheduled my sea kayak trip and also made plans to meet up with some old friends on the way home. Bonus!!!!

Great, great weather. Wonderful people. Amazing fun.

And then the ex called last night. Princess Jelly Bean was running a bit of a fever. I told him to give her some acetaminophen and I'd call in the morning.

This morning she was running a temp of 102 and coughing.

So my plans changed again.

I THREW all my camping gear into my car, took a very quick shower and started home, trying to drive carefully while really wanting to DRIVE. LIKE. A. CRAZY. WOMAN. to get home. The roads are windy, and I needed to get home to my daughter in one piece.

So now she's sleeping on the couch, and I'm posting here. Wondering how I can teleport everying out of my car into the house and garage.

And did I mention I broke a tooth this morning? I'll be calling the dentist tomorrow, though I can't actually go until Princess gets better. See, even though her dad's not working right now, he's going to be golfing tomorrow, so I get to stay home with her. We'll snuggle and watch movies, and I pray she'll feel better.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

But it sticks to my thighs

I love learning from my son as he learns from me.

Just today, he taught me what an aglet is.

And I shared the meaning of ferrule with him.

And I did something else today FOR. THE. VERY. FIRST. TIME. EVER. I popped popcorn. On the stove....with only a pan and some oil. My mom used to make it that way all the time. I started with JiffyPop and graduated to microwave, with a short stop at an air-popper in between.

And we melted butter. Real butter.

The look on his face when he took the first bite was priceless...but, of course, I didn't have my camera ready. I'm just not like Ree or MckMama. I'm not a good photographer.

His words?

"Moooo-oooom. Butter is AWESOME!"

My poor deprived child.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Boys like it...

We're chatting with our neighbor this evening. He's working on his car. My Prince leans in through the open car window and says "Wow, that car smells great!" I leaned in and sniffed.

It smelled. Like a greasy, oily, smelly place where cars get fixed and wallets get leaner.

Neighbor boy explained that the car had some leaks.

I explained that my son loves the smell of gas.

Prince pops up: "Mom. I don't love the smell of all gas. Not the kind that comes out of your butt."

If you never want to be embarrassed, don't have kids.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I can't, I'm laughing too hard

I was going to post tonight, but first I had to check out Stacy from Louisville.

She's funny.

She warned me: she said to take a trip to the bathroom, and spit out any food.

I did as I was told...really.

She didn't mention ANYTHING about taking a drink of iced tea right before the end.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Which came first?

So, I'm making Pumpkin-Oatmeal Muffins this morning, and the Prince asks if I'm going to put chocolate in them. When I'm making a healthy recipe, I usually like to through in just enough of those extra-mini chips so the kids think they're getting a treat.

Me: On, no. I forgot to buy chocolate chips.

Prince: That's okay. If you buy a box of those chocolate chip granola bars, I'll take the chocolate chips out for you to use.


Me: You will take apart store-bought granola bars so I can have an ingredient I need for home-made ones?

Him: Uh-huh.

Me: I think I'll just stop at the store after church and buy a bag...seems easier to me.

Him: Well, how do you think they got them to put them in the bags? They had to get them from somewhere.

Me: Seems to me they just make them.

Him: Oh. Never mind. Are they done yet?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blessings in disguise

So, I don't want to be a blabbermouth, but my ex-husband lost his job. Victim of the suckonomy.

He always provided the kids' health insurance. Free of charge to him, I will add, so that you don't think he's some altruistic dude. He worked for a rockin' company that paid the ENTIRE premium, not only for employees, but their entire families. Hmmm, maybe that's why they had to have a lay-off?

Thankfully, my kids were deemed "medically needy" at the time we adopted them, and they have the extravagance of having state-provided health insurance for FREE until they turn 18, in absence of other coverage. Since it would cost about $300 per month for me to cover them, which I don't have, this is a blessing in and of itself.

But, because of this change in coverage, we had to change pediatricians. My friend Lynne recommended one.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, God.

Our former pediatrician, who I thought was pretty terrific, turns out wasn't as thorough as he could have been.

The new one, a lovely woman, ran several tests that I'd read were recommended for children "like mine" but were brushed off my the former pedi. They look healthy, right?

This is my jelly bean princess, looking happy as we had fun setting up for the EKG that we really didn't need, did we?

Thanks to MckMama and her son Stellan, I actually was familiar with the term "Right Bundle Branch Block." Or maybe it's "Right Branch Bundle Block." Whatever.

It sucks.

Hopefully, the test was wrong. And the re-test.

And the pediatric cardiologist we'll see soon will pat my hand and say, "There, there now...that was nothing."

BBB is quite common, and occurs in a variety of medical conditions. RBBB occurs in medical conditions that affect the right side of the heart or the lungs, so a finding of RBBB on the ECG ought to trigger a screening exam for such conditions. These include blood clots to the lung (pulmonary embolus), chronic lung disease, cardiomyopathy, and atrial and ventricular septal defects. However, RBBB also commonly occurs in normal, healthy individuals, and the screening exam therefore often turns up no medical problems. In these cases, the RBBB has no apparent medical significance, and can be written off as a “normal variant,” and safely ignored.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

There's a change in the air

It's warm and lovely. Still, unfortunately filled with pollen, which wreaks havoc on my respiratory tract. It's been a nasty few weeks, and those of you who may have heard me talk can attest.

My bum hurts! Steroid shots HURT. LIKE. MAD. They burn. They keep me awake at night, and when I finally ease into slumber, they invade my dreams with pictures of the things I fear most.

Nebulizers freak me out. They make me think of sick old people, or frighteningly sick babies.

Trying to keep track of eight medications of my own (in addition to the ones my kids take daily) makes me feel as though I'm running a pharmacy.

And now my kids have lost their health insurance. Yup, my ex-husband lost his job, a casualty of the lack of building going on. (Lost his girlfriend, too..all within a couple days. Bummer for my kids ... they really liked this one).

I thank God that they are eligible for Medi-Cal, and they were deemed medically needy at the time of their adoption, but this necessitates a change in doctors for them. And probably a change in medications, since the ones they take aren't covered, and run about $250 a month for us now, WITH insurance. Oh, well. I'm thankful they have the coverage, as it would cost $300 to add them on at my work - which I just can't afford.

I'm not whining. I'm thankful, really.

And today the sun is out, and my kids are happy and healthy....we're off to the library, and the River Trail.

And yes, I'll have my rescue inhaler with me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Haven't been posting much...didn't want to whine. I've been super sick.

8 (yes, that's an eight) prescriptions, Kenalog injections, breathing treatments, and I think I'm starting to feel better.

But maybe I'm just wired from the steroids.

When I got divorced, I made the attorney put in a 100 mile clause - neither me or my ex could move more than 100 miles from the other. I believe with all my heart that kids shouldn't have to fly across state lines or spend an entire day in the car just to see a parent. I wasn't thinking about me - I was worried my ex would move away.

But Redding really isn't a healthy place for me. I LOVE IT! But over a dozen bouts of bronchitis, 3 rounds of pneumonia, and innumerable sinus infections in 15 years is pushing it. No, I don't keep track - my doctor figured it out.

Oh, well. I'm here for the duration. And how can you leave a place with a view like the one above only 5 minutes from my house?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Did I mention that I just love The Myriad?

I do. They rock. They (ok, some of the guys) are from my little old town of Redding (although they CLAIM Seattle) and THEY WON the MTV2 Mountain Dew Circuit Breakout (say THAT three times fast) in 2007. They play amazingly great music, and the guys I've met (Jeremy and Randy) are very down-to-earth, great guys.

And, if you've been reading my blog for long, you know that Randy is currently fighting mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. It's cancer, and it sucks. It sucks bad.

He and his wife Krystin have been so amazingly upbeat through his diagnosis, surgery, and chemo. And now she's asking for help. She needs prayers.

If you want to know more about Randy, you can just click on his video to the right of this very post. He's the blonde guy...or he was. Kind of bald now, but it looks good on him.

His lovely wife keeps us all posted on what's going on via her blog. If you're too lazy to click on that link I just gave you, here's what she has to say today:

He had blood work done yesterday that showed his red blood count was low and his white blood cell count was even lower. That's what helps him fight off illness. They haven't been this low until now. Yesterday, he started having all over nerve pain and his bones were aching. Last night, he didn't sleep well at all and his sinuses are killing him. Hopefully it's just allergies, but if he starts getting a cough or more body aches, he will have to to into the hospital to hopefully keep whatever he has from going into pneumonia. This is the first time i have been scared throughout all of this. I'm trying to keep my anxiety from him, but he is so stubborn that i'm afraid he will keep his sickness from me in order to tough it out. Even his Dr. gets frustrated with him.

He has another blood test today, but that won't do much other than say his counts are up or down. He won't run a fever even if he's sick because his WBC is so low. Fever's are GOOD!!! It's our body's natural defense. It means you fighters are fighting. He doesn't have any, maybe 2...
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray he gets healthy!

So....if you're the praying kind, pray. If you're not, pray anyway. It'll do both you and Randy good.

Thankful you're reading this, and thankful for my very healthy family,

Update: According to Krystin, Randy is doing much better now. Thank you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Relay for Life

Cancer has really been a big, ugly presence in my life this year.

My friend Heide died.
My friend Dawn became a survivor.
My friend Randy is fighting for his life right now.

This isn't new. I've lost a lot of people to cancer: my brother, Tony; my father; two uncles...friends...the list could go on and on.

In 2003 I completed the Breast Cancer 3-Day. It was brutal. You can read about my experience here. I don't think I could do it again.

But I can do this. And you can help. Here's a link . You can donate online. Even if you're not able to donate, maybe you could lift a prayer for me.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is this why teachers drink?

Dear 3rd grade teacher,

First of all, let me thank you for helping to inspire my son in his life of learning. I really do get that my son loves to go to school, and is just soaking up anything you throw at him like a sponge. You are a teacher who truly does this because you love kids and you love teaching them. It's not just a job....if it was, would you and the other teachers at your school all have taken VOLUNTARY PAY CUTS to keep even one teacher from being laid off or one program from being cut?

And 3rd grade has to be fun. For one thing, they don't wet their pants on the playground anymore. And their romantic escapades should be enough to keep you in blogdom for ever.

But I need to ask you a question.

How many 3rd graders, no matter how computer savvy they are, actually know how to type beyond hunt and peck? Yes, I know that this makes them disturbingly similar to half the executives I've worked with. But....none, that I know of. And I conducted a highly scientific poll while accompanying the class on a field trip last week.

Now, I know that the history paper that you assigned can be either type-written or WRITTEN IN YOUR NEATEST HANDWRITING. These are 3rd graders...what are they going to do? Right. Bribe their mothers into typing for them.

And while I'm on this subject - what is wrong with me? Why do I still call it typing? It's keyboarding, and I know better.

Oh, yes - and the research that needed to be done. Right. Research on the Internet. Write a business letter asking for information. Interview a grown-up who knows about the subject.

Write the paper - with a title page and a bibliography. These are THIRD GRADERS!

Amazing. Thank you. My son is writing a pretty interesting paper. He's learned a lot. And so have I. I've learned my son is capable of pretty much anything thrown at him.

Except the typing part.

So, honestly...what's a parent to do? Do I let him write it out, painstakingly...or do I type it so that it looks just like everyone else's?

Just curious. And by the way - thanks for inspiring my son.