Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shower Kitty

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Some people have shower caddies, we have a shower kitty. He loves to be in the shower with us and doesn't mind the water. He drinks it up. Literally.

The New Religion

Yesterday as we were driving home from Seattle, I took a slight detour and instead of driving on the freeway, we went over Beacon Hill and south.

As we drove, we saw a woman covered head to toe in a black burkha. Only her eyes were visible. I told the girls to look out the window.

"What religion do you think she is?", I asked them.
"Ninja?" answered my nine year old treasure.

I sputtered and then I laughed and then I explained that no, being a ninja was not a religion but a life choice. A very cool one, but no, not a religion.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Children's Hospital

If you have to spend time at a hospital, there is no better place than Children's Hospital in Seattle. We're sure we've paid for a few new wings on that place---but it's been worth it. Now we're not there every week, which is nice. Today we were there. And we were there last week, but hopefully that will be it for a while. Ash has been having pain and instability in her right leg. last week we met with the head of orthopedics and this week we met with one of our favorite people. Ashley's therapist, Cathy.

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She measured and she stretched Ash and we decided on a plan of action. Thankfully Ashley's hip is all right it we can alleviate her pain with some physical therapy. Since driving to Seattle every day for therapy is far too expensive, we're going to do it here at home for now.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Near Death Experiences

We've all had them. Perhaps you've been in a plane that experienced severe turbulence and you were bounced around so hard you hit your head on the ceiling of the plane. Maybe you chipped a nail while opening a door or the wind mussed your hair after you'd just spent hours getting it just so. Coming this close to death is no laughing matter.

I had just such an experience today.

We took the girls here.

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We let the girls ride their bikes and we walked. Normally this is not a problem, but I'd left home not really intending to walk. I hadn't had time to grab socks so all I had on were tennis shoes (trainers to you across the pond). We walked and we walked. We walked a little further. Then my husband had a brilliant idea.

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"Sweetheart, how about I walk aaaallllll the way back to the suburban and then drive it up ahead to the next trail head and I'll pick you all up so you don't have to walk aaaaaallllll the way back"

On the surface this was a kind and chivalrous thing to offer me. My right shoe was already well on it's way to rubbing my little toe into oblivion and this did seem like the perfect solution. After all I wouldn't have to walk that far.

Bare with me, this is where part of the near death experience kicks in. I walked and I walked. The girls rode and rode then they came back to me, then rode on again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Bicyclists passed me again and again. One group stopped and I heard one of them say to the other that it was three more miles to the next stop.

I began to see a bright white light and thought it might be a good time to hobble walk into it. See the light?

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Oh look. A river. this is not the same river we started walking along. I believe that we have now crossed three rivers and two mountain ranges. Perhaps I could drown myself in it.

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At this point there are vultures circling overhead because they understand that I might soon provide them with a feast of such magnitude they won't have to eat for a year. Maybe three.

I keep watch through the trees to see if I can spot the suburban. About a mile back Ally said she thought she saw Daddy driving in the other direction. Oh good. Perhaps he's going to pick us up via Canada. I keep stumbling along. I wonder if I lay down on the path if someone would stop and check me for a pulse.

Finally I see Ally riding her bike back towards me. "MOOOOM!!! Dad is up ahead!"

Up ahead meant he was nearly another mile away, but I thought I could make it. I'm sure that I left my little toe somewhere around milepost five.

I'm sure it's not the treat the vultures were hoping for, but I believe in giving back to nature.

When we got home I poured hydrogen peroxide over my mangled toes. I nearly passed out from the pain. For some reason this caused my husband to laugh and tell me to do it again.

To his credit, he did help me bandage it up with some antibiotic cream, although he wouldn't kiss it better like I asked him to.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stalking Your Teenager

Pamela's Column for Pacific Publishing
May 2008


I have a sign that I put up on the front of my house every Halloween. It says ‘You Can’t Scare Me, I Have Teenagers.” While this statement has proven true on many occasions, it’s also true that the only things that can scare me are my teenagers themselves. Sometimes all they need to do is come up to me and ask me for money. Or tell me they have a girlfriend.

Ok, it’s not so much they tell me they have a girlfriend as I stalk them online to find out what’s going on in their lives and then discover the girlfriend. Myspace, Facebook and other social networking sites on the Internet are virtually (Get it? Virtually? Ha!) gold mines of information that your teenagers won’t willingly give you.

Oh sure, experts tell you to keep the lines of communication open between you and your teen. Sit them down, talk to them, have dinner with them, ask them questions. These experts have never seen an actual teenager in their natural habitat.

“So how are things going, son?”
“Grunt”
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Grunt”
“Ok. Um, that sounds good. How is school?”

This time the grunt was followed with a shrug. Progress! I’m getting verbal as well as non-verbal clues. The hard part is translating this into useful information. This is where stalking your teen online comes in handy.

If your teen is unaware that you are computer savvy, then you’re in luck. This means they might not have made their profiles on Facebook or Myspace private. You can read their thoughts, find out about their likes in music and film and people.

A word of warning here: you may discover things you don’t want to know. You know, like your child is a Super Delegate and is about to vote for Hillary despite being pledged to Obama. This is the stuff of nightmares.

Or you could do what I did and find out that despite your many warnings, pleadings, exhortations and ultimatums, your 18 year old daughter went out and got herself a tattoo anyway.
Did I mention that your teenager can put pictures up on their profiles? Why yes, yes they can. Some of those pictures will curl your hair, if you still have any after having raised them to this point.

I was looking through my daughter’s Facebook, as well as her friend’s and discovered a picture of her where her shirt was up a bit and showed her belly. You know, the belly that I used to tickle. The belly I used to blow raspberries on. The little belly that I kissed and loved and…hang on. I need a tissue.

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah. Her beautiful perfect little tummy. It’s been defiled. Right there online I saw a tattoo on her right hip.

Now the problem I had was how to let her know I knew without letting her know just how I knew. Once they find out you’re stalking them online it’s like getting downwind of a herd of antelope in the Serengeti. They’ll race off in the other direction and you’ll never again be able to get close enough to draw blood. I mean that in the nicest possible way of course.

So the next time we were in the same room together, something she tried very hard to avoid, I watched as she reached up into a cupboard for a glass. This caused her shirt to rise up and since her sweat pants were already hanging dangerously low on her hips, the tattoo was there for all to see.

“What’s that?
“What’s what?”
“Right there on your hip?”
“Nothing”

And just like that, the lines of communication were open. It was like a virtual floodgate had been breached and words came gushing out.

If you consider seven words to be gushing.
“I’m 18 and I can do what I want”

I think I’ll stick to learning about them online.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Flooding

What a difference a few days make. Here's a picture of hubby and doggie by the river last week. Notice the cement block and how far the water is from it....

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Here's the same block a few days later with my baby girl siting on it...

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Here it is again the following day....

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And here it is today. I mean, if you can see it. Look for the tiny dark area down to the right. The snow is melting at an alarming speed and the rivers are rising quickly.

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Grrrrr.....

Argh.

Ack.

Ptui.

Someone stop this merry-go-round. I'm done. I want to get off.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm Hot

Summer has started early here it seems.

For the record, I am not pleased. It's hot. It's not supposed to be 90 degrees here in May.

No, it's not. This violates all the laws of....well, the laws to which I adhere. It's awful and it's hot and it's not right. Did I mention the whole awful thing?

So hubby decides to mow the lawn. At noon. High Noon. You know, when the sun is supposed to be hottest. The man is courting a stroke. I was in our bedroom, air conditioning running full tilt, playing a game of Nintendo with Ally when he texts me and says to come look out the front window upstairs. This is what we saw:

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Aha! I knew it! He wasn't mowing, he'd forced our daughter to do it for him! Shame, shame, shame!

Ok, she was doing it of her own free will. She's still young enough to think things like that are an enjoyable experience in high heat and humidity.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Two and a half times the usual

We took another walk along the levee this afternoon. This time we took the girls, as well as the doggie. The first thing we noticed was just how high the river had risen in just two days. The water was moving much faster and it was a muddy brown. The big melt has begun.

Apparently we got two and a half times the normal amount of snowfall up in the mountains this year.

This does not bode well for the river.

Here you can see the difference. This was taken on Monday. See the concrete block and how far the water is from it?

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This was taken today. Ashley is sitting on the concrete block and poking a stick in the water.

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We brought along a neighbor girl who sometimes spends time at our house.

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Here's Ally mugging for the camera.

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We walked and we walked and we walked. It was warm and humid and yes we were sweating. The girls said they wanted a treat for walking so many miles, so we took them to an old soldier's cemetery on the way home. Most of the graves were from the Spanish American War, many said they'd served in WWI and WWII.

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And here's the reason we suffer so much at the gas pumps.
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It was interesting to read the tombstones. To see the births in the 1800's and lives lived and spent well before I was born. It's a well maintained graveyard and there were even some sites that had flowers placed upon them.

Then we took the girls to get a Frosty before we went home. As if going to the cemetery wasn't treat enough! I tell ya. Kids these days.

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Rivers

We went to a different river for a walk this morning. I bet when you go walking you don't see signs like this:

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This means that if Mt. Rainier is about to blow her top, we should seek high ground. We have volcano evacuation route signs all around our town as well. You know, just in case. Like there would be time to get out, considering the traffic situation around here. It's not pretty. On days when the mountain isn't blowing up you can't get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. But I digress...

Here's Cassie in the back of the suburban as we got gas. She's not pleased. Did I mention she's not a good traveler? No, she's not. I swear she coats the entire back of the vehicle in her slobber. I call this Fear Slobber. It's everywhere.

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So we walked along the Carbon River. What does Cassie do right off the bat? Oh yeah. She squatted right in the middle of the path. She couldn't go over to the grass? Nooooooo. And just to show you that we are good pet owners, I snapped these photos. So if you see any doggie doo down there, don't blame us. Nope. Not us.

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And lest you think I was lying about the river, here is a man and his dog. It's a beautiful thing.

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This from the bridge...

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Then we (I) limped on back to our vehicle. My knees do not like me right now, but I'm not listening to them. They're going to have to suck it up and work like they're supposed to work.

I hate getting old(er).

Friday, May 09, 2008

A river runs through it

I'm not sure what 'it' is, though.

Today I skipped walking the lake and took hubby and the doggie to walk along the river on the levee. Once again, Cassie didn't want to get into the suburban because she knew if she did, I'd take her somewhere and make her walk a lot.

She finally decided to cooperate and climb up.

Here she is at the beginning of our walk. Notice that she looks somewhat happy.

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This didn't last long. The sun was shining and although it wasn't really hot out, it seemed that way to her because she's black. Oh, and just a wee bit chubby.

We walked and we walked and finally found a place to get down to the river so she could drink. Except I knew she wouldn't. You see, the water is....well, wet. And this particular water is moving, which is infinitely more frightening than water that is in her water dish at home.

Did I mention that this particular dog is afraid of water? Especially if the water is moving at all. We've taken her to the beach and watched as she had a panic attack each time a wave hit the shore--even though she was nowhere near the water.

So, down the river we went.

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And she collapsed. The only thing on her that was holding her up was her tongue.

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We tried to rouse her and get her to the river so she'd drink. No joy. So my husband, the man with the biggest heart on the planet, cupped his hands together and filled them with river water, then walked to where she was and verily the canine did drink. A lot. Lance went back to the river several times, cupping and trapping more water and taking it back to the panting pooch.

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More and more water....

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After she'd been sufficiently hydrated she was able to slowly finish up our walk and make her way back to the suburban.

I think I'll take her to see a waterfall tomorrow.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ouch

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I've decided to quit driving and get a horse. Or a bicycle. Or a horse that rides a bicycle.

Maybe a hot air balloon would work. Perhaps I'll just give in to my hermit-tendencies and never leave the house. I really don't have to go anywhere, I can do everything I need to do online.

Banking? check

Grocery shopping? check

Social Interaction? check

Clothes shopping? check

Bill paying? check


I'm golden.

I've been to the desert on a dog with no brains

Not really, but close.

Our dog Cassie is not the brightest of animals. I say this with the same affection I use when I say that my teenage son now painfully understands the reason it's illegal to text message and drive at the same time

Cassie sort of fell into our laps through no fault of my own one summer day a few years back.

This week I've taken up walking around a lake near our home every morning. The first morning I took hubby with me, the last three mornings I've taken Cassie.

Cassie does not travel well. She tends to throw up if the journey is of any length. She also does not get much exercise. The most traveling she's had lately has only been moving from one couch to the other for her marathon naps each day.

I've not been much better at getting out and moving--but I'm trying to do better, hence the lake walking this week.

This morning when I woke her up and told her we were going for a walk, her response was less than enthusiastic. When I took her outside and told her to get into the suburban, she circled it three times with her tail between her legs as though she expected it to hurt her.

I finally got her to jump up and in so I could secure her leash to the little steel thingy in the back to keep her from jumping over the seats.

She jumped over the seat anyway, the big furry doofus. When I got to the lake I went to get her out and discovered her about to choke herself in the back seat. Not only had she done that but she'd wrapped the leash around one leg. This is not a small dog. I couldn't reach her and was trying to figure out how unhook her. Finally I just told her to jump back over the seat and she finally managed it.

Here she is on our walk. Big, furry, brainless baby.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

A walk in the park...

This morning our son went to school late, so we drove him. Then we walked around a beautiful lake before we headed home. It's Bradley Lake--and I'm sure there was a bear sighting there a few weeks ago. I wonder if they ever caught it....

Ah well. We never saw the bear. All we saw was the beauty of blue sky reflected on smooth as glass water. We saw Grandpas teaching their grandsons to fish and momma ducks with their ducklings. It was a beautiful walk and I wanted to share it with you here.