Thursday, October 30, 2008

"We Need to Talk About Kevin"

Do you ever take on the mood of something you're reading?

I do. Unfortunately. Or fortunately, depending upon the material I'm mentally consuming.

Right now I'm reading We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

It came out five years ago and I never heard a word about it. I wonder if it was due to it's dark material.... I don't know.

The book is written in letters by Eva to her husband. Their son committed mass murder at his high school, an event that Eva refers to only as Thursday. I've not finished it yet---but I will. Her thoughts on getting pregnant and bringing home her son are confusing to me. I know everyone is different and though we may experience the same things (childbirth), not everyone processes those same experiences in the same manner. We don't react in similiar ways----but her feelings and thoughts on this matter are foreign to me.

Oh, not the tiredness, but the resentment she seems to have over this child who took her body from her, who took her career from her and who eventually became a wedge of discontent between herself and her husband.

My own experiences in this area, while painful and not without some emotional trauma, were quite different. I looked upon each tiny bundle placed in my arms as miracles. Four delicate and beautiful miracles---their beauty and innocence resonated within me and it felt as though heaven was within my reach. So close I could touch it.

So while I'm finding this novel interesting, I'm not sure I'd say I was enjoying it. I will say that it's making me think.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Eating Broccoli is good for you....

I once wrote a column about how I may have mentioned to my nieces that eating broccoli would increase their....er, chest size. In my defense, I was simply trying to get them to eat more green vegetables.

My sister had some rather serious surgery today and so I'm taking care of her girl Nicole. I took her to a doc appt, bought her lunch and then brought her home with us after school and we had dinner together. While the girls were at the table, they were acting like.....well, girls. Much to the dismay and disgruntlement of my father. Somehow the discussion of how eating broccoli will increase their....well, you know.

Torturing Dogs

My father has taken it upon himself to be the sole dispenser of all food for the four footed creatures in our home, of which there are many. He feeds the dogs once a day and this has not set well with my puppy Cassie.

Ok, she's not really a puppy any longer but much like how I view my babies as my babies, my dog will always be my puppy.

He enjoys taunting and teasing my dog and always feeds her last. He thinks it's amusing to watch her watching the other two canines wolfing down their plate of food while she prances and dances and slobbers.

Ah well. He has to get his entertainment somewhere, right?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From the mouths of babes....

One of our favorite shows is NCIS. I think Gibbs is cute but my little Ally thinks my age is the reason for my complete lack of ability to sense hotness in guys on tv.

At one point there was some danger to the Goth chick Abbey

Allison: "Abbey can't die, she's the only cool person on the show!"

Me: "Uh uh, Dinozo is way cool"

Allison: "You don't know anything because you're a wrinkly old person"

Me, mouth wide and eyes staring at her.

Allison: "Mom, you can gape at me all you want, it's not going to change anything. You're still getting gray hair and you can't stop aging"

I was so proud she used the word 'gape' correctly.

Ashley's Second Swim Lesson

Today was Rosie's second lesson---and she loved it as much as she loved the first one.

I allowed Allison to come with us--just this once--so she could see what the instructor was teaching Ash in order to be able to help her practice it on saturdays at the local pool.

Here she is leaping into the pool. Ok, leap is bit of an overstatement, but you get the idea.



Here's a video of her swimming with a noodle. She's quite good with a noodle. Noodles are good. Oh great, now I'm hungry.



And here's the last one---you can see Allison practicing her Air Swimming. She's getting better at it, though she dislikes me photographing her doing so.



It was a great morning with my girls.

Boeing Strike Over?

According to this article, it is!

Excuse me while I do a little happy dance.

Ahem.

Ok. Done.

This doesn't mean they're back at work yet, but should be within the week. I went to bed relieved and happy for the first time in....oh, 53 days.

We might have a Christmas after all!

Ok, back to happy dancing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trunk or Treat

Every October we have a pre-halloween-dress-up-and-score-candy night at our church. Well, in the church parking lot. They call it trunk or treat because you're supposed to decorate your trunk and the kids walk around the parking lot and say "Trunk or Treat!" and you give them something destined to cause their parents more dental bills.

Tonight our kids did just that. Ash was a little devil-girl, complete with pitchfork and Ally was... uh.... I'm not sure what she was exactly. She had on a Gothic Cross Hat that sported a skull and swords. She also carried a rather large battle axe. They scored a great deal of sweets and came home happy.

Life is good when you're young and have candy.

Here, listen to the spooky music. You know you want to.

Click to play Trunk or Treat Night
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Halloweenie Time

Last night, after my wonderful hubby helped a family in our ward move, and after he'd worked hard all day at some wonderful people's house, we took the girls to a Halloween outdoor thingy.

Don't you love it when I talk technical? Yes, thingie. And yes, I'm a writer. Or something like that.

There was this free halloween party thingie at Hamlin Park for the kids. They had hayrides, games, apple cider, ghost stories, marshmallow roasting and face painting.

Ash thought it was great fun and got her face painted.

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Allison, being older and wiser, was not as impressed. In her defense, it was geared more towards the younger set, but still. It was fun. I did force her to stand still next to some blow up pumpkins for a picture. Again, my aplogies for the horrendous pictures. I only have my cell phone camera to work with.

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So, with candy in hand we went back home to inflict more dental damage on ourselves. Well, on the kids. They weren't sharing their loot.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Boeing is keeping me up at night

I went to sleep around 11 or so last night. I woke up around 2 and never went back to bed. I couldn't.

Couldn't sleep, couldn't turn my brain off.....just couldn't.

I watched tv. I was going to read but there wasn't enough light in the living room and I couldn't read in bed because that would have woken Lance up. So.....tv. Mind numbing tv.

There really isn't anything good on during that time period. Have you ever noticed that? Most are paid programming for kitchen gadgets you can't live without, exercise machines you need after you get the kitchen gadgets and eat yourself into a coma and ads for making millions on real estate etc.

So I lost a few brain cells.

My Dad got up around 5 or so. He put the leash on the beagle and went out to walk her. Not before he sat and talked to me and brought on more tears from me. Not sure he noticed since it was dark in the living room. He came back into the house and asked me if Lance was on picket duty.

Nooooooo, he wasn't. Why?

Well, because our car was missing.

Proverbial last straw.

Who on earth would steal an ancient KIA????

I lost it. I mean, it's not like I loved that car but it gets good gas mileage, it's useful because we spend our lives in the car driving kids to school and church and picking them up from school and....well, you get the idea.

I just lost it.

I went upstairs to tell Lance the car was gone.

Poor thing, just what he needed. A sobbing wife at 5:30 in the morning, babbling incoherently in his ear. He got up, said he'd had to park the car in a different part of the street because there had been no parking in front of the house when he got home last night. He went and showed me where the car was parked.

No stolen car.

Maybe the Lord knew I simply needed a good, therapeutic, hysterical cry-fest.

Cuz yeah. I had one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hey Look! Boeing is going to talk!

Uh huh. Yeah.

According to this article, they've been called back to the table by the FMCS (another fed agency that loves to use letters) Now the negotiations are under the asupices of the FMCS and they're doing it in Washington, DC.

Yeah, cuz last time that whole negotaiting thing at Disney World just didn't cut it.

I'm guessing there wasn't enough mickey mouses down there for them so they had to move it further north.

You may be able to tell that I'm nearing my breaking point. This was never fun to begin with, but for crying out loud, this is ridiculous.

Boeing is refusing to NOT lay off the 2,000 IAM workers and the IAM doesn't want them laid off. While I can see both sides of that argument, there absolutely HAS to be some middle ground. That's just one sticking point in this contract bruhahah. One. They didn't even get past that one last week when they sat down to talk.

I still think they need to call in Sister Sheila with the mad ruler-to-the-back-of-the-hand smackage skillz. Let her loose on those yahoos in DC and see how fast they come to an agreement.

Meanwhile, Lance can't get the most menial of jobs because apparently he's over qualified. Seriously.

Excuse me while I tear my hair out and run screaming down the street for a few hours.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boeing Strike Check

We took time this morning to pick up our FABULOUS and INDECENTLY LARGE strike check so we could get it to the bank and then use it for wild exotic vacations, limo rentals, prohibitively expensive gourmet meals and that little surgical procedure I've been eyeing stamps. And a roll or two of toilet paper. Ok, one roll.

We didn't want to go overboard. Splurging just isn't in our nature. Ha.

Yes, that $150 dollars a week is sure to 'tide us over'. Well, it certainly won't keep the tide at bay, or the bill collectors off our backs but hey. Toilet paper is vital and we're grateful for that.

Lance has been busy sawing and pounding and working on my father's upstairs bathroom in order to install a new toilet so none of us have to fall down the stairs in the middle of the night in search of bladder relief. I'm sure the person to fall will either be me or my father. Or both. Neither of us are quite steady on our feet at three a.m. We tend to stumble a bit.

Did I mention we're old? Yeah.

But back the the MAGNIFICIENT BOEING STRIKE FUND CHECK.

Did you know that Boeing and the Union went back to the bargaining table? Why yes, yes they did. I think it lasted a whole half an hour or so before both sides stomped off muttering something about 'intransigent, intractable blankety-blanks who don't want to negotiate' yada yada yada.

I'd like to sit them all down and whack them on the backs of their hands with rulers.

Why yes, I did attend a Catholic school growing up, why do you ask? Sister Sheila wielded a mean ruler, lemme tell you. I think the negotiations could use a Sister Sheila.

"Now, who here is willing to compromise?"

Silence.

More silence.

Crickets.

WHAP!

"I AM I AM!"

See? That's not so hard now is it? And it would put an end to those pesky tiny checks and start bringing home REAL paychecks again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Angel Girl

We've been waiting to come to the top of the waiting list at Seattle Children's Hospital for adaptive swim lesons and we made it!

I've been so worried about Ash and her inability to even hold her head out of the water. I'm so grateful that yesterday we started the lessons. It's during school, but that's ok. She can miss a bit of fourth grade to learn this important skill.

Here she is in her cute lil swim cap and goggles. She's trying so hard!

Three Jobs

I have three paying jobs now. My other job, the one with the mothering, chauffering, cooking, cleaning yada yada yada yada doesn't pay monetary benefits, but it's the best one I've ever had.

I teach part time at North City Elementary. Spanish classes for beginners, one for elementary kids and one for middle school kids. I Love LOVE LOVE doing that.

I also teach two early morning Spanish classes at my daughter's elementary school.

And yesterday, I was hired on by the school district (again) to be an Interpreter for their Spanish speaking population, of which there are many. Many I say.

Tomorrow night I'll add yet another round of Spanish classes after I present my plan to another elementary school PTA. So that will be four. And there is another that wants to have me teach after school Spanish---so that would be five.

It's not like I'm busy or anything.

Politics, Pernicious People, and Pus

First, politics. Ugh. I will be doing a happy dance once this election cycle has completed itself. I post at some forums (have my own private forum with friends I've had for years) and occasionally venture out into the Internets reading other boards and posting a bit.

Bad idea. Did you know there are mean and nasty people out there? Why yes. Yes there are. And Politics only causes them to ratchet up their mean. Big time. Ugly time.

Ick. They pick on people who are nice and can't defend themselves and well, that brings out the bad side of me. I jumped into the fray and regret it. Those people aren't worth my fonts, pixels or bandwidth. I don't care if you believe Bush is the spawn of Satan or that Obama is a Muslim plant bent on destroying our way of life, whether or not you endorse gay marriage or unions between a man and his pet pot bellied pig---the venom that is spewed by both sides makes me ill. And brings out the worst in me as well. I've decided to walk away from it because I don't like myself when I get caught up in that garbage. Plus, there is a little band of jr. high-like girls out there who honestly don't have a clue about things and I'd rather not stoop down to their level of stupidity. Those are the Pernicious People.

Now, on to the Pus. You may think that's part and parcel of the politics, but no. This is something entirely different. This involves The Boy.

Yesterday he got his stitches removed from the slicing-and-dicing of his foot. It wasn't pretty. As we were sitting in the examining room, I decided to pull out my book and read a little. I haven't had much chance to read and thought it would pass the time nicely.

Suddenly I was smelling something nasty. Awful. Putrid. I turned my head towards the odor and caught my son holding up his ugly smelly foot and blowing the stench in my direction. Deliberately. At me.

"Is it rank mom?" he asked with undisguised teenage glee.

"Yes, very."

The doc came in and asked my two girls if they wanted to pull out some of The Boy's sutures. Ally cringed and turned white. Ashley shrugged and said sure! I got all squicked out just knowing there was to be suture-pulling. I couldn't watch.

Dr. Newell snipped and Ashley pulled them out.

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There were a couple of sutures through the toenail and the doc yanked those out himself. I've never heard Chris scream like that before.

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It was ugly.

However, I think I'd rather watch sutures being removed than listen to any more political drivel from mean people.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy, Busy Busy

That's me.

I just had another interview with the school district in order to be an Interpreter for them. It's mostly part time but I'll be particularly busy during parent teacher conference times and on call as necessary. I'm already teaching Spanish for them at North City Elementary/Home Education, as well as teaching two Spanish Classes at Ashley's elementary school before school AND I make a presentation to another grade school's PTA this Thursday and will probably begin some afternoon Spanish classes at yet another elementary school soon. I've also got a sign up list at the school to begin a cooking club. They can't legally call it a cooking class, so they're calling it a cooking club, but I'll be teaching cooking to the kids.

Sooooo, yeah. Busy, Busy, Busy.

But it's a good busy. I enjoy teaching Spanish and now adding this Interpreter job to the mix will bring in a bit more income for us while Boeing and the union play footsie and trade barbs over whether or not they're each getting what they want while the workers struggle.

But I digress.

Tomorrow I'll be pulling Ash out of school to take her to Children's for her adaptive swim lessons. It was painfully apparent to me on Saturday at the Shoreline pool that she has absolutely no ability to keep herself afloat. I'm not looking to make her swim-team material, I just don't want her to drown. I really hope that they can help her master swimming. She's so looking forward to this experience.

I've also been indulging in posting on some political boards and woooo hooooo do tempers flare! I love it when someone disagrees with your political leanings or you question something they've said and they begin to call you names, denigrate your religion and your taste in apparel. When they fail to come up with something substantive they resort to name calling and some indulge in profanity. Ah yes, it's a civlized world out there.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

You Should Be Glad There Are No PIctures

I was talked into taking my girls and my niece Nicole to the pool today.

Yes, I put on a swimsuit.

The world has not been subjected to such trauma since last summer when I walked around at a public beach in my swimsuit and yes, I did also swim.

So thank your lucky stars there were no cameras around to record this sight.

Of cousre, it's appropo that I should bring such horror to the world now. After all---Halloween is closeby.

Cue haunting music....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Have you ever....

Hmmmm..... I wrote that blog topic heading and then thought better of what it was that I was going to write.

Have you ever done that? Wanted to write some thing but held back because you knew that writing it would get you into trouble?

:::whistles innocently:::

So here's another little tidbit on life here at Rancho Troeppl. Today the two youngest offspring and the Other Parental Unit and I went for a lengthy drive.

Yes, it was foolish and unwise and unthrifty and for a few hours I did not care I've been so weary lately of being good and staying home and yada yada yada. So off we went. The Boy, however, did not go with us. Because, you know. He's The Boy. He Who Cannot Be Bothered To Be A Part of The Family. Because We Are Boring.

I think you get the picture.

So off we drove. Here are a few excerpts from Allison to her sister:

"It's a good thing for you that my license to kill has expired"

After staring at her sister for an uncomfortable length of time she said, "No, you cannot escape my fearful gaze" Which was essentially true as we were all hurtling down the highway encapsulated in our gas-guzzling SUV. Yes, our carbon footprint was mightly today. Mighty I say. And today I did not care.

I really didn't.

We went to Leavenworth to see the lovely leaves and particpate in Oktoberfest, though we don't drink beer and we were fresh out of Leiderhosen. The drive over Steven's Pass was incredibly beautiful. A veritable feast for the eyes. Reds and golds and orange flaming trees bordering the road with the icy river peeking through the trees on the side as it accompanied us on our trip.

It was fun and it was relaxing and we took our own sandwhiches and bottles of water that we filled before we left home so we wouldn't spend money on food while we were there. Or anything else for that matter. Can you feel the guilt?

Yes, yes, I know. Bad Pammy.

So, here are a few pictures. Sorry, they're from my cell phone.

Here is The Other Parental Unit with The Two Girls. Notice the lovely Bavarianesque architecture and the mountains in the background. Who says I don't know how to frame a picture. Ok, Ok, Ok. Everyone says that. Just look at the picture and stop judging me.

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Did I mention it was cold? Yes. It was. Cold. I realize that those of you who know me personally may believe an imposter is writing this post, but it's just me. A colder, more frozen me. I can't seem to get warm lately. I had the heat turned to 90 in the suburban and my seat warmer on and I was still chilled.

Yes, my thermostat is broken. Of course three days last week I suddenly felt like someone had tossed a lit match on me so I suppose in some evil universe this all equals out somehow.

Here's Allison in front of another lovely alpine-like structure. We think they were selling food in that one because it smelled so good. Mouth watering. We resisted, thank you very much. Also, please note the lovely hat on Allison's head. She purchased that with the money given to her by her sweet Aunt Kathy for her birthday. Thanks Aunt Kathy!

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I have more pictures and oooooh so much more to say but my husband just whispered "we need to go to bed", which means he wants to read this before he goes to bed and I've been writing for far too long this evening and I should get off the computer now.

Ok, I'm going.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Boyz is weird

I've said it many times and I'll say it again----Boys are aliens.

Or perhaps it's just my boy.

A week ago he had his foot sliced and diced due to a reoccurring infection he'd had for---oh, three years. No wonder his white count is down.

Today I took him to his appointment with the most amazing Dr. Newell. He isn't charging us for post-op treatment and he got us in for the surgery the day before we lost coverage. I can't say enough nice things about this man.

Anyway...I took Chris in. He's excited to get the surgical stuff off and the assitant has trouble removing it and says she's going to wait for the Dr. to take it off. She leaves. The Boy grabs the surgical scissors and cuts off the stuff all by hisself. Yes, hisself.

Then he pulled his foot as close to his face as he could get it and says "Ooooh, I wonder how bad it smells?" Whiff. Sniff. Another Big Sniff.

"Whoa, that's rank! Wanna smell it mom?"

I declined. I was relieved that he wasn't trying to shoot pus out of his foot at me like last time.

I swear. Aliens.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Yay!!

I did some calling and checking and digging today to see where I could go for help to get my baby girl's seizure meds. And yay! Children's Hospital is going to fill her Rx for FREE!!!!!!

This time the tears I cried were tears of joy and relief.

Another yay? A pretty wonderful person by the name of Kelly baked some incredibly delicious pumpkin muffins for me and gave me a card. This is a sweet woman who has had more than her share of life's twists and turns and she's always thinking of others. Thanks Kelly. When I grow up I want to be just like you. And not just the gorgeous outside that is you, but the kind and compassionate inside that is you as well.

Ok, the gorgeous outside would be kinda nice too. :grin:

In other yay news, I have even more students in my early morning Spanish classes than I'd been anticipating! Yay! I've also got another interview with the school district to become a translator. This is on top of the other two Spanish teaching jobs, plus another that's coming up at another school.

We might just make it after all.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Into the double digits

Ten years ago tomorrow I was laying on a hospital gurney as an ultrasound technician with a worried look on her face tried for over an hour to get my baby girl to move in my womb. To show some sign of life. She never did and though there was a faint heartbeat, that's all there was to show us she was still alive.

Some of the rest of the evening is a blur except for the doctor running down the hall yelling that my baby was dying and they had to take her now.

One crash c-section and 24 hours later and I was introduced to my nearly-two month premature baby angel Ashley Rose.

So tiny. So exquisite. So incredibly amazing.

All was well, they told us. All was well.

And truly? All was well. She was here. Despite the stroke and the hemiplegia, seizures, torticollis, cerebral palsy and plagiocephaly she was here. We were initailly told she wouldn't walk, might not talk or do what other children did. Despite that prognosis, or because of it, I pushed harder than I've ever pushed in my life. Pushed for therapy, for treatment, for new treatment, for more treatment.

Tomorrow my baby angel passes a milestone. She'll be going from single digits to her first double digit birthday. I hold her and tell her to please not turn ten. Please....stay my baby girl. Please.

Oh, I know it's futile to ask such a thing, but my mother's heart aches as I realize that all too soon my time with her will be over. I hold her a little tighter because of it. We have what we call 'cheeky time' together. She lays her cheek against mine and I breathe in the sweetness of her and hold that in my heart as long as I can. I hold it against the time when she's a teenager and will balk at me wanting to hold her for more than a quick hug and peck on the cheek. Against the time when she leaves for college and is no longer a physical presence in my every day world. I store up these memories as best I can. She fills my heart and my soul.

This child that was never to walk or talk, runs and laughs and giggles and has taught me things that I otherwise never would have learned.

Happy Birthday Baby Rose. Happy Tenth Birthday, my last baby angel.

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Spanish Classes

I begin my new class of students tomorrow morning. I have 11 students in the early morning Monday class and 7 in the Tuesday class. Hopefully this number will increase.

I'm also scheduled to present my class proposal to another elementary school PTA on the sixteenth of this month and then will probably begin classes there.

I'm so grateful that I have this work to help out with things around here. Hopefully there will be other opportunities with other schools in the area and we can keep our heads a bit above water while the strike drags on.

Speaking of the strike, hubby had picket duty today. I thought he was going to have to stand with the usual slogan-laden signs but he came home five hours later with a big grin on his face. He'd been elected to drive a van around to the various picketing sites, delivering food and drinks to the weary picket holders. I'm sure that was more fun than walking in a circle chanting.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

ER. Again.

Spent the morning in the ER with my Daddy.

I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that after three days of being in excruciating pain, not eating or drinking much I finally called my sister to come down here to help me convince him that he needed to go to the ER.

Finally. Finally he went with us.

The good news is he's going to recover.

In other good news, I asked the pharmacist what it's going to cost to refill baby girl's seizure meds RX without insurance.

Four hundred dollars.

I burst into tears right there.

Why yes, I am emotional. Thanks for asking.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Happy October

It's already October. No, please don't tell me how many shopping days until Christmas. I don't want to know.

Just so you know, those of you with my cell phone number? It's not working. Verizon, for some reason, gets a bit testy when you go out on strike and don't get paid so you can't pay your cell phone bill. Go figure. So that number is not currently in working order.

And won't be in the foreseable future.

Unless of course my early morning Spanish classes take off as I hope they do. The flyers went out to the little darlings at the elementary school yesterday. I've set up two classes One for K-3rd graders and one for 4-6 graders. I'm excited to begin those classes again.

I'm also having fun with my two Spanish classes in the school district. The kids are great. Today Lance and I went there after running some errands and worked on some bulletin board decorations. Tomorrow when I pick the girls up from school I'll take them there and they are going to help me put up the stuff. The Boy? He's not been to school since Monday because on Tuesday he had his foot sliced and diced.

He said he'd be up and at school the following day becuase he's tough. Then of course the anesthesia wore off. Yeah, he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

mmmm....anesthesia..... I think I could use some of that.

Or not.