Sunday, November 30, 2008

My special day

According to tradition in my family, when it's my birthday (notice I don't say when it's anyone elses birthday), no one can refuse my request. My one request? That my children come with me and sit for this picture.

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Well, this one was taken with my cell phone camera. The real one is coming in the next week or so. I've had them taken each and every year since 1989.

That means this girl on the right has been photographed with that jolly man in red every year for 19 years.

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The Boy? Every year since 1991.

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These two? Every year since 1996 and 1998 resepectively.

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I have all the years of Santa pictures in a large frame with beautiful matting. I've filled an entire one up and am three pictures deep into the next one. I hang them up each Christmas and then spend a few moments marveling at the march of time across the faces and bodies of my children. It brings home to me how much has changed---but one thing hasn't and won't ever change. My love for them.

After the Santa picture, we engaged in another family ritual: The purchasing of Christmas ornanments. Each year after the picture, the kids get to pick out one ornament. We hang all the ornaments on the tree each year and when it comes time for them to leave and have families and trees of their own, their personal ornaments will go with them. Ally picked the 2008 Barbie, Ash picked a Hannah Montanna ornament and Chris and Steph each picked snowflakes. We bought the kids gyros and then dropped them off at home and then Lance and I had some alone time.

We drove to the International District, picked up some Japanese food then took it to Highland Park on Queen Anne overlooking the Space Needle. My cell phone doesn't take a great picture in the dark---and it was breathtaking in person---but you get the picture. Sort of.

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We watched ferries, all lit up and sliding across the blackness of Puget Sound. Lance sat behind me with his arms around me as we remembered coming there when we first began dating oh-so-many-years ago.

All in all....my special day was a good one.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A day of thanks...

Click to play Thanksgiving '08
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wheeeeee!

Our morning went from swim lessons for Ash at Children's Hospital...

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Then to the hospital cafeteria for nourishment in the form of a cheeseburger and fries. Here she is in the throes of opening a packet of mustard.

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I'm not sure it was a fun experience for her, but the rest of the meal was consumed with a dearth of facial contortions. Well, almost.

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Then I took her back to school and went on with my busy day..until we ended up back in Children's Hospital and not in the good fun part of the place. The ER.

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She became very dizzy, a sharp pain in her head and another one in her chest making it difficult for her to breathe. Her Daddy showed up after work to wait with me and help me with her. I was grateful that he came.

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It was a very long wait. VERY. LONG. Did I mention the length of the wait? Yes, verily it was lengthy. Too long. We finally made it into an exam room and I was so tired that I nearly had a fit of the giggles because our ER doc looked like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. You know, this guy?



Yeah, him. Seriously. By the time we left there we'd been up nearly 24 hours. Giggling was the least of my worries. This was my main worry...

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It's amazing how much fear and worry can fill you when you think there is something horrible about to happen to your littlest angel, who has already had something awful happen to her in the first place. After so many hours, the dizzy resolved itself, and the pain in her chest went away and the only thing left was a dull ache in her head where the sharp pain that had made her cry had been. The pain was in the same spot as her stroke, which was further cause for concern. Blood clots? We don't know. We may never know. They suggested another MRI to make sure that nothing else had happened.

At any rate, we went home and tried to sleep for an hour or so. I had to teach this morning....that was interesting. I love the wee ones in my class and they buoyed me up and I managed to get through the Spanish class with my eyes open. Then I took Lance to the Pain Clinic for an injection in his spine.

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Then I came home and fell over for a few hours before picking up Ally, grocery shopping and then creating these for tomorrow:

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I'm putting on the big feast here tomorrow. It will be the first time Thanksgiving has been held in this house since my Mom passed away six years ago. I'll be using her formal dinnerware and glasses. I hope I do you proud Mom.

And now...I'm going to go fall over for a few hours. G'nite!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Interpreting

I LOVE IT!

It's stressful and weird at times becuase I'm simply a conduit for communication but I am loving it. A lot.

I'm also learning more vocabulary. Some of it is a challenging, especially for someone with ADD. If I let my attention slide for a second it's a disaster. Thankfully that only happened once for a fraction of a second.

I am loving it. Yessire.

I still enjoy teaching but I think interpreting is a tad less stressful and complicated because basically all I have to do is show up and...talk. The hard part is getting all the people involved to talk one at a time and wait for me to interpret what they've said. Sometimes in an emotional meeting with four teachers, therapists, principles and parents things can get a bit....tense.

Other than that...fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cousin Love

We picked up Steph in Puyallup yesterday evening and she went to church with us this morning. Her cousins Jessica and Nicole were excited to see her and before the service began they visitied.


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During the meeting they visited, with their cell phones unfortunately. (Note to self: remove cell phones from offspring during church hours) This is a pic that Jess took of Steph behind her and some few people behind her.

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But it's nice to see the love.

(I get my girl for a whole week! Yay! I'm sure she'll lighten my bank account while she's here)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight, Edward and Bella oh my...

Last night we had the Big Cousin Sleepover. It was supposed to be an evening of movies, lots of snack foods with sugar, trans fats, hydrogynated oils and chemicals difficult to pronounce, then little or no sleep before we embarked on our journey to see TWILIGHT!


Here's how it really went down: I fell asleep. Ashley fell asleep. This all happened before the cousins even arrived. When they did arrive, I sort of roused myself long enough to hear that they wanted to go home and sleep if the party wasn't to be on. They did stay however, and we made up for not consuming bad food that night by consuming bad food this morning. Here are the girls with waffles, strawberries and oodles of whipped cream. Yum!

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Then we scurried to the theater to see Twilight. Here are the girls and Lance waiting in line.



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We waited and we waited. I'd purchased the tickets earlier in the week and we were the second group in line, so that was nice. What you can't see is that it was c-c-c-c-c-cold there and I never warmed up, not even during the movie.

As for the movie.... it was all right. It wasn't up there with my top ten but it was ok. Ally is mock-angry at me for not thinking that the actor portraying Edward is the most gorgeous creature on the face of the earth. He's ok I s'pose.

The books were light years better than the movie in all repsects, though I do think they caputred Alice brilliantly. I'm sure we'll see the movie again and again as it's become Allison's passion. Much like The Titanic was Stephanie's passion at that age. It must be a girl thing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Joy and Greenlake

As I sit here writing I am listening to the giggles of my girls and their friend Kylee. She's spending the night because her mom was called out tonight (she's a flight attendant).

The giggles and the laughs and the happy sound makes my heart happy. I should be telling them to go to sleep because it's late---and I do, albeit a bit half heartedly. I'm loving the sound coming from their room. Being happy is a gift--one I've had trouble hanging on to in the last few weeks.

But things have changed and improved. I made the decision to be happy despite things and then the situation that was causing me such pain improved.

Being happy is a good thing.

On Monday I took the girls and their cousin to Greenlake. I'd like to say it was a peaceful time but we were accosted by some insane man who began yelling at us, kept yelling and being rude. It frightened my girls and made Ashley cry. So I did what every grown married woman does in that situation. I called my 76 year old father. He came down to the lake with his dog Amy and took care of the situation so we could go for a little walk without fear that this mean person was going to vandalize our vehicle.

Oh, the lake was beautiful, see? I think the UW rowing (sculling?) team was on the lake practicing.

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The silly girls were determined to wear shorts because they were going to be walking the lake...which of course we didn't. Ash couldn't walk that far and our little episode with the crazy man took away some of our time. The light was fading so we didn't go far. But....the girls in the shorts had a good time.

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Since I began writing this the giggling has ceased. It seems the angels have gone to sleep for the night.

Sweet dreams angels.

Chimpanzee riding on a segway

And now for something completely different...

The Boy, who is acting remarkably human these past couple of days, came upstairs and showed me the following. I thought it only right to pass it on to all of you. Turn on your speakers. You're going to want to get this song stuck in your head. No, really.

My first car was a 1962 white Ford Thunderbird.

This is a car that I loved loved loved. White, with lots of chrome, black interior and a way cool 8 track tape player that was removable!. Oh yeah we were the cool kids on the block as I drove this baby to high school.

As we were driving up Aurora the other day I slammed on my brakes to make a quick turn because I'd seen my car.

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We stopped and checked it out. It could very well have been my car. It had the same cracked hole in the dashboard in front of the passenger seat where Kevin Nickel had slammed his fist while I was driving us all to see the Eagles in concert at the Kingdome.

It might not have been the same car though because it was a little too shiny. You see, one day my sister and I decided to do a good deed for my Dad and wash the car. It was awful dirty.

We used Comet. You know, Comet? The abrasive bathroom cleanser?



Yes, that one. We washed the car with it. We were so helpful! And yes, a little blond. The car was still white but it sure wasn't shiny any longer.

The car is for sale.... I'd like to buy it for my girls to drive. One thing is for sure, that car is a tank and a much better protection than any air bag in a car made of tinfoil today.

Ah yes...my car...

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prop 8 and tolerance

As I've been watching the news and reading articles online and finding the protesting has been violent, rude and hate filled. LDS temples have been targeted with grafitti, people have had cups of urine thrown on them. sacred books have been burned and church buildings vandalized.

This, from a segment of the population that says they believe in tolerance.

Uh huh. They're only tolerant when you don't believe as they do. They ask for tolerance but give none in return.

I understand that it's not going to get better it will only get worse and that's a sad thing.

Call it a civil union, have all the medical decision making rights, property rights, everything---but just don't call it marriage. It's not. It's something entirely different.

Ayup. This is me taking a stand.

And also, for the record, the church didn't set up phone banks, or send in millions of dollars to support Prop 8. Private individuals sent in support and worked for it.

And one more thing....the only reason that it passed in California is because of the enormous African American voter turnout in their support of Obama. Funny how you're not seeing huge disrepectful protests down in their churchs and their commnuities.

I wonder why that is....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bobo and Love

We brought our kitty Bobo with us when we moved to my father's house. He's a very loving feline and back when we lived in Puyallup he'd give all of us what
we called Head Butts. He'd knock heads with us, in an affectionate way.

Since we've moved he only gives head butts to Lance. I feel cheated somehow. Oh, he still walks all over me at night, comes to me for loves but not one single head butt. He reserves them all for the alpha male of the family.

Also, the word Bobo means stupid in Spanish....not that I'm uh...you know. Not that I'm saying he's stupid or anything. No, I'd never do that. Here he is laying on Lance this morning.

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This morning my sister sent me a picture with her cell phone of something her kids had written on their dry erase board. It made me smile.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Duck of Comfort

I took a long one today, in between working on some Spanish curriculum stuff and working in appointments for interpreting jobs that I got phone calls for....

I think I just needed to sleep today. It felt good. I've been running running running for so long now and I'm tired. Physically and to be certain, emotionally.

A lot of my students are signing up for a second round of Spanish classes with me and so I'm looking forward to creating that curriculum. They're a great group of kids and a bright spot in my mornings.

Last night Ally had a thing with the young women's group at church. She's been working on a project about how to make people feel better about themselves and her display there was beautiful. When we drove home later, she was chatting and chatting and chatting. She is an amazing young lady---at twelve she has a poise and a serenity that I love. She has always been a loving and caring and peaceful soul in our lives.

Ash has seen I've been sad lately--though we've done our best to shield them from problems, it's hard not to notice when mommy's eyes are red a lot. She solemnly handed me her precious Ducky last night. To make me feel better and to cheer me up. Now Ducky watches over me as I type this and comforts me.

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I love my girls so much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Julie

Yesterday was my sister's birthday. We were born 11 months apart and for two weeks we will be the same age. No, I won't tell you just what that age is.

My father and I took her to an old favorite Mexican place for lunch (Thanks Dad!) and so I told the waiter that it was her birthday and could they please embarrass her a little?

And so they did. They put a gigantic sombrero on her head and sang a lovely song to her, then gave her fried ice cream with sweet tortillas covered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

See how happy she is?

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Broken



Just when you think your heart could not possibly hurt any more than it already does.... Just when you think you can't take it anymore.... Just when you think you've reached an acceptable level of anguish....

There are deeper depths to plumb and further to fall.

I thought I'd cried it out enough, that I was now strong and ready to fight.

I was right about one thing---I am going to the mattresses and will fight with everything I have but this is still able to wring more tears from my already swollen eyes.

But I will fight.

My family needs your prayers.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I almost didn't....

go to church today. I'd cooked all kinds of beans during the night in a slow cooker with onions, garlic, tomato, etc. The house smelled wonderful when I got up and then I browned some meat to add to the mix and stirred it all together with some brown sugar, more onions and mollases. Then of course I had to try it to make sure it was all right.

I know better.

I don't eat in the morning. My system just doesn't take it well.

Yes, I'm old.

So I wasn't feeling great and had a huge desire to crawl back under the covers.

I didn't.

I'm glad I didn't. It was one of those days where it seemed all the talks and the lessons were meant for me to hear. I came away spiritually fed and that's a good thing.

Ally is in her Beehive presidency (Young women's organization class) and she had a meeting after church so we went home and I gathered half the beans I'd made to take over to my sister for their dinner. She's so frustrated with her slow healing and I don't blame her for feeling....stalled.

Tomorrow there is no school so I get to sleep in! Of course I'll wake up at the crack of dawn as always---but it's nice to dream, right?

Oh, and here's a gratuitous video I took on my cell phone camera today of my Ash and my father playing catch with her little therapy toy. It's soft so she can grasp it with her right hand and throw it back to whomever she's playing with. We try to make her therapy stuff fun. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday

I had Interpreter Training today. Yes, it's Saturday. Cuz you know, I don't work enough during the week or anything.

I was prepared to dislike it and be bored. I was delighted to find that it was interesting and held my attention and even (gasp) fun. I enjoyed it! Except for the part where my husband packed my lunch but didn't actually put it in the lunch box so when everyone else had lunch delivered I sat there drooling with my stomach growling, but other than that, it was great.

While I was there, hubby took the girls swimming at the nearby pool and then we met up later at my sister's house where my niece and her three kids were visiting. SO FUN! I haven't seen the children in a few months and it's amazing how they grow---especially the youngest. Here he is, the little darlin'




While were there I realized that OOPS, it's Jessica's birthday. She's my sister's third child and turned 15 today. In all the visiting and noise and confusion (plus the fact that my sister is still recovering from her surgery and can't do anything), Jessica's birthday was sort of pushed aside. I felt horrible---so when we were leaving I took her with me and sent the rest of my family home.

Jess and I went to the mall and looked at clothes, bought some lotions and sprays (YUM!) and then I took her for some of her favorite mushrooms at Kidd Valley. On the way out of the mall I bought her two pairs of earrings. We thought about getting pedicures, but opted to do that another time. I'm glad I could do that for her (thank you Boeing) Here she is, isn't she cute?

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Friday, November 07, 2008

No pictures....

I woke up around three a.m with the worst migraine in the universe.

Well, my universe at any rate. The sound of my own breathing caused me great pain. I would have stopped breathing had that been an option.

Ok, you there reading this and thinking that I really should have stopped my breathing, thanks. I appreciate the sentiment.

This one lasted the rest of the night and far in to the day. I was unable to attend my friend's funeral but around six this evening I was feeling human enough to meet up with four friends from high school. We ate at The Macaroni Grill (yum!) and then spent nearly four hours laughing and crying and reminiscing about the past and talking about where we've been and what we've done since then.

It was such fun. I'm so glad we could do it.

But..there are no pictures. I was having too much fun to and completely forgot to snap some.

So here's to you, Robyn, Elise and Christie. The friends of my youth. We're older but we can still belt out the harmony girls!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm......tired

I taught my new class of K through 4th graders this morning. Sweet group. Rushed to get Ally from school to get her to the doc because she's been having horrible ear pain. Rushed so quickly that when I reached for my purse to pay the doc, I realized I'd left my purse back in my classroom.

Ugh. Had to have hubby, wonderfully patient and kind hubby, retrieve it for me. Then we met up after I dropped Ally back at school. Oh wait, the doc appt. This was....disturbing.

After much cleaning, then application of an analgesic in her ear and a warm water washing, tons of ick came sliding out. Then there was more digging in her ear and the "Oh my" exclamation from the pediatrician. Seems there is something in her ear that she can't get to and remove. She's given us ear drops, antibiotics and (dang I'm tired) something else I can't remember. We go back in a week. If it hasn't come out of it's own accord...we may be looking at surgery.

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Anyways....hubby and I ran some errands together, then he dashed off to work and I went to check on my invalid sister before picking the girls up from school and The Boy from a park.

The day just get's longer from there, but suffice it to say that it involved more driving, three haircuts and two teary phone calls with my best friend from high school. It's now nearly ten and I've not been home very long. My little angel fell at church this evening and wiped out her bad hand in a few places as well as both her knees. It's hard for me to tell if she's broken one of her fingers because they are so misshapen to begin with. I recieved an email that a good friend from high school was killed in a head on crash and his funeral is Friday.

And...I'm tired. I'll go to the funeral on Friday and stand with my old friends as we remember the good times...so very long ago.

I apologize. I'll do my best to find something witty and engaging and funny for you all to read in the coming days. Today...I just can't manage it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The vote and the subsequent swim

This morning, after teaching, my husband and I executed our patriotic duty by marking little circles on some paper and stuffing said paper into a ballot box. For our service we were rewarded with little stickers to put on our shirts.

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Presumably we can redeem these stickers for a free beverage at our local Starbucks. Since I don't do that coffee thing, think they'd substitute a hot caramel apple drink? Yeah, me neither.

Then we took Ashley to her swim lesson at Seattle Children's Hospital. This was Lance's first time watching Ash spalsh about. But first she had some trouble getting her swim cap on so Daddy helped.

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I wish you could see her and the progress she's made! I was having a little trouble seeing her as my eyes kept welling up. She's doing so much better after just a few lessons. Trina, her instructor, has a little floaty thing that attaaches to her affected side around the ankle to help her keep it afloat. It works wonders and I am going to try and locate one for her to use outside of the lessons.

The lessons, by the way, worth every penny!

Here she is making it across the pool!

Monday, November 03, 2008

I have a husband at work!

Yes, today he went back to The Lazy B---and he was happy to go. I haven't seen him since this morning around 6:30 a.m., but we've talked by phone a few times and texted several times.

Ya gotta love technology.

My day? Well, let's see....

I got up before six to get a few more things ready for my 7:30 Spanish class and to get Ally and Ash up and fed before we left at the crack of 7. We drove to school, where Ally helped me haul 11 binders for my students plus my big file case up the stairs to my room.

The kids arrived, I taught them how to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Spanish. It didn't quit rouse them until I hauled out the tin of Danish butter cookies I'd brought for them and told them this was their reward for learning the song and singing it LOUDLY.

Soon they were belting out:
Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas, y dos pies
Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas y dos pies
Ojos, oidos, boca y la nariz
Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas y dos pies!

It was a beautiful sound.

I finished up there, bid adios to my students and went over to North City for my next two Spanish classes. Since I had about an hour and a half, I did some copying and then created three sets of flash cards (on kitchen vocabulary) for my middle school students and then taught my elementary students, then my middle school/high school students and then took a deep breath.

Then I laminated the life out of more flash cards I'd created before heading over to my sister's to see how she was doing. She's still recovering from her surgery.

I stopped in at another elementary school to see if there were any more sign ups for the Spanish class I'm offering there. I found three more student's paperwork in my mail bin. That's only a total of five so I'm not sure I'll be doing it there yet. They have til tomorrow so I'm hoping more will come in by then.

Then I drove to my Ally's middle school because I needed to buy her ASB card sticker ($20) and pay for her to try out for volleyball ($10) before heading back to wait for the girls to get off their buses.

Of course once Ash was in the suburban she said I had to drive back to school to pick up the cookie dough she'd gotten as a fund raiser. So.....back to the school we went. Then we drove to pick up The Boy from his friends house and drove home to my fathers.

The Boy informs me he has a free coupon to get his hair cut on Mercer Island. Uh huh. It's nearly rush hour but I agree to take him there after we dropped the frozen cookie dough off. Raining, traffic, wheeeeeeeee. The upside? The Boy's friend gave us LOADS of free bagels, schmear and fresh lemonade from his place of employment. The downside? The Boy neglected to inform me that he was staying there and the haircut? Yeah, it was actually at Bellevue Square and he'd be needing a ride home afterwards.

Uh huh. Doncha love what they leave out of their requests?

I left him there to find his way home after his hair cut and drove through the wind and pouring rain back home again.

Tomorrow I do it all again---only more because Ash has swimming at Children's Hospital, Ally has volleyball tryouts then swim lessons afterwards.

I need to buy myself a lunch box because I'm living in my suburban.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Boeing Contract Vote

Hubby and I went down the Union Hall this morning. Before you could get your deliciously extravagant strike check, you first had to fill this out:

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We voted, we picked up the check and we left.

This 'we' is of course the wedded-we. The two-shall-become-one we after matrimony we.

One more thing which made me laugh, though it might irritate some who read here. There were a number of union people meandering around wearing Obama t-shirts. One man called out to another "hey, where's your Obama shirt?"

Hubby muttered under his breath "I wiped my nose with it"

Now, before you begin sending me hate mail over dissing The Chosen One, I don't prefer him over McCain. I don't prefer McCain over Obama. I'm not enthralled with either one of them. I have issues with both of their policies and stances. Obama's mantra of change change change change change change change change change change change change change change is annoying. I worry his socialist tendencies will do more to harm our economy than to revive it. McCain's similiarity to Bush is disquieting to me, though I do admit I like Sarah Palin if only for her affinity for a good quip.

I know, I know. We're voting on Tuesday. I'm still working on it.

The loot

We took our two younger girls and my niece Nicole out to beg candy from people.

Ah yes, a family tradition encouraging our wee ones to solicit sweets from complete strangers. The one day a year where the phrase 'do not take candy from strangers' does not apply. In fact the opposite is encouraged.

We'd brought Nicole home from school with us (my sis is still in the early stages of recovery from her awful surgery) and we hit some houses here in our neighborhood before packing them all up to go to The Rich People's Neighborhood.

Walking around here, we saw perhaps five or six kids. When we got to The Rich Neighborhood, you couldn't drive because the streets were overflowing with little witches and cheerleaders and ghouls and Indiana Jones midgets. I couldn't believe how very many children were marching up and down the sidewalks, bags in hand, parents in tow. As I thanked one elderly gentleman for the candy he'd just dished out to my girls, I mentioned my surprise at the sheer volume of trick or treaters traipsing around.

"Oh, we get about 350 kids ringing our doorbell on Halloween every year"

Yikes.

Here's the token Look At Me Count My Loot picture of Ashley. Cavities are not far behind.

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