Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Walk

Last night, Eli and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.

The first warm evening of Spring, I went barefoot.

Eli brought along his favorite toy, a stuffed mallard duck, holding him gently in his mouth as we walked.

And we were both very happy indeed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I Am Not Done With One

Anyone who knows me at all knows I wanted more children. I can remember vividly the day I started (and ended) conversations with my ex about a second child. LM was a surprise, but I never intended to stop with just one. When pressed, my ex admitted he would have been just fine without any children at all. Well, there was no need to then discuss a second one. Our marriage did not dissolve for that reason (see also, "When Your Husband Comes Out of the Closet: Why the topic of future children is moot") but it didn't help matters any either.

I thought I would surely remarry. Never would I have guessed that six years would pass since my divorce and I would be remarkably single (my last date was when?) and prospectless. I thought even if I didn't have more children of my own, perhaps I might meet a man who also had children and I would welcome them into our family unit as my own.

But this is exactly where I stand. I will turn 36 this summer. I have an eleven year old child. I have no fiance, boyfriend or date for Saturday night. Tick tock, tick tock.

I started thinking a couple years ago about other options. About getting back to a career that involves children (maybe use that private school education degree after all?!) but I realized that filling up my days with children doesn't fill up my home with them in quite the same way. I started to explore some ideas, but never got very far, deciding for myself that being a single mother with a 2-bedroom home limited my options. I have been trying in vain over the past year to relocate to be closer to my sister, my neice and my nephew (okay, you too, Bear!), but that's not a door that God has opened for me yet.

I began to think outside the box.

When I finally made contact with a foster-placement agency, they welcomed me in with open arms. I reminded them, hey! I'm not married! They said, so?! I said, well, I only have two bedrooms, and a little boy sleeps in one and I sleep in the other! They said, so?! I said, well, um, I have pets! I have a job!! I have...well... they said, "a lot to offer?!" And I nodded. I do. I have a lot to offer.

And so last Thursday, after a boost of encouragement from a new friend (who feels like an old friend, if you know what I mean) I headed off to the first of 12 weeks of foster parent training. I had to put my guilt in check as I sacrificed my short Thursday night time with LM in order to attend class, sending him off with his dad. I had to push aside my fears that Eli would completely freak out for being put back in the crate for the second time that day. I had to resist the urge to convince myself yet again that I would not be good enough, or eligible enough, or safe enough. I went.

For the first two hours of class I felt as though God's hand was on my shoulder, holding me in my seat, securing in my mind the confidence that I not only belonged there, but that this was his intention for me. Kids. That need me. Would come into my care. And I could hold them. And love them. And give them back, or give them to an adoptive parent to love and cherish them. And if, God willing, we were graced with a child we could not let go of? Adoption is not ruled out as an option, but only if we want to.

But it is through challenges that we are taught to rely on God. It is through the obstacles that we test our own faith and see if we are able to relinquish the reigns on our own life to God, who knows a better plan for us than we could ever imagine.

Foster parents are given (roughly, on average) $15 per diem reimbursement for a child. This is to cover food and clothing, and, as I sadly realized, child care. Knowing that child care was not just an option for us but a requirement, I quickly made phone calls to see what costs amount to nowadays. I'll just say this: WAY over $15 a day.

I'm still making calls. I'm still exploring options. I'm asking everyone I know if they have ideas, or know someone, or can help. If God wants us to foster, He alone can make this possible. I will trust.

And I will pray.

Somewhere, there is a little child out there who belongs in our home. I just know it. I just know it. One way or another, I am not done with one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Water for Elephants - Gruen

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I've heard lots of mentions of folks reading this book, and when I picked it up a few weeks ago at B&N the sales woman even said she hoped to get it read before long as it was "all the buzz".

It's not a bad book, it's just not a particularly great book in my mind, either.

Water for Elephants tells the story of a man looking back over his life and how he fell into his job working for the circus. I've always been more frightened than amused by the circus and this novel points out all the reasons why flaunting the bizarre and making famous those better left in obscurity have kept circuses from becoming truly legitimate professions in our culture.

Like carnies, the characters in the novel seem to be weak minded, easily manipulated and overpowered, as the masses that attend the circus themselves. The plot line was nothing unusual - an unexpected turn of events forces a young man to make a sudden and drastic break from the life he had been living. Through his journeys on this new path, he meets proportedly unique characters who teach through bad experiences more often than good. There is romance, so familiar to most novels (a love that cannot be expressed for various reasons, yet in the end finds a way to become reality to the two main characters). There is violence and sex, neither one necessary in the depths the author presents.

Water for Elephants is an easy read. Unique enough in subject matter only because of the circus angle, the rest of the novel's outline easy to pick out and predict. The characters are truly forgettable, even if certain portions of the story stand out for some time later, they are truly only episodic of circus life and not contributary to the plot or character development.

An interesting novel, but a forgettable one. Not one I would really recommend.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Godsend

Many moons ago, I was new to a Homemaker's group at church, sharing a prayer request that my husband and I might be able to actually get some money in our savings account and stop having all these incidents keep creeping up when we least expect them. I explained that we had received some money unexpectedly as a gift and before I could get it tucked away for a rainy day, our car needed repairs. Another time, we had received a bigger tax refund than we had expected, but then had more unexpected costs and the money went right back out the door. It was Stacy who quietly pointed it out. As she prayed that day, she did not ask God to help us find ways to save money. She thanked God for provided for our family each and every time, just before we had a need. She turned my perspective around and showed me all that I had to be grateful for. That God was providing for us before we ever knew we were going to need it. I have never forgotten that lesson, nor have I ever stopped thanking God for using Stacy as an angel in my life. Sometimes, to hear God speak, I need to listen to the voices around me.

Jen wrote a post today about being a Godsend. I loved that she saw it and called that moment by name. To realize that God uses all of us all the time in the lives of those around us. I truly believe that we are surrounded by angels, but they are people we see, and touch and interact with. (I'm certain there are other angels we don't see, too!)

Yesterday I was struggling with an idea that's been on my heart and mind for a long while now. I was about to take the first action step in the process, but was hesitant. I was worried about the unknown variables. I was concerned about the impact on LM being a negative one. I was anxious about my ability to be successful. But yesterday, out of the blue, someone new reached out to me. And in conversation found out I was considering this idea. She shared with me a personal experience in the matter, giving me exactly the encouragement I needed to at least explore the idea further. God knew I needed a push one way or another yesterday, and it came in the form of an email. If ever she wonders why she emailed me yesterday, now she knows. She was a Godsend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

She's Back!!

Thanks to Jules (not my sister, the other cool one in Florida) for letting me know -


NEWLYWIFED is back!!! Go say hello!! (Oh, and if you didn't read her blog before, you'll want to bookmark it and come back regularly- oh, and take cookies.) No pressure, Newly!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

YouTube is hosting its first annual video clip awards. My hats off to Ok Go! For this choreography!! (Thanks, Everwhere Man for introducing me to this clip!)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

In Unexpected Places

While browsing through a Hallmark store in December, searching for Christmas gifts for my son's aunt and new cousin on his dad's side of the family, LM found a gift he wanted to buy me. I told him to take it to the register where the clerk rung up the sale and place the secret item in a bag for him. I paid without looking at the slip and promised him I had no clue of what it was. He was grinning from ear to ear and even had the sales team remarking on how cute he was with his gift.

It turns out the gift was a silver picture frame with the words "best mom" inscribed on the bottom. Since Christmas, the frame has been proudly placed on the piano, but still displays some blonde curly-haired mother smiling at her infant child, as the frame awaits a rare picture of LM and I together. I thought I had one from the cruise, but I can't seem to find it now. So the blonde woman is our current winner of "Best Mom of the Year" and from time to time I make comments about her success, attributing most of it to her golden locks.

This morning, I was certain the blonde woman would win again in 2007. Today, I woke my son from his Saturday morning slumber and took him to the periodontist for his appointment. He knew it was scheduled. He knew it was today. He was as prepared at a 10 3/4 year old boy can be. But there is nothing that really can prepare you for two extractions and a frontal frenectomy. LM has had three bottom teeth extracted before. His baby teeth and permanents aren't aligned, so the baby roots aren't dissolved and the teeth have no inclination to come out. He knew what to expect for that part. A frenectomy is done to trim the piece of skin you feel above your front teeth that connects your upper lip to your top gum. His comes down a bit too far and would cause a permanent space between his two front teeth if we didn't have it fixed.

The needle for the novacaine needed to be inserted in several spots today, not just one like last time, which was hard to endure, but LM toughed it out. When she started to pry out the first tooth, LM expressed some discomfort, so she gave him more novacaine, meaning more injections into his gum, pushing the limits of his endurance. The teeth were stubborn. Their roots had not dissolved at all, so it was a push and pull process to get them to finally come out. The holes were more gaping than the Doc preferred, which meant stitches to hold them shut so they could heal. Watching more needles go in and out of his mouth, was a difficult process for my Little Man.

Crouched down near his knees, out of the way of the doc and assistant, I held tightly onto his little hand as he squeezed onto me for dear life. Every now and then he'd give three squeezes in a row and I'd give the signal back with four of my own ("I love you," "I love you, too"). With the teeth removed, we moved on to what I thought was surely the easier process, the frenectomy. As it turns out, that little bit of skin is a pistol. It took some trimming and lots and lots of bleeding and then several more stitches than I had anticipated to get it all repaired. With an assistant holding his upper lip nearly up over his nose and more pushing and prodding and clipping and stitching, LM had all he could bear. Both of his hands squeezed onto both of mine as we hung on to each other and the hope it would be over soon. I kept telling him we were nearly done, despite having no actual knowledge of how much longer it would be.

I was in completely the wrong place. I could see everything. I saw the plyers yanking on his teeth to get them to come out. I saw the second tooth finally pull free and fall to the floor covered in blood. I saw the snip of his skin and the blood that came gushing out of his lip. I saw the inverted-V of open flesh that formed when she was done snipping, and the way it slowly closed back up as she stitched.

And I watched the tears roll down my little boy's face as the process took far longer than we were prepared for. As the doctor neared the end of the stitches, I heared him say to her, "Be done." He had had enough. She stitched one last stitch and then cleaned up his face and let him sit up into my embrace. He wasn't the only one with tears.

I had promised him before it all began that we would go to Lowe's afterwards. I needed to get some shelves for his closet and LM absolutely loves to find new gadgets and gizmos at Lowe's. As we left the office, I figured he wouldn't want to go anymore, he'd want to just go home. He headed out to the car while I paid the bill, not even waiting to grab his book or his K'nex toy.

When I reached the car, I climbed in the backseat and held him. He sobbed a little and I told him that he was the bravest boy I knew. That it was okay to be scared and that it was over now. He whispered that he had been terrified and I squeezed him tight and told him he was courageous and strong. After awhile, I asked if he just wanted me to take him home, and he said, no, he really did want to go to Lowe's.

We went. I told him the "tooth fairy" had $20 with his name on it that he could spend and his face lit up a little. We came home and I settled him on the couch with an ice pack, tylenol and a cup of soup. He ate popscicles and played computer games for most of the afternoon. I made vegetable soup for dinner and then, since he was feeling okay, we went to see the movie, "Bridge to Terabithia."

While I was cleaning up the kitchen, I saw LM getting out the digital camera. I offered to help him take a photo of his mouth, but he quickly corrected me. "I don't want a picture of that. I just think it's about time we replaced that blonde mom with the true Best Mom - you."

How do I know God loves me? Because I could never be worthy of this child's love on my own. In unexpected places, He shows me what grace feels like. It is truly a gift from Heaven above.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gilead - Robinson

I read "Gilead" in two days' time. But that is not as it should be. It is a book that should be read in the style that it is written, as letters written, thought over and reread.

"Gilead" is a story about fatherhood in every sense of the word, from blood relation, to children we assume for various reasons, to a pastor's leadership over his congregation to the relationship we have with God our Father. In letters written from an elderly, dying, Pastor John Ames to his young, innocent son, we learn of the challenges and joys that entail the father-son relationship along all these lines.

I found "Gilead" initially to be a difficult rhythm to read to. As the book progressed and I was able to read the stream-of-consciousness letters with the same breathing as they were perhaps written (by the character), I was able to better follow the thoughts, the tangents, the dialogue within himself that John Ames presents to us here.

I will admit, there were profound Scriptural concepts presented with such banality that their words nearly slipped through my mind without a challenging thought. In truth, I could have spent hours pouring over many of the doctinal contexts.

In all, I think "Gilead" is not a one-sitting read. It's a book to savor and reread. It is one who's message will continue to grow and evolve as I do; a book who will speak to me differently as I age. I am not sure, however, that my first reading has left me with enough desire that I will choose to pick it up again at a later date.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

While I'm Reviewing Things...

I had no desire to see it. LM had seen previews and had wanted to see it but I said no, I didn't know enough about it. But last night, after finishing my book, I found nothing on the tele. I finally looked over the list of HD movies available on demand and saw it. I decided it was at least something to watch.

I'll admit, it didn't really grab me right of the bat. It's more like someone quietly reached in and got ahold of me gently and by the end of the movie I realized they had me in a death grip. Like a great novel (which I don't think this movie ever could be, it has a necessary visual quality to it) immediately following the conclusion of the movie I was ready to flip back to the beginning and watch it all over again. The last 15 minutes make the movie.

If you haven't seen "The Prestige" give it a shot. Even if mid-way through you're still skeptical, hang in there. See if the ending doesn't grab you, too.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Smith

There is nothing new about a coming of age novel. Vastly overdone and often undramatically written, most remain on book store shelves, lacking the appeal necessary to make the leap into a reader's hands. Transcending the norm, ATGIB not only captivates the reader, but from start to finish holds your heart and breath as you navigate family, community, life and death through the eyes of Francie Nolan. I could describe the novel as a story about courage, poverty, perseverence, culture, maturity, resourcefulness and imagination and still fall far short of all that Smith captures within the pages. I could write for days about the themes of immigrant life, religion, gender roles, childhood and the loss of innocence, education, and sacrifice and still not touch the surface.

Unceremoniously set in Brooklyn in the early 1900's, ATGIB describes the life of the Nolan family, primarily the young daughter, Francie. A beautiful blend of her practical, resourceful mother and her imaginative, romantic father, Francie embraces the world around her with a literary eye. She struggles alongside her mother to save every penny possible, symbolically giving merit each and every day to dreams and aspirations that seem far beyond their reach.

When Francie's father dies, so does her youth. Forced out of school to help bring in money for the home, Francie blossoms into a well-balanced, beautiful young woman. Never the favorite of her mother, Francie pushes aside her own desires for the common good of the home, recognizing her place as a woman in the early twentieth century, and her place within her own family.

Throughout the novel, Smith introduces us to the characters that rise far above the printed word. One aunt, generous with her love to a fault (especially with men); another aunt who steadily survives in a loveless marriage; neighbors engulfed in poverty. We witness teachers of all kinds, learning along with Francie that education isn't something just taught in school, but something acquired on our own, with the help of those who have learned before.

But when we close the pages of the novel, and reflect on the journey we have taken, we realize there is so much more than we could ever hold in our hands. We appreciate the gifts in our own life; gifts of opportunity, gifts of resources and ability. We recognize the power of time, of perspective, of position. We realize our own dreams are not so different from those of Francie; to be loved, to be safe, to be free to express ourselves, but also, to never lose our hunger, our past, our memory of where we came from and why.

My only regret is that I never read this novel until now.

My hat is off to Stacy for yet another great book recommendation.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ugh - Updated

I don't know what goes so terribly wrong whenever I go to get my haircut anymore. I only go once every six months, and either get highlights in or try to get them taken out, depending on the season. The last couple of times that I have gone, I've had to argue my case that I really AM a redhead (they think I'm either a dirty blonde or a brunette depending).

This time I spent quite a bit of time explaining EXACTLY what I wanted.

Came out all wrong.

Thought I could live with it, but today I went back and said, no, this has to get fixed. It was way too light as they overdid the highlights and did them so thin they didn't look like highlights, just looked like I was a dirty blonde again. Tonight, in an effort to fix the matter, I took pictures of EXACTLY what I wanted, so that my own words might not somehow misrepresent the effect I was aiming for. And yet, I somehow came out a brunette. And a very fake looking one at that. There's some reddish tint to it all, but just enough to make you 100% certain that I color my hair and not that I was ever actually a redhead. Oh, and the highlights? Barely noticeable.

Ugh.

I think I'll just learn to do it myself. Seriously. I do not know how I could pay so incredibly much to have it come out so incredibly wrong. I would go back a third time, but they had told me that it was good that the first mistake was too light, because that is fixable, but too dark really isn't. Well, now I'm stuck with 'too dark'.

I'd show you pictures, but I'm still hoping I wake up in the morning and it's all just a terrible nightmare.


*UPDATE*
I called. I went back. They did some sort of a bleach/treatment to lighten it up. I'm back into the 'redhead' category. It's a little more coppery than it has been in years, but it's FAR closer to being along the lines of my natural color and at least isn't in the 'burgundy' color range any more. I'll be conditioning it for years to come, but at least it isn't repulsive. As for the stylist, this WAS a new one. I think it is safe to say that I will be highlight-less for the rest of my life.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

According to My Brother, G...

“…I was walking out the door of the liquor store when he walked in. Jeans, hoodie sweatshirt pulled up on his head, it said something on the front but I don’t recall now. I was nearing my truck when I heard her scream. The cashier, I mean. I think the whole world heard her scream. I turned around, dropping the bottle of Jack and saw the hoodie guy inside the store with a gun pointed at the cashier. I froze. No one else was in the parking lot, although it wasn’t out of the question for someone to pull in at any moment. It wasn’t yet midnight. I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911. Still standing outside the store, I quickly told the dispatcher that there was a holdup at the liquor mart on route 5 and tried to give a description of the hoodie guy. As I spoke, the cashier was pulling cash out of the register as fast as she could but hoodie guy seemed impatient. He had the gun in her face and kept screaming at her to stop screaming. I saw him turn towards the window, spotting me in the parking lot with a phone to my ear. I spun around and hit the ground hoping he didn’t come out in pursuit. I waited what seemed like several long moments, debating whether to make a break for the truck or for the woods behind the building, knowing he would emerge from the building momentarily and catch me there. I decided my truck was closer. I grabbed my cell phone from amongst the broken glass and spilled whiskey on the ground, the dispatcher still talking on the other end and made a dash for the truck. I heard two quick popping sounds as I jumped into the side closest to me, the passenger side. It wasn’t until I was in the truck that I realized I had been shot. I don’t remember much of anything for awhile until later, as they loaded me into the ambulance I heard one of the EMT guys say, “one went clear through, the other bullet is stuck in the bone.”

Okay, so he wasn’t really shot. But G and I both think a bullet story sounds like a better explanation for the three holes in his shoulder than the surgery he had yesterday to repair torn ligaments and remove a cyst. Everyone needs a good scar story!

(Yes, G is doing just fine. Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and prayers!)

Lonesome Dove - McMurtry

It took me nearly a week to get through this 857 page epic.

The cover proclaims "Lonesome Dove" as the winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize. The edition the library had to offer is a special S&S Classic Edition with a special introduction by the author. It is in this introduction by McMurtry that I find the best description of this novel. "I thought I had written about a harsh time and some pretty harsh people, bu, to the public at large, I had produced something nearer to an indealization; instead of a poor-man's Inferno, filled with violence, faithlessness and betrayal, I had actually delivered a kind of Gone With the Wind of the West, a turnabout I'll be mulling over for a long, long time."

This book came highly recommended by Bearca and then several others that I spoke with at the library and bookstores. As the winner of the Pulitzer and the special edition copies, I presume many people have enjoyed this book thoroughly and recognized a greatness inside beyond the norm. I, however, must admit, it will not sit on my shelf of favorite books.

Perhaps it is the truth of the wilderness of the West at one time in our history; that it was filled with such violence, faithlessness and betrayal. Perhaps the romance and passions of life were few and far between. Perhaps relationships were based on little if anything and commitment and love were beyond the scope of most people. Perhaps, sucked into the mundane that dictated the scope of life, people seized moments of absurdity as truth and followed them for no other reason that to say that they did.

Lonesome Dove tells the story of a group of men, haphazardly assembled to lead a herd of more than two thousand cattle from south of the Texas border into unsettled Montana territory. A journey filled with death, isolation, drink, prostitutes and violence fills each and every page of this novel. Through to the end, there seemed to be no redeeming qualities in the characters described. One cannot admit to the mistakes in his past long enough to claim his own son for his own and give him a life of honor and respect. Another, a man quick to follow any whim at any time cannot commit to his own choices in life, but is blown by the wind on the insistence of those around him, his life shaped by the choices of others, leaving behind a trail of unaccomplishment. Another, a lawless man, convinced he has no responsibility in his own bad luck, leads a careless life without a second thought to anyone around him. The women in the novel are as unredeeming as the men. True to the end, we find no redemption, no heroic moments of grace or love or compassion. Even the last act of the book, the fulfillment of a promise made from one lifelong friend to another, is tainted with absurdity and insignificance.

Perhaps this was the West. Perhaps this is more our history than I care to embrace. Perhaps this dark novel is merely a truth-telling of how our nation shaped itself into the country it is today. Perhaps it is a reminder of the past we don't want to repeat.

In any case, it is not a novel I recommend. I have read many westerns in my time and have enjoyed all others far more than this one. I do think McMurtry is correct, however, in his description of it being a Gone With the Wind of the West. It's no wonder I never enjoyed the weak-willed and incompetent characters of GWTW either.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Over a Sugar Bowl

This week is LM's week of "health education' for fifth graders. I had prepped him as best I knew how, telling him that he could ask as many questions as he wanted when he arrived home and that sometimes asking in front of the other boys can be embarrassing even if the teachers tried their best not to make it uncomfortable.

Tonight, over dinner (steak and potatoes, corn, applesauce and deviled eggs) LM said he had a couple questions, did I mind? Absolutely not, I said, fire away.

He basically wanted to clarify the idea that a boys penis went into a girls butt. I explained. He had a couple other questions, but they seemed to have explained things fairly well at school. We talked about how I had always told him that sex was something that happens between a mom and a dad and how now that he better understood, he might see how it could happen between any girl and any boy and yet God intended it to be for marriage only. (Yes, I know, he'll have oodles of questions about his dad eventually, but tonight he said he was fine not understanding that, and I was fine not explaining.)

We had some good laughs, explained some embarrassing things (he now understood about a girl's cycle, but he wondered about me because he had never had any inclination that had been going on. I think he was actually worried about me!)

We talked about things like kissing and so forth and LM said he wasn't so much concerned about HOW to kiss a girl (although he was quick to point out that he was in NO RUSH to do so!!) but he was more concerned with how to approach the idea with a girl. He starts a pretend conversation, "So, uh, do ya uh, I mean..." and laughs at himself. He said, "In books and in the movies it always seems like it happens over a sugar bowl." He pantomimes pulling out a sugar bowl, filling it and pretends to set it in front of an imaginary girl so she might know that he wanted to kiss her. LM laughed at the idea. "Crazy," he said.

Crazy, yes. But sweet!

*Update: Before he crawled into bed, he decided he had another question. If the boy's penis doesn't go into a girl's butt, but goes into another hole - where exactly is this other hole? Oh my. Our discussions also led to the realization that he thought (due to the teacher's explanation of wet dreams) that sperm could only come out of a boy's penis at night. I think I carefully clarified all points. WHEW! LM got to giggling at one point and I could tell he was embarrassed about what he wanted to say, but he eventually shared that the teacher had given them a diagram of the female reproductive system and asked them to label as much as they could. Jacob knew the "egg" and knew another area, but couldn't remember the technical name for it, and said he was certain the teacher didn't want him to write down the slang term. I asked what organ he was speaking of and he blushed and said, "the boobs, Mom." He remembered later that they are technically called "breasts" but at the time he said, it just didn't seem appropriate to write the word "boob" on a paper for school!!

While Waiting for the Bus

K and I were talking about Eli this morning while waiting for the bus. She was missing her early morning cuddles with one of our cats, Jonah, who now resides on top of the refrigerator as long as Eli is out (I promise you, the cats get all kinds of time during the day when Eli is crated and at night when we shut him in a bedroom to have their freedom!)

Anywho-

K wanted to know if Eli had learned the 'down' command yet. I told her we're still working on it. "Does he know 'beg'?" she asked. I explained that no, it wasn't something he knew and I wasn't likely to teach him that one because I don't like begging dogs. We talked for a few minutes about how he's doing a little better going into his crate each morning (it helps that I give him a kong toy filled with frozen peanut butter) and I said, "He's really a very good boy, isn't he?"

K replied, "a girl/boy you mean."

"No, Eli is a boy," I said.

"Nu uh," K replied adamantly. "Eli-JAH. Boy AND girl."

I tried to understand the rationalization for that one, but didn't get it figured out. I tried to explain that Elijah was a boy. He has all boy parts, no girl parts. Just like boys are boys and girls are girls. No one is both (I know there are exceptions, but at seven she doesn't need to know that!)

She said, "NU UH! There are tomboys!!"

I explained that a tomboy was a GIRL who just sometimes ACTED like a boy. That she really was a girl, with all girl parts.

I was spitting in the wind.

"NU UH!! I play basketball. That makes me a girl/boy."

I explained that all kinds of girls play basketball, that they even have a professional women's basketball league. That they are still girls, no matter what sport they play. This did not convince her.

"Well, I play FOOTBALL, too!!" At which point her bus pulled up and she got out of my car screaming, "Girls don't play football!! Girls don't play football!!"

I wonder what she told the bus driver.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Elementary School Fundraising 101

Each school year, Little Bird's and George's school hosts a fund-raiser that involves sending an invitation to all your friends and relatives to purchase magazine subscriptions. The kids receive a prize for submitting a certain number of addresses and those of us submitted are all instructed to simply ignore the invitations and to feel no pressure whatsoever to actually make a purchase.

My brother, G, and I both received our annual magazine subscription invitations in the mail this week. Mine went directly into the trash without so much as a second glance. G, on the other hand, took the time once again to look over the list of potential magazines that he might chooose to subscribe to and commented assuredly, "if only they offered Hustler and Playboy, this school might make a buck on this fundraiser!"

As much as I laughed it off as a bit of humor from my normally (mostly) morally upstanding brother, he might actually have a point. This fundraiser is from the same school district that offers "Donkey Basketball" as a money-maker. Offering more hicksville-friendly magazines might not be a bad idea.


* What? You've never heard of Donkey Basketball?! Oh, be relieved!! It means you live in a domesticated town!! My sister's school district invites in a travelling company that has donkeys that they ride while playing basketball. Seriously. I believe the seniors and the faculty actually compete in the game, but at half time your children can also have a ride!! Note: When they took the family this year (as all good parents in Hicksville, U.S.A. would to support their schools so their children have actual pencils to use and not a piece of coal from the stove) George said he only wanted to go so he could see a donkey poop on the gymnasium floor. 30 seconds into the game, George got his wish and the family got to go home early!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ever Wonder...

...what Ponch is up to these days?

Mr. Estrada himself

...he's hobknobbin' with my dad in Tennessee!!

Dad and "Ponch"
CHiPs = "Cheesy Hollywood Icon Photo, Smile!"

(My dad will be mortified that I posted these pics. He had no interest in meeting Mr. Estrada. We have Judy to thank for making sure we had photographic evidence of my dad hanging out with the formerly rich and formerly famous!)