29 November, 2008

Lucy!


<
at Mali's birthday party.. I believe the caption should read "Do I have any organic spinach stuck in my teeth?"

28 November, 2008

Fog at the Grapevine

Entering the bank of fog on the way home from Southern California... it is so thick they have been doing CHP escorts


22 November, 2008

Sistow

I've had a migraine for days, and I'm finally alive again. My sister is here which means we have 4 dogs, two husbands, three boys, three boys, three toddlers, 1 child with autism, 1 preacher-man, one puppy, 4 adults, 1 full-time 60+hour a week worker, 2 stay at home moms, one editor, one photographer, 1 precocious little girl, 3 native Americans, 1 MBA, 1 MA Divinity, 1 BA English, 2 wives, 2 husbands, 4 children, 1 dishwasher and a lot of wildflowers.

19 November, 2008

News!

Jake has a new aide.. she does not yet have a pseudonym, so let's just go with BB. She is young and fresh and engaging, and Jake seems to love her already. She told me this morning that she felt like she needed to be firm with him. I told her he was a punk, and she laughed and said "Yeah, I can see that."

His teacher, Janet, came up after Jake and BB had walked away and told me that yesterday Jake had dropped to the ground (mild tantrum) on the way to lunch. BB stopped and said "I know you're hungry, so if you want lunch you should get up and walk. I'll wait." and he stood up and walked with her... AMEN!

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18 November, 2008

Flashback

My little Jake September 2002. He smiled a lot when he was little. He was always laughing. I think it's because he couldn't walk until he was two... just 5 weeks or so after this picture was taken. Before that he was always in our arms, cuddling, wrestling, being held.

He's been crawling into our bed in the mornings lately. Not every day, and not in a quiet way at all. It is that same laughing boy, hugging us and wrestling and trying to hug his baby sister. It is my favorite thing... my FAVORITE thing in the world..morning and the sheets still smell like fabric softener and we have way too many pillows, of all sizes and squishiness, and everyone has messy hair and we are all there; all four of us laughing and tickling and kissing and hugging. It never lasts for long. There are jobs to get to and school bells will ring and the private swimming lessons we will pay for whether we make it to class or not. There's always a shower to be taken or a diaper to be changed.

It lasts just long enough to remind me that I have a wonderful life, a terrific husband and two precious children... so it is enough for me.

17 November, 2008

California Academy of Science

Look what a 2 year old can convince 2 men in their seventies to do!

16 November, 2008

Far Away

Home is so far away. I'm in Pajaro Dunes with friends, so my home with Descartes and Lucy and Jake seems forever away with this quiet sunrise before me, but even farther away are my parents in Southern California who do not live far from the Yorba Linda fire.
They are fine. I'm sure I would received a phone call last night if they had been asked to evacuate. It's so strange for me because I never really lived in the house where they live now because the bought it while I was in college, so I don't really know how far away the fire is. I mean I can tell from Google maps, but I can't tell how "emotionally close" those flames are. Is that where they grocery shop? buy their books? Is that where their friends live? I have been away a long time now.

I can't sleep, so I am going to head back to my home now, to get ready for the day with the other two sets of parents I have (Descartes family is meeting us this afternoon also.)

The sunrise is beautiful here. I imagine it looks the same color orange as the flames on the ridge near my parent's house this morning.

15 November, 2008

Experience

just ran naked into the Pacific ocean as the sunset faded into the water.

Damn. I have a great life. Thanks for watching the kids Descartes!

14 November, 2008

Inner Dialog

Take care of yourself. Take care of your friends. Wash your car. Wash the dishes. Clean the keyboard. Clean the handles of the shopping cart they are covered in fecal matter. What if everyone else cleans the bar? I'm probably safe right? Ha. When do good things happen? Wear a yellow gown. Don't smother him with kisses. Cover your mouth when you cough, but not with your hands. Wave to the veteran, homeless on the center divide. Divide your time between the things you want to do and the things you should really be doing. Isn't that what your mother always said? Why do I have two baskets filled with unmatched socks? Seriously. Should you really be eating that? Probably not. I can't imagine that Pringles are on any best health diet, but who really wants to eat that extra fiber bread. Maybe with butter.. a LOT of butter. I give my kids too much butter. I am setting them up for failure by teaching them to love butter, salt, olives, blue cheese, nachos, bacon. Damn we eat a lot of bacon. Life is too short not to eat bacon.. I mean we're all terminal. God isn't there something we can do to help that boy? There must be something. How can I help him? I'll make fudge. I'll take fudge with me to the city too. I'll make a lot of fudge. No nuts. Don't want to kill any body. Is there any one who doesn't like fudge? Fudge makes people happy. Am I happy? I am so tired. I think I'm happy. Why is she crying? Does she whine too much? Am I over-indulging her? I'm not spending enough time with her. Where is my son? Did he get enough to eat? He's so skinny... he's so skinny. And I need to trim his nails. ANd he needs new shoes. Those shoes smell bad. Smell bad! What kind of a mother am I? I need to read more.... set an example of peace in my home... I need to unload the dishwasher and make some soup and call.. Oh I can't believe I haven't called her and she had the baby weeks ago.

bath time.

13 November, 2008

New Large Scale Genetic Analyses- More Autism Reasearch

from Thescientist.com

Two large-scale genetic analyses have turned up a trio of new sites associated with autism, including a large-effect allele that seems to reduce the risk of developing the debilitating brain disorder, researchers reported today (Nov. 12) at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Philadelphia.
Last year, the Autism Genome Project Consortium performed the largest genome-wide linkage scan to date with around 10,000 SNPs in 1,181 families with at least two affected individuals. The group flagged a handful of genomic regions harboring autism susceptibility genes, although none of the linkage results were statistically significant (/Nat Genet/, 39:319-328, 2007).

Now, a team led by Dan Arking, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins University, has ramped up the SNP count to include around 500,000 markers in 802 affected pairs of siblings. They then eliminated all the error-prone or uninformative SNPs to amass a collection of 180,000high-quality markers for their analysis. "It's the cleanest best set of markers you can imagine," Arking said at a press conference.

This enhanced genome-wide scan proved effective. Arking's team discovered two regions of significant linkage that had not been implicated before with the disease -- one at the tip of chromosome 20's short arm, and one at the end of chromosome 6's long arm.

Arking, together with Lauren Weiss, a molecular geneticist at the University of California, San Francisco, also used the SNP dataset to perform familial association mapping in 1,594 parent-offspring trios to hunt for common variants of major effect linked to the disorder. At first, they did not find any genome-wide significant results. Additional assays, however, revealed a hitherto unidentified site on chromosome 5 where one particular allele was transmitted less often than expected to autistic individuals whose parents carried the allele. Thus, this allele, although only found in 4% of the population as a whole, likely confers some protection against autism, Arking and Weiss argued.

This "protective allele" fell near the semaphorin 5A (/SEMA5A/) gene, which is involved in axonal guidance during neural development. The researchers compared brain slices of 20 autistic individuals with 10 controls and found that /SEMA5A/ had much lower expression levels in the autistic brains, further implicating this novel locus with autism.

Arking and Weiss will present their findings in a talk on Saturday (Nov. 15) and in a poster on Friday (Nov. 14).

12 November, 2008

AAAACKKKK

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thanks lulu.com


11 November, 2008

Long Day

Returns to IKEA mad house and Home Depot. Jake was precious  and amiable and helful getting in and out of car and wheelchair. He just seems so much more present lately. We picked out gigantic plastic "Christmas ornaments" for the tree in the front yard. A tradition I almost decided not to continue after last year's ornaments blew off the tree in a windstorm and I found them two blocks away... having rolled all the way down the hill, through an interesection and around the corner.

Lucy got a chance to thank a veteran for his service, which was very cool. He got a little teary when she said in her little pixie voice "Thank you for serving our country." I love that she is still a little bit my puppet mixed inwith all of her own expressions like "Hmm. I'mm gonna go check it out mom." and "Hi LittleMiss, I love your outfit."

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I figured out that my posts have been variably posting on another (secret) blog that I have.. whoops I should make sure I know which window is up before I start posting eh?

10 November, 2008

Lookin' Good

My niece is sick, and when Lucy heard this sad news, she decided that Bubsy would be cheered up by a "giant elmo, and green teddy bear and my furry baby" Here's the photo we just sent little Bubsy.




Next we sat down to see if there were any more photos in the computer we should send. My wallet is sitting in the table, and Lucy was looking at my driver license. She said "It's a nice picture of my mama." Fishing for a further compliment I said "Oh do you think Mama looks pretty?" I meant in the photo...



My daughter thinks I am asking about right now, in the flesh, do I look pretty? So she sits there a moment, shuffles some things in her hands and says sweetly with a cocked head to the side, "Well, Mommy. Your hair is just a little bit wiggly."

Which indeed is true.



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Evening update:
after seeing my balding head in this photo I actually took two (of the FOUR) vitamins I am supposed to take everyday. These are very fancy (read:expensive) vitamins that my mother bought for me.  For the record.. .I actually just took my second set of two. This is the first time I have managed to get all four into my body in the same day. Of course I washed the second two down with a swill of beer. How's THAT  for taking care of myself!

09 November, 2008

Sunday Morning

Morning

  • Jake yelled and kicked and dropped to the ground until I figured out that he wanted to play outside, where he has now been for 30 minutes using all of his happy sounds.
  • Lucy woke up at some ungodly hour again. I do not even bother to look at the clock until I decide to make coffee. I try not to make the coffee more than an hour before I think Descartes will get up.
  • Lucy tried to pull out my (screw-back) earring while I was sleeping. I had dozed off on her bed while she was playing. When I woke up at the pain and tried to shoo her off she hit me in the eye. I have decided that this is a sucky way to wake up.
  • Lucy marched herself upstairs for her own time out. More crisis ensued because she could not find the chair she wanted for time out.
  • Lucy can now butter her own bread (nearly) and it is great fun for her to make "sprinkle toast". It was a treat for me to have cinnamon sugar toast when I was a kid too.
  • Lucy peed on the living room floor.

08 November, 2008

Arghh

I am not sure what's happening, maybe because I have been pulling drafts out and trying to post them, but nothing is posting when I tell it to on the correct day (nor is it staying in the month/year of its original draft?!)

Ohwell. I've been saying that a lot lately, part of my "letting go of things I can't control" strategy.

I have sent my husband out for the evening to have fun...without me. He needs to get out and have friends and I am happy to oblige (especially since I spent half the day in SF getting a hair cut.

The hairstyle is working so far. I have been wrestling with children for 40 minutes and have yet to have my hair completely entangled in kiddie fingers. Jake and Lucy were playing together just now. She was pretending to be a monster, and when I suggested that Jake and I hide under the covers nothing happened.. until Lucy charged back into the room, which made Jake DIVE into the pillows face down and pull the covers over both of us! He was laughing and smiling. I love it when it all connects.

I am now being called on to read a Pirate book

Ahoy matey.

07 November, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

Lazy leftover drafts filling in for NaBloPoMo

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Yearbook Yourself... genius time sink. I had so much fun!

It didn't quite work in the first photo because my modern day photo had bangs
me in 1958:



1960 worked a little better


and 1964


and 1966


and 1968


and 1970


and 1972




and 1976



and I'm pretty sure this was me in 1990


and 1992 no no no.. the soft focus touch





Here I am in 1994 love that perm:


And 1996:










06 November, 2008

Tired in a Good Way

I watched a gaggle of girls yesterday afternoon. There were really only three of them, but you know how it goes, which was my reason for offering to watch the third one when I already knew I had the second.. If I am in charge of just mine I don't get anything "done", so I may as well be on and just parent the whole time.

They were precious and silly and whiny and giggled and screamed and cried and ran and wow. Wow! They were amazing to watch. They are all so strong and feminine and willing to get dirty all at the same time. Neat to watch the next generation have no concept of what things are okay and not okay for girls to do. They cuddled their babies then made a catapult to launch their stuffed bears. My kind of kids.

I just shoveled a pile of leaves and dirt and moved big heavy logs to rearrange a bunch of logs/railroad ties that some Halloween jesters messed up behind our house. It felt good to use my body. In general I hate exercise just for the sake of it, but using my body to do something always feels great which is why I love cross country skiing, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking and bike riding (to a destination). You know.. I am getting somewhere when I get my heart rate up.

I am in need of a quick shower before I pack up Jake so we can go pick up Lucy. No babysitter again today. I'm feeling okay today though. Descartes and I have date night, so that is always something to look forward to.

05 November, 2008

Just ask Lucy She'll Tell You

hey only due to some glitch did this not post on the actual day so I am still claiming NaBloPoMo...

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The next President of the United States o-Ba-Ma!

  • how to watch the returns at our house:
  • run the children ragged
  • feed them a lot of food
  • send them to bed with "The Lion King" on repeat on their television.
  • open a bottle of champagne
  • open another bottle of champagne
  • cry watching defeated candidate
  • cry watching Next President
  • make hubbins play Facebook after second bottle of champage
  • call Republican family in Orange County to make sure they are okay.

04 November, 2008

Jake said Blue

Perhaps he was leaning Obama? He was choosing between crayons and his teacher said "Jake you have only two more to choose from. Which color do you want, brown or blue?" and he answered: "Blue!" and grabbed the crayon and dropped it in front of his teacher.

Go Blue (states!)

03 November, 2008

Grocery Shopping with Coupons

Takes about an hour longer than  it would otherwise. Luckily  we were fortified by a bagel  which we procured during a morning visit with Leila and her mom Pollyanna. Here are our cute kids at the table.

02 November, 2008

We Voted!

Yesterday actually, but it was really exciting this time.. and made slightly more complicated by the fact that we vote by mail and therefore had to fend off small Halloween-candied grubby fingers from ruining our ballots while we voted.

We dropped our ballots off downtown. We are the County Seat, so there was actually an early voter area open as well. It was so great to see all of those people in line to vote. Hundreds of people in line. Will it be record turn out this year? Wouldn't that be great if every American who is eligible to vote, actually voted? I cannot imagine not voting. I feel like it is one of those things that reminds me of how lucky I am to live in the United States. Did you watch the John Adams series on HBO? I cried when they they voted on the resolution to declare independence. The bravery! The courage! And then there's the women's suffrage movement How could you be a woman and NOT vote? It took until 1920? jeesh. 
 
Political discussion is generally interesting in my family (especially with my family of origin). We are an opinionated lot, mostly the type that pays attention to the news, the price of oil, the DJI We are admittedly, rather homogoneous: white Californians who own homes and can read, but the differences start after that: private school, public school, GED or college, Christian or Jewish or Uncertain, Pro or Anti Choice, and obviously different generations are in different places in our lives. We are in the midst of health care costs for a disabled child, and wondering about school vouchers, and saving for our children's college education. Perhaps we overlap on capital gains for home sales, and each have an interest in the estate taxes for different reasons. The conversations have finally become a respectful acknowledgement of differences. I *think* that my parents are starting to see that I am not  "crazy hippy" from Berkeley who is so liberal I want to live in a socialist country. It's possible that they are starting to treat me as if I am merely an adult with a different opinion which has been thought out just as thoroughly as their opinions. I am more liberal than any of my parents, but I laugh because most of the things I think? I  thought them before I even went to college, which means that they influenced me (and for a longer period of time)  than four and a half years at Berkeley ever did... it's their own fault for raising me to think (how's that for spin).

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I am sort of feeling like all of the talk from the candidates is just rhetoric. The country is sort of broken right now. We all believe that we are resource depleted or going there, so we are tightening our belts and not spending, which makes stores go out of business which puts factories at a slow down so there are more unemployed people with less money to spend on things. It is a cycle, and in my odd mind it is a cycle that is fixed one person at a time (with some bank bailouts along the way probably). If we believe that things are looking better? Then that little "Consumer Confidence Index" will look great and the traders will trade on that news. I know it's not as simple as that, and certainly Descartes is trying to ensure that I do not "do my part" by buying everything at Target, but I am trying to stay positive. It will NOT be years and years of depression. I cannot bear the idea that the peak of my husband's career will be during the longest economic depression the country has ever seen. I cannot be consumed by the idea that (the collective) we may be the first generation which is less successful than the previous generation, and less financially secure.  I refuse. I will remain optimistic (is this sounding like more Jack Handy?)

and I will remain hopeful. 

01 November, 2008

NaBloPoMo

It's National Blog Posting Month again. I toyed with the idea of joining the National Novel Writing Month game, but decided that working on CISWY (www.canisitwithyou.org) is enough for now. I am already behind (right Squid?)

Halloween went off fairly well, considering the rain we were expected to have, the disabled kid we have and the crazy week Descartes has had at work. I still don't really like the holiday. I don't like watching children be picky when a kind neighbor offers a bowl of treats, and it equally annoys me when someone opens the door with a bowl of candy the size of New Jersey and gives each child a dum dum lollipop and says she needs to save some for the next (non-existent in these hills) children. That sounds awful doesn't it? I guess the adult part is secondary, mostly it's the chances for children to be greedy that makes me a bit crazy. The kids we were with though were for the most part really very nice, and always said thank you and/or have a good night. They also had interesting costumes and stuck together and used flashlights, and were sweet with the little ones. 

It's fine. I don't need to like every celebration right? I like New Year's day. Yeah. 

But Jake loved it. He laughed. He did a great job, and Descartes got Jake's wheelchair and wheeled him up and down the hills. I swear it looked like a flat street when we parked. Descartes passed out on the couch when we got home,and the children fell sound asleep within 15 minutes. 

Long day. long week. 

Happy Halloween. Happy first blo of the mo


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I just re-read this post this morning and I sound like a curmudgeon! Our entire family had a great time last night...the children were fantastic, the costumes were great, the food was delicious, and perhaps I just needed some sleep to better appreciate all of it. Thanks friends.

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