Pardon me while I dust off the cobwebs…

Phew! Things get really dusty around here when no one’s around!

Ah. That’s better. Now, where was I? Ah, yes… I was having a birthday. Well, hell. That seems sooooo long ago.

You might be happy to know that I’ve made a mid-year’s resolution. (Perhaps I’ll be able to better ward off the New Year’s Resolution Jinx this way.) I have resolved to renew my blogging. This past 6 months or so has been very stressful for me for no particular reason that I can determine (other than life, itself). Writing has always helped me sort through my feelings of anger, frustration, fear and inadequacy. For my own mental health, and the sanity of my family, I am back.

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Today I would like to direct your attention to an interesting headline I ran across this morning.

1. Breast cancer treatments impact work status. Well, now. There’s a news flash! And worse yet, the article was not much more enlightening.

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In other news, I am reading my internet friend and co-blogger at Mothers With Cancer, Laurie Kingston’s book, Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer. Laurie blogs over at Not Just About Cancer. I am sooooo loving her book and will be writing a review shortly.

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Lastly, as our typical summer would have it, my boys are having an extended visit at Nana’s house. I really miss them. In theory. Does it make me a bad mom if I’m content to just hear their voices and see the occasional smiling pictures but don’t long to have them back home?

I’ve pondered this question a lot lately. They’ve been gone 11 days today. Maybe it’s because I know this respite has a finite time period; that they’ll be back, larger than life, soon enough. Maybe it’s because I welcome the peace that has settled over my house in the last 11 days. Maybe it’s because Daddy-O and I realized this week that we don’t fight when we don’t have kids. We love each other when we don’t have kids.

We will attempt to remember that once we DO have kids again.

Imaginary friends, clinical trials and the joys of poop

I’ve had a bunch of things to share with you, none of which seemed worthy of a whole post in and of themselves. So today will be a Tapas Topic day, in that the subjects will be small and plentiful yet not enough to make a post.

Tapa numero uno
First there is this new site called BreastCancerTrials.Org that lets you enter your health history, then matches you up with any clinical trials you might qualify for. All for free. How cool is that? Well, not cooler than not actually having cancer… but still pretty nifty.

I entered my information. Since I am currently cancer-free, am not undergoing any treatments and do not take Herceptin or any other receptor-positive treatments (praise God for all that), I only qualify for two trials, neither of which I am interested in at the moment. The first, categorized as Supportive, was on treating vaginal dryness for women with breast cancer. Um, yeah. No thanks. The second is Preventative in nature and one I would be interested in if it were closer to me. It is on diet and exercise to prevent breast cancer or a recurrence. So interested in that. Unfortunately, the nearest research site is Houston, TX. But that doesn’t mean YOU won’t have better luck so go fill out your own health history and see what pops up.

Tapa numero dos
And did I tell you that Danny has an imaginary friend. Yep. It’s official. Absolutely no one knows who Brenden is – ergo, he must only exist in D’s imagination – unless he suddenly grew a social life I don’t know about. (And how unfair would that be since I don’t have one?) I guess Brenden has been hanging around in conversation for about 5 or 6 weeks now. I actually thought he was a real kid. Danny talks about him the same way he talks about everyone else, in the third person, in question format, as if he interacts with them on a daily basis. (i.e. “Does Alayna clap at the soccer game?”) I just assumed Brenden was one of the boys in his new preschool class. When I finally got around to asking, turns out he’s not.

I’ve never known anyone that actually had an imaginary friend. Intellectually I know there is nothing wrong with it but I guess I’ve still always thought there was just a little something off about those kids. And that’s not to say there isn’t something a just a little off about Danny either… However, this article I found from the Seattle Post – Intelligencer Reporter was comforting nonetheless.

Tapa numero tres
For those of you sick to death of politics, please skip this tapa. Actually, this might fall more under the confession category than anything else. I voted “yes” on Proposition 8 – the ban on gay marriage. Weeks ago, actually. And now I wish I could take back my vote. I have never had an issue with civil unions or any of the other rights or privileges that come along with such a legal status. My single objection has always been with calling a same-sex partnership a marriage. How hypocritical of me. Who am I to deny equality to any segment of society? The worst of it is that I knew it was hypocritical and discriminatory when I cast the vote. And still I did it! I voted with my emotions and not my intellect. Gah! I hope it is overturned – again.

Tapa numero quatro
I promise this one is lighter by far. We’ve been seeing an ADD specialist for Ben, Dr. Flaton. I really, really like working with her. She’s already given me great insight into what it must be like to be ADHD… helped me see things from Ben’s viewpoint. At any rate, she gave Ben a bunch of questions to answer before our next appointment. They are haaard questions. At least I thought so. I guess they could be perfectly simple also. The few that Ben completed I thought were answered very well. (spelling has been corrected because I couldn’t stand it.)

  1. Tomorrow I will “go to the beach and play.”
  2. I wish that I “was rich and famous.”
  3. I worry about “my little brother.”
  4. I hope “I will never die in a 100 years.”
  5. My father “is going fishing today.”
  6. In school I “learn about science.”
  7. It isn’t nice to “be a bully to other kids.”
  8. My teacher “is nice and kind.”

Tapa numero cinco
Yesterday was our last soccer obligation for the season. It was an entire tournament day. We love soccer and have had a wonderful season – even though we haven’t won a single game. Well, before yesterday. We actually won the very last game of the season. 4-0. Woohoo! The boys were thrilled! Here is a picture of Ben celebrating with Coach Daddy-O.

Sweet, huh? Oh course, that’s not the real story here. Danny and I sat on the sidelines the whole day. We had a great time cheering an clapping for Ben’s team.

Unfortunately, Danny had an accident in his pants because the port-a-potties were so far away.

Fortunately, I had thought ahead and put him in a pull-up before we left the house.

Unfortunately, I had already removed all kid stuff from my van in preparation for Daddy-O’s fishing trip so I didn’t have any wipes or other pull-ups. Yikes! It was only 10 AM.

Fortunately, one of the other mom’s had everything I needed. Day saved. After lunch there was another small accident before we made it to the outhouse.

Unfortunately, this time there was diarrhea involved. Ack! Still no supplies and now day-saving mom had taken her diaper bag to lunch.

Fortunately, Danny doesn’t mind going commando.

Unfortunately, the diarrhea wasn’t an isolated incident.

Fortunately, he was wearing very dark, thick pants and there wasn’t very much of it… that second time.

Unfortunately, there was also a third time.

All I can say is that my youngest son is such a trooper. He was swooped up, rushed home, stripped, thrown in a bath, scrubbed within an inch of his life, brusquely dried & redressed then back at the soccer fields within 30 minutes. Surely a record.

Portions cross posted to Mothers With Cancer

God’s Country

We just came home from Yosemite. It’s the first time I’ve ever been there. Man, did God ever work overtime on that place! He certainly out did himself.

Words really can’t express how beautiful the park is so I will just give you a glimpse of my photos from Saturday.


Because Daddy-O is a complete dork

I am irritated with Daddy-O. I went grocery shopping last night and spent, well, an ungodly amount of money, as per usual. We had discussed having BBQd chicken for dinner. But because it was already late I also bought fixin’s for burgers which are so much quicker. We agreed to have BBQ Chicken the next night – tonight. I had bought two picnic (bulk) packs of drumsticks and thighs which I break down into two meals each. I marinate them before I freeze them so they are already prepped when I take them out of the freezer. Since it was late I gave Daddy-O the bulk packs of chicken to put in the garage refrigerator until I had a chance to break them down today.

At dinner time I went to grab them. They were sitting snuggly in the freezer. Still in bulk. Still unmarinated. Not ready for BBQing.

The pizza was delicious.

In order to NOT take my irritation out on my husband who was obviously not paying attention when I was speaking to him, I will instead, post evidence of his dorkiness for all the world to see. Because he also does not read my blog as my words have very little meaning to him. (I only believe this a little bit).

For your viewing pleasure:

Exhibit One:
The dork on the left is Squatter Dog and the one on the right is Daddy-O. The following pictures are from their July trip to Yosemite. Don’t ask me to explain any of them because I can’t even begin to…


Exhibit Two:


Exhibit Three:
I believe this would be posed…


Exhibit Four:
This is the whole crew: (r to l) Daddy-O, nameless friend, Gary, Squat, Mark. Otherwise known as The Marmots.

OK. No more dorkiness. Here are the spectacular photos taken on their trip.

Daddy-O tying his fly line.


Beautiful! Taken by Mark.


One of my favorites! Two marmots enjoying the view!


What I say to Daddy-O if he sees these pictures on the Internet!


Dragonflies!

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On a completely different weekend…

This is Ben’s first lake fish. He caught it completely by himself. It’s a big mouth bass. It took us a while to convince Danny that his brother hadn’t caught a “bat”, however. Apparently, someone needs to learn to enunciate.


And that concludes our photographic presentation. Thanks for viewing.

We’re camping, damn it.

We camped at the KOA in Sisters, OR for two nights. We were supposed to stay there longer but we found the most incredible stretch of river and moved our stuff post haste.

I dropped Daddy-O off at the Metolius River to go fly fishing. Once I got a look at the campgrounds I was hooked. The trees were majestic. Tall and straight. The river, melodious.
Best of all, the campgrounds were mostly empty. Sigh. Everything a vacation ought to be. So I high-tailed it back to the motorhome, my Mom & the kids to convince them that we needed to pack up and move.

Next thing you know, we were completely broke down (camp wise) and waiting on the river before Daddy-O was done fishing for the day.

These cute little ‘monks were all over the place! I always thought Chip ‘N Dale were cute but the cartoons just don’t do them justice. They would run through camp, lickety split, in a crazy game of Chase the Ace. And they can stuff an insane amount of Cheetos in their cheeks all at once!

Danny was not a fan of the camping experience. While he loved the idea of a vacation in theory… the reality fell a bit shy of the mark in his book. There was no bike to ride. Music was hit and miss at best. And he got a nasty cold right off the bat.

Here are a few photos of the local flora & fauna as I practiced with my new camera.

Daddy-O is off to fly fish and Ben is following close behind. Trying to be just like Dad. He could do much worse.

And here is Daddy-O in action. The Metolius River comes directly from under the mountain not far from here (less than 2 miles). The water is a constant 45-47 degrees. Daddy-O is very cold here. The fish are not.


I will post about our reunion when we get home. We drive from Redding to SLO today. Yeah!

3, 2, 1… Vacation!

Three mid-level arguments, two days of driving, and one saddle-sore preschooler later we are in Bend, OR. It was a very, very long road… but also beautiful.


Daddy-O and I have officially fallen in love. With Oregon. I think I want to move to Oregon. Big surprise for a Californian to move to Oregon. I hate to be a cliche. But Daddy-O says he would be content to fly fish up here on a regular basis. Humph! I’m one of those all or nothing type of girls.

We stopped by The Fishin Hole Fly Shop in an awesome little town on the Rogue River called Shady Cove. It was a fly shop / delicatessen / gift shop. The owner gave Danny a little fishing bobber/indicator thingy (whatever! I am not required to know what it is called) and a push-up pop. We spent an inordinate amount of time there but I was happy to do it. Because… I found my first major Christmas gift in the gift shop. Shhhhhhh. It’s for Daddy-O.

Just past Shady Cove we ran across this gorgeous little strip of the Rogue.


Danny and Ben were sooooo happy to see each other. They slept in their own sleeping bags yet their heads were drawn together in the night. Even in sleep they missed each other.

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Also, thank you for the kind words about my motherly confessions. It’s nice to think that perhaps I am not the only one who feels just so.

While Daddy-O’s away, Mommy will play

Shhhhh. Don’t tell Daddy-O… but I cut D’s hair. Ooooh, he’s gonna freak when he sees it! Not that it doesn’t look absolutely adorable or anything. You have to understand that when Daddy-O was D’s age he looked like the prettiest little girl you’d ever care to see. He had huge brown eyes with lush, thick eyelashes and long, dark hair that hung in perfect ringlets down below his shoulders. A real beauty… unless she’s a boy. Then, not so much.

So, if Daddy-O had his way D and B would have long hippy hair. They would also only wear tye-dy and never wear deoderant. I willingly acquiesce on the first but will firmly draw the line at the second once puberty gets around to our house.

We tried the long hair route with B with mixed results. The poor boy has my hair through and through. The best he could ever manage without looking like a vagrant was a mullet. yes. You read correctly. Didn’t you realize the mullet is totally making a come back? Well, maybe not the way B wore it, but a come back none the less. You should make the rounds at an elementary school these days. They are filled with mullets, mohawks, fauxhawks and completely unkempt Beatles doos.


Just look at that. That there is pure Joe Dirt mullet. Or at least it would have been if we hadn’t buzzed him before he left on the cross-country trip with Nana. B’ness in the front, party in the back.

Of course, if B had his way he’d comb his hair like this.


Kind of makes that ole mullet look good, doesn’t it…

So…. this is what D’s hair looked like before Daddy-O left for his backpacking trip.


And this is what it looks like now.


Don’t you think he looks more grown up this way?

Oh yeah. And D’s hairdresser gave us a cat. Everyone, please say hello to Razzmataz.

She’s still in hidey-hole mode because we only brought her home last night. She is a beautiful 3 year old calico. Sydney is NOT pleased with losing his only cat status. I’m sure he’ll come around though. At 11, he’s mostly all howl and growl with very little motivation to back it up.

Daddy-O is going to come home all exhausted from his first backpacking trip in since 9/11 and find that I’ve gone and acted on my own again. I’m thinking of telling him when we cut off all D’s hair there was a kitty under there.