Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Thank You to Fellow Bloggers

Ah, the end of the year. The one thing I'm not doing is listing any resolutions or any plans. Last year, Christmas '05, my family sat around my dining table and spoke of our plans. A trip in the spring for my parents, going back to seminary for me, etc.

God said Ha.

But I will use this time for some blogging thank you's. I am a bit fearful to do this -- I know I will miss someone who has written just the right thing at the right time for me. So, as we say in church, "we honor both the spoken and unspoken words ..."

Thank you, Anne, for your plucky spirit, wild life (compared to this sedate mom) and awesome sense of humor.

Thank you, Boobless Brigade Master, for your in-your-face attitude that I learn from and seek to emulate.

Thank you, Philocrites, for keeping me in the greater world of UU thought, even during the time I couldn't attend my church or seminary.

Thank you, iMinister, for making me feel like I had a minister keeping an eye out for me, and a hand outstretched for when I fell.

Thank you, Peacebang, for challenging me both in the theological and appearance arenas.

Thank you, RevSean, for saying nice things. Nice is undervalued in some places. It is not here.

Thank you Nancy, for sharing your journey with your son. I know that if we lived next door to each other, we'd be great friends, and constantly in mischief.

Thank you, Chalice Chick, for being my "Yeah, yeah!" blogger friend. So many of your posts have me saying, "Yeah, what SHE said!"

And to all of you whose blogs I have visited, and those who have visited mine, being an observer to this journey.

Happy New Year. May 2007 find you and yours in good health, with the only surprises good ones. And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I don't want to take down the Christmas tree.

We need to take it down.

For one thing, we got it Thanksgiving weekend and it's quite dried out.

For another thing, we're having friends over New Year's Eve/New Year's Morning and we could really use the space in the living room. Not to mention moving the other chair back in here.

Plus, we have so many other holiday decorations, whittling off some of the work for Monday would be nice.

But if we take down the Christmas tree, it means Christmas is over.

If Christmas is over, then January is just about here.

And January is our next round of doctors' appointments, CT and MRI.

And January 06 was when it all began.

I don't want to take down the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Yuletide Wrap-Up: On Dealing with the Calorie-Phobic

There were a few bumps this holiday, as there were all over the country. Nothing as dramatic as Uncle Billy getting drunk and accidentally shooting the cat. Just your average annoyances.

Since those hiccups did, however, take away a bit of my enjoyment, I am trying to think of "how will I deal differently with this next year?"

First issue at hand: those who love to eat good food, but then spend all their time talking about how fat they are, and how things are so delicious, so they have no willpower, and how they hate themselves for being fat*, and by the way, LE, you might be interested in LA Weight Loss or Jenny Craig -- I have a friend who did that and lost 30 lbs in 3 days!

Lizard Eater stopped midbite where she had been happily minding her own business to give the person a "that's not going to happen" smile.

So, next year: in addition to the cookies and homemade truffles and all the yummies that only are made once a year, there will be a prominently-labeled container of prepared raw veggies -- carrots, sliced red bell peppers, celery, radishes, oh lots of good stuff.

At the beginning of the holiday, a formal announcement will be given, stating the location of said container, and the expectation that if one feels inclined to moan about the calories of any treat, they are to immediately go to the raw veggie box and fill their mouth. (And shut the hell up.)

* One good effect -- it made LE (who is 30 lbs overweight) and The Husband (who is a little less buff than he'd like to be) agree that to hate one's self over weight is the height of vanity and shallowness. Especially when the person in question is exceedingly fit, and is stressing over a 2 lb difference in her normal physique. If you're going to hate yourself, lawsy, let it be for something more interesting, like your predilection for shooting housepets while intoxicated.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Yuletide Wrap-Up: Yule Ritual

Gathering all my thoughts up, much like the toys, gift bags, product instructions and other holiday detritus that are scattered around our living room.

Pre-Christmas: On Friday, I led our first ever Winter Solstice Ritual up at church. Though I wouldn't describe myself as "exclusively" a Pagan anymore, I went through an extended amount of time where my spiritual energies were focused on Wicca, so I have more than a passing acquaintance with it. Fast forward to the present, when a mother in the congregation asked if I would talk to her teenage son about Wicca, who evinced an interest. Really smart, interesting young man -- the combination of my interest being reawakened, added to more new folks coming to the church who had that bent, topped with the teen's interest, led to the service.

It was terrific.

About twice as many people showed up as I expected. One part of the ritual was really, really lovely. I stole it from an online source, perhaps from a UU congregation, but can't remember now, who. Whomever, I thank you.

We had "personal" candles held, one for every couple of people. One yellow candle in the middle of the altar represented the sun. All of these were lit. I had some words about the longest day of the year, and how ancient peoples perhaps didn't know that the sun would return. Some words about loss. Gee, why did that appeal to me? And we went around the circle and those who wished to, were invited to share what they had lost during the past year. For me: "Loss of innocence. Loss of a feeling of protection. Loss of a personal connection to the divine." One by one, as each couple finished, the candles were extinguished. Lastly, I snuffed the sun candle and introduced a few minutes of silence for us to think about these losses.

Then, I lit the sun candle and invited those holding the personal candles to relight them from it. I had some words about the promise of the sun returning, the promise of a new year. We went around the circle, speaking of the promises we could see. Mine: "The promise of health for my family. The promise that we can now turn our energies to our dreams and goals."

Really lovely.

Magic moment: at the end of the entire ritual, (which was a definite end, there wasn't anything inconclusive about it), everyone stayed put. "Um, go in Peace ..." I said. Again, no one moved. After a couple of seconds, one woman said quietly, "I don't want to go." Everyone agreed, so we just sat for a few moments in silence.

Fixed "in a box" link

Bummer, I didn't have the correct "In a Box" link. It's fixed now.

Not kid friendly.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Nothing says "Christmas" like male genitalia

I was already a fan of SNL's "Schweddy Balls" skit.

And now I have in a Box.


Emily: You are four.
Lorelai: And balls are funny.
-- Gilmore Girls

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmastimes A-Coming!

And all my inner Martha Stewart has gone out the window. Less than a week to go, so it's now time to start either getting things done or scratching them off the to-do list.

Now first, for anyone not familar with this treat, I offer up Oreo Truffles which are absolutely the most slack-azz thing you can make that are still yummy. Really yummy. Like, people won't guess how trashy it is.

Take a package of Oreos. Any Oreos. I've heard using the mint ones are terrific.

Run them through the food processor, or put in a plastic bag and beat the mistletoe out of 'em.

Toss the crumbs in your mixer with one package softened cream cheese. Mix til they're totally mixed, just one big black mess.

Roll into balls.


Toss a bunch of chocolate chips -- regular, milk, white, I don't care -- in a bowl in your microwave. Nuke for 30 seconds, stir, repeat til it's good and runny.

Take the chilled balls out and dip in the chocolate. Put on a cookie sheet and chill. Eat.

If you want to get fancy, take some chocolate of the opposite color, pop it in a baggie, and nuke til melted. Squiggle some over the truffles.

Pathetically easy. My kids think they're the greatest thing since tv.

Now is also the time of the season that both I and The Husband are patting me on the back. Some people like to wrap packages. I don't. I am obviously missing some key geometric gene, because I always wind up being one inch short on wrapping, or way too much, and my gifts look like Little Warrior wrapped them. Actually, hers might look better.

I don't like to sew, either, but I dislike it less than wrapping. Plus, I hate all that waste. All that work buying pretty paper and RIPPPP ... plus bagging up all the paper ... ugh.

So ... after Christmas one year, I went and bought lots of different Christmas fabrics for cheap. Sewed up what are basically pillowcases of every different size.

Which brings us back to this time of year. Toss the gift in a bag, tie on a ribbon. Done.

And Christmas day ... simply fold up the bags and box them away til next year.

How very Martha Birkenstewart.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time to Hang Up the Cauliflower

The same daughter who referred to part of my anatomy as "mermaid" asked me this the other day:

"When are you going to hang up the cauliflower?"


"You know, you kiss under it."

I think you mean 'mistletoe.'

(Confused look). "Then what's cauliflower?"

I need to feed my kids more vegetables.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tonight, We Celebrate Hanukkah

Forget latkes.

We're frying catfish.

Good Ole Boys can light the menorah, too, you know.

For us, of course, it's just a little celebration we do, nothing big. No presents, those come with Christmas. Usually, we focus on the theme of being willing to fight for religious freedom. This year, not surprisingly, we'll focus on the theme of miracles.

The whole idea of miracles is an interesting one. It seems fairly innocuous, but it's a great way to start a fight. Everyone has a different definition of "miracle."

I'll admit to plastering on a fake smile, myself, when certain people have attributed Little Warrior's remission to "miracle." What, the amazing doctors were just along as witnesses?

But neither can I side with the black-and-white folks who assert that birth is not a miracle, it is a biological process; love is not a miracle, it is a way of keeping the species alive and functioning.

In the end, gratefulness wins out. We are blessed enough to live in a country with excellent medical care, to have insurance so we have access to that care, to wind up at the same hospital with a gifted surgeon who was willing to go into the emotional world of pediatric surgery, to be living in a city with good doctors and not out in the sticks, to have a baby whose body did not react poorly to treatment, and for her cancer to have been caught early in the process.

Oil that lasts 8 days. The above events.

I'll call them both milagro.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Pressure

I don't go in for the stereotypical mommy-Christmas-pressure ... "I must do a million things to make this the Best. Christmas. Ever!!!!" I learned early on that as long as they get a cool toy, get to watch Christmas shows with Mom and Dad and decorate a tree, anything else for my kids is gravy. What do they care if we don't have a "theme tree"? They want the ornaments they made in kindergarten on the tree.

But I will admit to having a bit of personal pressure. "Must-Enjoy-Every-Minute!"

See, I saw my parents lose a child. After my brother died, Christmas was never the same. They tried, they went through the motions, but it wasn't the same.

So, selfishly, I can't help that little voice in the back of my head (worm) that whispers ... "This might be your last Christmas with Little Warrior."

Some day, this will get easier. Or it won't, but I'll be used to it.

I'm so very grateful for what I have.

But ignorance and innocence were nice, too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Conundrum

Eclectic Cleric has me thinking about small churches.

The issue: (In my opinion) Small churches who want to grow and learn how to operate in the most effective manner need an experienced, gifted minister.

The problem: Experienced, gifted ministers need to be paid. The small church doesn't have the money to pay for an experienced, gifted minister, so they wind up:

a) Getting a pt minister who is serving one or two other congregations
b) Get a new minister with little experience
c) Do a program such as extension ministry, which places new ministers, not experienced ones

I don't know what the answer is. It seems a vicious cycle ... you need to grow in order to afford a good minister, but you need a good minister in order to grow.

The main answer I've heard is more than a tad disingenuous -- "if your church wants a minister, then simply sacrifice and make it your top priority." This assumes a level of wealth that not all congregations have. It is the church version of "pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you, too, can be rich!"

Our small churches deserve better than that.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My 10 year old son just asked me what is the "n-word"?



Okay, it's a small step, but we're living in the same place I grew up. A place where, when my sister's best friend was valedictorian of high school, they decided that that year, they would have 5 "Valedictorians." Nelda was African-American, you see.

Somehow, my son made it to 10 years old with no inkling about the word.

The question was prompted not by the recent news, but because he's reading a book about dealing with bullies, and one of the things it talks about is people using racist language.

So, he and I talked about the word, and why something so "silly-sounding" (to him) carries such power.

"I don't think people still think like that," he informed me.

Oh honey.

I have to talk more about holiday music

Philocrites said so. The fact that it's currently one of my most favorite-est topics has nothing to do with it.

So, I present, Lizard Eater's guide to Holiday music.

For the person who loves guitar/really good folk music:
Bruce Cockburn, Christmas

For the Gen-Xer who loved those Christmas shows we grew up on: A Classic Christmas and A Classic Christmas, Too. Holey shamoley, they're out of print, and worth big bucks. I'm rich! Not that I'd ever let go of mine.

For your favorite lounge lizard: Christmas with the Rat Pack

Best Version EVER of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" -- Betty Carter and Ray Charles. (Not a Christmas album, but marvelous.)

Best Punk Christmas: Jingle Punx

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Unitarians Had Their Prophets, Too

From a 1947 sermon by A. Powell Davies (long before people were talking about "stem cells"):

If science in the United States ever became dominated by a reactionary government, or by a reactionary church, or by both together, the result could be just as unfortunate. Indeed, it could be disastrous. That is one of my reasons for advocating--as I have several times lately--that a scientific and civilian-minded regulation of science be set up while there is still time. Recent scientific discoveries have become so dangerous, and further discoveries are so certain to be more so, that it is inconceivable that public regulation can be long delayed. If it is not accomplished by scientists themselves, on a civilian basis of unconcealed and open regulation, it will surely be imposed tyrannically as soon as an emergency provides the opportunity.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Nipple - breast - MERMAID!

iBeth had a funny post about figuring out what her son meant by a boy-cheese sandwich. Funny-child stories are, of course, an Olympic event, and her story brought to mind one of mine:

When Bo Peep was a baby, The Princess would crawl up into bed with me in the morning and watch me nurse her. The Princess was 2 at the time, and wanted to know the name for absolutely everything. We don't do euphemisms for body parts, so when she would point to the different parts of my breast, I would give her the name --- nipple, breast, areola, etc.

So one day, she hops up and begins naming the parts ... "Nipple, breast, mermaid."


She repeated it ... "Nipple, breast, MERMAID."

It was only after a few days that I figured it out.

Those of you familiar with Disney's The Little Mermaid and the title character have probably already got it.

Title character: Ariel.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Little Warrior is my role model for enthusiasm.

For a while, the word of the day ... many days ... was "No." I think all moms get to experience this one. Out of the blue, your sweet baby learns the word "No" and begins delighting in its power. Want bananas? NO. Want cereal? NO. Want to take a nap? NO!

Little Warrior enjoyed the word so much, she'd just sit by herself, saying it over and over. "No no no no no no no no," she told her blocks.

Granted, it was a word she'd heard a lot of.

Well, now we've discovered "Yeah," and as much power "No" had, "Yeah" is even cooler. Actually, not Yeah. "Yeah!" always with an exclamation point. And strung together -- "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah!" She's so enthusiastic. Thrilled. Want a cookie? "Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!!!"

I think I'm going to start responding like that. So often, I automatically say "No thank you" to offers. Sample in the store, helping me out with my bags -- No, thank you.

Huh. Wonder how they'll react when I say:

"Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah!"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Memory #1

I was about 12. Mom was really into theme trees, and she had amassed a huge collection of seashells, from all those years of walking along the beach while my father wade-fished. Dad drilled some holes, she strung monofilament -- ornaments.

As we decorated the tree, Dad -- grinchlike, sitting in his chair watching us -- said to my mother, "Those ornaments are heavy. You need to put more on the back or you're going to have a big mess."

She ignored him.

We finished decorating the tree and stood back to admire it. It really was beautiful.

Mom went back to her bedroom to change clothes and the rest of us watched the game.

Suddenly, as if in slow motion ... creeeeeeeak ... down came the tree.

Dad jumped to his feet and began waving us away from it. "Don't touch anything," he hissed. "Leave it for your mother to see."

Well she did, and there was the hubub of putting it back up. Not too many sand dollars crushed.

To keep that from happening again, my mom hung coffee mugs all over the back of the tree. I can still see them, hanging there, like some kind of a twisted coffee-lover's tree.

Truth = Beauty with a Little Ugly Mixed In

I once heard or read something about how the best art shows beauty with a little ugly mixed in, so you know it's real.

That's how I feel about Christmas songs. I like the ones with a little ugly ... or sad ... mixed in, so you know they're real.

"Hard Candy Christmas" is one favorite. Christmas comes 'round each year, whether we're in the mood for it or not. Even if you've lost your job, had a death in the family, got health issues, a divorce ... as it says in The Grinch, " came just the same."

I love the original version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," from Meet Me in St. Louis, and get cranky when I hear a prettied-up version, where they exchange the line, "hang a shining star from the highest bough" for the original, "until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow."

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away
Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow.
Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Not as somber, but definitely real is Robert Earl Keen's "Merry Christmas from the Family." If you are not familiar with this 'un, run, don't walk, and download it.

How can you not love a Christmas song that mentions tampons and fake snow?

Carve the Turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the eggnog's gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension chord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons, Marlboro Lights
Haleluja everybody say Cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Things I Will Not Say

Little Warrior survived because: we wouldn't give up/she's a fighter/God has special plans for her.

It's an insult to the children who didn't survive. And a fist in the face to the parents.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Advice: Only speak from your own beliefs, please

A bit of unsolicited advice ...

Do not say, "Even if you're not a ____, you'll like this," if you ARE, in fact, a _____.

Examples: Saying, "Even if you're not a Christian, you'll enjoy this heart-warming story ..." when you, the speaker, are a Christian.

Saying, "Even if you're not a vegetarian, you'll enjoy this tofu casserole ..." when you, the speaker, are a vegetarian.

Saying, "Even if you're not an atheist, you'll enjoy 'God Bless You, Unitarians,'" when you, the speaker, are an atheist.

It might be true. But it's not up for you to predict what another group, of which you are not a member, might like.

And just for the record ... I'm not an Atheist, but I LOVE that song.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Peace Wreath -- Anti-Iraq War or Pro-Satan?

I can't make this stuff up, folks:

HOA Bans Christmas Wreath With Peace Sign

A Surfeit of Holiday

This December, my goal is a surfeit of holiday.

Not a surfeit of material goods ... we are blessed to have insurance, but with that, come deductibles; in our case, they add up to $6500. Without insurance, over half a million dollars, though, so hey, what's a little 6K among friends?

But my goal is to feast and feast upon festivities. Christmas shows out the wazoo, a Christmas book every night. Food on the carpet be damned, we are watching "Christmas Vacation" this evening.

We got our tree today. For the first time in our 16 years of marriage, we actually went and cut down our tree ourself.

Let me tell you ... straight trunks are not a natural thing.

But it looks beautiful and smells divine. "What will Little Warrior think?" we wondered, with images of needing to put a fence around the tree.

She doesn't see it. "Haven't we always had a tree in the living room?" she seems to say with disdain.

I realize, of course, that she is but merely waiting for the second we leave her alone in the living room. To that end, the tree is secured to the wall with triple lengths of monofilament. Of course, that doesn't mean she can't climb to the top and install herself as the angel.

Surfeit. 4 types of cookies, nay, 6. And how about an Italian Christmas dinner this year?

Because, as normal as I want this all to be, I can't ignore the voice that says, you don't know what next Christmas will be like. You don't know what 2007 will bring. Last Christmas, you were in innocence. But now you know. That you can't know.

So this Christmas ... my goal is surfeit.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I just came in from outside ...

In younger years, I would have an interesting reason for being outside at midnight. Alas, my reason was not prosaic at all ... Bo Peep was hurting from what is probably an ear infection (we are incapable of having a holiday without some sort of illness) and I was scrounging around in the minivan for the bottle of ear drops we had to buy for her last infection.

Nonetheless, the night was lovely. It is warm here, so I was outside in a tank top and barefeet. (And jeans ... though without would have made for a more interesting story.) My neighbor across the cul-de-sac has two-story front windows, and they already have a giant tree up inside, lit with white lights.

So, the Christmas season has officially begun. We have no decorations up yet, but it has officially begun for us, as well. We have an official beginning, you see. I have this old Firestone Christmas album from when I was a kid, with the New Christy Minstrels singing, "We Need a Little Christmas." Every year, we put away the autumn decorations, then we go around one by one, answering the question, "Are you really ready to begin Christmastime?" Once it is unanimous, we play the song. We dance around like lunatics, Mom and Dad dancing with each kid for a few seconds before putting that one down and moving on to the next. Round and round and round. The Husband's Mother is here, and she is as much a holiday lover as I am, so she joins in.

I was still able to pick up The Boy and dance with him. Next year, he might be too big.

Every year, we use the same song for our "official Beginning of Christmastime song." This year, the words have greater meaning. I suppose everything does.

"For I've grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,

And I need a little angel
Sitting on my shoulder,
Need a little Christmas now."

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Made the dinner. Sauerkraut is now going to be a family tradition. Don't mock, it works marvelously with all of the rich Thanksgiving day fare.

Took my bows. The Husband put up the leftovers and cleaned the kitchen. I'm ready to go to bed, and it's only 9 pm.

Last year, we were still innocent. Now, we really know what to be thankful for.

I'd take innocence, if it were my druthers, but you get what you get. And we got to keep Little Warrior.

For now, at least. And that's all any of us have.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"

And if you don't know that iconic reference, go to You Tube and search for "WKRP Thanksgiving."

Ahh. Good times.

Well, I actually have the table set for Thanksgiving dinner. The most precious item on the table is the tablecloth. About 6 years ago, I bought a white tablecloth with a darker white leaf pattern on it, and some fabric pens. We use the tablecloth for holidays, and all of the guests (children included) are told to write a little something on it, then sign and date it. Really great memories, looking back at it. Here's from when The Princess was a baby. Here's the year Bo Peep was born. Here's when all of us were together.

I don't know what I'm going to write on it this year. I am beyond thankful. But also scared of what I'll feel when I look back (in future years) at what I write tomorrow. Hopefully, of course, I'll look back and say, "That was a bad year." Because if I do that, then it'll mean that the future years are better.

In any case, we can never know what tomorrow will bring. But I think that mine will include all the members of my little family, and both of my parents. It's just tomorrow. But I'll take it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Preparing for Thanksgiving

A relatively small gathering this year, just the six of us and my parents. But with a whole lot to be thankful for.

I am (she brags) known far and near for my turkey. Many a person across the country will be making their turkey by my directions, known accurately enough as "Obsessive Turkey." Yes, you could just toss your turkey in the oven and as long as you didn't overcook it, it would be fine. But who wants to settle for "fine" on Thanksgiving? Juice drips from the meat with this. Darn tasty.


Step 1: Marination/brine (day before Thanksgiving)
Brine marinade:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
splash liquid crab boil
1 gallon iced water

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5 gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a cooler with ice) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining. (I usually half the brine recipe and use one of those gigantic oven bags to marinate turkey in.)

Thanksgiving morning:

Step 2: Injection
Either use your favorite marinade or this simple one: 50% Italian dressing and
50% orange juice (with some tabasco thrown in). Using a turkey/meat syringe, inject marinade all over your turkey. (Fun to watch the turkey "inflate.") (Strain marinade before using or it will clog up the syringe.) Making mad doctor noises entirely optional. NOTE: last year, I injected my turkey of a blend 50% bourbon and 50% melted butter. WAY yummy.

Step 3: Stuff turkey with celery, sliced apple, cut up lemons and quartered onion.

Step 4: Cheesecloth
Take a double up length of cheesecloth, enough to cover the turkey, and soak in melted butter.

Step 5: Thermometer
Forget the pop-up thermometer -- splurge on an electronic thermometer. These are great. You put the probe in a thickest part of the turkey breast, and the thermometer is on the outside of the oven. (Thin wire connecting them.)

Step 6: Garlic
Take about 4 heads of garlic and wack them with a glass to break apart. (Don't peel cloves.) Scatter in turkey pan. These will bake and soak up the turkey juices and just be DIVINE spread on a roll. I think I might like the garlic better than the turkey. Note: if you’re cooking a fairly large turkey, wait and toss in the garlic, eh, about an hour after it’s been cooking. Otherwise, the garlic will overcook and turn into rocks.

Step 7: Cook

Put in the oven at 500 degrees and cook for 1/2 hour. Decrease temperature to 350 and cover turkey with butter soaked cheesecloth. Baste with chicken broth right over the cheesecloth (to keep the cheesecloth moist). Cook until thermometer reads 161 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Turkey will continue to cook, raising the temperature.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Grinches Who Stole Thanksgiving

The Cretishists (Christmas Fetishists) liked Christmas A LOT
But Thanksgiving, they believed, was a day best forgot
They should still get the day off from work, they said,
But it should be considered the First Feast of Christmas, instead.

The Commercialists thought that idea was fine, indeed
For Thanksgiving, they said, there really is no need
“Look,” they said, “We already have Halloween,
And then comes Christmas, so nothing in between!”

Even the Hearts joined in with the plan
They thought it a great way to stick it to The Man
They decided, in good conscience, they couldn’t recognize the day
That celebrated smallpox and the end of the Red Man’s way

The Cretishists had already removed from their town
Any evidence of other religions to be found
If you dared to say, “Happy Holidays” during the month of December
The punishment was your choice – die, or be dismembered

So to remove Thanksgiving would be simple, they thought
First remove anything Thanksgiving-related that could be bought
The others joined in, with the Hearts leading the show
“These porcelain Pilgrims are the first things to go!”

Cranberries, pumpkins, they threw them all away
Turkey platters, autumn flowers, scarecrows sitting on hay
“Autumn is really so October,” they sneered
They put up a Christmas tree and everybody cheered.

The night before what-was-Thanksgiving, they all went to bed
Satisfied that the former holiday was completely dead
They’d wake up early the next day for the Feast
Christmas was here! Let the sales begin! Wear red and green, at the least!

But when they woke up, they got a big surprise
They walked around, their mouths agape, they couldn’t believe their eyes
For the people from all over the land,
Sat at their tables, hand hooked to hand

They spoke of being with the people they love
They expressed their gratitude to the heavens above
“We have such bounty,” they all seemed to say
“And we’re going to stop, and be thankful, all through this day.”

And the Cretishists and the Commercialists, the Hearts et al
Were stumped – they hadn’t removed Thanksgiving at all!
No matter what they did, it still came!
Without pumpkin pie or pilgrims, it came just the same!

They puzzled and puzzled but then had to face
Maybe Christmas, they thought, is fine it its place
But maybe we can still find a reason
For not yet starting the Yuletide season

Maybe there’s a real need for a day to give Thanks
(And not just a day to close all the banks)
Perhaps our soul cries out to give gratitude each year
For all that we have, and all whom we love far and near.

So this Thankgiving Day, please remember its reason
Let the day be its own, and not merely the start of a season.

Friday, November 17, 2006

"Home for the Holidays"

If you haven't seen this movie, then get in the Thanksgiving spirit and go. rent. it. NOW.

It's marvelous. A story of a family with grown children. If you don't relate to at least some of it, then I am convinced you were raised by ... well, not wolves. Perfect people, perhaps.

It has so many funny moments, and so many sweet moments. Many that I relate to. And now, being parents, I relate not just to the experience of the adult children in the movie, but to the experience of the parents. Like when they're putting their daughter on a plane to return home and the dad (Charles Durning) says, "Look at that. We made that," to his wife.

Holly Hunter, Charles Durning, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey Jr, Geraldine Chaplin, Dylan McDermott, David Straithairn in a really hilarious Sad Sack turn ... and directed by Jodie Foster .... you must must MUST rent this. Now. This week.

"Par, par, bogie, par, par." Tee-hee.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Deep Listening" covenant group

Wow. Mind-expanding session with no hallucinogens.

Our congregation is doing "Big Questions" covenant groups, that began this month. We have several of these groups meeting. We all have the same question and readings each month, but the group I facilitate is operating a little differently.

We're functioning as an "orthodox covenant group," if you will. Meaning: absolutely no cross-talk, speaking only from your own experience, taking several breaths of silence after each person speaks, before someone else speaks. It's a way of really being able to focus on what the other folks are saying, without interrupting or having your mind race with what you'll say when the person is done speaking.

We agreed at the end of tonight's meeting that it can be challenging -- but is absolutely worth it. The process takes what can already be a powerful time and transforms it even further.

Our question tonight was the bland-sounding, "What does God look like?" In this venue, it took on a life of its own. I won't even try to summarize all that was said, but ooooh, I'm feeling so grateful to be in the group. The "oneness" of us all, why it's easier to see the divine spark in others than it is to see it looking (literally) in the mirror ... lots of great insights and visualizations from my group members.

Totally, totally, totally what I needed.

I have already been playing Christmas music. There. I said it.

And right now, Yet Another Unitarian Universalist has me thinking about UU themes in Christmas music.

The song that I think is the quintessential UU holiday song isn't a hymn, and wasn't (I don't think) written by a Unitarian. Christmas by Blues Traveler. We used it, in a poetic way, for a holiday service one year. We had a marvelous singer/guitarist, who divided up the song, singing the less hopeful part at the beginning of the service, followed by the children giving silent tableaux with appropriate songs for the major holidays, then he ended the program with the second half of the song. It made nice bookends.

Here's the song. If you haven't heard it, find a download. I love it, not only for mentioning different holidays, but also for that deep feeling that I think so many of us have had. The longing for something bigger and encompassing. "I was hoping for a miracle to hold me, wash me. Save me from my righteous doubt as I watch helpless And everybody sings."


Comes the time for Christmas
And I really have to ask
If this is feeling merry
How much longer must it last
I wish a one horse open sleigh
Would come carry me away
But I've been waiting here all day
And one just hasn't come my way
Now excuse me if I'm not being reverent
But I was hoping for a miracle to hold me, wash me
Save me from my righteous doubt as I watch helpless
And everybody sings
If it's Chanukah or Kwanzaa
Solstice, harvest or December twenty-fifth
Peace on earth to everyone
And abundance to everyone you're with
Laha da da da da da
Da da da da da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da da
Laha da da da da
Laha da da da da
Comes the time for Christmas
And as you raise your yuletide flask
There's like this feeling that you carry
As if from every Christmas past
It's as if each year it grows
It's like you feel it in your toes
And on and on your carol goes
Harvesting love among your woes
I want to buy into the benevolent
And I was hoping for a miracle to hold me, wash me
Make me know what it's about
As the longing in me makes me want to sing
Noel or Navidad
Season celebration or just the end of the year
Christmas can mean anything
And I mean to keep its hope forever near
Laha da da da da da
Da da da da da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da da da
Laha da da da da
Laha da da da da
As if a cold and frozen soul is warm to love
By love's own hand
So goes the prayer if for a day peace on earth
And good will to man
At twenty below the winter storm it billows
But the fire is so warm inside
And the children while nestled in their pillows
Dream of St. Nicholas's ride
And how the next day they'll get up and they will play
In the still falling Christmas snow
And together we'll celebrate forever
In defiance of the winds that blow
My god in heaven now I feel like I'm seven
And spirit calls to me as well
As if Christmas had made the winter warmer
Made a paradise from what was hell
As if a cold and frozen soul is warm to love
By love's own hand
So goes the prayer if for a day peace on earth
And good will to man.......
I wish a one horse open sleigh would come carry me away
And I'll keep waiting through next may
Until Christmas comes my way.

Monday, November 13, 2006

10 Random Things ...

Okay, I've ignored tags and postings of this one, but now, Imperfect Genius's post on "10 Random Things About Me" has me in navel-gazing mode ...

1. I met The Husband on the fencing team. He was a foil fencer, I was an epée fencer, back when few females were. I wasn't great, but I was okay. I qualified for nationals, but didn't have the money to go. Which is fine. I would have been slaughtered. I think I was never great because I didn't have a killer instinct. Now that I have kids, I think I could summon it up.

2. Starting at age 13, I spent about 4 Christmases in the Bahamas. It wasn't until the last time, when my newlywed husband came with us, that I actually liked it. All the other times, I would have preferred to stay home and have a traditional Christmas.

3. ... Which we never really had, anyway. I was a "surprise" baby (Mom thought she was going through early menopause) and my siblings were pretty much grown. So, Christmases were usually just the three of us, and Mom had "been there, done that" on big Christmases with her first litter. And Dad hates Christmas. Yes, I know. Hard to figure out why I have four kids and do the big-hoopla Christmas now that I'm an adult.

4. I think artichokes are the most wonderful food in the world. Where I live, it's hard to get a big, round, delicious one, but when I do, I'm in heaven. I make all kind of sauces for them, including hollandaise, but my favorite is plain ole Wish-Bone Italian dressing.

5. I have really long hair and spend too much money on "hair toys." But have learned that the best shampoos/conditioners are usually the cheapest -- like Suave naturals -- because they don' t have "cones" (silicones and whatnot) in them, which dry out your hair.

6. When my kids and I leave each other, one says, "May the spirit of love go with you," and the other responds, "And with you."

7. I'm about 30 lbs overweight but because I was skinny til I started having kids, I don't really see myself the way I am. Kind of like the fat kid who always sees himself as fat, no matter how much weight he loses. I probably think I look skinnier than I do.

8. I was a Resident Assistant in college. I wasn't a very good one, because my attitude was, "if you're going to have boys over or drink, do it in your room where I can't see you."

9. I began college on a drama scholarship. Towards the end of my freshman year, I looked around at all the kids in my class, posturing grandly about "motivation," and decided in one swift moment that I didn't want to spend my life around people like that. The only time I look back is when I'm watching the Tony awards. Wouldn't trade the life I have for it, though.

10. I play guitar and write music. In great irony, last Christmas I wrote a song for my husband, where the chorus was, "I already got everything on my Christmas list." Less than a month later, we got the diagnosis. I told him I wasn't ever going to write him another song. I didn't mean it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

UU Bloggers and TV

Happy Cindy asks, what do UU Bloggers watch?

I enjoy seeing what others watch. Just last Sunday, I mentioned in my sermon that yes, some UU's do occasionally turn off NPR and watch television.

My answers:

Do you have cable?
DirecTV with tivo.

Do you have a television in more than one room?
One in the living room, one in the game room. None in the bedrooms. Nevah!

Do you watch television on your computer?

What are your favorite shows?
Shalom in the Home
Grey's Anatomy
Gilmore Girls
Good Eats
Daily Show/Colbert
America's Test Kitchen
Little People, Big World

What old[er] shows do you love to watch in re-run?
Cosby Show ... while grumbling that no one can make a modern family sitcom wherein the parents aren't idiots and the kids aren't allowed to be smart-asses

What are favorite shows you hate to admit to?
Guiding Light -- the 5 minute "are there any storylines I want to watch" version
Oprah, the arbiter of What's Going On In America

As I think I mentioned in a previous post ... I recently realized that I enjoy TIVOing through my wishlist words to see what shows come up, more than I do actually watching the shows.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Trying not to imagine what might have not been

I can't imagine how large the hole in my heart would have been, if I were planning the holidays right now with LW gone.

Thank God that with everything we've been through, I can't imagine that.

Not that it doesn't hurt, just thinking about how I can't imagine it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

But still, he sings

I've felt insecure about my voice ever since I was a kid. I LOVE music and love to sing but like many folks, I worry that my voice isn't perfect. Egad, I might hit a wrong note!

I always thought it patently unfair that I wasn't gifted with a beautiful singing voice. Someone who loves music as much as I do, who writes music, shouldn't be saddled with a small note range! Lovely, dulcet tones should ring from my mouth, like Sleeping Beauty singing to the forest animals.

Forget perfect voice. I have something better. I love music and it's part of a full life for me.

Three cases in point:

* I saw Barbra Streisand, in an interview with Ellen Degeneres, say that she doesn't like to sing. Not only that, she doesn't like to listen to music!

* Barry Manilow loves music, but apparently, nothing else. He said in an interview (forgive me, I can't remember who with -- Oprah?) -- that he doesn't like to eat. Not that he tries to diet, or doesn't like certain foods ... he doesn't like the act of eating. Period.

* I just saw Beverly Sills on The View. She said she hasn't sung since she was in her 50s, when her voice was still awesome. Doesn't even sing in the shower. Because, she says, she wants to remember her voice as it was.

Oh. My. God. This is so sad to me. And boy, does it present a different view for me. Would I give up my love and enjoyment of music to have a great voice? No way, Josefina.

My hero is Pete Seeger. For many reasons. I grew up listening to his music, following his good works. Was crushed that I couldn't see him at GA, but LW was less than a month old.

Pete Seeger has grown older, and as he will share, his voice has grown weaker.

But still, he sings.

Me, too.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting with 4 Kids

After my two "school-budders" returned home this afternoon, we all went to vote. Call me corny, but I like the idea of them actually seeing me vote. I can remember going behind the curtain with my mama.

On the way there, we talked about what a privilege it is, to be able to vote. A privilege and a right. I very carefully told them, "I get to go vote," not "I have to go vote."

On the way home, the eldest and I talked about how I don't trust the electronic voting. He just had the experience of a hacker messing with one of his online game accounts, so he could understand the potential for fraud.

Just another day in the life of a mom.

I think we'll skip St. Lucia Day

As I've mentioned before, I am a holiday nut. (Hazel.) I love learning about Yule traditions in other countries. As a kid, I read about children celebrating St. Lucia day in Sweden, in the marvelous Maria Gripe books.

Well, you can order a battery-operated crown for fairly cheap, and wouldn't that be a neat thing to add to our December, our eldest daughter, in nightgown and crown, serving coffee and special buns to the rest of the family? Like a fairy princess.

Okay, so let me learn a little about the origins, so I can teach the kids.

Um, eek. The different versions of the story change in details, but the basic storyline running through all is that Lucia was supposed to marry someone, she refused, then either her eyes were removed or her throat slashed, or both. Religious faith and a vow to remain a virgin also enter into it. And a burning attempt.

I don't think I can see a lovely way to spin that one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

She Shoots -- She Scores!

You know how Peter Parker was bit by a radioactive spider and developed superpowers?


Now, LW didn't receive any radiation -- thank God -- but those chemos, mebbe they have some special side-effects.

My husband thinks that it's just that LW felt so bad for 6 months, so now, feeling normal feels SO DYNAMIC that she's on fire with energy and enthusiasm.

Thus far this morning, she has climbed up on top of the kitchen table about 25 times, risked death by nearly falling off of said table about 24 times (and I probably wasn't looking the other time), put her teddy bear in the toaster oven, attempted to call China, put the telephone in the toaster oven, and for her proudest moment ...

Mom went potty. Mom stood up. Mom reached behind and flushed the toilet. At that exact nanosecond, LW tossed a rubber bracelet through Mom's legs, into the toilet, where it instantly was, to quote the movie title, Flushed Away.

It's only 9:30.

p.s. Did I mention that I'm trying to clean house, prep food, go to the grocery, since my parents just got in town and are coming over for dinner later? Of course.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Haggard: A UU Mother's View

I will admit to watching the whole Haggard thing with a jaundiced eye. Really, don't most of us wonder, "gee, is he protesting too much?" when someone keeps railing about the sin of homosexuality?

But today, reading the letter he sent to his congregation, I found myself looking at the situation from the point of view of what I am -- a mama.

"There is part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life," he wrote.

The idea that one of my children could hold that sort of self-hatred inside ... my god, it sinks my heart.

I'm not going to get into all complexities -- hypocrisy, infidelity, etc. Others will comment on that.

But the idea that this man (I assume) grew up being taught that to be gay was so evil ... "repulsive," the word he used ... it physically hurts me, thinking of him holding that belief in his heart, while the attraction he felt was for men. The loathing he must have had and has, for himself.

My babies ... love and yeah, lust, are such an important part of what makes life rich. To hate yourself for that. To be disgusted by yourself. To think yourself evil.

According to, "Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, one of three pastors named Sunday to counsel Haggard and his family, issued a statement Friday saying he was 'heartsick' upon learning of Haggard's admissions."

I am, too. But for a very different reason.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

From Bishop Spong:

I love this so much, I'm printing it out to meditate on:

"I do not experience God as a supernatural power, external to life invading my world in supernatural power. I see no evidence to think this definition is real. The problem is that most people have most deeply identified this definition of God with God that when this definition dies the victim of expanded knowledge, we think that God has died."

Go Back to What You Love ...

In my case, Matthew 25:35.

Sermon is done, and done to my satisfaction.

Now, to find that children's story ...

Back in the Pulpit

I actually used to want to go in the pulpit?


Lizard Eater goes back in the pulpit for the first time in a year, tomorrow morning. It was going to be back in September, but things got moved around and I was more than happy to put it off.

So, I'm sitting here, looking at a sermon I've written and considering tossing it and starting completely over from scratch. Except I don't know what I want to write about.

I think I'll sit here and stare at our Principles.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Procrastination Meme

Hopping from Happy Feminist and Chalice Chick ...

Explain what ended your last relationship? Romantic relationship? Let's see, that was a million years ago ...
When was the last time you shaved? Yesterday morning
What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.? Getting 2 kids out the door and feeding two others
What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Discussing new wine with The Husband
Are you any good at math? I'm great at getting the computer to do math.
Your prom night, what do you remember about it? My mom acted cool by letting me have a co-ed slumber party. No alcohol, ice cream sundaes, and she and my Dad kept walking through the living room all night. So, cool but nerdy. Smart parent.
Do you have any famous ancestors? Patrick Henry.
Have you had to take a loan out for school? Nope, thanks to waiting tables and being an RA.
Last thing received in the mail? The aforementioned wine.
How many different beverages have you had today? water, skim milk, and cocoa.
Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine? Yes.
Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? Pink Floyd
Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? No. But I bury my feet.
What’s the most painful dental procedure you’ve had? Ask me in 6 months, after I've gone and had a total overhaul.
What is out your back door? Tall pine trees.
Any plans for Friday night? Filling out this meme. After that, watching a show with kids and Husband.
Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? Ick.
Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? Yup.
Have you ever been to a planetarium? No. Huh.
Do you re-use towels after you shower? Yup. Especially the one Aquis towel I own for my hair.
Some things you are excited about? Huh. Huh .... wow, that's weird. Can't think of anything. I think I'm afraid of excitement right now.
What is your favorite flavor of JELL-O? Ewww.
Describe your keychain(s)? Store tags.
Where do you keep your change? Cup in the laundry room.
When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? Been about a year. Will do it for the first time since last year, this Sunday.
What kind of winter coat do you own? A big thick warm ugly one my Mom got me, and a sleek London Fog trench that my Mom says is too tight on me.
What was the weather like on your graduation day? Hot and sunny, both HS and college.
Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Open, so we can hear the kiddoes.

Holy Secret Identity, Batman!

Chutney has me thinking about blogging anonymously, which I do. Well, somewhat anonymously. I've been involved in our denomination and in my district, and we're a pretty small pond. Thankfully, there are not too many UU theology students who have a baby daughter diagnosed with cancer.

My reason for anon-bloggin is slightly different than most folks. I wanted to be utterly, nauseatingly honest with the journey I'm on, especially after LW was diagnosed. I couldn't find any blogs written by the parent of a cancer-kid, other than ones created to keep their families in the loop of how treatment was going.

So, I picked up my old theology blog and took it in a different direction. Many times, my blog is mostly a diary that just so happens to be made public. That's why I don't respond to all the comments. I love the comments, though. They're read and reflected on.

But back to honesty and anonymity. I know myself, and I knew that if I blogged with my name, or knew that people I knew were reading it, it would affect what I wrote. Rather than writing that I feel lost and alone, I'd be writing about how much I appreciate the bundt cake that Aunt Marjorie sent me.

Like I wrote above, it wouldn't be difficult to figure out my identity. But if anyone who knows me "in real life" has found my blog, they have been very kind and not let me know.

I appreciate that.

Godlessness and Moral Values

"Gov. Rick Perry in a closed meeting Thursday told African-American ministers in Houston that government has an important function in promoting strong moral values and saving children from a "culture of godlessness."

"It's a ridiculous notion to say you cannot legislate morality," Perry told the ministers."

The Rev. Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, admitted today that he had purchased the illegal drug methamphetamine from a gay escort in Denver, but denied that he ever had sex with the man."


Because the culture of "godfullness" is inherently more moral.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Mystery of Mr. Boyd

When the character of Mr. Boyd first appeared on "Barney," he was the school principal.

Now, he's the janitor.

What did he do to be so demoted???

Merry Christmas

Well, according to the stores. Forget the smell of roasting chestnuts and sound of bells ... the first signs of Christmas are related to the stores. Last night, while watching a Halloween episode of some show, I caught my first glimpse of ... a Christmas commercial. This one for Walmart. And today, in the grocery stores fliers, ingredients for making Christmas goodies are on sale.

Philosophically, I'm against this type of "hurry to the next holiday" syndrome. Can't we just take things slowly? But pragmatically, I understand it. I know that I like to get my shopping done early, which means others probably do, and if you own a store, you want to get my business.

And ... I hate to admit it ...

But I got a little tingle looking at the ads for cinnamon and baking powder.

Now, this year, I have a little extra reason for that. We had a fantastic Christmas last year. Tons of family in, everyone having a good time. The kind of Christmas everyone looks back on and says, "Remember Christmas 2005? That was a real special one."

Well, we had no idea how special. When my mother and I commented on how petite Little Warrior was, compared to her siblings at that age, we had no hint that it was because two tumors were there inside her, sucking up all of the nutrients we put in her body. When my parents left after the holidays, we had no idea that they'd be back within three weeks, to stay for months.


Okay, I'm back.

During the worst of it, I looked back at the holidays and got some measure of comfort saying, "Well, at least we had a great Christmas."

This year, I'm aware of it all. I'm aware that we can't know what challenges lie ahead, or what sorrow. So I can't give in with total abandon and innocence to the holiday. But maybe that just means that I'll appreciate it more. Every commercial, glitter-coated moment.

Throwing a Halloween Party -- Roll With It, Baby

2 hours to party time, your oft-repeated phrase should become, "That's okay."

When you discover that using both your extra oven and your deep fryer cause a breaker to be thrown, you say, "That's okay," and make a decision which one is more important. And scratch the foods to be made in the other.

When you realize that the yard people have bagged up and thrown away all of the pine needles that you carefully laid down in the muddy part of the yard ... sigh, and "That's okay."

When, two hours into the party, you realize that 75% of the adults and 100% of the kids have gone outside, right through the mud, then tracked it all over your carpeted house ... "That's okay." That's what vacuum cleaners and carpet machines are for.

If you simply accept that you are no longer in control, you'll have a much better time. As will your guests. And they'll be amazingly tolerant. Lizard Eater was taking a pan of jambalaya-filled crepe pockets out of the oven when she received a phone call. Somehow, in all the craziness, the pan fell, dumping the crepes out on the floor. She came back from her phone call to learn that the guests had unanimously decided that the 3 second rule was in effect, and not only had they picked all the crepes up, they'd even eaten them.

The Human Element:

It's not just your party. For anyone who comes to the party, the party becomes part of their story, and thus, their party.

For a costume party, this is even more of an issue. You've got folks who have spent a lot of time and energy (maybe even money) on their costumes. In their version of the party, everyone notices their costume. Be sensitive to that -- notice their costume, comment on it. There will be at least one person for whom it is not just a costume -- they actually inhabit that character for the night. Let them have their fun, and honor the make-believe.

Some more "roll with it" -- someone will probably bring you flowers. Have a vase easily accessible. Don't stop what you're doing -- just get the vase out and let them arrange it.

You'll have some folks bring really special contributions to the feast -- put them in a place of honor, and make sure that the giver hears you tell others, "Oh, be sure and try the roasted-peach-plums that Mary brought. They're divine!" Everyone likes strokes.

You will also have someone who brings a container of grocery store fried chicken and plunks it next to the cut-glass bowl of hors d'oevres. Just remember, "That's okay." Smile. It'll get eaten.

Have a notepad and some pens handy. Someone, at some point, is going to want you to email them a recipe, or they'll want to exchange contact information with someone they talked to, who, it so happens, provides exactly the business service they need.

Biggest Party Hosting Tip Ever: Smile. No matter what. We've probably all been to an event where the host looked frazzled and stressed out. Hard to have fun, seeing that. Makes you feel guilty. But if the host is smiling and obviously having fun, you can kick back and have fun. No matter what.

And maybe even eat some food off the floor.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Things to Know If You Want to Throw a Halloween Party

People like toothpicks.

Specifically, people like food skewered with a toothpick. Even having toothpicks right by the dish isn't as good as having things already pierced. Which means either I have some lazy-azz friends, or there is some sort of psychological thing going on.

This year, one of the items I made was salami with pesto cream cheese. Some were layered and cut in wedges and toothpicked. Others were wrapped into a cone shape, with no toothpick, but a bowl of 'picks by them. The wedges disappeared first.

Other things to know:

It's all about eye-appeal, baby. One of the dishes that flopped was a cold curry chicken salad in wonton cups. Brown on brown. Those who tried it, raved. But the majority of folks didn't even pick one up. Next year: will add some chopped celery to the salad and put a couple of rings of green onion on top. If I do that one next year.

Plates will disappear at an alarming rate ... apparently you need 2 plates per person, which I did not plan on. A friend had to run out and buy more plates for me. Message for next time: Have some plain white plates stashed as a "just in case."

People love punch bowls. Drinks for the adults were in pitchers, and your standard juices-mixed-with-Sprite was in the punch bowl for the kids. It got hit on by both kids and adults, even those who weren't trying to avoid alcohol.

If you have great food laid out, people will assume that everything on the table is special. To whit: last year, I heated up a box of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets for the kids. Many of the adults grabbed one. This year, on the title card, I put "Just for Kids." They still disappeared as soon as they were put out. Next year, three boxes.

And speaking of title cards ... using my computer and some card stock, I make fold over cards to put next to each dish, saying what it is, and whether it is vegetarian or vegan. It's great for the guests -- don't you hate not knowing what you're biting into? -- but even better, it allows me a way to lay out my table beforehand. And I don't have to worry that I've forgotten a dish, because the cards are there, waiting for their respective dish.

More thoughts and ideas later. I'm fighting a cold today, which is probably a direct result of not enough sleep or eating right last week. C'est la vie. Still worth it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Party Scene in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" ...

... is not too dissimilar from our annual Halloween party. Except ours has great food and a ton of children.

A great time. It was muddy outside and my house is tracked up with dirt, but hey, that's what vacuum cleaners and steam machines are for.

Gotta write down my notes for next year, some specific, some more philosophical ... "Make twice as many falafel balls. Have more whipped cream for the lava cakes. Find a good way to make new people feel more comfortable."

I am feeling good. Anthropomorphizing our house, she seems like a lover after a long night ... a bit tired, sore, and with smudged makeup, but a satisfied look on her face.

Funny moments include the mother of one of the kids's classmates asking, "How do you know all these people?" "Oh, different places, but the majority are from our church." "Church! Oooh," she teased, wagging a finger at her margarita.

I smiled. "We're Unitarians. We're not that kind of a church."

Which is one of the understatements of the night.

Another funny moment, from another parent of a classmate: "We had such a blast! Y'all throw a great party! We thought this was just going to be a kids' party!"

Will muse on how to word the invitation that goes home with the kids' classmates so that somehow it comes across that this is a grownups' party that the kids get to come to, not the other way around.

A question expressed more than once was: "Why do you do this?"

I can understand the question. Unless you're in college, or can hire a staff, these kinds of parties seem to have gone out of vogue, at least for those who are now parents.

I popped off several shallow answers, because the long answer is, well, too long. And navel-gazing.

We do this party because it affirms and symbolizes what The Husband and I value.

We value the family we've made, both as individual members and as a group. We value our friends, who have taught us more about being a friend than we ever knew. We value FUN ... we consider it a priority not to be pushed aside for clean carpet, or budget tightening, or all the little chores that keep us all so busy.

For us, this party is a case of us making a dream come true. It's part of our family identity.

There was a little girl, who had lovely parents, but they had already raised one set of kids, so they were in different phase of their life than her friends' parents. It was quiet, just the three of them, and sometimes the girl felt a bit lonely. She went to college and met a wonderful boy and they decided that they wanted to grow up together, and make a family with a bunch of kids, where everyone felt they were part of a family team. They wanted to have an annual event that everyone would look forward to, and be surrounded by a big circle of friends. They wanted their kids to bring their friends, and the friends' parents, so that everyone could get to know each other. So they did all that, and along the way, the not-so-little-now girl realized that she really loved feeding people and the now-a-man boy learned that he could make delicious drinks and those two talents contributed nicely to the party and made people say "ooh" and "ahh." And they found musician friends who brought their talents, and photographer friends who brought their talents, and just-plain-friends friends, who brought themselves, and that was plenty good.

And each year, the party gets a little different, as the children get older, and their circle of friends changes and grows. But it makes them happy, and it makes other people happy, and so far, it makes their kids happy.

And that's why we do it.

Postscript: Little Warrior can be renamed Little Party Girl as she was one of the last to sack out. She went from one set of arms to another, happily. When the karaoke broke out, she began to dance and apparently already knows how to shake her diaper-clad booty.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Do the right thing, get busted anyway

I can't remember if Maslow did another pyramid that referenced this, or who, but I remember learning about a pyramid for "why we do right."

At the top was something about, "because we know that to do right helps society as a whole, makes us better people, blah, blah, etc. etc.

At the bottom was, "afraid to get caught."

Both Lizard Eater and The Husband are there at the bottom. Perhaps we could achieve a higher part of the pyramid, except that we are bound to get busted. If LE were to say something bad about a person, you know who would walk up behind her. If The Husband were to ever do cocaine, he'd be the person you read about, where they say, "it was his first time, and he just dropped dead."

Now, we don't even have to do wrong.

The Husband was pulled over by an officer of the law. Reason: not wearing his seatbelt. Except he was. He wears it even if he's backing his car out of the driveway. It was obviously the truth, so the cop said, okay. But I need to see your license and insurance. The Husband gives his license, and fumbles for the insurance. Umm, umm, it's here somewhere. Cop takes license back to car. When he comes back, The Husband has found his insurance card. Too bad, says The Cop. You didn't have it when I asked for it. Here's your ticket.

No real big deal, since if you go to the courthouse and give proof of insurance, it's just a $10 fee. Plus the time to do it. And the time to get there. And ... and ...


You know, if we're going to get punished, even for not doing anything wrong ... hmmmm. That's it. I'm taking the tag off my mattress.

Monday, October 23, 2006

One Pissed-Off Winnie-the-Pooh

This is why some adults refuse to dress up for a costume party.

Blame the mom.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Death sucks.

I know, that isn't very deep, and frankly, immature, not to mention, a poor use of what is normally an extensive vocabulary. And quite simplistic. And not in harmony with the circle of life.

Bite me.

LE is feeling mad. LE's parents' best friends were in a car accident Friday. Husband is hurt, wife died.

My parents are in their 70's, as are their friends. Having parents at this age, you worry about health. There's part of you that worries about that inevitable phone call .. the "there's a lump" or "there's a clot" or "they say it was a heart attack."

Not a car accident.

Death wouldn't be so bad, I said to The Husband, if it weren't so permanent. That's what I can't get my head around. My mom will never sit down with S----- again, having a martini, laughing uproariously.

I hate that I really, really understand "Both Sides Now" -- now. I hate that I had to find out that I really was "that person" -- the wide-eyed, naive, happy-go-lucky girl who saw rows and floes of angel hair -- and now, I'm not.

But I'm also not the daughter of S-----. My heart goes out to her.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Menu for a Halloween Party/Menu for Denial

First, thanks to all for your kind words. They sustained me.

Now, I want to think about the Halloween party. Not just because it's a week and a half away, but also because my brain and heart are hurting. Give with one hand, take away with another ... while we were celebrating the good news about LW, one of my close friends was asking her alcoholic husband to leave their house. It's sad and it's frustrating, because he's a lovely person. But he has the disease. She has to take care of herself and her children. I am feeling helpless because that's exactly what all of us are in this situation. All we can give is love. Sometimes, it's not enough.

So ... turning my thoughts to good times. Here is the preliminary menu, which will change a half a dozen times over the next week, as I try new recipes, find what works and doesn't, and run out of time.

Curry Chicken Salad in wonton cups
Salami/pesto cream cheese triangles
Marinated Tortellini-tomato-cheese skewers
New Mexico Roasted green chile tortilla rollups

Heart Attack Bites
Goat cheese Jalapenos/Vegetarian Goat Cheese Jalapenos
Garlic cheesy bread
Jezebel’s purses
Caramelized onion nachos
Jambalaya pockets

Queso Pigaterian Dip

Heart Attack Bites are the family-friendly euphemism for the real name of the dish, as popularized in the fourth Sweet Potato Queens book. They are awful! Disgusting! But delicious. And they will be the first thing gone at the party. I'm making three pans-full. You take some of those itty bitty cocktail sausages, and wrap each one in half a piece of bacon. You pack 'em in real tight, single layer, in a baking dish. Then you sprinkle brown sugar over the whole thing and broil til the bacon is crispy. I begin all this by microwaving the bacon in the microwave for about 5 minutes to render out some of the fat. Oh, and the original name of the dish -- Bacon and Beagle Dicks.

Hmm. Just realized there's nothing vegan. In a gathering with a significant amount of Unitarians present, there will surely be at least one vegan. My friends are also contributing to the groaning table, so I'll check and see how much vegan stuff is coming. And I think I have a recipe for something using Kalamata olives and eggplant. Some kind of puff.

Puff the magic appetizer. Okay, now I'm just getting silly.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just a Night

How will I look back on tonight
Will it be barely a glance back
Just a night among other nights
A night like so many nights
One of many
One of a blur


Will it be the last night of an innocence
The last night of smiling
And feeling optimistic
The last night of wondering
And hoping that the nightmare is past

Must be up in 6 hours
No, 5 hours 53 minutes
Go to sleep shut your eyes turn off relax your mind
Don't think
Don't think
Of what tomorrow might bring

Could be more hope
Could be more smiles
Could be more days

Of just

Lower the volume
Turn off the worry
Stop the wonder of

How I will look back on tonight.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dreaming of an "All Goes Well" Christmas. And Halloween. And Thanksgiving.

I am very actively and deliberately doing happy this week. Watched "The Little Vampire" tonight with our little vampires, eating frozen pizza and roasted green beans. (No, I'm not crazy. Recipe is below. You MUST try the green beans.)

Anne has me thinking about Christmas. Before All of This, I was a major Christmas lover. Two Christmas trees, everyone to our house, stockings, roast beast, all of it. Christmas Eve was tamales and me playing guitar while we sang those traditional songs like "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas" and "Merry Christmas from the Family" and "God Bless You, Unitarians." Well, traditional for us.

The emphasis on happy this weekend is because Little Warrior gets an MRI of her abdomen on Monday. This is her three month check. A biggie. Tuesday morning, we meet with the doctor and find out the results.

Tuesday evening, if all goes well, I send out invitations to our annual Halloween party. Wednesday, if all went well, I begin cooking and freezing canapes. Thursday, if all went well, I'll go to the "party store" to start laying in supplies.

If all goes well, LW won't get another scan til January. After the holidays.

If all goes well, can you imagine how insanely wild I'm going to be at Christmas? I will be the crazy lady with the wreath on her car, wearing the light-up Santa Claus sweater.

(That's hyperbole, Peacebang ... I promise ...)

Oh, God. Please. Please. Let it all go well.

Roasted green beans

Get about a pound of fresh green beans from the grocery. Pinch off the stem ends and put in a foil-lined cake or cookie pan. Toss with about a tablespoon of oil and plenty salt. Roast at 450 for 20 minutes. Stir/flip the beans. Back in the oven for about 15-20 more minutes. By now, they're shriveled and brown in places. Per my son, "Wow! How can green beans taste like french fries?"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Choosing "Happy"

I haven't blogged in several days, not because things are bad, but because they are good and I've needed some time to gather my thoughts.

My trip to Corpus was terrific and provided just what I needed. I sat, looked at the waves, talked with The Husband and how All Of This has changed us and just let go.

Cried. Thought. Sat. Talked.

And as I walked away from the shoreline, I was given my gift. A quick moment of clarity.

First, some history from long ago.

Lizard Eater was about 12 years old. She walked into one of her middle school classes, dramatically dropped her books next to her friend Marla and announced, "I'm mad."

Drily, Marla said, "You're always mad."

Eureka! Aha! Kaboom!

Three little words but they changed me. At 12 years old, I realized that gee, I don't want to be known as the person who is always mad. People don't enjoy being around someone who is always mad. And people don't take you seriously when you're genuinely mad, if you're mad all the time.

In my little Judy Blume diary, I wrote, "That's it. I'm changing. I'm going to be known as 'the happy person' from now on."

Fast forward.

Walking away from the shoreline, I had the thought ... I can be happy for my children's sake. Their lives will be better if I'm happy. It will affect who they are.

This is perhaps very obvious to many of you, but to me, something new. To be happy is, in this case, to be NOT selfish. Or as Willy Wonka would say, "Strike that. Reverse it."

Now, I'm not talking about denying true feelings. I'm not talking about being ooooh so sweet and pretending to be happy. I'm talking about saying, okay, if I *can* be happy, I'm gonna be.

Last spring, I couldn't have been.

The future ... well, who knows.

But now. Right now, today, I can be happy.

So when I can be, I will be.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Halloween Costume Ideas

Every year, we have an all-ages Halloween party. It's not a party for kids, but kids are invited to come with their parents, if you know what I mean.

So, since Anne needs help coming up with a Halloween costume, some of the more creative ones we've had come through -- or done ourselves:

Last year, I wore a white shirt, with a big yellow circle attached to it, and some devil horns.

I was a deviled egg.

A friend of mine attached sponges all over herself. She was "self-absorbed." Same friend, another year, attached mini cereal boxes all over her and carried a machete. Yes. A serial killer.

Let's see, then there was the year I rubbed some black under one eye and wore a giant "P" on my chest.

Black-eyed pea.

As you may be picking up on, I am usually too busy planning a party and cooking to give much attention to my costume. This year is different. The Husband and I have already purchased the main parts of our costumes.

The last time we put a lot of effort into our costumes was a coupla years ago. I was pregnant with LW, and needed a costume with a little give. So I went as Sita and he went as Ram (Hindu god). I had on a gorgeous sari and all the gems around my eyes. He had an Indian tunic and we painted him blue.

Everyone thought he was supposed to be a member of Blue Man group.

This year, we go as another famous couple. More on that later.

And all of this ... the party is October 28. LW's big MRI is Oct. 16. We sit down with the doctor to go over the results Oct. 17.

So, everything might be canceled alluvasudden. But hopefully it won't be. I work with that in mind.

Oh, and hey ... got any absolutely to-die-for party recipes? Send 'em on!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pink Campbell's Cans

Okay, I've been fighting the urge and fighting the urge, and it was my grocery store flier that finally pushed me over the edge. They had a picture of Campbell's Soup Cans that are pink ... special edition cans to help in the fight against breast cancer.

I'm certainly not in support of breast cancer; I don't think that we need to hear its side of the story or anything. And I don't begrudge the Susan B. Komen org any of the research it can get.

But dammit, I want it some of that corporate sponsorship, too!

Of course, childhood cancer is personal with me and I want more funding for research there. Childhood cancer gets very little of the pie. And Wilms Tumor suffers from its very success. Because Stage 1 Wilms Cancer, non-bilateral, has such great statistics, good luck getting any research money thrown that way. I just found out that there is NO PROTOCOL for relapsed Wilms'. Doctors just have to make it up as they go, getting ideas from other doctors who often their patients tell them about.

And how about ovarian cancer? Liver cancer? Things that aren't as commercially chic right now?

You can't buy a product marketed to women that doesn't have a breast cancer tie-in. Kitchen-Aid mixers, Avon ... even stamps! US stamps!

I applaud those working for breast cancer research for doing this. It's brilliant. Now, teach the rest of us.

It's a hard road ahead, perhaps most for childhood cancer research. When Melissa Etheridge stands up, bald, and plays her guitar, we cheer. When a child stands up, bald, we cower. We don't want to see it.

Can you imagine ... a green-braceleted Barbie? Or Barbie with a lemonade stand, sending her profits to CureSearch?

How about "Hammers for your Hammer" -- a tie-in between testicular cancer research and Home Depot tools?

Eggbeaters for Ovarian Cancer Research?

You probably know that this month is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Last month was Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

Who knew.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"I need an onion!!!" The Princess just hollered

We are decorating for Halloween and she just picked up a little Dracula figure. Her brother, 10, swiftly explains that it is garlic she needs, not onion.

All four are home today and we are making pumpkin-ade out of pumpkins, metaphorically. The two school-age ones showed up for breakfast yesterday morning with what looked like hives. Took them to the doctor where a quick swab of the throat (accompanied with much gagging) revealed that they have scarlet fever, which sounds scary to those raised on "Little Women," but thanks to antibiotics, is just another strep infection. They're on their meds and will be back at school tomorrow. Just sick enough to be contagious, not sick enough to feel bad. So, we decided we'd make today a holiday. We started the day with pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, and are now decorating, listening to our Halloween party music and watching Halloween videos. Tame ones -- Winnie the Pooh and the Adventures of the Mutant Chain-saw Killer or something like that.

"More cow bell! I need more cow bell!!!"

Sorry. Don't Fear the Reaper just came on.

Happy October.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Shout Out to Chalice Chick

Who goes by CC on her blog ... and whom I couldn't stop thinking about this weekend, thanks to Corpus Christi's new marketing flags that were everywhere.

"The Cancer To Have"

I believe that without exception, all of us whose children have been diagnosed with Wilms' Tumor have been told, "This is the cancer to have."

Last night, another child with the cancer to have departed this earth.

He was cute and he loved his Superman pajamas and his mother always ended her emails with "BE KINDER THAN NECESSARY, FOR EVERYONE YOU MEET IS FIGHTING SOME KIND OF BATTLE!"

I know they are trying to give you a ray of hope ... but I really hope that doctors/nurses will cease describing this as the cancer to have.

Cancer Kids Often Look Like Aliens

They do ... bald, no eyelashes/eyebrows, super-skinny, which means their eyes and ears looks abnormally large for their faces ...

We don't hold it against them, of course, but consciously or subconsciously, their appearance puts them in a category in our brains: "Cancer Kids." It is easy to see them as a separate type of being.

I know, because I did this. The Husband and I talked about that, this weekend. How we'd see those commercials for St. Judes and how foreign it all looked. It was like they were "special." We didn't have the feeling that something like that couldn't happen to us, more like it wouldn't. We were so ordinary. They were special.

They were so foreign.

But here's the deal ... they weren't always. Many of the "Wilms' Warriors" post pictures on their sites of what their child looked like pre-diagnosis.

They look completely ordinary.

They were.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Message from a Baptist Minister

Back in July, we received a little note in the mail from my MIL's minister. She goes to a large Baptist church ... spiritually, she is a UU. But she likes the people, and she wants to play in the bell choir. No bell choir in that town's UU church.

Back to the story.

Her minister sent us this: "Just a quick note to let you know that God has placed LW on our hearts down here and we lift her and you up in prayer often. Jesus Christ is your strength and healing."

Now, the theological message doesn't happen to be my flavor of brandy, but I'm impressed that he took the time to do this. I spoke to MIL, and he actually stopped her in church one day, asked for our address, and jotted it down.

Would your minister do this? And if not ... why not?

In an action that took maybe 2 minutes, this guy impressed us -- total strangers -- and got some major loyalty from his parishioner.

I think it's easy for us to "close the gates" around our congregations. To the person who stands up in Joys and Sorrows and says "my family member is having this happen ..." we will give our sympathy, perhaps even drop the church member a card. But to go the extra step and ask for the address of the person in question? And send a note?

Impressive. A lot of bang for the buck.

Message from a Baptist Minister

Back in July, we received a little note in the mail from my MIL's minister. She goes to a large Baptist church ... spiritually, she is a UU. But she likes the people, and she wants to play in the bell choir. No bell choir in that town's UU church.

Back to the story.

Her minister sent us this: "Just a quick note to let you know that God has placed LW on our hearts down here and we lift her and you up in prayer often. Jesus Christ is your strength and healing."

Now, the theological message doesn't happen to be my flavor of brandy, but I'm impressed that he took the time to do this. I spoke to MIL, and he actually stopped her in church one day, asked for our address, and jotted it down.

Would your minister do this? And if not ... why not?

In an action that took maybe 2 minutes, this guy impressed us -- total strangers -- and got some major loyalty from his parishioner.

I think it's easy for us to "close the gates" around our congregations. To the person who stands up in Joys and Sorrows and says "my family member is having this happen ..." we will give our sympathy, perhaps even drop the church member a card. But to go the extra step and ask for the address of the person in question? And send a note?

Impressive. A lot of bang for the buck.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Water Song Element for ... Me

I am travelling to Corpus Christi, Texas, this weekend, en famille. The mother-in-love (mother-in-love, I call her) lives there, and it is Bayfest.

Was thinking about this today, making casual mental notes about things to pack, and it hit me.

Exactly what I need.

I need to sit by the water.

I need to sit by the bay, and watch the water lap.

The water here has healed me before. I have hope for her gift again.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Strip Me

Right before I henna'ed my hair, I used some clarifying shampoo on my hair. It purports to strip all of the buildup and geegaws from all the junk we dump in our hair. Seemed to work ... my hair felt cleaner and soft as anything. It was ready to take the color.

Now ...

I need clarifying shampoo for my soul.

The best example I've ever heard of this is when John Lennon recorded "Believe." He stripped everything away ... "I don't believe in mantra ... in Jesus ... in Buddha ... in Beatles ... I was The Walrus, but now I'm just John ... the dream is over."

I need to clarify my soul.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sunny days to continue ...

Chest scan was clear.


24 days til the abdominal MRI.

It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp ... er, Mom

"At the first parent teacher conference, the P.T.A. handed out the survey, telling parents where they could be used as volunteers. It was the last option on the page that has some up in arms. A line that read, 'No, I do not want to get involved. I want my children to be thieves, drug addicts and prostitutes.'"

Lizard Eater: (gurgle ... choke ... wheeze)

Okay, I'm not surprised. You can see this attitude everyday, whether it's the PTA, or the "Doing a Good Thing Committee" at your workplace, or the "Name the Issue" committee at your church. Folks that get so blinded by what they're doing, who take martyrdom as their pay, that they completely lose any sense of perspective.

Yes, if you don't sign up to help pass out frozen cardboard cookie dough for the PTA, it is proof positive that you are a bad parent. You obviously do not care about your children, and frankly, they'd be better off in foster care. Perhaps even out on the street. At least those street kids have loyalty to each other.

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Weather is great. Glad to be here. Want to stay longer.

Little Warrior had a chest CT scan today. Wilms', if it recurs, often shows up in the lungs, so they try to be vigilant about that. They wanted to redo it since the July one, because with that one, her lungs collapsed a bit with the anesthesia, so there were some dark spots.

Last night, The Husband and I were a bit stressed. That ole feeling of "gee, this weather's been great. We'd like some more of it."

No news yet on the scan. I like to think that if there was something there, they wouldn't have let us leave the hospital.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

BARNEY has jumped the shark

You heard it here first, folks. With the addition of Riff, the orange dinosaur, that artful example of American post-surrealism, Barney, has jumped the shark.

Further critical analysis of television geared toward those still on their first set of teeth will be shared at a later date. (But let me just say that "Boohbah" was clearly created by people who have experienced LSD.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

On the last M.A.S.H. episode ... and cancer

'So, how are you and The Husband doing?' a friend asked.


I remember watching the last episode of MASH with my parents. I guess I was in high school. What I remember clearly is that as we watched the characters giving each other emotional goodbyes, my father -- a Korean war vet -- said, 'No, it wasn't like that.'

'We didn't believe them. We all assumed we'd be recalled and have to come back. When we left, we said, 'Yeah, see you in a month.' We didn't believe the war was over.'

So, that's where we are now. The truth is, we don't know if the war is over, or if this is just a vacation.

We try to find joy in every day. We hug and love each kid every day, and we watch Little Warrior with very fresh eyes, considering she's our fourth child. It is not often that we forget how precious each moment is.

And we pray we won't be recalled.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Henna -- Not Just for Heads with Hair

Too cool:

Holy Tangerine-Head, Batman!

Apparently, it will oxidize over the next three days and get darker. That'll probably be good, but heck, I like this.

Change can be good.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Husband just spent half an hour wrapping me in plastic wrap

Well, to be more specific ...

My head.

I have begun a henna journey.

My hair was, to use my father's term, terdmuckeldy brown. The past 8 months saw a huge jump in grey.

I like grey hair. At 37, however, I was not liking MY grey hair. But I've done the whole bleach-highlighting stuff, in younger years. Very damaging for the hair, and apparently, not real good for humans. So, I happened upon the henna world and got interested.

It was nice to be interested in something. Other than counts and cts and such. And God, do not even get my started on how disinterested I am in all the millions of projects that people think I'd be just perfect for ...

Anyway, so after reading for weeks about it, and doing the strand test and skin test and all that prudent stuff, I am now diving in.

Cue the soap opera music ... Will Lizard Eater's hair turn auburn? Or orange? Will her head, in fact, simply fall off because ohmygod, having all this "clay" on long hair, piled up on my head is durned heavy?

These and other questions ...