If I know you, and you're reading this blog, you have two choices:

1) Feel free to pretend you haven't, should the contents be offensive, sensitive in nature, or just TMI (Too Much Information).
2) Comment freely or talk to me face to face, and be prepared for further honesty and opinions.

Okay? Okay.

Dec 30, 2007

Comes in three's, right?

Christmas day? Rather peaceful. Seriously. We were done with presents by 10:00. All but the babies were up at 6:00. There was unwrapping to be done! We took a break for an hour and forced them to eat something besides chocolate and candy. Santa, don't ya' know! We opened gifts one by one, ohhhed and ahhhed appropriately, took all the damn twisty crap off the back of a zillion things, inserted batteries, constructed Lego sets, and played. It was very nice...and peaceful.

My sister and her husband arrived around 2:00 and in anticipation of their arrival, there was mopping to be done. Naturally, Santa came a day too early or I mopped a day late, because my mop broke. Ahh, well, I always enjoy a good scrub, on my knees...

The next day, the washing machine broke. With the holidays, laundry was backed up a bit. That, coupled with the additional "nice clothes" for the various holiday celebrations and all the bedding- (everyone needed clean sheets for Christmas)- and then the two extra loads of sheets from a midnight wetting, and... You get the idea. There was a lot of freaking laundry to be done at our house. Turns out 26 loads, to be precise. The first load of the day sent the machine over the edge. The repairman was called and arrived the next day. After 4 hours at our house, he declared he should have the part in 7-10 days. Whoopee!

Turns out the washing machine repair man had to fight for a parking space in front of the house because there were three other trucks blocking his path. (No, no new cars for Christmas.) It was the other repairmen. It seems that the regular technician wasn't quite enough. The senior technicians needed to be called. And we had called in a second opinion to see just how much carbon monoxide might be blowing into our house.

In the end? No heat for the downstairs of our house. See, by law they have to disable the unit if there is a crack that is leaking carbon monoxide. Should be fixed in, oh, 7-10 days, maybe. It's supposed to be 33 tonight. And the duct system underneath the house which probably cause the part to malfunction in the unit? Needs to be redone.
(They took a look at the upstairs unit as well, and declared it "old, inefficient, and not up to code" and also mentioned that the duct system upstairs "was not doing the job properly and should really be redone")

I think perhaps Santa lost the $25,000.00 check he was sending me for Christmas. I'm sure it will arrive after the new year

And the laundry? Done. Käri spent the day at the laundromat, where she counted, 26 loads.

Did I mention we took a trip to the Bay Area yesterday? There and back in 13.5 hours.

Never a dull moment...

Oh, right, the mop...still need to replace that.

Dec 24, 2007

I Am Alive

I've conquered Strep- again! The virus/cold is still hanging in a bit and the sinus infection is pretty much gone. Thank goodness for antibiotics! I was sick enough that I ventured out to the doctor in my pink pajama bottoms, slippers, t-shirt, rust orange fleece sweatshirt -that I only wear in the house- and that's it- Oh, wait I did wear a hat to disguise my hair... A lovely sight, to be sure. I picked up my antibiotics at a local swanky grocery store in the same outfit, as well. Oi. Oh, well. I didn't care, until the next day.

We've been busy elves around these parts. Dinner is made for tomorrow, gifts wrapped, guest bed up, kids have been threatened to death if they get up before 6 tomorrow, we'll see.

Merry, Merry!!

Dec 21, 2007

The Cutest Elves Ever!

Hi! This is Käri. Tricia is sicker than a dog. She's got strep throat again and the crud on top of it all (thanks to me), so I thought I'd post something cute for her. We've gotten many emails with a link to this cute little elf dance. I thought I'd give it a try and sure enough, it's damn cute! The cutest elves ever are: from left to right, Ruby, Lily, Julia and Mason. Lily and Mason are our friend's cute little ones. Lily is a month older than Ruby and Julia, and her brother Mason is just three months older than that. When they're all together (which they are often!) it's like quadruplets! Quadruple the fun that is! Look at them dance and enjoy your holiday!
Merry Christmas!

Watch the cute elves dance!

PEACE and JOY from our family

Dec 16, 2007

The Santa Visit

The Santa photographer was able to capture a bit of a better image- though the babies are screaming and Gus looks like he's on drugs. We bought it, we'll frame it and add it to the collection on the mantle.

Dec 14, 2007

Header image

Is the header image all messed up for you all too??

Edited to add: I messed with it, forever and fixed it the best I could...html- holy cow... It's not centered- I can't seem to figure that part out. Maybe another day. But the picture is back, and that is the most important part.

I Bit

The idea is to make a copy of this list and highlight via boldface or underlining all the things you have done.

Oops, forgot to credit Cole.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign

46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football

61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (in the process)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school

131. Para sailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Dec 12, 2007

Gabriel Allred and #6

He's staying with his parents!!!! Grandma withdrew her petition to adopt, but asked that Gabriel's parents make sure he learns Spanish and keep in touch with his birth relatives in Mexico. It brings me great pleasure to know that this worked out well for Gabriel. (and a little sad for Grandma)

#6 I chew gum. The kind I like is hard to find, so last time I found it I bought 20 boxes. So, when I stick a piece in my mouth I'm usually sure I'll be chewing it for a while. If my gum chewing gets interrupted by a stray piece of candy or a bite of an apple, I save it. The gum. I hold it until I'm done with the eating or I put it on the kitchen window sill until I'm ready to chew it again.

Definitely weird, and gross too.

One left, one last weird thing...

Dec 8, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Do you guys eat a lot of rice? Brown rice??


T-Yes, we eat lots of brown rice and basmati (white) rice.
which reminds me, did I already volunteer to bring something for christmas dinner? Because if I did, i've forgotten what it was.
I haven't yet spoken with N. about christmas gifts; have you come up with any ideas? I'll email N. now.
Talk to ya' later,


Uh, you volunteered to bring THE dinner- remember?


P.S. We aren't vegan so we'll be needing lots of dairy and meat...please.


Ok, how about I bring a live cow that you can milk and then later slaughter?
I'll just bring a potato for myself.


We believe that it is cruel to slaughter animals ourselves and we wouldn't want to expose the kids to the cruelties of life, so we'd appreciate it if you could just take care of the slaughter ahead of time. we lesbians are a peaceful people. Think back. You remember don't you? Thanks for understanding. Will you be bringing a potato with eyes? Is that considered a face? Can you really eat that? Perhaps a slice of bread would be more appropriate. What will S. be eating? Looking forward to a very merry holiday meal together. One of Tricia's blogging buddies just sent her martini shakers. Maybe we should just drink our dinner. xo kar


S. will be fasting and will follow his non-meal (and our liquid meal) with a colonic irrigation, complete with vivid details at the dinner table. We are also looking forward to a very merry meal, or extended liquid lunch.
Cheers! M.


The proceeding is a series of e-mails between my sister and us discussing Christmas dinner. She's a vegan, we're not, neither is her husband. Before she was married she was a lesbian...

Dec 7, 2007

More System Stuff

I read this story by way of Jess. About a boy caught in the system. A system that, at least at first glance, is screwing the kid, again.

When I worked in residential treatment we would read these cases. These terrible cases of abuse and poverty, drugs, rapes, children being molested, hurt, over and over again. Children who were moved between relatives, friends, strangers, foster parents, shuffled about like dice being rolled across the table. And then, surprise, they would need to live in a residential facility, because no one could handle them.

There was a little girl who came to us a week after she turned five,(yes, 5). She had been so mistreated by her birth mother and then moved so frequently in the system that no one knew what to do with her. She was molesting other children- at the age of five! Not playing doctor, no. She would trap a child in a room and molest them. Was she devious? No. Really, mostly she was innocent. She only was doing what had been done to her. Isn't that what our kids do? They do what they have been shown, what has been done to them. What they know.

That was one little girl. There were others, many others. Some so twisted up inside there was nothing we could do. We would try all available resources, therapies... all to nothing.

And with some of them, we would joke about how we would read about them someday making history. In the papers, famous. Infamous, really. Because what we would be referring to is the inevitability of these kids growing up to be monsters. Rapists, child abusers, domestic violence perpetrators, and victims (because some would remain victims). And while this sounds like we were a bunch of insensitive assholes. It was not true.

Because, like any other job, these children and their stories become normal, everyday, for those who work with them. For a doctor, using medical terms is commonplace. To discuss transmissions among mechanics? Piece of cake. It's all what you get used to.

For the longest time I was not comfortable with letting "regular" elementary aged children out of my sight on the playground. When I purchased the new play structure for our elementary school, a tunnel slide was not an option I would consider. Kids could hide in there. Be out of sight. And for the kids I used to take care of, that was not an option- they were always within eyesight. And jump ropes? Yeah, no. They would tie each other up... All what you get used to.

The point is (before I digress more into those residential years). I sincerely believe that Gabriel is a name on a case. A case that the social workers and judges have seen many times before. Something political is happening about Mexico...perhaps the bigger story is that some of Mexico's kids are being raised in the states in non-traditional Mexican homes, to no fault of the distant relative who wants them. Some flags have been raised and this little boy is being made a victim. A victim of a system that is doing the best it can- but it's not good enough.

It is my understanding from reading the article that Gabriel has been in one foster home. He has not met his grandmother and his birth parents are not, and have not been for sometime in the picture. He has foster parents who love him and want to adopt him. And the most important factor here is that Gabriel is attached to them. He is attached to them.

How is it good for Gabriel to disrupt that attachment and placement to move him anywhere- relative or not?

It's not.

Could the state of Oregon, the foster parents and grandma provide a successful transition. Somewhat, yes. But, why? What purpose? Could Gabriel grow up to be a successful man in Mexico? Yes. But does he need to be moved? Should he be moved?

No. Easy, for me.

Dec 5, 2007


Wait, I thought of another weird thing.

Well, actually I encountered another weird thing. I was looking in the extra fridge for the bottle of Gin I keep for cocktail night and I stumbled upon a little package wrapped in a paper towel. Light in weight. Tucked in a little protective place above the bottle of gin.

And that was it! My other weird thing.

See, I have canaries. And they live outside in a large aviary type cage. They bring me peace. In any case, occasionally something happens to one of them and they end up at the bottom of the cage, dead. About 6-8 weeks ago one of my guys was at the bottom. I pulled him out and wrapped him up and stuck him in the freezer.

I have this thing about closure. When we have had our foster kids leave, we have a little leaving ceremony. When my grandmother died, I made a special request of a viewing at the mortuary so I could see her, dead. (She was having a closed casket.)

So when a bird dies, we bury it. But, I like everyone in the family to know and to have a chance to be at the burial. So if everyone isn't present at the time of the discovery of death I tuck the bird in a paper towel wrap and toss 'em in the freezer, until such time as I remember to gather the troops and bury the little guy.

And, well, I forget, sometimes for a while. I think the record might be 5-6 months.

But we do it, eventually.

Dec 3, 2007

Modem and other sickness

That daily blogging killed my modem- at least that's my line.

The DSL man came and checked today and the intermittent drops that we've been experiencing are due to an old and malfunctioning modem. He says we can buy a new one.

I don't want to buy a new one. I want my DSL people to send me a new one. They sent me the original and at some point the updated one- which is now outdated... So tomorrow I start a new round of phone calls. I'm always up for a good fight or maybe they'll just give me one. That would make me happy.

I'm better- finally I don't wince when I swallow. It kicked my ass this time. I was in my pajamas for three days.

Mia, however is truly sick. She has been faking sick for sympathy for the last week or so. We've talked about it a lot. How we need to know how she really feels so we can take care of her, how she needs to be honest etc.

Here's one example from the last week.

Yesterday evening she came screaming in to me crying, tears streaming down her face, anguish, fear, the whole thing and yells "my throat, my throat, it hurts when I swallow, I just took a drink and it hurts so bad". It took three attempts to understand what she was screaming about since I could not understand her through her pain. (Remember, I have strep throat.) I ask her when it started to hurt. "just now"
MMMhmmm. I see. "Well, I guess that means you'll need to get up right to bed and miss dinner that mommy is bringing home" I say. "What is it?" I tell her what it is- one of her favorites. Suddenly, she's cured! "Oh", she titters, "I was just kidding".

Yeah, thought so.

But, this morning she said her stomach hurt and was again in tears about it. I shrugged my shoulders and told her I wasn't sure if I could believe her or not and suggested she continue getting dressed- "It's a school day for you today" She quickly hops up, wipes the tears away and says "it doesn't really hurt". (she loves school)

A few minutes later more crying and a dash to the bathroom where she proceeds to throw up. She is genuinely sick for the rest of the day- never asking to eat, unusually quiet, napped for a couple of hours this morning. Vomits a few more times and diarrhea as well.

We talk about how this is what sick really looks like...

Not sure what to do with this one. Next time she complains of stomach pain, I'll send her to school where appendix will burst...maybe or maybe not.

Dec 1, 2007

Better, a little

Not as well as I'd like to feel- it was a long restless night. I think having so much motrin on an empty stomach was not a good plan. Between the sore throat and the indigestion... After going to bed before 8PM, getting up at 8AM and returning to bed(after taking more medicine) at 8:30AM. I slept for 2.5 more hours. Now, at 2:00, having showered and eaten- swallowing slowly- I do feel better.

The wife was kind enough to run to the coffee shop to buy a mocha mist for me and some ice cream for later- not to mention 'do the kids' all morning and last night. She missed the first 5 hours of her all day scrapbooking today...but she's there now. I felt well enough and she's only a phone call away.