On the other hand . . .

And now, just for fun, my sleep will be disrupted for the next two weeks.

I normally crawl into bed by 2 AM and wake up somewhere around 9 AM.  But for now, I will wake up at 6 AM to take off my boy’s sling so he can shower before school.  Then I will give my puppy her stomach medicine.  Then, back to sleep–sort of–until it’s time to put the sling back on.  It it all complicated and requires me and only me to adjust it correctly so his arm is cradled and not pulling on his broken collarbone.

Then, back to sleep before it’s time to walk the dog for thirty minutes.  A thirty minute walk improves her attitude and behavior a great deal. It is not optional.

I’ll be working again by 10 AM.  Tomorrow is a soccer night and I really must buy more bread and other victuals and if all goes well, I can do that while Grace is practicing soccer.  Then, home by 7 PM.

I feel a lot like I’m running after a car, trying to get it to stop so I can get in and ride instead of run . . . but the driver won’t stop.

My life is wearing me out.   But at least I wasn’t photographed topless while sunbathing at my  private French estate.

Keep calm and carry on

I was working at my desk, wearing an unflattering outfit.  My hair was crazy.  I hadn’t put on any makeup since I rolled out of bed at the last minute, showered and reported to my desk with no time to spare before my shift began. Oh, the glories of working at home!

My phone rang.

At first, I couldn’t understand the male voice.  Then I realized what he was saying.

My 14-year old son was injured.  The P.E. teacher was walking him back to the campus from the field across the street.  During class, Zach had fallen onto his shoulder, maybe dislocated it.

I instant-messaged my co-worker and without even waiting for her response, left my desk, found my shoes, gathered my 10-year old and dialed my husband.  I also made sure I had Zach’s insurance card and off we headed to the school.  I talked to my husband while driving.  We discussed which Urgent Care to use–and fortunately, last week I made myself a doctor’s appointment and the lady on the phone mentioned that the Urgent Care was on the first floor and the doctor’s office was on the second.  Miraculously, I knew exactly where to go and it was only minutes from the school campus.

I found my son in the nurse’s office looking pale, sweaty and disheveled.  He cradled his left arm with his right.  The P.E. teacher explained that Zach fell onto his shoulder and a few minutes later heard a pop and then had more pain.  He said again he thought maybe it was a dislocated shoulder.

I looked at my boy and said, “You know, he looks exactly like my other son did when he fractured his collar bone.”

Then we went to Urgent Care where we enjoyed the quickest medical attention ever.  Seriously.  Amazing.

The doctor came in, asked questions, then began to examine him.  When he pressed on Zach’s collar bone, Zach winced.  I knew then that I was right.

This, my friends, is what a fractured collar bone looks like.

He has a sling now and orders to take ibuprofen and a prescription for something stronger.  He will be out of P.E. for six weeks and he’s so sad that he can’t play his guitar, either.

I have had enough excitement for this week.

If I were a different kind of person, I’d definitely refuse to leave the house and I’d wrap all the sharp edges with bubble wrap and insist everyone stay safely in bed until this passes, whatever this is.

Instead, we will keep calm and carry on.




While you were going about your life

To celebrate my daughter’s tenth birthday, she and I went to Anaheim, stayed in a fancy Disneyland Resort hotel and visited both Disneyland and California Adventures.  We had the most fabulous time.

As we sat waiting for the 7 PM parade on Main Street in Disneyland, my phone rang.  It was my husband, telling me about a situation involving our 11-month old puppy and a bottle of ibuprofen.

Lola the Dog found a bottle of ibuprofen on the counter, snatched it and then demolished it.  The boys found the remnants of the bottle on the living room carpet, along with a reddish stain from the caplets she’s eaten.

For your information, ibuprofen is toxic to dogs.  I didn’t know that but I knew an overdose of pain medication couldn’t be good.  I told my husband he’d better call the vet immediately and that he’d probably have to take Lola to the emergency vet.  After I hung up, I used my iPhone to do a Google search which pretty much confirmed my worst nightmare.  A dog can die from ingesting ibuprofen.

Luckily, the bottle was a small one containing 24 pills when full.  It probably had 18 or 19 pills in it when Lola ripped it to shreds with her teeth.  Interestingly enough, the child-resistant cap was completely intact, but the bottle itself was destroyed.

Unluckily, 2000 mg of ibuprofen can literally kill a dog of Lola’s size, so she’s been hospitalized ever since, getting aggressive treatment involving intravenous fluids and medications and probably some kind of extremely expensive hocus pocus.  She’ll be in the hospital until Friday and we only hope that they will discharge her alive and well.  The alternative is unthinkable.

So, while working and supervising Grace’s schoolwork and carrying on with the daily requirements of life, I’m worrying about our puppy and hoping for the best but dreading the worst.

Chestnut the Cat: What a relief! That ghastly furry creature that arrived in December has finally gone!















I want to post about a couple of things but every night I am so exhausted.  But maybe tomorrow.

There’s always tomorrow.

And here in Southern California, we’re also pretty sure the . . . sun will come out, TOMORROW . . . (go ahead, sing it loud, sing it proud!).

In the meantime there are a few things I constantly wonder:

1)  How does my office get this messy?
2)  How can one dog shed so much fur?
3)  Will I ever get to read all the books I have stacked around here?
4)  What month is this?
5)  Where is my stapler?
6)  Where is my favorite Pyrex mixing bowl?
7)  Will everything turn out all right?
8)  Why do so many socks not have mates?
9)  Why am I saving mittens and hats and scarves?
10)  Will I ever get my garage organized?

I’m not entirely serious, but maybe I am. You’ll never know. Or you will. Maybe.

It’s funny how much advice exists about how to deal with small kid issues.  Books, magazines, blog posts, television shows, radio podcasts . . . it’s abundant.  How do you stop the pacifier habit?  What do you do about nap-times?  What’s the best age to potty-train?  Everyone has an opinion and a solution and facts to help the new mother.

But we old moms?  Those of us who have teenagers whom we can’t really discuss because they have Internet access . . . well, we are the ones who truly need help.  We have questions without answers and worries that can’t be addressed with a time-out and a reward chart.  We’ve been mothers long enough to know that we really don’t have a clue and that everything that unfolds will unfold with or without our permission or guidance.  What we want is assurance but no one can assure us of anything.  I liked being a mom of a two-year old better.  I felt more competent back then.

Oh, the old days of struggling with overdoses of apple juice and tantrums on the kitchen floor and picky eaters seem like a fairy tale compared to now.

Part of the problem for me is that I was one of those teenagers who had no interest in causing trouble or wreaking havoc.  I was a careful young person, determined not to make mistakes.  I babysat on weekends and spent time in the library looking for more reading material.  I was independent from a young age and focused on the future.  So I have no idea how to relate to teenagers who aren’t me.

Well, maybe you know what I mean.

Parents of teenagers who are really troublesome keep quiet.  No one wants to admit defeat.  And you can’t really talk about your teenager without it getting back to your kid.

Of course, there are parents of teenagers who are thriving, who are Mr. Homecoming and the Class President and who have found a cure for cancer already while rescuing unwanted kittens and writing classical music for the cello.  Those kind of parents make me feel like a failure . . . even though I know that their parenting has little to do with their kid’s achievement . . . because some kids are just like that.  Someone has to be Mr. Homecoming and the Class President, after all.

I believe most behavior is genetic.  It’s pre-programmed, just as inevitable as brown eyes or knobby knees.  But that doesn’t stop me from thinking maybe I can change the course of a river with a few gentle suggestions and raised eyebrows.

I wonder if someday I’ll look back on this phase of life with something resembling nostalgia.  I kind of doubt it.

A sort of review of The Odd Life of Timothy Green (but not really)

Last weekend, I saw The Odd Life of Timothy Green with my 9-year old daughter. She’d seen the previews on television and had been counting down the days until the movie opened.

I have a few things to say about the movie.

First of all, I absolutely love Jennifer Garner and have since her Alias days–well, even before that, in the Felicity days.

The movie plot . . . was improbable at best.  And kind of annoying, if truth be told.  I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say that I found the actual happenings of the movie to be kind of dumb (a pencil made out of leaves somehow saves the day?).

But, I’m not the demographic.  I know.

Here’s what I did love about the movie:

1) Jennifer Garner’s lovely acting.
2)  Jennifer Garner’s wardrobe.  Oh, I loved the dresses and cardigans.  So adorable.
3)  The light.  The glowing, autumnal light was really beautiful.

As the movie came to a close, to my utter embarrassment, I began to cry.  Despite the improbable plot, the annoying contrivances in the plot, and silly crises meant to move the story along . . . the emotions still bubbled up.

My daughter kept peeking at me and I kept trying to wipe away tears without her noticing that I was crying.

How ridiculous.

I blame perimenopause.

Reading is fun!

Photo: Smokey quit eating for mysterious reasons and now has liver disease. She's getting a feeding tube. Goodbye, Disposable Income.It’s been one thing after the other around here.  Smokey the Cat quit eating for mysterious reasons maybe related to her pancreas and maybe not.   But the result is this:  fur tinted yellow by jaundice and bones.  We didn’t see how skinny she was getting for awhile because of her long fur.  The vet implanted a feeding tube into her neck and assured us that her prognosis was good, but it appears hopeless.  Tomorrow may be her last day.

Meanwhile, the 10-month old puppy continues to find new ways to wreak havoc.  She has been systematically unraveling the carpet insert in the living room.  I have run out of options for furniture placement to hide the damage.  She ripped off the face of my old Raggedy Ann doll that had fallen from a tall shelf.

School has begun for my youngest two kids.  The oldest two are sort of staring blindly into the future, unsure of what do next.  Jobs, school, and driver’s licenses are in their futures, details to come later.

I have been reading again.  For awhile, I couldn’t manage to focus enough to read, but now I’m back in a rhythm.

I read these books:

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

I really enjoyed Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  The setting was Seattle, the story amused me, the writing was excellent.

My blog friend, Quinn Cummings, wrote this new book about homeschooling (and her life) called The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling.   She’s such a smart, entertaining and funny writer.  I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling

Now, I’m reading Nora Ephron’s book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman (Vintage), I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.  I’m reading it in her memory.  It’s a quick and entertaining read.

Before all this, I read A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I really got bogged down in that book, but by the second half, I was racing through it, watching in amazement as the pieces all came together and the story unfolded.  John Irving is such a master of fiction.  I finished it, cried, and then, most embarrassingly, recounted the plot to my husband and BURST INTO TEARS.

I blame perimenopause.

This is why we can’t have nice things

I’ve been scarce around here for several reasons.

We had company for a few nights and did our best to pretend we were on vacation while they were here.  You know, fruit salads and bratwurst on the grill and time at the beach.

And then our cat had the nerve to stop eating which necessitated a feeding tube.  This features random cat vomit and four feeding sessions a day that take forever.  Fortunately, the teenagers have taken over this task.

But mostly I’ve just been spending all my spare time finishing A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I read it when I was 22 or 23.  You miss a lot when you are only 22 or 23.  You don’t know it at the time, of course, but when you look back 24 or 25 years later, you understand how narrow the spotlight of your knowledge and understanding really was.

Here are a few things my almost 10-month old puppy has destroyed:

1)  the cord attached to a lamp while it was still plugged in
2)  three shoes owned by visiting teenage girls
3)  a salt shaker
4)  the living room carpet
5)  various bowls and plates.
6)  other stuff I can’t remember this second.

Lola was so cute when she was a baby.















Look at that baby face!

Where’d the week go?

I’m amazed that tomorrow is Friday, even though every week has exactly seven days and Friday always arrives after Thursday.  The week has been so busy.  Here are just a few of the things that have occupied my time this week:

  • Took ailing cat to the vet.  She was diagnosed with fatty liver.  Basically, she’d stopped eating, became anorexic and jaundiced.  The cure?  A feeding tube that now juts out of her neck.  Just what I needed . . . to force feed a cat four times a day.  You do not want to even know how much it costs to cure an anorexic, jaundiced cat.
  • Soccer practice!  Lacrosse practice!
  • Out of town company arrived and left and will be returning in twenty-four hours. This visit prompted me to replace four burned out lightbulbs.  I also tidied up the backyard and planted some more flowers in pots.  It’s always weird the things I find necessary to do when company is coming.
  • Spent the afternoon with the company and most of my family at the beach.
  • Work!  Work!  More work!

This weekend, our company will be back for a day.  Grace has a soccer tournament with a couple of games scheduled for Saturday and a couple for Sunday.

And, of course, all I really want is a nap and time to read.  Maybe next week!


A mourning dove chose to build a nest on the front of our house.  After the nest was constructed, either mama bird or daddy bird sat on the nest, even when we walked by.

And then, a few days ago, this happened. We don’t know how or why.

The mourning dove couple is gone and this is all that’s left of their hopes and dreams.


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