***warning: injury photos follow, if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing. The toe one is especially cringe-inducing.

I don’t know if it’s an inevitable consequence of being a Mama or just the fact that I’m no longer a spring chicken, but regardless, I’ve been mangling the fire out of my body lately. It’s a bummer, because I hate pain, and also because boo-boo’s slow me down. You know, the hobbling and all. I fell on the stairs with Rainbow on top of me a few weeks ago (and am monumentally grateful that he was unscathed) but now have this yucky, weird scar on my arm. It’s like the muscle or ligament or whatever got severed or crushed; when you run your hand across that area of my arm, beneath my skin it’s all: raw chicken, raw chicken, DEEPLY GROOVED IMMOVABLE STRIP OF BEEF JERKY, raw chicken…


It also has this Nike-swoosh sort of scar, which maybe I could make some coin off of in some way, if I started running or something and got in shape.

Then yesterday morning, I popped in to the pantry, failing to take in to consideration that Daddy J had installed these racks for pot lids, and slammed my shoulder into the edge of one. Owie.

And then, I was moving Rainbow’s tent on the front porch and knocked one of the boys’ bikes over. The pedal totally crushed my stay-home piggie. It’s all mangled and bruised and swollen, also cut in two places.

(taken right after the incident, pre-swelling)


I called Goonie, who’s an RN, and she suggested I go to a doctor when she saw the picture that I tearfully messaged to her. But, phhehh… I hate waiting at the doctor’s office. She guessed that the toe is broken, and that the doctor would immobilize it by gauzing and taping it to the unhurt toe next door.

So that’s where we are today, scarred and taped and limpy.

Everything else (other than the economy, HAHAHAHA. I’m now reading Super Sad True Love Story and finding it awesome and addictive and terrifying) is going great. It is such a huge bonus that Rainbow uses the potty, I can’t even tell you. He still has occasional #2 accidents, but this morning, all by himself (Mama, SHUT THE DOOR!!) he had a big ol’ substantial b.m. And forget the froggy potty; he’s a grown-up toilet guy now.

Also a huge bonus that he loves his preschool. He has this little gang of pals there who greet him joyfully. It’s Rainbow! Hi, Rainbow! I play dinosaurs or cars for a few minutes with him and his little posse, and then leave my contented 2.5 year old to play.

We generally do preschool 4 times a week now, which is more than I ever did with the other boys, but he LOVES IT. Rainbow’s such a social butterfly that he insists on pouncing on all visitors and coercing them to play kitchen. He’ll wake up and beg to go to Chuck E. Cheese or Discovery Center, to go see our weekly playdate pal, to go see cousins, to go to school. To “go see some guys.”

So, yes, hallelujah for a safe, affordable preschool that he loves.

Brad has a part in Much Ado About Nothing (Barachio, I think) and Rockinrolla’s 8-man football season is in full swing. First game is tonight! I’ve been working quite a bit with test writing and articles for Like Totally 80’s, both of which I enjoy tremendously. It looks like I’ll have another article published in Adoptive Families magazine, too, as soon as I get some hi-def pictures taken.

Salad days, mangled body and all.

really good busy-ness

It’s been a happy blur of a summer so far. Rainbow has been going to his daycare 3-4 days a week, and actually likes it a lot. He sleeps there, he eats there (things he does not eat at home – bonus!), and he talks about it happily when he’s home. I take him about 9:00 and pick up about 4:30, so it’s not a tremendously long day, but plenty long enough for me to get some work done.

Which I’ve been doing more of. And loving. The standardized test work for Discovery is incredibly satisfying. I kind of can’t believe I get to do it, it’s so awesome. I started working for them, what, maybe four years ago? Doing practice item writing, data analysis, and test revision and creation. But for the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to keep it strictly to passage writing, which, for me, is the fun part. I get orders for needed reading passages with skills to embed, and write them for grades 1-10. Poems, biographies, plays, informational passages.

Also doing some freelance as well, which is super fun, too. Here’s an article for Like Totally 80’s about Speak and Spells. And I’m still submitting when I can to parenting magazines, although I have a little less time for that since I’m doing more test work.

(Oh, my poor romance novel characters, stuck in their relationship limbo. They still need to have their big fight, then realize they can’t live without each other. Hang in there, Chelsea and Marcus.)

We took Brad and Rockinrolla to Washington, DC, a couple of weeks ago. Awesome big boy trip. We did a VRBO house and are now converted: it’s definitely the way to travel with the whole family, since the teenagers need their own hotel room anyway. We stayed here and loved it.

Mother’s Day

Sure, it’s a bit of a Hallmark holiday, but it’s nice to actually set aside a single day to think just about mothers. So, thanks, Hallmark.

It’s a peaceful morning so far. Daddy J gave me my beautiful mother’s day present – a series of three tree paintings that will go in my office – and we had coffee in the quiet house. The big boys are asleep upstairs with their cousins. I’m feeling pretty good, but also kind of gently sad. I’m so sad for cousin Katie, who is in town, and for Henry’s immediate family (please go sign the petition to seek justice for Henry if you haven’t already done so). I’m thinking about our three little babies who were miscarried. And about Wardie, of course.

And mostly I’m thinking about Rainbow’s birthmother, whom I’ve christened Noelle in some upcoming online writing. I failed again to get a mother’s day card to her – I’m SO BAD about remembering to send cards for special dates – but, like last year and the year before, I will write her a letter to let her know she was in my thoughts on mother’s day. I hope it’s an easy day for her, and that she feels pride and happiness knowing that Rainbow is in the world and is happy and thriving. I know she has grieved for him, and that it’s harder than I can imagine to carry a baby while planning to choose adoption, but she made it so that this amazing little boy is in the world today. She brought him here. A gift beyond measure.

I read this essay by Erma Bombeck this morning for the first time. I thought it would be another tongue in cheek, Erma Bombeck sort of thing, but it’s actually very poignant and perfect. Soon Goonie will bring Rainbow home from his overnight at her house, and I’ll get to love on that sweet boy. And then we will bury the ashes of Daddy J’s grandparents at the local cemetery. And then we’ll let the cousins play and visit with family on this beautiful summery day. And I’ll talk to my mom on the phone and make sure she knows how much I love her, and I’ll hug Rockinrolla and Brad tight. Delicious ambiguity, indeed.

If you are looking for an answer this Mother’s Day on why God reclaimed your child, I don’t know. I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying a child, and then to lose him or her to miscarriage, stillbirth, accident, violence, disease or drugs.

Motherhood isn’t just a series of contractions; it is a state of mind. From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It’s a promise we can’t keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. “If I hadn’t worked through the eighth month….” “If I had only……”

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us. After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and despair are tempered by time, we look @ life differently.

This may seems like a strange Mother’s day column, on a day when joy and life abound for millions of mothers throughout the country. But it’s also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no other mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask “Why me?” You can ask, but you won’t get an answer. Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with them to do it.

The late Gilda Radner summed it up pretty well. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. LIFE is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”

Spiderbite Chronicles III: THE END


I went to our local doctor, who’s also a friend, this morning. After a steroid shot, Mucinex, and starting a round of antibiotics, I’m feeling much better. Turns out I had fluid in my ears, a reddened throat, enlarged neck glands, and a “yucky” infected-looking inside of my nose. Bleh. Not 100% better, but definitely on the mend over here. So, that’s good. Brad appears to be coming down with it, which definitely isn’t good, but I dosed him with some children’s nighttime cold remedy and he was asleep by 9:00.

I had totally forgotten to ask about the rashy bite on my rear end (and wanted to see if ringworm, as JenniG had suggested, might be the culprit) and let the doctor leave, but had the nurse who gave me my steroid shot ask her to come back in when she could. I waited, and waited, and waited. She was with another patient, and I almost gave up to go get my meds at the pharmacy, but then she came back to the exam room.

I described the whole deal: the presumed spiderbite (but with no critter ever found,) the bullseye rash, the itching, the blisters, the disappearance, the reappearance, the disappearance, the reappearance…

She checked out the remnants of this most current episode, now in the healing phase, and said,

Yeah. It’s shingles.

Which I totally thought was a weird old person disease that we don’t really get any more nowadays, like scurvy or rickets. Not a good thing by any means, but sort of relegated to older people who grew up with some sort of vitamin deficiency or incomplete vaccination schedule.

The shingles explains the shooting pains down my leg, which I had thought were from spreading spider venom or damage from said venom. I’m glad all the guys have had chicken pox vaccinations, since shingles both originates from a past episode of chicken pox and can give someone chicken pox if they’re not immune, although they’d be unlikely to have contact with the shingles on my tush, anyway. It’s a drag in that I guess it will be a recurrent thing, but won’t actually hurt me if it stays on my bum and doesn’t pop up on my face, where it can cause blindness if untreated.

I can see my shingles and my osteopenia cackling like old biddies in rocking chairs on the front porch of my bodymind, waving the next visitor up to join them there.

Who’s next? Arthritis? Cataracts? Gout?



Bullets!** Because a lot has been going on, and I’m feeling about as sharp as a wet cotton ball because:

* I’m sick. Lousy, crummy, FINE I’LL GO TO THE DOCTOR sick. On Friday, I woke up feeling like my throat was full of hot dryer lint, so immediately thought STREP!!, but then crazy prolific nasal congestion followed, so I was all, Cold. Fine. Then yesterday was just full-on bodily miserable, tired and sore and with mucus production in overload, plus both glands in my throat hurt a lot. Doctor appointment’s in a hour.

* Rainbow’s going to preschool tomorrow. (!!!) It’s a place about 10 minutes away. Rainbow, Papa J, and I visited on Friday, and it was great. Very clean, small, well-run, safe. I think Rainbow will love it. Right now we’re set up for Tuesdays and Thursdays, although I may reassess in the fall and go up to three days a week. It will be his first time (since the ill-fated venture at the church preschool) away from me, but I think this time he’ll do better this time around, and I’m sure I’ll prefer this place. He’s older and more into playing with other kids. I think it will help with his picky eating, and that child LOVES to play with other kids.

(Yes, I’m totally dreading the emotional freak-out he’s going to have. Yes indeed I am.)

* Daddy J went to scope out an auction on Saturday morning and came home all addled and wonky. I asked if he’d had a wreck, and he said, Well, you won’t believe what happened, which sent my cold-medicine dulled self into adrenalin rush panic. He was parking in a field at the auction (which is what one does at rural auctions – that’s where people have to park! – and the Nissan Armada is built on a truck frame, so WTH, Armada?) and the airbag deployed.

I knew that it wasn’t funny when airbags deployed for no reason, no matter what comic effect they get in movies and whatnot, but it turns out it’s a big deal. He said that he heard a huge explosion and the world went white, and he thought, Well, that’s it, I’m shot in the head, and passed out. He came to a few seconds later with the deployed airbag in his lap. Daddy J is no lightweight; he works out and is pretty buff, and it really rang his bell. We (his dad is EMT trained) checked for whiplash and we were on pupil-dilation concussion alert for the rest of the day.

I’m curious how this will turn out, since it’s, like, a thousand bucks to get your airbag reinstalled. The insurance company says they only pay for it if there was a collision or rollover (which is when the airbag is supposed to deploy) and that otherwise Nissan should pay for it, since it’s a mechanical error. So, it’s probably a no-brainer, but I sure hope we don’t have to argue and work to get Nissan to do the work. Daddy J’s dropping off the car now and getting a loaner.

* Easter was actually wonderful, even in my sicky state. We had planned initially on going to my mom’s, but I had a sleepless night of anxiety last week and realized that I just can’t take Rainbow there right now. Her lake house is where Ward’s accident was, and to go there on a pretty day with people playing outside would be way too much for me to deal with. I just have no desire whatsoever, ever, to walk down to the dock again, or even see the lake from her back porch, and I would be terrified the entire time that Rainbow would slip away down there alone.

SO! Easter at our house. Daddy J totally stepped up and cooked an awesome lasagna so that I could have a hearty veggie option, and my family brought a feast of ham, potato salad, corn pudding, broccoli and rice casserole, rolls, multiple cakes… Mom brought cookies on a stick for Rainbow, which delights him no end. And it was one of the best times I’ve ever had, just hanging out with my mom’s family. Everyone was in a great mood and Rainbow was so dang charming with his aunts Sandy and Lissa. He also was pretty adept at walking on the knee-high tightrope in our backyard when his hands were lightly held on either side.

* Scarlett’s digging out of the backyard was successfully thwarted by Daddy J’s installing an electrified wire along the bottom of the fence. She’d get zapped, yelp, run off, and then go back to yap at the fence in irritation. Heh. Little stinker. She seems to have learned her lesson.

** And I don’t see how to actually create html bullets, so we’ll just be going for asterisks with this post. But I’m keeping the title, because I kind of feel like I’ve been knocked upside the head by a superhero right now.

Spiderbite Chronicles II: The Reawakening

She was casually getting ready for bed, and felt an itchy spot on her posterior. “Mosquitos already,” she thought irritably, and gave the spot an absentminded little scratch. Instead of a boring old mosquito bite, she felt a raised patch of bumps. “It couldn’t be!” she gasped.

Craning around to look in the mirror confirmed her fear: the blistery bumps were in the SAME SPOT as her affliction of so many months ago. It was incongruous, intrusive, inconceivable.


*cue psycho music*


Daddy J checked it out and said, Huh, yeah, there ya go. Maybe it was a brown recluse, and the poison is reactivated for some reason.

And I’m all, HAHAHA, flesh-eating bacteria/need a bun cheek-ectomy/hatching a creepy mini-me/alien transponder site. HAHAHA.

But it’s just so bizarre.

Why would spider bite poison like, LAY EERILY DORMANT only to wake up and be all blistery and itchy again? What’s up with that? I mean, I’ve seen this movie before, and I DO NOT LIKE IT. Especially not after three months have elapsed. What bit me ANYWAY? And did it die when we sprayed for spiders???

Daddy J thinks I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and this certainly doesn’t help matters. For now, anyway, it’s nowhere near as bad as it was in January. No bullseye pattern, and not painful, just mildly itchy. Still weird, though.

I just hope the HazMat guys don’t show up with Mulder and Scully to whisk me away as soon as I hit Publish. HAHAHA

(looks over shoulder)

What’s on your 80’s summer mix tape?

Here’s my dream summer mix tape from the 1980’s.

While you’re at it, take a few minutes to go revisit the awesomeness that that was A-ha’s Take On Me video. It’s so perfect in every way – the dreamy vocals, the amazing visuals. Why isn’t anyone from American Idol covering this song?

Side note: I just realized that the Take on Me video is a heckuva lot like the ending to Altered States. Which looks much scarier than I remember it being. However: the hallway, the painful birth from one state to another, the back to normalcy thing, the romantic hug.

Interesting, no? Although the A-ha guy was way cuter than William Hurt.

Flat Stanley’s Visit

Dear Brandt,

I had a super visit in Tennessee. It’s different in a lot of ways from Washington, but I think both states are very nice. The town I went to was a really small one. It has fewer than 450 people!

Here is a picture of me by the town sign, next to the railroad tracks.

They even have an old-timey red caboose that kids can climb on!

I went to the downtown square. They have shops with old furniture and other weird old things, handmade jewelry and artwork, a restaurant, and an ice cream store. The town is getting ready for Daffodil Day, so they had a lot of yellow ribbons everywhere. This town has lots of special events like a Wheelchair Basketball tournament, RC/Moon Pie day, a Quilt Show, a big Art and Craft Festival, and an Old Fashioned Christmas.

Lots of people in town don’t even have mailboxes. They like to go to the town Post Office to get their mail because they get to say hello to Mr. Bill and Miss Bonnie. They also like to see the newest information from their neighbors on the town bulletin board.

I saw some cool old houses with some colorful and fun artwork in the yards. This one was my favorite. It belongs to a famous poet named Maggi Vaughn. She is the Poet Laureate of Tennessee, which means that she is very loved and admired here for her poetry books. Can you guess what her favorite colors are?

Next I visited the town park and playground. Here I am in front of a statue of Ward, your cousin. Cool statue, huh?

I had a really fun time playing at the playground, too. Playgrounds are the best! You have some fun ones near your house, too.

Thanks for sending me to Tennessee. I’m on my way home to you now. I’ll see you soon!



lovely photos

This sort of reminds me of Anne Geddes’s stuff, except it’s more tender, I guess because of the sleeping baby. And I absolutely love the crafty, home-madeness of the tableaux. It’s just incredibly sweet and so well done.

Check out While the Baby Sleeps…

we’ve got big balls

Ball preparation has been a wild flurry of activity for the last few days. It takes A LOT of work from the committee to put this thing on. Money, food, alcohol, the band, auction donations, correspondence, decorations… But, oh, goodness, the ballroom in indeed gorgeous. It’s a confection of pink and black, and yes, the feather boas are used to great effect. Feathers on the tables, lit balloon bouquets are going in place today around the room.

Feather Sparkle Barbie and Pink Tie Ken tonight = Awesome.

One of the ladies commented that Yes, indeed, that’s one girly bar, but that the men will get over it because they can still get their drinks from it just fine.

Part of my job is writing up the bid sheets, so I’ve been putting in some major computer time to get those done. We put baskets together on Tuesday, and some of the ladies started decorating on Thursday. Friday was decorating day #2; I had to take all the boys and let the big boys chase Rainbow around.


Then left to put him down and work at home, while many ladies remained to work and work throughout the afternoon. We’re meeting again this morning, and should, at that point, be ready.

I gave up on getting my dress altered. I know. It makes me sad. But the neighborhood lady who normally alters for me (who comes to my house to pin me) has been sick, and I have been so dang busy that it’s just incomprehensible to work out babysitting to drive somewhere to get my dress altered. And taking Rainbow along on a fancy dress altering excursion is just totally out of the question.

But! My friend and committee co-chair J came through. I’m borrowing an amazing dress from her. It’s chocolatey-caramelly-brown, with sequins and beads and an open back. Yes, it won’t match our pink and black theme, but whatever. It’s fun to wear something new and beautiful, and I love it.

(Added bonus: wearing “shaping garments” underneath just can’t happen due to the open back, so I’ll be all comfy all night long. And it magically de-empasizes my tummy, so that’s okay. Sweet!)

Today’s To-Do List:

1. meet the ladies with my last batch of bid sheets and revisions from last night and work for a bit on the auction items and whatever else needs doing

2. color my grays

3. indulge in one more tanning

4. get my nails done. A French manicure, maybe? Two of my friends did a “gel” manicure and it looked lovely.

5. meditate/nap for half an hour or so this afternoon

6. get all prettied up

7. remember to drink water in between glasses of white wine

8. remember to eat something

9. dance to Mustang Sally and Brick House with a tuxedoed Daddy J


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