Saturday, December 29, 2007

Check out the other two episodes, too!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The very talented Julie Persons has inspired quite an addiction to needle felting. In hopes of supporting my habit, this bowl's heading for etsy.

Amy caught the bug, too. Check out the pretties she's been making.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

1975, which means I was seven and Jeanne had just turned four. The ornament right in the middle/bottom of the picture (or one just like it) hangs on my tree. Well, this year it hides in a drawer so as not to entice a kitty.

Maeve wanted to know what she and RoRo were doing in this picture. It is a bit freaky.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I've been tagged by Madeline, who has one of my very favorite heads of hair.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Since I did this relatively recently, I'm going to give myself a little theme. So here are 7 weird things from the ocd part of me:

1. I have to walk 'evenly'. One foot feels heavier (not literally, just in some weird ocd way) and I have to step on 'heavy' things with the other foot to balance it out. Heavy things include cracks in the pavement, designs on linoleum, curbstones, etc.

2. I feel compelled to close any drawer or cabinet that's open.

3. I much prefer books on a shelf to be flush - no spines sticking out. By "much prefer" I mean I must put them that way or I get, as Rowan says, a bit twitchy.

4. I can tell to a very tiny fraction of an inch whether something's even. (Much to the annoyance of the contractor who was working on our house.)

5. I need my feet to feel the same. If one's hot, the other should be hot. If one has a sock on, the other has to have a sock on too.

6. I want to organize everything. In the whole world. Just for fun.

7. I will walk around the bed any number of times to get the top blanket to lay straight.

None of these things get in my way, but I know if that changes Rowan will help me kick some butt. She is the world's greatest ocd-butt-kicker.

Here's a vision for you Ro - imagine the ocd World Championships: I have to walk by the couch without fluffing the pillows, then go stand in the kitchen with all the cabinets open - Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ok, someone who prefers to remain nameless has told me to play...

On my next birthday I'll be forty.

That's supposed to freak me out, I think, but so far I'm ok with it.

I want to go so many places. I've always wanted to go to Africa and Australia. And Fiji. But a trip around the world, staying with people who live there, not in hotels, is something I very much hope to make happen.

My favorite place is the beach. Any beach. This one would do nicely.

Favorite object: books. Lots and lots and lots of books.

Ah, ice cream. It's always been my favorite food. I can, and very often do, eat it every day. Chocolate, please.

Favorite animal. That's really hard. If it's not a rodent, I love it. I guess I'd pick the People of the Forest. But don't tell my puppies!

Favorite color: purple.

Everything looks good in purple.

I have a lot of nicknames. I love nicknames and I'm glad so many people have made up names that they think suit me. The first one that came to mind is Blue, which is what my brother-in-law calls me.

I was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, at St. Margaret's Hospital.

Last and least, I bite my nails.

I think it's really gross, but I'm going to keep doing it anyway.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dagny's on vacation, traveling from friend's house to friend's house, so Rowan and I are doing lots of fun things to help us not miss her so much.

Friday we took a trip to the salvage store, where Rowan found a homemade dollhouse just waiting for her to fix it up.

Saturday we had a visit from Amy, Luis, Taye, and Darius. They enjoyed meeting Lucky, a very friendly and patient black lab we are puppy-sitting, who hardly seemed to notice there was a baby climbing all over him.

When Lucky decided it was time to go for a walk, Darius turned his attention to Ro-ro (whose name he said for the first time that day!).

They were having so much fun that Lucky decided he wanted to get back in on the game.

The Oroscos are going to Peru next month and wanted to get some winter coats to bring to Amy and Luis' nieces and nephews, so we all drove up to the thrift store. Rowan found just the teacup she wanted to use with her teapot.

We thought about going roller-skating on Sunday, but ended up having a quiet day instead. By Monday Rowan was ready for action, and luckily Chloe was able to come over. For ten hours they played and laughed and talked and did giggly things with everything from food coloring to vinegar to shaving cream.

So we're having fun. And I'm very happy that Dagny is having a friend-filled adventure. But I do so miss my baby and her partner in crime.

They're stopping at Ren's next week. Any bets on whether they come home with another cat?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lately I've been wondering about the distant future. And about my children's children's children. And the age old question of why a heterosexual guy can't tell a heterosexual guy that his bootie is fly. And why oh why the bird has one leg and no wings.

Wasn't it Confucius who said, "You can learn an awful lot about a person by seeing what makes her laugh"? No? Well, that's why I said wasn't it .

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fifteen years ago this moment - 2am on November 16th - I woke up to the sound of Jon quietly singing. It was a song that had never been sung before. A song newer than the baby he sang to. I opened my eyes long enough to see him rocking, staring into new eyes with love whose enormity I recognized, singing his song in a voice I had never heard before. I stayed awake long enough to realize my baby was safe and happy and my husband had undergone some sort of transformation while I was busy with the messy joy of birthing.

Fifteen years ago, on the afternoon of November 15th, Jon, with immeasurable awe, told me (and everyone who came to visit, including the nurses) that he could literally see his baby's eyelashes growing.

Fifteen years ago, at about 7:45am on November 15th, a woman who was not aware of exactly what was going on in my room popped her head in to ask me if I'd like a muffin, and laughter added muscle to the work my body was doing, work which ended only a few minutes later, at 7:48am.

Fifteen years ago, at about 3am on November 15th, we drove through a sleeping world, more awake ourselves than we'd ever been in our lives.

Fifteen years ago, at about 11pm on November 14th, I noticed that my water had broken. Not in the cartoon explosion kind of way I had expected, but instead in more of a, "I think this means my water broke. Do you think this is what it's like when your water breaks?" kind of way. As we waited to see how things would progress Jon slept and I read about the birth of islands. Read the same two paragraphs over and over with little understanding as 99.99999% of my brain thought of contractions and love and finally, finally meeting the person I'd waited more than 24 years to meet.

Years later, I returned to James Michener's Hawaii and revisited the portion that helped me through the beginning of my labor and planted an image of mighty waves that I pictured when I felt my own towering waves - contractions that felt like nothing I had ever felt, like nothing I could ever describe, and that brought forth not islands but a joy that would dwarf all that came before.

"Millions upon millions of years ago, when the continents were already formed and the principal features of the earth had been decided, there existed, then as now, one aspect of the world that dwarfed all others. It was a mighty ocean, resting uneasily to the east of the largest continent, a restless ever-changing, gigantic body of water that would later be described as pacific.

Over its brooding surface immense winds swept back and forth, whipping the waters into towering waves that crashed down upon the world’s seacoasts, tearing away rocks and eroding the land. In its dark bosom, strange life was beginning to form, minute at first, then gradually of a structure now lost even to memory. Upon its farthest reaches birds with enormous wings came to rest, and then flew on. ~James Michener, Hawaii

Tonight Dagny rests. Someday, when she's ready, she will fly on, and when she does she'll carry with her a love whose enormity grows every day, every minute, every second.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Maeve and I like to talk to each other. Sometimes she calls me on the phone and sometimes we go somewhere nice together. We talk about Diego and teeth and trapeze bars and scooters and babies and love and doll houses and when she is RuRu and I am Maeve and candy and TV shows and puppies and what we like and what we don't like and who is my mama and holding hands. We think holding hands is a good way to love.

This week when we were on the phone I said, "I love you Maeve" and she said, "I love you too. Jinx, you owe me a soda!" So I owe her a soda, and I will hold it for her but I will not drink it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

A few months ago Dagny told me she'd like to find someone to help her learn more about photography. Suddenly there was Karen-the-photographer (not to be confused with KarenKaren) - a new friend we instantly liked so much, and who takes amazing pictures. She's taken Dagny on a photo shoot and shown her all sorts of things about my camera that I never knew.

We've had some great weather this fall - 80 degrees in October! We spent one beautiful day at Memorial Park with the Dorseys and Karen-the-photographer (or as Rowan likes to call her, "Dagny's mentor") and her kids, Will and Olivia. I convinced Dagny to play hooky from a doctor's appointment and I had the same feeling I used to get when I decided to spend the day at the beach rather than at school *G*.

There was river wading, a play, a log battle, extensive wood collecting, and a pool of leaves that stopped us in our tracks.

We ended the day at the Dorsey's house with Barbie torture and a whole lot of mud for Rowan and a snuggle with Olivia for me.

A very good day.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Apple picking at Honey-Pot Hill Orchard became a tradition when Dagny was really little. It's the only orchard we've been able to find that has the all important combination of trees we can climb and cider donuts.

This year, since Honey-Pot (true to it's name) is a very hilly place and apple picking involves a lot of walking, I spent most of the day laying on a blanket, hidden behind some trees, reading Blessed Unrest. The weather was amazing, and while I missed the actual apple picking, I had a really nice afternoon. By the time everyone came back I was filled up with sunshine, happy to hear all the stories and see all the pictures, and ready to go get some donuts.

We've been talking about a tree house for a long time and one night when everyone was home it just suddenly started to happen. I love those projects. The un-planned for, hey we're all here, wanna find some scrap wood and build a tree house? projects. Of course, like any good project it has taken on a life of its own, becoming more complicated and involved as time goes on.

Jon, Rowan, Dagny, and Andrew have been working together to come up with plans they all like and to put it together. I don't know if I'm authorized to give any details at this point, so I'll just say that it's being worked on with the typical Dagny/Rowan concentration and determination, which mixes nicely with the Jon/Andrew (my lord they're so much alike!) steady-capableness-masked-with-goofy-behavior.
I'm going to try to make up for my disappearance from blog-land over the next couple of days. We've done lots of fun stuff over the past few weeks, usually coming home to new discoveries. (The windows are done! The house is blue! Ah, the joy of actually hiring someone to do the work for you. It's like magic. Very, very, expensive magic.)

Over the years I've noticed that when I'm in a lot of pain I shut myself down to the minimums physically and mentally. Which, in this round of pain, has meant that after doing whatever fun stuff with the kids I can do I'm spending a lot of time lying down. And it's meant that the loud and persistent 'owww' echoing in my head doesn't leave much room for thinking, talking, paying bills, or writing blogs.

I got some more MRI results back. To top off (literally :o)) the scoliosis and herniated discs in my lumbar region, they found a couple more herniated discs, some arthritis, and degenerative disc disease in the rest of my spine.

I'm off to a spine specialist on Tuesday morning, along with a huge stack of MRI films.

I'm relatively hopeful that I won't hear the word fibromyalgia :o).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Can you see the 5 Differences?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Flash back to elementary school: the teacher tells us that we have to go to the nurse's office. We line up outside the door, no one quite sure what's going on, everyone asking the people near them what we're doing. One by one we're called in and told to take off our shirts and lean over. Mortified, but a 'good girl' who did what she was told, I did it. I only later found out that the nurse was screening for scoliosis, and that my parents had signed a permission slip, but not thought it necessary to mention it to me.

The nurse made a list of those who she thought might have scoliosis and should be screened by a doctor. I was on the list. The doctor actually came back four times. Four times I had to take my shirt off in front of a man I did not know and lean forward. I remember just how I felt, how sick and embarrassed and violated.

The doctor eventually decided that my spine was ok.


It started with shoulder pain. Then back pain. My parents brought me to doctors who told them I was having growing pains. Then the pain spread to just about every part of my body. I went to more doctors than I can count. One, a rheumatologist, diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, a relatively new term at the time, when I was twenty-one.


For almost 20 years I have been fighting to find a doctor who would pay more attention to what I was telling them than to an old diagnosis. I would tell them that I could feel something structurally wrong with my body. I would tell them the story of the scoliosis test. Every single doctor ignored what I had to say and tried to explain fibromyalgia - something they don't really understand and have no idea how to treat - something they essentially made up because they don't know how to explain a group of symptoms - as if I was just not that bright. As if my pain was not as bad as I said it was. As if I was looking to score pain killers. As if they understood my body better than I did.


No one would give me an MRI. I literally begged for one. I was repeatedly told that it was not necessary because fibromyalgia does not show up in any screening methods. I told them I do not have fibromyalgia. They didn't believe me.


Finally, finally, when I had a new pain that was causing me to scream out in my sleep, I went to a doctor who agreed to send me for an MRI of my hip, pelvis, and lumbar.

Guess what? I have scoliosis. It has led to at least two herniated discs. I'll have an MRI on Wednesday to find out what's going on in my neck and thoracic area. I am convinced they'll find all sorts of things in my mid-back, which feels like it has fallen to pieces.

So I'm looking at surgery, and just maybe the incredibly new experience of living without debilitating pain. I can't quite imagine what that would be like.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dagny does magic.

She gets some fluffy wool

spends some time with one of these

and ends up with this

How lucky am I?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thanks to Ren, there's a new baby in our house. Ok, technically he lives with Andrew, but since Andrew spends lots of time here I can pretend the baby's mine.

We stopped at Ren's house in Tennessee on our way to the conference and we were immediately led downstairs to meet the kittens. Anyone who's ever met a kitten knows they're pretty damn hard to resist. I mean seriously - look at this kitten!

We were convinced our dogs would not allow a kitten in the house. Andrew, on the other hand, has cats and a dog and just had to bring home a kitten. One question, though: Could I babysit him for a week while Dagny and Andrew went to NBTSC? And would I make it really clear to Rowan that the kitten is Andrew's?

Well, sure, I figured we could handle the dog/kitten situation for a week. And Rowan felt pretty sure she could handle the fact that the kitten was going to live with Andrew.

We forgot one little thing. No one made it clear to ME that he was Andrew's kitten, and I have fallen completely in love. Again, seriously - would you look at this kitten?!

This cat has ruined some pillows. He has scratched Rowan's eyeball, causing inflammation of her cornea, a need for Dr. visits and lots of eyedrops. (The Dr. wrote a prescription saying Rowan needed the kitty, but Andrew didn't go for it.) His favorite thing to scratch is my very favorite, very old, and very fragile crazy quilt. When I lay down to sleep he uses my hair as some sort of burrowing, batting, climbing toy. Andrew calls him Evelyn. I call him Pestykitty.

But...he likes to snuggle with me. When I pick him up he purrs in a low, constant grumbly sort of way. He plays catch - I slide a block across the floor and he bats it back to me and waits for me to hit it back to him. He goes through the front door of Rowan's doll house and kidnaps the mom and baby. He collects doll house flower pots under a chair in our living room. He rubs his face on my face and puts his nose on mine and stares straight into my eyes.

The dogs are interested in the kitty, but don't seem to want to eat him, and other than a few one-sided boxing matches, where the kitty hits the air in front of their noses while they stand there wagging their tails they've gotten along just fine. One night Godiva and Evelyn slept on a chair together.

So...I want the kitty. And I can't have him. And I'm much sadder about that than I ever would have expected.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We broke out the window paint for our trip and our car was a rolling advertisement for fun, happiness, and unschooling (and how much D hearts A). On the highways and at hotels we saw people reading, looking either horrified or intrigued, and talking to the people they were with about it. In Asheville, NC we were stopped by a bunch of people on the street, and every reaction we got was positive. It was so much fun I decided to make it a more permanent addition to our car.

I went to to order a nice big magnet. One window in particular had gotten a lot of attention, so I used what was written on it and threw in a bit of advertising. (Kelly Lovejoy will be so proud of me!) When I realized my design was looking kind of bland I called in a professional, and Rowan took my words and made them look cool.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of a reaction ten words on a 12"x24" magnet will get in our little town.

the moon is made of cheese!
p.s this post was by Rowan