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Monday, December 31, 2007

So, I Was Sitting In My Car Minding My Own Business...

I was sitting in the car, waiting in the driveway of my favorite coffee place minding my own business. The song "Let's Dance" had just come on the radio with its snappy, happy 80's melody when I glanced into the back seat and saw this...

It was so cute! I reached for my camera very slowly, hoping to unobtrusively take it from its hiding place in the camera bag. I turned it on and tilted it up... and she stopped dancing.

"Can I take a picture of you dancing?" I asked, hoping that she'd say yes, and do it again just like she had been.


"Oh. Okay. Well, I'm going to take a picture of that white van over there cause it looks neat."

"Okay! Can I see?"

"When I get done."

I focused the camera on the child-viewer rearview mirror and zoomed in so that I could see her better. "Okay honey, I'm going to take that picture now. I'm not looking, so you can go ahead and dance now if you want."

I waited and sure enough. Slowly, quietly, I depressed the record button. It was just so cute I couldn't resist.

I'm not sure where she gets the rapper moves from, though.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Ghostly Kiss

For the past few weeks (maybe longer- it's hard to tell), I've felt as though I have not been alone. It happens when I sit down to watch television. Since the show is usually "A Haunting", I've been chalking it up to an over-active imagination. But if it is my imagination, it shows up about five or ten minutes into the show and stays until bedtime- it's also a friendly sort since I never feel threatened. More like I have a friend watching television with me.

Then, last night as I was cleaning the house, I kept thinking that I was seeing things out of the corner of my eye. Movement would reflect in the windows, or just at the corner of my vision. Of course, when I turned there was nothing there. My imagination again.

I sat down to watch television (but I can't remember which show) and then went to bed. I laid down, snuggled up in my blanket, and then... from nowhere... a soft, warm breeze wafted across my cheek. I could feel the hair around my face ruffle up.

And then it was gone.

It was the weirdest, coolest thing. As though someone were leaning over me kissing me goodnight.

But, I'm trying to figure out now who it could be. Of course, Grandpa will be the first person to come to a lot of your minds, but that doesn't make any sense. Me, I think I've just picked up a ghost that... thinks of me as a friend. (Although, I have this horrible niggling feeling that an old friend has passed away-- but if so, I don't know who it would be.)

Probably because it's my own imagination going crazy. No wonder it's friendly! LOL...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa Had a Mission

On Christmas Eve, we work for half a day. It was a decision made a long time ago to take one of our holidays and turn it in to two. Half a day off Christmas Eve, half a day off New Year's Eve.

I love it. It affords last minute errands and extra time for gift wrapping, something I invariably need. But this year, the last minute errand took precedence because I, or rather Santa, had been given a mission. Short Person, having recently met with Santa, requested "A White Stuffed Bear".

It was her first request for anything from Santa-- and I was determined not to fail at getting it for her. But, Short Person is incredibly picky. What kind of white teddy bear? Did she want big, small, or medium? Did she want smiley, frowning, or true-to-life? The questions and possibilities were endless!

After getting off work, I headed straight for Fred Meyer and walked directly to the toy section. I was worried that one day before Christmas, the number of white teddy bears would be next to zero. I figured I'd consider myself lucky if I found one at all! The fear of a Santa that didn't come through the first time asked was agonizing. But when I got there, the fear of no choice turned into one off too much choice. There were at least fifty white teddy bears, and they all looked different.

For at least 15 minutes, I was alone on the aisle. I'd pull out white bear after white bear after white bear, lining them up on the shelf sometimes putting them back, sometimes keeping them. Fifteen minutes later, I had three that I couldn't choose between. All different. All adorable in their own way. But, I could not decide.

About the same time, a mom and her little girl arrived on the aisle. The little girl was probably two years older than Short Person and looked full of wonderful opinion. After gaining approval from her mother, I turned and asked her which one she would choose. It only took her a moment, but she made a decision and five minutes later I walked out, heavy one white teddy bear.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Without Grandpa

I hate that we are all going to mark this Christmas that way, but there it is. The strange thing about it is, it didn't feel like he was gone. It may have been that his chair acted as our Christmas tree, presents piled miles high, his photo bearing witness, and then later a huge bear that my mom had gotten my grandmother took the gifts place to occupy the space. Or, it could have been that everyone still had on their best face.

There was still laughter. There were still cousins playing, some older than in years past, some newer.

It could have been the new faces that were present-- ones that don't normally appear during holidays. LJS, for example, actually came to a holiday event. Cousins from thousands of miles away, were there. Our celebrating early might have contributed to the abundance of people, but I think it was more the need for togetherness.

Anyway, although different, in many ways it was the same. There was no tree, which is understandable; there was also no turkey-- or rather, there was, but it was raw. So we had faux turkey in the form of chicken and unbelievably, Grandma was not pulling any of her hair out over it.

I'm so proud of her.

I wish I remembered more from that day that I could share, but most of what I have is in pictures. I remember Mya jumping over LJS's legs over and over again, in a fun game (she's such a doll!). I remember stealing (literally, going downstairs and telling Cat to give my Cari) the happiest baby on earth and bringing her upstairs so that LJS and I could hold her and play with her for awhile-- and I remember being surprised that Short Person was not jealous like she normally is.

You know, as an aside, I was also surprised at LJS's willingness to hold the baby much of the evening. It occurred to me somewhere during this that maybe having had our own, we are now more endeared to small lives because they bring back fun memories of our own. Or maybe, it's that, for a moment you can feel what it was like to have that little life without having to take it home and also remember what it was like when that little life screamed bloody murder as you stood there helpless not knowing what to do to make it stop.

At any rate, both LJS and I were having a nice time holding a happy, smiley baby.

The presents were passed out and I got to watch my mom and step-dad open the ornaments I had worked on, which was fun. I wish I had had more time to complete them, but as it was I had been up until 2:30am wrapping presents and with the help of a friend putting the ribbons on them. I didn't even remember to take a picture of them!

But, I did at least complete the information (or what I could gather) for each brother, sister, nephew, niece and significant others.

We arrived and we left in pouring rain, with me wondering who had given what presents. My vow to attempt transformation into my Grandmother will have to wait one more year-- at least where thank you cards are concerned.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Donate to a School?!

Oh, I think if you've ever talked to me about education you've heard my tirade against the public school system. You know already that I am not happy with the school system we have here, and therefore do not like paying taxes to them and will not send my child to their school. But, if you haven't, I'll summarize it very quickly by saying that it's a parenting conflict thing wherein I am the parent and I expect to be informed. Unlike a few of the people I know who found out very important things about their children hours or days after the incident occurred.

I'm also very against hours of homework for a 5-year old, but that's another subject that I will concede may not be fixable due to government regulation.

Anyway... for a lot of reasons, I don't generally like donating to "schools". One being that even though we pay a ton of taxes to the schools, it seems that teachers never have enough to get the tools they need! You pay and pay and yet none of it filters down to the teachers.

Tonight, however, on the show 20/20, they introduced a website that I think is the coolest thing since peanut butter-- and it's a great way to get involved in education without feeling as though (like me) you are donating to a government wasteland. It is a site called Donors Choose.

The premise is that teachers are able to submit their project needs (or for some of the very low income schools, just plain needs!) and have people donate to their project. The money goes directly to the classroom for the project and is not filtered through bureaucracy. Some of the projects are really cool (one that they featured was a teacher wanting to buy history books based on the movie "Night at the Museum" so she could teach her kids history in a more fun way) or just basic (right now on the website is a teacher who needs to buy boxes to put books in because they are having trouble locating the ones they need). Other teachers are simply asking for pencils and notebooks... there were a lot of requests for musical instrument project donations.

The bottom line to this post is simply that, if you want to feel good about donating money to something, this looks like a great place to go. I wasn't sure how many of you are able to watch 20/20, I usually don't I just happened upon it tonight... and I wanted to pass it on.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


When Short Person was a little baby, and something was about to go terribly wrong- or already had, I would pick her up and carry her to wherever (usually her changing table) to correct the situation. All the while repeating, "Don't Panic, Don't Panic, Don't Panic". Whether that was for her sake or mine is debatable, but what isn't debatable is that, like it usually does with her, it came back to haunt me.


LJS was sitting in the living room watching a sports show of some sort, Short Person was in the office watching one of her shows, when he heard her little footsteps pound on the floor.

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump*

"Daddy, don't worry. Everything's fine." She puts her little hands up at him. "Just stay on the couch."

"Uh... okay."

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump*

A minute later.

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump*

One hand up at Dad this time. "Everything's fine, Dad, just stay here. There's no problem."

Apparently, by this time LJS is thinking to himself "Oh Great", but responds with, "Umm... o...kay"

*thump, thump, thump, thump, thump"

A minute later, she comes walking back into the living room, one of our large glasses in hand. "Look Dad! The tape did a trick!"

LJS looked at the heavy glass to see that indeed the tape had jumped away from the dispenser and magically wrapped around the glass two or three times.

"Wow... great."

"Umm... Daddy? Can you help me fix it?"

If I had to guess, based on what I know about my daughter, she was playing with the tape, put it on the glass, and then started to worry when she couldn't get it off-- finally conceding that she was going to need help to do it.

Fast-forward a day or two. Short Person wanted a drink of my soda, but I was reluctant to let her have even a sip anywhere near the new couch or carpet.

"Okay, you can have a drink, but you need to carry it with both hands into the kitchen first. Very carefully, Mommy doesn't want it to spill."

"Okay, Mom, I will!"

10 seconds later she's back at the gate.

"Mom, don't worry, Daddy is already cleaning it up!"

"Cleaning what up?"

"It's okay Mom, Daddy is already cleaning up the mess."

*thump, thump, thump...*

"Hey! Come back here!"

*thump, thump, thump*

"What mess?"

"Daddy's already got a towel, Mom. It's O-Kay."

*thump, thump, thump*

I finally conceded that I needed to get up and go see how bad it really was.

Lately, if something happens, she's either been saying, "Don't worry. Accident's happen." or "Don't worry. I'm on it!" But it is always in that same tone of voice I used when I'd tell her not to panic.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

No More

On Tuesday, my Grandfather passed away. He was 88 years old.

I wrote this to read at his funeral, but there wasn't any open mike time, so I'm posting it here. Below that is a video my cousins put together to remember him.

No More

No more big bear yawns.
No more driving the streets of Chicago, eight years old and sitting on his lap while he let me steer, the power of the universe beneath my fingers.
No more walking the beach for agates.
No more walking into his office to see him hunched over his desk writing one of his sermons.
No more watching him preach or hearing him stop mid-sentence during one to scold me for my wandering attention.
No more being asked to exit the car and walk into traffic... because he didn't want to wait for the light.
No more angry teachers, because instead of saying "largest organ" you chose to answer "skin was something you stuck lemon merienge pie in.
No more verbal warfare of asking questions to see how many he could answer with the word "Grateful".
No more of Grandma muttering that the only reason the luncheon prayer had passed the 12 minute mark was because he couldn't hear himself.
No more seeing the excitement in his eyes when he knew his time to gather his reward was finally near.
No more horrified denials when I told him he'd live forever.
No more.

Instead, I will teach my daughter how to make huckleberry pancakes and choose the best berries.
I will show her the best places to walk on the beach.
I will teach her the words to "Skin".
I will teach her to play games and teach her to sing.
I will teach her what the world Grateful means.
And, I will teach her what it means to live a life people celebrate.

He was a son, a husband, a veteran, a father, a fisherman, a storyteller, a minister, a missionary, a teacher, and a friend, but to me he will always be Grandpa.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Short Person

Twas the day of the Santa pictures and Short Person was excited to be going. She had an entire list of items she was going to tell him she wanted and papers she wanted to show him. Actually, I think the papers were pictures of Barbie items that she wanted. Things that they advertise with the Barbie movies she loves these days.

And while I'm on the subject of the list of items she desired let me just say that for seven months she'd been telling us that she only wanted two things from Santa-- a scooter and a doll. I asked her about two weeks ago what she wanted (just in case, you know?) and instead of spouting off the two items, she launched into a list that could have rivaled Santa's very own Naughty or Nice List. Holy Cow! That's it! Cancel the commercials and Toys R Us ads.

So, she's prepared. List, papers in hand, she's got on the dress she wanted to wear and she's had me do her hair in a headband.

We arrive at the Fire Department where the Santa pictures were to be taken and Daddy is carrying her in-- it was cold and he was trying to hide her in his coat. We go inside and suddenly Short Person wants nothing to do with Santa and no amount of coaxing is going to persuade her otherwise!

It took some doing, and lots of conversation between LJS about whether we should try another year of drop-shoot-and go! but we finally convinced her to go up with Daddy.

They tried for about five minutes to get her to look at the camera to no avail.

We got our picture and headed into the next room, where I stood Short Person on the edge of a fire truck to talk to her about needing to thank Daddy (who was about as enthusiastic about getting his picture taken as she had been). Once that task had been completed, I looked at her and asked, "Okay... what if we have your best friend Eye come join you. Will you look at the camera and smile then?"



So, I went ahead and called Grandma Alice to come and bring Eye. Heck, why not, right?

Eye arrives and it's a whole different little girl that I've got with me. She's excited and jumpy and...

So she and Eye get up and get their picture taken together. Then Eye gets her picture alone and then they are asking if Short Person will go up there. To which I responded, "No. She won't..."

But... She did.

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Short Person.