Thursday, February 26, 2009

"You look like the Grinch. But white."

It was unseasonably warm today. Eighty-one degrees. I tilled my veggie garden for the second time and after I was finished, my Mormon neighbor came to borrow the tiller.

When he returned it, Annie was in the front yard riding Patty, her tire-swing horse. She noticed he didn't have on a shirt, which is very unusual for him as he usually at least wears his garment top. I went out to greet him just in time to hear Annie say, laughing, "You look like the Grinch. But white." He does have a round belly and scrawny legs. She was spot on, actually. It was a perfect description. But I didn't laugh, though it took everything in me not to. I reprimanded Annie and told her she was being impolite. She apologized.

But I've been giggling for hours.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Her Heart is Hanging Out

Daisy is my old dog. She's sixteen, has arthritis and is pretty much incontinent, but she's a good dog and we love her, so we deal with her troubles as best we can. She has a benign tumor on her chest, about the size of a plum. She's not in the best of health, and the tumor didn't seem to bother her, so along with the veterinarian, I determined to just let it be.

Well, I couldn't sleep last night, so it was very late when I let Daisy out to potty before bed. She was taking longer than usual, so I went to retrieve her. It was cold and dark so when I reached down and patted her side, I couldn't see what was making her feel so sticky.

When I got her in the house, I screamed. The tumor that had been growing on her chest was HANGING OUT of her, and blood was just pouring from the wound onto my carpet, which made the matter all the worse.

I wrapped myself around Daisy and screamed for my girls to come help me. They all four came tumbling downstairs. I frantically shouted at Courtney, "Get me a towel!" She did and I released Daisy long enough to wrap the towel around her, but Annie caught a glimpse of the dangling tumor and screamed in terror, "HER HEART IS HANGING OUT!"

It was worse than a nightmare. While Courtney held the towel to Daisy's chest, I grabbed a soft, clean dishcloth and several long ace bandages that I'd used after my recent surgery. I used them to patch her temporarily together, hopped in the van, and drove Daisy to the nearest Animal Emergency Clinic, where they snipped off the tumor and sewed her up, good as new.

Turns out she'd either chewed it off or it ripped open because she caught herself on something in the yard. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it was simply terrifying seeing all that blood and the tumor hanging from sweet Daisy's chest. Poor Annie thought it was her heart.

No one got any sleep last night at my house, but the good news is that Daisy seems to feel great. She's even giving Tarzan a hard time this morning.

Here's Daisy in her "Prayer Cone" as Madeline calls it, because Daisy is alive and well and Maddie's prayers were answered:

Daisy's Prayercone



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Papa's Pantyliners

Papa Gene's house was my refuge. When I'd get in an argument with my dad, I'd go to Papa's house and just sit with him on his big porch, or watch as he tinkered on tractors or tools in his big red barn. He taught me to garden. He taught me that Cardinals love oily black sunflower seed and that Mourning Doves are ground feeders.

He and Granny Fifi lived just down the road. I had back-road paths that I took to get to his house. Once, after a nasty altercation with my dad, I started up the old tractor which sat in our barn next to leathery tack and bags of sweet feed and oil covered lawnmower parts. Driving the tractor was fun and it felt great taking it to Papa's. He was always outside. I knew he'd see me coming slowly up his long driveway and wave at me until I reached him.

I grew up, as is wont to happen with us all, and now, my girls are the apples of Papa Gene's eye. He takes the two youngest, Anna and Chloe, to Steak-n-Shake almost every week. One day last year, he came to pick them up for their little excursion, but Chloe wasn't home from school yet. Papa volunteered to watch Annie while I went to pick up Chloe. Before I left, Annie was sitting on Papa's lap, rubbing the age spots on his arms and neck and face with her tiny hands. She didn't like those age spots. Annie thought they were "owies." They concerned her.

I retrieved Chloe and when I walked back into the living room of my house I couldn't believe my eyes. I started laughing so hard that I could barely breathe. There sat Papa in our navy blue leather recliner covered in pantyliners. They were all over his arms, neck, and face. Everywhere he had an age spot, there was a pantyliner covering it. He started laughing, too, and said, "Annie sure took care of me! I'm all bandaged up."

"Papa! Those aren't bandages. They're pantyliners!"

"Oh, Lord."

He started pulling them off and managed to get them all removed before I could reach my camera. I'm still disappointed.

Papa Gene is a treasure. He doesn't drive a tractor anymore, but he's still good for wheelbarrow rides. And, he's teaching my girls to garden, just like he taught me. They could learn from momma, but it's not the same. Papa Gene is their refuge, too. I love him so much.




Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meansweet Mancat

My cats do the oddest things.

Beans has started "kneading" my eye sockets. She's persistent. My arms won't do, or my tummy, or my legs. Her two front paws must be on my eyelids and she kneads them until I just cannot take anymore. Why does she do that? Crazy. She has also laid claim to my new laptop. Beans LOVES it. She lays next to it. When it's open, she rubs her mouth on it, her teeth scraping the corners. No doubt about it: it's hers.

Tarzan, Meansweet Mancat, is just as evil as ever, and amazingly, the more evil he becomes, the more I seem to adore him and think him sweet. I think that's an emotional disorder...

Anyway, he purrs as he bites. He loves being mean. It brings him joy. He's so visceral, and I find it fascinating. It really is like living with a small tiger. He'd steal the food from my mouth if I'd allow it. He tries! If he wants attention, he will bat me with his paws. When I don't give it quickly, he'll jump up from the floor and bat my face.

T-Man can can open some of the interior doors in the house. A few of them are lever-style handles, and he jumps up and bats them, loosening the latch just enough to open the doors. He tries it with the back door of the house, but that lever handle is solid brass and too heavy for him. Doesn't stop him from attempting over and over and over. That's how we know he wants back in the house. We hear him hitting the doorknob with his paws.

He loves me, but he wants to kill me at the same time. (I bet he's not the only one with that dilemma.) Actually, I think he thinks he DOES kill me. I fake dead for him, at any rate. He seems very satisfied.

He's trying to kill me by tripping me on the stairs. He lays flat on any random stair step and I have fallen twice already trying to avoid him while going down the stairs late at night. The second time I fell, he literally jumped on me at the bottom of the stairs, where I was sprawled on the floor, and tried to finish me off by chewing me until I was dead with death. Thank goodness Tarzan didn't succeed! Who would change his litter and fill his food bowl were he to finish me off?

Early one morning, I was going pee-pee, just minding my own business, when I heard purring behind the toilet. I looked back just in time to see Tarzan leap out to attack me. He bit my thigh as hard as he could and darted away in a sideways puff.

He is gorgeous. His fur is rich and thick and heavenly. No one can resist his luscious tummy. He lays sprawled out on his back and it's simply irresistible. I must rub that gold and black striped belly. But, it's a trick. He's like a Venus Flytrap. A Tarzan Handtrap. He waits and when the hand touches his furry middle, he wraps around it and kills it 'till it's dead. I have hands covered in scratches. But I can't stop. I fall for his trick every time.

I get too much joy out of a couple of cats. I'm a weirdo.

Tarzan Handtrap:

Tarzan Handtrap


Sunday, February 15, 2009

TMI (Titty Modification Information)

I did it. I had the breast reduction, just in time to be the Bride of Frankenstein for Halloween. Never have I been so sliced apart and stitched back together.

I've a small frame and though men often seemed impressed by by breasts, I never was. They were just too big. Not Dolly Parton big, but too big, proportionally, for my diminutive height. My back hurt. While my friends were buying cute push-up bras to increase their cleavage, I was buying minimizing bras that looked and felt more like cages than lingerie. So, I had a reduction--two cup sizes, down to a 34D. Yeah, I needed it.

Also, I decided to let my vanity get the better of me and have the doctor get rid of the pregnancy-induced stretchmarks on my tummy. How did he do it? Well, he skinned me. And it hurt.

Never have I been more relieved to be put under anesthesia. I was so nervous before the operation, I thought I'd pass out and not make it to the hospital. Panic Attack nervous. But the hospital staff was fantastic. They wrapped me in a warm blanket, got the IV in on the first try, and gave me something they called "a glass of wine" intravenously. It worked wonders. I was dead to the world in no time. But I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a Mack Truck.

During the operation, my breasts were cut open and my nipples removed. I like to imagine my nipples sitting side by side on a little silver tray next to the operating table. Like pinkish pepperoni. Don't worry. They were stitched back on. And yes, they regained sensation, though the process of my nerves re-attaching and repairing themselves was, at times, excruciatingly painful.

My abdomen was sliced open from hip bone to hip bone and then from side to side, right under my bellybutton. That stretch-marked piece of skin was removed. Sort of like a mini-tummy tuck, but with no liposuction or fat removal. Just skin removal. The problem was that I didn't have enough loose skin to fill the gap. I wasn't fat, just scarred; not only with stretch marks, but also with the scars from several abdominal surgeries. So, when I was stitched back together, I was literally folded over, unable to stand, sit, or lie down straight until my skin loosened enough to allow it. It took weeks and weeks.

So, to recap, my breasts had been sliced open, two cup sizes of tissue discarded, and my nipples removed and then stitched back on again. I'd been sliced from hip bone to hipbone. Basically in half. A section of skin was removed, my abdomen then so tight that I couldn't sit, stand or lie straight for over two months. It hurt like crazy. Horrible pain.

That's all over now. And I can say that I'd do it again in a New York minute. The results are stunning. I couldn't be more pleased.

The scars are nearly gone. I don't even need a bra, if I don't want one. And there are days, when I'm wearing thicker shirts, that I don't wear one. No one can tell. When I do want more coverage, I usually just wear a tank or maybe a sports bra. I have perfectly perky, perfectly shaped, all natural 34D's and I love them. It's a shame to cover them at all. I'm thinking of going aboriginal. Did I say that I loved my breasts? I love them! And, no, I'm not bragging. Any woman can have breasts this deliciously gorgeous for seven grand. It's a matter of priorities. ;P

My tummy is perfectly flat, stretch mark free, and finally I can see the fruit of all the crunches I've done over the years. I have abs. I do have a long scar, but it's low and won't show when I'm wearing my bathing suit. Which won't be a tankini this year, but a bikini. Yellow polka-dotted, possibly. I can't wait.

So, ladies, if you've thought of a breast reduction, then I say go for it. I couldn't be more pleased with mine. Now, getting rid of the stretch marks was really painful and difficult, and though I'm pleased with the results, I'm not so quick to recommend it. Walking along scrunched over for weeks on end was dreadful. One would really need to hate one's stretch marks to go through that process. I don't regret it at all, but only those prepared for the pain and a very long, but generally unseen, scar should consider it.

I no longer look like the Bride of Frankenstein, all stitched together. I look damn good. For the first time in a long time, I really believe that. After a shower, I no longer cringe at my stretchmarks when hurrying past the mirror naked. Now I stop and look. And smile. It's a good feeling. Real Good.


A Visit With The Plastic Surgeon

I don't want to get too detailed, but my insurance has agreed to pay for part of a surgery which will significantly lessen the back pain I've had since I was a teenager. So, it was to the plastic surgeon with me.

The nurse told me to put on one of their designer robes, which gave ma a laugh. But, after I saw it I realized she was right. It truly was a designer robe! It was black with pleats and pretty button closures--much nicer than the ugly gowns found at my regular doctor's office. Anyway, I put it on and was quite pleased with it. Then, the nurse brought me bottled water while I waited in the room and watched my own private television. I was starting to like the place...

The doctor came in and greeted me. He was fifty-ish, handsome, and friendly. He sat down and asked me to stand in front of him. His nurse came in and I was instructed to go ahead and take off the robe.

Huh? The whole thing? Just drop it right there? It felt really odd. Like stripping in front of him or something and I didn't like it a bit. I was very embarrassed, but did as I was told. He looked at me completely dispassionately and started handling my breasts like they weren't attached to me, manipulating them this way and that, and informing me that one of them was lower on my ribcage than the other. I never in my life noticed that! It certainly isn't that much lower! That was just the first thing he found wrong with me.

Next, he observed my stomach and asked how many children I had. I told him, "four" and he said, "I've got some stretch marks here."

Duh! I think I know that already! At least he mentioned that my abs were in good condition. That made me feel a bit better, but not much. He told me he could get rid of those stretch marks for me and explained how, which sounded terrifying, if you ask me.

Next, he turned me around like a meat inspector to look at my ass, which he said looked like it had good muscle tone, but some excess "fat deposits." Good grief, like I don't know there's too much junk in the trunk?

He then told me I "didn't have the body of a twenty-year-old." Again, DUH! I'm almost thirty-six! He did mention it was pretty good for a woman of my age, which didn't seem like much of a compliment.

The doctor left and I put on my clothes. He came back in to talk to me about different options, and kindly told me I was overall a very striking woman. I think he just wanted me to hurry up and write that humongous check...

So, I walked out through the waiting room and noticed the other women there were incredibly gorgeous. Tall, skinny, big-boobed, with collagen-injected lips and liposucked thighs. I felt very short and fat. Like an oompah-loompah that accidentally got shuffled into a Barbie fashion show.

I'm not going to look like those ladies--ever. I'll be happy with less back pain and keep my stretch marks, I suppose. But this morning, after my shower, I couldn't help but notice them more than usual. And that my breasts aren't placed perfectly on my ribcage. And that my butt is too big. And that I'm not twenty years old anymore.

Visiting a plastic surgeon isn't good for one's mental health, I don't think. I need a counselor now! ;)


Kimberly Ann

Friday, February 13, 2009

Disfunkshunal Family

Madeline does a perfect imitation of Bobby Proud from Disney's animated cartoon, The Proud Family. Her favorite line is, "Where my momma? Momma, I need a sna-aak. Bring my momma back, so she can get me a sna-aak." (Cue Peanut Butter Jelly Time.)

One of her favorite songs to sing is Bobby's theme song, "So Disfunkshunal." Listen to it here:

My girls and I are a dysfunctional bunch, for certain, but we have a ton of fun. Tonight we went to a play at Madeline's school called "Middle School: The Musical." The kids and teachers wrote it. What can I say? It stunk so hard it was hilarious. Middle School kids have to be the most dorky people on the planet. I love them. I especially love my middle-school kid.

After the play, we went to eat at my Sexi-Mexi's restaurant. I think he has the hots for me, too. Tonight, he seated us and brought me salsa himself, while another employee seated the other patrons. See? He likes me. When I thanked him for the salsa, he said, "Thank you for coming." I swear to God he practically purred it! I had to stop myself from saying, "But I haven't yet."

During dinner, Madeline and Courtney made up a new mid-sized SUV model for Buick called "SaBeaver." Don't ask. I'm not sure how it happened exactly, but SaBeaver is the name. I'm still laughing over it. And Courtney told how she got a message from the grilled cheese she ate at lunch. It had a burnt spot on it in the shape of *Court stood and distorted her body into a twisted just-been-mangled-by-a-large-cat shape* which she interpreted as a sign that she's destined for super-stardom. She is thankful that God uses cafeteria ladies who burn grilled cheese sandwiches as conduits for revelation. She hopes to express that gratitude in a new and improved version of the Lunch Lady Line Dance.

As we prepared to leave the restaurant, Sexi-Mexi said to me, "See you tomorrow." I replied, "I don't know if I need Mexican food two days in a row!" He purred (yeah, more purring), "I could make you breakfast." I'm so not kidding. I'm not sure if I should go back to Sexi Mexi's restaurant. Things may be getting dangerously spicy there. Not even a key-lime flavored mint could quell the heat.

We came home, watched a bit of Homestar Runner together, laughed at Chloe's Poopsmith impersonation, then went to bed. Well, all of us went to bed except for me. But I'm tired and going there now. I wonder. If I wake early in the morning and call Sexi-Mexi, would he still be interested in making me pancakes?

So disfunkshunal...can you feel it? Can you?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Waiting For William

Waiting for William

I knew I shouldn’t have watched tonight’s PBS special on the Mormons. It made me intensely sad and I’m having trouble controlling the tears. The story about the Mormon woman who died giving birth to her eighth baby really struck a chord with me. I, too, exhausted myself to create a body for a spirit waiting in heaven. He was a little boy and his name was William.

Married and away from home at the age of eighteen, I found myself pregnant immediately. It wasn’t planned. I was shocked but ready to take on the responsibility of motherhood. When I saw him on the ultrasound for the first time, I was overcome with emotion. There was my baby. It wasn’t clear if my baby was a boy or a girl, but I didn’t need a picture to let me know. I knew my baby was a boy and that his name was William.

At my five month check-up, there was no heartbeat. An ultrasound was ordered and it was clear that my baby was dead. I was utterly alone. My family was over two thousand miles away and my husband was in the military on a mission and wouldn’t be home for many weeks. I was told by the Navy doctor that I would have a miscarriage soon enough on my own and to go home and wait for it. So I did. I waited and waited. A month passed. No miscarriage. I was in a deep depression away from home and carting around a dead baby. I felt constantly ill. One night I awoke with a fever of one-hundred and six degrees. I knew no one to call and felt too sick to drive, so, shivering and wrapped in blankets, I knocked on my neighbor’s door and told her I thought I was dying.

She kindly drove me to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego. I don’t remember exactly what happened after that. I know I had a terrible infection and I know they took out my baby. And I was young and stupid and thought for some reason I’d be able to see him afterward. So, after the surgery, I asked the nurse if the baby was a boy. She told me that it was, but that was no surprise to me. I asked if I could see him. She replied, “No, honey! That baby was in no shape to be viewed.” So I asked what they’d done with him and she said, “Well, we disposed of him.”. They disposed of William. They threw away my baby. I was inconsolable but it didn’t matter; there was no one to console me anyway.

After a few days in the hospital I went to my empty apartment and called my Bishop. He gave me a blessing and in it he told me my baby boy needed a perfect body and that Heavenly Father would send him to me again in due time. The comfort I received from that blessing carried me through the next four years until I would have my first successful pregnancy. I had Courtney and was thrilled. But I knew I needed to make a body for William. He’d waited so long for me to finish college. So I got pregnant right away and had a miscarriage. Then I had Madeline. Then a series of many, many miscarriages over the next four years. No pregnancy would stick. There was too much scar tissue from the earlier infection and operation so doctors scraped it out and still I didn’t get pregnant. Finally, after nearly giving up, I had a successful pregnancy and had Chloe. The doctor warned me not to have another baby. She said it was a very bad idea. But William was still waiting.

So against all medical advice, I got pregnant. I knew this was the one. It had to be. Immediately a tumor began forming in my uterus right along with my baby. It had to be removed while I was still pregnant. Unfortunately, I had what I can only describe as some sort of multi-organ breakdown at the same time. My gallbladder became infected and I got terribly sick. It had to be removed. In that operation, an artery was accidentally severed and I lost some blood. They said they gave me seven units, but I really don’t know if that’s a tremendous amount or not, but I do know I was so sick I barely remember the week I spent in the hospital with blood pressure that just would not rise. I recovered just enough after two weeks for them to remove the tumor from my uterus, operating right next to my growing baby.

When I found out I was carrying a girl, I was happy, but pained at the same time. What about William? How would I ever make a body for my baby boy who’d been waiting so long and who had been promised to me in a blessing? My doctor told me my tumor-filled uterus would likely be removed after I delivered the baby. So, I prayed and fasted and cried and prayed some more. After a few months I gave birth to my beautiful little Annie and immediately afterward, just as predicted, my uterus was removed. And my hopes for William went in the garbage right along with it.

For months I grieved my baby boy and finally came to the realization that Heavenly Father would give him to another family. What had I done wrong that my blessing did not come to pass? I always tried to be the best Mormon I could be but that wasn’t enough.

It was almost exactly a year later when I told my husband the church was a fraud. The people in the ward thought I’d lost my mind and had a hormonal imbalance. My husband thought I had postpartum depression. But it was none of those things. I just knew deep down in my heart that Joseph Smith lied and I couldn’t live a lie anymore.

Of course, now I know William was never waiting for another body at all and my Bishop had no authority to tell me he was. William was just a little dead baby in the trash. But sometimes, like tonight after watching “The Mormons” on PBS, I really miss him.


Sexi-Mexi and Never Trust A First Grader

I took my mom out to eat on Mother's Day. We went to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. The food there is great, but even better than the eats is the manager. He's a Hot Tamale, no doubt. I call him my Sexi Mexi.

When he welcomes us to the restaurant, I always imagine his sultry dark eyes are giving me the bedroom gaze. Then, my mind wanders off into some kind of cheesy soap-opera sex and my Sexi Mexi making a pile of soft flour tortillas...

Anyway, we were seated and it must have been my lucky day, because Sexi Mexi himself came to take our order. He asked me what I wanted. Raising one eyebrow, I answered, "I'll take your giant stuffed burrito."

While we waited for our food, a less-sexi-Mexi brought us chips and salsa. The salsa was in jars and we were each given a small bowl in which to pour it. Chloe grabbed the jar of salsa first and demanded, "I want to pour it mythelf, momma!"

"Well, it's pretty big. I think momma better do it," I said.

"Thop treating me like a baby!"

"OK. Be careful."

Chloe tipped the jar too far and BLOP--out dumped most of the salsa onto the table.

I sighed, "I'll ask for more napkins."

"Well," said Chloe defiantly, "It'th your fault for trusting a firtht grader!"

The spill was cleaned. Lunch eaten. Bill payed. Then, joy of joys, my Sexi Mexi brought me a rose and said it was the most beautiful one for the most beautiful mother. I swooned slightly. I just know he meant it! I know he did. Even though he told every other mother who patronized his restaurant that day the same thing, I know he only REALLY meant it when he crooned it to me. And I know he was thinking the same thing I was: he gave me my rose with one hand, and in the other, he was carrying a plate full of hot, soft flour tortillas. Mmmm...


Scat Hunt and Unmedicated: A Documentary

As my girls and I and my nephew, Jacob, loaded into the minivan this afternoon for a quick drive to the park, I noticed Madeline had a large plastic bag, and inside it was a roll of paper towels, a handful of Ziplock baggies, and one of my better spoons.

"Whatcha taking that stuff for, Maddie?"

"When we get to the park, I'm taking the nature trail and going on a scat hunt!"

"Oh. Sounds cool."

Maddie is the kid who stored dissected rat parts under her bed for further inspection and forgot about them. She loves science and animals and Egypt. Oh, and space and conspiracy theories. That's my Maddie.

We arrived at the park and Madeline took her hunting gear and went on her way. The little kids and their twelve year old cousin, Jacob, played on the really cool playground equipment and Courtney, my ninth grader, lied on the ground having a Drama Queen moment. "I'm so BORED! I hate this park. There is NOTHING to do in this town! If we lived in New York City, there would always be something to do. Can't we move there, Mom? PLEASE?"

Now, Jacob is hyperactive. Real Hyperactive. And, he's obsessed with poop. Farts. Doo-doo. Crap. Turds. I have no sons, so I'm not sure how normal it is for a seventh grade boy to talk non-stop about fecal matter, but this boy is just gross. Love him, but he's icky. And, as I mentioned, hyper. He was irritating every little kid on the playground. He was irritating me.

I noticed Courtney had gotten up from her grassy bed of lament and was following Jacob around with her hand cupped in a "C" shape near her eye.

"What are you doing, Court?"

"I'm making an imaginary film. I'm calling it 'Unmedicated: A Documentary' --I think I can get funding from Seroquel. Sorry, Tom Cruise."

At least she was keeping track of Jacob.

Madeline returned with a few baggies full of scat. She was so proud of it. I sat down with her on a big rock while she identified it for me.

"This is squirrel scat."

"Looks like some kind of berry, doesn't it?"

"No, it's squirrel scat."


Jacob wandered over and said, "I smelled a squirrel fart. That one over there keeps rippin' 'em."

Maddie ignored him and carried on. "This is raccoon scat."

"I sure you are right about the squirrel scat, but I think you've got dog poop in that baggy Madeline."

"It's definitely raccoon scat, MOM. I found it by that tree way over there."

By the tree where only raccoons go potty, I guess. The official park Raccoon Restroom where no dog would dare deposit doo doo.

"Well, if you think so. Now, what do you plan to do with the scat now? I really don't want it in the car, Sis."

"MOM! Why not?! I won't forget it in there, I promise!"

"Throw it away before we leave. Sorry, but no scat in the van."

Finally it was time to go. Thank goodness. We all climbed in the van. Jacob immediately said it smelled like poop.

"Good grief, Jacob, stop it with the potty talk! I'm really sick of it!"

But Chloe said, "Mom, it really does smell like poop back here!"

Immediately I knew the culprit. "Madeline, did you bring the scat into the van!?"

She said not a word, but opened the sliding door and deposited her scat bags into the nearest trash can.

I'm not sure how much more Fall Break I can handle.

Introducing Pedro Augustus and The Baby

Courtney, for the past year or so, has been drawing a cartoon starring The Baby and his best friend, a sheep named Pedro Augustus.

The cartoon is pretty clever (I'm her mom; of course I believe that!) and since I got my new scanner, I've been having fun scanning her pencil sketches.

Here are just a few samples of her work:

Pedro Augustus and The Baby take a Sunday Drive:

The Baby drives with the assistance of his push-popper. His single hair blows in the wind.


Pedro Augustus and The Baby attend a Metallica concert:

Metallica Concert

Pedro Augustus and The Baby make snow men:

Snow Sheep and Baby

Pedro Augustus and The Baby Travel Back in Time:

Their space ship is a double-seater baby bouncer.

Time Travel

Pedro and Baby's friend, Tony Smith:

Tony Smith

Pedro Augustus and The Baby Around the World:

They're Emo in Hot Topic. Pedro has a camel hump in Egypt. So many arms in India.

Around the World

I love Courtney's cartoon. I think I'm Courtney's Pedro Augustus.


Unfortunate Bedazzler Accident: Celine Dion Concert Review

I went to a Celine Dion concert last night. I know. I applied a thick Teflon Wilco coating prior to exposing myself to Celine, in hopes of reducing the risk of musical infection.

Not being a Celine Dion fan, I didn't purchase tickets to the sold-out concert. But yesterday afternoon, an acquaintance called and offered me his tickets, as he wasn't able to attend. They were floor seat tickets, priced at $167.00 each plus fees and taxes. I accepted the offer, took his $400.00, and Courtney and I navigated our way downtown through oppressive traffic to hear the Titanic theme.

The first thing I noticed was that there were few straight men at the concert and those few looked as if they'd been dragged there kicking and screaming by their Celine-loving wives. Courtney and I were seated on the floor, near the back and center. We were, by far, the youngest two in our section. It's odd attending a concert where the man next to you smells like arthritis ointment. At least he said that I looked like Courtney's sister, instead of her mother. True, my mom would look like a spring chicken to that fella, but I don't care. I'm taking the compliment because it is true! ;)

Celine was actually a very gracious performer. She was comfortable with her banter and honestly put on a great show. The only problem was that she must have had a terrible bedazzling accident backstage, because the crotch of her pants was covered in rhinestones. It was truly odd. It was like, "Woo Hoo! Looky here! Yes, right down here! That's right. Check out my sparkly PoPo!" I've heard of vaginal rejuvenation, but sheesh. As we left the concert, Courtney actually said, "I didn't WANT to look at her crotch, but it was so sparkly!"

The musicians were good; the violinist, in particular. The only song of Celine Dion's that I've ever really liked is To Love You More. I got chills last night during that song, the violinist was so good. Overall, I was impressed. I went in thinking I'd dislike the concert, but I enjoyed myself. And Courtney loved it. Enjoying her enjoyment was the best part of the evening.

In spite of my Teflon Wilco coating, I did catch just a bit of an infection last night from Celine. I've been singing To Love You More all day.

"Believe me! I will make you see all the things that your heart needs to know! I'll be WAAAAITING for yoooou, here inside my heart! Let me be the one to loOOOve you mo-oh-oh-ore! Can't you see I can give you EVVVVERYTHING you neeeeeed!? Let me be the one to Love. You. More! Ohhh, oh, oh, ooooooooooooh, OOOOOhhhhooooooOOOOhhh, oh, oh!"

When I do the "oooOOOOhhh" part, Tarzan's hair along his spine stands up just a little. I think that means he likes it.

"I drove all niiiiiight to get to you. Is that all right?"

I am infected. Help?


Seth is our maniacal Mormon neighbor boy. He's a whirlwind of naughtiness who broke one of the pickets on our privacy fence to make himself a little perch from where he can harass my family as we sit outside attempting to enjoy our back yard.

He sits atop his perch and yells to my daughters to bring him snacks, which they do, despite my cries of protest. Every few days it's necessary to clean the area of the yard beneath Seth's perch, as it becomes cluttered with Fruit Roll-Up papers, apple cores, gum wrappers, Popsicle sticks and other snack packaging.

Last year, when he was three, he was over playing with my daughter, Annie, and unbeknown to me, got my girls' pet rat, Cow, out of her cage. Seth and Annie carried her outside and while Annie was swinging, Seth was busy "washing" Cow in the bird bath. I saw him splashing in the water, which was fine with me, but I didn't know he was torturing the poor rat.

I went outside with a towel for him and as he came toward me I saw Cow clutched in his dirty little hand, wet and lifeless. Her long tail dangled limply.

Seth handed her to me and said matter-of-factly, "It's dead."

Cow was such a sad sight. Her eyes were open, her mouth agape - rat teeth protruding eerily. I was horrified and told Seth to get his things and GO HOME! He ran down the sidewalk and I watched him until he was in the back door of his house. I went indoors to find a shoe box to use as Cow's coffin when I felt it. A faint thump.

OMG! The rat was still alive, but barely. What to do?! My daughters loved Cow so much! Annie was trailing me, tears streaming from her blue eyes over the drowning of her little kind pet, who didn't bite the tyrant neighbor boy even as he was killing her! I had to do my best to save Cow's life.

I looked at her and dreaded what I knew I was about to do. Tucking her long yellow teeth into her mouth and shutting it as best I could, I placed my mouth over her wet rat nose. Terrified that she'd revive and bite right through my lip, I blew softly. Water came gushing out of Cows mouth and she squirmed in my hand! It was working!

I pumped her little stomach, releasing more water, but she stopped breathing again. So, once more I blew into her nose and pumped her chest, and once again, she revived, but this time, she continued breathing on her own. Yay! Cow was saved!

She was cold and lethargic, so I held her the rest of the afternoon in a little hand towel while she recuperated. By the time the older girls were home from school, Cow was feeling much better.

Cow was an older rat when the drowning happened, but she lived almost another year, recently dying of old age.

Some people probably think it's gross that I gave a rat CPR, but to my kids I'm a hero! It just shows the lengths I'll go to so they'll be happy.

Yes. My lips have been on a rat's long, wet nose. Twice. Now who wants a kiss, lol?!