Monday, September 25, 2006

a little of this -- and yep, a little of that too

my friend, Becca, is going to be doing the san diego 3 day walk for breast cancer! 3 days. 20 miles each day. amazing! she is just a little short of donations to walk. here is her page. i first met becca online on a wonderful yahoogroup for moms pregnant with babies due in december of 1999. we've been on that same group for more than 7 years now - gosh - is that right? eek! it IS right! i've met her and her daughter, claire (who was actually born in early early january) a few times when i've gone to visit the grannies in escondido. she is a really lovely person inside and out and i feel lucky to know her.

rob went on a huge hike this weekend. he went to the top of mount rose! go check out his blog and read about it. you can see pictures on our new website. i'm HUGELY proud of him. this is a hike that, while i could probably do it, it would not be pleasant for those around me. i tend to bitch and moan when i do the "upandupandupandups" otherwise known as big steep hills.

while rob did that, the kids and i met mom and ken at a neighbor's house for a democrat get together. there were very few folks that came which was a bit disheartening. and it wasn't just for democrats, we had a green party member there too. i've offered to do some phoning as well as be a mini hq again. during the 2004 presidential election, ken was the precinct captain and our house was the headquarters. we were canvassing neighborhoods w/pamphlets at 5:30 am and manning the phones all day. ken is very disillusioned by it all and feels like the democrats really need to get the young people into this and get them to help do the canvassing. he was quite upset (as were most of us on the left side of the political spectrum) that kerry gave up so early.

yesterday was one of those amazing days when my children truly enjoyed one another all day. did you read that? ALL DAY. they played together and just had fun. at about 11:00 am, i told rob, you know, even if they lose it now, they've played together since 7:00 this morning really nicely. well, it continued through the evening. irene helped rhys on Starfall which is a REALLY cool children's website that encourages learning to read, learning the alphabet, the sounds the letters make, etc. irene's been on it since she was a little more than 2 i think and has used it in different ways as she's gotten older. they both had a lot of fun on it. irene is working with rhys on his alphabet, so they worked a lot on the alphabet pages. they also went outside and made some mud and had a great time just playing and gigggling and getting dirty. after that they took baths and then made some pictures together and built a spaceship outside. it was just delightful and i was afraid to take pictures b/c i didn't want to disturb this perfect setting. i was so pleased with them. it warms a mama's heart to watch her children enjoying theirchother.

while they were happily playing, i prepped the sit upon materials for tomorrow's brownie meeting. rob helped me by punching holes in the sit upon "fabric" while i cut rug padding (padding that goes under a rug) for them. that rug padding stuff was REALLY hard to cut! but i did it and rob finished his stuff too. mom came over and we put one together. she had a lot of yarn and big eyed needles, so we got those prepped for tomorrow as well. i hope the girls enjoy the process of sewing their sit upons together. i also hope it takes them a bit of time to do it and they aren't done in 3 minutes. after tomorrow they will have earned their first "try-it" and they will get them when we have their investiture. hooray!

this morning it's a perfectly crisp fall morning. i love fall. i hope everyone enjoyed the vernal equinox.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

feelings, Dara, and a Path to Peace

The past few days i've been feeling a huge weight of sadness inside. i'd say depression, but i don't usually get depressed. but maybe that's what it is. a big part of it is the reality of the world right now. rob had a bit on his blog about iran and how it is now being claimed that they will not stop enriching uranium. then i went to lydia's blog a few days ago and she had a post about iraq that was horrifying and upsetting. from there i jumped to her ahno's blog and again, more upsetness.

my feeling about nuclear capabilities is sort of complex. i feel like, why are we, here in the US among the few that get to have nuclear weapons capacity? do i want crazy people in charge of nuclear weapons? people, we've already GOT crazy people in charge of them. RIGHT HERE. in our OWN GOVERNMENT. which country has actually USED nuclear weapons? oh yes, that would be the united states. right. anyway, it just seems like, why SHOULD we be among the only ones having them? i do understand some of the other side w/that. but ack!

i am the girl that didn't get to watch The Day After in 6th grade b/c i take it all in too much. when my 6th grade teacher, in her infinite wisdom let the whole class watch the nostrodomus (sp?) program and then said something like "well, we don't really KNOW that he predicted that the world would end in [whatever year it said]. it actually COULD be that it's THIS year." i was mush. i still remember part of it and it still scares the crap out of me. i'm the SAME kid that, in 1981 (i think i have the year right), while visiting my mom and ken in oakland (i was living w/dad and moni in redlands - 500 miles southeast), they were talking about the fact that there might not be any more gas and how they thought that could be exciting - you could walk or ride everywhere. i remember breaking down and crying and they didn't really get why, i think. i was 10 or 11 at the time and could only think about the fact that i couldn't see one set of parents or the other. i'd be stuck in one place or another. it was terrifying to me. i take these things inside and can see how it would be. so...when i read these things and listen on the radio and see the little bit i see on tv, i take it in and realize what it can be. but i know what it COULD be. why can't we all just realize that we are one? what you do to someone else, comes back to you. if you are good to your fellow people, it comes back to you. if you are bad, that comes back to you threefold.

so - that's been weighing on me. then, there's also the fact that my MIL's cancer has come back. well, actually, turns out, it never really went into remission. the ovarian cancer has moved a bit and it's really upsetting. i keep a positive healthy image of her in my mind and i also go to and put her ono the prayerlist at two buddhist temples. which brings me to the next part of my post.

I have a wonderful and very special friend named Dara. You can check her blog out over at daramusing. I've known her now for....hmmmm....gosh! i think it's been more than 5 years now. We "met" on a yahoo group full of mavericks (our motto is My Quilt, My Rules! and we can curse like sailors whenever we want and the group is HUGELY filled with talent!). Dara is a buddhist nun. Today, (which is also the autumnal equinox) marks 18 years since she became a nun. what a wonderful anniversary. Hooray and Congratulations on your anniversary. anyway, Dara sent me an e-mail today to tell me about the Path to Peace. it was like a little light had been added and a little weight had been lifted. around the Stupa that has been built in Sedona, Arizona is a path. the place, from all i've heard from people (including Dara) is very spiritual. very peaceful. a place of reflection and meditation. The buddhist nuns and monks of Kunzang Palyul Chöling are wanting to make it Path to Peace that goes around and through the area where the Stupa is. below is a picture of the 36' Amitabha Stupa.

This is what the pdf file says about this stupa: The Amitabha Stupa is considered to be especially powerful, as Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, vowed to respond to the prayers of all who call upon him.

i'm not doing a very good job of explaining this. so let me share a bit of what Dara wrote: The stupa is the first stage in developing the larger plan of a temple, activity center, and meditation gardens. Connecting these will be a Path to Peace, a walkway lined with inscribed bricks, meandering through the stunning landscape of the beautiful red rocks of Sedona.

she then invited our family to be a part of this beautiful project - this beautiful piece of hope for peace by sponsoring a block. I'd like to pass this on to you as well. this spiritual and special place is not a place just for buddhists. it is a place for people of ALL denominations and ALL kinds of faiths. for people.

there is a pdf file that talks about it and how to you too can sponsor a brick. oh! i just found it on their website! you can do it online as well - right here.

i called Dara after i got her e-mail and talked with her for a while. i let her know that her e-mail and she herself helped me to feel better. if i had endless amounts of money, i'd buy many many of these bricks. we're going to get at least one b/c it feels like something we can DO to help promote peace in these difficult times. maybe i can get some family together and we can get one as a gift for people.

maybe it's something that you'd be able to do or like to do. maybe not. but i wanted to put the opportunity out there just in case. (edited to say, believe me, i understand money being tight! so this might not be something you can do, even though the desire is there)

Daramusing: Anniversary

this is me trying to link all y'all to dara's blog. she explains it all better than i did. *smile*

Friday, September 22, 2006

the pictures 7/11/04 (plus one from 2001

First off, a special THANK YOU to Paula Lerner for letting me put the photos on my blog.

This is day 2 of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It was my first night away from Rhys. Mom and I shared a little tent and were in tent city on Crissy Field in SF. this is at the first aid station on the walk that morning and rob was waiting with the kids. rhys was VERY ready to nurse and i was VERY ready to have him nurse, even though i'd pumped that morning, i was still quite QUITE full. irene had her little ponies and was playing as i nursed the boy. Paula Lerner was there. she was taking pictures for the book Why We Walk (go and check it out. we were almost in it *smile* - the pictures and stories in it are really amazing and Paula's photos are superb). i love that rhys' little feet in the picture. and irene is totally engrossed in her playing. on my shirt are the names of friends and family that have had breast cancer. they are my friends and family and the friends and family of those who donated $$ to my walk. there were too many on my shirt. it was a few weeks, i believe, after this walk that Paula Lerner was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am happy to say that she is doing well today. please do go check out her site b/c her photos really capture the moments well.

irene (4 1/2), rhys (newly 1) and mama.

Photo © Paula Lerner 2004

and here i am w/my boy
Photo © Paula Lerner 2004

The walk was an amazing experience. i felt so lucky to get to do it with my mom. to have her there with me. this june marked 5 years since her bout w/the disease. walking across the finish line - i just can't even describe how emotional it was. i was crying, i think mom was crying, actually, i'm sure mom was crying. one of the parents from my preschool was there - she had walked as well - i think she'd had breast cancer about the same time my mom did. she saw me as i was crossing and ran and gave me the biggest hug.

here i am with rhys after the walk

and, b/c i don't want to leave irene out -- here is one of the very few pix i have of me nursing irene - she's about 18 months in this picture - we were traveling to The Grannies in escondido. mom took this picture in buttonwillow - unfortunately, neither of us has a full sized image of it's a little pixilated.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

the end of an era

first off, Hathor has the funniest and most realistic comic on her site right now - it's called bad vibe and anyone who has nursed whether in a sling or just w/a shirt, or even w/one of those big ol' blankets over your shoulders KNOWS it to be true. b/c on those days that you ARE feeling just a wee bit more discreet when you are in public, THAT is the time that your darling babe will THROW UP THE SHIRT (or blanket or whatever) or thrust their entire body backwards so that your breast is just blowing in the wind for all the world to see. it's actually pretty funny. the other funny thing is when babies first start realizing there is a world outside and are distracted by everything and while nursing will take your nipple for a ride up down and around farther than you could have ever imagined.

next, my girlfriend anna has a friend who now works for motherwear (motherwear has some really quality nursing wear). she has started a blog so go and check it out if you are so inclined.

lastly, it's been nearly two weeks since rhys last nursed. it's not like he was nursing gobs, just once, at naptime. what's really funny is that the last time he nursed he said "mama, i LOVE to nuhse." he doesn't nap every day, so we weren't nursing every day, but he was pretty adamant when i did put him down for a nap that he wanted to nurse. well, now even when we go upstairs for him to nap, he hasn't asked and i haven't offered. it's bittersweet b/c he's my last baby.

i really loved nursing. it was a struggle in the beginning w/both kids. nursing, for me, was not the "easy and natural" thing in the beginning. it had a learning curve. my children and i had to work together to get it all figured out. rhys and i had a rough 10 months full of ups and downs before things got better. it was worth it. all of it! i loved being able to completely care for my children. i had everything they needed. when they were hurt, nursing instantly helped. sad? nursing fixed it (along w/big kisses). i was quite the producer of milk too. i had enough for me and my friend's baby. my friend was also my labor and delivery nurse when i had irene. she is VERY salt of the earth and homebirthed her two children. anyway, she had skim milk (sounds funny, but sometimes people do and no matter what they use, it stays skim). i had pure cream. so i'd pump for henry and bottle it up and take it over to my friend or she'd come and pick it up.

i could talk a lot more about this, but maybe at another time. i'm going to ask Paula Lerner if i can post a picture she took of me and rhys at the avon walk for breast cancer in 2004. will post it here if i get her okay.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'd vote for him again!

Bill Clinton was on The Daily Show last night. Can we have him back? Please? because really, i don't CARE what he did w/monica lewinsky. he was a good president. he didn't alienate nearly every single country in the world. and we impeached him why? b/c he screwed around behind his wife's back and didn't want the entire world to know about it, so he lied.

hello. newsflash...GWB has lied. and lied. and broken several laws and now, it's possible he'll get pardoned??? insane. ignominius.

the thing is, the next president, whoever s/he may be, is TOTALLY ewedscray. this mess is going to take us SO long to straighten out.

wow - this SO very much wasn't what i'd intended to blog was just....listening to a past president who knew how to speak proper English - who could string coherent sentences into a paragraph or two (is it still a paragraph when it's spoken?) was an amazing thing. a BEAUTIFUL thing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

dude - 36?!?! and brownies

yup. today is 9/12. that means i turned 36 today. how can that be? how can i be 36 when i still feel like i'm the 22 year old who celebrated her birthday at friar tucks in cotati w/rob and one of her best friends teaching everyone when they were supposed to pound the bar as the fabulous irish singer was singing all the songs i knew? yeah. i don't know. would i change anything and go back? of course not b/c that would mean that i'd not be married, i'd not have my amazing kids, i'd not have lived the life i've lived.

today is also my cousin, jed's, birthday. it was also my great grandmother Irene's birthday. my gramma and great aunt were both thrilled to each have a grandchild born on her birthday. she died long before i was born, but i feel her presence - especially when the romig women are together. yes, i named my irene after her.

anyway -- this morning started with wonderful cards made by irene and rhys. irene included with her card a story book. it's very sweet and precious and dear. rob gave me a wonderful card too. i always love his cards. he writes well, that husband of mine. irene forgot her backpack, so after dropping her off and meeting a friend for a quick cup of coffee (starbucks has their pumpkin spice latte back! OH MY DAWG i love those yummy drinks!!), i went back home, grabbed her bag, went back to school and finally got back home where i then had the run around HOLY MOLY ARTICHOLY I HAVE A BROWNIE MEETING TODAY! time. i had some things i needed to get done. a few craft ideas, a newsletter, a wishlist (i'm probably missing several things on the wishlist), the note that showed all the necessary items for the brownies...oh my. with rob's help (yea for e-mail) i was able to make a prettier version of the girl scout promis on the girl scout badge.

i was worried i'd forget one of the really important things...happily i remembered them. what did i forget? argle begargle....i forgot the CAMERA!!! carpe carp! but the meeting went pretty well. we have 10 girls and there are a few others that might join. so hopefully we'll have 10 or 12. hopefully i'll have some parents that are able to come on a regular basis. i am officially the leader and i have an assistant leader. i'm pretty excited and hope i can continue to think of fun things and learn more songs. irene was bubbling along she was so excited that she was starting brownies today *HOORAY!*

so, after brownies, we headed to black rock where we met rob, my mom and ken for yummy salad and delicious pizza, then had Italian Wedding Cake for dessert. i got to eat most of the frosting (i did share w/irene) and rhys got most of the cake part (he shared with irene too).

I got a lot of wonderful e-cards and fun calls from friends and family. it was good. but i'm sorry there are no pictures.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Today - and what we did

On September 11, 2002, I was the lucky teacher to 4 wonderful almost 3 year olds and 1 18 month old. One of the nearly 3 year olds was my daughter. Just down the street from Papermill Creek Children's Corner in Point Reyes Station is the fire department.

I wanted to commemorate the day in some way that was special for the firefighters and something that the toddlers could help to do/make. So, the week before, I called them up and asked if we could do a tour with the toddlers. They were more than happy to oblige. I had butcher paper (the same stuff i have now) and put one layer above and then taped it to the bottom - so it was very big. All the kids did painted handprints on them - i added mine to it as well. I wrote something to the effect of Thank You for All You Have Done and All You Continue to Do. I wrote the names of the children and staff to it. The firemen were touched and gave us a wonderful tour of the trucks they had. I got some beautiful pictures - one of them is one of those pictures that is just really amazing. it's of a little boy putting on a real fire hat. The lighting was just right and it really captured the feeling of the day. Anyway, in 2003, i'd just had Rhys and in 2004, our life was in a huge state of upheaval. Last year, I don't know exactly what happened...we were probably in the process of moving.

So, this weekend, Irene made a picture and today Rhys and I made the poster.

This is what the poster looks like -- those are Rhys' handprints with lots of glitter (we used glue and then glitter).

This is what irene made -I then glued it onto the poster. She made a female firefighter saving someone.

We took it to our local fire department (which is just 1/4 mile from our house). We also brought a big batch of chocolate chip cookies for them. They were very pleased with both. The captain was really wonderful. He remembered Rhys (and, presumably me too) from when we sat on our driveway and watched them test the various fire hydrants by our house (one of which is right across the street from us). He came over at that time and got down low to Rhys' level and chatted with him. He did much the same this time. Got down to his level and talked to him, explaining the loud sound that was happening when we entered the garage and explaining about the sound the door made as it opened.

He had Fireman Kurt show us around. We'd gotten a brief tour on Christmas day when we brought cookies to them, but this one was even better. We got to see the bedrooms and the bathrooms and showers. Both impressed Rhys. Fireman Kurt also told Rhys that when they hear the sound of the alarm, they jump out of bed, into their turnouts and onto the trucks to whatever emergency is happening. Rhys remembered this and told Rob about it this evening.
Here is Rhys w/Fireman Kurt and one of the trucks. Rhys didn't want to go into the truck. He was feeling extraordinarily shy around them today.

Fireman Kurt also showed us the new weight room which had new equipment thanks to a grant they got last year. Prior to that, they had less than stellar equipment.

When we got back to the garage area, the Captain showed Rhys where they had put our sign. He told us that it would be up so that all 3 shifts could see it *beam*

Here is Rhys w/the captain and our poster. It's not a stellar picture of either of them, but it's what we got. and i'm realizing that I'm just assuming that this is the captain - partly from the way that the other firemen were acting around him. so, i could be wrong (gasp! me? wrong? - heh)

and here is a picture of me with rhys in front of the fire truck. Again, Rhys was being so funny and so shy after being so SO chatty.

All in all, it was very fulfilling for me. It feels really good to do something positive on a day that has been full of such sadness and sorrow.

On another note, tomorrow is the first brownie meeting. wheeeeee! wish me luck *smile*

Friday, September 08, 2006

my insanity and book meme

this is what i know. when you don't blog for a bit, it's hard to re-start on the blog thing. i meant to tell you about losing my mind. was going to be a big post, but it's not now. the reason i've lost my mind is b/c i've volunteered myself to be the co-leader for irene's brownie troop. the kicker? there IS no other co-leader. we went to an informational meeting for parents (we BEING the parents) and there were leaders for 3rd graders, for daisies, and for juniors (4-6 grade). no leader for a new brownie troop. it was clear that we would be at the meeting until someone volunteered. b/c my mom and i have both talked up girl scouts since irene was a wee thing, i needed this to happen for her. ergo, i volunteered to be an ASSISTANT leader. no one else volunteered. no one else wanted to commit for the whole time. eek! it'll be fine. right? i mean, i hope it will be okay. i'm confident that i will do okay as a leader. i'm just nervous. the first meeting for our new troop will be on my birthday (tuesday).

this i got from debR at some point.

1. One book that you've read more than once.

seriously? just one? I’ve re-read more books than I’ve NOT reread...but, I think my answer might be, like DebR’s, the _Wrinkle in Time_ trilogy (which now has 4 books b/c she wrote _Many Waters_ as a companion book for it, but I’ve not read it as many times as the original 3). close second would either be The Belgariad (a 5 book series by david eddings) or possibly The Eight – by Katherine Neville

2. One book you would want on a desert island.

crap. just one? argh. how long am I on the island? maybe The Eight. or, perhaps, an anthology of greek myths.

3. One book that made you laugh.

hmmm — again — many. and again, I think I’m going with DebR’s answer...Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy...i’ve listened to that book more times than I’ve read it. the doors slay me! “thank you for making a lowly door very happy”

4. One book that made you cry.

many many....i think I’ll go with _Bridge to Terabithia_ a beautiful book. surprisingly, one that I haven’t re-read...i remember reading part of it with tears streaming down my face and my gramma walking in and asking what on earth I was reading and did my parents know I was reading something that was making me cry so much...

one that makes me cry just by reading part of it? Little Women – the chapter when sweet beth dies. omg. the pages in my book are tearstained from all the tears (well, duh, I guess that’s what tearstained means, huh?)

5. One book you wish you had written.

most anything by Madeline L’Engle. her books are magical to me. I love that nearly every one of her books is interconnected in some way with the others. she has a way of writing that speaks deeply to me.

6. One book you wish had never been written.

hmmmm...i don’t know. a book that I didn’t like at all was The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka. and i enjoy russian novels. this one? not so much. but do I wish it had never been written? nah. I just wish I’d never had to read it.

7. One book you're currently reading.

heh - _Mary Poppins_ which, until some folks on quilty yahoogroup were talking about, I didn’t know was a book. I’m enjoying it greatly. the image in my head is still julie andrews, but it’s fun seeing that she’s not truly so practically perfect in EVERY way.

8. One book you've been meaning to read.

_Catcher in the Rye_ by JD Salinger. it’s true. I didn’t have to read it in high school. i read tess of the d'urbervilles (thomas hardy) and passage to india (i didn't like that book -- SO freakin' slow. oy!) crime and punishment (dostoyevsky - loved the book until the epilogue. i felt the epilogue was a cop-out. i wrote my whole paper on it. i believe it was titled "To Epilogue, or NOT to epilogue. THAT is the REAL question"), a lot of the bible (we read that during the summer - i remember our teacher sending home a note saying something to the effect of "if you're not willing to read this - AS LITERATURE - you really shouldn't be in my AP Lit class"), hmmmm what else did we read in that class? i can't remember. crazy.

9. One book that changed your life.

I don’t know that one book has changed my life, but my love of books is such a part of me. I wouldn’t be who I am today w/o books. gosh, that sounds dramatic. but it’s true.

10. One book you recommend often.

_The Eight_