Wednesday, November 26, 2008

sometimes you get what you wish

To add creativity to my thankful list today, I thought I would include actual quotes from my journals.

October 12, 1995
I really want to love and be loved.

There are all kinds of quotes with Michael's actual name in them - clear back from fifth grade when I wrote about the two cute boys in my class and one of them was him.  Oh the drama as I pined for that boy from that moment on.  We went on our first date Valentine's Day 1996, and we were married August of 1997, the hottest day this side of a sauna, I'm told.  To me, it was perfect.

October 5, 1998
I want to have a baby.

It took me a while to come to this one.  Growing up all I really cared about was getting married and being a mom.  But once I got married, I found that I wasn't in a very big hurry for motherhood after all.  I finally started hoping for it about one year before it happened.  John Michael was born October 17, 1999, the happiest day of my life to that point, and Andrew joined us June 13, 2001.  Being the mother of two very young boys was crazy and trying and some days lonely.  Being the mother of them?  Awesome.

April 3, 1999
Our new dream is for me to work at home.

Check.  I've never made much, but I make a little, and I do it without paying childcare.  I really love that moment after dropping John and Drew off at school when I get to pull right back into my own driveway.  Third to being married and being a mom, I wanted a home that I love.  The house has flaws, but the home is wonderful.

Things went a little dark in June of 2005, as most of you know.  I was pregnant but diagnosed with a rare, aggressive tumor.  And then I wished for this.

July 21, 2005
I don't want this.  I want to live.  And I want this baby.  I want to live to see all my babies grow up.  Please let that be my story.  I promise to be grateful.

My cancer was removed before it spread.  And the baby I was so scared for that day is strolling around my writing space with Captain Jack Sparrow's spy glass in one hand and a chocolate chip cookie in the other.  He also just stole a sip of my Diet Coke.

I'm pretty grateful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

once upon a dentist's chair

I will post a picture when the gap heals a little -  I gotta give the kid a fighting chance for the Gap commercial after all.  But for now, I thought you'd enjoy the story of its removal, William Goldman style.

The surgeon's assistant was an older lady with bleached hair and a white mask "because of her cold".  We'll call her the Albino.  Count Rugen will be played by the nicest female dentist I've ever met in my life except for the really crappy morning she just walked us through.  The nice receptionist nurse named Julie will play a nice receptionist nurse named Julie.  

As we lay Jake in the dentist's chair, which certainly may as well have been a torture machine, they said "Welcome to the pit of despair."  And then they cleared their throats, wiggled his tooth and added, "Don't even think about trying to escape," i.e., the tooth definitely has to go.  Then they stuck him with a needle that I swear on my pretty Apple laptop was one inch square, and he screamed and cried while Count Rugen, the albino, and I held him down and tried to tell him this wasn't as torturous as it appeared.  

Then Julie, who I could not in this moment cheerfully call nice anymore, ripped me out of the room as Jake's eyes rolled around in their sockets and he lost his grip on reality while I lost grip of his hand.  I managed not to cry in the waiting room because of the really nice lady who told us stories and complained about how overbooked the office was that morning as we sheepishly nodded along, a teensy bit aware that our little emergency surgery probably added to the back-up.

Two minutes later (give or take) - and believe me, these were the most expensive two minutes of our lives, the tooth was out.  Soon we were ushered into his recovery room.  The torture here was seriously acute.  "We removed his tooth," Count Rugen said.  And with it we sucked one year of his life away.  So tell us how you feel, Jake.  And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

To which Jake cried.  If you can call it crying.  It was more like his vocal cords were outside of his body.  They were triggered by the slightest word coming from the mouths of any of the three previously mentioned players.  Any time any of them walked in the room and started speaking, the vocal cords sounded an alarm that was a low, crying moan I will never forget.  His arms also seemed detached from his body and periodically rose from it in slow motion.  When the arm pointed towards the door and the vocal cords said, "Truck", we knew the three were starting to reattach, and we'd be able to go home soon.  

I'll get used to the gap.  But let's just say the next time the three boys are alone in the bedroom, and any of the voices seem to be coming from the bunk bed, and there is anything even resembling the giggle of a friendly jumping contest, I'm tearing into that bedroom like a maniac and ripping the children apart like I'm sucking away a year of their lives.

The End.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Teeth and honesty

Tomorrow this gorgeous smile (seen here above the green shirt beneath the blond curls) will lose a tooth.  It happened in a tragic accident involving a bunk bed and an older brother which resulted in a really loose - apparently broken - tooth.  It's okay, he looks almost 5, right?  

NO.  He does not look 5, and I'm completely heartbroken about this in a way you cannot even imagine from someone who has had cancer, survived it, and emerged with all these weighty revelations about the real meaning of life.  Who knew vanity extended to your children's dentition?  It's shameful.  Lance Armstrong would be ashamed of me and probably take away my Livestrong apparel.  

In other news, I've had an attitude breakthrough.  I'm reading Anne Lamott who is all about being funny and honest when it comes to life.  Really, really honest in that way that eventually makes me go, "Okay, seriously, the truth isn't always this true."  So in that spirit, I submit to you this really heartwarming, live-like-you're-dying king of thought I had today when I was feeling blue that no editors have as yet brought me a publishing contract followed by a parade.  I thought about my really cool agent and the fact that she's a real live honest-to-goodness Fifth Avenue New York City literary agent and thinks I'm good enough.  And then I thought about this rejection I got from an editor a couple weeks ago that was so complimentary I plan to frame it and hang it above my desk (not really, it is a rejection after all).  And I thought, between those two things, I'm extremely grateful.  In a very real sense, I've made it.  I mean, those are really thrilling accomplishments (seriously, the rejection said my writing was powerful and would definitely find a home - it was kind), and I can totally live with that even if it's the farthest I ever get.  

Just not if I have to live very long.  (And that's the honest part of which I think Anne Lamott would be proud.)

Wish us luck on the tooth removal and the end of a certain Baby Gap modeling career I'd been banking on.

- Serenity

there she goes - blog hopping again

I borrowed this picture from Anne & May because I'm over on their site today as a guest blogger while May is on honeymoon, and this is the picture they used for my post on church hopping.

I've never known (or used really) that phrase as anything but a negative. On my post there, though, you'll see what I've learned to love about it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'd like to buy the world a book

I recently joined a Facebook cause. I don't usually join Facebook causes because I can't see that they actually accomplish anything at all. The last one I was tempted to join was my friend Den's. It was the Put An End To Facebook Causes cause. But before I could join that one, I found a cause I said 'yes' to before I even had time to think about it. The cause is "Buy a Book Save the World."

The premise is that you promise to buy at least one book this - huh, holiday season, year? I can't remember when you're supposed to fulfill it. But I'm thinking those of us who join it have every intention of buying more than just one. The publishing industry is just one of the many out there hurting from the economy trouble, and this cause is our way of helping to keep it alive.

Above is a picture of how much I love books. When I joined the Literary Guild a few years ago, this is the stack of books that I ordered first and which came in the mail in one big, very happy box. That was the best day ever - having all those brand new books delivered to my house in one box. I spread them out and took a picture of them like they were my children's artwork.

And you know how your kids come home from school about every week with bookmarks from the library, with safety instructions, or even homemade? There are two kinds of paper I always save when it comes home from school. Anything with sentences the children made up all by themselves, like "My brither and I like football because we just have a thing about football", and those bookmarks. They get tucked into a pretty, round vase I got for my wedding, because you just never know when you'll need a bookmark. Especially since I'm usually reading more than one book at once.

The boys have two book shelves in their room - the one for paperbacks and early readers and cartoon characters like Spongebob, and the one they can't reach by themsevles with fairytales and hardbacks and Winnie the Pooh collector's edition and any others that I can't bear to find orange marker throughout or ripped-off corners or gum. I really like books.

So I was really happy to join the save-the-world cause by buying a book. I really want this industry to stay in business what with hoping to be a part of it and all. And this morning I was thinking we should all feel free to purchase things deliberately from now on from any of the industries we don't want to live without. Books of course, cars I guess - if you can afford it (just think of the single mom secretaries and dad-of-five-kids mechanics out there instead of the CEO's who flew to the meeting in their private jets, and you'll feel more motivated I think) - but there are so many more as well: Shoes (can I get an amen, ladies?), being able to watch television on the internet on our own time with less commercials (last season of LOST, I'm talking to you - I have to watch you again anyway because your producers spread your seasons so far apart), children's pajamas (I can do Christmas without Nintendo, but I can't do it without new pajamas), chocolate (hello, that goes without saying). You get the idea? Buy what you love, save the world. And let it start with a book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a really cool family resemblance

If you haven't read Anne & May before, you really must today. Felicity is their guest blogger, and it's the most beautiful post about how important it is to celebrate. This is why I love that girl. You simply can't stay down when she starts talking. She just knows happy. As well as gratitude and love and giving people the hugest benefit of the doubt ever.

Now you'll notice a certain family picture in her post that frankly my sisters have both spent hours laughing hysterically over in the past, because - well - I'm kind of a dork. I'm a really delightful, celebratory dork - as Felic's post will tell you - but a dork nonetheless. Felic's post is so beautiful though and, as I said about her ability to give the benefit of the doubt, she makes me look all sweet and wise in her description of the pic.

So after you read that post, then this picture will make more sense. It's just one of those delightfully ironic things about family pictures. No one coerced him in the least, but here is a grandkid-photo taken on my oldest son's birthday (or possibly that of his cousin Jude in front - they were sharing the party). And look who is posing identically to me in the photo Felic shared today. That proud six-year-old is Jesse White, Felicity's son, who evidently takes after me in the celebration department. Seriously, go look at Anne & May. This will all make sense then. And I guarantee you'll get a smile.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Suffice it to say, I'm not a perfectionist

I've been dreading this school project ever since John told me about it. We had to dress up a doll in clothing appropriate to a country our child chose out of his ancestry. Clothing for a doll. I couldn't figure out how I could possibly make John do all the work. And I couldn't figure out how I was going to do it without sewing.

You may have guessed from my snack debacle that I'm not so much with the sewing either. I made a couple of dresses in high school. They fit and everything, but I didn't exactly take to it like the easier things in life. I was actually feeling put out with John's wonderful teacher. I couldn't believe she was asking me to sew.

But check it out. I didn't do too badly I think. I realize it looks more like a giant mushroom top than a beret and more of a wool poncho than a soft white top, but seriously, this doll is really small. He's a french painter guy, and this is exactly the image you'll find all over the internet if you google "frenchman's costume". If you simply google french costume, you get french maid lingerie. When you google french painting you get equally astonishing (though beautiful) images sure to make a 9-year-old boy squirm. We actually added the paint pallet to further identify the character. The whole thing looked more complete that way even though I didn't really know if that was appropriate. I told John to just explain that the French contribute a lot to the arts. Then say, "Like their famous museum, the Louvre." I think he's already forgotten that, but it does look better with the pallet.

John put the stripes on the shirt, but I sewed that baby with my own two hands and even got it turned right side out and onto the stiff, uncooperative arms of that doll. But the hat! Oh, the hat is my pride and joy. I knew we needed a French beret. It was the signature piece holding the whole thing together. But how do you make a French beret for a doll's head smaller than your index finger? Yikes. I made it with two cut-out circles from an old blue sock, put a piece of Diet-Coke-box cardboard between them to stiffen it and then topped it off with the sticky up thing - also pieces of sock. Then, the most creative part, I had to sew the thread through the hat and then under his (almost nonexistant) neck a few times to get the thing to stay on.

I'm very proud. I forgave John's teacher and showed it to Michael with glee. He gave his approval and then asked which poor soldier had been sadly reduced to this.

"It's not a soldier," I said. "It's Han Solo."

Friday, November 14, 2008

poetry and prose

Nobody really talks about the baby blues. No one really even mentioned it to me until the few moments after John Michael was born. Then Dad in all his wisdom gently suggested that I not be surprised if my euphoria faded a bit into what was often called the baby blues. I said, "Huh, okay." but inside scoffed that the happiest happy I had ever felt could possibly fade.

It happened gradually but suddenly and lasted only a couple of weeks that felt like a lifetime. I would reach to nurse him and suddenly feel too tired. "I've lost interest in him," I cried, and my mother took him from me and told me not to worry. I felt everything closing in on me. I felt sick and exhausted and told Michael very sincerely that I thought I might be dying. I felt certain I was the only person in the world who could care for that baby but I was far too weak and tired to actually do it. I loved him so much that I sat on Michael's lap and cried that he would grow up even one single day. But one night when I went out for Halloween candy, I felt that although I wanted to return home to Michael, I didn't want to return home to the baby.

That night was pretty much the last of it. It faded more quickly after that without so many excruciating episodes that we simply had to pray our way through. The euphoria eventually returned but was more grounded in reality now.

Two things I wondered then, "I was supposed to be a better person than this," and "Why don't women talk about it?" The first probably answers the second. I was an extremely emotional person all my life and had learned, I thought, to steady them and not ride the roller coaster quite so high or low with passing feelings. So I felt ashamed that I hadn't been stronger when he was born. I got over that eventually, truly believing that hormones do their own thing sometimes, and surviving it really is almost the best that we can do. And I talked with many women in those weeks who had been through the exact same thing. I think the main reason we don't talk about it is because it doesn't happen to everyone. I think we feel that if we suggest it, we will scare them. And if we don't suggest it, maybe it won't happen.

Charity was euphoric in the hospital with Nola Serenity. Giddy, achingly happy. She felt so glad to not be pregnant anymore, so happy the baby is finally here, and surprised - as I think we all are - by how perfect life feels with a new baby. In the first couple days at home she has hit some of those painfully exhausting moments when she wasn't sure she had the energy to do this. I told Mom to tell her it passes. I told her about going to bed early and trying to believe that the baby really will get taken care of even if you simply can't rise from the bed (which I know that she will). And I told her about the long drives that Don and Cheri suggested to us, and which really helped.

But I think Mom knew this is a wave you sort of just have to ride. Mom probably will tell Charity all those things, but she'll weave them in gently as it seems fitting to the moment. Too many solutions offered at once could be as overwhelming as the problem.

Today Charity sent an email that literally glowed with happiness. Nola is sleeping beautifully, and I know that with every hour of sleep, Charity's nerves will improve. I don't think she would like my sharing anything but the happy thoughts right now. But since she doesn't read blogs, I thought I'd risk it. I know from experience that when you write about your low points to good, kind people like those who read my blog - the next day is very often better. I couldn't help but take that chance for her.

It's funny. Almost all of us know exactly what it's like to cry half the night because the baby is. We know that exhaustion is so dramatic those first few days that it hurts. We know these things. But still we feel giddy when someone joins the ranks. I guess it's because we know the beautiful parts far outweigh the ache.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

speaking of nieces

This is my favorite
picture of my niece,
Claire. I'm sure it's
because her blue eyes
match my husband's.

It's an old picture, though. (Click on Rare Rocks for recent ones!) Claire is six today.
Six years ago she and her twin were born premature. Claire's sister Ellery went to heaven after only nine hours on earth. But Claire kept fighting. We all hung around her bassinet in the NICU for days and days and days.
There was always beautiful music playing in her room, and it was peaceful and warm. I know it was the hardest time in Felicity's life, but I look back on Claire's little NICU room almost like a chapel where we escaped the crazy, misplaced priorities and silly stresses of regular life and could center instead on the big, important things like love and God and healing.

During this time I discovered this book, "Bear Snores On" by Karma Wilson. I love this book and the sequels that have followed it. The poetry is rhythmic and fun to read. It's the first time I realized that good children's poetry will often have a chorus - not just verse after verse.

In the book, the bear is hibernating and smaller animals enter his lair, start a fire, pop popcorn, make tea - they even dance. Eventually he wakes up and feels so sad that they had a party without him. The party continues after that until the friends can't stay awake any longer. After that, "the bear can't sleep, but his friends snore on."

I knew that would be Claire one day. While she slept, every bit of her energy used up in simply trying to finish the growth and development she should have been able to complete in the womb, we stood around her bed in daily, nightly vigils of prayer, tears, and sometimes laughter. We streamed in and out of the giant doors that led to the NICU, taking turns by her side, in the rocking chair near her, replaying the soft, powerful music in her CD player, tucking stuffed animals into her space, touching her tiny fingers and toes, reading the blinking numbers on her monitors as though we'd all gone to nursing school ourselves. And I knew that one day, she'd wake up. Just like the bear. And all that will power we'd been praying for would turn into a vivacious, happy little girl with lots to do. And I felt that at least for a while, the rest of us would probably need to sleep.

So happy birthday, Claire. I'm glad things have evened out. We've recuperated from our vigil. You continue to move forward from it with every single milestone. And we're all finally at the same party.

I love you Claire-Bear.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

how I got the greatest honor

New life is a beautiful thing. On Oprah the other day Will Smith said that in life, death is never the end. There is always a rebirth. "So if you have suffered a loss," he said - a parent has died, you've lost your job, been divorced - faced cancer, I would add - "You've got to stay focused, because there will be a rebirth." He explained this is always God's way.

On Sunday night, my little sister went into labor. Felicity and I jumped in the car and drove the five hours to be with her - and then missed the baby's birth by about an hour. When we arrived, they gave the baby to me, and Charity said, "Everyone, meet Nola Serenity Long." I cried.

Charity explained that she decided at her wedding that she would name her first baby after me, because at the time I had been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer. Then of course, I lived. ("Yay", Charity added as she told the story). But then, you may remember, in April of this year, they found a spot on my bone and I went into surgery again. As we waited for the news about whether or not it was cancer again, Charity and Ryan waited for the appointment that would tell them whether or not they had made it to the twelve-week mark with her pregnancy. She had previously miscarried and at this point not yet told us she was pregnant again.

Some time in the morning, we got my news - no cancer. And not long after, Charity heard her baby's healthy heartbeat. Now Nola Serenity Long and I share a name and a very happy day in which our families learned that we would live.

I'm the happiest Aunt in the world, and life is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

dreams come true (but this isn't about the book)

If you read this post here, you will see that my love for Hollywood at some point went from maybe it's my calling - like Denzel Washington says, to it's probably not my calling, but it sure would be fun, to I don't see how that could ever fit into my already-established and very happy life, to "I just want to be in one movie - just once."  

Well.  Say hello to Once.  The head of our video department at work has a friend in film school in Chicago, and I got to play the female role in his short film.  You've heard of Off Off Broadway?  Think that.  Only for Hollywood.  

This is what I saw when I first drove onto what I officially and unabashadly call the set.

These gorgeous horses were the Extras in one of the scenes.  

Then I saw this.  The guy in the red shirt, Nick, is also in film school - for cinematography.  The director (blue coat and hat) called Nick the DP (director of photography).  Next to Nick is the assistant DP.  The head of the video department at work is in the gray coat and hat helping the DPs.  I was feeling a little giddy here.  My movie career was ON.


Then, as I went to park the car, I drove by this.  The dock that would be my seat for the entire film.  (I told you it's a short.)  

This is my favorite photo from the shoot.  The director is giving me some instructions before my first take.  Could I look more "on set"? 

And this is my first shot of the film. Well, my second.  The first was the day before, from the same dock but with the camera across the pond.  In these shots, though, when they say "action", you can actually hear the film begin to roll.  Hear it.  I hope I never forget that sound.

Here's the director watching the take.  (How fun is this?)

Now, after auditioning and getting the part (I don't think there was too much competition but maybe some), I began to feel silly and concerned.  I would have to be away from my kids and family for almost three full days.  (We shot the film only minutes from my house, but it's not like I was available to them in that time).  It wasn't for my job.  I wasn't trying to advance my acting career (If I really wanted to get to Hollywood, this would be a place to start - but, let's face it, I'm not really trying to get there).  So, besides being fun, it felt pretty pointless.

Then Michael came through for me.  He said it wasn't pointless.  It was an experience that would add to my life, and that was enough.    

I really believe in film.  I think it's a beautiful story-telling medium, and I think that stories have purpose.  I'm just not too sure about my place in it.

But anyway - I got my Once.  And I loved it.   So, if you like DVD commentaries as much as I do, insert this behind my film if you ever happen to see it - say, at an Off Off Sundance Festival:  "We were freezing."  On the first day I sat on that dock in 37-degree weather while it was raining.  If viewers can't tell that when they watch this film - well - I'll take my Oscar now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

dear mr. president

I don't know about my strongest McCain-supporting friends, but I feel very peaceful today. McCain's speech made me sad for him. Charlie Gibson set it up by saying that McCain was a wonderful human being, "And I know his speech will be extremely gracious." And it was. I thought it was beautiful, and I felt for him and for his avid supporters. Then I couldn't wait to hear President-Elect Obama speak, because I knew it would be hopeful and uplifting. I have to say I was surprised at his reserve. I felt he was deliberate about not setting himself up as "our savior" as so many critics have accused him. His speech was also gracious, and it was honest about the work ahead.

It was other people's words that actually moved me more. It is impossible not to feel proud of my country when I hear someone like Donna Brazile say that Barack Obama will be inaugurated on steps that were built by slaves, men who probably never could have imagined that a black man would ever be taking the oath of office on the structure they built. I feel very moved by that just as I feel moved by the hope our president-elect has inspired in people across our nation and the world.

But there was one person I was worried about today. This is my sweet John Michael. You may know him as my oldest, the boy whose birthday I call the anniversary of my motherhood. The one who thinks donuts are too sticky and who once ironed a pair of shorts. And he believed in McCain. He got this passion all on his own. As you know, I wrestled with my voting decision almost up until the moment I walked into the booth, so I certainly wasn't feeding him any propaganda. Michael decided a bit earlier than me, but was hardly campaigning for any candidate either. John heard about the candidates at school and made his choice. Some of my readers won't understand this, but we're talking about a 9-year-old boy who just received his first hunting rifle for his birthday, so gun control issues were important to him. The second issue, I'm not sure where it came from - but put them together and he believed that Obama meant to take our guns away and make boys and girls go to separate schools. I can't think for the life of me where that second idea came from, and I've assured him it's untrue - as is the first.

Still, though, like my 7-year-old, they just had a fixed idea that as Drew put it, "John McCain just seems wiser." So when John came to me this morning and asked excitedly, "Who won?", all that hope talk and look-how-far-we've come stuff went right out of my head as my heart ached for a little boy who can't even vote but had learned to care. I was so proud of him for forming his own opinion and for standing by it despite plenty of voices around him suggesting otherwise. And I was sad for him.

So, Mr. Obama, you move me. You've raised a lot of hopes in this country and abroad. But I'm afraid there's a very big task ahead of you for my heart. I'm so proud of my little guy for embracing so thoroughly the beauty of the country in which he was so very lucky to be born. Please don't let him down. In four years, I hope he's more proud of it still.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I went to get my nails done - and forgot to vote (Just kidding)

Remember that line from You've Got Mail? And then he "forgives her". I wouldn't want to be the person to say something like that this year.

Each morning I drop off my third-grader at Ray Miller Elementary then turn right on Jamison to take my second-grader to the primary school. Today I was so excited to vote that I turned left on Jamison instead, which was the direction for my voting place. He was wrapped up in a toy and didn't notice either.

Pretty soon, though, he asked me a question, and the sound
of his voice scared me half to death. So I whipped the car around in someone else's voting location and got him to school on time.

I took my camera, because I was hoping there would be a big, dramatic line at the polls with "America the Beautiful" playing in the background in sort of a movie motage that is the greatness of democracy. Not so much. Although there were a lot of people there. I used to vote at the health department but this year
was moved to the Moose Lodge. I bet you big city folks
didn't get to vote with a giant moose head over your booth.

I usually take all of my children too, but this year I just took Jake. I like to have at least one of them tagging along, witnessing the wonder of America. Jake was thoroughly impressed, but I think it was mostly with his red Gatorade and the fact that the older ladies kept telling him he was pretty. My boys get that descriptive a lot in the toddler years. I don't mind, and they don't notice - so it works out.

And my sticker, although you can't see it here very well, is a
lovely "We the People" version with I Voted Today
at the bottom. I love our country.

Monday, November 3, 2008

thoughts on the ballot

I can't wait to drop my kids off tomorrow and drive to my voting location to exercise my American right to have a say. It's a beautiful thing, and I look forward to it. But I dread the fact that there will almost certainly be a few areas that I simply do not know how to vote. So I thought I would create a list of things I wish would be on the ballot tomorrow.

Proposition to extend the fall and spring seasons. We could call it the Goldilocks Bill - neither too hot nor to cold. Year round. I know some people prefer the extremes. Not me.

Longer lunch hours. Don't Europeans take at least 2 hours there?

A permanent addition to school curriculum, "Letters to Home". Mrs. Pasa of the Kirksville Primary School can lead the committee to put it into practice. Believe me, Parents, you want this one. It does your heart good.

Tax breaks for using recyclable bags at the grocery store and buying fresh fruit and whole grains.

Tastier whole grains.

A paid maternity leave for potty training.

A mandatory percentage for positive stories on news programs. Happy thoughts, People. It does the body good.

Some sort of entertainment bonus for sitting through all the campaign commercials lately. I think we've all earned at least a free trip to the movie theater. With popcorn.

Along those lines, I'd like a gift certificate to an American retailer along with my "I voted" sticker.

And, finally, an extension on the McDonalds Monopoly. I was so close.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our Halloween

What we have here is a soldier, a boxer, and a cowboy.  The boxer has ROCKY stitched in gold on the back of his robe.  And in keeping with our love for movies, the soldier calls himself Sergeant York (with a machine gun?  Okay . . . ), and the cowboy is Woody with a beautiful stick horse named Bulls-Eye whom we  forgot to include in the picture.

Also, I've had a couple people ask:  I was really boring with the Halloween treats and just did chocolate chip cookies.  The parents in Drew's class provided plastic gloves with candy corn in the tips (for fingernails) and popcorn in the rest to look like a creepy sort of hand.  They also had fruit shishkabobs on little ghost toothpicks and sugar cookies shaped and iced like jack-o-lanterns.  I told you I wasn't the right person for that task.  

BUT, I made up for it with my presence.  I was the only parent at John's party, and I was so happy to be wanted there.  (He's not too old!)  So I got to hear with my own ears that his classmates think I am a wonderful cook, and they loved the cookies.  I told them I did it with the help of Pilsbury.  Of course, only the teacher knew what that really meant.

I went to Drew's as well.  (Me and my cups.  I got that sign-up sheet right at least.)  And his letter home this week said, "Dear Mom, Did you see Jake do the limbo?  Also, where did you go after I went to specials?  And I had fun . . . because you were there."  (Ellipses his - that kid is a writer, I tell ya).