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Monday, February 27, 2006


If you didn't read my Saturday post, please go back and do that. I don't think I've written anything here more important to me than that one. Just a little more nudity today, and then I promise to put my clothes back on and get back to the goofy. I know that you are praying for Deb, and more importantly, she knows it. She says she feels it. That's what we wanted. Please take a moment and let yourself feel damned good about that. Now, you wanna feel even better? Don't stop. Keep praying. Today is the stem cell transplant. It won't all be over today. In fact, today is the beginning of the journey. I lifted this comment from Nikki, on Saturday's post:

While the transplant is Monday, 'that part is easy,' it is merely a transfusion. We have to pray it takes, we have to pray her body does not reject her brother's cells. We have to pray she does not get a bad case of graft vs host. The [possibilities for] complications are infinite . . .

In addition to being a rock star (lead singer of Nikki and the Sisters), Nikki is an M.D., (isn't she an overachieving little somebody?) so she knows what she's talking about.

I kept going to Deb's through the weekend, and seeing people I know, and love, seeing YOU there. I wish you could feel inside my heart for just a moment, to know how much that meant to me. I would hug you all if I could. I would push Beyonce out of the way to lick your faces, if I could. I mean, you know, unless you'd have me arrested for that. I was so happy to see names that I know. And then, I saw names that I'd never even heard or seen here, saying they lurk on my site, and are "coming out" at Deb's. Again, I don't have words for how happy that made me. JEANNIE? You MADE. MY. DAY.

Anyhow, you know I like to sing here. And I woke up thinking of you all, and thinking, you made me so very happy . . . I just want to thank you . . . and then I thought, "Hey, there's an old song about that!" And sure enough, I give you Blood, Sweat and Tears . . . not all of the lyrics fit you all, but take what you can use -- and for those of you who don't like any of them, notice that I left in the instrumental interlude :)


I lost at love before
Got mad and closed the door
But you said "Try, just once more"

I chose you for the one
Now we're having so much fun
You treated me so kind
I'm about to lose my mind
You made me so very happy
I'm so glad you came into my life

The others were untrue
But when it came to loving you
I'd spend my whole life with you

'Cause you came and you took control
You touched my very soul
You always showed me that
Loving you is where it's at
You made me so very happy
I'm so glad you came into my life
Thank you, baby

I love you so much you see
You're even in my dreams
I can hear you
I can hear you callin' me
I'm so in love with you
All I ever want to do is
Thank you baby, thank you baby

[Instrumental Interlude]

You made me so very happy
I'm so glad you came into my life
You made me so very happy
You made me so so, so very happy, baby
I'm so glad you came
Into my life

And if you're newish here and you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about with the nude and the naked (and whyGodwhy won't she put the oranges away?!), go here and read about naked blogging.

Thank you, dear friends. God bless you. XOXOX

Sunday, February 26, 2006

hair play

Sunday Post ~

"Play is the work of a child;
Play is the renewal of an adult." -- Joseph Lee

Matthew 18:1-5

file under: &Sunday Post

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique: IT'S TIME.

This one is naked, friends. Bear with me, I'm juggling movie metaphors. Beatrix Kiddo is getting ready to kick Bill's ass once and for all, while the theme from Rocky plays in my head.

If you haven't met Deb, go right now, just click on her name and read that post, then come back. She went in the hospital last Sunday, to prepare for the stem-cell transplant that will save her. That will give her back her life, and give her back to her little girl, Zoe. It's almost time. The real deal goes down on Monday. If you've been praying, step it up. If you haven't been, I'm pleading with you, start. I can't tell you how much I believe in the power of prayer. I will go to a basketball game this afternoon where I will cheer for my evidence that prayer produces results. When I research the disorder that I have, and the medications that I took, to become pregnant -- there is no medical reason that she should be here. My disorder was not cured nor even treated adequately. It was the prayers that were adequate. Mine, Jif's, our families', our church's, that's what gave LG life. Deb is getting the best medical treatment possible; combine that with prayer, and she will be given life, too.

This morning at 6:15, I nudged Jif awake. "You 'member Kill Bill?"


"Kill Bill! 'Member it?"

"Yea . . ."

"What was it, what was that move that Uma did that finally killed him?"

"I don't remember . . ."

That's what the internet is for. It was the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Deb identifies with Uma Thurman's character in the Kill Bill movies. AN ASS-KICKER EXTRAORDINAIRE. She's even called "Debuma," in certain circles. Deb has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia -- A.L.L. And if that doesn't sound like a nasty-enough motherfucker, it is "Philadelphia chromosome positive." I don't know what that means, except that it makes it meaner and harder to kill. But did you see the movies? Who's harder to kill than Bill? And he went down. And so will A.L.L., this time.

Sometimes, because I talk about God here (along with sex, and various body parts, and brownies, and all the rest of the crazy), people write to me about their beliefs or their unbelief. Sometimes they say they don't know how to pray. Don't overthink it. It's just talking to God. You don't need a special language, you don't need a formula, you just talk. And I can guaran-damn-tee, there will never be anyone you talk to who is happier to hear from you. You will be welcomed with open arms. Just, PLEASE, do it. If you could hear me, you'd hear begging in my voice. If you could see me, you'd see tears.

And please take some comment-love to Deb today. Please bombard her with comments this weekend so that when she goes in for the stem-cells on Monday, she'll take all of our love with her. "But I don't really know Deb . . . " Look, you don't wanna mess with me like that today. I don't know her, either. I know that she's a human being who can be helped by something that we have, and it doesn't cost us a dime. Go over there, and say . . . "Just thinking of you . . ." "Sending you love . . . " "You're in my prayers . . . " "Susie sent me . . . " Any or all of the above. Or tell a joke. OR write out your grocery list; she probably misses ordinary things like that. OK? Just go and do that, my friend.

When you go to Deb's, you're going to see some people that you may have seen here. A certain girl band, Nikki and the Sisters. I have to tell you, they are another big reason that I am praying so hard, and asking you so much to help me with that. They lost their beloved Sarah, just months ago, when she was in the process of trying to receive the same type of treatment that Deb will receive. They lost Sarah. I honestly don't know where or how they have come up with the love, and the grace, the faith, and the hope, and the humor, and the generosity of spirit, to go and support Deb the way they have. But they're there in full force, all the time. All the time. And I love them. And I want so desperately for THEM to have a win this time. And if you know them at all, I know you want that, too.

Medicine + Love + PRAYER = Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique

It's time. Kill A.L.L. Volume II (because that's the one where Uma kicks ass, once and for all).

Friday, February 24, 2006

Biscuit Friday ~ One of the Girls

On a recent Friday night, LG's Junior Girl Scout Troop spent the night at our house. They "worked" on earning their "Looking Your Best" badges. This involved learning to take proper care of skin, hair, nails; healthy eating; and discovering what colors look best on them. As always seems to be the case when there are extra kids in the house, Biscuit thought it was all about him. He seems to believe that he is the guest of honor at any such gathering, and the girls do nothing to disabuse him of this notion.

He had his "colors done:"

colors 2

colors 1

He made the rounds of the sleeping bags on the family room floor, giving each of his guests a goodnight kiss:

saying goodnight

And in the morning, he assumed the position for a belly rub, one of the greatest pleasures in his furry little life:

tummy rub

I must admit, Biscuit was not the only one who felt like "one of the girls" that night and morning. I participated in all the fun, girly stuff, and I felt so honored that LG wanted to include me in the "hair wrapping." This was new to me, but very exciting. My hair is shoulder-length. LG made one braid and wrapped it, in purple and green thread. When she was done, I felt SO cool; SO fresh; SO bouncy; SO 10-years-old . . . until the next morning. Oh, I still had my cool, fresh, bouncy young 'do; but one of those MEAN GIRL Scouts smacked me back to middle-aged reality, as I was happily serving their breakfast:

"Cara, honey, don't you want more fruit? You usually like a lot . . ."

"Mrs. Fairchild . . . I hate to have to tell you this, but YOUR ORANGES ARE NOT FIRM."

*blink* *blink* Did she just . . .


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day . . .

If you are one of those who, when you inadvertently stumble upon a "birth story" post, roll your eyes and grab frantically for your mouse . . . better leave now while you can, and come back another day. If you're like me, though, and love to read birth stories . . . here you go. I am still sleep deprived, so I apologize for its flow . . . or lack thereof . . . there were about 20 different "angles" from which I could write it. I think I just strung together some memory snips . . .

I had two miscarriages before I even began trying to get pregnant. The pregnancies were "surprises," and by the time we became accustomed to the idea, they were ending. After the second one, at 31, I thought, "Hmmm, wonder if I could get pregnant if I wanted to?" Turns out, the answer was no. Jif and I went through the testing and determined that I had an endocrine problem that would make it very difficult for me to conceive, and even more difficult to carry a pregnancy to term. So we began the nightmare that would lead us to our dream-come-true -- infertility treatment.

At that time, we pursued the "mildest" options available. (We would later, and without success, pursue more "aggressive" therapies.) But there is nothing mild about ingesting hormones that aren't manufactured by your own body. I took pills to force my eggs to mature and release. Then I took pills and suppositories to help my body support a pregnancy that may or may not have occurred. By the time I would have known whether I'd conceived, it would have been too late for that hormone to do its thing.

The drugs made me mean and crazy and gave me a perpetual migraine. And the protocol made my husband make love to a mean, crazy, nauseated woman, on demand. Once a month, a few times in a row. Our pillow-talk was something like, "You don't have to like it. You just have to do it." Good times.

I remember the day my ob-gyn said to me, "You're going to get pregnant, and have a baby. I promise you that." I loved her for that. I still do. There is no way in hell she should have said that to a patient. She couldn't possibly know that. But I did love her for saying it.

I was on the medication combination that I was on for four months longer than is recommended. I think that was because my doc was negligent about doing her reading on the subject. I have never complained. That fourth month too long is the month LG was conceived. I suspected it, because hours after we made love (unscheduled, woohoo!), I had a vision. An actual, altered-states kind of experience. So bizarre and so powerful, that I got out of bed and wrote it down. Later, no one would have believed me, had I not done that, and dated it. And you wouldn't believe me now, if I wrote it out here. But it happened.

That month, as every month, I went and had the blood test before my period was even late. We had to get those "keep-the-pregnancy" drugs cranking very early, we couldn't wait for home tests. Somehow there was a mix-up in the results. They told me it was negative. I cried. Then I went on about my life. That was my usual monthly routine. Later, I checked messages at home, and the doc's office had called. I was out to lunch with my MIL when I called them back. The nurse on the other end of the phone said, "Your numbers are low, but not TOO low. It looks good."

"What are you talking about?" I asked her.

"Your HCG. We'll have to watch it, but it's within normal range . . . "

"No, " I corrected her. "You only have HCG when you're pregnant. It's negative this month..."

"Susan! You ARE pregnant! They didn't tell you?!" She had been with me through all those months. And um, no, they didn't tell me.

I started to cry. My MIL started to worry. I told her. I told my MIL before I told my husband. She was standing right there, knowing I had called the doc, and then burst into tears. I had to tell her. She started treating me like fine china. It was nice.

This was on a Friday. Father's day would be Sunday. I wanted to wait until Sunday to tell Jif. Shyeah, right. I told him as soon as I saw him. He said, "Congratulations." And we just looked at each other. Neither of us could believe it. In fact, we would go on, not believing it, up through the birth and well after. And sometimes, still today :)

The next thing I remember was the first doctor's visit. Very early. And I left there and went to Woodward and Lothrop department store. And bought baby girl clothes. I was only days pregnant. And I knew. I knew we had a daughter, and we knew her name.

The next thing I remember was the sonogram when we saw her heartbeat. It remains the most beautiful sight I have seen. A white, flashing star. If I live to be very old, and can retrieve only one memory, that will be the one. For some reason, even moreso than her beautiful face. It was her beating heart.

I was sick as a dog for nine months. I developed the rare skill of smiling while vomiting. Sick meant hormones were working, and I was keeping my baby. It was all good. I was working two jobs at the time. My private practice, and as a "mental health consultant" at a Catholic grade school. At the latter, I developed a serious Mountain Dew habit, during those final weeks of pregnancy. I KNOW, it's terrible! But hear me out. There was this 8th grade boy I was working with. One day, he offered to go and get me a soda. This boy never offered to do anything for anyone. So I accepted, to reinforce his good behavior. I just cautioned him, "No colas, I can't have caffeine." He returned with that strange yellow/green formulation, which tasted pretty darned good, even though it obviously had a ton of sugar in it. Then a funny thing happened. The 2 p.m. droop that I was accustomed to experiencing just disappeared! I was running all over the school, up and down stairs, feeling FINE and not needing an afternoon nap anymore. I didn't know why. I should have known, when every day I made my way to the lounge for a Mountain Dew. But I didn't. I didn't know until my baby was about 3 months old, and my niece was visiting and said to me, "You are such a health freak about what you eat and drink while you're nursing. I cannot BELIEVE you are drinking Mountain Dew." I sheepishly acknowledged the excess sugar. "No, I'm not talking about the sugar! I'm talking about the caffeine!" I argued with her. It can't have caffeine; it's not brown. (I know; WTF?) I was wrong. I quit. It wasn't easy!

Back to the pregnancy. I had never before in my life felt "old." At my doctor's visits, I noticed that on every page of my chart was stamped, in red letters, "AMA." I said to the nurse, "Why is American Medical Association stamped on my chart?" Oh, no. It was "Advanced Maternal Age." Geezer mom. I was 36.

I knew that my age made things more complicated. And I was very careful about everything I did. Heading into the last weeks of pregnancy, I had gained 19 pounds. I was pleased with that, thinking I had plenty of growing room to put on maybe 10 more, without risking diabetes or a too-big baby with complications. Then everything went haywire. If it "ain't pretty," and it can happen in pregnancy, it happened to me. A sudden 25 pounds of fluid (I know this because within 3 days of giving birth, I had easily peed away that much. Within 2 weeks, I weighed less than before I became pregnant. I was a walking water park); carpal tunnel syndrome; discolored face and chest -- people complimented me, asking me if I'd been "to Florida." You wanna talk hemmorhoids, varicose veins, swollen everything? Doubled volume of mucus and chronic heartburn? No, I didn't think you did. And still with the puking, always the puking. And smiling.

One day, I apparently stopped smiling. I was in Wal-Mart. I walked past a bench. A woman I did not know sprang up from the bench and approached me very quickly. It would have been alarming, actually, but she had such a peaceful spirit about her that I just stopped to see what would happen. She put her hands on my shoulders. I can still see her face. African-American, a beautiful round face with bright, warm eyes. She said, "You must smile to tell God you are pleased with this gift. You are beautiful, my sister." Oh, yeaaaaahh. I had forgotten that ;)

We went through the natural childbirth classes. We were the geezers in there. One thing I remember from that class. At one point the instructor asked the dads to write down on a slip of paper the thing that they most feared about the birthing process. All the 20something dads said some variation of "something will happen to the baby; something will be wrong with the baby." Jif alone wrote, "something will happen to my wife." I found that interesting. I think it had to do with how long we'd been together (18 years, including dating), and in our own, "older" perspective on mortality. I think the 20somethings didn't think THEY could die. We'd had enough prenatal counseling (because of the AMA) to know that the older the mom, the more can go wrong.

A couple of weeks before the birth, there was a blizzard. HUGE blizzard. And my baby stopped moving. I ate spicy foods, I drank coffee, I did everything to make her move. She wouldn't. I had to get to the hospital and be hooked up to make sure she was OK. We were absolutely the only car on the road. I would have lost my mind if I couldn't have gone and heard her heartbeat. When I finally did hear it, the doctor said, "We are not going to bring you this far and not have a good outcome. Your baby will be fine." But then she went on to tell me that in a few days, I had to have some sort of advanced sonogram, because my daughter wasn't moving much because she had outgrown her living arrangements. She was so big, she had no room to move.

A few days later, I lay, in THE POSITION, in the doctor's office, while three different docs paraded through, one after the other, to look and to feel, and to form an opinion about whether I would be able to deliver the humongous child we had all just seen on the sonogram. Finally, my regular doc came and said, "Your baby appears to be at least 10 pounds. Maybe as much as 12, or even more. We are all in agreement, your pelvis will not separate enough to deliver her vaginally. We have to start talking about a Cesaerian." I didn't question. I just wanted her OUT, and SAFE. I would have done whatever I was told.

When the day came, we went to the hospital. We filled out the forms and answered the questions. I was terrified. I was, and remain, a big medical chicken. I had elected to have an epidural (anesthesia injected into the spine, making me numb from the waist down), rather than general anesthesia -- not used much in childbirth any more, but it was offered as an option. The nurse came in to prepare me for the epidural. Jif had to leave the room. She was all business, appeared supremely competent. Told me not to worry, she had done this hundreds of times . . . I was to sit on the bed, lean forward into her while a small local anesthetic was injected into my back, then the large needle with the good stuff would be injected into my spine. "DON'T LOOK AT THAT NEEDLE!" She didn't have to tell me twice. The small needle was no problem. Then, there was a problem. They said I would feel pressure. I felt a pain I cannot describe. I jumped, and shrieked, like a wounded animal. Then I shook. And shook. The anesthesiologist became flustered. He apologized. He said he had to try again. We did. It happened again. It happened a total of four times. I thought I was trapped in a nightmare. As I remember it now, I picture myself cowering under the bed, making the sign of the cross. I probably didn't actually do that. I would not have known how to tell you about the pain, except that later, a SIL said that in her birthing class, they said that if the anesthesiologist misses the "epidural space," the pain feels like being electrocuted. Yes, that sounded right. I was electrocuted four times. By this time, the supremely competent nurse had backed away from me, was holding both hands up in the air, as if to say, "I want no part of this," and was crying. Yes, the nurse was crying, and saying, "I don't know what is happening here; I have never seen anything like this." I don't mean to be critical, but that was maybe not the most helpful thing to say.

The anesthesiologist was angry and embarrassed. He accused me: "Your epidural space is too small! I can't hit it!" Jif wasn't there to help me. I was quadruply electrocuted and barely able to speak. Another nurse walked in with a tube and said she was going to insert my catheter. I started to say, "Someone told me to do that after the epidural . . . " But the anesthesiologist turned on her and shouted, "Leave her alone! She's had enough pain! Get the hell out of here until she is anesthetized." He really wasn't mad at me for having a small epidural space. He was really upset that he'd hurt me. The first nurse and the second nurse left the room, and in came George. He was a nurse anesthetist. He and the anesthesiologist talked about what to do. I don't remember what they decided to try differently, but on the 5th try, with George in front of me being so, so sweet to me, and the doc at my back, the needle went in the right spot.

A few minutes later, the anesthesiologist touched my thigh. He said, "Can you feel that?" I said I couldn't. I was lying. You have to understand, electrocution in the spinal column hurts like a sonofabitch. I was thinking, "I will have a C-section with no anesthesia rather than have a sixth epidural attempt." He knew I was lying. He assured me that they had gotten the needle in the right spot, and he was really only asking if the meds were working yet. So I told the truth. And soon we were on our way to the OR.

George held my hand and said, "You're nervous. It's important that you remain calm." I hope, and I do believe I didn't use any expletives. But I did say something like, "George? You need to just get over any illusions you have that I am going to be calm. Ain't happening. However, I want YOU to be calm because that will be helpful to me, and I certainly want the docs here to be calm; in fact I insist." He assured me that all medical personnel were calm. I was strapped down, arms open side to side, as though on a cross. Jif came in. I asked him to hold my hand, and he asked me where it was. And they cut into my abdomen and removed my daughter. Sometime during that procedure, I lost consciousness, and as I was leaving, I heard someone say, "We're losing her..." My blood pressure went dangerously low. But, as you can tell, I wasn't truly lost.

Because she hadn't had to go through the birth canal (isn't that an odd expression?), she was not squished. She was perfect. She was also filled with fluid which didn't get squished out of her during the normal birthing process, and she didn't cry right away. They suctioned. And suctioned. Then they put her in a tray, and began to pound her back and chest with little hammers. It was a terrible sound. George, the angel, took a blanket and wiped my happy and frightened tears. Then he went and got one of the little hammers. And he said, "See, they're not hurting her. This is not uncommon with C-sections . . . this loosens the mucus so we can suction thoroughly . . . " All the while he was hitting me with the tiny hammer. LG started to cry loudly and clearly, with none of the awful gurgling that I had heard to that point.

Then the mood in the room relaxed. They started calling my girl a butterball, and taking bets on how much she weighed. I demanded that Jif go with her everywhere they took her, that she not be out of his sight for a moment. Later, he came to the recovery room and asked me to guess how much she weighed. She weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces. As it was explained to me, they used a formula to determine her size, based on apparent head circumference and length of femur. She had world-class cheeky monkey cheeks, which made her head appear bigger, and she had long legs. She was 21 3/4 inches. That's a tall baby. But at that height, with that weight, not a "big" baby.

My doctors were fearful that I would be angry about having had an unnecessary C-section. Finally, one of them asked me point blank if I were. I said, "Look at her. You aren't going to hear me complain about anything. She arrived safely. I asked God to take care of that. As far as I'm concerned, He did. We don't know what may have happened if we had gone another way. As it is . . . look at her. . . "

I guess this is a good stopping point, having completed the "birth story" proper. It's hard to stop, though. I could talk about the visitors, the breastfeeding (what a whole 'nother Oprah that is!), the ride home . . .

Oh, let me throw in the ride home. After 5 days, Jif picked us up in the minivan. LG and I sat in the backseat. She was wearing the jacket that he came home from the hospital in, as a newborn. As we drove the 15 or 20 miles home, I came to a new realization about myself: I could kill someone. I was a mama, and everything had changed. When people would dart in and out of traffic, or stop short, or cut us off . . . I felt almost compelled to inform them of my new status. Of my new ability -- to kill them. I remember saying to God on that drive home, "I knew I was ready to be a mother. I did not know it came with being ready to kill. But I will." I thought there should be a sign in the window. Not some lame ass baby-on-board. No, a very matter-of-fact, "Hurt my child, and I will kill you. You have been warned." I was very hormonal, remember. But that sign . . . it's not posted anywhere . . . but yea, that's still my sign.

Even after 10 years, I really do have those moments of just looking at her. And not believing she's ours. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to have her grow inside me, and to watch her grow outside me . . . and yes, God help me, even away from me.

1st birthday
Nine years ago . . . the universal symbol for "that was a great party!" . . . you end up nekkid on the floor with balloons :)

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day.
When it's cold outside I've got the month of May.
I guess you say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin' 'bout my girl (my girl).

I've got so much honey the bees envy me.
I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.
I guess you say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin' 'bout my girl (my girl).

I don't need no money, fortune, or fame.
I've got all the riches baby one man can claim.
I guess you say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin' 'bout my girl (my girl).

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day
With my girl.
I've even got the month of May
With my girl

Monday, February 20, 2006

Partying with Minors #2

Yesterday, we hosted a mystery party to celebrate LG's 10th birthday, coming up on Wednesday. If I weren't suffering the effects of days of insomnia, compounded by having had said party, I would attempt to tell you all about it. But, since I am sleep-deprived and not at all confident in my ability to string words together, I think I'll just show you some pictures.

The party theme was "The Mystery of the Missing Necklace." All guests were advised ahead of time that they would be playing a role in the drama, and were given suggestions on how to dress their part. Most did so. We decorated with balloons (I LOVE balloons :) and with homemade "crime scene tape," including across our front door:

crime scene

Today, most of the crime scene tape has been taken down. However, I have left it across the powder room mirror. I told you, I haven't slept in days; "CAUTION CRIME SCENE" is absolutely what belongs across my mirror :(

We got started just a little late, because Ivanna's Daddy couldn't find our house even though we gave him directions. They kept driving by, until finally some of the party went outside (20 degrees!) to wave them down:

the party is here!

The girls were told about the theft of the Princess's necklace, then introduced to the suspects:


And thoroughly briefed by Daisy Diamond (aka LG Fairchild), ace girl detective:


Each girl had a separate script/booklet, with clues to share with the other guests. They listened attentively to one another, even taking notes, like good detectives do:

detective daisy

Some of the most fun clues were the singing ones:

singing clue 2

Even Biscuit played a part. A big part, actually. He was "Bandit," the dog, who turned out to be the criminal. Not surprising; he's very bad. Some of you will be pleased to note that I did cut him some eyeholes for the occasion, so you can just stop complaining:


After the mystery was solved, I asked the detectives to strike a pose (yes, you are seeing more than I ever show, I'm comfy with this much today):


Next, it was time for cake. I am no cake decorator. But my kid really wanted me to home-make her cake this year, and for her, I have been known to do things that I cannot actually do:

And yes, if you are a good detective, you will learn something here that has never before been revealed on this site ;)

During the food part of the party, I was introduced to some new "Olympic Sports:"

cake diving 1
Cake diving . . .

ice cream diving
Ice cream diving . . .

cutting the cheese
And cheese cutting . . . no, seriously, the kid says, "Mrs. Fairchild, take a picture of me cutting the cheese!"

The party ended with some very enjoyable "freeze dancing:"

freeze dance

And all the guests left with a gift from us, a detective's fingerprint kit:

guest gifts

This is one of the weird things about LG's mama. It is sometimes difficult, having an "only" and not raising her to feel entitled (I try not to use the word, "spoiled"), and I want her to think of parties as being times to enjoy the company of friends, not just to get more things and stuff. So I try to make sure that guests go home with more than what they brought.

Overall, this party was a huge hit. I would recommend that mystery website to anyone looking for party ideas. And this one was much easier on the grown-ups than last year's!

Thanks for coming! Now, please don't wish the child any wishes until Wednesday, when I'm sure I will write about her again! She is already milking this birthday like crazy. A family party will take place next weekend. I really can't imagine where she got the idea that everyone should just drop everything and comply with her every whim, just because it's her birthday ;)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Meet "Jem," mrtl's sweet newborn daughter

Sunday Post ~ "It is no small thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us." -- Charles Dickens

Psalm 127:3

Some little girls are on my mind, and in my prayers. Please include them in your prayers, too:
Baby Jem. Thank you, God, for her safe arrival.
My baby, LG, who will be 10 this week. Thank you, God, for sharing her with us.
And Zoe. Zoe's Mom goes into the hospital today, for treatment that can save her life. Zoe needs her Mom. Please God, let Zoe keep her Mom.

file under: &Sunday Post

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I TOLD you I was getting 10 . . . 12 . . . 14 inches!

snowy night

Last Saturday night, we took LG out for her first ever "walk in the snow at night." She thought this was incredibly cool, to go walking the sidewalks in the dark. There is a particular feel and flavor to the silence of a night-time snowfall. I don't know how to say just how thrilled I was that she "got" it. She said later, "the best part was the sound, except there wasn't any sound, but it sounded so cool." Absolutely, baby.

our house in snow

While I strolled, contemplating high, holy thoughts ("the woods are lovely, dark and deep," "silent snow, secret snow"), the less refined among us pelted me with snowballs. Paybacks will be forthcoming. The Light in the Window is our house as we returned.

paper snowflakes 2

I was the first one downstairs in the morning. This shot is through our back door, sliding glass door from the kitchen. All winter, we've had these wonderful paper snowflakes on it, courtesy of LG. I love this, looking through the paper snow to the real snow.

backyard snow 06

And then I opened the door . . .

playhouse snow

And looked around. BTW, these shots ARE all in color.

biscuit and snowman

Later, there was work to do. Snowman-making. Note his eyes. His eyes are made of dog treats!

sniffing the snowman

Which made Biscuit particularly appreciative of his beauty, and his scent . . .


Until finally, Biscuit's passions overcame him, and he could resist no longer!

one-eyed snowman



There is no shortage of forensic evidence on the perp's furry face. Guilty as charged with crimes against snomanity.

Hey! LG took all the snowman photos! Great work, baby girl.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In the Mood

Because I have benefitted so greatly from the "blove" you all have shown here, I wanted to give you a little Valentine's Day gift. But I had a hard time thinking of something. If you've been around here much, you know I usually have a song in my head, and often in my comments, too. So I thought maybe we could share some love songs with each other today. Songs that give us warm fuzzies, or other warm parts; songs that get us in the mood for love.

You know that I love Aaron Neville. But if I ever had a date with Aaron . . . we'd be listening to Smokey Robinson. Let me be clear -- I don't want to "be" with Smokey; I want to "be" with whomever I'm with when Smokey's singing. He just does it for me, and he always has. I can't explain it, but Smokey's voice has always melted me, made me say "yes" before I even understood the question. Once, a few years back, Jif and I went to a Smokey concert. Ohmygosh. He sang beautifully, but even more memorable than that, he sent "ushers" up and down the aisles of the concert hall, with baskets, like they were taking an offering in church. They collected our song requests. Then Smokey stood up on stage, and picked little pieces of paper out of the baskets, and sang exactly what we asked him to. Did you ever in your life?

This is one of my favorite Smokey songs:

Let Me Be The Clock

Let me be the clock for the time of your life
Let me be the pendulum that strikes your chime
For the first time

I'm cuckoo I know
Counting hours till we will be together
When the door to my heart will open
It's for sure that I will be hopin', hopin' that you

Will let me be the clock for the time of your life
And let me be the pendulum that strikes your chime
For the first time
Let it begin

Cause every moment we're apart
Is some good feeling wasted
A good feeling deep down inside me told me
A good time for me to try to get you to hold me
Is right here and now so

Let me be the clock for the time of your life
And let me be the pendulum that strikes your chime
For the first time, for the first time

I wanna be your pendulum, baby
Striking your chime

Hickory dickory dock
I want to be your clock
Just set me for lifetime
And I'll wake you up every morning

Let me be the pendulum striking your chime for the first time
And every time after that cause I know where it's at

So let me, let me, let me, let me, let me
I wanna be your pendulum, baby

I LOVE that. It's so silly and innocent, but so erotic at the same time. "Let me be the pendulum striking your chime..." "...every time after that, 'cause I know where it's at..." And let's face it, knowing "where the chime is at" is vital, and not always easily accomplished. Don't make me draw you a picture -- because I can --

::tangent:: Seriously, at work, I have sometimes had to draw pictures, well, diagrams of the female anatomy for couples. I don't mind doing this at all. What I did mind once, though, was when I drew what I drew, and I assure you, I would stand behind my drawing, but the husband takes the dry-erase marker from me and says, "Actually, I thought it was more like this . . ." WTF? Dude, your wife is asking me to draw you a picture . . . get a clue, here . . . ::end tangent::

LG and I have dressed Legolas as your Valentine's Day troubador for the occasion, and he will now take requests.

Valentine's Legolas
Note the "Happy Day" belt buckle -- a great last minute gift idea!

So, what song, or what singer does it for you? ;)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

moon 3

Sunday Post ~

To be brave is to behave
bravely, when your heart is faint.

So you can be truly brave
only when you really ain't. -- Piet Hein

Psalm 121:5-8

file under: &Sunday Post

Saturday, February 11, 2006

SPF, a day late!

I haven't played SPF in a while, and I really wanted to this week, but realworld life was quite demanding. Among other things, the Junior Girl Scouts spent the night here last night, earning their "Looking Your Best" badge -- you'll hear more about this on the next Biscuit Friday. Anyhow, I wanted to play, but I couldn't yesterday, so I am today. Thanks Kami and Princess Kristine, for keeping SPF alive and fun.

What I love most about my house:


No contest, it's the fireplace. We always wanted a stone fireplace, and when we walked into this house and saw the huge one, it was all over. It is raised hearth, floor to cathedral ceiling, and we use it quite a lot. It is good for all the things fireplaces are good for -- warmth, romance, even extra seating (see the pillows on the hearth?) when we have lots of company like last night. Oh, and see the striped bucket of flowers in the lower left corner? THAT is what Gumby is standing in front of in my profile pic. People have asked about that, believe it or not.

OK, you gotta give me props for the photograph, too. I wanted to try to show perspective, to show how large it is. So I lay down on the floor, flat on my back, to shoot up. That should work, right? But I took two pix and something was terribly wrong.

"Jif, something is wrong with my camera. There's these weird lumps in the foreground of the picture."


"Yea, I was lying down like this, with the camera right here, shooting there, and there's these two blurry lumps. Two times. It's gotta be the camera."

He looks at how I'm showing him I took the pic. And he grins. "The lumps, are they gray?"

"Yea! Do you know what's wrong?"

"Are they gray like your T-shirt?"

I look down. "Well, yea!" pause "Oooooh." (If you're slow like I am, just read it again, you'll get it.) Then I was, literally, ROFL. Then I shifted to my side and took another pic :)

kitchen corner

Before I show the thing I hate most about my house, I wanted to show you another thing I love. Above is my kitchen. I love the wallpaper. It makes me feel good. Jif and I did it ourselves. As you can see, it's RED. When we moved into this house, everything in it was either lavender, pink or baby blue. We are slowly changing these things. SLOWLY. So, I love the kitchen, now, except that also in the kitchen is

the thing I love least about my house:


I mean, the thing I hate most. The freakin' pink countertops. Uglier than homemade sin. It actually looks better in this pic than it does in real life. Because I blove you all, and didn't want to frighten you, I just put a small pic of it here. Brrrrr. We do have the ability to replace the countertops, now; it's just a matter of going out and finding what we want. I'll show you an "after," soon, I hope.

Next, what I love most about myself


I am bottom-heavy, have multiple personalities, and look really good in red. No, that's not true. Well, actually, it IS mostly true, but that's not what this is about. I have some of these nesting dolls at home and at work, because I love them. Because they are how I see myself, and how I see all of you, too. Inside 40something Susie is also 35-year-old Susie, and 27-year-old Susie, 19, 14, 9, baby Susie. We don't leave our earlier selves behind. They're still inside. And they still come out, from time to time, depending upon our situation, depending upon with whom we're interacting. At work, I am almost always 40something. My age on this blog fluctuates considerably, sometimes even within a post -- like this one. I may comment on one of your blogs as a 40something, and on the next one as 22. You with me? What I love about myself, where this is concerned, is that I have made sense of myself very thoroughly by seeing myself this way. It works for me.

Now, because one of my ages is apparently quite egotistical, I also picked something else I love most about myself. This is what I REALLY love most.

My sense of humor. My favorite thing (person) to laugh at is myself. If I'm laughing at myself, I never have to worry that I'll take it wrong and leave me, or talk behind my back, or any of that mess. I always take it well. For a photo of my sense of humor, I'm showing you a page from a calendar I got for Christmas. When I looked through it on Christmas morning, this page made me literally LOL. When I flipped the page the other day, for February, I L'edOL again:


It says,

"If I did not wear torn pants, orthopedic shoes, frantic, disheveled hair, that is to say, if I did not tone down my beauty, people would go mad. Married men would run amuck."

I really cannot be responsible for wreaking such havoc, so . . . I tone it down. :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Marital Advice: Don't Ask a Question if You Don't REALLY Want to Know the Answer

It's a horrid, horrid song. It is quite disgraceful, really, and speaks to the darkest elements in all of us: envy, lust, conceit . . . And sometimes it gets stuck in my head, and I can't stop singing it.

Jif is at the computer, doing something totally boring productive, while I wait impatiently until I can return to the computer and waste ungodly amounts of time do a little blog-surfing.

I start to sing,

"Doncha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
Doncha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?
Doncha? Doncha?"
And yes, of course I'm doing the dance. How can you sing the song without doing the dance? I mean, I am snuggled in a recliner, under a blanket, but yea, I'm doing it.

Jif looks mildly amused, but does not respond.

"Doncha wish your girlfriend was HOT like me?
Doncha wish your girlfriend was a FREAK like me?
Doncha? Doncha?"

Jif pauses from his keyboarding, glances at me, then goes back to work.

"Ahem. I SAID,

Pause. I must know . . .


"Yes!" He exclaims, suddenly turning toward me. "Yes, I do wish she was hot like you! Yes, I do wish she was a freak like you!"

Yes! "Well, alrighty then. That's what I'm talkin' about . . ."

Hey . . . .wait a minute . . .

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Have a lovely day.

I had insomnia over the weekend, as I sometimes do, and while I was thinking about doing another "things you may have heard while hanging out with us" post, I was also cleaning up my email inbox. I like to play with words, to do things with them that neither God nor man ever intended. So I did this. This is a post, including the title, composed entirely of snippets from some emails of the past week, sort of "things you may have heard while hanging out in my inbox":

damn, I'M HUNGRY!

Is he showing up yet? Hopefully he is . . .

that's a great story about the package!

I'm sure I meant the big one. I think it's time for me to go to bed.

And I mean QUICK!

if that can't lift my spirits some, nothing can.


Dear lord . . . now THAT is low-hanging fruit.

it's gotta be the hair. There's no other explanation.

I knew I shoulda gotten that sex change when they had the deep discounts . . .

Oh wait . . . you're leaving off the part about the whore, right? RIGHT???

I couldn't live with myself if I didn't share

Many people would croak if they really knew


there's no need to kick my ass

You are always so cute when you smoke crack!

Now? Not so much . . .

Thanks for sharing, dork.

Now, don't be thinking that you can't email me, because all your secrets will be lifted and put into a post. I was careful not to choose anything that would identify anyone, although Bucky some people may have a certain style, a certain flavor to their discourse that may make such people identifiable. These are lines from at least 8 different people. Only 1 line is mine. Can you guess which one? Think you recognize anyone else? Not that I'll tell ;)

Monday, February 06, 2006

You Wanna Hear Somethin' GOOD?

Go here. I am too happy for words, so no more words right now. That is all.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

picnic monkey

Sunday Post ~ "What other people think about me is not my business." -- Michael J. Fox

Micah 6:8

file under: &Sunday Post

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thumpety Thump Thump! Thumpety Thump Thump!


Those turkey farmers across the hall from my office are at it again. Apparently since the turkey holidays are over, they have some time for recreation. And their recreation of choice is the building of snowmen, or, as one of them corrected me, "snowmans."

low self-esteem snowman

This snowman has low self-esteem. His nose is running, he slouches, and his mom dresses him funny.

formal snowman

This snowman is going to a formal affair. See his top hat? His self-esteem is better, although he is out of touch with his body. Especially the bottom third of it.

corrective footwear

This snowman will need corrective footwear. But he has a very fine hat. See the round, fuzzy thing on top of the hat? When a round, fuzzy thing is on top of a hat, we call it a "pom pom."

only one

What do we call it when it is located here? This snowman may have had an accident, or even an illness, but he can still live a normal, happy life.

happy snowman

This snowman is smiling from eye to eye. Why do you think that is?

file under: &The Kids Across the Hall