Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Pictures

Over at Waiting for Sophie, my friend Shana always has these long posts that are picture after picture of her cutie pie, Sophie Lu, from one of the little photo shoots that Shana does at her gorgeous house. You never see that here, because I can't get Tenley to cooperate for more than 5 minutes- and she frequently responds to the sight of a camera by turning her head and refusing to smile.

Today, however, everyone in blogland gets a Sophie-style photo log of Tenley, because we are such award winning parents that we completely forgot to take pictures on Christmas.

This year, Santa brought Ten her own tv and dvd player! This was really a present for Mom & Dad, who were tired of having a war over who got to watch whose movie on the one and only tv in our house.

Other big hits in the present department this year included the jungle gym and Disney princess pajamas from Grandma Susie, the Barbie Razor scooter from Great-Grandpa, Bella Dancerella "Swan Lake" dvd/ballet bar/mat from Mom & Dad, the Disney Princess comforter from Grandma Barbara, and the Kohl's Cares Brown Bear plush from Nana Ruthann.

It was cold and rainy- as close as we get to a white christmas in the valleys of So Cal. We were lucky enough to get to see almost everyone in our real and extended families. We've missed a few people (and you know who you are), but we're hoping to get to see you soon.

Here's hoping that everyone's holiday was merry and bright!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Clothes Goober

Shopping with Tenley is always an adventure.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Barbies and Horses

Sitting on the floor playing with Barbies and horses. Nice day after
Christmas activity if you ask me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Random Tenley Quote

Upon entering the family-room and seeing Dumbledore fighting Voldemort on the TV, Tenley said...

"He's so Obi Wan Kenobi!"

That's my girl!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Christmas Tree That Ate My Living Room

Welcome to the Enchanted Fairy Forest, formerly known as the Family Room. The Abeis Grandis that currently dominates the rather small family gathering place in our home was not exactly planned, but rather the culmination of events that snowballed into the behemoth depicted below.

Event 1: On Sunday, in a complete reversal of my stance in Saturaday's conversation, I state that I think we ought to buy the tree now so that we have a good selection to choose from and can enjoy it for longer; even though it will doubtlessly be a fire hazard by the time we're gathered around it opening presents. Oddly, Jeff thinks this sounds like a good idea.

Event 2: I visit the National Christmas Tree Association online ( and decide that I'd like to branch out, and try a Grand Fir or White Fir. This is a bold move for our family as both Jeff and I have only ever had Noble Firs, either real or faux. Jeff is all for it- even my desire to have it flocked with the fake sparkly snow.

Event 3: Jeff announces that he wants a "big tree" this year, instead of the 3 or 4 footer that we usually get. I'm down with it, as long as it clears the 8ft ceilings in The Albatross- Jeff assures me he doesn't want anything taller than he is.

Event 4: We visit a local tree lot that has a nice selection- including several of each variety of tree they sell that have already been pre-flocked. We discover that White Firs are hard to come by, and Grand Firs are huge compared to Nobles; but we remain steadfast in our decision. We then find a pre-flocked Grand that is on the short side, narrow and flocked just the way I like them. In short, it's perfect. It's also $85. Our inner Scrooge comes out, and we decide to check out some other lots. We are stupid, and do not think to ask if they will hold the tree.

Event 5: An hour and 3 more tree lots later, we return to the original lot, and arrive to see the perfect tree being carried out, having been sold 2 minutes prior to our return. Despondant, we scour the towering Grand Firs until we find an acceptable one that's a foot taller than Jeff, and about as thin as we could hope for. We give the flocking directions (medium flock- all over), empty our bank account, and get a claim check to return at 5 for our symbol of holiday joy.

Event 6: Jeff goes to retrieve the tree while Ten and I haul in the bazillion boxes of ornaments and decorations. Then my phone rings, it's Jeff: he has the tree, but it's been flocked wrong. Way wrong- in my most despised style of flocking with nothing but clumps of heavy flock on the tips of the branches. Can it be fixed? No, once it's flocked- it's flocked. Did they give us a refund? Well, they gave us $15 back. It looks fine. Jeff drives through the black hole on Van Buren and we lose the connection on the cell phone.
I'm furious. I call my Mom to vent. "Almost $90 for a piece of wood that will be dead in two weeks and in the throes of death will crap up my carpet with lethal vaccum cleaner clogging schmutz??? It had better be exactly the way I want it, or I want my money back! Or a new tree!"
Jeff gets home, and it's not ok. I tell him that if he won't take it back, I will. My husband is a smart man, and he didn't think that "Shel is spending the holidays in San Quentin after running down and flocking to death a gaggle of X-Mas tree lot workers after they ruined her tree" would look real good in the family Christmas letter, so he decided to take it back himself.

Event 7: The nice tree lot guys have psycho wives too, and they feel his pain. No problem. Pick a tree- any tree- and they will give it to him as a replacement. They had a really nice pre-flocked one that they wanted to give him- but it was on hold (apparently by smart people). Then they tried to get him to take a 12 footer, but Jeff feared that everyone would get cold having to open presents in the front yard since the tree wouldn't fit in the house. He finally selected one, and they checked off the flocking boxes and wrote specific directions in Spanish on the back of the tag. He said it was a really nice tree, and worth more that the original.

He neglected to mention that it was 8 ft tall, and roughly as big around as Jabba the Hut.

Conclusion: This tree's gay green (and white) dress does delight us. It just takes up half the room and scrapes the ceiling. There's 2 ft of room between the chair (not pictured) and the edge of the tree. The pass-through from the kitchen is currently useless. DB Cooper could be sitting on my end table and you'd never know, because you can't see around the tree. I wish we had more money, because there's alot of room for loot under this bad boy, and the few presents we're buying are going to look pretty pathetic.

It does, however, smell fabulous. You open the front door and the smell- TREE- smacks you right upside the olafactory gland. It also has the distinction of being the first tree in our 10 Christmases that can support my Belleek star...and our usual tree topper: the green Intel Pentium II man.

...may your days be merry and bright...and your tree be (correctly) flocked white.

Friday, December 05, 2008

And The Hits Keep Coming

Among the many insults hurled at mommy by Tenley are, "Hey, where's that lady?" and "I'm sorry you have no friends" and the ever popular "I'm not your friend" and tonight's winner was:

"Mommy, you're not impressive!"

This was stated in the car on the way home from dinner. That's Tenley, always good for a laugh!

Random Tenley Quote

Proclaimed by Tenley during dinner at The Dragon House...

"Everything was so beautiful and everything was so Chinese"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Random Tenley Quote

"Mommy, I'm sorry you don't have any friends...but you have aminals!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Gave a Bunch of 4 Year Olds The Bird

Yep, I did it. I gave them The Bird. Right there in pre-school. In front of their teachers, no less. Actually, I gave their teachers The Bird, but they (the 4 year olds) were the intended recipients. Those 4 year olds (including my own) had it coming to them- there they were prancing around in pilgrim hats and being happy (and noisy) at 8 in the morning...after I had spent a mostly sleepless night in Tenley's room warding off monsters. I figured "Why not? Let the teachers deal with with the fall out from this!"

So I smiled and gave it to all 20 of them....

with a jaunty wink and a "Bon Appitite!"

...Good luck gettin' those little pilgrims down for a nap.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cardboard II

Influenced by an episode of "Wow Wow Wubzy!" and an episode of "Backyardigans", Tenley has decided that she wants to be a robot. The truth is that as robots go, Tenley is far more Terminator or Cylon than R2D2.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tenley Has Worms

Tenley is holding worms from Grandma's plants. She giggled as they
crawled all over her hands and arms.

The Best Toy Ever

Nothing is better than your own spaceship, truck or train. And the
very best thing of all is when those things are made with your
imagination and a cardboard box.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Chauffer

Tenley decided she would drive to preschool today and I could ride in
her car seat.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Random Question of the Day

We were driving along when Tenley asked me a question....

"Daddy will you take me to Scotland?"

Gotta love the way a 4 year old mind works!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008

The Halloween festivities started early this year with the annual trip to Disneyland for Mickey's Halloween Treat waaay back on the 4th.

We spent the afternoon enjoying the nice weather and going on rides at Land with Scott, Gaynor, Lauren, Amanda and big brother Kevin. Then the whole tribe headed to dinner where we met up with Kim, Zak, and best buddy Jaxon - which (sadly) ended up being the only time we saw them all night! When dinner was over, we rendezvou'd with Doug, (a very sick) Tina, and future husband James dressed as Buzz Lightyear to begin the candy harvest at CA Adventure.

We got divided (didn't conquer), but still managed to to end up with enough candy to cause our children's dentistis to spontaneously begin twitching. This year, that wasn't much of a concern for Miss Ten: she was way more interested in going on rides and seeing the princesses. Regardless, she & Amanda were adorable as our "twin" Belle's.

Later on we split up again so Ten could hit a few more rides, and as luck would have it, she got to see Belle herself right before we went home.

She did the whole day: school, drive, D-land, dinner, 4 hrs of Halloween Treat with no nap and a remarkably good attitude. It was no surprise when she passed out on her dad's shoulder waiting for the tram.

The middle of the month brought Amanda's birthday party, and Break-fast (see previous post re. the Peanut Butter Bar incident). Then it was time for the annual trip to the Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Patch.

This year's trip was so-so. It was hot (80+ degrees) and Ten had refused breakfast that morning so she was a cranky kid by the time we got there. As usual, the goats in the petting zoo (who are bigger and heavier than Ten) knocked her down and took her cup of feed, prompting boatloads of tears, harsh words directed at the goat, and a replacement cup of feed provided. Repeat. At that point you just remove the crying mess of a pre-schooler and try to wash her hands.

Ponies were ridden, ATV train was ridden solo this year, bounce houses were bounced in. The tiger slide was attempted once and deemed "scary". We did, however, talk her into trying the super trampoline. She was a little unsure about the whole thing, and her initial jumps were attempted awkwardly with straight legs- odd since she loves the trampoline at gymnastics.

But then the trampoline guy did her a solid, and raised her weight so she was off the tramp and pulled her down and let her fly high on the bungees. She loved it- all giggles and grins from ear to ear.
Our last order of the day was to hike out into the pumpkin patch for our annual picture and to procure a suitable gourd for carving.

Since the holiday fell on a Friday this year, we decided to go to Jeff's parents house in Clovis. We drove up on Thursday morning and spent Thursday night carving our pumpkins and toasting the pumpkin seeds.
This year marked a 1st for Tenley: she went Trick-or-Treating. For real. Usually we go to Aunty Kim's or one of the local churches for their carnival and Trunk-or-Treat, so Ten knew nothing about the traditional door-to-door method of candy collection. Fortunately, the Grandparents live in a nice, safe neighborhood where everybody knows everybody and it's still safe to trick-or-treat like we did when we were kids.

We got her all dressed up and explained the process. She looked at us as if to say "You expect me to believe that if I knock on someone's door, utter some nonsense words, and hold out a bucket- that they'll just give me candy???"
We started her out easy at Joe the next door neighbor's house- whom she just loves. Though dubious, she followed the instructions, and was delighted when Joe dumped a handful of candy in her pail. By the third house, she had the hang of it and we were told to hurry up, because we were aparently slowing her down. Now she was looking at us like "You two have been holding out on me." She did a couple blocks and called it a night. However, each item in the bucket has been counted and inventoried. There will be no removing anything without her knowing.

It was a good trip, and we may do it again next year. Sat & Sun morning were spent relaxing and playing before the long drive home.

Welcome November- bring on the Bird!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pig Tails

Tenley looks fabulous in her pig tails and Halloween kitty shirt. We
are on our way to the Pumpkin Patch!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

God Makes Them Cute so You Won't Kill Them

We celebrate all the Jewish holidays with our friends and travel-mates Scott & Gaynor and their adorable daughters (and Ten's China Sisters) Lauren & Amanda. Scott loves anything with peanut butter, so it was no surprise a couple weeks ago when I started making a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie to take over to their house for "Break-Fast" aka Yom Kippur. Now, the running gag is that I'm not allowed to set foot in the house unless I have a pan of Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars - which belong only to Scott, are immediately hidden, and which he does not share- hence the Pie which was to be shared.

Since I worked both jobs on Wed, I only got the Pie made- but I wasn't concerned because I had plenty of time on Thursday morning to make the bars. So the well timed plan was: get up, breakfast, grocery shopping, make bars, lunch w/ Aunty Kim & Jaxon, leave for Scott & Gaynor's house approx. 5 billion miles away.

All was well...except that I desperately needed a shower & Ten needed a bath. I worked it out: bake the bars- cool slightly- glaze; then shower while the glaze set, throw Ten in tub, do chocolate ribbon while Ten plays in bath, bars will finish cooling and icing will set while we have lunch- voila! ready to cut & transport before we leave!

Everything was going according to plan. Ten helped mix & bake the bars, and was coloring happily while watching "Wow Wow Wubzy!" while I did the glaze- she even got to lick the spoon.

I jumped in the shower.

15 min later I was out & Ten was in the tub.

I decided to make sure the glaze was set enough for the chocolate before I started the double boiler.

and THIS is what I found:

What the? Oh no. Horror. Cat?? No, wait....those look like little finger trails.....

"TEEEEENNNNNLLLLEEEEYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!" People at the other end of the street probably heard me. I storm into the bathroom & demand an accounting....and she LIES!!!!!

"Tenley! Did you drag your grubby little fingers through the glaze on Uncle Scott's Peanut Butter Bars???"


Must. Control. Fist. Of. Death.

"Really. Then who RUINED them?"

No reply. She starts looking at her feet poking out from the bubbles.

"Did you do that?"

She nods.

I give her the speech about how disappointed I am in her behavior, that she ruined Uncle Scott's special dessert, what "double dipping" is and why it's gross, and tell her that she has lost the priviledge of lunch with Jaxon. (It is difficult to do this with a straight face when the person you're admonishing has soaped their hair into bunny ears and has a bubble beard a'la Colonel Sanders.)

I call Gaynor who laughs so hard she snorts, and assures me that Scott won't care. I call my Mother to confirm that my proposed method of fixing them will work- she laughs so hard she chokes, and tells me it will. I send a picture from my cell phone to Jeff - he calls me and all I hear is laughter. :::sigh::: I call Aunty Kim to cancel lunch- and she takes my side- she'd be really ticked if Jaxon did it too! Thank you!

Truthfully? It's My own fault, I know. I just didn't think she'd bother them. She'd never done anything like that before. I learned my lesson, and if I had a chalkboard, I'd write it 1,000 times:
I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old I will not trust a 4 year old.....

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Big Chair

Here is Tenley trying out a big chair at Crate and Barrel on Saturday.
She had the best time going from chair to chair.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blue Ice Cream

This is Tenley's favourite ice cream from Basking Robbins called Wild Ride. It's a blend of apple and blue rasberry that is very, very tart. She would eat a gallon of it if we would let her.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Today Tenley Said....

Today while getting ready for school, Tenley said.....

Tenley: "Daddy, did you know Uncle Dan is a Police Officer?"

Daddy: "Yes I did know that."

Tenley: "Are you a Police Officer??"

Daddy: "No"

Tenley: "Oh (thoughtful pause)...Uncle Dan is really cool!"

Nice. Not even 8am and already dissed by a 4 year old.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tenley Turns 4!

A couple of weeks ago, the Tenster celebrated her 4th birthday. Being the award winning parents that we are, we’re just now getting around to telling you about it!

Having just recently discovered that starting next year in Kindergarten I will no longer be able to bring cupcakes to class for my little girl’s birthday, I went all out and made ice cream cone cupcakes this year. The reason this is “all out” is that you really can’t make these things a day ahead of time- the cone gets disgusting. So this necessitated me getting up at 4:30 in the morning to bake-cool- and frost with the star tip in the pastry bag so they look like real ice cream and we could take them to school at 8:30. They were a hit.

The big day began with opening presents from Mom & Dad while waiting for Grandma & Grandpa to come over so we could go to breakfast. She was underwhelmed with her Sonya Lee doll, liked her Map of the United States puzzle, very excited about the Barbie watch (she’s been asking for a watch for a couple of months- and no, she can’t read it accurately or tell time), and over the moon with joy about the plastic knight’s sword with sheath I bought for her at the $.99 Only store. Go figure. Grandma and Grandpa arrived, and were greeted at the door by the birthday girl clad only in Tinkerbell underwear with a sword stuck in the side of them. We eventually managed to get the sword out of her undies and get clothes on her so we could go to Ruby’s for breakfast.
We returned home and Ten went outside to play on the swing set that Grandma & Grandpa had given her as a present. It had arrived before her birthday (actually it arrived the day after we left on vacation, and the giant 150 lb. box lived on our porch the whole time we were in Atlanta) so it was already set up and in daily use. Then Grandma Suzie arrived with her present…and we all trouped out to the front yard for the presentation & to see how it was received.

From the moment my Mother saw that Tenley sized Formula 1 car, she knew she was going to get it for Ten- just as soon as they had the Team Ferrari red one back in stock. And now here it was (it had been in it’s box in our garage for 3 months) all put together, charged up, and absolutely adorable. We were a little worried about her reaction, because best bud Jaxon has a Power Wheels 4x4 Jeep that she’s afraid of. Turns out that we had nothing to worry about. She jumped right in and with minimal instruction she was on her way up the street. She spent the better part of an hour going back and forth and doing donuts in the neighbor’s driveways. The thought of her 16th birthday causes me to shudder. The only way we actually got her out of the car was to remind her that we were going to the fair. That was sufficient motivation to step out of the vehicle – but only after reassuring her that it was staying at her house and she could drive it again when she got home.

It was a very tired and already over stimulated Tenley that arrived at the LA County Fair. She actually handled it pretty well, but the were several times that I kicked myself for not bringing the little stroller so that she might have been able to sneak in a cat nap. Her unlimited ride wristband let her hit all her favorites – although she was very put out that she couldn’t ride the Tilt-a-Whirl (not even with an adult) and that she was still too short for some of the more thrilling kids rides. There was also the annual trip to the cows (and drinking of the world’s greatest chocolate milk), she got a henna tattoo just like Mommy’s (ruining her shirt in the process), and we took her to the Winter Wonderland building where she played in the “snow box” and went sledding with her Dad. I foresee a trip to the snow this winter.

Eventually everyone was exhausted and we decided to call it a birthday. Ten ended her special day by blowing out the candles and feasting on the giant chocolate cupcake we bought her. She collapsed into bed not an hour later, and the first thing she wanted to know when she woke up was if it was still her birthday.

Happy Birthday little Warrior Princess!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dragon Con

My favourite author in the world is Anne McCaffrey. She has more than 100 books to her credit, is now 82- lives in Ireland- and has broken both hips- had a heart attack and a stroke. So when I found out that she was “crossing the pond” to attend Dragon*Con, there was no way I was going to miss what might be my last chance to meet this woman and get her to sign my books.
Dragon*Con is a 4 day sci-fi/fantasy/pop-culture freak fest that takes place over Labor Day in Atlanta. I actually went to DC back in ’94 (for the same reason, but Anne fell and broke her hip and didn’t get to come) – and my has it changed! It is now the second largest convention of its type in the US (right after ComiCon), and it focuses on science fiction and fantasy, science, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. It is attended by all manner of fans. Some who are merely interested and some who live the life! Can I just say that the people watching was amazing. People dressed up as their favourite characters, authors, actors, aliens and even some original ideas (DO see the pix below).

There’s so much to see and do- and now that the Con is so big and so crowded there’s very little time to do it. I had no trouble getting a 3rd row seat for the reading that Anne did on Friday, but I had to get in line 2.5 hours before her book signing session on Sunday (and I was still #67). Lines meant we had to make some choices about events. Since I was in line for the book signing, I missed getting to attend the Miss Klingon Empire beauty pageant ( because the line to get into the pageant started at about the same time. Jeff, however, used the 2 hours of down time as an opportunity to do something good: he hit the blood drive and opened up a vein for the Red Cross- netting a t-shirt and winning a lightsaber in a donor raffle in the process. We also had to divide and conquer: on Sat. morning Jeff went and watched (and photographed) the parade, while I went and got in line (1.5 hrs early) to get seats for the Torchwood panel (apparently there are A LOT of women out there who are warm for James Marsters form).

We did make it to the Mr.Star Wars contest, the MST3K panel and viewing, the Ghost Hunters panel, a random reading of a script by an author who commandeered actors from the audience, the art show, the build-your-own-droid demo and contest, all three dealers rooms and a concert by a “darkwave” band called The Cruxshadows and found that we really liked the Goth/NewWave/Sudo Vampire music. We even bought the current CD. Most of our time was spent happily wandering around with large drinks in our hands taking pictures of the various costumed freaks.

The weekend was made more interesting by the fact that we weren’t the only people in town. Chick-Fil-A decided to hold a pre-season bowl game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson University. So the town was awash in 70,000 normal unsuspecting people swathed in red or orange circulating among the various fairies, cylons, jedi, etc. These poor people had no idea about the Con, and clearly didn’t know what to make of it. It was also Black Gay Pride weekend. Need I say more?? Clearly, this was the city to be in if you were looking for a photo-op.

Jeff had a great time and says he’s totally willing to go back. I’d love to go again and do the Writer’s Track…we’ll see how this year goes. Watch the slideshow below to see some pix we snapped during our weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

1st Loss

Beeps McNutt
Sept. 3, 2003- Sept. 11, 2008

We came home from vacation (which is a post & Flickr album all by itself) on the 2nd, and noticed that something was seriously wrong with Beeps. She was always a skinny, dainty little thing; but she was incredibly thin, her eyes were gooey and looked sunken, and she was obviously really really dehydrated- despite the fact that she was drooling and vomiting

As soon as the vet opened on the 3rd- her 5th birthday- we rushed her in. She was indeed dehydrated... and jaundiced. They admitted her and began administering sub q fluids, antibiotics and tube feeding. A blood panel revealed that she was experiencing liver disease/failure an an alarming rate. Unable to get her re-hydrated and to keep any food down, they began IV fluids on Friday the 5th.

A new blood panel on Monday the 8th showed that we had arrested the liver deterioration, but she was still drooling and vomiting. She would not eat or drink on her own.

On Wed Sept. 10, our vet explained the full situation: liver disease in kitties is a tricky thing. It can take weeks (sometimes more than 10) to get it under control -if it can be controlled and managed at all. Beeps was now beyond the ability of his clinic- she needed a specialist, a little kitty internist.

The practical problem with this is that the nearest internist is 35 miles away, is $100 just to examine her, $1000 for a sonogram of her liver, and God knows how much per day as a hospital inpatient...we were already trying to figure out how on earth we were going to pay her $100ish a day bill at this clinic. The emotional problem is that even if we won the lottery, we could put her through all the things the internist would try...and still be in the same place. Her prognosis was not good to begin with, and we could do weeks and weeks of treatment and still get nowhere. We were really left with no choice. I was up until 2am Wed night crying, and the tears started as soon as I left Ten at school on Thurs. morning.

She was happy to see me as usual, and for the first time in a week she "spoke". We had a nice long scratching and ear rubbing session- and when I would stop, she would stretch out the paw that didn't have the IV and rest it on my hand and gently hold my hand with her claws and purr as loud as she could manage without choking. I just stood there sobbing and petting, telling her I was sorry.

When the doctor came I asked if there wasn't anything else we could try. No, there really wasn't- and he wasn't at all convinced that an internist could save her either. I told him that I felt as though I was just giving up on her, and that I had failed her as an owner. He tried to make me feel better, and assured me that this was hardly giving up- and that were this his pet, he would be doing the same thing- it came down to the poor prognosis and the quality of her life.

Jeff came from work to say goodbye, and after they had a nice little lovefest we moved her to a place where I could hold her... as hard as it is for me, I refuse to let anyone cross The Rainbow Bridge alone. The IV made it easy, and it was only a matter of moments before I felt her go limp and her heart beat ceased beneath my hand. I just held her and sobbed until even her light little body got heavy for me.

I miss her. She was only 5- far too young for her little life to be over. I still look for her on the end of my bed, in the bathroom window sunning herself every morning, and I still check to make sure she isn't asleep in Tenley's bathtub before I close the bathroom door.

She was Mr.Smudge's (our 11 yr. old male) favourite. He adopted her, and gave her a thorough bath every day and cleaned her ears at least once a week. Sadly, this probably explains why he has it too. We think one of them got it, and shared with the other. So despite my grief over losing my soft spotty girl, this isn't over yet- I'm still medicating my old kitty and trying anything and everything to get him to eat.

We didn't explain all of this to Ten- she doesn't understand. We explained that Beeps died, and Ten says she misses her...and wants to know when she's coming home. I wish she was.

Rest in peace my sweet friend.
We will miss you always.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Weeks ago, during the great Internet Crisis of '08, we got a bee up our butts on a Saturday afternoon and decided to take Tenley bowling. As random activities go, bowling is pretty Tenley friendly: minimal down time, minimal parental assistance, special Tenley type devices like a ramp and bumpers, and instant results of her actions.

We secured a lane, had the bumpers raised, got a ramp, a Ten sized 4lb. ball, and some shoes and heavier balls for Mom & Dad. Tenley was extremely bitter that there weren't any shoes small enough for her- she really wanted those, and we heard about them for all 3 games. I predict that I will find stolen bowling shoes in her closet by high-school (not that her father or I would ever have done that...)

We let her go first (of course). She insisted on carrying the ball herself, and her dad lined up the ramp for her.

We taught her to give it a good shove...which she did with greater and greater flourish as the game went on.

Thanks to the handy-dandy bumpers, she usually knocked down several pins- and even got a couple of strikes!
Despite the fact that there were only 3 of us playing, and she got to go first, it was apparently (in her mind) still too long between her turns as during her Dad's turn she would always climb into my lap and complain "Daddy's not being nice. He's not sharing. He's not taking turns." I would patiently correct her and explain that he was taking turns: it was her turn, then mine, then Daddy's- and it was her turn again next. My explanation fell on deaf ears.
Now, we had the bumpers up and Tenley is only 3...and we - the adults who have gone bowling since childhood- LOST TO THE 3 YEAR OLD!!! Not once, mind you, but twice!!!
Oh, the shame......

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Questions of a Three Year Old

Last Saturday morning I was watching TV. An old James Garner movie "Support Your local Sheriff" was on so I thought I would watch. About 15 minutes into the movie Tenley got up and came out to see me. She jumped up on the couch and sat next to me to watch the movie.

Then the questions started. They came fast with not time to answer...

Why does that man have a gun?

Is he going to shoot someone?

Hey look daddy a horse!

What is the horsey’s name?

Is he a bad horse?

Why is that man riding the horse?

Where is he going?

Does the horse like the man?

Does the horse eat donuts?

Why is that lady running in the mud?

Oh look, another horsey.

Does that horse like the mud?

How come that horse is stopped by that fence?

The questions continued like this for another 5 mins or so. Finally she had to take a breath and I tried to answer one or two of the questions which obviously led to more questions. The movie was ruined.

I can't remember the last time I watched something all the way through without stopping for questions, snacks, potty breaks or stopping her from killing the dog. It was probably 4 years ago but that is like 15 years in toddler years.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Miss America

After the car drama, we arrived in Clovis for a long weekend to celebrate the 4th. Grandma & Grandpa’s house is always a good destination because it has several of Ten’s favourite things:

1) A swingset
2) A large blow-up kiddie pool
3) A big grassy lawn to run and play on
4) Toys you don’t have at home
5) Plastic eggs filled with candy hidden throughout the house
6) A dog to terrorize
7) Next door neighbor’s dogs to terrorize
8) Next door neighbors to stalk
9) A park & a grocery store within walking distance
10) Grandparents who have an endless supply of cookies, and will let you do/watch almost anything you want whenever you want.

You can see the appeal of this pre-schooler Nirvana, yes? Daddy & Mommy like it because it comes with lots of wear-the-kid-out activities, and 2 responsible adults who are delighted to watch and assist the child.

We spent Independence Day morning at the Rotary Playland in Roeding Park in Fresno. The Fresno Rotary built this little carnival ride type amusement park in 1955. As an adult, I looked at it and thought “this place needs a serious coat of paint and some landscaping services”; but kids like Ten are just delighted to hop on the rides and run through the water play area. We even took the pirate ship pedal boats out for a cruise on the lake.

After a nice nap & some yummy bbq, Ten & Grandpa played a round of “golf” in the backyard (I think Ten has a future in hockey) while we waited for it to get dark. Then we moved to the driveway broke open the red, white& blue glowsticks, and began setting off the fireworks. At 9:30, the high school around the corner started setting off the big ones, so we walked to the corner with everyone else in the neighborhood and watched from there. The booming and high pitched whistling of piccolo petes’ stopped around midnight, signaling an end to this year’s celebration.

Ten spent Saturday swimming, swinging and asking for more fireworks. The guys taped up my car and I knit & napped. We left before church on Sunday morning in an effort to beat the traffic…but we’ll be back at the end of August. Well, one of us will anyway…