Friday, December 29, 2006

Is It Even Possible?

The most amazing, remarkable, unexpected event to ever occur in the history of the world happened tonight at my mom's house. I was sitting at the desk, compulsively checking e-mail because I have a serious computer addiction, when Kendrie walked into the bathroom next to me and shut the door.

A few moments passed, then she cracked the door and told me to close my eyes, she had a surprise. I fully expected her to present me with yet another of her eight million and one Santa drawings, so I closed my eyes and readied myself to show amazement at her artistic skills. Again. (sigh)

I heard her walk around my chair, then she said, "OK, mom, open your eyes"

Oh. My. Gosh.

My daughter, my 7-yr old tomboy to end all tomboys, the girl who plays with Matchbox cars and toy soldiers and footballs and wears boys' swimming trunks to the pool ...... (are you ready for this?) ..... HAD PUT THREE HAIR CLIPS IN HER HAIR!!!!!

Granted, there were two on one side and only one on the other and they were all located behind her ears, which didn't really make much fashion sense .... but still .... HAIR CLIPS IN HER HAIR!!!!

I about passed out from shock. Once I recovered, I made all the appropriate positive comments, without going overboard and scaring her from ever doing it again. But you'll never know the happiness I felt, for just a brief moment. I swear, if I had the Hallelujah Chorus saved on this computer, I'd play it on this site, just to properly express my amazement.

Of course, considering she did this while wearing her cousin's underwear -- boys boxer shorts with basketballs printed all over them -- boys cargo pants, and a camouflage shirt, maybe I shouldn't get too excited.

(usual disclaimer about loving my daughter no matter what she wears or how she looks or what her hobbies are and how I sincerely believe tomboys are fabulous and letting her express herself as long as it doesn't hurt anyone and she's adorable no matter what, yadda yadda yadda)


Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas slash Hanukah season. I haven’t posted the past few days because I have been very busy here. Very, very busy, doing very, very important things. Like entertaining my sleep-deprived, over-stimulated children. By taking them swimming (indoor aquatic centers are fabulous, if a wee bit hyper-chlorinated) and to the movies, and out to eat, and bowling, and shopping, and spending every spare minute of every day with their cousins, who they adore more than anyone on the planet. Every time we come home, and they spend all their time with their cousins, and I see the seven of them whispering and giggling and singing and teasing and playing together, it makes my heart break just a little that we live so far apart and they see each other so rarely and I get even more home-sick to move back to Oklahoma once again. Which will happen at some time in the future. At which point, I’m sure, the kids will spend so much time together that they’ll drive one another, and my sister and me, insane. But for now I just want to move back home and have all of us together, for the first time since my sister and I started having kids. How is it possible to be more home-sick when you’re home (OK), then when you’re home (GA)? Obviously I’m tired and emotional and possibly suffering from chlorine poisoning.

Did I mention that my mother made approximately four hundred pounds of turtles for the holidays, and since arriving here I’ve eaten at least half of them? I’m pretty sure when I fly back home next week North West Airlines will charge me for two seats.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Dreaded Christmas Letter

Well, according to the votes in the comments section, the vast majority of you love to receive holiday letters from family and friends, although a few of you did admit not sending them yourselves. I have a sneaking suspicion that Marcia from Ontario is right, and the people who hate the letters (including my very own sister) just didn't leave a comment. Makes sense, right? People who enjoy reading blogs would most likely enjoy reading letters as well, and be more apt to leave a note letting me know.

So, if you're a letter-hater, just skip over the rest of this journal entry, because that's what it is .... our 2006 Holiday Letter. Posted here a day late, and a dollar short, because that's what happens when you fall asleep on the sofa at 8pm on Christmas night. Stupid Benadryl.


Greetings to all our family and friends this holiday season; I hope this letter finds you happy, healthy, and completely finished with your Christmas shopping! As you can see, I’m going once more with a “one-size-fits-all” group form letter to include with our Christmas photo, and I’m even hopeful that they’ll be mailed before the 24th of December. Depending on when you’re reading this, you’ll be able to tell for yourself whether I was successful or not. :)

Also, once again, I hesitate at the beginning of this note, wondering where to start and how much to share. But of course, like always, I’ll share everything, both the good and the bad, because Lord knows I can’t ever keep my big mouth shut and I blab everything I know. I’d like to think it’s one of my more endearing qualities but something tells me otherwise.

2006 was the fourth year in a row that cancer has been the prevailing theme for our family. I’m sick of it, Blaine is sick of it, Blaine’s doctors and co-workers are sick of it, our friends and family are sick of it, and I’m pretty sure those of you that receive this letter are sick of it, too. But like the proverbial elephant in the living room, maybe if I just acknowledge it and get it over with, then we’ll be able to move on to bigger and better things.

Excerpt from our 2005 Christmas Letter: “Regarding reconstruction, it’s funny how ‘getting rid of his cancer’ wound up being the easiest, least-stressful part of this whole process.”

And less than a month later, that sentence came around to bite us right on the butt, when we found out in January of this year that Blaine’s cancer had indeed returned. He was **this** close to finally getting teeth when his surgeons found two tumors that had recurred, one in his cheek and one next to his carotid artery. They were not able to remove them surgically, so Blaine spent five weeks in Seattle this spring having neutron beam radiation … not one of the more cheerful highlights of his life, that’s for sure. In a nutshell, it was really rough going. Summer and fall were spent recovering, and then in November we returned to Seattle to have (what we hope will be) his last “big” reconstructive surgery. Now, he’s down twenty pounds, recovering once again, and waiting to see if it was the success we all hope it will be. His first set of post-radiation scans showed no new tumor growth, which is good news, and although this is the fourth annual Christmas letter – IN A FREAKING ROW – where I’ve said this, I’ll repeat it once more this year …. “We’re really hopeful that by this time next year, this cancer experience will be all but a distant memory and Blaine will be totally healed and recovered, forever and ever, finished, done, amen.”

As for me, I plugged along pretty much like normal, staying continually busy in my role as chauffer-mediator-maid-laundress-homework-advisor-chef-social-director-caregiver, and volunteering at the kids’ school. I also tried to scrapbook whenever possible and got away for three weekends this year with some of the best girlfriends on the planet. I’m not sure where the rest of my “lost” hours go, but I suspect the black hole that is the Internet has something to do with it. One highlight of my year was my third surrogate journey, which culminated in the delivery of a beautiful baby boy, Nicolas C, on May 18th. Weighing in at just over 10 pounds, if I keep it up, at the rate I’m going, I should be giving birth to kindergarteners soon. On a sad note, my father passed away in July. We miss Dad terribly, even though he was an ornery old soul, and I know this holiday season won’t be the same without him. After all, who else will lay back in his recliner at Christmas lunch, close his eyes, and “pray for the astronauts” all day long? :)

Brayden continues to alternately baffle us and amuse us by one moment having the kindest, most generous heart on the planet, only to turn around and sulk or gripe or pout about something we have no idea we’ve even done. She has no patience and is easily frustrated (“Hello? Mirror? Spitting image of Kristie!”) and Blaine and I have been known to draw straws; loser has to help her with her homework. Then she’ll rotate and be the sweetest, most loving, most helpful little girl in the world. It’s certainly enough to keep us on our toes. She is nine years old and in the fourth grade. She takes ceramics class one afternoon a week, which she loves, and enjoys Girl Scouts. We’re pretty sure she’ll someday major in law, since arguing and debating are hands down her two greatest skills and favorite past-times.

Kellen, well, he’s a hoot, plain and simple. He does very well in school, but still claims recess and lunch are his favorites. He played basketball this year, and two seasons of baseball, but says he wants to go back to soccer in the fall because “sitting in the dugout is boring.” He’s rather play defense all the time, then wait his turn to bat! He practices daily his warrior skills and fighting maneuvers, usually in the living room (much to the chagrin of mom) and is working closer and closer to realizing his life-long dream of becoming a CIA ninja, and has renamed himself “Agent K”. It’s good to have goals, I guess. He is eight, in the third grade, and still wants me to pick out his clothes every morning because getting out of bed to do it himself “is too much work.” I’m so proud to know we’re raising such a go-getter!

And Kendrie, well, she pretty much cracks us up, every single day. When she’s not whining or throwing a tantrum, that is. I don’t know if all seven year olds still do those things, or if she’s just special. As you know, she is fast-approaching her one-year anniversary mark of finishing her leukemia treatment, and it’s a milestone we’re pretty excited about. She’s really blossomed this year; physically, she’s grown almost four inches since ending treatment; she’s in the first-grade gifted program at school, relished her first season of soccer, is currently missing her two-front teeth, and she’s much more outgoing and self-confident than ever before. On the downside, she still insists on wearing boys swim trunks in public, refuses to sleep in her own bed most nights, and has recently begun talking in a totally obnoxious Forrest Gump voice … what on earth is **that** about?

But obviously, we love all three of them dearly. And even love our old dog Lager (fifteen and a half!) although he’s deaf as a post and stinks to high heaven.

In between my pregnancy and delivery, and Blaine’s radiation and surgeries, we kept a pretty low profile and didn’t travel too far from home this year. We did spend a few weekends away; Camp Sunshine Family Camp in Atlanta, meeting the infamous Clan Banana in Florida, and a long family weekend this fall at Callaway Gardens in Georgia. I took the kids to OKC for a vacation this summer, and just a few weeks later, we returned as a family for my dad’s funeral. We’ll be headed back there for the Christmas holidays, and are looking forward to seeing the cousins again. But next year we’re hoping for better health, and more opportunities to travel ‘round the country, harassing friends from coast to coast. (Quick! Lock your doors! The Escoe family is coming!)

Until we have time to show up on your doorstep, most likely uninvited, and greet you properly, consider this letter our gesture of friendship to you. We wish you well this holiday season. May your stockings be full, your fires burn bright, your hearts overflowing with holiday cheer, and all that other cheesy stuff we say this time of year. We miss you all!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Greatest Gift

Ya’ll. Seriously. I got the greatest gift in the world today, and it was totally by accident.

Blaine and I wanted to take the kids to see Santa Clause 3, but it wasn’t showing at the theater we normally go to by my mom’s house. So we drove across town to the multi-plex inside one of our local malls. The theater is located at the end of the food court, and as we were walking in, getting ready to hand our tickets to the ticket-taker, I noticed the group of people in front of us were walking in holding Sonic cups … there is a Sonic in the food court. And they weren’t being sneaky about it, either, trying to hide the cups in their pockets or inside their coats like some people do with bags of m&ms or milk duds or junior mints not that I would know anything about that (ahem).

No, they were brazenly walking in, cups in hand, sipping from the straws without a care in the world. So I asked the ticket taker, “Excuse me, are we allowed to bring outside drinks into the theater?” and He. Said. YES!!

Oh, my gosh, naturally, straight back to Sonic I went to buy drinks for the entire family. (Hello? A buck-fifty for a drink at Sonic vs. four dollars at the theater? Who wouldn’t buy drinks at Sonic?)

I caught up to Blaine and the kids at the concession stand and passed the drinks out to everyone. I was standing there, waiting for them to finish up with their candy purchase so we could go into the movie, holding my Styrofoam cup filled to the brim with fizzy, carbonated, nectar-of-the-Gods, wonderful Diet Dr. Pepper, just thinking about how fucking fabulous my life is. Really, it’s the day before Christmas, I’m out with my family, my husband bought me two boxes of milk duds, and I get to carry a Diet Dr. Pepper from Sonic into the movie with me. Could my life GET any better?

And right about then, Kellen and Kendrie were fighting over who would get to squirt the butter into the popcorn and they were each trying to wrestle the bag from the other, and they each gave a mighty pull, and promptly dumped three-quarters of the bag on the floor at the exact same moment Kellen hit the button on the butter machine and greasy, slimy butter ran out all over Kendrie’s arm ….. and so I did what any sane parent would do.

Walked away, pretending like I didn’t even know them, and left Blaine to deal with the mess. I had a Diet Dr. Pepper to enjoy.

Seriously. Unless I find Brad Pitt, naked, in my stocking tomorrow morning, I think I’ve pretty much received the best gift of the season. And we’ll be moving back to Oklahoma immediately so I can see every movie ever made at that theater.

Preferably without kids, or their popcorn.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Am I the Only One?

Christmas letters have always gotten a bad rap, I know that. I always assumed it was because the people who DON’T write them thought that the people who DO write them were lazy …. Like we were somehow cheating or taking a short cut by updating everyone at one time, with a pre-printed letter, and a family picture thrown in for good measure.

I’ve been browsing web sites (like I always do; I have no idea where my spare time goes when I’m sucked into the black hole that is the internet) and have found several posts along the vein of “Christmas letters are too impersonal, if you really like me, pick up the phone and call, if you don’t really like me, chances are I don’t like you either, so don’t bother sending them, etc.”

I’ve also found posts about how the letters are lame and boring, and totally obnoxious when the writer babbles endlessly about the beauty/wit/marvelous-ness/genius of their family members that way. I can understand where they’re coming from. I remember several years ago, my friend Julie shared with me a Christmas letter she had received from someone who compared her young child to the pearl in an oyster shell, and how every day he became more beautiful and breath-taking and amazing and jewel-like. And Julie and I sat and contemplated the exquisiteness of that child, and his pearl-like qualities, and how the world is indeed a better place because of his very existence ………… and then we totally cracked up.

Yeah, ok, that’s a little obnoxious.

But you know what? I don’t even care. I LOVE getting Christmas letters from people, and I love writing and sending out my own Christmas letter. Although I try very hard, when I write my own Christmas letter, not to compare my children to pearls. Dirty rotten sock monkeys, maybe, but not pearls.

Maybe the reason I like getting the letters, besides the fact I’m nosy and love to glimpse into people’s lives that way, is because we’re a military family who has lived in nine different states in the past nineteen years, making friends in each and every state. Friends that I care about, and love hearing from, even if it’s only once a year. As much as I would love to stay in touch via the phone, or more regular correspondence, well, people are busy. They have lives, I have a life, and despite the best intentions of staying connected, you look up, and six months have gone by without a word. So Christmas letters are a great way for us to keep up with long-distance friends. Of course, I like getting the letters from our local friends as well. It doesn’t even matter if I just had lunch with you …. If I open my mail box this afternoon and find a Christmas letter from you, it will make me happy.

I like hearing about what someone’s kids are doing and where they traveled on vacation this year. I want to know if someone got sick, or broke their leg skiing, and if they’re better now. I care about your pets, and your after-school activities, and your new job and square-dance lessons and cooking club and Busy Beaver Book Club Award. Am I the only one?

And the pictures? How can anyone not like getting pictures of their friends, no matter the time of year? You guys all know I scrapbook --- did you also know that I have a special Christmas scrapbook, and every year I take the pictures that our friends send us, and put them in this album, so I can go back and see how they’ve changed, and how their kids have grown throughout the years? Seriously. I’m all about the pictures. Surely I’m not the only one.

While we’ve still gotten several Christmas pictures in our mailbox this year, I’ve noticed markedly less letters. Is it true? Does everyone but me find them obnoxious?

You know my friend Julie, the one I mentioned above? Her Christmas letter is always one of the first I receive each year, and it’s freaking hysterical. She’s so organized I’m pretty sure they are written, addressed and stamped by mid-November, and she must mail them the day after Thanksgiving. But this year? Nothing. Julie, where are you? I miss hearing how B. and Z. are doing. Is he still a reading-fool? Does she still take piano lessons? Is she still lobbying hard for her own horse? Is J. getting close to retirement? Are you still obsessed with Subway? I can’t properly convey the humor and attitude Julie expresses when talking about her kids and her husband, but believe me when I tell you she is the master of the one-line zinger and she cracks me up; I’ve missed her letter this year.

So, what’s your take on it? Do you like the annual Christmas letter, or hate it? Do you write one yourself? Do your roll your eyes when you receive one? Or do you love keeping up with friends this way?

I adore the Christmas letter. Am I the only one?

And I can tell you right now that if you hate them, don’t visit this site in the next day or two because that’s what I’ll be posting next on this site; this year’s Christmas letter from our family.

Pearls not included.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ten Things ....

…. that my children did ***NOT*** hear me say today, but which give me a pretty good indication of how our Christmas break is going to go. And it’s looking a little grim.

1. Hey Kellen, here’s a great idea -- if you continue to throw that football in the house, maybe even a little harder, you could possibly break the living room lamp as well as the light in the dining room you broke last week, and I’m ok with that.

2. It’s alright, Brayden, I don’t mind when you completely ignore your father and me.

3. I think wrestling in the living room is a good idea because you could maybe knock over the Christmas tree and then all the decorations would fall off and then I wouldn’t have to mess with un-decorating it after the holidays. So actually, you’d be doing me a favor.

4. Why, yes, I have all the time in the world today and would love nothing more than to play yet another game of checkers with you.

5. It’s perfectly OK to drag your brother around by the neck of his shirt.

6. I’m so happy someone ate caramel corn while playing on the computer because I love nothing more than a sticky keyboard.

7. Could you please slam the door a little louder while I’m trying to take a nap? It’s so soothing.

8. That’s so funny that the pants you want to wear on the plane tomorrow were shoved under your bed and weren’t in the dirty clothes basket. It doesn’t even matter that I already finished the laundry. I’d like nothing more than to rush right into the utility room to do yet another load, just for you.

9. I love when you guys fight. It helps me concentrate while I’m packing.

10. Of course you can stay up as late as you want to watch tv. Who cares if you oversleep and we’re rushing about like crazy people on our way to the airport tomorrow? While we’re at it, why don’t we have Skittles and Coca-Cola for dinner as well?

Anyone want to predict what ten gems come out of my mouth tomorrow, while we're flying to OKC and all the fun *that* entails????

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

There Was A Plan

The original plan for tonight: Dinner with friends. Drive through Dunkin Donuts with children, order hot chocolate, and drive around town looking at Christmas light displays on houses, happily singing carols as we go.

The reality of tonight: Dinner with friends, but only three of us because Blaine was tired and Kellen basically ate himself sick with unlimited quantities of gingerbread house decorations earlier in the day (who could have predicted **that**??) Drive home after dinner, pick up Blaine and Kellen, and begin Dunkin Donut Hot Chocolate/Christmas Light Display Odyssey, but never make it out of the neighborhood because children won’t quit arguing over whose turn it is to select the Christmas music CD and why nothing is ever fair and how I don’t have to listen to you and I hate you you’re a stupid-head you’re a bigger stupid-head shut up until Mom’s head spins around and she yells, “That’s it, I’ve had it, you ungrateful brats!” and flips a U-ie in the mini-van without ever leaving the housing edition, and drives right back home.

I know three children who are SO getting coal in their stockings this year.

Don't you just love my Christmas spirit?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why I Don't Home-School

Yesterday, I spent two and a half hours in Brayden’s classroom, helping a bunch of nine year olds decorate Christmas grab-bags, construct gingerbread houses, and work on Fun! Reindeer! Math! Worksheets!

Today, I spent an hour in Kellen’s classroom helping his teacher sort papers, then spent two more hours in Brayden’s room helping the children paint Christmas tree ornaments and decorate the gingerbread houses, made from graham crackers and mini-milk cartons with Golden Grahams cereal stuck on for the roof --- really, have you ever heard of such a clever idea for a roof? This evening, I spent two hours shopping for, and organizing, the graham crackers, icing, and candy items for yet another gingerbread house activity, good grief, if I never see another gingerbread house it will be too soon.

Tomorrow, I will spend two hours in Kellen’s class, helping a bunch of eight-year olds construct and decorate their own houses. Then, I will go to Kendrie’s class for an hour and a half and help a bunch of six and seven-year olds (Dear Lord, help me, they’re getting younger and more unruly as the day goes on) decorate holiday door knob hangers and make marshmallow snowmen. Then I will buy pizza and juice for her party, which I will stay at for twenty minutes. Then I will return to Kellen’s classroom, to attend twenty minutes of his party, then I will go down the hall to Brayden’s classroom, where I have been instructed to bring juice and a salty snack, where I will spend the final twenty minutes of her party, before most likely getting stuck cleaning all that shit up after all the kids hop on their buses to go home -- bumpy, lurching buses where you just know those damn gingerbread houses are going to get beat all to hell and most likely collapse like a house of cards.

Then, at 3:15 pm tomorrow, our Winter Break will officially begin.

If you need me tomorrow night, odds are I’ll be in my basement, curled up on the floor in the dark, clutching a very large bottle of red wine to my chest.

Well, crap. We don’t have a basement.

Monday, December 18, 2006


So, I finally had my appointment with dermatology today. Because I have skin cancer. Although my primary care doctor’s office neglected to send over the pathology report on the spot they originally biopsied and diagnosed, the visit was not a total waste of time as today’s doctor found two more suspicious spots, one on my chest and one on my thigh. As much as I hate to admit it, it appears those years spent lying on the tanning bed might have given me more than rosy cheeks and an enviable tan line. The doctor assures me both of these “new” spots can be taken care of, along with the “old” spot, once the report shows up. Not sure what he means by “taken care of”, as every method I can think of for removing a specific part of my body, any part of my body, involves sharp pointy things and pain, two items I try to avoid at all costs.

And, in an example of multi-tasking at its best, he also gave me another steroid prescription for the eczema on my lower legs that the steroids of two weeks ago didn’t clear up, as well as an antibiotic, as it seems I have clawed and scratched my way into a low-grade infection, proven by either the lovely mass of scabby wounds on my shins and calves and ankles, or the bloodstains on the inner legs of my sweatpants, or perhaps both. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he wrote “leprosy” or even "dry rot" as a diagnosis today. I actually got so into scratching myself this afternoon while stopped at an intersection that I didn’t notice the light turn from red to green until the car behind me honked. That, my friends, is being sidetracked by an itch.

While I was waiting in the doctor’s office today, I picked up brochures on chemical peeling, tumescent liposuction, soft tissue fillers, Restylane aesthetics, botulinum toxin, and laser hair removal. As I was leaving, I put them in my purse and said to the doctor, “I’m going to look these over. Maybe after you make me healthy again, you can make me into a supermodel” to which he replied, “Yes, that’s a good idea” which leads me to believe either he has no sense of humor, or I’m in worse shape than I thought and actually need all of the above.

Best part of today? Waiting approximately 42 seconds in the drive-through lane at Eckerd to pick up my prescriptions. Take THAT, slow-poke Tricare suckahs!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Life at the Bowling Alley

An Open Letter to the Red-Headed Lady Bowling in Lane 27 this afternoon:

Dear Miss,

I can understand that being assigned to Lane 27 at the bowling alley today, only to discover lanes 28, 29, and 30 were a child’s birthday party, probably wasn’t the best news ever. To be fair, though, you had a child with you, too, and I’m pretty sure your boyfriend was the ticket-taker at the 3-legged rooster exhibit at the sideshow area of this year’s county fair, so I was a little surprised by how uptight and hi-falooting you were regarding **our** company. But whatever.

My point is that although you might not have been thrilled to be right next to our group, had you actually paid attention, you would have noticed that our kids were pretty well-behaved and, in my opinion, not bothering you at all.

Which is why when my son, Kellen (he was the handsome young lad in the Motocross t-shirt bowling on the lane right next to you) came to me in the fourth frame and told me that he “lost” his ball, that in fact, you had taken it away from him and told him he couldn’t use it anymore, I was a bit confused. My first thought was one of embarrassment …. He must have been using your personal ball, not realizing. So I walked over to apologize and to point out to him which one was the 8-pound house ball that he needed.

Only to have you tell me that the 8-pound house ball was yours and he couldn’t use it.

Really? Yours? A house ball? Yours, yours, and only YOURS?

And to make sure he couldn’t use it, you had removed it from the community ball return and were holding between your feet on the floor.

Um, yeah. Seriously. I don’t know whether I was more annoyed, or amused. Oh, wait, yes I do. Annoyed.

So I schlepped myself to the other end of the bowling alley and got another, identical, 8-pound house ball and brought it down to the lane. And showed it to you, and made a very pointed comment about how “Now you don’t have to worry about sharing the ball, since I got him his very, very, very, very own.” And what was with the dirty look you gave me just then??

So, since the entire encounter leads me to believe you don’t understand the concept of house balls, I thought I would just clear up a few things for you:

1. You can’t DIBS a house ball. Even if you WANTED to DIBS a house ball, it’s not necessary. There are dozens more, and there is plenty of time for the ball to come back in the community return …. My son using the same ball as you is not going to make you miss your turn. It’s a child’s birthday party, for goodness sake, not the final game in the final match up of this year’s PBA Tour.

2. If you’re going to be that territorial about a ball, you should seriously consider buying your own. And having your name engraved on it, so no child makes the mistake of trying to use it. But FYI? When you do buy your own ball, it needs to be more than 8 pounds, because 6 and 8 pound house balls are for CHILDREN --- not grown women. If you’re over the age of sixteen and you’re bowling with an 8 pound ball, you better have some sort of muscle wasting disease, is all I have to say about it, or even better, be some kind of armless person who has to bowl with her teeth.

3. If you want to be taken seriously as a bowler, and the stupid wrist positioner you were wearing tells me that you do, you really need to invest in a 100% cotton bowling towel. Because while that “Seasoning and Spice” kitchen dishtowel you were using to wipe off your ball between throws might very well do the job, it makes you look like a total doofus.

4. Also, you should consider (and I mean seriously consider) taking a few lessons. In the fifth frame, your score was 32. Do I need to tell you that you suck, or do you already know? Because I would have thought someone as puckered as you are, who takes the possession of her house ball so seriously, would have at least broken 100 … and you didn’t even come close. Not to rub it in or anything, but my 7-yr old out-bowled you.

5. Lastly, your Mr. T necklace is ugly, and it’s past time to have your roots done. Not that those have anything to do with bowling, but I just thought you should know.

Happy Pins! Kristie

PS. To those of you who have been kind enough to ask …. I’m seeing a dermatologist tomorrow about my (finger quote) skin cancer (end finger quote). Not that it’s not really skin cancer, or that I’m not taking it seriously. I am. It just makes me feel better to be all melodramatic about it and use finger quotes. Yep, took four weeks to get an appointment. Good thing it wasn’t flesh-eating disease, or I’d have lost a limb or two by now. I’ll update after the appointment … for now, I’m just dreading having to disrobe in front of yet another stranger tomorrow. I thought that shit ended when I got married.

Gak. Maybe I can really round out my day by going bowling after and trying to steal somebody’s house ball.

Because I’m Compassionate Like That

Kellen announced to us yesterday that he had hurt his eye. He doesn’t remember how, or when; it’s not scratched or bruised or showing any sort of traumatic evidence, yet he maintains that his eye hurts and sat for a while today, watching TV and “holding” it gently. Personally, I think the entire thing is a ruse, in an attempt to have me buy him a pirate’s eye patch, but whatever. If he says his eye hurts, then his eye hurts.

To that end, Blaine went to Eckerd’s and bought Visine, because what the hell else are you supposed to do for eye pain? It’s not watering, it’s not bleeding, it’s not popping out of his skull. I’m really not sure what the Girl Scout first-aid and injury handbook would say for this sort of thing.

So Blaine brought the Visine home and attempted to put a few drops in the offending eye. That didn’t go over so well. Let’s just say I hope Kellen never needs any sort of medical procedure done. Ever. At all.

Tonight, right before bed, Kellen got into trouble. The kind of trouble that made him so mad and upset that he started crying, although at the extremely mature age of eight, he would be mortified to think I told you that, so if you ever repeat it I’ll deny it. But he was totally crying. Then he was so angry he stormed to his bedroom and cried himself to sleep.

I tried to go in and talk to him about it, but he had the covers pulled up over his head and refused to acknowledge me, despite my poking him in the leg several times and saying his name loudly.

Which, quite frankly, annoyed me. So rather than feel sorry for my poor, mistreated son, brought to tears by his awful, mean parents, when I walked out of the room, I mumbled to myself, “Well, at least there’s a good chance all those natural tears will help whatever the heck is wrong with his eye.”

The moral of the story? Reducing your child to tears is actually a good thing. When they have a non-existent eye injury, and you’re compassionate like that.

PS. I have gone back in the comments section for yesterday’s entry and responded to a few questions. Rather than responding to items in the journals, I think I’ll try answering in the comments section periodically myself. So if you asked a question, and you have a spare minute, you can go back and check for my answer. Not that my response is brilliant or anything. Just that it’s there. Which lately, is about the best I can promise.

Saturday, December 16, 2006



I have been following along on a dozen or so favorite blogging websites for about two years now, starting with when I was first introduced to my very favorite, Notes From The Trenches. Some of my favorites are listed in the sidebar to the right, and I hope you’ll make time to visit them, because there are some pretty hysterical people out there, I’m telling you. Of course, providing you with that list is the equivalent of shooting myself in the internet foot, because once you read **their** sites, and realize they are about ten thousand times funnier and more interesting than I am, you’ll pretty much abandon me here, but hey, I’ll have done my part to make YOUR life more enriched, you’re welcome very much.

The reason I commented earlier that only “amateurs” seem to use Blogger is that pretty much every favorite blog I have, the author started on Blogger, but then switched over to another site. Debbie E. asked, “But hey, if not "blogger", what??” Well, it appears the question is actually, “If not ‘Blogger’, then where?” It seems most authors start out on Blogger, then purchase their own domain name, transfer their entire Blogger site over, and power it with WordPress or TypePad.

And really, that’s about all I understand. I don’t know if they buy templates, or pay to have them designed, or design them themselves. Are there software programs they use? What, exactly, ARE Wordpress and TypePad??? Where do they buy them? Do they download them? Do they have to take a class? How, exactly, do they get a site set up just the way they want it, and what do they do if there’s a glitch? Are they just BORN with this inherent techno concept gene that somehow missed being implanted in my own brain? And most importantly, how many question marks am I allowed to use in one paragraph??

Since I have the equivalent internet knowledge that a band of pygmy rhinos might have, the entire concept is overwhelming and intimidating for me, hence the reason I’m right here at user-friendly Blogger. Other, more experienced bloggers talk about the “restrictions” and “limitations” of Blogger, and how they want to have their own sites so they can set them up exactly like they want them. Well, yeah, sounds good. In theory. If I only had a single CLUE what they were talking about!

Do you remember when the internet first became commonplace, and people started getting computers for home use? And how everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, started out with AOL, because it was user-friendly, and well, it’s pretty much what everyone was using so you just used it too? And those people who went outside the box and used a service besides AOL seemed like such rebels? How *advanced* they were, and deep down inside you were a wee bit jealous of them because you suspected they had moved on to bigger and better things???

I suspect Blogger is a little like AOL. For now, lots of us use it, and the people who forge ahead, to bigger and better things, are simple more adventurous than the rest of us. Oh, sure, eventually, we’ll all catch up. But for now, I’m going to stick with my little Blogger corner of the world because it works quite well for me and quite frankly, I don’t want to invest the time or the energy in learning something new. I have other things on my list to accomplish. Other, big, important things. Like vacuuming. And napping.

But I’d actually love to hear more about it from anyone who has more experience than me. Which is pretty much everyone in the free world. And probably even lots of people in the not-so-free world.

There are things about Blogger I really, truly enjoy. Like the fact my journal entries are archived monthly and I can link to any previous entry any time I want. Considering my Caringbridge journal history is one, big, humongous, never-ending document, logging in at over 1000 MS Word pages ……… well, “un-wieldy” is a kind word for it. I just wish I knew how to get that entire journal history archived monthly here. And I love that I can put as many links as I want in the Blogger sidebar, and, I must confess, I love, love, LOVE with a pink puffy heart the strip of flickr photos across the top. I love even more that every time I refresh the page, the photos change. I have been known to sit at my desk and hit refresh six or seven times, just to see my children’s shiny, happy faces scroll across the screen. Of course, while I’m sitting here doing that, they are usually in the background, screaming at one another, or hitting one another, or yelling “I’m telling MOM!” in my ears. And of course, hitting “refresh” wreaks havoc with the site counter, and I have to remind myself that of all the hits this page gets each day, probably 95 percent of them are from me. And, every time I open the page, or hit refresh, the song also links over, and I have to pay real money for that bandwidth service, so really, refreshing the page just to see the pictures probably isn’t such a good idea.

There is one thing about Caringbridge that I preferred, and that’s the visitor ID information in the comment section. With Caringbridge, most of you had the ability to leave your name, your city and state, your e-mail address, and your own website or Caringbridge site address, whenever you signed in the guestbook. It took exactly ONE Blogger entry, yesterday, for me to realize that if the only thing I have to go on is your first name when you leave a comment, I have no idea who’s who. I have people with the same first names who check in regularly ….. and it’s going to give me a serious rash if I can’t figure out who’s who here at Blogger. Yesterday, on Kendrie’s CB site, we got congratulation notes from three Karens, two Beths, and FIVE Amy’s … two of whom are both Amy N! So please, if you are kind enough to leave a comment, and I hope you will, try to sign the note with your last initial, or city, or kids first names, or personal website address, or SOMETHING, that lets me know which Katie, or Jen, or Kelli, or Nancy, or Kristin that you are. I know, what a wonderful problem to have, right? It’s just that after reading notes of encouragement from all of you for so long, I feel a connection to you, too, and I don’t want to lose that!

And one last observation regarding the comments section. To the anonymous person who was offended by my language in the last entry, I’m sorry you were upset. I really am. But I have to be honest. In real life, I cuss like a red-neck trucker swilling Pabst at a Nascar convention. I have tried very hard at Caringbridge to curb my potty-mouth and be respectful of the fact Caringbridge is a service designed to help families of sick children (and adults) and not let my trailer-trash talk flap wide on too many occasions.

But here? Not so much.

Foul language isn’t usually necessary, and I promise not to be all “blah, blah, blah, fuckity McFuck fuck” all the time. But, I’m not going to censor myself as closely here as I do on CB. On my Caringbridge site, I will continue to keep it pretty close to my vest and mind my p’s and q’s. But here? Yeah, not so much.

And if you choose to not sign your name to your anonymous post, it will be deleted from the comments section. Anyone can click “anonymous” sender and still sign your name at the bottom of the comment. (And remember, include your last initial, or city, or *something*, so I know who’s who!) If you have a website or CB site, click “Other” and it will let you include that, as well. I really, truly, enjoy hearing from you and hope lots of you will leave comments. But if you click anonymous, and do not sign, then expect to be-gone with your head! Er, I mean, your comment. Unless you are anonymously telling me that my personality is the sunshine of your life and my sparkling eyes and minty-fresh breath are the work of pixie-fairies with magical wings and confetti dust. THOSE anonymous comments I will leave posted.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A lead balloon

OK, So. Here you are.

And here I am.

Sitting at the keyboard.

Preparing to type my very first blog entry that’s not tied to Caringbridge or the world of cancer in some way.

Clicking on the keyboard ….. preparing to type …. letters …. which will make words ….. which will form sentences ….. because I have very, very, extremely, profound things to say ….. which will be ….. coherent not.

****looking around****

***crickets chirping****

Oh, my word, what the hell made me think I had anything worthwhile to say, anyway????

Geez, let’s try again. Just, start over from the beginning.

“Hi, and welcome to my blog!”

(No, way too cheesy.)

“Hello, and thank you for joining me here at ….”

Holy Crap, could I have possibly come up with a longer, more awkward, WORSE name for a website??? What on earth was I thinking? Oh, yeah, I remember now, the name I wanted was TAKEN …. Curses to the lazy bastard at who hasn’t updated his site in four freakin’ YEARS, yet kept me from taking the name that should have been rightfully mine, such is the treachery and woe of the cut-throat internet domain game.

Ok, um, sorry, what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, this new site. Well, technically, it’s not really NEW-new, I’ve just been updating it with my identical Caringbridge updates for the past two months in an attempt to familiarize myself with the Blogger template and posting process. I had hopes. High hopes. Hopes that I would begin blogging somewhere besides Caringbridge and somehow dazzle you with stories about the witty and dashing Escoe family, about our madcap exploits, notorious ‘round the world for our joie de vivre and Je-ne-sais-quoi and various other French phrases. Despite all that, all I’ve actually managed to learn in the last two months is that no blogger worth his or her salt in fact **uses** Blogger, and by setting up my site here, I’ve basically out-ed myself as a total computer goober who has no business writing a blog because only complete WIMPS and AMATUERS and PUSSIES use Blogger and seriously, I should be ashamed of my lack of modern day web designing skills. And! To add insult to injury, I didn’t even like France the one time I visited, because they refused to give me regular mustard at a hot dog stand at Normandy Beach, stuck up bastards pretending like they didn't understand English, so I HAVE NO joie de vivre!


Now that we’ve established:

1. I have absolutely nothing of interest to say.

2. This is the worst name for a blog site … EVER ….. and

3. I am a total blogging amateur, well,

Bookmark me and please come visit me again tomorrow! I promise to rebound from this dismal beginning and post something fascinating! Interesting! else.


PS. Angela, I'm only kidding about France. Well, not really. I really did go to Normandy and some grumpy hot dog guy really did refuse to give me mustard, but other than that, I thought your country was lovely and I hope to go back sometime, preferably to eat myself into a wine and cheese-induced coma.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This is exactly like Santa's Workshop!

Kendrie -- Day 362 OT !

Yes, this is exactly like the joyful, wonderful, happy scene I imagine it to be at Santa’s workshop this time of year.

Only instead of cheerful little elves, I have grumpy little children.

And instead of enthusiastically hammering wheels onto wagons, or sewing clothes for dolls, they are grudgingly stuffing and addressing Christmas card letters.

And instead of chattering happily to their elf neighbors, they are grumbling and complaining under their breath about how come *they* have to do all the work around here?

And instead of whistling while they work (wait, is that the elves or the dwarves?) they are complaining about the vile taste of the envelope glue.

And instead of happily loading Santa’s sleigh and posing for photos with the reindeer, they are agreeing to pose with the cards but only if **you** agree to pay them a dollar afterwards.

You know, on second thought, this is nothing like Santa’s workshop. This is more like a pediatric version of a South American sweatshop, with underage, extortionist employees and lots of complaining.

PS. If you’re on our Christmas card list, and you receive an envelope with postage due, or missing a photo or a letter, well, what can I say? It’s hard to get good help these days.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yet Another Example...

Of why Blaine is a better parent than me.

I was at the kids’ school one day last week, and Kellen’s teacher and I were talking about the kids in his class. Kellen has two friends in class; both very sweet, very kind, very polite boys. Both of whom I have had in my home, and in whose home Kellen has been. Really good kids. One was born with a minor physical birth defect, and one has some socialization issues, but they are great kids and I like them a lot, and their parents, so I encourage the friendships.

Kellen’s teacher made the comment she appreciates that Kellen is friends with these boys. In fact, Kellen is laid back and friendly with pretty much everyone in his class, and that makes her job easier. I got home, and started thinking between the lines about what she might have meant, but might not have said. I wanted Kellen to know she paid him a compliment, so later that evening I told him what his teacher had said, and mentioned to him I was pleased to know he was friendly with these two boys, even though they might be just a little bit different.

I took it a bit further, reminding him of how Kendrie felt when she looked different during her chemo treatments, and kids would say things, but that inside she was the same and that’s what matters, blah blah blah, everything’s a life lesson. Mainly, I was just trying to do some gentle nudging into the “kindness to others” realm.

Kellen, paused, and then asked in sort of a quiet voice, “Mom, can I tell you something?” Oh, dear, that makes me nervous. “Sure, honey, what is it?” I replied.

Then he told me that “R”, one of the other boys in his class, sometimes made fun of these two boys. (Yes, I know, I’ve learned the hard way not to name names on this site, so I’m just going with initials ….) Now, “R” is a boy that has always been very polite and respectful to me as well, so I was a bit surprised to hear this.

“Really? “R” has made fun of them?” I asked.

“Uh-huh” Kellen replied, “Him and “S” … they tease them sometimes because of what’s wrong with them.”

And it was like a little miniature mushroom cloud went off in my brain and I saw red. I mean, I realize they’re only eight years old and sometimes kids are cruel, but I was appalled to think it was happening. Naïve, perhaps, but it really, really bothered me. I flashed back to when I was in Jr. High, and a boy in my Algebra class named Ricky Jackson made fun of my shoes. He said they were ugly, and pointed and laughed, and got some other kids around us to laugh. I remember that they *were* ugly shoes and my mom had picked them out and I didn’t like them. But more than that, I didn’t like Ricky Jackson in Algebra class that day, and I didn’t like these two little boys right now.

So I did what any grown up, mature person would do.

“Well,” I said, spluttering, “has anyone mentioned to “R” that every day after lunch he has a big JUICE MUSTACHE on his upper lip? Like he’s three years old and never learned how to drink out of a big boy glass? Huh? Have they???”

Oh yeah, that was adult of me. Real grown up. Kellen started smiling.

“Maybe we should just start calling him Mr. Koolaid Mustache Man, I wonder how that would make him feel? And then the next time he makes fun of someone, we can say ‘Hey! At least they know how to drink juice without giving themselves a mustache, Mr. Mustache Man! Hey, need a napkin, Mr. Mustache Man??? Been drinking long, Mr. Mustache Man?? “

I was on a roll. Kellen was giggling at this point. I have to admit, it made me feel better. Sometimes you’ve got to stand up to a bully, and stick up for the underdog, and set right all the wrongs and injustices in the world ….

And then from across the living room, Blaine said, in a deliberate voice, with great care and inflection … “OR, Kellen, you *could* just tell “R” that it’s not nice to make fun of people and to please stop, nobody likes it.”

Oh, well, sure. **rolly eyes** If you want to be grown up about it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Should Practice What I Preach

Kendrie -- Day 360 OT!! Five more days ….. big announcement coming soon!

PS In Advance: Lisa, I know the recent music on this site makes you crazy. So I should warn you up front to turn OFF your computer speakers for this song, at least until you’ve had three very large, very strong, cups of coffee. Or eggnog. With lots of rum. Your choice. Because as much as I would love to calm down the music for you, I simply can’t deny my inner hoodlum. And my inner hoodlum? Loves this song.

So, what was I talking about the other day? Hmmm, what was it? Something about being fat, and hating to exercise, and how my ultimate goal in life, besides total-body liposuction, is to encourage my children to have positive self body image. To teach them respect for their bodies, to be careful and thoughtful about what they put in their mouth, to love their bodies no matter their size, and to treat their bodies with the care and diligence they deserve.

That there is no reason for excess:

No, never. No reason, at all, for excess:

That there is never a time where it is ok to stand around in public, licking food off your fingers as if you don’t know when your next meal is coming:

Or, to shovel candy in your mouth as if your parents have never introduced you to the beauty that is a Brach’s Christmas Nougat:

And if, in a moment of terrible weakness, you do splurge, just a little bit, and perhaps eat a morsel or two, then the best thing to do is exercise. Perhaps by stretching. But not necessarily across the table to reach for the other bowl of Smartees:

That will-power is perhaps *not* always found in groups, and when one person caves and eats themselves into complete sugar oblivian, chances are a friend, or two or six or seven, will join you:

And most of all, if all else fails, remember that people in gingerbread houses should not throw stones. Or, walk up the staircase because it will probably collapse from the weight of all the damn chocolate you’ve been eating:

Friday, December 08, 2006

The one where I hide my tears with laughter. Much like I try to hide my Buddha belly with A-line shirts, until someone asks me when my baby is due.

So, if you’ve been following this journal for very long, you’ve no doubt picked up on the fact, that like many women, I’m not real happy with my body. In fact, I hate it. I hate pretty much all of it. I hate the way my thighs swish together in track pants when I walk. I hate it so much I don’t buy track pants. I hate the shelf of fat on the top of my butt. I hate the kangaroo pouch that masquerades as my stomach. I hate the saddle bags on the top of my thighs. I hate the flab on the top of my arms, and I hate that my boobs have permanently migrated south. I do think I have nice hair, and my eyes are a pretty shade of green, but those two things aren’t weight-related, so when adding up all the ways I hate my body, they don’t exactly tip the scales.

More than how much I hate my body, though, is how much I hate that I even care. WHO CARES???? Nobody cares. I know that. Blaine doesn’t even care, and he sees me naked on a semi-regular basis. I hate that I waste one minute of even one single day fretting over my appearance. I hate that I’m too lazy to exercise (although I *am* actually exercising lately, which is more than I normally do) and I hate that I don’t have the willpower to avoid junk food. And even more I hate that I care because I know in the long run, it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. It’s not like I’m going to be lying in my coffin, worried that the pants the funeral director picked out make my butt look big. In fact, I’m not even sure people *wear* pants in coffins. But that’s a question for another day. (See? Feeling anxious about the size of your butt? Make a fat joke!)

So, while I do hate my body, I try to joke about it and not dwell on it too much (at least not out loud --- but on the inside? STILL OBSESSING) because most of all, I don’t want to pass my weight-hate on to my kids. Brayden has already come to me and told me some of the girls in her class talk about how fat they are (they are NINE, people!) and she’s made comments about her own “big” legs .. which for the record, are totally not big. I hate that she’s already picking up on that. To that end, a few years back I canceled my subscription to People magazine. Blaine always put a subscription renewal in my Christmas stocking each year and Brayden started asking for the magazines when I was done. Then I noticed she was cutting out the pictures of all the super-skinny, super-sleazily-dressed models and actresses and gluing them in a notebook. Hmmmm. Magazine subscription canceled. Those are not healthy body images and I don’t want her perspective warped at such a young age. Society will do enough to warp it when she’s older.

Anyway, what was my point? Oh, yeah. Although I hate my body, I don’t want her to hate hers, and I don’t want her to fret over hers like I fret over mine. So when I’m “dieting” at home, I don’t say the word out loud, just try to serve healthier choices around the house, without making a big production about it. I try very, very, very hard not to say the word “diet” in front of her, even if I’m on one. Or let her catch me moping over the way I look in front of my full-length mirror. I never tell the kids that I’m going to the gym to lose weight or get smaller, I always say I’m going to exercise, because that makes you healthy and stronger. It’s exhausting, all this positive-attitude crap, don’t you think?

Which leads me to the other afternoon when she and I were in Target. I take each of the kids out shopping before Christmas, one at a time, so they can buy their gifts for their siblings. Sunday was Brayden’s day. She and I had run several errands and it was getting on in the afternoon. When we finished checking out at Target, Brayden asked if we could stop at the food café and get a snack. Sure, that was fine, I was hungry, too.

Well, here’s the deal. I’ve been doing the Atkins diet (or *attempting* to do the Atkins diet, which is difficult for me since I basically worship at the Shrine of the Asiago Cheese Bagel) since returning from Seattle. Atkins isn’t a long-term solution for me, but if I’ve picked up five or six extra pounds (Hello, *seven* in Seattle thanks to my new boyfriend, Mr. Russell Stover) then it’s a quick way for me to drop a few pounds. I glanced at the menu and realized there is next to nothing at the Target food café that isn’t loaded with carbs.

I decided to order a hot dog, but of course not eat the bun. Apparently you will burn in Hell forever if you eat a bun on Atkins. But because I like the bun, because in fact THE BUN is the best part of the hot dog, as far as I’m concerned, I knew the bun would be a big temptation to me. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, because I didn’t want to admit to Brayden what I was doing …. But, I had to “fix” the bun so I wouldn’t eat it. So I did what I always do in restaurants, when I’m on Atkins, and some masochistic-waiter brings me bread --- I took the straw from my cup, poked holes in the bun, then filled the holes with diet soda. That way the bun becomes a sodden, soggy mess and I’m no longer tempted to shovel the entire thing in my mouth. Which I have been known to do with dry buns, on occasion. Really, have you ever heard of anything more pathetic??

Brayden looked over at me, a bewildered look on her face, and asked, “What on earth are you doing?” And although it went against my better nature to confess to her I am on a D-I-E-T, I thought I would try to be honest, in a positive-attitude way. So I told her I had eaten too much junk food in the hotel last month, and was now trying to lose a little weight, and that eating too much bread can be fattening, so I was making the bread soggy so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it.

And she looked at me, just looked at me with the clarity and wisdom of her nine-year-old mind, and said, “So, why don’t you just get up and throw the bread away? There’s a trash can right over there. Do you want me to just throw it away for you?”

And I realized --- oh my gosh. My nine year old daughter is smarter than I am. *She* gets that if something is bad for you, just throw it away. If you don’t like the way eating something makes you look, or feel, get rid of it. Why couldn’t I have learned that lesson twenty-five years ago? It certainly would have saved me a lot of grief, and dollars spent on control top panty hose over the years.

I hope she stays that smart for a very long time, and never stands in front of a full-length mirror, feeling cranky about her saddlebugs.

PS. Ironically, I lost the seven pounds doing Atkins. But, I came home from Seattle with a screaming case of …….................……… eczema. (HA! You TOTALLY thought I was going to say a screaming case of something else, didn’t you?) After trying to treat myself over-the-counter for four weeks, I caved and went to see my doctor earlier this week. In at attempt to help clear up these bloody stumps I call legs, he put me on a seven-day course of steroids. So now I’m itchy, bloated, grumpy, and hungry. No doubt I’ll put those seven pounds back on, and THEN some. (sigh)

You guys, I love your comments in the guestbook so much …. You’re like my daily fix. I’m pulling out a few where people have asked specific questions or made specific comments, but even if I don’t mention you by name, know that I’ve read your note and most definitely smiled or laughed about it!

Chris from MN -- HA! Maybe that’s *my* problem, too, all-over squishiness!

Mesha in NC -- No, no creative ideas for scrambled eggs, although I did just buy this really cool omelet maker from Target. It’s like a hard plastic, two-sided dish that folds in half, only costs two dollars, and you put the eggs in and microwave for a minute or two, then stir and put in the “fixings”, then microwave for another minute or two. Take it out, fold it closed, and Viola, omelet! Best of all, no messy pans to clean up, which is the part of scrambled eggs I hate the most.

Amy in FL -- Hey, that’s great! Congratulations on the refund! My furniture is also in need of replacement, although not because of factory defect. Because my children think the sofa is their own personal jungle gym, and my dog thinks the ottoman is his own personal Kleenex. Nasty. Think anyone would refund me for THAT???

Missy in FL -- I don’t know what it is about the holidays that turn some people into total wankers. Your neighbors are being ridiculous. Six dozen cookies, for an EXCHANGE, no less, should not be complained about. Rather than tell you to drop tactful hints about the cost of the Santa you have rented, I’m going to suggest you pack up your household immediately and move to middle Georgia. I would love to have a neighbor who throws such fun Christmas parties.

And to all of you who have been so kind as to ask about Blaine …………… well, he’s Blaine, isn’t he? And life with Blaine wouldn’t be complete without some sort of complication or hurdle to overcome.

He went to Ft. Gordon yesterday for his surgical follow-up, where the doctor took one look at the harvest site on his arm, and sent him immediately to orthopedics for a consultation, who wanted to put him in the hospital yesterday for surgery. Apparently the skin graft came apart and one of the tendons in his arm is exposed. We’ve noticed it for the past week or so, but thought it was just a particularly juicy looking part of the wound, slower to heal. It’s actually quite exotic and bionic-looking, as he can flex his fingers and wrist and we can see the tendon contracting. My children are alternately entertained and horrified.

Turns out, this is a fairly common complication, happening to about a third of the patients who have this type of forearm tissue harvest. Blaine asked if he couldn’t have a local doctor handle things and they agreed. So we’re waiting on a referral to a local orthopedic surgeon, who might want to do another skin graft, or take a wait-and-see approach. In the meantime, it’s not hurting, and Blaine says as long as there’s no repeat MRSA infection like he got with his leg last year, he doesn’t care if little monkeys jump out of his arm playing the cymbals. So all’s good, I’m sure.

Except the size of my ass. And I’m off to ponder that, with a bowl of Cocoa Krispies.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Humps, Hills, Whatever

Kendrie -- Day 356 OT

I went to bed fairly early last night and woke up feeling refreshed this morning. Funny how an extra hour or two of sleep can do that for a person. Rested and relaxed, I decided to do a little something “extra” for my kids today, just to show them how much I love them:

Really, it takes so little to make them happy, and arranging the chocolate chips into smiley faces is such a small thing to do.

So when Kellen walked in the kitchen this morning and sat down, I was expecting thanks and adoration. Instead, I was a little surprised to hear him bluntly ask, “What’s this?” I mean, isn’t it fairly obvious? *THIS* is a perfect example of motherly love and devotion, now sit down and enjoy it and thank your lucky stars you have such a fabulous mom. A mother who, obviously, stops at nothing to give her children the absolute best, as evidenced by the fine china and sterling silver I use at the breakfast table to serve my children. Try and control your jealousy, everyone who is reading this.

Instead of singing my praises, or even simply picking up the syrup, or his fork, he put his head in his hands, rested his head on the table, world-weary little man that he is, gave a great sigh, and said, “Thank **goodness** today is Hill Day.”

Hill Day? Hill Day? What the heck is Hill Day?

“Don’t you mean Hump Day?” I asked him.

“Uh, NO” he replied, with that good-heavens-my-mom-is-a-complete-idiot tone all children acquire as gifts on their sixth or seventh birthdays. “It’s HILL day today in the middle of the week …. Don’t you get it?? Wednesdays are at the TOP of the hill, and now for the rest of the week we are going DOWNHILL … get it? Hill Day?? Do you understand??”, rolling his eyes, obviously convinced I am too moronic to grasp the concept.

That boy better hush up tomorrow morning and eat his smiley face pancakes, is all I’ve got to say about it.

PS. Lisa, don’t feel bad, you’re not the first person to tell me that my site has reduced them to turning off thier computer speakers. I don’t know whether to be ashamed, or proud. :)

PSS. Amy in KY, fake baby, Fake!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Kendrie -- Day 355 OT (Ten days until the one-year mark, woohoo!)

Conversation overhead at my children’s school today:

Parent: "Mrs. M, I just want you to know you’re very high on my list."

Mrs. M: "Oh, thank you so much. Um…………… prayer? Or shit?"

Kristie, silently eavesdropping: "HA!"

Monday, December 04, 2006

When "Military Intelligence" Really Is An Oxymoron.

Kristie: “Excuse me, do you have any idea how much longer it might be before my number is called?”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “You’re the next civilian number. But we give active duty military in uniform priority; are you familiar with our system?”

Kristie: “Yes, I understand the system. I’ve just been waiting a very long time.”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “Well, we want the military members to be able to get right back to work so we allow them to get their refills first.”

Kristie: “Yes, yes, I understand, God Bless the USA, it’s admirable. It’s very admirable, indeed, as long as you’re active duty and in uniform. Which I am not. So I’ve been waiting for an hour and my number hasn’t been called, yet in the meantime all the military keep walking up and getting served in front of me.”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “Well, as soon as I have a moment where there are no military waiting, you will be next.”

Kristie: “But what you’re telling me is that you have no idea when that will be, since any time an active-duty member walks up, they get to cut in front of me in line.”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “Well, technically, yes, that’s how it works. As long as they're in uniform.”

Kristie, on a roll now, and feeling a wee bit indignant: “And in the hour I’ve been sitting here, you’ve filled twenty-four military member prescriptions, and only two civilian prescriptions. I know. I’ve been watching.”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “Well, sometimes the system seems to work that way. We have no control over when the active duty members will show up … and Mondays are always a busy day.”

Kristie, huffing and puffing now: “So what you’re saying is that **theoretically**, I could sit here ALL DAY and never get called, as long as one military member after another continues to walk up? And they will ALWAYS be put in line in front of me???”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “Well, I doubt it would take ALL DAY.”

Kristie, getting a little strident: “But it’s been an hour already and there’s no end in sight --- there are more guys in uniform walking up right now!”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “Yes, ma’am, here they come. I see them.”

Kristie: “So basically, I might NEVER get called, is what you’re saying???? Until every active duty person in uniform, in the ENTIRE WORLD, in the ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE ENTIRE WORLD, is served before me, no matter how long I’ve already been waiting?????”

Base Pharmacy Tech: “Well, ma’am, try not to think of it that way.”


And at that point, I did what any sane, calm, rational, reasonable person would do. Stomped my foot, made a big production of rolling my eyes, tossed the ticket on her counter, and spit out, “Forget it! Just forget it! I don’t need your stupid, stupid, fat-head medicine that bad!” and stormed out. Because I am nothing if not mature.

(OK, to be honest, I was a little more polite than that. But I did hand her the ticket and say “Never mind”, which was pretty darn confrontational for me. But the foot stomping and eye rolling? TOTALLY did that in my imagination.)

Blaine went back this afternoon and waited for half an hour before giving up. Obviously, he is not as long-suffering as I am. Wimp.

So tonight I go to bed medicine-less. And tomorrow morning, Blaine, even though he is on convalescent leave from his surgery, will be putting on a uniform and driving to the base pharmacy to get my prescription for me from the active-duty-in-uniform line.

That, my friends, is proof of his true love if ever I needed it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dear Santa ...

Kendrie -- Day 353 OT

Thanks (again!) for all the guestbook entries. Ya’lls own hair stories were cracking me up ("ya'lls own??" What am I? A hillbilly????) and I especially liked when Sherri from NC compared these journal entries to the free public entertainment you get on PBS (although “entertaining” might not always be the adjective of choice) and my plea for guestbook comments the same as an annual pledge drive. Ha! Pretty clever, Sherri! But seriously, I want to be the “old” PBS, with good shows like Clifford and Arthur and Dragon Tales. NOT the “new” PBS with those obnoxious Doodlebop mutants. God, I hate those humanoid puppet freaks. Er, wait. Maybe that’s a regular channel, and not PBS. Either way, them and their stupid, stupid bus driver make me insane with hatred and I say a prayer of thankfulness every day that my children were in school full-time before that vomitous mass of a television show hit the airwaves.

No, I don’t like the Doodlebops. Why do you ask?

Anyway, guestbook comment and verification procedure talk aside (although if you want to keep 'em coming, it's ok with me!) --- on to today’s update:

This is the letter Kendrie brought to me this morning, and asked me to mail to Santa:

“Dear Santa Clas,
I am sory that peple have been mean to you. So I give achare believe in you. And jesas caes it is caes Baby Jesas was burn on deseder 25 and that is Christmas. And you fanded the elfs to halp you mack toys. For littit kids to. Tell Jesas that I am prad of him. From Kendrie Escoe”

(I think the only words she spelled correctly were her own name. And poor Baby Jesus. I had no idea he was burned on Christmas.)

Which prompted the following conversation this evening:

Kristie: “Kendrie, help me out a little with this letter you want me to mail. Who has been mean to Santa?”

Kendrie: “All the kids who don’t believe!”

Kristie: “Oh, I see. Well, what is this word here…. Achare?”

Kendrie: “It’s “extra” mom. I believe in Santa “extra” because those other kids don’t.”

Kristie: "Well that’s nice, honey. I’m sure Santa will be very happy to hear that.”

Kendrie: (starting to lose interest) “um-huh”

Kristie: “This is a good letter …. Did it make you happy to write it?”

Kendrie: (eyes drifting to the television) “Huh?”

Kristie: “I’m very proud of you! Do you think Santa will be proud of you?”

Kendrie: (serious pause) “Mom, Drake and Josh is on. Can we finish this later?”

I’m telling you, the kid is getting coal in her stocking, COAL, if *I* have anything to say about it!

Speaking of Christmas, don't forget to head over to Cali Ali's site if you haven't done so, and order a Santa Claus Christmas plate for yourself, or to give as a gift. I ordered mine last week and they arrived less than 36 hours later .... from clear across the country! I'd say Marey and her girls are working harder and faster than the elves up at the North Pole, with a turnaround time that fast!

Profits from the fundraiser are going to help Baby Donovan's and Noah's families, and I know everyone involved appreciates the support. And a HUGE Caringbridge Shout-Out to Postcard Cindy for donating a case of plates ---- Wow! Talk about someone who understands the concept of giving instead of receiving this holiday season!!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

The One Where I Thank You and Confess That I'm a Little Bit Embarrassed -- But Not Enough to Ask You to Stop

Kendrie -- Day 351 OT

Blaine -- sick of yogurt and mashed potatoes, that’s for sure

Thanks so much to all of you who braved the new verification procedure and signed in the guestbook. I’m like an addict, only instead of crack, I crave comments. Remember when you got your very first answering machine, and you would rush in the door after work or school and look to see if the red message light was blinking? And you’d be so disappointed when it wasn’t? Yeah. That’s me. I am seriously co-dependent on the kind words and notes of others, and a little embarrassed that I admitted it out loud. Maybe I need to join a mah-jong group, or bowling league or something, so that I’m not so reliant on all of you to brighten my day and fill my sad, lonely, cheerless, gloomy, forlorn hours …. (deep pathetic sigh) ….. I wonder if there’s a 12-step program for Caringbridge???

But, in the meantime, I’ll say thank you, quit cracking my whip, and just ask that you pop in every now and then to let me know you’re still here. Maybe I was being a little pushy with “daily” …. I mean, you *DO* have lives after all, right? But say HI once in a while! OK?!?

Now, for today’s flashback Friday:

Do you remember the before and after images of your child’s first haircut? If your kids were anything like mine, they were born bald and stayed that way quite a while. So by the time they FINALLY started growing hair, you were so grateful you vowed never to cut it? You had every intention of letting it grow long so that the entire world could enjoy the total beautifulness that was your child? And yet, the day inevitably came when you had to face the truth …. when you had to admit to yourself that the wondrous baby curls and ringlets that were so adorably adorable on your halo’d, angel-faced cherub …. Well, actually, weren’t so adorably adorable? That in fact, they looked pretty straggly and unkempt? And what the hell were you thinking????

That day came for me with all three. You’d think I’d have learned after the first one, but no, I fell for it all three times.

Brayden was practically bald until she was two, but around 18 months the few hairs that were on her head started getting really fuzzy. Finger-in-a-light-socket-fuzzy. We used to joke she looked like Albert Einstein, in his mad scientist phase. We kept putting off the first haircut, thinking it was bound to grow longer. Or straighter. Or thicker. Or anything! We finally decided to cut hers in desperation, hoping it would just start to grow. Period. When we walked in the salon, I told the hairdresser I wanted Brayden to look like Shirley Temple when she was done. (Why is it no-one but me ever thinks my jokes are funny?)

Barney is always a good support system for the very first haircut. And it looked SO much better once the fuzz was gone. She still didn’t have a lot of hair, but at least the hair she had was more manageable. And I thought, why did I wait so long?

Kellen was a lot the same way. I remember thinking I didn’t want to cut his hair because it would make him look too grown up, like a little boy instead of a toddler. So instead, he walked around for months looking like a hobo. A hobo who had never been introduced to Great Clips.

At long last, I caved:

Finally, finally! A haircut! (To this day, he still hates having his hair sprayed with the water bottle before each haircut. I think this very first haircut traumatized him.)

Afterwards, he was so cute, and although he *did* look more grown up, I thought, why did I wait so long?

With Kendrie, I was definitely deluding myself. I had somehow convinced myself that the stringy, messy stuff she had going on were actually beautiful blonde curls. And I really liked those blonde, wispy “curls” …. and hated that once we cut the hair, the curls would be gone. So I hung on to them, definitely longer than was necessary.

But all good things must come to an end:

As you can see, Kendrie was none too enthused about her first haircut. And my God, when did I get such a huge double-chin?

Nope, not getting any happier. At all. And yes, the hairdresser doing the job is laughing at her. Cold-hearted shrew.

But when all was said and done, and she was given a lollipop, which made everything worthwhile, it looked so much better, and yet again, I thought to myself, why did I wait so long???

You’d think by the third kid, I would have learned.
And truly, you’d think by the time the third kid grew her hair back from chemo, I would certainly have learned. I’m 40 years old, for pete’s sake, there aren’t too many learning-cells left in this brain of mine. If a message hasn't stuck by now, it's probably not going to.

Then again, when your child has been bald for a while, you’re so excited to see the blonde hair finally start to grow in, that you form a warped sort of attachment to it. So you let it grow, and convince yourself that it looks fine. Cute, even. And you feel thrilled when the ends start curling up again, because ever since that very first haircut, the hair has been straight as a stick. Yes, you like the curls.

In fact, you love these curls! Total strangers stop you on the street to comment on the curls, and weep at the loveliness of the curls, and you vow never to cut it. Never! NEVER!!!

Then, you notice, that except for the curls on the bottom …. Well, the rest of it looks like crap. Total crap. Said child will not, under any circumstance, even remotely consider using a barrette or a bow or a hairclip or a headband or a ponytail holder, so the hair just keeps growing and hanging down and sticking out, and alas, despite all your optimistic hopefulness, looking worse and worse all the time.

So bad, that some parents might consider cutting it themselves. *SOME* distressed mother might even get so annoyed (I’m just saying) and so desperate (hey, it could happen) that she would grab her scrapbooking scissors (just, you know, as an example) and try to cut it herself. Confident in her ability to give a cute haircut. Despite the fact she has no training nor experience nor expertise of any kind. Ultimately resulting in out-of-control hair that is not only out-of-control, but now chopped off unevenly all over. (And no, I don’t know who would do that. I'm just saying. As an example. A completely ANONYMOUS example.)

(photo not available)

All I can say is thank goodness for our friend Miss Jeanette, who actually has gone to cosmotology school and has a real, live, certified license to fix my mistakes cut hair.

And why on EARTH did we wait so long????

PS. Although seriously, I do miss the curls.