Saturday, June 27, 2009

House guest

Little Bill, a friend's hamster, is staying with us for the week.

"We don't have to clean the cage, do we?" Shane asked.

"I don't think so. I didn't see any litter," I said. Immediately, he thinks this will become his job.

Erin is thrilled. Lanie is quite excited too. The latter a much bigger deal than the former.

I am glad to see Lanie's enthusiasm and curiosity toward our guest. I helped Little Bill out of his cage and let the girls take turns holding him. Erin thought he would lay still and cuddle, but he was ready to explore. Lanie, still timid, just touched him and then let me set him on her lap.

"How about we let the hamster sleep up in your room?" I suggested to Lanie.

"Yes!" she said.

So what if hamsters are nocturnal. She'll love having him around.

Friday, June 26, 2009


What a week.

Today, we are making ice cream sandwiches with the cute little sandwich molds I got some years ago from Williams-Sonoma. The girls have already laid claim to the one they want.

Erin: a cow
Lanie: a pig
Me: a star

Shane hasn't picked. Perhaps we'll just surprise him. You know, after the colonoscopy.

We have mint chocolate chip ice cream and a yummy Reese's peanut butter one. Sandwiched between a soft brownie, what could be better on a summer afternoon?

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Frequently asked questions

Shane is going to fast for a test this week. I want to make him as comfortable as possible, so I looked over the doctor's list to see what I should have on hand. The sheet reads (all-caps are the doctor's):

Day before the procedure, drink clear liquids only. Begin clear diet. Do not eat any food. You may have all the liquids you want. This includes broth, bouillon, any color Jello but red, coffee (without cream or milk), tea, all juices but V8 and orange juice with pulp, soda of any kind, Kool-Aid, popsicles or ice slushies. YOU ARE TO HAVE NOTHING TO DRINK AFTER MIDNIGHT, THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR PROCEDURE, NOT EVEN WATER, UNTIL AFTER YOUR PROCEDURE. NO GUM. NO CANDY.


Q: Can I have anything to eat or drink after midnight or before the procedure?
A: No.

Q: What do I do if I become nauseated or begin vomiting?
A: Call the office, a doctor is always on call.

Q: Do I have to drink all the prep?
A: Yes.

Q: Is beer, gin and vodka considered a clear liquid?
A: No.

Q: Can I have Ensure or Slim-Fast?
A: No.

People ask these questions frequently? Did anyone else find the booze question disturbing?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Take a picture

Happy father's day 2009. We had my dad, his girlfriend and my sister over for dinner. I don't see my dad as often as I used to, and each time I do see him, he seems much older. His hair is thinning. He's got old man splotches on his arms. He's having problems with his teeth. He seems tired.

We spent a few minutes, just the two of us, checking out the recession garden. He gave me tips on keeping control of tomatoes and cucumbers, how to keep the lettuces coming back, complimenting the raised bed. We walked around the property. He commented on some low branches that need to be removed, admired the crepe myrtle in the front yard.

"Was this walkway here the last time we came?" he asked.

"Yes, it was."

"I don't remember it."

Beautiful afternoon sunlight. Full bellies from chips and dips. Blueberry wine. Chicken on the grill, but not that grill. Flowers. Candles. Windows opened wide. I felt a gentle rush over my skin, watched the flower blossoms sway, "Did you see that?" I asked. Could it be any better? Thank you, God, for dinner.

Lanie was excited to help. We bought a special tray yesterday, a red one, for her to carry out the dessert: mint chocolate chip ice cream, with a small flair of whipped cream, and a chocolate heart cookie to top it off. We had spent the morning baking the cookies.

"Let me take a picture," I said.

"Hurry, it's heavy," she replied. Erin handed out spoons. They were both so happy, happy to help.

Watched the kids scooter in the driveway. Then around back to lounge at the patio, my girls playing merrily on the playset. Fading day light. So good.

"Your girls are beautiful," Miss Linda smiled. "You are blessed."

Thank you, God.

"Please come out again. We love having you here," I said as I walked her to the car. Dad was taking her home and would come back to get my sister, who can't drive from physical handicaps. When he returned, my mind nagged, take a picture, take a picture!

"Dad, come here," I said. I held the camera at arm's length and we squeezed our full faces into the frame. One. And then another. And another to be sure. My sister laughed.

"Get in the picture too!" I said. And Erin joins us eagerly. Shane offers to help. I still have yet to figure out why I have double chins when he's behind the camera.

Hugs. Waves. Gentle night. Fading light. I steal away while the kids ready for bed and play back the photos on my camera. And it makes me smile.

Thank you, God.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The grill that's not for him

A friend asked if she could borrow some garage space to hide a gift for Father's day for her husband. She got him a grill.

"That's fine, but Shane might use it. You know, until Sunday," I said.

I warned him the other day that she'd be bringing the grill by this week. He got a sneaky smile on his face. "That's really clever," he said. "Telling me that someone is using our garage space to hold a gift so that I won't suspect it's for me."

"No, really," I said. "It's not for you. I didn't get you a grill."

She parked it in our driveway today while I was out and I put it in the garage when I got home.

"The grill that's not for you is in the garage," I told him when I called to say hey this afternoon.

"Uh huh," he sounded like it was a big joke.

I mentioned to my friend what Shane had said. She thought it was hilarious and wanted to tell her husband, but couldn't, because the gift is for him.

"I'm just going to take that old grill of ours and get rid of it," Shane said tonight at dinner.

"Well, don't take it too far, because you're going to have to get it back on Sunday."

I'm pretty sure he knows that it's really not for him. Especially since he looks at all our statements. But now I'm thinking it would be fun to mess with him and get him a book on grilling and some grilling utensils for Sunday. Would that be wrong?

Friday, June 12, 2009


I really look forward to Fridays. And it's not because they are any different for me than any other day of the week, but because every Friday we know something extraordinary will happen. Today is a bit muggy for our comfort, having just returned from a jaunt down the road to visit horses. So I knew that strawberry picking would be out and I didn't really have a back-up in mind.

Then I thought about lunch out at a fast food place with one of those indoor play areas. My kids longingly look at those every time we pass one and say, "Mommy, can we please go there sometime?"

That would be exciting to them in itself. Can you tell I'm not very prepared for today?

However, we received a special invitation to swim at a friend's pool this afternoon. It is the perfect remedy to muggy, a delicious surprise and a soothing respite for my frazzled soul. In addition to the tender scones a friend just dropped off at my front door.

Counting blessings today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Forsaken Land and GPS

I drove into the Forsaken Land today for a doctor's appointment. Shane met me there to hang out with the kids so I could, you know, meet with the doctor and have privacy.

I would have preferred the closer office location, but that meant a very long wait to get in. So I chose the Forsaken Land. I called Shane three times because the directions were so confusing.

"I've got the same directions you have and I'm here waiting for you," he said.

"These were obviously written by a man," I said. They use a special man code.

After three calls and six wrong turns, I found the place. I felt dirty even stepping out of the car and knew I'd want to bathe when I got home. The letters were weathered and peeling off the door. The visit itself, a bit seedy. I'll spare you the details.

Once back in the car, Shane reviews the three turns I need to make to point me home. I leave the parking lot first, and he trails. Driving past the first turn I needed to make, I call him.

"I missed the first turn, didn't I?" I ask.

"Yeah, but you can keep going--"

"No, no. I don't want to make this any harder. I'm turning around."

He follows after giving a brief review.

"You probably shouldn't follow me," I say.

It was like he never spoke. Or I only remembered things in reverse, as I found myself about to take the wrong ramp into Oblivion. I correct immediately and get into the left-turn lane. Shane is behind me, visibly laughing hysterically. I don't bother calling him. We both know.

So then, I get onto the Big Road and try merging into big congestion and look into my rearview mirror to see my husband going One Way, while I'm going a Different Way.

My phone rings.


He's laughing.


"We're definitely installing your GPS tonight when I get home," he says.

"If I'm not home by dinner, you're on your own," I say, hanging up.

I get home safely, with only a minor detour, and am making plans with a friend for next week.

"Let me get my calendar," I say. Only it's not in the diaper bag. Or on my car's front seat where I thought I left it. No, I realize, I left it at the doctor's office. In the Forsaken Land.

A quick call confirms it. I call Shane.

"They're going to mail it to me," I said, relieved and grateful.

"You mean you don't want to drive and get it? It's only ten wrong turns away."

Funny. Very funny.

Friday, June 5, 2009

SSF double header

Our super surprises aren't such a surprise since Lanie could hear me on the phone making plans.

Lunch date with friends chez nous.

Dinner date with friends, encore chez nous.

It's hopping at our place today.