Monday, September 9, 2013


Well, summer is officially over (except for the official part, which occurs later this month).  All the persons whose years revolve around school are enjoying the fresh new start the school year brings.

In my area, the annual after-vacation heat wave hit just a little early this year, so it's been bakin' the last while.  But our lovely evening fog has been around, ameliorating the situation nicely.  There's a wildfire out near where my cousin lives, and many of my town's firefighters have done rotations up at the huge fire near Yosemite, so we are all hoping the rainy season kicks in a little early, too. 

Yesterday was the annual Stroll in the next town -- a huge and fabulous 1.25 mile street festival with a parade, music, hula, stilt walkers, food of all descriptions, art cars, games, craft booths, community groups, and some 200,000 of our nearest and dearest, plus a few friendly dogs and adoptable cats. My town's preschool co-op won the parade with parents carrying a fire engine they built of cardboard, wearing red shirts and those plastic helmets the fire department gives to little kids.  You have to admire a parade that rewards What It's All About. 

Alas, I missed this year's festivities and had to read about it online, because I'ma sprinting to cross some things off the Albatross List before the periodic Albatross Progress Report is due.  ("Sprinting" is probably the wrong metaphor, since it's more like: typetypetypetype, look stuff up, typetypetype, avoid brain explosion by visiting the nice happy internet, typetypetypetype, etc.)

What Septemberly things are happening up your way?


Queen of West Procrastination said...

It must be September, because I'm sending messages back and forth with a couple of different university libraries!

This is my second full week as an official off-campus student (I had this week a year ago, but my retroactive sick leave says it never happened, which is good, because I was in bad shape a year ago). All I need is a single roll of microfilm, ordered from a giant library that sends out such things very quickly. I emailed the library in Home City first, because they offer ILL services for alumni (at a price). I just got the response that they cancelled their membership to that library!

W: Why would they do that?

AW: It looks like my own university has new distance education options, and they say they mail out ILL items. I've just emailed our distance ed librarian to ask whether they can do this for me. It's just one roll! One roll that I ordered while I still lived in University City, but the library sent the wrong one, and then we ran out of time and I had to move!

W: the usual lack of sleep whine, with the bonus whine of Insomnia in addition to the baby's sleep issues. We had a good rhythm going, up until June. I remember when E was five months old very fondly. Too fondly.

kathy a. said...

Oooooh, shiny research! I think that library budgets are taking hits -- so it's great you have a backup method. Fingers crossed for the librarian goddess to smile upon your ever-so-modest request.

Also, ya know, the sleep fairy.

esperanza said...

W: It must be September, because the Baboos graciously shared their beginning-of-school cold with me. Mini's had fever; Sweet's a low-grade fever. They are both almost well. Now I am wishing I had a fever to knock it out more quickly. Sniffle.

AW: Since they're on the mend, they went to school today. I sat on the couch for six hours and did something called "resting." You may have heard of it.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

"Resting"? I've heard legends of it.

I hope you get better quickly, esperanza! I'm very glad that the baboos are well enough to be out of your hair.

Giant AW: E is at her grandparents' right now, for a couple of hours, so that I can get some work done. Our plan is that we're going to do this a couple of times a week, on a flexible basis (if she's having a bad day, she'll stay home and we'll try again the next day, and of course it's dependent on my parents' availability). E had an awesome this morning, and so now she's having play time at Grandma.

W: this time is short! And the temptation to nap is strong. Must work now, before my parents show up with E!

esperanza said...

AW: Just rearranged the bookcases. This makes me ridiculously happy. I think I am a librarian in my other life.

W: Now I am tired, and sneezing even more from the dust. Back to the couch.

kathy a. said...

Ah, resting... And yay, grandparents!

kathy a. said...

firefox moved my favorites button. waaaa.

Liz said...

W: MM (11) had a toddler-worthy meltdown.

AW: I stuck to my guns and he lost something he really wanted.

W: I wanted it, too, fireplace it. NOT FAIR! Why do I have to be the fireplacing grown-up? All responsible and not giving in.

esperanza said...

Ugh, Liz. I hear you. Mini had to go to school today with (horrors!) two pigtails instead of three, because she didn't answer me when I asked how many she wanted. She was infuriated with me when I wouldn't "fix" it. Still mad when she came *home* from school, which is a feat when you're only 3. I'm betting she'll answer me when I ask her how many pigtails she wants tomorrow. (Normally this is not a battle I would fight, but she is in a "ignore Mama" phase that is aggravating, to say the least).

Liz said...

Oh ((Esperanza)). I can pretty much guarantee you that his melt-down last night was from over-tiredness and not enough just cozy time. The over-tiredness seemed to be fixed this morning. And the cozy time will be applied this evening in abundance.

Sue said...

Kathy a - the street fair sounds so lovely! I'm sending you good Albatross energy.

QWP - nomination for Mullet - "Rest? I've heard legends of it."

Hugs for all the parents who need to be grown-ups. It's a tough job, but the follow-up cuddle times are worth it. Also, sending great people out into the world is its own reward. Keep up the good work!

W: Busy, busy and busy. It is September and 'twas ever thus in churchy world. It would be like any other September except that hubby is having a bad spell complete with added weakness and fatigue. He's a bit frustrated to say the least.

ms - it sucketh.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

((Sue and husband))

AW: E had a perfect day yesterday! She was awesome for the grandparents, and we had a significant decrease in the separation anxiety. And then she didn't freak out about bedtime, and only woke up once in the night.

W: That once lasted for an hour and a half.

E would like to add a W: She's discovered that apple sauce exists, and is now angry that non-apple sauce foods exist. (I knew there was a reason I was holding off on introducing that food. I knew it would be True Love And I Wish Everything Was Sugary From Now On.)

kathy a. said...

Oy, the meltdowns! Good prescription, Liz (the cozy time).

((( Sue ))) ((( beloved )))

QWP -- yay for E!

esperanza said...

((Sue & Pillar))

QWP, on balance, that sounds like a good day. Sorry about the middle of the night party time. That's no fun.

W: Sweet was a pill at breakfast. This is not unusual.
AW: After breakfast and getting dressed, she says to me, "I sorry I cried and throw fits at breakfast, Mommy. I wuv you. I miss you today." Aw. Completely unprompted. I believe that she is sorry; if only I thought she would avoid doing so tomorrow. She is NOT a morning person.

Sue said...

AW: We now have a Department Store with an Archery Symbol in our city. They carry - wait for it - Rice Ch*x!!!!!!! Yaaaaaaay! Haven't found them anywhere else in town. Now I have yummy breakfast sans gluten.

W: Said store bought out a good Canadian company with roots in the original Hudson Bay company which dates back to when Jesus was in shorts.

Still, Ch*x!

kathy a. said...

Esperanza, that is the cutest and sweetest!

Sue -- yay for the ch*x!

Things have settled so much with SIL, but we got a "non-emergent" call last night because she somehow broke her finger. A couple months ago, it was her elbow. In January, her wrist. With the dementia, she hasn't been able to explain how any of this happened. Part of her illness involves issues with balance, coordination. Guess she also has some significant osteoporosis.

SIL is pretty well supervised and now bonding well with staff -- think this is just one of those things.

Liz said...

Is it all on the same side? Or is it both sides?

kathy a. said...

I don't know for sure, Liz. The wrist was when she was on her own. I didn't get details on the finger. She has been falling more often the last couple of years, attributed to the progressive brain deterioration.

Liz said...

I'm so sorry about her brittle bones, but am so happy she seems settled in the placement.

kathy a. said...

35 minutes in the grocery checkout. they were understaffed, and somebody upstream bought a whole lot before her credit card didn't go through... very cute kids behind me, and a nice older lady ahead. we're practically family now. ;)

Sue said...

Boo on the grocery line kathy a - but nice to spend time with your new found family. :)

In the What The Fireplace???? department - two more cancer diagnoses of friends/parishioners this week. That's THREE since Sept 1st. Dear Universe, enough already!!!!

Also, I heard a replay of a news report from 9/11 2001 on the way to work. It still chills me to my core. Unimaginable loss, heroism, and tears.

Liz said...

I love those moments (when I'm able to BE in the moment).

kathy a. said...

oh, sue. i'm so sorry about so many diagnoses of the fireplacing cancer. i mean, one would be too many. holding them in my thoughts. xoxoxo

kathy a. said...

Even these 12 years later, this date -- 9/11 -- brings so many memories and emotions. Probably everyone born 2006 and before has memories of that awful day, many vivid. Please share if you are so moved.

I meant to take a little distance this year, remembering yet not in a flood of tears -- but a friend shared something about a young man who helped get a bunch of people out of an upper floor, and was still helping when the tower he was in collapsed. So, there go the floodgates of emotion -- the horror, the pride, the sorrow. The challenge of helping my kids through something that. xoxo

Liz said...


Re: 9/11, I am so glad that today is overcast and muggy. I remember many things about that day, but the one that punches me in the gut every year is how simply SPARKLING the weather that day was.

AW: I've just gotten some incredibly good news re: my campaign, but I can't tell you what it is.

W: It has me hyperventilating.

AW: but in a good way.

kathy a. said...

Go, LIZ!

I probably meant to finish a sentence up there - "through something that..." was so unspeakable. unimaginable. was something nobody knows how to do as a person, much less as a parent.

kathy a. said...

I found a dress that is comfortable, doesn't make me look like a tank, no gappage or other embarassing problems, and it has pockets. The other two contenders failed, so I'm exchanging for two more winners in different colors. Please tell me accessories make a difference.

esperanza said...

Accessories make a difference. Scarf? Necklace? Earrings? pin? Don't ask me, I stink at accessories.

kathy a. said...

Scarves. That's my story; sticking to it. And jackets/sweaters as needed.

Liz said...

Accessories make a difference. Belts, scarves, jackets, big funky pins.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

W: Got to meet some nice paramedics today.

AW: E's completely fine.

Parenting fail: I was making supper while Mr. Q set up her new high chair. She got playing with the box, peeled off and swallowed some packing tape. Started choking and there was a bit of blood when she coughed. We called 911, since we couldn't get the tape out of her throat. By the time the paramedics got here, she'd swallowed the tape entirely and was playing happily. Her vitals are all normal and we have an exciting diaper to look forward to.

Still shaking. My baby.

kathy a. said...

omg, QWP! so glad she is OK, but yikes! xoxo

esperanza said...

ACK! QWP! So glad she is ok.

Liz said...

(((QWP))) So glad E is okay!

Sue said...

(((QWP))) Oh no! I'm glad E is okay.

kathy a - yes, scarves. And all the other great suggestions above. I have started doing the "buy a good dress/skirt/top in many colours" thing as well. When something fits really well, it's good to grab the opportunity and stock up!

W/AW: All of these fireplacing cancer visits are (of course) tough, but I have also been witness to the incredible strength of the human spirit. Not so much the "I'll fight this thing!" shouting from rooftops - it's been more of a quiet, determined but realistic approach in each case.

Quite profound.

Also, I hope y'all know that when I whine about multiple horrifying situations, I'm not whining about how it affects ME. It's my job and I do what is needed. It's hard to see these people I love in such a difficult time - but my frustration with the universe is all about them - not my schedule.

Liz said...

Yes, we know. It's about the cancer, not about how the cancer affects YOU.

But remember that it is affecting you. Practice self-care. Be kind with yourself.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

(((Sue))) I never would have presumed you were whining about how it affects you and your schedule. But having multiple members of your church community have serious diagnoses in a short amount of time IS stressful, and requires you to provide a lot of love and support.

AW: E had an excellent night last night. She needed it, after the stressful day she had. At first, she woke up crying after only sleeping half an hour, but Mr. Q got her back to sleep immediately, and then we heard her whimpering about an hour later (and I made Mr. Q check on her, but she was whimpering in her sleep). After that, she settled down and slept well.

W: Awaiting the Packing Tape Diaper. She's squirming a bit, and so I think the packing tape is feeling weird in her innards. (I'm keeping her well hydrated, and her breakfast had a lot of gentle fibre in it.)

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Words I never thought I'd write: "The packing tape feels weird in her innards."

kathy a. said...

((( Sue ))) No way would we suspect you of complaining personally in the face of the things your parishioners are struggling with.

Good on them for their determined and realistic approaches to the fireplacing cancer. And on those who must be stepping up to help as they can. Keeping them all in my thoughts.

Also, what Liz said.

QWP -- as they say, "this too will pass."

kathy a. said...

QWP -- one of senior cat's quirks a few years ago was eating packing tape. I mean, this cat has issues. But anyway, E will be fine, and when she's 12, she'll be wondering why you never let her near packing tape. When she goes off to college, she will BEG you to not tell the packing tape story to the other parents in the dorm. (My dad distinguished himself on my first day of college by telling everyone the story of when wee Kathy mistook his typewriter for a potty.) Ahem.

Liz said...

Now it can be told. We did a poll. And it's good. It's really, really good. Dead heat at the very start good. Winning when they ask about specific policies good.

Really really good.

But keep it under your hats, okay?

kathy a. said...

yay! woo hooo! (and they weren't even polling us.) go team go!

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Wooo, Liz! Fantastic.

Kathy A, it is comforting to hear that senior cat ate packing tape and passed it and everything. The waiting for packing is a strange business.

AW: E has been a total doll today, and has napped like a champion. We went and she played with her little friends, and they were so sweet together.

Anonymous said...

If they had polled us, Liz would have won in a landslide! Hey, they should poll us.
Even better, they should let us vote in the election! :)

(((((QWP)))) so scary. glad she's OK!!


Sheesh universe!
Just found out a dear friend of ours who thought her cancer was beat has to go back for more treatment. FIREPLACE IT!!

Healing prayers for all.

--Neighbor Lady

kathy a. said...

Fireplacing cancer.... Hugs for your friend, NL -- and you guys, too. xoxox

esperanza said...

Yippee Liz!

Bad cancer week at hubby's church too. Hmm.

AW: School, it is going great.

W: After school, not so great. They're letting it all hang out at home, and it's not so pretty.

kathy a. said...

Fireplacing cancer.

Esperanza, hope things settle a bit. But I remember the little angels showing tattered wings after a long day; always figured they were v. tired after so much excitement.

Sue said...

Yay Liz!!!!!!! WooHoo!!!

NL and esperanza - fireplacing cancer!

Liz said...

Thanks everybody!

Esperanza, my suggestion for tattered wing syndrome is snack time, followed by story time, which may or may not include nap time.

Liz said...

The key being a steady, replenishing, unwinding routine.

kathy a. said...

Yes, a little food and some gentle unwinding time. (Come to think of it, that works pretty nicely for adults, too!)

The fireplacing cancer -- just the word strikes fear. But the thing is, no 2 are alike. Some cancers sincerely turn out to be no big deal; some are virulent or sneaky or both; some are cured; some people who end up with "incurable" cancer can nonetheless enjoy good decent chunks of time when it isn't doing anything. And etc. Plus, every *person* with cancer is different -- and what we can do is all about that one individual, because the fireplacing cancer never listens to us.

A few suggestions: [1] really listen to what your person is saying -- don't assume that person will feel the way you imagine you would. [2] do not ever say you're sure the person will be cured (that will just stick in the craw of someone who is coming to grips with an uncertain future) -- say you are thinking of them, that you hope they FEEL better, that you love and value them, that you'll be there for the long run, etc. [3] your suggestion they call if they need something is OK, but it's even better if you can identify something they specifically need and offer that -- shuttling kids to/from X, driving them to an appointment, dinner on a certain date. [4] just keep showing up. [5] love is important. [6] humor helps. xoxoxo

esperanza said...

kathy a, you need to do workshops for church people. #3 is particularly good and practical.

Complicating the "tattered wing" situation after school: on two days, we have to go immediately to a therapy appointment for Sweet. One is a nice long drive which allows for some transition. The other is 3 minutes away, which is hard. On the other two days, I've had a hard time even getting them from the back door to the kitchen to get a snack in their tummies. I'd feed them in the car, but see above re: 3 minute drive.

It's just an adjustment in the routine, which is hard for all of us. Especially this week when we all had snotty noses.

Your laugh for the week:
Mini, yesterday: "I just got a booger on the chicken"...
and, later, while climbing in the bathtub: "I don't even know how to play the naked game." (This was not in response to anything I said or did; it came from her own little head).

kathy a. said...

Mini is hilarious!

Is there a way to make space between school and the appointment 3 minutes away? Switch appointment time, or earlier school pickup on that one day? Even if you're just driving around for a little while, eatin' snacks and singin' and lookin' for ducks or something -- it's good to have a little wind-down time built in.

kathy a. said...

HAPPY NEWS! Friend of the blog, Jeni, has a brand new baby girl!!!!!

Awards tomorrow.

Sue said...

Yay for happy baby news about Jeni!!!

kathy a - That is a GREAT list of recommendations for visiting anyone who is living with cancer.