Saturday, November 10, 2007
What was that?
We were watching Backyardigans "Knights are Brave and Strong." Emma is on the couch complaining that she can't play with her fishing game because of all the stuff on the couch. Her stuff. I told her I would help her clean it up but she had to help. I put away her Potato Head and told her to take her pajamas upstairs and put them on the bed. She starts in, "But...blah, blah, blah," arguing with me.

I tell her (Hello Dad?), "It would take you half the time to do it as it does for you argue about it."

As Emma nears the top of the step I hear her say, "Yes, your Majesty."



Friday, November 09, 2007
Disney is too scary
It will be a while before I take Emma to the movies. She really can't sit through a movie and be quiet. Of course, in the living room I don't mind so much. Yesterday we tried to watch an entire movie all the way through for the first time. I sat with her and helped her understand what was going on. She asked questions, or I explained things that might be confusing.

For this venture I chose "A Bug's Life" which I barely remembered seeing. The scary parts were pretty intense. Hopper was a real meanie. At the beginning of the movie Flik accidentally dumps all the food the ant colony had collected into the water. Emma was really upset that their food was gone. She was almost crying, "Are they gonna get it back? Are they going to get their food back?" Her eyes were pooling with tears. I didn't realize she was quite that sensitive. We made it the whole way through the movie, but her interest waned and I had to keep pulling her back into the action.

Like I said, it will be while before we try the theater.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Cool stuff from far away
My friend Angelika just returned from a trip to Israel. She takes these Elderhostel trips all over the world. Last time she was in Guatemala and surrounding countries. When she's not doing Elderhostel trips she travels with her sister, who lives in Germany. They do a trip at least once a year. I think their last trip was Poland, before that it was Russia, and before that Rome. She often brings little trinkets home for Emma and me, and I always receive a postcard in the mail.

Here's what she bought me:

The sections are joined together by links so the fish is flexible. It's a pendant, if that's not clear from the picture.

This is what she brought Emma:

It has "Jordan" embroidered on it. I think it's cool because it's not a sentimental zoo camel. It's a working camel with harness and all.

Finally, here's my birthday present. Since I've shown you the other socks she knitted me, I figured you should see these. For the record I'm the one who chooses the wild color patterns. She often offers me the choice between several and I usually choose the most colorful.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007
An apple a day...
Emma saw this dress for the first time and decided she wanted to wear it today. She was fascinated with a dress covered in apples. It's a little OshKosh number that my SIL gave Emma, much to her daughter's chagrin. I think my 11 year-old niece thought the dress uncool. Emma doesn't know 5th grade cool, she just knows what she likes.


A tribute
In 1998 M and I planned a trip out west. We wanted to visit my brother, who was stationed in Colorado Springs at the time. We also wanted to spend a week in Las Vegas afterward. 1998 was a very eventful year for my family. As we were planning the trip of our lifetime, my grandparents weren't faring well health-wise. Popi's dad was dying of cancer, Noni's dad was in a Veteran's hospital suffering from dementia and Noni's mom was suffering so badly from diabetes that she was forced to start dialysis. In the midst of all this our trip was something we could look forward to. We had to get out to Colorado Springs before my brother moved to his next post.

Our trip was planned for October. After a valiant battle and recovery from prostate cancer seven years prior, the cancer came back on Pop (Popi's Dad) with a vengeance. He finally succumbed to it in August of 1998. Bea Bea (Noni's Mom) had been on dialysis for a brief period and despised it. She felt that it was dehumanizing and she was so uncomfortable and unhappy. After watching Pop's passing she was impressed with his grace and courage and peace with his coming end. A few weeks after we buried him she chose to go off of dialysis. She knew it was a conscious choice to face her probable end and she made that choice for herself.

She declined throughout September. As our trip out west finally came around we faced the possibility that she would die while we were away. I can clearly remember the Friday I went to see her in the nursing home before we left for Colorado. She was in a haze and barely conscious. Some part of me didn't really know for sure that this was the last time I'd see her. She seemed out of it. For my entire lunch period I sat beside her and said nothing. Just sat with her. When it came time to go I really didn't know what to do. To say everything you'd ever want to say to a person you were going to see for the last time would be to admit it was over. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I wasn't sure she was even hearing me. I walked around her bed and sat beside her. I leaned over and took her in my arms and told her I loved her and simply said thank you. To my amazement she said to me clearly "I love you, ____." I will cherish the gift of that moment of clarity forever. As I walked to my car tears were falling and my body shook.

We left for Colorado the next day not knowing how long she would hang on. We left on a Saturday, on Tuesday Bea Bea died. My brother and I consulted with Mom and the cost to fly right back would be prohibitive. We promised to remember Bea Bea in a special way and Noni promised she'd be all right without us. Still, we felt awful that we couldn't be there.

M and I were scheduled to ride the train up to Pikes Peak the next morning. Our trip had been delayed one day because of the first snow of the season on the peak. That Tuesday night M, my brother and I all sat on the bed and reminisced about Bea Bea. We came up with the idea to make a list of all the things, the impressions of her that made her special to us. My idea was to cram our list on a tiny piece of paper and take it up to the peak with us the next day. I'd find a place to hide it or bury it. This would be our memorial to Bea Bea, placed carefully at the highest point in the continental United States, the closest place we could get to heaven. We shed many tears and laughed a lot as we made our list. Here it is, as I reproduced it by hand all those years ago...

In loving memory of:

Beatrice Frances P*
Born: March 24, 1920
Died: October 6, 1998

Remembrances of:
Southern Hospitality
Shopping all day
Love of laughter
Letters in the mail
Crystal, China and Silver
Dove soap and Calgon bath beads
Bountiful meals
Christmas mornings together
Much anticipated weekend visits
Miniature shoes, spoons and baskets
Good stories
Sharp dressing
Yard sales and flea markets
Immaculate housekeeping
Patio picnics
"Drunk man, street car..."
Pee Wee football cheers
Christmas angel story
Pineapple upside-down cake and cold milk
Macaroni and cheese
Vienna sausages
Bragging on grandchildren
Dickens village
"Miss Daisy"
The Hair Appointment
Elvis adoration
Frozen Snickers
Crab feasts
Redskins football
Ironing in the kitchen
Two dollar bills
Hugs and kisses
Whiskey cake, cocoons and party mix
Roses and boxwoods
Posing for the camera (no glasses)
Feisty and a bit stubborn

We will miss you,
With all our love,

Alex*, B* and M*

I folded the two 3X5 sheets of paper into the smallest square I could make. The next day M and I took the cog railway up to the top of Pikes Peak. We surveyed the area and took a while choosing our spot. We found a prominent rock and then I quietly dug under it and buried the paper. We spent our entire 50 minutes on top of the mountain at this task and taking pictures. We never had time to see the gift shop or buy the famous doughnuts sold up there. On the way down the mountain I remember washing the specks of salt from the tears that spotted my glasses.

From the time I was in high school I can remember every once in a long while Bea Bea would pull me aside. She'd root around in her dresser and pull out a poem. She'd show me where to find it and implore me to read it at her funeral. I solemnly promised her I would, every time. It is my sincere regret that I was not able to keep that promise, because I always intended to. Honestly, I don't know if I could have done it. I get very emotional at funerals and I don't think I could have held it together. But I really wanted to do it for her.

Her poem that she chose read:

"To Those I Love" by Isla Paschal Richardson

If I should ever leave you
whom I love
To go along the Silent Way,
grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk
Of me as if I were
beside you there.
(I'd come - I'd come,
could I but find a way!
But would not tears and grief
be barriers?)
And when you hear a song
or see a bird
I loved, please do not let
the thought of me
Be sad...For I am
loving you just as
I always have...
You were so good to me!
There are so many things
I wanted still
To do - so many things
to say to you...
Remember that I
did not fear...It was
just leaving you
that was so hard to face...
We cannot see beyond...
But this I know:
I loved you so - t'was heaven
here with you!

I'll never forget.
JCPenney Christmas Gift Book 2007
Emma still only watches about five or six different shows, and they're all on networks with no commercials. We're trying to hold of as long as we can on the "I want, I want, I want..." that comes from seeing cool toys on commercials all the time. It's actually been working.

However, on a lark I gave Emma the JCPenney gift book to look at. Mostly because she loves to look at my Parents magazine for the pictures of babies and toys. She looked at the page full of baby dolls. "Mommy, mommy! Will you buy me that?" Then she turned the page and saw a big doll house. "Oh my gosh! Mommy, look at that! It's humongous. Will you buy me that?" "No." "Why?" "Because" (Obviously I haven't practiced my responses here.) Then she points at something else, "Maybe my daddy will buy me that." I tell her, "Maybe you should ask Santa Claus for it." Yeah!

So fifteen minutes later she's still going through the book pointing at five things per page. "Mommy, look at that! Mommy look at this! " She looks at a kitchen and says, "Maybe Santa Claus will bring me that and I will love it because no one can take it away from me."

Sheesh, they must be hard-wired for this stuff!

P. S. This is what she's getting for Christmas from Mommy and Daddy.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Early morning in our household today
The first phone call came slightly after 5:35 a.m. Within thirty seconds after that one another phone call came. Five minutes later another phone call. M is the "technical support" for the electronic voting machines in this county and three different precincts couldn't get their computers turned on. Unfortunately there's no way for these people to reach M without waking up the whole household. He was out the door by 6:00 a.m. Then came the fourth and final phone call.

The good news is I had no problems getting up early and getting out the door to vote. Have you voted yet?


Monday, November 05, 2007
Cowboy boots
I finally bought some tights this weekend so that Emma can now wear the boots she got for her birthday. Unfortunately we're short on dresses for her to wear with the boots. I'll work on that.


Reading to the cat
Emma went to her room and chose some books to read to Kiki. I think the cat is finally getting used to Emma. She used to run when she saw Emma coming. Now she'll wait and see what Emma's going to do first. That perch is a fairly safe one because the railings prevent Emma from doing anything other than just petting her.

Please ignore the mess behind the entertainment center. We do.


Sunday, November 04, 2007
Living Dangerously
Emma likes life on the edge.

As we were leaving Wendy's she decided she needed to climb the pole. Popi helped a little ;)