Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An open letter to the God who lacks a sense of humor

I can't make you laugh tonight. Because all I can do is cry. I wish that wasn't the case, but it just is. Someone I care a lot about, one of my imaginary unicorn friends, my girl from BlogHer and beyond, is, as we speak, preparing to live her life without her husband.

And I don't understand. My heart hurts. No amount of glitter or kittens or rainbows can make this better. Not now. For her and for him, and for her kids. You see, this is not a divorce, this is not voluntary at all. This is about a disease. A horrible, nasty, debilitating disease that has stolen their lives and their family. A disease he beat once, and that came back with a vengeance. We of the Internet said fuck cancer. And he did for a while. Now he has run out of time. The crazy thing is that after all of this, the tumor is shrinking. But the damage is done...his lungs and heart are damaged, and they've reached the end of this journey.

I haven't been able to write this, because I guess I didn't want to admit it, and I didn't want to hurt her to see it in print, though God knows she is writing about it, probably to keep herself sane and try to comprehend the incomprehensible.

Her husband is dying of cancer. And he isn't going to leave the hospital. She is losing her love, and her best friend. Her children are losing their father. And I don't care who you are, or how much faith you claim to have, there is nothing, not one thing, that you can say to make me believe this is okay.

God works in mysterious ways, they say. I say, maybe he doesn't work at all. Someone has a terrible sense of humor. Are you listening, God?

Dear God,

you might want to get a joke book. You are seriously humor-impaired. I know, you are God, and perfect, all of that. But when it comes to jokes? Yours suck. You might want to spend some time on the Internet, twitter, tumblr. There are some wicked funny people there that might be able to show you the difference between good and funny and just …bad taste.

Because the idea of one of my best friends, my imaginary unicorn of a fierce, and funny friend losing her husband to cancer on April Fool's Day? Well, that's just the biggest cosmic joke, isn't it? Actually, it's in very poor taste, akin to telling a racist joke at the NAACP meeting. It's like telling old people jokes in a retirement home. Telling flood jokes in New Orleans. Bottom Line? That shit ain't funny.

T, who has no tag-line this time

photo by carfull53, under creative commons
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Monday, March 29, 2010

I think they're endangered

My son. In some ways, he is a typical 11 year old. He is obsessed with Doctor Who. And farts. I submit this exchange:

JBear: Hey JBean, have you ever seen a Fardis?

play on the word "tardis" from Doctor Who.

JBean: Is it purple hops on one foot and lays eggs?

JBear: What?! No.

JBean: Oh. well, then I haven't seen one.

And they say, was that. Of course, I was silently laughing so hard I had tears running down my cheeks.

What have you heard a kid say that was funny? Share it! We want to know

T, who figures it's a wild kingdom around here

picture by mac mcrae. Used under creative commons license
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

KaBoom! I built a playground!

Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in the Kaboom! playground build in Inglewood. In case you haven't heard of KaBoom!, it's a non-profit organization that builds playgrounds in neighborhoods. They provide support and guidance, as well as lining up corporate sponsors for communities who want to build a playspace or upgrade their playground equipment.

In an all-day build, members of communities are able to completely transform a site into a playground. This time, we performed a badly needed upgrade, from equipment that wasn't safe for play. From 9-3 over 220 people from the City of Inglewood, Los Angeles Fire Department, Youth Build and a crew of mom bloggers, of which I was one, descended on Inglewood with one goal: create a great space for kids. Center Park in Inglewood is now the proud owner of the resulting playground. In the space of seven hours, playground equipment was built, including a large climbing structure with climbing wall and bridges, slide and swings. Seven tons of concrete were mixed, two tractor-trailerfuls of mulch was shoveled (some of it by me and JBug!) and moved onto the playground.

Local artist, Julian created an amazing table and benches for the playground, with an urban flair. Julian creates art through a program at his school, which offers community service on weekends. With Reverend Run attending with his wife and daughters, 220 volunteers and local school children watched and cheered at the ribbon cutting ceremony concluding the build.

KaBoom has built 1748 playgrounds, and Koolaid has sponsored 26 of those builds. KaBoom wants to help your community, too. What can you do? You can map the playgrounds in your area and provide pictures. You can get support and information in starting your own community build. You can donate money. And yes, you can even join a local build. KaBoom! has a vision: a safe place to play within walking distance for every child. It's a huge undertaking, and they need our help.

This was one of the most rewarding things I have done in a long time, and I recommend attending a build if you have the opportunity. Not only will you have an amazing experience, you will also be left with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

Here is the collaborative Whrrl story:

Powered by Whrrl
What is your favorite piece of playground equipment?

T, who likes the swings the best

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Monday, March 22, 2010

The Dog Days of NOW

It was like Christmas. We loaded into the car, en route for LAX. We were all so tired of waiting! I got to the Baggage Services Office, after waiting in line..I was in the wrong line. Of course. a half hour wasted. Then I got to Priority Parcel Service, the right place, only to be told I had to wait for a half-hour to an hour after the flight came in. Augh. More waiting!

We killed time by taking the kids to the bathroom following a lengthy stroll, and ordering some way-too-sweet coffee at some fly-by-night in-terminal coffee front store. And then walked slooooowly back to the office. Our waiting was over. There she was. After a flight from Illinois to LAX, she was finally ours.

Introducing.. Poppyfield Merriwether.. "Poppy." Our 10 week old Newfoundland puppy who is sleeping at my feet as I write this. It's a whole new world. The kids are beyond thrilled, although JBean was upset that "she can't play yet?! Why not? She can't fetch a ball? I want to PLAY with her!" Gentle reminders that she was still a baby and not only that, had been through quite a stressful day fell on deaf ears. She was sad and a little disappointed. I also think she was tired, too. Tomorrow she will feel better as she gets to know Poppy.

JBear, ever Mr. Eloquence said, "Hey, if we already have Perry the Pee-er (referring to the cat who sometimes forgets to use the litterbox because she is insane) and now we have Poppy the Pooper!" Gee, thanks for that son. Ever colorful, I can always count on you.

And I? I will be playing all-night puppy walker for a while. Just think of her as the baby I ain't gonna have. Here we go!

pictures taken with Canon T1i and edited with Picnik

T, who feels like a little girl again, except the dog is my responsibility

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

GIVEAWAY: Better Living With Whole Foods Cookbook

Now that it's spring I have been thinking more about natural, good foods for my family. Recently I started walking and eating better, so that I can preserve what I have! So it was right up my alley when I received an invite to discuss it.

This last week I attended a blogging event a local natural baby store, Belly Sprout, located in Fullerton. We were there to hear about You Are What You Eat, a local event taking place at the Brea Community Center on May 15th.

Organized by owners of the Belly Sprout, Christy Funk and Yolanda Quiroz Soto, J.D. the goal of the event is to explore the connection between what we eat and how it affects us in body, mind and spirit. With Keynote Speakers like Mariel Hemingway and Ann Gentry, You Are What You Eat is a family-friendly program, run by women, for the most part. There are food demonstrations, panel discussions and book-signings. Childcare is provided. There will be a food truck with organic, sustainable food for your convenience. Are you in the mood? Make sure you attend!

But first, to get you started, WIN a copy of the book by local author, Alexander Morentin, C.E.S.: Better Living With Whole Foods. To win, simply leave a comment here and tell me what you are doing to improve your eating habits. MAKE SURE to leave me your email so I can contact you if you win. Contest ENDS April 1, 2010.

Want extra entries?

Tweet the contest. Then make sure to let me know. For another entry, subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog, on upper right of the page..

I did not receive compensation for this post, but I may have received free product to review.

T, who hopes this is helpful for you

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Something wicked (or at least slobbery) this way comes...

6 months old Russian Blue maleImage via Wikipedia

When JNerd and I married, we were apartment dwellers. Though I had dogs all of my life, most apartments don't allow them. I wanted a pet, so we had a cat. But not just any cat. Kalila was amazing. She was a Russian Blue with the softest fur, greenest eyes and quietest meow I have ever known before or since. You could throw a toy mouse down the hall and she would fetch it, bring it back, and wait for you to throw it again. You know those little brown salt-and-pepper moths that get into grains? We would get them in our little-used spare room and she would lead us there to hunt. After picking her up, she would stand on her hind legs on JNerd's palm, and catch the moths off the wall, often near the ceiling. Think: the Dobie-Matic from Far Side. She would also do acrobatics trying to capture a feather on a wire. Flips, backflips, it was a sight to see. She was very polite, unless you were eating chicken, and then she would sit on the arm of the couch and bat at your hand with her paw. Sort of the cat equivalent of tapping you on the shoulder.

About a year later, we acquired Beleu. Small, grey and fuzzy, his quiet grey eyes missed nothing. He picked me as I walked by a pet store near the coffee house where I worked. He reached his paw out, grabbed on to my sweater. Of course, I had to stop to disentangle and that's when he got me. I took one look at the small ball of fluff with the serious eyes and, boom, I was his. I hadn't intended to bring another pet home: Kailey was pretty happy being on her own. But he just spoke to me, and became a member of our family. He was small enough to sit on our record player and in JNerd's hand. In fact, that is where his name came from, the big gray bear in The Jungle Book who would float down the river on his back. Beleu loved to be on his back, much like his namesake. We were happy, the four of us. In fact, there was a time I thought the two cats would be the only babies. It didn't work out that way, and a couple of years later (four years from the time we got the cats) our first baby was born.

The cats settled in well with JBug. They treated her like one of their own. The day after she was born, JNerd brought a hat and a blanket home with her scent on it. Before she was born, we made sure to let the cats see, sniff and thoroughly explore her room, and her belongings. So once we brought her home, it was really rather anti-climactic. I could almost see the thought process: they sniffed her head, and her car seat, looked at us, then yawned and retreated to the corner to sleep. "Oh, that's what all the fuss was about, hmm?" New addition added, they seemed to say, "What's for dinner?"

When we moved to a one-level house from an apartment (which had stairs and a paranoid mama with a toddler) we decided to get a dog. At that point, I hadn't had a dog in many years, but still remembered the way they lavish affection upon those they love. So we started looking. JBug was 18 mos old and I wanted them to grow up together. After a lot of searching, I found Tess. Given up by a family who was moving to the beach and didn't have a yard anymore, she was just waiting at the shelter. She was 7 months old, and her name at the time was Lady. She looked anything but. Scraggly, tall, half chow-chow and golden lab (which gave her a decidedly rakish terrier-like face). She was gangly, and goofy-looking, and it was love at first sight for us both. Even when the animal control officers tried to tell me that I didn't want her because she was "mean" (she was afraid of men in uniform) I knew she was the one. Because I have a lot of experience with dogs, I tend to trust my judgment. I was right. Tess never forgot that we gave her a "forever home." She was always so grateful and beyond sweet. In fact, there were times I felt so guilty because she seemed to love us so much, that sometimes, I just wanted her to GO AWAY. With little kids,a dog that needed so much love was the last thing I wanted. But, like a child, she was mine, and I loved her. Tess was with us for twelve years, until she died of cancer in 2006. That was a year after we lost Kailey to kidney failure. She was 13 and a half Six months later, Beleu, at 13, perished in the house fire, along with Siobahn, our 7 year old cat, and a 4 month old kitten, Maia. After that, we were done with pets for a while.

Currently, we have Perry & Winkle (Twinkie) a brother and sister who were rescues from the park where we meet every Monday. They were so small we had to feed them by bottle, teach them how to eat and I had to teach them to use the litterbox. They are pretty nice cats, and like us, though they still have a streak of wild in them at times. I love cats, I really do. The warm lump of fur in my lap is one of life's great comforts, it's true. BUT.

They're going to hate me in about a week. I am bringing a new puppy into the mix. And nothing will ever be the same again.

T, who is so excited I can't hardly stand it

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

You can always "count" on me to be inappropriate, sugar

Remember this is a PG-13 blog. As such, sometimes I post things that are in a gray area. Not unsuitable, but not necessarily for your little kids, either. That being said, I had to post this today. Keep in mind, it's your mind that fills in the blanks. A child wouldn't understand it at all... well, you'll see what I mean.

I suppose I am goin' to hell... but it really made me laugh like a banshee, so hard that I blew snot out of my nose, and started hiccuping, sort of like when the kid farts and I try really hard to look stern and tell him how wrong that was, and next time, go to the bathroom. Meanwhile, I am thinking how well he let that one rip, and my, wasn't it loud? Oh come on, you know you think it, too! I just admit it.

So now that I have thoroughly shamed myself... here's this. If you are easily offended, this is where you close my blog and go read Cute Overload or something.

So do you still love me??

T, who has taken leave of her senses and sorry, mom!

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Who could stay mad at this face?

Remember this, it comes up again tomorrow...once I explain what she did when I have more time.

picture taken with a Canon EOS T1i which is the EOS 500D elsewhere.

picture edited with Picnik.

T, who is the epitome of patience

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010


CheesburgHer Party, @califmom & meImage by Send Chocolate via Flickr

I have a friend. Someone I really care about, I have known for a few years now. She's fierce and funny, and sarcastic, and someone I really enjoy spending time with. She doesn't live close, but she's in the same state. We try to get together when one of us in town, it averages out to about once a year, not including BlogHer. We usually hang out at BlogHer all weekend.

I don't usually write posts about other people. I worry about privacy issues. But in this case, I am going to make an exception. Because this person, who I love, her husband is very sick with cancer. And in the next couple of weeks, he is getting ready to undergo a stem cell transplant. Because he is very ill with cancer. And if this doesn't work...there's a very real possibility that nothing will.

So, here is what I want from you. Because, yes, I really want something from you. Ok, two things. The first:

RIGHT now, stop, and pray, send good wishes, whatever it is that you do to whomever it is that you talk to/worship/believe in. If you don't believe in anything, then believe in THEM, dammit. Send good ju-ju.

Secondly, please go and comment upon her post, just to encourage her. She is feeling pretty down, and since I can't do anything from here, I can at least mobilize the troops of social media. Don't think, "Oh no, I don't get involved..." WHAT'S the point of this exercise, this spewing our guts out to the world at large if we DON'T get involved? So. Just Do It.

Then, go hug your loved ones, enjoy every minute you have. Because you just never know.

T, who wants to be able to do MORE

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Postcards from the edge

with apologies to Carrie Fisher...

Oamaru in New ZealandImage by Send Chocolate via Flickr

You know how we went to New Zealand over a month ago? We were gone for sixteen days, then I came home, readjusted and moved forward. While I was there, I sent four postcards to my home address here in the states. I sent the postcards from the Blue Penguin Colony in Oamaru, to Fullerton, in Southern California, where I live. They were sent as far as I can remember, we mailed them around Feb. 20th. I waited and and waited for them to show up in my mailbox once I got home. I finally gave up.

Yesterday, guess what I found in the mailbox. Apparently, it takes SIX WEEKS to get from the south island of New Zealand to the west coast of the United States. Now, I am a pretty easy-going person, but I think this is ridiculous. It's approximately 7,000 miles from here to Oamaru... but should it really take SIX weeks for a postcard to get here? Was it on the slow boat?

Apparently, some parts of the postal service in New Zealand is privatized. I am thinking they aren't very efficient. And some say that the U.S. should privatize mail as well. can you imagine, waiting SIX weeks to get a post card? More importantly, what about time-sensitive mail?

It was surreal to find those postcards in the mailbox, after I had given up on them. And it made me think, what else might just show up out of the blue?

  • that library book I lost and paid for when I was twelve. I think it was The Endless Steppes

  • my keys, in 1988. They were on a Pooh Bear keychain, with a purple pom pom and a "Yes, I know I'm sexy" key fob. I lost them in a dive bar called Doc Rickett's, in Monterey. Pretty sure I lost my dignity there, too. But I Don't really remember. That's probably not recoverable...

  • JBug's cell phone. Yes, it's missing. Again.

  • most of my spoons, that have disappeared from the silverware drawer.

  • all of the mates to the socks that I wash together, and they come out alone

  • most of the stuff I put away when my parents came to visit and now seems lost forever in the no mans' land that is my closet

  • my mind

  • the pithy and witty ending to this post. Cause I got nothin.

T, who should have quit while she was ahead

How about you? What's the weirdest thing you've lost?Tell me about it!
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Friday, March 05, 2010

Doggone it, I want a dog!

Newfoundland Dog Stamp Category:Newfoundland a...Image via Wikipedia

I am starting to feel the need for a dog again. I have tried to resist, we all have. But the pull is getting stronger. I keep seeing pictures and jonesing. Last night, we were watching Pit Boss, about dogs. And when the urge became too strong, I turned it off to watch Kevin Smith instead. And what does he talk about? Dogs! There seems to be a conspiracy in the Universe. It's a huge decision, because in this house, pets are very, very long-term commitments.

I have always wanted a Newfoundland. I adore large dogs. I am only concerned that it is too hot in Orange County for a big, furry behemoth of a dog whose breed was birthed in a cold Canadian province. And can you imagine wet, sandy, furry dog, who drools everywhere constantly? I have also been told that due to the natural oils in their coat, they have to washed frequently or they make marks on the wall. But the heart knows no reason. From the time I was in high school and saw my first one, I want a Newf. Impractical for so many reasons. But really, I already deal with special needs, isn't this just another special need. Kind of endears me more to the breed.

A dog wasn't always an option. A year ago, my youngest had a phobia of dogs. This was partly due to overactive imagination and also due to the crazed chihuahua who lived next door and liked to attack my children when they stepped foot out of our front door. Thankfully, those awful neighbors who would not corral their mutt are gone now. And after a turn with my parents last month, who brought their dog while JNerd and I were in New Zealand, now JBean is all about getting a dog. We will more than likely end up with a another shelter dog, because, really, it feels good to give a dog a second lease on life. And I do go back and forth… I like the fact that with cats you can leave for the day or even a couple of days- and the cats can fend for themselves pretty freely. Dogs need to be walked and since they are pack animals, tend to get depressed if the pack leaders leave for any length of time. It is a lot like having another kid. But then I remind myself that I am done having babies, and maybe this is a stand-in.

I do love my cats, don't get me wrong. But when Tess, our sweet dog of 12 years died a couple of years ago, my son, then 9 I think, looked at me tearfully and said, "I just can't be a boy, without a dog!"

I understand the sentiment, son. Something about a member of the canine persuasion completes me, too. And so. We will be getting a Newf sometime this spring. It's ok if you think I am crazy, all of my friends would agree with you. And I am ok with that.

T, who needs a baby in the it Spring Fever?

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