Too sick to write much. These pics were taken at the Japanese Gardens on Friday with daughter's honors lit class. Absolutely stunning, I can't wait to take Mother-in-law and Grandmother to see these gardens!
Dad is here visiting Grandmother for the long weekend but I managed to steal him away from her for a few hours to take him to a Mariners game on Sunday. It was a GORGEOUS day for a baseball game! Dad and I watched the M's beat San Fransisco including a 2 run homer by Griffey that reminded me of the old days when Junior was everybody's kid brother on the team instead of one of the old-timers.
Our seats were right down the right field line, second row, behind the ball-girl. Stepmonster's brother scored them for me - he's a sports ticket pimp - and they were KILLER seats!
Here's Dad grinning at the awesome view we had of the field.
Here I am with my boyfriend Frankie Gutierrez. I've mentioned what a hot tamale he is, right? Drool...
And here is Frankie's hot butt. Obviously it's the butt on the left, the one on the right isn't hot at all - it's attached to Wlademir Balentien - but he is a damn good player. Just not as hot as my Frankie.
There's nothing better than a sunny afternoon at the ballpark with my favorite baseball fan in the world. I can't wait to do it again.
"Chen Fuchao, a man heavily in debt, had been contemplating suicide on a bridge in southern China for hours when a passer-by came up, shook his hand -- and pushed him off the ledge."
Calm down, the jumper didn't die, there was an inflatable cushion on the ground under him so he ended up with spine and elbow injuries instead of his head squashed on the pavement like a watermelon. If he had died, I would never have posted this. I'm sick but not THAT sick!
This is a semi-regular occurrence in Seattle, with the bridge of choice among the suicidal being the Aurora bridge. And it almost inevitably is during rush-hour traffic causing some frustrated commuters to holler "JUMP" at the suicidal individual trying to decide if they do indeed want to go through with it. The man in China who pushed the jumper off immediately made me think of the Aurora bridge traffic snarls the last time this happened and if any of the people who yelled "JUMP" would really have gone so far as to push the poor guy off the bridge.
I sure hope not.
But it's still funny. Since the guy didn't die and all...
Papers due, finals to study for, group projects to finish and only two and a half weeks to get it all done.
Just found out Mother-In-Law will most likely be arriving early in June. Like at the end of finals week. OMG THE HOUSE IS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING CLEAN!!! And the yard, ay-yi-yi. It is a complete and total disaster.
Daughter is failing science and, because I am an idiot, the penalty for failing science is going to summer school. Every weekday for six weeks. To which I have to drive her to and from. Early in the morning. In the summer. ARGH! This whole being a responsible parent thing sucks big hairy ones sometimes. I sure hope she can get her act together in the last five weeks of school that is left.
I am now going to call a housecleaner, arrange for yardwork to be hired out and have a nervous breakdown. Thank GOD Dad is visiting this weekend because he can keep Grandmother happy and entertained so I can get all this other shit done. Cracking the whip on husband and kids starting NOW....
On Saturday daughter and I went to a Spring Celebration at our friends getaway home - Tamarack - on Puget Sound. It's on a bluff overlooking the sound and is an absolutely stunning property. They have hundreds of different varieties of rhododendrons on the property and this is the perfect time to see them in bloom. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Unfortunately neither daughter or I had on the right kind of shoes to shimmy down the "path" to the beach (It was almost straight down a cliff I swear to God!) but we did go all over the gardens and property exploring. There is even a secret room in the house hidden behind a bookcase with a spring-open door built into it!
Here is daughter holding onto a hook that hangs in front of an old barn on the property. Notice the hitching post on the left! I couldn't decide if the barn was scary or cool but daughter said it was definitely cool. She spent Spring Break here last year with her friend and her family and they had all kinds of fun. Days like this make me glad I live here!
At the end of daughter's kindergarten year I went to the monthly Parent Teacher Organization meeting (when you spend all day every day with a 5 year old and two 4 year olds you get your ass to as many evening meetings like this that you can because it means ADULT COMPANY and you get to leave the kids at home) and they were looking for someone to be the chairperson of the School Carnival the next year. This was in May and the next School Carnival would be one year away. A whole year. Enough time to plan forty-eleven carnivals!
There was a very good reason I chose to volunteer for this job, I didn't know anyone. I figured if I signed up to chair this humongous event then I would meet everyone, make lots of new (GROWN-UP!) friends and get to know the staff at the kids school better. It worked like a charm. I met every parent of every kid at the school. (Mostly because I called all of them looking for people to sign up to work shifts at the different games.) I had a lot of fun, made some friends I'll have for life, and earned a label that has stuck to this day.
After that I chaired the carnival - with a lot of help from several people who are now dear friends - I signed up to be on the board of the P.T.O., I signed up to go to the Parent Council meetings at the district office once a month, I helped at dances, teacher-appreciation luncheons and every other school function known to man. I'm on the email list of every volunteer coordinator in our school district and the Superintendent knows my name and suggests it if another parent is looking for help with a carnival, a volunteer for an event or notes from something we've done in the past.
It's gotten more complicated as the kids have gotten older. Now I have daughter at the high school, Thing 1 at one middle school and Thing 2 at another middle school. Three parent groups, three meetings a month, three "opportunities" to help out whenever something is going on. I managed to distance myself for two years. Well, by distance I mean that I wasn't on the board of any of the parent groups. Until now.
Wednesday was the parent group meeting for the high school. I had told them I would be the co-secretary for next year. Secretary is easy, you just go to the meetings and take notes. Now that I have a laptop it would be even easier because I could take the minutes on my computer and not have to type them up later. Another Mom who has been Secretary for a year was staying on so we could take turns, share the responsibility! Awesome!
At the meeting it turned out that they had two people for every position except President. For that position they had nobody. And before I knew what happened I was elected President of the high school parent group for the 2009-2010 school year.
But there is a silver lining. I will get to know the Principal. I'll get to know the staff, the Vice-Principal who is the GOD OF DISCIPLINE and all the secretaries who everyone knows really run the school. In a student body of 2000 this is a very good thing. I'll have one whole year to kiss up to everyone before Thing 1 and Thing 2 enter the school as Freshmen and wreak havoc and destruction upon the school's hallowed halls.
Bribery via hours and hours of volunteer time is a very good thing...
Why is it that when you travel you make a point of seeing all the cool places in a city but when you live within spitting distance, you can go years without seeing something really incredible?
I went on a field trip with daughter's honors humanities class last week (a bus loaded with hormonal ninth graders - THAT was fun) and we saw an incredible performance by the Golden Dragon Acrobats and then we went to the Olympic Sculpture Park on the Seattle waterfront. The park has been there for awhile but this was my very first time there. Obviously I am not a patron of the arts.
No pictures of the acrobats - flash photography when they have forty-eleven people balanced on one guys shoulders as he rides a bicycle in circles onstage is a bad idea - but I got several pics from the sculpture park.
This is daughter and her friends adding EYELASHES to the EYE sculpture. Heh.
I don't know what this one is but it's really cool. And really big.
I took this pic because it is the waterfront looking north from downtown and where all those white sticks are is the marina that Marvelous Mom & Stepdan have their boat moored. Or anchored. Or parked. Or whatever the hell the correct nautical term for BOAT HERE is.
This is only part of the Love and Loss sculpture but I like the whole neon sign against the tree blossoms look.
And of course, the Space Needle. Seattle's very own phallic symbol. Now that we have the Columbia Tower it isn't nearly BIG enough.
Here's a ferry coming back from one of the islands. Probably Vashon but I'm not sure. So sue me.
There you go, Seattle waterfront, sculpture, phallus and gray skies. I was just grateful it didn't rain.
Behold the Cutest One-Year-Old in the Universe, niece #2! She has dimples in both cheeks and the biggest blue eyes you've ever seen! That thing in her hand is the stylus for Thing 1's Nintendo DS Lite. He thought it was high time she was introduced to the wonder that is video game playing. She thought it was funny.
And here is the MOST adorable three-year-old in the universe, niece #1. I had bought one of those magical no-spill bubble buckets and a huge bucket of bubble juice and we had a fantabulous time blowing bubbles in Marvelous Mom & Stepdan's back yard.
Do I detect a slight case of hero-worship for her cousin? Why yes, I believe I do!
Here I am showing the girls how to be very nice and gentle with the elderly pets that live at Nana's house.
This is the absolute best pic I could get of all five of the grandchildren. I'm going to try again later in the week before Mathematical Genius Brother and Russian S-I-L take their beautiful girls back home across the mountains.
We had so much fun playing with the girls, even daughter enjoyed herself and that's saying something since she does NOT like babies normally. I can't wait to see them again!
In November, Washington State voters passed Initiative 1000 - the Physician Assisted Suicide Law - by a margin of 59% to 41%. I voted against it. The idea of allowing doctors to help people kill themselves gives me the heebie-jeebies and an uneasy feeling that by making it legal and acceptable, we are starting down a road that ends in a very bad place.
I couldn't articulate my feelings - and got into a bit of an argument with Grandmother over the whole thing- until I was directed to the website for Not Dead Yet by a Professor for a school assignment for my Disability and Human Rights class and I started to read the articles and commentaries there. After spending a lot of time reading all the info on their site I felt relieved that I wasn't being paranoid and bizarre about the whole thing and thought I would try to put into words just exactly why I think legalizing physician assisted suicide is a terrible idea.
The health care system in this country is a for-profit endeavor. Health insurance companies and executives make money, a lot of money, and if people who have been diagnosed terminally ill are given help to kill themselves then a lot of insurance companies are going to save a lot of money by not having to cover costs for pain management, hospice care and other care designed to make the patient comfortable at the end of their life.
Now all health insurance companies make their profits by collecting premiums and denying whatever benefit coverage they can get away with - end of life or not. Personally I feel that the entire system is immoral, no one should profit by preventing another person from recieving medical care. But it strikes me as being even worse for an insurance company to cover the cost for a doctor to kill a terminal patient - regardless of the phrase 'physician assisted suicide' it is a doctor giving their patient a treatment that results in the patient's death, it is the doctor killing their patient- and increase their bottom line by doing so.
People with disabilities are discriminated against every day in this country. In the media we get the message that it would be better to be dead than to be disabled. People like Professor Peter Singer say that parents should be allowed to kill their children in infancy if they are expected to grow up with disabilities for the simple reason that infants are "non-persons". He also says it should be legal to kill older "non-persons with disabilities". Ironically Professor Singer is also a well-known animal rights activist. Apparently "non-persons" are different from animals and shouldn't get the benefit of the doubt that animals do.
Please read this article by Harriet McBryde Johnson about her conversation with Professor Singer. It is ten thousand times better written than anything I could ever hope to write and is truly enlightening.
"Why, disabled people ask, do we see so many news stories lately about the burdens we impose on our caregivers, and so few articles about the nation's ability to provide the long-term care people really need and want?
If the values of liberty dictate that society legalize assisted suicide, then legalize it for everyone who asks for it, not just the devalued, old, ill and disabled. Otherwise, what looks like freedom is really only discrimination." ~Diane Coleman
This article was published in the Rocky Mountain News on March 19, 2005.
Some of the people I love the most in the whole world are disabled. The implications of legalized physician assisted suicide to them is extremely troubling and scares the shit out of me. No matter how well a law is written, abuses are always possible. Ask any lawyer, social worker or judge. And if we, as a society, begin to believe that it is acceptable for doctors to end patients lives, are we starting down a road towards euthanasia for the disabled, infirm or those who are costing us time, money and effort to care for? Is this a step down that road?
Grandmother is ninety-three and terrified of ending up bedridden for years and years. She was an enthusiastic supporter of Initiative 1000 and has told me many times that if she becomes bedridden, unable to wash or toilet herself or out of her mind from dementia that she wants us to help her end her life. I don't know what I would do if it came to that, but I do know that whatever we - her family - do if such a situation arises, we would do it out of love. It would be the hardest decision any of us would ever have to face in our lives, it would be messy, and it would break our hearts. And that is the way it should be, not as simple as a doctor writing out a prescription.
Suicide should be difficult, Initiative 1000 makes it easier and that scares me.
Have I told you the story of Vegetarians I Have Known? No? Well, pull up a chair and let's chat. It's all her fault...
I've posted this pic before but it's the best one I have of her and she will kick my ass if I post a bad pic so here it is again. This is my BFF cousin. We grew up like sisters, fighting and trying to kill each other at every opportunity. Now I would take a bullet for her and consider her my sister as well as the psychic mother of my daughter. (Daughter is so much like BFF cousin that it is spooky.)
BFF cousin had a dream, something about animals and eating and hunting (I dunno, I wasn't really paying attention when she told me about it. I SAID we were like sisters!) and she became a vegetarian. Then she read a book called Diet For a New America by John Robbins and she tied me up with duct tape and made me read it too. Then I became a vegetarian because that book was scary!
It was GREAT! I really didn't care that I saved chickens and cows from becoming my dinner but I got SKINNY! My body really really likes to be vegetarian! I was hawt stuff! Then I took daughter to Italy to visit another cousin, Army Boy, who I love dearly and was stationed just outside of Venice. Hmm...stay in Italy, visit one of my favorite cousins and STAY IN FUCKING ITALY? I thought about it for half a nanosecond and then took daughter and flew to Italy for two weeks.
Have you ever tried to order a vegetarian meal in a language you do not speak? I don't recommend it. After half an hour of trying to communicate 'vegetarian' to a waiter via charades I finally gave up and ate meat. Yummy, cholesterol raising red meat. I fell off the wagon and have not managed to climb back on. I'm gonna have to read that book again.
So after I fell off the wagon, Thing 1 decided that he too was going to be a vegetarian. It was August of 2005. He was 9. And he hasn't eaten meat since. No beef, no pork, no poultry, no fish. Zip, nada, zilch. He decided to become a vegetarian because he loves animals and doesn't want to eat them or kill them. Before he eats anything he reads the list of ingredients to make sure it doesn't contain gelatin (it's made from horse hooves or bones or something) and soup is not acceptable if it has chicken or beef broth in it. I have to admire his dedication to a cause.
He has expressed dismay at his inability to give up ice cream and cake (eggs!) in order to go totally vegan but he consoles himself with not wearing leather and making me - and Grandmother! - buy all organic free range dairy & egg products. The fit he threw when I bought regular eggs one time had to be seen to be believed!
And you know what, he's sick less than any of the rest of us! Thing 2 and daughter both had the pukey flu this past year but Thing 1 didn't get it. He never even got a cold! And he's 2 inches taller than Thing 2.
I believe it's time to haul my ass back on the vegetarian wagon. Maybe I'll drag the rest of the family on with me...
Twenty-Six years ago today one of my favorite people on the planet was born - after begging my parents for a baby brother or sister for years and years, I finally got my wish. I still remember the middle of the night ride to Grandmother's house where I got dropped off before Marvelous Mom and Dad went to the hospital. And in the morning, Grandmother woke me up by saying "You have a baby brother!". I went to school floating on a cloud of happy and told everyone I saw about my new brother.
Wasn't he adorable?
It's truly amazing that he ever learned to walk because I loved to hold him and carry him around.
Even when I was a WILDLY obnoxious adolescent, I still loved my baby brother. As long as he didn't set foot in my bedroom. By the time he was three, I had him trained to put his toes right on the line between the hallway carpet and my bedroom carpet and say "Taty, I come in?". Poor kid, I was such a brat.
This is one of my favorite pics of him with our cousin Sunshine when they were both going through a toothless phase. When I look at pictures of him as a little boy I see Thing 2 in his eyes. Thing 2 is a lucky boy to look like his Uncle!
And while he lives far away now and we don't get to see each other nearly as often as I would like, Scientist Genius Brother is still my best friend. I'm so proud of all he has accomplished in his chosen profession (Chemistry - barf!) and of what a kind, loving man he is. If my boys grow up to be like their Uncle then I know husband and I will have done a good job.
Happy Birthday Bro, I love you to the moon and back!
Ok, so I totally do NOT have time for a real post. It's mid-term time at school, my house is in imminent danger of being taken over by roving gangs of dog-hair balls and if I don't do laundry today we will all be wearing snow-pants and halloween costumes tomorrow since they are the only clean clothes in the house BUT...
I just had to share this bit of public health information with you because I am a giver. Do you have swine flu? Go here to find out.
Actually this whole flu thing is a little worrisome to me because Grandmother IS ninety-three years old and I'm not sure she would survive a case of normal flu let alone the piggy variety. I gave her some Purell and make her use it whenever we've been out and about but I suspect she thinks I am overreacting. Which I probably am but better safe than sorry. I'm not ready to lose her just yet, especially not to something called SWINE FLU for fuck's sake!!!