Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween! Oh, you will so be getting photos of the kids in their costumes with a most impressive Underdog carved pumpkin courtesy of the baby sitter, a video blog too, if I can get it together by then. But right now I've got cookies in the oven and I'm picking up Jingle shrapnel because she went crazy last night and chewed up every flipping plastic thing in the house.

And if that's not scary enough, my divamail inbox is truly frightening. I think I've mentioned before that this particular email address seems to get some of the filthiest spam generated, and part of my morning routine is to delete unread messages from Russian mail order brides. Well, lately I've noticed that the subject lines have resorted to personal insults in addition to mispelled generic drug sales. Today one read, "Your penis is so thin, it can hide behind a pencil."


I truly have no appropriate response to this.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Sweeping up

If you've been playing the home version of the SubDiva game, you know that for the past few weeks, we've been doing 1 of three things: 1) Celebrating something, 2) Going to a doctor, 3)working on a school project. And not that this week will be any different with an eldest son's 12th birthday on Friday, follow-up appointments for the girls and all said projects due concluding with a certain reluctant second grade St. Francis parading grumpily on All Saints Day; but for this gloomy Monday, I will be chained to the clean-up that results from all of said month's activities. And somewhat glad about it, too. So if you need me, I'm in the laundry room or taking trash to the curb.

But before I switch loads, I will leave you with a few pictures.

Jessie, none too pleased with the temperature of her costume.

One of my new all-time favs, a really good big brother.

Stevie's first school dance. Sniff.

The inevitable party at Chuck E. Cheese....

Saturday, October 27, 2007


So I've been thinking about my Mom a lot lately--today especially. She's been gone 8 years now, and it never gets easier. I keep thinking she's just gone to the store, and she's going to be right back...

Matty found a baby's I.D. bracelet on the floor of his room. It is tarnished silver and it has her name on its tiny plate. I'm sure Amy pulled it from my jewelry box, but I told Matty that it is sort of like pennies from heaven--angels sometimes leave these signs to let you know they are watching over you. I made that up--mainly because I wanted it to be true. But wouldn't you know, we have found that bracelet in a dozen different places over the last week, even after I had put it away?

And then a couple of weeks ago, an old friend of ours stopped in for an impromptu visit. We used to work with him up in Michigan, and after we moved to St. Louis and returned to visit my parents, we'd stop in to see he and his wife from time to time. At work, he was the grumpiest guy you'd ever want to meet, but at home, he was a goofball who adored his children and grandchildren with abandon, and he'd play with Stevie while his wife fed me comfort food. I will never forget that they came to her funeral, attempting to help shoulder my grief for a day.

So as they sat in the living room bouncing Jess on his knee and making funny faces at Amy, he asked about my writing. I replied that is was silly, just a hobby, really. And he said, "You know your Mom would be so proud of you. What am I saying? She is proud."

And coming from him, I almost believed it.

And then there is my dear friend Colleen. She still lives up there in Michigan, and we have shared a lot during our 15 year friendship, including, unfortunately, losing our Moms way too soon. She calls me every year on this day, and I can't tell you what a comfort that is. Again, she tries to shoulder that grief for a minute, and it helps.

So Mom, if you are here reading this over my shoulder, please come home from the store. I miss you. We've got plenty of milk, and you could come to Amy's birthday party tomorrow.

I'll save you a piece of cake.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We got through it

She is a little trooper...and we got through the day pretty messily...

I didn't feed her, and she wasn't too horrified to my surprise. She was very patient and very brave.

Until they did it.

The doctor came back to tell us that her Eustachian tube is not functioning the way it should, but the cause is unknown. The artificial tubes should help, and they should last longer than the last pair. We'll talk again in 2 weeks and get more details then. The child has never had an ear infection...He ended with, "She hates us now, you know."

I figured.

She woke up terrified. It was awful. She ripped off all of the leads and cuffs, and if she could speak fluently, she would have told the nurse to shove that apple juice up her stethoscope, because there was no way she was drinking it. We carried her out shaking, came home and she ate 2 bowls of macaroni and cheese, threw it up all over me, and slept like the dead all night.

So, more to come, as always. But at least this very significant step has been taken, and we can continue along this strange path.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


This is a day you just get through. I don't think we'll get any points taken off for style either, if we can just return home tonight without assault charges on the admissions desk clerk at the hospital or the sadist that scheduled Amy's surgery for 1:30 in the afternoon but won't let her eat or drink after 6 a.m.

Thanks for that. We were up at 5:30 offering her birthday cake and ice cream.

Like I said, no points off for style today.

Be healed today, little one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday, Amy!

The sweetest 4 year old ever.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday all damn day

Upon opening Matty's backpack and reading a note from the school nurse which begins, "There has been a case of head lice in your child's class..." I emit a blood-curdling scream of despair.

Matty: Don't worry Mom. They checked my head today. I don't have it.

Me: Well, that's a relief. Who does?

Matty: They don't tell us.

Me: Okay. Who was absent today?

Matty: B and P. They sit on either side of me.

Me: Repeat blood-curdling scream of despair.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sean!

Actually, it was officially yesterday, but since he was out of town and we had parent teacher conferences, a baseball game, and an emergency pediatrician visit, we're celebrating today.

And what wouldn't be more of a perfect greeting than waking up to this in your front yard:

Or this:

The kids thought it was bewilderedly amusing:

I am going to make a spectacular birthday dinner in mere minutes and shower him with gifts hoping we won't be at the doctor's office all weekend.

Because the perfect baby is sick. The yucky kind of sick that has you watching every breath she takes and monitoring every gesture. She's off formula for a few days, and sucking on Pedialyte bottles to ward off dehydration, which I thought wasn't going to fly, but she really likes the stuff, so that's good. Again, even when she's sick, she's perfect.

But it turns out she can't be sick, because I lose focus on everything else. Today, the hospital called to pre-register Amy for her stuff next week, and I got half way through the call before I realized I had just registered Jessica...Doh. I had to stop and say, "Wait a minute, that's not the right middle name. That's my other daughter. I am an idiot."

I got no disagreement on the other end of the line.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Contest winners and Holly Golightly

Okay, I am ready to announce the winners of our HP Photo Book contest…drum roll please…

Tammy B (whom if you emailed me, please do so again so I can mail you your prize) won Amy, Jingle, and a tube of lipstick.

Mikki identified our sports legends correctly. Chris Dingman of the Lightning, and Bobby “The Chief” Taylor who does the color commentary for the games and who recently introduced me as “The Devil.” But I’m sure he meant it in a nice way. Right?

And I am torn on the bubble caption because they are all dead on. After much deliberation, I am going to have to award this to Bernadette because Amy loves Underdog with a curious and often unsettling passion. But if I get more (hint hint) then the rest of you get some, too!

Thanks for playing—hopefully we’ll have some more contests soon….


So last night's weekly power shop went, uh, well. I went to 17 stores for various Fall celebration paraphernalia, and was ragged by 8:00 and still had a $300 grocery trip to make. So instead of shoving a cheeseburger down my throat and erasing what Mr. Treadmill had just done for me, I decided to take a break and sit down and eat at a little Greek cafe by myself. Can I just tell you what a lovely experience that was? I sat munching delicately on a mojo pork sandwich while reading my book. And the book just happened to be "Breakfast at Tiffany's" which I never realized was a book. And a book by Truman Capote no less? Am I the only American not to know this? But I love it for passages such as this: Once a visiting relative took me to "21," and there, at a superior table, surrounded by four men, none of them Mr. Arbuck, yet all interchangeable with him, was Miss Golightly, idly, publicly combing her hair; her expression, an unrealized yawn, put, by example, a dampener on the excitement I felt over dining at so swanky a place.

I so want to have an expression of an unrealized yawn.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

8 Crazy Nights, and Days...

Instead of burning the candle at both ends, I've decided to save time and just torch the middle...

To that end, you are getting a one week recap and a false promise to tend to my blogging habits more attentively.

Monday: We leave at 9am Vegas time, but after an all-nighter at the tables, it is the red eye for us. But we are bumped to First Class, so I am happy for big seats in which to curl my aching body up in.

Tuesday: After unpacking, laundry catching up on emails, phone calls, and the latest alerts from the alarm company letting me know the temperature dipped below 70 degrees and I may want to check the pilot light monitor, I went to my meeting. This is why we didn’t need to go to a show in Vegas, because all the entertainment is right here at home. And while I swear they all deserve the daytime Emmy nomination, I sure wish they didn’t feel the need to give their long acceptance speeches every month. I then had to write 1800 words spinning their drama.

Wednesday: Sucked.

Thursday: One of my favorite events of the year. Combining hockey, gambling, an open bar and good friends. I see no down side.

Friday/Saturday: Visit from sister Diva. Very nice.

Sunday: A family outing to Oktoberfest. Cheesy midway games, precarious rides to make you sick, and a beer tent. We were all happy. A mad dash to a baseball game for some, homework for the rest. Like me who read the last 400 pages (translate, the whole book) in one sitting to make deadline.

Monday (refrain): Caught up on every domestic chore I had neglected as a result of the previous week.

Which brings us full circle to today, and here I sit contemplating Halloween costume requests and birthday party menus. My Tuesday date night is with Mr. Treadmill.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'll just have a water with a chaser of reality

I will post about Vegas tomorrow, but right now it seems so far away.

Part of your official duty dear Blog, is to act as my cyber-bartender. In the cyber-proverbial sense, of course. There are some moments that I need to write out in order to sort out, and therefore I need you not to act as a shrink, or priest or counsel of any sort; but rather just a casually interested observer who inserts an occasional wise, Hmmmm, while mopping the bar or drying a shot glass while I spin a tale of woe or wax poetic. I'm sorry if this didn't fir your job description, but you should have read the fine print of your contract.

And today's tale is of Amy. Please don't tell me all of the things I already know like, "She's going to be fine," or "It could be worse." Because my mind isn't suffering, it's my heart that's breaking and you will have no words for that.

We went to the doctor again today to discuss the latest hearing tests. It was good, in that I laid out all of my concerns from the onset so as to save time and circumvent the doctor-speak. I frankly tire of it easily these days. So we ended up having an actual discussion, which was both helpful and refreshing.

We discussed the steady decline in those tymps--the test that shows the movement of her eardrum. They were completely flat before surgery, and wide open immediately after so we knew there was improvement. And her speech improved, too. Over the last year she has made amazing progress, truly. But over the last couple of months those tymps have steadily declined again. Today they were absolutely flat. This affects her hearing. On paper, it says she hears the beeps in the headphones, but her doctor thinks the world must sound like everyone is Charlie Brown's teacher. He looked through her chart and declared, "She's never heard any differently. It's like you're starting from scratch."

I've said that same thing a million times, yet to hear him say it, confirm was like a knife to the chest. She will be four in 2 weeks, and I mourn this childhood that I don't think she's ever had. She tries so hard, and yet she can't seem to catch a break. And I watch her try with a maternal ferocity that I would have never thought a human capable of, and I want to keep her tucked under my wing protected forever because I don't want to offer a medical dossier every time a stranger asks her some rhetorical question and fails to get a response. I am tired of talking about it because every word of explanation is a reminder that I have failed her. And not that I am ethnocentric enough to believe that I could have transformed into a pediatric ENT over the last 2 years, but failing her because it is days like this when conversations occur about her in front of her, and that her milestones are measured by a nod, or a repetition of sound, that I am going to lose her to whatever this is--a disease? A condition? A something? A something that robs a little curly-headed girl who wants to sing and play. A thing that commands all of the attention so that no one notices Amy--only that she repeated something or startled at a loud noise. A thief of the things that other four year old girls do. And I hate that thing. And I hate that I hate it because I don't want to be distracted by it, because who will fight for her if my back is turned?

She gets the tubes placed back in two weeks. We think this will help as it did before. It won't be as bad as a year ago, and we know what to expect. And tomorrow I will have reconciled this and prepare with efficiency and strength, and I will resume my position as her greatest fan and cheerleader.

But tonight I just feel like missing that little girl who I can't ask what color she wants her birthday cake to be or where she wants her party.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Diva Attempt at Acting: Take 37

I honestly didn't have too high of hopes for the day when she began to spray paint my make-up on.

Make-up application shouldn't require a plug. I didn't know if I was being prepared for camera or having my bumper detailed.

But after that little scare, things started to unfold for the better. It turns out airbrushing your face on is somewhat attractive. And then 4 Mac tattooed faces turned out a pretty impressive couple of hours of film. Seriously. We stuck to script, we ad libbed, we focused and adapted. We laughed. Our pretending came pretty close to acting, and we stage directed ourselves. We drank our bottled water through straws, and nibbled on our self-catered lunch in between takes. We used words like, "take." And "cut!" and "Don't act too retarded."

It was as close to perfect as it could get. And my friends were stunning. On and off camera.

And now this exhausted wannabe with a freshly scrubbed face (after hours of filming and the Lightning home opener last night, I had beige foundation tinting my mandible) is packing up to join the over 21 crowd in Sin City. Wish me luck--both in my gambling efforts and for being without my babies...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Make yourself comfortable, this might take a minute

Have you ever had one of those great shopping experiences in which everything that you touched was adorable, your size and on sale?

Yeah, me neither. And certainly not tonight.

I think it's just the universe colluding to make this week the most complicated in every possible way so I completely lose what little mind remains in this head of mine.

And because I only have a minute in which to explain, you will get the whole convoluted week in one long ass post. Go get a drink. I'll wait.

*whistling the tune to "Umbrella."*

Okay, Monday Amy tests I have no other real result. She passed her hearing test, which I knew she would, but how she hears remains a mystery. Like I know she hears the beep in the headphone, but can she tell the difference between "schoolbus" and "Cuba?" This I have no answer for. Yet. So it goes on.

Goes on to our latest filming adventure. And while I'm still not sure if a webcam and blog necessarily an Oscar-winning actress make, we're trying our hand again at some camera time. Here. With me pulling a Clint Eastwood and writing, directing, and starring in said film. Maybe I'll buy a town in California and employ a wicked sneer. Challenging, but in a good way.

And this weekend we are off to Las Vegas to celebrate a milestone birthday. Not mine, so save your ecards. We will be gone about 52 hours, but you'd think we were backpacking across Europe or something. I just spent $300 in electronic bribes before we leave because Matty is already flexing his guilt muscle. He asked why we had to go away without him, to which I replied that sometimes it's good when Moms and Dads go away a little while together. This was met by those big brown doe eyes filling with tears and me at Target buying a new video game. If Jingle hadn't just eaten yet another shoe, he would've got a new puppy, too.

But we should go, right? I mean, it's okay to have a weekend apart from your kids every 15 years or so....right? 1 weekend to eat meals without paper placemats and crayons, adult swim, sleeping late, staying up later, stroller-less, bottle-less, diaper-less, reading trashy magazines, light gambling, packing lighter, no Disney channel, sure-I'll-Have-A-Mimosa-With-My-Crepes-breakfast, walking the strip, table for 2 with no high chair...I really will miss them terribly, but sometimes it's good when moms and dads go away a little while together. Right????

So that's why it feels as if someone opened a big bag of nerves and spilled them all over the floor.

Clean up in aisle 5.

P.S. The Photo Book contest runs until Friday--so keep it coming below!