Saturday, April 30, 2005

Coletrane is gone. I put him "to sleep" yesterday. Although it was not hard to make the choice because of the distress he was in, I wish I'd done it before he felt so awful. The clinic set him up in a cat bed with some flowers so that I could bring Lily in to say goodbye. She wailed. It's a sad house today, even the pets are depressed.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

We've just returned from an overnight in Boston. John had a liver biopsy scheduled for 7am this morning, and since we are 2 hours away, a hotel seemed the best option. It's been a trying day. We ate at a restaurant last night, and the Celiac disease is in full swing today. Not to mention John is in pain from the biopsy. Sometimes a liver biopsy will cause pain in the right shoulder. He has experienced this before, so today he asked why. His doc explained that in utereo the liver is formed up near the right shoulder, and slowly moves down. Strange. So, although the needle went in just under his ribcage, his right shoulder and neck hurt. Enough for him to complain, which is rare. Lily, making the day more entertaining as usual, found a set of rosary beads in her backpack when we were dressing at the hotel this morning. My grandma made them. Cheap plastic beads on white string and a plastic white crucifix. I'd forgotten that my aunt said that Lily should have them. So, Lily insists on wearing it as jewelry today, occasionally striking the same pose as Jesus and saying "look, we're twins".

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The birth of Mia

As seen through the eyes of Dawn 10:15 pm Leslie called me and said she was having some contractions, but they were irregular and not yet painful. She spoke to her midwife, who suggested that Leslie come into the Birthcenter to labor there. We agreed to meet at the hospital where the midwife was on call so she could check Leslie’s progress, and then we could move a few doors down to the Birthcenter. 11:10 pm I arrived at the maternity area of the hospital, and found Leslie, her husband Arthur, the midwife Paula, and a labor nurse in a hospital room. I could also see the baby’s head. The baby was ready. 11:25 pm Leslie was in a semi-sitting position holding her labor beads. The nurse was holding one leg, I was holding the other, and Arthur was encouraging and holding Leslie’s upper body. Paula was sitting at the end of the bed. There was some blood loss, and the midwife spoke in a calm but determined way. She said the baby needed to be born now. Leslie pushed through 3 contractions, resting for about 2 minutes between each. 11:40 pm The next contraction started. Leslie pushed herself up, grabbed on to the backs of her thighs, and said simply, “OK”. Her face was clear and calm. 11:42 pm With the next push, a perfect little baby emerged and began waving her arms. A moment later she gave a small yell, and was place on Leslie’s chest. Neither mother nor daughter received one bit of medication. Mia was calm and began nursing almost immediately. I had visions of documenting the whole process through a journal and photos, but I never even got my coat off. Lily’s birth was magical. I was able to be present at this birth in a different way , and it has been very healing for me. I’m so grateful to Leslie and Arthur for allowing me to be a part of it. Did I mention that Leslie was amazing? She was sitting with us in a living-room setting just 20 minutes postpartum, eating a sandwich while nursing Mia and chatting like we were having a social visit. Look at the happy Daddy, who so wanted another girl. Arthur took some great photos, I'll link them as soon. I'm still "high" from the experience, I don't know how I'll get to sleep tonight. Babies are all around me these days. What could be better?

It's a girl!

Wow, what an magical thing I witnessed. I'll post the whole story and some photos of baby Mia later tonight. Leslie was amazing. Congrats to a proud Mommy, Daddy, and Big Sister Isa! Well, Leslie called me at 10:00pm and said, "well, this could be it, but it doesn't hurt yet. " Miss Mia made her appearance at 11:40. Yep, 1.5 hours, start to finish. Leslie was amazing. I'll never look at her the same again.

Monday, April 25, 2005

gotta run!

Just got a call from Leslie. We're having a baby tonight. OK, so I'm living vicariously through this experience. Send her and the little one some good thoughts....I'll update as soon as I can!

This is Coletrane.

Image hosted by I found him and six siblings in a plastic garbage bag in the parking lot at the university I attended. Luckily, my good friend was a vet tech, so I put them all in my car and brought them to her. They all had distempter, an awful kitty disease. Four died, I placed two with the friend of a friend, and Cole stayed with me. That was 14 years ago! He has been sick for the past 6 months or so, asthma and some lung issues. He has a large growth in his lung, very close to the heart. The docs say that surgery may tell them if it's cancer, but because the partially collapsed trachea and lungs, it is risky. We've decided against surgery. It never occurred to me when I adopted 4 cats during the same year (14 years ago) that they would all be leaving around the same time, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Babies R Us

I witnessed a birth today. We saw a horse give birth and watched a newborn colt open his eyes, stand, nurse, and walk all for the first time. My friend's horse had a beautiful baby at 12:30 today, and just by chance we were able to watch. It was amazing, and I was thrilled that Lily was able to see it as a natural event. We were out in a field in the sun as the three adults explained to Lily about each step and body part. Lily, apparently, likes the word vulva. Wonder if that will come up in preschool? We even examined the placenta carefully to be sure it all passed. The four of us stood about 20 feet away from the action, Kendra occasionally going closer to assist. By the time we left the field several hours later, that little colt was feeling pretty secure on his stilts and was attempting to trot. Adorable. In more baby news....a good friend who has been trying to get pregnant for four years finally did! She got a positive blood test on her 40th birthday. Babies, babies, everywhere. Leslie, when are you gonna have yours? (no pressure or anything)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Where I've been

Nice to be home. Overall, we had a pleasant trip. There were no major arguments. My mother did not stress me out. Lily was well-behaved. The Catholic service for my gran was, to my surprise, lovely. It suited her well. I had the chance to chat with my cousins and aunts, and even made a bit of progress toward healing some long-standing bad feelings between my dad’s sisters and me. I visited the house I grew up in, and got to go inside. I took photos of Lily on the front steps where I had all my birthday, dance, and important event photos taken. Fun stuff. Oh, and the man who lives there….wow. I felt myself blush a few times as I spoke with him. I did have to make a trip to the dentist. It seems I have a failed root canal, and quite an infection in the bone. This means that I’m taking very strong antibiotics, and need to make an appointment with a root canal specialist. Not looking forward to that. And you know all those charming symptoms that accompany antibiotics? I’ve got them. On to this week: looks like Lester will be having a baby soon. Perhaps today! I can’t wait…I have a bag packed with my camera, some scents, and some music. Send her some positive vibes. Also, a fellow heart family is going through surgery. Little Xavier had a heart transplant during the night. He has HLHS and a bum tricuspid valve, a situation quite similar to Chasmyn’s sweet little guy Quinn. Please send them some good stuff too, as well as the family who is grieving their little one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Loveliest of Trees

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Loveliest of Trees A.E. Housman Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough, And stands about the woodland ride Wearing white for Eastertide. Now, of my threescore years and ten, Twenty will not come again, And take from seventy springs a score, It only leaves me fifty more. And since to look at things in bloom Fifty springs are little room, About the woodlands I will go To see the cherry hung with snow.
This is a poem my grandma would recite recently, often becoming too emotional to finish. She loved poetry, and knew so many poems, but this one seems right for now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

off to Wisconsin.... Couldn't get a flight other than today, so I've packed up me and Lily and we're off. See ya next week!

A Kindred Spirit

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Mildred Cogswell Manogue
April 18, 1908 - April 13, 2005
My grandma was a remarkable woman. She graduated from college in 1927, when very few women attended. Above is her graduation photo. She wore knickers. And she loved hats. She lived all of her life in Wisconsin, as Millie Cogswell until she married my grandfather in 1930.
I realize as I sit to write this that to say she had a profound influence on me is an understatement. She was a teacher, and she taught me to read when I was in kindergarten. I got hooked a couple years later when she introduced me to Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. The series of books were my Grandma's favorites, and quickly became mine. I later became a teacher, following both Anne and Grandma. And yes, we all have red hair.
It didn't bother her a bit that I dressed differently than all the kids in high school, and had strange friends. Now looking back on the photos, I see that she likely had the same attitude as a teen. She has always been very supportive of both me and my sister. After my father's death in 1992, we became even closer. After loosing her youngest child, even though he was 53, we weren't sure how she'd survive. She showed her usual spunk and has done very well. Even last week she was scolding the nuns in the home she has been in for the last 2 years. Here she is last fall with Lily.
Everyone should be so lucky as to have such a kindred spirit in their lives. I'm grateful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Able to recite Bible verses

Image hosted by Talking Jesus, Mary, and Moses dolls. Is it just me, or does Moses' beard look blue?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

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One thing that gets underestimated are the moms in the world. And when the moms have had enough of their children dying for causes that they don't agree with - once they really understand that the causes aren't what they're told they are - then there is a revolution. But it happens internally first, and sometimes very quietly. It's not always with machetes and gunfire.
Just came from the Tori show. Today was great! Beautiful weather, hanging outside with the little family, then dinner and a concert with Kate. Something about being in a room with Tori. Four sets of keyboards, and one voice. At times she played two keyboards at once. Her albums are the soundtrack of my adult life. Oh, and I still have that fantasy that she is my sister.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

This week's Lilyism

Describing her imaginary friend: "She is sort of small. Like a flea, fairy, and angel all stuck together. That size."


Great night out last night. Went to a Brazilian bar with Kate and Sandaura, and stayed out way too late. We ate and drank at the bar, and laughed so much that my face hurt. Topics of discussion included: mystical places we've visited, the attractive waitstaff, Kate's yet unplanned wedding, Sandaura's book (how can she read when she has to write?), and ended with rats. As we walked to our cars, a rat the size of a small cat trotted across the sidewalk in front of us. We watched it join friends and family in a group of dumpsters. There were many, many rats. A regular circus. So, we spent some time watching, opted not to tell the guy putting garbage into the dumpster what he was participating in, and then tried to come up with the right materials to make some "Rat Crossing" signs for the sidewalk. On the way home, I did think about how close the kitchen is to those dumpsters...

Friday, April 08, 2005


With all the death-watching we've been doing (as a nation), I found this little gem interesting. Promessa is a Swedish company that offers an earth-friendly burial alternative:

The burial itself takes place in a shallow grave, in the upper mulch-forming layers of the soil. Here we find life-giving oxygen and the busy little break-down specialists, the microorganisms, that are the basis for our existence at the same time as they are a prerequisite to the process of decomposition.

The coffin and its contents are transformed into mulch in about half a year, thus becoming an important contribution to the living earth. In this way, ecological burial does not add to eutrophication of the seas via ground water or run-off, and vital drinking water is spared. Since the remains do not cause any impact on the environment, this should also lift restrictions making it possible to place gravesites freely; in the home, on family property or other places with emotional ties to the deceased and next of kin.

Found over at Mac's place. What's up with blogger these days?

Monday, April 04, 2005

Happy anniversary

Image hosted by Well, we are down a few shoes, and many socks....but it's been a great first year with the d-o-g. The adults in the house started spelling "dog" when we spoke about her, to keep both puppy and kid from getting overly excited about any plans we were making. Now they both understand that we are speaking about the canine when we say "d-o-g". Her favorite human on the planet is Lily, who gives her a lot of attention, often teetering on the verge of abuse. Hugs, dress-up, walks around the house wearing Lily's socks....this is one tolerant d-o-g. Can you believe the puppy store was going to kill her?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Weekend events

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Happy hitch day to Brian and Tanya.
Happy hatch day to Brittany and Krista.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Heather and Jessica, the bloggers who created Go Fug Yourself, have changed their strategy:

It's not often that we decide to eat crow. In fact, we generally consider ourselves allergic to it. But after countless e-mails from readers frustrated with the way "Go Fug Yourself" ruins people's lives, stunts the feminist movement, and not only represents all the evils of the world but in fact spawns new ones, we've had a bit of a renaissance of the heart.

Because, at the end of the day, the accusations are all true. We are just jealous. And fat. And ugly, poor, viciously destructive blobs who can only cope with the grim reality of our own lives by tearing down other people. We're not just Satan's minions; we eat his leg shavings, toasted and topped with fresh sweat-butter.

And so, Go Hug Yourself has been born. We want to put good out there in the world and celebrate everything wonderful -- from hugs to love to puppies to Little House on the Prairie. Snark is a thing of the past; sarcasm is dead. We're in a new millenium now, so it's time to turn this Earth into one giant ball of affection.

We hope you'll ride along with us in our crusade to make the world a better place. Because really, isn't that what the Internet is all about?

Well, one of the first people they choose to spread some lovin' to was Michael Bolton. And Anne Geddes. They are certainly both deserving of some attention from Heather and Jessica. Go Hug Yourself

Friday, April 01, 2005

Seven, Eight, gonna stay up late....

One of the many dangers of napping when a 4 year old is lurking about.

Witchcraft in Spain

The weird and the wonderful: Witchcraft in Spain I've met a few brujas in Spain.