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Washington D. See as much as you can

By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 22, 2007

Bill, Margaret and I just got back from a trip to Washington D.C. Bill had a conference, so Mar and I decided to tag along ... definitely one of the best decisions we made in a while. I'd been to D.C. many times while I was in graduate school at Penn State — a mere three-hour drive away. Bill had visited before, too. This was, of course, Margaret's first time. I love D.C. for so many different reasons. And I was hoping Margaret would love her time there as well. That fact that it's our nation's capitol makes all my patriotic tendencies come bubbling to the surface, especially when I think about how our country was founded and all the things that I've been able to accomplish because I live in this country. Knowing that my daughter will have opportunities that are not afforded women in other parts of the world is something of which I'm very proud. Plus there's a sense of history that is made palpable by the grandeur of the architecture. The monuments that line the mall are on such a scale as to remind us of the great accomplishments by some truly great Americans. The dot on the exclamation point that is the dramatic power of Washington D.C. has got to be the U.S. Capitol building. It dominates the skyline with its impressive dome and colonnaded facade. outside%20the%20capitol.jpg Luckily for Margaret and I, Bill had the foresight to call Sen. Ken Salazar's office in D.C. and set up a tour of the building. I knew that tours were available, I just never figured out how you got one. It's as easy as calling your elected representatives. Did you know that? I hadn't a clue. At the time of our tour, our group (which included Bill's colleagues) headed over to the senator's office in a building near the Capitol. A lovely intern, Beatrice, took us over to the Capitol via a series of underground passages and even a mini subway system used to transport congressmen back and forth between the Capitol and their offices. senate%20subway.jpg Again, I had no clue that congressmen get their own public transportation. Maybe I'm just slow. Inside the Capitol we were presented with wonderful artwork and more amazing architecture. I loved the Brumidi Corridors on the Senate side of the building. Brumidi.jpg The level of intricacy and detail was astounding. A true feast for the eyes. We all enjoyed by the statuary hall. Not just because of the lovely sculptures, but because of its acoustical properties. Originally the statuary hall was location of the desks of the representatives. That was until it was discovered that it was a whispering gallery. This is a phenomenon that allows a person to whisper on one side of the room and be heard on another side. Despite the fact that the hall was filled with many tour groups, we were able to hear our tour guide as she stood on the other side of the hall. We were all pretty amazed when her voice seemed to be beamed down right on top of us from a very far distance and heard over the top of, at least, 75 other people. But that's how the whole experience was for us — amazing. The elegance, remarkable detail and the utter care taken in the creation of our nation's Capitol is truly a wonderful sight to behold. 3 comments

Whine vs. Wine

By {screen_name}
Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Why is the rum always gone?" Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp Good question. It's been a week. And that's all I have to say about that. And when it's been a week, I think of a nice long hike followed by a nice glass of wine. Or a dirty martini. Last night's 50% off wine list dinner at Il Bistro Italiano helped. Thank you, honey! I'm not saying that alcohol can solve your problems. It just makes them more distant, and they seem more trivial by your second glass. I wasn't driving and I'm big on responsible drinking, so please don't lecture me about all that. It's just that my Mojo is out of whack lately and so I turn to wine instead of whine. Everybody's happier. In case you haven't checked it out yet, you need to tune in to Dave Buchanan's blog, WINE OPENERS.The man knows what he's talking about and always has great wine suggestions. But he's never answered the question of what he does with all those bottles of wine he gets in the mail at the office. Maybe he can answer the question about the rum. 2 comments

Like mother (and father), like daughter

By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

As much as I try to weasel my way into Margaret's psyche, she shuts the weasel hole and leaves me out in the cold. I would love to dress her in black turtlenecks and black Chuck Taylors, but she just won't have it. So, I've stopped trying to force my way in and let her find her own way of expression. And the more I loosen the reigns, the more she's apt to follow. This revelation has been very fun for us. Early in the year Bill bought Mar a cheap pair of slip on tennis shoes to wear to school. so cheap in fact that the insole has started to deteriorate and cause Mar no end of discomfort. This weekend I took her to find a new pair of shoes. We looked through rack after rack of shoes, sorting through the shoes with all the rhinestones, silver foil and Bratz logos. My goal was a shoe that was most comfortable and too ugly. As we walked down the aisles, I would point out ones that I thought she would like and some that I liked. She'd veto the ones I liked the most and try to talk me into ones with so plastic and things dangling off of them they looked more the an ornament for Liberace then a pair of athletic shoes. Finally she picked up a pair of Vans that were black, white and neon pink. I held my breath ... was she mocking me. They were adorably cute and exactly like something that I liked and knew her dad would love ... a skateboard shoe. After trying on the size 2.5 pair and the size 3 pair about 15 times each, she assured me that the 2.5 was perfect. I ran to the register, sure that she was going to change her mind at any moment. I think her change in taste is due to the fact that she's inundated with the images and Bill and I love and it's just seeped into her impressionable brain. For example, Friday I bought Margaret a little "Thanks for being such a swell kid" surprise gift. When she saw this gift, she proclaimed that I was the "best mother ever." I was going for "coolest" mom ever, but I'll take the "best." nails%203.jpg nails%201.jpg Cute huh? Yeah, they are cheapy stick on fake nails and lasted a total of 2 minutes once she actually started using her fingers for any activity other than fashion modeling. Oh well, they were cute while they lasted. _______________________________________________ Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for everything. Hope you have a great day! 2 comments

Life Goes On

By {screen_name}
Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It’s been a sad week in our house because we’re missing Asher. Our little puppy made it through his ordeal but he is now living with some employee of the emergency vet clinic. I still think the way the staff handled things there was really pretty crappy but I’m dealing with that through other channels. We’ll get another puppy someday but we’ll never forget Asher. How could we? Asher%20on%20deck.jpg "Can somebody help me up here?" Asher%20sleeping.jpg "A little nap never hurt." Alex insists on keeping the crate in his room until he gets another puppy. He won’t even consider moving it to the garage. Fine with me. Asher thought it was pretty cozy. Ashersnoozin.jpg Many thanks to all of you out there who called or commented with support and encouragement and righteous anger about the whole series of events. It was really uplifting to see so many nuggets of goodness in the people we know. So . . . Alex went to homecoming this past weekend and I get no information from him, as you know. I pumped his friends for a few details and it sounds like it was the typical high school dance scenario - high on drama, low on actual dancing. Alex did a great job arranging the social agenda for the evening, complete with whose parents would drive who, when and where. Good job son! His plans also included having about five of his friends back to our house after the dance for an evening of Halo 3. All I have to say about that is that any conversation you have with a group of teenagers that includes the phrase, “We didn’t think it would actually start on fire” does not bode well. The fall weather is beautiful. I managed to fit in a hike with my sisters before the rain came this weekend. If all goes as planned we’ll be going on a long overdue camping trip this weekend. One of these days I’m sure I’ll have a working toilet in my master bathroom. So life goes on, and you suck up the bad stuff and remember there is, at the end of the day, a lot more good. AsherandAl3.jpg 2 comments

Let’s go Rockies

By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 15, 2007

This summer Margaret graduated from the little-kid pool at Lincoln Park-Moyer Pool to the big pool with the lap lanes. I decided that rather than sitting next to the pool not getting the top of my bathing suit wet, that this year I'd take advantage of my kid's growth. While she happily swim around the pool or went down the waterslide over and over again, I swam laps. It'd been years since I really swam for the sake of swimming and I'd forgotten how much I love it. It was great to be reminded of the joy of gliding through the water, getting a non-impact aerobic workout. These past few weeks, I've been reminded once again of something that I once enjoyed quite a lot ... Major League Baseball. I grew up just down the freeway from the Oakland Coliseum, home to the Oakland A's. When I reached high school, my friend, Jen, and I developed a love for the A's and baseball in general. We started going to many of the home games. We always sat in the bleachers eating sunflower seeds and drinking giant tubs of diet soda. We invented our own names for many of the players and would run a constant commentary focusing on things that appealed to teenaged girls ... who was the cutest, who have the best arms and even sometimes we commented on their actual stats. We both stayed home for college and we continued our trips to the Coliseum to watch our A's. Then I moved to Pennsylvania to attend Penn State. There I was schooled on football which is practically a religion. I learned the fundamentals of the game and became not only an avid Nittany Lion fan, but a Pittsburgh Steelers fan as well. After moving to Grand Junction, I didn't follow football as much and never rekindled my love for baseball. I haven't been much of a sports fan for the past couple years ... I guess I've been an avid kid watcher instead. But that has all changed now that the Rockies are in the playoffs ... and not just in the playoffs but killing 'em in the playoffs. Their games have been some of the best baseball I can remember watching. So thanks, Rockies! Thanks for reminding me why I love baseball. Oh and let's finish off this sweep of the D-backs tonight, eh? Onward to the Series! 3 comments

Born to be a mama

By Robin Dearing
Friday, October 12, 2007

After Margaret was born I sat around nursing her non-stop for months. I wore elastic waisted skirts and Bill's t-shirts. Every now an then, I'd try on my pre-pregnancy jeans ... I guess I should say that I'd try one leg of my pre-pregnancy jeans on, because I couldn't get them up over my ginormous thunder tights. All those gallons of rocky-road ice cream that I ate during my first trimester really came back to haunt me. Even after I miraculously lost all my pregnancy weight, I still couldn't get into my pre-pregnancy jeans. My body changed. I can't even complain that it changed for the worse, because it wasn't very good to start with. I love being a mom and having a squishier body is just one of those things that I wear as a mama badge of honor. But there are women who are born to give birth gracefully. Richie is one of those women. She stopped in the office recently with both her boys in tow ... wearing jeans ... two months after having Jonas. It's a good think I love her so much, because otherwise, I'd probably hate her. She looks great and the boys are as cute and sweet as can be: Richie%20and%20boys2.jpg Soren.jpg Richie%20and%20Soren.jpg 7 comments


By Robin Dearing
Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yesterday's Breast Cancer Awareness entry was by Blonde Mom Jamie. I forgot to tag it correctly when I posted it. All women and men who love the women in their lives should be reminded that breast cancer can strike anyone regardless of family history. 0 comments

Awareness is key

By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while many of these type things blip right by my mental radar, this year it's personal, and not just because I have boobs. During my annual pap smear early this year I told my OBGYN about a pea size lump I had found in my right breast. He surprised me by immediately sending me to see a breast surgeon. Now while I would love to tell you that I was strong and unwavering in my faith, I was filled with doubt and anxiety after I was then sent for a routine mammogram and the radiologist seemed gravely concerned and told me I needed both an MRI and a biopsy. I didn't tell my family about any of the tests because it was all so uncertain. I am blessed with great health, as well as great health insurance, and fortunate in that I've never had to go through any type of medical testing. There is no history of breast cancer in my family. Thankfully the results from the core biopsy I had on my right breast as well as a lymph node back in March showed that I had nothing to worry about. The pea size lump disappeared and turned out to be nothing but fatty tissue and the larger fibrocystic mass that the radiologist I had seen (after the breast surgeon I'd seen had said everything looked fine) was concerned about turned out to be benign. I sported one scary looking bruised Frankenboob for a month or so, but it was a small price to pay for knowing I was healthy. I did a lot of research while waiting for all my test results. I read about breast cancer risk factors and was surprised to find out that having your first child after age 30, as I did, is a risk factor, as well as is taking oral contraceptives. I have a six-month follow up mammogram this month. Am I looking forward to it? Not really, but getting felt up by a total stranger is worth knowing that I am in the clear and that I will be here for a long time to drive my family crazy, not to mention love them like crazy. Help spread the word about breast cancer awareness. Early detection is key (and eight out of ten breast lumps are benign!) Who knows, you might even help save a life. Some facts and links: From the Breast Cancer Site: If detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer exceeds 95%. Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram. Check out Think Before You Pink or this great USA Today article for information on how you can shop for a cause! Horchow's website features fun think pink kitchen items so you can cook and entertain for a cause. Coldwater Creek has several "In the Pink" benefit items. Design-Her-Gals has also launched the first ever virtual walk to raise money to help those diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer (with a minimum donation of just $3.) Read more from Blonde Mom Jamie on her blog, Blonde Mom Blog. 5 comments

Our Own Sophie’s Choice

By {screen_name}
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

When Alex got his puppy Asher I made it clear to everyone, especially to myself, that this was not my dog. I griped about him, even as I l went home three times a day to check on him. Even as we built him a fence in the back yard so he would have lots of room to play, and run around and be a happy little puppy. I apologized when I called my sisters and asked them to please come over and visit Asher so he wouldn’t be lonely during the day because after all, he is very much a people-person dog. Asher Xmas card.jpg In the morning as I drank my coffee and tried to read the paper while Asher nipped my leg for attention, or when he stopped eating his breakfast and came over for some hugs and love before he finished, I told him (in baby-talk of course), “Don’t think that just because you’re the cutest little puppy in the world that means I’ll miss you if we ever give you away!” That was the biggest lie I ever told. Last Friday Alex took Asher over to his girl friend’s house. About 9:45 Alex called and said Asher had fallen down while they were walking, and his tooth went through his lip. He was bleeding and they took him to the breeder's house. She said that mouth wounds bleed and Asher would probably be OK. About 15 minutes later Alex called back and said they were taking Asher to the emergency vet clinic and to meet him there. You know, the same place we were two weeks earlier. When I got there I was beyond shocked when I saw the amount of blood covering the kids and their clothes. They looked liked they had been stabbed. Alex was wearing borrowed clothes because his own had become too blood soaked to wear. What on earth? What now with this dog? I muttered to myself as I signed the paperwork guaranteeing I would pay the $500, at least, and the DNR papers, etc. The rest of the night passes in a horrific blur. The vet came out to tell us that Asher had lost a tremendous amount of blood and was in shock. His tooth had punctured the only artery in his tongue and it wasn’t clotting. She asked if the puppy could have eaten rat poison. Rat poison? We just moved into the house and I didn’t put any anywhere. Then we recalled on Tuesday we came home and found Asher under the deck. We thought it was funny he squeezed under there to hang out when his comfy crate was on the top of the deck. If that’s where he got into it, it had to be under there. The vet called us into the consultation room and gave us the news. It was one of the suckiest moments of my life and probably Alex’s too as she said that Asher required a transfusion, was in critical condition and was basically bleeding to death. She rattled off a bunch of numbers about his blood levels being half of what they were supposed to be, his temperature was dropping, blah, blah, blah. Then she asked what we wanted to do. “Do? How much is our decision going to cost?” About $1,800 just for the critical care and the first transfusion. Then of course we don’t know, maybe another transfusion, hundreds of dollars more, don’t know what his outcome will ultimately be. I wanted to throw-up, I wanted to melt in the floor, I was sure I was going to hell at this moment as I turned to Alex and told him, “I can not pay for this, Alex. I’m still recouping from the last visit. What do you want to do?” How could I ask a 15-year-old to make that decision when I can’t even make it myself? After much agonizing deliberation, we sobbed as we told the vet to put Asher down. Then the vet starts babbling about how we could put his body in the landfill, and more blah, blah, blah. “For god’s sake,” I thought. “How do you drive home with your dead puppy’s body?” Then the vet said. “Or you could pay for his care up to this point which is just over $600 and sign him over for adoption.” Why the hell didn’t she say that in the first freaking place? We went in to see Asher and to say good-bye. That sweet puppy raised his head and looked at us with those beautiful brown eyes as if to say he understood. I paid the bill and we left knowing we wouldn’t have Asher but hopefully somebody would.
Asher sleeping.jpg
It sucked. It sucked. It sucked. It sucked. Alex was silent on the way home. I began to tell him how sorry I was. “Just don’t say anything mom. I know it’s not your fault but I don’t want you to say anything.” I sobbed all night. He wasn’t my dog you know, and I wasn’t going to miss him. I was sorry for Alex. Yeah. Alex got up early the next morning. “Mom, can we get him back?” “I don’t know honey but we can try.” I called the clinic. Well, once you sign a puppy over you can get him back if nobody else has adopted him yet, and you pay for his care which by now was multiple thousands. Did I mention how much this sucked? The vet called early Saturday to say that Asher had his transfusion and was resting comfortably. He was still critical, but still alive. Saturday afternoon the clinic called to get some info about Asher for his adoption and said he was due for another blood test in a while which ultimately showed he was still bleeding internally. I didn’t have the guts to call for an update on Sunday so I asked Rick to call. The clinic told him that Saturday night, after a second transfusion, he still wasn’t doing well and they had decided to put him down after all. But one of the employees at the clinic said she would foot the bill for a third transfusion if they would let her adopt him. Which I guess they did, and she did. What? How do you reconcile this? She gets to pay for just the transfusion and gets to keep my dog? I mean Alex’s dog? How come I don’t get that choice? I’m out over $2,000 in the three weeks we had this dog and Alex has no dog at the end of it? How come she gets to see Asher grow up and run trails with her? Or catch lacrosse balls? In God’s grand scheme of things does she need this dog more than Alex does? How come Alex waits ten years to get a puppy and only has him three weeks? Or should we just be grateful that Asher is still alive as far as we know? (I don’t have many good things to say about the alleged “caring and compassionate” treatment of people from this clinic, I must say, and I can give you those details if you want off-line.) It sucks. It sucks It sucks. I miss Alex’s dog. I can’t go out in the back yard because he’s not there. I refuse to vacuum or mop the floor because he was just there on it looking up at me with those brown eyes. I read the whole paper this morning without having to deal with the puppy and it sucked. Every time I open the pantry or the fridge (“It’s the land of food, Asher”, Alex would tell him) there is no puppy to scoot out of the way. The crate is still in Alex’s room and I can’t bring myself to look at it let alone do something with it. Alex has it covered with a blanket. I wish I had taken more pictures. I hope I can stop crying soon.
Asher on deck.jpg
As of now (Monday), Alex doesn’t know the rest of the story. He was at work all day Sunday and then went out with some friends. Rick is picking him up after school to tell him. I’m not supposed to be there because I’ll add too much emotion. Me? It’s not my dog. There’s a song that says only love can break your heart. They forgot to say it was puppy love. 7 comments

Monday nothings

By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 8, 2007

I wasn't feeling well over the weekend. Saturday I spent the majority of the day on the sofa simultaneously watching a marathon of Americas' Next Top Model and MTV's I Love New York. I'm embarrassed to admit that because neither of these shows have any redeeming qualities whatsoever. I love all kinds of reality TV. But these shows are the dregs. That model show with Tyra Banks is just silly. And that Tyra chick takes herself just too damn serious. "Five models stand before me today. But I only have the pictures of four of you. Once I've revealed who's getting the boot, you must cry, hug girls that you just said you hated, then return to the pimp-assed pad you've been living in to gather your skinny-assed jeans ... and go home." Puh-lease. But that didn't stop me from watching the entire season all. day. long. Of course, to cut the sweetness of that model show, I had to flip over to I Love New York, which, I guess, is a dating show. But dang, that's one crazy show. I mean, when did stripper dresses become the epitome of formal wear? Once I found out that the guy that she ultimately picked, dumped her on the reunion show. I just had to watch the whole thing. I guess since I woke up nauseated and tired and just out of sorts, I decided to make sure I stayed that way by watching two hideous (but oh-so entertaining) shows. Around three, I started to worry that I was wasting a precious weekend day. Then I realized that we're always trying to get the most out of our weekends. I often go back to work Mondays more tired than I was Friday, so I let myself have the day and gave into my sickness. Luckily the only medicine I needed was a hefty dose of raunchy reality TV. Of course the whole weekend was not a loss in that Saturday night we watched the Rockies sweep their series! Woot to the Rockies! And Saturday night, we had a great evening celebrating our dear friend's birthday with some delicious food. Here's a picture of Mar from Friday night: Russian%20hat%20Mar.jpg 9 comments
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