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By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
"Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming to the mall!" Margaret shouted at me when I picked her up from daycare one March evening.
She was about 3 and had somehow gotten the Easter Bunny and Jesus confused. She thought that Jesus brought little kids baskets of chocolates and hid eggs.
It wasn't surprising really that she had things so confused. I don't think we had ever explained the manyfold aspects of the major religious holidays.
It wasn't until she started attending preschool at Kids of the Kingdom that she really got a basic understanding of the Christian holidays and belief system (despite her reluctance to discuss it here
, she really does know what Easter is all about). And for that, I am so thankful. The teachers of Kids of the Kingdom educated Margaret on the tenants of Christianity in a caring and positive way.
I feel that having basic Christian fundamentals under her belt will be helpful as she begins to navigate her life's path. Despite the idea that America is a melting pot, it is still a largely Christian country and having some knowledge of the belief system will only benefit her.
But whether she adopts Christianity as her faith or seeks another path is up to her. I share with her my feelings on spirituality and religion as does her dad. I want her to have respect for all faiths and religions, not just the one she believes in.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I’m really not much a dog-person. Never had a dog growing up, never had a dog period. In spite of Alex’s intermittent pleas to get one, it’s not gonna happen.
My sister, however, doesn’t mind having pets. I guess four children isn’t enough chaos. So she bought a rabbit. Talk about a useless pet! Then one day they all went to the pet store and in spite of her deployed husband’s admonishments not to get a dog they came home with “Tucker.”
When she pulled into my driveway yesterday in the soccer mom van to pick up Alex for lacrosse practice, she had multiple other children she was dropping off and little Tucker in the back.
In a moment of temporary insanity or a twist of karma I said, ”I’ll take Tucker.”
“Really? That would be great. Are you sure?”
“Yeah, it’s only for a couple of hours. We’ll go for a walk. Is he gonna poop?”
“I don’t know. You could ask him.”
She drove off and left me holding the leash.
I didn’t really know what to do next. I had to go get my shoes on, fill my water bottle and grab a hat. What was I supposed to do with the dog in the meantime?
I wrapped his leash around something I thought was secure in the garage and ran into the house to get my stuff. When I came back out 45 seconds later Tucker had gotten himself loose and was on top of the garage refrigerator. Like a mountain goat or something.
I got him down and started putting my socks on which he immediately took for a game of tug-of-war. Puppy teeth are no match for socks. We started down the driveway and I realized the dog had no idea what going for a walk meant. I figured he would just trot along by my side like all the other dogs I see. Right. It was pretty comical to say the least.
We got about a quarter of a mile down the road and this dog about the same size as Tucker appeared about 50 yards away. Tucker freaked. He ducked between my legs and then turned and ran the other way! What a wussy! I told my sister later if she bought him as a watch dog, she better get a gun.
Back home on the deck, I gave him some of the Easter ham. He loved it. So now we only had an hour and a half to kill before we had to pick kids up at lacrosse practice. I was bored, and it reminded me of how it was sometimes boring being at home with a toddler. I was hoping Tucker would just lie down and go to sleep. But like a toddler with seemingly endless energy, he was in no mood to sleep.
I put him in the back of the car and drove to lacrosse figuring he would like to watch the kids play. Tucker whined all the way there, and when I got to the field and opened the back door, I discovered he peed all over. Poor thing, he was scared of my driving, not unlike most of my human passengers. But at least he peed mostly on a blanket that I could just throw in the wash.
He’s a pretty cute dog, but I’m still not getting one.
Friday, April 6, 2007
We’ve been doing some remodeling here at The Daily Sentinel. For weeks it smelled like paint, glue, dust and other stuff nobody really wanted to think about as workers tore out walls, carpet, vinyl and plumbing.
It was a pretty nice face lift when all was said and done. It was amazing to see how much usable new “office” space was carved out. New furniture was rolled in and put together and old furniture was up for grabs. Friendly squabbles broke out over who got a new bulletin board and who had to go without.
The dust has pretty much settled now but there are odd arrangements around of extra file cabinets, chairs and such. Walking past the graphic artist gulag the other day, I noticed this:
I don’t know why, but it has completely captivated me. It’s kind of like our own version of Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup painting. It has existentialist overtones. It’s strikingly hopeful and hopeless at the same time. Half empty and half full.
Wait here for what?
How long do I have to wait?
Will it be worth waiting for, whatever it is?
When will I know I’ve waited long enough?
I love that there’s a nice chair there, and the sign says “please”. Since the picture was taken, the graphic artists have added some magazines to the rack. A homey, thoughtful gesture for people who are “waiting”.
When I walked by this morning I noticed that someone had moved the chair, and it quite upset me. Sensing my distress (mostly because I was very vocal about it), K-Lo quickly found the chair and relocated it to the Waiting Area.
If you remember, we had popcorn kernels that were here for days! I’m not sure how long the Waiting Area will be with us. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Last Sunday, we waved our goodbyes and my parents rolled on out of the Grand Valley. They had been here for a nice three-week visit.
We all really enjoyed having my parents here. They would pick Margaret up from school and sit in the front yard while she jumped rope, ran around and generally acted like the little kid that she is.
My mom and Bill cooked dinner most nights. My dad worked on small and big projects and generally did some much-needed cleaning around our yard. My parents got to see me play with my band
for the first time.
They stayed in their RV which was parked in our driveway. They had their own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and even satellite TV — which Margaret figured out had way better channels than our rinky-dink basic cable.
It was a busy three weeks but I really liked having my parents around. They were helpful and supportive as we've had to alter our lives since Bill was diagnosed with diabetes and deal with some other family drama that has permeated our lives.
We miss them now that they are safely back home — and it's not just because they always had cookies and ice cream and assorted other goodies that are now banned from the house of Diabilly.
before about how I wish my family were closer and that feeling has never been more profound than it is right now.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
I was invited to lunch last week by coworkers who claimed I had been doing the mommy thing too well and neglecting them. Just to prove their point, they made name tags just in case I had forgotten. A buncha wise-guys!
We spent the hour interviewing each other in true journalistic fashion. I was the interviewee for the most part and tried to rattle off as much information about myself between slurps of hot-n-sour soup.
"What do you think this baby is going to be?"
"I think it's going to be a girl," replied I.
"Oh, I hope it's a girl....I have the cutest little dress to her!"
But, their were some skeptics at the table giving me the raised eyebrow and bragging about their all knowing baby guessing capabilities.
As the meal wrapped up the plate of fortune cookies was passed around.
"You have to read it out loud and say 'In the bathroom'."
I waited for my turn grinning from ear to ear.
My fortune said "Son."
Turns out Confucius was right!
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
I don’t know about ya’ll, but for me, cooking is great therapy. I love looking in the pantry and fridge and creating a meal out of odds and ends and bits and pieces. When I’m stressed I love to slice and dice and chop and pound and beat. Needless to say, last week we ate pretty good at my house!
Tis the season for asparagus, or as we called them as kids “spareguts”. They are so lovely and delicious right now and I’ve been buying up the little skinny ones for a buck a pound! They’re not everyone’s favorite vegetable, especially kids. But I’ve been successful in getting lots of kids to try them by telling them that asparagus makes your pee smell funny. This fascinates them and they gobble them up.
We had asparagus this many ways last week:
Start with about two pounds of cleaned, trimmed asparagus for any of these.
Number One: Wrap about three or four asparagus with a slice of bacon cut in half lengthwise and secure with toothpicks. Place in roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 for about 20 minutes or until bacon is crispy, flipping halfway through. Make a dipping sauce of about ½ cup low fat mayo, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, some chopped cilantro and about 1 to 2 teaspoons of sirachi chili sauce. This dip is great with the asparagus or on green beans too.
Number Two: Mix about ½ cup pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon or more fresh grated ginger, one or two minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons olive oil and about a tablespoon of sesame oil. Pour over lightly steamed asparagus and marinate for a few hours.
Number Three: Get yourself a vegetable grill pan. It has little holes in the bottom and you set it on your outdoor grill for veggies and such so they don’t fall through. Bed, Bath and Beyond
has them for about ten bucks. Drizzle the spareguts with olive oil, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Grill on your veggie grill for about ten minute until you consider them done. I like them kind of crispy. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and that’s it.
In between the asparagus frenzy I’ve been shuttling Alex and his cousin Forrest back and forth to LACROSSE!!! Yippee! Yes, ladies and gentlemen and lacrosse fans around the valley - the Lizards are back with a vengeance.
Except this year they are now called the Spartans and there are four times as many as last year. Ninety kids from 5th to 12th grade. Their first match is this Saturday in Aspen. Alex’s team plays at 7:00 p.m. under the lights! Who’d a thunk it? It will be a late drive home but I get to spend all day in Aspen! Dang, I love that game!
So happy Spring everyone, happy eating and GO SPARTANS!
By Robin Dearing
Monday, April 2, 2007
Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month — and that means it's free day at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens
Being one that loves to take advantage of all the free stuff I can, Margaret and I joined a bunch of our neighbor moms and daughters for a bike ride down to the botanical gardens.
We've ridden our bikes down there many times, but this time was different. Margaret rode her own two-wheeler, all by herself. In the past she's been attached to my bike or Bill's bike by her tag-along bike
I watched her like a hawk as she pedaled along the bike lane, being mindful to stay with the group and not dart into traffic. It was a bit more stressful for me, but Margaret did great and she really enjoyed the independence of riding alone.
The gardens inside were in full bloom and we saw many stunning flowers and butterflies.
Just as we entered the gardens, Margaret and I saw these two smiling faces:
Yep, we ran into Richie and Soren, who were also taking advantage of the beautiful weather and free-day at the botanical gardens.
Soren was having a grand time watching these guys as they darted around the koi pond:
Soren sure is a happy little guy. Look at his little self as he tried to convince the koi to come home with him:
After having our fill of the flora and fauna of the inside gardens, we strolled around the desert gardens that are just now coming to life. It always amazes me the beauty and variety of plantlife that grows in our high desert landscape.
Gorgeous weather, beautiful gardens, great friends — just three more reason why I love the Grand Valley.
Friday, March 30, 2007
After Alex and I finished dinner I turned on the TV while I cleaned up the kitchen. There wasn’t much to clean up - the remnants of a spinach, tomato and feta cheese pizza, some carrot sticks with low-fat ranch dressing and skim milk.
A news report caught my ear and I listened as the reporter talked about the results from a new study that was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine
. It was not good news. The study found that this generation (our kids) is projected to have the first-ever shorter life expectancy than the previous generation due to the rising incidence of childhood obesity.
In other words, our kids are expected to die 2 to 5 years sooner than their parents because they are too fat!
Check out these reports here
or just Google “childhood obesity and life expectancy” for more.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that America is getting fatter. Not just fat, fatter. Remember when you were in grade school and there was maybe one or two kids at the most who were fat? They got teased and definitely chosen last for kickball. Today, what’s the big deal? The fat kids don’t even stand out from the crowd anymore.
Don’t start squawking that I’m mean and insensitive and all that. People who are fat, know it. Like me, for instance. I’ve been trying to lose the same 5, OK 8, pounds for three years. My goal is to eventually weigh what my driver’s license says I weigh. But being fat is no longer a self-esteem or “value” issue. It is a serious health issue and now we have passed it along to our kids.
There are a gajillion reasons why and I’m not going into them all here. But the biggest reason of all? Yep, the common theme this week - parents who are not paying attention to their kids and what their kids are eating! Kids do not have a lot of control over what kind of food is in the house or what kind of food is put in front of them to eat. That’s their parent’s job. And there are plenty of resources available to parents who want to make some changes so their precious children will live longer than they will.
One of those resources locally is the Mesa County Health Department’s new Shape Down program for kids and their parents. You can call (970) 683-6650 for more information on that one.
Anybody know of other resources? Post a comment to tell us. Gotta run because today is Cookie Day here at work and there are about fifteen varieties calling my name!
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, March 29, 2007
My mom and I made a quilt.
OK, it's not quite done yet but all that's left is to quilt it and put the binder on (yes, I realize that those are pretty huge things, but still ... we've got the top done!). My mom and I worked on it, off and on, for most of their trip here and we're really pleased with how it came out.
Quilting is something that my mom and I have been doing together since my dear friend — and frequent Haute Mamas commenter — Marlys was married ... um, I wanted to put "a long time ago" but that makes us seem so old ... anyway, when we found out that Marlys was getting married, we decided to make her a gift.
While visiting a craft fair, we saw a demonstration of the Quilt-in-a-day
method for making log-cabin quilts. We were inspired by the ease of the method and off we went.
Since, then we have made quilts on our own and have collobrated on others. And have even moved beyond the easy, Quilt-in-a-day, log-cabing quilts. Margaret has this lovely pink and white quilt patterned with hearts that my mother hand quilted and gave to her when she was born. Margaret has used that quilt for her entire life.
Then when Margaret was about a year and a half old, my mom and I made this quilt that Bill and I have been using on our bed for five years now:
Look at all those triangles. My mom said, "No more triangles!" after that one.
While we were working on our most recent quilt, she asked, "Why don't we just do log cabin for now on?"
We may not be in Sherida's quilting league
yet, but we sure are having a good time trying to get there.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
To help soften my tirade below, I wanted to post this picture of my nephew engaging in the toddler toilet-paper-caper, like Soren.