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By Robin Dearing
Thursday, July 5, 2007
What a holiday: A celebration of all things American. Seems these days we need more than just one day a year to pay tribute to our fair country and all that it's given to us.
It's such a pure holiday with genuine significance and, for the most part, without controversy. People happily don their red, white and blue, gather their friends and family and celebrate.
In the immortal words of Martha Stewart: It's a good thing.
We had a wonderful Fourth.
Margaret's day camp spent the day planning and preparing dinner for us parents, which left Bill and I both home alone for the bulk of the day.
And we took the day off.
We're always doing something: working on the house, getting ready for a show, cleaning and/or organizing something.
But not yesterday. Nope, we took full advantage of our day off and did our best to stay out of the heat.
That evening we were treated to a chorus of patriotic songs followed by a full-service dinner prepared and served by a group of giggily yet sincere day campers.
After dinner I was ready to roll off to bed, but I managed to stay up long enough to watch the city's firework display from my neighbor's yard.
How did you spend your Fourth of July?
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Last week, I woke up in the middle of the night wanting this:
A grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don’t know why. I’ve never had one. It just suddenly sounded really good.
With both pregnancies I never craved anything in particular. Nothing weird or unusual. No pickles and peanut butter or salsa over ice cream. I do have this thing for chocolate cherry cordial ice cream but I could eat that anytime pregnant or not.
But I can’t get the thought of warm PBJ out of my head. It just sounds so good but so weird.
Just out of curiousity, I Googled
it and recipe
popped up for the warm PBJ. It seems to have been Elvis's favorite sandwich
. Only he liked to grill the sandwich in bacon fat, add bananas and wash it down with a glass of buttermilk. Eww...now that is taking it a little to far.
Speakin of fat, this recipe for horse fat fries
nearly made me vomit yesterday. My coworker and fellow foodie Daniel likes to send me links that will make me gag. It's not nice really. Where would you even buy such an item? I'm sure they don't sell it at our Vitamin Cottage
, which is always full of unfriendly people by the way.
Anyway, I'm going to give the warm PBJ a try for lunch today. Why not? Pregnancy is the perfect excuse to give into weird cravings.
Check back after 1 p.m. and I'll let you know how it was.
And...it was great!
Soren and loverhubby liked it too. Think peanut butter and jelly on a piece of toast. As a matter of a fact it would probably be easier to just make toast and slather it with nutty sweetness. If I ever get this craving again I think that's how I'll make it.
What was your pregnancy craving?
Sunday, July 1, 2007
It’s really hot.
It’s Cat on A Hot Tin Roof
It’s Hot Town, Summer in the City
It’s so hot I want to waller in a mud pit.
It’s so hot I want to stay at my desk and work and not go outside hot.
Now that’s hot!
Why does it have to be so hot? That’s a whine - not a request for scientific, meteorological or global warming information.
Really, after it hits a hundred degrees, we get it. It doesn’t have to go any higher.
Besides whine and take cold showers, how do you keep your cool? Where do you go and what do you do for relief?
Please tell me. I’ve got to get out of this office!
By Robin Dearing
Friday, June 29, 2007
And if mama ain't happy, then nobody's happy.
At least that's how it would be in my world.
Also, in Robin's world, the school district and city wouldn't think it's OK to require an entire school full of children to cross a busy street several times a day in order to play outside at recess.
That would be a crazy plan, right?
Not according to the city of Grand Junction and Mesa County Valley School District 51.
Yesterday afternoon, I attended an open house where the school district was sharing with the community plans for the new, not-yet-named elementary school to be built on Columbine Elementary's campus — which sits between Gunnison and Chipeta and 9th and 10th.
There were six plans displayed and we were asked for our comments.
One included a big courtyard surrounded by classrooms. I asked if that was going to be the location of the playground, as there was no playground noted on the plan. The architect said that they are working with the city on getting the playground moved across Gunnison to Washington Park.
Their plan is to have students walking back and forth across a major artery several times a day?
Gunnison Avenue is a busy street. The idea of my kid being carted back and forth, again and again, day after day, it is terrifying.
One representative from the school board assured me that Gunnison was going to be closed down during construction
. Then someone from the city said that only one lane would be closed. I love getting conflicting information, it makes my blood pressure rise so nicely.
Right now, Columbine has a very large field and playground area. But the architect doesn't have room in the new plan for much outdoor area for the children. Why is that?
The staff and faculty have no parking lot available to them at Columbine currently — they must park on the street around the neighborhood. So the architect's plan is to incorporate a parking lot into the site plan, thereby eliminating a safe playground for the children.
My sympathies to the staff and faculty who are forced to park their cars on the street and walk to the school, but isn't the safety of the children more important than convenient parking?
It would be in my world and I aim to see that it is in the real world as well.
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, June 28, 2007
As I whined
recently, sleep is a precious commodity in the Dearing-McCracken household. Not much has changed in the last week.
Margaret is still coming into our bed (last night when I asked her why she couldn't sleep in her own bed, she whispered, "Because I'm so far away from you guys."), Bill is still snoring all over me and it's still hot.
Regardless, I have been sleeping a bit better ... well as least well enough to have dreams — much to Bill's chagrin. Twice in the last week, Bill has been riled from his deep slumber by someone hitting him.
That someone is me.
It seems I've been having strange dreams that have caused me to lash out in my sleep — with Bill being the unfortunate recipient of my nighttime karate sessions.
Last night I was dreaming about something and Whack! Bill received a backhand smack to the gut.
Bill: "Why do you have to hit me in your sleep?"
Robin: "Zzzzzzz. Huh? What? I hit you?
Bill: "Yeah, right in the gut."
Robin: "You should proly stop whatever you were doing."
Bill: "I was sleeping."
Robin: "Well then, mission accomplished."
With that I went back to sleep and back to my bizarre agro-dreams that cause me to partake in nighttime ninja moves.
At least I’m getting some sleep.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Here's something you probably don't know and wouldn't have guessed about me: I grew up in an off-the-grid A-frame in southwest Colorado. If I had grown up in Sante Fe or northern California I'd be pretty cool...but in southwest Colorado in the 80s it made me a big dork. Some nights I was lucky to have enough electricity to finish my homework much less enough solar to watch Alf or curl my hair. The only heat source was a wood burning stove. We even had a solar shower in the back yard to maximize our energy use...and you know...to defeat the stereotype of a dirty hippie... which is what most people stereotype an environmentalist to look like.
Needless to say, environmentalism wasn't just a passing fad but a lifestyle. It's so ingrained it's almost like religion...I just don't question it, I just believe.
And now it's back into style with everyone discussing ways to save energy and help save the planet. Everyone's doing it...or are they?
I'm gonna say most people are all talk. For example, an SUV with a Kerry/Edwards sticker from 3 years ago. It kills me. But I'm not going to discuss the politics involved, you can get your politics from Denny
, or Bobby
...I'm just bringing up the issue of personal responsibility.
Soren's doctor recently said that he is the only baby she's seen in cloth diapers. The only one.
We all know that diapers take 500 years to break down in the landfill not to mention they are full of feces. Just think about how gross that is and now you know why we choose cloth.
Then there's all the packaging marketed toward parents with children. Serving sized peaches, string cheese, little tiny baby food jars, juice boxes, and on and on. It equals trash, trash, and more trash. There is only one other family on my street that I see put their recycle bags out. It costs $1 a month for curbside recycling and most people don't do it.
And this trend of putting a battery in every single toy in the toybox has got to be the number one overlooked faux pas on all the go green with kids lists. How long does it take for a disposable battery to break down in the landfill? My last toy shopping trip intentially skipped all toys battery operated.
It doesn't take much to make a difference. I'll admit that due to the very fabric of our society, I do plenty to increase my carbon footprint. I use one disposable diaper a day; I drive a car; I eat food; I use some chemically based products like hairspray that breaks down the ozone. But I try to make better choices and actually follow through on changing lightbulbs, recycling my tuna cans, taking Navy showers and using grey water on my lawn.
Our company kicked off a new program called Cox Conserves
in an effort to make a difference in the environment. Here is a great list they've complied of 99 Things You Can Do To Save The Planet
has compiled this list
of kid specific ways to green up your home.
If your family has tried some innovative way to save the planet lately...please let me know. I'd like to be a good example to my kids and whittle our footprint down to a four tiny thumbprints.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Seven years ago today, Bill raced me over the St. Mary's just before 3 p.m.
By 4 o'clock, Margaret was born — a tiny, plucked-chicken little nut with a piercing cry.
Now, seven years later, my baby isn't really a baby at all. She's a kid ... and not even really even a little
Even though I've said this about every stage in Mar's life (I took to heart the warnings by other parents, "Enjoy them while they're young because they grow up so fast."), I really love this age.
Margaret is such a fun person to be around. She's light-hearted and funny. She's learning the fact that sometimes you just have to go along to get along. She's smart and quick witted.
She can do so much for herself: comb her hair, dress herself (even though she'll still let me pick out her clothes), make herself breakfast and keep herself entertained.
Because she's such a good kid, we let her decide how she wanted to celebrate her birthday this year: She could either have a small party with a couple friends at one of the notorious birthday spots (Chuck E. Cheese, Bananas, etc.) or she could have our family's traditional white-trash, everyone's-invited, front-yard extravaganza.
Margaret, of her own accord, chose the front-yard extravaganza, which we had on Saturday. And everyone had a blast.
It started with the kid party at 3 which included party games, smacking the pinata (which is really quite disturbing — especially when the children rip the poor pinata bull to pieces and wear the pieces on their heads like some kind of war trophy), cupcakes and snow cones.
At 5, the rest of our adult friends showed up for one of our famous pot-luck dinners.
Yes, most people provide food at their kid's birthdays, but we are potluck connoisseurs.
Our friend Rob had this to say about the famous Ouray Avenue potlucks, "It's a lot of pressure bringing food to these things. You can't bring your 'B' food. You have to bring your 'A' food."
And they did bring their "A" food. While Bill and I grilled the gratuitous dogs and burgers supplemented with yummy cheddar and beer bratwursts.
Instead of a cake, this year Bill and I baked cupcakes — two kinds: strawberry and chocolate in heart and star shaped tins. Everyone got to top their frosted cakes with an array of candy.
Margaret got a really lovely array of gifts that were thoughtful and really fun (Bill, Mar and I have already enjoyed the Monopoly Jr. — I think I like this version better than the original — and Twister. And Mar has been making custom cards and coloring pictures with her new art supplies.)
My favorite part of the gifts were the cards, especially the home-made cards:
The party lasted well beyond her bedtime ... even well beyond mine and while I was exhausted, Margaret's party was such a lively and fun celebration of her seven years, that I'll happily wear the bags o' no-sleep under my eyes knowing we did her birthday up proper.
Click over here to see a slide show of pictures from her party.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, June 25, 2007
The only way to be an Alpha Mom
is to multi-task. (I so wish I were an Alpha all the time but I'll admit I slack into beta on occasion.) Any given day I'm slaving away at my cubby but in the meantime I have my headphones wrapped around the ever expanding bobbie. (That's Soren talk for belly.)
Sure there's the argument playing music for your unborn child will make him smarter, perhaps giving him the talent of musical genius in womb, but I do it for good water.
Let me back up a bit. During my last pregnancy Robin and I had several conversations about a new book she was looking at by Masaru Emoto called "The Hidden Messages of Water."
If you have ever wondered what Robin and I do at work all day...well there ya go...we talk about Japanese new-age scientists and their very interesting study and photography of frozen water crystals. Yeah...so???
These scientists took samples of water from all around the world and subjected it to a variety of things like different kinds of music, words and prayer. They they took pictures of the frozen water crystals and studied the effect on their pattern and clarity. They discovered that water indeed was effected by positive and negative influences.
For example this is a crystal which "listened" to classical music:
And this water 'listened" to that offending heavy metal music:
I KNEW there was a good reason not to listen to that death metal junk.
How about unpolluted water from a fountain in Lourdes, France:
And water from the most polluted river in Japan:
Here's my favorite this is Love vs. I hate you-You make me sick!
So Robin and I deduced that unborn babies float in WATER!!! Therefore people should be really really nice to pregnant women. Only speak of nice things like flowers and puppies. And whatever you do don't ever ever play heavy metal for a baby!
Keep that in mind people when you come talk to me...not only am I incubating an unborn child, I'm nurturing the very water in which he sits and I only want good water for my babies!!!
More pictures are available here
While you're at it check out my new favorite food blog Pioneer Woman
. Her food looks so good, made with real butter and sugar and meat, that I just want to jump through a portal into her kitchen and devour her food like a rabid dog. Thanks Blondemom
for the great link!
By Robin Dearing
Friday, June 22, 2007
*shuffle, shuffle, slide*
*shuffle, shuffle, slide*
Mar skated around the glossy concrete floors at Old Navy on her flip flops.
*shuffle, shuffle, slide*
She wasn't hurting anyone or anything, but instead was keeping herself entertained while we looked for a new pair of swim trunks for Bill. But it still drove me to distraction.
*shuffle, shuffle, slide*
"Look mama. Look I'm skating," Margaret cried out enthusiastically.
"Look mama, a pretty orange dress."
"Look mama's head is exploding."
OK, it didn't explode, but it felt like it just might.
Everything everyone did annoyed me. Mar's flip-flop skating routine, the gal who asked me if I wanted save 10 percent by applying for a credit card, the cashier who made great concessions to let us buy our items with both a gift card and bucks-back coupons.
No one was doing anything wrong, except breathing in my general vicinity.
I'm tired, exhausted, lie-my-head-down-on-my-keyboard-and-sleep-the-sleep-of-the-dead tired. And when I'm tired, I'm crabby (understatement), I'm irritable and impatient (two more understatements).
I need my sleep, but I just can't seem to get any.
I went to bed early but couldn't get to sleep because I knew that Bill would be stumbling in any minute and would start bugging me.
*Bang!* goes his leg against the end of the bed.
"What are you doing?" I foam.
"Uh, getting ready for bed," he whispers, like he doesn't want to wake me up or something.
I'm annoyed again. Then he climbs in bed and instantly falls asleep. Now, I'm more annoyed.
It's hot and the sheet is turned. Then Margaret needs someone to walk her back to bed. Then Bill's getting up because he can't get back to sleep. Then my pillow turned stupid and lumpy. Then it's hot again because I turned off the fans because they were whirring too loud. Then Bill's back breathing all over me. Then my alarm goes off and I have to get up for work.
Now, my neck hurts, my face looks like the top of a lemon meringue pie and I'm even more exhausted.
I quietly get ready for work as I don't want to disturb Bill or Mar as they sleep the sleep of those with no place to go. Darn summers! When do I get a bunch of weeks off so I can sleep in and lounge around in my undies all day?
Thursday, June 21, 2007
“So Mom, I was thinking about maybe getting a job this summer,” Alex says to me a couple weeks ago.
What?! My heart be still! A real job? A worthwhile way to pass the time and save money for college, a car, groceries?
“Dude, that would be great! But at age 15 it might be a little harder since most employers like you to be 16. Let me know when you want to go fill out applications.”
Somehow that conversation got tossed back to me as “Well, you’re
the one making
me get a full-time job this summer and I’m not going to have any time to hang out with my friends!”
Let me borrow a phrase from the teenage hand book: “whatever.”
Be that as it may, Alex has his first “real” job. “Real” as in THE MAN
will be dipping into his paycheck to help himself to a little of his hard-earned money! Welcome to the world of taxation without any real representation, my son.
Alex’s new status as a member of the working class really has me tickled. He is working in the restaurant at one of Colorado’s finest golf clubs. So far, he has worked three days in a row and the best part - for me - is that he can ride his bike to and from “the office.” The best part for him is that he eats for free. And he got a fifty-cent an hour raise after his first day! That’s my boy!
It has really changed the dynamic at home. He works the afternoon-to-closing shift so when I get home from work he’s gone and when he gets home I’m about ready for bed. I love calling him before he leaves and saying, “See you after work, honey” and it refers to his
He’s got big plans for his first paycheck and amazingly they don’t include college, a car or groceries. Hey, I’m fine with that right now. But I confess I’m gonna love saying, “You want what? What happened to your paycheck?”
Congratulations Alex - ya done good and I’m proud of you!
By the way, you owe me thirty bucks for the headlight and taillight I bought for your bike.