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By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
We didn’t make Margaret finish her dinner Sunday night. Instead, we tried to pretend like everything was OK, like everything was normal.
And it had been normal up until the point when Margaret’s airway became blocked by some candied carrots.
She started to choke, sitting right in between her father and I, while we ate our dinner.
She stood up hunched over and tried to put her fingers down her throat. Her mouth was gaping and her face was red. I immediately recognized that she was choking.
I don’t remember saying anything, but Bill says that it was my actions that made him realize what was going on. He grabbed her away from me and quickly used the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the small clump of partially chewed carrots.
Margaret coughed and cried for a while. We held her and told her that everything was OK. Bill and I tried to pretend like it wasn’t the scariest 30 seconds of our lives.
It happened so quickly, but I knew that we had to act fast or
well, you know what could have happened. That night before we went to sleep, I thanked Bill for saving my daughter’s life.
According to emedicinehealth.com
, it takes four to six minutes for the brain to begin to die from lack of oxygen. Four to six minutes! What if she had been eating alone? What if we didn’t notice? What if
The “what ifs” are more than I can think about. Instead, I focus on the fact that both Bill and I had been educated about administering the Heimlich maneuver and that we stayed calm and that it turned out OK.
While anyone can choke, it’s a real threat to small children who have small airways. Click over here
to read about the best way to prevent chocking hazards.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
**Due to technical difficulties, I'm posting this entry for Lynn**
One of my “other duties as assigned” here at the Sentinel is to give tours of the newspaper making process. It really is quite amazing to see and hear about all the steps we go through every day to get the paper to your door in the wee small hours every morning.
I have a policy that I don’t give tours to groups of people unless they are in at least 3rd grade. However, occasionally I make exceptions to that, if someone has VIP status with me - like my nephew Sam and his kindergarten class.
And so it came to pass that last week I had 24 - seemed like 54 - wiggly little kindergartners all lined up in a row waiting to hear the fascinating story of a Day in the Life of a Newspaper.
(Now, the truth is that I had two kindergarten classes come in, one Thursday, one Friday. But for brevity’s sake I am treating them as one.)
We filed into our conference room and they all took a seat and I began peppering them with questions about who reads the paper and what they read - or at least looked at.
“I read about hockey”, one voice chirped.
“I look at the comics”, said another.
“I like to read about the lunatics!” said one youngster who must keep very busy doing exactly that lately.
I then told them we were going to watch a short movie about a newspaper in Atlanta, Georgia that is owned by the same company that owns The Daily Sentinel.
“Does anybody know where Georgia is?” I asked.
One little girl raised her hand and answered, “Yes, I’ve seen Georgia.”
“Yes, Georgia the Jungle!”
I am not making this up. How could I?
We proceeded to march up the stairs to the newsroom, admired the computers and came back downstairs to the pre-press area.
I was giving them a very technical, step-by-step overview of how each page is laid out, then printed onto a piece of film, and then that piece of film is made into a plate, blah, blah, blah.
We were getting ready for the best part - the journey into the press room, but before we moved on I asked if any of them had any questions.
One little cherub next to me raised his hand and earnestly inquired, “Are your eyes dark green?”
“Why, yes, they are”, I replied.
“So are mine”, he said. And he fluttered his eyelashes for me.
Moving on to the press room we stopped in front of the giant rolls of newsprint, which they learned weighed a ton. I revealed to them that each roll of newsprint also contained about six miles worth of paper.
“Do you know how far that would go if you unrolled it?” I set myself up for the reply from one kiddo:
“All the way to the end!”
It’s humbling to be outsmarted by a five-year-old.
As we finished up the tour standing in front of the inserter machines, I asked if there were any final questions.
“Has anybody ever cut their thumb totally off in here?”
Oh boy. It would make their day if I made up some gory details to answer that. But they were little kids and I didn’t want to deal with the phone calls from their parents!
You know, they made me laugh and they didn’t even have to try. They were just who they were - wiggly little kids taking their very first steps to learning about the big wide world. They made me think about reconsidering my “3rd grade and up” policy.
I have always had tremendous respect for kindergarten teachers. I was exhausted after an hour with the kids, let alone a whole day! But here they are, and they’re so cute! Especially my little Samuel Robert Adamson, far left, flashing the double peace signs.
By Robin Dearing
Monday, April 16, 2007
Because Monday should be fun and we're always looking for new things to spice up our blog, we're copying the idea of "Fun Monday" from the Mama Drama bloggers.
This week, our challenge was to reveal something from our closets that we are keeping for no good reason.
This shirt has been hanging in my closet for ten-er-so years now. It is my high school powderpuff jersey
For those of you who don’t know, the powderpuff football game was played every year during homecoming. It was the junior girls vs. the senior girls and the boys football team dressed as cheerleaders. This was serious business with team practice three weeks in advance, an official secret playbook and good, old-fashioned chick rivalry in the halls. The town always came out for such an event because girls in my town seriously play rough. And, you know, guys like to watch in case some accidental kissing happens. There were always “accidental” black eyes, hair pulling and perhaps even a fight or two.
The money was used for our prom. Maybe high schools don’t do this anymore or it’s a reflection of just how small a town in rural Colorado I’m from. Regardless it was good time.
I have no idea why I keep this hanging in my closet. I contemplated wearing it to my reunion but didn’t. Maybe next time.
OK - the pink Riveter hat. Dan bought it one night when Riveter was
playing at Quincy's because he thought it was cool. The morning after he
wasn't quite so sure. So it's been in my closet ever since.
The vest. I bought it in Atlanta when I was going to a Christmas party
with my friend Ellen. That was 14 years ago. I paired it with a white
tunic top and black palazzo style pants and a glass beaded necklace. I
looked very cool - kind of chic hippie. I've tried to part with it many
times since, but I'm convinced it will come back in style.
While going through my closet, I found quite a lot of surprising things.
First, was the floor of the closet itself. For the last seven years the floor of our closet has been covered in a pile of shoes through which Bill and I search on a daily basis. It was a dirty mess so I finally spent $10 on two big plastic bins — one for each of us — and now we each have a bin to sort through instead of one huge pile. OK, it's not perfect but at least we can see the floor.
While sorting through all the shoes, I found these:
These little sandals have whistles in the soles and they were mine when I was a toddler. Judging from the wear on the bottom, I wore them a lot. My mother confirms this as the whistles drove her crazy, so she saved them and gave them to Margaret when she was a toddler. Payback is a bitch, so I plan on giving them to my granddaughter, if I'm lucky enough to have one some day.
So those don't count as a "what in the heck am I keeping these for," but this sweater certainly does:
Um, yeah, it speaks for itself ... an ill-fitting sweater my mom gave me for Christmas in 1994. I have no allusions that I will ever wear this again (for so many reasons), but as soon as I took it off after the picture, it went right back into the closet.
Yeah, I have no idea why.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, April 13, 2007
I have a jumble of bloggy thoughts in my head, none of which are related nor warrant a full entry, or your undivided attention.
Most people these days throw a "How are you feeling?" tag onto their daily greeting. I usually say "I feel great" which is mostly true. But, I can't say in all honesty that I'm not suffering from the usual pregnancy complaints and now I'm going to complain about them. I can't sleep. It totally sucks. Hubby seems to be suffering from some sympathy insomnia as well so together we listen to the rain on the roof at 4 a.m. When I do sleep, one of three things is going to wake me within the hour. Either I will have to pee again, SoJo will wake up and need to lay on my jugular cutting off airflow to my lungs, or I will have an excruciating leg cramp. I keep getting these cramps in my calves like a long distance runner and they hurt like hell!
Let's see what else? Well, I've noticed that the roundness of my butt seems to be keeping up with the roundness of my belly making me nice and proportionate. How lovely. Then there is sneezing and more peeing. And I can't leave out the fact that my brain is overloaded with hormones making me tear up at Laidlaw bus stop commericials (that girl is so cute!) or search for my cell phone everywhere when it's been in my pocket the whole time.
And the remote control is still missing which is so incredibly annoying. Not to mention how hungry I am ALL the time even at 4 a.m.!
Which leads me to the subject of comfort food. Obviously there's no logic in this thought process so just go with it.
How do we establish those food/comfort relationships??? This is how:
We are making tapioca pudding...creamy...sweet....45-minutes-to-make luxurious warm tapioca pudding. We ate it before bed so the tryptophan could help us sleep. It won't surprise me a bit when Soren is grown if he has a weakness for women who smell like nutmeg and warm milk.
His dad taught him to "shave" this week and described to me the way he lifted his little chin to get his whiskers off. I'm so disappointed that I missed it.
And finally, thanks for sticking with it here,
the Haute Mamas are taking a cue from Mama Drama
and starting Fun Monday
. Monday we will show you what odd thing we have in our closets that we just can't seem to part with. If you have something you can't part with but never wear email it to Richie Ann Ashcraft or show it off on your own blog and we'll link you. We'd love to share it!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Number 42 came off the field and took a knee on the side lines. Resting his elbow on one knee, he moved his head from side to side and slowly removed his helmet. He stared at the ground as he deliberately blinked his eyes several times.
“Son,” I said quietly so nobody would hear. “Ya’ll right?”
He looked up at me through a San Francisco-like fog in his eyes and said, “Whhhaaaat?”
It was the first lacrosse game of the season and our mostly freshmen team was up against mostly juniors and seniors from Aspen. Number 42 has just taken a helmet to the ribs that knocked him flat. The body wearing the helmet also had about 30 pounds on Number 42.
I’m not one of those moms who goes hysterical when her son gets hurt on the field. I’m more of a get-up-and-shake-it-off type who will get hysterical in private later. But this injury wasn’t easily shaken. It hurt pretty bad every time Number 42 sneezed or coughed or reached for something.
“Son, I think we ought to get it X-rayed. You could have a cracked rib or something.”
“No mom. If it’s cracked they won’t let me play. If I believe it’s just a pulled muscle, then when I play I won’t feel guilty about it.”
There’s some boy logic right there.
Fast forward to Tuesday. He agrees to go to the doctor’s. The doc thinks it could be cracked and orders an X-ray. While we wait for the results, Number 42 is visibly very worried. The pain is not bothering him as much as the possibility that he could be out at the very beginning of the season. That would suck, and my heart is breaking for him. We agree that duct tape might come in handy.
Thankfully, the X-ray came back negative and unless the radiologist sees something nobody else saw, Number 42 will be back after a few days rest.
They play Aspen again this weekend.
He’ll be ready.
Revenge, I mean victory, is sweet.
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!