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The day the donuts died

By Robin Dearing
Friday, August 11, 2006

“Sup Tyrel? Sup foo’?? That was the first fake phone conversation Margaret ever had on her little-kid, fake phone. She was about three. She was pretending to talk to our friend Ty. She used to call him by his full name, Tyrel. There was something about the way that she pronounced it, like she had a southern accent, •Tah-rel,? that always made me laugh. Mar, Ty.jpg She always really liked Ty. She would cling to his legs and claim, •My Tah-rel!? • just in case we weren’t aware that he belonged exclusively to her. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he always treated her like a person and not a little kid; not everyone sees the distinction. I met Ty 4-1/2 years ago when I started working for The Daily Sentinel. He worked in the pre-press department (I still really have no idea what he does exactly). Today’s his last day. He put in his notice and is moving to the Pacific Northwest to learn to do cool stuff. I’m glad for him. I’m sad for me. And for all of us who call Ty our friend. Ty is a great co-worker. He’s hardworking and dependable and he’s fun. He has an arcane sense of humor that has kept me in stitches over the years. And he would bring in donuts, which he would generously share. He learned that my favorite donut, really the Holy Grail of Donuts, was the glazed, chocolate old-fashioned. It’s an elusive donut here in Grand Junction and on those days when he found one, I’d inevitably receive an e-mail that would read only, “Mmmm … donuts!? Richie and Lynn, my haute mama cohorts, also have benefited from Ty•s donut generosity. Richie likes herself a donut but in an attempt to combat what she claims is extra post-baby weight (it should be known that Richie was wearing jeans — regular, pre-pregnancy jeans — a mere four weeks after Soren was born! I know, who can do that?), she only lingers around the donuts, enjoying them from afar, rarely allowing their sugary goodness to pass her lips. Lynn on the other hand will actually eat a donut … well, part of a donut anyway. She’s one of those people who thinks it’s fine to cut a donut in half, inspect both halves, choose the half with the most cream filling and leave the cast-off remains for some other poor sap who didn’t get to the donuts quick enough. Sadly enough, today is the day our donut gravy train leaves the station and we have to say good-bye to our dear friend. Good luck, Ty. I’m going to miss you, you floornt. 4 comments

The Best Years?

By {screen_name}
Thursday, August 10, 2006

Somebody throw me a rope because I’m going down for the third time. There are some things a mother should not have to do. Like take their kid to freshmen orientation like I just did. Ohmigod. High school. I parked the car and went inside with my son, pretending not to be his mother. I could pass as a teacher, or hall monitor or something. There were lots of kids milling around and most knew at least one or five or twenty other kids. The girls hugged and squealed, the boys engaged in their ritualistic 20-minute long handshake routine. My son knew . . . nobody. Not another single soul. He’s going to a school of choice, so he doesn’t know the kids from the feeder middle schools. There were a few kids from his middle school who are also attending the same high school but they were nowhere to be seen. This bothered me a lot. High school is bad enough when you know everybody. How dreadful can it be when you don’t know anybody?! I don’t think it bothered my son much, and logic tells me that when I go pick him up in an hour or two, he’ll know lots of people. Right? On the drive back to work I did what any mother in the same situation would do. I cried. Not just a little misty-eyed thing. No. I had the full-fledged-sobbing-tears-rolling-down-the-face-can’t-even-talk kind of crying. Probably should have pulled over, but I got on the cell phone instead and called his father. Sobbing that this was way worse than the first day of kindergarten, that I’m not ready for high school and why do I have to do this? I’ve sent my only begotten son into a dangerous world armed only with a new backpack and a student ID card? What kind of mother am I? I’ve been to high school! I know how awful it can be! There are drugs there. There are bad kids there. There could even be guns there. And don’t even mention what now goes on in the bathroom stalls! Hand me a Kleenex, please. Thank you. Deep breath. OK. I survived high school. I was even one of the “popular? kids. Prom queen and all. And my son is way smarter, more resourceful and gifted in so many more ways than I ever was. He•ll be fine, don’t you think? Maybe even better than fine? Oh god, where’s the damn Kleenex? I am not ready for high school. 6 comments

Hanging on to a Fraction

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Soren Josef turned six months old last Sunday. It was a significant day for me as I found myself reflecting on my experiences as a new mother. In one of my prep classes, the nurse was discussing how our goal should be to breastfeed for six months to a year. I remember feeling anxiety grip my throat as the pressure of motherhood (impending doom) closed in and I was CERTAIN I didn’t have it in me. It just seemed like such a long time. My “book of lies? said that not all babies would sleep through the night within the first six months and I remember thinking •I’ll DIE if I have a baby like that.? I did have a baby like that. But, I•m alive and so is he. I mean, WOW, I actually kept this little person alive for half a year. Not only alive, but also free of bumps, bruises and traumatic childhood experiences. Six Whole Months! It’s so short. It’s just a tiny fraction of our lives, miniscule really in a normal life span, even smaller on the evolutionary timeline. And yet, in that tiny amount of time my boy went from this: lil baby.jpg To this: blog6.jpg Just look at how incredible that is! He’s gone from a nearly blind misshapen body to cognitive little boy. I’m in awe of him everyday. And what I didn’t know in class was how much I was going to love being his mom. I guess it just came naturally for me. I didn’t know what I was capable of at all. Nor how much my life would change. In six months, Soren has learned to do so many things. And I as his mom I’m just trying to keep up. We are learning together and it’s true that children teach us so much about ourselves. But most importantly, I’ve learned that moments in our lives last for a fraction of a second. I just want to hold on…hold on to that one half birthday for a little bit longer. 4 comments

48 Hours

By {screen_name}
Tuesday, August 8, 2006

In just 48 hours my son will be back in the continental United States. Twenty-four hours after that he will be at his high school freshmen orientation. Wow. How did that happen? I remember his first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday. No tears of abandonment from him, no sir-ree. The only tears shed that day were mine. In fact, I distinctly remember him saying more than once, “Mom, you can leave now.? Oh, the curse of raising a confident, independent child! With less than two weeks of summer vacation left, I•m now scrambling to cram in a whole summer’s worth of activities in two weekends. Two weekends of 48 hours each. This is the time of year when being a “working mom? really gets in the way of your life. And so I fantasize, only during my lunch hour of course, about what I would do if I had the rest of the summer off, and I didn•t have to use vacation days. I’d go hiking with my sister and her merry band of stay-at-homes, I would take my son and his buddies to the water slide at Lincoln Park and force them to have fun, we’d go camping in the middle of the week when you could get a campsite, catch a flight to a beach somewhere, rent a cabin and a canoe on a lake, sleep in and go out for breakfast at 11:00, get sun burned and bug-bitten while fishing, eat ice cream sundaes for lunch, sit around a campfire and tell really bad ghost stories, and just spend time with family visiting from far away and nearby. The truth is, we do all that stuff - and more - now. We just do it in a compact period of time, like every weekend, for 48 hours. That’s when I get to be a stay-at-home. Those are some of my favorite 48 hours. But you know, the rest of the week is pretty good too! 1 comments

Easy Bake memories

By Robin Dearing
Monday, August 7, 2006

To celebrate the impending arrival of my husband's birthday over the weekend, I decided Margaret and I would bake him a cake. I'm not much of a baker, but I can follow the directions on the back of a cake-mix box like no one's business and I love cake (that is a huge understatement. Cake is one of my favorite foods. I like to start my day with a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin from the vending machine here at work because it's like eating a little cake for breakfast — and we all know that cake is the breakfast of champions). But after baking the cake and dumping a can of cream-cheese frosting on it, Mar and I decided that it was missing something. It just seemed all plain and regular. Being that my husband is far from plain and regular, we knew that his cake should reflect that. Ultimately we decided it was time to break out Mar's Easy Bake Oven. We used a package of store-bought chocolate-chip cookie dough (no, I didn't even make the cookie dough myself ... all that mixing, measuring and blending, it just didn't appeal to me. I'm a firm believer in the notion that the food that tastes the best, is the food cooked by someone else.) and pressed a huge spoonful of the dough into an Easy Bake Oven pan. Ten minutes later we had a big, round chocolate-chip cookie. We made big, round chocolate-chip cookies all afternon long — one every ten minutes. Mar became quite adept at loading and unloading the oven with the plastic pan pusher and filling the pans half way with cookie dough. I became adept at burning my fingers on the extrordinarily hot baking pans. EZ bake Mar.jpg We cut the round cookies into tiny squares and arranged them jauntily on the cake. In the middle of the cookie-baking process, I realized that I could have smushed the entire roll of pre-made cookie dough into a cookie sheet and baked it for 15 minutes and been done with it. But it was the joy of the Easy Bake Oven that made the afternoon so much fun. I had an Easy Bake Oven as a child. I loved it (yet, another understatement). Eating hockey-puck-like “cakes? made of dry cake mix and water is one of my cherished childhood memories. I•m actually surprised that I even stopped using it. I mean, with the Easy Bake, you can have cake whenever you want without having to turn on the oven. And since it’s just a little cake, you don’t have to share. I wanted to find a picture of what my Easy Bake Oven looked like (as it is markedly different from the microwave-oven-type Margaret has). I found this Web site that chronicles the history of the Easy Bake Oven from when it was first marketed in 1963 until today. The whole experience has made me nostalgic and I even considered bidding on the 1970s version of the Easy Bake I found on eBay. But then I realized that it's Margaret's turn to be the Easy Bake baker and handed over my oven mitt. 1 comments

Do you really wanna see?

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Saturday, August 5, 2006

Todd Powell shared this CNN story with me today. I guess I'm just surprised that people find this sort of thing offensive. I'm not saying breastfeeders should just pop one out whenever they feel like it but I do wonder when women say they hide a picture like this from their husbands. I'm mean what's the big deal? http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060804/od_afp/afplifestyleussocialbreastfeeding 4 comments


By Robin Dearing
Friday, August 4, 2006

As I read Richie's suggestion to one of our reader's about things to do with little kids, I was reminded of our last trip to the mall. It was early on Sunday. We trying to figure out if Bill's cell phone could be resurrected after being transported in the pocket of his damp swim trunks. (Note to RAZR owners: These phones have a serious aversion to water or dampness of any kind — just mentioning any kind of liquid in this cell phone's presence will send them into arrhythmia. Oh, and they have this little white dot inside the battery compartment that turns red if you so much as sneeze in the phone's general vicinity, thereby voiding your warranty.) Margaret is a notoriously unpleasant shopper. Even if we are shopping for her, she hates spending time among racks and shelves of things she cannot have. I promised her that if she would be patient while Bill took care of his phone, we'd let her play a good, long time at The Daily Sentinel play area in the mall. After being told that we were out of luck on getting Bill's phone replaced (but don't worry, the cell phone guy we bought the phones from is hooking us up), we dutifully trudged down the length of the mall to the play area. Mar happily stowed her flip-flops in one of the cubbies and began cavorting. As I sat on the benches within the play area, I noticed the signage explaining the rules and regulations. Included was a height guide denoting the height limit for the play area. I called Mar over and told her stand next to the height chart. Whoops. She was a good two inches over the height limit. I was shocked. She's just a little kid ... in my eyes. So that she's heading into the first grade and still reminiscing about her 6th birthday party is testament to the fact that she's not really a little kid anymore. I guess I'll have to get used to the idea that she's just a kid now. 0 comments

‘Dem Apples

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The baby food making is a huge success. I’m feeling all smug and Martha Stewarty about myself. I’ve blended up a cornucopia of Grand Valley’s best produce for my little guy. He loves food. His particular favorite is the Palisade Peach. This year’s crop is so juicy that after boiling in a small amount of water, I was left with an overly runny gruel. I thickened it with a bit of oatmeal cereal making it just right. When he eats it, I bask in the thought that I am the best cook ever and was smart enough to thicken it with baby cereal making it even healthier. Green beans are not his favorite, but I try to trick him by sneaking in some apples or sweet potato. I think he’s on to me but realizes the futility of such a fight. But maybe not because he is just learning that he can spit. Lucky me. Most days I can’t shovel it in fast enough. He eats like his dad. Like some other baby/daddy is going to come along and eat his blendered tator/juicy pork chop if they don’t hurry. Now, the EDL (evil dark lord for those who missed that entry) will grab at just about everything on my plate. I can’t hold him and eat anymore because his little paws are mushing around in my pasta or smacking my pizza out of my hand. Poor kid can’t wait to get teeth so he can try some tuna noodle. My smugness came to a screeching halt the other day. What goes in must come out and nothing had for a few days. I’ve been discussing how best to write this next bit with Robin. She suggested a disclaimer: (Disclaimer: The fact is some people are squeamish about words such as poop, but another fact is that poop is a crucial part of parenting, as I am just learning. I will do my best to proceed with tact but if you don’t like poop stories, stop reading now.) So, everyone was on poop watch. I wasn’t extremely worried but had taken mental notes of each diaper I changed. I changed a wet one and left to put the dirty in the bin and get a clean one. When I returned the poop watch was over. A dingleberry was a danglin’. And I mean a really stinky PlayDoh one! I had been warned that what goes in must come out….but I didn’t know it would make me retch! Things were a movin’….right before my very eyes. I couldn’t diaper that kid fast enough. I sat on the couch and thought with a mischievous smile: “When is your dad coming home?? 5 comments

In his own words

By {screen_name}
Wednesday, August 2, 2006

One more week before Alex returns to the continental U.S. Below is a mostly unedited version of our e-mail correspondence to date. Trust me - this is a pretty lengthy and detailed conversation for us! From: "Lynn" To: “Alex? Subject: Dude! Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 06:58:20 Wow! I'm having an out-of-body experience! I turn on my, I mean our, computer and there's a message from you on the blog! And a darn good one, too! Tell me more about what's happening! It's hotter than blazes here. I'm sad to report that the basil got burned up, but the tomatoes are doing great. I miss you. Say hi to Uncle Mark. Love, Mother of The Alex From: "Alex" To: •Lynn? Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:15 AM Subject: RE: Dude! first of all it is MY computer not ours. so it is like not too hot like 75ish here and we went fishing and berry hunting which was fun and i am going go hiking tomorrow P.S. your computer is the white one in the office which i will set up for u then we can have passwords and privacyem> From: "Lynn" To: "Alex" Subject: Re: Dude! Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 17:12:44 -0600 You're right. It is your computer. But it's MY internet access. And MY electricity. You can certainly use YOUR computer without MY stuff though! Still hot here. Got some stuff to fill out for PHS and they're having freshmen orientation August 10. I know - blah, blah, blah. Enough about school. Did you catch any fish? When do you go down to Juneau? I painted your room while you were gone. I hope you like pink. Love, Mom P.S. Why are you sending e-mails at 3:00 in the morning? Is it light all night? From: "Alex" To: •Lynn? Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 2:26 AM Subject: Re: Dude! we•re two hours behind and we were just finished watching a movie no i hate pink and yes we caught some trout and ate them for dinner From: "Lynn" To: "Alex " Subject: Whatup? Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 12:06:52 -0600 Sorry about the pink. You'll get used to it. Trout sounds good. Did you get to gut and clean the fish? Love, Mom P.S. Dan says hi. From: "Alex" To: “Lynn? Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2006 12:28 AM Subject: RE: Whatup? no i didnt do it mark did.....................and tell dan i said hi too From: "Lynn" To: "Alex" Subject: Re: Whatup? Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2006 18:45:12 -0600 OK. Wrestled any grizzlies yet? Love you, Mom From: •Alex? To: •Lynn? Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2006 11:56 PM Subject: Re: Whatup? no grizzlys. but here is another one for the blog we were building a bear cage and mark gets a huge pole and slides it up on the chain link fence in the back of the pick up and it accidentally went through the back of the windshield shattering it. then as we are pulling the fence out he decides he needs a rest and says ready? and i start to say no but before i got to that part he drops all 200+ pounds on my foot. hows that for blog material From: "Lynn" To: •Alex? Subject: Re: Whatup? Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2006 17:50:46 -0600 Good blog material! All I can say is ...... OUCH! That'll leave a mark. Did Uncle Mark make you pay for the windshield? :) Did you get it replaced or do you get a shower every time it rains when you're in the car? Most important - why are you building a bear cage?? Holy cow. That's not something you do every day! Love ya, Mom From: •Alex? To: •Lynn? Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 12:29 AM Subject: Re: Whatup? no we built a new windshield. and there is this guy named steve who has this really cool zoo thing but not really a zoo. c it is like u go in and there are pens but he brings the wolves and porcupines and lynxes (among loads of other stuff) out and lets them walk around and then u can touch them. and he is getting an abondined ear cub Hmmmm, not sure what an "ear" cub is. Waiting for a response on that. There you have it. Think he's ready to host his own show on the Travel Channel? 4 comments

August kids

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Ava Smith.jpg Introducing the newest member of the Smith household — Ava. 2 comments
Page 167 of 174


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