friends & family

Letters for Cara

Four years ago, I wrote here about my friends fight to keep the man who murdered Cara in jail. You can click over to the full post, but I want to make sure it gets read as it's time to mount another letter writing campaign and we need your voice.

Cara.jpg When I was eleven-years-old, I remember being in a car with my dad as he drove us down the 15 freeway. My father pointed to an unfinished off-ramp marked "Mercy Road" and told us how a young woman, Cara Knott, had just been killed there by a police officer named Craig Peyer. He then went on to try to explain that sometimes people who are supposed to be good are simply not. It wasn't an easy thing to understand at eleven. To be honest, I still don't fully understand it.

When I was fifteen and my dad was teaching me how to drive, he taught me something that no father should have to share with his little girl. He instructed me, "If you ever get pulled over by a police officer, and they want you to stop somewhere remote or dark, I want you to refuse." He went on to say that I should drive to a well lit, populated area and if the officer gets mad, just tell him that I remember Cara Knott. He said that if it was a good officer, he would understand. I remember how afraid this made me feel.

When I grew up, I met John. An unassuming, warm, likable man, John easily fit into our circle of friends. After a year of poker games, late night music musings, dinners and laughter, I learned that his sister was Cara Knott. I met the rest of his family at holidays: Cara's mom Joyce, a woman who welcomed me and our new baby into her home and made us feel like we'd known her forever and a pair of sisters who laughed and joked with us like we were part of the family. I never got to know Cara's father, who died of a heart attack and was a tireless champion of victim's rights.

Today I got a letter from my friends, telling me that the man who brutally murdered their sister and daughter was up for parole again. That this man, who taught me at eleven that not even police officers are safe and made me fear getting pulled over by a CHP officer, could possibly walk free. 

They need your help.

Please help keep Craig Peyer where he belongs; where he can never put another family through such hell; where he can never again viciously strangle and bash in the skull of a beautiful, warm young woman or terrorize the hundreds that came forward after Cara's death. Help us keep this generation of little girls, girls like my own Lily and Anya, grow up without this man preying on them.

Here's what you can do:

  • Peyer's parole hearing is set for January 11, 2012 and letters make a huge impact.  If you can, please write and mail a letter yourself.  Think about how this case affects you personally, whether you be a parent, love someone who has been lost to violence or simply are invested in a more peaceful planet.  Tell the parole board why you personally need this man to stay behind bars.  
  • Link to this post or email those people who you feel can help, whether it be to someone who can pass on the message or someone who can write passionately on Cara's behalf. 
  • Don't have the time or energy to write a letter of your own?  That's OK, volume still makes an impact.  Download a form letter (formats: Word or PDF) and modify before mailing it in.  Don't forget to sign it. Of course a personally written statement has more impact, but the form letter still expresses sentiment and adds volume to the public outcry, so please do that if nothing else!
  • Letters need to be received at least 10 days prior to the hearing so please get them into the mail no later than December 26th to allow for holiday mail delays.

Letters should be addressed and mailed to:

California Men's Colony – East
Attn: BPH/Lifer Unit
P.O. Box 8101
San Luis Obispo, CA 93409-8101

Re: Craig Peyer, CDC# D-93018


and to

San Diego County District Attorney's Office
Attn: Lifer Hearing Unit, Lynne Darius
330 W. Broadway, 8th Fl.
San Diego, CA 92101
Fax: 619-615-6451

Re: Craig Peyer, CDC# D-93018

Please be sure to reference Peyer’s name and CDC identification number in your letter: D-93018 and mark the letter "CONFIDENTIAL."

This is a good family who have suffered an impossible loss.  You can help. Please choose to do so. 

Let me know when you've mailed your letters as I'd like to let the Knott's know how many people are backing them up out there.  Last time our combined efforts brought in over 300 letters opposing his parole (in stark contrast to eight supporting it, mostly from his own family members). I believe we can do even better this time and remind the parole board that we are still a united community.

on gifting and the holidays

Love Thursday

This morning on my drive to work I head a woman speaking on being thrifty this time of year.  Much of what she said struck a chord with me, but when she spoke of hating presents, I practically shouted, "YES!" I know this seems ridiculous, but I really do hate getting gifts.  So often, it feels as though they are simply an opportunity for someone to show me how little they actually know me.  There are a few people who have a knack for giving me something that truly speaks to my nature and passions and from them, receiving a gift is a thing of wonder.  But mostly, it's just more stuff to stick in my house... and my house is full enough of stuff.

When you have kids, this problem seems to increase.  Once, a dear friend of mine talked of watching a pair of women in a toy shop.  They were looking at a plastic, made-in-China type toy that lit up, made noise and would make any self-respecting parent cringe after the third use.  They were giggling over how obnoxious this toy was and yet, totally planning to get it for a friends child.  She stepped up to the pair and asked, "Do you know what I think of people who buy this kind of toy for my child?" They blinked at her, "I think they must really hate me." I don't recall if the couple were then moved to make another choice, but I can't help but echo her sentiment every time someone gives the girls something along these lines.  "Is that really how you feel about me?" I wonder. 

Because of these feelings about gift receiving, I find it extremely stressful to give gifts as well.  Not only is it often a huge financial drain, but so often it feels like I'm cluttering a person's life or showing off my lack of knowledge about their likes or dislikes.  And if I'm going to spend money, I'd like it to mean something.  My mom often resorts to just giving us money, compete with profuse apologies.  Honestly, though, we always find the right thing to do with it, no matter how big or small the check is. 

In fact, my mother's latest guilty check has allowed the Mister and I to attend the wedding of my dearest friend. 

In Kauai. 

This weekend.

Without the kids (she's even keeping them for us).

Do you have any idea how exciting this is for us? If you're a parent, I'm sure you're yelling "BACK THE TRUCK UP!"  My buddy Ben actually made me stop talking about it, the jealously was just too much. 

Granted, she didn't pay for the whole thing, but her generosity is covering our housing.  And OMG, did we score on the housing.  We found a nice little place on VRBO that would accommodate us and two friends but in the middle of the contract process, the owner discovered she'd double booked.  "I have another property though and I'll give it to you at the same price.  I'm so sorry."  The other place?  Take a deep breath, prepare yourself and then click here.

Yep.  All that and a bag of chips.

Of course, not it sounds like I'm saying you should just give people money as gifts, which wasn't actually the point I was trying to make.  It also looks like I'm bragging about my trip.  I am.

Anyway, the point about GIFTS is this: unless you know the person very very well and have discovered just the right thing to make their life more fulfilled and less cluttered, consider some different ideas:

  • If your children go to the same school, offer to pack their kids lunch for a week
  • Bring dinner over on an otherwise busy night where'd they'd otherwise resort to fast food
  • Walk their dog when they're out of town
  • Sponsor an art project in their name.  You can donate to your favorite local theatre or check out Kickstarter for something in their town.
  • Take them out for coffee
  • Make your kids wash their car
  • Be present in their life

Who else can add to my list?  I'd love to see a collaborate list of ways to love in a fiscally responsible way.  Bring it on.

 

backwards

Grandpa's dog tags
My Grandfather's dog tags, stored with a four-leaf clover, what we think is a locker key and a coin given to him when he retired.

Once, when I was only about 12-years-old, I got it into my head that I should rearrange my bedroom furniture.  I was able to move most of the smaller items without any trouble, but when it came to the bed, I was stuck.  I walked around it a few times and finally came to the conclusion that if I put my back against the wall and my feet against the bed, I could shove it into motion. 

What I didn’t know was that the spot I was putting my back into was the exact spot where the bathroom next to my room had a leaky sink, effectively weakening the wall.   So when I pushed with all my 12-year-old might, instead of the bed moving outward, I went backwards, making a neat pre-teen shaped hole in my bedroom wall.

That’s kind of what this week has felt like, falling unexpectedly backwards when you swore things were instead to move ahead.

Every aspect of my life has had issues recently: home, work, family.  My marriage is still awesome and for that I am eternally grateful.  But talking with my cousin who has just reached the end of a very complicated divorce, I heard him telling us about some of the issues in his marriage that exist within my own.  That night I lay rolled up in Mark's arms and told him that I was very afraid.  We talked about marriage counseling, mostly as a way to check in after 10 years of patterns that are, admittedly, very set.  Part of me feels like that would be an expense and commitment of time that I don't really have available to me right now... and yet, I'd do anything to keep this marriage healthy.  Through the grief of my Grandfather's death to the troubles at work and the issues we've had with our home, I have always had this man by my side.  He makes anything bearable.  

And so I wonder what step(s) will get my out of the hole in the wall. 

I wonder what will help me find my way forward, after all this flailing about unexpectedly.

Here's what I wonder from the people living inside my computer:
Have you ever been to marriage counseling?
Is it necessary when the marriage is strong?
What about when the marriage is strong but you see potential future disaster (think of that leaky faucet that weakened the wall next to my bedroom)?
What about when you worry that the problems are all yours?

You're welcome to leave your responses Anon, if you'd like.  Or email me, that works too.  Or simply think about it for yourself and wonder and discuss with others, but not with me.  I'm OK with anything, really.

I do know this: the scariest of things are more manageable with a plan.  And damn if I don't feel like I need one right now.

When sitting within grief...

Sailor 1946

There used to be this amazing man in my life.  He was generous and kind and thoughtful and funny and loved his family with a quiet fierceness and tenacity you don't often see these days.  He was always laughing, even when things were falling apart around him.  He was the sun around which my mom's side of the family orbited, all of us reaching out and grabbing a bit of that warmth when we felt out in the cold. 

take me to the river

perfect spot

After the fair (which was super fun, by the way) we headed over to Placerville to visit Mark's brother Steve for a couple days.  I love being there... he has a huge garden full of odd veggies, a stream by which blackberries grow, tree frogs to delight the children and has fixed up his spare room, just for our girls (or, at least that's what they think).  It's a magical place.  And then there's the river.

daughter | father

Such a beautiful place full of caves and tiny little fish that like to bite your toes and rocks to skip and cool, clean water and shady rocks to sleep under.

wet dog

We all love it there, especially the dog.

Here's a couple videos of the fun:

We didn't want to leave, that's for sure.  And now that we're home and I'm dealing with post-vacation fallout at work, I'd like to go back.

Blerg.

At least we have some awesome memories!  Thanks "Uncle Steve!"

Summer School

I've mentioned before how very much I like our school.  A big part of that love comes from the other parents we've met there and the kids we all made.  This summer, in an effort to make things easier on the parents and allow plenty of time for the kids to get together, we created a co-op summer school program, meeting twice a week.

We've "studied" yoga & anatomy, carpentry, gardening, cooking, chickens, self expression, theatre, lots of art, pottery, Asian cooking & culture, and Spanish.  It's been amazing. 

Want to know more?  Why would you not.  Click on over to the little blog I set up for it.  You can find it here.

you, on a Sunday morning

Early Sunday morning after a late night at work. A night at work where all the minions of chaos came together to render it an unmitigated disaster... as far as disasters can go, that is, when you're running a glorified theatre concessions stand.  The alarm is demanding you get up, because dammit, there is a seven-year-old's birthday to attend and you said you'd go.  Also? You have to put on a swimsuit.  Sigh.  Roll out of bed, climb into the kids' bed and attempt to wake them by falling back to sleep across their tiny bodies.  The big one responds to the words, "birthday pool party" by stumbling up and pulling on her swimsuit, wandering about with a clean pair of underwear muttering to her dad, "Where's the swim bag?".  The little one remains asleep, mouth open and back pressed into your own belly while you snuggle into the nape of her sweet neck, breathing in the smell of her and wondering how you make it through each day without eating her up, you love her so.

Back into your own bedroom you go, rummaging around for a swimsuit, dreading the image you'll see once all your parts are tucked into the unforgiving material.  "Blerg" you tell your Mister and your reflection. "Mmmm." He replies, wrapping his arms around you and planting a kiss on your shoulder.  You are loved, even if you look slightly like a sausage.

Breakfast for you, the kids, the dog, the chickens, brief thoughts of the goat you don't have and would have to be milking right now if you did.  Totally waiting on the goat until the world changes a bit, yep.  Check the garden, remove a couple bugs, add some water to the Three Sisters patch and then back inside to gather the family, trying to get them into the car in one fell swoop (or swell foop, as the Mister likes to say).  Realize there was no coffee this morning and shake it off, making your way to the YMCA pool you've never seen.  

Wrong turn.  Thank goodness for the Mister who spies the water slide and tells you where to go. 

This is what you find:

Psst, not my photo.  I refuse to bring my camera to places full of wet.

It's like a Mecca for wee people.  When the big water slide opens you try to talk the big kid into going, but she refuses, too afraid.  Instead, spend the next hour swapping with the Mister so you both can ride it, pleasantly surprised and excited to be reminded how brilliantly awesome a water slide can be.  The water is warm, the sun is burning you all a bit, but you are having a great time.  Happy to be together and playing and not even thinking about how you look as you rawr through the water with a five-year-old giggling on your back, flinging children around feeling like a kid, yourself.

You realize, for only a moment, that you are not even thinking of the things that made you yell, "This cannot happen again!" at your staff just 12 hours ago.  All you can see is that the little kid is learning the breast stroke right in front of you and the big kid has just discovered that even if she can't touch the bottom of the pool, she can save herself by simply swimming to the edge and the Mister is grinning foolishly from the top of the big water slide, pure joy all around.  Who knew you could find a moments redemption in an aquatic park?

This is you, on a Sunday morning. 

And dammit, you like this version of you. 

Goat Laser Protection System 2000

At work today I was talking to one of the tech guys about how we want to get a goat*. He suggested I could just let it roam free about the property and it would eat things with wild abandon.  Which would be great, if, you know, we didn't have coyotes on the property that also tend to eat (living) things with wild abandon.  "Oh, that's simple!" he proclaimed, "All you need is a Goat Laser Protection System." 

"Um, why don't you draw that up for me, Dean."

Less than an hour later he came by my office and presented me with this:

Goat Laser Protection System

We're totally going into business.

 

*Dean and I go way back, are excellent friends and tend to talk about all manor of things, so discussing a goat isn't that odd for me and the Tech guy to be doing.

sometimes loss leads you to love

A couple days ago Lily went to collect our ever growing bounty of eggs from the hen house and forgot to close the laying box door.  Her hands were full and I think she probably told herself she'd come back for it, but she didn't.  Sometime between then and the next morning, most of our newly laying hens decided to take a walk.  Seven of them were discovered by coyotes. 

When I delivered this news to Lily she was in the midst of packing for the end of the year beach trip her class would take that day.  She made a sad face, asked a few questions and then got back to the task at hand.  My child, who usually reacts to all things in a deeply emotional way, showed very little emotion, pushing it off immediately.  This concerned me.  I couldn't quite figure out if she didn't fully understand her role in this or if she took all that emotion and stuffed it.  After all, she doesn't handle transitions well and it's the end of the school year.  It's possible she's simply sticking this incident aside and that emotion will find it's way out later. 

Talking to her teachers (who so often double as child psychologists) Mr. V suggested that once school is over he & Ms. K should come for a home visit and talk with Lily about what happened.  Maybe, he thought, with the school transition under her belt and with someone not invested in the event Lily could talk about how this whole thing is making her feel.  And if she can talk to him about it, maybe she can process it in a healthy way.

Do you see why we love this school so much?

Today was the last day and Lily came home with a pile of stuff, workbooks and project folders, art and love notes from classmates.  Also, a class CD including liner notes, each track selected by her fellow students.  At the end are songs from her teachers, the last from a sub who filled in when Ms. K had a baby.  It's a song Mrs. L wrote and her daughter (who heads to High School in the fall) performed.  Listening to it, I found myself suddenly sobbing with the understanding of how deeply my kid is loved.  She has such amazing support all around her; the team of teachers that shepherded her through her school year are some of the more brilliant souls I've ever met.  At the beginning of the year I remember them telling the kids every day that they loved them and the cynical part of me said, "Pfft.  Love them?  They don't even know them."  But now?  Now I know.  Now I know what love really means here. Now I can see what a positive school culture, a social emotional curriculum and the love of some wonderful teachers can really mean.

There's been some major upset at this school lately, with almost half the teaching staff moving on to other opportunities and (the most difficult of it all) two teacher whose contracts were not renewed. It has divided the parents, made many consider leaving the school, and made the end of the year more emotional than anyone could expect.   And yet, I look at the year my child had and the love that has been offered her (and Anya, who was around enough to get her own dose of affection) and I can't help feeling like we're in the right place. Especially in moments of such clarity as I had this week though the kind offering of time from one teacher and song from another. 

We are so damn lucky.

La Paz: lost days

I'm not sure what happened to the last couple of days, other than they were spent fairly quietly.  I picked up a wee little tummy bug and felt queasy for a while, though it never developed into anything to really knock me out.  We spend an afternoon at the beach on Friday, then to the horse ranch where our hosts keep a ride of their own.  The worst of my feeling bad happened there and by the time we got home my eyes were red, I was flushed and stepping into the shower felt like finding religion.  I slept like a rock that night, despite the booming music from the dance hall next door.  

All in all, we've been taking it easy, doing very little.  The Mister and my mom are obsessed with a game called Bananagrams and have spent hours calmly saying "peel" as they race to the end. Mark invariably beats my mom, but they are both so thrilled to have a partner in word games that they just keep at it. Years of living with me (I'm actually quite terrible at any sort of word games, especially when there is a time element involved) and my step-dad (who is happy to play... once) has made them the perfect match for each other and I fear they might never stop.

But I have burned through one book and am half way through another.  For me, that is the very definition of vacation.  The girls are having a blast and very comfortable here, playing with Michelle and Arthur, getting their own snacks as needed, taking naps without much fuss and swimming as often as possible.  Life is good.

Photos from our last couple days can be found after the jump.

La Paz: sunset sail

Wednesday was another low key day with plenty of fun in the pool, a walk to the C.C.C. (pronounced say-say-say) for provisions, a long nap for me and Ani and a short but sweet sunset sail on Sonrisa (my Uncle's sailboat).  We had planned to take a longer trip on the water but the day got away from us with the napping and swimming and eating of yummy things.  Instead we just motored out to the bay, raised the main sail, watched the sun go down and then ran it back to the dock.  I can tell you that there is nothing more nerve wracking than Lily on a sailboat.  That girl wants to be tossed into the sea, I swear it. 

Here's a couple photos from our day:

yep
You can't be timid with pools, you know.  Gotta show them who's in charge.

 

Water girl
Anya is devoted to the ring.  She can go anywhere in it and is LOVING the water.

 

giggles for Papa
Out on the boat, Mark and Anya share a giggle.

 

Ani keeps an eye on the water
Anya sat still most of the time and watched what was happening, which allowed me to relax and take some photos.  I have very few of Lily as she made my hands clench in fear as she jumped around all over the place.

Finally, here's a blurry video of the sun going down over La Paz bay and a little of Mark and Milton taking in the main sail after our short excursion.

La Paz: settling in

relax

The weather has been absolutely perfect, with cool clear nights and days warming to hot in the middle of the afternoon. We decided to stay put most of the day, reading by the pool, the girls playing around the compound and at the hottest part of the day, a dip in the pool to cool off.  Arthur let me hold him in the water, floating him gently on his back and going into an almost zen like pose.  He started getting fussy wen Mark held him, though we quickly determined it had nothing to do with the Mister and everything to do with the tired.  I bundled him up and settled into a chair with him, quickly turning his fuss into snores. 

sleeping babies are the best

After transferring him to the couch to continue his snooze we decided to dress up the dog and make her fly.  I mean, why wouldn't you?

Luna the angel

There's a trampoline in the yard here where the girls have been spending a lot of their time.  It's a bit troublesome what with someone (usually Anya) getting bonked about once an hour or Anya getting mad that, "everyone is jumping too high!"  But it sure makes for fun pictures:

JUMP!

Mark and I had been dreaming of Arracheras since we booked our trip so Milton and the Mister made a trip over to pick up the delicious marinated meat and all the fixin's. 

Arracheras!

After dinner we opted for a walk to the Malecon to get paletas (ice cream) and fresas (popsicles). 

evening walk

It stays light until about 8pm here but once the sun went down and the moon came up it started getting cold.  Milton had driven Bill* over to meet us and so bundled up the kids for a quick return to CasaBuena for jammies and teeth brushing while we walked home. Before I knew it we were staring at midnight & so off to bed with us, the kids long asleep.  Sometime in the middle of the night a small black cat named Dot appeared through the window in our room and gave me a back massage (complete with claws!) and then licked my hand with a devotion not often found in cats.  Not an altogether terrible way to wake up for another beautiful day in La Paz.

 

*More on Bill later

La Paz: travel day

Traveling late in the day is kinda awesome.  We didn't have to start our trip until around 2:30 and that gave us the whole morning to pack, do the last minute shopping Milton always requires and even give the kids a much needed nap.  Mark and I even sat around watching TV for an hour, just giving ourselves some downtime before the traveling began.  Our friend came and picked us up shortly after my mom and step-dad arrived at our house and drove us to the border, where we all tumbled out of the car and walked into Mexico.  We decided to get our travel documents before we grabbed a taxi and so spent a good half hour filling out paperwork, paying our visa fee (around $90 American for our family of four) and then getting our official stamps.  Lily told me it was boring.  Bureaucracy often is, kid.

bored Lily

From there all six of us piled into a single taxi, Lily THRILLED to get to ride on my lap rather than in her booster car seat.  I just held on to her very tightly as our driver weaved through TJ traffic, the roads torn up from a massive amount of construction.  Seriously, the path to the airport is insane and I wouldn't want to drive it myself, especially with half of the traffic lights down and the rules of driving in Mexico being what they are.

But we arrived with plenty of time and, after having our bags searched not once, not twice but three separate times by customs and security officials, we finally made it to the basement of the airport to wait for our plane. 

waiting

It's been long enough since we've flown with the girls that they had no real concept of what it would be like.  Getting to walk out on the tarmac and up stairs to the tiny plane sent both girls into little dances of happiness, so excited they were to finally get onto a plane.

climbing onto the plane
The flight attendant spoke very little English but at the end of the flight stopped me to say, "You have very beautiful babies."  Yes. Yes I do.

Lily helping with Anya's seatbelt

Lily helped Anya figure out the seat belt and then we were off, flying high above the sky to La Paz.  Unfortunately for me, I also carried along a wicked headache so spent the first half of the flight jamming my fingers into my ears every time the pilot engaged the loud speaker or someone laughed to loudly.  My Mister, the total boy scout, had packed a med kit so the pills eventually kicked in and took the edge off.  Escaping into a Radio Lab podcast helped as well.

Milton was there when we got off the plane and whisked us back to CasaBuena where we were fed bowls full of cioppino and finally got to meet Arthur, who is now 14-months-old and the most smiley, talkative baby I've ever met.  He's brilliant.  The girls stayed up until almost 9pm jumping on the trampoline with Michelle until I heard Anya crying because, "Lily and Michelle were jumping too high".  Bedtime.

It's a quiet morning now with both girls playing in their room and breakfast happily consumed.  Mark's run off with Milton to help put a friends boat back together and then we'll head out into the world when Michelle gets home from school. 

More later, I hope!

 

baby love

The housemates have allowed me to post a couple pictures of the tiny housemate.  Now you will really know what I meant when I said she's so cute she'll make your uterus hurt.

Me with the brand new bundle.  I still can't believe how alert and awake I look despite the 40 hours with little sleep:

Happy me

 

My Mister, who never looks more sexy than when holding a fresh baby:

The Mister

There are a few more photos on my flickr stream, but you have to be marked friends or family to see them.  If you are, hop over for more baby love.

 

subtle shifts in perception

I've been working through what was a very emotional weekend.  My housemates birth process was one of the more intense experiences of my life.  Just being a witness to such an amazing event and all that went into her very special process was exhausting, I can't imagine what it must have felt like from her perspective.  I can say that I have never been so proud of a person, never so in awe of someones strength and power and grace, even when the whole thing sweeps you up in such a way that you can't hold on to the tail of the tiger anymore and have to allow yourself to be flung free, hoping you'll land safely.  And she did, with a beautiful baby in her arms as well, not too worse for wear.

I'm still recovering in some ways (though not as dramatically as her, of course).  Still processing the whole thing.  See, I have a hell of a lot of knowledge about birth and have had an abundance of resources available to me in my lifetime.  The midwives I am honored to call friends, the women who work tirelessly for safer birth that I am so fortunate to have at the end of the phone when needed, the sheer volume or passionate, caring women who have helped me learn all that I could... they still couldn't prepare me to witness such an event.  Even having babies of my own didn't really open my eyes to birth in America. And it frightens me a little, the sudden change in direction to which I feel called.  I don't have the resources right now to follow that call, but it's sitting within me, this desire to become more of the solution rather than an innocent bystander who sits on her knowledge and doesn't use it to change things for the better. 

Of course, this feeling may fade.  I may look back a month from now and wonder where all this passion went.  It may be that my sudden desire to change the world comes from the rush of endorphins still spiking in my body.  It could be that this immediacy will fade and I will go back to working for theatres where we make pretty plays for pretty rich people.  Maybe the two don't have to be mutually exclusive.

I don't know.

I just know that I am changed for what I witnessed.  And I think that is a good thing.  Now I just have to see where it takes me.

Sweet perfection

I'm at work today but taking a bit of a break to update this here blog thingie.  Mostly because something amazing happened this weekend and since I never did make baby books for my girls, this is all I have in the way of a record of the important things in their lives.

On Saturday evening our housemates welcomed a baby girl into their family.  It was a very long, emotional and difficult process that didn't exactly go as planned but at the end there was a healthy mama and a healthy baby and that is all that really matters.  Their daughter is so beautiful and fluffy (9lbs 4oz worth of fluff) and calm and perfect with little folded over ears from all that time with her head stuck in a pelvis.  She makes me want to cry, she's so amazing.  Mom and baby get to come home today and I can't wait to have a baby in the house again.  Especially one like her, perfect.

The housemates are very protective of their privacy so I don't know how much of her I'll get to share.  Maybe the photo of me holding her in recovery, maybe even a shot of the little boo, but whatever they allow just trust me that she's so cute it'll make your uterus hurt (you know, if you happen to have one).

In the meantime, send sweet babymoon vibes our way.  Our home just got a little fuller and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Annual Turkey Live Blogging '09

For the last three years I've live blogged our Harvest Dinner and even though my commitment to blogging has been less than awesome lately, I feel the pressure of tradition and will be taking several breaks throughout the day to make a note of how things are going.  If you're bored and I haven't updated recently, just check out the last three events: click for 2008, 2007 and 2006.

This year I'm sticking to just doing the Turkey and cranberries as well as the gravy and, due to a last minute drop out, some yams.  I did the pomegranate molasses last night with a little help from the Mister and the Housemates as I had to be at work. We have only 14 people coming this year (down from 20 last year) so if anyone wants to come, just show up later and watch me squirm while I try to figure out where to put you.  It'll be awesome.

So here goes your annual live blogging of a turkey roast. Come back throughout the day for updates or just wait until midnight and see what I managed to get posted.

7:00 am - Everyone is up and therefore believe I should be up. They are evil and I hate them, but only for a moment.  Mostly because they leave me alone and I keep sleeping.

9:02 - I'M UP! What day is this?  Where am I?  What am I forgetting!?

9:03 - Blurry-eyed and stumbling I make it into the bathroom and then stumble into some clothing, even remembering that I will be on my feet all day and therefore need good shoes on my feet.

9:15 - Start roasting garlic

9:33 - Making the cranberries and enjoying the smell of the Triple Sec.

Lily and Anya stringing

9:42 - distracting kids with a bowl of fresh cranberries, a needle and some thread. They're making strings for the birds while trying not to poke their little fingers.

finished cranberries

10:00 - cranberries done and about half of them tucked into a jar for Mark, who has requested that I make too much and set it aside for later.

10:06 - making the herbed butter for the turkey, stating the oven.  Aiming to get bird in oven by 11am.

11:04 - Re-reading last years post and realizing I should wait to get the bird in the oven until noonish. Which is good, because the oven is ready but the turkey is still in the fridge. Working on it.

roasting

11:51 - Turkey in the oven. Really not a fan of raw bird. Ick.

mulling spices in cheesecloth

11:57 - putting apple juice and mulling spices into the crock pot. Need to set up the coffee maker for 6pm and start the yams a'bakin'.

12:14 - Yams baking in the oven, cider mulling it over in the crock pot. What's next? Oh, right! Sample the fancy cheeses, of course!

what?

12:45 - What? Isn't this what happens at your house when you clean up?

1:00 - Um, someone has to clean the bathrooms. Guess who?  Hell, it's me.

1:42 - yams are finally done (almost 2 hours of baking!) and now need to cool down so I can mash 'em up good and add the extra yummy bits.  Also, having a break from cleaning bathrooms since Anya apparently finds a freshly cleaned toilet irresistible.  Maybe this, rather than prunes, is the answer to her problems?

2:51 - And now the panic sets in. We're not ready. I'm not showered or dressed in clean clothes (neither is Mark). And the kids? Playing dress up!  Weeeee!

baked brie with spicy peach compote

3:20 - Showered! Dressed! Whoot! Now to get the cheese plate together and get me a drink!

John's apple pie, made from scratch!

This pie was made by John, who called in sick to work so he could make it a masterpiece. For the record, Oreet put the pretty leaves on top. And she's damn proud of those leaves.

4:00 - First guests have arrived with (count 'em) SIX dishes of yum.  We love them.  Turkey came out of the oven looking awesome and smelling even better.  But I still need a drink. Off to make that happen.

4:25 - JO arrives!  YAY! Let there be happy people everywhere. And yes, I got a drink. YAY!

6:21 - Dinner is over and everything turned out beautifully yummy.  So much good food.  Now comes dessert and coffee and tea and hot spiced cider.  Oh, I love this party!

7:41 - Everyone is heading home and the girls are in bed for the night. I'm so full of good food I'm in the pain stage. Also? I've received two phone calls and multiple text messages from work about work things. Step off, people, I'm EATING!  Well, I was.  But now I'm going to put my feet up with my Mister and leave the dishes for the morrow.

Another year down. More photos to come (I hope). Signing off!

small but mighty

Last night while cooking dinner, I had the sudden urge to step outside.  Our house is designed to block sound from the freeway which is not so far away and I had heard nothing of interest. Yet, something was encouraging me to step out and so, with Maya at my heals, I opened the front door and stepped onto the deck.

I was stopped in my tracks by the housemates tiny dog who was standing just off the deck screaming.  I cannot describe what she was doing any better than that, it was screaming. Next I head V, my housemate, also screaming and adrenaline flooded my body as I finally figured out what she was saying, "GET INSIDE! INSIDE!"

On Vacay, yo

ready to hit the road!

The girls & their dog, ready to hit the road on Friday night.

Mark and I packed up the kids AND the dog and ditched home Friday night to come visiting his family in Northern California.  We drove through the night while the girls slept in small batches and only had to submit to one sobriety check (which Mark passed. YAY!). We arrived at Uncle Steve's just before 5am and all passed out for a nice block of sleep.  Steve has the most comfortable bed on the planet and I plan on strapping it to the roof of the car when we leave. Just so you know.