Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

I survived.......left house at 2:30am, back home at 4:05pm.

Not as good as I would have liked, not as bad as I feared.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Grandpa

My grandpa died early this morning. His incredible strength and fighting spirit was with him until the very end. His life was a wonderful 99 years long here on earth.....he's now with his 6 brothers and sisters who pre-deceased him long ago, my grandmother who died when I was 6, and his son, my dear father, who died in 1997 at the way too young age of 55 .

Ties are non-existant with my mother and her side of the family, so it feels like I've lost what I had left of my family.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama family

We were standing in line at the store yesterday and A was looking at the magazines in the checkout line. She goes "look, mommy, the WHOLE family is chocolate like me, even the mommy and daddy!". We know a lot of families who look like ours, that don't match. She sounded incredulous that the Obama family actually matches.

I've been relieved to see occasionally pics of Sasha Obama with fuzzy looking hair - if the President's daughter can have fuzzy looking hair, we are in good company!

Tip of the day for tiny braids past their prime (yes, I didn't actually get to hair this past weekend) - braid the braids. I moisturized and put the tiny braids into two larger braids and tied ribbons on the end. They look very, very cute and really freshen up the entire look and disguise the fuzz. We rarely do large braids or ponys because they don't work for us. But made out of tiny braids are perfect. She reminds me of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

hair and other ramblings...

I REALLY need to do A's hair today. I last did it the weekend before Halloween, so it's lasted a good long time. A asked for small, individual braids last time, which I rarely do. Why? Because I hate taking them out. They take absolutely forever to take out - about as long as they did to put in. And then, I still need to do hair after I spend a few hours taking them out.

I feel I should have a better attitude about doing hair and not dread it sometimes. This time of year is tough - I have to work at least 8 hrs today (Saturday), and about 6 or 7 hrs on Sunday. And still find about 4 hrs somewhere to do hair. I'm finding work increasingly unrewarding - retail is really a brutal contact sport. But I do look forward to working incredibly hard, motivating my team, and that elated feeling when we really nail a major event. The hard work and stress has a purpose. But these days, all the hard work and incredible energy, and doing more work with less employees, is rewarded failure. It's hard to play the game when you know there is almost no chance at all to post a win, to meet a goal. Must be how it feels to be the Detroit Lions :) If the goals are not met (which are set at the beginning of the year), I'm rated a below expectations, or a far below expectations on my performance review. There are no exceptions - the plan is the plan - period. 3 below expectations (rated every 6 months) and you are replaced.

My house is a mess, I'm hopelessly behind on laundry. The laundry that did manage to get done (by Wood, not me!) is piled on the furniture in the family room. We have overdue library books and videos from the video store. The kids have a birthday party to go to today, and I remembered to get a present, but not anything to wrap it in. I feel like everyone else can manage their household, just not us.

Friday, November 21, 2008

storm over

We got about 12" - 15" total - not as bad as expected. Looks like daily snowfall, but smaller amounts, every day for the next week. I had to stay at work to replace those who couldn't make it in, and we should have closed at 9pm. But the gals in the Salon ran late with a client. So I was at work yesterday from 9am - 10:30pm. It's so going to be a loooong weekend.

Oh, and the dentist - he asked ME if A could be older than turning 5 in December. I told him she was. He said "do you know that for sure?". I said yes. He said, while not conclusive, he thought by looking at her teeth development that she was about 6 months older, at least.
She's getting one of her permanent teeth BEHIND her baby tooth. Looks like another candidate for braces someday. Big brother B and A both had braces. At age 6.5, G hasn't lost any teeth yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow, snow, snow

Big storm last night - we got about 6" -8" in the city - much more in surrounding cities, where all the schools are closed. Winds last night were in excess of 26 mph. Today they are still quite strong. Our local schools aren't closed today, despite severe snow warnings and 10-12" of more snow to come. Will definitely not help my business, and I'll have to cut staffing today and tomorrow considerably.

Miss A goes to the dentist today - she is excited beyond belief, for some unknown reason! I'm already tired of bundling the kids up, boots and snowpants to go everywhere. We'll be doing it until May, so I'd better get used to it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The unknown

Someone asked me at work yesterday how we could add a dog to our family without ever meeting them. Wasn't it hard to base a decision so permanent based on a picture and a friend's 4 hr visit? Weren't we scared of the unknown?

We welcomed a child, our daughter with open hearts and arms and all the info we had on her was a single photo and three partial sentences describing her - "laughs out loud", "best attached to caregivers", "walks holding onto table".

Sometimes, you just have to trust and have faith.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New family member....


We have owned a dog, Jack, for the past 12 or 13 years. He joined our family when he was 1year old, from an animal rescue league. Jack was a Jack Russell/Beagle mix - a reall y bad combination for a dog - all of the energy and nutso-ness of the Jack Russell and all the stubborness of a beagle. Jack was the only dog I've been unable to train. After a period of time, we were able to influence his behavior enough to make it work for everyone. When we first got him, he was spastic and wild. As he aged, he mellowed somewhat - for him, at least. Our biggest regret was that he never liked the little girls. When G was born, the noise, crawling and unexpected behavior of a baby really threw him for a loop. Then when A entered the picture - he thought we had lost our mind to bring ANOTHER one home. The girls loved him dearly, however. We always watched them carefully together and taught the girls to treat him gently and to respect his space. The two older kids, he was fine with them and really adored our son, B.

Jack's health deteriorated and we had him put to sleep in the summer. By this point, we didn't allow the girls to pet him or be in his space at all. The girls have missed him very much. Even though he wasn't much of a dog for them at all. G in particular, has always been a dog person - she never played with baby dolls, but stuffed puppies. Recently, she asked if we ever got another dog, if we could have one that was fun this time, and that you could even play with sometimes. We all loved Jack, but he was not much of a dog for the girls.

We decided to get another family dog - one that could really fit into and interact with our entire family and be fun for the kids. I've been looking online at our local humane societies/shelters and haven't found anything appropriate for kids and our family. I won't consider any type of pit bull, chow, doberman or rottie mix. That eliminates about 2/3's of what is in the shelters. We started expanding our search farther and farther, figuring we would be heading downstate soon, on account of my grandfather.

We saw Cooper's listing - he was in a foster home about 350 miles away. He was bigger than we were looking for, so continued searching. But we'd always come back to him. A good friend of ours has family in that city, and was just happening to leave for a visit. She offered to visit the dog and see what he was like. She spent quite a few hours with him. He is perfect for our family, mellow, great with kids, loves to snuggle up with you when you read, watch tv, etc. He is gentle and well behaved. So she will be bringing Cooper home when she returns. G is so excited she can hardly stand it. She marked the calendar with the days until he gets here. Today, she made a paperchain to mark the days (13) until Cooper gets here. She drew a pic on each chain link of things we will do with Cooper as family. On the last link she wrote "welcome home, Cooper!".

Cooper is a lurcher - which is not a breed, but a type of dog. They are very common in England and Ireland - not so much seen in the US. Lurchers are greyhounds mixed with working dogs. They are universally described as "40mph couch potatoes" and make great family pets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Update on Grandpa

I heard from my cousin again tonight. My grandfather now also has pneumonia and he was transferred to a hospice home yesterday. They pulled his feeding tube, and he's had no nutrition since Monday. I guess I didn't realize that withholding nutrition is part of hospice pallative care. Wood and I immediately said to each other that if it ever comes to that, neither of us would want that done. My cousin said that hospice indicated that because of the discountinuation of the feeding tube, he was not expected to live much longer.

I had dozens of people in and out of my office today who needed me to make a decision on something, deadlines and schedules to be done and budgets to be planned and finalized. I just couldn't focus.

I knew when we traveled to Ohio over Labor day weekend that it would likely be the last time we saw my Grandfather, but, honestly, at his age, we've been saying that for a few years now. He's so strong and such a fighter. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that it is finally his time.

He's lead a long and facinating life. His father, my great grandfather immigrated to Canada from England as a young adult. He was an Episcopalian priest, who lead a church and raised a large family in Canada in harsh, primitive conditions, before moving into the US, where my grandfather, the youngest child in the family, was born on an Indian reservation in Minnesota (Bemidji). My great grandfather was a missionary for a long time there, before coming to Detroit. My grandfather spent a good deal of his childhood in Detroit, where his father lead the congregation of Old Mariner's Church, right down on the Detroit river, next to the tunnel to Canada. During the great depression, my great grandfather was instrumental in opening homes for the homeless, health care, and jobs creation in Detroit - work that my grandfather was a part of. My great -grandfather wrote a facinating book "Humor and otherwise in a ministry of 50 years", where I've gotten such a detailed glimpse of my family history. My entire family is staunchly Episcopalian, and my converting to Catholicism is a subject that isn't brought up - ever :)

We'll be making the long trip to Toledo, most likely in a few days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sad news

I just got a call from my cousin in Ohio. My Grandfather, who turned 99 last month, is ill and not expected to live. When she explained what happened, it was my grandfather all the way - it started with "grandpa and his wife were out shopping".......I had to smile. At 99, he is out shopping. That's just the kind of person he is - he would never think of staying at home, away from life and what's going on.

I grew up in a very fractured family, and didn't really know my grandfather growing up - through no fault of his. He has continually reached out to me throughout all my adult life and made sure I was included in the family. My dad - his son- died over 10 years. Wood and I drove Grandpa and his wife to the funeral services, held at Arlington National Cemetary where my dad is buried.

On the way there, we stopped for fast food along the turnpike. As we were standing in line at McDonalds, my grandfather came up to Wood and I and said "you know, I had one of their Big Mac sandwiches once - it was very good!". Now I know why he lived until 99 - he was in his late 80's at the time and had had a Big Mac once in his life? When we went down to visit him for his 99th birthday in September, his mind was as sharp as ever.

I know that God will be with him as he goes home to be with my grandmother, my dad, and all his brothers and sisters.


"An Obama administration is considering overturning the Bush administration policy of banning funding to organizations such as the U.N. Population Fund that operate in countries that practice forced sterilization, including China, which adheres to the "one child" policy. "

Regardless of which side of the fence people are on about this issue, does anyone really think it's a good idea to fund forced sterilization or forced abortions?

Even I'm speechless, unless I'm reading this completely wrong.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Winter has arrived

Today the girls go to school in full winter gear - boots, snowpants, mittens, hats and scarves. And now begins the increasiningly difficult process of wrangling them into their car seats. The girls fit great into their carseats - with lighter jackets on. But because of their age, with full winter attire on, they are starting to be too broad in the shoulders to easily fit in - mostly because of the side impact head "wings". Plus we need to readjust the height of the straps to accomodate the bulky winter wear.

G fits nicely with no problems into her Britax Regent. That's in Wood's car,though, so I still struggle with my car. Our other three carseats (2 in my car, 1 in Woods car) are Britax Marathons. I wish I had the $$ to change them all to the Regent. Wonder if the 2 year old Britax Regents have any resale value?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

retail and the economy...

Our "kickoff" of the holiday season was yesterday. We were open from 6am to midnight. It didn't go well and spells significant trouble for us this quarter - even worse than it's already been going.

Prices are incredibly deep discounted already. It's hightly unusual to see prices this low prior prior to the after Thanksgiving madness. I've already cut staffing by at least 25%. Unemployment here is double digit. I've never seen things look so bleak. Retail posted losses for October that have been the worst in 35 years.

We have a house we were unable to sell when we moved up here. We've been renting it with option to buy. Our tenant, who we were hopeing to have complete the sale early next year, is now unemployed. We've gotten no rent payment from them in 2 months - and still had a mortgage payment. That situation is giving us many sleepless nights and our options are grim.

Michigan has been in a one state recession for the past 8 years, and it's just getting worse. One reason I was incredibly surprised to see Governor Jennifer Granholm on Obama's financial team. She has helped run our state into the ground, caused many businesses to leave Michigan and our economy to collapse. I'm not sure I'd be listening intently to her economic advice.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Update on G's asthma

G's peak flow meter readings are showing, as of yesterday, a 50% increase in her lung function since her recent asthma attack almost 2 weeks ago that landed us in the ER. In fact, with this latest change in meds, we have never seen peak flow readings this high. Never.

No cough. None.

I cannot imagine having a drop of 50% in my lung capacity. G describes it as breathing out through a very narrow straw - she feels she cannot exhale. And if you can't exhale the air in your lungs, you can't inhale enough new air. When she coughs, she forces air out of her airways, and that enables her to take a new breath.

This has been her quickest recovery from a significant asthma attack. We continue to make progress and get a better handle on this. And we've even dropped one medication completely, although we upped the dosage on another.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mommy brag...

Our church

G was chosen to read the scripture reading at todays' school mass. She did an awesome job! She was very nervous to walk up in front of the entire school.

Inside of our church.

It's a Cathedral, so it's very large and more than a little intimidating. And because she is shorter than any of the other students, her teacher brought her a special chair from the classroom to stand on, so she could see over the lecturn and reach the microphone. As Wood and I watched her walk up there, she looked so very tiny. She did wonderfully and spoke with great fluency and clarity.
She is a phenomenal reader. Her teacher told me yesterday that G was recently given a reading test at school. She was given a timed test of an unfamiliar passage at about the 4th grade level. During the 1 minute test, she read aloud 174 words with 100% accuracy.
Good things can come in very small packages.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Words from a great President

"The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me."

"In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book."

"...I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."

"There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed."

Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We have come to the end of a long journey. This was a historic election. The fact that we are seeing an African American President in the White House is wonderful and amazing. In this, I rejoice. All Americans should be celebrating tonight. It is hopeful and optimistic progress for our country and something we should be proud of as Americans.

However, I'm still deeply, deeply dissapointed. I believe that life, all life, is sacred. To me, that is a foundational issue. It is a deep part of who I am, my faith, my family and my life. President Elect Obama's stance of no restrictions whatsoever at any time on abortion is more than deeply troubling. There are many other issues that I dissagree with Obama's platform, but this one holds special significance. It is difficult not to feel despair for the most vulnerable in our society tonight.

Looking forward, I pray that Obama leads with strength and great wisdom and is able, with his youth and enthusiam, to unite our country. These are difficult times for our country. We face many challenges and we need to work together, beginning tomorrow, to solve some difficult problems facing all of it's citizens. That is the strength of our country. We may not always win, but we are all Americans.

God bless America.