Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snow Day

Is there any greater look of joy on a kid's face than when he hears school has been cancelled on account of bad weather?  If you know one, I will be glad to listen.  The victory is especially sweet when the announcement comes the night before, as it has to our house.

Yes, Minnesota has decided to act a little bit like Minnesota.

We spent the day in a blizzard watch counting our cans of tomato soup and shaking the milk jug to make sure there was an adequate supply.  As I write this we've been downgraded to a winter storm warning.  We'll have to wait and see.

We were so ready.  So ready to get out the big coats and the Sorrels.  So ready to have school called off.  So ready with the snow blower.  And it just never came.

So hearing the ring of our land line phone and our cell phones all at once, Colin  started to do a little dance.  He knew he would sleep the sleep of a teenager who has had a little reprieve.  The sleep of a guy who was owed one this week because his mother and father missed the date change of piano contests, and he got up at 6:30 am last Saturday morning for nothing. Now he'll have to get up at 6:30 am again this Saturday.

Oh, yes.  He was owed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pizza and an Organ

I want to clarify in case reader-friend Robyn wasn't the only one confused.  My trip to Arizona was to see my parents and had nothing to do with bone marrow donation.  I am still very early in the donation process.  They may find a better match or go with a different treatment option.  I am on sort of a hurry up and wait holding pattern.  I need to answer questions as quickly as possible and then I wait without really knowing what's happening.  That's okay.  They'll let me know if they need me.  Hopefully because of miraculous healing, they never will.

I also confused Robyn when I was trying to explain our trip to Organ Stop Pizza.  She thought it had something to do with organs (like liver or something) on the pizza, not music to accompany pizza.

Mom and Dad were really excited to go to Organ Stop Pizza, and I have to say I was a little skeptical.  Mom and Dad are easily amused.  So am I.  How do you think I got this way?  But organ music and pizza reminded me of Shakey's of my youth -- and I don't remember it being that great.  Well, Shakey's wasn't like this.

Look at that.  There's organ everywhere in this room.  There's so much more organ than you can see.  It was hard not to be impressed, especially when you are easily amused as we have established I am.  You can't see very well, but the bellows that really impressed my are in the lower left hand corner.  They are the size of beds.  Very fun.

There were lights too.  Very nice when he played Phantom of the Opera.  I don't know what to tell you.

And the pizza was good which made it all the better.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Back from the Desert and /or Dessert

A beautiful, darling angel-child traveled with me to Arizona.

Yeah, I know it looks like Preschooler D, but I am telling you I am just NOT sure.

This child never forgot to say please or thank you.
This child made grumpy looking air travelers smile.
This child charmed every person he encountered (including a fellow elevator traveler whom he thanked politely for pressing our floor button).
This child participated in all planned activities (including Grandpa's long drive in the desert) with nary a complaint.

Yes, I know he is very similar in appearance, but . . . well . . . back at home, my child has appeared again whining about how much time he gets on the Wii, and what he wants to eat, and if he has a choice about wearing snow boots.

I am just not convinced it is the same boy, but I had a great time with that other kid, no matter who he was.

In other news, I have made it past the first filter in the bone marrow donation process.  I was just reading again that there are several more filtering steps before donation, so just keep keep on cheering for that unknown person.

Monday, February 20, 2012

This Week

Saturday the family went to see Harold and the Purple Crayon at the Children's Theatre.  It was part of an exchange that they are doing with the Seattle Children's Theatre.  I thought it was lovely and gentle.  The guys found it a bit hippy-dippy, if you know what I mean.

Preschooler D did not want to go from the start.

"I like Florida and I like home,"  he announced from the backseat.

Well, don't we all, kid.

This week he and I are going on a trip to see Grandpa and Grandma in Phoenix. I hope he adds Arizona to his list of places he will go; otherwise, it's going to be a long four days.

Don't bother to come and steal the TV. Brent and Colin are staying behind.  If I get the chance, I'll let you how it's going, but as Grandma Malmberg used to say, "Expect me when you see me."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Math Class

Seventh grade pre-algebra has been making me crazy.  I ordered a couple of books so I could keep up.  Homework time with Colin requires a lot of concentration as it is without me going, "Yeah, I don't know."

Yesterday was "Muffins with Mom" day.  I never did find the muffins, but I did find Colin just before math class.  Colin goes to special ed math, and it's not what you remember from high school.  I don't remember anyone getting pulled out for math unless they were really, really behind.  There are three guys in Colin's class including Colin.  They are all doing grade level work but they can't do it -- for whatever reason -- in the classroom.

Colin was clearly the brains in the group (terribly, terribly biased), but his slower communication skills made this extra brain power useless.  The other guys are the brawn of the group.  I don't think anyone is going to be messing with their friend Colin.

We did a number of problems on little white boards.  I only led Colin astray once. We had to subtract a negative from a negative (or positive?) and I went the wrong way on the number line.  We got it figured out.  Hooray!

Then we were off to health class with my former gym teacher.  Hilarious.  Reminded me in two minutes why I would never sign on to any time travel that involved reliving junior high.  This has nothing to do with my former gym teacher and everything to do with junior high.

Good for Colin!  Good for me!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I went to a small high school.  My graduating class had about 80 if I remember right.  We knew each other as small children.  Many of us know each other now.

Michele D was one of our sweet classmates. Michele is just a genuinely nice person with a positive outlook without getting all Pollyanna about it.  Two years ago she got physically tired beyond what was reasonable for a mother of two young children.  She had leukemia.  We watched her fight and cheered her through chemotherapy and radiation.  She needed a stem cell transplant and her brother was a miraculous match.  Something like 70 percent of recipients don't have a family match and must receive from a donor.  Michele got better and better.

And then she had a really bad earache.  The leukemia was in her brain.

How can a blood disease become a brain disease?  I have no clue other than it's weird and unfair, but that's what happened.  She has not written on her Caringbridge site since January.  She wrote about how much she hated being sick and losing her hair and being in bed and the pressure it put on her family.

She wrote about how much she loves her family.

I have been registered as a potential donor on the National Marrow Donor Program list since 1996.  I was barely married.  I had no children.  It seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do.  I have never been contacted about being someone's match -- until this week.

So far I have been through a brief health history.  If "my" patient needs me, I will be contacted in the next eight weeks.  I am compulsively driven by the love I feel for my own family and my long friendship with Michele to do now what seemed so long ago as "perfectly reasonable."

While I wait to hear, I am praying for my dear patient -- that it will not come to this, that there will be unreasonable, miraculous healing.  I am praying that if she or he needs me, I will be ready and that it will go smoothly and there will be healing through this.

I am praying for Michele -- for perfection in every area of her life right now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Poem for Tuesday

This poem is for my Grandma Malmberg, the little girl in the picture above.  She is no longer with me on earth, but she is always in my heart.

Valentine for Granny
Solveig Paulson Russell

Dear Granny, here's a valentine;
I made it just for you;
This rosebud and this paper lace
Are fastened tight with glue.

This little heart I painted red,
These flowers I made blue,
And Granny, look, here are the words,
"Dear Granny, I love you."

* Gigi, in case you have been wondering, would hit me hard if I called her Granny.  She has taken her 88-year-old self and her new Kindle Fire and hopped on a bus for Mexico.  I am not even kidding.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Anniversary 18

Eighteen years ago yesterday I married the guy in the bow tie.  He wasn't wearing a bow tie that day.

He is a good father.

A thoughtful musician.

Handy around the house.  Or in this case, my mother-in law's house.

My dearest friend.
And because of him all of this . . .

. . . belongs to me.

Psalm 113:9
He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How to Avoid Practicing Piano

A photo essay by Preschooler D.

Start by refusing to get dressed.  No reason.  It's an "at home" day.

 Page endlessly through book while wearing ear muffs because you don't want to hear yourself play.

 Glare at Mother.

Try to convince Dad that if he plays it will be the same thing.  Better really.

Be very stubborn about it until you get sent to your room to have rest time.

Cheer up.

Without being asked get dressed by self. Come back downstairs. Play piano without being told.

Smile at Mother.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

End of the Day

Do you get to the end of the day and say to yourself, "Another great day where I accomplished everything on my to-do list!  I can't wait to start with a fresh brand new to-do list tomorrow!"

No, that's not me at all.  I pass a small patch of debris in the upstairs hallway that the work guys left that needs a little vacuuming.  It's such a tiny spot.  It would take two seconds, yet when it's out of sight, it's out of mind.  I see it in the morning when I'm getting ready and I think, "I shall go down right now and get the Hoover."  Then I get downstairs and get my coffee and start chatting with my sister on the computer and doing laundry and emptying the dishwasher and helping with homework, and the next thing you know I am going into the bathroom to brush my teeth before bed and I see it.  Again.  Now Preschooler D is sleeping and I am getting ready for bed and I think, "Well.  Okay.  That's the FIRST thing I will get to tomorrow."

I do admire my optimism.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

* No really.  Nothing cute is going on.  Nothing discouraging.  I can't even whine about the weather.  Just plugging away at our daily life.

* And . . .

* Um . . .

* So . . .

* It's my anniversary this weekend.  We're going to Fargo.  Yes, there's romance in Fargo!

* Ah . . .

Okay, we'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting an Eyepatch

Preschooler D and I played a lot of Wii Lego Pirates of the Caribbean while he has not feeling well.  A lot.  We finished the regular game.  Now we have to go back and tackle the bonus features.  I've had a really good time playing Wii Lego Pirates, and to be honest (because I always am with you),  I let him play more than a preschooler probably should.  I may have encouraged it.  There was something just so satisfying about flinging my cartoon sword around and -- well -- hanging out with D.

Kindergarten round up is next month.  I have a very sneaky suspicion that I am going to be what one local kindergarten teacher labeled "the Criers."  She said the number one goal of a kindergarten teacher was to get the Criers out of the room so their children wouldn't also freak out.

Do you think that will be me, or do you think I will have pulled it together by that time?

I was having a small mid-life crises when I found out I was pregnant with D.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  My career in weekly newspapers had come to an end and I didn't know what I was going to do with myself.  Since then I have discovered I make a pretty good career Stay-At-Home Mom.  I see no reason for me to change careers at this point, but it will be an adjustment.

Am I writing about this every other day now?  I feel like I have said most of this before.  It probably won't be the last time.  You have my permission to skip these days in the future.  I don't think I am done obsessing about it. I'll try to remember to label them "More Working Through Kindergarten Issues."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012