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Blues Run the Game

June 22nd, 2008

“me and room service/well we’re living the life of sin…”

Nice cover of Jackson C. Frank song by Nick Drake.

Oh, hey. This one is nice, too.

Saturday Book Review: Is Your Child Bipolar?; Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years; Body, Soul, and Baby

June 21st, 2008

Some books are going to make a person hyperventilate, and that’s just the way it is. This is why, in between reading the seventy-odd self-help books that have recently come my way, I’m making sure to break it up with a good dose of fiction. To wit:

On the nightstand:

I’m also reading “Where Time Stood Still: A Portrait of Appalachia,” by Bruce and Nancy Roberts. (Non-fiction, great photos, great stories.) And granted, the Michael Korda book is non-fiction, too, but it is entertaining in the way of good fiction. The characters are lively, and some of the situations he and his wife, Margaret, find themselves in in their circa-1785 house (in upstate New York) are just zany. Sociable pigs, competitive horses, overly-possessive snow-mobilers and a handyman who loves to annihilate the foliage — what more do you need?

You need to find research bipolar illness in children, apparently, because that’s where I headed next.

Wacky Girl: “Am I bipolar?”
me: “No.”
Wacky Girl: “Is my brother?” (followed by “Dad?” “You?” “The cat?”)
me: “Yes, I can safely say that the cat is bipolar.”

Good to keep the dialogue open and communication flowing. In theory. What family doesn’t have crazy in it? We sure do. And I have had concerns about my kids inheriting that particular bit of the family DNA. (Please God, let them not have the crazy.) It is a serious topic, and not one I feel like discussing with the Internets, or (at this point, anyway) with my own kids. This book deals well with the topic, and includes a sizable amount of information on what the authors call the “Diagnosis Tangle.” (Multiple diagnoses — what to do when bipolar is coupled with learning disabilities, anxiety, ADHD, etc.) They make an extremely scary subject manageable — and let parents know they’re not alone. This is a pretty amazing resource for parents who are concerned about their kids’ mental health.

Great book — but you might want to stash it away and read it privately when the kids aren’t in the room.

“Body, Soul, and Baby” gets into healthy pregnancy, including “pre-conception,” and addresses “the sex” more than “the crazy.” It made me recall labor almost fondly, it was so la-di-da about it. “Stay at home as long as you can” and “write a birth vision statement — not a birth plan,” etc. Even back labor doesn’t sound so bad. Eh — maybe I am just imagining that it was searing, burning hell with no hope of escape.

“Ask for an over-the-counter pain reliever if the pain is prolonged and intense. Your baby will not be negatively affected.”

How about morphine? Cuz that’s what they gave me, and it frickin’ didn’t help. Honestly though, the labor isn’t the hardest part of parenting, you parents-to-be, believe me.

The hardest part is worrying about the crazy, and when they start leaving the house without telling you where they’re going. And when they steal your car. I’ve heard that back labor sounds like cake compared to that.

As for “Practical Wisdom for Parents…” here’s all I needed to know, right on page 252:

* Send a positive, empowering message to your child.
* Don’t give up
* Try not to take steps backward
* Keep raising the bar

Drop the puck! Let’s… Play… HOCKEY! Happy Saturday, y’all.


Today’s books:

no, i’m not voting republican

June 21st, 2008

This is funny. (Thanks for the link, Lelo.)

junk mail

June 20th, 2008

OK, I haven’t wanted to say anything, but all of those junk mails I keep getting that say:

“you look really stupid wackymommy”

No, I don’t. I look really sassy! They look really stupid.

dear U.S. government: please work on the levees

June 20th, 2008

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of being at war (and killing people who have done us no harm) (and being killed, ourselves) the government went all WPA? Wouldn’t that be cool? We could work on the levees and the roads and the schools and save lives, instead of taking them away.

Just a thought.

Have a good weekend, y’all. Peace. Please send out love.


do you like to twitter?

June 19th, 2008

I kinda like Twitter. It’s faster than this.

My daughter she is getting braces next month. No more gum, no Laffy Taffy, no caramel apples. (Yay! says her mom.)

My Thursday 13, Ed. #something: a few thoughts

June 18th, 2008

random bullets for my Thursday 13:

1) Iowa is settling down. Now it’s everyone along the Mississippi we need to worry about. Life is getting too crazy, weather-wise, with the tornadoes and flooding and fires and whatnot. (If you want to see a YouTube video of the “Book Brigade,” look here.)

2) It’s my birthday next week. (more…)

happy Father’s Day, guys

June 15th, 2008

Marriage has turned out differently than I thought it would. We have too many scares and tears and ER visits, but we also have more flowers than I ever expected, good meals, sitting around together talking, playing dominoes or gardening. I planted herbs and flowers all afternoon yesterday. We sent out for pizza and ice cream, stayed up late watching movies.

But Iowa is on our minds. I never expected, when I first married, that Iowa would become such a big player in our lives, and that I would love my husband’s family this much.

My son is disappointed he’s not there with his grandparents this weekend, in Iowa City, going to the park, playing in the yard, having Pagliai’s Pizza instead of Eddie’s Flat Iron.

“Poppy’s coming here?” he just asked my husband, hopefully.

“No, honey. He’s staying home with the big flood. The road from his house to the airport is closed.”

Cedar Rapids (where we fly in when we visit my in-laws, where my husband’s brother and wife live with their three girls) is a mess. Our family is fine, their neighbors are fine, but whole sections of town — homes, businesses, cars and bridges — are toasted or severely damaged.

My in-laws are stuck on their side of town — no way to get to downtown Iowa City. They have been helping how they can, but how can you stop a river? How can you stop nine rivers?

Steve put up some pictures on his blog — they formed a book brigade to save the books in the main library. I love that library, where my father-in-law worked for many years. I love the campus and the Writers’ Workshop. Kurt Vonnegut and Raymond Carver did, too, along with about a zillion other writers. I love Iowa. The people, the boating, the farmlands and the huge barns. The parks and great schools and my husband’s old high school, City High, where we went for an ice cream social one time when we were back home visiting. Steve teases me when I call Iowa “back home,” but you know, Iowa is not that far from Arkansas, where my mom grew up and all of her extended family still lives. For me, that all is “back home.”

Ice cream socials and huge gardens and my kids, running with their cousins all over the place. Having gin and tonics at cocktail hour, watching the fireflies — that’s home.

We were about two seconds from moving there, but a lack of jobs (and lower wages, if we managed to find jobs) stood in the way. I wish we were with our family right now, but am so relieved that my husband and kids didn’t fly out. (I was staying home to work and wrap up end of school year.)

So, prayers please, and good thoughts and I can’t believe that the next time we go to my husband’s home state to visit, it will be all different. We still don’t know the extent of the damage and won’t for a while.

Here’s to things calming down and an attempt to get back to normal. Whatever that is.

For now, much love and a Happy Father’s Day to my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and of course, my excellent husband.

we love you, Iowa

June 14th, 2008

please send out prayers and good thoughts to my in-laws in Iowa.


Junie B. Jones, headin’ to Portland, Ore., and other cities along the way…

June 13th, 2008

Junie B., on trying to stay calm until Show-and-Tell:

“Yeah, only I don’t actually know if I can do that,” I said, “‘Cause I’m already trying to be calm. And this is how I’m turning out.”

— from Junie B., First Grader “Aloha-ha-ha!”

Dear, dear readers,

It is a sad day for a parent when her child outgrows Junie B. Jones and Elmo. (more…)

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