Please Excuse Susan....

Vast apologies for being out of touch for two weeks! I came down with The Crud Going Around Town (possibly the flu, which is reportedly hitting early this year and already in Colorado). Under its influence (arr-arr!), creating a newsletter's worth of coherent sentences was simply beyond my mental abilities.

In order to keep this from happening in the future, I plan to write up some Oldies but Goodies and squirrel them away for emergencies. Should have thought of that before. Didn't. Oh well. On with the show! I have a few notes from the week of Sept 20, which I might as well use up. As you may recall, we'd had a marathon weekend of auctions, one of which was the liquidation of a pet shop. One of our funnest acquisitions was a dozen or so bags of bright aquarium gravel in a neon rainbow of colors. These were turned over to the walkie-talkie grandkids (handy home phrase to distinguish Damaris's three from Sterling's baby Lexie) and Mike, and now we have the most beautiful neon-accented dirt driveway in the county!

The day before I was struck down by the marauding germs, there was an auction I failed to attend. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive away, plus we had no money and no room for more stuff if we did buy it. But ow! An auction with a vintage firetruck. (Can't you picture me speeding home in that? I could!) That was probably the best auction all year, and held on a Friday, which usually means lower bid totals! Picture me moaning "Oh, the pain...." like campy ol' Jonathan Harris (you know, the e-vile Dr. Smith!) on Lost In Space. Oh well again.

Just after I posted "Death By Auction" I got this note from my mom:

"Take care of yourself Miss I Know My Limits And Will Put On The Brakes When I'm Ready. I held my breath all through that letter thinking you were going to say you ended up at Prowers County Memorial. Whew!"

Does she know me, or what?

Out of the Mouth of Mike: In her early years, my daughter Damaris was one of those kids who had a knack for blurting out cute statements that caused tremendous embarrassment to the adults around her. Now that she has Zach and the twins, she's on the blushing end. Frequently. Plus she sometimes gets an added bonus from Michael. When he was visiting there recently, he was trying to attach a wagon to a tricycle, but not having much luck. Possibly he expected them to work like his toy trains at home, because in frustration he bellowed out, "Where's my hooker?!" I expect the neighbors wonder just a little about the new family on the block....

Last week a circus came through town, and Nigel and Damaris kindly took Mike along with their kids. At a crucial moment, as acrobats climbed up to a high platform for a death-defying stunt, a hush fell over the crowd. Well, most of the crowd. Into the silence came the strident warning from Michael, "Dat's not safe up dere!" Words of wisdom they apparently never heard from their mothers.

This week's topic, of course, is hit and run illness. Since we've all been there and done that, I decided I was not going to dwell on all the gory details. First of all, it's gross (plus I think Dave Barry has the copyright on all substances produced by mucous membranes.) Second of all, it isn't exciting or unusual--snuff, cough, moan, repeat 327,482 times. Third, it's been written about many times by people lots funnier than me.... (see Dave Barry note above)

But I did have an interesting thought cross my fever-hazed brain. You may have heard of the five stages of grieving, as developed by (and then unabashedly ripped off from, by multitudes of people who mostly don't give credit as you can see me doing right here) Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. I decided they can be applied to minor illnesses too.

Denial: I am not getting sick, I'm not! These sniffles and watery eyes are from...hay fever! Yeah, just a very sudden severe attack of hay fever! I'll be fine tomorrow!

Anger: I hate the stupid trees and weeds and mold, I hate the stupid Benadryl making me feel all tired, I hate my sinuses, I hate my whole body.... THIS ISN'T FAIR!!!

Bargaining: I know what will ward this off! Liquids! Hot and sour soup with extra chile oil! Zinc! Vitamin C! Lysine! A hot bath! Vicks! A heating pad on my sinuses! Juice!

Depression: This is the part where you lay in bed moaning that you are dying, but you know you really aren't, which means you aren't going to get out of all the work of catching up with stuff you haven't gotten done because you are sick. Bummer.

Acceptance: You begin to be able to suck in a few whiffs of oxygen now and then, and realize that life going on is a pretty good deal after all.

Quote of the Week:

I'm not Scottish, but this one pretty much fit me the last two weeks.

"It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine." --P. G. Wodehouse

Need an attribution, a nifty opening line, or just a quote fix? There are some great links to quote sources on the NNNN web page!

"Quotes!" she cried!

Here is your 'Pic(k) of the Week' URL:

This week it's a site, not a picture. If you are having any sort of Halloween rumpus, here's a nifty collection of gross looking but tasty food items you can make!

All kinds of fun, creepy snacks!


Birthday Week

Whew! This past week I wrapped so many packages I started getting a contact high from the mailing tape!

I'm pretty much out of the woods on the post-flu-shipping-backup crisis, just in time for a new one--I have five days to get ready for our annual outing, a trip to Denver for MileHiCon, a science fiction convention. This is one of those deals where for six months in advance I think of neat little projects I would like to do which would result in enhanced fun at the con...and then try to complete as many as I can in about three days.

Speaking of cramming a lot into a short period of time, yesterday was the kickoff for a very important stretch of holidays in our family, Birthday Week. My favorite daughter Damaris (yes, my only daughter, but still....) turned 26 on Saturday. We had a jolly family dinner where Caro made a whole lot of jolly lasagna from a jolly family recipe. Due to a miscommunication caused by my brain fog, we also ended up with three cakes, but with birthday cakes, the more the merrier, right?

Tomorrow (Monday) is my birthday, and Caro's follows on the 21st. Favorite son-in-law Nigel's comes on the 27th. And November 1st is Michael Day, because that's when his adoption was finalized four years ago (You rock, Wendy!!).

As you can see, Birthday Week has thus in recent years become Party Fortnight. Or something like that--despite years of reading numerous Brit authors I am still rather shaky on exactly what a fortnight is or why it's called that. What, you spend a night at a fort and it feels like two weeks? What?

Just to give you an idea what types of people are born on October 18, here are some of the famous ones: Chuck Berry, Martina Navratilova, Pam Dawber (remember Mork and Mindy? [ObNonUS--a goofy 70s TV show where Robin Williams got his start]) and Jean-Claude Van Damme. People who know me in real life are nodding their heads as if they suspected as much all along.

Because it is the least lame topic I could come up with this week, I have given my past birthdays some serious thought. I think my most memorable one so far came in 1973, when I turned 20. I was in the hospital for that one, Cox Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri. Yes, I had just squeaked in under the wire to become a (married) teenaged mom. If I recall correctly, another first time mom in my room was 14....

My then-husband and I had created a little bit of a stir, because Lamaze and all other types of natural childbirth were brand new in that area of the country, and we were the first from the classes to come to Cox instead of St. John's. As labor progressed, every nurse on the floor dropped in to page through our mimeographed instruction booklet and goggle at me--awake, aware, and way too cheerful to be normal. (I discovered later in life that a higher than normal pain threshold, plus being double-jointed, had given me an unfair advantage in the childbirth department. Alas, a promising career as a surrogate mother cut short by being born a few decades too soon!)

All that happened on the 16th. Back then, hospitals didn't send you home 20 minutes after you popped out the kid, so I was still in-house on my birthday. To my thrilled astonishment, along with lunch on the 18th came a cute little pink birthday cake! It may have simply been standard hospital policy, but I believed it was something special just for me, and I can still picture it in my mind's eye as clearly as if I was about to cut a slice and enjoy it this minute.

Life's funny that way. Last week is already kind of a blur to me, but I have dozens of detailed mental images of that particular time and place. Damaris in her little bassinet with a glowing halo surrounding her. (Okay, that was the hormones talking, I know that now....) The utter bliss of suddenly being able to sleep on my stomach again. My crusty old doctor making a perfunctory call with post-natal instructions--I had a severe let-down because I thought he said no dishes for six weeks, when what he actually said was no douches.

Yep, I'll never forget the thrilling, once in a lifetime experience of having ol' what's her name.

Quote of the Week:

Making the decision to have a child is momentous -- it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. --Elizabeth Stone

(Thanks for having me, Mom!)

Need an attribution, a nifty opening line, or just a quote fix? There are some great links to quote sources on the NNNN web page!

"Quotes!" she cried!

Here is your 'Pic(k) of the Week' URL:

This week it's a site again, not a picture. From this page you can send a birthday greeting to strangers all over the world who have registered themselves--and of course, register your own birthday so people will send birthday email to you! I like to pop over to this site when I have a little spare time and just send off birthday notes to strangers who have neat names!

(Update: It was a neat site. Sadly, it is now closed.)