Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Jack Update -- thank You.

You wanna know something? You people are all good people.

No lie -- all y'all, I have gotten some of the most wonderful email messages these past couple days. I have gotten messages of comfort and reassurance, advice on soap to use on the dog bites, advice on state laws (according to two writers, we did nothing wrong. The dogs were leashed & collared. That's perfectly legal in the area we were in), advice on what to do for "physical therapy" for Jack.

I've gotten the "I have never been through this so I don't know what to say but I'm praying for you and hoping for the best" kinds of messages. I've gotten "we went through this when..." messages.

Folks, damn! You make me feel so much better about what has happened, and are a wonderful source of inspiration and love. Perfect strangers offering their hearts and support. I am overwhelmed and awestruck.

Thank you.

Each of you who've written me, and those of you who have not but are thinking of us -- thank you. Gah. What else can I say... thanks. Honest. I'm blown away.

The update is pretty much this -- since the incident on Sunday, Jack's spirits are high, he's walking but struggling.

His wounds are healing. Anyway... he's not falling nearly as much, and his will to try and run or play is back. Which to me is the best sign.

He's up to his old tricks in the form of chewing up plastic toys Geoff leaves around, so I've returned him to daytime kennel living. I come home at lunch and take them both out and get some fresh air, food and sun.

He is still pathetic and sad looking. Doesn't jump up when you walk into the kitchen, thinkin' it's treat time. Instead he stays on the couch, watching intently to see if a goody will be brought his way.

There's a lot of lovin' going his way. He's smothered in it. Geoff tucks him in with a blanket on the couch and cuddles with him. I tell him not to lounge on top of Jack, to restrict any pressure on him... but he can't resist sticking his head on Jack's back and hips and using him as a furry pillow. It's very cute and Jack seems not to mind.

Kinger is depressed.

He is used to Jack's antics, and wants to play tag and run and play. So he keeps "tagging" Jack and taking off, and when he gets on the other side of the dog pen or the yard, he turns to look and Jack's still standing by the deck. So he barks, hoping that'll egg Jack on.


He'll tag him one or two more times, Jack will try and run a bit, but we stop him because the vet doesn't want him doing anything overly strenuous, and this game is quite.

So the King has been mopey... I feel badly. Jack's spirits are fine, but Kinger's playmate is out of commission... poor thing. I had him swim in the creek yesterday and threw sticks for him, so he'd have a play mate, and he really enjoyed that. But I know he misses his partner in doggie crime.

I think Kinger also remembers what it was like when Missy was initially not here, he looked for her and he'd whine. Now he goes looking around for Jack and sees him, but you can see him registering "this one can't play right now" and he goes to sulk.

They're breaking my heart.

Gah, I'm so attached and love them so deeply. I didn't think I could feel this way again after Missy dog... but here I am, totally bowled over with this deep sense of love and compassion for these guys. "Who's Schmoopy?"

Anyway -- long term prognosis on Jackdog is good. But right now he looks like he's one of Jerry's Kids... without the braces and crutches. When he walks he flips his legs out kind of far in front of him just to make sure the paw places downward instead of on the back of his hand. And he concentrates on it... and eventually just flops down in the grass and sighs. But, he wags his tail when you tell him what a good job he's doing.

So that's pretty much it. Add to this the fact I started a new job, and my life is nothing but exciting, yo. My boss talked to the President of the company and asked him if I could bring Jack in to hang out at my desk so I'd feel more comfortable. Isn't that just the sweetest damn thing! I didn't ask her, she offered... she's pretty stellar. The President was reluctant and declined the request but gave me permission to go home and check on the dogs if I wanted, and not have it count against lunch or anything else. That's pretty kind too, but I declined. The boys are here together in house, and doing alright. I'm hopeful for the future.

Last night I was joking around with Aaron on the phone and told him I was going to rename Jack to "Lucky." Aaron thought that was funny and suggested some other names... like "Flipper" because he flipped out of the truck, and "Crunchy" because, well... he got crunched.

I laughed -- you know me, I'm all about the laughing when things are "just not appropriate." I'm flip that way. But I'm still sad about what happened.

Perhaps, as Bruce Springsteen says, "Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny." Funnier at least.

Last night Geoff was running around barefoot and he got a bigassed splinter in the Mariana Trench of the ball of his foot. It was horrible and he was in a world of pain. So I held him and Doug got it out as we watched Cledus T. Judd on CMT, hoping that would make for some funny. Ploughboy was the best. But I've seen "How do you milk a cow" too many times.

The whole time, Cledus T. is singing away, and Geoff is screaming like we're shoving hot pokers up his ass. It was kind of surreal.

He's begging us to stop. Everyone in town can hear him, and we're trying to be as loving and calming as possible.

Some of the funnier things he said in his begging phase were:

"Oh, why are you doing this to me! I beg you, please stop!"

"Oh no, not again. You'll kill me! I'm going to die! I can't breathe!"

"Mom, why are you letting dad do this to me. Oh please make him stop!"

And I'm trying not to laugh. He was such a drama queen. I told him so and he said "Oh, I am not, I'm a drama king!" Touche.

Doug got the splinter out, and it was a witchy horrible thing. Geoff was relieved and then ... it was like nothing ever happened. He went right back out.


Lesson? Learning? Hello?

I suppose I should make dinner. I should go love the dog. It's gorgeous out so I think I'll fire up the grill again and we'll have something on the barbie. MMMMMMMMM, Barbie. Gaaaaahahahahahhhhhhggggggh.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

When we ran our dog over with our big red truck

Here's the wrap up of this weekend:

Yesterday: Gloomy, rainy, fun in the end.
Today: Sunny, spectacular, completely shitty.


Yesterday we dealt with the bad weather and had fun. Decided that today the fun would be good weather and we'd take the dogs swimming and take a walk. It would be, as it always is, great fun!

Well, we intended to have fun. Honestly.

We packed up the truck and the kids and the dogs, and headed to the swimmin' hole. It was all fun.

Until Jack jumped out of the truck.

I saw it all happen out of the side view mirror up front. He and Kinger were standing there with the wind in their hair enjoying the moment, and the next minute he's up and over.

I yelled at Doug to stop the truck... Jack's collar slipped off from around his neck, and he hit pavement.

Doug stopped, and we could hear Jack howling. I jumped out and saw him under the rear passenger's side wheel, his front legs pinned but the rest of him visible and okay. Doug ran around the back, and looked too as I screamed that he needed to move the truck back a few inches. When he did, I reached down to help Jack.

He bit me.

That's okay. No problem buddy. Bite as hard as you want... I understand.

I looked him in the eye, and the abject terror he communicated to me, plus the shit and piss flying out from behind him, kept me focused and calm. He bit hard and held tightly, and I didn't pull back. Good thing I didn't, or I probably would have torn tendons in my fingers (He had three of my four fingers on my left hand between his teeth). I waited for him to howl again, and took my hand away. Doug was there by then, and pulled him out from under the truck and I clamped down on my hand with it's mate.

Doug hauled Jack up and into the cab. A passerby, some Linda Richmond yenta, dyed hair jogging-suit wearing, rocket-fucking-scientist stood there blathering "Riding your dogs back of your truck is against the law! There's a fine for that! I'm calling the cops! I'm memorizing your plate...(she starts walking away, shaking her finger at me) I'm calling the police! You're horrible people."

"Uh, thanks for your compassion, ma'am. Really. You're too kind. Memorize that plate, burn it into your soul. Enjoy it. God bless you. Thanks for your help. Have a great day."

That's what I actually said to her.

I should have told her my name, gave her my address and offered to clean the dog shit up off the road that he (Jack) sent flying in his fit of fear, seeing as leaving dog shit on the road is also "against the law."

I then could have walked up and shook her hand with all the blood gushing out of my fingers which would be covered with his feces, but she may have fainted and I could be facing assault charges.

I actually wanted to hit her. I am not sure what stopped me. Possibly the fact that we were ready to jet, and possibly the fact that my ongoing string of sarcastic retorts to her finger-waggingness had me somewhat entertained with myself, and I wanted to keep it up.

Call me Sarcasmo.

We rushed home, because our vet is closed on Sunday we needed to call the office and get the emergency vet on call info. I also had some wounds to tend to. I had an empty Dunkin' Donuts bag wrapped around my hand and was applying pressure to my fingers to stop the bleeding.

After waiting on hold for eternity with the answering service, we were told where our local 24 hr. emergency vet clinic was (I called first and told them we were en route) and we got him checked out.

We spent about 2.5 hours there, with a very pissed off and antsy Geoff saying over and over "When are we going to the pond so the dogs can swmi???!!!" He totally didn't understand or grasp the gravity of the situation, nor did he understand why we were there, even though he saw what happened and heard the cries of his puppy. Duh?

The vet was cool, she told us that she didn't think his leg was broken because he'd be communicating that to us. She told us he probably injured the nerves running down from his shoulder into his upper leg. She said the nerves should heal, as long as they aren't detatched or torn. If they are, he'll stop trying to use the leg as it isn't healing, and eventually the leg will atrophy and will have to be amputated.

We had her x-ray everything, just to be sure, and turns out indeed nothing was broken. They tended to his superficial scrapes and cuts on his legs, and gave us antibiotics for those. He's to have 2 adult asprins daily, and was able to walk out of the vet's office to the truck with very little problem. Her theory about the nerve damage seems to be true, and he is doing better already but that may be because of the pain med they gave him there. We'll see how he responds tomorrow to the asprin.

He keeps face-planting, over-compensating for his leg and then missing the step and wiping out. It's like a puppy drunk or something.

When we were at the clinic, he'd fall 1/2 the time he stepped. Now it seems to be one in every 10 steps. He took a big nap in the kennel when we got home and I think I'll kennel him tonight so he can be restricted in movement. I'm praying that it will all heal and be okay. He's so active and happy. I know he'll continue to be that way if he has to be a triped... I just would rather have all of his peds... know what I'm saying?

Geoff's in the livingroom praising Jack and telling him how relieved he is that he's okay... so that's nice to see Geoff does understand what happened today. He can be a bit of a wally sometimes.

Thicky McThick-Thickleston.

Anyway -- tomorrow I'll come home for lunch and check on him, take him out, give him meds, see how he's doing. He's so sweet and lovey... they loved him at the clinic. People would walk up to him and he'd just wag his moppy tail and look at them, and they'd melt. All the clinic workers said that about him.

I'm so relieved. But still kinda scared.

My hand hurts like hell, but I took Ibuprofen and I am praising God that the silly thing was able to bite me at all after what he went through. We didn't take me to the hospital. The wounds on my fingers are minor, and it feels more like I slammed my hand in a door than my dog bit me. That's the not pulling away thing... lucky for me.

And I had a tetnus (sp? it doesn't come up in my spell check) when Gonzo poked me in the eye in 2001, so I'm all set with that... no worries for me.

As for the woman who now will mutter my license plate in her sleep forever and ever, I honestly don't know what to say. I wish she'd been more helpful and supportive. I wish she'd asked if there was anything she could do instead of turning into someone I would like to run over with my truck.

If she called the cops, they haven't called here.


Will they mail us a citation?

Will they just tell her "Sorry Good Citizen, dropping a dime on someone is an acceptable thing to do but we didn't see them so we don't know if it's we can't fine them! But keep vigilant! Eyes ever open!"

Are we susceptible to a fine? What is the fine? What is the actual law?

I thought the law was that if the dogs were in the truck in the back and were restrained that it was alright.

But ignorance of the actual rule of law doesn't exempt me from it. If we did do something wrong, I'm okay with it if we get fined.

I'm okay with it, no matter what the fine, because my dog's alive.

And even if we didn't break any laws, yes, we should have known better and should just get the cap on the truck. We were waiting until I made some more money, but man alive -- we're getting a cap and getting it fast.

I learned a valuable lesson today. One that makes me sick to my stomach that it happened at all. One that makes me give thanks and praise that it all worked out so far the way it has.

In other non-dog related news, the picture of Geoff as a Malfoy and his before/after pics were a great big hit with the world. I got some funny assed email about them. He does look American History X with short hair. That's why I like to grow it out as long as I can. Hippie kid with soft blonde beard in the future, instead of skinhead with no shirt on stomping on people.

He may be part of a conservative family, but we're not THAT conservative. No way, no how.

My hand is starting to hurt and cramp. I am gonna give it a rest and get off of here.

Thanks for reading -- and please don't send me email about how I suck for what happened to my dog. You think I'm not feeling shitty about it as is?

As Jackson Browne once sang:

"Don't confront me with my failures, I've not forgotten them."

And I won't forget this one too soon. Trust me. Your salt isn't needed in my wound. Unless the yenta lady is your mom. In which case, go sit with her, have cawffee and tawk. Discuss me amongst yourselves. m'kay?

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Geoff Malfoy

Each spring I get it into my head that Geoff needs a haircut badly, and we end up putting it off and putting it off, until we finally do get it done. Usually in June, but he was getting far too many comments from people (including total ranks on his head by friends of mine) so I figured today'd be the best day to just get it done.

We do it at home, and I've posted several before and after pictures here, but today was the best. He doesn't behave well at the hair cutters, I've only taken him once or doing it at home where he can cry and fight and freak out and it not be a total embarrassment to me is the easiest thing to do.

Once, we cut his hair and he had to be all of three. He cried and fought and tried like hell to get away. And after Doug was finished, he stood there crying and through the sobs and tears said "Thank you Daddy, I like my haircut." And continued crying.

This time, I suggested to him that we go in the bathroom to cut his hair and he was all for it. I got the scissors out, thinking I'd cut a bunch of the really long stuff off and make it easy for Doug when he came at him with the clippers, plus, if his hair was totally butchered by me then we would have to complete the job today... that's the way I was thinkin', ya know?

He was obedient and willing, and liked looking at himself as I hacked handfuls of hair off his head. I held up his hair between my fingers on the top and sides of his skull, and just snipped away while he flinched and laughed and praised me for what a good job I was doing. He looked like a blind woman was cutting his hair...

Doug then came in and gave him a true mullet. We were laughing like freaks, and trying to get the rest of the job done while Geoff was yelling WOOOO HOOOO! and watching his reflection in the mirror.

Doug said "You look like Joe Dirt!"

Geoff said, "Yeah! I do! I look like Joe Dirt! Who's Joe Dirt?"

And we laughed. All business in the front and party in the rear -- that was our Geoff for all of three minutes. Doug then proceeded to shear him like a sheep, holding his head, with me holding his hands, and he began to fight with us and tried to get away.

Then, Geoff started getting mad saying, "Stop! I want my hair back! I don't want my hair cut!!! I want it back!!!" It was so short, and he was freaking out.

We assured him that his hair would grow back, but he didn't like hearing that... and he kept trying to get away. Then he was all itchy from the hair on his shirt... and he started to freak because of that. We didn't have much time left, so Doug made short work of finishing the short hair. Whew!

It was difficult, but we got it done.

Without further ado, I give you The Way Out Inn solution to the "What shall we do with our time on a gloomy, rainy day?" problem:

Before, he looked like a nice, normal, slightly long-haired and younger version of his daddy. Afterwards, like a menacing skinhead ready to burn your house down, run over you with a motorcycle and then piss on your grave after you're dead-n-buried!!!!

He told me he was making that face because he wanted all his hair back and he was mad.

I liked his long hair. Each time we cut it I regret it immediately. But, he looks good, and clean, and healthy, and well cared for instead of ... feral.

Doug laughed at his sinister expression in the "after" picture, and said he looked an awful lot like Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.

Case in point, here's the original actor, Tom Felton, as he readies to hit the Quiddich field with his team. We put the comparison to the test.

Now, here's our Geoffrey, a slightly more menacing Malfoy. But could be his younger brother, don't you think?

"HA! Harry Freakin' Potter!
You and your mudblood friends will not
get away with destroying our school! Think you're such a hot shot wizard, but you're nothing! Nothing I say!
I'll get you... mark my words, I'll get you, Harry Potter!"

The more I look at that, the more he looks like a soccer, erm, football hooligan. So I went on tour around the web for some pictures, didn't come up with many but did find this one:

It doesn't quite work, but I did think it was sorta funny. I wanted pictures of Mike Meyers from SNL when he does his soccer hooligan sketch, but didn't find any. And like I really want to waste my WHOLE afternoon

Sigh. All I want to do is have fun with photoshop and stick my kid's baldassed head on some crazy pictures, and my kids are fighting like wet caged weasels.

Seems to me by what I can hear of Jessica's complete screeching, that he took one of her eighty-five billion gel pens, so she's pinned him down on his bed and is screaming in his face "Where's my gel pen!!!"

The gel pen is on the living room floor, where he threw it after she started chasing him down. She ran right past it. And she has a cache of these damn things, like she'll miss one! Oy.

Perhaps she's the soccer hooligan.

I ought to go break this up. There. Much better. I need to go play with Geoff and keep him out of trouble. He's not good unattended like this right now.

The hair cut did give us some fun though today. I wish it weren't so darned crummy out. Sigh. Ah well. I hope you also enjoyed the pictures.

Friday, April 25, 2003



Holes was a very good movie.

After seeing "The Royal Tenenbaums" and struggling as to whether or not I'm missing something (I spent most of my day yesterday thinking about that movie. I suppose that's what Wes Anderson wanted me to do - right?), I must say "Holes" didn't leave me pondering, struggling or worrying if I'm stupid or not. And that is not a bad thing at all. In fact -- it's damn good.

Based on the best-selling and award-winning book (1998 Newbury Award) of the same name by author Louis Sachar, the movie takes very few liberties from the story in print, which is something I admire very much when I see a movie made out of a book. Possibly the reason behind this is Mr. Sachar wrote the screenplay, and added very little to the end to fluff up the "what happens after" element which he left out of the book.

The story concerns a boy named Stanley Yelnats, note the name is a palindrome. Stanley Yelnats the fourth to be exact. He accidentally (or possibly intentionally due to a family curse) ends up arrested for stealing shoes from a charity auction. After being found guilty of stealing these shoes, he's given a choice -- prison or Camp Green Lake.

He's never been to camp after all.

Camp Green Lake turns out to not be very green nor does it have a lake. The boys are "sentenced" to build character by digging a hole a day, five feet deep and five feet wide. They are told that this builds character.

Stanley is facing 18 months of hole digging. And his tent mates don't intend on making his life a cake walk.

The adventure starts there.

All told, it's an insidiously wicked story of a child penal camp, an insane "warden" and her equally insane staff, and a back story of what happens when you don't do what a crazed gypsy (Eartha Kitt plays her) tells you to do.

There is also a deeper story of unrequited interracial love, which is the reason why Green Lake is neither green nor has a lake...

Curses leveled about people's heads left and right, and poor Stanley is stuck in the middle of it all, the poor damn kid. His choices are to accept his fate or fight it and do something different. Which would you choose to do?

There is a laundry list of well known actors in this movie (Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Eartha Kitt, Henry Winkler, Patricia Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson, and a great cameo by basketball legend Rick Fox), but the stars of the movie are Stanley, aka "Caveman" and Hector, AKA "Zero," pictured here left to right. Stanley is played by Shia LeBouef, and you are about to see this kid all over the damn place as three movies come out this summer with him figuring very key in the castings. And Zero is played wonderfully by the painfully adorable and lovable Khleo Thomas, who happens to be an Anchorage AK native. They make an unlikely team, a boy with a loving family who shouldn't be there at all and a homeless parentless street urchin who got arrested trying to steal shoes at a Pay-less.

Their lives come together for a very strange reason, an uncanny reason. I won't give it away, but suffice to say they do a very good job of weaving together the three story lines Louis Sachar writes in his book, and I think that this movie was incredibly good for a lot of the right reasons, even if the Hollywood happy ending was a tad over the top.

I love when movies hold exactly true to the book, and this movie did just that. I enjoyed the book greatly -- read it in about 2 hours one night a week or so ago, and think that as a storyteller, Louis Sachar has the gift.

The soundtrack is very good too -- with music from Moby, Shaggy, Eels, Dr. John, Eagle Eye Cherry, North Mississippi All Stars, Fiction Plane, and the boys in the cast (D-Tent Boys) among others, it's got rap and blues and techno and spirituals -- all in a way that makes sense. Great soundtrack.

See this movie no matter what your age.

You won't be wondering what the message or meaning are. You'll enjoy it. Or you can hate my guts for eternity for recommending it.

Today I took baby Ben and Geoff for a nice long walk while babysitting. The weather has been, to say the least, miserable this week. Today was glorious and close to the ocean it was still a tad chilly. We played at the neighborhood park, and walked all up and down the little neighborhood streets. We said hi to people we didn't even know, and ladies cooed at Ben and looked at Geoff who easily played the "big brother" role and wondered where I adopted the baby from.

It was cute.

Ben loves to be out and about, so the walk did us all good. He was cranky just hanging round the house and to be honest, so was I. He took a 2 hour nap today and Geoff and I played Nintendo for 2 straight hours. I suck at any and all of the "Legend of Zelda" games. But Mario Party 4 was cool.

And Dan has Dr. Mario on his old school Nintendo 64 so I got some of that down while Geoff played games at Cartoon Network's website.

All told it was a good day.

Doug took the dogs swimming and Jessie spent the day with a friend. It's well past my bedtime now, so I ought to go slink off in there and get some sleep.

Guess that's the muppet update for tonight. Have a good weekend and try and take in Holes if you're going to the movies, m'kay? And do let me know your opinion.

Gotta go. The couch and cuddling with Jessie beckons me.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Voof! I'm Tired!

Having to go to work in the morning sucks.

Just thought I'd let you know that. After months of just kind of rolling out of bed in the morning, I find myself HAVING to like... get READY and stuff.

And I have to dress well for my job, which means that I have to like... PLAN and dry my hair instead of letting it just dry on the way to work.

Very not me.


I like my job so far. I have had some good laughs with the people I'm working with. They're all really nice. I impressed them by being able to lift up the Poland Springs water bottle and place it in the base without sloshing water all over or throwing my back out.

So getting up and planning may suck, but having a job and it being okay and close to home is extra super special so I'm liking that a lot. Life is balance -- the yin and yang of what I need to be happening at this point in time all is coming into even balance. So it's nice.

I had today off (and my usual gig for tomorrow) so I could watch Baby Ben. He's got a cold, which means Geoff and I will get it... for certain. And he was a crankpot on wheels for most of the afternoon. Which wore me out. I forgot how tiring a screaming 6 month old can be. Drains the life's blood from your marrow.

The ride home was long and tiring. The sun was in my eyes. I need a nap.

So the other night after we had our Fancy Fondue Party™, we watched The Royal Tenebaums.

I don't know what to say about it. But you know me. I'm going to talk on and on about it even if I don't quite have my head wrapped around it. Writing this may help me sort some things out. And, of course, I know that loyal readers who love this movie (Amy... you especially) will write me back and tell me what you think of it.

I'm not sure if the movie is a simple tale about family and attempts at self-redemption, or if there is some way huge deeper meaning.

Each of the characters were intriguing on their own, and the premise of the movie really hooked me in... but for some reason when they all got put together I felt there was just too much standing around not saying anything because ... well, they were too fucked up as a family unit to be able to say anything. Especially between Margot and Ritchie (what can you say when you're madly in love with your sibling -- well, adopted sibling).

There was a lot of standing there and looking around. Perhaps that is the Texan in Anderson. They should have just held a beer and said "Yup." and left it at that.

I felt I missed something here.

But, that being said -- I love Wes Anderson's movies. I love the camera angles, the colors, the quality of film with which each scene is shot. The use of comedy in scenes that just should not be funny has become a Wes Anderson trademark.

I liked watching this movie, even if I didn't GET it. Rotten Tomatoes has a huge listing of reviews, perhaps I'll read them all. Some are glowing with praise, some seem to say "Meh" more strongly than I.

I loved Ben Stiller's performance. I loved how his son Ari was "Oliver Beene," that cracked my shit up. I loved the young Margot, her dark eyes and blonde hair, her haunted sullen look. I think that summed up how I felt when I was 15, but I didn't look the role. And my father didn't walk around making sure to introduce me as his "adopted" daughter all the damn time.

Gene Hackman pulled off the supreme asshole father role in Royal perfectly, his best line to his grandsons was "Let's shag ass" when it was time to split from someplace. I love that and plan to use it often in dialogue with friends.

And I loved Pagoda (mind you, he also was in "Bottle Rocket," as the supremely awesome failed safecracker who loses his touch, and "Rushmore" as Mr. Littlejeans).

The one thing I did get was Ritchie's attempted suicide. I thought how it was filmed, the music used, the shaving of the hair, the beard -- the saying "I'm going to kill myself tomorrow" but he does it right that second anyway -- all this was so incredible, so scary and so touching to watch. The use of the music over the other people's reactions (Dudley coming into the bathroom and screaming -- only you hear no sound)... these were all my absolute favorite things about this movie. And how scary is it that it's the nadir of his life, the pit, the end (almost) that I find so moving and so beautiful. I thought that was so well done, and I was sucked in and engrossed.

(By the way, Tess, seeing as we've been on this ongoing musician swapping thing, if you don't already know who Elliott Smith is, you need to look into him. His song "Needle in the Hay" was the background music for this part of the movie, and he had a minor radio hit in this area with his "Waltz #2" about 5 years ago. He's got a very interesting lyric quality, and very stripped down production... piano, drums, guitar... pretty much it with his voice and that's all you need).

If you have a big dissertation about the meaning of the movie, oh do feel free to send it to me. I'd love to read it.

I am afraid of what the future holds for Wes Anderson though. His first movie, Bottle Rocket, is my favorite of the three he's done. Rushmore is next. Then ... this one. He's got another movie which is in preproduction, and is set to film in the fall of this year, so I'm hoping it will not fall short of even this latest. I would hate to say "Gee, his movies just get ... less good as he gets more and more famous." That's usually what happens though. Hmmm.

In other news, Doug suggested to Jessica that I take her to see the movie "Holes" this evening. And because she's been good and is SO damn gung-ho for it, we're going to go. I hope I don't fall asleep in the middle of it.

She read the book, right before the movie came out. So she has been stoked like a bonfire to go see this. I got the book from her and read it in one sitting (thus impressing her beyond belief).

It is an interesting story, but like Ty Burr of the Boston Globe, I'm worried going into it how they're going to pull off the 3 concurrent story lines that take place in three different decades. I'd better go have a cup of coffee. I will, of course, tell you what I think of it.

Anyway -- I should get to hanging with my family until we leave for le cinema. And my pinkie hurts. I think I'm getting arthritis in it, or I've been at a keyboard too long and need some physical therapy!

More baby Ben adventures tomorrow. Hopefully it will be nice and we can get the backpack out and go for a nice walk.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

First Day, Great Day... Fondue!

Such an exciting day! Aaron and Michelle are here, I started my new job, we used the fondue pot. I'm not even sure WHERE to begin discussing the excitement here.

Seeing as many of you asked -- job. I started my job, and because my kids are on vacation I was able to show up early. My new boss wasn't quite expecting me, but she scooped me up and took me on tour.

I met everyone -- I remember none of their names. I'm a loser.

Everyone there is really nice, and the entire office and shop have the same feel I got when I worked at the company in Marblehead I was at so long ago. A manufacturing facility environment has a certain type of people working in the administrative end, from HR to sales. And I really like them. My sister could probably attest to this fact. All told, it was a great first day and then I had to go pee in a cup for my drug test (y'all know there's no fear there -- especially seeing as I gave up poppy seed bagels just for safety sake!) and came home to house of insanity.

Geoff was wound up like a toy car and spinning in circles, Aaron has that sort of sway on his little being. We (Aaron & I) went to the market to get fondue stuff. Cheese mostly. Doug had purchased a fondue pot at a K-mart going out of business sale (I think I blathered about this) and we all (except Doug) consider fondue Fancy.

So we made Fancy Dinner, with a ham that Aaron & Michelle got from his parents (nice), wonderful bread, steamed broccoli and sautéed mushrooms. We ate our Fancy meal and did enjoy it ever so.

On an episode of "Spongebob Squarepants," Patrick gives Spongebob a lesson on "putting on airs" to be fancy. You have to hold your pinky up. The higher you hold your pinky, the fancier you are. That's what putting on airs is all about.


Here is all the family putting on fancy airs at our fondue pot. Check out the upheld extended pinky action.

Geoff was so fancy he put all his fingers up.

Jessica's especially got the fancy thing down.

So all told, between starting the new job and enjoying myself, to coming home to a house full of fun, and fanciness, it's been a great day.

Geoff just went to bed (finally calmed down after an entire afternoon of whirling dervishly) and I'm ready to settle into the sectional with many dogs and people. I'm feeling very happy to be working again, and I feel like this will be a good job to have. Not the most challenging, but one that I know I will be a good "servant" in.

From here I can hear my family and friends are watching "Keeping Up Appearances" and making a drinking game out of the show. You have to drink whenever Hyacinth says "It's Bouquet!" for the pronunciation of her last name (it's spelled Bucket, you know... but she pronounces it Bouquet) or she says "Oh Richard!" about something. Or, if Emmet the neighbor jumps over the fence to avoid contact with our Hyacinth.

Perhaps we'll watch a movie. We've got "The Royal Tennenbaums," which I still haven't seen, even though I adore Ben Stiller and the Wilson Brothers (you all know I've got that love thing for Owen's nose...). Knowing my adoration for Wes Anderson movies like the fantastic "Bottle Rocket," I'm sure I'll love it.

Take care -- more later

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Jesus Christ is Risen Today....


I always think of Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean in church when we sing that hymn. He only knows the "Hallelujah" part and mutters through the verses where they're singing phrases, just to get to the "Hallelujah" and belt it out with a big confident smile on his face.


Anyway. Happy Easter to those observing. Doug is making spaghetti for lunch, and we're out of our "itchy church pants" as Homer would say. The Easter service today was very nice. Everyone was there, even us lay-a-beds who stay home more often than not. There was good cake and a great Easter egg hunt afterwards.

Now the rest of the day will be filled with lazing about, or possibly a geocache, but for now the kids are watching Harry Potter II and I've got the PC to myself while my husband makes the meal. Life is good y'all.

Last night my friend C came over with shoes from her sister, who is cleaning house and pitching stuff. A lot of the shoes are the right size but a tad too narrow for my British Royal Navy Gunboats. I'm not sure what I can use but Jessica laid claim to a pair. Check our girl out with her Easter Egg Green toes and her phat new kicks:

Great Googly Moogly. The child is 10 years old. She is 5' 4" tall. She's wearing these big ole shoes and now is officially as tall as her dad when she's on her risers. I told her to make sure she ducks when going through doorways so as not to bash her forehead in. My saints.

She was really cute today in her dress and fancy assed shoes. Everyone came up to her and said "Wow! look how tall you are!" Her reply was "I'm cheating," and she'd stick a foot out to the side to show off her feetsies. It was pretty funny. She had everyone convinced that between Christmas of this past year and today she'd grown 11 inches.

Here are some more Easter pictures for your enjoyment...

The bunny made her delivery, and the kids did find the bounty where it was hidden.
Let the wild rumps begin! Geoff is off to the races in this year's hunt.
Oooooooh, precious candy and gooodies!
Geoff got some cool stickers, tattoos, and a nice wooden cross, which he poses with here.
My kids are so cute. Geoff couldn't be more goofy, and Jessica, well, she looks too damn much like me for me to even deal with it. Creepy.

Churchy people are sometimes... rather judgmental.

For instance, I suspected that a few of the ladies would raise an eyebrow that my son had on a black button down Polo dress shirt with no tie, olive dress pants, and sneakers.

But I don't give a crap. He stepped in dogshit the other day with his nice Timberland hiking shoes, and I don't have a tie for him. So shut up. He's in church giving thanks and praise. And isn't that the point?

My daughter? Green toes? Shut up. She's happy, she's having a good time, and she's comfortable. Praise God and do let's put the wrinkle out of the side of our nostril, shall we?

There was a woman sitting behind me, and don't get me wrong, I like her. She's really kind and very sweet, but she just makes these little snide comments to her husband all the time. Normally she attends the early service, but this Easter they decided to combine the 8am and 10am services so as to guarantee a full house and have a nice fully rounded Easter egg hunt for the kids. So she's sitting there, talking to the husband, and our good friends who live across the street come in, 10 minutes late.

Mind you, they live across the street, and they are 10 minutes late.


"Oh my," she whispers to hubbie, "Look at that. They live across the street and they STILL can't get here on time! I don't know how they do it..."

Uh, so what.

They're here.

God doesn't care if they're 45 minutes late. They came. They are here. Praise God for the fellowship of friends and believers, and be just as happy as He is that these folks are here, and read the Psalm already.

I almost said something to her... but, I probably won't see her again until Christmas, and why rankle? Right? Why just be a bitch.

And me even mentioning this in here is... pretty much the same thing as her snide comments, isn't it? Hang on, let me remove the plank from my eye before complaining about the speck in someone else's.


5:15 pm

Relinquished the PC for someone to watch a DVD, watched Harry Potter II myself (enjoyed it, hated the spiders, still skeeved out) and took a nap.

Aaron and Michelle spent the night with us on Friday on their way to Connecticut. They'll be coming back here to do some more hanging out and having fun on Wednesday. Aaron's family lives about 2 hours south of here in Connecticut, so we make a good stop on the way. I guess that Aaron's dad is having some major surgery next Friday. He's having a steel rod inserted in his back to hold his spine up. So keep him in your prayers. A offered to come back down and stay for a while after his dad is out of surgery just to help out around the house, but it sounds like his folks are not committing to the idea. It must be scary to have that kind of surgery, it's pretty invasive. And it must be scary to have a friend or family member go through it. Meh!

We had a really fun time hanging out on Friday night, and it was a bummer to see them leave. I look forward to them returning already, and Geoff keeps asking "how many days???" until their return.

Yesterday we went down to see Gammy and my mom on the Cape. It takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to get there. It was nice to see them both, Gammy is in a great deal of pain, and my mom is ready to go home. She leaves Monday to go back... and I believe my aunt Carole is going to replace her in the hanging out and taking care of process.

I took my mom and Geoff out on a walk, Geoff was being a complete pill. Doug took a nap and I felt kind of abandoned. Gammy just wanted to watch TV, the novelty of having guests seemed to have worn off, and Jessica was working on a puzzle that my mom and aunt Bea started. It was a beautiful day, and we had a lovely walk... but just when I felt we were getting into it and started I could tell my mom was too cold and Geoff was not getting worn out enough but sort of jacked up by being out in the world, so we headed back to finish the visit and get going.

On the way down we got to enjoy the new traffic patterns in Boston, both South and North bound. The South bound traffic through the city now crosses over to the North bound side of I-93, so the South bound artery can be removed. The North bound highway has been "suppressed" underground, which is the plan ultimately that the Big Dig is trying to accomplish.

So we got to ride up through the new Liberty Tunnel in Boston, and I have to admit -- it was a let down.

I am not impressed with spending all my time underground.

I missed seeing the buildings, the lights, the sky, the scenery, Boston Harbor, and all the cultural, historical and industrial landmarks therein. I was very sad by the time we came up on the other side, and crossed over the Zakim Bridge. I thought my first time across the Zakim Bridge in Boston was going to be... joyous. I was mad.

I still am.

I think the project was essential. I think that the traffic in the city of Boston is astronomically horrendous, and that something had to be done.


putting all the cars underground with only a couple exits to get out to the local surface roads... what a buzz kill if you are interested in looking at more than bricks and concrete, which, by the way, will all be filthy with exhaust haze in just a few months.


one bad accident in the tunnel or at the foot of the bridge as traffic comes up and out and you know that whole four lanes of traffic is going to grind to a halt, with naught but two or three opportunities for people to bail and get out of the tunnel, which will of course flustercluck everything on the surface roads everywhere.

What they should have done is this --

Build the tunnels under the city for the "express" drivers who don't give a shit about looking at stuff and just want to get north of the city.

Design an equally impressive above ground alternative to replace the central artery for the "local" traffic.

Or, vice versa -- put the express above ground, and the local stuff below. Whatever.

Now we'll have a park named after a Kennedy, and that will be pretty I'm sure but... I'm still not impressed. I'm disappointed.

The only thing I see as a total benefit of this is the fact that the North End and the rest of the city will be reunited geographically. On foot, I'm never interested in crossing over from Fanieul Hall area to the North End or the Aquarium. The highway serves as some sort of mental barrier to me. And not just a mental barrier, it's an unsafe thoroughfare down all through there to try and go anyplace.

Now there will be a park and a safe way to get around. I'm looking forward to that. So there is a silver lining to my whiney cloud.

And Tess, when you come to Boston you can let me know what you think because I'll drive you all through it and show you what the Big Deal about the Big Dig is.

But, the great thing was that we were home in almost exactly 2 hours. Now if traffic on Rte 3 south to the Cape could be somewhat... adjusted..

Friday, April 18, 2003

phonecall from my new boss

Got a phone call today while babysitting Mr. Baby Ben. From my new boss.

Yeah! My new Boss!

"Get OUT!" you say. "No WAY!" you yell.

And I respond, "Way!"

I start Tuesday, seeing as Monday is a holiday for many people in the state of Massachusetts (Patriot's Day). I have to go take a drug test on Tuesday afternoon, after I spend some time at work, and it should be all cool. As long as I don't eat any poppy seed bagels. I'll work Wednesday, and I promised to watch Baby Ben on Thursday in addition to my regular Friday, so those two days will be my intro to the fire of my new job.

At last, my long stretch of underemployednessness comes to a close. I'm not full-time employed, but at 28 hours a week, plus whatever I do for cateringman, I should make some okay money this summer. A long time ago I said that I realized I will probably not make the money I made at my last real job... but at least I'm closer to fine. Whew.

And, I told my boss I wanted to keep watching Baby Ben on Fridays and asked if that fit into her idea of the schedule -- meaning that I'd fit my 28 hours in Monday thru Thursday, and she was so hip to that.


Today both of my kids came down with me to babysit. We played UNO with Peg, Dan and Ben (Brian is on vacation) and my son did all kinds of great embarrassing things like belching at the table and asking Dan if the cell phone and beeper attached to his belt on his hip were his "Fart Phone."

Ben and Dan got a real kick out of him, and just kept feeding him inappropriate responses while I cringed and said "Hey buddy, that's not a nice question, and YOU should know better Dan than to answer that way" all while trying not to laugh my ass off.

Jessica was good with the baby but was afraid of him. If he cried and she couldn't figure out what was wrong she would look at me rather sheepishly and shrug. They all played really well together, and it was nice to have her extra set of hands there with me when I needed them. She figured out how to switch from the DVD player back to the tv so we didn't have to watch the three Sesame Street DVDs over and over and over all day, and, she also figured out some cool things with the remote that I didn't know.

Smartypants kid.

Dan's wife gave me flowers (she owns a flower shop in Boston) so I have a gorgeous little flower bouquet of lilies and roses and snapdragons on the table. Huzzah! They smell deadly, and I am swimming in their scent.

So nice.

This morning our phone rang at 7am. It never does that. I thought for a minute that it might be Geoff's school asking me to sub, but... it being Good Friday and me knowing they're closed for the day, I quickly realized that whatever message would be left would not be from the director there.

I got up and couldn't find the phone. I hate when we leave it off the base at night -- the battery dies and then we're discombobulated trying to find it in sleepy stupor.

It was Aaron -- and he thought he was catching us all as we were heading out the door to go on our way to school and work.

Uh... no? Holiday for Doug and the kids?

Really... Aaron was surprised because in Maine they didn't have the day off. He was uber apologetic and laughed... "Did I wake you up?"

Uh... yeah but I had to get up in 10 minutes anyway to get ready to go out.

He was calling to see if they could spend the night here instead of driving all the way to his parents' in one fell swoop. Michelle couldn't get the day off of work, so they wouldn't be getting to his folks until incredibly late. We're still 3 hours north of where they are, so we're a good way station along the line. Always up for their visits, I agreed.

One thing I am noticing though is my incredible disdain for Emily on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge.

I hate her.

I liked her the last time she was in the competition, when Timmy Beggy was her partner and they did pretty well. But she is such a bitch.

Anyone else watching this show or am I the only 36 year old dorkus malorkus out there into it?

Anyway -- I'd have to smack her if I met her in person.

Doug had the house to himself while the kids and I were out, and he cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.

I should get out there and give a wicked scrub down of the living room and vacuum all the massive tons of dog hair under the coffee table and fishtank. Do everything I should have done between last weekend and this week. I'm such the procrastinator.

We have to figure out what to do for dinner. I so need a cup of tea or something to give me a wakey wakey boost so I can do all those things.

So I'm off to be productive. Sorry I'm not more interesting than this. I'll leave you with the fact Geoff just got yelled at for dancing in the kitchen -- with a knife.

Oh my wonderful life.

Have a good weekend, if you're reading this. Be sure to go to an Easter service wherever you are if you are of the faith... you can get up in the morning and put on a clean dress or shave and put on a tie. Jesus rose from the dead for cryin' out loud. You get up and get out there.

And, if you don't... at least get up and enjoy spring, wouldya? Take a nice walk. Have some fun. Be good.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Clayton and Coldplay...

I'm not a big Coldplay fan. I sort of like their songs, but for the most part I'm not drawn in by Chris Martin's "presence."

But their new song is stuck in my head.

"Nobody said it was easy..."

I hear his voice sing high and false, I hear the piano. I think to myself, Coldplay is one of the Bands that CAL and I would argue about. A lot. And here we sit, approaching his jahrzeit, and all I can do is think of him.

There isn't a song on the radio lately (oh, he SO would have loved all that the RHCP and Audioslave are putting out) that isn't speaking to me of him.

And I just heard that our Bruce Cockburn, the man I quoted in his funeral program, will be in the River music hall on April 22nd, live.

The day after the anniversary of his death.

I am sending an email to the station, and I am going to beg them to let me be in-studio. I want to sit there and feel and hear Bruce Cockburn as he sings and plays guitar, the way that CAL would have loved. Or, if they won't let me in, I'll explain why he has to play "Joy will find a way" and dedicate it to CAL.

If CAL were alive, the two of us would be angling for how we would be able to go see him live, or, we'd listen together and jump up and down like retarded little girls. We'd hold hands, glue our faces to the radio as they interview him, and then jump up and down and sing along while he played.

I can see us. And it fucking breaks my heart.

Being there, or at least listening. It's the least I can do to mark the anniversary of his passing.

"Make me a bed of fond memories
Make me to lie down with a smile
Everything that rises afterward falls;
And all that die have first to live.
As morning becomes night,
As night turns to day...
Everything changes

joy will find a way
joy will find a way"

I hear the song, and I know it's true. Joy will find a way.

I can't believe it has ONLY been a year since one of the worst things ever happened. I can't believe this last year has been filled with daily tear-shedding events. I can't believe he's really gone.

"Nobody said it was easy..."

Fucking Heroin. Goddamn mother fucking shit. Fuck fuck fuck.

I miss him so.

I had a really great day today. And while the minutes tick past and I think of CAL at just about every beat of my pulse, I also realize that I've got a wonderful life, even if it isn't 100% what I want it to be. (I typed wan tit just then, because I type too damn fast. hee hee).

This morning I dumped Geoff at school and went to hang with Cateringman's Business Partner. Sam. He's really funny, and when I met him a year ago he scared the shit out of me -- I was petrified of him. He is Italian and loud and demanding, but he's also wicked funny and smart and respectful.

Once I got to know him I really got comfortable with him, and offered to do their website, and really blew him away with my abilities and my skill. I've got mad skill, according to Sam.

He bought a new computer a while back, and has this old piece of crap computer. He wanted to get all the old files off the old PC, and onto the new one, but MS Word doesn't recognize the file type of the software he has on the old PC. So we're converting 7 years worth of old files to .rtf format, so MS Word can read it, and we can make .doc files out of them.

"Nobody said it was easy..."

We've spent several hours converting old files, opening them in word, putting them into the new format (I designed letterhead for him, which he uses ALL the damn time, and it matches his website. Hot Mad Skill.)

And he pays me 22 bucks an hour to help him do this, twice what I get paid for food prep. Hot fucking damn.

Then, after I was done with Sam, I went back to Geoff's school where I substituted for Geoff's old teacher, the 4 year old Pre-K room. We had crazy fun, and the kids worship me. And I feel like I could work with these kids all day every day, but she's their teacher and I'm not.

They love me though. Heh. Heh. Heh. And God if I don't love them. I so do. I would so love to be their all the time teacher. I love these kids, and they lift my heart and keep me from crying when I feel I just might.

There's no school for Geoff, or for Doug and Jessica tomorrow, but I'm with my boy, Baby Ben. Tomorrow would be Good Friday, and when you don't feel like getting out of bed -- just realized that Christ rose from the dead, so hell - you can get up and make some friggin' coffee, man.

Doug's already in Vacation Mode, and is maxin' and relaxin' on the couch. All of them have next week off, which means lots of hiking, geocaching, and outdoornessness for us. Aaron & Michelle MAY come see us towards the end of the week,

I hear Doug laughing. Watchin' Jamie Kennedy Experience. I think I may join him now. Enjoying a couple beers and all set to enjoy the week upcoming with the fan damily. I hope that you are all doing well -- wherever you are. Whatever your circumstances.

"Nobody said it was easy..."

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Secure your pennies on your eyes cause I'm the Taxman....

Aaah yes. The old Beatles Standard. Tax Man. Today is the day. Doug started the taxes on Saturday and spent the better part of the day working on them. Sunday we took our day of rest break and went and had fun -- but after a brief nap and the Simpsons last night he went back at it and finished up the job.

I thought we'd owe about $12,000. I was having anxiety attacks. All told, we owe a lot less than that, but still a significant amount that we just don't have.

If I'd managed to get a good job right after or around Christmas, there'd be a ton of money in the bank. Now I'm basically waiting patiently to hear on the most recent job prospects, and hoping that something comes up. So we'll see what happens. We've got a mountain of debt now, when we only had a small hill. A manageable hill. This new debt is friggin' Mount Shasta and it's about to turn into Mount Hood.

I got an email a few minutes ago from a friend wondering where I was today. I guess it is to be expected pretty much that by noon there's an entry from me somewhere, either here or at journalspace. But today I chaperoned a field trip for my son's school. We went to the Merrimack Valley Christian Film Festival, which is held every Easter season, between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. All the movies are free, and each year Geoff's school takes all the three year olds and upwards in age to go see a kid's movie.

This year they showed a double feature of "Larry Boy: 'Leggo My Ego,'" from the Veggie Tales collection, and a short animated film called "The Legend of the Three Trees."

The Veggie Tales are some of my favorite kid-related Christian works. They are smart, very funny, and very truthful to the concepts they are trying to get at without being schmaltzy and manipulative the way so many Christian programs can be.

I was disappointed in this movie.

Not because it wasn't good -- the overall message was good and it was funny, it just wasn't... Big Idea worthy. It wasn't computer animated the way the bulk of Veggie Tales productions are, it was flat screen "old fashioned" animation, and the characters were ... lacking dimension. If I don't get to ever see it again, I'll be okay. The kids liked it, and they got the overall message, which is that if you tear others down to make yourself look bigger and better, you're doing the wrong thing. To feel super, and be a super hero, you must encourage others and not make them feel small. Then, my friend... you'll be exalted.

Best part of this 2-D animation series they're putting out is Larry's super hero mentor. His name is Bok Choy, and he is, of course, like a Kung Fu master. Very wise, very grounded, very veggie. Very funny.

The second movie was okay. It was narrated by Hal Holbrook, and he did a nice job.

You know the story. Oh, you don't? Well, in a nutshell, three seeds land in different places near a lake. The first is an olive tree, the second an oak, the third a pine. Each tree wants to grow up to do amazing tree things... The olive tree wants to be made into a beautiful box to hold the most wonderful treasure in the whole wide world. The oak wants his lumber to be turned into an amazing and wonderful ship for a king. The pine wants to be the tallest tree ever, which points to heaven and lets people know about God.

Not one of their wishes comes true.

The olive tree gets cut down and ends up being turned into a feeding trough for animals. The oak is cut down to become a fishing boat. The pine in all her efforts to grow to be the tallest is struck by lightning and felled onto the road, where she is later dragged off by the men who need the road and pushed down into a gully.

And so the trees all feel sad, because none of them are doing what they wanted to do with their lives. Essentially, they have sheep eating out of them, smelly fish being dumped on them, or are abandoned and forgotten. Quite tragic and sucky.


The first tree, the one who is now a feeding trough, is in the stable at Bethlehem, and is the vessel to hold the newborn baby Jesus.

The second tree is a ship which belongs to the fishermen of Galilee. Jesus is with them on that boat when he calms the storm and shows the scared fishermen that "even the wind and the waves obey him." So the tree's wish to be a ship for a king comes true.

The third tree is so big and strong, and the Roman soldiers use her trun to build the cross upon which Jesus is crucified. So forevermore the cross will be known to people through the whole world as the way that points to God. So her wish comes true.

And so, the lesson in a nut shell, pun intended, that our dreams for ourselves may not always be what comes true in the end, but... God has plans for us that we don't know of at this given time, and it's all going to work out in the end. I think it's kind of sad to be turned into a cross that someone is hung on and dies upon, but hey -- the tree served its purpose, which was known to God long before it even sprouted up from a seed.

And the kids understood it and got it, and they liked it. It was a good story.

The one thing I had a problem with was at the end of the films they did an altar call. One of the participating churches had their pastor there to talk to the kids and let them know all about God.

As if our 8000 kids in our particular field trip class at this particular school don't already know that. They spend every day talking about this. They're down with it.

We're there with eight grown ups and 10,000 kids. And all the kids want to either go because the movie is over, or go up to the altar call and pray.

The teachers had decided in advance that we wouldn't be letting the kids go up front to answer the call... that they'd talk about it with the kids at school and anyone who wanted to pray and make a commitment could do so at school. In their minds, it is their responsibility and the parents' responsibility to lead kids to making these decisions, not some volunteer pastor at a film festival.

I gotta admire the decisions these teachers make, and the wherewithall they have on behalf of my kid and others. I picked a good school.

So we're trying to usher out 19,000 kids. And the pastor up front is so strongly encouraging the children to come forward and pray, not leave, and accept Jesus as their Lord.

Us teachers and chaperones were all looking like meanies because we want the kids OUT. As if we're denying them the opportunity to make that commitment right then and now!

Oy. We're suffering the little children.

I must admit I felt badly because Geoff and his little girl L wanted to go up and pray... but Geoff's teacher explained to them in the lobby when they expressed their dismay to her that they'd have the opportunity to do so at school later. And they understood and accepted that, and gladly got on the bus.


Four of the four year olds broke ranks and went up front as we were ushering the 23,000 kids out the door.

So the rest of the kids were all out on the bus, and there we are looking for the four committed Christian rebels from our group.

Their teacher and I both went back in to get them, and we waited for them and talked to the director of the program. Laura explained to him that our school isn't just a "christian" school but it is an actively evangelical school. Two of the kids who were up there answering the altar call were girls whose parents go to pentecostal churches, and Laura told me they go to EVERY altar call at church meetings and revivals because they like to talk to the people and pray. It isn't like these guys running the program actually saved these two girls that one moment or anything... the girls got free Children's Bibles and had a nice chat.

All told, aside from feeling like I prevented children from committing their lives to Jesus, I had a great time. All the kids in Geoff's class love me, and it's so much fun to spend time with them. They all fought to sit with me (I sat with L because she was odd girl out when it came to partnering up) and we had fun on the bus counting how many times the highway crosses over the Merrimack River.

When we got back to school each teacher set up lunchtime and talked with the kids. Everyone prayed. And all is good and right with our kids. In my mind.

Thing is -- if you answer one altar call, you're saved. End of conversation. You just need to make a concerted effort to live a righteous and sober, Godly life. You have to remember to repent when you muck up and fall short. You just have to keep renewing your initial altar call in your heart.

And in all honesty, I think that daily in your heart you need to have an altar call of sorts and rededicate your commitment I know I do.

In theory you're "set for life" if you're six and you go up there and pray to let Jesus into your heart, but how does that help you when you're 35 and you've pretty much spent the last 29 years not living that committed life.

I'm not a big fan of altar calls and children. I think that like Jayde and Ashley there, it's fun to go pray with people and to tell them how much you love God. I would have let Geoff go if we weren't making such a concerted effort to keep everyone in one place. And I know that in another circumstance, for instance if we go to the movies again later this week to see another film, if he wants to have at it, I'm all for it.

And I know it's my responsibility to make sure he tries to live up to that commitment while he lives in my home. And perhaps I should answer the call as well and go up there to renew my vows...

Anyway. I didn't mean for this to turn into a big ole Christian Entry. And it just occurred to me that I'm twittering away an absolutely beautiful afternoon. It is 86 degrees on my front porch so I think I'll go out and play.

So if you're in the northeast -- get out and play too. Plant something nice. A seed of your own. Whatever plan there is for it -- it'll all come together as its purpose is seen to. Have a super day.