Jan 31, 2010

A Fishy Confession

Shortly after i posted the photo of, "Watch The Fish Peppers Grow" I realized the photo contained heirloom tomatoes and not Fish Peppers. I figured I'd correct the error of my ways later but now I have a real dilemma. I've lost my Fish Peppers. We recently had company and between their 3 year old and my helpful teenager I discovered some pots had been tampered with. In a very nice way of course. Little treasures had been added from the yard such as walking iris stems, pretty rocks, fallen leaves, bits of plastic, and an odd pvc pipe piece. Unfortunately, in decorating the pots they also removed the signs I made out of popsicle sticks so I have no idea if the pot that has begun to sprout is full of lettuce, mustard greens or fish peppers.In addition, I seem to be missing one pot entirely. So enjoy the progress of the Fish Pepper photos which are really not Fish Peppers after all. Am I upset? Of course not. It seems entirely fitting for the Secret Pepper Society to have secret peppers growing somewhere in the yard. I am praying, however, that they survive my 90 year old father's manic raking binges and my giant dogs delight in relieving her self on pretty plants. And that my friends is more wee wee than a drug rehab program collects in an 8 hour shift so it will be a gardening miracle to be picking Fish Peppers in the future. Stay tuned for the continuing Fish Pepper saga. The mystery continues...

Jan 30, 2010

Who Knew This Was Therapy?

Who knew I would be so politically correct in the land of alternative medicine? We have a busy home. Three medically complex children at home and two grown and elsewhere. A job. A large house to maintain. An even larger, hairy, dog who has learned how to open doorknobs and fence latches with his giant nose. Couple this with a very difficult past two years and I've been feeling the stress. The past week I've discovered a mind numbing therapy better than Xanax (which I must add judging from past MRI'S does absolutely nothing for me). Refrigerator Magnets made from vintage jewelry and vintage buttons! YES! The beauty of this is that you can create and come up with a finished product even while the kids are going crazy and the dog is running wildly down the street basking in the glory of her new found freedom. You don't have to sit. You don't have to think. You don't even have to plan.You can stand at the kitchen sink, hot glue one together and still catch the dog before she reaches the neighboring park. I've decided this is the craft for me. This week, anyway. Thank you to my daughter, " the artist" who started it all. Magnet therapy?

Jan 29, 2010

Another Day In Paradise

This is one of my favorite sayings of late. That and "go with the flow" seem to spew out of my lips at least 3 times a day. I think that's why I love Anne Taintor products...she understands everyday life and how necessary it is to look at the mundane through humorous eyes. Speaking of humerus...Today I am home with my son who injured his right arm last evening. Last month it was the left arm. This happens several time a year and there really isn't much you can do about it. The first three times it happened years ago I dutifully rushed for x-rays. They are always negative. All parents of children with Osteogeneisis Imperfecta rush for x-rays the first year. Eventually, we discover our children glowing in the dark when we sneak in for a midnight bed check and fluff of the quilts. That ends the rush to radiology. It always amazes me what precipitates an injury in a child with OI. I sat 2 days ago watching him play wildly with company. He probably fell 5 or 6 times. On foot. Off his bike. Off his razor scooter. Last night when i told him to put his bike in the garage for the night i hear "the scream." Every parent of a child with OI knows what "the scream" is. He was simply wheeling the bike through the door and heard a "snap." It's usually a "pop" so he is home from school and being closely observed which is a good thing as I just found him kneeling on the kitchen counter top after climbing up a dining room chair , "looking for peanuts" in the cabinets. His sibling yells at him, "Peanuts are not for breakfast!" Apparently this is the only thing wrong with this picture in her mind. So, besides surveillance I will make sure he ices, immobilizes and Motrinizes today. He's tough. I still have to smile when I'm reminded of his orthopedic surgeon sitting him down and patiently telling him, "A cracked femur is the same thing as a broken femur" when my son informed him, "It's only cracked." He'd been walking on it all day at art camp. You might ask, as I did, how you crack a femur at art camp? The answer: "origami." Who knew the art of Japanese paper folding could be so dangerous.

For more info on OI check out:


Jan 23, 2010

For Margie In Alabama

My friend Margie has a knack for finding beautiful prints that she knows I will love. Here is the most recent print she found for me in it's new Weigh n' Pay frame! I LOVE it!Besides the frame and lots of other treasures, we found a full-size handmade quilt after noticing one of the employees toss it on the floor!

Jan 22, 2010

For Such a Time As This

U.S. Navy Photo

So many stories coming from Haiti. This one had to be shared from Troy and Tara Livesay, missionaries residing in Haiti.

On Saturday (which feels like a lifetime ago) Troy and John went into Simone Pele to visit with the people of that area and assess their situation. We have ties to the community due to a monthy pre-natal outreach we’ve been doing there. It is considered a rougher area by most.
On that day Troy talked with a young woman named Collette in Simone Pele. She is 7 months pregnant and had suffered a broken pelvis during the earthquake. There was a giant yard area where many were gathered and injured. They had not received medical attention. He was standing next to where she was lying and talking to other people gathered around. She grabbed his hand and made eye contact and said, “Pa Bliye’m.” (Don’t forget me.)
Troy told her he would be back to get her on Monday. She had been unable to move for days at that point.
This morning John McHoul (head of Heartline Ministries) and John Ackerman (a nurse in Haiti) went back to Simone Pele to get our first load of patients.
When they got to the house Troy immediately looked for Collette. They had not picked her up. There were so many with crooked bones or with bleeding, infected and oozing wounds that her broken pelvis did not look serious enough to get her on the first truck.
In the afternoon the first round of patients (that did not have to stay on IV fluid) were returned to Simone Pele. Troy needed to bring more patients back to the Docs and nurses. He was not going to leave without Collette. The guy that was with him kept finding other patients and Troy kept reminding him that he needed to keep looking until they found her.
After backing the truck in to get very close to her so she could be moved with the least pain possible, Troy got out of the truck to hear Collette screaming “Merci Jezi, Merci Jezi” while waving her arms wildly.
Troy said it was all he could do to spit out the words, “M pa bliye ou” (I didn't forget you) without bursting into tears in front of all the tough guys standing around watching.
Tonight Collette rests under the care of volunteer Docs and Nurses at the Heartline Women’s Center house."

Collette was later taken by truck by the Livesay's to a beach where they heard the Navy had just landed. The Navy sent a helicopter to pick Collette up along with other wounded that the missionary couple had brought. Baby Esther was the first baby born on the Navy ship! Although premature Esther, in the photo above, is doing fine! For more on this missionary family go to:


Jan 21, 2010

All I Want Is A Nap...

I love Anne Taintor. After one month of illness the photo on the right is where I'm at at the moment. Check out Anne's website and read the story of dreaming "Taintorette", Susann Shaw, a popular model from the 30's and 40's. I love the idea of tracking down the ladies featured in the Taintor products.

Jan 20, 2010

Little Angel

Ok. For those of you who were not happy with Eddie Munster here is how my son really looks. Ha...ha...ha...snort...ha...ha...

Jan 19, 2010

Jan 18, 2010


My oldest daughter goes to the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade every year. This year we were able to go along and had a blast! We stood with 4 of the most awesome, older black ladies who had a comment for everything and everyone in the parade. "Represent! Represent!" "Smile girls! SMILE!" "You're doing fine!" and my favorite which was shouted every time a beauty pageant winner would drive by , "Hey, Queenie! You are beautiful. HEY! QUEEENNNEEEEE!" One of the funniest moments was when one of the ladies read the t-shirts of a visiting band and commented very loudly, "No Exercise? I like that!" My oldest pointed out that the t-shirt really said "No Excuses." We all agreed we liked the "No Exercise" version better. At first my son refused to stand near them as he thought they were, "a little crazy." Eventually, he warmed up to them when they tucked him under their wings along with the rest of my children and made it their parade mission to load the kids with candy and beads. "HEY! HEY! Gimme some beads. Gimme some beads for these babies!" "WE NEED SOME SWEETS OVER HERE!" I have to say they got everything they requested and my kids got the privilege of having 4 awesome "aunties" for an afternoon. Now, if I could just find those aunties when the kids are misbehaving...

Jan 17, 2010

A Fish (pepper) Story

I could say I was so excited when my heirloom seed order came in the mail this week that I peed my pants but that happens even if i pick up the cat. My older daughters would be horrified that I even mentioned such a thing so I won't. Today the weather was a lot nicer than it has been so I planted Dark Lollo Rossa Lettuce, Stupice and St. Pierre tomatoes, and Fish Peppers in organic soil. (How does one make soil organic? I know... I know all about no pesticides and composting as I've been there for years but organic dirt? I'm not convinced. ) Anyway, there are so many wonderful aspects to using heirloom seeds as opposed to the hybrids we're addicted too. Too few people realize that the loss of seed diversity facing this generation could lead to a disaster of unimaginable proportions. The Irish potato famine, which led to the death or displacement of two and a half million people in the 1840s, is an example of what can happen when we use only a few plant species as mainstays. The other benefit to heirlooms are the stories that accompany each seed variety like the historical lore behind the Fish Pepper. It's an African-American heirloom grown prior to the 1940's around the Philly/Baltimore area but to treat yourself to the entire story click on :

I can guarantee the story will make you smile. Maybe not as big as my daughter picking blueberries in Alabama but that smile is hard to top.

Jan 16, 2010

No Gift Too Small

I wasn't surprised when my 9 year olds school sent home a list requesting things needed by their Haitian sister church because we've been inundated with requests from various churches and organization's this week. At first I ignored this school request because we are already sending money to missionary friends who live in Haiti but the more I thought about it the more I realized this would be a perfect opportunity for all three children to physically go to a store, pick out items from the list and learn what each one is used for and why it is needed. Who knew hydrogen peroxide was so fascinating! I explained what it was and what it was used for as the kids helped put bottles in our shopping cart. My son, who has seen some of the graphic photos of the earthquake injuries, wondered out loud why Haitians couldn't just wash their wounds off with soap and water? How do you explain to a child born and raised in the USA that even before the 7.0 earthquake millions of Haitians already had no running water, no flush toilets, no refrigerators, no microwaves, no immunizations, no medical care, no fast food, and no shelter? I have vivid memories of a tough as nails nurse I knew who visited Cite' Soleil on one of our trips to Haiti. She walked a block or so in to the Port Au Prince shanty town with it's 300,000 occupants, vomited, fainted, stood her self up and weakly wobbled out. How do you even begin to explain this kind of misery and poverty to your children? When I was tucking my son into bed he asked, "Mommy do you really think the hydrogen peroxide will help ? It's not very much." I told him once when I was in Haiti working a medical clinic on a beach a dentist came to me for a styptic pencil or anything I had to help because he had two patients who were still bleeding badly after some extractions two days earlier. Dr. Richard's clinic consisted of a hard, straight backed chair under some dried palm fronds in the blazing sun. He lived several months out of the year with Mother Theresa's Brothers of Charity in Cite' Pele and was one of the most popular medical people there among the Haitians as dental care is basically non-existent. I told him about a trick I had learned years earlier when I was filling in for a recovery room nurse on ENT day at the OR and handed him two sample bottles of Neo-Snephrine nasal spray that I almost didn't bring with me because they only contained a few milliliters each. He drew up the medicine and squirted 0.5ml in each socket that was bleeding. 10 little drops from a country far away and the bleeding stopped on both patients. Yes, I really believe the hydrogen peroxide will help. No gift is too small.

Jan 15, 2010

Rock On Melody and Tina!

For those of you who have inquired about our brown Cuban Anole frost victims, Melody and Tina, I am happy to report that they have been released back into the wilds of our back yard! I'm sure my dear friend Diane will be thrilled. That is if she'd stop gagging long enough while she's pondering the thought of 2 lizards recovering under a heat lamp in my son's room. Please note Diane: This is why God blessed you with three GIRLS. Check out our photo of Melody basking in the sun on a crepe myrtle tree. You go, girl! Side note: I was horrified to see how big lizard poo is. When I commented out loud, my son informed me that the turd in the shoebox is "nothing" compared to the "usual" turds. Oh, I do not want to know I do not want to know I do not want to know... Just wash your hands with soap wash your hands with soap wash your hands with soap wash your hands with soap....

Jan 14, 2010

Monkey Day at the Weigh n' Pay

I love to thrift. I love vintage everything, re-purposing old fabric, re-cycling and rescuing objects from the landfill. Combine this with the thrill of the hunt and you have the Weigh n' Pay. Every Tuesday thru Saturday a local Goodwill Outlet puts out canvas "dumpsters" loaded with stuff they sell for 40 cents a pound. You can dig to your hearts content but gloves are a must. Safety glasses, a helmet, and some of that white stuff the coroners put under their nostrils are also good ideas. I've seen fights erupt among the patrons ( a hearty bunch!) over objects and injuries sustained during the brawling. My poor friend was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got hit in the head with a toaster. On my first trip I walked up to one of the 15 plus dumpsters, touched an object and a very loud lady started screaming at the top of her lungs, "She's touching! She's touching! SHE'S TOUCHING!" A sweet elderly lady came to my rescue by saying a little too loudly, "Leave her alone! She doesn't know any better!" I would say I was embarrassed but if you are at the Weigh n' Pay in the first place you probably don't embarrass that easily.I learned later that there is certain protocol that you must follow and this includes staying behind the white line and not touching until the Weigh n' Pay supervisor shouts out the rules followed by those coveted words, "start shopping!" One day I heard her say, "No pushing! No shoving! No bodily fluids!" I generally hang back to avoid the rush of frantic patrons who are intent on getting the best stuff. None of them want the weird stuff I'm interested in anyway so they usually leave me lots of treasures. Every one has a 40 cents a pound fish story to tell and I am no exception. Like the lonely, queen flat sheet from the 70's that I sold on e-bay for $38.00 and got e-mails from Sweden and Australia inquiring if I would ship internationally. The vintage dress from the 60's that I found, flicked a freakishly large flying roach out of the lace, washed it and sold it on e-bay for a large profit. Last week there were tons of crafts and I found 68 vintage spools of thread which i sold for $12.00. May not seem like a lot of money but I paid 20 cents for them. It's called guilt free shopping. Which brings me to the the fact that there are often unintentional "theme" days. For instance, last weeks vintage spools, cross stitch fabric and sparkly pom-poms day. After holidays you'll always find your discarded Christmas balls, trick or treat buckets, shamrock flags, heart shaped cookie cutters, etc. Today was an interesting twist as it was monkey day at the Weigh n' Pay. I assume someone got tired of their monkey collection and there were dozens of monkeys like the one in the photo who's sitting on a suitcase, leaning on a walker, reaching for a red Chinese umbrella, waiting for a forever home. I have to say this guy was cute but I usually don't buy stuffed animals at the Weigh n' Pay. Ever since that bodily fluid comment. I have my pride.

Jan 13, 2010

"Nanpouin mouayin pou ede' ou..."

The first thought that comes to mind when I see the devastation in Haiti. "There is no way to help you..." One of the missionary's who has lived there over 30 years said the two greatest needs now are water and medical personnel. In a country where the average income is $450.00 a year and the average life expectancy has risen only lately to a ripe old age of 57 and there is no 911, disaster crews or even decent hospitals I don't know how the people will survive this most recent insult against them and their land. I have friends who have an orphanage in Port Au Prince who have no idea if their 30 charges and the staff are dead or alive. I had to shrug when the news channels were going on and on about no electricity last night. If you've been to or live in Haiti you know electricity comes and goes on a daily basis under "normal" circumstances. It's the thousands of people buried under the rubble praying for someone to help them that I would like to see the focus on by the news media and a world wide mobilization of those who can get to the country and help save lives now and in the days to come when disease sets in. If I didn't have 3 special needs children here I'd be there as a nurse again in a country I grew to love. I look at this old picture of myself and my Haitian "son" taken in Port Au Prince on a roof top that is probably no longer standing. He is 40 now and even taller. Thankfully, he is also in California. I can't go to Haiti but I can pray and put some feet on my prayers. Sending monetary support to organizations like World Vision who's office in Port Au Prince was impacted but not before all of the employees escaped into the street. Operation Blessing who are already mobilized and ready to go. The American Red Cross. The missionary's below...
check out:

Jan 12, 2010

Night of the Frozen Cuban Anole

My nine year old receives services from Hospice's wonderful pediatric program, Stepping Stones 4 Kids. In addition to Eric, a child life specialist who visits him monthly and a fantastic nurse named Sarah he is visited faithfully by two teenage girls who became friends with one another when they both lost their mothers. About 6 months ago those Hospice volunteers began visiting my son weekly. He teaches them about play station wrestling, race cars, monster trucks and hide n' seek. They teach him about being faithful. They are perfect examples of two individuals who have turned their sorrow into joy. Joy for some one else! Today my son finally conned them into going out into the cold and much to their horror they discovered that our tropical "lizards" had died by the dozens due to the cold weather. The brown Cuban Anole snuck into our country from the Caribbean islands around 1950. They multiplied rapidly and in the process they decimated the green anole population that I grew up with. I don't use pesticides so we have hundreds of them in our yard. Or had hundreds... Our visiting friends and my son buried the poor frozen creatures and created a marker for the common grave. Two were discovered barely alive and are now in my sons room under a heat lamp eating frog food and thawing out. I wanted to name them Thelma and Louise but my son insisted on them being named after his Hospice buddies. Live long and prosper, Melody and Tina...two very fortunate lizards.

Jan 11, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

This morning I almost knocked my front teeth out when I attempted to open my car door not knowing it had frozen shut during the night. My impatiens that usually die from heat stroke in August are prematurely dead in January from frost bite. My heat pump froze last Friday. In a panic I called my wonderful air-conditioner repair man who informed me that the smoke pouring out of it was simply a result of it's "defrost mode." Who ever heard of an air conditioner in the tropics in a defrost mode? My neighbor who owns the very first house ever built in our subdivision said this was the coldest winter since 1962 when she moved in. The only one in my family who actually likes this weather is our Great Pyrenees who is lolling around on the frigid cement patio in utter bliss. Once in a while i go out and poke her with my foot to see if she is still alive or has frozen on her back with her feet up in the air. I'd move further south but I'm running out of land. I think the next stop would be Haiti but the Haitians already know the grass is not always warmer on the other side. "Kouri pou lapli; tonbe' nan dife' or "running away from rain; falling into fire." Fire probably generated by a defrosting heat pump.

Jan 10, 2010

"Help" Just Isn't Helping

threatened to do a blog for a long time now but actually setting one up with limited computer skills is not working for me. After meticulously following the directions from the "help" sites (i.e., "How do I move my title to the bottom of the photo?") I wonder if these help people who volunteered their easy solutions were drunk. I know I'm no cyber geek but i can follow directions and NOTHING I followed worked so my customized blog layout isn't very customized. I guess the end product won't be very sophisticated but no one will read this anyway and I've never been accused of being too "sophisticated." This will be a blah looking blog until someone who is not drunk volunteers to really help me. I could call my oldest daughter, the family genius, but my stupidity may amuse her too much and our conversation would end up posted on Post Cards From Yo Momma. Now that would be humbling. Check out: http://www.postcardsfromyomomma.com/