Archive for October, 2007

The one and only thing I made for LG’s costume this year:

E-bling in progress

This is the beginnings of the E-bling that she will wear to help distinguish her as not just any old witch, but The Wicked Witch of the East (or Elvis the Witch, witchever).

We were going to try to rig up the fallen house, but decided to go pre-house, with the ruby slippers:


We found the slippers and the stripey stockings (and a cute, very wearable black dress) at Target, but just to be absolutely sure she was identifiable as the WW of the E, we went with the giant E-Bling:

bling and shoes

This is the only pic with my girl’s eyes open, and of course the flash didn’t flash, so it’s all a blur. Which, actually, seems fitting. I give you, The Blur Witch Project:

blur witch project

Best trick-or-treater exchange of the night:
Jif loves to chat up the trick-or-treaters, guess what they are, etc. I stayed put in the family room while he and Biscuit answered the door, until I heard him say, “And you must be . . . some sort of evil preppy?”

Evil preppy? This I gotta see!

When I get to the door, the tween girl is explaining, “NO! I’m Hermione after she drank the potion!” Darn.

I hope your Halloday has been happy.

Candy corn is the only candy in the history of America that’s never been advertised. And there’s a reason. All of the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911. — Lewis Black


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Jif and LG went here, this past weekend. I wish I had been well enough to do that with them. I would say I’ll do it next year, but not if it falls on the same weekend as this, because next year, I am so there. Anyone wanna join me?

I also want to share with you two grand new babies, his and hers. Plus, an old baby, as babies go, but a baby upon whose face I can never, ever look without smiling.

And then you absolutely must see kranki’s baby. Buy the calendar! What a perfect gift for people who love cats! Or costumes. Or knowing what the hell day it is.

And lastly, I’ll share this again, from posts past, because every year at this time, the searchers, they find me, because they’re all out looking for this:

You don’t so much “make” these as “assemble” them, and when you do, adults and children alike will think you are oh-so-clever:

Take Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies, Hershey’s Kisses and orange frosting from a tube or aerosol can. Simply smear frosting on the bottom of the Kiss to “glue” it on the cookie (an excellent job for little helpers), then press it on the chocolate side of the cookie. Next, using one of the fancy plastic tips you get with the frosting, wrap an orange frosting ribbon around the kiss, and “draw” a bow. After a few practices, you’ll be “tying” frosting bows like a pro. Enjoy 🙂


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Sunday Post


“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you everybody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.” — e.e. cummings

Psalm 139:13-16

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“Spears arrived at the courthouse eating cheese puffs in her white Mercedes-Benz convertible.”

Sorry. I just read that on a “news” site and really felt compelled to share it with someone.

That is all.

As you were.

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LG recently signed up for her third year of basketball with a local church league. The sponsors of the league are very conservative, evangelical denominations, although the players are from various churches, or none at all. The league stresses sportsmanship as well as basic skills.

We learned this week that not only are none of LG’s friends on her team, but her team practices on Friday nights (yuck) and worst of all, from LG’s perspective, her team is called “The Fever.” I happen to share at least a smidge of her disappointment about these three realities. We discussed this as we drove to see Nana last night.

“The FEVER? I hate that. I liked the Leopards . . . or even the Beagles . . . but the FEVER?” LG complained.

“Yea, I don’t care for it either. I mean, how can I make scrunchies for the girls’ ponytails? Last year, I could use leopard print fabric . . . but what could I do for The Fever? I guess I could find fabric with flames on it . . . no, that wouldn’t look like The Fever . . . that would look like . . . The HELL!”

Here, we both begin to giggle out of control.

“Yea, THE HELL!” (She says that, even though she’s not allowed to say that. Except that I just did, and it’s funny.)

“Yea, THE HELL! That’s what I’ll call your team. When you come on the court . . . ‘Here comes THE HELL!'”

“Yea, and we can make a cheer out of it. People who hear you say that will go, ‘What?’ And you can go, ‘The HELL!’ and ‘WHAT?’ and ‘THE HELL!’ so that soon everyone in the church gym is yelling, ‘WHAT THE HELL!'” My kid is cracking me up, here.

“Well, I agree, it’s an unfortunate name,” I said, when I stopped laughing enough to catch my breath.

“What’s unfortunate?” she asked, “The Fever or The Hell?”

“Uh . . . both, but I meant ‘The Fever.'”

After a couple of rounds of “What the hell!” and the determination that “The Fresh Hell” would be a cool name, we move on to other reasons why “The Fever” is not good.

“It’s just not a real mascot, it’s more of a . . . it’s a SYMPTOM!” says my girl, who is much too familiar with symptoms, of late.

“You’re right! I wonder what the other team names are . . . like maybe someone is . . . The Rash . . .” Serious giggling starts again, and LG picks up the ball from there:

“Let’s see, we could have . . . The Chronic Cough . . . The Diarrhea . . . ”

“The Festering Boil . . . ”

“The Eczema . . . ”

“The Heartbreak of Psoriasis . . . ”

“HUH? . . . How about The Athlete’s Foot? The Pink Eye? The Swollen Glands?”

I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a rainy rush hour road trip so much. In fact, by the time we were done calling out team names, I had laughed so hard (The Gout, The Goiter, The Ringing in the Ears) and for so long (The Inflammation, and my personal favorite, The Suspicious Lump), I’m pretty sure I could have been team captain of “The Mild Incontinence.”

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Medical Minute

OK, I started to write a song parody, along the lines of,
We tried to take Nana to rehab,
she said, No! No! No!

But family does read here, and don’t we all have enough trouble? The truth is, Nana is in the rehab

::tangent::Nana is in a rehabilitation hospital, on the stroke recovery floor. This information is provided as a courtesy to those who’ve grown up in the age of Britney and Lindsay, and may be thinking, as LG did, “I hope Nana does better in rehab than Britney did!”::end tangent::

and she’s doing mighty fine. In fact, girlfriend is showing off for the visitors now. When Jif went in the room last night, she slyly beckoned him with her right index finger, the one she had been unable to move two days earlier. Ain’t that grand? Makes me smile.

What else . . . what else . . . I’m aware that I haven’t done a WTF update in a while. There’s not a lot that’s new. Same symptoms remain, except even though sometimes walking is difficult, I don’t stumble and fall like I did earlier, so that’s good. New symptoms include pain in my bones (arms, legs, hips, spine) that keeps me awake, so that’s not good. The most recent tests (for which I’ve seen results) include a zinc deficiency, which correlates with neurological damage, but no one can (will) say whether the low zinc is the chicken or the egg. Take a moment to think about that. I’ll wait.

Yea, so I’m waiting for more test results. It appears I am malabsorbing various vitamins and minerals; trying to pin all that down and take it to . . . the freakin’ Wizard of Oz? I don’t know to whom I’ll take that info. All of the 20+ docs I’ve talked to seem stymied. Next stop is a dietician to help me figure out how I might attempt to supplement appropriately until someone can figure out why my innards have gone so screwy. So far, no matter how much I supplement, the levels that are low do not rise. Still, maybe I could be getting injections or taking nutrients in some other form.

I continue to be grateful for your prayers. I pray and I get acupuncture. That is my treatment for the debilitating illness/condition that I’ve had for well over a year now. I know the prayer helps. The acupuncture . . . I figure it can’t hurt, and it feels good to be doing SOMETHING.

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Sunday Post

horse farm

“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.” — Dalai Lama

Psalm 32:8-9

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Bright Spots

Waiting for the elevator, a very tall man, a handsome man, a black man, a friendly man, wearing blue from head to toe. A light blue shower-cappy hat, matching long coat, like a duster on a cowboy. Just we two.

He tells me, “These elevators are SLOW.” I smile slightly and nod once. It is day two of stroke-watch, and I am weary.

“I’m telling you, I’ve worked at every hospital in the city . . . Hopkins, University, Mercy . . . mercy, mercy, there is none THIS slow.”

I look again at the ensemble. Something in the people-categorizing portion of my brain files him under “surgeon.” I think because of the hat.

He goes on. “While you’re waiting for these elevators, you can talk about EVERYTHING . . . we’ll have time to cover the weather, the Ravens . . . Mel Gibson . . . ” He’s got me, now.

“Mel Gibson?! Geez, if we’re here long enough to discuss Mel Gibson, these ARE some slow elevators!” He throws his blue-hatted head back and laughs, and his laughter washes over me and the whole area under the “Visitor Elevators” sign, and I hear my laughter blending with his. He is encouraged to continue answering the unasked question, “How slow are they?”

“These elevators are so slow, I could make you a crabcake platter before the next one gets here.”

“You’ll make me a crabcake platter?! Hoooooold on, now, how do we cancel that elevator? That’s the best offer I’ve had all day . . . ”

We’re off and chatting, then. He’s not a surgeon. He’s the hospital chef. And we made each other laugh.

Nana is still doing OK. Today or tomorrow, she will be moved to a rehab facility, for a couple of weeks. She is pissed about this (preferring to go directly home). All other concerned parties are relieved. I’m sure it will turn out to be a very good thing. Thank you again for your prayers.

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UPDATE, 10/18 p.m. Thank you all for your kindness, your love, prayers, and healing thoughts. Nana is doing better today. Some right hand weakness and some speech trouble, but as these things go, we can’t complain. There’s every reason to think she’ll continue improving. Off to pick up Jif and LG as they return from their trip (I can’t imagine being happier to see anyone than I will be to see them, in just about 1/2 an hour!), then back to the hospital. Not ICU anymore! A regular room. All good. Thank you. So, so much. xxx


Dear ones, we have more trouble. Jif and LG left on a camping trip this morning, with her school. Shortly after I delivered them to the bus they were to ride, I got a call that Jif’s mom, known here as Nana, was having some trouble. When I arrived at her house, she was in an ambulance. The short version is, she is in a local ICU, having had a stroke. Jif’s Dad, sibs and I were at the hospital all day. She did arrive at the hospital within the window of time to administer the “clotbusting” drug that seems so vital in such cases. She is conscious and her limbs appear strong. Her speech is not good, both in terms of slurring, and finding the right words. Frustrating and terrifying for her, as you can imagine. Please keep Nana and all the Fairchilds in your prayers.

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*not to be confused with A Rat’s Ass

Writing about the mice over the weekend, it occurred to me that I had written about said creatures here previously. Sure enough, last October we had them, too. The first few years we lived here, never a mouse. There were about a dozen feral cats that roamed the neighborhood in those days, but no more. You know what happens when the cat goes away.

Late Saturday night, I saw a mouse. Ran behind my chair, around the obstacle course of books, DDR, shoes, etc., that had accumulated in the family room, and went behind the entertainment center. I went to bed and delivered the bad news to Jif. The next morning, I woke up first, and asked him to reassure me that the mouse wouldn’t be out playing in the broad skylight daylight in the family room. He provided that assurance. Wrong. There it was. So I yelled for him.

Jif came downstairs and staked out the mouse, with a broom in his hand. The last time there was Jif and a mouse and a broom, the mouse was whisked out the back door. This time, not so much. Jif whacked the mouse, in a Sopranos kind of way. When I came into the room and asked, “With the broom?”, he said we could no longer call it a broom. It was a weapon, and needed a fitting name. We decided on the “Tony Blundetto“, after the psycho, rageaholic massage therapist cousin of Tony Soprano.

We settled in for coffee before going to pick LG up from her youth group retreat, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but another damned mouse!? Peeking out from under the couch. So Jif went out and got mousetraps. The kind that snap and the kind that gently trap. The next mouse could go the easy way or the hard way, his choice.

All day, we were hypervigilant, looking for that second mouse. It never appeared. But we heard nothing from the traps. Last night, just before bed, Jif checked one of the “humane” traps. There it was. CAUGHT! As Jif was heading out the door with the mouse in its little house, I asked where he was taking it.

“Out back.”

“No! It’ll just come right back!”

“Should I take it out to the storm drain . . . ”

“No! Take it across the street . . . and up the steps . . . take it to the school . . . no drive it out to a farm and let it go . . . ” I called this after him as he headed out the door with the thing.

A few minutes later, he was back, mouseless. “So where’d you take it?”

“I let it loose in the park.”

I laughed.

“No, really, I let it loose in the park.”

“You walked to the park that fast?”

“No. I drove.”

“Get OUT! You drove the mouse to the park?”

“Yea. He didn’t look good. He wasn’t moving nearly as fast as he was before. But then . . . his brother was murdered this morning . . .”

“Oh, this is getting blogged.”

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