This One is Beyond Cute Kids and Cats

Imagine for a minute that you are a parent and you receive a digital message from your child’s teacher stating that one of your child’s test scores was well below the typical range of “normal” and that further testing was needed. You go ahead with this, allowing your child to take several other tests to determine the underlying problem that surfaced in the original test.

The additional tests confirm that your child does indeed have a deficit. You call and ask to speak to the teacher. Your teacher, again in a digital message, tells you that your child needs to enroll in a tutoring program, one that your independent online research shows that children in your child’s similar situation, need to stay in for life otherwise they will return to this “deficit level”. Oh, and this tutoring service may or may not have some adverse side effects for your child.

You would want to talk to your child’s teacher. You may be surprised that they have not reached out to you to discuss the matter. You would call. And if you called and the office told you that she was busy but either the teacher or the teacher’s aide would call you back to answer your questions, you may politely wait, although it is getting hard for you to both be polite and to wait.

The next day the aide calls you and almost verbatim reads back to you the digital message from the teacher, adding perhaps a little bit more information. When you ask questions, ones that want to get to the root of the problem, ones that want to know what would happen if you simply did not go forward with the tutoring, the aide gets abrupt and angerly tells you that you need to schedule an appointment with the teacher (something you had already asked to do). You are proud of yourself for keeping your composure and continuing to remain polite.

So you call to set up an appointment. You get a 15 minute appointment scheduled a couple days out. Oh, and you have to pay $40 for this appointment.

Of course, this would not happen in my teacher/parent scenario (at least I would hope not!), but it did happen to me in a doctor/patient dynamic.

My $40, 15 minute appointment is today. I have not started the medication I was told to start a week ago, because I still have unanswered questions. I feel there is value in actually discussing a treatment plan, one that is lifelong, with my medical provider instead of just rolling with it using information gleaned from the internet. I did, however, schedule the ultrasound.

The C word was very tentatively mentioned, almost as if it was a footnote in tiny font at the bottom of a multiple paged document. The situation revolves around my thyroid, of which there is a family history of treatable and not scary diagnoses, so I am not terribly concerned about that, yet.

In order to make sense of it, to rationalize my feelings and to convince myself that asking to talk to my doctor is not crazy, I tried the scenario out using the teacher/parent model, because it is what I know. I am a teacher, a professional with a master’s degree. I do not know of a single teacher who would conduct “business” in this way. I know I certainty wouldn’t. I am also a parent and have never been treated this way by an educator.

It is the impersonal, almost authoritarian feel of the way all this has been handled that has me bristled. If I were a dog, my hackles would be up and my teeth would flashing. But my tail would also be tucked in fear.

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Fur Friday – Couch Cats

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Fur Friday – Lounging on the Counter

Chloe, just hanging around.

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Today this happened.

I showed the second picture to Cody and he immediately shouted out, “You did it!”

Husband’s response was more along the lines of ‘out with the old, in with the new’. It is a discussion we have been having as the miles creep upward.

Carter said, “What? Only 40 miles per hour…oh…I see.” (Typical Carter)

My reaction was more of a melancholy soaked smile. Stanley, my 2006 Subaru, has made it to 100,000 miles.

One hundred thousand miles. That is a lot of distance. That is a lot of time. That is a lot of memories. So many comings and goings with so many people and pets.

This is the car that (among so many other things)…

  • I put a Band-Aid on to sooth Carter’s fears of getting a shot.
  • that both Husband’s and my dad rode in, both gone now.
  • that Cody had his first seizure in, in the parking lot of his speech therapist’s office.
  • so many conversations took place in, especially with much a younger Cody and Carter as we went hither and yon. Conversations about the Tooth Ferry, photosynthesis, the varieties of goldfish crackers, the meaning of street signs, the solar system. Some topics deep, edgy even, but most mundane, pedestrian.
  • I drove to midwife appointments in, Cody in his car seat, not sure he wanted a brother.
  • I drove Oberon, my very beloved three-legged hairless cat, to the vet in on his last day, me pregnant with Carter and sobbing.
  • I drove earning my Master’s degree and becoming a teacher.

There have been tears, laughter, adventures, songs – so many loudly and horribly sung song! – on the road we have traveled, on theses one hundred thousand miles.

While I have no immediate plans to sell Stanley, I know that he will not be my car forever. I hope I have another 100,000 miles to go with whatever my next car will be. I hope there will be great adventures and simple grocery store trips. And I hope I will remember to stop and reflect as I roll along.

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Business up Front, Party in the Back

I bought a new skirt last week. This is not normally a notable thing, and perhaps is still not, other than I am not much of a clothes shopper, much preferring to peruse the produce section of our local Sprouts looking for deals on organic blueberries and honeycrisp apples.

I came home with a couple items, all work worthy, meaning professional, comfortable, and able to allow me to walk around the classroom with ease or crawl around the floor moving from student to student while still looking classy (this last one may only be in my mind, but whatever, it’s my image not yours). One of the items was a skirt that I was rather taken with due to its uniqueness (this may be code for last years style/out of season-ness).

I showed it to Husband.

me: Look at this skirt I bought! I twirled around allowing the 100% polyester inner and outer layers to floof around before settling down to reveal the unique characteristic. It has a TRAIN! It is a skirt with a train.

husband: Or, here he paused perhaps unsure if he should continue. Or, it is a skirt with a mullet.

For those of you who do care about fashion, this is a CLUB MONACO Orristah Floral-Print Midi Skirt. The photo on the left is a stock photo from, the one on the right is from my living room.

Mullet or train, I shall wear this skirt and it will make me happy, being the latest, cutting edge fashion from my closet.

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Simple Sunday – Traveler’s Log

The dogs were boarded and the neighbors had instructions on cat and plant care. It was time to go.

Why can’t I go with you?

We had a late afternoon flight and decided to take the shuttle bus to the island of my childhood home instead of renting a car.

Ferry heading to the mainland as we go the opposite direction.

We got in late, the boys opting to head to bed after greeting their grandma and plunking their suitcases down in their room. The rest of us stayed up talking. Due to COVID, it had been almost two years since we had seen my mom.

The next day we stayed island-side, strolling around the downtown and reminiscing on previous visits.

View of the buildings on Main Street, taken from the pier jutting off the wharf. It was low tide and overcast.

I breathed deeply of the salty air and absorbed the seagull sounds and lapping water.

It was wonderful to be together again.

As I always do when visiting my mom, I found myself drawn to the three and a half acres surrounding my childhood home, a space that still holds for me imaginary lands and a lifetime of memories.

The deer, startled by my appearance, fled the apple orchard into the deeper grasses of the pasture, crossing in front of what once was the milking barn. The evergreens still ever watchful.

I took so many pictures: decaying wooden fence posts, many colored grasses, gnarled trees – some wild and some more domesticated having been my former climbing trees, producing fruit for our family as well.

Pieces of my childhood.

The next day we headed into Seattle. I had discovered that my mom had never been to the top of the Space Needle and so that, among other adventures, awaited.

The octopus at the Seattle Aquarium.

I took way too many pictures of fish, my favorite one being the serious, long-nosed fellow with the intelligent stare.

It was hard to look away.

At risk of being mocked for my many fish pictures, I snapped one of my mom with the boys.

Love those smiles!

I have never lived in Seattle, but have visited enough that I have mostly stopped taking pictures of the iconic places. The cityscape and flowers from our wander about of Pike’s Place is all you get.

Our day ended back at the hotel where Carter checked out the pool briefly before we all got some shuteye.

Views from our hotel: day vs evening.

The next day, after breakfast, we went up the Space Needle. The clouds had cleared and we had a beautiful view all around. The glass floored floor, which rotates a full rotation every 45 minutes, was trippy.

Carter took a time-lapse video over about 20 minutes where the cars below quickly jerked to stops and starts and the gold, oddly shaped elevators tiptoed up and down the spine of the Space Needle. The rushing forward of time.

Next we headed to Ballard to do a self-guided tour of the Ballard Locks. We had done the full harbor tour that included the locks in previous years, so we enjoyed walking the park and viewing it from the ground. The museum was interesting as well.

Lonely Locks. We were lucky to see boats use the locks coming from both directions.

The rest of our trip we spent on the island allowing the slowness of island time to wash over us. One evening Husband and I drove the short distance to Ebey’s Landing to watch the fog roll and the sun set.

This my preferred childhood beach to escape to when I needed time to reflect and regroup.

We went back the next day for a beach walk that took us around the jutting out of the land, to the salty lagoon hidden behind.

In the daytime, the fog only a memory.

No need to go far, just down the road, for picturesque views.

The boys enjoyed picking edible treasures from my mom’s garden – peas, carrots, currents, blueberries – just coming on.

Cody picking sugar peas.

And then, just like that, it was time to go. Husband and I headed back to Phoenix while the boys, lucky them, stayed on an extra week to have special time with their grandma.

Waiting for the ferry to take us back to the mainland.

The shuttle got us to the airport well before our flight so Husband and I partook in an expensive drink or two.

Beer with travel masks.

We have been back for several days. The boys check in with phone calls and texts.

James, very glad to have me home.

The pets are happy to have us back, but they know something is missing. It is quiet without the boys. Too quiet.

I am so glad to have been able to travel, to visit my mom and share time with her. I can’t wait to do it again.

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I Hope You Know This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record!

It is that time of year. Our dogs, Haley and Sasha are due for their wellness exam and vaccinations. For many reasons I choose to take them to the vet one at a time.

Thursday was Haley’s day. About 15 minutes before our scheduled appointment time, I took her out back to go to the bathroom. When I brought her back in I had Cody take Sasha to the back room so she would not be too disappointed when Haley and I left without her.

Haley was suspicious right off the bat, requiring much coaxing to leave the comfort and familiarity of the couch.

Haley has anxiety. She always has.

We are going where?!?

We drove the short distance to the vet clinic and were shown into an exam room. Haley, who is a solid 70 pounds (72 to be exact), alternated between lying next to me getting belly rubs and trying to squeeze between the wall and the chair I was sitting in to become invisible.

The vet technician came in and we chatted about Haley’s health and her anxiety medications. Then she asked if she could take Haley in the back for the exam and vaccination.

“According to this,” she said referring to her computer screen, “Haley urinates when she gets her vaccines.”

Off they went.

I texted Husband: Poor Haley! They have a note in her file that she pees when given a vaccine.

After a while the vet came in to talk to me about the exam. Haley is healthy, teeth are in great shape for her ten year old self, and she is only a tiny bit overweight.

Haley had yet to make an appearance. Then I heard a panicked scrabbling and huffing reverberating off the hallway.

“Oh, here she comes!” exclaimed the vet as Haley burst into the room, a cloud of black fur and nerves.

“She peed but also pooped just a little during her vaccine so I was cleaning her up,” the vet tech informed me, in the same breath reassuring me that it was fine and that her dog also does this. She typed something into the computer, I paid, and we were off.

I suspect that she added an additional note regarding the pooping. Another note in her permanent record.

Lots of anxiety mixed with some chill moments.

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Drunken Herbs

I think our rosemary has a drinking problem.

In an effort to keep my askings – those to our neighbor to come over and play with our cats and throw water at our plants while we are gone – to a minimum, I bought some of these.

I have never used these before, but the reviews were good and it gave us a reason to drink an extra couple bottles of wine. Basically, you use a longneck bottle, such as a wine bottle, filled with water tipped upside down in the porous ceramic spike. The spike will saturate and then diffuse the water based upon the wetness of the surrounding soil.

I tested them out on the mint and trailing rosemary a couple weeks before we left and learned some interesting things about our herbs.

Rosemary is a total lush!

Here she is, working her way through her second bottle in almost as many days. Perhaps the brittle and brown corpses of the less fortunate herbs around her, drives her drinking problem.

Mint is a more casual day drinker. In the evening he likes the purple party lights, wrapped around the pole he lives by, to be turned on and he sways to the music provided by the bamboo windchimes.

Such a day drinker though.

Then I added a spike to Chive. Chive is more of a tee toddler.

At least Chive is not drinking alone.

And through all of this, the succulents and cactus look on with distain.

A simple watering can split between them once a week will do, thank you very much.

So it seems that, while the spikes will help some, they are no match to the almost unquenchable thirst of Rosemary and Mint’s partying ways.

I am sure the 110 degree heat has nothing to do with it.

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Simple Sunday – Red, White, & Blue – Happy 4th of July!

Because I am writing this a day early, I thought it would be fun to go through my camera roll and pick out some photos with the only criteria being that they contain red, white, and blue.

Tuesday we are leaving on our yearly summer trip up to the Pacific Northwest to spend time with my mom. Last year, due to COVID, this trip was canceled and very much missed.

I am not one to prewrite or schedule posts. Even writing a day ahead, as this post is, it very unusual for me. It just feels weird. I do have one post tucked away, burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak. Other than that, I may or may not get around to posting while we are gone, but I will be back.

I hope you have a safe and celebratory Fourth of July. Cheers!

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Fur Friday – James and the Orchid

Welcome to Fur Friday where I post a random picture (or more) of some of our pets and maybe write a thing or two about it.

Surveying “his” backyard in the morning light.
Contemplating whether the orchid would make a nice meal or a fun toy.
Deep in thought on something important, I’m sure.
Too much thinking for so early in the morning makes one, *yawn*, tired.
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