Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve 2008

For the first time in many years, the Coopers are not throwing their usual Kid-Friendly New Years Eve Party.

I'm kind of sad. It was always such a fun, fun time. I miss my Austin friends a lot and I don't feel like I've made enough friends up here to throw the Yankee version of that party. Maybe by next year.

Actually, it may turn out to be just as well because look at what's happening outside:

It seems like a good night to stay by the fire with my little family, knitting my resolutions and hopes for the new year into some sort of rich fabric. Maybe a Coat of Blessings Future (sort of a Barb version of "A Christmas Carol.") I'm genuinely ready to put 2008 behind me, although I have some regret at not having risen more to the occasion of it. 2009 brings a clean slate and a new chance to rise to meet whatever challenges and opportunities lie before me, I guess.

Are y'all making any resolutions this year? I'm going to spend some time thinking seriously about what I want to accomplish this next year and thinking about a plan to achieve all that. I love this feeling --as though the year is still mine to shape as it stretches out before me. I kind of lost that in 2008 and started letting events shape ME instead of the other way around. (Well, you know, events and CHOCOLATE. I'm going to do less of THAT in 2009, too.)

Meanwhile, though, have a blessed, safe and warm end to 2008. See you in the bright and shiny new year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Pictorial

Last night, after I'd already posted about my children being adorable in matching pajamas, I finally got the pictures I'd been trying to capture all day. Look:

I only took about 200 more exactly like these. They made me laugh out loud. I just love it when my girls are gamboling like puppies, so happy with each other. I love it when Ana laughs that hard. It makes me smile with my heart.

As I was looking at those pictures, though, I saw a bunch of other pictures from the holidays that I hadn't shared with y'all.

Here is my mother reading the paper after Scout fetched it. Here are my parents and my girls on the way out into the field to choose our Christmas Tree, which Coop and my dad cut down like the big burly men they are.
My parents gave my husband the coolest chess set in the world for his birthday.
The Cooper girls love to play chess.

While my parents were visiting, my mom made sure that the girls got to participate in their annual tradition of decorating a gingerbread house with her.
I think it's the best one ever. You will recall that last year, one Jane Cooper lost patience and started just gluing whole packages of M&Ms on the house, unwrapped.
Here's Thomas in his one and only foray out into the snow. After he went out during the first snowfall, he didn't go out again. I think it's because the next snowfall was much deeper and he's,um, something of a low-rider, ahem.
It was in the first snowfall that Jane suddenly started imitating the little boy from "The Christmas Story" and saying, "I can't move my arms! I can't move my arms!" I laughed so hard I swallowed my gum.

Right around this same time, I went in to wake Jane for school one morning and from a dead sleep, she said, "Jane is not available right now. Please leave a message after the beep and she will get back to you."

One day, I walked downstairs and saw both Thomas and Edward cuddled in a chair together. Initially, I couldn't even tell where one orange tabby began and the other stopped.

I didn't do much decorating this year but I HAD been over to my friend Miraculous Laurie's house to wind some yarn. It looked like peppermints to me so I just put it out in a gold basket.
I also hung strands of ribbon and attached my Christmas cards to it with paperclips. (I stole this idea from a magazine so feel free to steal it from me if you like it.)
In the end, Edward showed how we all felt after Christmas was over. (Here he is on Scout's bed, exhausted from playing with his kitty toy.)
Okay, so this one is just gratuitous.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sheer Indulgence

I admit it.

For Christmas, I gave my daughters matching pajamas from Hanna Andersson and last night I made them wear them.
Today we've had a very lazy, rainy day during which my kids have not gotten out of their pajamas.

And all day long, I've giggling up my sleeves at my cute little elves. It's purely indulgence of me, by me. I fully confess to ordering those pajamas and dressing my children in them simply because I WANTED TO.

I'm pretty sure this makes me a bad mommy.

So, sue me.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Look How Pretty!!

Hey, does it look different ?? Does it look, well, like, hipper or all form-follows-function uber cool?

What? No difference? Are you sure?

Okay, so maybe you can't tell but I am sitting here typing from my brand-new laptop, which looks like something that should be in the Museum of Modern Art!

And, PEOPLE, it is a MAC.

Because my husband so totally and completely spoils me.

(Actually, can I just say this? He spoils EVERY BEING in this family. His honest delight in the secrets and magic of Christmas make me fall in love with him six million times over, every single year. I don't want to gush but, well, the dude ROCKS.)

I can't actually do much with the new computer yet (I just thought I'd copied this entry to paste it in a new window and, whoopsie, gone forever) but I spent a good part of yesterday playing with it. In between eating and napping and being honestly appalled at the behavior of one Jane Cooper, 8, who terrorized us all with her bad mood and incessant whining.

She's not normally such a curmudgeon but she was very, very tired. Because she got up at 3:00AM (kill me) and then woke her sister up after I told her to go back to bed, there would be no Christmas until it was light outside. So, she enlisted her sister for moral support and crept down the stairs and started screaming that SANTA HAD BROUGHT HER A DOLLHOUSE BIG ENOUGH FOR BARBIES!

Ana, 10, stayed at the top of the stairs because she is the best behaved kid on the planet and we always ask the kids not to go downstairs before we go down and start the video camera. I love to capture their faces when they behold the bounty brought to them by Santa. It's my favorite part of the entire Christmas tradition, and the reason I have always refused to travel at Christmas --the magic of watching my kids come down the stairs-- of their honest, innocent delight and wonderment-- has been, up until this year, enough to make the entire freaking Christmas season worth it.

But back to Jane, Coop got up and tucked her back into bed at 3:40, where she was way too excited to go back to sleep for hours and then got up in such a state that she slowly sucked the joy out of all of us, proving once again that if you spoil your children, you get SPOILED CHILDREN. And if your children are TIRED, you get SPOILED, TIRED CHILDREN FROM HADES. Finally, we banished the children upstairs to watch "Ernest" movies (what was Santa thinking?) while we watched "The Dark Knight" downstairs.

(Is that movie six hours long or what? And is it one of the best movies of that genre EVER? I loved it, and due to my husband's quiet obsession with all things comic-book-related, I have seen them ALL. No, seriously, I have seen them ALL.)

At any rate, in the end, Christmas happened. And I got to have my own little moments of reflection and joy. And frankly, I bet that next year we are traveling, so this year when it was just the four of us, may end up being one of the best years ever.

I hope yours were more happy and less crabby. More blessings and less endurance. Either way, we learn and grow.

love you guys,

Merry Christmas

I am sitting here, in the half darkness of my house, with the fire softly dying and the (entire --OH YEAH!) tree blinking magically in the way the Christmas lights blink after you see them through the eyes of a child. I am drinking some apple cider and sitting on the couch, almost too tired to get up and go to bed.

But, it's here, you know. After all the flurry and stress and the reasonable questions of how much is enough and how spoiled are our children and are we practicing good financial stewardship --in the end, none of that will matter. Because in the end, none of that is remotely part of the huge, grand feeling the comprises the gratitude and blessedness I feel this Christmas.

I've whined and cried and talked endlessly about what a hard year this has been for me. But this afternoon, as I sat listening to a CD of the Christmas carols we used to listen to when I was a child, I had one of those blinding moments of clarity that put everything right into perspective. It's been a year of small failures--of my body, of my courage, of my optimism --but you know what? In the end, it's all superficial. Everything I love and hold dearest is just... trucking right along, doing fine.

I hope...well, I hope so much for you, my dear readers. You've given me so much this year. You've sustained me and cheered me on and offered the sagest of advice and commiseration. Many of you have become more than just cyber-friends--you've become people I count in my Coat of Blessings. You're just... such an amazingly positive presence in my life. Thank you.

Happy Holidays. And may God bless us, every one!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hockey Holidays!

So, true to the rules of Karma currently operating in my life, after my good mood and determined lassoing of the spirit of the season (Merry Christmas, dang it), I had a really bad day yesterday.

So my husband made me go to a hockey game.

We're still iced in up here on the hill, but my spouse managed to use his four-wheel drive to jump the median between our house and our neighbor's house and drive down THEIR driveway. Because, dudes, that guy has some sort of OBSESSION with plowing his driveway. At all hours of the day and night. With his own snowplow, which he attaches to the front of his big ole truck.

(Dude will barely say hello and he works nights and I'm not implying anything when I say I hear the Sopranos theme song or anything, but it does occur to me that if you have to make a fast getaway, a perfectly ice-free driveway is a must.)

(Just joking, Neighbor! Please don't leave a horse's head in my front yard!)

Anyway, my husband managed to get one of our cars down to the bottom of the hill because I had a doctor's appointment. He rode into work with a colleague and I ran errands and walked up and down the hill with various purchases (cat food, wine) until I slipped on some ice and fell on my kiester, banging my elbow hard on the ground and rolling my not-so-bionic surgically rebuilt foot.

But it's okay, because I saved the wine.

Anyway, after that, the whole day took on this pain shimmer, PLUS, are you ready for this? I have a big STY on the eye that sees a spot.

Misery R Us.

I went to see the doctor, hoping for some magic pill (amphetamine) that would help me regain my Elvis-in-the-fifties physique and energy. I left with a whole new vitamin regime and the grudging recognition that, okay, well, speed didn't work for ELVIS either. (Plus, you know, um, early death.)

Meanwhile, in between falling on my arse outside and making Gabby Specials for one Jane Cooper, who continues to need feeding once an hour like a baby bird, my husband and I were having this whole e-mail exchange about everything we still had to do for Christmas and oh, yeah, he had hockey tickets for the four of us for that night.

I said I wasn't going. I've had almost two straight weeks of my lovely children's company without a break and I wanted to sit in front of the fire and write my Christmas cards.

He promised me unlimited drinks.

I said I was having a pain day and didn't think I could walk to our seats.

He promised curb-side service.

I said no.

He called me Howard Hughes.

I said I hadn't even showered that day.

He said, dude, it's HOCKEY.

By this time he was home and I was in tears because that's how much I SO DID NOT WANT TO GO, WHY DON'T YOU LISTEN TO WHAT I'M TELLING YOU?

Finally, he stood in front of me. "Barb, obviously you don't have to go if you don't want. But sometimes you go to things and you surprise yourself by enjoying them. And it seems to me that if you go tonight and you like it, maybe that will create some sort of...positive energy that will gain momentum and make tomorrow much better."

He is such a...

I am...

Why can't he just...


And then the clincher, "And if you really hate it, think of the marital capital you'll have to beat on me."

(Oh, like I didn't already have enough.)

Fine, fine, FINE. I changed my clothes and packed my knitting and there we went. To a Hockey Game. On the Eve of Christmas Eve, with presents left to buy and wrap and cards left to send out and...BLOGGING to do.

And then, of course, it was perfectly fine. Nothing I would choose to do AGAIN, mind you, but we had seats about five rows off the ice, reserved parking (which meant VALET parking so I really did have curb service) and I got a LOT of knitting done.

Plus, the New York Islanders' fans were pretty funny, as people-watching goes. They are seriously die-hard, those fans. Everyone was wearing jerseys with "DiPietro" emblazoned on the back. I don't know who that is but he's got some very serious fans. (I'm less impressed with the sportsmanship involved in singing a little ditty that ends with "YOU SUCK!" after each Islander goal. Nice.)

Another thing that was lovely to watch was the large group of orthodox Jews sitting next to us, clearly a large extended family who seemed to be indulging in an annual hockey game ritual. There was a lot of hugging and laughter. (This did necessitate a long and hilarious conversation between Jane and me wherein I exposed my ignorance about the Jewish faith. I did manage to get SOME points across, as evidenced by Jane's full voice exclamation in horror, "NO CHRISTMAS???")

I don't know. I get my lessons in the oddest places. It made me realize that the point of this time of year, whatever you believe in or don't believe in, is spending time together with people you love.

Even if it's at a hockey game on the Eve of Christmas Eve.

Happy Holidays, everyone. May you all be blessed with friends and family or cuddles with orange tabbies.

PS: My entire Christmas tree is blinking! VICTORY IS MINE!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blame the Metric System

I woke up and discovered that I was filled with the spirit of the holidays.

I don't know what got into me but I just suddenly WAS.

Granted, my children were still sleeping and had yet to begin the Marathon Whining of the Housebound.

And granted, I was still in my pajamas. (Actually, I'm in my husband's pajamas. He's out of town and for some reason, when he goes out of town, I like to sleep in his pajamas. Is that weird?) (I mean, you do that, too, right?) (Don't answer.)

And granted, I had just taken my first sip of my first cup of coffee and it was PERFECT.

And granted, there is what looks like snow still on the ground. (It warmed up enough for everything to start melting yesterday but then froze hard last night so the white stuff only LOOKS like snow. I got the first real laugh of the day when I let my cow-dog Scout outside and he did his traditional galloping all around the perimeter of the ranch, only he couldn't get any traction so he looked like he had six hundred legs. Apparently, this is the stuff that amuses me a LOT. Also, then he came in and rubbed like a mad man all over the new carpet in the music room. Except it's NEW and really shedding still, so he'd roll over twice and then gag a little on the fuzz and then he'd roll around and do those contented moans and then...gag a little on the fuzz...)

But back to my good mood: Granted, I am completely caught up with my laundry. It turns out that if you want to warm/dry your children's snowy clothes, gloves, hats, coats and shoes on top of the dryer, you get caught up on all of your laundry in a hurry. Who knew?

(Despite a plethora of clean clothes, this is what Jane decided to wear today. I thought it was about the cutest thing ever, being as how we weren't leaving the house and no one would think I had dressed her like that on purpose and was some sort of Madonna-In-The-80's Freak.)
And granted, my husband gets back in town tonight after six long days away.

But all of a sudden, I was filled with Christmas spirit. I'm was as excited as Jane, and dudes, that is saying something.

I decided to bake some Christmas cookies because it didn't look like we'd be getting the car down the driveway TODAY either, what with it being covered with ice. (I took my husband's four-wheel-drive truck out yesterday and went to the grocery store and on the way BACK up the driveway, I hit a patch of ice and accidentally trenched the median flower garden between our house and our neighbor's house. Do you think they'll notice?) (I HAD to go--we were out of bread for Gabby Specials and oh-my-dear-holy-buckets, I did not want to break that news to one Jane Cooper. Not when she'd already eaten SIX of them that day.)

Anyway, I called my mom for the spritz cookie recipe from her great grandmother, as I do every year because I can never seem to write it down. She e-mailed it to me. (I would share it with you but I'm afraid my family will rise up and kill me.) It had the German measurements, which means it's metric, right? Only, see, the Germans seem to have successfully managed to meld the English system with the Metric system. Like, they have pounds. And the recipe called for one pound of flour so I measured out 1000 grams of flour which looked like an awful lot. I added it to my dough and my dough turned into, well, sand.

So, I called my mother. (Oh, hush. Like YOU wouldn't.)

She said, "But 500 grams is a pound. 1,000 grams would be a kilogram."

In response, I thought a very UN-Christmas-like word.

But okay then, I'll just double the recipe, thought I.

Two MORE sticks of butter.

So, then the batter was still kind of dry so I cut in another stick of butter. It was still too dry to do real spritz cookies but I used the cookie press to do some shapes.
"Happy Holidays from the Coopers! Sorry about your arteries!"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scout and the Snow

and other random things...

First of all, I have to apologize to all of the UPS people I maligned in my post yesterday and column (y'all didn't click on that column link, did you? Fine, don't mind me. I'll just be pouting over here over all that rhyming going to waste.) because last night, in a driving snow storm (well, okay, maybe it wasn't a DRIVING snow storm) in pitch dark, my doorbell rang. It was the UPS guy and he had RUN up our driveway carrying a package. His truck couldn't make it up the steep hill.

I said, "Oh my gosh, you didn't just run up that hill!"

And he said, "I had no choice!"

I felt terrible for him. (Especially because I practically need a defibrillator from just WALKING up the hill.) I wish I'd thought to offer him a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.

So, I'm sorry.

This morning, we are snowed in. It's LOVELY. It's more snow than I've seen since the last time I went skiing in 1997. I kept saying, "This is going to get old, right?" until Coop forbid me to say it anymore.

Because maybe it WON'T get old.

It's so beautiful.

Okay, so I sent Scout to get the paper this morning because, frankly? I'd rather have a huge hole in it than chance killing my gimpy self on our hill.

A pictorial:


Go get it, you good boy!


Stupid Dog.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can We Push Christmas Back a Few Weeks?

I'm running a little behind.


My daughter Jane (8) has been sick for roughly, oh, what feels like a YEAR now. Yesterday, we made our third visit to the doctor's office in ten days. First she had a sinus infection. Then she got a stomach bug on top of that, along with a nice five-day fever. She was so sick...she couldn't even eat for five days. She lost weight she didn't have to lose. But she pulled it together to go to school yesterday to perform in her Winter Concert.


It was...

About half way through, I shut the camcorder off and made my way to the front to take her offstage and home.

The kid was so miserable, it was PALPABLE. It was awful. It broke my heart.

So we went BACK to the doctor and found out that NOW she has an ear infection. More antibiotics.

Today? I am keeping her home because she needs to eat once an hour.

I'm SO not kidding.

Her stomach has shrunk so much that she can't eat the food she needs and she's operating at a big deficit already, so she's RAVENOUS. I am spending all of my time cooking for her. It would be hilarious but honestly, there's nothing so funny about having a sick child. Nevertheless, for your amusement, it's 2:00 PM and so far today, Jane has eaten:

3 Gabby Specials (Named after Jane's best friend at school, a Gabby Special is a piece of peanut butter toast with the crusts cut off. I tell Jane every single time that toast is ALL CRUST and she should just bite into it but she isn't buying it.)
1 doughnut
Farfalle Puglia, leftover from the Italian Restaurant we love

May I just have a moment on a totally different subject, though?

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote THIS COLUMN about my, um, ISSUES with UPS. Obviously, since Jane has been home sick and I have been housebound for ten solid days, I have done a LOT of shopping on-line. Including buying myself a new area rug for our living room because the one we had before had been dubbed the Sydney Rug of Shame during her incontinent phase and although it had been cleaned within an inch of removing all of the wool and just remaking the darn thing, every time I saw it, I thought about my old dog and how much I missed her.

So, I bought a new rug.

Today, I had one of my garage doors open while I was unloading some groceries and somehow, in between trips, a UPS truck snuck up my driveway and deposited a very large area rug in the empty bay where my car should go.

I had to pick up this 65-pound rug and haul it out of my garage and up to the front door, up the stairs and into the living room. Using my patented fall-on-my-face, skin-both-knees, moon-the-neighbors dismount, I got the darn thing inside and unrolled. I love it. Our furniture is all rearranged because of the Christmas Tree but you get the basic idea. Orange Tabby Approved!

Actually, I shouldn't be crabby with the UPS guys because, dudes, we're having our first real bonafide snowstorm! More about that later --the cry has gone out for another Gabby Special.

Blink-O-Meter: Only one strand still (stubbornly) not blinking, despite my overt threats to cut it into tiny pieces after Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Am Not Even Kidding

Just now, my husband was taking out the trash and I heard him walk to the door with it and then turn around and walk back.

"Can you explain?" he asked.

I looked up to see...

(Y'all, I am SO NOT KIDDING)

that the bag of trash he was holding was BLINKING.

You realize what this means, don't you?

Even my freaking TRASH has blinking lights.

But my Christmas Tree? I'd say about two-thirds of it is not blinking at all.

(The trash bag had a discarded child's toothbrush in it--you know the kind that blink for 90 seconds to signal how long to brush?)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Annual Christmas Freak-Out


It's ten days until Christmas.

I still have no ideas for a present for my loving spouse, mostly because he buys whatever he wants whenever he wants it and this leaves me buying him stuff he doesn't want. I have failed to communicate why this is a problem for me.

I have done no Christmas baking.

I do not yet have a good idea for our Christmas cards, nor a decent Christmas photo.

Jane (8) is STILL sick, this being weekend number two during which we made a trip to the doctor on Sunday morning. She hadn't even finished her bout of antibiotics before she caught a brand-spanking new stomach virus. She's had a fever since Friday and has eaten exactly two Popsicles in three days. (Which we got to see again in one form or another.) (Don't ask.)

Our basement flooded during recent rains and, well, stinks now.

My husband has been home exactly ten whole minutes that I've been awake in the last week.

Despite all of these things, I would still have maintained my usual boundless and, well, totally not-based-in-reality optimism except that MY CHRISTMAS TREE IS CONSPIRING AGAINST ME.

No, I know what you're thinking but it is definitely a plot. A PLOT, I tell you. A plot to drive me out of my freaking mind, that's what it is.

See, every year, my husband asks only that our tree have blinking lights on it. It's a simple request and given that he won't be getting some sort of newfangled electronic gizmo from me under the tree (last time I tried that, he unwrapped it and burst out laughing) and given that he pretty much has everything else he might possibly need (although he has apparently lost his round metal circle) I figure the least I can do for him is to keep the tree full of magical blinking lights.


they won't all blink!

And not only that, but they stop blinking and start blinking without any rhyme or reason. As soon as I think I've isolated which strand is not blinking, I try to sneak up on it with a replacement red-tipped bulb. I reach for the strand and POOF, it starts blinking and another one stops.

If I could figure out how to take a video of this and post it, I would.

Because I'm sure no one out there believes that my Christmas tree is trying to bring me to the edge of madness.

IT IS, THOUGH! SO full of hatred and spite for such a nice tree.

On the other hand, the giant phallic ...symbol I have wrapped in lights in the front yard for all the world to see? Remember that? Remember THOSE lights?

THOSE lights are mysteriously blinking like crazy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Calling Elvis

Have y'all seen Spinal Tap? There's this scene in it when our intrepid band is lost backstage and trying to find the stage and they keep coming around corners and saying, "Helloooo, CLEVELAND!" and then it turns out they are at yet another dead end.

I think that may be a sign.

SO, having successfully freaked out over my eye shot (The idea was worse than the reality, in the end. Actually, the WORST part ended up being the feeling I had afterward when I felt like I had a truckload of sand in my eye and I couldn't do anything about it. I was so miserable as soon as the kids went to bed, so did I. The next day, no sand but, um, also? No improvement in my vision. I'm just... PRAYING I don't have to have another shot in five weeks because, as y'all so eloquently put it...EEEWWWWWWWW!), I have been thinking.

Well, okay, obsessing a bit. I have three other posts in the works about my parents' visit and missing my old dog Sydney and how the Blink-o-Meter is back on and so far, I am winning. (Oh yeah, oh yeah, I rule...I...dang, is that a strand out? An entire strand? Freaking cheap freaking twinkling freaking lights...grrrr.)

But while all of this holiday craziness has been going on, I've been running a sub-process about this year and trying to figure out what exactly I'm supposed to be learning from it. Because, y'all? It has kind of... well... SUCKED being me this year. (Please don't send me e-mails telling me that there are people out there with REAL problems and that I should get a grip. I'm not comparing what I've been through to people who have faced life-threatening illnesses or the deaths of loved ones or things of real magnitude, obviously. I know how blessed I am. I have my family and my good marriage and a fairly reliable Internet connection. And for all my (endlessly detailed) mental instability, my sense of humor is intact, for which I give thanks daily.)

Still, this hasn't been my best year. Oddly enough, it doesn't really have anything to do with the move across country, although the move from Texas to New York did highlight some of the areas of my life that have changed drastically. I used to have the energy of six people--honestly. I would have had us unpacked and meeting the neighbors within about two weeks. But here it is, nearly nine months later and we're not unpacked. While I have met my neighbors, I have yet to form the friendships in our community that would, um, MAKE THIS A COMMUNITY for me. I'm not very mobile. I'm overweight and way, way out of shape.

I think most of it has to do with just being in pain all the time. The biggest difference in my life today from what my life was two years ago is that, well, I haven't taken a single step without pain in that time. Which kind of just...grinds the Elvis right out of you, you know?

I miss my Elvis.

I think my husband, who is the most nurturing, loving, supportive, patient man on this planet, misses my Elvis, too. I mean, imagine marrying the Elvis of the 50's and waking up one day to the Elvis of the 70's.

Dudes, I'm AFRAID to go to the BATHROOM.

(Okay, so, um, I'm sorry about that. It's just that... well, how often do I get to make Elvis jokes? Sorry. Really. I couldn't resist. I tried.) (Sort of.)

Actually, I'm not even Elvis in the 70's. I'm like an Elvis IMPERSONATOR from the 70's. It's just NOT GOOD.

So, the thing about being at the mercy of your body and pain is that it makes you (well, ME) feel tentative and muted in almost every other area of my life. And that becomes a really vicious cycle because the less outgoing I am--the more I hide in my house--the more tentative and invisible I feel. So, here I am, two years into this thing, and I can't think of one redeeming quality about myself. I can't think of anything I ADD to our quality of life as a family.

Which makes me very, very sad.

The thing is, though, that I am not a quitter. And things are bad now for me but I honestly believe it will turn around. The conclusion I'm coming to, though, is that I have to MAKE it turn around. I can't just sit here waiting to wake up with my Elvis ready to do the Jailhouse Rock.

I don't know exactly what this means yet, but I will tell you that I saw my great friend Miraculous Laurie today and we're going to start taking Yoga classes together. And I'm going to start pursuing some less mainstream alternatives to my pain issue. And I'm going to force myself into that rhinestone suit I wore in Las Vegas... oops, sorry, that was just for Coop.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Cross my Heart and Hope to Die




Pardon me for being overly dramatic. (No, really...Moi?)

But here's the thing: today I had to go to the retina specialist again for my funky eye spot that not only is NOT better, seems much worse.

There's a reason for that.

It IS much worse. In fact, there's BLOOD around my retina now and also? I am growing this membrane (idiopathic choroidal neovascular memberane--for those of you Googling at home) that is normally found in people 30 to 40 years older than I.

Yes, once again, proof that my body somehow aged forty years one night while I was sleeping, leaving me with an adolescent's yearning for love and acceptance housed in my own 80-year-old body.

Think about it--it explains so much.

But that's not even the POINT of this blog post. (Warning: prepare for massive overuse of capital letters now.)

The POINT of this blog post is to tell you that the treatment for this weird bleeding membrane is a SHOT IN THE EYE.

As in, a NEEDLE in MY EYE.


Y'all. I think I am freaking out.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jane Writes Humor

So, yesterday, Jane (8) started a new story on the computer upstairs. She kept making herself laugh, so she would copy down snippets from her story
and come downstairs to read them to me. (I don't mean to say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree but when I was writing the blog post about our unfortunate symbol in Christmas lights, I was laughing out loud.) At any rate, I'm just warning you that when I read this I was eating my breakfast and cereal almost came out of my nose.

The Amazing Night

By Jane Cooper

Table of continents:
1. The animals that are out at night
2. Learn about the night
3. Certain nights
4. Reminder
5. There are some rules in this book, you know.
6. A note from the author
7. About the Author

The animals that are out at night

There are a lot of animals out, at night. Let me get this straight. I am NOT going to list all of them. Okay, let’s move on.


Raccoons are a very fierce part of nature. There are MILLIONS in the world. You may think a raccoon to be fuzzy and cuddly. Most of all, you think a raccoon to be a GREAT pet. NO, you are really wrong. Raccoons are very fierce and mean. Stay away from any raccoons you see. If a raccoon is sick, or badly injured, you may need to get an adult to take it to a vet.

NOTE: Moles are also out in the day.

I must say Moles are quite fascinating. Moles are mysterious little balls of fur that live UNDERGROUND. Please do not be startled, or scared, of our Moles. Moles are VERY rare sights to see. Just last year I saw a Mole scampering across the yard and turned into a star. Kidding! He just RAN and I mean RAN into the woods. He was chubby. Moles are slow runners. So don’t catch one, or you’ll be repaid by Bandages.


In the night Owls come out. They hide from you in the day. Owls cry one word, WHO… WHO… WHO… Owls are very sad Birds. There is a saying…they wanted to be out at night and had a Lon-n-n-n-n-g neck, with red feathers. But today they are the colors of the Earth, and have NO neck at all.
Watch out for The Owl.

Learn About the Night

NO. Let’s learn about the night LATER. And I MEAN it. First a note. PLEASE DO NOT EVER CLOSE THISE BOOK IN THE MITTLE OF READING IT! Okay, let’s move on.


The night is made out of different chemicals in the atmosphere. Night comes when the earth is tired of looking at the sun and turns away. Kidding! The sun has had 12 hours of turning a little foot an hour. The sun sets at about 5:00 PM. Be kind to the night. Be thankful that it lets you get some sleep for once.

Certain Nights

Certain nights are difficult to explain. We will start this Chapter in a minute or two. Please stand by.

Okay, I’m ready let’s move on.

We now start certain Nights.

Well, first of all, certain nights only come in certain PLACES. For example… in Alaska, the sun only comes up for… hmmm… five minutes a day.

We are now DONE with this chapter.


Remember how I told you to ever, NOT EVER put this book down while not finished? Well… That’s the Reminder for today.

Moving on now.

There are some rules in this book you know.

Rule number 1: BUY THIS BOOK!
We are now done with this book. Please put it down and read it again.
Thank You!!
The End This is page: 10

A note from the auther
Thank you very much for reading this wonderful book. It has some silly parts in it, but over all, I want to know what you think of my ideas. Read the next page and find out where I live. You can E-mail me at! Thank you again!

The author,

Jane Cooper

About the author

Jane Cooper is 8 years old, and lives in a new house in Huntington NY. This is only her first book, she will right many more! Look for books at your school library, and find out more information about Jane. Jane will soon be older and able to write R rated books. Read this book about her, and I MEAN IT.

The above is an unabridged and unchanged work and all of it is copyrighted by Jane Cooper. I wouldn't mess with her if I were you. Moving on...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

SO Unplugging THAT

So, my neighbor's house looks like this: (Click to enlarge their delightful Christmas light display.)

And then we have the Coopers' house, sitting up on the hill, shining that for all to see.

Maybe people will think it's a cigar.