The scriptwriters got it right

Liz Sheridan: This is me, Johnny. remember?

Captain John Sheridan (her brother): I'm sorry. I just ... I ... uhhh ... seeing you again brings it all back.

I know. That's why I'm here. Nothing has really been the same between us, not since Anna passed away.

I need more time. That's all.

Johnny. It's been 2 years!

Then why do I still have to remind myself that she's gone?
Why, when I see something interesting on the news, I'll say to myself, "Oh, I gotta remember to mention this to Anna later on!"
Sometimes I will turn to say something to her. She's not there, but just for a second I don't know why she's not there.
And then I remember. I miss her, Liz. I miss her and love her as much right now as I did when she was still here

I know. It's not easy. She was my friend for a lot a longer than you were married to her, and I miss her too. But if she were here right now she would be mad as hell at you. She would want you to get on with your life and stop burying yourself in your work.

It's not about work!

... later ...

Dammit Liz, It's my fault she's not here... I'm responsible for her being on that ship in the first place... I was too busy. Too damn busy.
Right after I canceled she took that science job on the Icarus. Just a 2-week survey. Said she'd be back before I even noticed she was gone.
Well she didn't come back, and I've been noticing she's gone every minute of every day.

You can't blame yourself, Johnny

Yes I can! If I hadn't canceled out, she'd be here right now.
But the thing is, the real killer is ... When we used to talk to each other long distance, we would say 'I love you' at the end. The last time I talked to her, I was rushed, and I didn't say it. I didn't even realize it.
And I figured I'd make it up to her later on. I never even got to say goodbye to her.
Ohhh, Lizzy, I miss her. I just didn't want her to go without telling her I loved her, one last time.

Babylon 5, season 2, "Revelations," 1994

A Day in the Life

Monday, April 29, 2008

6:15 a.m. Turn off alarm clock; reheat yesterday's coffee; wake up boys; give them breakfast and tell them to get dressed; make snacks and lunches for school; get myself dressed; tell boys to get dressed NOW dammit; gulp cold coffee; pile boys into car.

7:12 a.m. Leave the house 7 minutes later than I like to. Studiously ignore Rock's increasingly loud shouts of VOLUME because he wants to hear the lyrics to Yellow Submarine.

7:15 a.m. Gladly turn up the volume (and restart the song) when Rock says, Mommy will you please turn up the volume?

7:40 a.m. Drop the boys off and turn around to go home.

7:50 a.m. Sob uncontrollably during The Long and Winding Road.

8:05 a.m. Get home and heat another cup of coffee. Load and run the dishwasher. Check email. Put on clothes suitable for taking Mother to chemo and volunteering at the boys' school.

8:55 a.m. Leave to pick Mother up for chemo.

9:30 a.m. Arrive at clinic. Sit with Mother in the waiting room. Sit with Mother in the treatment room, waiting some more. Have tearful conversation about whether "it" ever makes sense, about Nick, about death. You know I don't mind dying, she says. It's this life I have to live (gesturing at the tubes, her ports, the drugs) that is so hard. Yeah, I get that. I totally get it. But that's why we do it, because we have to.

10:15 a.m. Go to hardware store to buy all kinds of crap that I don't need but that will distract me from my life ... a long-handled window-washing squeegee, bird seed, wire line to hang the feeder from to keep it away from the chipmunks, chains and clasps to make a ladder over the fence into the wash.

11:00 a.m. Arrive at boys' school to sign off on financial aid grant for next school year. (I love this school, btw -- they are amazing people and they have been so good to the boys and me.) Head to the cafeteria for lunch duty. Ooops, lunch is outside this week, because the book fair is in the cafeteria, I mean, the "multipurpose room." Police the yard, picking up wind-blown trash and helping kids open their milk and chips and cookies and and and. Wipe down tables as the kids leave.

11:30 a.m. Mother calls, the chemo session will be done half an hour earlier than I expected (because Mother asked them to pump it in faster so she can get home to let the window washer into her house).

11:50 a.m. Make my apologies to the lunch manager for leaving early and head off to pick up Mother.

12:30 p.m. Arrive at Mother's house. Fetch her mail, help her take off her jacket and shoes. Make her lunch. Check the fridge for food that needs to be thrown out.

1:00 p.m. Home. Collapse. Send snarky response to an email from a friend who didn't deserve it. Realize I'm hungry and haul myself out of the chair to heat up leftover pasta and veggies. Pick up some of the debris left from having sick household for 5 days. Scoop drowned pack rat out of pool and toss it into the wash (the wash behind our house, not the wash in the laundry basket).

2:15 p.m. Get back in the car to fetch the boys from school.

2:50 p.m. Pull out book and read for 10 minutes while in the pickup line.

3:01 p.m. Head home, studiously ignoring requests to go to Trader Joe's, McDonalds, Chipotle, wherever.

3:04 p.m. Turn on The Hobbit to silence the boys.

3:40 p.m. Home again. Tell Rock he can go swimming after he does his homework. Help him shuffle through 4 days of school papers, identifying makeup work and unobtrusively trashing classwork.

4:30 p.m. Pull back cover from pool and putter in the backyard while Rock has a blast jumping, splashing, swimming, screeching. Hang bird feeder from wire, fill bird feeder, fill birdbath. Check on HardPlace while he does his homework.

5:15 p.m. Head inside after struggling with pool cover. Tell Rock that the next time he asks to swim, I will say no, because he didn't stay to help me with the cover. Focus on HardPlace's homework, cracking the whip and offering help as appropriate.

6:10 p.m. Dinner? I have no idea. Let me see.

6:11 p.m. Pour myself one nice big glass of wine

6:35 p.m. Serve baked potatoes, leftover chicken, cauliflower, and a cucumber-tomato salad.

6:41 p.m. Clear the plates and settle in to watch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with the boys.

8:30 p.m. Send the boys to bed.

8:35 p.m. Send the boys back to bed. Watch the end of House.

9:00 p.m. Put on another disc of season 1 of Babylon 5. Ten minutes into it, realize that the disc (brand new, never watched, though purchased in 2004) is hopelessly scratched and even cracked.

9:40 p.m. Having loaded iTunes and downloaded the episodes on the busted disc, take my laptop to bed and watch 3 episodes of B5.

12:20 a.m. Curse myself for being a fool to stay up so late; turn off the light; turn on the alarm; fall asleep before I know it.

The Long and Winding Road

Driving home from taking the boys to school, enjoying the CD: Something, Come Together, Let It Be ... Halfway through this song, I utterly break down, sobbing for my Nicholas. Sobbing.

I suppose I should draw comfort from knowing -- KNOWING -- that no matter how long, now matter how winding, the road will lead me to his door.


Louisiana mentioned fruity recently, here he is chewing a dandelion leaf. Don't ever let it be said you don't get excitement on this blog.

They grow up so quickly.

Here we go again

Rock had a fever of 102.8 on Tuesday and has been home since then. It's been hovering around 100 -- high enough to keep him out of school, but not high enough to reduce his energy output. I've had a low-grade fever since Tuesday, right around 99.8 -- high enough to feel crummy, but not high enough to complain about being sick.

The last time anyone in the house got sick, I wound up running an infirmary for 3 weeks, with one or more of us having a fever every single day. I am hoping hoping hoping that HardPlace doesn't get this and that Rock and I get well quickly.

Jane and Pierre left on a 3-week vacation to Turkey on Tuesday: Since Rock and I are contagious, Mother is on her own. This is not good, because the first week of the 3-week cycle is really awful for her: She's struggling and I can't go over and help. She CANNOT risk getting whatever virus I'm carrying. Damn I hate this. I really do.


A senior citizen drove his brand new BMW convertible out of the car salesroom. Taking off down the motorway, he floored it to 90mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left. 'Amazing!' he thought as he flew down the M40, enjoying pushing the pedal to the metal even more. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a police car behind him, blue lights flashing and siren blaring. 'I can get away from him - no problem!' thought the elderly nutcase as he floored it to 110mph, then 120, then 130mph.
Suddenly, he thought, 'What on earth am I doing? I'm too old for this nonsense!' So he pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the police car to catch up with him. Pulling in behind him, the police officer walked up to the driver's side of the BMW, looked at his watch and said, 'Sir, my shift ends in 10 minutes. Today is Friday and I'm taking off for the weekend. If you can give me a reason why you were speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go.' The man looked very seriously at the policeman, and replied, 'Years ago, my wife ran off with a policeman. I thought you were bringing her back.' 'Have a good day, Sir,' said the policeman.

The things you do for your kids

The kids went to see Alvin & the Chipmunks at the cinema a while ago so naturally when they saw it advertised on video, they wanted it. We had seen it advertised at £9.99 at Morrisons so headed off there to get it, but they had sold out, now 4 year olds don't really understand the concept of "sold out" so naturally Harry became upset, crying and wailing. As a parent, what do you do?, yes you head off to the next supermarket, knowing you will have to pay more, but the kids will be happy. So off we go to the next supermarket, ASDA, promising Harry that he will get his Alvin & the Chipmunks DVD, no problem. Except ASDA have also sold out, cue more wailing and screeching. So, as a parent, what do you do?, yes, you head to the biggest of all the supermarkets, Tesco's at St Stephen's knowing they must have it in stock, and you tell Harry that they will have it, no problem. You arrive at Tesco's and you park up, I get out of the car, no point in all of us going, and I actually find myself running, which is crazy, because they will have loads left. I get into the store and go up the escalator and head for the DVD section, and there in front of me is the one remaining copy of Alvin & the Chipmunks, but then I notice the little girl in the wheelchair slowly stretching up, so as a parent, what do you think I did?


My mother has always commented on my weight. And I have always hated it, because I have always struggled with it. However, she said something on Saturday that I have to thank her for. I figured out why you've put on so much weight since you moved here. [Oh, great. I can't wait to hear this...] You're not going up and down the stairs all day every day. [... Wow. She's right!]

This house in Arizona is all on one level. My house in Maryland has 3 stories, and I would go from top to bottom countless times every day. I tried counting once, and lost track around 23 or 24 -- and that was before lunch. I haven't changed my diet much since getting to Arizona, but my level of physical activity has plummeted. Bingo.

I stopped by the little gym a mile from home the other day. Personal trainers, target goals, etc. Sounds great, just what I need. For a mere $50-$100 per session -- per session. And no, you can't just go and use the equipment when you want to. The next-closest gym is 6 miles away, and that simply isn't going to happen, if for no other reason than that I can't leave the kids alone for an hour and more.

So, I'm dusting off my ellipticiser and committing myself to going up and down the stairs in Maryland three times at least three times a day... setting the resistance at level 10. It's not much, I know, but it's a start and it's better than nothing.


Did the kids enjoy their new trampoline?, see what you think

Update on my mom

She starts her penultimate* chemo cycle tomorrow. She was supposed to start this past week, but her white blood cell count was too high. (The Friday before each 3-week cycle is to begin, she has a blood draw, to make sure that she's recovered from the previous cycle enough to begin the next one.) I'm glad she didn't start the cycle, because it gave her an extra week to recover, and by this weekend she was actually feeling pretty good.

In two weeks, Alicia, when I'm feeling like hell, remind me of how good I feel today.

I will. I know that you will need to hear that "you will not always feel the way you do now."

We all, widowed or not, need to hear those words sometimes. My widowed friends will recognize that quote as one of the mantras of widowhood. Those who have walked the road for some time use it to reassure those who are new to the pain and misery.

More disturbing than the too-high white blood cell count is that her cancer marker count was also higher than it had been 3 weeks ago. The nurse who gave her the report on the phone tried to reassure her that it didn't mean anything, that the count fluctuates from one day to the next, but Mother didn't believe her. She'll meet with the oncologist tomorrow before the chemo session starts, and we'll get all the facts then.

My sister, Jane, and I have a weekly coffee clache when we do nothing and talk about nothing. We solve extra hard sudoku puzzles together (if you're a fan, you must try windoku!) and gripe and giggle about various family members.
Jane: Mother got several pages of information about the effects of chemo from the pharmacist last week...

Alicia: Yeah, she told me about that. She was so glad to read that her fatigue was normal and that there was nothing wrong with her.

Exactly. Then she went on to tell me that according to this information, there are certain things her friends and family should be doing for her ... cleaning her house, grocery shopping. I told Mother she should get that woman back in to do the housekeeping for her, but she said the woman's prattle makes her crazy and the chemicals bother her. And "besides, it's something my friends and family should be doing."

Yowza! As if we don't do enough for her as it is!

We all know that at some point she'll move into my house, but
Pierre would divorce me if I started cleaning her bathroom now.

Do you know what she told me she learned from the info packet? That she should be doing as much for herself as possible. That she needed to push herself to do household chores. That making herself work was important for her recovery.

You have got to be kidding me! And I get a list of what her friends and family should be doing??!!

Jane and I really had to laugh as we tried to wrap our minds around the contradictions, the different messages our mother gives us. It's really unbelievable at times. Yup. My life has become a zebra.

* I love that word and never get to use it. I know that loving it and using it make me an intellectual elitist -- and I'm dang proud of that! It's a condition much to be preferred over its opposite.


We saw this sign at Dalby Forest recently and Harry was very disappointed that there weren't any frogs crossing. have you ever noticed that, when you see a sign it usually means you won't see something. When was the last time you went past a sign on the road with a deer on it and then saw one?. Anyway, we did see some mating toads, which I guess is close, and it was interesting to see the difference between frog spawn and toad spawn. This weekend, if the weather is fine we will be putting up an 8 foot trampoline in the garden, hopefully it will come with an 8 foot ladder to get on it.

Problem solved

I figured out how to use the recording feature on my laptop -- no small feat since it doesn't appear anywhere in the documentation (online or paper). While the boys were at school, I recorded 26 pages of The Hobbit, including Bilbo's entire encounter with Gollum. I enjoyed myself, and the boys were delighted when I pulled out the laptop in the car.

I will still try to retrieve the disc. Ron suggested that I try to fish it out with duct tape on a wire hanger. That's probably my best bet. Rob, I'm afraid you are mistaken about where it has fallen: It really did go down behind the CD changer frame, behind the paneling in the trunk. There's no easy access to it.

The Hobbit on CD ...

Does anybody have the unabridged reading of The Hobbit by Robert Inglis? If so, could you PLEASE burn a copy of disc 3 and send it to me right away?

Guess where my disc 3 is. Nope. Guess again. You are SO wrong.

My disc 3 is in the car, because that's where the boys and I listen to books, during our 25-minute drive to and from school. But it is literally inside the car. Disc 3 managed to fall behind the cd changer; I touched it briefly and then it slipped down into the frame of the car, between the trunk and the wheel well -- or somewhere in that vicinity.

I'll fill in the gap by reading to them myself in the evenings until I catch up to disc 4, which they used to enjoy. I hope they let me.

Yup. My life has become a zebra.

duty, n.

1. something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation
2. an action or task required by a person's position or occupation; function
3. the respectful and obedient conduct due a parent, superior, elder, etc.
4. an act or expression of respect
5. a task or chore that a person is expected to perform
6. the military service required of a citizen by a country
7. a payment, service, etc., imposed and enforceable by law or custom
8. bowel movement (baby talk)
Thank you, Ali, for your comment on yesterday's post. It really helped me frame what is going on in my life.

I am consumed by duty and duties. I am fulfilling my duties to my family -- both in the broad sense of "this is what family does" and in the specific sense of loving my mother, sister, children. I am fulfilling my social duties: filing taxes, volunteering at the boys' school, negotiating playtime rules with the moms in the neighborhood. I am fulfilling my household duties: keeping food in the cupboard and on the table and keeping laundry, dishes, floors, and toilets clean.

I truly don't mind any of this (well, except for that eternal pile of laundry). But there is precious little joy in my life, joy in the deepest sense of utter well-being and gratitude. I am grateful for so much, for this time with my mother and sister -- we are having wonderful times as family. In spite of all the bowel movements (definition 8!) swirling around us, we have a good life filled with love. But joy seems absent. My life has become a zebra.

My life

I feel like I should write a long post bringing y'all up to date on the goings on around here, but I'm just not interested in it. I'm not interested in my life and I'm not interested in writing about it.

Maybe I'll just do some quick untitled posts over the next several days. Maybe.

I will, however, leave you with this realization: My life has become a zebra. Maybe I'll explain that over the next several days. Maybe I won't.


Hahahaha... Wez thought it would be a good idea to cut his hair on his own..

See what happens when u cant see the back of your head...

Weekend Full Of Fun

Well Friday started off with a bang...

We started at CoolRunnings where every one was looking a bit down from a long week at work... But the vibe soon picked up and we were all back on track for a great weekend..

After Cools we headed to Zeps...

Oh Ye and I had a hair cut on Friday too.. (Cuz Mandy refused to cut it for me)


The kids had fun and Dad gets to play with his camera.


B in Boston tagged me with a five-facts meme.

First, the rules:
1. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
2. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment letting them know they've been tagged and to ask them to play along and to read your blog.

What I was doing 10 years ago - 1998
1. Learning how to be a mom! HardPlace was born in February 1998; in April, I was still breathless with delight.
2. Missing the gym; before HardPlace's arrival, I was at the gym 5 days a week. Ten years later, and I still haven't gotten back into that routine. I tried for a while, but it just didn't happen.
3. Building a friendship with Taina ... her older son is a year older than HardPlace, and I met her when she was pushing the stroller through our neighborhood. HardPlace gave me an excuse to go down to her house and visit with her. Ten years of friendship, Taina, and I am so glad!!
4. Going on a leave of absence from my job, so I could get paid for the accumulated sick leave, even though I knew I would not be going back to work. It took long enough to bring a baby into our family that I was not going to miss a moment of it.
5. I can't think of anything else... I guess having an infant in the house took over my life.

Five things on my to-do list today
1. Fold laundry (like B, I always have this on my to-do list)
2. Take my mom to the grocery store (already done, but hey...)
3. Put my pay-it-forward things into envelopes for mailing
4. Fill out the financial aid form for next school year
5. Put my Federal tax return into an envelope for mailing -- I get a refund; the State return, with payment, can wait until the 14th!

Snacks I enjoy
1. Bananas
2. Sweet Tarts, Gummi Bears, Jelly Beans -- that whole family of pure sugar
3. Ice cream
4. Nachos
5. Popcorn

Things I would do if I were a billionaire
1. Buy acres of land on the Sonoma Coast in California ... ocean, hills, meadows, redwoods, streams ... and build my dream house with an accompanying
2. Retreat center, large enough for all my widowed friends to come and stay whenever they want for as long as they want
3. Hire a full-time housekeeper for my house (who also does all the laundry)
4. Donate to charities I care about
5. Travel regularly

Five of my bad habits
1. I am messy
2. I am on the computer way too often
3. I leave laundry unfolded until it gets worn
4. I eat junk food
5. I leave the dirty pots and pans until morning, or afternoon, or the next night, or the next morning

Five places I have lived
1. Cambridge, Massachusetts (when I was 2-3)
2. Dallas, Texas (ages 4-6 and 7-17)
3. Evanston and Chicago, Illinois (ages 17-24)
4. Washington, DC, and suburban Maryland (ages 24-46)
5. Where I live now, Marana, Arizona
I left off having been born in Glendale, California, and having lived for one year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Five jobs I've had
1. Writer-editor, editorial supervisor, editing instructor
2. Director of Administrative Services for a national nonprofit organization
3. Conference Administrator for an international human rights organization
4. Camp director in inner-city Chicago
5. Waitress -- one stint at a local pizza joint and one at a 4-star steak house

Five people I tag
Stella, Natasha, Lisa, Ali, and Anja -- who doesn't blog but is a very interesting person.

We went to the seaside but the natives weren't too friendly.