Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The One With the Giveaway!!!!!

For the seventh day of my photo challenge, here are the five favorite photos, as most nominated by the few of you who check in every day or two. I think it’s funny that you like the grandma shoes! I gave you less than 24 hours to nominate a photo, so if you still want to weigh in and express an opinion, please feel free.

Now, here is the fun part. I’m doing a Giveaway to celebrate the 5000th hit on my blog… By commenting on this post, you will get one entry. If you link to my giveaway in your blog (just let me know), you will get a second entry, and if you agree to do the week-long PW photo challenge like I did, you get yet another. You should try the photo challenge…it was really fun! It made me look around and see things differently, and it made me get my camera out and dust it off. Digital photos are virtually free…so why don’t I take more pictures? And for heaven's sake...if you don't have a blog, comment anyway! You don't even need a Google ID to leave comments on my blog. But don't be anonymous, or I can't give you a prize.

Details of the Giveaway. There are two packages:

1. Photo Package. This is only redeemable in Southern California, so if you don’t live here, and don’t plan to visit here, don’t choose this one. It is a photo shoot. I will take pictures of you, or your kids, or your dog, or your motorcycle, or whatever you want. I will spend some time in Photoshop and do some cool effects for you. I won’t remove all your wrinkles…maybe some…but I will definitely remove any pre-cancerous growths and then show you the before and after, so that you will run in fright to the dermatologist to have them removed for real. I know you think I’m kidding…but I once photoshopped this old guy… okay, too much information. Then I will post your favorite photos from the shoot on my blog (only if you want) and I will provide you with your digital negatives.

2. Domestic Goddess Package: This one will find you, via expedited delivery, anywhere you live. It includes a sexy 50s-style apron (you must provide your own high-heeled shoes), my favorite cookbook (the one that makes me feel like a rockstar in the kitchen: Barefoot Contessa Parties), a loaf of fresh homemade bread and the best chocolate chip cookies in the world…enough to share, but I don’t recommend it.

I will draw for two winners, and each winner will have his or her choice of one of the packages. Even if both winners choose the same package, I will comply with the requests. I will draw at 5:00 p.m. PST this Sunday, April 4th. Good luck!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day Six: The One Where She Went to a Biker Bar? Della, This One’s For You; Oh, and Pick a Favorite

Yes. A biker bar.

Each week we don our Sunday best and head out to church. And each week, on our way, we pass scores of motorcyclists wending their way to Cook’s Corner, located about three miles from our house down a winding narrow road through Live Oak Canyon. There are always bikers there, as it is the most famous biker hang-out in Orange County...but on Sundays they come out in droves, completing a 12-mile circuit from Laguna Beach.

Yesterday I thought to myself, I should go down and catch a couple of quick photos for my photo challenge. I enjoyed the adventure. My only regret was that I didn’t have the nerve to ask a couple of the aging hippies in the parking lot if I could take their picture. Ah, well, another day. As it is, I enjoyed looking at the beautiful bikes. There is not a surface in my house as pristine as these bike engines...

So Della, when you get your bike fixed up, you’ll have to join the Ladies Who Ride…

NOW: Do me a favor, y'all. In the comments section here, nominate your favorite photo from the last week's posts... In fact...you can choose from any post on the blog. Although there are a few photos on here that I pulled off the internet...but you can probably tell which they are:) Today my blog counter rolled over 5,000 hits since I started counting back in the end of November! I would like to celebrate tomorrow with a little fun giveaway announcement. So nominate your favorite, even if someone else already did... PLEASE???

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day Five: The Sunday One, With All the Jewels

I am not sure, as I am writing this, that I feel entirely equal to the task. But I am going to try, just the same. I actually shot a set of photos for today that are very much for fun…(for my PW art challenge) but I realized as I got ready to post them, that they were not the photos I wanted to post on a Sunday. Instead I wanted to share some different thoughts.

I am a pretty private person. I know…I have this blog. But let’s face it. I can share bits and pieces of things, here; I never have to share my soul…and only now and again do I actually do so. When I do, you know it. I had this conversation with a friend, recently. I told her that I was considering sharing an occasional spiritual experience on my blog. She said, “Maybe you do like other people do, and you have a private blog for those things, that you only invite family to.” I considered that, and we both came to the same conclusion. No. If I can brag about my kids, poke fun at my lack of housekeeping and show you where I lay my head at night, then why can’t I tell you how I really see things?

What I have been thinking about the most today is feeling the Spirit. An integral belief in my faith, is that each of us is entitled to the companionship of the Holy Ghost, who can do many things for us: comfort, guide us to know what is right and wrong, inspire, bring peace, testify of truth… and the things we have to do in order to exercise this gift, are a) to ask; and b) to live the commandments in order to be personally worthy of the gift. Those requirements are so small, compared to the gift that is offered.

I realized today that over the last several months, I have felt the Spirit in each of these capacities, numerous times…maybe more than I have in all the rest of my life. I think that part of the reason for that is that I have needed it more in the last few months. I have a great life, but there have been challenges, setbacks and disappointments just the same. Something that I love about the doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is that when Jesus suffered to atone for each of us, he was not just atoning for our sins. He was also taking upon him each of our disappointments. Our illnesses. Betrayals and offences. All the many things that are not our fault…that are beyond our ability to control, but that can bring us low and make us despair. What that means to me, is that through that power of the Atonement, we can pray for comfort and answers, and receive them, through the Holy Ghost.

The way the Spirit feels to me, is a sensation of warmth and positive emotion that fills my heart. It is such a healing sensation, that as I look back over the last few months, I can barely remember the setbacks and disappointments, because they have been erased and replaced by the feeling of the Spirit. I love that Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and that when I begin to stray from it, I feel prompted to move back onto the right path. For me, that is especially important when I face choices between one good thing and another. It is easier, sometimes, to choose between good and evil…the proper choice is so obvious. But in order to follow God’s plan for me, I often have the more difficult choice of good and good. I have so often, over the past months, felt that I have been moved to do things for which I did not immediately see a purpose. But as the plan emerges, the purposes become clear.

The song that I finished a few weeks ago, called “This Is My Life,” incorporates many of these ideas. First of all, the idea that the Savior has atoned for our hurts and disappointments…and secondly that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. It is a basic principle of my religion that Heavenly Father knows each of us personally, as his own child, and that he has a plan and a mission for us, that is just our own.

There is a talk by Elder Richard G. Scott, an apostle in my church, in which he talks about this principle. He says, “Were you to know His entire plan, you would never ask for that which is contrary to it, even though your feelings tempt you to do so.” So often, we want what we want…but if we submit to the plan that Heavenly Father has for us, that is the way to true happiness. That was the main idea of the song…that if we could see just the tiniest glimpse of that plan, that we would see how beautiful it is! The imagery that came into my mind when I was writing it was something like being in a plane at night, looking down at a large city. If you have ever done that, you know how beautiful it is… I can picture it now…strands of glittering jewels laid out on a field of black velvet…each jewel representing another blessing that Heavenly Father has reserved just for you.

I wrote the song for my friend Janna, who was going through a particularly hurtful divorce that was no fault of her own. I don’t know if there is another kind of divorce, actually. But as I was writing that song, I felt an outpouring of the Spirit, helping me to know the things to write about, and to see the imagery that I would want to include. I am so grateful for that inspiration. I feel quite unworthy of it, but the memory of it still burns in my soul, so I wanted to share these thoughts with you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on a single one of the jewels that has been laid out for me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day Four: The One in Which She Dared to Dream, or Welcome to the Inner Sanctum

So I woke up this morning (admittedly, at a shockingly late time of the morning) and thought to myself, I know what I want to photograph today! Usually, I would prefer to photograph people. But today I can pull inspiration from my environment. The only problem is… and it is a big one…I may have to make a couple of clean spots in order to do it.

I wanted to photograph a couple of favorite things in my home. And then it struck me: What if I actually made my bed today? Wait wait wait wait wait what if I washed the sheets and then made the bed? What a concept. And then, incredibly, I made it happen. Dare to dream, people…dare to dream.

A few of DK's favorite things:

Along with some of mine...

Friday, March 27, 2009

The One With the Bad Way to Go

It’s called “fronting.” That’s what Skippy’s speech therapist calls it…the thing that Skippy does, that makes it so perfectly impossible sometimes to understand what he is saying. The other day I handed him a spoon of creamy peanut butter with a square of Hershey’s chocolate stuck in it, for a snack. Skippy for Skippy. He said, “You know what this is?” he asked. I thought, yes, it’s peanut butter and chocolate. “What, Skip?” “It’s Weasel Butt.” I did not see that coming. “Weasel Butt?” “NO! Wea. Sel. Butt.” “That’s what I said: Weasel Butt.” Well, after ten frustrating minutes, and some major head-scratching, it turned out he was trying to say “Reese’s Cup.” Argh! I can tell you that they are no longer called Reese’s P.B. Cups around our house… Weasel Butt it is. But you see my problem. It takes major concentration to have a prolonged conversation with Skippy.

But today at lunch, while we were baking out on the backyard swing, we had such a talk. Skippy started it: “Do you know what is a very bad way to die? In space, with no helmet.” I had to agree. It is a bad way to go. I told him, “You know what I think would be a bad way to die?” “What?” he asked. “On fire!” “Oooooh! Yeah… or,” he added, “in the desert with no clothes and covered in honey.” Wow. I have to admit I had not thought of that way. But he’s right. It’s a bad way to go. “What is the worst part about that, Skippy?” His reply was simple: “I hate sticky stuff on me.”

My dad and I used to have a conversation every Thanksgiving that was pretty much designed to drive my mom crazy. It started with Dad indicating the big, raw naked bird that my mom was trying to wrangle into the oven, and asking me, “How do you think he died?” “Well, we could surmise from where we found him, that he froze to death,” I would say. Dad would nod, seriously, and say, “Interesting theory, but since he was encased in plastic, it is probably more likely that he smothered to death.” It says right on the bag that you’re not supposed to let kids or animals play with plastic. I would hold up the small plastic bag that Mom had removed from the body cavity, and say, “I think he may have been dead before that. Judging by this, he was missing a gizzard.” Dad: “Well, it’s probably just as well. He was going to die anyway.” “Really? Why?” I would ask. “Well, somebody cut off his head.” The conversation would deteriorate further as we would mention all the things the poor bird lacked in order to be alive. I’ll admit it. We are pretty morbid around here.

I actually decided a long time ago that the best way to go, is freezing to death in a blizzard. You wander around for awhile, lost and disoriented. Then you think to yourself, I’m just going to sit here for a minute and rest. What! Have you never watched “Little House on the Prairie??? As soon as you do that, you’re dead. But, all in all, not a bad way to go, right?

Number Three: The One With the One She Never Has to Worry About

I’ve been a mom for a few years now. You could say I’ve been around the block more than once. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that you are always worried about someone. In fact, I think the best you can hope for, as a parent, is that by this time next year, you will be on to worrying about the next child, and your current woe is, if not forgotten, at least a fuzzy memory.

Dillon is my 16-year-old. He is smart, funny, quiet, doesn’t like to be embarrassed, and… almost never a worry. I have to modify that with “almost” because only a stupid parent thinks their kid never has any problems. But Dillon worries more about other people than himself, and…I’m not sure how to word this…but he sort of effortlessly maintains the highest of standards. Effortlessly is maybe not the best word. He has created a moral oasis for himself. If there is a line you shouldn’t cross, he doesn’t walk it. Not only does he not even go near the line, but he somehow manages to exude sort of a disinterest about it…like he never noticed the line was there to begin with. He spreads that to his friends so that they all think it is cool to stay far from the line.

If he has a weakness, it is pranks. I don’t know where he gets that…I seem to recall something about a whole soccer goal ending up on the roof of the elementary school. Hmm. That, and he shuns homework. I do know where he gets that.

Oh, and Dillon and I have a thing. We watch “The Biggest Loser” together while eating an ultra-high-calorie meal. His taste runs toward Rubio’s, like a shrimp burrito and several fish tacos. There is something decadent about stuffing oneself while others are deprived, and worked out until they cry and/or throw up.

Well, that is Dillon. And I am off…to worry about one of the other ones.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Entry Number Two: The One Where Mom Went to Her Happy Place

It’s me, Cam…and I get to do a guest post today. I took pictures of my mom in her happy place. Her happy place is in this little triangle between her piano keyboard and her computer. She loves the computer so much she would probably marry it, if she wasn’t already married. Now, for the photos du jour: I took them, and then my mom and I fixed them up in Photoshop. We didn’t take out the wrinkles or the gray hair, though…heh heh heh… click on the photos to see them GIGANTIC and you can see. What we did do was play with the lighting a little bit…it is pretty dark in my mom’s happy place. AND on one of the photos, we did my favorite thing, which is called desaturating. We took the color down by 90%. But I wanted my mom’s eyes to stay blue, so she selected them first and only desaturated the rest of the photo. Cool, right?

My mom’s eyes are pretty freaky, you know. First of all, sometimes they look blue…sometimes green…and sometimes gray, sorta like mine. You can’t spell chameleon without Cam. Even weirder: they can see right inside of you. She always knows when one of us kids is doing something wrong. She can also see problems very clearly. People are always asking her for advice about things, because she can see right to the heart of the matter. She doesn’t need glasses or anything, either. She can read the tiniest print ever. I told you…freaky eyes.

The other thing in the pictures that you should pay attention to are her hands. She thinks he hands are kind of ugly. But anyone I know will tell you that they make the best food in the world, no contest. And when she plays the piano, she is pretty good. I don’t get it, but people always cry when she plays in church. It is not really all that sad…people really ought to just get over it.

Cam’s photo-taking tips: Take a lot lot lot of pictures because: it doesn’t cost any more to take 50 than it does to take three. And because out of 50 photos, there might be three good ones. And you don’t know which ones are going to be the good ones. Don’t center the person’s head in the center of the frame. Position the head at the top of the frame, but don’t cut off the top of it. Try taking some pictures from very close up. That way you can catch all the wrinkles and gray hair… MWA HAH AHHAHA!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Art Entry Number One: The One With the Buddies

Welcome to Day One of my PW art challenge...

Not three blocks from my home, there is this beautiful field that leads down into O’Neill Regional Park. In March, I’m not sure there is a more gorgeous spot. And is there any friendship more genuine and unpretentious than the kindergarten kind? I think not.

*Click on the photos to view them larger.

The One Where the Grass Was Greener On Someone Else’s Ranch

I want to be Pioneer Woman. At the very least, she and I should be best friends. It is true…I dream of Ree Drummond’s life on the ranch. I would really like to go and chop some wood right now. Or milk a cow. Marinate some flank steak. Step in something. Ride out to check the back forty. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen today. Well, you never know…I could probably step in something. But I am in Orange County. Here we have two seasons: spring and summer. We have the only tree for miles around that changes colors in the fall, and people always seem so surprised by it. Um, did you notice that your tree is turning red, and the leaves are falling off?

But enough wishing for what I cannot have. Her blog is not really about living on a ranch. It is about having a beautiful life. I admire the way PW takes photos of everyday things, and calls it art. I can do that. It is free fun. So I am issuing myself a challenge. Every day this week I am going to photograph something I think is beautiful, post it and call it art. I already know what my first entry has to be… you can look for it later tonight. Anyone have any suggestions for the rest of the week?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The One With the Baby Dream

you are
floating, drifting, lazing
in the perfectly not-quite-quiet
twitching, sucking, whimpering
without once waking
tell me
what do you dream?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The One That Was Completely Blërgen

The cell phone bill came today. It was so big that it filled up the whole mailbox and made everything else all squished and bent. It is approximately one inch thick. We’re talking some major deforestation here. In fact, the metered postage on the bill was $2.53. You know you need to be worried when your bill is so large that it takes $2.53 to mail it! No, I haven’t opened it. No way. Heads are going to roll.

But not mine. I have been good this month. I try to only need to talk to people after 9:00 p.m., and as we have an unlimited text messaging plan, I have whole conversations via text message. Now, I really don’t like to complain, but I have to vent just a little bit here. DK noticed last week that his phone was not receiving good reception. So he swapped out the card from his phone into my phone, and took mine to work. My phone is already what I would maybe call “second generation.” In the same sense that Cain and Abel were second generation…namely, they came after the very first generation. Ever. So when I say that my cell phone is second generation, what I mean is, it is from the generation of cell phone right after the brick phones…the kind where you had to wear a back pack that contained a power generator and a three-foot antenna. And yet it still works better than DK’s phone, which actually quit entirely while I was at the courthouse on Tuesday.

When it quit, I began rummaging through the house for another cell phone in which to house the “spirit” of my deceased one. Dillon found me Casey’s old phone. It started out to be a good phone, but once a couple of Christmases ago, one of the kids (who prefers to remain anonymous) threw up in the car on the way to Grandma’s. Said vomit got all over Dillon’s jacket, and when we reached Grandma’s, we tossed the jacket into the washer. Unfortunately, the cell phone was stowed away in the pocket. Miraculously, the phone still works. But it makes me sound like I am underwater. And not in an endearing, Spongebob Squarepants sort of way, either.

But let me just say…I don’t ask for much when it comes to a cell phone. I am willing to endure the aquatic sound quality. I am even willing to carry around the “second generation.” Mostly what I care about is the texting. I teach the 16-18-year-old girls at church, and texting and Facebook are my primary methods of communication. So I decided I could just make do with the old Casey phone. Until today, when I realized that the phone, which Casey bought from a European seller on eBay, has Swedish as its native language, and all the predictive spelling is in Swedish. Instead of “Wow, that’s awesome!” I get “Rädda barnen!” (Save the children!) “I’m here to pick you up from track” turns into “Jag är snyggare naken.” (I am better-looking naked.) You can see why at this point one might lapse into uncomfortable texting silence.

I did figure out how to type in the word “yes,” however. So when one of my “girls” texted today, it went something like this:

“So, Sis. McD., do you think I am old enough to date a returned missionary?”

I had no option here. “Yes.”

“Cool! I’ll tell my mom you said that. He is really cute. I want to bring him over so you can meet him. You can make us some cookies!”

Me: “Yes.”

“Wow…you’re sure talkative today.” ☺


In the words of my cell phone, “hjälp!”

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The One Where She Really Stayed on Top of It

Well, compar- atively speaking. Sometimes it is okay to compare yourself to others. It is a little shot in the arm to realize that if this was a race, you would not be in dead last. It is why I watch “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” It makes me feel like a really good parent, because at least I don’t serve my kids alcohol or any of the other over-the-top bad-parent things those women do.

This has been a typical week. Yesterday I went on an adventure. I picked up my friend and her five-month-old baby, and we set out, armed with a diaper bag, pacifier, high heels and a couple of Yoplait Lights…traversing fifty miles, four different freeways, and several miles of surface streets without a single sign written in English, to arrive before 8:00 a.m. at a courthouse in Los Angeles County. My friend is having custody issues, which was the reason for our visit. I will only say that the hearing went miraculously and quite entirely in her favor, which can only be the result of the fasting and prayers of many people on her behalf. My little five-month-old friend and I stayed outside the courtroom during the hearing, and the two of us learned a lot during our pacing the hallway outside the chambers, especially that a courthouse is a pretty bad way to have to divvy up child care, and should be avoided when at all possible.

Besides the courthouse run, I have spent time working on music this week, and have made some really good progress. I have fed dinner to people other than my own family three times, and I have swept my backyard. I threw a going-away party for Glass, I pulled a couple of weeds (cut me some slack here…I’m no Farmer McGregor) and did a few loads of laundry (well…two loads…and DK did one of those).

And okay, no… my house is not really any tidier than usual. And no, I haven’t suddenly started cleaning out my junk drawers or keeping a calendar…and no, I’m still not wearing a watch. But as home organization goes, I am not in dead last place here… check out what my neighbor left out on Tuesday for the trash man. Ho ho ho…Merry Christmas!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The One Where You Really Shouldn’t Mess With This

The missionaries learned this lesson one day. Elder Hobley and Elder Crane came in one night with a sneak nerf dart attack. They knew they were in trouble when they hit me in the face a few times. I wasn’t angry, but obviously I couldn’t just let it go. I told them that they should be expecting retribution. The very next morning, I had my faithful sidekick Tyler with me, and the two of us scored six giant rolls of saran wrap from the grocery store. We caught up with their poor, defenseless car at a district meeting that morning, and it clearly needed to be wrapped for freshness... we did everything possible to ensure that it wouldn’t spoil.

A couple hours later they came home. We all acted like nothing had happened...they did... I did. And then, Elder Hobley, from the kitchen: “Touche, Sister McD... touche.” And just in case anyone decides to mess with me again, I have my follow-up plan laid away in the garage. I don’t want to use it. But I will if I have to.

The One Where He Was Annoyingly Independent

Since “Glass” left for MCRD, I thought it would be fitting to tell some of my best Ethan stories. Ethan was an interesting baby. He had eczema head to toe...tubes in his ears, casts on his feet, and shingles twice before he was a year old. He had to wear the casts for almost a year. They went from his toes almost up to his knees, and the orthopedist would change them every six weeks. He would lie in his crib and bash them against the bars of the crib until the plaster became soft and pliable.

He was annoyingly independent from a very young age. One early evening when the sun was still out, he asked if we could go to the park. He was three, and had just started preschool. I told him it was almost nighttime, and he said he would go play in his room. Not ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door. It was Miss Cindy, his preschool teacher. She had Ethan by the hand. She said she saw him playing by himself at the park. The park was only a couple of blocks away, but he had to cross a pretty big street to get there.

When Ethan was four, he was run over by a mini-van. It was noon, and Ethan was riding his Big Wheel out front. I was inside with Dillon, who was only two, and I had the front door open so I could hear Ethan playing. Being the middle of the day, there were only a handful of people home on the street. Suddenly I heard a scream and a screech. The scream was my neighbor, who had observed a mini-van backing over Ethan, and the screech was the mini-van stopping abruptly with a crunch. The lady who backed over him was in hysterics. She was a young mother of three little girls…a school teacher who came home for lunch to see her daughters. She was backing out of her driveway, and stopped to check her makeup in her rearview mirror. Ethan had stopped to wait for her to back out, but when she stopped, he thought that meant it was okay for him to go. So he did, and then she did…right on top of him and the Big Wheel.

Ethan was talking to us. I asked him if he was okay. He cheerfully replied, yup, I’m okay. He said he wasn’t hurt, but he was stuck and couldn’t come out. We couldn’t see him or touch him in any way, so the paramedics came within about five minutes to lift the van off of Ethan. I was not crying. Ethan told me he was fine, and I believed him. The mini-van driver kept telling me, “I killed your baby!” and was crying hysterically. They lifted up the van, and out Ethan came, without a single scratch, despite the fact that the big wheel was completely mangled beyond recognition, and Ethan had been tangled in it to the point that he was unable to move until they freed him. The paramedics could not believe it.

Ethan has disappeared on me many more times over the years, even up into junior high school, when once I almost called the police because he never came home from school for hours and hours. He had gone to a band concert for another school without telling me. He ended up doing that to me so many times that I actually got used to it. He was always so surprised to find I had worried. I was fine, mom.

I’m not gonna lie…there is part of me that is relieved that it is someone else’s turn to worry about where he is all the time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The One Where We Had to Give Cambria Away

Yesterday my brain hurt, and today...it has pretty much exploded. So I am lying in my bed, waiting for some aspirin and caffeine to make a dent in this monster of a migraine I have had all morning, and I hear a commotion downstairs at the front door. I can tell almost immediately that it is Cambria banishing Skippy back indoors, so that she can play with her friends without a tag-along half her age.

Skippy tells me on a regular basis: Cambria is so mean to me.

So today, I figured he would come and find me where I was languishing in my bed, to tell me just that. And he did come and find me. But he had a new approach. It was this: Mama, I want Cambria out of our family. Really, Skippy? Do you think we should give her away to some other family? As Skippy realized that I was receptive to his idea, his little face began to brighten. Yes! Another family! I think quick on my feet (even when I am flat on my back), and so I said, Skippy, I have a great idea. What if we gave Cambria away to a family of wolves? Or maybe bears. His eyes lit up with the magic of the idea.

But no. Mama, I don’t want Cambria to die…just go out of our family. If she went to the wolves, or the bears, they would eat her all gone. Hmm. You’re probably right, Skippy. So what do you suggest? I know! The family with the man with all the white hairs. White hairs? I ask… Yes, but not on his head. All over him, except right here, and right here (he indicates the palms of his hands and the soles of his bare feet). At this point I am picturing some mythical creature…maybe a yeti or a hobbit… I don’t know. They have the little boy Taylor in their family. Do you mean the family across the street? Yes! The Andertons! Hmm. I never thought of him as being particularly hirsute. Well, Skip, interesting thought. But you realize, that if we give Cambria away to the Andertons, that every time you go outside to play, she will still be there, being mean.

Skippy agreed. It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic. So I asked if I could think about it, and come up with a better solution. He said that would be fine. I told him it could take a couple of days to come up with just the right place for her. A couple of days! His face fell. He wanted her out today. I told him that I thought if we gave Cambria away, that he would probably miss her a lot. Yes! he said. We can make her an “I miss you” letter. That will be fun. And he immediately disappeared to find some paper and crayons.

I remember when my big boys were little, and Josh and Ty were being particularly mean to Casey. Early one evening, I had had enough, and I walked Casey to a neighbor’s house, and then came home and told Josh and Tyler that I had given Casey away to another family, because they were too mean to him. They cried and cried, and begged me to get him back. I have a feeling this ploy would not work so well on Skippy. So I guess my options are limited. We may have to try Skippy’s suggestion of putting an ad in the church bulletin. Wanted: new home for bright, creative and cheerful almost-12-year-old. She is helpful, hard-working and has a blistering vocabulary. We will furnish a thesaurus. Best for families without almost-six-year-old boys.

P.S. Okay, so I was telling DK about this experience, and Skippy overheard us talking, and he looked at me like I was crazy when I was telling about Mr. Anderton, with the white hair all over... he said, “NO, Mama, the DADDY is not the one with the white hairs... it is their DOGGY, TOBY.” Well, holy cow, Skip, that DOES make more sense, now doesn't it???