Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Aunt N's beautiful Thanksgiving table.
Uncle R carving the turkey.

Froggy took this picture.

Cousin J's kitties.

We had an incredible Thanksgiving at Aunt N's and Uncle R's house. Froggy swam with her daddy in their pool, then played with Cousin J's three kitties the rest of the afternoon. With a wonderful meal and great company, does it get any better?

We missed our family in Iowa, and it is strange having grown up in a family of football fans, to celebrate Turkey Day without the sounds of referees and shouting crowds in the background -- the men (and Aunt Helen) leaning back far in their chairs to catch the score in the living room, the shouts of joy and yes, sometimes profanity at a bad call or fumble. I am not a fan of any sport really. I tried, but could live my entire life without watching a single game on tv. For Thanksgiving I prefer music in the background to screaming fans, but there is something nostalgic about pumpkin pie and football, even though I don't really care for either.

I guess the holidays are defined by your childhood. For me Thanksgiving was always wet autumn leaves, the crisp smell of winter upon us, playing 'king of the hill' with my cousins at the playground, everyone crowding in Grandma Gus's tiny kitchen, watching football, taking a long walk after dinner, homemade pie, having a late-night turkey and cranberry sandwich, and falling asleep in the car on the drive home.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, however you define it! I am thankful for you and the love you give to our family.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I don’t want to say

I could have done more
I could have been more
than just this.

on my last day
will they ask

why didn’t she
why couldn’t she just

have lived in
the moment

what was she waiting for

I don’t want to hear
those words

I told you so.

by Froggymama

I've been feeling like we're on the verge of something. Ya know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you're standing on a mountain cliff, or ocean's edge and everything feels fragile and lost, like the slightest breeze could just...poof... you over. I don't know what it is, but there is something in the air that is troubling. I'm not depressed, just getting prepared, for whatever it is.

Since Froggy was diagnosed I've been in a constant state of shock, acceptance, denial, panic, all of the above. Maybe I'm settling in. I don't know. But the last few days I've stopped and really taken into account what matters, the people I love. And tonight, when Froggy fell asleep in my arms I looked at FD and said, "We are the luckiest two people in the world. No one else has a Froggy." Maybe this is just becoming real. Finally, after three years, I've started to accept our lives.
A few months ago, I submitted this piece to the magazine The Sun. Well... it didn't get published, so I thought I'd post it again, so you can all say, "that magazine sucks," or "they don't know what they're missing," or "maybe your submission got lost," and then I'll feel better. The topic was
"Finding Out." Feel free to stroke my ego.

Finding Out
by Froggymama

When the call came, I was alone with my four-month-old daughter. She instinctively knew something was wrong, and wailed with me as the doctor explained over the phone why she hadn’t gained weight in two months, why she was anemic, and why her skin tasted like she’d been dipped in the salty sea. The doc was calm, chatty even, making small talk while I fumbled through the house, looking for a pen and paper, to write down the results of the rest of her life. He must have felt that if he kept me on the phone, he could somehow prevent it from being real, from sinking in. With nothing left to say, he asked if I would be alright. My baby was screaming and the floor suddenly felt like one of those bouncy houses parents rent for a child’s birthday party. I was dizzy and drunk with the knowledge that our worst fears, the one thing I had prayed wouldn’t be true, couldn’t be true, was now written on a post-it note. Somehow, I managed to get out the words, “We’ll be fine,” even though I was sure we would never be fine again. I called my husband, my sister, my parents, and my best friend. Their guttural sobs on the other end of the line made it real. It wasn’t a dream. We would never wake from this.

I stood at the screen door, waiting for someone to come, to open the door, wrap their arms around me and say, “Everything will be okay.” And they all came, one by one; saying the only thing you can say at a time like this, “At least now you know.”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Clearing the Air

A little riverdance

Yeah, I'm an equestrian too.

We are finally back in our own beds! The air isn't exactly clear, but is it ever in LA? Froggy did not want to leave her Grandparents' house and cried all the way home. They do have an incredibly relaxing and lovely home, with a great back yard and a mountain view. I don't blame her. But Mama has to work, and the kitties were about to call the ASPCA, claiming feline neglect. So home again, home again, jiggity jig.

As you can see from the pictures, Froggy is a ballet prodigy. Well...maybe not a prodigy, but she is fast and light on her feet. Listening to her teacher is another story. We're working on it, but let's just say she is the rebel rouser, recruiting other toddlers to follow HER (rather than the instructor) in a Pied Piper march around the room, while her mother sits in the back of the room horrified, wondering when to step in and when to leave it to the teacher to help corral the naughty frog into pliet submission. Sufficed to say, we left one class half way through, for behavioral reasons. In her defense (and yes, I'm one of those moms), she and Hummingbird are the youngest in the class and haven't quite grasped the concept of "following" the directions.

The second set of photos are of Froggy at a toddler dude ranch, near her Grandparents' home. The boy who rode the pony before her, was terrified, but not Froggy. She hopped up in the stirrups like a pro and wasn't intimidated in the least.

Froggydadda stayed home this week because of school and his hospital internship, so it was wonderful to see him today. Froggy has been attached to her daddy all day. And while they snuggled on the sofa watching cartoons, I tried to take her to bed, but she snuggled in and said, "No, only Dadda."

I'll leave you with a few Froggyisms from this week:

Froggy and FD are in the livingroom running around and giggling. Froggy runs into the kitchen to tattle on her father and says...
Froggy: Mommy!!!! Daddy is such annoying.

and while watching the local news about the fires in our area, Froggy said...

Froggy: The Fighting Fighters (fire fighters) are probly saving someone, or maybe a cat up a tree.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Writing Humor

Publisher holds out a large envelope says,
We can't publish your autobiography.
Man sighs, says,
Story of my life.

from the poem "Story of My Life" by Jennifer Michael Hecht

Question: How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: We're not changing anything!


Monday, November 17, 2008

More Fires

This is the air in Los Angeles right now. Fires are burning from Orange County to Montecito. Yesterday it was raining ash in our neighborhood, and we are over 20 miles away from the closest fire.

Froggy and I packed up and are staying at Grandma and Grandpa's until things improve. They have air conditioning, and we're staying indoors. Even though they are closer to the fires, the air quality is better -- the smoke blew towards the coast, and has settled above us. Hopefully the fires will be contained soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clean Lungs!

Froggy's throat (sputum) culture came back negative for pseudomonas and other nasty bugs!

Wooooooooooooo Hooooooooooo!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Froggy's Clinic Appointment

Yesterday we had our arduous day at Children's Hospital - yes with travel time and stopping at the pharmacy after, it was over seven hours. Froggy was abnormally good. Wooo hooo! I was exhausted and hoped she would crash early. But without any physical exertion all day, this little hyper Frog stayed up til 10:30pm.

And more good news. Her lungs sound perfect and she gained a half pound. From the nurse, to the Pulmonologist, to the Nutritionist, the consensus was "She's doing Maaaaarvelous!"

She was 28 pounds 13 ounces (a tad above the 25th percentile). And you'd think with seven hours I would have remembered to write down her height, but nope.

Her vitamin levels are wonderful, kidney, liver function perfect. Wooooooo Hoooooo!

We will hear about her sputum culture later in the week. So think good thoughts that nothing grows on her little petri dish.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

History was made!

Froggy with her "I VOTED" sticker! Froggy took this picture of Froggymama after voting!

We all watched the acceptance speech together.

Froggy was more interested in her books than politics.

I'm just in awe. To think that the first president Froggy will remember in her life is African American... Wow! We've come a long way. This will shape how her generation views their America, what is possible, how much has changed.

Watching the excitement, disbelief and hope in the faces of Obama's supporters was very emotional. When Obama spoke of the 106 year old black woman who voted after living through segregation, lynchings, and the civil rights movement, really struck a cord with how incredible this truly is. I can't imagine how she felt last night, how proud she must be.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Gay Marriage

Tonight while taking our dog Buddy out, I noticed that someone put a sign in our apartment complex yard that said, "Vote Yes on Prop 8". This is a California proposition that would eliminate the right for same-sex couples to marry.

I have a very difficult time understanding why anyone would want to withhold the right and sometimes burden of marriage to everyone. The proponents of prop 8 are using the argument that marriage is a contract between a man and woman and by allowing gay people to marry, somehow a straight marriage would be negatively affected....soooooo, let's talk about that.

I do believe that marriage is in trouble. And gay and lesbian couples are convenient scapegoats. So I propose, if we want to protect marriage, that we make divorce illegal. Divorce is in the bible too, and it's a big fat sin. But no one wants to enforce that "protection," because it would actually affect the lives of straight couples, big time. And not in a symbolic way, in a direct way. And we want to keep divorce as an "out," to our sacred bond, ya know, to use a gay term. I obviously don't want to make divorce illegal, but if we're going to use religious or moral arguments against gay marriage, then let's not cherry pick our favorite bible passages and make them law, especially when it doesn't negatively affect the majority.

If we were to implement religious law, parents would be allowed to stone their children to death, and no one would be allowed to work on the Sabbath, so all hospitals and fire stations would have to close on Sundays. Just thinking about sinning is as bad as actually sinning, so our government could punish people for thinking vengeful or sexual thoughts. If we were to implement religious law, all offenses would be considered equally sinful, so a man who commits adultery would receive the same punishment as a murderer. For all of those people who are supporting the "protection of marriage" acts, would you also protect the "protection of the Sabbath act" or the "coveting thy neighbor" act? And would you hold yourselves accountable? Would you like someone else to decide your life, your opportunities, your freedoms? I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state, because the bible would be impossible to legislate, and more importantly, our country was founded on escaping this type of religious persecution.

But I don't believe this argument is about religion at all. I think the heart of the argument is discrimination. Gay people don't deserve what I have because there is something fundamentally wrong with them. And if we allow gay people to share my family values, to make the same vows I made, then gay and straight people are in the same group. And I don't want to be in the same group. It's playground mentality. So we'll call their type of love a "legal bond" and our type of love "marriage." And then I won't have to feel uncomfortable and address why I'm uncomfortable. If we rule out religious reasons, this is just discrimination. Straight people are "grossed out" by the thought of homosexuality. And because they are grossed out, they feel entitled to legislate the lives of others.

Another argument is: If we allow homosexuals to marry, our straight marriage won't be taken as seriously as the sacred bond I made with my husband. Ya know what lessens the sacred bond my husband and I made on Oct 5, 2002? Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline. If I were to compare my marriage to them, our wedding would be the equivalent of getting really drunk, going through a Vegas drive thru, and making a tasteless reality show and a couple kids who drive mini Hummers. Fortunately, I'm secure enough in my marriage not to allow someone else to define it.

Under this umbrella, let's protect marriage against atheists. How are they able to call their institution a marriage when they don't believe in the god who made their union possible, if you believe that marriage is a covenant of God? Let' s protect marriage against pregnant teenagers who are morally forced into the decision by their parents, only to divorce years later. And drug addicts, and poor people. Addicts can't be committed to a loving relationship when their true love is getting high, and when we let poor people get married, we're telling them it's okay to have children they can't afford, children taxpayers will end up supporting. First cousins in some states are still legally allowed to marry, but two consenting adults of the same sex are not. So let's protect marriage from cousins too. Let's pass a prop against interfaith marriage. If marriage is a covenant between God and a man and woman, and the couple worships different gods, then their marriage is just plain confusing. And if one of them is Hindu then is it a covenant between a man and a woman and God and God and God and God and God? So for crying out loud, let's protect marriage from Hindus! Let's protect marriage from people who are mentally retarded. If they can't fully understand the implications and seriousness of their vows, they shouldn't be allowed to make the same commitment I make.

Felons can get married. Pedophiles can get married. Rapists can get married. A fourteen year old in Utah can marry her step-father, but two thirty-year-old college educated woman may not. Whew, these are a lot of propositions! But... and this is a big BUT...the only people singled out are gay and lesbian couples. Why? This question has to be asked. If atheists and cousins, drug dealers and interfaithers, pedophiles and murderers, the poor and basically ANYONE our society looks down upon, is allowed to marry, why do we only have a legal problem with homosexuals? How is this not discrimination?

Another argument is that we need to protect our children, to give them clear black-and-white gender based roles, that fit neatly into marriage. And if gay people were allowed to marry, we would be forced to have a discussion with our children about how sometimes love does not fit neatly into our black and white lives. And why are people gay, do they choose it, or was it chosen for them? And by our government passing laws that clearly express gay people have the same rights as mommy and daddy, we'll have to explain to the kiddos that inequality is wrong, and that would be VERY uncomfortable. Can hermaphrodites get married? Should they be allowed to marry anybody or nobody? These are heavy questions, that I would really like to avoid.

I do NOT believe we need to protect our kids against homosexuals. There is no gay boogie man. Ninety-seven percent of pedophiles are straight, and gay and lesbian couples are more likely to adopt children with special needs than straight couples. Ohhhh, the horror! There is no gay agenda, a group of radical homosexuals trying to recruit people on the street corner, or give away free toasters to anyone who joins the other side. The gay agenda is the radical notion of equality. My gay friends only want to live, to be accepted, and to have the same rights as me. Ewww, scary.

I believe, and not because I read it in a book somewhere, but because I've had many gay friends, that we are born with our sexual identity. And it can't be fixed or prayed away. And I don't believe it is anything to fix or pray away. I believe this because I have known people in loving and committed relationships, couples raising children, and living like you and me, and I don't believe I'm better than them because I was born straight. This is the heart of it. This is discrimination because only gay people are singled out.

People are fighting for this proposition like their lives depend on it, like their marriages depend on it, like their children's lives depend on it. This fear is displaced. I think a lot of people are searching for the reasons behind why our society has lost it's 1950's moral code. But the moral decay of our society does not permeate from the gay community. It permeates from Paris Hilton and politicians, from ignorance and people unwilling to parent their children. Moral decay permeates from hatred and fear and values that aren't really values. It permeates from heterosexually based promiscuous shows and movies, from a society that praises and celebrates violence, from fathers who leave their families, and mothers who allow their children to be abused. But how do you legislate that? You can't. So we blame it on a group that is easily singled out.

No one should be denied the right of marriage, to be there in sickness, to share the same health insurance, to be the legal guardian of children , to have the right to bicker incessantly, and to have their relationship taken seriously.

People are spending millions of dollars to make it illegal for a man and man or woman and woman to stand in front of friends and family to say "I love you, and I am committed to you." People are spending their own child's savings on the promise that the child of a gay parent will not receive the same rights as their child. It makes me sick that those millions of dollars are being wasted, when they could have been donated to organizations like the CF Foundation, or Breast Cancer research. Let's protect our children against childhood diseases and Leukemia, poverty, and poor education -REAL threats, not imaginary ones.

Teach your kids whatever you like, no one is stopping you. By giving gay people the right to marry you are not taking away your right as a parent to tell your kids that you disapprove. When segregation ended, did racism also end? Nope. That is the ugly beauty of our democracy. Teach your kids what you will.

Marriage is about commitment, sacrifice, and love. I can't imagine another group of people who know more about these three concepts than gay couples. They've had to sacrifice friends and family who wouldn't accept them as they are, commit to the fact that they have to be true to themselves, and still continue to love the people who won't accept them. If anyone is worthy of happily ever after, it is our friends in the gay community.

Needless to say, I pulled the sign out of the yard and threw it in the trash where it belongs. If you live in CA or are voting on a prop similar to this, consider who you are hurting, the families of gay and lesbian couples who have children and family values, who need their health insurance and the same rights of straight families. We're all on the same team here, the same universe where love is always the answer to any question you're asking. How could you think any different?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trick or SQUEAK!!!!

Trick or Treat Hummingbird's Grandma

Give us the loot!

Grandpa J was very scary

We love our neighbors!