Friday, April 30, 2010

Self-indulgent moment of the day

Sitting in my ugly pink bathrobe on the couch in the living room at 11:00 in the morning and watching the tape of Oprah interviewing Rielle Hunter, the mistress of John Edwards.

Then I took a shower.

After all the jacks are in their boxes

I was driving down 3rd yesterday, in the evening, and the light was so golden and the air so suffused with it that it nearly made me sad. Yes, that's what I meant. Sad.

Today, I walked around the block with Sophie, and she was tired. The roses in every yard were blooming red and white and peach and pink. Each bush carried what seemed like hundreds of blooms, and even the tiniest run-down house had a scraggly bush with ridiculously over-sized heads all over it. It's like Oz, I said to Sophie, and thought, again of Edna St. Vincent Millay and her springtime idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

The wind whipped up in the early hours of the morning, the arms of the tree in the alley beside my bedroom tapped on my window and woke me. It was a palm frond-dodging day of swaying trees, of skittering white clouds, the wind a sussuration.

After all the jacks are in their boxes 
And the clowns have all gone to bed 
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street 
Footprints dressed in red 
And the wind whispers Mary 
A broom is drearily sweeping 
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life 
Somewhere a queen is weeping 
Somewhere a king has no wife 
And the wind, it cries Mary 
The traffic lights they turn up blue tomorrow 
And shine their emptiness down on my bed 
The tiny island sags downstream 
‘Cause the life that lived is, is dead 
And the wind screams Mary 
Will the wind ever remember 
The names it has blown in the past 
And with his crutch, it’s old age, and it's wisdom 
It whispers no, this will be the last 
And the wind cries Mary

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem in a Pocket Day

April is Poetry Month, and today is Poem in a Pocket Day. Here's the poem that I have folded in my pocket -- and when I read it aloud to my boys, they rolled their eyes and told me to stop it. When I read it to Sophie, she said MMMMM. Girl of my heart.

Sailing to Byzantium

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vaccines -- A Very Important Post

Last night, PBS' Frontline aired what was touted as an unbiased look at "The Vaccine Wars" and which I refused to watch because the debate makes me physically ill. About one week before Sophie began seizing as a baby, she received her first five infant vaccines. In 1995, the DPT shot still contained the live pertussis virus, and Sophie had a fever and high-pitched screaming soon after. She was diagnosed with infantile spasms, a particularly devastating seizure disorder and so began our odyssey. While we never made a "case" for it, we have always suspected that those vaccines were, if not the cause, then a catalyst for Sophie's seizure disorder and since then have learned that a genetic predisposition to negative reactions from vaccines is a possibility (I, too, had negative reactions to vaccines in 1963, something I only discovered a few years ago when I took a look at my vaccine records that were all marked up in red). In any case, enough is unclear that we chose NOT to vaccinate the boys and while this was a difficult decision to make, it is not something that we regret.

The vaccine debate rages on and on and the voices are always loud and biased. When I've entered the fray, I have done so at my own personal peril, because like I said, it makes me almost physically ill. I maintain that the issue is complex and that the media and parents often boil it down to a ridiculous simplicity, vilifying the other side with regularity.  I am pasting an email that I received today from our long-time pediatrician, Dr. Jay Gordon, who has responded to the Frontline special with great integrity:

From Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
Shame on PBS Frontline Show "The Vaccine War"                                                           
                                                        April 28, 2010 

Last night, PBS aired a show called "The Vaccine War." I was interviewed at great length and in great depth about vaccines and my point of view and expressed my ambivalence about the polarization of this issue and the need for more calm reasoned discussion about the number one question that new parents have. I told Kate McMahon, the co-producer of the show, that there was a large group of doctors and others who cannot be dismissed with the facile label "anti-vaccine" because we still give vaccines and see a place for them in the practice of medicine, but we do not agree with the current vaccine schedule nor the number of vaccines children receive all at one time.
A few days ago, Ms.McMahon emailed me to tell me that the decision had been made to omit my interview from the show. There would not be one word from me. She didn't tell me that she had also omitted 100% of Dr. Robert Sears' interview. And that any other comments from physicians supporting the parents on the show in their ambivalence about vaccines or their decision to refuse all vaccines would also be omitted.
She left this as a show with many doctors commenting very negatively, very frighteningly and often disdainfully and dismissively about vaccine "hesitation" as they called it.
Below is my email response to Kate McMahon.

Dear Kate,
The "Frontline" show was disgraceful. You didn't even have the courtesy to put my interview or any part of the two hours we spent taping on your web site.
You created a pseudo-documentary with a preconceived set of conclusions: "Irresponsible moms against science" was an easy takeaway from the show.
Did you happen to notice that Vanessa, the child critically ill with pertussis, was not intubated nor on a respirator in the ER? She had nasal "prongs" delivering oxygen. I'm sorry for her parents' anxiety and very happy that she was cured of pertussis. But to use anecdotal reports like this as science is irresponsible and merely served the needs of the doctor you wanted to feature.
No one pursued Dr. Offit's response about becoming rich from the vaccine he invented. He was allowed to slide right by that question without any follow up. Dr. Paul Offit did not go into vaccine research to get rich. He is a scientist motivated by his desire to help children. But his profiting tens of millions of dollars from the creation of this vaccine and the pursuit of sales of this and other vaccines is definitely not what he says it is. His many millions "don't matter" he says. And you let it go.
Jenny McCarthy resumed being a "former Playboy" person and was not acknowledged as a successful author, actress and mother exploring every possible avenue to treating her own son and the children of tens of thousands of other families.
I trusted you by giving you two or three hours of my time for an interview and multiple background discussions. I expressed my heartfelt reservations about both vaccines and the polarizing of this issue into "pro-vaccine" and "anti-vaccine" camps. I told you that there was at least a third "camp." There are many doctors and even more parents who would like a more judicious approach to immunization. Give vaccines later, slower and with an individualized approach as we do in every other area of medicine.
What did you create instead?
"The Vaccine War."
A war. Not a discussion or a disagreement over facts and opinions, but a war. This show was unintelligent, dangerous and completely lacking in the balance that you promised me--and your viewers--when you produced and advertised this piece of biased unscientific journalism. "Tabloid journalism" I believe is the epithet often used. Even a good tabloid journalist could see through the screed you've presented.
You interviewed me, you spent hours with Dr. Robert Sears of the deservedly-illustrious Sears family and you spoke to other doctors who support parents in their desire to find out what went wrong and why it's going wrong and what we might do to prevent this true epidemic.
Not a measles epidemic, not whooping cough. Autism. An epidemic caused by environmental triggers acting on genetic predisposition. The science is there and the evidence of harm is there. Proof will come over the next decade. TheNational Children's Study will, perhaps by accident, become a prospective look at many children with and without vaccines. But we don't have time to wait for the results of this twenty-one year research study: We know that certain pesticides cause cancer and we know that flame retardants in children's pajamas are dangerous. We are cleaning up our air and water slowly and parents know which paint to buy and which to leave on the shelves when they paint their babies' bedrooms.
The information parents and doctors don't have is contained in the huge question mark about the number of vaccines, the way we vaccinate and the dramatic increase in autism, ADD/ADHD, childhood depression and more. We pretend to have proof of harm or proof of no harm when what we really have is a large series of very important unanswered questions.
In case you were wondering, as I practice pediatrics every day of my career, I base nothingI do on Dr. Wakefield's research or on Jenny McCarthy's opinions. I respect what they both have done and respectfully disagree with them at times. I don't think that Dr. Wakefield's study proved anything except that we need to look harder at his hypothesis. I don't think that Jenny McCarthy has all the answers to treating or preventing autism, but there are tens of thousands of parents who have long needed her strong high-profile voice to draw attention to their families' needs: Most families with autism get inadequate reimbursement for their huge annual expenses and very little respect from the insurance industry, the government or the medical community. Jenny has demanded that a brighter light be shone on their circumstances, their frustration and their needs.
I base everything I do on my reading of CDC and World Health Organization statistics about disease incidence in the United States and elsewhere. I base everything I do on having spent the past thirty years in pediatric practice watching tens of thousands of children get vaccines, not get vaccines and the differences I see.
Vaccines change children.
Most experts would argue that the changes are unequivocally good. My experience and three decades of observation and study tell me otherwise. Vaccines are neither all good--as this biased, miserable PBS treacle would have you believe--nor all bad as the strident anti-vaccine camp argues.
You say the decisions to edit 100% of my interview from your show (and omit my comments from your website) "were purely based on what's best for the show, not personal or political, and the others who didn't make it came from both sides of the vaccine debate." You are not telling the truth. You had a point to prove and removed material from your show which made the narrative balanced. "Distraught, confused moms against important, well-spoken calm doctors" was your narrative with a deep sure voice to, literally, narrate the entire artifice.
You should be ashamed of yourself, Kate. You knew what you put on the air was slanted and you cheated the viewers out of an opportunity for education and information. You cheated me out of hours of time, betrayed my trust and then you wasted an hour of PBS airtime. Shame on you.
The way vaccines are manufactured and administered right now in 2010 makes vaccines and their ingredients part of the group of toxins which have led to a huge increase in childhood diseases including autism. Your show made parents' decisions harder and did nothing except regurgitate old news.
Parents and children deserve far better from PBS.

Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP

Corner View - Animals

This week's Corner View is hosted by Joyce at A Perfect Beginning and the theme is Animals.  We have a dwarf hamster named Peanut who is emotionally deprived and basically lives an isolated life in a large container with a wheel because he bites and is as mean as hell. He is fed and his cage is cleaned but that's about it. I often feel as if we're raising a monster and that he most certainly has an attachment disorder.

Valentine (one of the patron saints of epilepsy), on the other hand, is our Standard Poodle and one of the goofiest dogs you'll ever meet.

She was originally bought and partially trained to be a therapy dog (and I was the one who insanely signed up to have her trained, a subject for another post) but quickly became a family dog. Despite the fact that she is now six years old and shows no sign of calming down or mellowing out, we love her to death. She's actually quite well-behaved, just enormously exuberant.

For links to corner views around the world, visit Jane at Spain Daily.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flowers from my Garden

 Don't know the name of it rose

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

 Iceberg Rose


Apple Blossom

Daisy and Geranium

Monday, April 26, 2010

Perspective and Syndication

I write a couple of times a month for LA Moms Blog, a huge consortium of mother (I refuse to use the word mommy) bloggers that operate under SV Moms Group, and received word yesterday that my most recent post had been picked up for syndication. Every week,  two of the posts throughout the SV Moms group network are picked up for syndication, and I honestly didn't know what that meant. My good friend and fellow blogger C told me that I should google my name and see what comes up, so I did. What I found, so far, is that my post Perspective is running in the online versions of The Sacramento Bee, The Idaho Statesman, The Kansas City Star and the Macon Telegraph.

Thank you, SV Moms Blog! Check out their site by clicking above -- I know they periodically put out announcements for more writers, so any of you who have aspirations of getting your writing out and about should check it out! How'd you like that rhyme? (Clearly it's not my poetry that is being syndicated --)

Monday ponderings, or we spend more on weapons in the United States than the next fifteen military powers combined

I'll type that out again:


I'm not a huge fan of Bill Maher, finding him obnoxious and too profane, but occasionally I want to jump in his lap and give him a big old smooch.  I saw this video posted on Facebook and thought it the perfect rejoinder to the Teabagger Movement.  I just don't understand why the fact that we're still fighting two wars with no end in sight, the enormous costs of those wars and the chilling thought of all those tens of thousands of soldiers with serious physical and mental injuries that we are responsible, morally, for treating for the rest of their lives is never mentioned in the constant talk of the economy, economic catastrophe, budget deficits, etc. I know nothing about economics (I got a C in Econ 101 and sat slumped in my chair in an enormous auditorium, bored out of my mind as the lecturer droned on for an hour and a half to the five hundred or so students in the room), have definitely lived beyond my means for at least a portion of my life, but am getting it together at this point, and I do know where to CUT. In any case, I appreciated this video and certainly enjoyed the laugh.

Here's another thought: what if the Tea Partiers were black? Check out this most interesting blog post HERE.

Tell me what you think!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Close your eyes

and fast forward fifty years. That's me, you see, above, walking down the road to my house in southern Italy.

Having a child with uncontrolled seizures (oh, not this again, you sigh!) has been likened to having constant low-grade anxiety that peaks every now and then into full-blown crisis. That's the way I've been living for fifteen years, and it's taken its toll. I've exercised intermittently and know that I need to do it more. I've never smoked cigarettes or taken any drugs, and I rarely drink. I do love to eat, though, and married a chef. I used to be an effortlessly thin kind of person, the sort that people envy. But that was a long time ago -- a lllllllllllloooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggg time

So despite the weighty things I must and do think about all the time, I also spend a fair amount of time thinking about other weighty things, literally weight and too much of it and how to lose it and why have I gained it and so on and so forth ad nauseum. 

But this post is NOT about my weight, a most insufferable topic.

This post is about how age creeps up on you and startles you. You gain thirty-five pounds with your first child and then lose all but ten or so, and then the second child emerges and you're up twenty with the third and then you're nearing forty years old, and you've never exercised consistently in your life and you're screwed. Add into that the stress hormone cortisol that appears to be secreted in you all day long and you're trying, you're trying, to control your stress and meditate and exercise more and eat better and here you are, stuck in ad nauseum.

Age creeps up on you and startles you. You look in the rear view mirror of the car and notice a wrinkle above your nose that wasn't there yesterday, you swear. You glance in a mirror at a store and are dumbfounded at the sudden appearance of jowls that have overtaken the bottom part of your face. Where did these come from? you think, because they appeared to have just carved a spot for themselves like squatters in a tenement. And that leads me to the reason I am writing this post to begin with. This morning, as I peered at myself in the bathroom mirror, placing my contact lenses in, I practically gasped at the appearance of a very long, black hair laying on the middle of my nose, just below the bridge. I went to brush it off and realized simultaneously that it was sprouting from my face, at least 1/2 an inch long.

I had had a drink at a bar the night before with my friend D. He had said nothing about this hair (and he would have if he'd seen it; he would have been merciless) which meant that it had appeared overnight.and apparently grown while I slept, solo and voracious, an antennae.

I plucked it and thought of my Italian grandmother and the frightening hairs she grew out of her moles. I am morphing into my grandmother, I thought, which would explain the increasing solidity of my body and my unwavering physical strength. Knock on wood, but despite the years of fairly heavy stress, I don't have headaches (seemingly the common province of the chronically stressed) and I almost never get sick. I have a lot of upper body strength (my grandmother carried many, many bags of groceries through Manhattan, up and down flights of stairs, or so I've heard) and am just pretty damn strong, all around. I'm grateful for that.

So that's my Sunday sermon post. It's all I've got. I weigh too much but am surprisingly healthy. I sprouted a hair on my nose, far enough from but indicating the possibility of a uni-brow, lying latent, and I'm morphing into my grandmother.

Did I show you the house I'm walking to?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sophie, Inc.

Every now and then the specter of working moms versus stay-at-home moms pops its -- let's say -- BORING, controversial head up, and I feel compelled to comment on how boring the debate is, etc. etc. And when I get all uptight about our current financial situation, which is difficult, to say the least, I wonder how much money I'd make if I were paid for running Sophie, Inc.

I've refrained from complaining, at least on here, about the more than two month "break" Sophie has had from school (see my post on Perspective yesterday).  She is on what's called a Track B schedule at a school here in Los Angeles -- the year-round schools were originally designed for over-crowding but are being phased out (of course, this fall when she leaves the school after three years!) because of under-enrollment. And I'm not going to start complaining, except I will note that if you think the tone of my posts lately have been one of perhaps a rising hysteria, well, that's partly the reason. I have less help and more Sophie.

Sophie goes back to school, hopefully, the first week of May. The President and CEO of Sophie, Inc. plans on going back to her yoga class three times a week, getting down to business about losing weight, having lunch with her friends now and then, catching a couple of movies and working on her book. Her two other part-time positions, that actually do bring in a bit of money will also take precedence, again.

Disclosure: The President and CEO of Sophie, Inc. has actually been compensated for her experience running such a complicated company. She recently got a position reviewing grants for the Department of Maternal and Child Health and has worked for some years, part-time in the area of quality improvement for children with special healthcare needs. She would never have gotten these jobs without the experience of running Sophie, Inc. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm over at LA Moms Blog talking about perspective

A woman who reads my personal blog regularly recently sent me a long email when I posted a comment at her blog. In the email she expressed the dismay that she often felt when reading my posts, especially the ones that describe the daily life of raising a child with severe disabilities. She described her feelings as ones of inadequacy. She said that she felt ashamed to complain about her own life, her own healthy children, when clearly her "problems" were insignificant compared to my own. As the mother of three children, two of whom are "typical" and one whose life is complicated by uncontrolled epilepsy and developmental disabilities, I hear this sort of thing all the time. In fact, I know that even my best friends and family hold back on expressing their concerns and anxieties, believing that these are trivial in comparison to the struggles I face. 

Taking a Breath

People must love a controversy because yesterday's post -- TIDEGATE -- gave this little old blog almost four times the amount of hits that it generally gets. Weird, is what I say.

I'm taking a breather today and posting a beautiful poem that I read online a few days ago. I emailed the poet, Dan Lear,  for his permission to post it here, and he graciously said YES. The journal is qarrtsiluni, and you can click HERE to actually listen to the poet reading his poem.

Perspectives on the Geographical Cure

I stood that morning with my back to the Atlantic
feeling tall. My shoes had been in six oceans.
My shadow etched a line across America.
By West Virginia I was smaller. Above straight
walls of rock the sky was a circle
I held in my arms.
In Kansas I saw the overpass twelve miles
before I reached it. At 80 mph
I stood still and disappeared.
I swelled and burst in the desert of New
Mexico. The dry air
sucked me brittle, a seedhusk losing seed.
By Needles I was too thin to matter
when the car broke down. I walked back to town
afraid no one could see me.
Finally, Monterey and my chest to the Pacific,
expanded like an eclipse.
At noon the sailfish lept into dark.
I was surprised to find you, still in me,
the same size you were when you left.
-- Dan Lear

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hopeful Parents

I'm over there today, too! Click HERE.

Dear Anonymous,

I feel like one of those politicians who makes some kind of gaffe and is taken to task, perhaps rightfully, for a careless and casual comment. A couple of days ago, I posted a photo of a box of TIDE detergent, which you can look at again, HERE. When I posted the photo, which was sent to me on a phone, it struck me as funny in the way old-timey advertisements for housekeeping products strike me as funny. You know the ones, where women vacuum happily around the house in aprons or greet their husbands with a cheerful drink and neat children, lined up to kiss daddy after a hard day. I was also thinking about how commercial products are branded -- Joy, for instance, for dishwashing liquid and the Odyssey, for a minivan. I knew that the logo "Loads of Hope" was probably for a charity, but I didn't google it and find out. I also thought that given the context of my own often morose and depressed state of mind, it was just damn funny in an if only sort of way.

In fact, I now know what the charity is all about, thanks to you, my ANONYMOUS commenters (I know that's not a real word, either), who, with the exception of the person who signed with the letter "A" (I know who you are!), felt compelled to take me to task.

Here's the thing, Anonymous Commenters: if you read my blog regularly, you probably know that I have a sharp, sometimes caustic tongue, but you probably also know that I wouldn't be making fun of people who have been in a catastrophe, nor am I some kind of bumbling idiot, (a.k.a Trent Lott, who applauded Strom Thurmond's efforts to fight desegregation much to his detriment as a Senator).

I maintain that commercial advertisements are often incredibly goofy, no matter what they advertise.  And while I applaud Tide's efforts to come to the aid of the victims of Katrina, I also know that Tide is essentially a product of a multi-national corporation interested in making vast sums of money and also just happens to be a product that pollutes the water and might be, just a tiny bit, in danger of perhaps losing its status as the premier clothes-washing detergent as more environmentally-conscious companies figure out more sophisticated ways to sell their own products.

But I digress. I confess to feeling a tad irritated when I read those comments this morning. I wondered why people register themselves as Anonymous and only pop up when they have something negative to say. I have decided to remove that option from my blog because, frankly, it drives me nuts. I love a good argument but I also like knowing that the person who disagrees with me and has a point to make isn't afraid of attaching his or her name or some sort of signifier to that point.

Now I'm going to do a load of Seventh Generation.


Corner View - Earth Day (which is actually tomorrow!)

Yosemite, 2006

When despair for the world grows in me, and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be -- I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

-- Wendell Berry

Thanks to Joyce today, our host for Corner View. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My favorite flower

doesn't grow well in Los Angeles (it needs a deep freeze, I think), so when I saw these

LILACS at Trader Joe's, I bought them:

I wish that I had

Thanks to my good friend D, who shares my sense of humor, I've posted this inane photo that just strikes me as funny. I realize that the "loads of hope" campaign is for charity, but there's something deeply absurd and pathetic about those words on the side of a box of detergent.

It's a weird world.

Oh, and forgive me! I forgot to draw a name for the book giveaway! The winner of  my dear friend Dean King's book Unbound: A True Story of War, Love, and Survival is Sally of Maggie's World. Congratulations, Sally! Please send me an email at elsophie at gmail dot com for your copy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pasquino the Protester

My father recently sent me the link to a website that described one of Rome's famous "talking" statues, Pasquino the Protester. Evidently, a pasquinata is an anonymous lampoon, usually written in verse, and hearkens back to the Roman tradition of citizen dissent. According to Italian Notebook, Roman tradition dictates that the oppressed may lodge a written complaint concerning the government and religious authorities by posting an accusatory poem in Roman dialect on the base of the statue. The base of the statue looks like this (evidently, post-it notes were in circulation during the 1500s):

My father and I often have heated discussions about politics and religion and life in general. He is conservative but moderately so and almost never judgmental. He abhors the ugliness of partisan politics and rarely enters that fray, while I have inherited a bit more of my mother's fiery opinionated character (although my views are literally the exact opposite). I know that my liberal streak can be an affront to both parents and there have been times when we literally speak of nothing at all that pertains to politics because it's just best that way. When my younger sister married a man whose work colleague was no other than William Bennett, the insufferable Washington conservative blow hard (since this is my blog, I get to say what I want -- ahem), I got into quite a "discussion" with him at the rehearsal dinner. At the wedding the next day, my father told me that if I kept my mouth shut, he would pay me $1,000.  My father reads my blog regularly and almost never comments. He has told me that he sometimes cries when he reads it, sometimes laughs and sometimes gets angry. I'm sure the anger is when I go off on a political rant, so when he sent me the email with the information about Pasquino the Protester, he wrote:

Do you think we're related to him?

I'm thinking we are, and somewhere along the way we lost the p and the s in the name, so that I, Elizabeth Aquino, instead of being incorrigibly argumentative and sharp-tongued, am, in fact, part of a long line of Roman protesters.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The view from the hammock in the front yard

where I'm lying as my children race around our neighborhood. Have I told you that I'm on week seven of Sophie home from school, due to a cockamamie Los Angeles Unified School District Track B schedule? Have I complained about it? Have I mentioned that due to severe budget constraints, both personal and public, my respite or babysitting for Sophie has been reduced by 75%?

I'm lying on the hammock, watching Henry rollerblade around, pushing Sophie wildly in her wheelchair. Oliver is on the Pocket Rocket and I've even let them go around the corner, out of my sight.  The way I see it, the chances of a big, nasty van pulling up and beside them with ill intentions is really unreasonable. If so, the villains would have NO IDEA what they'd be getting themselves into, and I imagine them driving right back around the corner, sliding the van door open and throwing them back out at me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's left of the camellia bushes at the Krauts' house next door

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Corner View Giveaway!

In case you missed it yesterday, I posted a very late Corner View and I have a giveaway, too! Scroll down and comment for a chance to win a copy of my friend's terrific new book about the women who marched with Mao.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Corner View!

I can't believe that Wednesday's Corner View was begun one year ago by Jane at Spain Daily. I hardly even realized that I have been a participant for the entire year, minus a bunch of Wednesdays of late. I've met people from all over the world and visit each of their amazing corners weekly.

For today's celebration, we are posting our favorite Corner View from our archives and some folks are even having a giveaway. I am going to give away a copy of my good friend Dean King's wonderful new book Unbound - A True Story of War, Love and Survival. You can read about the book HERE and HERE and leave a comment if you'd like a copy! I will use randomizer and pick a lucky winner next Wednesday, April 21st.

I think my favorite Corner View was September.

In the meantime, head on over to the many other Corner Views!


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