Saturday

elliot and the dentist

Elliot is scared of the dentist and has really needed some dental work (all my kids have worse-than-they-should-be teeth). The last dentist we saw was very abrupt with him and wouldn't let me sit with him while he was being worked on. He got hysterical.

So I went looking for a dentist on my dental insurance who would at the very least let me stay with him and at best, would offer gas for anxious patients.

I found out that there were NO pediodontists on my insurance and that most only see kids six and under anyway. Elliot is 8.

So we finally settled on Dr. Dugger in Fountain City. She was recommended by several people (including Jon).

Right away I liked her. She was patient and communicative with Elliot. She never acted like his fears were silly or overblown. She lets me be with him at every step and she let Elliot watch while she cleaned Jane's teeth the other day. He liked that a lot. She also never talks down to him.

Today he had to have the first of two decaying baby teeth extracted. He was so frightened that he tried to cling to the porch railing at her office and at first, refused to go inside. I peeled him off and we went in, with the assurance that if he really couldn't deal, we would leave (Our pediatrician had already told me that we would have to send him to an oral surgeon who could put him under if he couldn't deal with having this done in the dentist's office).

H e was literally shaking throughout the procedure, but she helped him through it. Elliot's dad and I stayed in the room with him.

Dr. Dugger's assistants were just as good. She took it very slow and encouraged Elliot to tell her when he was uncomfortable.

He made it through and the tooth came out. I was so, so proud of him. I could tell he was proud of himself.

packing for the beach

I used to stress about packing for the beach. Now I don't.

Tomorrow we are going to Tybee Island for the week (well, almost a week. I have to come back to work for the %%$&^^ election, which I forgot about when I scheduled vacation).

Anyway, all I am bringing for each family member is three t-shirts, three pairs of shorts, flip flops and a swimsuit or two. I take all clothes in one large garbage bag. Plastic. Yes, I said a large plastic garbage bag. I bring several extra plastic garbage bags for the wet clothes and towels that will come back. I bring sunscreen, shampoo, tooth brushes, tylenol and band aids. These travel in a plastic ziplock freezer bag. Reading material and beach chairs.

That's it.

I learned this super low=stress approach to packing for the beach over years of practice as a mother taking kids to the beach. I used to bring our clothes to the beach house in several suitcases and backpacks. This assortment of luggae was unwieldy and they all came back wet and sandy. The plastic garbage bag approach works best for the beach.

Friday

dike newlin, RIP

I had never heard of this woman until JFM pointed this obit out today. I sure wish I'd known her.

From the NYT today:

July 28, 2006
Dika Newlin, 82, Punk-Rock Schoenberg Expert, Dies
By DOUGLAS MARTIN


Dika Newlin, who composed a symphony at 11, became a distinguished composer and musicologist and emerged, in her 70’s and 80’s, as a most unlikely punk rocker, died on July 22 in Richmond, Va. She was 82.

The cause was complications of a broken arm she suffered on June 30, said Sabine Feisst, a professor of musicology at Arizona State University who is writing a book on Dr. Newlin.

“It is hard to find out about me because I’m involved in so many different things,” Dr. Newlin said in an interview with The Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1996. One continuing thread: she was a professor at various universities, until her retirement from Virginia Commonwealth University two years ago.

Her latest incarnation was as leather-clad, bright-orange-haired punk rocker and occasional Elvis impersonator, belting out songs like “Love Songs for People Who Hate Each Other,” which she wrote herself. Her flamboyant image was not exactly dulled when she posed in her 70’s for a pinup calendar.

Dr. Newlin’s earlier prominence grew out of her studies as a teenager with the composer Arnold Schoenberg. Dr. Newlin, among the last surviving pupils of Schoenberg, wrote the entry on him for the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Dr. Feisst called Dr. Newlin “one of the pioneers of Schoenberg research in America.” Dr. Newlin’s doctoral dissertation was published as the book “Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg” (1947, 1968). She also translated Schoenberg’s works from German to English, and her publication of diaries she kept as his student provide some of the most intimate glimpses of him.

Dr. Newlin’s own compositions reflect Schoenberg’s innovative approach. Those works include three operas, a chamber symphony, a piano concerto and numerous chamber, vocal and mixed-media works. In 1999, she sang in a costumed performance of Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire,” in her own English translation, in Lubbock, Tex.

In her punk incarnation, Dr. Newlin appeared in horror movies produced by Michael D. Moore in Richmond. In “Creep” (1995), directed by Tim Ritter, her character, clad in a leather motorcycle jacket, poisons baby food on a supermarket shelf.

Dr. Feisst confessed to finding this sort of thing “puzzling and disturbing” but said she came to view it as “all part of the package.”

Mr. Moore also directed “Dika: Murder City’’ (1995), a documentary about Dr. Newlin.

Dika Newlin, an only child, was born in Portland, Ore., on Nov. 22, 1923. Her name, chosen by her mother, refers to an Amazon in one of Sappho’s poems.

Her parents, both academics, soon moved to East Lansing, Mich., to teach at what is now Michigan State University. Dika could read dictionaries at 3, played the piano at 6 and began composing at 7.

She entered grade school at 5 and finished at 8. At 11, she wrote a symphonic piece, “Cradle Song.” Three years later, it was performed by the Cincinnati Symphony, with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff conducting.

She finished high school at 12 and was accepted as a college student by Michigan State, where, The New York Herald Tribune said in 1939, she had the highest I.Q. score in the school’s history. At the time of the article, she was in New York to hear one of her compositions performed at the World’s Fair.

After graduating from Michigan State at 16, she settled with her mother in Los Angeles so that she could attend the University of California at Los Angeles and study with Schoenberg, who taught there. She kept a diary, which she published as a book, “Schoenberg Remembered: Diaries and Recollections (1938-76),” in 1980.

Reviewing the book in The New York Times Book Review, Joan Peyser marveled at its “absolute ingenuousness,” saying Dr. Newlin seemed to have censored nothing.

In one entry, she tells how Schoenberg, an Austrian √©migr√© she called Uncle Arnold, criticized her string-quartet style as “too pianistic.” She replied that she knew it wasn’t the best writing. The entry continues, “He replied, ‘No, it is not the best, nor even the second best — perhaps the 50th best, yes?’ ”

She earned her doctorate in musicology from Columbia at 22. She studied piano with Artur Schnabel and Rudolf Serkin and made a half-dozen piano recordings in the United States and Europe. Many years later, in 2004, some of her punk numbers were released on an album called “Ageless Icon: The Greatest Hits of Dika Newlin.”

Dr. Newlin, who never married, leaves no immediate family members. She has a surviving cousin and was close to her cat, Spot. She once kept eight or more cats. Reporters noted that she slept on a mattress on the floor with a medieval suit of armor dangling above.

She told The Richmond Times-Dispatch that she had always wanted to have a rock band, and hers surely carried her own brand. Who but Dr. Newlin could have taken the text Schoenberg used for the fourth movement of his second string quartet to use as punk lyrics for “Alien Baby”?

“I feel like a child more than I did as a child,” she said in an interview with People magazine in 2003. “I try more and more to live day by day, to do something because it feels good.”

diapering the bum

I used cloth diapers almost exclusively with all 3 of my children. "Disposable" diapers gross me out and I think soft, cotton diapers are just much nicer on a sweet baby bottom. And while I'm no tree hugger, throwing away thousands of nasty, plastic diapers just seems wrong to me.

Here's an interesting article on the POLITICS OF DIAPERS in the U.S.

Das right...politics of diapering.

Quit your laughing now and go read the damn article.

Thursday

the house!


the house!
Originally uploaded by kgranju.




By the end of next week, our house will really be ours. Jon closes on Friday.

Before we can close, however, the new roof has to go on and we just found out from the appraiser that a bunch of slightly peeling trim has to be scraped and repainted before closing (otherwise the house appraised great - at a price above what we are paying with no other issues noted).

So in the next week, the roofers will be rofing and poor Jon will be scraping and painting like crazy.

But we are both so excited. We both just LOVE the house and can't wait until we and the children are all moved in.

The kids are very excited, too.

Here is some info on the house's STYLE (Folk Victorian with craftsman details) and HISTORY

yay betsy b.!!!


i ...must...own....this...t-shirt!
Originally uploaded by kgranju.



Can I just say that I ***LOVE*** my "Don't Hassel the Hoff" t-shirt that arrived in the mail yesterday? This has to be the coolest engagement present, like, evah!

(Don't worry Jon. I won't wear it around your parents ;-)

jon and his niece afton


jon and afton
Originally uploaded by kgranju.



On vacation in South Carolina this week :-)

my house in urban renewal

Many thanks to my pal Matt Edens for featuring my house for sale in this wek's Metro Pulse URBAN RENEWAL COLUMN.

helen helps jane collect firewood


DSC01076
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

my babygirl and me


DSC01177
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Wednesday

wedding dresses

While Jon and I aren't having formal attendants at our wedding, I wanted to get all the children I love involved. Here are some of the dresses I am considering for all the little girls who will be gathering around us as we say our vows (Jane, cousins, close friends' daughters). It's not easy to find a dress that's comfy, cute, affordable and will come in sizes 2-10.

Which one do you like best?

andrea yates

Thank God Andrea Yates' new trial has ended today with a verdict of insanity for her.

Severe mental illness is a hell that this woman lived with for years prior to the (easily predictable, based on her history) psychotic break that led her to do this horrifying crime.

She had postpartum psychosis with previous babies and had been hospitalized more than once. She and her husband were advised in the strongest terms by her doctors NOT to have another baby, but he left his severely mentally ill wife home with 4 young children every day and then knocked her up with a 5th. Soon after that baby's birth, she killed the children.

She needs to be in a locked mental hospital for the rest of her life and will be. But in my opinion, her now-ex-husband (remarried and a new father) bears tremendous responsibility for what happened. She was clearly, clearly crazy by every possible measure for several years before this happened and yet he continued to leave their children in her care every day while he went to work, and continued to impregnate her.

I have deep sympathy for Andrea Yates but not so much for Rusty Yates.

kate hearts jon


DSC00521
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

elliot plays croquet with jon's father


DSC01227
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Tuesday

another


Jane and Sydney 026
Originally uploaded by kgranju.



Here's another from the photos Ann took of the girls. I think this one is actually my favorite.

I am having a very bizarre day - not altogether pleasant - and I certainly wish Jon were not out of town.

a request

My ex-husband periodically contacts me to suggest that I am encouraging people to post negative comments about him on the old blog. He requests that I remove all such comments when they are made.

He e-mailed me again today and says it's been happening again and I need to remove these comments (I haven't noticed any, but now I'll go look around and see what he's referring to)

Let me make clear that I would strongly prefer that no one ever post negative comments about my ex-husband on this blog or any other web site or blog and that, at his written request, I will remove any such remarks that anyone makes about him on my own blog.

-kag

Sunday

good friends

With three children, the oldest now nearing age 15, I've been around a lot of kids over the past decade and a half. I generally just really like kids and most of my kids' friends, I like. There have been a few over the years whom I didn't like having around and a few others (like Herbert, below), whose PARENTS are so irritating thatI have avoided contact with the kids.

But there have been some kid-friends over the years whom I love so much that I'd adopt them if I could. This weekend we've had two of them in the house: Sydney and Max.

Sydney is Jane;s best friend. They are only 6 weeks apart in age andoriginally met at age 5 riding at the same barn. Sydney and her brother (one of the most gifted riders I've ever met) eventually left our barn when their mom decided to start her own. They live an hour away and Sydney is homeschooled, while Jane goes to school. It would have been easy to let that friendship fizzle out, but it's been clear to me since the girls were tiny that this was a friendship that will endure for the rest of their lives. Plus, I adore Syd's mom and consider her one of my best friends even though we only see each other every month or two.

Saturday

jon

Jon is at the beach for a week with his family.

I sure do miss him.

The kids miss him too, particularly Elliot.

dog stuff

Last January, my daughter's 12 month old dachshund, Cookie, disappeared. It was very traumatic and we looked high and low for Cookie, but we never found him. Jane was heartbroken and I promised her we would get her another dog. She and Cookie had been absolutely inseparable.

We already had two dogs when we got Cookie. Fiat is our insane (but I love him) Jack Ruseell mix and Mabel is our very ugly (sorry Mabel, but that underbite....), very sweet and easy black pug mix. Although I missed Cookie and was really sad for Jane went he disappeared, I was sort of seeing the logic in sticking with just the two dogs, but she was just sooooo sad about Cookie, so I broke down and agreed to replace Cookie with a new puppy.

She decided she wanted a Border Collie puppy and in a moment of insanity in late February, we got her a Border Collie puppy from a farm in South Knox County.

It became clear almost immediately that while Jane had said she wanted a Border Collie puppy, all she really wanted was to have tiny, sweet Cookie back. Jane showed little to no interest in the new puppy, whom she named Duffy, and I wasn't giving the poor guy much attention either. I did not feel good about this situation. Duffy needed far more attention than anyone was giving him (raising a puppy properly takes a lot of time and work). So I sat Jane down and explained that we had mad a mistake getting a rambunctious, working breed puppy like Duffy when we were already so busy with our two other dogs and school and horses and work,etc. I convinced her that she should let me try to find a home for Duffy.

So I began asking everyone I knew if they wanted a Border Collie puppy. He's very pretty in a classic BC way (they have always been one of my favorite breeds) and I talked him up, but no one wanted him. NO ONE. I tried for a month to find him a home without any luck.

Finally, about a month ago, I decided that the fates were telling me that Duffy was meant to be my dog and that since this was the case, I'd better start giving him the training and attention he needed.

So I did.

Now, a month later, he sits, walks on a leash and is housetrained. He is only 6 months old, so he still has manners to learn, but it's clear that he is going to be an awesome dog. He's scary smart (most Border Collies are) and actually remarkably calm for a dog this age, especially of this breed. Of course, compared to insanely hyper Fiat-the-Jack-Russell, almost any dog seems calm ;-)

I gave him his first bath this morning and he stood stock still and was a perfect gentleman. Now his coat is all shiny and he's sound asleep because the whole bathing seems to have exhausted him.

He reminds me in size and shape and general personality of the best dog my parents ever had, Abu, who was clearly a Border Collie mix because he looked just like an all-white BC. He was just a terrific dog. Duffy REALLY reminds me of Abu.

I still probably don't need three dogs. Three dogs is a lot of work and they are expensive, etc, etc, etc. But I am really glad we decided to keep Duffy.

Sometimes really good things come to you in unexpected ways, even when you try to push them away ;-)

leaving comments

I've turned off the "word verification" filter for leaving comments on my blog. It was supposed to filter out spam commenters, but apparently about half the folks who read the blog couldn't see the thing at all, so could not comment.

Thanks for the heads-up, Suzette and Becky :-)

Friday

nancy grace is a tool

I cannot STAND watching Nancy Grace. Actually, I sort of can if I imagine that I am actually watching an SNL spoof starring maybe, JAN HOOKS or Steve Carell's wife, NANCY WALLS pretending to be Nancy Grace.

Anyway, her bizarro, grandstanding, over-the-top interview style REACHED A NEW HIGH/LOW in this interview with former kidnap/rape victim, Elizabeth Smart.

Smart, who is now 18, is lobbying for passage of a new crime law. Grace had her on her show and kept asking her all kinds of sensational, trashy, leading and pointless questions about the details of Smart's own kidnapping and sexual assault, despite Smart's poised request that Grace lay off.

The weirdest part of the whole interview:

NANCY GRACE TO ELIZABETH SMART: "When we take a look back, there`s a shot of Elizabeth Smart, and here she is, four years later. And frankly, it`s a miracle that she was ever found. You know, a lot of people have seen shots of you wearing a burqa. How did you see out of that thing?"

my house, again

DSC01337


Don't forget that my TOTALLY AWESOME HOUSE is for sale, by owner (moi). If you are looking for a wonderful, older house with character, in great condition, for a really affordable price.... E-MAIL ME! (kagranju@gmail.com)

slave to target

In honor of the new Target opening this week at Knoxville Center Mall (yay!!!), I point you to my favorite ALL-THINGS-TARGET WEB SITE.

when fake boobs go south

Everyone's breasts eventually succumb to gravity to some degree. But I really think it looks far worse when THE INEVITABLE HAPPENS to fake ones.

be my neighbor!

Check out THIS GORGEOUS FOUR SQUARE that just went up for sale on the street where the house Jon and I are buying is (awkward sentence, but you get my drift ;-)

Check out all the photos. You should SEE the backyard on this house. Absolutely perfect.

Thursday

baby kellen

Congrats to my friend Amy on the home birth of her 4th son (all boys!!!!), Kellen. Look HOW BEAUTIFUL HE IS.

tori spelling in a family way

The husband-stealing Tori Spelling is REPORTEDLY PREGNANT.

I guess she'll need THIS INFORMATION...

38

I'm 38 years old and it's a good age. I like being 38.

But it freaks me out when I see OTHER people who look really old to me and then I find out they are just about my age. Tonight I met a man who looked 55 years old, and then learned he is 40.

I never want to be one of those people who is bothered by my age or afraid to age gracefully, but damn! I also don't want to look all old and stuff!

;-)

marital advice

So now that I'm gettin' hitched, I'm collecting marital advice.

I already know a few things about marriage - having previously been married for more than a decade. There are some things that worked well about my first marriage and there are some things I will do quite differently this time. I made some mistakes I won't repeat.

But my question for you, gentle reader, is this: what are the keys to a satisfying marriage? Why do some marriages last and provide emotional strength and sustenance for both parties, while others fail or end up a sad trap people can't seem to get out of?

As a bride-to-be, I want your marital advice, the best you got.

Let's hear it ;-)

new hipmama stuff

I also (in addition to the dress below) really want one of these NEW HIPMAMA T-SHIRTS

Wednesday

yummy

I love THIS DRESS.

I believe I need to own it.

invisible fence?

Jon and I are thinking of installing an invisible electric fence for our three dogs at our new house. We will also have a real fence in part of the backyard because of the creek, but I would like the dogs to be able to be all over the front and back yard.

I had one of these years ago at my old house, but it was installed wrong and never really worked right. I am wondering what experiences other people have had - good and bad - with these invisible fence systems and their dogs.

Comment below.

Tuesday

real women's bodies

Forget Heidi Klum doing the Victoria's Secret runway show 8 weeks after giving birth, here is what REAL NEW MOTHERS' BODIES look like.

angry mother

E. has a friend we'll call "Herbert." They were in the same second grade class together last year and Herbert invited E. over to his house a few times after school.

I met Herbert's mother a time or two during the year, but E.'s grandmother mostly dealt with the mother because these afterschool visits generally happened on her watch (she cares for my children afterschool until I get off work at 6pm).

Then last Spring, near the end of the school year, E. asked if he could invite Herbert over one Saturday. I said sure, but reminded him that we had a horse show that day, so suggested that Herbert could join us at the horse show.

E. loves going to horse shows, particularly at our barn, as this one was, because he can play in the creek, run around with other younger siblings of riders, eat hotdogs, and pet lots of cute ponies.

So I called Herbert's mother and invited Herbert to join us at the horse show for the day. She seemed very concerned about safety and supervision and whatnot and I reassured her. She said she would meet us at the show at 10 am.

So at 10 am, she shows up with BOTH her kids (Herbert and his 5 year old little brother, "Walter") and a pile of stuff, the likes of which I've never seen. Each little boy has a special chair and little folding table for their specially packed snacks and toys and lunches, etc. She brought a plastic ten gallon "frog aquarium" for her son to catch and contain any frogs they might happen upon. She assembles this mini campsite ringside and announces she is leaving BOTH her boys and will be back at 5pm. I had not intended to babysit this 5 year old I'd never met all day, and thought it quite odd that she was leaving him with me with no warning, but I said okay and she left.

She drives off in her Mercedes SUV or whatever it is and doesn't show back up until 6pm, at which time she rips into the little one, whom I've been babysitting all day, because he got "too dirty."

She then suggests to me that her boys return the next day for the second day of the horse show, but I gingerly explain that it really wouldn't be a good day for that for various reasons.

The next day, at about 10 am, I leave my kids at the horse show with good friends so I can run get some money at the ATM for show fees. When I get back 20 minutes later, I notice the minicamp assembled ringside. It turns out that not only did this woman bring her two children back to the horse show, she left them in my care without my knowledge or consent. She just dropped two kids - including a preschooler - off at this horse show with cars and a creek and horses and strangers and all kinds of potentially dangerous things, without informing any adult of this plan or that she was leaving.

I was flabbergasted, but E. was liking having Herbert to play with and plus, I was too busy to try to track down this woman's phone #. So Herbert and Walter stay with me all day and the woman - all perfectly manicured fingernails and blonde hair and plastic surgery - finally shows back up at about 5 pm and retrieves her children whom she fusses at again for having gotten "too dirty."

I probably should have said something, but I didn't. I made a mental note to avoid these people. Herbert drives me nuts, too. He's a prissy, whiny child.

Then during the last week of school, I get a call at work, at a time when I was extremely busy, and it's this woman. She informs me in a breathlessly angry voice that E. "insulted" Herbert at school that day and that Herbert has come home from second grade threatening to "kill himself" over E's slight. She says he's inconsolable and won't stop crying.

What did my son say, I ask?

Well, he apparently teased Herbert about having longer than average fingernails, which, this indignant mother explains to me, are that way because poor Herbert has a "sensory integration disorder" that means his nails must be specially filed down instead of cut because it bothers him so. She says she expects E. to call and apologize "immediately."

I offer my apology for E. having been rude or insensitive, but say that his apology call will have to wait until I get home from work because I am quite busy and he's at his grandmother's. She says that if E. doesn't call immediately, poor little Herbert will cry for the next three hours.

Well, of course I don't want this to happen, so I call E. at his grandmother's and explain he needs to call and apologize. He is reluctant, saying he's afraid that the mother will yell at him. I tell him that she has told me that Herbert is literally waiting by the phone, ready to take his phone call. He agrees.

Twenty minutes later, Henry calls and says E. tried to call and apologize but that the mother answered the phone and ripped into E. and told him he was "never welcome in their home again." E. is now mortified and upset. Henry is very angry on his little brother's behalf.

I am tempted to call and tell this nutso woman what I think of her, but am too busy at work that day, so I just make a mental note that we will NEVER have anything to do with this family again.

Halfway through the summer I start getting phonecalls at work from the woman asking if E. can come over for a "playdate." I make excuses, saying he's busy or at the beach with his father, etc, etc.

Finally, last week, she and Herbert track E. down at his grandmother's, where he is spending the day. E., being a forgiving sort, says he would like to go to Herbert's house. He calls me for permission. I attempt to dissuade him, reminding him that the mother can be "difficult," but he says he really, really wants to go and I relent. His grandmother takes him there for the day and picks him up at the end of the visit.

I then didn't see E. for several days because he was with his father, but when he came home yesterday, both he and Henry inform me that while E. was playing at Herbert's house last week, E. asked if Herbert could come play at OUR house sometime, and the mother-from-hell carefully and clearly explained to my 8-year-old son that, "In our family, we don't go to houses of people who are divorced and getting remarried. We don't believe in that."

ARRARRRRRRRRAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Poor E. asked why she would say something like that and all I could say was that she was a strange, unkind, unhappy person and that I feel sorry for poor Herbert and Walter.

I am absolutely livid and am attempting to calm down enough to decide how, exactly, I am going to tell this horrible person what a bitch she is when I call her today.

Monday

nicholas, helen, jones and anna

nic1

My little brother wins! He now officially has more children than any of his siblings and cousins!!!

;-)

anna rests with her new baby brother, nicholas


nic2
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

cheating

Poor Christie Brinkley. It turns out her 47 year old husband was cheating on her with a TEENAGE GIRL.

Who cheats on Christie Brinkley? Is he crazy?

Sheesh.

overwhelming

I am feeling a bit frazzled today. We are still haggling over who is going to pay for the roof on the house we are buying (us or seller), plus reworking the contract based on those figures. I am frantically trying to get my house in show-able condition so folks can start looking at it (some folks are coming tomorrow). I am trying to plan a wedding. Jon has just started his new job. I am trying to get ready for our beach trip week after next. I have to take E. to the dentist today and he is INSANE at the dentist; he has real phobia and acts nuts anytime the subject is even mentioned (my other two children never utter a peep at the dentist). Work is very busy...

Saturday

newbaby

I have a new nephew!

Nicholas Edward Allison
7 lbs 4 ozs
19 and 1/2 inches long

nicholas


I am told by my little brother that Nicholas has a full head of black hair and looks like his Greek mama. And he's nursing great and seems alert and healthy.

Can't wait to see him.

Friday

poverty

The issue of poverty has pretty much fallen off our cultural radar. It's not an issue in political campaigns, and no one really spends much time talking about it.

But we are surrounded by poor people. They are all around us. I would have become one of them after my divorce without significant family help and support that got me back on my feet, something many mothers going through a divorce DON'T have.

Here is a very EXCELLENT INTERVIEW with former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Senator John Edwards in which Knoxville's Randy Neal talks with him about the issue of poverty circa 2006.

I encourage you to read it and give it some thought.

new baby today!

It looks like my brother and sister in law's new baby (their 4th!) will likely make his/her appearance today. I am very excited. I think it's a boy.My brother thinks it's a girl.

Thursday

climate crybabies

Here is an EXCELLENT AN DTHOUGHT PROVOKING EDITORIAL by my friend Rikki on the climate change debate.

Bill is home! Hooray!!!!!!


Thru 04 Apr 06 102a
Originally uploaded by kgranju.


Bill is home from Afghanistan!!

(And I'll bet he brought Elliot's Flat Stanley back, too)

He's not actually back in Bell Buckle yet, but he's safely in the States.

We can all now let out a collective sigh of relief.

henry, elliot and max


DSC01319
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

This is Henry (14), Elliot (8), and Max (13) hanging out together this week. Max is Henry's very bestest friend and they have literally spent 90% of all waking hours together this summer. I love Max and would gladly adopt him. But he alsready has s supergreat family I like a lot too. I am always happy for Henry to send time with them.

And yes, that is a tie Max has tied around his cute blonde head. He wore it all day.

the new book

I heard from MY LITERARY AGENT today and she's got the contract for my new book from THE PUBLISHER in hand, so now they'll toss it back and forth until it's ready to be signed.

This means I need to get cracking on the book, which I am eager to do, but realistically, I think I won't get too much underway until after the wedding and the move are accomplished.

I'm excited, though. I've wanted to write this book for so long.

voila!

The invitations should arrive tomorrow or Friday...

Then we have to finish guest list and gather addresses...

Still on to-do list:

-Caterer
-Wedding rings
-Figure out who will marry us
-Music
-Drink
-Flowers
-Figure out who is gonna handle taking some pictures
-Clothes for kids
-Wedding license
-Plight troth ;-)

Catherine Granju

Wednesday

happy

I am very happy these days.

And lucky.

Healthy, happy children. Wonderful family and good friends who have been there for me every step thru the last, somewhat difficult, transitional few years of my life.

Work I enjoy that mostly pays the bills.

And now a bonus I wasn't sure would ever happen in the form of Jon.

(I hope I didn't just jinx myself)

:-)

I wish I could have looked in a crystal ball in 2003 and 2004 when the big changes were kicking my ass and seen what joy lay ahead. It would have sustained me.

your daily dose of hasselhoff

I don't know about the rest of you, but I really can't get enough of The Hasselhoff.

Behold, the Hasselhoff Outtakes:


affordable, historic house for sale near downtown knoxville

Gonna offer my beloved house FSBO first and list with realtor in about 2 weeks.

1500 sq foot, mostly restored classic Craftsman cottage in historic Oakwood-Lincoln Park neighborhood near Downtown Knoxville. Built in 1930. Three bedrooms and one spacious bath. Hardwood floors throughout - most already refinished. Large kitchen with pantry and built ins. 1/4 acre fenced yard (in back) with new native plants and flowers in front. Lovely front porch. Sidewalks. Gorgeous, UNPAINTED, original woodwork throughout, including french doors. Central gas heat and electric air. Recently updated roof. Small, soundproofed "music room" with electric outlets in full, dry, daylight basement. Working gas fireplace in living room. Dishwasher. Most original hardware intact. Beautiful original wood windows in most of house. Beautiful view of Sharp's Ridge at night from rear of house. Great neighbors! Needs minor cosmetic updating to make it a real showstopper.

See PHOTOS HERE.

Asking 105K.

Contact seller by e-mail at kagranju@gmail.com

Please pass along to friends who might be interested. This is an awesome house!

halloween costumes

Today Elliot, age 8, said this to me (this is pretty close to verbatim):

"Mom, this year for Halloween, Teddy and Liam and I want to be the Three Stooges. Either that or we want to be Bush and Cheney and that other guy. The guy who advises them. Of yeah, Chris Rove. So we'll be Cheney, Bush and Chris Rove, but I'll be Cheney because I want to be the one who gets to carry the gun."

I thought I was going to explode ;-)

buying a new house and selling the old one are...

stressful.

Inspection in the morning.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday

new photo of jane and cinco at tryon horse show last weekend


tryon1
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

I really love this photo of Jane


2005
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

we got the house!

Now let's hope it passes inspection...

suri's cruise's birth certificate

Check out this copy of baby Suri's legal BIRTH CERTIFICATE.


It's just as weird as everything else about this baby.

Monday

barrel of monkeys

Ever wondered the provenance of the phrase "MORE FUN THAN A BARREL OF MONKEYS?"

new house


DSC01282
Originally uploaded by kgranju.



This is the house J. and I are probably going to buy, since it's becoming quite clear that all 5 of us won't be able to fit comfortably in my current, much-loved little house.

Hare are A BUNCH MORE PHOTOS of the potential new house.

The kids love it because for the first time ever, they would each have their own bedroom, because the house has five bedrooms. It's really huge.

Jane, age 10 - July - 2006


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

elliot makes pancakes


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Saturday

plighting troth

Check out my engagement ring. I love it. Jon has very good taste. It's an antique sapphire. These are SOME PHOTOS of it that I swiped off the jeweler's website.

Friday

i ...must...own....this...t-shirt!


i ...must...own....this...t-shirt!
Originally uploaded by kgranju.



I have loved The Hoff ever since Betsy Babb gave me a "Hasselhoff on a stick" thing she made me to keep me amused while I was hospitalized after an auto accident in high school.

jonathan adair hickman


jah
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

I think this would be a great photo for our wedding invitations, don't you?

locket's baby!


baby1
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Our friends the Callihans have a new baby boy, born this week. He has three white socks and a star.

He's so beautiful!

"the web's largest database of cheaters and adulterers"

That's how the people behind DONTDATEHIMGIRL.com bill their site. It has a searchable directory of "alleged" cheaters, cads, liars and faithless jerks.

I need to add a few folks to the database and also search to see if some of my former bad relationships are already included ;-)

SexyBack

My guilty pleasures include true crime books, PBR in a tall can, trashy celeb gossip, spending too much on pretty undergarments, the occasional Krystal with cheese....and Justin Timberlake.

I think JT makes some of the best dance-pop around and I am very excited that his HIS NEW SINGLE "SexyBack" is out.

Just listening to it online makes me want to dance around the room. Now if only JT could talk some sense into Britney and bring her back from the dark side...

doulas

Here's a really good article on the new popularity OF BIRTH DOULAS.

Thursday

my wedding

No matter how simple one tries to keep the event, "wedding creep" seems to finds its way in.

Our plan is for a lovely, outdoor, casual wedding with 50 close friends and family in Bell Buckle, followed by a bigger, more rockin' bash in Knoxville later in the Fall.

Fifty people is now looking more like 75-100 people.

I am still hoping for a very plain, Episcopal service of 15 minutes or less so we can get on to the business of our reception-with-BBQ and fun.

I think I want bubbles at the reception. I am a fan of the bubble.

dressing down

Just in case your daughter loves playing dress-up...like, maybe as one of the characters in THE HANDMAID'S TALE, you can find everything you and she both need to dress modestly at this online retailer: "MODEST APPAREL USA"

(Hat tip to Metulj)

grammarians vs. the shelbyville times-gazette

I've BLOGGED BEFORE about the unusual journalistic stylings of reporter/commentator Brian Mosely at THE SHELBYVILLE TIMES-GAZETTE.

Now the world's cranky grammarians have begun TAKING NOTICE as well.

and the happy news is...

Jon and I are getting married!

September 3 in Bell Buckle.

I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have someone this wonderful love me and the children.

The kids are very happy.

Now we just have to figure out how to squeeze one more person into a house with only one bathroom ;-)

PS: E-mail me if you want to see my dress....

Tuesday

happy & exciting

Yes, I do have some very happy and exciting news.

Anyone wanna guess what it is?

;-)

fat people are not jolly

...or so says this NEW STUDY

Monday

elliot and uncle robert get ready to run after lighting the fireworks


DSC01172
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

helen and aunt katie

DSC01058


DSC01057
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

cousins


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

my two favorite pregnant women


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

helen will have a new baby brother or sister in the next two weeks


DSC01083
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

anna with her marshmallow


DSC01084
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

robert and mama - july 4 weekend in bell buckle


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

sunflowers at night


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

cousins roast marshmalllows


DSC01089
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

cousins roast marshmalllows


DSC01089
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

10:30 pm - July 2, 2006


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

10:30 pm - July 2, 2006


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Originally uploaded by kgranju.

:-(

Jon, Jane, Elliot and I all spent a fun weekend hanging with the fam in Bell Buckle (Henry went to Indianapolis for the weekend with his father for some sort of car race thing). We all had a great, relaxing time -- and took care of some important, happy news delivery ;-) -- and Elliot was invited to stay for a few days with his cousins Gray and Jack.

He was thrilled by the invite and assured me he wanted to stay, so Jon, Jane and I drove back to Knoxville tonight.

When I got home tonight, there was a message from a teary Elliot saying he was horribly homesick and wanted to come home (Bell Buckle is 3 hours away).

I called Julie -- hating to wake her up so late -- and she said he had been really sad but had finally fallen asleep. I am sure he will wake up in the morning happy to be with his boy cousins and ready to play. He was probably just utterly exhausted, but I won't sleep well tonight knowing he was so sad :-(