dog problems

My dogs, Fiat (Jack Russell mix) and Mabel (pug-dachshund mix) have suddenly decided they are no longer housetrained. I assume this is from being moved to a new, much larger house, but whatever the reason, it's annoying and frustrating.

So now I am going to have to start over with housetraining them, just as if they were puppies again. Lots of crating and close supervision.


This is Fiat hanging out with Elliot in E's room at the new house.


more on banning "free" infant formula from hospitals

This is an excellent overview of why this common practice NEEDS TO END

interesting recruitment campaign

Check out how this small college is TRYING TO CONVINCE STUDENTS to enroll there.


the horror


bono checkin' out the ladies

Pretty much every single thing about THIS PHOTO OF BONO in St. Tropez amuses me.

the wedding reception playlist

Police – Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

Ryan Adams – To Be Young (is to Be Sad)

Old 97s – Roller Skate Skinny

Rhett Miller – Singular Girl

Rhett Miller – The Question

Rhett Miller – Four Eyed Girl

Elvis – Jailhouse Rock

Ben Folds – Zac and Sara

Guster- What You Wish For

Guster – Two Points for Honesty

Cheap Trick – Surrender

Go Gos – We Got the Beat

Go Gos – Our Lips are Sealed

Lone Justice – Ways to be Wicked

Pulling Mussels from the Shell- Squeeze

From Blown Speakers - New Pornographers

New Pornographers – Letter from an Occupant

New Pornographers – Sng Me Spanish Techno

New Pornographers – All for Swinging You Around

New Pornographers – Mass Romantic

Neko Case – I wish I was the moon

New Pornographers – Electric Version

Elvis Costello – Veronica

Elvis Costello – Alison

I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Jayhawks

I am the Cosmos - Chris Bell

You Get What You Give - New Radicals

The Weakest Shade of Blue - Pernice Brothers

Liz Phair – Good Love Never Dies

Brooklyn Stars - Matt Pond PA

Dancing Queen - Abba

Save it for Rainy Day – Jayhawks

Liz Phair – Supernova

Modest Mouse- Float On

Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want

Blue - Jayhawks

1979 - Smashing Pumpkins

Ike Reilly - Put a Little Love in It

Criminal - Fiona Apple

Holiday- Madonna

Into the Groove - Madonna

Music - Madonna

Evangeline - Matthew Sweet

Go All the Way - Rasberries

Cruel to be Kind - Nick Lowe

Whenever You're On My Mind - Marshall Crenshaw

Cynical Girl - Marshall Crenshaw

-MaryAnne - Marshall Crenshaw

Into Your ARms - Lemonheads

North Knoxville - Todd Steed and the Sons of Phere

Tenncare Buzz - Todd Steed and the Sons of Phere

Knoxville Girl – Lemonheads

Jayhawks - I'd Run Away WIth You

Jayhawks - Settled Down Like Rain

Push Stars - Everything Shines

Push STars - Too Much Pride

The Knack - My Sharona

Cheap Trick - Good Girls Don't

List - The Fags

On the Tower - Sondre Lerche

Two Way Monologue - Sondre Lerche

Coal Miner's Daughter - Loretta Lynn

Frank Black – Preachers Daughter

Jayhawks - All the Right Reasons

Jayhawks - Big Star

Big Star - Way Out West

beatles - I will

belly - feed the tree

loretta lynn - don't come home a-drinkin'

zombies - cell block #9

Modest Mouse - Float On

Ben Kweller- Falling

Ben Folds - Landed

Badfinger - No Matter

Big Star- September Gurls

Big Star - 13

Guster- Satellite

Ben Lee- Catch My Disease

Scott Miller & the Commonwealth - I made a mess of this town

Scott Miller & the Commonwealth - Dear Sarah

Mic Harrison- Going Back to Knoxville

Westside Daredevils – Chicks in Time Machines

New Pornographers - Electric Version

New Pornographers - All for Swinging You ARound

Wilco - Jesus, Etc

Wilco - Heavy Metal Drummer

REM- Gardening at Night

Matthew Sweet - Time Capsule

Jayhawks - Blue

Wilco - Hummingbird

The Cure - In Between

Tim Lee Band – Sure Bet

Thorns – Fireflies

Jayhawks-Save it for A Rainy Day

Dead - Box of Rain

Cash - Delia

Rosanne Cash - The Wheel

Lightning Seeds - Pure

REM- Fall on Me

V-Roys - Sooner or Later

V-Roys - Cold Beer Hello

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

Elvis Costello – Allison

Pogues- Dirty Old Town

Clash – Train in Vain

Ben Folds – Kate

Ben Folds – Gracie Girl

Ben Kweller – Wasted & Ready

Cash – Ring of Fire

Dixie Chicks –Tonight the Heartache’s On Me

Dixie Chicks – I Can Love You Better

Lone Justice – Ways to be Wicked

Modern English- Melt With You

The Vapors – Turning Japanese

Crowded House – Something So Strong

Crowded House – Weather With You

Sixpence None the Richer – Kiss Me

Stones – Paint it Black

Stones- Honky Tonk Women

Replacements – Skyway

The Church – Under the Milky Way

A.C. Newman – On the Table

A.C. Newman – Drink to me Babe, Then

A.C. Newman – Miracle Drug

Beck – Girl

Beck – Devil’s Haircut

Posies – Frosting on the Beater

Del Amitri – Always the Last to Know

Del Amitri – Roll to Me

Dylan – Tangled Up in Blue

Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone

Cash – I walk the line

Al Green – Let’s Stay Together

Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing

Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender

Patsy Cline – Crazy

Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

Jackson 5 – ABC

Jackson 5 – I want You Back

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

B-52s – Rock Lobster

Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U

Britney Spears – Toxic

Britney Spears – Hit Me Baby One More Time

Lynyrd Skynrd – Freebird

Otis Redding – Try a Little Tenderness

Lou Reed _ Walk on the Wild Side

Pink – Get This Party Started

Beach Boys – God Only Knows

Beach Boys – Wouldn’t it Be Nice

Pixies – Here Comes Your Man

Fountains of Wayne – All Kinds of Time

Fountains of Wayne – Mexican Wine

Fountains of Wayne – I Know You Well


wedding license, redux

My friend, D. makes an excellent point that I shouldn't be complaining about being able to pay for and receive sanction from the state to get married (as I did in my wedding license post below) when so many Americans are denied the right to legally marry.

Take a minute to read up on how your gay friends and neighbors are being DENIED THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS.


I like makeup - in fact, I am a bit of a lip gloss addict. I spend way too much money trying new lip glosses (and in fact, I have a new favorite: THIS STUFF from Neutrogena.).

But my beloved does NOT like makeup of any kind and doesn't like it when I wear even lipgloss. Sadness.

So the other day he asked me what makeup I planned to wear at our wedding. His tone made it clear that he would prefer I wear none. Nada. No makeup at our wedding.

I just don't think I can do this. I mean, I don't wear a lot of makeup, but I do like my eyelash curlers and lipgloss.


the neverending move

I am between two houses. I am mostly moved into the new one, but still trying to sell the old one. And I don't have everything moved out of the old one.

It seems like we have been moving, unpacking, cleaning and organizing the two houses for weeks and in fact, we actually have. Room by room.

Jon and I spent all day yesterday unpacking boxes and putting away and hanging photos at the new house. Then this morning I had to get up early to work on getting the old house cleaner and tidier and smelling sweet for the open house that is supposedly going to take place there this afternoon.

I say supposedly because MY REALTOR hasn't put up any signs or anything around the neighborhood letting folks know there will be an open house today. I have no idea whether she has done any advertising of the open house or not. Maybe I'm wrong, but I sort of get the impression that she isn't doing much to sell the house. I have no idea how to be sure of this except that the house isn't sold. We did drop the price to 99K this week.

In a few weeks we will have to discuss figuring out at what point it makes sense for me financially to consider renting it to someone on a month-to-month basis. It's such a great house. I want to find someone who will love it like I do.

And I have to say, I do lovelovelove our new house. I feel so happy and at-home here and the children are just beyond thrilled.

One week 'til wedding. Woohoo!


wedding license

Today we are going to get our marriage license. How stupid that we have to pay money to the state to get married. Anyway, we have to figure out when exactly Jon got divorced. You have to know the exact date. He doesn't recall.

I recall all too well. Although we had been separated for two years before that, mine was final on 9/13/04. I cried and cried the day my lawyer called to tell me I was officially unmarried.


wedding dress

Mine is back from the alterations guy.

I like.

the creek house

Apropos of my (mentioned below) new obsession with home restoration blogs, Jon and I now have A BLOG FOR OUR HOUSE PROJECTS.



I have always loved old houses. I grew up in very old (100-plus years) houses and in fact, have never lived in a house that was less than 50 years old. Ever. In my whole life. My parents and siblings are also old house addicts.

And now that Jon and I are all revved up about our new, old house, I am becoming somewhat addicted to these cool HOUSE RESTORATION BLOGS, of which there are many. Jon and I are very excited about our house and I think I am going to start a houseblog of our own...


soring tennessee walking horses

I grew up in Bedford County, the heart of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. Although I actually would have preferred to focus on hunter-jumpers, I ended up owning and showing a pleasure-shod TWH. I was lucky enough to ride under the tutelage of the infamous and wonderful Betty Sain, the first woman to ever win the Tennessee Walking Horse National Grand Championship. Her farm was located directly across the street from ours.

Betty spoke out early and often and simply wouldn't shut about the huge problem of "soring" these beautiful, gaited horses for the show ring. Her outspokenness eventually cost her her career and her farm. Other trainers, making their money off broken, hurting animals, didn't like what she had to say.

Today, soring is supposedly under control due to USDA oversight and regulation, but according to this VERY INTERESTING INFO FROM "NASHVILLE IS TALKING", it's still a huge problem.

I encourage everyone to read this info before attending the national championships, known simply as "The Celebration" that begins in Shelbyville this week.

race baiting on "survivor"

I've never watched Survivor, so I don't really get how it works, but I know it's a long contest divided by teams, and this season, the teams or "tribes" will apparently be DIVIDED BY RACE.

There will be 4: black, white asian and hispanic

I think this is incredibly irresponsible of CBS. It's just ugly and an obvious attempt to stir the race pot. Gee, why don't they just go all the way and have Hezballoh tribe vs. Israelis. Or get two of the warring groups in Darfur to field "tribes"



work to do

My LITERARY AGENT just sent me the contracts for my NEW BOOK.

I can't wait to get started writing after the wedding :-)

career gals

Here's an interesting piece from making the case that men shouldn't marry "CAREER WOMEN".

Apparently "career women" just don't make the best wives. They aren't as happy. They cheat more and have fewer children. They don't darn socks.

The reason women with demanding jobs maybe don't make the happy, sweet, easygoing wives their husbands covet is that their husbands aren't pulling their weight at home. I will agree that it's really hard to have a happy household when both partners are working at demanding jobs. In that case, you need to hire signifigant household help to keep things running smoothly. But in these cases cited by Forbes where men find their busy, employed wives to be less-than-excellent wives/mothers is because the husband wants her to act like June Cleaver while at the same time keeping up with her responsibilities at work.

As I wrote in this essay, "THE CASE AGAINST OPTING OUT", I, myself am awfully glad that I kept one foot in my career while married and raising my young children or else I would have been seriously screwed when my marriage ended. Women shouldn't assume they will always have a husband with a good job to take care of them, no matter how good their marriage currently seems. Things can change suddenly.

the fun of living in a truly urban neighborhood

Ah! Proximity to downtown! We can walk to festivals! Shop at the Food Coop! Eat at godo restaurants just a few blocks away! Chase away the homeless from our yard!!!

Yes, in our new house, for the first time in my life, I have a significant number of homeless men living IN AND AROUND OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

These men make me very nervous and make my dogs VERY nervous. I don't like the idea of them being so close to my yard when my children are playing. The neighborhood association is actively at work on the issue, but I've been thinking a lot about the idea of solutions to this problem. What are they?

Clearly, most of these guys are mentally ill and/or suffer from addiction. So earlier/better treatment for mental illness is definitely one part of the solution.

But I am wondering if it's unrealistic to expect that we won't always have some sort of transient subculture in this country. Some of what is going on here is that certain individuals WANT to sleep in the park at night. They want to be free to move from place to place without being tied down.

I am really torn on how to be compassionate about this while still being really clear that these guys cannot camp out on the fringes of my yard.

(And let me be clear that I love living in a historic, downtown neighborhood. I'd far rather have a few homeless guys hanging around than live in a McMansion in a cookie-cutter suburb where there are no sidewalks.)

Your thoughts?


billy crudup & claire danes

I've disliked Billy Cruddy, I mean, Crudup, ever since he dumped 8 months pregnant Mary Louise Parker for Claire Danes. And then Claire dumped sweetest boy on the planet, BEN LEE for Billy.


So I thoroughly enjoyed this IMAGINARY CONVERSATION between Billy and Claire from the snarky wonders at

shallow post o' the day

Oh how I wish I hadn't cut my hair.

It is now in that horrible, horrible I-look-like-a-middle-aged-public-schoolteacher-who-wears-appliqued-vests-and-listens-to-Celine-Dion growing-out phase that makes me want to cry when I look in the mirror. Tremendously unflattering.

Do not cut your hair.


Don't do it.


inexplicably, endearingly entertaining

wedding cake

Jon says we should have ordered THIS WEDDING CAKE


the fun mom

Gee, Mom. How come you and I never had as much fun as LINDSAY LOHAN AND HER MOM when I was a teenager?


the perfect bra

I have discovered the cheapest, MOST PERFECT BRA, like, ever.

They feel like buttah.

I bought them in lots o' colors...

jonbenet ramsey

Let me go on the record as saying I think it will turn out that this guy they have arrested is NOT the man who killed JonBenet Ramsey, but instead a sick pedophile with some sort of obsessive interest in the case and the family.

I certainly do hope I am wrong, however.


We got some estimates on having the nice wooden fence we want installed at the new house and quickly realized that's not something we will be able to do for a while. So instead, I did some research and we decided to buy this WIRELESS INSTANT FENCE thingy.

I wanted to go ahead and move the dogs over to the new house because it's easier to sell my house when potential buyers don't have to deal with three excited dogs every time they want to look at the back yard.

So we set the wireless fence up at the new house and over the past few days, have begin bringing the dogs over one at a time.

Each of them has gotten at least one good zap and that seems to have been all it took for them to learn where they can and cannot go.

Duffy was the last to have his collar put on and I went over to the house at lunch time to check on them and all of them seem to be staying within the boundary and in fact, they mostly seem to want to stay on the back deck at this point because they are afraid they will get zapped if they get off (not true).

The thing that makes this electric fence set-up different from the ones with buried underground wires is that with those, if the dog makes it past the zap line he is home free. With this new thing, the dog keeps getting the zap UNTIL he turn around and goes back inside the boundary area. This works much better.

This is not a perfect solution. It's a hassle to take the collars on and off when the dogs go in and out of the house. But for the moment, it's what we have.


How important is "closure" to you in relationships? I tend to want it, other people - men in particular -- seem to find it unecessary. They want to just let go and move on.

If someone who had hurt you and wronged you later contacted you to ask for an opportunity to apologize and gain "closure," would you do it?


Our first two mornings getting ready for school have been a mixed bag. H. seems better able to get up and at 'em this year (so far he is really likeing the highg school he chose), while the younger two - particularly J. - seem to be having more trouble. I feel like I spend the whole morning fussing at everyone to hurryhurryhurry, which puts me and everyone else in a nasty humour.

So on our way to school this morning, the four of us discussed what sort of plan could ease the morning crazies. They hate my constant hectoring in the morning and I hate it too. So we have decided that instead of me waking the kids up, they will each answer to their own alarm clock. Breakfast will be available between 6:30 and 7am and not after, period. I will not fuss at anyone to hurry or get up or get dressed. All organizational tasks, like getting gym clothes together and forms signed by me has to happen the night before, period. I will give a 15 minute warning before we are walking out the door. And when it's time to leave, I am leaving. If someone isn't ready, they will risk missing school. For real.

Elliot is the exception, here, of course, because he's only 8 years old and still needs some help and guidance, but the middle schooler and high school student in the family have both got to start taking more responsibility for how their mornings go.

Our morning commute consists of a 50 mile round trip each day, with two different school drop-offs, and me having to get to my job on time. So we really do have to be on the ball each morning to get everyone where they need to be. Plus, I hate starting the day feeling like all anyone has done is argue and fuss at one another. I am hopeful that this plan, which the children bought into, will make a difference.

Because I don't want to have another morning like this one any time soon :-)


jon, jane and elliot

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Jane and Elliot were getting ready for their first day of 6th and 3rd grades, respectively. Elliot was very apprehensive about dealing with this obnoxious kid who was in his class last year and is in his calss again this year, plus he was sleepy.

But I've talked to him since his grandmother picked him up (half day for first day) and he is now very jolly and feeling great about third grade.

Jane has her new iPod in her ears (bday present from her Dad) and was very excited about starting middle school.

ask the ayatollah

Ever wondered how Iranian Ayatollah Sistani feels about, say, cockfighting? Banking regulations? The role of women?

Find out all this and more, or ask him a question yourself in this "Ask the Ayatollah" section of HIS OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

(He really does address cockfighting, by the way)


no more 'free' infant formula in u.s. hospitals !!

My sister Betsy, who teaches childbirth and breastfeeding classes, just pointed out this VERY IMPORTANT NEW CAMPAIGN to ban the "gift bags" of "free" infant formula that pharma companies give most U.S. new mothers when they leave most U.S. hospitals.

Jane is 11 today !!!!

jane and sydney 14
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

My babygirl is 11.

Here's an essay I wrote ten years ago about my pregnancy with Jane, and her birth:

The Decision

by Katie Allison Granju (Originally published in Hip Mama)

I began to suspect that something was very wrong the day I could no longer walk across the library at the law school where I was a first year student. Ten weeks pregnant, I had been fighting excessive fatigue, loss of appetite and night sweats for almost a month.

"Relax," my midwife told me. "You're just having a rough first trimester."

I was inclined to believe her. At age 27 and in perfect health, I had no reason to consider that anything more than extreme morning sickness was plaguing me, and that was no big deal. Heck, with my first pregnancy, three years previously, I had felt so good that I had even wished for a little first-trimester yukkiness so that I could feel "really pregnant."

Still, the nagging feeling that something other than just the pregnancy was going on grew stronger with each wretched day. The afternoon when I found myself collapsed in a chair in the law library brought the situation to a head. A classmate had to practically carry me to her car so that she could drive me home. There, she insisted on taking my temperature: 104'.

Within hours, I was admitted to the maternity floor at a local hospital, where I spent the next eight unhappy days. Each afternoon, just to make sure that all was well, the obstetrician would perform an ultrasound, showing us the tiny "beep, beep" of the fetal heart and the jerky movements of a glowing human jumping bean. We began calling the baby "Peanut." My doctor was puzzled as test after test failed to determine what the cause of my illness could be. He brought in an infectious disease specialist, who tested me for everything from HIV to Malaria.

On the sixth day of my confinement, as I was lying miserably in my hospitalbed, watching a rerun of the Andy Griffith show, both of my doctors suddenly entered my room, closed the door and turned off the TV without asking. Now I knew for certain that I had been right; something was terribly wrong.

They had come to inform me that I had an acute, primary cytomegolovirus infection, popularly known as CMV. The disease is not generally something to worry about....unless you are immunocompromised, which I wasn't....or pregnant, which I was. CMV, we were told by the obstetrician, is very dangerous to a fetus, particularly in the first trimester. It is a leading cause of congenital neurologic impairment, severe physical anomalies, devastating mental retardation and infant fatality. Really, we were told, we should consider our "options".

Suddenly, I, a person with all her grandparents still alive, a person who had never even been to a funeral, was faced with death. Not only was I faced with death in the abstract, I was faced with The Decision. In consultation with my with my sweet, 26 year old husband, a man similarly unschooled in the ways of mortality, I was charged with handing down a judgment as to whether Peanut would continue to leap and hop about in my womb and ultimately, be born alive. With a somber face, the doctor uttered the words that were to become so familiar to us over the next weeks, "Now, no one can make this decision for you. Only you can decide."

Only, I couldn't. Not without more information. And maybe not even then. We immediately became experts on CMV and its potential sequelae. I stayed up all night for days after the diagnosis, reading medical literature and searching the World Wide Web for answers. None was forthcoming. The best information available told us that if we carried the pregnancy to term, there was approximately a 1 in 4 chance that an infected baby would be affected by the CMV in some way. I was paralyzed with grief and indecision.

As an ostensibly pro-choice woman, I realized that I was not actually "pro"- anyone ever having to make a choice like this. Although no one wanted to offer an opinion as to what we should do, everyone had an angle. My doctor answered my questions honestly and told me that if his wife or daughter were faced with a CMV diagnosis in the first trimester, he would definitely encourage an abortion.

The minister whom a friend sent to see me was gentle and kind. Yet, she assumed that I was crying because I had already made the obvious decision to have an abortion and was grieving. She offered to set a time for a memorial service after the abortion to "celebrate and remember". She even showed me the feminist liturgy she had photocopied for just such an occasion. I found her point of view strangely repulsive and without intellectual honesty. If the life I would be taking was worthy of religious remembrance and ceremony, how was it possibly mine to take? There are no memorial services for appendectomies or squashed bugs. Only for people.

I was hesitant to share my dilemma with a certain close relative because I feared her unbending anti-abortion stance. Of course, she immediately realized the decision with which I was faced after someone told her of my diagnosis. She telephoned me to instruct me that, although abortion is wrong, sometimes God realizes that the time is not right for a particular soul to come into this world. Considering the circumstances, she opined, no one could blame me for whatever decision I felt was right. Her stunning hypocrisy angered me. Despite her stated views, she was conveniently able to allow for choice in this issue when the woman in question was someone she loved.

As days passed and I wrestled with my conscience, I realized that I was petrified of the physical procedure itself. My doctor assured me that he could perform the abortion at the hospital. I wouldn't have to go sit in a waiting room at a clinic. I told him that, although I realized that most first and early second trimester abortions are performed under local anesthesia, the only way I could face this would be knocked out cold. He agreed. I knew that I could be admitted to the hospital, drift gently off to sleep and wake up, relieved of this problem forever. I would never have to think about it again if I chose not to. Variously, this sounded tremendously appealing and completely horrifying.

When I envisioned the actual opening of my womb and suctioning of its contents, the same primal instinct kicked in that would allow me to single-handedly rip the lungs out of any man who laid a hand on my little boy. What kind of terrible mother would allow her defenseless offspring to be taken from the very bosom of maternal safety and warmth? I felt sick, and wept yet again.

My father tried to reason with me, pointing out the lifelong ramifications of my decision. He was terribly worried that I would be forever shackled to the responsibilities of caring for a severely ill or disabled child. He fretted that his big plans for his own child would be sucked away forever by a draining responsibility from which I could never escape. I too was seized with these fears. I secretly believed that I simply wasn't up to the task of mothering a child with serious health and developmental problems. What would that do to our other child, whom I already knew and loved? What would it do to my career goals? Our marriage? And what about the baby? The thought of seeing our tiny baby, suffering, perhaps hooked up to tubes and wires in a neonatal intensive care unit, caused me almost unbearable psychic pain. I imagined a future in which our mentally retarded and physically handicapped 13 year old child would endure the cruel taunts of other teenagers.

I began to wonder if I was being selfish in even considering giving birth to this baby. Would anyone choose for herself the life that this child might face? Were my own fears about a relatively minor surgery and future guilt good enough reasons to bring forth a human being who would have to live with the consequences of my own cowardice? I tentatively decided that motherhood is full of tough calls and hard decisions, both in the name of love and in a child's best interests. This must be one of them, I thought. I would do what was best for all concerned.

I telephoned the hospital, as instructed by my physician, and weakly scheduled the procedure for the next day. The admitting clerk who took the call easily misunderstood my vague instructions and thought that I was coming in for labor induction of a full-term, healthy pregnancy. "Congratulations," she said brightly. I corrected her mistake and her tone grew dark, almost menacing. She told me to meet my doctor at the labor and delivery wing at 6:30 a.m. sharp the following morning. She abruptly hung up.

There, I thought to myself. I have done the right thing. No turning back. I felt like someone had drained all the life from me. I sat in a darkened room for the next several hours, absently rubbing my still flat belly and murmuring maternal expressions of comfort to no one in particular. Later that evening, my husband and I discussed the choice that had been made. I attempted stoicism. He reminded me that we had a friend coming over to bring us supper, as many kind people had done throughout my illness and convalescence at home. I roused myself enough to get dressed and out of bed.

Our friend arrived and we all ate supper together. I told her of my decision and the reasons behind it. She listened quietly and then asked if she could tell us a little about her brother, who had died recently at the age of nine. She recounted a tale of extraordinary courage on the part of her parents, her sister, herself, and especially, on the part of a little boy with Down Syndrome named David. This child and this family had lived through all of the things I feared when I considered birthing my own baby, including David's eventual early death. Still, the joy and love of his brief existence canceled out all of the pain, fear and hurt. No one who knew David had any regrets. Our friend showed us his photograph: a beautiful and smiling tow-headed little boy, obviously mentally retarded.

Neither do I have any regrets about the decisions I made after that discussion. I never arrived at the hospital the next morning. I canceled the abortion and after a pregnancy alternating between exhilaration and despair, gave birth to my daughter, Elizabeth Jane Chevillard Granju on August 15th, 1995. She was born ten days early weighing 6 pounds and eleven ounces. She was born infected with congenital cytomegolovirus and had two seizure episodes in her first year. Since that time, however, she has been physically and developmentally normal in every way. She is also a strikingly beautiful child, with shiny dark hair, olive skin and a lithe, elfin figure.

Jane's epilepsy could conceivably worsen and she is at risk for other neurologic problems and progressive hearing loss until she leaves childhood behind. Still, she is remarkably healthy. Many people want to extract a moral from this story. Pro-life friends tell me that Jane is my gift from God for making the right choice. They want to hold my baby up as their own personal anti-abortion poster child.

Those who are pro-choice attempt to use the tale as a cautionary parable for why choice should be the focus of the debate, rather than abortion itself. After all, I was able to carefully consider each of my options and ultimately, have the final say. This wouldn't have been possible in another political context. My own views have become less reactionary and more cognizant of the complexity of the abortion issue. I continue to fear the slippery slope that we head down when we deny women the right to choose when and how we bear children. On the other hand, I no longer attempt to repudiate the fact that the graphic posters displayed by anti-abortion activists are real photographs of what really comes out of the uterus during an abortion. Many abortions do indeed "stop a beating heart," as the bumper sticker says.

However, I will not allow Jane to be used as a crucible for the views of any person or group. I know that I would love Jane just as much if she had been born severely disabled. I do not, however, deny the relief I feel that she is so radiantly well. I am deeply aware that I was graced with this experience, which has allowed me to see that the blessing is sometimes as much in the struggle, from which I have learned so much, as in the outcome.


Jane & Syd

Jane and Sydney 026
Originally uploaded by kgranju.

cats and mice

Jon has a cat, Mingus. I have a cat, Moses. We have gone ahead and moved Moses in with Mingus, even though the dogs are primarily still at the old house. Mingus has never lived with another cat and Jon is very, ahem ;-), protective of Mingus, so he was nervous how this would go.

They seem to be getting along quite nicely. Moses LOVES the big, new house. And it appears they tag-teamed an unlucky mouse today. Moses has never killed a mouse in his life, because he is a lazy, slow moving Himalayan, so I would assume that Mingus took the lead on this. It's a good thing that one or both of them appear to be good mousers now because all old houses have the occasional mouse. Ours certainly has plenty of nooks and crannies for mice to hide out.


McLean Henry and Elliot on the porch

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

also right across the street at our new house

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

This one is for sale.

across the street

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

The view from our front porch

our new house

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

jane at 11

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Jane starts 6th grade and turns 11 this week. Behold her favorite pasttime, aside from riding ponies.

jon and eleanor working together

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

eleanor helps trim the hedges

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

jon trims the hedges

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Yeehaw! Jon's a real homeowner now.

elliot explores the new house

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

the living room at the new house - starting to get unpacked and sorted out

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

the kitchen at the old house

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Look! It's all cleaned out. Don't youwant to buy my adorable house?

jon and duffy, our accidental third dog

Originally uploaded by kgranju.


one foot in front of the other

I have so much going on right now that I sometimes feel like I am taking crazy pills...but in a good way:

-Kids go back to school this week. Two different schools and three different levels (elementary, middle and high school). Three different uniforms. Ack.

-Lots of work-related stuff going on. All good but I am buuuuuussssy. Political season kicking into high gear.

-In process (almost done) of moving three children, two dogs, one cat and one snake into new (to us) HUGE, OLD HOUSE where Jon moved in last week.

-Trying to get CURRENT HOUSE sold. Found housesitter to stay there 'til it sells. Still have about 1/4 of our stuff at old house. Moved many truckloads today with Jon while children with their father for the weekend.

-Fretting about the possibility of carrying two mortages til house sells, or having to rent current house if it doesn't sell in next 7 weeks before first, larger house payment due on new house.

-Need to get started on new book which publisher wants in 7-9 months.

-Busy planning details of wedding taking place 9/3 in town 3 hours away. I have lots of MUCH APPRECIATED help from Kimi, mother, Robert & Nicole, sister Betsy, etc, but still a lot to coordinate with food, drink, music, flowers, etc.

-Need to get wedding rings. Went to jewelry store tonight and Jon and I both figured out what we want. Now we will order them online (and in researching where to order online, stumbled on this QUITE ENTERTAINING LIST of things couples have asked this particular online jeweler to engarve on their rings.)

-Need to get wedding dress altered.

-Must get wedding license

-Need to arrange lodging for several members of Jon's family coming to wedding

-Must get fireman out to go over new house with all of us to talk about fire safety issues, how kids can use fore ladder from top floor and what kinds of smoke detectors we need and where. (If I seem obsessed with this, it's because it's a very, very big 100 year old house where - for the first time in my whole life as a mother - the children will be sleeping one a different floor from me).

-Must get estimates on fence at new house for dogs and figure out if/when we can afford it. (I wish we could start a "build Jon and Kate a fence" wedding registry ;-)

In the midst of all that's going on, I am trying to take time to reflect on all these huge changes and how lucky I am. I never would have imagined one year ago today what good fortune would come my way in 2006. I feel like if I exhale, I'll wake up and it will have all been a dream.


being married

So the first time I got married, it didn't really work out, although we had many happy years together and we have three amazing children neither of us would trade for the world.

But we got divorced. And that's sad.

Since my divorce, I have been almost obsessed with observing different marriages and trying to figure out which ones are working, and why, as well as trying to figure out which ones are not working, and why.

Now that I am getting married again, I am thinking about this issue even more. And I'm reading this book, which I HIGHLY recommend:

excellent news

Well, it turns out that in my state, you can have a lawyer tapped as a "special judge" to conduct weddings. So we are looking into having my brother Robert given this special designation so he can do the wedding for us. Most excellent. My fingers are crossed that this will work out.


oh sheesh

This guy's op-ed on how FEMINISM RUINED MEN is absurd.

He sounds like he has certain....insecurities, if you know what I mean.

Me thinks he doth protest toomuch.




When I die, I hope to die LIKE THIS.

If I have this right (and I think I do), John Duryea was Ariel Gore's stepfather, whom she came to love as HER FATHER, no qualifiers needed.

He was a Catholic priest who left the priesthood when he fell in love with Ariel's mother, Eve, decades ago. They married, causing a huge scandal, and have been blissfully together ever since.

And now he has died.

My condolences to Ariel and her family.


God has played a cosmic joke on me: last night at middle school orientation, my daughter announced she had signed up for the cheerleading squad.

That's right, my daughter is going to be a freaking cheerleader.

Now before anyone starts in on me about letting kids be themselves, etc, etc, etc, I want to make clear that I have in no way discouraged her from signing up for the cheerleading squad. I told her she should get involved in whatever interests her, but I must admit that I always imagined my daughter would be more like I was as a 6th grader: bookish, a bit geeky, interested in politics, a voracious reader...

She is none of those things. She is gorgeous, poised, highly social, totally apolitical, and and her favorite reading material is Teen Vogue and Tiger Beat magazine. And now she wants to be a cheerleader.

We do share a deep love of shoes, lipgloss, and horses, and I enjoy her company like no other girl on the planet. We are very close and I hope we stay that way. But gee are we ever different in some ways!



(I think I read somewhere that HipMama Superior ARIEL GORE'S daughter is a cheerleader. Need to ask Ariel about that...)


help a kid

Hey blogreaders, as you are shopping for back-to-school supplies for your very lucky children, please consider donating as little as $10 to a VERY worthy group here in my community.

They are called Mission of Hope and every year they do a "backpack drive" that provides a brand new backpack filled up with school supplies and personal hygiene stuff like toothpaste and hairbrushes. These special backpacks go to poor children throughout rural Appalachia, including here in East Tennessee and Southeast Kentucky.

Just $10 will pay for both the backpack and the supplies to go in it. This year, Mission of Hope plans to give the backpacks to 9,000 children - the most ever. They need our help.

Find out how to donate or volunteer by clicking RIGHT HERE.

K-Tel's breastfeeding greatest hits collection

In honor of WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK, some of my writing on the topic over the past decade:

For a thorough (sp?) overview of exactly how the infant formula industry influences this issue and how, quite specifically, their actions parallel the tobacco industry, take a few minutes and READ THIS ARTICLE I wrote in 2003. It's about how the pharma companies stopped a huge public health campaign on breastfeeding from being released by DHHS at the federal level.

Here's a two-part ARTICLE I WROTE FOR on the quantifiable health risks of not breastfeeding/artificial feeding.

(I'll link to more articles later today)


wedding details...details...

The priest has canceled, so now I will ask a friend who is an ordained Universal Life Minister to do the honors. Hope she's available. If not, anyone want to marry us?

We have decided against a traditional cake and will instead have the lovely and talented PEG HAMBRIGHT whip us up a tower of carrot cupcakes with creamcheese frosting.


rachel weisz makes postpartum women everywhere weep

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

OK, this is just Not Fair.

RW just gave birth to baby Henry, like, 8 weeks ago. Look at this woman! Look at her adorable baby (with the most excellent name)!

She is a genetic anomaly.


jane vs. the jellyfish on tybee island

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

...and the jellyfish won

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

natalie maines on mel gibson ;-)


"We're giving a shout out to Mel Gibson for our next song. Not for any reason in particular. But maybe if I claimed I was drunk on stage when I made my comments a few years ago [about George W. Bush], people might not have been as upset with us."

- Dixie Chicks leader singer Natalie Maines, introducing their song White Trash Wedding at a recent concert.

mother talk/the ghost in the house

Congrats to my friends Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz on their new venture: MotherTalk.

Here's some info from Miriam:

MotherTalk's first official blog tour starts today, for Tracy Thompson's new book Ghost in the House.I want to let everyone know about it. This is the kind of roll out we hope can help launch a book that the women's and parenting magazines have decided it "too depressing." Let's see what our alternative-parenting blog world can do to get the word out.

Today, Jenn from MUBAR gets the ball rolling.

Tuesday August 8 -- Mir at Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Wednesday August 9 -- Jenny at Three Kid Circus.

Thursday August 10 -- Asha at ParentHacks

Friday August 11 -- Trace at

Tuesday, August 15, Heather Armstrong of one of the most popular blogs on
the web in any genre,, interviews Tracy for

Here are some links and info about the book and the author, Tracy Thompson:

The book at Amazon

"The Ghost in the House, the result of Thompson's extensive studies, is the
first book to address maternal depression as a lifelong illness that can have
profound ramifications for mother and child. A striking blend of memoir and
journalism, here is an invaluable resource for the millions of women who are
white-knuckling their way through what should be the most satisfying years of
their lives. Thompson offers her readers a concise summary of the cutting-
edge research in this field, deftly written prose, and, above all, hope."

And here's an interview with Tracy that just ran in Salon.

no dixie chicks for knoxville

Well darn.

I love the Dixie Chicks, and even though I wasn't going to be able to make their planned Knoxville show in October, my daughter was. Now they've announced that THE KNOXVILLE SHOW IS CANCELED
Their new record is terrific and it irritates the heck out of me that I can't hear it anywhere on local radio. I'm glad to read that even though concert ticket sales have been soft in some markets, like uber-conservative East Tennessee, they are selling very well elsewhere, and their CD continues to fly off the shelves.

My 11 year old daughter will be really disappointed to find out the show is canceled, but it will offer a teachable moment for me as a parent. I'll have the chance to explain about free speech, the peace movement and mob censorship.


wedding registries

After being asked at least 624 times where we are registered for the wedding, I have capitulated. Jon and I are now registered at TARGET and HOME DEPOT.

(But isn't it wrong to give/get gifts for second weddings?)

borrowing trouble

Do you ever feel like something HAS to go wrong when everything seems to be going right?

I had several years where nothing seemed to go right, no matter which way I turned. Sure, I was grateful for the good health of my children and myself, but damn, everything else fell to pieces around me.

And now everything is rockin' along. And I sometimes get almost weepy with worry, wondering when the other shoe is gonna drop.

moving ...sort of

Today Jon and his family helped him move out of his apartment and into our new house. I helped unload and clean on the receiving end, at the house. We got a later start than we hoped to because the sellers didn't pull out with their moving van until about 11am. They were so nice, though, that we didn't mind much.

And here's the thing about really huge, really old houses that are only about 75% restored: they are dirty. And once the seller got all her stuff out, I realized just how much scrubbing, mopping and baseboard dusting that needed to be done. So I did quite a bit of that today but have miles and miles of baseboard yet to scrub and dust.

But really, the house is in great shape. What's left to be done is stuff we can do on our own timetable. The only rooms in the house that are still in pretty rough shape are two of the three bathrooms -one bathroom is brand new. The rest of the house is in excellent shape (several rooms are completely restored) or good shape (kitchen is old but functional and does have a brand new floor). Bedrooms all need fresh coats of paint.

The sellers left a LOT of junk behind. 75% of it is construction trash -- they had done a lot of the major work on the house in the past few years. But about 25% of it is useful stuff they were nice enough to just give us, including a brand new, really huge couch. They also left us some curtains we needed and a lawnmower and some random furniture and one really nice rug.'

We worked really hard all day while Elliot and his friend Teddy explored the house and yard. It is such a thrill to see Elliot with so much SPACE to enjoy. I swear that the kids' playroom in this house is as big as our entire current house. He loves it. He and Teddy played in the bamboo growing on the bank of the creek in our yard, and ran back and forth across the bridge over the creek. And although he has no furniture in there yet, ELliot started organizing his new room, lining up some turtle shells he found along the window sill. He also found some old maps he wants to hang on his walls.

So I am typing this from our new GORGEOUS living room. Elliot is asleep on the couch next to me. I am waiting for Jane to return from her trip with the cousins. Henry is at a friend's house. We will be slowly moving stuff from our house, one mile away, to this new house over the next month, leading up to the wedding. We will also try to eat meals, etc over here at the new house as much as possible so our current house will stay as tidy as possible at all times while it's on the market. OUR REALTOR will officially list the house and start showing it on Monday. Let's hope it sells quickly.


fire escape ladder?

Jon and I need to buy a fire escape ladder for the children for the second story of our new house. Their bedrooms are all upstairs and ours in downstairs.

So I went to order one online and there are so many different kinds that I have no idea what to buy. Anyone know anything about this? What the best kind is and where to get them?

today is the day!

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

This is the front door of our wonderful new house, which officially becomes OURS today!

some of the gazillion windows jon scraped and painted this week

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

dining room

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

all hail jon...

jon hickman...whom this week, in 100 degree heat, singlehandedly scraped and painted approximately 65435526 ornate Victorian windows on a ginormous, 100 year old house in order to appease the FHA appraisal gods.

And tomorrow, he becomes a first time homeowner.

tybee addendum

Tonight I talked to Jane, who decided to stay on at Tybee for a few extra days with my sister Betsy and the cousins. Apparently, Jane was stung quite dramatically by a humongous jellyfish this afternoon. She screamed so loudly and shrilly that a lifeguard came running to tend her, and other beachgoers gathered to see her swelled up sting.

Aunt Betsy said after her initial screams, Jane calmed right down and was brave and quiet. But it was big excitement.

Yet another reminder of our FABULOUS 2006 Tybee Island vacation.

Yee Haw.



My 9th grade son Henry likes to argue with me. (He would tell you I like to argue with him.) Lately his incessant need to debate every issue, from world peace to the meaning of God to why he cannot light candles in his room to why he has to wear shoes to school have been wearing me out.

(He reminds me of my little brother, who must've worn our parents and his teachers out ;-)

Anyway, I was telling someone this about Henry today and she said, "Well, that's a teenager for you."

But really, he's been doing this for years....and thinking about that reminded me of this rather hilarious letter he wrote me when he was in 6th grade.


(Can you say Future Lawyer? And by the way, "Sanchez" is not part of his name. He just added that for random comic effect)


the dress

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Here is the dress we've decidid to go with for the girls in the wedding :-)


On "The View" yesterday, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck (back?) explicitly compared the use of "Plan B" emergency contraception to leaving an infant on the street to die.

So offensive.


more on the vacation

Nicole asked me what, specifically was the problem with the Tybee Island trip. My response:

Well, I am irritated that I just blew my annual vacation budget on what turned out to be 3 days (scheduled full week before realizing I had to return to my job cover election - my own fault - but still had to pay my full share of beach house rental, plus travel costs, food for 4, etc) at the nastiest, dirtiest, most overcrowded beach, to stay in the worst accomodations we have ever had on vacation because we waited too late to book one of the sorts of places we normally rent.

The whole place smelled like a dumpster and the beach was crowded and filthy. Actually, the interior of the condo was awesome, but it was located across a street and a big public parking lot from the actual beach, which was a huge hassle (just getting kids and chairs and sunscreen etc back and forth was a huge production). And the tiny deck had a lovely view of the parking lot and the roof of the bar next door, so the smell was gas fumes, fried fish and garbage.

It sucked ;-)

Next year we are back to Pawley's Island or Edisto, unless R & N go ahead and buy a beach place, as they've said they might. Then we can all meet up there.

But I am, however, very excited that I have returned to Knoxville to see that our new house has its beautiful new roof on it.

And Jon and I did have one lovely evening together in Savannah during our trip.

And today is one month to the day 'til our wedding :-)

And we close on the house TOMORROW!!!!

tybee island was...

...very disappointing.

worst vacation i've had in years.

th ebeach was gross. much different than what i am used to. the drive wore me out coming and going. the children were - for the most part - whiny and argumentative.

the whole thing was quite disappointing. i need a vacation now. but it's election day. when you work in a newsroom, election day is veryveryvery busy.


and it's 3:34 am and i cannot sleep.