current reading

Fascinating woman.

This book has been recommended to me for years and I never read it. Recently, I finally bought it and have been engrossed in it ever since. This book should be required reading for ALL women. I now realize that I had only a very surface understanding of how my own body works. This is a great book. The author just wrote one for teenage girls that I plan to buy for my daughter soon.

my 15 year old son to me this morning

As we drive up to his school so I can drop him off for the day:

"Mom, can you please turn that down. I don't want all my friends to know my mother listens to emo music."

(We were listening to The Decemberists)


caitlin flanagan

This seems hard to believe, but feminist nemesis and lightning rod Caitlin Flanagan's much-hyped book apparently only sold 8,700 COPIES.

That's similar to the sales for K-Fed's CD.

harvey milk civil rights academy

Can you imagine being lucky enough, as this family is, to choose AMONG 70 DIFFERENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS available in their own community? Including the "Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy?"

the tree

We went to the Christmas tree stand one block from our house last night, picked out our tree and then brought it home and decorated it.

Here are all the PHOTOS OF THE EVENING

Decorating the tree is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. The cousins came to help and Dr. Neighbor stopped by. We were going to make cookies but never got to that. We all had a great time, although as you can see from the photo below, Elliot began fading at the very end and in fact, was sound asleep on the couch within 90 seconds of this photo being taken.

This was Jon's first real Christmas tree. I would never want a fake one, but that's just me. When I was a kid, my father would take us all out on our farm to find and cut down and haul back a fresh cedar tree. Cedar trees are the REAL Tennessee Christmas tree.



breastfeeding mothers to busybodies who complain: GET OVER IT!

The Sevierville Mountain Press has it ALL WRONG in a recent editorial.

In the op-ed, the writer argues that public breastfeeding is "sometimes" okay, as long as the woman feeding her baby realizes that, "Breastfeeding is one of those things that can be offensive."


What is considered "offensive" in public has changed over the years, as we have become more enlightened as a culture. Not so many decades ago, it was considered "offensive" for an obviously pregnant woman to appear in public. Only 40 or 50 years ago, mixed-race couples were deemed an offensive sight in public. At one time, the severely disabled were kept behind closed doors so the public's sesnibilities would not be offended by the sight.

Now, of course, we realize that all of these cultural prohibitions were oppressive, ridiculous, and worked against the greater public good. The same is true of today's (decreasing, thank goodness) disapproval of women nursing their babies in public.

Breastfeeding is both a parenting necessity and a public health issue. Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to become sick with illnesses AS MINOR AS COLDS, AND AS SERIOUS AS CERTAIN CANCERS.

Additionally, (although far too few American women are made aware of this, even as we are told to lose weight, exercise more, and do our monthly self exams) breastfeeding also protects adult women AGAINST CANCERS.

Recognizing the importance of making it easier, not harder for women to breastfeed their children, many states have PASSED LAWS recognizing a woman's right to nurse her child wherever she has a right to be. Perhaps the editorial writer for the Mountain Press was unaware that Tennessee is one of those states, and nowhere my state's law does it mention the need for women to be "discreet" so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of busybodies who have nothing better to do than worry whether they see a flash of skin while a baby is latching on or finishing up.

In the immortal words of Mr. T., I pity the fool who asks me to cover up or be more "discreet" in feeding my child. The problem is theirs, not mine, and the time has come for those folks to just get over it.

gonna go give my babies one last hug tonight

POOR BABY BOY (he's only four).


man, wear not these shoes

These are the THE WORST MAN SHOES EVAH Don't you agree, Betsy 1 and Betsy 2?

I mean, I don't care if it were Jude Law himself who showed up on my doorstep wearing these awful shoes, I would have to suddenly develop a bad headache and be unable to go out for the evening.


a parent's christmas morning nightmare



Back in the day (early-mid 1980s in rural Tennessee), the only videos my family owned were "Revenge of the Nerds" and "Muppets Take Manhattan." We had no cable TV - actually pretty terrible TV reception in general - and no video rental store within 25 miles, but we somehow ended up with a VHS machine and those two videos.

What to do but watch them ad nauseam? Yes, my siblings and I could quote from the original ROTN chapter and verse. We still do, to amuse one another at family gatherinegs (but only after the drinking games).

So I was saddened to hear that the "Revenge of the Nerds" remake that had inexplicably been planned has now inexplicably BEEN CANCELLED.

the virtues of hypocrisy

Take a listen to THIS EXCELLENT SERMON from Knoxville minister REV. CHRIS BUICE.

my christmas wish list - in progress (it's WISHES...doesn't mean i expect to get this stuff... ;-)

(I am the last person in America who does not own an iPod)

in the wake

Last night, Jon and I stopped by Barley's in the Old City for a little bit for the lovely celebration OF B.J.'s LIFE planned by her husband, Jake. I met Jake in person for the first time, wishing very much that we had gotten a chance to get together with their family before B.J. died.

I loved looking at all the photos of her and of her artwork. She was objectively, a very beautiful woman and she looked prettiest in the photos of her with her two supercute little boys, who are now left without their mama, who was way too young to be taken away from them.

I hope to have Jake and his boys over to our house soon. I know Elliot would love to make some cool new little guy pals, and I want to get to know Jake.

I am honored to have been at the wake. There was clearly love all around. And I also had the best martini I've perhaps ever had. It was perfect ;-) And when I die, that's the kind of thing I want folks to say about my going-away party.



This morning I am taking Jon to my Unitarian church, which I've attended sporadically for many years. Once again, I am making a New Year's resolution to attend more regularly -- may also join Jon's church (Presbyterian) and go there, too.

In case you've ever wondered what Unitarians are all about, here's the denomination's creed. But before reading it, you should know that NOT all UUs necessarily believe all of that. I don't. I certainly do not believe that all religions have intrinsic merit. That depends on how you define a religion.

My experience with UUs is that their fundamental religious practice, on a daily basis, is practical good works: environmentalism, social justice, fighting racism and homophobia, feeding the poor, building houses, etc. I am down with all of that.


What do Unitarian Universalists believe?

WE BELIEVE in the freedom of religious expression. All individuals should be encouraged to develop their own personal theologies, and to present openly their religious opinions without fear of censure or reprisal.

WE BELIEVE in the tolerance of religious ideas. All religions, in every age and culture, possess not only intrinsic merit, but also potential value for those who have learned the art of listening.

WE BELIEVE in the authority of reason and conscience. The ultimate arbiter in religion is not a church, nor a document, nor an official, but the personal choice and decision of the individual.

WE BELIEVE in the never-ending search for Truth. If the mind and heart are truly free and open, the revelations that appear to the human spirit are infinitely numerous, eternally fruitful, and wondrously exciting.

WE BELIEVE in the unity of experience. There is no fundamental conflict between faith and knowledge, religion and the world, the sacred and the secular, since they all have their source in the same reality.

WE BELIEVE in the worth and dignity of each human being. All people on earth have an equal claim to life, liberty, and justice-and no idea, ideal, or philosophy is superior to a single human life.

WE BELIEVE in the ethical application of religion. Good works are the natural product of a good faith, the evidence of an inner grace that finds completion in social and community involvement.

If you want to learn more about Unitarian Universalism, this is a GOOD PLACE TO START.


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starting to get house decorated for christmas

First Christmas in our new house.

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christmas lights

My lame attempt:

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JOn fixes my problem:

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i love bungalows

I have always had a deep affection for Arts and Crafts-style bungalows, although I didn't know what they were called or much about them until a few years ago. I spent my early childhood in a classic Craftsman bungalow near the beach in southern California and then after a brief layover in a Victorian foursquare in rural Washington State, my parents finally settled for the remainder of my growing up years in an old farmhouse bungalow, the kind of solid, unpretentious farmhouse you see all over Middle Tennessee.

It's no coincidence that both my siblings and I live in old houses. My sister lives in a 1930 (40s?) brick cottage; my brother lives in a big Victorian that used to be a B&B, and I live HERE. It's technically a 1908 Queen Anne Victorian, and from the front, it looks like a classic Victorian cottage, but it has a lot of Craftsman influence inside and in the way it is shaped overall.

As you can see from the photos (in that link I just posted) all of the woodwork inside has been painted white -- all of it. I never would have done this, but since it's aleady done, we're going to keep it that way. It makes the house - which is huge and has a very heavy, big scale inside -- look light and bright and airy instead of dark and WIlliam Morris-y like it probably did when the wood was still all natural.

Anyway, back to bungalows, I love reading the "Family Album" feature in American Bungalows magazine, and in this issue, there is a house from very near where I grew up FEATURED (it's the one from SHelbyville, TN).

The magazine also has a lot of vendors selling reproduction Craftsman materials. I want to find a nice,airy William Morris reproduction wallpaper for the top half of our dining room (Something LIKE THIS, but leav ethe trim white and paint the walls in the living room and dining room a pale, warm taupe color.


the paint job

So this weekend Jon and I --- okay, mostly Jon - have tackled our first real home improvement project since moving into our house: painting our bedroom.

Right now it's a dingy white with dingy white trim and doors. It's also a really big room, with 12 foot ceilings, and measuring 15 feet by 17 feet.

We figured that with the children gone to their father's for four entire days, we'd just get that sucker painted. Jon planned to do a little scraping, spackling, and priming the first day and then paint the room the second day.

Well, he started scraping and quickly discovered that covering the original plaster in the room was a layer of old, heavy wallpaper, covered by several layers of paint. Ack. So we decided he had better take down the worst of the wallpaper before beginning anything else.

To make a long story short, this job is becoming something that's going to take far longer than four days. There is special primer that's going to have to go over all the wallpaper that's left before we try to paint, and that's AFTER Jon removes all the bad parts and spackles, etc.

Having grown up in old houses that my parents restored over time, mostly by themselves, I was sort of expecting something like this. Jon has remained in amazingly good spirits. I'm doing my part by cleaning the rest of the house thoroughly, and I am looking forward to learning to paint when we get to that part.

Jon at work:

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My attempts at putting up outdoor Christmas lights all by myself have thus far been, well, disastrous. I keep breaking bulbs and buying strings that don't work together and I fell off the &%$$% ladder, but I am determined that those lights will be up and TWINKLY when my children come home.

be thankful


current listening


Listening to this really good web-based station trumps the satellite radio, which cuts out constantly and doesn't seem to have even one music station that really, really reflects my tastes. I don't think we will renew subscription when it runs out in December.

taking things for granted

In years past, getting pregnant and staying pregnant were a non-issue for me. Easily and joyfully accomplished.

Lately, that hasn't been the case, and while I am trying not to let this bug me, and I am assured that things will work out fine "soon" (and people are almost certainly right about this), I am reminded of how much I took easy pregnancy and babies for granted previously.

I never will again.

Now that it's on my mind, it seems I am surrounded by pregnant women and newborns. There cannot be more than there were before, but suddenly it seems, there are.

Someone else close to me has also experienced pregnancy loss recently and she, too, is on my mind these days.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope yours is wonderful.

2006 has been a great year for me, although I will always miss my grandfather. I miss him today - miss that he won't be cooking and carving the turkey and fussing at people about how they clean up all wrong after the meal.

Jon and I decided to stay home this weekend. We have some lofty goals to accomplish over our 4 days off together. We plan to clean our house thoroughly, paint our HUGE bedroom (it has 12 foot ceilings, plaster walls and lots of wood trim and molding), and decorate for Christmas so the lights will be all twinkly and nice when the children come home from their father's on Monday. Well, do all the decorating except for the tree, which we will put up and decorate with the children on Tuesday night.

I lovelovelove Christmas! And our big, old house was made to decorate for Christmas. For outdoor lights this year, I want to wrap strings of lights around our columns so they look like candy canes. I'll put up a photo if I get it to look right.

Thanksgiving Day in East Tennessee has dawned sunny and warm after a cold several days. It's supposed to get up to 65 today and I hope it's equally nice wherever you happen to be.


gotta love east tennessee

THis girl was dimissed from an otherwise all-male weightlifting class because the teacher believed the fact she was the only girl might mean SHE WOULD BE RAPED by her fellow students.


(Question of the day: with public education dollars so scarce, do we really need to be funding a "weightlifting class"??)


i like this photo

...of my oldest child


my neighborhood


more love story

For the past few weeks, since his wife got sick and then died, Jake has been writing chapters of their ten years together - meeting, falling in love, and all the rest.

Today he wrote about what it was like to BECOME PARENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME AT AGE 18.


get me this for christmas, please



food for thought (and related to my spanking post, below)

"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking - the first of his life. And she told him that he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, "Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock that you can throw at me."

All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. And the mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because violence begins in the nursery— one can raise children into violence."

--Astrid Lindgren, Swedish author

"spanking" = domestic violence

I believe that "spanking" children is just a culturally acceptable form of domestic violence and I am glad to see that slowly, surely, people around the world ARE STARTING TO COME TO THIS CONCLUSION.

I mean, 100 years ago, a large percentage of the American public would have argued strongly that a man had a right to "spank" his wife if she got out of line.

Does this mean I've never hit my kids? No. It does not. I am ashamed to say that on a handful of occasions in the 15 years I've been a parent, I've lost it and grabbed my child too roughly or smacked him/her on the backside. I felt terrible afterwards and told my child so.

My parents did not hit me (although I am told that a few times before I can remember and before he decided it was a bad way to guide his children, my father smacked me on the rear-end). I am grateful for this.

what's everyone doing for thanksgiving?

After driving down to Bell Buckle for various family matters pretty much every weekend since our wedding (in Bell Buckle) on September 3, Jon and I are going to actually STAY HOME at our house in Knoxville for 4 whole days and do nothing over the holiday.

Well, we do need to finish some more unpacking from moving. And I need to get a few of the last things out of the basement of my old house, which is sold and closing next week (thank you sweet Jesus). And we might paint our bedroom (I am thinking a nice, mossy green and fresh white trim) but other than that....nuthin'.

Sadly for moi, this is the every-other-year-year when the chirrens are with their father for Thanksgiving break, so I won't see them for five whole days, which is no fun for this mama.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?


It's a strange thing to be a mother of relatively young children (my youngest is 8) and have them gone a large portion of the time.

I no longer spend most of the time they are at their father's crying or just sitting around the house too blue to actually get out and do anything. For the first two years, I felt terribly guilty if I did anything remotely fun while they were away. I eventually got over that ;-)

But I do still sort of feel like my arm has been reattached when they return home. They have been gone for five days or so and are home now, cuddled up in bed together watching "Holes." (Actually H is asleep already. He crashed almost as soon as we got home from dinner out.) I just feel more whole when they are in the house, particularly at night. I hate being away from them at night.

one great photo!

BJ and Jake at their WEDDING VOW RENEWAL PARTY only one month ago.

I know that Jake must be deeply, deeply grateful for their decision to have this ceremony and party. There's no way he could have known he would lose his beloved wife only a few weeks later, but looking at this photo, it's evident that theirs was a love for the ages.

And she was simply adorable. What great style.



I have been producing THIS SERIES all year (on TV, not just online) and I just found out yesterday that I - along with the other 3 people who have put the series together - have been nominated for an Emmy award for it.

That was pretty fun news to get.


Many of you have been following the very moving story B.J.'S BRIEF STRUGGLE with a mystery illness. Sadly for her devoted husband and two young children, she died late last week.

A memorial fund has been set up for the family of this young mother, wife, artist and community activist, who was taken from us more than a half-century too soon. BJ was bright, funny, but most of all a giving, caring individual.

To donate, send a check to:

Barbara J. Kilpatrick Memorial Fund
C/O ORNL Federal Credit Union
P.O.Box 365
Oak Ridge TN 37831


what not to say

Nurse to me today at my follow-up after miscarriage OB-GYN appointment: "So honey, when are you due?"

she has died


happy anniversary tim and susan lee

MITCH EASTER is the undisputed godfather of 80s powerpop. He produced and/or played in REM, the dBs, Let's Active, and a whole passel of other great bands.

If you aren't familiar with Mitch Easter's oeuvre, read this INTERVIEW WITH EASTER from today's Maryville Daily Times.

Tonight, Mitch Easter and his current line-up will be playing a FREE show at Knoxville's CORNER LOUNGE. Joining him will be Knoxville pop cuties, THE TENDERHOOKS.

The show is a gala celebration of the 25th (!!!) wedding anniversary of local musicians and all-around great people, TIM LEE and SUSAN BAUER LEE. Tim and Susan are friends of Mitch Easter (along with just about every other of my favorite musicians from the 80s - the Lees are really fascinating people).

So come on down to the Corner Lounge tonight, enjoy some great music and wish Mr. And Mrs. Lee a very, very happy anniversary.

telling students they belong in hell

This public school teacher is in hot water after TELLING NON-CHRISTIAN STUDENTS they were going to hell.

Of course, my son is told he may be headed to hell on an almost daily basis, but then again, he attends a Catholic high school ;-)

When he complains about his teachers being homophobic or openly dismissive of Islam or whatever, I always tease him with the line, "Didn't you get the memo? YOU GO TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL!!!!"

old boyfriends

I have an interesting array of guys I've dated in years past.

One can be found HERE. Here's ANOTHER. And one who REALLY BROKE MY HEART, but with whom I had one truly, madly excellent summer. And here's one who happens to be ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS.

I just found out today that the guy I dated for about 6 months when I was a junior in college is probably going to be THE NEXT CHAIR OF THE TN DEMOCRATIC PARTY

very sad news

Like lots of people all over Tennessee (and really, across the country), I've been following the story of a really cool 29 year old Oak Ridge wife and mother of two young children. She suddenly became ill with flu-like symptoms about 2 weeks ago and was admitted to the hospital, where she quickly fell into a coma. Her husband has been keeping a blog to chronicle her progress and sadly, last night SHE TOOK A SERIOUS TURN FOR THE WORSE.

This story has really affected me and made me far more appreciative of the people I love. Everything can change in an instant and it's so important to treasure every single minute, even the hard ones.

I am praying for a miracle for this family.


home tour

Old North Knoxville (my neighborhood!) has announced which houses will be featured on the 2006 Holiday Home Tour. You can see photos and read about the houses here on the new-and-improved ONK Web Site.

no subscription for me, thanks




today i am wearing.... oversized sweater, a denim miniskirt, black leggings and ballet flats.

This is an outfit straight out of my 1986 closet and I love it. Leggings in particular have always been a big fave of mine. I'm glad they're "back." I had thrown all mine out but bought some new ones.

One 80s trend I never embraced the first time around and still hate are those godawful, pointy-toed, high-heel ankle boots. Ick, I hate them.

cool site for dads (with dumb name)

Check out NOODADS.COM.


single parenting in the rearview mirror

Last night I asked Jon to pick up and feed J and E so I could take H to an appointment and then out to dinner at Senor Taco. H and I really needed some one on one time together.

Anyway, when I got home, Jon said, "I don't know how you did this all by yourself."

I asked him what he meant and he explained that he finds parenting quite exhausting sometimes and cannot imagine parenting three children without another adult in the household to help.

I told him that sometimes even with another adult in the household, only one person is doing most of the parenting, which is beyond his comprehension because he jumped in as a 100% equal parent on the day all of us moved in together - he does as much as I do.

And I also told him that in hindsight, I don't really know how I did it (single parenting plus working full time after my divorce) a lot of the time. Now that I have someone who helps 24/7 without being asked, it's hard to imagine how in the world I managed. I did get a lot of help from my sister in particular, and some wonderful friends, but there was no one there at 6:30 am when I was trying to get three children up, dressed, fed, packed up and driven 23 miles to school.

Sometimes single parenting was really cozy, like when it was just the four of us together at home enjoying hanging out together. Other times I thought my head might explode. Mostly it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other every hour of every day and letting a lot of "extra" stuff slide and trying not to worry about it too much.

K-Fed(Ex) Leaves Sweet Message for Britney

This guy is a SERIOUS CLASS ACT, isn't he?

breastfeeding mother KICKED OFF AIRPLANE!

This woman - along with her husband and baby - were literally KICKED OFF A FLIGHT when she declined to "cover up" with a blanket while nursing her child. She was sitting near the back of the plane, in a window seat, with her husband in the aisle seat, when a flight attendant began harassing her.

This is incredibly disturbing. I am writing a letter to the airline.

I hate the idea that women should be "discreet" while nursing. First of all, you generally see less when someone is breastfeeding than you do when a woman is wearing a tank top. Second of all, everyone's definition of what constitutes "discreet enough" is different. For a lot of weirdos, the very act of breastfeeding is indiscreet; no amount of "covering up" would be enough.

Breastfeeding women need to ditch those NURSING SHAWLS and blankets and just feed their babies. People need to get over it.


walter reed on house

Jon likes the TV show, "House." I've never watched it before, although I think Hugh Laurie is hawt.

Anyway, he was watching it in bed the other night and I was pretty much asleep when I found myself waking up because I really liked this song that was playing over the closing credits. I did a little digging online the next day and found out it was the song "Walter Reed" from Michael Penn.

So I downloaded the record and have been listening to it. That one song is quite good, but the rest of the record pretty much bores me. Henry hates it.

savage on santorum

Brutally funny columnist Dan Savage has long waged a media war against his least fave Senator, Rick Santorum. Now he's REVELING IN HIS DEFEAT.

A snippet:

"If Santorum had spent the last 12 years in the Senate being the person he was for 12 minutes during his concession speech, well, he might not have made so many enemies in Pennsylvania and all over the country."

I've always found Dan Savage hilarious, even when he does fabulously bizarro things like try to derail Gary Bauer's 2000 presidential bid by spreading the flu throughout his campaign headquarters. How did Savage do this? Well, he "volunteered" for the campaign, and then when he himself had the flu, he went around surreptitiously LICKING STAPLERS AND DOORKNOBS all over the campaign office.


from the wedding

A few more of my favorite photos from our wedding in September.

Elliot and McLean


Natalie, Sydney, Jane and Jack

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Thomas watches the ceremony:


Jones, Mel and Elliot watch the rehearsal a few hours before the wedding:

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Robert prepares to officiate (I told him to wear whatever he wanted. He almost wore his "trust me; I'm a lawyer" t-shirt)


Me with my two best grrrl pals from high school, Steph and Bets:

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At cousin Betsy's party for us the night before the wedding:

Jon and Kate

My mother's house, the day of the wedding (we got married in the backyard):





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A gaggle of girls

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belly shots

Via BLOGGING BABY, a really neat gallery of the MOST INTERESTING PREGNANCY PHOTOS on Flickr.

I think this one is my current favorite:


fake estate

This weekend, my nephew McLean, who is 4, was playing pretend with his friend Elijah. He pointed to something and announced, "Now that's real estate....and that's FAKE estate."

aliens, sans zippers

Elliot to me, out of the blue:

"Mom, what if some of the people around us aren't people, but aliens in people suits, only they've removed the zippers."

dysfunctional family letter generator

“All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Celebrate the uniqueness of your own f**&%ed-up family with this DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY LETTER GENERATOR.


tonight! tonight! tonight!

Join us at that thar Corner Lounge:


FLOR flooring

I write quite a bit of freelance material for and so I get to check out lots of neat-o home remodeling ideas and materials.

This FLOR modular carpeting is one of my fave things I've run across in a while. I am already thinking about places and ways to use it in our house. I think it would be awesome in the kids' rooms.

peter, bjorn & john

Last night my friend Quentin came in to town and went out to dinner with Jon and me. We had a fun time, although I overindulged for a school night.

Quentin and I trade music back and forth, and last night he brought me this record from a Swedish band, Peter, Bjorn & John. He made it sound like it would sort of be a joke band, but I love this record. I listened to it all morning.

It's trippy, sweet pop with a space sound. It reminds me a little bit of a trippier sounding SONDRE LERCHE.

CLICK HERE to hear some P, B&J.



Check out this COOL VIDEO of my cousin Thomas speaking on the topic of "sound healing."

Thomas is a physicist, who specializes in soundwaves. He also researches alternative healing (for the human body) methods and speaks all over the world on the topic.

And he's a wonderful person.

divorce is hell

Kevin Federline is an ass. He's filed for sole custody of the two BABIES HE FATHERED WITH BRITNEY SPEARS.

Nothing is more frightening and upsetting to a mother than being threatened with loss of custody. It is so frightening -- even if it's highly unlikely that it will actually happen - that it often cows the mother into making financial or other legal concessions not in her best interest in order to placate the man suing her for custody.

Men know this. Men's lawyers know this.

Suing competent, loving mothers for sole custody is A LEGALLY SANCTIONED FORM OF DOMESTIC ABUSE.

purity ball video

Via, here's video of A PURITY BALL.

handcuffs & stuff

My grandfather, Ray Anderson, who died this week, was a very fascinating person.

He was an internationally recognized EXPERT ON THE SEARCH FOR NOAH'S ARK.

He played a major role in developing some of Hughes Aircrafts' first communications satellites.

he was an accomplished private pilot (he always promised he would teach me to fly until he realized how badly I pilot a car).

And as a young man, he made a living jumping out of airplanes, handcuffed. People would pay to see whether he would escape the cuffs or die.

An old friend of his just sent my Uncle Roger, also a pilot, some newsclippings and flyers for my grandfather's exploits. He's referred to in one of the articles as "local daredevil, Ray Anderson." I love that ;-)





Grandpa was also a dedicated reader of this blog and often left pithy comments, mostly disagreeing with me about politics and social issues.

I miss him already.

the crane wife

Current listening:

Favorite songs: The Crane Wife and Oh Valencia!

Favorite turn of phrase: "Soft like fontanel" (which is, in fact, the softest thing there is)


is it real or is it photoshop?

Anybody know whether this Santorum concession photo currently making the rounds is the real deal?


Ward's Website

I have updated WARD'S WEBSITE. Go check it out.

boy babe in suburban turmoil-land

Go congratulate Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil. She's HAVING A BOYCHILD, and apparently, her husband is pretty psyched (currently he lives in a House of Women).

k-fed dumped via text message

Like the rest of America, I cheered to hear that Britney is shedding K-Fed, but I felt a little sorry for him after learning that she APPARENTLY DUMPED HIM VIA TEXT MESSAGE while he was taping a TV interview.


elliot and football

Elliot, who is 8, is suddenly quite obsessed with football. I think he's been encouraged by the fact that his slightly older cousin, Jack, is now the star on a youth football team, as well as the fact that Jon is a college football fan.

Last night he slept with TWO footballs, wearing his special football gloves (at least he says they are football gloves).

He says he wants to play for the University of Florida, which is heresy in Knoxville, TN.

ferber and teenagers

Today someone was telling me how hard he finds it to hear the baby of a friend cry herself to sleep. This friend brings her baby to work with her and at naptime, she shuts her in a spare room in her portable crib and lets her scream and sob herself to sleep. So other people in the office have to listen to it and it's really hard to hear.

I have always just HATED hearing babies and very young children cry. If I am in a store or waiting room and I hear a baby crying and can see that no one is picking the baby up or offering any comfort, I feel like my head is going to explode and I often have to leave. I just cannot bear it.

I always want to go up to the mother or father of the crying baby and tell them how short the time is in their child's life when all it will take to soothe him/her is some cuddling and holding. As the mother of three complex, very different children who are now 15, 11 and 8 years old, I long for the days when I could make my children's tears stop by simply rocking them or nursing them. It was all so much simpler then, and I wish I had appreciated that period of mothering more at the time.

Now, I'd give anything for one more chance to go back in time and rock a sleepy, baby Henry until he nodded off. I wouldn't miss a single opportunity.



My beloved grandfather died last night.

I'm going to miss him a lot. He was a wonderful grandfather and a fascinating, confounding, frustrating, generous, brilliant man.

I miss him already.


more sappy newlywed mushiness

For the past week, while I've been sick and whiny and depressed and just basically a big mess, my lovely and wonderful husband has taken excellent care of me, the house, the kids, the dogs, etc, etc, etc. He's pretty much perfect. No, I'm serious. I cannot believe my good luck in having ended up married to this amazing man. He is calm and sweet and stoic and funny and clever and gracious and just an all-around great guy. I cannot believe he puts up with me.

If you sat down and made a list of all the things that one would want in a great husband and father, the list would look like Jon.

I am so lucky. So are my children.

Even our dogs are lucky. Because frankly, they are pretty annoying dogs and Jon rarely complains about them ;-)

Elliot and Jon


If you have been trying to call me but can't get me to answer - or if you can't even leave a voicemail because my voicemail is full - well, it's because I accidentally sent my phone through a complete wash and dry cycle.

Prospects for its recovery do not look good.

everything can change really fast


Mom, Dad, good marriage and two happy kids.

Now THE MOTHER, who is only 29 years old, is in the ICU with some horrible, undiagnosed illness that is causing liver and kidney failure. She is near death. Her husband has been writing these HEARTBREAKING UPDATES on her condition, which doesn't seem to be improving. His fear for her life is causing him to re-think his previous atheism.

He writes:

"She never believed in an afterlife. I did, to an extent, but we never talked about it. I wish now that we had agreed on a place to meet, just in case."

It's all really sad and hard and I am hoping she makes a full recovery, soon :-(

I would hate to think of leaving my children. I know that's what she's worried about most.

on the job

Today I am going back to work after a week in bed. I was up and about a good bit this weekend, although I am still a bit more tired than usual. Mostly, I'm back to normal and it will be great to get back to doing the things I normally do.

I'm one of those lucky/strange people who actually really likes her job. Plus, this week is the MOST fun week if you work in news: election time. Poor Jon will be left picking up more of the slack at home this week, particularly on Tuesday when I won't be home until the wee hours, but I find election week in the newsroom very energizing and fun. I used to love going to the newsroom on election day/night with my parents (my mother was a print reporter and my father was a TV reporter).

Viva democracy!

(PS: I'll be doing some research when I get time on Ireland's poverty rate relative to the rest of western Europe...)


bono has a credibility problem

Apparently, U2 works very hard TO AVOID PAYING TAXES in their native Ireland, which is one of the poorest countries in the western world, while at the same time pushing Ireland and other countries to give more to alleviate third world poverty.

jon's blog

Did you know that Jon, too, HAS A BLOG?


jesus was not a republican

Or so says this VERY COOL BLOG

infertility blogs, and various other random thoughts

Since I knew very little about miscarriages before this happened to me, I've been reading up online, which led me to all these INFERTILITY BLOGS. Iknew some of these blogs exist; I'd read the very funny and beautifully written CHEZ MISCARRIAGE in years past. But I didn't know there were so many, or that they feature some of the best writing on pregnancy and motherhood I've ever read. Highly recommended

I admit it, I'm scared that at age 39, this miscarriage means my years of nearly effortless conception, pregnancy and birth are over. Of course, this is just me being hysterical and paranoid. Most women who have several babies in their lifetimes will have at least one miscarriage. But I feel worried and frustrated and sorry for myself, and of course, as I've mentioned ad nauseam, I'm sick to death of how drawn out the whole experience has been physically.

The hospital went as smoothly as one would hope today. We were home by midday and the doctor says I look perfectly healthy and should be just fine. Still, getting an IV and general anesthesia was no fun. And I really hate the way hospitals smell.

The kids are with their father since Wednesday night and will be gone until Monday. I miss them.

Jon is superhusband. I feel bad that in my groggy, drugged state in recent days, I've called him by my ex-husband's name several times. What can I say? Exhusband and I were married for a long, long time. Fred, errr, I mean, Jon -- laid back sweetie that he is -- doesn't care. Or at least he says he doesn't. He's wonderful.

Worst news: doctor says I cannot take a tub bath for TWO WEEKS! Those who know me and my penchant, nay PSYCHOLOGICAL REQUIREMENT that I take several hot baths each day will attest to how traumatic this will be for me.


And it's Friday night and I really wish I felt well enough to get out of bed and go downtown with Jon for all the First Friday fun. And I wish I could go see The Funhouse show at Barley's tonight and have some beer. But the anesthesiologist specifically denied me any alcohol for at least 24 hours.


Anybody know how to order a movie from Comcast if you don't have the digital cable but just the regular cable?

political persuasions inherited?

Some wack scientists believe they may prove that POLITICAL IDEAOLOGIES ARE INHERITED.

I come from a very political family. My parents made a strong effort to get all of us involved in politics at a young age.

I am also very insistent that my kids at least talk politics with me at home. I want them to know the issues and make their own decisions about them (although secretly, of course, I hope they all agree with me).

Henry, age 15, is currently what I'd describe as a confused libertarian. We argue politics a whole lot. He also has some strong social democrat leanings (see what I mean about being confused?). But at least he's thinking, reading and talking. That's what matters. And he'll argue politics with anybody.

He's always been more interested in politics than my other two kids, although Elliot is now showing much stronger interest. ALl three of them apparently went with their father yesterday to early vote.

For old time's sake, here's an essay I wrote about Henry's political views about 6 years ago:

Playing Politics

by Katie Allison Granju

I grew up in a house full of liberal Democrats. One of my very first baby photos depicts me – at the tender age of two weeks – being carried on a labor picket line with my striking journalist father. At age ten or so, I became involved in my first political campaign when I wore a dancing potato costume at various election stops for Bob Clement, who was then campaigning to become Tennessee's governor. No one in my family can recall what the potato was supposed to signify, but we all remember the costume. As a high school and college student I spent several summers in D.C. working for two Democratic members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation.

The first time I remember seeing my future husband was as he was hanging around the anti-apartheid shanty town that graced the lawn of the University of Tennessee’s Humanities Building in the spring of 1989. He and I went on to involve ourselves jointly in a variety of progressive causes that mattered to us, and in fact, one of our first dates was captured on the front page of The Tennesseean; we were marching together at a peace rally near the Oak Ridge Y-12 plant.

And then we became parents. Our son Henry was born in the fall of 1991 and we brought him home to our shabby but well-loved Fort Sanders apartment, sure that we had together given life to a budding little activist. We played him Public Enemy and Fugazi and Arlo Guthrie. He appeared on the local news as we strolled him through downtown in Knoxville’s annual Gay Pride parade. From the time he could babble, we encouraged him to develop his own ideas and to take a stand for things he believes in.

So it shouldn’t have surprised us too much when, at the age of five, he announced that he had developed a strong preference in the 1996 presidential election.

“I’m for Bob Dole,” he proclaimed with unwavering authority.

My husband Chris and I both stared down at Henry, sure we had misunderstood.

“But Henry, why are you for Bob Dole?” we asked. I figured that in a Republican town like Knoxville, Bob Dole was getting all the playground buzz. Maybe Henry was just trying to fit in with his friends at Rocky Hill Elementary.

“I ‘m for Bob Dole because he’s a war hero and has a lot of experience. I like his ideas on lower taxes,” explained Henry.

Despite our calmly reasoned protestations, Henry stuck with Dole to the bitter end of the ’96 campaign. After it was over, Chris and I continued to talk politics with our little supply-sider in hopes that his support for Mr. Viagra had been a fluke, a childish whim. But as the 2000 election year rolled around, Henry again went for the Republican nominee. He became a vocal Bush supporter early in the primaries and hung with him until the last chad was (not) counted.

No amount of reasoning could sway my third grade son from his choice. In fact, to my daily annoyance, he took to proselytizing to his sister and brother, five-year-old Jane and three year old Elliot.

“Now Elliot,” he would start in whenever he wanted to get a rise out of me, “tell Mama who you want to be president.”

“George W. Bush!” Elliot would warble with gusto as I cringed.

I am happy to report that my daughter went for Nader (one of her kindergarten-age buddies told his parents that he too was for the candidate he thought was named “The Ralphinator”), but Jane ended up switching her allegiance to Gore when it came time for her to enter the “Kids Voting” booth on election day.

After the election was all over, Henry and I went out to dinner together in the Old City and I again tried to get to the heart of his political views. I talked to him about the values that matter to me, about my views on world events and social issues.

“I understand all that stuff Mom,” he responded with some frustration. “That’s why I was for Bush. Because he represents things that matter to me, like being against abortion. I’m against abortion. And it really bothered me when Gore said stuff during the campaign that wasn’t exactly true. You always told me that was wrong.”

Suddenly, I was speechless. I looked at my handsome, earnest son gazing back at me over his child’s plate of spaghetti, and I suddenly felt so incredibly proud of him. And I experienced one of those oh-so- fleeting moments as a parent when you know you’re doing OK.

Even though Henry may not agree with me on the details, he has absorbed the family values we are trying to impart: honesty, civic engagement, integrity, and personal responsibility for one’s decisions. I had been browbeating him with my opinions when in fact, he was carefully weighing his own.

As happy as I am that Henry is so interested in politics, I do hope he doesn’t go the Young Republican route in ‘04. After all, I love the kid a lot and I’d really hate to have to send him away to be a foreign exchange student until the election is over.

Copyright Katie Allison Granju 2000-2006. All rights reserved
Originally appeared in Metro Pulse

gay evangelical hypocrite


I feel really bad for this preacher-dude's kids. They must be really confused and embarrassed.

This is another good example of why you should always consider carefully whether the biggest homophobes are actually gay.

Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

the week from hell...

...ends today with me having surgery, which I am dreading. General anesthesia scares me. But the doctor says then I will really, truly be on the mend.

I have a whole new appreciation for my usual good health. I am ready to be out of bed, back at work, etc, etc, etc... I hope that after resting up a day or two following my hospital visit today, I'll be back on my feet.


baby stories

Another observation borne of excessive TV watching whilst mostly bedridden this week:

I've watched a bunch of those "A Baby Story" type shows that follow women through childbirth. Half of the stories have been set in a traditional hospital setting and half have been in a freestanding birth center (mostly waterbirths).

After watching these shows, I cannot imagine why ANYONE with a normal pregnancy would voluntarily choose to be a patient in a hospital and have an IV and lie flat in a hospital bed and have a fetal monitor strapped around their bellies, etc, etc, etc

It seems so much better to be in warm water, reclining but not lying flat (or in whatever position the mother wants), with midwives offering gentle encouragement.

In all the hospital births, the doctor has the woman's legs up in stirrups and he/she, along with a chorus of nurses, are hyperactively urging women to "PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!" It's obnoxious sounding.

I hope to be pregnant again very soon and really, really hope I don't end up with a traditional hospital birth.

listening this morning

Henry turned me on to Matt Costa.


laid up

I can't remember the last time I spent four full days pretty much completely in bed. And whenever that was, I didn't have cable TV at the time. Right now I do have cable because they accidentally gave us the whole enchilada at our new house when we asked for internet service and the 6 basic channels.

So anyway, I have been lying here in bed with a laptop and 50 channels of TV and I have these observations:

-''Seinfeld and 'Sex and the City' are as good as you remember

-Tucker Carlson is putting on weight

-"The Flavor of Love" is THE best reality show on television. Trust me on this one.

-VH1 has really run out of things to count down. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel now. I think earlier today I saw a three hour show titled "The 50 Top Celebrity Shoplifting Incidents"

-Nancy Grace is psychotic. No, seriously. I suspect she'll eventually pull an Anne Heche and be found wandering around Barstow, California wearing only a bedsheet and babbling about that time Bill Clinton begged her to make love to him.

-Rachael Ray is really Billy Barty in drag

-WBIR-TV is FAR superior to any other local newscast ;-)

More Deep TV Thoughts From Katie later...

ward's lobster

Last weekend, we went to Bell Buckle for the enveiling of a special sculpture of a giant lobster by SHERRI WARNER-HUNTER. She created the lobster in memory of my toddler COUSIN WARD, who died in 2005. Ward loved lobsters ;-)

The unveiling was held on what would have been Ward's 4th birthday. Lots of family and friends were there, and one very special guest came: Ashlynn, a little girl who is one of Ward's organ recipients. It was really emotional for all of us to meet her.

Here are some photos from the big day. I wish I had gotten better pictures of the VERY cool lobster before all the kids started happily swarming it. It's neat-o. If you are ever in Bell Buckle, be sure to go by THE PARK and take a look at it.

Ward's mama and daddy and his big brothers


The lobster!


Eleanor and Great Grandmother


Jon at the park.


Ward's lobster.


Ashlynn checks out the lobster (notice Ward's name in the claw)



Elliot (in hat at front of photo) on the lobster


Ward's brothers, Gray and Jack, get ready to unveil the lobster


The playground built in Ward's honor. It's awesome.


Nicole, Anna and Nicholas with some of the balloons released in Ward's honor




Jane and Helen


Henry and Thomas


Ward's balloons are released


not simple

Miscarriages are never easy, but this one has turned out to be exceptionally not easy. There have been medical complications that have kept me in bed and at the doctor's office all week.

I am ready to have my healthy self back. I am ready for this to be over. I need and want to get back to work and back to life in general. But I am still sick and in bed.

If any of you ever need perinatal (high risk prenatal) care in East Tennessee -- and I hope you don't -- I **highly** recommend Dr. Pericles Roussis and Dr. Joe Bruner at Fort Sanders in Knoxville. They have been great.