Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mosquito Creek Way Side


I was fed up with the darkness that is Alaska. I was fed up with the cold. I wanted to move south. My hubby was missing his family as well and the Alaskan economy was in a temporary decline. The decision was made to move to Oregon. I was 3 months pregnant when we began planning. (Hint: important detail for later)

We started to build our modern day covered wagon. Scrounging plywood and paint, scraps of carpet and hardware we built a brown wooden camper on to the yellow truck. Knowing that we would be traveling through rugged country we took out the rear window and connected the cab of the truck to the new interior. Each of us crawled through to make certain we fit. Now if there were any bears or mosquitoes along the Alcan we could get into the truck to sleep without exposing ourselves to the hazards.

After packing the back of the truck up taller than the top of the closed tailgate, we laid our bedding out on top of our worldly goods. Selling everything else we headed off on our adventure. The truck was sitting way down on the shocks, as we drove down the Alaskan Canadian highway. I had never been camping in my life other than military exercises. So I figured, no sweat! (cue maniacal laughter here)

We began our journey pleasantly enough, with the second night stopping at a place called Eagle Creek wayside. Sitting in the truck we heard a low pitched hum. Looking at each other we sat quietly and listened as the sound began to grow into a thunderous drone. Alaskan Mosquitoes! These weren’t just any tundra blood thirsty vampires, they were Canadian cross breeds! Here is where our planning and preparation would pay off.

Deciding to skip a hot meal and have snacks we started to crawl in the back. Hubby crawled back through first and then I passed our oldest child through the opening. Now it was my turn. I started to enter the portal. “Uh ohhh.” I mumbled. “Whats wrong honey?” my man asked. “Ummm, I no longer fit through the opening!(It had taken three months to prepare for our trip) What are we gonna do?” The outside hum increased slightly in volume. I looked nervously out the window.

“Well you’ve got no choice. Jump out the door, slam it shut and run around to the back. I’ll be there and open the door. Just don’t let any of those blood suckers in!” Did I hear gigling sounds mixed in with the hum?

I sat very close to the passenger side door with my face pressed up against the window, waiting for a break in the swarm. At last my opportunity came. In one swift movement, (which was a marvelous thing to behold at six months pregnant) I leaped from the truck, ran around back and dived into the camper. Slam! went the camper door.

We sat quietly, breathing heavy and trying to hear if any of them had gotten in. We breathed a sigh of relief.

Outside the angered blood suckers bombarded our truck dive-bombing into it repeatedly. The truck rocked back and forth and we feared these mutated creatures would have can openers in their mouth parts and begin hacking our truck to pieces. We lay under our covers, back to back guarding each other.

Just as we were about to drift off we heard that dreaded high pitched hum INSIDE the truck! “DANG, honey you let one in!” grumped hubby. “Don’t blame me! You made the hole to small! You knew I’d get bigger! I can’t help it if you didn’t plan right!” I complained. “DUCK!” I yelped. We both dove under the covers. Oh mercy, we’d never get any sleep now.

Totally under the blankets, we knew we’d have to come up for air sooner or later. I could hear her zinging around inside our camper, licking her chops and rubbing those little insect legs together in anticipation. I grabbed a straw and tried sucking air from under the covers like a snorkeler. I fell asleep and nearly suffocated. I think she had stuffed a piece of paper into the straw. These were HUGE mosquitoes!

At 5 am the next morning we repeated the process, with me making a marathon dash to the front cab. We escaped this time with only a few welts. Going hungry till we came to the next town, we scratched. Here we recovered, doctoring our wounds and scraping dead mosquito bodies the size of small dragons off the sides of our truck. The place was renamed by us. Mosquito Creek Wayside.

After this event we figured the rest of the trip would be a peice of cake. (cue maniacle laughter again)

"I Think I Can't, I Think I Can't....."


You too can learn what ever you don’t want to in just nine, count em, NINE years! All it takes is resistance for the first eight, and total submission for the 9nth. It’s not effortless but as they always say, “No Pain, No Gain!”

Thus began my hubby’s personal mission to teach me to read a map. “Sweetie Pie”, he’d say as he periodically would try to corner me for my geography tutorial, just sit down and relax! “I’ve got a nice assortment of yellow fluorescent markers, some fresh maps, and a compass. “Whoopie”, said I.

Ignoring me he would begin in a monotonous tone, “Now let’s begin by finding where we are on the map.” He would shove the map over to me and grin hopefully. “Well, I said,” where are we?” “You do it, he said encouragingly, ”Find where we are at.” Looking at the squiggly lines, I fought down a growing sense of panic and frustration. Turning the map so North was directly in front of my forehead and all the words were right side up, I sat and stared.

“Well?” “I’m LOOKING!” “Try over in this quadrant.” “Well that’s real helpful to people who know what quadrants are! Quadrants are sections of peoples bodies, I don’t see any cadavers on this map!” “Quadrants are sections on maps .” “Well that’s helpful,” I said, “does a map have veins and arteries too?” “I don’t think you are taking this thing seriously, ” he said looking rather hurt.

Looking him straight in the eye I said, “I fail to see why I should learn something that causes me this much stress. Learning should be fun! I have a private pilots license, a degree in psychology, and a degree in art. Why in the world should I do this thing that makes my brain hurt?” He stared at me with his mouth open.

“How on this earth did you pass the test for your pilots license if you didn’t learn to read a map?” “Easy, ” I said. “First, I faked it.” Second most maps for pilots aren’t covered with a bunch of squiggly lines crossing and criss crossing over each other. Third you only have to score 70 on that test and I got a 72. Two points overkill. I didn’t have to get every map question correct and by flipping a coin on the multiple choice ones I had a 50% chance of getting it right!” And lastly they got a little gadjet called a VOR at each airport so all I have to do is dial it in and they tell me which way to go.”

He stared at me a long, long time. “Remind me, “he said,”to NEVER fly with you, it’s dangerous enough driving with you!” “Fine, ” I responded, ” But I’ve only gotten lost once and that didn’t count because I forgot to set my gyroscope every-time I landed. Besides power lines are fun to follow when your flying.” By this time he had his head resting on his maps. “Are we done? ” I asked.

“For now.” he moaned. “BUT, I’m putting this map up on the door so you can study it every time you go out.” “Sure go ahead,” I mumbled. Periodically when the map reading issue would come up I would rip the map down. He would follow me around the house with florescent markers and new maps thinking today would be the day he would make it click for me! I tolerated this reasonably well until the moon would exert its phase on my female body. Then I would turn into a horrible shrew, throwing anti orienteering tantrums worthy of any two year old. “You are MEAN! Why can’t you leave me ALONE! I have DOCUMENTATION about dyslexia! IT IS A REAL THING!” I ‘d rip down the map and he’d put it back up.

“Don’t feed me that junk,” he finally said. “I will not give up! You can fly a plane, then you CAN learn to read a map.” This went on periodically for 8 years. I felt like an old wild horse that someone was trying to break. I began to rethink my tactics. He obviously hadn’t learned what it said in the books about dyslexia. I had to show him first hand to convince him. Here was my new strategy. I would put forth a serious, concerted effort and spend whatever time it took with him, studying and trying to learn to read the map. Once he saw that something in my brain made this task impossible for me, he would give up on his own. It would make for fewer arguments anyway.

But a funny thing happened to me on the way to trying to convince him. In one year, I was reading that map. The lines no longer appeared to be just a tangled mass. I knew how to tell north, and south, east and west just from being outside and looking at the sun. I could orient myself by the stars! The man who would not give up on me glowed with pride at my accomplishment! I felt a new sense of power, of self esteem! I began to think there was nothing I couldn’t do or learn. There was no greater gift that he could have given me. Thank you Lord for my OC husband.

“Now”, he said “let me teach you how to make bread!”


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Off Course



In Pittsburgh I am now told

Blue Men are there to behold

Ambassadors for the City

Also helpful and pretty

You’ll never get lost or rolled!


Apparently Pittsburgh has decided to help those of us who are directionally challenged. I wish they had these guys in Anchorage when I was first married. It would have saved me allot of grief. But then again maybe not.

One morning my new hubby asked me if I knew the way to the local lumbar yard. Informing him that I knew exactly where it was and had in fact been by there on many occasions, we jumped into the yellow pick up truck to buy needed job materials.

It was one of those cheerful Alaskan spring mornings and all was right with the world. We drove along happily chatting away. “turn right at the next light”, I said. Right turn executed we continued on. “Oh, turn left at this intersection.” Lumbering and bouncing along in our faithful truck we traveled for another full minute and I told him to turn right at the next stop sign. Then left at the next block and right at the next. “Now here is where it gets tricky”, I informed him. “At this intersection here turn left but then immediately get into the right lane and go one block where you’ll turn right again.”

By this time my spouse had ceased chatting with me and had a look of concerned curiosity on his face. Hmmm, he must be trying to memorize the route there. I had better not interrupt him. I sat back quietly and waited for the next turn. “There!”, I yelped, “turn left!” I had almost missed it. He kept glancing over at me and looking more and more curious.

“Are you sure….” he started to say and I interrupted him with, “Now turn right there!” “Honey”, he said in a very measured tone, “ummmm how many more turns is this going to take?”

“Ohhhhh, about 5 more, but I can’t quite remember though you can see the lumber yard from the next to last turn.”

As we completed the number of required turns, the lumber yard appeared in front of us. Grinning I said, “See? I told ya I knew the way!” He sat at the steering wheel staring out in front as if in deep thought. Then he said, “Sweetie, the lumber yard is only 10 minutes from our home and it just took us 45 minutes to get here with no traffic against us. Just how did you pick this particular route?” Hopping from the truck I proudly proclaimed that this was the public bus route.

“What?” he exclaimed. “Well sure,” I said. I’ve traveled this way for 6 years now. I know the route like the back of my hand.” “Don’t you ever use a map?” he asked incredulous. “OHHH NOOO! I Can’t read maps! I’m dyslexic.”

“What do you mean you can’t read a map? Anybody can read a map, you just have to put your mind to it. I can show you.” Looking him straight in the eye so I communicated my message clearly I said, “I can NOT read a map, I am dyslexic. I find other ways to get around, end of story.” “But..” “NO!” “I’m just saying that…” “NO!”

I walked into the store determined he was not going to stress me out trying to teach me an impossible task. He walked into the same store determined that with a little TLC and some patience he could teach me. Little did we both know that this event would take on a life all its’ own, constantly lurking at the back of our relationship and nipping at the heels of our contentment. Next blog be ready for : The 9 Year Long Map Reading Lesson!

Reality Sets In



The stage was set. The lines clearly drawn in the shag carpet. Hub went to work that AM and left me there alone with the liver. Opening the refrigerator door I gazed upon the cost free culinary delight. It had begun to thaw ever so slightly and was beginning to ooze red down the sides of the previously white butcher paper and draining into the bottom of the clear Pyrex 4 cup measuring receptacle.

This was not a sight that even an ardent liver lover such as myself would appreciate at 2 months pregers. I reached in and shoved this item farther back in to the fridge and decided to prepare other items on my menu. For a few days any way. Now under the best of circumstances I’m a rather spacey sort of individual. But being pregnant facilitated this state of being and I pursued other activities, forgetting the organ meat wedged between last weeks leftovers and a stale loaf of bread.

All but obscured from sight, the blob began to take on a life of its own. First a slight green fury film began growing along the red stained lines down the length of the butcher paper and into the bottom. Congealed blood mingled with green fur that almost pulsated with life.

At this point we both regretted that we would have to waste this food, (at least we agreed and feigned regret). I kept promising to “do something” with it. Each time SP reminded me of this need his voice acquired a change of tone that I found quite annoying. Every day I looked in the back of the fridge and my stomach rolled. Every day I closed that door just a little harder than I had intended to. Now I was growing angry at the liver and angry at my lover. The green furry obligation stared back at me from its semi-arctic repose. I swear it blinked.

Seven mornings later lover boy delivered an ultimatum. “Get that thing out of the refrigerator or else!” Knowing I could delay the task no longer I donnned protective gear and approached that white rectangular guardian of food with determination. Opening the door I reached in and grabbed the creature by the Pyrex handle while averting my head to avoid any oders. Holding it out at arms length I made my way rapidly to the kitchen door.

Stepping out into the winter evening I headed for the dumpster a few yards from our home. I had truely intended only to dump the liver out and bring the container back in and wash it out after pouring massive quantities of bleach over it. However halfway to the dumpster an Alaskan evening breeze blew past the outstretched cup and right into my nose! Pregnancy hormones took over and my body threatened to heave the entire days meals out in reverse. The foul aroma was dancing around me like the Aurora Borealis. Heaving and coughing I leaped back up the porch while simultaneously tossing everything, cup and all into the trash can on our porch. Slamming the door shut behind me I stood their gasping for fresh air. I decided to retrieve the cup later.

I had almost forgotten the entire episode and awaited my mans arival at home. When he hesitated to come in the house, standing far too long out on the porch, I suddenly remembered the Pyrex cup. That expensive container that I had when we got married. The one he had admired. Now I had not only wasted food, but I had thrown away something of great value.

Walking carefully into the home in slow motion, cup held out as if in supplication he looked at me and spoke in a tone of voice that was not only entirely new to me but very ominous as well. “Since when can this family affored to just throw away valuable cooking utinsels?” I began to sob, and attempted to explain about the smell and etc but now at the end of his long day and rope, and not having collected money owed from a client he displayed a rare but effective communication style.

“Do you really want to throw this away?! ” he demanded. Taken aback by the new volume I said nothing. “Well by golly lets just do it right then! I’ll make sure it gets thrown away for good!” He flung the offending cup out the door. Expecting a soul satisfing shater as it hit the road he waited for the noise. But instead of that sound he heard the distinct ping, ping, ping, of pyrex bouncing across the icey surface. Deprived of his revenge the focus of his anger now became Pyrex. He ran outside after the item and snatched it off the ground. Running up to the dumpster he flung with all his might and hurled it into the metalic abyss. Ping, Ping, Ping it sang out richocheting around inside. It didn’t break. My man stood beside the dumpster, winter breath whirling around his head. Looking upward he said, “God, are you trying to tell me something?” Hanging his head momentarily, he climbed INTO the dumpster, emptied the contents of the cup and brought it back into the house, straight to the sink. Without flinching he washed it out with hot soapy water and disinfected it. Placing it upside down in the drainer he walked by me and kissed me lightly on the forhead. Sitting down to read the paper he mused, “Any thing that can survive that deserves a permanet place in our home.” I never fed him liver again. Ten years later. Count em! Ten I was standing beside our 3 foot tall kitchen counter and bumped this exact container off onto the soft linolium floor. It shattered into a million shards of Pyrex. We looked at each other. Close curtain.

DING Round 1



sighed a maiden both tender and true

I’ve done plenty of dreaming of you

for I’m in the habit

of eating welsh rarebit

and there’s no telling what I will do!

author unknown

I remember watching an old Andy Griffeth show where he said, “What looks like fighten to some folks is waltzen to others.” The following is a description of a beautiful ballet performed by a newly married couple.

We wasted no time starting the work on that 3rd member of our family brood. Our marriage had come complete with two 5 year old girls. One from his side and one from mine. Ahhhh but now the “bean in the pot” would help to blend the flavours of this newly mixed family stew!

Two months into the pregnancy I was quite content because I hadn’t yet thrown up and all appeared to be going well health wise. We were tight financially, (still) and I accepted all food donations where ever they came from. Since we lived in Alaska, naturally some one had extra moose liver on hand. I loved liver! Wouldn’t my frugal and thrifty hubby be proud!

“I hate liver.”, he said trying not to grimace. Distraught over the realization that I was not going to impress him and suddenly awash in pregnancy hormones, I couldn’t stop the rush of tears that welled up in my eyes. My lips trembled. “You.. you hav’nt had liver the (sniff) way I make it!” I said.

“Sweetie Pie,” (he always starts any disagreement with this phrase) “my mother has prepared liver as many ways as there are in this universe and it still makes me throw up!” My lower lip twitched and another tear worthy of an alligator slid down my cheek. He groaned. “Honey Bun,” (now I knew there was no convincing him because he had used the second pre argument phrase) “when my grandmother invited me over for supper with the rest of my family, she served the best tasting liver I’ve ever had in my life and I still had to spit it out into my napkin! It makes me sick!”

I looked at the free package of meat that represented to me, a stretching of my grocery money and turned around slowly. More slowly than usual because the speed at which one turns when one is pouting is directly proportional to how much sympathy one generates. It is a carefully orchestrated maneuver. Just as my body was at a 3/4 turn from my beloved I let go with a barely audible sob. This strategy would never have worked 5 years later but he was new to the game as was I and well, this skirmish was mine!

He agreed to try MY liver! Happily I began preparations for the best liver meal he had ever eaten in his life. When I had finished cooking this, not only would he LOVE liver, he would beg me to prepare it this way at least once a week! I was so going to impress my man!

As we sat down at the table I failed to notice the slight green tinge around his face. He forced a week smile. No problem though. All that reluctance would change as soon as he tasted this gourmet fair. I served him a heaping plate full of steamy liver strauganoff. I sat and waited. He stared at his plate with knife in one hand and fork in the other. Trying to set a good example for him I sliced and stabbed a fork full of the delicacy. “Mmmmmm”, I murmured and cast hopeful eyes in his direction.

Five minutes had gone by and he was still slicing his liver. The chunks had begun about the size of good beef stew size meat pieces and now he had reduced each morsel to a sliver. “Sweetie Pie”, I said. (oh no! Now I had used the SP word!) “Why haven’t you even tasted your meal yet?” The green tinge had crept a little further up his face. He ever so slowly lifted that fork of shredded meat to his mouth. Actually placing it in his mouth he began to chew, and chew and chew. He finally came up for air and downed his entire glass of milk. Clearing his throat he said, “That was absolutely the best liver I have ever eaten and I still don’t like liver! That tasted exactly like my grandmothers! “

If he had looked closely into my eyes at that moment he would have seen one phrase in each eye that read, “web page unavailable right now”. Regaining my internal composure, I contemplated his words. I had invented this recipe! No one else had it! What did he mean just like his grandmothers?! Not wanting to appear to start an argument I sat there festering and feeding a growing resentment while he headed rather rapidly I thought, to the bathroom. Well I sighed, no accounting for some peoples tastes and pretended not to care while I cleaned the kitchen.

That evening there came an unexpected knock at the door. Grinning from ear to ear my best friends’ husband dropped off a huge wrapped package of moose liver. He jumped into his car waving a friendly goodbye. Hubby sat in the living room staring at the unwanted but free groceries and leaned his head back on the couch while muttering something under his breath. I stared at the unmanna like package wrapped in its’ fresh butcher block paper.

“Well”, I said with nervous laughter, “this is frozen through completely so there’s no need to cook it right now. It’ll take a while to thaw so I’ll just place it in this giant Pyrex measuring cup and let it thaw out in the fridge for a few days.” “Wonderful”, was the only thing he said. Half of me was angry but the other half was really worried about his green pallor. I placed the liver filled Pyrex cup in the refrigerator and decided to sleep on it. It being my resentment.

Threshold on Hold


Definition :connubial\kuh-NOO-bee-ul; -NYOO-\, adjective:
Of or pertaining to marriage, or the marriage state; conjugal; nuptial.

I had developed into a hacking, mucous snorting, feverish and infectious bride. Connubial relations were put on hold. Not that I minded really. It is terribly hard to remain romantic when the kiss begins well but the middle ends with a smothered cough trying to erupt down your mates throat.

My man had to carry me over our threshold due to my illness and not his sense of tradition. Ahhhh, but the water bed felt so warm and comfortable. I had purchased this item several years before and it had never given me one moments problem. I should have remembered the omens at the wedding.

It was a King sized monstrosity. We thought he could sleep on one side and I on the other in order to keep all of our germs in their proper places. I think they must have invented the water filled tubes model the year after making this one. Probably due to law suits. Just as we had settled down for a much needed rest the bronchitis once again took over my body. A coughing spasm sent tidal waves washing across the surface, rocking and rolling my man back and forth just as he was drifting off to blissful sleep. Stuffing my pillow into my face only resulted in a muffled cough with more hang ten type waves. I tried to leave the bed by rocking my body up and over the edge. By this time he was already on the opposite side and the resulting tsunami sent him washing up and over the side right out of the bed. “Sorry “, I said between spasms. I ran to the bathroom and chugged more Robotussin. Back to the marriage chamber I eased my fatigued body on to the waters warm surface as best I could. A few more half hearted coughs and we both began to drift off in to a deep and much needed slumber.

At some point during the night I was awakened to hear an indistinct mumbling. I couldn’t quite figure out where it was coming from. My back was warm, and on some dim level I realized I had all of the covers. That’s when it occurred to me that my feet were braced against the side rail where I had been lying. My back had gotten cold, (odd in a heated water bed) and I had shoved my new groom all the way over against the oposite side rail, having wedged his face in between the rail and the cushy mattress. Why were we having such a hard time waking up? In my hazy fog I pressed harder with my feet to get as warm and close as I could to this man who was the only source of heat. My teeth began to chatter and I was shaking violently. It was not due to fever. We were both suffering from hypothermia! Somehow the heater in the bed had gone out. I shook my husband out of his stupor and told him what was going on. We both sat there bleary eyed, and teeth chattering. Looking at the bed, but too tired and cold to investigate, we dragged all the covers down onto the carpeted floor and snuggled together for dear life, germs or no germs. After about 45 minutes of shivering and teeth chattering we began to warm. Both of us let out little sighs of contentment, and began to drift off. I coughed.

Over The Thresh Hold


Once the issue was settled the pastor finally walked in and began the ceremony. (Please don’t let me cough I prayed silently.) The rest of the service wore on and I only cleared my throat a few times. Afterward I escaped to the powder room and threw a hacking fit. Hubby taps lightly on the door asking if I am ok. Staggering into his arms I declare that I think I am coming down with something. Just the words that a celibate and new husband wants to hear from his bride before their wedding night.

After the formalities were dispensed with we climbed in to “Old Yellow”. This was the family hand me down pick up truck that had been through various members of his clan. We hadn’t even had time to wash the truck befor the family decorators had gotten access to it during the wedding. So adorned with dirt, toilet paper, traditional tin cans and frozen shaving cream, we drove to downtown Anchorage for a fun filled romantic honeymoon night of coughing and hacking.

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. It was a dark, cold and the roads were paved with icephalt night. That’s the second type of road pavement they have in Alaska. Asphalt in the summer and icephalt in the winter. Those are also the only two seasons they have up where we lived. It was a long dreary winter, and a magnificently beautiful summer, all three weeks of it.

We drove to the first motel and grabbed our suitcases out of the truck. Walking up to the desk, we asked for a room with a jacuzzi. “I’m sorry”, said the night clerk “but we don’t have any rooms with working jacuzzi’s”. My new husband cast a worried glance in my direction. I was leaning against the wall and hacking away with a cough spasm. He started to sign for the room when I gasped out a laboured, “NO! I’ve got to soak in a jacuzzi!” I was sweating profusely and my groom was wondering if we shouldn’t be spending our first night in the emergency room instead.

We left to drive around Anchorage looking for the needed therapy of a jucuzi. To obtian such a room we would have to tap into the rent money that we had gotten as gift from the money tree. Robbing Peter to pay Paul we found our next likely retreat. Hubby left me in the truck with the heater running as I was now seized with cold shivers. He tried to come running back out to me with a huge grin on his face indicating he had located the right place. However said grin disappeared rapidly as he slipped on a piece of icephalt and glided effortlessly straight into Old Yellow. I opened the door as he was trying to extricate himself from under neath the truck and smacked him right back underneath.

Gallantly he pulled himself up into a standing position and slid around behind the vehicle to once again pull the luggage out. We were given a room on the second floor and my sweetie pie turned the water on to warm up while I undressed to climb into the tub. Sweetie was bringing the luggage into the room just as I prepared to sink my hacking, coughing self into the steaming hot water. Reaching over to turn the dial for the theraputic bubbles I craved, aggravation mingled with feelings of fatigue due to the fact that nothing was happening. I began to sob, and cough, then started laughing hysterically. Hubby was getting really worried now.

Telling me to stay in the hot water till he returned, he not so gallantly went back to the office desk to register our complaint. This time he went to the room first and checked to make certain the unit worked. Wrapped in a huge bath towel and supported by my man, I made my way to the next room. He left me there to get the luggage. I dropped my towel on the floor and stepped one leg into the tub. Unfortunately a wet rag had fallen and dropped into the water where my foot slipped on it causing me to fall and drop on one knee into the water. My other foot hit the metal track on the tub creating a nice gash on my little toe just as sweetie walked in to check on me.

I couldn’t read the look on his face as we had only been married a very short time but it was really interesting. I settled into the wonderful, steamy hot bubbles anyway. “You are bleeding”, he said as a small edie of blood whirled in the bubbles. “Yep”, I replied. “Don’t you want me to bandage that?” he asked. I looked at him very seriously and after wheezing a bit said, “I AM NOT MOVING”. He backed out of the bathroom and busied himself putting away the luggage.

It was 9:00 pm by this time so after 3 hours of alternately letting cold water out and refilling the tub with hot water I was ready to emerge. After drying and putting foofoo and sweet smelly stuff, (between blowing my nose and hacking) I put my frilliest, sexiest nightie on and sached, with a slight limp, over to the bed where my lover was watching late night news. He glanced up at his mate, wet hair, sultry smile, and hacking cough. He got up and turned the covers down on the other bed.

“What are you doing?”, I managed to wheeze because now I was losing my voice. “I have to go back to work in two days and I can’t afford to get sick. You are sleeping here until you are better!” he calmly stated. I don’t know if I ‘ll ever have the nerve to risk a second honey moon.

Wedding Day Signs


Now where was I? Oh yes! The wedding story. This is not a piece of fiction. There we were, pink dress, silver heels, and butterscotch corduroy suit.

The day prior to the wedding my future sister in-law took me on a marathon shopping tour all over Anchorage Alaska. That morning I had a fever and slight cough. I had also missed two nights sleep due to anticipation. As she dragged me all over town, to get this and that for the cheap…I mean financially downsized wedding, I could feel myself beginning to succumb to illness. NO! Not the day before my wedding! I bought cough drops, vitamin C, herbs, and a medicine man rattle just for good measure. I pressed on through the misery, confident in the knowledge that I was about to make a fine catch. I mean acquire an excellent partner for life.

Glowing with that well known bride to be radiance, or too much robotussin I ‘m not certain which, I walked as cautiously as a woman who had worn Army boots would be able to in high heels. Grace is not my middle name. Nearly spraining an ankle I waited at the alter with my beloved and prayed not to cough during the ceremony. The tickle was welling up in my throat like a volcano ready to erupt. This was bringing tears to my eyes which most of the folks there delighted to see, smiling as they knew for certain they were tears of joy! My future husband kept looking at me in a puzzled manner. I smiled and pretended to clear my throat trying to scratch that horrible itch with out actually coughing. I prayed I wouldn’t open my mouth to say those magical words, “I do” and just prior to saying them erupt with one of those horrible coughing spasms that had been seizing hold of me the night before.

The pastor was late and I was beginning to sweat from fever. Again those in the room smiled thinking I was just a nervous bride. The other future sister in-law let out some words under her breath that were not normally heard at weddings. Looking over, she was banging on her camera and looking rather panicked. Not a good omen. My then 5 year old daughter, was busy arguing with her slightly older and soon to be cousin over weather they actually had to hold hands walking down the isle. He said no because she was the flower girl and he was the ring bearer. She said yes because they were both all dressed up. He said he could fix that and a mild scuffle ensued.

Once the issue was settled the pastor finally walked in and began the ceremony. (Please don’t let me cough I prayed silently.) The rest of the service wore on and I only cleared my throat a few times. Afterward I escaped to the powder room and threw a hacking fit. Hubby taps lightly on the door asking if I am ok. Staggering into his arms I declare that I think I am coming down with something.

Just the words that a celibate and new husband wants to hear from his bride before their wedding night. I bet you can’t wait to find out what happened. Tune in tomorrow.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Healthy Not Wealthy, Maybe Wise



Mr. and Mrs. Trump have now made it one whole year! Yayyyy!

Ratah taa tatah taaa taaaa taaaa ta taaaah tah! So what you say?

Big hairy deal! One whole year. Now wait, wait, wait! You’ve

got to understand the time lines involved here.

It’s just like dog years versus human years. Wealthy celebrity

types pay a heavy metabolic price, (this is real science here) for

having to cope with all that fame money and notoriety. They

are actually living the equivalent of 7 years for every one of ours.

We in our sheltered little, unknown lives, have no idea of the

terrible cost these people must endure due to their high society

ways. Just look at all the pomp and circumstance, the glory,

money and adulation! It stresses me out to just think about it.

What a awful burden dealing with all of that!

Compare their wedding and first year of life to mine and my

husbands. None of the stress involved with dealings of high

finance. We started our marriage on a shoe string. Actually it

was more like a piece of dental floss. Used. All we

had to worry about was how to invest the $300 that had been

given to us on the money tree at our wedding. The rent due

on our first home was $375. Problem solved! And the wedding

itself was a masterpiece of low finance!

First came the dress. My best friend helped me by actually

purchasing my little pink beauty on sale at Montgomery Wards.

What to do about shoes and being broke? I had a pair of silver high

heels that would go nicely. One problem, my fiancee was 5′4″ and I

was 5′5″. Four inch heels made us look rather like Napoleon and Josephine.

We decided he would just have to stick his hand inside his coat..

His suit was taken out of moth balls. It was a corduroy affair, butter

scotch in color. He knew that purchasing rather than renting

his High School prom suit 18 years prior, would end up

being a wise economical choice. After all, a handsome debonair man

who can still fit into his high school prom suit so many years later was

bound to be a wise choice for a mate. A thrifty and frugal provider as it were.

When financial choices are limited, as are frugal mates, there

is soooo much less stress. And with less stress you live longer!

See how much less rapidly you age! I so don’t envy the

Trumps! Tune in tomorrow to find out how this Cinderella Type

tale ends.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Star Bucks Needs This One

Slug Latte’

With such a small apartment we didn’t do very much entertaining. My kitchen was a cute little cubicle the size of a closet. There was a long hand hewn counter top for the table. The living room was on the other side of that. We slept in the living room on a fold out couch and our daughter slept in a small alcove bedroom.

My husband often indicated exasperation at my lack of hospitality when folks came over. Instead of a what can I get for you type of persoanlity, I often conveyed a get it yourself type. However, wanting to please my man I often made attempts at appearing hospitable anyway. I loved to visit, or I loved to serve, just not both at the same time. I have a tendency to hurt my self when I try to do more than one thing at a time. One fine afternoon a long time friend of my husbands came over for a visit and to meet the new bride. I offered to fix us all coffee.

Hubby had found one of our few coffee mugs outside sitting upright on a fence post. Inside said cup was a huge, gross, slimy pulsating slug. He dumped it out and walked upstairs placed this cup upside down in the sink. About this time the coffee had begun to perk. I walked over while he was chatting with his friend and grabbed the upside down mug. (In the home where I came from an upside down mug meant someone had washed it and left it to drain in the sink. Apparently the same gesture in my mans home meant a dirty cup please wash) I grabbed the mug without looking inside and poured a steaming cup of brew in to it.

Guess which mug I served to my new friend? We were enjoying our coffee when I noticed my man had gone quite pale. Odd. I kept glancing from our friend, (who was very much enjoying his coffee) and back to hub. Usually up beat with our friends he kept quiet this time. There was a look of horror on his face. I just couldn’t understand what was wrong with him.

We said good by to our friend and went upstairs. “What on earth is wrong with you?” I asked. “Did you wash that cup you gave him?” he asked. “Noooo, why would I wash an already clean cup?” I asked. “BECAUSE everyone knows you wash cups that are in sinks!” “Well everyone in my family knows that upside down cups are CLEAN!” “I CAN’T believe you didn’t at least LOOK!” He yelled. “Well I can’t believe you didn’t wash it out yourself!” I yelled back.

Sitting on the couch with his hands covering his face, he moaned, “I’ll NEVER be able to face my friend again!” “Why?” I asked, “He clearly enjoyed it, slug slime or not. Just don’t tell him!”

Their relationship was never the same. Every time my husband visited with his friend, visions of coffee slugs danced in his head. It really put a damper on the conversation. I don’t know though. Since he clearly enjoyed the flavour, perhaps we’ve stumbled on a new coffee shop recipe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

To The Point

Reason Only Controls After Emotion And Impulse
Have Lost Their Impetus
(Carlton Simon)

I will never understand my perpetual failure to learn from past experience. It is a human thing

I think and not related to gender. I have observed that most children will repeat an unpleasant

event several times before deciding it to be not worth the effort. That applies to adults as well.

On sunny and rare, (by virtue of their being in Oregon) days, I try to be prepared for

landscaping tasks. We have a very ancient but running Alice Chalmers tractor affectionately

named Orangey by our family. Orangey is very old and has a delicate disposition, so my husband

must often wou her with many gifts of extra hydrolic fluid, and filters of various types. He is

understandably protective towards her and tends to go on and on about her proper use.

This day, as I was preparing to seize the sun, and go forth on Orangey, my husband stopped

me for one of those interminable lectures that only he is capable of delivering. As he droned on

about the need to check fluid levels, staying in low gear, (did he think my middle name was

Mario for crying out loud?) and always to walk the trail because you never know what the winter

rains have , blah, blah, blah. My brain was chewing holes inside itself, trying to find some way to

escape the lecture I had heard every spring for the 19 years we had been married.

At last, he had become distracted by the need to go instruct one of the children on the proper

use of a hand saw and I was able to escape. Orangey and I slowly dieseled our way down the

over grown trail, with me contentedly ducking the barbed tentacles of black berry vines run

amuck, and preparing myself mentally for an entire day of cultivating the south 40!

Actually it’s only 8 acres, not forty, but after 3 or 4 hours it begins to feel like 40. I was so

pleased with myself. I had inched along carefully and though I had only walked 3/4s of the

trail, everything had gone smoothly so far, and hey what were the odds that anything bad had

happened to the rest of the property?

I was feeling quite smug and indignant about my husbands attitude, when out of nowhere

an uncharted ditch appeared on the landscape! Of course I had been remaining very alert, except

perhaps for a few moments of justifiable back patting, so I reacted instantly. But big, huge, old,

farm machines with delicate dispositions don’t respond in the same manner. I stood straight up

on the brakes and the clutch praying to stop in time. Miss Chalmers, (what I call her when I am

displeased with a behavior) had other ideas. She slid, as if on purpose, to teach me a lesson

for not obeying her owners directions exactly, straight down into the ditch which might as well

have been a canyon. After trying the various tricks my husband taught me, and eventually

draining all the charge from Miss you know who’s battery, I took a desperate measure.

I called my husband on the cell phone. A heavy sigh issued forth from the phone.
Upon his arrival I was prepared for the tirade I felt I must needs endure. I am determined to

maintain my cool and humbly accept his contrition, because after all he did ask me to walk

the ENTIRE trail first.

However any human being can only survive so many deep heavy sighs, mutterings,

shoutings and outright, “I TOLD YOU TO WALK THE TRAIL FIRST!”, statements. How

much more like an idiot did he expect me to feel? No longer able to stand the onslaught, I

launched my own verbal defensive arsenal. One loud derisive comment led to another and before

I knew what was happening, I was left to tote the battery the 900 yards back to the shop. Heat,

briars, and the dead weight of the battery began to fuel my own anger. So, 10 minutes later

when hubby comes meekly walking back to me, apologizing for his behavior and offers to take

the battery from me, I am suddenly taken over by a demon and snarl that I am totally capable of

doing this myself and anyway I am never going to speak to him again! You would think that

after 19 years of marriage, a person would cease to feel the need to make a point.

The only point I ended up making was that stubbornness only begets trips to the

chiropractor. Later in the evening that wonderful, thoughtful and wise husband of mine, carried a

fully charged battery out to the field, started her up and using the bucket and rear wheels, climbed

forward, almost straight up and out. Meanwhile, back at the house, even though my two year old

had been warned many times before, not to pick the cat up by the pointy ends, or the part that

looks like a handle, miss kitty reminded him of our lectures. His lesson was sharp, to the point

and most unpleasant. I consoled him and reminded him that sometimes lessons just have to be

learned by experience.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why Kids Get Confused in Public School

The Big Bang?

My teachers told this Fairy Tale
But forget to classify it thus
Called it Science that could not fail
And over it, made such a fuss.

Large quantities of nothing
Decided to pack in so tight
And then exploded all together
With not an argument or fight.

They told me that this formed gas
that flowed outward into space.
Then this hydrogen and helium,
shaped planets in their place.

Wait, they said, this was not fiction..
And only dimwits thought about God .
But doesn’t flowing require friction?
Movement in that? How Odd!

No they said, this is just science pure.
We aren’t sure how, but we know.
And its science you can be sure!
“The Theory” told us so!

But, I asked, because that is
What science was about,
Where did that energy come from
To ignite the nothing from without?

And how can an explosion
form that which you say is not,
make heat and so much density
When you said nothing got hot.

How can nothing get hot?
When there was zero to splatter?
How can nothing get dense?
In a vacuum that has no matter?

How can nothing decide to condense ?
And then decide to go blooey?
If gravity makes so much sense
This sure sounds a lot like hooey!

This theory appears to violate
the laws of physics you taught
I can’t begin to assimilate
This faith based theory you’ve bought.

So I’ll answer questions by way of compliance
I’ll learn the terms with precise diction,
And laugh at something taught as science.
But really was just science fiction.

By Cathe Frederic
aka The ShrubBunny

Written Years Ago But Still Applicable

Pinching Lincoln Till He Screams!

I really love to shop! That love often conflicts with reality. Having 9 people to care for
on a limited budget often means pulling every creative penny pinching stunt I can think of.
The thrift stores are on my checklist of stops when ever I venture out of the house for
any reason. In this land of over abundance and blended families where children sometimes
wind up with six sets of grandparents, mommies are forced to go through and toss items
the little ones are no longer interested in. A few days before and many weeks after every
holiday season, the thrift store shelves are loaded with Americas bounty, often times with
items that have never been opened. Last Christmas I purchased a toy weaving loom for
ninety-nine cents. It had been opened, but all the parts were there. I can just see some
harried working mother, looking over the complicated directions and discretely tucking
the afore mentioned item away on the top shelf of a childs’ closet and waiting for the
moment when it can be secretly transported to the nearest donation area. Her childs’
loss is my childs’ gain.
When green peace, whom I disagree with in methodology, sends me stickers with a
request for a donation, I burn their propaganda in the wood-stove, warming my home
with the tree they cut down to ask me for a donation, and happily give the stickers to my
children to play with. When businesses give me refrigerator magnets emblazoned with their
advertising I carefully cut out photos of family and friends and glue them on, adorning
my refrigerator with cost free magnets. The glue was free because I made it from a
recipe in a book obtained from a magazine at the library. The flour that was called for in the
recipe was free because my friend who gets free surplus food didn’t care for it and gave said
flour to me. Ok, ok, I did pay for the propane to cook the glue with but I had to buy that already.
Most of our clothing is given to me. When ever anyone hears of the number of people in our
family, they automatically assume I will accept large donations of any type of clothing. And I
learned long ago not to turn anything down when barter has become the underground economy
that it is today. So I get a bag of clothing with sizes most of which fit everyone but us. I have

my children help sort, wash and repackage. These items then become barter goods for other
items I can use. Thus, the size 10 white leather shoes is traded in for 3 pair of childrens shoes.
My family food budget averages around $400 dollars per month. I could make do on less,
but I’m too lazy. Surplus food agencies abound. Cooking from scratch is not hard especially if
you expend the effort in the beginning and teach your children to cook. Some one once said,
“Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”. I spent $300 for a Champion juicer. What
at first looks like an extravagance becomes a necessity with a family this size. I make my own
fruit based ice cream, nut butters, jams, and various other expensive items, not to mention
delicious juices. Less expensive juicers were available but would never have survived the use.
You want some homemade quick jam? Obtain any dried fruit, boil with a little water and
blenderize! You have instant jam, quick, cheap, and easy!
Save those plastic garbage bags. They have hundreds of uses. If I didn’t like plastic, because
I thought maybe today it was better to cut down a tree rather than pollute a landfill, why paper
bags it would be. After using them, I would have the kids collect pine cones, fill the bags and
fire up the old wood-stove again.
I’ve been squeezing that historical coin for more than twenty years now. At first it was from
necessity. Now it has become a matter of pride. I can make do with less than you and have as
much or more than you! Don’t get me wrong. I certainly do my share of consuming out there. But with my method, I will be spending those hard earned pennies on what I want. Not what
some advertising firm tells me I want.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And Now For A Commercial Word From Me

Politically Correct Potscrubbers
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I know I do!
Do you wonder, What can I as an individual do to help?
Me too!
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Help eliminate the use of fossil fuels,by discarding that evil nylon pot scrubber,
and replace it with PCPs! PCPs are made from all natural loofa!
Do your part to eliminate corporate greed. Our scrubbers are manufactured locally.
Not only do we support the local economy,and donate most of our profits to local hunger relief,
(very local)
we even work on a primitive level to save our natural resources.
Instead of using steel scissors ( allowing evil corporate steel manufacturers to profit)
individual members of our family faithfully chew through each fiber carefully snipping and nibbling
them to square perfection. We are gradually losing our teeth but hey,
the environment is worth it! They are then washed by hand in the river,
using only biodegradable soaps that were hand made by a family down the street,
on their wood stove and using the ash to make their own lye,
stirred with a stick with the bark still on it.
They are then hung out to dry ,on a clothes line made of renewable hemp,
incorporating the use of solar power!
My 7 children will place each PCP in a recycled zip lock bag,
(note to neighbors, please rinse bags before disposing of them, otherwise it gets really gross)
saving our land fills and fossil fuels, a double win! PCPs are made from a renewable resource,
that adds oxygen to the air and provides local growers with income.
Each loofa plant provides a shelter for local flora and fauna,and for every one loofa harvested two more are planted,
while chanting a ritualistic verse and simultaneously beating drums
and invoking mother earths blessing on future crops and giving thanks for the ever increasing population of the environmentally conscious,because after all, there is one born every minute, and thanks
for the opportunity to do our part to save the environment.
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PS This is really a real product...really....stop laughing!


The pickins in the Oregon economy right after our return from Alaska

were dreary at best. I picked moss and sold it, shaved chittum trees

of their bark and sold that and I even packed said items into the side

basket of my old schwinn bike and cycled on my own power to the

local merchant to sell them. In case you are unaware, chittum bark

is what they make laxatives from. The bark back then sold for .32

per pound. Since we needed firewood anyway, and there did seem

to be a need for the um, end product in this country, I was able to soothe my conscience

over stripping these trees of their bark along with cutting them down and I went

about my merry but trail blazing way. I even picked up our goat milk on my bike,

fed the kids on brown rice, wild black berries and government commodities.

Our oldest daughter took the two little ones down to the river to catch crawfish

about twice a week and arriving home from the woods we would feast on a poor

mans miniature lobster dinner, with dandelion greens and taters dug from the neighbors

garden. But my apartment over the shop was too small, (boy did I have alot to learn).

We only had one vehicle that ran sometimes. It rained and rained and rained in the

winter. I had grown up with a steady pay check and we had never known the uncertainty

of not knowing weather there was going to be a paycheck or not. I had always worked

but now I had babies and I did not want to have someone else to raising them.

Hubby with all his multitude of talents and education could only find a job driving school

buses. The economy was really bad. And we both had student loans to pay off.

Needless to say, after dealing with students who shot spit wads,

toted hand guns, and cleaned their fingernails with machetes while riding

the bus, we decided it was time to move where he might find a more lucrative position.

About this time a friend from California called and offered Hubby a job at

the then outstanding wage of $10 per hour! Dollar signs clicked and rolled

over and over in our eyeballs. Though we didn’t move to Beverely Hills, we

did immediately pack our bags and embark on another grand adventure.


A bathroom is a bathroom is a bathroom. Right? Before I tell you about our move to California, I feel I must indulge in a little out house tale.

As I had mentioned in a previous story, our new home contained no toilet. The apartment sat on top of the shop and looking out the upstairs windows sat the cutest little wooden shack with a crescent moon on the door. After having been instructed on the proper care and maintenance of said facility, I decided we had to make the building more, aesthetically pleasing. No sense in becoming a barbarian after all.

Scrounging scrap paint my sister in law and I painted the interior bright yellow and hubby cut a window on the side to allow light in while accomplishing various bodily tasks. We found a spare glass window to fit the hole and since this type of building was bound to be crawling with insects, I painted large lady bugs on the interior walls. By golly if I had to deal with bugs at least some of them were going to be there by my choice.

A cute little toilet paper holder and a decorated can of lime, (keeps the odor down) completed our refurbishing task. Not bad. The only drawback to this tidy little domestic scene was my 6 year olds late night imagination. Add a daddy who was an incessant tease and trouble was bound to ensue.

The night came when she could no longer hold it till the early morning hours when there would be daylight to guide her. We encouraged her to head downstairs while we turned on the flood lights. We watched out the windows as she cracked the door open ever so slightly and looked around for monsters lurking in the dark.

Suddenly she leaped out the door and slammed it so hard the entire house shook. Fast as lightning she bolted for the outhouse door! SLAM! went that same door as she was safely inside, secure for the moment from dreaded demons of the night. Even they wouldn’t enter the outhouse.

Then daddygot this mischievous grin and said, “Watch this”. He waited with his hand on the flood light switch while our daughter finished up her task. Just as she stuck her head out the door and checked left and right for monsters, he flipped the lights out. A scream pierced the night air!

If I had a stop watch I am certain I would have clocked her return speed at more than twice the original speed! The door to the downstairs slammed even harder making all the windows vibrate. She was so furious with us she forgot that she had been frightened. She did remember to carry her own flash light after that. This is when we all began to develop the habit of not drinking anything after 6:00 pm.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Across the US Via Bicycle

Happy routine had settled quietly onto our now blended family. Eldest daughter resided with her mom and step dad in Oklahoma. Second eldest daughter was delighting in being a big sister. This third baby was quiet, compliant and content. What could possibly disturb this domestic tranquility?

When baby number three reached six months of age we got a phone call from my husbands’ sister. She informed us that their dad was heading out on a cross country trip on his bicycle and she was very worried. Her husband could only ride with him to Idaho and then he would be on his own. She then told her brother, (as only a sister can) that if he didn’t join their dad for the remainder of the trip, she would do horrible things to him and never allow him to forget it if any unmentionable accident were to happen to their dad! “But sis!,” appealed my husband. “I havn’t found gainful employment yet and we are flat broke with a new baby”. Sis volunteered to fund his portion of the journey and loan him her husbands bike. He could pay her back later. Which only left finding a way for the rest of us to get all the way across the US.

Yes my husband and his dad really did ride across the US on bicycles. But this story is about our journey by bus across this great land of ours. I had to borrow the enormous sum of $400 from one of my Aunts. I think they only agreed to loan us the money so they could get a really good look at him when he got to the south eastern portion of this country. Kind of the same way you stare at zoo creatures. He was after, all a Yankee. By this time they were all beginning to wonder about him anyway. Not only were we jobless, pennyless and had a brand new baby, they knew how crazy I was and were now rather concerned that I had married in kind.

I purchased the bus tickets and began the 3 day journey via Greyhound. My older daughter and I kept looking out the bus windows for signs of Grandpaw and daddy. We had entertained the driver and many riders with our story about daddy and his dad riding across the country, so befor long everyone in the bus was looking out the windows for the two crazy, I mean intrepid adventurers.

For me the trip was rather uneventful if you exclude the colorful characters that always lurk around bus stations. The baby and my older daughter enjoyed the trip and I was young enough to endure three days of sleep deprivation. The real fun began when we got to NC.

I picked hubby up at the bus station in Virgina as he was saying good by to his dad. My did they look GOOD! Each had lost weight and were muscle toned down to their little toes. Grandpa flew back but we journeyed on by bus to NC.

My family couldn’t understand. My husband explained about his trip as only an ex-journalist could. He was greeted by puzzled looks. They were all thinking, “He looks intelligent enough. Doesn’t look like a mass murderer or anything crazy. There aren’t any warrants out for his arrest. Hmmmm.” So all they could say to each other was, “Why did he ride across the US on a bike when he has a family to support and is as old as he is?”. My mom always swore that if she hadn’t been awake when I was born she would have insisted that they had switched me with her real baby at birth. I was the only one so far to have married out of the South. And goodness knows you still couldn’t trust anyone north of the Mason Dixon Line.

We stayed at my Aunts home where she treated us like Royalty. Various relatives kept slipping me money here and there while casting worried looks towards my husband. Of course I couldn’t say anything without appearing ungracious and up until then we were broke. So I took their money. Actually had enough money to pay a few bills when we got home. But I will never forget the loving looks of concern on their faces and the inquires to the police department. All from concerned family members. Were we full of faith or just full of it? Some times it’s hard to tell.

Shortly after we arrived back in Oregon hub got a new job down in California. Now he was a regular working stiff and my family all breathed a sigh of relief. California should have been what they were worried about. Next find out what happens when you take a wild home grown nut like me and try to plant it in the land of Nuts!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Published March 1, 2007 family , food , health , humor Edit

So after the 4th false labor trip to Portland we were getting kind of bored with the whole process. It went something like this. Labor pains become 5 mins apart. Start old VW by pushing it down the hill and popping clutch. Drive to Portland.

But the drive to Portland was only a small portion of the ritual. Since I was a gestational diabetic I had strict dietary guide lines that I was told could end when the pregnancy did. Since Baskins Robins was on the way and since we had been really strict diet wise during the pregnancy it was decided that before we actually delivered, we would celebrate with a banana split extravaganza! (We knew the hospital was very strict regarding how many calories could be eaten in the day and one BSplit would be the entire days fare)

Full to the brim with comfort food, we would arrive at the hospital ready for the next adventure only to have the contractions stop! My husband was beginning to think I was holding out for the chow! We were up to our 9th trip in the Bug and decided to make the routine stop for the um, healthy bananas.

Certain that the 9th time was the charm we took our full and content selves up to OHSU.

By the time we were admitted, my water had broken and contractions were going full throttle at less than 5 minutes apart. We were ready! Hub donned the green paper fashion garments and prepared to snap the gloves on when notified. I was poked, prodded, wired for sound and placed in an indecent hospital garment. Oooh we were really jazzed! Waiting for the next contraction to arrive on time we all gazed at the clock.

Seven minutes went by before another one hit. And with less intensity then the last. Can’t argue with that little graph on the machine. Nurses, doctor and husband all looked at me with the same comment in their eyes. “Would you stop that for crying out loud and get on with it?!”

“Look you guys it’s not my fault! I’m 5 centimeters dilated, my water broke, and I’m 3 weeks over due! You figure it out! ” The doc scratched his head and reviewed my chart. “You know,” he began slowly, “it says here you are diabetic and high blood sugar can stop labor, so how about we test your blood sugar and you write down everything you’ve had to eat in the last 12 hours.” He walked away to get the phlebotomist and my man and I looked at each other and whispered, “Uh Oh!”

I wrote every good thing I had eaten that day on the list in large letters. Hub leaned over and said in a whisper, “Why didn’t you tell me high blood sugar stopped labour?! This is our 9th trip up here for cryin out loud!” “Don’t you whisper at me in that tone of voice!,”I whisper/yelled back. “I DIDN’T KNOW IT EITHER” “What are you going to put on that paper?”he asked me, leaning over. “I’ve put all the good healthy foods I’ve eaten in a list like this….” I began. “Man you eat alot when your pregers!” he blew a quiet whistle. “SHUT UP” I said out of the corner of my mouth. “If you had eaten my other half of the banana split like I asked you to we wouldn’t be in this mess…” I began. The doctor came in clearing his throat and asked if I was ready to get my blood drawn. “Sure,” I said, as I finished my list by witting Banana Split in teensy weensy letters at the bottom of the page.

Mr Wet-Behind-The-Ears youngster doctor drew my blood and sent it off to the lab. “Now,” he said, “lets take a look at that list while we wait for the results.” Hub and I hummed quietly to ourselves and generally tried to avoid making eye contact.

He read calmly for a while, then looked up at me over the top of his glasses. I grinned. Crossing his legs, he pulled his glasses off and rubbed his eyes in a very tired way. “Tell me seriously now,” he said, “is a banana split really on your dietary guidelines?” “Well,” I said, trying to look sheepish enough, “bananas are good for you.”

That night, little Melody was born weighing in at 9 lbs and 4 and 1/2 ounces. And the round, fat cheeks on that kid were to pinch for! Must have been all them bananas.