Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I found this on Bossy's pillow the morning after she stayed at our house. I smiled, kissed it, and held it to my heart for a few moments. I then slipped it into my pocket and skipped merrily on my way. Fast forward three months or so. One morning, Giancarlo put on the shorts that I was wearing the day after Bossy was here, pulled out this note, and came in asking me tauntingly if I wanted it.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
As we approach the front door, you'll see evidence of staunch Catholocism. This is also evidence of the compromising that goes on when you share your house with your Mexican-Italian in-laws. Let's just say I'm a bit cross about this cross.
As you enter the front door you look down a long hallway to the back of the house. All of the rooms branch off of this corridor.
The first stop on the right is the living room. Diego often says, "Come on, Daddy, let's go live in the living room!"
Continuing down the hall, to the left you'll find the Lladro cabinet. I'm told these porcelain figurines made by a famous Spanish artist are worth thousands of dollars. They are beautiful. If you like that sort of thing.To the right you'll find the little courtyard and fountain. Remember way back when I was responsible for letting one of my dogs kill some baby bunnies? Well, they were born in these pots.
Further on down the hall, we have the dining room. The table seats ten comfortably. And you'd be surprised at how often we fill up every single one of these chairs, and then some.
At the back of the house you'll see the family room. . .
Outside the kitchen door is our back yard. When we moved in to this house, we tore out all the grass in and made one huge patio. It's an extension of the house when we have big gatherings, with lots of extra seating, and I LOVE that it doesn't have to be mowed, it doesn't turn brown and die, and it always looks good. It provides a nice place to sit and look out over the lake, and it makes me feel like I'm doing something to help the environement!
A view of the side yard shows that we haven't gotten rid of grass all together. After all, the dogs needed a place to do their business, right?
Up the stairs, we reach another long hallway. Toward the front of the house are four rooms.
The laundry room,
the guest room,
And Amelia's room. I took this picture at 11:00 a.m., and she was still asleep.
Turning back down toward the back of the house, the master bedroom.
This is where all of the magic happens. And if by "magic" you mean a little four year old boy magically appearing in the bed in the middle of the night, every night, like clockwork, you're right, it is magic.
This is our sitting area with TV. My sanity is saved daily in this little area of the house. Without it I would end up having to watch endless cheesy Mexican novelas and El Sabado Gigante every Saturday night!
and a small hallway that leads to the master bathroom.
And look who I found taking a bath in our tub again! Silly Carrot Lady-Man.Thanks for stopping by! Wanna carrot?
As much as you may dislike him/her, you know you're happy to see Carrot Man-Lady back! It means life is getting back to normal, at least a bit.
And, he got to swimming for the very first time with his Papa Dennis!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
How do you put a family tragedy like ours into written words? How do you launch it into cyberspace without making it seem like sensationalism? How do you protect the feelings of others while still sharing a life-altering event?
Time and time again, I've sat down at the computer to attempt to share with my friends across the blogosphere what has happened. Time and time again, I've clicked out of "create post" screen of Blogger, unable to do it. I think I'm ready to share now because:
a) So many of you have expressed such genuine concern for me and my family;b) I'm ready to put myself through this written therapy; and
c) If there is any way, no matter how small, that I could assist in raising awareness to keep this from happening to other families, my time posting on the subject is well spent.
About a month ago, our grandbaby, Elijah, had a seizure while he was being taken care of by his father, Nathan. He called 911 after the seizure and the paramedics rushed him to the emergency room. Elijah's mother, Hilary, was at work. As soon as Nathan informed her, she called us and rushed to the hospital. On our way to the ER, I called Claire, Elijah's grandmother, to let her know. She immediately made preparations to fly down from Seattle, where she was visiting friends.
Claire arrived early the next morning. Little did she know how the extent of further medical tests would change her life. Little did she know that she would scarcely step foot out of that little hospital room for five consecutive days. Little did she know that she would eat next to nothing for almost a week because the mere thought of the reality of the situation made her literally choke.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
6:00 Shower and dress
6:30 Gulp down coffee
6:45 -7:45 Maneuver down the 5 freeway to the Children's Court in LA with Giancarlo and Hilary in tow.
7:45 Wander around the courthouse and parking structure to kill time, leery of sitting inside the courthouse for hours upon untold hours. Meet Claire and Elijah in front of the courthouse. Gush at his big grin when he sees me.
8:30 Get in line to go through metal detectors. Unwillingly listen to the woman behind us in line:
10:20 Sigh. Get up and walk around. Play with baby. Get spit up on. Wipe it up. Smile. Elijah laughs at me.
10:30 Pencil boy returns. Demands Giancarlo's stuff again. Giancarlo has never been afraid of a six year old before. He nonchalantly gets up and walks to the other end of the lobby.
10:35 Wait. Shift. Refocus on book. Sigh. Shift.
1-"The baby doesn't need to be here, and the relatives don't need to be here."
2-"Due to incomplete reports and lack of time,
this case will be postponed for one month, until August 14th."
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Blessing # 662
I've had Seal's latest, System, on repeat for days now. There is something about his songs that calms my mind and soothes my soul. Without being sleepy or gushy, he's been there for me for years, during both the happy times and the sad.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
"I would like to wish you a happy 39th birthday
Just one more year til 40, go ahead, shout YAY!
I'd like you to know, even though you're nerdy, you're appreciated
Whether your hobby is clogging (or be it blogging?)
I don't care if you're a teacher,
Or if your best friend is an imaginary creature,
Doesn't matter to me if you really ate bunny,
Cause your stories are really quite funny,
Your humor makes Elsa say "cabron"
But I really think you're a "jamon"
Feliz cumpleanos to my favorite daddy
Who is really quite WACKY."
Editors Note: By the way, you really MUST go see one of Amelia's latest posts to her blog, The Eccentric Observations of Amelia. You'll be so proud of her!
Kira is my sister-in-law. She married my youngest brother, Paul. Paul was twelve when my mom died, and after some floundering he came to SoCal to finish his last two years of high school with us. We spent so many years worried about him, and how he would adjust without Mom, having to live those most difficult and crucial teen years without her. Paul is a great guy and made good choices all those growing up years in spite of his obstacles. Then he married Kira. She is amazing; I couldn't have picked out a better wife for him if I had tried.
"You words have given me a laugh or touched me during some of really tough times. You don't even know my family but you are so kind to them. You have had some beautifully tender words of advice for my sister during some of her darkest days. You doted on and entertained Paul and I when we came to visit. You really impress me, Jason. I do not think I could ask for a better brother-in-law. Paul could talk about you for hours and how grateful he is for you and the time he spent with you and your family."
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Twin Towers Correctional Facility
Approaching the facility, several bail bond advertisements were thrust in my face. "Ya wanna bail 'em out? Good deals on bail bonds." Staring up at the towers that I've only seen on TV felt surreal, and waiting in the huge waiting area to visit an inmate I was surrounded by people that seemed accustomed to it, like it was just a regular part of life. There were lots of pregnant teenagers. There were quite a few kids there to visit their incarcerated fathers. And I've come to realize that anyone who works in a jail/prison is manditorily grumpy and abrupt. Probably by necessity. My favorite thing was the looped recorded announcement: "Do NOT approach the window until your it is your turn. Do NOT approch the guards. Do NOT ask any questions."
Pitchess Correctional Facility
How many times have I driven past this place? Not once did I ever think, "Hmm, maybe I'll have to go to this place some day to visit someone who has played an important role in my life."
Northridge Mental Hospital
Along with a couple of other behavioral health facilities, I almost think that this place is worse than jail. My feelings of hopelessness, confusion, and desperation were certainly worse when I visited.
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
To me, this was a place of hope. Albeit highly distressing to have a little one in the ICU, being surrounded by kind, caring, gentle medical staff makes the load a whole lot easier to bear.
Los Angeles Childrens' Court
We had been here once before, only for a very happy reason. This is where Diego's adoption became final. We gathered together happily in the court room, court workers cried, the judge said kind and meaningful words, we took pictures, and all those in the court room applauded when it was finished, everyone beaming.
But this time I felt surrounded by people who should never have had children, people who neglect and hurt their kids. Why does God allow beautiful, innocent infants into the lives of people who don't even know how to care for themselves, let alone anyone else? It's just not right. And a huge reason for me to further consider atheism.
Have you ever taken a loved one to have a lie detector test? Well, that's not fun either. Fortunately, this loved one of mine passed.
If only that were the end of the problems.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
It was Christmas Day, 2000, and we were spending the holidays at Dennis and Claire's house in Seattle. We had just finished our afternoon Christmas meal, and everyone had gone their own way in the house to relax and digest. Giancarlo stepped outside in the front yard to talk on the phone. A few minutes later, the doorbell began ringing in desperation. I glanced out the window, and what to my wondering eyes did appear? Giancarlo, with a squirrel on his head! Claire, who was eating a dinner roll at the moment, ran outside and nervously began coaxing the squirrel off of Giancarlo's head with the roll. Her coaxing was very effective. The squirrel hopped from Giancarlo's head directly to Claire's! Of course, she began batting at the squirrel with her hands and her dinner roll, and in turn, it swiped repeatedly at the roll. Realizing what the squirrel wanted, Claire threw the roll to the ground. However, instead of jumping down to the ground, it hopped back on to Giancarlo's head! In shock that this was happening again, he shook his head back and forth, screaming, trying to get the thing off of his head. This caused it to grasp even harder, digging in its claws. Next, Giancarlo attempted to grab the squirrel to pull it off, and, chomp! It bit his finger.
Meanwhile, Dennis, Lincoln (Claire's brother), Hilary, Amelia, Rennen, and I were lined behind the safety of the living room window glass, observing this spectacle with laughter and amazement. Since nobody else made a move to provide assistance to the victims, Lincoln dashed to the kitchen, grabbed a handful of dinner rolls and slammed out the front door. Lincoln to the rescue! He threw the rolls down onto the grass, and after weighing his options, the assailant leapt onto the ground to gather his treasure.
Whew! What a story! We were sure glad that was over! No, wait! It seemd that Lincoln wasn't about to let it end at that. He loved his neices and he wasn't going to stand by and let them be attacked while going from the front door to the car. Casting his eyes about the yard, Lincoln's gaze settled on a red tricycle that was rusting in the endless Seattle rain. He grabbed it and headed toward the squirrel. Looking up from his meal, he wasn't about to be discouraged. Lincoln hucked the trike, and the squirrel dodged it, barely even looking up from his dinner roll. He tried again with the same results. And again. The tricycle was too hard to aim, too hard to control, too hard to hit with. Then Lincoln spied the cinder block. He thrust the trike to the side and seized it. After one throw, the squirrel knew he was in trouble. He immediately abandoned his rolls and scurried to the driveway to hide on the other side of the car. Lincoln pursued, leaving our line of sight. We all held our breaths. After what seemed like an eternity, Lincoln calmly sauntered back into view, empty handed, with no squirrel on his head. It was finally over.
It had started misting, so everyone came back inside. Amelia was crying because Lincoln had killed the squirrel. Hilary was laughing. Rennen didn't know how to react. And Giancarlo was in a state of panic, already looking through the yellow pages for the numbers to animal control and the emergency room, trying to find out if he had been exposed to rabies.
After things calmed down and the weather cleared up, Dennis went outside to dispose of the squirrel. The photograph above shows what remained, a perfect outline to fit a perfect crime.
So, what do you think? Who was at fault? The squirrel, for being so aggressive and, yes, even violent? Giancarlo, for being such a soft and easy target? Claire, for provoking the squirrel further with home-made rolls full of buttery goodness? Or was it Lincoln, overreacting with bloodthristy intent? Or perhaps it was us, the bystanders, who refused to get involved but gawked at the scene unfolding in front of us.
You be the judge.
As I was hoping to portray in the photos, we had such a nice, quiet, peaceful day together, just the two of us. We wanted to be able to focus solely on each other and the event, not worrying about others. And that's just what we did.
And a HUGE shout out to the West Hollywood city council and city hall employees. They were so warm and accommodating, full of affection. Their warmth added something extra-special to the occasion.
Then of course, this man, John Duran, is the one who performed our ceremony.
Last but not least, thanks to all of you for your well-wishes and congratulations and warm fuzzy stuff. As of this moment our wedding post had a whopping 48 comments, which is HUGE for little ole' may.
(Giancarlo actually joked that the only reason I was marrying him was so I could post a blog about it in hopes of getting lots of comments. The nerve!)