Wednesday, September 30, 2009

See Spot Walk

The Jensengirls are walking this Saturday in the See Spot Walk, benefiting the Idaho Humane Society. This organization is a big part of our lives, which I'll tell you more about in a moment. First, though, we'd love it if you could donate too. To see our fundraising page, go to and you'll find the information. I believe you can just make a donation right on that page.

Let me tell you how the Idaho Humane Society has been important in our lives.

Our first family dog was Charlie. We decided when Emily was not quite a year old that we really needed a dog. When I say "we," of course, I mean me. David was not entirely enthusiastic about the idea, but he went along with it. During Thanksgiving vacation that year, we tromped out to the Humane Society. We thought we wanted some sort of retriever--they have a reputation of being friendly, easy-going dogs. And trust me, easy-going was a high priority. We saw a dog named Samson, who was a huge yellow lab. He was lovely, adorable, and (did I mention?) huge. We took him for a sample walk and he almost pulled us over. Sorry Samson. I have to walk two young children along with you, and I just couldn't fathom it working with a double stroller. Then we spotted Charlie. He was a golden retriever. Furry and happy and wanting to please. We bonded, then we took him home. He was about five years old, but like all golden retrievers, he thought he was a puppy. And he made himself right at home. Although Charlie had a severe phobia of thunderstorms and a penchant for eating the occasional book, we loved him with all our hearts. He was the perfect dog for young children. He was easy to care for, and when we went on vacation, he stayed with some friends who had a big shade tree in their back yard and had a great time. Emily would stand at the top of our basement stairs and holler "Char-ee" in her little toddler voice to call him upstairs in the mornings.

Eventually, we decided Charlie should have a friend. Why, I don't know. But we thought two dogs would be great. Kind of like when you decide to have another child--you often wonder what you were thinking, but you wouldn't undo it. So this time, we went back to the Humane Society. Emily had decided, again, why I don't know, that a beagle was a good idea. And, amazingly enough, we found a sweet little beagle puppy, six months old. We named her Katie. Like all beagles, she was stubborn and nose-oriented. Unfortunately, we had not had her long at all when Charlie got terribly ill. He had surgery and seemed to be recovering when he relapsed. In the end, we decided not to torture him with more surgeries and uncertain chances of getting well. We put him to sleep. It was a horrible thing to do, but the right thing to do. We cried and cried. Emily was the most devastated. She spent several years grieving.

But we still had Katie. She was a handful. But she was loving and sweet, too. We adored her, even if the neighbors did not appreciate her baying at the squirrels in the trees.

After a couple of years, we decided that we still needed a two-dog house, so back we went to the Humane Society. In the lobby was a volunteer petting a dog that looked like part golden retrieve and part something else. He was cute, but we wanted to look around. We looked at every single dog in the entire place, then went back and took that first one home. We named him Frodo. We decided he was Charlie reincarnated. He, like Charlie, made himself right at home. He too has a fear of thunderstorms, and he took to sleeping on Emily's bed. He and Katie made good companions. They loved going on walks together. It was a long, but not long enough, relationship. At six years old, Katie developed lymphoma in multiple organs, and died peacefully on her own at home. Again, we cried and cried. And poor Frodo did not know what to do. He seemed lost.

But I couldn't bear to replace my precious little Katie. I decided one dog was enough. Frodo was much loved and spoiled. And as he grew older, we were even able to plant a lawn in the back yard and hope it wouldn't be destroyed. But....the kids had other ideas. Two dogs was now the norm and they couldn't bear to see Frodo alone.

Back we went--you guessed it, to the Humane Society--where I announced that we were going to look for a small, adult, female dog. We came home with a male puppy of uncertain full-grown size. We called David from the Humane Society to tell him, and he was not too happy, but he came home with a possible list of names, so he couldn't have objected too much. We named this one Dodger. He's a very smart, but severely neurotic dog. He is easy to train, loves to cuddle, have his belly rubbed, play tug of war, and run around. We took him to the See Spot Walk the day after we adopted him, and he just had no idea what to do, so we ended up carrying him most of the time.

We felt complete, but fate has other ideas sometimes. One day Peter came home from school and told me a dog had followed him home. Right. I went to the front door and there sat this chocolate colored puppy. I let her in, and she went right to the food dish and started gobbling the food. I think it was sealed right then, but at the time I didn't realize it. We went around the neighborhood to see if she belonged to someone. We put ads on Craigslist. We took her to the Humane Society to check for an identification chip. After three weeks of ever-decreasing efforts to find her a home, we realized she had found one: ours. So we named her Ginger, and here she is.
So you see, because of the Humane Society, we have found most of our best friends. They do great work, they save animals' lives, and they care about the animals. Please help support them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

School Zones and Old Folks and Red Lights, Oh My!

I hate driving. I absolutely hate it. I hate driving on quite streets on a nice day in a car with automatic transmission. Driving on busy streets on a 90 degree day in my persnickety old stick-shift makes me want to poke somebody’s eyes out.

I think it should be a law that everybody is required to drive 35 miles per hour on all streets at all times. Period. No exceptions. Ever. Inevitably I get stuck behind an old person or somebody poking along looking for an address or somebody who insists on breaking for every single speed bump or someone who thinks that because they are in residential neighborhood they should only go 20 mph even though the speed limit signs every couple of blocks or so clearly say 25 or somebody who just has no clue what they are doing or all of the above.

Then there are the school zones. There are two school zones on my way home. These are the kind where the speed limit drops to 20 when the flashing yellow lights are on. But one of these school zones is several blocks from the actual school and the light is still on until 4 p.m. even though school ends at 3:15 and even the kids who like to hang around on the playground after school have gone home by 4. I have never once seen a child in this school zone, at any time of day.

But what really gets me going is school zone number two. It’s for a private school that is, admittedly, on a rather busy corner. It would be impossible to drive faster than 20 anyway due to the procession of giant-SUV-driving mothers clogging up traffic. What bothers me about this school zone is the crossing guard. They have an adult crossing guard stationed at an intersection where—this is why it bothers me—there are lights, stop lights and “walk/don’t walk” lights. There are no left turn signals or anything that might be confusing. It’s a busy intersection, but not at terribly dangerous one (for anyone who lives in Boise, it’s 8th and Fort Streets). This crossing guard walks out into the intersection with her stop sign even though the light is red and the cars are already stopped. But here’s the real kicker. I was sitting at this intersection about a week ago and the crossing guard headed out into the intersection to cross two adult women who came from the other direction. No kids were crossing at the same time. These women didn’t have any kids with them. That really makes me angry. If they must have a crossing guard, she should be told to help cross kids only, not random pedestrians who just happen to walk by and are perfectly capable of crossing the street by themselves.

Why do crossing guards and school zones bother me? Well, to put it bluntly (and I’m sure there will be disagreement from any mothers who might be reading this) I think that if your kid is not old enough to cross the street by himself, he’s not old enough to be in school. But on a deeper level, it bothers me because I think it’s representative of the way childhood and adolescence are being continually extended, which I think is a serious problem. If elementary school children can’t be trusted to cross the street by themselves, then society is doing something very, very wrong. I have heard it said that people trust the kids, they don’t trust the drivers. But we trust drivers not to run over all the adults who cross the street downtown every day. And like I’ve said several times already, this intersection has lights. If drivers can’t be trusted to stop when the light is red, that’s also a sign that something is very, very wrong (and honestly, a driver who isn’t going to stop for a red light probably isn’t going to stop because some lady is standing in the crosswalk holding a plastic stop sign either). And finally, I am willing to listen to arguments in favor of the crossing guard being there, but there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why she should have gone out in the intersection to cross two adult women. That is where I absolutely draw the line. Period. No exceptions. Ever.

--Melissa J.

Banned Book Week

It's Banned Book Week. Read banned books. For a list of banned/challenged books, go to It will give you a brief synopsis of the reasons the book was challenged. PLEASE READ ONE OF THESE BOOKS THIS WEEK, then post on our blog what book you read. No one should be told what to read. Intellectual freedom is essential.

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says "Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Reading Banned Books."

Ironically, and justly, most books that are challenged have higher sales figures than they did before the challenge. Ha! Take that you book banners.

My friend Ellen Hopkins wrote a fabulous poem for banned book week. See her blog for the whole thing: And then read her books.

Never was an act of subversiveness so delightful as reading a banned book!


Monday, September 28, 2009

addiction much?

you would think the people at subway would recognize me by now. I go in there at least once a week, sometimes more. (subway is too convenient). The same guys are always there as well. so either they do know me by now and they're just really good at pretending or they're too thick to realize the same girl walks into their store far too often. I always order the same thing too, so it would make things a lot easier if they knew me cuz then they could just make my sandwich and get me my cookie. (by the way the sandwich i order is about the most boring thing you could imagine.)

It reminds of the snow cone shack. Over the summer's there is this snow cone place not too far from my house. Considering how hot it gets, snow cones are extremely appetizing. And sugery. very very sugery. yum. So over the summer i would go down there a lot and order the same thing. I swear the guy who works there thought i was stalking him or something, because i'd always go alone. I'd never bring anyone with me. Now the same thing is happening with subway. Great....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Teenagers X 3

So today my youngest child became a teenager. I was relieved to find him very much the same as always. I've been freaking out over this milestone. I mean, Peter has always been my baby, my little boy, the one who likes to cuddle before bed, the little brother. This year he started junior high, and now he's a teenager. But you know what, now that the moment has arrived, I'm good with it.

Like any good teenage boy, most of Peter's presents were of the electronic genre. And I'm good with that too. I limited my children's electronics in their early lives. I did allow TV, and educational computer games. But I wouldn't allow televisions in their rooms, or computers. They recently got computers, rationalized as "for school," which is like saying the TV is for work. As the years have gone on, I've allowed more electronics, and they seem to handle limiting themselves pretty well. They still do plenty of reading, writing, and a host of other things.

I find it really fascinating, in fact, the variety of interests my children have. But there are two basic similarities: music and books. Melissa is a choir nut, including bell choir. Emily loves piano and frequently composes pieces for piano. Peter is a drummer and is also in a boys choir. As for books, their tastes vary hugely, but they all love books. And they all love to write.

Okay, movies would be another common interest, although it gets a little tricky finding a movie everyone wants to go see together. So we tend to go in pairs or three of us at most.

This is turning into a rather rambling post. But I meant it to reflect how I feel about my children growing up. They have turned out to be people I very much like to hang out with. That has always been my hope, that they would grow up to be the sort of people I would want to be friends with. They have taught me an infinite load of wisdom that I desperately needed to learn. They have made me a better person. It sounds so cliche, but it really is true. I owe them so much of who I am. I hope I can continue to be blessed to learn from them for many, many more years.

This does not preclude moments when I want to throttle them senseless. But the fact that I haven't (yet) indicates just how much they have taught me. Patience, for starters. My poor mother tried to teach me patience all during my formative years. She'd say, "Patience dear." I hated that. I didn't learn real patience until these three challenging persons entered my life. They've taught me, too, about true acceptance. I have had to force myself, even in those times when I so vehemently didn't want to, to allow my children to be their own persons, to acknowledge their ownership of their own lives. I suppose deep down most of us somewhere inside of ourselves wish our children would be little clones of ourselves. Wouldn't that be so affirming? I suppose it would also be tremendously boring. I accept each one of them for who they are and what they want for themselves. It's going to be exciting and probably quite entertaining to watch as they enter adulthood and try those things on.

Thirteen years ago, at this hour of the evening, I held my baby boy and rested in my bed at home. I felt so strong and capable--he was 10 lb., 10 oz. at birth. We joked that he was two months old at birth. He is now a delightful young man who loves band, chess, boy scouts, backugan (don't ask), baseball, school, grossing out his sisters, building and tearing apart things, cooking, riding his bike, playing with his dogs, and playing games on his new Nintendo DSi, the Wii, and his computer. Happy Birthday, Peter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

this week is homecoming week (ug)

To show just how much school spirit i have, this is what happened on tuesday. On homecoming week or any other spirit filled week my school likes to create crazy dress up days. I never dress up. But my friend molly does. Tuesday was jersey day. So i walk up to her at break.

"Where's your jersey?" She asked.

i take a second to remind myself why this question makes sense. After i remember it's homecoming week i say, "I do not participate in homecoming activities."

"But it's senior year!" Molly gets excited about the weirdest things.

Then yesterday was western day or some other such nonsense, which means they also have to make it hat day so we can wear hats. Why they have to do both i don't know. But wait! it gets better. Today's theme was....where the wild things are. the same theme the dance is. How very creative. Tomorrow is red and white day (our school colors). but wait!! it gets even better!!! i swear i don't understand how our principle thinks.

This must have been what went through his mind: we're going to cut classes short on friday to have a pep assembly. But we're not going to do the smart thing. We're going to have it after lunch so half the students can go home first.

Great idea Mr. Anderson. (no i'm dead serious, they really do want kids to not go to the assembly).

Now naturally, i wouldn't even consider going to homecoming. The last dance i went to was homecoming sophmore year, and then i had a date (great story that goes along with that, remind me to tell it sometime). Yes folks, that's right. i didn't go to prom.


Okay, so again, i wasn't planning on going to homecoming. I don't have a dress or any desire to go. The only way i would go would be if a certain guy asked me out. Well, he's a little slow on the uptake so has no idea i like him, so, that would be a no. So, no, until today, thursday, (homecoming is on saturday) i wasn't planning on going to homecoming at all. But of course all my friends have to ruin it. They're going. All of them. yes, that's right. Even Brian, even andrew, and possibly even elliot. All three of them Capital kids. Oh won't that be interesting. All three of them together could beat up my entire school if they wanted to.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Latest Books

In case you haven't heard, known us before, or are otherwise not in the loop, we are a book-loving family. A serious book-loving family. No, really. Almost every wall in our house is lined with bookcases. When we go on vacation, about the first thing we do wherever we stop is find the bookstore. (I'll write more about the various bookstores in another post. If I forget, remind me.) You don't even want to know how much we spend on books in a year. I don't even want to know. And we read these books; we don't just buy them. So at any given time, most of our family members have multiple books in their stack of "currently reading."

Now, because I write young adult novels, I tend to read a lot of YA novels, but I also read a hefty number of non-fiction works as well as a variety of middle grade as well as adult novels. So from time to time, I will be posting about my latest reads.

Recently, I finished my friend Sydney Salter's latest release, Jungle Crossing. This is a cleverly written book in which a family with two daughters travels to Mexico for vacation. Kat is the narrator. She's going into 8th grade, and she is burdened with the most annoying little sister on the planet, Barb. They get trucked off to a daily excursion while their parents suck up the luxury at the hotel. They are guided by a couple of local guys, and one of them starts telling Barb a Mayan story. The novel goes back and forth between what's actually happening in the present and the story of the Mayan girl, Muluc. Muluc is an elite class, but is captured and sold as a slave for a while. She learns to treat others in a more compassionate manner, and that is sort of what Kat learns too during the book. She's been obsessed with her popular friends back home, but by the end of the book, she realizes that the way they treat others is plain mean. It's a delightful book. Great job, Sydney.

Before that, I read another friend, Ellen Hopkins' book Identical. I hadn't read it yet, and my oldest, Melissa, was hogging Ellen's newest book, Tricks, so I had to have my Ellen Hopkins fix. If you haven't read any of Ellen's books, then you need to get out there and try them. They are told in the most delicious verse, with crafty poems within poems. She deals with difficult subjects in an honest and straightforward way. It you don't like that, then don't read them. But if you can put aside any self-righteous ideas that kids don't do these things and realize that they sure as hell do, then you might enjoy this author. She is a master at her craft, and worth reading even if the subject matter bothers you. So, Identical is told from the viewpoint of two identical twins. Their lives are messed up like you wouldn't believe. There is incest, drug and alcohol use, abandonment, attempted suicide, and sexual Russian roulette. In the end, you find out the twist that you were not expecting, and it all makes sense. The end is also hopeful and uplifting.

Right now I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about a year of changing a family's way of understanding and enjoying food. So far it's excellent. I recently saw the movie "Food Inc." and it follows a similar message.

I'm sure the other Jensen girls will post about all the books they love, too. It's a different set than mine, at least partially.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm only posting this to avoid my homework

I can't wait until i get to college physics classes. The people there won't know what hit them. I'm currently in AP physics C. For those of you that don't know what it means, i'm effectively in my second year of college physics. In one year i'll be sitting in a physics lecture at who knows what university. I can see it now. Of course, no teacher i ever have will be as great as Bellomy. There isn't a more effective teacher than him. It's thanks to him that a good chunk of us will enter the world thinking all things go faster than 30 m/s. My physics friend paul described it perfectly.

"We'll be sitting in college working on some physics problem and then suddenyl, oh it's motorcycle riding pig problem."

There's also the robert Bellomy school of driving problems, and long drop sudden stop problems, and infamous chicken river problem. The poor B students couldn't figure out the chicken river problem this year. But i have to give them credit, the did come up with the ameoba-moose. I find this much more creative than the zombie chicken we came up with last year.

Yes this is Bellomy's physics class. There are giant bears dropping from space, and baby ignats sliding down hills, Bellomy himself being shot out of cannons, or in the case of today, catapulted onto ledges, there are soccer players that drive you nuts, and zeros are your friend while friction is the devil.

well i think we might have a physics test tomorrow, so i'm going to go study now.

All Righty Then

Well, hello there.

1. I did not know I was supposed to be one of the authors of this new blog.

2. No one is reading this.

3. Quirky is a dead word. Everyone in L.A. said so.

4. "Very Good" in Latin would be something along the lines of "multa bona," but I'd have to dig out my dictionary to be sure.

Okay, let's write a post then.

I don't like current popular music. I just don't. Occasionally I'll turn to a top 40 radio station and it gives me a headache and makes me plug my ears and scream. I don't like hip-hop, I don't like rap, I don't like American Idol-esque pop singers, I don't like screamo. I just don't like any of it.

What I do like:

The Clancy Brothers
The Kingston Trio
Early American Folk Music
Irish Dance Music
Ella Fitzgerald
Christian Rock

I do have a few CDs by bands that are actually still alive and making music, but even those aren't exactly what you'd hear on the radio or at your average high school dance.

I don't know how to explain this fascination with obscure music. I really don't. Put on some the latest album by some big pop singer (I can't even come up with a name, that's how out of that loop I am) and I want to go wrap up in my fuzzy pink blanket and hide for awhile. But give me the Boston Camerata CD of Revolutionary War era songs, and I'm good. I don't get it. It's just the way I am.

There you go.

--Melissa J.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dropping Like Flies

It is a bad year for house flies. I don't know what it is. The unusually cool summer temperatures that rarely rose above 100 degrees? Global warming? A leak in the housing armor? Not sure. But we have tons of flies all around the house. In the past two days we have purchased four fly swatters and even those funny fly-catching "ribbons" as they are euphemistically called. I call them ugly and sticky. We now have four of those placed strategically around the house. We are at WAR.

(Sorry. Had to pause a second to kill another one.)

I don't know why I bring up the house fly situation, because it will go away eventually. Winter will come. And they'll die. (Ha! Sweet revenge.) But right now, they are driving us all crazy. Really. I think I may have to be taken away by men in white coats.

So here are a few other things that drive me crazy. (Now you see where I'm going with this.)

Emily just told me about a friend's recent twitter. He was appalled, rightly so, that his English teacher (grade 12) kept referring to Robert Frost's "Road Less Traveled" as a short story!!! A short story. Even the students knew it was a POEM. Hello! Now, I can understand a slip of the tongue once, maybe twice. But apparently this teacher continually refers to it as a short story. Yikes. And here's the rub. This person is employed as a teacher. I have been trying to get hired to teach secondary English for approximately six months now, and nada. How is this fair, I ask you? I could teach circles around this other person--with my eyes closed. Hello Boise School District, are you listening?

Okay, next. Does it ever feel like your belongings, house, car, etc. are falling apart faster than you can keep them maintained? It does to me. Just when I think all major appliances and household goods are repaired, five more break. Recently, our garage door opener broke down, which isn't such a surprise, as it was at least 20 years old. So you can't blame it. But at the same time, one of our cars needed an alternator replaced. This all happened about the same time we had to go back to school shopping. Hello, MoneyTree? We still have furniture that our dogs chewed on when they were puppies (they're now 3 years old) that still needs repair. Our stairway has been barren of carpet for over a year. Now, this is a factor of husband-neglect, which could take up several posts alone, so we won't dwell on that. The garage has needed painting for at least five years. And I finally am doing it myself after many attempts to entice the children with large sums of money. I have one side done. You get the picture. We are living in a constant state of entropy. I think, like chaos (see previous post), that is another natural state of the universe.

So are the flies, but I'm not going to let them win!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Describing Our Life: Not Organized

Today I took Emily to the chiropractor. She's been going there for about six months or so. I really like these folks. They figured out quite early on that we are a forgetful group, and they seem to have other clients like this, because they have it set up to send an email reminder the day before the next appointment. I said that is great, and Emily interjected that yes, we would call our lives unorganized.

I bring that up because with the beginning of a new school year, you always see those articles in the newspaper and parenting magazines on "how to organize your kids, all their papers they bring home, and all the shoes, jackets, backpacks, and other junk." As if we can't figure this out for ourselves. Come on. Write something we can really use like "Ten Ways to Avoid Making Lunches." Or "The Lazy Mom's Guide to Alarm Clocks."

I mean, really. I read an article last week about how you should make school lunches the night before to avoid the mad rush in the morning. Wow--that's news to me! No one's ever written about THAT before. Sheesh. How original. (Okay, did I mention, sarcasm is my second language?)

My main point about this--well really I have two main points. First, don't these writers realize that evenings have their own set of chaotic issues, so it's not really less harried to make a lunch at night than in the morning? Do they HAVE kids? Really.

Second, and more importantly in my mind, kids should be making their own lunches--or learn to eat the school lunch.

The reason I say this is that I'm the laziest mom in the world. I'm pretty sure of that, although I'm too lazy to do any research to verify it. My kids have eaten school lunch since early on--mostly because they don't really feel like making their own lame sandwiches. I'm not about to get up and make lame sandwiches for them, so it's up to them. They haven't starved even one day in their lives. (Granted, school lunches are a lot better than when I was growing up.)

And I resent the idea that if I'm not organized or don't make lunches for my kids that I somehow don't measure up. My kids are the smartest ones in their classes. (Okay, I haven't researched that either, but let's just go with it.) They grow, they have energy, they have friends. Very important: they don't get in trouble with drugs, alcohol, or other stuff we don't want them to do. I won't go into details. You know what I mean.

And why is that? Even though I'm the laziest mom in the world, I am by far the most approachable and a great listener. My children can--and do--talk to me about anything. ANYTHING. And they know it.

But really, the way I look at it, I'm the best mom in the world. My hands-off approach has worked well. My kids all do their own laundry and have since about age 9 or so. They can manage to feed themselves if they don't like what I prepare for dinner--which I only do because I want dinner. They never like what I make, so I learned long ago not to sweat it--they can make their own.

I'm raising self-sufficient beings who can manage on their own. They won't be the ones at college who have never seen the working end of a washing machine or who can't make it to class on time unless their mom texts them a wake-up call. Melissa's freshman year roommate's mom, on the other hand, just told her to send all her clothes to the dry cleaners so she didn't have to worry about washing them. As if tuition isn't expensive enough!

So this is just to say that our life is not organized. We, or at least I, tend to go with the flow. Work with what I've got.

That means if you visit us at home, there might still be boxes stacked in the dining room that were there several months ago because we haven't gotten around to putting them away yet. Or that there might be as much dog hair on the floor as on the dogs. (Sorry--here's the lint roller.) Or the luggage from our last trip is still sitting in the hall. On the other hand, we're probably having a grand rousing game of Trivial Pursuit, reading a book, or writing one of several books. It may be unorganized, but you know--chaos is the natural state of the universe.

Entering the Blog Highway

Tres Bien. That's French for "good." Or even "very good." Maybe we're a little over confident. We hope this blog will be good reading. The premise is that we are three women occupying the same residence and the same planet, yet we see the world through vastly different eyes. Hopefully, this makes for lively discussion, interesting viewpoints, and maybe enough food for thought that you won't starve.

I'll leave it to Melissa to translate very good into Latin. That's her language. Have you heard the saying "The only good language is a dead language"? That's Melissa's motto.

I'm kind of a luddite for English myself. Although I took four terms of French at Carleton College and they told me I was proficient. Of course, that was 25 years ago. I can still make it out from time to time. Emily's in French now, so I'm getting a refresher course.

So I will comment on a great many things in this blog. Speaking for myself, the things I'll talk about with some frequency are my writing, other writers, books I love, maybe even some tips for beginning writers. Of course, my kids and family, the books we love, music--a love which the three of us share, our three dogs, the crazy guinea pig, education, ideas, health care reform, taxes, death, flowers, you name it.

Welcome to the blog. And now for something completely different, as they used to say on Monty Python's Flying Circus. (Yes, there will be many references to them, to Bill Cosby jokes, to oddities like Faulty Towers, etc. You will have to keep up.)