Primitive Road

Well it’s that time of year.  My payment to TypePad is due.  And while it’s not an exorbitant fee, I don’t have it in the bank right now.  So as of tomorrow, this blog won’t be updated until I can get my hands on some just-for-me money. 

Don’t worry; I’ll be back as soon as I possibly can.  Like you could keep me away!  Meanwhile, I’ll continue to post on a MySpace page that I set up, but might be found grumbling a bit about the limitations thereof.

In the interim, feel free to check out what’s going on with Moreena.  She’s often my first stops when I have some time.  I’ve learned a lot about how to be a real person / non-martyr mom with Kajsa.  Her wry sense of humor infuses even the most touching of stories.

And for a fun little study in extremes I present Dooce and BrocanteHome.  These have both been brought to my attention recently.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.


sometimes I miss being 14

Maya’s currently competing to be able to travel to Des Moines, IA for the World Food Prize Global Institute.  She’s writing a paper discussing Food & Nutrition Security in Mexico – and how it affects the push/pull factor of immigration. 

Have I mentioned how much I like her new school?

first day photo blog

first day of pre-school-1

Yesterday was everything I had hoped it would be.  Chris came home early from work to bring me the car.  So he was able to load Kajsa up for her first day of preschool.  I really don’t know which of them was more excited.

first day of pre-school-3

We got there a bit early.  So there was plenty of time for playing on the jungle gym.  We were in the middle of a rockin’ good game of peek-a-boo, when…

first day of pre-school-4

Kajsa spotted another kid.  The look of wonder on her face is only barely captured by this photo.  After three months isolated in a hospital room with no children (and most adult visitors wearing masks, gowns, and gloves), I don’t think she’d realized that this was going to be a real event.  I believe that this is the moment when she truly grasped what was about to happen. 

Her eyes were glued to the other girl until she walked into the building.  Then Kajsa just turned and looked at me.  I asked her quietly if she’d like to go inside.  No comment…she simply nodded with eyes wide.

first day of pre-school-6

Upon arriving in the class room (and after the required washing of hands – yippee), Kajsa immediately sat down at the painting table.  Of all things, the lesson of the day was “taste”.  Could this have been more perfect?  For a kid who’s lived most of her life in a state of almost complete oral aversion to be surrounded by lip smacking gustatorialy experimental children – well let’s just say, it was good.  It was very good.  She may not have liked everything she tasted.  But the fact that she tasted numerous items was absolutely fantastic!

first day of pre-school-7

So she sat with her new teacher Ms. Polly.  Don’t they always have the cutest names?  I wonder if that’s a requirement for teaching preschool.  “I see here that your name is Brunhilda.  I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you just aren’t right for our establishment.”  Anyway, Kajsa was really taken with Ms. Polly.  Notice the rapt attention?  I may very well be slipping in my title of:

"Most Fascinating and Cool of ALL Women".

first day of pre-school-10-2

So I slipped away with a kiss and a hug.  Outside I placed Kajsa’s backpack on her very own hook.  Yet another thing that I found irresistibly adorable.  And check out the mischievous grin on that girl next to her.  I can’t wait to find out her story. 


I left for two glorious hours.  I took advantage of the time to not only do some grocery shopping ALONE, but to head over to the college.  There, I spoke with an advisor of the Nursing College.  I got lots of great information about pre-requirements and scholarships.  As I left, it began to sprinkle lightly.  It was all I could do not to skip or dance or something else goofy as I walked through the campus.  How could I have not realized what a wonderful opportunity learning was when I was eighteen?  I guess it’s just one of those things like wisdom that we hope come along with age.  I just wish I’d realized it then.

So I returned to the school as Maya was getting out of hers.  You do know that their schools are housed in the same building, right?  Good for me – mortifying for Maya.  Maya begged out so that she could run off with her own personal Jenny Piccolo, Tabitha, to stand around looking bored somewhere else do who knows what for the next 10 minutes.  They returned as I was retrieving Kajsa.  And after wandering around the room as Kajsa showed us all her new found treasures, we departed for the long drive home. 

It was a wonderful day all around.  I’d been feeling rather discouraged lately.  (Gee, I wonder why?)  But yesterday really renewed my spirit.  I’m even fairly excited about the next year, or so.

Thursday Thirteen – 07Sep06


With mid-term elections looming I thought I’d share a political 13 this time around.  The original list included 17 items and was created by the folks over at Safety Rule 4001If you like what you see here, please go over and spread some love.  If not, well, I’m sorry that we don’t see eye to eye.  Honestly, you don’t know how very sorry I am.
13 things you need to believe to be a Republican.

  1. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.
  2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.
  3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
  4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
  5. A woman can’t be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
  6. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won’t have sex.
  7. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
  8. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
  9. A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
  10. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
  11. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
  12. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the ’80s is irrelevant.
  13. Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

Home of Thursday Thirteen

Whatever will she wear?

Christmas 2005 Sing it Sistah

OK. So I’m really about to cry. Guess who has the go ahead to start pre-school tomorrow.

I’m hoping that our Memorial to Labor Day streak is over, and we can just go on to live a relatively normal life. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve already promised Mary (her transplant nurse) a picture. I may as well snap one off for all of you, too.

Yep, giddiness is sure welling up in me right now.

It’s just such a relief!

Camping Trip

We left the hospital again Friday night and drove home to begin packing to go camping.  Now those of you who don’t know me, have no idea what a love of camping I’ve always felt.  For years I would hike out to the woods to spend a week on some deserted trail, enjoying the sounds, smells, and feel of nature as a way to refresh my soul. 

Chris and I enjoyed some car camping in the early years of our relationship, as well.  These are the times I will always remember fondly.  So when we had our little baby, we were so excited to take her with us to the woods for many outdoor adventures.  But we only got one true camping trip in before she was diagnosed. 

That first summer we were trying so hard just to keep her alive that we didn’t even have time to think about leisure.  And then before we knew it, she’d hit end stage and required dialysis each night.  We just figured this was one of those sacrifices of parenthood that you never see coming.

But we never stopped looking forward to the day that Kajsa would receive a transplant and be free of the machine.  Who would have ever thought that hauling 9 meds and a feeding pump out to the woods would feel like the ultimate freedom?  But we now do.

So off we went Saturday morning to pick Maya up in Prescott and meet two other families who’d decided to join in on the adventure.  And an adventure it was.  Shaun and Chrissy had apparently looked online to find a campsite for us all.  Is this a crazy digital time or what?  I mean, looking online for camping spots.  It seems sort of ironic to me.  But hey, if you can, why not?

After much running around to various stores to buy supplies and such, we were on our way.  We drove through Prescott and Jerome then down to the Verde Valley, where we cut off onto a dirt road for another hour or so.  And from what I’ve gathered, we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and ended up at some campground other than the one they’d originally been looking for.  The one we found was much more party central than I ever would have chosen, but a couple of the cars were hovering around a quarter tank of gas, and all of us were rather sick of bumping along the road.  So we decided to stay.  We located the last campsite in the whole place and set up our tents. 

Chris and Shaun wanted to take their fishing poles out for a trial, so several of us followed along.  Going down the hill, I slipped in the mud and had decided to simply wade out into the water with my pants on to wash them off.  The boys, Ash & Alec, had already wandered into the water.  And as I was handing Chrissy my watch to hold, one of the boys lost his footing and tried to climb up the other, as the current began carrying the two children away.

It must have only been a matter of 2-3 seconds before Chrissy and I were both in the water racing for the kids.  Chrissy had Ash out of the water quickly.  And while I grabbed Alec in short order, I couldn’t keep us both out of the water and find footing myself.  So I held him up as I repeatedly pushed myself up from the bottom to gasp for air and holler “help!”  I could see Chris racing down the beach toward us, and then feel him take Alec from me.  Once unburdened, I was able to float to rest until I flopped my way over to the side. 

So Chrissy and I stood on the beach crying for a few minutes until we regained some semblance of composure.  I have now committed myself to taking some swimming classes at the Y, as soon as possible.  I am far too out of practice. 

The boys were very well behaved for about 30 whole minutes, and Alec even approached me later to thank me for saving him.  My response was that I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but not to make me.  Yes, I meant it – and no, I never want to have to do that again.

After this beach (mis)adventure, I was a bit spent, and wandered back to our campsite.  And while the scenery was quite lovely, it was Labor Day, and there were a ton of people there – all, apparently, hell bent upon having a raging party.  The biggest partiers of the lot were our neighbors, who, thanks to the evils of satellite radio, were able to blare particularly putrescent music ALL NIGHT LONG.  So much for refreshment of the soul.

By around 1:00 am I was completely frustrated with the ambience of the place and swore I was going to rip the wires out of  the drunkards truck if they didn’t let at least one song finish before changing to the next station.  But, fortunately, Chris kept a level head, and calmed me down whenever I got too worked up.

Morning eventually came, and with it sweet silence.  At least, that is, until our neighbors had slept off the inevitable hangovers.  Our camp got up, made breakfast, and headed out for the day…

Now we’d heard that there were hot springs within walking distance, so we headed out to find them.  And of course, we took the wrong path.  The gentle, hour long stroll turned into a several hour trudge that included scaling cliff faces, wading though rapids, and traversing ankle turning rock fields. 

But we eventually did find the hot springs.  And they were absolutely worth the hike.  Nestled above the river were a series of pools built into the cliff ranging in temperature from around 99 to 115.  Kajsa got to take a dip, and thought it was truly delightful.  Even Maya joined in the fun, leaving the “I’m so bored” look behind as she splashed and lounged along with the rest of us. 

Before I knew it, the other families were ready to leave, so I gathered up our belongings and headed across the river to join them.  But, they were already down the path, so we struck out on our own.  While soaking, I’d spoken with a woman who spent every weekend there.  She’d told me the true way to get back to the campsite. 

We had a leisurely half hour stroll back to the campsite, arriving a while before the other families.  So I took advantage of that time to lie down for a while, as my -haven’t-stepped-foot-outside-the-hospital-pale-as-a-boiled-egg-self- was pretty sunburned. 

We had enough time to have one last swim before it was time to pack up our camp and head back.  The drive home was perfectly lovely.  We enjoyed a peaceful trip back to Camp Verde and then worked to try to keep each other awake for the duration of the journey.  (Hiking, swimming, and sun can take it out of you, you know.)

Returning home, we had just enough energy to unpack the food, meds, and wet clothing before falling into our beds.

Despite being about 180 degrees from what I had anticipated, we ended up having a very nice time.  I look forward to our next foray back into the woods.