27 January 2010

Why I Had Kids In The First Place

Today was Grandparents Day.  I love Grandparents Day!  On Grandparents day you are reminded of why you had kids in the first place.  So that someday you could have Grandkids.  I am blessed to have 5 of them (so far), and three of them are old enough to attend the same Parish school my own kids attended.

I've heard people complain that kids today have no respect for their elders. (Okay, that may have been me talking.) Today at the Parish School of St Mary, elders were given the utmost respect which included, a beautiful and holy mass,  a picnic lunch, awesome kid art as you will see in the following pictures, lots of hugs and kisses and tickles, and CAKE.  I think that Grandparents Day is my new favorite day!

Here is an example of my grandson Dayne's awesome art.  This is a picture he drew of his other grandma.  Her arms are not actually that short, but as she agreed, her hair looks amazingly similar to this.
Here's the thing though.  The kids all wrote why they love their grandparents.  I found that there was a direct correlation to love and food. Especially food which comes with a toy or food that is a sweet, treat.  Grandma Ger is beloved because she lets Dayne pick out candy at 7-11.  Oh man, I'm in big trouble here.  
I never buy them candy.  I don't even have soda at my house.

This picture is an exact rendition of Grandpa Pat, except that Grandpa Pat actually has a mouth full of very nice teeth.  I never noticed his neck was this long, but I guess I never looked that hard.  He does part his hair on the left and it is always combed down quite nicely.  Grandpa Pat belongs to Grandma Ger and I can now see that he is in on this whole food conspiracy as well.  It says here that, Dayne loves Grandpa Pat because he lets him eat his cashews.

I don't know this grandma but, apparently she gets the whole food=love=love=food thing.  I love my grandma because she makes food.  Well, who the heck knew?  I've been a grandma for 12 years now, so you'd think I would have learned this by now.  I feel like I just fell off the turnip truck or something.

I'm a tiny bit concerned that this grandma has low iron.  She's looking a little jaundiced.

I adore this little artists picture though, because it shows that grandma's come in all sizes.

These portraits make it perfectly clear that they come in all shapes too.  This grandma and grandpa are very tiny but shaped just alike.  It's obvious they were made for each other!

And here we have a brown grandpa.  So, there you have it.  Grandparents come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Grandparents are the BEST!  Even though some are stoned or blitzed,  happy or sad.

Here is a fine example of some of those hugs and kisses and tickles I spoke of earlier.  My husband loves nothing more than hugs, kisses and tickles, and I think Dayne kinda likes it too!

Emma got in on the hugs and kisses and tickles even though she doesn't go to school yet.  She got to come along for the ride and as you can see, she's got her grandpa wrapped right around her little finger!

My daughter used to write just like this kid, hence her name, T A R A, looked like this,  A R A T.
The moral of that story is she turned out just fine in the end.

Don't you think this is a pretty grandma?  She is also sporting a fabulous neckless.

Wowzer!  I thought Grandma Ger had great hair.  Look at this do.  I looked everywhere on the playground for this grandma.  I never did find her but, I know she exists and this picture is proof.  I'm also loving her earrings.

Here we are, Grammy and Papa, with three of our talented, artistic, handsome, sweet, funny, grandkids. And they're all stars at football/soccer/basketball too!  Oh, by the by, this picture is a real photo of us but we don't really look like this in person.  We look much more like the portraits the kids drew.

This is me.  Anybody will tell you that I look exactly like this in person.  Dayne captured my very essence here.  This is exactly how I feel at the end of every day!

But wait, hold on a sec.  Can you see what he wrote in his perfect little printing?  Let me translate that for y'all, and please note that it has absolutely nothing to do with sweets, or nuts or any kind of food that comes with a toy.  I love my grandma because she lets me play at the beach.  YESSSSSSSS!

But seriously Grandma Ger, if you're reading this, the cashews and the 7-11 runs have been duly noted. With you and me on their team those kids have got it all.

Now do you see why I love Grandparents Day?  Thank you St Mary School.  Thank you Tara and Ty and Cael and Dayne.  Thank you to all the priests, teachers, parents, and kids who made grandparents feel special today.

Oh, and here it is.  I told you we got CAKE!



P.S.  Grandma Ger - lets get together soon so we can brag about our grandkids some more.  Today was fun!

23 January 2010

It Never Rains In Southern California

It Never Rains In Southern California.

You've all heard that song right? A guy named Albert Hammond wrote it but I remember Barry Manilow singing it.  Ew.  That was a bad flashback. Anyhow-

For any of you who have been living under a rock lately, I’m here to tell you that it DOES rain in Southern California! Not always, not usually and maybe not often enough for some, but here where I live on the coast, we have had three inches of rain per day for the past few days. The rain is literally coming down sideways. Besides the rain, we are experiencing wind blowing up to 60 mph at times.  Branches are falling off trees, and in some cases such as Eucalyptus whose roots are shallow, the whole tree has toppled over. Trash cans and all sorts of debris are blowing around willy-nilly. Claps of thunder are deafening and flash lightening the likes of which you usually only encounter in places like Oklahoma is lightig up the sky!

A true California Girl never takes off her flip flops, unless it's to go barefootin'.  So these piggy's, they took quite a hit in the storms this week.  I had so much fun playing in the rain, since it's so novel here and all. But sometimes I curled up inside by the fireplace with a cuppa. Sometimes I drove around and took pics of my city in the rain. And there were other times I just paced back and forth in front of the cottage, watching the tarps blow in the wind, the mud sliding down the side yard in rivulets making it impassable, and contemplated the future.

If there's anyone still interested in what's happening over at the cottage, we finally got the go ahead needed to get up and go, and here's what happened.  Rain in Southern California.  And high winds.  They called them hurricane force winds!  My little cottage in the full blown stages of a complete remodel, was all naked and bare, no windows, doors or even walls.  Just a poor pathetic frame of a cottage.  So we boarded her up!  We battened her down. But you just wait.  In the next couple of weeks the tempo is going to pick up over there and that cottage is going to rise up again.  Just check on in over at my blog and you'll see. At least that's what the powers that be my husband tells me. I'll take pictures of everything for you of course.

Yikes, I guess I'll be showing you how we patch this hole too.  It'll be nothing short of miraculous what happens around here as soon as it dries out! Yada, yada, yada.

Oh, but the waves. The sea is churning up suds like a washing machine. It’s all frothy and white and in places beside the coast highway, it has blown in billowy bunches up on the rocks and it looks like snow. The ocean is beautiful when there is wind. The clouds touch the sea on the horizon with dramatic sizes and shapes. The sun brightens the tips with streaks of bright blue color usually reserved for only the most beautiful of paintings.

Here at the beach winter has its own kind of beauty. Visitors have mostly gone home and the beaches stand-alone. The tide is high and only a strip of sand may remain where we walk our dogs. The weather in the winter is mild and fair even so. Our average cools are about 60 degrees and our highs are 75 degrees on most days. It’s beautiful and everything you might want if you take a trip to the coast. But this week In California we have been lifted to the ranks of those who have real honest to goodness weather. We’ve had everything but actual snow this week and there is actually snow all the way down to the 3,000 Ft. level.

Here's a view from the safe nether regions inside my car.  But wait, you aren't going to believe this!

Oh yeah, I'm coming around for more.  Just wait,  Here it comes!

Oh Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.  Rain is fun! If you get bored when it rains, or you think life's no fun if it's not sunny, come play with me.  I have a blast in the rain!

Our sidewalks have been power washed by God himself! Our homes have been cleaned with fresh water, the leaves are glistening after a good bath and the reservoirs are filling up. There is the smell of newness in the air.

It doesn't bother this guy.  He may look a little weary, but he knows just like I do that this won't last forever.
Heck, over here in Southern California it won't even last a week.

 Weather forecasters speak in dramatic,  voices, panicked, with their umbrellas turned inside out during their live feeds. They throw around worried phrases like hurricane, gale force winds, and power outages. In some surf spots the waves were over 20 feet.  Long boarders were coming to shore with boards broken in half.  Only very seasoned surfers or crazy people even attempted to go out there.

But when I look around me, booming thunder, wind, rain and all.  I can only celebrate the power of Mother Nature. I yell at my kids, come on, let’s go outside. It’s raining! I grab my camera, remember it’s not waterproof, wrap a baggie around it and GO.
Who wants to miss this when it never rains in Southern California?

We who are blessed enough to call the coast our home, pay some of the highest taxes in the country. Our home prices soar way above the average in other states. People plea, "I could get a lot more for my money if I lived somewhere else." It is said often that that’s why we pay the big bucks to live here. So is it worth it you ask me? Hell yes, it’s worth it.

We have, within an hours drive, deserts, mountains, beaches, big cities, small towns, so many people crowded into one place it always feels like a party and places where you feel like you are the only person left on the planet.  It’s all right here and it’s wonderful.

There are those who say we don’t have seasons here. But if you look closely, if you are in tune to the environment, every season has something beautiful which signifies a change.  And while we are experiencing what for us is an extreme now, we can curl up with our cocoa by the fire, enjoy the cuddly feel of winter for a bit, and then in a couple days we get to throw our flip flops back on and head out to the sunshine.

It would not be the first time someone has accused me of working for the Chamber of Commerce; however people,  just look at this! 

 It’s raining in Southern California, and it’s marvelous, it’s fabulous, and as they say in another part of the world, which I am also quite fond. Tis a glorious day!

Is that a double rainbow? Tis!  And you know what that means?  That means it will be 70 and sunny tomorrow.

So tell me, what's the weather like in your neck-oh-the-woods today?

Rain or shine, wind or snow, there's something to be praised no matter where you are!

Blessings to all,


19 January 2010

Hospice of the Innocent


A couple of years ago my daughter was studying abroad in Rome, Italy. I wrote about some of her adventures in a past post called, "Simply Kate".  You can see it here. http://lorimcktia.blogspot.com/2009/11/simply-kate.html

She studied at the Constantine College, Due Santi campus in Albano just outside of Rome. It's an amazing and inspiring program. If you have a minute, take a look right here.


When Kate completed her studies and it was time for her to come home, my husband and I took our eldest son and the three of us set off on a pilgrimage of sorts to go and get her.  The four of us had 10 days of adventures together, the memories of which will last a lifetime. Our travel log will be for another time but, I want to share with you this beautiful story of love.

Right across the square from where we stayed in Florienze there was, The Church Of Miracles.  They say that many women go there to pray for babies they wish for. The church is full of people praying for a miracle. 

Right next to The Church of Miracles is, The Hospice of the Innocent. We were especially interested in this building across the square from where we were staying in Florence.  There, was an Italian orphanage with a child drop-off window. 

The story goes that, when mothers couldn't take care of their babies, they would bring it and pass it through the bars of a certain window.  The bars were only big enough to pass an infant through.  The nuns would take the baby in and keep with the baby, 1/2 a blanket or toy which the mother would leave with the baby. She would take the other half with her.  Then in a few years when the mother could take care of the baby, she would come to get it, bringing the other half of the toy and the nuns would match them up.  If a mother didn't come back the nuns would raise the baby and teach it a profession or vocation and act as the family forever.  All the children loved the nuns and came back to see them as family, often.  This was not a sad thing because, the babies were well taken care of, there was no abortion and no babies were ever thrown in trash cans or discarded as they sometimes are now.  That is the story as it was told to me and as I journaled it at the time.  For a more detailed explanation of the Hospice I have copied the following explanation from the Atlas Obscura.

In the 1400s Florence had a problem. Babies were being abandoned throughout the city. Babies in the fields, babies in the alleyways, babies left on the pews in church: Florence was crawling with abandoned babies. The Ospedale degli Innocenti, or Hospice of the Innocent, was opened in 1445 to help solve this problem, and is the first building known to have been erected specifically for the care of abandoned children. An important element of the Ospedale degli Innocenti was its status of official baby drop-off point so that children would no longer be left throughout the city.
Installed in the far left side of the hospital wall was a special rotating horizontal wheel into which a child would be placed. Once spun around to the other side of the wall, the child went down a short slide and into the basin of abandonment. On either side of the basin knelt terra-cotta figures of Mary and Joseph, imitating a manger. The child would then be plucked from the basin and given nursing and care. Though the hospital closed in 1875, over its hundreds of years in operation it helped care for tens of thousands of abandoned children.

There are 46 states in the United States which have laws in place to discourage baby abandonment.  I am proud to say that California is one of them.  For a desperate mother who is unwilling or unable to keep her baby there is a law in place which enables her to take her baby to a public or private hospital, or a designated fire station and surrender it without fear of prosecution for 72 hours after birth. The confidentiality of the mother is not compromised.

The baby is given medical treatment and placed in foster care or a pre adoptive placement.  A parent has up to 14 days to reclaim the baby.  If you would like more information about The Safely Surrendered Baby Law (SSB) you can read about it here.  www.babysafe.ca.gov

God has poured out His love into our hearts.  We have only to share it.  The system isn't perfect.  There are even times when it is fatally flawed but, with the help and advocacy of those who love children, we will find a way for every child to be safe, secure, and loved.  People have been pouring out their unconditional love for centuries!  

This is a serious subject and this blog is supposed to be light and fun, so without further adieu and on that note, what say we talk about making those bars a little wider so I can stuff one of my bratty teenagers in there once in a while.  I pinky swear I'll come back and get em.

13 January 2010

Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Friend

The cockapoo on the left, that's me.The little black and tan one. Some people refer to my coloring as a party mix, hee, hee. I used to be an only child puppy.

I da man. I don't need no stinkin' friends. I like being an only child puppy.

Then this little lady came along. Is that my bone you're chewing sista? No matter. I don't know what it is about you; the soulful eyes, the stubby little tail that wags whenever I come into the room. Or maybe it's just your naturally curly hair? You are so stinking sweet and since you came along a huge burden has been taken off me. I used to be the one my family solely relied upon. I had to do all the work around here, protecting everyone, entertaining them endlessly with my cockapoo antics. And whenever they went away I had to pine alone. Because that's what we cockapoo's do when we are left to our own devices. My mom frequently uses this blog to chronicle my life story. Just check this out and you'll see what real angst is!

But, I regress. My wee Bailey; I just love ya. You're my bestest, best, friend. You have changed my life. I used to be all macho. A big macho fool really. I got banned from doggy beach for not being able to get along with others. (I hated the dog pack mentality there anyway.) My preferred pack consisted of me, my mommy & papa, their kids, a big Golden Retriever whom I reigned dominance over anyway, and an orange, 6 toed, no tail, cat. I was the leader of the pack. That's an overwhelming responsibility for an 8 lb puppy. You have no idea what kind of pressure I was under just to make it all work on a day to day basis. Really people, it's a burden getting all these people and animals to succumb to my will. Exhausting! It's like being a Nelson Mendela or a Ghandi. You could perhaps compare my puppy greatness and machismo to say, Apple's Steve Job's. Did I just put Mendela, Ghandi and Steve Job's in the same sentence? I believe it's important to have a high opinion of oneself in order to reign supreme and be as successful as I am at wrapping everyone around my little paw.

But these days I can relax. I just snuggle in with my BFF and let the cares of the word run their course. We are never apart now, we do everything together. Things like this, click here to see what we do on our day off. Dirty Dogs-A Girls Best Friend. I find that life is serene when you have that special someone you share the responsibilities of life with. That little port-like nook in the storm of life, that you can spoon with. She just makes life a better, easier place for me now. And remember the cardinal rule, "You can never have too much cockapoo love" xoxoxo.


Kieran St Patrick

11 January 2010


For years, whenever I walk by a shop that has a white sofa in it, I stop, and am slowly but surely drawn in. My breath catches in my throat as I saddle up to the piece of furniture which is my dream. I run my hands over the back and top of the overstuffed pillows.  I sit down and slowly, sink into the downy softness.  I dare to dream how this pristine, white, overstuffed, sofa would look in my little cottage.  And in my dreams, the way I imagine it, it would be incredible! I sit back, get comfy, close my eyes and ...  There would be family photos framed all around on the walls and side tables. Beautiful children smiling down from them, holding memories of laughter and silliness and adventures together.  A soft breeze would blow the white linen curtains back from the windows into the room where I would be sitting with my best friend. The smell of gentle salt air would be permeating the room. There would be iced tea in tall, clear, glasses garnished with lemon wedges and a sprig of mint on the rim.  Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat would be singing in their harmonious voices about love; and sunshine would be pouring in through the windows where we'd be sitting on my soft, downy, clean, white sofa. I'd be thinking, lucky, lucky, me!

Do you hear me,
I'm talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I'm trying
Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
They don't know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I'll wait for you I promise you, I will
I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Lucky we're in love every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday
And so I'm sailing through the sea
To an island where we'll meet
You'll hear the music fill the air
I'll put a flower in your hair
Though the breezes through trees
Move so pretty you're all I see
As the world keeps spinning round
You hold me right here right now
I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
I'm lucky we're in love every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday
Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooooh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Lucky, lucky, lucky...


My eyes dart open.  I look around and remember with a wince of embarrassment that I am in reality, sitting in a Pottery Barn or a Restoration Hardware store. I realize with a jolt that hits me like a lightening bolt. I wake up to the reality of what is, not the reality of - reality.  Which is that, I will never, ever, ever, never,  have this.


I have This!
Love you more than all the little and big boys, dogs, and dirty, sandy, feet that lie upon my sofa.  Am I lucky or what!


07 January 2010


This could be my lucky day.  I just love suckers.  Especially those little blue ones.  Come on kid, throw a dog a bone sucker.

Fine.  I have an enduring personality.   I'm willing to wait here patiently until you're ready to give it up.  Or share it.  No matter to me, I'm a massive yet docile dog.  But don't say I didn't warn you.

Whaa?  Wait, don't turn around.  Don't go.  Don't get that sucker out of my sight.  I'm patient, but not that patient!  Look at me.  Look at me!

Aahhhhhh!  That's, well thats just, Yummy!  Lean on in a little closer kid.  I can just lick your face off if you want.  I know.  You're welcome.  It's just the kind of dog I am.

Umm, yeah, that's close but not exactly what I was looking for.  Yeah, I don't think so.  That looks like a very tiny bit of graham cracker.  Do you not see me?  I'm a big girl.  I'm a dog that weighs 135 lb. for the love of mercy.  How do you expect me to keep up this gorgeous physique eating a measly helping of squishy graham cracker?  It's not funny any more .  I'm not kidding kid.  Give it up.  Give it up now kid.  I can still see that yummy blue sucker in your hand.  You've got it all soft and drooly now; just the way I like 'em.

Mom.  Momma.  Mommy!  Hep me, hep me now!  That beast dog is trying to eat my sweet treat.
She's in my space.  My own personal, high chair, only child,        S P A C E !

 Uh, no I'm not.  I'm just lying here devoted, alert, guarding your SUCKER.  I'm not even looking your way kid.  They'll never believe a word you say.  Besides, you can't even talk yet.  However, your face speaks a thousand words, so just calm down.  If we stay calm everyone can be a winner here.

Alright kid, if you're gonna be a tattle tale I can wait.  I'm a Bull Mastiff.  I'm extremely patient, calm and tolerant of children.  Even when they are sporting a yummy blue sucker.  Sucker.

06 January 2010

Can We Keep Her?

Our neighborhood is very eclectic.  Every house is different, unique, and represents the individual style of the owner.  The folks who own this beautiful home, which overlooks the Pacific, have a view down the coast all the way to La Jolla. Recently they remodeled.  They started tearing out landscape, putting in new windows, and resurfacing walls and exteriors. This copper sculpture graces the front yard.  The booby woman (as my son likes to call her) has always been a source of wonderment and a topic of no little discussion every time we walk by.  Who is the artist?  Is it a woman or a man?  Where does she come from? Is there some deep meaning behind the fact that she has great big holes in her boobies breasts?  How old is she?  I'm garnering she's pretty young by the looks of her overt perkiness. What does she stand for?  Is there some deep meaning behind the fact that she has great big holes in her booby's breasts?  How about the little matter of that horse on her head.  Also, the horse is not in proportion to the woman.  Not complaining, just a note of interest.

Recent conversation between my teenaged son and I.

D:  "Mom, I went down to that house where the booby statue is today, and I asked the construction guys what they were gonna do with her."

Me: "Whaaaaat!"  "Which guys?"  "You said booby statue!"

D: "Yeah mom, and I asked them if the owners were gonna keep her because I had this great idea."

Me:  "OMG, son!" "You didn't."  "Tell me you didn't."  "Pleeeeeeeze."

D:  "What?"
 "Anyways mom, so the guy says they're taking her down but he'll ask the owner what they're gonna do with her and if they don't want her I can come back and get her tomorrow."

Me:  Mute.

D:  "Mom?"  "Mom!"  "So listen mom, how cool is this?"  "If they say yes, and I get to keep her, I'm gonna bring her home and we can put her beside our Jacuzzi and hook her up to the hose so water squirts out of her boobs right into the spa."

Me:  Mute... 

Remember when you asked your mom if you could keep her and it meant, a puppy?

Love you more than all the great ideas my kids have.