Friday, December 10, 2010

"The Holiday Season"

Well, we've had Thanksgiving

and now we're speeding toward Christmas so it is officially "The Holiday Season."

I'm starting a campaign to differentiate between "The Holiday Season" and Christmas. You see, at some point a religious holiday (Christmas) became a secular holiday. People call this secular holiday "Christmas" but I really wish they wouldn't. I'm lobbying to call it "The Holiday Season" and leave it at that.

"The Holiday Season" is about obligation. Participants are obliged to feel festive when they, in actuality, are stressed. They must decorate their house when it is just too cold to be standing on a ladder, clipping lights to the eaves. "The Holiday Season" celebrants must buy many, many presents to give to each other. They must bake, even if they are not people who like to bake. Or are good at baking. During "The Holiday Season", they must send out festive holiday cards to family, friends, and acquaintances. All of this could really be summed up as follows: "The Holiday Season" is about doing our bit for the economy. Toy stores, supermarkets, and the post office benefit greatly during "The Holiday Season."

And I am not begrudging the retailers this surge in profits! I like "The Holiday Season"! I bake treats and wrap gifts and trim a tree and send cards

and join in all the jolly holiday fun going on around me. I like it!

But I wish we wouldn't call it Christmas. I wish we could reserve "Christmas" for that one day in the year, arbitrarily assigned to December 25, when Christians remember the advent of the Christ child: He who came into the world to seek and to save the lost.

Yes, I am (mostly) enjoying "The Holiday Season". But my heart is longing for Christmas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Activities, Part 2

I can hear the rain dripping outside my window and it finally feels like fall might have arrived. I'm already envisioning myself in tights and boots and a sweater--fall fashion at its most cliched and best! I don't mind being a cliche as long as I'm a comfy cliche.

A couple of weeks ago, the Fabros Family made the trek out from Culver City to the rustic environs of the IE. Jon and I met them at Chipotle for a quick lunch and then we caravaned up to Riley's in Oak Glen for pumpkin and apple picking. That was a perfect fall day; so much so that the West Side Fabroses were too cold! I'd suggested dressing in layers but Robin didn't take me very seriously. So they all ended up wearing Jon's and my clothes: Edwin in Jon's jacket, Robin in Jon's snow jacket, Ali in Emma's jacket, Emma in my jacket. Good thing Jon always has spare jackets in his trunk! Even then, I thought Emma was going to turn into an ice princess from the "cold". It wasn't that cold but you know how it is with these effete L.A types.

We picked the perfect pumpkins and then hiked up and into the orchard to gather apples. Apple-picking devices were forbidden but we found an apple-picking pole and, well, it just would've seemed silly to leave it lying there and just jump up and down under the trees to try to grab an apple. I mean, really, we're all well under 6' tall and this was pretty late in the season; we didn't have a chance of getting any apples without using the apple-picker.

Before we left Riley's, we bought some apple desserts and then headed down the hill to our house for dinner and, oddly enough, Rock Band! Emma wanted to play and it was a fun way to end a fall day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Activities, Part 1

Every single September, we go to the fair. Why? We just do. Ann likes to say it's part of my birthday extravaganza but it's really not. My birthday and the fair both come around in September and that's that. Sure, Mom and Dad spring for admission and food and anything else for their darling daughters and the families of said darling daughters but that's not 'cause it's my birthday. Besides, technically? Mom and Dad spend more on Ann at the fair because, in addition to a husband (I have one of those), she brings two kids (I don't have any of those). Zac's still a baby so he's not yet in full fair mode but Luke is a "big kid" and we all adore Luke so he pretty much gets whatever he wants. Within reason. Kind of.

Next up? The pumpkin patch and apple orchard expedition.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Styling Fall

I looooooove fall! I just wish we actually had fall in Southern California. Because, let's face it, we really don't. The weather goes from freakishly hot to downright cold and rainy overnight. And then back again. And then forth again. And again and again and again until I wake up one morning and realize that it is plain and simply winter and I wonder where fall went. I usually have this epiphany in, oh, say, February.

But I love the idea of fall. Bright, crisp days. Sweaters, tights, and boots, but no need for a heavy coat. Orange, brown, camel, and denim. All those beautiful grays. Fall, in theory, seems perfect! So much richer than the pastels of spring. Not that I wear pastels. Have you seen my coloring?

I'm always lobbying to move to somewhere that has a beautiful fall but then my husband points out that the price you pay for a beautiful fall is a serious winter and that would probably kill us, as we are tried-and-true Southern California wimps.

Ah, well, a girl can dream.

I wear nice, heeled sandals to school when it's hot. You can tell that the weather is shifting if I've moved to anything with a closed toe. Besides a ballet flat, that is. I love ballet flats and wear them year-round. This page with these totally awesome Frye almond-toe t-straps was part of Dare 169 at Effer Dares. Shoes were my back-to-school indulgence this year. And this was also the year that I discovered Frye and now I'm a bit obsessed.

I also had an outfit featured in Academichic's Interview Symposium. Scroll down; I'm Submission Four. This is very much a classic fall work look for me, especially if I'll be in an IEP meeting, attending a conference, or sitting on an interview panel.

So, what's everyone else wearing this fall?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Missing Summer

Summer rocked but, then again, it almost always does. That's just how summer is. When you work on an academic calendar, you never outgrow the feeling of euphoria that is the very essence of summer. There's just so much time! Time to be lazy. Time to be busy. Time to have fun. Time to do house/yard work (yech). Time to visit family. Time to stay home. Yes, yes, this is all starting to sound like a poor imitation of Ecclesiastes.

One of the best things about summer is that there's more time for the random. During the school year, my days are pretty straightforward:

M-F: Get up (earrrrrrrly). Make breakfasts. Iron clothes. Get ready. Go to work. Work. Come home. Make dinner. Collapse in exhaustion on couch and watch mindless tv. Repeat.
Sa: Housework. Laundry. Try to squeeze in something fun.
Su: Church. Football. Get ready for Monday.

But during the summer, there's a lot of random going on. Double feature at the matinee price? Sure! Roach coach tour through L.A. midweek? Uh-huh! Spend the entire day reading a book? Why not! Open the front door to see my dog's doppelganger on the porch? Ok, weird. And random. But true.

Kind of makes me wonder how often the chocolate-lab-across-the-street breaks free and comes over to hang out on our porch during the school year!

I really love the random.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chirp, chirp, chirp

Wow, there's really nothing happening around here, is there. The entire month of September came and went and, well, nothing here to show for it.

I have got to get a life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wait, haven't I been here before?

If you had told me, twenty-one years ago, that I would find myself on a road trip from Boston to Montreal and back again in a big white van with my primary Sunday School teacher, my children's choir director, my high school PE coach, and my oldest friend (second grade to present), as well as my husband, said-friend's husband, and said-friend's husband's in-laws, I would've told you that you were a crazy person.

And I would've been wrong. Because I was the crazy person and that is precisely how I spent my summer vacation: on a road trip from Boston to Montreal in a big white van with my primary Sunday School teacher, my ... well, you read it above.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Roach Coach Tour

Summer highlight: Sister Days! No boys allowed, just me and my sister.

This summer's big event? A tour of some of the gourmet roach coaches (aka lunch trucks) in the greater LA area.

Don Chow's: Mexican-Chinese fusion. Um, oh, yeah! This stuff was wicked good.

Coolhaus: Outrageous ice cream sandwiches. Mascarpone cheese and fig ice cream? Uh-huh! Salted caramel ice cream between snickerdoodles? Soooo good! Ice cream sandwich heaven.

South Philly Experience: Shared a cheesesteak. Pat's and Geno's have nothing to worry about but the guys in the truck were very sweet. And they had Tastycakes!

We finished up the day shopping at the Santa Monica Promenade and eating Yummy Cupcakes. Yummy Cupcakes makes the best cupcakes in the world. That's right, Sprinkles, you heard me.

I so love doing crazy things with my sis'!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer: The Half-Way Point

Mid-July is the half-way point of my summer. School gets out in early-June and starts up again in late-August so mid-July is right in the middle of summer. This is the point at which I have to fight my natural inclination to get depressed because summer is "almost over." Yes, I know it's not really almost over. I still have days and weeks of summer left to enjoy. I still have one big vacation to take. I still have ice cream to eat and books to read and home projects to complete.

But summer is offically waning. Good thing we're making it fun!

I know nothing about baseball. I take that back; I know that you have to hit a ball with a bat and run from base to base while players from the other team try to tag you with the ball to get you out. I don't go to baseball games for the love of the game. I go for the food, the camaraderie, and the cheesy mascots. This time, we took Jen and Dean with us. Dean actually played baseball so he takes it way more seriously than I do.

I loooooove county fairs! We go to the LA County Fair in September, right around my birthday. But lately Jon and I have been going to the San Diego County Fair at the start of summer. It's right by the beach, which is so cool. The only thing that would make it cooler is if they opened a train depot at the fairgrounds. Any excuse to take a train is a good excuse. We got in free this year, thanks to Kim and Danny. They gave us free tickets from Danny's mom and we met them and the kids for a day at the fair. I got to ride the kiddie rides with Caroline (Kim's not a big fan of carnival rides) and Jon got to ride the normal rides with Danny and the boys and then we all saw Switchfoot (a pretty awesome "free" concert). Plus, we all got to eat fair food. Ahhhh, fair food!

San Francisco! I haven't been in years and Jon's never been so this was an especially fun trip. We just spent a few days in the city and our stay at Le Meridien was a graduation from gift from Michael and Becca. Who knew that agreeing to become godparents for an adorable little boy would also net us free hotel stays? Loved San Francisco. While the east coast was sweltering in 100 degree heat, we were buying sweaters and tying on scarves. We ate sourdough at Boudin (and the best stew I've had in my life) and ice cream sundaes at Ghirardelli. We rode every form of public transportation we could find: BART, MUNI, bus, streetcar, cable car. We walked up hills and down the crookedest street in the country. We explored the CA Academy of Science and stepped out on the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an excellent trip and I'm ready to go back, right now!

Apparently my longing to return to San Francisco communicated itself to Blogger, which decided to publish my San Francisco page twice. I don't know why and multiple attempts to remove the second page have failed so I'm leavin' it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Graduate 6-13-10

Three years to get the degree. And don't be thinking that he was slow, that a master's should only take two years. That is the case for some master's degrees but not this one. In order to even start a master's in speech-language pathology, you have to have one of two things: 1) a B.A. or B.S. in communication disorders--this is the way I did it, praise God--or 2) a B.A. or B.S. in anything else PLUS one full year of most of the undergraduate comm dis classes, which is called the transitional year.

And Jon, who doesn't really do anything the easy way, added all sorts of fun stuff to the prereqs for the master's program. Like his fifth year, because he was a teacher for ten years. Two credentials: 1) single-subject Social Science and 2) multiple-subject. He passed the CSET for the multiple-subject credential and I think he deserves an award for that. It was a killer. CBEST? Please. LSAT? NBD. CSET? Arrrrrgh! But he passed it first try. I would've died. Then his CAD certificate because he didn't want to set foot in a school as an employee ever again. Then the LSAT. What, you thought I was just referencing that for the fun of it? Nope, he took it, rocked it, and got into two law schools. Which was great, until he decided he didn't really want to be a lawyer. And I am sooooo praising God for that because, let's face it, this is not a good economy for lawyers.

So, with all of that out of the way, he gave speech-language pathology a try (as a Teacher On Assignment-Language Intervention) and decided that this was something he could get into.

Now, three years later, here he is. Graduating with a 4.0 GPA. He's got a very sweet contract with Riverside USD. Yep, that's right, he'll be back in the schools as a full-time SLP! Lucky RUSD; he's worked with me in Banning for the past two years and I am really going to miss him. But Banning just couldn't match RUSD's offer. Sigh.

I took a million photos that weekend and the quality of this shot isn't the best but I love it so much. It was taken at baccalaureate and I Photoshopped the heck out of it and even then the developer showed it to me and said, "This is how it came out; I'm sorry." (No, no, photo developer guy, I spent a lot of time to get it to look like that!) There's just something about this photo that shows the peace and anticipation that I felt from Jon all weekend long.

Jonathan D. Pilgrim, M.S., CFY/RPE-SLP.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Not-A-Mother Day

Hmmm. I posted on the first day of May and now I am posting on the last day of May. Not-so-good. I need to do better.

There was a lot going on in May! Jon started interviewing and receiving job offers. We went to the March Air Show party at Scott and Leslie's. The washing maching broke. Boy, did it break! You should've seen the shards of metal and the giant circle-shaped hole that just, well, blew out! Now I have a new washing machine (and dryer, because Jon likes to have a matched set). We went to the LLU Spring Banquet and got an award for, wait for it, "cutest couple." We're definitely cute but "cutest couple" seems more like a high school award than a graduate school award. We made soup. This may not seem like a big deal but we're not a cooking couple and the soup turned out great so it was notable. I took the train and subway to visit Robin Ann in Culver City (I am a huge fan of the train and subway). I helped Ann make flowers for a wedding (they were amazing).

But, for me, surviving another Mother's Day was a big part of May. When you're not a mom and you want to be a mom, Mother's Day can be difficult. So Jon and I have a deal. We honor our mothers on the day before Mother's Day. And then on Mother's Day, itself, we run away. We don't go to church (arrrgh, the passing out of the carnations for all the moms in the congregation!) and we try to do something outdoorsy. If we meet any moms and kids on a hiking trail, well, they're usually sweaty and grumpy so it's not so bad for me.

This year I finally got Jon to go to the Santa Rosa Plateau with me. He'd been resisting and I have no idea why. It's beautiful: vernal pools, adobe ruins, wildflowers, tons and tons of trails, etc. You would think he'd be all over that and, after we got there, he was. So we had a beautiful day hiking around and looking at flowers and caterpillars and the views.

It turned out to be a really great not-a-mother day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

Ok, it's not a hobby that gets a lot of respect. And spouses seem to think it takes up too much room. And time. And, really, the only person who looks at the final product much is, well, the scrapbooker herself. But I love it.

And I've never been too worried about being cool.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CSHA 2010

Last weekend I was in Monterey, California, which is probably one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Today I'm typing at my desk in So Cal, having just finished weeding the backyard. I wish I were back in Monterey.

We went up for CSHA, which we usually don't do when it's in No Cal because it is expensive! We drove instead of flying which kept the cost down somewhat, but still. CSHA is the state convention for speech-language pathologists and it's where SLPs get most of the CEUs needed to renew the state license, national certification, and teaching credential. Basically, SLPs have to maintain a lot of paperwork in order to practice.

Anyway, Jon's graduating this year so we decided to go so he could check out the job fair and make some contacts. I went because I can always use the CEUs and, hey, any excuse to go to Monterey is a good excuse.

The weather was gorgeous! Two days later it would be freezing cold and pouring rain but while we were there it was beautiful. We did two full days of sessions and overall they were pretty good. I actually attended one excellent session! Like any other conference, the sessions typically range from poor to good with lots of fair. This year I attended one excellent, one good, one fair, and one poor. Honestly, that's not bad.

We managed to squeeze in some fun, too. On the way up to Monterey, we stopped in Cambria to revisit Moonstone Beach. Jon proposed to me on that beach, so I have a soft-spot for it. A few miles up the coast, we checked out Elephant Seal Beach. You think you've found the beach and you go, "Awww, look at those three seals; they're so cute." And then you look to the south and, well, it's all elephant seals as far as the eye can see. They're squished together and lying on top of each other and it's a little crazy.

After the sessions on Friday, Jon took me for a romantic dinner at Cibo. We chose their prix fixe menu and it was delicious! Then we saw "The Joneses," which we both really enjoyed. On Saturday we had another full day of sessions and then we drove to Pacific Grove to take the 17-Mile Drive. We've driven it before but it really is worth the money. That is some unbelievable coastline, including the Lone Cypress and the Ghost Tree. Part of the coast was temporarily blocked off because it was seal calving season. Fine with me, new mothers deserve their privacy!

On Sunday, we got up and packed, did a little shopping, and then drove home. I've got to admit, everytime we're up there I find myself checking out job opportunities and home prices and wishing we could stay forever....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Family-Wide Fire Alarm Day

They call it "Easter" but for us it was "Family-Wide Fire Alarm Day." Let me just say that finding yourself in the middle of "Family-Wide Fire Alarm Day" when you were expecting "Easter" is kind of disconcerting.

It went something like this.

Jon decided that we should host his mom for Easter lunch, which was great because I love his mom, but he decided kind of late. No big deal. After much discussion, we ended up deciding to go with a roast, oven potatoes, and various sides. Ok, I can do this. I wanted to go for easy, so I bought a Costco tri-tip roast (it comes in a bag, it's pre-seasoned, it is so easy) from my sister. She has a Costco membership and I don't and she always stocks important food items like Costco tri-tip roasts. Cool, we were good to go.

Except that we were going to church on Easter (not just because it was Easter, we're church-going folks) and I couldn't figure out when to cook the thing. I didn't want to throw it in the slow-cooker and I hadn't planned to throw it in the slow-cooker so it became a time crunch issue because we would be going to my parents for Easter dinner. Best idea seemed to be to cook the thing before church and then throw it in the slow-cooker just to keep it warm while we were in church.

Which seemed like a genius idea until, at 8AM on Easter morning, the fire alarm was screaming its head off at my house. Not just any fire alarm, the one that's at the tippy-top of my cathedral ceiling. And Jon was in the shower. Arrrgh! Opened all the doors and windows. Jon got out of the shower, threw on some clothes, and went up the ladder to quiet the alarm. Yeah, I bet the neighbors weren't expecting that on Easter, make that Family-Wide Fire Alarm Day. Bet they weren't expecting it to go off a second time either. Into the slow-cooker went the roast and I did my best to convince myself that Easter was not the best day to develop a serious swearing habit.

Off to church. Lunch with Mom Pilgrim. Off to my parents' house. Where my mom was cooking, wait for it, a Costco tri-tip roast! With oven potatoes! Huh? Seriously? We all thought that was weird enough until, yes, the fire alarm went off at my parents' house. Multiple times. Jon was upstairs entertaining Luke who was complaining that the sound hurt his ears (well, yeah) but finally we had to bring him downstairs because he was the only one who could quiet the alarm. And keep it quiet.

Maybe it wasn't Easter or Family-Wide Fire Alarm Day. Maybe it was "Groundhog Day." At least the Easter egg hunt went as planned.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Sometimes just being really happily married is enough for any given day.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Me: Ok, girls, pretzels or goldfish?

[Pretzels or goldfish is the good-job-in-speech-therapy snack since the governor took candy out of the schools.]

C & L: Pretzels.

Me: Here you go; have a great day!

L: You, too.

C: Hey, you gave me five.

[Four pretzels or goldfish is the allotment of good-job-in-speech-therapy snacks.]

Me: Oh, ok. Here, L, have another pretzel; now you both have five.

C: April Fool's!

Me: Huh?

[Yes, not always quick on the up-take; that would be me.]

C: You only gave me four!

Me: Ok, here's another one for you, C, now you both really have five. And, you know what? That was pretty funny!

That was the only April Fool's Day prank pulled on me this April 1st. And I really did think it was pretty clever.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dysphagia 1 feeding

Well, not really, but a dysphagia 1 diet consists of pureed foods and that's exactly what early baby foods are: puree.

So, after he took the Praxis, Jon came back for some hang time with the nephews. I got to take Luke for the non-existent whoopie pies and he got to feed Zac.

The last time Jon fed a baby, he was in the NICU at St. Bernardine's, feeding preemies from a bottle. This is not as easy as it sounds. You would think, "Hey, feeding a baby; no big deal. And, hey, feeding a really small baby; even less of a big deal. Because the baby is, you know, smaller. And probably less feisty." But no.

Bottle feeding a preemie involves teaching the baby how to swallow. Early preemies are born before the swallow reflex has developed, which is why they are tube-fed until they are old enough to learn to swallow. Plus, preemies are already medically-fragile and have compromised respiratory systems. One of the easiest ways to really mess with a respiratory system is to allow someone with any kind of swallowing disorder (including not yet knowing how to swallow) to eat. If you don't swallow correctly (and this involves timing and laryngeal elevation and coordination with the respiratory system and the ability to cough to clear if all else fails), then you can aspirate and end up with food in the lungs. Let me assure you, this is not good.

Preemies who don't know how to swallow have to be taught. You have to stroke the palate to get the tongue moving. You have to stroke the cheek to encourage them to root. You have to position them correctly (generally, in front of you, head in your hand, body on your forearm, at a steep upward angle). You have to check the monitors to make sure the O2 sats don't fall to low. Preemies will often find feeding so new and challenging that they, well, for lack of a better term, forget to breathe!

After you feed them, you must burp them. They must burp! Upright! This is crucial because, again, they don't really know how to swallow and if they burp in a supine position, they are likely to aspirate. After all that, you'll probably have to change their diaper. Jon changed his first diapers in the NICU (talk about a pressure situation but the nurses and his supervisor all found it very amusing).

Feeding preemies is definitely not for the faint of heart. But feeding Zac? Piece of cake. The kid loves to eat. And he knows how to swallow. The worst thing that can happen with this little guy is that he will start to get fussy if the spoon arrives at his lips too slowly. He should be working his way up to a dysphagia 2 diet (minced) before we know it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

No whoopie pies?!?

Ann and the nephews came up on Saturday while Jon and Kurt were both taking tests (Jon--Praxis, Kurt--single subject tests for math and physics). One of Luke's favorite treats is only twenty minutes away at West Coast Whoopies! Seriously, the kid talks about the whoopie pies and knows his favorite is mint and he's probably only had them about three times in his life. Well, he's four and he's been on solid foods for only three-quarters of his life so maybe that's not unreasonable.

Anyway, I decided to take him to West Coast Whoopies all by himself. That's right, just me and the four-year-old. He's toilet-trained now, so I figure what's the worst that can happen?

I must have had some sort of premonition, though, because I didn't tell him we were going to West Coast Whoopies. I just told him we were going to go get a treat. We got in the car (Luke looked at the booster seat and said, "Hey, we have one just like that;" ummmm, yeah--that one is yours Luke-o) and headed down the freeway to WCW! We talked the whole way. Luke is a talker. He's got opinions on everything. For example, he prefers Kutless to Chris Tomlin. My kind of kid.

We got off the freeway and pulled into the parking lot of WCW and I just about had a heart attack! It was closed! Permanently closed! The storefront was empty and it was just ... gone. No more whoopie pies. I hate this stupid economy.

See? Lucky I hadn't told the child we were getting whoopie pies. It would have been a huge let-down. As it was, he's four. He was busy talking and listening to Kutless and looking at the liner notes from the rejected Chris Tomlin cd. So I was able to quickly pull out of the WCW parking lot and take us straight to Frugo's for frozen yoghurt. He was a happy camper (and put together a totally disgusting concoction of chocolate and vanilla yoghurt with gummy worms, white chocolate chips, Captain Crunch, and Fruity Pebbles) and I quite like Frugo's, too.

But no more whoopie pies?!? What is wrong with this country?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jury duty

I didn't get picked for the jury. Is it weird that I kinda felt bummed? It was like a flashback to all those softball and kickball games when I was the last to be picked. And, even as I was picked, you could tell the team captain was wishing it was like jury selection and he could tell me the team was full and I was excused for another year.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's ok to cry

It's ok to cry, buddy.

I know this has been a traumatic week for you. On Monday, you said good-bye to your teacher and your friends and your RSP teacher and me. You said good-bye to your school. Then you moved with your mom to a new house in a new city. We had talked about the move and you were excited. And then, yesterday, I got the notification that you were back, three days later, and now you were living with your dad.

I don't know what happened, K. I don't know what changed. All I know is that I found you, sobbing your heart out all by yourself outside the cafeteria. You're a tough guy and you can be a bit of a challenge but today you were just broken. Just really, really sad. You were back at your old school but now you had a new teacher and different classmates and everything was all wrong.

I'm glad I was the one who found you. I'm glad I could hug you while you cried into my shirt. I'm glad you let me hold your hand and walk you up to the office so I could find out who your new teacher was. I'm glad you let me walk you to your new room and then talk you inside. I'm glad you were brave enough to sit back down and just cry quietly.

You're gonna make new friends in your new room, K. And you'll find your old friends waiting for you on the playground. I think it's all gonna be ok.

But for today, on such a scary, confusing day, it's ok to cry. Truth be told, I wanted to cry, too.

First Look

I found this truly old photo the other day and had to laugh because it brought back so many memories! Not necessarily of falling in love with Jon, although I have lots of other photos that bring back that, mmmmm, yummy time. Nope, this photo makes me remember the way he looked when we first met!

This was back in the early 90's. Yes, we are that old. He was sporting jeans rolled and tapered at the ankle, surf-brand tees and sweatshirts, graphic-print sweaters, and ... an earring! The earring didn't last long but I still can't believe I fell in love with a guy with an earring! Ah, yes, the fashion joys of the 90's. Not that I'm one to judge. I was rolling and tapering my jeans, too, wearing truly enormous, oversized sweatshirts, and had my hair pulled back in the ubiquitous scrunchy.

Back to the photo. It was taken while he was on a college floor retreat in Joshua Tree. He's holding a purple ski jacket; we still joke about that. I don't think he'd be caught dead in anything purple today. And he's wearing a bandana! We've been together for 18 years and I have never seen the guy in a bandana.

Today his ski jacket is army green and he's more likely to pull on a cashmere sweater than a sweatshirt. And that old earring is rolling around in my jewelry box. Can't say I was sorry to see it go.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Consonant blends

I was picking up one of my kindergarten groups on Tuesday, when the following conversation took place between H and me.

Me: Hi, H, ready for speech?

H: Yeah. Mrs. Pilgrim, you got sex?

Me: What?!?

H: You got sex?

Ok, I admit it. I had absolutely no idea what she was trying to say but I knew it wasn't "sex." So much for a master's degree in speech-language pathology.

Me: Um, no (thinking that was the safest response).

H: Well, you got lunch?

Ahhhhhhhhh, the light finally dawns.

Me: Yes, H, I had lunch. And I have snacks. After speech we'll have a snack, ok?

Consonant blends are a big deal. And, for that matter, so are short vowels. H and I will be working on that in the upcoming months. Could be worse, however. I have no idea why, but "f" is a very common substitution for the "tr" blend. And there are a lot of little boys out there who like to use the word "truck." And the parents of these little boys are usually asking me to fix that word before I fix anything else. Yep, consonant blends are a very big deal.
Here's Jon, administering the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation with Luke as his practice client and establishing that, lucky for his parents, Luke wasn't producing the f/tr substitution.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


On the next-to-the-last-day of February, I figured it was time to document our Valentine's Day.

Yup. We got each other the exact same movie. But I returned the one he gave me because we had agreed that he was only to give me chocolate, so the movie he gave me was the one that had to go.

We might know each other just a little too well.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Las Vegas!

My husband is finally done with comps, which is a good thing because I was pretty sure that his comps were going to be the death of one or both of us. Well, he's sort of done. He's contesting his grade on one of his comps and I couldn't be any more supportive of this. Heck, if he wanted to take it all the way to the dean I'd support him. I read the comp question and I read his response. It's a perfect response. Well-written, well-reasoned, and well-supported. It should've been a high pass. And, yeah, I'm qualified to judge. I went through the same program, I work in the field, and I've actually had situations very similar to that in the question. He's got a meeting with the profs who graded the comp and the comps coordinator. I'll be interested to hear the outcome of that meeting. The guy does very well in an oral argument. Almost as well as he does in a written argument.

Anyway, comps are behind him (us).

We were heading out to dinner to celebrate the end of comps and were trying to decide where to go, when Jon said, "We should just go to Vegas."

And I said, "Works for me."

And he said, "Seriously?"

And I said, "Yep."

So we went to Vegas.

First we had to go back home, make reservations, and pack. We got a great rate at the Hard Rock Hotel. After we got the room, we threw some stuff in a suitcase and jumped in the car. Jon got us to Vegas just before midnight.

Our room was, well, thumping. I mean literally pulsating with the music from the club. So we asked the front desk to switch us and they very kindly did. The next room was nice and quiet and had a great view of the pool and the Strip. We took a moment to take in the amenities, noting in passing that, in Vegas, the mini bar comes with water, mixed nuts, condoms, and a vibrator. Oh, and room service includes lingerie items.

The next day, we headed out to the Strip to find something fun. We saw Bodies: The Exhibition at the Luxor and it was very cool. Mildly nauseating but very, very cool. Jon, having just had comps, wandered around the bodies and named all sorts of different nerves and muscles and regions for me. Much better than having one of those audio tours.

After thoroughly examining Bodies, we looked around for the next fun thing to do. We decided to get tickets for Criss Angel with Cirque du Soleil's Believe show. I've always wanted to see a Cirque show and Jon is interested in magic. He's got a nice, big grad school bill that we'll have to pay off, so we went for the cheapest seats possible. Totally good decision, because, once seated in the second row from the top and off to the side, we got upgraded to sixth row, center stage! Ummmm, ok! The show was good but greatly enhanced by the fact that the seats were awesome!

When the show was over, we went back to the hotel for a late dinner. The next morning, we got up and headed home right away (so as to avoid the infamous "Leaving Las Vegas on Sunday" traffic).

It was a perfect little getaway and a great way to celebrate the end of comps. Love that we have the freedom to just run away to Vegas on a whim!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It's cold in my house! Granted, not that cold. I live in So Cal, not Minnesota. But it's still cold and Jon and I don't believe in cranking the heater.

Work is a different story. Today the heater and the air conditioner (AC--in January?!?) alternated throughout the day. On with the jacket, off with the jacket. And this in a bad economy. My district is going to end up pink-slipping employees because of the stupid thermostat situation in my room. Mind you, they don't trust me with the thermostat. Nope, it's under lock and key.

All of which to say that it is cold in my house. Last week, it actually snowed! It didn't stick but I woke up to snow. Two of the neighboring districts cancelled school (woohoo--oh, wait; my district didn't cancel school) and on Sunday, on the way home from church, Jon and I took the scenic route and watched all the families building snowmen, throwing snowballs, and sledding. I can't believe the snow lasted that long!

It's supposed to rain again this week. When it wasn't snowing last week, it was raining. I so very much prefer the snow. After all, if it has to be cold in my house, at least the view through my windows could be pretty....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Girls and boys

I read a lot of blogs on various topics but Christopher's blog, The Warrior Poets, is my favorite. It's just really good writing.

Today, his post was called "The Break-Up." Great post. Almost perfect. It should probably be required reading for any pre-teen/teen girl who is contemplating her first date. Because the first date could lead to the first relationship which could lead to the first love which could lead to the first break-up which could lead to the first moment in life when you wish you could take back everything you said.

Here's the one thing I would change from "The Break-Up": Christopher says it's ok to show hurt and even cry when you're being dumped. I say, if it's at all possible, swallow your tears, put on a smile, and just let it go.

Because here's what I've found. If it wasn't meant to be, all the tears in the world won't mend it. If it was meant to be, he'll call back. And you'll marry him. And that's that. Either way, you kept your dignity and you'll have no regrets.

Basically, it's the difference between a boy's perspective and a girl's: boys expect and accept tears from girls. As a girl I say, why give them what they want? Much better to keep them guessing....

I've been talking high school and college girls through relationships since I was in college. One of these days, I'm going to write a book called The Good Girl's Guide to Guys. It will include a chapter on break-ups. And in that chapter, I will quote Christopher: "And if he initiates contact with you (post break-up), be friendly but aloof." These words should be engraved on sterling silver bracelets and handed out to every girl who has to suffer through a break-up. You think I exaggerate? Then no one has ever broken your heart.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thoughts in a pew

I was late to church yesterday because I was being held captive in my house by the two pit bulls outside. When they finally wandered down the street, I sped off to church and arrived late. I didn't go to our usual church. Jon was out of town, helping the Punt, Pass, and Kick kids at the Chargers-Jets playoff game, and I had some errands to run out-of-town, so I went to church in that town.

Here are some thoughts:
  • The guy leading worship was Jon's dorm RA during his freshman year at Biola. Bill taught Jon to play the guitar and playing guitar is one of the joys of Jon's life. Watching Bill lead worship (with his acoustic guitar) made me feel so very grateful. The little things we do in life, like showing someone a few chords on a guitar, can have lasting impact.

  • Why do so many pastors seem to feel that they need to embellish the Bible? Look, either you believe the Bible is the inspired word of God or you don't. If it is, it doesn't need embellishing. It can stand alone. If it isn't, then you're probably not going to be a pastor. This seems simple to me. All I have to say is, poor Philemon underwent a character assassination yesterday. And I didn't see any support for it in the actual book of, well, Philemon.

  • I love taking communion. When I was a Baptist, we took communion monthly. This was supposed to make the sacrament more meaningful. In our current church, we take it weekly. To me this is more meaningful. Taking the elements reminds me to be actively thankful for Christ's atoning work. It also gives me a weekly chance to get my spiritual house in order. I take the time to confess, to repent, and to ask God to help keep me in the very center of His will as I begin the week. Communion is a good thing.

  • People who sit in the center of the pew, rather than on the end, leaving the end available for those of us who were being held hostage by pit bulls and were consequently late to church, are saints. I should make it a point to do this for others when I am at church.

Here's Jon on his Gretsch. He also has a Taylor acoustic. I love to hear him play. I love it even more when he sings while he plays. He has a really nice, mellow voice. Thanks for all this, Bill. I'm so glad that you took the time to teach him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Catastrophic earthquake

When I see the devestation that took place in Haiti, I feel enormously guilty that the tiny little earthquakes I experienced earlier this week even gave me pause. The Bible says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike and I understand that. I've had some rain in my life and looked around to see the wicked flourishing like a green bay tree (more biblical allusions) and I didn't like it but I accepted it. This just seems so much worse. No use to tell myself, yes, but it could've been Haiti that had the tiny little earthquakes and my town that was felled by a catastrophic earthquake. The fact of the matter is, it wasn't. Haiti, and all its impoverished inhabitants (as well as, its rich inhabitants, I guess) took the hit. While I, in all my boring middle-class comfort, jumped because a jolt rocked my house. And whenever I think about that, I just feel unbelievably guilty. And sad.

Monday, January 11, 2010


So not my idea of fun. Especially when they're centered in my actual city. And this is not much of a city; more like a town. A small town. Too small to have three earthquakes in three hours centered in it. Even if the earthquakes were small. Mr. Beasley and I did not find that last one to be small.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Predictions for my 2010

Christmas vacation went way too fast. But, then, it always does. And, as my friends who work outside of education remind me, I'm lucky to get two weeks of Christmas vacation. They, on the other hand, are lucky to get one week of Christmas vacation. If that.

So, Christmas is behind me and 2010 is upon me and what the heck am I gonna do with it?

My college roommate and I have been writing weekly notes (that's right; actual notes in envelopes with stamps and the whole bit--just doing our part to support the US Postal Service) to each other for, sheesh, a year now? And her last note contained her predictions for 2010. Not resolutions, mind you; predictions. Here's her take on the whole issue of resolutions:

You know I'm a goal person so a fresh start of a new year is always inspiring to me. But, I think a "prediction" is better than a "resolution" cuz I'm not sure how resolute I am on these things.... Just some ideas I'd like to have a go at this year....

Well, ok, then. What would I like to have a go at this year?
  • Get an actual hairstyle. Because, currently, I don't have one.

  • Keep my weight under 118. I look my very best at 110 but, please. I'm trying for realism. I look quite nice at 115 and I look good enough at 118. At 120, I start to despair.

  • Start writing the book that keeps rattling around in my head.

  • Buy less clothing for myself. I am prone to retail therapy and I buy way too much clothing for myself. I need to focus my purchases on the house.

  • Read one real book a month. Not the light books that catch my eye. Nope, it's time to try something a little more meaty.

If those seem like self-centered, light-weight predictions, that's because they are. And I'm ok with that. I have other things in mind, too, like having a baby, being more consistent with my devotions, supporting and encouraging Jon more, etc. But those things are ALWAYS on my mind. They're not really predictions or resolutions. These are just five little things that, as Robin Ann put it, I'd like to have a go at this year.

This is Robin Ann, she of the "predictions, not resolutions" school of thought, and her adorable little girls. And me. Robin Ann and I were college roommates for all four of our years at Biola University. I've known her since 1990. I cannot even believe it's been that long.