Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quote of the Week - Gemma, age 4

"Santa visits the Pagans first. Then he goes to the Christians."

-Gemma, age 4, to her preschool teacher while describing some Solstice traditions

Friday, December 23, 2005

Quote of the Week - Anne McCaffrey

"Make no judgements where you have no compassion."

-- Anne McCaffrey
fantasy and science-fiction writer

Happy Winter Solstice and Seasons Greetings to All

Girls With Santa on Solstice

Hello and Happy Holidays!!!

This is been a wildly busy week, with lots and lots of memorable moments. I'm sure I'll post about some of these in more detail and with more reflection after the holidays.

Rowan has a great sense of humor. Can you read the sign?

Our week included:

  • a Solstice gathering at our home over the weekend with friends and chosen family in attendance.
  • experiencing a performance of the Nutcracker on Sunday afternoon.
  • a continuing process in regard to Jani's request for Solstice as a religious holiday which may end up in Federal court as a religious discrimination suit..time time tell.
  • a wonderful Solstice eve candle-lit dinner and a viewing of the movie, The Polar Express.
  • a gorgeous Solstice day, begun with a sunrise walk out on the frozen lake with the kids and a "sunny" brunch of all yellow foods with a dear friend.
  • Gemma's ballet recital, the 4-5 year old version of the Nutcracker.
  • a visit to Rowan's classroom to share about Solstice and do a comparative analysis with the kids about Christmas, Solstice, Chanukah and Kwanzaa.
  • dinner out with the wonderful partner..kidless!
  • tommow we are off to Jani's folks for Christmas Eve and Christmas day and plan to take the kids to see Narnia.

Here are some pictures to enjoy.

Warm Wishes to All.

Gemma, post recital, dressed as Claira from the Nutcracker.

The girls at the beach on Solstice morning. We weren't greated with a sunrise, though the frozen lake was stunningly beautiful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Gemma's Endocrinology Appointment

Gemma had her six month endocrinology appointment yesterday. She was happy that it was a "just talking" appointment, no blood work, she just had to get measured a zillion times.

She's still growing, but at a slower rate than we'd hoped, so even on the growth hormone she's slowing down again. So, the doc asked us to up her dose. He reviewed her blood work that we had done prior to the visit and that coupled with her slowed growth, showed that she could use a bit more of a boost to keep t hings going. She is still making progress though, so that is really good.

For her, this won't mean any changes. We dose her injection pen each night by clicking a certain number of clicks, each click signifies .1 mg of hormone. She'll go from 3 clicks to 4 and could get headaches for the first couple of days, but after that there should be nothing. It just means "we" have to remember the new dose and it means running for refills every 15 days, instead of every 20..not a big deal.

So her "official" stats (and boy are they official..they take each measurement several times for accuracy) are...

At age 4 years 4 months she stands 37.75 inches tall and weighs 29 lbs and 13 oz, which is 5th percentile for height and 3rd percentile for weight.

And in personality and energetic height she stands about 6 foot 8 inches and fills the room!!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

You Know You're Experiencing Perimenopause When...

The ouside air temperature is below zero (not counting the wind chill), the "after-bedtime" set-back temperature in the house is 60 degrees and you dream that we are experiencing a bizzare December heat wave of 90 degrees and wake up sweaty with the blankets kicked off.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


This morning when the phone rang, I picked it up while upstairs and Gemma grabbed it at the same time downstairs. She loves to talk on the phone. After finishing the conversation with the caller, I hung up and could hear that Gemma was having difficulty hanging up her phone, so I went downstairs to help her.

As I entered the playroom I heard the automated sound of the operator saying "if you wish to make a call, please hang up and try again." I next hear Gemma say to herself, "Who is that lady? She always talks to me."

Hm, makes me wonder how many times Gemma attempts to make calls!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Quote of the Week - Marion Wright Edelman

Yesterday, as I was preparing for our women's spirituality group (we celebrated our 13th anniversary of traveling a shared journey together this fall!!), I ran across an outstanding collection of quotes by influential women at the National Women's History Museum, at

After reading the quotes I felt inspired to share one here each Friday. I'll begin with the one I chose to read last night, one which really rang true for me and is part of my on-going spiritual work about being an agent of change without having to control the outcomes.

"If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.""You're not obligated to win. You're obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day."
Marion Wright Edelman (1939- ),
Attorney, civil rights advocate and
Founder of the Children's Defense Fund

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Rowan's World

Rowan with her teacher, Ms. Jackson who she just adores!!

Rowan has had quite the busy week. We are so proud of her. She's growing into quite the older and more centered/grounded kid!!

One of the rites of passage at her school (a primary K-2) is for the second graders to have the opportunity to join choir or the drama club. Rowan chose choir. In the past week, the choir has been called into service a lot. They had two concerts, one in the afternoo and the other in the evening (during yet another snow storm) for full concerts and they sang at the school's annual Holiday Luncheon on Tuesday. Rowan's school has a music teacher extraordinaire!!! The kids love her and she is able to guide them to find their best voices!!

Another "rite of passage" is for the second graders to make the centerpieces for the holiday luncheon tables. They are ceramic, glazed, adorable!!! The school's art teacher is also wonderful!!

Rowan was also Star of the Week in her classroom, which involved inviting Jani and I to school while she shared parts of her life with her class through pictures. She opted to just bring a picture of Gemma to the event, knowing full well that her little sister will do just about anything for an audience. Smart move on Rowan's part to not be upstaged by her little sister.

Last evening, in yet ANOTHER snow storm, her Girl Scout troop took off for a local retirment community to decorate cookies and sing with the residents. One leader said she was so proud of the girls for all of their kindness and openess to the el

Monday, December 12, 2005

Wisconsin Volleyball Season Ends on Saturday

For anyone who's been following my women's volleyball updates, I'm sorry to say that the Badgers lost on Saturday night. Us fans are darn proud of these young women for playing well and making it to the Elite Eight!

Really Awesome Thing

Saturday night we attended the 13th birthday for dear friends' daughter. There was a large mix of aged kids from Gemma being the youngest to the 13 year old (later a nearly 15 year old arrived). All of these kids have known each other as long as they can remember. All of us moms are in a women's group together, some of the kids have gone to daycare together, etc. However, rarely do all the kids get together at the same time.

The chemistry between them as a group was pure magic!! Within a short while, they had woven together a "movie" and asked an adult to video tape them. They did an improv of a murder mystery and every single kid had a role. It was just unbelievable to watch them figure out how to collaborate together across ages, personalities and levels of introverted to extrovertedness.

Gemma was in her glory, decked out in a Belle dress, playing both a princess who was locked in a closet by the murderer (played by the birthday girl) and a young judge, serving over the trial. Rowan played more of a backgroud set of roles, as the dead body in the murder and the jailer. Hilarious stuff!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Wisconsin Volleyball Women Beat Norte Dame and Advance to the Elite Eight!!!!!!

Need I say more..the Badger cheer is running high around here!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

To Humidify or Not to Humidify

As I was going around the house today refilling all of our humidifers, I thought,

What a strange place the upper midwest is. We spend our summers removing too much water from the air with de-himidifiers. Then in the winter we desperately try to put water into the air with humidfiers.

And Rowan's got a nasty chest cold and I've got stopped up sinuses, so I've added Vicks Vapor Steam to all of the humidifiers and wow, the smell of Vicks wafts through every room today.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Announcing Her Majesty Rowan, The Sudoku Queen

This was the honor bestowed upon Rowan on Tuesday by her teacher at the second school-wide awards assembly.

As part of a math lesson, Rowan's teacher introduced the Sudoku puzzles and Rowan was the first to figure out how to solve them. She just loves them. I believe a book of kid puzzles may be bound for her stocking this year!!

If you've never done one of these, give it a try. You can't use the same number twice in any row, column, diagonal line or in any matrix.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Daily Dose of Religious Discrimination

We're having such a "fun" week in our family. First, the amendment, then sick kids, now Jani's school district has denied her taking Solstice as a religious holiday.

The school district's policy for years has been that if one's religious holy days fall during scheduled school time, the employee may get written permission beforehand to take the day and must "make up" the lost work time through other activities.

Apparently, unbenounced to anyone, the policy has now changed and this is the email that Jani received today.

I am in receipt of the religious absence request form for Janet toobserve Winter Solstice on 12/21/05. I am not able to grant thisrequest. The religious holiday has to be one in which the religious doctrine prohibits the employee from working on that date.

So here are my questions.
1. When did the administrator who sent the email become well-schooled in pagan teachings to know whether working on a sabbat is or is not part of the doctrine?

2. Could someone please point me to the passage in the Bible that declares that Christians shall not work on Christmas?

Jani immediately forwarded the message to her union. They are attending to it immediately and have a meeting scheduled with the district on Friday.

Meanwhile, we've filed for an excused absence for Rowan for Solstice and her school's secretary has already logged it on the calendar. Poor Rowan is bummng though, because she will be marked as absent and won't be able to get the "perfect attendance" certificates that the principal hands out at the end of the semester.

Rowan's very insightful observation was that kids who celebrate Christmas aren't penalized with being marked absent, because that day is marked as a "day off" from school for everyone.

I know this is an on-going battle that other religious groups have been fighting for years. Sad, sad, sad..that one form of "sacredness" gets to control expectations and calendars for us all. I'm completely in support of anyone taking their religious and secular holidays..tradition is what helps keep our souls fed. Just how do we create a "win/win" with this is the age-old question.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Help Stop The Constitutional Ban on Gay/Lesbian Marriage

The following is an email I sent to friends and family in the Madison area yesterday. I decided to post it on my blog for two reasons.

First, to help spread the word and ask for support in getting the word out state-wide about this frightening amendment.

Second, as a "national" heads-up for folks outside Wisconsin to keep a careful eye for such movement in your own states and on a national level.

You can learn more about Wisconsin's proposed constitutional ban at the following blog sponsored by Action Wisconsin,

Here's the post.

Hello Madison-Area Friends and Family,

As you may know the Wisconsin legislature has re-introduced a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships. Last year, the ban handily passed in both houses, but was vetoed by Gov. Doyle. The bill has once again been introduced with the hope of moving it rapidly through the legislature and having it on the November 2006 general ballot for the citizens to vote on a constitutional change.

This is really scary stuff for our family personal and for the citizens of the state of Wisconsin in general, b/c it really sets us back in time in our state's civil rights laws and our progressive history.

While the state representatives and senators for the Madison area have pledged to vote against the constitutional ban, there are many other representatives state-wide who are prepared to vote in favor of it, both as part of "partisan politics" and out of fear of retribution from their peers and assumed fear of retribution from their constituents. The authors of this bill are also attempting to gather enough support to over-ride another veto from the governor. Lastly, if this bill passes and the governor's veto is over-ruled, it will be on the ballot in November of 2006 when many of us are headed to the polls to vote for governor, amongst other things. In Wisconsin, it only take a majority vote (51%) of the citizens to amend the state's constitution.

So, civil rights groups are asking each of us to contact friends and relatives around the state (outside of Madison particularly) to ask them to vote "no" on the constitutional ban. As our friends and allies, I would like to ask for your help in this effort. I believe that the more these legislators understand that Wisconsin's citizens do not want to actively legislate hate, perhaps this will influence their vote or at least hold them ore accountable to all of their constituents, just a vocal and destrictive minority.

If you need some information for "talking points" with friends and family, you can go to for ideas, sample email notices and general information about the ban. Additionally, here are some of the talking points I have been using.

*Our state is continuing to face many challenges, including budget short-falls, school funding crises, loss of valuable state, county and local services. These are amongst the issues that our state legislators really need to attend and issues which impact the well-being of most of the state's citizens. Taking up valuable legislative time to deal with a ban on one group's civil rights does not show wise leadership.

*It is already illegal for gay men and lesbians (and bi folks in same gender relationships) to marry. So, actively writing this into the state's constitution is redundant legislation.

*A constitutional ban would revoke any domestic partner benefits currently offered to couples. It would also make it impossible (unless the constitution was amended again) for the state to create any civil union policies similar to those in Vermont.

*If the ban were to pass, our family would be seriously impacted financially, because the Madison Public Schools could no longer legally offer Jani domestic partner insurance. I would be uninsured and have to seek insurance, most likely out of the provider network that the rest of my family uses. Also, it is unclear if Jani could still cover Gemma under her insurance since she has legal guardianship of Gemma under a special co-guardianship process, offered only in a couple counties around the state (Dane being one of them). With Gemma's medical needs, we would be in a tough space if her parent was not legally allowed to cover her health insurance.

*In general, we would have fewer protections and Wisconsin would likely become a less safe place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people and our children. When the government openly sets "hate" legislation into place, we've seen over our history, in many other instances, that a greater intolerance for the targeted group of people can erupt. I fear for the safety and well-being of our daughters, my family and friends and other LGBT families throughout the state.

I know that many of us are busily engaged in our holiday preparations and our day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, our call to action is now with getting out the word to ask for legislators state-wide to vote "no." The folks behind this legislation have craftily taken advantage of this busy time of year to move this legislation through the Senate as quickly as possible, hoping to have it pass both houses before the end of the year. So, please take a moment to write en email or have a conversation with friends and family around the state and ask them to contact their legislators.

Thank you so much in advance for you help,

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Badgers Head into the Sweet Sixteen!!

After winning three quick games against Layola University on Friday night in Round One of the NCAA tournament play, they went on to win against more closely ranked Cal State in a 3 games to 0 match!! This mean they head into the Sweet Sixteen play-offs!! Go Badgers!!!

The four Badger fans in this household headed out into the bitter cold night on Friday and the snowy night on Saturday to see the women play some great ball.

No game is complete without hugging Bucky Badger. Gemma even made it onto the 10:00 news on Saturday night. The camera caught her mid-hug with Bucky and the two were a featured shot, amongst the game highlights with the sportcaster even commenting about the hug.

You might have noticed that Gemma is wearing a velvet dress to the game, over her usual Wisconsin Cheerleaders outfit. Friday night the Layola coach was decked out in a black cocktail dress and heels!! Something none of us had ever witnessed a coach doing before. Anyway, Gemma was quite inspired, so wanted to glam up for the big game.

And, if you ever wondered why we never have a picture of Rowan with Bucky Badger, well, she really doesn't like "Big Heads" (you know people dressed in costumes where their faces are obscured. So, unless she conquers her "big head issues" really soon, no pictures will be had of her and Bucky together.

Here are my three favorite Badgers fans in the stands post-game, before suiting up in snowpants and boots to walk the three blocks to the car in the still-falling snow.