Friday, August 22, 2008

40 Words or less?

He thought he was ready,
to try a real trick,
He's so desparate to
try to fit in.

He leaned just a little,
then lost his grip,
No helmet would save
his scraped chin!

I know, 3 posts in one day!! But I skipped over to to see what was happening there, and unlike my usual response ("Hey cool picture, huh.") I went, "Yeah, nice, wait, He thought he was ready..." and a poem came out. So here it is. Thanks Pensieve! For more information, like where the photo came from, click over to her site!

ps. ok, who counted?

On the topic of names:

I named Dustin as a fluke. I was young, 19, and wanted something a bit different but that I wouldn't have to spell out for people (grow up as Marie Suzanne Breton and that will be well appreciated). Bill named Brian, and I couldn't talk him into anything else. But by the time Brian was 2 years old, and Dustin was 4, Dustin came home from preschool with a paper, "Where did your name come from?"

I begged Mother Google for help, and she came through.

Dustin: of German origin, it means a valiant fighter. One thing Dustin is proving to be is valiant, and one who will speak up for what his beliefs are.

Brian: Celtic meaning is Hill, Noble or ascending. But I prefer the Welsh meaning, STRONG. Have you met my son? It FITS!

I was pregnant at the time, and scoured the baby websites to make sure my name of choice had a good meaning. Success!

Michael: Hebrew origin, meaning who resembles God, or who is like God. You can't get a much more tender and sweet boy as him.

Bill's turn to name the last one, and while I refused to commit at first (it sounded SO Saved by the Bell), one look at the baby name sights and I was converted.

Zachary: the only one that is a derivation, from the Hebrew Zachariah. It means God remembered. Yeah. The reason these old, decrepit parents ventured into the Baby business this one last time is because God told us too. And lo and behold, every time we look in his sweet face, God is remembered!

And for kicks, let's look at Mom and Dad, shall we?

William: The German it means determined guardian, or Resolute protector, in French it means determined protector. My husband is nothing if not a protector.

Marie: French derived from the Hebrew name Mary, which means bitter, or "sea of bitterness".


I always thought it meant mother. Which would have fit and sounded nicer, 'cuz I try to mother the whole darn world.

But, yeah, bitter is a nail on the head too, I suppose. Although my parent's felt they should name me after my great-grandmother, I don't think they looked up the meaning. But I'm not bitter...

...uh, yeah.

I never really liked my name...
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

But apparently over 1,000 other mothers and fathers did.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Tutorial... AKA My Longest Post Yet...

So, back in November of last year, I think, we lost the transmission in our blue van. Well, 3rd gear, which is the one that let's you drive faster than 40 mph. We then got a new one, and the blue one sat in our yard. All. Winter. Long.

Collecting snow.

A. LOT. Of. Snow.

I have pictures of it, almost invisible with a solid foot of snow on top of it, but that's from before my new toy (meaning external hard drive), so I had to borrow a photo from an old post!
That's the van, the mound of snow behind the Christmas tree that found "new life" in the front yard for a few months!

Anyway, then spring, or mud season, came to Maine, followed by construction season, which is drawing to a close, and we still had this big ol' hunk of metal in our yard. With 185,000+ miles on the engine, and a gone transmission, it wasn't worth much.

Someone we know with a similar hunk of metal, but less miles, needed a couple of cheap parts, so I offered the parts to them.

Someone else with a less than similar hunk of metal wanted a seat belt strap, and you know me, I am ALL about safety, so that went, too.

Bill suggested we offer it to the Fire Dept, for extrication training, and said we could scrap it for the metal, maybe clear a hundred bucks. I said, "Sure."

We found out it might be worth more in scrap than we originally thought, and I toyed with hiring someone to haul it. The people who took parts needed to buy a bumper, so I thought about selling it to them. And, in the end, it was still sitting here the day the FD was ready to do some cutting, so off it went. Decision made.

But, I asked Butler, the FD guy who works for the towing company, if I could come take pictures.
I call this one, "They've come to take me away, ha ha, they've come to take me away!"

'Cuz Bill would've said no, the spoil sport.

I guess they needed tail light covers, too.
Best seat in the house!

Anyway, Butler said yes.


Here they are Megan, as you requested!

Turns out I wasn't the only camera happy person there! This is one of JFD's "Hotshots", a term for high-school kids who come and help out.

Firemen play with Lego's!!
Here's Bill, working on a crashed car that was donated. At least I think that's him, hard to tell 'cuz he opted for the summer FD jacket, intended for hot days, forest fires, stuff like that. It doesn't carry his number.

Which is 48, BTW.

Here they are ruining an almost-brand-new windshield. That I never would have replaced if that darn Farmington cop hadn't harassed me about getting it inspected. The creep. $100 deductible, down the drain. There's another Hotshot in the background. They don't get to help. They did get to pillage the trunk of a car that's owner hadn't bothered to clean it out. Mine? SPOTLESS.

Here's Bill, having transformed said donated crashed car into a convertible.

Now might be the time to tell you that we like them to cut up cars. Jaws of Life are not the most common thing to use, and if you already have experience, you can do it faster, know where to cut the seat belts, and retrieve an injured person much faster. Most car accidents that require extraction also mean that time is of the essence. Life or death people. I'm just sayin'.
And occasionally your favorite police officer needs to be rescued from his cruiser lodged in a tree. Helps to have practiced in such sticky situations.

You may have noticed that surrounding our van is largely Livermore FD. That would be because awhile ago, when JFD got their new fire truck, they also got new extraction equipment. So they gave the old stuff to LFD, who didn't have any, and had to call in for mutual aid from other departments if they had an accident that required those jaws.

Remember that time thing? And for you out-of-towners, route 4 in Livermore is known for it's bad traffic accidents. It's a thruway for the area here, and very lousy passing opportunities. People get impatient, and unsafe.
OK, I'm off my soapbox.
So, the JFD was training the LFD to use their new toy. LFD's new toy, that is, JFD wasn't ABOUT to share THEIR new toy!.
They got my van, 'cuz it had 8 different cuts to make. And those nice firefighters, they passed the toy around, sharing nicely.


Here's my van, a shell of it's former self.

Here's the Peanut Gallery. We invited the Hurleys 'cuz Melissa has talked about doing a calendar fundraiser for the FD. I'll let you know if it comes to fruition, so you can all order one.

Look at Donovan, the one in orange and blue for those who don't know!

No, they aren't putting gas in it. That, my friends, is a Jaws of Life. Ever wonder how it works? Well, it is very thin, and narrow, they put it in the crack where door meets vehicle, and then, with compressed air pressure, the blades, or "jaws" open, popping the door off. The strap is to keep it from falling, I suppose, and to help pull at it.

I think the tool they used to cut is a different tool, let's find out together, shall we?

I was right, on the top, Jaws. On the bottom, Pinchy. That's what Dustin nick-named it anyway.
So, after popping all the doors, they cut all the posts.

Off goes the lid!

Steady... steady...

And yes folks, a convertible mini van.

Does it need a spoiler? Tell me honestly...

NOW I will let him drive!! ;-)

This one, that is, not the new one!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

OK, I think I can...

blog, that is.

Savannah's funeral was beautiful. I didn't cry 'til we got to the grave site, or maybe back at the church, but either way Melissa's dad had on a moisture resistant suit coat, so it was ok. And her Dad is a really, really nice hugger. And I don't much like hugs. But I'll take a hug from him any day, it's very comforting.

I decided that funerals are the time when most people say goodbye. The level of tears a person experiences at the actual funeral, I think, has some relation to the level of grief they have already experienced, and the level of acceptance at the loss. Savannah's poor little friend sat behind me, and the sweetheart (I know her well enough to know she really is a sweetheart) cried through almost the entire service. As did others.

Me, not so much. I think I was more worried about Melissa making it through the eulogy (she and Brian gave it), and the details piece. And I've already done a lot of crying.

Savannah's parents appear to be doing ok. We have seen them several times, and Melissa and I talk daily, still. They are very slowly moving forward, and it seems to me that both the forward part and the slow part are really good things.

As for my family, we are trying really hard to come out of survival mode. Nicki pointed out to me the other day that I haven't reminded them to be nice and LOVE each other because they are brothers in a long time. I believe in the power of love as a verb, even that sometimes you have to go through the motions, the literal actions, before you can reach the point where the love really is intrinsic. I typically expect my children to at least ACT like they love each other, but lately I've allowed them to be more of "Every man for himself!" frames of mind. I talked with the counselor, and I think it's been the right way to be in the moments we've had, but now as we seek out our new "normal" we need to revert back to the "We are all in this together..." process.

Not proving to be easy.

And that new "normal"? Anyone who wants to clue me in on what it should be, that would be fabulous. Except for my recent anonymous commenter who was so thoughtless, they can keep their opinions to themself from here on out. Obviously, my shift is no where near the dramatic experience that Melissa is going through, so please don't mis-take this as putting my families' situation on par with theirs. But even Bill noted when we were watching the fire department cut up our old van, and we had Kiara with us, nobody chided him about where we got the girl. They knew her, knew she was with us, and knew it was normal. I no longer feel the pull to keep my schedule cancel-able, or the excuse for why the laundry and dishes are behind, or the weird need to protect Melissa from that intense loneliness that real trials can bring into our lives.

My husband even felt he had to remind me I'm still needed! I completely lost the month of July, I don't know where I put it. School starts in less than 2 weeks, and if my oldest 2 sign up for soccer like they want to, I'll commence to running like a chicken with my head cut off. I've hardly seen my extended family for months now, and just how do you approach those people again? "Hey, Dad, I know I haven't seen you in months, but a 7 year old you never met but that I grew closer to than my own nieces died and so I've been a bit busy. Do you still live in the same house?" Yeah. Quite the conversation starter.

Anyway, this is where I'm at. Now you know where I've been, loyal reader, and now I will try to be back. I even have a couple more posts (including pictures of my cut up car) swimming around in my head, that I might get to during this nap time. Or I might lay down. Hard to tell.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I won? I really won?

I got a bloggy award!! Weird. I mean good weird, but I never really thought of myself in that kind of blog community. Oh I have a blog community, lots of people I know have blogs, but they are people I KNOW. And they don't make pretty little awards. But Kathy at Count it all Joy (see my sidebar, I don't know how to make it link) knows people who do!!
Feel the bloggy love!! Thank you Kathy, I'm honored, and I'm putting in on my sidebar for all time and eternity!!
I have other things to post, but not with this, this gets its own little piece of blogdom!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thoughts from a Friend...

"Faith in [God] the great moving power...With it comes the only lasting comfort and peace of mind. God is our Eternal Father, and He lives. I don't understand the wonder of His magesty; I can't comprehend His glory. But I know that He is intensely interested in our welfare and involved in our lives, that I can speak with Him in prayer, and that He will hear and listen." ~Gordon B. Hinckley

"On the other side of the veil, there are perhaps seventy billion people. They need the same gospel, and releases occur here to aid the Lord's work there. Each release of a righteous individual from this life is also a call to new labors. Those who have true hope understand this. Therefore, though we miss the departed righteous so much here, hundreds may feel their touch there. One day, those hundreds will thank the bereaved for gracefully forgoing the extended association with choice individuals here, in order that they could help hundreds there. In God's ecology, talent and love are never wasted. The hopeful understand this, too." ~Neal A. Maxwell

"Believe in the power of prayer. It is real, it is wonderful, it is tremendous." ~Gordon B. Hinckley

"Faith and willingness to believe will chase pessimism away and replace it with hope and confidence. It is a source of immense personal comfort and peace of mind to have knowledge that God is with us, and that even when there is no way - perhaps particularly when there appears to be no way - He will open the way." ~Gordon B. Hinckley

"Trials bring sorrow, which urges us to seek answers, which in turn bring understanding and peace. This is the peace which passeth the world's understanding." ~Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill

"God will only mend a broken heart when He is given all the pieces." ~Anonymous

So far, the last one is my favorite. In times of trouble, friends are a great blessing.

Savannah passed away on August 1, 2008, at 3:30 am. I'm not ready to tell you more. Maybe later.