Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Has anyone else ever been stuck on what a 2nd or 3rd cousin is? And what in the world is a "once or twice removed" relative? I grew up with cousins by the dozens. We all went to school together and grew up together. As we matured and had children, this conversation inevitably arose. Now that the children are having children, we're REALLY confused. So, my new friend on facebook posted an explanation on the whole matter. She's involved with genealogy, which helps (duh) and therefore, I will paste it here:

Cousin (a.k.a "first cousin")
Your first cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and uncles.

Second Cousin
Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you., but not the same grandparents.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the same great-great-great-grandparents, and so on.

When the word "removed" is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations. You and your first cousins are in the same generation (two generations younger than your grandparents), so the word "removed" is not used to describe your relationship.

The words "once removed" mean that there is a difference of one generation. For example, your mother's first cousin is your first cousin, once removed. This is because your mother's first cousin is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents. This one-generation difference equals "once removed."

Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference. You are two generations younger than a first cousin of your grandmother, so you and your grandmother's first cousin are first cousins, twice removed.

(The above article was found at, they also have a chart for those who are still confused about the whole issue!)

And so, my cousins' children are my first cousins, once removed. My cousins' children and MY children are second cousins.

So there you have it. No we have to figure out how to have everyone stop aging and reproducing.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Here's a thought. What if your friends were able to tell you everything they thought was wrong with you, or what needed improving; would you want to hear it? That's the idea behind:

This website allows your friends to log in anonymously and leave comments about you such as "pick up the tab once in awhile", or "you never make eye contact", or "your blog sucks canal water". Would you do it? Here's how the creators of the site are selling it...

"Once you start receiving the anonymous feedback, you'll be able to categorize it, and you and your friends will be able to agree or disagree, leave comments, and work together to improve your personal character! Once they create their account, don't forget to return the favor!

When you sign up, you'll be asked for a piece of information that only your friends know. This way, you can be sure that only people who know you can write on your profile"

SURE! You and your "friends" will be able to "work together to improve your personal character"...when did character-building become a group event? Isn't that a process that's intensely personal and involving soul searching?...pondering?...doing what's right when everyone is watching and when nobody is watching? When did character become a product of a committee?

Well, I thought it was interesting. I'm certain there will be people who will avail themselves of the services. Not me. I'm already aware of my flawed nature. I don't I'm thinking...perhaps I'm neurotic enough without worrying about my friends judging me. And then again, I've reached an age where I'm tired of explaining myself. I just do things and that's that. Dr. Christiane Northrup said I should thank menopause for that. Okay, thanks!

Anyway, there's the site for "enquiring minds". All of my friends and family know my flaws. They're fairly evident. And I still feel loved, so.....YAY! And I feel the same about them. YAY!

I wonder if anyone on will leave anonymous compliments? THAT would say something about one's character....I wonder if the developers thought about that?

Friday, March 26, 2010


Well, this certainly takes the cake. Nothing prepared me for this little news item....

According to Slate magazine's XX Blog, which is a blog by female writers on Slate's team, terrorists could use bombs in breast implants to blow up planes! There are also butt implants for the men. Please, you can come up with a hundred different titles to this article, right? Believe me, I am NOT making fun of this scenario-not in the least. I'm simply intrigued by the lengths that jihadis are taking and who would actually do this. Something isn't square....

The author of the article, Hanna Rosin, quoted a couple of very interesting sources as she tried to decipher her own, "What the heck?" moment when she first heard of this....much like I'm certain you probably did when you first read it here and how I felt when I initially read it....*too many visuals....*

Ms. Rosin writes that for the most part, the citizens of the United States have always pictured jihadi terrorists as religiously motivated young men who are devoted to their religion and living a life of zero fun. She discussed Steve Coll’s book, "The Bin Ladens", which she says, "includes profile after profile of young Muslim men who walk among Western harlots, eyes wide, and then ultimately turn violently against the culture that produces them. The point of being a jihadi was to deny yourself any fun." That was then....

Ms. Rosin then cites Professor Christine Fair from Georgetown University, who performed multiple ethnographies to determine the motivation that moves a young man or woman to become a jihadi. Her findings? Professor Fair states, "The top three answers were motorcycles, guns, and access to women,” she says. “You had to go pretty far down the list to get to religious motivation."

I don't know about you, but personally, I'm thrilled with this news. The bad guys are getting the same slack-jawed, party-hungry, instant-gratification-loving, boneheads that we've been dealing with in our highschools for years. Woo Hoo. This is an enemy we can understand. That whole, "killing myself is more of an honor if I ignore the sanctity of innocent life" was just too difficult to wrap my head around. But these guys??? Puhleese. Lamoids.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


We found out yesterday that the new grand baby coming our way in August is a girl. Ain't that grand? Another baby girl. What a wonderful way to celebrate life. With all of the loss and the tears of late, what a wonderful gift this little girl is bringing to the family. I've been referring to her as "flipper" because she has been so active, the doctor couldn't read the gender on the ultrasound, but momma tried a strategy (no breakfast), which seemed to calm her down long enough for the doctor to figure things out. YAY YAY YAY

So...that little baby to the right there --------------> is a girl. And while we would have been pleased as punch with whomever was sent our way, we're happy to know that much more about her.

Another girl....another funny, cute, strong, faithful, daughter....

Color me slightly over-joyed... :0

Thursday, March 18, 2010


And today's one-day-late birthdays are their highnesses, Princesses Mae Mae and the Hollykins. St. Patrick's Day means nothing to our family anymore and hasn't for many years. 28 years ago, it became, "The day before Eli's birthday"....6 years ago, it became "Mae Mae's entrance onto the mortal stage" and approximately 2 years ago, we found out it was the wonderful day that our Hollykins Bowman, wife of oldest son, Eric, came into our lives. None of us have ever looked back...not once, not for anything, ever.

Mae Mae is wise beyond her years and beautiful to behold. She is currently taking piano lessons from her Grandma TaTa, whose family she had the profound wisdom to be born into. I'll give it to my grandchildren, they can pick some wicked cool/smart/fun grandparents. :) Her TaTa can also sew up a storm and therefore Mae Mae will also have the ability to learn the art of tailoring and crafting as well. Good! I'm so tired of stapling my hems, I can't begin to tell you. For dinner, Mae picked Shoguns, which is a Japanese restaurant where they prepare your dinner at your table with the big fire and knives and sounds and smoke and was grand fun. At the end, our very Japanese chef told us to, "Mangia! Mangia!", which is ITALIAN for "Eat! Eat!".

Hollykins comes to our family by way of Jackson, and by marriage to our son, Eric. It's odd, because it feels like we've been waiting for her to show up. She slid right into place and the party seems to start when she walks in the door. When I'm home, I love to sit at the table with Holly and Abby, my two DILs and just sit and talk and listen. One night, they both sat and colored in coloring books. My mother hung up their pictures on the refrigerator....cutest things ever!!!!

I must stop this....okay okay okay....I'm blessed I'm blessed I'm blessed....move along now, nothing here to see....

just this glow.....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Happy birthday (one day late) to my son, Eli, or to be more precise, Eliot Solomon Bowman..."What a handle!", to quote the late, great, Uncle Larry. I am honored to be this man's mother. He is compassionate, loving, sensitive, funny, righteous, talented, poetic, charitable, an excellent husband and father and priesthood holder. Who could ask for more? He started off big and bold and has stayed that way ever since. He has always stood out, even when he was the only 11 pound boy in the neonatal intensive care unit next to the little 2 and 3 pound baby girls....he was definitely the stand out. His nickname is "Banks", from George Banks of the movie, "Mary Poppins". He used to strut around the house saying, " I'm Gorge Bankth". Obviously, he had an adorable little speech thing going one....he pronounced all "g"s with the hard g sound and he had a killer lisp. His mission in L.A. was a huge success. He served simultaneously in Beverly Hills and the ghetto of Compton.

I honor you, son. You are a light in our family.

March is a very special month for birthdays in our family....tomorrow...there are more....

Big hugs for you BANKS!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Remember the weird/good/bad old days when the rule was this, "Never discuss politics, religion or sex in company". I have come to appreciate that particular rule of civility. One of the main reasons I stopped watching the Oscar award show was because of the awkward acceptance speeches and their political agendas. I like the rain forest. I have even prayed for the rain forest. But I don't want my favorite leading man or woman to spout off about it during their 30 second acceptance speech. Say "thank you" please, and sit down. Please...let me see them getting served at a bistro in Beverly Hills and while their server is placing their green tea-oxygen drink in front of them, say in rushed/hushed tones, "Here's your order and please, for the love of all thinks holy, pray for the endangered Venezuelan beaver mite. The artificial proliferation of the high-canopied bump monkey, due in part to the imbalance of the algae in the Amazon, is wrecking havoc on the beaver mite. Please, won't you use your power and influence to do the right thing?" I don't think so...

I just don't think we're powerful enough to change peoples' minds. We're all wired to think a certain way and that's that. In fact, I think I've said before, our brains are actually wired to RESIST being changed. That's why getting someone to think differently is so difficult. Huzzah to missionaries!!! But I suppose that's a different thing altogether.

Let people vote exactly how they're going to vote because the truth is, they're going to do it anyway. Certainly, make opportunities available for people to speak their minds. Allow and even advocate for people to educate themselves. Puhleese, advocate for people to educate themselves. But then let it go. Don't call them names for voting differently from you. And for goodness sakes, when did we start asking people for whom they voted?!? When did that stop being a private affair???

I'm so appalled at the actions of our political parties of late, I no longer consider myself a Democrat OR a Republican. It's embarrassing to see the actions of people I should be respecting---on BOTH sides, no less.

I don't typically rant. I leave that to people who are smarter and funnier than me. But yikes, people...

I'm rather missing the days of civility.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Wow! What a full weekend I've had. I didn't think anything would happen...but YOWSA, was I wrong or what!!!!

It started off sketchy. Thursday I was feeling sketchy and I thought, "Oh great. Here comes that intestinal flu I've managed to avoid for about a decade. I'll be vomiting up my soul by noon", but alas, nada....just some THAT was a gift!

On Friday, I went with Em and the kids to Disneyland, which, need I remind you, is "The Happiest Place On Earth" and where Clarkie had a complete temperamental melt-down. I thought, "Hey! You're not behaving in a happy fashion!", but that didn't seem to resonate with the child. So, when his mother walked away and left him with just moi, he snapped out of it BINGO and we resumed our normally scheduled programs. It was off to watch the live show of Aladdin. Yikkers, it was amazing, complete with a the happy couple singing while flying a magic carpet over our heads in the theater, gold confetti spitting out over the audience, realistic though quilted horses and an elephant being ridden through the audience...let's just say, there were no bad seats...

And then we went to "A Bug's Life", where everything is super big, so that you feel like you're the size of a bug. I LOVED it. In place of grass, they've planted leafy bamboo. The lights are made of huge straws with fireflies on the top shining light through their....umm....hinder sections...

We went on a couple of rides there, bought some cotton candy and discovered that my mature, well-grounded, very put-together daughter can eat two packages of the pink stuff by herself if left to her own devices....yep! She's a chip off the ol' block...I couldn't be prouder...

We then took a jungle cruise and the captain was hysterical. We passed the Temple of Doom and she said, "There's Indiana Jones trying to get the secret treasure out of the Temple of Doom...little does he know I am right here..."

We then went on the Pirates of the Caribbean...oh my was fantabulous...warm, watery, dramatic, colorful, and that was just our seats in the boat!!! J/K. It really was great and an added boon? smelled like bleach, which is a big winner to me. I love the smell of chlorine bleach. If Disney had a ride called "Bleach, spray starch, and Comet", I would live there.

(By the way, does anyone remember when the cleanser "Comet" was called "Dutch Cleanser"?)

Before we left the park, we took the kids to the bathroom to change into their PJs and brush their teeth because they go right to bed when they arrive home-asleep... Anyway, I was waiting for the three to come out of the stall and a little boy was crawling along the floor underneath the stall door. He didn't care about germs, he was at Disneyland and he was having fun. He was even smiling as he was doing it. His mother, a tall, extreme-looking woman, sternly said, "Hey, that's disgusting. Stand up right now and come over here this instant." You notice a lot of exhausted Mommies and Daddies after dark (typically). Anyway, she saw that I noticed him so, out of habit, I smiled at the child and then smiled at her. It was an I'm-not-judging-you-as-a-parent-cause-kids-will-be-kids-smile. And then I turned away. Emily came out at that point and noticed the woman staring at me. Em hadn't seen the boy or anything up to that point. It took a few minutes to get Mae's teeth brushed and her hands washed, etc, and Em whispered, "Why is that woman looking at you like that?" I said, "Is she's looking at me kind of intently?"

Em said, "Yea, is she mad at you? What did you do?" .....nice......

I explained what had happened and Em says, "She's still looking at you. I'm getting creeped out."

"Why? Does she appear armed?"

"Okay, now I'm really creeped out"

So, I said to forget it, which of course, she didn't and we made our way out of that restroom, looking behind us the entire way. It was THAT odd. Em said her look was one of "I know that woman from somewhere and it's killing me and I'm going to stare at her until one of us figures it out!"....kind of thing. I don't know...very interesting tho....

Well. I'm out of room. The rest of the weekend was sweet also. Dinner with Peter to celebrate the end of last quarter followed by a video at home (Happy Accidents-an older indie film) and today was Church (always great), followed by a live production of an original musical on Easter called, "A Ransom For Many". Very beautiful.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The onslaught of Girl Scout Cookies is upon us. Remember when you had to actually know someone to purchase them? Those days are over! I'm all for the new way of thinking. Just get out there and move your product. Why do you have to know an actual Girl Scout to buy the cookies? Why must those girls have to knock on doors of strangers to move the product?

These days they are out in full force hawking their product in front of the local supermarkets. Of course, it's usually their mom's doing the deeds, but they're making money for their troops and the girls are typically right there with their leaders doing the foot-work, running to get the boxes, counting the change, etc. It's a beautiful thing.

The other day I was coming OUT of the store and a little girl was standing in front of her mom doing the "selling". She would stand there rather shyly and approach each person as they were leaving the store, saying such things as, "Do you wanna buy a box of cookies"? My heart was breaking. I politely declined, but as I was parking my shopping basket and picking up my bags I witnessed this little girl devolve into a pool of tears after her final rejection. I ran over and said, "How much?" To which the mother smiled (while stroking her daughter's head) and said, "four dollars". I just gave her a five and took whatever box they had (which, luckily was the groovy coconut/caramel/chocolate dribble). I then advised her to turn her daughter around and approach the people as they came INTO the building while they were still hungry (hopefully) and had some cash (hopefully) and weren't over budget. Psychologically, I think they (maybe) had a better chance of selling....

Last night they got me again....two boxes worth....the lemon ones, this time...but the little girl running the display stand added this, "Yea, and these aren't the ones from San Diego that smelled so they had to recall them!"....thanks, honey....

I'm eating them as I type this....

I'll be so glad/sad/thinner when cookie season ends.....

Friday, March 5, 2010


I saw an ENT today. That's an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist. I went because my throat is getting bigger and my voice gets hoarse when I speak for any length of time. So....I went to my referred specialist. And much to my surprise, apparently he's the vocal cord specialist to the stars!!! The walls are covered with personalized photos of Sinatra, the Beatles (especially Paul), lots and lots of actors, etc. It was pretty impressive. I figured I was in good hands. In my particular room, I had the pleasure of looking at a photo of my physician and Gene Simmons from KISS clowning around in what appeared to be a bar or restaurant.

So my doctor came in and he was delightful. We spoke for a bit and then he had to *gulp* scope me. YIKES. So they sprayed wanna-be cocaine into my sinuses and had me hold my head back so it would drain down my throat. That didn't bode well for what was to come. He had to thread a tube with a light and a camera through my nasal passages down into my throat down to my vocal cords to look at my "new adam's apple".

ME: Hmmm....can you go through the left nostril? The right nostril has a deviated septum.

DOC: Sure.

Doc begins the insertion process, starts threading the camera tube and hits a blockage...backs up and hits it again...backs up and hits it again...then says....

DOC: Looks like you have another deviation on this side down here.

ME: *thinking, lucky me!!!!*

DOC: Let's try it at a different angle.


He attempts once again and gets through. I would say "YAY", except now he's threading a tube through my face, through the back of my mouth, and down my throat. This is so NOT natural, I'm almost laughing. Almost.

He now asks me to say, "eeeeeee" a number of times at different pitches, or notes, or tones, whatever. I have to imitate him. And there's a tube in my throat, which makes me want to swallow. Because there's a tube in my throat. I can't stress that enough.

He withdraws the tube and says, "Lets watch the video together!" the same way I say, "Let's watch Talk Soup with Joe McHale!" The only thing missing was, Joe McHale....and laughter.

And then he turned on the "video" and I saw the most beautiful thing. It appeared to be a veil. It was stunning. It was almost poetic. I watched it shimmy and move. The light caught it and I thought, "Isn't the body amazing"? It's a work of art, really!

So as I was caught up in this rapturous adulation of the human body, he pointed to this same structure and said, "See this, this is horrible. It's gross. it's mucous. You really need to get rid of this. I'll write you a couple of prescriptions. You have some allergies."

I thought, "Wait a minute....that doesn't look like that mucous in the Mucinex commercials!" Whatever.

So, he told me to get some Mucinex and some nasal spray. I also have a nodule on my left cord. I asked him how a nodule came to be and he said, "These things arise from misusing your vocal cords."

I wondered how I could have "misused" my vocal cords. Did I ever take out my vocal cords and dust with them? Was it all of those rock concerts I performed at in the 70s?.....j/k It's not like I karaoke on a regular basis....or even on an infrequent basis....I can count the times on both hands I've done that...with fingers left over. How have I possibly misused my vocal cords? that's that. I'm up there in the big leagues now. Frank Sinatra, Elton John, and me. We're all part of the siblinghood...the vocal cord nodule club. I wonder if their mucous was as pretty as mine....

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Well, well, well. Note to self. Do not EVER read research that address my generation. Never.

In a recent article I meant to briefly scan but unfortunately fell into like the sneaky rabbit hole it is, I read that Boomers, people aged 55-64 years old, are now considered "near-elderly". While I'm not quite there yet (what time is it, badda bing!), I have never considered anyone in that age range "near-elderly" *. What in the world...

The article discussed research from 2007 that maintains the "near-elderly" are costing the U.S. a boat-load of health care money; even more than the "real" elderly.

I don't know what to make of that, but what really has me intrigued is the modifier "near". That's a big loop hole, ain't it? Because I can think of lots of things to say that would be considered offensive, or kind, or loving, or mean, but their meanings could quite possibly change entirely if one was to put the word "near" or "nearly" in front it.

For instance:

I love you in that hat....I nearly love you in that hat.

My dog got hit by that car....My dog nearly got hit by that car.

She's a beauty.....She's a near beauty.

The vampire is dead....The vampire is nearly dead.

You'll sleep tonight....You'll nearly sleep tonight.

Peter? Do these pants make my butt look big?.....Don't even try it, Pete.

* Source: AHRQ, Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), 2007

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I'm rather frightened sometimes that I sound like a one-trick pony..."wow, all that woman ever writes about is her grand kids or family"...yes, it's probably true. But if you were around them, you would write about them also because they're so funny and bright. Yes, that's a grandmotherly perspective, I know. I hear myself say those words and it's like, "Really, Debbie? Did you just say that?"....but they're so funny because their parents are funny and they act like their parents!!! I watch them watch their parents and they emulate them with hand movements and other non-verbals and it's hysterical to watch little people behave like that! It's also funny when they communicate. I'll stop trying to explain myself now. This is why I placed a moratorium on trying to explain myself. One-I don't do it well and I tend to raise more questions than I answer. Two-I'm in my fifth decade and I don't have to do it so much anymore. Three-pffffftttttttt.

So, that said, here's what happened yesterday. First, for my peeps who aren't on Facebook. Yesterday when I referred to myself as "an idiot", my 2-year-old grandson came to my defense by saying, "Her no idiot, her a toy!". Thanks buddy...But to continue...

I was at Emmy's with the kiddos. They're ill with bad chest colds. They have asthma and therefore are on antibiotics, steroids, inhalers, nebulizers, vaporizers, things you have to rub into their bellies (just kidding on that last one), but you get the idea. I'm telling you, between the lot of 'em you can maybe get one and half good, functional lung.

Anyway, Em was resting and I was holding both of the kids (age 5 and 2) and I said to the 2-year-old, "do you know how to do a butterfly kiss?". He said, "Yes! I know how to do a butterfly kiss!" at which point he grabbed my face by both my cheeks, and I saw his mouth moving closer and closer to my left eye. I then felt his lips in my eye area and he began sucking on my eyelids. I'm now yelling, "HEY! HEY!" But then his sister thinks, "cool game, let's suck grandma's eyes out of their sockets". So she (who is big and strong) attacks my other eye with her cute little face and they are both now kissing, slobbering and laughing on top of both my eyes. At this point, I can actually feel their germs partying in my face as they make their way through my sinuses like a New Orleans Jazz Funeral....dancing, playing instruments, and preparing to bury themselves deep within the membranes of my nose, throat and ears to resurrect in a day or two as the beautiful infections they were born to be. But I don't care because every single minute was totally worth it. All of those giggles, all of those chubby fingers on my cheeks, every kiss, every hug-all of it was totally worth it.

When I wake up with a headache, or a stuffy nose, Imma smile and dance cause Imma remember those butterfly kisses.....

Monday, March 1, 2010


I have an interest that I've enjoyed for years and years and years. I kept it in the closet for most of my life because few, if any, shared it and because if it became known, I would be the crowned Her Royal Highness, Geekela Supreme. It's not THAT odd, but growing up in the 60s and 70s, no one else actually shared it with me and I already felt out of place so...I kept it to myself. However, because I have a daughter-in-law who also is rather enamored of such things (love you Abby), although she has maintained it at a sane level, and with the proliferation of historical novels and television series devoted to the more titillating characters from history, I can come clean and confess my relative obsession with royal blood lines. I simply love stories and anecdotes and the history of the royal houses of Europe. LOVE THEM!!! Let me explain how deeply geekified I have gotten into this royal bloodline thing. One time, my sister Judy (an epidemiologist) and I traced Queen Victoria's mutant (or was it?) hemophiliac gene through all of the major houses of Europe and Russia through her offspring and grandchildren. That's almost pathetic.

Anyway, Showtime has done this incredible job with its series on the The Tudors (irrespective of how accurate), I am most definitely enthralled even more. I'm watching the 3rd installment in the series and even Peter is fascinated. Showtime has spared no expense in the shooting of this magnificent series. The scenery, the costuming, the sets, the buildings, but more than that, this third season has the most delicious and profound writing of them all. I'm slow on the viewing of it because I've had to wait for the series to become available via you may be way ahead of doesn't matter, we all know how it turns out, right?

Henry the 8th, besides struggling constantly with his own demons (he wasn't even supposed to be the king in the 1st place, his older brother Edward was, but died prematurely while married to Catharine of Aragon, a sheroe in her own right), is reforming the Church of England and because his affections are so easily turned from one to another, his doctrine is influenced by whomever he's married to, or his grief, or his hatred. It's an amazing process to watch and Showtime has totally delivered. One big problem is the sexual content. Okay, okay, okay, I get it, Henry liked the ladies...a covert glance and a shadowy figure leaving his room can convey as much as a sweaty it!

Anyway, I'm in geek heaven. And I'm extra happy because I have a week off between semesters so I can finish this third season with relative ease and guilt free. awwww.....

Bring it on Hank....