Friday, October 30, 2015

October 30

Our sweet baby...our fiercely intelligent, kind, patient, wickedly funny baby is 15 today! And how brave -- this school year she held her breath and decided she was going to overcome her painfully bashful nature: she joined Model UN, Ecology Club, Latin Club, Theater, Medical Health Explorers, and Key Club (for whom she spends her weekends volunteering for various causes).  We have always been proud of our Caroline, and every year we know her we have even more reason to be grateful for her. We love you & we are so proud of you, Caro! Happy Birthday! ❤

Monday, September 21, 2015

We Don't Do Tame

"Caro-Lion, why did you put the yogurts away all willy nilly"?
"They were NINJA STARS!"

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Kitty Hawk, NC

Looking out her window, soaking up impressions of Kitty Hawk for her AP Human Geography project. School hasn't started yet, but Kid has.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Oh myyyyyy. Kid's first driving lesson. I knew this day would come.  I knew it, but I couldn't feel it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Baboons, Plows, and Pudding

My family are legendary when it comes to hearing (and singing back) lyrics that are completely wrong. My mom thought Credence Clearwater Revival was singing "Theeeere's a baboon on the right!", and I've been caught singing with the Rolling Stones "Hey, YOU! Get off of my plow!". This morning, I hear Caro singing to Floyd: "How can you have any pudding if you don't kick yer feet!"
Them there's the Myrick/Hall girls. Yup.

Friday, February 6, 2015


I salt-oil-scrubbed my hands, and Caro just told me my hands "feel like amphibians".

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Day

For Throwback Day today, Caro said she was tempted to wear her pyjamas to school and call it "throwback from this morning when I was still in bed & happy".

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sweet Caroline

Caroline, this week has been a big week for you. Monday night was the formal banquet for graduating 8th-graders, and last night was the promotion ceremony. You hadn't mentioned it to us, so imagine our delight when you were presented with several academic awards, including the Presidential Academic Achievement award. You made us so proud -- did you hear us whistling and cheering for you?

 And now, tomorrow is your last day of middle school! I can hardly believe that my baby is a mere summer away from high school. Tonight is your 8th grade prom, and despite so many of your peers scrambling desperately to find "dates" for it, you have decided to attend solo, like the confident young woman you are. I know you're going to have good time, dancing, socializing, laughing, and belonging entirely to yourself. I can hardly wait to post the photos of you in your first prom dress, but in the meantime, here you are in the dress you wore to the banquet. You felt beautiful, and it showed. As one of our friends pointed out, you are beginning to bloom. My sweet girl, your dad and I love you.

Made you laugh!
 The joy in your face warms me.

A moment without glasses.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Checking in.

My Caroline. You're 13 now, and I can hardly believe it. It sometimes startles me how fast you're growing up, and I'm continually aware that we haven't got much time left before you'll stretch your wings and fly away. I just hope when you go, you'll stay near enough to home that we'll see you more than just on holidays. I cannot imagine life without your bright smile, your insightful comments, your sparkling laughter, and your astute calm and perspective.

I haven't been good about keeping up with your blog lately, but that's partly because I've been so concerned with just spending time with you. Watching favorite shows with you (you love Sherlock, Elementary, Grey's Anatomy and Dexter), reading books with you and comparing notes, laughing with you about life's daily comedies, mulling over your great ideas about the world and the happenings in it (you're a philosopher in your heart), and just watching you become who you're going to be.

Since I don't have any specific incidences to discuss this time, I wanted to at least post some photos from our lives lately.

I love you. I love you. I love you, my brilliant, kind-hearted, genius-humored girl.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ender's Game, Reviewed by Caroline

At 13, Caro already has voice and tone in her writing, as well as an exceptional grasp on analysis. She wrote this review for her gifted language arts class, and her teacher liked it so much, he had it sent to the school paper for publishing as an example for the other students. Every day she does or says something to be proud of -- EVERY DAY -- but today can I be obnoxious and brag?

Book Report: Ender’s Game
Editors’ Note
This is a exemplar book report written by Caroline H. in Mr. Key’s Humanities class and edited by Michelle G.

In a futuristic Earth bound society, only one person is capable of stopping the alien “buggers.” Enter Ender Wiggin, the most cunning and brilliant military strategist in the world, and also an 8-year-old child.
Orson Scott Card weaves a story so intricately balanced that the reader is swept away by even the slightest nuance in the plot. Instead of overlooking minor details that might be skipped in many other books the reader notices. The details make the reader feel tremendously involved in the plot, making the imagery vivid and stunning in front of the reader’s very eyes. Although the book is mostly devoid of color or happiness, the overall mood retains a hopeful feel, and carries the reader on a wave of crisp language and brilliant imagination.

Card’s masterpiece, Ender’s Game, caught the attention of the public quickly, and for good reason. Ender’s Game was a new kind of science fiction back in 1979, one that beckoned to readers. No famous science fiction writer of the time had even come close the Card’s idea of an advanced society, which left the book original and ahead of its time.

Published in the 1970’s at the close of the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, Ender’s Game quite possibly represented the war itself. The book was written by an American author from an American viewpoint. Card uses “the humans” (suggesting that the Soviets were not humans like everybody else) in the book, whom displayed reason, intelligence and a large amount of willpower and compassion to represent the Americans in the Cold War. By the same stroke of insight, one can see where he used the antagonists of the book, the “buggers,” an alien species who, in Card’s brief explanation were seemingly emotionless, painless, dangerous killing machines, devoid of compassion or a basic sense of moral justice, to represent the Soviet Union.

It would seem that the buggers/Soviets cared only about pride, honor and conquering the humans/Americans, which was the view from an anti- Soviet Union perspective. Another example of bias against the Soviet Union should be more obvious to even the least perceptive of readers, which is that of the actual references to the Soviet Union in the book and their involvement with Ender’s Game’s “fictional” world politics. The Soviets in the book had a tight fisted grip on trade and technology, and a wish to destroy the main character because of reasons not clearly stated in the book, as if implying yet again that the Soviet Union was altogether a terrible country to be feared and who frequently targeted and attacked people (especially our country’s young children) without provocation. This book is actually an example of anti- Soviet propaganda.

A book one might compare to Ender’s Game would be the timeless novel Animal Farm. In Animal Farm there are political representations as well, and is written from another anti- Soviet Union perspective. Using farmyard animals, Animal Farm relays the Soviet public’s view on current political issues and military figureheads and personnel.

Ender’s Game is really about the Cold War, but even from xenophobic literature comes both a moral and immoral undercurrent. In Ender’s Game, besides the Soviet Union being very, very bad, the themes are of a positive nature. The other themes are that of human resilience, determination and leadership. These are expressed through the struggles that are faced head on by the main character, Ender, and the people he encounters on his struggle to greatness. This book is an A-List book for the following reasons: Ender’s Game is the recipient of two awards, the Hugo Award, and the Nova Award. Ender’s Game is also on nearly every A-List book list in the world because of its imagery, imagination and fabulous writing style. It was also highly progressive for its time in many ways, including that of women’s rights. In the book women hold the same positions in government and other non-knitting committee occupations as men, which was quite uncommon for the time. In 1979 there was still a great deal of discrimination in the workplace against women, and it was uncommon for a science fiction book with an American male author to be a sponsor of women’s rights.

Ender’s Game is a fabulous book with great detail, but a lot of xenophobic propaganda. Even though the internal messaging was not great, the writing style was inspired and the scenes vivid. Ender’s Game will continue to amaze.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wonders! Miracles! Deception for Souls!

On leaving the base exchange, Caroline noticed a poster that read: "Wonders! Miracles of Science! Come join us for scientific experiments and family fun with Dean Ortner!" Then at the bottom, with her Super Spidey powers, she detected in tiny letters, "Sponsored by the Kirtland AFB Chapel"

She turned to her dad and whispered satirically, "I suspect treachery!"

Yes, treachery and trickery indeed. Let us pray.

Monday, February 4, 2013


This past weekend we went hiking in the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. Caroline chattered away the whole time, as always -- she saves it up, apparently, because her teachers always complain she's too quiet in class. Spending the weekend with her and Calvin, laughing and talking and exploring natural wonders was such a relaxing way to spend our free time. Here are some photos of the trip.

Friday, February 1, 2013

She's Got Your Number, Draper.

   Commissary day. Caroline was helping me do the grocery shopping, and we were almost finished when I realized I'd forgotten to pick up peanuts eight aisles back. I explained to Caro what kind to get and asked if she'd run back to the snack aisle and get them for me.  She cheerfully ran off, always happy to help.

   I finished the final two aisles, and still she hadn't returned, so I went to the bakery for the breads and finished that. Still no Caroline. I was just about to go find her when she came back, breathless.

"What took so long? I was about to come find you."

   "Sorry, Mom. I got distracted by the snack foods, and the more I looked the more I was struck dumb by the sheer amount of dishonest advertising! Snack companies think we're so easy, don't they!"

How do I tell her that almost everyone falls for it?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Watch Out For Big Brother Google.

We were on our way home from Arizona yesterday when from the back seat Caroline spoke up.

"Mom, Dad, I've been thinking about something..."

"Yeah? What?"

"Well, I just think people should be reminded not to scratch their butts when they're outside."


"Yes, a lot of people may not know this, but Google Maps might be taking pictures from their satellites at just that moment."
And then she added thoughtfully, "No one wants to be immortalized as a butt-scratcher."

And How am I Supposed to Title THIS?!

Neither Calvin nor I  heard Caroline get up early, so we weren't aware of having an audience while we were canoodling in the hallway (What can I say? He's irresistible!) until we heard an irritated throat clearing, followed by, "EXCUSE me! When you two are finished with this embarrassing display of affection, maybe one of you could teach me to make scrambled eggs...?"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Crystal Ball of Development

First thing this morning:

"Mom, can you foresee a possibility of my ever having actual hips?"


Sunday, July 31, 2011


Caroline was walking around the house practicing her 'roar'.

Except it didn't sound like a roar.

"Caroline, it sounds like you're throwing up."

"No it doesn't!"

"Yes, it does."

She rolls her eyes, "Yeah, but it sounds like I'm throwing up AWESOME NOISE!"

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Difference

So Bin Laden is dead.

I told Caroline the news this morning after she woke up and, despite her being pretty familiar already with the players and events of the war that has lasted her entire life, this led to our summing up together, for converation's sake, the history behind the action taken by our brave special forces yesterday.

At the end of our discussion and summary, I asked her how she felt about this event. Her answer made me sit down and shut up.

"Mom, I'm glad he's gone and I know we had to do it and I'm glad he can't ever hurt anyone else. But I still don't think I will ever like the idea of celebrating and dancing and cheering over someone's death. Even his death. I'm just sad he lived a bad life and hurt so many people."

I feel humbled by her lack of hate. She is a better person than I am. Her entire life has been lived under the shadow of this war. Her father's employment has everything to do with it. She sees hate and fear and glorification of vengeance on a daily basis in our community. She regularly hears applause at the idea of retribution and I admit I haven't been innocent of this myself. And yet, she has managed to maintain her own ideas of what is right; she still recognizes the difference between a pragmatic resolve to end evil action and just plain bloodlust.

I can't believe this kid is ten.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Looking Forward to the Day She Doesn't Have to Color In the Lines

Sometimes I let Caroline skip school and instead bring her to school with me. She loves UNM, I love hanging out with her, and my professors always make her welcome. It's a treat we indulge in once in awhile.

Yesterday, between my morning and afternoon classes I took her for lunch at the Student Union. We bought our food and went outside to sit at the tables in the plaza so we could soak up the sun and listen to the music; there is always music at UNM, sometimes guitar players or a capella singers and sometimes an actual DJ playing for some charity or other. This time the music was provided by a DJ from the Queer-Straight Alliance. They were drawing attention to one of their favorite causes of late: anti-bullying. So, as one can imagine, the plaza was filled with loud, bass-heavy club beats and techno, and there were a lot of colorfully dressed, colorful-haired dancers dancing in unison all over the plaza and trying to pull passersby in to dance with them. It was a good time, in short, and very entertaining.

But I'm used to seeing this. It's rare to walk on my campus and not hear music of some sort, or to hear speakers on megaphones drawing attention to this or that social or political issue. I don't think much of it anymore, other than to think how fortunate I am to go to such a colorful and relaxed school where the majority of the students are concerned about the world at large.

Caroline isn't used to it, though. She took one look at the dancers with their feathers, beads, short-shorts and exuberant attitudes and said, "Mom, your school isn't ANYTHING like mine. You're like free-range chickens!"

"Free-range chickens?"

"Yes! At my school, we can practically hear the scraping of the metal blades that are coming to grind up the chicks that put a foot out of line!"

Sometimes she surprises me with her astute observations, and I couldn't be more pleased that she's not fooled into thinking that elementary school is how all of her life should be. A willing-conformist, this kid is not.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Exception To Her Eloquence

"Mom? Did you take my glass? I wasn't finished yet. I think you forgot your etickety."

"My 'etickety'? What's etickety?"

"You know, ETICKETY! That book you always say you're going to send Mrs. Brodmerkel because she's rude."


"Well, it LOOKS like ETICKETY."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today She Realizes Moms Don't Know EVERYTHING

"Mom, I read an article on this sheep that was cloned. Her name was Dolly. Mom? Why did they have to clone a sheep named DOLLY? That's a silly name! Why couldn't it be a sheep named BOB?"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Circle of Life

This morning around six, Calvin and I woke up to the sound of howling, terror-stricken crying.

"Oooooowww ooohh oowww!" Over and over and over......

We immediately thought, "Caroline!" and we flew out of bed, hearts pounding, sprinting in the direction of her room to rescue her from whatever in hell was ripping her limbs out of their sockets.

But as I passed our bedroom window, something caught my eye and I turned my head just long enough to see what it was.

We had a coyote in our back yard, not 15 feet from the window, tearing the hell out of ....SOMEthing...

That's when I put the breaks on Calvin. Caroline, having woken to the same clamor was already moving and close on the heels of our cowardly cat who was fleeing toward the safety of Calvin's pillow.

It didn't take but a second to enlighten all of us (except the cat, who was unhinged and a goner) on what had been howling and had now ceased the unholy caterwauling. The unfortunate creature was now in the backyard being ripped to shreds by a ferociously hungry coyote.

We watched in fascination for a long time as the coyote finished every little scrap of the hare, including the bones. Did you know that rabbits and hares cry and scream loudly when they're about to die?

As of now the coyote has gone, having nimbly lept back over the wall. The only evidence that there was a chase, a struggle, a snuffing and a feast is the few sad little tufts of fur blowing forlornly about the yard.

This was an opportune time to remind Caroline of how nature works. She took it well when reminded that coyotes have babies that need feeding, too.

And as for myself and Calvin...this served as a reminder that we actually do live in the southwest. The snow days, dead cacti, and subzero temperatures had begun to erase that knowledge from our minds.

Calvin was quick enough to grab the point-and-shoot but the photos of the coyote are barely discernable. I will post what I can salvage, soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'll Take Him In XS.

"Mom, Ryan Reynolds is cute. I wish he came in my size." --Caroline, after spotting the actor on the cover of a magazine in the store.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Thought I Got Rid O'That Guy.

Caroline is following me through the commissary, close on my tail, refusing to come around where I can see her.

She says she's my conscience.

My conscience giggles a lot.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Genie Heard Me!

Today, Caroline came in from her weekly hike with her dad, and as she was taking off her coat said, “Mom, I’m beginning to understand the benefits of taking a nap and I’m growing very fond of them.”

My fellow parents, try not to be too jealous.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Word of the Day: Independence

Caroline has the flu. The vomiting began around midnight last night and lasted until around ten this morning, when of course there was nothing left to throw up, and the poor kid was just heaving miserably.

But sometime around 1am as she was, as she calls it, "performing the technicolor yawn", and Calvin and I were hovering behind her, concerned. I was waiting with a towel to wipe her face and Calvin was holding her glass of water.

Looking back, maybe this attentiveness was a little much though, because this kid does not like to be coddled.

She turned around between heaves and said, "What is this? A spectator sport?".

All right. Point taken.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time To Sharpen My Game

Me: Caroline, don't bounce that ball in here.

1 minute later: bouncing sound from in the hallway.

Me: Caroline, I asked you not to bounce that in here.

Caroline: You said not to bounce it IN THE LIVING ROOM.

Me: No, I meant the house. Caroline: Well, YOU LEFT A LOOPHOLE!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Should I Worry?

Caroline has taken all 400+ of her books off her library shelves and has stacked them in numerous skyscraping piles around her room.

Calvin asked her what she's doing.

"Don't worry, Dad. I'm sorting my books by genre."


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Last night:

"Caroline, it's nearly eleven. Why aren't you asleep yet?"

"I can't sleep, Mom. My head is filled up and I can't stop thinking."

Sympathetically, "Oh, I'm sorry, you need to talk? What is it you're thinking about?"