Tuesday, February 27, 2007

EMU's silence on killing angers students

This is a difficult post for me. And no doubt, it will upset some in my family. Laura was my cousin, and as much as her death hurt us all, I'm hoping some of the things in this article will start conversations in your families. Conversations about safety - both in your homes and in the places your children call home when they leave the nest. Dorms, apartment buildings, shared houses. And take it a step further. Talk about safety at laundromats, bars and restaurants, parties and shopping centers. Dads, talk to your girls. Moms, teach your boys how to help watch over their girl friends. Print this post and use it as a starting point if you need to. OR forward the link to your students away at college. Sometimes a little fear is a good thing - if it leads to caution.

By Nardy Baeza Bickel
The Grand Rapids Press
YPSILANTI -- After Laura Dickinson's body was found in her dorm last December, Eastern Michigan University security officials began reviewing video surveillance, looking for clues as to how the 22-year-old student from Hastings died.
What they saw worried them.
Consistently, students were leaving dorm doors open and letting strangers into the residence hall after hours.
On Sunday, university staff, safety officers and housing administrators spoke to about 50 students and a handful of parents to discuss safety and tell them about murder charges filed in Dickinson's death in her Hill Hall room.
Students posted criticism of the university on Internet blogs, saying administrators kept students in the dark until Friday, when student Orange Amir Taylor III, 20, of Southfield, was arrested and charged with murder and criminal sexual conduct.
"From the student's perspective, all we were told was that there were 'hints' or suspicions of violence, but nothing for sure," said student Kayla Potter, who said she would have liked more information on the investigation. "Then we found out that they had arrested a suspect two months later."
In the meantime, administrators told students to think more about safety. Students on Sunday suggested locking outside dorm doors 24-hours-a-day, a move that would be decided by the university's Housing Council.
Students were asked to follow basic safety guidelines, such as not letting in other students, using the university's escort service when returning late at night, watching what personal information they post on the Facebook.com social networking site and locking their doors.
"Those are basic life skills you should practice no matter where you are," Public Safety Director Cindy Hall said.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fun at Lowes

Dad and Daniel went to a Lowe's workshop for kids Saturday morning. Daniel got his own protective goggles, tool apron, and when they were done, a certificate of completion and patch for the apron.

They made a wooden race car, which is right up Daniel's alley. He hammered on the wheels, sanded the body and applied stickers to create the Lowe's NASCAR. (Of course, when they got it home dad had to paint it red.) The point is, parents and kids had a morning out, the kids had a great time and learned a few things about tools, and they got to take home a semi-indestructable toy.

For Chris and Daniel, it has started a new hobby. Chris found a slightly more complicated wooden model of a truck, and he and Daniel are going to spend the next few nights working together on it.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

sleepover sleepyheads

Daniel had his first sleepover last night; he and a friend were up late playing trains and watching movies. Of course, the downside was that this afternoon we had the sleepy Daniel on our hands: cranky, whiny and in need of a nap! But the boys had a good time, and I can see this will be the first of many such events.

Gourmet? I can't even boil water

There's nothing like wielding a blowtorch in the kitchen to make you feel like a real chef. I do love to cook and my recent experience carmelizing sugar on creme brulee made me feel like a cross between Tim Allen and Julia Child. It was sort of a rush.
No sooner was I on my culinary pedestal before I fell off head first. I've always been baffled as I tried to hard boil eggs. Afterall, if you can boil water, you've got it made, I thought. But too many times I've been frustrated by gooey yolks or whites that peeled away with the shell. I even tried the "foolproof" recipe from America's Test Kitchen, but still my eggs peeled apart. Well, leave it to another power tool of sorts to set me straight. You see, my husband is a big fan of that PBS cooking show that tests recipes until perfecting them. On the show, an instant-read thermometer is frequently used to test the cooking process. After searching far and wide, and shelling out big bucks, my husband bought me one just like they use on the show for my birthday last fall. I've been using it a lot lately - testing chicken, checking the temperature of the water for our coffee and most recently as I was trying again to do the "foolproof" method of hard boiling eggs. When I thought my water was boiling, I thrust in the thermometer. It only read about 180-something degrees! No wonder my yolks were gooey in the past. Some gourmet - I couldn't even boil water!
- Liz Fabian

Friday, February 23, 2007

Make play while the sun shines

Yesterday's weather was so nice that after picking Daniel up from school we went straight to the park. It seems we weren't the only ones with that idea: when we got there he had plenty of other kids to play with. I met a few parents across the merry-go-round, and felt so much better for having soaked up some sunshine! We just might do it again today.
P.S. Don't forget to run out to Wesley UMC on Hartley Bridge Road either after work or first thing tomorrow morning. The Almost 2 New consignment sale is in full swing!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A loss for us all

My heart aches for the Lemon boys this morning, but not just for them. Middle Georgia has lost an incredible mom.
Here was a woman who worked hard in the health-care field and lived in a mobile home while sending her boys to Stratford Academy - one of the most expensive private schools in Bibb County. By all accounts, her sons are smart, well-mannered and have earned scholarships to higher education.
I pray that the loss of their mother does not mean the loss of her life lessons for these boys.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Consignment sale this weekend!

Come one, come all, to the Almost 2 New consignment sale Friday and Saturday at Wesley UMC on Hartley Bridge Road in south Bibb County. The ladies have worked hard to bring out high-quality secondhand items for our shopping pleasure. I'll see you there!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

At his leisure

I thought this morning that I would avoid the daily fight with Daniel by letting him do things his way. Sleep as late as he wanted to, play when he first woke up, come out for breakfast when he wanted, the works. Turns out I caused a bigger fight because my darling child, it turns out, is indecisive.
"I don't want bananas in my cereal." he announced.
"OK, put them in my bowl," I offered.
He did, but midway through the meal he decided he liked bananas after all.
"Can I have a banana?"
"No, when I gave you one you gave it back. So now you can't have one."
Then came time to get dressed.
"Here are your pants and jacket, pick out a shirt." (I'm no fool, if I gave him complete freedom of choice we'd be there all morning.)
"I don't want Lightning McQueen."
"Really? You love Lightning McQueen. How about your firetruck shirt?"
"I want Lightning McQueen!"
"Okay, here it is, put it on."
"I don't like red!"
(Insert mommy meltdown)
And when I call my mom, she chuckles. Because I and my sister both put her through the same seven levels of hell every day of our childhoods. It's amazing we lived to see adulthood.
Sorry, mom.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I cannot tell a lie

President's Day has been no holiday. With Faith out of school and her parents' schedules on a collision course, we had to do some juggling. I must say we have been blessed in the scheduling department for years. One of us is usually able to step in to take care of her, but today there was no way around it. Many of our regular "keepers of the Faith" were either sick, stuck somewhere else or otherwise engaged. Thank goodness she was able to spend a couple of hours with her friend across the street. But beginning the day not knowing how I was going to handle her was pretty stressful. God bless those who are looking for childcare regularly. As for today, George Washington would have wanted me to be truthful in admitting it was really a bummer not being able to bum around with my girl on her day off. Monday holidays were really special for us when I was off, too. That's the only downside of working your schedule around school - when they're off you're still on.
- Liz Fabian

Childhood, an encore presentation

Our cat let out one of those meows that can best be translated as "HELP." Our kitty, Moo Moo, wanted desperately to be rescued. It's partly my fault that Faith wanted to dress up the cat and carry him around like a baby. This weekend I rented the Disney Classic, "The Three lives of Thomasina." I had seen the 1964 movie as a child and remembered the little girl's angst at the loss of her cat. Although I couldn't recall much of the plot, I had images of the girl wandering out in the rain and becoming deathly ill as she searched for her beloved pet. This morning, Faith was toting Moo Moo in a baby blanket. She was calling, "Thomasina, Thomasina." In the movie, the young girl was fond of dressing the cat in doll clothes. So far Moo Moo has escaped that humilation - but the day is young.
Liz Fabian

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Die, flu bug, die!

It's been a rough month in our area for fighting the flu. Half my office has come down with it, I got it, gave it to Chris, who gave it back to me. Fortunately, Daniel has stayed healthy (knock, knock, knock on wood!).
So what can a poor mom do?
1: prevent. Clorox is your friend. I wash all of Daniel's clothes in color-safe bleach. They may not have that "new" look as long, but at the rate he's growing, I'm not worried about longevity. Sheets get the same treatment, and towels have always gotten the bleachworks to prevent mold. Also wipe down doorknobs, car seats and door handles, countertops and favorite toys. My favorite recent invention is the can of Clorox wipes. There's a story on Yahoo! today that says your work desk is germier (is that a word?) than the bathroom! eeew.
2: treat. I know people who have been down with this thing for a week. When I got sick, I took a dose of Theraflu and slept for 40 hours. So mom, don't mess around. If you're sick, call in the reinforcements. Stay in bed. If you try to keep doing it all, it'll take longer to get well again. And yes, I did have to learn that the hard way.
3: entertain. If it's the kids who are sick, get some of those allergy masks from the drugstore for everyone else. While you're at it, grab some cheap medical gloves so you can play "hospital" with the patients. Of course, they make cute balloons, too. This might also be the time to cave on having a tv in the kids' room. Make one room in the house the "sick" room and confine the illness as best you can. Also, this cuts down on the sheet-washing a little bit. Remeber to clorox everything from the light switch down and remember, this too, shall pass!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Blogspot finally forced me to upgrade from their Beta version, and I discovered that I had not enabled the "comments" function. All this time I thought you were all just too busy to respond to us! Thank you for all your past and future comments - we appreciate them...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Giggles in the night

I woke in the pre-dawn hours to hear Daniel laughing hysterically in his bed. What in the world was he dreaming about? Was he awake? My questions were soon answered.
He was dreaming about Thomas and the rest of the train-gang. "Go Thomas, go!" I heard him laugh. I shuffled actross the hall and peeked in: my boy was sound asleep, Thomas clutched in one hand, James in the other, grin on his face. It's good to know he has fun in his sleep, too.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Here come the brides

If proper planning can guarantee a beautiful, flawless wedding, my daughter is way ahead of the game. Thanks to a clearance rack software program entitled, "My fantasy wedding," Faith has been immersed in planning her nuptuals and designing weddings for other couples. From our computer, she has been picking out rings, designing gowns, choosing tuxedos, creating her music programs and selecting cakes. She can choose from a variety of venues such as a chapel, beach or park. The ceremony includes special vows tailored to the occasion. She chooses her wedding party, does everyone's hair and designs their gowns. Once she makes her selections from several stores and plans all the other details, she sits back and watches the event unfold. During a recent ceremony in which she fashioned herself as the bride, her gown was purple to match the bridesmaids' flowers and the tuxedos for the groomsmen. Faith had died her hair blue, but it's not clear whether she had selected something borrowed. Her groom wore a white tux with a salmon-colored ruffled shirt, and her bridesmaids were also dressed in white. Let's just hope she gets this out of her system. If not, I might have to select a straight jacket for my mother of the bride attire.
- Liz

Friday, February 09, 2007

Still Mmm, Mmm, good - my bad

The other night it was just going to be Faith and me for supper. I hit the grocery store after work and thought I'd try to make a special meal that she would like. What did I love as a child? Spaghetti and meatballs. That would be hit, I thought. So I purchased what I needed and headed home. I'll admit I was taking some shortcuts by not making my own sauce and buying packaged meatballs from the meat deparment, but I wasn't prepared for the rejection I got. I set the table with red placemats and cut some fresh camelias to match. I arranged them with some daffodils in a heart-shaped vase and got out Faith's "fancy glass" that lights up. When she came home from a friend's house, I told her the good news. "Faith, I made you a special dinner - spaghetti and meatballs," I told her. "Aw," she said, "I wanted to finish my soup." The soup she was talking about was some leftover Campbell's double noodle soup she insisted I save for her. What an insult, I thought. Faith didn't want to disappoint me but I learned there were extenuating circumstances. "But Mom, spaghetti reminds me of when I threw up at Paige's," Faith told me. Enough said. Bring on the soup.

an hour's enough

It turns out an hour of sleep (and large doses of caffeine) got me through the day yesterday. And Daniel and I actually had a GOOD day - no fights at all! I attended story time and Valentine-making at his school, then we walked the Wellston trail to Fountain park. He was disappointed that there weren't any other kids there, but he and the dog played for a while, then we walked home. He amused himself with trains while I cooked dinner, then dad took over. It helped that our canine guest had been relocated. Unfortunately, it turns out he escaped his new home (if anyone finds a rat terrier wandering the streets of Warner Robins, he really is homeless).
So today it's back to normal - fighting about what clothes he's going to wear, taking 45 minutes to eat cheerios with a banana, and the agonizing decision over what to bring for show n tell. Ah, the rhythm of parenthood.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

an hour of sleep

So how's a mom supposed to function on an hour of sleep?
Events conspired against me last night, and in spite of going to bed at a reasonable hour, I didn't fall asleep until almost midnight. Then Daniel crawled in the bed at 1:30. Plus, we have a temporary canine houseguest who insisted on sleeping in the bed, too. This angered the cat, and the fur flew. So I was kicking a rat terrier off my feet every fifteen minutes. Daniel's digging his toes into my back (note to self: time for a toenail trim!) and the next thing I know it's 5 a.m. and hubby's alarm is going off.
Sigh. To top it off, I remembered this morning that I'm supposed to be at school at 2:30 today for Valentine-making. Better get to work!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

doing it himself

I let Daniel dress himself most days. That means he gets to pick out pants, then a shirt. There's usually heavy negotiations about the shirt, because he inevitably wants to wear his "Lightning McQueen" or "Thomas" t-shirts and I want him to wear something warmer. Regardless, I'm proud of the days when he does it all himself, even if he doesn't match. Red sweatpants and orange sweatshirt? Okay. Camo pants and Thomas shirt? Okay. Shoes on the wrong feet? Sometimes I don't even notice. Because let's face it, these small steps toward independence are more important in idea than execution. We'll work on the fine points later - like high school.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

top teens

If you haven't seen the Telegraph's "Fresh Ink" page lately, grab a copy of today's paper. Kendall Dreyer has one of the best columns I've read in a while, and tells the story of a good group of kids. Her tale gives hope to those of us adults jaded enough to be seriously worried about future generations. Kudos to her parents.
Also featured on the page could be the next REM - a local band paying their dues and playing music they love without taking the "American Idol" shortcut. "King of the Juice" fans have an edge in that the band members seem to care more about their music than fame - pretty smart for a group of high school gentlemen.
The kids featured on "Fresh Ink" - and the kids who put the page together - are the ones we should watch as future leaders of our society, and thank our lucky stars.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mr. Clingy

Little feet tip-toed into our room early Sunday morning. "Has daddy gone to work?" Daniel pseudo-whispered at my side.
"No baby, he's right here."
"Are we staying home today?" Hope filled his little voice.
"I'm right here, son, and we're going to hang out all day." At the sound of dad's voice, Daniel scrambled in between us and snuggled down into the covers.
It's like that some mornings, soft and sweet and easy. Then mornings like today, Daniel doesn't want to get up, is sad dad's already gone to work, and doesn't want me to leave him at school.
"I'm still sleepy, momma."
"My tummy hurts."
"I don't want to go to school, I want to be sick."
He learned that if he's sick, he gets to hang out with mom and dad all day. And while I so appreciate this time when he actually wants to be with us, school and work are non-negotiable, and that's a hard lesson to learn when you're four.
So I spend a little extra time with him in the classroom and dad reads a couple of extra stories at night, and we all do the best we can to reassure the boy.

Tearful triage

There's nothing like hearing your child's scream to get your attention. The other day, Faith was playing outside on her Barbie four-wheeler when we heard her cries. She was holding her head as she approached the back door in tears. All she could manage to say was that she fell. We could see there was already a place on her head that seemed to be swelling. With a sequence of questions, we tried to figure out how she hurt herself, while at the same time we were quickly assessing the nature of her injury. It turns out she was playing on a piece of exercise equipment when the handles hit her in the head and knocked her down. A short time under an ice pack in her room and she was back to normal. Then last night, she screamed for us from the bathtub. What in the world could have unleashed such a desperate cry for help? Turns out, she had turned on the faucet to fill the tub, and couldn't shut it off. She was frantic as the water level was rising near the top of the tub. Daddy turned off the water and life returned to normal. It's amazing how fast your heart can race from a state of tranquility to near panic.

- Liz Fabian

Thursday, February 01, 2007

For whom the bell tolls

Tardy slips emerged from the crevices of her bookbag in what seemed to be an unending string. One, two, three, four, five, SIX... Who knew? Just every administrator at school, her teachers and just about everyone - but her parents. Sure, it's always been a chore getting Faith out the door on time, but somehow we thought we were squeaking by as Matt hasn't had to take her by the office but a couple of times. We didn't realize she wasn't hitting morning assembly before the bell. There are so many things that can go wrong in the morning. Where did she leave her shoes? How can we fix her hair? Where is her bookbag? It's been even harder now that I'm not home to get breakfast going and snacks packed. Tomorrow is another theme-dress day and I've already laid out Faith's clothes. Let's hope she's safe before the bell.

- Liz Fabian

playdate planning

Daniel misses his friends on the weekends and it shows. He's baan asking me for months if this classmate or that one can come to his house.
So in an effort to keep him entertained and make some new acquaintances of my own, I have invited three of the children he talks about most, and their moms, over for a playdate this weekend.
That means I've had the guys cleaning up the back yard, I've been keepind a closer eye on the disaster in Daniel's room, and I'm planning a Wal-Mart run for the industrial-size box of Goldfish and juice boxes. I'll let you know how it goes.


Reading back, I realize I erred: Dinner By Design is on Russell Parkway in Warner Robins between Kimberly and Moody roads. Mental error on my part.