Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just keep swimming

Last year at this time, my life couldn't have felt much worse. I was in an indescribable amount of pain, though I did try to put it into words.

In some ways, the past year has been the worst of my life. But in other ways, it's been phenomenal. We had a new baby, and have watched Ada grow into the most incredible, wonderful, surprising little girl. We've watched Ellie make some amazing developmental leaps, including potty training! We've refinanced our house down to a 15 year loan, and eliminated all but the necessary debt (fixed mortgage, extremely low-rate minivan loan, and consolidated student loans). We've forged new friendships and taken on new roles in our communities.

We've both adjusted our work lives: Paul to a more family-friendly job and me to staying home full-time and writing more. I've been talking with magazines about some pieces, and I even have published pieces in a couple of actual books. This part is difficult for me, because I am paralyzed by my fear of failure, which often prevents me from submitting and sometimes even keeps me from writing.

Not least, Paul and I have worked very very hard on our relationship, and while we're not perfect, we're in a much better place than I could possibly have imagined. In my wildest dreams and all that.

Here we are, then and now:
Halloween 2006

There are no pictures of me from last October, except for ones in which part of me is captured in a shot of Ellie, but she's adorable enough for all of us.

Halloween 2007

By day we're Mummy, Deady, and two Little Ghouls. By night we're Nemo the clown fish, Crush the baby sea turtle, and two crabs. "Yeah, I saw him, Bluey, but I'm not telling you where he went, and there's no way you're gonna make me."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Celebrity Ego

I really like Oprah, and I really like Ellen. In fact, I often watch Ellen; one Tivo'ed episode lasts for quite a few lazy nursing sessions when Ada's feeling nap-nursey but doesn't want to sleep on her own.

But, like so many other celebrities, they have so much money and so many people giving them exactly what they want, telling them what they want to hear, that it's unsurprising when they lose a little perspective over time.

A couple of years ago, Oprah spent some time on her show and in the media talking about a recent and shocking experience with racism. (A nasty, but funny version is here.) The Washington Post piece does a good job of explaining the situation as I see it, especially the last line: "But after-hours shopping is a favor, a perk. Not a right. There's nothing wrong with a store saying not tonight, madame, as long as the reason doesn't have anything to do with skin color. It's okay to say no to a celebrity, even when her name is Oprah."

Unless the security guard or sales clerk at the door said or did something that suggested that race was a factor in their decision not to let Winfrey into the store after hours - something that the security video does not show - then why assume that race was the reason she was kept out? It's hard for me to imagine the sense of entitlement that goes into assuming that you'd be let into any store you want, in any country, even if they're closed.

More recently is the situation with Ellen and the adopted dog.

I have an adopted rescue pug. When we decided that we wanted to adopt a pet from the local pug rescue, I filled out an application and submitted it. Lots of people want pure-bred dogs, so our name was put onto a waiting list. After our application was considered, a representative from the rescue group came over to do a home visit and ensure that our home would be a good place for a rescue pug. It was made very clear to me that if - for any reason - we couldn't keep Lizzi, we were to contact Midwest Pug Rescue first. This is because:
- the organization is responsible for insuring the safety of the animals
- there is a waiting list for dogs
- the organization needs to know where the dogs are, be able to check up on them, and ensure that the dogs won't end up back in the shelter system

Ellen's sense of entitlement became apparent when she kept saying that the "situation still has not been resolved," when, I believe, it certainly had. The rescue organization had taken back the dog and had given him to another family - a family who'd passed the rescue organization's screening policies and had been waiting for a dog.

"Resolved," to Ellen, apparently means getting her way. In this case: violating a signed contract, and taking the dog away from its current home and family. Nice.

Celebrities do a lot of good with their money and their influence. But of those to whom much is given, much is also required. Trying to keep a sense of perspective is a good place to start.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pizza Party

Yesterday was Ellie's (somewhat belated) 4th birthday party. If there's anything she loves more than Finding Nemo, it's pizza. And I'm a huge theme person (if you hadn't noticed) so I went all pizza with the party.

The invitations were pizza themed. And when the kids arrived, they sat at the dining room table to decorate pizza placemats and party hats with stickers of common toppings.

Then I brought out the Boboli shells and bowls of sauce, cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers, so that the kids could make their own pizzas. While those were baking, they all played outside, then downstairs in the basement playroom.

After eating pizza to their hearts' content, the kids watched Ellie open presents and we sang some of her favorite group participation songs (stirring soup, I see the moon, these are grandma's glasses, etc.). And then we had cake, or, more precisely, cupcakes. Ellie doesn't much care for cake, but she has a mild cupcake obsession. This made a slight decorating challenge for me, but the end result was well worth it. The pepperoni are Fruit Roll-Up, the green peppers are Dots, and the cheese is shredded coconut with yellow food coloring.

First birthday: mini castle

Second birthday: Dora's Backpack

Third birthday: pug dog

Fourth birthday: pizza

The take-home gifts this year were aprons and pizza-related stickers instead of gift bags. This was a relatively simple party, but I don't know how people do this without two parents, two grandparents, and an aunt in town to help out. I can't even decorate a cake without at least two other adults hovering over my shoulder and giving me encouragement every step of the way.

Now that it's a couple of weeks after Ellie's 4th birthday, here's where she is. (I have a 4 year old! Unbelieveable.) She's happy to tell you that she's 4 now, if you ask. We didn't bother taking a spare outfit with us to church today; why bother? Her last real accident was . . . I'm not sure when. Nearly a week ago, I suppose. She's still in a pull-up overnight and for naps, but she's sometimes waking up dry so I have hope that we'll be able to give those up eventually too.

At Ellie's 4-year-checkup last week, her pediatrician was amazed. She kept calling Ellie a superstar, in every way. She's in the 95th percentile for height and weight for children her age with Down syndrome, and other than a little belly (especially during birthday month) is in great physical condition. She's all about the pre-reading skills, and apparently we need to be working on reading more seriously; the pediatrician thinks she's ready. She can count. She's never had a serious ear infection, and is, overall, a remarkably healthy kid.

I've come far enough to say, without hesitation, that we're very lucky parents.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More on Feminists and Cheating

Something to know about me: my parents are both psychologists, and my youngest sister is a social worker and marriage and family therapist. I strenuously reject any vocational callings in this area myself, but the tendencies are there.

Most people who divorce because of adultery regret it later. I've seen statistics at least as high as 80% for this, but my search for a definitive source took me to some scary places (You are a sinner if you divorce your abusive husband! If he hits you, it's because you were committing a sin by not obeying him!) so I've decided to abandon my search.

There are serial adulterers. Statistically, they are a minority, and there are lots and lots of people who do it once, in a perfect storm sort of situation (something going on in the marriage relationship that provided space for the affair to happen, plus stuff going on at work, plus personal issues in play, and so forth). That doesn't excuse adultery, but it does mean that there are lots of people - men and women - who might have an affair once and never again. Once they've recognized the patterns, the problems, the issues, they can address them and insure that the same thing doesn't happen again - if committing to a monogamous marriage is what they want.

Some marriages are based in love, some in lust, some in trust, some in friendship, some in companionship, some in shared passions, whatever. A great marriage might include elements of all of those things. But where the emphasis falls at any given time might vary throughout the marriage. And a relationship might have value beyond the obvious.

And what "an affair" means can vary widely from relationship to relationship. I know someone who believes that he has had an affair, though no one else was ever involved. This person placed too much importance on something outside of the marriage, at the expense of the marriage, and called that adultery. In this case, it was money/work. Another couple might not feel the same way about the same situation. And other couples have open relationships, where extra-marital sex is acceptable. Who's to judge, from the outside?

The words, the words, they begin to blur on the screen and I need to sleep. I'll close with two anecdotes. First: while stumbling around online, I found a piece by a psychologist who suggested that Hillary Clinton is conflicted by being such a powerful woman, so she feels that she must act like a doormat at home. How offensive! How reductive! How presumptive!

Second: I once had a friend who seemed to be the boss of her partner in every way. But she confessed to me that this was the comfortable public face of their relationship; things were very different in their private lives.

And I'll let that stand, rather than resorting to the obvious platitudes about judgement.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Feminists and Cheating

This is, I believe, the first time I've blogged about the Clintons' marriage, but it's probably not the last.

Senator Clinton on her marriage:
I know the truth of my life and of my marriage, my relationship and partnership, my deep abiding friendship with my husband. It's been enormously supportive to me through most of my life. Now obviously we've had challenges as everybody in the world knows. “But I never doubted that it was a marriage worth investing in even in the midst of those challenges,” she says, “and I'm really happy that I made that decision. Again, not a decision for everybody. And I think it's so important for women to stand up for the right of women to make a decision that is best for them.
She's right, of course, with that last sentence. And yet, what have women - what have feminists - had to say about Clinton's decision not to divorce her husband?

Many on all sides of the ideological divide have suggested that the only reason Clinton stayed married was because she wanted to stay "politically viable." OK, she's a public person; speculation is expected. Ugly, perhaps, but expected. (My personal speculation is that this marriage is - and probably all marriages are - more complicated than that.)

Some feminists have suggested that it's wrong, always wrong, for a woman to stay with a man who's had an affair.

This essay is typical of some of the comments I've read:
If Hillary acts as she does -- stands by her man -- because she loves him or her daughter too much, then her claim to being a feminist is open to serious question. . . . If feminists and the women's movement feel let down by the present sexual scandal, they have both Clintons to blame, not just Bill Clinton.
Right! Because being a feminist means demanding a simple, perfect relationship. And if your relationship becomes - gasp! - complicated, then you must end it immediately to maintain your feminist credentials.

I'm not here to defend whether or not Hillary Clinton is a feminist, or a liberal. I'm simply pointing out the ignorance and privilege of suggesting that anyone outside of a marriage has the right to determine its value to the partners. [Fortunately, it seems that feminists do get to be happily married, after all.]

It all goes back to the argument of choice. Some choices aren't feminist, even though those choices might be made by feminists. The choice to shave one's armpit hair, for example, is not a feminist choice, but it's a choice that I - a feminist! - make several times a week.

I'm not willing to put marriage in that bucket. I think that marriages are complicated things. I think that "adultery" can vary in definition from relationship to relationship (Does it have to be sex? What if it's virtual sex? What if it's an intense emotional connection only? What if it's a serious commitment to a non-human other, like work or sports? What if it's a serial physical act without emotional attachment?)

And I'm not willing to look at this marriage from way outside and say: she's an idiot for staying. She can't be a feminist because she stayed. Any woman who stays with any man who cheats is a doormat.

Ignorance informs comments like that. Ignorance about the myriad dynamics that go into a relationship.

I don't know the truth of what goes on in the Clintons' marriage, or even in my best friend's marriage. I know what they claim to be true, and I can believe them or not. I don't know if any couple should stay together or divorce.

I choose to let the people involved relationships make that decision for themselves.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Officially a Big Girl

“At what age were you/your kids potty trained?”

When I talk to people about having a daughter with Down syndrome, ages always factor significantly into the conversation. Although we expected these things to come much, much later- if ever - my daughter talked and walked when she was 1, knew her letters and numbers at 3, and was potty trained . . .

Some of our friends have different approaches to potty training than I do, and that’s fine. Certainly there is room for different opinions here. But until Ellie was able to tell me when she needed to go, walk to the potty herself, pull her pants up and down herself, and go days at a time without accidents, I didn’t consider her potty trained.

In fact, I decided not to put Ellie in big girl underpants until I thought she was ready to be nearly accident-free. She’s been comfortable using the potty since she was 18 months old. That’s 2-1/2 years, folks, that she remained in diapers after learning to use the potty. But consistency has been our big problem: she gets distracted and doesn’t remember to tell us when she needs to potty.

Also, it took a long time for her pull her own pants on and off; unlike many toddlers and preschoolers, she has never been interested in self-dressing or even dressing her dolls, so potty time remained a parent-help-required experience.

Another big hurdle has been parental reluctance. Neither Paul nor I were excited about consistently taking Ellie to the potty every hour for days on end, so we didn’t. There were huge benefits to us in this period. It’s lovely to be told once or twice a day when our daughter needs to go potty (no more poopy diapers!) and we could then change wet ones at our convenience. I got to avoid most public bathrooms and run errands or attend public events without patronizing horrible conveniences like the ubiquitous Johnny-on-the-Spot.

Did I mention that Ellie BM trained herself over a year ago? We've had very few poopy diapers since then, and absolutely no BM accidents at all since we moved to big girl underpants several weeks ago.

Eventually, for all of us, it was time to force progress. I found a book whose system I was comfortable with. It’s research-based, and was designed in the 1970s by psychologists working with institutionalized and severely developmentally disabled adults. (The book is also very much a product of its time, so consider yourselves forewarned.) It was then adapted for use with typical children, with an appendix added on for dealing with children with disabilities (this was the 70's; they use the "r" word). “Success” is measured by a child who recognizes the need to go, takes down own pants, goes, wipes, pulls up pants, empties potty bowl into toilet, and washes hands independently.

Interestingly, this was the same book my mom used to potty train me. She found it enormously frustrating – though it worked – and she pitched it rather than using the same approach with my younger sisters.

I was 2, by the way. Ellie was 3.

It took more than a day, and I still help out as needed, but she meets my criteria for being officially potty trained.

We’re so proud of you, Ellie.

Potty Training in Less than a Day by Azrin and Foxx

Friday, October 19, 2007

Glad to Meetcha

I've been active in online communities for many years, participating in email listservs until I discovered online discussion boards 7 years ago, and began blogging 3 years ago.

Lots of people from my online communities meet up from time to time. I've not been really into that. At national conventions and local meetings, I never made the effort to introduce myself to online personas from my listserv days. I attended exactly one bulletin board meet up ever (with two other women at a local coffee shop mid afternoon, a very low-key affair). And I haven't sought out many blogger interactions, either.

I have no idea why. I'm certainly not one of those people who thinks that online friendships aren't real; I know better than that. And I present myself as honestly as I can in my writing, but it's still a big leap to go from considered words on a screen to face-to-face interaction.

I've been reading Moreena, from Falling Down is Also a Gift, and now, The Wait and the Wonder. And, as is the way with these online things, I felt like I really knew her. I really cared. Even in that odd, one-sided sort of way that online relationships (and celebrity watching, and book reading, etc.) can foster. But if one of your friends were really sick, you'd bring over a casserole, right?

While Annika was in the hospital in Chicago a couple of years ago, I was in Chicagoland too, visiting family. So I put together a care package for Moreena - lots of people were sending things to Annika, but I've briefly been a PICU mom, and I figured that Moreena could use a few things for herself too - and took it up to Kohl's House.

Annika was very very sick, and Moreena didn't really have the time or inclination to pop over to a local coffee shop and gossip with me for hours. That was absolutely OK with me; I'd made the terrifying leap; I'd initiated a meet-up; I'd moved from thought into action.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Moreena saying that they were coming down to St. Louis for a quick weekend visit. Was I interested in meeting up?

I was. Quick thrill of fear.

We went to Grant's Farm, and I wish I could say that it was perfect: a lovely fall day, the girls immediately bonded as tightly as if they'd been born conjoined quadruplets, the parents relaxing, laughing, and chatting together while sipping cider through a straw.

Not quite. It was really really really hot that day. And I'm a lot fatter than I like to be for leaving the house, let alone meeting new people. And Ellie was not fully potty trained. Which means that I was in a constant state of anxiety and pants-watching. Both of my girls were sleepy and a little cranky. There wasn't much opportunity for actual adult conversation. I'd pulled two all-nighters that week with sleepless Ada. And I was plagued by self doubt: I'd chosen the wrong activity! Is anyone having fun?

But I'm glad that we did it. It will be easier to do it again next time. And I really do hope that there is a next time: I've already got ideas for things to do and places to eat. After all, planning things to do with other people is a lot easier once you get to know them a little. Like, in person.

Paul, Ellie, Ada

Anni, Frankie, Ellie (who's not really as short as she looks in this odd shot)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ellie is Four

Ellie turned 4 last week and had, I think, a perfect birthday.

She awoke terribly early, and her parents allowed her to crawl into bed with them. We all went back to sleep, taking a relaxed approach to the morning routine. (This wonderful morning moment brought to you by overnight pull-ups: ahh.)

When Ellie got up for real, she discovered birthday decorations in the family room/breakfast nook and we had doughnuts for breakfast.

Then there was school. Yay! And Nemo cupcakes for all! Double Yay!

Then the bus ride home!

And when mommy asked what she wanted for lunch, she asked for pizza pockets, then pizza. And got both!

Then nap, which didn't suck because mommy curled up in bed with Ellie and read Mother Goose until she fell asleep, smiling.

After nap, there was homemade lasagna for dinner! With a favorite friend joining us, and garlic bread, and corn.

Then gymnastics!
And treasured bath time!
And phone conversations with grandparents and aunts!

And more cake, this one with Nemo made out of black and orange Halloween M&Ms on top.

And, finally, bed.

My little Eleanor is proudly 4 years old, and happy to tell you so. There will be a party in a couple of weeks, when more family can be here.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I had a post (or twelve) that I really wanted to write last week (when Ellie turned 4! Stay tuned!) but didn't have time before we left town for our 4-day weekend mini-vacation.

We flew east to visit Paul's sister and her husband for their daughter's baptism. I really like Paul's sister and brother-in-law, and would even if they weren't family, and the parents of my new niece. Their 4-month-old is incredibly adorable, and very sweet. We had a lot of fun. Paul's folks flew out too, and it was nice to have the whole family all together. I've enjoyed the (at least) every-other-month thing we've been doing this year. It's particularly remarkable considering how widely spread we are: Wyoming, Missouri, Maryland.

Speaking of geography, here's a guilty admission: I was in high school before I realized that it was Wyoming with a "g". My father pronounces the name of that state as though it ends with a "y". I do know, however, that those periods should be inside of the parentheses. But it's just dumb and I can't do it. Dad also says "myoozim" and "nekkid." He was working on his doctorate when I was in elementary school, and I remember members of his thesis committee coming out to listen to him preach, and insisting that he work on his "accent." That was for his first doctorate. I guess once you've got one, you can talk however you like, since it didn't come up with the second, as far as I know.

It's not like I didn't know that there was a Wyoming, of course. I probably just never put the two places together, just like I knew that there were "or derves" served at parties, as well as "hors devors," but took a long time to realize that these two appetizers were actually one and the same (hors d'oeuvres, just to prove that I can spell it now). I'm thinking of a couple of other examples, but surely I've embarassed myself enough for the evening.

Back to family. I think it's possible that having a niece-in-law could be even more fun than having a regular old niece. Like there are some advantages to being a sister-in-law. By which I mean that although we're the same age, I don't feel the same competitiveness with Paul's sister that I feel with my next-youngest sister. We're missing all that history growing up. Likewise, I don't worry as much about when my niece-in-law (hereafter: niece Abby) reaches her milestones compared to when my children do. I suppose that there's still a part of me that's competing with MiddleSis for my parents' love, for my children as well as for myself.

Have I mentioned that I can't remember the last time I slept for 4 hours in a row? Surely, that's relevant here.

Both the girls were wonderful travelers this weekend. We had fun. Pictures to come. Good night!

Three little girls and their Nana, who's looking away from the camera because I haven't asked her permission.

Ellie petting Uncle Rob, face visible because he posts pictures of himself on his blog

"Huh. I never wanted a pacifier before, but I've developed a sudden and intense interest in yours."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Still Growing Up

When I turned 32 last September, I liked vanilla and I had straight hair. I didn't believe in therapy.

When I turned 33 this September, I liked chocolate and I had curly hair. I think everyone could probably use a little therapy.

I wonder what changes this year will bring!

2006 hair

2007 hair

Monday, October 08, 2007

Is This Possible?

Ada's new favorite word seems to be "Ada."

I've heard her say "Mama." (I really think she said it at least once, though it's definitely not part of her daily routine, yet.) She says "Dada" in appropriate contexts all the time. This morning, at 5:30, while she was reaching for him, was an especially appropriate context, in my opinion.

Ada sometimes repeats words she's hearing, too. At dinner, I might ask her if she's thirsty and wants water, and she'll say, "wawa." I was praising Ellie for having dry underpants recently, and Ada said, "dwy!" while clapping for her sister.

Today I held her up to a mirror, and she reached for her reflection, saying, "Ada!" (She also said Ada while reaching for her book later, and just as a noise to make from time to time.) She says her name the way Ellie does, which is slightly different from the way that Paul and I say it. The "A" is less of a hard sound, is almost a short "a."

Ada is 8 months old.

[Edited 10/15 to add that this morning, in response to a toy she couldn't see going "quack, quack, quack," Ada said "duck." Three adults heard her. That's a big cognitive leap: from labeling or repeating to knowing who makes what animal sound. Abstract!]

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Down Syndrome Awareness

Everything, everywhere is pink right now. The grocery store, the lapel pins, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. A cure for breast cancer - or, even better, prevention - is certainly imporant.

But did you know that October is also National Down Syndrome Awareness Month?

If not, here's a great post about developmental milestones charts.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Proud Alumni

Until I had kids, I always kept my car scrupulously neat. My parents' cars are so full of junk (stacks of papers, books, gallons of water, cases of Diet Coke) that it's hard to find a place to sit. In reaction, the only non-standard thing visible in my car was usually dog hair.

Since kids, it's been much harder to keep a neat car. I don't have the free hands to carry clutter inside with me, nor the inclination to go back outside (leaving child unattended inside) to clean up right after returning home from every errand. So the car has become a bit more cluttered.

I don't put much on the outside of my car, either, and that's easier to keep tidy. In 2004 I had a Kerry sticker, but that came down on election night. I used to have a double helix-shaped Down Syndrome Awareness magnetic ribbon, but that stayed on the Passat and didn't transition with me to the Odyssey. The only other form of decoration I had on the Passat was my Washington University in St. Louis: College of Arts & Sciences window decal.

Now that Paul's driving the Passat, the alumni sticker has been bugging him. He's a Wash U grad too, but from the School of Engineering, and he doesn't want to be associated with the School of "Arts & Crafts." I don't blame him; I wouldn't want an Enginerd sticker on my car.

Paul gave a couple of talks at Wash U this week, and he picked up a new window decal for each of us (the ones we had weren't transferable, though they are removable). He's already affixed the "School of Engineering" sticker to his back window, but I find myself oddly reluctant to put my new sticker on the van.

It's not because I'm ashamed that I've grown up to be a minivan mom. (Well, I am, perhaps, a little, but that's not why I haven't put the sticker on the back window.) It's that I associate college stickers on the backs of minivans with where the children of the driver have gone, rather than the driver herself.

Which is a very interesting thing, actually.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Protect Historic Kirkwood! Or Not

For the past couple of months, I've been seeing red and white signs around Kirkwood:
Protect Historic Kirkwood
Preserve Our National Historic District
Don't Buy 407 E Argonne (now removed due to threatened legal action)
Taller Than Allowed Downtown?!?
Please Build It Lower!
and so forth
I find myself oddly on the other side of this issue.

Normally I'm the one railing against big box stores breaking up neighborhoods, the unfriendliness of suburban design toward walkers, and the ugliness of contemporary subdivisions.

But I am in favor of infill building.

I do not love urban sprawl, and I think it's sad the way that older, urban neighborhoods often empty out as people move to increasingly distant suburban areas. (Of course, the business and tax revenues tend to follow the people, over time.) Also, many older homes lack modern conveniences. Like adequate closet space and being free of lead paint. When managed well, new construction in established communities keeps the residential areas alive and desirable.

To that end, I support rigorous zoning laws, requiring a certain amount of green space on each lot, with the homes set back a certain distance from the street (and neighbors). I also believe in maintaining the look of the community, with homes of various ages and styles nestled comfortably next to one another.

When we were community shopping, one of the things that Paul and I loved about Kirkwood was the fact that there were often very large and very small homes on the same blocks. Neighborhood diversity was a big selling feature for us. And we definitely loved how the houses had a lot of variety: very unlike cookie-cutter subdivision homes.

Many of the infill homes I've seen in Kirkwood are beautiful. I'd love to live in a big Victorian home one day; I grew up in one and that feels like home to me. But I also want a big kitchen; convenient, off-street, covered parking; large closets; modern baths; updated wiring; and no history of lead paint (I'm really serious about the paint). If I had $750,000, I could live in my dream house today, in a huge Victorian with historic charm and modern luxuries, within walking distance of downtown Kirkwood.

Also, Kirkwood lost St. Joseph's Hospital. Bummer. But I think that the proposed "Active Living and Wellness Community" will be a wonderful use of the hospital's former site, even with the two four-story buildings (gasp).

I suppose I should be glad that people in the community care so much. It's likely that's part of what makes it such a lovely place to live . . . most of the time.