Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nothing... and everything

What have I done for you today, you asked?
  • I woke you up at 9:45 to make sure that you were still breathing.
  • I fixed your breakfast.
  • I made sure you took your morning medicine.
  • I washed your breakfast dishes.
  • I sat with you, at your request, while you tidied your room because you don't like to be alone.
  • I loved you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back again.
  • I let you earn some money for tidying.
  • I cut buttons off shirts and cut up those shirts, saving the buttons and pieces of fabric for your Arts & Crafts or school projects.
  • I allowed you to play with make-up.
  • I did two loads of laundry, including yours, washing, drying, folding, and returning them.
  • I opened and closed the stuck cookie container for you.
  • I loved you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back again.
  • I cleaned up after your lunch.
  • I sewed your Girl Scout badges and fun patches onto your vest.
  • I gave permission for you to have a friend over and was willing to go get her.
  • I offered to set you up with fun activities.
  • I let you play on the extra computer, using internet access.
  • I looked up some activities to do with you next week.
  • I sunscreened you.
  • I cleaned the pool and the filter for you; I added chlorine.
  • I checked in on you to be sure that you were safe and still breathing.
  • I loved you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back again.
  • I gave you and your friend a snack.
  • I drove your friend home.
  • I drove safely so as not to endanger your life.
  • I made sure that you had fun activities with you when we went to your brother's meeting.
  • I lent you my headphones.
  • I made your dinner.
  • I washed your dinner dishes.
  • I loved you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back again.
  • I sat through Spongebob, iCarly, and Destroy, Build, Destroy.
  • I did my level best to discipline you in a way that works for you.
  • I let you have that super-delicious chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
  • I made sure you had your evening medicine.
  • I set the ball in motion to arrange a friend's sleeping over one night this week.
  • I added overnight chemicals to the pool so that it will be sparkling clean for you tomorrow.
  • I tucked you in with your favorite soft purple blanket.
  • I turned on your night light because you're afraid of the dark.
  • I talked with you about your problems and your worries.
  • I helped you make a plan for a good tomorrow.
  • I played the soothing ocean sounds CD as you fell asleep.
  • I sat with you as you fell asleep because you're afraid.
  • I loved you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back again. 
  • I checked on you before I went to bed to make sure you were still breathing.
What haven't I done for you today?  I didn't take you to the store.  Are you sure you want to ask me what I've done for you today?

Three last things I did for you today:
  • I forgave you.
  • I hugged you extra tight.
  • I loved you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back again.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Type III Conditionals

I used to teach English as a Second Language (ESL).  I started as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Pittsburgh a couple of decades ago, and I just loved it.  You might think that teaching wouldn't suit me as I'm a bit of an introvert (OK, more than a bit) and have social issues.  However, teaching is different.  It has a defined role and a set of rules, and it always has me knowing more than my students!

I taught most all the levels of  Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing, the Language Lab, Grammar, and various "electives," if not at the ELI at Pitt then at the ELP at Penn or at the ELC at Drexel.  (ELI/P/C = English Language Institute/Programs/Center.)

Though I haven't taught in a classroom in 14 years -- a concept that is making me feel both old and useless -- I have put some of that experience to use overseeing my children's homework or projects or in aspects of my volunteer work. Of all the skills taught, though, the one that I still use the most is Grammar.  I drive my poor Girl Scouts (and their parents) crazy insisting on so-and-so and I, not me and so-and-so.  (They're now so sensitive in front of me that they hyper-correct and use I when they should use me!!)  Despite their hypersensitivity, I'm considering eradicating incorrect past participles next: I would have went... or I had saw her... or the double whammy of I could of went...

Tonight as I checked the date for something or other, I noticed that tomorrow marks my friend's son's 7-month birthday.  I thought to myself, "He would have been 7 months old tomorrow," and it hit me afresh that this sweet child is not here to celebrate that milestone with his parents.  He would have been 7 months old tomorrow if he had lived.  And my heart broke again.

To cite grammarians:  Type III Conditional sentences (also called contrary-to-fact past conditional sentences) refer to situations that are contrary-to-fact in the past.  An action could have happened in the past if a certain condition had been fulfilled, but it wasn't.  The situation was different; we just imagine what would have happened if the situation had been fulfilled.

English gives us a way to talk about it.  I don't believe there's a way to "get over it."  And I will never forget Matthew; he touched my heart and changed my life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I write for myself, but I didn't start this blog in order to write.  I started it because almost a year ago, I wanted to leave a comment on a friend's blog, and I couldn't figure out how to do so without creating my own account.  Well, once I did that, I didn't want to just leave it all ugly with nothing to it, so I chose some colors.  But then I couldn't leave it blank, so I added some info.  But then I couldn't leave it empty, so I wrote my first blog post.  (Fortunately, that first post isn't embarrassing even if it is a bit dopey.)

As I said, I write for myself.  Imagine my surprise when I got my first follower and my first comment!  Some major heart pounding going on here, I can tell you.  Then I got my second follower, but it would seem that that person is one of those, "I'll follow you, so come on and follow me" kind of people.  I don't follow her, but there's no harm in letting her be.  I know the next two followers: one is my friend from around here, and one is my friend from high school whom I'm getting to know again.  (Love that about Facebook!)

And that brings my total to a whopping four people who follow my blog.  Not really sure why they stick around because, as I've said twice now, I write for myself.  I enjoy it most of the time.  It seems to let me siphon off stuff that's squirreling around in my head, and that usually let's me put it to rest.  (Well, I do usually re-read it several times after posting it, and then I can put it to rest.)  Sometimes I write because I just have to.  I can be dog tired, but I'll stay up 'til the wee hours churning out words because they won't let me sleep.

This second point has been around for awhile, just not publicly.  For four years, we had the most excellent psychologist on our team at CNMC.  She not only gave out her email address, but she read what I sent.  She asked me for more -- as much detail as I could give her.  Bless her.  I don't think she expected to get 20-page documents prior to every appointment, but she said not to stop.  I used to stay up late several nights running to transfer information from our daily log and to write down everything that had happened in the month since the previous appointment.  I have more details on my son's development and issues, more anecdotes and tales of woe for those four years than most people can collect for their entire lives.

Sadly for us but better for the greater good, our doctor took a job at NIMH.  No one else has ever wanted that level of detail.  While I know she was the exception, I still feel a bit bereft and wish I had continued writing those details, storing away the anecdotes -- like people make scrapbooks.  The lost data of the next four years can never be made up.  And for me, it had been writing with a purpose.

What I write now is only for myself.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Camp Winona

My daughter went to Girl Scout Day Camp again this year.  That makes six years.  She was five when she went to non-Girl Scout Girl Scout Camp.  The next year she went to Camp Bay Breeze, and for the past four years, she's gone to Camp Winona (rarely held at Camp Winona).

This year as a Junior Girl Scout, she had more choices of activities, one of which was horseback riding.  I was very surprised when she chose it, but we shelled out the extra bucks and signed her up.  The two Junior Wrangler units went to A Moment In Time horse farm two of the five days of camp.  Thirty girls, 15 horses, a bunch of equine turn-taking, and a lot of happiness.  (Only one girl didn't get back on a horse the second day, and it wasn't the one who fell off on the first day.)

My daughter rode Cody the first day.  She said that Cody was calm, and he could tell when you were scared and wouldn't move if he sensed that you didn't want him to.  She loved that horse.

On the second day, my daughter rode Toby, who listened to her commands pretty well, she said:

As I'm sure you can guess, today's badgering theme includes variations of, "I want a horse."  Hmm.  Maybe a horse camp next summer.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A poem... by my husband

Filling the Days 

To ward off heartache, loneliness and sorrow,
I've found it quite a help to wrestle bears,
Take brisk walks up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro,
And double-check God's count of all my hairs;
I hike across the Channel, swim the Gobi,
Hold showings at the Prado and the Tate,
Then mop and wax the sidewalks of Nairobi,
And dust the Sphinx -- unless I'm running late.
I take some time to feed and walk my yeti
(And yeti chow, I'll tell you, isn't cheap);
Invent vaccines; hold global markets steady,
And then at night, ten minutes' well-earned sleep.
So there's my new routine: the things I do
Each day to fill this void the size of you.

by Brendan Beary

This poem can be found at Lighten Up Online 10.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Committed, involved, interested, can't be bothered

I have said repeatedly how much I love Girl Scouting.  I think it's FABULOUS!  There are so many wonderful components to it, too many to list here and now, though I must give a quick shout-out to my two assistant leaders, parents of three of my girl scouts, who have made so much of this year wonderful and successful (despite the biffies!).  Parents are often heaven-sent, and these two women have taken much of the burden off me.  They have been committed to the troop and to their daughters' participation and their need to learn and have fun.  I am very grateful.  (As far as I know, they don't read this blog, so I'm not buttering anyone up!!)

I've also had an involved parent this year who couldn't attend herself but was very careful to set her daughter up for success in the troop, to complete projects at home, and to volunteer in other ways.  If I needed something, I just had to ask.  Replies, forms, payments, etc., were all given with a quick turnaround.  Again, I'm grateful.  And I'm sorry to say that this family is moving and won't be with us next year.  Bless the parent, though:  She came and told me that they were moving almost as soon as she knew it herself, and we're already in the process of getting her daughter into a new troop in her new state.  And this parent asked me what her daughter had to do to complete her Bronze Award next year.  Gotta love that!

Some parents are nasty.  I've been lucky:  I haven't had the Parents from Hell I've heard about -- very, very lucky!  But here's the part that's problematical.  I've identified another kind of parent, the kind that isn't committed, involved, or even interested, the kind that seems to say, I can't be bothered.  One of my assistant leaders reminded me that it's not fair to penalize a child for a parent's behavior, and I've tried really hard all year not to let it make a difference.   But last night at our Pool Party/Awards Ceremony, something happened, and I had to walk away, just turn around and walk away without saying a word.
    I know that the only way to respond is to take the high road, and I'll do my best, because I've made a promise:

    On my honor, I will try
    To serve God and my country,
    To help people at all times,
    And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

    Added 6/19/10: 

    The Girl Scout Law

     I will do my best to be
    • honest and fair,
    • friendly and helpful,
    • considerate and caring,
    • courageous and strong, and
    • responsible for what I say and do,
    and to
    • respect myself and others,
    • respect authority,
    • use resources wisely,
    • make the world a better place, and
    • be a sister to every Girl Scout.

    This post was edited by the author 7/4/10.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Special Recipe Brownies

    Do you remember a couple of posts ago I wrote that my daughter and I went through the lyrics to a song to see if it was OK for her to buy and put on her iPod?  That particular song has a lot of references to drugs, obsessive love, and addiction, and while it doesn't have a single swear word -- for which I am quite grateful -- and while it's a really catchy tune, I still don't have to plunk down $1.29 of my money to pipe those ideas into her head.  At the time of that post, my daughter didn't want to plunk her money down, either.

    Well, my daughter has spent the past five days singing a different tune.  For some reason, she changed her mind and now says:
    • She has to have that song.
    • It's her favorite song.
    • She understands what it means, she just likes the tune
    • A 4th-grader's maturity today is like a 7th-grader's maturity when I was young.
    • She's not 3 anymore, she can “handle it”
    • It’s not that bad, they play it on the radio for 2nd graders.
    • All her friends like the song.
    • The singer is at least 21, an adult, so it's OK for her to sing about it.
    • It’s only $1.29 at iTunes for endless playing.
    • She’ll play it soft or with headphones.
    • She’ll be satisfied for a while, like probably a whole month.
    She even sent me an email (entitled Reasons I Should Get Your Love is my Drug) listing out several of these points.  Morning, noon, and night, that child won't stop listing out reasons.  I say nothing.  And as I was writing the above, she was in the other room penning this (with my green Sharpie):
    I see why you don't think I should have the song.  I'm saying that I see your reasons, but Tom and I disagree.  I know that you say that it's innapropriate, but it's something a lot of people know about.  In this genaration, people know about stuff in fourth grade that you might not have known until sixth or seventh grade.  I'm more mature than you think.  I know you probably didn't know this when you were 10, but in this generation, a lot of people do.  We find beer bottles in the road.  We know about this stuff.  It's as appropiate to 10 year olds in this generation as "SAM THE FARMER" is to a kindergardner.  The lyrics talk about something that isn't very innapropriate to this generation's 10 year olds.  Do you disagree and want to talk about it Y/N
    Um, No.

    As I'm older than she is and have way more life experience, I know a few things:
    • That children today know more may be true, but it's a sad truth.
    • She won't be satisfied for, like, half a day much less a whole month.
    • She's a serial acquirer.  She's not so much interested in the song as she is in getting the song.
    • Listening to/singing inappropriate songs doesn't mean you're cool; it means you're inappropriate.
    • This is the equivalent of a tantrum, and in my house, people who have tantrums, myself included, can never be given what they want.
    • I'm in a no-win situation here.  If I "give in" and let her have it, she learns to badger me incessantly because eventually, she'll get what she wants.  If I don't let her have it, she stays "stuck" on this because it's about the getting, not the having.
    So what's the problem?  Is the song really that bad?  Compared to other things out there, no.  It's only partially about this particular song.  The rest of it is about preventing her from becoming inured to sex, drugs, and violence.

    The whole thing reminds me of a story I heard from a father, and I'm so sorry, but I just can't remember who it was to give proper credit.
    One day as a man was sitting in his living room enjoying a quiet moment, his teenage daughter and a few of her friends came in.  They wanted to go to the movies, in fact, to see this one particular movie that was R-rated.  The daughter knew the rule:  She wasn't allowed to see R-rated movies.  Period.  But she asked anyway.  Her "Please, Dad, please can I go see this movie?" got her the expected negative.  "But, Dad, the review says it just has some language, violence, and brief nudity.  And so-and-so's mom let her see it, and it really wasn't that bad!"  He again said no, telling her that he didn't want her to be exposed even to that.  Despite her pout, he said she and her friends should hang around; he would go out to the kitchen and make them a snack.
    It took the dad awhile (and he could hear the girls' mutterings as he busied himself in the kitchen), but eventually he came back to the living room carrying a big plate of fresh-from-the-oven, piping-hot brownies.  As he offered them each a brownie, he said, "These are my special brownies.  They're made from a special recipe and have a secret ingredient."  As the girls raised the brownies to their mouths, his daughter asked, "What's the secret ingredient?"  Her father replied, "Dog poop.  But don't worry," he continued as the girls dropped their brownies to their plates, "it's just a little bit of dog poop.  Not that much.  They're really not that bad.  You can pick it out if you don't like it."  But the girls wouldn't eat them.
    My daughter's final argument of the evening as she lay crying on her bed:  "I just want to be cool.  I don't have any real friends."  (Ploy or truth?)

    I'd really like my daughter to accept that "No" means "No," not "Badger Mom until the cows come home so Mom will give in just to shut me up."  (I know, I know:  Snowballs in Hell, flying pigs, and whistling shrimp.)

    I lament that the once-shocking ills of the world are now commonplace, mainstream, acceptable for the ears of our elementary school students.  I don't want my daughter to seek out the tainted and be content with it.

    And on Saturday, I learned what "Pokerface" means.  I had no idea, and I truly could have finished out my years on this planet without that bit of knowledge.  When will that become common knowledge to 10-year-olds?  (You know, it's a catchy tune.)

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    So proud...

    My daughter auditioned for her Elementary School's Talent Show and made it.  She's had to stay after school several days for the auditions and rehearsals.  Last night was The Big Show.

    Natalie decided early on that she wanted to play the recorder as her talent.  She's been playing it since her music teacher at her former Elementary School introduced it to her early last school year.  Ms. W. has all third-graders play "Recorder Karate," which is a terrific program that lets students practice and earn "belts" for advancing through the songs.  Nat, being the over-achiever she is, made it all the way through the program and was able to perform Beethoven's Ode to Joy as the crowning achievement of the public music performance.  I'm not being sarcastic here; it really is a great program.  Nat learned how to read music through it, and she sat down at the piano with her recorder songs and picked them out on that instrument, too.  (A piano, by the way, is a percussion instrument.  This fact brought to you by our school system's Fine Arts programming.)

    In fact, it was Recorder Karate that directed her to her choice of the clarinet this year in Band.  It was a pretty easy transition, and she told me last night that her Band teacher told her yesterday that she will be in Advanced Band next year.  This is a good thing!

    So last night my daughter performed Ode to Joy on the recorder:

    Yep, that's all 60 seconds of her playing the recorder, while blindfolded, through her nose.  Pardon me, I'm a little misty... and so proud.  I need a hankie.

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Wine and spirits

    Over a decade ago, 92.7 FM was Easy Listening on my local dial.  I had just moved here, no longer had a job that paid me money, and soon after, had my son.  I wanted to fill some of the silence in the house that was double the size of our apartment back in Pennsylvania.  So I listened.  A lot.

    One day as I was driving us somewhere or other (in my very first ever new car, the Caravan we got a year after my son was born and which gave me the freedom to get out of the house during the day without having to drive my husband to work or pick him up at the end of the day because goodness knows we had not moved to the nerve center of public transportation), my son, not yet two and buckled safely in his car seat behind me, said very distinctly and with a lilt in his voice, "Izzy-nahly-to-ma-sahly." He said it again when I asked him to repeat it.  And again just one more time for Mommy, please.

    I really didn't know what he was saying, and I'm pretty sure he knew it.  As soon as the radio station had its next break, my son again said, "Izzy-nahly-to-ma-sahly," only this time he said it in time to the station's jingle:  "Easy Ninety-Two Point Seven."

     Easy ninety-two point seven

    (There are some things that in glorious 20/20 hindsight just scream Asperger's.)

    I was reminded of this tonight as my daughter and I went through the lyrics of a song she wanted me to download for her.  (She's 10; we preview just about everything.)  She wanted "Your Love Is My Drug," which could be innocent enough.  I called it up on YouTube; the opening scene raised my eyebrows.  My daughter immediately said that she didn't want the video, just the song, so I called up the lyrics.   We went through them line by line.  I matter-of-factly explained the meaning of such terms as rehab, strung out, obsessive love, and crackhead, plus the meanings of the phrases Won't listen to any advice/Momma's telling me I should think twice/Better left to my own devices/I'm addicted, it's a crisis and My judgment's getting kinda hazy.  All of this Because your love, your love, your love is my drug.  I didn't have to tell her no; she told me.

    The song, though, brought to mind one of the catchy songs I used to listen to on Easy 92.7:

    As I listened to it again on YouTube, I wasn't sure I wanted my 10-year-old to download it, either, especially after I read one comment that said, Kisses + wine + sex = children.  I don't want to glorify drug culture or alcohol.  But the song feels so innocent.  Then I read another comment:  Kisses + wine + MARRIAGE + sex = children.  It's a bit of a moot point anyway as my daughter runs screaming from the room when I sing or play "an oldies song."

    Side Note:  Easy 92.7 became a Latin music station soon after my daughter was born.  No more Burl Ives, no more long-haired freaky people, no more Harry Belafonte.  Sigh...

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Pretty please with sugar on top?

    The super-awsome lead developer for the Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland's project at the Southern Maryland Give Camp (March 2010), David Makogon, is also a photographer.  He posted this picture last night, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  Given the state of my face and my ever-rising stress levels with the fast-approaching end of the school year, I want to go here, now:

    Then when I went to get David's URL to make the link above, I found this:

    While I don't want the snow back just yet, I wish I had been there, then.

    Thanks, David, for a little bit of respite in a mentally hectic day.

    (For all the views of Dream Catcher, go here.)

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    Call the roofer...

    Warning:  This is a really boring subject.
    Please feel free to skip this post.

    That thing that I thought was a mosquito bite on my eyelid coupled with a rosacea flare-up?  That was no mosquito.  That was a chicken.  The chicken pox virus I had as an infant four-and-a-half decades ago decided to show itself again, renaming itself "shingles."  (Stupid name.  Try googling it and you get roofing supplies.)

    I can tell you emphatically that I don't like shingles.  The chicken-pox-like blisters don't just itch, they BURN and HURT, and the whole reactivation of the virus has taken me down a path of physical discomfort that I really could have done without navigating.  The literature uses such terms as excruciating and agony.  Pleasant, n'est-ce pas?  (In all fairness, it would seem that I'm having a mild time of it; my gall bladder attack and both labors hurt worse.)

    What bothers me the most, though, is not the physical but the psychological.  It's UGLY.  I didn't get it in the most common location -- in a band around the stomach and back, easily disguised by clothing.  I got it smack on my face:  on one eye, one-half of my forehead, and one section of my scalp.  One nerve:  one painful, swollen, itchy, scabby, blotchy, prominent bit of yecch.

    Since it's contagious only by direct contact, and since I couldn't cover it up, I've kept myself housebound for most of the past week.  (It's not that I go anywhere interesting anyway; the point is that I felt like I couldn't.  Or shouldn't, as I'm contagious to pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.  I don't know why; shingles isn't respiratory.)  I had to cancel a lunch date with a pregnant friend, my last regular Girl Scout meeting, and a haircut.  And while I know that shingles isn't an STD, I'm not sure that it's socially acceptable to discuss it.

    Because it involves my eye, I have to see an ophthalmologist every month for a couple three visits.  The virus could enter my optic nerve and do some serious, permanent damage.  That's a $30 copay well spent each time, I think.

    According to the literature, there's more to look forward to:  The pain could last months.  And in a couple of decades more, I could be one of the 4-10% of the people who get it again.  But there is good news:  "When shingles does recur, the rash usually does not appear in the same location as the first outbreak.*"  I could get it on the other eye!

    *Note: The fact that it's a pharmaceutical website makes it immediately suspect, but the most useful, informative website I found (and with a handy URL) was shingles.com.  Others more immediately recognizable as reputable were useful but more limited.

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Purging. Again.

    We're in another purge mode around here.  My children have gone through several bins and sorted out what they don't want anymore.  There's still quite a bit more for them to go through, and I've got tons more over and above that.  Once they've gone through their stuff and decided if it's "keep" or "give away," I have to sort it for where it should be taken: thrift store, teacher treasure bins, friends with children just a little bit younger/smaller, trash...  Unfortunately, the local thrift shop won't take donations of toys (Chinese lead paint issues) or stuffed animals, and those make up the bulk of my donations.  Sad, too, because my daughter's stuffed animals are in mint condition; anything well loved gets put in the "keep it forever" box.

    Then there's my stuff, so much of which is paperwork.  The mail comes in every blessed day and piles up.  Newspapers, too, plus magazines and newsletters.  Insurance is a paperwork nightmare though it's not as bad as it used to be.  (When my son entered the STEM program last year, we had to give up most of his extra therapies (which we had because school will provide therapies only as will benefit him educationally, and since that's a question of money, parents rarely win the point); there just wasn't time in the day to coordinate school, homework, and therapies.  Few therapies means way fewer insurance messes.  Now if only CNMC's billing department would get off my back... I've turned in every piece of required paperwork, including treatment plans, and they are still saying that I owe them $352.  Which I don't.  Period.  I love CNMC.  Over the past 10 years, I've come to dread CNMC's billing department.)

    And there's school papers.  Two kids, two schools:  two sets of announcements, calendars, menus, permission forms, fundraisers, completed work, report cards...  One kid on an IEP:  one cycle of IEP drafts, notifications, "minutes," status on goals/objectives...  And sadly, I haven't sorted or stored the past four years' worth of school papers, pretty much everything from the state complaint we filed to the present.  It's all sitting in several bins and laundry baskets in the family room just gathering dust.  I don't know what to keep, though since the state complaint was denied, I probably don't need to keep as much as I think I should.  Truly, I don't want to look at it.  Fourth and fifth grades were just so wrong for my son, and sorting it makes me have to remember how we fought and lost and therefore failed my son.  Again.

    We've also got clothes to go through -- not just the regular change-of-season-oops-this-doesn't-fit-anymore clothes, but also all the clothes that my husband and I bypass day after day.  I haven't taught in almost 14 years.  I think I can let go of the last of my teacher clothes.  And the woefully too-small clothes.  And the I'm-never-wearing-that-again clothes.  And the shoes that... well, maybe not the shoes.

    The basement is in need of a purge, too, but most of what's down there making the mess is the stuff that's already been identified as "give away" but hasn't yet gotten sorted as to where it needs to go.  Once it's out, there's not as much stuff to purge as there is to put back where it belongs (mostly holiday decorations and Girl Scout arts & crafts).

    If I can get all this done in the next week, I think I'd feel a lot more in control, at least about the house.  And I can stand behind the statement that I am not a hoarder.  Much.  Thank goodness we don't have a garage.  Do you think we should open the shed?

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Survival Handbook... New chapters wanted

    I've been reading The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht.  I've learned how to:
    • Escape from quicksand
    • Break into a car
    • Escape from a sinking car (very important given the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge)
    • Escape from a bear
    • Wrestle free from an alligator, and
    • Jump from a building into a dumpster
    I'm looking forward to learning how to jump from a moving car, perform a tracheotomy, and survive if my parachute fails to open.  I keep this book in my purse for easy reference.

    Just today this book came in handy as I believe I may have saved a friend from a possible shark attack as sharks will perceive bling bling bikinis as tasty fish scales.

    I must say, though, that I could really use some chapters on "How to survive the teenage years of a son with Asperger's," "How to get your IEP team do what's right for your child," "How to fend off your pre-teen daughter's pre-teen-ness," and "How to get through the 10 weeks of summer vacation."  (And I bet a number of you could add your own chapter titles.)  Right now, I'd settle for "How to make an inspired dinner when you have no inspiriation or energy."  Now that would be a best-seller 10 times over.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Rarely said...

    I'm not sure that I've ever mentioned how much I love my sister.   

    I love my sister.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Waiting Room Meanderings

    I’m sitting here in the waiting room of the SuperCare.  I had a really stinky night trying to sleep with this mosquito bite on my eyelid.  I went to bed at 11:30 but kept waking up to find myself brushing at, rubbing, or otherwise bothering my eye or funky breakout on my forehead.  My eye is the puffiest it’s been to date and won’t fully open.  I’m doing a lot with it closed, just because it seems to be happier that way.

    I still don’t think it’s pink eye, but I’ll find out for sure soon enough.

    What I really want is relief for the itching and for the swelling to go down, preferably before this afternoon’s IEP meeting.  Being the only person at the table who isn’t receiving a paycheck from the school system is difficult enough, but to be sitting there with my face the way it is -- think Quasimoto -- is enough to break anyone’s confidence.  While my son had to have it pointed out to him -- hardly surprising -- my daughter treated it like a car wreck she couldn’t look away from.

    I ought to mention that my daughter was up again overnight last night.  She came to get me at 2 a.m.  Normally I lead her back to bed, tuck her in, and then decide whether or not she’s likely to fall off in a couple of minutes or if the whole thing is going to take awhile.  Last night she tossed and turned the three hours I was with her.  But then again, so did I.  I got back to my bed one minute before my husband’s alarm went off at 5:00.  Twelve minutes later, my son came in to find a shirt, which happened to be sitting, fortunately done, in the dryer in the basement.  At 5:25, he came back to ask me where the mop was as Otis had left a puddle.  After praising him for even thinking of the mop and cleaning it up himself, I decided I might as well make the coffee and dig out the thumb drive he needed for school today.  By then it was too late to go back to bed...

    There are lots of things to tease out in the above paragraph.  Suffice it to say that I’m really, really sleepy right now.  If they leave me alone too long in the exam room, I’m likely to disturb the whole building with my snores.  Then I’ll wake up with a red cheek and a line of dribble.  I’m already humming, “I feel pretty, oh, so pretty...”


    So here I’ve been sitting for over 45 minutes, listening to Pride and Prejudice from LibriVox (free audio books read by volunteers) and typing this post.  Obviously, I’m pretty self-focused right now.  I wish I could think of a topic about which I could wax poetic, but my poeticity is definitely on the wane.  OK, really, I never had much to begin with.


    Two hours later, it’s not pink eye.  And it’s not a bug bite.  I’ll be having that IEP meeting via teleconference...