Thursday, February 28, 2008


Okay, thirteen. Let's call it what it is....THIRTEEN. Dreaded age. Horrible time of life. Arguably the toughest time ever for a girl until menopause. Argh, argh, argh! Riley is traversing the rough waters of this age right now, and I can say it's no picnic. Girls are mean spirited beings. Not to say they didn't used to be back in the day; they did. I went through it, too, but being from a class of 18 people with an average of 8-9 girls, you pretty much had to get over your disagreements and move on. In bigger schools, like we're in, you can just move on and you may never have to deal with that person again. I always wished I had more people in my class so I had other options to hang out with. Maybe it's hard either way, though. One thing I know for certain is; dog really is man's (or woman's) best friend. Hallelujah for the four legged creatures of the world! Cross your fingers that my daughter's 8th grade year is over soon, and say a little prayer for her, if you would. She could use some enlightenment right now and a reminder that all of this is just a blip on the radar of life. (They don't always believe it when their moms tell them this!) It makes me glad to be a woman of 38 years, with a few really close friends, a nice assortment of acquaintances, and no concern over what people think of my hair, clothes, etc. Let's hear it for middle age! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Of course, my little post about Mas may seem like a pity party to some of you...(Pity Party, party of 1!)...I do host them from time to time, although it is impossible to stay in that state of mind for very long before realizing that you are of no use to someone while you are busy feeling sorry for them...thank you, Cesar Millan! I usually snap myself out of it by reminding myself that life marches on, so looking forward is usually a good idea. I do think it's very difficult to explain to others what it's like to live in this world, although I realize that everybody has their hardships, it's just that we all have them in different degrees. Just as someone fretting over their child having to get glasses is no big deal to us, our fretting over Mas not speaking is no big deal to a family dealing with a trach or a feeding tube. I get it. For all my whining and complaining there are others out there dealing with much bigger compositions to perform...thank you all for listening to my party music...

Friday, February 22, 2008

baby, it's still cold outside...

You know the other day when my thermometer wouldn't read? When it did start to read, it started at -21.5. Yup, that's below zero, folks. It has been a cold, icy winter. It's irritating to the core, and yet, there's a reason for all of it. I remember our move to San Antonio back in 1994. We were well into December and waiting to see what type of winter they had there. Right. They don't really have what I could conscience-ably (I am not looking that one up...) call a winter. Every morning at 7 am, when Riley was awake for the day, it would be 85-87 degrees and 3mph wind. Every day. Day in and day out, by noon, it would be 94-97 degrees with a 3-5 mph wind. Argh. The only saving graces as far as weather were concerned were the occasional ice storms, where people would drive into each other like cartoon characters and cause massive damage in a few hours. I remember talking to family at home and having them all think we must be loving this new weather. Wasn't it great to be wearing shorts all the time? Wasn't it fun not to wear bulky coats? Wasn't it nice to be able to walk virtually any day of the year? The thing is, it wasn't. Because, when spring rolled around later on, there was no rebirth to celebrate. No change in weather patterns, no remarkable storms that can only occur when warm air cruises into cold air, no fresh green grass where brown grass used to be, no running streams where there once was solid ice for months...let's just say those of us who live in "seasonable" weather are probably conditioned to enjoy and expect the changing of the environment around us. I like to think we probably respect the warm air more than most, because we've been so long without it. In the same way that people with "normal" kids seem to be conditioned to enjoy their mild weather patterns...I see parallels to that in our own life. I've been told that someday Mason will be able to speak, will have full use of his senses, normal muscle tone, and will be able to do and say and think whatever he wishes. Of course, that someday is when he is no longer on this Earth. Somedays, it is the only thing that keeps me going; knowing that he will eventually have full voice and mind to say and feel what he wishes. I hope it will feel like spring to him, and with a lifetime of a cold, harsh, icy winter behind him, I am confident it will feel lovely and vibrant.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

when life gives you lemons, make hamburger

Well, yesterday started off like a Monday, although it was a Tuesday, which is odd since cosmic forces joined hands to make it a Monday. I'll get to that in a moment. After my workout on the elliptical yesterday, I decided to get meat out of the freezer since I was in the basement anyway. Upon opening the freezer, I noticed the frost buildup was not nearly as thick as usual...upon further investigation, I noticed things were thawing out...not good. I woke up the hubby and we proceeded to find out that a couple of bags had been thrown next to the vent, causing it to heat up and then it blew out the compressor. Most of the meat was thawed too much to be safe, so we started throwing it into garbage bags. Considering it was a 14 cubic foot chest freezer that was about 3/4 full, we had our work cut out for us. We found some tenderized steaks in the middle that were still frozen. The reason they were still there and in such force is because none of us like tenderized steaks. But, when you buy a cow, you are limited to how many "real" steaks and roasts you can have made. So, after cleaning out the freezer, we put the stuff we wanted to save outside, since, yes, it is cold enough outside lately to keep food frozen...that's an entirely different topic. We then proceeded to haul the old freezer upstairs, which was a lovely experience. Men and women should sign agreements never to move large appliances together. After we hefted it up the stairs, we loaded it into the pickup and drove it to the folks' farm and tried to drive it out to the hole in the pasture. Well, the snow depth was a bit deceiving, and we ended up burying the Tundra's wheels up to the running boards. Nice. Howard got the tractor to pull it out, (while I nervously reversed the truck--the "new" shiny truck!!-- through the pasture gate.) Then, Howard and his mom loaded the freezer onto the tractor and he drove it out to the hole and dumped it. Next, we went to town to buy a new freezer, and drove it home just in time to get our daughter from school. We heaved the new freezer downstairs and plugged it in, and then went upstairs to grind about 15 packages of tenderized steaks into ground beef. Some things to note about this experience are: the meat grinding attachment on the upright mixers ROCKS, but it also likes to spit out blood onto whatever is near it while it grinds...also, it doesn't really like to grind frozen meat very much. The nice news is, we have our new freezer in place, and now we no longer have to worry about how to make tenderized steaks seem appetizing, since they are living out their new lives as hamburger! Now, on to is so cold, (how cold is it?) that the kids both have a two hour late start to help it warm up first! The actual temperature here is hovering around -20...not counting windchill! BRRR! It's even so cold that our wireless thermometer outside is not reading the temperature...that's never a good sign! So, at least we weren't doing freezer drama today!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


No, I haven't left my country on a Mexican fishing excursion...although, don't tempt me. Just been busy dealing with my son's three year evaluation and IEP review...for those of you who don't have to deal with such things, let's just say you should thank your lucky stars. Had a meeting with 9 other people to discuss the best way to educate Mason. Happily, they were all incredible people with gifts in that field...but, there are always opportunities to infuse these meetings with some common sense. (Cue: the mother!) It always feels weird, or should I stay it still feels weird, to introduce myself as "mom," instead of teacher. But, I guess I am a teacher, when you think about it. We covered everything from what motivates Mas to what struggles he has to toileting issues to his cracked and bleeding hands. (Me: can we use a different soap other than the skin removal hospital grade soap he is using now? Them: is that a problem? Cue: Mason, walking into the IEP with bleeding hands, blood on his pants, blood on his shirt, blood on his bib. Me: yes, as you can see, it's been a problem!) Thankfully, they are all smart enough to see that it is, in fact, a problem, but why no one has noticed until that moment, I do not know. (Hence the earlier common sense comment...) The lowest point of the meeting was reading that they tried to administer 3-4 different IQ tests, but that he was too low functioning to even complete a test. The highest point of the meeting was seeing his speech therapist tell us she wants to increase his therapy time because he's doing so well with his GoTalk, and because, to quote her, "there is just so much untapped potential in Mason...I can just feel it!" Thank you, Lindsay! :o) Some positive reinforcers can go a long way...for Mason, that would be M & Ms; for mom, that would be an occasional comment about what he can do, versus what he can't. At least we don't have to revisit this ground for another 3 years!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

minnesota winter

Well, here it is almost Valentine's Day, and while I am still waking up for the day in complete darkness, the sun is starting to rise by the time Mason's van, there is hope in the air. It's -16.5 this morning, actual temperature, so I would hesitate to say that spring is actually in the air. When I was young, I absolutely loved winter. Adored it. I used to go outside and make snowmen, snowhorses, snowforts, etc. I used to adorn the snowforts with icicles from the garage and house and they were so cool looking! I would either play alone or with the "gang" of kids in Monroe. We used to sled down the hills by VanderWoude's and the old gas station. I drove my daughter by those "hills" the other day, and noticed they weren't nearly as steep as they used to be. What geographical event occurred that made that happen? Maybe it's the sliding and slipping of the plates in my mind! Doesn't everything loom larger than life when you're young and full of ideas for the moment? Now, while I enjoy the heck out of a good blizzard, and love the first real snowfall of the season, I can honestly say I grow more weary of winter every year. I guess that's the price of growing older!