Thursday, July 31, 2008

news


Tell me, is that a storm coming? It looks like one....it smells like one....it moves like one. Just wondering about good news and bad news. Good news is always fun, no matter the circumstances, no matter the delivery. Bad news, on the other hand, is always crushing, no matter the circumstances or the delivery. I have decided I'm a "give me the bad news all at once" kind of girl. Stretching out bad news doesn't lessen the "badness" of it all. I remember when Mas was a baby and he had a metabolic workup by (a very scary and hard to understand) neurologist that worked at the Air Force base we were stationed at. A few weeks after the blood draw, we received a call on a Friday afternoon that Mason had "elevated lactic acid levels." This was delivered in a voice we couldn't possibly understand on a good day. (Think Apu, from the Simpsons, while underwater and on downers, with laryngitis.) Elevated lactic acid? What was that? What caused it? What did it mean? We tried to ask him questions, but he couldn't understand us, and therefore couldn't answer us. Then he told us he would be on vacation for one week, so we couldn't talk to him until he was back. After his vacation, he called us again, to tell us Mason had "some type of mitochondrial disorder." This was followed by the incredibly hard to understand (for a lot of reasons) "I will be out of the office for one week." Are you kidding me?! I would say that is the worst way to receive bad news. Since that time, I have become somewhat of a demanding patient advocate for Mas, asking WAY more questions than I should, and pretty much demanding straight answers. I don't feel the majority of doctors are trained to deliver news. They are (hopefully) trained to reduce the amount of bad news that has to be delivered. However, if they have news for me, I'd rather hear it all at once, be it good or bad, so I can make an informed decision about it. I am beginning to realize my extremist attitude in this area (and others!) is not necessarily all the rage among other humans. Some people like a spoonful of sugar with their medicine...I want to swallow it and be done with it; no messy sugar crystals on the counter that end up on the floor for you to step on, and no acridly sweet taste as it goes down. Give it to me straight up, please! (And take cover, would ya? That there is a STORM!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

just shufflin' along


Summer just keeps pluggin' away here. Lots o' heat, lots o' humidity, lots o' stuff to do. The above pic is from a few weeks back; true colors, unedited. I need to learn how to edit to make it look like that! We were discussing why we never have big storms here. A friend of mine that grew up here told me that the Native Americans that live here have made it so that storms won't come into this town, in order to protect their pipestone quarries. Hmmm...maybe that's why we get great pics of storms around us, but they never seem to move through town. Enjoyed a nice music bath yesterday while mowing. Funny how putting your iPod on "shuffle songs" can just change your whole perspective. I was getting hit with songs by Frank Sinatra, then Red Willow Band, then Led Zeppelin, then Flora, etc. It was a fun, eclectic mix of stuff! Maybe my ADD side appreciated the change-up! We were able to visit with our relatives from Albert Lea this past weekend. That was fun! Always nice to get to know people who are actually related! Also managed (somehow, still not sure how) to walk Mas through two antique stores on Saturday! I was a nervous wreck. He, however, did quite well. The only caveat was, once we had gone around the store once, he pushed me towards the door to get out of there. There were no returning looks at anything! It's neat to see things that you can remember from your childhood; metal cups, particular glasses, old board games, etc. My mom and I exchanged quite a few "remember that's?" It was neat to be able to do that. I don't know what happened that Mas was able to walk through there so nicely, but I wish I could make it happen more often! If it was Wheaties for breakfast, believe you me I'd be buying Wheaties by the thousands! Riley, aka '14' is busy with band camp; 38 hours of band last week, and 35+ this week. She is "marching for real" this year, which means no more hiding in the pit up front. She will be glad not to be dealing with her bass and amp this year. A trumpet is so much easier to pack, carry, and keep track of! Other than that, things are pretty calm around here. Summer is just movin' right along.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

growing season




Just when you turn your back for a few days, look what happens! I guess things keep growing, even when you're not watching. Here are pics of the gardens. Not very large, but currently quite abundant. Here's hoping they stay that way. The little stick in there is a yardstick, to give some idea as to scale...'14' didn't really want to go stand by mom's tomatoes...can't imagine why! One of these days, it will be salsa-rama at the Georgeson Corral...should be fun! The "second garden", as I call it, (it doesn't hold the salsa ingredients like the "first garden") holds strawberries, zucchini, acorn squash, pumpkins, and birdhouse gourds. I am hopeful some of these items will make it to fruition. It's my first time with pumpkins, so we'll see how that goes.

I'm hoping I am growing as well lately...this time away from volunteering/working for peanuts has been good for the soul. I've been catching up projects at home, mowing, watering, calling friends I haven't talked to in awhile, cross-stitching, cleaning Mason's room (!), catching up laundry, and hopefully spending more time being productive. I was fortunate enough to spend yesterday with my friend Nicole, and although we did the usual "girl day" things, like eating and shopping, we also found time to discuss Life. It's funny how there are friends that you hardly ever see that can discuss Big Things with you like that, and you are able to just jump right in. While we only cried a couple of times, I can say it was one of the most enjoyable days I've spent in a long time!! Nicole, if you are reading this, just know that your grace in handling what you've been given and your ability to still cling to faith are awe-inspiring. May you be richly rewarded for your gifts in the future. Thanks for helping out a friend, although inadvertently, by sharing your stories and by showing what a classy person does in a situation like yours. You are incredible!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

nummy recipe



(Top pic is the rice; bottom blurry pic is the chicken.) Just had to take my cousin's idea (Go, Jamie!) and enter a recipe we've just (mostly) made up that is delish. Grill chicken breasts for supper, throw in fridge and forget about them. The next day, when you don't know what to make, slice the breasts and put into a slow cooker. Drizzle with olive oil. Dice up a ripe tomato and a bell pepper of some sort and throw it in. Grind in some pepper and add a little salt. Next, tear up some cilantro leaves and throw on top. Plug in your slow cooker and forget about it. For supper, heat up tortillas and pile on the chicken mixture (the cilantro gets black, but it's worth the flavor it imparts while it dies!!) and top with shredded lettuce and freshly diced tomatoes, if you wish. Add some shredded mexican cheese and some aioli sauce. Recipe for that is as follows: roast some garlic cloves on a layer of tinfoil in the oven, with some olive oil drizzed on top for half an hour at 350. Let it cool, then mash it up. Roast a bell pepper, preferrably a red one, by putting into an oven set at 500 degrees. Let it get all black, then take out and put in bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sweat for ten minutes or so. Then, combine the following stuff in a food processor: the garlic, the pepper (peeled, sliced, and de-seeded), 1 cup of Hellmann's or other mayo, half a can of chipotles en adobo (If I can find it here, you can find it anywhere), squeeze in a half of a lemon and salt and pepper it. I would also throw in a bit of cilantro. Blend until creamy. Put in fridge to let flavors meld. Can also add jalapenos to the mix, if the extra heat is desired.

Add some nice dry Mexican rice and have at it! Here's the Mexican rice recipe I like, and it's way easy. Take a cast iron pan and put on medium heat. Drizzle some olive oil in it; add finely diced vidalia onions and finely diced bell peppers (go for serrano or jalapenos if you want). After they've started to juice up a bit, add some diced garlic and some finely diced tomatoes. Lower the heat and let it all simmer and get happy. You may need to add a little olive oil now and again to make sure it stays in a good mood...then, add cooked rice to the pan. (My favorite cooked rice recipe is one cup rice and 2 cups water in a glass bowl; place lid or paper plate on top and nuke for 5 minutes on high heat; 15 minutes at 50% power.) Once the rice is in the mix, lower the heat to simmer and add the following: sprinkle in some cumin, some chipotle pepper seasoning, a touch of garlic salt and onion powder, and some ground pepper. Mix it all up and simmer for a wee bit; about 5 minutes or so. Then, top with shredded monterey jack cheese and turn heat off. Once cheese is melted, put pan on table and enjoy! I plan to do just that in about an hour! Maybe I'll post a pic later...we'll see how it ends up looking! Okay, I added pics...one is blurry, but, oh well! You get the gist.

Friday, July 18, 2008

what's under there...


Looks simple enough, doesn't it? Some lily pads, reeds, smooth dark water...maybe a few dragonflies on the surface. The question is, what is lurking below? A bluegill? A snapping turtle? A muskie? It's anybody's guess! On the water is where I'm comfortable. Learning about people is where my comfort level fades. For some reason, whether through genetics or early interpersonal relationships, I have learned to be wary of new people. I am definitely a homebody/few close friends/hates change kind of a person. I hesitate to take the time to meet people, since you never know what you're going to find, and it's a lot of work, to me, to take the time to get to know someone. I am one of those people who is quite happy to keep my core friends and close family members. I don't have a need to surround myself with tons of people. I am loyal to a fault, unless I am crossed. Then, I come out fighting. As this summer wears on and more and more little things explode around me, I am thankful for the friends that I have, especially the old ones. I don't have to wonder what is going through their mind at any particular moment, because I already know. There is something to be said about "old friends are the best friends." It's nice to be with people whose insides are like yours, whose thoughts fall within the same moral groundwork, and who are working towards similar goals. If a person forgets what they're made of, you can call up an old friend and remember, through their words and thoughts and dreams, who you are. What a unique feature of friends. If you're down on the world and confused about life, call up a friend and share a couple of laughs. I guarantee you will remember who you are in this great big world.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

just keep swimming...


That mama loon looks calm as all get-out, but she is paddling around, looking for fish, watching her kids, and toting one on her back. I feel your pain, mama loon. I'm here, just treading water like mad and trying to keep my wits about me. It's the lazy days of summer, but not around here! I have a beautiful batch of tomato plants that are going to be spewing out ripe tomatoes any day now, (which means salsa-makin' time at the Georgeson's) I have a son's school that is a mess at the moment, (including education coordinators who lie--grrr--and two arms that look like swiss cheese following a mandatory blood draw when Mas scratched someone...brought on by having a roomful of Masons in a tiny, closet-sized classroom) I have a daughter who is desperately hanging on to the few 'free' days of summer by sleeping in and chillaxin', (before two weeks of 8-5 band camp start up on Monday) I have a messy house that is just begging for attention, (started two days ago and spent one whole day on one room...good start) I have an incredibly dry yard and plants, (which require a lot of time and energy and water) I have three needy dogs, (Big Lug, Hen, and Grandpa) I have a grandma going through lots of scary medical tests (which don't sound at all fun), I have remembered why I don't believe in people anymore, (see school troubles and the end of working for peanuts) and I am once again trying out the weight watchers...(which is just as much fun as you might think!!) My plate is full! I am thankful that it is, though, and that I am able to take charge of my life and fight the battles that need to be fought. I do admit, however, that a day spent swinging back and forth on a hammock sounds amazingly wonderful and decadent...maybe once my house is clean! HA! Stay tuned to see how that works out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just Say No



I think that Nancy Reagan had it right...just say no! I think it's a lesson most moms never learn...some learn it very late, and a few of us learn it early and spare ourselves years of frustration! I think I've finally realized that my volunteer/working for peanuts phase of my life is over! No more, "Sure, I'll do that," "Yup, you can count on me," "Yes, I'm available." It's time to do what's right for me and my family and my pocketbook. On an interesting side note, it's funny I didn't realize how to say no earlier...my daughter says it all the time, and I know my son thinks it often. I should have been listening to them all along! Here's to some great old adages..."Charity begins at home," and "Look out for number one!" Maybe there's some truth in those sayings. Here are two of the best reasons I can think of to say no to outside things...what more does a person need?

Friday, July 11, 2008

the wild outdoors




Just when a person starts to think they've got it all figured out, eh? Then Mother Nature comes along and smacks you right in the face! After a week at a cabin in northern MN last week, and a couple of days camping in southeastern SD this week, I think I've met my match in the Mother...she was quite kind to us while "cabin-ing", not so nice while camping. While it's true we did not have any rain, we did have 89 degrees the first two days, (with not even enough wind to move a blade of grass) followed by 98 the next day with a measly 5 mph wind...enough to make you wave your little white flag and say, "Enough!" I think I need to concede that maybe camping in those conditions (or maybe, any conditions?) is not for this family anymore. While Mas was particularly good, his usual "isms" were compounded by the extreme heat and humidity (did I fail to mention that h word?) and my lack of sleep and down time. Taking a drink and spitting it out is annoying at home, but mind-boggingly frustrating when you are trying to hydrate him. Ditto for dirty diapers, throwing toys, night waking, getting sand in his mouth and eyes, etc. I try to make it seem like we can do anything, but maybe I'm wrong. I do think it will be a long time until we are recovered enough to try it again. Couple all of this with the fact that Mas is going to be getting his 7th teacher in 2 1/2 years at school, and things are pretty grumbly around here. I am still (very) thankful for all we have, and said as much to the Big Guy in my nightly prayer roundup lastnight, but also asked if he could spare a break to throw down Mason's way sometime. I'll let you know how that goes. It does seem like Mason is due for some Good News sometime soon. Maybe we just need to look harder. I think it's just time for this fam to take a rest. In that vein, here are some pics from the trip...for your consideration! May the Motha of all that is outdoorsy continue to do her thing...and may we remember not to camp during the heavy part of the growing season.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

dads


Having had an Archie Bunker/Jackie Gleason-type dad myself, I can vouch for the fact that they just don't make 'em like they used to.


Jerri, this one's for you.

M. I. A.




Yes, I've been missing. It is summer, after all, and officially time to do the Country Time lemonade commercial stuff and swing over a lake and have picnics and give dogs baths outside in old tubs. Or something like that. We just returned from a week up north, at a cabin on a muskie lake. Blissful! Nothing like waking up every day to see the lake. I'm sure people who live on the lake just end up taking it for granted. I tell myself that, anyway. 14 was able to go tubing, which she loved. Mas enjoyed being in the boat and swimming, so he pretty much had it made all week. It was a great week, only slightly thrown off by receiving a phone call from Mason's school that he will be losing his 6th teacher in 2 1/2 years...on to number 7. ARGH. The worst part was, they chose to call us at 5 pm on a Friday, right before they (and us) would be gone for a week. Quite sneaky and rude. I suppose they thought we would forget about it while we were gone. Oops, wrong parents for that! Now, we have to try to figure out what to do about it. If you were running a school for kids like Mas and you lost 6 teachers in 2 1/2 years in one room, what would you do? I suggested that they contact all of the previous teachers and ask them why they're leaving, which seems like a logical place to start....hmmmm, logic...how neat it would be if that could be applied to special education. So, aside from pondering what to do about Mason's education, we also ate s'mores, fished for muskies, took pictures, listened to loons, ate at Zorbaz, (where the motto is: mexican and pizza go together like sand and buttcracks!) missed our dogs, (back home in the kennel!) tubed, swam, and sighed at lakehomes. It was wonderful! Now, to win the lottery and be able to afford a trailer on the lake! Here are some pics to illustrate my point.