Thursday, August 28, 2008

a change in the air

It always happens, every year, right about this time, give or take a week...something in the air changes, and it's no longer acceptable to go swimming, water outdoor plants excessively, go out for ice cream, etc...somehow, it has turned over to fall.  Not the orange leaves on the trees type of fall, but definitely no longer summer, either.  I felt it last week, but shook it off, convinced it was too early for that this year.  It seems it's here, regardless of what we feel about it.  I even hauled up my fall/Halloween decorations yesterday....yeah, yeah, I know, it's too early...but, it's my favorite time of year, and I like to luxuriate in it a bit.  I love Christmas, too, but for different reasons.  I love that we can be outside this time of year and be comfortable...especially in jeans and a sweatshirt.  That is heavenly.  I think canning the last batch of tomatoes yesterday convinced me that it's okay to move forward into the upcoming season.  I may actually take out my Simpsons Halloween people today and set them up....slowly....savoring the ones that still light up.  I did draw the line at buying small Halloween candy bars, though, knowing full well they wouldn't survive until the end of October!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

finishing up the harvest

Just so you know, I don't only write about "adventures in crap."  (Although, that has been the general rule around here lately, with 3 dogs and a son who has been toilet training for 1 1/2 years...also, what a great name for a blog....hhhmmmmmmm....)  Today I am off to can some pizza sauce with the remaining tomatoes hanging out in the garden.  Here's hoping it turns out alright.  I have never canned a pizza sauce before, but seeing as how we currently have 48 jars of salsa, I think it's time to try something else!  :o)  My garden fungus has won; not sure if it was from the heavy rain we had earlier this month, or something else, but when Mas had his break and I ignored it for a few days, it had already taken a good hold through the plants.  I went out yesterday and tried to rip out the affected plants, but it is pretty much everywhere.  I guess that will teach me; taking so many days off from checking on things outside!  It was a banner year for tomatoes, though, but a rough year for peppers.  Last year, I had so many spare peppers that I was able to string them up and hang them in the kitchen.  They look awesome in there, all dried and pretty.  This year, I was lucky to scavenge enough out of there to even make salsa.  I am already making plans for next year's gardens; plan on adding more peppers, green beans, and onions, and have decided not to plant pumpkins or squash again.  There has to be some reason to visit the apple orchards in the fall besides apples, right?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

D'OH!

Ummm....yeah....so, yesterday was one of those days...again!  Mas just finished his two week break, so yesterday morning I woke him up at 6:45, fed him breakfast, got his backpack ready, got him dressed and put his shoes on...put his coat on 'cause it was cool outside...sat out on the porch with him and waited 30 minutes.....for the van....that NEVER CAME!  That's because his mother can't read!  He actually started today, Tuesday, instead of yesterday.  Imagine how fun it was to tell him to come back in and take off his shoes and coat!  :o(  Not so much.  (Let's just say that phonics crap is solid!--*insert phonics gang sign here*)  I am going to work on accurate reading in the future.  After that episode, I went to shower, opened our bedroom door, and ran over a pile of dog crap the size of a dinner plate....our German Shorthair decided to leave that for me inside our bedroom door, as opposed for waiting for his master to wake up and let him out....of course, the door ran into the pile and schmeared it all over the carpet....yeah.  So, I steam cleaned that mess and took my daughter to her doctor appointment, where the PA was whacked out and weird and said some really inappropriate things....(do you a call a doc on that stuff, or assume they had a tough weekend??  i decided to let it go, based on how my day was going)...then, off to McDonald's, where we drove through, got home, and discovered they forgot my food!  Called McDonald's, talked to the manager, was told that happens.....which, it does, but not as often as it does here.  Made a call to the district manager (whom they told us was in Yankton....as we called Yankton, they told us their manager was actually spending the day in Pipestone, where we live!  So, she was there when our drive through fiasco occurred....) and ended up speaking to her (in a scarily calm voice!  go fig!) about relying on help, customer service (those words are ALMOST extinct in today's society, eh?) and taking care of people.  She was actually very nice and did a good job acting like she cared.  (Go, fake empathy!!)  Next was a visit to Wal-Mart about 45 minutes away, where I was able to 1)take care of my huge fridge list, and 2)entertain the Masinator.  Surprisingly, it was a very benign visit to "The" Wal-Mart, so nothing of excitement to report there.  Then, took Mas in for his plantar wart doctor visit, and waited ONE HOUR for the doc!  Hello!  Again, we were crazy calm.  Got him home, put him to bed (which he was unhappy with, since there was no bath due to his foot being taped up!), the hubby ran to Pizza Hut while I finished cleaning the kitchen.  Ran into the office to grab the stapler, and stepped in....you guessed it, MORE DOG POO!  Out with the steam cleaner, again.  Phone rang as I took first bite of my P'zone....talked on phone and didn't taste food, hubby went to get Riley from band, but got called in to work and couldn't bring her home...someone else volunteered to drive her home (thanks, Lori!)....got ready for bed and applied my progesterone cream the doc suggested....carefully measured out my 1/2 tsp....was applying it and thought, man, how does anyone find enough "soft skin" to apply all of this stuff?  Realized then that I was using a 1/2 TBLSP, not a 1/2 TSP.  All in all, a GRRRRRRREAT Monday; can't make this stuff up, folks!  Here's to Tuesday, and every day that isn't Monday!  Hope this makes you feel like your days are awesome!  I'd laugh right now if the wounds weren't still so fresh!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

did you say $6.66???

So maybe the first sign that you should have stayed home is waking up to find your son covered in diarrhea; from the top of his blonde hair to his toes...finding it embedded in his sheets, on his comforter, on his pillow....or, maybe when you realize you have to throw out his pillow because there's just no recovering it....or, when he has explosive diarrhea all day long (to the tune of 20+ diapers changed today)...or, when your total at Burger King is $6.66 (yes, it truly was $6.66)...or, when your daughter asks what is in your hair at around 2 pm, and you realize it is dried, crusted over diarrhea from your son's explosion at 6:45 this morning....or, when your son lies on the floor and screams at your daughter's appointment...or, when your son keeps hitting the "I'm tired, I want to go to bed" button starting at 10 am and going all day long...or, when you realize you are running short on wipes and your son only wants to lie on the floor and cry and you are also low on pull-ups and there is no sale on your hair color and you spend 2 1/2 hours in a chair with your daughter doing your "fun" hair coloring day and your son is sitting in his new, expensive stroller slowly filling and filling and filling up his pants and signing "night-night."  I'm not sure what sign I missed, but I am sure the universe was busy throwing them at me today.  Let's just say this would have been a good day to stay home, but life didn't allow it.  I have decided that the next time my morning omens include three sixes and explosive diarrhea, I am leaving the car in the garage and staying in my pajamas!  Word.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

and, in this corner...

Books on the docket this month:  Musicophila by Oliver Sacks; Schuyler's Monster by Robert Rummel-Hudson (should have been done months ago; just don't want to finish it yet!  It's too much fun!),; a Frank Sinatra glossy book with personal stories about the man and his music; and a couple more books that are occupying various bathrooms and chairs around the house--such as, Seeing Voices, My Life in Pictures, etc.  Will do my informal reviews when finished....nothing like a good book to take you somewhere else.  Again, hats off to the first person who decided to print their stories out and smash them between two hard covers...so much fun for those of us who came later!  Strong work!

must...not...waste...food....

What is it about 3 overly ripe bananas or a counter full of ripe tomatoes or 4 huge zucchinis that gives me the urge to preheat the oven?  I asked my mom this question today (convinced it was a genetic anomaly)...she concurred.  I used to blame it on growing up in the Marion School District (blame the school, blame the school!!--chant along, if you wish!) that taught us to "make a home run" with our dinner...meaning, finish the food at all of the "bases" (little depressions in the tray that held food.)  I do feel that probably gave many of us the inability to leave food on a plate...I know the old adage, better to "go to waste" than "go to waist"...but, when I go to throw food out, all I can see is a frowning Mrs. McKenzie wagging her finger at me.  So, with that in mind, today was about tomatoes.  I canned 9 quart jars of spaghetti sauce, and 9 pint jars of a new recipe of salsa.  It was a LONG day in the kitchen, surrounded by dirty utensils, the beautiful smells of sauce simmering on the stove, and recipes that were more or less followed; stopping just long enough to open a package of fruit snacks or crackers for the Masinator, then, came the lovely "pop" sounds that tell me my jars sealed....ahhhhh, what a perfect August sound!  Could I have found something more fun to do today?  Ummmmmm, yes, but I know that when winter is raging outside the window, there will be nothing as great as opening a jar of summer....hats off to the first person who decided to stuff stuff in a jar and seal the lid.  Mrs. McKenzie would be proud!

Friday, August 15, 2008

it's all so....new.....blech

Our computer decided to take a royal swandive into viral-type messiness, so here I am typing on our new Mac computer...spent an eternity in Best Buy yesterday, where they were fixing our old (read: familiar and wonderful) computer.  It was in good hands with Lee, a Geek Squad member with warm eyes and a good heart.  I was so impressed with his techy prowess, I almost invited him to live in our basement.  I thought I could feed him at each meal, and throw in homemade goodies bi-weekly.  If only to have him available to address all of technical mishaps in this house.  He was wonderful, and renewed my faith in Big Business AND customer service.  I would like to attach a cute picture describing our current life HERE, but our pictures are currently living in a new Mac hard drive and have yet to be attached to the new computer.  Life is good, but I am even more painfully aware of how much I depend on sameness, and just how much it throws me to have to learn new things.  I am a creature of habit, my friends, and I just to need to admit that and move on!  In other exciting news, Riley will be starting up band camp next week, and Mas is being treated for plantar warts on the bottom of his foot.  No fun.  I currently have chocolate zucchini cake in the oven; if it is warranted, I will post the recipe on the blog later.  Have spent a busy week taking in the Turner County Fair and also visiting my gram in the hospital.  She just underwent surgery for colon cancer; she is doing great and is a testament to women in their mid 80s; strong and handling life's curveballs as gracefully as possible.  Hopefully my daughter and myself are learning something from her.  We also spent some hairy moments chasing storms this week; will post pics later, but it's the first time I've ever seen a wall cloud lower and also watched rotation directly over our vehicle; Riley thought we were nuts, but Howard and I enjoyed it immensely.  I think it might be the closest I've ever been to being right next to an actual, real live tornado.  Can you say cool?  Gotta go; time to try to figure out the new technology before it envelops me and I am but a pawn in its' shiny new game.  More later!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

how heavy is your voice?



The whole fam-damily went to pick Mas up at school yesterday, and we were able to snag a few moments of time from Mas's speech therapist. She was kind enough to demonstrate the two communication boards she is looking at for Mas to use next. One is the Dynavox M3, http://www.dynavoxtech.com/products/m3.aspx, and the other is the Dynavox palmtop 3 http://www.dynavoxtech.com/products/palmtop3.aspx. She demonstrated to us the features (throw over the fence the horse some hay...just think my German heritage is showing again...) and talked to us about the pros and cons of each. The smaller palmtop one (I am pretty sure that's the one she was thinking of; there are a few smaller ones, though, and I might have the wrong name) is definitely a winner in convenience, since it comes with a bag with a strap, which they would strap around his waist, upside down, so he can look down at it and push the buttons to "speak." The bigger one, the M3, is quite heavy, (would make neat sounds when thrown....) and would be difficult to carry. It would probably require a backpack, which would mean he would be voiceless while in transit, (while on way to and from school, walking to other places in the building, etc.) which he is a lot during the day. The M3, though, has nice big words which I think are vital, since I am convinced he will be able to at least read easy words some day. His therapist said he can already go pick out the word "Thursday" when she asks him to get it off the board. I know some adults who would struggle with that! :o) The M3 also has the ability to put in an actual picture of say, our backyard, and when you push on certain parts of the picture, other things come up; for example, if he were to push on the picture of his swimming pool, another screen would come up with options that have to do with his pool. Very Cool Feature, eh? The smaller one, the palmtop, has tiny print, so that might be harder for him to see/read. Also, the buttons are much smaller, so there's an element of luck involved as far as him hitting the button he intends to hit. So, we are on the proverbial fence. It just strikes me as funny that we have to be thinking of the weight and portability of Mason's voice...amazing the things we take for granted on almost a moment-by-moment basis. Here's hoping we choose correctly, too, since the small device is around $3,000, and the larger one hovers around $6,000. Maybe we are all in the wrong business, huh? I guess one could argue there's no price too steep to have a voice, but they are maybe getting close to that. Send good thoughts Mason's way, if you would, that he would be able to show an obvious preference for one over the other, and that his therapist will be able to decide which one will serve him best in the years to come! And encourage your children to go into augmentative communication design...it's a niche business, but oh-so-lucrative!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

just a chuckle




Here are some things to make you smile...a gazing ball, flowers, and a dog with an absurdly large foreground nose...what else do you need? Today seems like a good day for a laugh! Still learning about our newest camera lens...the best way for me to learn is to jump in and start using it, though, so that's what I plan to do! Should be more chuckles along the way before this thing is perfected. I need to dust off the left side of my brain one of these days and learn about things like ISO, depth of field, etc. Until then, expect more imperfect pics like these!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

warning: venting ahead!

You'd think Mas could have been blessed with a well-functioning body, wouldn't you? I mean, isn't it enough that his brain is damaged; does his body have to be, too? Mas had a bad bout of constipation yesterday, prompting his school to think he was just having bad behaviors, and reminding me to let them know that when you can't speak, you will do what you can to let people know you are hurting, such as pull hair, throw things, lie on the floor, and cry. This is all my own fault, since I didn't adequately prep #7, (Mas's newest teacher) about all of Mas's idiosyncracies. I sometimes wonder how things get doled out upstairs. Let's just say Mas was unable to speak. That would be one huge problem. Then, let's say his brain connections didn't form correctly, his ventricles inside the brain are enlarged, and particular areas of the brain are just never going to function correctly. Now, add to that feet that have extreme pronation (they turn in), hips that still click from bilateral hip dysplasia, bowels that don't function as well as they should, a heart murmur, inability to gain much weight, hands that he just realized were there when he was about 5 years old, skin on his hands that cracks and bleeds because he is constantly putting them in his mouth, mild hearing loss in one ear, mild vision abnormalities, drooling, the list goes on. And on. These are the types of things I would like to be able to talk to God about. Wouldn't a couple of these things be enough? Maybe you could throw Mas a bone and ease up on some of this. I know I would be more than happy to take over some of his troubles. I know it seems pitiful, but it does beg the question, what did Mas do to deserve all this? It seems he started out a pure little soul who did not ask for any of this. I do wish there were something coming his way to balance all of this out....such as, the ability to tell people on his augmentative communication device that he is hurting, and where. These are the types of things that parents of "normal" kiddos take for granted. And rightly so. It's hard to imagine parenting a child who basically has to act feral to let you know he is in pain. It's not normal or right. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. :o) It's just, sometimes it would be nice to be able to ask The Big Guy some questions, and have them answered. That's all I'm asking! Tomorrow I'll probably post about how lucky we are, and I'll mean it. I know we are very fortunate to have Mas be able to do the things that he can, and to be as healthy as he is. Even when your child is special needs, though, you still want more for them. I think it's just a normal response by a parent that seems so twisted when taken in context. I'm done. I promise happy flower pictures and deep visions about growing plants tomorrow! HAHA!