Friday, January 30, 2009

night moves

I finally succumbed to the pressure and lumps in my sinuses, and called the doc currently on antibiotics.  This time, it feels like a standard-issue sinus infection...complete with painful sinuses, feeling like you're drowning when you lay down, dry eyes, blocked-up nasal passages...the whole nine yards.  

I decided to take Nyquil lastnight and hopefully grab a little bit of sleep.  At about 9:50 pm, I heard Mas pushing his musical toy in his room...I thought, no problem, he will go right back to sleep at this hour of the night.  I went in, checked his diaper, taped his light switch back down, and went into bed.  Then, I went back in for the same checklist at 10:30 pm, 11:45 pm, 12:15 am, 1:15 am, 2:30 am, 3:15 am, (which always freaks me out because of the Amityville Horror time...I know they say now that it was a hoax, but still!) 4:00 am, 4:30 am, 5:15 am, 6:00 am....after which he fell asleep. 

Now, we're used to night waking, as has probably been attested to in previous posts, but this is epic, even by Mason's standards.  We're talking 8 straight hours of being wide awake, no crying, no fussing, no bowel troubles, nothing.  This morning, I woke him up around 9 am, to see if he needed to go to the doctor for anything.  (The hubby had suggested it sounded like an ear infection...what a wise old sage he is...)  He had a wicked runny nose, a cough, and was, of course, wiped out.  After putting on his palmtop, I asked if he had any owies.  He went to the "owie page", and pushed, "ear."  He pushed that two more times.  I thought, well, maybe he has an ear infection.  Then, while waiting in the waiting room for the appointment, he went to the "owie page" and pushed "leg", and "head."  He then pushed "head" two more times.  I was kind of impressed, but confused by the leg.  (We never did verify that he had any leg pain...but, maybe he had "flu-ey" pains where he ached all over??)  The doc examined him and confirmed the ear infection, and then let her student look in Mason's ear.  After the student examined his ear, Mas bent over and flew through his buttons, and then pushed, "I want the flashlight."  (Pretty cool, since Howard always helps him play with the ear and eye scopes while we're waiting for appointments.)  Mas pushed the flashlight button two more times, while grabbing at the students' arm.  I was so proud!  I wanted to say, "See, he is in there!"  It was definitely a "moment" for both of us.  

So, the bad news is, we are both incredibly tired tonight, and Mas has an ear infection.  With a history of eardrum ruptures, that's not the greatest news.  But, on the good news front, he was able to link the look-in-your-ear-light-thingy to a flashlight, and also tell us he wanted it.  Strong work!  Here's hoping we both start to get better now...this reminds me of why I always dislike January!

P.S.  The pic is of Mas at our favorite German restaurant in Minneapolis last weekend...right after he had his first taste of dark German beer!  Sweet bliss, eh?  (It's okay, it was just a sip!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

idling along

Three weeks and counting...and woke up this morning feeling like the first day I was sick...stuffy nose, coughing up yellowish/green sputum, low-grade fevers, tough to sleep...argh.  I know viruses take awhile to clear the ol' system, but, wow!  This one is really one to commend.  In a strange, admire-your-viral-enemy kind of a way.

A funny thing happened with Mas at school a few days ago.  He wanted to use the computer, but another student was sitting there.  He was getting upset and trying to barge in front of the student, but the therapist kept telling him to wait.  Then, Mas bent over, and started cruising through the buttons on his Palmtop, and finally pushed, "Hey, that's my seat!"  I guess they all had a good laugh about it.  Also, this weekend, Howard had the window rolled down to order something at a fast food restaurant, and Mas pushed, "Close the door!" on his Palmtop.  (I don't think "close the window!" was available on it.)  It is nice to see him using it appropriately and to make his needs/wants met.

14 is digging her new schedule for the nine weeks, and has already signed up for next fall's classes.  It's fun to see her wade through the course offerings and make a decision.  We told her that our available electives was quite a bit thinner than what she is deciding between.  (My high school averaged around 18 kids per high school grade, and Howard's was around 12...not exactly educational meccas.)  We are encouraged by her sunnier disposition since dropping a class where she was not appreciated or wanted, and are hopeful we will do a better job of listening to her when she comes home and tells us what is happening in school.  I think we all learned a valuable lesson.

I am taking expectorants during the day, suppressants at night, and coughing my lungs out at all available times.  It has been a long haul.  We have been watching American Idol, but haven't heard/seen enough of the "real" contestants to have much of an opinion yet...I'm sure that time is coming.  I do like the new judge, and I'm hopeful she will give women in music a more favorable foothold than the other female judge currently does.  Gotta love a songwriter in there...should only help to strengthen the comments.  We'll be listening carefully to see who will emerge as the "ones to watch" in the upcoming weeks.  Yay, guilty pleasures!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Somehow, in a way that defies all logic, I am still coughing....actually bringing up stuff kind of coughing.  It's unreal.  I'm not sure if this is ever going to clear.  So far, the kids have steered clear, so I hope that continues.

Tonight we are off to an awesome German restaurant in Minneapolis.  We are going to try to eat at 8 or 8:30 PM, AND, we will have Mason along, so I'm sure there will be some interesting twists to that story.  He decided to be awake for about three hours during the middle of the night, and then proceeded to wake up for the day at 7:30 he won't take a nap today, we are probably going to pay at some point along the way.  Argh.  

That's about it for excitement here...just waiting for 14 to wake up so we can have some pancakes.  Here's hoping my cough goes away before the end of the month!  We have about a week to go!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

bye, bye, sickness

Well.  What a week and a half I've had...argh!  I am fervently hoping the kids do not catch it.  I conveniently ignored the bloody nasal discharge creeping out of Mason's left nostril this morning...hoping it is nothing more than a coincidence.  Both kids had the flu shot, a fact which I forgot, so am hopeful that Howard and I really did have the flu and that they'll be exempt.  My nasal swab was negative, but at the time they did the swab, my nose was bone-dry.  Not so much anymore.  I still have remnants left, like crud in the lungs, but it feels less drown-y and more "ready-to-give-up-the-foothold-in-my-body-and-be-coughed-out" crud.  We'll see.  Am hoping to have something more to post about soon than this usual fascinating as snot can be, it's not so exciting to people who are not sick, I'm sure.  I just tend to "write what I know", as is evidenced in my posting.  

I did just finish reading a book, "Let Me Off At The Funny Farm", by my cousin, Patty Borge.  I don't really know her, but remember meeting her once when I was little.  I think it involved wind, picnic shelters, some type of family reunion, and a lake.  I can't be sure.  It was so intriguing to read a book by a family member that I really don't know, and yet be so amazed at her adventures and feel so familiar in her references.  From a Minnesota farm family to pretty much everywhere else, she has seen it all.  I can't say I envy most of her travels, but it is interesting.  Her dad, Norman, was my dad's favorite uncle.  He shot a bear once, and I remember looking at the photo of Norman and the bear and thinking, "he is like a true mountain man!"  That photo had a place in my dad's gun cabinet for years and years.  Her book was a fun, fast read, and made me feel like I know her. 

I am still reading "Musicophilia" by Oliver Sacks.  It's so cool, I can't even begin to describe it.  I love music, and I love reading about brain malformations, so this is a double whammy of goodness for me.  I am probably only halfway through it, so I will continue savoring it.

Riley begins a new nine weeks today, complete with a new schedule and one new class.  She was seen smiling this morning, which is a rarity for that time of day, so I am hopeful her next nine weeks will be the best of her freshman year so far.  

Mas had a late start again today, so hopefully he isn't too thrown by the change in schedule.  It's been a long time since he's had a normal week, so maybe next week will accommodate us.  

The weather has improved greatly, as well, with 30s expected today, and even 60s in western South Dakota.  I'll take 30; still good sleeping weather (as we sleep with our bedroom window open) and yet not so cold that you have to bundle up to the hilt to run to the grocery store.  I'm tired of slick roads, but not tired of the temps yet.  Just nice to be out of the below zero temps.

Here's to a new week!  Hopefully one with less coughing, vomiting, lying on the couch, and ignoring my domestic duties...and one with less stress and harassment for my daughter...and one with less schedule-interrupting-things for my son...and one with less falling-on-the-ice activities for my husband.  Here's to things looking up!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

the worst day ever, gosh, what do you think?

I truly have to tip my hat to this infection.  Wow.  It's a good one.  It has nothing to apologize for.  It started sneakily, with a few sneezes, and is taking forever to finish up.  Fairly impressive.  I have to chalk it up as one admirable foe, and for sure in the Top 5 of my Major Sickness List, probably pushing for #3.  You know it's bad when we go to George's Pizza and nothing sounds good!  It has not only stolen sleep from me, but has also almost caused me to black out, and most importantly, stolen my appetite.  The nerve.  If it doesn't start backing down today, I think I'll ponder pushing it to #3 for sure, if not #2.  We'll see what the day brings.

Friday, January 16, 2009

super glue to water

I know my friend Ryan and I have had this conversation numerous times, but it bears repeating in this setting:  how much snot can one person produce?  It started out as the stickiest, super-glue concrete snot I've ever had.  Then, **POOF!**, today, it turns to water.  Running down my throat faster than I can possibly swallow it.  Of course, I know from my numerous battles with my sinuses that this is a good sign; the infection is breaking up and is now able to drain, but how much more will my body make?  Carumba!  It is a strange thing.  I need to go do some research into why this happens, and why we can't dry it out in some manner.  Meanwhile, the coughing here is Olympian in its' scope--the kind of coughs that make you curl up your toes and hope for the best.  I actually get light-headed from it.  Eek.  Here's hoping my body is about done with the snot production line.

OOOOOOOOoooooh what a week

No school on Monday, late starts Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday....temperatures hovering around -22....not counting windchill, end of the nine weeks for Riley, losing 4 pounds, being sick as a dog for the entire week, and actually having to give in and go to the clinic yesterday.  I would say yesterday defined our week the best.  I woke up yesterday morning after being sick all week with some type of upper respiratory gunk.  Feeling very crummy, I nevertheless woke Mas up and took him in the bathroom to get him ready for school.  After I got his pajamas off and told him to go potty, the world was a spinnin'.  I had to wake Howard up and tell him to get Mas ready for me.  He laid there for a moment, and then I mumbled that Mas was naked in the bathroom.  That got him up.  How got both the kids off to school, and then I called in for an appointment.  Turns out I have a virus, and apparently a post-viral bacterial inflammation somewhere in my body.  My potassium was also low, which was causing the weakness and making my hands cramp up like crazy.  So, now I am on antibiotics to cover the bacterial part of it, and am on triple the usual dose of potassium, and have to cut back on my diuretic until the potassium gets back to normal.  The good news is, I'm down 4 pounds from not being able to eat.  (Did I mention being horrendously nauseous the past few days, as well?)  The bad news is, I am woefully behind in laundry, cleaning, making meals, etc., and am actually tired of laying around.  That's saying something.  I am awake (and not feeling faint) this morning, though, so maybe things are looking up.  It seems every year we all manage to get sick at some point in January.  So far, it's just been mom and dad.  Here's hoping the kids miss this.  And here's hoping January hurries up and gets itself over with!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

yeah, yeah, I know...

Lastnight I engaged in the guiltiest of guilty pleasures ever...American Idol.  Glued to the screen, (watching the recorded version, to cut back on commercials, of course), we laughed and admired and cringed and would occasionally rewind...I also shut my eyes and tried to weigh in before the judges.  Some of my friends, who remember me as a musician, are shocked that I enjoy watching Idol...after all, they say, it's all staged for tv, they don't really audition those bad ones, etc.  I guess I know that, but I just LOVE thinking that maybe, just maybe, they will find a true gem in that madness mix; a true diamond-in-the-rough who will set the music world on its' collective ear and remind them to shut up and listen on occasion.  Call me crazy, but I like the thought of people actually auditioning for their "one shot" to make it.  Probably the same reason I used to have my band play "I Believe" before every concert/practice...because I do.  I believe in the power of music, to change people, to change souls, to change the world we live in....(or, at least the world around you)...or maybe just to uplift us all during the dreary months of winter and give us a reason to rejoice.  Guilty pleasure?  You're damn right.  And I love every moment of it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

late starts and no sleep

It's been a weird couple of days.  Yesterday started out with us wondering whether to send Mas on the van to school...mainly because spending a day stuck in a ditch with Mas can't be on anyone's list of Fun Things To Do.  We decided, okay, we'll send him.  They left, and about five minutes later, there was a knock on the door...they were back.  They had only driven a few miles away when they got the call from the bus company to come back.  You can imagine how happy Mas was to come back home....argh.  LOTS of crying, tears, anger, frustration.  Lots of me saying, "There's no school today!  No one is there!  You'll have school tomorrow!"  Today greets us with a two hour late start, which could have made for a tricky morning with Mr. Schedule...but, the graters that cleaned off the streets ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT woke him up at 3:25 AM, and he stayed awake until 7 am.  So, he is blissfully asleep right now, at 8:26 am, which is totally unprecedented.  Should make for a fun time tonight, when he won't want to go to sleep!  To make the story of a long two days short, I think we're ready for the January thaw.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

things that make you go hmmmm

So, Jett Travolta did not speak, and the family moved to Florida so he could be near water and flying, his two favorite interests...sounds very familiar to many kids we've met over the years...and one kid that lives here...  

Mas's favorite new toy is the rubber Wii remote jacket.

On Wednesday, my grandma will be having her eye removed.  How strange will that be for her?  Especially after 87 years of having it there?

How is possible for someone to accumulate as much junk as I have over the years?

Why was I keeping my junior and chapter degrees from FHA?

Why do I still have my Popeye gumball machine?

A plastic fence for my horses?

I have enough material downstairs to make about 15-20 quilts, as long as you didn't mind what they looked like.

Why is George's Pizza so good?

Why do rice krispie bars disappear so quickly?

Why are sundogs so cool?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I can remember when someone saying they were 40 sounded like they were knocking on death's door.  Hello?  Now, I am pushing in, in a mere six months from now, I will be having to answer, "how old are you?"  with "40."  When did this happen?  How is it possible?  I am as shocked as anyone else!  I never thought this is where I'd be when I was 40.  Not in a million years.  I suppose it's time to reflect, take stock of your life, and decide where you're headed...but, I'm too busy trying to think of a way to get away and celebrate this milestone birthday.  Luckily, a friend of mine is also turning 40, in March.  I am hopeful we can come up with something that will honor our first 40 years on the planet.  If nothing else, maybe we can come up with something that gets us out of Dodge for a few days and into a different environment.  The funny thing is, I don't FEEL forty...but, I guess every old person says stupid crap like that.  Sigh.  Here's to the end of my thirties.  

Monday, January 5, 2009

sadness on the river

Was surprised to hear about the death of John Travolta and Kelly Preston's son, Jett.  It's amazing how great they were at keeping him out of the public eye.  Of course, none of us are aware of the truth except the family and staff, but as news reports surface that Jett was actually autistic, it definitely opens a bag of worms.  The word is the family refused to admit he was autistic, since Scientology "does not recognize autism."  Wow.  If all of this is true, how sad is it to think of all of the families that could have been helped had they come forward.  While Mas is not autistic, we have enough autistic tendencies to know what these families go through.  (And how great would it be if he were?!?  Finally, a group to associate ourselves with.  Something to raise money for.  Shirts to wear to describe it.  Answers for people who stare.  Three neurologists have told us it is not autism, but there is still a part of me that would be comforted with that me crazy.)  Some day, I believe the cause of autism will be known, and we will look back on these times as a society and be ashamed of all of the stigma and shame that has surrounded it.  While everyone has a right to believe, (or not believe) whatever religion they choose, (and, should all of this turn out to be true), it certainly gives me an even stronger opinion on the Church of Scientology.  It seems rather convenient to say your child is not afflicted with something because your faith doesn't recognize it.  I know De Nile is a river in Egypt, but come on, people.  How can you embrace a faith that automatically ignores a percentage of the population?What about the broken ones?  Wait a minute, I think that actually is the basis for many religions...but, I digress.  As parents of a special needs kid, I can say with certainty that many people attempt to pigeonhole, diagnose, and assume they know what we go through.  No one does.  We don't know how things were for Jett Travolta, either.  Or, what the family has been through with him.  But, just knowing that this could possibly be true seems like such a disservice to all of the families who have autistic children, but don't have a convenient reason to ignore it, like Scientology.  One would think that any religion would do well to remember that while medicine is not always convenient, it has been historically proven to be necessary.  This shunning of autism reminds me of the way people were isolated and ignored in the past, whether it be from polio or tuberculosis.  Should it turn out that he did have Kawasaki's and not autism, it still begs the question what a Scientologist would call autism.  If they don't recognize it, how do they explain it away?  Kind of makes you scratch your head, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


2009, eh?  Go figure.  Not sure where this year went, exactly, but I can't say I'm too sad to see it go.  It had its' ups and downs, but it seems the ups are less fun now and the downs are much heavier.  Maybe it's part of being older.  2008 was responsible for:  

Me: trying to regulate hormones following a total abdominal hysterectomy...finding out it's no picnic.  I thought I finally had it figured out, when a constant nagging pain turned into a constant Incredibly Painful pain, and I was diagnosed with endometriosis.  Turns out the only treatment for that following a hysterectomy is to stop using your estrogen patch, which has been interesting.  Insomnia, anyone?  Dry skin?  Feeling hopeless?  Check, check, check. 

Me:  swearing off volunteering forever.  Not much to say about that, except that I was daft about stopping it, and should have done it much sooner.  Took awhile to wipe the word "doormat" off my forehead, but I think all traces of it are gone now.

Me:  growing weary of just being a "mom."  Dreaming about wearing dress clothes to work and visiting with other humans and drawing a paycheck.  Maybe someday.

Howard:  driving a 12 penny nail through his (middle, of course!) finger with an air nailer.  Laughing hysterically while in shock.  Causing panic in his wife.  Putting off our remodeling for another day.

Howard:  not catching a muskie, all year!  :o(  Sad.  Saw huge ones, though!

Howard:  getting his instrument rating for flying.  Has to fly with goggles on so all he can see is the instrument panel.  Not my cup of tea!

Riley:  Dropping her trumpet on the way in to play her solo at contest, only to walk in and find out her accompaniment program didn't work at all, playing it a capella (while crying over denting her horn) and getting a I on said solo. 

Riley:  After years of telling us she did not like band, finally being allowed to drop band.  It was much harder on us than it was on her.  We marveled at the fact she was heard giggling a couple days after dropping...we hadn't heard that in months.  We are sad to see her talent not be used in the "band" capacity, but know it is time for her to make the hard choices that turn you into an adult, and not to stay in things to make your parents happy.

Riley:  Watched her write numerous songs on Garage Band since dropping band.  I guess her musical side will still be used.  Whew!  (Might I add some of the songs are better than the ones her mom has tried to write!)

Riley:  Watched her grow in her pre-engineering class she decided to take this fall.  We have seen her design many items on her 3-D design program we have installed on the basement computer.  We have heard many inquiries on what engineers/designers/coroners/research scientists make for a living, and what kind of schooling is required for each.  It's been fun to peer into the future with her and consider all of the possibilities.

Riley:  Have rejoiced over her test scores from the past year, if only as a concrete reminder that she is no way afflicted with any of the brain damage Mas has.  We know that, of course, but it's always nice to see it in print.

Riley:  Said she wants to learn to fly; got a new logbook, engraved with her name, for Christmas.  Went up flying yesterday and had a great time.  I expect many hand-wringing hours in my future.

Mason:  Switched from his Go Talk to a Palmtop 3, and we have all learned how to handle this sweet piece of technology.  Kind of scary to watch Mas walk around with $4,000 strapped to his waist, but we are calming down about it now.  It's fun to watch him be able to tell us what he is thinking, as opposed to just what he wants.  Example:  was listening to "Blue Christmas" on the radio in the car.  Riley said, "Turn that off; it's horrible!"  Mas pushed, "Change channel" on his Palmtop!  Okay, okay, I get it!  Example #2:  Mom was giving him nutter butter bites, and ever since he was little he will throw any that don't have the top of the cookie on them.  She gave him one without the top, and he pushed, "I don't like that one," on his Palmtop!  So fun to see his personality shine through.

Mason:  Had a bad bout of constipation/pseudo intestinal blockage this fall.  We did get it under control with help from our family doctor.  Went to a neurologist and had some of his old tests repeated.  Nothing new to report.  Developed a hydrocele, which is a fluid filled sac located above his testicle.  Nothing to do about it now, but it will most likely have an inguinal hernia accompany it this year, which will require surgery to correct it.  Other than that, it was a pretty quiet year for him, healthwise.

Mason:  Saw his best teacher yet leave his school, which gave him his 7th new teacher in 2 1/2 years.  A very trying time.  Still wondering if he is in the best place, or if he would benefit from being around "normal" kids and having someone to model after.  I guess we'll never know the answer to that one.  So sad to lose a teacher who really believed in him.

Mason:  Teacher #7 seems to be young, energetic, and fun.  I have hope, although am afraid to jump in and totally endorse her, for fear she will leave as soon as I do!  This is the longest he has had one teacher since he started there.  We'll quietly keep our fingers crossed.

Mason:  Has the best speech therapist in the world.  She totally sees through his b.s. and knows when he's pulling things.  She also sees the potential.  Amazing what a great therapist can offer him.  

I think that's about it, for a short and sweet end of the year wrap-up.  Here's hoping 2009 brings with it a bit more joy, and more of the same good health.  Here's hoping that Riley finds her way in the murky waters of high school, and that Mas continues to develop in the best young man he can be.  And here's hoping I can continue to be at the helm of this ship, and guide them all the best way I know how.  Happy New Year!