Saturday, February 28, 2009

design project

Here are pictures of 14 with her Globe Theatre project.  The finished project is now featured in the showcase at school, which is awesome!  She designed the theatre on Inventor, and her tech teacher printed it in 3-D form for her.  It's very awesome!  You can see the detail on the closeup.  Her less-than-excited face is due to the fact that there were people in the hallway while her mother was there taking her picture!  Gasp!  In the top picture, you can see the theatre, with a few breaks along the roofline; these happened while the teacher was vacuuming out the project.  It's kind of brittle stuff, I guess.  In the second picture, you can see the two large printouts of her design, with the theatre on the bottom left.  The third picture shows the detail inside; with little steps in the back and one of the doors being opened.  We are very proud!  (P.S.  You can click on the pictures for a much larger picture to see them better!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Heart and i love you and sun dogs

LOVED Idol this week!  The 16 year old redhead is probably, in my mind, at least so far, the clear front-runner.  I also love Danny Gokey from last week.  When I heard the 16 year old was going to do Heart, I squirmed in my seat.  (Heart?  Ann Wilson?  Are you MAD?!)  When Randy said she "blew it out the box", he did not lie!  WOW.  I was impressed.  Thanks to the DVRness of my world, I rewound it and listened to it as we all should be, with my eyes closed, and was blown away all over again.  For ANYONE to tackle Ann Wilson, especially a 16 year old, and especially THAT song, is incredible!  I thought the majority of the people chose crap songs, though, and probably did blow their only chance.  We're not sure yet how the wild card round will be picked; will everyone sing?  Will the judges pick their faves?  Will they just pick the top vote getters?  

A nice lesson for young singers out there was available to anyone listening lastnight:  DO NOT OVER-SING.  Period.  Weak singers will do that when they're nervous, scared, or when they know they don't belong in the top 12 of American Idol.  It was an enjoyable evening, though, even though I was bored through most of it.  Even though the Nick/Norman Gentle dude is totally coming from the comedy side, I still think he has a better voice than they are giving him credit for.  It's interesting that he is such an entertainer, and the judges have eschewed that type of contestant for years and years.  I do think it would open the flood gates wide open for the next season if he were to make it through, but I cannot lie...I was more entertained watching him than I have been watching anyone on that show for YEARS.  I wish he'd get through in the wild card round and come out as himself.  I think we'd all be surprised.  I think the young 16-year old with the red hair, (yes, I will find out her name to avoid typing that) is truly a talent, and you could hear there was just so much more in her voice that she was holding in...beautiful.  Better than the shrieking girls who were showing us everything they had, (including their tonsils) in an attempt to show their volume.  And also, one of my fave Idol comments ever, "I thought I did great!"  (The nail-in-the-coffin comment, folks.)

In other news, Mas was home yesterday due to weather.  We spent a couple of hours lying on our bed, watching the fan go "round and round" and playing with a flashlight on the ceiling.  He loved it.  He did find the "feelings" page on his palmtop all by himself yesterday, which was a first for us at home.  I also found the "I love you" button, which I just asked his speech therapist to add.  I would push it, and then get up close to him and say, "I love you, too", and tickle him.  He would laugh and laugh!  Hopefully he will learn how to push that button appropriately.  Eleven years is a long time to wait to hear your child say they love you.  (Even though we know he does, it would be slammin' to hear that!)

Riley had a Big Day yesterday.  She had to do a project on the Elizabethan era/Shakespeare for her English class.  She chose the Globe Theater as her project, designed the theatre in the Inventor program, and had her teacher do a 3-D printing of the theater.  The first one cracked, the second one crumbled, so she ended up gluing the first one back together and turning it in.  It is now (drum roll, please!) featured in the showcase in the hallway at school!  She was very excited!  She is even allowing me to come up after school and take her picture beside it.  Yes, you read that correctly.  That is Big, for 14.  We are so pleased she is finding her way and seeking out subjects/activities/projects that she likes.  The best part is, she is designing just about everything she sees on Inventor, so all of that practice is bound to nothing but good things.  Yea, Riley!

Lastly, I chased some bee-yoo0tiful sundogs this large, they were like mini rainbows on either side of the sun...also saw a sun pillar this morning, due to the tiny snowflakes that were cluttering the sky.  I tried to take pics, but didn't actually get what I wanted.  I thought I'd throw it in here to show you what our morning was like.  One of these days, I'll figure out f-stops and polarizers and shutter speed and all of that good stuff and maybe sell some pics on a website.  For now, still learning....still learning.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Transition:  def:  passage, the act of passing from one state or place to the next; or, a change from one place or state or subject or stage to another.

It sounds rather interesting and exciting, does it not?  I've kind of been cowering in the corner since I heard it mentioned in my son's IEP back on February 4.  Not only cowering, but I actually told Mason's team that I would rather "stay in denial about that for the time being."  The good part of that is, I was honest with them and with myself, since I am not ready to think about what Mas will do or where he will go when he is older.  When they first brought up transition for him, I said, don't we have 10 more years before we have to worry about this?  They said, yes, but we like to bring it up early so we can be on top of it, and kind of customize his education so that he could maybe get a job someday.  (i.e.:  crushing cans or sorting things...)  It's enough to make a parent of a special needs kid want to run away.  

Although I know the day is coming when he won't be able to live at home anymore, I really prefer not to see that, yet.  (He's only 11 years old and 54 pounds, for goodness' sake!)  I guess my husband and I both have our own ways of dealing with it, or not dealing with it.  My husband is convinced that Mas will "wake up" someday and just be able to speak.  This could be leftover hope from the first neurologist who saw Mas, who called us and said Mas would "be behind until he was five, and then he will catch up and be normal."  (Yes, I would love to call this doc up, and have a few choice words with him.)  I am still convinced he will not make it to adulthood.  This is probably due to the two different docs who saw him and told us he wouldn't live to be a year old.  (Couple that with being the sole caretaker on many nights when I wondered whether he would wake up the next morning.)  I think we both latched on to what we heard at different times and now it's like removing staples after your skin has grown over them.  Painful, and you have to remove some of the skin in order to get that staple out.

It's been a long road.  I think I have hesitated to post anything about it, since it is very personal and is a tough journey in and of itself, without any outside opinions weighing in.  I have always thought of myself as a realist.  Some might say I'm a pessimist, but I don't think that way at all.  I do tend to be realistic in most areas, with a few remnants of romance/creativity/mysticism thrown in for good measure.  In my romantic mind, we would move to a lake, and I would be Mason's caretaker until I died.  Our next-door neighbor would volunteer to raise him after I was gone.  We would spend our days on the water; fishing, boating, swimming, etc.  Mas would get to spend his days doing what he loves the most, and I would get to spend my days watching him be happy.  In my realistic mind, I see us raising him as long as we are able, eventually admitting defeat and then trying to place him.  I remember being angry when our pediatrician (whom we loved and adored) in Omaha said he thought he "would be able to be placed in a group home someday," and I was soooo angry that he said that.  Now, I think he is wrong, because I worry Mas won't be capable of living in a group home setting.  (How is that for the universe kicking you in the gut?)  

It's been a long time since thinking of Mason's future involved much in the way of joy.  Of course, there is joy in watching him learn, and grow, but that is always coupled with the weight of the sheer worry over what he will do, where he will go, how he will fare in a world that is not made to accomodate those who are in any way different.  It's a tough world out there, folks, and that's even if you were given the ability to speak and think and use your hands and feet correctly and with a healthy, well-functioning body.  Without those things, that tough world grows horns, large teeth, a mossy back, and literally eats you alive.  

I have a picture in Mason's room that I used to have in my room when we were growing up.  It is an iconic, classic picture, with the two children crossing the bridge and the angel watching over them.  I used to stare at that picture as I fell asleep.  Now, Mason can look at the same picture as he falls asleep.  I used to totally buy into that guardian angel concept.  The picture has even more meaning now, as the photo has a girl and a boy crossing the bridge, which reminds me of Riley and Mas.  

Riley helped hold down Mason's legs as he had his blood drawn the other day.  I hesitated to have her involved with that, but realized that we just plain needed another set of hands, and she qualified.  When we were done, she said, "It's okay, bug."  When we got home, she said, "Give sister a high-five."  Mas looked at her and brought his hand up to hers.  It choked me up.  So much, that I didn't even want to mention it to anybody.  People always ask me if having Mas for a brother has shaped Riley in a different way.  I tell them, yes, it has, but being 14, that isn't always apparent to others.  It was nice to see that it has made her into a nice person, (even if she is chronologically required to hide that from others.)

Today, Howard and I snuck away for the day and were able to just "be" for awhile; shopping in a trendy little store in the town we run away to.  We found a container full of little buttons, and Howard pushed one to me and said, "This one is for you."  It was a "mother hen" button.  I kind of winced at first, and then giggled.  I know that I worry, and I also know that I worry about lots of things that will never happen.  I also think that we may never worry enough for what lies ahead for Mason.  In my mind, worry is really preparation.  I do think that people who never worry, are never prepared.  I don't know why my mind is wired that way, but it is.

I picked out a card for a friend today that says, "Being 40 means choosing between the activity that is the most fun, or the activity that gets you home sooner."  Something like that, anyway.  I had to laugh, especially since I have been going to bed at 9:15 or 9:30 lately, but also, because I have been living as a "responsible adult" for some time now.  I was choosing between those things ever since I was 30!  Actually, before that!  I am staring down the barrel of 40 now; in June I will hit that landmark and will have to look back on the life I've had, and also peer ahead into the life that awaits.  With all of the frustration, hard work, and palpable pain that motherhood has brought me, I would not trade the experience for anything.  Because it has also brought me a heart full-to-bursting with pride, fits of laughter, pure fun, and many opportunities to find new ways of doing things.  It is really a job that I never could have trained for.

Life is full of choices.  Choices that lead you in directions that you may not have chosen.  Choices that leave you with a houseful of kids and messy windows, with dog toys strewn around and muddy pawprints on the carpet; or choices that leave you living alone with nothing but the tv for company.  Even with all of the gut-wrenching decisions that lie ahead, I know that I will wear my mother hen button with pride, and I will just have to hope that there is an angel (or two or three) watching over Mas, walking a few steps behind, to catch him in case we aren't there to do it ourselves.  

Meanwhile, I think I will keep that scary transition word in the closet, for now.  I know it's there, waiting, but I have a feeling we will think about in anyway, even if it isn't front and center on the kitchen table in front of us.  


pause that thought...

I haven't been posting much lately; pain does funny things to your outlook, and kind of "colours your world" (in a non-Chicago type of way) so that things don't look the way they truly are.  As my pain is finally beginning to subside, (and the painkillers are dwindling down) I should have more insight about the world around us any day now.  

In my best Andy Rooney impression, "What did we ever do before we had Tivos and DVRs?"  The answer is:  I do not know.  We are so hooked on ours, that is a rare event that we watch something in real time.  (What does this mean for the advertising industry, who relies on us to watch their commercials??)  There is no greater feeling than to open up our DVR list and see a plethura of things to watch, all commercial-free.  I can't tell you the last time I watched a commercial.  It's bliss.  My mom says I used to be playing when I was a child and I would stop everything and drop whatever I was doing to run into the living room and watch commercials.  (Mas does the exact same thing!)  I'm not sure what happened to that, but at this point in my life, I have absolutely zero interest in commercials.  (That Shamwow dude and the other guy that screams about things may have something to do with that.)  That is my current thought on the world around me.  Yea, DVRs!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Idol is back!

As my husband likes to say, "Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers."  On that note, what a relief that Tatiana was not one of the three voted into Idol's Top 12!  I figured she wouldn't be, but you never know.  On a sad, secondary note to that, the girl can really sing, when she's not losing her mind on tv.  Danny Gokey is a fave of mine, and the blonde/pink haired girl, (whose name escapes me now) is wonderful!  I did think Anoop would beat Michael, so that was a surprise.  I'm excited to see who they bring up next week.

In home news, just more of the same; recovery + the usual.  Mas had to have his blood drawn yesterday because he scratched a classmate...argh!  Poor Mas.  I told the nurse he would be a pretty easy draw, and then she had a hard time finding it.  Riley and I were holding him down while the nurse pushed the needle all was awful to watch.  Here's hoping he doesn't scratch anyone anymore.

Other than that, just cruising through the rest of February.

Monday, February 16, 2009

sweepin' out the ocean...

Still here, still alive, still kickin'...lots of recovering and going one step forward, three steps back.  I'll get there, eventually.  We hosted a card party lastnight, and I was trying to clean without bending over yesterday.  (That was something in and of itself...a sight to see...damn near impossible to clean without bending!)  Just as soon as I would get Mason's toys put away, I would hear him getting back into them.  Right after I cleaned the patio door window off, I saw him licking it.  As soon as I used bleach wipes on the island, I heard him spit on it.  It seems the universe (or Mas) is trying to tell me something, eh?  Perhaps I shouldn't be cleaning!  ;o)  The good thing is, the people coming over were non-judgmental, fun, more-family-than-just-friends type of people, so it was all good.  I think it reminded me of how people without a kid like this just don't get it.  It's not that I despise cleaning, I just like to do it and have it stay clean for more than a few minutes!  I am envious of those who can clean, and look at it two days later and it's still clean!  Imagine!  Of course, it also reminds me of a neat little statement Howard's grandma made when Riley was little.  We had been over to visit her at her house, and Riley had been playing by her french doors and also by a picture window.  When we were getting ready to leave, I noticed handprints all over the door windowpanes and the picture window.  I said, I'll clean that up for you.  Grandma said, "No, just leave it.  I like to look at that."  How sweet is she, folks?  Amazingly so.  So, I guess I'll just clean "with help" for now...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

still kickin'

I am watching bad daytime tv, with my feet up, and pain in my side...just recovering from a little surgical procedure, where they removed a "surgical scar endometrioma" from my hysterectomy scar.  Turns out I had endometriosis sewn into my hysterectomy scar, and also had scar tissue in there that was pulling on it, causing more pain.  I am glad it's over, but wishing it was two weeks from now and I was fully recovered.  I enjoy sitting around and watching tv for about the first two hours; then, it's a major pain.  I see a million things I need to do, and try to find ways to sneak up and do them.  

Other than that, things are blissfully quiet around here, and both kids are in school.  Thank you, weather and health.  I should end this post and go zone out.  

Saturday, February 7, 2009


This week, one of the students dumped out a bin full of toys in Mason's classroom.  Mason pushed, "Time to pick up the toys" three times in a row on his palmtop....then, proceeded to push, "Next time, don't do that."  Hee hee.  Looks like he's in there, after all!  Our little hall monitor!

Riley is living and breathing her engineering design class.  Which is all good.  She's even using the design program for an assignment in another class.  She also went into a long spiel about her math class the other day, reminding me how happy I am that she received Howard's math brain in the genetic transaction, and not mine!  Whew!  

I am still slightly sick, but just ever so slightly....enough to tell you I'm not back to "normal", but not a big deal, either.  

Other than that, there hasn't been much "post-worthy" stuff happening here...besides the day to day grind.  Boring can be good, though.