Friday, March 31, 2006

Howdy, Stranger - I'm Pleased to Meet You

This post is particularly directed to the woman PC spoke with last night at an "establishment" in the general vicinity of my home. I must have just missed you last night. PC told me a bit about your conversation. I'm grateful that I was able to help you, that made me feel like I'm doing some good with this blog, besides just venting. He never got your name, so your anonymity is safe with me, but I do hope I get the opportunity to meet you. If you would like to talk, or just say hi, my email is in the profile. For all I know you're one of the people who comment all the time...I've really got no clue as to appearances except for a few, or perhaps, you prefer to read only. Either way, I'm pleased to have "met" you, and I'm so happy you got a chance to meet PC!!! We'll be up there again, as patrons and as a band...our band, Code West, if PC didn't mention it, will be there on May 20 and July 1, but I do so hope to meet you before that!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

What Do You Think?

First, my HUGEST, heartfelt, sincerest, warmest, tear-trailed thanks for all of your comments on that last post. I am constantly amazed by everyone's thoughts, advice, agreement that Ex should Go F himself (or as we'd abbreviate in our house "GFHS"). I am surrounded by such incredible people - my family, my friends (and in that I include YOU...all of YOU even if I've never met you).

You may have noticed that I changed my profile picture...again...Mama Bear cradling a small child. It radiates love, warmth, security, protection, and still sends out to others the fierce Mama Bear vibes...this is MY child and I WILL protect at all costs! I wonder if I can change the name of the blog to Mama Bear - Mess with my kids and I'll rip out your heart and feed it to the vultures (thanks Marti)

SmallBoy had a better night last night. He was missing LargeBoy something awful, though. LargeBoy is on Spring Break this week and has been out with friends since before SmallBoy gets home from school until after he's in bed. So after SmallBoy EXPRESSED that he misses his brother (HOORAY!!!!! - for the expression, that is), I made it a point to have LargeBoy write him a quick note to say hello. It said something along these lines:

Dear SmallBoy,

I haven't seen you very much this week so I wanted to write you a note to say hi. I promise to spend some time hanging out with you and beating you at the Sonic game.


p.s. Girl smells, so don't sit next to her.

I love that he loves his brother so much. SmallBoy kept laughing and laughing this morning at the part about Girl. He was SO happy to see that his brother didn't abandon him (a la Ex), and made it a point to take time out of his day to leave him a note. See what just a little something can do! HUGS to all of you! I love you TONS!!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dear Ex:

Dear Ex: You son of a motherless goat (I'm only being nice because I respect the others who read my blog). Your ignorance of your son and your absolute loathing of me and lack of acceptance that I divorced your drunk abusive ass, is doing so much damage. No, you're not hurting me. I'm an adult. I can handle myself. I am competent and I have a fantastic support network. You're not hurting me. You cut off most of my money and left me for broke, legally bound in this town with unbelievable f*cking property taxes for another 8 1/2 years because you wanted me to go broke and suffer for leaving you. You trashed my family for supporting me, for taking MY side. You forbade your family from speaking to me because you were afraid they would betray you by even understanding my side. You trashed my name in the community and harrassed my friends. But you didn't hurt me then, and you're not hurting me now.

You're hurting LargeBoy. He is feeling like he has to step up to the plate and protect his brother. You say he's lying to you and that you think it's wrong that he lies to cover for his brother. Hmm...why do you think he does that? He does that because YOU don't understand SmallBoy. He does that because YOU and New Wife think that SmallBoy is bad and he's not. He tries to protect his brother. He stands up for his brother and for his rights. LargeBoy feels stuck in the middle. He doesn't want to go over on your weekends. He says that he finds things to do so that he is not there anymore, now that you and New Wife refuse to have SmallBoy in your home. He feels wrong not visiting because you ARE his father, but he feels wrong not being here with his brother. He will stand up to anyone - except you and New Wife - and defend anything that SmallBoy does. He understands. He's done the research. He knows what Asperger's is and he knows that, unfortunately, there are people like you and New Wife who don't get it and who will ostracize anyone not like yourself. HE is suffering. HE is being hurt.

Girl is also affected by your stupidity. She feels so incredibly torn. She, despite your idiocy, feels some strange loyalty to you. She knows that what you are doing is wrong, she's told me as much. When you first started pulling this crap, she was so distressed that she actually talked to me about it. Now, she clams up. She wants to see Step-Sister. She wants to see New Brother. She's a little mommy and adores having a "big sister." She feels like she is betraying me and SmallBoy. Of course, you don't care if she does, as long as she doesn't speak of SmallBoy while he is banned from your home because you don't understand him, or as long as she doesn't defend him or "lie" for him to protect him when he IS at your home. She is probably going to be in therapy for most of her adult life because she is so emotionally wrecked by this that she can't even discuss it with ME - she's been able to discuss ANYTHING with me...except the two things that involved YOU - the divorce and how you f*cked us over with that, and the excommunication of SmallBoy from your home. SHE is in pain deep down from her head to her toes. SHE can feel the pain deep within her heart and in the pit of her soul. SHE is being hurt.

But THIS is who you're hurting the most, you brainless, uncaring, ignorant, jerk-ass, buttheaded, word I can't say because my mother will read this. You cannot even BEGIN to understand the damage that you are doing. You say you want to put him into the public schools and I tell you he's not eligible for services because his grades are FANTASTIC. You are beginning to mess with him so much, that his anger and resentment are manifesting themselves in his schoolwork. He is becoming much less organized, he's forgetting his homework, his frustration tolerance is considerable lower than it's been for the last two years before you started this bullsh*t. He is a LOT more stimmy the last few weeks - but a) you wouldn't know what that is because, according to you, "the more research you do and the more you read about it, the more bullshit they feed you," b) you would just say he's being a bad kid, oh, and c) you refuse to see you WOULDN'T KNOW ANYWAY!

WE, PC &I, listen to him cry. WE listen to him say how angry he is. WE listen to him call himself stupid. comfort him. WE walk in his shoes. WE understand him. WE help him express his anger in productive ways. WE applaud him for knowing that he's angry and being able to say so. rearrange our lives for him. WE are going broke for him because we're doing everything that we possibly can to help him, with no help from you because that would mean giving me, the evil biotch of an ex-wife, more money. WE comfort him when he's watching his brother and sister leave to go to YOUR house where you won't ALLOW him because you're afraid that Asperger's is contagious and the poor New Baby might get contaminated. WE tell him how much we love him and how much he is loved and supported by SO many people, including people who read this blog.

Do you want to know WHY I don't take you to court and force you to see SmallBoy? Tough! I'm telling you anyway! I don't MAKE you see him because I know that his experience there would be a miserable one. I know that you would make him feel even worse because you'd be constantly be yelling at him, calling him a liar, making him feel totally inadequate, making him think that everyone else, especially New Baby, hold much more value to you than he does. HE is hurting. HE is suffering. HE is the one who will feel like he's being abandoned by his father.

PC has only known him since 2004. HE gets it. He loves SmallBoy. He would give his life for him. He goes to everything with him, all of his appointments, boy scout outings - cuz god forbid you actually DO something with your son. HE helps him stay on track. HE knows how to help calm him. HE knows how to help stick to a routine that makes things easier for SmallBoy. He comforts SmallBoy. HE LOVES HIM. My in-laws, in the short amount of time that SmallBoy has been in their lives, have made it a point to learn everything they can about Asperger's and other spectrum disorders. THEY understand SmallBoy. THEY knew SmallBoy better than YOU. I am certain that if you actually managed to find my blog that you would just say that I'm being a "c" (your favorite word - yes, family, he has called me that many a time), but again, I say, that doesn't bother me. It's not me. Be angry at ME all you want. You're not hurting ME!

You are hurting them. Yes, I suppose I can actually say that you are hurting me. You're hurting me by hurting MY children. I suppose that when you finally listen to the professionals tell you that Asperger's is passed through the male blood line that you'll freak out. Oh GOD - what ever would you do if New Baby turned out to be on the spectrum!?!?!?! Will you disown him, too?!?!?! Yes, it pains me to watch SmallBoy suffer. It breaks my heart to know that all of the progress we have made - and LORD KNOWS we've made HUGE strides, is being UNDONE, he is REGRESSING because of this manifestation of his anger towards you, because of his confusion about the "new system", because his routine is upset, because someone he thought was a permanent fixture in his life, even if not under the same roof, has abandoned him, because YOU and New Wife REFUSE to understand. HOW can you, in good conscience, do this to him? You obviously have no idea about the ways of the spectrum or about the children on the spectrum. You obviously have no plans to educate yourselves about this topic. It's much simpler to deny this and to blame it on behavior and to say that he's going to get the precious baby sick by...oh GOD...touching his TOYS! HELLOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! When SmallBoy was a newborn, I was still running a daycare. A & M were constantly sick, runny noses, ear infections, Hell, all three of our kids had chicken pox within the first 6 wks of me returning to babysitting after SmallBoys birth. The snotty fingers were not always washed, I never would have been able to do anything but wash hands constantly. The snotty fingers of A, M, Girl, and LargeBoy were ALWAYS all over SmallBoy's toys. Did THEY ever get deathly ill? I think not!

So, this is what I have to say, and then I leave the floor open to anyone who would like to add to this: Get your head out of your a*s, learn, understand, accept, and deal. If you can't, then you have no right whatsoever to call yourself the father of any of my children, especially SmallBoy. He is my love, and I WILL NOT allow you to hurt him any longer. Get with the program or GET LOST!

Mom, Dad, Meem, Poppy, PC, anyone want to add? Feel letter to Ex.

If at First You Don't Succeed...

I am attempting, yet again, to change my blog template. If you access it and it's misbehaving, I apologize. It may very well end up back with the same old pink.

OHHHHHHHHhhhhh! That Smells GOOD!

Comfort Food. I have posted on it before, I will more than likely post on it again. For some, comfort food is chocolate, for others it's a head of broccoli, for others, still, perhaps ice cream, stew, chicken soup. I have many comfort foods, but the ones that REALLY and truly make me feel better, are the ones that fill my house with the soothing aroma of my grandmother's kitchen. Her cookies baking, a pork roast that's been seasoned with rosemary, can't forget the aroma of bacon, sausage, and eggs on a Sunday morning (it doesn't have quite the same impact if it's any other morning), Allspice, MUST STOP...I'm drooling! My favorite above all else, is the smell of pot roast. Our recipe for pot roast (and dumplings - MUST HAVE), calls for taking your pot roast and, I kid you not, this is in the actual recipe, "cook[ing] the hell out of it." It ends up being so moist and tender that even moving it from the pan causes it to melt off of the meat fork.

PC and Meem made a trip to Sam's Club last week and brought home two pot roasts, then my mom came over and brought us another...I was in heaven! Still am, for that matter! Meem has a different recipe than I'm used to, so we figured three pot roasts, why not three recipes?! Last night we cooked the first roast with Meem's recipe. It took a lot longer than we had anticipated (we have a stupid oven), but my house smelled...oh GOD...just SOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD! We ended up having something else for dinner last night, but the smell of the roast was still lingering in my kitchen this morning when I came down to leave for work. Tonight we will feast!

With all of the stress in my life right now, including, but certainly not limited to the Ex and SmallBoy issue, money (and when is that NOT a stress), home repairs that desperately need to be made, car repairs that desperately need to be made, know, all the usual stresses, the instant soothing power contained in simply the smell of pot roast is enough to temporarily relieve my weariness, to ease my soul, to temporarily remove the burden of all the crap. It makes me happy, makes me look at my family and think, wow - these people are so incredible, and I'm so lucky to have them that all those stesses..Pshaw!

Yep. Comfort food. Gotta love it.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dozin' With The Dinos

Good Morning All! We've spent the whole night locked inside a building, in the company of mummies, jewels, shoes, statues, birds, man-eating lions, beaches, shoes, volcanoes, apes, and dinosaurs. Not much sleeping done by PC or by me, it was too difficult to get comfortable on the floor, but SmallBoy crashed out. We spent the night in The Field Museum on an outing with SmallBoys Scout Pack, and, as this adventure was open to the public, many others.

We missed the orientation at the beginning by delaying our departure from home so that we would miss rush hour traffic - going into Chicago on a Friday night is almost as bad as traffic leaving Chicago on a Friday. After we arrived at the museum, we plopped our sleeping bags and pillows down in the Bird exhibit (next to ducks, falcons, eagles, etc), and joined a group with familiar faces. The children were doing an activity in preparation for the Ancient Egypt exhibit. The leader was teaching them how mummies are made. Yep. He went easy on them because most of them were under the age of 10, but they got the idea. He taught them about the jars that the organs are kept in and they did an activity centered around that. After that, we walked through an exhibit set up to be like a tomb. There were real mummies in there. Some were still in the sarcophogus, while others were partially exposed (behind air locked glass, of course), some were adults, others were infants and children. One particular mummy, though, they had started to unwrap. As scary as you'd think this might be, it wasn't. It was actually very interesting. The cartilage on the nose was still intact, the eyelids were still there. It was very very interesting. After that exhibit, we headed over to listen to a story teller. SmallBoy and his best friend P got chosen to go up on the stage and participate in one of the stories. He LOVED it. He's got that same bug for the stage that I do!

After a snack, we headed off to do some of our own exploration. Exploring a museum, I discovered much to my surprise (and I shouldn't have been surprised), with a child on the spectrum is a bit difficult. We had fun, but it was hard to spend too much time looking at one thing (say, more than about 30seconds), because something else would catch SmallBoy's attention. Here he is with the head of Sue. You'll notice Sue is not just your ordinary girl. She is the 2nd complete T.Rex in the U.S., I believe, and she's housed at OUR museum. Her head weighs 200 pounds alone, so the weight imbalance made it impossible for her real head to be attached to the rest of her body. Instead, they have a plastic mold roaring at observers from the front of her gargantuan skeleton. It was truly incredible to see her together. The last time I was at this museum was shortly after Sue arrived, in pieces, still being cleaned. We were with my mother, and I only had Girl and LargeBoy with me - SmallBoy was still a baby, or toddler. The Bulls' 6 championship trophies were the big display inside, while the outside contained a butterfly exhibit. LargeBoy had the pleasure of becoming part of that exhibit when one of the butterflies took a liking to his butt and landed there for a few moments. Needless to say, this was the first time I had the opportunity to observe this giant in her fully assembled glory. This picture was taken this morning at about 6:45. Isn't she just incredible? It's much more daunting when you're standing on the ground looking up at her. I tried to get a picture of SmallBoy standing in front of her for perspective, but he wasn't quite conscious enough for it at6:45. Last night, though, the museum turned out the main lights and had bedtime stories around Sue. THAT put it into perspective - just how incredibly enormous she is. If you look through her ribs and off to the left between the columns, you'll get a general idea of where we spent the night. The bird exhibit is just pas those two columns. Sue's head, in the previous picture with SmallBoy, was just above her, where you see the light shining from above. This was truly incredible. It put our existence here into perspective. We are just a speck on the timeline of this planet.

The top picture is in the Evolution of the Planet exhibit. PC and I couldn't help but comment on the fact that the troop was being allowed to visit since we attend a Catholic school - and the "E" word is considered a sin. The exhibit began with the theories on how the planet was formed and life began, but EVERYONE seemed to pass that by in the hopes of arriving quickly at the DINOSAUR exhibit!!!!! In the top picture, SmallBoy is standing in front of a dino that is a cousin of a T.Rex. This beast was not nearly as large as Sue, but, personally, I wouldn't want to find it when it's out looking for food! The bottom picture is of SmallBoy and me (glasses on...eeeeeuuwwww) standing inside the footprint of a brontosaurus. We both fit in there with plenty of room to spare. We probably could have fit PC in also, but someone had to take the picture.

The city in the morning. This view is at about 7:00 this morning looking north and west on the city. I didn't load the picture with the Sears Tower, but at this point, about the upper 1/3 of it was still in the clouds. I've lived here my entire life and that one thing never ceases to amaze me - how part of a building seems to just disappear into the sky, like Jack's magical beanstalk. The dinosaur here is the same one from the previous pair of pictures, the T.Rex cousin in front of which SmallBoy was posing. This time, though, the lights were off in the exhibit, and NO ONE else was in there. We went up there this morning, walking backwards through the exhibit (cuz it was faster than starting at the beginning) and took in the room and the skeletons lit only by the natural light entering through the windows. Breathtaking. The rest of the evolution exhibit was truly marvelous too. There was this one skeleton, probably a story or two high, set to look like it was trying to climb a tree. We were terribly curious, as it didn't look menacing, and it was from just before or just after the ice age (I can't remember), but it was a giant ground sloth. You'd have to see it to believe it, and I neglected to take a photo of it. There was a tar exhibit to help people to gain a better understanding of the impossibility of escaping from the tar pits.

I could go on and on and on. I must close soon, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I saw many children there, probably on the spectrum themselves. Most did brilliantly. Some would get bored or over stimulated and go off and do their thing to calm themselves or would be stimming in a corner, but no one there seemed to mind or take offense or stare or anything. SmallBoy was phenomenal. Except for his need to flit from one thing to another or to head off with his friends without telling us he was leaving (we were smart enough to make sure that one of us had an eye on him at all times and to pause him and let him know that we needed to know if he was going somewhere, which he never ended up doing without us), he was excellent. I was so proud. He started to melt at one point, but he was exhausted, and he's nursing a cold. So, we tucked him into his sleeping bag and he was out cold within about 5 minutes. I think he's upstairs now taking a nap.

As for the grown ups in this house, well, neither of us slept well last night. Almost as soon as we arrived back home this morning, PC and I went upstairs and attempted to sneak in a nap. I think we managed about 45 minutes before we decided to just suck it up, make some coffee and get on with our day. SmallBoy took this picture. He would have been a bit disappointed had I not included it in the post. I was supposed to be posing as though I was trying to push over or against the post, while PC looked on. Oh well. We had a ball! DEFINITELY will do it again! Next time, though, we bring an air mattress!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I am SO Losing My Brackets and A Long Busy Sunday

In the family March Madness pool, I was doing ok til Syracuse lost.....I had them going to the finals. Then I was still doing ok until Illinois lost ...ok, call it wishful thinking, but I had them going all the way. I thought I might still be ok as far as points if everyone else had a few upsets. Nope. Kansas lost and it was all over. I'm toast. I only hope that Duke goes down (sorry Meem).

So this wasn't from this weekend, but it was from this week and it was just so damn cute. I almost put in the picture of him after the presentation of the colors CAUGHT IN A PICK. But I JUST couldn't...but damn it was cute! The morning started out bright and early, as it was Girl Scout Sunday at 9:00 mass , when the Girl Scouts all congregate together, any religious medals that have been earned are given, and the Girl Scouts play a part in the mass - bearing gifts, doing readings, etc. After mass, the Girls always have a hospitality reception. You know what that means. GOODIES! Donuts, muffins, cakes, breads, COFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! It was the 7th graders responsibility to run the hospitality, so we were there for quite a bit, considering Girl had to be at church by 8:30 and we didn't get home until shortly after 11. I had 4 cups of coffee if you count the one I had at home before leaving for mass. Bing-BIng - BING! Riccochet Rabbit (anybody remember that?).

When Girl and I arrived home from mass, PC and Princess, who had spent the night with us, had already left for their daily run-around, LargeBoy was still asleep, he had only slept for 3hours at the lock-in, and SmallBoy was hanging out working on his comic book. I swooped him up and took him out to buy a compass for his afternoon scout meeting. We knew that we'd find one at Target. We scored. $2.99! Unfortunately, we bought the wrong kind. Ours was this great little hand held thing that clipped onto a belt loop, small, compact. What they wanted was one that you could tell the degrees of your directions. Oh well. Someone's always willing to share at these things and, well, at least we can still tell what direction we're going - perhaps I should keep it in the car ( I am "directionally challanged"). Here, Cubmaster G is teaching the boys how to determine how far away things are when reading a map. Surprisingly, all of the boys were QUIET at this point...very VERY unusual.

After teaching the boys how to read a map with a compass, he set up a giant land compass and put markers on some of the trees and posts in the forest preserve. The boys were then charged with the task of using the compass to determine the direction and the degrees from a central point where they stood to each marker. They did pretty well. SmallBoy and I switched a couple because we wrote them in the wrong places, but this was a very good lesson for both of us. After the boys had finished that, he began the first part of the next lesson, which is to help them keep track of how far they have gone on a hike. Each boy was given a piece of 350 cord, ten beads and a piece of thread. The boys were to fold the cord in half an make a simple knot at the end, then, using the thread, attach 5 beads, make another knot, and attach the remaining beads, close it up with one final knot and attach it to a belt loop or zipper. I was a bit worried that this task would prove incredibly challenging for SmallBoy, so I demonstrated how to make the first knot, and how to use the thread. I shouldn't have been surprised when he easily "performed the operation." He was so proud. We were one of the last ones finished, but I will definitely take the "blame" for that, as I supervised VERY closely.

The day was beautiful, a tad on the chilly side, but the sky was bright with the late winter sun. It was getting on in the afternoon, my guess is probably 4:30 or so. Scoutmaster wanted to take the boys on a hike through the woods - he's fantastic with this. We walked up a sled hill at the beginning (or end) of the trail, where the boys used aimed their compasses at the Sears Tower to get a reading on it's direction from where they stood. After the all concurred that it was just about 70 degrees East of us, we all set of to hike the trail that runs along the Des Plaines River. Excited boys, trails, tree roots, several kids who have difficulty focusing and paying attention, and a few, like mine, who have difficulty being aware of where they are within their surroundings. Hmm....can you guess how many kids fell down? Yeah. Lots. Regardless, we stopped and saw 8-10 deer grazing. They were very well aware of our presence, but seemed to be unaffected by us. They kept their distance, but none perked up a tail, and none ran. We even got to see a male with antlers. It was really cool, but they were too far to take a picture, even with a zoom. This spot in the picture was right as the river, which is a north/south thing, takes a turn and heads east. Rocks in the water provided an almost waterlike sound as the river traveled up, around, and over them. The Cubmaster asked everyone to close their eyes and be silent to hear nature and what it really sounds like. Me, well, I heard the waves lapping on the beach in Michigan, thus beginning the craving for summer weekends...ok, so that craving started as soon as we pulled away from PC's family's house for the last time, but this sort of jump started it for this year.

NCAA tourney starts back up tonight. I'm pretty much screwed as I had Illinois, Syracuse, Kansas, and Carolina all going far, but no more points for me. Oops...hey, I had to take the Illini all the way. It's a loyalty thing. Nope, not an alum, but still.....From here, it's GO BRADLEY!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Really, I Promise, I'll Get it Done

Seriously, I AM working on my post from the weekend, but yesterday was yet another blogger issue day. If you didn't visit yesterday, then you missed the disappearance of my entire sidebar - from my picture at the top, alllllllllll the way down to the Powered by Blogger button at the bottom. Now, I am too technologically challenged to change my template, even to one of the pre designed blogger templates. I tried. It looked AWFUL, and all of my links and below, were WAY at the bottom with rows and rows and rows of blank space between my To-Do list and my links. So, here I am, back at Ms. Moto. I REALLY want something different, but until I figure it out, y'all get to look at the pretty pink with me. Now I have to go fix my nav bar. Somehow I turned it blue. Then, I'm going to attempt to change my picture....yeah, I'm laughing too.

Oh, btw, my SWEETER THAN SWEET husband, just came by my office and brought me a bakery in a bag...ok, so not really, but he brought me some just yummo coffee and, get this, crescent rolls wrapped around Nutella spread...OH. MY. GOD. Citations, if you're still out there, try's right there with that bread & spread we made for New Year's a couple years ago. I had to share with whomever was immediately available at my office, cuz those 6 or 7 rolls were a guaranteed 2-3 inches on each thigh, and another inch or two on each cheek (and I'm not referring to my face). Anyway, back to my coffee and my designing attempts.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Still Working on it...

I tried to work on my post from the weekend, but the photo thingy wasn't uploading last night. To keep you coming back for more, I give you this, from my MIL:

Dear IRS,

Enclosed is my 2005 tax return showing that I owe $3,407.00 in taxes.
Please note the attached article from USA Today, wherein you will see the Pentagon is paying $171.50 for hammers and NASA has paid $600.00 for a toilet seat.
I am enclosing four toilet seats (value $2400) and six hammers (value $1029), bringing my total remitted to $3429.00. Please apply the overpayment of $22 .00 to the "Presidential Election Fund," as noted on my return.
You can do this inexpensively by sending them one 1.5" Phillips Head screw (article from USA Today detailing how HUD pays $22.00 each for 1.5" Phillips Head Screws is enclosed for your convenience.)
It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.

A Satisfied Taxpayer

Monday, March 20, 2006

My 'Tweener

I'm still working on my big weekend posting. I had WAY too much going on to get my post finished, so I loaded up one picture, saved it and added a little on to it and can't do anymore from work, cuz all my pictures are at home. In the meantime, though, I wanted to follow up on the dental yuck.

I was scheduled to go in for a cleaning today with a new dentist, my current dentist is sick and on the prayer list at church. This new dentist was supposed to refer me to an oral surgeon to FINALLY get these evil wisdom teeth pulled (something I've been putting off for 19- count 'em, 19 - years). They are now to the point of excruciating, causing unbearable headaches on top of all of the stress that I'm dealing with. So, yes, I had an appointment scheduled for my lunch hour today. Two of my staff called in sick, leaving no one to do my job over my lunch. Had to cancel. Thankfully, when I called to reschedule, the dental assistant spoke with the doctor, told him how much pain and discomfort I'm experiencing, how long ago I was supposed to have had these things yanked, and he referred me directly to Dr. P, the oral surgeon. They were phenomenal at that office. I called and explained the circumstances, that I couldn't get my records, that I have TMJ and dental visits are painful for me anyway, that I needed to get these teeth out A LONG TIME AGO. They set me up for a consult, xrays, and the EXTRACTION right away.

I wanted to set this up for a Friday, so I would minimize the time off from work. Couldn't do this Friday because we have our Boy Scout sleepover at the museum, couldn't do next Friday because I have to sing at mass on Sunday, leaving April 7, or April 14th. My office doesn't close on Good Friday, so I figured, why sacrifice yummy Easter way. So, April 7 at 2:00. Teeth are coming out. I know that just grossed y'all out, but I'll need you guys to keep pumping me up for this. I WILL try to get out of it! Stay tuned, weekend post coming soon.

Friday, March 17, 2006

For my LargeBoy This Time

I write so many things on this blog about or to SmallBoy, so this time, I thought it would be nice if I shared about the LargeBoy. He is heading to a teen retreat tonight, disguised as an overnight lock-in at the school. TONS of his friends that he hasn't seen since grade school, and tons of friends that he sees everyday will be there. Part of the retreat is that the staff wakes the students up at 4am (not like they've been sleeping at all), and gives them letters that have been sent to them by their parents. The parents are supposed to write about what the child means to them. Here is what I wrote to LargeBoy:


Dear LargeBoy-

I’m really not certain how to begin this – you have been such a strong force in my life.

You came into my life as a true blessing, and from that very first day, we began our roles as teacher and student. Most times we played both roles, switching from teacher to student – you teaching me how to love and care for you – my gift, and me teaching you how to grow and thrive.

Though you are now taller than I, this teacher/student role switching has not ended. You continually teach me how to be strong, especially at my weakest, most vulnerable times. You teach me how to see things from a different perspective. I continue to teach you how to grow into a responsible young adult – I hope.

I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me to have you in my life. You ARE my gift. So many times you have helped me to be strong. You’ve held my hand and kept me from falling more times than you know. You’ve helped me stand up on my own two feet when it felt like Life had swept them out from underneath me. You have made me laugh and smile, and brought so much joy and happiness into all of our lives. For all of these things, I cannot thank you enough.

You are a wonderful son and an incredible brother. I love that my children love and respect each other, despite what’s written on the kitchen board. Your brother and sister look up to you, they watch and learn from you. So much of what they do, how they act, things they say…they all come from you. You support them just as you do for me, even if you don’t want to admit it.

You have been phenomenal with SmallBoy. I know that it’s hard sometimes to have a sibling who demands SO much extra and who, sometimes it seems, gets extra special treatment, bent rules, and exceptions to the rules. You know that I love just as much as I always have. I see you with him and, even when you don’t realize it, you’re helping him – when you make him be patient, when you wrestle with him, when you let him share his excitement over the comic he’s working on (he wants to be just like you, don’t be surprised when he wants his own video camera), or when you just sit and play video games or watch a movie with him; all those times, you’re letting him know that you love him. Your support for him in all of this unpleasantness with the weekends is wonderful. SmallBoy knows how much you love him. I can see it.

I promise I won’t tell, but you take great care of your sister, also. For that I am so grateful. You have been there for her, the only one she feels she can talk to, especially when she so desperately needs an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. You have been there to be the big brother and to giver her a hard time, and I know you’ll be there screening potential boyfriends, and protecting her from those who turn out to be jerks. You mean so much to her. I know she’ll never tell you that, because that would break the sibling code, but she truly loves and appreciates you – as do I.

PC….well, let me say, LargeBoy, that you and he are like two peas in a pod sometimes. It pleases me to see how much the two of you seem to feed off of each other and your shared interests and senses of humor. He thinks you are one of the coolest people he’s met. He has such a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for you. He knows how much you helped me after the divorce and he knows how much you are always there to help me out even now.

I know that sometimes it seems like I’m just being “the mom” and being mean or making you guys do things you don’t want to (yes, I know you’re making the “ “ with your fingers around “the mom”). I know that sometimes you may think I get a little too cranky or over emotional. I also know that you are growing into a wonderful young man (something I’m finding very difficult to deal with – that means I’m getting OLD). I know that sometimes it may feel like I expect too much, while other times it may seem like I’m slacking off. The one thing that I hope always stays the same for you is knowing how much I love you. You know how emotional music and lyrics can make me and I know you’ve seen me cry at this one, but it really is for you….

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talking to the Man Upstairs
Just because he may not answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

Come on, you know I’m going to put it in here….you can’t go back to sleep without it…..

How much do I love you?
Because you’re my….
Of course.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Word of the Day


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Where the Hell I've Been

The voice is almost better! Woo-hoo! Still coughing, still headachey (but I think that's a tooth). Lots to catch you up on. Let's start at Friday.

Unfortunately, our gig was cancelled due to a double booking and a miscommunication within the organization. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I don't know how I would have performed. I was SO exhausted, that by 3:00 that afternoon, it was all I could do to stay awake at work. My throat was so sore from coughing and I was "releasing" all the crap that was in my chest - I didn't think that I could sing, even with a voice, without breaking into a coughing fit mid-song. I had toyed with the idea of a cough suppressant for the gig, but I really really want this crap out of my body...thankfully, I didn't need to worry about making that decision, though. Throat rested and I rested Friday night. SmallBoy and GR already had plans to have a special overnight, so PC and I met her for dinner, dropped off Smallboy and then went home for our first night ALONE in, what seemed like, a million years since Ex started his B.S. What did I do? Fell asleep for 3hrs on the couch. How would I have played a gig?

Saturday is a blur. I remember that the weather was beautiful and that PC and I made it a point to get out before the rain came in, but other than that I don't remember what we did for most of the day. Princess came over to spend the night and SmallBoy came home from GR's that afternoon. We had a blast. SmallBoy played, Princess played, we took MAJOR goofy pictures and emailed them to ET & SIL, who were in Italy at the time, played games, and I, as usual, was the first one - ok, maybe 2nd, but right after SmallBoy - in bed.

Sunday morning....I had to cantor the 9:00 mass, you know, the one I've been so worried about because it was the most beautiful psalm and I've been waiting for YEARS to sing this one (I've always been in the choir for this one while, typically, my former vocal nemesis sang it). I drank LOTS of tea. I said TONS of prayers, and out it came. It was amazing. It was beautiful. Because I had been singing it to myself and in the choir for so many years, I already knew it, felt it, and knew right where MY dynamics and emotions would be placed. It was.....oh, so pretty! My family had promised they'd be there, but with LargeBoy & Girl at their father's, they went to the 11:00 mass with a different cantor, SmallBoy & Princess were not about to sit through mass, so that meant PC was staying at home, too. No one got to hear it, but that's alright. After I finished I sat down and sent a BIG "thank you" Upstairs!

After mass, I returned home to the fresh baked, warm scent of cinnamon rolls, and to the frosting covered faces of two adorable little children and one frosting smeared mustache of my darling PC. Thankfully, they saved me two. We finished up, changed clothes and headed over to the park before we needed to drop SmallBoy off at his dad's (for his whopping 4 hour visit). The weather wasn't quite as nice as Saturday, in fact, there was quite a bite in the wind, so we only stayed at the park for about 20 minutes, but they were 20 minutes full of fun and energy. That afternoon, we took Princess over to visit with Meem & Poppy. It was a nice day. PC ALMOST made it through the whole visit without the smoking lecture. I have to say he brought it on himself, this time, though, but he almost escaped unscathed. We had a good laugh about it on the way home. The kids all returned later that afternoon, and Princess was picked up to go back to her house. School night again.

Monday we double-whammied poor SmallBoy with OT & a visit to his therapist. He did great at OT. He's making such HUGE gains now. She noticed a massive improvement in his visual tracking and we've noticed that he is now able to calm himself a little better, or to make the decision as to what he needs to do to chill out...he still stresses and gets way too frustrated before he calms down, but he's realizing it himself now, and taking the initiative HIMSELF. I'm so proud of him.

We went on to therapy with Dr. M. She had spoken with Ex & New Wife a couple days before and agreed that they are clueless as to anything at all about Aspergers. She did say, though, that until they do get a clue, that it's probably better for SmallBoy's success, self-esteem, and relationship with his father, that we continue with this arrangement. She talked to Ex about the charts that I had provided for them to help Smallboy remember to wash his hands, brush his teeth, what to do in the shower. They admitted that they aren't using them - not only that, they don't want to, they don't think it's necessary. They think he's just being a problem child and doesn't need a reminder. Dr. M. also said that a lot of this comes from Ex being in denial - because admitting something is "wrong" with his child means that something is "wrong" with him. He's done enough research to know that ASPERGER's is possibly something that he shares with his son, as it does seem to pass through the male blood line. We talked further about how important it is for Ex and New Wife to do what we do at home to provide continuity, to make SmallBoy feel safe and loved and supported in both environments. We all discussed the visitation. Ex wanted to continue bringing SmallBoy over for small amounts of time on Saturdays when LargeBoy and Girl are there and then returning him home Saturday evening. I said no way. That makes him feel even MORE ostracized. I said that if he was going to continue with this that visitation had to be on Sunday afternoon so that he could come home with his brother and sister, like a family, something that is the same as it was.

Dr. M stressed that she stressed to Ex and New Wife that, although she thinks this should be something worked on in small increments, that it was highly important to SmallBoy's success for him to know that all of the people in his life love him and support him, and that SmallBoy knows from his father that there is NOTHING wrong with him and that Ex & New Wife work quickly towards getting past this problem that they have with my son. I said that everything needs to be set aside and all focus needs to be on SmallBoy...not on the baby, because I'm worried that SmallBoy will grow up to resent the Baby, not on Ex & New Wife's "schedules", not on PC's & my schedule, but on SmallBoy. HE is the most important thing here. We all agreed. She spent some time talking with SmallBoy and he was ok.

Since then I've sort of been in a blur. With the stress of this and all of the other things I'm trying to take care of to keep my family healthy, happy, and in a home, I've just been yucko lately. I spent most of yesterday feeling like I could burst into tears at any moment. I know it's a stress's totally a stress thing. I know that I'll get through it. I've gotten through much more trying times than this, so this will be fine. I've got a wonderful family, a great blog family, and a lot of positive energy floating around. I've also got a dentist appointment for next Monday (don't let me cancel it, ok?), which means pain (I have TMJ, so visits to the dentist cause me more than the usual dental pain) and more than likely a trip to the oral surgeon to get the wisdom teeth yanked (shivvvvvvvvvvvver).

Well, now that I've filled you in, stressed myself out, and given myself the willies, I think I'll close up shop and go time to go to a Den meeting for Boy Scouts - 45 screaming boys....OH GOD! How about a drink!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Little Monday Whimsy

Ok, so it's MOSTLY true - except the part about ranting:

Your Blog Should Be Blue
Your blog is a peaceful, calming force in the blogosphere. You tend to avoid conflict - you're more likely to share than rant. From your social causes to cute pet photos, your life is a (mostly) open book.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Pure Evil, I Tell You!

I thought I was recovering. I thought that once the anvil was lifted from my chest that I'd be ok. I thought that once the fever broke (for the 3rd time) that all was well. I thought when I felt better for more than an hour at a time, that I was doing well. Damn Damn Damn!!!!!!!!

The last couple of days have been funky. I've felt crappy, but alive, then, byt the end of the day, I've wanted to crawl back into my bed, turn off the lights and not wake up again. The cough has returned. This time, I figured it was a "productive" cough. Sure, I'm coughing up the yuck that has attempted to set up residence in my lungs, but that's making me hurl all the time (I'm no good at just hocking a lugee), AND my throat is sore and swollen from all of the coughing. Oh, did I mention that I'm hoarse?

On any other weekend I could handle this; ok, no talking or, if impossible, then as minimal as possible. This weekend, though, the band plays Friday night and I have to sing at church on Sunday. I have been waiting a LONG time to get to sing the song that is this Sunday's psalm, it's GORGEOUS, especially if there's a choir harmony backing on the verses. Of ALL POSSIBLE weekends, it has to be this one! GRRRRRRRRRR. NOT amused. Not at ALL.

PC, the dear sweet man that he is, went out and bought me throat coat tea and a TON of vitamin C. I'll drink it, but I think all it will do for Friday is fill me with the after effects of herbal tea (yes, lovely lovely gaseous odors). Even if I'm ok for Friday, I'm worried that performing Friday night on an already maxed and stressed out vocal system, that I'll have NOTHING left for mass on Sunday. I'm trying desperately not to talk, but that's a little difficult to do when you are on the phone all day as part of your job. My band, last night, got a scary little preview of my "voice". They encouraged me to call in sick today...can't, I have no more sick hours, which means no pay...since I have no money, the no pay thing really isn't an option. My boss told me that I should go home, that it's probably walking pneumonia from the sounds of me, and that I'd be worse off if I landed in the hospital for a couple of weeks. She has a point. I think I'll go home at lunchtime and have tea, mentholatum, and NO TALKING - at least til the kids come home, at least until I have to call Ex and tell him that he can't have his way this weekend...another story about which I will give you all the details post-conversation.

I told the band that we can't cancel the gig on account of my voice, but that they'd best polish up all of their boy songs and all the stuff they want to improv on just in case. I've never been this worried about my voice before, it's always come back in the clutch - at least the band voice has. Yes, I'll be sad if I can't sing at church this weekend, but I'm again next weekend, too...different psalm, but we've got "good lent music" this year. I think I'm done whining now. Girl is still coughing, but that's all...she's just got a cough, SmallBoy has been sleeping with the vaporizer in his room forever, since the first signs of this crap, and LargeBoy - well, he's just the healthiest damn kid on the planet. Poor PC, though, he's doomed. I can almost guarantee he will get this and this just SUCKS....I don't want him to have to have this, it's pure evil. I'll take care of him, though, he's been so sweet to me.

The "liquid cures" that so many of you left as comments in my last post about the yucky taste in my mouth were fabulous. My challenge to each of you now: Find something that will bring my voice back before 9:00 tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Aaaaahhhhhh, Italia!

HI!!!!!! I'm still hacking and coughing and headache-y and stuffy and yucky, but I'm alive! Thanks much for the well wishes, you're all truly lovely! In my last post, about the yucky taste in my mouth, I received a "longer" distance comment (longer than my UK friends), from ET & my SIL who are currently traversing Italy. They posted their comment while in Florence. I can't say I'm much of a traveler, but in October of 2001, my church choir had the opportunity to tour and sing in Italy, including at a high mass at the Vatican. One of our stops was in Florence. The church pictured here, if you've not been to Florence, is immense, beautiful, breathtaking, glorious....oh...just amazing! We had the opportunity to sing there also. If I remember correctly Galileo is entombed in this church...maybe I'm mistaken, but I'm pretty sure it was this church.

I don't have a lot of time to post. I'm supposed to be playing catch up today and we're tremendously busy, but I didn't want to leave you hanging! SIL & ET, I'm SO glad to see you're alive and having a wonderful time!!!!! Take LOTS of pictures for me - I do so miss Italy. It was one of the most beautiful places I've seen, and it had this incredibly calming effect on me. At one of the most insane times of my life, this was the place that brought me calm, serenity, and helped me to realize that yes, indeed, I needed to move on with my life and break free from the Ex!! I'd go back in a heartbeat! Incidentally, this picture is the inside of the dome of that beautiful cathedral!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Do YOU Know This Taste?

UGGGGGGG...the roof of my mouth is swollen to the point where everytime I move, swallow, speak, anything, my tongue brushes it. My tongue tastes like someone covered each taste bud with dog doo, covered that with saw dust, and then ran more sandpaper over them. My teeth are covered in socks - like when you wake up after an evening of beverages - only underneath the socks, is a layer of chapstick (cherry, mind you) that has found its way from my parched, cracked, brittle, and scaly lips into my mouth.

The combination of all of this is just the most disgusting sick mouth I've ever tasted. I've had lunch, I've had mints, I've had cherry tootsie pops. Anything and everything I try fails. I have another 45minutes at the office and then the first thing I'm doing upon my arrival home is a shot of Listerine! That ought to hold me for about an hour or so.

Yes, I'm sick. I MUST be at work tomorrow for a luncheon (oh yes, K, I'm thrilled. Stay home if you're still yucky. I'd recommend calling SR in the morning though, cuz I'll probably be voiceless if I'm not dead). This second wave of plague is just awful. SmallBoy went home sick today and I'm holding out so that I can live through tomorrow's lunch...then I'm going home and right to bed. Yuck Yuck YUCK! Don't fret, my loves, if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, I'll be around.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Trickle UP Effect

I promise one of these days I'll stop griping about the stupidness of Ex (provided he stops being stupid). For now, however, I have yet another tale for you. This one involves Girl, surprisingly.

Girl is a jock. That's sort of a given. Unless she is incredibly ill - on her death bed, for example - she will NOT miss a game for anything. When her father was her basketball coach, the only excuse for missing a game was a death in the family (her own). If she was sick, she still had to be AT practice, at least sitting on the sidelines observing the drills. The same went when he was coaching LargeBoy's team. If we had a family function, well then, they went to the game or practice first and then late to the family thing. It's just the way it was. It caused a lot of conflicts, but that's the way it was.

Saturday, Girl has a playoff game. This could possibly be her last basketball game of the season. Saturday, Girl has a family party on her father's side of the family for a relative who is leaving to join the military. Both are, of course, at the same time. Ex had the nerve to call Girl yesterday and tell her that if I wasn't able to drive out to where the party is and pick her up (about an hour and a half tank of gas away) and bring her to her game that, well, she couldn't go. She will be at this family party for all of 45 minutes before she has to leave to get to the game. She was absolutely torn, because she hasn't seen her cousin much. He spent a great deal of his time living in the same building as us when the kids were little, then moved down South to live with his father during his teen years, and only recently moved back up here to live with his mom, stefather and half brothers. Now he's leaving for the Marines. Of course she'd want to see him off!

Instead of saying, Girl, how about we go to your game and then head off to the family party, which, I'm certain will still be alive and kicking and a much shorter distance from your game than from home, he said to her that she either got me to come and get her and take her to her game or she couldn't play. Now, it's not like she's a member of the team that wouldn't be missed. She is one of the starters. She is aggressive. She plays tough and doesn't give up. If the team loses on Saturday night, the season is over. They NEED Girl. It's not like they can lose and then play another game that could bring them to the finals, but in a different bracket, from which they could come from behind, as the underdog, and win the big game. Nope. If they lose, it's over. She knows she's needed and she knows she doesn't want to miss her game and her team.

She was almost in tears as she held her hand over the mouth piece of the phone (her father was still on the line and had to know right then), and asked if I could do this running around. My car is not working right and I don't want to drive it that far. PC's car is not running right and we don't want to drive it that far. We don't have the funds to get them fixed right now. But you know what? She's my daughter and I'll do anything for her. I'm not going to let him make her miss this because he can't be flexible (ahhhh, Kristina....yet another trait), and work this into the plan. Yes, I'm doing the drive. I'm gritting my teeth. I'll go pick her up from my Ex-family's house, say my farewell to R., say hello to my former family, take my daughter and go cheer my lungs out for her. When her team wins, PC and I will be there to celebrate with her and share in her joy! If they lose and it's over, PC and I will be there to console her with the usual consolation chocolate ice cream. WE will be there for her.