Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bad Days and Good Days

Since we are ditching Sunday morning services again (for a variety of small reasons that put together overwhelmed me) and the children are playing Mine Craft together peacefully (for the moment), it's the perfect time to blog.

Depression is my constant companion and I had a really bad day this week on Thursday. Thankfully, it was followed on Friday by a better day, which provided a contrast that I thought would be worth blogging about.

                                                                          - 1 -

Bad Day: Getting out of bed first thing in the morning isn't the problem. The alarm goes off at 6 am and I need to get up and get moving on breakfast for the kids so that their morning routine can be followed. If I'm not on time, they miss their buses and I have to drive them to school, and that is plenty motivating to keep me moving. But after Miranda's bus comes at 8:07 am, all I want to do is go back to bed and snuggle into my flannel sheets. So I do.

Better Day: After the children and husband get out the door with all their appropriate accoutrements, I sit and have a cup of hot, black tea with lots of half and half. I plan how I'm going to spend the rest of my day. I take a shower and get dressed.

                                                                        - 2 -

Bad Day: Last Thursday, I had an appointment at the dermatologist's at 12:30 so I couldn't sleep the day away and my alarm went off before 11. I needed to get to the library and Costco before my appointment. I did manage to get dressed and brush my teeth, but I only allowed a Gatorade and a small bag of popcorn to tide my appetite over the lunch hour and didn't pack a hat or scarf to deal with the freezing wind.

Better Day: I plan and eat a real lunch and don't rush around the stores without a list.

                                                                  - 3 -

Bad Day: With a novel from my new stack of library books, I sit at the dermatologist for nearly 90, waiting, until I give up. I needed to leave at 2 to pick up a prescription for Miranda at our GP's office and then get home in time to meet Alex's bus. I know her office runs late, but today I just didn't have the energy to deal with calling my dad to ask him to meet Alex's bus which would irritate Alex because he wouldn't be expecting Grandpa instead of Mommy. And, besides, the doc I liked in this office left on maternity leave last year and never came back. But I feel simultaneously irritated that her office staff can't schedule appointments that fit closer to reality and hurt that she couldn't find 5 minutes to talk to me.

Better Day: I am able to respond to a message left for me by Miranda's case manager that schedules a meeting next week, call our health insurance company with a medication question, and leave a message for the shrink Miranda saw last spring with my request for documentation. I still have an unanswered voice mail from Miranda's dentist, though, about the appointment I had to cancel because of the snow last Tuesday. Better day does not mean perfect day.

                                                                       - 4 -

Bad Day: On bad days, Miranda's homework hour seems interminable. She is supposed to read to me for 15 minutes every weekday and she has run out of short books she likes and refuses to start reading chapter books to me. So we've returned to the Berenstain Bears books which are good and show me how much her reading ability has progressed in the last six months. But neither of are into it. Then we're off to her bar graph worksheets. Thankfully, she understands what she's doing (bless her teacher, truly) and as long as I stand there and watch her work, she gets them done quickly.

Better Day: On a better day, I am interested in what she reads and we talk about the book and why characters make decisions and what that might mean. And heaven help me, spelling homework better be on a better day because neither of us enjoys the process of creating sentences with spelling words. One of Miranda's processing delays manifests itself in the magical transformation of words she speaks aloud to a written assignment. It's just hard for her to write down her thoughts. We've a couple of work arounds and assistants, but it's still the hardest thing we do all week. She saves her free homework passes for spelling sentences, every time.

                                                                         - 5 -

Bad Day: On a bad day, especially in the freezing cold of winter, I return to bed after homework is done. I sit up in my bed with lots of pillows, legs under the covers with my sunshine lamp on, and read for the rest of the evening. Last Thursday I read 3 books and skimmed another one. I don't get up when Marshall comes home from work and feeds himself and Miranda, Alex having dined on chips again. At least I bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco so there was food to eat. I am able to tell my husband I'm having a bad day, that I'm still upset over the not seeing the doctor appointment, the cold and the dark. I have a bowl of instant oatmeal for dinner, reminding me of my days in college when I fought anorexia nervousa. Going gluten-free last spring has solved several problems but created new ones for me, like many of my back-up meals (things to eat when nothing sounds good) being instantly unavailable. Peanut butter on a toasted English muffin, I still miss you.

Better Day: I have a dinner planned, even if I need help preparing it, and I sit and eat it with my husband and sometimes my daughter. It is a rare day for Alex to sit and eat with us and he never eats what we're eating. But on better days, he'll come by and say hello. Last Friday, we went around the corner for haircuts at a friend's house so I got in a good hour of conversation with someone I'm not related to, which is always cheering. And our children played well together without makign a huge mess, which is always encouraging.

                                                                    - 6 -

Bad Day: I can't get to sleep at a reasonable hour and stay up reading until 1:30 in the morning. And then still can't sleep. And wake up feeling awful the next day.

Better Day: I start wrapping up my day around 10 pm so that I'll feel tired around 11 when I want to turn out the light.

                                                                     - 7 -

Bad Day: Depression overwhelms me. Taking a shower seems like too much effort. Eating anything that can't simply be reheated in the microwave seems impossible. I don't nag the children to brush their teeth because they've taken themselves off to bed and fallen asleep before I realized the time. On the worst days, reading is too hard and spend my time surfing celebrity gossip sites. I can't even muster enough mental energy to play Words with Friends.

Better Day: I can have a real conversation with my husband when he comes home. I spend some time talking to my children. Clean laundry gets folded and put away. Meals are planned. Date afternoon with my honey gets scheduled, thanks to my mother. The sink isn't full of dirty dishes. I'm cognizant of what food is in the fridge and what needs to be picked up in the near future. I spend the time to put new Jamberry wraps on my nails. I leave the house for regularly scheduled events. Autism doesn't seem like it's going to kill me. I can see hope, even if the sun isn't shining and it's 7 degrees F outside.

Here's Kelly.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

7 In Recovery Takes

1. Two blogs posts two weeks in a row. Must be a miracle. Or a New Year's Resolution. Or I'm just bored and avoiding all the folding I need to do with clean laundry. Or I won't let myself go hide in a book because all the chores aren't done yet (those overflowing laundry baskets). Or I'm waiting for my Gluten-Free Bisquik biscuits to come out of the oven and this is a good way to pass the time. Or even though the sun is shining, it's 23 degrees outside but feels like 10 (so says the internet) so the farthest I'm going today is the mailbox.

2. I have 17 unwatched episodes of Castle on my DVR and no desire to watch them. None. It just isn't fun anymore. I keep thinking I'll change my mind, which is why they are still there, but I haven't yet. I used to stay up late Monday nights to watch the show live, but I haven't done since season 3, I think. Sigh. 25 gigs on the server. We still have a terrabyte of free space so it's not like I have to make a decision today, but it's starting to bug me.

3. Alex is painting the bathroom with toothpaste, regularly. The toilet, the walls, the sink, and now the trash can. It's wasteful, yes, but really annoying and getting harder to clean up. Somehow, I'm not fulfilling his creative needs sufficiently.

Our kids have rotten impulse control (autism + AD/HD = disastrous impulse control, not to be confused with compulsions, like reciting Green Eggs and Ham for the 3 millionth time and I am not kidding about the 3,000.000!) Both of them, every couple of weeks, dump out all the shampoo or body soap into the tub while bathing to make bubbles or paint the shower walls or something. And I wonder where all the money goes. Miranda is flat broke at the moment because she had to contribute towards the last bottle of replacement shampoo. I want to be able to tell them "Go take a shower" and not have to watch them while they do it. And they smell too strongly to skimp on the soap. Irritating.

4. I'm making my way through Grace Burrowes' extensive backlist, reading them in series order, of course, like the good little compulsive reader that I am. But I am stuck halfway through Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish. A wee bit bored, I think. But since this is my tenth book by Burrowes and all the previous have been excellent, I guess she's allowed to write one that's only average in quality.

My favorite books for rereading, especially when I'm ill or tired or just plain grumpy are Jayne Castle's dusy bunny series or (same author) the Arcane Society series published under the names Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick.

Interjection: the biscuits are a little dry and flavorless. I'm going to add honey, though clotted cream would be better, but I don't have any of that. Man, I miss refrigerator biscuits.

5. I'm trying to set small goals for myself for getting back on top of household chores and such after being down for more than a week with the flu. I'm writing one thank you card per day and trying to clean up one area. Like this morning after the dishes got done I actually bleached the counters. And my honey helped to get the Christmas tree down and put away. Well, I helped him. Otherwise, it's just too overwhelming and it sends me straight back to my flannel sheets and the next library book on the stack.

6. The Australian Open starts in one week! I'm so excited! Tennis started back up this week so I've been checking the scores at least twice a day. If I had the tennis channel, I would probably never get anything done. Except cross stitch.

7. I need to review my 2014 list and post a final revision of all the movies I wanted to see but didn't. Last year was the best year for us; hopefully, 2015 will be better.

Here's Kelly.

Friday, January 2, 2015

7 Flu Takes

1. New Month. New Year. New logo because we have a new host for Quick Takes. Jen Fulwiler is too busy with her book and her radio show, so she passed it off to Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum. Should be an interesting transition.

2. Alex, Miranda and myself are starting the year with the flu. We started running fevers on Tuesday. Thankfully, this is not the I'm-going-to-die-for-two-whole-weeks-flu from last Feb-Mar. It's just a fever and fatigue. But you make strange decisions when you have the flu, like watching the first two seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 48 hours (that was Tuesday and Wednesday). I liked the first couple of seasons generally, but I think I'm done for a while.

3. I had made all kinds of play date plans for this week, of course. And then had to cancel all of them. Alex doesn't want to go back to school on Monday but Miranda will probably be thrilled to go just to see someone she isn't related to.

4. Gluten-free living with the flu means no Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup and absolutely no Saltines. Very saddening. However, I can still eat rainbow sherbet and drink ginger ale, so all is not lost.

5. We had a lovely Christmas dinner with Marshall's parents, his sister and her family, and the Olson's with lots of food and wonderful company. We missed my parents, who celebrated with my brothers in L.A., but we thought of them often as we were using their house to celebrate in.

6. I haven't sent any thank you cards yet. I am usually the gal who, on Boxing Day, writes them up and mails them off right quick. I haven't even finished opening up Christmas cards from other people. Not to mention the Christmas letter. Marshall has said he's not writing it this year (he usually does 95% of the work) so I may do an abbreviated letter in the coming weeks to give us some kind of yearly reference.

7. I was introduced to the new game Trivia Crack but I need new friends to play with since I'm such a know-it-all and a good guesser so most people don't want to play with me. Finally, a game I can win!

Bonus 8: We took no Christmas pictures. We opened presents with the kids with my parents before they left for CA and then opened a few with Marshall's parents Christmas afternoon, but we didn't wrap much for the kids this year. Too much money just to clothe them, between his shredding all his shirts and socks and her growing out of everything yesterday.

Here's Kelly!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Another Fake Post

Jen's not even posting today, but I thought I would put up the music that Miranda and I have been listening to in the mornings, after Alex gets on his bus, while she's getting ready for school. And the last pictures of outside flowers before everything froze a week ago.

Walk Off The Earth "Red Hands"

Walk Off The Earth "Happy"

Walk Off The Earth "Someone I Used to Know"

Walk Off The Earth "Gang of Rhythm"

Walk Off The Earth "REVO in Paris"

Walk Off The Earth "Say Something"

Walk Off The Earth "Royals"

"Red Hands" is Miranda's favorite. I waver between "REVO" and "Royals."

This is Marshall's favorite:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Must Post Something

1. The last two weeks have been one headlong rush. The children's birthday party, celebrated with family from near and far, was last Saturday and tomorrow morning (Friday), my honey and I leave for a long weekend away from everything and everyone else. We'll be back home by Tuesday at bed time. Also, for the last 10 days, I've been hosting a Facebook Jamberry show to share the fun with my friends as well as raise money for our church's mission to an orphanage in Haiti. The good thing is, after I get my children off to school tomorrow, it's just me and my honey. The bad thing is, I don't have all my ducks lined up yet in order to allow us to leave. And I probably won't until an hour after we planned to leave. Sigh. Too much too much too much too much.

Alex at the party telling my mother not to take a picture of him. Great face.

2. I'd been doing better with my anxiety until today (Thursday). Trying to get everything ready for us to leave as well as my parents to move in and care for the children, following all the accepted procedures, has been a challenge. Our morning routine on a school day from 6 - 8 am is pretty regimented. It fills a full page. But I've finally got it all written out.

Miranda blew out 8 candles on a magnificent dark chocolate cake that Mimi made for us. Alex passed on candles and the birthday song this year. He's very upset about turning 11. Somehow he's equated getting older with death without anything in between, even with two living great grandmothers. He can't manage to grasp any context for the concept. He figured out what death was, that he didn't like it and now he feels it's coming for him. Ugh.

3. The Halloween costumes are mostly set. Alex's green light saber arrived today. He's going to be Luke Skywalker in black with a green light saber and the Luke Skywalker Angry Bird, who is not in black. Miranda will be a black cat. In black clothes with a beautiful black cat mask. I haven't managed to get her a tail yet. Maybe in the morning before we leave.

The weather was perfect last Saturday and we played in the park behind my parents' house quite a bit.

4. We are spending the weekend in Milford, PA, at the house of a friend who's generously offered us a lovely place to get away, and we are very grateful for her love and support. We may make a day trip or two to the local towns (I think we found this awesome used book store in Stroudsburg on a previous trip that we may look up) or visit with a friend or two who live in the area. Or not. I'm bringing a bag of books, half a dozen movies, a couple of Doctor Who Episodes, etc. And we have each other.

My uncle and his wife brought their delightful dog, Dante, to the party. He was very popular. This is after playing with the kids all afternoon. He's all tuckered out.

5. I need to update my movie list. I think Guardian of the Galaxy was the last time I was in the theatre. Ugh. Strangely, Keanu Reeves' new film has excellent reviews.

A friend and I at the party.


My nephew Collin (not to be confused with my other nephew Colin) likes to build survival structures during family events. This was his best and most complex ever. He got the other kids to help, too. It was quite extraordinary. Cool kid.

7. My mother has had some adventures in publishing. Long time readers will remember that she published her book, Bathsheba's Lament, several years ago. Well, then the publishing company went out of business and she nearly lost her copyright. Ugh.

Now there is a new edition with a new title (Bathsheba's Journey) and cover and it is now available for purchase, both in paperback and Kindle formats. Find it here.

And here's Jen.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Miss Tennis

1. Any regular reader of my blog (all 5 of you) will be familiar with the summer sparseness of my writing. The kids are always underfoot and I never have a moment to think for myself. And then school starts up again and I have to readjust to that every day 6 am alarm, and the rush of keeping everyone on schedule and fed and clothed and making coffee for my husband (a fact which he rejoices over). So, here we are, September 20th, with a moment or two to take stock of the last weeks.

As many of you know, I follow the writing of Anne Kennedy, starting with her previous blog, An Undercurrent of Hostility, and her new one, Preventing Grace. I was catching up on her last half dozen posts this morning when I read one that perfectly describes my attitude. Read it here: Wordy Wednesday. You should also read everything else she writes.

2. The professional tennis season is winding down. The US Open is the last major tournament and while there is more tennis to watch if you have the Tennis Channel, since I do not, I have to make do with checking the scores and news on the internet. In a few weeks, the women will have their end of the year tournament in Singapore with only the top eight players qualifying. The men have theirs in November in London.

In the last week, I realized, in the absence of any tennis to watch, how much of an anxiety soother watching tennis is for me. Something about the patter of the commentators and the regular rhythms of the game calms me. In previous years, I've watched the post season of baseball quite happily but it doesn't seem to interest me this year. Maybe soccer would work.

3. Anxiety is definitely the flavor of the house. Most of the time, Miranda moves along blithely without acknowledging it, but the rest of us are regularly crippled by it. My number one prayer at the moment is that God would ease Alex's anxiety which would ease the rest of the house.

We spent the last year chasing doctors and medical answers to anxiety. This year, I'm trying a different tack, while maintaining the medical solutions. Alex has started swim lessons on Thursday nights and we may end up with a family Y membership so that every other night, someone can just take him swimming. Being in the water cheers him, both the sensation and the pressure. It used to be that I jealously protected my evenings as my own time but the pain of watching him fall apart and be unable to calm himself has made me desperate enough to willingly dismantle my own life to make his more comfortable.

4. One of the best things about September is all of my peer groups start up again. Wednesday morning Bible study started with week as well as the Friday group for moms of school age kids called Raising Hope. And Youth Group kicks off tomorrow night, which I am very excited about. I have transitioned from being a small group leader for the HS girls to a prayer support person, which fits much better into what I'm good at. For your reference, the church calendar is here.

5. This week I finally started watching season 6 of Castle (season 7 will premiere soon). I am fond of the show but saw the bad writing coming from a mile off and tried to avoid it, for more than a year. But the completist in me has to watch a show in order, so I suffered through the cliff hanging transitions from season 5 to 6 and now that nearly all the changes have been erased, I'm hoping it will go back to being a show I'm fond of. There was a great Doctor Who-esque episode that is my favorite so far, "Time Will Tell," that was almost as good as "The Final Frontier" from season 5.

Speaking of Doctor Who, we are enjoying the new doctor although last week's episode was a head scratcher. I'm wondering if Clara just fit better with Matt Smith so it will be good that the Christmas episode will be her last.

6. My mother and I are taking the kids to the Mt. Laurel Fall Fest at Laurel Acres park this afternoon, an event none of us have ever attended. If nothing else, face painting and the playground structures will make the trip worthwhile.

7. My mother has had some adventures in publishing. Long time readers will remember that she published her book, Bathsheba's Lament, several years ago. Well, then the publishing company went out of business and she nearly lost her copyright. Ugh.

Now there is a new edition with a new title (Bathsheba's Journey) and cover and it just became available for purchase, both in paperback and Kindle formats. Find it here.

And here's Jen.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Real Blog Post?

1. If you haven't seen her on Facebook, this is Smootch:

We are dog sitting for friends from church who are away on vacation. She's a nearly 8 year old bulldog with a bad hip so she spends most of the day and night sleeping. Seriously. 10 minutes of play every 12 hours. Very sweet tempered. Easiest dog sitting gig ever.

Miranda and I bought her a squeaky toy on Tuesday and she had so much fun with it she hardly moved all day Wednesday.

It's been fun having a dog around again, temporarily. We would like to be dog owners again, someday. We need that perfect dog for Alex that the rest of us like as well. But first we need to fix the fences. It's on the list.

2. Alex's anxiety seems to be at the same level as always. We spent the last year chasing new doctors and changed all the meds and seem to be exactly in the same place as before. He is going to keep the same teacher as last year, which is good because we love her, but any mainstreaming opportunities will depend upon his behavior. One more week of summer school and then we're off until September 4th. Lots of trips to the pool and a few to the beach in the plans.

3. For some reason, I've spent the last week watching Law & Order reruns, which are available on 3 different cable channels. I have seen most of the 20 years of episodes and actually remember many of them.

My honey and I finally finished the second season of Elementary and we were both disappointed with the way Mycroft was used. I don't think we've given up on the series because we like the actors but I want to send the writers to the Joss Whedon school of planning a season-long story arc. I know, I know, Dollhouse had problems, but I still hold up the second season of Buffy as perfection in story arcing and some of my favorite television quotes ever.

From Lie to Me, SO2E07
Giles: You mean life?
Buffy: Yeah. Does it get easy?
Giles: What do you want me to say?
Buffy: Lie to me.
Giles: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
Buffy: Liar.

From Innocence, S02E14:
Cordelia: (hops onto a crate to sit) So, does looking at guns really make girls wanna have sex? That's scary. Xander: Yeah, I guess.
Cordelia: Well, does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
Xander: I'm seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.

Speaking of television writing, Alex dipped back into the world of Phineas & Ferb, which I really enjoy, and one of his favorite episodes is "The Best Lazy Day Ever" which has an excellent quote from Candace:

Well, if they really are doing nothing, I guess I've got some time to go about my personal business. Let's see, what do I usually do? I know! I'll call Stacy and tell her how I'm busting Phineas and Ferb for... Yeah. Can't do that 'cause they're not doing anything. Wait a minute! I know! [runs off and comes back with a camera] I'll put this camera in just the right spot so when Phineas and Ferb are... Ugh! [setting up a rope trap] And then when Phineas and Ferb will bite off... Doh! [putting on lipstick] Well, if there's one thing I know, I'm gonna look so good when I bust them for... Auugh! Face it. You can't do anything unless you're trying to bust them for doing something! And if they're doing nothing, then... who is Candace??

Somehow, as charming as Phineas and Ferb are, I love Candace. In her life, hardly anything ever goes according to plan.

4. Tomorrow, we have a babysitter so Marshall and I are going to see Guardians of the Galaxy and then go to dinner, just the two of us. The grandparents are in California, just on their way back from Catalina Island to the mainland and won't be back until mid-week.

5. My summer flowers haven't had a lot of attention from me, but I did have some success. The sun flowers bloomed,

the butterfly bushes recovered from a late freeze

the marigolds from last summer came back, which isn't supposed to happen

the cannas aren't as plentiful as last year, but they're still here

and I bought a bunch of mums to plant, one of these days.

6. Somehow, this got left off of the list last week:

7. My mother has had some adventures in publishing. Long time readers will remember that she published her book, Bathsheba's Lament, several years ago. Well, then the publishing company went out of business and she nearly lost her copyright. Ugh.

Now there is a new edition with a new title (Bathsheba's Journey) and cover and it just became available for purchase, both in paperback and Kindle formats. Find it here.

And here's Jen.